Sunday, December 9, 2007

Guinness Battered Basa with Oven Roasted Rosemary Chips and Escarole Apple Salad

I was in the mood for Fish and Chips today. This is a variation that suited my mood. Instead of ale, I used Guinness for a deeper, earthier flavor, and instead of frying the chips, I baked them in the oven with rosemary. Any substantial white fish will do here, but I am partial to basa, which is similar to catfish but with a much cleaner flavor. Sweet enterprise apples accompanied the fish and chips very well!


Guinness Battered Basa
Serves 4

2 cups flour
12 oz bottle Guinness
Canola oil
Salt and pepper
Lemon wedges

The fish is very simple. Heat 1/2 inch oil in a skillet over medium high heat until hot.

In a bowl, sift 1 1/2 cups flour and whisk in beer. Let sit for 15 minutes to relax the gluten in the flour.

Rinse and pat dry the basa and cut into 2 inch pieces. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Dredge the fish pieces in 1/2 cup of the flour and set aside on a dish. Do not dredge in the batter until you are ready to fry the fish.

When ready to fry fish, dredge the pieces in the beer batter and slide the pieces into the skillet. Fry for about 5 minutes, flipping, until golden brown. Transfer to a plate with paper towels until ready to serve. Serve warm with lemon wedges.


Oven Roasted Rosemary Chips
Serves 2 (Double to serve 4)

2 baking potatoes
olive oil
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Peel potatoes and cut into 1/2 inch fries, lengthwise. Place in a non-stick baking dish with enough olive oil to coat and salt and pepper. Place in oven for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, stir the potatoes and sprinkle desired amount of rosemary. The potatoes may seem to be sticking to the pan at this point. This is ok. After the chips are done cooking and when the pan cools, the bits on the pan will come off easily. Place the potatoes back in the oven for another 15 minutes. Serve hot.

Apple and Escarole Salad
Serves 2
6 leaves curly escarole
1 enterprise apple
Muscat orange vinegar

Wash escarole leaves and chop by hand. Evenly distribute on plates. Cut apple in quarters and remove cores with a paring knife. Chop into small pieces and distribute over escarole. Top with a drizzle of the vinegar.

This Week's Menu

I'm starting to fall in love with my new slow cooker, and I made sure to plan a menu where almost every meal has a slow-cooked piece. For example, the refried beans for the burritos, the marinara sauce, and the beef stew will all be done in the slow cooker.

Slow-cooked oatmeal with apples and cinnamon

Refried Black Bean Burritos, with Roasted Vegetables, Rice, Salsa, and Guacamole

Guinness-Battered Basa with Oven-Roasted Rosemary Chips and Apple Escarole Salad
Gnocchi or Portabello-Shiitake Ravioli in Homemade Marinara and with Sauteed Spinach
Crepe Manicotti
Cranberry Beef Stew (made with organic and grass-fed beef) with Steamed Broccoli
Pizza with Tomatoes, Mozzarella and Pancetta

Sunday, December 2, 2007

This Week's Menu

It's getting quite cold here in the Bay Area, colder than I remember it getting here, down to the 40's at night. Because of this, I'm in the mood for warm, comforting foods. We also ordered a Cuisinart Slow Cooker with a gift certificate, and it should be arriving this week, so we'll have to try it out! Here's our planned menu for the week:


Apricot and Cherry Granola with yogurt

Lunch (for my lunch group)
Italian Pasta and Bean Stew

Seared Orange Scallops with sauteed peppers
Frittata with Tuscan Kale (got this from Lucullian Delights and it looks wonderful!)
French Beans with Smoked Sausage
Fresh Vegetable Penne

Pasta and Bean Stew

My grandmother made this dish for us, and I find it yummy to have a bean gravy with your pasta. This version is a vegetarian version derived from “Food and Memories of Abruzzo, Italy’s Pastoral Land,” by Anna Teresa Callen.

1 pound cranberry beans, picked over and washed
1 celery rib with leaves
2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
2 sprigs fresh parsely
2 bay leaves
1 piece of Parmesan rind (a large hunk of the hard rind left from a Parmesan wheel)
1 medium onion, quartered
1 medium carrot, peeled and cut into 4 pieces
1 sprig fresh parsley
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 16 oz. can pureed tomatoes
1 teaspoon tomato paste
Freshly ground black pepper
Red pepper flakes
1 cup short pasta, such as tubetti or lumachine

Soak beans and drain and rinse. Place beans, celery, garlic, parsley, and bay leaves in a large soup pot. Add 2½ quarts of cold water. Bring to a boil. Add the Parmesan rind to the beans. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer until the beans are tender, about 2 hours.

To prepare the sauce, place the veggies, including the parsley, in a food processor to chop finely. In a 10-inch skillet, heat the oil over medium heat and add the chopped vegetables. Cook, stirring, until soft, about 5 to 8 minutes. Add the canned tomatoes and tomato paste, stir, add pepper and the red pepper flakes. Cook the sauce over medium-low heat at a simmer for about 10 to 15 minutes.

With a slotted spoon, remove the celery, garlic, and parsley that was cooked with the beans. Place these in a food processor with 1 cup of the beans. Puree and return to the pot. Add the sauce, bring the soup back to a boil, reduce heat to low, and summer 10 to 15 minutes longer.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta in plenty of boiling water for about 5 minutes. Drain. Add the pasta to the beans and bring the soup back to a boil and cook until the pasta is done, 5 to 8 minutes. Let the soup rest 5 minutes before serving.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Baked Wonton Chips

I made a stir fry tonight, and Cooking Light suggested baking wonton wrappers to make chips.....It was great! This is what I did:

1/2 package round wontons
olive oil spray (I use a misto sprayer)
garlic salt

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray a baking sheet with olive oil. Place wonton wrappers on the tray and spray with olive oil. Shake garlic salt on top and bake for about 8 minutes until golden.

Yum, yum, yum!!

Monday, November 26, 2007

One Year Anniversary!

I can hardly believe that it's already been a year since I started this blog. Reflecting back on this year, I can see that my blog ended up not being what I thought it would be and that it has offered what I didn't imagine.

I envisioned this blog to be a resource for Ayurvedic recipes and that each recipe would contain nutritional information. Instead, it has become a log of the meals created throughout the year, through the seasons, and my cravings, whims, and successes and failures. I have to say that I am the opposite of many people when it comes to cooking. Rather than getting bored with the same dishes, I tend to make different meals all the time. Because of this, my husband and I can't remember what dishes I made that were better than others, and I don't give myself a chance to perfect anything. Now that I have a year's worth of seasonal dishes, I have proof of recipes I can come back to and try again to make better the next time around.

I found that my most vocal audience are my friends and other friendly pescetarians out there. Thank you to everyone for your comments and to my husband and friends at work for photography tips. I never thought I would like taking shots so much, and it wasn't until I started taking the pictures that I realized how difficult it can be to make a nice image. I also never realized that food photos are so different from other kinds of shots.

So here's to another year of recipes, photos, stories, and ideas. Hope to see you there!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

I hope everyone had a fantastic Thanksgiving!! I want to post what we had this year, because it was a bit untraditional and fed 5 people for dinner and lunch perfectly. There's no need to find creative and alternate ways to eat your turkey this year.

My parents drove up here from Santa Barbara and brought with them a pork roast marinated in a chipotle sauce. They also brought wine, a potato-sweet potato hash, and orange cranberry sauce. My brother brought a pumpkin and apple pie, and we made:

Baked Brussel Sprouts - I will post this family recipe later and soon.
Spinach and Apple Salad with Crispy Almonds
Pumpkin Pie (with no eggs or evaporated milk, the best pumpkin pie I've had yet) - this pie will be posted soon and will probably become my dish for our holiday potluck at work.
Bourbon Pecan Pie with chocolate drizzles - As most of the reviewers suggested, I also increased the amount of chocolate from 1/2 ounce to 1 ounce and would increase the pecans to a full cup or more. I hate store-bought crusts, so I made a homemade butter and shortening crust. The bourbon flavor was good, but make sure you buy good bourbon. I used Knob Creek Small Batch Bourbon. Next year, I will probably try an egg-less and corn syrup-less pecan pie from Heaven's Banquet and may try to incorporate the bourbon and chocolate into that recipe. We'll see!

