Thursday, August 4, 2011

Arugula and Edamame Crostini

A light and tangy summertime dinner. These ingredients can really create two separate recipes. If you use a blender, the result will be a smooth and creamy edamame dip/spread. Lacking a blender, however, I chopped all the ingredients as finely as I could, with a much chunkier but delicious result. I think it would be great either way. Adapted from

1 cup shelled edamame (I used frozen from Trader Joe's)
a few tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 cups packed baby arugula
3 tablespoons grated parmesan
1/4 teaspoon grated lemon zest
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
1 baguette
16 mint leaves

Cook edamame in boiling water, uncovered, until just heated through, 1-2 minutes, then drain.

If you're using a blender or food processor:
Pulse edamame beans in a food processor until very coarsely chopped, then transfer half of mixture to a large bowl. Add a few tablespoons of oil, 1/2 cup arugula, cheese, lemon zest and juice, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper to edamame in processor and purée until smooth. Add to bowl. Coarsely chop remaining cup arugula and fold into edamame mixture.

If it's just you, your knife, and your cutting board:
Chop edamame as finely as possible. I then transferred some to my little mortar and pestle so I could smash it into a smoother paste - this helped keep the mixture together. Chop the arugula and the mint very finely as well. In a big bowl, combine the chopped veggies and herbs with the parmesan, lemon zest and juice, and olive oil. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Cut 16 diagonal slices (1/3 inch thick) from baguette (you can toast these in the oven for a few minutes if you like). Spread mixture over bread and enjoy!

Chana Masala (Chickpea curry)

A delicious, fragrant, spicy chickpea stew. Yes, this recipe has a long list of ingredients (mostly spices), but it's very easy and comes together in about 30 minutes. This is great right out of the pan, but gets even better the next day as leftovers after the flavors have had time to meld. Adapted from Smitten Kitchen (, which, by the way, is a fantastic recipe site.

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 medium onions, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1 tablespoon ground coriander
4 teaspoons ground cumin
1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
2 teaspoons paprika
1 tablespoon garam masala
2 cups tomatoes, chopped small or 1 15-ounce can of whole tomatoes, chopped small
2/3 cup water (you can also substitute juices from the tomatoes or liquid from the canned or cooked chickpeas for extra flavor)
4 cups cooked chickpeas or 2 (15-ounce) cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/2 teaspoon salt
lemon juice, optional

Heat oil in a large skillet. Add onion, garlic, ginger and pepper and sauté over medium heat until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Turn heat down to medium-low and add the coriander, cumin, cayenne, turmeric, paprika and garam masala. Cook onion mixture with spices for a minute or two, then add the tomatoes, scraping up any bits that have stuck to the pan. Add the liquid you're using and chickpeas. Simmer uncovered for 10 minutes, then stir in salt. You can finish with a squeeze of lemon juice if you like, though I didn't and it was still delicious!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Perfectly Pink Roasted Beet Hummus

Brilliantly pink. Ultra creamy. With that deliciously earthy flavor that only comes from beets and a slight smokiness from the addition of cumin. How in the world did I not think of this sooner?!?!?

This recipe will make a party-sized batch. Feel free to reduce it...or just plan to consume large quantities of hummus over the next couple of weeks! It's a real hardship, I know...

3 medium-sized beets
3 C cooked garbanzo beans (I start with could also use canned)
1/3 C tahini
1 or 2 cloves garlic, pressed or finely grated
zest and juice from 1 lemon
1/2 - 1 tsp cumin
sea salt, to taste
1/4 C plus 1 TBSP olive oil

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Place your beets on a large piece of aluminum foil, drizzle with about 1 TBSP of olive oil, and fold up the foil to make a nice secure packet around your beets. Roast the beets in their foil packet for about 45 minutes, or until they are tender and can easily be pierced with a fork. When they have cooled, gently use your fingers to slide off the skins. Quarter the beets and toss them into your food processor with the cooked garbanzos, the tahini, the grated garlic, the lemon juice and zest, the cumin, and several nice pinches of sea salt. Turn your food processor on and let it do it's thing while you slowly drizzle in 1/4 C of olive oil. Stop the food processor, scrape down the sides, and taste for seasoning. Adjust your salt, cumin, garlic, and tahini levels to suit your taste and process a little longer. Use your best judgement with the oil and if it seems like you need more to get a nice creamy consistency, add more.

