Monday, November 30, 2009

Hot Artichoke-Cheese Dip

I had all these plans to post all the delicious things that we made and ate over Thanksgiving, but my laptop has a virus so all I can do at the moment is update with last night's food. Be patient - hopefully I will have a Thanksgiving update posted tonight.

This dip is super-easy, which is why I picked it. It was pretty yummy. We liked the addition of the crushed red pepper. But it definitely isn't even remotely close to our favorite spinach artichoke dip, and it's too similar not to draw comparisons. We enjoyed it but wouldn't make it again.



Hot Artichoke-Cheese Dip
Cooking Light, September 2008

This warm dip is just the thing when you hanker for a creamy, cheesy snack. And because you are likely to have the ingredients on hand in the fridge and freezer, it's also great for impromptu entertaining.

2 garlic cloves
1 green onion, cut into pieces
1/3 cup (1 1/2 ounces) grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, divided
1/3 cup reduced-fat mayonnaise
1/4 cup (2 ounces) 1/3-less-fat cream cheese
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
12 ounces frozen artichoke hearts, thawed and drained
Cooking spray
24 (1/2-ounce) slices baguette, toasted

1. Preheat oven to 400°.

2. Place garlic and onion in a food processor; process until finely chopped. Add 1/4 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano and next 4 ingredients (through pepper); process until almost smooth. Add artichoke hearts; pulse until artichoke hearts are coarsely chopped. Spoon mixture into a 3-cup gratin dish coated with cooking spray; sprinkle evenly with remaining Parmigiano-Reggiano. Bake at 400° for 15 minutes or until thoroughly heated and bubbly. Serve hot with baguette.

Yield: 12 servings

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Polenta with Roasted Red Peppers and Fontina Cheese

This was super-easy and pretty good. I would just use regular diced tomatoes if I made this again because it wasn't necessary to use the whole ones. I used some jarred roasted peppers to reduce the prep time as well. It was pretty good but got a little monotonous. I don't know if we would make it again.


Polenta with Roasted Red Peppers and Fontina Cheese
Cooking Light

3 large red bell peppers
1 (14.5-ounce) can whole tomatoes, undrained and chopped
Cooking spray
1 (16-ounce) tube polenta, cut crosswise into 12 slices
1 1/4 cups (5 ounces) shredded fontina cheese
Fresh basil (optional)

Preheat broiler. Cut peppers in half lengthwise; discard seeds and membranes. Place pepper halves, skin sides up, on foil-lined baking sheet; flatten with hand. Broil 10 minutes or until blackened. Place in a zip-top plastic bag; seal. Let stand 15 minutes. Peel; cut into strips. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 350°. Drain tomatoes in sieve over bowl; reserve liquid. Set aside.

Place a large skillet over medium-low heat; add chopped tomatoes. Cook 1 minute. Gradually add tomato liquid; simmer 1 minute. Add pepper strips; simmer 5 minutes. Remove from heat.

Spread 1/4 cup pepper sauce in bottom of a 13 x 9-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Arrange polenta slices over pepper sauce; spread remaining pepper sauce over polenta. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake at 350° for 25 minutes. Garnish with basil, if desired.

Yield: 6 servings

Monday, November 23, 2009

Mixed-Bean Chili with Tofu

This is an excellent chili, but not as good as the white chili I made a couple weeks ago. I liked the crumbled tofu - usually I cube it, so crumbling it was intriguing. It's not noticeable, so those of you fearful of tofu would probably like this recipe. I would make this again.


Mixed-Bean Chili with Tofu
Cooking Light, December 1999

7 ounces firm tofu, drained and crumbled (about 1 cup)
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin, divided
1 1/2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 1/2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 1/2 tablespoons hot chili powder or regular chili powder
1 teaspoon minced drained canned chipotle chile in adobo sauce
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 cups water
1 (15-ounce) can pinto beans
1 (15-ounce) can red kidney beans
1 (14.5-ounce) can no-salt-added diced tomatoes, undrained
1/2 teaspoon cider vinegar
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup low-fat sour cream

Heat a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add tofu and 3/4 teaspoon cumin; sauté 3 minutes. Stir in soy sauce; cook 1 minute or until liquid evaporates. Remove tofu mixture from pan.

Heat the oil in pan; add 3/4 teaspoon cumin, chopped onion, coriander, and oregano; sauté 4 minutes. Add tofu mixture, tomato paste, and next 5 ingredients (paste through garlic); stir well. Add water, beans, and tomatoes; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 30 minutes. Stir in vinegar. Spoon chili into bowls; top each serving with cilantro and sour cream.

