Saturday, December 8, 2007

Scrumptious and healthy (sort of) almond cookies

This makes a pretty small batch, but almond flour is expensive.

2 cups almond flour
1/6 cup butter
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup agave syrup (you could use honey or golden syrup instead)
1 egg
1/4 cup coconut flakes
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 tablespoon almond butter (or you could try peanut butter)
1/4 cup flax seeds (you could leave this out, but it gives it extra protein and a little texture)

raspberry jam and chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350F.
Mix flour and butter (i used my hands to get it smooth). Add in everything else.
Use a teaspoon to make 1inch balls and lay them on a cookie sheet. Start them baking for 3-5 minutes, then take them out and either flatten them with a fork or i put a little dent in some and filled it with raspberry jam/a chocolate chip. let them bake for another 8-10 mins...Until just a little brown on the outside.
Let cool. Devour.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

A correction

In the "Winter Veggie Soup" post, when I said "seeds discarded" what I REALLY meant to say was, "seeds roasted and eaten separately."

My apologies to any seed-lovers out there I may have offended :-)

Winter Veggie Soup

(Swiped from -- with a few revisions)

3 tbsp olive oil
1 cup coarsely chopped onion
1 cup peeled, cored and coarsely chopped Granny Smith apple
1 cup peeled and coarsely chopped turnip
1 cup peeled and chopped butternut squash (seeds discarded)
1 cup coarsely chopped carrot
1 cup peeled, chopped sweet potato
5 cups vegetable stock
2 Tb maple syrup
Cayenne pepper
1 small whole-grain baguette
goat cheese

Heat oil in a large saucepan on medium-high heat. Add onion and sauté until translucent. Add apple, turnip, squash, carrot, and sweet potato; season with salt, then sauté 5 minutes. Add stock, bring to a boil and simmer, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Add syrup, then cayenne pepper to taste. Cool slightly. Puree with a handheld mixer, food processor or blender.

Then: you can do two things. Either slice up the bread, toast it, spread goat cheese on it, and then float it in the soup; or, to add a yummy little kick to the soup, stir the goat cheese right in.

Lentil and mushroom shepherds pie

2 cups vegetable broth,
2 teaspoons Marmite (or use yeast to make your own yeast extract)
1.5 cups dry lentils
2 large carrots, diced
1 onion, finely chopped
6 potatoes, chopped
milk or butter for mashed potatoes
1 large portabello mushroom cut into chunks
half a bundle of spinach
cheese (cheddar or Wensleydale)
salt and pepper to taste
*i'm very haphazard about measuring things,so trust your instincts especially with lentils and water.
*This makes a huge shepherds pie because we had lots of potatoes to use up and a big pan. You may want to use half measures.

Preheat oven to 350F
First start cooking the potatoes in boiling, lightly salted water. Then put the broth and lentils on a low heat with the marmite garlic and oregano. After about ten minutes add carrots and onions, and a little water. I also threw in more garlic and oregano. Thats going to need to simmer for about 20 more minutes, so during that time make your mash. We went with slightly cheesy mash with milk, salt and pepper. Set this aside.
Next saute the mushroom with garlic and olive oil. Throw in the spinach. Once your lentils are cooked you just need to layer things into an oven proof pan. Mushrooms and spinach go on the bottom, followed by lentils and then mashed potatoes. Sprinkle cheese on the top and then put into the oven for about 30 mins.

This would probably be really good with green beans or peas added.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Three-Cheese Pesto Pizza

So simple . . . so obvious . . . and sooo flippin' yummy.

