Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Becky's Black Bean and Corn Salsa

This is a famous recipe from my sister Becky, healthy and delicious! It also appeared in the Memare cookbook, a collection of family recipes.

Becky's Black Bean and Corn Salsa

-- 2 cans diced tomatoes, drained (or 4 cups chopped fresh tomatoes)
-- 2 cans black beans, drained
-- 1 can corn, drained
-- 1 large purple onion, chopped small
-- 1 bunch cilantro, chopped
-- juice of 1 lime
-- 1 jalapeno pepper, chopped small

Combine everything together and let set for at least 1 hour before serving, if possible.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Thai Basil Noodles

I saw some thai basil in the chinese market the other day and bought it. Today was the day to cook it up, so I found this recipe. The original recipe involves dirtying a lot of pots and pans which isn't really necessary so I tried to consolidate the steps here so I will only dirty 1 big pot and 1 skillet next time I make it. I really liked the asian spin on pesto. I cut down the oil and butter a lot from the original recipe and it was still very excellent. Here are some modifications I would make next time:

Thai Basil Noodles

-- serves 2
  • 5 tablespoons cooking oil
  • 5 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 3/8 cup (6 tablespoons) fresh lime juice
  • 3 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves, preferably Thai
  • 3/4 cup fresh mint leaves
  • 4 tablespoons white sesame seeds, plus more for garnish
  • 1 teaspoon salt, plus more as needed
  • 1/2 block tofu, cut up into 1/2 inch squares
  • About 1/2 pound assorted vegetables: carrots, broccoli (stems are fine), bell peppers, etc., peeled and sliced thinly. (this time I used 1 carrot, 1/2 red bell pepper, 1 portabella mushroom, and 3 big stalks chinese brocolli, and I thought it could have used double the veggies)
  • 1/2 pound 1/4-inch-wide dried rice noodles, soaked in hot water until softened and drained
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • rooster sauce or other spicy asian sauce you like

1. Put 1 tablespoon oil in a medium skillet over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring occasionally,until the garlic turns golden, about 10 minutes; set aside.
2. Meanwhile, combine the lime juice and sugar in a cup and microwave about a minute and stir until sugar is dissolved. Set aside.
3. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add the basil and mint leaves in a metal strainer for easy removal. As soon as the leaves turn a dark green, pull the leaves out of the water. Drain and purée in a blender with the sesame seeds, cooked garlic, salt, and 1-2 Tablespoons oil (or more to get the consistency you want). (This herb paste will keep, refrigerated, for 2 days.) (ALT: can just make the herb paste like pesto using uncooked garlic and unblanched herbs, it is a little better if you cook it beforehand but not hugely)
4. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in the skillet, add tofu cubes and fry until brown on all sides. Salt and set aside. 
5. Heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in a skillet over high heat (can use same one in step 1). Add the vegetables and some salt and cook, tossing, just until brightly colored. Keep warm.
6. Cook the noodles in large pot of water (same one as step 3) until tender, 30 seconds. Drain and transfer to a large skillet set over high heat with the butter and lime syrup; add salt to taste and cook, tossing, until well mixed and creamy. Add in vegetables, tofu, and basil-mint sauce to taste and toss. Garnish with the sesame seeds and some rooster sauce, and serve.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Apple Pie

OK so I make like one apple pie a year. That means half the time, LIKE TODAY, I forget what the heck I did last time and where I got the recipe and how long to cook the crust so I end up with undercooked crust and it's just the saddest thing ever. So here is the recipe so I will get it right next time:

PIE CRUST (from Martha Stewart)
makes 2 8-10 inch pie crusts

The trick with pie crusts is 1) keep everything cold and 2) try not to work the dough any more than you absolutely need to.

1 cup butter (2 sticks) plus more for pie plate
2 1/2 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling out dough (I usually use 1 1/2 cups white and 1 cup whole wheat flour)
1/2 t. salt
1 t. sugar (leave out sugar if making a savory pie)

-- cut each stick of butter into 8 pieces, refrigerate until needed
-- Place the flour, salt, and sugar in a large mixing bowl and mix to combine
-- add the chilled butter. Using a pastry blender, chop the butter into the flour mix - the mixture should resemble coarse meal with small pieces of butter, the size of peas, visible.
-- Drizzle 2 T. ice water over flour-butter mix, blend, repeat with 2 more T. of ice water. Keep adding T. of ice water until the dough looks like it will barely stick together. Squeeze a little bit if you must but don't touch it too much with your hands at this point. The dough will get a bit stickier as it rests.
-- divide dough into 2 pieces, flatten into disks, wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate 1 hour.
-- dust a work surface with flour. Roll out, each disk makes 1 crust.

adapted from


  • 1 recipe pastry for a 9 inch double crust pie (above)
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 6 tart apples - peeled, cored and sliced
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon whiskey (can substitute 1 t. vanilla extract)


