Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Curried Lentil Soup

You guys, you guys, you guys! This is very exciting! Remember that time I went to Sweden and I had the best lentil-potato curry at Cafe Vurma in Stockholm? REMEMBER? Well. I found this recipe on Epicurious and thought it sounded pretty similar, minus the potatoes. So I tossed in some diced cooked potatoes at the end. And guess what?! IT'S THE SAME.

To complete the Stockholm-esque meal, I made some smörgås with rye bread spread with mascarpone and topped with some sliced red bell pepper. Oh my. All I need is some knackebrood and kardemummebullar and espresso and I'll be an exceptionally happy lady.

I'm so happy.

Compare photos! This is the one I ate in Sweden:

And this is the one from tonight:

Curried Lentil Soup
Bon Appetit, December 2010

Curry powders vary in flavor and heat; begin with two tablespoons and add more according to your taste.

3 tablespoons olive oil -- divided
1 medium onion -- chopped
1 medium carrot -- finely chopped
2 large garlic cloves -- chopped, divided
2 tablespoons curry powder -- (or more)
1 cup French green lentils
4 1/4 cups water -- (or more) divided
1 15- to 16-ounce can chickpeas -- (garbanzo beans) drained, rinsed
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons butter -- (1/4 stick)
2 green onions -- thinly sliced 1 lemon, cut into 6 wedges

Ingredient info: French green lentils are small -- dark green, and speckled with black; they can be found at some supermarkets and at specialty foods stores.

1. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in heavy large pot over medium heat. Add onion and carrot; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook until onion is translucent, stirring occasionally, about 4 minutes. Add half of chopped garlic; stir until vegetables are soft but not brown, about 4 minutes longer. Add 2 tablespoons curry powder; stir until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add lentils and 4 cups water. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Increase heat and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium; simmer until lentils are tender, about 30 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, puree chickpeas, lemon juice, 1/4 cup water, remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil, and remaining garlic in processor.

3. Add chickpea puree and butter to lentil soup. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and additional curry powder, if desired. Add water by 1/4 cupfuls to thin to desired consistency. DO AHEAD: soup can be made up to 1 day ahead. Cool, cover, and refrigerate. Rewarm before continuing.

4. Divide soup among bowls. Sprinkle with thinly sliced green onions and serve with lemon wedges.

Servings: 6

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Thanksgiving 2010

Thanksgiving. My favorite holiday. Obviously we started the day with my mom's cheeseball and the onion dip recipe from the side of a Lipton Soup mix. This is just what we do.

My mom found directions for these little Oreo/Candy turkey sculptures online and instructed me to assemble them. I was pleasantly surprised at how well they turned out. They were used as placecards on the table.

Other things we ate:
*Turkey (not by me, obviously)
*Mom's herb stuffing
*Brussels Sprouts with Buttered Pecans
*Rice/Zucchini casserole (picture below) from my mom
*Corn pudding from my mother-in-law
*Green Bean Casserole (the one everyone makes)
*Pennsylvania Dutch Tea Rolls
*Pecan Pie
*Harvest Sweet Potato-Pecan Pie Tarts
*Tastefully Simply Sangria Slushy
*Tastefully Simple Key Lime Cheeseball


Pennsylvania Dutch Tea Rolls

These took awhile because of the multiple rising times, but it was worth it in the end. Very yummy! We all enjoyed them. I only put poppy seeds on half due to preference, but it's good either way.

dutch rolls

Pennsylvania Dutch Tea Rolls
Cooking Light, December 2002

These sweet, buttery rolls historically served with afternoon tea are just as at home with Sunday night's chicken dinner.

5 1/4 cups all-purpose flour -- divided
1 1/3 cups warm 1% low-fat milk -- (100° to 110°)
1 package quick-rise yeast -- (about 2 1/4 teaspoons)
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter -- melted and cooled to room temperature
1 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
Cooking spray
3 tablespoons 1% low-fat milk
1 1/2 teaspoons poppy seeds

1. Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine 2 cups flour, warm milk, and yeast in a large bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, and let stand 1 1/2 hours (batter should become very bubbly and almost triple in size).

2. Add 3 cups flour, sugar, butter, salt, and egg; stir with a wooden spoon 3 minutes or until well combined. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead until smooth and elastic (about 8 minutes); add enough of remaining flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, to prevent dough from sticking to hands (dough will feel tacky).

