Sunday, December 28, 2014

Capellini in Herb Parmesan Broth with Seared Scallops

Broth soups are my favorite type of soups; light and delicate, but if done right, full of flavor. Recently a Savour Magazine recipe caught my eye - parmesan rind and fresh herb broth with capellini cooked in the broth to thicken it ever so slightly. This sounded like the perfect peasant food and I was really surprised I hadn't come across it before.

Of course you could eat this without the scallops and keep it vegetarian (and easier on your wallet). But we are loving scallops lately so I splurged. Other than making the broth ahead of time which takes an extra hour, this meal comes together really quickly. It feels decadent and yet its elegant simplicity at its best.

I usually don't serve bread with pasta, but you'll want to sop up all of the delicious broth, so don't leave it off the plate.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Chocolate Dipped Satsuma Tangerines

Not being a huge fan of chocolate - I know, it seems impossible to fathom, but true - it's funny that my favorite dessert flavors are orange and chocolate together. To me they are the perfect combination. And the most perfect combination is when you put together juicy tangerines with dark chocolate. That's my idea of the perfect dessert!

What's so fun about this recipe is that there is no need to fuss with a double boiler. In fact, its inspired by the raw desserts I used to make as a raw food chef. Dipping anything really cold into liquid coconut oil instantly creates a hard shell, presto magic! And since cacao is considered a super food (along with its cousin coconut oil) some people would even consider these treats nutritious. Either way, they are delicious, so enjoy them guilt free!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Mushroom, Chevre, and Smoked Salmon Buckwheat Crepes

French crepes seem such a mystery, and in many ways they are...until you live in a town with a creperie and you see them made before you eyes. Ahhh, the veil is pulled aside and all is revealed!

I don't know how authentic the crepe recipe is but the consistency works really well. The key is to make sure there are no lumps so the crepes spread evenly when cooking. Buckwheat is a delicious nutty grain so go with it!

Of course you can remove the salmon if you want to make it vegetarian. And if you have eagle eyes, you'll notice some green in the picture. There was some extra sautéed swiss chard so I added it. But it isn't necessary and I didn't want to over-complicate the recipe.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Mushroom Feta Phyllo Pie

Phyllo is a wonderful ingredient that is truly easy to use once you get over your fear of its dainty appearance. Fortunately for me, a former roommate from Belgrade, Serbia, helped me see the light of how simple and delicious cooking with phyllo can be.

Natasha used phyllo with abandon, making cheese, spinach and even sauerkraut pies with it. I remember watching in awe, thinking that she new some culinary secrets to working with phyllo. But she was no spectacular cook and she was quite rough with it, laughing at the idea that it was delicate and dainty. "If it rips, you just layer another piece on top, no one will know!"

The best part about her technique was pouring some liquid, usually an egg and milk mixture, over the top of the uncooked pie after cutting it into slices to moisten the top phyllo and allow the egg to work its way into the pie. Try it, you'll love it!

My magic trick for working with phyllo is my trusty Misto. This kitchen helper works wonders, not only for misting phyllo with oil but for helping me to avoid buying the horrid canned oil sprays. Find one online and make it your new favorite kitchen toy!

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Fettucine with Creamy Lobster Mushroom Sauce

Once upon a time there was a food blog pasta event called Presto Pasta Night. Founded by Ruth Daniels of Once Upon A Feast, this weekly (!!!) food blog event introduced me to lots of fun bloggers and so many interesting dishes! It was simply about pasta, fancy or not, and I was lucky enough to host 5 times, such fun!

If you're a regular reader you will notice it is fettucine that gets all the love lately, mainly because my love adores fettucine and we are lucky enough to have a local shop that makes organic fresh pasta that is only $6 a pound - it's ridiculously inexpensive and an easy dinner to make! Since we also live in a rainforest (Humboldt is home to the redwoods), mushrooms abound and lobster mushrooms are particularly tasty and abundant right now as we head into our rainy season.

While you can make this dish with cremini mushrooms, lobster or even chanterelles make this meal feel just a little more fancy, so make the effort and get the fun mushrooms if they are available!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Thanksgiving Inspiration Part II - Vegetarian Entrees and Sides

Vegetarians (and vegans!) get so much flak at Thanksgiving, and quite often their entree options are boring or nil. Be kind to the plant eaters and make them an entree to remember, and lots of sides that everyone will love!


