Monday, November 8, 2010

Beer Bread

This is a pretty common recipe, although I was inspired by Rachel, who always has fun recipes. I really wanted to try her duo together, but then today, I just couldn't wait longer for the bread.


· 3 cups flour

· 1 tbsp sugar

· 1 tsp salt

· 1 tbsp baking powder

· 1.5 cups beer (I’d go with a stout, for a bit more flavor)

· Oil for greasing pan

· 1 egg, 2 tsp water, beaten (for glaze, optional)


1. Pre-heat the oven to 375 and make the bread by combining all the ingredients.

2. GREASE YOUR PAN WELL. Add dough. You can try to shape the top nicely here, but the dough is quite sticky and hard to work with.

3. Put the bread in the oven and set the timer for 40 minutes.

Comments: This is so quick and tasty, you can’t help but love it. If white flour has zero nutritional value, white flour+beer=? I’d use half whole wheat if I had it on hand, but make it again to impress guests even if I didn’t.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Smashed Chickpea Salad

I’ve been riffing on this recipe forever, but never had all the ingredients together to make it properly and test it as it’s meant to be. Finally, I got my fresh parsley, and went at it!


  • 2 c. chickpeas, drained
  • 2 T. chopped black olives
  • 1 T. finely chopped onion (red is recommended, but I can never find it)
  • 1 T. chopped fresh parsley
  • Zest and juice from half a lemon
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • olive oil (to taste)


  1. Mix everything but the olive oil in a small to midsize bowl. Very lightly smash the chickpea mixture with the back of a fork or a potato masher (I prefer to pulse a couple times in my mini-food processor). Add the olive oil, mix it lightly and enjoy.

This would be great in pita bread (maybe with more onion, tomatoes, etc.), I like it scooped up on crackers. Deb has additional serving ideas.

Comments: After ad-libbing through this a half-dozen times and loving it, I actually felt like something was missing when I strictly followed the recipe. Maybe this was due to a cold I had coming on? Or maybe I was missing my Provencal mix I used to substitute for fresh parsley.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Oh-Yum Asparagus and Rice with Chickpeas

Asparagus is looking lovely these days and I made a huge pot of chickpeas, so this recipe (despite its cheesey name) by Heidi seemed like destiny.


  • 1 cup brown rice
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3-4 cups cooked chickpeas
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 bunch asparagus, cut into 1-inch segments
  • 2 cups additional vegetable (broccoli recommended), optional
  • 1 cup almond slivers, toasted
  • fine grain sea salt


  • 1 garlic clove, smashed and chopped
  • 1/4 cup tahini/peanut butter
  • zest of one lemon
  • scant 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons hot water
  • scant 1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt


    1. Cook rice.
    2. Make the dressing by whisking together the garlic, tahini/PB, lemon zest and juice, and olive oil. Add the hot water to thin a bit and then the salt. Set aside.
    3. Add a couple glugs of olive oil (roughly 3 tablespoons) to a big skillet over medium-high heat. Swirl the oil around to coat the pan, then add the chickpeas and sprinkling of salt. Let the beans sauté there for a couple minutes Add the garlic and onions. Stir for a minute. Stir in the asparagus with another pinch or two of salt, cover with a lid for a minute or two to steam - just until the asparagus brightens and softens up just a bit. Uncover and stir in the rice and almond slivers, reserving a few almonds for garnish. Taste and add more salt if needed (likely). Serve family-style in a big bowl drizzled with a few tablespoons of the dressing, let each person add more dressing to their tastes.

Serves 6.

Comments: Yes! This was delicious, and fairly addictive. It made quite a bit though, next time I think I’ll shoot for 3/4 the recipe, so I can finish the leftovers before they go bad.

Sunday, October 31, 2010


I’ve had this recipe from a Spilled Milk podcast pegged since St. Patrick’s Day, but it wasn’t until now that I ended up with the cabbage and potatoes to make it happen. That said, I made quite a few changes, mixing in this recipe as well. Here’s what I did:


  • 1 pound cabbage, sliced thin
  • 1 pound potatoes , diced into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 small leek, sliced thin
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 pinch ground nutmeg
  • 3 T. butter


  1. In a large saucepan, sauté cabbage in 2 T. butter until tender. Meanwhile, boil potatoes in salted water until tender. Remove from heat and drain.
  2. While cabbage and potatoes are cooking (if you have enough pans), simmer leeks in milk, until they are soft.
  3. Add remaining butter and leeks to potatoes and mash well. Stir in cabbage and mix well.

Comments: Creamy, yet so much more flavorful than mashed potatoes (I love potatoes, but mashed have never been a favorite). I look forward to making this again.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Zucchini Pizza

To top my new pizza, I tried Jenna’s recipe. I followed her recipe perfectly, but wasn’t super impressed. It was lovely looking pizza, but I prefer my own combinations (sundried tomatoes, sautéed mushrooms, blue cheese, olives, etc.) See the link above, if you want to give it a try.


New Deep-Dish Pizza Crust

So, right around the time I came across King Arthur’s Chicago Style Pizza Crust, I found another recipe which also received great reviews. I knew I needed to compare the two before deciding on a new standard dough.


· 2 teaspoons sugar

· package dry yeast (about 2 1/4 teaspoons)

· 1 cup warm water (100° to 110°)

· tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

· 12.38 ounces all-purpose flour (about 2 3/4 cups), divided

· 1/4 cup yellow cornmeal

· 1/2 teaspoon salt

· Cooking spray

· Toppings of choice


1. Dissolve sugar and yeast in warm water in a large bowl; let stand for 5 minutes. Stir in olive oil.

2. Weigh or lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine 11.25 ounces (about 2 1/2 cups) flour, cornmeal, and salt in a bowl. Stir flour mixture into yeast mixture until dough forms a ball. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead until smooth and elastic (about 5 minutes); add enough of remaining flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, to prevent dough from sticking to hands (dough will feel sticky).

3. Place dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray, turning to coat top. Cover and let rise in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, 45 minutes or until doubled in size. (Gently press two fingers into dough. If indentation remains, dough has risen enough.) Punch dough down; cover and let rest 5 minutes. Roll dough into an 11 x 15–inch rectangle on a lightly floured surface. Place dough in a 13 x 9–inch baking dish coated with cooking spray; press dough up sides of dish.

4. Preheat oven to 400°.

5. Top pizza with desired toppings.

6. Bake at 400° for 25 minutes or until crust browns and cheese bubbles. Cool 5 minutes before cutting.

Comments: I made two of these, as I was afraid one wouldn’t be enough to feed me and my hungry bf. I didn’t need to worry, one was still enough. The dough wasn’t quite as luxurious as the King Arthur’s recipe, but that made it feel better suited to become a regular player in the pizza game. It was also a lot easier, although I think the flavor was less developed due to the shorter rising times. I may play with it a bit, but I think I’ll continue with this new recipe for a while.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


I saved this recipe ages ago, and decided to make it because it sounded “different".” After buying the necessary ingredients and cooking the beans, I started to get nervous at how different it was, with very few herbs in the broth and, well, soggy bread. Luckily, Heidi is a master with soups, I needn’t have worried.