Chocolate-Bourbon Pecan Pie

Alternative Thanksgiving Vegetarian Main Dishes
Personally, I am not a fan of fake meat. I think you should either eat meat or not, and this is probably because I'm not a fan of processed foods. The fewer ingredients an ingredient contains, the better, in my opinion. So, when choosing a Thanksgiving main dish, I want to nourish my family and guests with food I've made from scratch with single, stable ingredients. For all the vegetarians out there, here are some vegetarian main courses we've had a lot of luck with in the past. Most Thanksgiving side dishes don't contain meat and are perfect as they are. Posts will come soon:

Wild Rice and Mushroom Brioche with Buttered Shallot and Wine Sauce
Mushroom and Caramelized-Shallot Strudel
Lasagna with Fall Vegetables, Gruyère, and Sage Béchamel

Other ideas can be found here:
Cooking Light and Southern Living Vegetarian Thanksgiving Menus - Full menus if you want it all laid out for you in advance.
In a Vegetarian Kitchen with Nava Atlas - Some great mix and match ideas with recipes included.
Fabulous Foods Thanksgiving - There are some great looking main dishes here.

When a Non-Vegetarian Cook Hosts a Vegetarian Guest - A great resource when you're not quite sure what to do when you've invited a vegetarian to your traditional Thanksgiving dinner.

All this information is a bit late for Thanksgiving planning this year, but I hope it will pop up again next year when we're not sure what to do! Again, Happy Thanksgiving and Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Sweet Italian Sausage, Escarole, and Rice Soup

I'm posting a recipe that can have meat in it, but I think making the usual substitutions will make it yummy, as well. Ever since we got back from Brazil, my husband and I have been eating meat occasionally. So unfortunately, we can no longer say that we are officially pescetarian. Even though we normally eat vegetarian, I feel wrong saying that I'm even pescetarian. But, I will do my best to post only recipes that vegetarians or pescetarians would be interested to try. Let me know if you have recipe suggestions or would like to see more of a certain kind of recipe.

This is a quick and satisfying soup that fit the bill when I wasn't feeling so well. This is actually a soup I made up while in the grocery store, based on my cravings at the moment. I was pleasantly surprised!! Sorry, no picture this time. We ate it too quickly!

Sweet Italian Sausage, Escarole, and Rice Soup
Serves 4

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 large cloves garlic, minced
3 sweet Italian sausages, sliced (Tofurky Italian sausages are a very yummy substitute! If you used Tofurky, I suggest adding a teaspoon of fennel seeds with the sausage for extra flavor)
6 small roma tomatoes, sliced
1 bunch escarole, cleaned and sliced
4 cups chicken or light-colored veggie broth
1/2 cup rice

Heat olive oil in a large pot and add garlic. Saute until fragrant. Add sausage and cook until browned and heated through. Add the tomatoes, and cook until the tomatoes are heated through. Add the escarole and cook until starting to wilt. Add broth and bring to a boil. Add rice. Reduce to a simmer and simmer for 15 minutes. Serve warm with some slices of good bread.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Pink Pearl Apple Sauce

In the beginning of Autumn, Hillview Farm had an abundance of Pink Pearl apples at the farmer's market. These cute, little apples, make a beautifully pink apple sauce that is sweet and tart and melds wonderfully with a little butter and thyme. I used the apple sauce to top my Swedish pancakes, and the sweetness proved to be much healthier and more satisfying than topping the pancakes with syrup!!

This recipe is derived from a generic recipe in a cookbook my friend gave me for my birthday, "The San Francisco Ferry Plaza Farmer's Market Cookbook."

Swedish Pancakes Topped with Pink Pearl Apple Sauce

Pink Pearl Apple Sauce
Makes as much as you want

Pink Pearl apples, cored, peeled and sliced (I used about 2 pounds)
Apple juice
1-2 tablespoons butter
Fresh thyme

Place apple slices in a heavy post and pour in apple juice to reach halfway up the apples. Bring to a simmer, cover, and cook until apples are tender about 20 to 30 minutes. Add the butter and any sugar, salt, or thyme to taste. I you want a chunky apple sauce, you can serve it, as is. Or, if you want a smoother apple sauce, blend slightly with a hand blender or with a food mill.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Easy Lime Mousse

The acid in the lime juice makes the cream congeal, so no cooking is necessary. It’s as easy as mixing and refrigerating! This is fantastic as a refreshing dessert.

Lime Mousse

Easy Lime Mousse
2 cups

4 limes, squeezed
1 can condensed milk
1 cup whipping cream

Mix all ingredients in a food processor or blender and refrigerate before serving.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Orange-yogurt muffins

These are eggless muffins that require some sort of acid to raise the bread. Citric acid, buttermilk, or yogurt can do the trick. Here, both the orange juice and low fat yogurt work together to make a chewy muffin with a crispy outside.

Orange-yogurt muffins

Orange-yogurt muffins
Makes 12

1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup white, unbleached flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon orange zest
3/4 cup yogurt (can mix part with water if the yogurt is very thick)
3/4 cup orange juice

Mix together dry ingredients. Add wet ingredients and mix until just combined. Do not overmix. Spoon batter into a buttered muffin pan. Bake for 20 minutes in a 400 degree oven.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Favorite Banana Bread

This is a derived recipe from the Joy of Cooking. We like to add more bananas, and I mix the ingredients differently to save time. The result is a very moist banana bread that really tastes like fresh bananas!

In this picture, I doubled the recipe to use a whole bunch of bananas. We usually eat this for breakfast with some plain yogurt.


My Favorite Banana Bread
Makes 1 loaf

1 1/3 cups flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
5 1/3 teaspoons unsalted butter
2/3 cup sugar
2 eggs, beaten
3 bananas, mashed with a fork

Combine butter and sugar in a large bowl and beat until light in color and texture. Add flour, salt, baking soda and powder and beat until the consistency of brown sugar. Beat in eggs. Fold in the mashed banana. Pour batter into a greased loaf pan and bake in a 350 degree oven for one hour. Allow to cool slightly before turning the loaf out of the pan. Store wrapped in foil in the refrigerator.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Vegetarian Feijoada

Feijoada is Brazil's national dish and is traditionally made with black or brown beans and many different kinds of fresh and cured meats. It is usually served with rice, a shredded green, such as mustard greens, and with fried pork chops, farofa (manioc crumbs with spices), orange slices, and caipirinhas to cut all the fat and heaviness in your stomach. It is truly a well-designed meal that satisfies!

In the US, it's not easy to find farofa, nor is the many kinds of meats seen as acceptable. So instead of these ingredients, I use bread crumbs and hickory-baked tofu. This version of feijoada is very good and satisfying and is also appropriate for my vegetarian lunch group at work.

Vegetarian Feijoada

Vegetarian Feijoada

Serves 8

1 pound dried black beans
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon cumin
dried red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 plum tomatoes, peeled and chopped
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
12 ounces baked tofu (hickory or savory flavor), cut into small cubes

Soak beans by covering beans in a bowl with the boiling water, 2 inches above the beans. Let sit for an hour or until the beans have doubled in size. Rinse and drain. Place the beans in a large pot with 4 cups water. Bring water to a boil and cook the beans for 2 hours.

In the meantime, heat olive oil in a skillet. Add onion and garlic and cook until soft. Add cumin, red pepper flakes, and salt. Heat until the onions are starting to brown and the spices become fragrant. Add tomatoes and cook until they are soft and incorporated into the mixture. Turn off heat and set aside.

When the beans are finished cooking, they should be soft. Take a cup of beans from the pot and mash with a fork. Return the mashed beans to the pot and mix them well. The gives the dish a creamier texture. Add the cooked onion mixture, the vinegar, the tofu, and adjust salt to taste. Bring back to a bubble and simmer for another twenty minutes or until the stew has reached its desired consistency. Serve with the following:

Mustard Greens
Serves 8
1 bunch mustard greens, washed and sliced as thin as possible

Steam the greens in a bamboo steamer and saute in a skillet with some olive oil and salt. I often also add garlic and red pepper flakes here to taste.

Garlicky Rice
Serves 4, Double to serve 8
1 tablespoon butter
2-3 cloves garlic
1 cup rice
2 cups water
Pinch of salt

Melt butter in a small pot. Add garlic and cook over medium-low heat until soft. Add rice, increase the heat a little, and cook until the rice is translucent. Add the water and salt. Bring to a boil. Lower heat to simmer. Cover and cook for 20 minutes.

Bread Crumbs
Choose a few slices of a good bread. I used sourdough this time. After all, we live in the San Francisco Bay Area. Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Add bread. Turn off the oven and let it cool. Take out the bread and place in food processor. Process until finely ground. You can add salt and spices, such as oregano.

Sliced Oranges

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Autumn Pizza with Eggplant, Leeks, and Oyster Mushrooms

As you can see by our posted weekly menus, we make pizza quite often. I found a favorite pizza dough, which I will post here. I used to cook the pizza on a pizza stone by dividing the dough to make two smaller, round pizzas, but I found that I actually prefer how the dough tastes when cooking it as one large pizza on an oiled cookie sheet. It cuts the time in half, and the dough gets a different, crispy sheen on the bottom from the cookie sheet (non-stick).