Wild Mushroom Nutloaf with Porcini Gravy sounds like a scary throwback from the early hippie food of the 1970s, but this is decadence and deliciousness that everyone will love. Make enough so the carnivores can try it, they will be pleasantly surprised!

If your diners are primarily omnivores, these Chick Pea Parmesan Cutlets are easy to make ahead of time and then heat with some tomato sauce and presto! Delicious vegetarian or vegan entree without much fuss.

My personal old standby favorite whenever I was eating with my omnivore family was the Seitan Sautee with gravy. Here's a version with Fieldroast Marsala with Mushrooms.


Whether I eat turkey or not, my favorite part of the meal are the vegetable side dishes. Some people are crazy for stuffing but what I can't wait for is...Brussels Sprouts! Truly, and without bacon! Just sauteed with some olive oil and salt and sometimes a little balsamic vinegar. And then there's cauliflower gratin and beet salad and green beans...Ok, I'm drooling all over the computer. Suffice to say the veggies win the day for me!

Basque Beet Salad with Parsley and Garlic

(Use butter and cream instead of non-dairy ingredients if you like).

Happy Eating!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Thanksgiving Inspiration Part I - Hors d'oeuvres and Desserts

It's been a while since I've done a holiday suggestion round up, but since the blog just featured a great vegetarian option for Thanksgiving, it made me think it would be worth putting together a guide. Although my blog is flexitarian, these suggestions are vegetarian and vegan in focus. So here, in no particular order, are my humble suggestions!

Hors d'oeuvres

Easy snacks for arriving guests are the name of the game here. These are do ahead treats that go great with wine and require little from you on turkey day. 

Fermented Cashew "Boursin" cheese. Yup, vegan, dairy free, delicious. If you want to shock your eaters, make this amazing "cheese." It's amazingly mind-blowing!

Olives are always easy and fun and when you marinate them yourself, you can taylor the flavors. Here's my version of them Moroccan Style.

Nuts are always a great snack to serve and these Maple Rosemary Glazed Walnuts will be a huge hit. But truly heed my warning and triple the batch, they are seriously addictive!


I have to admit that desserts are very much an afterthought for me, except at Thanksgiving! While my sweet tooth is general MIA, pumpkin pie is one of my favorite foods, probably because the sweetness factor isn't too high! That being said, if you are cooking for a crowd, it is good to have some variety. So beyond the traditional pumpkin and pecan, here are some suggestions.

Limoncello Macaroons with Lemon Icing are definitely not traditional turkey day fare, but they are easy to make and improve with age and will keep well in the refrigerator! Oh, and deliciously addictive to boot!

Chocolate is usually de rigor in some sort of dessert, and last year I had a sinfully rich chocolate pecan pie, but it really was a recipe for a bellyache! Try this Chocolate Ricotta Tart instead. Rich dark chocolate taste with the creaminess of ricotta!

Lastly, a fruit pie of sorts, inspired by the French: Goat Cheese, Walnut and Pear Galette. Rustic in look but elegant in taste.

Happy meal planning


Sunday, November 16, 2014

Wild Mushroom Nutloaf with Porcini Gravy

As any scientist will tell you, sometimes experiments go haywire. Liquids boil over, beakers catch on fire, mini explosions occur. Other times, your hunches serve you well and things go your way. The same is true in the kitchen. We all are kitchen chemists, mad culinary scientists looking for something new or interesting to do with the same ingredients and sometimes it all comes together and you feel pretty pleased with yourself.

Exhibit A: Wild Mushroom Nutloaf with Porcini Gravy.

Yes, this is not what you make when you need to throw dinner together in a hurry. And it looks like a daunting list of ingredients and preparation. It's not really, probably most likely you have everything already in your refrigerator or a well-stocked vegetarian pantry. And if dried porcinis are not a part of your pantry, buy some. They make mushroom meals that much tastier; a few pieces of dried goodness imparts so much flavor.

This is my own recipe, a reasonable guess you could call it. These are the things that were on hand, so maybe if you don't have all of the nuts, you can just make sure there is a cup and a quarter of nuts in the loaf or greek yogurt instead of sour cream. It's really a throwback to hippie food but with lots of zip and pizzaz. While you may be tempted to not make the gravy, talk yourself out of that laziness, the gravy really makes the meal, particularly if you make mashed potatoes to go with it! This to me is the perfect vegetarian Thanksgiving meal, forget about any kind of phony tofurky business!

