Friday, January 30, 2009

Macaroni and stuff

I really did some poor planning this week, but oh well. We didn't finish making dinner until almost 8 tonight, when usually we eat around 6:30. That's ok. It was such a delicious meal that it didn't matter. I made Three-Cheese Macaroni and Cheese, utilizing my previous notes about the mixed cheeses AND I remembered to add in some cayenne, which made it even better than before! I think all my previous M&C recipes are going to go in the trash. This one wins.

To go with it, I made our new favorite side dish, Roasted Brussels Sprouts. They weren't as crispy this time because I popped them in the oven with the macaroni and cooked them at 375 for 35 minutes instead of the recipe's direction of 425 for 25 minutes. But that's ok. They were still yummy.

No post tomorrow because we'll be house-hunting in Pennsylvania!!!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Mediterranean Vegetable Couscous

I'm a sucker for free things, and a few years ago I got a Sun-Maid Raisins recipe pamphlet. I typed up the recipes that I thought sounded good and tossed it. Tonight we made one of the recipes, and it was just not very good. The best thing about our meal was the frozen naan from Trader Joe's. That stuff never stops being awesome. Our meal in general was disappointing though. It didn't have enough liquid to properly cook the couscous, turnips aren't very yummy, and it just didn't have much flavor. Cinnamon and turmeric are not enough. Not a make-again.


Mediterranean Vegetable Couscous
SunMaid Raisins recipe booklet

The Mediterranean diet is one of the healthiest in the world because it emphasizes plenty of grains, fruits, and vegetables. And they're all here in this low-cholesterol dish just bursting with vitamin A. Great as a vegetarian entree, or toss in leftover chicken for added protein.

1 Tbsp olive oil
2 small cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 (14.5 oz) can low-sodium chicken broth
2 large carrots, peeled and chopped
2 small turnips, peeled and chopped
1/2 lb butternut squash, peeled and diced 1/2 inch
1/2 lb small zucchini, diced 1/2 inch
1 (15 oz) can garbanzo beans, drained
1 (15 oz) can diced tomatoes
1 1/4 cups quick-cooking couscous
Salt and pepper to taste
3/4 cup Sun-Maid Natural Raisins

Heat olive oil in a deep, heavy 4 quart saucepan.

Add garlic, cinnamon, turmeric, and black pepper until spices are aromatic.

Add chicken broth, carrots, turnips, and squash and cook about 20 minutes until vegetables are tender.

Add zucchini, garbanzo beans, and diced tomatoes and cook, stirring often, for 10 minutes.

Sprinkle couscous over vegetables and turn heat to lower setting. Cover and let stand 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, if desired.

Turn into serving dish and sprinkle with raisins, mixing them into the hot couscous a little, but leaving enough on top for garnish.

Yield: 6 servings

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Crispy Black Bean Tacos with Feta and Cabbage Slaw

I had planned for a quick meal for tonight since on Tuesdays I have a brief period at home between my internship and a therapy group I co-lead on Tuesday evenings. But today there was a snow day, so no internship for me! We had a nice relaxing day at home. But I still had this quick meal on the menu so I went ahead and made it. It took about 15 minutes. It's pretty good. Nothing special, but definitely yummy for the amount of time it took. We even liked it with regular white corn tortillas, which we usually dislike quite a bit. I would make these again if we needed a quick meal.


Crispy Black Bean Tacos with Feta and Cabbage Slaw
Bon Appetit, 2/09

Who needs meat? The cumin-scented black bean filling is hearty, satisfying, and incredibly easy to prepare. Round out the meal—and get a complete protein—by adding Mexican rice.

1 15-ounce can black beans, drained
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
5 teaspoons olive oil, divided
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
2 cups coleslaw mix
2 green onions, chopped
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
4 white or yellow corn tortillas
1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
Bottled chipotle hot sauce or other hot sauce (Note: we used Frank's Red Hot)

Place beans and cumin in small bowl; partially mash. Mix 2 teaspoons olive oil and lime juice in medium bowl; add coleslaw, green onions, and cilantro and toss to coat. Season slaw to taste with salt and pepper.

Heat 3 teaspoons olive oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add tortillas in single layer. Spoon 1/4 of bean mixture onto half of each tortilla; cook 1 minute. Fold tacos in half. Cook until golden brown, about 1 minute per side. Fill tacos with feta and slaw. Pass hot sauce alongside.

Yield: 4 servings (or 2 if you each have 2 tacos, like we did)

Monday, January 26, 2009

Michelle Obama's Apple Cobbler

As I mentioned last week, I had meant to make this on Inauguration Day, but I'd only bought 3 apples because I misread the recipe. So this week I bought five more apples. I woke up Sunday morning and pulled out the apple-peeler-corer-slicer I got second-hand from my mom and I peeled those apples and was all ready and excited to get everything into the oven... and then I read the part of the recipe where it says the apples have to sit overnight. Seriously, I need to read recipes more thoroughly before cooking them. So I decided I'd put the apples in the refrigerator for 8 hours and finish it later that night. At 6PM I finally assembled the cobbler and shoved it in the oven. I have no idea if I did it right because it didn't say what kind of pan to use, but my way worked just fine so I'm happy with it.

After the 2 1/2 hours of baking, it was a beautiful, gooey mess of delicious.


It tasted amazing. The long cooking time allows the sugar and apples to cook down into something similar to apple butter. You can't even pick out individual apple slices. It's amazing. We absolutely loved it and it was definitely worth all the time I put into it. I would definitely make this again. Yum! Thanks, Michelle Obama, for leaking this onto the internet!


Michelle Obama's Apple Cobbler
Posted all over the internet

8 Granny Smith apples, peeled and sliced
1 1/2 to 2 cups brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup flour

3 sheets refrigerated pie crust
1 stick of butter

Mix filling ingredients in a bowl and let sit in the refrigerator overnight so the spice goes all the way through the apples..

Preheat oven at 325 degrees. Butter and flour the bottom of a large baking dish. Roll out three pie crusts real thin -- as thin as possible. Layer the bottom of the pan with 1-1/2 of the pie crusts and ***** a few holes in it. Pour the apples with the liquid into the pie pan. Dot 3/4 of a stick of butter around the apples. Use the final 1-1/2 pie crusts to cover the apple mixture entirely (let the pie crust overlap the pan).

Pinch the edges of the dough around the sides of the pan so the mixture is completely covered.

Melt final 1/4 stick of butter and brush all over top of crust.

Reduce the oven temperature to 300 degrees. Bake 300 for up to 3 hours -- that's what makes the crust flakey, like Barack likes it. Put the cobbler in the oven and go for a walk, go to the store, or do whatever you have to do around the house.

Start looking at the cobbler after two and a half hours so it doesn't burn.

