Thursday, November 29, 2007

Moroccan Chickpea Stew

This recipe was printed in Cooking Light's November 2007 issue, but it is originally from The Great American Detox Diet by Alexandra Jamieson. Who is that, you ask? She is Morgan Spurlock's wife. The cookbook is to help people wean off the typical American fast food diet and cleanse themselves of all the ickiness that comes along with that. It is based on what she fed Morgan Spurlock after he did his experiment for Super Size Me. I thought that was cool so I decided to try it.

It was a yummy meal. We always like Moroccan-flavored things, and we love chickpeas and potatoes. It was really good. However, it wasn't particularly special, in that it didn't set itself apart from other Moroccan stew recipes we've made. We probably won't make it again, but it is a good, solid recipe.

stew

Moroccan Chickpea Stew
Garnish with chopped cilantro and serve over whole wheat couscous instead of brown rice, if you prefer. For milder heat, seed the jalapeño.

2 teaspoons olive oil
1 cup diced yellow onion (about 1 medium)
1 cup diced carrot (about 1 large)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 jalapeño pepper, minced
1 1/2 cups cubed peeled Yukon gold potato, about 1 large
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 (15 1/2-ounce) can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained
1 (14-ounce) can organic vegetable broth (such as Swanson Certified Organic)
3 cups hot cooked brown rice
1/2 cup plain low-fat yogurt

Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion, carrot, garlic, and jalapeño to pan; sauté 6 minutes or until tender. Stir in potato and next 7 ingredients (through broth). Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes or until potato is tender. Serve over rice. Top with yogurt.

Yield: 6 servings

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Broccoli and Three-Cheese Casserole

This recipe, from the November 2006 issue of Cooking Light, ended up being more frittata-like than I had anticipated. This is not a bad thing - it was very good. I just hadn't expected it to be such an eggy dish. We both really liked it, but I kind of wished I'd made my mom's broccoli-cheese-rice casserole instead. I guess you just can't top your mom's cooking, right?

Changes: Our fontina cheese expired so we used provolone; I made my own fines herbes (made from parsley, chives, tarragon, and chervil or marjoram); real eggs instead of egg substitute; storebought breadcrumbs vs homemade; and it baked for like 10 minutes longer than the recipe said because it wouldn't set.

Edited to add: OH I just read the note that came along with the recipe and realized that this was meant to be a brunch recipe! I am so dumb. That explains why it is eggy. Hahahahahaha.

casserole

Broccoli and Three-Cheese Casserole

Broccoli remains crisp-tender in this recipe, though you can substitute any leftover cooked vegetables. Assemble the casserole the night before. Cover, refrigerate, and bake in the morning.

2 cups cooked white rice
6 tablespoons (1 1/2 ounces) freshly grated Parmesan cheese, divided
3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon dried fines herbes
3 egg whites
Cooking spray
1/2 cup (2 ounces) shredded fontina cheese
4 cups coarsely chopped broccoli florets (about 1 bunch)
1 cup finely chopped onion
1/4 cup (1 ounce) reduced-fat shredded extrasharp cheddar cheese
3/4 cup egg substitute
3/4 cup 1% low-fat milk
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 (1-ounce) slices firm white bread

Preheat oven to 400°.

Combine the rice, 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, 1/4 teaspoon salt, fines herbes, and egg whites. Press mixture into an 11 x 7-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle fontina evenly over rice mixture. Set aside.

Cook broccoli in boiling water for 4 minutes or until tender; drain well.

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add onion; cook 4 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Stir in broccoli. Spoon broccoli mixture evenly over rice mixture. Top with shredded cheddar cheese.

Combine egg substitute, milk, remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, and pepper in a small bowl; stir well with a whisk. Pour egg mixture over broccoli mixture.

Place bread in a food processor; pulse 10 times or until coarse crumbs measure 1 1/4 cups. Combine breadcrumbs and the remaining 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese. Sprinkle breadcrumb mixture evenly over broccoli. Bake at 400° for 23 minutes or until set.

Yield: 6 servings

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Mexican Polenta

Neither of us have ever had polenta before so I thought it might be fun to try, especially since Trader Joe's has been stocking it lately (in the pasta section, for those of you who will try this recipe). This recipe uses a tube of polenta, which you slice up. I thought that was cool and it was nice because it came together so very fast. This was especially nice because my class tonight was horrendous. So getting dinner on the table quickly was much appreciated. We really, really liked this a LOT! It was very flavorful and tasty. We would definitely make this again.

Changes: Added cayenne pepper, subbed shredded cheddar for the queso fresco, and left out the cilantro.

polenta

Mexican Polenta
From Vegetarian Times, 9/07

This recipe is a spin on tacos - but much heartier and easier to serve. You can make your own Mexican seasoning by combining 1/2 tsp chili powder, 1/4 tsp cumin, 1/4 tsp paprika, 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper, and 1/4 tsp salt. Prepare the mix in larger batches, and keep in an airtight container, ready to go.

1 18-oz tube polenta, cut into 12 1/2-inch slices
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 large Vidalia onion, diced (1 1/2 cups)
1 1/2 Tbsp lime juice
1 1/2 tsp Mexican or Cajun spice seasoning
1 clove garlic, minced (1 tsp)
1 tsp grated lime zest
1 15.5 oz can low-sodium red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 14.5oz can diced tomatoes with jalapenos
1/2 cup crumbled queso fresco or feta cheese
2 Tbsp chopped cilantro
1/2 cup sour cream, optional

1. Position broiling pan, or rack if using electric oven, 3 inches from heat, and turn broiler to high. Spray polenta slices with cooking spray, and place on broiling pan or baking sheet. Broil 5 minutes per side, or until browned.

