Thursday, September 30, 2010

Pumpkin Crumb Coffee Cake

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
Pinch of salt
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
6 Tbs unsalted butter, cold, cut into pieces 

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbs cinnamon
2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/3 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 15oz can pumpkin
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature, lightly beaten

1) Make topping: In a bowl, stir together flour, brown sugar, salt and cinnamon. Add butter and combine with fingertips until mixture is crumbly. Refrigerate while making batter.
2) Make cake: Preheat oven to 350ºF. Butter and flour a 9-by-13-inch cake pan. In a small bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices. In a large bowl, whisk together oil, applesauce, pumpkin, vanilla and both sugars until well mixed. Whisk in eggs. Add flour mixture to pumpkin mixture and stir until just combined; do not overmix. Pour batter into cake pan and spread evenly. Sprinkle with reserved topping.
3) Bake cake until a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, 45 to 50 minutes. Allow to cool in pan on a wire rack at least 20 minutes.

Review:  We have a temporary psychiatrist at work, who is visiting from Greece.  Well, born and raised in FL, as his parents migrated from Greece.  He married a wonderful Greek woman and migrated back!  He sometimes fills in as a temp in the US and we were lucky enough to have him help out last year and this year.  And, this year he shared gifts with a few people (until his supply ran out!).  I was gifted a bottle of olive oil from his uncle's grove in Greece.  He told me it's from the best area in the world for olive oil and I swooned a little.  Who knew I'd ever grow up to become giddy over good olive oil and the kindness of others?  So, today was his birthday and there was lots of talk about doing 'something' for his birthday, but no one organized anything.  I felt in debt after receiving such a gracious gift and thought of making baklava.  Mike assured me I could likely make good baklava, but it could not compare to what the doc is likely used to.  So, I found this recipe and figured I couldn't go wrong.  And, that it would make a great dish for our morning staff meeting.  Everyone loved it, except me.  The pumpkin and applesauce make for a moist, mushy consistency and not the dry, cakey consistency I like.  Oh well, it was a hit and that's all that mattered.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Baked Ziti With Zucchini, Chickpeas & Broccoli

8oz ziti, rigatoni or penne pasta
1/2 lb zucchini, coarsely chopped
1 15oz can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 14.5oz can diced tomatoes with basil, garlic & oregano, juices included
1 cup chopped frozen broccoli
1 Tbs olive oil
1 Tbs tomato paste
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese
1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

1) Preheat oven to 350F. Coat 11x17 inch baking dish with cooking spray. Set aside.
2) Cook ziti according to package directions for al dente in large pot of boiling salted water. Drain, rinse under cold water, and drain again. Return ziti to pot and set aside.
3) Meanwhile, combine zucchini, chickpeas, tomatoes and juices, 2 Tbs olives, oil, tomato paste, and garlic in large saucepan. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer 5 minutes, or until sauce begins to thicken, stirring occasionally. Stir zucchini mixture and chopped broccoli into ziti and season with salt and pepper, if desired.
4) Transfer ziti mixture to prepared baking dish. Sprinkle with both cheeses and bake 20 to 25 minutes, or until pasta is heated through and the cheese is beginning to brown.

Review: I intended to make this recipe, but I did not have kalamata olives, nor did I have tomato puree.  Crud, another recipe that I had to reinvent on the fly.  Thank goodness I had leftover broccoli in the freezer!  Mike wanted to add the broccoli to last night's dish, but I didn't think it fit.  It does fit in this recipe and made it a new one.  Thank goodness it turned out ok, though it was a tad on the dry side.  It definitely could use the tomato puree. 

Monday, September 27, 2010

Farfalle With Tomato-Goat Cheese Cream Sauce

12oz farfalle pasta
1 cup frozen petite peas
2 Tbs pine nuts
1/2 Tbs olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/4 cups prepared creamy tomato soup
1/4 cup half-and-half
1 Tbs dry white wine
3oz creamy mild goat cheese

1) Cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water according to package directions until al dente, adding peas during last 3 minutes of cooking.  Drain in colander, and set aside.  Quickly return empty pot to same burner (with heat off).  Wait a few seconds until pot looks dry, then add pine nuts.  Cook over medium heat 1 minute, or until fragrant and lightly toasted.  Transfer nuts to plate.
2) Add oil to pot, and saute garlic over medium heat 15 seconds, or until just beginning to brown.  Stir in soup, half-and-half and wine; bring to a brisk simmer over medium-high heat.  Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer 3 minutes, or until mixture is slightly reduced and begins to thicken, stirring occasionally.  Add cheese, and cook 2 to 3 minutes more, or until cheese is completely melted into sauce, stirring occasionally.  Season with salt and pepper, if desired.
3) Stir pasta, peas and pine nuts into sauce in pot; toss well and serve.

