Tuesday, September 27, 2005


These are all from Fresh from the Vegetarian Slow Cooker

Golden-Glow Stuffed Squash

1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 medium sized onion, minced
1 medium carrot, shredded
1 small yellow bell pepper, seeded and chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp. turmeric
2 1/2 c. cooked white or brown rice
1 Tbsp. fresh parsley, minced
1 tsp. dried thyme or ground sage
salt and pepper to taste
1 large winter squash, halved and seeded
1 c. hot water

Heat the oil a skillet over medium heat. Add onion, carrot, and bell pepper, cover and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and tumeric, then stir in the rice, parsley, thyme or sage and season with salt and pepper. Mix well and spoon in the squash cavities.
Pour the water into a 6-quart oval slow cooker and add the squash halves, stuffing side up. Cover and cook on Low until the squash is tender, about 6 hours.

Winter squash stuffed with couscous, apricots and pistachios

2 c. apple juice
1 c. couscous
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1.4 tsp. ground allspice
1 c. chopped dried apricots
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1.2 c. chopped pistachios
salt and pepper to taste
1 large kabocha, buttercup or other winter squash, halved and seeded
1 c. hot water.

Bring the apple juice to a boil in a med. saucepan. Add the couscous, cinnamon and allspice. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat, stir in the apricots, cover, and set aside.
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic, cover and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.
Fluff the couscous with a fork, then add the onion mixture and pistachios, season with salt and pepper and mix well.
Place the squash halves, cut side up, in the slow cooker. Pack the stuffing into the halves. Carefully pour the hot water into the slow cooker without disturbing the squash. Cover and cook on low about 6 hours.

Winter squash and sweet potato soup

1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 small yellow onion, chopped
1 celery rib, chopped
2 medium sized sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
1 small butternut squash, peeled, seeded and thinly sliced
4 c. vegetable stock
1 tsp. dried thyme
1.2 tsp. dried sage
salt and pepper to taste

Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add onion and celery, cook until soft.
Transfer cooked veggies to a slow cooker. Add the sweet potatoes, squash, stock, thyme and sage; season with salt and pepper. cover and cook on low for 6 hours.
Puree the soup in a blender or food processor, working in batches, or directly in the slow cooker using an immersion blender.

I can't wait until I can stand up again. I came home all excited to try these recipes, and now I can't stand long enough to get the stuff in the crockpot!

Monday, September 26, 2005

Alissa's Butternut Squash & Ginger Soup

Tonight, looking ahead to the coming squash-ful weeks of fall, I made a variation on Alissa's lovely recipe. I'll post hers in full and then below I'll add changes dictated by limits of my pantry.

1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded, cubed
3 med. shallots or 1 onion, diced
2 T of butter
2 T dry white wine or sherry
salt & pepper
ginger (dry or fresh peeled & diced) to taste
1 C whole milk
2 C chicken or vegetable stock

In a large stockpot:
Saute shallots/onion/leek in butter on med-high heat.
When the onions are golden brown add wine & squash.
Cook 30 sec to burn off the alcohol. Add stock, salt, pepper and ginger to taste.
Bring to a boil.
Turn down & simmer, covered.
Cook until squash is tender, about 15-20 minutes.
Use blender/food processor/hand masher/hand mixer to puree until desired smoothness.
Add milk during this process.

Serve with bread. Add a dash of cinnamon to each serving bowl.

Keep 3 days in fridge, or can be frozen.

I'm fresh out of all things ginger tonight, and I needed another strong flavor, so I added a dash of cayenne and about 7 or 8 shakes of curry. I added a bunch of black pepper, left out the salt and gave it a splash of tamari instead. I stuck in a bay leaf while it simmered.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Mrs Kalia’s Aloo Mutter

1 C coarsely chopped onion

2T coarsely chopped gingerroot

2 lg cloves garlic

2 T vegetable oil

1 t cumin seed

3 medium potatoes, peeled, boiled and cut into 1” cubes

2 C frozen green peas

2 medium tomatoes cut into 1” cubes

1 C water

1 t Garam Masala

1 t ground red pepper (cayenne)