Dip into it with chips and veggie sticks, scoop it onto a big green salad, spoon it on pita, spread it on crackers topped with thinly sliced veggies...ohhhh the possibilities are endless!

(See the pretty pink hummus in the back there? Topped with cucumber? SO GOOD! Also, those crackers in front with goat cheese, sliced peach, and balsamic? Not so bad either!)

NOTE: If you are waiting around while your beets are roasting, consider using that time to pop each and every one of your garbanzos out of their skins. I read somewhere a couple of years ago that this made the smoothest and creamiest hummus...but figured that only a crazy person would intentionally put herself through that variety of torture. Well, I had time to kill while my beets were roasting and figured I would give it a shot. The verdict: I felt ridiculous while I was doing it and it was definitely time consuming AND Chris made fun of me a whole lot BUT holy crap this is the creamiest hummus I have ever made!!!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Aloo Gobhi (Potato and Cauliflower Curry)

After many failed attempts to make North Indian food, this one finally turned out brilliantly! This is courtesy of the blog "Sanjha Chulha" ("Common Oven"), at - with a few adjustments.

1 small head of cauliflower, cut into small pieces, making 2 cups of cauliflower florets
2 tbs vegetable/canola oil
1 large onion, cut into small pieces
2 garlic cloves, chopped into small pieces
potatoes, chopped into small pieces - about 2 or so cups total (I used about 8 small red ones)
2 tsp turmeric
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp salt
2 tsp garam masala (I love MTR brand)
cayenne pepper, to taste
1 tbs butter
1 tbs peeled and finely grated ginger

1. Wash the cauliflower by swishing it around in a bowl full of cold salted water. This adds a little bit of salt before you begin frying.
2. Heat the oil in frying pan and add the onion, garlic and potatoes and fry untill the color of onions is deep yellow and its translucent (approx. 10 min.)
3. Add the cauliflower and fry till the onions are now brown (approx. 3-4 min.)
4. Add the turmeric, cumin, coriander, cayenne, salt and garam masala, stir and fry. (approx. 5 min)
5. Mix well.
6. Add the butter and mix, add 6-7 tbs cold water and simmer. (approx. 5-10 min. but it depends, so keep checking till the potatoes are done. if they're taking a while, cover the pan and let it hang out for a few minutes).
7. Stir in the ginger and cook for a minute or two.
8. Serve with rice or roti (flatbread - the naan you can buy at trader joe's is pretty tasty!)

Cilantro Pesto

A summertime favorite...equally delicious when mixed into a bowl of pasta, slathered on some grilled veggies, or thinned with water/oil/vinegar and drizzled on a garden salad. This recipe is straight out of Mama Steinhauser's repertoire...

2 C packed cilantro (thin stems are ok)
1 clove garlic, squashed or finely grated
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 C olive oil/canola oil/peanut oil
4 TBS unsalted peanuts

In the bowl of a food processor, combine your cilantro, garlic, salt, about half of the oil, and about half of the peanuts. Turn the food processor on and let it run until well blended, slowly drizzling in the rest of the oil as you go. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and run the food processor for another couple of seconds. Add in the remainder of the peanuts and pulse 7-10 times or until the peanuts are broken up a bit.

One batch will make about a cup of pesto. It will last in the fridge for a week or so but if you plan to store it longer it keeps great in the freezer! Just pour it into an 8 oz mason jar, stir it and tap it a bit on the counter to get out any air bubbles, top it off with about a 1/2 tsp of olive oil (to keep the color from changing) and pop it in the freezer. Thaw it in the fridge the day before you plan to use it.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Beet (or other) Greens with Caramelized Onions

Pretty much exactly how it sounds. Slightly sweet and delicious.

2 onions, sliced thinly
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 small bundle dark leafy greens (I used beet greens, but am sure it would also work with kale or other greens), washed and cut into ribbons.
a handful of chopped walnuts (optional)

Heat a small amount of oil in a wide saute pan over medium heat. Add the onions and stir fairly constantly until they begin to turn golden brown (about 5-10 minutes). Turn the heat down to medium-low and continue to cook, stirring fairly constantly, until they're very brown and smell sweet and delicious. Add the garlic; cook for about 1 minute. Add the greens and cook just until wilted. Add salt and pepper to taste, and toss in walnuts if using.

