Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Orzo with Kale Pesto and Broccoli

This is a wonderful and healthy dish to use up Farmer's Market Kale and Broccoli!

1 package of orzo or any other small-ish pasta
1 cup pine nuts or walnuts, lightly toasted
1 bunch kale, chopped and woody stems removed
1/2 cup fresh basil (I used frozen basil from Trader Joe's)
1-2 cloves of garlic
Juice from 1 lemon
~½ cup olive oil
1 large head of broccoli, cut into small florets
1/3 parmesan cheese, preferably freshly grated
Salt and pepper

1. Bring a pot of water to boiling, add a generous pinch of salt and add the orzo. Simmer for 5-7 minutes, drain when tender and let it cool.

2. Add the kale and basil to a pan of boiling water for 1-2 minutes. Run under cold water or submerge in ice water for a few seconds, then drain. Dry in some paper towel. This will preserve the bright green color so your salad does not turn a muddy green color after a few hours.

3. Bring the water back to a boil and add the broccoli. Put the lid on and cook for 1-2 minutes, just long enough to take the edge off. Quickly drain the broccoli, and run under cold water to stop the cooking. Drain well.

4. To make the pesto, combine the kale, basil, garlic, nuts, parmesan, 1/4 tsp salt, and the lemon juice and pulse in a food processor. Drizzle in the olive oil and pulse until smooth (you may need more or less than the indicated amount of olive oil to get to the desired texture).

5. Toss the orzo, broccoli florets, and about 2/3 of the pesto. Taste it and add what you like – more lemon, salt, the rest of the pesto. Top with a bit of extra parmesan if you prefer. Serve hot or cold.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

pumpkin cheesecake

We traded pumpkin pie for pumpkin cheesecake this year, and it was a big hit! I think this will be our new tradition. This recipe is adapted from Smitten Kitchen, which adapted the recipe from Gourmet Magazine (2003).

For crust
3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs, or other cookie crumbs (we used vanilla goldfish!)
1/2 cup pecans
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, melted and cooled

For filling
1 1/2 cups canned pumpkin
3-4 large eggs
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, at room temperature (we used low-fat cream cheese and the results were excellent)

Make crust:

Butter sides & bottom of 9-inch springform pan

In food processor, mix cookie crumbs, pecans, sugars, and butter. Press crumb mixture evenly onto bottom and 1/2 inch up side of pan (if you can) then chill crust, 1 hour.

Make filling:

In food processor, mix pumpkin, eggs, brown sugar, cream, vanilla. Add cream cheese and mix until creamy and smooth.

Add sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and salt.

Pour filling into crust, smoothing top.
Bake in 350 oven until center is just set, 50 to 60 minutes.

Transfer to rack and cool 5 minutes. (Leave oven on.)

If desired, chill until cold. Remove sides when you want.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Nancy's Simple Poppy Seed Muffins

We started making these simple muffins when we lived in New Zealand. They were very popular, especially with the the almond extract.

1 egg

½ c. milk

¼ c. oil

1 ½ c. flour

½ c. sugar

2 t. baking powder

½ t. salt

1 t. almond extract

1.5 t. vanilla extract

2-3 T poppy seeds

Optional: slivered almonds to put on top of muffins before baking

Beat the egg, then add milk and oil.

Blend in dry ingredients and stir til just moistened.

Batter will be slightly lumpy.

A little sprinkle of sugar on top of the muffins before baking will make a nice muffin-top.

Bake at 400 for 20 minutes.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Amazing Fat-Free Banana Ice-Cream

A number of different chefs have done something like this, but here's my take.

Take 2 overripe bananas per serving and peel them and cut them into slices that are 1/2 inch wide. Freeze them in a flat layer until they are solid, a good 6 hours at least. Right before serving, puree the bananas in the food processor (not more than 6 or so at a time). If the bananas are having a tough time pureeing, you can add some milk to help it get going. Top it however you like, I especially like a quick mix of honey and peanut butter and some chocolate. Hard freeze any leftovers and they will stay good.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Tomato Candy aka Slow Roasted Tomatoes

Wow, we haven't posted for a while! There have been lots of transitions in the family over the past few months, but no lack of delicious, local cooking. Here's a simple recipe that takes advantage of the abundance of tomatoes still in season. I used Juliet tomatoes, which are like small Roma tomatoes. The recipe is inspired by Orangette's recipe for Slow-Roasted Tomatoes with Sea Salt and Ground Coriander and Food & Wine's recipe for Honey-Tomato Bruschetta.

