Saturday, December 29, 2012

buckeye brownies

These were Shannon's find, and delicious. Just make sure you don't overcook the brownies in the first step... apparently I can bake some fairly complicated things, but I can't manage to make out-of-the-box brownies without burning them. Oops.

19-1/2 oz. pkg. brownie mix
2 c. powdered sugar  
1/2 c. plus 6 T butter, softened and divided
8 oz. creamy peanut butter
6 oz. (approximately) semi-sweet chocolate chips [I used the Ghiardelli dark chocolate baking chips, and I think they're the best]

Prepare and bake brownie mix in a greased 13" x 9" pan, according to the directions. Let cool. 

With a mixer, combine powdered sugar, 1/2 cup butter and peanut butter. Mix well and spread over cooled brownies. Chill for one hour. 

Melt together chocolate chips and 6 T butter in a saucepan over low heat, stirring occasionally. Spread over brownies. Let cool; cut into squares. Makes 2 to 3 dozen.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Potato Leek Soup

From: Alton Brown

I totally flubbed something when I made this, but it was still good.  I doubled the recipe, but as I was making it I added 4 qts of stock instead of 2.  I didn't realize my mistake until the very end when I went to add the dairy and thought it already looked pretty thin, so I went back to the recipe and realized my mistake.  So..... I still added the correct amount of cream, and I just left out the buttermilk completely.  My soup may have been missing a bit of the tang the buttermilk would have provided, but it was still tasty and I went back for seconds.  Also, I used chicken stock instead of veggie because that's what I had on hand.

  • 1 pound leeks, cleaned and dark green sections removed, approximately 4 to 5 medium
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Heavy pinch kosher salt, plus additional for seasoning
  • 14 ounces, approximately 3 small, Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and diced small
  • 1 quart vegetable broth (I used chicken stock)
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1 tablespoon snipped chives


Chop the leeks into small pieces.
In a 6-quart saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the leeks and a heavy pinch of salt and sweat for 5 minutes. Decrease the heat to medium-low and cook until the leeks are tender, approximately 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add the potatoes and the vegetable broth, increase the heat to medium-high, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and gently simmer until the potatoes are soft, approximately 45 minutes.
Turn off the heat and puree the mixture with an immersion blender until smooth. Stir in the heavy cream, buttermilk, and white pepper. Taste and adjust seasoning if desired. Sprinkle with chives and serve

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

cranberry sauce

Duh, right? Cranberries, sugar, water, cook, done.

But this year, I tried a slight variation on Pioneer Woman's cranberry sauce, and I liked it better than my usual. A little more tart and a little more cranberry-y, because the water is replaced with juice.

  • 2 14-oz bags of cranberries
  • 2 cup cranberry juice
  • 1 cup real maple syrup
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup orange juice (she says lemon juice or any citrus zest would also work)
Wash the cranberries and put them into a large-is saucepan. Throw in all the other ingredients, stir them together, and turn on high until it comes to a boil.

After a minute or two, turn the heat down to medium and wait for it to reduce. PW says this should happen in 10 minutes; it took me more like 20 or 25. Stir occasionally.

Remove from heat and pour immediately into a bowl or jar. Let cool before covering and refrigerating until whenever you want to eat it.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

french toast casserole with blueberries and cream cheese

Based on this recipe, with some fairly substantial modifications. I've made it once with the blueberry sauce and once without, and I think it's actually better with just plain maple syrup on top.

You could make this right before eating it, of course, but letting it sit overnight helps everything meld together.

  • A loaf and a half of challah (the best way) or a substantial amount of any kind of bread
  • One package cream cheese (you can use reduced fat, but the regular kind melts better)
  • A pint of fresh blueberries or a few handfuls of frozen
  • 8 eggs
  • 1/2 to 1 c milk
  • 1/2 c maple syrup
  • dash of vanilla
  • dash of cinnamon
Grease a 9x13 glass baking dish.

Cut the cream cheese into little squares.

Tear the bread into bite-sized pieces and layer them in the dish with the cream cheese and blueberries, distributing things somewhat evenly.

Whisk together the eggs, milk, syrup, vanilla and cinnamon. Pour it over the casserole a little at a time, making sure it's absorbed. You might have a little extra, but stop at the first sign of egg puddles.

Cover with foil and refrigerate overnight.

In the morning, preheat the oven to 350 and bake covered for half an hour. Remove the foil and bake for another 20-25 minutes until everything is toasty brown and all the eggs are fully cooked through.

Monday, November 19, 2012

White Bean and Chicken Chili - slow cooker recipe

Adapted from ATK's Slow Cooker Revolution and a recipe I swiped from I's.

1 container low-sodium chx broth
1 can hominy, drained and rinsed or 2 C fire roasted frozen corn (no need to thaw)
2 T veg oil
2 onions, small dice
3 large bell peppers, medium dice
4 jalapeno chiles, stemmed, seeded and minced OR 2 chiles in adobo, minced
6 garlic cloves, minced
4 t ground cumin
2 t ground coriander
1 t smoked paprika
1/2 t cayenne
3 15 oz cans cannellini or Great Northern beans, drained and rinsed
3 lbs bone-in chx thighs, skin removed and trimmed (I used 2 large breasts and 6 drumsticks because that's what was in my freezer)
potato flakes for thickening soup, optional

In a microwave safe bowl add oil, onions, spices and jalapenos/chiles in adobo and microwave on high for 4 min then stir.  Microwave another 3 min and add to slow cooker along with broth, bell peppers and beans.  Season chx with S&P and nestle into slow cooker.  Cover and cook until chx is tender, 4-6 hrs on low.

Transfer chx to cutting board and allow to cool slightly.  Using an immersion blender or potato masher, blend/mash stew a bit to release starch from beans.  Avoid blending until all veg is pureed.  Add corn and potato flakes if needed.  Shred chx and return to soup.  Allow to sit 5 min, season with S&P if needed and serve with cilantro, avocado and lime wedges.  Would be very tasty with rice or tortilla chips on the side.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

spicy lentil soup with chicken sausage

From Joy the Baker.

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound spicy chicken sausage, uncased
1 medium yellow onion, finely diced
3 celery stalks, finely diced
2 carrots, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons dried ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon red chili flakes
2 cups uncooked French lentils, rinsed
8 cups chicken stock
salt and pepper to taste
parmesan cheese, olive oil, and bread to serve

In a large saucepan over medium heat, warm olive oil.  Add the uncased chicken sausage and cook, breaking up with a spatula as it cooks.  Sausage should finish cooking in small chunks.  Remove from the pan.

Add a touch more olive oil if necessary.  Add onions, celery, and carrots.  Cook until the onions are transluscent, about 5 to seven minutes.  Stir occasionally.  Add the garlic, cumin, and chili flakes, and cook for one minute more.

Add the sausage back to the pan.  Stir to incorporate.  Add the lentils and chicken stock.  Reduce the heat to low and simmer the soup, uncovered, until the lentils are tender, about 45 minutes.
Serve soup with a generous sprinkling of parmesan cheese, a drizzle of olive oil, and good crusty bread.  Soup will last, in an airtight container in the fridge, for up to 5 days.  Soup also freezes well.

baked pasta with ricotta and butternut squash

This has officially replaced the old way I used to make this meal, because this way is easier and better. That is all.

  • Up to two lbs. peeled, seeded butternut squash, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 2 large onions, cut into 3/4-inch pieces
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Some tablespoons olive oil
  • 8 ounces dried corkscrew-shaped pasta, such as fusilli or rotelli
  • 1 1/2 cups low-fat ricotta cheese
  • 4 to 6 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with heavy-duty aluminum foil and spray with olive oil or cooking spray.

Oil the baking sheet and spread out the squash and onions in a single layer. Grate nutmeg over everything, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and spray or drizzle with olive oil.

Roast for 25 to 30 minutes, until the squash is tender and the onion has browned lightly. Remove the vegetables from the oven; reduce the temperature to 350 degrees.

While the vegetables roast, cook the pasta according to the package directions. Drain.

Combine most of the ricotta with some of the Parmesan cheese in a large bowl; add salt and pepper to taste. Add the cooked pasta and toss to incorporate.

Add the roasted vegetables to the bowl and gently mix to combine. Transfer the mixture to a greased 9x13 baking dish. 

Spread the rest of the ricotta over the pasta, smoothing it out, but it doesn't have to be completely even. Sprinkle more Parmesan over it. 

Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until heated through. After the pasta has baked, turn on the broiler, uncover the pasta and broil for 3 to 4 minutes, until the cheese has lightly browned.

Sunday, October 21, 2012


From: Honest Fare

We ate muesli almost every morning when we were in Ireland a couple of years ago, and it was so much better than muesli I've been able to find here in the States.  Weaver's in Lancaster now makes a version of it that you can buy in quart-size containers, and theirs is pretty good.  It's kind of expensive, though, especially if it's going to be an every-morning kind of thing.  So, I decided to make my own.  I'm kind of using this post from Honest Fare as a basic formula, and I like her instructions regarding the order to add the ingredients so the dates don't clump together and everything gets dusted with cinnamon, etc.  Obviously you can mix up the ingredients to your taste.  I added some dried apricots instead of raisins, and pepitas instead of sunflower seeds.  I'll be eating this for breakfast this week.  I also recently figured out that I like muesli even better when I add the milk the night before and let it soak overnight.  I think that might even be good heated up in the microwave, which I might try one morning this week. 