  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F (225 degrees C). Fit bottom crust into a 9 inch pie plate.
  2. In a small bowl, mix together sugar, flour, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Place sliced apples in a large bowl and sprinkle with sugar mixture. Toss until apples are thoroughly coated. Spoon apples into pan.
  3. Dot apples with butter or margarine, then sprinkle with whiskey. Cover with top crust. Seal edges and cut steam vents in top.
  4. Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes. Lower temperature to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) and bake an additional 40 minutes. Serve warm.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Mai Tai

This is our favorite Hawaii beverage!! For Halloween it became "eye tai" for obvious reasons:

I liked the taste of this recipe quite a bit and felt it was pretty close to the good ones we had in Hawaii, here it is:

The Perfect Mai Tai
adapted from

  • 2 cups light rum
  • 2 cups dark rum
  • 1 cup orange curacao (orange flavored liqueur) or triple sec
  • 1 cup almond flavored syrup or almond liqueur like amaretto
  • 1 cup simple syrup (2 cups of sugar and one cup of water, boiled until dissolved)
  • 10 limes, juiced
  • 1/2 gallon fresh orange juice or other juice (I found a mixed tropical juice for this!)

Mix all ingredients together and serve with LOTS of ice. Beware this drink is delicious and strong!! Enjoy.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

party food

We always go overboard on the food whenever we have people over for a party, so here is a list of what we SHOULD make/get for next time:


-- 3 bottles red wine
-- 1 bottle white wine
-- 12-18 beers
-- 1/2 batch mai tais
-- 1 batch veggie chili
-- 3 nice cheeses, 1 or 1.5 inch wedge of each one
-- the hummus hardly got eaten at all, don't need need to make that next time
-- 30 samosas
-- 2 loaves baguette, OR 1 loaf and raincoast crisps
-- assorted candies and chocolates, good to have but not necessary

Just making notes for next time. We had a jack o lantern out, the neighborhood kids stole it :(


Friday, October 28, 2011

Our vegetarian chili

We make this chili every Halloween, and it just gets better and better every year. Based on the moosewood recipe, but altered quite a bit:


6 cups mixed cooked beans (we usually use equal parts black beans, garbanzo beans, and kidney beans)
4 cloves crushed garlic
1 1/2 cups chopped onions
1 1/2 cups diced celery
1 1/2 cups diced carrots
1 1/2 cups diced squash (I usually use butternut squash because it is easiest to peel and cut up)
1 cup diced green pepper
2 1/2 cups chopped fresh tomatoes
1 cup tomato juice or tomato sauce (optional)
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
1 tablespoon cumin ground
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon Chile powder-you choose the heat level
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3 tablespoons tomato paste (optional)
3 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste


1. In a sauté pan heat the olive oil and add half the cumin to the olive oil, toast a little bit until fragrant.
2. add the onion and garlic, sauté till soft.
3. Add the carrots, celery and squash and sauté 7 minutes till vegetables are tender.
4. Add the peppers and tomatoes and sauté 5 minutes more.
5. Now add the beans and the rest of the spices. Taste and adjust for heat. Add water if you need it to be more saucy. 
6. Serve hot topped with some chopped red onion and chopped raw tomato and some shredded cheddar cheese.
7. This recipe serves 8-10 people.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Greek Salad Rolls

This is one of our favorite vegetarian wrap sandwiches!


for 4 rolls (dinner for 2)


-- 1 cup cooked garbanzo beans
-- 4 tortillas
-- 2 tomatoes, chopped
-- 4 small cucumbers or one large cucumber, chopped
-- 15 kalamata olives, pitted and chopped
-- a 1x2 inch chunk of feta cheese, crumbled
-- 2 Tablespoons of red onion, sliced thin
-- 1 large handful curly parsley, minced
-- Chopped lettuce (optional)
-- salt and pepper (go easy on the salt because the olives and feta are salty!)
-- Little Creek salad dressing, Original (or just some lemon juice)
-- Red Hot sauce!!!

1. Toast the tortillas on a frying pan until warmed through but still flexible
2. Mix everything else together except red hot sauce.
3. Put about 1 1/2 cups filling on each tortilla
4. Add red hot sauce on top
5. Fold the bottom up, and roll each tortilla tightly into a wrap. Previous experience making breakfast burritos at McDonalds helps with this step greatly.
6. Enjoy!!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

The best hummus

This is another recipe I was searching for for a long time. I wanted restaurant-quality hummus, and finally I found a recipe that makes it. I often bring this to parties, I like it because it's healthier than most party dips. Whenever I bring it anywhere someone almost always asks me for the recipe, now when they do I can tell them to check my blog!

