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??

Friday, August 24, 2007

Finally, Something Fresh

While Erin was here, we had some feasts. One night, we had a full table of fresh veggies, dips, crackers, tapenades, figs and cheese.

A tradition we have Camembert cheese. First, you dip the wheel of cheese in egg. Then, you dip in bread crumbs. Then, you fry (yes, in butter) until crispy and golden brown and totally melty and gooey. Then, you eat with some kind of jam (we used lingonberry jam) over the barest bits of cracker (who needs cracker when you've got fried cheese?). Oh my god. It's kind of the best ever. We ate the entire thing in like, 15 minutes. I love cheese.

I also made very delicious cinnamon-swirl French toast with fruit compote. What a pretty (and yummy) way to start the day.

Man, I should have friends over more often. I haven't posted in over a month. I've made a few things, but mostly we haven't been cooking anything too special. It's summer, we've been busy, and how many photos of smoothies or quinoa can one person take? Anyway. As we move into autumn, I'm sure there will be more cooking happening (and more posting!)

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

A Hot Day

Summer has finally hit here in the Bay Area. It was in the mid-80s today, just perfect. Time for some minty-lemony ice water. The weather channel says it got over 100 in parts of the outer Bay Area. We were glad to be in temperate Alameda.

Haven't been doing too much cooking lately. It's hard to cook for just one person, and when Terri came home on the weekends, we mostly ate very simply. But now she's home, so hopefully it's time for some beautiful summer salads and maybe some experimenting. I'm starting to realize that I mostly just like to cook in the winter. In the summer, I just like fruits and veggies and salads. Maybe a stir-fry now and then. Maybe I'll make a sweet-and-sour tofu pretty soon. We'll see. Anyway, sorry for the lack of entries. Just not much been happening in the kitchen here.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Bananaberry Smoothie

A curious reader writes in:

"Dear Persephone,
If you supposedly do all this cooking, why aren't there more entries on this site? What the heck do you eat, anyway?"
Anxious in Alameda"

Well, Anxious, I'm glad you asked. See, while I do cook at least a few times a week, often it's just something really boring like rice and beans, or a salad, or tomato soup. Other times, nobody around here feels like eating, but dinner must be had. No malnutrition allowed around here, let me tell you! So, for times like these, I make smoothies.

Not just any smoothies. These smoothies have every bit of nutrition packed into them. But, they must also taste good. And, preferably, look pretty too. Here, I'll share my recipe with you.

Bananaberry "Dinner" Smoothie
1-2 cups enriched soy milk (vanilla)
1 ripe banana
1 to 1-1/2 cups frozen fruit (berries, or maybe mangoes, etc.)
1-2 scoops protein powder (I use Trader Joe's Soy Protein with vitamins)
1/4 tsp Vitamin C powder
1-2 TBLS Very Green supplement powder
1 TBLS fiber (psyllium husks, Metamucil, whatever)
1 TBLS ground flax seeds (you could also use just flax seed oil)

Pour 1 cup soymilk into blender. Add banana and half the frozen berries or fruit Add powders and supplements. Add rest of frozen berries or fruit. Top of with more soymilk. Blend. If it's too thick add more milk. If it's too thin, add more frozen fruit.

Serves 1-2

And yes, it really does taste great even with all that other stuff in it!

Plus (and here's the good part), it only takes a minute and everyone's happy.

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Peanut-Butter Bliss

I hate to brag, but I make a pretty darn good peanut-butter cookie.

Flaky, rich peanut taste, not too sweet... they crumble just right in your mouth. It's a good thing I don't make them too often. As it is, I think work folks will be enjoying plenty of these. They are dangerous to have in the house.

Is There Anything Better?

Fresh-baked whole wheat buttermilk-and-honey bread. It's just the best.

I tried making it in the food processor this time, rather than the KitchenAid as usual. I'm not sure what I think. I *think* it went well. It certainly was messier to clean up, since I don't have a dishwasher. The food processor has all kinds of little nooks and crannies; the KitchenAid bowl is pretty simple to wash. That might be the deciding vote.

