Sunday, October 31, 2010

Pumpkin Roll

I have only had pumpkin roll a few times. It is delicious and tasty, but it seems to be regional, as I had never heard of it before moving to PA - and here, it's everywhere. So when my friend was having her Halloween party, I decided to try making pumpkin roll. Now, like other roulades (rolled cakes), it was a little bit intimidating. I mean, rolling up a cake? So many things could go wrong there. I've never even made a roulade before. But the recipe was so easy-peasy and with the help of cheesecloth, I didn't break the cake. It turned out delicious and was enjoyed by all. I would make this again.



Pumpkin Rolls
Penzeys catalog

This recipe from Jacki is so pretty and sure to impress your family and friends. Plus, it is super delicious. As far as rolls go, this is a pretty easy recipe to start with if you’ve never done one.

3 large eggs
7 1/2 ounces canned pumpkin (half of a 15 oz. can)
1 cup sugar
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon Penzeys Cinnamon

8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 cup powdered sugar + 2 TB. for topping
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons butter

Preheat oven to 375°. Line a jelly roll pan with wax paper and spray with non-stick spray or rub with oil. In a mixing bowl, beat together the eggs and pumpkin. Gradually add the dry ingredients and mix well. Pour the batter in the pan and spread evenly using a flexible spatula. Bake at 375° for 12-15 minutes. Gently turn the cake over and ease out onto a clean dish towel (not a terry one, a plain cloth), or cheesecloth, discard the wax paper and carefully roll the cake from the short end. Let cool for about 30 minutes. If it is left too long rolled up it is hard to unroll it without cracking. While the cake is cooling, beat together the filling ingredients. When the cake is cool, unroll, spread gently with the filling all the way to the edges, re-roll and place on a serving platter. Sift 2 TB. powdered sugar over the top. Admire, then cut into circles and serve.

Yield: 16-18 servings

Oatmeal Cookie Drink & Brain Hemorrhages

A few weeks ago my brother and I decided to try out a drink recipe I've had for a long time. It is purported to taste like an oatmeal cookie. Personally, I am very sensitive to alcohol so the Jaegermeister kind of made it a little too intense for me, although the oatmeal cookie-ishness was still there. My brother liked it, too. Then my brother had fun with endless variations of using the components, such as mixing it with milk. Obviously it was an exciting time. So here is the recipe for that:

The Oatmeal Cookie Drink
Food Network - Cookworks

1 ounce Jagermeister
1 ounce Irish Cream Liqueur
1 ounce Butterscotch Schnapps
1/2 ounce Cinnamon Schnapps
Raisins -- for garnish, optional

Combine ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice and shake vigorously. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass over ice.

Then Friday night at my friend's Halloween party, my coworker made shots from a recipe sent out in the weekly newsletter from Stone Cottage Gardens. You float the Bailey's on top, and when you add the grenadine, the Bailey's swirls down and starts looking like a brain. It's pretty cool and gross all at the same time. Everyone agreed it was not as tasty as they had hoped (I did not partake) but that the gross-out cool factor was good enough!


Brain Hemorrhages

1 oz. Peach Schnapps
1 tsp. Bailey's Irish Cream
2 drops Grenadine

Pour the Peach Schnapps into a large shot glass. Slowly add the Bailey's and top with the grenadine.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Enchilado de Camerones

I think this would have been a solid, tasty dish except our shrimp sucked. I used frozen Wegmans-brand shrimp, which I have used in the past with great success, but this batch just sort of tasted off. To me, at least. The saucy part was good, but not good enough to encourage me to try it again with fresh shrimp. It was just okay.


Enchilado de Camerones (Deviled Shrimp)
Cooking Light, May 2002

This is one of the few dishes in Cuban cooking that is spicy. Finishing with a splash of coconut milk tempers the heat and rounds out the flavor.

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
1/2 to 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/4 cup light coconut milk
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion; sauté 2 minutes. Add bell peppers, crushed red pepper, salt, and garlic; sauté 4 minutes. Add tomatoes; cook 6 minutes or until liquid almost evaporates, stirring frequently.

Stir in shrimp, and cook 4 minutes or until shrimp are done, stirring frequently. Remove shrimp mixture from heat, and stir in coconut milk. Sprinkle with cilantro.

