Thursday, December 14, 2006

what is this stuff?

Yesterday I picked up my CSA share and when I opened it up I was quite confused. Beets, potatoes, onions, garlic, squash, parsnips, carrots, cabbage - that stuff I know and like, if not love. But what is everything else? I consulted my handy 'bible' and got to searching. The giant green thing is kohlrabi, but is much bigger than any I had ever seen before. In the bag behind it is winter salsify, which I had never even heard of. Between the onions and potatoes are 2 radishes. Radishes the size of a softball. My dad would be very excited about these, but me? I'm not so sure. The final root vegetable is a giant turnip. Does anyone have any recipe suggestions for some of this stuff? Anthony is much braver than I, and said that we will try it all, but then made a very sad face and said 'are we going to be eating a lot of mashed foods?' So any non-mashed root vegetable recipes would be greatly appreciated.

I'll post the recipes I make up here as I try them.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

nutty oat cookies

Two posts in two days. Crazy, I know. I bought a new cookbook yesterday at my favorite bookstore (all Cooks Illustrated books are 10% off right now, so if you are looking for a good holiday present you should check them out) as a late birthday present to myself. Anthony already teases me for all the cookbooks I have (it's not like I have 101 or anything... yet), but I couldn't resist getting this one. First off, it's really comprehensive and there are a lot of tips and diagrams, which I always appreciate. It's huge and the recipes range from really simple to the ridiculous. There are plenty of recipes in there that are special occasion recipes (just because it's whole grain doesn't mean it's healthy), but there are even more that are simple, easy and nutritious.

Very often when I try to make a dessert that is healthy it winds up 'tasting like health', which I think is Anthony's way of saying 'tasteless' without making me feel bad. Dessert is dessert, however. It doesn't need to be fat free, sugar free and full of 100% of your daily vitamins and minerals. It's a treat and should be thought of as that, but it doesn't mean that I am going to start making cupcakes with almost 1 T of butter in them each to eat on a daily basis. There is a middle ground and I think these nutty oat cookies are a great example.

I've been seeing a lot of recipes with cashew butter in them recently. Bakingsheet had one up recently which extolled the mild flavor of the nut butter while making chewy cookies and Dreena Burton uses cashew butter to make a dip for fruits and veggies that is nice and mild. Armed with my new cookbook and a jar of cashew butter from Trader Joes, I thought I'd put both the butter and the cookbook to the test, and let me tell you they both passed with flying colors. Also, you only need one bowl to make these, so clean up is a breeze.

Nutty Oat Cookies, adapted from Whole Grain Baking

2/3 cup cashew butter (the original calls for peanut butter)
4 T (1/2 stick) butter, cut into pieces
scant 3/4 cup sugar (I used sucanat)
1 t vanilla
1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t sea salt
2 large eggs
1 cup oats (old fashion or quick, NOT instant) ground in food processor or blender for 30 seconds to form a coarse meal
1 1/2 cup oats
1/2 c chocolate chips
1/2 c dried berries (I used a berry mix, but just cranberries would be great as well)

1. Preheat oven to 350 and line two baking sheets with parchment paper
2. In a large bowl, cream the cashew butter, butter, sugar, vanilla, baking soda and salt.
3. Add the eggs and mix until fully incorporated. Make sure to wipe down the sides of the bowl to make sure everything gets worked in.
4. Add in the oats, chips and dried berries.
5. Drop by the T onto the cookie sheets and bake for 11-13 minutes, just until the cookies begin to brown around the edges.
6. Let the cookies cool completely on the pan.

Makes 30 cookies.

It also helps to have a buddy around when you bake them to stare and sniff:

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

just dump it into a pot lentil soup

This recipe is adapted from one in Fresh Food Fast. I've made it before many times, and I keep playing around with the amounts based on my mood. This time I added a lot more tomato and 2 teaspoons of minced ginger, but really there is no way you can go wrong with the soup. You put all the ingredients into a pot except for the spinach and lemon juice (the picture to the right), cook it all until the lentils are done, stir in the spinach, add lemon juice and you are done!

lemon lentil soup with tomatoes and spinach

1.5 c rinsed red lentils
28oz can diced tomatoes
3 T olive oil
8 (yes 8) cloves of garlic, peeled
2 t sea salt
2 t minced (or 4 quarter sized slices) ginger
1 spring rosemary
1 bay leaf
6-10 oz bag of baby spinach
2-3 T lemon juice
salt and pepper, to taste

1. In a large pot combine everything except the spinach, lemon and extra salt and pepper. Add 6 cups of water and bring to a boil.
2. Cover and reduce heat to medium low and let the soup simmer until lentils are cooked, about 30 - 40 minutes. Once the lentils are cooked remove the rosemary, bay leaf and ginger slices, if using. With the back of a spoon crush the cloves of garlic against the pot - the garlic will be soft and melt into the soup.
3. Add the spinach and stir until wilted and cooked.
4. Add lemon juice to taste, and season with salt and pepper.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

oatmeal chocolate chip cookies

I swear I make things other than desserts. Really. For example, last night I adapted a recipe for polenta sausage mozzarella casserole by making my own polenta (easy and so good) and subbing tofurkey italian sausage for the meat (otherwise the recipe was as written). And last week I made my own seitan (recipe will be next time I make it) and proceeded to make a fake Thanksgiving dinner, seitan gyros and seitan parmesan. So yes, we eat more than cookies and muffins and cakes, but what can possibly be better than cookies and muffins and cakes? Not much, that's what.

Anthony's mom makes the most amazing oatmeal chocolate chip cookies I have ever had. They are fairly straightforward and involve pudding mix, but they are a treat and I don't make them unless it's a special occasion. Consequently, I've been hunting down oatmeal cookie recipes that are inanely simple and also not that unhealthy. I found this one and tried my hand at it and futzed around with the ingredients. I got rid of the egg and added a bit extra applesauce, and since I was using sucanat I cut the sugar in half and added chocolate chips. I think that I could have used even less sugar and less chocolate chips (crazy words, I know). The batter, as noted in the original post, is insanely good and would be awesome in ice cream. Since it is vegan I think this would be great to make with kids since they (like me) tend to like getting the last bits out of the bowl and off the beaters into their mouths.

