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