Friday, August 21, 2015

Curried Pumpkin and Corn Soup with Rice and Sausage

Winter is coming... that means time to take out all that delicious pumpkin purée you've been saving up in the fridge and make room for what's coming this season. Delicious, quick, simple soup.

Curried Pumpkin and Corn Soup with Rice and Sausage
adapted from Not Quite Nigella
makes large stock pot batch

4 sweet Italian sausages
6 oz. beer 900-1000 grams pumpkin purée
12 cups stock (I used 1/2 veggie 1/2 chicken)
8-9 ears of corn 
2 cups dry rice
2 Tbs. curry powder
3/4 cup cream

1. In a large stock pot, combine puree, stock, corn, rice, and curry powder. Bring to a simmer while you cook sausages.
2. Bring a cast iron pan to medium-high heat. Add sausages and beer, and cover with a lid. Leave for 5-10 minutes, until the browns start to bottom. Then turn sausages in pan, and cook for another 2-3 minutes until other side has browned.
3. Pour beer juices in stock pot, and brown sausages in pan for 2-3 minutes until well browned. Carefully chop up into medium-sized pieces then add to pot. Simmer for another 5 minutes to let the flavors combine.
4. Take soup off heat, and stir in cream. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Sweet Zucchini Bread

So, our little garden has been over flowing with food. Particularly zucchini. You comb through the garden, see a cute baby zucchini like the ones they have in France, then 2 days later BOOM. Mega zucchini taking you by storm. We've had counter tops filled with the stuff, and it's been an on going battle to beat them down into submission. This is one of the recipes that helped fight the good fight.

Sweet Zucchini Bread
from Peachy Hill

2.5 cups flour
2.5 tsp baking powder
1.5 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt

4 cups zucchini, shredded and drained
1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cups brown sugar
2 eggs
1/4 cups milk
6 Tbs. butter, melted
2 tsp. vanilla
3/4 cup toasted pecans, coarsely chopped

1. Prepare shredded zucchini by placing in thin layer in a colander over the sink. Let drain for 20-30 minutes. Then squeezing out as much moisture as you can by hand, by taking a small handful of shredded zucchini and wringing it hard over the drain with your hands. Place into a large mixing bowl after zucchini has been wrung out.
2. Pre-heat oven to 375F, and lighly butter a 9"x5" loaf pan.
3. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together flower, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon.
4. In the large zucchini bowl, combine sugars, eggs, milk, melted butter, and vanilla. Stir to combine.
5. Toast the pecans in a skillet on medium-low heat for 2-3 minutes, stirring. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Chop coarsely if needed, then add to flower bowl.
6. Pour flower mixture into zucchini and stir until just combined.
7. Pour batter into prepared loaf pan, and bake for 50-60 minutes; until a toothpick comes out clean.
8. Cool for 10 minutes in pan, then place on wire rack. Wrap to store or place in air-tight container.

Almond stuffed chocolate covered dates

Hey all!

It's been a long time. I'll be honest: I've been busy. Completely renovating a humongous century home with your friends, being fought tooth and nail by your mother, working full time in tech, doing grad school in the evenings, and throwing yourself fully into a relationship with your Canadian lover keeps a gal busy.

BUT! Somehow, I'm developing a rhythm in the chaos and I'm starting to get back into one of my favorite things: cooking! I'll have to update my profile, as I'm no longer a vegetarian (!!!) After 10 years of commitment, the hectic-ness of my life and the physical labor involved with renovations tipped me over the edge into eating for my new life style. I hope to soon find the balance between meat and veg, but that's something I'm working on.

At work, I've been part of project room, so there's been 7-9 of us in this interior meeting room that's been converted for the purposes of this project, for the last 6 months or so. We have a snack table, and one of my Indian co-workers brought in pitted dates. Folks tried them, but many decided they didn't like dates. For many, it was their first exposure to them! So, I asked him if it was alright for me to bring them home and bring date-products back that perhaps people would like more. He was fine with it, so voila! The first of several date recipes. This one was a hit; every single person said they liked it, even those who said they didn't like dates. #win

Almond stuffed chocolate covered dates

12-15 dates, pitted
12-15 almonds (raw or toasted)
1 chocolate bar (I recommend dark, but I happened to have milk on hand)

