orange ginger un-fried stir fry

it is the middle of my (last) spring break as a grad student!  and while the rest of the campus is off to sunnier lands, bronzing themselves under tropical sunlight, i have been content to stay home trying to get some balance back into my life.  i haven't really kept up much with blogging since the semester started off with a bang, so now i finally get a chance to catch my breath.  but enough about school!  this is a blog about food, not about the pitiable existence of a miserable graduate student.

and speaking of balance, i feel extremely topsy turvy, as most of my time this semester has been spent in the library instead of in the kitchen.  so last night jordan and i made a pact to cook a delicious meal together, so this is what we came up with:

lovingly adapted from vegetarian times, behold: orange ginger un-fried stir fry

disclaimer: you all should know by now that i am not an exact-measurements kind of girl.  except when it comes to the delicate art and science that is baking, i say experiment all you want!  the amounts i give are just guidelines, because honestly, i really don't have any idea how much of everything i used. the same goes for the ingredients themselves.  the recipe we used as a guide just included tofu and baby bok choy, but we added some other things we had in our fridge that we didn't want to go to waste.  cooking is about being creative and adapting to your own tastes, after all!

4 head of baby bok choy, chopped, rinsed, and drained
baby carrots, julienned
1 small piece ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
3-4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1 package extra-firm tofu (i use the pre-cubed kind, as i find it to be a time and prep-space saver)
handful bean sprouts
~1 tbsp coconut oil (or your favorite mild cooking oil)
orange marmalade (we used St. Dalfour Orange Ginger was perfect for this dish!)
soy sauce
1 pkg. thin rice noodles

in a small bowl, whisk together marmalade and soy sauce.  cut it with a little sprinkle of water.  adjust proportions to taste.

bring a large pot of water to a boil.

in a wok, heat the coconut oil over high heat (but watch the pan carefully, as coconut oil tends to burn quickly).  add ginger and garlic and saute for a couple of minutes.  add the tofu and saute until brown.  add the carrots and stir well.  saute until carrots begin to soften.

add the bok choy and stir well to integrate.  once the bok choy begins to wilt, add almost all of the soy sauce and marmalade mixture.  continue to stir, over low heat.  add bean sprouts (if using) last.

add the rice noodles to the boiling water.  cook for 1-2 minutes, quickly drain and rinse, then return noodles to the pot.  pour remaining sauce over the noodles and stir well.

serve immediately, plating the noodles first then the tofu and vegetables on top. garnish with sesame seeds.




required reading

"Today’s experiment in eating, however, involves becoming aware of that reflexive urge to plow through your meal like Cookie Monster on a shortbread bender. "

check out this article that was on this morning...very insightful information, and it will definitely change the way that i eat from now on.


san delicious

my fiance is getting his PhD, which means he gets to travel to exciting cities all over the county to sit inside at conferences, while i tag along and explore and (more importantly) eat my way around town.

we just returned from a weeklong trip to san diego.  we went out to california last january, but we only were in san diego for a few days before venturing northward.  i absolutely fell in love with san diego this time, and i can't wait to go back.  hopefully we will find ourselves living out there in sunny socal if all the cards fall into place.  but in the meantime i'll just keep dreaming away, and i'll fill you in on all the delicious food we ate while we were there!

i read that san diego does not have a specialty that is unique to the region...but all the food i ate was spectacular, so i'd venture to say that they do EVERYTHING well!  so be prepared to be bombarded with food pictures now...

bountiful breakfasts

OB People's Food Store

fruit, quinoa, and chai...breakfast of champions

jordan approves...but i think he needs some sunglasses.
this is a really great co-op right in the heart of ocean beach that is comprised of a grocery store on the first floor and a café on the second floor.  members get a 10% discount, but i gladly paid the few extra pennies to load up my plate at the breakfast bar with fresh organic fruit, tofu scramble, kale, and quinoa!  they feature a different homemade juice every morning.

The Mission (SoMa)

plain yogurt, granola, and fruit
this hip breakfast and lunch joint has three locations.  i found the one closest to me (soma, in the east village) when i was exploring on my own one morning.  it was bustling, but i found a little corner nook and cozied up with a book and a cup of tea and had a delightful breakfast for one.

café 222

i read about this spot in lonely planet, and it said there was always a line wrapped around the building.  welp, they were right.  but it was just down the street from our hotel in the gaslamp district, so we didn't have an excuse not to go.  i changed my mind at the last minute and ordered the orange pecan pancakes (instead of the crunchy corn waffle).  i was given not one, but THREE ENORMOUS pancakes with an almost ice-cream scoop sized dollop of butter.  dusted with powdered sugar and drizzled with some syrup, they were rich and just sweet enough...but i could barely finish one of them (let alone the other two!)

