Monday, February 26, 2007

Lentil Sausage Soup

A recipe I saw Ina Garten make on "Barefoot Contessa."

I'll just point you to this website for the recipe:,,FOOD_9936_35606,00.html?rsrc=search

Some notes:

1. I used a 5-quart pot, and wished I had something bigger to cook it in. I had to hold off on adding 1 quart of chicken broth until it had cooked down some.

2. We chopped only 2 onions, instead of 3, and that was plenty for us. I wish we'd chopped a third leek, though. I think ours were kind of small.

3. We made one recipe of this, and even though we each had healthy helpings last night, the two of us could probably eat this for the next 3 days. In other words, this one recipe will make a lot of soup.

Friday, February 23, 2007

curried mixed Indian veggies

A bit tricky, this one, because I started with this recipe but rapidly decided I didn't like it and went off on my own. I will try to recreate, though, because I'd like to be able to do it again.

I didn't measure any of the spices, and used way more than the recipe called for -- especially the cinnamon. I'm not sure why this recipe wants to be unnecessarily complicated and have you recreate curry by putting all the spices in yourself... I did it dutifully, but it was way too bland. I cheated and stirred in a big spoonful of curry paste in at the end.

Notes are in parentheses.
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil (I used olive, and probably more than 1 T)
  • 1 tbsp margarine (omitted)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 3/4 tsp turmeric
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 onions, diced
  • 4 tomatoes, chopped or one 12 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 3 carrots, sliced (I used more)
  • 1 cup peas (omitted; I added a lot of chopped broccoli instead)
  • 2 potatoes, chopped into one inch pieces (I only had one potato)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup water
  • (I also added a bunch of chopped raisins, a can of chickpeas, some celery and the curry paste)
Heat the oil over medium heat. Add garlic and all the spices and reduce heat to low. Cook for just one minute, stirring once or twice.

Add onions and sautee for 3 minutes, or until onions turn clear. (I bet chopped apples would also be good here.)

Add tomatoes, carrots, peas, potatoes, (celery,) salt and water. (I put the broccoli in at this step, but I should have waited longer so it didn't all fall apart.)

Cover your pan and allow to cook for about 20 minutes, or until potatoes are done, stirring occasionally. (I put in the chickpeas and raisins and just waited until they heated up, then stirred in the curry paste.) Serve over rice (or couscous).

Monday, February 19, 2007

Mollie's ginger snaps

Courtesy of my friend Mollie (who is moving to DC next month! and is a lovely vegetarian cook! and should join this blog!)

¾ C shortening (I think real butter works the best)
1C brown sugar (dark preferred)
1 egg
¼ C molasses

2 1/4 C flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger
½ tsp cloves
¼ tsp salt
appox. 1/2 C granulated sugar

-In a large bowl, cream shortening and sugar
-add egg and molasses to mixture and beat well
-in a separate bowl, combine all of the dry ingredients and combine evenly.

-add the dry to the wet, adding 1/3 of the dry mixture at a time. It will be pretty thick.
-cover and chill in the fridge for at least 1hr (can also leave overnight)

-preheat oven to 375 and grease cookie sheets
-shape cool dough into small, completely round balls
-dip tops into sugar (I just put the sugar in a small bowl)

-bake on cookie sheets for 10 min. The bottoms should be slightly browned. If you can see goo when you look at the tops, they need another minute, but only another minute! They burn easily and it can be hard to tell since the dough is brown.


I got this from a slow cooker listserv I'm on. It was really good. I'm putting my notes in parenthesis.

a.. 1 large can (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes with juice
b.. 1 can (8 ounces) tomato sauce
c.. 1/2 cup chopped onion
d.. 1 cup dry white wine
e.. 1/3 cup olive oil
f.. 3 cloves garlic, minced
g.. 1/2 cup parsley, chopped (frankly, I use the dehydrated stuff on occasion)
h.. 1 green pepper, chopped
i.. 1 hot pepper (optional), chopped (we left this out)
j.. salt and pepper, to taste
k.. 1 teaspoon thyme
l.. 2 teaspoons basil
m.. 1 teaspoon oregano
n.. 1/2 teaspoon paprika
o.. 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (I used some crushed red pepper flakes instead)
p.. water, if desired* (I didn't use any)
r.. Seafood**
s.. 1 deboned (important) and cubed fillet of seabass, cod or other whitefish (I used halibut)
t.. 1 doz. prawns
u.. 1 doz. scallops
v.. 1 doz. mussels (omitted)
w.. 1 doz. clams (can use canned--I would recommend this, because I used the ones in the shell and it increases cooking time)