Yield: 4 servings

Howlin' Candy Corn Cookie Bark

So this is what happened. I thought I'd be fun and make some candy corn bark for my office for Halloween. Except while I was melting the white chocolate, it started to solidify. Within seconds, it was like the consistency of an Oreo cookie filling. Crap. I tried my best to re-melt it but failed. So I did what any desperate cook would do: I attempted to mash it on top of the Oreos and pretzels by hand. Ouch! I burned myself. And it only sort of worked, because although I managed to get it to cover almost all of the pieces, it was crumbly. I didn't have any more white chocolate, but I did have half a package of milk chocolate. So I melted that and then poured it on top of the white chocolate, hoping it would bind it. And it kind of did! This certainly isn't bark, but it isn't inedible either. It's actually quite tasty. I'm sure it would be better - and look better - if it was made properly!


Howlin' Candy Corn Cookie Bark
CLBB (Valchemist)

16 Halloween oreos -- chopped
1 1/2 cups mini pretzels broken in pieces
12 oz. white chocolate chips
2 c candy corn (or to taste)
brown and orange colored sprinkles

Spread cookies and pretzels into a 13 x 9-inch rectangle on lightly greased baking sheet; set aside.

Place chocolate in small heavy saucepan on very low heat; stir constantly just until melted.

Drizzle melted chocolate immediately over cookie mixture, spreading with spatula to coat evenly. Top with candy corn and colored sprinkles. Lightly press candy into mixture.

Cool until firm. Break into pieces. Store in airtight container.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Soft Polenta with Wild Mushroom Sauté

I'm working on a candy-bark thing for Halloween for my office but I screwed up the white chocolate and I think I might have just a big crumbly mess instead. I guess we'll see when I post about it tomorrow.

Tonight I made myself some polenta and mushrooms. I actually made two servings so I could take some to work, but didn't get the chance because about 10 minutes after I finished the first bowl, I ended up eating the other bowl. Oops.

It was very good. Very simple. Didn't realize how ridiculously simple homemade polenta is. I don't know if I'd make it again, but I really did like it a lot. It was a quick dinner that seemed like it should have taken more effort to create.

Terrible Blackberry photo:

Soft Polenta with Wild Mushroom Sauté
Cooking Light, November 2008

This is an easy and versatile side dish. The polenta is topped with a quick sauté of wild mushrooms (or use exotics, like shiitake and oyster, if wild are not available). If you replace the chicken broth with vegetable broth, this side dish can serve four as a vegetarian entrée. Garnish with sage sprigs.

2 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 cups thinly sliced leek
12 ounces wild mushrooms -- sliced
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
3 tablespoons dry sherry
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh sage
1/4 teaspoon salt -- divided
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper -- divided
2 cups water
2 bay leaves
14 ounces fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1 cup quick-cooking polenta
2 tablespoons shredded fresh pecorino Romano cheese
2 tablespoons shaved fresh pecorino Romano cheese

1. Melt butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add leek to pan; cook 2 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Add mushrooms; cook 7 minutes or until moisture evaporates, stirring occasionally. Stir in parsley, sherry, sage, 1/8 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper; cook 1 minute.

2. Combine 2 cups water, bay leaves, and broth in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil. Gradually add polenta to pan, stirring constantly with a whisk. Reduce heat, and simmer 5 minutes or until thick, stirring frequently with a whisk. Remove from heat; discard bay leaves. Stir in remaining 1/8 teaspoon salt, remaining 1/8 teaspoon pepper, and shredded cheese. Spoon 2/3 cup polenta onto each of 6 plates; top each serving with 1/2 cup mushroom mixture and 1 teaspoon shaved cheese.

Servings: 6

Monday, October 25, 2010

Some repeats

Last night I made Roasted Corn & Poblano Chowder, which continues to be amazing, even if it's made with canned corn versus fresh. While the stuff was roasting, I made tonight's dinner (Autumn Wild Rice Rissoles) through the patty-forming step and then refrigerated them. Tonight all I had to do was toss them in the pan and top them with cranberry sauce! Perfect. Two tasty dinners!

Sunday, October 24, 2010


Since the early days of the Food Network when they began showing reruns of Iron Chef (the original Iron Chef, not Iron Chef America), I have been obsessed. I have an Iron Chef apron. I have seen every single episode of Iron Chef (Japan), including both of the battles against Bobby Flay - rather epic, those episodes. And although Masaharu Morimoto wasn't in the original set, he joined a few years in as Iron Chef Japan and instantly became my favorite. When he started opening up restaurants in the US, I got crazy excited.

So last night we went to morimoto in NYC.

It did not disappoint.

