Saturday, October 25, 2008

Baby Turnip and Avocado Salad

A note on turnips: check out the selection of fresh turnips from your local farmer's market and choose the small ones - they will be unbelievably sweet and tender! They are wonderful eaten raw on their own, dipped in hummus, or in this lovely simple salad.

Also, if you're not familiar with dulse, now's the time to acquaint yourself with this delicious, chewy sea vegetable. It's super tasty...and a great source of veggie protein, iron, potassium, and bunches of other trace elements, enzymes and phytochemicals. You can buy it as whole leaves (in which case, you really ought to eat it lightly toasted with melted chedder cheese on favorite elementary school after-school snack) or as flakes - perfect for topping soups and salads.

6-8 baby turnips, tops removed, chopped
1 avocado, peeled and chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
2 TBSP dulse flakes
2 TBSP parsley, chopped
1/4 C rice vinegar
3 TBSP olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

In a small bowl, gently toss together all ingredients. Serve immediately. Yum yum!

Warm Potato Salad with Goat Cheese

Found this on the NY Times website today and I am SO excited to make it. Sounds dee-licious.

1 TBSP white wine vinegar
1 TBSP lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 C low-fat yogurt or buttermilk
2 TBSP olive oil

1 1/2 lbs potatoes (Yukon gold, fingerling or red bliss)
Salt and pepper to taste
4 TBSP red onion, finely chopped, rinsed with cold water and drained
2 TBSP flat-leaf parsley, chopped
2 oz soft goat cheese
2 to 3 sage leaves, cut in thin slivers

To make the dressing, whisk together the lemon juice, vinegar, mustard, salt, pepper, and garlic. Whisk in the yogurt and olive oil. Taste and adjust seasonings, Set aside.

Scrub the potatoes and cut into 3/4-inch chunks. Steam above 1 inch of boiling water until tender but not mushy, about 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from the heat and toss while hot in a bowl with salt and pepper to taste, the onions, parsley, goat cheese, and the dressing. Sprinkle the sage over the top and serve.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Haitian-style rice and beans

Stolen from . . . the cloves make this smell AMAZING as it's cooking!

1 (8 ounce) package dry kidney beans
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 bulb shallot, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup uncooked long grain white rice (though I'm sure it would also be yummy with brown)
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon adobo seasoning (optional - you can also use a combination of oregano, paprika, and black pepper)
1 tablespoon kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
3 sprigs fresh parsley
3 sprigs fresh thyme
1 chile pepper

Place beans in a large pot, and cover with 3 inches of water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer 1 1/2 hours, or until tender. Drain, reserving liquid.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Saute shallot and garlic until softened. Stir in cooked beans, and cook for 2 minutes. Measure reserved liquid, and add water to equal 5 cups; stir into skillet. Stir in the uncooked rice. Season with bay leaves, adobo seasoning, salt, pepper, and cloves. Place parsley, thyme, and chili pepper on top, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 18 to 20minutes. Remove thyme, parsley, and chile pepper before serving.

Serve with avocado. Yummy :)

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Gramercy Tavern Gingerbread

Swiped directly from With the belief that food time is play time and that cooking should be an ongoing experiment in tasting and smelling and intuiting what foods/spices/herbs belong together, I am usually unable to follow recipes with any precision. When it comes to baking, however, I am under the impression that there is a very strict magic at work that turns goo into cake (or bread or pie or whatever other wonderfully sweet treat you are creating). So after reading rave reviews about this gingerbread, I decided I had to make it, and made no alteration other than to use fresh ginger instead of powdered and whole wheat flour instead of all-purpose. I think that nutty chewiness that the whole wheat flour adds is actually quite lovely. Let me know what you think!

1 C Guinness Stout
1 C dark molasses (not blackstrap)
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 C whole wheat flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 C grated fresh ginger (or 2 TBSP ground ginger)
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
Pinch of ground cardamom
3 large eggs
1 C packed dark brown sugar
1 C granulated sugar
3/4 C vegetable oil
Confectioners sugar for dusting

Generously butter a 10" bundt or springform pan and dust with flour, knocking out excess.

Bring stout and molasses to a boil in a saucepan and remove from heat. Whisk in baking soda, then cool to room temperature.