Michelle's notes: "I've been making this cobbler for a long time, so I usually just eyeball how much needs to go in. People might want more or less sugar, but this is how our family and friends like it. This recipe makes one cobbler, which is like a double pie."

Curried Chickpeas and Tofu

This recipe is pretty boring but it takes like 14 seconds to make so it wins some points there. We enjoyed our super-quick dinner with some microwave basmati rice (I hate getting home late from class so I'm allowed to be lazy). Maybe even a make-again due to the extreme quickness of the preparation.


Curried Chickpeas and Tofu
Moosewood Cooks at Home
via CLBB (SheRa)

Suggestion: just use curry powder instead of all the different spices

1 medium onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced or pressed
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
½ teaspoon turmeric
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
pinch cayenne, (optional)
1 cake tofu (3/4 pound), cut into 1/2 inch cubes
2 cups cooked chick peas, (16 oz. can)
2 tomato, chopped (about 1 1/2 cup)
pinch salt, (or more to taste)
cilantro, chopped (optional)
plain yogurt, (optional)

Saute the onion and garlic in the oil until the onions are translucent, stirring occasionally. Stir in the cumin, coriander, turmeric, black pepper, and optional cayenne. Add the cubed tofu and cook for a minute or so, stirring constantly. Add the chick peas and about 1/2 cup of their liquid, and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes and continue to cook until thoroughly heated. Add salt to taste.

Serve topped with cilantro and/or yogurt if you like.

Notes: serve over rice

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Muffins With Chocolate Streusel

I have been wanting muffins, so I made these muffins this morning. We each took one bite and immediately said, "Oh my gosh, these are definitely make-agains." They're fantastic. Despite the amount of chocolate, they aren't overly sweet and have a great texture and flavor. The streusel is very yummy. Everything is delicious. They are wonderful. And it's a good way to sneak in the oats, because once the muffins are baked, you can't even tell there are oats in the batter. These really are definitely make-agains.


Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Muffins With Chocolate Streusel
Cooking Light Bulletin Boards (Lys)

1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons baking cocoa
2 tablespoons margarine or butter, melted

1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup Quaker® Oats (quick or old fashioned, uncooked)
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips or mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt (optional)
2/3 cup low-fat buttermilk
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 egg, lightly beaten

1. Heat oven to 350ºF. Line twelve medium muffin cups with paper baking cups or spray bottoms only with cooking spray.

2. For streusel, combine all ingredients in medium bowl; mix well. Set aside.

3. For muffins, combine flour, oats, chocolate chips, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl; mix well. In medium bowl, combine buttermilk, honey, oil and egg; blend well. Add to dry ingredients all at once; stir just until dry ingredients are moistened. (Do not overmix.)

4. Fill muffin cups almost full. Sprinkle with reserved streusel, patting gently.

5. Bake 20 to 22 minutes or until light golden brown. Cool muffins in pan on wire rack 5 minutes. Remove from pan. Serve warm.

Yield: 1 dozen

Spaghetti Pie

Spaghetti Pie never ceases to be amazing. And I think everyone who reads this is in agreement with me, whether you make it with soy or with meat, because this is the recipe I get the most feedback about. I have gotten emails from several people saying that they made this and loved it, and I've even gotten phone calls at random times from friends when they have gone to the grocery store and forgot what ingredients they needed to make this recipe. Spaghetti Pie also makes for excellent leftovers throughout the week. It is the best.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Vegetable Pakoras

In honor of going to see Slumdog Millionaire tonight (fantastic movie, by the way - go see it!) I decided to make some Indian food! Since I have some curries lined up for later in the week, I picked a different sort of Indian recipe (albeit still utilizing a lot of curry powder). These are little fritters that are pan-fried in only a little bit of oil. It's fascinating because with all the vegetable components and the very small amount of batter, it all comes together really well and sticks together in nice little solid fritters. Usually these sort of recipes from Cooking Light never work out well and I end up with little piles of food instead of cohesive patties, so it was a nice surprise.

And how did it taste? Absolutely wonderful. These were very, very yummy. Although it's an appetizer recipe, we had it as a main dish with some instant Indian lentils from Trader Joe's. This recipe is definitely a make-again.

Tips: I used pre-cut sweet potato spears and pre-cut cauliflower to make my life easier, and hot Madras curry powder from Penzeys to make it be awesome. I also think this might be yummy with some whole-wheat flour.


Vegetable Pakoras
Cooking Light, 12/08

These Indian fritters get their intensity from Madras curry powder. A hit of chutney cools the palate.

3 ounces all-purpose flour (about 2/3 cup)
2 teaspoons Madras curry powder
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup water
1 large egg, lightly beaten
3/4 cup (1/4-inch) diced peeled sweet potato
1 cup (1/4-inch) pieces cauliflower
1/2 cup finely diced onion
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 jalapeño pepper, finely diced
3 tablespoons peanut oil, divided
6 tablespoons mango chutney

1. Weigh or lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, curry powder, cumin, and salt, stirring with a whisk. Combine 1/3 cup water and egg, stirring with a whisk. Add egg mixture to flour mixture; stir until smooth. Cover; let stand 10 minutes.

2. Place sweet potato in a small saucepan; cover with water. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer 5 minutes or until just tender. Drain and cool to room temperature. Add sweet potato, cauliflower, onion, cilantro, garlic, and jalapeño to flour mixture; stir until well combined (batter will be very thick).

3. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 1/2 tablespoons oil to pan, swirling to coat. Drop 2 tablespoons batter into pan, and flatten slightly with the back of a spoon. Repeat procedure to make 6 pakoras. Reduce heat to medium, and cook 4 minutes on each side or until browned. Remove from pan; drain on paper towels. Repeat procedure with remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons oil and batter. Serve with chutney.

Yield: 6 servings

Friday, January 23, 2009

Catching Up

Last night we made Sunny's Avenue J Pizza again, using the same changes I had made the first time. I forgot that it took less time to cook my version, so I stuck it in for 25 minutes! Somehow I decided to check this blog to see what changes I'd made previously and saw my note that it only took 12 minutes to cook! I ran to the kitchen and pulled it out immediately, although it had already been in for about 21 minutes. It was a little crisp but not burned or unhappy. Still delicious.

Tonight I made Rumpledethumps. I didn't realize we don't have a picture of it! Oh well. Next time. I made this meal easier by getting some frozen steam-in-bag broccoli, a bag of coleslaw mix (pre-sliced cabbage!) and some pre-trimmed leeks. I reduced the amount of butter and cheese as well. It was still wonderfully delicious. I love it!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Buttermilk-Banana Pancakes with Pomegranate Syrup

Pancakes are a quick and easy dinner. Even if you make fancy fruity pancakes, it still takes like 2 minutes to mix the batter and toss it on the griddle. That is why I like making pancakes.

