Thursday, December 16, 2010

Carrot Soup

Work some delicious, orange vegetables into your diet with carrot soup. This is a simple recipe using readily available, basic ingredients.

1 lb of carrots, peeled and diced
1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
4 celery ribs, trimmed and chopped
2 tsp curry powder
3 Tbs vegetable oil
2 tsp salt
5 cups vegetable stock
1 Tbs lemon juice
black pepper

In a large stock pan, heat 3 Tbs. of vegetable oil over medium heat. Add the curry powder and saute for 2 minutes.  Add the chopped carrots, celery, onion and salt.  Saute for 10 minutes, stirring frequently.

Add to the pan the vegetable stock.  Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer about 15 minutes, until carrots are tender.

Remove from heat and, using an immersion blender, carefully puree the mixture.  Add lemon juice and season with pepper.

Re-heat to serve.   Enjoy!

Adapted from Soup: A Way of Life by Barbara Kafka

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Bread Recipe: Whole Wheat.

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Plain whole wheat bread can sometimes seem a bit dull. This whole wheat bread recipe uses a combination of flours, including rye and pumpernickel, as well as nuts, seeds and oatmeal to jazz it up a bit. The flavors from the rye and pumpernickel flours are subtle and add a nice texture to the loaf. Olive oil is used for the fat and maple syrup for a touch of sweetness; neither flavor is intrusive in the final product. This bread recipe is easy to make. Give it a try!

Happy, Healthy, Hippie Bread

Two hours before you plan to bake, combine the following ingredients in a small bowl:

1 ounce flax seeds
1 ounce raw sunflower kernels
1 scant ounce sesame seeds
1 ounce old-fashioned rolled oats.
2 ounces water


3 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup spelt flour (plus more as needed when kneading the dough).
1 cup rye flour
1 cup pumpernickel flour (also called dark rye meal)
2 packages active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water (105 to 115 degrees)
1/3 cup maple syrup (you may substitute honey)
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tsp. salt
1 and 3/4 cup water

In a large mixing bowl, combine all the flours together. Slowly stir in the 1 and 3/4 cup water. It will be dry. The point of this process is to allow the flour to absorb the water.

Dissolve the yeast in 1/2 cup warm water in a medium bowl. Let this sit for five minutes. Add the maple syrup, olive oil, and salt. Add all of this to the bowl with the flour and water. Stir (or mix in your stand-mixer) until everything is combined.

Stir in the seed/rolled oat mixture.

Knead the dough until it is smooth and elastic. Add additional spelt flour as needed to get the dough to come together. It will remain a bit sticky due to the rye flour.

Place the dough in an oiled bowl. Turn the oiled side up. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rise in a warm place until double, about an hour.

When the dough has risen, gently deflate it and turn it out onto your work surface. Divide the dough into two equal halves. Shape each piece into a rectangle that will fit into your bread pan, about 8 1/2 by 4 1/2. With the dough orientated toward you as if it were a page in portrait (not landscape) format, fold the dough like you are folding a business letter. Seal the final fold and gently shape the dough into loaf shape.

Please the dough, seam side down, into oiled 8 1/2 x 41/2 x 2 1/2 loaf pans. Cover loosely with plastic wrap. Let the dough rise in its pans until double, about 1 hour.

While the dough is rising, pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.

Bake the bread for 40 to 45 minutes, until deep brown. Cool for five minutes in the pans. Then remove the bread from the pans and finish cooling on a wire rack.


Thursday, September 9, 2010

Another Menu for a Late Summer Meal

Reading Amy Goldman's book, The Heirloom Tomato, inspired the following meal, which was declared a grand success by all:
  • Baked garlic. If possible, choose garlic with large cloves and purchase it at your local farmers' market. Break the cloves from the bulb and remove some, but not all, of its loose outer paper. Place garlic in its remaining paper skin on a piece of aluminum foil, drizzle with olive oil and grind a bit of pepper over everything. Wrap the garlic in the foil and bake at 450 for about 40 minutes.
  • Baked ricotta cheese with kalamata olives. Mix 3/4 pound ricotta with a tablespoon of olive oil. Grease a shallow, glass baking pan or gratin dish with additional oil. Top cheese with pitted kalamata olive halves, pepper, a sprinkling of paprika, and an additional drizzle of olive oil. Bake at 450 until hot.
  • Cherry tomato salad. Toss tomatoes with olive oil and a little balsamic vinegar, add salt, fresh-ground pepper, and torn, fresh basil leaves from your kitchen garden.
  • Homemade French bread.
  • Thinly sliced prosciutto purchased from your trusted purveyor of fine Italian foods.
  • Cold bottle of white wine.