3. Place dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray, turning to coat top. Cover and let rise in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, 1 1/2 hours or until doubled in size. (Lightly press two fingers into dough. If indentation remains, the dough has risen enough.)

4. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface; lightly dust dough with flour and pat into an 10 x 8-inch rectangle. Divide dough by making 3 lengthwise cuts and 4 crosswise cuts to form 20 equal pieces; shape each piece into a ball. Place balls in a 13 x 9-inch baking pan coated with cooking spray.

5. Lightly coat the dough with cooking spray. Cover with plastic wrap, and let rise in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, 1 hour or until doubled in size.

6. Preheat oven to 375°.

7. Brush 3 tablespoons milk lightly over dough; sprinkle with poppy seeds. Bake at 375° for 20 minutes or until browned. Cool rolls in pan 5 minutes. Serve warm, or cool completely on a wire rack.

Servings: 20

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Bean Burgers with Spicy Guacamole

Well. This took about an hour, but it was worth it. And probably it wouldn't have taken so long if I had just overlapped steps (for example, making the onions while the quinoa cooks, making the guacamole while the patties refrigerate) but the Internet was calling to me and I got distracted. Regardless, it was absolutely fantastic. I did not make my own beans because I did not have the time. So I used canned. It all came together so perfectly and even though there was no egg binder or too much cornmeal, it stayed perfectly together. We both really, really liked this. The guacamole topping matched perfectly. This is definitely a make-again.

We had them with Alexia Sweet Potato Waffle Fries, which were quite tasty and matched the burger very well. See, most people talk about wine or beer pairings. With us, however, you get info on french fries.


Bean Burgers with Spicy Guacamole
Eating Well

These bean burgers will even please carnivores. The cornmeal coating gives a pleasant crunch and smoked paprika, cumin, cilantro and guacamole add Southwestern flavor.

1/2 cup water
1/4 cup quinoa -- rinsed (see Note)
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil -- divided
1/2 cup chopped red onion
1 clove garlic -- minced
2 1/2 cups cooked pinto beans -- well drained
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground toasted cumin seeds
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
3 tablespoons cornmeal
1/3 cup for coating burgers
1/2 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper -- (to taste)
6 whole-wheat hamburger buns -- toasted
6 lettuce leaves
6 tomato slices

1 ripe avocado
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons finely chopped red onion
1 clove garlic -- minced
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper -- or more to taste
1/8 teaspoon salt

1. Bring water to a boil in a small saucepan. Add quinoa and return to a boil. Reduce to a low simmer, cover and cook until the water has been absorbed, about 10 minutes. Uncover and let stand.

2. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add 1/2 cup onion and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add beans, paprika and ground cumin and mash the beans to a smooth paste with a potato masher or fork. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and let cool slightly. Add the quinoa, 3 tablespoons cilantro, 3 tablespoons cornmeal, 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper; stir to combine.

3. Form the bean mash into 6 patties. Coat them evenly with the remaining 1/3 cup cornmeal and transfer to a baking sheet. Refrigerate for 20 minutes.

4. To prepare guacamole: Mash avocado with a potato masher or fork. Stir in 2 tablespoons cilantro, lemon juice, 2 teaspoons onion, garlic, cayenne and 1/8 teaspoon salt.

5. Preheat oven to 200°F.

6. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large cast-iron (or similar heavy) skillet over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium and cook 3 burgers until heated through and brown and crisp on both sides, 2 to 4 minutes per side. Transfer to the oven to keep warm. Cook the remaining 3 burgers with the remaining 1 tablespoon oil, reducing the heat as necessary to prevent overbrowning. Serve the burgers on buns with lettuce, tomato and the guacamole.

Servings: 6

Tip: Toast cumin seeds in a small skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until very fragrant, 2 to 5 minutes. Let cool. Grind into a powder in a spice mill or blender.

Ingredient Note: Quinoa is a delicately flavored, protein-rich grain. Rinsing removes any residue of saponin, quinoa’s natural, bitter protective covering. Find it in natural-foods stores and the natural-foods sections of many supermarkets.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Starbucks' Cranberry Bliss Bars

So it's fall (into winter) and I enjoy the delicious treats Starbucks rolls out: gingerbread lattes, peppermint mocha, and the cranberry bliss bars. Yum! I've had this "copycat" recipe for years, so I decided to make some for my office.