originally from

2 cups canned garbanzo beans, drained (roughly 1 can)
1/3 cup tahini (this is fermented sesame seed paste)
1/4 cup lemon juice
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 cloves garlic, halved
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pinch paprika
1 teaspoon minced fresh parsley (I almost never put this in)

1.  Place the garbanzo beans, tahini, lemon juice, salt, and garlic in
a blender or food processor, blend until smooth, adding a little water
if necessary (I usually have to add about a half cup of water in)

2.  Transfer mixture to a serving bowl.  Make a well in the center
with a spoon, drizzle olive oil in the center and sprinkle paprika and
parsley around the outside.  Makes 2 cups.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Monday, October 10, 2011

Parsnip, carrot, and sweet potato curry

I didn't grow up eating parsnips, and the few times I have tried to cook them over my adult years they have pretty much always tasted sort of like a bland carrot that has a bitter, sour undertaste that, in my opinion ruins anything you put it in.

Enter the 2011 CSA box, which has been providing us with a surplus of parsnip lately. The first shipment I added into one of our favorite soups, the carrot-rutabaga soup, and sadly, it ruined it. I wasn't too excited about cooking up the second shipment, so I decided to ask the internets for some suggestions on how to make parsnip taste good. "Parsnip curry" and "roasted parsnip" were what came back. So I googled this recipe, and cooked it up today with some modifications. I had decided that if this recipe came out bad I would give up on parsnips forever.

Happily, it came out very good! None of the "yuck" factor I associate with parsnip at all. Also, I think it can be made with many different combos of root vegetables, squash would be good in here, or potato, whatever you have on hand (maybe not beets though).

Sweet potato, carrot, and parsnip curry

  • 3 medium sweet potatoes
  • 4 medium carrots
  • 2 large parsnips
  • 1 large onion, sliced (or 2 medium onions, sliced)
  • 280ml/10floz coconut milk (about 1/2 a can)
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric 
  • 1 teaspoon trinidadian curry powder (can substitute with more tumeric)
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 teaspoon chilli powder
  • Half a teaspoon fenugreek (also called Methi) (can leave out if you don't have this)
  • 2 teaspoons red hot sauce (optional)
  • Vegetable oil
  • Salt

  1. Peel the sweet potatoes, carrots, and parsnips and cut into thick chunks.
  2. Fry the onion in oil until soft, then add the spices and cook gently for a few more minutes.
  3. Add the sweet potatoes, carrots and parsnips and stir well.
  4. Add the coconut milk, heat to simmering point and then cook gently for about 20 minutes until the vegetables are tender. You may need to add water to prevent it from burning. Also feel free to add water if you want the curry more saucy. And don't we all love saucy curries.
  5. Add salt to taste, and red hot sauce at the end for a bit more zing.
  6. Enjoy!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Health Nut Blueberry Muffins

As I have ranted about previously, muffins are one of the most sneaky foods out there. They look all yummy, handheld, breadlike and fruit-and-oaty, when really most recipes are repositories of so much oil and sugar they are nothing close to as healthy as they seem. Most muffins are basically handheld cake -- not appropriate for an everyday breakfast or casual snack. So for the last several years I have been on the hunt for a healthier muffin. I had to make many terrible healthy muffins before I came upon this version, which is very good and very healthy! Adapted slightly from this version.


Like almost everything I make, this recipe is extremely variable. I have substituted cherries and plums for the blueberries with good results. Enjoy!


Health Nut Blueberry Muffins


  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup oat bran (sometimes I substitute flax meal for oat bran or wheat germ)
  • 1/4 cup quick cooking oats
  • 1/4 cup wheat germ
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup blueberries (or any fruit you like, chopped small)
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (or any kind of nuts, or no nuts)
  • 1 banana, mashed
  • 1 cup yogurt (or buttermilk)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a 12 cup muffin pan, or line with paper muffin cups.
  2. In a large bowl, stir together the all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, sugar, oat bran, quick-cooking oats, wheat germ, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Gently stir in the blueberries and walnuts. 
  3. In a separate bowl, mix together the mashed banana, buttermilk, egg, oil and vanilla. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry, and mix just until blended. If you overmix the batter, the muffins will be tough.
  4. Spoon into muffin cups, filling all the way to the top. Sprinkle a bit more sugar on the top of the batter.
  5. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the tops of the muffins spring back when lightly touched or toothpick inserted into middle comes out clean.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

souped-up mac and cheese

Okay this one is more of a method than a recipe, really. I try to eat healthy at home, but I have a weakness for many types of processed foods. One of those is macaroni and cheese from the box. I don't know what it is about it, I love homemade mac and cheese as well, but there's something about those little, slippery, weirdly-colored macaronis from the box that I really enjoy.

BUT they are not very healthy, all carby and processed with questionable chemical ingredients. SO in order to justify eating box mac and cheese once in a while I do one magic thing that makes everything okay: add vegetables! I have added every kind of vegetable and then some to mac and cheese! Also, I try not to think about what's in that cheese packet. Sometimes I even buy the organic kind and tell myself at least I'm eating organic chemical cheese powder.