  • 5 cups whole rolled oats
  • 1 tsp salt (or more to taste)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon (or more to taste)
  • 2 tablespoons flax seeds
  • 1/2 cup raw almond slivers
  • 1/3 cup raw sunflower seeds
  • About five dried mission or brown Turkish figs, chopped
  • About 4 large dried dates (plum ones with no added sugar), chopped
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins


  1. Place dates in freezer for a few minutes. Meanwhile, place oats in a bowl and measure out all other ingredients and set aside. Add salt, cinnamon and flax seeds to oats and toss. Remove dates from freezer once nice and firm. Cut in half to remove stone and then chop into small squares (about 1/4 inch in size).
  2. Add dates to the oats, a few pieces at a time, and toss to coat in oat dust. Do this until you’ve added all the dates. Then add each other ingredient one at a time, tossing well between each.
  3. Store in a large jar and shake before each serving to incorporate the small pieces that settle at the bottom. Eat as is, over yogurt or in choice of milk. If eating in milk, let it sit a couple minutes to absorb some moisture and give the oats a really nice texture.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

spinach & mushroom enchiladas

An answer to the age-old question: Yes, you can use salsa instead of enchilada sauce.

Both of them have basically the same ingredients, but enchilada sauce is a little more processed and/or labor-intensive to make yourself. Most of the ingredients in these enchiladas are things you might just have lying around, so salsa seems to go with that. And the filling is healthy and protein-tastic, but it gives that creamy yum you want with Mexican food.

Loosely based on these vegetarian enchiladas.

2 T olive oil
1 onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
2 jalepenos, de-seeded and chopped
dash of red pepper flakes
1 T cumin
a big handful of cilantro, washed and chopped
1-10oz package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and excess water squeezed out
1 container (about 6 or 8?) large mushrooms, sliced
1 cup whipped lowfat cottage cheese (if you have regular cottage cheese, drain it first) 
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
8 corn tortillas
1 jar salsa
4oz shredded cheese

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a skillet, sauté onion, garlic, and jalepenos until tender. When they're relatively dry, add the mushrooms and continue cooking until they're wilted.

2. Throw in the cumin, red pepper and spinach. Sauté until spinach is warmed through, then remove the skillet from the heat.

3. Combine cottage cheese, yogurt, and a bit of shredded cheese in a bowl. Stir in the black beans, cilantro and veggie mixture. Taste, and add salt and pepper if needed.

4. Spray a 9x13 baking dish with olive oil or nonstick spray. Take each corn tortilla and wrap it around about 1/4 c of the filling. Place it open-side down in the baking dish. (If your tortillas are breaking apart, microwave until warm to make them more flexible.)

5. When the dish is full, pour the jar of salsa over it and sprinkle cheese on top.

6. Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes, until the cheese is all melted and the edges of the tortillas are crispy and golden.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Apple Streusel Bars

From: Honey & Jam

I made these apple bars to celebrate all the September birthdays in our small office (half of our staff of 8 are Sept birthdays).  They were good, and everyone loved them.  I thought they could be a little less sweet, so when I make them again (and I probably will), I will try cutting down on the sugar in the apple filling first.  I'm not sure how it would affect the consistency of the crust if you decreased the sugar there... might still work.

2 c. flour
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 c. real butter, softened
1 egg, beaten

Apple Filling:
1/2 c. white sugar (could probably use less - these are pretty sweet bars)
1/4 c. flour
1 tsp. cinnamon
4 c. (about 3 medium) sliced, peeled baking apples

2 c. powdered sugar
About 3 Tbsp. milk (whole milk is best)
1/2 tsp. almond extract

To prepare crust, mix flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder in a medium bowl. Cut in butter with a pastry blender or two knives until you have pea-sized crumbles. Gently mix in beaten egg.

Spray a 9x13 baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. Gently pat about 2/3 of the crumb mixture onto the bottom of the dish. Preheat oven to 350 and set aside.

To prepare apple filling, combine sugar, flour, and cinnamon and toss with apples.

Spread apples out on prepared crust. Sprinkle reserved crust mixture over apples evenly and bake in preheated oven for 40 minutes.(Mine took 45 min or so).

When finished, allow to cool.

To prepare glaze, whisk together powdered sugar, almond extract, and enough milk to achieve desired consistency. Spoon glaze on top of bars. (If you glaze them when they’re still a little warm, the topping isn’t as bright white, which you may or may not prefer.  If you want bright shiny white glaze, wait until the bars are totally cool before glazing.)

Saturday, September 08, 2012

roasted tomato panzanella

The thing that makes this salad so delicious is the balsamic glaze, I think -- which is just regular old balsamic, simmered on the stove until it gets thick and sticky and sweet. Mm. Adapted from this recipe.

Preheat the oven to 400.

Cube about 3 cups of stale bread and spread it out on an oiled baking sheet. Drizzle more olive oil on top. Toast for about 10 minutes in the oven, until golden brown. Pour onto a platter or into a glass baking dish.

On another baking sheet or two, spread 2 generous pints of cherry tomatoes  -- different colors look pretty, but any cherry or grape will do; and better yet, make it 3 pints so you have leftover roasted tomatoes tomorrow -- and drizzle with olive oil and sea salt.

About 10 minutes in, take the tomatoes out and drain the hot tomato liquid (hotttt) on top of the bread. Don't soak it, just give it a bit of tasty roasted tomato love. Put the tomatoes back in for another 10 minutes, or until they start turning dark and wrinkly.

Chop 2 balls of fresh mozzarella into bite-sized pieces. Tear a bunch of basil leaves into pieces; they don't have to be tiny. Throw them in with the bread.

Make your balsamic glaze: Simmer 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar on the stove on low, until it thickens and reduces about by half. Pour into a small glass or jar.

When the tomatoes are ready, allow them to cool for a few minutes and pour on top of the bread mixture. No need to mix. Drizzle about half of the balsamic reduction on top with a little more olive oil in a lovely decorative fashion.

Monday, August 27, 2012

chard & onion panade

This is sort of like savory bread pudding, and I'm confused about why the original recipe made the directions sound very very complicated, when it's really like "cook stuff and layer it in a pot and bake it for a long time."

8 medium thinly sliced yellow onions
Up to 1/2 cup mild-tasting olive oil
6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
2 pounds Swiss chard (thick ribs removed), cut into 1-inch-wide ribbons
10 ounces day-old chewy peasant-style bread cut into rough 1-inch cubes
Up to 4 cups chicken stock
6 ounces cheddar, coarsely grated [the recipe calls for Gruyère]

1. In a large saucepan or skillet, heat some oil and lightly brown the onions, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and stir in the garlic and a few pinches of salt. Stew, stirring occasionally, until the onions are a pale amber color and tender but not mushy, another 20 minutes or so. If at any point the onions look as if they may dry out, cover them to trap some of the moisture in the pan. Taste for salt.

2. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees (or as low as 250 degrees, if it suits your schedule to stretch the cooking time from about 1 hour 45 minutes to 2 hours 45 minutes; the slower the bake, the more unctuous and mellow the results).

3. Wilt the chard, with a little oil and whatever water is clinging to the leaves, for about 5 minutes.

4. Drizzle the bread with a little oil, a generous 1/4 cup of the stock and a few pinches of salt, to taste.

5. Choose a flameproof, 3-quart souffle dish or enameled cast-iron Dutch oven. [I used the same cast-iron pot I used for the onions and chard. Pick something bigger than you need so you don't need to worry about it overflowing.] Assemble the panade in layers: onions, chard, bread, cheese. Aim for 2 to 3 layers of each component, then make sure the top layer displays a little of everything. Irregularity in the layers makes the final product more interesting and lovely. Drizzle with any remaining olive oil.

6. Pour 2-4 cups of the chicken stock around the edges of the dish. For a more pudding-like dish, use more stock. [I used about three cups of stock, until it rose around the edges of the pot, and it was a very pleasant mushy texture, like French onion soup made more solid.]

7. Set panade over low heat and bring to a simmer, for about 30 minutes, until everything is a relatively even temperature and the stock is bubbling around the sides.

8. Cover with foil and bake until the panade is piping hot and bubbly. This usually takes about 1 1/2 hours.

9. Uncover panade, raise temperature to 375 degrees, and leave until golden brown on top, 10 to 20 minutes

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

summer stew

It has been approximately 47 million billion years since I cooked anything, but this is the first recipe we made in our new (temporary, sigh) kitchen. Simple and delicious. Yay for fresh corn.

Also, I am in love with "Dinner: A Love Story." Best blog (and now book) ever. We altered this based on what we had on hand, but I think it was pretty true to the original.

1 package spicy Italian chicken sausages [recipe calls for chorizo]
olive oil
2 formerly frozen chicken breasts, thawed
1 medium onion, chopped
red pepper flakes (optional)
5 ears of corn, cut off the cob [if someone has a good, neat, easy way to do this, let me know. i made a giant mess.]
2 cups grape tomatoes [recipe has you halve them; we just threw them in the pot]
basil, chopped
chicken broth

In a Dutch oven or large pot, brown sausage in olive oil over medium heat until crispy. Remove.

Raise heat to medium-high and brown chicken (in batches if necessary) on both sides until mostly cooked through. Remove. Turn down heat to medium-low, add onion, salt, pepper, pepper flakes, and a little more oil if necessary. Stir until slightly wilted. Add corn and tomatoes and stir until vegetables release their juices.

Nestle chicken and sausage back in the vegetables, cover and simmer another 5-10 minutes until chicken is cooked through. [Here's where we added the extra broth, which the recipe didn't call for -- there just wasn't enough liquid to keep cooking anything or qualify as "stew," probably because we hadn't cut the tomatoes.]

Serve with basil and crusty bread in bowls, or separate into individual components for the kid who doesn’t like things “mixed” and serve on a plate.

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Rye Pizza Crust

I just scrolled back through my Facebook status updates because I foolishly posted this adaptation there instead of here, where it belongs. I'm hoping to decrease the rise time. I'll let you know how it goes.
If you have four minutes, I recommend (again) watching Bittman make his potato pizza. I find him hilarious. "No need to measure...glug, glug, glug, glug...That's it. You're in pizzaland. There's no better place to be."