It did not taste like the ones at Starbucks. I didn't think it would because the real bliss bars have kind of a citrusy orange undertone and this only has lemon juice in the frosting. But whatever. People at my office reported that they still enjoyed it and thought it was good. Personally, I was disappointed. But I didn't make them for myself, now did I? Oh and I omitted the shortening/sugar glaze. It's not really necessary.


Starbucks Cranberry Bliss Bars
CLBB (sarah_louise)

1 cup butter -- softened
1 1/4 cups light brown sugar, packed
3 eggs
1 1/2 tsps vanilla extract
1 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup dried cranberries, chopped
6 oz white chocolate, cut in chunks

4 oz cream cheese, softened
3 cups powdered sugar
4 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup dried cranberries

Drizzled Icing:
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 Tbsp milk
2 tsp vegetable shortening

1. Preheat oven to 350.

2. Make cake by beating butter and brown sugar together with an electric mixer until smooth. Add eggs, vanilla, ginger, and salt and beat well. Gradually mix in flour until smooth. Mix 3/4 cup of diced cranberries and white chocolate into the batter by hand. Pour batter into a well-greased 9x13 pan. Use a spatula to spread the batter evenly in the pan. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until cake is light brown on the edges. Allow the cake to cool.

3. Make frosting by combining softened cream cheese, 3 cups powdered sugar, lemon juice and vanilla extract in a medium bowl with an electric mixer until smooth. When the cake has cooled, use a spatula to spread frosting over the top of the cake.

4. Sprinkle 1/4 cup of diced dried cranberries over the top of the cake.

5. Whisk together 1/2 cup powdered sugar, 1 Tbsp. milk, and shortening. Drizzle icing over the cranberries in a sweeping motion or use a pastry bag with a fine tip to drizzle frosting across the top of the cake.

6. Allow cake to sit for several hours before slicing.

Yield: 16 bars

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Veggie Panini

I had planned to make something different tonight but was saddened to discover I've run out of pinto beans. I'm a bit of a food hoarder; I stock up on canned goods when I have good coupons and sales. So I have a zillion cans of beans in the basement... and none are pinto.

So I switched nights. I'll make tonight's dinner tomorrow, and I made tomorrow's dinner tonight. It was super-easy and tasty. I made it on the Griddler. I would make it again.


Veggie Panini
Shape magazine

Olive oil cooking-spray
1 medium eggplant, peeled and cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch-thick slices
1 16oz whole-grain baguette, cut into 4 equal pieces and halved crosswise
8 tsp prepared sun-dried tomato pesto
1 cup sliced roasted red peppers (from water-packed jar)
1 cup watercress leaves
8 oz thinly sliced or shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese

Coat a large nonstick skillet or griddle with cooking spray and set pan over medium-high heat. Add eggplant and cook 2 minutes per side, until golden brown. Set aside.

Coat one side of each baguette piece with 2 tsp of the pesto. Top pesto with eggplant slices, red peppers, watercress, and cheese. Coat the same large skillet or griddle with cooking spray and set pan over medium-high heat. When pan is hot, add sandwiches. Place a clean, heavy skillet on top of the sandwiches and cook 3-4 minutes, until sandwiches are golden on bottom. Remove the top skillet, flip sandwiches and repeat process, cooking 2-3 minutes, until second side is golden and cheese melts.

Yield: 4 servings

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Cashew Salmon with Apricot Couscous

Well, I found some good, sustainable, wild-caught Alaskan Coho salmon at Wegmans today. I'd already planned to make this meal so I was pretty pumped. The whole meal was very quick. The sauce is great. The couscous is great too, even though I am not a fan of dried apricots (you could probably even use golden raisins for the same effect). The salmon was good, because Coho salmon is good, but... I found a pin bone. A couple of them, actually. And it freaked. Me. Out. You know we eat vegetarian food 90% of the time and that the fishy stuff is once a week or so. I don't love fish. And when I find things like skin or bones it reminds me that fish, indeed, used to be alive. And then I get grossed out and sad.

But that's just me. He said it was wonderful and he ate the whole thing. We've agreed to keep the recipe and potentially try it again, because it was good. It's just my own personal bias getting in the way!


Cashew Salmon with Apricot Couscous
Eating Well

Yogurt sauce flavored with lemon, cumin and cilantro tops this Indian-inspired grilled salmon.