BUT anyway, here is how I typically soup up the box:

WHEN SUPER RUSHED: I just dump like 1 cup of frozen peas and/or corn in with the macaroni when it's cooking. Proceed as normal with the rest of the mac and cheese.

WHEN I HAVE MORE TIME: In a separate frying pan, while the pasta is boiling, I might saute some onions, fennell, zucchinni, bell pepper -- whatever vegetable I have on hand and think might taste good in there. After the veggies are cooked, I dump them in with the mac and cheese and mix it around.

WHEN I AM FEELING PARTICULARLY GOURMET: I will soup up the cheese sauce as well, I like to add in a small amount of mustard, some spicy sauce, sometimes herbs, salt and pepper, and when I add in a LOT of veggies I find it needs more cheese so I will put either cheddar or parmesan cheese in there and boil it a bit to melt it all down.

This one is what I made today, my first time adding kale and it was pretty good:


-- 1 box mac and cheese (or "kraft dinner" as they call it in my adopted homeland)
-- 3 T. chopped onion
-- 2 cups washed and chopped kale
-- milk
-- olive oil
-- few drops spicy habanero sauce
-- 1 t. mustard
-- salt and pepper
-- 2 T. cheese, broken into small bits

1. Get a pot of water boiling. Once it is boiling, dump in the macaroni and the kale. Time it for about 8 minutes or whatever it says on your box.
2. In a separate frying pan, get some oil heating up. Add onion and cook until translucent. Add in milk, when the milk is boiling sprinkle in cheese powder from box, and whisk until incorporated and vaguely sauce-like. You can add butter here if you want but I never do.
3. Add in the cheese, mustard, and habanero sauce, to the sauce.
4. When the pasta is cooked to your liking, drain the whole thing and dump pasta and kale into your cheese sauce.
5. Mix together, taste, add salt and pepper to taste (I found the kale really needed some extra salt here!)

VOILA you have created a masterpiece of a lunch in just 10 minutes!

Friday, September 16, 2011

White Bean Soup with Kale

YES MORE SOUP. Stop complaining and eat your dinner! No laughing at the dinner table!

Ahem. In the interests of transferring the recipes we use most often to this blog, here is what I daresay is Our Favorite Soup. It is infinitely variable to use up whatever mountain of obscure CSA vegetables you may or may not have on hand, and always delicious no matter what you put in it. I present to you:

White Bean Soup with Kale
adapted from
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil or canola oil
  • 8 large garlic cloves, crushed or minced
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 1/2 large fennel, chopped (optional)
  • 1 or 2 large carrots, chopped
  • 1 red or green bell pepper, chopped
  • 4 cups chopped raw kale (can use spinach, swiss chard, collards -- any green)
  • 4 cups low-fat, low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
  • 2 (15 ounce) cans white beans, such as cannellini or navy, undrained (or 1 cup dried white beans, cooked)
  • 4 plum tomatoes, chopped (or 1/2 to 1 large can tomatoes)
  • 2 teaspoons dried Italian herb seasoning (or just whatever herbs in the oregano/basil/marjoram family you feel like eating)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup chopped parsley (I only put this in once in a while)


  1. In a large pot, heat olive oil. Add fennel, garlic and onion; saute until soft. 
  2. Add carrot, bell pepper, saute until soft. 
  3. Add kale and saute, stirring, until soft.
  4. Add broth, tomato, herbs, salt and pepper. Simmer 15 minutes, or until you think greens are cooked through and tender enough. 
  5. Add cooked white beans, simmer 10 minutes, until flavors are melded and that tomato scummy sign of a finished soup rises to the top. 
  6. Sprinkle with chopped parsley, mix it all together.  
  7. Eat! Or wait until the next day, when it gets even better. 

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Potato Leek soup

Slightly adapted from this Alton Brown recipe to make it a bit healthier and use what we have on hand, this tastes much more decadent then it really is (a splash of heavy cream would also be good here too):


  • 1 pound leeks, cleaned and dark green sections removed, approximately 4 to 5 medium
  • 2 teaspoons butter
  • Heavy pinch salt, plus additional for seasoning
  • one pound of potatoes, scrubbed, eyes and brown spots cut out, cut into one inch chunks
  • 1 quart vegetable broth
  • 1 cup buttermilk or plain yogurt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon snipped chives


1. Chop the leeks into small pieces.
2. In a 6-quart saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the leeks and a heavy pinch of salt and sweat for 5 minutes. Decrease the heat to medium-low and cook until the leeks are tender, approximately 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.
3. Add the potatoes and the veggie broth, increase the heat to medium-high, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and gently simmer until the potatoes are soft, approximately 45 minutes.
4. Turn off the heat and puree the mixture with an immersion blender until smooth. Stir in the buttermilk and pepper. Taste and adjust seasoning if desired. Sprinkle with chives and serve immediately, or chill and serve cold.

