Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Deviled Eggs

(I cobbled this together from internet recipes)

1 dozen eggs
1/3 cup mayo
2 tsp. dijon mustard
1 Tbsp. minced shallot
1/4 tsp. Tabasco sauce
salt and pepper, to taste
paprika, to taste

Place eggs in a large pot; cover with water by and inch or two.  Bring water to a rolling boil.  (You can put 1/2 tsp. salt or 1 tsp. vinegar in the water to help the shells become easier to peel.)  Turn off the heat, cover, and allow to sit for 12-15 minutes.

Drain eggs.  Fill pot with cold water and allow eggs to cool.

Peel eggs.  Cut each in half lengthwise.  Remove yolks, place them in a medium bowl, and mash them.  Set whites aside on a dish.  Add remaining ingredients to mashed yolks and mix thoroughly.  Spoon yolk mixture into egg white hollows.  Sprinkle lightly with paprika.

(Tangy and delicious!)

Escarole and Edamame Salad

(recipe from Gourmet magazine)

2 cups frozen shelled edamame
1 Tbsp. red-wine vinegar
1/2 tsp sugar (I used honey)
3 Tbsp. olive oil
1 1/2 lb. escarole, trimmed and cut crosswise into very thin strips (8 cups)
1/3 cup finely chopped mint
2/3 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (I omitted this)

Cook edamame in a 3-quart pot of well-salted boiling water for 5 minutes.  Drain and rinse under cold water to stop cooking.  Drain edamame again and pat dry.

Whisk together vinegar, sugar, 1/2 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. pepper in a small bowl until sugar and salt are dissolved.  Add oil in a slow stream, whisking until combined.

Toss together edamame, escarole, and mint in a large bowl.  Add cheese and drizzle salad with dressing, then toss again.  Serve immediately.

(I am in love with this salad!  It is simple to make and very fresh tasting.)

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Risotto with Butternut Squash and Sage

(recipe adapted from Bon Appetit magazine)

3 Tbsp. unsalted butter (I used olive oil)
4 cups 1/2- to 3/4-inch cubes peeled seeded butternut squash (from 2-lb. squash)
1 1/2 tsp. golden brown sugar (I used honey)
6 cups broth
1 1/2 Tbsp. olive oil
3/4 cup chopped shallots (about 5 large)
3/4 tsp. finely chopped fresh sage
1/2 tsp. finely chopped fresh thyme
2 cups Arborio rice
1/3 cup dry white wine
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley

Melt butter in large nonstick skillet over medium heat.  Add squash.  Sprinkle with sugar, then salt and pepper.  Saute 6 minutes.  Cover; cook until almost tender, stirring often, about 5 minutes.  Uncover; sauté until browned but still holding shape, about 8 minutes.  DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead.  Cover; chill.  Bring to room temperature before using.

Bring broth to a simmer in large saucepan; cover and keep warm.  Heat oil in large pot over medium heat.  Add shallots.  Saute until soft, about 4 minutes.  Mix in sage and thyme; stir 1 minute.  Add rice; sauté until kernels are white with translucent edges, about 4 minutes.  Add wine; stir until wine evaporates, about 1 minute.  Add 1 cup warm broth; simmer until broth is absorbed, stirring occasionally, 2 to 3 minutes.  Add 1 cup broth; simmer until almost all liquid is absorbed, stirring occasionally, about 3 minutes.  Continue adding broth 1 cup at a time and cooking until rice is just tender and risotto is creamy, stirring frequently, about 20 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper.  Mix in parsley and squash.  Cook until squash is heated, about 1 minute.

(Risotto is always yummy, and this one is delicious with the autumn flavors of sage and squash.)

Frosted Green Beans with Sesame

(recipe from The Philadelphia Inquirer newspaper)

4 1/4 cups green beans, trimmed
2 Tbsp. butter (I just used olive oil)
2 scallions, thinly sliced
1 Tbsp. sesame seeds
Strained juice and grated rind of 1/2 lemon
Olive oil, for drizzling
Salt and pepper

Cook the beans in salted, boiling water for 10 minutes.  Drain and set aside.

Melt the butter in a pan, add the scallions and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes until softened.

Stir in the lemon juice and rind.  Add the beans, season with salt and pepper, and simmer for two minutes.

Meanwhile, dry-fry the sesame seeds, stirring frequently for about 1 minute until they give off their aroma.  Remove from heat.

Transfer the bean mixture to a warm serving dish, sprinkle with the sesame seeds, and drizzle with olive oil.  Mix well and serve.

(Delightful, tangy flavor!)

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Wild Mushroom and Spinach Stuffing

(recipe from Bon Appetit magazine)

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, divided
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 lb. assorted fresh wild mushrooms (such as chanterelle, stemmed shiitake, and crimini), cut into 1/2-inch dice (about 9 cups)
3 cups chopped onions (about 1 lb.)
2 cups chopped celery (4 to 5 stalks)
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh sage
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh thyme
5 ounces baby spinach leaves
12 cups (generous) 1-inch cubes day-old pain rustique or ciabatta bread with crust (about 1 1/4 lbs.)
2 large eggs
1 1/2 tsp. fine sea salt
1 tsp. ground black pepper
1 cup (or more) broth

Melt 1/4 cup butter with olive oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add diced wild mushrooms and sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper.  Saute until mushrooms are tender and beginning to brown, about 8 minutes.  Transfer mushrooms to large bowl.

Melt remaining 1/2 cup butter in same skillet over medium heat.  Add onions and celery.  Saute until vegetables are tender, about 12 minutes.  Add all herbs; sauté 1 minute longer.  Add spinach and toss until just wilted, about 1 minute.  Add vegetable mixture to bowl with mushrooms.  DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead.  Cool, cover, and chill.

Preheat oven to 350F.  Divide bread between 2 rimmed baking sheets.  Bake until bread is crusty but not hard, reversing sheets after 5 minutes, 10 to 12 minutes total.  Transfer to very large bowl and cool.

Butter 13x9x2-inch baking dish.  Stir vegetable mixture into bread.  Whisk eggs, salt, and pepper in small bowl to blend well; whisk in 1 cup broth.  Add egg mixture to stuffing, tossing to combine evenly and adding more broth by 1/4 cupfuls if dry.  Transfer stuffing to prepared dish.

Bake stuffing uncovered until cooked through and brown and crusty on top, 50 to 60 minutes.  Let stand 10 minutes.

(Stuffing is always tasty, this one particularly with the mushrooms throughout.  I skipped the bread cube baking step, as I had cut my bread the day before and left it out overnight on the counter to dry out.  Thanksgiving 2015 - me alone and a whole bunch of stuffing!  Yum.)

