Thursday, December 6, 2012

Quiona Vegetable and Egg Sushi

I really loved this quiona version of sushi! A little bit experimental, definitely, but it's was great. The nuts give it a really unexpected texture.

Quiona Vegetable and Egg Sushi
based off of Wholesome Cook and Turntable Kitchen

1 cup quinoa
1.5 cups water
2 Tbs nut mix, roughly chopped (sunflower, almond, and pepitas)
4 sheets nori
2 Tbs. rice vinegar
1 Tbs water
1 tsp honey
1 tsp salt

1. Combine quinoa and water in a small sauce pan, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
2. Once at a boil, reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 12 - 15 minutes until no liquid remains. Let sit for 5 minutes, then fluff with a fork.
3. In a small bowl, combine vinegar, water, honey, and salt. Stir mixture into quinoa until evenly distributed. Add nuts and stir in as well.
4. For each nori wrap, distribute quinoa as you would sushi rice, then place fillings for either roll on top, then roll. Seal with water.
(Hint: youtube will show you how to roll more effectively than I could describe here, if you don't know how to roll sushi)

Cucumber Carrot Avocado Roll:
1/4 cucumber, sliced into 1 cm. length
1/2 carrot, grated lengthwise on a mandolin
1/4 avocado, sliced into strips

Sriracha Egg Omelette Roll:
2 eggs
1 Tbs. ice cold water
1 Tbs. Sriracha
Optional: a few snow pea spouts

1. Heat a tsp. of oil in a small pan over medium heat.
2. Whisk together eggs and cold water. Pour egg mixture into the pan and cook for 3 minutes. Reduce heat to low.
3. Drizzle Sriracha over the omelette and cover with a lid. Cover and cook for another 2 minutes or until eggs are set.
4. Remove from pan and cut into 1 cm. strips.

Hot Pot

This Asian dish is more of a general format, as you can add any kind of broth, vegetables, seasonings, protein, etc.

The flavor gets more intense as you go along ending in the last batch which has the best flavor as the broth left over from each batch gets more and more concentrated with delicious flavors. It's a fun group event where everyone contributes to the chopping, cooking, seasoning and, of course, eating. :  D

Hot Pot

vegetable broth
soy sauce
hot sauce
- carrot, halved length-wise and sliced 2" long
- broccoli florettes and stems, peeled and cut length-wise and sliced 2" long
- cabbage
- mushroom
- mushroom (dried shiitaki)
tofu, cut into 1/2" cubes
rice noodles

1. Place an electric skillet on the dining table, and fill 2/3rds with broth. Add soy sauce, hot sauce, ginger, and garlic to taste (experiment and find out what you like).
2. Turn on skillet to 375F. Add long-cooking vegetables (like carrots, broccoli stems, and dried mushrooms). Once broth comes to a boil, turn down to warm/simmer and add short-cooking time vegetables (cabbage, fresh mushrooms, tofu, and broccoli florettes) and add rice noodles.
3. Cover pot and let simmer sit for another 3-5 minutes until noodles are soft and vegetables are slightly tender, but still retaining most of their raw crispiness.
4. Spoon out noodles into bowls, then noodles, then vegetables and tofu, then spoon some broth into the bowls. Season with additional hot sauce and soy sauce if desired.
5. The last one to serve there food to their bowl makes the next batch, adding broth and long-cooking ingredients, then bringing to a boil, etc. 

Fluffernutter Brownie Batter Ice Cream

This is by far my favorite ice cream that I've made so far. If you don't like peanut butter that much, use 1/4 cup. Also: I want to eventually figure out a better way to do the brownie chunks, which may involve making a brownie recipe without eggs, then balling up the thick fudge and using that. We will see, but this recipe is so easy to make, I can't imagine not doing so again in the future. A little bit goes a long way with this ice cream, though it has such a light, heavenly texture it's still very dense taste-wise.

Fluffernutter Brownie Batter Ice Cream
from Nat's Adventures in Baking

1 - 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
2 cups cream
1/4 - 1/2 cup peanut butter (depending on affinity for pb)
1/2 cup marshmallow fluff

for the brownie chunks:
1/4 box brownie mix
2 Tbs butter
1 Tbs water

1. Place a large mixing bowl in the freezer for 10 minutes.
2. In a medium sized mixing bowl, beat the peanut butter and condensed milk together until well blended. Fold in the marshmallow fluff until just combined.
3. Combine all brownie chunk ingredients, and roll into small balls. Set aside.
4. Take the bowl out of the freezer, and beat the heavy cream with an electric whisk until  stuff peaks form.
5. Fold the whipped cream into the peanut butter mixture, then add the brownie bits and fold until dispersed throughout.
6. Place mixture into a covered container and freeze overnight before scooping.

Carrot Cranberry Muffins

These are by far the most delicious healthy muffins I've ever had! They're the perfect balance of oats, flour, and carrot. The banana makes them the perfect amount of moist and the cranberries, coconut, and pepitas give it great texture (and flavor!) I'm definitely making these again for quick grab-and-go breakfasts.

Carrot Cranberry Muffins
from Princess in the Kitchen
makes 12 muffins

1.25 cups flour
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1/4 cup dried cranberries (craisins)
1/4 cup shredded coconut
3 Tbs vegetable oil
1 egg
1/3 cup milk
4 medium carrots, shredded
1 medium ripe banana, mashed
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds (pepitas) or chopped walnuts

1. Pre-heat oven to 400F.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, nutmeg, and salt. Stir in oats, cranberries, and coconut.
3. In a separate bowl, combine rest of the ingredients (oil, egg, milk, carrots, banana, and pepitas).
4. Make a well in the center of the dry mixture and add wet mixture. Stir until just combined.
5. Coat muffin tin with oil, and place 1/4 cup batter into each well. Top with additional pepitas for garnish if you wish.
6. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack.

Sweet Potato Black Bean Burger Hash

Delicious! I wanted to make this a stuffed sweet potato like the original, but unfortunately I had too many bad spots to chunk out, so I ended up making this as hash. It's nice and spicy, though, and I suggest definitely serving with avocado and/or sour cream to help cut the bite.

Sweet Potato Black Bean Burger Hash
from BetsyLife

1 large sweet potato, diced
1 Tbs. olive oil
1 spicy black bean burger
2 scallions, thinly sliced (or 1/2 onion, diced and sautéed)
1/2 tsp chipotle chili powder
1/2 tsp cumin
1 T. pepper jack cheese, shredded

Optional (to garnish):
- 1/2 avocado, diced
2 Tbs. sour cream

1.  Preheat oven to 400F.
2. On a baking pan, toss sweet potato with a 1 Tbs. of the oil, and spread evenly. Bake for 30 minutes, or until soft.
3. While potato is cooking, pan fry the black bean burger according to manufacturer's directions. Chop into 1/2" squares.
3. In a large bowl, combine sweet potato, black bean burger, scallions, chili powder, and cumin. Scoop into 4 ramekins, top each with cheese, and bake for an additional 3-5 minutes, until the cheese is bubbly and turning golden.
4. Add garnishes and serve.

Cranberry Gingerbread Cookies

These delicious gingerbread cookies are soft will still having the gingerbread dry-texture. Enjoy with a glass of milk!