Kale, Kalamata Olive, & Sundried Tomato Pasta Salad

Salty and crunchy. Matt: "Mmmm. This has a great mouthfeel." (We've been watching lots of Master Chef in our downtime).

A few handfuls of whole wheat pasta - I used fusilli
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
2 small summer squash (I used golden zucchini - so pretty!), sliced into half-moons
A few handfuls of kale, stripped off the stems and sliced into thin ribbons
Good-quality feta, packed in water (this is important - the water goes into the dressing! I used this amazing Bulgarian sheep's milk feta I found at Whole Foods. Creamy, not too salty, and not too expensive - all my favorite things).
5 sundried tomatoes (the kind packed in oil), coarsely chopped
3-4 tablespoons coarsely chopped kalamata olives, plus some olive juice from the jar.
3-4 eggs
Olive oil
Red pepper flakes (optional)

Cook the pasta according to package directions until it's al dente.

To hardboil the eggs: put them in a small pan, cover them with water, bring to a boil, then turn it off and leave it for about 9 minutes. When they're done, take off the shells and slice them.

Heat a few tablespoons of olive oil in a wide saute pan. Add the garlic and stir for about 1 minute. Then, toss in the summer squash. Cook until it's just beginning to soften - you want it to still have a bit of a crunch, and it'll continue cooking even after you take it off the heat.

When the pasta is done, run some cold water over it to cool it down. Then, put it in a big bowl. Stir in the squash and garlic (once it's cooled a bit), the kale, the olives, the sundried tomatoes, and the eggs. Crumble the feta on top and stir. Pour in some of the water from the feta, then add a few tablespoons of olive juice. Drizzle on some olive oil, then add black pepper and red pepper flakes to taste (you probably won't need any additional salt). Stir everything together. Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Lemony Minted Watermelon Salad

Simple but brilliant. This is all I want to eat now that it's consistently 95 plus and humid here in Delaware.

1/2 medium sized watermelon
juice from 1 lemon
pinch of sea salt
1-2 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
a nice fistful of mint leaves
1-2 tsp sugar, optional

Carefully remove and discard the rind from your watermelon and cut the fruit into into bite sized pieces. Chop your mint into nice thin ribbons. In a large bowl, combine the melon with the mint, the lemon juice, just a drizzle of olive oil and a little pinch of sea salt. Gently mix until the mint is evenly distributed. Taste test. If your melon is nice and sweet on its own, skip the sugar. If your melon isn't as sweet as it ought to be, add just the tiniest sprinkle of sugar to give it a boost. Mix again and serve immediately.

Ok, go make this now. For real. You can thank me later!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Spicy Coconut Spinach

Easy-peasy and absolutely delicious South Indian-style spinach. Takes 10 minutes to throw together and is sweet, spicy, and savory all at the same time. From 101cookbooks, with adjustments.

1 shallot, minced
1 large clove of garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
1-2 tablespoons canola oil
1/2 teaspoon yellow mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon whole cumin seeds
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
3-4 big handfuls spinach
4 tablespoons unsweetened coconut, lightly toasted (you can toast the coconut by putting it into a pan, with no oil, then gently heating it until it starts to turn light brown and smells delicious)

Heat the oil in a big pan. Once it's nice and hot, add the mustard seeds. When they start popping all over the place (BE CAREFUL! they're hot!), add the cumin seeds and stir so they don't burn. Cook for about 20 seconds, then sprinkle in the red pepper flakes and cook for another 10 seconds or so. Add the garlic and shallot and saute for about 1 minute, or until it starts to turn translucent. Then, add the spinach and sprinkle on the salt. Cook just until it wilts but is still bright green. Sprinkle on the coconut before serving.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Ann's (Bonnie's Mom) Famous Stuffed Mushrooms

This is a family recipe that is sure to make you the celebrity of any potluck you attend. While absolutely vegetarian, these mushrooms come out savory and "meaty" because of the walnuts and breadcrumbs. They are also quite easy, making even the most amateur cook look like a seasoned chef :)

20 white button mushrooms
3 tbs butter
1 clove garlic, minced
2 shallots or 1/2 red onion, finely chopped
1 cup bread crumbs (you can make these by putting stale or toasted bread in the food processor)
1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts
2 tbs dry sherry (always buy Spanish sherry)
1 tbs worchestershire sauce
3 tbs grated parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp thyme
salt and pepper

Remove the stems from the mushrooms, cut away tough or dark ends, and chop the stems into 1/4 inch cubes or so. Melt butter in medium skillet. Add stem pieces, onion, and garlic. Saute until starting to brown slightly. Add the rest of the ingredients. Stir until everything is moist and hot. Use more sherry if it's too dry. Arrange the caps open-side up in a baking pan. Mound stuffing on top of each cap. It's OK to really mountain it up above the top of the cap. Bake 15-20 mins. at 400, until the mushrooms start to give up their liquid (they will look wet and a little shrunken instead of dry and stiff).