1. Break up the chocolate into a bowl. Microwave until melted, stopping every 10 seconds to stir and check.
2. Prepare a platter with wax paper.
3. Slip an almond into each date.
4. Using a fork, drop a almond-stuffed date into the melted chocolate, roll around in the bowl until well coated in chocolate, then place on wax paper. Repeat with all remaining almond stuffed dates.
5. Place plate in refrigerator for at least an hour until chocolate is set. Serve.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Curried Chickpeas

In a rush? Want a big batch of Indian food to last you a week of lunches (and more?) This is the simple fast recipe for you! Obviously you can swap out with fresh tomatoes, from-dry chick peas, make your own vindaloo paste, and all sorts of optional garnishes (cilantro?) But here's the quick and dirty version (provided to me by my new Canadian lover boy : ) They make 'em cultured up there)

Curried Chickpeas
from Raymond
serves 16
cook time: 8 - 12 hours

2 - 28 oz. cans diced tomatoes (doesn't matter if flavored or not)
4 - 15.5 oz. cans chickpeas
3-4 large onions, diced
1 jar Vindaloo PASTE
2 Tbs. garam masala
~4 oz. beer
optional: raita and cilantro, to garnish

1. Drain and rinse chick peas.
2. Combine all ingredients in a large crock pot on high heat, and stir well to combine.
3. Add beer until just covering tops of all chunky ingredients.
4. Cook on high for 4 hours or so, then set to low for 4-8 hours (I usually just do overnight)
5. Eat chick peas for a week or freeze and store some. Serve over basmati rice.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Cashew Coconut Granola Bars

Wow, first post as a home-owner! I've really been out of the game for a while. I was absconding with my friend's kitchen for a while (that's where that last, beautifully photographed potato-egg post came from. Thanks Julie!! Camping/travel foods in exchange) but I've been so busy getting the house and the community together, I've hardly had time to actually USE anything!

BUT, with the Fourth of July weekend coming up, and things getting more settled, I think I'll have time to get back to some old routines and hobbies (as well as develop new ones!) One of the things I want to do is weekly/monthly, make granola bars/granola for snacks and homemade yogurt. This is my favorite way to start the day (along with a cup of green or jasmine tea) after biking into work. Perfection. This stuff would be great crumbled up into granola, I think  I'll use this as my base/starting recipe for a while and update as I go : ) Keep watching for updates!

(pictured with cheese rosemary egg souffles! #roadFood)

Cashew Coconut Granola Bars
inspired by Ina Garten's food network recipe

2 cups rolled oats
1 cup chopped cashews
1 cup unsweetened coconut shreds or flakes, loosely packed
1/2 cup ground flax
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup honey
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup dried cranberries, roughly chopped
1/2 cup raisins, roughly chopped

1. Pre-heat oven to 350F. Combine cashews and coconut in a 13" x 9" cake pan, and toast in oven for 10-15 minutes, stirring every 3-5 mins.
2.  Once toasting is finished, turn oven down to 310F and place oat mixture in a bowl and combine with flax.
3. Combine butter, honey, vanilla, and salt in a small sauce pan and bring to a boil over medium-heat. Pour over oat mix and stir well to combine.
4. Add in cranberries and raisins and stir to incorporate.
5. Line baking pan with paper or foil, dump granola mixture into pan, and press down with a spatula hard until flat and condensed.
6. Bake for 15 minutes. Take out of oven, and press down hard again on bars with spatula to compress mixture.
7. Bake for another 10 minutes, take out and press down bars again, and bake for another 5 or until deep golden brown.
8. Take bars out of oven and let sit for a few hours before cutting into desired shape (squares or rectangles)

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Baked Eggs in Potatoes

My friend Julie and I have gotten into the great habit of cooking together at her place and listening to fun new music and having wonderful conversation : ) This should be the norm for cooking and hopefully will be just as soon as my mom figure out our new living situation, which is coming along swimmingly, btw.

In the meantime, though, I look forward to every time we do dinner! She is gulten-free AND corn free, which is a particularly difficult combination here in the Midwest. So! Challenge accepted : ) 

For this, I didn't use the rosemary because it was Asian themed, as I served it on a bed of sauteed baby bok choy with ginger and garlic. Delicious! But the Rosemary wouldn't fit. This is definitely something I'd make again, though. Simple and can be served on top of many varieties of green things! Salads, zucchini noodles, carrot-slaw, truly anything. If you don't have time to cook it all in one night (recommended) you can pre-bake the potatoes the night before, as I did (but you'll end up with wrinkly potatoes!)