More Small Chocolate Cakes: The Wacky Cake

This recipe is from a discussion on Chowhound. It's great! I was skeptical at first about the use of white vinegar and and entire tablespoon of vanilla, but this little cake has excellent flavor and it is so moist. I topped it with an improvised caramel frosting.


1-1/2 C flour
3 Tbs. cocoa
1 tsp. espresso powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 C sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1 Tbs. white vinegar
1 Tbs. vanilla
4 Tbs. melted butter or vegetable oil (I used butter)
1 C cold water

Mix dry ingredients together. Make three wells in the mixture. In the first well, pour vinegar, in the second vanilla, and in the third, the liquid fat. Pour cold water over the whole thing and mix together well. Pour batter into a 9x9 pan, ungreased, and bake at 350 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes.

Caramel Frosting

1/2 C unsalted butter
1 C brown sugar
1/4 C milk (more as needed to get the correct consistency)
1-1/2 to 2 C confectioners sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
A few grains of salt

Melt butter in a sauce pan. Add brown sugar. Bring to a boil and boil for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Stir for two minutes to cool. Add milk, vanilla and a few grains of salt. Slowly add sugar and beat until thick.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

What's For Dinner: Rib-Eye Steak Sandwiches.

Serve these rib-eye steak sandwiches with sides of corn on the cob and a fresh tomato salad for a delicious late-summer treat.

Steak Sandwich (2 servings)


A cast iron grill pan.


2 thinly cut rib-eye steaks for sandwiches (from the butcher).
2 Kaiser rolls
Cheese (Your choice. I used provolone but you may prefer something with a stronger flavor.)
Olive oil
Salt and pepper


An hour or so before cooking, remove steaks from the refrigerator and bring to room temperature.

Mix a tablespoon of olive oil with a generous pinch of paprika. Set aside.
Slice rolls.
Slice sufficient cheese to top each sandwich.

Pre-heat the oven broiler on High.

Slice the onion and saute in a bit of olive oil. While the onions are cooking, heat the cast iron pan on the stove top for about five minutes. Rub a bit of olive oil on the steaks; add salt and pepper. At the end of the five minutes, lightly brush the insides of the Kaiser rolls with the olive oil / paprika combo. Toast the rolls in the toaster oven. Set a timer so you don't forget about the rolls!

Place steaks in the hot grill pan. Carefully put the pan under the broiler in the oven. Broil for about 2 minutes. Flip the steaks and broil for approximately another 1-1/2 minute.

When the steaks are finished, remove from the pan and cut them in half to fit onto the bottom half of the rolls. Top with onion, cheese and the top of the toasted roll.


Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Dessert Everyday: Chocolate Cake.

If you want to really live life to its fullest, then you must eat dessert as often as possible. I'm not talking store-bought foam cakes or cardboard cookies, either. I'm talking about the good stuff.

Fortunately, good stuff in the world of dessert is often easy to make at home. Take Alice Medrich's chocolate cake: It is simple to prepare, produces a manageable quantity, and tastes fantastic.

Bake and eat cake. Live your life.

Chocolate Cake
Adapted from Alice Medrich

1 cup flour
1 cup plus 2 Tbs. sugar
7 Tbs. unsweetened (non-Dutch process) natural cocoa powder.
(What's the difference between non-Dutch process (such as Hershey's) and Dutch process? Check out this link.)
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
2 large eggs, gently stirred with a fork to combine the yolk and white.
1/2 cup milk
1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, melted.
1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350.
Grease either an 8-inch square cake pan or a 9-inch round cake pan.

Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl, whisking until fully combined. Stir in the eggs and milk. When combined, whisk the resulting thick batter vigorously 30 to 40 times. Stir in the melted butter and vanilla. Pour into the prepared pan.

Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Set the pan on a rack and cool for ten minutes. Remove cake from the pan and cool completely.

