Sunday, July 26, 2009

blueberry muffins x2

Thanks for all the vegan breakfast suggestions -- we wound up changing plans slightly and cooking dinner instead (rice and beans, tortillas, salsa, tofutti sour cream, delicious) but I did bake some vegan muffins for our guests' return tomorrow. Orange juice and a fair amount of oil seem to be the magic ingredients, and they're actually pretty good.

That's the first recipe I'll put here; the second is the one I baked two batches of for me and J. and various others this weekend. It's probably the most perfect no-butter muffin recipe I've ever encountered. If you don't have vegans to feed, I recommend that one. :)

Eggless blueberry muffins, from CHG's Food Blog

¾ cup blueberries
½ cup sugar
¼ cup oil
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp vanilla
1 ¼ cup flour (I did 1 c flour and 1/4 c ground flaxseed)
½ tsp baking soda
½ cup plus 1 tbsp orange juice

Preheat oven to 325.
Mix the baking powder, baking soda, and flour together. Mix the sugar, vanilla, oil and orange juice together (if too dry, add a little more orange juice). Add the sugar mixture to the flour mixture and mix well. Drop the blueberries into the batter, do not mix. Bake 25 minutes, or until done.

Virtuous blueberry muffins, from Coconut & Lime

1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries
1 1/2 cups flour (I used 1 c AP and 1/2 c whole wheat)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup buttermilk (I had to add a little more to the batter, which seemed way too dry when I first mixed it)
1/2 cup oil
1/4 cup flaxseed meal
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
pinch salt
1 egg

Preheat oven to 350. Line or grease and flour `1 12-well muffin tin. In a large bowl, stir together flour, sugar, flaxseed meal, egg, vanilla, salt, oil, and the baking soda and powder until a fairly smooth batter forms. Fold in the blueberries. Divide evenly among 12 wells in a muffin tin. Bake 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the center muffin comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack.

Beet Greens

From: Simply Recipes

Two weeks ago I had beets for the first time. I peeled them, cubed and roasted in the oven. They were really good. However, I threw away the beet greens last time because I didn't know you could eat them. Anyway, we got beets again in the CSA this week. I roasted them again, but this week I didn't toss the greens. I used this recipe, and they were really good. I'll probably just eat them as is, but I might also make up a grain salad or pasta and mix it in.

You can use the stems, too, if they are not too woody. Chop the stems and cook them for a bit with the onions before you add the greens.

1 pound beet greens
1 strip of thick cut bacon, chopped (or a tablespoon of bacon fat)
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 large garlic clove, minced
3/4 cup of water
1 Tbsp granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (I used a little Sriracha instead)
1/6 cup of cider vinegar

1 Wash the greens in a sink filled with cold water. Drain greens and wash a second time. Drain greens and cut away any heavy stems. Cut leaves into bite-sized pieces. Set aside.

2 In a large skillet or 3-qt saucepan, cook bacon until lightly browned on medium heat (or heat 1 Tbsp of bacon fat). Add onions, cook over medium heat 5 to 7 minutes, stirring occassionally, until onions soften and start to brown. Stir in garlic. Add water to the hot pan, stirring to loosen any particles from bottom of pan. Stir in sugar and red pepper. Bring mixture to a boil.

3 Add the beet greens, gently toss in the onion mixture so the greens are well coated. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 5-15 minutes until the greens are tender. Stir in vinegar. (For kale or collard greens continue cooking additional 20 to 25 minutes or until desired tenderness.)

Serves 4.

Balsamic and Asiago (or Parmesan) Roasted Cauliflower

From: Culinary in the Desert

This is how I used up the CSA cauliflower this week. I've never been a fan of cauliflower, but this stuff was GOOD. I used Parmesan because I didn't have Asiago. I would definitely make this again.

8 cups 1" thick slices of cauliflower florets
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon dried marjoram (I skipped - didn't have any)
1/4 teaspoon salt
fresh ground black pepper to taste
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup fresh grated Asiago cheese

Preheat oven to 450

In a large bowl, toss together cauliflower and oil - season with marjoram, salt and pepper, tossing again to coat well.

Place a large baking sheet coated with nonstick spray in the oven for about 5 minutes to heat up.

