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 12, 2011

Almond Crescent Cookies

The holidays are upon us and festive food is just so much fun!  Though I don't have much of a sweet tooth, there is something so special about these cookies and I feel the need to indulge in them every year!

I tried this recipe with Bob's Red Mill Gluten-Free flour and it worked quite well! 

 What is not to love?
Holiday Crescent Cookies
Good for the Spirit.

  • 1 cup butter, room temperature
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  1.  Cream the butter and the sugar together until light and fluffy.  Add the extracts and mix.
  2. Add the flour and almond flour.  Mix thoroughly.  Dough should be slightly crumbly, but I find it is helpful to add a couple of tablespoons of warm water at this point and continue mixing.
  3. Take a generous tablespoon of the dough and roll it into a small ball.  From there, roll it between your hands and pinch the ends a bit to shape it into a crescent.  
  4. Place onto parchment paper on a cookie sheet and bake at 350F for 15-20 minutes or until a lightly golden brown.
  5. Pour the powdered sugar into a bowl and carefully, after cooling them briefly, one at a time place the cookies in the sugar bowl and cover with sugar.
This recipe makes about 24 cookies.

Pumpkin Risotto

During this busy holiday season,  I haven't had the luxury of time or the sense of calm to cook creatively.  I've been relying on old stand-bys like vegetable souffles, lentil soup, poached beets, and cheese and crackers.

But the other night, I finally had the time, the space, the quiet, and the drive.  And it was delicious!  Pictured below is the pumpkin risotto served with seared sea scallops, a delicious, if bland looking combination!

 Pumpkin risotto
A meal to linger over
Easy, yet special

  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cups arborio rice
  • 1 1/4 cup white wine
  • 4 cups vegetable or chicken broth
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1 tsp fresh ginger, grated or minced
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 Tbsp chopped fresh basil
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  1.  Sautee the onion in olive oil over medium heat for three to five minutes, or until soft.  
  2. Add the rice and allow to cook, stirring for a minute or two.  Slowly add the wine.
  3. Start to add the vegetable broth, one 1/2 cup at a time.  Allow the moisture to cook off (at least 5 minutes) before adding the next 1/2 cup.  Stir constantly.
  4. After about 20 minutes of this, the rice should be cooked through and you should have a thick, creamy consistency.  
  5. Add the remaining ingredients, stir well, cook a few minutes longer until heated through, and serve!
I really enjoy this risotto, which has a creamy subtle flavor, with seared sea scallops and a bit of Parmesan cheese grated on top.

You can make this with a fresh pumpkin, which was my intention, by scraping out the seeds (go ahead and roast them with salt to sprinkle over the sea scallops) and baking the pumpkin, in pieces, in the oven for 30 minutes or so.  I'll make it again and add more specific instructions.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Summer Salad

I can't believe I've never posted this before.  This is a "salad" I've been making every summer since I was in Spain in 2000.  I find each bite to be surprising and the combinations of flavors delicious.

The simplest things
A different way of thinking
Can make a great meal

  • 1 cup of cooked white rice
  • 1 apple (gala or fuji or the like), cubed
  • 1/4 cup green olives with pimentos
  • 1/2 cucumber, cubed
  • 1 large tomato, cubed
  • 1 avocado, peeled and cubed
  • olive oil
  1. Add a bit of olive oil to the rice and stir.  Chop and add the remaining ingredients. 
  2. Enjoy!  (This dish lasts in the fridge a couple of days, covered.)

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Gazpacho Shrimp Cocktail a la Zealous

It is summer.  It is tomato season.  They're best fresh and easiest to eat in soup form!  What do you do?!?!  Gazpacho to the rescue!  After a delightful gazpacho experience on a recent trip to Zealous, I decided that gazpacho was going to be at the center of my next cooking adventure.  They (at Zealous) served theirs in a martini glass with shrimp and topped with cucumber vodka.  Mine is only inspired by what I remember their gazpacho to taste like and I used fresh cucumber, instead of the vodka in case I want leftovers for lunch.