1/2 cup nonfat plain yogurt
3 scallions -- sliced, greens and whites separated
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
3/4 teaspoon salt -- divided
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper -- divided
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup chopped dried apricots
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1 1/4 cups water
1 cup whole-wheat couscous
1 pound salmon fillet -- preferably wild Pacific, skinned and cut into 4 portions
2 tablespoons chopped toasted cashews

1. Preheat grill to medium-high or position rack in upper third of oven and preheat broiler.

2. Combine yogurt, scallion greens, lemon juice, cilantro, cumin, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a medium bowl. Set aside.

3. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add apricots, ginger, the scallion whites and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring, until softened, about 2 minutes. Add water and bring to a boil over high heat. Stir in couscous. Remove from heat, cover and let stand until the liquid is absorbed, about 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork.

4. Meanwhile, rub salmon with the remaining 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper. If grilling, oil the grill rack (see Tip). If broiling, coat a broiler pan with cooking spray. Grill or broil the salmon until browned and just cooked through, about 3 minutes per side. Serve with the couscous, topped with the yogurt sauce and cashews.

Servings: 4


Woops! I forgot to post about this week's make-agains. Well, Wednesday I made my favorite Couscous with Chickpeas, Tomatoes, and Edamame, except I screwed up. You see, my pantry is chock-full of different grains and beans. I keep them all in clear OXO containers. So in my haste, I grabbed bulgur instead of couscous. Though similar, they have different cooking times and different textures and different sizes. So it wasn't fully cooked, didn't cook well with the tomatoes, and didn't work out as well as I would have liked. Fail. I'll still make it again a bazillion times.

Then last night I made Chili-Glazed Tofu Over Asparagus and Rice. I made it with Forbidden Rice because Gibby had requested to have some. It was excellent as usual. And although I usually burn it, now that I have my new awesome nothing-sticks-to-it Calphalon Green pan, it cooked beautifully.

I feel like this post is a big advertisement. I apologize. I just like to share things that make me happy :) Here is a picture of the tofu with the rice:


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Roasted Ratatouille with Eggs & Cheese

I made this for dinnner last night. It was cool because I got home early, made the majority of it, and then left it on "warm" in the oven. Then when it was time for dinner, I cracked the eggs, sprinkled the cheese, and baked it for 10 minutes. It worked out beautifully! It was good but more "brunchy" than dinner-y. We both liked it a lot but probably wouldn't make it again. It's too much effort for the two of us, but not quite special enough for guests.


Roasted Ratatouille with Eggs & Cheese
Eating Well, Fall 2002

Served with plenty of crusty bread and a green salad, this is a perfect dish for brunch or a light supper. Roasting is an excellent technique for ratatouille because the vegetables retain a distinct texture, yet the flavors meld. Pay close attention while you are cooking the eggs in the oven; they turn from nicely set to hard as a rock in a flash.
Make Ahead Tip : Prepare through Step 4, cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days. Reheat before continuing.

1 small eggplant -- (about 12 ounces), trimmed, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 medium onion -- cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 small zucchini -- cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 small red bell pepper -- seeded and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 cloves garlic -- minced
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper -- to taste
28 ounces plum tomatoes with juices
2 tablespoons torn fresh basil leaves -- plus more for garnish
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley
4 large eggs
4 ounces part-skim mozzarella -- thinly sliced and cut into 1/4-inch strips
4 1/2 -inch-thick slices Italian bread -- preferably whole-wheat

1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Lightly coat a large rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray.

2. Combine eggplant, onion, zucchini, bell pepper and garlic in a large bowl; drizzle with 2 tablespoons oil; toss to coat. Spread the vegetables on the prepared baking sheet. Season with salt and pepper.

3. Roast the vegetables, uncovered, turning often, until lightly browned and tender, about 45 minutes. Transfer the vegetables to a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Cut tomatoes into chunks. Stir the tomatoes (and their juices), basil and parsley into the vegetables. Cover with foil.

4. Bake until the ratatouille is hot and bubbling, about 20 minutes. Remove from the oven.

5. With a large spoon, make four evenly spaced indentations in the hot ratatouille. Carefully break an egg into each indentation. Sprinkle cheese over the vegetables and eggs. Bake, uncovered, until the eggs are set and the cheese is melted, 8 to 10 minutes.

