Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Fondue and Finger Food

For my last night in Phoenix, several friends came over and we had a girls' night filled with Rock Band, trying on clothes, and of course delicious food. We wanted to try fondue because I in fact own a fondue pot, but realizing that we did not have the gel fuel for said pot chose to cook it in a good 'ol saucepan for the same results. I googled fondue recipes and found this cheese fondue
and this chocolate one. For cheese dipping items, we toasted bread with garlic, and laid it on a plate with crackers and pretzels. For the chocolate, we had bananas and the pretzels as well. We struggled with the cheese a little, as it separated because we cooked it too long, but with caution you will have yourself an excellent party menu.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Thai Kabocha Bisque

A sunny Sunday in December - good day to hit up an Asian market for the makings of this brightly flavored, colorful soup. (Especially since my co-bloggers are home with our mom being pampered, and I'm not there yet - time to spoil myself and some friends.)

I followed the (fantastic) recipe reasonably closely, though I do I recommend larger quantities of a lot of the key ingredients to really amp up the sunny flavor. (I also recommend skipping the heavy cream.)

2 kabocha squash

Group one:
2 tsp minced garlic
1 TB minced ginger
1 tsp grated galangal
Innards of 1 stalk lemongrass, minced & crushed
2 finely diced shallots

Group two:
2 handfuls of Thai basil leaves & one of cilantro leaves
2.5 TB red Thai curry paste
2 tsp sweet curry powder
1 cup water

Group three:
2 cans coconut milk
2 quarts stock
4 TB date sugar (I didn't have this & used brown)

Group four:
2 tsp fish sauce (you can get vegetarian fish sauce at Asian markets)
Juice of 6 key limes or 2-3 regular limes (maybe more)

Start by roasting the squash. Halve & seed them, then brush both sides (skin too) with oil and sprinkle with salt. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until totally soft.

For soup broth, start by sweating Group One ingredients in a little oil for a few minutes. Then add Group Two ingredients and mix to dissolve curries. Add Group Three ingredients, bring to a boil, reduce heat & simmer for 20 minutes. Then add the squash (peeled, of course) and simmer for another 15. When soup had simmered long enough to blend flavors, add Group Four. Then adjust the overall flavor - it should be bright and tangy, with, as the original recipe says, a sweet-hot-salty-sour balance. (Adding sugar, curry, fish sauce, and lime respectively will balance these).

Finally, blend the soup.... never have I so sorely yearned for an IMMERSION BLENDER. I didn't bother straining out the little bits of leaves and lemongrass - they looked nice and weren't bothersome when eating.

This was my favorite new thing I've made in a long time - I just wanted to keep tasting it even after I'd had two bowls. The original plan was to whip up some pad thai or something as well, but the soup felt sufficient all by itself. (Read: I planned poorly and ran out of time! Still happy with dinner, though.)

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Kicking off Christmas: Stromboli

My roommates and I had ourselves a little Christmas party, so of course good eats were essential. We chose this recipe for Stromboli from Roomie #1 and her family and it was heavenly. It keeps in the fridge for a few days, but make sure to put it in the microwave to maintain the delicious melty middle. Perfect for Christmas parties, Christmas morning or with some good friends and a cup of hot chocolate.
In a bread machine, place:
1 1/2 t. yeast
3 cups flour
1/2 t. salt
1 1/2 eggs
3 T. sugar
3/8 cup (not oz) cream cheese
3/4 cup milk
Start bread machine.
For filling, mix together:
8 oz. cream cheese
1 cup powdered sugar
Roll out dough into a rectangle on a floured surface. Spread cream cheese down the middle third. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup chocolate chips. Fold edges to the middle and ends up. Flip onto greased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 to 30 minutes. Call Mom and tell her how great it is.
The last line is my favorite. Either share with your mom, or call her and tell her Merry Christmas. :)

Ooey Gooey S'mores Cake

For my friend J's 21st birthday, a few of us made her this fabulous s'mores cake from Annie at Annie's Eats. It uses graham cracker crumbs as flour quite successfully. Annie discussed having problems with the fluff tearing up the cake when she spread it, but we just heated the fluff up right in the jar (made of glass, not plastic, Katie :) ) and that helped significantly. Beyond that, we made no changes, so THE END.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Simple Chinese Eggplant

Years ago when I was just learning to cook, I came home from college and grandly announced that I would be making dinner. I then quizzed everyone about their preferences and set off to the store, considering and rejecting numerous possibilities before I settled on Eggplant Parmesan. I got home and was just laying out ingredients when Katelyn came upstairs, took one look, and said "What are you doing? The ONLY thing I asked you not to cook was eggplant!"


Anyway, fast forward a few years. Katelyn has happily learned to enjoy eggplant, and I thought I'd welcome her back to cold weather with a nice Chinese hotpot - always good for emptying out the veggie drawer.

Begin by peeling and cubing a large eggplant. Salt it heavily to draw out the liquid, and let it drain for about an hour in a colander so the water can escape. Then rinse off the salt and squeeze and pat dry. I added carrot strips, asparagus, and kale, but nearly any veggies could play a supporting role here.

Mix up the following in a glass bowl - I didn't measure anything so just taste:
Sesame oil
Soy sauce
Vinegar (I had some white vinegar flavored with lemongrass)

Toss the veggies and sauce in a covered corningware dish - I wanted to use my clay pot, but it's only big enough for one portion - with a generous portion of sesame seeds and some sliced canned lemongrass if you've got it. Bake at 400 degrees for 1/2 hour to an hour, until eggplant is soft and silky. Serve over a nutty red or brown rice.

(I'm hoping I've redeemed myself for the Eggplant Parmesan...)

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Biscuits (without gluten!)

My computer just pasted one copied paragraph so many times that my 20 page paper magically became 1,136 pages.

While I wait for it to undo that, I thought I'd share these amazing gluten free biscuits I made tonight. I've been making poor P fend for himself or cook dinner, so we've haven't been eating many vegetables.

Right, so to remedy that I made biscuits. [Ok, they did accompany large bowls of balsamic-roasted veggies.] And they were incredible, light, warm, buttery, everything a biscuit should be, with or without gluten. These were--you guessed it--without. I'd recommend these for breakfast, for your afternoon tea snack, with salad or soup, or as part of a good 'ol southern dinner.

Combine 3/4 cup brown rice flour, 1 cup cornstarch, and 1/2 cup gluten free pancake or baking mix. Add 1 tsp. salt, 1 tsp. xanthan gum, 1 tsp baking powder, and 3/4 tsp baking soda. Mix thoroughly.

Cut in 4 tblsp butter.

Add 3/4 cup milk, 3/4 cup water, 1 scant tblsp apple cider vinegar, and 1 beaten egg.

Bake at 350 on parchment paper for 15-18 minutes. When the biscuits look like they are begging for honey, remove.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Maple Cream Custard in an Almond Meal Crust

Mapley cream paired with a thick, buttery, almondy crust, this is one to make for breakfast on Christmas morning, or maybe to save until deep in February when nothing sounds good to eat at all.

Sadly, it's not really my own creation. This rustic tart is a combination of the geniuses of Deb at Smitten Kitchen and Karina at Karina's Kitchen. I've replicated the recipes below because melding the two involved a bit of trickery due to a fast-baking crust and a slow-baking custard.

Make a maple syrup reduction using 3/4 cup of syrup. No need to overdo, just simmer for 7 minutes or so.

Stir in 2 and 3/4 cup of heavy cream.

Whisk in 4 egg yolks and 1 egg. Whisk thoroughly, and add 1 tsp nutmeg and 1/4 tsp sea salt.

Pour into a greased pie pan and bake for 30 minutes at 350.