Gazpacho and shrimp
Perfect on hot summer days
Charmingly simple

  • Five large tomatoes
  • One large cucumber
  • Five cloves of garlic
  • Three green onions
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro
  • 1 medium jalapeno
  • 1 avocado
  • corn chips
  • olive oil
  • shrimp, cooked, peeled and deveined
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 lemon
  1. Chop and blend the tomatoes with green onions, garlic and cilantro until it is a thick soup consistency.  Add to the pureed cucumber.
  2. Chop and blend the jalapeno and red pepper until they become a thick soup consistency.  Add to the bowl with the previously blended ingredients.
  3. Chop the avocado and portion among serving bowls or glasses.  Crush a handful of tortilla chips into each bowl or glass atop the avocado.
  4. Stir the bowl full of pureed ingredients and spoon into each glass atop the avocado and tortilla chips.  
  5. Drizzle with olive oil, place cooked shrimp around the rim of the glass and garnish with a slice of cucumber and a slice of lemon.
 The Original

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Sweet Potato Quinoa Burgers

Everybody is grilling these days, or at least making burgers, and the standard fare for vegetarians when it comes to a burger is still pretty sad.  Enter the sweet potato quinoa burger....... and the meal is saved!

More inventive fare
Sweet Potatoes and Quinoa
For veggie burgers
  •  1/2 cup of lentils, dry
  • 1/2 cup quinoa, dry
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes
  • one medium onion
  • 1/2 cup grated carrots
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp coriander
  • 1 Tbsp curry powder
  • 1 Tbsp ketchup
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Cook the lentils until soft (can/should be done in advance).
  2. Microwave or boil the sweet potatoes until soft and mashable.
  3. Cook the quinoa in 3/4 cup water for 10-12 minutes over low heat.
  4. Combine the lentils, mashed sweet potato (yes - go ahead and mash them), and quinoa in a medium sized bowl.
  5. Saute the onion in a bit of olive oil.
  6. To the medium bowl, add the onions, the grated carrots, the spices and the ketchup and stir thoroughly.  Make into patties and fry on a griddle or in a large pan.
 Making a curry mayonnaise to accompany these burgers is fantastic.  In a food processor, add one egg yolk, a teaspoon of rice vinegar, and 1 1/2 teaspoons of lemon juice.  Drizzle in 3/4 of a cup of canola oil slowly while blending.  Add 1 teaspoon of curry and 1/4 teaspoon of paprika to the mayonnaise and mix.

This burger is excellent with a field green salad and a tasty gin drink called the Everest.

Recipe adapted from http://livlovelaugh.wordpress.com.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Pistachio Beets a la Purple Pig

I recently went to The Purple Pig, in downtown Chicago to try their selection of wines and cheeses.  Their specialties are cheeses, wines, and pork dishes, though I found their side items to be absolutely fantastic.  I had a fava bean dish with hard boiled eggs and bacon that I really enjoyed.  However, what topped the cake at this meal was the Salt-Roasted Beets with Whipped Goat Cheese & Pistachio Vinaigrette.  

It was rich and flavorful and had just the right amounts of sweetness and tartness.  Full of B vitamins, potassium, fiber and cheesy goodness, this makes an excellent dish for a pot-luck meal or even something to snack on all week.

 Colorful and bright
Spring food is so exciting,
Rich and nutritious!

  • 5 beets
  • salt
  • water
  • 8 oz goat cheese
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped pistachios
  • 1/4 cup sherry vinegar
  • olive oil
  • black pepper
  1.  Preheat the oven to 375F.  Peel and quarter the beets.  Place in a baking dish with 1/2 an inch of water and sprinkle with your favorite salt (not too flavorful - a smoky salt will ruin the taste of the pistachio vinaigrette).
  2. Cover with foil and bake for about 30 minutes, or until beets are soft when pricked with a fork.
  3. While the beets are baking, combine goat cheese and milk in a bowl and whip together until light and dollopable (word?  my mac editor says no.).  You may need to add more milk depending on the consistency of the goat cheese you use.
  4. Combine pistachios, vinegar, olive oil, and black pepper and set aside.
  5. When the beets are ready, let them cool a little bit so the cheese doesn't melt, and serve with a dollop of whipped cheese and drizzled with the pistacchio vinaigrette.

Serves 6.  Or just 1, for six days.

The Original

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Asparagus Cheese Souffle

Back to French Cooking.  Back to using recipes.  Back to spending an hour and a half at least on creating a beautiful meal that makes the evening feel special.  Tonight I made an asparagus souffle (asparagus season - yay!).

