Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Cookbook Shopping

Originally published at SomethingGoodtoRead.com

Remember Michael Pollan's advice?  "Eat food.  Not too much.  Mostly plants."

If you, or someone on your holiday shopping list, are working on point three, or plan to in the New Year, here is an interesting list of vegan cookbooks from vegan.com.  I would add to this list my favorites, Deborah Madison's Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone and Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything Vegetarian.

Gift brainstorm:  A cookbook andproduce bags to keep veggies fresh.  A nice combination.

Photo:  ChicoBag Hemp-Cotton Produce Bags for keeping leafy greens fresh.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Buttermilk Substitute

If you have milk and lemons on hand, you can create a good substitute for buttermilk to be used when baking. Check it out at this link.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Cranberry Crumble

An easy, tasty cranberry dessert for Thanksgiving dinner.

For the Fruit:

1 pound fresh cranberries
1/2 tsp. lemon zest

For the Crumble:

1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup light brown sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 cup butter, cut into pieces.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Lightly spray an 8 x 8 pan with cooking spray.

Place the cranberries in a saucepan over medium heat. Stirring occasionally and gently, cook until the berries start to pop, and then continue cooking for one to two minutes. Do not allow the fruit to turn to mush! Add the lemon zest and a dash of honey to the fruit and stir.

While the fruit cools, prepare the crumble.

Combine the oats, flour, cinnamon and sugar in a large bowl. Add the butter and, using your very clean hand, blend the butter into the dry ingredients.

Place half of the crumble into the bottom of the prepared pan. Add the fruit. Place the remaining crumble over the fruit.

Bake for 45 minutes.

Adapted from The New York Times New Natural Foods Cookbook.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Roasted New Potatoes

Discovered this on Chow.  A classic dish because it tastes so wonderful.

1 pound new potatoes, washed and quartered.  It is very important to dry the potatoes thoroughly!  I used Yukon Gold B-Sized

4 Tbs. olive oil

3-4 cloves of garlic, peeled and either left whole or gently smooshed.

2 rosemary sprigs

Salt and pepper

Heat the oven to 450.

Put the olive oil into the baking dish and heat the oil in the oven for about 3 minutes.  Remove the pan from the oven.  Carefully toss the quartered potatoes and garlic in the hot oil.  Season with salt and pepper and toss again.  Place the rosemary sprigs on top of the potatoes.

Place the pot back into the oven and roast the potatoes for 35 minutes.  Check occasionally and, midway through give the potatoes a stir.


Saturday, September 3, 2011

Lemon Cake

I love making small cakes.  This one is  particularly moist and yummy!

Adapted from Cooking Well for the Unwell by Eileen Behan.

1 1/2 cups AP flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup salted butter
1 C granulated sugar
4 large eggs, beaten
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 tsp grated lemon zest

powder sugar
juice of 1/2 lemon

Preheat oven to 325.  Prepare  an 8-inch square cake pan for baking.

Stir together the four and baking powder in a bowl.  In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter for about 3 minutes.  Add the sugar to the butter and continue beating for another 5 to 7 minutes.  Successfully creaming the butter and sugar together is essential in baking.

Alternating between the flour mixture and eggs, add these ingredients to the butter/sugar.  Beat well to combine.  Add lemon juice and zest.  Pour the beaten mixture into the prepared pan.  Bake for 30 minutes or until the top is golden, a cake-tester comes out clean, and the side of the cake pull slightly away from the pan.

Cool 5 minutes, then remove from the pan and onto a rack.  Allow cake to continue cooling.

 Juice the remaining 1/2 lemon and combine with powder sugar to make a glaze.  Pour over cooled cake.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Chocolate Glaze for Cake

This recipe makes about 1 cup of chocolate glaze.

4 ounces unsweetened chocolate
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate (70% cacao)
8 Tbs. softened butter
2 Tbs. Lyle's Golden Syrup

Melt the chocolate in the top pan of a double-boiler. Stir constantly while melting. When the chocolate is almost completely melted, remove the top pan and continue stirring until completely melted and smooth. Add the butter, a tablespoon at a time. Add the syrup. Cool to glazing consistency.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011


The filling for this simple dish is great. Perfect for an easy summer dinner.

Prepare your pie crust in a spring form pan. Preheat the oven to 375.