  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • ½ fennel bulb, chopped
  • 3 medium cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 medium carrots or equiv. winter squash, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 14-ounce can tomatoes
  • 1 T. crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 pound greens (kale, chard) stems trimmed off and leaves well chopped
  • 4 cups cooked white beans
  • 1/2 pound loaf of bread
  • 1 1/2+ teaspoons salt
  • zest of one lemon
  • lots of well-chopped oily black olives


  1. In your largest thick-bottomed pot over medium heat combine the olive oil, celery, fennel, garlic, carrot, and onion. Cook for 10 -15 minutes sweating the vegetables, but avoid any browning. Stir in the tomatoes and red pepper flakes, and simmer for another 10 minutes or so, long enough for the tomatoes to thicken up a bit. Stir in the greens, 3 cups of the beans, and 8 cups water. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer until the greens are tender, about 15 minutes.
  2. In the meantime, mash or puree the remaining beans with a generous splash of water - until smooth. Tear the bread into bite-sized chunks. Stir both the beans and bread into the soup. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the bread breaks down and the soup thickens, 20 - 30 minutes. Stir in the salt, taste and add more if needed. Stir in the lemon zest.
  3. Serve immediately, or cool and refrigerate overnight. Serve reheated, or "ribollita" meaning reboiled, the next day ladled into bowls. Finish each serving with a drizzle of olive oil (optional) and some chopped olives.

    Comments: This recipe is extremely flexible, and undeniably delicious. I used plain white bread, with crusts and had no problems, although I’d probably try something heartier next time for a bit more nutrition. I’ll definitely be repeating this, despite it’s less-than-savory appearance.


    Tuesday, October 26, 2010

    Spinach Cake

    Sweet Amandine’s recipe for Spinach Cake sounded healthy and solid for a breakfast alternative—and the huge load of spinach I scored from the verduleria.


    • About 2 pounds of spinach, stemmed, washed, and more or less dried
    • 2 medium leeks
    • 2 T. butter
    • Freshly ground salt and black pepper
    • Several dashes – about ¼ tsp. nutmeg
    • 2 c. whole milk
    • 6 large eggs
    • A generous pinch of cayenne
    • About 2 T. of freshly grated Parmesan


    1. Over a medium flame, melt the butter in a deep, heavy-bottomed pot. Add the leeks, a few grinds of salt and pepper, and sauté, stirring occasionally, until they are tender but still green, about five minutes.
    2. Sprinkle the nutmeg over top, add a layer of spinach, and season with a few grinds of salt. Next, add another layer of spinach, a few more grinds of salt, and repeat until all of the spinach is in the pot. Turn up the heat slightly, cover the pot, and let the spinach steam over the leeks. Lift the lid to stir once or twice so that you get an even steam. You want the spinach to be just barely wilted, so the steaming should take no longer than two minutes. Allow leeks and spinach to cool.
    3. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees, and butter a deep, 10-inch pie dish. When the spinach-leek mixture is cool, taste it and adjust the seasoning, as necessary. Remember that you are about to blend it with a lot of unseasoned eggs and milk, so if the spinach and leeks taste a little over-seasoned, that’s actually okay.
      In a blender, puree the vegetables with the milk and eggs in two batches. Add a few final grinds of salt and pepper, and a pinch of cayenne. Add any remaining cooking juices from the pot to one of the batches before you puree.cake batter
    4. The batter will be thin and soupy. Pour it into the buttered pie dish, and grate about two tablespoons of Parmesan over the top. Bake uncovered for 45 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean and the top is lightly browned. The cake will puff up and dome slightly in the oven and then collapse back onto itself as it cools. Serve at room temperature, or chilled.spinach cake

    Yield: 6 servings

    Comments: I subbed 4 egg whites plus 3 regular eggs, since I had egg whites I wanted to use up after my Challah experiment. I think my spinach was way too wet for the recipe, and adding the leftover liquid created a very wet cake. I let it cool and spend a day melding after cooking, as it is supposedly enjoyed best at room temperature after a day, but I still wasn’t impressed. It was a bit bland, and otherwise unexciting. (You’ll see in the photos that some of the egg sunk to the bottom, forming a lighter colored layer. Maybe I didn’t blend everything long enough.)

    Monday, October 25, 2010

    Whole Wheat Challah

    Quite a while ago, Bridget from The Way the Cookie Crumbles posted a rather complicated method of adapting any bread recipe to whole wheat. I immediately bookmarked it, and despite feeling pangs of guilt seeing it on my list from time to time, managed to avoid it for the next 5 months.

    Then she posted a subtle reminder in the form of a Whole Wheat Challah post, and finally, without having to create my own adaptation, I put the method to the test.


    • 1¾ cups (8 ounces) whole wheat flour, preferably fine grind
    • ½ teaspoon salt
    • ¾ cup water


    • 1¾ cups (8 ounces) whole wheat flour, preferably fine grind
    • ¼ teaspoon instant yeast
    • ½ cup water
    • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
    • 1 large egg
    • 4 large egg yolks

    Final dough:

    • the soaker
    • the biga
    • 7 tablespoons (2 ounces) whole wheat flour, plus more for adjustments
    • ¾ teaspoon salt
    • 2¼ teaspoons instant yeast
    • 1½ tablespoons honey
    • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil


    • 1 egg
    • 1 tablespoon water
    • pinch salt
    • poppy seeds or sesame seeds (optional)


    1. For the soaker: In a medium mixing bowl, mix all of the ingredients together. Cover and leave at room temperature for 12 to 24 hours, or refrigerate for up to 3 days. If the dough is refrigerated, leave it at room temperature for 2 hours before mixing the final dough.

    2. For the biga: In a medium mixing bowl, mix all of the ingredients together. Knead for 2 minutes; the dough will feel very tacky. Let the dough rest for 5 minutes, then knead for 1 minute. Cover and refrigerate for at least 8 hours and up to 3 days. Leave it at room temperature for 2 hours before mixing the final dough.

    3. For the final dough: Cut the soaker and biga into about 12 smaller pieces. Mix the pieces by hand in a large bowl and knead by hand for 6-8 minutes. Let the dough rest for 5 minutes, then resume kneading for 1 minute. Form the dough into a ball and place it in a greased bowl. Cover and let rise at room temperature for 45 to 60 minutes, until it is about 1½ times its original size.

    4. Gently transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface. Divide the dough into 6 evenly sized pieces for 2 smaller loaves or 3 evenly sized pieces for 1 large loaf. Roll each portion of dough into a rope about 10 inches long, letting the dough rest for 5 minutes if it’s very elastic. Braid the ropes.

    5. Place the braid(s) on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper or araw challah silicone mat. To make the egg wash, whisk the egg, water, and salt (listed above in Toppings) together. Brush the braids with the egg wash, cover, and let rise at room temperature for 30 minutes.