I vary the toppings depending on what I have on hand. Here, we had leftover leeks and eggplants and 3 bunches of fresh oyster mushrooms, the fruits of Autumn. I used the homemade marinara from earlier this week, which I had frozen to keep fresh and thawed for use. Drizzling the top of the pizza with a little olive oil, Parmesan, and oregano makes all the finishing difference.

Autumn Pizza

Autumn Pizza
Serves 4

Pizza Dough (for 2 small pizzas or one large pizza)
1 package yeast (2 /14 teaspoons)
1 cup lukewarm water
2 1/3 cup white flour
2/3 cup white whole wheat flour (a special kind of wheat, white wheat, makes a lighter flour than red wheat and is fantastic for breads)
1/4 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon salt

Autumn Toppings
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small Chinese eggplant, chopped
1 leek, halved and sliced
3 bunches oyster mushrooms chopped
1 cup homemade marinara sauce
2 cups 5 cheeses mix (Parmesan, Asiago, Provolone, Mozzarella, Romano)

For the dough, activate the yeast by combining the yeast with the water in a large bowl for 5 minutes. Add the flours, oil, and salt, and knead and slap down on a wooden cutting board for 10 minutes until light and elastic. Place back in the bowl, cover with a damp towel, and let rise for 1 hour.

In the meantime, heat oil in a non-stick skillet and saute leeks until tender. Add eggplant and mushrooms and a sprinkling of oregano and cook until the eggplant have turned brown and the mushrooms have released their water. Turn off heat and set aside.

Preheat oven to 475 degrees. When dough is ready, punch down and spread with fingers on a lightly oiled 9 by 13 inch cookie sheet so that the edges have more dough to hold in the sauce. Spread the marinara sauce evenly over the dough and top with sauteed vegetables. Top with cheeses, more oregano and a drizzle of olive oil. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes. Let sit for 5 minutes before slicing.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Baked Halibut, Brazilian style

We're finally back from Brazil (I didn't want to leave!), and now I have a cold. Nothing will stop me from cooking, though! My Nonna (grandma) cooked us wonderful lunches, and I'm trying to replicate these before I forget them! Most of the food down there is not vegetarian, but there are a few pescetarian recipes. Nonna is Catholic, and eats fish on Fridays, so this was our Friday lunch. Lunch in Brazil is a much bigger affair than dinner, and it makes sense. Eat most when your belly's fire burns and when your metabolism is at its peak! Most of our lunches started with a pasta dish and was followed by meat, a cooked vegetable, and a raw vegetable. Every meal ended with dessert consisting of fruit. I felt so good eating these satisfying midday meals that I want to continue it here in the US, but it's so hard to make yourself such a lunch when you work all day! I can try to continue the tradition at dinner, but in smaller quantities.

This dish was a creation by Nonna based on a Portuguese dish where white fish (salted cod) is baked on top of potatoes so that the potatoes can absorb the fish's liquids and salts. She used raw tomatoes and a thin, delicate white fish and layered everything in a casserole dish, topping it with cheese. She used olives to replace the salt not found in her fresh fish. My version is a little different, because I'm not fond of white fish and because I happened to make some fresh marinara today. I used Halibut instead of white fish (such as tilapia) and marinara instead of tomatoes, onions, and garlic. My husband thinks it turned out better than Nonna's, but it's really just different :-)

Baked Halibut over potatoes, olives, red peppers, and marinara

Baked Halibut with Potatoes, Red Peppers, and Marinara
Serves 3 or 4

olive oil
1 1/2 cups fresh, homemade marinara (I used a recent recipe from Cooking Light and substituted canned tomatoes with 5 pounds of fresh, peeled tomatoes and chicken broth with veggie broth. I am using the rest of the marinara for other dishes)
3 small potatoes, peeled, boiled, and sliced into 1/4 inch slices
1 red pepper, cored and sliced
green olives
1 pound halibut fillet
Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. In an 8 inch square baking dish, coat the bottom with olive oil. Place a small amount of marinara to cover bottom. Top with a layer of potatoes (using all the potatoes). Then layer 3/4 of the red pepper, olives, and more marinara. Settle fish fillet in the dish and top with remaining red pepper, olives, and marinara. Top with cheese. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until cheese has browned and fish is cooked through.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

This Week's Menu

I feel like I'm finally back into the swing of things, back to my old cooking habits. I'm not sure what happened during the past couple of months. It could be that I started a new job and was just too exhausted to think about a menu. It could be that I'm not as inspired by summer produce...Or is could be that receiving a weekly CSA box was actually stifling my cooking creativity. I usually plan a menu based on cravings and what's in season, and I somehow found it difficult to wait until the middle of the week to receive half of my produce, never knowing exactly what I would receive.

We've decided to stop our CSA subscription until at least next January or February. We'll be traveling to Brazil soon, are we're tired of the boxes. Last week, a green caterpillar dropped out of our vegetables when my husband was putting them away, and he didn't notice that it was crawling on him until an hour later. I think that in itself freaked him out. I had also, a few weeks ago, placed a bunch of rose geranium that we received in a glass of water, as suggested, to allow the roots to sprout so it could be planted. The plant seemed to be doing well, but after a couple of weeks, I noticed quite a few dropping around the plant that didn't seem to be part of the plant. All that time, a little green caterpillar had been eating and growing in there!! So, we're going to give this a break for now, and I'm not so sure how we'll fare. To be honest, I already kind of miss it when reading the produce list for next week, but my inspiration and creativity with my cooking seem to do better when I can choose my veggies and fruit for the week by what's most appealing.

This is what we bought this week:

Farmer's Market Bounty
Baby Spinach, Pink Pearl Apples, Blackberries, Ollaliberry Preserves, Basil, Early Girl Tomatoes, Crimini Mushrooms, Red Bell Peppers, Long Beans, Lobster Ravioli, Spinach Pappardelle

In any case, I do have a menu for this week using our new produce and leftover produce from last week:

Soft Polenta with White Bean, Squash, and Sage Ragout, served with sauteed garlicky Chard (From The Modern Vegetarian Kitchen)
Lobster Ravioli from the Farmer's Market
Chicken with Poblano Cream Sauce and Cilantro Rice (From Everyday Food: Great Fast Food (borrowed from a friend, and the recipes look yummy!) Yes, I know, it's not pescetarian! My husband has decided to temporarily eat meat because of our trip to Brazil and to appease my grandparents there. So we're eating poultry almost once a week for now)
Palak Paneer with Chapati or Naan
Wild Rice and Mushroom Empanadas with Long Beans
Halibut with Artichokes and Potatoes (From The San Francisco Ferry Plaza Farmer's Market Cookbook)

Sweet Pepper Sandwiches (side to be determined)

Strawberry, Lox, or Plain Cream Cheese
English muffins with Ollaliberry Preserves (from the Farmer's Market)
Pink Pearl Apple Sauce

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Multi-grain Penne Rigate with Goat Cheese and Ricotta Salata

On Friday nights, I'm exhausted by the work week I've just completed. I'm always happy to see that I've planned an easy and comforting meal for those nights. The ideal for me is to have a warm meal in minutes and watch a movie wrapped in a blanket.

This week, I left the planning somewhat open, but I knew that I had penne rigate in the cupboard and tomatoes and veggies. From other recipes, I had goat cheese and ricotta salata left, so a new pasta dish was born!

The beauty of pasta is that you don't need to know much about cooking to prepare a sauce of your choice with the pasta shape of your choice. It's always a wonderful fall-back.

We usually buy fresh pasta from our hippie friend at the farmer's market, but he told us the week before that he'd be spending some time in Amsterdam. We always miss his presence! He's become our weekly friend, the only person who noticed my husband's new glasses, the only person who could sense that my husband and I had been fighting one week (he said, "you guys need a vacation"), and the only person who asked how we were holding up after having my parents visiting for the weekend. So this week, as an alternative, I bought multi-grain dried pasta at the store. It's good, but not like the fresh pasta from a friend!

Multi-grain penne rigate with goat cheese and ricotta salata

Penne Rigate with Goat Cheese and Ricotta Salata
Serves 4

14.5 ounces dried penne rigate
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 sun-dried tomato Tofurky sausages, sliced
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 cup pine nuts
3 multi-colored heirloom tomatoes, chopped
1/2 jar pasta sauce
4 tablespoons goat cheese, crumbled
4 tablespoons ricotta salata, grated
1/2 cup parsley, coarsely chopped

Bring water to a boil in a large pot, add pasta and cook according to package instructions.

Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add garlic and heat until fragrant. Turn up heat to medium-high and add sausages and cook until slightly browned. Add red pepper, red pepper flakes, and pine nuts and saute until pine nuts are slightly browned. Add chopped tomatoes and cook until heated through. Add sauce and cook again until heated through. Mix in parsley and take the sauce off the heat.

