Monday, May 31, 2010

Texas TVP Chili

I had a ton of chipotles in adobo left after my Adzuki Butternut Squash soup, so I was in search of more chipotle-friendly recipes, and found Captious' Texas Tofu Chili. Here's what I did:

For the TVP:

  • 2 cups TVP, either in granules or larger chunks

  • 2 Tbs. peanut butter

  • 3 Tbs. soy sauce

  • 1/4 cup tomato sauce (from a 14 ounce can)

  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder

  • 1 ¾ c. liquid (I used flat stout beer I had laying around)

For the chili:

  • 1 Tbs. olive oil

  • 2 onions (diced)

  • 6 cloves garlic (diced)

  • 1 bell pepper

  • 1 jalepeno pepper

  • 5 Tbs. chili powder

  • 1 T. chipotle chiles (in adobo)

  • 1 Tbs. cumin

  • 1.5 cups pinto beans, soaked, cooked, and lightly salted

  • 1.5 cups tomato sauce (rest of 14 ounce can)

  • 4.5 cups bean cooking/TVP soaking liquid (supplement with vegetable broth, water liquid)

  • 3 cups whole tomatoes or diced with juice

  • 1-1.5 tsp. salt

  • 1 tsp. oregano

  • 1 cup corn

Mix together peanut butter, garlic powder, soy sauce, and tomato sauce and TVP hydrating liquid. Heat to a boil, and add TVP, taking off heat. Heat 1 Tbs. of oil in a large stockpot. Sauté peppers, onions, jalepeno, and garlic together, chili powder, and cumin. If using large chunks of TVP, cut. Next add the TVP, pinto beans, the tomatoes, the rest of the tomato sauce, and the bean cooking liquid. Season with salt and oregano. Simmer for 30 minutes. Add the corn. For the best flavor let sit overnight.

Comments: This was good, I actually don't notice a huge difference in most chili recipes. I think I'd leave out the TVP next time, as I didn't find it necessary, and probably go with a simpler recipe, as I'm not sure the peanut butter and soy sauce added much. I ended up adding a lot more chili powder (3 T?) to get the flavor I was after.

Saturday, May 29, 2010 Peanut Butter Cookies 5/29

Late-night cravings are often the result of my dessert experiments. And peanut butter is something I usually have on hand. A bit of googling lead me to this promising recipe, and I set to work.

  • 1 1/4 cups flour, sift or stir before measuring
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 T. chia seeds, hydrated in water or one egg

Sift together flour, salt, and baking powder; set aside. Cream shortening, peanut butter, and sugars; beat in vanilla and egg. Stir in flour mixture, blending well. Shape mixture into 3/4-inch balls; place on greased baking sheets. Flatten each cookie with the tines of a fork; dip fork in flour periodically to keep it from sticking to the peanut butter cookie dough.

Bake peanut butter cookies at 375° for about 10 to 12 minutes.

Comments: These were good cookies, but not the best I've ever had. They just didn't do it for me—and it might be because I had to sub out the brown sugar, but...I'm not sure.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Fennel and Orange Salad

I’ve been eyeing the giant, beautiful fennel at the verduleria lately, but I wasn’t sure what to do with it. Finally, I went tonight, with nothing in mind, and walked out with some fennel.

I decided to try a version of this salad, from VeganEpicurean, since I also had some beautiful oranges. However, I had no red onion and wanted to try a more authentic version before trying her cleaned up version. So, I chose this recipe, swapping out the arugula for spinach, which I had on hand.


  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 bunch arugula
  • 2 orange, peeled and segmented
  • 1 bulb fennel bulb, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons sliced black olives
  1. Whisk together the honey, lemon juice, salt, and pepper; slowly add the olive oil while continuing to whisk.
  2. Place the arugula in the bottom of a salad bowl; scatter the orange segments, fennel slices, and olives over the arugula; drizzle the dressing over the salad to serve.

Comments: Overall, this was good. I shy away from making salads at home because they always seem to have a zillion ingredients which are leftover, when making a single portion. I halved the recipe, and had no problem eating it as one (large) serving.

However, I found it a bit sweet and simple. I think I’ll swap the lemon juice for red wine vinegar next time, and leave out the honey.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Curry Apple Fried Rice

Rachel is quickly winning my props for her ability to choose recipes! This was easy and a delicious variation of my typical fried rice. Here's my version:

Ingredients (Makes 3 Servings)

1 cup uncooked brown rice

3 eggs, scrambled

3 cups small diced vegetables

1 small onion, chopped

1 apple, chopped with skin on

1 glove garlic, minced

1 T. finely chopped ginger

1 tbsp olive oil

2 tbsp curry powder

1/2 tbsp ground cumin

2 tbsp chopped peanuts or cashews

Sriracha to taste

This Is How We Do It

  1. Cook rice according to package directions with a bit of salt. Parboil the vegetables (just a couple minutes should do it).

  2. Meanwhile, preheat a pan over medium-high heat. Add olive oil, then add onions, curry powder, and cumin and cook about 5 minutes.