First of all, it's beautiful. It's so well-decorated and simple with glass and shiny things and mood lighting. And the bathrooms! I know that sounds stupid, but trust me. If you go to morimoto, you need to go to the bathrooms downstairs by the bar. If you are a guy, even if you just need to pee, make sure to visit the stalls. I tried to take a picture but it was too dark, but seriously trust me. Not only does it look cool, but there are buttons. That do things. With the toilet. PRESS THEM.


So the waitstaff is wonderful. We didn't get any drinks, only water. I'll try to remember what everyone else got (we were there with my mother-in-law and Gibby's aunt and cousin).

For starters, I got the tuna pizza (bluefin tuna, anchovy aioli, jalapenos). It had been highly recommended, and oh boy did it deserve it. Now, you have to like tuna. And raw fish. But it is the most beautiful cut of sashimi ever. Several thin slices on top of a crispy tortilla crust, topped with red onion, aioli, jalapenos, and greens. LOVED IT.


Gibby got the Kobe beef carpaccio (yuzu soy, ginger, sweet garlic), which kind of freaked him out a little but he just loves good beef so he had to go with it. Carpaccio is typically very thin slices of raw beef (or fish), but at morimoto it was lightly seared on one side. Kind of like getting a burger cooked rare. He loved it!


Nancy and Carrie (MIL and aunt) both got a mixed green salad (kabosu vinaigrette, shaved bonito). They were not fans of the bonito but it had crispy shallots in it, too. Nancy also got the crispy rock shrimp tempura (spicy 'kochujan' sauce, wasabi aioli), which was definitely the table favorite. Oh my goodness. It was the lightest, most amazing tempura. Order it. Elsa (cousin) got tofu miso soup (white miso broth, silken tofu), which could have been ordinary except the tofu was freshly made and she said it was the best tofu ever created. Out of the appetizers we didn't order, I would have loved to have tried the yosedofu (fresh tofu prepared tableside, lobster ankake, dashi soy, fresh wasabi). If you eat meat, supposedly the Iron Chef Ramen Soup is fantastic.

Moving on to entrees, Gibby & I both ordered the same thing: ishi yaki buri bop (yellowtail on rice cooked at your table, in a hot stone bowl). Way cool. They brought big stone bowls of rice, seaweed, mushrooms, a raw egg, and raw fish. Then they pushed the fish on the side of the bowl to sear, stirred around the rice and egg, and when it was all said and done, we had some delicious seared fish and fried rice. We both LOVED it! And it was very neat. Be careful not to touch the bowl, though! It's hot!


Carrie and Elsa got an assortment of sushi, including eel and spicy tuna and some other pieces that they very much enjoyed. Nancy got the line-caught halibut (black bean sauce, shaved ginger, hot oil) and devoured it pretty quickly. She also ordered a side of crispy green beans, which tasted deliciously like french fries. Haha!

And then, of course, dessert. We were all full, but Gibby & Elsa & I decided to split the Creme de Chocolate, which was chocolate mousse topped with hazelnut ice cream, vanilla foam, blood orange reduction, little chocolate nibs, candied hazelnuts, and chocolate strips. It was sooooooo good.


It was a wonderful dining experience. I enjoyed every part of it. We were very happy! And for this caliber of restaurant, for five people, it was very reasonably priced (consider though that we did not order wine). I'm so happy to have finally experienced morimoto!


Saturday, October 23, 2010

Loaded Spinach Salad

Yes, yes, we went to Morimoto for dinner tonight but I haven't loaded up my camera so you will just have to deal with my review of last night's crazy-easy salad. This is fantastic, by the way. Very easy, very tasty. My mom would love it. I will definitely keep this around.

So. Yummy salad. Easily tweaked. And if you don't like the salad but love blue cheese, what a seriously fantastic blue cheese dressing recipe!


Loaded Spinach Salad
Eating Well

Like many spinach salads, this one features lots of chopped-up hard-boiled egg. But since most of the calories in an egg are in the yolk, we use just two whole eggs, plus the whites from six additional eggs. The result is a rich, eggy, satisfying spinach salad that keeps the calories in check.

Tip: To toast chopped nuts & seeds: Cook in a small dry skillet over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until fragrant and lightly browned, 2 to 4 minutes.

8 large eggs
6 cups baby spinach
4 tablespoons Creamy Blue Cheese Dressing -- divided (recipe follows)
8 ounces beets -- rinsed and sliced
1 cup carrots -- shredded
2 tablespoons chopped pecans -- toasted (see Tip)

1. Place eggs in a single layer in a saucepan; cover with water. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook at the lowest simmer for 10 minutes. Pour off the hot water and run cold water over the eggs until they are completely cooled. Peel the eggs, discard 6 of the yolks, chop the remaining yolks and whites.