However, the rest of the bread-baking process went off without a hitch. Great rise, great texture. Somehow I think that if I made my own bread, my tummy would be happy. If only.

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Happiness In A Bun

For those times when you need a cinnamon bun (or other sweet, cinnamony treat), I offer this solution: Quick Cinnamon Buns. No yeast, hardly any wait. However, 100% made from scratch. These, ladies and gentlemen, are Treats Worth Having. Warm, gooey, cinnamon-y, with cream-cheese glaze. With coffee (decaf, thanks) on a Saturday morning. Heaven.

you know you want the recipe. totally.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Pumping Iron

Been feeling a little tired lately, and since I tend towards anemia, I thought I would eat a big dose of spinach tonight and try to get some iron in me.

I ate a whole bag of spinach.

Granted, an entire bag of spinach steamed down doesn't equal a ton of spinach. It's especially good with fresh nutmeg grated over.

I haven't been posting much on this blog lately because with this whole-food thing, recipes haven't been that interesting. But I've just got through the weekend (or so) and then I'll start making stuff again. But I have actually enjoyed eating more fruits and veggies, and surprisingly, I don't miss sugary sweet stuff that much. So I'll continue on the healthy eating kick, but just add in a little more variety. And post some more here.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Apple Berry Crisp

I got a new toy! It was on super-sale at Macy's, and I had some credit on my Macy's card so it was finally time to acquire this longed-for gadget missing from my kitchen: a food processor.

I had to try it out, so I made a healthy apple-berry crisp. Instead of a buttery, floury topping, sweetened with regular sugar, I made these substitutions:

Instead of flour = oat bran and ground flaxseeds
Instead of white or brown sugar = maple syrup
Instead of butter = canola oil

It turned out wonderfully (and my new toy took care of those 12 apples in no time).

Polenta Fries and Chili

This was a very successful combination, if I do say so myself. The chili had many 'sweet' spices: cinnamon, cloves, allspice, and cocoa powder (plus sweet corn, fire-roasted tomatoes and red peppers). It was very smoky, with lots of depth. The polenta fries were a bit of an experiment, but they were sooooo good. Sliced polenta (from store-bought tube), lightly pan-fried, tossed with sugar and spices and baked a little in the oven... they were perfect with the chili. Yum.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Back To Basics

I've been so blessed with wonderful food outings in the past month; however, it's time to swing back into the other spectrum -- simplify -- try to get back into balance. I've worked really hard at figuring out what exactly is my tummy's deal. I have a better idea, now -- but I've been in a deprived state of mind about things, and have been sort of eating the wrong things in an attempt to make myself 'feel better' (and, in doing so, have often actually made myself feel worse).

Since Monday's bacchanalia of overindulgence, I've been feeling kind of mixed up about things, food-wise. Strange how one dinner can push you over the edge. So, after much thought, I've decided to do a couple weeks of simple, whole-food eating. I'd call it a detox, but I don't plan on being very strict (well, not very strict as opposed to, say, drinking only lemon water for a month). It'll be a detox of sorts (I guess), but I'll actually eat plenty of food: fruits, veggies, some grains (obviously not wheat), lots of water, some assorted other things. I just really have this urge to kind of simplify, start fresh, get some new habits. I've been meaning forever to eat more fruits and vegetables, more regularly -- and I love vegetables -- so maybe this will help form some new habits.

So for the next week and a half, I'm going to be moving toward this detox-not-a-detox diet. I don't drink much caffeine, but I'll just quit it completely. Start getting in the habit of buying fresh fruit and vegetables every day or so. Dig out those vegan cookbooks and find some recipes. Etc. And then next Friday, start in earnest, for two weeks -- and see how it goes. I'm actually excited. I love experiments like this.

I decided to practice, tonight. Here is what I had for dinner:
  • Fresh boiled corn (light sprinkling of salt)
  • Sauteed red pepper, broccoli, and garlic
  • Sauteed spinach over pan-fried polenta
  • Canned peaches (in water and juice, not syrup) and Nancy's low-fat plain yogurt

Um, hello?! Yum!! The spinach over the polenta (I just used the kind from the tube you can get at the store) was especially wonderful - the spinach was silky and played off the heartier polenta. I'd recommend it anytime, not just not-detox time. And peaches over yogurt was a snack I used to eat all the time when I was a kid.