2 pints ripe tomatoes (roma, juliet, cherry, or grape tomatoes would all work well)
~2 T Olive oil
Sea salt
Ground coriander

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Fahrenheit.

Wash the tomatoes, and halve them lengthwise. Toss the tomatoes in a bowl with the olive oil. Place them, skin side down, on a large baking sheet. Sprinkle them with sea salt and ground coriander—about a pinch of each for every four to six tomato halves.

Bake the tomatoes until they shrink to about 1/3 of their original size but are still soft and juicy, 4 to 6 hours. Remove the baking sheet from the oven, and allow the tomatoes to cool to room temperature. Place them in an airtight container, and store them in the refrigerator. Delicious on their own, with pasta, on bruschetta (see Food & Wine recipe), on a simple pizza, or anything else you can imagine!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Quick Cucumber Pickles

Lots of cucumbers from our garden this year! This recipe is adapted from Deborah Madison's "Local Flavors"

  • 2/3 cup any mixture of white wine and/or apple cider vinegar
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • ½ t. salt
  • 1 red onion, sliced thin
  • 2 cucumbers (peeled only if the skins are tough), sliced thin
  • 1 t. mixed whole peppercorns
  • 2 T olive oil

Mix the vinegar, sugar, salt, olive oil, peppercorns in a glass or ceramic bowl.

Add cucumbers and onions and toss well.

Cover & refrigerate.

Pickles are best if they can sit for a day, but don’t let them sit longer than 5 days.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Sugar Snap Pea, Cucumber, and Sesame Salad

The sugar snap peas in my garden are ready to eat and enjoy! I adapted this recipe from GOURMET June 2001.


1/2 -1 lb sugar snap peas, trimmed

1 English cucumber

a few chopped scallions

¼ cup sesame seeds, toasted

1-2 T seasoned rice vinegar

1-2 t cider vinegar

2-4t soy sauce

drizzle of sesame oil

salt and pepper (or hot sauce)


PEAS: Trim peas & remove “threads”. Cook in a saucepan of boiling salted water just until they turn a brighter shade of green, about 30 – 60 seconds. Drain in a colander and put in bowl with cold water with ice to stop the cooking.

CUCUMBER: Slice cucumber lengthwise 2 times (4 long quarters). Cut into ¼ inch thick slices. I don’t remove the seeds, but some prefer seeds removed.

Toss peas, cucumber, scallions with vinegars and season with salt and pepper.

Add sesame seeds right before serving to keep them crisp.

Refrigerate until serving.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Mango and Avocado Salad

When Champagne Mangoes are available, I buy them by the case and eat them any way I can. Mangoes and avocados go beautifully together in this salad, especially if neither is too mushy.

Though this recipe is supposed to serve 4, I ate the entire salad for my dinner.


  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 mangoes, cubed
  • 2 avocados, cubed
  • 1/2 small red onion or a few scallions, chopped
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • OPTIONAL: chopped cucumber, crumbled feta cheese, chopped sweet red pepper

Directions: Mix everything together, eat, and enjoy!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Sweet Potato Muffins

Using white, O'Henry sweet potatoes I made this recipe, adapted from 2 other recipes. Orange sweet potatoes or pumpkin would also work.
Yield: 12 muffins + mini cake

1 C white flour
1 C whole wheat flour
1 t baking soda
1/4 t salt
1 t cinnamon
1/2 t each nutmeg & cloves
1 1/4 C brown sugar
1/4 C canola oil
1/4 C plain yogurt (I used Greek non-fat strained yogurt)
2 eggs
1/2 C milk
2 t vanilla
1 1/2 C cooked sweet potatoes, mashed

Preheat oven to 350. Stir together sugar, oil, yogurt, eggs, milk, vanilla, & sweet potato. Add dry ingredients and taste for spices and salt. Divide into greased muffin tins and bake for 15-25 minutes, or until done.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Mexican Chocolate Cake

(Picture above is courtesy of this post on Serious Eats - their recipe is very similar to this one.)

Just in time for Cinco de Mayo! A delicious, vegan, Mexican chocolate cake. Enjoy! This recipe is really from Mom, but I re-found it a few days ago and thought I'd post it...