Serve hot. Yum.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Potato and Green Bean Salad

I think this one is by far Chris' favorite. I'm pretty sure the two of us put away several pounds of this potato salad over the course of two days. We used green beans and dill right out of the garden and it tasted just like summer...

2-3 pounds of small red potatoes
a couple of handfuls of green beans
1/2 C plain yogurt
1/2 C mayonnaise
juice from 1/2 lemon
1 TBSP grainy dijon mustard
small handful of fresh dill, chopped
salt and pepper to taste

Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Meanwhile, wash and quarter your potatoes. You want nice bite sized pieces so if your potatoes are huge you might have to eighth them or whatever to make them the right size. When the water is boiling, salt it well and dump in your potatoes. Boil gently for a while (maybe 15-20 minutes) until your potatoes are perfectly done. Test them with a fork. When they're nice and tender, they're done! Using a wire strainer, scoop out all of your potatoes and put them in a nice big bowl. Chop your green beans into 2" pieces and dump them into your potato water. They really only take a minute or two to cook. Watch for them to turn bright green and then pull them out before they have a chance to overcook! The green beans can go right into the bowl with the potatoes.

In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining ingredients. You should have a nice loose dressing. Drizzle this all over the potatoes and mix well. It should almost look like there's too much dressing on the potatoes because as they cool they will absorb some of it and you certainly don't want to end up with a dry potato salad :)

Bonnie's Super Awesome* Easy Olive Tapenade

*(note from editor: I know it's super awesome because I ate it, and it was yum).

I had some leftover kalamata olives from a picnic and was wondering what to do with them, and a google search led me to a recipe for olive tapenade that inspired this little number. My end result was nothing like the original recipe, so I'll just credit it for inspiration. This recipe results in a rich and creamy olive spread that can be used as a yummy snack on breads and crackers. I can even envision something fancy like little toasts with the spread on top and a cut kalamata or two arranged just so...

A few notes: You'll need a blender or a food processor that is able to grind nuts. Otherwise the creamy texture isn't going to be possible. Also, the end result is super potent, so you won't need much on your bread/cracker/whatever you choose to eat it on. I thought I had gone wrong until I actually put it on a piece of bread. Finally, I didn't measure anything, so feel free to be flexible with these directions.

1 tub of kalamata olives, drained. (If you want to make this lower in fat, set the olive juice aside and sub it for some of the oil)
1/2 cup chopped nuts (I used walnuts, but you can use whatever)
1 clove garlic, chopped or garlic-pressed
Olive oil (I didn't measure, I probably used about a tablespoon. whatever you prefer)

That's all! the original recipe had feta cheese, so if you wanted it cheesy you could add some.

Put all of your ingredients into the blender, making sure the nuts are closest to the blade. (This gets kind of thick, so if the olives are first they are just going to keep grinding while the nuts sit on top) Grind the mixture until it reaches a creamy consistency. If it's too thick, add more oil/olive juice and blend some more. This should make about a cup of tapenade. Enjoy!

Gnocchi with Slow-Sauteed Garlic, Broccoli, and Capers

Easy-peasy but flavorful meal. I used Trader Joe's whole wheat gnocchi, which are somehow really delicious, and fresh broccoli from the farmer's market. To make this a completely pantry-based meal, however, you could also use frozen broccoli or other veggies (I bet string beans would be great).

1 package store-bought gnocchi (of course, you could make your own if you're feeling adventurous!)
1 bunch broccoli, cut into small florets
4 large cloves garlic, sliced thinly
olive oil
capers (about 2 tablespoons)
red pepper flakes
salt and pepper to taste

Cook the gnocchi according to package directions, making sure not to overcook them. Drain and set aside.

