Sunday, November 14, 2021

Easy, Pantry Bean Chili

Yup, here in Humboldt county those foggy mornings that don't always burn off lead me to dream of good, stick to the ribs chili. Basic, pantry ingredients with a few spices that might surprise you will produce a complex and hearty chili that will have you making a second batch.

I make a fair amount of Mexican dishes, so I always have Mexican oregano and annatto seeds in my pantry, but you can leave out the annatto and use regular oregano and it will still be delicious! If you make your beans from scratch, you will have lots of cooking liquid that helps make this all come together quickly.

Sunday, November 7, 2021

Walnut Chickpea Tacos

If you look around the blogosphere, there are plenty of interesting non-meat options for making tacos. Really, you can put just about anything in a corn tortilla and call it a taco! But these from Vegan Richa really intrigued me.

Vegan Richa made quesadillas with them but the idea of walnut chick pea fillings for tacos sounded like a winner. Yes, yes it was! Simple, fast, delicious. Can you beat that? Never! 

If you don't have ancho chili powder, use some sweet paprika and a little cayenne, but not too much unless you really like heat!

Sunday, May 30, 2021

Zucchini Chickpea Pancakes with Sriracha

Are you ready for zucchini season? Think I’m jumping the gun a little too soon? If you have planted them in your garden in the past, you know the green rascals grow exponentially, so begin stockpiling your recipes for using up their deliciousness now!

One of my favorite recipes for zucchini are pancakes made with chickpea flour. My first foray into this dish was as an Indian side dish, so I have kept the Indian spices, but don’t let that deter you if spice is not your thing, although these spices are not hot per say, just flavorful. The basics are a few tablespoons of chickpea flour with salt, oil and a little water mixed with diced zucchini, which you allow to rest and then fry up in a cast iron pan. It’s magical!

Chickpea flour makes great pancakes on its own - google Socca and see how the French and Italians eat it with just salt. When you add chopped veggies that cook quickly, like zucchini, then it’s a full meal and a quick one at that.

Sunday, May 9, 2021

Asparagus Fritters with Curried Mayo


Have you ever seen an asparagus bed? No, that’s not a trick question, they do grow in “beds” and they are finicky growers, I’ve tried. So when you see local asparagus available, grab it up and thank your neighbor for bringing this delectable spring vegetable into the world, because it isn’t easy to get started. However, once they are going, they will last for years. Kind of a metaphor for being a mom!

Moms take care of us as babies, as toddlers, as teenagers and even as adults. It’s kind of pathetic that we only allocate one day a year to officially thank them, so make it a hearty and heartfelt one!

Asparagus fritters sound fancy but they are really simple and delicious. If curry isn’t your thing, dollop sour cream on top and sprinkle some chives to make it look pretty. Your mom deserves it!

Sunday, March 28, 2021

Asian Tuna Salad Bowl

Poke bowls are new to me but I am embracing them whole heartedly! Yes, I know the above photo does not have raw fish in it, but hear me out. Mark Bittman - my personal food god - put out a recipe that inspired me to go with the look if not the exact ingredients of a poke bowl - canned tuna.

Add soy sauce, wasabi and lemon juice to canned tuna and surround it with a bunch of fresh, raw chopped veggies and herbs and presto! Deliciousness that you didn't know existed!

While Mark uses cooked rice as a base (similar to a poke bowl) I often stick with more veggies, but feel free to use what you like. This dish is definitely great for using up odds and ends in your veggie drawer, but there are a few staples that I think work well: cucumber, radish (daikon, red), and bell peppers. After that, it's a grab bag. Avocado is always good along with pickled onions or ginger. It's your bowl, make yourself happy!

Sunday, March 14, 2021

Pan Roasted Cauliflower with Raisins, Almonds, Capers and Fresh Herbs


Adding fresh herbs to your cooking repertoire seems to feel daunting and although cookbooks abound on the idea, don’t bother with them, just follow your taste buds. Mine led me to this amazing cauliflower dish that apparently originates from a famous New York chef. I just know it was so delicious I may have eaten a whole head of cauliflower for dinner that night!