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Aloha Marinated Tofu Burgers

Where I live is paradise to me - gorgeous virgin beaches, redwood forests and lushness all around, small artistic and intelligent community, bike friendly and environmentally minded. On top of all that, we have an incredible local food economy, everything from great local produce to local corn chips, salsa, breads, cheeses and tofu. Yup, we have a local tofu producer and they make lots of great marinaded tofu products. So inspired by their aloha marinaded tofu I made this burger.

I bought Tofu Shoppe's plain tofu and put it through some hoops, namely I froze it. Freezing tofu and then defrosting it makes it more chewy and better able to absorb marinades because in freezing and then defrosting the tofu, you remove some of its moisture, more so than just pressing it. It soaks up marinades like a sponge! Of course if you're short on time, you can just press fresh tofu and marinade it for 30 minutes. But if you remember to do the freezing/defrosting process, it does produce a more flavorful burger.

I'm calling this an aloha burger since it has similar flavors to the aloha marinaded tofu that our Tofu Shoppe sells, but its just basically pineapple and ginger that give it that specific flavor. And those are ingredients specifically found in Hawaii.

By the way, in case you actually looked at the picture closely, that is a ceramic Coke bottle which my beau included in the picture which he took, because as he said, "it's a burger!" Love him!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Polynesian Inspired Red Cabbage Slaw

Here's another fun cabbage salad. It's easy to make and deceptively delicious with the addition of pineapple and its juice. I know it's kind of tacky calling anything Hawaiian or polynesian just because it has some sort of tropical fruit in it, but it captures the spirit of the salad even if it's wholly inauthentic!

Polynesian Inspired Red Cabbage Slaw
(serves 3-6)

2 cups red cabbage, shredded
1/2 cup corn
1/2 cup pineapple, diced
1 carrot, sliced in thin rounds
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1/2 cup cashews, toasted
1 tablespoon sesame seeds, toasted
1/2 cup cilantro, minced
1 serrano, deseeded, minced
1/4 cup pineapple juice
1 lime, juiced
1 tablespoon olive oil

Combine all ingredients and toss well. Allow to sit or serve immediately.


Recipes currently inspiring me:

Grilled Eggplant and Mint Salad at Sidewalk Shoes
Dosa Spring Roll at Holy Cow!
Plum and Marzipan Crumble Pie at Eats Well With Others

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Wild Mushroom Marinara with Strozzapreti

Mushrooms have been landing on our plates quite a bit lately, in part because they come to us free but also because their substantial texture is great for vegetarian fare. This marinara is a great example.

My beau's youngest daughter loves her marinara sauce and it was actually her idea originally to mix mushrooms with green olives, something that really wouldn't have occurred to me. But what deliciousness! I added the capers for a little more briny flavor and a pinch of red pepper flakes since any marinara usually can benefit from a little zip!

Like most homemade tomato sauces, this one comes together super fast and if you can make it with fresh pasta it almost feels like a treat! Lucky us we have a shop here in Arcata that sells fresh, organic pasta for only $6 a pound - such decadence! We usually get fettucine or linguine, but for this chunkier sauce the strozzapreti was just the shape, holding the sauce and the mushrooms in its slight waves. Any other corkscrew shape would work well too.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Waldorf Salad for the 21st Century

I love cabbage. Really. Green, red, I love it all. My mom used to pack wedges of it in my high school lunches and I ate it without shame, despite the heckling. My current family is slowly warming to my cabbage love, but making salad like this one certainly speed the process!

Waldorf is one of those salads that got stuck in the time-warp of the 1970s - thick mayonnaise dressing with lots of sweetness that often made it cloying and reverse mouth-puckering for me - too sweet! It was an attempt to make fruits and vegetables more palatable by adding, of course, more sugar. Here I've toned it all done with a honey mustard vinaigrette (hey, it's vegan!) and added the cabbage for a little more veggie heft. The raisins didn't make it to the party simply because they weren't in the pantry and sometimes (often!) I'm lazy. But feel free to add them in if you like or any other dried fruit of that size - blueberries, cherries, cranberries - all would work well.

