Vegetarian Stuffed Peppers

Hey there, vegetarians.  I have a stuffed red pepper recipe for you.  These are a healthy take on the classic with red quinoa for rice and lots of veggies.  

Serves 2 - 4.

Kale + Mushroom Stuffed Red Peppers

1/2 cup uncooked red quinoa

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 small yellow onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

6 oz cremini mushrooms, chopped

1/2 bunch lacinato kale, stems removed, leaves chopped

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

s + p

2 oz feta, chopped

5 basil leaves, chopped

juice of 1/2 a lemon

1/2 tin diced tomatoes

2 red bell peppers, seeded, halved lengthwise

Heat oven to 375 degrees.  Line a small baking sheet with parchment paper.  Set aside.

In a small pot, bring 1 cup water and quinoa to a boil, cover.  Reduce heat and simmer about 15 minutes or until water has evaporated.  Fluff with fork, set aside.  

In a skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat.  Add onion, cook 3 minutes, stirring frequently.  Add garlic and mushrooms.  Sauté 3 minutes more.  Add kale and red pepper flakes.  Cook 1 minutes, stirring.  Remove from heat.  

Stir in quinoa, salt, pepper, feta, basil and lemon.  

Evenly spoon into red pepper halves.  Arrange on lined baking sheet and cover well with foil.  

Bake 30 minutes.  

 

Cauliflower 'Mac' + Cheese

There's no pasta, but it's a healthier alternative to the baked classic.  If you use a wheat free flour it's a gluten free dinner.  Be the most popular at your next potluck picnic!  

For this I prefer 1/2 cup cheddar cheese and a 1/2 cup of Monterey jack cheese.  When it comes to melting, there's strength in numbers.  

Serves 2-3

Cauliflower 'mac' + Cheese

1 head cauliflower, trimmed, chopped into bite sized pieces

2 tablespoons butter

1 shallot, diced

2 tablespoons flour of your choice, a.p. or chickpea, rice...

1/8 cayenne pepper

1/4 teaspoon mustard powder

s + p

1/4 cup fat free milk

splash white wine

1 cup grated melting cheese

Heat oven to 375 degrees.  Grease a loaf pan.  Set aside.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Add chopped cauliflower, blanche 4 minutes.  Drain, shock with cold water to stop cauliflower from cooking.  Drain and dry.  

Wipe out pot and return it to the stove top.  Heat butter oven medium heat.  Once butter is melted, add shallot, cook until clear and soft, about 5 minutes, stirring frequently.  

In a small bowl, stir flour, cayenne, mustard powder, salt and pepper.  Add to to the pot, stirring to coat the cooking shallot.  Slowly, whisk in the milk.  Stir until lump free and add the splash of white wine.  Cook until thick.  Add all but one tablespoon cheese and cauliflower.  Stir until cauliflower is well coated in thick cheesey goo.  

Transfer prepared loaf pan.  Top with remaining cheese.  Bake 20 minutes.  

 

 

Lemon Miso Soup

A very satisfying soup.  A combination of a vegetable noodle and a miso soup.  

Substitute a quinoa pasta to make this a gluten free meal.  I think this would also be great with barley or farro.  

Serves 2.  

Lemon Miso Soup

1/2 cup uncooked pasta, small size like tubettini, ditalini or acini de pepe

olive oil

1 shallot, minced

3 cloves garlic, minced

red chile flakes or long red pepper, seeded, sliced into rings

4 cups chicken or vegetable stock

1 carrot, peeled, chopped

1 celery stalk, chopped

3/4 cup snow peas or green beans, chopped

4 cremini mushrooms, sliced

1 tablespoon white miso

juice of half of a lemon juice

s + white pepper

Cook pasta al dente.  Drain, rinse, drain.  Set aside.

In a pot, heat a drizzle of oilve oil over medium heat.  Add shallot, cook 3 minutes.  Add garlic, chile flakes or slices, carrot and celery.  Cook 2 minutes, stirring.  Add stock.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes, carrots and vegetables will be crisp tender.  Add mushrooms.  Cook 5 minutes.   Add snow peas or green beans and pasta.

