Monday, December 12, 2011

Easy Enchilada Sauce

Alright, I know I used to be able to find canned enchie sauce that didn't have a lot of gobbledy-gook in it! Not this time. I thought d'ems which stock the stores were catching on to the fact that some of us don't want to eat crap. Unless we choose to that is... *earnestly ignores bowl of yogurt-covered pretzels at her elbow*

My friend Beth chastised me loooong ago for not making my own. Now I see why. No biggie, and all from stuff you probably have in your pantry already. I have seen the light.

I made a half recipe of the Vegetarian Times' black bean and corn enchiladas ( lazy and just tore up 3-4 corn tortillas and layered the filling!), using a recipe for the sauce I found on S'good!

Easy Enchilada Sauce:
(slightly adapted from Jolinda Hackett's recipe on

2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tbsp flour (I used whole grain spelt flour)
2 tbsp chili powder
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper, or to taste
2 cups water
1- 8 ounce can tomato paste (I only had a 6 oz they even make 8 oz'ers?? I added some tomato puree in to flesh it out, but really, I think it must have been a typo in the orig. recipe)
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp salt
(I added a small squeeze of agave nectar, and about 1/2 tsp white vinegar...)

Heat the oil, flour and chili powder together in a large pot. Allow to cook for a minute or two.

Add the remaining ingredients and bring to a slow simmer. Stir well to combine and dissolve tomato paste in water. Cover and allow to cook for at least 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add more spices as desired.

I froze the extra sauce not used in the making of this:

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Roasted Cauliflower Pasta Bake with Sage

Is anyone else out there having a hard time eating their vegetables? Didn't think it'd be me, but the chill in the air has me loathe to eat anything raw- I'm having trouble with green in general.
So, to get the Monster and I through, I'll just keep putting spinach and the like in tummy warming casseroles, soups and the salads for the 100 degree days that will be here all too soon. Cauliflower and green peas are the sneaker veggies in this dinner.

Tonight…a mash up of several recipes. One I've posted about before, the other has been made 3 times now and dug into greedily without giving the camera a second glance (much less a first glance). The first half of this dually inspired recipe today is from Ricki of Diet, Dessert and Dogs. Her recipe for butternut squash baked pasta is the 3 timer. I've always amended her basic recipe, and I've loved it in each and every one of it's incarnations.

The second half is Frugal Gourmet Alissa's cauliflower risotto…well kind of. There's a dose of my roasted mashed cauliflower in there too.
I'd wanted to put some nutritional yeast in the mix below, like Alissa's original recipe has, but found my pantry lacking this morning. No matter, tastes great without it, but you could always add 2-3 TBS into the sauce if you'd like.

I'd planned on taking step by step photos of the process today, but got really distracted and blew it. Another day...
You'll just have to trust that it tastes better than it looks. :-)

Roasted Cauliflower Pasta Bake with Sage:

1 sizable head of cauliflower, washed, dried, sliced thinly (~1/8th inch thick)
4 cloves garlic, peeled and cut in half if large
olive oil
Kosher salt

1 3/4 cups milk of your choice (I used unsweetened soy, but I'll try with almond milk next time)
1 cup broth (vegetable, chicken…)
1 3/4 TBS corn starch, or arrowroot powder
~7 fresh sage leaves
~1/4 tsp fresh grated nutmeg
~1/8 tsp ground clove
1/2 cup toasted walnuts
sprinkle of garlic powder to taste
1/4 tsp+ cayenne
Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
1 cup frozen green peas, thawed
1 1/2 cup uncooked brown rice rotini pasta (or pasta of your choice…we love Tinkyada Brand brown rice noods in all forms)
zest of one lemon

3 slices of whole grain bread (we like Alvarado St.'s sprouted grain breads)
1+ TBS olive oil

Heat oven to 450.
Toss sliced cauliflower and garlic with a couple TBS olive oil and some Kosher salt on a large sheet pan.
Roast for ~15 minutes, then toss and return to oven for about 10 more minutes.
Remove from oven and set aside.

To a high powered blender (I use a BlendTec, comparable to a Vitamix), add a packed and slightly rounded cup of roasted cauliflower with all of the roasted garlic pieces you can find.
Also add soymilk (or other milk), broth, cornstarch, sage leaves, nutmeg, clove, walnuts, garlic powder, cayenne, salt and black pepper…blend till smooth. Taste and amend salt and other spices to your liking.

In a large bowl combine, thawed peas, the uncooked pasta, the rest of the unblended roasted cauliflower left over, and the lemon zest.
Add sauce in and stir till all is incorporated.
Pour into a lightly oiled lidded casserole dish (I think the one I used must be around 1.5 qt.)