It's apple season in much of the Western Hemisphere so when you're tired of eating them plain as a snack, make this updated Waldorf salad with those delicious, crisp and juicy apples. Your taste buds (and diners) will thank you!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Homemade Sushi Rolls

Sushi is something that can seem exotic or everyday, depending on your approach. Once you know how to make the rice for sushi, it can be an everyday meal that makes the whole family happy, especially when everyone gets to make their own roll with the ingredients they want!

My beau and his daughter introduced me to a few new ingredients which have rocked my sushi world: cream cheese and umeboshi plum paste. Wow! Totally untraditional but super delicious is to had a few dabs of cream cheese and then spread a thin layer of umeboshi plum paste on it before adding other veggies or smoked salmon. The texture and flavor combination works supremely well.

In this version I do not mess around with raw fish; we just stuck to smoked salmon and marinated tofu. But if you want to venture into raw fish land, have at it!

While you don't have to have a sushi mat, it does make a firmer, more compact roll. I lived without it for years but since my home now has one, it's fun to make rolls with the mat.

Remember that this ingredient list is all optional, use whatever veggies you like!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Chickpea Nuggets with Dipping Sauces

I have raved about Post Punk Kitchen's chickpea patties before, but making them as nuggets is kind of a stoke of genius, if I do say so myself!

Talk about kid friendly, and healthy to boot, and easy to pull out of the freezer and heat up. That makes these parents friendly too, a regular dinner helper for sure!

This is admittedly a cheater blog post since it's not my recipe and it's just served with whatever sauces you prefer. Here I've used my favorite homemade BBQ sauce and Ranch dressing. But ketchup and honey mustard sauces would also be great.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Palak Paneer

Palak Paneer was probably the first Indian dish I ever ate, eons ago at some long-forgotten Indian restaurant, maybe in Washington, D.C. but the actually site and name were never captured by my brain. What was captured was the silky deliciousness of creamed spinach, Indian style. It seemed as if the spices were other-worldly, the combination so foreign and yet incredibly comforting. Where had this cuisine been all of my life? I was hooked! (Paneer was a whole other revelation on it own.)

Over the years since that first taste, palak paneer was usually my first choice when dining at Indian places and later the first Indian dish I tried to recreate on my own. I posted about it here but this updated version with some addition spices is so much flavorful it was worth a new post. Also, in the past I didn't even bother trying to find paneer in a grocery store and used tofu instead. Much to my chagrin I never tried to make it until recently. Those days are done for good since making it at home is so simple! Now I have to restrain myself from making it allllll the time!

Incidentally, Saag Paneer is just like palak paneer, only saag is "greens" and palak means spinach. But I call it palak no matter what I make it with since it's what is better known and my diners don't seem to notice the difference.

And yes, in case you were wondering, that is homemade naan in the top of the photo, which will be in a forthcoming post; it just felt like too much to add to this one, which already is a fairly long recipe. Something to look forward to!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Moroccan Spiced Pan Fried Yams

My beau looooooves potatoes. Mashed, fried, boiled, you name it, he wants it. Usually it is russets or red skinned or Yukon golds or even Peruvian purple. And once in a while, he'll go for some sweets as well.

Actually, when they are that bright orange color as exhibited above, they are yams, but Americans have been duped into believing those are sweet potatoes, so we will just let that sleeping dog lie (no pun intended!)

Here, those really orange sweetish, potato looking yams are tossed with a finishing oil of garlickly lemon and spicy goodness from a Moroccan inspiration based on this recipe. But feel free to play around with it yourself, making it spicier if you prefer or adding in some minced mint, cilantro or even basil.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Classic Fettucine Alfredo

There are some pasta dishes that have been sullied by their grocery store convenience, and Alfredo is one of them. Every time I spy a jar version, my cringe reflex goes into stutter mode. Ignore the bottled stuff and make this version, which will be ready just as fast as it takes to heat up a store bought jar sauce!

Although I have no proof, it seems to me that this must be the inspiration for mac and cheese - a white sauce with lots of cheese added. The difference being with Alfredo is that it can be made in the amount of time it takes for the pasta to boil. Now that's a quick dinner!

Do not skimp on the cream, get the heavy whipping cream! This is comfort food at its finest and fastest, so just indulge and enjoy!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Pan Fried Zucchini, Indian Style - Zucchini Besan Sabji

Besan, chickpea flour, is one of my favorite ingredients. It does what flour does without the gluten and more flavor! I love it as a pancake and it's what makes pakoras so delightfully crunchy. Here it's used to create a delicious coating for zucchini.