So, in adddition to May being I Love My Job Month, it's also going to be Whole, Unprocessed Foods Month. Without being too strict with either one, of course. There's no need to be a food (or positive-thinking) Nazi.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Upon Further Reflection...

I wasn't sure whether to post this here or my other blog, but thought since it was food-related, I"ll post here.

As you know if you read my other blog, the other night I had a HUGE, over-indulgent, too-rich, fabulous dinner. It was so, so delicious.

However, I'm continuing to pay the price for it today, in odd ways. I don't feel too bad in general (tummy is pretty much fine), but I feel oddly kind of sick about the whole thing today, the foie gras in particular. I've been trying to figure out why. I think my body just wasn't used to so much rich food, so I'm feeling sluggish and tired and kind of sick today. But I just keep remembering the foie gras, and it kind of makes me want to throw up (just being truthful here). Both from the taste (WAY too meaty and rich) and also I know what it is, and I just feel kind of bad about it. I don't know why it's any different than beef or chicken or anything else. I didn't feel too bad about eating the quail, although I cringe if I think about it too much. I don't really have any 'reason' for feeling bad -- I just do. Not exactly guilty -- just bad. Uncomfortable. I'm not sure why I'm having a such a strong reaction.

And, while I loved loved loved the cheese course and was positively giddy over it, I think it was too much of a good thing (as was the whole dinner). It was a lot of cheese. Don't get me wrong - it was fab, but I think I ate two or three bites too many. It's like, I can almost feel my cells protesting. The funny thing is, I really don't even feel guilty - it's not like I'm saying to myself, I shouldn't have eaten all of it. I'm just noticing how I am actually feeling today.

So this makes me think about how I've been eating the past couple of months. I've been doing some experimenting with my diet. Nothing too extreme, just trying this and that to try and pinpoint the tummy upsetters. I've come to the conclusion that wheat is a culprit. Also, raw vegetables, and excess sugar. And, strangely, gum.

But I realize that once I figured out that wheat was really hurting my stomach, I went the other direction in trying to soothe myself and have been eating a lot of dairy products (as in, "I can't have wheat, but goddammit, I can have dairy!"). This also doesn't feel too good, but in a different way. My head is a little stuffy, I've been having a harder time sleeping, I feel a little more sluggish overall. I just feel kind of... murky. Internally. That makes no sense, but it's kind of how I'm feeling.

All this brings me to that tired old conclusion: moderation in everything. Even with wheat -- I had a half-piece of bread (spread with amazing butter) last night, and it was okay. I know that when I eat things like cottage cheese and low-sugar yogurt, I feel good (I even feel fine about full-fat yogurt). I can feel good about really great cheese now and again. I actually prefer soy and rice milk for smoothies, soups, etc., but soy cheese? Why bother. I love chocolate and jelly beans... but again, too much of a good thing isn't always a good thing.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that the excess of last night makes me realize how much I really do want to practice moderation in my everyday diet, and really observe how I feel about what I eat. It really is important, what goes in your body. I'd like to continue to increase things like fresh fruit, whole grains, colorful veggies, low-fat dairy and soy products. I'm not going to worry so much about decreasing things - I really don't want to trick myself into feeling restricted, and then start to feel deprived, and then the whole thing goes to hell and I'm back to where I started.

But what about just making sure I have yummy yogurt for snacks at work? And nuts and dried berries? And making extra dinner so I have a healthy lunch the next day? Stuff I already try to do, but I like the idea of being more conscious about it.

And then, every once inawhile, I've got to have that Roaring Forties blue cheese. Because life is too short to miss out on the good cheese.

Lemon Meringue

I had some fresh lemons from Nicki, so decided to make a lemon meringue pie.