1 ½ cups flour
1 cup sugar
½ cup unsweetened cocoa
2 t. cinnamon
1 t. baking soda
¼ t. cayenne pepper
¼ t. salt
1 cup cold water
¼ c. canola oil
1 T. balsamic (or other) vinegar

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly coat cake pan with cooking spray.
  2. In bowl combine all ingredients, and stir until smooth.
  3. Pour into pan and bake 25-30 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
  4. Cook in pan for 10 minutes.
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
½ c. cocoa
6 T water
  1. In a small bowl, whisk together sugar, cocoa and water.
  2. Pour glaze over cake.
  3. If desired, dip small strawberries into glaze and place strawberries on to of cake.
  4. Set aside for about 30 minutes.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Flourless Almond Butter cookies

For any time of year!

1 C almond butter

1 C brown sugar

1 egg

1 t baking soda

1/2 t cinnamon

1/2 t vanilla extract

1 C chocolate chips (optional)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Mix everything together in a bowl, adding the chocolate chips at the end. Using moistened hands, form dough into small balls and arrange on 2 greased baking sheets about 2 inches apart. Cookies will flatten and spread during baking.

Bake until puffed, golden on bottom and still soft to touch in center, about 12 minutes. Cool on sheets 5 minutes and transfer to racks to cool.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Easy, Tasty Brisket

Charlie and I had a potluck a few days ago and the theme was "Where You're From" (it may or may not have been inspired by this episode of Top Chef). Since we're approaching Passover, I decided to make a brisket. I knew we were going to have a lot of people at our apartment, so I wanted to find a recipe that wasn't too labor intensive and would allow me to make a large amount of food. I found this recipe on Smitten Kitchen which is based off of an Emeril recipe. I loved the slow-cooker method. Here's my version - enjoy!

Serves 10-12 servings

3 large onions, sliced
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
6 garlic cloves, peeled and halved
1 teaspoon paprika
2 teaspoons salt
1 1/4 teaspoons black pepper
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon cayenne (adjust to your heat preference)
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
2 cups beef stock (unsalted or low salt)
1 cup ketchup*
1 cup chili sauce* (I used this random bottle of Shaw's chili sauce that I had. You could also use a can of tomato paste and a squirt or two or sriracha for a similar effect)
1 cup brown sugar
8 to 10 pound brisket
* If you are very strictly kosher for Passover you’ll want to find versions without corn syrup in them.

Prepare the sauce: Heat a large skillet over medium high heat and sauté onions in vegetable oil, stirring occasionally, until caramelized and most of liquid has evaporated, about 15 minutes. Add halved garlic cloves and saute for 3 minutes more. Stir in spices and seasoning (paprika, salt, black pepper, cayenne, oregano and thyme) and cook for 2 minutes. Set aside.

In a bowl, stir together the beef stock, ketchup, chili sauce and brown sugar.

Place brisket in a slow cooker, spread onion mixture over the top, then pour sauce mixture over the entire dish. Cover with the lid and cook it on LOW for 9-10 hours.

When the brisket is cooked but still hot, use a spoon to scrape off any large fat deposits adhered to the top and bottom of the brisket. (This part is easiest to do when hot. The sauce will be de-fatted after it has chilled.)

If your slow cooker has a removable inner dish, take that out of the slow cooker and put it into the fridge. Alternately, you can transfer the brisket and all of its sauce to a baking dish. Chill entire dish in the fridge for several hours and up to one day; this resting time will significantly enhance the flavor and texture of the meat.

You can reheat the brisket either in the oven or in the slow cooker. Deb from Smitten Kitchen reheated hers in the oven, but I decided to make this a real one-pot meal and reheat it in the slow cooker. If you're using the slow cooker, remove the dish from the fridge two hours in advance. If you're using the oven, remove the dish One hour before you’re ready to serve it and preheat the oven to 300°F.

Remove all of the fat that has solidified with a slotted spoon for a less oily finish. Carefully remove the meat from its sauce and place on a large cutting board. Cut the brisket into 1/2-inch slices. I had some trouble keeping my slices intact - I guess my brisket was just too tender :-).

If you like a smoother sauce, you can either run it through a blender or stick an immersion blender into the sauce.