Oatmeal chocolate chip cookies

1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup sucanat
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/3 cups rolled oats (not instant)
1/2 cup chocolate chips

- line 2 baking sheets lined with parchment paper
- preheat the oven to 375 degrees
- in a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt
- in a large mixing bowl, beat the butter and sugar until combined
- add applesauce and vanilla to the sugar and butter mixture and combine until smooth
- stir in the dry ingredients, then the oats and chocolate chips
- drop the batter by rounded teaspoons 2-inches apart on the baking sheets and use a fork to gently flatten the dough
- bake the cookies for 10 minutes until just golden, cool on the sheet for 1-2 minutes and then transfer to a cooling rack

makes: 24 cookies

Monday, November 13, 2006

zucchini cookies

I adapted this recipe a while ago when I had a massive ammount of zucchini from my csa. I've played with it a bit, sometimes I make it healthier, sometimes I don't. Here is the most recent healthy version I made at the request of Eryn. It is a fairly simple recipe but there are a few things to note. First, I used flax instead of butter. Flax absorbs a lot of liquid and makes things brown a bit faster. To get some more liquid into the recipe I used agave nectar instead of the sugar. Agave has a lower glycemic index so it is better for you than plain sugar, and it is also about 1.5 times sweeter so you can use much less in your recipes.

Overall I think the cookies were good - they are on the cakey side, though. I added a bit extra soymilk at the end because the batter was really stiff, but I think it would have been fine without it.

Zucchini cookies with chocolate chips
1 medium zucchini (with skin)
1.5 cup ground flax
3/4 cup agave
1 egg (substitute with 3 T applesauce to make vegan)
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 T cinnamon
1/2 t allspice
1/2 t salt
3/4 cup chocolate chips

- preheat oven to 350 degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment paper
- grate the zucchini
- in a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, spices and salt
- in a large bowl add the flax and sugar and mix until combined
- add in the egg followed by the zucchini
- add in the flour slowly and mix until almost totally combined
- add the chocolate chips and finish stirring
(optional - if the batter is really thick try adding 1 - 2 T soy milk)
- scoop heaping T of the dough onto cookie sheets and bake for about 12 minutes,
until just golden
- cool cookies on baking sheet for about 2-3 minutes and then transfer to cooling rack
- eat!

makes 18 large cookies or 24 smaller ones, depending on how you scoop the dough.

Friday, November 03, 2006

easiest pie

I had attempted to make apple buttermilk muffins earlier this week and
failed. Miserably. So I've had a container of buttermilk in the fridge and
decided that I needed to use it and I wanted to bake something with chocolate, but not something that was all chocolate. Subtlety, while not usually something I am good at in terms of personality, is something I can achieve through cooking.

I found a recipe for buttermilk pie and adapted it so that it didn't have eggs (I seem to always have bananas going bad on the table) and threw in some chocolate chips for good measure. The crust I used was made in some giant warehouse by the parent company of Jewel, not by my own two hands. The taste was tangy and sweet, with an obvious banana flavor. The chocolate chips sank to the bottom and made a nice layer of chocolate in between the crust and the filling. This is a really good and easy pie, and fairly healthy considering buttermilk is lowfat. I am not sure how this would work if you tried to do the fake buttermilk trick with a non-dairy milk (substitute one tablespoon of fake milk with one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar per cup). If you try it let me know.

Buttermilk Banana Chocolate Pie
1 graham cracker crust
1/3 cup sucanat or any unrefined sugar
3 tbsp whole wheat flour
1/4 tsp salt
2 small bananas
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1/3 cup chocolate chips
cinnamon, to sprinkle on top

Preheat oven to 350F.

In a food processor, combine sugar, flour and salt and pluse a few times.
Add bananas and blend until well combined.
Add vanilla, nutmeg, and buttermilk and process until smooth.
Pour into crust, taking care not to over-fill the pie.
Add in the chocolate chips and stir.

Bake at 350F for 20-30 minutes, until it's set and just jiggles a little bit
in the middle and the top is golden.

Allow to cool completely on a wire rack.
Serve chilled or at room temperature.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

pumpkin bread

The first time I made this it turned out a tasty but soggy mess on the inside.
I tried again, this time not at 6 am but at a more reasonable and less groggy
7 pm and it turned out just fine. I think I added in way too much liquid, but
you should make sure that your batter isn't too thick - if it is goopy and heavy
add in 1-2 T milk. A lot might depend on the pumpkin you use and how thick it is.

I made mine with a combination of dried berries, but as I was eating it this
morning I was wishing I was a bit more decadent and added chocolate chips instead.

Pumpkin Bread with Berries (adapted from Everyday Vegan)

2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1/4 cup unrefined sugar
2 t baking powder
scant 1 t baking soda
2 heaping t cinnamon
1 t nutmeg
1 t allspice
1 t ginger powder
couple pinches sea salt
1 cup pumpkin (canned or baked and pureed)
1 cup soy/rice/almond/dairy milk
1/3 cup maple syrup
1/3 cup raisins/dried berries/chocolate chips
1 t vanilla extract
2 t canola

- preheat oven to 350, lightly oil a loaf pan
- in a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients and mix well
- in a smaller bowl, combine all of the wet ingredients except the oil
and stir until smooth
- add wet to dry and as it begins to come together add in the canola oil
- pour into pan and bake for about 45 min, until a tester comes out clean
- let it cool on a rack for at least 10 min, pop it out and eat!

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

easy buttermilk cupcakes

I basically used this recipe with very little modification. I used vegan butter (soy garden), and you can
also make your own vegan buttermilk simply by pouring out a cup of soy/rice/almond milk, taking out 1 tablespoon and pouring in 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar. Let that sit for a bit and it will begin to bubble and thicken a little.

I cut down the sugar in these as well, with the intention of making a frosting, but I never did. Lazy. I also added in a handful of crushed walnuts, so these really turned out to be brownie cupcakes.

The cupcakes themselves were really nice and light and super simple to make.

One-Bowl Buttermilk Chocolate Cupcakes
1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder
3/4 (scant) cup sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup buttermilk (or vegan option)
1/4 cup vegan butter, melted and cooled
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350F. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners.
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking soda and salt.
Pour in the rest of the ingredients (it's helpful to have the buttermilk at about room temperature) and stir until just combined.
Divide evenly into the prepared muffin tin and bake for 14-16 minutes at 350F, or until a tester comes out clean.
Cool completely on a wire rack before frosting.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

plum cake

Plums were on sale at Stanely's so I decided to break in my
fancy cake pan and make a plum cake. It smelled great (as you
could guess by Jordan trying to sniff it) and I managed to
unmold the cake with no problems!