I used Mark Bittman's basic pizza dough recipe from How to Cook Everything, but subbed 1C of rye flour. I only used the 1 t of yeast called for in the recipe, and the rye flour made it pretty dense so I coaxed and cajoled it through a daylong rise. It turned out to be a really nice texture though and I made the one ball into 3 smallish pizzas and baked each at 500 for about 8-10 min each. Fed the four of us.

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour (I subbed 1 C rye flour)
  • 1 teaspoon rapid-rise yeast (I'm going to guess that another 1/2 to 1 tsp will help the rise) 
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus an extra teaspoon

  • Bake at 450-500 for 6-10 minutes. Watch the baby.

    Monday, July 23, 2012


    I don't really have a recipe for this.  I just kind of threw stuff together based on instructions from my coworker, Karen (source of many tasty things that come out of my kitchen) with the veggies I had on hand from the CSA. This is a great use-up recipe for all the veggies that are plentiful right now - zucchini, eggplant, tomatoes, onions, peppers, etc.   Karen served this at a dinner party fundraiser we recently attended at her house, and I asked for her recipe.  She just kind of made it up, so I did the same.  Here's what I did:

    Take a couple of zucchini, summer squash, eggplant and onions; chop into roughly same-size chunks.  Drizzle with olive oil and then season with salt and pepper. Spread on a baking sheet (or two or three, depending on how much veg you chopped).  Roast in a hot oven (I roasted at 400 degrees) until veg gets a nice caramelized color and is softened (about 20 min?  Maybe?)   I also roasted a bunch of cherry tomatoes that I needed to use up.

    Then... here's where you can follow one of several paths.  You can scoop everything into a large pot (like a Dutch oven or stock pot) and finish it on the stovetop.   You can also scoop it all into a crockpot and finish it that way.  You can probably also throw everything into a Dutch oven and throw it back in your oven at a lower temperature.  The main thing is that you want to add some kind of tomatoes here, such as a can of crushed tomatoes, or some chopped garden tomatoes, or the cherry tomatoes if you roasted any with your other veg, and let all the flavors and different veggies meld together.   I added the roasted cherry tomatoes and one can of crushed tomatoes.

    You want to cook the whole mixture together until the flavors meld and the tomatoes break down if you're using chopped fresh tomatoes.  In my case, I threw all the roasted veg and crushed tomatoes into the crockpot and heated on high for 2 hours.

    You can also add other things to customize your flavors:  chopped olives, anchovy paste, chopped fresh parsley, chopped fresh basil, dried tarragon, a splash of balsamic vinegar, green peppers (roast with your other veg), etc.

    Serve however you like: over pasta or rice, spread on bread or crackers, as a side dish, on top of a piece of chicken or fish, etc. 

    Wednesday, July 18, 2012

    Rhubarb Crisp

    From: Everyday Food (Martha Stewart)

    I combined the fresh rhubarb from the farm share with some rhubarb I had in the freezer from last year's farm share (why didn't I use that earlier?) and made this recipe.  It was nice to find a recipe that just used rhubarb without requiring a complementary fruit.  I subbed Splenda for all of the sugar in this recipe and it worked well.  It came together very quickly, especially since I didn't use the food processor and just mixed the topping by hand in a bowl.  I have eaten it both for dessert and for breakfast this week. 

    2 pounds rhubarb
    1 1/2 cups sugar (I used Splenda)
    1/4 cup flour
    1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, chilled, cut into pieces
    1 cup rolled oats
    1/2 tsp cinnamon

    Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Slice the rhubarb into uniform 3/4 inch pieces.  Place in a 9x13 baking dish; toss with 1 cup of the sugar and 1/4 cup of the flour.

    In a food processor (I just used my fingers and mixed the ingredients in a bowl because I didn't feel like hauling out the mixer for this), pulse the remaining 1/2 cup flour with the butter until the clumps are pea-sized.  Add the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar, rolled oats, and cinnamon.  Pulse just to combine.  Sprinkle over the rhubarb.

    Bake until the rhubarb is tender and the topping is golden, approx 35 minutes. 

    Sunday, June 10, 2012

    Garlic Scape Green Goddess Dressing

    Wow, is this thing on?  I hope everyone is still out there making tasty things in your kitchens, even if there haven't been any new recipes posted here in a long time.

    I whipped up this Green Goddess dressing tonight with my immersion blender tonight.  If you have a jar or tall container, you could use this method.  Otherwise, pull out your food processor. 

    I think you could thin this out with some additional water to use as a creamy salad dressing, but I plan to use it as a condiment with roasted vegetables.  It might also be good on top of grilled fish or chicken, perhaps.   Warning - it does have a bite from the raw garlic scapes (similar to the bite of regular garlic).  If you want to mellow that out, you could sautee the scapes first. 

    From: A Teaspoon of Spice

    • 3/4 cup Greek non fat yogurt
    • 1 cup loosely packed flat-leaf parsley (I used some Green Goddess dried spice mix from Penzey's)
    • 2 garlic scapes, roughly chopped (or 1 garlic clove, peeled)
    • 1/2 avocado, pit and skin removed
    • 1 teaspoon orange muscat vinegar(I used apple cider vinegar)
    • Juice from 1/2 of a lime
    • Water (to thin dressing)
    • Salt & pepper, to taste

    1. In a food processor, add yogurt, parsley, garlic scapes, avocado, vinegar and lime juice. Process until smooth.
    2. For a thinner dressing, add water, 1 tablespoon at a time, and process until at a desired consistency.
    3. Add salt and pepper to taste.

    Wednesday, May 02, 2012

    Homemade ramen soup

    This is not your 3-minute instant ramen soup with your month's intake of sodium. This is honest to goodness comfort food at its best.

    You can do it any way you please, but here's how I made it.

    First, I used probably 8 cups homemade chicken stock. I put it in a pan, and floated some ginger pieces in it while it came to a slow boil. (Next time, I'll grate the ginger so that we taste it more.) Once that was boiling, I added about 3 Tbsp. miso, and lowered to a simmer.

    Next, I shredded some already-roasted chicken. Because I had it in the house, honestly. I also took some frozen corn, and sauteed it in butter. Because I read a blog that said I should do that.

    Finally, I wanted some green in my soup. So I made this wilted spinach, and a lot of it, so I'd have leftovers for breakfast.

    Oh, and I made a soft-boiled egg for Ernie -- 6 minutes, in the shell. Run under water and peel carefully. The yolk was still runny in the cooked white, which was very exciting for Ernie.

    You can buy ramen noodles in any Asian market (I got mine in at the H-Mart, but I'm sure you can get them all over). Boiled them according to package.

    Then all you have to do is assemble:
    Noodles first
    Whatever toppings you want (I recommend you not skip the corn)
    Broth on top of that

    Ernie and Katie both had soy sauce on top of theirs, to make it a little saltier. I did not. We all, however, slurped our noodles. And when Gaby had it at school for lunch on Monday, it was a happy, happy surprise.

    Italian sausage, pea, mushroom risotto

    This is adapted from a cookbook G bought me for my birthday last year (?), that I have been methodically working my way through.
    It's one of those "if you have this and this, you should make this" sort of recipes.


    If you have a pound of Italian sausage (19 oz)
    and some frozen peas (a staple in our house)
    and 3/4 c. arborio rice

    Then you should make risotto. Naturally.

    First things first. Get rid of those casings. Crumble up the sausage, and cook it. When it's about 3/4 of the way cooked, throw in some sliced mushrooms (I had about 10 loose mushrooms to use up), and cook until the sausage is cooked all the way and the mushrooms are sauteed. Set aside.

    Heat 4 c. of chicken broth (I had homemade, but the stuff in the carton works fine) in a pan on low heat.

    In a separate pan (sorry, this is the sort of recipe that makes a lot of dishes), heat a few tsp of olive oil. Add the arborio rice, and stir to coat. To that, add 1/2 c. white wine, and cook until almost all absorbed.

    From there, set about making risotto. You know the drill, yes? Add the chicken broth one ladle at a time, cook until almost absorbed. Repeat. Tease people on Facebook that you're making risotto for dinner. Ask your husband to make salad while you painstakingly stir and stir and stir.

    When the rice is cooked and nice and creamy, add a healthy amount of Parmesan cheese. (or at least 1/2 cup) Also add about 1/2-1 c. defrosted peas, and the Italian sausage/mushrooms. Stir it all up.

    Note that this is not pretty risotto. It sort of looks like hamburger helper or rice a roni, only with Arborio rice and Italian sausage.
    It tastes, however, amazing. And the kids will eat peas and mushrooms without even realizing they're doing it. Honest.

    Friday, April 27, 2012

    Whole Wheat Pizza Dough

    For me, the search is over. I have been using this recipe consistently for the past year. It's adapted from Mark Bittman's great food processor APF dough recipe in How to Ck Ev'rything.
    He also just did a little demo video and a chat on for the NYT, both of which are hilarious. I love how his instructions in the video are so throw-away. "Just put some olive oil in there. Just, you know, like, some. Glug, glug, glug. And then, whatever. It's pizza. Eat it."

    2 t instant or rapid rise yeast
    1 1/2 C APF
    1 1/2 C whole wheat, spelt or rye flour
    2 t kosher or sea salt, plus more for sprinkling
    1 to 1 1/4 C water
    2 T olive oil, plus a 1 t to brush crust if desired

    1) Combine the yeast, flour, and 2 t salt in the container of a food processor. Turn the machine on and add 1 C water and 2 T of oil through the feed tube.