Yield: 4 servings

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Middle Eastern Chickpea Miniburgers

With the popularity of sliders lately, it's fun to find some recipes for unique vegetarian ones. This one comes from a recent issue of Cooking Light - which, while I no longer subscribe, I have been getting their recipes from their website. It's pretty simple and came together well. The patties held their shape nicely. I used some dinner rolls that I baked in the oven for 10 minutes. I highly recommend toasting or grilling the bread before using it because the texture went well with the chickpea patties. We had it with the recommended radishes, roasted red peppers (from a jar), lettuce, and mayonnaise, and it was very good. The patties could probably benefit from some stronger spices, but it was still good. We would make this again.



Middle Eastern Chickpea Miniburgers
Cooking Light, November 2009

Serve each burger on a whole-grain slider bun with lettuce, crisp radish slices, roasted red bell pepper, and canola-based mayonnaise. Two burgers per person!

1 (8-ounce) red potato
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 (15.5-ounce) can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed, drained, and divided
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon rind
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 large egg whites, lightly beaten

1. Place potato in a saucepan; cover with water. Bring to a boil; cook 20 minutes or until very tender. Drain. Cool slightly. Coarsely chop, and place in medium bowl. Add 1 tablespoon oil and garlic to bowl; mash potato mixture with a potato masher until slightly chunky. Remove 3 tablespoons chickpeas; place in a small bowl. Add remaining chickpeas to potato mixture; mash until well blended. Stir in remaining 3 tablespoons whole chickpeas, parsley, and remaining ingredients. With moistened hands, divide mixture into 6 equal portions (about 1/3 cup mixture per portion), shaping each into a 3-inch patty.

2. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add 3 patties to pan; reduce heat to medium, and cook 4 minutes or until bottoms are golden. Carefully turn patties over; cook 3 minutes or until bottoms are golden and patties are set. Repeat procedure with remaining 1 tablespoon oil and 3 patties.

Yield: 3 servings

First Prize Apple Pie

My friend Laura is a wonderful photographer and I wanted her to take our Christmas pictures. We negotiated a price, which included baking her a pie. She said she and her husband like apple pie... so I picked out an apple pie recipe. This one won some contests and stuff, and it is non-traditional, so I decided to try it out.

Now. I have to make a confession: this recipe uses shortening. And I still made it. However, I made myself feel better by using Spectrum all-natural trans-fat-free shortening. And only a little tiny bit. And what do you know, it made a really nice pie crust!

Laura says: "Jarrod and I both give your apple pie two thumbs up (from both, so four thumbs up). It's VERY good!"

It's really pretty and smells yummy, so I'd probably make it again for us sometime.


Susan Brackett's First Prize Apple Pie
Cooking Light, October 2007

The judges awarded the top honors to Susan Brackett for her crumb-topped pie. Brackett used Cortland apples, but any tart apple will do. We found Pink Lady apples do nicely.

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (about 6 3/4 ounces)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
2 tablespoons chilled butter, cut into small pieces
2 tablespoons vegetable shortening
1 teaspoon vinegar
7 tablespoons ice water

1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon salt
7 cups thinly sliced peeled Pink Lady apple (about 7 medium)
Cooking spray

6 tablespoons all-purpose flour (about 1 3/4 ounces)
3 tablespoons brown sugar
3 tablespoons chilled butter

To prepare crust, lightly spoon 1 1/2 cups flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine 1 1/2 cups flour, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and baking powder in a medium bowl; cut in 2 tablespoons butter and vegetable shortening with a pastry blender or 2 knives until mixture resembles coarse meal. Sprinkle surface with vinegar and ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time, tossing with a fork until dough is moist and crumbly (do not form a ball). Gently press dough into a 4-inch circle on 2 sheets of overlapping heavy-duty plastic wrap, and cover with 2 additional sheets of overlapping plastic wrap. Roll the dough, still covered, into a 12-inch circle. Chill the dough 30 minutes or until the plastic wrap can be easily removed.

Preheat oven to 425°.

To prepare filling, combine granulated sugar and next 4 ingredients (through 1/8 teaspoon salt) in a small bowl. Sprinkle sugar mixture over apple; toss well to coat.

Remove top sheets of plastic wrap from dough circle; fit dough, plastic wrap side up, into a 10-inch deep-dish pie plate coated with cooking spray, letting dough extend over edge of plate. Remove remaining plastic wrap. Fold edges under, and flute. Spoon filling into crust.

