Sunday, November 17, 2013

Roast Dinner

Roasted root veggies
Acorn squash and rice pilaf
When the weather turns cool we love to turn the oven on. It makes dinner for us. What could be easier?

Toss root veggies with olive oil, herbs you like, and S&P. Pick a pan small enough so it's piled up deep, not spread out on a sheet. If you're patient enough to wait for an 75 mins or so at 350, it's going to taste great. Just give it all a toss half way through.

If you don't have that much time, crank up your oven and you can be done in 45 mins, but keep an eye on it. But what's so important? Have a beer.

Roast a lots of garlic and you'll have left-over to use all week. Chop off the top of the head and drizzle a little oil on it.

If you haven't had kale roasted to crispy deliciousness this way, please try it.

We usually make a yogurt sauce for this. You can add chickpeas or serve with feta.


All kinds of squashes are great roasted, too. Cut in half and scoop out the seeds (*save the seeds, more in a sec). Roast them face down with some water. When just soft, flip and roast with veggies. If the squash is big, cut into quarters.

Try with just a bit of maple syrup, soy sauce, or butter and pumpkin pie spices. Or stuff with rice pilaf.

* As for the seeds - clean them up in a bowl of warm water, boil in salt water until very soft, toast quickly in a hot dry pan. Careful that they don't burn.

Also see here.

Home Made Pizza

Store-bought pizza? What are you thinking!?

We used Boboli crusts for many years, adding our own sauce and fresh veggies. Pretty good. Broccoli and onion, or spinach and feta, or pesto and zukes.

But so much better on your own crust. The no-knead, a-few-days-in-the-fridge method is so easy.

Try this.

Or this bread method.

The trick is to mix up the dough when you have a minute (literally). We use half whole wheat flour. Wait until it shows some life, then move to the fridge for a few days to develop flavor.

That's the hard part for me. I want to dip into the stash every day to make an english muffin or a pita.

But on pizza night, you can always add more flour and yeast. And take a minute to replenish the dough.

To cook, preheat your oven to at least 450. A pizza stone is supposed to help, but we use an oiled cookie sheet.


Added note: NY style pizza is thin, until you get to the crust. Store-bought doesn't do that.

Rice Paper Wrappers

 You can buy awesome rice paper wrappers all over now, but it's still fun to see what happens at home when you go into the kitchen lab.

These dumplings and the rice roll were very tasty, if a but more crumbly than I hoped for. They have an even amount of rice flour and corn starch.

The steamed dumplings are too thick and large, the dry-pan-fried roll a bit too dry.

Worth more attempts after some research ...


recipe links here


Time to catch up with what I've been cooking.

When you make individual mac-n-cheese bowls, crunchy top and edges balance with gooey middle.

I like a green veggie mixed in. Here's one with broccoli, one with asparagus. Peas are great, too, of course.

If you're starting from scratch, you can cook the mac covered well in milk and  you use the pasta starch to start the sauce - no need to add more flour in a roux.

If you have left-over pasta, you can use flour, or cornstarch, or a combo. Cornstarch can make a great stable sauce.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Rainbow Sushi

Rainbow Sushi

Because of its focus on veggies, non-fish sushi is an opportunity to experiment with color and flavor. These maki rolls use black beans and mole, beets and sweet pickles, and carrots and turmeric. I also added sweet peas to regular sushi rice in the inside-out uramaki. 

These also offer many varied bite-sized pieces, 3 each of four kinds, from one nori sheet, rather than 8 of one flavor.

Still have to try other colors/veggies: spinach, sweet potato, red cabbage ...

Also want to try roasted veggie sashimi and alternative wrappers.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Breakfast Sandwich

Easy breakfast sandwiches for two - this takes about 15 mins total.

  • 1/4 cup flour - half Whole Wheat
  • 1/4 teaspoon Baking Powder
  • pinch Kosher Salt
  • 1/4 cup Milk - 4 Tbsp 
  • 1 Egg - 1/4 in batter, 3/4 mixed with a bit of milk and fried in rings
  • bit of Butter, total 1 Tbsp
  • 2 slices baked potato, or very thin slices raw
  • 2 small leaves of chard
  • 2 slices of cheese
  • Fresh fruit - split half a grapefruit or banana

  • griddle
  • measuring cups/spoons
  • serrated knife
  • spatchula
  • plate

  • stretch, how does it look outside? assemble ingredients
  • make coffee, heat griddle - medium/5, set table or ready to-go bags/coffee travel cups
  • melt maybe a half tsp of butter, mix batter with enough milk so it's pretty thick, add melted butter to batter, put on potatoes
  • butter rings and start cakes, if they don't puff up quick turn up heat, if the griddle is smoking turn it down, stir a bit of milk into remaining egg - maybe a tsp if it's a big egg
  • when each cake bottom is dark brown, probably 2-3 mins, butter griddle, flip cakes and remove ring
  • how are the potatoes? you may need to pull them off onto plate for a bit so they don't dry out or burn
  • good time to feed the cat, etc
  • when cakes are done, turn down heat to 3, pour eggs into rings and cook for just a few seconds until set
  • remove rings, flip eggs, add s&p and melt cheese on them
  • remove griddle from heat and briefly warm chard
  • turn off stove or you may forget
  • put eggs on plate, split cakes with serrated knife, toast the insides a bit  
  • assemble and serve with fruit and coffee, or bag it up and go to work!