2. Meanwhile, heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion, and cook 4 minutes, or until softened. Stir in lime juice, spice seasoning, garlic, and lime zest. Cook 5 minutes, or until onion is lightly browned. Add kidney beans and tomatoes; simmer 5 minutes, or until heated through.

3. Place 3 polenta slices on each plate; ladle bean mixture over top and sprinkle with queso fresco and cilantro. Serve with sour cream, if desired.

Yield: 4 servings

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Pumpkin-Cream Cheese Pie

This pie was the best pumpkin pie I have ever eaten. The crust is delicious, the pie is delicious, it is all delicious. We all agreed it is probably going to be our pumpkin-pie staple every Thanksgiving from now on. Oh my goodness, it is yummy. And I lightened it as best I could, but there's only so much you can do. MAKE IT, IT IS DELICIOUS.

pie

Pumpkin-Cream Cheese Pie
From Betty Crocker

Baked in a pecan-shortbread crust, this blend of cream cheese, pumpkin and spices is easy to put together and even easier to eat!

Pecan Shortbread Cookie Crust
1 1/2 cups lightly packed crushed shortbread cookies with pecans (16 cookies)
3 tablespoons Gold Medal® all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted
Filling
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons Gold Medal® all-purpose flour
1 package (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
1 package (3 oz) cream cheese, softened
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
3 eggs
1 can (15 oz) pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)
1 tablespoon milk

1. Heat oven to 375°F. In medium bowl, mix all crust ingredients until crumbly. Press firmly on bottom and side of ungreased 9-inch glass pie plate. Bake about 12 minutes or until light golden brown.

2. In large bowl, beat sugar, 3 tablespoons flour and both packages of cream cheese with electric mixer on low speed until smooth; reserve 1/2 cup. Add all remaining filling ingredients except milk to cream cheese mixture. Beat on medium speed, scraping bowl constantly, until smooth. Pour into crust.

3. In small bowl, mix reserved 1/2 cup cream cheese mixture and the milk. Spoon over pumpkin mixture. Cut through cream cheese and pumpkin mixtures with knife in S-shaped curves in one continuous motion. Turn pie plate one-fourth turn and repeat. Cover edge of crust with 2- to 3-inch strip of foil to prevent excessive browning.

4. Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean, removing foil for last 15 minutes of baking. Cool 30 minutes. Cover loosely and refrigerate at least 4 hours before serving. Store in refrigerator.

Yield: 8 servings

Pecan Tassies in Cream Cheese Pastry

OK, these would have been AWESOME if we hadn't forgotten the eggs. I don't know how we forgot the eggs, but we did. The eggs were what would have made the pecan filling be all gooey and pie-filling-y... instead, the filling oozed out and turned into solid caramel candy. The tassies still tasted delicious, but they were very very hard! I would recommend other people try this recipe, but DON'T FORGET THE EGGS!!!!!

tassies

Pecan Tassies in Cream Cheese Pastry
From Cooking Light

Pastry:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
Dash of salt
1/4 cup (2 ounces) 1/3-less-fat cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons butter or stick margarine, softened
2 tablespoons fat-free milk
Cooking spray

Filling:
1/3 cup finely chopped pecans
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup light-colored corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1 large egg white

Preheat oven to 350°.

To prepare pastry, lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Combine flour, 1 tablespoon sugar, and dash of salt in a small bowl. Combine cream cheese, butter, and milk in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until well-blended. Add flour mixture; beat at low speed just until blended (mixture will be crumbly). Press flour mixture into a ball.

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead lightly 3 to 4 times. Divide dough into 24 portions. Place 1 dough portion into each of 24 miniature muffin cups coated with cooking spray. Press dough into bottom and up sides of cups, using lightly floured fingers.

To prepare filling, divide pecans evenly among muffin cups. Combine brown sugar and remaining ingredients; spoon about 2 teaspoons filling over pecans in each muffin cup.

Bake at 350° for 20 minutes or until pastry is lightly browned and filling is puffy. Cool in cups for 10 minutes on a wire rack. Run a knife around outside edge of each tassie; remove from pan. Cool completely on a wire rack.

Yield: 2 dozen

Multigrain Pilaf with Sunflower Seeds

This was the star of Thanksgiving! It is SO YUMMY and I am going to make it even for regular dinners. It is absolutely delicious and healthy and looks lovely. The reason we made it is because he wanted a "festive rice," so I picked this one for the leeks and cranberries (we subbed cranberries for the currants). This is a definite make-again. Oh and also we used veggie stock instead of chicken.

rice

Multigrain Pilaf with Sunflower Seeds
From Cooking Light, 9/06

Sunflower seeds and brown rice pack a double nutrition punch, enhancing this side dish with both vitamin E and niacin. This recipe calls for long-cooking barley and brown rice, but if you're in a hurry, substitute instant brown rice and quick-cooking barley. Just be sure to adjust cooking times according to package directions.

4 teaspoons canola oil, divided
1/3 cup sunflower seed kernels
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
2 teaspoons butter
1 cup thinly sliced leek (about 1 large)
2 1/2 cups water
1 1/2 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup uncooked pearl barley
1/2 cup brown rice blend (such as Lundberg) or brown rice
1/2 cup dried currants
1/4 cup uncooked bulgur
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Heat a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add 2 teaspoons oil, sunflower seeds, and 1/4 teaspoon salt; sauté 2 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from pan; set aside.

Heat pan over medium heat; add remaining 2 teaspoons oil and butter. Add leek; cook 4 minutes or until tender, stirring frequently. Add 2 1/2 cups water and next 3 ingredients (through rice); bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 35 minutes. Stir in currants and bulgur; cover and simmer 10 minutes or until grains are tender. Remove from heat; stir in remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, sunflower seeds, parsley, and pepper. Serve immediately.

