Archive for June, 2008

I’ve been a fan of seitan ever since the very first time I went to Horizons restaurant in Philadelphia and got totally turned on to wheat meat. And I’m always looking for new and exciting recipes that include seitan. That is why I had to try this recipe from Lolo’s blog called VeganYumYum. Everything about it sounded so inventive and fresh. (Note – I did not make my own seitan, mine was store bought. Also, I did not deep fry mine; instead I sauteed it). But many kudos to Lolo for a fantastic combination of flavors and a really healthy dish. This salad was dynamite, even with my adaptations. Of course, my photo doesn’t do this dish justice.

Please make sure to visit VeganYumYum – you’ll be in for a real treat for your eyes and tastebuds. Some of the most beautiful food photography I’ve seen in a while. All of the recipes look really great – I’ll be trying out some more, yep!

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So I was in the mood for biscotti, and am always ready to try a new fruit/nut combination. I saw some dried mango in the store, and got inspired. I followed my basic recipe here, I merely substituted the chopped mango for the cherry, and the pignolas for the walnuts. I’ve made substitutions with my biscotti recipe before (pistachio-apricot, blueberry-pecan, brownie, chocolate chip-cappuccino), all with excellent results. This new combination did not disappoint. The only thing I’m having trouble with is deciding which variation on a theme I like the best. Enjoy!

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Here’s another tasty summer salad, nutritious and satisfying and hitting all the right taste buds. Enjoy!

Chicken, mushroom, and edamame orzo salad

1 cup uncooked orzo

1/2 cup wine vinegar

1 tablespoon brown sugar

1 tablespoon fresh thyme

2 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon white wine

1 teaspoon dry mustard

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 bay leaf

1 pound mushrooms, quartered

2 cups frozen, shelled edamame, thawed

1 cup chopped bell pepper, any color will do

1 pound diced cooked chicken breast (I grilled mine)

Cook the orzo according to package instructions.

Combine the next 9 ingredients in a large pan, bring to a boil, then simmer for 10 minutes. Then stir in the mushrooms, edamame, and bell pepper. Cook for about 5 minutes, then place the pan contents in a large bowl and cool to room temp. Discard the bay leaf. Add the chicken and the orzo, and toss to combine. Refrigerate before serving. Serves 4-6.

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There’s some good pasta cooking for this week’s edition of Presto Pasta Nights, being held at Chew on That blog. If you’re looking for some really great pasta ideas (I’m talking duck recipes, too!), don’t miss it. Great job guest-hosting, Hillary.

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Martha Stewart, I love you. People can say what they like about you – I think you can really. cook. well.

I adapted a recipe of yours today, and the results were indescribably delicious. I’m in my full metal jacket salad mode, trying to experiment and find the most pleasing of summer salads to prepare and enjoy in this warm weather. I came home late from work tonight, and had my father over for dinner, too. The thought of being tied up in the kitchen preparing was something that I was not relishing. This dish was easy to assemble and put together, and everyone really loved it. Preparation time – one half hour! Enjoy!

Pasta insalata

1 cup frozen peas

10 ounces asparagus, trimmed and cut into 2 1/2 inch pieces

1 pound shell-shaped pasta (I used chicciole)

2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil

1 shallot, finely chopped

1/3 cup dry white wine

3 tablespoons lemon juice

2 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt

2 cups baby arugula

1 cup grape tomatoes, halved

2 cups cooked boneless chicken, cut into bite-sized pieces (I used grilled chicken breast)

2 tablespoons grated soy parmesan

2 tablespoons fresh chives, chopped

freshly ground pepper

Cook the peas and the asparagus in boiling water until just tender, about 3 minutes. Drain.

Bring a large pot of water to boil. Cook pasta until al dente. Drain, and reserve 1 cup of cooking liquid.

Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large skillet. Add the shallot and saute until softened and translucent. Add the wine, bring to a boil, and cook until reduced by half. Add the lemon juice, peas, asparagus, pasta, and the 1 cup reserved liquid. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt and toss well. Add the arugula,tomatoes, and the chicken; toss. Top with the soy parmesan and chives. Drizzle with the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil, sprinkle with 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and season with pepper.

Serve with your favorite bread. Makes 4 large servings.

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As the warm weather is officially upon us, I am in full summer dish mode, and I just love exploring new and interesting salads. Here is a yummy recipe using couscous, the North African pasta made from semolina. It’s so very easy to prepare, and soaks up whatever flavors in which it mingles. Adding some grilled chicken, some cut up vegetables, and a tangy sauce, this couscous offering comes together almost effortlessly. It’s light and yet satisfying, too. Enjoy!

Moroccan couscous salad

2 cups of water

1 1/2 cups whole wheat couscous

1/2 cup golden raisins

1/2 cup thawed frozen orange juice

1/4 cup lemon juice

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 teaspoons cumin

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

2 cups grilled chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces

2 cups diced cucumbers

1 cup diced red or orange pepper

1/4 cup sliced scallions

1/2 cup chopped cilantro

Boil the water, add the couscous and raisins. Stir and cover and remove from heat. After 5 minutes, fluff with a fork.

Whisk together the orange juice with the lemon juice, olive oil, cumin, salt and pepper.

In a large bowl, combine the couscous, the dressing, and the rest of the ingredients together and toss gently. Serves 4 to 6. May be served at room temp or chilled.

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This recipe sounded better than it actually tasted. Not that it was bad; I actually liked it. But I thought it would be better. Not sure what I would do different next time. The recipe calls for smoked trout, which I found to be quite salty. Maybe next time I’ll try some grilled salmon – everything else worked well, and it looks like a great summer dish.

Smoked trout with fingerling potatoes

2 pounds fingerling potatoes, halved lengthwise

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons capers, drained and patted dry

1/4 cup lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

8 ounces smoked trout, skin removed and cut into bite-sized pieces

1 Granny Smith apple, cored and thinly sliced

1 tablespoon fresh dill, chopped

Place the potatoes in a pot of boiling water for 15 minutes, then drain.

Heat the oil in a small saute pan, add the capers, and saute until light and crisp. Remove the capers and pat dry.

In a large bowl, whisk the oil with the lemon juice and pepper. Stir in the potatoes. Add the trout, apple, and dill. Mix together gently. Sprinkle the capers over the top. Serves 4.


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I made these tonight, and they are the perfect complement to a cup of coffee or tea. Not too sweet, but terribly addictive. Another fine recipe from Gina DePalma’s Dolce Italiano. Mille grazie, Gina, for creating these fine desserts. And my family thanks you, too.

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I’m back

After a beautiful vacation to a faraway land, it was good to be away, and it’s good to be back home. Can anyone guess what city this is? It was the view from the patio of one of the rentals that I stayed at.

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Time for a break. I’ll be back after the 15th! Til then, happy cooking!

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