While some of you readers may be in the land of early frost (hello Minnesota!), others may be enjoying an extended harvest and we all know how zucchini becomes really tiresome by now! So toss it with some chickpea flour and spices and pan fry it up into so crunchy delicious that your diners will love!

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Seared Portabello Mushroom Sandwich with Wasabi Mayo

Mushrooms have been my world lately....No particular reason, they just keep popping up on the menu (bad pun, but I couldn't resist!)

This is what I call quick, easy, and satisfying for dinner. Sear some portabellos in olive oil, swirl some wasabi in your favorite mayo (or vegan version of mayo) and top with tomato, lettuce and avocado. Yeah, it's fungi deliciousness!

It's hardly a recipe, but you'd pay good money for it if you saw it at a fancy schmancy sandwich shop so I'm claiming credit for the recipe!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Lobster Mushroom Crostini with Chevre and Thyme

Mushrooms are such an enigma. So many people don't like the texture while others are gaga for them, searching out the strangest sounding named fungi and even foraging for their own. While texture used to be an issue for me, I have begun to explore the world of these non-plant/non-animal edibles and find it fascinating and intriguing each trip I venture out. Lobster mushrooms are a case in point.

Lobster mushrooms, so named for their gorgeous orange color, don't taste like seafood but they are very dense and, dare I say, meaty. They stand up to a good searing and will absorb liquid but don't release a whole lot of their own. But don't be stingy with the oil or butter your fry them in, they need it to soften up a bit.

For this delicious crostini I used basic mushroom saute ingredients - onion, marsala wine - and only a few tablespoons of cream so that the mushroom flavor wasn't overwhelmed. Serving it on some toasted aromatic bread or baguette topped with some chevre and it was divine!

I did get a bit fussy by caramelizing the onions in a separate pan. It's not necessary but it does gives a wonderful umami depth as a first layer before you add the mushrooms. You can leave it out at your own loss!

By the way, for those of you who read the whole post, that's Turdo the turtle edging in for a bite of the lobster mushroom crostini...usually his cage keeps him at bay, but he seems to have outwitted us again!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Fish Tacos with Avocado and Cabbage Topping

Fish tacos can be boring, lackluster, and a waste of calories.

Or they can be like these pictured above: surprising, moan-inducing, mouth-watering morsels that make your taste buds dance ecstatically.

I've had both kinds in restaurants up and down the California coast. But I've got to say, that this version is one I have perfected, at least to my tastes (and my beau's too). We're enthralled and entranced. May they do the same for you!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Makhani Paneer with Homemade Paneer

Indian food is one of those cuisines that I adore but was convinced I would never be able to create at home. It intimidated me, left me flummoxed and confused in terms of conceiving of the finished product.

Happily, this is no longer the case. No, a fairy-Indian godmother did not come along and waved her magic wand and poof! make me an expert. But as with all the cuisines that I didn't grow up with, studying the cookbooks and now blogs of people who did has led me to some masterly over a few dishes. My beau is a huge fan of anything Indian and proclaims my dishes equal (or better!) to what we can get at our local Indian restaurant. Maybe it's love talking, maybe it's really that good...

What I do know is it's not as complicated as it looks once you start to understand the process. Pureeing the curry base - tomatoes or steamed greens - with your aromatics like ginger, garlic, chiles, and then cooking them in deeply spiced oil or ghee leads to delicious meals.

One of the non-Indian things I'd highly recommend is substituting mashed potatoes for your rice. I know, total heresy but outrageously good!  

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Homemade Paneer - DIY Pantry

Homemade paneer - sounds hard, complicated, right? Wrong! So simple it's crazy and mind-blowing that it's taken me so long to make it at home! Thank god my beau loves Indian food and our local stores don't carry paneer. So I simply had to make it. Dead simple, really. And impressive and delicious... So go buy some whole milk and make it!

Pictured above is some paneer that was marinated in spiced yogurt and then broiled to golden perfection. It was then tossed in some Makhani sauce and gobbled up in ecstatic delight!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Lemon Tofu Squares

As longtime readers of this blog will remember, desserts are not something that tempt me. I just prefer vinegar to sweet. Yes, it's weird, but I know I'm not alone in this taste preference!