Light and fluffy, a souffle is satisfying, delicious, and makes the house smell wonderful.
Souffles are the best
To show off your kitchen skills
With a special dish

  • oil
  • 1 1/4 cups of milk
  • 3 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 3 Tbsp unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp dry mustard
  • 6 large eggs, separated and at room temperature
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • cayenne pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups (packed) grated mild cheddar
  • 1 1/2 cups asparagus tips
  • 1/2 tsp dried tarragon
  • 3 Tbsp fresh minced dill
  1.  Chop the asparagus and start steaming.
  2. Heat the milk in a saucepan or in the microwave to very hot but not yet boiling.  Remove it from the heat and set aside.
  3. Melt the butter in a medium-sized saucepan over medium-low heat.  Sprinkle in the flour and mustard, whisking constantly.  Turn the heat down to low, and continue to cook the resulting roux (a foundation sauce of fat and flour) for about a minute or two longer, stirring often.
  4. Slowly drizzle in the hot milk, whisking steadily.  Cook over low heat for 5 minutes, stirring frequently with a whisk and then a wooden spoon as it thickens.  Remove from the heat, and transfer to a large bowl.
  5. Beat the egg yolks with a fork just until they lose their shape and become runny, then drizzle them into the hot sauce, beating vigorously.  Add the salt, some black pepper, and cayenne to taste.
  6. Beat the egg whites until they form peaks that don't fall over when the whisk or beaters are lifted, and just a little liquid is left in the bottom of the bowl.
  7. Fold (or dump) the beaten whites into the sauce, sprinkling in the grated cheese as you fold, until the eggg whites are mostly incorporated.  Add the asparagus, tarragon and dill.  The mixture will not be uniform - there will be little puffs of "cloud" here and there (puffs of cloud may = clumps).  
  8. Transfer the mixture to the prepared dish.
  9. Bake in the center of the oven for 45 minutes, or until golden brown all over the puffy top surface.  Bring to the table and serve immediately.
I used a french herb blend that had a bit of tarragon in it instead of the straight tarragon.  It was fantastic.
Instead of the 3 Tbsp of fresh dill, if you must, you can use 1 Tbsp of dried minced dill.
I used Bob's Red Mill All-Purpose gluten-free flour.  It worked perfectly.
An electric blender makes souffle preparation quick and easy.  I've done it with a whisk.  It was just barely worth it.

Recipe from Mollie Katzen's Sunlight Cafe. 

Friday, May 6, 2011

Barbeque Pork Kimchee Tacos

Remember the Kimchee Shepherd's Pie?  Oh - this is even better

The trick to this, is to find really good farm fresh organic free range pork and get some good Kimchee.  Eventually I'll come up with my own recipe for kimchee and link it here.  But for tonight, I used kimchee made by my student, Criss Chang, which is a little sweeter than your average kimchee, but worked perfectly in this recipe.  Many restaurants will sell their kimchee to you as well.

Sweet, tangy, salty
This dish has got everything
Good leftover too!

  • 2 lbs 1 inch cubed pork, marbled,  from a reliable source
  • 1 cup kimchee
  • chopped lettuce
  • 2/3 cup barbeque sauce (your favorite)
  • cheddar cheese
  • corn tortillas (store bought, or homemade)
  1. In a large skillet or wok, cook the pork, approx 10 minutes over medium-high heat, stirring.  Add the barbeque sauce, stir, and cover.  Cook 10 minutes more.
  2. Uncover, keep cooking.  The sauce and pork should create a nice crust on the bottom of the pan.  Scrape this crust into the sauce and keep turning the pork over.
  3. In a small skillet, heat a corn tortilla on both sides.  Remove to serving plate and top with chopped lettuce, kimchee, barbeque sauteed pork, and grated cheese.
  4. Serve warm.  Great with a pinot noir.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Sake Beef Stew

You'd think that beef stew wouldn't be appropriate for the month of May, but we have average temperatures much lower than any that have been seen in the past 27 years in Chicago, so looking forward to a pot of beef stew is JUST RIGHT.

I'm no stranger to cooking with wine, so I thought I'd branch out a bit and give the hearty beef and onions a slightly sweeter taste by cooking them in sake.

Sake in Beef Stew
Traditional with a flair
ANY time of year!

  • 2 lbs grass-fed chuck-eye roast cubed for stew
  • 1 large onion
  • 5 large carrots, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 8 medium red potatoes
  • Vegetable broth
  • 8 oz frozen peas
  • Water
  • black pepper
  • salt
  • 1/2 cup sake
  • 5 Tbsp flour or other thickener
  1. Brown half of the onion (coarsely chopped) and beef in a skillet.  Drain the juices into a crockpot or stockpot.  Whisk flour into this juice and set aside.  Continue cooking and draining, until the beef and onion have created a crispy crust-like coating on the pan.  Dump the onion and beef in the pot and add a bit of water to the skillet to deglaze.  Scrape crust-like coating and water into the stockpot.  Add sake.
  2. Cube the onion and potatoes.  Add potatoes, onion and carrots to the pot.  Cook, uncovered until juices are at the bottom of the pot.  Add vegetable broth and water to cover and cook, covered, on medium for 90 minutes.  If in a crockpot, cook on high.
  3. 15 minutes before serving, add the frozen peas, salt, and pepper to taste.
Enjoy with bread and butter or over mashed potatoes or rice.