2. Toss spinach and 2 tablespoons dressing in a large bowl. Divide between 2 plates. Top with chopped eggs, beets, carrots and pecans. Drizzle with the remaining 2 tablespoons dressing.

Servings: 2

Creamy Blue Cheese Dressing

Creamy blue cheese dressing is still rich and delicious when you make it with low-fat dairy products and reduced-fat mayonnaise. Choose the tangiest aged blue cheese you can find; its flavor will go a long way.
Make Ahead Tip : Cover and refrigerate for up to 1 week. Stir before using.

1/3 cup reduced-fat mayonnaise
1/3 cup nonfat buttermilk -- or nonfat milk
1/3 cup nonfat plain yogurt
2 tablespoons tarragon vinegar -- or white vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard -- mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese -- (1 ounce)

Whisk mayonnaise, buttermilk (or milk), yogurt, vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper in a medium bowl until smooth. Add cheese and stir, mashing with a spoon until the cheese is incorporated.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Our Homemade Quick Black Bean Burgers

Last night I made Quick Black Bean Burgers again. They were yummy, even though I didn't add any toppings other than cheese. Always yummy! I shall continue to make these again.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Tomato Pizza with Garlic and Smoked Gouda

Tonight I made Tomato Pizza with Garlic and Smoked Gouda. It was a stressful day and I was on a stressful work-related phone call when I walked in the door at 7:00, but I managed to put this entire pizza together and pop it in the oven by the time the phone call ended. It was easy (the pizza). It is yummy. I forgot to reduce the cooking time again. Seriously, you need to reduce the cooking time or else it will burn.

Smoked gouda is delicious.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Harvest Sweet Potato Pecan Pie Tarts

Well, we have our first contender for Thanksgiving dessert this year! I thought I'd make these today just because they were ridiculously simple and took about 10 minutes to prepare before popping them in the oven thanks to the incredibly convenient phyllo cups. How did I not know about these before? They are amazing time-savers.

So these are delicious. They taste like what you'd expect - sweet potato pie and pecan pie all jumbled up into one delicious little tart. I love it! I've already eaten 4. I am so ashamed. They are great. I do hope to make them again in a month!

PS despite the recipe note, I just poked the potato with a fork, wrapped it in a paper towel, and microwaved for 10 minutes. Then I cut it in half and squished it out. No need to even mash it! Ultimate in lazy.


Harvest Sweet Potato Pecan Pie Tarts
Cooking Light, November 2005

Pierce each sweet potato a few times with a fork, place in a pie plate with two tablespoons water, cover loosely with wax paper, and microwave at high five minutes or until tender.

1 cup mashed cooked sweet potato
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup chopped toasted pecans
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon dark corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg white
4 1/5 ounces mini phyllo shells -- (such as Athens)

1. Preheat oven to 350°.

2. Combine sweet potato, granulated sugar, cinnamon, and salt, stirring well.

3. Combine pecans, brown sugar, syrup, vanilla, and egg white, stirring well.

4. Spoon about 1 teaspoon sweet potato mixture into each phyllo shell, spreading to edges. Spoon about 1/2 teaspoon pecan mixture over sweet potato mixture. Place filled shells on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake at 350° for 20 minutes. Cool completely on a wire rack.

Servings: 15

Two-Bean Soup with Kale

This was good, simple, and hearty. It was a solid recipe, especially for fall. I used pre-chopped mirepoix (celery, onions, and carrot) to save time, and I tossed in some vegetarian kielbasa for some extra protein. It was a little too simple and rustic for s, though. I wouldn't make it again.


Two-Bean Soup with Kale
Cooking Light, October 2009

This hearty vegetarian soup warms up chilly nights. Use any type of canned beans you happen to have on hand, and add rotisserie chicken or Italian sausage for a heftier dish, if you prefer.

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped carrot
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 teaspoon salt -- divided
2 garlic cloves -- minced
4 cups organic vegetable broth -- (such as Emeril's) divided
7 cups stemmed -- chopped kale (about 1 bunch)
30 ounces no-salt-added cannellini beans -- rinsed, drained, and divided
15 ounces no-salt-added black beans -- rinsed and drained
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary

1. Heat a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add olive oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add onion, carrot, and celery, and sauté 6 minutes or until tender. Stir in 1/4 teaspoon salt and garlic; cook 1 minute. Stir in 3 cups vegetable broth and kale. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 3 minutes or until kale is crisp-tender.