Fresh lemons, home-farmed eggs (from Dad), piles of meringue. I ask you, does it get any better? No. No, it does not.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

My Favorite Salad

This is my all-time favorite salad. It's a really, really hard recipe, too. Here's what you do:
You go to Trader Joe's (or any grocery) and buy:
1 bag salad (I like baby greens)
1 container crumbled gorgonzola or other yummy blue cheese
1 package toasted, candied pecans
1 package dried cranberries
1 bottle raspberry dressing (perhaps a vinaigrette)
Get a big bowl or plate. Put a few handfuls of greens on the plate. Generously sprinkle blue cheese and cranberries over the top. Get out a cutting board and a sharp knife. Chop up the nuts into smaller chunks (not too small). Sprinkle these (again, be generous!) over the top. Either serve dressing on the side, or toss with dressing (my usual choice). Serve.
Oh, what's so hard about the recipe? The hard part is not stuffing the salad into your mouth in gigantic bites because it's so good you just can't believe it.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Asparagus Soup

It's officially asparagus season, not that you would know it from the local Albertson's. I hate their produce selection. I hope to go over to Berkeley Bowl sometime this weekend and get a bundle of artichokes and maybe some more asparagus. I love the little pencil spears, cooked 'till bright green, served with a little lemon, maybe a little garlic mayonnaise.

I remember the first time I made asparagus. It was probably just a year or two after I moved here. We didn't have asparagus much when I was growing up, so it was sort of a mystery. I made some recipe that called for a lemon cream sauce to be poured over the top of the spears. I think I'd overcooked them. And the sauce was lumpy. Not a good way to to start off my asparagus experience.

However, somehow, miraculously, my cooking skills have improved since then. I now know when to take asparagus off the heat, and to plunge into cold water to stop the cooking. I don't make crummy sauces much (or sauces at all). I do, however love to make soup. I made asparagus soup with parmesan croutons last night.

It was very easy. Simmer 2 pounds of asparagus with 1 large chopped onion and a bay leaf, in stock, for an hour. Take out bay leaf. Blend. Season with salt, pepper, white pepper, a few drops lemon juice. Add some cream or milk if you like. I used soy milk.

So, my skills have improved. Except for one little thing. I can never remember to take out the bay leaf when I blend things. So here's a hint: if you notice that you've forgotten to take the bay leaf out when you're blending a soup, just keep blending until it's totally pulverized.

And add a little extra pepper.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Miso And A Good Book

Taking one's self out to dinner every once in awhile seems like one of those things adults can just do. I thought about going to the little diner on the corner, but I figured Japanese (next door to the diner) might feel a little better in the tummy. A little chicken donburi, some miso, green tea and salad (and a good book)... pretty much perfect.

Being an adult is pretty okay. I don't have kids (yet), I'm not a dirt-poor student. Sometimes it's pretty fun to just decide to do something and do it.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Coffee And Doughnuts

I have the best partner ever. This morning I woke up and really, really wanted coffee and doughnuts (you know how that happens sometimes?). However, we had no half-and-half, nor doughnuts. Terri hopped out of bed and, BEFORE CAFFEINE, went to the doughnut shop and convenience store and got both milk and doughnuts. Before caffeine, people. This is devotion.

And these were good doughnuts. And perfect French-press coffee. Life is good.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Vegetable Curry

I'm cooking this right now, as I write. It's going to get a splash of coconut milk and some peas to finish it off. It smells unbelieveably good.

I learned a lesson, however. When toasting dry spices, do not leave them unattended. They will smoke like hell, and actually incinerate. Um.

PS: this was not the most successful recipe. It was good, but the curry was too harsh. Also, I notice that bubbling red curry sauce in low light does not make the most attractive photo. So, not exactly successful, on the whole. Better luck next time.

Orecchiette with Peas, Cabbage and Lemon Sauce

This is my favorite pasta right now. Orecchiette, peas, napa cabbage simmered in a light lemon sauce. The lemon zest with the napa cabbage is *so* good. This is seriously addictive. It's light, but with that certain flavor that just keeps you coming back for "one more bite."

Monday, April 9, 2007

Daffodil Cake

In honor of Easter, I made a Daffodil Cake (this isn't the recipe I used, but it's very similar and I'm sure just fine). This is, essentially, a white sponge cake with some yellow sponge cake batter plopped in here and there to look like bursts of yellow flowers. I should have take a picture of it when cut, because it really does resemble beautiful yellow and white flowers.