Cranberry Gingerbread Cookies
from Hy-Vee Seasons Magazine

2 cups flour
1.5 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/3 cup molasses
1 large egg
1 tsp grated orange peel
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup dried cranberries (craisins)
powdered sugar for dusting

1. In a medium bowl, stir together flour, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
2. In another medium (or large) bowl, beat butter and brown sugar with a mixter until smooth. Beat in molassas, egg, and orange peel.
3. With mixer on low speed, add flour mixture to wet ingredients, and beat until just combined. Fold in walnuts and cranberries.
4. Divide dough in half. Roll each half into a 7" log, wrap in plastic wrap, and refridgerate for 1.5 hours (or freeze for 45 minutes).
5. Pre-heat oven to 350F. Unwrap logs, cut into 3/8" slides, and place 2" apart on an un-greased cookie sheet (use a silicon pad if you have one). Bake for 12 - 14 minutes, until light brown on the bottom. Lightly sift powdered sugar over cookies.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Creamy Corn

This makes a delicious side dish and works well on salads with black beans.

Creamy Corn
from Cookie Monster Cooking

10 oz. corn
3 Tbs. butter
1 small onion, diced
1 celery rib, diced
1 carrot, scrubbed and chopped
2 Tbs. parsley, minced
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/3 cup sour cream

1. If using frozen corn, cook according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
2. Melt butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add onion, celery, and carrots. Cook until tender, stirring occasionally (~5-10 minutes).
3. Set heat to low, and stir in parsley, salt, pepper, and thyme. Add corn and sour cream. Mix until well combined.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Spinach and Sun-dried Tomato Pinwheels

Ah, Thanks giving day! A true foodie holiday. My immediate family and I went over to my aunt's on my mom's side and had our feast there. But before going, I asked my mom (same morning, of course): What are we supposed to bring? She tells me a vegetable dish and an hors d'oeuvres tray. When I ask what vegetable and hors d'oeuvres, she said sweet potato and pickles (respectively). I had a minor panic, knowing that neither of those would be the options my aunt was looking for. Sure enough, when my mom called over to see if sweet potato would be an acceptable vegetable substitute, someone else had already been assigned the task of brining the sweet potato side, so I quickly whipped up these little guys for hors d'oeuvres and a ratatoulli (which ended up becoming a south-west vegetable fry, because chili-ready diced tomatoes != diced tomatoes).

In the end, it all worked out. Everyone loved the pinwheels, so much so that I didn't end up taking any of these little guys home (probably for the best, given all the days of over-eating unhealthy foods to come). With these, I substituted in toasted blanched almonds, chopped finely because my parents' pinenuts had gone bad, but it worked out quite well! Feel free to make said substitution yourself. I didn't happen to have scallions on hand (as my dad doesn't like onions of any kind), but they would definitely make this appetizer pop.

I hope everyone got to enjoy their family and good food this Thanksgiving holiday, and bon appetit!

Spinach and Sun-dried Tomato Pin-wheels
from cook and be merry


3 eggs
1.5 cups milk
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
10 oz. fresh spinach
1 cup finely minced scallions (I omitted)
olive oil

16 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh basil
1 Tbs vodka
2 tsp. grated lemon zest
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained and minced
3 oz (1/2 cup) toasted pine nuts, roughly chopped

1. Heat a skillet over medium-heat. Add about 1 Tbs. of oil, and saute spinach until completely wilted. Remove from pan and finely chop.
2. Whisk together eggs, milk, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/2 tsp pepper.  Whisk in minced spinach.
3. Heat a pan (or multiple) on medium-low heat, add a little bit of oil to coat the pan, and add 1/4 cup batter. Swirl around to evenly coat the pan. Cook the crepe until the crepe stays together enough to be flipped, then flip and cook until the other side has set. Place to the side on a plate and repeat with remaining batter.
4. Mix together all filling ingredients.
5. Take a crepe, spread 1/4" thick filling across the top, and roll together. Place on a plastic wrapped tray and repeat with remaining crepes and filling.
6. Cover finished rolls with more plastic wrap and chill for an hour to over-night.
7. When ready to serve, take out and slice slightly diagonally (if desired), munching on the ends as you go, and place pin-wheels on a platter. Serve cold or room temperature.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Naan Pizza

I'm up visiting my college friends in St. Paul, MN and for dinner our second night we  did made-your-own naan pizzas. So simple, genius, and delicious. This is something I might just keep on hand at all times (freeze some shredded cheese and naan and keep a jar of sauce in the pantry).

Naan Pizza

1 piece of naan bread
handful of cheese (mozzarella, goat, etc)
pizza sauce (to taste)
1 - 2 toppings (bell peppers, olives, spinach, etc)

1. Preheat oven to 400F.
2. Prepare naan pizza: spread sauce over the naan, top with cheese, and place all desired toppings on that.
3. Bake for 15 minutes, or until cheese is melted and turning golden-brown on the top.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Butternut Squash and Ricotta Empanadas

These things are additively delicious. Please be careful!

Butternut Squash and Ricotta Empanadas
from Sandy Hoopes

3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1 cup butter, cold and diced
3/4 cup ice water

2.5 cups butternut squash, diced very small
3 Tbs olive oil
1 Tbs oregano or rosemary, diced
1/2 tsp crushed red chili pepper
2 eggs, divided
1.5 cups ricotta (recipe here)
1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
1 Tbs parsely, minced
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 Tbs milk

1. In a food processor combine flour, salt, and sugar. Add butter and process until just incorporated. Slowly drizzle in water while processing until water dough mostly comes together. Dump onto a surface, shape into a disk, wrap in plastic, and refridgerate for at least an hour.
2. Preheat oven to 400F.
3. Peel, seed, and dice butternut squash (very small-ly). In a large bowl, combine the squash, oil, herbs, and chili pepper. Spread onto a baking sheet and bake for 15-17 minutes, until fork tender. Then remove from oven and chill.
4. In a medium bowl, lightly beat an egg. Then add ricotta, parmesan, parsely, salt, and pepper. Cover and chill.
5. Roll out the dough into 1/8" thick circles. Cut into 4" circles with a biscuit/cookie cutter.
6. Place a spoonful of chilled squash and a spoonful of ricotta onto the center of each circle. Fold one half over the filling to form a half-moon, then seal the edges by pressing with your fingers (or a fork). Then fold the edge back to create a ridge around the seam. Place onto a baking pan lined with foil or parchment paper.
7. In a small bowl, lightly beat the egg with the milk. Brush over the empanadas, cut 3 small holes into the top of each, and bake for 16 minutes (or deep fry)

Sriracha Maple Pumpkin Seeds

Super simple recipe! Since the maple syrup is so sticky, you don't have to stir constantly. But, they will tend to stick together even after storing, but the pop right apart (with a little prodding).

Sriracha Maple Pumpkin Seeds
from Savory Simple

2 cups fresh pumpkin seeds
2 tsp Sriracha
1 Tbs maple syrup
3/4 tsp salt

1. Preheat oven to 300F.
2. Toss pumpkin seeds with Sriracha and maple syrup, then spread evenly on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt.
3. Bake for 20 minutes, then let sit and dry before storing.

Hard Cider Sweet Potato Bisque

Filling yet so fresh. I really enjoyed this soup, and garnished it with my baked pumpkin seeds!

Hard Cider Sweet Potato Bisque
from Bakeaholic Mama
serves 6

2 large sweet potatoes
1 large yellow onion, quartered
2 small apples, peeled and cored
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbs butter
4 cups vegetable stock (or chick'n)
1 bottle hard cider
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 Tbs maple syrup
1 cup cream

1. Preheat oven to 400F.
2. Pierce potatoes with a fork. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 45 minutes or until tender.
3. Meanwhile, add onion, apples, garlic, and butter to a large pot over medium heat. Saute until apples break down and onions are translucent.
4. Add stock, cider, cinnamon, and maple syrup. Simmer on medium-low heat until potatoes are finished baking.
5. Once potatoes are cooked and have cooled enough to handle, cut down the middle and scoop our the flesh. Add to the pot.
6. Using an immersion blender (or a regular blender), blend soup until smooth. Salt and pepper to taste. Stir in cream and serve.