Meanwhile, mix 2 heaping cups almond meal, 2/3 cup brown sugar, 1/2 cup melted butter, and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla. Press into a greased pie pan. Don't try to flute the edges -- this will be a rustic tart, my friend, not a grandma's blue ribbon pie.

Transfer the custard to the crust and bake for another twenty minutes.

Let the tart (pie?) set up overnight in a refrigerator.

The custard was a bit grainy, disrupted by the transfer into its crust. My grandmother suggested giving the custard a water bath in both steps, so you may try that. You could also try to cover the edges of your crust, but that never seems to work for me. Really though, so long as you give it enough time to set, it was pretty attractive. A sprinkling of turbinado sugar might make the craggy surface look as rich as it deserves to look.

Warm Apple Cider Vinaigrette with Torn Spinach & Roasted Pepitas

This salad and dressing has received rave reviews from palates sophisticated and simple alike. The amounts here will dress a salad as a side for eight or ten.

1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup olive oil
Apple cider to taste
Dry mustard (1 to 2 teaspoons, for me)
Sea salt to taste

Pair with torn spinach and pepitas that have been slow-roasted with a bit of sea salt and olive oil.

Shake, toss, and eat.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Love Your Spices

One week ago, my kitchen was the site of a near-fire. Near-fire, I write, meaning for you to imagine intense smoke and damage, without the flames. No paltry case of a little smoke that could be waved through with an open door, this was quite the event and required a professional fire response team, fancy ozone-ing equipment, a possible re-paint job, and industrial dry cleaners.

It also required that all spices, oils, vinegars, flours, sugars, teas, coffees, and general foodstuffs be thrown away. (In addition to vitamins, medicines, cosmetics, and toiletries, but that is inconsequential in light of...the foodstuffs.)

I did cry. I cried for me, but I also cried for my spices. In my sleep, I cried to P about how my spices didn't get to fulfill their potential to be a part of cakes and cookies and curries and hot chocolates and thanksgiving pie. No, I sobbed, they just ended up as trash. Apparently, spices have feelings.

Luckily, this story has a happy ending. P and I are both smarter now, and can tell you that aluminum and protein are the two worst things to burn. We also know how loved we are, having woken up one morning to an email list of tons of spices my mother is having delivered to our door, and then having the joy of going to a fancy grocery store and having my father and stepmother replace all of our flours, oils, vinegars, and sweeteners. Generosity has come from our friends, in the form of hugs and nice words and even some monetary help.

So, tonight P will be cooking, and not cooking beans. He's making homemade pesto to redeem himself and in an effort to convince me to allow him to guest post on the blog. I also made a delicious sweet potatoe and spinach gratin at P's parents house where we stayed while our place was sealed off, and that'll be up soon.

The lessons? Turn off your stove when you leave your house, don't cook in aluminum pans, and remember to love your spices.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Young Buck Stew

On Wednesday, my young buck and I had a rare weekday home together, so we, er, made young buck stew. Antelope stew, that is, inspired by Paula Deen's recipe for old-time beef stew. My variations were slight but possibly significant, so here they are:

1) Brown 3 lbs. of pronghorn stew meat in 3 tablespoons of heated olive oil.*
2) Add 2 medium onions, thinly sliced, and 3 cloves of garlic, whole.
3) Puree using your IMMERSION BLENDER...oh wait, not really. But I do love my IMMERSION BLENDER.
The real 3) Add 4 cups of water.
4) Add 5 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, 2 bay leaves, 2 teaspoons sugar, 2 teaspoons salt, 2 teaspoons paprika, 1 teaspoon allspice, and lots of pepper to taste.
5) Simmer for several hours.
6) Add 6 chopped carrots and 3 chopped ribs of celery. Simmer for another hour or two.
7) Remove bay leaves and enjoy! Paula suggests thickening but I suggest not thickening. Now you have to choose.

*P wants me to remind my readers that the first two steps are actually to:
1) catch your own antelope; and
2) butcher your own antelope.

An alternate is to:
3) Make friends with people who will do the first two steps for you. (That's us!)

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Savory Butternut Risotto

My sister and I clearly think alike (see the post below). Here's another butternut risotto recipe for those who have a fear of pomegranates, developed in childhood. *Cough, *cough, P. Or for the more normal folks who may be looking for something that is more savory than sweet. The recipe below would serve 10 comfortably, so adjust the amounts as necessary.

Before you start, roast and cube two butternut squashes, and dress with a bit of sage, olive oil, and sea salt. Alternately, you could try to find pre-cubed squash at a fancy grocery store and steam it (Sorry to those without access to fancy grocery stores.)

Also before starting, roast a good portion of pepitas with salt and olive oil. These will serve as a salty crunchy topping to contrast to the creamy squashy risotto. I stuck mine in the oven at 350 for about 7 minutes, they roast quickly!

Saute 3 thinly sliced shallots and 4 minced garlic cloves in olive oil. Add 3 cups of arborio rice, and saute until transclucent. Cup by cup, alternate adding water and dry sherry, stirring until rice absorbs liquid before adding more. (I think that is Sarah's basic recipe, but for those who are too lazy to chase an old post, I've recapitulated here. Give all credit to her, though.)

Add in sage, salt, and pepper to taste as you stir. When the rice is almost at absorptive capacity, stir in the squash cubes, smashing slightly. Then, stir in 2/3 cup of thinly sliced parmesan, and add more sage, pepper, or salt if needed. Top with handfuls of roasted pepitas.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Butternut Risotto with Pomegranate

Nothing complicated, but man, this turned out velvety and comforting and not at all bland.

Before starting the risotto, cube a butternut squash into 1-inch cubes. Bake with butter at 400 until completely soft (this took about the same amount of time as making the risotto).

Start with this risotto recipe, using port instead of sherry. Once it's finished, toss in the butternut cubes and the seeds of a large pomegranate. Add a few tablespoons of apple cider and salt to taste.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

P's Pumpkin PureƩ

Although I am slowly starting to think about winter flavors (gingersnap and pepperment anyone?), this pumpkin soup is enough to keep me in fall forever. That, and the fact that it is still 93 degrees out and even for me peppermint feels a bit strange.

This is P's recipe, actually from Martha Stewart Living. We're hoping the change in number of shiitake mushrooms and garlic cloves means we can't be sued for copyright infringement. It would also work well using a squash.

Roast a sugar pumpkin, one that weights about 2 and 3/4 lbs, on a baking sheet with 2 cloves of garlic, 1 onion, and 6 shiitake mushrooms. Toss in 1/2 cup of olive oil and some sea salt before putting in the oven.

After roasting, move your veggies to a soup pot. With heat on medium, pour in 2 cups of vegetable broth (I was thinking this would have been good to make with wine and water, instead of broth). Use your IMMERSION BLENDER to puree the soup. As you slowly blend using the IMMERSION BLENDER, pour in another 3 cups of brothy. Simmer, and add salt and pepper to taste. P did sneak in a bit o' curry that packed a nice little punch -- I'd recommend, but I can't vouch for Martha.

Green Smoothie

Looking at this blog, one might think I only eat cookies and cheese. While those are obviously major food groups, I do, in fact, eat vegetables. In fact, I eat 2-3 cups of spinach every morning for breakfast. Blended into a delicious smoothie using my IMMERSION BLENDER, of course. And yes, I am always going to type that in caps.

