Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Green Chili Souffle

Kate and I raided our mom's large bag of cleaned, individually wrapped, frozen Hatch green chilis (<-- yes, she is that organized and foresightful) to make this great-smelling breakfast on Christmas morning.  In the process, we also cleaned out (/raided) her recipe and cookbook drawer.  Kate nabbed a southwestern cookbook that suggested dumplings made of tamale dough - brilliant, and just happens to be gluten free.  I got some high altitude bread books that might help me with my serial baking failures in the Mile High City.   Happy Holidays!

8 eggs (we used 6, I'd go to 8 or even 10 for more eggy layers)

Block of good cheddar, grated

6-8 green chilis, cleaned

Salt & pepper

Separate eggs.  Beat whites until stiff.  Whisk yolks till smooth and season with S&P; fold into whites as gently as possible. 

Layer egg mixture, chilis, and cheese in a greased 9x13 baking dish, ending w/a layer of eggs so cheese doesn't get crispy.  Bake at 350 for about 25 minutes, being careful not to overbake.  Serve with avos, salsa, olives, plain yogurt, etc. 

Saturday, December 24, 2011

DIY Gingerbread Latté Syrup

After our success with the homemade pumpkin spice latté syrup, my roommates and I in accordance with the change in season moved on to a search for the perfect gingerbread latté syrup.  The batch I made at my apartment left something to be wanting however, as it took several spoonfuls to create the desired taste.    I'm now visiting our Dad's Alaska home for Christmas, where an espresso machine also resides.  I decided that gingerbread lattés will be most necessary for the Santa frenzy that will occur on Christmas Day morning, so in the midst of making this and this pie, I decided to google some more recipes and experiment.  Really, making these syrups is just about finding the right spices to add to a basic simple syrup, and I think what made the difference for the gingerbread syrup was the addition of molasses. Here is what I came up with, with which I am quite pleased.

1 1/2 cups water
3/4 cups brown sugar or Splenda brown sugar blend
1/2 cup molasses
3 teaspoons ground ginger
3 teaspoons cinnamon,
Nutmeg and ground cloves to taste

Combine water, sugar, molasses and spices in a small saucepan over medium heat.  I continually played with the spices, and you may want to add more than I have here- I would recommend going heavy on the spices.   Simmer them together until it thickens into what looks like a syrup.  Pour into a mason jar to keep.

For latté making, use 1 shot espresso or 2 ounces hot coffee, 2 tablespoons syrup to 2/3 cups steamed milk. Add syrup to taste, if desired.  Top with homemade whipped cream and nutmeg, and bid 4 dollar lattés adieu.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Holiday Cookies

…. lots…. and… lots of holiday cookies (GF readers, avert your eyes! Except from the peanut butter kiss cookies!).  

We had a proper holiday party with lots of hot drinks and santa hats and cheeses and gals in red dresses, and I went a bit overboard with the cookies.  It just didn’t seem right to have lemon cookies without peppermint cookies, or crinkles without peanut butter kisses (which are really just the amazing go-to peanut butter cookies Kate makes all the time).  Or not to have gingerbread, even after making all of the above plus Deb’s to-die-for toffee cookies.  Making too many cookies seems like an unlikely source of regret, anyway.

A few words about the above.  To make perfect striped candycane cookies:  after twisting together your little rolled-out pieces of red and white dough, roll the resulting twist until it's one smooth piece.  I recommend making the batter in 2 batches and adding the red food coloring to the wet ingredients of one batch, rather than trying to color half the completed dough, which involves overhandling it and dying your hands.  I tried rolling some of the cookies in crushed candycanes both before and after baking, but thought it just made them less pretty. Finally, I like almond extract to complement the peppermint even better than vanilla.

I wasn’t satisfied w/the crinkle recipe I used.  I wish I had put some cinnamon, cloves, and cayenne in the dough, and I think they needed to be more soft & fudgey and less chewy.  I overbaked the peanut butter kiss cookies a bit and wish I had rolled the balls of dough in sugar before baking, but people still <3ed them. 

The lemon cookies and, of course, Deb’s toffee cookies are perfection, and the high-altitude gingerbread recipe linked above is fantastic.  I used pureed ginger in a tube, and used a liiiiitle more than the recipe called for, as well as more cloves than indicated.  Good blackstrap molasses definitely helped.  Finally, I was good (for once) about not overbaking – 9 minutes did it for me – and suspect that made all the difference.  The quantities in the recipe are in weight, so if you need them in volume, it’s 1c sugar and 4c flour.  

Oh, and for the toffee cookies - don't worry if you don't have a double boiler / bain marie - melting the butter and then adding the chocolate over low heat while stirring furiously does just fine.  

Oh, and this pumpkin chocolate bread is freaking fantastic, with cloves added to the spices and about twice as many chocolate chips as called for.  (And no walnuts, to me, that would ruin the texture). 

Happy holidays!!

Simple White Bean Soup

Easy, peasy, one-two-threesy.  

4 cups dried white beans (I used limas)
1 large white onion
1 head garlic
1 cup milk
8 cups (?) water
2 tsp bullion (optional)
2 sprigs sage leaves & twice as many basil leaves, fresh or dried
salt & pepper

Soak your beans overnight.  Then put beans, roughly chopped onion, peeled garlic cloves, sage, basil, and water in your soup pot.  (8 cups’ water is an approximation – I think I started w/about that much, but had to add more when it boiled down.  You just want to generously cover the beans.)  Bring to a boil and simmer for at least 2 hours. 

Once the beans are soft, blend with an immersion blender or in batches in a regular blender (then return to the pot).  After blending, add milk, bullion if desired, and salt & pepper to taste. 

Served with shredded parmesan and homemade garlic croutons.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Basil Baked Eggs

Three things of note this morning. First, it is not yet 8:00am and I have already baked a gingerbread cake, made maple-whipped cream, and made myself a delightful breakfast of eggs, baked with loads of basil, chopped tomatoes, and torn spinach. Second, I have hated eggs for my whole life, a hatred that was intensified when I had to eat chemical-laced rubbery cold hospital eggs not once, not twice, not even thrice, but four times when I was very ill seven (seven?!!) years ago. (This was part of the months of trying to figure out what was wrong with me before I was diagnosed with Celiac Sprue.)

P's scrambled eggs have overcome my bad hospital-egg memories, and now? I love eggs. For me, the key is that they have to be piping hot and have tons of herby, cheesy flavor.

Third, I should be writing my dissertation pre-proposal. So, without further delay:

Basil Baked Eggs

serves one

2 mini-ramekins (or 1 serving size equivalent baking dish/ramekin)
2 large eggs
1 tsp butter
2 T milk
1/2 tomato, chopped
handful spinach, torn or thinly chopped
Fresh basil (or the tube squeezy basil if you are somewhere with a growing season shorter than 100 days)
Grated gruyere or sharp white cheddar cheese
Sea Salt
Cracked Pepper

Preheat oven to 325. Divide the butter and milk and place in the bottom of the mini-ramekins. Add torn basil or basil from the squeezy tube (or pesto!). Place in oven. Break 2 eggs and mix well with fork. Add a generous amount of salt, pepper, grated cheese, chopped tomatoes and torn spinach, and more basil.

After a few minutes, pull the ramekins out. Pour the eggs into them. Place back in the oven and bake for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, add a dusting of grated cheese and turn your oven to a low broil. Broil for another 5-10 minutes (depending on your oven). Check that the eggs are firm enough for your taste, pull out, and enjoy! Good with toast or, for brunch or lunch, with salad.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Saturday Breakfast Mug Cake

I can't believe I'm about to post the second of two microwave cake recipes. This is embarrassing. If you are offended, feel free to ignore me and my bad taste. Until you are desperate for a gluten free baked good one night and don't want to turn on your oven. Or until it is Saturday morning. You know, whichever comes first.

So this is basically the mug cake recipe from earlier this week, which I found here (just used different gluten free flours than they recommended, but in the same proportions). This morning, I wanted something sweet but a little healthier. So here is a semi-healthified breakfast version, which is a little lower in sugar and fat, higher in nutritional content, and higher in protein:

2 tablespoons quinoa flour (very high in protein)
2 tablespoons gluten free oat flour
1 pinch xanthan gum (I think you could leave this out)
2 tablespoons extra-dark cocoa
4 tablespoons sugar (You could probably get away with 3 for breakfast)
1 egg
3 tablespoons skim milk
2 tablespoons pumpkin puree
1 tablespoon olive oil (you could try to replace all of the oil w/pumpkin puree, it could work just fine)
A splash of vanilla (would you want to measure extra things on a Saturday morning?)
2 tablespoon dark chocolate chips (it's Saturday!)
2 tablespoons chopped pecans, gluten free oats, or berries as desired

Serves 2 or 3.

Mix all together, microwave in a huge mug for 3 minutes and 30 seconds. Rather than making actual frosting, I topped this with a spread of equal parts pumpkin and peanut butter, with honey to taste. So there you have it: A wee bit healthier, but definitely not the equivalent of scrambled eggs with spinach.

I promise to stop bringing you weird microwave recipes now. Blame the end of the semester.

Up later this week: Kate and Annalise do maple buttermilk pie and cheddar apple pie. No relying on Whole Food's amazing but seriously overpriced gluten free pie crusts this year, either.