Sweet Potato and Black Bean Enchiladas

Simple and delicious enchiladas! Just the perfect amount of spicy, and a great way to let those in-season sweet potatoes shine.

Sweet Potato and Black Bean Enchiladas
from a Couple Cooks
serves 4 - 6

3 cups diced sweet potato
15 oz. can black beans
8 oz. canned diced green chillies
1 medium red onion, diced
1/2 Tbs. cumin
1 Tbs. chili powder
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. salt
~2 cups salsa verde
6 - 8 oz. Colby jack cheese, shredded
14+ bag enchilada-sized tortillas
Optional: sour cream and cilantro to garnish

1. Pre-heat oven to 350 F.
2. Place sweet potato in a pot, cover with water, add a pinch of salt and bring to a boil. Cook until tender  (~12-15 mins)
3. Drain and rinse the black beans.
4. In a large bowl, combine black beans, sweet potato, onion, chilies, cumin, chili powder, garlic, salt, and ground pepper. Mix to combine.
5. Warm the tortilla for a minute in the microwave. In a large baking pan, add enough salsa verde to cover the bottom.
6. Fill each tortilla with 1/4 cup of filling and a handful of cheese. Roll up and place seam-side down in the baking dish. Repeat until the filling runs out. Top with remaining salsa verde and cheese.
7. Bake for 20 minutes. Serve with sour cream and cilantro.

Apple Almond Quinoa

My second use of quinoa! It's quickly becoming my new favorite food. So fast and simple to make, it has amazing texture, and from all I've read, it's relatively good for you.

Apple Almond Quinoa
from a Couple Cooks
serves 2

1 cup quinoa
1 apple (I used Jonathan), cored and finely chopped
1.5 Tbs. chives, thinly sliced
1/4 cup almonds
1/2 cup craisins
1.5 Tbs. white wine vinegar
1 Tbs. olive oil
1/2 tsp. salt
fresh ground black pepper
dash of lemon juice (optional)

1. Add quinoa,  1.5 cups water, and a pinch of salt to a small pot. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 13-15 minutes until all water has been absorbed. Let sit for 5 minutes, then fluff with a fork.
2. Place the almonds in a dry skillet and toast over medium low heat for a few minutes, until fragrant and lightly browned.
3. Transfer quinoa to a large bowl and allow to cool for a bit. Add all remaining ingredients to the quinoa, toss to combine, and serve.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Butternut Squash and Tahini Dip

I've become rather addicted to tahini, ever since my excursion into middle eastern food with the falafel expedition (lightly explained in my falafel post). This dip is great, and my friend and I ate the whole thing up in just a few days x.x Serve with traditional pita bread or on crackers. Don't over process like I did! I've gotten to used to making pumpkin purée which takes a good 5 minutes to process and after that it STILL isn't completely smooth, but this processes super quickly.

Butternut Squash and Tahini Dip
from Playin with my Food

2.5 lbs. butternut squash, peeled and diced (7 cups)
3 Tbs. olive oil
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
5 Tbs. tahini
6 oz. Greek yogurt
2 small cloves garlic, crushed
1 tsp. sesame seeds
1.5 tsp. maple syrup (or date syrup)
Optional: 2 tsp. cilantro, chopped (to garnish)

1. Preheat oven to 400F.
2. Toss squash with olive oil on a roasting pan and sprinkle with cinnamon and salt. Cover the pan with foil and roast for 40 mins (or until soft)
3. Set squash aside and let cool.
4. Transfer cooled squash to a food processor, add tahini, yogurt, and garlic. Pules until a coarse paste is formed. Salt to taste.
5. Spread onto a flat plate in a wavy pattern, sprinkle with sesame seeds, drizzle over syrup, and garnish with cilantro (if using).

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Pumpkin Gruyère Risotto

Cheesy and delicious, like a rissoto should be. Don't be lax about the frequent stirring! Medium-high heat is not a joke.

Pumpkin Gruyère Risotto
from The Craving Chronicles
serves 2

2 Tbs. butter
1/2 medium onion, diced
3/4 cups arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
3 - 4 cups vegetable or chick'n broth
1/2 cup pumpkin purée (instructions here)
1/4 cup Parmesan, grated + more for garnish
1/2 cup Gruyère, grated
1/4 tsp. ground cayenne pepper (optional)
fresh herbs to garnish

1. Melt butter in a sauce pan over medium heat. Add onion and sauté until soft (~5 minutes). Add rice and cook for 2 mins, stirring occasionally.
2. Add wine to rice and cook until wine has been absorbed, stirring frequently. Heat 2 cups of vegetable broth in the microwave for 2 minutes.
3. Raise heat to medium-high, add 1 cup of broth, and cook until broth is absorbed, stirring frequently.
4. Repeat adding 1 cup broth and cooking until it's absorbed (all the while stirring frequently), until the rice is al dente and creamy.
5. Remove from heat, stir in pumpkin, Parmesan, and Gruyere. Add salt and cayenne pepper to taste.
6. Garnish with extra Parmesan and fresh herbs.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Falafel with Tahini Sauce

The Students for Middle Eastern Peace club on campus does a falafel fund-raiser every year, and one of my friends who dines with me mostly every night is the president. As it's an extremely small club (think 6 people), my food processor, my senioritis, and my love of cooking made me the perfect candidate to help in this endeavour. I made a x8 batch of this, over 360 falafels. I'm proud to say that most all of them got sold, but those that didn't were frozen. This is such an easy go-to meal that I might just start keeping a batch frozen, along with a bag of pitas and a recipe of the tahini sauce that goes with it (recipe below).


by Tyler Florence

2 cans of chickpeas
1 tsp. baking powder
1 small onion, chopped
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbs. cumin seeds (or powder)
1 Tbs. coriander powder
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 Tbs. parsley, chopped
1 Tbs. cilantro, chopped
1/4 cup corn starch
salt and pepper to taste

1. Pour refined peanut oil into a deep-fryer and turn on.
2. Rinse the chickpeas in a colander until no longer foamy, then drain. Add to the food processor and process until coarsely ground.
3. Add all other ingredients (minus salt and pepper) and process until combined. Add salt and pepper to taste.
4. Form into 1.5" balls. If they are falling apart, add more cornstarch. If they are too dry, add more water.
5. Slip a few balls at a time into the deep fryer (making sure they don't stick to the bottom), and cook until golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon and set on a plate lined with paper towels.

Tahini Sauce
1/2 cup tahini
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1 lemon, juiced
2 cloves garlic, minced
salt and paprika to taste

1. Combine tahini, yogurt, lemon juice, and garlic. Add salt and paprika to taste.

Pumpkin Frozen Yogurt

My first frozen yogurt! It's actually pretty healthy, so I don't feel bad about eating it my pumpkin granola for breakfast <.<

Pumpkin Frozen Yogurt
from Kitchen Corners

1.5 cups pumpkin purée (instructions here)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
3 cups honey Greek yogurt

1. In a large bowl, mix together pumpkin, sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Then add the yogurt, and fold over until well incorporated.
2. Add the mixture to the ice cream maker, and follow manufacturer’s directions to freeze.

Roast Pumkin Puree

Such cute pumpkins! Pumpkins soon to be shoved into the oven and roasted, then put through the food processor until it's hardly recognizable as the baby pumpkin face pictured above. And who said that vegetarian's aren't ruthless??

But pumpkin (and other squah) puree is pretty much my favorite thing right now. I bought 6 baby pumpkins like this, 2 acorn squash, and a butternut squash at the farmer's market two weeks ago, and have used all of my pumpkin already!