Monday, August 29, 2011

no-egg vegetarian caesar dressing

Is it spelled caesar, ceasar, or cesar? According to Rachel Ray, the above spelling is correct, but I saw it all different ways on the internet. I was looking for a ceasar salad dressing I had tried a few years ago: no anchovy, no egg, dead easy and delicious! I tried this dressing, which was close, but quite a bit too lemony. The version below is what I want to try next time:

No-Egg Caesar dressing
(slightly adapted from Rachael Ray)

  • 1 clove garlic
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon (should measure this next time, maybe 2 tsp?)
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce (Tabasco)
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, can use shredded or I just cut a good-size block
  • salt
  • coarse black pepper

1. Place all ingredients except oil, salt, and pepper in blender (I use the mini food processor attachment for my precious and often used hand blender).
2. Blend until everything is super chopped up.
3. Add in oil, a little at a time especially at first, and keep blending. Over time it should start to emulsify and get creamy.
4. Taste and add salt and pepper to taste.

makes 1/2 cup dressing -- enough for 4 large salads

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Harriet's Dolmades

Yesterday I helped my 88-year-old neighbor pick grape leaves for some dolmades she was making. I expressed some interest in learning how to make them, and pretty soon she gave me the grape leaves to prepare and said she would come over today to show me how to make them. SO after an afternoon of cooking, this is the recipe we made.  She usually puts meat in hers, but since Mahesh is vegetarian I wanted to learn how to make them vegetarian and she obliged.

makes 2 9x13 pans full

-- about 60 tender grape leaves, stemmed, washed, and blanched
-- about 12 big non-tender grape leaves for the top and bottom of the dish

-- 2 cups uncooked rice
-- 1/4 c. olive oil
-- 2 cups onions and/or leeks, minced (can use food processor for veggies)
-- 1/4 c. minced fresh anise (Harried wandered down the street and picked this wild from our neighbor's yards) (could probably use mint instead)
-- 1/2 c. minced parsley
-- 1/4 c. tomato sauce, can add more tomatoes if not serving with lemon sauce
-- lemon juice would be good in there too, if you are making a more sour one (less tomato)
-- salt and pepper to taste

For pouring:
-- 2 cups vegetable or chicken bullion or stock


-- Mix all the filling ingredients together, maybe with a little water.
-- Then, line two 9/13 baking dishes with half the uncooked big grape leaves.
-- To roll dolamdes, take blanched grape leaf, vein side up, and add about 1 scant tablespoon filling at the base of the leaf. fold in the two bottom bumps loosely, folds the sides in, and then roll up very loosely, keep in mind the rice will double in size as it cooks and it needs room. Place in baking dish.
-- Roll all dolmades and put them in the baking dish. Do not place them too tightly as they need room to expand. Then, cover with a layer of olive oil, place remaining grape leaves over the top, and add bullion/stock and water to just barely cover the dolmades.
-- Cover the pans with a lid or aluminum foil.
-- Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 35 minutes or until the rice is cooked through. Check on them from time to time and add boiling water if necessary to make sure the pan doesn't dry out.

-- I tried one plain and decided it needed more salt than I had put in the mix, also a squeeze of lemon made it better. Overall, quite a success! I am thinking of planting a grape vine so I can make more dolmades next year!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Green soup

We make this soup when we have extra greens to use up, very common with our Glenn Valley CSA box this time of year (tomorrow we are getting 5 bunches of greens!!). Tastes great, with a fresh, minty, soury kick that I love and extremely healthy to boot. Based on this recipe, but I have changed it quite a bit here:


-- a generous splash of olive oil or (1T.) knob of butter
-- 3 large shallots, chopped (or 1 small onion)
-- a couple pinches of fine-grain sea salt
-- pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
-- 3-inch sprig of mint
-- 1 1/2 pounds yellow or green summer squash, cut into 1/2-inch thick slices/chunks
-- 1 bunch greens (swiss chard, spinach, kale, etc), washed and roughly chopped
-- 3/4 pound potatoes, un-peeled, cut into 1/4-inch thick pieces (optional)
-- 3 medium cloves garlic, chopped
-- 3 cups lightly flavored vegetable stock or water
-- 2 t. lemon juice
-- 2/3 cup buttermilk or yogurt
-- can garnish with: fresh herbs, toasted almonds, a generous drizzle of olive oil/ melted butter, and/or some crumbled feta (I am not much of a garnisher though)


1) Heat olive oil/butter in large thick-bottomed pan over medium heat. Stir in the shallots or onion, salt, red pepper flakes. Saute until shallots are tender - a couple minutes.

2) Stir in the greens, and allow greens to wilt down, a few minutes.