2. Place half of cannellini beans and remaining 1 cup vegetable broth in a blender or food processor; process until smooth. Add pureed bean mixture, remaining cannellini beans, black beans, and pepper to soup. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer 5 minutes. Stir in remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, vinegar, and rosemary.

Servings: 6

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Towne Stove & Spirits

Friday night we went to Boston. I went to school in Boston but haven't been back since I graduated, and when I lived there, I was poor and did not make the best of the excellent restaurants around the city. So I was determined that we should go to a delicious restaurant for a delicious meal. After poring over websites, Zagat scores, and menus, I finally decided on Towne Stove & Spirits on Boylston Street in Back Bay.


To drink, we both got sangrias - I got white, Gibby got red. We were also served water in these adorable little beakers (which we would like to copy!) and an array of bread and dip. There was an eggplant dip that was a little bit strong, some excellent Vermont butter, and an unidentifiable white dip that was delicious. We tried to figure out what it was, and nothing could have prepared us. Ready for this? Bread soaked in milk, whipped with cod roe and potatoes. WHAT? What a bizarre concoction. But oh my gosh, it was so good.

For an appetizer, Gibby got razorback clams a la plancha (with a pimento pepper aioli) and I got beet carpaccio (yes, beet, not beef). He loved his clams but had never seen razorbacks before so he was a little surprised. I don't like bivalves unless they are in chowder so I just dipped some bread in the sauce and declared it tasty. I loved my little salad of thin-shaved beets, squares of watermelon and creamy feta, and a little sprinkling of herbs. It was wonderful and simple.

As a main course, Gibby got wagyu skirt steak with wasabi and hot green garlic and absolutely loved it. He loves high-quality beef to begin with, and loves spicy things. It came with little potato crisps. I also got the potato crisps, along with some fried sweet potato and turnip because I ordered the lobster roll with frites. Holy crap. So simple - just a toasted, buttered roll with buttery lobster - but incredible. If it weren't for the fact that the bread got soggy from the butter, I would have given this the title of Best Lobster Ever. Instead that title still belongs to the lobster burger at Central in DC! But this was certainly a close second.

And what was for dessert? This may shock you: nothing. We were both really full so we skipped dessert. That is probably the only time that is ever going to happen in life, ever.

We really enjoyed Towne and would definitely recommend it!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Roast Squash Pasta

When I pointed out this simple & quick dinner was vegan, he said, "Pasta? Good. Squash? Good. Who eats pasta without sauce on it? This guy. [points to himself]" Consensus: he would like to eat it again but would like more pine nuts next time. I really liked it too. I also appreciated how easy it was. I would make it again!

PS: 200C is about 392F, so I just put it at 400F.


Roast Squash Pasta
The Post Punk Kitchen

1 butternut squash
4 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon pine nuts
Lots of olive oil - maybe 3 tablespoons, enough to cover everything
1 teaspoon of chili flakes
1 teaspoon dried sage
300g whole wheat pasta, any shape but fusilli are good
Salt and pepper

Cut the squash into half-inch cubes, and the garlic into small pieces. Put these with the pine nuts, chili flakes and sage into the roasting pan and pour the oil over everything.

Stir so that everything's covered in oil, then bake at 200C for 40 mins, stirring occassionally. It will burn a bit, but that's part of the flavour.

When it's nearly ready, cook the pasta.

Mix the pasta into the roast squash, add lots of salt and pepper, and serve.

Yield: 2-3 servings

Black Bean & Tomato Quinoa

Last night I made myself some quinoa. The recipe calls for things like tomatoes, lime juice, and cilantro, and I happened to have a can of RoTel Tomatoes with Lime & Cilantro in the stockpile in my basement, so out of pure laziness I used that instead. I didn't bother with the whole steaming/drying thing with the quinoa and instead just cooked it as per the instructions on the box. My little concoction was very yummy - and even excellent as a lunch today - but I just kept wishing it was Couscous with Chickpeas, Tomatoes, and Edamame. They're actually pretty similar in taste and consistency and I missed the edamame and feta! I'd eat it again, but I don't think I'd make it again.


Black-Bean and Tomato Quinoa
Gourmet, July 2007

Quinoa is a fast-cooking, protein-packed whole grain. Steamed, it makes a perfect partner for lime-spiked black beans and fresh tomato.

2 teaspoons lime zest
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon sugar
1 cup quinoa
1 14 oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
2 medium tomatoes, diced
4 scallions -- chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1. Whisk together lime zest and juice, butter, oil, sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4teaspoon pepper in a large bowl.