Combine pasta and sauce in a large bowl. Serve immediately with 1 tablespoon each of goat cheese and ricotta salata per serving.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Millet and Sweet Potato "Polenta"

Here's another treasure from The Modern Vegetarian Kitchen. This technically isn't polenta, I suppose, because it isn't made with any sort of corn or meal. However, the texture is very similar, and it fries just the same. I personally prefer the taste and texture of this polenta because it's much creamier and cooks with a yummy crisp on the griddle. The recipe in the cookbook called for serving it with sauteed onions and peppers, but I think anything you usually serve with polenta will go well (pasta sauces, mushroom sauces, cheese, moist vegetables, etc.). The only draw-back is that this version takes slightly more time, but it's well worth the effort!!

Millet and Sweet Potato Polenta

Millet and Sweet Potato "Polenta"
Serves 4

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup peeled and diced sweet potato
1 small onion, finely diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 (or more) sprigs fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
4 cups water
1 cup millet, rinsed and drained
1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
Fresh parsley for garnish

Warm the oil in a heavy 2 to 3 quart sauce pan or deep saute pan over medium heat. Add the sweet potato and onion and saute for 5 minutes, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon to prevent browning. Add the garlic, thyme, and bay leaf and saute for 3 to 4 more minutes. Add the water, millet, and salt and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover the pan, and cook for 45 to 50 minutes, stirring several times to prevent sticking. Remove millet from heat when it is soft and creamy (at this point, you might try mashing some of the sweet potato into the millet to make it creamier). Discard the thyme sprigs and bay leaf. Set the millet aside to rest, covered, for 5 minutes. Lightly oil an 8-inch square baking dish and pour the polenta into the dish. Set aside to cool at room temperature and then refrigerate, uncovered, about 40 minutes or overnight. Slice polenta into 1/2 inch slices. Heat griddle over medium hight heat with olive oil and fry polenta until crispy on both sides, about 5 minutes per side. Serve polenta topped with veggies or sauces.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Favorite Pesto Sauce with Basil and Almonds

It's late summer here, and basil is abundant....It's a shame when it goes to waste, so the best way to store basil is in a high quality pesto sauce. I love this pesto for it's flavor and texture. It isn't too liquidy, and it spreads easily on sandwiches. I was surprised when I realized that the recipe didn't call for Parmesan, but I now realize that pesto absolutely doesn't need it! This recipe comes from The Modern Vegetarian Kitchen, by Peter Berley. To be honest, I have had much luck with this cookbook, but this one recipe is a gem and is good reason to buy it! The pesto is versatile, and may be used as a sandwich spread, cracker spread, dip, pasta sauce, dressing for name it. Whatever you have that needs to pack a little more protein can use pesto. Ok, so here's the recipe:

Basil-Almond Pesto
Makes 2 cups

1 1/2 cups whole almonds, peeled and lightly toasted (I used slivered and toasted almonds)
2 cups packed fresh basil leaves
2 garlic cloves, peeled and left whole
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Coarse sea salt (a favorite of Peter Berley's)

In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade, grind the almonds to a meal. Add the basil, garlic, lemon juice, and lemon zest and puree (don't worry if it doesn't puree completely at this point; it will have a change after you add the olive oil). Slowly add the oil and process until smooth. Blend in 1 teaspoon salt and adjust seasoning to taste. Serve at once. Cover and leftover pesto with a film of olive oil in a tightly sealed container and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Black Currant Scones

These are easy to make and yummy! The easiest place to find dried black currants is Trader Joe's, if you have one.

Black Currant Scones

Black Currant Scones
Makes 18 small scones

3 cups white flour
2 1/2 tablespoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup sugar
6 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces
1/2 cup black currants
1/2 cup fat free yogurt
1/2 cup water

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Prepare cookie sheet with Silpat. Mix together the dry ingredients and add butter, working the butter into the mixture with your fingers. Add the currants, yogurt and water and mix until the dough is soft and just mixed. Roll out the dough to 1/2 inch thickness and cut into rounds using a cup or cookie cutter. Place on the cookie sheet and bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Barley Risotto with Summer Vegetables

This is based on a recipe from Cooking Light. I modified the recipe slightly by using red pepper instead of orange pepper, zucchini instead of yellow squash, red onions instead of shallots, and more green beans than called for in the recipe. It was tasty, but took much more time to cook the barley than the recipe claimed. I won't post the recipe here because I provided the link to it above, but I wanted to share the photo.

Barley Risotto with Summer Vegetables

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Heirloom Tomato and Mozzarella Tart

I have to admit that this is not my recipe. I got this from Cook's Illustrated. It's so simple and yummy! The only thing I don't like about this recipe is the fact that puff pastry has trans fats, but with the way foods are changing these days, I doubt that will be an issue for long. Instead of Roma tomatoes, I used the plump heirloom tomatoes from our CSA box. Neither variety is very wet or seedy, so both suit the tart well. Varient recipes in Cook's Illustrated use either prosciutto on top of the mozarella (for the meat-eaters) or smoked mozzarella. Enjoy!

Heirloom Tomato Tart

Heirloom Tomato and Mozzarella Tart
Serves 6 to 8

Flour for work surface
1 (1.1 pound) box frozen puff pastry, thawed in the refrigerator overnight
1 large egg, beaten
2 ounces Parmesan cheese, finely grated (about 1 cup)
1 pound Roma or Heirloom tomatoes, cored and cut crosswise into 1/4 inch thick slices
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Ground black pepper
8 ounces low-moisture whole-milk mozzarella, shredded (I used fresh mozzarella, cut into small pieces)
2 tablespoons sliced basil leaves

Heat oven to 425 degrees.

Dust work surface with flour and unfold both pieces of puff pastry onto the surface. Create one large sheet with a border, using these two sheets by: brushing egg along the short edge of one sheet and overlapping the second sheet on the egg by about an inch, pressing to seal together; cutting 1 inch strips from the long sides of the dough and the short sides and pressing those strips onto the main piece of dough to create a border; transferring the dough to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or Silpat; trimming excess dough to create even edges; brushing the dough with egg. Sprinkle Parmesan evenly over shell and bake for 13-15 minutes. Then reduce temperature to 350 and continue to bake until golden brown and crisp, 13 to 15 minutes longer. Transfer to wire rack; increase oven temperature to 425.

While shell bakes, place tomato slices in a single layer on double layer of paper towels and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt; let stand 30 minutes. Place second layer of paper towels on top of tomatoes and press firmly to dry tomatoes. Combine garlic, oil, and pinch each salt and pepper in a mall bowl; set aside.

Sprinkle mozzarella evenly over baked shell. Shingle tomatoes on top of cheese; brush tomatoes with garlic oil. Bake until shell is deep golden brown and cheese is melted, 15 to 17 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes, sprinkle with basil, cut into pieces and serve.

Sunday, July 22, 2007


I never actually liked Ratatouille that much, especially because my experience has been a bland mash of vegetables that resembled water more than anything. I always found myself hungry after eating it. However, after seeing the movie Ratatouille, my interested was piqued again. I noticed that in the movie, the dish was baked rather than cooked on the stove. It also appeared that the little rat chef, Remy, spread a tomato-y sauce in a casserole dish and topped it with zucchini and eggplant, thinly sliced. That was then topped with some sort of cover which allowed the veggies to steam in the sauce. That version is one I've never seen before and would like to try, but I have to admit that I'm a bit embarrassed to try a recipe I saw in a children's animated movie!

The following recipe is an adaptation from the Joy of Cooking's rendition. The eggplant turned out to be very flavorful in this rendition, but we still found ourselves somewhat hungry and protein-deprived after eating it. Be sure you eat something else with it!


Serves 6

1/4 cup olive oil
1 pound eggplant, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
1 pound zucchini, quartered and sliced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 cups onions, chopped
1 large red bell peppers, cut into large chunks
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups sliced baby heirloom tomatoes
1 tablespoon dried thyme
1 bay leaf
1/4 cup chopped basil

Saute first three ingredients in a large skillet on high heat for 10 to 12 minutes until golden. Remove the vegetables to a bowl and heat the skillet on medium high heat. Cook the remaining olive oil and onions until softened. Add red pepper and garlic and cook for 8 to 12 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add the tomatoes, thyme and bay leaf, reduce heat to low, cover, and cook for 5 minutes. Add the eggplant and zucchini and cook 20 minutes more, covered. Add basil before serving. Serve over saffron rice.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Fresh Heirloom Tomato Sauce

This sauce is very simple and so good because of the quality of tomatoes at this time of year. Eatwell IS Tomato Wonderland, after all. Here, I served the sauce on top of smoked salmon ravioli from the farmer's market. The sauce was mild enough to give the salmon some tasting room.