This dish can be made gluten-free by using a thickener besides wheat flour. 

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Chochoyota a la Biznaga

This was a soup that I had at La Biznaga, in Oaxaca my first night in Mexico.  It isn't exotic, but it was delicious and I plan on experimenting with it as a base for many future meals.

  • 15 oz chicken broth, plus water
  • 1/4 cup masa, plus water (approx 3 Tbsp)
  • 1 bunch watercress
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • dash of coriander
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

  1.  Heat chicken broth over medium heat.  
  2. While broth is cooking, combine masa and water and form into tiny balls.
  3. Add balls to the broth and let boil 5 minutes.
  4. Add salt and coriander.
  5. Wash and chop watercress and add to the broth.
  6. Cook another five minutes.
  7. Add freshly ground black pepper upon serving.
May be garnished with avocado, rice, crushed red pepper, or with added shredded chicken.

Salsa and Quesadillas

C'mon.  Who needs a recipe for salsa or quesadillas?  I know, I know.  But both turned out FABULOUSLY.  So, why not?

  • 3 large tomatoes, on the vine, from your yard, or heirloom.  Flavorful.
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • salt
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • corn tortillas
  • fresh mozarella
  • crushed red pepper or reconstituted ancho chilis
  • greek-style yogurt
  • 1 avocado
  • olive, canola, or sunflower oil

For the salsa:
  1. Cut three large tomatoes in half and place on a foil-lined cookie sheet.  Put in the oven at 375F for 20 - 25 minutes.
  2. In a blender or food processor, combine tomatoes, 4 cloves of garlic, a pinch or two of salt, and a dash of cumin.
  3. Blend.  
  4. Heat a frying pan.  Add 1 Tbsp oil and heat 30 seconds.  Add 1 corn tortilla.  Top with cheese and red pepper and another corn tortilla.  Press lightly and fry 2 minutes.
  5. Flip, and fry 3 minutes more.
  6. Flip one more time to get your very own personal favorite crispiness. 
  7. Remove to a plate and top with yogurt, salsa, and avocado.

Corn Tortillas

In an effort to make a meal from scratch/hot off the griddle/as fresh as can be like I had every day in Mexico, I decided to attempt to make my own corn tortillas.  The ones you can buy at the store here just never taste quite as good (though I WAS on vacation when I enjoyed those heavenly tortillas in Mexico - I don't know if that had anything to do with it). 

So, armed with a bag of masa, some wax paper and a rolling pin, I decided to get started.  [I did have a package of store-bought tortillas on hand so my meal wouldn't be ruined if my tortilla skills fell below par.]

The package directions said to mix 2 cups of masa with 1 1/4 cups of water.  No good.  Too dry.  Just keep adding water.  You need to do the mixing with your hands to get the right consistency too.  Once you've got it though, make 16 balls ready for pressing.

Placing the first ball on a sheet of wax paper, I covered it with another sheet of wax paper and applied my midwestern pie-crust rolling-pin skills to the ball.  No good.  It wasn't round; it wasn't uniform.  In the cooking class I took in Mexico, we used a tortilla press, so I got out a frying pan and tried that.  Finally, by tortilla #12, I had perfected the frying pan/rolling pin method of pressing tortillas.  It goes as follows:

1.  Place to-be-tortilla ball in the center of a sheet of wax paper.

2.  Cover with another similar sized piece of wax paper.

3.  Quickly and evenly, press down on the top piece of wax paper with a heavy frying pan.

4.  Rock back and forth and to each side while pressing into the frying pan with all your might.

5.  Use the rolling pin four strokes to 2 and 8 o'clock followed by four strokes to 10 and 4 o'clock.  Be careful to keep the pressure in the center of the tortilla so the sides do not end up too thin.

6.  Do this a few times, and apply the frying pan one more time.  Heat a dry griddle, heavy frying pan, or comal on the stovetop to medium - high.