6. While the eggs are baking, toast bread and drizzle each slice with 1/2 teaspoon olive oil. Divide bread slices among 4 plates or shallow soup bowls.

7. To serve, lift an egg and ratatouille from the baking dish and place on top of a slice of toasted bread. Spoon the remaining vegetables and juices around the edges, distributing evenly. Garnish with more basil, if desired.

Servings: 4

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Southwestern Stuffed Acorn Squash

Sunday night, we made stuffed acorn squash. I used vegetarian "Gimme Lean" sausage in place of the turkey sausage and it was great. The whole thing was very yummy. We would make this again.


Southwestern Stuffed Acorn Squash
Eating Well, Sept/Oct 2007

Cumin and chili powder season a filling of turkey sausage, tomatoes, black beans and Swiss cheese for creamy acorn squash. Serve this stuffed squash with warmed corn tortillas for wrapping up bites of all the tasty ingredients.

3 acorn squash -- (3/4-1 pound each)
5 ounces bulk turkey sausage
1 small onion -- chopped
1/2 medium red bell pepper -- chopped
1 clove garlic -- minced
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 cups chopped cherry tomatoes
15 ounces black beans -- rinsed
1/2 teaspoon salt
Several dashes hot red pepper sauce -- to taste
1 cup shredded Swiss cheese

1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Lightly coat a large baking sheet with cooking spray.

2. Cut squash in half horizontally. Scoop out and discard seeds. Place the squash cut-side down on the prepared baking sheet. Bake until tender, about 45 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, lightly coat a large skillet with cooking spray; heat over medium heat. Add sausage and cook, stirring and breaking up with a wooden spoon, until lightly browned, 3 to 5 minutes. Add onion and bell pepper; cook, stirring often, until softened, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in garlic, chili powder and cumin; cook for 30 seconds. Stir in tomatoes, beans, salt and hot sauce, scraping up any browned bits. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer until the tomatoes are broken down, 10 to 12 minutes.

4. When the squash are tender, reduce oven temperature to 325°. Fill the squash halves with the turkey mixture. Top with cheese. Place on the baking sheet and bake until the filling is heated through and the cheese is melted, 8 to 10 minutes.

Servings: 6

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Baked Apple Cider Doughnuts

Today I took a course in Reiki, hosted at my home. In typical Lauren fashion, I welcomed my guests with homemade doughnuts. Since a few of my friends have been talking about cider doughnuts lately, I decided to try this recipe out. And oh, boy, is it good. Definitely a make-again. To make it even more awesome, I used Penzeys Vanilla Sugar to sprinkle in the pan instead of just regular sugar. Yum yum yum!

So now we know: if you visit me in the summer, I will make lemon poppyseed doughnuts. If you visit in the fall, you'll get apple cider doughnuts. All baked, of course! Awesome.


Baked Apple Cider Doughnuts
Joe's Blog, adapted from Eating Well

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup apple butter
1/3 cup pure maple syrup
1/3 cup apple cider
1/3 cup nonfat plain Greek-style yogurt
3 tablespoons canola oil
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
Granulated sugar, for preparing pans

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

3. In another medium bowl, whisk together brown sugar, apple butter, maple syrup, cider, yogurt, oil, egg and vanilla. Pour mixture into the dry ingredients and stir just until combined.

4. Coat doughnut pans with nonstick spray, then sprinkle each individual well with granulated sugar, tapping out excess when coated. Fill doughnut wells about two-thirds full, then gently tap the pan on the counter to release any air bubbles. Place into the oven and bake until the tops spring back when lightly pressed or a toothpick placed in the center comes out mostly clean with a few moist crumbs attached, about 9 to 12 minutes for a regular sized pan, or 7 to 8 minutes in a miniature doughnut pan.

5. Remove from the oven and let cool for 2 or 3 minutes before turning the doughnuts out onto a wire rack to cool completely. Clean pans and repeat process with remaining batter.

Joe's Note: Using one small and one large pan, we made 9 large plus 12 small doughnuts.

Pasta, Lentils, and Artichoke Hearts

I added this to the meal plan for the week, and as today came closer, I started regretting it. Lentils? With artichokes? And pasta? It just started sounding bland and icky. But Moosewood and I have a good relationship, so I figured I'd go ahead and make it.