Can't wait that long? Check out last year's spiced molasses pie, which I will be making again for Christmas, and my family's favorite maple cream custard tart.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Peanut Butter Frosted Chocolate Cake for Two

I'm not much of a food snob, but even to me microwave mug cake has never sounded appealing. But, tonight I really wanted to make P a quick sweet treat, so I decided to give it a go.

Adapting this recipe just slightly (g free all purpose and sweet white rice flour) turned out to be the best idea I've had all weekend. Two very hefty servings of fudgey cake, frosted with a play on our family's famous pb frosting, all ready in about 5 minutes. Yum!

Easy Peanut Butter Frosting
Wait for it...
Wait for it...
Wait for it...

Mix 1 part pb with 3 parts confectioners sugar. Add splashes of milk until you get the consistency you want. Depending on your sweet tooth, you may want more sugar.

Fancy times at my place tonight.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Pomegranate Beverage

Juice of 4 poms in a Coke.   (I'm sure you could slip some booze in there, too.)

WHAT?  This IS TOO a recipe. 

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Pumpkin Spice Latte

And now for a guest post by my dear roommate Sarah. At my request, she learned to make pumpkin spice lattes.  I often refer to her as my fairy godmother, because she frequently makes my wishes, be they decorating or food or latte related, come true.  Here's how to bring some of the magic into your own kitchen:

Now that Fall is finally here in Phoenix (by that I mean the high has dipped under 90 degrees), it’s time to bring out the Pumpkin Spice Latte. While the rest of the country is wrapping up leaves-changing-colors season, we here in the valley search for any hint of a normal Autumn experience. Not all of us can afford to purchase the tasty yet pricy seasonal drink, which makes the DIY version a great alternative. Inspired by my roommate, Annalise (the owner of the espresso machine and the one who found the syrup recipe), I learned how to make this drink in our kitchen this weekend.

I first had to learn how to make espresso (an intimidating feat, but not so hard, really). The next ingredient is the pumpkin spice syrup. I used this recipe, but I think that next time I might add more pumpkin for a stronger flavor. To make the latte I used 1 shot espresso, 2/3 cup milk steamed (using the espresso maker), and 1 tablespoon syrup. If you don't own an espresso machine, the espresso can be replaced with 2 ounces hot coffee. The latte is especially delicious when served in a mason jar (also ideal for sealing and saving for later) and topped with homemade whipped cream.

Sunday, October 23, 2011


I just noticed.... we've got 99 entrees!  (but a blintz ain't one). 

Green Tomato Spice Cake with Chocolate Chips & Cream Cheese Frosting

It's been quite the Indian Summer in Denver, but we finally had a frost warning last week.  I covered my healthiest 2 tomato plants and picked the green tomatos from the rest.  A few ripened up after some time with an apple in a paper bag, and the rest led me to the same solution overzealous zuchini growers know so well:  spice bread.  Well, OK, except even better, a sweet, soft, fragrant spice CAKE.

I started with this recipe, took note of some suggestions in the comments, and made some changes of my own (mostly in the "why eat raisins when you could eat chocolate chips" vein).  Can I just note, I love being a grownup and turning vegetables INTO CAKE if I dang well want to. 


4 cups chopped green  tomatoes (these will be blended so you could skip chopping them up and just halve or quarter them - in that state, they'd probably fill 5 or 6 cups)
1/2 an apple

1/2 cup butter
2 cups sugar
1 egg

2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1.5 tsp ea cinnamon and nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt

1 c chocolate chips

1.  Throw the tomatoes and apple in the blender and puree.  Then pour the puree into a mesh sieve over a bowl.   Quite a bit of liquid will drain right out - I saved this to throw in a soup later.  You should be left with about 2 cups of puree.  If you have too much, squeeze a little more liquid out; too little, put some back in or puree a couple more tomatoes.

2.  Cream together butter and sugar, add egg and tomato puree and mix well.

3.  Sift dry ingredients into a large bowl.  Stir in chips and wet ingredients.

4.  Pour into a greased 9x13 cake pan and bake at 350 for 45 minutes.

Frosting:  Like so.

And now, I will probably not set foot in my kitchen for another three weeks, when I have my first trial!   So, we'll see how long I can subsist on this cake and a freezerful of tamales.  Wish me luck. 

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Peanut Butter Pecan Cookies with Chocolate Espresso (Gluten Free!)

How's that for an over the top title? Fitting for these over the top cookies, which are basically a riff on my incredible (-y easy) pb cookies.

Preheat oven to 350. Gather the following:

1 cup peanut butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 large handful chopped pecans
1 large handful chocolate chips, chopped
1 small handful chocolate covered espresso beans, chopped

Mix all at once in a stand mixer, if available (this gets the peanut butter all chocolatey), or by hand until well-mixed. Bake at 350 for 18 minutes.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Real Simple Black Bean and Cheese Taquitos

Somehow, getting engaged led to P and I getting a subscription to Real Simple. P loves the magazine and gets really excited about the recipes. Normally I balk because their staple ingredients don't align with mine, and I am really obsessive about centering the week's meals around shared ingredients for budget purposes. Well, this was not the case with their bean and cheese taquitos. All you need:

Black beans, cheese, corn tortillas, olive oil, salsa. Avos or greek yogurt are value added but not necessary.

So, so good. I mean, we eat lots of beans and cheese and corn tortillas--we're even serving our wedding guests tacos--but frying them really took it up a step. Next up: Pete and Kate, taco molds, and a fryer. (Kidding. Sort of. Ok not at all. Make these!)

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Go-To Crunchy Stirfry

Good protein, bright colors, big flavor.

1 eggplant, peeled
1pkg extra-firm tofu
1 egg

Cereal bowlful of summer tomatoes, quartered
2 ears corn, boiled & cut from cob
1 pkg shelled edamame
1 bunch torn kale
Thai peppers (I had about 5 finger-sized little guys from my garden), cleaned & thinly sliced

Soy sauce, sesame oil, sriracha, ginger paste, crushed/diced garlic (lots of ginger and garlic! More than you think!)

Dice eggplant and tofu into cubes. Marinate in a bowl in a mix of soy sauce, sesame oil, sriracha, ginger paste, and garlic. Then place on a flat cookiesheet, and stick under the broiler (with oven door open) until deeply browned.

Meanwhile, beat the egg with a little milk or water and pour into a small frying pan to cook, then cut the resulting pancake intro strips.

Also meanwhile, heat up more marinade with the strips of peppers in a wok until it starts to spit. Throw the tomatoes in first, as you want them well-cooked and everything else just seared. After they start to lose their shape just a little, add the kale, corn, and edamame and sear them, then throw the tofu and eggplant in, mix it all up, remove from heat, and serve over brown rice.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Vaguely Tuscan Veggie Stew

I didn't post this when I first made it, but I've really been enjoying it as a lunch leftover and want to remember to make it again next time I have some good white beans, leafy greens, and day-old bread. Between beans, bread, quinoa, and pasta, it's a spoon-bender and not a bad dose of protein. As a leftover, the broth all gets absorbed, and it's like a pleasant, savory casserole or something. I might leave out the pasta next time; the quinoa and bread were really nice together.


1 large, sweet white onion
One small jar of artichokes packed in oil
Approx. 2 cups dried white beans, soaked overnight
Leftover bread, torn into bite-sized chunks
1 jar canned whole tomatoes (first time using the ones I canned myself...)
As many leafy greens or green veggies as you can pack in (I used kale and broccolini)
2 cups tiny pasta (like estrellas, or orzo would be nice)
2 cups quinoa
8 cups water (didn't need broth, lots of flavor here)
Paprika, white pepper, celery salt, garlic & onion powders, oregano, cumin, chili powder

Sautee the onion & artichokes in their oil. Add the water & jar of tomatoes w/their liquid. Get them boiling, and add the beans, pasta, and quinoa. Add & adjust (tons of!!) spices while they're cooking. Once these are cooked, add the greens and cook just long enough to take away their crunch, then add the bread and eat it all up.

Carrot-Kabocha Soup with Honey Plum Vinegar

Soup, man. I can't get enough of it.

Our dad and stepmom brought me a bottle of honey plum vinegar from a trip to Korea years ago and, as I tend to do with special things, I never used it. Until Chris requested carrot soup, and I didn't have any white wine on hand as specified in the recipe I started with, and... one thing led to another. This kind of reminds me of eating more complex, less-sweet honey glazed carrots. Plus, it's orange!*

Ingredients - halve all quantities if you want enough for 2-4 people for one dinner. Use these quantities if you want to eat if for lunch all week, freeze some, etc.

2 lbs carrots, peeled and chopped
2 medium onion, same
2 potatoes, same
1/2 a roasted Kabocha squash (acorn would work)
2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed (a few more wouldn't hurt)
(I bet some celery would add a nice touch!)

4 TB butter
3/4 cup honey plum vinegar, or use another fruity vinegar and some honey
8 cups broth of your choice
1 TB hacho miso
Tarragon (I was using sprigs picked from the truly intimidating quantity currently hanging in my stairwell to dry, so I don't really have a measure for ya - maybe a tablespoon or two of freshly dried leaves, probably more if storebought)
Salt, few tsp lemon juice

Sautee carrots, onion and garlic in butter till onions are just turning translucent, then add the vinegar and cook until it's reduced by half. Add the broth, potatoes, and miso. Turn up the heat and simmer for 15 minutes or so, until you can easily poke a knife through the potatoes and carrots (but they needn't be mushy).