I had previously made some apple and pear sauce and
used it as an egg substitute in the cake (the pears
were a nice addition and Anthony's suggestion). Making this
was insanely easy - cut up about 3 lbs of fruit (2 lb of apples,
1 lb of pears), put in a pot with 1 T lemon juice, 1/2 cup of
apple juice or cider, some spices (I put in a little cinnamon and
maple syrup) and stew until the fruit is falling apart. Blend and
adjust spices as needed! Done! I added 1 T of vanilla at the end,
but that is mainly because I tend to dump vanilla in everything.

The recipe is adapted from this.
The original recipe fits a 9" pan, but since the pan I used was a bit
wider and also taller, I doubled the recipe.

Fancy and easy plum cake (could be vegan):

6 T apple-pear sauce (regular applesauce would be great as well)
3/4 c sugar (I used raw unbleached sugar)
2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
2 t baking powder
2 pinches of salt
1/2 cup almond milk (can use milk or any fake milk)
6 T melted butter (could use vegan butter)
1 T lemon juice
1/2 t vanilla
15 small plums, stoned and cut into quarters lengthwise

Heat oven to 350
Butter and flour or spray a cake pan

Combine the apple-pear sauce and sugar, and then add in the milk,
butter, lemon juice and vanilla.

In a small bowl combine the flour, baking powder and salt, and then
add to the wet ingredients.

This is where you can get all fancy - if using a regular cake pan, pour
the batter into the pan and top with the sliced fruits in any way you
like. Since I was a bit nervous about my new cake pan I put some
slices of plum at the bottom of the pan, topped that with half the batter,
added more plums, topped that off with the rest of the batter, and then
put more plums on top. I figured that if I couldn't invert the cake nicely,
at least one top/bottom would be pretty.

Bake for 40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean
and you are done!

Here are some pictures of the cake in the mold and out just to give you
a better idea:

Friday, August 18, 2006

my kitchen is being over run by herbs

hey all - i need recipes that incorporate rosemary, dill, chives, or mint.
i bought some small plants and within two weeks the rosemary has doubled and the chives are insanely tall, as is the dill. the mint is just growing beautifully in a fragrant cascade down the window sill.
maybe i'll bake a lot of rosemary bread and drink lots of mojitos.

speaking of baking - i tried this recipe for raspberry lime bread, and it was pretty good. it didn't come out nearly as pretty as that picture, but it tasted pretty good. the lime was subtle, i wish it was a bit stronger. i cut back on the sugar a little bit since i was using turbinado sugar, and used whole wheat pastry flour instead of all purpose flour. the milk i used was almond milk, which i think lent it a softer flavor, almost creamy.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

buy an icecream maker

I got an ice cream maker. I think I am obsessed. How is it that making ice cream is easier than baking cookies?

The first batch I did was banana-buttermilk ice cream, but I added two handfuls of chocolate chips. Amazing. I also cut the sugar in half. The taste? Unreal. The consistency isn't like store bought ice cream, it melts in your mouth a bit more, but still. Ice cream.

The lady who writes bakingsheet just put up a caramelized banana ice cream. Insanitude.

Speaking of which - wtf!

Monday, July 17, 2006

cupcakes galore

This weekend was spent in Pittsburgh, and to celebrate (and because I
try to bring Anthony's dad ridiculous foods whenever I visit) I made
two kinds of cupcakes - humming bird and chocolate zucchini.

The only modifications I made to the recipes were to use whole wheat pastry flour
and slightly less sugar than called for, but nothing significant. I bet the
hummingbird cupcakes could be made without the eggs as the bananas are a binder,
or perhaps adding an extra banana or some flax would work. I'll try that out.

Baking with so much more butter and oil than usual made me a bit uneasy. It's not
like I eat this every day, but still. It was worth it though - the chocolate
cupcakes were great (although not sweet enough for a five year old palate, the adults
liked them) and the hummingbird cupcakes have a hint of pineapple and a subtle
sweetness. I froze half of the chocolate cupcakes - we'll see how well they do.

Also, if someone could clarify muffin vs cupcake for me that'd be great. As of now
I've decided that cupcakes have frosting, muffins don't. But I guess a bran muffin
with frosting would still be a muffin? I am just trying to rationalize my breakfast
of a hummingbird cupcake (without frosting!)...

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

buckwheat and blueberry cake

My grandmother made me eat a lot of kasha when I was growing up, so buckwheat
is something that I have come to love. The flavor is quite potent in this cake,
so if you are not a buckwheat fan you probably want nothing to do with this. This
is great for breakfast!

I got the recipe from Orangette and
made a few subs - I used whole wheat pastry flour instead of the all-purpose flour, used 1/2 cup of turbinado sugar instead of the 3/4 cup of light brown sugar and added three dried slices of navel oranges (Trader Joes sells this - I have never seen it anywhere else before), which I think was key. The orange slices made the cake slightly sweet and fruity, but the orange wasn't overpowering. If you can't find dried orange slices, I'd up the orange zest to the zest from one whole orange. Some nuts would probably also be a nice addition - maybe pecans or walnuts.

Buckwheat and blueberry cake:
1 cup buckwheat flour
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/2 tsp kosher salt
4 tsp baking powder
3 slices dried orange, chopped
2 large eggs
2 cups buttermilk
6 Tbs unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1/4 cup honey
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup fresh blueberries

For the baking instructions just go to the Orangette link above. I don't have a bundt
pan so I used a large springform pan instead. The cake is excellent but is not a light cake, and is really great toasted with some butter.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

banana oatmeal cookies

I modified this recipe and it turned out pretty well.

Banana Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1/4 t sea salt
2 T butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar (I used unrefined)
1 mashed banana
1 egg
1 t vanilla
1 1/2 cups oats (quick cooking, but not instant)
1/4 cup chocolate chips
1/4 cup crushed walnuts

- preheat oven to 350 and get a baking sheet ready (I've been using
a baking spray from Trader Joe's)
- mix together the flour, baking powder, soda and salt
- cream together the butter and sugar, then add the banana and egg, followed
by the vanilla
- gradually add in the flour
- stir in the oats, chocolate chips and walnuts
- spoon onto cookie sheet and bake for 11 min

The cookies taste great - the banana stands out a lot. The cookies didn't spread out, so the ones that I made into nice little balls stayed nice little balls, and the ones
I pressed down on spread out a little and looked more cookie-like. I think that
perhaps the whole wheat flour was too much and maybe I should try again with whole wheat pastry flour or a mix of the two. I'd also add more walnuts and instead of more chocolate chips (OK maybe a little bit more) break up the chocolate chips instead. Overall, pretty good cookie!