Things they've gone into:
Gruyère Pumpkin Risotto
Pumpkin Cream Fettucchini
Chickpea Ginger Pumpkin Patties
Pumpkin Frozen Yogurt
Rosemary Balsamic Pumpkin Seeds

Roast Pumkin Puree
from The Pioneer Woman Cooks

2 small pumpkins

1. Pre-heat oven to 350F.
2. With a butcher's knife, take out the stem (like when prepping to carve a pumpkin), but cutting the smallest possible area to take out the stem.
3. Cut the pumpkins in half, scoop out the seeds (save for roasting later), then cut each half into thirds.
4. Place all the pieces on a baking sheet skin-side down/cut-side up, and bake for 45 minutes, or until fork tender and golden-brown.
5. Scoop out the flesh from the pieces and place in a food processor. If your pumpkin is older/tougher, the skin will probably peel right off. Chop the pieces up before putting into the processor if this is the case.
6. Process until completely smooth (5 minutes), pushing down large chunks if they don't readily process.
7. Store in the refrigerator until needed, or place into re-usable containers in pre-measured amounts and freeze until needed.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Nutella Ice Cream

Simple and delicious, no cooking or anything. So excited to have made my first batch of ice cream!! Now I have so many goals for frozen treats to come : ) Be prepared....

Nutella Ice Cream
from Sunday Supper
Makes 1 pint

3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup cream
1/2 cup sugar
5 Tbs. Nutella
pinch of salt
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

1. Put all ingredients in a blender and blend on low speed until just combined (~15 secs)
2. Pour into electric ice cream container and freeze according to instructions.
3. Eat immediately as soft-serve, or freeze for several hours until hardened.

Tofu Marinara Pasta with Kale

Simple, tasty, healthy main dish. First time I've used nutritional yeast, and to be honest, I was a little bit scared. Maybe it's because when I was a child, my dad told me that the yeast in the freezer was dip and dots ice cream, so I ate it and was totally disgusted by the flavor and have been slightly scared of yeast ever since. Maybe it's because yeast is a living organism and it's odd to me to eat it whole in food. Anyhow, it was tasty and pretty quick meal, packed full of protein.

Tofu Marinara Pasta with Kale
from edible perspective
makes 6 ramekins full

8 oz. dry short pasta
7 oz. soft tofu, drained
1.5 cups marinara sauce (recipe here)
2 Tbs. Parmesan OR 1.5 Tbs. nutritional yeast + Parmesan to garnish
1/4 tsp. garlic, minced
1 tsp. oregano
1/2 head kale, chopped small
1 tsp. oil
salt and pepper to taste
Optional: red pepper flakes (to garnish)

1. Pre-heat oven to broil.
2. Cook pasta according to package directions.
3. Add tofo, marinara, yeast, garlic, and oregano to a blender and blend until well combined.
4. Heat olive oil over medium heat in a skillet. Add kale and cook for 2-4 minutes, until wilted, stirring frequently.
5. Combine pasta to the kale, add sauce, and heated until hot.
6. Spoon pasta into ramekins, top with extra Parmesan cheese (or other cheese), and broil for 203 minutes, until bubbly. Top with red pepper flakes (if desired) and serve.

Tahini Broccoli Salad with Almonds

Flavorful, fast, and delicious side. And using the last of the farmer's market broccoli! Amazing they still had some so late in the season.

Tahini Broccoli Salad with Almonds
from Anja's Food 4 Thought
serves 3 - 4

1/4 cup almonds, whole and raw
1 lb. broccoli, cut into florets and thin stems
1/4 cup tahini
2 Tbs. olive oil
1/2 tsp. salt
1 clove garlic, minced
hot water (as desired)
2 Tbs. sesame seeds (to garnish)

1. Heat a dry skillet over medium-low heat, and toast almonds until fragrant (5 minutes), stirring frequently to avoid burning. Let cool, then chop.
2. Steam broccoli florets for a few minutes until just tender, then blanch. Set aside.
3. Whisk together tahini, olive oil, salt, and garlic. Add hot water to achieve desired consistency.
4. Combine broccoli and tahini sauce. Sprinkle with chopped almonds and sesame seeds. Serve room temperature or cold.

Avocado Scrambled Eggs

Basically this is just another way to eat more avocado than you're already eating x.x The avocados give such a great, creamy texture to the eggs.

Avocado Scrambled Eggs
from Dinners, Dishes, and Desserts
serves 2

4 eggs
2 Tbs milk
2 tsp. butter
1 avocado, diced
salt and pepper
2 tsp. chives, chopped (to garnish)

1. Melt butter in a skillet over medium-low heat.
2. Beat together milk, eggs, and salt and pepper.
3. Once butter is melted, swirl to coat pan and add eggs.
4. Cook eggs until they start to set, add in avocado, and cook until eggs are fully cooked. Serve with chives sprinkled on top.

Ricotta Kale Pistachio Lemon Pasta

Delucious pasta dish with some classy and complex flavors : ) Enjoy!

Note: Substitute lemon juice and oil for 1.5 Tbs. lemon olive oil, if you have that.

Ricotta Kale Pistachio Lemon Pasta
from A Food Centric Life
serves 3

6 oz. long, whole wheat pasta
3/4 bunch kale
3/4 cups ricotta (recipe here)
1 Tbs. olive oil
1 Tbs. lemon juice
3/4 oz. pistachio nuts, chopped
5 Tbs. Parmesan, grated
zest of 1 lemon
salt and pepper to taste

1. Bring water to a boil in a large pot, over medium-high heat. Chop kale, using whole leaf if tender or stripping leaves from center rib if tough.
2. Add 1 Tbs. salt to the ater, and boil kale for 4 minutes, then take out using a slotted spoon. Add pasta to water, and cook according to package directions, reserving 1/2 cup pasta water.
3. Drain pasta and put back into pan, add ricotta, olive oil, and lemon juice. Salt and pepper to taste.
4. Serve in bowls, and garnish each bowl with pistachios and parmesan, and lemon zest.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Baked Eggplant Cheese Pasta

Simple, delicious, and relatively healthy dinner. Everyone enjoyed it!

Baked Eggplant Cheese Pasta
from Bite my cake

16 oz. pasta (rigatone or any other short pasta)
2 Tbs. olive oil
1 large eggplant, diced
2 cloves garlic
2 cups canned tomatoes
80 ml. white wine
100 g. cheese, grated (I used farmer's cheddar)
1 Tbs. parsley, chopped
5 Tbs. Parmesan, grated
salt and pepper

1. Pre-heat oven to 390F.
2. Cook pasta al dente according to package directions.
3. Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat, and add eggplant, garlic, salt and pepper. Once the olive oil has been absorbed by the eggplant, add canned tomatoes and white wine, and cook until the liquid has been absorbed.
4. Combine pasta, eggplant mixture, and cheese. Salt and pepper to taste, and spread evenly in a 3 qt. pan. Sprinkle over Parmesan cheese and parsley.
5. Bake for 20 minutes, until the top is golden brown.

Chickpea Pumpkin Ginger Patties with Curry Coconut Sauce and Balsamic Caramelized Onions

Complicated but delicious sandwich. This has many complex flavors, but is relatively simple to make. The curry sauce goes really well with sweet potato fries (accidental discovery), and is one of the few I've seen that doesn't involve pastes, just simple curry powder.