Top with either a light dusting of confectioner's sugar or chocolate frosting.


2 Tbs. butter
3/4 cup powdered sugar
2 Tbs. cocoa
1/4 tsp. espresso powder
1-2 Tbs. milk
1/4 tsp. vanilla

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Friday, August 6, 2010

Summer Treats: Rocky Road Candy

Making Sloppy Joes earlier this week, along with a lazy summer vibe, put me in the mood for more items that appeal to the kid in all of us. After seeing what was on hand in the pantry, I decided that a pan of Rocky Road Candy would do.

It is essential when making this candy to use fresh, quality butter and good chocolate. Do not skimp on these two items! I'm a big, big fan of Guittard Real Semisweet Chocolate Chips; it has the best flavor and texture. With respect to the other items, I prepared this recipe with store brand marshmallows, store brand peanuts, and store brand sweetened condensed milk. The final result? Great tasting candy.

Rocky Road Candy is an easy, fun, retro dessert.


1 12-ounce package Guittard Real Semisweet Chocolate Chips
2 Tbs. butter
1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
2 C. peanuts (I use Virginia peanuts (skinless))
1 10.5-ounce package miniature marshmallows


Begin by spraying a 13x9 pan with nonstick cooking spray. Next, line the pan with wax paper, pressing down and into the corners and making sure that sufficient paper hangs over each end of the pan to act as handles for lifting the candy out after it is cooled.

Combine chocolate chips, butter and sweetened condensed milk in a large (1 quart) glass measuring cup. Microwave on high for 1-1/2 minute; stir. Microwave for an additional 1-1/2 minute. Let cool for 5 minutes, stirring it for a portion of this time to get everything fully melted and blended together. The cooling and mixing is important as the marshmallows will melt if the chocolate mixture is too hot.

Combine peanuts and marshmallows in a large bowl. Pour in the chocolate mixture and stir to combine. Spread the combined ingredients into the prepared pan. Cool in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.


Sunday, August 1, 2010

Sloppy Joes

To me, Sloppy Joes are a summertime dish: Tasty and easy to make. Relatively inexpensive. Satisfying to kids of all ages. Because of these great features, there are a million recipes for this dish. The following is a tangy, but not too spicy, version.

Sloppy Joes
Adapted from Epicurious

1 Tbs. olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 jalapeno, finely diced
1/2 green pepper, small dice
2 cloves garlic
1 lb. ground chuck
1 medium tomato, peeled, cored and chopped (make sure to preserve the juice!)
2 Tbs. tomato paste
1/4 cup ketchup
1/2 tsp. Tabasco
1 tsp. steak sauce
salt and pepper

Heat the oil in a large fry pan. Add onion, celery, jalapeno and green pepper. Cook over medium heat until the vegetables soften, about 6 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 2-3 minutes more.

Increase the heat to medium high and add the ground chuck. Break-up the meat and cook until brown, about 10 minutes. Season with pepper and 1/2 tsp. salt. Add the tomato, tomato paste, ketchup, Tabasco and steak sauce. Reduce heat to medium and cook another 15 to 20 minutes, or until the mixture thickens.

Serve on hamburger buns.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

The Awesomeness of Doughnut Peaches

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No cooking required. Just enjoy as-is their unearthly deliciousness! These peaches are from today's Dane County Farmers' Market.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Simple Summer Dessert: Prosecco Gelatin.

It's mid-summer and the weather is hot and humid. These evenings call for serving an easy, light dessert. Offer the kids ice cream, but for the adults try this surprisingly elegant recipe adapted from Nigella Lawson's holiday cookbook, Nigella's Christmas. The ratio of gelatin to liquid creates a soft, lush treat that will please and surprise those who are skeptical of gelatin dishes.

Prosecco Gelatin

1 bottle Prosecco (750 ml)
1 cup water
1 1/2 cups superfine sugar
4 tsp. unflavored powder gelatin
1/2 tsp. vanilla

Tip: Don't buy superfine sugar if you have a food processor. Instead, process regular sugar in the food processor for a few minutes and you will make your own very fine sugar.


Place the 1 cup of water into a bowl and add the 4 tsp. of gelatin. Let this mixture soak.