In a food processor, whiz up the whole grain bread slices, and pour a little olive oil over them while the machine is whirring. I like to add a pinch of Kosher salt too.

Heat oven to 350.
Bake casserole covered for 25-30 minutes.
Remove casserole from oven and evenly spread the bread crumbs over the surface.
Continue to bake, uncovered this time, for another 20 minutes, until the topping is golden toasty.
I like to put the whole casserole together some time during the day when I've got the time, then pop in the fridge uncooked until it's ready to go into the oven for dinner. Leave the crumb topping off of course until half-way through the baking.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Yellow Split Pea Soup with Coconut

It's been an age...last post in October?? I disappeared. Once again making a visit to The Rabbit Hole (fyi: I did manage to come across a full jar of marmalade this time!).

Cozy up with a warm bowl of this soup on a cold night. You won't be sorry. Made even better with amendments...I added steamed broccoli the first night, then broc. and avocado the next day for lunch. Buy a nice rustic multi-grain baguette for dunking purposes, and add a drizzle of Sriracha sauce if you know what's good for you.

Yellow Split Pea Soup with Coconut:
(adapted from Soup Chick)

1 1/2 cups yellow split peas, picked over and rinsed
2 tbsp olive oil
2 carrots, diced
1 onion, diced
2-3 cloves garlic, smashed and minced
1-2 Tbs red curry paste
1 tsp ground cumin
4+ cups water (I always end up using at least 5 cups)
1 cup organic veggie broth
1 1/2 tsp+ kosher salt
1 14 oz can coconut milk (I used light coconut milk)
if you have it, one kaffir lime leaf.
Sriracha to top (I added in about a TBS to the actual soup, then topped each bowl with a little more)
steamed broccoli florettes if desired

In a large pot, heat a couple of tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Add the carrots, onions, and garlic and sweat about 3-4 minutes. Don't let them brown, just warm them up. Add a tablespoon or two of red chili paste. I used 2. Add the cumin and split peas.

Add four (+) cups of water and 1 cup broth.
Cover pot and bring to a boil for 2o-25 minutes.
Add salt and pepper to taste (I used about a teaspoon and a half of salt and about 10 grinds of pepper), then turn the heat to low and simmer for another 10 minutes covered, stirring occasionally to avoid sticking to the bottom of the pot.

Stir in the can of coconut milk and taste the soup. Mine needed another pinch of salt and more pepper. I sometimes add a bit more water at this point, depending on how cooked through the peas are, but it usually doesn't need much.
Simmer for another 15 minutes uncovered (if there's enough liquid, otherwise put the lid on), or until split peas have cooked through.
Turn off heat and add one kaffir lime leaf, if using. Let sit for about 5 minutes, then remove leaf.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Farro Waldorf Salad

I made Enlightened Cooking's recipe for a mayo-less Waldorf salad for dinner last night and it was as delicious as it was easy to make. I went ahead and topped some spinach with the salad since I hadn't eaten any greens that day, but ended up preferring it on it's own with just the baked salmon on top. I prepared Camilla's recipe as written, only using one Honey Crisp apple instead of two...seemed like plenty with just the one. Oh and I also subbed toasted walnuts for the pecans that I didn't have. The salad kept well overnight with no browning of the apple.

Whole Foods has pearled farro in their bulk section, and durn if I only bought one cups worth! Will definitely be needing to stock it in my pantry from now on.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Lentil Picadillo with Mango

I like heat (on my tongue heat, not Texas summer heat), and I like olives, therefore, my lentil picadillo had to have both of those added to it in the form of cayenne pepper and Spanish green olives. Other than that, I don't think I changed much else from the original adaptation, other than lessening the amount of dried thyme and adding a little more liquid...

This is a great weeknight meal that comes together very quickly if you have a whole grain already cooked and ready to go in the freezer. For us last night, that happened to be brown rice, but you could pair this with any other whole grain...I'm sure quinoa would be great.
I used French green lentils instead of the standard brown or green, because I like that their texture holds up well after cooking.