And you know what? It wasn't icky. It was actually pretty good. I'm not goign to lie - it smelled horrid. The artichokes and lentils did not smell awesome. But with the cumin and the feta cheese and the tomatoes, it all came together. I wouldn't make it again, but we both did like it.


Pasta, Lentils, and Artichoke Hearts
Moosewood Low-Fat Favorites

1 cup dry red lentils (3 cups cooked)
1 bay leaf
3 cups water
1 tsp olive oil
2 cups diced onions
2 large garlic cloves, pressed or minced
2 tsps ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 cups canned tomatoes (18oz can), chopped and liquid reserved
1 1/2 cups quartered artichokes (9oz package frozen or 15oz can)
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 lb farfalle, rotini, or spirali
salt & pepper to taste
crumbled feta cheese (optional)

Bring the lentils, bay leaf, and water to a boil in a saucepan. Lower the heat, cover, and simmer for 15 to 20 mintues, until the lentils are tender.

While the lentils cook, heat the olive oil in a separate pan. Add the onions and saute on medium heat for about 5 minutes, until golden. Add the garlic, cumin, and coriander and cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the lemon juice, tomatoes, artichoke hearts, and crushed pepper and simmer on low heat for about 10 minutes. Drain the cooked lentils, reserving the cooking liquid, and add the lentils to the tomatoe and artichoke heart mixture. Simmer for 10 minutes or more, adding about 1/2 cup of the reserved liquid if the sauce seems dry.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook the pasta until al dente. Drain the pasta and transfer it to a serving bowl. Top it with the lentil and artichoke heart sauce, add salt and pepper to taste, sprinkle with feta cheese, if desired, and serve immediately.

Yield: 4-6 servings

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

No-Beef Stroganoff

You know, this was pretty disappointing. It looked good, smelled great, but tasted blah. Neither of us finished our bowls. It was just not impressive. I would not make it again.

Note: I used vegetable stock in place of the beef broth. Maybe that made the difference?


Peggy's (No) Beef Stroganoff
CLBB (emily)

3 pounds of mushrooms, portabello, crimini and shitake, sliced in thick strips.
4 tablespoons butter or margarine
1 cup chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced or finely chopped
4 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons catsup
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1 can (10-1/2 oz) condensed beef broth, undiluted
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 tablespoon snipped fresh rosemary
1-1/2 cup nonfat sour cream

Add butter to skillet and saute onion, garlic, and mushrooms until onion is golden - about 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Add flour, catsup and pepper; stir until smooth. Gradually add beef broth; bring to a boil, stirring. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes.

Over low heat, add wine, rosemary and sour cream stirring until well combined. Simmer just until sauce is hot.

Serve stroganoff over hot, cooked egg noodles or rice. Sprinkle with dill or parsley.

Makes 8-10 servings.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Eggplant Tartines with Hummus & Arugula

Every time I make Eggplant Tartines with Hummus & Arugula, Gibby says, "Ew why are we eating this. Have I had it before?" Then he devours it and pronounces it "amazing." Why he cannot remember this between the times I make it, I will never know. But I do know it's a tried & true interesting weeknight meal!

Broiled Tilapia Gyros

I saw this and thought it sounded interesting, so we made it. It was definitely yummy, but I would not call it a gyro. As I started making the meal, I realized the fish is not seasoned other than with salt and pepper. What makes gyros so good? All the spices on the meat! Not that I eat meat. But you know. Gyros = spices and garlic and sauce. So it wasn't as good as it could have been. It was yummy, just not the greatest thing of all time. I don't know if I would make it again. If I did, I'd have to spice things up.

And PS, tzaziki sauce is NOT just yogurt and dill. Sigh. It involves cucumbers!


Broiled Tilapia Gyros
Cooking Light, November 2010

1 1/2 pounds tilapia fillets
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
Cooking spray

3/4 cup plain 2% reduced-fat Greek yogurt
2 teaspoons chopped fresh dill
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 garlic cloves -- minced

Remaining Ingredients:
11 ounces Mediterranean-style wheat flatbreads -- (such as Toufayan)
1/2 cup vertically sliced red onion -- (about 1/2 small onion)
1 ripe avocado -- peeled and cut into 12 thin slices
1 medium tomato -- thinly sliced
1/2 small English cucumber -- thinly sliced (about 1/2 cup)

1. Preheat broiler.

2. To prepare fish, brush fish with oil; sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon pepper and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Place fish on a broiler pan coated with cooking spray. Broil 6 minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork or desired degree of doneness.