Chickpea Pumpkin Ginger Patties with Curry Coconut Sauce and Balsamic Caramelized Onions
from Sandwitcherie
makes 8+ large patties

250 g. pumpkin puree (instructions here)
200 g. chickpeas (a little more than 1 can)
1 Tbs. chopped parsley
1.5 Tbs. flour
1 Tbs. ground ginger
1/2 Tbs. chili powder

1. Combine all ingredients in food processor, and process to combine.
2. Refridgerate for 2-3 hours.
3. In a small, heavy-bottomed skillet, heat 1 tsp. olive oil over medium heat. Form a flat patty in your hands (about the size of your hands, including fingers), plop in the oil and fry on one side for 5 minutes or so, until the patty slides easily around the pan when you shake it. Slide the patty off the pan gently onto a large spatula, add more oil to the pan (if needed), and the gently flip it into the oil and fry for another 5 minutes until the patty is relatively firm and golden-brown.
4. Server with curry sauce and balsamic onions (recipes below) on bread.

Coconut Curry Sauce:
1 tsp. olive oil 
1/2 cup coconut milk (or cream)
1 clove garlic
1 Tbs. curry powder
1/2 Tbs. soy sauce

1. In a small sauce pan,  heat the olive oil over medium heat. Saute the garlic until fragrant (~30 seconds).
2. Add remaining ingredients, bring to a boil, and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Balsamic Carmalized Onions
1 Tbs. butter
1 red onion, sliced thinly
1 Tbs. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1.5 Tbs. balsamic vinegar

1. In a small pan over medium heat, melt butter.
2. Add onions, sugar, and salt to the pan and cook until onions are translucent.
3. Add balsamic vinegar, and cook for another 20 minutes or so, stirring occasionally and scrapping the bottom until onions are caramelized.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Rosemary Balsamic Pumpkin Seeds

Since this Saturday was the last official day of the farmer's market this year, I stocked up on pumpkins. I've been making a ton of things with pumpkin, with more to come (including some pumpkin-chickpea patties), and instead of throwing out the seeds like I always have, I tried my  hand out at making roasted pumpkin seeds. These guys take a lot of tending, because you have to stir every 5 minutes but I think it's worth it. They work great as a salad topping! I suggest leaving out the salt if you use the balsamic vinegar, and adding in afterwards to taste.

Rosemary Balsamic Pumpkin Seeds

1 cup pumpkin seeds or pepitas, raw
1 Tbs. olive oil
1 Tbs. balsamic vinegar (optional)
1 tsp. garlic, minced
1 tsp. thyme, minced
1 tsp. rosemary, minced
1 tsp. salt

1. Pre-heat oven to 300F. Line baking sheet with parchement paper.
2. Combine all ingredients, and spread out as a single layer on the pan.
3. Bake for 10 - 30 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes until seeds are golden brown. Try one each time to figure out your perfect seed-doneness.
4. Store dry for up to 3 weeks.

Coconut Quiona and Kale with Cilantro Pesto

Delicious detox food, exactly what I needed after Halloween weekend (part 1). My friends and I went to the haunted corn maze *insert maize pun here* Saturday night, then came back here for home-made hot chocolate spiked with baileys and played cards. Well, after the hot chocolate ran out, then there was....
It's basically just rum that comes in a cool bottle and has pictures of the kraken on it, but it's pretty sweet stuff : )

This is my first experience with both kale and quiona, and I'm quite pleased with both. My friend Sam, who dines with me (and helps split grocery costs : D) I didn't happen to have red onion, so I omitted that, and I had shredded coconut on hand (not flakes) so I used that instead, but I think I would have slightly preferred the flakes for their crunchy texture. If anyone else tries this, let me know what you think!

Coconut Quiona and Kale with Cilantro Pesto
adapted from Cookie and Katie

1 cup quiona, well rinsed
1 cup coconut milk
1 small bunch kale, stems removed and finely chopped (~4 cups)
1/2 small/medium red onion, chopped (optional)
1/3 cup coconut flakes, un-sweetened

Cilantro Cashew Pesto
2 cups cilantro, packed
1/2 cup cashews, toasted/roasted (salted or unsalted)
4 cloves garlic
1/2 lime, juiced
pinch red pepper flakes
1/3 cup olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

1. In a medium sauce pan, combine coconut milk and 1 cup water, and bring to a boil. Add quinoa, cover, and simmer for 15-17 mins (until the water is absorbed). Remove from heat and fluff with a fork. Cover and set aside.
2. Add cilantro, cashews, garlic, lime juice, and red pepper flakes to a food processor and process together, slowly drizzling in the olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
3. In a medium mixing bowl, combine quinoa, kale, onion, and pesto. Mix well to combine, and add more salt and pepper to taste.
4. In a small skillet over medium-heat, toast coconut until golden brown, stirring often. Top salad with toasted coconut and serve warm.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Roasted Apple and Carrot Soup

Great fall-time soup. I never would have though of roasting apples, but I really liked it! Also the browned butter with paprika is genius. Adds such a complex flavor with so little effort.

Roasted Apple and Carrot Soup
from An Edible Mosaic

1 lb. carrots, scrubbed, ends trimmed, and chopped into 1" long pieces
1 medium-large onion, peeled and chopped into large chunks
1 medium-large apple, cored and quartered
2 Tbs. olive oil
1/4 tsp. salt + more (to taste)
1/4 tsp. black pepper, divided
2 Tbs. butter, divided
2 (large) cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbs. ginger, grated
1/2 tsp. turmeric
1/8 tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. nutmeg
3 cups vegetable broth
1/2 tsp. paprika
 Optional: sour cream or chives to garnish

1. Pre-heat oven to 400F.
2. Line a cookie sheet (if desired). Toss carrots, onion, apple, olive oil, salt, and half the black pepper together and place on baking sheet in an even layer. Roast veggies in the oven until tender and partially golden (~30 mins), stirring half way through.
3. Melt 1 Tbs. butter in a medium-sized soup pot over medium-heat. Add garlic, ginger, turmeric, cinnamon, nutmeg, and other half of black pepper and cook for 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Add stock and roasted veggies and turn off heat.
4. Puree soup with an immersion blender, or a regular blender. Transfer back to pot and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Salt to taste.
5. In a butter-melting pan, add remaining 1 Tbs. butter and paprika, and whisk until butter is browned (until it smells nutty and brown bits appear).

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Butternut Squash Chili

As sad as I am to see the beautiful good weather go, that means the cold-weather cooking begins! I've been waiting for a week to make this chilli, but the weather kept being... nice. I did get to take a wonder afternoon picnic yesterday, with hummus and olive tapenade from the Chicago Diner cookbook, one of my favorite vegetarian restaurants, and soon becoming one of my favorite cook books. Unfortunately, the copyright declares re-posting (without written permission) of their recipes to be banned, so I'm not doing that. But if you're looking for a solid vegetarian cookbook with all sorts of time-tested restaurant recipes that require very few ingredients, this is the book for you. I'm even thinking of doing a food-blog challenge for all of you readers out there, with a series of 4-5 recipes and the first one to make and post about their experiences gets a mandolin and a copy of this book. : D More to come on that...

Back to food.... I loved this chili, truly one of the best I've ever had. It's so fresh while being so healthily-heavy and satisfying.

Butternut Squash Chili
adapted from Cookie and Katie
serves 4

2 Tbs. oil
1 onion, diced
2 red bell peppers, diced
1 small (< 1.5 lbs) butternut squash, peeled, 1/2" cubes
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbs. chili powder
1 tsp. cumin, ground
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
1 bay leaf
1/4 tsp. cinnamon, ground
14-oz. canned diced tomatoes, including liquid
2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
2 cups vegetable broth
(optional) garnish: avocado, cheddar, tortilla, cilantro, sour cream, etc.

