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Archive for December, 2009

Bad photo but good dish. I subbed margarine for butter, and used a nutty wholegrain bread instead of white bread.

Sherried mushrooms with fried eggs on toast (adapted from Food&Wine)

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing

3/4 pound mixed mushrooms (button, cremini, shitake – your choice), sliced 1/4″ thick

salt and freshly ground pepper

1/2 small onion, thinly sliced

1/4 cup dry sherry

4 thick slices multigrain bread

2 tablespoon margarine

4 large eggs

2 tablespoons coarsely chopped flat leaf parsley

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons oil until shimmering. Add the mushrooms and season with salt and pepper. Cover and cook over moderate heat, stirring a few times, until softened, 4 minutes. Add the onion, cover and cook, stirring occasionally until the onion is softened and the mushrooms are browned, 3 minutes longer. Add the sherry and cook until almost evaporated, 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat, cover and set aside.

Arrange the bread slices on a large rimmed baking sheet and brush with olive oil. Bake for about 6 minutes until toasted. Transfer the toasts to plates.

In a large nonstick skillet, melt the margarine over moderate heat. Crack the eggs one at a time into the skillet. Cook the eggs (I did mine over-easy), spoon mushroom mixture onto the toasts and top with the fried eggs. Garnish with parsley and serve. Makes 2 – 4 servings.

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I made this salad in the early fall, and the flavors combine together perfectly. An easy after-work recipe, but nice enough to enjoy with friends and family.

Bowties with chicken, watercress, and walnuts (from Food&Wine)

1/3 cup walnuts

8 tablespoons olive oil

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts

salt and freshly ground pepper

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1/2 pound bow ties

1 bunch watercress, large stems removed

In a large nonstick frying pan, toast the walnuts over moderate heat until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Remove the nuts from the pan and chop.

In the same pan, heat 2 tablespoons oil over moderate heat. Season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper. Cook the breast until browned and just done, about 4-5 minutes per side. Remove from pan, rest it for 5 minutes, then cut into bite-sized chunks.

In a medium bowl, combine the remaining 6 tablespoons oil, the vinegar, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Add the chicken.

In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the bow ties until done, about 15 minutes. Drain the pasta and toss with the walnuts, chicken/vinaigrette mixture, and the watercress. Serve warm. Makes 4 servings.

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Sesame seed cake

A very delightful cake, light and nutty tasting. I’ve seen this dessert in many places on the internet. The original is by Alice Medrich from Pure Dessert. Mofidications for a dairy-free dessert were easy, and I did not use black sesame seed – I kept mine au naturel.

Sesame seed cake

1 1/2 cups flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 large eggs, at room temperature

2 1/2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

8 tablespoons margarine, softened

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup plain soy yogurt

1/4 cup natural sesame seeds

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray side of an 8″ round cake pan with nonstick spray and line bottom with parchment paper.

Mix together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt thoroughly in a medium bowl and sift three times. Set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk eggs together briefly with the sesame oil and vanilla. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the margarine at medium speed for a few seconds until creamy. Add the sugar and beat at medium speed until light and fluffy, 2 – 3 minutes. Beat in a little of the egg mixture at a time, taking about 2 minutes to add it all. Stop the mixer, add one third of the flour mixture, and beat on low speed only until no flour is visible. Stop mixer and add half of the yogurt, then beat only until the liquid is absorbed. Repeat with half the remaining flour, then all the remaining yogurt, and finally the remaining flour with the sesame seeds, scraping the bowl as necessary and beating only enough to incorporate the ingredients each time.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan. Bake until a tooghpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean, 35 – 40 minutes. Cool in the pan on a rack for 10 minutes, and then slide a thin knife orspatula down the sides of the cake to detach it from the pan. Invert the cake onto a rack and remove the pan and parchment liner. Turn the cake right side up and let cool completely on the rack.

Cake will keep in an airtight container at room temp for at least 4 days. Or freezes well, well wrapped. Makes 8 servings.

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When you can’t get the chill out of your bones, you need to eat a dinner like this. The original called for beef filling, and cheese and milk to add to the potatoes. A few minor adjustments by me, and it’s to my liking. The ingredient list is long, but this comes together nicely.