3) Add in squash and potatoes, and cook until the squash starts to get a bit tender - a few minutes.

4) Stir in the garlic, and then add the stock (or water) to the pot. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer, stirring occasionally until potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes.

5) Add mint and puree with a hand blender. If you like a silkier soup feel free to pour the soup through a strainer.

6) Slowly whisk in the lemon juice and buttermilk or yogurt, taste, and adjust the seasoning - adding more salt and/or lemon juice if needed.

As you might guess, this recipe is infinitely variable and easy to adjust based on whatever you have on hand.What makes it is the fresh green taste of the greens and zucchinni mixed with the fresh mint, lemon, and yogurt flavors.

Friday, June 24, 2011

southern-style cole slaw

This one is made to go with bbq chicken or pork or tofu sandwiches, very different than our new england version but very delicious! Similar to KFC cole slaw.
  • 1 cabbage, finely shredded or a 16-ounce package of shredded coleslaw mix
  • 1 medium red onion, quartered and thinly sliced
  • Dressing:
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1 teaspoon celery seed
  • 1/2 cup vinegar
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
Combine shredded cabbage with sliced onion. Combine dressing ingredients and bring to boil. Pour over cabbage and toss. Cool, then refrigerate. A wonderful topping for bbq sandwiches. 

UPDATE: I edited the recipe to halve the sugar, we make it like this and like it better. 

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Nicoise Salad

Today I made a version of this Nicoise salad with stuff we had on hand from the farmers market:

-- no tuna
-- no green beans
-- added in cooked beets and cucumbers
-- arugula as the salad greens
-- also added a plop of cooked dandelion greens our 80 year old Greek neighbor Harriet gave to us. I love having Harriet as our neighbor, she has lived in the house next to us for 50 years or more and sometimes comes out to chat when we are working in the yard. She is always full of conversation and advice on plants and food and often shares some of her bountiful and beautiful garden with us. I will put her dandelion greens recipe up one of these days, it is good and not too bitter.  

It was just the best day ever today. I feel very thankful. After a long wet spring and a longer wetter winter, summertime is finally here, we have such good neighbors and are lucky to enjoy good health and a salad full of farmer's market and Harriet's yard's goodness. The dressing was terrific and Mahesh poured the leftovers on some indian potato curry he had made: so good!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Disappearing Buffalo Chicken Dip

The title says it all. And they aren't lyin.

Disappearing Buffalo Chicken Dip
from Best Foods & Bobby Flay

Makes 3 cups
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes

2 cups diced or shredded cooked chicken -- I use the chicken off of about 6 chicken thighs, or you can get 2 cans of canned cooked chicken meant
1/4 cup cayenne pepper sauce (such as Frank's Red Hot Sauce--the best!)
1 cup Mayonnaise -- use a fairly bland mayonnaise here, I used fancy mayo and it is a bit too strong
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese (about 4 ounces)
2 tablespoons finely chopped green onions
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Toss chicken with cayenne pepper sauce. Stir in remaining ingredients except blue cheese. Turn into 1 1/2-quart shallow casserole, then sprinkle with the blue cheese.

*Cover and refrigerate here if making ahead*

Bake uncovered 20 minutes or until bubbling. Serve, if desired, with celery and/or your favorite dippers.


Put chicken in pot along with 2 onions, 3 carrots, 3 stalks celery chunked up, salt and pepper and one bay leaf. Add in water so it covers stuff plus one inch. Boil for 20-30 minutes, or until chicken thighs are cooked all the way through. Make sure to strain and save your homemade chicken broth!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Zucchinni Bacon

Only bacon lovers who live with a vegetarian husband will understand this, but it is good

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Brocolli rabe fennell pasta

I am always making up weeknight pastas with whatever we have on hand, this one is a combo of several different recipes I found on the internet and the veggies we needed to use up in the fridge.


-- 1 T. olive oil
-- 1 bunch brocolli rabe, chopped
-- 1/2 large onion or 1 small onion, chopped
-- 3 small cloves garlic, minced
-- 1/2 head fennel, with greens, chopped small
-- 1/2 lb whole wheat penne pasta
-- 1 regular-size can tomato sauce
-- 1 cup cooked garbanzo beans
-- 1 teaspoon fennell seed
-- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, or spice to taste
-- 1 teaspoon other herbs (I used rosemary and basil)
-- one large pinch sugar (optional)
-- shredded parmesan cheese