Friday, June 23, 2006 is a way to bookmark webpages - I am using it to store all the recipes
I find. There is a really great introduction to it here
and you can find all of my bookmarked sites here.

I know I've been posting sporadically on here - I will add a recipe for an oat carob chip bar that I made (which I bet would make an awesome muffin! Hmmm!) a few days ago before I head off to... Alaska! I am also going to try out a biscotti recipe for my dad's birthday, and I'll post the results.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Mango fool

So apparently in dessert terms a 'fool' is anything that involves folding fruit in with whipped cream. This recipe involves mango, heavy whipping cream and the secret ingredient of labneh, a mediterranean style yogurt (or in it's place you can use sour cream - Trader Joe's sells a version of labneh in a tub so it should be pretty easy to get if there is a Trader Joe's near you, or a fancy market.).

1/4 pint heavy whipping cream (1/2 a small container)
1 c labneh/sour cream
2 ripe mangos (is it mangoes?)
1 T sugar (plus more to taste)
lemon or lime, freshly squeezed

in a bowl, stir the labneh (or whatever you choose to use) to loosen it up a bit
in a separate bowl, whip the heavy cream until it is thick, but not so thick that it holds stiff peaks
fold the cream into the labneh

in a blender of food processor, puree the mango w/1 T of sugar and a few tablespoons of lemon or lime juice (to taste)

fold the mango into the dairy mixture, add more lemon/lime juice and/or sugar if you want, and you're done!

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Double chocolate almond cookies aka Billie's favorite cookies

This recipe makes some of the best vegan cookies I've ever had (or made!).
It's pretty much straight out of Vive le Vegan! (which also has some other great dessert recipes that are worth trying).

1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
3 T toasted almond pieces
3 T chocolate chips
1/4 cup unrefined sugar (a little scant)
1/4 t sea salt
1/3 cup maple syrup (a little generous)
1 t vanilla extract
1/2 t almond extract (optional)
1/4 cup canola oil (a little generous)

1. preheat oven to 350 and oil a cookie sheet or cover it with parchment paper
2. in a large bowl, combine the flour, cocoa, baking powder and baking soda
3. add the almond pieces, chocolate chips, sugar and salt and stir until well combined
4. in a different bowl, combine the maple syrup with the vanilla and almond extracts, then add in the oil and stir until well combined
5. add the wet mixture to the dry and stir until well combined but don't overmix
6. place large spoonfulls of the batter on the cookie sheet and press down on them a little bit
7. bake for 11 minutes, until golden - baking for much longer causes them to dry out
8. transfer from the cookie sheet to a cooling rack within a minute of taking them out of the oven (again because they'll dry out if on the hot cookie sheet too long)

Friday, June 02, 2006

A quick note and another (chocolate/peanut butter) cake

Sorry I haven't been updating - I know I promised to put up a cookie recipe (sorry Billie!) and I will do that soon. Really.
I changed the settings so that you can comment even if you don't have a blogspot blog, so feel free to add comments!

Now for another cake recipe -

I adapted this recipe from Bryanna Clark Grogan's excellent blog (I also suggest you try to make the rosewater baklava - it's easy and really good!).

chocolate fudge and peanut butter pudding cake
You end up with something that is cakey on top and the bottom is pudding/sauce and tastes really good.

Need: 8" baking pan, greased

1 c whole wheat pastry flour
1/4 c sugar of your choice
1/4 c oat bran OR oat flour
1/4 c unsweetened cocoa powder
2 t baking powder
1/4 t salt
3/4 c nondairy milk
2 t vanilla
1 c sugar
1/4 c unsweetened cocoa powder
2 c water
1/2 c chunky peanut butter (this is what the original called for, but I'll increase it to 3/4 c next time)

1. preheat oven to 350 degrees
2. combine the first six dry ingredients in a bowl and mix
3. stir in (but don't over mix!) the fake milk and vanilla
4. spread this batter into the baking pan
5. in a small bowl combine the sugar and cocoa powder and sprinkle on top of the
batter in the pan
6. heat the water in a small pan and when it begins to boil add the peanut butter, and when it is smooth pour over the batter in the pan but DO NOT stir
6. bake for 35 minutes

- place a baking sheet in the oven rack below the cake pan to catch things if they drip
- serve warm

Tahini Cake

I first saw this recipe on Shmooed Food and thought I'd give it a try. I substituted whole wheat pastry flour for the all-purpose flour, decreased the sugar (I used fresh squeezed orange juice which was already pretty sweet), increased the walnuts and used a combination of dried berries (raisins, cranberries, blueberries) instead of just the raisins originally called for. I really liked the end result - it's a fairly dense cake w/a subtle tahini flavor. The berries lend a nice sweetness that isn't too much - I wouldn't eat this for desert, but it makes a great snack or breakfast!

Need: an 8" cake pan or springform pan (probably the easiest)
hand mixer

2 1/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour
3 1/4 t baking powder
3/4 t salt
1 t cinnamon (plus more for dusting in the top before baking)
3/4 c tahini
3/4 cup orange juice (plus a little bit more if the batter is really dry)
1/3 cup turbinado sugar (if you want this to be on the sweet side try increasing the amount or using more berries)
3/4 cup mixed berries
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

1. preheat oven to 350 degrees
spray the pan w/nonstick spray (I use one that has flour in it already, if you don't have one like this just dust with flour)

2. combine the flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon in a bowl

3. in a large bowl, pour in the tahini and while beating with an electric mixer slowly pour in the orange juice and then the sugar - continue mixing until the mixture is smooth and light in color

4. add the flour mixture to the tahini mixture and mix well - you can continue to use the hand mixer but the dough gets to be pretty thick at which point you can switch to a spoon or knead it with your hands as you add the berries and walnuts

5. press the dough into the pan and sprinkle some more cinnamon on top

6. bake for 35 minutes, until golden brown on top and let it cool for a few minutes before taking it out of the pan.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

miso pesto, harira and apricot blondies

This week I made three recipes from Nava Atlas's website.

Spinach miso pesto with noodles (Robina's adaptation, which is also based on the same recipe

18 oz baby spinach
1/2 cup firmly packed fresh basil
1/4 cup pine nuts
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons miso
3 cloves garlic (I love garlic, but this might be too much for some)
10 oz bag of soba noodles (I already had these in my pantry, but I bet it would
work well w/Udon or even whole wheat spaghetti)

1. Steam the spinach until wilted, let cool for a bit and then squeeze out as much
of the water as possible

2. Place the spinach, basil, pine nuts, olive oil, miso and garlic in a food processor and pulse until a coarse mixture is formed. Taste and adjust as needed - I added a little more basil than the original 1/2 cup.

