Saturday, November 26, 2016

Vegetarian Tamale Pie

This is a very good recipe. The ancho chili powder and green olives give it a meaty-strong taste which is rare to find in a vegetarian recipe.

From Serious Eats

Vegetarian Tamale Pie


  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup frozen corn kernels (or fresh, if you have it)
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 poblano pepper, diced (I couldn't find this so used a small green pepper)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 medium cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 Serrano pepper, minced (I left this out)
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 3 tablespoons ancho chili powder
  • 1 cup pitted green olives, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (15-ounce) can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (28-ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes, drained and coarsely crushed with your hand
  • 4 ounces grated sharp cheddar cheese (about 1 cup)
  • 3 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves and fine stems, minced
  • For the Brown Butter Cornbread Crust:
  • 6 talespoons unsalted butter (I only used 2, and used a bit more buttermilk instead)
  • 1 cup (about 5 ounces) fine yellow cornmeal
  • 1 cup (about 5 ounces) all-purpose flour
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 eggs
  • 6 ounces (about 3/4 cup) sour cream
  • 4 ounces (about 1/4 cup) cultured buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced scallions
  • 1 red jalapeño pepper, finely minced (I left this out also)
  • Sour cream, for serving


  1. Adjust oven rack to center position and preheat oven to 425°F. Heat oil in a large Dutch oven, or saucepan over high heat until lightly smoking. Add corn and cook, stirring occasionally, until corn is well charred in spots, about 4 minutes. Add onion, bell pepper, and poblano pepper, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring, until softened but not browned, about 3 minutes.

  2. Add garlic, Serrano pepper (if using), cumin, coriander, oregano, and chili powder and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add olives, soy sauce, tomatoes, black beans, and kidney beans. Bring to a simmer and adjust heat to maintain. Cook, stirring occasionally, until thick and fragrant, about 20 minutes. Stir in grated cheese, scallions, and cilantro and season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside. You can do up until this point the day ahead for a quick weeknight meal the next night.
  3. For the Brown Butter Cornbread Crust: Heat butter in a 12-inch cast iron or stainless steel skillet over medium heat until melted. Continue to cook, swirling pan gently until butter is nutty-smelling and solids are a toasty brown. Transfer to a heatproof cup or bowl and let rest until slightly cooler, about five minutes. (I did this but because I used less butter I don't think it made much difference, next time could just use melted butter for speed)
  4. Combine cornmeal, flour, sugar, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, baking powder, and baking soda in a large bowl. Combine eggs, sour cream, and buttermilk in a second bowl and whisk until homogenous. Whisking constantly, slowly drizzle in reserved browned butter. Whisk wet ingredients into dry ingredients until homogenous. Fold in scallions and jalapeño pepper. 
  5. Transfer bean mixture to a large cast iron skillet (I had to use a dutch oven because my cast iron skillet is way too small). Using a large spoon, place small dollops of the cornbread batter mixture on top of the bean filling, then use the back of the spoon to spread it into an even layer. Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake until pale golden brown and a skewer inserted into the cornbread comes out clean, about 20 minutes. 
  6. Let cool 15 minutes, then serve with sour cream.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

I must have seen a pineapple upside-down cake on Facebook, because somehow the image has been stuck in my head all day. I decided to make us one for dessert tonight in my cast iron fry pan. I don't know if I've ever even had pineapple upside-down cake before, I've certainly never made it. What a loss! This cake is so easy and fast to make, and so delicious! The brown sticky crust on the outside reminds me of delicious grand peres my french-canadian grandmothers made for us growing up (that I've never been able to replicate as an adult), but the pineapple and cherries make it even better! I suggest you stop whatever you are doing and make this right now.

From Food. com

    • 1/4 cup butter
    • 2/3 cup packed brown sugar
    • 4 slices pineapple, from a can of sliced pineapples
    • 9 maraschino cherrys (plus more for cake batter, if desired)
    • 1 1/3 cups flour
    • 1 cup sugar
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1/3 cup melted butter (I used a little less and topped up with pineapple juice)
    • 3/4 cup milk
    • 1 large egg


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Melt butter in iron skillet.
  3. Sprinkle brown sugar over butter. Mix together a little bit.
  4. Arrange pineapple slices on top brown sugar/butter.
  5. Place cherries in center of slices. and then 1 between each slice, and 1 in the middle.
  6. Mix dry ingredients: flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in one bowl
  7. Mix wet ingredients: melted butter, milk, egg in another bowl.
  8. Combine dry and wet ingredients, mix to combine but only as little as possible. 
  9. I also chopped up extra maraschino cherries and added them in to this cake batter because I like maraschino cherries. 
  10. Pour batter over pineapple in skillet and bake for 35 to 45 minutes or until tooth pick inserted comes out clean. (35 minutes worked great for me)
  11. Remove from oven, let cool about 5 minutes or so, turn onto heat-proof plate while still warm.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Chinese Chickpea Mason Jar Salad

This is a vegetarian version of the beloved Chinese Chicken Salad I used to eat in Los Angeles all the time. I've tried a few different versions but this is the best. I put it in a jar this time, it came out great, so I will write what I did so I don't forget.