1 pizza crust (we used store-bought . . . though I'm sure homemade would be even yummier)
Enough basil pesto (with lots of garlic!) to cover said pizza crust
fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced
feta cheese, crumbled
parmesan cheese, grated
1 small eggplant, sliced
1 zucchini, sliced

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Brush eggplant and zucchini slices with olive oil and roast until the eggplant smells sweet (yummm) and the zucchini is beginning to brown -- about 30 minutes for the eggplant, 15 for the zucchini. Spread pizza crust with pesto; arrange mozzarella, zucchini, and eggplant on top and sprinkle the whole thing with parmesan and feta. Bake until cheese is melted and crust is golden brown. Enjoy :-)

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Spicy Coconut Pumpkin Soup

This soup is subtle (or not so subtle if you load up on the chili!) and wonderful with the coconut, cilantro, lemon combination. Perfect for this time of year - and if you've never cooked with a whole pumpkin before (I hadn't) this is a great place to start. I highly recommend that you split the pumpkin into halves or quarters, prick the inside all over with a fork, and stick it in the oven at 450 degrees for 30-45 minutes to soften before you try to peel it and chop it up. Roasting also brings out the wonderful pumpkin flavor. And, make sure you roast those seeds, too! Here's a little trick for detangling the seeds: when you pull them out of the pumpkin, dump them in a bowl of water and sqeeze them around with your hands for a while. The seeds will float and the goo will sink!

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 tsp brown sugar
5 cloves garlic, crushed
1 small pumpkin, skinned and chopped into 1-inch chunks
2-3 cups vegetable broth
1 14-oz can coconut milk
1 TBSP chili powder
1-2 TBSP lemon rind, grated
4-5 shakes soy sauce
freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
yogurt, cilantro, lemon peel, for garnish

In a large pot, heat oil and gently cook onion with brown sugar and garlic over low heat until softened (8-10 minutes). Add chopped pumpkin, vegetable broth, coconut milk, chili powder, lemon rind and soy sauce. Season with freshly ground pepper. Simmer for about 25 minutes until tender. Remove and puree until smooth. Just before serving, adjust seasoning to taste. Mix in chopped cilantro. Ladle soup into bowls and garnish with a dollop of yogurt and sprinkled cilantro and lemon rind.

Monday, October 22, 2007

WLP Quiche

I made this up one day at the Women's Lunch Place when I was supposed to be making a quiche with fresh vegetables and my produce order didn't come in on time. . . and it turned out to be a hit with the ladies! It's super-easy, since most of it comes from a can or jar (which is usually not the way I prefer to cook . . . but it's tasty!). The measurements are a guesstimate, since I'm used to making this for a whole lotta people . . .

1 jar artichoke hearts (the kind that come marinated in olive oil and herbs)
1 jar roasted red peppers (or 1 or 2 freshly roasted red peppers, if you have the time and inclination to do it yourself)
1 or 2 tomatoes, diced, or 1 can diced tomatoes
salt and pepper
pinch each of dried oregano and basil
1 pie crust
5 or 6 eggs
splash of half-and-half (optional)
shredded mozzarella and parmesan cheese

Combine artichokes and their marinade with the roasted red peppers and tomatoes. Let sit for 30 minutes or so. In the meantime, beat the eggs (and add the half-and-half, if using). Season with salt and pepper and dried herbs.

Drain marinade from veggies and add to egg mixture. Pour into crust, sprinkle with cheese, and bake until mostly firm (you know . . . quiche-type firm . . .)

Monday, October 15, 2007

Karin's Fabulous Tortilla Soup

This light but filling soup is packed with veggies and feels like a special treat every time. It's so quick and easy even folks with little cooking experience can make it! It is best to use stale tortillas but fresh ones will work too.

5 cups vegetable broth (I like to use vegan bullion cubes)
one bunch of green onions chopped
three zucchini or squash sliced thick
2 cobs of fresh corn, remove the kernels or just break each cob into thirds (this is more traditional)
ten corn tortillas (in a pinch you could use about 1 1/2 cup stale tortillas chips)
2 tbsp oil
a few shakes of chili powder
1/8 tsp cumin freshly ground cumin
1/2 tsp "Italian seasoning mix" or oregano, sage and tarragon

Add all ingredients less the tortillas and oil to a stew pot. Cover and bring to a simmer. Heat up the vegetable oil in a skillet. Add tortillas (if using chips skip this step) and toss them in the pan until they are evenly coated with oil. Saute them on medium to medium high turning them frequently until they become browned in some areas about five minutes. When the vegetables are nearly the desired firmness (I usually let them cook about ten to fifteen minutes) throw in the tortilla "chips" you made. Remove from heat and let steam a minute before serving, if you used store bought tortilla chips allow the soup to sit until the chips soften.