Fresh Heirloom Tomato Sauce

Fresh Heirloom Tomato Sauce
Serves 2

4 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 heirloom tomatoes, chopped
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, sliced
salt and pepper
grated parmesan

Heat oil in a small a saucepan on low heat. Add garlic and cook until fragrant. Add tomatoes and cook while pasta is cooking. Add basil shortly before serving. Top with parmesan.

Teriyaki Sea Scallops and Chili-Rubbed Sweet Corn

It's been quite a while since I posted a recipe here. I've been in the process of building a new PC for fun, and also so that I can do these kinds of activities more quickly. I now have a media card reader for all of my digital photos, and upload/download speeds are so fast! Thanks for being patient.

Here is a dinner we had about a week ago. The sea scallops looked fabulous at the market, and we couldn't resist. I concocted a "teriyaki" marinade for them and quickly pan-seared them so they cooked and didn't dry out. A person can really only eat a maximum of three of these because they're so rich!

For the one of the sides, we blanched some sweet corn from our Eatwell box and used a dry rub from Cooking Light after the cobs were cooked. While still hot, we dolloped some creme fraiche, which made this a real treat.

Teriyaki Sea Scallops

Teriyaki Sea Scallops
Serves 2

6 sea scallops
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 tablespoon chili paste
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 tablespoon rice wine

Place all marinade ingredients in a small bowl and whisk. NOTE that the amounts in the marinade are approximate. Adjust to suit your taste and smell! Place scallops in a shallow baking dish and cover with marinade. Leave at room temperature for at least 10 minutes.

Heat non-stick skillet at medium-high or high heat. Be sure to turn on the exhaust fan if you have one! Add scallops to the hot skillet and cook until browned on both sides, a couple minutes each side. Serve warm.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Rainbow Shepherd's Pie

Most of the ingredients in this pie come from the Eatwell Farm box this week. I used a somewhat general recipe for shepherd's pie from Heaven's Banquet and substituted the vegetables I had this week. The result was every color of the rainbow, except for blue!! I served this pie with a green salad with sliced turnips and radishes.

You'll also see in the first picture a bunch of lavender, also from Eatwell. It smells divine!



Rainbow Shepherd's Pie
Serves 6

6 Yukon Gold potatoes (or 10-12 baby potatoes) (yellow)
1/4 cup creme fraiche
2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup fresh Genovese basil, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped
2 cups zucchini, finely chopped (green)
2 cups red cabbage, thinly sliced (purple)
2 cups baby carrots, thinly sliced (orange)
8 ounces crumbled firm tofu
3/4 cup vegetable broth
salt and pepper

paprika (red)

For the topping, boil the potatoes in their jackets until soft. Drain and peel. Mash with a potato masher with the butter and creme fraiche.

For the filling, heat olive oil in a skillet. Add basil and thyme and saute for 1 minute. Add veggies and broth with salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Cook covered until veggies are tender.

Butter a casserole dish and fill with veggie mixture. Top with mashed potatoes. Cook in oven at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Serve garnished with paprika and parsley.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Sesame Radish Salad

This post is for all my Eatwell Farm friends who have a 50% chance of getting radishes in their boxes this week. I never realized that grating a radish could yield such a beautiful color and texture. At first, when I tasted this salad, I was a bit dubious, but after eating it for a minute or so, I was addicted!! I never thought I'd be addicted to radishes!! I again have Miriam Kasin Hospodar from Heaven's Banquet to thank for this one.

Radish Salad

Sesame Radish Salad
Serves 4

2 tablespoons sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon brown mustard seeds
1 tablespoon sesame seeds

2 cups grated radishes
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Liquid seasoning (such as Bragg's amino acids) or salt
Black pepper
Toasted sesame oil
2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro

Heat the oil in a small skillet. Add the mustard and sesame seeds. Saute until the sesame seeds are golden brown.

Pour the hot oil immediately over the radishes. Add the lemon juice and season to taste with salt and pepper. Let cool to room temperature, then stir in a few drops of sesame oil and the cilantro.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Strawberry Salad with Goat Cheese and Almonds

While we were visiting in-laws in southeastern Ohio, my father-in-law gave me a task for one night of dinner. He would make blackened halibut, and I needed to build the rest of the meal. After visiting the local farmer's market and reading through a few books, I decided on yogurt and mint cucumber salad, strawberry salad, and baked yellow squash with herbs. For dessert, I surprised my father-in-law with a banana cream pie he had been craving all week. I made strawberry salad because strawberries and lettuce were the main things in season there. Almonds, goat cheese, and a port and pomegranate dressing from a local vendor topped off the salad. I did indicate exact amounts because it's really up to your taste. Enjoy!


Strawberry Salad with Goat Cheese and Almonds

Head of Boston lettuce, torn
Basket of fresh strawberries, washed and sliced
Crumbled goat cheese
Almonds, sliced and toasted
Port and pomegranate dressing

Combine all ingredients and enjoy!

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Yam and Black Bean Soup with Lemon Pistou in a Sweet Broth

This was served with the lavash sandwiches for my lunch group at work, so I called this "clean-out-the-fridge" soup. If you need to clean our your refrigerator of vegetables in a hurry make a vegetable soup with homemade broth!! There are essentially three recipes involved in making this soup. I'm hoping I can remember what I did!

Yam and Black Bean Soup with Lemon Pistou

Sweet Broth
Makes 2 quarts (8 cups)

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 coarsely chopped sweet onion
1 bunch turnips, coarsely chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
3 cups green beans
3 bay leaves
4 sprigs thyme
5 stalks parsley
9 cups water

Heat olive oil in a stock pot and add onion and turnips and saute until onions are soft. Add red pepper and green beans and cover pot. Sweat the veggies for 10-15 minutes. Add water and herbs and bring to a boil. Simmer for 25 minutes.

Yam and Black Bean Soup
Serves 10

2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup fresh parsley
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
1 teaspoon dried basil
2 bay leaves
1 bag of yams from Eatwell Farm (about 5 medium yams), peeled and cubed
1/2 head cabbage, thinly sliced
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 can low sodium black beans, drained and rinsed
8 cups sweet broth

Heat oil in a stock pot and add herbs. Saute for about a minute. Add vegetables and saute over low heat for 5 to 10 minutes. Add sweet broth and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 45 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with lemon pistou.

Lemon Pistou
Makes 2/3 cup

1 cup parsley, minced
1 cup basil, minced
1 tablespoon lemon zest
4 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
Salt to taste

Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Serve over soup.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Tomato, Lettuce, Provolone, and Arugula Pesto Lavash Sandwiches

I called these "clean-out-the-fridge" sandwiches because I needed to make lunch for my vegetarian lunch group at work, but I didn't want to buy anything new because of our upcoming vacation a few days later. This was a sandwich that took advantage of our leftovers and ended up being surprisingly tasty. It's a sandwich I don't want to forget!!


Tomato, Lettuce, Provolone, and Arugula Pesto Lavash Sandwiches
2 Servings

1 piece lavash bread
arugula pesto
4 slices provolone
1 small tomato, thinly sliced
1 cup ripped lettuce

Lay lavash bread flat and spread pesto over entire bread. Top with provolone, tomato, and lettuce and roll tightly from the short side of the bread. Cut in half with a sharp knife. Each half fills the belly as a main course sandwich with other sides.

Arugula Pesto

This is a twist on the traditional basil pesto and can be used in similar ways, over pasta, as a spread in sandwiches, as a dip, etc. I personally used this as a spread in lavash sandwiches. Some of my coworkers suggested making a larger quantity of the pesto and freezing it in ice cube trays. You then need to be sure that you remove the frozen cubes from the tray and store them in a freezer bag to avoid freezer burn.

When I made this pesto, I had pecans and pine nuts on hand. Feel free to experiment with different kinds of nuts for various flavors. I also didn't indicate an specific amount of olive oil. I personally prefer less olive oil than store-bought varieties of pesto, so add as much as you like.

Arugula Pesto

Arugula Pesto
Makes about 2 cups

1/2 bunch arugula (or 4 cups)
olive oil
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup pecans, walnuts and/or pine nuts
1/4 cup grated parmesan
salt and pepper

Place washed and coursely chopped arugula in a food processor with a drizzle of olive oil and whirl, adding more and more olive oil until the arugula is chopped finely and starts to stick together. Add nuts and garlic and continue to chop, adding more olive oil to the desired constitency. Add parmesan, salt and pepper to taste and mix thoroughly.

