Have you tried any of these recipes?

Have you tried any of these recipes? If you have, please leave a comment to let me know how it worked for you and if you suggest any changes!

Monday, December 6, 2010

A Review of Gluten-Free Flour.... for PIE.

With more apples than I could pawn off on friends, and temperatures that made cold, crisp, fresh apple eating undesirable, I had no other recourse but to make a pie.  Pie would warm me up, and my friends never turn down pie!

Determined though, to see this gluten-free thing through, I wasn't going to cave and have wheat just for warmth and friendship, no - I was going to have it all!  Warmth, friendship, and a gluten-free pie!

Now, substituting gluten-free ingredients for wheat flour in a recipe, as you might know is complicated.  There is no ONE other flour that has the same consistency, absorbtion and taste.  And then you need xanthan gum or guar gum to make it all work.  Well, Bob's Red Mill supplies a wonderful array of gluten-free products, and I thought I'd give it a try.  I used Bob's Red Mill All purpose gluten-free baking flour.  It contains garbanzo bean flour (which I already use and love), potato starch, tapioca flour, white sorghum flour, and fava bean flour.  No gums at all though!  Oh horrors when I saw that and thought my pie-making might be a bust!  (With only 14 degrees floating around outside, going to the store was not an option.)

So, in experimenting with the gluten-free flour, no gum, a traditional and simple piecrust recipe and an egg (egg = gum, right?) I gave it my all.  I substituted margarine for half the butter in the recipe to hold it together a little better.  The dough was crumbly and imperfect,

and when I first put it in the oven, it smelled a bit like potatoes (thank you, potato flour), but the pie turned out to be delicious.  I believe I might have just overcome my fear of gluten-free baking!  Mini-muffins - here I come?

For the crust:

  • 2 1/2 cups Bob's Red Mill All Purpose Gluten-Free Flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup butter, in Tbsp pieces
  • 1/2 cup margarine, in Tbsp pieces
  • 1 egg, plus one yolk
  • cold water
for the filling:
  • six or seven apples, peeled and sliced
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 Tbsp agave nectar
  • 1/4 cup garbanzo bean flour
  1. In a large bowl, stir together the flour and the salt.  Cut in the butter until the dough is crumbly.  Add up to 1/2 a cup of cold water, on tablespoon at a time.  Add the egg and mix together with your hands.  On a floured surface with a floured rolling pin (I don't think it matters which flour you use for this - I used garbanzo bean flour), roll out the dough into one long piece.  Cut it in half and line a 9 inch pie pan with one half of the dough.
  2. In another large bowl, toss the apple slices with lemon juice.  Add the cinnamon, nutmeg, sugar, nectar and flour and mix thoroughly.  Fill the pie pan with this apple mixture and top with the remaining pie crust.
  3. Brush the top of the pie with one egg yolk and put on a baking sheet and cook at 425 for 15 minutes.  Lower the oven temperature to 350 and bake for another 45 minutes.

Eat your Brussels Sprouts

"Boy, I need something warm and fragrant, and healthy, and filling to eat right now.  Something that I can cook quickly and season with whatever I have in my house."  I have just let you into my thoughts of late morning on my day of hibernation.  Imagine my delight when I remembered that I had Brussels sprouts in the house!  

A versatile vegetable, Brussels sprouts are said to help reduce cholesterol, protect against certain cancers, combat inflammation, and contain lots of fiber.  They grow like mini-cabbages on a stem and are in season in late Autumn/early Winter.

Steamy Brussels sprouts
Gluten-free mini-muffins
Perfect late-night snacks

Today I prepared mine simply:

  • As many Brussels Sprouts as you can eat
  • A sprig or two of Rosemary
  • Enough good quality olive oil to drizzle over the sprouts
  • Parmesan or Romano cheese
  1. Wash the Brussels sprouts and remove any yellowed or wilted leaves.
  2. Trim the ends, and cut an X into the bottom of each sprout to allow them to cook evenly.
  3. Steam for 10 minutes (I use a bamboo steamer).
  4. Remove a portion to a dish and drizzle with olive oil, grate the cheese atop them, snip some rosemary over them and serve warm.
Leftover Brussels sprouts make great snacks!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Lamb Burgers and Lentil Salad with Feta and Mint

One of my favorite restaurants, Marigold, in Colorado Springs serves an open faced lamb-burger and it is gorgeous, smells wonderful, and is unfortunately covered in gluten.  Since I've been hungry for one ever since I saw/smelled the one at Marigold, I decided to make them last night.  And for those of you who don't like cold salads, this one is warm.  And has no lettuce!

Anything with cheese
Goes well with wine and garlic
Makes an evening fine! 

(for the salad)
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 leeks, thinly sliced (white and light green parts)
  • 2 Tbsp sherry vinegar
  • 2 tsp whole-grain mustard
  • 2 cups cooked lentils (you'll have to soak and cook these before starting the recipe)
  • 1 1/2 cups red grapes, halved
  • 1/4 cup chopped roasted pistachios
  • 3 Tbsp finely chopped mint
  • 3 Tbsp finely chopped parsley
  • 1/4 cup crumbled feta
(for the burger)
  • 1 lb ground lamb
  • 1 Tbsp chopped garlic
  • 2 Tbsp chopped onion
  • 1 Tbsp chopped mint
  • 1 Tbsp chopped parsley
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  1. With your hands, mix the lamb and all of the other burger ingredients together in a bowl.  Form into patties (3 or 4) and set aside.
  2. For the salad, heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat.  Add leeks, and cook 7 to 9 minutes, or until tender and translucent, stirring often.  Remove from heat, and stir in the sherry vinegar and mustard.
  3. Combine the lentils, leek mixture, grapes, pistachios, mint, and parsley in a large bowl.  Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
  4. In the same leeky (hah) pan, pan fry the burgers, flipping after about 5 minutes and covering to cook through.
  5. Serve the burger with the warm salad on the side and sprinkle both with crumbled feta cheese.
I served this meal with a side of tzatziki following a cup of avgolemono.

Salad Recipe from Vegetarian Times, November/December 2010.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Le Beaujolais Nouveau est arrivé!

Happy Beaujolais Nouveau day!  The third Thursday of November every year is the day that the new Beaujolais comes out.  Beaujolais is a light, fruity wine, meant to be served slightly chilled, enjoyed young, and paired with almost anything!  As a dry red-wine drinker, I think of this as an afternoon or white wine.  I have read that the Beaujolais should actually be consumed by the May after it comes out.  CAN DO!  Sounds like a perfect wine to me! 

In celebration, tonight I am opening a bottle and enjoying it with a light and simple meal of deviled eggs, cheese and crackers, and caramelized pears.

For those of you looking, this is a nice wine for Thanksgiving dinner.  I thought this year's Beaujolais seemed almost sparkly.

A votre sante!

Beaujolais Noveau
C'est rouge,  et délicieuse
Le francais et dur 

You can get this year's Beaujolais for just ten dollars at the Green Grocer on Grand.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Kimchee Shepherd's Pie

To my delight, I recently came across a creative food I hadn't tried.  A friend took me to a new place in Chicago called Del Seoul, where the specialty is Korean Barbeque Tacos.  The food was fabulous (pictured here) and what inspired me (which sounded a bit gluttonous at first) were the pork-belly kimchee cheesy fries.

Here is my new take on an old family standard inspired by that recent trip.

Kimchee Shepherd's Pie
Yum yum yum yum yum yum yum
Kimchee Shepherd's Pie!