1 t salt

¼ t ground turmeric

2 T finely chopped fresh cilantro

  1. In a food processor, finely mind the onion, gingerroot and garlic.
  2. In a wok or 12-inch skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the cumin seed and sizzle for 15-20 seconds. Add the onion mixture and stir-try for 3-5 minutes until golden brown.
  3. Stir in the remaining ingredients except cilantro. Lower the heat and cook, covered, stirring occasionally, for 12-15 minutes until the potatoes are warm, the peas are cooked, and the sauce slightly thickens. Sprinkle with cilantro.

from The Turmeric Trail, by Raghavan Iyer

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Creamy tomato soup with Israeli Couscous

from Fresh from the Vegetarian Slow Cooker

1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 medium-sized yellow onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, chopped
3 c. vegetable stock
One 28-ox can crushed tomatoes
1 Tbsp. tomato paste
pinch of sugar or other sweetener
2 bay leaves
salt and pepper
1 c. cooked Israeli couscous
2 tbsp. chopped fresh basil for garnish

Heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic, cover, and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.
Transfer to a slow cooker, add the stock, tomatoes, tomatoe paste, sugar and bay leaves. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours. Puree the soup in a food processor or blender (remove bay leaves first), adjust the seasonings.
To serve, spoon about 1/4 c. of couscous in a bowl, then ladle the soup on top. Serve with sprinkled basil. (and fresh mozarella, if you have any)

**My notes--I haven't made this one either, but it's another one I'll be trying next week.

Garlicky polenta with Wild Mushroom Saute

from Fresh from the Vegetarian Slow Cooker

1 Tbsp olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
6 c. boiling water
2 c. medium or coarse-ground cornmeal

2 Tbsp olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
8 oz assorted mushrooms (shitake, cremini, oyster or button)
Salt and pepper

To make the polenta, lightly oil the inside of the slow cooker. Add the olive oil and garlic and turn the cooker to High. Pour in the boiling water and salt, then whisk in the cornmeal, stirring constantly until blended. Cover and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours, stirring occasionally.
Spoon the cooked polenta into a lightly oiled loaf pan and smooth the top. Refrigerate until firm.
To make the mushrooms, heat 1 tbsp of the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook about 30 seconds. Add the mushrooms and cook about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
Preheat the oven to 375. Cut the firm polenta into 1/2-inch slices and place them on a lightly oiled baking sheet. Brush the top with the remaining olive oil and bake until hot and golden brown, about 20 to 30 minutes.
To serve, arrange the polenta on a serving platter and spoon the mushrooms on top.

**My notes -- I haven't made this one, but I think when I get home from the walk on Sunday, I will stick the polenta in the crockpot and cook overnight, refrigerate all day, and have this for dinner on Monday. If you didn't want mushrooms (which I know some of you don't like), you could probably substitute tomatoes for the saute or make some wilted spinach. Come to think of it, the wilted spinach would probably be really good, and a good source of iron.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Gallo Pinto (Black Beans and Rice)

This is such a tasty recipe. I originally watched a Honduran guy named Chuck make it in my apartment kitchen my senior year of college, and I've combined what I remember from him with Cuban recipes from a lovely Mennonite international cookbook.

Saute in a wide & deep frying pan:
1 medium onion, chopped
1 small green pepper, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced

When the onion is translucent, add 1/3 of the mixture and a dash of salt to a pot of yet uncooked rice (about 3-4 servings). Cook using your preferred rice-making method.

Open two cans of black beans, drain one but don't pour off the liquid from the other. To the veggies left in the frying pan, add the two cans of black beans & liquid.
2 T balsamic vinegar
1 t oregano
1 t cumin
1/2 t coriander
salt & pepper
cayenne to taste

Simmer for as long as it takes the rice to cook.

Serve beans over rice.

(You can top with cheese or sour cream, but it's irresistable as is. You can also add chicken to this recipe - cooked with the onion & pepper before adding the beans.)

adapted from Honduran Chuck and
Extending the Table, A World Community Cookbook
by Joetta Handrich Schlabach

books for Shannon

Laurel's Kitchen (where the spreads came from) is an oldie-but-goodie guide to complete vegetarian nutrition.