Sunday, October 14, 2007


I just discovered this blog/website . . . it's full of simple and yummy-looking recipes, and I believe they're all vegetarian.

Quinoa Breakfast Cereal

I've been really into quinoa lately . . . it's really good for you (lots of protein in a grain -- woohoo!) and also really inexpensive. It has a slightly nutty flavor (yum), and it takes all of 10-15 minutes to cook.

Serves 1

anywhere from 1/4 to 1/2 cup quinoa, depending on how hungry you are
pinch salt
about 1/2 cup chopped apple
about 1/4 cup chopped walnuts, toasted if you like
brown sugar to taste
cinnamon to taste
nutmeg to taste
splash of milk or cream (optional)

Boil water (1/2 cup water if you're making 1/4 cup quinoa) and add a pinch of salt (very important! Makes it much tastier). Add quinoa and cook, covered, for about 5 minutes. Add apple, brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg, and cook until the water is absorbed and the outside germ of the grain is visible (it'll look like a little ring around it. Personally, I like leaving it a teeny bit crunchy). Remove from heat; stir in walnuts and add milk or cream, if using.

Best eaten on a chilly morning :-)

Lemon-Garlic Pasta

A superquick, very easy dinner. I'm excited to try it over the gnocchi I just bought . . .

Olive oil
2 garlic gloves, peeled and minced
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup lemons juice
1 cup chopped tomatoes
8 oz pasta
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
grated Parmesan cheese
black pepper

Saute garlic in olive oil; remove from heat and pour in the wine. Return to heat; cook for 1-2 minutes until reduced by half. Stir in the lemon juice and tomato. Remove pan from heat.

Cook pasta and toss with sauce, basil, parm, and black pepper.

Optional tasty add-ins:
broccoli (cook it in the same water as the pasta!)
Artichokes (from a car or jar)
Shredded mozzarella

Couscous with Apricot Vinaigrette

My mom discovered this recipe . . . soooo tasty!

1 10-ounce box couscous
1/2 cup apricot jam
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar (though I think she actually uses cider vinegar)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoons black pepper
3 scallions (white and green parts), chopped
1/4 cup (1 ounce) roasted almonds, chopped

Place couscous in serving bowl. Add 1 1/2 cups boiling water and stir. Cover tightly and let stand for 10 minutes. Heat jam in small saucepan over medium heat until bubbling, 30 to 60 seconds. Remove from heat. Immediately add vinegar, then oil, and mix until combined. Season with salt and pepper; set aside. Fluff couscous with fork; stir in scallions and almonds. Add vinaigrette and toss.

Miso-Ginger Salad Dressing

This dressing is technically supposed to go over eggplant, but I liked it better over mixed greens. Serious yummy. Also, a general miso recommendation, based on recent experience; don't buy the floofy expensive organic miso you find in health-food stores . . . it might be organic, but it's not as good as the stuff you get in Chinatown. (I will never make that mistake again!)

1/3 cup rice vinegar
1 tablespoon miso
1 tablespoon chopped basil (I used fresh, which was really good, but I bet it would be fine dried)
2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
1 large garlic clove, minced
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/2 cup vegetable oil

Whisk first 6 ingredients in bowl to blend. Gradually whisk in the vegetable oil. Season with salt and pepper.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Laurel's Famous Tofu Balls

Alex requested this recipe, so here is a close approximation. My mom made various versions of these when I was little but never actually measured the ingredients. I've been making them for about four years and of course I've never actually measured the ingredients either, so you might have to futz with the wet/dry proportions a little. Sooooooo delicious as a vegetarian alternative to meat balls on spaghetti. (Just make sure the boys in your life don't eat eight and make themselves sick. For real. Not only are sick boys no fun, but you totally want to have leftovers for lunch tomorrow.)