    6. Brush the dough with the egg wash again, then top with poppy seeds or sesame seeds, if using. Leave the dough uncovered and let rise for 15 more minutes. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

    7. Place the challah on the middle shelf, reduce the heat to 325 degrees, and bake for 20 minutes. Rotate the loaf 180 degrees and bake for another 20 minutes. Check the bread and rotate again if it is baking unevenly. Continue baking for an additional 10 to 15 minutes, until the bread is a rich brown all around, sounds hollow when thumped on the bottom, and registers at least 195 degrees at the center.

    baked challah

    8. Transfer the bread to a cooling rack and let it cool for at least 1 hour before serving.

    Comments: This was quite tasty right out of the oven. I made one massive loaf, and would opt for the smaller loaves next time (and probably freeze one immediately). After a day or two the bread was drying out, so I’m looking at some bread pudding or maybe some baked French toast in the near future.


    Sunday, October 24, 2010

    East Coast Enchiladas (?)

    Another recipe I marked, as I’m always trying to tempt myself to something healthier than cheese enchiladas, I didn’t notice how unconventional it was until I went to make them.

    Enchilada Ingredients:

    • 1 cup brown rice
    • 2 cups water
    • 1 yellow onion, peeled and finely diced
    • 4 carrots, finely diced
    • 2 celery, finely diced
    • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely minced
    • Water to sauté veggies (between ¼ and ½ cup)
    • 1 teaspoon oregano, dried
    • 2 teaspoons chili powder
    • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
    • 1 teaspoon paprika
    • Salt and pepper to taste
    • 12 tortillas (whole wheat recommended)
    • 14 ounces tomato sauce
    • Cumin, oregano, paprika and pepper for topping

    Fresh Salsa Ingredients:

    • 1 tomato, diced
    • 1 bell pepper, diced
    • ½ cup cucumber, diced
    • ½ cup cabbage, thinly julienned
    • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
    • 1 avocado, finely diced
    • Oregano, salt and pepper to taste


    1. Cook the rice and water and cool to approximately room temperature so that you can work with it.
    2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
    3. Sauté the onion, garlic, carrot and celery in water until tender. Add the spices, rice and bean and mix until thoroughly combined. Taste the filling and add salt and pepper as desired.
    4. Fill each tortilla with 1 cup of the mixture and roll up. Place in a baking pan with the seam side down. Top the filled enchiladas with tomato sauce. Sprinkle the top with cumin, oregano, paprika and pepper. Cover the pan with aluminum foil and bake for 45 minutes, until the fillings are hot.
    5. To make the salsa, combine all the ingredients and stir gently to not break up the avocado. Serve the salsa cold on the side of the enchiladas.

    Comments: While I can give up a bit of authenticity for health, these just didn’t fly. Rice in enchiladas? Why? Overall, I just found them lacking, the enchilada sauce was underdeveloped, and the vegetables in the enchiladas seemed quite European. Next time, I’d go with my Roasted Vegetable Enchiladas, and keep my rice and beans on the side.

    The salsa was interesting, although again…cucumber? Cabbage? I’d go for a more traditional pico de gallo here, as well, but the creativity was appreciated.

    Friday, October 22, 2010

    Lentil Squash Soup

    I had half a sqash left over from my Butternut Sqash and Carmelized Onion Galette, and decided to adapt Rachel’s Lentil Soup recipe for the occassion. Here’s what I did:


    • 2 tbsp olive oil
    • 1 fennel bulb, chopped
    • 2 carrots, chopped
    • 1 medium onion, chopped
    • 1 clove garlic, minced
    • 1 lb. winter squash
    • 1 cup of lentils, rinsed and picked over
    • 1/2 tbsp cumin
    • 1/2 tbsp curry
    • 4 cups of low-sodium vegetable broth
    • 1/4 cup additional low-sodium vegetable broth or 1/4 cup of cream


    1. Heat the olive oil and add the carrots, fennel, and onions.
    1. Cook for about 3 minutes, until the veggies soften. Add the garlic, squash, lentils, cumin, and curry, and stir. Heat for another minute.
    1. Add the broth and bring to a boil. Reduce to low and let simmer for 25 minutes.
    1. For the last 15 minutes, don’t stir at all; the veggies will rise to the top. Skim the veggies off the top and puree with the cream or extra broth.
    1. Stir the pureed soup back into the pot.

    Comments: I made this late at night (really late!), so it didn’t occur to me to add bullion to the water I subbed for broth, and perhaps this is why the soup came out a tad bland. Nothing that some hot sauce can’t cure, but I’ll probably stick to my Syrian Lentil and Chard soup next time around.

    The sad supermercado near me had no celery, which lead to the fennel substitution.

    Tuesday, October 19, 2010

    Leek and Swiss Chard Tart


    Still working my way through tart crusts, I landed on this recipe, also courtesy of Deb at Smitten Kitchen:


    • 1 sheet frozen puff pastry (half of 17.3-ounce package), thawed (I used a ready made crust)
    • 2 T. butter (I used 1 T.)
    • 3 large leeks (white and pale green parts only), coarsely chopped (I used 2 leeks)
    • 1 t. dried thyme
    • 1/2 bunch Swiss chard, ribs removed, leaves chopped (about 2 1/2 cups) (I used a whole bunch)
    • 1 1/4 cups whipping cream (I used 1/4 c. cream and one cup whole milk)
    • 3 large eggs (I used 4 eggs)
    • 2 large egg yolks (I skipped this, with the extra egg above)
    • 1 teaspoon salt (oops! Forgot this!)
    • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper (uh…I think I put in 1 T.)
    • Pinch of ground nutmeg (and this was forgotten—this is why I need to cook without the distractions of great conversation)


      1. Roll out pastry on floured work surface to 12-inch square. Transfer to 9-inch-diameter glass pie dish. Trim overhang to 1 inch. Fold under; crimp edges. Cover; chill.
      2. Melt butter in large nonstick skillet over medium-low heat. Add leeks and thyme. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cover; cook until leeks are very tender but not brown, stirring often, about 10 minutes. Add chard; saute until wilted, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat; cool.
      3. Position rack in bottom third of oven; preheat to 425°F. Whisk cream and next 5 ingredients in large bowl. Mix in cooled leek mixture. Pour filling into crust.
      4. Bake tart 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350°F and bake until filling is puffed and just set in center, about 15 minutes longer (this took my oven about 10 minutes longer). Transfer to rack; cool 10 minutes.


    Comments: This is the perfect example of why I usually cook alone. I was chatting with friends my whole way through this, and not referencing the recipe several times over. However, it seems like a solid recipe when you account for my errors. I’ll probably try this again when I’m in the mood for a tarta de verduras. It felt like it was missing cheese, but that may have just been something I needed to counteract my accidental pepper dump.

    Saturday, October 16, 2010

    Empanadas de Verdura, Cebolla, y Tomate con Queso

    I’ve been making a lot of white-flour dishes lately based on a pack of fresh foods I got—raviolis, tart crusts, fresh pasta, and empanada shells.