Baked Eggs in Potatoes
inspired by Our Best Bites


4 potatoes
4 eggs
8 oz. mushrooms
2 Tbs butter
1 sprig rosemary, dried
salt and pepper
4 Tbs cheese, grated, to garnish

1. Pre-heat oven to 425F.
2. Poke potatoes with fork making deep holes. On a baking sheet lined with a silicon mat, toss potatoes in olive oil and salt.
3. Bake for 45 minutes, until potatoes are fork-tender.
4. Set a medium, heavy-bottomed skillet over medium flame and take oven down to 375F.
5. Chop mushrooms into small cubes. Melt butter in skillet, then add mushrooms, rosemary, and a generous pinch of salt. Cook mushrooms all the way down stirring occasionally, then remove the sprig of rosemary.
6. Once potatoes are cool enough to handle, scoop out the centers of them until there is a cavity large enough for an egg and 1/4 of the mushrooms to fit.
7.Assemble potatoes by putting 1/4th the mushrooms into each potato, cracking an egg neatly on top and sprinkling each potato with 1 Tbs of cheese.
8. Bake potatoes for 20-25 minutes, or until white of the eggs have set.
9. Let potatoes cool, sprinkle with fresh ground pepper, and serve.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Classic Egg Salad.... with a twist

Ahh... egg salad. The perfect bachelors dish.

"What do I have in the fridge? Some eggs, a loaf of  bread... and a shit ton of condiments. Let's do this!"
That was basically my thought process when figuring out what to make for dinner tonight/lunch tomorrow. I have a nice loaf of sour dough (Happy Sour Dough Day!) from Farm-to-Market I took out of the freezer a couple days ago and I'm trying to use up before it goes stale. I also have some excellent local organic eggs I got from Howard's Organic sitting in my fridge, waiting to be purposed.

 The funny thing about good eggs is, they taste like chicken. Having been vegetarian for so long, I can tell a huge difference between conventional eggs (watery, really) and REAL eggs (tastes like chicken when fried). I made some scrambled eggs to use up the rest of my sweet potato/caramelized onion mash I had in the fridge to bring for lunch, and just having the eggs sitting on top, not mixed in, was too chicken-y/overwhelming-y. I needed to figure out a good way to cover up their real flavor (sad, really!) and this egg salad did the trick.

What I was thinking while making this, though, is that one day I'd love to make my own egg salad sandwitch, ENTIRELY: raise my own chickens, make my own aioli with oil I press and garlic I grown, use my own canned pickles from my garden (using vinegar i make!), and bread from wheat I grow and grind and yeast I cultivate (probably a sour dough like this!) The more I cook, the more these thought keep happening, and the more I'm convinced I need to open up a farm-to-table once I retire. An not any farm-to-table, a MY farm-to-table vegetarian science-themed restaurant. More to come on that....

I once had these incredible curry deviled eggs that my Aunt made for a family get-together, and thought the same thing could apply to egg salad, which is normally not the most exciting of dishes. It definitely worked, and incorporated some of that good turmeric that 'Science Confirms [Turmeric] as effective as 14 drugs' (anyone else see that and others floating around lately?)

Simple, quick, delicious, healthy, and all ingredients you have in your fridge, right now.

Curry Egg Salad
makes 2 sandwiches

4 slices good sourdough
1 large handful baby spinach, washed
3 eggs
1 pickle spear, minced
2 Tbs vegenaise
1-2 tsp good mustard, depending on how much you like it
2 tsp curry powder
fresh ground black pepper, to garnish

1. Place eggs in a small pot, cover with water an inch above the eggs, set on high flame and bring to a boil. Once boiling, bring flame down to medium until water is just simmering and cook eggs for 12 mins.
2. Pour off water, fill pan with cold water to level of eggs, and set aside to cool.
3. In the mean time, combine veganase, mustard, pickle, and curry.
4. Once eggs have cooled down enough to peel, do so and chop small.
5. Mix to combine with veganase mix.
Assemble sandwitch
1. Layer slice of bread, half of the spinach, half of the egg salad, 2-3 turns of the pepper grinder, then second slice of bread. Repeat for second sandwich.