  • 1-2 lbs ground turkey
  • 1/4 cup barbeque sauce (I like Bone Suckin' Sauce, Spicy)
  • 1/4 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 jar kimchee (approx 15 oz)
  • 5 potatoes
  • cheddar and jack cheeses
  1. Chop the potatoes and boil until soft for mashing.
  2. Sautee the onion and garlic until soft and aromatic.  Add the turkey and saute until cooked through, stirring.  Add the barbeque sauce and stir.
  3. In a souffle dish, put the barbeque ground turkey on the bottom.  Layer with the kimchee, straight from the jar.
  4. Once the potatoes are soft, drain, return to pan, and mash using a bit of butter, olive oil, sour cream - whatever you typically use.  Grate the Monterey Jack cheese into the potatoes and spread atop the turkey/kimchee layers.
  5. Bake for 30 minutes in a 375 degree oven.  Pull out and top with grated cheddar cheese to cover and bake 5 minutes more until cheese melts and begins to bubble.

  1. Serve warm.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Caramelized Bananas

I can't believe I haven't blogged this before as it is the recipe that is most asked for by my friends and theirs.   I make it all the time (though bananas are healthier in their natural state) and think it is probably the tastiest dessert I've had in ages (up there with lavender creme brulee and sweet dessert guacamole).

Decadent and sweet
Caramelized bananas
Not TOO bad for you!


  • 3 Tbsp butter
  • 2 bananas
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • half a fresh lime (lime juice in a bottle is not a good substitute)
  • one fresh orange
  • coconut ice cream (optional)
  • butter cookies (optional)
  1. Heat a sauteing pan over medium heat and add the butter.  Let rest 30 seconds and swirl around to coat the pan.  
  2. Slice the bananas in half and then lengthwise to make four pieces.  Lay all eight pieces in the butter and let them sizzle for 3 minutes.  Sprinkle with 1 tsp of sugar and turn over, adding more butter if necessary.
  3. Sprinkle the other side with sugar and the juice from half a lime.
  4. Keep cooking and turning until both sides are slightly brown and crispy.  Remove bananas to bowls and turn off heat. 
  5. Immediately squeeze the juice from one orange and use a wooden spoon to deglaze the pan with the orange juice.  To reduce the juice, heat slowly, or just pour over the bananas as it is.
  6. Add a scoop of coconut ice cream and garnish with a butter finger (or mint, pictured here).

    Steamed Acorn Squash Croquettes

    What to do with an acorn squash?!  There are stews, and of course buttery-sugary ways to prepare it, but I wasn't hungry for any of that.  Browsing for healthy and satisfying recipes online, I got some ideas and came up with the following delightful meal. 

    Though they're not pretty,
    these steamed acorn squash croquettes
    were quite delicious!

    • 1 acorn squash
    • 1/2 cup flour (I used chickpea flour, which is gluten-free)
    • 1 green chili, chopped
    • 1 tsp coriander
    • 1 tsp cumin
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 1/4 tsp baking soda
    • vegetable oil
    • cilantro, washed and chopped
    • 1 Tbsp mustard seeds
    • 3 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1 Tbsp ghee
    1. Slice the squash in half lengthwise, remove the seeds, and cut into it, like you would to let a potato steam.  Bake the squash in an oven pan, cut side up at 400 degrees for an hour.  Remove and let it cool.
    2. Scoop the insides out of the squash and remove to a mixing bowl.  Add the flour, chili, coriander, cumin, baking soda and salt.
    3. Line a bamboo steamer with cheesecloth, or lightly oil a steaming basket and scoop 1 tablespoon at a time into the steamer and steam for approximately 6 minutes.  You will have to do this in batches.
    4. When the croquettes are steamed and removed to a serving plate, heat a couple of tablespoons of oil in a sauteeing pan and add the mustard seeds.  Cook until the seeds start to pop and then add the ghee and garlic.  Cook until the garlic is browned and slightly crispy.  Remove from heat.
    5. Serve the croquettes topped with chopped cilantro and drizzled with the oil.  Enjoy!
    I particularly enjoyed this recipe served with a salad topped with raita and a dessert of cardamom banana rice.

    *  Recipe derived from recipes at International Vegetarian Union online.

    Saturday, September 25, 2010

    Harvest Moon Mushroom Pasta

    Just in case I have cancer, and in case I haven't had enough umami today, in case I've been exposed to a virus this week, and in case I want to lose some weight I decided to take the opportunity to buy a nice bunch (is it a bunch?  or a colony?) of harvest moon mushrooms (also maitake mushrooms) from my local Green Grocer's supply.  Told that they taste like lobster, I happily planned on sauteing them and dipping them in butter and eating my bunch/colony to my heart's content! 

    Always eager though to use other ingredients that are in season to make a more beautiful meal, I have decided that the way I enjoy harvest moon mushrooms is as follows:

    • One bunch of harvest moon mushrooms (approx 2 cups when torn to pieces)
    • 1 shallot
    • 2 cloves garlic
    • olive oil
    • ghee or butter
    • on large tomato
    • two handfuls of pinenuts
    • Parmesan cheese
    • noodles
    • fresh thyme
    • salt
    • pepper
    1. Heat sauteing pan over medium heat 30 seconds.  Add 1 Tbsp of olive oil and heat for another 30 seconds.  Swirl to coat pan.  Add a pat of butter.
    2. Add chopped shallot and saute 1 minute.  Add chopped garlic and saute one minute more.
    3. While this is happening, put on the water for your noodles so you may cook them according to the package directions and they will be ready in time.
    4. Rinse and tear the mushroom to bite size pieces.  (I read that using a knife will only shred the mushroom.  I tried it out and they were fine, but there is something earthier and more harvesty about tearing them, don't you think?)  Add the mushrooms to the garlic and shallots.  Add another pat of butter and saute 2 -3  minutes.
    5. Throw in a couple of springs of fresh thyme as well as the chopped tomato and the pine nuts.  Throw in a pinch or two of salt and grate black pepper over the pan.
    6. Keep turning this mixture over as it cooks, over low heat, until your noodles are done.
    7. Drain the noodles, top with the mushroom mixture and a bit of grated cheese.
    Harvest Moon Mushrooms
    Can you get more poetic
    While fighting cancer? 

    Mushrooms are always indescribable to me, but the high levels of the amino acid glutamine, which is found in these mushrooms, and is the characteristic ingredient of anything described as having an umami flavor (Japanese for delicious) take it out of my hands.  This dish is delicious.

    Thursday, September 23, 2010

    Spinach Quesadillas a la Las Palmas

    Who needs a recipe for quesadillas?!  Who wants to cook like the Las Palmas chain restaurant?  Hahaha.  Yeah.  Me neither.  However, an emergency meal I had there recently inspired me to make my own delicious and probably healthier version of their spinach quesadillas.

    Comida fresca
    Que huele fabuloso
    Antes d'siesta


    • Corn or flour tortillas
    • a bunch of fresh spinach
    • 1 garlic clove
    • 1/2 cup fresh mushrooms
    • 1/2 small yellow onion
    • canola oil
    • cumin
    • shredded cheese 
    • butter
    1. Crush and mince the garlic.  Chop the onion.  Wash and chop the spinach.  
    2. Heat a sauteing pan.  Add 1 Tbsp oil.  Add the onion and cook 2 minutes.  Add the garlic and cook one minute more.  Add the mushrooms and saute.  Add the cumin (1 tsp to taste) and lastly the spinach.  Cook approximately 30 seconds to a minute tossing the spinach until it gives up much of its liquid, but doesn't wilt completely.
    3. Remove the spinach mixture to a bowl and dump the remaining spinach juice (or reserve to use in a vegetable broth later). 
    4. Add a little butter and oil to the still hot pan and heat.  Put down one tortilla and cover it with shredded cheese.  Top that with the spinach/mushroom mixture and cover that with more cheese.  Place another tortilla on top and press down.  Cook approximately 2 minutes on each side and remove to a cutting board to cut while you continue to cook with the remaining cheese, spinach and tortillas.
    I served this dish with a rice that I sauteed with cumin, onion, garlic, green peppers and tomatoes as well as refried black beans and plain yogurt.  My rice had less oil than the rice at Las Palmas.  My beans were black and contained no lard and my yogurt was healthier than their sour cream.  I'm sure I'll make this again.  