Lentil Picadillo with Mango:
(Adapted from Eats Well with Others...who adapted a recipe for meaty picadillo from Simply Recipes)

1.5 cups French green lentils
~1 tsp kosher salt
one red onion, sliced very thinly, vertically.
~1 Tbs. olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp dried oregano (I like to use Greek oregano...not as pungent as the Mexican)
a pinch of dried thyme
cayenne pepper to taste, optional (I used about 1/2 tsp)
1 cup chunky tomato-based salsa
a good handful of pimento stuffed Spanish olives, halved
1 large mango or 2 small mangoes, peeled pitted and cubed (or if you have a MONSTER of a mango like I did, 1/2 of that!)
2 tbsp sliced almonds, toasted
2 tbsp cilantro leaves
salt and pepper to taste

Sort your lentils and wash them thoroughly.
Add lentils to a 3qt. saucepan and cover with at least 2 inches of filtered water.
Heat on high until water starts to boil, then add about 1 tsp kosher salt and reduce to a simmer, cooking uncovered for about 20 minutes.
Remove pot from heat, cover and let sit for another 5 minutes.
Drain lentils, but reserve some of the cooking water...about a cups worth.

While the lentils are cooking, heat olive oil in a non-stick skillet over medium heat.
Salt them lightly and cook for about 10 minutes or until soft and golden.
Add garlic, and spices through cayenne pepper, if using.
Cook another 2 minutes then add cooked lentils, salsa, olives, diced mango, and about 1/2 cup+ of reserved lentil cooking water.
Simmer until these last additions are heated through, then remove from heat.
Check for seasoning...adding salt and black pepper as needed.

Serve atop cooked grain of your choice, or even a bed of spinach, then garnish with cilantro and toasted almonds. We also topped with some chopped avocado.

Hatch Chile Chicken Stew

I've made this twice now, and have almost used up my frozen supply of roasted hatch chiles...will be so sad to see them gone. Still pretending it's Fall around here...
This is a great stew, and even though I was too lazy to post the first time I made it, The Monster made me write down what went into it...he wanted be sure he'd get to eat it again. :-)

Hatch Chili Chicken Stew:

1+ lb organic boneless, skinless chicken thighs, patted dry, trimmed of fat and cut into 2-3 pieces each
2-3 Tbs whole spelt flour (or sub another flour)
1.5 tsp each salt and black pepper
1 tsp ground cumin
a few good shakes of garlic powder
~2 Tb olive oil
1/2 large onion, chopped
3/4 bottle of beer (first time I used Dogfish ale and the second time I used a Real Ale Oktoberfest lager)
5 cloves garlic, chopped
1 Qt. reduced salt chicken broth
~1.5 cups chopped roasted, peeled and seeded hatch chiles (I used a mix of hot and mild chiles)
~4 medium small potatoes, quartered (I used purple potatoes this time, but the first time I made this with 1 can of white beans, drained and rinsed...just use whatever strikes your fancy)
1 ears worth of fresh, corn cut off the cob
~1/4 of a large head of green cabbage, sliced thinly
handful of chopped cilantro (ok, so I was out of this the second time I made it...oops)
squeeze of lime
grated pepper jack cheese, if desired (reallllly good...ate it with this the next day)
salt and pepper to taste

Add 2+ Tb spelt flour, salt, pepper, cumin and garlic powder to a gallon sized Ziplock bag.
Dredge chicken by adding in several batches to the flour mixture and shaking well.
Heat olive oil over medium-high heat in a Dutch oven, and sear chicken for 5 min total, turning mid-way.
Remove chicken from the pot and set aside.
Add the chopped onion to the pot with a touch more oil and saute for about 5 min.
You might want to add a little beer to deglaze and keep the onions and flour residue from burning.
Add in chopped garlic and cook for 1 min more.
Add in about 3/4 of a bottle of beer, cook on high for about 2 minutes, then add 1 Qt. chicken broth, the seared chicken, the quartered potatoes (if using beans instead, wait 10 minutes then add) and the diced hot and mild hatch chiles, bring to a simmer then cook covered for 10 min.

After 10 minutes, add in green cabbage and the corn (If using white beans instead of potatoes add now), cover and simmer another 10 minutes.

Remove from heat and toss in a handful of chopped cilantro and a squeeze of lime juice...adjust salt and pepper if necessary. Top individual bowls with grated pepper-jack cheese if desired.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Warm and Spicy Cashew Tomato Soup

This is a great spicy tomato soup, made better by plenty of roasting time in the oven for the 'maters. I mixed halved Romas and whole grape tomatoes on the same sheet pan and roasted for about 2.5 hrs. I did take the grape tomatoes out at about 1.5 or 2 hrs. though.
I made "croutons" of spicy sauteed cauliflower florettes and used a high powered blender for the soup instead of the suggested immersion blender as I wanted a smoother and creamier soup.
When it came to incorporating the yogurt, I whisked it in a large bowl and added the hot soup a spoonful at a time whisking all the while, until it was tempered enough to not curdle. Instead of serving with grilled cheesers, I toasted some whole wheat naan topped with cave-aged Gruyere and nigella seeds. Yum!