Carefully place the sliced meat (moving it in large sections with a spatula helps keep it together) back into the sauce and spoon the sauce over the meat. Replace the lid or cover the dish tightly with foil and reheat in the slow cooker or oven until it is bubbling at the edges — this usually takes up to to 30 minutes in the oven and 75 minutes in the slow cooker on high.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Turkey & Beef Meatballs

I usually don't eat meatballs when we go out because they have pork in them, so Charlie and I decided to make our own with ground turkey and ground beef. They're a bit labor intensive because you have to form each individual meatball, but it's so worth it! These were delicious. We actually preferred them without red sauce because it kind of masked the rich flavor of the meatballs - but both ways work well!

This recipe is adapted from this recipe in October's Bon Appetit magazine by Molly Wizenberg (just the meatballs, not the sauce).

Makes 6 main-course servings

1 cup fresh breadcrumbs made from crustless French or country-style bread (a few days old is best)
1/3 cup milk
8 ounces ground beef (10-15% fat)
8 ounces ground turkey (not ground turkey breast)
1 cup finely ground Parmesan cheese
1/3 cup finely chopped Italian parsley
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 large eggs
2 large garlic cloves, pressed
1/2 cup onion, finely diced

Combine breadcrumbs and milk in small bowl; stir until breadcrumbs are evenly moistened. Let stand 10 minutes.

Place beef and turkey in large bowl and gently break up into small chunks. Add Parmesan, parsley, salt, and pepper.

Whisk eggs to blend in small bowl; whisk in garlic and onion. Add to meat mixture.

Using hands, squeeze milk from breadcrumbs. Add breadcrumbs to meat mixture. Quickly and gently mix meat mixture just until all ingredients are evenly combined (do not overmix). Chill mixture at least 15 minutes and up to 1 hour.

Moisten hands (Molly suggests using reserved milk from breadcrumbs, but water also worked well), then roll meat mixture between palms into golf-ball-size balls, occasionally moistening hands as needed. You can then cook the meatballs in one of three ways:
1. Heat a large pot of sauce on the stove. Arrange meatballs in single layer in sauce in pot. Bring to simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until meatballs are cooked through, 15 to 20 minutes.
2. Pan fry in a hot skillet, turning every 3-4 minutes, until cooked through and browned on all sides.
3. Arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes, or until no longer pink in the middle.

Serve with pasta or plain! With or without sauce! On pizza! So many options. Leftovers keep well in the refrigerator for about a week.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Fig Crumb Cake

This cake is pretty to look at, easy to make, and it tastes like the perfect coffee cake. Recipe modified from "Valley Fig Growers."

Crumb Topping:

2/3 cup white flour
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup packed brown sugar

½ c. chopped nuts (preferably toasted)

½ c. oats

1t. cinnamon

dash of salt
1/3 cup mix of butter, canola oil, margarine, etc.

Fig mixture:

3/4 cup finely chopped dry figs, stems removed
1/4 cup chopped, toasted pecans or walnuts
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Cake Ingredients:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup butter/oil/margarine mixture

3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
2 large eggs
1 cup sour cream (I used no-fat sour cream)

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Spray 9-inch springform pan or equivalent.


§ In food processor, combine all dry ingredients.

§ Add butter/oil and process until crumbly.


§ Mix figs, pecans/walnuts, brown sugar and cinnamon and set aside.


§ Mix flour, baking powder, soda and salt and sugar.

§ Gradually add butter/oil, eggs, sour cream, and vanilla.


§ Stir 1 cup batter into fig mixture.

§ Spoon plain batter in bottom of pan.

§ Spoon small mounds of fig batter on plain batter; spread as best you can to make an even layer.

§ Sprinkle crumb topping over top.

§ Bake for 50 to 60 minutes or until done.

§ If the top is done cooking and the cake isn’t done cooking, cover the cake with a loose aluminum foil tent.

Be careful – the bottom of this cake burns easily


This soup is the ultimate comfort food. The recipe is modified from Deborah Madison's Vegetable Soups


1 pound carrots, peeled & cut into chunks

a few potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks

1 large onion, cut into chunks

5 garlic cloves, peeled

2-4T olive oil

salt & pepper

2 thyme sprigs or 1-2T dry thyme

1 bay leaf

1 quart vegetable or chicken (or turkey) stock or water

OPTIONAL: cream, milk, sour cream, creme fraiche, soy sauce, minced parsley, minced basil


Preheat oven to 425


Toss the vegetables with olive oil and season with 1/2t. salt & some pepper.