Yield: 8 servings

Parker House Rolls

This recipe came from Bobby Flay and it seemed like it would be a simple homemade roll for dinner. It was, but the rolls were very doughy and yeasty. They were good with butter and dipped in Thanksgiving happiness, but they don't stand well on their own and we would not make them again.

Note: We made them in muffin tins to give them shape.

rolls

Parker House Rolls
Recipe from Bobby Flay

1 1/2 cups milk
1 stick unsalted butter, cut into pieces, plus more for brushing
1/2 cup sugar
1 package active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
6 cups all-purpose flour

Place milk in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer. Remove from the heat, stir in the butter and sugar and let cool. Dissolve yeast in warm water and let sit until foamy. Combine milk mixture, eggs, yeast, salt, and 1/2 of the flour in a mixer with the dough attachment and mix until smooth. Add the remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, and stir until a smooth ball forms.

Remove from the bowl and knead by hand on a floured surface for about 5 minutes. Place in greased bowl, cover, and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 60 to 70 minutes. On a floured surface, punch down the dough and shape into desired shapes. Place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Cover again and let rise until doubled, about 30 to 40 minutes.

Preheat the oven 350 degrees F.

Bake for about 20 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and brush with melted butter before serving.

Yield: 2 dozen

Cornbread Dressing with Roasted Fall Vegetables

My mom makes her standard Thanksgiving stuffing every year (the recipe is too secret to be posted, so there), but we occasionally like to supplement it with a second stuffing just for variety. I thought this recipe would be awesome because it got good reviews, but it wasn't. The roasted vegetables were delicious and we really liked them, but the cornbread was SO DRY and not very good. This is not a make-again.

Changes: couldn't find rutabagas so we used turnips, forgot to add the pearl onions, vegetable broth instead of chicken.

dressing

Cornbread Dressing with Roasted Fall Vegetables
From Bon Appetit, 11/07

1 10-ounce bag pearl onions
2 1/2 cups 1/2-inch-thick diagonal slices peeled carrots (about 3/4 pound)
2 1/2 cups 1/2-inch-thick diagonal slices peeled parsnips (about 3/4 pound)
2 cups 1/2-inch cubes peeled rutabagas (about 3/4 pound)
2/3 cup olive oil, divided
1 pound crimini (baby bella) mushrooms, stemmed, caps halved
6 large garlic cloves, peeled
2 teaspoons dried thyme
2 teaspoons dried crushed rosemary
1 1/2 teaspoons dried rubbed sage
6 cups 1/2-inch cubes Cornbread for Dressing
3 large eggs, beaten to blend
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 1/2 cups low-salt chicken broth

Position 1 rack in top third and 1 rack in bottom third of oven; preheat to 425°F. Cook onions in small saucepan of boiling water 2 minutes; drain. Cool slightly; trim and peel. Place onions, carrots, parsnips, and rutabagas in single layer on large rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle 1/3 cup oil over and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper; toss to coat. Place mushrooms and garlic on another rimmed baking sheet; drizzle with remaining 1/3 cup oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and toss to coat. Roast root vegetables until tender and brown around edges, stirring every 15 minutes, about 1 hour. Roast mushrooms and garlic until tender, stirring once, about 30 minutes. Place root vegetables and mushrooms in large bowl. Place garlic in small bowl; mash with fork until pureed. Add pureed garlic, thyme, rosemary, and sage to vegetables; toss to coat. Season to taste with salt and pepper. DO AHEAD: Vegetable mixture can be made 1 day ahead. Cool vegetables, cover, and chill. Bring mixture to room temperature before continuing.

Place cornbread cubes on large rimmed baking sheet. Let bread cubes stand at room temperature to dry slightly, about 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 375°F. Butter 13x9x2- inch oval baking dish. Add cornbread cubes to vegetables; toss to distribute evenly. Add eggs; toss to coat. Drizzle with melted butter; toss to coat. Add broth and stir to combine (mixture will be very moist). Transfer mixture to prepared dish.

Bake dressing uncovered until lightly browned and crisp around edges, about 45 minutes.

Yield: 10 servings

Boursin Creamed Spinach

OK so this wasn't healthy at all, but it just seemed like such a delicious addition to a Thanksgiving meal. And it was! We did try to reduce the fat a bit by using low-fat Boursin... but whatever. Just eat small portions of it and it will be ok. It was VERY good and we really liked it. I would make it again for other special occasions.

spinach

Boursin Creamed Spinach
From Cuisine At Home magazine

1 T. unsalted butter
1/2 cup yellow onion, diced
2 T. all-purpose flour
1 cup whole or 2% milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 pkg. (5.2 oz.) Boursin cheese
1 pkg. (10 oz.) frozen chopped spinach, thawed, squeezed dry of excess moisture
2 T. Parmesan cheese, grated
1 t. lemon zest, minced
Salt, white pepper, cayenne, and nutmeg to taste
2/3 cup coarse fresh bread crumbs (made from two slices firm white bread)
1 T. unsalted butter, melted
1 T. olive oil
Salt and black pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 425 degrees; coat a shallow 2-cup baking dish with nonstick spray and set aside.

Saute onion in butter in a large saucepan over medium heat.

Cook until onion is soft, 5 minutes.

Add flour and stir to coat onion. Cook about 1 minute.

Gradually whisk milk and cream into onion mixture, stirring constantly to prevent lumps. Simmer sauce for 1 minute.
Stir in Boursin a little at a time until melted and smooth.
Remove saucepan from heat.

Add spinach, Parmesan, lemon zest and seasonings. Transfer spinach to prepared baking dish.

Combine crumbs, butter, oil and seasonings. Top spinach with crumbs, packing them to adhere. (Dish may be covered and chilled at this point to be baked later). Place dish on a baking sheet and bake until crumbs are golden and sauce is bubbly, 20-25 minutes.