Warm and Spicy Cashew Tomato Soup:
(as found on Eats Well With Others)

1 1/2 lb tomatoes (I used mostly Roma tomatoes with a good handful of small grape tomatoes)
2 tsp olive oil
salt, as necessary
1 small onion, sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp minced ginger
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp chipotle chili powder
1/4 cup salted cashews (I used a Thai spiced cashew that I found in the bulk section of the grocery store)
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 1" piece of cinnamon stick
1 cardamom pod, bruised
4 cups water
1/3 cup nonfat greek yogurt

Preheat oven to 300.
Cut the tomatoes in half lengthwise, gently tossing with 1 tsp of the oil.
Sprinkle with salt.
Lay the tomatoes on a baking sheet lined with foil, cut side up.
Bake for an hour (or longer if you have the time…again, I went 2.5 hrs for the Romas).
Meanwhile, in a large pot, heat oil on medium and saute the onion until it is a nice, even golden brown, stirring often.
Once browned, add the garlic, ginger, garam masala, coriander, chili powder, cashews, and tomato paste.
Cook for a few minutes until nice and fragrant, stirring often.
Add cinnamon, cardamom pod, and water, making sure to scrape the bottom of the pot and get up any browned bits.
When the tomatoes are finished roasting, add them to the soup and stir. Simmer gently for 30 minutes. Remove the cinnamon stick and cardamom pod.
Remove soup to a blender (only fill half full and put a towel over the top holding down firmly to prevent wearing hot soup), and blend in batches. If you have a high powered blender you can probably get away with blending the whole batch at once making sure to start at a very slow speed...I did.
In a bowl large enough to hold all the soup, slowly whisk a few tbsp of soup into the yogurt. Keep adding soup slowly, whisking all the while until the soup and yogurt are fully combined as the yogurt will curdle if it gets too hot at once.
Gently reheat if necessary, though I didn't bother...
Serve with something good and cheesy...grill cheese, or cheese naan for dipping.
If you'd like to make some cauliflower "croutons" steam small florettes until just tender then sprinkle with a bit of ground cumin, ground coriander, ground black pepper and sea salt. Toss with a little olive oil, cook on med.-high heat in a saute pan til nice and toasty.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Fennel Salad with Orange, Green Olives, and Pistachios

Things I dislike about this salad:

Fennel is expensive.
Pistachios are expensive.
Organic arugula that I added to it is expensive.
I really liked this salad, and will now have to make it again.

I only made half the posted recipe...I was not paying 8 bucks for 2 weenie fennel bulbs.
I often pair orange slices with fennel and arugula, usually adding in an avocado and some goat cheese, but we loved the olives and pistachios in this...a lot! I placed the salad on a bed of arugula since I wanted some greens with our dinner, baked a filet of wild coho salmon at 450 for 9 minutes and popped it on top of the salad for an awesome meal.

Fennel Salad with Orange, Green Olives, and Pistachios:
(Mark Bittman's recipe in Cooking Light)

1 Tablespoon grated orange rind
3/4 cup orange sections (about 2 large oranges)
3/4 cup coarsely chopped pitted green olives (about 3 ounces)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
2 medium fennel bulbs with stalks (about 2 pounds)
1 cup shelled salted dry-roasted pistachios

Combine first 7 ingredients in a large bowl; toss gently to combine.
Trim the tough outer leaves from fennel, and mince feathery fronds to measure 2 tablespoons.
Remove and discard stalks.
Cut fennel bulb in half lengthwise and thinly slice fennel bulbs. Add fennel slices to juice
mixture, and toss gently to combine.
Sprinkle each plate with fennel fronds and nuts.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Lentil Chili with Cumin and Green Onions

For any other Texas folks out there seizing on the slight morning "chill" to delude yourselves with visions of Fall...or if you just don't care what time of year you eat chili, but were unable to find ground turkey at the store (due to creepy salmonella??) for your usual turkey chili, this could be the post for you. If you're similarly addicted to smicey chipotle goodness...bonus! Easy, highly customizable, and ultra toppingable (I'm sure that's a word).