Put them in a large backing dish with thyme, bay leaf and garlic, and roast until tender and glazed, about 1 hour, turning 2-3 times.

NOTE: Don't worry about burning the vegies!


Transfer the vegetables to a soup pot, add the stock, and bring to a boil.

Simmer until carrots & potatoes are soft, about 20 minutes.

Puree with immersion blender or in food processor until smooth.

Return the puree to the pot, season with salt & pepper.


I added about 2T soy sauce and ½ cup whole milk.

You can add cream or swirl with sour cream or crème fraiche.

If you like, garnish with fresh parsley or basil.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Hamantashen Poppy Seed Filling

This takes a bit of time to make, but it is worth the effort.


1/2 c. poppy seed
1/2 c. orange juice
1 T. margarine
1 T. honey
1/4 c. chopped nuts
Grated rind of 1/4 lemon
2 T. seedless raisins
1 T. sugar
1/2 tart apple, grated
2 T. jam or preserves, any fruit


--Combine poppy seed, orange juice, margarine, honey, nuts, lemon rind, raisins and sugar into a saucepan.

--Bring to a boil and cook until mixture is thick.

-- Stir in grated apple and desired jam or preserves.

Makes enough filling for 2-3 dozen hamantashen.

Brown Rice & Cornmeal Pancakes

Despite the brown rice and whole grains, these are light pancakes with just the right amount of substance. Bruce says, “Delicious!”, so you know they’ve got to be good.


2 cups skim milk

2-3 eggs

3 cups cooked brown rice

1 T baking powder

1t salt

½ c. cornmeal

1 ½ c. flour (I used ½ cup whole wheat and 1 cup white unbleached flour)

½ c. sugar

¼ c. canola oil


Put rice, egg and milk in a food processor, blend until smooth

Mix in other ingredients – don’t over-mix!

I cooked the pancakes in a no-stick pan with a little bit of butter for flavor.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Curried Cashew Burgers

Seriously, try these. They sound weird but they're awesome. Kind of like falafel but with a nutty texture and curry flavor. Really good! Adapted from this recipe and introduced to me by my good friend Alexis. I like mine with a bit of yogurt and mango chutney, she likes hers with cucumber raita or honey mustard.

2 cups plus 2 tablespoons water, divided
1 cup diced peeled carrots, (2-4 medium)
1/2 cup red lentils, rinsed
3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
3/4 cup raw cashews
6 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 cup chopped onion, (1 medium)
1 clove garlic, minced
2 teaspoons curry powder
3/4 cup fine dry breadcrumbs or panko
Freshly ground pepper, to taste

1. Combine 2 cups water, carrots, lentils and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a saucepan. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low. Partially cover and simmer until the lentils are tender and falling apart, 12 to 14 minutes. Drain in a colander, gently pressing out excess liquid. Transfer to a plate; let cool to room temperature.
2. Meanwhile, toast cashews in a small dry skillet over medium-low heat, stirring, until golden and fragrant, 2 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a plate to cool.
3. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring, until softened, 5 to 8 minutes. Add garlic, curry powder and the remaining 2 tablespoons water; cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Remove from heat and let cool.
4. Pulse the cashews in a food processor until finely chopped. Add the lentils and the onion mixture; pulse until the mixture is cohesive but still somewhat textured. Transfer to a bowl and stir in breadcrumbs, the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper; mix well.
5. With dampened hands, form the mixture into 1/2-inch-thick patties, using about 1/2 cup for each.
Using 2 teaspoons oil per batch, cook 2 to 4 patties at a time in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat until evenly browned and heated through, about 4 minutes per side.

Serves 6.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Baked Potato Soup

Lovely warming soup based on a recipe from Smitten Kitchen. As per her recommendation, I pureed some of the potatoes and left some in chunks which resulted in a great texture while still giving it a bit of a mashed potato feel.

1 head garlic
3 tablespoons butter
2 medium leeks, white and light green parts halved lengthwise, washed, and chopped small
5 to 6 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
2 bay leaves
2 1/2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/3 cup sour cream or yogurt
Ground black pepper

Rinse the head of garlic to remove any outside grit or dirt. Cut the top third off the head and peel any loose papery skins off the bottom two-thirds. Pop out the garlic clove tips from the top third and mince them.