    Lup de Mer en Papillote (a fancy way for saying sea bass in parchment)

    I've read about really fancy versions of this dish (Julia Child used brioche dough instead of parchment paper to steam the fish), and I had it recently at Mexique, whose chef always gives these traditional dishes his own flair (he uses jalapenos on his!).  In its simplest form though, it is so tasty.  With the intent of making a fancy dinner for my sister last night, I took the opportunity to try my own version of this dish.  Pictured below is the sea bass out of the parchment accompanied by fennel citrus quinoa and garlic sauteed spinach.

    An impressive dish
    Served with a bottle of wine
    Makes a fine evening!


    • 2 portions of fresh sea bass
    • olive oil
    • 1 small fennel bulb, chopped
    • 1 medium heirloom tomato, chopped
    • fresh thyme
    • black pepper
    • lemon
    • 2 large garlic cloves, crushed and minced
    1. Lay out two pieces of parchment paper, large enough to envelop one piece of the fish.  Brush with olive oil.  Preheat the oven to 390F.
    2. Lay down a bit of fennel, tomato, and a spring of thyme on each of the parchment pieces.  Wash and lightly oil the fish and lay, skin side down, on each of the parchment pieces.
    3. Top each piece of fish with more fennel, tomato and thyme and add freshly grated black pepper, a clove of crushed and minced garlic, and approximately one teaspoon of fresh lemon juice.
    4. Close up the parchment paper around the fish, and bake on the middle rack of the oven for 25 minutes.

    A good side dish to the fish is quinoa cooked in the same ingredients.  Cook the quinoa while lightly sauteing what you have left of the fennel, garlic, and a shallot (if you have one).  Add some vegetable broth, fresh lemon juice and the remaining tomato.  When the quinoa is ready, add this vegetable mixture to the quinoa and heat to reduce the liquid.  It should be ready just in time to accompany the fish!

    This meal is delicious served after an appetizer of Butternut Squash Soup and followed by Sweet Dessert  Guacamole.

    Wednesday, September 15, 2010

    Crock Pot Risotto a la Rosebud on Rush

    I have tended, when going out, to ignore the risotto dish that many restaurants offer.   I have always thought of it as the gloopy alternative that they offer the vegetarians who can't eat the dishes that the chef has put the real love into.  That still may be the case, but there is no reason to think that risotto can't be wonderful.

    I tried risotto for the first time recently since it was the easiest gluten-free option on the menu when I wasn't in the mood to have meat and thought it was fabulous (you'll be seeing more gluten-free recipes here now that I'm trying that for my own diet).  Here is my own version of the meal I had.


    • olive oil
    • 2 shallots
    • 3 cloves of garlic
    • 1/2 medium onion
    • 2 cups arborio rice, uncooked
    • 6 cups vegetable broth
    • 1 bundle of spinach
    • 2/3 cup sundried tomatoes
    • 1 can of quartered artichoke hearts
    • 2/3 cup pine nuts
    • basil
    • rosemary
    • black pepper
    • brick of good Parmesan cheese
    1. Heat a sauteeing pan over medium heat.  Add a few tablespoons of olive oil and heat for 30 seconds while mincing the shallots.  Add the shallots and cook, while mincing the garlic.  Add the garlic and cook while chopping the onion.  Add the onion and cook 2-3 minutes more until softened and aromatic.
    2. Add the shallot/garlic/onions to the crock pot and cover with the rice and vegetable broth.  Stir, and set to cook on low.  Cook on low until approximately one hour before you are ready to serve.  
    3. At this time, set the pot to cook on high and chop the spinach, sundried tomatoes, and artichoke hearts and add them.  Add the pine nuts.  Grate the cheese.  Add the basil, rosemary and pepper to taste.  Cook until risotto reaches the proper consistency, stir in the grated cheese, and serve with a glass of wine.  (Or, if wine isn't your thing, the sweet potato chili stout from Faith Brewing Co. is perfect.)
    I think this might also be good with a dash of balsalmic vinegar upon serving.

    Tuesday, August 24, 2010

    Mango Lassi

    This can scarcely be called a recipe, but I've been asked for the instructions and this recipe is according to my tastes.  Mangoes and cherries are probably my favorite fruits and so this time of year is especially great for me for desserts.  Have this as a dessert or as a complement to spicy foods.  Or - have it for breakfast!

    A nice summer treat
    You don't need grown-up taste buds
    To love a lassi 

    • One large mango
    • 1 cup plain yogurt
    • 2 Tbsp agave nectar
    • 2 dashes of cardamom
    1. Mix all of the above ingredients in a blender and chill.  Add an ice cube and another dash of cardamom before serving.  Makes two beverages.
    For an idea on how to use this in a meal check out this Indian Dinner menu.

    Wednesday, August 18, 2010

    Lavender Creme Brulee

    Oh boy. The next time you see me, I'm going to be fat. I don't know why I've never made creme brulee before!

    I've never been a big fan of lavender - but I think that is because I had only been smelling it, not eating it. In this recipe - you get to eat it.

    Eggs, sugar and cream
    Infused with lavender buds
    Makes quite a dessert!

    • 2 cups heavy cream
    • 3 Tbsp fresh or dried lavender buds
    • 6 large egg yolks
    • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
    • 2 Tbsp turbinado sugar (or lavender sugar, optional)

    1. In a medium-sized saucepan, bring the cream to a boil, being careful that it doesn't boil over. Add the lavender, stir, and remove from heat, letting the lavender infuse the cream at room temperature for one hour.
    2. Strain the mixture into a clean saucepan, bring the cream to a boil once more and set aside.
    3. Preheat the oven to 275F.
    4. Whisk together egg yolks and sugar. Very slowly mix a bit of the lavender cream into the egg mixture, being careful not to scramble the eggs by heating them too quickly. When the eggs and cream are roughly the same temperature, whisk the eggs into the cream mixture.
    5. Pour the custard evenly into 4 4-oz ramekins and place the ramekins in a baking dish. Fill the dish with water so that the water comes up the sides of the ramekins to nearly the level of the custard inside.
    6. Bake 25 to 45 minutes, checking on the custard frequently after 20 minutes. When fully baked, creme brulees will be firm and will wiggle slightly in the middle when shaken. When they are done, remove them from the oven, and chill them in the fridge for at least 2 hours (this can be done the night before, or in the morning).
    7. Just before serving, remove the creme brulees from the refrigerator, place on an oven sheet, and sprinkle with the lavender sugar. Place on the rack just below the broiler and broil 1-3 minutes or until sugar is browned. Be careful not to burn them!
    8. Serve immediately garnished with lavender flower.

    * Be careful when opening the oven when cooking the custards - the water from the pan will fill the oven with steam.
    * You may also use a cooking blow torch to caramelize the sugar, though it takes skill.
    * A good accompaniment to the lavender creme brulee is a lavender gin and tonic. Infuse gin with lavender and freeze at least one day. Make the gin and tonic as you normally would, using the lavender gin. They have a slightly purple hue when poured!

    Recipe adapted from Oprah.com.

    For an idea on how to use this as part of a meal, see my Summer French Dinner menu

    Tuesday, August 10, 2010


    Vegetables for breakfast? Perfect. This dish will fill you up and keep you going all day!

    Make it the evening before
    It's got everything!