These pancakes were very quick to make, and they were pretty good. Nothing spectacular. The pomegranate syrup probably would have been yummier if I had some real maple syrup instead of the Mrs. Butterworth's. Not quite the same. But that's OK. We probably wouldn't make these pancakes again, although I'm not sure what else I'm going to do with a box of cream of wheat...

Also we had our pancakes with our favorite root beer. The ONLY root beer I like. It is made in Ashburn, VA, pretty close to where we live. I wonder if we'll be able to get it when we move?

Here is a picture of the pancakes.

Buttermilk-Banana Pancakes with Pomegranate Syrup
Cooking Light, November 2005

The combination of banana pancakes and pomegranate syrup is a healthy way to start your morning.

1 cup all-purpose flour (about 4 1/2 ounces)
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 (1-ounce) package uncooked instant farina (such as Cream of Wheat)
1 1/4 cups low-fat buttermilk
1 tablespoon canola oil
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 cup mashed banana (about 1 large)

1/2 cup pomegranate juice
1/2 cup maple syrup
2 tablespoons pomegranate juice
2 teaspoons cornstarch

To prepare pancakes, lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Combine flour and the next 6 ingredients (through farina) in a large bowl; stir with a whisk. Combine buttermilk, oil, vanilla, and egg; add to flour mixture, stirring until smooth. Fold in banana.

Spoon 1/4 cup batter per pancake onto a hot nonstick griddle. Turn when tops are covered with bubbles and edges look cooked.

To prepare syrup, combine 1/2 cup juice and syrup in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Combine 2 tablespoons juice and cornstarch in a bowl; add to pan. Cook 1 minute or until thickened; remove from heat. Serve with pancakes.

Yield: 6 servings

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies

I woke up this morning prepared to make Michelle Obama's apple cobbler recipe in honor of our new president, only to discover that I had misread the recipe and I'd only bought 3 apples instead of the 8 required. Not even close. So I decided to make this cookie recipe instead. It doesn't use butter! I haven't made a butter-free cookie in a long time. This uses just a small amount of oil. It makes a deliciously crisp and chewy cookie. I used some nice milk chocolate chips, and it was yummy. I froze some for my friend Annie, who just had a baby, because I've decided I need to hoard food for her. We have eaten many of the rest. These are tasty cookies that I would definitely make again.


Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies
Cooking Light, 12/08

This simple mix-and-drop dough comes together in minutes and may not even require a shopping trip, thanks to its pantry-friendly ingredients.

1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup canola oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 large egg whites
1 large egg
12 ounces all-purpose flour (about 2 2/3 cups)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup semisweet chocolate minichips

1. Preheat oven to 350°.

2. Combine first 8 ingredients in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until smooth.

3. Weigh or lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl; stir with a whisk. Add flour mixture to peanut butter mixture, stirring just until combined. Stir in minichips. Drop dough by tablespoonfuls 2 inches apart on 2 baking sheets. Bake at 350° for 12 minutes or until golden. Cool on a wire rack.

Yield: 3 dozen

Roasted Tomato-Harissa Soup with Olive Toasts

In a quest to use up at least some of the harissa left over from a previous meal, I came across this highly-rated recipe from Cooking Light. It takes awhile because the vegetables are supposed to roast for over an hour.

But alas, roasting them for over an hour is a TERRIBLE idea. TERRIBLE. Maybe 45 minutes? Oh my gosh. Everything was quite charred. I had to toss out half the onion and all of the garlic cloves (the cloves literally turned solid black, and upon picking them up, crumbled in my hand). Instead I threw in some minced garlic to make up for the lost roasted garlic. The stuff that was not blackened was tossed into the recipe as directed. I used my immersion blender to blend it up, but it still had a horrific texture due to the skins of the tomato and pepper, and just in general. The taste was ok but nothing special. Spicy from the harissa and paprika, but just meh.

I did not make the olive toasts, so I just made grilled cheese sandwiches instead. It was yummy to dip them in the soup. Trader Joe's has some excellent light white cheddar slices if you'd like to make fantastic grilled cheeses some day. I'll include the full recipe just in case you'd like to try the olive toasts.

Summary: Soup turned out bleh, probably as a result of something I did, but I'm not going to risk trying to make it again.


Roasted Tomato-Harissa Soup with Olive Toasts
Cooking Light

Harissa is a Moroccan spice paste found at Middle-Eastern markets or specialty food shops. You can make the soup a couple of days ahead, refrigerate, and reheat over medium heat; or freeze it up to four weeks, thaw in the refrigerator, and reheat. The olive spread can be prepared up to three days in advance. The tomatoes release flavorful juices when roasted; just add the juices to the soup.

2 1/4 pounds plum tomatoes, cut in half lengthwise
2 garlic cloves, unpeeled
2 medium Walla Walla or other sweet onions, cut into (1/2-inch-thick) slices (about 1 1/2 pounds)
1/2 red bell pepper, seeded
Cooking spray
1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon commercial harissa
1/4 teaspoon Spanish smoked paprika or chipotle chile powder
2 1/2 cups vegetable broth
1/2 cup water
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 garlic clove, halved
8 (1/4-inch-thick) slices diagonally cut French bread baguette, toasted (about 2 ounces)
1/4 cup chopped pitted kalamata olives
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh parsley
1/4 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1/8 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme

Remaining ingredient:
8 teaspoons plain low-fat yogurt

Preheat oven to 425°.

To prepare soup, arrange tomatoes, cut sides up, 2 garlic cloves, onion slices, and bell pepper half on a jelly-roll pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 425° for 1 hour and 10 minutes or until golden. Cool. Chop tomatoes, onion, and bell pepper. Set 1/3 cup chopped onion aside for the toasts. Squeeze garlic cloves to extract pulp; discard skins.

Heat olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add remaining chopped onion, bell pepper, cumin, and coriander; cook 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add harissa and paprika; cook 2 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, garlic pulp, broth, water, and 1/2 teaspoon thyme; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes. Remove from heat; let stand 5 minutes. Stir in lemon juice, salt, and black pepper. Place one-half of tomato mixture in a blender, and process until smooth. Pour into a bowl. Repeat procedure with remaining tomato mixture.

To prepare toasts, rub cut sides of the halved garlic clove over one side of each bread slice. Combine reserved 1/3 cup chopped onion, olives, parsley, vinegar, and 1/8 teaspoon thyme. Top each bread slice with about 1 tablespoon olive mixture. Ladle about 1/2 cup soup into each of 8 bowls. Top each serving with 1 teaspoon yogurt; serve with 1 olive toast.