In a large, heavy pot, melt the butter over medium heat. Add leeks and cook them until soft (but not brown), about 5 minutes. Add the minced garlic and cook another minute. Add the larger part of the garlic head (whole, not chopped), 5 cups broth, bay leaves and 1 teaspoon salt. Reduce heat and simmer for 5-10 minutes. Add potatoes and continue to simmer, partially covered, until potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes.

Discard bay leaves. Remove garlic heads. If you’d like an extra garlic boost to the soup, using tongs or paper towels, squeeze garlic head at root end until cloves slip out of their skins. Using a fork, mash the garlic cloves to smooth paste and add it back to the soup.

Add sour cream or yogurt to soup and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes. Adjust seasonings, adding more salt and pepper to taste. Using immersion blender, process soup until chunky-creamy, leaving lots of potato texture intact. Add up to 1 cup more broth for a thinner soup. Serve with oven-warmed crusty bread.

Serves 4-6

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Butternut Squash & Mushroom Empanadas

Not too hard and so satisfyingly good. Adpated from this post on Bella Eats and this recipe from Gourmet.

2 cups diced (1/4 inch) butternut squash
1/2 cup finely chopped white onion
6 small garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp olive oil
2 (2 to 3 inch) fresh jalepeño chiles, seeded and ribs discarded, finely chopped
Optional: reconstituted dried chiptole pepper, seeded and finely chopped
1 pound fresh exotic mushrooms, trimmed and coarsely chopped (I used a mix of cremini and white)

Empanada Dough
1-1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1-1/2 tsp salt
3/4 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 large egg
1/2 cup ice water (more if needed)
1 tbsp distilled white vinegar

Egg Wash
1 large egg beaten with 1 tbsp water

1. Make empanada dough. Sift flour and salt together in a large bowl. Blend in butter with your fingertips or with a pastry blender until mixture resembles course meal with some (roughly pea-size) butter lumps.
2. Beat together egg, water, and vinegar in a small bowl with a fork. Add to flour mixture, stirring with fork until just incorporated (the mixture should look shaggy).
3. Turn out mixture onto a lightly floured surface and gather together, then knead gently with heel of your hand once or twice, just enough to bring dough together. Form dough into a flat rectangle and chill, wrapped in plastic wrap, at least one hour.
4. Make the filling. Preheat oven to 400˚. Combine together the squash, onion, garlic, chile peppers, and mushrooms. Toss with olive oil and a good sprinkling of salt and pepper, and spread in an even layer on a baking sheet. (The Gourmet recipe differs here, boiling and sauteing the vegetables - choose what you like best.) Roast for 25-35 minutes, until the squash is tender and the mushrooms have released their liquid, stirring every 10 minutes or so. Remove from oven and cool in pan on rack.
5. Assemble the empanadas! Keep the oven heated to 400˚. Divide dough into 12 equal pieces and form each into a disk. On a floured surface, roll out one disk into a 6 to 7 inch round. Spoon about 1/3 cup of filling onto center and brush edge of pastry with egg wash. Fold dough in half to form a half-moon, enclosing filling, and press edges together to seal. Crimp edge decoratively and move empañada to a large baking sheet. Make the remaining empañadas using the same method.
6. Lightly brush empanadas with remaining egg wash and sprinkle tops with coarse sea salt. Bake on middle rack of oven until golden, 25-30 minutes.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Double Broccoli Pesto Pasta

A hearty, winter-y take on the classic basic pesto. Adapted from this 101Cookbooks post. Heidi suggests serving this as a side dish, but I added some lightly sauteed chicken and made it into a full meal.

1 medium head of broccoli (about 3 cups), cut into very small florets
1/2 cup walnuts, toasted
1/3 cup Parmesan, freshly grated
1 clove of garlic
juice of 1/2 a lemon
1/4 teaspoon + fine grain sea salt
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, more as needed
1/2 pound (8 ounces) dried whole wheat pasta

Bring two pots of water to a boil, one for the broccoli and one for the pasta.

To cook the broccoli, salt the boiling water and add about 3/4 of the broccoli. Cook for just twelve seconds. Drain immediately and run cold water over the broccoli to stop the cooking. Puree in a food processor along with the walnuts, Parmesan, garlic, lemon juice and salt. Drizzle in the olive oil while still blending. Taste, adjust with more salt or lemon juice if needed and set aside. You can add more olive oil or some warm water to thin it out.