1. Add oil to stock pot over medium heat. Then add onion, peppers, squash, and garlic and sautee until onions are translucent (~5 minutes).
2. Turn heat to medium-low, and add chili powder, cumin, jalapeno, bay leaf, cinnamon, tomatoes, beans, and broth. Stir to combine, then cover and cook for 1 hour.
3. The butternut squash should be tender and the liquid should be reduced. Ladle into bowls, garnish, and serve. 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Pumpkin Cream Fettuccine

Perfect fall flavorings, and with those pumpkins being so cheap at the farmer's market?? Definitely worth a try : ) You could probably substitute milk, perhaps make a roux and slowly add milk, or add corn starch to thicken.

Pumpkin Cream Fettuccine
from Heather Christo

1 lb. Fettuccini
1 cup pumpkin purée (instructions here)
1 cup cream
1 cup Parmesan + more for sprinkling, shredded
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
salt and pepper, to taste
roasted pumpkin seeds (to garnish)

1. Cook pasta according to package directions, reserving 1/2 cup pasta water.
2. Pour cream into a small sauce pan, and bring to a simmer with the nutmeg and thicken (~3 mins).
3. Whisk in the pumpkin until combined. Then whisk in the Parmesan, and whisk lightly until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
4. Transfer pasta into a mixing bowl, add sauce, and stir gently to combine. If too thick, add pasta water 1 Tbs. at a time to thin. Garnish generously with Parmesan cheese.

Apple Onion Cheese Gratin

This pairs well with a hearty salad and a glass of white wine. The apples I used were from my family's trees at home, so the brown sugar wasn't necessary. It ended up being quite sweet naturally. Thank you fall for your bounteous goods!

Apple Onion Cheese Gratin
from Erza Pound Cake (originally from Moosewood New Restaurant Classics)

1 cup milk
1 Tbs. butter
1 Tbs. flour
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
4 cups apples, peeled, cored, and diced
1 cup chopped onion
2 cups cheddar (or Gruyère), grated
1 cup pecans, chopped
1 cup breadcrumbs
2 Tbs. brown sugar (optional)

1. Pre-heat oven to 350F. Lightly oil a 11" x 7" (3 qt.) baking dish.
2. In a small pot, scald milk over medium heat, just before boiling but not after.
3. In another small pot, melt butter over medium heat. Then whisk in flour until fully combined.
4. Slowly whisk in the scalded milk. Add nutmeg, salt, and cloves, and whisk continuously until the sauce starts to thicken.
5. Spread apples and onions evenly in prepared dish. Sprinkle the grated cheese over, and then pour the sauce on top.
6. Sprinkle over the pecans, bread crumbs, and sugar (if using). Bake for 45 minutes, until the top is golden and crisp.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Dark Choclate Avocado Cremeux

Unfortunately this perfect blogging glass was broken in transportation from my friend's house (where I made this creation last night) to mine (where we dined this evening). Alas! Hopefully I can scrounge through the various second-hand stores in kirksville to find a similar one.

This desert is super rich, but divine and so much healthier than a cream-based version. But a little bit goes a long way. These servings were way too much, so we saved half for another day.

Dark Choclate Avocado Cremeux
from My Freestyle Ktichen
serves 4

2 avocados
1/2 cup dutch-processed cocoa
100 mL honey
1 tsp. vanilla
shaved dark chocolate, for garnish

1. Blend together all ingredients in a food processor until smooth.
2. Spoon into 4 small glasses, cover with plastic wrap, and chill for at least 4 hours, or until set.

Broccoli Cheddar Soup with Rice

Hardy go-to broccoli cheddar soup with on-hand ingredients. My family loved it!

Broccoli Cheddar Soup with Rice
from dksCooks

1 medium onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
5 Tbs. butter, divided
1/4 cup flour
2 cups cream (or milk)
3 cups chick'n (or vegetable) broth
1/2 lb. broccoli florrets
1/4 ts. all-spice
salt and pepper to taste
2 cups sharp cheddar, grated
2 cups prepared brown rice

1. Heat 1 Tbs. butter in a skillet on medium heat. Add onion and garlic, and saute until golden-brown.
2. In a medium pot, whisk remaining butter and flour over medium heat for 2-3 minutes until golden brown. Slowly whisk in cream and broth and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 20 minutes.
3. Add broccoli and onion-garlic mix and continue to simmer until broccoli is tender (~6 mins). Add all-spice and season with salt and pepper to taste.
4. Stir in cheese until incorporated. Put a scoop of brown rice into individual bowls, ladle in soup, and serve.

Zucchini Cheese Quiche

My favorite thing about this quiche was how healthy it tasted. The thick zucchini pieces and whole wheat crust balance out the rich cheese custard in between, far better than the majority of the tarts/quiches that I make. Feel free to substitute different cheeses. The original used goat cheese.

Zucchini Cheese Quiche
adapted from ArtKulinaria

1 whole wheat crust (recipe below)
3 - 4 skinny zucchini, enough to fill tart pan when cut to tart pan height
3 eggs
50 ml. cream or milk
90 g. Irish cheese + more for sprinkling
2 Tbs. olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced

1. Pre-heat oven to 375F.
2. Bring water to a simmer in a steamer. Cut the zucchini into equal pieces, the height of the tart pan. Steam zucchini for 3 minutes.
3. Brush olive oil over crust, and evenly sprinkle garlic. Then nestle in zucchini into the tart standing on their ends.
4. Whisk together eggs, cream, cheese, and pepper. Pour between the zucchini in the tart, then sprinkle top of tart with cheese.
5. Bake for 20 minutes, and let set 10 minutes before cutting and serving.

Whole Wheat Crust
from ArtKulinaria

250 g. wheat flour
125 g. butter
5 g. salt
50 mL water

1. Combine flour and salt in a food processor, and pulse a few times to combine. Then add butter, and pulse until butter is incorporated.
2. Slowly drizzle water until dough starts to come together. Pour dough out, shape into a flat disk, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
3. Pre-heat oven to 375F. Roll out dough into shape of a deep-tart pan, and fit dough into the pan.
4. Line dough with foil, add pie weights, and bake for 15-20 minutes. Then remove weights and foil and bake for another 5-10 minutes. Let crust cool before using.

Wasabi Dipping Sauce

This dip is great with tempura vegetables and raw carrot sticks. I'm considering having it on hand as a go-to snack.

Note: if using yogurt, you'll need significantly less wasabi than if using sour cream

Wasabi Dipping Sauce
from Diva Eats World

4 oz. sour cream or yogurt
wasabi, to taste
1/8 tsp. white ground pepper
1/4 tsp. salt

1. Combine all ingredients.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Jalapeño Poppers

One of the many things that happened on fry-day. These were by the far the best jalapeño poppers I've ever had, and I think a large part of that had to do with the fresh jalapeños being used. We froze some of these for later, and they weren't nearly as good after being frozen. I would make just as many as you're going to eat, and try to find local jalapeños. They were 18 for 1$ at the Kirksville farmer's market, so you can probably find them pretty cheaply in your area!

Jalapeño Poppers
from Whisk the Pantry

8 jalapeños
3 Tbs. cheddar cheese, shredded
3 Tbs. cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup milk
1 cup panko (or fresh) breadcrumbs
1/3 cup flour
oil for deep frying (I used peanut oil)

1. Fill deep-fryer to indicated level with high-smoke point oil, and let come to temperature (365F).
2. To prepare the jalapeños, cut a line length-wise on the jalapeños. Then cut a line half way-across the top, just down from the stem. The jalapeños should now open up like a coin purse when you press the ends together. Gently scoop out the seeds.
3. In a small bowl, mix the cheddar and cream cheese.
4. Spoon the mixture into the jalapenos. Dip the stuffed jalapeno first into milk, then flour. Do this with all of them, letting them dry before dipping in milk, and then bread crumbs.
5. After having dipped them all in the breadcrumbs, do a second coat of milk and then breadcrumbs.
6. Once oil is at heat, pop the jalapenos in (I suggest holding by the stem and sliding them into the oil to avoid getting splattered) and cook until outter coating is golden-brown.
7. Take out finished poppers with a slotted spoon and set on a plate lined with paper towels. Serve hot.