Then puree with immersion blender or in batches in big blender, adding the kabocha and tarragon. I added the tarragon to one blender batch and let it puree for a really long time to break it up. Once pureed, add salt and lemon juice to adjust flavor.

*Notice how, out of respect for my Phoenician sisters, I didn't even say the word "fall"?

Cheddar Basil Quiche with Roasted Sweet Potato, Spinach, and Tomato

5 Eggs
1/2 sweet potato, already roasted
1 tomato, thinly sliced
1/2 cup fat free half and half, cream, or milk
Sharp cheddar, grated
4 Fresh Basil leaves, torn
1-2 large handfuls spinach, torn
Sea salt
Cracked pepper

Lightly grease a 9 inch cake round or pie pan. Layer slices of cold roasted sweet potato and torn spinach. Cover with a good amount of grated cheddar.

Beat 5 eggs with cream, milk, or half and half. Add salt and pepper. Pour over veggies and cheese. Place tomato slices on top and press in gently with a knife or spatula. Cover top with torn basil and another good dusting of cheese.

Bake at 375 for 30 minutes and enjoy.

Monday, August 29, 2011

The Way I've Been Eating

This blog has long been neglected by me, although certainly not by the sisters. My only explanation is that it's been hot (consistently over 115 F last week) for months now, and my new how-to-survive-the-PhD-with-mental-health-intact strategy is to not stress over always eating new and exciting meals when nutritious, comforting, and easily repeatable meals will do.

But I feel bad that I have nothing to share. Knowing others are in the same place, here's what we've happily been eating a lot of lately.

1)Beans & Grains. Tonight it was quinoa with caramelized onions and chickpeas, spinach, and roasted tofu. I drizzled the whole thing with a pesto/hummus mixture thinned with lemon juice. Yum. Another variation is to make S's lemony rice but bulk it up with black beans and garlic broiled tofu.

2) Toasted sandwiches with hummus, melted cheese, spinach and tomatoes on gluten free bagels. I'm not sure how I feel about this. I've never relied on gluten-free substitutes, and the gfree bagels are expensive. But it is so nice and easy to make a meal when you have something like that on hand! I'm torn. Probably it is too expensive of a habit to keep up.

3)Stovetop popcorn and vegetables with hummus. This probably does not a dinner make, but some nights when we're both getting home after 8 or 9, it sure does the trick.

4) Scrambled eggs served in warm corn tortillas with salsa and avocado. A weekly favorite of mine because P makes amazing scrambled eggs. The trick is fresh basil, finely shredded turkey, sharp white cheddar, and a lot of patience, apparently.

5) Fruit. Fruit. Fruit. Did I say fruit? I've been tearing through the summer produce. Normally I eat 2 cantaloupes, a bag of grapes, several pieces of stonefruit, and an apple or two a week. I'm not sure how I manage this and keep us in our budget, but I just shop the sale produce. It's the only thing that sounds nice in the mornings when it is already 100 degrees before 6am.

6) Chili and stew. Yes, it is 115 degrees out. I know this is bizarre. But the crockpot is so easy, and frankly, it allows me to pretend I do not live in this dusty, inferno-ish place. For all the vegans out there, I highly recommend this spicy peanut stew (although I had to use much larger spice quantities than she calls for).

So that's it. Nice and boring. But maybe it will help someone who is feeling the pressure to always cook amazing things. Trust me, this has been a huge stress reliever for me!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Greek Stuffed Peppers

I rarely let myself post various forms of stuffed peppers because, well, stuffing a pepper is less 'recipe' and more 'fridge cleaning.' But these I'd love to make again. They WERE a fridge-cleaning project (bunch of kale from the garden whose time had come, leftover caramelized onions from bbq earlier in the wknd, tomato paste I made with the juice left from the tomatoes I canned last weekend, etc.), but I'd re-create the ingredients I had just to have them again.

Four orange or yellow bell peppers with nice, roomy, symmetrical cavities
2 cups cooked brown rice
1 can chickpeas, drained & rinsed
1 large, sweet onion, chopped and caramelized (with the oil from caramelizing)
1 bunch kale, torn
1 jar of slow-roasted tomatoes
1/2 can of tomato paste
several TB lemon juice
feta & parmesan
heaping teaspoonful of chopped garlic
salt & dill

Put everything but the cheese (and the peppers of course) in a covered frying pan over high heat and cook down. Stuff the peppers, alternating filling and thin layers of feta. Tuck the remaining filling around the peppers in a deep, square glass baking dish. Sprinkle parmesan over everything. Cover baking dish, bake at 400 for 35 minutes.

I wish I had thrown some pine nuts on top, come to think of it. Spinach would be nice in lieu of kale. Etc.!

Andalusian Gazpacho

A blended gazpacho with bread as an ingredient, pale peach in color, from law school classmate Felony Kirsch. I, too, dislike chunky gazpachos. I do not dislike this!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Orange-Currant Scones

I've made other scones from time to time, and I always regret not sticking with these. They're from the Zuni Cafe Cookbook, and they are everything you want a scone to be. Since I seem to keep purchasing terrible drywall-esque "scones" from the coffeeshop most proximate to my office every morning, I figured I'd lean into the fact that I enjoy eating butter for breakfast, and do it right.

Makes 12.

3 cups flour
Scant 1/2 cup sugar
4 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt

2 sticks cold butter
1/2 cup dried currants (actually very easy to find - sunkist makes 'em)
1 TB orange zest
1 egg
1/2 cup milk (they say whole, I use 2%, the scones are still sconetastic)

Preheat oven to 350 and line 2 baking sheets w/parchment.

Mix dry ingredients well. Take butter out of fridge and cut it into the flour mixture (an ulu works well for this!) until it's the size of "small peas" (per cookbook). Mix in the currants and zest.

Then beat the egg and milk together in a large bowl, and fold the dry ingredients into those, mashing the dough together with your fingers till you get it to cohere. (It's OK if it's still streaky w/clumps of butter).

Divide dough in half, and plop each half in turn onto a lightly floured surface, and pat it into a 6-inch circle (it will be about an inch thick) - I find you don't need a rolling pin for this, hands are fine. Cut each circle into 6 wedges, put on baking sheets, and bake for 25-30 mins, until barely golden. Scones are pale critters, so be careful not to overbake.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Guest Post: Duck with Tart Cherry Port Sauce and Hazelnuts

In a new apartment across the country from home, the lovely and linguistically savvy Heather breaks in her kitchen:

Where the craving for duck in August came from, I’m not sure. But I found this recipe and followed it almost exactly, except for the duck breasts part.

I could not locate duck breasts or, for that matter, any ducks at all (except live ones) in my town. Spokane came to the rescue with whole ducks (and maybe would even have coughed up duck breasts if I’d looked harder). So whole, in fact, that they still retained both head and feet. Which my husband (dear man, and used to animal feet from his Chinese parents) promptly removed with a cleaver. So, if you can find the duck breasts, let me know how it turns out.

If you have to get a whole duck as I did, simply roast for 2-3 hours, depending on the size of the duck, and then slice off what you like. I didn’t season the roasting duck except for a bit of kosher salt and fresh-ground pepper, as I didn’t want the seasoned meat to compete with the flavor of the sauce. They say the hazelnuts are optional, but they are delicious with the meat.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Slow-Roasted Tomatoes

Nearly every blog we link to already has a recipe for slow-roasted tomatoes, and for good reason. My four little plants have been producing like champions, so I needed a way to make dozens of ripe Big Boys and Lemon Boys (hmm, all my tomatoes are male) last a little longer. If you have the same "problem," this is the solution. It takes tomatoes and makes them into Tomatoes Squared.

Just halve them, lay them out face up on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil & sprinkle with salt, and stick them in a 200 degree oven for as many hours as it takes (I decided mine were done after 5 hours). They'll be a little shriveled but still bursting with juice and really amazing flavor. Put them in jars and cover with olive oil, and the statute of limitations for using them is extended well beyond their fresh state.

Ed. 9/22/13 - Works great even for grape tomatoes if you have the patience to slice them!  And, they freeze well like this for winter use.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Late Summer Cocktail

the following guest post was dictated to A by our beloved mum:

Freeze blueberries, drop them in the bottom of the glass, pour in a shot of citrus vodka and fill to taste with sparkling blueberry lemonade (68 cent zero calorie MIRACLE bottle from WALMART). No high fructose corn syrup!

Top with a squeeze of lemon. Devised to enjoy on the porch in the heat of the summer.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Cottage Cheese Dill Bread

Soft & spongy & savory with a nice crust, brought to my attention by polkadotdotdot, in whose kitchen I've enjoyed more than one cup of tea and slice of toast sprinkled with dill. Amazing fresh from the oven w/oil, vinegar, and garden tomatoes. And speaking of toast, I expect it will be a winner in that arena too.