Basic ingredients:
1 package firm tofu
1 medium onion, diced
4-6 cloves garlic, minced
1 TBSP olive oil
2 large eggs
3/4-1 C bread crumbs
fresh parsley, chopped
fresh/dried basil
salt and pepper
vegetable oil for frying

Magic ingredients:
splash soy sauce
toasted sunflower seeds
chopped walnuts
handful of poppy seeds
sauted diced mushrooms
chopped olives
any other spices that sound good to you

Saute onion and garlic together in the olive oil over medium heat until onion is translucent and fragrant. Drain tofu well and crumble it into a large bowl. Add sauted veggies, eggs, bread crumbs, herbs, and salt and pepper. (Note on the breadcrumbs: if you don't have any lying around, feel free to throw crackers or stale bread into the blender and pulse until crumbled. And for the gluten-free among you, rice crackers work great for this!) Here's the fun part: with your hands, mush and crumble all ingredients together until well mixed. If it feels too wet, add another small handful of bread crumbs. Now, you want to think about adding a magic ingredient or two. These balls are delicious just like this, but everybody likes a little magic, and I've had great success adding various combinations from this list. The walnuts are probably my all-time fave, but add whatever sounds good to you. Of course, if you have a stroke of genius and come up with another amazing ingredient addition, by all means do it and post a note about it. Mix thorougly.

Roll the mixture between your hands in medium chunks to form about a dozen balls. Heat a good amount of vegetable oil in a non-stick frying pan, and when hot, add half the balls. Allow them to brown on the bottom (usually 4-5 minutes depending on the heat of the oil), before turning to the next side. I think I end up browning them on four sides usually, so they come out of the pan looking a little bit like little pyramids.

Serve over pasta and sauce with plenty of parmigiano sprinkled on top! Yummy!

PS - This is your new favorite recipe.

Tofu-Veggie Saute with Tahini

You should just use whatever combination of veggies you have on hand. Mushrooms, asparagus, chard, carrots...really anything you have in your fridge would be great in this stir fry. Personally, I loved the broccoli, kale, avocado combination. And it's oh-so green and cancer-fighting!

plenty olive oil
6 cloves garlic, minced or sliced
1 package extra firm tofu, drained and cubed
1 medium head broccoli, chopped
2-3 TBSP soy sauce
1/2 pound kale, washed well and chopped
3-4 scallions, sliced (white AND green parts)
1 avocado, peeled and sliced
1/4 C tahini
splash of cider vinegar
pepper to taste

In a very large pan, saute garlic, tofu, and broccoli in enough olive oil for about 3 or 4 minutes on medium heat. Add soy sauce, stir well. Add kale and 3/4 of the scallions, cover pan and steam for 3 more minutes, or until kale is wilted and broccoli is bright green. Uncover, stir in avocado, tahini, a capful of cider vinegar, and pepper. Mix well. Serve over cous cous or brown rice with the remaining scallions sprinkled on top for eye appeal!

Pineapple Ginger Upside-down Cake

Okay, here's another adaptation of a recipe I found online (because we all know how I can't just follow directions...). It came out tasting like some amazing cross between dense molassesy gingerbread and pineapple cake. Awesome awesome awesome - this dessert is so worth the calories.