Yield: 2 cups

Salad with Cranberries and Almonds

We made this salad for Thanksgiving and it was perfect. I needed a good recipe that was festive yet fit the dietary needs of all of the guests, and this was perfect. It was so yummy! We skipped the dressing and used a storebought White Balsamic Vinaigrette, and didn't add the carrots - thought it would be excellent with carrots. We would make this again. My mom has already made it for her women's group and it went over very well!

salad

Salad with Cranberries and Almonds
From Everyday Food
You can prepare the salad ingredients and the dressing ahead of time; keep separately in covered containers (refrigerate salad). Follow step 2 just before serving.

1/2 lb (2 large) carrots, peeled and shaved with a vegetable peeler
12 oz mixed greens
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup sweet & spicy almonds, or toasted unblanched almonds
2 tbsp plus 1 tsp white-wine vinegar
4 tsp Dijon mustard
4 tsp olive oil
coarse salt & ground pepper

1. In a large bowl, toss carrots, greens, and half the cranberries and almonds. In a small bowl, whisk vinegar, mustard, and oil.

2. Drizzle salad with vinaigrette; season with salt and pepper. Toss to combine. Garnish with remaining cranberries and almonds.

Yield: 8 servings

Lindrusso's Spinach Balls

My mom made these ahead of time for Thanksgiving and froze them...and then forgot about them. So technically we didn't eat them for Thanksgiving. We did eat them the day after, however, for a snack, and they were really good. I would make them again as an appetizer for a party. I preferred them without mustard but my mom liked them best with mustard. So I guess it's up to personal preference. But yes, make-again.

Lindrusso's Spinach Balls
From the CLBB

These are very easy and very tasty. There is no need to thaw before baking, but you may have to adjust the amount of baking time.

2 (10-ounce) packages frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
2 cups crushed herb stuffing mix
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese, firmly packed
1/2 cup butter, melted
4 scallions, chopped
3 eggs
1 dash nutmeg

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Shape into 1-inch balls. Cover and refrigerate or freeze until ready to bake. Arrange spinach balls on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake 10 to 15 minutes at 350º until lightly browned. Serve with your favorite mustard for dipping.

Thanksgiving Wrap-Up

In the spirit of the overindulgence of Thanksgiving, I am now going to post like 90000 posts to cover everything we made for our Thanksgiving dinner. We had a crazy, busy Thanksgiving as Gibby and I blended our families for the holiday but it turned out very well. Most of our food turned out great, and a few things are even going to go into the regular rotation. I will start out with our menu, and then I'll make separate posts for the dishes that I have recipes for.

Thanksgiving Menu
Appetizers
cheeseball
Cheeseball - my mom's recipe
Spinach Balls
Onion Dip - from a mix

Dinner
sweet p
Turkey - my mom's recipe
Mashed potatoes - my mom's recipe
Green Bean Casserole
Cornbread Stuffing with Roasted Fall Vegetables
Herb stuffing - my mom's recipe
Sweet potato casserole - Gibby's mom's recipe
Vegetable melee - Gibby's uncle's creation
Boursin Creamed Spinach
Salad with Cranberries and Almonds
Parker House Rolls
Multigrain Pilaf with Sunflower Seeds
stuffing
gb

Desserts
Pecan Tassies in Cream Cheese Pastry
Pumpkin Cream Cheese Pie
pie

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Blueberry Pancakes

I will start out this post by saying that these pancakes did not taste very good. This may have been due to the lack of sugar, or due to a crappy batch of blueberries, or something. But they didn't taste very yummy at all.

However, they were absolutely lovely (as the pictures will show) and they were a lot of fun to make. The baking powder makes the batter turn foamy, which is awesome. It's kind of like a mousse. It made it much easier to work with than usual pancake batter.

But again, they just weren't very good. Maybe if they were made with small wild blueberries, or frozen berries? I don't know. Not at all a make-again.

pancakes

Blueberry Pancakes
From the Penzeys catalog

2 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
2 Tbsp sugar
4 Tbsp baking powder (seems like a lot, but blueberries are heavy)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups milk
2 1/2 cups blueberries

Mix together the flour, salt, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a large bowl. Beat the eggs and the milk slightly and add to the dry ingredients. You may adjust the amount of milk depending on how thick or thin you prefer your pancakes. Mix until the batter is smooth. Fold in the blueberries. Heat a greased pan or griddle over medium-high heat. Pour the batter by the 1/4 cup onto the griddle. Flip the pancakes when bubbly, after about 3-4 minutes. Cook the other side for an additional 3-4 minutes.

Yield: 20 pancakes

tastykakes

Holiday Pretzel Treats

Someone mentioned this recipe on the CLBB and said how simple and fun it is, so I decided to make up a batch. I used small waffle-cut pretzels, plain and peanut butter Hershey Kisses, and peanut butter M&Ms. The peanut butter Hershey Kisses melted into a horrible mess, so don't use those. I really liked the combo of regular-kisses and peanut butter M&Ms. They look cute and they were the easiest thing of all time, so I would definitely make them again. I may make them for our research organization at work closer to Christmas, in fact!

treats

Holiday Pretzel Treats
Originally from Family Fun Magazine

Pretzel Rings or Waffle-shaped pretzels
Hershey's Mint Chocolate Kisses and/or Hershey's Hugs and/or Rolos
Red and Green Holiday M&M's

Heat oven to 170 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil and spray lightly with cooking spray. Set pretzels on the sheet in a single layer, and top each one with an unwrapped Kiss, a Hug, or a Rolo.

Bake in the oven 4-6 minutes until soft. (The Hugs get soft more quickly than the other candies.) Remove from oven and press an M&M into the center of each Kiss or Rolo. (If the chocolate is not soft enough, just return the pan to the oven for another minute or so.)