The only problem is: NOT ENOUGH DILL! I doubled up to half a cup of freshly chopped dill and it's still only a background flavor. Next time: ONE CUP of dill. Till then, I will sprinkle my putative toast with MORE DILL.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Chilled Corn & Fava Soup

Chris says this is "the finest soup I've ever made." And we are generally more or less awash in a sea of soup around here, so he wasn't lacking in comparators. However, it's just a leeeeeeetle bit labor intensive (cutting corn from the cob, double-shucking favas, peeling a whole head of garlic, cleaning leeks, stemming herbs).

So as not to inadvertently lead anyone down the path to a very late dinner, I'll specify that it took me about 2.5 hours ... maybe this is one to make with a sous chef, or on a post-farmer's -market Sunday afternoon when you have lawyer work you should ACTUALLY be doing and are seeking to forget, through repetitive physical motions and nice veggie smells, that you've ever read a law at all...

But anyway, that said, I just gobbled down two veggie-laden, pale green, savory-sweet, crunchy bowlsful like they were dang ice cream sundaes, so it gets a post.

You'll need:
2 pounds (in pods) favas - or more if you think you can face the shucking
6 cobs corn
4 small / 2 large leeks
1 head garlic
2 cups-ish (de-stemmed, loosely packed) fresh herbs: Mix of parsley, dill, tarragon, and mint
3 TB butter
Veggie bullion
Salt, paprika
Cotija cheese or a mild feta to top

Also: A soup pot, a saucepan with a steamer, tongs, blender.

The favas take the longest, both to prepare and to cook, so they're the place to start. Get 12 cups of water boiling. I added just 4 tsp of my preferred vegetable bullion to that quantity of broth (about 1/3 the amount called for) so it wouldn't be too intense. Then start shucking those favas.

When the broth starts to boil, take a break from the favas, husk your corn, and plop it in there to parbroil to make it easier to cut off the cob. (Unless you don't mind cutting raw corn off the cob, in which case be my guest, save yourself a step). When it cools, cut it off the cob and set it aside.

When the favas are out of their pods, put them in a steamer and steam them for 2-5 minutes, till the outsides look waxy and puckered, as if pulling away from the inner bean. Then peel that layer off too. (This was my first time dealing w/fresh fava beans,* and I quickly got in a groove where I'd put the knife perpendicular to the little brown line on top, and pop the top off like a cap, and then they'd shoot right outta their skins).

Once you get the favas into the broth, they will need awhile to soften, so you have plenty of time to prepare your garlic and leeks. Wash and slice the leeks; peel and slice the garlic, and put them all in the butter in the bottom of your saucepan, still hot from fava-steaming duty, on low heat. Let them soften. When they're niiiiiice and soft, add them to the broth. When the favas are also soft, add the corn as well.

Meantime, start pulling aromatic leaves from their stems. I used more parsley & dill than tarragon & mint. Don't skip the tarragon if you can help it though, I think it was an important flavor.

Once your herbs are ready, scoop some of the soup into the blender, add the herbs to the blender as well, and liquefy. I left the soup about 1/3 rustic and 2/3 blended, so there was plenty of texture but the broth had some creaminess to it. Season with salt and paprika.

Chill, then serve topped with your crumbly cheese plus maybe a squirt of lime and dash of paprika, with buttered bread and chilled white wine,. (I had it hot for lunch today on account of ferocious office A/C, and that was good too, but I think cold is better.)

*You'd think I never had a sister who farmed fava beans! But I did! Guess which one!

(There, have I redeemed myself from silly salad-dressing and smoothie recipes??)

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Guest Post: Cherry Crumble

My good friend Natalie brought this very tasty summer dessert to a picnic last weekend. No worries about messy crumbles when you're in the grass! I pested her till she sent me the following guidelines:

Ok, here is the recipe I used, as my baseline anyway.

But I changed it to add 1 tsp. lemon juice to the crust and 1/4 tsp. into the cherry part, and also I threw the oatmeal into the food processor for a few seconds to make it smaller, closer to a coarse oat flour, but not nearly as ground up as flour. (And probably more than a pinch of salt in the crust. But I don't measure stuff, so I don't even know about the lemon juice/salt amounts above.)

The main criticism I had of this recipe is that there was way too much sugar in the crust, too much butter/margarine (I used a mix of half butter, half margarine in mine), and not enough oats and flour -- the wrong ratio. So if I make it again, I will definitely change that ratio to half the amount of sugar in the crust and increase the oats and flour.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Perfect Summer Salad

Denver's had strange afternoon rainstorms rolling through all summer. I suspect it's not something to celebrate, but it HAS been pretty amazing for my little potted garden. Tonight I went out back and picked a salad of delicate little lettuce leaves, bright red cherry tomatoes, and torn basil.

To dress it, I mixed up just a little olive oil with the juice of a grilled lemon (leftover from an artichoke adventure, and even better than plain old lemon juice), pinch of salt, and few drops of honey... and drank the last few drops of dressing from the bottom of the bowl when the salad was gone.

Happy summer!

Cherry Garcia Smoothie

One scoop vanilla ice cream, 3 frozen bananas, 1 chocolate pudding cup, 1 large handful frozen cherries, a few hershey's kisses, a few ice cubes, and a splash of orange juice.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Chiky Cookie S'mores

I read the food blog of a dear friend, Melissa Harrington, at 519 Kitchen. She's living in Korea and often posts about the trials of cooking abroad. Awhile ago, she posted here about her makeshift s'mores in the absence of graham crackers.

Saturday night, my friends and I encountered the same thing in Monteverde, Costa Rica when the family that ran our hostel (a.k.a. hosted us in their home for the night) offered to light us a fire for s'mores. We couldn't find graham crackers and the chocolate bars were only in mini size and far too expensive.

In the midst of our disappointment, I suddenly remembered Melissa's stroke of inspiration in using Korean chocolate covered cookies in place of graham crackers and chocolate. I ran to the cookie aisle and found the Costa Rican version, Chiky cookies, which are chocolate chip cookies with chocolate covering.

We bought a pack and returned to our hostel and a ten foot blaze of a fire that the family insisted was perfectly fine. Most of us weren't brave enough to edge close enough to the fire for roasting, but the five year old boy present took care of that for us. The kids loved the galletas and marshmallows, and one of my friends said she thinks that how s'mores should always be made- essentially a gooey chocolatey marshmallow cookie sandwich.
The moral of the story is this: resourcefulness in cooking is always a win, and if you are ever in a foreign country with chocolate covered cookies (I can't think of any U.S. equivalent) make s'mores with them. ¡Que delicioso!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Baked Barbecue Chicken with Pineapple

Before my sisters begin laughing about the fact that I am about to present yet another variation on my go-to dish of barbecue chicken, let me explain.

I spent six weeks in Peru. And in Peru, they don't have barbecue sauce. If you know Annalise, you know that this is a big deal.

I visited McDonald's for the first time out of homesickness and the comfort "normal" food can easily give in that regard. As I was ordering my McNuggets, I could have sworn I heard the words "barbecue sauce" escape her mouth (albeit in Spanish) and my love for Mcdonald's skyrocketed in that moment. Sadly, that day, there was no barbecue sauce sauce next to the aji de gallina, thus I ate my McNuggets in contentment and attributed it to the language barrier.

A few weeks later, with a shortened lunch break and knowledge of the fact that restaurants in Peru take about twice as long to bring you your food, I stood in Gato's Market in the Plaza de Armas and spied it: a bottle of barbecue sauce. I debated for some minutes before caving, purchasing it, tucking it in my bag and marching proudly to McDonald's, excited to consume some McNuggets with barbecue sauce. I got to McDonald's, ordered, and....she handed me two packs of barbecue sauce with my meal.

Fast forward a few weeks and here I am in Costa Rica, with a bottle of unopened barbecue sauce, a kitchen (at last!), and an abundance of the most melt-in-your-mouth, juice-dripping-down-your-chin delicious pineapples you will ever find. The following meal is the result:

Barbecue Pineapple Chicken

I placed two laaaarrrrge chicken breasts in what was supposed to be a casserole dish, but was metal and electrocuted me several times. These I drenched in the precious barbecue sauce (I imagine this would have been better with honey barbecue or some sort of tropical fruit-themed one) and 1 bottle of pineapple juice bought at the store. If you are not in a place that has corner markets overflowing with fruit (sorry, friends) canned pineapple could also work, and the extra juice from the can would be placed in the pan. I then looked up recipes for baked chicken, but wisely called up my mama to gather her opinion first. I ended up placing the whole thing, covered in tin foil, in the oven for about 40 minutes at 375 ish (ish because I had to convert to Celsius). Then I pulled it out, checked it, placed fresh pineapple slices on top and placed it back in for another ten to allow the pineapple to become even more juicy (if that's possible?). We served it with corn on the cob (not very good here) and sauteéd zucchini (very good here, particularly when topped with cheese).

The verdict: the pineapple CAN be juicier, and that bottle of barbecue sauce was totally worth it. Also I'm going to live in Costa Rica and eat tropical fruit for the rest of my life. See you at the beach.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Warm Asparagus and Potato Salad with Tahini Mustard Dressing

Inspired by this potato and asparagus salad. I took the mustard dressing idea as a base, but added tahini to make it creamier. Deliciously tangy!