3. Make the noodles, and top the noodles with the pesto.

I found that this made A LOT of pesto, way more than I needed for the pasta.
I had enough of the pesto left over (after taking out three servings worth - basically a big T) to fill an ice cube tray. Freezing the left over pesto and then transferring it to a plastic bag ensures some more quick and easy meals in the future!

Harira based on this recipe
This is a really really easy soup that I love to make. The whole thing, including chopping, rinsing and waiting, took 45 minutes or so.

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 onions, chopped
3 large celery stalks, diced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
3/4 cup dried red lentils
2 teaspoons turmeric
3 teaspoons cumin
1/2 teaspoon dried ginger
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
10 oz package of cherry or other small tomatoes, diced (I just used a food processor)
16 oz can of chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 lemon, juiced
1/2 cup chopped cilantro

1. In a soup pot, heat the oil and add the onions. Saute over medium heat until
translucent and then add the celery and garlic. Saute until the onions are golden.

2. Add 6 cups of water, the lentils and spices to the onion mixture. Bring to a simmer, cover and simmer gently until the lentils are slightly tender (about 30 minutes).

3. Add the tomatoes and chickpeas (add more water if the soup is too think for your liking), and continue to simmer over low heat. Stir in the lemon juice and cilantro and season with salt and pepper (or more lemon juice!).

I had a big bowl of this with some garlic naan from Trader Joes. Perfect.

Apricot Blondies
I am always on the lookout for healthyish deserts, and this one seemed to fit the bill. I am still torn as to whether or not there was too much apricot flavor in these - Anthony hates apricots and liked these, where as I love apricots and felt that the dried apricot was a little too sweet. The original recipe is here.

1.5 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
pinch of ground nutmeg
2 teaspoons of cinnamon (I added this on the top right before the oven, but next
time I'll add it into the batter itself)
2 tablespoons ground flaxseeds
1 single serving container of lowfat vanilla yogurt
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 tablespoons canola oil
1/4 cup soymilk, or as needed
3/4 cup finely diced dried apricots
3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup finely chopped walnuts

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8x8 baking dish.

2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the dry ingredients (the first 6 ingredients) and stir

3. Make a well in the center of the bowl and pour in the wet ingredients (the next three and enough soymilk to make the batter smooth, but still slightly stiff). Stir until completely combined. Add in the apricots, chocolate chips and walnuts.

4. Transfer to the baking dish and bake for about 20 - 25 minutes, until the top is golden brown. Let cool in the dish before cutting.

This recipe made 9 really moist and somewhat decadent blondies - I think I need to experiment more with the apricots, though.

Monday, May 08, 2006

planting pansies, napping on hammocks

During my junior and senior years of college I lived off campus in a somewhat run down but awesome house with Alison, Laura and Patrick (although others lived there as well, but we were the ones that stuck it out the longest).

Most of my springtime memories involve Alison's hammock on the front porch, planting pansies, trips to Adam's to buy lots of fresh fruit and vegetables (along with amazing pesto), and making recipes out of the moosewood cookbook. There were also lots of car rides with Laura (which involved listening to a lot of the Magnetic Fields), trips to an amazing indian buffet near Rhinebeck and eating at a restaurant owned by a former drummer for Murphy's Law in New Paltz.

Alison, Laura and I spent a lot of time in the kitchen. Our other roommate Patrick, not so much. In memory of those spring days here is an archive of Mollie Katzen's recipes that I found when I was searching for some recipes last week.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

recipe blogs and new cookbook

I am really still figuring things out as a cook, so I use lots of different cookbooks and websites to get ideas.

My favorite websites right now that I use for recipes are:
Nava Atlas's blog and her "recipe's galore" site

Dreena Burton, the author of Vive le Vegan! and Everyday Vegan has a recipes site and a blog where she posts things she is working on. In addition, there is a site where she posts a lot of useful information on ingredients that she uses.

The Vegan Lunchbox always has good ideas and tips, and the recipes for some of the lunches can be found at Shmooed Food.

I broke my promise to myself of not buying anymore cookbooks when I saw The Silver Spoon on sale at Costco. I justified the purchase because it is basically a cooking encyclopedia (it is arranged by ingredients and the index is wonderful), it was half the usual price, and it was published by Phaidon. My dream library would probably be 80% Phaidon and MIT Press books.

I think that I really do need to stop buying cookbooks, but I am contemplating subscribing to Cook's Illustrated because I love watching America's Test Kitchen. Not only do they make awesome things, but they research the recipes and explain why certain ingredients work better than others and have lots of reviews of the kitchen tools and brands.

Oat bars

I adapted a recipe for granola bars from Nava Atlas' website

Her recipe called for granola, which I didn't have, and I also upped the flax seed and added some nuts. I added extra applesauce to get the batter moistened and used a different oil.

Whatever I have in the Pantry Oat Bars:
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
4 T ground flaxseed
1/2 t baking soda
2 T natural granulated sugar
pinch of salt
1/2 + 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 T olive oil
1 cup quick cooking rolled oats
1/2 cup crushed walnuts
1/2 cup random dried berry assortment (I got this at Trader Joes, where I am sure
it has a much nicer name. I think the berries included cranberries, blueberries and cherries)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees

Combine the flour, flaxseed, baking soda, sugar and salt in a bowl
Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and add 1/2 cup applesauce
and the olive oil

Begin to combine, but if the batter is too dry just keep adding applesauce as needed

The batter will get fairly thick once the applesauce and the flour mixture are incorporated

Add in the rolled oats, nuts and berries and stir

If it's not coming together add in a bit more applesauce

Pour the batter into a lightly oiled 8 x 8 inch pan and pat down

Bake for about 20 min, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean

Let cool and then cut into bars

This made 9 bars (I cut them small to use for snacks) and they were soft and cakey, but not too soft. I think some cinnamon would have been a nice addition, and perhaps instead of sugar a T of maple syrup would have been nice. These were incredibly simple to make, you only need to wash one bowl (which is good for me because I am terrible at dishes) and are pretty healthy. They also taste great warm.

Monday, May 01, 2006

easy as pie

I know I've been slacking on updating this, but not to worry.
Upcoming recipes will include double chocolate almond cookies (I didn't forget, Billie!), eggplant and seitan falafel, and a recipe for the best oatmeal chocolate chip cookies ever (seriously).