    2) Process for about 30 seconds, adding more water, a little at a time, until the mixture forms a ball and is slightly sticy to the touch. If it is dry, add another T or two of water and process for another 10 seconds. (In the unlikely event that the mixture is too sticky, add flour, a T at a time.) Actually count to thirty; it's magic. The dough ball forms almost right on the count of 30. You can ask my two year old. He loves to push down the lever on the processor and count and then he goes "wow! wow! wow!" when the ball dramatically clumps and thumps around  inside the container.) 

    3) Turn the dough onto a floured work surface and knead by hand a few seconds to form a smooth round dough ball. Grease a bowl with the remaining olvie oil and place the dough in it. Cover with plastic wrap or a damp cloth and let rise in warm, draft-free area until the dough doubles in size, 1 to 2 hours. You can cut this rising time short if you are in a hurry, or you can let the dough rise more slowly, in the refrigerator for up to 6 or 8 hours. His recipe calls for 1 t of yeast and I add a second to accommodate the wheat flour and it still rises in about 2 hours. In the video, he mentions you can make it in the morning, stick it in the fridge and come home from work and make pizza. yessss.

    4) Preheat oven to maximum  I think this depends on your preference for crust. I do 450.  I divide the dough into at least two balls, let them rest a few minutes and then roll them out (thinish) with a
    rolling pin. Top with your preference of toppings and bake for about 12 minutes until the cheese bubbles.

    For the "grown-up" pie tonight, I pressed some garlic and mixed it into a T of olive oil and 1 T of tomato sauce. I sprinkled halved grape tomatoes and dotted it with ricotta. When it came out, I had a little drizzle ready of 1 T of olive oil that I had mixed with two Trader Joe basil cubes.

    Wednesday, April 25, 2012

    Tortellini bake

    So, my kiddo might complain that she can't eat meat one day a week, but she only complains a little when this is for dinner. Also, she very much likes cooking, and this is exactly the sort of recipe where I can put all the ingredients on the counter and say "go to it."
    Winning for everyone.

    Adapted from here

    2 jars alfredo sauce (I used the kind with mushrooms in them)
    1 large (20 oz, I think) package tortellini, the cheese/spinach kind
    a bunch of broccoli (I had some leftover broccoli and cauliflower, plus some raw broccoli. I didn't bother to measure)
    1 1/2 c. water
    1/2 c. bread crumbs (homemade, in my case)
    2 tsp. olive oil

    Mix the alfredo and water in a large bowl.
    In a baking dish, combine broccoli and tortellini. Pour alfredo on top, stir to coat.
    Bake in 375 oven for 45 minutes.
    Meanwhile, combine bread crumbs and oil and stir to combine. Sprinkle on top of casserole (at the end of 45 minutes).
    Pop back under broiler for 2-3 minutes (watch close, or it'll burn) to crisp the bread crumbs.

    Easy, easy, as Katie would say.

    Monday, April 23, 2012

    Refrigerator steel cut oats

    I promised Heather I'd post this a long time ago and then everything went nutso. Here you go!

     4 c. liquid (I use half water, half milk)
    1 2/3 c. steel cut oats
    cinnamon or vanilla extract (or both)
    pinch of salt

    Bring it all to a boil in a pot, then turn it off.
    Portion into containers. I used half-pint canning jars (6 of them) but you could easily use tupperware if you like. The canning jars are cuter, though.
    Stick those containers in the fridge. In the morning, add your toppings and shove in your lunch bag. Heat when you get to work. So much better than those packets of instant oatmeal.

    Baked eggs with wilted spinach

    I love everything about this recipe. I love it at breakfast, I love it at lunch, I love it at dinner. Mostly I've eaten it for the first two meals of the day, but it'd make a great Meatless Monday dinner, too.

    Adapted very little from Skinny Taste

    2 tsp olive oil
    1/4 cup diced shallots
    1 1/2 lb baby spinach
    4 large eggs
    salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
    4 tbsp shredded Asagio or Parm cheese

    Preheat an oven to 400°F. Lightly spray four oven-safe dishes or ramekins with cooking spray. Heat a large skillet over medium-low heat, add oil, shallots and cook 2-3 minutes. Add spinach, salt and pepper and cook until the spinach wilts, about 2-3 minutes. Divide the wilted spinach among the oven-safe dishes, making a well in the center of each. Sprinkle the cheese on top. Break an egg into each dish and season with salt and pepper. Place the ramekins on one or two rimmed baking sheets and bake until the whites are set and the yolks are firm around the edges but still soft in the center, about 17 minutes or to your liking. Serve immediately.

    Broccoli and garlic quiche

    We eat meatless on Monday, which is a great source of grumbling in my house from the carnivore older child who just likes to complain. (they do that when they're 9)

    This was last week's Meatless Monday recipe, along with a tossed salad. Gaby ate hers with ketchup. Katie picked all the broccoli out and just ate that and the cheesy top. Baby steps.

    Adapted from Epicurious

    10 ounces (1-inch-wide) broccoli florets (with 1 to 2 inches of stem attached)
    2 large garlic cloves
    6 large eggs
    1 1/2 cups half-and-half
    2 cups Gruyere and Swiss cheese, coarsely grated
    1/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
     pie crust of your choosing (I had a pre-made one, so that's what I used)

    Preheat oven to 375°F with rack in middle. Bake pie crust until it's lightly golden. While shell bakes, cook broccoli in a 3-quart pot of boiling salted water 4 minutes. Drain broccoli and rinse under cold water to stop cooking, then pat dry. Mince and mash garlic to a paste with a generous pinch of salt. Whisk together garlic paste, eggs, half-and-half, and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a large bowl until smooth. Pour filling into pie shell and add broccoli, then sprinkle with cheeses. Bake quiche until custard is just set, 45 to 50 minutes. (Center will tremble slightly; filling will continue to set as it cools.) Cool at least 20 minutes. Serve quiche warm or at room temperature.

    Alsatian cabbage

    I know I'm in the minority when I say that I love cabbage. That's ok, I love it anyway.

    I made this a few weeks ago, adapted from a recipe I found here. I'd probably have stuck closer to the original, but I didn't feel like measuring anything.

    1/2 package of bacon, chopped
    1 small onion, chopped fine
    1 cabbage\, trimmed, outer leaves and core removed, sliced thin
    1 1/2 teaspoons caraway seeds

    In a large skillet or Dutch oven (you'll need a cover), cook the bacon crisp. Add the onion as it's prepped, let cook 2 - 3 minutes. Add the caraway and let cook, 1 - 2 minutes. Add the cabbage, stirring well to coat with fat and caraway. Cover and let cook for about 30 minutes, stirring often.

    Homemade creamer

    So, I'll admit I like my coffee with a lot of sweetener and flavoring.
    What I don't like is that the stuff you buy in the store with the flavors also has a lot of oil, preservatives, and HFCS. I try to have as little HFCS as possible.
    So, the first day I was on Pinterest I found this recipe, and I'm now on my second batch of homemade creamer.

    14oz sweetened condensed milk
    14oz milk (whole, lowfat, or skim - doesn't matter)
    2 teaspoons extract of choice or coffee syrup (I've made hazlenut and vanilla)
    a mason jar (quart is perfect)

     Pour all of the ingredients into your mason jar. Screw the lid on tightly and shake vigorously for a few minutes until well combined.

    I think this probably has a pretty short shelf life, but I used one batch in a week, and it seemed fine to me. You could use half and half if you wanted -- if your half and half is like mine, it's got a really long shelf life, so it'd probably make your creamer last longer.

    Garlic and lemon roasted chicken

    Man oh man. I go away for a while and Blogger changes everything. I'm back, by the way, with tons of new recipes. One of the perks of not working is that I've got lots of time for cooking.
    Lots and lots of time.

    And lately, I'm obsessed with Pinterest, where I can pin all of the recipes I see that look interesting. Like this one.

    I adapted this from a recipe found here, to match our tastes and feed three grown men, two growing girls, and me. It was fantastic.

    6 tablespoons olive oil
    3 lemons, 1 1/2 thinly sliced, 1 1/2 juiced
    6 cloves garlic, minced
    1 teaspoon kosher salt
    1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    1 pound trimmed green beans
    1 pound red potatoes, quartered (if they are small enough, you don't have to quarter them)
    5 chicken quarters (you know, the thigh and leg still together)

    Preheat oven to 450°F.
    Coat a large baking dish with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil.
    In a large bowl, combine the remaining oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt, and pepper.
    Arrange green beans and potatoes in the bottom of the pan. Place the chicken, skin-side up, in the dish or skillet. Rub the oil/lemon juice/garlic mixture over chicken, use all of it. Dot with lemon slices.
    Cover with foil, place in oven for 30 minutes. Remove foil, bake another 30 minutes. Check chicken to make sure it's done, serve.

    One pan, veg, carb, chicken all cooked together. My kind of meal. And there weren't any leftovers, so clearly everyone else loved it, too.

    Thursday, April 19, 2012

    Steamed Fish with Ratatouille

    This is a Bittman recipe and it was great. I served it over pasta. My husband asked me if that's how ratatouille is traditionally served. I had to admit I did not know.Wikipedia tells me it can be served however the heck you want to eat it.