Lentil Chili with Cumin and Green Onions:
(gently amended to feed my chipotle addiction from

2 tsp olive oil
1/2 C chopped onion (I used more like 1 cup)
2 garlic cloves, minced
2T chili powder
1 tsp ground chipotle chili powder (not in original recipe...mmm...smicey)
1T ground cumin
1tsp dried oregano
1/8tsp cayenne pepper (used a little more...must be made more, and MORE smicey!)
4 C water (or more...I used 2 cups of veggie broth plus water for more flayvah)
1 C dried brown lentils, rinsed
1/2 C tomato puree (freeze the rest of the can in ice cube trays, then store in a freezer bag)
1/3C plus 2T chopped green onions
S&P to taste

Heat oil in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and saute 2 minutes. Add garlic and saute 30 seconds.
Add chili powder, ground cumin, oregano leaves, and cayenne pepper and chipotle chili powder if using; stir 30 seconds.
Add 4 cups water, lentils, and tomato puree.
Increase heat and bring to boil, skimming off any foam from surface.
Reduce heat to medium and simmer until lentils are tender, adding more water by 1/4 C as needed if dry, about 30 minutes.
Stir in 1/3 C green onions. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Roasted Sweet Potato Salad with Cranberry Chipotle Dressing

A. MAY. ZING!!!! I dreamed about this manna allll night long after we had it for dinner last night. What a crumby photo of a fantastic dish. Don't let the fact that it looks like tandoori chicken in my picture dissuade you from making it. :-)

Chances are, if you get invited to our house for dinner, you'll have to eat this. Because I'm planning on making it a million bazillion more times before I die.

It's rare anymore that a recipe from Cooking Light magazine jumps out at me as something I'd be a freak for, but Mark Bittman's recipe did just that. Bookmarked it the day before, made it last night. There will be no going back.

I used frozen whole cranberries and organic sweet potatoes (love this because we eat the whole nutritious peel too). Didn't make the whole batch (kicking self for not having leftovers), but I'll post the whole recipe that is supposed to serve 8...yeah right! I did toss some feta on after taking the photo, to up the protein a bit, but it's awesome without it too. Served up with braised kale, made for two happy tummies in this house.

Just an fyi, I tend to not use all of the dressing on the sweet potatoes, finding the whole amount makes them a bit too soupy.  Leftover sauce is great on any number of things though!  

Update: I've started just roasting whole sweet potatoes wrapped in foil @400 til soft (~1 hr), then topping with the dressing, pepitas, cilantro, and onions.  Saves using all that oil, if you're needing to eat a little lighter!  Great both ways, regardless.

Roasted Sweet Potato Salad with Cranberry Chipotle Dressing:
(Mark Bittman's recipe in Cooking Light magazine)

2 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces (go for organic and don't peel)
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup fresh or frozen cranberries
1/4 cup water
2 teaspoons honey
1 (7-ounce) can chipotle chiles in adobo sauce (you won't use them all so just put the leftover chipotles and sauce in a freezer bag and store for laters)
1/2 cup raw unsalted pepitas (pumpkinseeds)
3/4 cup chopped green onions
1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves

Preheat oven to 450°.
Place sweet potatoes on a large jelly-roll pan. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper; toss to coat. Bake at 450° for 30 minutes or until tender, turning after 15 minutes.
Place remaining 1 tablespoon oil, cranberries, water, and honey in a saucepan. Remove 1 or 2 chiles from can; finely chop to equal 1 tablespoon. Add chopped chipotle and 1 teaspoon adobo sauce to pan (reserve remaining chiles and sauce for another use). Place pan over medium-low heat; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and cook 10 minutes or until cranberries pop, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. Mash with a potato masher or fork until chunky.
Place pepitas in a medium skillet; cook over medium heat 4 minutes or until lightly browned, shaking pan frequently.
Combine potatoes, pepitas, onions, and cilantro in a bowl. Add cranberry mixture to bowl; toss gently to coat.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Salsa de Tomatillo Asado con Chipotle: Roasted Tomatillo and Chipotle Salsa

On a recent trip, I grabbed a copy of Saveur to read on the flight. Most excited about a 2 page spread of different salsas, I immediately marked at least 3 that I wanted to make upon our return home. This roasted tomatillo and chipotle is the first of those.

I wasn't sure how I felt upon first tasting this salsa. The sour of the tomatillos seemed to clash initially with the smoky chipotle flavor for me (I've made this twice now, and realize I just didn't like too much tomatillo. 0.68 lb of tomatillo :-) and upping the garlic and dried chipotle it was perfect from the get go). Could also be that I was incredibly high off the Doña success and stuck on that flavor profile. That said, this new salsa quickly grew on me and Scott liked it from the get go. Super easy to make, and I gave half of the batch a quick addition of some agave nectar to serve over salmon...keeping the rest as is to eat with chips. Delicious both ways. It doesn't make a whole bunch, but you can easily double. OH and I almost forgot, I added in a minced chipotle in adobo for extra heat, since there really wasn't much to speak of from just the dried chiles.

