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... ;)