2-3 cups steamed spinach (steaming your spinach helps with calcium absorption)
1 frozen banana
2/3 cup milk
2 tablespoons flax seed
optional: applesauce

Blend away & enjoy.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Hermit Thursday Cookies

Actually, today I cooked a gross broccoli dish with too much raw garlic that I'm not going to tell you about. How about these Hermit Thursday cookies instead? These are adapted--ok, completely changed--from the hermit cookie recipe on 101 cookbooks, and I made them on Thursday. On Thursday, I am alone all day, and bake to combat my growing anxiety over school. Not to combat my never ending desire for sweet treats. Right. :D

Gluten free cookies were elusive for a long time, and I have finally developed a gut instinct about what their batter should be like. Normally, it involves using about 1/2 cup of coconut flour and adding applesauce at the end until things get sticky.

Mix the dry ingredients:

1 cup brown rice flour
1/2 cup coconut flour
1/2 teaspoon xantham gum
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon fine grain salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground allspice

Mix the wet ingredients. Start by creaming butter and sugar and then adding egg & vanilla.

1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 cup natural cane sugar--I rarely follow Heidi's suggestions about sugar, but I did this time and the flaky-ness was definitely value-added
1 large egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup milk

Mix wet & dry ingredients together. Add in the following, or some variation upon the following (Heidi uses currants and walnuts).

1/2 cup dried cranberries, diced
1/2 cup uncrystallized dried ginger, diced
1/2 cup almonds, chopped & crushed (I use the handle end of my knife sharpener to crush almonds. It works!)

If your dough is dry (mine was) add, applesauce until sticky (about 2/3 cup for me this time). Refrigerate dough.

In the meantime, make your frosting. Here's Heidi's version, I actually had to make a bit more:

1 cup organic powdered sugar, sifted
4 - 5 tablespoons heavy cream
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

After 30 minutes of cookie-chillin', preheat your oven to 350. I cooked these on a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Don't smoosh gluten free cookies down; they have a hard time stayin' plump as it is. Bake until they are ready to be taken out -- err on the side of golden, because coconut flour tends to absorb moisture more than you would like once out. Frost when cooled. Or immediately.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Apple Cider Doughnuts

Although I've never actually lived anywhere where a person follows up the fall's last apple-picking outing with a cup of steaming coffee and a sugary, fortifying apple cider doughnut for dunking, I've fantasized. Hell, I've never even lived anywhere where the leaves change. But, that doesn't mean I don't deserve an apple cider doughnut, right? Right.

After the success of these apple cider doughnut (holes) and this summer's old-fashioned doughnut (holes), I need to get a doughnut cutter. Feel free to make actual doughnuts, rather than holes, with these recipes. They are much more attractive to serve, and, well, better for the portion control. ;)

Before I give you the recipe, thanks to Deb at Smitten Kitchen for inspiration on making a reduction out of apple cider and for the tip on the apple cider glaze , and again thank the ladies at the Baking Beauties for giving me a basic dough to follow. Finally, this blog gave me some other ideas. My recipe is a play on all three recipes.

First, make an apple cider reduction. I used four cups of apple cider and boiled/simmered it down to 1/2 cup in about 35 minutes. I suggest taking extra time to reduce 5 cups to 1/2 cup, the flavor would be better.

Put in the fridge to cool. Next, mix these dry ingredients:

2 cups brown rice flour
*(I had to add more after mixing with wet ingredients. If your dough is too sticky to form into balls, add more)
3/4 cup potato starch
1/4 cup tapioca starch
1/4 cup white sugar (wish I had tried brown)
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. xantham gum
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg

Set aside. Beat together the wet ingredients:

1 egg
1/2 cup apple cider syrup from reduction
1 cup buttermilk (I make my own using 1 tablespoon of vinegar + milk to equal 1 cup)
2 tblsp of butter, melted

Mix all ingredients together. Add more flour if it is too sticky. I also let mine sit in the freezer for about 20 minutes, but if you are just going to use the 'ol scoop & roll to make doughnut holes, rather than cutting doughnuts this isn't really necessary.

While the dough gets its stickiness on in the freezer, mix 2 cups of powdered sugar with 4 tablespoons of apple cider. ALso, mix a whole bunch of sugar and cinnamon. That's right, these are glazed AND sugared.

Now, for the frying. I am ashamed to admit that I had to use SHORTENING and COCONUT OIL to fry these because I had nothing else on hand. Last time, I used canola oil + olive oil. Using a heat controlled electric griddle, I heated the oil to 350, about 3-5 inches deep. Start rolling small dough balls in your hands and dropping in. Turn every 30 seconds or so until deep golden brown. Set on a paper towel to control the grease, then lightly glaze and toss in sugar and cinnamon mixture.

ENJOY! This made about 30 or so doughnut holes? They are best the first day, so please share with friends.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Shrimp Quesadillas with a Creamy Peachy Avocado Dipping Sauce

In a heraculean effort, I tried to move away from obsession with the fall flavor palate and make some food that actually fits the weather this week. Ok, one day of this week. The result was stellar, and features an exciting NEW kitchen appliance!

To make these quesadillas, you will need sharp white cheddar or gruyere, some shrimpies, white corn tortillas, peach salsa, plain yogurt, an avocado, and a yellow onion. Since I share this blog with my sissies, neither of whom will eat a shrimp, let me also suggest brussel sprouts (!) or some good ol' chicken in place of the crustaceans. Are shrimp crustaceans? I digress. Let's hope those kind folks at the National SCIENCE Foundation who are funding my education don't read this blog.

Caramelize the onions in a little olive oil and salt. Add pre-cooked shrimp towards the end. In the meantime, place 1/2 an avocado, some peach salsa, and some plain yogurt into the mixing cup of your brand-spankin'-new-couldn't-afford-it-but-bought-it IMMERSION BLENDER! Zomg. Everyone should own one of these. If you are already an owner, proceed by blending these yummo ingredients into a dipping sauce. If not, well, as recently as Sunday I would have thought mashing this with a fork was acceptable. Feel free to proceed that way too. :D But think about saving up for this. I got a red Kitchenaid one for $49...pricey but I have used it 3 times in 24 hours.

Place as many tortillas as you want on a baking sheet; set your oven to a low broil. Shred the cheese onto the tortillas, add the shrimpies and their onion compadres, grate more cheese, and top with a another tortilla. Broil until ready & serve with dipping sauce. This dip is also an excellent salad dressing -- I paired the whole meal with a massaged spinach & corn simple salad that paired well with the sauce.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

French Onion Cider Soup

Apples, onions, butter, cider, wine, broth, salt, pepper, crusty bread, gruyere. French Onion Cider Soup suitable for fancy guests or the most deserving guest of all, yourself. Marilyn at Simmer 'Till Done may once have been a pastry chef, but after this dish, she'll just be the goddess of good soup.

Guest Post: Potato/Kale/Butternut Mash

My life has had a lot more "Today I Didn't Cook" days than "Today I Cooked Days" lately - something I hope to remedy soon. But in the meantime, here's an email I just got from a friend in northern England:

"Oh my god, I just made this thing that I think you would really like (except I used bacon--but I'm sure you can find a way to make it without bacon but something else kind of salty & delicious). It was to use up the kale & the butternut squash in the vegbox.

Basically I mashed some potatoes, and stirred in some kale that I'd sauteed with onion, garlic & sage, and some chunks of cooked butternut squash, and some bacon. And some pepper & salt.

It's AMAZING!!! I'm in love with it. Maybe because I'm so hungry."

She notes that by "bacon," she means what the Brits call "back bacon" (known on this side of the pond as Canadian bacon), with the fat trimmed off.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Yummy Steak Rub, Fried Potaters and Chocolate Pomegranate Clusters

The boyfriend (M) is in town, and for our date night we decided to cook a not entirely healthful, but delicious, meal together. Here was the result.