4 russet potatoes
1 large yam (the kind with pale yellow flesh)
2 bunches asparagus
1 bunch green onion
4 cloves garlic
2 lemons
Dijon Mustard
Olive Oil
Sea Salt
Black Pepper

Wash and chop the potatoes + yam. Toss in a bit of olive oil, lots of dill, sea salt, pepper, and basil. Roast at 425 until starting to brown.

Meanwhile, cut and steam the two bunches of asparagus. Once steamed, chop into large pieces and set aside in serving bowl.

Chop green onions and garlic. Use about 1/2 of the total green onion bunch. Place in a bowl; squeeze the juice of both lemons over the onions and garlic. Add several tablespoons of mustard and olive oil, to taste. Add two tablespoons of tahini, make sure to mix well and emulsify. Finish with sea salt and cracked black pepper to taste.

Remove potatoes from oven, move into serving bowl with asparagus. Toss with dressing and serve warm.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Mediterranean Salad with Baked Sweet Potato Falafel and Very Good Dressing

Last night, after a too-short visit in Wyoming, my lovely big sister took me to eat in Denver at her favorite restaurant before shuttling me to DIA. Among other delicious things, including a cantaloupe sorbet and dark chocolate ice cream mix that was to die for, we devoured incredible sweet potato falafel. In thanks for both the meal and for keeping this blog running while I have been distracted and little sister A has been studying in Latin America, I thought I'd try to recreate it and gift her the recipe.

Well, it turns out that talent much greater than I has already done a wonderful job with a baked version. So instead, I recommend making Heidi Swanson's version of Allegra McEvedy's baked sweet potato falafel. I used much more garlic than was suggested in the recipe, added a bit of fresh mint, skipped the cilantro, and rolled each falafel in black sesame seeds.

Although I'm wildly jumping cuisines here, I would highly encourage you to serve this in the summer like I did, with chopped lettuce, cherry tomatoes roasted in lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper, avocado, and thinly diced shallots.

And no matter the season or what you serve your falafel with, you should definitely make this dressing:

Very Good Dressing

Greek Yogurt and Hummus (in equal part)
Juice of 1/2 Lemon
Splash of Olive Oil
Sea Salt, White Pepper, Smoked Paprika and Dill to taste (light on the smoked paprika)

The entire meal is inherently gluten free, and the falafel only requires some chickpea flour. I imagine you could use mashed chickpeas and some wheat flour as a substitute.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Double Lemon Snowpea Pasta

Angelhair topped with parmesan and fresh peapods, flashfried in a bit of olive oil with salt, plenty of chopped garlic, the juice of a nice big lemon, and 1/2 a preserved lemon peel, finely chopped.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Key Lime Pie

Silky, tangy, crunchy, salty, sweet.

Group One:
18 graham crackers (2 packets)
5 TB sugar
6-8 TB melted butter (use salted, or add 1 tsp salt)

Group Two:
1 can sweetened condensed milk
4 egg yolks
generous 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (4-ish limes)
2 tsp lemon juice
zest of one lime

Group Three:
One pint whipping cream
1/2 cup (ish) powdered sugar

(1) Start with the crust. Crush the grahams into crumbs with the sugar (and salt, if using) in food processor. Pour crumbs into a deep pie dish and pour 6 TB of butter over them. Work it in with your fingers. If this isn't enough to cement the crumbs together a bit, add more until it is.

(2) Press crust mixture into the bottom of the dish, then mash the middle with your knuckles to work a layer of crust up the edges. Once you're satisfied, parbake at 350 for 5 minutes.

(3) While baking crust, make filling. Mix Group Two ingredients with a whisk. Taste to make sure it doesn't need more lime or lemon juice to tart things up.

(4) Pour filling into crust. With my pie dish, this won't quite fill the crust, leaving room for a top layer of whipped cream. Bake 15 mins at 350 (until barely jiggly).

(5) Let the pie cool, and whip your cream & sugar into whipped cream. Once pie isn't too hot, pour this on top to make a top layer. Refrigerate till cold, then stick a fork in it.

Key lime would be yummy in an almond meal crust, I betcha.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Machineless Chocolate Ice Cream (with Poached Pears)

For realz! Ice cream made in a pan in the freezer! I couldn't believe how nicely this came out. It *looks* a little funky, but let it soften and scoop it out, and it's amazing.

Here's the recipe. I won't rehash, but will just mention that (1) I forgot the straining step, which didn't cause any catastrophes (except maybe the aforementioned unpromising visual aspect), (2) I don't have a kitchen scale to measure everything superprecisely and this still came out fine.

Regarding pectin: If you buy Pomona Universal Pectin (they have it at Whole Foods, in the aisle with the spices), the box will contain 2 little packets. One of them is calcium - you don't need it here; the milk provides that. The other has the pectin mix, and that's what you use. Again, I have no kitchen scale, and I decided somewhat arbitrarily (math skills failing me in the heat of the moment) that 1.6 grams would be about 5/16ths of a teaspoon - that is, 2 1/8 teaspoons-ful, and then another half-filled 1/8 tsp. It worked.

Nor do I have an immersion blender, but pouring the wet stuff into a glass bowl and using a hand mixer to add the dry stuff worked fine and seemed easier than getting my blender dirty.

I added cinnamon to the ice cream, too, and served with (1) some tasty store-bought caramel sauce and (2) poached pears. Serious yumminess.

Squash Gnocchi with Coconut-Tomato Sauce

Somewhat unseasonal, but my sense of Spring has been totally ruined by weeks of rainy 40- and 50-degree weather. For a small dinner party, I served stacks of pale orange little gnocchis on a thick, boldly spiced tomato sauce, with a swirl of Greek yogurt & toasted cumin seeds on top.

I like the lightness of squash gnocchi compared to their potato brethren. I made 'em with butternut squash, because you can still get it in May (shipped from god-knows-where....), but I would have liked to try kabocha. Must remember this next winter.

Bake the squash well ahead of time (like the night before) so it's cool enough to handle, and leave yourself plenty of time for forming the gnocchi - it took me over an hour (granted, I may have been watching Project Runway at the same time) to make the dough and turn it into enough gnocchi for 4 servings.

I have to admit, this whole dish is just deconstructed version of this soup. Perhaps if I start with my overactive soup imagination, and force myself to put some of the ingredients in other forms, this blog will get a lot more interesting. :)



Halve your squash, brush all sides with oil, place facedown in a glass baking dish, and bake at 350 for an hour or more, 'till it's well and truly softened. Mine was big - the length of a 9x13 dish - and made a lot more dough than I needed.

The next day, scoop your cooled squash into a bowl. For mine, I added 3 eggs; for a smaller squash use 1 or 2. Mash with potato masher, then start adding flour.

The size and moist-ness of your squash will cause the amount of flour needed to vary greatly. The dough will be sticky, and will stick to your fingers even when ready, but you want it floured enough that it's no longer wet, just shaggy, like a ciabatta dough. I used 4 cups before I could handle it well enough to make the leetle gnocchis. (In retrospect, I probably could've left out an egg and thereby reduced the necessary quantity.) If you're uncertain, it's easy to test: get a little water boiling and drop a ball of dough in, and see if you like the result! Once the consistency is good, salt to taste (and add any other spices you like - cumin would be nice with this recipe).

To form the gnocchi, heavily flour a surface or some wax paper, as well as your hands. Scoop up a baseball-sized hunk of dough, plunk it into the flour, roll it around, and form it into a long snake. Anything not flour-coated will stick to your hands, so flour up. Once you have a snake, slice it to make gnocchi, and roll each one in flour again if needed. Use the tines of a fork to give them pretty ridges if you care. Freeze or refrigerate till the sauce and everything else are ready - you want to eat 'em fresh and hot!

Then, it's just a matter of dropping them in boiling water in small batches. They only need about 3 minutes in the water, and are ready when they float to the top. (I tried frying one and thought it tasted too fried, but that's an option too.)

Coconut-Tomato Sauce:

Bring the following to boil in saucepan:

4 large heirlooms, roughly chopped
1/2 can coconut milk
Turmeric, ground cumin, salt, pinch of asefoetida if you have some, dash of lemon juice
Add tomato paste if coconut flavor overpowers tomato

Sautee 1/2 an onion sliced paper-thin, and a handful of dried coconut, then add them to the sauce. Simmer till tasty.

Chipotle Potato Pizza

Let's grant this recipe a handicap since it arose from the questionable creativity (/panic?) engendered by an empty veggie drawer. It was a man-pleaser and a little off my beaten flavor path, so it gets a post.

All the veggies I had were 3 red potatoes (refugees from a barbecue a few weeks ago) and 1/2 a bunch of kale, plus of course onions. Hence the following pizza toppings:

1. Onions and potatoes, sliced thinly on mandolin, sauteed in oil until tender, with salt, apple cider vinegar, and a ton of paprika, and torn kale added at the end.

2. A chipotle-tomato sauce, made with a small can of unflavored tomato sauce; 4 finely chopped chipotle peppers from a can, with their adobo sauce; salt, sugar, and molasses.

Served with dollops of plain yogurt to take the heat off.

Oh, and if you should happen to buy a new pizza stone that you *just can't wait* to try out, for heaven's sakes read the instructions and don't forgot to dust the thing with cornmeal. Otherwise, your pizza will cement itself stubbornly to the stone. If this DOES happen (and it shouldn't, once you've read this!), give the pizza time to cool. Its ardor for the stone will cool with time, and they will become much easier to pry apart.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Spicy Tomato Corn Sauce & Grilled Eggplant

Another not-too-remarkable, but very nice, summer pasta dish:


Put the following in pot. Bring to boil. Thicken a little if needed. That is all.