  • have not tried reheating these
  • you could change flours and flavor the batter for different kinds of quick sandwich breads - try with a bit of yogurt, or rye and ground caraway seeds, all whole wheat ...
  • If you don't have a griddle, a non-stick or iron pan would be fine
  • Use fresh, healthy ingredients that you like
  • Have a great day

Saturday, March 09, 2013

Breakfast Bake

Breakfast during the week is tough. Hungry enough to eat, not enough time to cook, expensive and unhealthy to grab something quick. So I spent some time this Saturday, making up something good.

There's a microwave at work, so I wanted to find something that will be delicious warmed up. Also wanted to use up leftovers. Also wanted to make two of everything to share with S.

On the left, spicy potato knish. Had my first in Brooklyn many years ago and many more since. Had many great samosas, too, and was considering something in between. The dough was a bit too elastic to roll out, but eventually I stuffed it with leftover roasted potatoes and green beans, chopped up small with Indian curry-type spices. Egg wash made them very pretty. If I was making these alone, I would have scrambled the rest of the egg and added it inside.

In the middle, an even bigger mashup - starting with James Beard's biscuit recipe, which makes a great steamed bun. I brought in 1/3 whole wheat flour and stuffed with leftover sweet potato and a bit of soy sauce.

Finally, on right, a baked whole wheat pancake muffin. I found a recipe that was almost ready to use, just wanted to omit sausage and include maple syrup.

Now I'm looking forward to my mornings. I'll add tasting comments next week.


weekend bake

spicy potato knish
Based on

knish + indian spices

1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon table salt
1/4 large egg, save just a bit
1/8 cup vegetable oil
1/4 teaspoon white vinegar
1/8 cup water
Rest 1 hour in fridge
makes 2
roll out as thin as possible
roll up to stuff, overlap twice or as much as possible, crimp ends
brush with a bit of egg mixed with tiny bit of water
375, 45 mins

could scramble the rest of the egg and use inside.

Whole wheat sweet potato steamed buns
based on:

biscuit + steamed bun + whole wheat goodness

2/3 cup AP flour
1/3 C WW flour
1/2 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 Tbsp cold butter
1 Tbsp oil
1/3 cup milk

this dough is not fussy when used for steaming
divide into 4, stuff with sweet potato and a bit of soy sauce
seal tight, put on wax paper squares, into steamer
steam for 15 mins

Whole Wheat Pancake Muffins
based on:

1/2 cup WW Flour
1/4 teaspoon Baking Powder
1/8 teaspoon Salt
1/3 cup Milk
1/2 Egg
1 Tbsp Butter, melted
1 Tbsp Syrup
makes 3
pour into buttered muffin tin, put  a bit of water into empty bins
350, 15 mins

didn't rise much. maybe should be two big muffins.

I tried pouring the syrup when tins were half-filled, then topped with rest of batter. Bottom of muffin ended up a bit soggy. next time maybe I'll try mixing into batter.



- knish - awesome, inside and out.
- bun - this was great microwaved. bun soft, sweet beet center. not too great toasted, though  filling was good. could re-steam, too. here's a pic of bun before toasting:
- muffin - way too bland, imagine an untoasted, whole wheat english muffin. Not that I've eaten one on purpose. Either mix in flavors or better off making a good muffin. morning glory ... mmm. though used another one to make an egg sandwich and that was pretty tasty but not wide and flat enough. could also try this as a quick english muffin batter?

Sunday, February 24, 2013

English as a Second Muffin

Well, well, well. First food post in five years. Did I spend that time honing my recipes, skills and tools to a fine, rapier edge? Did I get lazy and warm up frozen dinners? Neither, of course.

One recent challenge was making an english muffin, or rather one that pointed towards the more hearty ezekiel variety. But, as always, with a method that does not require more than an hour of forethought.

It has finally revealed itself. The secret balance was an unexpected addition to a package of fresh sage. And here I am decrying packaged food. Another lesson learned -- self, remember to read packaging, even if there's only one ingredient, and look for any prep hints. Way too much sage, white flour and butter, it took just a few tries to adapt the gift recipe to my own goal.

Dammit, forgot to check the date on the camera. Just a sec, OK, now that's fixed. Anyway, here they are, hearty, moist, bready, good for a solid brunch or lunch. Ready to eat in about 30 mins.

Ingredients for three muffins:

  • 1 Tbsp herb, I used dry basil
  • 1 C flour - 1/3 whole wheat
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp bk soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 Tbsp butter in dough
  • 1 Tbsp melted butter to brush
  • 3/8 C butter milk - I used 1/3 C yogurt, more or less, to make soft dough
Set oven at 425.
Melt 1 Tbsp butter.
Mix dry well.
Chop 2 Tbsp of cold butter into small chunks and mix roughly into dry so butter is flattened into separate, flour-coated bits.
Mix in butter milk or yogurt, enough to make a soft dough.
Stop mixing. Let it set 5 mins to dry up a bit. Flatten and cut into three.

You'll need baking rings and sheets you can cover - I used 3 small 5 oz cat food cans with the bottom cut out and 3 bread pans. They work really well.

Brush a bit of the melted butter onto pans and rings. Drop into 3 rings, flatten, brush with melted butter, nest the pans to cover and bake for 10 mins, then flip muffins and bake, uncovered, for another 10 mins.

After cooling a while, I made a quick veg ruben. 

For a nice small roll, skip rings, drop onto buttered sheet and brush top with melted butter.