Review:  So, Mike was out of town this weekend, leaving me to devise the grocery list on my own and grocery shop on my own (it's normally a 2 person task).  He also called me in the middle of devising the list.  Therefore, I am missing ingredients from several recipes this week and refuse to go back to the store for just a few items.  Notably, this recipe is missing peas.  It was still yummy, but I think the peas would have given it an extra oomph, and maybe allowed for leftovers to exist for lunch tomorrow.  No such luck.  This recipe had a great, creamy tang to it, but not in an overpowering way.  I used Wolfgang Puck's creamy tomato soup and it was a really great choice. 

I was lucky enough to have Mike make this recipe for me.  Sweet!  Unfortunately, he'll be out of town again this weekend and I fear I will again forget items when I go grocery shopping!!

Made again on 2/9/2011, with peas!  It was yummier, as the peas made a world of difference in balancing the flavors!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Poblano White Chili

3 cups cooked white beans, or 2 15.5oz cans white beans, rinsed and drained
1 recipe Rajas (see below)
2 cups vegetable broth
2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp ground cumin
1 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels
1/2 cup chopped cilantro, plus more for garnish
1 Tbs lime juice
1/4 cup milk
3oz fresh goat cheese
1/4 cup roasted pumpkin seeds

1) Bring beans, Rajas, broth, oregano and cumin to a simmer in saucepan over medium heat.  Cook 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Stir in corn, cilantro and lime juice.  Season with salt and pepper, if desired.  Cook 2 minutes more.
2) Warm milk in separate saucepan.  Add goat cheese, and stir until smooth.  Serve chili garnished with goat cheese sauce, pumpkin seeds and cilantro.

Review:  Argh, I didn't think this would be as much work as it was!  As you can see, this recipe was actually the third recipe of the day, just to make chili.  By the time I made this, I was tired and didn't want to be cooking anymore.  So, I didn't "garnish," instead I just dumped everything in.  Well, except the pumpkin seeds.  The bulk aisle was out, so I bought a little bag of David's pumpkin seeds, not realizing they were still in the shell.  So, I had to shell them and then toss the seeds into the chili.  Good thing I wasn't sharing this with anyone but Mike . . .   So, the recipe wasn't too thrilling.  It was just ok and I was disappointed that it wasn't a spectacular recipe (of course, I also halved the Rajas recipe).  It didn't even have a strong goat cheese flavor.  It was just a tangy, white chili.  Bleah. 


6 poblano chiles (1 lb)
2 tsp vegetable oil
1 large onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
1 tsp dried oregano

1) Roast and peel poblanos (see below).  Slice into 1/4-inch strips; set aside.
2) Heat oil in skillet over medium heat.  Add onion and garlic, and cook 5 to 9 minutes, or until onion is soft and golden brown.  Add oregano and poblano strips, and cook 3 to 4 minutes more, or until heated through.  Season with salt and pepper, if desired.

How To Roast Poblano Chiles

There are three different methods to choose from when preparing poblano chiles.

OVEN:  Preheat oven to 425F.  Rub whole poblanos with oil, and place on baking sheet.  Roast 30 to 45 minutes, or until charred on all sides, turning with tongs.  Transfer to bowl, cover, and let steam 15 minutes.  Rub off skins.

STOVETOP:  Place 1 poblano directly on grate of gas burner with flame turned to high.  Roast until charred on all sides, turning with tongs.  Transfer to bowl, cover, and let steam 15 minutes.  Rub off skin.

GRILL:  Grill whole, dry poblanos over medium to medium-high heat until charred and blistered on all sides, turning with tongs.  Transfer to bowl, cover, and let steam 15 minutes.  Rub off skins.

Review:  I used the oven method.  I simply placed the poblanos on aluminum foil and then reused the foil to cover the bowl while they steamed.  How economical!!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Cauliflower Gratin With Tomatoes, Capers & Feta

1 lb medium-sized cauliflower florets
2 tsp olive oil
3/4 cup chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 14.5oz can chopped tomatoes
2 Tbs drained capers
1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
1 1/2 Tbs chopped fresh dill

1) Steam cauliflower 4 to 6 minutes in steamer basket, or until tender.
2) Preheat broiler.  Heat oil in saucepan over medium-low heat; add onion and garlic, and cook 5 minutes.  Add tomatoes and capers, increase heat to medium-high, and cook 7 minutes.  Spread tomato mixture in 2-qt gratin dish, top with cauliflower, and sprinkle with feta.
3) Broil gratin 5 to 6 minutes, or until feta is browned.  Sprinkle with dill.