Let the pan cool for a few minutes, then set in the refrigerator for 5-10 minutes to harden.

These can also be made with regular Chocolate Kisses, but those seemed less flavorful after trying all of these variations. The white chocolate in the Hugs brings out the saltiness of the pretzels, and the mint flavor or caramel in the rolos were wonderful. These freeze wonderfully.

This would be a great family activity as even the youngest can help with unwrapping candies and setting them on the pretzels!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Spinach Artichoke Bars

Sometimes I see recipes for appetizers and they sound really good, so I make them for dinner and we just eat them in bulk instead of an entree. So tonight I made these Spinach Artichoke Bars that were reviewed highly on the Cooking Light Bulletin Boards [CLBB]. They are a lot like my Spinach and Artichoke Dip, but on top of a crust of crescent roll dough. They were really good and I would make them again for company or a dinner party or something. But I would probably add about 1 tsp of minced garlic, since I love garlic.

Changes: I did not use the optional red peppers; I used reduced-fat, trans-fat-free crescent rolls, 1/3-less-fat cream cheese, and light sour cream.

Spinach Artichoke Bars
These can be made ahead & rewarmed with no effect on taste.

1 8 oz can refrigerated crescent rolls
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, divided
8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
1 egg
1/2 cup sour cream
10 oz thawed frozen chopped spinach, squeezed until dry
14 oz artichoke hearts, drained and coarsely chopped
* Optional - 1/2 cup roasted red peppers, chopped

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Unroll the crescent dough and place on a 13 X 9 inch pan. Gently press though dough evenly into the pan and 1/2 inch up the sides of the pan to form a crust, paying special attention to seal the roll perforations. Sprinkle the dough with 3 tablespoons of the Parmesan cheese. Bake for 5 minutes, then remove from the oven.

2. While the crust is baking, beat the cream cheese until smooth and creamy. Add the egg, sour cream, and remaining Parmesan cheese and mix until smooth. Fold in the spinach and artichoke hearts. Spread the mixture evenly over the prepared crust. Bake for an additional 13-15 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown and the filling is set. Cut into squares and serve hot or cool to room temperature.

3. Can be stored in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours. To reheat, bake at 375 degrees for 5-10 minutes, or until piping hot.

Yield: 30-48 small appetizer squares

They're kind of flat so they were hard to photograph.
bars

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Pasta Salad with Broccoli and Peanuts

On Thursdays I work until 6 but it takes me forever to get home, and since it's late in the week I don't want to do much for dinner. If we randomly order pizza and ignore whatever I was going to make for dinner, it's usually on a Thursday. So I like to have nice, quick meals on Thursdays.

Tonight's recipe came from Everyday Food magazine. It's supposed to be a lunch-box salad, and I'm sure it would be great as that. We had it warm though. It was very very yummy! We both liked it a lot. I would add extra red pepper next time because we couldn't even taste it. This is definitely something we would make again.

Pasta Salad with Broccoli and Peanuts

Coarse salt
1/2 pound whole-wheat fusilli
2 heads (2 pounds) broccoli
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon red-pepper flakes
1/4 cup rice vinegar
2 tablespoons smooth peanut butter
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced crosswise (1 cup)
1/2 cup roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped

1. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta until al dente according to package instructions. Drain, and rinse under cold water; set aside.

2. Meanwhile, trim 1 inch from the stem end of broccoli stalks. Using a vegetable peeler or paring knife, peel outer layer of stalks; thinly slice crosswise. Separate florets into bite-size pieces.

3. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium.Add pepper flakes, broccoli, and 3/4 cup water; cover and cook until broccoli is crisp-tender, 6 to 8 minutes. Uncover and cook until liquid has evaporated and broccoli is tender, 2 to 4 minutes.

4. In a large bowl, whisk together remaining 2 tablespoons oil, vinegar, peanut butter, and soy sauce until smooth. Add cooled pasta, broccoli, scallions, and peanuts; toss to combine. Serve immediately, or refrigerate and serve chilled.

Yield: 4 servings

pasta

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Shrimp Etouffee

Shrimp Etouffee is kind of like gumbo, kind of. It's all Cajun and it's spicy and has similar ingredients (no okra though). I've had crawfish etouffee before, which was cool. You could probably use this same recipe with some crawfish, if for some reason you have access to them.

Anyway, this recipe is from my beloved Paula Deen. Obviously I reduced the amount of oil and butter (though the butter is very necessary, so make sure you still have a decent amount). I used the frozen shrimp that had been so poorly received on my Shrimp Caesar Salad and I tossed them in so they got nice and warm, and they turned out perfectly. I also used 4 times the amount of cayenne pepper, many drops of hot sauce (Frank's Red Hot Sauce), and extra green onions. The green onions are key - definitely put a lot on top as 'garnish' when it is done, because it's wonderful.

We really liked it a lot and would definitely make it again. I was kind of pessimistic about the recipe and fully expected to be eating grilled cheese sandwiches and ice cream for dinner to make up for a cooking failure (seriously, clam juice? That's scary), so I was extremely surprised by the results. It was nicely spicy, delicious, and came together very well. Hooray!