In the meantime, I made a really simple pie using a whole lot of frozen berries (I used cherries and blueberries) and a small container of blackberries.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

To make the crust -
I adapted this recipe

1 cup whole wheat flour (all purpose - I ran out of pastry)
1 cup white flour (all purpose)
2 t sugar
1 t salt
1/2 - 2/3 cup canola oil
3 - 4 tablespoons soy milk (could use regular milk, almond milk, etc...)

In a 9" pie plate placed on a clean counter, combine the flours, sugar and salt
In a measuring cup, whisk together the oil and milk
Pour that over the flour mixture in the pie plate and using a fork combine until the flour is evenly dampended
(I had to add a bit more oil and milk to get this to happen)
Using your hands, spread the crust across the bottom and sides of the plate, and let the extra fall onto the counter and reserve it for the top

To make the filling -
Take about 2 - 3 cups of fresh and frozen berries and blend in a blender until
smooth. Add a bit of maple syrup and lemon to adjust the sweetness/tartness.
Add this to 1 cup of berries, stir and add some cinnamon

To assemble -
Add 3 T cornstarch to the berry mixture and the pour into the pie plate
Top with the remaining crust crumbles (I just scatter them across the top)

Bake for 40 minutes

Monday, April 17, 2006

Cocoa-almond-honey rolls

I adapted these from the honey bee no bakes recipe on shmooedfood

1.5 c oat bran
generous 1/8 cup cocoa powder
1 T vanilla
generous 1/4 cup almond butter
1/3 cup honey
Maple syrup, as needed

In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients
Knead well with your hands
To help the mixture stay together add a bit of maple syrup, or a bit more
almond butter depending on how sweet you want it

Pinch off bits of the dough, roll into balls and place in a container

I snacked on these all day yesterday, but I wisely put a bunch aside as snacks for this week.

Really simple, quick and somewhat healthy treats!

UPDATE: I made these again last night but without the honey (used maple syrup instead), added cinammon, no vanilla and used more cocoa powder and I think they came out better. The taste was similar to a dark-chocolate almond truffle.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Matzoh and Cheese Pie

Matzoh and cheese pie

This is a traditional Passover recipe from Greece - it tastes like boureakas pie!
I think it would go great with tomato soup and/or a large green salad.
The cheese is salty enough so that I didn't need to add any salt, but be sure to taste the cheese mixture
to make sure it tastes good to you.

Serves 8

Total of 1 lb of cheese - use a mixture of feta, cheddar, jack and mozz (1/4 lb each; save a bit for topping)
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup chopped dill
6 eggs, seperated
6 - 8 matzohs, enough to line the pan in two full layers

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees
Oil a 10 x 14 x 2 inch baking pan

In a bowl, mix together the cheeses, olive oil and dill
In a seperate bowl whisk together the egg yols until creamy
Add the yolks into the cheeses
In another bowl, beat together the egg whites until stiff peaks form
Fold egg whites into cheese and yolk mixture

In a shallow dish large enough to hold about half the matzohs place half the matzohs and cover with water
Let rest for 3 minutes for the matzoh to soften, then drain and use them to line the pan

Cover the matzoh layer with the cheese and egg mixture

Soak the remaining matzohs and use them to top the cheese and egg mixture

Sprinkle the top with cheese and bake, uncovered, for 30 - 40 minutes, until brown on top

Friday, April 07, 2006

Favorite cookbooks

I've been asked to list my favorite cookbooks, so here they are:

Some of the best cookies, brownies and breads I've made recently come from the following two:
vive le vegan

everyday vegan

Great meal ideas, simple recipes:
fresh food fast

I bought this mainly because it had a lot of recipes for foods I ate as a kid, and it has been used quite often. The bourekas recipe is my favorite thing in here (there is also a great recipe for bulgur patties that you can buy at Soul Veg.):
the foods of israel today

Simple, elegant and fast recipes, with beautiful pictures and really helpful tips:
the instant cook

Sephardic cooking has always appealed to me, and this book is filled with great recipes and is incredibly veggie friendly:
sephardic flavors

I got this cookbook probably 10 years ago. The breakfast and muffin recipes are wonderful, and there is a recipe for an italian rice pudding cake that I adore:
essential vegetarian cookbook

A great vegetarian cookbook, with recipes from around the world:
olive trees and honey

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Passover - NY Times article

I thought this was pretty interesting.

April 5, 2006
It's Passover, Lighten Up

WHEN Emily Moore, a Seattle-based chef and instructor, was invited to consult on recipes for Streit's Matzo, she assumed that the baked goods would have their traditional heft, because no leavening can be used during Passover.

Not so, said Rabbi Moshe Soloveichik, a member of a prominent rabbinic dynasty, who oversees the company's ritual observances. Let the cookies and cakes rise, he told her. Let there be baking soda and baking powder.

"He acted like I was crazy," Ms. Moore said.

The biblical prohibition against leavened bread at Passover — which begins on Wednesday night — has kept observant Jews from using any leavening at all. Cakes and cookies of matzo meal (ground matzo), matzo cake meal (which is more finely ground) and nuts can be tasty, but dense.

So it will surprise many Jews — it certainly surprised me — that among the profusion of products that most Orthodox certification agencies have approved for Passover are not just baking soda, but also baking powder.

Some rabbis are lifting other dietary prohibitions that they say were based on misunderstandings or overly cautious interpretations of biblical sanctions, and because they want to simplify the observance.

"The holiday has become overly complicated, and people are turning away from the rigorous practice of it," said Rabbi Jeffrey A. Wohlberg, the senior rabbi at conservative Adas Israel Congregation in Washington.

Last year, Rabbi Wohlberg said it was permissible for his congregants to eat legumes, called kitniyot in Hebrew. They are usually beyond the pale at Passover for the most rigorous observers, but are increasingly accepted by many Conservative and Orthodox rabbis, particularly in Israel.

"I have also talked to a lot of young mothers over the years whose children, for example, are lactose intolerant and want to use soy milk," Rabbi Wohlberg said. "But soy is a bean and hasn't been permissible."

The restrictions have their roots in the Book of Exodus, which tells of how the Israelites fled Egypt in such haste that they could not let their bread rise and become "chometz" in Hebrew. Only unleavened bread, matzo, is eaten during the eight days of Passover, in memory of the Israelites' hardships and in celebration of their escape from slavery.

"No leaven shall be seen with you in all your territory" during Passover, it was written. But, as Ms. Moore said, "There is a lot of misunderstanding about what leavening means for Passover."

Jews avoid flour or grains, for fear that they might become leavened even without the addition of yeast. (Matzo meal, since it's already been baked, is less likely to rise and become leavened.)