Review:  Mike and I both fear the broiler.  It seems dark and yucky, but also capable of shooting flames somehow.  I sucked it up today and decided to brave the broiler.  That wasn't my best decision, considering Mike is out of town and if things went as horribly wrong as I feared it would, I was without help.  Fortunately, there were no scary flames, but I did manage to pull the broiler drawer out of it's track, while very, very hot.  Oh dear!  I managed to grab a couple of silicone trivets and get it back into the track (while very, very hot).

So, I've wanted to make this dish for several months now.  Mike kept shooting it down, because he hates capers and he didn't think it sounded very good.  Fortunately for me, he went out of town for a conference.  And, I got to make this all for me.  He actually laughed to see I was making it while he was gone.  :)  I loved it and wish I had more.  This only made two entree sized portions.  I think I made another side dish . . .

And then I made Whoopie Pies, from a mix (thanks to my nieces!!).

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Golden Chickpea & Artichoke Salad

1 Tbs olive oil, plus additional
1 15oz can chickpeas, drained
5 to 7 artichoke hearts, drained and sliced lengthwise
1/3 cup sliced almonds (toasted if desired)
1/4 tsp salt
2 Tbs fresh chopped parsley

1) Heat oil in seasoned wok or cast iron skillet.  Add chickpeas and cook over medium-high heat for 10 minutes, stirring only occasionally to prevent burning, until chickpeas are golden brown all over.  When done, transfer chickpeas to large mixing bowl and set aside.
2) Add more oil to pan and saute sliced artichoke hearts until browned.  Add artichokes to bowl of chickpeas.
3) Toast almonds in dry skillet (if desired) and then grind them in food processor.  Add almonds to artichokes and chickpeas.  Season salad with salt and parsley.  Serve warm or at room temperature, adjusting seasoning if needed.

Review:  Hmm, I omitted some steps.  I added the artichoke hearts before the chickpeas were done, and allowed them to brown together.  I also added the almonds (not toasted) without grinding them.  I didn't like the idea of having an almond paste.  So, this made about two big servings.  It was ok, but didn't wow me.  It'd make a great side dish.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Green Bean & Pasta Salad

1 box penne
2 cups green beans, halved crosswise
1 can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped
1/4 cup Parmesan, shredded
4 Tbs olive oil
3 Tbs white wine vinegar
1 tsp Kosher salt
1/2 tsp black pepper

1) Cook pasta according to the package directions, but add the green beans for the last three minutes of cooking.  Drain and run under cold water to cool.
2) In a large bowl, toss the cooled pasta and green beans with the kidney beans, parsley and Parmesan.
3) In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, vinegar, salt and pepper.  Mix this dressing with the salad.
4) Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Review:  I had planned to make this Sunday night, for dinner on Monday night.   But, I forgot until about bedtime and it was too late then.  So, it got scheduled to be made last night.  Except that both Mike and I forgot!!  So, Mike remembered this morning, before work.  Crap.  So, it was a joint effort to make it this morning, though Mike pulled it all together and cooked the pasta.  This wasn't fun to make at 6am!!!!  But, we got it made and had dinner waiting for us when we got home.

I doubled the recipe from the original instructions, as it made only two servings.  I prefer to have four, so that we have dinner and leftovers for lunch the next day.  Except I somehow ended up with about six servings.  I may have used too many green beans!  This was ok, but it seemed to lack some flavor.  I'd like to dress up the dressing, but am not sure how.  I almost considered chipotle, but that's my default added flavor.  Any ideas?

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Penne With Tomatoes, Zucchini & Mozzarella

1 lb penne
1/4 cup olive oil
1 1/4 lbs zucchini, halved lengthwise and sliced into 1/2 inch pieces
1/2 lb cherry tomatoes, halved
2 cloves garlic, sliced
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
Kosher salt and black pepper
1/2 lb fresh mozzarella pearls
1/4 cup torn fresh mint leaves

1) Cook the pasta according to the package directions.  Reserve 1/4 cup of the cooking water, drain the pasta, and return it to the pot.
2) Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the zucchini and cook, tossing occasionally, until golden brown and tender, 5 to 6 minutes.  Add the tomatoes, garlic, red pepper, 3/4 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp black pepper, and cook, tossing, until the tomatoes soften, 2 to 3 minutes more.
3) Add the tomato mixture to the pasta, along with the mozzarella and reserved cooking water, and toss to combine.  Sprinkle with the mint.