    I decided to keep things simple for the empanadas, although I also had to get my variety in, to keep things from getting boring. Here’s what I did:

    • Tomate con queso: Diced tomato, diced cheese, and a mix of provenzal herbs (parsley, garlic, and oregano).
    • Cebolla: Carmelized onions with more diced cheese.
    • Verdura: Chard sauteed with onions and garlic and a diced hard-boiled egg.

    Comments: I loved the simplicity of the cebolla and tomate con queso, however I definitely should have sought a recipe for the verdura empanadas. They were terribly bland. Many contain a white sauce, which can be good if it’s not too heavy.

    Here are the lovely empanadas my boyfriend made, unfortunately filled with meat:


    Tuesday, October 12, 2010

    Butternut Squash and Carmelized Onion Galette


    I tried a tart dough…but had no tart pan. Before than shelling out 30 pesos, I started browsing recipes, looking for inspiration, and…realized the existence of a galette! Deb, the mastermind of Smitten Kitchen opened my eyes to this wonderful galette recipe and a solution to my lack of pie pan.

    While it made for a tasty treat, I was really impressed at how simply it came together!


    • 1 pie crust dough
    • 1 lb. winter squash
    • 2 tablespoons olive oil
    • 1 to 2 tablespoons butter
    • 1 large onion, halved and thinly sliced in half-moons
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • Pinch of sugar
    • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne, or to taste
    • 3/4 cup Gouda, grated
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh sage leaves


    1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Peel squash, then halve and scoop out seeds. Cut into a 1/2-inch dice. Toss pieces with olive oil and a half-teaspoon of the salt and roast on sheet for 30 minutes or until pieces are tender, turning it midway if necessary. Set aside to cool slightly.
    2. While squash is roasting, melt butter in a heavy skillet and cook onion over low heat with the remaining half-teaspoon of salt and pinch of sugar, stirring occasionally, until soft and lightly golden brown, about 20 minutes. Stir in cayenne.
    3. Raise the oven temperature to 400 degrees. Mix squash, caramelized onions, cheese and herbs together in a bowl.
    4. Roll out dough and transfer to an ungreased baking sheet. Spread squash, onions, cheese and herb mixture over the dough, leaving a 1 1/2-inch border. Fold the border over the squash, onion and cheese mixture, pleating the edge to make it fit. The center will be open.
    5. Bake until golden brown, 30 to 40 minutes. Remove from the oven, let stand for 5 minutes, then slide the galette onto a serving plate. Cut into wedges and serve hot, warm or at room temperature.

    Comments: This was warm and savory. I think it would have been a tad bit better with the butternut squash, but I enjoyed it either way. Next time I’ll add a bit more cayenne.

    Monday, October 11, 2010

    Mississippi Mud Cookies

    Being from the West, I’d never heard of Mississippi mud cookies before Bianca mentioned them on her blog.

    Her pictures looked so tempting, I had to look up a recipe, and found a few similar ones such as this one here and this one.

    I love that AllRecipes offers comments on the recipes, but unfortunately didn’t find their recipe until after the fact, so here’s how things went down:IMG_2436

    • 1/2 cup milk
    • 2 cups white sugar
    • 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
    • 3 tablespoons crunchy peanut butter
    • 1/2 cup butter
    • 3 cups rolled oats
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


    1. Wipe 1" wide band of butter around the rim of a 3 quart pan to prevent boil-over.
    2. Combine milk, sugar, cocoa, butter and peanut butter.
    3. Stir and bring to boil over medium heat. Let boil for 1 1/2 minutes, do not stir.
    4. Remove from heat. Stir in oats and vanilla. Stir until oats evenly distributed.
    5. Drop by teaspoon onto waxed paper. Cool. Makes 4 to 5 dozen.


    Comments: So, these never set up…it seems that I didn’t boil the mix long enough? Fail. =(

    Sunday, October 10, 2010

    Creamy Mushroom Pizza

    I whipped up some Chicago-style pizza dough the other night, as my boyfriend loved it last time, and decided to try Bittman’s Creamy mushroom sauce for some added interest to my portion.

    Here’s what I did:

    • 200 g. mushrooms, thinly sliced
    • 2 shallots (or 1 small leek)
    • 2 T. Butter
    • Salt and pepper
    • 1/2 c. heavy cream
    • cheese (gruyere or fontina recommended, I used Gouda)
    Saute thinly sliced shallots or the white of a small leek in butter until soft, then add the mushrooms and probably some more butter and certainly generous salt and pepper. Over medium heat, toss or stir until the mushrooms are just about cooked and much of their moisture has been exuded, then evaporated — but let them not be dry or burnt. Then add a moderate amount of heavy cream, let it bubble and reduce for a minute or so, remove the pan from the heat and let the mixture cool and thicken. You can do this well in advance and store the mixture in the refrigerator.

    Pre-heat the oven to 500 degrees F. Stretch or roll out the pizza dough (recommended thin, but as I was preparing a thick crust, I skipped this part) and put it onto a sheet pan. Let it rise for five or ten minutes if you like, then spread on the mushroom-cream mixture, having tasted it once more for seasoning. Top with a very little bit of cheese – just a sparse sprinkling, or even none — and bake as long as it takes your oven to cook it.

    Comments: Well…I love mushrooms, so this pizza made me happy, yet…I think sauteed mushrooms would have been equally tasty without the added guilt of cream. (Note: the quantities given covered about half of a large pizza.)

    Saturday, October 9, 2010

    Low-Fat Caponata

    While it was a small, oil soaked, and highly rewarding meal, I was left craving something healthy after my fried rice dinner. So, I turned to the ever-reliable VeganEpicurean for something to absolve me of my dietary sins. And it really did make me forget about the oily goodness of fried rice! Here’s what I did:

    • 1 onion, diced
    • 3 cloves garlic, minced
    • ½ fennel bulb, chopped
    • ¼ cup water
    • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
    • Red pepper flakes, to taste (optional)
    • 1 eggplant, diced small into small bite size pieces
    • 1 zucchini, diced small into small bite size pieces
    • 2 cups tomatoes, diced into small bite size pieces
    • ½ cup golden raisins
    • ¼ cup pine nuts
    • ¼ cup red wine vinegar
    • 2 T. sugar
    • 1/3 c. olives, chopped

    Heat the pan with the water on high until it comes to a boil. Add the onions, garlic and fennel and cook, stirring often until they have begun to wilt.

    Add the remaining ingredients, except the sugar and cook until the eggplant and zucchini have softened. If you want the caponata to be saucier add as much tomato sauce as you think is necessary. Next add sugar until the caponata is as sweet as you like. You want the caponata to have a sweet and sour flavor. Garnish with fresh parsley or torn basil leaves (if desired) and serve at room temperature or cold.

    Comments: I was a little nervous at omitting oil from this recipe, as it is so traditional, but it actually worked fine! That said, I would probably use a tablespoon next time, and sub a cup of garbanzos for the pine nuts to get more protein. The nuts didn’t have much of a crunch, and felt like a waste. My picture isn’t great, but I ate this with quinoa the first day, and afterwards scooped up on crackers, for that added crunch.