OB Smoothie Bar and Subs

towards the end of the trip, we were feeling worn down.  chris, our friend, suggested we try an acai bowl for breakfast.  i had heard of the magical powers of this superfruit, but i had never tried it before.  well, i am hooked.  they blend frozen acai with apple juice or soy milk and pour it into a bowl and top it with granola and fresh fruit.  my kind of heaven.  there are lots of places to try acai bowls in s.d...they were so good that i made us late to the airport on our way home because i wanted to go back into town to get another one for breakfast before our 10 am flight back east!

lovely lunches

Olive Tree Marketplace
this sandwich was great...but really, any sandwich that comes with a pickle is ok in my book.
this deli and wine shop in downtown ocean beach was so good i had to have it twice!  and yes, i ordered the same thing both times i went.  they offer sandwiches that are so california...loaded with sprouts, avocado, and the best cheese you've ever tasted.  i got the old smokey...turkey, avocado, smoked cheddar, sprouts, and mustard on rye.  you can browse their eclectic selection of wines, sweets, and other snacks while the surfer boys make your sandwich.

La Puerta

after a day of walking and exploring downtown san diego with my friend, we suddenly realized it was 3:30 p.m., we hadn't had lunch yet, and we were starving.  we came upon a mexican restaurant near the hotel and luckily for us, it was happy hour and all the appetizers (and drinks...) were half price!  we shared flautitias (crispy corn tortillas rolled with potato, cheese, onions and drizzled with sauce), and a plate of guacamole and house made chips.  three margaritas later...there was still food on the table, and it was still delicious!

delightful dinners

Old Town Mexican Cafe

handmade tortillas in the front window

we came here for $2 taco tuesday!  and the homemade tortillas.  when i asked the women who were tirelessly rolling balls of masa and cooking them on the grill what was in the little bowl they kept dipping their hands in, they told me it was lard.  luckily, san diego is a vegetarian-friendly city and they had separate grills and friers for vegetarian tortillas and chips.  so i enjoyed my lovely lard-free fish taco, guacamole, and a margarita with agave, lime juice, and tequila (no sour mix for this girl...i like it fresh).

Urban Solace
hands down, my favorite meal we had all week.  a group of us went out to dinner to celebrate a friend's birthday on a friday night.  we sat outside on their patio and enjoyed fresh spins on classic dishes (think chicken and dumplings with fried sage; "not your mama's meatloaf";and mac and cheese with duck..."duckaroni").  there are plenty of dishes for vegetarians, and that night i had the quinoa burger.  oh.  my .  GOD.  i haven't tasted a real burger in about nine years...but all i know is that this quinoa burger tastes SO much better than any burger i've ever had, meaty or not!  i am kicking myself because i didn't take pictures of our dishes that night (but the lighting was dim so they would not have come out nicely, i suspect.)
oh yeah, and for dessert?  how about a mini key lime pie with roasted blackberry compote and basil-mint syrup?  BOOM.

Farmhouse Cafe
our last night in san diego, jordan, chris, and i strolled into this lovely little french restaurant owned by a chocolatier.  i was more interested in dessert than anything else...but our sweet waitress, who was also a friend of chris's, treated us with a sweet apertif that tasted like pears.  i loved it.  to start, we had a salad of endive, grapefruit, and avocado with pistachios, watermelon radish, and burrata.  i would have bathed in the burrata if it were socially acceptable.  the boys shared a flatbread with goat cheese and pork jowl (i sat that one out...)
i had a delicious house made taglietelle with mushrooms and parsnip puree.  it was delicious, but it was so rich with butter and salt that i could only have a few bites.  i am glad that i couldn't finish it, however (and so were jordan and chris, who happily finished my plate), because what really was stellar were the desserts (like i main point of interest at this restaurant).
since the chef was a chocolatier, we wanted to try the chocolate sampler.  the waitress brought out 5 homemade truffles for us to try: espresso, raspberry, mint, hazelnut, and black pepper.  all were delightful...but the mint and the espresso stand out in my mind as the most wonderful of all.

but then.
oh god.

when i thought life couldn't get any better, we tasted the almond panna cotta.  as chris said, i wish we videotaped us eating this dessert so we could go back and watch it in slow motion.
it.  was.  so.  delicious.

schnicky schnacks

miscellaneous food and drink.

wine at third corner for dessert

"there is no trouble so great or grave that cannot be much diminished by a nice cup of tea."-bernard-paul heroux

chicken papaya salad from bread and cie

bagels in california?  you bet.
mexican coke in old town...perfect!


note to self:

make this.


addicted #3: vanilla almond milk

i know i'm a little slow on the uptake here...but since i have been making a concerted effort to cut out dairy from my diet (remember this post?), i have even left behind my old friend, skim milk.  to replace it?  smooth, creamy, delicious almond milk (my flavor preference?  unsweetened vanilla).

i started experimenting with non-dairy beverages over the summer when i was making lots of smoothies.  i used rice milk a lot, but i found that i quickly got tired of the taste and the texture.  it was too watery and too sugary tasting to me, for some reason.  a friend of mine suggested i try almond milk (in fact, she was astonished that i hadn't tried it before).  and once i tasted it, i agreed...i couldn't believe what i was missing!

as an added bonus, the nutritional benefits of almond milk are plentiful.  a cup of almond milk gives you the same amount of calcium as 2% milk, which is important for anyone who is cutting dairy out (and thus, risks losing calcium).  additionally, almond milk is loaded with vitamin E: a one-cup serving can provide you with 50% of your daily value of the vitamin responsible for its power as an antioxidant.  and did you know that regular milk has a high sugar content?  i didn't (i hardly looked at the nutritional label on milk). almond milk has a significantly lower sugar content, and no saturated fat.