  3. Add apples and garlic and cook for 2-3 minutes, or until garlic begins to color.

  4. Remove everything, fry a scrambled egg in the pan. Chop.

  5. Add rice, veggies and onion mix. Cook for 2 more minutes.

  6. Top with nuts and soy sauce and sriracha to taste.

Comments: Loved it. I mixed the fruit and veggies together, and simple fried the egg, then added rice and veggies to the fry pan for subsequent servings. Only complaint is that I used a ton of oil, so I'll have to work on that.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Gratuitous Pizza

Just because there haven't been any photos in a while, I whipped this up the other day...

Friday, May 21, 2010

Eggplant Caviar

Well, the name alone has kept me away from many similar sounding recipes, but when it comes from Smitten Kitchen, I just can’t help myself!

And good thing, this was fabulous! (Although the garlic was a bit offensive to my dinner partner later that evening.)

Makes about 2 cups

1 eggplant, about 1 pound

Half a large tomato or one Roma

2 to 3 small garlic cloves

3/4 teaspoon salt

Few grinds of black pepper

3 tablespoons vinegar

1 1/2 teaspoons vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prick the eggplant all over with a fork, and roast on a foil-lined baking sheet for 30 to 45 minutes, until soft. Make a few slashes in the bottom of the eggplant, and drain it in a colander for about 20 minutes. Cool completely.

Cut eggplant open and scrape out flesh and seeds with a fork onto a cutting board, discarding the skin. With a large knife, chop the eggplant flesh into very small bits. (Unfortunately, the food processor, although speedier, only purees the eggplant, leaving little texture.) Scrape into a medium bowl.

In a food processor, puree the tomato with garlic. Pour puree into bowl with chopped eggplant, add the salt, black pepper, vinegar and vegetable oil. Adjust seasonings to taste.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Adzuki Butternut Squash Soup

This recipe happened from a perfect pairing of ingredients. I found chipotles in adobo about a month ago, and quickly swiped them. Then, I bought Adzuki beans on a whim, to try something new. Butternut squash is always plentiful, and then the weather turned cold.

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon cumin
3 teaspoons finely chopped chipotle pepper
2 teaspoons fine grain sea salt
2 medium-large onions
6 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch dice
5 - 6 cups water
1-2 red bellpeppers OR 5 tomatoes, chopped
4 cups cooked or canned adzuki beans

Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the cinnamon, coriander, chipotle and salt and saute for a minute or two - until aromatic. Add the onions and saute another 5 minutes or so, until they start to go translucent. Add the garlic and bell pepper, if using stir well, and then add 5 cups of water. Increase the heat to bring to a boil, and once boiling, reduce heat, cover, and simmer for a few minutes, until the pepper begins to soften—no more than 5 minutes.

Once the pepper has softened, add the squash and use a potato masher and break up the pieces a bit. Add the tomatoes (if not using bell pepper), and cook a couple more minutes before adding the beans. Serve drizzled with the cilantro.

Comments: What can I say? It's healthy and delicious, and freezes well, so I have leftovers for rainy days. I love it.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Clotilde’s Rice and Beans

I honestly can't say what it is, I have other recipes quite similar to this, but something about this is just oh-so good, I can't get enough! (Although it’s not photogenic for anything!)

-240 ml (1 cup) mixed dried beans and legumes
- 240 ml (1 cup) brown rice
- a 3-cm (1-inch) piece of dehydrated kombu seaweed (see note below)
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1 rounded teaspoon strong mustard
- Tabasco sauce
- 2 tablespoons good oil, such as olive or sesame
- a small bunch chervil or flat-leaf parsley or cilantro, roughly chopped
- sea salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- mixed greens for serving

Makes 4 to 5 servings.

Soak the beans in a large bowl of cold water for 12 hours, or up to a day.

A little while before cooking, soak the rice: rinse in fresh water, drain well, and put in a medium saucepan. Add the volume of water recommended on the package -- mine says to use double the volume of water, but I use a little less (1 4/5 cups rather than 2 cups) because I like the texture better that way -- and let the rice soak in the water for 20 minutes to 1 hour.

Rinse the soaked beans in fresh water and put them in another medium saucepan with the kombu. Cover with cold water (no salt) by about 2 cm (1 inch), cover, and bring to a simmer. As the water comes to a simmer, a white foam will collect at the surface; skim and discard it.

Cook the beans at a low simmer for 1 hour, or until the beans are just cooked through: you want them to retain their shape, and not turn to mush. Drain, remove the seaweed, and let cool slightly.

While the beans are cooking, get the rice started. Add 1/4 teaspoon salt to the pan, cover, bring to a simmer, then lower the heat and cook at a low simmer, without disturbing, until all the water is absorbed -- this will take anywhere from 12 to 40 minutes, depending on your particular type of rice. Remove from the heat and let rest for 10 minutes, then uncover and let cool slightly.

In a large salad bowl, combine the vinegar, lemon juice, mustard, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and Tabasco sauce and pepper to taste. Add the oil slowly, stirring to blend and form an emulsion.