    Friday, October 8, 2010

    Ginger Fried Rice

    I’ve started some menu planning in an attempt to work through my ever-growing TBD File, and it’s been quite successful (as you will soon see), though not necessarily the lowest-fat week of my life!

    I started with Smitten Kitchen’s Ginger Fried Rice, which I collected during a fried-rice spree I was on a few months ago. Unfortunately, after roaming my suburban Mar del Plata neighborhood for several hours on a Sunday afternoon, I finally conceded fresh ginger wasn’t going to be had. So, here’s what I did:

    1/2 cup vegetable oil
    2 tablespoons minced garlic
    1 tablespoon ground ginger
    2 cups thinly sliced leeks, white and light green parts only
    4 cups cooked rice
    4 large eggs
    2 teaspoons sesame oil
    4 teaspoons soy sauce


    In a large skillet, heat 1/4 cup oil over medium heat. Add garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until crisp and brown. With a slotted spoon, transfer to paper towels and salt lightly.

    Reduce heat under skillet to medium-low and add 2 tablespoons oil and leeks. Cook about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until very tender but not browned. Add ginger and season lightly with salt.

    Raise heat to medium and add rice. Cook, stirring well, until heated through.

    Season to taste with salt.

    In a nonstick skillet fry eggs in remaining oil, sunny-side-up, until edges are set but yolk is still runny.

    Divide rice among four dishes. Top each with an egg and drizzle with 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil and 1 teaspoon soy sauce. Sprinkle crisped garlic and ginger over everything and serve.

    Comments: While I love the ability of fried rice to accommodate whatever random vegetables I have hanging around, this was lacking nothing. It was delicious, and while I would love to try it with fresh ginger (and recommend following Deb’s recipe), it worked well with my adaptation.

    Tuesday, September 28, 2010

    King Arthur’s Chicago Style Pizza Crust

    Gah! Some very cool blog pointed this pizza crust out to me, and now I’ve totally lost it! Anyway, my bf is a fan of thick-crusts, and I usually go for thin, because I like a challenge.

    So, when I saw this, I decided to give it a try. Here’s how it went down:


    • 4 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
    • 3 tablespoons yellow cornmeal
    • 1 3/4 teaspoons salt
    • 2 3/4 teaspoons instant yeast
    • 2 tablespoons olive oil
    • 4 tablespoons butter, melted
    • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil or salad oil
    • 1 cup + 2 tablespoons lukewarm water


    1) Mix the dough ingredients, and knead to make a smooth crust. This will take about 7 minutes at medium-low speed in a stand mixer. You can also make the dough in a bread machine set on the dough or manual cycle.

    2) Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl or 8-cup measure (which makes it easy to track its rise), cover, and let rise till very puffy, about 60 minutes.

    3) While the dough is rising, ready your 14" deep-dish pizza pan. Grease it with non-stick vegetable oil spray, then pour in 3 to 4 tablespoons olive oil, tilting it to cover the bottom of the pan, and partway up the sides.

    4) Stretch the dough to make as large a circle as you can. You can do this on a lightly oiled baking mat, if you choose; or simply stretch the dough in your hands.

    5) Lay the dough in the pan, and stretch it towards the edges till it starts to shrink back. Cover, and let it rest for 15 minutes. Start preheating the oven to 425°F (or high) while the dough rests.

    6) Stretch the dough to cover the bottom of the pan, then gently push it up the sides of the pan. The olive oil may ooze over the edge of the crust; that's OK. Let the crust rest for 15 minutes or so, as your oven comes up to 425°F.

    8) Bake the crust for 10 minutes, until it's set and barely beginning to brown.

    7) Decorate the pizza with toppings of your choice. We kept it simple with just queso cremoso (or mozzarella works) and olives on most of it, and a few sundried tomatoes on my portion.

    12) Bake the pizza for about 25 minutes, or until the filling is bubbly and the topping is golden brown. Remove it from the oven, and carefully lift it out of the pan onto a rack. A giant spatula is a help here. Allow the pizza to cool for about 5 minutes (or longer, for less oozing) before cutting and serving.

    Comments: This turned out really well! I skimped on the yeast, thinking I’d have extra time to let it rise, and then didn’t. But the bf loved it, igual. It’s heavy, and I was scared the dough was too heavy as I kneaded it, but it all turned out well. I will have to test this with some whole wheat flour and see if I can healthify it!


    Saturday, September 25, 2010

    Chipotle Hummus

    I’ve had a ton of chipotle peppers in adobo, since every recipe seems to use just a bit, so I decided to try some chipotle hummus. I found this recipe at AllRecipes, and was enamored by the addition of both chipotles AND some healthy veggies.

    • 2 (15.5 ounce) cans garbanzo beans, drained
    • 1/2 cup water
    • 1/4 cup tahini (sesame-seed paste)
    • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
    • 2 tablespoons olive oil
    • 1 canned chipotle pepper in adobo sauce
    • 2 cloves garlic
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin
    • 1 (7 ounce) jar roasted red bell peppers, drained
    • 6 oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained
    • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • ground black pepper to taste
    1. Place the garbanzo beans, water, tahini, lemon juice, olive oil, chipotle pepper, garlic, and cumin in the bowl of a food processor; blend until smooth. Add the red peppers, sun-dried tomatoes, cilantro, salt, and pepper. Pulse the mixture until the ingredients are coarsely chopped into the hummus base. Transfer to a serving bowl, cover, and chill until ready to serve.

    Verdict: I had to omit the tahini and cilantro, as the tahini is super-expensive here, and cilantro wasn’t available. However, I read other reviews that omitted the cilantro as well, with no ill effects. I added about a teaspoon of peanut butter, but didn’t want to add too much. That said, it wasn’t rich and creamy, but tasted watery. I think it’s due to the veggies. However, it makes a lot, so I have plenty left to experiment with.

    Thursday, September 23, 2010

    Quinoa Zucchini Lasagna

    I’ve found very few ways I enjoy quinoa, so I’m always on the lookout for something new and promising. This was posted a couple weeks ago, and immediately jumped on my to-do list.

    · 3 large zapallitos (or 2 large zucchinis)

    · 1 cup quinoa, rinsed

    · 1 cup vegetable stock

    · 1/2 cup tomato sauce

    · 1/4 cup finely chopped onion

    · 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning

    · 1/4 cup freshly chopped parsley

    · 2 tablespoons CasanCrem (or light cream cheese)

    · Salt and pepper

    · 1.5 cups marinara sauce

    · 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

    1. Preheat oven to 400*

    2. Chop the top and bottom off of the zapallitos and slice each one the long way into 6 pieces. These will be your noodles. Lay the zapallitos on a paper towel, sprinkle with salt, put another paper towel on top, and let them sit while the water is released.


    3. Combine the rinsed quinoa, vegetable stock, tomato sauce, and onion in a pan. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes.