-- Get water boiling for the pasta.  When the water is boiling, put pasta in and cook according to package directions.
-- Meanwhile, heat up some olive oil in a large frying pan. Fry fennel and onion for a few minutes until starting to become translucent. Add in garlic and fry until onion is translucent. Add in brocolli rabe and fry until partially wilted. Add in tomato sauce, garbanzo beans, herbs and spices, salt and pepper to taste, and boil until sauce is tasting good. I found this needed a big pinch of sugar to balance the flavors. 
-- When sauce is done, add in cooked pasta and a little of the pasta water, boil together for a few minutes. I find this allows the sauce to be partially absorbed by the pasta. Add a good grating of fresh parmesan cheese over the top.
-- Enjoy! I really loved this hearty vegetarian pasta with sausage-y flavors, I hope you do too!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

carrot soup

We like this soup a lot and I want to remember the recipe


  • 1 teaspoon oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • 1/2 jalapeno, chopped
  • 2 pounds carrots, cut into medium dice
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger (I use fresh)
  • 1/2 head fennel and fronds, chopped OR 1/2 tsp fennell seed (better with real fennel though)
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • salt and pepper to taste
1. Saute onion, garlic, celery, jalapeno, and fennel in the bottom of a soup pot
2. Add in carrots, ginger, and vegetable broth, boil until carrots are tender
3. Puree soup, add in salt and pepper to taste, sometimes I also add in a tiny bit of cinnamon

Thursday, March 3, 2011


It's time for the blogger ABC game... 

A. Age: 33
B. Bed size: Queen
C. Chore you hate: Cleaning the bathroom. I have successfully avoided doing this for most of my adult life, sometimes responsibly, sometimes not. 
D. Dogs: eh. 
E. Essential start to your day:  breakfast, including coffee.
F. Favorite color: red
G. Gold or silver: both
H. Height: 5’10"
I. Instruments you play: I own a guitar but haven't played in over a year. I used to play piano and trumpet.
J. Job title: Writer/Story Editor, but I do lots of things
K. Kids: maybe
L. Live: Canada
M. Mom’s name: Jacinthe
N. Nicknames: Mona, Mo, pork
O. Overnight hospital stays: no
P. Pet peeve: Many, but today it's Facebook friends who block me from seeing their wall. Like, isn't that the point?
Q. Quote from a movie: I don't watch movies enough to quote them. How about a quote from a tv show? I guess the only one that comes to mind is "Don't tell me what I can't do" from Lost.
R. Right or left handed: Right.
S. Siblings: Older. My twin sister Becky is technically older but I consider us tied for oldest.
T. Time you wake up: lately around 7:00 AM but I am still jet lagged a bit, usually later.
U. Underwear: yes
V. Vegetables you dislike: OKRA! Also overcooked asparagus.
W. What makes you run late: Losing track of time, which I do very often. I'll look up and it will be 15 minutes later than I had realized. Teh internets are out to get me.
X. X-Rays you’ve had: Not many. They regularly X-ray my teeth at the dentist which I think is a bit of a scam. I think they did an X-ray on my lungs to check for tuberculosis?
Y. Yummy food you make: LOTS! My latest favorites have been lasagne, roasted squash, and a delicious yogurt tahini sauce that is good on anything.
Z. zoo- favorite animal: elephant

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Our go-to lasagna recipe

I have tried just about every version of vegetarian lasagna on the planet, and this is the one that we keep coming back to time and time again, I keep tweaking and re-tweaking the recipe, but here is the latest, after a few failed attempts I have figured out how to not pre-cook the lasagne noodles and have it still come out good:

Vegetable Lasagna


  • 1/2 of a (16 ounce) package lasagna noodles
  • 1 pound fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 medium chopped red bell pepper
  • 1 medium chopped onion
  • 1/2 large bulb fennel, chopped
  • 1 small zucchinni, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, minced (or some spicy sauce)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 1(26 ounce) jar pasta sauce, or 1 big can tomatotes
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 (15 ounce) container 2% cottage cheese
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

  1. In a large frying pan, melt a little butter or oil. Fry mushrooms in oil in a single layer in the pan without moving them until they start to brown, then stir and cook until brown on all sides as much as possible. Set aside.
  2. In a large saucepan, cook and stir fennel, green peppers, onion, garlic, and zucchinni in oil. Stir in pasta sauce or canned tomatoes, cooked mushrooms, and basil; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes or until it tastes good. Taste for salt and pepper. 
  3. Mix together cottage cheese, 1 cup mozzarella cheese, and eggs.
  4. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (175 degrees C). Spread 1 cup tomato sauce into the bottom of a greased 9x13 inch baking dish. Layer 1/3 each, uncooked lasagna noodles, ricotta mix, sauce, and Parmesan cheese. Make sure noodles are covered with sauce, if it doesn't cover add a little water to the sauce. Repeat layering, and top with remaining 1 cup mozzarella cheese.
  5. Cover pan tightly with aluminum foil. Bake for 40 minutes. Uncover lasagna, then bake for an additional 20 minutes or until brown on top. Let stand 15 minutes before serving.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Why did I not think of this before: Easy way to peel butternut squash

Okay so I wanted to eat Ina Garten's Butternut Squash Salad but I was not looking forward to the somewhat arduous task of peeling the squash. So I made Mahesh do it.