1/4 C (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
2/3 C (packed) brown sugar
1 small pineapple, peeled, cored, and sliced

1 1/2 C all purpose flour
1/2 C oats
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cloves
3/4 C molasses
1/2 C (packed) brown sugar
1/2 C (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
2 large eggs
2 TBSP fresh grated ginger root
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 C whole milk or soy milk


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt 1/4 cup butter in 10-inch heavy ovenproof skillet (preferably nonstick) over medium heat. Add 2/3 cup brown sugar and stir until mixture begins to form thick mass, about 4 minutes. Continue cooking, without stirring, until butter mixture spreads and covers bottom of skillet and bubbles appear all over surface, about 6 minutes longer. Remove skillet from heat. Arrange pineapple slices close together in concentric circles over sugar mixture in skillet (we ended up with two layers of pineapple).

Sift dry ingredients into medium sized bowl. Using electric mixer, beat molasses, brown sugar, melted butter, grated ginger, eggs and vanilla extract in large bowl until well blended, about 2 minutes. Add half of dry ingredients, then milk, then remaining half of dry ingredients, beating until well blended after each addition. Spread batter evenly over pineapple in skillet.

Bake cake until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 40 minutes. Cool cake in skillet 5 minutes. Run small knife around edge to loosen cake. Place platter over cake in skillet and invert cake onto platter. Cool at least 20 minutes. Serve warm by itself, or with fresh whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

the best squash recipe ever. for serious.

We've been eating this for the past three nights . . . and I just made more because Priya told her lab partners that they HAD to come over to try it. Do NOT, under ANY circumstances, skip the yogurt, the lime, or the fresh cilantro.

1 butternut squash
1 large shallot (or 1/4 large red onion)
2 tbs olive oil
about a tablespoon of curry powder, preferably the sweeter kind with more cinnamon in it -- adjust to taste
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
1/3 cup lentils
2 tbs chopped fresh cilantro sprigs
fresh lime juice to taste

Halve, peel, and seed squash (much easier if you stab it a few times and then stick it in the microwave for 2 minutes before attempting to peel) and cut into 1/2-inch pieces. Finely chop shallot/onion and in baking pan toss with squash, oil, curry powder and salt and pepper to taste. Bake squash mixture until almost tender, about 15-20 minutes.

Cook lentils.

Chop walnuts and sprinkle over squash. Return to oven and bake until squash is tender and walnuts are toasted.

Combine squash mixture with lentils and squeeze lime juice over the whole thing. Serve hot with yogurt and cilantro on top.

Priya made roti to go with this, which was soooo good . . . but would also be tasty in pita bread or over couscous.


Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Pasta with Garlicky Butternut Squash

This is adapted from an Urban Organic recipe. Chris and I made it last night for dinner and it was seriously tasty. And oh so autumnal.

1 lb whole wheat pasta of choice
1 large butternut squash
1/4 cup olive oil
6-8 large cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup water
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp sage (I substituted 1/2 tsp thyme)
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley (I substituted 1/2 tsp dried cilantro)
salt and pepper to taste
parmesan cheese for garnish (optional)

Seed, peel, and dice the squash (about 1/2" chunks). Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat and add squash. Saute about 5 minutes until it begins to brown. Add garlic and saute for another couple of minutes. Add water, herbs, salt, and pepper, and cook until squash is tender, about another 5 - 10 minutes. Meanwhile, add pasta to boiling salted water and cook until al dente. Drain pasta and toss with squash. Generously cover with grated parmesan cheese and serve immediately!

NOTE: One of the very best things about eating squash, I think, is toasting the seeds. So don't throw those seeds away!! Remove all the squash guts from the seeds, rinse them well, and mix with about 1 TBSP olive oil and any combination of spices. Combos I've tried and like: salt and pepper, curry powder, paprika and S & P, nutmeg and pepper, black tea and pepper, cinnamon and sugar. Be creative! Spread evenly on a baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees for 5 - 10 minutes, checking regularly so they don't burn. So good on top of salads, soups, or just by the handful...

Friday, September 28, 2007

Masala Salsa

This recipe was invented by me and my roommates (one is South Indian and the other is half Cuban). I was very uncertain about how the flavors would mix, but it ended up being seriously tasty. We didn't measure anything, so everything is approximate.