    4. When the quinoa is done cooking, add the CasanCrem and parsley and mix thoroughly.

    5. Wipe the zucchini clean of any excess moisture.

    6. In an 8×8 dish, pour 1/2 cup of marinara sauce. Put 4 slices of zapallitos, one next to the other. Top with a layer of the quinoa and 1/3 cup of marinara sauce.


    7. Repeat: zucchini, quinoa, marinara.

    8. Add the final zapallitos, top with marinara, and top that with the cheese. Bake in the oven for 20 – 30 minutes, or until everything is heated through and the cheese is bubbly.


    Comments: Despite being slightly fearful of this, it was quite tasty! Of course, I can’t really relate to it on a lasagna level, but I’ll definitely be repeating it!

    Scalloped Cabbage

    I don’t know why, but I’m always fascinated by cabbage. Maybe because we only ate it on St. Patrick’s day (occasionally) and in cole slaw, neither of which ever did it justice.

    So, I keep trying to find my own way. My latest attempt was found on AllRecipes, an adaptation of Scalloped Cabbage. Here’s how I did it:


    · 2 tablespoons butter

    · 1 medium head cabbage, cored and sliced thin

    · 1 large onion, chopped

    · 1 1/2 cups milk

    · ½ t. nutmeg

    · 4 eggs, lightly beaten

    · 1 cup crushed saltine crackers

    · 1 teaspoon salt

    · 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

    · 2 T. parmesan cheese, grated


    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a 9x12 inch casserole dish.

    2. Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add cabbage and onion and cook for about 10 minutes, or until tender, stirring often. Add milk and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes. Gently pour in eggs, stirring constantly. Stir in 3/4 of the cracker crumbs, and the salt and pepper; mix well. Pour into casserole dish and top with remaining cracker crumbs and parmesan cheese. Dot with butter.

    3. Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes, or until golden brown and heated through.

    Comments: I really enjoyed this. I was afraid of it being bland, but I didn't have that problem at all. I attempted to temper the eggs a bit, before mixing them in and also didn't have the scrambled egg problem. My only change next time is to try and make it a bit healthier--nonfat milk, less butter, and maybe using breadcrumbs instead of crackers.

    Wednesday, September 15, 2010

    Salt and Vinegar Chickpeas

    I certainly haven’t missed the ravings about Angela’s salt-and-vinegar chips (and green beans), but I hadn’t gotten around to buying potatoes and vinegar at the same time. Then, I came across this variation on JL’s blog, JL goes Vegan, and thought another crunchy snack might be in order. Here’s what I did:


    • 1 cup chickpeas, soaked overnight
    • 3-4 cups white vinegar
    • 1 tsp Coarse sea salt
    • 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil


    1. Add chickpeas and vinegar and place in a medium sized pot. Bring to a boil and cook as normal, 1-2 hours.
    2. When chickpeas are cooked (try one, the vinegar turns a bit sweet), add a dash of sea salt and then remove from heat. Let sit in pot for 30 minutes.
    3. Preheat oven to 425F. Carefully drain chickpeas and return to pan. Drizzle with olive oil and salt, then mix with hands or a spoon, ensuring all chickpeas are coated with oil.
    4. Place on a lightly-oiled baking sheet and roast for 45 minutes, flipping once half way through. Keep a careful eye on them after 35 minutes of cooking to ensure they don’t burn. The goal here is crispy and golden chickpeas, not black.

    Comments: After popping these in the oven, I remembered my previous chickpea roasting failures. They never seem to turn out like the ones in the store. But, I was optimistic. Unfortunately, they were a bit ho-hum. The flavoring was all there, it just didn’t pop. And, some of the chickpeas were so hard I was afraid of breaking a tooth, while others stayed a bit spongy. They felt like a healthy snack, but nothing I’ll rush to make again.

    Sunday, September 12, 2010

    Amazing Brownies (with beans)

    Brownies with beans? Nutritional value? Kind of like subbing apple sauce for oil? I’m all over it! So, of course, I was all over this recipe from Heidi at 101 Cookbooks. Here’s how I did it:

    • 4 ounces dark chocolate
    • 1 cup unsalted butter
    • 2 cups soft-cooked black beans, drained well
    • 1 cup walnuts, chopped
    • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
    • ¼ cup instant coffee
    • ¼ teaspoon salt
    • 4 large eggs
    • 1½ cups sugar or honey
    1. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Line an 11- by 18-inch (rimmed) baking pan with parchment paper and lightly oil with canola oil spray.
    2. Melt the chocolate and butter in over low heat or in the microwave for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes on high. Stir with a spoon to melt the chocolate completely.
    3. Place the beans, 1/2 cup of the walnuts, the vanilla extract, and a couple of spoonfuls of the melted chocolate mixture into the bowl of a food processor. Blend about 2 minutes, or until smooth. The batter should be thick and the beans smooth. Set aside.
    4. In a large bowl, mix together the remaining 1/2 cup walnuts, remaining melted chocolate mixture, coffee, and salt. Mix well and set aside.
    5. In a separate bowl, with an electric mixer beat the eggs until light and creamy, about 1 minute. Add the sugar/honey and beat well. Set aside.

    6. Add the bean/chocolate mixture to the coffee/chocolate mixture. Stir until blended well. Add the egg mixture, reserving about 1/2 cup. Mix well.
    7. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Using an electric mixer, beat the remaining 1/2 cup egg mixture until light and fluffy. Drizzle over the brownie batter. Use a wooden toothpick to pull the egg mixture through the batter, creating a marbled effect.
    8. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until the brownies are set. Let cool in the pan completely before cutting into squares. (They will be soft until refrigerated.)

    Makes 45 (2-inch) brownies.

    So, the verdict? These were tasty, I noticed no hint of beans. My boyfriend didn’t either, although he tried them without knowing. The downside? They needed to cook a lot longer than indicated (although that may have been my oven temperature), and they never really solidified. They were gooey and yummy for me, my boyfriend complained they didn’t seem cooked well enough (they were, they were just soft), so I felt kind of funny sharing them. Still, for an at-home treat, it’s a winner!

    Friday, September 10, 2010

    Salt and Vinegar Chips

    Well, I didn’t waste much time in recovering from my salt-and-vinegar chickpea debacle to give the vinegar another try. This time, I was a bit more confident, as oven-baked potatoes are one of my favorite treats in the world.

    Here’s how it went down the second time:


    • Approx 3 cups (or more) white vinegar
    • 3-4 medium sweet potatoes, sliced into 1/4 inch rounds
    • 1-1.5 tsp salt
    • Very small sprinkle of ground black pepper
    • 2 tsp Extra virgin olive oil


    Wash and slice up the potatoes into 1/4 inch rounds. Place in a medium sized pot. Pour vinegar into pot until all the potatoes are covered by the vinegar.

    Bring to a boil and then reduce to medium heat for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit in pot for 30 minutes.

    After 30 minutes, drain the potatoes and return to pan. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle salt and pepper, and mix with hands, then lay the potato rounds flat on a greased baking sheet.