1) M bought us two small steaks and invented his own steak rub to grill them. It involved worcestershire sauce, fresh oregano, chopped garlic, bay leaves, and a seasoning salt that contained black pepper, salt, onion powder, garlic powder and celery seeds to taste.

2) We then chopped up some potatoes into small, thin rounds and fried them in a frying pan with olive oil. Roomie 1 and I just bought some herb plants, so fresh rosemary was also added, along with the seasoning salt described above and salt and pepper to taste.

3) Since I know by now my sisters are quite concerned for my heart, it's ironic that the dessert was most likely the healthiest part of this meal. I bought pomegranates for fun today, and after reading through several dessert recipes online discovered that it pairs well with chocolate. I melted some dark chocolate chips in a saucepan, then transferred it to a bowl. Here I mixed in the pomegranate arils. The mixture clumped quite nicely, so I placed parchment paper on a baking sheet and used a fork to transfer the clusters to it. I then placed them in the freezer until the chocolate hardened. The pomegranate was a juicy surprise nestled within the bittersweet chocolate.

This meat-and-potatoes kinda gal was quite content with the combination of this meal, her boyfriend, Jack Johnson, fireworks from the football game and her balcony on a Phoenix October night.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Banana Chocolate Chip Oat Cookies

Adapted from Karina's Banana Cookie recipe. I changed the flours used and added liquid to make a softer, fluffier cookie (she says hers is crisp on the outside, so if you prefer that to a moist & chewy cookie, go for hers). I hate nuts in cookies, so I subbed for chocolate! :D These are obviously gluten free, and could easily be made vegan by substituting soy or almond milk for the 2 tablespoons of regular milk, using egg replacers instead of eggs, and opting out of the chocolate chips or finding a vegan version of those, as well.

Stir together:

1/2 cup of olive oil
2 tablespoons milk (if you are making these vegan, almond or soy would be fine)
2 eggs
2 bananas, previously mashed into a puree (I defrosted 2 overripe frozen bananas, they were easy to mash with a fork)
1/2 - 2/3 cup of applesauce, depending on how moist you want your cookies to be!

Add 1 cup of gluten free oats, set aside to soften.

In a seperate bowl, whisk together:

1 1/3 cup of brown rice flour
2/3 cup of coconut flour
1/3 cup of tapioca starch
1 teaspoon xantham gum
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 cups of brown sugar
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2/3 cup of chocolate chips (could use vegan version if you wish)

Slowly mix wet and dry ingredients; chill dough for 1 hour.

Before the hour is up, preheat oven to 375.

Bake on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. I made big cookies, and still got 30 or so! Cook for about 20 minutes, then enjoy with some hot tea.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Carrots and Corn and Lentils Oh My!

P and I spent last Sunday in Flagstaff, enjoying homey lunch places with exposed brick walls, pumpkin patches, beautiful canyons with Hopi cave dwellings, and oh yes Reeses peanut butter cup blizzards and Sunday football on a car radio.

Edit that. P tried to enjoy those things while I cried -- yes, in public -- on and off for Laramie. (Also a town that embraces homey lunch places, exposed brick walls, and chilly fall days. Plus I ate a lot of ice cream there.)

Needless to say, I needed some bolstering upon my return to Phoenix. So, while P went out on a run that led to him coming down with a violent flu, I innocently cooked red lentils in the rice cooker, steaming carrots and garlic in my handy-dandy steamer bowl thing that sits on top of the rice cooker, and went grocery shopping.

This worked SO well and was SO easy. I used 1 cup of lentils and 2 cups of water, but added a bit of water towards the end. On top I steamed about 5 carrots, chopped, and 5 cloves of garlic. At the store, I bought a box of some "natural" brand's creamed corn soup. Back home, I simmered the soup, added the lentils, carrots, and garlic, and stirred in several healthy teaspoons of curry powder and a pinch of sea salt.

The perfect quick, warm, ultra nutritious soup. Especially perfect if you are coming off a long day of sadness and headed into a long night of watching someone else have the stomach flu. I think the nutrients in this soup may have saved me from getting sick. That or the flu shot. Wash your hands, get your flu shot, and eat well people!!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

...Caramel Apple Shortbread Crisp, or The Best Thing Since Apple Pie

Or maybe you don't have to wait that long. :)

This apple crisp is inspired and modified from this recipe from the New York times.

To start, the apples:

Chop up god-knows-how-many-freakin-apples (and yes, that is our technical term) into to super thin slices-enough to fill a wok to the brim. These will eventually release about a third of their volume. Put them in the wok over medium heat. Gradually add 2 cups of sugar as you cook, and add two tablespoons of butter when the apples begin to release their juices. Turn upon occasion, and cook until transparent and caramelized.

While cooking:
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees, and coat a ten-inch square pan with butter.

The crust:
We crumbled store-bought gluten-free pecan shortbread cookies into a bowl. While I'm sure glutinous cookies would also do the trick, the gf ones seemed to crumble like magic. We then added brown sugar (small amounts) and butter. K showed me her expertise on making a coffee-cake like topping: Cut a half cup of butter into the sugar/shortbread, then break with hands into pea-sized amounts. "Toss" with sugar/shortbread and cut with flour until crumbly. Put in fridge until apples are finished.

To finish:
When apples are finished place into pan with crumble on top (and on bottom, too, if you like). Place in oven until top is browned, add cinnamon if desired. The result? Prepare your sweet tooth for a christmasy, crumbly taste meant to be shared with favorites. :)

Quinoa Cakes, Refried Roasted Squash and Canneli Beans, and an Apple Shortbread Crisp

Armed with hard cider and country music, I invited two favorites into my kitchen for some cooking remniscent of home on the windy range. We shared our evening with cakes of corn stuffed quinoa popping on the skillet, squash roasting in the oven, clicking keyboards on laptops, and oh-you-better-believe-it plans for an apple shortbread crip.

We were inspired to make the quinoa cakes from this menu at Herivoracious. I used more quinoa than he called for, and added 1/2 can of sweet corn kernels to the "dough". One of my partners in cooking is a genius of all types, but particuarly of the spice type. Because of her our cakes made space for the flavah of paprika, chili powder, sage, and salt. There was some basic veggie roastin', but the other highlight was really a roasted-creamed butternut squash with canneli beans that we tenderized with rubbed sage, butter, sea salt, and some soft swiss.

The apple shortbread crisp, well, for that you'll have to wait awhile.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Antelope Steaks, Roasted Squash with Corn Pudding, and Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

We had some of our favorite people over for dinner last night, and decided to break out the first of the antelope from P's successful hunt two weekends ago. The first game meat of the year clamors for a proper seasonal pairing, so I roasted acorn squash halves and filled them with corn pudding, following this recipe from 101 cookbooks.

The squash was delicious, but next time I would use fewer egg whites and add some polenta to the pudding recipe. The antelope, though, was tender and juicy, tasted like the best Wyoming has to offer. For those of you who need some helping dealing with game, here are our suggestions:

1) Shoot a young guy (or girl). They taste better. Especially if they are fat. I also believe they taste better if they are from Wyoming.
2) Marinade the steaks in soy sauce and some type of oil, and rub with salt and pepper.
3) Ok, I admit that's all I know. The rest involved fire, a charcoal grill, and a vigiliant eye (game meat overcooks easily because it is so lean). P had plenty of help from his niece and nephew, so I stayed out of the way.

What's that? You don't want to talk about hunting on National Vegetarian Day? How about pumpkin chocolate chip cookies, then? I am trying to use up a surplus of gluten free mixes, so I pulled a Bob's Red Mill Chocolate Chip Cookie mix out for the kids. While I love Bob's Red Mill in general, this particular mix always makes for a dry cookie. To fix that, I added in applesauce and coconut flour, mixing until it was nice and sticky like a proper cookie batter. Then, I added pumpkin pie spices. The result was a lovely plate full of very soft and chewy cookies.