Ingredients -- makes 3 4-cup jars of salad each

From: Pickles and Honey

for the roasted chickpeas:
  • two 15 oz. cans cooked chickpeas, rinsed and drained well (about 3 cups) (I made this with 1 can and it was fine)
  • 4 medium cloves garlic, minced
  • ¼ cup reduced sodium soy sauce
  • 4 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon chili sauce (or to taste)
for the dressing:
  • 4 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons reduced sodium soy sauce
  • 1½ tablespoons toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon coconut sugar
  • 1 clove garlic, finely minced
  • fine grain sea salt to taste
for the salad:
  • 6 cups shredded romaine lettuce
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • 1 cup bean sprouts
  • 1 cup snow peas, sliced lengthwise into thin strips
  • 3 scallions, thinly sliced
  • one 10.5 oz. can mandarin oranges, drained
  • ½ cup almonds, toasted and chopped
for topping:
  • black sesame seeds
  • crispy noodles (use rice noodles if gluten-free)

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. In a mixing bowl, toss together all of the chickpea ingredients until evenly coated. Transfer them to the prepared baking sheet and spread them into an even layer. Don't worry about the extra liquid; it will thicken to form a sticky glaze. Bake for 25-30 minutes, stirring once half-way through. (These are very good, if in a rush you could just use chickpeas drained straight from the can.) 
  2. While the chickpeas bake, whisk together all of the dressing ingredients in a mixing bowl or glass jar. 
  3. Rip 3 squares of plastic wrap. In the center of each square, put 1/3 of the almonds, a small handful of crispy noodles, and some black sesame seeds. Wrap up into 3 airtight packets.  (you need to do this because these ingredients will get soggy if you put them in the jars with the vegetables)
  4. In 3 4-cup ziplock containers,  layer:
    1. dressing
    2. mandarin oranges 
    3. chick peas (cooled!)
    4. green onions
    5. carrots
    6. snow peas 
    7. lettuce
    8. put 1 of your plastic wrapped packets in the top of each salad. 
    9. close tightly, and refrigerate until needed
To serve, dump salad into mixing bowl, unwrap packet and pour ingredients on top, mix together, and be the envy of all your workmates!! 

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Strawberry Shortcake

Every year when I see the first local strawberries in the store, I think "strawberry shortcake." It's one of my favorite desserts, and I finally found the perfect biscuit recipe, I don't want to forget it!

Adapted from Betty Crocker

Makes 6 biscuits worth


1 lb fresh strawberries 
2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
3 Tablespoons butter, chilled, cut into small pieces
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2.5 Tablespoons granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
pinch salt
1/2 cup milk, plus a little more for brushing on biscuits
1 teaspoon granulated or coarse decorating sugar
3/4 cup whipping cream 
1 Tablespoon sugar



  • Heat oven to 400°F. In large bowl, slice strawberries, mix with 2 Tablespoons sugar; set aside.
  • In medium bowl, cut butter into flour, 2.5 Tablespoons sugar, the baking powder and salt, using pastry blender or 2 forks, until butter is the size of small peas. Stir in milk.
  • Place on lightly floured surface; knead 5 to 7 times or until dough forms. Pat dough 1/2 inch thick; cut out 6 rounds with 2 1/2-inch round cutter (I used a cup). Place on ungreased cookie sheet. Brush milk over rounds; sprinkle with 1 teaspoon sugar.
  • Bake 12 to 15 minutes or until golden brown. Cool 15 minutes.
  • In chilled small bowl, beat whipping cream and 1 T. sugar with electric mixer on high speed until soft peaks form. (or do what I do, put it in a tight Tupperware container, cover tightly, and shake) 
  • Split shortcakes in half horizontally. Spoon strawberries between halves and over tops. Top with whipped cream and additional strawberries.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Redemption Beans

I have been on a cookbook-buying binge lately. After reading a blog post about a cookbook called The Taco Cleanse full of vegan taco recipes, I immediately ordered it. I made this Jamaica-inspired recipe today and not only was it fast and delicious -- baby loved it! So I must blog it so I don't forget about it. This recipe makes  a LOT of sauce, so if you don't want so much sauce you may want to reduce the coconut milk a bit, or add in another can of beans.



-- 1 T. oil
-- 3 garlic cloves, smashed (I used a mortar and pestle)
-- 3 scallions, smashed (I used a mortar and pestle)-- 2 bay leaves
-- 1 t. thyme
-- 1/2 t. ground allspice
-- 1 t. salt
-- 1 scotch bonnet or habanero pepper, whole (I omitted this)
-- 1 13-oz can coconut milk
-- 2 cans kidney beans, drained and rinsed


-- Heat oil in pan. Add smashed garlic and scallions and let cook a little. Then, add in the rest of the spices and fry in oil until fragrant.