Carmel Apple Pop Cocktail

This is the prefect fall drink! Garnish glass with an apple slice coated in lemon juice if desired. For a standard-sized scotch glass, 1 - 1oz. shot = 1 part

Carmel Apple Pop Cocktail

1 part sour apple pucker
1 part butterscotch schnapps
1.5 part sprite

1. Combine pucker, schnapps, and sprite. Server over ice.

Vareniki (Cheese Dumplings)

This is my second recipe in my Russian collection. Serve with a side of borscht (recipe here) and hot tea!

Note: pan-frying is recommended, but optional. After dumplings have been boiled, pre-he a a large skillet on medium-high heat with half of butter (2 Tbs) and lightly fry each side of the dumplings.

Vareniki (Cheese Dumplings)
from SheSimmers

1/2 lb. ricotta (farmers' cheese) (ricotta recipe here)
1 egg
2 Tbs. sugar (omit for savory dumplings)
1/4 tsp. salt
1.5 cups flour
4 Tbs. butter
sour cream, to serve with
veggie bacon bits, caramelized shallot, sauerkraut, to serve (optional)

1.  Set a large pot on the stove filled half-way with water to boil.
2. Whisk egg, cheese, sugar, and salt together in a mixing bowl until well combined.
3. Stir in flour, and mix until combined enough to turn over onto the counter and kneed. Flour counter if necessary and kneed just until a ball is formed.
4. Divide dough into 4 pieces, and roll each piece into a 1/2" thick rope, and cut into 2" pieces, then flatten a bit in the middle if intending to pan-fry.
5.  Drop the vareniki into the pot of water. When they float to the top, remove them from the water and combine with butter in a medium-bowl.
6. Serve with add-ins.


My good friend up at Truman State went to study abroad in Russia last semester and made me promise to make Russian foods for her. Now that it's finally winter-vegetable time, I was able to make this borscht from almost exclusively farmers market ingredients. I felt very eastern European making this dish, scrubbing and grating root vegetables in the kitchen, and then throwing them into a large pot that looked like a bubbling, purple witch's cauldron. Definitely made me miss my Ukranian and Slovokian roommates from France!! This was exactly how they cooked, so I'm dedicating this one to them : )

Note: let soup sit overnight for best flavor.

from Moderate Oven

1 pound beets, shredded
1 bay leaf
pinch of caraway seeds
3 cups vegetable broth
1 lb. cabbage, shredded (I used purple, but the original recipe calls for green)
1 lb. potatoes, chopped into 3/4" pieces
1/4 cup olive oil
1 large onion, diced
1 carrot, shredded
2 Tbs. tomato paste
1 cup canned diced tomatoes, drained (I used 2 medium fresh tomatoes, crushed slightly and drained)
3 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 Tbs. lemon juice
1 Tbs. brown sugar + more, to taste
1 Tbs. salt + more, to taste
pepper, to taste
1/4 cup fresh dill, finely chopped + more, for garnish
sour cream, to garnish

1. In a large stock pot, add half of the shredded beets, 4 cups of cold water, the bay leaf, and the caraway seeds. Bring to a gentle but steady boil and cook for 10 minutes to extract color and flavor from beets.
2. Add the vegetable broth, cabbage, and potatoes to the pot. Return to a boil and simmer for 10 more minutes.
3. Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a heavy-bottomed skillet and sauté onions and celery until soft. Add carrots, the rest of the beets, tomato paste, canned tomatoes, and garlic. Ladle a few spoonfuls of broth from the stock pot into the skillet, and let this mixture cook at a low simmer for 10 minutes.
4. Add skillet vegetables to the stock pot along with the red wine vinegar, lemon juice, sugar, salt, and pepper. Thin soup at this point with more water, if desired. Simmer for 5-10 minutes more, or until potatoes are fork-soft.
5. Remove from heat, add the dill, and season to taste. Serve with lots of sour cream and extra fresh dill.

Ricotta Tomato Kalamata Tart with Sun-dried Tomato Pesto

This is a delicious and complexly-flavored tart. It takes a little bit of time with the dough, oven-roasted tomatos, and then the custard it's self, but great for a classy Sunday brunch. If you don't have the ingredients for the sun-dried tomato pesto, stone-ground mustard or basil pesto could be substituted, though I recommend the sun-dried tomato pesto to be cohesive with the roasted cherry tomatoes.

Ricotta Tomato Kalamata Tart with Sun-dried Tomato Pesto
from Princess Tofu

1 recipe Pate Brisse  (I used this recipe)
pinch of saffron
20 cherry tomatoes
1 cup ricotta (recipe here)
4 eggs
1/3 cup cream (I substituted whole milk)
2/3 cup Parmesan, grated
10 kalamata olives, pitted and sliced

for sun-dried tomato pesto:
4 sun-dried tomatoes, halved
1 clove garlic
1/4 cup olive oil

1. Pre-heat oven to 375F and blind-bake the chilled pate brisse for 20 minutes, lined with foil (or parchment paper) and filled with pie-weights. Take out weights and off the foil, and bake for another 3 minutes. Set aside to cool.
2.  Place cherry tomatoes cut side up in an oven-safe dish, toss with a little olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Bake for 30 minutes, then set aside. Turn oven down to 350F.
3. Make the sun-dried tomato pesto by combining all ingredients in a food processor, scraping down the sides until a paste is formed. Set aside.
4. Whisk together ricotta, eggs, cream, and Parmesan until smooth.
5. Assemble the tart: spread the sun-dried tomato pesto on the bottom, then pour in the egg-ricotta mixture, then dot around the kalamata olives and roasted tomatoes.
6. Bake tart for 30-40 minutes, or until custard is set. Let stand 10 minutes before cutting and serving.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Cilantro Almond Pesto

Great Indian take on pesto. Super fresh tasting, and way cheaper to make than basil-pine nut pesto.

Cilantro Almond Pesto
from Sharmis Passions
serves 2

1.5 cups dry pasta (fusilli)
1/2 cup packed cilantro (~1 bunch)
15 almonds
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 green chilli, chopped
1 tsp. olive oil
salt, to taste

1. Bring a pot of water to boil. Place almonds in a small bowl, and cover with some of the boiling water. Add pasta to water and cook as per directions, and let almonds soak for 5 minutes.
2. Peel skins off almonds, and toss in food processor along with the rest of the ingredients. Blend until a paste is formed, adding oil until a good consistency is formed.
3. Salt to taste, mix the pasta in with the pesto, and serve.

Cheesy Spinach Soup

A simple, quick soup that's packed full of spinach and lightly flavored with cheese. I used cheddar, but you can use anything you want really (the original recipe suggested gruyere)

Cheesy Spinach Soup
from Annies Eats

2 Tbs. butter
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
6 oz. potato, peeled and cubed
3 cups vegetable broth
salt and pepper to taste
8 oz. spinach
4 oz. cheddar cheese, shredded

1. Melt butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add onions and saute until just tender (~3-4 mins). Stir in garlic and potato, and cook until just fragrant (~1 min).
2. Add vegetable broth to pot and bring to a boil. Seas on with salt and pepper to taste. Lower heat to a simmer and cover, letting cook about 15 minutes, or until potatos are fork-tender.
3. Stir in spinach leaves and cover pot once more. Let cook just until the leaves have wilted (~1-2 mins). Pour into a blender and puree to a smooth consistency.
4. Pour back into pot and stir in cheese until completely melted. Serve warm.