Add the beans and fold them in gently with a spatula; you want to coat them with the dressing without mushing. Fluff the rice with a fork (to separate the grains) and add it in along with the herbs -- again, using a gentle hand. Taste, correct the seasoning and (probably more important) the acidity of the dressing, and serve in shallow bowls, on a bed of mixed greens.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Pasta with Leeks, Spinach, and Sundried Tomatoes

Captious vegetarian posted about this recipe recently, and it just sounded like a great combination of flavors and perfect for the veggies I was seeing at the verduleria. Here's the version I made:

  • 2 T. olive oil
  • 2 large leeks, total weight about 450g/1lb, thinly sliced
  • 500g pasta
  • 200ml tub Casan Crem*
  • 1 T. mustard
  • 125g Roquefort cheese
  • 8 sundried tomatoes
  • 225g bag spinach leaves
  1. Soak the sun dried tomatoes in 1/2 cup boiling water. Put a large pot of water on to boil.
  2. Heat the oil in another large pot (do this part first if you only have one pot). Add the leeks and a pinch of salt, and splash in a little hot water. Cover and cook over a low heat, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes.
  3. When the leeks are done, add the mustard and mix. Add in the spinach leaves, cover, and turn off the heat.
  4. Cook the pasta in salted water. Drain the pasta.
  5. At this point the tomatoes should be soft. Remove from the water, reserving the soaking liquid. Slice the tomatoes and add them to the vegetables with the Casan Crem. When the pasta is done add it to the sauce as well, adding enough of the tomato soaking liquid to make the sauce coat the pasta. Heat gently and serve immediately.

*Casan Crem is often thought of as the Argentine equivalent of sour cream. It has the texture of cream cheese, but that sour twang you find in…sour cream! The original recipe calls for crème fraîche

Comments: This was delicious, but unnecessarily heavy. I think the Casan crem was a bit much, and would like to try it again without, and maybe a touch more olive oil, if necessary.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Tomato Tart (Best of Craigslist)

I've had this Craigslist recipe forever, but kept passing it up for the fabulous Tarte a la Moutarde. However, the time came when I was in the mood for something new—and possibly facing an olive craving? And it was time to try a new tomato tart.

1 Pre-baked pie crust (I used this recipe from Smitten Kitchen)
4 onions, sliced in rounds, then sliced in half
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/3 cup of Dijon mustard
2 medium-large sized tomatoes, sliced
6 canned Kalamata olives, thinly sliced
6 regular Spanish olives with pimentos, thinly sliced
1/2 to 3/4 cup or of fresh finely grated parmesan cheese
good drizzle of olive oil
1 heaping tablespoon of snipped chives

  1. Caramelize onions in olive oil as long as it takes to get them that lovely brown color on low heat. During the last 10-15 minutes toss in the garlic and cook.
  2. When tart crust is done and cool, slather the bottom with mustard. Spoon in the onions and spread evenly. Slice the tomatoes and cover the onions with them, overlapping them.
  3. Toss on the sliced olives. Sprinkle the top with parmesan cheese and drizzle lightly with olive oil. Bake in pre-heated 375 degree oven until the top is brown, 10 to 15 minutes. I used the broiler briefly to get it brown on top.
  4. Snip chives on top. Serve.

Comments: I followed the recipe up until the chives, as I just didn't have them. Well, and I made the pie crust in a cake pan, which wasn't exactly a successful substitution. The tart was yummy, I think I have an unhealthy addiction to tomato tarts, but the Tarte a la Moutarde is still my favorite.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Double Broccoli Quinoa

This is something i made once from 101 Cookbooks, thought it was nearly terrific. I used frozen broccoli in the middle of summer, so it seemed with a tweak in the pungent raw garlic and fresh broccoli, it could be mind-blowing

3 cups cooked quinoa
5 cups raw broccoli, cut into small florets and stems

3 medium garlic cloves
2/3 cup sliced or slivered almonds, toasted
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan
2 big pinches salt
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup heavy cream

Heat the quinoa and set aside.

Now barely cook the broccoli by pouring 3/4 cup water into a large pot and bringing it to a simmer. Add a big pinch of salt and stir in the broccoli. Cover and cook for a minute, just long enough to take the raw edge off. Transfer the broccoli to a strainer and run under cold water until it stops cooking. Set aside.

To make the broccoli pesto puree two cups of the cooked broccoli, the garlic, 1/2 cup of the almonds, Parmesan, salt, and lemon juice in a food processor. Drizzle in the olive oil and cream and pulse until smooth.

Just before serving, toss the quinoa and remaining broccoli florets with the broccoli pesto. Taste and adjust if needed, you might want to add more of the pest a bit at a time, or you might want a bit more salt or an added squeeze of lemon juice. Turn out onto a serving platter and top with the remaining almonds, a drizzle of the chile oil, and some sliced avocado or any of the other optional toppings.

Serves 4 - 6.

Comments: So, I tried this again, halving the garlic called for, and still found the recipe overwhelmingly garlicky. I'm not sure what other differences I made from the last time I used the recipe, but after a second try, it's just not worth repeating.