To prepare topping, combine 6 tablespoons flour and brown sugar in a medium bowl. Cut in 3 tablespoons butter with a pastry blender or 2 knives until mixture is crumbly. Sprinkle topping mixture over apple mixture. Bake at 425° for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350° (do not remove pie from oven); bake an additional 40 minutes.

Yield: 10 servings

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Mixed Vegetable Kootu

I haven't posted since Wednesday because I haven't made anything. I've been very blah and not even remotely in the mood for cooking, which is crappy. I like to cook. It is sad when I am too tired to cook. Today I forced myself though and I made this tasty Indian dish that took much less time than I had anticipated. It isn't a curry, which is intriguing. I thought it was great. We would definitely make this again.

I didn't use coconut oil because who has that? And I forgot to buy curry leaves so I left that out, but I don't think that mattered much.


Mixed Vegetable Kootu
Vegetarian Times, March 2009

This hearty veggie dish would be the centerpiece of a festive South Indian meal. If you can’t find fresh or frozen coconut, soak dried coconut in hot water for 15 minutes, then drain.

½ cup fresh or frozen grated unsweetened coconut
1 cup firmly packed cilantro leaves
½ cup low-fat coconut milk
5 cloves garlic, peeled
1 serrano chile, stemmed and seeded
1 Tbs. ground coriander
1 tsp. cayenne pepper
2 medium carrots, cut into ¼-inch diagonal slices (1¼ cups)
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cut into ¼-inch rounds (1½ cups)
½ head medium cauliflower, cut into florets (2 cups)
¼ lb. green beans (1 cup)
2 Tbs. coconut oil
1 tsp. mustard seeds
8 curry leaves, optional

1. Purée cilantro leaves, coconut, coconut milk, garlic, serrano chile, coriander, and cayenne pepper in food processor until mixture forms a smooth paste. Set aside.

2. Place carrots and sweet potato in large skillet, and cover with 1 cup water. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, and cook 2 minutes. Add cauliflower, cover skillet, and simmer 2 minutes. Add green beans, cover, and cook 2 minutes more, or until vegetables are just tender. Stir in cilantro-and-coconut paste, and season with salt and pepper, if desired. Cover, and keep warm.

3. Meanwhile, heat oil in small skillet over medium-high heat. Add mustard seeds, and cover. Cook 30 seconds, or until sizzling subsides, then stir in curry leaves, if using. Stir mustard seeds and curry leaves into vegetables. Serve hot or at room temperature.

Yield: 6 servings

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Avocado & Cheddar Sandwich

Tonight I made myself Avocado & Cheddar Sandwiches. Two because I missed lunch today. Yummy and delicious as usual!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Acorn Squash Stuffed with Chard & White Beans

Because of the success of the last stuffed acorn squash recipe, I decided to try out a new recipe! This one uses swiss chard, white beans, kalamata olives, parmesan cheese, and breadcrumbs. I liked it a lot. I liked being able to microwave the squash. It was impressive but only took a total of about 15 minutes from start to finish. I thought it was pretty good.


Acorn Squash Stuffed with Chard & White Beans
Eating Well // CLBB (Randi R)

2 medium acorn squash, halved and seeded
1 tsp + 2 TBSP extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1/2 tsp salt, divided
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper, divided
1/2 c chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 TBSP water
1 TBSP tomato paste
8 c chopped chard leaves
1 15-oz can white beans, rinsed
1/4 c chopped kalamata olives
1/3 c coarse dry whole-wheat breadcrumbs
1/3 c grated Parmesan cheese

Cut a small slice off the bottom of each squash half so it rests flat. Brush insides with 1 tsp oil; sprinkle with 1/4 tsp each salt and pepper. Place in a 9-by-13-inch microwave-safe dish. Cover with plastic wrap and mocrowave on high until the squash is fork-tender, about12 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat 1TBSP oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion; cook, stirring, until starting to brown, 2 - 3 minutes. Add garlic, cook, stirring for 1 minute. Stir in water, tomato paste and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Stir in chard, cover and cook until tender, 3 - 5 minutes. Stir in white beans and olives; cook until heated through, 1 - 2 minutes more. Remove from heat.

Position rack in center of oven; preheat broiler.

Combine breadcrumbs, Parmesan and the remaining 1 TBSP oil in a bowl. Fill each squash half with about 1 cup of the chard mixture. Place in a baking pan or on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with the breadcrumb mixture. Broil in the center of the oven until the breadcrumbs are browned, 1 - 2 minutes.