    The vegetables make a perfect “steamer” and create a built-in side dish.
    Makes: 4 servings
    1 large or 2 medium zucchini
    1 medium or 2 small eggplants
    1 medium red bell pepper, cored
    2 medium or 3 small tomatoes, cored (Can of fired roasted. Canned tomatoes are aparently my BPA Waterloo.)
    3 tablespoons olive oil, or more as needed (2 T total)
    1 tablespoon minced garlic
    1 large onion, chopped
    Salt and freshly ground black pepper
    1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
    ½ cup Niçoise or kalamata olives, pitted, optional (delicious!)
    4 thick fish fillets or steaks (about 1½ pounds) (thawed cod filets from the Joe who is a Trader)
    ½ cup roughly chopped fresh basil leaves (3 cubes from those genius frozen packs from TJ's)
    1. Trim and cut the zucchini and eggplant into 1-inch chunks. (I did more of a dice) Cut the pepper into strips. Roughly chop the tomatoes, reserving their juice.
    2. Put 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat and immediately add the garlic. When it begins to sizzle, add the onion and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion begins to soften, 3 to 5 minutes.
    3. Add the zucchini, eggplant, bell pepper, and another sprinkle of salt and pepper. Lower the heat a bit to keep the vegetables from burning and cook, stirring occasionally, until the eggplant is fairly soft, another 10 to 15 minutes. Add the tomatoes and their juice, the thyme, and the olives if you’re using them and cook, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes begin to break down, another 5 to 10 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
    4. Sprinkle the fish with salt and pepper and lay it on top of the vegetables. Adjust the heat so the mixture simmers. Cover and cook until the fish is opaque throughout and a paring knife inserted into the fish at its thickest point meets little resistance. This will take anywhere from 5 to 12 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fish.
    5. Transfer the fish to a platter, then stir the basil into the vegetables. Spoon the vegetables around the fish, drizzle everything with the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil (plus a little more if you like) (hefk says, "or not") and serve.
    ◗ Be careful not to cook swordfish and tuna too long when steaming; other fish
    won’t dry out as quickly.
    ◗ Giving slower-cooking foods a head start is a valuable technique you can try with
    chicken breasts and other quick-cooking cuts of meat.
    Steamed Fish with Leeks: Skip the zucchini, eggplant, pepper, tomatoes, thyme, and olives. Trim and slice 1½ pounds leeks (the white and light green parts) and rinse
    them in a colander to remove all grit. Begin the recipe with Step 2 and cook the leeks in
    the hot oil, stirring occasionally, until they’re tender and begin to turn golden, 5 to 10 minutes. Add ½ cup white wine or water and bring to a gentle bubble. Continue with the recipe from Step 4.
    Steamed Fish with Bok Choy: Skip the zucchini, eggplant, pepper, tomatoes, thyme,
    and olives. In Step 2, add about 1 pound roughly chopped bok choy, ¼ cup soy sauce, and
    ½ cup water to the skillet. Cook, stirring, until the greens begin to wilt, 3 to 5 minutes. Continue with the recipe from Step 4.

    Tuesday, April 17, 2012

    Panqueques de Minimos, aka "Peace Corps pancakes"

    This wekeend we visited friends from college. They were in the Peace Corps the first two years of their marriage. Wow, right? She made these pancakes for all of us for breakfast using a recipe she had written down in Spanish in the margin of her Peace Corps cookbook.
    Between the oatmeal, eggs, milk and sweet potato/banana, the protein and complex carbs will keep you going for a while. Also, I love the word "panqueque."

    mezclar juntos y dejar por 5 minutos: (mix together and leave for 5 minutes)
    - 2 C leche (milk)
    - 2 huevos (eggs)
    - 1 T azucar (sugar)
    - 1 T aciete (oil)
    - 1 T vainilla (vanilla)
    - 1 1/2 C avena (oatmeal)

    mezclar juntos:
    - 1 1/2 C harina (flour)
    - 1 t polvo de horno (baking powder)
    - 1/2 t sal (salt)

    - 4 minimos, puré (bananas, mashed) (NOTE: my friend used cooked sweet potato pureed with a stick blender so I did this too because family loved them.)

    combinar todos y cocinar (NOTE: The batter is fairly thick, almost like muffin batter. My friend made pancakes on her griddle. I made waffles.)

    Sunday, April 15, 2012

    Saag Paneer

    I know this food blog gang loves our spinach so I bring you Heidi's take on spinach deliciousness. I used Alissa's method to bake tofu because I knew I wasn't going to get my hands on paneer the week I made this. I also used Sun Brand Madras Curry from my grocery store. The cute little tin leapt into my cart and I've been shaking it into all kinds of things since that day.
    The vegetarian potluck group all really enjoyed it (one friend, a humanitarian aid worker and longtime world traveler, claimed it was her favorite dish of this year's Lenten gatherings. The credit is all Heidi's but I thought that was a good testamonial.)

    I served it over rice to make sure it would stretch to feed the group. The sauce filtered down into the rice and made it a beautiful color.

    A bunch of head notes here, apologies. This recipe calls for an incredible amount of spinach. Just know, it cooks down dramatically. I call for baby spinach, because it saves me having to trim a lot of unruly stems from bundles of spinach. Feel free to use any fresh spinach, but make sure it isn't overly stem-y. On the cheese front, Halloumi is a solid substitute for paneer, and here's a link if you want to make paneer at home. And if you like a higher cheese to spinach ratio, cook up 12 ounces of paneer. If I have canned crushed or whole tomatoes that need to be used up, I throw some of those in too (chopped/drained) - good. And if you have kale you need to use, trade chopped kale for some of the spinach if you like.
    1 1/2 pounds fresh (baby) spinach, well washed and dried
    2 tablespoons ghee, clarified butter, or unsalted butter
    8 - 12 oz paneer cheese, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
    2 medium onions, finely chopped
    scant 1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
    3 medium garlic cloves, finely chopped
    1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
    1 tablespoon spice mixture* (see below)
    1/4 teaspoon turmeric
    1 cup buttermilk
    splash of cream or dollop of plain yogurt (optional)
    fresh lemon to finish, and toasted sesame seeds to sprinkle
    Chop the spinach well, and set aside in a large bowl.
    While you're chopping spinach, cook the paneer in one tablespoon of the butter over medium heat in a large skillet. Make sure the paneer is in a single layer and use a spatula to flip it regularly so all sides get deeply brown. This typically takes 7 minutes or so. Remove from the pan and set aside.
    Heat the other tablespoon of butter in your largest soup pot. Add the onions and salt, and saute until the onions soften up, five minutes or so. Add the garlic, ginger, spice mixture, and turmeric. Cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant and nicely combined - a minute or two.
    Turn the heat up to medium-high and add the spinach to the pan all at once, if possible. Cook, stirring all the while, until the spinach is collapsed and wilted, a couple of minutes. If you need to add the spinach in batches (adding more spinach as it collapses), that is fine too, just do it as quickly as possible.
    Stir in the buttermilk and cream and heat gently while stirring. If the mixture seems dry, add more buttermilk a splash at a time (this rarely happens to me). Taste and add more salt if necessary and more red pepper flakes if you like. Add a generous squeeze of fresh lemon juice, stir in the paneer, sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve.

    Serves 4-6.
    *Spice Mixture: Use a mortar and pestle or spice grinder to grind the following spices as finely as possible: 2 tablespoons cumin seed, 1 tablespoons coriander seed, 2 teaspoons mustard seed, 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes, 1/8 teaspoon cardamom seeds, 3 whole cloves. Store in an airtight container and use as needed.

    Sunday Night Leftover Soup

    I know it was 80 degrees today...whatevs. Sit in front of a fan and eat soup!
    We came home from a weekend family road trip to a fridge full of multiple teeny portions of leftovers. They made magic in my soup pot and I want to put the list here as reminder to my feeble brain of a fun thing to do with the rotating cast of containers in the fridge.
    Feel free to chime in with your fave leftover soup combos or ingredients.
    base flavor:
    olive oil
    sauteed minced garlic
    2 C chicken broth
    1 C roasted potato wedges, chunked
    1/4 C saag tofu (only rice left)
    1/4 C homemade shells and cheese
    1/2 C scalloped potatoes
    1/2 C snobby joe
    fresh veggie flourish:
    baby spinach
    5 cremini mushrooms, chunked
    10 stalks asparagus, chopped
    final touch:
    1 T miso, (tip: 1. remove pot from heat to retain nutritional integrity of miso 2. ladle a bit of broth into a container and dissolve miso in this before returning mixture to the pot to avoid losing the lump of miso in the soup pot)

    Friday, April 13, 2012

    Superpower Honey Waffles

    Adapted from: Fit Pregnancy

    Also going into the freezer.  I had to add a little bit more WW flour because my batter was really loose.  I skipped the food processor and just used a whisk and bowl.

    Wet ingredients:
    3 eggs
    ¼ cup vegetable oil or melted butter, plus additional for brushing
    ¼ cup soy nut butter (or peanut butter)
    ¼ cup honey (I used sorghum - still out of honey around here)
    ¼ cup plain yogurt
    ½ teaspoon vanilla
    2 cups milk
    Dry ingredients:
    ½ cup whole-wheat flour (I probably used closer to 1 cup in the end)
    ½ cup all-purpose flour
    ¼ cup oat flour (or oats ground finely in a food processor)
    1 tablespoon baking powder
    1 teaspoon baking soda
    ½ teaspoon salt
    1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

    1.  Preheat a waffle iron.
    2.  In a food processor, pulse together the wet ingredients except milk (or, just whisk together in a bowl).
    3.  In a bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients.
    4.  Add the dry ingredients and milk to the food processor and pulse to blend (or, just whisk into the wet ingredients).
    5. Cook in the waffle iron and cool the finished waffles on a wire rack (if you're going to freeze them).
    6.  Serve hot or freeze leftovers and rewarm in a toaster.

    Thursday, April 12, 2012

    Zucchini Muffins

    From: Simply Recipes

    Another recipe I made today to store in the freezer in preparation for Baby Arrival next week.  I actually had some shredded zucchini in the freezer from last summer's garden haul, so I used that, and added some shredded carrots to fill out the 3 cups of veg needed.  I added chopped almonds, raisins, and some flax seeds.  I also used some applesauce in place of a bit of the butter, and used 1/2 whole wheat flour and 1/2 all-purpose.  I wanted to try to make these a little more nutritious but not go overboard and end up with dry, dense muffins like you sometimes get when you sub out all the good stuff for more virtuous ingredients. 