Carefully remove the baking sheet and scoop the mixture onto it, spreading to form an even layer. Place in the oven and roast until the cauliflower starts to soften and brown on the bottom, about 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and drizzle the cauliflower with vinegar - toss well, then sprinkle with the cheese. Place the sheet back into the oven and continue to roast until the cheese is melted and any moisture has evaporated, about 5 to 10 minutes more.

Makes about 2 to 4 servings

Heidi's Spicy and Sweet Salmon

We had dinner with Heidi Friday night and she served this really flavorful salmon. It originally came from a 1950's neighborhood cookbook, but I didn't write down the name of it. As the name says, this was a little sweet, a little spicy. Great flavor.

1/2 C. water
6 Tbsp maple syrup
2 Tbsp minced gingerroot
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 to 1 tsp red pepper flakes
4 (6 oz) salmon filets, 1-inch thick
1/4 tsp kosher salt

Combine water, maple syrup, gingerroot, garlic and red pepper flakes in saucepan and mix well. Simmer until reduced by half, stirring frequently. Let stand until cool. Arrange salmon skin-side down on an oiled broiler rack in a broiler pan. Sprinkle with kosher salt. Broil 4 inches from heat source for 5 minutes. Brush with maple syrup mixture. Broil for 6-10 minutes longer or until salmon flakes easily, basting with remaining maple syrup mixture occasionally.

Lemony Poundcake with Blueberry Compote

This is a vegan recipe from a back issue of Vegetarian Times that is so good you'd never know it wasn't made with eggs, butter and milk. I made this the first time a couple of years ago and knew it would be the perfect dessert to serve when one of your dinner guests has a dairy allergy.

It supposedly serves 6 but I thought that would mean serving rather large slices. Maybe 8 servings would be more appropriate.

5 oz. silken tofu, drained (you can use firm but whizz it around in the food processor first)
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup canola oil
1/4 cup vanilla soymilk (you can use plain and add a smidge more vanilla)
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups cake flour (I used AP)
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 T lemon zest

Lemon Glaze
1/3 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 Tbs. lemon juice

Blueberry Compote
2 C blueberries, rinsed
2 T sugar
splash of water

Preheat oven to 350F. Coat 9x5-inch loaf pan with cooking spray. Blend tofu, sugar, oil, soymilk and vanilla extract in food processor until smooth. Whisk together cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, lemon zest and salt in large bowl. Fold in tofu mixture. Pour into loaf pan, and bake 30 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan 5 minutes, then unmold and cool on wire rack until just warm.

Lemon Glaze: Whisk together sugar and lime juice in small bowl until smooth. Drizzle over top of cake. Cool cake completely before serving to allow glaze to set.

Compote: Bring a saucepan with blueberries, sugar and water to a boil and then turn down heat and simmer until sauce is slightly thickened but most of the berries remain whole (i.e. not too mushy). You can make this in advance and add a splash or 2 of very hot water to return compote to pouring consistency.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

vegan brunch

We have friends coming to visit twice in the coming week (on the way to and from some destination further north), and they are all vegan -- two people our age, their 3-year-old daughter, and on the way back, one of their moms. And we will definitely be making brunch for them Saturday morning. Brunch with no... eggs... milk... cream cheese... uh...

Here are my ideas so far: fruit, toast, potatoes. Can you guys help me elaborate?

Roasted beet salad with oranges and beet greens

I know some of you have been getting beets from your CSA...I love beets. We picked about 8 pounds of them a week ago, and I've been eating them like crazy. This recipe is fantastic, and uses both the beets and the greens.
This was so crazy good that I was eating it out of the bowl last night, even though I was full.

Adapted from Epicurious

6 medium beets with beet greens attached
2 large oranges
1 small sweet onion, cut through root end into thin wedges
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon grated orange peel