    Bake for 30-35 minutes at 425F. After 30 minutes of baking, flip carefully and bake for another 10-15 minutes, watching carefully not to burn the potatoes. Serve with ketchup and more sea salt if preferred. Enjoy!

    Comments: Woa! Unlike the chickpeas, the vinegar was overpowering in this recipe! The potatoes seemed to take forever to bake (again, my oven was probably too low), and the acidic specimens that came out…well, they were a bit of a disappointment. The vinegar flavor was overpowering, I ended up dabbing some mayo on (something I rarely do) to tame the burn. Another bust.

    Creamy Chipotle-Carrot Soup

    Captious Vegetarian inspired me in the best way for this creamy carrot soup. Her version roasts the carrots first, a technique I’d never thought of. This is where I went with it:


    • 1 1/2 pounds carrots, peeled and sliced 1/2 inch thick
    • 1 medium onion, halved and sliced 1/2 inch thick
    • 1 fennel bulb, halved and sliced 1/2 inch thick
    • 1 T. vegetable oil
    • 1 t. salt
    • 4 cloves garlic, unpeeled
    • 4 cups water or broth
    • 2-3 chipotle peppers in adobo


    1. Adjust oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 450 degrees. Toss half of the carrots with half the oil and place in a single layer on a small baking sheet. Sprinkle with 1/4 t. salt. Place the garlic cloves on the pan as well, they will roast with the carrots.
    2. Toss the fennel and onion with the rest of the oil and place on another small baking sheet. (Alternatively, do this in two stages.) Sprinkle with 1/4 t. salt.
    3. Roast the vegetables until they are browned and softened, stirring occasionally. This will probably take 15-20 minutes for the fennel and onion and twice as long for the carrots.
    4. When vegetables are finished, or near-finished, heat the water or broth to boiling. Add the remaining carrots and boil until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the roasted vegetables (taking the garlic out of its skin) and chipotles, and continue cooking another 3-5 minutes.
    5. Allow to cool slightly and puree the mixture in a blender until smooth. Return to the saucepan to heat completely, or store in an airtight container for up to five days.

    Comments: I thought this was terrific. The roasted sweet vegetables are balanced by the heat of the chipotle, creating a very healthy and satisfying snack or appetizer.

    Sunday, August 15, 2010

    Homemade Pasta by Mabel

    I’ve been away—first a move, then a vacation to the US, and now another move is coming soon, so I haven’t been cooking as much as usual, but I do have a couple new recipes to share, courtesy of my boyfriend’s mother, Mabel.

    First up are homemade, whole wheat spinach noodles, whipped together without the aid of any pasta-making devices. It’s a labor-intensive process, but uses whole, healthful foods and the family loves it. Here’s how she does it:


    1 kg. whole wheat flour

    100 g. gluten (white, with no additives)

    1 packet of spinach, washed

    1 clove of garlic

    2 T. oil

    4 eggs

    2 T. olive oil (optional, but recommended)


    1. Sift together the flour and gluten until well mixed, and any impurities have been removed. Put 3/4 of the mixture in a bowl and create a well in the center.
    2. Cook spinach, if desired. Add spinach, garlic, oil and two eggs to a blender, and blend until well mixed. Pour into the well in the flour-gluten mixturee.
    3. Beat the remaining to eggs and olive oil, if using. Mabel throws them in the empty blender, to rinse out any remaining spinach-goodness, before adding them to the well in the flour mixture.
    4. Mix well, until the dough forms a solid, non-sticky ball, as shown below.

    015 5. Separate the dough into 4-5 balls.

    6. Now, comes the tricky part. Roll out one of the balls of dough until it is paper-thin. If you have a pasta machine, this may be easy, but Mabel uses a rolling pin to stretch the dough as she rolls it out, as shown. She 017works deftly, with years of practice. Basically, it’s a matter of wrapping a bit of dough over the rolling pin and stretching the dough by pushing on the pin. Repeat until the entire mass is a uniform thinness. Use the extra flour in the process, as needed to keep the dough from sticking.

    7. Next, coat both sides of the dough with the leftover flour mixture, and roll the dough into a log. Check while rolling to ensure the dough doesn’t stick to itself, and add more flour if necessary.

    8. Cut tiny spirals from the log, as shown below. 018

    9. Using another pile of the flour-gluten mixture, toss the spirals to unravel them., being sure they stay coated and don’t stick to one another.019

    10. Repeat until all the pasta has been rolled, cut, and tossed. Toss in boiling water for about 5 minutes, tasting for doneness after about three. Serve with a delicious sauce, or just oil and grated cheese.


    ¡Buen Provecho!

    Friday, July 2, 2010

    Mexican Salad

    Vegan en Mexico shared this Avocado and Black Bean salad recipe a while back, and I’ve been waiting for some avocados to make it.  Finally, the time came.

    1 tomate picado
    1/2 pimiento morron picado
    1/2 lata de frijoles negros enteros
    1/4 de cebolla morada picada
    1/2 cucharadita de cascara de limón.
    El jugo de 1 limón
    1/8 taza de aceite
    1 cucharadita de sal
    1/2 cucharadita de pimienta
    1/2 cucharadita de ajo picado
    1/4 cucharadita de cayenne, o 1/2 cucharadita de paprika
    1 aguacate picado

    Combina el tomate, pimiento morrón, frijoles y la cebolla en el traste en el que vas a servir la ensalada.

    En otro plato combina los ingredientes para la vinagreta. Algo importante de cuando ralles cascara es que no quieres rallar la parte blanca del limón, solo lo que aun tiene el color verde.

    Cuando estés listo para servir corta tu aguacate, agregalo al plato con el tomate, pimiento, frijoles y cebolla, y agrega la vinagreta. Mezcla con cuidado para no romper el aguacate.


    Comments: One whole lemon was WAY too much.  I only used half, and still had to add a lot more oil to tame down the lemon-ness.  I also didn’t  find it too satisfying on its own, so I added tabasco and served it in tortillas, which worked great—slightly warmed.

    Tuesday, June 29, 2010

    Fennel & Orange Salad with Black Olive Vinaigrette

    I was inspired to make this by VeganEpicurean, but as she mentioned it’s a healthified version of a classic, I decided to find a more authentic version—and healthify it myself, if necessary. I didn’t find it necessary. This take on the salad, from Eating Well actually popped up in my inbox within hours of my decision to make the recipe.


    1 tablespoon red-wine vinegar

    1 tablespoon lemon juice

    1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

    2 cloves garlic, minced

    1/8 teaspoon salt, or to taste

    Freshly ground pepper, to taste

    1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

    1/2 cup Kalamata olives, pitted and coarsely chopped

    1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

    3 medium navel or Valencia oranges

    10 cups mixed lettuces, (3 small heads), such as chicory, radicchio and leaf lettuce, torn into bite-size pieces

    2 heads Belgian endive, sliced

    2 bulbs fennel, trimmed and sliced


    1. To prepare vinaigrette: Whisk vinegar, lemon juice, mustard, garlic, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Slowly whisk in oil. Stir in olives and parsley.