    • 1 Tbsp olive oil
    • 1 cup minced onion
    • 1 cup minced anaheim and/or poblano chilis
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 1 to 2 tsp pure ground chile powder
    • 2 cups diced zucchini (about 2 6 inch zucchini)
    • 2 cups corn kernels (cut from 2 ears corn)
    • 2 tsp minced garlic
    • 1 1/2 cups cooked pinto beans
    • Grated cheddar cheese
    • freshly ground black pepper
    • squeezable wedges of lime
    1. Place a medium-sized skillet over medium heat for a minute or two. Add the olive oil, wait about 30 seconds, then swirl to coat the pan.
    2. When the cooking surface is hot enough to sizzle a bread crumb, add the onion, chiles, salt and optional chile powder, and cook, stirring frequently, for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the vegetables become quite soft.
    3. Add the zucchini, corn, garlic, and optional beans, and continue to cook, stirring gently to avoid breaking the beans, for about 5 minutes longer, or until the zucchini is just tender. Remove the pan from the heat.
    4. Sprinkle in grated cheese to taste, if desired, and stir to distribute it as it melts. Add black pepper (and possibly more salt) to taste. Serve hot, warm, or at room temperature, with squeezable wedges of lime tucked into the side of each serving.
    Fresh corn is best, though frozen corn will do the trick. I used a little can of chopped mild green chilis in this, and it worked perfectly.

    Recipe from Mollie Katzen's Sunlight Cafe.

    Thursday, July 15, 2010

    Savory Summer Squash Pancakes

    These are tasty and quick to make and can be made with so many variations because of the mild flavor of summer squash! The following is a slightly spicy version that is quite good with a fresh salsa and yogurt.

    Summer Squash Pancakes
    So many varieties
    Of tasty flavors!

    • 3 summer squash
    • 1 small onion
    • 1/4 cup polenta
    • 3 Tbsp flour
    • 2 eggs
    • cumin
    • cayenne pepper
    • chili powder
    • cooking oil
    1. Grate the squash and finely chop the onion. Mix in a mixing bowl with the polenta and flour.
    2. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs and then add beaten egg to the squash mixture.
    3. Add spices to taste (really just to smell because there is raw egg in this and you don't want to try it!).
    4. On griddle or in a large frying pan over medium heat, heat the oil and flatten dollops of squash mixture into pan. Cook over medium heat for as long as it takes you to play through Chopin Etude Op. 10, No. 2 and then turn over and cook for the same amount of time (approx 3 minutes). Each side should be slightly browned and crispy.
    5. Remove pancakes to a papertowel lined plate to drain and continue cooking in batches until all are cooked. Serve immediately topped with salsa.
    For salsa, combine 1 large tomato, 2 Tbsp finely chopped onion, 2 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro, 1 Tbsp olive oil, 1 tsp red wine vinegar, a squeeze of lime and a pinch of salt. Prepare this ahead of time or while the pancakes are cooking.

    Saturday, June 26, 2010

    Sweet Dessert Guacamole a la Mexique

    I did it! And it is GOOD.

    I happen to live in a neighborhood of chic and inventive restaurants. Lucky me! One of my favorites is Mexique, a wonderful little Mexican-French restaurant with a great staff and fun, original food (get the duck for dinner or the huaraches de camarones for brunch). I have finally cracked the code though, of their unique dessert guacamole. It is surprisingly simple and I thought it would take several tries. I have four avocados left. Come by, and I bet you can convince me to make another batch!

    Surprise all your friends -
    A guacamole dessert
    Will leave them speechless!

    • 2 small avocados
    • 3 - 4 Tbsp whipping cream
    • 3 Tbsp powdered sugar
    • Juice from 1/4 fresh lime
    • 1 tsp cinnamon
    • strawberries
    • tortilla chips, bread, or any other vehicle to consume this deliciousness
    1. Peel, pit, and slice avocado into bowl of food processor.
    2. Add whipping cream, powdered sugar, lime and cinnamon and blend until a creamy consistency.
    3. Serve with a side of strawberries and chips.
    That is IT. It definitely serves more than one - but I will finish it - have no fear!

    Friday, June 25, 2010

    Mushroom Truffle Flatbread a la Branch 27

    I have been craving the mushroom flatbread from Branch 27 in my neighborhood for days. There are three reasons that I haven't gone over there to get it: 1) I'd have to buy a drink too, and I have enough of that at home, 2) I could probably make it myself, and 3) I have already had it twice in the last week.

    So, after a trip to my wonderful neighborhood Green Grocer for the cheese, crackers, shallots, garlic and mushrooms, and a quick stop by the liquor store for the dry vermouth and olives, I was headed for the comforts of home with the tastiness of Branch 27!

    Who doesn't like cheese?!
    Here's a new take on a fave.
    Trust me. You'll love it.

    • Crackers, preferably Potter's White Crackers
    • Cremini mushrooms (2 cups)
    • 1 clove garlic
    • 1 shallot
    • herbed goat cheese (or plain, really will do)
    • Frisee, or other lettuce
    • Butter - plenty
    • White truffle salt
    1. Heat the pan, add half a stick of butter and heat over medium for 30 seconds, until butter melts. Add the garlic and cook for one minute, add the shallots and cook for a minute more. While pan is heating, butter is cooking and garlic and shallots are sauteing, wash and chop the mushrooms and lettuce.
    2. Add the mushrooms to the pan and saute for 5 minutes, stirring, until they have lost much of their liquid.
    3. Remove the mushrooms to a bowl and set aside. Add 2 Tbsp butter to what is left in the pan, and turn off the heat, stirring to melt. Add approx. 1 tsp white truffle oil, to taste.
    4. Prepare meal by spreading goat cheese on the flatbread or cracker, and topping with mushrooms, then chopped lettuce, and finally drizzling with truffle butter.
    5. Enjoy with a martini (Hendrick's gin, extra dry vermouth, olives).

    Pictured above is the flatbread from Branch 27. They used mascarpone cheese and real flat bread. I chose to use crackers to avoid turning on my oven and to make dinner occur SOONER.

    For an idea on how to use this as part of a meal, check out my Summer French Dinner Menu.

    Tuesday, June 22, 2010

    Israeli Couscous with Saffron, Olives, and Spring Vegetables

    This is a wonderful dish - it is healthy, and filling, and quite easy to make, if you don't mind doing some chopping! Start with good company and a glass of wine (try a kir, while snacking on some of the olives you won't need), and the chopping will be easy! That was how I did it! And, I must admit though, four fifths of the tasters of this recipe loved it. One fifth went to bed hungry. I'm not sure if it was the taste of the saffron, or the texture of the couscous, but take care with who you're serving this recipe to!

    Exotic but mild,
    This dish will appeal to most.
    I went back for thirds!

    • 2 cups dry Israeli couscous
    • 4 tsp canola oil
    • 2 bulbs fennel, slivered, grated, or finely chopped (1 cup)
    • 1 medium leek, white andp ale green parts finely chopped (1/2 cup)
    • 6 cloves garlic, chopped (2 Tbsp)
    • 1/2 cup dry white wine
    • 2 cups frozen or shelled fresh peas
    • 1 cup low-sodium vegetable broth
    • 4 plum tomatoes, chopped (1 cup)
    • 0.5 g. saffron threads
    • 2 cups baby arugula leaves
    • 1/2 cup chopped, pitted oil-cured or kalamata olives
    • 3 Tbsp olive oil
    • fresh basil leaves, for garnish
    1. Prepare couscous according to package directions. Set aside.
    2. Heat canola oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add fennel, leek, and garlic, and cook 3 to 5 minutes, or until lightly browned.
    3. Stir in wine, and cook 1 minute to deglaze pan. Add peas, and let wine reduce 1 minute more, then add broth. Add couscous, tomatoes, and saffron; season with salt and pepper, if desired. Cover, and let stand 5 minutes.
    4. Stir in arugula, and remove from heat. Season with salt and pepper, if desired.
    5. Spoon into bowls, then top with olives, olive oil, and basil.
    I used chicken broth, instead of vegetable broth, and I didn't chop the olives. Both substitutions turned out JUST FINE!

    Recipe from Vegetarian Times, April 2010.

    Beet Pancakes with Yogurt-Dill Sauce

    What makes this appetizer spectacular is the jeweled color of the beets and the tastiness of the yogurt-dill sauce. They are easy to make, and are nice and light. I made these as an appetizer prior to an Israeli couscous saffron veggie dish.

    It's all about sauce!
    This one's especially great.
    The cakes are good too.