Shrimp Etouffee

1/2 cup oil
1/2 cup all-purpose flour, plus extra flour, optional
1 cup chopped yellow onion
1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
1 cup chopped celery
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, more if desired
1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning
1/2 cup minced green onions, plus extra for garnish
1/2 cup minced fresh parsley leaves
2 to 3 dashes hot sauce (recommended: Tabasco)
1 (8-ounce) can clam juice
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes (recommended: Ro'tel)
Salt (Cajun seasoning has salt already)
2 pounds small or medium shrimp peeled and deveined (recommended: (31/35 size count)
1/2 stick butter
Rice, optional
Diced green onions, for garnish

Note: To make roux, use oil instead of butter, because butter burns

Make the roux, mix oil and flour in a large heavy saucepan over low heat. Whisk flour into the oil to form a paste. Continue cooking over low heat and whisk continuously, until the mixture turns a caramel color and gives off a nutty aroma, about 15 to 20 minutes. To the roux, add the onion, green pepper, celery, and garlic and cook over low heat about 5 minutes, until the vegetables are limp. Add the black pepper, white pepper, cayenne pepper, Cajun seasoning, green onions, parsley, and hot sauce to taste. Add 1 can clam juice and the tomatoes with their juice, stir to blend. Add the salt, starting with 1 teaspoon, then add more if needed. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes. Add shrimp and stir. It will take about 3 minutes for shrimp to cook, don't overcook. Remove from heat. Add the butter and stir; the heat from the dish will melt the butter. Transfer the etouffee to a tureen, serving bowl, or if you prefer, over rice. Garnish with the green onions.

Yield: 6-8 servings

Our etouffee over rice:
shrimpies

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Eggplant Croques Monsieurs

Every Thursday at work I go through Dr.R's newspapers for articles to file and then I recycle the rest. Occasionally I see a Food Section and I swipe it to look at. A few weeks ago I was looking through the New York Times, from October 17, and saw this delicious-sounding recipe for an eggplant sandwich. I got it from the NYT website later and tonight I decided to make it.

We had some delicious bread from Panera and some delicious tapenade from Trader Joe's. Dinner came together quickly and we had it with tater tots. I didn't use fresh parsley, and I used baby swiss instead of Gruyere because Gruyere is always so expensive!

We both liked it but agreed that it wasn't amazing. My complaint was that the eggplant completely disappeared and it was like it wasn't even in the sandwich. Some complained that it was too "olive-y" for his tastes. We won't make it again but we did enjoy it, and I will enjoy eating the rest of the tapenade with some pita bread for lunches this week (yum yum!)

Eggplant Croques Monsieurs
1 eggplant, about 1 1/2 pounds
Kosher or sea salt
4 to 5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
4 tablespoons black olive tapenade
1 tablespoon minced flat-leaf parsley leaves
6 ounces Gruyère cheese
1/2 round-loaf country bread in 12 thin slices or 6 flat oblong rolls split horizontally.

1. Trim bottom inch and top 2 inches off eggplant. Cut widest portion of eggplant into 6 slices, each about 1/2-inch thick. Set remainder of eggplant aside for another use. Salt eggplant slices on both sides and set aside for 30 minutes, then rinse and dry.

2. Heat 2 tablespoons oil to very hot in a large, heavy skillet. Fry eggplant slices until lightly browned. Turn slices, lower heat to medium and fry until eggplant is lightly browned on second side and cooked through. Place on paper towels. Season with pepper. Mix tapenade with parsley. Spread on one side of each eggplant slice. Cut cheese into thin slices.

3. Place an eggplant slice, tapenade-side down, on each of 6 slices of bread. Top with cheese, then second slice of bread.

4. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in skillet. Cook sandwiches, cheese side up, over medium heat, pressing down with a spatula until lightly browned. Turn and cook, adding oil if necessary. Alternatively, sandwiches can be grilled in a panini press. Cut in half and serve.

The fancy camera was unavailable so I took this crappy picture with my camera, so I apologize:
sammich

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Creamy Tomato-Balsamic Soup

Tonight we made Creamy Tomato-Balsamic Soup again. It was easy and good, but was a lot chunkier this time around. I don't know why - I used the same blender. We had it with grilled cheese and it was tasty.

At Jessica's request, Gibby and I will try to take more pictures of the food I make. However, although I am good at making things taste good, I am still working out making them look good. So if it doesn't look good, but it sounds good, give it a chance, ok?

soup

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Kale and Potato Spanish Tortilla

This was sooooooo good! And I will never make it again. It really was delicious - such simple ingredients yet so much flavor. But it took so freaking long to make, when it's essentially an elaborate quiche. A great, delicious quiche that belongs on a tapas menu, but it took me nearly 2 hours to make from start to finish and that is a very long time. I would highly recommend it if you're wanting to spend the time to make it though.

Notes: I only used 1/2 cup of olive oil, because good god 1 cup is a lot. Also, low heat is not enough to really solidify the egg mixture. After a poor attempt at flipping it, I turned it up to medium-low and then it cooked through perfectly.

Kale and Potato Spanish Tortilla
Gourmet, Feb. 2003

The potatoes are poached in olive oil as they often are in Spain — only some oil is absorbed; the rest is drained off.

1 lb boiling potatoes
1 cup olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 lb kale, center ribs discarded
7 large eggs

Peel potatoes and cut into 1/3-inch dice (2 1/4 cups). Heat oil in a 10-inch nonstick skillet over moderate heat until hot but not smoking, then reduce heat to moderately low and cook potatoes, onion, and 1 teaspoon salt, stirring occasionally, until potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes.

Blanch kale while potatoes cook:
Cook kale in a 4- to 6-quart pot of boiling salted water until wilted, 2 to 3 minutes. Drain in a colander and immediately transfer to a bowl of cold water to stop cooking. Drain again, squeezing handfuls of kale to extract excess moisture, then coarsely chop.

Add kale to potato mixture and cook, stirring occasionally, until kale is tender, about 5 minutes. Drain vegetables in colander set over a bowl, reserving drained oil, and cool 10 minutes.

Lightly beat eggs in a large bowl, then stir in vegetables, 1 tablespoon drained oil, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt.