It's just slightly different than making an angel food cake. I'm not really sure what the difference is, actually. But, it's a little moister and maybe a little more flavorful. And the yellow cake splotches here and there add more moisture and flavor. It's a really nice spring cake, would be cute for a kid's birthday party.

To make it, you need an angel food cake pan, and I'd go with a fluffier frosting than what I used. It was an old fashioned recipe and I wasn't crazy about the frosting (butter, powdered sugar and egg whites, plus some orange zest). This one might be better.

The flowers in the center are a nice touch. I happened to have a mini bud vase that fit perfectly in the hole in the center. Voila! Daffodil cake. A tad literal, perhaps, but still cute.

Monday, April 2, 2007

Potato, Panir, and Pea Curry

This is a good recipe from The Enchanted Broccoli Forest. It's very important that you use really, really firm yogurt. I use the Greek kind from Trader Joes.

I like the part where you toast the spices the best.

Mmmm. Toasty.
The finished product is not very photogenic. But aren't the spices nice?

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Homemade Torillas

Tonight we made homemade tortillas. It's pretty easy. You just mix it up, roll it out...

...and fry it on a hot, ungreased skillet.
We also had some coconut macaroons.

(yep, I got a new camera)

Monday, March 26, 2007


Mmm. Awful Falafel. I never really 'got' falafel until I started to make it for myself (I use a mix, I'm not quite that talented!). I don't make it very often because it kind of seems like a waste of oil (I almost never fry anything), but it's so delicious. I don't know if it's just this mix (I get it in bulk so I don't even know what brand it is) but it's easy, yummy, and is a good excuse to test out my deep-fry methods (this would be: put a bunch of oil in a pan, heat it, fry things. Verrrrry technical).

My dad was in town this weekend and we'd been eating all kinds of good things. Terri requested falafel for dinner Sunday, and even though I knew my dad had no idea what this is, I made it. He liked it! He even ate two helpings (we made them as burgers).

I didn't get the tahini sauce that I usually do to go with it, we just used ketchup and mustard, but they were quite good. The trick seems to be getting the oil just to the right temperature. I think mine was a bit too hot - they got really dark, but it could be I also just let them fry a few seconds too long.

Anyway, falafel is fun for the whole family. I suggest you try some!

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

More Asparagus

On a search for more ways to prepare asparagus, my friend and I found this recipe for Asparagus and Red Pepper over Quinoa. It's on the Cooking Light website. Oh wait, maybe I can link to it. There!

Fantastic! It's a very simple stir-fry, with yummy soy and sesame flavors, over super-healthy quinoa. You could also probably use brown rice or couscous. I cooked the onions a little longer than they said, and also poured only half the dressing over everything BUT the tofu, then took out the peppers and asparagus, added in the tofu and the rest of the dressing and cooked it until the tofu seemed nicely saturated, then added back in the veggies and stirred it all up.

Bright, healthy, tasty, and easy.

(soon, I will get my new camera and will start having photos! It will be a whole new thing!)

Monday, March 19, 2007

Asparagus with Pasta and Balsamic Glaze

Now, this is one of my favorite recipes. You take a pound of pasta (small curly pieces, not long strands) and boil it up. Simmer down 3/4 cup balsamic vinegar (to about 1/4 cup, nice and syrupy). Saute sliced red onion, the asparagus (chopped into 1" bits), some basil, some pepper, some lemon juice.

Drain pasta, add asparagus mix, and drizzle with vinegar. Stir well. Stir in about a cup of shaved Pecorino Romano.

This is so good, and so easy. It tastes much fancier than it is, and it's so satisfying. I love asparagus season!

Friday, March 16, 2007

Has it really been that long?

Man, has it been over two weeks since I've posted?

Here's what I've been making (I'll warn you, it's not very exciting)

  • Homemade tomato soup with barley
  • White rice with various vegetables (sauteed or steamed)
  • Smoothies (rice milk, frozen fruit, bananas, supplements)
  • Lots of steamed asparagus
  • Ummm, a batch or two of plain pasta?
  • ....