Salsa de Tomatillo Asado con Chipotle:
(Adapted from Saveur Magazine)

8oz+ tomatillos, husked, rinsed and left whole (I think I used 6 medium to small)
7 cloves of garlic, left whole and you can leave them in their l'il skins til done roasting
4 dried chipotle chiles
1 chipotle pepper in adobo (my addition)
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
1/2 cup water
agave if desired...try splitting the batch and only adding to half

Preheat oven to 500.
On a foil-lined baking sheet, roast tomatillos for 10 minutes, flip over, then roast 10 minutes more.
While tomatillos roast, heat a dry cast iron skillet to medium-low on the stove top.
Toast dried chiles and garlic for about 10 minutes, or until there are some charred spots on the chiles and garlic, and the garlic has softened a bit.
Place tomatillos (and any accumulated juices), garlic, dried chiles, 1 chipotle in adobo and 1/2 tsp salt and water into a blender and blend until smooth.

Doctor the salsa with some agave if you'd was very nice served over salmon with black beans and squash with this addition. Without agave it's great just scooped up with tortilla chips.
Great on eggs too.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Spinach and Egg Bread Pudding

If you live in Austin, do yourself a favor and go to Central Market, buy a loaf of the hatch chile sourdough bread (the large sliced boule) while they've still got it and pop it in your freezer for laters. It made this bread pudding extra deeeelicious. But then, I also used my favorite Kaltbach Gruyère cheese in it too and you could make a piece of cardboard taste good with a slice of that on it.

I'm digging cooking without recipes this last week. Just stir stuff together and see what I get.
All winners so far, but I didn't take a picture of the hatch chile chicken stew I made the other night.
The Monster told me to write it down after though...he wanted to make sure he'd get to eat it again sometime. Will post once I remake it as I still have both hot and mild roasted hatch chiles in the freezer.

Ok, so back to this bread pudding. We ate almost the whole thing. Just the 2 of us. :-)
Served with nothing more than sliced tomatoes.

Spinach and Egg Bread Pudding:

olive oil
~3/4 cup red onion, diced small
1 large clove garlic, chopped
~1/4 tsp dried thyme
splash of dry white wine
~10 oz organic baby spinach, chopped
salt, divided
4 eggs
1+ cup unsweetened soymilk, dairy milk, or other non-dairy (I felt I needed to add a bit more soymilk to the final mix and up 3 eggs to 4 for more just use your good sense)
garlic powder
fresh grated nutmeg
black pepper
~1 cup (not packed) grated aged Gruyère (Kaltbach is my favorite)
~7 oz cubed bread, cut to about 3/4" (I used about 4 slices of a boule and a weenie end crust)

Preheat oven to 375.
Butter a casserole dish. I used a 1.5 quart oval enameled cast iron dish.
Saute the onion with thyme and a bit of salt in 1 Tb olive oil over medium heat for ~5 minutes.
Add garlic and cook 1 minute more.
Add a splash of white wine and cook til no liquid remains.
Add spinach and cook for ~5 minutes til no liquid remains, adding salt and pepper to taste.
Remove from heat.
In a large bowl, mix the eggs, soymilk, a bit of garlic powder, a dash of cayenne, a shower of fresh grated nutmeg, salt and pepper to taste.
Fold the cooked spinach, cheese, and cubed bread into the egg mixture until well combined, then pour into the casserole and bake for 25-30 minutes (I went 28).

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Kale and Sweet Potato Soup

A clean and pretty mild soup that I like to fire up with a little Siracha love.
Easy to make when you're feeling fuzzy.

Kale and Sweet Potato Soup:
(from Joy the Baker who was inspired by Food and Wine)

1-2 Tb olive oil
1 medium onion; diced
2 cloves garlic; minced
2 tsp finely grated/minced fresh ginger
3/4 tsp turmeric
~1/4 red pepper flakes (I tend to use a little more)
6 cups organic vegetable broth
1 tsp kosher salt
1.5 lbs sweet potato; diced to 3/4" pieces (peel if necessary, I leave the peel on if clean and organic)
3/4 lb organic kale; thick stems removed and chopped
~1 cup coconut milk
pepper to taste
a squeeze of lime juice is nice
2 cups cooked brown rice (you know you can make up a big batch of brown rice, or other whole grain and freeze it to use any old time right? Freeze leftovers in a ziplock bag, flattened out on a cookie sheet til frozen, then break off pieces as needed.)
Sriracha sauce to taste