3. To prepare tzatziki, combine yogurt and next 5 ingredients (through garlic) in a food processor or blender; pulse until smooth.

4. Spread 2 tablespoons tzatziki in the center of each flatbread. Divide fish evenly among flatbreads. Top each serving with 2 tablespoons onion, 3 avocado slices, 2 tomato slices, and about 6 cucumber slices; fold in half.

Servings: 4

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Banana-Buttermilk Pancakes

Last night I made these super-simple pancakes. The secret is adding the bananas into the top of the batter after pouring it rather than mixing them in. This also creates a nice caramelization of the bananas. It was very good with maple syrup. I would make these again.

The serving size said 6-8, so I made the full recipe with the intention of making extras to freeze and eat another day. Imagine my surprise when I only managed to get 6 pancakes out of the recipe! I do not think Martha intended for people to only eat one pancake per person. So the full recipe was appropriate for 2 people.


Banana-Buttermilk Pancakes
Everyday Food

Rather than stirring the banana slices into the batter, we added them to the pancakes in the pan; this way they are evenly distributed and hold their shape.

1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
1/2 cup all-purpose flour -- (spooned and leveled)
3 tablespoons light-brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
1 large egg -- lightly beaten
1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter -- melted
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1 large ripe banana -- thinly sliced
Maple syrup -- for serving (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, combine flours, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Whisk in buttermilk, egg, and butter until batter is well combined and free of lumps.

2. In a large nonstick skillet over medium heat, swirl oil to coat bottom of pan. Working in batches, add batter in 1/4-cup portions; cook until golden brown and tiny air bubbles form evenly on top, 2 to 5 minutes.

3. Top with banana slices, dividing evenly; flip pancakes, and continue cooking until slightly puffed, 2 to 5 minutes (reduce heat if browning too quickly). Transfer to a baking sheet; keep warm in oven while you cook remaining pancakes.

4. Serve pancakes with maple syrup and walnuts, if desired.

Servings: 8

Friday, November 05, 2010

Mozzarella-Stuffed Arancini

Tonight I made Mozzarella-Stuffed Arancini and it was good. I used a fantastic local Romano cheese that added some tasty extra goodness to it.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Greek-Style Panini

Tonight I made Greek-Style Panini and it was delicious and quick, as usual. It's a great little dinner for a hectic weeknight!

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Bengali Fish Curry (Doi Maach)

Have I told you about our stand-freezer in the basement? I love it. We stock up once a month on frozen vegetables, breads, lunches, and other miscellaneous things, and I've developed a pretty good stash. I'm awesome with coupons so we get it for a great deal. Last week we did our monthly stock-up and saved $80 from coupons and bonus deals. PLUS I got 60 cents off per gallon on my gasoline purchase as a result, and we still have enough points for a free turkey (which we'll probably exchange for more gas. Hah!).

So I have a variety of sustainable fish filets in the freezer (since they're mostly all frozen when they hit the grocery store anyway), including some mahi mahi. So for tonight's dinner, the only ingredient I had to buy was an onion. Awesome. And even though it sounds kind of weird, I can assure you: it was fantastic. I added a little bit too much red pepper, so it was way too hot for us, but it was delicious. I used some Greek yogurt and it gave it amazing consistency. LOVED it. We would definitely make it again.


Bengali Fish Curry (Doi Maach)
Cooking Light, June 2005

Thick, meaty fish like mahimahi works best in this dish. Slowly add the yogurt to the sauce for smooth results. Garnish with fresh cilantro sprigs. Serve with steamed basmati rice or Curd Rice.

Spice Mix:
2 teaspoons coriander seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
2 dried hot red chiles
2 whole cloves
2 green cardamom pods
1 (1-inch) cinnamon stick

2 1/4 pounds mahimahi -- cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
3/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons canola oil -- divided

3/4 cup finely chopped red onion
1 teaspoon grated peeled fresh ginger
1 garlic clove -- minced
1 bay leaf
1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 cup plain whole milk yogurt

1. To prepare spice mix, combine first 6 ingredients in a spice or coffee grinder; process until finely ground.

2. To prepare fish, combine mahimahi, turmeric, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a large bowl; toss well. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add half of fish; cook 5 minutes or until fish is lightly browned and flakes easily when tested with a fork (do not overcook). Remove from pan. Repeat procedure with remaining fish and oil.