Matzo, a simple mixture of flour and water, must be made in less than 18 minutes to avoid the possibility that the dough could ferment and then rise before being baked. "The Talmud says that it should take no longer to make matzo than the time to walk a Roman mile, which later generations understood to be 18 minutes," said Dr. David Kraemer, professor of Talmud and rabbinics at the Jewish Theological Seminary.

At Passover, some ultra-Orthodox Jews will not eat matzo that has become wet, including matzo balls. Instead of matzo meal, or the fine matzo cake meal, they use potato starch in cakes and other dishes.

But rabbis in even some of the most Orthodox associations say chometz does not refer to all leavening.

"There is nothing wrong about a raised product at Passover per se," said Rabbi Moshe Elefant, executive rabbinic coordinator and chief operating officer of the Orthodox Union's kosher division, the oldest and most widely accepted certifier of kosher foods.

Lise Stern, author of "How to Keep Kosher" (Morrow, 2004), said: "Chometz, which means sharp or sour, denotes bread that has a sourness to it caused by fermentation, occurring when liquid is added to any of the five grains mentioned in the Torah. This refers to yeast, not baking powder or baking soda."

Rabbi Soloveichik said: "They're just minerals. What do we care about minerals?"

While kosher for Passover baking soda and baking powder can be hard to find in supermarkets, they have been available in Orthodox neighborhoods for years. Erba Food Products, of Brooklyn, made kosher for Passover baking powder in the late 1960's.

Ms. Moore, who creates kosher recipes for the Elliott Bay Baking Company in Seattle, adjusted recipes for matzo meal, which is heavier than flour, to make vanilla sesame, lemon ginger and double chocolate mocha cookies with baking soda or baking powder (made with potato starch, not corn starch, which is made from a grain that is avoided).

The ban on legumes is connected to the ban on leavening. Jews in medieval Europe began to keep beans and lentils, as well as grains, from the Passover table because until modern times they were often ground into flour. The use of rice and corn were later restricted, too, by some Jews. But Sephardic Jews of the Middle East continued to eat them at Passover.

Over the past few years legumes have become accepted for Passover by the Israeli Army and the Masorti movement (as Conservative Judaism is known in Israel) partly because of increased intermarriage between Sephardic Jews and Ashkenazi Jews, as those of European descent are called.

A delicious Moroccan Passover dish of shad and fava beans takes advantage of the freer interpretation of the Passover pantry and the bounty of spring.

The Passover table has changed in many ways. More than 21,000 kosher for Passover items are available in the United States, with 500 new ones this year, said Menachem Lubinsky, president of Lubicom, a marketing firm specializing in kosher food.

With such items as Passover pasta (made from potato starch), quinoa salads, tricolored matzo balls, and ingredients like grape seed oil, kosher organic chickens and matzo breadsticks, a lot of the suffering is being taken out of Passover.

In the weeks before Passover, many homes are rigorously cleaned, and every bit of chometz or leavening removed. Some people avoid cooking in their newly cleaned homes by going to a resort that is kosher for Passover, a practice that in the past few years has been boosting business in the Caribbean and around the country during a traditionally slow period.

At the Hyatt Dorado Beach Resort and Country Club in Puerto Rico, Robin Mortkowitz, a therapist in Fairlawn, N.J., who became Orthodox when she married, was swept away by new foods like sushi made from quinoa, the sesame-seed-sized kernel cultivated in the Andes that many certifying agencies have ruled is not a forbidden grain.

"With people becoming more sophisticated, we have to step up the food program," said Sol Kirschenbaum, an owner of Levana restaurant in New York, which arranged the food at the Hyatt. "It's wild mushrooms and grilled rack of lamb, but I still need to have chicken soup and gefilte fish for the 60- to 90-year-olds."

Kosher companies are also sprucing up their food. Susie Fishbein, author of the popular "Kosher by Design" series of cookbooks, said she is creating recipes for the Manischewitz Web site and food boxes, like tricolored matzo balls with green spinach, yellow turmeric and red tomato paste, using olive oil instead of schmaltz.

"Companies like Manischewitz can't survive on kosher gefilte fish anymore," Ms. Fishbein said. "A whole new generation of cooks is looking for fresh ideas."

But some still find beauty in tradition. When the cookbook author Tamasin Day-Lewis made a flourless almond cake with a fresh orange and mandarin syrup for a party recently, some of her guests who were Jewish said, "This is perfect for Passover."

Tuesday, April 04, 2006


By request I am beginning to compile some Pesach recipes.
My mom sent me a cookbook just for Passover, but I've never tried to make anything from it because the recipes all seem very fancy.
I also picked up an issue of Gourmet magazine because it had some Passover recipes in it, so I think it might be a fancy Passover in Chicago this year.

I cursory websearch also turned up a vegan matzoh ball recipe from the ppk , and the comments section for that recipe gets into whether or
not tofu is kosher for Passover.

Every Passover at my parents' house we always have matzoh ball soup (my mom tops hers with a cinnamon and sugar mixture, leading to a debate between her and my dad as to whether Lithuanians or Ukrainians have better food which usually ends with my dad saying that Lithuanian Jews are snobby), tzimmes and gefilte fish. Both of my grandmothers made their gefilte fish from scratch - my dad's mom was famous for hers and we'd always have a lot of people come over the first and second seders just to eat her cooking. My mom's mom made hers with a tomato puree topping which was amazing. I do not think I will make my own anytime soon, but I always feel bad for people whose only taste of gefilte fish is from the jarred kind. That is what we eat now, unless we go to my sister's in-law's house where we eat the Polish version, which is too sweet for me. My mom also makes matzoh bagels every year which are small and greasy little things, almost like donuts. They are addictive.

One of my favorite Passover snacks is also the simplest: peanut butter and jelly on matzoh.

Legumes, grains and frozen cherries

This past weekend I made a chickpea polenta that was a bit weird. I keep forgetting that I am not the biggest fan of oregano and thyme, and this recipe was heavy on both. I think I'll try it again, perhaps with cumin and curry instead. I topped the polenta with olives, cherry tomatoes, onion and parmesan before putting it under the broiler for a minute. All in all, the top was good, the spices not so much.

I also made a quinoa risotta with arugula, shitake mushrooms and onions. That was pretty good and really simple to make. I'll post that recipe when I get a chance.