I recently got Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home from our library and it also has some good basics. (I'll post the corn & avocado salad)

I love love love my Extending the Table...A World Community Cookbook that I bought years ago at Ten Thousand Villages. It's not actually exclusively vegetarian, but the recipes are from all over the world. (I'll post gallo pinto)

I subscribe to Care2.org's monthly recipe email and that always has some delicious-sounding options.

Chicken Adobo

This isn't a completely authentic recipe (I'll post that one later), but this one is quick and easy.

2 c. rice vinegar (go to the Asian section and get the right kind, don't substitute just white vinegar)
1 c. water
dark soy sauce to taste (half a cup, maybe? I just pour it in and then taste it. Do yourself a favor and get some Silver Swan...it's better than Kikkoman)
8-10 garlic cloves (no kidding)
a handful of peppercorns
chicken (whatever kind you like, we use boneless, skinless thighs)

Throw it all in a pot and cook until the chicken is done. Eat over jasmine rice (add some of the sauce to the rice and it's tasty). If you're lucky, you'll be eating lumpia with this (you can buy it already rolled and frozen) and some sliced tomatoes.

Looking for some reading...

...that I thought maybe someone out there would be able to help me find. I'm thinking of going mostly vegetarian...maybe keeping meat (turkey, seafood, chicken) in my diet at most three days of the week, and eating vegetarian the other days. Anyway, I'm looking for some reading on how to make that happen, and make meals that Ernie will eat and not miss the meat.
Any suggestions? Also, recipes are always helpful. :)

Anyone up for another fruit/veggie challenge? One that we actually carry through for an entire week this time? I've been eating like crap lately...not junk food, just not the right food. I'm up for one starting next Monday, if anyone else is up for it.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Mozzarella Pesto Spread

Saw this one, and figured in the spirit of spreads, I'd post it. I haven't made it yet, but it looks good and I might this weekend.

Gourmet August 2005

1/2 lb. coarsley chopped grated mozzarella (2 cups)
1/4 c. well-stirred prepared pesto
1/4 c. finely chopped drained oil packed sundried tomatoes

Stir together all ingredients in a bowl until combined well. Spread on Italian bread.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Triple Chocolate Cake

I've brought this in to a couple of office parties, and to potlucks and such. It's a great recipe because it only has 5 ingredients, it's super-easy, and it tastes great!

Note: this cake doesn't have any frosting. In my opinion, it doesn't need it, because the cake is so rich.

1 small package instant chocolate pudding mix
1 package devil's food cake mix
6 oz. chocolate chips
1 3/4 cups milk
2 eggs

Combine all ingredients in a bowl, then stir by hand for 2 minutes. Pour into a greased and floured bundt pan. Bake at 350 for 50-55 minutes, until it springs back.

Let cool completely before serving.

Aunt Kinky's Salsa and Margaritas

If you're having a party, I recommend making Aunt Kinky's Salsa and Margaritas! Both are pretty simple, and you won't have any leftovers, I promise. =)

By the way, Aunt Kinky's is Geoff's aunt, and her given name is Lynn. What happens when a small child can't say Lynn? His funny dad jokes, "Just call her Aunt Kinky!" and the name sticks....

1 fresh jalapeno
1 can stewed tomatos
1 can Mexican stewed tomatos
6-10 cloves of fresh garlic, pressed*
1/2 medium or large onion, chopped
small bunch of fresh cilantro, washed and chopped
1/2 fresh lime

Boil pepper about 10 minutes, or until soft.

In the meantime, pour tomatos in a blender, then add cilantro, onion, garlic. Finally, squirt in the juice from the lime.

When the pepper is soft, cut in half lengthwise. Remove the seeds from half, then put both halves in the blender.**

Add a little salt, to taste.


* Obviously, it would be a good idea if everybody knows each other pretty well, and they don't mind garlic breath. Alternatively, you could reduce the amount of garlic, but I think the salsa's not nearly as good when you do that.

** Boiling the pepper, then removing half the seeds cuts down on the heat. Feel free to adjust as you see fit.

Bacardi frozen margarita mix
Cuervo Gold tequila
Limes -- let's say 6?

Yield: about half a gallon

Pour margarita mix into a pitcher. Fill can 3/4 full with tequila, top off with amaretto; pour into pitcher.