Raisins, almonds, and capers with cauliflower is a traditional Sicilian pairing, truly, no lie. But add in a bunch of fresh chopped herbs and this dish is something special. Fresh herbs are like citrus, they enliven all that they touch!

The original recipe called for fresh breadcrumbs toasted in butter, and while it was good, I felt disinclined to make them the second time and I found I didn’t miss them. For me, the star of the dish were the raisins simmered in a vinegar butter bath that plumps them into delicious sweet tangy bites that are mind-blowing with the crunch of almonds and the brine of capers, alongside the cauliflower and assorted herbs! This is truly a dish where you will want to fish around to get all of those flavors and textures in each bite!

Sunday, February 28, 2021

Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Gorgonzola, Walnuts and Balsamic Glaze


Ahh Brussel Sprouts, they are not just for Thanksgiving! Of course because
they are cabbage in miniature I adore them, but do not let my bias sway you,
try them yourself with three wonderful flavors that compliment them perfectly:
balsamic glaze, blue cheese and walnuts!

The best part of this dish is that it feels gourmet and elegant and yet requires so little effort, other than preparing the sprouts. But once that is done and they are in the oven baking to crisp perfection, then you are just making the finishing touches, and oh what touches they are!

Sunday, February 14, 2021

Berry Semifreddo - Italian Soft Frozen Dessert


Ice cream makers are one of those gadgets that all too often sit and collect dust, am I right? Well here is a delicious (semi) frozen treat that is made gadget free!

Semifreddo is four basic ingredients and then add flavoring. Except for the freezing part, it takes less than 20 minutes preparation and then 8 hours later, presto! Deliciousness!

While preparation involves working with a double boiler (one pan with simmering water in it and a bowl on top with the ingredients) once you have created this magic, you realize it isn't as intimidating as it sounds.

My versions have only used berries, and frozen actually work better if you are more interested in the swirl of flavor as opposed to chunks of berries. If you search the web you can add in all sorts of stuff from chocolate and peanut butter to crushed candy, whatever delights you!

Sunday, January 31, 2021

DIY Enchilada Sauce

Coming late in life to Mexican food has only made it more of a favorite for me. Next to mashed potatoes and pizza, it is one of my favorite comfort foods, especially enchiladas. 

Loteria Grill at The Grove in Los Angeles (sadly no longer there) introduced me to the various rojo salsas that could be mixed into tacos or enchiladas and I was hooked! I learned from my co-workers that it was the dried chilies plus spices and herbs that made these amazing sauces. So I set out to make it myself. What a revelation!

Not only is it easy to make your own sauce, but it tastes so much better than a can or a jar (naturally) but truly doesn't take much more time to make than the opening of said can or jar. You pour boiling water over dried chilies, spices, garlic and herbs, and let it soak for at least 30 minutes, then puree it with canned tomatoes and presto!

By the way, in case you didn't know, any blender blade and cap will fit in a regular (not wide mouth) canning jar and then you can blend your sauce straight into the jar, no need to scrap it out of the blender carafe. I have been doing this for more than a decade, never using my carafe at all. It is wonderfully handy for making salad dressing too!

Sunday, January 17, 2021

Cauliflower Cake

When I daydream of publishing a cookbook, one of my titles would be “Vegetable Goddess,” since I fancy myself as someone who can entice people into eating the vegetables they think they abhor. However, there already exists a Vegetable God, Yotam Ottolenghi. 

If you’re not familiar with him or his cookbooks, you’ve probably unknowingly seen his recipes made by someone else. Not only do his recipes inspire gorgeous food porn photos but they taste as good as they look. Us mere mortals worship at his feet and if you have yet to be graced with his brilliance, now is your chance. 

Cauliflower Cake, savory and delicious, combining basil, rosemary, red onion and turmeric with eggs, flour and roasted cauliflower. Best warm, still delicious straight from the refrigerator. You know you are at least curious!