Apple Crisp with Streusel Topping

My husband and I had a good friend over for dinner the other night. The goal was to make a very American meal so that our Korean friend could get a taste of what we eat here, and her favorite dish was the dessert, Apple Crisp. We served it warm with hand-whipped vanilla cream instead of ice cream, and it was delicious. Of course, we ate it so fast, I didn't have a chance to take a picture!! This is based on another recipe from my favorite cookbook, Heaven's Banquet. This recipe is for Jin Young, who is now back in Korea. We miss you!

Apple Crisp with Streusel Topping

Serves 6

5 1/2 cups thinly sliced and peeled apples
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup raisins
1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 cup unbleached white flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and butter a round 9-inch casserole dish. Mix all ingredients for the filling and spread evenly into the casserole dish. Combine all topping ingredients in a food processor and process until the mixture resembles course meal. Crumble the topping over the fruit. Bake until the topping is lightly browned and the apples are tender, about 45 minutes. Serve warm and top with vanilla ice cream or vanilla whipped cream.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Lemon Balm Tea

It's been quite a while since I last posted. Life has been hectic at work and at home, which has included attending a conference and enteraining my folks and my husband's friends, and playing in concerts. Things may finally wind down, but then we're off again to Ohio next week. During this in-between week, I have too many things to wrap up at work and at home, so I've been needing to find a way to relax myself. Besides yoga, I've discovered that this tea is fantastic for making one feel cozy and pampered. We received a bunch of lemon balm from Eatwell Farm last week, and they suggested making tea with it. What a great idea! I don't have any pictures, but it really is simple. Boil some water, place two sprigs of washed lemon balm in an 8oz. cup, and steep for 10 minutes. The tea tastes fantastic hot or cooled. Enjoy!

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Escolar Steaks with Soy-Green Garlic Marinade

While this dish was very yummy, I do have to warn you against eating escolar. My husband had no adverse reactions, but I did, for about 24 hours. If you're interested to know more about what can happen, read here. I'd rather not get into further detail here.

This is a marinade that will work well on any steaky type of fish, including sea bass, tuna, swordfish, or salmon. With the escolar, the meat was tender and white, and the green garlic gathered the pungent flavors, which combined beautifully with the fish. The picture below is of the fish before baking. We baked the fish because we didn't have a grill handy, but I think this marinade would lend itself nicely to grilling.

Escolar Steaks with Soy-Green Garlic Marinade

Soy Sauce and Green Garlic Marinade
For 2 small fish steaks

1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice wine
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
1 stalk green garlic, thinly sliced

Whisk all ingredients in a small bowl and pour over fish steaks. Be sure to coat the steaks on all sides. Marinade for at least 10 minutes. Bake at 375 degrees for 15 or 20 minutes, depending on the type and size of the fish steaks.

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Eggless Pancakes with Strawberries and Kiwi

These pancakes can be served with anything, but I prefer mine with fruit and maple syrup. The strawberries and kiwi are from our CSA basket this week from Eatwell Farm. Who thought that we grew kiwi in California? It was a surprise to me, and an even greater surprise was how yummy they are!!

Because the pancake batter contains no eggs, it is important that the batter sit in the refrigerator for at least an hour to allow the gluten in the flour to relax. This keeps the batter together when frying.

Eggless Pancakes with Strawberries and Kiwi

Eggless Pancakes
Serves 4

1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup unbleached white flour
1 tablespoons arrowroot or cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons light oil
1 cup lowfat buttermilk
1 cup water

Beat all ingredients together, except of baking powder and baking soda, until there are no lumps (this can also be done in the food processor). Allow the batter to rest in the refrigerator for at least an hour or overnight. Beat in the leavenings just before cooking.

Heat a heavy, non-stick griddle on medium heat until hot. This type of pan will eliminate the use for oil to cook the pancakes. Pour batter onto the pan into the desired size and cook until the batter bubbles and the underside is golden. Flip the pancakes and cook for about half the time used for the first side. Do not stack pancakes before serving. Serve hot with butter, fruit, syrup, jam, or whipped cream.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Salmon, Asparagus, and Dill Potato Crepes with Sauce Mornay

While walking through the farmer's market this weekend, we saw a new stand, which was preparing fresh crepes. I'm always astounded by the amount of money vendors can charge for crepes since they are so easy to make and with very cheap ingredients. My practical and cheap side immediately turned to the idea of making them myself. My husband then mentioned that he had a craving for smoked salmon. The ingredients started to fall in place in my mind and became a whole new craving. I hope you have a chance to try these. They were great!


Salmon, Asparagus, and Dill Potato Crepes with Sauce Mornay

Makes 6 or 7 crepes

1/3 pound smoked salmon
Dill Potatoes
asparagus, cut diagonally and steamed

1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup low fat milk
1/4 cup lukewarm water
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon salt (I actually omitted this and it tasted fine)

Sauce Mornay

Combine crepe ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth. Let batter site for at least 30 minutes while preparing filling and sauce. The batter may be refrigerated for up to 2 days.

When ready to cook crepes, heat a crepe pan on medium heat until water droplets flicked onto the pan bubble and evaporate. Add 2 tablespoons of the batter to the pan and swirl quickly to coat the pan in an even and thin layer. I don't actually coat the pan with any butter because I use a non-stick Calphalon pan which handles the crepe batter just fine.Cook until lightly browned on the underside and until the edges of the crepe begin to pull away from the pan. Flip the crepe with a spatula or your fingers and cook until the other side is also browned. Stack crepes on a plate until ready to use. These crepes may be frozen if layered with wax paper between them and tightly sealed.

To fill crepes, place potatoes down the middle of the crepe, topped with asparagus and salmon. Roll the crepe, seam-side down and top with Sauce Mornay and fresh dill.

Sauce Mornay

This is the sauce I used to top our crepes for dinner tonight. For a part last week, we bought a huge block of Gruyere, so I have been finding every opportunity to use it. this recipe is adapted from the recipe in the Joy of Cooking. The only thing I omitted was the Parmesan cheese., and I substituted a spring onion from our CSA for the 1/4 onion. I also didn't strain it before using it, but it still tasted fantastic.


Sauce Mornay
About 1 cup

1 1/4 cups low fat milk
1 spring onion
1 bay leaf
1 whole cloves
1 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1/3 cup grated Gruyere

Simmer the the first four ingredients in a saucepan for 15 minutes, uncovered. Discard the onion, bay leaf and cloves. Meanwhile, melt butter in a saucepan over low heat. Add flour and cook uncovered until darkened and fragrant. Add mixture to milk and heat for about 10 minutes until thickened and the consistency of thick soup. Take off of heat and add cheese. Stir until melted.

Dill Potatoes

These potatoes can be used as a side dish or inside of other dishes, such as crepes (which I will post soon). Instead of salt, I used Bragg's Liquid Amino Acids for more protein and less sodium. I find that the flavoring works well, and it colors the potatoes nicely as they cook.


Dill Potatoes
Serves 4
olive oil
1 pound baby red potatoes
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 cup fresh dill, chopped
Bragg's Liquid Amino Acids

Cut potatoes into uniform-sized pieces by leaving the smallest pieces intact, cutting the medium ones in half, and the larger ones into quarters. Heat olive oil in a large skillet. Add potatoes, liquid seasoning to taste, and lemon juice. Cover and cook potatoes on medium high until they are beginning to brown. Add dill. Cook further until dark brown and crusty.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

This Week's Menu

Because we now receive our CSA box on Wednesdays, I no longer find the need to buy all of our ingredients for the entire week on Sundays. I think I'm usually supposed to receive a list of the produce in the box on Friday, but I didn't this week, so this menu is based on what I have left plus items we picked up at the farmer's market today. I'm branching out this week by making more creative and personal recipes. I'll post any if they are good. This list may change as I learn what else our week has in store.

Parsley Pasta over Arugula
Miso-rubbed Salmon with Swiss Chard and Couscous
Crepes filled with Smoked Salmon, Red Potatoes, Asparagus, topped with a White Sauce


Velvet Vegetable Soup with Summer Squash, Gruyere and Arugula Pizzas


Banana Bread

Mini Pinto and Broccoli Tacos

My husband mentioned perhaps stopping for Mexican yesterday while walking to our small downtown street (in Alameda, CA), mainly because he wanted a Margaritas, but I thought of beans and corn tortillas. These tacos were inspired by our excursion on a beautiful day and by what we had available to eat in our kitchen. Paired with a good beer, these tacos are nice when you want something satisfying.

Mini Tacos

Mini Pinto and Broccoli Tacos
Serves 4 (2 mini tacos each)

Canola oil
8 corn tortillas
1 14 oz. can low sodium pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup finely chopped broccoli florets
1 cup shredded jack cheese
8 leaves shredded baby lettuce
Salsa Fresca

Warm a tablespoon of oil in a skillet and add broccoli. Cook until bright green. Add beans and cook until heated through.

Coat heated griddle with oil and add tortillas. Fry until slightly browned on each side.