Add one can of water, one can of ice.

Halve 4 limes and remove the seeds. Squeeze juice into pitcher, then throw the rinds in, too. Stir.

Refrigerate at least a couple of hours.

When serving, cut the remaining limes, rub them around the mouth of the glass, and dip into margarita salt. Put ice in glass, pour margaritas, and serve!

Hot Artichoke Dip

2 jars (6.5 ounces each) marinated artichoke hearts, drained and coarsely chopped (note: I found some frozen, non-marinated artichoke hearts in Trader Joes and these work just as well)
1 package (10 ounces) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and well drained
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 garlic clove, pressed
3 ounces fresh Parmesan cheese, grated (about 3/4 cup)


1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Drain and coarsely chop artichoke hearts with Food Chopper. Combine artichoke hearts, spinach, garlic, sour cream, mayonnaise and Parmesan cheese.
2. Spoon dip into casserole dish. Bake 20-25 minutes or until heated through.
Yield: 10-15 appetizer servings

More notes: I'm thinking this wouldn't be terrible for you if you used non-fat sour cream and low-fat mayo. And you really can't taste the mayo, I think it must help with the creaminess or something.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Spinach Dip

At Gwen's request, here is one of the easiest, most instantly gratifying recipe on the planet (outside of a good PB& ham, right Liss?). I don't think she believes me that the recipe is right on the box.

1 pkg. Knorr vegetable dry soup mix (it's in the yellow and green box)
16 oz. sour cream
1 pkg. frozen chopped spinach, thawed, drained
1 can water chestnuts, chopped coarsely
Mix soup with sour cream. Add spinach and water chestnuts. Chill for at least 1 1/2 hours. Serve with vegetables, crackers, in a pumpernickel bread bowl with 1" bread squares or on a spoon in the middle of the night while you're wearing pajamas.

And now for a few variations:
- 2 packages of spinach instead of one (make sure it's chopped, not cut or you'll be mad)
- use cottage cheese instead of sour cream and use as a sandwich spread

While we're on the topic of sandwich spreads

I'm eating Soy Spread sandwiches this week
both recipes are from Laurel's Kitchen

Soy Spread

1 small onion, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 small stalk celery, minced
1/4 C chopped green pepper
2-3 T olive oil
2 T tomato sauce
1 T basil
1/2 t oregano
1 can cooked, mashed soybeans
1-2 t vinegar
1/2 t salt
dash pepper

Saute onion & garlic in olive oil until soft, then add celery & cook until onion is transparent
Add tomato paste & herbs and simmer.
Stir in mashed soybeans, vinegar, salt & pepper.
Makes about 1 1/2 C.
Serve on sandwich bread with sprouts.

(I have to add about 1/4 C of water to give it enough liquid for everything to simmer together. I usually mash the beans with everything else once it's simmered awhile.)

Cheese Spread

1 C grated cheese
1 C cottage cheese
add any combination of:
finely chopped celery, green or red pepper
minced parsley/chives
chopped tomatoes
mustard powder
dill weed

Serve on sandwich bread.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Blackberry Peach Cobbler

(Can you tell Gwen and I got a bunch of peaches and blackberries last weekend? We're both looking for ways to use them all)

Gourmet Sept. 2005

2 Tbsp cornstarch
1 1/5 c. plus 1 tsp. sugar
1 1/4 lb blackberries (about 5 cups)
2 lb. peaches, (6 medium), peeled, pitted and cut into wedges
3 c. all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
2 sticks cold, unsalted butter, cut into cubes
1 c. plus 3 Tbsp. whole milk

Preheat oven to 425 F. Butter a 13x9x2 glass or ceramic baking dish. (I skipped the buttering step)
Whisk together cornstarch and 1 1/2 c. sugar in a large bowl. Then add peaches and blackberries and toss to coat. Transfer to baking dish, bake 10-15 min.
While fruit bakes, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt in another large bowl, then blend in butter with pastry blender or fingers. Add milk and stir until dough forms.
Drop dough on hot fruit mixture in 12 mounds, then sprinkle dough with remaining sugar. Bake until golden brown, 25-35 min. Serve warm. (good with vanilla ice cream)