However this is a tart sweet, but not too tart, and it's got a magic ingredient. Yup, tofu is how this curd is made, no eggs here. I made it for a class I was teaching on how to cook with tofu and during a test run on the teenage daughters I naughtily forgot to mention the tofu until after they'd devoured a few squares. Total satisfaction on everyone's part!

In this version I did not let the saffron threads soak in the lemon juice prior to adding it to the tofu curd, which resulted in such a pale yellow color. If you like your lemon squares to look more lemonly, do allow the saffron to sit in the lemon juice at least 5 minutes before adding to the filling mixture.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Ricotta White Pizza with Artichokes, Olives and Basil

Pizza is still my favorite comfort food, although a close second to chips and salsa. Since I could eat it every day and not tire of it, I limit myself to my homemade dough so that my addiction stays in check. Here I did a simple white pizza with lots of Mediterranean flair.

White pizzas are fun and can be made with just mozzarella and toppings or you can branch out and make it with a combination of other white cheeses like ricotta or cottage cheese or a mix of the two as I did here since it's what was in the refrigerator that needed to be used up.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Classic Nicoise Salad

Nicoise salad is one of those classic dishes that I usually trust from any decent restaurant. And most of the time I don't think to make it at home since it requires quite a bit of preparation - all of those different ingredients that make it such a fun dish to have someone else prepare! But a few brunches ago the beau and I were wanting a more green meal rather than potatoes and eggs, and since I had potatoes and green beans on hand, Nicoise it was!

This prep is made quicker if you boil the potatoes first and then in the last few minutes of cooking them add the beans and voila, both are done! Be sure to drop the green beans in cold water to stop the cooking process so that they don't go limp on you.

If you can, buy the highest quality canned tuna you can afford, it makes such a difference. I happened to have some leftover aioli in the fridge and we used that to dress the lettuce. This didn't seem too far fetched since a quick internet search of Nicoise dressing turned up three different ones, all of which claiming to be authentic. So use what you like! 

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Squash Fritters with Tomato Jam

It happens to the best of us, and the longer you cook, the more often it pops start to feel guilty about dreading summer's bounty.

There, I said it, out loud.

We all have these moments when we can't look at another tomato or cucumber or heaven forbid, the dreaded summer squash. It's like they're haunting us, screaming at us,

        "But I'm so fresh! and ripe! and Local! Why don't you want me anymore??"

So we begrudgingly buy them and allow them to rot in our crisper and turn a blind eye when we have to toss them in the compost bin, making some lame excuse that we just didn't get to them in time. Well, here's the cure, really. This recipe will eat up all of those squash because not only are they delicious, but they cook down 3-4 of those buggers!

These are pretty basic in the flavors, but feel free to add spices - paprika, cumin, coriander would all be good. Or just keep them simple and add fun condiments like the Tomato Jam pictured above. Go wild! Summer's almost over!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Tomato Jam - DIY Pantry

Tomato jam came into my life about 10 years ago when a Minnesotan asked me if I made it. Made it? I'd never heard of it! It took several years more before I met someone who's cooking I trusted enough to give her recipe a go. Wow! too many years wasted without tomato jam!

Combine four ingredients - tomatoes, cider vinegar, rosemary and brown sugar - and presto! You have a savory sweet delicious condiment which you will find a multitude of ways to slather on anything within reach.

If you remember that tomatoes are actually fruits, this jam idea doesn't seem that far fetched. It may take a little prompting to get people (especially kids) to try it, but you'll be rewarded for your efforts!

We've eaten it on squash fritters, latkes, chickpea flour pancakes and swirled into frittatas and scrambled eggs. If you're a meat eater I would  imagine it would be great on steak, brined pork chops or even with hash browns. Really, the sky is the limit!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Greek Scalloped Potatoes

Potatoes are my favorite comfort food...or at least a close second to pizza. But since pizza goes to my waist (and hips, and butt, and...) I choose potatoes over pizza most often. Mashed, roasted, boiled, you name it, I love them. Here's my latest take on them, scalloped with Greek flavors!

This version of scalloped is almost healthy, with very little cheese, just a little milk to steam them and lots of healthy Swiss Chard hidden inside. Add feta and kalamata olives for bursts of flavor and your heart, belly and soul are satisfied!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Foul - Moroccan Fava Beans

Foul - pronounced like "fool" is a traditional fava bean dish of North Africa. Also called Ful, I've seen it in Moroccan restaurants and if you search the web you'll see it listed as Egyptian. No matter what country claims it, prepare yourself for a hearty, delicious dish made with those magical legumes, fava beans!