Quiche filling:

4 eggs
2 cups whole milk (or half and half if you feel adventurous)
1/2 tsp. salt
Pepper to taste
1 shallot finely chopped
1 Tbs. sun-dried tomato packed in olive oil, chopped
1 cup grated Swiss cheese
2 ounces crumbled goat cheese
1/4 pound cooked bacon, crumbled

Spread the bacon crumbs over the crust. Sprinkle the cheese over the bacon. In a bowl, combine the eggs, salt and pepper, shallot, and sun-dried tomato. Pour the mixture over the bacon and cheese. Dot the top of the quiche with butter.

Back for 35-40 minutes, or until the custard has puffed up and the crust is baked. Rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Easy Free-form White Bread

With this recipe for sesame white bread, adapted from Serious Eats, you can effortlessly makes a delicious loaf in an afternoon. The loaf is nice for sandwiches and toast. This recipe has so many things going for it: The bread is delicious, economical, has no added sugar and tastes great for several days. (Of course since it is homemade the loaf has no added preservatives, chemicals or unpronounceable ingredients.)

Two important tools will make this bread easy to bake: A pizza stone and a pizza peel. If you don't have a pizza peel, you aren't making enough homemade pizza! But you can substitute a rimless baking sheet or the back of a baking sheet for the peel.

You cannot buy a bread like this. Make it often! Enjoy!

1 cup warm water
2 1/4 tsp. instant yeast
11.25 ounces bread flour, divided (about 2 and 3/4 cup flour)
1 tsp. salt
2 Tbs. unsalted butter
1 egg beaten with 1 Tbs. milk
Sesame Seeds, Poppy Seeds and Salt.

Combine warm water, yeast, and 6 ounces of flour in a large bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 90 minutes. Set out the butter and allow it to come to room temperature.

Move racks to the lower third of the oven and place a pizza stone in the oven. Heat the oven to 350. Put a nice wide sheet of parchment paper on the pizza peel and sprinkle with corn meal or semolina flour.

In a small bowl, combine the remaining flour and the salt. With your hand, work the butter into the flour/salt mixture until well combined. Add this mixture to the bowl with the risen dough and combine. Let rest for five minutes.

Follow Peter Reinhart's technique for kneading wet dough. The technique is explained here.

After the last fold in kneading, place the dough on the prepared pan, cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled, 20-30 minutes.

Brush the risen dough with the egg wash and sprinkle with the various seeds and salt. Make one long slash in the dough lengthwise. Slide the dough, still on the parchment, onto the pizza stone and bake for 30 minutes or until the dough reaches a temperature of about 200 degrees.

Cool the bread, then enjoy!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Easy, Delicious Marinated Asparagus

This is a simple method to prepare asparagus - and it's delicious!

The asparagus is blanched for about a minute in a large skillet of boiling water. So to begin, get an appropriately sized skillet filled with water on the stove and start bringing that to boil. Rinse the asparagus and break off the woody stems.

Next, prepare the marinade:


3/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 clove garlic, peeled and chopped
salt and pepper

Blanche the asparagus in the boiling water for about a minute. Immediately plunge the asparagus into a bowl of cold water to stop the cooking.

Place the asparagus into a large plastic zip bag, add the marinade, and put the bag into the refrigerator for about four hours.

When you are ready to serve, grate some lemon zest over the asparagus and add a bit of fresh parsley.


Monday, March 21, 2011

Maple Candy

Maple candy is delicious to eat and easy to make. It doesn't photograph very well, however, so there is no picture here.

The maple candy we buy often comes in cute shapes. I don't own candy molds, and wanted to minimize any fussiness in the procedure, so in this recipe the candy is poured onto a prepared cookie sheet in the same manner that free-form chocolate and chocolate barks are made.

Maple Candy

Line a large cookie sheet with foil. Allow sufficient foil to hang over the two short ends of the pan to create handles. Place a piece of parchment over the foil. Tear off a second piece of parchment of equal length and set aside.

Pour 2 cups of real maple syrup into a large, heavy bottomed pan. I used an 8-quart stock pan. It sounds like overkill, but using a large pan is critical. In a smaller pan, the hot syrup will increase significantly in volume as it approaches the target temperature, threatening to spill over the top. You need to use a good-size pan.

Using a candy thermometer and stirring occasionally, heat the syrup over medium-high heat to 235 F (110 C). Remove from heat. Let cool without stirring until the temperature falls to 175 F (80 C). This takes about 10 minutes.

With a wooden spoon, stir the mixture for 1 to 2 minutes, just until the syrup thickens a bit and starts to lighten in color. DO NOT OVER STIR. And do not stir until it looks like it is the color that you think maple candy should be or you will have a mess that can't be poured.

Pour the candy onto the prepared pan. Using the second sheet of parchment paper, press the candy flat. Using the foil handles, lift the candy out of the pan and onto a rack to cool.