Twice baked turkey potatoes (adapted from this recipe)

4 large potatoes

olive oil, for brushing

coarse sea salt

freshly ground pepper

1 pound ground turkey

1/2 teaspoon curry powder

splash of Worcestershire sauce

teaspoon of mustard

a few shakes of Tobasco sauce

a couple shakes of ketchup

1 small onion

1 bell pepper, any color

1 medium leek

2 cloves garlic, grated

3 teaspoons tomato paste

1 splash of BBQ sauce

1/2 cup water

2 tablespoons margarine

6 ounce container plain soy yogurt

3/4 cup grated soy cheese, any flavor will do

Scrub the potatoes, brush them with some olive oil, and sprinkle with a little sea salt. Bake in preheated 400 degree oven til done, around 1 hour.

Season the turkey in a large bowl with the salt and pepper, curry powder, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, and ketchup. Mix together well. Finely mince the onion, bell pepper, leek and garlic.

Brown the turkey in a large skillet, then add the vegetables. Add the tomato paste, BBQ sauce, and water. Combine ingredients and simmer for 10 minutes until most of the liquid has evaporated.

Once the potatoes are done, cut them in half lengthwise and scoop out the insides and place in a bowl. Add the margarine and yogurt to the potatoes and mash to a creamy consistency. Season with salt and pepper, and as much cheese to your liking.

Place the potato shells on a baking try, and fill them halfway with the turkey/veggie mixture; pat it in. Top with the fluffy mashed potatoes. Put them back in the oven for 15 – 20 minutes until steamy hot and lightly browned. Makes 4 servings.

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Loved the looks of this recipe, and I decided to add some grilled chicken for a complete meal.

Pomegranate and pistachio Israeli couscous with grilled chicken

1 1/4 cups Israeli couscous

1/4 cup pomegranate seeds

1/4 cup pistachios (chopped)

2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses

1/4 cup chopped mint

1/4 cup chopped parsley

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

Cook couscous according to package instructions. When done, fluff with a fork and add the remaining ingredients. Pour on vinaigrette and mix in gently. Makes 4 servings.

Vinaigrette (makes 1/4 cup)

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses

1 teaspoon dijon mustard

salt and pepper

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A great cold weather dish, modified lightly from the original.

Italian sweet and savory squash bowls

2 medium sized acorn squash

2 slices whole wheat bread, toasted and chopped into fine bread crumbs (use your food processor for this)

12 ounces spicy Italian chicken sausage, crumbled (I coarsely ground mine in the food processor)

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/3 cup onion, chopped

1/2 cup roasted red peppers, chopped

1/4 cup reconstituted sun-dried tomatoes, chopped

1/2 cup drained canned or jarred artichoke hearts, chopped

2 cups fresh baby spinach

1/4 cup basil, sliced into thin ribbons

salt and pepper, to taste

4 tablespoons water

grated soy parmesan cheese

Wash, halve, and scrape seeds from inside of squash. Place squash in a microwave safe shallow dish with a little water (about 1/2″ deep). Microwave on high for about 10 minutes until tender. I did this two halves at a time – couldn’t fit all four at once. Set aside until ready to use.

In a large pan, saute the crumbled sausage, olive oil, onion, and garlic over medium-high heat til sausage is cooked through. Add the chopped red peppers, sun-dried tomatoes, and artichoke hearts – continue to cook (you may add 1/4 cup water if it seems dry; mine did not). Add spinach and toss gently until spinach is wilted. Toss in the fresh basil. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper as needed. Remove from heat.

Place squash halves on a lightly greased cookie sheet. Mound the filling into squash halves. Add one tablespoon of water to each squash. Coat the filled squash with fresh breadcrumbs and sprinkle with a layer of grated soy cheese.

Broil just until cheese is lightly browned. Makes yummy 4 servings.

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Pumpkin cake roll

Best dessert of 2009.

Pumpkin cake roll (adapted from Libby’s recipe)

1/4 cup powdered sugar (to sprinkle on towel)

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

1/4 teaspoon salt

3 large eggs

1 cup granulated sugar

2/3 cup pumpkin puree

1 8-ounce package soy cream cheese, at room temperature

1 cup powdered sugar, sifted

6 tablespoons margarine, softened

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup candied walnuts, lightly crushed

powdered sugar for decoration

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease 15 x 10″ jelly roll pan; line with wax paper. Grease and flour paper. Sprinkle a thin, cotton kitchen towel with powdered sugar.

Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves and salt in a small bowl. Beat eggs and granulated sugar in large mixer bowl until thick. Beat in pumpkin. Stir in flour mixture. Spread evenly into prepared pan.