    • 3 cups grated fresh zucchini (I used a mix of zucchini and shredded carrots)
    • 2/3 cup melted unsalted butter (I used one stick of butter, melted, plus some applesauce)
    • 1 1/3 cup sugar
    • 2 eggs, beaten
    • 2 teaspoons vanilla
    • 2 teaspoons baking soda
    • Pinch salt
    • 3 cups all-purpose flour (I used 1/2 whole wheat flour)
    • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
    • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
    • 1 cup walnuts (optional) (I used almonds, chopped)
    • 1 cup raisins or dried cranberries (optional)


    You don't need a mixer for this recipe.
    1 Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). In a large bowl combine the sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Stir in the grated zucchini and then the melted butter. In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda, nutmeg, and cinnamon. Stir these dry ingredients into the zucchini mixture. Stir in walnuts, raisins or cranberries if using.
    2 Coat each muffin cup in your muffin pan with a little butter or vegetable oil spray. Use a spoon to distribute the muffin dough equally among the cups, filling the cups up completely. Bake on the middle rack until muffins are golden brown, and the top of the muffins bounce back when you press on them, about 25 to 30 minutes. Test with a long toothpick or a thin bamboo skewer to make sure the center of the muffins are done. Set on wire rack to cool for 5 minutes. Remove muffins from the tin let cool another 20 minutes.

    Note, if you are including walnuts and dried fruit, you might have more batter than is needed for 12 muffins. I was able to get all the batter into just 12 muffins, but I filled the tins completely, even going a little above the rim of the cups.  They rose a bit when cooking, but it wasn't a problem to overfill them a little bit.  

    Homemade Granola Bars

    From Brown Eyed Baker

    I have never made homemade granola bars before, but now that I know how easy it is, and have this handy formula, I see a lot of homemade granola bars in my future.  I mostly followed the recipe for Fig, Date and Almond Bars, but I subbed out the dates for dried apricots because I didn't have any dates in the house. I also used a little sorghum instead of all the honey, because I didn't have quite enough honey and I did have a jar of sorghum from our trip to Tennessee last year.   But - look at all the possible combinations! I think you could also use different kind of jams, too, but I'm not sure if that would count as a sticky sweetener or a  Will have to keep trying different combinations.  I'm thinking of a dark chocolate, coconut and pecan version..... yum!

    Basic Granola Bar Formula:

    1. Rolled Grains (2½ cups)
    Suggestions: Oats, Rye flakes, Barley flakes, etc.

    2. Nuts, Seeds & Spices (1 cup)
    Suggestions: Almonds, Walnuts, Pecans, Pistachios, Sunflower Seeds, Pumpkin Seeds, Cinnamon, Ginger, etc.

    3. Sticky Sweetener (1/3 cup + ¼ cup)
    Suggestions: Honey, Agave Nectar, Molasses, Maple Syrup (I used sorghum)

    4. Dried Fruits (1 cup)
    Suggestions: Raisins, Apricots, Dates, Figs, Prunes, Cranberries, Pineapple, etc. (I bet you could use mini chocolate chips, too.  Oooh, and coconut!)

    5. Binder (1 cup)
    Suggestions: Pureed Dried Fruit, Apple Butter, Peanut Butter, Almond Butter, Unsweetened applesauce, etc.

    Fig, Date & Almond Granola Bars

    Yield: 8 to 12 bars, depending on how large you cut them

    Prep Time: 15 minutes | Bake Time: 25 minutes

    1 cup unsweetened applesauce
    1/3 + ¼ cup honey (I just used 1/3 cup, about half of which was honey and half was sorghum)
    1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    ¾ teaspoon vanilla extract
    2½ cups rolled oats
    1 cup chopped almonds
    1/3 cup chopped dried figs
    1/3 cup chopped dried dates (I subbed dried apricots)
    1/3 cup raisins

    1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line an 8×8-inch baking pan with parchment paper.
    2. In a large bowl, whisk together the honey, applesauce, cinnamon and vanilla extract. Stir in the oats, making sure that it is evenly mixed and all of the oats are moistened. Mix in the almonds, figs, dates and raisins.
    3. Turn the mixture out into the baking pan and press into the pan, making sure it is evenly distributed and tightly packed.
    4. Bake for 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool in the freezer until the bars are firm, at least 1 hour. Remove from the pan and cut into bars. Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

    Tuesday, April 10, 2012

    "Snobby" Joe

    My friend Cindy made this for a vegetarian potluck dinner. We all went nuts for it.
    It's basically a very thick, nicely spiced tomato-based lentil stew that makes a delicious sandwich filling.
    I made it tonight and it was easy and tasty.

    1c uncooked lentils
     4c of water
     1 tbs extra virgin olive oil
     1 medium onion, diced
     1 green pepper, diced
     2 carrots, diced
     2 gloves garlic
     1 tbs chili powder  (Cindy: "I used an Indian spice called Sambar instead of chili powder - it's a mixture of spices that includes chili powder. You can get it at the Pakistani store on Greenmount and 33rd -- or I can send you all home with some the next time I see you." Heather used madras curry. )
     1.5 tsp oregano
     1 tsp salt
     8 oz tomato sauce
     1/4 c tomato paste
     3 tbs maple syrup
     2 tbs yellow mustard
     4-6 kaiser rolls (or whatever rolls you have)

     1. Put lentils and water in a pot. Cover and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer 20 minutes until soft. Drain and set aside.
     2. 10 minutes before lentils are done, saute onions, carrots, and peppers in oil. Add garlic, saute.
     3. Add lentils, chili powder, oregano, salt and mix. Add tomato sauce and tomato paste. Cook 10 minutes. Add maple syrup and mustard and heat through.
     4. Turn off and let sit about 10 minutes so flavors can meld. Serve open faced with a scoop of snobby joe on each bun.

    Sunday, March 18, 2012

    Boozy Irish Cupcakes

    From: Brown Eyed Baker, who adapted it from Smitten Kitchen

    These are Guinness chocolate cupcakes with an Irish whiskey ganache filling, and Bailey's Irish Cream buttercream frosting.  BEB called these Irish Car Bomb cupcakes (after the same-named cocktail) and got totally flamed in her comments for the offensive name.  It looks like Smitten may have also called them car bomb cupcakes, but changed the name at some point, probably after protests.  So, call them what you want.  I took these to a St. Paddy's Day party last night and they were a big hit with the adults.

    For the Cupcakes:
    1 cup Guinness stout
    1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
    ¾ cup Dutch-process cocoa powder
    2 cups all-purpose flour
    2 cups granulated sugar
    1½ teaspoons baking soda
    ¾ teaspoons salt
    2 eggs
    2/3 cup sour cream

    For the Whiskey Ganache Filling:
    8 ounces bittersweet chocolate
    2/3 cup heavy cream
    2 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
    2 teaspoons Irish whiskey (I used Jameson)

    For the Baileys Frosting:
    2 cups unsalted butter, at room temperature
    5 cups powdered sugar
    6 tablespoons Baileys Irish Cream

    1. To Make the Cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 24 cupcake cups with liners. Bring the Guinness and butter to a simmer in a heavy, medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the cocoa powder and whisk until the mixture is smooth. Cool slightly.

    2. Whisk the flour, sugar, baking soda and salt in a large bowl to combine. Using an electric mixer, beat the eggs and sour cream on medium speed until combined. Add the Guinness-chocolate mixture to the egg mixture and beat just to combine. Reduce the speed to low, add the flour mixture and beat briefly. Using a rubber spatula, fold the batter until completely combined. Divide the batter among the cupcake liners. Bake until a thin knife inserted into the center comes out clean, about 17 minutes. Cool the cupcakes on a rack.

    3. To Make the Whiskey Ganache Filling: Finely chop the chocolate and transfer it to a heatproof bowl. Heat the cream until simmering and pour it over the chocolate. Let it sit for one minute and then, using a rubber spatula, stir it from the center outward until smooth. Add the butter and whiskey and stir until combined. Let the ganache cool until thick but still soft enough to be piped.

    4. To Fill the Cupcakes: Using a 1-inch round cookie cutter (or the bottom of a large decorating tip, or a small melon baller), cut the centers out of the cooled cupcakes, going about two-thirds of the way down. Transfer the ganache to a piping bag with a wide tip and fill the holes in each cupcake to the top.

    5. To Make the Baileys Frosting: Using the whisk attachment of a stand mixer, whip the butter on medium-high speed for 5 minutes, scraping the sides of the bowl occasionally. Reduce the speed to medium-low and gradually add the powdered sugar until all of it is incorporated. Add the Baileys, increase the speed to medium-high and whip for another 2 to 3 minutes, until it is light and fluffy.
    6. Using your favorite decorating tip, or an offset spatula, frost the cupcakes and decorate with sprinkles, if desired. Store the cupcakes in an airtight container.

    lemony mushrooms and salmon

    This recipe indicates that my transformation to someone who genuinely likes mushrooms is complete. Shocking, I know.

    Also, this is the kind of recipe I generally stay away from -- lots of steps, lots of components, two separate sauces -- but it's actually not a) super-messy and requiring many dishes to wash; b) very time-consuming; or c) fussy. This is all very simple and whole-food-ish. I'd recommend reading the original recipe the whole way through first, just to get an idea of what you're going to do, and then come back here and just follow the steps.

    And skip the gastrique, if you must, but definitely do NOT skip the garlic aioli; it's the best part.

    First make the aioli. With an immersion blender, puree:
    1 clove of garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
    1 whole egg–the fresher and organic-er the better
    ½ tsp salt
    2 spins of the pepper mill
    juice of ½ lemon

    With the blender still going, start drizzling in olive oil, very slowly, until things start to emulsify -- it took me about a minute. Keep going until you have creamy deliciousness the texture of mayo.