2. Wash quinoa in 3 changes of cold water in a bowl, draining in a sieve each time.

3. Cook quinoa in a medium pot of boiling salted water (1 tablespoon salt for 2 quarts water), uncovered, until almost tender, about 10 minutes. Drain in sieve, then set sieve in same pot with 1 inch of simmering water (water should not touch bottom of sieve). Cover quinoa with a folded kitchen towel, then cover sieve with a lid (don't worry if lid doesn't fit tightly) and steam over medium heat until tender, fluffy, and dry, about 10 minutes. Remove pot from heat and remove lid. Let stand, still covered with towel, 5 minutes.

4. Add quinoa to dressing and toss until dressing is absorbed, then stir in remaining ingredients and salt and pepper to taste.

Yield: 4 side-dish servings

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Two Repeats

Last night Gibby and I collaborated to make Open-Faced Jerk Vegetable Sandwiches - he marinated and sauteed the vegetables while I was at work, and then I got home, assembled and broiled the sandwiches. Delicious as usual. So weird, but so good!

Then tonight we had our go-to cold-weather meal (despite the still-tepid weather, but hush): Swiss-Style Cheese Bake. Yum!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Whoopie Pies

This was exciting. I have several recipes for whoopie pies in my recipe collection and I've never made them because I'm afraid of how the shape would turn out. I think we all know I'm not good at making things turn out the way they're supposed to look! But Crate & Barrel has a great deal on their whoopie pie pans and I had to buy a new toaster anyway (ours got shocked to death during a power outage last week) so I tossed this into the order. Fun!

And so my first try at whoopie pies was a success. They turned out beautifully, even though they are miniature. With the miniature-ness, I was able to get about 20 full pies (40 'cookies'). Much better than the 8 servings the recipe yields! They are delicious and enjoyable. I decided to be lazy with the filling and only used straight-up Marshmallow Fluff instead of mixing it with the confectioners' sugar and butter. I understand now that the sugar and butter would help it to be less sticky and more spreadable, which would be great. But if you're feeling lazy too, Fluff on its own achieves the desired result. Definitely a make-again!


Whoopie Pies
Gourmet, January 2003

We prefer Droste brand Dutch-process cocoa for this recipe because it gives the cakes a richer chocolate flavor. Though whoopie pies can be served on the same day they're made, we think the cakes are much better a day after baking.

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup well-shaken buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 ounces unsalted butter -- (1/2 cup) softened
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 large egg
4 ounces unsalted butter -- (1/2 cup) softened
1 1/4 cups confectioners sugar
2 cups marshmallow cream such as Marshmallow Fluff
1 teaspoon vanilla

1. Make cakes: Preheat oven to 350°F.

2. Whisk together flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt in a bowl until combined. Stir together buttermilk and vanilla in a small bowl.

3. Beat together butter and brown sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes in a standing mixer or 5 minutes with a handheld, then add egg, beating until combined well. Reduce speed to low and alternately mix in flour mixture and buttermilk in batches, beginning and ending with flour, scraping down side of bowl occasionally, and mixing until smooth.

4. Spoon 1/4-cup mounds of batter about 2 inches apart onto 2 buttered large baking sheets. Bake in upper and lower thirds of oven, switching position of sheets halfway through baking, until tops are puffed and cakes spring back when touched, 11 to 13 minutes. Transfer with a metal spatula to a rack to cool completely.

5. Make filling: Beat together butter, confectioners sugar, marshmallow, and vanilla in a bowl with electric mixer at medium speed until smooth, about 3 minutes.

6. Assemble pies: Spread a rounded tablespoon filling on flat sides of half of cakes and top with remaining cakes.

• Cakes can be made 3 days ahead and kept, layered between sheets of wax paper, in an airtight container at room temperature.
• Filling can be made 4 hours ahead and kept, covered, at room temperature. add your own note

Servings: 8

Apples and Potatoes

It's that time of year again: the time for Baked Potato Soup. No doubt that this is one of our most-made recipes, which is saying a lot since I try not to repeat things too much. So we had it today because today was the first time it's really dipped below 60 outside and therefore necessitated soup.

I also bought a big huge bag of Honeycrisp apples (my favorite!) and followed this tutorial to dice 'em up and freeze them. I look forward to using them throughout the year!

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Swiss Chard Spanakopita Casserole

In Bethlehem, PA, about 8 miles from our house, there's a fantastic little Greek restaurant. It looks like crap from the outside, but inside is the best spanakopita you'll find in the Lehigh Valley. It is delicious. Spanakopita is traditionally made with spinach, along with feta, phyllo dough, and copious amounts of butter and olive oil. Big fan.