Sweet Potato Schupfnudeln with Brown Butter and Thyme

 These delicious little things are basically sweet potato gnocchi, rolled long and pan-fried. Definitely worth the work. You could probably serve these with simple olive oil and grated Parmesan.

Sweet Potato Schupfnudeln with Brown Butter and Thyme
from 1 big bite

1 lb. sweet potato
1 egg yolk
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
5 Tbs. flour + more (I used quite a bit more)
2 tsp. ghee (or oil) + more as needed

for browned butter:
5.3 Tbs. butter
5 sprigs thyme

1. Pre-heat oven to 450F. Pierce sweet potato all over with a fork, and bake on a lined baking sheet (or I used my bread pan) and bake for 30-45 minutes, or until a fork slides easily through the flesh.
2. After sweet potato has cooled for a bit, mash with a fork and add yolk, salt, nutmeg, and flour. Once thoroughly combined, add just enough flour to get a dough that comes together nicely (may be a little sticky)
3. Dust hands and cutting board with flour. Form a log, and cut into ieces until each piece is finger-length and thick.
4. Heat pan to medium-high heat, and melt ghee. Cook schupfnudeln until golden brown, rotating so at least 3 sides of each are browned.
5. Garnish with browned butter and leaves of 2 thyme sprigs.

for browned butter:
1. Add butter and leaves of 3 springs of thyme to sauce pan over medium heat. Once butter has melted, stir until little brown specks form at the bottom. Take off heat, and drizzle over schupfnudeln.


This north African dish is super delicious, and pretty flexible. My friend who ate it with me said it was her favorite dish while on her middle east trips, and that this dish served it justice. Note: pictured above is a half-batch, since I was only cooking for 2.

from Indulge & Devour 
serves 4

1/2 tsp. cumin seeds
3 Tbs. olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 large onion, peeled and sliced into half rings
2 red peppers, seeded and chopped finely
2 yellow peppers, seeded and chopped finely
2 Tbs. fresh thyme
2 Tbs. fresh parsley, chopped + extra for garnish
6 medium tomatoes, peeled and chopped
1/2 tsp. ground turmeric
1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
4 large eggs
salt and ground pepper to taste

1. In a large pan or skillet, dry roast the cumin seeds on medium-low heat for a few minutes until fragrant. Increase heat to medium, and add olive oil, garlic, and onions and saute until soft.
2. Add peppers, thyme, and parsley and cook on medium heat until softened (~10 mins).  Lower heat to medium-low, and add tomatoes, turmeric, paprika, and season to taste. 
3. Cook for another 15 minutes or so, until the liquids from the tomatoes and peppers have reduced to a chunky, thick sauce.
4. Make 4 spaces within the sauce, and crack egg into each one. Use a fork to spread the white around a bit, and season with salt and pepper.
5. Cover pan with a lid (or foil), and cook for another 5 minutes, until the egg whites have just set. Serve immediately.

Butternut Squash Soup with Fried Sage

If you make this soup, it will turn out way more bright and beautiful. Unfortunately, I didn't think to decrease the vegetable broth content, since I used some of my left over butternut squash puree, so mine is quite dark, but this is a great soup and I'm definitely going to make it again and update the pic!

Butternut Squash Soup with Fried Sage
from Divine Cuisine

1/2 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cubed
1 medium carrot, peeled and cubbed
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1 Tbs. fresh ginger, grated
2 Tbs. olive oil
2 cups vegetable stock
1/4 cup cream (I substituted whole milk)
salt, to taste
pepper, to taste

for fried sage:
7 - 10 fresh sage leaves
1.5 Tbs. self rising flour
2 Tbs. white wine
pinch of salt
1/2 cup vegetable oil, for frying

1.  Pre-heat the 2 Tbs. olive oil in a medium sauce pan and sauté onion, carrot, squash, and ginger 5-7 minutes or until lightly browned.
2. Pour in just enough vegetable stock to cover vegetables, and reduce heat to low. Cover pot and simmer for 30-40 mins or until all vegetables are tender.
3. Transfer soup to a blender and blend until smooth. Return to pot, and mix in cream and remining stock to desired consistency.

for fried sage:
1. Pre-heat oil in a small sauce pan.
2. In a small bowl, mix together flour, wine, and salt. Cover each leaf in batter and fry until JUST golden. Transfer to a paper towel.
Caution: These little guys cook really fast, so be very careful!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Ricotta Gnocchi

Ricotta Gnocchi
from Cookbook of the Month

2 eggs
2 cups flour
1 lb. ricotta (recipe here, I needed a little over 2 batches)
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
3 Tbs. olive oil

1. Beat the eggs together in a small bowl.
2. Whisk together flour, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Add ricotta and combine gently with flour.
3. Make a well in the middle of the ricotta mixture and add the eggs, and gently incorporate. Once eggs are mostly mixed in, use hands to briefly knead the dough until it comes together into a ball. If too moist, add more flour (I had to add quite a bit more).
4. Turn dough onto a lightly floured cutting board, cut into 8 equally sized pieces and cover with a kitchen towel.
5. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Taking 1 piece out at a time from under the towel, roll into a 1" (or less) thick rope, and cut into 1" pieces. Take a cut piece, place on the tip of your thumb, and roll the tines of a fork around on the opposite side from your thumb, creating the classic gnocchi texture with the fork and a well with your thumb for sauces.
6. In batches, pop the gnocchi into the water. Once the gnocchi have floated to the surface, let cook for 1 minute, and then take out with a slotted spoon and place on a large baking sheet and toss with olive oil.
7. Serve with sauce of choice (mushroom/corn/sage/browned butter recipe here)

Creme de Cassis

This turned out way better than expected! I doubled the recipe. so I have a ton of this stuff. I'm going to give the university farmers a bottle today at the farmer's market because they're awesome and who I got the black currants (aka cassis) from. Things to come: creme de cassis cream and kir!

Creme de Cassis

1 lb. black currants, mashed
2.5 cups red wine
4 - 5 cups sugar
2 - 2.5 cups vodka or brandy

1. Combine currants and red wine in a ceramic or glass bowl (non-reactive) and leave for 24 - 48 hours.
2. Puree mixture in blender and strain through cheesecloth-lined sieve into a large sauce pan.
3. For every cup of liquid, add 1 cup of sugar.
4. Heat gently, stirring frequently until the sugar has dissolved.
5. Leave mixture on stove for an hour or more, stirring occasionally, until the liquid had reduced a little and become slightly syrupy. Do not let the liquid come to a simmer to avoid boiling off the alcohol.
6. Allow liquid to cool.
7. Once liquid is cool, mix 1 part vodka or brandy with 3 parts syrup and funnel into clean, dry bottles. Store in a cool place for at least 2 weeks before drinking.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Cream Cheese Syrup

Delicious on pancakes, especially carrot cake pancakes (recipe here)!

Note: For the buttermilk, I used the yogurt substitute (2 Tbs. milk + enough plain yogurt to fill up to 1 cup line), found on this great buttermilk substitute post.

Cream Cheese Syrup
from Cooking Classy

1/4 cup butter
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup buttermilk (note above)
4 oz. cream cheese
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. vanilla extract

1. Melt butter in a large sauce pan over low heat. Stir in sugar, buttermilk, and cream cheese.
2. Cook mixture, whisking constantly until cream cheese has melted. Stir in baking soda and whisk for 10 seconds, until frothy.
3. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Serve warm.

Store in refrigerator for up to 1 week and reheat before serving.