Archive for November, 2010

After a week and weekend full of turkey, stuffing, leftovers, and comfort foods galore, this dish is a welcome change. It is zesty and alive, with salty/spicy/tangy flavors that are guaranteed to please. We don’t like our food TOO spicy, so I cut back a little from the original. This dish still has a very nice kick, and was easy to make right after work.

Grilled chicken rigatoni peperonata (inspired by ComfortofCooking blog.)

1/4 cup pine nuts

12 ounce rigatoni (3/4 box)

1/4 cup olive oil

2 bell peppers (preferably red and yellow), cut into 1/2″ pieces

2 tablespoons chopped capers

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper

kosher salt

1 grilled chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces

1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

1/4 cup chopped fresh basil

grated soy parmesan, to taste

Heat oven to 400 degrees F. Spread pine nuts on a rimmed baking sheet and toast, tossing occasionally, until golden brown, 3 – 4 minutes. Cook the pasta according to the package directions.

Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the bell peppers and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, 5 – 6 minutes. Add the capers, vinegar, crushed red pepper, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and the chicken. Stir until heated through, 1 – 2 minutes.

Add the pasta and pine nuts to the skillet and cook, tossing, for 1 minute. Add parsley, basil, and soy parmesan. Makes 4 servings.


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Think of your favorite coffee cake – I’m thinking moist, cinnamon-y, nutty. Now think of adding pumpkin to the flavors. There you have it – this delicious recipe. Mine did not come out as moist as a bread pudding, but it was a total win-win yummy dessert.

Pumpkin apple bread pudding (slightly adapted from Smokin’ Chestnut blog)

2 cups white whole wheat flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

pinch of nutmeg

1/3 cup applesauce

3 tablespoons honey

1/3 cup margarine, melted and slightly cooled

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 large eggs, beaten

2 – 3 tablespoons soymilk or almond milk

1 cup pumpkin puree

1 apple grated, roughly 1 cup

1/4 cup raisins

1/2 cup chopped apple

3/4 cup coarsely chopped pecans or walnuts

cinnamon and raw sugar for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and grease a 9″ loaf pan

In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg.

In another bowl, combine applesauce, honey, melted margarine, vanilla extract, eggs, soymilk, and pumpkin puree. Mix the dry ingredients with the wet ingredients, and then add grated apple, raisins, chopped apple, and half the chopped nuts. Fold together until mixed well.

Pour batter into pan and top with cinnamon/raw sugar mixture and the rest of the chopped nuts. Bake for roughly an hour or until toothpick comes out (relatively) clean. Cool on wire rack for 15 minutes and enjoy. 8 servings.

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This recipe is all over the internet, and for good reason. This was our first course for Thanksgiving. I served it with garlicky-toasted thick French bread slices, and a sprinkling of soy parmesan. Heaven on earth! This will replace my go-to onion soup, most definitely!

French onion soup

4 tablespoons margarine

1 tablespoon olive oil

8 cups thinkly sliced onions (about 2 1/2 pounds)

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon sugar

1 tablespoon flour

8 cups beef stock

pinch of thyme

1/4 cup cognac or other good brandy

1 cup dry white wine

1″ thick slices of French bread, toasted

grated soy parmesan

Heat a heavy saucepan over moderate heat with the margarine and oil. When the margarine has melted, stir in the onions, cover, and cook slowly until tender and translucent, about 10 minutes. Blend in the salt and sugar, increase the heat to medium high, and let the onions brown, stirring frequently, until they are a dark walnut color, 25 – 30 minutes.

Sprinkle the flour and cook slowly, stirring, for another 3 – 4 minutes. Remove from heat, let cool a moment, then whisk in 2 cups of hot stock. When well blended, bring to a simmer, adding the rest of the stock, Cognac, and wine. Cover loosely, and simmer very slowly 1 1/2 hours. Taste for seasoning. Serve each bowl with a crouton and sprinkling of soy parmesan. Makes 10 servings.

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This one is a real crowd-pleaser. Simple, hearty soup. Thanks, Kitchen Parade. This is referred to as a “concept” soup, meaning that  you can use your own “gestalt” of ingredients, to your own pleasing. I pretty much followed the given recipe (for a change!), and I thought the results were just great, and so did my taste-testers.

Hamburger soup

splash of water

1 pound ground turkey

1 onion, chopped

1 red bell pepper, chopped

3 ribs celery, trimmed and chopped

1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes

4 carrots, peeled and chopped

1 cup frozen corn (no need to thaw)

4 cups chicken broth

1 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste

generous grind of black pepper

1/2 cup ketchup

1 cup dried pasta

In a large pot or Dutch oven, cook the meat with the splash of water, breaking the meat up as it cooks, letting each piece get a little “burn’ on it before turning over. Add the onion, pepper, and celery as they’re prepped, and cook until the veggies are beginning to soften. Add the remaining ingredients except the pasta, and bring to a boil. cover, turn the heat down to maintain a slow simmer, and let cook until the veggies are cooked. Add the pasta and cook for 10 minutes, until pasta is fully cooked. Makes 6 servings.