Yield: 4 servings

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Cheesy White Chili with Cauliflower

So, remember the other day when my crockpot died? This is the recipe I was trying to make. Since I still had most of the ingredients, I decided I needed to try to make it on the stovetop. Instead of cooking in the crockpot for 8-10 hours, I simmered on the stovetop for 30 minutes. Then I added in the cauliflower, bell pepper, and jalapeno and simmered for another 15 minutes. Then I mixed in all the other stuff (cheeses, chilies, etc) and cooked it just til the cheese was melted.

It is FANTASTIC. Now. I believe it is a very successful white chili. Does white chili count as a true chili? What do you think? Regardless, I definitely think this was amazing and I fully intend to make it again.


Cheesy White Chili with Cauliflower
CLBB (Connor'sMom)

This pale vegetarian chili is both pretty to look at and delicious to eat. Add the cream cheese if you prefer a thicker, cheesier sauce, and the mild green chiles for a flavor boost.

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 onions -- finely chopped
4 cloves garlic -- minced
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
1 tablespoon dried oregano leaves
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cracked black peppercorns
1 can white kidney beans -- (14-19 oz) -- drained & rinsed
3 cups vegetable stock
3 cups cauliflower florets -- cooked for 4 minutes in salted boiling water and drained
1 jalapeno pepper -- minced
1 green bell pepper -- diced
2 cups Monterey jack cheese -- shredded
4 ounces cream cheese -- cut into 1/2" cubes, softened -- optional
1 4.5 oz can chopped mild green chiles -- optional
green onions and cilantro -- finely chopped, to garnish

In a skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add onions and cook, stirring, until softened, about 3 minutes. Add garlic, cumin seeds, oregano, chili powder, salt and peppercorns and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Transfer mixture to slow cooker stoneware. Add beans and stock and stir to combine.

Cover and cook on LOW for 8 to 10 hours or on HIGH for 4 to 5 hours, until hot and bubbling.

Stir in cauliflower, jalapeno pepper, green pepper, Monterey Jack cheese, and cream cheese and chiles, if using. Cover and cook on HIGH for 25 to 30 minutes, until green peppers are softened and cauliflower is heated through. Ladle into bowls and garnish as desired.

TIPS - If you prefer a thicker chili, mash some or all of the beans or puree in a food processor before adding to the recipe. If you are assembling this chili the night before you plan to serve it, for convenience, chop the peppers and cook the cauliflower as well. Cover and refrigerate until ready to add to the recipe in Step 3.

MAKE AHEAD - This chili can be partially prepared the night before it is cooked. Complete Step 1. Cover and refrigerate overnight. The next morning, continue cooking as directed.

Beet-Pickled Deviled Eggs

This recipe was terrifying. I'll admit it.

It creates PINK EGGS? The eggs are PICKLED? And then I fill them with stuff? I've never made deviled eggs before, first off. And while I've seen jars of pickled eggs here in Pennsylvania, like the recipe's description said, I never wondered what they tasted like. But the picture on the Gourmet website just looked so cool! And I happened to have a couple of leftover beets. Sooo.....

I made it! I started it all yesterday. I boiled the eggs and put them in a jar with the beet mixture yesterday, then I put it into the refrigerator. Today I cut them open and was excited to see that the neon pink eggs looked just like in the magazine! I LOVE WHEN THAT HAPPENS! I filled them up with the filling, and voila! We all tried them. My parents and I really liked them though! I didn't think they tasted vinegary. I liked the caraway seed in the filling. I doubt I would ever make this again except maybe if I had a party where things needed to be pink, or maybe for an Easter brunch or something? But I'm proud of myself for trying something scary and new!




Beet-Pickled Deviled Eggs
Gourmet, November 2009 (Aw their last issue!)

A big jar of beet-pickled hard-boiled eggs anchors many a neighborhood bar in Pennsylvania, but you can take the idea a step further, melding a colorful finger food with another classic snack. Caraway seeds add an aromatic note to the eggs? deviled filling.