Add 1 tablespoon drained oil to skillet, then add egg mixture and cook over low heat, covered, until sides are set but center is still loose, about 12 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand, covered, 15 minutes.

Shake skillet gently to make sure tortilla is not sticking (if it is sticking, loosen with a heatproof plastic spatula). Slide tortilla onto a large flat plate, then invert skillet over tortilla and flip it back into skillet. Round off edge of tortilla with plastic spatula and cook over low heat, covered, 10 minutes more. Slide tortilla onto a plate and serve warm, cut into wedges.

Yield: 6 servings

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Black-Eyed Pea Patties with Garlic Pepper Salsa

I'd heard great things about this recipe, but it turns out to be pretty similar to all the other bean patties that I make. It was yummy and we enjoyed it, but there wasn't anything that sets it apart. I used a habanero instead of the serranos and we didn't even notice them. That's so sad. I think we're immune to them now. At least we got to enjoy black-eyed peas. This is a good recipe and I would recommend it, but we won't make it again because of how similar it is to other recipes we already enjoy.

Black-Eyed Pea Patties with Garlic Pepper Salsa
From Cooking Light, October 2007

Black-eyed peas were introduced in the Caribbean by African slaves. Somewhat drier than other legumes, they are ivory-gray in color with a black "eye" at the inner curve. They go by many names, including gungo and pigeon peas. These patties can be shaped an hour in advance; cover and refrigerate.

3 garlic cloves, minced
2 serrano chiles, seeded and finely chopped
2 (16-ounce) cans black-eyed peas, rinsed and well drained
1/3 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
6 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro, divided
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1 large egg
1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
2 cups chopped tomato
2 teaspoons fresh lime juice

Combine minced garlic and chiles in a large bowl. Place 1 teaspoon garlic mixture in a small bowl; set aside. Add peas to remaining garlic mixture in large bowl; mash mixture with a potato masher. Stir in bell pepper, 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro, cumin, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and egg, stirring until well blended. Divide mixture into 12 equal portions (about 1/4 cup each), shaping each into a 1/2-inch-thick patty.

Heat 1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add 6 patties; cook 4 minutes on each side or until browned. Repeat procedure with the remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil and 6 patties.

Add remaining 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro, remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, chopped tomato, and fresh lime juice to the reserved garlic mixture in bowl; stir well. Serve with patties.

Yield: 6 servings

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Spaghetti Pie

Tonight we had Spaghetti Pie again, which is one of our favorite winter-time meals. Yum yum yum.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Quinoa Confetti Salad

This recipe is from Chile Pepper magazine but I found it on the CLBB. I liked how quickly it came together (15 minutes flat) and how simple it was, yet it was still really good. I added in some green onions because they seemed necessary, and I was correct. If you make it, add some green onions. We probably won't make it again because I've made better quinoa recipes before, but we did like it quite a bit. The recipe didn't include an amount of servings, but I'd guess it serves probably 4.

Quinoa Confetti Salad

1 cup quinoa
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp chili powder
1 1/2 cups frozen corn
1 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
1 (15 oz) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
2 jalapenos, seeded and chopped
Juice of 1 lime
1/2 tsp salt

In a fine strainer, rinse the quinoa, and drain well. Toast the quinoa in a dry skillet over medium heat, stirring often, until the quinoa releases a nutty fragrance and begins to pop and crackle, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat.

Bring 2 cups of water to a boil. Add the quinoa, cumin and chile powder. Lower the heat, cover and let simmer for 10 minutes, or until most of the water is absorbed. Stir in the frozen corn, and let simmer for another 5 minutes, or until all the water is absorbed. Remove from heat and let stand.

In a large bowl, combine the cooked quinoa remaining ingredients. Serve warm or cold.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Shrimp Caesar Salad

I had two day-long classes this weekend (my class today LOVED the pumpkin chocolate-chip bread, by the way), so tonight I wanted a quick and simple dinner. I figured this easy Caesar salad recipe from the May 2007 Cooking Light would be good. It requires little effort and uses precooked shrimp.

Turns out, I don't like precooked plain shrimp. I need my shrimp to be seared, seasoned, and delicious. Not a fan of the cocktail-type shrimp. And the salad dressing was too lemony and not at all like a Caesar salad dressing. I really hated it and wouldn't eat more than few bites (which were mostly to try to get pine nuts, since I love toasted pine nuts). I hated it, so I won't be making it again.

Shrimp Caesar Salad
Precooked shrimp speed up preparation. If you purchase raw shrimp, cook them in boiling water for 2 minutes or until done.

Dressing:
2 tablespoons light mayonnaise
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon Sriracha (hot chile sauce, such as Huy Fong)
1/8 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2 garlic cloves, minced

Salad:
3/4 cup fat-free seasoned croutons
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 pounds medium shrimp, cooked and peeled
1 (10-ounce) package chopped romaine lettuce
3 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
Chopped fresh chives (optional)

To prepare dressing, combine mayonnaise and next 7 ingredients (through garlic), stirring with a whisk.

To prepare salad, combine croutons, 2 tablespoons cheese, shrimp, and lettuce in a large bowl. Add dressing; toss well to coat. Top with pine nuts. Garnish with chives, if desired. Serve immediately.

Yield: 4 servings

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread

I decided to make a sweet bread for us to take in lunches this week, so I picked this pumpkin-chocolate chip one from Cooking Light. It makes two loaves, so I made one for us and am going to take the second loaf to my group counseling class tomorrow (sad face - not a fan of the class, nor of going to school on a Sunday). We just tasted the one for us, and it is delicious! Well, he isn't as much a fan because he doesn't like pumpkin as much. But I love it! It has such a nice texture and tastes so yummy. Definite make-again, and it would make an excellent gift!