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My weak attempt at lattice-crust-making aside, this was a great little pie. Really more like soup with a crust, but thoroughly warming and tasty. Of course, I used some soy parmesan instead of the real thing, and also used baby spinach leaves instead of kale. Also used my own crust, a lower-fat version from Dorene Gilletz.

Lattice crust minestrone pot pie (adapted from Food&Wine)

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

3 medium leeks, white and light green parts only, halved lengthwise and thickly sliced

3 celery ribs, halved lengthwise and sliced crosswise 1/4″ thick

2 carrots, halved lengthwise and sliced crosswise 1/4″ thick

4 garlic cloves, minced

1 2-pound butternut squash – peeled, seeded, and cut into 1″ chunks

12-ounces baby spinach

1 15-ounce can Northern white beans, or cannellini beans, or white pinto beans

1 24-ounce can diced tomatoes

5 1/2 cups chicken broth

2 teaspoons chopped rosemary

1 bay leaf

grated soy parmesan, for the soup and the crust

kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

Pastry for one pie (recipe to follow)

Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan. Add the leeks, celery, carrots, and garlic; cook over moderate heat until the vegetables are golden and tender, about 12 minutes. Stir in the squash, spinach, tomatoes, beans, chicken broth, and rosemary and bring to a boil. Add the bay leaf and a sprinkle or two of the soy parmesan, and season with salt and pepper. Cover and simmer the soup gently until the squash is tender, about 25 minutes. Let cool completely.

Meanwhile, prepare the pastry (recipe below) and refrigerate for 20 minutes. Then, on a flat surface between two sheets of parchment paper, roll out the pastry to a round, or 1″ larger than your bowl. Using a pizza cutter, cut the pastry into 1/2″ strips. Weave the strips into a lattice, or just criss-cross them if, like me, you didn’t have the time. Refrigerate until firm.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Ladle the soup into a 1 1/2 – 2 quart bowl and set it on a large baking sheet. Lay the pastry lattice over the bowl and fold the overhang or just press it against the bowl to adhere. Lightly brush the lattice top with egg wash (1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water), then sprinkle on a little soy parmesan. Bake the pot pie for 15 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F and bake for about 45 minutes longer, until the pstry is golden brown and the soup is bubbling. Makes 4 – 6 servings.

Pastry crust:

1/4 cup margarine, frozen

1 1/2 cups flour

1/8 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons canola oil

3 tablespoons cold water

1 tablespoon lemon juice

Combine margarine, flour, and salt in processor. Process with quick on/offs til crumbly. Add oil, water, and lemon juice. Process until dough begins to gather together. Press dough together to form a ball. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for 20 minutes. Then roll out dough between 2 sheets of either plastic wrap or parchment paper.


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An easy and soothing pasta dish, with my two favorite vegetables, and they’re roasted. All the flavors just work perfectly in this very satisfying fall dinner.

Penne with pancetta and roasted brussel sprouts (adapted from Can You Stay For Dinner blog)

2 cups brussel sprouts, halved

2 cups chopped cauliflower

1 tablespoon olive oil

4 ounces diced pancetta

1 medium onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 cup nondairy creamer

12 pounces dry penne

1/4 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped

parsley for garnish

salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. In a large bowl, toss the brussel sprouts and cauliflower with the olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper. Spread the veggies on a large roasting pan and roast for 15 – 20 minutes, or until they have softened and browned.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add your pasta and let it cook al dente, about 8 minutes. Drain and reserve 1/2 cup of the cooking water.

While the pasta is boiling, add your diced pancetta to a large frying pan set over medium heat. Saute the pancetta til crisp and browned. Remove to a plate, leaving two tablespoons of grease in the pan.

Return the pan to the burner, lower the heat to medium-low and add the chopped onion. Stir occasionally and let the onions soften for about 10 minutes, or until translucent. Add the garlic and stir constantly for 20 seconds.

Toss your roasted veggies in the pan, along with the pancetta, and a half cup of starchy water from your pasta. Add the drained pasta. Stir in the cream and let the mixture simmer for a few minutes, til just heated through and well combined. Remove pan from heat, and allow to cool and thicken for 5 minutes. Garnish with parsley and walnuts. Makes 6 servings.

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My husband said this was the best quiche he ever ate. I must agree, although I have to admit that I’ve rarely met a quiche I didn’t like. I do have a favorite nondairy pie crust, but this time I tried a lower fat version from Norene Gilletz.

Butternut quiche with kale and sausage (adapted from My Kitchen Addiction)

dough for single pie crust

1/2 pound chicken sausage (I used sweet apple, from Trader Joe’s)

1 small onion, diced

6 ounces kale, thick stems removed and chopped

1 cup butternut squash puree

2 eggs + 2 egg whites

1/2 cup nondairy creamer

3/4 ounce soy parmesan, divided

freshly ground black pepper


Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Roll out pie dough to 1/4″ thickness and transfer to a 9″ pie plate. Trim excess and crimp the sides. Prick bottom of pie all over with a fork. Refrigerate for 20 minutes, then bake for 10 minutes til golden. Remove from oven.