Drizzle some olive oil into a wide saute pan. Add the garlic, then turn on the heat VERY low. Watch the oil and garlic carefully; you want it to sizzle only the tiniest bit. Saute it this way for about 5-10 minutes; if it shows any signs of browning during the process, quickly take it off the heat and let it cool for a few second before putting it back on. Cooking the garlic like this on very low heat gives it a sweet flavor, almost like roasting, but in much less time. When it starts to smell fragrant, toss in the capers, red pepper flakes, and broccoli. Saute for about 1-2 minutes so the broccoli can cook, then add the gnocchi for another minute or two. Add extra olive oil if needed, and salt and pepper to taste.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Lemony Raw Kale Salad with Tomato and Avocado

I know, I know. Raw kale. It sounds weird. But this salad is fresh and amazing - the kale and sunflower seeds make it crunchy, the avocado makes it creamy, and the lemon juice gives it a delicious tartness. SO perfect for summer.

1 large bunch of kale, leaves stripped off the stem and cut into ribbons
1-2 tomatoes, chopped
1 ripe avocado, chopped
a handful or two of toasted sunflower seeds
1-2 lemons, depending on how tart you like it
a sprinkle of salt
olive oil
dulse (dried seaweed), optional

Put the kale ribbons in a big bowl, and squeeze the lemon or two over it. Sprinkle some salt on as well. Then, stick your fingers in and mush the lemon juice into the kale. (Really, mush it!). You'll start to feel the kale wilt, as if it's cooking down - so cool! Once it's "cooked" down enough, drizzle a little olive oil on top and mix that in, too. Then, add the tomatoes, avocado, sunflower seeds, and dulse. Gorgeous and delicious.

Grilled Tofu with Spicy Peanut-Soy-Ginger Sauce

This has been my go-to recipe for grilled tofu this spring/summer. It's super easy and extremely flexible - I think I've prepared it differently each time I've made it based on what I've had on hand! Adjust and alter to your hearts content...I'm convinced you really can't go wrong with this combination of flavors.

1 block tofu, drained and sliced into 1/2" thick grillable-sized slices
peanut butter
hot water
juice from half a lime
soy sauce
garlic, minced
grated fresh ginger or powdered ginger
cayenne pepper or hot sauce
black pepper
fresh cilantro, chopped

Pat your sliced tofu dry with a clean dish towel to get out any remaining water, drizzle with just a touch of soy sauce, and set aside.

In a small bowl, mix together several spoonfuls of peanut butter (I prefer crunchy!) with a tablespoon or two of hot water until the peanut butter kind of dissolves and gets nice and saucy. It's better to start with just a bit of hot water and add more as needed to get the desired consistency. Add to this: the juice from half a lime, several tablespoons of soy sauce, as much minced garlic as you can stand, about a tablespoon of grated fresh ginger or a couple of pinches of the powdered variety, several dashes or pinches of hot sauce or cayenne, a couple grinds of fresh black pepper, and a nice handful of chopped fresh cilantro. Mix well.

Taste and adjust to your preferences! Like things spicy? Add more heat. Prefer it a bit saltier? Add a couple shakes of soy sauce. Want to repel vampires? Up the garlic content. You get the picture.

Get your grill going, oil it up a bit, and spread out your tofu slices. Grill until you have nice grill lines on the bottom side and then flip. Now, brush on a good layer of the sauce on the tops of the tofu slices. When the bottoms are all perfectly grilled, remove tofu from the grill and flip it over onto a plate so the non-saucy side is up. Brush (or pour!) on plenty of the sauce. I like to save a little bit of the sauce so that as I serve the tofu I can drizzle more on each plate to let it mingle with whatever veggies or salad I am serving. Yum.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Raw Kale Salad with Parmesan, Red Pepper, and Bread Crumbs

Adapted from 101 Cookbooks, which adapted it from Melissa Clark's "In the Kitchen with A Good Appetite." The combination of lemon, garlic, red peppers, and sharp cheese is amazing, and will make you want to eat kale every day.

1 bunch kale - I used about 7 giant stalks.
2 slices whole wheat bread, or two handfuls good, homemade coarse breadcrumbs
1 small garlic clove
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup (or small handful) grated pecorino or parmesan cheese, plus additional for garnish
3-4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly squeezed juice of 1 1/2 lemons
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Rip the leaves off the kale stalks, and discard the stems. Slice the kale into 1/2 inch ribbons. You'll probably have about 3 cups worth. Place it in a large bowl.