Top fried tortillas with bean mixture, cheese, lettuce, and salsa. Serve with fruit.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Salsa Fresca

We received some spring onions in our CSA box last week, and I had never cooked with them before. They are very fresh and delicate tasting. If you don't have spring onions, you can substitute it with scallions or with 1/4 of a large, white onion.

Salsa Fresca

Salsa Fresca

1 spring onion, finely chopped
2 Roma tomatoes, diced
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 cup parsley, chopped

Mix ingredients and chill until ready to serve.

Fava Bean, Tomato and Feta Salad

Fava Bean Salad

The first time I bought fava beans, I wondered why anyone would ever want to pay for them. Out here, they are expensive, at least $2/pound with the pods. It takes some time to de-pod them, and then they need to be blanched and de-skinned, as well. What you're left with is about a fifth of what you started with.

However, I like to make a ritual out of de-podding the favas. It's a great activity for the family. It gives an excuse for everyone to sit together and chat while doing something useful, something that will become a fantastic meal! It builds community into your food. I also like doing this outside in the sun while enjoying some lemonade. Try it sometime!

This salad beautifully melds the flavor of the favas with the saltiness of feta and olives and the freshness of tomatoes. My husband keeps asking for more!

Fava Bean, Tomato and Feta Salad
Serves 4 as a side dish

2 pounds shelled fresh fava beans (or 12 oz. frozen)
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
3 tablespoons fresh dill, chopped
3 plum tomatoes, cut into large chunks
4 ounces feta cheese
12 black olives, pitted
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Blanch de-podded fava beans in boiling water for several minutes until the skins are soft. Pop the fava beans out of the skins into a medium bowl. Add other ingredients and mix well. Serve.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Strawberry, Clementine, and Passion Fruit Salad

This is a lovely, colorful, fragrant, and flavorful fruit salad, which is good enough to be called dessert.

Strawberry, Clementine, and Passion Fruit Salad

Strawberry, Clementine, and Passion Fruit Salad

24 strawberries, quartered
6 clementines, peeled and cut into sections
2 passion fruits, cut in half and centers spooned out
1/2 cup dry white wine

Place strawberries and clementines in a large bowl and spoon passion fruit on top. Pour wine over fruit and mix well. Chill until ready to serve.

Artichoke Phyllo Pie

I hosted a birthday brunch this past weekend, and this Artichoke Phyllo Pie was the favorite recipe, probably because of the cheese and butter content. The amazing quality to this pie is actually the small amount of broccoli added, which enhances the flavor of the artichokes. I even had a guest who hates broccoli but loves this dish. One guest said that this was the "best thing ever!" I warn you though, it IS fattening and should only be prepared when serving a large group of guests. Otherwise, you'll be tempted to eat it all! I have to thank one of my favorite cookbooks for this recipe, Heaven's Banquet.

Artichoke Phyllo Pie

Artichoke Phyllo Pie
Serves 10-12

Vegetable Ingredients

1 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups thinly sliced fennel or celery
1 cup finely chopped broccoli florets
1/2 cup minced fresh parsley
Bragg's amino acids or salt

Filling Ingredients
1 pounds ricotta cheese
2 cups grated Gruyere or Swiss Cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoon cornstarch or arrowroot
2 1/2 cups sliced, cooked artichoke hearts (I used the frozen ones and let them thaw)
Black pepper

Pastry Ingredients
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup olive oil
1 pound filo pastry

To prepare the filling:
Heat the olive oil in a skillet. Add the fennel or celery, broccoli, and parsley. Sprinkle liquid seasoning or salt, cover, and saute on low heat until tender, stirring occasionally (about 15 minutes).

Mix together the ricotta, grated cheeses, and arrowroot or cornstarch. Mix in the sauteed vegetables and the artichoke hearts. Add salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

To assemble the pie:
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F (150 C). Melt the butter with the olive oil over low heat. Using a pastry brush, coat the bottom and sides of a 10 or 12-inch springform pan with the oil mixture. Lay a sheet of filo in the pan, draping the edges of the pastry over the sides. Brush with a few gentle swipes of the oil. Lay another sheet of filo in the pan with the long edges drapes in another direction. Continue to fill the pan with filo, brushing each sheet with the oil, until half the pastry has been used.

Spoon the filling inside and spread evenly.

Lay the remaining sheets of filo on top, brushing each sheet with the oil. Turn up all the edges over the pie. It should look rough and rustic. If there is any remaining oil, pour a little over the top.

Bake until the filo is golden brown, 1 to 1 1/4 hours. Allow to stand at room temperature for about 15 minutes. Undo the sides of the springform. I serve the pie on the bottom of the springform pan and on another plate. To serve, cut into wedges with a serrated knife.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Buying Seafood - Smart Consumerism

Keeping to the Earth Day spirit, I'd like to make another post about food consumerism. Because this site is for Pescetarians, I thought a post about seafood would be fitting.

There are many things you should be aware of when buying fish concerning your health and the environment's health. Such factors include pollution, over-fishing, high mercury levels, invasive species, endagered species, etc. And to make things even more complicated, the varieties of fish which fall into these categories changes all the time. Fortunately, the Monterey Bay Aquarium frequently publishes pocket-sized guides by region for smart seafood shoppers. You can find one for you at this link: This is what they claim:

Our Seafood Watch regional guides contain the latest information on sustainable seafood choices available in different regions of the U.S. Our "Best Choices" are abundant, well managed and fished or farmed in environmentally friendly ways. Seafood to "Avoid" are overfished and/or fished or farmed in ways that harm other marine life or the environment. You can view the guides online or download a pocket-size version.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

This Week's Menu

Recently, some of my coworkers and I restarted our vegetarian work lunch group. There are four of us, and we cook for each other once a week, so that 4 days of lunch are planned for us for the week. We've been doing it for two weeks so far, and it's been great. Because of this, it isn't necessary to plan more than one lunch item because we'll have plenty of leftovers from that one lunch menu and the dinners for the week.

Beyond that, I've been enjoying experimenting more with whatever is lying around in the fridge or pantry, so if these don't seem like enough, there's always something that can be made, as long as you have your pantry fully stocked with staples.

Fish with Fava Bean Salad and Whole Wheat Bread
Cauliflower and Pistacchio Quesadillas
Vegetarian Chili
Barley Soup
Lobster Ravioli

Lentil and Parsnip Burgers with Curried Ricotta Sauce and Fresh Romaine-Tomato Salad


Honey-Wheat Bagels and Onion and Grain Bagels
Whole Wheat English Muffins
To Top the Bagels & Muffins: Peanut Butter, Almond Butter, Blueberry Jam, Strawberry Jam, Cream Cheese

Friday, April 13, 2007

Spring Risotto



My mom always said that there are several dishes that Italians use for leftovers, and frittata and risotto are two of them. Any vegetables or meats left over from other recipes can be easily added to the rice with any kind of cheese, and you have a one-pot meal! I this case, we had lots of leeks and broccoli left over. The key to a good risotto is to use a high quality arborio rice, heat up your broth in advance (NEVER use a cold broth), continuously stir the rice, and don't add too much broth at once. The end result should be creamy rice which takes to cheese VERY well. I flavored this risotto with less cheese and topped it with pesto instead. We served it with spinach salad and sun-dried tomato tofu sausages.


Spring Risotto
Serves 2

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 large leeks, thinly sliced
1 cup arborio rice
1/4 cup dry white wine
4 1/2 cups broth or seasoned water
2 small heads of broccoli, coarsely chopped

Pesto ingredients (I'm not entirely certain of the measurements, adjust to your taste):
1 cup basil leaves
1/4 cup pine nuts
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

Heat olive oil in a large saute pan. Add leeks and saute until soft. Add arborio rice and cook until lightly toasted and covered in oil.


Add wine and stir while simmering until the wine has evaporated. Add broth by the 1/2 cup and stir until the liquid has evaporated before adding another 1/2 cup. Do this until all the liquid is gone. It should take about 25 minutes. Add more or less broth if needed. About half way through the cooking, add the chopped broccoli.

While the risotto is cooking, combine all pesto ingredients in a food processor and pulse until combined and resembles a course paste.

When the rice is cooked (there should no longer be a bright white center in each rice grain), turn off the heat and add the pesto. Stir until combined. Top with more Parmesan, if desired.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Cherry Raspberry Crisp

My husband and I had a craving for dessert but had very little to work with in our pantry. The basic recipe for the crisp comes from Heaven's Banquet. As you may already know, I LOVE this book. The section on crisps gives several ideas for fillings and toppings, so you can pick and choose to make your own creation. For this version, we used frozen organic cherries and raspberries with an oatmeal topping. We ate it with a side of nonfat yogurt instead of ice cream to keep things healthier. Eating it this way, the dish can also be eaten for breakfast!