Meanwhile, brown the sausage in a skillet over medium heat, breaking up the sausage into small pieces. Once the sausage has browned, add the onion and cook til softened. Gradually add the kale to the skillet and wilt into the sausage and onion mixture. Transfer the mixture to the baked pie shell.

In a mixing bowl, whisk together the butternut squash puree, eggs, egg whites, creamer, and 1/2 ounce soy parmesan. Season with salt and pepper. Pour the mixture over the sausage and kale mixture in the pie shell. Top with the remaining soy parmesan.

Bake at 350 degrees F for 30 – 35 minutes until the eggs are set. Broil for an additional minute or two until the top is golden and bubbly. Cool for a few minutes before serving. Makes 6 servings.

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Farro is one of my favorite grains. Although it’s not cheap, it’s a necessary occasional indulgence. Here is another healthy, autumn-y salad. I added some grilled chicken. With or without, this salad is a pleaser. The roasted grapes (amazing flavor) added a rich sweetness that complemented the greens and chewy farro. The browned onions completed the flavor triad. Delicious.

Farro salad with oven roasted grapes and autumn greens (adapted from Martha Stewart)

3 cups seedless red grapes (about 1 pound), halved crosswise

coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

8 ounces farro

2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh rosemary

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

2 small onions, sliced into 1/2″ thick rounds

1 tablespoon sherry or red-wine vinegar

4 cups mixed small greens, like baby kale, baby swiss chard, red mustard, red mizuna

Preheat oven to 250 degrees F. Arrange grapes in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Sprinkle with 3/4 teaspoon salt. Bake until grapes have shrunk to about half their size but are still juice, about 1 hour 30 minutes. Let cool.

Meanwhile, combine farro, 1 tablespoon rosemary, and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt in a medium saucepan; cover with water by 1″. Bring to a simmer, and cook until tender, about 25 minutes. Drain, and transfer to a bowl.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Cook onions and remaining tablespoon rosemary for 2 minutes. Reduce heat to medium, and cook until onions are golden brown, about 2minutes more. Add 1 tablespoon oil. Flip onions, and season with a pinch of salt. Cook, flipping, until onions are tender and browned on both sides, 8 – 10 minutes more. Remove from heat. Stir in vinegar and remaining 2 tablespoons oil. Pour mixture over farro; toss. season with 1 teaspoon salt and some pepper. Stir in red grapes. Let stand for 20 minutes.

Gently stir in greens just before serving. Arrange salad on a platter. Recipe says makes 12 servings, but we think only 4! (maybe we gobbled a lot up, it was that good).


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This was sooo good that I think I will include it on our Thanksgiving dessert menu. Of course, that would mean eating the same dessert two weeks in a row. Lucky us.

Nantucket cranberry pie (slightly adapted from Pioneer Woman)

margarine, for greasing

2 heaping cups cranberries

3/4 cups pecans, chopped (measure, then chop)

2/3 cup sugar

1 cup flour

1 cup sugar

1 stick margarine, melted

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1 teaspoon pure almond extract

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon sugar for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Generously grease a cake pan or pie pan. Add cranberries to the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle on chopped pecans, then sprinkle on 2/3 cup sugar.

In a mixing bowl, combine flour, 1 cup sugar, melted butter, eggs, almond extract, and salt. Stir gently to combine.

Pour batter slowly over the top in large “ribbons” in order to evenly cover the surface. Spread gently if necessary.

Bake for 45 – 50 minutes. 5 minutes before removing from oven, sprinkle surface with 1 tablespoon sugar, for a little extra crunch.

Cut into wedges and serve with soy whipped cream or your favorite non-dairy ice cream.

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We ate this as a main dish, but it would also make a great side. I love vegetables where you can scoop up some meaty flesh with each biteful. There’s something very basic and satisfying about it. Great stuffing, too.

Stuffed acorn squash (adapted from The Tasty Kitchen blog)

1 whole acorn squash, cut in half lengthwise

2 teaspoons brown sugar

2 teaspoons margarine

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1/2 cup celery, diced

1/2 yellow onion, diced

1 tart apple, peeled, cored, and diced

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

1/2 teaspoon curry powder

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

2 whole cornbread muffins, cubed into bite-sized pieces

1/4 cup dried cranberries

1/2 cup chicken broth

salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

sprinkle of soy parmesan

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Scrape seeds and stringy flesh from the squash. Place squash in a baking dish, cut sides upp. Pour about an inch of water in the bottom of the dish. Put one teaspoon margarine and one teaspoon brown sugar in each half. Place in the oven for 15 minutes. Baste squash with the butter and brown sugar mixture after the 15 minute mark to prevent drying. Put back in oven for another 30 – 45 minutes, or until fork tender.

Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a skillet and add the celery, onion, apples, thyme, curry, and cinnamon. Cook until softened. Remove skillet from heat and set aside.

Place cubed cornbread on a baking sheet and bake for about 10 minutes (next to the squash), or until golden and crunchy.

Add the cranberries and the toasted cornbread to the skillet mixture and gently stir to combine. While stirring, slowly add the chicken broth. Season with salt and pepper. Fill the fork-tender squash with cornbread stuffing, and place back into the oven until heat through, about 10 minutes. Serves 2. Easily doubled.

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