7.  Lift the wax paper with the flattened tortilla nestled inside and flip over.  Remove the top (previously bottom) layer of wax paper.  Flip the tortilla into your hand and place on heated griddle, thick frying pan, or comal (though if you have a comal, you probably have a tortilla press and have no need of this post).

8.  After 10 seconds, flip the tortilla.  After 2 minutes, flip it again.  It might (if you're lucky) start to puff up.  After another 20 seconds or so remove it from the griddle/heavy bottomed frying pan/comal to a dishtowel, or tortilla warmer.

9.  Tah dah!

    These tortillas are a little thicker than the ones you're used to (unless you're really strong, in which case you can come over here and help me out), but they are excellent for open-faced tacos, quesadillas and dipping.

     If you want to be more authentic about it, it looks like this.

    Tuesday, April 5, 2011

    Tostada de tinga de zanahorias a la Jicara (en Oaxaca)

    Okay folks.  I've just come back from Mexico, where the food was fabulous and I have all sorts of renewed energy.  I was in Oaxaca - and at a place called Jicara, I had a tostada of carrot tinga with lentil humus, sour cream and Parmesan cheese.  Even though I took a cooking class there featuring much more traditional Oaxacan cuisine (post to follow), this was what was easiest to make in the U.S. with what I had on hand.

    What a perfect super-food
    Creative to boot!

    • lentils (approx 1 cup)
    • water
    • salt
    • garlic (1 clove)
    • corn tortillas
    • carrots (approx 1 cup)
    • chipotle chiles or peppers (in a can)
    • 1/2 medium onion
    • 1/2 medium roasted tomato
    • plain yogurt
    • Parmesan cheese
    1. Rinse, soak and cook the lentils, over medium heat in enough water to cover them, approx 45 minutes.
    2. Put one small tomato, or half of a medium tomato in the oven to roast (on foil on a cookie sheet at 375F for 25 minutes).
    3. When the lentils and tomato are nearing completion, heat a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Add olive oil and warm.  Add chopped onions and cook until transparent. 
    4. Grate carrots in food processor and add to onions in the pan.  Chop, grate, or process tomato and chiles and add to carrot mixture.  
    5. In a clean, dry pan, heat corn tortillas.  Top one tortilla with lentil mixture, carrot mixture, dabs of plain yogurt and grated Parmesan cheese.
    6. This is excellent with homemade salsa (while you're roasting tomatoes - why not?).

    The original.

    More traditionally, you could try making a chicken tinga.  Use one tomato, half a can of chipotle peppers, half an onion and two chicken breasts, boiled and shredded.

    It is fabulous topped with salsa, sour cream, and avocado.

    Tuesday, February 1, 2011

    Creamy Pea Soup

    There is something about eating brilliant colors that intrigues me.   Egg yolks, carrots, merlot.....  And trust me, the greenest green you're going to eat all week is going to be this pea soup.  Hmmm.  It is a lot prettier in person.

    The color of spring
    A dash of summer's flavors
    Keeps me through winter

    • 4 Tbsp unsalted butter
    • 2 medium leeks, white and light green parts chopped fine
    • 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
    • 3 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
    • 1 1/2 lbs frozen peas (about 4 1/2 cups), partially thawed at room temp. 10 min.
    • 12 leaves of Boston lettuce from 1 small head, washed and dried
    • 1/2 cup heavy cream
    • salt and pepper
    1. Heat butter in large saucepan over low heat until foaming.  Add leeks and cook, covered, until softened, 8 - 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
    2. Add flour, and cook, stirring constantly, until thoroughly combined, about 30 seconds.  Stirring constantly, gradually ad chicken broth.  Increase heat to high and bring to boil.  Reduce heat to medium0low and simmer 3-5 minutes.
    3. Meanwhile, in workbowl of food processor fitted with steel blade, process partially thawed peas until coarsely chopped, about 20 seconds.  Add peas and lettuce to simmering broth.  Increase heat to medium-high, cover, and return to simmer; simmer for 3 minutes.  Uncover and reduce heat to medium-low and continue to simmer 2 minutes longer.
    4. Working in batches, puree soup in blender until smooth.  Return pureed mixture to saucepan and stir in cream.  Warm soup over low heat until hot, about 3 minutes.  Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve immediately. 

    I enjoyed mine with bread and butter.  I can't wait for the leftovers!  I think I'll try it mixed with rotini noodles and sauteed broccoli and mushrooms for a warm pasta salad.

    Recipe from Cooks Illustrated Soup and Stew 2011 issue.