Raw Cranberry Sauce

(recipe from Whole Foods Market)

1 orange, peeled
1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries
1 medium apple, quartered
5 pitted dates (or to taste)
1/3 cup pecans or walnuts
Zest of 1 orange

Place all ingredients in a food processor and pulse till chunky.

(So easy and delicious!  And healthy!)

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Brussels Sprouts with Horseradish and Pomegranate Seeds

(recipe from Saveur magazine)

2 lbs. Brussels sprouts
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup olive oil
2 tsp. smoked paprika
2 Tbsp. grated lemon zest
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 tsp. white wine vinegar
1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
1/4 cup grated horseradish

Heat oven broiler.  Cook sprouts in salted boiling water, 4 minutes.  Drain and transfer to an ice bath.  Drain, halve, and pat dry.  Toss with oil, paprika, salt, and pepper on a baking sheet.  Broil until caramelized, 8-10 minutes.  Toss with lemon zest and juice, and vinegar.  Garnish with pomegranate seeds and horseradish.

(So unique and tasty!  I roasted the sprouts in the oven for 40 minutes instead of boiling and broiling.  The vinegar and pomegranate and horseradish give the sprouts a tangy flavor, which is unexpected and delightful.)

Coconut Beluga Lentils

(recipe from Saveur magazine)

1 1/4 cup beluga lentils
6 Tbsp. unsalted butter (I used coconut oil)
4 shallots, minced
1 cup coconut milk
1 cup shelled edamame
1 Tbsp. minced thyme
Salt & pepper to taste
1 Tbsp. minced parsley

Boil lentils in a 4-qt. saucepan of water until tender, 18-20 minutes; drain and transfer to a bowl.  Add butter to pan; melt over medium-high heat.  Cook shallots until golden, 5-7 minutes.  Add lentils, coconut milk, edamame, thyme, salt, and pepper; cook 5 minutes.  Stir in parsley.

(These lentils are delicious!  Creamy and light, unexpected flavor.)

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Andrew Feinberg's Slow-Baked Broccoli Frittata

(recipe from Food 52)

10 large eggs
2 1/2 Tbsp. grated Parmigiano Reggiano (I left this out)
1 tsp. kosher salt, plus more to taste (I halved this amount, and still found it to be a little too salty)
40 turns from a black pepper mill (I halved this as well)
7 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
1 medium (1 lb.) head of broccoli (4 cups once trimmed)
1/2 of a red onion, sliced thinly
1 heaping Tbsp. chopped garlic
1/8 tsp. plus a large pinch of dried chile flakes
1 squeeze lemon, to taste, for serving

Preheat the oven to 400F.

Crack the eggs and whisk together with the Parmigiano, salt, and black pepper, and set aside.

Trim 1/2 inch off the stem of the broccoli.  Using a knife, separate all the florets from the base leaving the stem attached and then cut floret pieces in half (you can cut any especially large ones in quarters so all are evenly sized.)  In a 10- to 11-inch oven-safe sauté pan over medium-high heat, cook the broccoli in 4 Tbsp. of olive oil.  Let the broccoli develop a nice brown color on one side, then turn everything over and season to taste with salt.

Transfer the pan to the oven and roast the broccoli until tender, 10 to 15 minutes.  In a separate 10- to 11-inch sauté pan, cook the onion in 2 Tbsp. of olive oil, adding salt to taste.  Cook the onions for about 3 to 5 minutes over medium-high heat until lightly browned.  Reserve onions on the side.

Once the broccoli is fully roasted and tender, transfer the sauté pan back to the stovetop and reduce the oven temperature to 300F.

Over medium heat, add 1 Tbsp. of olive oil to the broccoli pan and add the garlic and chile.  Cook the garlic and chile for 1 minute carefully so as not to burn the garlic.  Add the cooked onions to the sauté pan with the broccoli and mix well.  Add the egg and cheese mixture and let cook for 30 seconds over high heat.

Transfer the pan to the 300F oven and let the frittata cook until the eggs are just set.  Should be about 25 to 30 minutes.  Remove the pan from the oven and then turn the frittata out with a rubber spatula onto a serving plate.  Squeeze lemon juice over the top.  Drizzle olive oil and sprinkle Parmigiano over the top to taste, optional.

(Found!  The secret to an amazing frittata: a longer bake in a lower oven!  Amazing custard-like texture.)

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Root Vegetables Anna

(recipe from Bon Appetit magazine)

Nonstick vegetable oil spray
6 Tbsp. butter, melted, divided (I used coconut oil)
1 1/4 lbs. russet potatoes (about 2 medium), peeled, cut into scant 1/8-inch-thick rounds
3-inch-diameter celery root (celeriac), trimmed, peeled, halved, very thinly sliced
1 medium turnip, peeled, halved, very thinly sliced
1 tsp. chopped fresh rosemary (I used dried, along with some other Italian spices)

Spray a 9 1/2-inch-diameter nonstick ovenproof skillet with vegetable oil spray; add 2 Tbsp. melted butter.  Arrange half of the potato rounds in the skillet, overlapping in concentric circles.  Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper.  Alternate celery root slices and turnip slices atop potatoes in overlapping concentric circles.  Sprinkle with rosemary, then lightly with salt and pepper.  Drizzle with 2 Tbsp. melted butter.  Top with remaining potato slices in overlapping concentric circles.  Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper.  Press with spatula to compact.

Preheat oven to 400F.  Cook vegetables over medium heat, 5 minutes.  Reduce heat to medium-low; cover and cook until bottom layer is golden, about 25 minutes.  Uncover and drizzle with 2 Tbsp. melted butter.  Transfer the skillet to the oven; bake uncovered until vegetables are very tender and golden, 20 to 25 minutes.

Run small knife around vegetables to loosen from skillet.  Place large platter atop skillet.  Using pot holders, firmly hold skillet and platter together and invert vegetables onto platter.  Cut into wedges and serve.

(This is so tasty - the turnips and celery give an interesting depth and lightness to the potatoes.  I'd not invert the vegetables out of the skillet if I made them again - my top layer stuck to the bottom of the pan, and the thing got disheveled.  I don't think it's necessary - I'd just scoop out in wedges.  The top is pretty anyway because of the concentric circle pattern, and was crisped and browned from the oven.)