    Start the mushrooms:

    1 pint baby bella or cremini mushrooms
    1 pint shitake or oyster mushrooms
    1 clove garlic
    2 tbsp olive oil
    1 tbsp butter [I used my BFF Earth Balance, of course]
    Juice of ½ lemon
    ¼ cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
    S & P

    Wipe down the mushrooms with a damp cloth and discard any hard stems. Heat the olive oil and saute for about five minutes, then add the garlic for the last minute. Dump out into a bowl and stir in the rest of the ingredients (while still hot so the butter melts).

    Preheat your broiler.

    Slice a few pieces of fresh bread for broiling later and spray lightly with olive oil.

    Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil and place X number of 6 oz. salmon filets on it. Spray with olive oil and S&P (and Old Bay, if you're Jared) and place under the broiler. Cook until sides are golden and center is done. Ours took about 8 minutes.

    To make the gastrique, simmer...
    1/3 c. balsamic vinegar
    The zest and juice of 1 orange [I used a lemon]
    1 tsp sugar

    ... for about 5 minutes until it reduces.

    Heat a bit of olive oil in the same pan you made the mushrooms and saute 1 clove of minced garlic. When it starts to smell good, add a bag of baby spinach (rinsed and dried) and salt and pepper and cook until wilted.

    Toast the bread in the broiler for a few minutes.

    Drizzle the gastrique on the salmon, spread the aioli on the bread, and pile everything all together and eat it. YUM.

    Thursday, March 15, 2012

    Irish Potatoes (candy)

    I requested my mom's recipe for the potato candy she made for my sibs and I to take to school on St. Patrick's Days of yore. When I say "potato candy," I mean candy shaped like a potato (really cute teeny potatoes). Turns out mom's recipe actually does use some potato which I like because I think it probably cuts some of the sweetness that the sugar-only recipes that I saw online. The cinnamon makes the little lumps look like little dirty potatoes and it keeps them from sticking together. My kid's going to take a box to her classmates tomorrow. I'm more excited than she is.

    I copied my mom's email below. She's a librarian so she characteristically references a thematically appropriate book. She's a school librarian so she suggests making it a hands on experience for the kids in the class.


    (recipe from an Adele Davis cookbook)

    Peel, quarter, steam, and mash 1 potato.  You will use 1/4 cup of this.
    - 1/4 C. mashed potato

    While still warm, add and stir well:

    - 1 tsp. vanilla
    - 2 Tbspn. butter

    Sift together and add:

    - 1 C powdered sugar
    - 1/2 C. powdered milk

    Stir well and chill.
    After chilling, knead in enough powdered milk and/or powdered sugar to handle well.  [I probably gradually added another 1/2-3/4 C of powdered sugar and 1/2-3/4 C of powdered milk to get the consistency past melty blobs to sturdy lumps that hold their shape.]
    Shape as "puny praties" (OK, Adele didn't say that.  Tomie O'Paola did.) 
    Roll lightly in cinnamon.
    Hope these do the trick. 
    You could just take the fondant and let the kids make their own.

    Sunday, March 11, 2012

    Hollandaise sauce

    Alright, I'm gonna let you in on a secret. It's not so much a secret as something that I did that will royally irritate several family members.
    Last week when we went to get a few things my Nana wanted us to have from her house, I took her two recipe boxes. I figure no one else would really cook from them, and that if she were still lucid and making rational decisions, she'd have told me to take them.
    So, I have them, and when my Dad and I went through them, we found recipes from my great grandmothers, among the bunch.
    I'm super excited to work my way through these recipes.

    I started this weekend by making Hollandaise sauce. You can read the story of Eggs Benedict and Hollandaise on my blog, but here's the recipe, for archiving purposes.

    4 egg yolks (save those whites, because you can use them to make angel food cake)
    2 Tbsp. lemon juice
    2 sticks butter
    1/4 tsp. salt

    Cut each stick of butter into pieces. Beat egg yolks in top of double boiler until smooth with wooden spoon. Blend in lemon juice and salt, then place over simmering water. Add 1 piece of butter, stirring constantly. Keep adding until all butter is gone and sauce is thickened. Remove from heat.

    Thursday, March 08, 2012

    Chicken Gyros

    This was tasty. I will make again very soon. Before the kids and I left for playgroup, I made the marinade, put the butterflied chicken breasts in it, made the tzatziki and put both containers in the fridge. K took care of broiling the chicken bc it was yoga night so I came home to leftovers and they tasted great reheated. Lots of flavor.

    From Annie's Eats, and before that, from Elly Says Opa!


    • To make the tzatziki sauce, strain the yogurt using cheesecloth over a bowl. Let strain for several hours or overnight, if possible, to remove as much moisture as possible. (I used Greek yogurt, so I didn't do this step)
    • Shred the cucumber. Wrap in a towel a squeeze to remove as much water as possible. Mix together the strained yogurt, shredded cucumber, garlic, white wine vinegar, salt and pepper to taste, and lemon juice. Drizzle lightly with olive oil. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving to allow the flavors to meld.
    • To prepare the chicken, combine the garlic, lemon juice, red wine vinegar, olive oil, yogurt, oregano, and salt and pepper to taste in a medium bowl. Whisk together until mixed well. Add the chicken pieces to the bowl and mix well to coat. Cover and refrigerate for about 1 hour.
    • Cook the chicken as desired, either in the skillet or with the broiler. (I butterflied the chicken breasts and then cooked them under the broiler.) (I had never cooked chicken this way before and it was a great way to do it. Moist, fully cooked, flavorful.) Once the chicken is completely cooked through, transfer to a plate and let rest for 5 minutes. Cut into strips.
    • Heat pitas (I sprayed with some spray oil and then popped them in the toaster oven for a few minutes). Top with chicken, tzatziki sauce, diced tomatoes and sliced onions. Serve immediately.


    Sunday, March 04, 2012

    banana (chocolate chip) pancakes

    I do declare, these are the fluffiest and most successful pancakes I have ever made!

    The chocolate chips are optional and the pancakes are delicious both ways; we did half and half last night. From Skinnytaste, with some variations.
    • 1 cup unbleached white or white whole wheat flour [I did half whole wheat and half white whole wheat]
    • 1 tsp baking powder [I took this down from 2 t]
    • 1/4 tsp salt
    • 1 large banana, ripe, mashed well
    • 1 cup 1% milk [skim worked fine]
    • 3 large egg whites
    • 2 tsp oil
    • 2 tsp vanilla [I upped this from 1 t]
    • 1/4 cup mini chocolate chips [I used big chunks; the technique of placing them individually on the top of each pancake worked well]
    Mix all dry ingredients in a bowl. Combine milk, egg white, oil, vanilla and mashed bananas in another medium sized bowl and mix until smooth. 

    Combine wet ingredients with the dry and mix well with a wooden spoon until there are no more dry spots. Don't over-mix.

    Heat a large skillet on medium-low heat, spray with cooking spray and pour 1/4 cup of pancake batter. Add 1 teaspoon of chocolate chips in each pancake.

    When the pancake starts to bubble and the edges begin to set, flip the pancakes. Repeat with the remainder of the batter. 

    Saturday, February 25, 2012

    Congo Bars

    I've made these quite a few times lately and they come together quickly with the use of one bowl, one spoon and a whisk (optional).  And, most importantly, they are delicious.

    Adapted from Cook's Illus. The New Best Recipe.

    7.5 oz AP flour
    1 t baking powder
    1 t kosher salt
    1.5 sticks of unsalted butter
    10.5 oz brown sugar (I used dark)
    2 large eggs
    1.5 t vanilla extract
    1 C dark chocolate chips*
    1 C pecans, toasted and coarsely chopped
    1.5 C unsweetened flaked coconut (better than shredded, I think), lightly toasted

    Preheat oven to 350 and line a 13x9 pan with a foil sling and spray with cooking spray; set aside.

    In a large microwave-safe bowl, place butter and brown sugar and cook on high for about 2 minutes or until butter is melted and sugar mixture is shiny when stirred.  Whisk in eggs and vanilla. Fold in dry ingredients including chips, nuts and coconut taking care to be gentle and do not overmix.  Turn batter into prepared pan and bake on oven rack set to middle position for 22-25 minutes.  Cool completely before cutting.

    *original recipe calls for 1/2 C white chips and 1/2 C semisweet but I had neither and I prefer dark chocolate chips anyway.  Flaked coconut is better than shredded because it is large and coconutty but go for the shredded if you can't find flaked.  Sweetened coconut will make the bars way too sweet, FYI.

    Monday, February 20, 2012

    Joy the Baker

    Is doing a book tour and is coming to SF the first week of March.  I'm planning to go to her book signing on March 4th--anyone want a signed copy?  If so, let me know.  She's so cute that I have to go meet her in person.

    Saturday, February 18, 2012

    Super Tasty Chili without Beans

    Adapted from The Clothes Make the Girl.

    Delish.  Makes a lot.

    2 T olive oil
    2 onions, chopped
    4 cloves garlic, crushed

    2 bell peppers, chopped
    2 Japanese sweet potatoes, cut into 1/2" cubes
    2 lbs. ground meat (lean beef, pork, turkey, bison--I used 1 lb ground beef and 1 lb cubed stew meat)
    2 T chili powder (I used chipotle chili powder)
    2-3 T ground cumin
    1 T unsweetened cocoa
    1 t dried oregano
    1 t allspice
    1 t salt
    2 14.5 oz. can chopped tomatoes (I used fire roasted)
    6 oz. tomato paste
    14.5 oz. can beef broth
    12 oz. beer--something in an ale or lager

    In a large dutch oven, combine oil, onions and peppers and saute until soft.  Add garlic immediately followed by the meat.  Saute meat until browned and the ground beef is well crumbled.  Toss in spices and stir to coat contents of pan.  Add tomato paste and tomatoes, broth and beer and stir to combine.  Bring to a boil then turn down to a simmer for 2 hrs.  Seriously, you want to build the flavor here and it's worth the time.  As you get to the last 30 min or so of cooking time add the sweet potatoes.  By the time you've hit 2 hrs total of cooking the potatoes will be done and the chili ready to eat.  Like most stews and soups it's even better the next day but is delicious right off the stove.  I served this with homemade northern style cornbread (that means a bit more flour and some sugar) and a beer.  So good.  

    p.s.  Don't skimp on the spices.  You won't taste the cocoa as a chocolatey note but it gives it a little extra depth.  Also, the addition of chocolate does not qualify this recipe as being remotely close to Cincinnati chili.  