Preheat oven to 400°F. Trim greens from beets. Cut off and discard stems. Coarsely chop leaves and reserve. Wrap each beet in foil. Place beets directly on oven rack and roast until tender when pierced with fork, about 1 hour 30 minutes. Cool. Peel beets, then cut each into 8 wedges. Place beets in medium bowl.
Cook beet greens in large saucepan of boiling water just until tender, about 2 minutes. Drain. Cool. Squeeze greens to remove excess moisture. Add greens to bowl with beets. Cut peel and white pith from oranges. Working over another bowl and using small sharp knife, cut between membranes to release segments. Add orange segments and onion to bowl with beet mixture. Whisk vinegar, oil, and orange peel in small bowl to blend; add to beet mixture and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper. Let stand at room temperature 1 hour. Serve.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Peach and Creme Fraiche (or Greek Yogurt) Pie

from: Smitten Kitchen

Yum! This is really delicious and beautiful. I couldn't find creme fraiche, so I decided to take a risk and try Greek yogurt instead. It turned out fine. I don't know how different it would be with creme fraiche, but it was really tasty with the yogurt. I was wary about how the yogurt would take to baking, but it was totally fine. It didn't separate.... just kind of baked up firm. I also used a pre-made pie crust from the store, because I loathe making pie crusts.

1/2 recipe All-Butter, Really Flaky Pie Dough, chilled for at least an hour in the fridge (recipe on Smitten Kitchen's blog)

1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of salt
3 to 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cold (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces

1 1/2 pounds ripe (4 to 5 medium) yellow peaches, pitted and quartered
2 to 4 tablespoons granulated sugar
Pinch of salt
5 tablespoons crème fraîche* (or Greek yogurt)

Prepare pie dough: Roll out pie dough (see Smitten Kitchen's page for a tutorial) to about 1/8-inch thick and fit into a regular (not deep dish) pie plate, 9 1/2 to 10 inches in diameter. Trim edge to 1/2 inch; fold under and crimp as desired. Pierce bottom of dough all over with a fork. Transfer to freezer for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 400°F right before you take it out.

Make streusel: Stir confectioners’ sugar, baking powder, salt and three tablespoons flour together in a small bowl. Add bits of cold butter, and either using a fork, pastry blender or your fingertips, work them into the flour mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs. Add additional flour as needed to get crumbly. Set aside.

Par-bake crust: Tightly press a piece of aluminum foil against frozen pie crust. From here, you ought to fill the shell with pie weights or dried beans, or you can wing it like certainly lazy people we know, hoping the foil will be enough to keep the crust shape in place. Bake for 10 minutes, then remove carefully remove foil and any weights you have used, press any bubbled-up spots in with the back of a spoon, and return the crust to the oven for another 5 to 8 minutes, or until it is lightly golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack to cool slightly. Reduce oven temperature to 375°F.

[P.S. If you're not overly-concerned about "soggy bottoms" (in the words of Julia Child) you can save time by skipping the par-baking step. Given the light nature of the filling, odds are good that it would not become excessively damp even without the parbake.]

Make the filling: Sprinkle quartered peaches with sugar (two tablespoons will make a just-barely-sweeteened pie; add the other two for a still not overly-sweet but sweeter pie) and salt. Let sit for 10 minutes. Spread two tablespoons crème fraîche in bottom of par-baked pie shell, sprinkle with one-third of the streusel and fan the peach quarters decoratively on top. Dot the remaining three tablespoons of crème fraîche on the peaches and sprinkle with remaining streusel.

Bake the pie: Until the crème fraîche bubbles and the streusel is golden brown, about 50 minutes. Cover edge of crust with a strip of foil if it browns too quickly. Let cool on a wire rack at least 15 minutes before serving.

I (SK) stored this in the fridge, due to the crème fraîche, and found that I liked it even better cold, with the flavors better married.

* Make your own crème fraîche: It’s true! You can make a version of it at home, using these instructions.

Sunday, July 19, 2009


I have been making a lot of meals for a meals-on-wheels type of thing. Sometimes I make the meals at my house and freeze them before they get delivered. Other times I make a big casserole, which I drop off at the church where they portion it out before it gets frozen in the individual containers.

Basically, everything will get frozen at some point, and then delivered to people who can't get around real well or leave their houses. All the containers come with instructions as to how to reheat the meals.

I was wondering if anyone had any good ideas about what else I can prepare for these meals. When I make the individual dishes at my house, I usually just do whatever we're having for dinner and put the left-overs in the freezer containers. Sometimes I make quiche and divide that up. For the big casseroles I have made several trays of baked ziti, chili with cornbread topper, chicken-broccoli-rice casserole, and tuna noodle casserole.

Any other suggestions? Something that doesn't cost a ton of money would be great. The church ladies will add side dishes (usually a veggie and a starch) to every container, so I really only have to worry about the main entree.