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Kale, Cabbage, and Brussels Sprout Chopped Salad

(recipe from Food 52)

For the greens:
1/2 lb. lacinato kale (about one small bunch, or half of a larger bunch)
1/2 lb. curly kale (about one small bunch, or half of a larger bunch)
1 lb. Brussels sprouts
1 lb. green cabbage (about half a medium head or a quarter of a large one)
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt

For the dressing:
2 Tbsp. plus 2 tsp. red wine vinegar
2 tsp. whole grain mustard
1 tsp. salt
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce (I left this out)
1 cup olive oil (or to your liking - I reduced the amount a bit)
1 Tbsp. hazelnut oil, optional
1 Tbsp. toasted sesame seeds, for assembly
2 Tbsp. toasted pistachios, for assembly

Wash and spin dry the kale, remove large ribs and cut it, plus the cabbage, into small squares, about 1/4-inch by 1/4-inch (or to your desired size).  Halve the Brussels sprouts lengthwise, cut each half in half, and, with them lying cut-side down, slice them like you would an onion.  Don't stress about the technique too much - the important part is that everything is roughly the same size.

Place all chopped vegetables in a large bowl, add sugar and salt, and massage the greens slightly until they no longer feel raw.  This salad will only improve if you do this a few hours ahead of time, but it's not necessary.  (At this point, the salad can sit for up to 2 or 3 days.  It will lose water, so be sure to drain before continuing on.)

To make the dressing, combine the vinegar, mustard, salt, sugar, and Worcestershire sauce in a blender, and blend until the color lightens and everything is combined.  (You can also use a whisk and a strong arm for this.)  Slowly stream in the olive oil, and then the hazelnut oil, if using - you're looking for everything to be thick and emulsified.  (This dressing will last for 2 weeks in the fridge.)

Add dressing to greens, a few spoonfuls at a time - you want a well-dressed salad but not a soggy one.  (Keep in mind you will have leftover dressing, so no need to use it all.)  Fold in the sesame seeds and pistachios, and serve.

(This salad was delicious.  I'd probably tweak the dressing to be a little healthier - substitute something for the brown sugar - next time I make it, though.)

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Roasted Hubbard Squash Soup with Hazelnuts & Chives

(recipe from Fine Cooking magazine)

3 Tbsp. olive oil
3 large cloves garlic, peeled
1 Tbsp. coriander seeds
1 1/2 tsp. fennel seeds
1 1/2 tsp. dried sage
1 small (5 1/2-6 lbs.) Hubbard squash, halved lengthwise and seeded
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter (I used coconut oil)
1 large leek (white and light-green parts only), halved lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise
2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into small dice
Kosher salt
5 cups vegetable broth
1 bay leaf
2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup hazelnuts, toasted, skinned, and chopped
2 Tbsp. thinly sliced chives
Several small pinches Espelette pepper or cayenne

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 400F.  Line a heavy-duty rimmed baking sheet with parchment.

In a mortar and pestle, pound the oil, garlic, coriander seeds, fennel seeds, and sage until they resemble a coarse paste.  Rub the spice mixture on the flesh of the squash halves.  Set them cut side down on the prepared pan and roast until tender when pierced with a fork, about 1 hour.

Let cool, cut side up.  When cool enough to handle, scrape the flesh away from the rind - you'll need about 5 cups.

Melt the butter in a 5- to 6-quart Dutch oven over medium heat.  Add the leek, carrots, and a big pinch of salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until the leek is softened, 8 to 10 minutes.  Add the squash, broth, bay leaf, and 1 tsp. salt and bring to a boil over high heat.  Reduce the heat to a low simmer, cover, and cook for 30 minutes to develop the soup's flavor.

Remove the bay leaf and allow the soup to cool slightly.  Puree the soup in batches in a blender.  Return the soup to the pot and add the lemon juice.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Garnish with the chopped hazelnuts, chives, and Espelette or cayenne pepper.

(Nice flavor.  The recipe is a bit involved, and I followed all of the steps, but I wonder if  the grinding of the spices to rub on the roasting squash is necessary - perhaps just add the spices into the soup along with the broth?  Also, the hazelnuts add an interesting element, but I think could just as well be left out, as they are only garnish.)

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Cranberry-Pecan Bread with Caraway Seeds

(recipe from Christina Cooks)

3 oz. dried, unsweetened cranberries
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup organic yellow cornmeal
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. caraway seeds
1/4 cup avocado oil (I used coconut oil)
1/3 cup brown rice syrup (I used maple syrup)
2 tsp. grated orange zest
1 1/2 cups unsweetened organic almond or soy milk
1/2 cup pecan pieces, lightly toasted

Preheat oven to 350F and lightly oil and flour a 10-inch deep-dish pie plate.

Mix dried cranberries and orange juice together in a small bowl and soak them for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Drain, discarding any excess juice.

Mix together dry ingredients.  Mix in oil, syrup and zest.  Slowly add milk until you achieve a thick spoonable batter, but do not over mix.  Fold in pecans and cranberries.  Spoon batter evenly into pie pan and bake for about 35 minutes, until the center of the bread springs back to the touch or a toothpick inserted comes out clean.  Cool for about 10 minutes, then run a sharp knife around the rim and slice the bread into wedges.

(Hearty and not too sweet.)

Saturday, October 10, 2015

How to mix a martini.

(from Real Simple magazine)

"There are only a few things you need to know to make a martini the way a man does:  Make it dry, make it gin, make it brutally cold, and keep it simple.  "The quickest way to sissify a martini is to get creative," says David Wondrich, author of a forthcoming book on cocktails.  "Don't garnish it with a sprig of rosemary or put a splash of Frangelico in it or do anything fancy whatsoever."  As for making a martini with vodka, it's certainly possible.  But if it's a man's drink you're after, stick with gin and aim for a gin-to-vermouth ratio somewhere between five to one and eight to one, depending on how strong you like it.  "Any more vermouth and it's unbearably watery," says Wondrich.  "Any less and you might as well be drinking straight gin, which is fine but not a martini."


Chill a martini glass in the freezer for at least 5 minutes.  Pour 3 ounces gin (Beefeater, Tanqueray, or Bombay Sapphire - something around 94 proof) and 1/2 ounce Noilly Prat dry white vermouth into a stainless-steel cocktail shaker or a chilled tumbler.  Place 8 to 10 ice cubes (according to Wondrich, cracked or crushed ice chills faster than cubes) in the shaker or tumbler, stir vigorously for about 20 seconds with a long-handled spoon, and strain into the chilled martini glass.  How you finish off the martini is a matter of taste.  A twist is the classiest way to go and yields the cleanest-tasting drink.  An olive is the traditional garnish, and it looks cool.  Take your pick.

(Been on a real dirty martini kick lately.  I just love the write-up of this drink - so much to say over something so simple.  Anyway, I add a spoonful or two of olive juice and two olives and I'm happy.  Cheers!)

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Mediterranean Crunch Salad

(recipe from Whole Foods Market)

1 (15 oz.) can garbanzo beans
1 cucumber, chopped
1 cup small broccoli florets
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
1 cup finely sliced kale, tough stems removed
1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
2 Tbsp. finely chopped Kalamata olives
3 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
1 small garlic clove, minced
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
1 tsp. chopped fresh thyme (I used dried thyme)

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl.  Chill at least 1 hour before serving.