Yield: 8 servings

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Southwestern Bean Casserole

Tonight I pulled out an old favorite, Southewestern Bean Casserole. I used to make it a lot in college. It's in my "favorites" folder and since I haven't made it in forever I thought it would be nice. I've never even made it for Gibby before. I figured now is a good time to make it since it reheats so well, and Gibby has the next two days off of work (I have Tuesday off) so he'll need something for lunch. This will be perfect!


Saturday, January 17, 2009


This is my 901st post, crazy right?

Last night we had these wonderful little Mexican foods for dinner. The batter comes together extremely quickly and then bakes for 25 minutes. While they bake, you can chop up everything to get it ready to fill the little cups when they come out. Technically this recipe only makes 6 gorditas, but that's if you use the jumbo muffin cups. If you just use a regular-sized pan (the 12-muffin pans), you'll get 9 or 10 gorditas.

We filled ours with low-fat refried beans mixed with salsa, chopped tomatoes, green onions, shredded lettuce, sour cream, and guacamole. Yum! We loved these. We would definitely make them again. And they are so versatile! You can fill them with whatever you want!


Cookie, February 2009

This customizable dinner is made to be deconstructed. Set out the fillings, and let the kids assemble their own at the table.

1 8.25-ounce can creamed corn
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup cornmeal
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/2 cup queso añejo (or Jack cheese)

Filling of choice:
Shredded rotisserie chicken (or cooked pork), beans, shredded lettuce, extra cheese, chopped tomatoes, sliced radish, sour cream, guacamole

1. Preheat oven to 400°F.

2. In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the corn, salt, and 1/2 cup water. Whisk in the cornmeal and cook, stirring constantly, until the liquid is absorbed, about 5 minutes.

3. Add the butter and cheese, stirring to combine. Remove from heat.

4. Grease a 6-cup muffin tin. Divide the corn mixture evenly among the cups, pressing it into the bottom and up the sides to create cups.

5. Bake until crisp, 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes, then turn the corn cups out of the tin.

6. Stuff them with the fillings of your choice and serve.

Very Creamy Vegetable Chowder

OK I forgot to post on Thursday and Friday. I have been busy. Here is what we had on Thursday night. It was ok, but it wasn't even remotely special. It's a more vegetable-filled variation of the Very Creamy Potato-Cheese Soup, also from Moosewood. We would probably not make it again.


Very Creamy Vegetable Chowder
From Moosewood Restaurant Daily Special by The Moosewood Collective

This is a crowd-pleasing Moosewood standard. There is nothing more appealing and satisfying than a sweet, fresh vegetables in a smooth, saucy Cheddar and cream cheese base: it's food that makes you feel safe and sound and well cared for.

This soup is sweet and mild and filled with enough vegetables for one meal, so serve it with a peppery little salad for contrast.

2 cups chopped onions
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon canola or other vegetable oil
2 celery stalks, diced
1 cup peeled and diced carrots
1 1/2 cups diced potatoes
3 cups water or Basic Light Vegetable Stock
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 bay leaf
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 cup green beans, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/2 cup diced red bell peppers
1 cup diced zucchini
1/2 cup fresh or frozen green peas
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2 cups milk
1 cup grated Cheddar cheese
2 ounces Neufchatel or cream cheese

In a large soup pot on medium heat, sauté the onions in the butter and oil for 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in the celery, cover, and cook until just soft, stirring occasionally. Add the carrots, potatoes, water or stock, thyme, bay leaf, salt, and pepper and bring to a boil; then reduce the heat, cover, and simmer until the vegetables are just tender, about 5 minutes. With a strainer or slotted spoon, remove about 1 1/2 cups of the cooked vegetables and set aside in a blender or food processor.

Add the green beans, bell peppers, and zucchini to the soup pot and cook until the green beans are tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in the peas and parsley, simmer for 2 more minutes, and then remove from the heat. Discard the bay leaf.

Puree the reserved vegetables with the milk and cheeses to make a smooth sauce. Stir the sauce into the soup and gently reheat. Serve hot.

Yield: 8-10 servings

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Red Whole Wheat Penne

Despite the incredibly boring title, this dish actually consists of many complex flavors. Who knew Ethiopian cuisine was influenced by Italians? Fascinating. We've never had Ethiopian food so this was fun to experiment. Harissa, a Moroccan condiment, is used in this, and it is hard to find. I found mine at Balducci's, in the same aisle as the onion jam I needed a couple days ago. I think I need to stop buying random ingredients that I will probably not use again. Oops.

This was good and very interesting, and we liked it a lot. It just wasn't "great." We probably would not make it again. I am intrigued by Ethiopian food now though. Maybe I will need to find some more recipes to try out!


Red Whole Wheat Penne
Cooking Light, 12/08

Probably the main foreign influence on Ethiopian cuisine is Italian. Pasta saltata is a common dish, cooked with rich butter, olive oil, pasta, berbere spice blend, and fiery chiles. This healthful version with whole wheat pasta uses almonds to create a pestolike sauce, and the red color comes from the hot harissa condiment. And just like the traditional Genovese version of the dish, this pasta is served with potatoes.

1 pound peeled Yukon gold potatoes (about 2)
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1/2 cup blanched whole almonds
1/4 cup thinly sliced shallots (about 1 large)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons grated fresh Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons harissa
1 teaspoon salt
6 cups hot cooked whole wheat penne (about 12 ounces uncooked tube-shaped pasta)
1/4 cup chopped arugula
ba1/4 cup chopped basil

1. Place potatoes in a saucepan; cover with water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes or until tender. Drain potatoes in a colander over a bowl, reserving 1 1/2 cups liquid. Cool potatoes slightly, and cut into 1/2-inch pieces.

2. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a small skillet over low heat. Add almonds, shallots, and garlic to pan; cook 8 minutes or until the almonds are golden, stirring often. Remove from heat; cool.

3. Place almond mixture in a food processor; add remaining 3 tablespoons oil, juice, cheese, harissa, and salt; process 1 minute or until well blended and almost smooth. With the processor on, slowly pour 1 1/2 cups reserved cooking liquid through food chute; process 1 minute or until smooth.

4. Combine pasta, potatoes, and almond mixture in a large bowl, tossing gently. Fold in arugula; sprinkle with basil.

Yield: 4 servings

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Market Sandwich etc.

Tonight we had Market Sandwiches and Crash Hot Potatoes, and life was good. I was lazy and purchased some vegetarian black bean-jalapeno refried beans and just used that as the bean spread instead of making my own. It worked very nicely and I will probably do that next time we make it.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Grilled Cheese with Onion Jam, Taleggio, and Escarole

Oh my gosh. This is amazing. We agreed this is probably the best grilled cheese sandwich we've ever had (gourmet-style, not counting standard cheddar grilled cheese). Oh my gosh. It is so good. I was so nervous before we made it because the ingredients are so unique, but it came together so beautifully.