Yep. This no-dairy, low-fat, vegetarian thing has sort of sapped my inspiration. But, I'm feeling freshly renewed to try it out. I just remembered that I have some vegan cookbooks (which is essentially what I'm doing), so I'm going to try those.

And this weekend, I'm going to make this:

  • Pasta with Sauteed Asparagus and Balsamic Reduction and Romano Cheese

('cause I think I can handle a little pecorino-romano)

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Potato Chickpea Stew

This is so much more exciting and better than it sounds. It's got potatoes and chickpeas, yes, but also tomatoes and saffron and red peppers and onions and all kinds of delicious things.

I was happy because I haven't made this in a while, but could still remember how it tasted. I didn't have the recipe today, but I made myself stop at the store to get ingredients. I just guessed on the ingredients, and I guessed totally correct! The only thing I didn't get was fresh parsley. I remembered to get:
  • 1 pound potatoes
  • 2 cans chickpeas
  • 3 red peppers
  • 1 large can tomatoes
  • Onions

The rest of the ingredients I just had at home.

I remember when I first moved here, I did not feel competent as a cook at all, and I wondered how one got to be a really good cook. I just started doing it, and got better and better. I'm nowhere near 'great' or anything, but I'd call myself a pretty good cook now. Times like this, when I can guess pretty good at ingredients for a recipe I haven't made in two years, makes me grateful for all my practicing!

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

A Somewhat Unsuccessful Soup

After last night's success with the Applesauce Bread (mmm, so good), I decided to try another new recipe tonight, this time a soup from my beloved Monastery Soups cookbook. I tried Potato Dumpling soup since it used ingredients I had in the house (pretty much just potatoes, onions, and some celery...).

Well, it needed some help. Basically it's a simple broth: celery, onions, carrots, mushrooms. I didn't have carrots, and all I had was dried shiitake mushrooms. So I added some extra celery and used the shiitakes. Then you make some mashed potatoes and use them to make dumpling dough (very simple, just mashed potatoes with an egg, some flour, some salt). Put the dumplings into the broth, simmer.

I think I needed the carrots. The broth needed quite a bit of 'coaxing' with extra salt and pepper, some beef bouillon. But the dumplings are good. And I had some leftover nice bakery bread, which I reheated and will eat with it. I think it will be okay. Just not quite as wonderful as I was hoping, not quite the success of last night's bread.

Update: I let it simmer a little longer with another bit of bouillon added, and now it's quite nice. The shiitakes needed a stronger broth, I think. Now it's very close to the soup I knew it could be!

Monday, February 26, 2007

Chocolate Applesauce Spice Cake

It's more like a bread, like banana bread or something. Perfect for breakfast and snacking, and actually, not bad at all for you (only 1/4 cup oil per loaf, no eggs, etc.)

It's got:
  • Chunky applesauce
  • Cocoa powder
  • Spices like cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg
  • Raisins (and I put in a handful of dates)

Not much fat, plenty of sugar, and rises nicely to a big loaf. This is from my IBS cookbook. I wanted a dessert tonight but my tummy's been so tricky lately, so I decided to give this recipe a try. I'm sure glad I did.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Healthy Veggie Stew

Tonight I'm making Curried Red Lentil Stew with Swiss Chard and Garbanzo Beans.

Some important things to remember if you're going to make this:
  • Use RED lentils. These are significantly different than the brown or green variety.
  • This is very good over any kind of rice or barley or quinoa
  • Full of protein, low-fat, and no dairy (unless you garnish with yogurt)

Yum. Curried anything is good, but quick and easy is even better.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Oh Wow

It's cold and rainy tonight and I'm all by myself. So I decided to make some comfort food that I normally wouldn't make if Terri were home:
  • Turkey Meatloaf with Ketchup-Brown Sugar Glaze
  • Mashed Potatoes (with buttermilk and Gorgonzola cheese)
  • Steamed Peas

My, oh my. This was a damn good dinner. I don't usually eat much meat, but this meatloaf really hit the spot, especially with these amazing potatoes.

I highly recommend this!