Place all ingredients in slow cooker except seafood. Cover and cook 6 to 8 hours on low. About 30 minutes before serving, add your seafood. Turn the heat up to HIGH and stir occasionally (but gently).
Serve with true sourdough bread if you can find it. By the way, don't be afraid to dunk your sourdough in the cioppino as it's considered perfectly good manners in this case.
*You can add water to the recipe to thin out the Cioppino somewhat but we prefer it nice and thick.
**Use your imagination and personal preferences as to which seafoods to add. Some choose to serve with fresh cracked crab when in season.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Sweet pea risotto gratin

Recipe courtesy of Rachel Ray

1 (10 ounce) package frozen baby peas, thawed
6 cups chicken broth
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
1 pound Arborio rice
1 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano, freshly grated
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup plain dry bread crumbs

Puree half of the peas in a food processor and set aside with the whole peas.
In a saucepan, heat the chicken broth and keep warm. Grease a 2-quart casserole and set aside.
In a large saucepan, heat 3 tablespoons of the butter over medium heat. Stir in the onion and cook until translucent, about 4 minutes. Add the rice and stir well to coat the grains with butter. Add 1 cup of the chicken broth to the rice, lower the heat slightly and stir until the broth is absorbed. Continue adding broth in 1/2 cup increments, letting the rice absorb the liquid (about 3 minutes) after each addition, and stirring almost constantly, until the rice is cooked, 20 to 25 minutes. The finished rice will be creamy but still firm to the bite.
A few minutes before the risotto is done, stir in the pureed and whole peas. Turn on the broiler.
Remove the cooked rice from the heat and stir in the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and 3/4 cup of grated Parmigiano-Reggiano. Season with salt and pepper. Stir the remaining 1/4 cup of grated cheese and the bread crumbs together. Transfer the risotto to the prepared casserole dish and top with the bread crumb mixture. Place the dish under the broiler about 6 inches from the heat source and broil for about 2 minutes, or until the top is golden. Serve immediately.

Lentils Syrian Style

Lentils Syrian Style
From "Little Foods of the Mediterranean" by Clifford A. Wright
Adapted by Kim O'Donnel from (her notes in parenthesis, mine in italic)

2 tablespoons garlic, peeled (from about 8 large cloves)
1 ½ cups dried lentils (ordinary brown or green variety; I used French
green lentils with great success)
4 tablespoons olive oil
5 Swiss chard leaves, washed, dried, stems removed and sliced into
thin strips
¾ cup finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves (about 1 bunch) I left this out
At least 1 cup water (or remaining lentil liquid)
1 tablespoon juice of a lemon
2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses (available at Middle East groceries) I found it in Shoppers

Using a mortar and pestle, pound the garlic until pulverized. Alternatively, smash garlic with a chef's knife, then continue mashing it. You don't want minced garlic, which tends to burn. I ended up just smashing it and then chopping it up some.
Rinse lentils in a sieve, holding back stones or grit. Place lentils in a pot and cover with water. Bring up to a boil, then lower heat and cook lentils at a simmer, until tender, between 30 and 45 minutes. Check doneness after first 20 minutes, then every 10 minutes, as cooking time varies according to age of lentils. Drain and set aside; reserve cooking liquid if using. Salt lentils to taste. (KOD note: I've used one teaspoon of salt here and needed no additional salt at the end.)
Add 1 tablespoon of the olive oil to the emptied, rinsed-out pot, over medium heat, then add chard until wilted, about 2 minutes. Remove chard; set aside.
Heat remaining 3 tablespoons oil and add garlic and cilantro, stirring constantly. Cook about 1 minute, reduce heat and return chard, plus lentils and liquid of choice. Stir to combine and cook on medium heat, about 10 minutes. Add lemon juice, pomegranate molasses and stir again.

Black and blueberry muffins

My notes in parenthesis


1 cup whole wheat flour (you could use all-purpose flour here, if you didn't have whole wheat)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup wheat germ
2/3 cup white sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 eggs, beaten
2 cups half-and-half cream (or 2% milk)
1 cup fresh (or frozen) blackberries
1 cup fresh (or frozen) blueberries

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Butter muffin pan.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flours, wheat germ, sugar, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. In another bowl, whisk together half and half cream and eggs. Stir wet ingredients into dry, mixing just to combine. Fold in berries. Scoop batter into muffin pan cups. If there are any empty cups, fill those halfway with water.
Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes, or until done.

(This makes a loose batter. You could add a little extra flour if you wanted, but the muffins turned out fine as is.)

Chocolate lava cupcakes

My notes in parenthesis.