We couldn't find Taleggio cheese so we substituted Fontina. Escarole can be found with the lettuces and winter greens in your grocery store. I found onion jam at an upscale grocery store, in the jam aisle. Try looking at Balducci's, Whole Foods, or other similar stores. We lucked out and found a garlic-and-onion jam, which certainly contributed to our sandwiches being so super awesome. I used a pugliese bread from Trader Joe's, which made nice big sandwiches, and I cooked them on my cast iron skillet, which helped them cook evenly.

Oh man. Totally a make-again.

We had this with Roasted Brussels Sprouts, which was the perfect side dish for our meal. Perfect.


Grilled Cheese with Onion Jam, Taleggio, and Escarole
Gourmet, February 2008

4 (1/2-inch-thick) center slices sourdough bread (from a 9- to 10-inch round)
4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons onion or fig jam
12 to 14 oz chilled Taleggio or Italian Fontina, sliced
1/4 lb escarole, center ribs discarded and leaves cut crosswise into 1-inch pieces (about 2 cups)

Brush 1 side of bread slices with oil and arrange, oil sides down, on a work surface. Spread jam on 2 slices of bread and divide cheese between remaining 2 slices. Mound escarole on top of cheese and season with salt and pepper, then assemble sandwiches.

Heat a dry 12-inch heavy skillet (not nonstick) over medium-low heat until hot. Cook sandwiches, turning once and pressing with a spatula to compact, until bread is golden-brown and cheese is melted, 6 to 8 minutes total.

Yield: 2 sandwiches

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

The brussels sprouts at the grocery store have looked so nice lately that I have been wanting to cook with them more. I thought they would complement our dinner very nicely tonight, with the bitterness balancing out the flavors of the main dish, but I wanted a quick and simple recipe. This is a super-fast recipe. I subbed olive oil for the melted butter and I think that was a good choice. In the picture, they look kind of burnt, but they're actually just caramelized. They're soft and sweet but still a little bitter and delicious. This would be a good introduction to brussels sprouts for people who have not had them before (like Denise).


Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Cooking Light

Combine 4 cups trimmed, halved Brussels sprouts, 2 tsp melted butter, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp black pepper on a jelly roll pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 425 degrees for 25 minutes or until crisp-tender.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Broccoli Parmesan Casserole

Tonight I had planned to make something different but was unable to find a key ingredient so I switched our dinner schedule around and made Broccoli Parmesan Casserole instead. Delicious as always. Tonight we had it over some whole-wheat egg noodles with a baguette. Always a favorite.

We haven't taken a picture before, so here is a picture.

Brown Sugar Shortbread

This got excellent reviews and is incredibly easy to make, so I decided to try it out. I panicked a little while I was making the dough because it was completely crumbly - I couldn't knead it, I could barely keep it in a mound long enough to wrap it in plastic wrap, and it took me forever to form it on the pan. But once it came out of the oven, it had magically solidified. After it cooled, it was able to be cut into 8 lovely little squares. Not 24, like the recipe indicates. Eight. But that's ok. It is very, very yummy. You have to like shortbread but it's definitely delicious. I would possibly make it again, but I'd like to try the chocolate version sometime soon!


Brown Sugar Shortbread
Cooking Light, 11/08

5.5 ounces all-purpose flour (about 1 1/4 cups)
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
7 tablespoons butter, softened
1 1/2 teaspoons ice water
Cooking spray

1. Weigh or lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Combine flour, cornstarch, and salt in a small bowl; stir with a whisk.

2. Place brown sugar and butter in a medium bowl; mix with hands until combined. Add flour mixture, and mix with hands until combined. Sprinkle dough with 1 1/2 teaspoons ice water; knead dough lightly 4 times or just until smooth. Wrap in plastic wrap; refrigerate 30 minutes.

3. Preheat oven to 325°.

4. Place dough on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray; press dough into an 8 x 5–inch rectangle about 3/8-inch thick. Pierce entire surface liberally with a fork. Bake at 325° for 25 minutes or just until set and edges are golden. Cut shortbread into 24 pieces. Cool completely.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Mexican Deep Dish Pan Pizza

I know I promised to delete every Rachael Ray recipe from my program because she sucks and we're always disappointed by her recipes, but I did keep this one (and maybe one or two others) that had been recommended by other people at one time or another. So I do apologize for lapsing in my integrity and I continue to hate her.

However, our dinner was really good. I adapted this recipe to our cast iron skillet which I felt made it great. We used soy crumbles instead of the meat and left out the olives because ew. It took 37 minutes to make. We really liked it. I should also note that we did not use Jiffy because of the trans fat content - I found an all-natural, whole-grain, trans fat-free cornbread mix and used that instead. It tasted exactly the same as Jiffy, which is great because it means I can use that next time we make Denise's corn casserole. I also reduced the amount of cheese to about 1/2 cup and used low-fat. Also, she says you get 4 servings - no. It's more like 6-8 servings. Definitely not four. Anyway, this is indeed a make-again. Even though we hate to admit it.

If you decide to use your cast iron skillet, this is how to do it. After you preheat your oven to 400, spray down the skillet with cooking spray or wipe it down with olive oil or vegetable oil. Then put it in the oven EMPTY and let it sit for about 10 minutes, while you are making the cornbread mix and chopping vegetables and whatnot. Then take it out and pour the cornbread mix in. You will need to cook it for closer to 15-16 minutes in order for the center to fully cook. Ours was still a little mushy but I only cooked it for 13 minutes. Once you put the toppings on, cook it for maybe 6 minutes rather than 5 just to make sure it's all cooked through. It comes out of the pan really easily. I am always surprised when that happens. I love cast iron.

This is what it looks like in the pan:

This is what it looks like on the plate:

Mexican Deep Dish Pan Pizza
Rachael Ray

2 boxes corn muffin mix, 8 1/2 ounces each (recommended: Jiffy)
2 eggs
4 tablespoons melted butter
1 1/2 cups milk
1 cup frozen corn kernels
Extra-virgin olive oil or, vegetable oil, for drizzling

2 tablespoons extra-virgin or vegetable oil, 2 turns of the pan
1 pound ground beef
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons cayenne sauce
2 1/2 cups (10-ounce sack from dairy aisle) shredded Cheddar or jack cheese
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
1 small can, 2 1/4 ounces sliced chillies or jalapenos, drained
2 scallions, chopped
2 small vine ripe tomatoes, seeded and diced
2 tablespoons drained sliced green olives (salad olives)
1 to 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro leaves, optional garnish
Mild to medium taco sauce to pass at table, 1 cup

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Mix together 2 packages muffin mix with 2 eggs, 4 tablespoons melted butter (melt in microwave 30 seconds), 1 1/2 cups milk and frozen corn kernels. Wipe a nonstick skillet with a little extra or vegetable oil and pour in the muffin mix. Use a large skillet, 10 to 12 inch. Choose a pan with oven safe handle or, double-wrap handle with foil to protect it in the oven. Place pan in oven and bake 12 to 15 minutes in center of the oven until light golden in color.