3 huge, chopped heirloom tomatoes
1 large can diced tomates
2 cobs corn, boiled & decobbed
10 sundried tomatoes, finely chopped, & their oil
Salt, sugar, lemon juice, balsamic
Cayenne to taste


Peel an eggplant, quarter it, and slice into 1/2 inch thick slices. Salt these heavily and let sit in a colander until water comes to surface - should only take 1/2 hour or so. Wipe off the salt and water thoroughly with a towel. Brush with oil from jar of sundried tomatoes. Place under broiler till highest points start to brown.

Served over campanelli.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Warm Tortilla Salad & "Jalapeno Poppers"

Warm Tortilla Salad:

Last weekend I made this amazing warm pita salad, and I think it was still in the back of my mind tonight. I grabbed a bunch of fresh & vaguely southwestern veggies at the store, and had some corn tortillas to use up, and here's what came of it all:


2 calabasitas
1 heirloom tomato
1 ear of corn
1 avocado
small chunk ricotta salata
1/2 package small corn tortillas
Olive oil, lime juice, honey, salt

Before they go into the salad bowl, prepare likeso:

Calabasitas: Cut into tiny cubes and flash-fried till tender in teeny bit of oil
Tomato: Chopped into small dice and tossed in w/its juice
Corn: Boiled, decobbed
Avo & cheese: Small dice
Tortillas: Cut into ribbons, then again into squares. Toasted in oil with the parsley till partly crispy, partly soft.
OO, LJ, H&S: make the dressing, of course!

"Jalapeno Poppers:"

I also had a small package of sweet little peppers (banana peppers, maybe)? Stuffed them with a mix of chedder & manchego cheeses, a little greek yogurt, finely chopped oregano, sauteed thinly sliced onion, and salt and pepper. Baked at 350 till tender.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Guest Post: Gingery Smoothie

Kay says:

"OMG. Best. (Non-dairy.) Smoothie. Ever.

2 kiwifruit (peeled)
1 mango (peeled)
juice from 4 oranges
1 apple (de-cored)
1 cup frozen raspberries
1 piece of ginger, about 1.5 times the size of your thumb (peeled & roughly chopped)
1 Tbsp sugar

Blend. Consume. (All by yourself if you are me, who was hungry.) Yummeh."

Holy Wow Zucchini Bread

Now I realize the general idea of this bloggy is to post things that we, ourselves, have cooked. But someone brought me this zucchini bread, upon which I am munching with great joy, and also sent me the recipe. Its deliciousness arises from characteristic Paula Deen fat content.... but delicious it is, and I commend it to you in advance of the zucchini surplus days of late summer:*


*Unlike most days at work, I am actually reading law today. It makes my sentence structures go completely wackadoo. Sorry!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011


It's been, like, a month since I posted a new tomato soup recipe. Don't worry, my blogidentity has not been hijacked, here's proof! (I KNOW I'm way beyond any reasonable lifetime quota of tomato soups, but this one is the BEST ONE YET except maybe this one and this one oh don't make me choooose!)

All I did was buy 12 Romas and 10 biiiig meaty heirlooms and chop them into a pot with a little olive oil, peeling skins if easy to do so but not really sweating it if not. Turn up the heat and cook 'em down. Meantime, slice 3 shallots paper-thin and cook them over low heat in olive oil & sugar. When soft & translucent, add them & their oil to the tomatoes.

Also add lemon juice, balsamic, sugar, plenty of salt, and, if you need to stretch the soup to have enough, maybe a few cups of broth (but it's not necessary flavor-wise). (After we blend this all up, we'll add the super secret amazing ingredient that vaulted this puppy into the specially reserved Tomato Soup chamber of my heart.) Taste and adjust a lot, and when it's getting there, put the soup through a mesh strainer into another pot. Whatever wont' strain, blend, and stir back in.

THEN! once liquified! You add a few TBs of creme fraiche. (!!!!! so good!) Then you do more tasting & adjusting. Served with homemade croutons and curls of good parmesan on top, with some rapini cooked this way and a salad.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie

Working off of this recipe, I threw some filling in a premade crust for a party last night. I liked it a lot better than the last Strawberry Rhubarb I attempted, so here ya go.

There was a little drama along the way, though (I know, even with a frozen crust.... Deb of Smitten Kitchen, I am not). I used too many pie weights while parbaking [Edit: Long after writing this post, it finally dawned on me one day that you're supposed to COVER THE CRUST WITH FOIL before you add weights.  Live and Learn!], and the bottom layer got totally embedded in crust, leaving me to gingerly pick them out one.... by.... one:

And then I realized the tapioca I had around was not instant like the recipe called for. Perusing the interwebs, I found proportions for substituting instant tapioca / noninstant tapioca / arrowroot / cornstarch as thickeners, and used arrowroot instead (though possibly not enough of it, as the pie was still a little runny).

Foibles aside, though, the final flavah won my heart like a cowboy in a country ballad ("God bless the broken roooooooaddd.... that led me straight to rhu! Barb!"). Mix the following stuff in a big bowl, put it in parbaked crust, and bake (450 for 15, then 400 for 45). Put it on a baking sheet to catch the drips, especially if you can't be bothered to throw a crust on top:

3 cups halved strawberries
3 cups (thawed) frozen rhubarb, drained
1.5 cups sugar
2TB arrowroot & 1 TB flour (maybe change these up, it didn't thicken thickly enough for me!)
1 tsp each: lemon juice, balsamic, vanilla, and cinnamon

My pie crust, like my country song reference, was pretty deep, so this may be too much filling for some pies.

Pre-baking closeup! :

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Spring Pasta with Egg

Feriday night I saw asparagus topped with a fried egg on a restaurant menu and did not order it. By Saturday, I was still thinking of asparagus and fried eggs. I tossed thinly chopped asparagus and fennel and fresh tarragon with spaghetti and topped with egg and so-good-it-was-a-splurge parmesan. Fresh and rich at the same time:

2 small servings spaghetti
1 bunch asparagus
1/2 a fennel bulb
1/2 an onion
1/2 a bunch kale

2 eggs
Snipped fresh tarragon and fennel fronds
1 lemon
Grated parmesan or other hard white cheese - bring out the big guns for this one
Olive oil, butter, good salt & pepper

Start by preparing a frying pan for the eggs and a deeper one for the veggies, and getting water boiling for pasta.

Slice onion and fennel very thin and sautee in olive oil and some sugar. You don't want any burnt or fried flavor here, so use as little oil as you can and keep the heat down. Also resist the urge to make too much onion.

If your asparagus is thick, halve or even quarter each stem lengthwise before chopping into thirds. Add to the onion and fennel once they're soft. Once the asparagus is cooked through, add a confetti of kale pieces and let them wilt, then get this part off the heat.

(Sometime during this process when your water boils, get your spaghetti going).

Once the veggies don't need further attention, melt a swirl of butter in your small pan over medium heat. Add tarragon and fennel fronds to flavor the butter, then carefully break the 2 eggs in. Don't disturb - just let them cook from the bottom up till whites are cooked through and yolks still liquid.

Toss the veggies (leaving any oil behind in the pan) into the spaghetti and divide into bowls. Top each with parmesan, salt, pepper, more of the snipped herbs, and of course an egg. Then douse with a healthy squeeze of lemon juice (1/2 a lemon each). (The toppings are key, so don't skimp.)

Break the yolks and mix into the pasta while still hot, and enjoy.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Veggie-Packed Lasagna

Is it strange to reach age 28 without ever making a lasagna? Well, strangeness remedied. I like how this came out - not too cheesy or bland. This is for a double batch (2 glass baking dishes full) to allow for leftoversgloriousleftovers.


2 boxes lasagna noodles
3 jars tomato sauce (2 plain, 1 vodka)

2 zucchinis
4 carrots
4 leeks
Lots of crimini mushrooms
1/2 a squash

1 lb ricotta
6 or 8 cloves garlic
Crumbled sea vegetable (kombu)
Cayenne, Nutmeg, Paprika, Italian herbs

So, basically, the leeks/mushrooms/squash got sliced thin/chopped small/roasted respectively; cooked till soft in a little oil in bottom of saucepan with finely chopped garlic; and mixed with the sauce, ricotta, kombu, and spices. I beseech you: Do not underspice! Shake with reckless abandonment!

The noodles (after precooking per package instructions) and the zucchini and carrots (after slicing into thin noodle-like strips with mandoline and blanching briefly in boiling water) were all used for layering, with sauce in between.

Baked at 350 for 45 minutes, covered in foil for the first 30. Mmm!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Salty Apple Salad

This is inspired by the CSA-gobbling gals at Thyme to Kale, whose blogname puts ours to shame. They've been making variations of thinly sliced apples & cheddar tossed in walnut oil and lemon juice with greens, and that is a bandwagon I am happy to jump on.

I used:
2 apples, sliced w/mandolin
2 avos, thinly sliced
1 bunch chard, torn into small pieces / stems thinly sliced
2 large handfuls crushed pistachios
Thinly sliced cheddar cheese

Dressed with:
Lemon juice (lots!)
Walnut oil
Salt (don't be shy, esp if your nuts are unsalted!)