Foul is made with dried beans, not the fresh, so it's easy to make it year round. Like so many Mediterranean cuisines, this dish makes the most of basic ingredients and not too many: cumin, lemon, parsley, tomatoes and beans. It's a shockingly great combination. I simply gilded the lily with the feta and olives, but certainly not traditional.

We ate this along with some Swiss Chard sauteed with garlic, coriander and smoked paprika and a dash of balsamic vinegar, which was fantastically good but the photo was not, so it's not yet featured on the blog. But it will definitely be making a future appearance, so look for it. To round it all out, muhammara, some homemade naan, feta and olives completed our meal. It was a Moroccan tapas of sort, and made us pretty happy!

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Breakfast Nachos

Breakfast nachos...why didn't I think of this sooner! It's huevos rancheros with crisp chips on the side instead of buried beneath all of the goodies.

And it's amazingly delicious!

Unlike true nachos, these are not smothered in cheese but definitely heavy on the protein side, with both refried beans and scrambled eggs. The sprinkling of grated cheese is more for texture than heavy nacho-ness, but it brings the dish together. The only ingredient I probably would have added, but didn't have it on hand, would be pickled jalapeno slices. Oh well, guess I'll have to make it again!

Make sure the chips you use are the best. Here in California we are lucky enough to be able to buy Have'a Chips which are made with soy sauce and lime juice and are outta this world good! It makes a difference, so don't skimp on the chips!

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Taco Smorgasbord

Have you seen the really small corn tortillas? They're ridiculously cute, about 5 inches across, and perfect for making taco smorgasbord.

Smorgas what?

Yes, I combined Mexican and Swedish food words to create a taco smorgasbord. Think of it as Mexico's answer to sliders, only they're mini tacos with a variety of fillings. Smorgasbord is a tradition in Sweden where a variety of dishes are offered buffet style, usually associated with holidays. Growing up, we always had Smorgasbord on Christmas Eve when we opened presents.

When offered a gift of a stack of mini tortillas, I crafted four different types of fillings. Putting them in a muffin tin was a stroke of genius for serving - only one dish to clean!

The smorgasbord just came together based on what I had in the house, so feel free to improvise based on what's in your refrigerator or pantry. Of course add all your favorite toppings, it's a party after all!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Broccoli and Mushroom Quiche with Olive Oil Crust

When was the last time you made quiche? Maybe it was yesterday or last week or last decade, like me. Quiche used to be in my regular rotation when I was a graduate student, back in the '90s (egads, that's so long ago!) And I don't know why it fell out of favor, it's a fantastic way to use up veggies heading south and odd assortments of cheese collecting in the fridge!

Perhaps quiche falls by the wayside because of the pesky crust question - homemade or not. In my grad school days, I made it all from scratch because it was cheaper. Now when I look at the ingredient lists on store-bought crusts, my stomach curdles. So I still make the crust. But here's an easier version, healthier too: olive oil crust.

Frozen olive oil that is. Or at least very chilled. You don't actually want to freeze it, just chill it for 1 hour (don't go more, it will be too cold). And then you have the making for a perfect crust!

A side note to the photo above, with the extra slice of mushroom quiche. It turns out that I forgot that my beau's youngest daughter is not a huge fan of broccoli, so I made half the quiche mushroom and cheese and half broccoli; everyone was happy!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Corn, Red Cabbage and Avocado Salad with Lime Vinaigrette

Corn season will soon be full blown and here's and easy and fun salad to enjoy corn to its fullest!

Cut fresh corn off the cob, saute with some jalapenos, garlic and onion and toss with a lime vinaigrette and add cabbage and cilantro and presto! Delicious side salad bursting with summer freshness!

I was inspired to create this because we had leftover roasted corn from our 4th of July party, but only 1 ear of roasted corn. So instead of firing up the entire grill (which does not mean flicking a switch, we're hardwood grillers!) I resorted to my cast iron pan and stovetop. Great flavor even if it lacked the smokiness of hardwood grilled corn. But don't let that stop you from roasting a bunch of ears and making up a picnic size portion of this beautiful salad!