Brown the meat over medium high heat in a second skillet in extra or vegetable oil, 2 turns of the pan. Add onions and spices and cook meat 5 minutes more.

Remove cornbread from oven and top with meat, cheese, and veggies. Add pan back to oven and cook 5 minutes more to melt cheese. Garnish with cilantro, optional. Cut into 8 wedges and serve the deep dish pan pizza from the skillet. Pass taco sauce at the table to sprinkle on top.

Yield: 4 servings (see my note above)

Quinoa with Moroccan Winter Squash and Carrot Stew

This is what we had last night. It is being posted today because last night I was in such a rush to get dinner finished, eat it, and run out the door so we could make it to the 7:00 showing of The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. And then of course, since that movie is the longest movie ever, when we got home I was too tired to post.

I had two problems with this recipe: it took much longer than I expected (hence the aforementioned rushing) and I was unable to find squash. I ended up using two yams, which were fine and still worked well. Apparently everyone was out of pre-cut squash and I really didn't want to have to hack one up myself.

We did agree that it was good. The quinoa was a nice balance with the stew. I like that the stew could be made ahead of time. That one aspect may keep this recipe in our rotation. We do like it. We would probably make it again.


Quinoa with Moroccan Winter Squash and Carrot Stew
Bon Appetit, January 2006

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
3 garlic cloves, chopped
2 teaspoons Hungarian sweet paprika
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Pinch of saffron
1 cup water
1 14 1/2-ounce can diced tomatoes, drained
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3 cups 1-inch cubes peeled butternut squash (from 1 1/2-pound squash)
2 cups 3/4-inch cubes peeled carrots

1 cup quinoa*
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1/4 cup finely chopped peeled carrot
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
2 cups water

1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro, divided
2 teaspoons chopped fresh mint, divided

For stew:
Heat oil in large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion; sauté until soft, stirring often, about 5 minutes. Add garlic; stir 1 minute. Mix in paprika and next 8 ingredients. Add 1 cup water, tomatoes, and lemon juice. Bring to boil. Add squash and carrots. Cover and simmer over medium-low heat until vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.)

For quinoa:
Rinse quinoa; drain. Melt butter with oil in large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and carrot. Cover; cook until vegetables begin to brown, stirring often, about 10 minutes. Add garlic, salt, and turmeric; sauté 1 minute. Add quinoa; stir 1 minute. Add 2 cups water. Bring to boil; reduce heat to medium-low. Cover; simmer until liquid is absorbed and quinoa is tender, about 15 minutes.

Rewarm stew. Stir in half of cilantro and half of mint. Spoon quinoa onto platter, forming well in center. Spoon stew into well. Sprinkle remaining herbs over.

Yield: 4-6 servings

Thursday, January 08, 2009


This dip sounded so unique that I obviously had to try it. I didn't have any pomegranate molasses so I mixed some POM Wonderful Pomegranate juice with some sugar and lemon juice. If you want to make it in mass quantities, this is the recipe I used. However I didn't really bother making it syrupy because I only needed two teaspoons for this recipe.

This was super-fast to make. We had it with some couscous and Pita Chips. It was yummy but it was a little overpowering after awhile. I would make it again for a party or something but I don't think it should be consumed in such large quantities.


Gourmet, December 1993

7-ounce jar roasted red peppers, drained
2/3 cup fine fresh bread crumbs
1/3 cup walnuts, toasted lightly and chopped fine
2 to 4 garlic cloves, minced and mashed to a paste with 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, or to taste
2 teaspoons pomegranate molasses
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon dried hot red pepper flakes
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
toasted pita triangles as an accompaniment

In a food processor blend together the peppers, the bread crumbs, the walnuts, the garlic, the lemon juice, the pomegranate molasses, the cumin, the red pepper flakes, and salt to taste until the mixture is smooth and with the motor running add the oil gradually. Transfer the muhammara to a bowl and serve it at room temperature with the pita triangles.

Yield: 1 3/4 cup

Pita Chips

I needed pita chips to go with dinner tonight but I don't have any, so I made some! I adapted a recipe from Giada and it worked quite well. I may never have to buy pita chips again!


Pita Chips

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut each pita in half and then into 8 wedges. Arrange the pita wedges on a large baking sheet. Pour the remaining oil over the pitas. Toss and spread out the wedges evenly. Sprinkle with salt. Bake for 8 to 12 minutes, or until toasted and golden in color.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Southwestern Falafel with Avocado Spread

I was cleaning out my recipe program the other day, moving things around to different ratings categories, and in my "Favorites" folder I found this recipe for Southwestern Falafel with Avocado Spread. This is something I used to make a lot when I was still in college, and when I first started this blog. It's old old old! I haven't made it in years! Therefore, I needed to make it to re-evaluate whether it really belongs in my "Favorites" folder. I've evolved as a chef and as a person who eats in the four years since I started this blog, and many recipes I thought were awesome four years ago are not awesome anymore.

Luckily, this recipe still is yummy! I definitely wouldn't keep it in the "Favorites" folder because we definitely have way better recipes, but this is certainly worth keeping for another four years. It's yummy, healthy, and simple.

A picture, since I didn't even have a digital camera four years ago:

Monday, January 05, 2009


I was born in Holland. My dad was stationed there with the Air Force until I was 2, and my brother and I were born there. I think my parents lived there for 3 or 4 years total. They have many stories about the legendary government cheeses, breads, pannekoeken, and the glories of chocolate sprinkles on buttered bread (a treat from the hospital after babies are born). Something else they loved were Stroopwafels (pronounced STROPE-va-fulls), a wafery cookie filled with honey and syrup. Stroop means syrup, wafels means waffles. Syrup Waffles. Delicious.

Gibby's coworker is from Holland and today she brought in some Stroopwafels and chocolate sprinkles for bread. Gibby brought home a package of Stroopwafels for us.


I was very excited to try out this delicious dish from my homeland. So we opened up the package and...


deliciousness ensued. These cookies are amazingly delicious. I am going to need to order some in bulk from Europe. They certainly rival my beloved Happy Hippos from Wales.

Seriously, we have to visit Europe some time.