(Easy!  So yummy!)

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

West Indian Pumpkin with Jerk-Spiced Tempeh

(recipe from The New Vegan Cookbook by Lorna Sass)

For the tempeh:
8 oz. tempeh
3 Tbsp. soy sauce
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil, plus oil for preparing the pan
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
2 large cloves garlic, peeled and quartered
1 tsp. ground ginger
3/4 to 1 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 tsp. ground allspice
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
1/4 tsp. salt
1 medium vidalia or other sweet onion, peeled and cut into eighths
Hot sauce

For the pumpkin:
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 cup chopped onion
1 large green bell pepper, seeded and diced
One 15 oz. can diced tomatoes (with liquid)
1/2 to 1 cup unseasoned tomato juice, or water
3 to 4 Tbsp. marinade (reserved from the jerk-spiced tempeh)
1 to 2 tsp. curry powder
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/8 to 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 tsp. salt
2 1/2 lbs. calabaza pumpkin or butternut squash, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch cubes

With a fork, deeply prick the tempeh about 20 times on each side.  Cut into 1/2-inch dice.  Set aside.

In a blender, combine the soy sauce, oil, brown sugar, garlic, ginger, thyme, allspice, pepper, salt, and onion.  Puree until very smooth, about 1 minute.  Add hot sauce to taste.  Reserve 1/4 cup of the marinade.

Pour half of the remaining marinade into a storage container.  Add the diced tempeh.  Pour the rest of the marinade on top.  Cover, then shake gently to coat the tempeh evenly.  Set aside for 15 minutes (or refrigerate overnight).

While the tempeh is marinating, prepare the curried pumpkin:  Heat the oil in a large, heavy saucepan.  Cook the onion and green pepper over medium heat, stirring frequently, until softened, 4 to 5 minutes.  Stir in the tomatoes with their liquid, 1/2 cup tomato juice (or water), 3 Tbsp. of the reserved marinade, and the smaller amounts of curry, cinnamon, cloves, and salt.  Stir in the pumpkin.  Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the pumpkin is tender, 20 to 25 minutes.  During this time, adjust the seasoning by adding more marinade and spices if you wish.  Add more tomato juice or water if the sauce becomes too thick.

While the pumpkin is cooking, preheat the oven to 425F.  Brush a large nonstick baking sheet or roasting pan with oil (if nonstick, line with oiled foil).  Spread the marinated tempeh in the pan in one layer.  (It's okay if some of the unabsorbed marinade ends up in the pan.)  Bake until the color deepens and the top of each piece feels fairly dry and is no longer sticky to the touch, 10 to 12 minutes.  (Do not cook the tempeh longer than 12 minutes, as it will dry out.)

To serve, spoon the curried pumpkin onto dinner plates and set the jerk-spiced tempeh on top.

(I used butternut squash for this recipe.  The spice of this is incredible!  The marinade for the tempeh is amazing!  I actually added all of the remaining marinade to the pumpkin mixture.  The recipe is written out so well - it sounds involved but is incrediby easy to follow.)

Lemony White Bean Dip

(recipe from a newspaper, not sure which one)
2 cans (15 oz. each) white beans, such as cannellini or great northern
2 cloves garlic, quartered
1 cup tightly packed fresh parsley leaves
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 tsp. salt, or to taste

Drain and rinse beans.  Place beans, garlic, parsley, lemon juice, and oil in a food processor.  Process until smooth, scraping down sides of the bowl once or twice as necessary.  Scrape mixture into a bowl.  Stir in salt.  Can be made several hours in advance, covered, and refrigerated.  Let come to room temperature before serving.

(So easy to make!  I brought this dip to a party, and it was a hit.)

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Carrot Walnut Cookies

(recipe from Whole Foods Market)

1 cup raw unsalted walnuts
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup raisins
1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 1/4 tsp. baking powder
1 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
2 carrots, grated
1 apple, cored and seeded, grated
1 very ripe banana, peeled and mashed
1/4 cup apple juice

Preheat oven to 350F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Combine walnuts, oats, and raisins in a food processor and pulse until finely ground.  Transfer to a bowl and stir in flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and ginger.  Add carrots, apple, banana, and apple juice and stir until combined.  Drop by rounded tablespoons an inch apart on the prepared baking sheets, making about 24 cookies.  Press down on each cookie with the back of a fork to flatten slightly.  Bake until tops and bottoms are lightly browned, 20 to 25 minutes.

(Tasty little healthy cookies!  Wholesome enough to eat for breakfast.  Quick and easy to make.)

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Roasted Sweet Potato and Corn Chowder

(recipe from The New Vegan Cookbook by Lorna Sass)

2 medium sweet potatoes (about 1 lb.), peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice
2 Tbsp. oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 lb. frozen (rinsed and defrosted) or fresh corn kernels (about 4 cups)
1 cup water
1 1/2 cups finely diced celery
1 cup diced red onion
1/4 cup diced shallots
1 Tbsp. tomato paste
1/2 tsp. dried thyme leaves
3 cups vegetable broth
1 bay leaf
1 russet potato (about 8 oz.)
2 Tbsp. minced parsley
1/2 to 1 cup unflavored soy milk (optional)

Set the oven rack in the center and preheat the oven to 425F.  Oil a large roasting pan.

Scatter the sweet potatoes in one layer in the roasting pan and drizzle with 1 Tbsp. of the oil.  Season well with salt and pepper.  Roast until tender, tossing once or twice, 15 to 20 minutes.  If you'd like to brown the sweet potatoes more deeply, set them about 5 inches below the broiling element for a minute or two.  Set aside.

Reserve 1 cup of corn kernels.  In a blender, puree the remaining corn with the water until very smooth, about 2 minutes.  Set aside.

In a heavy soup pot, heat the remaining tablespoon of oil.  Cook the celery, onion, and shallots over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until the onions are slightly softened, about 3 minutes.  Add the tomato paste and thyme and cook another minute, stirring frequently.  Add the both, pureed corn, bay leaf, 1 tsp. salt, and pepper to taste.

While bringing the chowder to a boil, peel the potato, cut it into 1/2 -inch dice, and add it to the pot.  Cover the pot and simmer until the potato is tender, 25 to 35 minutes.

Remove the bay leaf.  Add the reserved corn kernels, roasted sweet potatoes, and parsley.  Thin with soymilk, if desired.  Adjust the seasonings.  Cook (but do not boil after adding soy milk) until heated throughout.


