Tuesday, February 21, 2006

When's Dinner?

Hmmm. Pic not available for some reason.

Tonight for dinner I'm having Korean Chicken Patties and Kohlrabi Salad from Vietnam. Both come from Madhur Jaffrey's Step-by-Step Cooking which is one of my favorite cookbooks.

For the chicken I use Smart Chicken which is air chilled and all organic. You should try it - it's the best chicken ever. I had Central Market grind it for me. To that you add sliced green onions, sesame oil, soy sauce, roasted sesame seeds and a little chili powder. You mix the ingredients together and fry in a little vegetable oil. It's served with Korean Dipping Sauce. I can't wait to eat this.

The salad is really easy - you chop kohlrabi and a carrot into little matchsticks, put them in a bowl with some salt and let them sweat for a while. After you squeeze all the moisture out, you add vinegar, sugar, chili powder, chopped mint and chopped cilantro. It's topped with chopped roasted peanuts! It has a crunchy nutty flavor that I love.

I'll update this with the recipes if I can get permission.


Monday, February 20, 2006

Not-from-a-jar Spaghetti Sauce

This is always a work in progress, as I add something new or don't have something else each time. You do too have time to make a sauce from scratch: this one takes 45 minutes start-to-finish, and if you start your huge pot of water boiling right when you start your sauce, the pasta and sauce should both be done at the same time.

1 lb ground sirloin
1 T extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
1 lg clove garlic, crushed & chopped
1 28oz can chopped tomatoes
1 6oz can tomato paste
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp coarse ground black pepper
1 tsp dried oregano or 1 T chopped fresh oregano
1 tsp dried basil or 1 T chopped fresh basil
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp dried red pepper flakes
1 dash cinnamon
1/2 C water

First chop the veggies. Put the olive oil in a large sauce pot over medium high heat and let it get hot. Put the onion, pepper and garlic in and stir everything until the onions turn translucent. Put in the ground sirloin and break up with the back of the spoon. Stir until no more pink is left. Add the tomatoes and the next nine ingredients. [Special hint which you probably already know: to get the tomato paste out easier, open both ends of the can and use one can end to push the paste out. Remove can end before stirring...] Mash the tomatoes with the back of the spoon for a more "saucy" consistency. Stir, taste, correct the seasoning. Don't add too much cinnamon - the idea is for them to say, "Wow, how interesting! What's in this?" and not "Oh, you put cinnamon in this, right?" Let everything come to a boil and reduce heat, cover and let simmer for 30 minutes. Stir occasionally.

Serves 8 with 1lb pasta, or you can serve 4 tonight with 1/2 lb pasta and save the rest for tomorrow.

Friday, February 17, 2006

It's what's for dinner

Beef. Filets, to be exact. They melt in your mouth. I serve them with Chimichurri sauce and some nice fresh steamed green beans.

Chimichurri Sauce

1 head garlic
1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce
1/4 c olive oil
1/4 c chopped flat leaf parsley

Lop the head off the garlic, about 1/4in down. Wrap loosely in foil and roast in a 325 degree oven for 45 minutes. Let cool to room temp and peel the garlic. Put the peeled cloves into a food processor with the chipotle. Whiz it up. Drizzle the olive oil in while the processor is running. Put the parsley in and pulse a couple of times. Add salt and pepper to taste.

I sometimes use 2 or 3 chipotles but even with just one this is HOT.

But soooo good.

I'm now drooling and it's still 1 1/2 hours until dinner.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Holy Zucchini!!

I'm in love! I have been trying at least one new recipe per week from my Madhur Jaffrey's World Vegetarian cookbook ever since I got it. Only one dud; the rest have been wonderful. Today's dinner is spectacular.

It's a Greek salad with zucchini and feta cheese. It has green onions and dill and lemon juice and olive oil. I chopped the zucchini in little 1/2 inch quarters and it turned out perfect.

On the side I made a lentil and bulghur pilaf that's also in the book. I omitted the fried onions because of time constraints but I want to try it again with them. I also want to try adding more water, which wasn't called for in the recipe - the whole thing got a little dry after about half the cooking was over.

Mmm. I can't wait for dinner!

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Mexicanish Cornbread Casserole

I got the idea for this from another recipe I saw called Turkey Tamale casserole when I was on a quest to find stuff I could make that would last for two dinners for me and Zachary. It's meat free but you could put browned ground beef or turkey into the mix and it would be pretty good.


1 C rice
1 can black beans
2 cans diced green chiles (Hatch is best if you can find it)
1 can diced chipotle tomatoes (if you can't find these use regular tomatoes and add 1 T chile powder)
2 C shredded Monterey Jack cheese


3/4 C cornmeal
1/4 C whole wheat flour
1 1/2 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
1 egg
1/2 C milk
2 T oil

Cook the rice. Mix it with the black beans, chiles, tomatoes and cheese. Spread mixture into an 8" square casserole dish.