Cook brown rice and set aside.
Heat olive oil in a heavy bottomed dutch oven, then add onion and cook for 5 minutes.
Add garlic, ginger, turmeric, red pepper flakes and stir for 1 minute.
Add vegetable broth and sweet potatoes, bring to a simmer, reduce heat, cover and cook for 10 minutes.
Add kale, return to a simmer, cover and cook for about 8-10 minutes more, or until sweet potatoes have cooked through.
Remove from heat, stir in coconut milk, add some lime juice if you'd like, adjust salt/pepper to your taste.
Serve with a scoop of brown rice and plenty of Sriracha sauce.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Beet and Carrot Slaw with Tahini Dressing

This is another slaw recipe from Coconut and Quinoa's gorgeous blog that I've been making a lot this summer. I go for nut or seed butter-based dressings more than the mayo-based slaw dressings, and everyone I've fed this to, including the once beet fearing Monster, has liked it. Maybe I'm a weirdo (maybe??), but I even enjoy eating the leftovers for breakfast the next day.

I tend to tweak the dressing amounts from the original recipe...tasting as I go, all depending on the quantity of carrots and beets I use. I always use more than the amounts listed (except for olive oil...that I only use 1 Tbs of), but these are pretty good proportions to keep to.

Beet and Carrot Slaw with Tahini Dressing:
(Coconut and Quinoa)

1 Tb tahini
1.5 Tb cider vinegar
1 Tb olive oil
Small amount of pressed minced garlic
Sea salt to taste
Water to thin
Equal amounts of grated raw beets and raw carrots...for C&Q's recipe she uses 2 small beets to 1 medium carrot, but those must have been some tiny beets to equal 1 medium carrot.
Toasted sesame seeds to garnish

Mix tahini, cider vinegar, garlic, a good pinch of sea salt in a medium sized bowl. Thin with a bit of water.Today I used about 1.5 medium beets and 4-5 small to medium sized carrots. I didn't use all the carrots pictured above...those were juiced later. :-)

Shred both carrots and beets in a food processor if you have one.
Add them to the dressing and toss to coat.

Toast your sesame seeds (I used about 1 Tb. today) and add to slaw.
Pop it in the fridge for about an hour or two...adjust seasonings as necessary, and eat!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Green Gold: Wannabe Doña Salsa

Green gold, crack sauce, call it what you will, I fell hard and fast for the Doña Salsa at our Taco Deli here in Austin from the first second it hit my tongue.

If it's too hot for you, you might want to consider moving back in with your mama. ;-)

This version will never keep us from making our weekly Saturday pilgrimage to the big TD, but it tides us over in the meantime. You can take out more seeds if it's gonna make you too painfully aware of how your innards are laid out...if you must. :-P

Oh and need I mention you'd be smart to wear gloves when dealing with the peppers? Specially if you wear contacts.

I'm submitting this to Ricki's Wellness Weekend Roundup on make sure you check out the link for this week's collection of healthy, vegan recipes!

Wannabe Doña Salsa:
(Friend Debbie paved the way in knocking off this delicious concoction after we pinned down the ingredients list!)
yields ~3 cups

2 lbs jalapeños
2 large heads of garlic; broken up into cloves, but paper on cloves left intact
~1 tsp kosher salt
1/4 cup + 1-2 Tbs olive oil
1/4 cup + 1-2 Tbs canola, or grapeseed oil

After you've washed and dried your peppers and separated the cloves of garlic, preheat your oven's broiler to High with the rack in the uppermost position.

Line a heavy duty baking sheet with foil and arrange the peppers on it.
I sprayed the peppers and garlic with a light mist of canola spray, just use what you've got to oil them lightly.
Roast the peppers whole, turning as necessary, until they are sufficiently charred to peel.

You can roast the garlic right along with the peppers...I ran out of room until some of the finished peppers came off the sheet pan, so I started them in a cast iron skillet on the stove top.

Put the peppers in a bowl covered with plastic wrap to steam for about 10-15 minutes once charred.
Remove the garlic from heat once they've softened somewhat, peel and put in blender.

Once the peppers have steamed, peel them and at this point you can seed them. Really, leave a couple of them don't want a weenie Doña now do you?

Add oil (you can always add less or more oil, just keep tasting it as you go) and salt and blend the heck out it.
Done. Now quick...go find something to slather in it!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

A Slight Riff on Ricki's Shredded Brussels Sprouts with Edamame

The Monster and I really enjoyed this dish. I added cubed and sauteed tofu as per Ricki's suggestion and that was our dinner. Nice to have another brussels sprouts recipe in my repertoire...since I usually just roast them whole to nut brown with olive oil and kosher salt.