Broccoli-Noodle Casserole

When I saw this posted on Joe's Blog recently, it just looked too yummy to pass up. And it is just as delicious as we hoped! Very simple flavors, very yummy. Next time we make it I will drain the pasta just before it's done because it continues to cook in the oven from the moisture in the cottage cheese and milk, so our bottom layer was a little soggy, but it was stil yummy. Definitely a make-again.

Notes: I used 1% milk, fat-free cottage cheese, light cheese (a cheddar blend), and no mustard. I threw the broccoli in with the pasta a minute before it was done and drained them all at once. Quick way to blanch it!


Broccoli-Noodle Casserole
Joe's Blog

1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
1/8 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg
Freshly ground pepper to taste
1 cup cottage cheese
6 ounces whole wheat egg noodles, cooked and drained
12 ounces fresh broccoli florets, blanched and coarsely chopped
4 ounces shredded sharp white cheddar
3 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350

In a medium saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and sauté until tender, about 5 minutes. Add butter and flour and stir until bubbly. In a small bowl, whisk together the milk through freshly ground pepper. Slowly pour in milk and whisk until thickened, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in cottage cheese.

Coat a 2-1/2 quart casserole dish lightly cooking spray, place noodles, white sauce, and broccoli. Mix well. Scatter the top with both cheeses.

Bake for 30-40 minutes, until bubbly.

Yield: 4-6 servings

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Roasted Fall Vegetables in Cheddar Crust

This looked fantastic and got excellent reviews so I was really excited to make it. However, this was just one little catastrophe after another.

First, as I was putting the tart crust into the refrigerator, the sides of the tart pan slipped (ALWAYS CARRY IT BY THE SIDES, NOT BY THE BOTTOM) and crumbly crust went EVERYWHERE. In the refrigerator, on the floor, under the refrigerator, into Emma's dog bowl. It was horrible. Luckily since I was using a 9" round tart pan, I had some extra crust to use.

Although was it really lucky? Because the crust was awful. It was dry and crumbly and lacked flavor. The tapenade and vinegar gave the meal a bitter taste, and the feta didn't add much (I subbed feta for the goat cheese). I liked the roasted vegetables a lot - I couldn't find a fennel bulb so I just used broccoli and Brussels sprouts. This is unfortunately not a make-again for us.


Roasted Fall Vegetables in Cheddar Crust
Eating Well

2 leeks, white and light green parts only, coarsely chopped and rinsed
1 pound small broccoli florets or Brussels sprouts, trimmed and cut in half
2 small or 1 large fennel bulb, cored and thinly sliced lengthwise
½ cup thinly sliced red onion
1 head garlic
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary or 1 teaspoon dried
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
1/3 cup black olive tapenade (see Ingredient Note)
½ cup crumbled goat cheese

1 ¼ cups white whole-wheat flour (see Ingredient Note)
1 cup shredded reduced-fat Cheddar cheese
½ cup cornmeal
4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
3 tablespoons canola or extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons ice water

1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
2. To prepare filling: Spread leeks, broccoli (or Brussels sprouts), fennel and onion in a single layer on a large rimmed baking sheet along with the unpeeled head of garlic. Season the vegetables with rosemary, salt and pepper. Drizzle oil over the vegetables and garlic and toss to coat.
3. Bake, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender when pierced with a knife and the garlic is soft, 35 to 45 minutes. Remove from the oven, set aside the garlic, and toss the vegetables with vinegar. Let cool.
4. To prepare crust: Coat an 8-by-12-inch rectangular or 11-inch round removable-bottom tart pan with cooking spray.
5. Place flour, Cheddar and cornmeal in a food processor; pulse to combine. Add butter one piece at a time, pulsing once or twice after each addition, until incorporated. Add oil and water and pulse just until the dough starts to come together. Turn the dough out into the prepared pan (it will be crumbly), spread evenly and press firmly into the bottom and all the way up the sides to form a crust. Refrigerate until ready to bake.
6. When the vegetables are done, reduce oven temperature to 350°. Bake the crust until set but not browned, about 15 minutes.
7. Place the tart pan on a baking sheet. Spread tapenade over the bottom of the crust. Top with the roasted vegetables. Cut off the top of the garlic and squeeze out the cloves onto the vegetables. Sprinkle with goat cheese.
8. Bake the tart until the edges of the crust are golden brown, about 25 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes before removing the pan sides and cutting into squares.

Prepare the crust (Step 4), wrap tightly and refrigerate for up to 3 days. | Equipment: 8-by-12-inch rectangular or 11-inch round removable-bottom tart pan

Ingredient notes: Black olive tapenade is a thick paste made from olives, garlic and other flavorful ingredients. Look for it near jarred olives at the store. Or to make your own for this recipe, puree 1/2 cup pitted Kalamata olives, 1 clove peeled garlic and 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar in a food processor until it forms a thick paste.

White whole-wheat flour, made from a special variety of white wheat, is light in color and flavor but has the same nutritional properties as regular whole-wheat flour. Available in large supermarkets and in natural-foods stores. Store in the freezer.

Pizza Bread

We've had a bit of overkill on the sugar lately so for our baked good this week I thought I'd made some pizza bread. Basically it's just bread flavored like a pizza. It's very simple. If you don't have a breadmaker, you could mix it all by hand and then knead it for about 10-15 minutes, then let it rise. Just like the person's notes said, mine took forever to rise - in fact, it didn't even really rise after 2 hours, so I just baked it as it was. It's good, it just isn't great. It's a little dense, mostly because of the lack of rising, but the flavor is nice. Not a make-again though.

Notes are included from the original posters on the Cooking Light boards because the recipe is so short and their suggestions are good.


Pizza Bread
CLBB (bobmark)

1-1/4 cups tomato or V-8 juice
2 Tbps. vegetable oil (used olive oil)
1/2 egg (used the yolk)
1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan
1 Tbsp. dried basil
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
2 Tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
3 cups bread flour
1-1/2 tsps. instant yeast

Prepare in bread machine.

Bake at 350F for 30-35 minutes.

Bob's Notes: very slow rising, took a full two hours, maybe increase the yeast next time. I mistakenly used a half cup of cheese, but didn't need to add any additional flour because the whole wheat might have balanced it out.

Susan's notes: I didn't find mine to be slow-rising at all, so I only let it go for 1 hour. I also used 1/2 cup of cheese, a heaping tablespoon of minced garlic in place of the garlic powder, and 1 1/2 tsp of Italian seasoning in place of the basil and oregano. My dough was very sticky (it might should have had another 1/2 cup of flour added, but I didn't), so I was concerned about the cooking time. I baked it for 40 minutes, and that caused a really brown crust--not hard, but really brown. I suggest 30-35 minutes.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Spring Roll Salad with Roasted Shallot Peanut Sauce and Tamarind Dipping Sauce

Well, there are many, many steps and many ingredients to this meal. Too many for the end result, it turns out. It's good, it just isn't worth all the effort!!