    My Mom's Baked Oatmeal

    This tastes so good. Kids and grown-ups alike love it.
    It's my wonderful mom's recipe so it's got the wholesome stamp on it, but knowing my mom and how careful she usually is with salt, fat and sugar it surprised me that this recipe is a little heavy on all three. I've cut back on each and there testing if it's still delicious when it's a little more nutritious. So far, so good.

    3 eggs
    1 C oil (3/4 C)
    2 C milk
    1 C brown sugar (3/4 C)
    1 1/2 T cinnamon
    2 T vanilla
    1 1/2 t salt (scant 1 t)
    4 t baking powder
    5 C uncooked oatmeal (rolled or quick oats both work fine)
    (fruit of any kind chopped is an awesome addition, I've tried pears in one batch and bananas in another)

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
    Mix/Beat together all but oatmeal until completely combined.
    Add oatmeal and mix well. Bake in a greased two quart casserole dish.
    40-45 min until golden brown.

    Easy Broccoli Quiche

    from AllRecipes, 4.5 stars.

    2 tablespoons butter (less)

    1 onion, minced
    1 teaspoon minced garlic
    2 cups chopped fresh broccoli
    1 (9 inch) unbaked pie crust
    1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (I just sprinkled a handful, maybe 3/4 cup)
    4 eggs, well beaten
    1 1/2 cups milk
    1 teaspoon salt
    1/2 teaspoon black pepper
    1 tablespoon butter, melted


    1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

    2.Over medium-low heat melt butter in a large saucepan. Add onions, garlic and broccoli. Cook slowly, stirring occasionally until the vegetables are soft. Spoon vegetables into crust and sprinkle with cheese.

    3.Combine eggs and milk. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in melted butter. Pour egg mixture over vegetables and cheese.

    4.Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes, or until center has set. (I don't know what's with my oven, but this took 60 minutes to bake two quiches. Somewhere between 30 and 60 minutes, you will have quiche.)

    Monday, February 13, 2012

    Lamb Tagine with Prunes

    Adapted from Claudia Roden's The New Book of Middle Eastern Food p. 254.

    So, in case it's not obvious, I've switched from an almost entirely vegetarian (except for bacon) diet to one that is high protein.  And I don't mean just eating lots of eggs and Greek Yogurt--I mean meat and lots of it.  Even red meat.  And lamb, which I don't eat a lot of but this recipe sounded so good that I had to try it out.  You can use beef just as easily if that's your preference.  Don't use bone-in meat for this, just cube it and trim it of any excess fat.  Also, I think it's good to have lots of veg with your meat so I added lots more than the recipe called for.  In fact, everything but the onion is an add-on.  And I think it turned out perfectly because the lamb is really rich and the veg just soaks up all that delicious juice.

    2 lbs shoulder of lamb (or beef), cubed with excess fat removed
    3 T vegetable oil
    1 t ground ginger
    1 t ground cumin
    1/2 t allspice
    2 t ground cinnamon (Vietnamese, please)
    salt & pepper
    a fat pinch of red pepper flakes
    1 lg onion, medium dice
    1 lg red bell pepper, medium dice
    2 zucchini, medium dice
    1 large eggplant, medium dice
    2 cloves garlic, minced
    12 oz pitted prunes
    1 can chick peas, drained and rinsed well
    1/2 C toasted slivered almonds

    Set broiler to low and line a large baking sheet with foil.  Toss the zucchini and eggplant with a little olive oil, S&P and spread into an even layer on the baking sheet.  Place under broiler, stirring occasionally until veg is done and nicely charred in spots.  You could just cook all this together with the meat but in another section of Claudia's book she talks about the delicious flavor that broiled and lightly charred veg brings to the dish.  I agree.

    In the meantime, using a tagine (if you have one) or a brazier or dutch oven, add the oil, spices, onion, garlic, bell pepper and meat and brown meat on all sides.  Add water to cover and simmer gently, covered, for about 1.5 hrs or until the meat is very tender.  Add more water if needed to keep the meat covered.

    Add the prunes and cook 30 min until the liquid is reduced to a "thick, unctuous sauce."  Add chick peas and stir until warmed through.  Garnish with slivered almonds and serve with roasted veg and rice or cous cous.  Tastes even better the next day.

    Wednesday, February 08, 2012

    Arroz con Pollo

    Easy. Delicious. That is all.


    •3 Tbsp olive oil
    •1 broiler-fryer chicken, about 2 1/2-3 pounds, cut into serving pieces, or 2 1/2 to 3 pounds of chicken thighs or breasts, bone-in, with skin on, rinsed and patted dry
    •1/2 cup of flour for dredging
    •Freshly ground black pepper

    •2 tablespoons olive oil (can use up to 1/4 cup)
    •1 medium yellow onion, chopped
    •1 garlic clove, minced
    •2 cups of medium or long-grain white rice
    •3 cups* chicken stock
    •1 heaping tablespoon tomato paste or 1 cup of diced fresh or cooked tomatoes, strained
    •Pinch of oregano
    •1 teaspoon salt

    *Check the instructions on the rice package for the proportions of liquid to rice. They can range from 1:1 to 2:1. If your rice calls for 2 cups of water for every cup of rice, then for this recipe, use 4 cups of stock for 2 cups of rice.

    1 Heat 3 Tbsp olive oil in a large skillet (a skillet that has a cover) on medium high heat. Put the flour in a wide bowl, mix in a generous sprinkling of salt, pepper, and paprika. Dredge the chicken pieces lightly in the flour mixture and put in the pan to brown. (You can skip the flour dredging part if you want. It just makes a nicer coating for the chicken.) Cook a few minutes on each side, just enough so that the chicken has browned. Use a slotted spoon to remove from pan and set aside.

    2 Add the rice to the pan to brown. Add a little more olive oil if necessary. Stir first to coat the rice with the olive oil in the pan. Then don't stir too much or you will prevent it from browning. Let it brown and then stir a little to let more of it brown. Then add the onion and garlic. Cook the onion, garlic and rice mixture, stirring frequently, until the onions have softened, about 4 minutes.

    3 Place the chicken pieces, skin-side up, on top of the rice. In a separate bowl, mix together the stock, tomato, salt, and oregano. Pour the stock mixture over the rice and chicken. Bring to a simmer, reduce the heat to low, and cover. Let cook for 20-25 minutes, depending on the type of rice and the instructions on the rice package, until the rice and chicken are done. Fluff the rice with a fork. If you want you can sprinkle with some peas. Add more salt and pepper to taste.

    Serves 4-6.

    Originally posted on Simply Recipes

    Monday, February 06, 2012

    Lemon Cherry Trifle

    Idea from Martha Stewart and lemon curd from my very favorite KAF.

    So, every year our friends host a Super Bowl party (yes, I watch the game but once again neither of the teams playing were the one I cared about) and usually it is a Top Chef-style party.  Not this year.  This year it was all about smoked meat and delicious sides and desserts and no Top Chef-fing.  I brought 2 desserts: lemon cheesecake (recipe to be posted later) and lemon cherry trifle.  The trifle could not be easier.

    1 box lemon cake mix, baked according to pkg directions (yes, I cheated and used a box mix)
    2 C whipped cream, beaten to soft peaks and stabilized with a bit of sifted powdered sugar
    1 jar Morello cherries from TJ's, drained
    1 recipe lemon curd from King Arthur Flour (recipe to follow) or 2 C of your favorite recipe

    For the cake, you can either cut it into 1" cubes or do like me and squish it up with your fingers.  This is why I used a box mix--why should I bake from scratch just to destroy it?  Anyway, place half of the cake into the bottom of the trifle bowl and top with half the curd.  Top the curd with half the whipped cream and place half the cherries on top being sure to get some close to the edge as to be visible thru the trifle bowl.  Repeat with remaining ingredients and garnish top with remaining cherries.  Cover with plastic wrap and place in fridge for up to 2 hrs before serving.  Delish.

    For the curd, KAF just posted a rather timely and awesome microwave version.  Here goes:

    1 C freshly-squeezed lemon juice 
    1 C sugar
    1 stick butter, melted
    2 large eggs
    1/4 C cream, optional

    In an 8 C bowl, place all ingredients except cream and whisk together.  For more lemon flavor add 1 T of grated zest.  For even more lemon flavor, place zest and sugar in a food processor and whiz about until sugar is yellow and the zest has all but disappeared.  My work bowl was dirty so I didn't bother but also I liked how the tiny flecks of zest looked in the curd.  Microwave lemon mixture 1 minute at a time stirring between each 1 minute increment; this may take 4-10 min depending on your microwave.  Cook until curd coats the back of a spoon and begins to mound in the middle of your work bowl.  Add cream if desired and stir one last time then refrigerate until firm.  The cream is unnecessary but was a recommendation from Cooks Illus. and it mellows the curd just a smidge and makes it taste even more delicious.  Will keep in the fridge for 2 wks.  Except that you will use it all for this recipe and then you'll find yourself running your finger around the edge of the bowl to get any remnants because it tastes so darned good.  I love you, KAF.