(nutritional information from

so next time you're at the grocery store, don't leave without bringing home a carton of almond milk.  use it in your favorite cereal, add a splash to your coffee in the morning, pour a big cold glass full of it to dunk some chocolate chip cookies, use it in smoothies, anything!  they even make chocolate almond milk...and if that doesn't convince you, i don't know what will.


2011-a year in review

in classic molly-fashion, i am always late for everything.  i have been out of the country for a little bit, so since getting home this week and catching up on blog-reading, i noticed a year-recap feature that i really liked.  and since i have fallen off the blogging wagon (my last post was in october!!!) i figured i'd play a little catch up.

so, here is a 2011 re-cap!

in january, jordan and i traveled west to california.  we made stops along the way in san diego, santa barbara, big sur, and san francisco, making sure to eat as often and as much as we could along the way.
donuts on the pier

the marina in san diego
the mediterranean nut burger from sojourner, santa barbara
jordan and me in big sur
in feburary, the spring semester came way too quickly and i was busy with school all the time.  for valentine's day, jordan and i went on our traditional "mystery date" to philadelphia.  we spent the morning at the philadelphia museum and had a delicious dinner at branzino.
jordan and me outside the philly art museum
back to school brown bag!

in march, my mom was in the hospital so i was spending a lot of time in baltimore visiting her.  i didn't blog at all that month, since life/school/family events were taking precedence over cooking!

luckily, april was a much kinder month.  my mom got out of the hospital, i celebrated by 25th birthday, and jordan and i got engaged!
flowers at longwood gardens 
right before the proposal...someone looks nervous!!

right after i said yes

celebrating our engagement at pastabilities in wilmington

in may, the semester finally ended and garden season officially began!  we got our backyard prepped for the summer abundance of vegetables and herbs.  we also kicked off wedding season, going to the first of many summer weddings over memorial day weekend.
being silly in a wedding photobooth
detox smoothie (morning after aforementioned wedding...)
getting the garden ready
new basil much pesto on the horizon!

in june, we celebrated another wedding, enjoyed some of the first summer harvest (lots of arugula and basil).  we received a grill from jordan's parents as an engagement present, so we spent a lot of time outside grilling!  wedding planning officially got the month of june, we found our venue, our band, and my dress!  there was a little bit of sadness in june, though, as we lost my cat from childhood, lucy, to leukemia.
the rental house for jess and phil's wedding
trying eggplant for the first time.  i must have been crazy for never eating it before!
hooping away
in july, i threw a surprise birthday party for jordan, we had friends over a lot for backyard cookouts, and we traveled south to slower lower for the delaware state fair.  there was an incredible heat wave in the last week of the month, so sadly some of our tomato crop did not survive.
grilled watermelon!
backyard bounty party

friends galore

birthday jamming!
on the ferris wheel at the state fair
trying to cool off during the heatwave

in august, we celebrated my godparents' 50th wedding anniversary in the shenandoah mountains in virginia, then jordan and i left for big meadows state park and camped out for a week.  my mom had to go back to the hospital so our trip had to end early, but we had a great time hiking, cooking out, and taking in spectacular mountain views.
starting the hike to old rag

grilled veggies and cous cous cooked over the fire
whistlin and fishin
old rag
in september, the semester started, albeit delayed because of anticlimactic hurricane irene!  we didn't lost power, so we had a harry potter movie marathon.  we used the last of our garden tomatoes as much as we could.

in october, i got a new iphone!  and that was it.  just kidding...i was really really stressed out from studying for my comprehensive exams, but i found glimmers of fun here and there.  i took a trip to nyc to seal the deal with my wedding dress.  we had friends over for a pasta making party, and we celebrated a very snowy halloween!

saying yes to the dress

jordan and justin getting down the business

november was insane.  i took and passed my comprehensive exams (with high honors...holla!!), celebrated thanksgiving, and had an engagement party all within the same week.
what a fella i got myself!

the myerbergs

our bar at the engagement party

in december, the semester finally ended (and this lady has a big deal).  i got to spend a lot of time at home for christmas for the first time since my senior year of college (!!).  i handmade all of my christmas presents, jordan and i got our engagement pictures taken, we visited family and friends, had dinner in little italy in new york, celebrated my cousin's wedding and my dad's birthday, and did a lot of cooking/baking in between!

relaxing after christmas

felt veggie magnets...a very merry diy christmas!

natale in little italy

just one of our GORGEOUS engagement pictures...thanks so much, joey!!

so long, 2011...and welcome 2012!