Saturday, September 19, 2015

Red Devil Cake

(recipe from The Vegan Sourcebook by Joanne Stepaniak)

2 cups whole-wheat pastry flour
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup cocoa powder
2 tsp. double-acting nonaluminum baking powder
2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. flaxseeds
1/3 cup water
1 cup diced cooked beets
1 cup water
1/3 cup canola oil (I used coconut oil)
2 tsp. apple-cider vinegar
2 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350F.  Lightly oil the bottom and sides of an 8-inch square baking pan.

Place the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium mixing bowl and stir them with a wire whisk until well combined.

Place the flaxseeds in a dry blender and grind them into a powder.  Add the 1/3 cup water and blend until a gummy mixture is achieved, about 30 seconds.  Add the beets, 1 cup water, canola oil, vinegar, and vanilla, and process until frothy and well blended, about 1 to 2 minutes.  Pour into the flour mixture and mix just until everything is evenly moistened.

Quickly spoon the batter into the prepared pan.  Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 35 to 40 minutes.  Cool on a rack for at least 30 minutes before serving.  Frost when completely cool.  Store the frosted cake tightly covered in the refrigerator.

(This cake is not gluten-free, so is more like a traditional cake than the beet cake I posted a few years back.  I like this cake very much, have been making it for years, and it's always very popular with people.  The cookbook pairs it with a frosting made of tofu, but I prefer the chocolate avocado frosting that I made for the previous beet cake (just search "cake" on this site, and it will pop up).  This can also be made in a round cake pan with no trouble - though if you'd like a layer cake, you'll need to double the cake recipe.)

Monday, September 14, 2015

Roasted Cauliflower with Dates and Pine Nuts

(recipe from 5 Ingredient Fix cookbook)

1 large head cauliflower, cut into florets (about 8 cups)
Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
4 Tbsp. unsalted butter (I used coconut oil)
1/3 cup pine nuts
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 cup pitted Medjool dates, coarsely chopped

Preheat the oven to 425F.

Evenly spread the cauliflower on a baking sheet and season with salt and pepper.  Transfer to the oven and roast, tossing once with a spatula, until golden brown at the edges, about 20 minutes.

Put the butter in a small skillet over medium-low heat.  Once it's melted, add the pine nuts and cook, stirring frequently, until they're light golden brown, about 5 minutes.  Add the garlic and dates and continue cooking until the garlic and dates are softened, 2 to 3 minutes more; season with salt.

Transfer the hot cauliflower to a serving bowl, drizzle the pine nut mixture over the top, and toss to combine.  Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary and serve warm or at room temperature.

(Interesting cauliflower dish - simple and tasty.)

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Yellow Gazpacho

(recipe from Real Simple magazine)

2 lbs. yellow beefsteak tomatoes, halved crosswise
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 small white onion, peeled and quartered
1 small garlic clove, peeled
2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
1 small cucumber, diced
1 small orange or red tomato, diced

Working over a large bowl, squeeze the yellow tomato halves to release the seeds and juices.  Reserve the liquid.

Combine the squeezed yellow tomatoes and salt in a food processor or blender and puree until smooth.  Transfer to the bowl containing the tomato pulp and juice.  Add the onion, garlic, and lemon juice to the food processor or blender and puree until smooth.  Add the onion liquid into the bowl containing the tomatoes.  Add the jalapeno, cilantro, cucumber, and diced tomato and mix well.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.

(Allow time for the soup to sit in the refrigerator a while for the flavors to blend and mellow.  [The onion was a bit too strong for me after it first was made, but eased after a while in the fridge.]  This is very tasty and easy to make!  And colorful!)

Mushroom & Wild Rice Frittata

(partial recipe clipped from a magazine, not sure which one)

Wild rice:
2 cups water
1/2 cup wild rice, rinsed
1/8 tsp. salt

6 large eggs
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
1/2 tsp. salt, divided
1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper, divided
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
2 tsp. olive oil
1 cup chopped red onion
1 Tbsp. minced fresh rosemary or 1 tsp. dried
1 lb. mixed mushrooms (cremini, white button, shiitake), sliced

To prepare wild rice, combine water, rice and salt in a small heavy saucepan; bring to a boil.  Cover, reduce heat to maintain a simmer, and cook until the rice is tender with a slight bite, 40 to 50 minutes.  Drain.

[At this point, I seem to have lost the rest of the recipe as it continued onto another page.  What follows is my own directions:]

Preheat oven to 350F.  Beat the eggs in a large bowl, set aside.  Sautee the remaining ingredients in a cast iron skillet over medium heat.  Once onions and mushrooms are tender, add drained rice, and stir to combine well.  Pour eggs into the skillet.  Remove the skillet from the burner and put into oven.  Bake for about 20 minutes, or until eggs are set.

(Very tasty frittata!)

Monday, August 10, 2015

Spiced Peach Chutney

(recipe from Whole Foods Market)

2 medium ripe peaches
1 cup seedless grapes (both green and red work just fine) (I halved the grapes.)
2 Tbsp. honey
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
1/4 cup raisins
1 Tbsp. brown mustard seeds
1/2 tsp. ground allspice

Peel and pit the peaches; cut and dice them.  Mix with grapes, honey, and mustard; set aside.  In a large skillet over medium-high heat, combine oil, onions, raisins, mustard seed, and allspice.  Cook until the onion is golden and the raisins have plumped, perhaps 5-10 minutes, stirring often.  Spoon the hot mixture into the fruit mixture and fold together to blend.  Serve warm or at room temperature.  This is not a preserve - it will keep in the icebox for a few days only. 

(Yummy!  I kept it cold and spooned it over a bed of mixed greens for a simple salad.)

Friday, August 7, 2015

Creamy Orange-Avocado Dressing

(recipe from Whole Foods Market)

3 green onions, roughly chopped
1/2 avocado, peeled and pitted
1/2 cup orange juice
1/8 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. ground black pepper

Puree all ingredients in a blender.

(This makes a nice dip for veggies, too!  Tasted great with carrots!  Is thick, clings well.)

Monday, July 27, 2015

Salsa Con Otra Cosas

(recipe from Whole Foods Market)

3 tomatoes, coarsely chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, chopped finely
1/2 large onion, chopped
1/4 cup chopped or sliced black olives
1/8 cup vinegar
3 small cloves garlic, minced
1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped
1/4 tsp. salt, or to taste
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 ripe avocado, chopped

Mix all ingredients at least one hour prior to serving.

(I brought this to a party and everyone asked for the recipe.  Quite tasty!)