-- Add in the coconut milk, salt, and pepper if using, and boil 10 minutes or until reduced a bit.

-- Add the kidney beans and boil 5-10 more minutes or until it's thick to your liking.

Serve on with corn tortillas with roasted cauliflower, and guacamole, and hot sauce on the side.

Cold Rice Noodle Salad

I bought a couple cookbooks the other day. One of them was Bowl by Lukas Volger -- vegetarian versions of many asian one-bowl dishes such as pho, ramen, etc. On first glance, the recipes seemed a bit more ingredient and labor intensive than I had hoped, and I was a bit disappointed until I found this one, which I immediately made for dinner. It's perfect, easy providing you own a mandoline, fresh, healthy and restaurant-quality. I also think it would make a great layered jar salad, I will try that sometime. I can't wait to try more of these recipes.

Cold Rice Noodle Salad


-- 1 serrano chili, seeded if desired, coarsely chopped (I left this out)
-- 1 clove garlic, chopped
-- 1 T. chopped fresh ginger
-- 3 T. brown sugar
-- 1/2 cup boiling water
-- 3 T. soy sauce
-- zest and juice of 1 lime

-- 8 ounces dried medium-width rice noodles or rice vermicelli

-- 1 firm kirby cucumber (or 3 small persian cucumbers) peeled (I did not peel mine)
-- 1 medium carrot, peeled
-- 8 ounces smoked or baked tofu (I used regular tofu, which fell apart)
-- 4 cups shredded crisp lettuce, such as butter, boston, romaine or iceberg
-- 1 red, orange, or yellow belle pepper, cored and sliced into thin strips
-- 2 scallions, green and white parts, sliced on the bias
-- 1 cup chopped herbs such as cilantro, mint, or basil
-- 1/4 c. coarsely chopped peanuts, for garnish


-- Combine chili, garlic and ginger in a mortar and mound into a rough paste using a pestle. (Alternatively, mince and mash the mixture using a chef's knife) Combine in a small bowl with the brown sugar and the water. Stir to dissolve the sugar, then add the soy sauce and lime zest and juice. You should have about 3/4 cup sauce. Chill thoroughly in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes, but ideally for a few hours.

-- Bring a saucepan of salted water to a boil. Add noodles and cook until tender. Drain and rinse under cold water, then drain thoroughly and keep in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

-- Cut cucumber in half and scoop out seeds with a spoon (I used small persian cucumbers and did not do this). Use a mandoline to slice the cucumber and carrot into long thin strands. Cut the tofu into matchsticks.

-- Divide the lettuce among four bowls, then top each serving with the cold noodles. Arrange the cucumber, carrot, bell pepper, tofu, and scallions over the noodles in each bowl, then garnish with herbs and peanuts. Pass the dipping sauce at the table for guests to pour over their salad, or serve in small bowls for dipping.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Vegetable Kurma or Korma

Vegetable Korma is a traditional north Indian dish but Mahesh's family eats it a lot. This is Amma's south Indian version of it:


- 2 carrots, chopped
- 1/4 cauliflower, cut into florets
- 1/3 cup frozen peas
- 1/2 cup green beans, chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
- 1 big or 2 small potatoes, chopped

- 1/2 inch stick cinnamon
- 2 whole dry red chilis
- 4 whole cloves
- 1/2 tsp whole fennel seed
- 4 cashews, roughly broken

Tomato/Onion Mixture:
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 big tomato, chopped
- 1 large or 3 small onions, chopped small
- 1 inch knob of ginger, peeled and minced
- 1 Tablespoon shredded coconut (can used dried or if it's fresh fry first)


1. Vegetables: chop and boil carrots, cauliflower, peas, beans, and potatoes in a little water until just slightly tender -- this will cook more later so don't overdo it!

2. Spices: Put 2 tablespoons of oil in a pot, heat over medium heat, and one by one add in the cinnamon, chili, cloves, fennel seeds, and cashews. Fry a little bit and then take spices out of the pot and set aside.

3. Tomato/onion mixture: In the same pot, add a bit more oil if necessary and add in the garlic, ginger, onion, tomato and coconut. Cook until the onions are tender, then let cool.

4. In a grinder or Indian Mixee, grind the spices until they are a fine powder. Then add the Tomato/onion mixture and grind into a paste. Add this back into the cooking pot, mix in the boiled vegetables, and cook a little more until the vegetables are done to your liking.

5. Finally, taste the korma. Add salt to taste and if you want it to be a bit more sour (if the tomatoes are very sweet), add in a scoop of plain yogurt. Only add yogurt directly before serving, as it may separate if it sits.

Enjoy with rice, or with chapatis (can substitute whole-wheat tortillas for chapatis), or bread