 Stir miso paste with a ladleful of soup to make a slurry.   Stir into soup.  Add lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste. 

 

Pork Sandwiches + Barbecue Sauce

So you made that pork shoulder and now you're like " What the hell to do with all this meat?"  Well, first I would tell you to make tacos (yes, in our kitchen, tacos are always the first answer to almost any food question) then I would tell you make this sandwich.  And some coleslaw.  

It's very simple and quick but the home made sauce is what makes these special.  I think this would be a great picnic sandwich.  

Pork Sandwiches + North Carolina-style Barbecue Sauce

For the sauce:

1/2 cup apple cider vinegar

2 tablespoons ketchup

2 tablespoons light brown sugar

1 teaspoon red chile flakes

s + p

For the sandwiches:

rolls or bread

pulled pork, about 1 cup per sandwich

shredded cabbage or coleslaw, optional

Whisk together vinegar, ketchup, sugar, chile flakes, salt and pepper.  (I like to shake it all together in a jar.)  

Toss 1 cup of pork with a scant 1/4 cup of sauce for each sandwich.  Pile onto the bread and top with cabbage or slaw.  

Eat.

 

Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Bread

I really needed something sweet the other night and had a couple bananas lying around on the counter looking bored and starting to spot.  Perfect.  Spotted bananas are the always the beginning to something good, aren't they?  In this case it's banana bread, I made mini loves but you could so muffins or an 8 inch loaf.  Up to you.  These are not very sweet, if you like a sweeter quick bread add more agave or when serving, drizzle with more.  (Drizzling with more is better!)

Makes 1 loaf or 8 mini loaves or 12 muffins.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Bread

2 very ripe bananas, peeled

1/4 cup natural peanut butter (creamy or chunky)

1/4 cup olive oil

1/4 cup agave

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cup all purpose flour

1/4 cup cocoa powder

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease baking pan and set aside.  

In a bowl, mash banana with peanut butter.  Stir in olive oil, agave, egg and vanilla.  Mix well.  In another bowl, whisk baking soda, salt, flour and cocoa powder until evenly combined.  I sifted my cocoa powder in to avoid lumps.  Fold all flour mixture into banana batter.  Stop folding once all combined.  (lumps are ok but no streaks of flour.  If batter is over mixed once flour is added, the bread will be tough.)

Spoon into prepared pan and bake, 15 to 17 minutes, or until tester comes out clean.  Cool on rack.  

Slow Roasted Pork Shoulder

Over the weekend the largest bone in pork shoulder I've ever seen was welcomed into our home and oven.  We will be eating pork all week long in the form of sandwiches, pasta dishes, tacos and my favorite, plain in the light of an open fridge.  (Really, those little stolen bites pinched from the container are the best.)   

Our 8lb shoulder gave about 7 cups of shredded meat.  We made a fresh pasta dish and it was very satisfying.  The recipe serves 4.

Slow Roasted Pork Shoulder + Simple Rub

for the rub:

1 tablespoon light brown sugar

1 tablespoon kosher salt

2 teaspoons cumin 

1 teaspoon mustard powder

1  teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon paprika

1/2 teaspoon coriander

For the roast:

1 bone in pork shoulder

1 carrot, peeled, quartered

1 celery stalk, quartered

1 onion, quartered

water

Mix brown sugar, salt, cumin, mustard powder, black pepper, paprika and coriander.  

Trim the thick layer of fat from the pork shoulder and discard.  Rub all over with spice mixture.  Let it sit for about an hour.  

Heat oven to 300 degrees.  Place pork shoulder on a roasting rack in a pan with carrot, celery, onion and 1 cup of water.  Place in oven.  Flip and bast every hour.  If water dries out add more.  Roast about 6-8 hours.  The shoulder will be very soft, if poked with a knife the meat will not resist.   The longer the roasting time, the more tender it will be.  It takes a lot to over cook a pork shoulder.  