Red, White and Blue Fruit Salad

(recipe from Whole Foods Market)

1 cup raw, unsalted, cashew pieces
2 pitted dates, roughly chopped
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 lb. strawberries, hulled and halved
11 oz. blueberries
1/4 cup roughly chopped mint

Put cashews into a large bowl, cover with water and set aside at room temperature to let soak for 4 hours or overnight; drain well.  Transfer to a food processor (Vitamix works well!); add dates, vanilla and 1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp. warm water and puree until smooth.  In a large serving bowl, toss together strawberries, blueberries, and mint.  Serve with cashew cream.

(This cashew cream is awesome!  A healthy whipped cream alternative that would be delicous served with anything!  Seriously good!)

Sauteed Zucchini with Mint, Basil, and Walnuts

(recipe from Food52)

1 lb. zucchini, sliced into 1/2-inch rounds
3 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
3 small cloves garlic
10 mint leaves
5 basil leaves
1 heaping Tbsp. capers, rinsed
2 Tbsp. walnuts or pine nuts, lightly toasted
1 to 2 tsp. red wine vinegar
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
Additional mint and basil, torn, to garnish

Heat half of the oil in a 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat.  When the oil is hot, add half the zucchini and saute, flipping and turning every few minutes, until golden brown, about 15 minutes.  Don't salt them yet!

While your zucchini cooks, chop together the garlic, mint, basil, and capers so that they intermingle and turn into a sort of knife pesto.

When the zucchini is golden, remove it from the pan and cook the remaining zucchini in the remaining oil, just as you did the first batch.  Then add the first batch back into the pan, along with the herb-garlic mixture and the vinegar, to taste.  Taste for salt; add a good pinch, plus a few cracks of pepper.  Toss well.

Scoop everything out onto a serving plate.  Right before serving, sprinkle on the nuts and extra herbs as a garnish.

(Sauteed zucchini is always delicious, and the garlic, herbs and nuts really makes it special.  I added some shrimp and tomatoes to leftovers to great effect.)

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Kale, Carrot, and Avocado Salad

(recipe from Whole Foods Market)

1 bunch kale, stemmed and finely chopped
2 cups grated carrots
1/2 avocado, peeled and pitted
1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion
2 Tbsp. lemon or lime juice
2 Tbsp. sesame seeds, toasted
1/2 tsp. soy sauce

Toss all ingredients together in a large bowl.  Use your hands or the back of a large spoon to thoroughly mash the avocado into the kale.  Set aside at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving to allow kale to soften.

(The kale really softens up and wilts down and mixes with the avocado and other ingredients.  Very nice, light salad.)

Vidalia Onion Soup

(recipe from Whole Foods Market)

2 Tbsp. olive oil
6 garlic cloves, minced
5 lbs. Vidalia or other sweet onion, halved, then sliced thinly
1 tsp. dried thyme leaves
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
4 cups water or vegetable stock
2/3 cup shoyu or soy sauce (or tamari)
1/4 cup dark balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup vegetarian worcestershire sauce (I omitted this)
1 1/2 Tbsp. sugar
1/3 cup dry sherry

Heat the garlic and olive oil in the saucepan until lightly browned.  Add the onions, thyme, and crushed red pepper.  Allow onions to thoroughly caramelize by periodically stirring over a medium-high heat for appoximately 15 minutes.

Once the onions are well-browned, add the water or stock, soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, worcestershire sauce, and sugar.  (The sugar will help to offset the acidity of the other ingredients.)  Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.  Allow soup to simmer covered for approximately 30 minutes, then uncovered for approximately 15 minutes.  Stir occasionally.

Add sherry, then simmer for another 5 minutes.  Serve.

(This is a delicious vegetarian version of an onion soup!  I loved it!)

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Mango Salad with Lobster and Lime Vinaigrette

(recipe clipped from a newspaper, unknown)

For the lime vinaigrette:
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
2 scallions, minced
Juice and zest of 1 lime
1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard
1/8 tsp. sugar
1/8 tsp. salt
Freshly ground pepper to taste
About 1/3 cup canola oil (I used olive oil)

For the salad:
1 (12-oz.) cooked lobster tail or 12 oz. cooked shrimp or crabmeat (I used shrimp)
1 ripe mango
8 oz. mixed baby greens
1/2 yellow or red bell pepper, cored, seeded and diced

Prepare the vinaigrette:  In a small bowl, whisk together the cilantro, scallions, lime juice and zest, mustard, sugar, salt and pepper until smooth.  Whisk in 1/3 cup oil until smooth.  Taste, whisking in more oil if dressing is too tart.

Make the salad:  After lobster/shrimp/crabmeat is prepared according to package directions, let cool.  Remove from the shells and cut into pieces.

Holding the mango upright, carefully cut the two rounded sides away from the large seed.  Score the fruit into cubes without cutting through the peel.  Push the peel side to turn it inside out.  Cut the mango cubes away from the peel.

Divide the greens among dinner plates.  Top each salad with the mango cubes, bell pepper, and lobster pieces.  Drizzle with the lime vinaigrette.

(A bright, interesting salad.  Can mix peppers, shrimp, mango and keep in a sealed container in the fridge for about a day.)

Monday, June 15, 2015

Strawberries with Balsamic Vinegar

(recipe from The Philadelphia Inquirer)

1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tsp. granulated sugar
1/2 tsp. lemon juice
3 pints fresh strawberries, hulled, cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch slices
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
Ground black pepper, to taste

Bring the vinegar, sugar, and lemon juice to a simmer in a small, heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat.  Simmer, reducing syrup by half (about 3 Tbsp.), about 3 minutes.  Transfer syrup to a small bowl; let cool.

With a spoon, lightly toss the berries and brown sugar in a large bowl.  Let stand until the sugar dissolves and the berries exude some juice, 10 to 15 minutes.  Pour the cooled vinegar syrup over the berries.  Add pepper; toss to combine.

Divide berries among dessert bowls or goblets.  Serve.

("The strawberries can stand alone, but other possibilities abound:  Ladle them over mascarpone cheese, spoon them over ice cream, or use them to jazz up a shortcake.  You can even move from the dessert line and toss them with spinach leaves and toasted pecans as a very different salad course."  I ate them alone, and they were delightful!)

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Bean Salad with Fresh Salmon and Dill

(recipe from Food & Wine magazine)

1 1/2 cups dried cannellini beans (10 ounces), soaked overnight and drained
1 small onion, halved
1 carrot, halved
4 garlic cloves, lightly smashed
2 bay leaves
1 medium fennel bulb, finely diced, stalks, core and fronds reserved
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh dill
1/2 cup good fruity olive oil
Two 8-oz. skinless salmon fillets

Place the beans in a large pot.  Add 2 quarts of water and the onion, carrot, garlic, bay leaves and the reserved fennel stalks and core.  Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to very low, cover and simmer until the beans are tender, about 1 hour.  Season the beans with salt and pepper during the last 10 minutes of cooking.