If using the bread, toast it until golden brown on both sides and dry throughout. Tear into small pieces and pulse in a food processor until the mixture forms coarse crumbs.

Mince the garlic very finely and transfer it to a bowl. Add the lemon juice and let it hang out for about 10 minutes; this will take the edge off the garlic. (However, if you love raw garlic, you can skip this step). Add olive oil, salt, black pepper to taste, and red pepper flakes, and whisk to combine.

Pour the dressing over the kale and toss very well (the dressing will be thick and need lots of tossing to coat the leaves). Let the salad sit for 5-10 minutes; the lemon juice and salt will actually wilt the kale leaves a bit. Add the grated cheese and toss again. Then serve topped with the bread crumbs and additional cheese. Plan on eating the whole bowl, because it's just that good.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Vegetable Wellington

This is most definitely a fall recipe, but since I forgot to post it last fall when we made it in all its deliciousness, I'm posting it now. This is definitely a project, but it's rich and decadent and worth the effort.

Swiped from Melissa Clark at the New York Times.

4 tablespoons butter
1 small butternut squash (1 1/4 pounds), peeled, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1/8 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, or more to taste
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 large shallot, finely chopped
3/4 pound cremini mushrooms, trimmed and roughly chopped
1/3 cup dry white wine
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 (14-to-16-ounce) package puff pastry
1 cup crumbled goat cheese
1 egg, whisked with 1/2 teaspoon water.

1. Heat the oven to 400 degrees and line a large baking sheet with parchment.

2. In a very large skillet over high heat, melt 2 tablespoons butter. Add the squash in a single layer and cook, undisturbed, for 4 minutes. (If squash won’t fit in a single layer, cook it in batches). Stir and continue to cook until squash is golden, 7 to 10 minutes more. Stir in the thyme, paprika and 1/4 teaspoon salt; cook one minute. Scrape mixture into a bowl.

3. Turn the heat down to medium and melt the remaining butter in the skillet. Stir in garlic and shallot; cook 1 to 2 minutes. Add the mushrooms and remaining salt. Cook until mushrooms are soft and their juices evaporate, about 10 minutes. Stir in the wine and cook until the mixture is dry, about 5 minutes. Stir in the pepper and parsley. Taste and add more salt if needed.

4. On a lightly floured surface, unwrap the puff pastry. Cut into 2 5-by-15-inch rectangles. Spread mushrooms on each pastry rectangle leaving 1/4-inch border. Spoon the cheese crumbles over the mushrooms. Then spoon the squash over the cheese, leaving a 1 1/2-inch border (it will look like a stripe of squash lying on a bed of cheese and mushrooms).

5. Brush the exposed borders of dough on each rectangle with the egg wash. Fold the long sides up to meet in the middle and pinch together to seal; pinch the ends, too. Transfer the pastries to the baking sheet and turn them over so that the seam is face down. Brush the tops with more egg wash. Bake until they are puffed golden, and firm to the touch, about 30 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes, slice and serve.

Beet Tzatziki

Pink and amazing.

One bunch (about 4-5) beets
Greek yogurt or sour cream (about 1 cup)
1-2 lemons
1 small clove garlic
A sprinkle of salt
Dill, chopped

First, roast the beets. Wrap each individually in tin foil, place in a pan, then let them hang out in a 450-degree oven for about 45 minutes, or until you can easily slide a fork into them. Let them cool for a bit, then place them in a bowl of cold water and rub them till the skins fall off. (Note: you can also steam the beets by peeling them, cutting into quarters, then steaming till you can just barely slide a fork through them - about 20 minutes)

While beets are roasting, chop garlic finely, then put it in a small bowl along with the juice of one of the lemons (enough to cover). Let it sit for about 15-20 minutes; this will help the garlic mellow a little.

Grate the peeled beets into a bowl. Stir in the lemon/garlic mixture, then add yogurt by big spoonfuls, stirring. Sprinkle on some salt. Taste it along the way, adding more lemon or yogurt as you like.

Soooo good with pita chips.

Priya's masala-roasted vegetables

So it turns out that grad school not only eats your soul; it also eats your palate. Over the past year I've had less and less time to cook, and have therefore turned to the world of frozen burritos and food court meals to sustain me. Even now that my last paper has been turned in, I've had ZERO motivation to cook fresh veggies and have still been poking around the frozen prepared food section of my grocery store whenever I'm hungry. TV dinners are addictive. (Cue audible gasp from readers who are aware of the amount of vegetables I normally consume).