Bake for 13 to 15 minutes or until top of cake springs back when touched (if using a dark-colored pan, begin checking for doneness at 11 minutes). Immediately loosen and turn cake onto prepared towel. Carefully peel off paper. Roll up cake and towel together, starting with narrow end. Cool on wire rack.

For filling: beat cream cheese, 1 cup powdered sugar, margarine, and vanilla extract in small mixer bowl until smooth. carefully unroll cake. Spread cream cheese mixture over cake. Sprinkle crushed nuts over the cream cheese. Reroll cake. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least on hour. Sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving, if desired. Makes 10 servings.

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Delicious! Easy! Quick!

Spicy chickpea soup (modified slightly from Food & Wine)

2 19-ounce cans chickpeas, drained

1 13.5-ounce can light coconut milk

1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes, drained

1/4 cup apple juice or cider

1/4 cup cilantro leaves

1/2 teaspoon garam masala

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1 cup vegetable stock

salt and freshly ground pepper

1/4 cup plain soy yogurt (optional)

2 scallions, green parts only, thinly sliced (optional)

In a blender, combine the drained chickpeas with the coconut milk, chopped tomatoes, apple cider, cilantro leaves, garam masala and ground ginger, and puree the mixture until smooth.

Transfer the puree to a medium saucepan. Stir in the vegetable stock and bring to a simmer over moderately high heat. Season with salt and black pepper. Ladle soup into bowls, top with the yogurt and scallion and serve. Makes 6 servings.

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Even though it’s now officially winter, this would taste good any season, although especially comforting during the colder months! The original recipe calls for an optional piece of parmesan cheese rind to be added for the simmering portion of the recipe, but I left that out. Didn’t seem to miss it at all. Yum. I think next time, I will use chicken breasts.

Autumn chicken cacciatore (from Cooks Illustrated)

8 bone-in chicken thighs, trimmed of excess fat

1 teaspoon olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

6 ounces portobello mushroom caps, wiped clean and cut into 3/4″ cubes

4 medium cloves garlic, minced

1 1/2 tablespoons flour

1 1/2 cups dry red wine

1/2 cup chicken stock

1 can (14 1/2 ounce) diced tomatoes, drained

2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme leaves

2 teaspoons minced fresh sage leaves

Season chicken with salt and pepper. Heat oil in Dutch oven over medium high heat. Brown chicken thighs til crispy brown, 4 at a time, then transfer to a plate. Set aside.

Drain off all but 1 tablespoon fat from pot. Add onion, mushrooms, and 1/2 teaspoon salt; saute over medium high heat, stirring occasionally, until moisture evaporates and vegetables begin to brown, 6 – 8 minutes. Add garlic to pot and saute til fragrant. Stir in flour and cook, stirring constantly, about 1 minute. Add wine, scraping pot bottom with wooden spoon to loosen brown bits. Stir in stock, tomatoes, thyme, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and pepper to taste. Submerge chicken pieces in liquid and bring to boil; cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer until chicken is tender and cooked through, about 45 minutes, turning chicken pieces with tongs halfway through cooking. Stir in sage, adjust seasoning with salt and pepper, and serve. Makes 8 servings.

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Baked donuts

During Hannukah, I wanted to make some “healthy” donuts. This was not exactly keeping with tradition of eating oily foods for the holiday, but it was keeping with the spirit of it. I found these tasty morsels, and made a few changes for a dairy-free and delicious dessert. I could not find a donut pan, despite stopping at a few local stores I can usually rely on for good baking pans, so instead I used a muffin pan. These came out round and moist, and with the addition of some jam in the center, they tasted even better than the “real” thing.

Baked donuts (modified from this recipe)

1 cup flour

1/3 cup sugar

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 egg

6 ounces plain soy yogurt

1 tablespoon canola oil

2 teaspoons lemon juice

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

4 teaspoons-worth of your favorite jam (I used strawberry)

powdered sugar

In a big bowl, combine the first 5 ingredients.

Make a hole in the center of the bowl by pushing the flour mixture to the sides, and add in the egg, yogurt, oil, lemon juice, and vanilla extract. Mix the wet ingredients well with a spatula and then mix the flour in to just combine. Set aside.

Spray 8 receptacles of a muffin or cupcake tray with nonstick spray, and then divide about half the batter between the 8 muffin holes. Add about a 1/2 teaspoon’s worth of jam to each muffin, then top each muffin carefully with the remaining batter.

Bake at 400 degree F for 10 minutes. They should be getting slightly golden. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pan to wire rack. Dust with powdered sugar before serving. Makes 8 donuts.

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