The lessons? No one has to eat dry cookies, antelope is yummy, and it's all better with friends.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Roasted Corn and Tomato Risotto with Sharp White Cheddar

Fresh roasted corn kernels and tomatoes on the vine are my concession to 105 degree weather at the very end of September. They aren't pretending to be butternut squash, but not trying to be baby leafy greens and raspberries, either. When you add them to a pot of arborio rice that you've coaxed into becoming risotto using white wine and sharp white cheddar cheese, they manage to be comforting and hopeful all at once. And on top of having the right attitude, they're scrumptious.

To make:

1) Preheat your oven to 425.

2) Start heating a good portion of olive oil over medium heat in a soup pan.

3) Dice green onions and garlic, add to the soup pan.

4) Add arborio rice (or brown rice for the whole grain conscious) to the pot. I use 2 cups and make a hefty pot so we can have leftovers for a few days worth of lunches.

5) Saute onions, rice, and garlic for just a few minutes until translucent. Be careful not to brown!

6) Add liquid by the 1/2 cup, stirring each time until absorbed before adding more. I alternate water and white wine, or broth, water, and white wine.

7) Between stirs and pours, begin chopping vine tomatoes -- 6 or so will do. Put in oven on a roasting pan, drizzled with a bit more olive oil and sea salt.

8) Continue adding liquid and stirring until absorbed until the rice can absorb no more heat. Turn to low heat.

9) Add tomatoes and juice from oven. Also add 1 15 oz. can of corn kernels, well rinsed (or freshly roasted if you are ambitious!).

10) Stir risotto with corn and tomatoes and add a good 1/2 or 2/3 cup of grated sharp white cheddar cheese. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Arugula Salad with Cantaloupe

This is a full-on rip-off of a salad I had for lunch at Gaia Bistro in Denver earlier today (yesterday? I'm posting dorkily late here!), but it was sooo good I want to be sure not to forget to make it sometime.

Arugula, diced cantaloupe, mild goat cheese, thinly sliced red onion, chopped artichoke hearts

A slightly salty, light-on-the-vinegar honey balsamic.

I think this would be good with some pepitas thrown in. (But then, I think that about most salads.) I also think I'll use white balsamic or maybe champagne vinegar in the vinaigrette when I do it. Ordinarily I don't much like red onion, but it was an awesome contrast to the cantaloupe. Least important ingredient: the artichokes.

UPDATE (9/20/09):
I made this for my book club tonight with the following variations, to positive reviews:

Watercress, red leaf lettuce, diced cantaloupe, crumbled goat cheese, dehydrated onions

sea salt, white balsamic, olive oil

Keep the dressing minimal as the onions and goat cheese are already a strong flavor counterpoint to the sweet cantaloupe and spicy watercress.

Chipotle Pumpkin Lima Soup

If you have a cold, or just need some warming, make this soup now. It is spicy and smoky and buttery all at once.

The original recipe for this soup comes from Super Natural Cooking, but I found it posted here by Heidi at 101 Cookbooks. I've adapted it slightly, including my favorite little gord, pumpkin, leaving in the softened garlic, and changing some amounts. If you aren't into pumpkin, you could use chunks of slightly roasted butternut squash. And if you love the original simplicity of a brothy soup with 5 ingredients (excluding water), then follow Heidi's suggestions instead of mine.

1 pound dried baby limas (don't use canned for soups...they get too mushy)
1 whole head garlic
14 cups of water
2 yellow onions
Chipotle peppers canned in adobo sauce
Sea salt
2/3 cup pumpkin puree (be careful -- I almost bought the pumpkin pie puree, what a disaster that would be)
OR 1 cup of roasted chunks of butternut squash

Soak 1 pound of baby limas for a few hours. Rinse. Throw in a pot with 10 cups of water and an entire head of garlic. Don't peel the garlic, just slice the top off and strip away the loosest layers. Simmer this until the beans are ready.

Meanwhile thinly slice 2 yellow onions and heat a good amount of olive oil in a skillet (I used 4 tablespoons, and added some in later, too). Cook on high, then stir with 3 chipotle peppers that have been canned with adobo sauce. Add 3-4 teaspoons of adobo sauce. Toss this into the broth and add 3 teaspoons of sea salt.

Follow with 2/3 cup of pumpkin puree or 1 cup of slightly roasted chunks of butternut squash. Simmer for another half an hour. Remove the garlic head, but squeeze all of the soft garlic out into the soup.

Slurpy Spicy Noodles

My body is thrashed from week two of marathon training, P is hunting in my favorite Wyoming prairie, and I am working hard hard hard on being worthy of being paid to go to school. All of which means that lately I require serious nourishment. And who doesn't feel better after slurping hot, spicy, slippery asian noodles?

Rice stick noodles
Orange pepper (I go with one pepper and one bunch of green onions per person you are serving)
Green onions
Thai curry powder (or really any curry powder, or paste)
Red pepper flakes
Peanut oil or wok oil
Soy sauce (if you are gluten free and can't easily find gluten free soy sauce, you can just skip this)

Mince two or three cloves of garlic, and begin cooking on high heat in peanut oil. Add in thinly sliced orange pepper and green onions (slice both lengthwise). Dust the vegetables with the curry powder and a pinch of red pepper flakes. Put the noodles on to boil. Throw it all together, add more curry powder and a touch of soy sauce, and slurp happily away.

We also make this with snow peas and lime and crushed peanuts, and we might try it this week with thinly sliced pieces of antelope. Since I'll have 24 pounds of it on my hands upon P's return.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Cornbread Gratin with Sweet Potatoes and Summer Squash

Summer and Fall remain fused together here in the desert, and so for this delectable gratin I melded my seasonal vegetables, too. I find gluten free cornbread sours quickly (so strange -- any ideas on why?), so this is perfect for the last third of the pan.

Three yellow summer squash
Three medium sweet potatoes
1/3 pan of cornbread, torn into hunks and crumbs...probably 2 1/2 cups
Several cloves of garlic, minced
Olive oil
Fresh oregano (although dried will do)
Sea salt
Red pepper flakes, if you want some heat (I prefer all creamy mildness in this dish)

Slice summer squash and potatoes into thin rounds, unpeeled. Preheat oven to 400.

Toss sliced squash and sweet potatoes with lots o' olive oil, minced garlic, oregano, salt, and pepper if you prefer. Set aside.

Brown some butter in a frying pan. Add cornbread crumbs, wait until butter is absorbed, and remove.

Layer a baking pan with the dressed summer squash and sweet potatoes, and lots of crumbled feta. Top with cornbread. Bake for 30 minutes.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Penne San Tropez

P spent a year in Italy, and came home with a Penne San Tropez recipe from the women kind enough to expend their awesome culinary talents feeding American college kids.

Anyway, P makes the dish well, and now he makes it frequently because it is so amazing I have to have it at least every other week.

1 medium to large onion, finely minced
5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons butter
15 oz. canned crushed tomatoes
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup Swiss cheese
salt & pepper
1 lb. penne (we use Trader Joe's Brown Rice Penne)

Cook the onions in the olive oil and butter until they are tender. Add tomatoes, salt & pepper. Cook for 20-30 minutes over medium heat, then add the cream and toss with the pasta and the swiss cheese.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Creamy Stuffed Tomatoes

Playing on the toaster tomatoes posted earlier this month, tonight I cored and cleaned two tomatoes that I stuffed them with everything good and fat, alternating slices of avocado and feta. A squirt of lemon juice, a cap of buttered, crumbled cornbread leftover from earlier in the weekend, and they were ready for the broiler.