Into a sauce pan, add the Prosecco and sugar; gently stir to combine. Bring the wine and sugar mixture to a boil and boil for one minute. Do not stir while the mixture is heating and boiling. Add vanilla and allow mixture to gently boil for another minute. Remove from heat.

Pour 1 cup of the hot sugar-wine mixture into the bowl with the water and gelatin. Stir until completely combined. Pour the all the gelatin mixture into the sauce pan containing the balance of the wine and sugar mixture and again stir to completely combine. Finally, pour everything back into the bowl and stir again. These steps are taken to ensure that all the ingredients are completely combined.


Pour everything into a clean bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight.


Spoon gelatin into dessert dishes and top with a few raspberries and dot of whipped cream. Sit outside under the summer stars and enjoy.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Mediterranean Potato Salad

Delicious, different, and definitely more adult than its mayonnaise-based cousin: Mediterranean Potato Salad.

2 pounds new potatoes
1/2 cup reserved cooking water from the potatoes
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1/3 cup good olive oil
1 ounce salt-packed capers, rinsed
4 ounces pitted kalamata olives, chopped
4 anchovy fillets, finely chopped
salt and pepper

The recipe requires a warm dish to hold the potatoes in prior to serving. Accordingly, preheat the oven to 350. Place a casserole dish with a cover inside the oven. Let the dish get hot.

Next, clean the potatoes, but do not peel. Boil the potatoes in water until done.

When the potatoes are done, take the casserole dish out of the oven and place it on a trivet. Turn the oven off as it is not needed any further for this recipe. Place the cooked potatoes in the warm casserole dish and add the reserved cooking water. Quickly add the remaining ingredients and stir gently to combine. Cover the dish and allow the flavors to mingle for approximately 30 minutes. Serve.

This is good; enjoy!

Adapted from The San Francisco Chronicle Cookbook.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Eating Seasonally: Rhubarb Crisp a la Mark Bittman.

Rhubarb is not an ingredient that I've used much in cooking. However, when I last visited my mother she served rhubarb pie with a meringue topping. Thinking it was lemon meringue, I ate it. Not lemon, but good. Darn good.

Inspired, I purchased rhubarb at the Farmers' Market and, as fate would have it, Mark Bittman published a recipe for rhubarb crisp in his New York Times column. I served it tonight for dessert. Fantastic!

I made two addition of ginger to Mr. Bittman's recipe. First, to the mixture of rhubarb, sugar, lemon zest and lemon juice I added two tablespoons of finely diced crystalline ginger. Second, to the crisp topping I added one teaspoon ground ginger. Finally, I kicked-up the amount of lemon zest in the crisp. Bittman's recipe calls for 1 teaspoon of zest. I added a tablespoon.

A crisp for dessert is easy, comforting and delicious. It is a perfect Sunday night treat.

Rhubarb Ginger Crisp.
Adapted from The Minimalist by Mark Bittman.

6 tablespoons cold butter, cut into small pieces, plus more for greasing pan
2 1/2 to 3 pounds rhubarb, trimmed, tough strings removed, and cut into 1-inch pieces (about 5 to 6 cups)
1/4 cup white sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon lemon zest
2 tablespoons crystalline ginger, finely chopped.
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
Pinch salt
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup pecans

1. Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees. Butter a 9- inch square baking pan. Combine rhubarb with white sugar, crystalline ginger, lemon juice and zest, and spread into the buttered baking pan.

2. In the work bowl of a food processor, place the 6 tablespoons butter, the brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, ground ginger, and salt. Pulse until it looks like small peas and begins to clump. Add oats and pecans and pulse to lightly combine.

3. Crumble the topping over rhubarb. Bake 45 to 50 minutes, until golden and beginning to brown.


Saturday, May 15, 2010


I'm baking a lazy pizza tonight: All of the ingredients, including the crust, come from our local Italian food store, Fraboni's . The crust started as a frozen ball of dough made at a neighborhood Italian restaurant and for sale at Fraboni's. I've defrosted it and will stretch it into a 12-inch pie. The remaining ingredients - meat, cheese, olives, sauce - all come from Fraboni's fabulous deli.

With great ingredients, I need good tools and technique. Two essential tools: 1) A pizza stone. Ya gotta have one! 2) A pizza peel. We make pizza frequently and the process is easier (and safer) with a peel.