Friday, July 17, 2009

Thai-style tofu & snow peas with lime-peanut sauce

Although it seems criminal to mess with the perfection that is Heather's old standby peanut sauce, I was looking for something to cut the peanut butter so that J. could eat it. This sauce is a lot thinner and less peanut buttery -- good in a different way.

From GreenChefs.

1 cup snow peas, coarsely chopped [I used more, and sugar snap and snow peas together]

1-2 tbs. fresh ginger, minced

1 chili pepper, crushed [I used some Thai chili garlic sauce instead]

1 onion, chopped

1/2 lb tofu, cubed

1/2 cup peanut butter

1/2 cup coconut milk

1/4 cup soy sauce [I used less than this, and added about 2T of honey]

1/3 cup lime juice

4 tablespoons cilantro or coriander, chopped

8 ounces rice vermicelli

1. Heat the oil in a large skillet. Saute the onion and add the snow peas, ginger, chili pepper, stir-fry for a couple of minutes.

Stir in the tofu and stir fry for a couple more minutes. [I used leftover tofu that had been pan-fried separately]

Blend the peanut butter, soy sauce, lime juice, coconut milk and cilantro. [I waited until the end for the cilantro]

4. P
our over vegetables and remove from heat.

Cook the rice vermicelli in boiling water. [why would you not do this at the same time as you're stir-frying the veggies? I can't see a reason to wait]

Drain and serve the sauce over the vermicelli.

Garnish with cilantro or coriander leaves.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Pasta alla Norma

I made this a few weeks ago (along with cherry chocolate almond biscotti, thai basil with eggplant, stir-fried tofu with spicy orange sauce, and what was supposed to be pumpkin quinoa muffins that I made with an over-ripe banana and some applesauce) and have been too busy to post until now. This recipe was featured in C00k's Illus. and was absolutely delicious. It also contains a helpful tip for prepping the eggplant because if you've ever made an eggplant dish you know it takes a while to cook and then brown and it soaks up a lot of oil in the process. If you love eggplant this recipe is for you.

1 1/4 to 1 1/2 lb eggplant (globe eggplant or similar weight of Asian or Japanese)
kosher salt
4 med. garlic cloves, minced
2 anchovy filets or 1 generous tsp of anchovy paste (don't skip this ingredient--trust me)
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
28 oz can of crushed tomatoes
1 lb penne or rigatoni
6 Tbs chopped fresh basil
1 Tbs olive oil
3 oz ricotta (I skipped this and used grated parmesan)

Cut eggplant into 1/2" cubes and toss with 1 tsp salt. Line a plate with coffee filters or paper towels and dump eggplant over top. Microwave on high and uncovered for about 5 minutes. Stir eggplant and microwave for another 5 minutes or until dry to the touch. Set aside to cool.

Heat 1 Tbs olive oil in a non-stick skillet over medium heat until shimmery. Pour in eggplant and cook, stirring occasionally, until well-browned, about 10 minutes. Turn off heat, set aside eggplant and add 1 Tbs olive oil to pan along with anchovies, garlic and pepper flakes. Add tomatoes and turn heat to medium high until sauce begins to boil. Reduce heat and simmer 8-10 minutes or until slightly thickened.

Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions. Reserve 1/2 C pasta water and drain the rest. Turn up heat on sauce to medium high and add eggplant, cooking 3-5 minutes or until heated through. Stir in basil and season with salt if needed. Stir in pasta adding the reserved water if needed. Serve with ricotta or parmesan.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Swiss Chard Tart - Part 2

I just wanted to post again, now that I actually made this recipe. I don't usually post recipes before I try them, but I did with this recipe. Anyway, I made it tonight.


I can't quite figure out why this is so good.... it doesn't have a lot of the usual deliciousness-inducing ingredients, like butter, cream or bacon. :) It's sort of like a quiche, but with more filling and less eggs. The eggs really just work to hold the other ingredients together. It's definitely different from a quiche.

At any rate, delish. I would totally make this if I had vegetarian guests over. It's filling and delicious and you could alter to suite what you had on hand. I will admit that I added a bit of leftover spiral ham that I had in the freezer.... it was not enough for a meal, so I've been waiting to use it as a filling addition for something. But I don't think the ham is what made this recipe delicious. Just saying.