To cook the remaining broccoli florets, saute in a skillet with a bit of salt, olive oil, and water until cooked to your liking. Put aside.

To cook the pasta, salt the boiling water generously and add the pasta. Boil until just barely tender. Drain and transfer to a large bowl. Gently stir in about half of the pesto. Taste, add more pesto to your liking. Served topped the broccoli florets and a dusting of Parmesan cheese.

Makes about 6 side servings or 3 main servings.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Bittersweet Hot Fudge Sauce

Hot Fudge Sauce

Since I often make this for a crowd, I've included 2 sets of quantities. This sauce & very good & fudgy. I sometimes add a pinch of salt.



Serving 18-24

¾ cup unsweetened cocoa

2 ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa

½ cup sugar

1.5 cups sugar

¾ cup fat-free milk

2 ¼ cup fat free milk

2 T butter or margarine

6 T butter or margerine

1 t. vanilla

1 Tablespoon vanilla

¼ - ½ t. ground cinnamon

1 t. ground cinnamon


  1. Mix cocoa and sugar in small saucepan
  2. Stir in milk and add margarine/butter
  3. Heat over medium heat until boiling, stirring constantly
  4. Reduce heat and simmer until sauce is smooth and slightly thickened, 3-4 minutes
  5. Remove from heat; stir in vanilla and cinnamon.
  6. Serve hot/warm or at room temperature.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Toasted Almond & Coconut Biscotti

A blend of a few different recipes and methods:

2 eggs
1 t vanilla
1/2 t almond extract, more to taste
2 T oil
3/4 C sugar
1 1/2 C flour
3/4 t baking powder
1/4 t baking soda
1/4 t salt
1/2 t nutmeg
1 C unsweetened coconut
1/2 C almonds, toasted and finely chopped

Combine eggs, extracts, oil, and sugar. Add dry ingredients and then stir in coconut and almonds. Dough will be a bit sticky.

Shape into 4" logs on a lightly floured surface. Place on greased cookie sheet or parchment lined cookie sheet and press logs to a 1"-thickness. Bake at 300 for 30 minutes, or until light brown. Remove and cook slightly, 5-10 minutes. Then cut each log into slices, diagonally if you want to be fancy. Bake each side for 15 minutes, or until golden on the bottom.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Tova's Potstickers

When I was visiting Tova in Carrboro a few weeks ago she made up a big patch of potstickers. I was surprised how easy they were and how authentic they tasted! As soon as I got back to Boston I replicated the recipe for a New Years Eve dinner party. Below is a simple vegetarian filling, but I also made a ground turkey version of this filling from the Gourmet cookbook.

1 package of "baked tofu", teriyaki or soy/sesame flavor, crumbled
bunch of green onions, chopped
small handful of cilantro, chopped
a few cloves of garlic, minced
2 carrots, shredded
1 cup cabbage, shredded
1/4 C soy sauce
2 t sesame oil
1 egg, beaten
package of wonton or potsticker wrappers

Stir all ingredients together, minus the egg and wonton wrappers. Taste for flavor, adjust and then stir in egg.
Mix 1 T cornstarch into 1/4 C water and brush this onto edges of wrappers.

For detailed on how to fill and fold potstickers, check out this blog post with directions and photos from Steamy Kitchen.

To fry the dumplings, heat a large pan over a medium heat. Add a bit of vegetable oil, then squeeze as many potstickers that will fit into the pan, trying not to have any touching, (or else they'll stick together). Fry for 60-90 seconds until golden brown on the bottom. Add 1/4-1/2 C water, put lid on immediately, lower heat a bit and cook about 3 minutes. Remove the lid, cook off any excess water, and then remove potstickers. Repeat until all potstickers are cooked.

Tova's special dipping sauce: mix soy sauce, sesame oil, rice vinegar, mirin, sriacha. Taste and adjust.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Best Fluffy Pancakes! (that happen to be lowfat and vegan)

1 cup flour
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons baking powder (yes! its a lot!)
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons of maple syrupy
1 teaspoon of vanilla
1.5 cup soy-milk (or whatever type of milk you have)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Mix dry ingredients. Combine with wet ingredients. Cook immediately (do not make in advance).