1 onion, diced
2 or 3 tomatoes, diced
1 can of black beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup corn kernels (preferably fresh, but frozen is fine)
cumin to taste
2 chili peppers, sliced in half and seeded
coriander to taste
garam masala to taste
fresh cilantro, chopped

Saute onions in butter or vegetable oil until translucent. Add tomatoes, black beans, and corn, and simmer for several minutes. Add spices to taste. Remove from heat, let cool for a little while, and stir in cilantro. Serve with tortilla chips or bread.

The best tofu burgers EVER

This recipe is adapted from Moosewood . . . it'll make anyone who says they don't like tofu change their minds. (Well, at least it's made my meat-and-potatoes-kinda-guy Dad actually ask me to make tofu). You can also use the mixture to stuff portabello mushrooms.

Serves 4

1 cake firm tofu
1 tbs vegetable oil
1 cup diced onions
1/2 cup peeled and grated carrots
1/2 cup diced bell peppers
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil
1 1/2 teaspoons dried dill
1 teaspoon dried sage
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup bread crumbs
2 tablespoons tahini
2 tablespoons light miso
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 to 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

Drain the tofu very well. Heat the oil in a frying pan and saute the onions, carrots, peppers, oregano, basil, dill, and sage for about 7 minutes, until the veggie are just tender. Crumble the tofu in a large bowl. Stir in walnuts, bread crumbs, tahini, miso, soy sauce, mustard, and veggies. Mix well.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and generously oil a baking sheet.

Form the burgers into four patties and place on baking sheet. Bake for about 30 minutes until burgers are firm and browned. Yummy!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Chocolate Beet Brownies

I haven't tried these yet...but I'm totally going to! Delightful!!

1/2 cup butter (or 1/4 cup butter and 1/4 cup applesauce)
4 oz. unsweetened chocolate
4 eggs
1 C brown sugar (packed)
1 C applesauce
1 tsp. vanilla
1-1/2 C unbleached white flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. baking powder
1 cup cooked beets, pureed
1/2 cup finely chopped almonds
1/2 cup wheat germ

Melt butter and chocolate over low heat. Set aside to cool. In a separate bowl, beat eggs until light in color and foamy. Add sugar and vanilla and continue beating until well creamed. Stir in chocolate mixture, followed by applesauce and beets. Sift together flour, salt, spices and baking powder and stir into creamed mixture. Fold in wheat germ and almonds. Turn into greased 9×13-inch pan and bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes. Cool before cutting into squares.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Pita Bread

This bread takes literally an hour to make from start to finish, and it's a bajillion times better than any pita you'll get in the supermarket. It's best straight out of the oven when it's almost too hot to eat, dipped in some really good olive oil or hummus. You can also freeze it by wrapping it in tin foil after it's cooled and then reheating it for a few minutes in the oven.

Makes 8 small pita breads

2 1/2 cups BREAD flour (not all-purpose -- it makes a huge difference), plus more for sprinkling and rolling out dough
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbs sugar
2 tsp active (or fast-rising) dry yeast
2 Tbs good olive oil
1 cup warm water (105 - 110 degrees)

8 8-inch squares of aluminum foil for baking pitas

In a large bowl, combine 1 cup flour with the salt, sugar, and yeast. Add the oil and water. Beat vigorously with a wooden spoons for three minutes, then stir in the rest of the flour 1/2 cup at a time. The dough should be a rough, shaggy mass that will clean the sides of the bowl. If the dough is moist, add a small amount of additional flour.

Turn the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and knead for 6 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees.

Divide the dough into 8 pieces. Roll into balls, dust lightly with flour, and cover with a damp tea towel. Let rest for 40 minutes. (If the dough isn't rising after 20 minutes or so, it's a good idea to place them in an oven that's been preheated to about 200 degrees and then turned off).

