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.