The key technique for pizza is a hot, hot oven. I figured this out after trying a pizza recipe that appeared in the NYT. The oven, with the pizza stone on the rack, is preheated an hour before baking to 550 degrees. Yes, that's right: 550 degrees. The pie bakes for about 10 minutes; I start checking it after seven minutes have passed.

Think about how many times you've had pizza delivered and found it overpriced and not very tasty. With some simple ingredients and a few tools, you can easily make fabulous pizza at home.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Via Serious Eats: Mario Batali's Garlic Soup.

It was a cold, dark, rainy spring day today; perfect weather for soup. And what a perfect soup we had: Mario Batali's Garlic Soup. This soup is easy, delicious, and fun to make and eat. The fun comes from adding a perfectly poached egg to the hot soup after it is poured into individual bowls. Poached egg on garlic soup? Wonderful!

Garlic Soup (Sopa de Ajo)

2 Tbs. olive oil
1/4 pound stale bread, crusts removed, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp. Spanish smoked paprika
4 cups chicken stock
3 poached eggs (I follow the Betty Crocker method. See below).

Over medium-high heat, heat the olive oil in a sauce pan large enough to hold all of the remaining ingredients. Add the bread and cook for 5 minutes. Stir frequently. Cook until the bread is lightly browned. Add garlic, paprika, and a pinch of salt. Cook for 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Do not burn the garlic.

Add the stock, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for 15 minutes.

Poach the eggs.

Ladle some soup into a bowl and top with a poached egg.

I served this meal with a side of olive bread and a glass of white wine. Yum!

Poached Eggs as Betty Taught Us to Do.

Fill a sauce pan with 2 - 4 inches of water.
Bring water to a rolling boil
Reduce water to simmer
Crack an egg into a small bowl or coffee cup. Slide the egg into the simmering water. Repeat.
Cook for 4 minutes (Four minutes because this egg is being added to soup; I might cook these eggs for slightly less time if this was an egg-on-toast recipe).
Remove eggs with a slotted spoon and place onto a paper towel.
Add egg to soup bowl at the appropriate moment.

Serious Eats

Monday, May 10, 2010

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

When Should You Buy Organic Fruits and Veg?

Check out this useful, and cute, chart listing the dozen types of produce that should be bought organic because they are most prone to pesticide residue. At the same time, check out this story from the New York Times on the the five best foods to buy organic.

No time to read the links? Remember this: Buy organic apples.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Cranberry Huguenot

In a burst of enthusiasm last December, I purchased multiple bags of cranberries. Weeks later, I'm still finding them in the back of the freezer. So it is time to use 'em up.

Some of my cranberry stockpile was used last January for an apple-cranberry pie. It was good, but not postworthy. The pie's biggest problem was that it was too, too runny. I used the berries frozen, as was recommended by numerous web sites. However, this may have contributed to the slosh. For the Cranberry Huguenot, a new strategy was warranted.

Here is the technique. To begin, measure out the required amount of frozen berries, 2 cups for this recipe, place them into a colander and rinse under cold water. Discard any smooshed cranberries. As the berries drain in the colander, line a small baking sheet with paper towel. Spread the berries out on the baking sheet, blot them a bit with more paper towel, and put the pan into the refrigerator overnight. The next day, the cranberries are clean, dry, and still have a nice firmness. Why didn't the paper towel stick to the berries? I have no idea. I was concerned that would happen, but it did not.

The other twist in this recipe is the substitution of olive oil for butter. I've become obsessed with using olive oil in baking. When making this substitution, I follow the rules set forth by Lisa Sheldon at this web site. The Huguenot recipe calls for 1/2 cup butter. Accordingly, I used olive oil equal to two-thirds of that amount of butter. A 1/2 cup is 4 ounces. Two-thirds of 4 ounces is 75.6 grams. Using my kitchen scale, I pour 75 grams of extra virgin olive oil into my measuring cup.
NOTE: Every baker needs a kitchen scale. It is not an expensive item, but it is an essential tool. I use a My Weigh i5000 bowl scale, which was recommended at Cooking for Engineers. Baking is much easier, faster and more consistent when you need only weigh the ingredients in the mixing bowl, rather than messing around with measuring countless cups and partial cups.
Finally, I baked this in a 9-inch Pyrex pie plate as that is the size pan called for in the original recipe, and I was too lazy to calculate what size rectangular pan would serve as an adequate substitute.