    Ingredients for Sauce:
    • 6 oz plain nonfat Greek yogurt
    • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh dill
    • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
    • 1 small clove garlic, chopped
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
    Ingredients for Pancakes:
    • 3 medium beets (1 lb), trimmed and scrubbed
    • 2 medium carrots (6 oz)
    • 2 cloves garlic, minced (2 tsp)
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 1 large egg plus 2 large egg whites, beaten
    1. To make Yogurt-Dill Sauce: Whisk together yogurt, dill, lemon juice, garlic, salt, and pepper in small bowl. Refrigerate until ready to use, up to 3 days (at least 30 minutes, to combine all flavors).
    2. To make Pancakes: Preheat oven to 250F. Coat baking sheet with cooking spray, and set aside. Shred beets and carrots in food processor fitted with grating blade, or grate with box grater. Place beet-carrot mixture in large bowl, and toss with garlic and salt. Add egg and egg whites, and mix well.
    3. Lightly spray large nonstick skillet with cooking spray, and heat over medium-high heat. Drop 1/4 cup beet mixture into skillet, and flatten slightly to form 3-inch-diameter pancake. Repeat, forming 3 other pancakes in pan.
    4. Cook 4 minutes, or until undersides are golden brown. Flip pancakes, and cook 3 minutes more. Respray pan, and repeat process with remainin batter, keeping prepared pancakes warm in oven.
    5. Drizzle with Yogurt-Dill Sauce, and serve immediately.
    I used 2 eggs, instead of the specified egg and two egg whites. The pancakes didn't hold together as well as I would have hoped. Don't make that substitution!

    Serves 6. Recipe from Vegetarian Times, May/June 2010.

    Thursday, May 13, 2010

    Easy Tuna Nicoise Salad

    This is one of my favorite dishes. I order it any time I can find it on a menu. My two favorite places to order this salad are Marigold, in Colorado Springs (where they also use pepperocinis and red onion in their salad) and some hotel in Austin, Texas, where they use ahi tuna instead of tuna salad.

    You might notice that there are few (are there any?) recipes for salads on this blog. That is because I typically don't like cold food. This salad, however, is more of a casserole than a salad. I like it because it is filling. I like it because it is warm. I like it because it is pretty.

    A quick, fancy meal
    That brags of being healthy
    (Except the mayo)

    • lettuce - as much as you want. Boston or butter leaves, washed, dried, torn
    • a handful of green beans, lightly steamed and cooled to room temperature
    • 2 medium red potatoes, boiled, but not mushy, quartered
    • 2 hard boiled eggs, shelled and quartered
    • 8 kalamata olives
    • 1 medium vine ripened tomato, cut into eight pieces
    • 1 can tuna, in spring water
    • mayonnaise - either homemade, or Hellmann's
    • 1/2 cup olive oil
    • 1 garlic clove, mashed and minced
    • 2 Tbsp dijon mustard
    • 1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
    • 1 Tbsp champagne vinegar
    • 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
    • 1 Tbsp dried parsley
    • freshly ground black pepper
    • fresh parsley (optional)
    1. Mix the garlic, mustard, vinegars, lemon juice and parsley together well and let sit while cooking, chopping and tearing the rest of the ingredients. Add the olive oil and whisk together.
    2. When the green beans and potatoes have cooled, toss them in the dressing along with the tomatoes.
    3. Prepare each plate individually with lettuce, green beans, potatoes, eggs, tomatoes, and olives.
    4. Shred the tuna in a bowl and mix with mayonnaise to taste. Put a dollop of tuna in the middle of each salad and drizzle the remaining dressing over the rest of the salad. Top with freshly ground black pepper and fresh parsley (if using).
    5. Serve immediately. This salad is best at room temperature.

    • Where are the anchovies?? [They're not included; I don't like them.]
    • I thought this was made with raw ahi tuna slices!? [It can be. But then it isn't "easy tuna nicoise salad.]
    Enjoy! (Serves 2)

    For an idea on how to use this as part of a meal, check out my Summer French Dinner Menu.

    Wednesday, April 7, 2010

    Rosemary Rutabaga Potato Salad

    The trick to this tasty potato salad is making your own mayonnaise. At least, this is what I was told when I tried to buy some of this wonderful potato salad at my local Green Grocer recently and they didn't have any. (!) I was having such a craving though, that I did it. If I couldn't buy it a the deli, I'd make it myself!

    Even though it's good
    Potato salad looks gross
    When in a picture


    For the mayonnaise:
    • 1 egg, fresh; raw
    • 1 tsp dijon mustard
    • 2/3 cup canola oil
    • 1/3 cup olive oil
    • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
    • 1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
    • cayenne pepper
    • salt
    For the salad:
    • 4 cups chopped potatoes
    • 1 rutabaga, peeled and chopped
    • 1/3 medium red onion, chopped
    • 1 full sprig fresh rosemary, coarsely chopped
    • freshly ground black pepper
    1. Set the potatoes in a pot of water with a dash or two of salt to boil.
    2. Meanwhile, in a food processor, combine the egg, 1/4 cup of oil, dijon mustard, lemon juice and vinegar. Blend until thoroughly mixed.
    3. While blending, slowly drizzle the remaining oil into the food processor. The mixture will whip and thicken.
    4. Once mixture is thick, add a dash or two of cayenne pepper and some salt. I used a chardonnay oak barrel salt just to be fancy. Mix and remove to a jar with a tight fitting lid.
    5. Cool 30 minutes before using.
    6. Toss the cooked potatoes and raw rutabaga together in a large bowl. Add the onion and rosemary and toss. Sprinkle with black pepper and set aside to cool.
    7. Once cool, add enough mayonnaise to moisten the potato salad and set aside to be eaten later.
    I was first warned against using a food processor to make mayonnaise because it could heat up and force the egg and oil to separate. After half an hour of mixing with a hand-held mixer, without having the mixture thicken, I decided a food processor was the way to go. I had no trouble with it heating up.

    Mayonnaise recipe from my good friend Liz.
    Potato salad recipe from the grumblings of my belly on missing out on the potato salad from City Provisions.

    Saturday, April 3, 2010

    Strawberry Mousse Parfait

    Mmmmmmm. I think I have blogged about this before. Not here, and not including the recipe, so it is about time I shared it. I have been making this recipe for years. I cut it out of an issue of Gourmet magazine ages ago and find it so festive that I can't help myself sometimes and have been known to go to all the trouble (this was before I had an electric mixer and would whip the cream by hand) to make one serving of this just for me! Here though, is the recipe as I made it tonight to serve six. (To make one serving, cut all ingredients down to a quarter of what is required below and you'll have leftovers.)

    Strawberries and Cream
    A traditional delight
    More complicated!

    • 5 cups of quartered strawberries
    • 4 tablespoons sugar
    • 4 teaspoons lemon juice
    • 3 teaspoons unflavored gelatin
    • 6 tablespoons water
    • 1 1/3 cups well-chilled heavy cream
    • 1 cup coarsely crushed butter cookies
    1. Mash 4 cups of quartered strawberries with lemon juice and sugar in a bowl. Dice the remaining strawberries and set aside.
    2. Sprinkle the gelatin over the water in a small saucepan and let sit 1 minute to dissolve. Over low heat, stir the gelatin until completely dissolved. Stir gelatin and water into the mashed strawberries.
    3. Place the bowl of mashed strawberries into a larger bowl filled with ice and water and let sit, stirring occasionally until gelatin mixture thickens and a spoonful holds its shape momentarily before returning to the rest of the bowl (about 10 minutes).
    4. Whip the cream in another bowl until it just holds stiff peaks. Fold 2 cups of the whipped cream into the strawberry mixture. Fold in most of the remaining strawberries.
    5. To build the parfait, in individual cups, or a bowl, as pictured here, layer mousse, cookie crumbs, mousse, cookie crumbs, mousse, remaining whipped cream, and garnish with strawberries.
    6. Chill at least 30 minutes and serve!