P.S. Shoyu is basically just soy sauce. Also, I couldn't find a Thai chile so I just squirted in some Sriracha.


Spring Roll Salad with Roasted Shallot Peanut Sauce and Tamarind Dipping Sauce
The Healthy Hedonist / CLBB

3/4 pound fresh shiitake mushrooms
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons shoyu
4 ounces (4 cups loosely packed) fettucine-style rice noodles
2 carrots, sliced into matchsticks (1 cup)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
Roasted Shallot Peanut Sauce (recipe follows)
Tamarind Dipping sauce (recipe follows)
1/2 cup dry-roasted peanuts, chopped, for garnish

Preheat the oven to 375.

Cut the stems off the shiitakes and discard them (or save them for stock). Thinly slice the caps; you should have 5 cups. Toss the shiitakes in a bowl with the olive oil and shoyu. Then spread them out on a parchment-covered baking sheet and transfer it to the oven. Roast, stirring twice, until the mushrooms are shrunken, browned, and fairly crisp, about 40 minutes. Place the mushrooms in a small bowl and set it aside.

Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Remove the pot from the heat, add the noodles, and let them sit until softened, 3 to 4 minutes. Drain, and rinse the noodles for at least 30 seconds under cold water to prevent sticking.

Toss the noodles in a bowl with the carrots and herbs. Mound a portion of noodles on each plate, and drizzle the dipping sauce and the peanut sauce over the top. Sprinkle with the mushrooms and peanuts.

Serves 8.

Roasted Shallot Peanut Sauce

This versatile peanut sauce is sweet with a spicy kick. It's great on a variety of dishes. Heat the sauce or serve it at room temperature.

3 medium shallots, unpeeled
1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
3 tablespoons natural sugar, preferably maple sugar or evaporated cane sugar
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon shoyu
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon fresh lime juice

Preheat the oven to 375 F.

Place the shallots on a parchment-covered baking sheet and roast until they are very tender and the juices have started to ooze out, 30 to 35 minutes. Let the shallots cool slightly, and then squeeze the pulp out of the skins. Place the shallot pulp and all the remaining ingredients in a food processor or blender, and blend until smooth. The sauce will keep, covered and refrigerated for up to a week. Warm before serving.

Makes 2 cups.

Tamarind Dipping Sauce

This tangy sauce takes ouly a few minutes to make and complements the sweet and spicy peanut sauce, making the noodles come alive with flavor.

2 tablespoons natural sugar, preferably maple sugar or evaporated cane juice
6 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon tamarind concentrate
1 tablespoon shoyu
1 teaspoon chopped fresh cilantro
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon finely slivered seeded red serrano or ThaI bird chile

Combine the sugar and water in a small saucepan, and warm over medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Remove the pan from the heat and mix in the lime juice, tamarind concentrate, and shoyu, stirring until smooth. Let the mixture cool slightly, and then stir in the cilantro, garlic, and chile. The sauce should be tangy and slightly sour. The sauces will keep, covered and refrigerated, for up to 5 days.

Makes 1/2 cup.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Pupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

So January 1 was Emma's first birthday. In theory. Since she's a shelter dog we have no idea when she was actually born but our vet decided she was a New Year's baby and so that's what we're going with.

Naturally, birthdays must be celebrated with cake. And since we were at my parents' house in CT, their pug and chihuahua got to partake in the doggie festivities. I made these "Pupcakes" from Joe's Blog, and they were adorable. We didn't have shredded carrots so I garnished with some more cheese. I can't say they smelled good (and none of us tasted them) but the dogs absolutely LOVED them. Even Ramone, my parents' chihuahua, who is super-super picky and doesn't eat very much, ate his entire cupcake. I think these are successful treats that are enjoyed by all dogs! Hooray!


Emma eating her cupcake:

Pupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting
Joe's Blog

Cupcake Batter
1 granny smith apple, minced
1 1/2 cups wheat flour
1/4 cup rolled oats
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup canola oil
2 tablespoons honey
2 large eggs
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

8 tablespoons 1/3 less fat cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons plain yogurt
2 tablespoons honey
2-3 tablespoons whole wheat flour
1/2 cup shredded carrots

Preheat oven to 400

To make the cupcake batter:
In a large bowl, whisk flour, oatmeal, baking powder, and baking soda until combined.

In a medium bowl, whisk together yogurt, water, oil, honey and eggs. Mix in the apple and cheese. Pour into the dry ingredients and stir just until combined.

Evenly distribute the batter between 14 to 16 muffin cups lightly brushed with canola oil. Bake until the muffins spring back when lightly touched in the center - about 15-20 minutes. Remove from the oven and place pans on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Carefully remove the muffins and let cool completely.

To make the frosting:
In a medium mixing bowl, cream together cream cheese, honey and yogurt until smooth. Sprinkle in the flour, a tablespoon at a time, until it is thick and easy to spread. Top with the shredded carrots and serve as a extra special treat to your pups!

Thursday, January 01, 2009

2008 Wrap-Up

Alright let's do a little 2008 wrap-up. I baked some goodies for the dogs today because it's Emma's first birthday (hooray!) but I will post about that tomorrow once we're home in Maryland.

First let's examine the count for how many new recipes we made in 2008. This does not include repeats from previous years - all completely brand new tried in 2008:


Yup. That is so awesome. Last year was 228, and in 2006 I made 157. My goal for 2009 will be 300 new recipes.

Here are our top-rated recipes for the year, broken down into savory and sweet because I was incapable of making just one list.

1. Moomie's Beautiful Burger Buns - CLBB
2. Spanish-Style Shrimp with Garlic - CL 3/06
3. Vegetarian Pad Thai - Gourmet, 12/07
4. Classic Waffles - CLBB (SheRa)
5. Stuffed Vegetables with Spinach and Artichoke Hearts -
6. Crash Hot Potatoes - Pioneer Woman
7. Orange Cornmeal Bread - CLBB
8. Pan-Seared Tilapia with Citrus Vinaigrette - CL 1/08
9. Crispy and Delicious Asparagus and Potato Tart - Jamie Oliver
10. Potato-Leek Gratin - CL, 9/07

1. Mandarin Cream Delight - CL 2000
2. Milk Chocolate-Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookies - BA
3. Creamy Chocolate Dessert - CL
4. Outrageous Oreo Crunch Brownies - Ina Garten
5. Magnolia Bakery Butterscotch Cream Cheese Swirl Brownies - Magnolia Bakery Cookbook
6. Pecan Squares - Ina Garten
7. Cranberry-Oatmeal Bars - CL