After tossing this all together, I took my ulu to the salad bowl to turn the large slices of avo, apple and cheese into more bite-size pieces. It has at least one thing in common with its progenitor: I can't stop eating it.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Biscuits On A Stick

Last weekend, a group of friends and I jumped on the opportunity to escape the rising heat in the valley and head up north to the fresh mountain air and the red rocks of Sedona. The plans for our camping trip came together a little haphazardly and last minute, so I didn't have time to plan out the elaborate camping menu I normally would. Some people may think camping is a time where one eats only hot dogs and s'mores, but there are so many opportunities that come with a campfire that are just plain fun. One of my friends on the trip taught us this easy trick to make basic camping food a tad more exciting.

Biscuits that come in dough form in a can
Sticks about the circumference of an wooden broom stick, or wooden broom sticks

Take three dough biscuits out of the can. Place one over the end of the stick, stretch down on all sides and push to make it stick. Take another, and wrap it around the stick just below the first, push to make them stick together. Take the third, do the same as with the second. Cook by rotating stick above hot coals, with the same technique as making golden brown marshmallows. Biscuit is ready when it can be pulled off stick without sticking to it. Pull biscuit bun off stick, fill with hot dogs, pb & j, or get creative with your own filling. I think this would also be delicious in the morning with sausage and gravy (made ahead of time and reheated).

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Tarragon Broccoli

I didn't think this was worth a blogpost until I had it as lunch leftovers today, and decided it would be a shame not to prepare broccoli this way again.

Clean broccoli and cut into florets. Then slice each floret through the stem (at least in half, maybe into thirds or more if it's a big one) to make flat slices of broccoli.

Sautee on medium-high heat in a little oil with tarragon and splashes of white balsamic vinegar, just long enough to turn dark green and take out the crunch. Firm, sweet, and very pleasant.

(Served as a side with this pasta dish from Smitten Kitchen, which was fantastic.)

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Rebecca's Breakfast Shake

The boyfriend has been making me these in the morning. His sister taught him. They are awesome and shockingly creamy.

Banana, peanut butter, milk, ice, little salt. (I imagine if the banana were frozen you might not need ice.)

Monday, March 21, 2011

Enchiladas with Creamy Roasted Corn Sauce

Cheesy on the inside and corny on the outside, just like me!* Base recipe here, but it's weirdly hard to follow, sooooo:

For the (really really freaking tasty) sauce:
1 32-oz bag frozen corn
1/2 TB butter & a squirt of honey
4 large cloves garlic - don't peel yet!
1 cup milk
1/2 tsp cayenne

For the enchiladas:
14 corn tortillas
1 10-oz bag spinach
1 white onion
2 portobello caps
butter, salt
14 corn tortillas + grated cheese (sharp cheddar... salty white... many could work).

Start w/the sauce. Put the butter, corn & honey in a deep skillet w/a tight-fitting lid. Crank the heat up high to melt out the water & toast the corn, gripping the skillet with potholders to give an occasional good shake so it doesn't stick to the sides. Toast it till at least some of it is golden-brown.

Meanwhile, bake your 4 cloves of garlic till soft (I always do this in the toaster). You could also put them in with the corn, but that seems messy.

When corn's done, put 1/2 of it in the blender. Peel the garlic and add that too. Add rest of sauce ingredients. Puree. Adjust flavor. Mix in the rest of the corn. Try not to eat with spoon while making the enchiladas.

Next, slice up your onion and your portobellos., the thinner the better. Brown the onion in butter, add mushrooms. When they're cooked, put the spinach atop to melt it down. Salt the mixture a little.

Finally, the assembly line: On each tortilla, put a line of cheese down the middle. (I had some sharp cheddar and some grated parmesan, and I liked both). Spoon just a leetle of the filling mixture on top. Fold, and nestle all of 'em together in a greased 9x13 glass baking dish. Cover with the corn sauce. Tortillas will probably crack some. No biggie, it'll all be delicious in the end.

Bake at 350 covered with foil for 25 minutes, then without the foil for another 5. Unless you're feeding an army, this will lead to many leftover lunch portions.

*I'm so braindead that the whole time I was cooking these, I was singing a little ditty in my head to the tune of Frere Jacques, like this: "EnchiLAdas, EnchiLAdas, I'll eat you! I'll eat you!" So please, don't judge me by my commentary. Just by my enchiladas.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Lemony, Nutmeg-y Kale

In just the tiniest amount of grapeseed oil, cook down:

2 bunches kale (1 red & 1 green), torn from stems
1 container of yellow cherry tomatoes
1 TB chopped garlic

Douse with lemon juice; add about 1 tsp grated nutmeg and a small pat of butter.

Serve dusted with grated parmesan.

When I see kale as a side at an Italian restaurant it's usually something like this, and I order it everytime.

**Update:  For a variation, instead of serving with parmesan, mix the lemon juice with an equal portion of Greek yogurt.**

Monday, March 7, 2011

Strawberry Breakfast Salad with Cowboy

Older sister S and I both love salad for breakfast. Little sister A is just learning to love salad. And thus the Strawberry Breakfast Salad was born, which can be eaten by A for dinner and S and K for breakfast.

Confused? Me too. Just make this, then eat it for lunch, or for dinner, or for breakfast. Especially recommended with biscuits.

Warm brown rice
Lots of fresh sliced strawberries
Torn rainbow chard

Toss with a tiny bit of maple syrup, olive oil, a bit of sea salt, a dash of mustard powder, and a bit of apple cider vinegar.

Eat with a cowboy, if available. If said cowboy doesn't want salad, make this and serve with a fried egg on top.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Tom Yum Cabbage

Spicy saucy stirfry over salty coconut rice:

The veg:
1/2 a purple cabbage, chopped in large chunks
2 handfuls brussels sprouts, quartered
2 apples and 1 red onion, thinly sliced w/mandolin

The flavahs:
Nearly an entire jar of tom yum paste
Rice vinegar (several splashes)
Chopped garlic & ginger
Juice of 2 limes

The rice:
1 packet (2 uncooked cups) Forbidden Rice
1 can coconut milk
2 very large pinches kosher salt

In a large deep skillet, cover the cabbage and brussels sprouts and onions with water and bring to a boil. Add the other flavors (leave lime juice closer to the end for more punch). Boil until cabbage is tender. Add apples and boil till they soften. Thicken with cornstarch.

In the meantime, cook the rice in rice cooker and add the coconut milk and salt when it's done.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Cumin Apple Chips, Panko-Fried Asparagus, Sriracha Mayo, and more

Oscar party menu:

Dip these:

1. Sweet Potato Fries
2. Apple chips, dusted with cumin and sea salt
3. Panko-fried green beans and asparagus

In these:

1. Mayonnaise with sriracha and a squirt of lemon. Unreal.
2. Greek yogurt with Tom Yum paste stirred in.
3. Tarragon mustard with chopped artichokes.

Also there were these:

1. Dates with blue cheese
2. Grown-up No-bakes
3. Lemon cookies

(Plus tsatsiki and dolmas, bought premade, and a phyllo pie with herbed homemade ricotta, brought over by a guest.)

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Another Snack

avocado + yogurt + honey + cucumber

(posted today on my friend R.A.R.E.*'s facebook wall)

*(her real initials)

Friday, February 18, 2011

Spinach and Gruyere Quesadillas

Last Saturday, P and I enjoyed a late lunch with a good friend who was in from Chicago. We went to one of our favorite Phoenix restaurants, Sierra Bonita, where I enjoyed a cup of their incredible posole, which inspired my own, and some corn tortillas cooked on the griddle and stuffed with spinach and menonita cheese. They were so good, I have been eating my own version at least once a day since. After reading about menonita, I learned gruyere (which I had on hand) was a reasonable substitution.

Wilt your spinach in a generous pat of butter and season with salt and pepper. Move to a plate, and use the remaining butter to lightly fry 2 corn tortillas. Halfway through, flip and place a generous amount of thinly sliced gruyere, sharp white cheddar, or menonita cheese on the tortilla. After melting, add the spinach and maybe some avocado, and enjoy! A particularly nice side to tortilla soup or black refried beans.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Apricot Almond Quinoa Salad

No amounts below because this is all to your taste and your batch size--I made a huge serving (4 cups of uncooked quinoa) to share with friends.

Dried Apricots
Dried Cherries
Unroasted, unsalted almonds
White Balsamic
Sea Salt
White Pepper
Some type of cranberry, pomegranate, or orange dressing or juice


Soak dried apricots and dried cherries in water for 1-2 hours. While soaking, rinse & cook quinoa.

Thinly slice shallots and add to a skillet with a bit of olive oil, sea salt, and white pepper. I also toasted with rosemary, and while this is a delicious way to prepare appetizer nuts, it didn't work well with the salad. (At all--oops. Your version will be much more delicious). Cook until shallots begin to be translucent and almonds are fragrant.

Finally, drain and slice the apricots and cherries. Add to quinoa, along with the nut/shallot mixture. I dressed this with a pomegranate white balsamic, sea salt and pepper to taste, and a little more olive oil. I also think it would be delicious with a citrus tone--maybe orange juice, white balsamic and a bit of honey?