But then, last night, I was saved by a certain lovely lady named Priya, who cooked up these delicious veggies for me and made me remember how much I love veggies AND cooking AND her.

For those of you who aren't into spicy food, this would be delicious with just olive oil, garlic, and salt, though the masalafication makes it extra yummy. You can also of course pick and choose which vegetables you'd like to roast.

1 head broccoli, cut into florets
1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
a handful of brussel sprouts, halved
olive oil
a few cloves of garlic, chopped (2 if you only kind of like garlic, 4 if you think it's fan-tabulous)
garam masala or curry powder (preferably MTR brand, if you can find it, but any other kind will do)

Preheat oven to 425. Toss veggies with the garlic, a few glugs of olive oil (mush it around with your hands until all the vegetables look a little shiny), a sprinkle of salt, and a sprinkle of garam masala. Spread veggies out on a shallow pan or two. Roast them in the oven for about 15 minutes, then pull them out and taste one. If it's still crunchy, put it back it for another 5-10 minutes. Continue until they're starting to brown a little on the bottom and are soft and delicious.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Steamed dumplings (with edamame or shrimp)

Thank you, Mark Bittman! These dumplings are easy and amazing. The original recipe calls for shrimp (which is delicious), but I also made some with edamame, which were equally amazing. I chopped ingredients by hand, but a food processor would make things a long easier (and get you a smoother texture, especially for edamame).

1/2 cup soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice wine
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1/2 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined, or about 1 1/2 cups of shelled edamame
1/2 to 3/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves
1/4 cup roughly chopped scallions
a package of dumpling skins
Juice of 1 lime

1. Combine the soy sauce, rice wine, sesame oil and ginger in a bowl. Put half the shrimp (or edamame), half the cilantro and all the scallions in a food processor and pulse; add just enough of the soy mixture to create a smooth paste, about 1 to 2 tablespoons. Transfer to a bowl. Roughly chop the remaining shrimp/edamame and cilantro, add them to the bowl and stir to combine.

2. Place a dumpling skin on a work surface, moisten the edges with water, and put 1 teaspoon of the filling in the center. Gather the edges of the wrapper up around the filling, squeezing gently, to pleat the sides; some of the filling should remain exposed. Repeat with the remaining dumpling skins and filling, keeping the dumpling wrappers and dumplings covered with damp towels while you work.

3. Rig a steamer in a large pot over an inch of water; bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Meanwhile, add the lime juice to the remaining soy mixture to make a dipping sauce.

4. Put as many dumplings in the steamer as you can fit in a single layer and cover the pot. Cook until the wrappers are tender, 4 to 6 minutes, then transfer the dumplings to a serving platter. Repeat with the remaining dumplings. Serve with the dipping sauce.

Butternut Squash Soup With Star Anise (with or without Ginger Shrimp)

The anise gives this soup an unusual and delicious flavor. The shrimp are amazing, but the soup would also be great without them, for those of us who don't eat things that once had legs :)

24 large shrimp (about 1 lb), peeled, deveined
1 tablespoon finely grated peeled fresh ginger
2/3 cup chopped shallot
1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
3 whole star anise
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 3/4 lb butternut squash
6 cups vegetable broth
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon vegetable oil

Slice the squash in half, and scoop out seeds. Roast in a 450 degree oven for about 45 minutes, or until it's soft and a fork slides in easily.

If including shrimp: toss shrimp with ginger in a bowl and marinate, chilled, 30 minutes (do not marinate any longer or enzymes from ginger will begin to cook shrimp).

Make soup while shrimp marinate:
Cook shallot, garlic, and anise in butter in a 3-quart heavy saucepan over moderate heat, stirring, until shallot is softened, about 5 minutes. Scoop out the inside of the roasted squash and add to soup, along with the broth. Simmer about 15 minutes. Remove star anise.

Purée soup in 2 batches in a blender until very smooth, about 1 minute per batch, then transfer to cleaned pan and keep warm, covered.

Sprinkle marinated shrimp with salt. Heat oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then sauté shrimp in 2 batches, stirring, until just cooked through, about 3 minutes per batch, transferring to paper towels.

Bring soup to a simmer and season with salt and pepper. Divide among 8 shallow soup bowls and mound 3 shrimp in each bowl.