Both recipes came from the new mayo clinic cookbook

The best thing I made for this week was a cherry and apple crisp.
I chopped up two apples, added a bit of lemon juice, 2 cups of frozen cherries, lots of cinnamon and a dash of nutmeg for the base. As a binder, I combined some maple syrup and arrowroot (otherwise this thing would be ultra soggy), and topped the whole thing with some ground oats I had in the pantry, more cinnamon, a bit of canola oil and ground flaxseed. After about 45 minutes in the oven it was done and it's so good. I forget how much I love cherries and the frozen cherries I had tasted as good as fresh ones!

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

spinach soup with rice & curried chickpea pancakes

One of my favorite cookbooks is "Fresh Food Fast" by Peter Berley.
It's divided into seasons, highlighting seasonal fruits and vegetables and there are multiple menus in each section.

I've made this soup many times and it is a great winter soup (even though it is part of the spring section).
The pancakes are super simple and really tasty.
Heather brought over some bruschetta to go with the meal, which fit in perfectly.
The pancakes are also great with greek yogurt. Mmmmm!!!

Spinach soup with basmati rice

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
10 oz bag baby spinach
1/3 cup basmati rice
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspon ground cumin
1 teaspoon seasalt, plus more to taste
1/4 cup chopped fresh dill
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, plus more to taste (I added quite a bit more, actually)
freshly milled black pepper, to taste

1. In a large saucepan over medium heat warm the olive oil.
Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 5 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, in a blender, working in batches, puree the spinach with 1 cup of water until smooth.

3. Add the rice, garlic and cumin to the onions and cook, stirring or about 1 minute.

4. Add the spinach puree, 3 cups of water, and salt and bring to a boil.
Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

5. Stir in the dill and simmer, covered, until the rice is tender, about 3 - 4 minutes.
Add the lemon juice and season with salt and pepper.
Add additional water if the soup is too thick.

Curried chickpea pancakes

2 cups chickpea flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 tablespoons curry powder
1 tablespoon sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 cups of water
1 cup plain yogurt
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
3 tablespoons canola oil
6 scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced
1 cup chopped fresh cilantro

1. Place a baking sheet in the oven and preheat to 200

2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder, curry powder, salt and pepper.
In a medium bowl, whisk together 2 cups of water, yogurt, eggs adn 2 tablespoons of the oil.
Pour the wet mixture into the dry and stir to combine.
Add the scallions and chopped cilantro and mix well.

3. Place one or two small nonstick skillets over medium heat.
Coat with the remaining tablespoon of oil and heat for 30 seconds.
Ladle 2/3 cup of batter in the pan(s).
Fry for about 4 minutes until the surface of the pancake has begun to dry out and bubbles are formed.
Flip and fry for 3 minutes more.
Transfer the cooked pancakes to the heated baking pan and keep warm in the oven.
Repeat until the batter is used up.

berry cupcake shortcake

i made this for dessert a few weeks ago and it was really simple and awesome.
the cupcake recipe is a modification of one on

makes 12 big ones in a regular muffin tin

1 ½ scant cups plain soymilk
1 TB apple cider vinegar
2 1/8 cups whole wheat pastry flour
2 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. kosher salt
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup oil
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

1. preheat oven to 350ยบ
line muffin tin w/cupcake liners

2. measure out the soymilk and add the apple cider vinegar
stir well and set aside - it will curdle

3. in a large mixing bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, bp, bs and salt

4. in another mixing bowl, whisk together the soymilk/vinegar, oil and vanilla

5. add wet to dry and beat until smooth w/a hand blender

6. fill each muffin tin with the batter and bake for about 20 min, until
a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean

7. let rest in the pan for 5 minutes, and then remove from pan and
place on wire rack to continue cooling.

to make this into shortcakes, just cut the cupcakes into thirds (i made one
cut to take off the top and another in the middle of the rest) and put a few spoonfuls
of your favorite berries and some whipped cream on top of each layer.

i drizzled some blueberry maple syrup (defrosted some blueberries, added maple syrup and blended
that together - awesome on pancakes!) on the tops as well.

winter squash and spinach lasagna

I lifted this recipe from Robina's food blog (, but modified it a bit:

2 6 oz bags of baby spinach
2 tbs olive oil
4 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
2.5 tbs buttery spread (such as earth balance or soy garden, or umm... butter)
3 tbs. whole wheat flour
1/2 cup water
~ 24 oz winter squash (see note)
3/4 tsp. nutmeg
1 container of lowfat ricotta cheese
1.5 tsp. dried basil
1.5 tsp. salt, or to taste
2/3 cup pecorino romano cheese, grated
1 egg
6-8 oz. part-skim mozarella cheese, shredded
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 handful toasted almonds
box no-boil whole wheat lasagna noodles

NOTE: i got two boxes of 'winter harvest' from trader joes. basically, it's a bunch of butternut squash, sweet potatoes and other things cut into cubes. to use in the recipe, i cut about 1.5 boxes worth of the veggies into thin slices.

1. preheat oven to 350F.
grease a lasagna pan

2. melt 2 1/2 tbs. butter in a medium saucepan, over low heat.
when it is melted completely, stir or whisk in the 3tbs. of whole wheat flour until it is thick and smooth.
whisk in 1/2 cup water gradually, until creamy.
add squash.
cover and let this cook completely.
take care to check it and stir often.

3. while the squash is cooking, heat 2 tbs. olive oil in a saute pan over medium heat.
add minced garlic and fry up til softened and fragrant.
add spinach and a pinch of salt.
cover and cook on medium-low heat for about 5 minutes or until spinach is tender. remove from heat.

4. mix ricotta, dried basil, 1/3 cup of the pecorino romano, egg, 1 tsp. salt, and spinach in a bowl.

5. when the squash is done cooking, stir in 1/2 tsp of the nutmeg and 1/2 tsp. salt.

6. layering!
a. spread 1/4 of the squash in the pan.
b. then layer lasagna noodles
c. another 1/4 of the squash
d. 1/2 of the ricotta mixture
e. 1/3 of the mozarella.
repeat this again
on top of the last layer of the lasagna noodles add the rest of the squash, mozarella and pecorino romano.

7. topping!
mix brown sugar with 1/4 tsp. cinnamon and 1/4 tsp. nutmeg in a small measuring cup.
top the lasagna with 1 (or 2 - i have big hands!) handfuls of sliced almonds, crushing them a bit in your hand as you
spread them, and the spice/sugar mixture.

8. cook!
cover the lasagna with aluminum foil for 40 minutes.
uncover lasagna and cook for another 20 minutes.

this smelled so good coming out of the oven! if it wasn't close to 1 am i would have cut myself a giant slice.