Use the palm of your hand to flatten each ball into a disk. Finish with a rolling pin, rolling them into disks about 6 inches in diameter. Use as few strokes as possible -- over-rolling seems to keep the pita from puffing.

Place each round on a square of foil, and carefully place them directly on the oven rack. Do not roll out pitas until you're ready to slip them into the oven -- they'll harden as they sit out. Bake for 5 to 8 minutes, or until they are puffed, golden brown, and smell delicious.


Takeout-Style Sesame Noodles

1 pound Chinese egg noodles (1/8,-inch-thick), frozen or (preferably) fresh, available in Asian markets
2 tablespoons sesame oil, plus a splash
3½ tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons Chinese rice vinegar
2 tablespoons Chinese sesame paste
1 tablespoon smooth peanut butter
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon finely grated ginger
2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 teaspoons chili-garlic paste, or to taste
Half a cucumber, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/8,-by- 1/8,-by-2-inch sticks
¼ cup chopped roasted peanuts.

1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add noodles and cook until
barely tender, about 5 minutes; they should retain a hint of
chewiness. Drain, rinse with cold water, drain again and toss with a
splash of sesame oil.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the remaining 2 tablespoons sesame
oil, the soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame paste, peanut butter, sugar,
ginger, garlic and chili-garlic paste.

3. Pour the sauce over the noodles and toss. Transfer to a serving
bowl, and garnish with cucumber and peanuts. Serves 4. Adapted from
Martin Yan, Marian Burros, and memory.


1. The "Chinese sesame paste," above, is made of toasted sesame seeds;
it is not the same as tahini, the Middle Eastern paste made of plain,
untoasted sesame. But you could use tahini in a pinch. You need only
add a little toasted sesame oil to compensate for flavor, and perhaps
some peanut butter to keep the sauce emulsified.

2. On which subject, the whole point of cold sesame noodles is what's
called in the food trade its "mouth feel," the velvety smooth feeling
of perfectly combined ingredients. That's why you find so much peanut
butter in preparations of cold sesame noodles. Peanut butter
emulsifies better than sesame paste.

3. Hey, where are the Sichuan peppercorns? Sichuan food depends on
their tingly numbing power! Perhaps, but the little fruits were banned
from the United States from 1968 until 2005 by the Food and Drug
Administration because they were feared to carry citrus canker, a
bacterial disease. And while you could always find them in Chinatowns
somewhere (sitting, dry and baleful, in a pile), there are few in the
true cult of sesame noodles who use them in their recipes. By all
means, add some if you like: toast a tablespoon's worth in a dry pan,
crush lightly and whisk the resulting mess into your sauce.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Herb and Onion Bread

My favorite bread to make, because it is so damn easy! And it's really great with whole wheat flour...

1/2 C milk
1 1/2 TBSP sugar
1 tsp salt
1 TBSP butter
1 package yeast
1/2 cup warm water
2 1/4 C white or whole wheat flour
1 small onion, minced
1 tsp dill weed
1 tsp crushed rosemary

Scald the milk and dissolve in it the sugar, salt, and butter; cool to lukewarm. In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in the warm water. Add the cooled milk, flour, minced onion, and herbs, and stir well with a large wooden spoon.

When batter is smooth, cover bowl with a towel and let the dough rise in a warm place until triple in bulk - about 45 minutes. Stir down and beat vigorously for a few minutes, then turn into a greased bread pan. Let it stand in a warm place about 10 minutes before putting it into a preheated 350 degree oven. Bake about 1 hour.

Baked Tofu Sticks

Much more exciting than they sound. Li and I made these Saturday night and they were awesome. I bet you could play with the spices in the bread crumbs (maybe add sesame or poppy seeds?) and get some fantastic flavors.