Cranberry Huguenot

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup white sugar (hold back 1 tablespoon)
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups cranberries
1/2 cup chopped pecans
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
75 grams extra virgin olive oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Spray baking pan with nonstick spray

In a medium bowl, combine flour, sugar, and salt. Gently stir cranberries and nuts into the flour mixture. In a small bowl, lightly beat the 2 eggs, and then combine the eggs with the vanilla and oil. Pour the liquid mixture into the dry mixture. Stir gently until combined. It will be relatively thick. Pour into the 9-inch Pyrex pie plate. Sprinkle the tablespoon of reserved sugar over the top of the cake.

Bake until set. Start checking at 40 minutes. In my oven, which is slow, the Huguenot needed 60 minutes. Insert a wooden toothpick into the middle of the cake; if it comes out clean, it is done.

Serve plain or with ice cream or whip cream. Enjoy!

Adapted from All Recipies.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Recommended Eating: Chicken Milanese ala Martha Stewart.

-->Martha Stewart rescued dinner again last night when I prepared a version of her recipe for Chicken Milanese with Arugula Salad.
The Chicken Milanese recipe is simple: Dredge chicken in flour, egg, and bread crumbs. Then bake on a rack in the oven for about 20 minutes (depends a bit on the thickness of your chicken and the performance of your oven.) That's it.

Since I was cooking dinner for two, I purchased 3/4 pound of boneless, skinless, organic chicken breast for this meal. After washing the chicken, cutting off any excess fat, and pounding it out into a uniform 1/2 -inch in thickness, this piece of chicken looked huge! In fact, we couldn't eat it all and enjoyed the leftovers for lunch today.

Additionally, there was a box of of Mrs. Cubbison's Cesar Salad Restaurant Style Croutons in the pantry and I substituted these for making the bread crumbs set forth in Martha's recipe. It saved a step in cooking time and used an item that was already on hand. I pounded a cup-and-a-half of these croutons into breading-sized crumbs - I wanted crunch. The seasoning from the croutons added a nice zing to the flavor of the chicken.

With potatoes and a salad, this is a delicious, easy meal that I will definitely make again.

  • Place the chicken between wax paper when pounding it out.
  • Spray the rack with cooking spray to keep the chicken from sticking while baking.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Curried Lentil Soup

-->A cup of this soup for lunch is perfect: Filling. Energizing. Delicious. I divide the soup into containers of various sizes and freeze, and thus always have an answer to the question, 'what is there to eat.'

Curried Lentil Soup

2 C lentils, sorted and rinsed.
1 quart vegetable broth
1 tbs. olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
4 celery stalks, finely chopped
1 red pepper, seeds removed and diced
2 cloves garlic minced
4 cups water

1 Tbs. curry powder
1 tsp. cumin
1 and 1/2 to 2 tsp. salt

In a large sauce pan, combine lentils, vegetable broth and 2 cups of the water. Bring to a simmer and skim off any foam. Simmer for five minutes.

In your largest pan for making soup, heat the olive oil and then add the onion, celery, and red pepper. Gently saute on medium heat for about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and saute for 3 minutes more.

Carefully pour the lentil/stock/water into the pan with the vegetables. Add another 2 cups of water. Bring to a simmer and cook 20 minutes.

Add curry powder and cumin. Gently simmer another 20 minutes.

Add salt to taste. Simmer a minute or so longer to allow the flavor to come together.


Sunday, February 28, 2010


Another easy recipe to make at home. If you have artisan bread that is going stale, cut it into 3/4"-crouton sized pieces and freeze until needed. Take out what you need and adapt the recipe below to suit what you are using. Most recipes ask that the crust be removed. You certainly can do that, but I skip that step.


Italian bread pieces (8 to 10 ounces of bread)
1 T extra virgin olive oil, first cold press
1 T unsalted butter, melted
fresh ground pepper

Melt the butter and oil together in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the bread crumbs and saute until golden brown. Season with salt, pepper, and whatever else appeals to you (such as cayenne pepper). Drain on a paper towel.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Flash Re-Heating

Interesting article about re-heating food without overcooking it here from cdkitchen.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Simple, Small-Batch Granola.