    2. To prepare salad: Using a sharp knife, remove peel and white pith from oranges. Quarter the oranges; slice pieces crosswise.

    3. Just before serving, combine lettuces, endive, fennel and the orange slices in a large bowl. Drizzle the vinaigrette over the salad and toss to coat well.

    MAKE AHEAD TIP: Cover and refrigerate the vinaigrette (Step 1) for up to 2 days. Washed, dried lettuce will keep in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to 8 hours. Keep prepared oranges and fennel in separate containers in the refrigerator for up to 8 hours.

    Comments: This was definitely tasty, and it was easy enough to throw together, I repeated it several days. Sorry for the lack of photos, I’m not sure what happened to them!

    Sunday, June 27, 2010

    African Pineapple Peanut Stew

    This is a recipe from Bridget at The Way the Cookie Crumbles adapted from Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home.

    4 servings

    1 tablespoon vegetable oil
    1 small onion, diced
    1 bunch kale or Swiss chard, large stems discarded, leaves chopped coarse
    1 (20-ounce) can crushed pineapple, undrained
    ½ cup peanut butter
    1 tablespoon Tabasco or other hot pepper sauce
    ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro
    ¼ cup peanuts, chopped
    1 scallion, sliced

    4 servings cooked grain, potato

    1. Heat the oil in a 5-quart Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion and a pinch of salt and sauté, stirring occasionally, until just browned at the edges, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

    2. Add pineapple to the pot and bring to a simmer; add the greens, cover, and simmer for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until just tender. Stir in the peanut butter and hot sauce and simmer for another 5 minutes, until the flavors are blended. Stir in the cilantro just before serving and add salt if necessary. Serve over rice or couscous, garnishing each serving with the peanuts and scallions.

    Comments: Definitely needs the recommended cayenne. I used the full T. of Tabasco, and was underwhelmed. Otherwise, it’s a decent dish, but not something I went crazy for. I probably won’t return to it. On the other hand, it was great for getting ideas on how to shoot an otherwise un-photogenic dish.

    Thursday, June 24, 2010

    Cauliflower Cheese Pie


    Butter (for greasing pan)

    2 c. raw potato, grated

    ¼ c. grated onion

    1 egg, lightly beaten

    1 T olive oil

    1 large onion, thinly sliced

    2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

    Salt and pepper to taste

    ½ t. dried basil

    ½ t. dried thyme

    1 t. salt

    1 T. flour

    Olive oil (for brushing)

    1 med. Cauliflower, coarsely chopped

    1 c. grated cheddar cheese

    2 eggs

    ¼ cup milk

    Paprika (for sprinkling)


    1. Set the oven at 400F. Use butter to grease a shallow 9 inch baking dish.

    2. In a mixing bowl, combine the grated potato, onion, egg, salt, and flour. Transfer the mixture to the buttered pan and pat it down with a rubber spatula.

    3. Set the pan in the hot oven and bake for 30 minutes. Brust the crust lightly with olive oil, return the pan to the oven, and bake for 10 minutes more. Set the pan aside.

    4. Turn the oven temperature down to 350F.


    1. In a saute pan, heat the olive oil until it is hot. Add the onion, garlic, salt pepper, basil and thyme. Saute over medium heat for 8 minutes or until the onions are translucent. Stir in the cauliflower and cook for 5 minutes more.

    pouringeggs2. Spread half of the cheese on the potato crust. Spoon the sauteed vegetables on top, then sprinkle thos e with the remaining cheese.

    3. In a small bowl beat together the eggs and milk, and pour this over the vegetables. Sprinkle with paprika and transfer to the oven.

    4. Bake the cauliflower for 35 minutes or until the custard is set and the top is browned. Serve at once with a salad and crusty

    4 servings.


    Comments: I used nutmeg and sage instead of thyme and basil. This was another just-okay recipe. No zip, no zing (I added Tabasco)…but nothing wrong with it. It wasn’t as cheesy as I’d hoped for. I made the potato crust the night before, and it was soggy, although this may have been my own fault.

    Friday, June 18, 2010

    Quick Pickle Cucumbers

    After falling in love with the quickie pickle carrots, Alicia at VeganEpicurean posted about her Quick Cucumber Pickles, and that became next up on my list.

    4 small cucumbers, cut in half and thinly sliced
    ½ cup vinegar (any type of light colored vinegar, I used champagne)
    ½ cup water
    Stevia, to taste (I used 6-1gram scoops)
    Fresh cilantro, minced, to taste (I used about ¼ cup)
    Heat the water, vinegar and stevia until about body temperature. Place the cucumbers and pickling solution in a jar. You are heating the vinegar so the flavor will penetrate the vegetable more quickly. Refrigerate until needed. If the liquid doesn’t cover all the cucumbers turn the jar over periodically so all the cucumbers are submerged for part of the time. I made these about 30 minutes before dinner but sooner would not be a bad thing. When you are ready to serve drain the pickles and toss with cilantro.

    Comments: Despite looking beautiful, these just didn’t do it for me. I replaced the stevia with sugar and used apple cider vinegar. I also had a giant cucumber which I know was part of the problem (too juicy!)…and no cilantro, although I don’t think that would have saved this in my books. I’m not sure if her tastes are just so different from mine, or my changes added up…but I’ll keep looking!

    Wednesday, June 16, 2010

    Cauliflower Cheese

    Craving Mac-N-Cheese once too often, I decided to make a cheesy cauliflower dish to keep my refined wheat intake in check. Little did I know, it’s a traditional British dish.

    1 large Cauliflower
    300ml (½ pint) nonfat milk
    110g (4oz) gouda cheese
    3 tbsp Plain Flour
    50g (2oz) oil
    25g (1oz) Fresh Breadcrumbs
    1½ tsp Mustard
    Salt & Black Pepper

    1. Trim the cauliflower boil in salted water for 5 minutes or until just tender.
    2. Drain and place in a flameproof dish.
    3. Add the milk, flour and butter to a saucepan.
    4. Heat, stirring continuously until the sauce thickens, boils and is smooth.
    5. Allow to simmer for a further 2 minutes.
    6. Add three-quarters of the grated cheese, mustard, a pinch of nutmeg and seasoning.
    7. Cook for further minute stirring well.
    8. Pour the sauce over the cauliflower.
    9. Mix the remaining cheese and breadcrumbs together, sprinkle over the top.
    10. Place under a hot grill until golden brown.
      Serve immediately.

    Comments: This is no mac-and-cheese, but it’s not a bad healthier fix. I actually felt full after a bowl, rather than ready for more like I usually feel after pasta dishes. I added hot pepper to it, as I usually do in homemade mac-and-cheese and I added spinach, since I had it and it seemed like a good add. I also made some tweaks to the original recipe from the start. Next time, I’d chop the cauliflower smaller, as the bigger pieces were distracting. Otherwise, it was a success!