3 cups water
1 cup distilled white vinegar
1 small beet, peeled and sliced
1 small shallot, sliced
1 teaspoon sugar
1 Turkish or 1/2 California bay leaf
12 hard-boiled large eggs, peeled
1 teaspoon caraway seeds, toastedcooled
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon grainy mustard
1 tablespoon finely chopped flat-leaf parsley

Equipment: an electric coffee/spice grinder or a mortar and pestle

Bring water, vinegar, beet, shallot, sugar, bay leaf, and 1/2 teaspoon salt to a boil in a 2-quart saucepan, then simmer, covered, until beet is tender, about 20 minutes. Cool completely, uncovered. Put beet mixture in a container with eggs and marinate, chilled, gently stirring once or twice, at least 2 hours.

Finely grind caraway seeds in grinder.

Remove eggs from beet mixture and pat dry (discard beet mixture). Cut in half lengthwise and remove yolks. Mash yolks with mayonnaise, mustard, parsley, and half of caraway. Season with salt and pepper, then divide among egg whites. Sprinkle with remaining caraway.

Cooks’ notes: •Eggs can be marinated, chilled, in an airtight container up to 3 days.
•Eggs can be filled 2 hours ahead and chilled, loosely covered.

Yield: 8 servings

Fleas Navidad Muffins

My parents came to visit for the weekend and they brought their dogs! While they were here, they sampled some of the foods I've made recently. My mom liked the mocha-toffee brownies and was excited that I'd used Starbucks Via coffee in them. My dad wasn't a fan because he doesn't like coffee and he wasn't listening when I explained that they had coffee in them. I made our favorite lemon-poppy seed donuts for breakfast this morning and my parents enjoyed them a lot. I sent some home with them for my brother since we had a few leftovers. And then before my parents left they had a quick lunch of the leftover couscous with chickpeas, tomatoes, and edamame from earlier in the week.

But, of course, I had to make something for the dogs! I made this super-fast recipe for apple-honey biscuits. Emma LOVED them. Yoda and Ramone... not so much. Not exciting enough. Oh well. It was worth a shot.



Fleas Navidad Muffins
CLBB (missindi)

2 tablespoons honey
2-3/4 cups water
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/8 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg
1/2 cup chopped peanuts
4 cups whole-wheat flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon nutmeg

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl, mix together honey, water, applesauce, vanilla and egg. In a separate bowl, mix peanuts, flour, baking powder, cinnamon and nutmeg. Add wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir, mixing well. Spoon into a greased muffin tin, filling each cup two-thirds full. Bake for 35 minutes. Store in a sealed container.

Yield: 16 biscuits

Thursday, November 12, 2009

RIP Crockpot


My crockpot died today. It's been doing weird things and today it just gave up. I had started what seemed to be a tasty white chili and this afternoon it leaked all over the place, soaking everything on the counter, burning the insides of the crockpot, and just making life suck for everyone. So. Into the trash it went. And we had frozen pizza.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Fudgy Mocha-Toffee Brownies

Tonight while I made myself some Couscous with Chickpeas, Tomatoes, and Edamame (yum!) I also whipped up these brownies. The fact that I was able to do both at once should be a sign that they are both easy-peasy. I made these mostly for my coworkers but I plan to eat them myself too. The brownies are delicious! I thought the coffee flavor would be more subtle, but it is not. It's pretty obvious. I used a free sample of Starbucks' new instant coffee and it worked beautifully. I like these a lot. My only concern is that they aren't 100% cooked through and definitely are fudgy. I would bake them for a few more minutes next time.


Fudgy Mocha-Toffee Brownies
Cooking Light, January 2005

Coffee and toffee give these rich chocolate brownies a unique twist. If they haven't all been gobbled up, store leftover brownies in an airtight container for up to a week or wrap tightly in aluminum foil and freeze for up to four months.

Cooking spray
2 tablespoons instant coffee granules
1/4 cup hot water
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/3 cups sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1/4 cup toffee chips

Preheat oven to 350º.

Coat bottom of a 9-inch square baking pan with cooking spray.

Combine coffee and hot water, stirring until coffee dissolves.

Combine butter and chocolate chips in a small microwave-safe bowl. Microwave at high 1 minute or until butter melts; stir until chocolate is smooth.

Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk. Combine coffee mixture, butter mixture, vanilla, and eggs in a medium bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add coffee mixture to flour mixture; stir just until combined. Spread evenly into prepared pan. Sprinkle evenly with toffee chips. Bake at 350º for 22 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.

Yield: 20 servings

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Spicy Tomato and White Bean Soup

Tonight we had this soup along with some Cheddar Bay Biscuits. I made them without the ranch dressing, using just the herbs called for, and they weren't as special. I think I will use the ranch mix from now on because it's a better balance of flavors.