Serve on top of torn spinach with a sharp cheese, like feta.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

French Lentil Soup

The main thing to know about french lentils is that they hold their shape and stay pretty firm when cooked, which makes a french lentil soup a different animal than other lentil soups. This one hit the spot. I won't repost since I did basically as the recipe's author instructed (including using a spice bag).

I did substitute tomato paste for tomatoes; use dried thyme & oregano instead of fresh; add some dried kombu (sea vegetable) that was lurking in my cupboard for smoky flavor + nutrition; and substitute a mix of soy sauce/bullion/rice vinegar for the worchestershire sauce (since it has anchovies in it).

All of which is just to say, it's a forgiving recipe like most soups are, and it was DELICIOUS. And I highly recommend miso , soy sauce and tomato together as a veggie soup base.

Baked Potato Soup

Saw breadbowls at the bakery in a snowstorm; had to fill 'em, made this up as I went along:

3 large baking potatoes
2 heads broccoli
1 yellow onion
1 head garlic

4 TB butter
Salt, white pepper
Celery seed, nutmeg
Brown mustard
4 c water
2 c milk

1 grated c ea: Cheddar & gouda

1. Put the potatoes in to bake, preferably for about an hour. Steam the broccoli crowns & leaves, removing most of the stems.

2. Slice the onion with a mandolin. Peel the garlic cloves and halve the big ones. In the bottom of your soup pot, melt the butter. Put the onions & garlic in there to soften.

3. Chop the soft steamed broccoli into smithereens (as Kay would say) with trusty ulu. Add it to the softened onions & garlic.

4. Add the milk & water, then the flavorings (spices, squirts of mustard & splashes of sherry). Taste & adjust. Be very judicious with the nutmeg & generous with the rest.

5. When the potatoes are nice & crispy, take them out of the oven. mash em up some in the skins and add innards to the soup. Then chop the skins and add those too. Thicken a little with flour or cornstarch if needed (it probably won't be).

6. Stir in the cheeses to melt.


Thursday, February 3, 2011

Grown-Up No-Bake Cookies

(Note: These are easily made gluten free IF you have a source for GF oats.)

My entire Legal Aid office played musical offices today in the course of expanding onto a new floor. It was a DIY move aside from desks and file cabinets (it's a DIY kinda place), and a lot of folks had been in their offices for, oh, longer than I've been alive. So needless to say, we were all pretty dusty & tired by the end of the day.

So, tonight, I wanted to bake something to cheer everybody up, get a leg up on befriending the Consumer Unit's new neighbors (the Health & Elder Law Unit), and thank the fulltime volunteers who helped us haul files. Being dusty and tired, though, by "bake" I really mean "stir." Et voila:

Ingredients, group one:
1/2 cup milk
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

Ingredients, group two:
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp ea: cinnamon & cloves
1/2 cup Nutella
3 1/2 cups quick oats

Bring Group One to boil in a saucepan, whisking all the while. Once boiling, turn heat to medium and boil for 1 minute (still whisking).

Remove from heat. Stir in Group Two (leaving oats for last so everything else is mixed together).

Drop by large teaspoons onto waxed paper & chill. Makes about 2 dozen.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Guest Post: Pan-Mediterranean Baked Eggplant

Kay & Nigel team up again!!

This recipe is modified from Nigel Slater's "Simple Baked Aubergine" in his wonderful book Tender Vol. 1. My biggest adjustments (which aren't very big) are adding measurements. Also, in the original Nigel uses plain old paprika and fresh mint, and recommends using sheep yogurt. I didn't have any of those things on hand.


2 eggplants
olive oil (2 1/2 Tbsp.)
sea salt
garlic (4 cloves)
greek style yogurt (approx. 1 cup)
pimenton (Spanish smoked paprika)
one Moroccan mint spice teabag (or alternatively, dried mint and cinnamon)

First, preheat the oven to 400F. Slice off the tops of the eggplants and then slice them lengthwise into halves. Slash the flesh on the cut face into a lattice pattern, as deep as you can without cutting the skin. Drizzle the slashed sides with olive oil and give them a sprinkle of sea salt (to taste--and upon tasting, I wished I had been a little more generous here; personally, I think eggplants can take a lot of salt, but then again, I've been called a salt-aholic).

Turn the eggplant halves over and lay them face-down in a baking dish. Put the 4 garlic cloves unpeeled into the dish along with the eggplants, and proceed to bake. Bake into smithereens! Or until the eggplant is completely collapsed into squishy and translucent deliciousness (which took about an hour for me).

Decant onto plate, and then squeeze the now-squishy garlic cloves out of their skins and rub the cloves across the faces of the cooked eggplants. Then top with yogurt, and finish off with a sprinkle of pimenton & minty spices.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Sweet & Sour Barley

File this under simple & satisfying. It's not as strongly flavored as most dishes usually described as sweet & sour, but it's that kind of flavor profile. The purple cabbage is a great color.

You'll need:

1.5 cups quick barley
4 leeks, cleaned & sliced
1/4 of a red cabbage, sliced

Veggie Bullion
Rice Vinegar

Sautee the leeks and cabbage in butter and sugar in the bottom of a soup pot. Add 3 cups of water, a dollop of bullion, a heavy splash of rice vinegar, and cook till the barley has soaked it all up.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Sweetly Spiced Socca

Socca is a new discovery, and an amazing one at that. Made from chickpea flour, it is typically crafted with olive oil, savory salts, peppers, and other herbs, cooked over a wood fire. Luckily the oven is a decent substitute (so says this expert and this expert) so this is basically the lazy celiac's dream. You can make it thin and crispy (think pizza), or soft and almost cake like.

Tonight I decided to do some flavor experimenting. Following the advice of these gluten free bloggers, I went with a cocoa cardamom socca. It probably violates a lot of rules about traditional socca, but it is amazingly tasty so I am choosing not to care.

Preheat oven to 400.

Mix 1 cup chickpea (garbanzo) bean flour with 1/4 cup dutch cocoa, 2 tsp. vanilla, and 1 and 1/2 cups water. Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil, butter, or coconut oil and pour into cake pan. Pour batter into oil and bake for 25 minutes.

There you have it! I served with some cherries for a subtly sweet and cakey nighttime snack. The possibilities are endless though--it could easily be dressed up as a brownie, baked in a skillet as a soft bread to pair with salad, turned with fresh basil in the batter and broiled with cheese on top to finish...oh yum!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Guest Post: Delicious Baked Onions

Another post from Kay, our favorite expat:

Delicious Baked Onions (or, "Nigel says...")

from Nigel Slater's "Tender Vol. 1"

I should probably start out by saying that I haven't actually EATEN this yet, but I've just taken it out of the oven and it looks so delicious that I'm not sure I'll be able to restrain myself until G gets home. They smell good, too. Nigel says to eat these baked onions with some grilled gammon steaks (gammon is English for ham) sprinkled with oregano, and possibly also some mashed potato or buttery rutabaga.

6 medium onions
About 2 Tbsp. butter (Nigel says 30g)
1 heaping Tbsp. flour
1 cup vegetable stock
1 cup milk
3 bay leaves
salt & black pepper to taste
1/4 tsp. nutmeg (Nigel says "a gentle grating")
2 tsp. whole-grain English mustard
chopped parsley (Nigel says "a small handful")

Preheat the oven to 350oF. Peel the onions, and then put them whole into a pot of boiling water. Simmer for 20 - 25 minutes until they're tender (Nigel says you should be able to poke them with the tip of a knife). Then dump them into a colander and let them cool down a bit while you do the next few steps. (Nigel says not to be tempted to use the oniony water for the sauce--it will be TOO oniony, apparently.)

Next, put the pot back on the stove and melt the butter in it. Add the flour to the butter, and cook for a few minutes, whisking so the mixture doesn't burn.

Now, at this stage, my mixture turned into about five big butter-colored lumps. Either, a) it's supposed to be that way and I don't know what I'm doing when it comes to making a white sauce, which is quite possibly the case, b) I used low-fat spread instead of butter in an attempt to be healthier, or c) I religiously weighed out a meager 30g of said low-fat spread and Nigel estimates the mass of his butter with an optimistic eye, which resulted in an anomalously low butter-to-flour ratio in my pot.

Either way, I didn't let the butter/flour mixture cook very long--I just got it all mixed into homogeneous lumps and then added the hot vegetable stock. At this point, worried that the sauce was going to turn out lumpy, I whisked frantically until my butter/flour lumps disappeared, and then added the milk. So, if you know how to make white sauce, do this part of the recipe as you see fit--otherwise, feel free to copy my amateur technique. Then add the bay leaves, the nutmeg, the mustard, and the salt and black pepper.

Let the sauce simmer for 10 minutes or more, stirring frequently to prevent it sticking to the bottom of the pot. Meanwhile, slice the (hopefully cool) onions in half from top to bottom (stem to roots, that is, not around the middle) and put them face-down in an oven-proof dish. Stir the coarsely chopped parsley into the sauce and dump the lot over the onions. Their tops will probably be poking out, but Nigel says that is ok.

Bake for 40 - 45 minutes or until the sauce is nice and bubbly. Nigel says you can leave the onions in the bottom of the oven while you broil up your gammon steaks. Yum!