Orange Oat-Crusted Herb Chicken

Last night, a friend and I baked this delicious orange chicken. We used more of the coating than the recipe called for, went heavy on the marmalade and also added some orange peel. Then we served it over jasmine rice. The result was a lighter, sweeter and healthier version of chinese orange chicken. YUM!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Roasted Fall Vegetables with Spaghetti Squash and Refried Butter Beans

Although the weather is not even hinting towards fall in this inferno of a city, I've moved onto fall foods, starting with pumpkin oats on Saturday (certified gluten free of course -- now found at Safeway!), cornmeal arepas on Sunday, and now the ultimate roasted goodness with squash.

Tonight, I loosely followed the plan for these roasted veggies and butter beans from the goddess of all things non-gluten, Karina at Karina's Kitchen. I roasted brussel sprouts (not a fall vegetable I know, but they were green and cute), cauliflower, carrots, sweet onions, and garlic with balsamic vinegar, olive oil, sage and salt. Served over spaghetti squash with a side of melty and creamy refried butter beans, which were cooked with more sage and garlic, it was enough to make me believe I was enjoying a chilly Wyoming fall evening.

And pssstttt, don't tell, but I mashed some cream cheese into the beans to increase their creaminess. Highly recommended.

Orange-Sriracha Stir Fry with Beets and Yu Choy

At the farmer's market yesterday I became attracted to some yellow-flowered greens sold by a Hmong family at their booth. They were labeled "Yu Choy" and tasted bitter, similar to mustard greens. (Turns out they're related, and yu choy is none other than rapeseed). I took a bunch home and decided I'd stirfry them alongside some beets - bitter greens + sweet, mellow roots - in a spicy, citrusy sauce.

1. I started by making the stir-fry sauce, since things happen so quickly once you throw vegetables on a wok:

2 TBSP Sriracha sauce
juice of 2 oranges
red wine vinegar

2. Heated a tablespoon of sesame oil in the wok until nearly smoking, then tossed in:

2 large raw beets, sliced and cut into sticks
My bundle of yu choy, washed by soaking and chopped in half
Some diced fresh green beans
A can of rinsed chickpeas
several teaspoons each chopped garlic and ginger
the sauce

Don't let things get soft - turn off the heat as soon as the greens and beets darken a little in color, but while they're still crunchy.

3. Served over short-grained black rice, drizzled with a mixture of 1/2 coconut milk and 1/2 plain yogurt to balance out the heat. (The quantity of sriracha here would not be overwhelmingly hot for a lot of you, I'm sure, but I'm faint of heart. It made my nose run!)

Rustic Tomato Sauce with Peaches & White Beans

My portion of this blog so far might aptly be re-titled "Seven Million Ways to Eat Tomatoes and Peaches, Or, An Ode to Colorado Summer." The most recent iteration:

1. Chop a medium onion and slice up 6 cloves of garlic. Sweat these in a saucepan in just a little olive oil and a pinch of sugar.

2. Add the following:
6 sundried tomatoes, torn into chunks, and about 1 TBSP of their oil
10 or so small-to-medium, meaty summer tomatoes, chopped in large chunks
2 large juicy peaches, also chopped
Half a can of white beans for protein and texture (I used great northerns), drained and rinsed

3. Turn it all up to high and get 'er boiling - the tomatoes and peaches will produce plenty of liquid. I tasted at this point and the flavor was shockingly good already, so all I had to do next was...

4. Add a generous splash of good balsamic, a pinch more sugar, and salt to taste. Thicken with a teaspoon or two of corn starch (first dissolved in water, then added to the sauce).

I served this over farmer's market ravioli with corn on the cob. I <3 vegetables.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Olive Oil Muffins Adapted to be Nut and Gluten Free

After Annalise posted the olive oil muffin recipe from Giada de Laurentis at the Food Network this morning, I decided to make a batch I could eat, one that someone with a nut allergy could also eat. I've posted the new recipe because I changed quantities and added a few additional ingredients to support the new flours and the ommission of almonds.

The result is a subtly fragrant but sturdy muffin, a meant-to-be companion to butter and a cup of afternoon tea. Without the almonds, the powdered sugar just didn't seem right, so I left them bare.


1 3/4 cups all-purpose gluten free flour*
1/4 cup of coconut flour
3/4 tsp xantham gum, plus another additional teensy pinch
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup brown sugar
3 large eggs
1/4 cup applesauce
Zest of one whole lemon
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 big squeeze of fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons half and half
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Blend eggs, applesauce, zest, extra lemon juice, and brown sugar until fluffy. Slowly add in oil, vinegar, and half and half. Combine the remaining dry ingredients, and then mix into batter. Pour into lined muffin tins until brim and bake at 350 for 20 minutes. Makes 12 large muffins.

*A quick note on the gluten free all-purpose flour. I used Bob's Red Mill, which needs 3/4 tsp. xantham gum to every 1 cup. I now prefer the new Whole Foods brand gluten free flour, which doesn't required added xantham gum or guar gum. However, my wallet does not prefer that type, and Bob's Red Mill was on hand. And finally, I've found coconut flour in small quantities really helps any gluten-free baked good that needs to be fluffy or rise.

** A note on other changes. I always prefer brown sugar in baking, but you could stick to the original recipe. 4 eggs sounded like a lot, so I used 3 and added 1/4 cup of applesauce. The half and half substitution was only due to my lack of whole milk, so again you could return to the original recipe there...or use heavy cream...

Savory Peach Phyllo Pockets

Preface: I am not a baker. You want baking, look up Katelyn. (It's probably a safe bet that nearly every non-gluten-free baked item on here, save Annalise's muffins, is gonna be based on glorious phyllo dough). But I wanted to bring something desserty to a friend's barbecue this afternoon, so.... yes, I got the phyllo dough out of the freezer, with the thought of using up some peaches.

These little guys turned out oozy and full of peachy goodness, but not as sweet as your usual peach-pie-like concoction. They'd be good with cottage cheese or greek yogurt on the side, or perhaps some ricotta baked in, too.

1. Sautee 3/4 cup of finely chopped shallots* in a little olive oil until translucent. Add 1 Tbsp chopped ginger (if fresh - 2 Tbsp if it's the chopped-in-a-jar kind, which is what I used).

2. Add about 2 tsp each of cumin, coriander, and cinnamon, and 1 tsp of white pepper, plus salt to taste. Then add about a cup of brown sugar and a little water so it doesn't burn. Once the sugar is melted and everything's blended, pour over 6-8 chopped peaches. Taste to see how the spice balance is, as my quantities are really just wild guesses.

3. Make phyllo cups in cupcake pans. I ended up using one sheet of dough, torn into eighths, for each cup. Fill each with filling and pinch shut - I got 18 "pockets." Bake at 375 for 45 minutes.

*I actually used freeze-dried shallots, which are milder than fresh, and I used about a cup.

Old Fashioned Doughnuts...Gluten Free!

The ladies at The Baking Beauties should be hugged for this old-fashioned (and gluten free!!!!)cake doughnut recipe.

My dough did not behave well, likely due to the heat, so I made doughnut holes rather than fully formed doughnuts. The quantities here are massive. I would recommend halving, as the frying is a bit tiring even using an electric skillet. Use a high-heat oil to avoid smoking.

Lemon Chicken Pasta

Like I said, I'm a huge fan of lemon. This particular recipe has been a work in progress for quite awhile, and I think I finally perfected it this summer.