Review:  Whoo-hoo, I have a week full of new recipes.  That's what happens when I get both my Real Simple and Vegetarian Times magazines in one week.

This recipe originally called for eggplant, but I've learned zucchini is a great substitute (since I don't like eggplant).  This used zucchini from my garden, and I fear it may be the last for the season.  I removed most of the plants yesterday, but left the few growing zucchinis to get bigger for tonight's dinner.  Two of the baby zucchinis began to shrivel and I tossed them.  I have two more babies, but they may also shrivel.  But, this dish was amazing.  We really liked the fresh mozzarella.  We weren't sure about the mint and used it sparingly, but it turned out to be a great addition. 

Honey & Toasted Sesame Seed Gelato

2 cups whole milk
1/3 cup strong-flavored honey (darker in color)
4 large egg yolks
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 cup heavy cream
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
1 1/2 tsp toasted sesame seeds

1) Place the milk and honey in a medium-size, heavy-bottomed saucepan and stir to combine.  Place over medium heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture registers 170F (77C) on an instant read thermometer.
2) In a nonreactive, medium-size bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until foamy and slightly thickened.
3) Carefully temper the egg yolks with the hot milk mixture by slowly adding about half of the hot liquid to the eggs, whisking continuously with a wooden spoon or heatproof rubber spatula, cook the mixture over medium heat until it registers 185F (85C) on an instant read thermometer, or is thick enough to coat the back of the spoon or spatula, taking care to make sure the mixture does not boil.  Remove from the heat.  Emulsify the mix, if not completely smooth, before incorporating into the cold cream.
4) Pour the heavy cream into a clean, large stainless steel mixing bowl or glass set over an ice bath.
5) Pour the heated custard through a fine-mesh sieve or strainer into the cold cream, add the sesame oil and seeds, and stir until fully incorporated.  Stir occasionally (about every 5 minutes or so) until the mixture has fully cooled.  This should take about 1/2 hour.  Remove the mixing bowl from the ice bath, dry off the bottom of the bowl if necessary, cover with plastic wrap, and chill in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours, or overnight.
6) When ready, pour the chilled mixture into the ice-cream maker and process according to manufacturer's specifications.
7) Remove the finished gelato from the ice-cream maker and place in a plastic container.  Cover with plastic wrap by pressing the wrap gently against the top of the gelato, affix lid to container, and place in the freezer to fully harden before serving.

Review:  Mike got me an ice cream maker for my birthday (albeit an early present).  I then received several accessories for my birthday.  I was lucky enough to get a Ben & Jerry's recipe book, a gelato recipe book and a digital thermometer.  I also received three sets of ice cream bowls that were super cute, but each shipment (two were replacements) arrived broken.  The ones that were salvaged are chipped, but still usable.  I was granted a credit, which I applied to the purchase of a cd I really wanted, and a digital thermometer.  The bad luck continued, as the well-rated thermometer would not turn on.  It's on it's way back, but I managed to get one at Wal-Mart for the same price.  It all evens out, but I feel bad that such a sweet gesture had such a bad run of luck.

So, this venture feels like a belated celebration, but I wanted to make sure I did this right, with all the necessary equipment.  I slaved over it most of Saturday and let it chill all day.  I placed this into the ice cream maker late at night, and then let it freeze overnight.  Ah, my first gelato venture.  This was pretty tasty, and fancy.  It was heavy on the toasted sesame flavor, but yet sweet at the same time.  Yum.  Mike wants to recreate it, using toasted almonds and omitting the sesame oil.

Chilling in the ice bath:
In a cute bowl:

Monday, September 13, 2010

First Pepper

This bad boy has been growing all summer.  I've learned that bell peppers take months to mature, apparently.  It finally ripened and turned red over the course of the last week.  I picked it Saturday and  am hopeful for more peppers.  However, none of the others are nearly this big.  I am optimistic though, because this one had an AMAZING flavor.  It was way better than anything I've had from the grocery store!  I eagerly sought an old recipe to use this in.  I've been revisiting past recipes, and updating the old ones with pictures as I remake them.  Yum. 