    Italian Lentil and Escarole Soup

    The wind is blowing, the snow is coming down, and it is time to warm yourselves inside with a hearty, healthy, colorful soup.  One that goes well with a glass of wine is a plus!  And so..... a delicious lentil soup:  I love finding new ways to use lentils.  While soup isn't really a new way, this tasty soup makes eating lentils in the winter seem like a much fresher experience.  And the escarole in this soup was a stroke of genius!
    I like escarole
    I hate throwing away cheese
    Perfect solution.

    • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
    • a couple of carrots, chopped
    • 1 medium onion, diced
    • a couple of celery ribs, diced
    • 6 medium garlic cloves, chopped
    • 3 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley leaves
    • 1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes
    • 8 oz french green lentils, sorted and rinsed
    • 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
    • 2 bay leaves
    • 1 Parmesan cheese rind (about 4x2 inches)
    • 1 head escarole, chopped
    1. Combine the oil, carrot, onion, celery, garlic, parsley, and 3/4 tsp of salt in a heavy-bottomed, large Dutch oven over medium heat.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are quite soft, dramatically reduced in volume, and very lightly browned, 17 to 20 minuts.
    2. Increase heat to medium-high and add tomatoes, lentils, chicken broth, 3 cups water, bay leaves, and Parmesan rind; bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to low, partially cover, and simmer until lentils are soft, 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours.
    3. Stir in the escarole and cook until wilted, about 5 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve immediately in warmed bowls, drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with Parmesan cheese.
    I had never thought about using a rind of cheese this way (make sure it is a nice dark one, and isn't a piave or another parmesan substitute), nor was I big on stirring lettuce into soups, but this worked really well.  And any chance to drizzle good olive oil over something has me in raptures.  This does take quite a while to make.  Including chopping and cooking the lentils, two hours start to finish.

    Recipe from Cooks Illustrated, Soups and Stews, 2011.

    Thursday, January 13, 2011

    Organic "Mushroom sauce free" stroganoff

    Well, this is my first post on Aubrey's blog, but having recently re-discovered a childhood recipe with a healthy alternative, I had to blog it. I combined this with my as of late fascination with fermented foods to create an all new sauce that closely mimics that used in my childhood favorite, beef stroganoff:

    appetizingly delicious: Mushroom sauce
    and grass fed beef

    • Kefir cultured from organic milk
    • Tahini
    • Qt. Mushrooms
    • 1 Ibs Free range grass FINISHED ground beef (or 100% grass fed)
    • Black pepper
    • Organic brown rice
    1. Culture a batch of kefir for 4-5 days (or just buy the regular Lifeway plain stuff
    2. In a blender, blend on high your kefir and tahini to taste. You should end up with a greyish looking cream sauce that tastes reminiscent of smoked mushrooms. Let sit in fridge for 2 days to gain viscosity.
    3. Start cooking your rice (this is the longest step)
    4. Pan cook your beef and using the spatula, mash into fine pieces.
    5. Chop mushrooms and add to beef.
    6. Add cream mixture and stir.
    7. Serve rice with stroganoff topped over.

    Tuesday, January 11, 2011

    Red Wine Poached Beets and Goat Cheese a la Mexique

    Every time I go to Mexique, chef Carlos presents another meal that I just can't live without!  Of course, rather than keep going every week, I've figured out how to make it at home and am sharing it here with you.  This is a beautiful looking dish, listed on their menu as "betabel," perfect this time of year.

    Fragrant, savory
    Beets.  It is what's for dinner.
    Delicious, healthy

    • 2 medium beets
    • 3/4 cup of red wine
    • 3/4 cup of water
    • balsalmic vinegar
    • goat cheese (5 oz or so), frozen
    • 1 egg, lightly beaten
    • flour
    • watercress (or another sweet green) 
    • cooking oil
    1. Peel the beets and cut into slices.
    2. Over medium-high heat, warm the beets, wine and water (to cover the beets) until boiling.  Cover the pot and reduce heat to medium.  Simmer 30 minutes, or until beets are soft enough to eat.
    3.  Cut the frozen goat cheese into four pieces.  Dip each piece into the egg to coat, and then the flour to coat.
    4. On each plate (this recipe serves four), drizzle balsalmic vinegar.  Top with watercress, then 2 slices of beets.
    5. Turn up the heat on the liquid that held the beets and boil to reduce to a more syrupy texture.
    6. Heat the oil in a pan and fry the coated goat cheese over medium approximately 5 minutes on each side, until browned.
    7. Place one slice of fried goat cheese on each plate and drizzle with the redwine reduction.
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