While boiling penne, season a chicken breast or two with lemon pepper, salt, lemon zest, rosemary and thyme (fresh if possible). Cook in a frying pan with lemon juice and water. Once water has boiled off, finish with a bit of olive oil to brown chicken. Toss with pasta and top off with the juice of 2-3 lemons and olive oil to taste. Warm the lemons in the microwave for about 5 seconds to get the most juice out of them. Add parmesan cheese if desired.

Olive Oil Muffins

This recipe from sounds a little strange, but literally makes the best muffins ever.

I am a huge fan of lemon, so I usually go a little more heavy on the lemon zest, but that's all. :)

Most of my posts will probably not involve my own creations, but oh well!

Tangy Peach Pie

After fighting to roll too-sticky gluten free dough in the height of a southwestern summer with an oven preheating to 450 degrees one too many times, I've temporarily switched to prepared crusts from natural food stores. Once it cools down, I will try and figure out a better, no-mix gluten free pie crust recipe.

Deb at Smitten Kitchen created this creme fraiche peach pie. Buttery and tangy cream and crumble hold together large slices of unskinned peaches, perfect for breakfast. The creme fraiche was intimidating, so I directly substituted plain whole fat greek yogurt. Also, because I just couldn't stop, I stuffed the pie full of peaches and peaches and peaches, probably 2 more than were called for.

Toaster Tomatoes

I've been making these for lunch or a snack almost every day recently. They were my mom's idea, and a good solution to summer tomato overdose (farmer's market, green-thumbed new neighbor, and the very occasional fruit of my own scrawny little plants...).

Hollow out a fresh tomato and stuff it with its own insides plus feta, a healthy dose of lemon juice, and chopped fresh dill and/or basil and/or chives (I like all three together, finely chopped to distribute the flavors), then bake in your toaster at its highest heat setting for 15 mins or so, until tender.

Cottage Cheese Muffins with Sun-Dried Tomatoes

This recipe for muffins formed around ground almonds, cottage cheese, and savory add-ins like basil, olive oil, and sun-dried tomatoes is wonderful. It came from Heidi at 101 Cookbooks, one of our favorite sites which we link to on the side of this page.

The recipe calls for 1/4 cup of flour. She suggested soy flour, I think I used brown rice flour. I wouldn't use a nut or bean flour since they already have a denser base with the nuts in them. If you aren't worried about gluten, an oat or whole wheat flour would be fine.

Also, I used almond meal, rather than ground almonds, because I had it on hand. The recipe calls for 1 cup of finely ground almonds, but if you are using almond meal I would recommend a heaping 3/4 cup or so rather than doing a 1-1 conversion.

I would guess that one muffin has between 12-15 grams of protein and very few grams of sugar, making for a good post-workout snack or protein fix for vegetarians.

Asparagus-Apricot Toasts

Toast baguette slices with goat cheese on top. Press thin, sauteed asparagus spears and chopped dried apricots into the cheese. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt.

Thai Squash Curry

Once, when Katelyn was a harried college student, we decided we should give her a month of dinners for Christmas. So we cooked up 5 or 6 different dishes (soups, curries, and such) and vacuum-sealed them in one-meal-size portions. I think this recipe, which came from, was hands-down the best. It's a sweet, hot, citrusey, coconut-based curry over mellow root vegetables.

Follow the link for the full recipe, but the basic ingredients are pumpkin, sweet potato, carrot, cherry tomatoes, and chickpeas (we left out the bell pepper) cooked with orange rind. The curry sauce has quite a lot of ingredients, but we usually miss one or two (e.g. vegetarian fish sauce) and it seems to turn out regardless. The prep time on this is pretty extensive what with all the peeling and chopping, but it's sooo worth it. Do try to find some tamarind paste at an Indian or Mexican grocer if you can.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Nut-Free Pesto

Finally hit on the perfect way to make pesto without nuts (yes, pine nuts are nuts for allergy purposes): Substitute pepitos.

Lemony Roasted Carrots with Avocado and Quinoa

Roast large pieces of carrots with a brushing of olive oil, cumin, sea salt, and white pepper. Toss with 1 cup of warm quinoa and chopped avocado. Dress with warmed goat cheese, or feta if you prefer, and tons of lemon juice. Add more cumin, salt, or pepper to taste.

Incredible (-y easy) Peanut Butter Cookies

Mix 1 egg, 1 cup of brown sugar, and 1 cup of peanut butter by hand. Bake at 350 for 13-18 minutes.

Yup, that's really it!

Sticky Rice Pudding

Cook 1 cup of brown rice or jasmine rice in 1 can of unsweetened coconut milk. As the rice cooks, slowly stirr in additional liquid (I used water) until it achieves a rice-pudding like consistency. (I did this in a rice cooker and used about 1 cup more water). Eat plain topped with mangos, or add cinnamon, nutmeg, raisins, and vanilla in whatever quantities taste good.

Crusty Pesto Polenta Pizza

I make this with a bean pesto tomato topping instead of a traditional sauce, because the polenta tends to be absorbent.

Preheat oven to 400. Mix 1 1/2 cups cornmeal with 1 1/2 cups water and some sea salt. Bring 1 1/2 cups of water to a boil and add the cornmeal mixture, cook until it is porridge-y. Add 1/2 cup of parmesan, or swiss. Pat into a 9 x 13 baking pan (buttered). Drizzle with olive oil & put in oven.

While that is baking, carmelize onions on stovetop. Then, mash 1 cup of any white beans with a fork. Add plenty of halved cherry tomatoes and pesto to taste.

After 30 minutes, pull crust from oven, spread with topping, carmelized onions or your roasted vegies of choice, and more cheese if it is Friday ;). Let it bake for 10-15 more minutes.

Cumin Dusted Beet and Cantaloupe Quinoa Salad

This is the one thing I have ever made that P didn't like. However, Sarah has requested it.

Quarter and roast 4 or 5 beets. While the beets are roasting, cook 1 cup of quinoa and chop 1/4-1/2 of a cantaloupe. Toss beets and cantaloupe with cumin and salt. Mix with cooked quinoa, chopped scallions, torn baby lettuce, and perhaps some slivered nuts. Add copious amounts of warmed goat cheese and lemon juice.

Adam's Moroccan Stew

All credit here goes to my friend Adam. He got it from the food network, but introduced certain variations that I like, so here's his version:

Sautee a large onion and 6-8 pressed garlic gloves in butter, then add 1 heaping teaspoon each of cinnamon, cumin, and paprika, plus 1/4 tsp of cayenne. Sautee these until aromatic, then add a can of diced tomatoes, 3 cans of chickpeas, a quart of broth, and a teaspoon of sugar. Simmer for 45 minutes then add spinach. Season with salt and pepper.

World's Easiest Appetizer

Spoon a little goat cheese onto the end of each leaf of a few good, crisp Belgian endives. Pretty and refreshing.

Pumpkin-Cilantro Ravioli

Based on a recipe in "The Cook's Encyclopedia of Vegetarian Cooking." I made ravioli with my kitchenaid and a friend recently (here is a great recipe for kitchenaid pasta), and used this filling:

1 pound canned pumpkin, 4 baked garlic cloves, 1/2 cup ricotta, finely chopped sundried tomatoes, finely chopped cilantro, pepper

Orange Hummus

This is a Mollie Katzen recipe that I make a lot for parties and such, with orange juice instead of lemon and a lot of warm spices. It goes well with apples and carrots as crudites. (And look, I'm giving actual quantities... but only because someone elsewhere on the internet provided them first).
  • 2 cans chickpeas, rinsed
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp. dry mustard
  • 1/2 tsp. turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp. mild paprika
  • 3/4 cup orange juice
  • 1/3 cup tahini
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 3 Tbs. cider vinegar
  • 3 minced garlic cloves
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • cayenne to taste
Combine in a food processor or blender (or mash with fork - I actually prefer this consistency).