1 package firm tofu
3 TBSP soy sauce
1 TBSP rice vinegar (we used cidar)
1 garlic clove, mashed
1 C bread crumbs
2 TBSP parsley
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
pinch of cayenne
3 TBSP flour
6 TBSP cold water

Cut the tofu horizontally into three slices, restack and cut down through them vertically in parallel lines to divide into six sections (you should have 18 little sticks now). Arrange the tofu sticks in a baking dish in a single layer.

Mix together the soy sauce, vinegar, and garlic, and drizzle over tofu. Set aside for 30 minutes, turning once after 15 minutes so the sticks can marinate evenly.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly spray or oil a baking tray.

In a shallow bowl, mix together bread crumbs, parsley, paprika, salt, pepper, and cayenne. In a separate shallow bowl, whisk together flour and water until smooth. Dip each marinated tofu stick into the flour mixture and then coat well with the seasoned bread crumbs. Arrange breaded sticks on the baking tray so they're not touching and bake for 30 minutes, until crisp and hot.

Serve baked tofu sticks warm with some sort of dipping sauce (Moosewood suggests: 1 TBSP soy sauce, 1 TBSP rice vinegar, 1 tsp sugar, and 1 TBSP chopped scallions).

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Banana Oatmeal Sunflower Chocolate Chip Cookies

Surprisingly amazing. And you can feel good about eating them because sunflower seeds are superfood. For real. PS - this had a flour typo, but now it's all fixed up and ready to rock...enjoy!

1/2 cup oil
1 1/4 cups flour
1/2 cup oats (the quick cook kind)
2 medium bananas
1 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup chocolate (or dark chocolate!) chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Peel and mash bananas. In large bowl beat oil, bananas, and sugar. Mix flour and oats with sunflower seeds and baking soda. Add dry ingredients to bananas and stir until thoroughly mixed. Add chocolate chips. Drop the dough by rounded tablespoonfuls about 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet. Flatten cookies a little on sheet (because they won't really spread in the oven). Bake about 15 minutes until edges are golden brown. Makes about 2 dozen cookies.

Carrot Ginger Soup

Amazing fall soup! Make a big batch and it'll be lunch for a week...

2 tablespoons canola oil
1 minced onion
1/4 cup minced peeled fresh ginger
5-6 cups vegetable broth
2 pounds carrots, sliced
2-3 potatoes, chopped
8 - 10 whole cloves garlic
juice from 1 orange
1/2 cup half and half or milk
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon (or to taste)
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg (or to taste)
dash of cayenne pepper
salt and pepper to taste

Heat oil in heavy large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion and minced ginger and sauté until onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Add sliced carrots, potatoes, and whole garlic cloves, mix for a minute or two. Add veggie broth, cover and simmer until carrots are tender, about 30 minutes.

Working in batches, puree mixture in blender or processor until smoot. Return soup to saucepan. Or alternately, remove from heat and puree with immersion blender. Mix in juice from orange, then half and half or milk. Cook over low heat 5 minutes. Mix in ground cinnamon and ground nutmeg. Season soup to taste with salt and pepper. Bring to simmer before continuing, thinning with more stock if desired. Ladle soup into bowls and serve! I like it with a little dollop of sour cream or yogurt and a sprinkling of dill and pepper on top. Also delicious served with cheesy toast (you know, toast...with cheese. toasted.)

Tofu-Potato-Dill Pancakes

A happier protein-filled version of your standard latkes...amazing topped with sour cream and applesauce!


4 potatoes, shredded
1 package of firm tofu, crumbled
3 tbsp of dill, chopped
1 egg, beaten
1 cup of flour
5 tbsp of olive oil
4 tbsp of sour cream
2 scallions, chopped
1 tsp of lemon juice
1 tbsp of butter


Combine the sour cream, butter, potatoes, scallion, egg, tofu, and dill.
Mix the ingredients well, roll and slap them into patties.
Coat the patties with the flour.
Saute the potato-tofu patties in the olive oil.
Brown both sides and sprinkle with lemon juice.
Add salt and pepper to taste.