Monday, December 3, 2007


Hi all-

From now on, all food-related posts will be incorporated into my all-in-one blog at:

You can see them all by clicking on the 'food' tag.


Friday, October 26, 2007

Adventures in Juicing

We recently 'inherited' a juicer. I have no idea how to juice, but we decided to give it a try last night. I went to the store and bought a bunch of green stuff. Then... dove in.

OK, so I quickly learned that 1. you have to cut most veggies into slices that fit into the feed hole and 2. it's no use buying pre-cut greens (all they had at the store) because it takes forever to feed those little pieces into the juicer. But I figured it out, and pretty soon we had a cucumber-zucchini-celery-kale-garlic-lemon concoction to sip down.

Yes, I'm aware that it's in a beaker. That, plus the green, foamy-ness, is not lost on me.

It wasn't too bad! A little too much garlic, and the lemon was strong. It was kind of like a salad in a glass, complete with dressing. A garlicky Caesar salad in a glass. Yeah. The last few swallows were hard to get down.

But seriously, what a mess!

I tried it again this morning. No lemon, less garlic, less mess overall. It was much easier and tasted better, although I'm not sure I can do the garlic. I was going for the health factor, but it's hard for me to drink ANYTHING first thing in the morning, let alone a big green glass of garlicky juice. I think plain old green, without the garlic, would be a little easier.

More juicing adventures to come. However, for the initial try, I have to say it was pretty successful. After all, we didn't throw up or anything. And I did feel considerably more clear-headed than usual. So maybe there's something to this.

I'm In Love

My wonderful brother sent me a new cookbook: Super Natural Cooking by Heidi Swanson. Not only is this book really beautiful to look at, but the recipes are easy, inspiring, and really delicious. I'm completely in love. I've only had it for about a week, but I've already made a few recipes and can't wait to make each and every one.

One of the biggest hits so far has been the Big Curry Noodle Pot (above). I was instantly addicted. I could have eaten this all week. Seriously easy and sooooo yummy. A little spicy, but you can adjust the heat. I loved all the turmeric. And I couldn't stop popping the tofu cubes. I ate almost all of them. Luckily Terri doesn't like tofu so she didn't care.

Another big hit, which I'm sharing at a big potluck at work, is this spicy-sweet popcorn. It's like caramel corn, only not as sweet (it's sweetened with maple syrup and brown rice syrup), plus some cayenne pepper and a few handfuls of organic trail mix. I liked how this was perfect for a few handfuls, but I didn't feel compelled to eat the entire bowl (as I usually am with regular homemade caramel corn). Smoky, caramelly, and crispy, this was just right. I put it in a low-heat oven for an hour, stirring every 15 minutes or so, to make it extra-crispy.
This book has inspired me to overhaul the kitchen pantry. We don't usually have too many 'bad' things (and the few boxes of pre-made Spanish rice, etc., usually sit for months because we end up not liking them), so I'd like to make room for more natural foods.

Anyway, if you want to be totally inspired to try more natural foods (or if you just need some really easy, very delicious vegetarian recipes), I would really recommend this book. Super-yum.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Birthday Pie

For Terri's birthday, I made her a blueberry pie (her favorite). I wasn't sure if frozen blueberries would be very successful, but I got out my favorite blueberry pie recipe (from Cook's Illustrated) and gave it a shot.

Using Lara's terrific pie crust recipe (which is the only recipe I've found that actually makes enough crust for a double-crust pie -- usually I am reeeeallly stretching it), I filled the pie with the defrosted berries, and put some loving touches on top.

(don't you love the cat food cans witnessing the show? I forgot to move them until it was too late)

Voila! The pie came out perfectly. The filling was not quite as sweet as usual, and I didn't have any tapioca so I used cornstarch, but it was still pretty good. And pretty darn cute.

Happy birthday, my sweetie.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Three-Bean Chili

Chili is one of those things that tastes really good but is really hard to photograph. It's not that appetizing. My apologies. However, it's really good.

The other night we had a cozy night in, with homemade chili and ice cream for dessert. This is my recipe for quick vegetarian chili. It's super-easy and very delicious, with some unusual spicing that makes it special.

Daphne's Three-Bean Chili
1 cup chopped yellow onion
1 28-oz can diced tomato (in juice or puree)
1-2 TBLS chili powder (to taste)
1 teas salt (or to taste)
1/4 teas paprika
1/4 teas cinnamon
1/4 teas ground cumin
1/4 teas allspice
1 TBLS cocoa powder
1/4 teas cloves
1 can kidney beans
1 can black beans
1 can baked beans
1-2 cups frozen corn (optional)

In a large saucepan, cook onion in a little oil until soft, about 10 minutes. Add tomatoes and seasonings and mix well, simmer covered, for 10 minutes.

Stir in beans and simmer, uncovered, for about 20-30 minutes. Garnish with cheddar cheese and nonfat plain yogurt, if desired.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Third Time... the charm! Finally, success.

This is the apple crisp from the Barefoot Contessa. (here's a version online) It's quite possibly the best crisp I've ever had. My grandma used to make apple crisp every year around this time, and so it always reminds me of her. So I thought it might be appropriate. I think the major difference is the use of lemon and orange zest and juice, plus a much bigger, crunchier topping.

Uh, plus a lot more butter and sugar.

Yeah. It's pretty good. Pretty damn good.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Well, Almost

I had the best birthday dinner. From top: lemon-pepper pappardelle with homemade Alfredo sauce (courtesy of Chef Terri) and broccoli, plus roasted-garlic asiago bread (spread with garlic cheese spread and broiled). And dessert.

So, it was almost perfect. Dinner was perfect. Exactly what I wanted. Part of the plan was to make a fabulous dessert. So after much debate, I decided on a double-crust apple pie, baked in a springform pan. Sounds good, right? Looks good, too:

However, for some reason, it was not good at all. Bad recipe, I think. The crust was inedible. It had perfect texture: crunchy, flaky, tender. The apple filling was pretty good. But the crust called for self-rising flour, which I thought was strange. And it was. It was so salty and baking-powder-y, it was truly inedible. Pretty pie, but disappointing.

So tonight, I made a 'make-up' cake. A classic yellow cake with chocolate frosting. Sounds good, right?

And it was good. However, it had sort of the opposite problem of the apple pie. I did a sloppy job, because I had a crappy day and I just didn't care. The frosting was store-bought, which is unusual in itself for me -- I thought it wouldn't matter. But I remembered after the first bite that I don't like store-bought frosting - it's yucky. I also didn't wait around for the butter to soften properly (and I don't have a microwave to speed up the job), so I overmixed the batter and the cake, while very tasty, was sort of tough-textured.

So the first dessert looked pretty and had great texture, but bad flavor. The second dessert looks sloppy and has imperfect texture, but tastes yummy (the cake part, anyway).

Third time's the charm??