    Sunday, March 21, 2010

    Sauteed Duck with Root Vegetables

    My local grocer carries duck. My dog eats duck. I had duck at a fancy restaurant the other day. Why don't I cook duck?! Well. Now I do. I doubt I'm going to use a recipe in the future, but here is one that I thought I'd try for my first duck-attempt. It went quite well and was delicious!

    Who doesn't like duck?!
    Easy meals that seem fancy
    Are always handy.

    • 3 Tbsp olive oil
    • 1 whole duck, cut into 8 pieces
    • 1/2 cup flour, plus 2 Tablespoons
    • 2 Tbsp paprika
    • 2 Tbsp salt
    • 1 Tbps black pepper
    • 1/2 Tbsp cayenne pepper
    • 1 cup chopped yellow onions
    • 2/3 cup chopped carrots
    • 1/2 cup chopped celery
    • 2/3 cup chopped parsnips
    • 1/2 cup chopped turnips
    • 2 Tbsp minced garlic
    • 1 tbsp chopped fresh thyme
    • 1 Tbp chopped fresh basil
    • 1 Tbsp chopped fresh oregano
    • 3 cups duck stock (or mushroom broth)
    • 1 cup red wine
    • 1 cup mashed sweet potatoes
    • 1/2 cup fried parsnip strips
    • 2 Tbsp chopped green onions
    1. In a cast iron skillet, heat the olive oil. Mix 1/2 cup flour with paprika, salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper. Dredge the duck pieces in the flour. When the oil is smoking hot, add the duck pieces, skin side down. Brown the duck for 2 to 3 minutes on each side to get an even browning. Remove the duck and set aside.
    2. In the same oil, stir in 2 Tbsp of the remaining flour. Add the onions, carrots, celery, parsnips, turnips and garlic. Saute the vegetables for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the fresh herbs and season with salt and pepper. Add the duck pieces. Pour the stock and red wine into the pan.
    3. Bring the liquid to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Cover and let simmer for 30 minutes or until the vegetables are fork tender.
    4. Mound the potatoes in the center of a shallow bowl. Remove a couple of duck pieces and place on top of the potatoes. Spoon the sauce and vegetables over the duck. Garnish with parsnip strips and green onions.
    Next time, I'm going to grill the duck, or maybe broil it? And put everything atop collard greens too. It was excellent with champagne though!

    Recipe adapted from "New Orleans Cooking" by Emeril Lagasse.

    Food Fork

    Okay - on an old episode of Julia Child's cooking show that I recently watched, she used a fork that looked SO HANDY. I searched all over the internet and actually found it at Amazon.com for less than $10! I have used it as a slotted spoon, to flake fish, and shown here, to mash potatoes. It is my new favorite utensil!

    Thursday, March 18, 2010

    Deep Dish Pizza

    Okay - I thought being able to make your own deep dish pizza was a myth. I had spent time away from Chicago craving it. I spent a fortune to send one to my husband for his birthday one year. But then..... THEN.... I came across a recipe from a trustworthy source and thought I'd try it out. It took four hours beginning to first bite, but I was on vacation and had all the time in the world. And let me tell you - it was worth it. I'd say it was closest in taste to Lou Malnati's pizza, though less greasy (which is a good thing, right?). [You do need a stand mixer with a dough hook to make this pizza though. For those of us who don't have room in our apartments for such a thing, it is probably because we live in Chicago, in which case, we can just order a deep dish pizza.]

    Deep Dish Pizza Pie
    Even at High Altitude
    Is worth the Effort.


    • 3 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
    • 1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
    • 1 1/2 tsp table salt
    • 2 tsp sugar
    • 2 1/4 tsp instant or rapid-rise yeast
    • 1 1/4 cups water, room temperature
    • 3 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted, plus 4 Tbsp, softened
    • 1 tsp plus 4 Tbsp olive oil
    • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
    • 1/4 cup grated onion, from 1 medium onion
    • 1/4 tsp dried oregano
    • table salt
    • 2 medium garlic cloves, minced or presed through garlic press (about 2 tsp)
    • 1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes (Muir Glen is great)
    • 1/4 tsp sugar
    • 2 Tbsp coarsely chopped fresh basil leaves
    • 1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
    • ground black pepper
    • 1 pound mozzarella, shredded (about 4 cups) (shred it yourself, preshredded won't melt)
    • 1/2 ounce grated Parmesan cheese (about 1/4 cup)
    • 3/4 pound ground spicy italian sausage, browned (for one sausage pizza)
    • 1 cup spinach, steamed, squeezed out, and chopped (for one spinach pizza)
    • 1 cup sliced mushrooms, sauteed until they have lost much of their liquid (for a good pizza)
    1. FOR THE DOUGH: Mix flour, cornmeal, salt, sugar, and yeast in bowl of stand mixer fitted with dough hook on low speed until incorporated, about 1 minute. Add water and melted butter and mix on low speed until fully combined, 1 to 2 minutes, scraping sides and bottom of bowl occasionally. Increase speed to medium and knead until dough is glossy and smooth and pulls away from sides of bowl, 4 to 5 minutes. (Dough will only pull away from sides while mixer is on. When mixer is off, dough will fall back to sides.)
    2. Using fingers, coat large bowl with 1 teaspoon olive oil, rubbing excess oil from fingers onto blade of rubber spatula. Using oiled spatula, transfer dough to bowl, turning once to oil top; cover tightly with plastic wrap. Let rise at room temperature until nearly doubled in volume, 45 to 60 minutes.
    3. TO LAMINATE THE DOUGH: Using rubber spatula, turn dough out onto dry work surface and roll into 15 by 12 inch rectangle. Using offset spatula, spread softened butter over surface of dough, leaving 1/2 inch border along edges. Starting at shot end, roll dough into tight cylinder. With seam side down, flatten cylinder into 18 by 4 inch rectangle. Cut rectangle in half crosswise. Working with 1 half, fold into thirds like business letter; pinch seams together to form ball. Repeat with remaining half. Return balls to oiled bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and let rise in refrigerator until nearly doubled in volume, 40 to 50 minutes.
    4. FOR THE SAUCE: While dough rises, heat butter in medium saucepan over medium heat until melted. Add onion, oregano, and 1/2 teaspoon salt; cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid has evaporated and onion is golden brown, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in tomatoes and sugar, increase heat to high, and bring to simmer. Lower heat to medium-low and simmer until reduced to 2 1/2 cups, 25 to 30 minutes. Off heat, stir in basil and oil, then season with salt and pepper.
    5. Adjust oven rack to lower position and heat oven to 425 degrees. Coat 2 9-inch round cake pans with 2 tablespoons olive oil each. Transfer 1 dough ball to dry work surface and roll out into 13-inch disk about 1/4 inch thick. Transfer dough to pan by rolling dough loosely around rolling pin and unrolling into pan. Lightly press dough into pan,
    6. working into corners and 1 inch up sides. If dough resists stretching, let it relax 5 minutes before trying again. Repeat with remaining dough ball.
    7. For each pizza, sprinkle 2 cups mozzarella evenly over surface of dough. Spread desired topping next (sausage, or spinach, or mushrooms, or all). Spread 1 1/4 cups tomato sauce over cheese and sprinkle 2 tablespoons Parmesan over sauce. Bake until crust is golden brown, 20 to 30 minutes. Remove pizza from oven and let rest 10 minutes before slicing and serving.
    Delicious. Recipe from Cooks Illustrated, February 2010.