Courtesy of Alton Brown

8 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
1 stick butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup sugar
3 tablespoons flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 eggs
Butter, to coat muffin tin
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
1 cup vanilla ice cream
1 teaspoon espresso powder

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Place a small metal bowl over a saucepan with simmering water. Melt the chocolate and butter in the bowl. Stir in vanilla.
In a large mixing bowl, combine sugar, flour and salt. Sift these into the chocolate and mix well with electric hand mixer. Add eggs one at time, fully incorporating each egg before adding the next. Beat at high until batter is creamy and lightens in color, approximately 4 minutes.
Chill mixture. (for about 20 minutes)
Coat the top and each cup of the muffin tin with butter. Dust with the cocoa powder and shake out excess. Spoon mixture into pan using a 4-ounce scoop or ladle. Bake for 10 to 11 minutes. Outsides should be cake-like and centers should be gooey.
While muffins are in oven, melt the ice cream in a small saucepan. Stir in the espresso powder. Serve over warm muffins. (would also be good with some raspberry sauce, which is how I plan to eat them)

Friday, February 09, 2007

Creamy Raviloli & Spinch Bake

from The Six O'Clock Scramble by Aviva Goldfarb

20 oz cheese ravioli
10 oz frozen chopped spinach
15 oz can diced tomatoes, with their liquid
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 cup light sour cream
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dried basil
4 oz feta cheese, crumbled (possible sub: mozzarella)

In a large pot of boiling water, cook the ravioli for about 3 minutes and drain it. Defrost the spinach and drain it. Preheat the oven to 375.

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients except ravioli. Gently but thoroughly stir in the ravioli.

Smooth the mixture into an 8x8-inch flat baking dish and cover it with aluminum foil. Bake 15 to 20 minutes until it is heated through.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Chickpeas, Couscous, and Swiss Chard (Spinach)

Geoff said he was expecting this not to be good, and he was expecting to eat something else in order to be full. However, it tasted great, and he didn't need to supplement it with a Lean Cuisine.

from Real Simple, February 2007

1 10-oz box couscous
1/2 cup pine nuts
3 T olive oil
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced (I chopped it)
1 15.5-oz can chickpeas, rinsed
1/2 cup raisins (dark or golden)
2 bunches Swiss chard, stems trimmed (I used spinach)
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt (I used regular salt)
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Place the couscous in a bowl. Add 1-1/2 cups boiling water and stir. Cover tightly and let stand for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, over low heat, toast the pine nuts, shaking the pan frequently, until golden, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a plate. (I toasted them in a toaster.)

Return skillet to medium heat, add the oil, and heat for 1 minute. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the chickpeas, raisins, chard, salt, and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the chard is tender, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat.

Fluff the couscous with a fork and divide among individual plates. Top with the chard and sprinkle with pine nuts.

Tip (from Real Simple, not me): It's easy to vary this basic recipe from one week to the next. Try using spinach instead of Swiss chard, almonds in place of pine nuts, or currants as a substitute for raisins.

Serves 4.

Nutritional info:
540 calories (40% from fat)
24g fat (saturated 1 g)
23 g sugar
17g protein
0 mg cholesterol
1,329 mg sodium
13 g fiber
71 g carbohydrates

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Chocolate week

Chocolate is the food of love, right?
(at least, it's the food I love the best)
Next week, I propose we have a "themed" week on the blog -- something we don't do very often. And I shall call it Chocolate Week. (I know, I'm so very original)
I've earmarked two chocolate recipes I'm going to try -- one over the weekend, and one on Wednesday. I'll post them if they turn out well, and I can't imagine something with chocolate in it wouldn't turn out well. I encourage all of you to do the same. If you don't have access to post to the blog, you can e-mail recipes to me or Gwen, or post them in the comments here.

Vanilla Wafers

Recipe came from The Baking Sheet, Winter 2007 edition, a newsletter published quarterly (I think) by the people who make King Arthur Flour.

These things taste great, and are really easy. Once you try 'em, you'll never be able to buy a box of Nilla Wafers again, because they'll taste like sawdust. If you ever make banana pudding, use these instead.

The commentary accompanying the recipe says there are "...terrific as they are (or sandwiched together with a bit of chocolate while still warm), they'd also make a terrific crust for a banana or chocolate cream pie."

1-1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/3 cup unsalted butter
1/3 cup vegetable shortening (non-trans fat preferred)
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 large egg
2 tablespoons milk

Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease, or line with parchment, 2 baking sheets. (I used non-stick sheets, didn't grease them, and the wafers came out fine.)

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and baking powder; set aside.

In a large bowl, cream together the butter and shortening. Gradually add the sugar with the mixer running at medium speed. Beat until the mixture is light and fluffy, stopping to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl after all of the sugar is incorporated.

Add the vanilla and the egg, and beat once again until the mixture is uniform.

Mix in half of the flour, scrape the bowl, and add 2 tablespoons of milk. Mix in the remaining flour until the dough is smooth.

Scoop by teaspoonfuls onto the prepared baking sheets; bake for 12-14 minutes, until the edges are brown.

Yield: 4-1/2 dozen cookies (I don't think I got nearly this many, probably more like 3 dozen).