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Farmhouse Fricassee (crockpot recipe)

2 Tbs olive oil
4 shallots, quartered
1/2 cup dry white wine
12oz seitan or tempeh, cut into 1/2-inch thick slices
8oz baby carrots, halved lengthwise
8oz small red potatoes, halved
8oz green beans, ends trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 14.5oz can diced tomatoes, drained
1 1/2 cups vegetable stock
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbs minced fresh tarragon or parsley leaves

1) Heat 1 Tbs of the oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add the shallots, cover, and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.  Add the wine and cook for 1 minute to reduce slightly.  Transfer the shallot mixture to a 4 to 6 quart slow cooker.
2) Heat the remaining 1 Tbs oil in the same skillet over medium heat.  Add the seitan or tempeh and cook until browned on both sides, about 10 minutes, then add to the slow cooker along with the carrots, potatoes, green beans, tomatoes and stock; season with salt and pepper.  Stir to combine, cover, and cook on Low for 8 hours.
3) Just before serving, stir in the tarragon or parsley.

Review:  I doubled the amount of tempeh, potatoes and stock.  I also diced the tempeh and sliced the potatoes into thick slices.  I used 2 Tbs dried shallot flakes, as I had them on hand.  I ended up forgetting to add the tarragon.  And, it was done in 6 1/2 hours.

So, the recipe was pretty yummy (the way I made it).  It had a good savory flavor and I used a slotted spoon to prevent it from being a stew.  The veggies were just the right amount of soft and had soaked in the flavor of the wine/shallot/stock.  Yum.  Unfortunately, I had counted on our Fall temps continuing, but it was about 80 today.  Crockpot recipes aren't as enticing when it's warm out. 

Monday, September 6, 2010

Linguine With Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto

1 cup drained oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes (about 6 oz)
1/2 cup grated Romano cheese or Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil or 1 Tbs dried
2 Tbs pine nuts, toasted
3 garlic cloves
3/4 cup olive oil
3/4 lb linguine pasta
      1) Combine sun-dried tomatoes, Romano cheese, basil, pine nuts and garlic in food processor. With machine running, gradually add olive oil and process until smooth paste forms.
      2) Cook linguine in large pot of boiling salted water until just tender but still firm to bite. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup cooking liquid. Combine 3/4 cup tomato pesto with reserved cooking liquid in same pot. Add linguine and toss over medium-high heat to coat, adding more pesto, if desired. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve.

      Review: This was quick and easy.  I like that.  :)  However, it really doesn't make much food.  I really like when a recipe gives me two dinners and enough leftovers for two lunches.  If this had veggies added to it, it would have stretched it out.  However, this has it's own dominating flavor with the sun-dried tomatoes, so I have no clue what veggies would go well with it.  I'm totally open to suggestions!

      Friday, September 3, 2010

      Vegetable Bean Spirals

      Bean Mixture
      1 15oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
      3 to 4 Tbs salsa
      1/4 cup packed cilantro leaves and tender stems
      salt to taste

      Vegetable Spirals
      4 10-inch spinach tortillas
      1 1/3 cups packed finely shredded red cabbage
      4 thin carrot sticks, about 8 inches long and 1/2 inch wide
      4 strips red bell pepper, about 1/4 inch wide
      8 slices ripe, firm Hass avocado, sprinkled with just of 1/2 lime

      1) To make Bean Mixture:  In food processor, blend beans, 3 Tbs salsa and cilantro into a thick paste.  Add more salsa, if needed for spreadable mixture.  Add salt.
      2) To make Vegetable Spirals:  Using spatula, spread 3 Tbs bean mixture on a tortilla, leaving about 1/2 inch around edges.  Sprinkle on 1/4 of cabbage, and gently press in.  Place a carrot stick horizontally about 1 inch from bottom of tortilla, and place 1 strip red bell pepper above it.  Arrange 2 slices avocado, end to end, on top of carrot.
      3) Wrap bottom edge of tortilla over vegetables, and roll tightly.  Moisten top edge lightly with bean paste or water to seal.  Gently press roll to shape it into log.  Fill and roll remaining tortillas.
      4) To serve, set each roll seam side down on cutting board.  Use sharp knife to trim off edges.  Hold roll firmly, and use gentle sawing motion to cut into 5 or 6 pieces, making every other slice on the diagonal.  Divide among 8 salad plates, or arrange on a party platter, diagonal sides up.

      Review:  I've held onto this recipe for several years now.  I always had the intention to make this and take it to a party.  However, each time an event came around, I'd look at this and think it was too much work.  So, I finally gave up on ever making it for a party.  Mike and I decided it looked yummy and would make great wraps.  So, I didn't make everything as thin as required.  And, there were no pretty spirals at the end.  However, this made for four really yummy wraps.  The flavor combination was really tasty and had just the right amount of crunch.  We used low-carb wraps, but I bet the spinach tortillas the recipe recommended would have been even yummier.