Just kidding! I turned to my good friend Google for advice. I found a blog suggesting to poke the squash with a fork a few times and then microwave it for 3 minutes to soften the skin before peeling.

I tried it and it worked like a charm! The squash was peeled and cubed before the oven was preheated. Great tip!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Vegetarian split pea soup

There's nothing better on a cold winter day than a big pot of healthy soup. This version comes together super-fast due to the use of a pressure cooker.

Vegetarian Split Pea Soup

Adapted from Allrecipes


  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups dried split peas, yellow preferably
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 7 cups water
  • 3 carrots, chopped
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped
  • 3 potatoes, diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme or savory, or both (UPDATE: I have recently decided I don't like dried thyme and now use fresh instead)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper


  1. In a pressure cooker over medium high heat, saute the oil, onion, celery, bay leaf and garlic for 5 minutes, or until onions are translucent.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients, then close pressure cooker and cook for 4 whistles. Allow pressure to come down naturally, it can take a long time for a very full pot.
  3. Puree the soup and taste for seasonings. Add salt and pepper to taste. 

hot cereal for breakfast -- seven grain cereal

I am mostly an eggs-for-breakfast (and lunch, and dinner) type, but every once in a while I go on an oatmeal kick. I bought this seven grain cereal from our local co-op, and it does not come with cooking instructions on the bag, so in between kicks I always forget how to cook it. So, for future reference, here is the recipe:

-- 1 cup dried seven grain cereal (the one I buy is steel-cut and takes a long time to cook)
-- 4 cups water
-- dash salt

Put ingredients in pot, bring to boil, simmer for 25 minutes on low, or until cooked through, stirring every few minutes. Eat immediately, with any of the following toppings:

-- brown sugar and milk
-- chopped apple, cinnamon, nutmeg, a little sugar microwaved for 1 minute until cooked
-- berries, microwaved with a little sugar or raw
-- savory oatmeal
-- anything else your brain can think up!

Makes 3 servings, leftovers can be refrigerated and re-heated throughout the week, mix up the toppings for variety.


For future reference, here are ingredients and nutrition information for a similar product,

Ingredients: organic whole grain cracked wheat, organic steel cut oats, organic whole grain barley grits, organic soybean grits, organic wheat bran, organic whole grain buckwheat grits, organic yellow corn grits, organic whole grain hulled millet.

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size: 1/3 cup (44g)
Servings Per Container: 14
Amount Per Serving
Calories 140 Calories from Fat 10
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 1g 2%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Trans Fat 0g
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 0mg 0%
Potassium 290mg 8%
Total Carb. 28g 9%
Dietary Fiber 6g 25%
Sugars 0g
Protein 8g
Vitamin A 0% Vitamin C 0%
Calcium 2% Iron 10%
Thiamin 20%

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Apple Cake

Very simple and very good, this apple cake is a recipe I don't want to lose. Everyone loved it at the New Years gathering I attended last night.  Happy New Year everyone!

Apple Cake

As seen on The Amateur Gourmet

Marie-Helene's Apple Cake
from Dorie Greenspan's "Around My French Table"

3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of salt
4 large apples (I used the last of the box of local apples I bought months ago, a little shriveled but very good)

2 large eggs
3/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons dark rum
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled

1. Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Generously butter an 8-inch springform pan. Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper and put the springform on it.

2. Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together in a small bowl.

3. Peel the apples, cut them in half, and remove the cores. Cut the apples into 1- to 2-inch chunks.

4. In a medium bowl, beat the eggs with a whisk until they're foamy. Pour in the sugar and whisk for a minute or so to blend. Whisk in the rum and vanilla. Whisk in half the flour and, when it is incorporated, add half the melted butter, followed by the rest of the flour and the remaining butter, mixing gently after each addition so that you have a smooth, rather thick batter. Switch to a rubber spatula and fold in the apples, turning the fruit so that it's coated with batter.

5. Scrape the mix into the pan and poke it around a little with the spatula so that it's evenish.

6. Slide the pan into the oven and bake for 50 to 60 minutes, or until the top of the cake is golden brown and a knife inserted deep into the center comes out clean; the cake may pull away from the sides of the pan. Transfer to a cooling rack and let rest for 5 minutes.

7. Carefully run a blunt knife around the edges of the cake and remove the sides of the springform pan. (Open the springform slowly, and before it's fully opened, make sure there aren't any apples stuck to it.) Allow the cake to cool until it is just slightly warm or at room temperature. If you want to remove the cake from the bottom of the springform pan, wait until the cake is almost cooled, then run a long spatula between the cake and the pan, cover the top of the cake with a piece of parchment or wax paper and invert it onto a rack. Carefully remove the bottom of the pan and turn the cake over onto a serving dish.