Monday, February 19, 2007

A Poor Cooking Week

Last week was a strange one. I spent most nights either out at friends', or, in an uncharacteristic spree, we either ordered in or ate out. However, I did make a really good Indian Spiced Potatoes and Peas dish, and this morning I'm going to make German Pancakes (Dutch Babies) since we have lots of eggs and some lemon.

Next week will be more interesting, I promise.

Friday, February 9, 2007

Creamy Lasagna

Ok, so I'm going to just write down, for the record, what I cook for myself and my little family. This week, I've made (I guess I consider it something I've 'made' if I have to consult a recipe somewhere along the way, or if it includes more than two or three ingredients):
  • Lemon Rice Pudding (dairy-free, very good for upset tummies)
  • Brown Sugar Cookies (not so good for upset tummies, but very good in general)
  • Pasta Primavera (with green beans, yellow squash and zucchini, with a very light pesto-cream sauce. Yum.)
  • Creamy Lasagna (I didn't feel like buying ricotta cheese, so I made a bechamel sauce instead. Layer red sauce, bechamel, frozen chopped spinach, parmesan cheese. Repeat)

I had an upset tummy this week so I mostly ate that rice pudding. It's not really a dessert. It's got a ton of whipped egg whites, very little sugar, and cooked rice, all cooked together. If you don't like bland things, you wouldn't like it. I happen to like strange bland things (not exclusively!), so I love it.

The brown sugar cookies were damn good. Very sugary. The pasta was good, too. I just made that for myself. We'll see how the lasagna turns out. I think it will be good. I love bechamel sauced (see comment about bland things) and I love lasagna. How bad could it be? It's got red sauce. It's got cheese. It's got noodles. It'll be good.

Monday, February 5, 2007

I Quit!

So, if you haven't heard yet, I quit the cooking gig. I liked it, but I liked my free Sundays better.

Not sure if I'll keep this blog or not. I might use it as a recipe file. Which recipes worked, which didn't, what I make during the week.

Peanut gallery? Thoughts?

Sunday, January 7, 2007

Week 8

Apparently last week's menu was a hit. This week I had to make some extra dishes since I'll be away next weekend.
  • Chicken Pot Pie with Biscuit Topping (CI)
  • Minestrone (CI)
  • Stir-fried Asparagus
  • Sauteed Swiss Chard
  • Cabbage and Apples
  • Banana Nut Muffins

and then for next week (shorter menu)

  • Turkey Tetrazzini
  • Tsimmes (sweet potato, carrot, and apple bake, a Jewish specialty)
  • Fallen Chocolate Loaf Cake

I'm finding that the less fussy the menu, the more she likes it (I think... I don't get much feedback except when something doesn't go over well). So, that's good! This week I kind of went for easily-freezable comfort foods. I hope it works well.

One thing I am enjoying is the opportunity to try new things. Like the tsimmes. It's so yummy! Next time, I'd like to try to make a noodle kugel, I think. Jewish cooking is yum.

Monday, January 1, 2007

Week 7

On the menu this week:
  • Salmon-Corn Chowder
  • Thai-style Fried Rice with Chicken and Basil
  • Sauteed Spinach with Nutmeg
  • Steamed Broccoli with Balsamic-Basil Dressing
  • Bread Pudding

This week's menu went through a few changes. I was going to make both Thai Chicken and Basil AND Thai Fried Rice, but the recipe didn't make as much Chicken and Basil as I thought it would, and the ingredients were pretty similar to the Fried Rice, so I just combined them. I think it turned out pretty good. Thanks for the new cookbook, Mom! I also made a different spinach dish, a kind of gratin, but when I tasted it, I knew my client would think it was too salty (it had a lot of cottage cheese in it), but *I* liked it, so I kept it for us (good lunches for the week) and made simple sauteed spinach. I might have overcooked the broccoli a little, but she likes things sort of bland and simple, so maybe it's okay. I put the sauce in on the side.

The bread pudding is hopefully what she was looking for - no cinnamon, just yummy pudding.

PS: the American dictionary spells it as bouillabaisse, does that seem right, Teacher D'Arcy? :) Now I just need to find a good recipe for it.