Meanwhile, sift together flour, baking powder, and spices in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs, sugars, and fresh ginger (if you're using ground ginger, add it with the other spices to the flour). Whisk in oil, then cooled molasses mixture. Add to flour mixture and whisk until just combined.

Pour batter into pan and rap pan sharply on counter to eliminate air bubbles. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven until a tester comes out with just a few moist crumbs adhering, about 50 minutes. Watch carefully to keep from burning! Cool cake in pan on a rack 5 minutes. Turn out onto rack and cool completely.

Dust cake with confectioners sugar, and serve with freshly whipped unsweetened cream. Gingerbread is better if made a day ahead, and will keep 3 days, covered, at room temperature.

Lemony Butternut Carrot Soup

Well, fall is officially back. I recognize it not only by the cooler temperatures and a handful of yellow leaves, but also by my burning desire to turn colorful vegetables into warm creamy soups. And this soup, eaten with a good chunk of crusty bread, is certainly a new favorite.

1 medium butternut squash
splash olive oil
1 onion, chopped
8-10 cloves garlic
1-2" ginger root, peeled and grated
1 lb carrots, roughly chopped
3-4 C veggie broth
2 C water
2 C unsweetened soy milk
juice from one orange
zest from one lemon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cinnamon
salt and pepper

Chop the squash into quarters, deseed, and place in a baking dish with about 1/2 inch of water. Roast in a hot oven (450 degrees) for about an hour until squash is very tender. Remove from heat and let sit until cool enough to handle.

Meanwhile, in a large pot, heat a splash of olive oil. Add onions, whole garlic cloves, and grated ginger and saute until onions are fragrant and translucent. Add in carrots and stir well. Pour on veggie broth and water. Bring to a boil. Lower heat and allow carrots to simmer about 30 minutes. When squash is cool enough to touch, peel off the skins, roughly chop squash, and toss into the soup. Simmer all an additional 10 minutes.

Using an immersion or standing blender, puree the soup and return to the pot over low heat. Stir in soy milk, juice from one orange, zest from one lemon, nutmeg, cinnamon, and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer an additional five minutes. Ladle into bowls and serve hot topped with any combination of sliced scallions, chopped fresh parsley, yogurt, or spicy toasted squash seeds. I served mine with all four, and it was awesome!

This makes a wonderful, colorful meal when accompanied by some delicious crusty bread and a plate full of Cabbage, Carrot, Broccoli Slaw.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Loaded Veggie Polenta Pizza

Delicious AND nutritious! Note: Feel free to add/subtract toppings - this combination is phenomenal, but use whatever you have on hand for a super easy, unbelievably tasty meal.

1 C polenta
3 C water
2 TBSP butter
1/2 tsp salt
1 TBSP olive oil
1 can whole peeled tomatoes, chopped
3-4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 can artichoke hearts, chopped
1/2 C pitted kalamata olives, chopped
4 scallions, green and white parts chopped
5 cremini or baby bella mushrooms, sliced
3 C spinach, chopped
2 C broccoli, chopped
dash of balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper
1 C mozzarella cheese, grated
1/2 C feta cheese, crumbled
parmesan cheese

In a saucepan bring 3 cups water and 1/2 tsp salt to a boil. Slowly stir in polenta, reduce heat, and simmer for ten minutes stirring constantly. Add butter and stir until completely melted. Pour polenta onto an oiled baking sheet and spread evenly with the back of a spoon until it forms a crust about 1/2" thick. Bake in a 450 degree oven for 12 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a skillet heat the olive oil and saute the garlic, broccoli, mushrooms, and spinach for about five minutes, or until broccoli is tender. Remove from heat, stir in a dash or two of balsamic vinegar along with salt and pepper to taste.

Remove crust from oven. In the following order, evenly distribute layers of: chopped tomatoes and sauce, mozzarella cheese, artichoke hearts, sauteed vegetables, olives, scallions, and feta cheese. Sprinkly liberally with parmesan. Bake at 450 degrees for ten more minutes.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Simple Roasted Root Veggies

Oh so easy to do, and definitely one of the best things about autumn. Use any of the fabulous fresh root veggies you find at your local farmers market.