Cherry and Raspberry Crisp

Cherry Raspberry Crisp
Serves 4

3 cups frozen cherries
2 cups frozen raspberries
2 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar
2/3 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/4 cups rolled oats
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter

Preheat the oven to 375 Degrees. Butter a 9 inch round casserole dish. Mix all ingredients for the filling together and spread it in the casserole dish. Process all topping ingredients, except oats, in food processor until the mixture resembles course meal. Add oats and mix by hand. Crumble topping over the fruit. Bake until the top is lightly browned and the fruit is tender, about 45 minutes (or an hour if using a glass dish).

Russian Kale, Fennel, and Garbanzo Soup

A treat made with the leftover vegetables in our refrigerator. I always thought caraway seeds and cabbage where meant to be together. The fennel in the soup accentuates this.

Russian Kale, Fennel, and Garbanzo Soup

Russian Kale, Fennel, and Garbanzo Soup
Serves 4

1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 fennel bulb, sliced
1/2 red pepper, chopped
1 large leek, finely sliced
1 bunch Russian kale, thinly sliced
3 cups shredded Savoy cabbage
1 tablespoon caraway seeds
1 14 oz. can garbanzo beans (or 2 cans, if you like more beans)
1 potato, peeled and diced
6 cups vegetable broth
1/2 cup chopped Italian parsley

Heat olive oil in a stock pot. Add fennel, red pepper, and leeks and saute until fennel starts to be translucent. Add potato and caraway seeds and cook until potato turns slightly translucent around the edges. Add kale and cabbage, and cook until cabbage begins to tunr translucent. Add parsley and veggie broth. Bring to a boil and simmer for 30 minutes.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Black-Eyed Pea Fritters

These are absolutely delicious! They look like chicken nuggets but are actually made from dried black-eyed peas which have been soaked but not cooked in advance.

Black-Eyed Pea Fritters with Chard

Black-Eyed Pea Fritters
1 cup dried black-eyed peas
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
Soy flour
Oil for deep-frying

Soak beans overnight in at least 3 cups of water. Drain, rinse, and process the beans in a food processor with the salt and baking powder. Add water to process until they are ground to a paste. If necessary, add soy flour in small amounts until the batter is thick enough to be dropped by the teaspoonful from a spoon. Fry the batch by the teaspoonful until browned on both sides in a pan filled with oil. Serve immediately!

Monday, April 9, 2007

Earth Day and Community-Sustained Agriculture

With Earth Day upon us, I've decided to do something special this year, join a CSA (Community-Sustained Agriculture). Living in California, we have the benefit of being surrounded by many wonderful farms and delicious produce, so why buy produce from the grocery store where much of it comes from abroad? We already frequent the local farmers market, but another good deal is to sign up with a CSA where you pay a flat price weekly, monthly, or annually for a box full of fresh, organic produce. The profits go directly to the farmers and you are guaranteed to be eating something locally produced. In Alameda, CA, we have the following farms to choose from, as far as I know, which will deliver to our city: Eatwell Farm, Full Belly Farm, Farm Fresh to You, Eat With the Seasons. The prices are very much the same, but each farm offers different kinds of produce and delivery methods. I'm still deciding what will work best for us. Any suggestions?

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Penne with a Chickpea-Tomato Sauce

Leftover Penne with Chickpea-Tomato Sauce and Pesto and Tomato Focaccia

The sauce for this pasta is actually a recipe for chickpeas to be served on their own. In my Italian mother's household, pasta and beans are a staple for lunch, so she decided to use this recipe for chickpeas as a sauce for penne or shells. They're statisfying and include carbs and protein. Here, we served it with salad and two different kinds of focaccia. It heats well as leftovers.


* 1 1/3 tablespoons olive oil
* 1 onion, chopped
* 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
* 1 tablespoon dried oregano
* 1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained
* 1/2 cup dry white wine
* 1 (15 ounce) can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained
* 3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
* salt and ground black pepper to taste


1. Heat oil in a medium skillet over medium heat, and stir in the onion, garlic, and oregano. Cook and stir about 10 minutes, until onions are tender.
2. Mix tomatoes into the skillet, and cook until heated through. Mix in wine, and continue cooking about 15 minutes, until thickened.
3. Stir garbanzo beans and feta cheese into the skillet, and cook 5 minutes, until the cheese has melted. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat, and allow to cool about 5 minutes before serving.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Black Beans and Rice

Black Beans and Rice

I make a large batch of the beans so I can freeze half and use it later. This is an Ayurvedic version with no onions or vinegar. The recipe is from Heaven's Banquet.

Black Beans and Rice
2 cups dried black beans
12 cups water
2 bay leaves
6 tablespoons light olive oil
2 teaspoons dried thyme
2 cups sliced celery
1 chopped bell pepper
3 cups pureed fresh tomatoes
salt and pepper
cooked rice
lemon wedges

Clean the beans and allow them to soak overnight.

Drain, rinse, and place beans in a large stock pot with the water and bay leaves. Bring to a boil and simmer for 2 1/2 hours. The water should end up barely covering the beans. At this point, I put the beans in the refrigerator for use the next day.

In a large skillet, heat olive oil and add the thyme and saute until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the celery and bell peppers and saute for 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook for 2 or 3 more minutes.

Add the vegetables to the beans. Bring to a boil and simmer until the sauce is gravy like, about 45 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and serve over rice with lemon wedges.

This Week's Menu

Homemade Seitan Cutlets with Cranberry Sauce
Black-eyed Pea Fritters and Collard Greens
Wasabi Salmon Burgers and Fries
Spaghetti with Puttanesca
Roasted Vegetable-Cheese Pie
Vegetable Lo Mein

Oatmeal-Chai Buttermilk Pancakes

Sunday, March 4, 2007

This Week's Menu

I won't have time to come home for dinner on Monday, so this week's has one less day.


Bagels with lox and cream cheese

Leftovers from Dinner

Barbecued Fish (whatever we find) with Roasted Potatoes and Green Beans
Spinach and Cheese Ravioli with Spice Tomato Sauce (Vegetarian Puttanesca) and Fresh Salad
Black Beans and Rice
Homemade Pizza
Mediterranean Couscous and Beans

Saffron Yellowtail with Spinach and Red Potatoes

This recipe comes from Cooking Light, and we couldn't find the monkfish called for in the original recipe, so we tried out yellowtail for the first time. While it does look nice, I think monkfish would have worked better. You really want to use a delicately flavored fish here.

Saffron Yellowtail

Friday, February 23, 2007

Salsa di Ricotta per Frutta (Ricotta Sauce for Fruit)

From an Italian cookbook about Abruzzo. The recipe was given to me from my mom.

Apricots with Ricotta Sauce

Ricotta Sauce for Fruit
1 pound whole milk ricotta, drained
1/4 cup sugar or honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Rind of 1 orange, minced
Juice of 1 large orange

Place all the ingredients in a food processor fitted with a plastic blade. Process until smooth. Chill before using. Serve the sauce over berries or fresh fruit. Makes 2 cups.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Frittata with Peas and Mozzarella

This is a quick creation we did one night when we were hungry and tired and out of food. It's based on the basic Italian frittata with peas. The measurements are approximate because nothing was actually measured.

Frittata with Peas and Mozzarella

Frittata with Peas and Mozzarella
Serves 2

Olive oil
4 eggs
1/2 cup Parmesan
1 cup frozen peas
Italian herbs, such as basil, oregano, thyme, and rosemary
Log of mozzarella, sliced

Heat medium skillet with olive oil. Beat together the eggs and Parmesan and herbs and pour into skillet. Swirl the skillet so that the egg mixture is evenly distributed. Add peas in an even layer. Cook until the edges start to brown and pull away from the pan. Top with slices of mozzarella and place the pan under the broiler for a couple minutes until the cheese is melted. Serve with salad and bread for a light meal.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Italian Baked Beans

We made these for the first time yesterday, and they are wonderful! A variety of beans can be used in this dish: cannelini, cranberry, or pinto beans. Because we were running out of all of the above, we used a little of each. Serve these beans with a dark green and either crusty bread or rice. For dinner, we made red chard and french bread as accompaniments. The leftover beans and chard were served at lunch with a new batch of rice.

Italian Baked Beans

Italian Baked Beans

2 cups (about 1 pound) cannelini, cranberry, or pinto beans
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
5 small cloves or 3 large cloves garlic
12 leaves (about 2 sprigs) sage
Boiling water
Salt and pepper

Soak beans overnight. Place beans in a casserole with olive oil, garlic, and sage and top with boiling water until water sits 1 inch above the beans. Cover and bake at 300 degrees for 1 1/2 hours. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...