Basic Risotto

This is my favorite risotto recipe. Easy to modify, but delicious how it is. It's from "The Improvisational Cook" by Sally Schneider.

Heat 6 cups broth and keep it simmering. In a separate, large soup pot, sweat 1/3 cup finely chopped shallots in 2 Tbsp butter. Once golden, add 1.5 cups of arborio rice. Stir the rice continuously for about 5 minutes, until it looks chalky and opaque.

Add 1/3 cup dry sherry. The rice will immediately absorb this. Then add about 1/2 cup of broth at a time, stirring only as much as necessary to incorporate each new dose, and adding the next once the previous has been absorbed. You may not need all the broth; the risotto is done when the rice is tender. At that point, add grated parmesan, another splash of sherry, lemon zest, salt, and pepper (I like Grains of Paradise instead of pepper).

Savory Acorn Squash

Made this with college friends two Thanksgivings ago, then again at my mom's last year:

Scoop this filling into acorn squash halves and bake:

Sautee together onion, green apple, golden raisins, walnuts, and sage in butter (hey, it's Thankgiving) with plenty of brown sugar and salt.

Fennel/Orange Hash Browns

This is my best recollection of a breakfast NG and I made in Oakland after walking across the street (yes, across the street!) to the farmer's market. Cook it just like you would potato hash browns:

Fennel bulbs, onions, small golden potatoes, green tomatoes, orange juice, cayenne, cumin, paprika. Topped with goat cheese and avocado.

Green & Red Endive Salad

This came from Giada de Laurentis, I think. I love salads like this that have enough crunch, enough fat, enough creamyness and tanginess....

4 belgian endives (or 2 large curly endives), 2 green apples, 2 avocados, dried cherries, cubed gruyere cheese. optional: Pomegranate seeds.

Olive oil, lemon juice, salt

Apricot Lentil Soup

One of my favorite ever soups - hearty and savory and tangy, not too many ingredients but unusal flavor. I didn't alter this recipe in the slightest, so I'm just going to put up a link. But to get you curious, here are the ingredients:

Red lentils, dried apricots, onions, garlic, roma tomatoes, cumin, and thyme.

Easy Black Bean Soup

Sautee onions and garlic in a little oil, then add vegetable broth and a few cans of black beans. Puree, top with sour cream and sliced green onions, and serve.

Tamale Fillings

Katelyn and I made tamales awhile back (lookup a recipe for the dough elsewhere, it's super easy), and this is what I recall about our fillings:

Sweet potatoes, corn, lime juice, agave nectar, cayenne, salt

Spinach, goat cheese, black beans, roasted red peppers, quinoa

Miso with Kale

....actually, a lot more than kale. My favorite combo to add to miso broth lately is kale, short-grain red rice (pre-cooked), asparagus and cherry tomatoes (chopped and steamed or sauteed beforehand). A little rice vinegar and sugar sometimes help the flavor.

Sweet Stuffed Peppers

Good in sweeter peppers - I used orange ones:

Cook up the stuffing in a frying pan, then stuff & bake:
Onions, garlic, beets (pre-boiled & diced, or canned), tomatoes, pepitas, white beans, red rice, orange juice, paprika, cumin, cayenne, and salt.

Spinach Salad with Summer Fruit

Raspberries, peaches, feta, pepitas, spinach

Olive oil, white balsamic, mustard.

Dates with Blue Cheese

I stole this from a friend. No idea where she got it, but try bringing it to a party and watch people lose their sh*t...

Pit your dates, and stuff them with a mixture of blue cheese and marzcapone. Brush with olive oil, sprinkle with sea salt, bake, and serve.

Peaches & Yogurt

Just what it sounds like... slice peaches, cover in plain yogurt, and flavor with good honey, cinnamon, and cumin.

Stuffed Zucchini

Hollow out your zucchinis. Sautee the insides with some tomatoes and very thinly cut, chopped asparagus (you could also hollow and stuff the tomatoes). Mix wild rice, the tomato/zucchini/asparagus mix, and generous doses of lemon juice and grated parmesan. That's your stuffing. Bake for 1/2 hour.

Peach Salsa

This is 100% cribbed from Mark Bittman except that he didn't call it salsa, and it is WAY good on tortilla chips. :)

Dice fresh peaches and tomatoes. Add thinly sliced red onion, cilantro, red pepper flakes, lemon juice, a bit of olive oil and sea salt.

Heirloom Tortilla Wraps

Just did this for lunch with the leftovers from the squash blossom meal:

Place sliced heirloom tomatoes onto corn tortillas. Top with Cotija cheese and microwave for a minute. Add plain yogurt, lime juice, olive oil, paprika, cumin, and pine nuts. Wrap and eat.

Avocado Grape Salad

This is really good if all the ingredients are super fresh.

Head of fresh red-leaf lettuce
bunch of sweet, small grapes (I think concord grapes would be perfect though I've yet to find any in CO), sliced in half
2 ripe avocados, cut in small dice

Whip olive oil, balsamic, a bit of honey, a bit of brown mustard, and sea salt into a creamy emulsion, and toss.

Chipotle Squash Blossoms

I found some lovely squash blossoms at the farmer's market last weekend and had not a clue what to do with them. Aggregating some facebook suggestions, I stuffed them and baked them coated in olive oil for 1/2 hour. The blossoms were a little wilted by the time I made up my mind what to do with them, so I did an icewater bath before stuffing, which helped.

Cotija cheese
Diced roasted Hatch green chilis
Fresh corn "off-the-cob"
Chipotle sauce (from a can)
Plain yogurt
Finely diced sundried tomatoes

Avocado Mango Salad

Romaine lettuce, chunks of avocado and mango, curls of a hard nutty white cheese like manchego or pecorino romano.

Olive oil, finely diced shallots, chinese hot mustard, white vinegar, honey

Mandarin Spinach Salad

Spinach, mandarin oranges, sliced almonds

Goat cheese dissolved in: olive oil, white balsamic vinegar, and some of the juice from the can of mandarins. Dress this one heavily.

Corn & Black Bean Salad

Another repeat:

Romaine or green leaf lettuce
1 can corn & 1 can black beans, rinsed & drained
Sliced radishes, jicama, and carrots
Grated cheddar
Diced peaches & avocado & cherry tomatoes

olive oil, tons of fresh lime juice, agave nectar, salt

Butterbean Soup

This is one of the few things I DO make all the time. I got it from a college roommate who got it from her homestay "sister" in France, but I've altered it a lot since.

1. Chop onions, potatoes, carrots into large chunks. Cook in the bottom of a large soup pan in olive oil (enough to nearly cover the veggies) with whole cloves of garlic, salt and pepper, until soft and beginning to brown.

2. Add one can of diced tomatoes and about half a can of tomato paste, plus the desired amount of broth.

3. Once broth is boiling, add spinach (or kale) and snowpeas and one can of drained butterbeans.

4. Once greens are cooked, add a ton of lemon juice and fresh dill. The goal is for the tomato, lemon, and dill flavors to be equally strong and balance each other out.

Hi People!

My favorite way to cook is completely impromptu, based on what I have around the house and what just seems like it will taste good. But I've often thought that I should keep track of all my one-off recipes and maybe even make them again sometime. I'm not going to go into a lot of detail about exact quantities, cooking times, and so on - just imagine that everything says 'to taste.' :)

I've convinced Katelyn to join me (so I can stop calling her for her recipes), too!

Edit: And Annalise, whose kitchen adventures are just beginning... ;)