Pork Chops with Cherry Sauce

From: Serious Eats

I made this cherry sauce today, which we will use later in the week with pork chops for dinner. I get home pretty late many days, so it's just easier to prep as much as I can on Sunday, and then Todd can throw things together and reheat or assemble as needed during the week. Plus, I love coming home to dinner already made. :)

I'm sure you could use this with whatever your regular pork chop method is. We usually just cook them in a skillet on the stove top. I'll put the whole recipe here, but I was mainly posting it for the cherry sauce. I tried it straight out of the pan, and it was delicious. Not as sweet as many store-bought sauces and other recipes I have tried. The red wine gives it a great flavor, and I love the honey. Yum! I should have made a double-batch, I think.

** This serves 2 **

1 cup cherries, pitted
3 tablespoons water
1/4 cup dry red wine
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon thyme leaves, chopped
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
2 pork chops
pinch of sugar
1 tablespoon canola oil

1. Toss the cherries into a small pot and pour in the water, red wine, red wine vinegar, honey, thyme leaves, mustard, and a pinch of salt. Bring to simmer and cook for about 10-15 minutes, smashing the cherries with a wooden spoon about half way through.

2. Meanwhile, pour the canola into a large skillet. Sprinkle salt on both sides of the pork chops, and a pinch of sugar on just one side. Place the chops, sugar side down, in the cold skillet. Turn the heat to medium and cook for about five minutes. Flip the chops, turn the heat to low, and cover. Cook for four minutes or so, or until the inside measures 140° F.

3. Plate the chops, and pour on the sauce.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Swiss Chard Tart

I haven't actually made this yet, but it has good reviews at the FoodNetwork. I thought I would post it now since everyone seems to have chard on hand right now. I'm on my second batch of this chickpea/cous cous/chard recipe, but as soon as I finish that off I'm going to try this tart. I'll report back.

2 pounds Swiss chard, washed and spun dry
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 Spanish onion, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1/4 bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped to yield 1/8 cup
3 large eggs
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1 cup bread crumbs
(some reviewers added sausage to the dish)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Bring 8 quarts water to a rolling boil and add 2 tablespoons salt.

Roughly chop the Swiss chard, discarding the rough stems. Add the Swiss chard to the boiling water and cook until tender, about 15 minutes. Drain thoroughly and set aside.

In a 12-inch saucepan, heat 3 tablespoons olive oil over a medium flame until hot but not smoking. Add the onion and garlic, and cook until soft and golden brown, about 5 minutes. Add the Swiss chard and the parsley. Let cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and let cool.

Meanwhile, break the eggs into a small bowl. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper. Add 3 tablespoons of Parmigiano and, using a whisk, mix until the ingredients are well-blended. Add the egg mixture to the cooled Swiss chard and toss to combine.

Using the remaining olive oil to lightly grease a shallow 9-inch round or oval baking dish. Dust the bottom of the baking dish with 1/2 cup bread crumbs. Carefully place the Swiss chard and egg mixture into the pan. Dust with the remaining Parmigiano and then the remaining bread crumbs.

Bake until the top is golden brown, about 1 hour (reviewers said 30 minutes was sufficient). Serve hot or room temperature.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

pizza with kale (or chard), roasted garlic & four cheeses

Aaaaaand more chard. This was the end of it, and also incredibly good. Kelly, I know your pizza-making ways -- I think this may finally convince you re: chard. And Shannon, I bet this is a good way to get kids to eat green leafy vegetables.

From one of my new favorite bloggers, Eggs on Sunday.

pizza dough [I got storebought, but Eggs on Sunday has a recipe listed]
2 big handfuls of kale [chard!], sauteed in some olive oil until tender, then chopped
cloves from about half a head of roasted garlic, thickly sliced
3 cups of grated cheese, a mix of fontina, asiago, provolone and mozzarella

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F with a baking stone inside (I place my baking stone on a rack, and place the rack on the lowest slot in the oven.)

Generously dust a pizza peel (or the back of a sheet pan) with coarse cornmeal or flour. Roll or stretch your pizza dough out to a 12 to 14 inch circle directly on the peel (or pan.)

Top the crust with half the grated cheese, then half the sliced roasted garlic and half the sauteed kale. Repeat with another layer of cheese, garlic, and kale.

Bake in the oven for about 8 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbly and just starting to brown, and the crust is golden brown.