Changes: I ran out of semisweet chocolate chips, so I added in some white chocolate chips as well. This was an excellent choice because it looks pretty and tastes yummy. I also ran out of flour after 2 cups (go me) so I subbed cake flour for the third choice. This was also an excellent decision because it made the bread fluffy. Hooray!

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread

2 cups sugar
2 cups canned pumpkin
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup fat-free vanilla pudding
4 large egg whites
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
Cooking spray

Preheat oven to 350°.

Combine first 5 ingredients in a large bowl, stirring well with a whisk. Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, cinnamon, salt, and baking soda in a medium bowl, stirring well with a whisk. Add flour mixture to pumpkin mixture, stirring just until moist. Stir in chocolate chips.

Spoon batter into 2 (8 x 4-inch) loaf pans coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes in pans on a wire rack, and remove from pans. Cool completely on wire rack.

Yield: 2 loaves

Portobello Philly Cheesesteaks

I used to make these "cheesesteaks" a lot before Gibby moved in, but then there was the mushroom thing. And now that we're pretty much past that, I figured I would try this recipe out on him. And success! Hooray. He didn't love it, but the reason turned out to be surprising - rather than not liking the mushrooms, it turns out he's just never been a fan of Philly cheesesteaks. Go figure.

Portobello Philly Cheesesteaks
From Eating Well

2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, sliced
4 large portobello mushrooms, stems and gills removed (see Tip), sliced
1 large red bell pepper, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons minced fresh oregano or
2 teaspoons dried
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/4 cup vegetable broth or reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 tablespoon reduced-sodium soy sauce
3 ounces thinly sliced reduced-fat provolone cheese
4 whole-wheat buns, split and toasted

1. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook, stirring often, until soft and beginning to brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Add mushrooms, bell pepper, oregano and pepper and cook, stirring often, until the vegetables are wilted and soft, about 7 minutes.

2. Reduce heat to low; sprinkle the vegetables with flour and stir to coat. Stir in broth and soy sauce; bring to a simmer. Remove from the heat, lay cheese slices on top of the vegetables, cover and let stand until melted, 1 to 2 minutes.

3. Divide the mixture into 4 portions with a spatula, leaving the melted cheese layer on top. Scoop a portion onto each toasted bun and serve immediately.

Yield: 4 servings

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Blackberry Brandy

Tonight we began to make our Christmas presents to some of our friends: Blackberry Brandy. Now, if you read the recipe you will see that it takes 3 months to make, and Christmas is clearly less than 3 months away. We plan to make the brandy, decant it at the last minute, and give them the bottles with tags that say "Ready by January ___" (not sure what date that would be yet). We are kind of scared of our jar because it's much larger than a quart-jar and we're not sure how that's going to work out. We also don't have very good air circulation in our apartment and we're wondering if that will affect it as well. It will be an experiment. An experiment that hopefully will result in some delicious Christmas gifts for friends. We are currently halfway through the second paragraph. Updates as they occur!

Blackberry Brandy
From CLBB, originally from
http://hugs.org/Blackberry_Brandy.shtml

2 1/2 c Ripe blackberries; rinsed
2 c Brandy; approximately
3/4 c Sugar
1/3 c Water
1 tb Grated lemon zest
1/2 ts Glycerine; optional

Lightly crush 2 cups of the berries with a fork or
potato masher; place in a quart size glass canning
jar or and other quart sized glass jar that has an
enamel lined lid. Pour in enough brandy to cover
the berries. Add equal portions of the remaining
berries and brandy to reach the top of the jars
lip; make sure that all of the berries are covered
by the brandy. Pour in just enough brandy to begin
a small overflow, then tightly cap the jar and
wipe the outside clean.

Label the date on the jar. Allow to steep in a
cool, dark place for 2 months. (If a dark
environment is not available, tape a piece of
black construction paper around the jar.) Every
two weeks, gently shake the jar to distribute the
flavors.

After two months, gently pour the jar's contents
through a regular strainer or sieve; discard the
residue. Follow this by two strainings through
slightly dampened cheesecloth. For true clarity
and professional looking results, pour the mixture
through a large, clean coffee filter placed inside
a funnel or clean coffee cone; loosely cover the
contents with plastic wrap, since the process may
take several hours.

In a small saucepan, combine the sugar, water, and
lemon zest. Bring to a boil over moderately high
heat. Simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes. Let cool
to room temperature. Add the optional glycerine,
if desired.

Funnel the strained brandy into a glass bottle,
then funnel in the sugar syrup through a strainer,
to remove the lemon zest. Cover tightly; shake to
blend. Let mature at room temperature, or slightly
cooler, for at least 1 month.

Yield: 1 1/2 pints

Sesame-Maple Roasted Tofu

Tonight's dinner was apparently from Eating Well, but I found it posted on DesertCulinary. It was okay, but I tasted no sesame, nor any maple. I guess more sauce is needed? I don't know. It was just meh. Not a make-again.

Sesame-Maple Roasted Tofu

14 ounce block extra-firm tofu, drained, patted dry and cut into 1" cubes
3/4 cup sliced red onion
2 teaspoons canola oil
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon tahini
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 teaspoons pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon cider vinegar
3 cups trimmed sugar snap peas
1 tablespoon sesame seeds, toasted

Preheat oven to 450.

In a large bowl, toss together tofu, onion, canola oil, sesame oil, salt and pepper.

Spread the mixture onto a large baking sheet and roast until the tofu is lightly golden and the onions are browning in spots, about 15 to 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together tahini, soy sauce, maple syrup and vinegar. Remove the baking sheet from the oven, add snap peas and drizzle with the maple sauce - carefully toss to combine. Return pan to the oven and continue roasting until the peas are crisp-tender, about 8 to 12 more minutes. Scatter with toasted sesame seeds before serving.

Yield: 4 servings