The soup was very yummy. I didn't puree everything separately and instead put everything in the pot except the beans, pureed it, and then added the beans. It worked out very well and was very tasty. We liked it a lot and would make it again.


Spicy Tomato and White Bean Soup
Cooking Light, August 2006

Pair this soup with a simple grilled cheese sandwich for a quick and satisfying meal.

1 (14-ounce) can fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth, divided
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 (16-ounce) can navy beans, drained and rinsed
1 medium poblano chile, halved and seeded
1/2 onion, cut into 1/2-inch-thick wedges
1 pint grape tomatoes
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon extravirgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
Cilantro sprigs (optional)

Combine 1 cup broth, chili powder, cumin, and beans in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Combine remaining broth, poblano, and onion in a food processor; pulse until vegetables are chopped. Add onion mixture to pan.

Add tomatoes and cilantro to food processor, and process until coarsely chopped. Add tomato mixture to pan; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 5 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Remove from heat; stir in juice, olive oil, and salt. Garnish with cilantro sprigs, if desired.

Yield: 4 servings

Monday, November 09, 2009

Greek-Style Panini

Tonight's dinner took 8 minutes to make, and that includes preheating the Griddler. I used some block feta cheese crumbled up and I used fresh baby spinach instead of frozen spinach. We liked this. It was very simple and yummy. We would make this again.

Oh! And I forgot to mention that last week I sent a surprise shipment of Snickerdoodles to Oregon, and they reportedly arrived intact and tasty. Hooray!


Greek-Style Panini
Vegetarian Times, September 2007

2 10-oz pkgs, frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
6 French of kaiser rolls, halved
2 jarred roasted red peppers, each cut into 3 strips
3/4 cup prepared hummus

1. Combine spinach and feta cheese in bowl. Spread 1/3 cup mixture over bottom half of each rolls, and top with red pepper strip. Spread hummus on top halves of rolls.

2. Heat skillet over medium-high heat, or preheat countertop grill. Spray sandwiches with cooking spray. Set 2 sandwiches in pan, and top with saucepan weighed down with 2 cans. Cook 3-4 minutes on each side. Or press 5 minutes total in countertop grill. Repeat with remaining sandwiches.

Yield: 6 servings

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Sunny's Avenue J Pizza

Every time we make Sunny's Avenue J Pizza, it morphs a little more. We couldn't find foccaccia so I bought a random other spongy bread to use, which was fine. I didn't feel like using spices so I put a tiny bit of pizza sauce on it, and I only used fresh mozzarella. This is always a good stand-by meal.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Breakfast Club

Cute name, yummy sandwich. I didn't make it into a club and instead just made regular sandwiches. He used microwave real-bacon and I used some soy bacon. The cream made the eggs super-fluffy which was awesome. This was very tasty and we would make it again.


Breakfast Club
Martha Stewart Living

Whisk 2 large eggs, 2 Tbsp heavy cream, and 2 tsp chopped chives; season with salt and pepper. Melt 2 tsp butter in a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Cook eggs, stirring, until scrambled. Top each of 2 slices toasted, buttered Pumpernickel bread with 1 slice cooked canadian bacon and eggs. Top with chives and mache (or baby spinach). Stack; top with 1 slice of buttered toast.

Yield: 1 serving

Oven Fries with Aioli

I thought this might be a nice breakfasty side dish to go with our Breakfast Club sandwich, and it was very good. I like this method of fries and I think that, while they aren't crisp or anything like that, it's a great potato side-dish. We're prepping ourselves for our (hopeful) visit to Amsterdam Falafel this weekend when we're in DC by having our fries with mayo, woohoo! I might make this again.

EDITED TO ADD: HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA I went to add this to the recipe index and discovered I've already made it!!! Wow.


Oven Fries with Aioli
Cooking Light

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut 2 lbs peeled baking potatoes into 1/4-inch-thick strips. Place potatoes on a jelly roll pan. Drizzle with 1 Tbsp canola oil and sprinkle with 1/2 tsp salt; toss to coat. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes or until tender and golden. Toss with 1 1/2 Tbsp melted butter and 1 1/2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley. Combine 1/4 cup reduced-fat mayonnaise, 2 tsp fresh lemon juice, 1/8 tsp ground red pepper, and 1 minced garlic clove. Serve with fries.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Spicy Feta-Olive Salad

Upon first glance (and second, really), this is a really bizarre recipe. Lots of flavors one wouldn't typically expect to be together. But I kept reading rave reviews about the recipe, so... I tried it! And it is DELICIOUS! Kind of weird at first but VERY good. You have to REALLY like feta, and it helps to like olives! I wouldn't omit the olives. I reduced the amount of cumin and felt that was a good choice because the basic flavors don't need a lot of seasoning besides salt and pepper (and cayenne...). I omitted the fresh cilantro (using tubed instead) and I used some fat-free Greek yogurt dolloped on top. My feta was low fat and from a cow, definitely not a sheep. I would make this again.


Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Spicy Feta-Olive Salad

2 large sweet potatoes, 3/4-1 lb each
200g (about 1/2 lb) block good feta cheese (sheep's milk is the best - try feta imported from Greece or France), cut into 1/2-inch (1 cm) cubes
2/3 cup black oil-cured olives (or other high-quality olives), pitted and chopped
1/2 red onion, chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced (optional)
1/2 cup (packed) chopped fresh coriander/cilantro
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds (ground ok)
1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds (ground ok)
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2-3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
juice of 1/2 lemon
salt and pepper

something cool and creamy to dollop on top: sour cream, yogurt, tzaziki... even hummus!

Preheat the oven to 375F/190C. Wash the potatoes to rid them of any dirt and place on a foil-lined baking pan in the oven (no need to prick them). Bake until they are completely soft, about 45-60 minutes (depending on their size).

While the potatoes are roasting, make the salad. I like to toast the cumin and coriander seeds before using them, but you don't have to. If you do, just heat them in a dry pan, stirring often, until they smell fragrant and toasty. Set aside to cool, then crush them coarsely in a mortar or with the back of a heavy knife (if using whole seeds). Mix together all the salad ingredients in a bowl and leave to marinate in the fridge until the potatoes are done (add a little more olive oil if it seems dry). When they are, remove them from the oven and place on plates. Slice them lengthwise down the center, folding open to reveal the orange flesh inside. Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper. Pile half the feta salad on each potato, and eat!

Yield: 2 for a main dish or 4 as a side

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Black Bean Croquettes with Fresh Salsa

This dinner is cute and tasty and surprisingly quick and easy. It tastes like the middle of a burrito. It isn't absolutely fascinating but because of how easy it was, I would consider making it again. Mid-way through baking, I decided we must have quesadillas along with it so I made those too. It was a good choice.


Black Bean Croquettes with Fresh Salsa
Eating Well, January/February 2008

Staples like canned black beans and frozen corn transform into spicy croquettes in mere minutes. Serve with warm corn tortillas, coleslaw and lime wedges.

2 15-ounce cans black beans, rinsed
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 cup frozen corn kernels, thawed
1/4 cup plus 1/3 cup plain dry breadcrumbs, divided
2 cups finely chopped tomatoes
2 scallions, sliced
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 teaspoon chili powder, hot if desired, divided
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 avocado, diced

1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray.

2. Mash black beans and cumin with a fork in a large bowl until no whole beans remain. Stir in corn and 1/4 cup breadcrumbs. Combine tomatoes, scallions, cilantro, 1/2 teaspoon chili powder and salt in a medium bowl. Stir 1 cup of the tomato mixture into the black bean mixture.

3. Mix the remaining 1/3 cup breadcrumbs, oil and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon chili powder in a small bowl until the breadcrumbs are coated with oil. Divide the bean mixture into 8 scant 1/2-cup balls. Lightly press each bean ball into the breadcrumb mixture, turning to coat. Place on the prepared baking sheet.

4. Bake the croquettes until heated through and the breadcrumbs are golden brown, about 20 minutes. Stir avocado into the remaining tomato mixture. Serve the salsa with the croquettes.

Yield: 4 servings

Monday, November 02, 2009

Melancauli Baby

Tonight I made some Melancauli Baby (soup), which was delicious as usual. While it was cooking, Gibby announced, "The house smells like fall!" It is true. Curried fall, perhaps, but fall. Yum yum. We had it with some frozen whole-grain rolls.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Vegetarian Hoppin' John

I still have tons of dried beans from my former boss's CSA and I've decided it's time to learn how to use dried beans. Today I soaked some black-eyed peas and whipped up this recipe for hoppin' john. We served it over rice with some green onions, cheese, and sour cream. Very yummy! We felt that the dried beans were superior in taste to the canned beans. This gives me confidence to start working through the other beans we have (and we have a LOT). We liked this recipe and might make it again.