Mix the dry ingredients together for the cornbread in one bowl and the wet ingredients in another bowl. Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture and stir just until mixed; do not overmix.

Spread the cornbread mixture over the filling evenly.

Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.

Serves 4 as a main dish or about 6 as a side. This is pretty good if I do say so.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

My Spectacular Pizza

I developed this pizza as a strategy to sneak more vegetables into my children, and also as a response to a challenge from my husband (at the time)that I couldn't possibly come up with a pizza as good as Conan's. It took me a while, but he liked it so much he stopped taking me to Conan's.


1 1/2 T dry yeast
1 1/2 C warm water
3 T extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 t salt
4 C white whole wheat flour (if you can't find this use 1/2 white and 1/2 whole wheat)
1/2 C oatmeal (the regular kind is better than the quick cooking kind)
1/3 C dry milk
1/3 C white cornmeal

Topping (top it however you like: this is how I do it)

1/2 6 oz. pkg reduced fat pepperoni
1 sm zucchini
1/2 red or green bell pepper
1/2 red onion
1/2 1 lb. jar of spaghetti sauce (or 1 1/2 C homemade sauce)
1 pkg shredded italian blend cheese

For the crust, proof the yeast in the warm water in the bowl of your mixer or any large bowl if you're making the crust by hand. When the yeast turns foamy, add the olive oil and the dry ingredients if you're using an electric mixer. Using the dough hook on your mixer, mix at low speed until there's no more flour flying around and then use medium speed. Knead this way for about 5 minutes until dough has a waxy appearance and is no longer sticky. If dough is still sticky add a little more flour. [If you're mixing by hand, don't add all the dry ingredients at once but rather stir them into the liquid until you can't stir anymore and then tip the dough out onto a floured board. Then knead by hand adding the dry ingredients a little at a time when the dough gets sticky. Keep going until the dough has that matte waxy look and is no longer sticky.]

Put the dough in an oiled bowl covered with a dishtowel dampened in hot water and let it rise for an hour in a warm non-drafty place. I use the oven because the pilot light keeps it warmish. Once it's done rising, turn it out onto a 16" round pizza pan and knead it a few times, forming it into a ball. Turn it seam side down and let it rest while you chop the vegetables.

Slice the zucchini into thin rounds and chop the onion and pepper into smallish pieces.

Take the dough and press it out into the pizza pan so that the edges of the dough reach the edges of the pan and the dough is of a consistent thickness all over. Put the spaghetti sauce in the middle of the dough and spread it out evenly until it reaches to within 1/2-1 in. of the edge. Put the pepperoni on now, spacing out the pieces evenly. Then put the zucchini slices on and follow with the pepper and onion. Finish the pizza with the cheese sprinkled evenly over the top. If you have fresh basil and oregano, chop those up and sprinkle on top of the cheese. Yum.

Bake in a 450 degree oven for 15 minutes. Take it out of the oven and let it cool for 5 minutes before cutting. I cut this into 8 pieces and it serves four people unless one of them is an 18 year old boy. In that case you should probably grab what you need and get out of the way.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Mmmm. Chickpeas

It's four hours until dinner and I can't wait to eat. I've got a new cookbook by Madhur Jaffrey which is I think Madhur Jaffrey's World Vegetarian and today I made my first meal out of it: Moroccan chickpea stew with 6 vegetables. It took me actually two days of cooking because of the chickpeas - you have to soak them first which I forgot to do so had to do the way where you boil them and let them sit for an hour. Then you cook them for another hour or so but I used my pressure cooker (which I adore) to make it only 20 minutes. So then you chop up an onion, waxy potatoes, a sweet potato, carrots, zucchini and parsley and cilantro and season it with turmeric, ginger powder, cumin and cayenne and cook it in stages as you add the veggies. Oh my god. You serve it on couscous. I tried it at lunch and it is fantastic fantastic. I didn't miss the meat at all. Sydney tried it, however, and said, "You know what would be good in this? Chicken."

So I'm not vegetarian but I'm trying to cut back on meat since my cholesterol is borderline high. Zach is thrilled about this. I hope he likes the stew tonight though, and I think he will. I used whole wheat couscous and it's really hearty and fulfilling with the veggies. Yum.

I also have four tiny oranges for my snack. They aren't much bigger than a quarter and they peel really easily. You can just pop the whole orange in your mouth at once but I like to eat them teeny section by teeny section because they're so fucking cute. The sections aren't any bigger than your pinky fingernail really. There's hardly any pith and stringy stuff which I hate about big oranges. I guess these are technically tangerines now that I think about it. They have a name which I can't think of but it's Japanese-y sounding and starts with a K. I prefer to call them tiny oranges.