    Saturday, February 27, 2010

    Mushroom Sage Cream Sauce

    Somebody recently said something about mushrooms and sage and I remembered my Thanksgiving Mushroom Stuffing and how much I liked it. And then I remembered that I had squash/sage pierogies in my freezer from One Sister Pierogies. From that, a wonderful meal was born:

    • Mushroom medley (mostly cremini, also oyster, porcini and shitake)
    • Dried sage
    • Butter
    • Shallots
    • Milk
    • Black Pepper
    • Olive oil
    1. Heat about a tablespoon or two of butter with a bit of olive oil over medium heat in a thick-bottomed skillet. Add the chopped shallots (about half of a bulb) and saute 2 minutes, until soft.
    2. Add chopped mushrooms (if reconstituting them from dried, reserve the water they were simmered in and add to the butter and shallot mixture at this time).
    3. Add sage (about 2 tsp).
    4. Simmer until liquid is reduced a bit and the mushrooms have lost much of their size.
    5. Cover in milk and simmer until liquid is further reduced (10-15 minutes) and season with black pepper.
    I poured this sauce over my squash/sage pierogis, but made enough to pour over a squash I plan to bake later in the week.

    Thursday, February 18, 2010

    Alu Roti

    Not only is this tasty, but it is a LOT of fun to make! It is great for a snack or for a side item at a meal. Next time I make it, I'm going to stuff some veggies in there too for some extra nutrition and texture!

    Warm, crispy pockets
    Filled with anything you want
    On hand in a pinch.

    • 2 cups whole-wheat flour
    • 6 Tbsp ghee (easy to buy at Whole Foods, or you can make your own)
    • 1/2 cup cold water
    • 1 medium potato, peeled and quartered
    • 1/4 cup minced onions
    • 1/4 tsp salt
    • 1/4 tsp ground cumin
    • 1/4 tsp garam masala
    • 1/4 tsp fresh green chilies, minced
    • 1/3 cup fresh cilantro, minced
    • Juice of 1/4 of a lemon
    • 1/4 cup ghee, melted
    • Plain, drained yogurt
    1. Combine flour and 4.5 Tbsp ghee with your hands in a large bowl until mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add water and knead until it forms a firm, smooth dough. If dry, add more water, 1 Tbsp at a time, and knead again. Cover and set aside for 30 minutes.
    2. While the dough rests, cook potatoes in a large pot of salted, boiling water until they're soft, about 20 minutes. Drain, mash, and set aside.
    3. Heat 3 Tbsp ghee in a frying pan over medium heat. Add onions and saute until soft (5 minutes). Add salt, cumin, garam masala, chilies, and potatoes. Stir until mixed well. Remove from heat. Stir in cilantro and lemon juice.
    4. Divide dough into 6 evenly sized balls. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough into 4-inch circles.
    5. Place 1/6 of the filling in the center of each circle. Carefully bring the edges of the dough up and pinch them together to enclose the filling.
    6. Gently flatten each roti down into a 4-inch circle. Keep them covered with a damp cloth until you are done.
    7. Cook roti in a dry heavy-bottom or nonstick frying pan over medium-high heat for about 1 minute. Flip over and cook other side.
    8. Brush the roti with a little melted ghee, and cook oiled side for 2 minutes. Then brush some melted ghee on top, flip, and cook for 2 minutes more, until lightly browned on both sides.
    9. Serve with a dollop of plain, drained yogurt.
    Recipe from Yoga Journal, March 2009.

    Wednesday, February 17, 2010

    Sweet Potato Latkes

    This is a wonderful dish that smells delicious and can be changed up in so many ways (sweeter, more savory, crisper, as a scramble to be topped with an entree.....). I made it tonight just for myself (had to brave my food processor again) and it was just perfect after an appetizer of cheese and crackers and with a glass of wine (what doesn't go with wine though?), though I can see it making a nice brunch dish as well!

    Sweet potato cakes
    Served with whatever topping
    You're in the mood for!

    • 1 3/4 lb. sweet potatoes, peeled and shredded
    • 1/2 cup grated onion
    • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
    • 2 Tbsp olive oil
    • 2 Tbsp butter
    • 2 eggs
    1. Combine sweet potato, onion, flour, egg, salt, and pepper in a bowl. Shape into 1/4-inch thick patties.
    2. Heat a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray; add 1 tsp oil and half the butter. Add 3 patties. Cook 3 minutes; flip, and cook 2 minutes more, or until browned on both sides.
    3. Drain on paper-towel-lined plate. Repeat with remaining oil, butter, and patties.
    I had trouble keeping my pancakes together at first, but the crispier they were, the better they held. I topped mine with a little bit of plain drained yogurt, mixed with a bit of maple sugar and found it to be EXCELLENT.

    For a vegan variation, replace the butter with oil and the egg with 1/4 cup baked, pureed sweet potato.

    Recipe adapted from Vegetarian Times, January, 2010.

    Tuesday, February 16, 2010

    Curry Quinoa Salad

    I had this salad recently at a Superbowl party and loved it. I called the host and found out it was premade and from Whole Foods. Now, Whole Foods is great - and convenient! But, if I have all the ingredients already or can get them from a local source, and I'm not crunched for time, I'd rather make it myself. This is my first attempt at replicating it and am quite pleased with how it has turned out. You want to make this a day ahead of time so that all the flavors can settle together.

    Always have on hand
    A salad with no lettuce
    A quick, healthy snack!

    • Quinoa (1/2 cup precooked)
    • French Green Lentils (1/2 cup precooked)
    • 2 medium carrots
    • 3 Tbsp fresh chopped cilantro
    • 6 Tbsp Red Wine Vinegar
    • 2 Tbsp lemon juice (fresh)
    • 1 Tbsp fresh minced ginger
    • 1/2 tsp Curry powder
    • 1/4 tsp turmeric
    • 1 clove garlic
    • 1/4 tsp salt
    • Black Pepper
    1. Simmer the lentils, covered for 30 minutes, or until tender, but still retaining shape.
    2. Simmer the quinoa, covered for 12 minutes. Drain both and mix together in a medium-sized mixing bowl.
    3. Chop the garlic and ginger and add to a measuring cup, mashing both together. Add the red wine vinegar, lemon juice, spices and salt. Whisk together and set aside.
    4. Grate the carrots into the quinoa-lentil salad and then chop and add the cilantro. Mix together and add the vinegar dressing.
    5. Drizzle 1 Tbsp olive oil over the top of the salad and add freshly ground black pepper. Mix, cover, and refrigerate until the next day when it makes a wonderful side dish or a hearty snack!
    Wash and dry your knife immediately! And to get the garlic smell off your hands, first rinse your hands with cold water, then rub your fingers with salt, wash it off, and wash your hands again with warm water (first beware of any cuts you might have on your skin! I have been watching Julia Child's cooking show, and though I'm not into French cooking, she impresses important techniques upon her viewers such as these, which I'm happy to incorporate into my less-refined cooking!

    Thursday, February 11, 2010

    Russian-Style Aubergines

    I got this recipe out of a Romanian cookbook that was given to me, and as usual, I was looking for a new way to cook what I already had in the house. In Romanian, this is called Mincare de Vinete Preparata Ruseste (with various accent-type marks that I don't know how to duplicate on Blogger).