I was just short on the edamame called for in Ricki's recipe, so I also added in ~3/4 cup of frozen green peas. Use 'em if you got 'em I say. I was also tempted to brave the heat and go pick some basil in the back yard to add in...but dint! The Monster gave his bowl a dousing of Sriracha hot sauce, but I liked it just fine as it was. Next time I make this I'll add in a bit of fresh thyme...I just happened to use all of mine earlier in the day roasting mushrooms. :-)

If you'd rather, you can leave out the tofu and serve just the veggies with an alternate protein source. Fyi, I've since made this dish a second time using finely shredded Savoy cabbage for the Brussels sprouts and it was great.

Ricki's Shredded Brussels Sprouts with Edamame and Tofu:
(only slightly adapted from Ricki Heller's recipe on Diet Dessert and Dogs)

If adding tofu:
~1 Tbs. olive oil
1 block of extra-firm tofu (not silken); drained and pressed in a towel to dry somewhat, cubed and sprinkled with kosher salt and a nice shower of garlic powder

3/4 cup edamame; boiled 5 minutes if frozen
1/2-3/4 cup frozen green peas; thawed

1 Tbs olive oil
2-3 cloves garlic; minced
1 lb brussels sprouts; trimmed, cut in half and shredded

zest of 1/2 a lemon...zest before juicing :-)
juice of half a lemon
salt to taste

Heat 1 Tbs olive oil in non-stick skillet over med-high heat.
Saute cubed tofu until golden on several sides.
Set tofu aside and carefully wipe out skillet if necessary.

Boil your edamame and thaw the peas while the tofu sautes, then set aside.

Heat 1 Tbs olive oil in non-stick skillet over medium heat.
Saute garlic for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
Add shredded brussels sprouts and a touch of salt and saute until bright green and just starting to soften. Taste some and see if it's done enough for you.

If it is, then add in the edamame, tofu, and peas, stirring to warm through.
Remove sprout mix from heat and mix in lemon zest and juice, adjusting salt if needed.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Casa Moro's Ajo Blanco (White Gazpacho)

For when you just can't bring yourself to turn on an oven, stovetop burner, toaster or microwave...lest they raise the temperature of your house even a fraction of a degree.

I don't think I would have "gotten" this soup judging by the ingredients list alone. But, as luck would have it we were served this as the opening course for dinner at our friends' house. It was amazing.

I left their house that night with 2 borrowed Casa Moro cookbooks under my arm.

...loving that my European friends are the only ones to have commented on this recipe when it posted to Facebook. ;-)

Ajo Blanco:
(Moro, The Cookbook)

225 gr. whole blanched almonds, preferably Spanish (ok, so I made this in a pinch with ground almonds...would have preferred to use whole, but they worked)
750 ml. iced water (I didn't use all the water because I think I misinterpreted the directions and soaked the bread in a separate bowl of water)
75 gr. stale white bread, with crusts removed, soaked in the water (I used a mixed whole grain boule, crusts cut off)
3 garlic cloves, crushed to a paste with 1 level tsp. sea salt
3 Tbs olive oil
3 Tbs sherry vinegar
200 gr. white grapes, preferably Muscat (I used small seedless reds...)
sea salt and black pepper (book neglects to say when to add I'm adding to each bowl)

In a food processor, grind the almonds until the consistency is as fine as possible.

At this point they should stick to the side of the machine.
Turn off and loosen the nuts from around the edge.
Add 5 Tbs of the iced water.

Turn the machine back on until the almonds form a paste just fluid enough to turn back on itself.
Squeeze the bread of excess water and add to the almonds along with the garlic.
Conbine until smooth.
Add the olive oil and gradually pour in the rest of the iced water, until you end up with a very smooth paste similar to single cream.
Transfer to a bowl and season with sherry vinegar and salt to taste.

According to Casa Moro, you should end up with a nice balance between the almonds, garlic and sherry vinegar.
Chill the soup for at least an hour.
Just before serving, check for seasoning again.
Ladle into bowls, distribute the grapes evenly and garnish with a drizzle of good olive oil if you wish.

I used a food processor as per the cookbook's instructions, but ended up putting the whole lot into my high-powered blender at the end, as I couldn't get enough of the liquid into the food processor without it leaking. I'll likely just use the blender from the get go next time...

I suppose we should eat something else with this, but my heat addled brain can't seem to think any further than the soup.