-->Have you ever noticed how many granola recipes call for a dozen different ingredients and are designed to give you a six-month supply of granola? It's all too much! Here is a recipe for a small batch, inspired by a post at Sweet Beat and Green Pea, that uses just a few ingredients.
Simple, Small-Batch Granola.

2 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup broken nuts (pecans or walnuts)
2 Tbs. olive oil
1/4 tsp. salt
1/3 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup raisins

Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil.

Measure out the oats. Take from the measured oats 1/3 cup and grind it into a flour using a blender or small food processor. In a medium bowl, mix together this oat flour, the remaining oats, the nuts, olive oil, salt, and maple syrup.

Spread the mixture onto the prepared pan. Pop into the oven and toast slowly, stirring occasionally, until the granola achieves a golden color, 45 to 60 minutes. The time may vary based upon your oven, so keep on eye on it.

When granola is removed from the oven, stir in the raisins.

Let the granola cool on the pan. When cool, use the foil to carefully lift and funnel the granola into a storage container.

The result is a simple, small batch of granola to top your yogurt in the morning. If you are feeling more ambitious, check out this granola recipe from the New York Times, which also uses olive oil and maple syrup, but includes more sugar, spices and additions.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Mulligatawny Soup

-->It's winter. You want soup. For a bit of variety, try this Mulligatawny Soup. The Tamil words milagu tannir mean "pepper-water"; accordingly, this soup is flavorful, but not overly spiced.
With this dish it is essential to get everything together before you begin cooking: vegetable broth or chicken stock at-the-ready, veggies washed and chopped, and spices measured out and ready in a dish. Once you turn on the burner, things go quickly.

Note: If you don't have a specific measuring spoon for 1/2 tablespoon, just remember that there are three teaspoons to a tablespoon and do the math!


2 Tbs. unsalted butter
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
1 Tbs. peeled, finely chopped fresh ginger
1/4 jalapeno, stemmed, seeded, chopped
1/2 Tbs. ground coriander
1 tsp. ground cumin
3/4 tsp. tumeric
1/4 tsp. ground fennel
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1-1/2 Tbs. all-purpose flour
4 -5 cups stock (vegetable if you want a vegetarian dish; I use chicken stock).
4 Tbs. lentils (red if you've got 'em; green are fine)
1 small (8 ounce) sweet potato, peeled and diced
2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
1 small (8 ounce) turnip, peeled and diced
1 14-ounce can coconut milk
1-1/4 tsp. salt
Lime wedges for serving.


In a large pot over medium-high heat, melt the butter. Add the onion, garlic, ginger, and jalapeno and cook for 6 minutes. Add garlic and cook for another 2 minutes. Reduce the heat if necessary; the onion should be lightly brown and the ingredients fragrant.

Lower the heat to medium, and stir in the coriander, cumin, turmeric, and fennel. Cook for about 45 seconds, stirring constantly. Add in the flour and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly.

Carefully pour in broth. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly.

Add the lentils, sweet potato, carrots, and turnip. Lower the heat to simmer. Cover the pot and cook for 45 minutes.

Remove from heat. Using an immersion / stick blender ( here is an example: Cuisinart CSB-76 Smart Stick Hand Blender) puree the soup until it is smooth.

Add the coconut milk and salt to the soup and bring to a simmer. Simmer gently for 3-5 minutes, allowing the flavors to blend together. If the soup is too thick, add a bit more stock.

Serve with lime wedges.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Game Day Lunch

This Sunday my Wisconsin Basketball Badgers are playing Penn State, and then the Packers are playing Arizona. We'll need a good lunch to get through it all successfully, so I'm making Muffuletta Sandwiches.

I began making the sandwiches yesterday by preparing an olive salad spread using a recipe I found at Allrecipies. Preparation of the salad involves a lot of chopping, but is otherwise easy. I also started some bread dough yesterday. The dough fermented overnight, and I baked this morning. The bread recipe is a spin-off of the now-famous No Knead Bread that was published a while ago in the New York Times. Instead of making one round loaf, I baked two loaves of Cibatta using a baking stone and clay baker. This technique is described in My Bread: The Revolutionary No-Work, No-Knead Method by Jim Lahey.

Bread, olive salad, ham and Provolone will make a great sandwich. Go Team!