Tonight's dinner was spanakopita with a twist. Instead of spinach, it substitutes swiss chard. I made sure to just use the leafy parts and not the big chunky parts. I used a rainbow mix that also included some kale, so that was cool. I also tossed in a pinch of crushed red pepper because we like some spice. I would make this again.

((No photo because both cameras were broken)) :(

Swiss Chard Spanakopita Casserole
Cooking Light, December 2003

This is a casserole version of the classic individual pastries. It's much quicker to assemble with less fuss, and it's just as tasty.

Cooking spray
2 1/4 cups minced white onion
3/4 cup minced green onions
3 garlic cloves -- minced
9 cups chopped trimmed Swiss chard -- (about 1 1/2 pounds)
6 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
3 tablespoons minced fresh mint
1 cup crumbled feta cheese -- (4 ounces)
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese -- (2 ounces)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
3 large egg whites
10 (18 each 14-inch) sheets frozen phyllo dough -- thawed

1. Preheat oven to 350°.

2. Heat a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat. Add white onion; sauté 7 minutes or until golden. Add green onions and garlic, and sauté 1 minute. Stir in chard; cook 2 minutes or until chard wilts. Stir in parsley and mint, and cook 1 minute. Place in a large bowl; cool slightly. Stir in cheeses, salt, pepper, and egg whites.

3. Place 1 phyllo sheet on a large cutting board (cover remaining phyllo to prevent drying), and coat with cooking spray. Top with 1 phyllo sheet, and coat with cooking spray. Repeat procedure with 3 additional sheets.

4. Cut phyllo stack into a 14-inch square. Place square in center of a 13 x 9-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray, allowing phyllo to extend up long sides of dish. Cut 14 x 4-inch piece into 2 (7 x 4-inch) rectangles. Fold each rectangle in half lengthwise. Place a rectangle against each short side of dish. Spread the chard mixture evenly over phyllo.

5. Place 1 phyllo sheet on a large cutting board (cover remaining phyllo to prevent drying), and coat with cooking spray. Top with 1 phyllo sheet, and coat with cooking spray. Repeat procedure with remaining phyllo sheets. Place 18 x 14-inch phyllo stack over chard mixture. Fold phyllo edges into center. Coat with cooking spray. Score phyllo by making 2 lengthwise cuts and 3 crosswise cuts to form 12 rectangles. Bake at 350° for 40 minutes or until golden.

6. Note: Cut the phyllo stacks so they fit in and up the long side of the baking dish. Arrange folded section against short edges of dish to encase filling.

Servings: 12

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Tempeh Reuben

I made Vegetarian Reubens back in February and liked it, so when I found this recipe for a reuben involving tempeh, which I'd found on sale, I wanted to try it. I should have just stuck with what I know! The other reuben recipe was a lot yummier. The tempeh is fine but it just doesn't mix with the other ingredients as well as the sauteed vegetables did in the other recipe. I'll stick with the other recipe in the future!

Tempeh Reuben
New Recipes from Moosewood Restaurant by The Moosewood Collective

This is one of our favorite sandwiches at Moosewood. When it is on the lunch menu, the workers have to be chased out of the kitchen to ensure that there will be enough for the customers.

1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 cups chopped onions
2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
8 ounces tempeh, thinly sliced or cubed
2 teaspoons tamari soy sauce
4 slices bread, preferably rye, toasted
1 1/2 cups Russian dressing
1 1/2 cups sauerkraut, warmed
1 1/2 cups swiss cheese -- (1 1/2 - 2 cups) (5 - 7 oz.) grated

1. Sauté the onions and garlic in oil for 2 or 3 minutes until the onions begin to soften. Add the tempeh and continue to sauté on low heat, stirring frequently, for about 20 minutes. While the tempeh is browning, get the remaining ingredients ready. When the tempeh is crisp and lightly browned, add the soy sauce.

2. Build the sandwiches on the toast by layering the tempeh mixture. Russian Dressing, sauerkraut, and Swiss cheese. Broil the sandwiches until the cheese is melted. Serve piping hot.

Servings: 4

Monday, October 04, 2010

Three-Cheese Macaroni & Cheese

Last night I prepared some Three-Cheese Macaroni & Cheese ahead of time so that tonight I could mix up the topping and toss it in the oven when I got home from work. However, I made the unfortunate choice of trying out VitaSpelt macaroni in place of our regular macaroni. Oh, my. It was not good. I'd never used VitaSpelt but I have learned my lesson. It ruined a perfectly delicious recipe. Next time I make this, it will be with regular pasta!