    Warm, mushy veggies
    Satisfying and tasty
    In these winter months

    • 3 aubergines (eggplant)
    • salt
    • 2 Tbsp. flour
    • 4 Tbsp Olive oil
    • 1 carrot
    • 3 large potatoes
    • 1 celery stalk
    • 1 lb. tomatoes
    • 2 cloves garlic (chopped)
    • 1 cup tomato sauce
    • 1 tbsp chopped dill
    • 1 tbsp chopped parsley
    • 1/2 tsp sugar
    • Pepper
    1. Cut the tops off the aubergines and slice them into circles 3/4 inches wide. Sprinkle the slices with salt and leave 1 hour.
    2. Next, squeeze out all the water in the slices and dry them well with paper towels. Flour the slices on both sides.
    3. Fry in oil over high heat, 3 minutes per side until golden. You will have to do this in stages - remove already fried eggplant slices to a plate while you continue frying the rest.
    4. While the eggplant slices are being fried, thinly slice the potatoes, carrot and celery.
    5. Remove the fried eggplant slices to a plate and with the remaining oil (I found that I had to use a little more than this recipe called for), cook the vegetables, over medium heat for 15 minutes, until all the vegetables soften.
    6. While the vegetables are cooking, let the dog out, make some tea, and slice the tomatoes. Arrange, in a baking dish, a layer of sliced tomatoes. Top with a layer of eggplant and a bit of the garlic.
    7. Once the vegetables are ready, top the eggplant-tomato dish with some of the vegetables. Continue layering in this way until you are out of eggplant and vegetables. Top with one last layer of tomatoes.
    8. Mix the tomato sauce with the dill, parsley, sugar, more garlic, more salt, and pepper. Pour over the vegetables.
    9. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes and serve hot.
    I only had one eggplant, so I only used one potato. And a third of everything else that could be divided. I found this recipe took some time since the eggplant slices had to be fried in shifts. This would be delicious with a dollop of sour cream (or plain yogurt for the more health-conscious) or maybe some crumbled goat cheese on top.

    Recipe from The Art of Romanian Cooking by Galia Sperber.

    Wednesday, February 10, 2010

    Vegetable Samosa PotPie

    I have been into Indian spices recently, so it was convenient when I found this recipe in Vegetarian Times. Usually when I peruse for recipes, I'm looking for something that will use what I already have in the house. This delicious recipe fit the bill! And as a plus, it is satisfying, tasty, a good winter comfort dish and it is healthy to boot!

    Now, who wouldn't want
    Nutrition, warmth and flavor
    In one piece of pie?

    • 5 medium potatoes, peeled and quartered
    • Piecrust (just the top)
    • 1 Tbsp black or yellow mustard seeds
    • 2 tsp curry powder
    • 1 tsp ground ginger
    • 1/2 tsp cumin
    • 1/8 tsp red pepper flakes, optional
    • 1 1/2 tsp vegetable oil
    • 1 medium onion, diced (1 cup)
    • 2 medium carrots, diced (1/2 cup)
    • 3 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1 cup frozen peas
    • 1 cup low-sodium vegetable broth
    • 2 tsp agave nectar or sugar
    • 2 Tbsp milk
    1. Cook the potatoes in boiling water 15 minutes, or until tender. Drain, return to pot, and mash, leaving small chunks.
    2. While potatoes are cooking, stir together mustard seeds, curry, ginger, cumin, and red pepper flakes in a bowl; set aside.
    3. Heat oil in skillet over medium heat. Ad onion, carrot, and garlic, and saute 5 minutes, or until carrot is tender.
    4. Move onion mixture to the side of the pan, and add mustard seed mixture in the center. Toast for 30 seconds.
    5. Stir in peas and broth. Fold onion mixture into potato mixture; stir in agave nectar. Season with salt and pepper, if desired.
    6. Spread filling in a 9 inch pie pan and place the crust (either handmade or frozen, whatever) on top.
    7. Cut an X in the center to vent steam; brush with milk just before baking. Place pie on baking sheet, and bake 40 to 50 minutes, or until crust is golden. Let stand 5 minutes before serving. Don't burn the roof of your mouth. You'll be tempted - it smells so good!
    Since there is no bottom crust, the serving is not going to be beautiful. I had mine with a dollop of plain yogurt on top. If you need meat, use chicken broth instead of vegetable broth. If you practice vegan eating, use soymilk or hempmilk instead of cowmilk.

    For an idea on how to use this as part of a meal, check out this Indian Food menu.

    Recipe from Vegetarian Times, January 2010.

    Thursday, January 14, 2010

    Dal and Raita

    A version of this meal was made for me the other night and two of my favorite things to eat in the winter are warm lentils and yogurt. So, I tried it out today - with the wrong kinds of lentils and without the exact ingredients. My recipe for these dishes might change as I learn how they're supposed to be made, but this is pretty tasty for now!

    • 10 oz bag of lentils (I used sprouted green lentils)
    • 2 medium sized onions
    • 1 can of diced tomatoes (14.5 oz)
    • 3.5 tsp cumin
    • 3.5 tsp turmeric
    • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
    • 1 tsp garam masala
    • 3 Tbsp butter
    • 1 handful fresh cilantro
    • 6 oz or so of plain, greek-style yogurt
    • 1/3 cucumber
    • 1/3 fresh tomato
    • Water
    • 4 cloves garlic
    • 3 Tbsp minced fresh ginger
    • 1 large chili pepper
    1. Rinse the lentils and throw them in a pot. Cover with water and set to boil over medium-high heat.
    2. Chop the onions finely and add all but 2 Tbsp to the pot. Add water to cover the lentils again and continue cooking.
    3. Add the diced tomato and stir, covering with water again while the lentils continue cooking.
    4. Add the dry spices (reserving 1/4 tsp of mustard seeds) and stir.
    5. Finely chop the garlic, ginger and chili and add to the pot, stirring and covering with water.
    6. Cover the pot mostly and turn down the heat to low. Stir every 15 minutes and add more water if necessary.
    7. Meanwhile, finely chop the cucumber, tomato and a bit of the cilantro and stir into the yogurt. Add the remaining 1/4 tsp of mustard seeds and stir. Cover and refrigerate for later.
    8. Continue cooking the lentil mixture over low heat, partially covered for an hour and a half. You will need to stir it every 15 minutes and add more water as it boils off and is absorbed by the lentils.
    9. When it is finished cooking, stir in the butter and add the remaining cilantro, chopped.
    10. Turn on a fan and open the windows, this hearty dish has a lingering aroma!
    11. Serve with naan and the raita for a healthy and delicious meal.
    When I first had this, it was served also with potatoes and a delicious rice, but I haven't figured out how to make this yet, so I can only recommend eating it the way I am going to eat it tonight!
    For an idea on how to use this as part of a meal, check out this Indian Food menu.

    Wednesday, January 13, 2010

    A Quasi-Indian-Food Experiment

    One of my favorite aspects of cooking is to come up with recipes on the fly based on what I have in the house, and a general knowledge of a type of cuisine. When I cook for myself on a daily basis, I might throw together an Asian-style stir-fry, or a Thai curry, or an Italian vegetable dish or a Mexican type of breakfast. However, I have never been able to cook Indian food that way - or any way at all, really.

    Recently though, a friend had me over for dinner and cooked Indian food and was generous enough to talk about what went into the dishes he prepared. Though I do need to get myself over to a spice shop and pick up a few necessary ingredients, here is my first (nay - second) attempt. (The first attempt just tasted like spinach.) This one, however, was GOOD.

    Quite healthy and green
    Experimental cooking
    Now, try it yourself!


    • Cumin (powdered, though seeds are preferred)
    • Ginger (powdered, though fresh is preferred)
    • Turmeric
    • Fenugreek seed
    • Cilantro (dried, though fresh would be better)
    • Red Pepper (powdered, not flaked)
    • Garlic (powdered, because I was out of fresh)
    • Onion, chopped
    • One potato
    • Spinach, chopped
    • Arugula
    • Plain Yogurt
    • Naan (Why not? It was in the house.)
    • Butter
    • Olive or canola oil
    1. Melt the butter over low-medium heat. Add a little oil and heat one minute.
    2. Add the spices - all of them and mix, inhaling, because it will smell good.
    3. Add the onion and cook two minutes while microwaving the potato for the same amount of time.
    4. Cube the potato and add to the mix. Stir. Maybe add a little more olive oil and another dose of all the spices.
    5. Add the spinach and stir.
    6. Add the arugula and stir. Cook for three minutes longer.
    7. Remove entire contents of pan to a plate and enjoy with a side of yogurt and a piece of naan. Or a tortilla.
    I need mustard seeds. And cumin seeds. And another example dinner to learn from!

    I'll follow up with a recipe you can actually follow once I've tried this a few more times.
    For ideas on how to use this as part of a meal, check out this Indian Food Menu.
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