Vegetarian Hoppin' John
Sundays At Moosewood Restaurant via Cooking Light Bulletin Boards

20 oz. frozen blackeye peas
3 cups water
3/4 tsp. salt
1 cup finely chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp. butter or vegetable oil
pinch of ground allspice
pinch of cayenne
1 1/2 tbsp. tamari or soy sauce
plenty of fresh ground pepper, to taste

Cook the blackeye peas in the water and salt for about 20 minutes or
until tender. Drain, reserving the liquid.

Saute the onion and garlic in the butter/oil until golden, about 10
minutes. Add the allspice, cayenne, and soy sauce. Stir this mixture
into the cooked peas with enough of the reserved liquid to make it
juicy. Simmer gently for about 20 minutes to allow the flavors to
marry. Stir often.

Serve the hoppin' john on warm rice and then top with any combination of:
fresh chopped tomato
chopped scallions
fresh chopped parsley
sour cream
grated cheddar cheese

Texas Cranberry Jalapeno Bread

What a bizarre bread. VERY yummy, but so weird! Is it sweet? Is it savory? I don't know! Depends what's in each bite! There's jalapeno jelly and cranberries and orange juice and salsa??? Tons of stuff! But it's easy and yummy. I would make it again and I am intrigued at the idea of making it, freezing it, and giving it as a gift to people for the holidays.


Texas Cranberry Jalapeno Bread
Texas Electric Coop magazine / CLBB (claire797)

4 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 cup pecans, chopped
3 eggs, beaten
3/4 cup orange juice
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons mild salsa
2 tablespoons jalapeno jelly (increase for more "heat")
8 tablespoons butter (1 stick -- melted and cooled)
1 bag (12 ounces) cranberries, coarsely chopped or 1 6 oz bag Craisins

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Generously grease 2 large loaf pans or 6 small loaf pans. Mix dry ingredients, including nuts, in a large bowl. Combine wet ingredients and cranberries in a medium bowl. Make a well in the center of dry ingredients. Pour wet ingredients into the well and fold only until dry ingredients are moist. Mixture will be stiff. Do not over stir. Spread into pans and bake 70 minutes for large loaf pans or 30-35 minutes for small loaf pans. Reduce baking time 5-10 minutes for dark pans. Cool 10 minutes before removing from pans. Cool completely before wrapping and freezing.

Yield: 2 loaves

Peanut Blossoms

How have I never posted about these before? I've DEFINITELY made them in the years since I started this blog. I know this because the cookies are delicious and either me or my mom or both of us make them every year. While the traditional title is "Peanut Blossoms," my good friend once commented that they look like nipples, so my family now calls them "Chocolate Nipple Cookies." For the purposes of this post, however, we will continue to call them Peanut Blossoms. These are one of my favorite cookies of all time and I will continue to make them zillions of times. I did make a variation once and it was eh. I like the traditional version best!

Here are the ones I made today, all packaged up to be given to a friend:

Peanut Blossoms
My Mom, from somewhere

3/4 cup peanut butter
2 cups biscuit mix
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
2 tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla
Hershey's kisses

Mix milk and peanut butter and egg until smooth, and add vanilla. Then mix in biscuit mix and sugars.

Roll dough into balls, roll in sugar, bake at 375 for 8-10 minutes.

When they are done, press a Hershey Kiss into the middle and smush it down.

Yield: 4 dozen


I wanted to make a nice tasty fruity drink (non-alcoholic) in my pretty cha-cha pitcher for us to drink for Halloween. Sifting through my recipes, I found this one. It is very, very good. It would also taste very good with some vodka, just FYI. I mixed it on up and we drank most of it last night while we handed out candy.

So what is a MarTimmy? Once upon a time, before NBC scooted it off to some obscure satellite TV channel, there was a soap opera called Passions. On Passions, there was a witch and a little "doll" who came to life. His name was Timmy. The actor eventually died, which was crazy because his character died in the episodes right before he passed, and they film the shows like a month in advance. Weird! Anywho, he used to make MarTimmys for himself and the witch for various holidays. NBC posted the recipe one year so I kept it. And I'm glad I did because it was delightful. We would definitely make this again (with vodka probably) for a party or something. Or a Tuesday.



3 12oz cans of lemonade, thawed/diluted
1 bottle of ginger ale
1 cup of frozen orange juice, thawed/diluted
1 quart of cranberry juice cocktail
1 orange thinly sliced into 12

1: Combine liquid ingredients together, mix well.

2: Serve chilled with a slice of orange.

Yield: 12 drinks