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Pear Crisp with Oat Streusel Topping

I've been working on the arduous process of transferring all of my thousands of recipes into Living Cookbook, which is taking so long for me because the recipes were previously stored in a file that isn't compatible with LC. So... I am transferring them in manually.

I just completed a section yesterday about crisps & cobblers & buckles and all of that good fruity stuff with crumbly stuff on top. I saw this recipe and decided I should make it. Wegmans has tons of pears in stock! So I got a big bag of Anjou pears and went to town.

Only, this recipe is not as great as I'd thought. It doesn't break the pears down into the gooey, juicy, fruity mess that most crisps I've made are like. It's good, but it just lacks that comforting mushiness. The streusel topping is yummy, but the recipe as a whole is just not what I prefer. Oh well! Next weekend we're going apple picking, so I'll hopefully have more opportunity to make some delicious apple-related foods!



Pear Crisp with Oat Streusel Topping
Cooking Light, October 2007

This fall favorite acquires its fiber from unpeeled juicy pears, sweet raisins, and regular oats, and it provides one-fourth of your day's fiber in one portion.

7 3/4 cups cubed Bartlett or Anjou pears
1 cup golden raisins
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
Cooking Spray

1/2 cup all-purpose flour -- (about 2 1/4 ounces)
1 cup regular oats
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
dash salt
1/4 cup chilled butter -- cut into small pieces
1/2 cup frozen fat-free whipped topping -- thawed

1. Preheat oven to 375°

2. To prepare crisp, combine the first 6 ingredients in a large bowl; toss to combine. Spoon mixture into an 11 x 7-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray.

3. To prepare topping, lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Combine flour, oats, sugar, 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon, and dash of salt in a small bowl; stir to combine. Cut in butter with a pastry blender or 2 knives until mixture resembles very coarse meal. Sprinkle oat mixture evenly over pear mixture. Bake at 375° for 50 minutes or until browned on top. Serve with whipped topping.

Servings: 8

Southwestern Pumpkin Burgers

This is a quick and easy veggie burger, although it's definitely not the most exciting. But it is unique in that it doesn't use beans - it uses canned pumpkin! That makes it interesting. Don't worry, the spices keep it from tasting like baby food, as pumpkin-flavored main dishes often do. It wasn't the best meal I've had, but it wasn't bad either. Not a make-again for us, probably.


Southwestern Pumpkin Burgers
Eating Well

Colorful, spicy and fragrant, these delicious burgers are right in style with the contemporary fondness for Southwestern foods, especially when served with Fresh Tomato Salsa.

Make Ahead Tip : Prepare through Step 3. Wrap patties individually and refrigerate for up to 2 days or freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator before cooking.

6 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil -- divided
1 medium onion -- chopped
1/2 cup finely chopped red or green bell pepper
1/2 cup fresh or frozen corn
2 cloves garlic -- minced
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin Tomato Salsa -- optional
1/2 cup canned unseasoned pumpkin puree
1/2 cup shredded Monterey Jack -- or Cheddar cheese
1/2 cup toasted wheat germ
1/2 cup fine dry breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1/2 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper -- to taste
6 8-inchs flour tortillas -- (soft-taco size)
2 cups shredded lettuce

1. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring often, until softened, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in bell pepper, corn, garlic, chili powder and cumin; cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 2 minutes more. Transfer to a large bowl; let cool to room temperature, about 10 minutes.

2. Add pumpkin, cheese, wheat germ, breadcrumbs, parsley, salt and pepper to the onion mixture; mix well. With dampened hands, form the vegetable mixture into six 1/2-inch-thick patties, using about 1/2 cup for each.

3. Preheat oven to 325°F. Stack tortillas and wrap in aluminum foil. Place in the oven for about 15 minutes to heat through. (Alternatively, stack tortillas between two damp paper towels; microwave on high for 30 to 60 seconds, or until heated through.)

4. Using 2 teaspoons oil per batch, cook 2 to 4 patties at a time in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat until browned and heated through, about 4 minutes per side. Adjust heat as necessary for even browning. Wrap the patties in tortillas and serve immediately, garnished with lettuce and Fresh Tomato Salsa, if desired.

Servings: 6

The Best Tuna Meatballs

Last night I made Jamie Oliver's Best Tuna Meatballs again. This time, I used some of the Marinara Magnifica I jarred last month. We did not die of botulism, so I assume I jarred them properly! The meatballs were good, but I wish I'd made my own sauce (per Jamie's recipe) to complement them a little better. We still really like this recipe, though!