Drain the beans and discard all the cooked vegetables.  Coarsely chop the fennel fronds.  Transfer the beans to a large serving platter and, while still warm, add the dill, diced fennel bulb, fennel fronds and all but 1 Tbsp. of the olive oil.  Season with salt and pepper and toss gently to combine.

In a medium nonstick skillet, heat the remaining 1 Tbsp. of olive oil.  Season the salmon on both sides with salt and pepper, add the fish to the skillet and cook over moderate heat on 1 side until brown and crusty, about 3 minutes.  Gently flip the salmon and cook on the other side until just cooked through, about 4 minutes.  Transfer the salmon to a plate to cool slightly.  Break the salmon into large flakes and toss gently with the beans.  Serve the salad warm or at room temperature.

(A nice hearty salad with great flavor.  Beware of overcooking the beans - check that they're not turning too mushy.  I cooked mine an hour and they were a bit overdone.  Also, I'm not a fan of throwing out the onions and carrots and garlic - perhaps may be nice to chop them a bit and keep them in the salad?  Might give it a try next time...  I did not use so much olive oil - can add to your liking.  Also, instead of fresh salmon, I added the thick smoked salmon to mine, which tasted nice.)

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Carrot, Dill & White Bean Salad

(recipe from 101cookbooks.com)

1/4 cup olive oil
3 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1/4 tsp. fine grain salt
1/2 cup thinly sliced shallots

more olive oil for cooking (or ghee) - (I used coconut oil)
2 cups sliced carrots, cut 1/4-inch thick on deep bias
3 cups cooked white beans
scant 1/4 cup chopped fresh dill
2 Tbsp. brown sugar (or honey)
1/3 cup sliced almonds, toasted

Combine olive oil, lemon juice, salt and shallots in a small bowl.  Stir and set aside.

In your largest skillet over medium-high heat, toss the carrots with a splash of olive oil or a spoonful of ghee.  Let them cook in a single layer - they'll give off a bit of water at first.  Keep cooking, tossing gently every three or four minutes until the carrots are deeply browned.  All told, about twelve minutes.

Add the beans and dill to the skillet and cook for another five minutes, or until the beans are well heated through.  If you are using beans that weren't canned, you can allow them to brown a bit as well (just cook a bit longer, and stir less frequently) - they can handle this in a way that most canned beans can't.  If you need to add a bit more olive oil to the pan, do so.

Place the contents of the skillet in a large mixing bowl, sprinkle with the brown sugar and pour the lemon-shallot mixture over the top.  Toss gently.  Let sit for ten minutes.  Toss gently once again, taste and adjust with more salt or sugar or lemon juice if needed to balance the flavors.  Serve warm or at room temperature and finish by sprinkling with the almonds just before serving.

(Comes together easily.  Tangy and hearty.  I enjoyed eating this salad over arugula accompanied with some sliced avocado.)

Friday, April 24, 2015

Broiled Tomatoes

(recipe from Real Simple magazine)

3 large salad tomatoes
3 large garlic cloves, cut lengthwise into slivers
2 Tbsp. fresh rosemary, or 2 tsp. dried (I used fresh thyme)
1/2 tsp. salt
Freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup olive oil

Heat broiler to 500F.  Cut the tomatoes crosswise in half and place them, cut-side up, on a broiling pan or shallow baking pan.  Stick the garlic slivers into the tomatoes.  Sprinkle with the rosemary, salt, and a few grinds of pepper.  Drizzle with the oil.  Broil about 3 inches from the heat for 10 to 15 minutes or just until the tomatoes release their juices and the garlic begins to brown.  Spoon the pan juices over the tomatoes before serving.  Serve as a side dish for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Collard Greens with Lemon

(recipe from Martha Stewart Living magazine)

1 oz. (2 Tbsp.) unsalted butter (I used coconut oil)
1 garlic clove, smashed
2 small bunches collard greens (about 1 1/2 lbs.), stems removed, leaves cut crosswise into 1/2-inch strips
3/4 cup vegetable broth
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 1/2 tsp. finely grated lemon zest
2 tsp. fresh lemon juice

Heat 1 Tbsp. butter and the garlic in a large pot over medium-high heat.  Add greens, and cook, stirring often, until wilted, about 3 minutes.  Stir in stock, 3/4 tsp. salt (I used much less), 1/8 tsp. pepper, and the zest, and cover.  Reduce heat to medium, and cook until tender, 8 to 10 minutes.  Add lemon juice and remaining Tbsp. of butter.  Stir until butter melts.  Season with salt and pepper as needed, and serve immediately.

(Nice simple preparation.)

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Sweet Potato Hummus

(recipe from Whole Foods Market)

1 sweet potato, chopped and roasted in the oven until fork tender
1/2 (14.5 oz.) can garbanzo beans, drained (I used the whole can)
3 Tbsp. tahini
1 clove garlic
1/2 lemon, juiced
1 1/2 Tbsp. cumin (or to taste)
1 1/2 tsp. smoked paprika (or to taste)
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 carrot, grated
Dash of nutmeg

Place all ingredients into a food processor and blend until smooth.  Adjust seasonings and stir.

(A nice take on hummus.  I had a large sweet potato, so I adjusted the other ingredients to my taste.  I also added some olive oil and salt & pepper.  Serve with zucchini, cucumber, or whole-grain crackers.)

Friday, March 13, 2015

Roasted Asparagus with Red Pepper Sauce

(recipe from Moosewood Restaurant New Classics, via a newspaper clipping)

1 Tbsp. olive oil, plus more to oil the pan
1 lb. fresh asparagus
1 large garlic clove, minced or pressed
1/4 tsp. salt
1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and cut lengthwise into 8 strips

1/4 cup olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced or pressed
1 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
2 to 3 tsp. chopped fresh dill
salt and pepper to taste

Heat the oven to 400F.  Lightly oil a baking pan.

Cut off the tough stem ends of the asparagus and discard.  Wash and dry asparagus.  Toss the spears with the Tbsp. of olive oil, the garlic and salt, and arrange them in a single layer on one half of the baking tray.  On the other half of the tray, arrange the red pepper strips.

Roast, turning vegetables every 10 minutes, until tender, about 25 to 30 minutes.  Set asparagus aside and let come to room temperature.

Place roasted pepper strips in a blender with the sauce ingredients.  Puree until smooth.  Season with more salt and pepper if desired.

Arrange asparagus on a serving platter.  Drizzle some sauce over asparagus, and pass the rest when serving.  (Or, as I did, just dip the spears!)

(I very much enjoyed the roasted asparagus, as opposed to steaming.  The sauce was a nice accompaniment.)