Sweet potatoes

Olive oil
Lots of garlic, minced

Chop all the veggies you want to roast to approximately the same size pieces. Big chunks are beautiful but keep in mind, smaller pieces will roast much faster. Combine all in a large glass baking dish. Drizzle with olive oil and minced garlic. Now sprinkle on all the cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, salt and pepper that you like. Stir well until all veggies are coated. Roast in a 450 degree oven for 40 minutes to an hour, depending on the size of your pieces. Check for tenderness at regular intervals to determine doneness. Your veggies should be tender on the inside but glazed and maybe a tad crunchy on the outside.

Cabbage, Carrot, Broccoli Slaw

Easy peasy...

1/2 small head purple cabbage, shredded
3 carrots, grated
2-3 broccoli stalks, grated
1 small carton grape tomatoes, halved
3 scallions, whites and greens sliced

1/4 C olive oil
2-3 TBSP sesame oil
1/4 C rice vinegar
2 TBSP red wine vinegar
3 TBSP honey
2 TBSP soy sauce
2 cloves garlic, minced
fresh black pepper

Mix all vegetables together in a large bowl. In a glass jar combine all ingredients for dressing and shake vigorously. Taste and adjust seasonings or oil/vinegar proportions as necessary. Pour dressing over salad and toss well. Serve with some crusty bread for absorbing extra dressing! Mmmmm...

Spicy Fried Tofu

Perhaps my favorite way to cook tofu. The unbelievable flavors in this dish will make even those most adamantly against soy enjoy tofu.

The trick in this dish is to drain the tofu well before you begin cooking to eliminate as much water as possible! If you don't drain it well enough and the pan accumulates a lot of water while the tofu is cooking, use a spoon to remove some of the water and allow the tofu to cook a little longer until all liquid has evaporated and tofu has a chance to brown up before adding the spices.

2 lbs tofu, drained well and diced into 1/2" cubes
vegetable oil
1/2 tsp tumeric
1 tsp dill
1/2 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp basil
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2-3/4 tsp curry powder
3 cloves garlic, minced
2-3 TBSP soy sauce
1/4-1/3 C nutritional yeast

Heat 2-3 TBSP vegetable oil in a skillet. Add tofu and fry on medium-high heat stirring frequently for 5-10 minutes until tofu is browned. Reduce heat to medium and add tumeric, stirring well until tofu is coated. Next add dill, thyme, salt, basil, cumin, and curry powder, stirring well between each addition. Add garlic (and a little bit more oil if tofu is sticking) and stir again. Increase heat to medium-high and add soy sauce, stirring constantly. Sprinkle on nutritional yeast and stir well, continuing to cook an additional couple minutes until golden.

Serve over brown rice.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Spicy Moroccan Kale and Chickpea Stew

A lovely, spicy autumnal stew! We served it at our debate watching party this past week and it was certainly a hit. This makes one ENORMOUS pot of chickpeas. Seriously, you'll be eating it all week. Or you can just do what we did: gather all your friends and force them to eat seconds, thirds, etc... Enjoy!

1 lb dry chickpeas
10 C water and/or vegetable broth
2 TBSP olive oil
1 onion, chopped
5-6 cloves garlic, minced
3-4 potatoes, chopped
2-3 carrots, diced
28 oz can whole tomatoes in sauce, chopped
1 large bunch kale, stems removed and chopped
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp oregano
2-3 bay leaves
5 or more shakes hot sauce
salt and pepper

Overnight, soak dry chickpeas in enough water to cover by several inches. Drain and rinse well. In a large pot, combine soaked beans with 10 cups water and or vegetable broth (I used half water, half broth left over from boiling veggies the previous day!). Salt well and bring to a boil, reduce heat, and allow to simmer partially covered for 45 minutes to an hour.

Meanwhile, in a skillet saute heat the olive oil and saute the onions until translucent and fragrant. Add garlic and saute one minute more. Add potatoes and carrots and continue cooking another five minutes. When beans are ready, stir vegetables into the beans along with chopped tomatoes and sauce, kale, all spices, bay leaves, as many shakes of hot sauce as you can like, and plenty of freshly ground black pepper. Stir well. Taste and adjust spices as needed. Allow all to simmer at least 30 minutes so flavors can meld.

Serve over brown rice or couscous. Perhaps with a side of roasted root veggies. Mmmmmm!