3. To prepare sauce, add onion to pan; sauté 5 minutes or until tender. Add ginger, garlic, and bay leaf; sauté 2 minutes. Add ground spice mix; cook 2 minutes. Stir in water, 1 teaspoon salt, and sugar. Remove pan from heat; gradually stir in yogurt. Cook over low heat 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Return fish and accumulated juices to pan. Cook over low heat 5 minutes or just until heated. Discard bay leaf.

Servings: 6

Monday, November 01, 2010

Sassy Cinnamon Cookies

You guys. Seriously. You have to try this.

I'd always heard of the elusive cinnamon chips, so when I found them I stocked up. Like, seven bags. They've been sitting in my pantry, just waiting for the perfect recipe. And oh boy, this was a great way to use up part of a bag.

Seriously. Delicious. They're like thick, chewy Snickerdoodles with extra shots of cinnamon and the lovely addition of pecans. I would make these again and again and again.


Sassy Cinnamon Cookies
Betty Crocker

Sweet and sassy super-size cookies are packed with cinnamon chips and coated with cinnamon and sugar.

1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs
2 1/2 cups Gold Medal® all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup cinnamon-flavored baking chips
1 cup chopped pecans
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1. Heat oven to 375°F (if using dark or nonstick pan, heat oven to 350°F). In large bowl, beat 1 1/2 cups sugar, the butter, vanilla and eggs with electric mixer on medium speed, or mix with spoon, until creamy. Stir in flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt. Stir in cinnamon chips and pecans.

2. In small bowl, mix 2 tablespoons sugar and the cinnamon. Shape dough by 1/4 cupfuls into balls. Roll in sugar-cinnamon mixture. Place balls 3 inches apart on ungreased large cookie sheet (do not flatten).

3. Bake 13 to 17 minutes or until set and light brown. Immediately remove from cookie sheet to wire rack.

Servings: 16

Lobster Mac & Cheese

Lobster. Did you know it used to be the food of the poor? Oh my. Well we got some delicious inexpensive lobster and I decided to indulge in this mac & cheese dish on Saturday night.

I am sad to say that we were disappointed. I mean, it was good. Don't get me wrong. I felt that the cheese was a little too strong for the lobster, but whatever. The real problem was the cheese & butter. I understand that a roux is necessary to make it thick enough, but it was just too much for us. Way too rich, even with the butter cut down. Hurt our tummies! Unfortunately not a make-again. But I do want to make lobster roll now.


Lobster Mac and Cheese
Food Network: Ina Garten

Kosher salt
Vegetable oil
1 pound cavatappi or elbow macaroni
1 quart milk
8 tablespoons unsalted butter -- (1 stick) divided
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
12 ounces Gruyere cheese -- grated (4 cups)
8 ounces extra-sharp Cheddar -- grated (2 cups)
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 1/2 pounds cooked lobster meat
1 1/2 cups fresh white bread crumbs -- (5 slices, crusts removed)

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

2. Drizzle oil into a large pot of boiling salted water. Add the pasta and cook according to the directions on the package, 6 to 8 minutes. Drain well.

3. Meanwhile, heat the milk in a small saucepan, but don't boil it. In a large pot, melt 6 tablespoons of butter and add the flour. Cook over low heat for 2 minutes, stirring with a whisk. Still whisking, add the hot milk and cook for a minute or two more, until thickened and smooth. Off the heat, add the Gruyere, Cheddar, 1 tablespoon salt, the pepper, and nutmeg. Add the cooked macaroni and lobster and stir well. Place the mixture in 6 to 8 individual gratin dishes.

4. Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter, combine them with the fresh bread crumbs, and sprinkle on the top. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbly and the macaroni is browned on the top.

Servings: 6

Weekend Make-Agains

Friday night, I made Golden Potato-Leek Soup, but skipped the cheddar toasts because the pumpkin roll was taking up the oven. We missed the toasts. Saturday I made something with lobster but haven't posted the recipe for it yet. And then last night I made Grilled Cheese with Onion Jam, Taleggio, and Escarole, a quick fix before trick or treaters started arriving. For the first time, we used actual taleggio (I usually sub fontina) and honestly, I kind of like the fontina better. Still yummy though!