Basil-Mint Pesto

(recipe from Williams Sonoma - Vegetarian cookbook)

1 1/2 cups lightly packed fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup fresh parsley leaves
4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1/2 cup olive oil (I used half olive oil and half tahini)
1 1/4 cups freshly grated Parmesan cheese (I used 1 cup walnuts)
1 cup firmly packed mint leaves
salt and freshly ground pepper

Combine in a blender, process until smooth.  (Can add extra oil or tahini, if needed.)  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

(Very delicious!)

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Kabocha Squash, Fennel, + Ginger Soup with Spicy Coconut Cream

(recipe from dollyandoatmeal.com)

1 kabocha squash, halved and seeded
1 large leek (or 2 small), white and light green parts sliced
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 small fennel bulb, cored and sliced (reserve some fronds for garnish)
1 knob of fresh ginger (about 3/4 of an inch big), peeled and roughly chopped
2 tsp. fresh oregano (or 1 tsp. dry)
1 bay leaf
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. coconut oil
5 cups filtered water (or broth)
1 tsp. fine grain sea salt
freshly ground pepper
1 cup spicy coconut cream (recipe below)
1 1/2 tsp. fresh lemon juice

spicy coconut cream:
1 can organic coconut milk
1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
a couple pinches of salt
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper

To make the coconut cream, whisk the coconut milk with the lemon juice, salt and pepper.  Taste and adjust accordingly, adding more lemon, salt or cayenne. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 375F.  Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.  Rub a good amount of olive oil over cut side of squash; place cut side down on baking sheet and place in oven.  Cook squash until fork tender, about 50-65 minutes.  Let the squash cool until it's ready to handle.  Scoop squash out into a bowl and set aside.

In a large soup pot, heat olive oil and coconut oil over medium heat.  Add sliced leeks and oregano, and saute until leeks are soft; add garlic and cook for 30 seconds.  Add the fennel and ginger, and cook for about 5 minutes, until fennel is soft and ginger is fragrant.  Add the kabocha, bay leaf, water, salt, and pepper.  Stir.

Turn the heat up and bring soup to a simmer, cook for roughly 30 minutes, stirring every so often.  Remove from heat and stir in 1 cup of the spicy coconut cream.

In batches, puree soup in a blender or food processor until smooth.  Transfer soup back to the pot and bring to a low simmer.  Stir in lemon juice and taste for seasoning, adjust if necessary.

Serve soup with a dollop of leftover spicy coconut cream, poppy seeds, or chopped fennel fronds.

(Such amazing flavor!  I used about a cup less broth, and liked the heartier consistency.  My first time using kabocha, and I thought it had an incredible depth of flavor - my favorite squash soup thus far.)

Maple Pecan Shortbread Cookies

(recipe from Kinfolk magazine)

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup finely chopped pecans
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 large egg white, lightly beaten with 1 Tbsp. of water
Coarse sanding or sparkling sugar, for rolling

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, 1/2 cup of the pecans and the salt.

In another bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat together the butter, brown sugar, and maple syrup until pale and fluffy.  With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the flour mixture and mix just until a dough forms, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.

Divide the dough between 2 large sheets of plastic wrap and form each into a long log, about 1 1/2 inches in diameter.  Wrap tightly and chill until firm, at least 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 350F.  Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

Brush each log of dough with some of the beaten egg white and roll it in sanding sugar to coat evenly.  Slice the logs into 1/2-inch-thick disks and arrange them at least 1 inch apart on the prepared baking sheets.  Lightly brush the tops with the beaten egg and sprinkle with the remaining chopped pecans.  Bake the cookies until they're lightly golden on the bottom, 10 to 14 minutes.  Let them cool on wire racks.

(I made these cookies at Christmas time for giving.  They are light and delightful, and easy to make.  I even made one batch using whole wheat flour, which created a nuttier-tasting, even lighter-textured cookie.)

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Carrot Coconut Soup with Chile and Lime

(recipe from Orangette)

1/2 stick unsalted butter (I used an equivalent amount of half olive oil, half coconut oil)
2 lb. carrots, peeled and chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
Kosher salt
4 cups vegetable broth
1 1/2 to 2 cans unsweetened coconut milk (I used only one can)
About 2 Tbsp. sriracha, or to taste
Lime wedges, for serving
Fresh cilantro leaves, chopped, for serving (optional)

Melt the butter in a large pot over medium-high heat.  Add the carrots and onion, season with a couple good pinches of salt, and cook, stirring often, until the carrots are softened, 15-20 minutes.  Stir in the broth, 1 1/2 cans of the coconut milk, and 1 Tbsp. of the sriracha.  Bring to a simmer, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are very soft and the liquid is slightly reduced, about 45 minutes.  Puree in small batches in a blender, or right in the pot with an immersion blender.  Check for seasoning, and add more salt and/or sriracha, if you like.  (Recommended to add one more Tbsp. of sriracha.)  If you'd like more richness, stir in more coconut milk.  Reheat as needed.

Serve with a generous squeeze of lime in each bowl, and top with cilantro.

(Easy, tasty, hearty pureed soup.  The sriracha gives an unexpected kick.)

Friday, January 23, 2015

Roasted Yam and Apple Salad

(recipe from Bon Appetit magazine)

2 1/2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp. mild Indian curry paste (I just used curry powder, about a teaspoon)
2 1/4 tsp. honey
3/4 tsp. Dijon mustard
1/2 cup vegetable oil

3 lbs. yams (red-skinned sweet potatoes), peeled, cut into 1- to 1 1/4-inch cubes
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 Tbsp. cumin seeds
1 Tbsp. sesame oil
1 tsp. salt
3 large Fuji or Gala apples (I used only 2), cored, cut into 1- to 1 1/4-inch cubes
2 cups stemmed green grapes
1 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup almonds, toasted, chopped

Whisk the first 4 vinaigrette ingredients in a medium bowl.  Gradually whisk in the oil.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Cover and chill.  (Vinaigrette can be made 4 days ahead.)

Preheat oven to 375F.  Spray a large rimmed baking sheet with nonstick spray (or use parchment paper). Mix yams and the next 4 salad ingredients in a large bowl.  Spread out on the prepared sheet in a single layer.  Roast until the yams are tender and lightly browned on some edges, about 1 hour.  Cool to room temperature.

Place the apples, grapes, and cranberries in a very large bowl.  Add yams to bowl, scraping in any juices from the baking sheet.  Add vinaigrette to salad; toss gently to coat.  Transfer to a large platter, sprinkle with almonds, and serve.

(The magazine says this is inspired by a Mozambique dish.  It is a nice mix of sweet and savory.  An interesting salad!  I really enjoyed the cumin and curry in contrast to the sweetness of the other ingredients.  I found it stored well for several days in a covered container in the fridge.)