Archive for July, 2009

Takin’ a hike


I’ll be gone for the week. Be back to the kitchen before I know it!

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This week’s PPN is being hosted at Sidewalk Shoes blog, and this edition got me thinking that I may need an intervention – I’m totally addicted to pasta. Check it out!

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Time for dessert! This sweet little snack cake from Hannah Kaminsky’s My Sweet Vegan is totally awesome. I love the fact that there is no dairy, no eggs, no cholesterol, and total goodness in this easy to make orangy cake. Habit-forming.

Orange Dreamsicle Cake


3 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

6 ounces vanilla soy yogurt

1/4 cup canola oil

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

3/4 cup orange juice

Dreamsicle topping:

1/4 cup vegetable shortening

1 cup confectioner’s sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 tablespoons plain soy creamer

1/2 cup orange marmalade

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9 x 13″ baking pan.

Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. In a stand mixer, whisk together the soy yogurt and oil until fully emulsified. Add in the vanilla extract and orange juice. Slowly incorporate the dry ingredients in stages, until the batter is nicely mixed without lumps. Pour the batter into your prepared pan.

In a small dish, melt the vegetables shortening and whisk in the confectioner’s sugar, vanilla, and soy creamer, stirring until smooth. Drizzle over the batter. Microwave the marmalade for about 30 seconds until slightly liquefied. Drizzle it over the batter. Swirl both toppings together lightly with a knife, but don’t overdo it.

Bake for 25 – 30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Be sure to find a spot that is free from topping to test, as the topping my cause the toothpick to appear wet even though the cake is ready. Wait until the cake has cooled completely before serving. Makes 9 – 12 servings.


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Ready for more pasta! We have not OD’d yet on pasta salads, and at this rate, I don’t think we ever will. They are sooo perfect for the summer. This one caught my eye, and the original called for pepperoni in the ingredient list. I subbed spicy Italian chicken sausage, which I chopped and sauteed. Poifect!

Chicken sausage antipasto pasta salad

16 ounce package spiral pasta

4 spicy Italian chicken sausage links, casings removed

1 15-ounce can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained

1 pepper, any color, diced

4 medium fresh mushrooms, sliced

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 tablespoons minced fresh basil

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/2 cup olive oil

1/2 cup lemon juice

Cook pasta according to package instruction til al dente; drain and rinse under cold water. Place in a large salad bowl.

Meanwhile, saute the chicken sausage until nicely browned. Add to the pasta bowl, along with the next nine ingredients. Mix well.

In a container with a tight-fitting lid, shake the oil and lemon. Pour over the salad and toss. Cover and refrigerate for a few hours or overnight. Makes 8 – 10 servings.


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Pasta salad madness continues! I’m loving these salads for mid-summer eats. This recipe originally called for asparagus, but it was slim pickins for them at this time of year; so instead I used green beans, with mighty good results. I added some grilled chicken to this dish, and it was the complete dinner.

Green bean-fennel pasta salad

1 pound fresh green beans, cut into 3/4″ pieces

2 medium onions, halved and sliced thinly

1 small fennel bulb, sliced

2 tablespoons olive oil

12 ounces uncooked penne pasta

4 medium tomatoes, diced

12 pitted Greek olives, sliced

1/2 cup fresh parsley, minced

1 – 2 boneless chicken breasts, grilled and cut into bite-sized pieces


1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/4 cup lemon juice

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1/2 teaspoon salt

freshly ground pepper, to taste

Place green beans, onions, and fennel in a baking pan and drizzle with oil; toss to coat. Bake at 400 degrees F for 20-25 minutes unti lightly browned, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package instructions til al dente. Drain and place in a large serving bowl. Add the tomatoes, olives, parsley, chicken, and roasted vegetables.

In a small bowl, whisk the oil, lemon juice, garlic, mustard, salt, and pepper until blended. Drizzle over the salad and toss to coat. Makes 6 servings.


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Here’s another pasta salad for summertime, my salad daze! This is a go-to recipe – so easy to make, and extremely tasty. I used multigrain shells for this one, but any kind of macaroni or medium sized pasta would do the trick.

Tuna artichoke pasta salad

1 pound box of medium-sized pasta (macaroni, shells, rotelle)

1 6-ounce can tuna, drained and flaked

1 cup sliced ripe olives

1 cup grape tomatoes, halved

1 jar (6 or 12 ounce size) marinated artichoke hearts, drained

2 tablespoons capers, drained

salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

1 tablespoon freshly chopped parsley

several shakes grated soy parmesan cheese

drizzling of extra virgin olive oil

Cook the pasta according to package instructions until al dente. Drain and rinse under cold water. Transfer to a large bowl and toss with the remaining ingredients. Chill and serve. Makes 4 servings.

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Clean, simple, seasonal ingredients, along with a great-quality fresh-pressed extra virgin olive oil that I brought back with me from Italy this past spring, make this pasta recipe addicting and healthy in every bite.

Summer pasta with grilled chicken, tomatoes, and basil

1 pound angel hair pasta

1 1/2 pound grape tomatoes, halved

3/4 cup chopped fresh basil

4 tablespoons capers, drained and rinsed

2 tablespoons fresh oregano, chopped

1/2 cup best quality extra virgin olive oil

1/2 cup grated soy parmesan cheese

1 pound grilled boneless chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces

salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Cook the pasta according to package instructions al dente, then drain and rinse under cold water. Combine the pasta with the rest of the ingredients in a large serving bowl and gently toss. Makes 6 servings.


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Joanne at Eats Well With Others blog is hosting this week’s Presto Pasta Nights Roundup. It gets the Thumbs-Up seal of approval.

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I spotted the original recipe for this salad in The Candle Cafe Cookbook. I added some grilled chicken and turned it into an entree salad. Interesting salad dressing made from silken tofu. One of these days I’m going to eat at the Candle Cafe when I’m in New York.

Chopped vegetable salad with grilled chicken and a creamy ranch dressing

2 cups chopped romaine lettuce

1 cucumber, peeled and diced

1 red pepper, seeded and diced

2 celery stalks, diced

2 carrots, peeled and diced

1 avocado, peeled and diced

2 grilled boneless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces

Creamy Ranch Dressing (see below)

1 small head of radicchio

2 medium tomatoes, cut into wedges

Toss the lettuce, cucumber, pepper, celery, carrots, avocado, and chicken with about 3/4 cup or dressing to coat. Place 2 or 3 large radicchio leaves on each salad plate and surround them with the tomato wedges. Scoop the chopped salad in the center of the radicchio. Serves 4 – 6.

Creamy Ranch Dressing:

1/2 pound silken tofu

1/4 cup canola oil

2 tablespoons drained capers

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 1/2 teaspoons maple syrup

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

several slices jalapeno pepper (seeded)

1 shallot, peeled and minced

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 teaspoon chili powder

1/4 teaspoon paprika

1 garlic clove, minced

Place all ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth. Taste and adjust the seasonings. Serve chilled.

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This is probably my one of my favorite chilled soups, and definitely one of my favorites from Molly Katzen. I’ve made this many times, and always to a round of compliments. It’s summertime perfect.

Chilled tomato egg soup

4 cups tomato juice

1 medium-sized 3″ diameter ripe tomato, diced

1 teaspoon prepared horseradish

1 teaspoon worcestershire sauce

1 teaspoon dijon mustard

1/2 teaspoon dill weed

salt and pepper to taste

tobasco sauce, to taste

3 hard-boiled eggs, coarsely grated

2 scallions, finely minced

1 small stalk celery, finely minced

Combine all ingredients, mix well, and chill. Makes 4 – 5 servings.

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