Remove from oven and let rest 30 minutes.  Shred with your hands, discard all fatty bits, saving the pulled meat.  

Strain cooking liquid and use a fat separator if you have one.  

To make the pasta, make a well in a pile of 2 cups flour.  Stir together 2 eggs and 2 egg yolks and pour into the flour well.  Use a fork to whisk in the flour to the eggs.  Once, the fork becomes useless, use your hands, lightly knead, adding water if needed to bring it together into a dough.   Wrap in plastic, set aside to rest 1 hour. Divide into 2 portions for easier handling.  Use a pasta machine or rolling pin to roll out. Cut into linguine.  With the pasta machine, roll thru all settings, starting with the thickest one first.  With the rolling pin, roll out until see-through. 

Boil a pot of water.  Add pasta, cook about 3 minutes, drain, rinse, drain.  

Heat about 1/4 cup pork roasting liquid, red chile flakes and a small splash olive oil in a large pan over medium heat.  Add cooked noodles and about 2 cups pulled pork meat.  Cook, stirring until hot, finish with salt, squeeze of lemon and grated parmesan cheese.  

 

Pozole Rojo Enchiladas

Have you had posole (or pozole) soup before?  The red one?  It's a great thing.  These enchiladas are based on that soup.  We used the same chiles for the sauce, filled them with hominy and served then with a number of toppings like avocado slices, cilantro, shredded cabbage and limes.  

Serves 4.

Pozole Rojo Enchiladas

For the sauce:

3 ancho peppers, stemmed seeded

3 guajillo peppers, stemmed, seeded

1/2 large yellow onion, peeled, coarsely chopped

4 garlic cloves, peeled, smashed

2 tomatoes, peeled, seeded

1 tablespoon dried oregano

juice of 1 lime

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 cup stock, chicken or vegetable

1 teaspoon agave nectar

many pinches of salt      

sugar to taste 

For the chicken:

1 lb skinless, boneless chicken thighs

s+p

1 teaspoon olive oil

Sprig fresh thyme

2 bay leaves

Juice 1/2 lime

Pinch garlic powder

1/2 yellow onion, halved

For the enchiladas:

1 tin hominy, rinsed, drained

12 corn tortillas

1 cup grated cheese ( I like a blend of jack, Colby, cheddar) 

chopped fresh cilantro leaves

shredded lettuce or cabbage

diced onion

lime wedges

sliced radishes

sliced avocado

Soak chiles in hot water for 30 minutes.  Drain and discard water.    In a blender, blend chiles, onion, garlic, tomatoes, oregano, lime juice, stock and agave until very smooth.  Strain, discard any solids.  Pour into a small sauce pot and simmer 20 minutes.  Adjust to taste with salt and sugar.  

While chiles are soaking or the sauce is simmering get the chicken going.  Heat oven to 425 degrees.  Toss chicken thighs with salt, pepper, olive oil, thyme, bay leaves, lime juice, garlic powder and onion.  Place in 9 or 8 inch baking dish and roast about 20 minutes or until done.  (Internal temperature will read 165.)  Remove from oven and cover.  Let rest at least 10 minutes.  Uncover and shred.  Discard, onion, thyme sprigs and bay leaves before shredding.)

Turn oven to 350 degrees.  Mix shredded chicken, hominy and 1/2 the cheese in a bowl with 1/3 of the sauce.  Heat tortillas in a microwave or in a skillet to make them more pliable.  (Warming them in a skillet is more time consuming but yields better flavor.)  Spoon filling into tortillas and roll, place seam side down in a 9 x 13" baking dish.  Cover with remaining sauce and cheese.  

Bake 10 to 15 minutes, cheese will be melted and contents hot.  Serve with desired garnishes.  My suggestions are cilantro, shredded lettuce or cabbage, diced onion, sliced radishes and avocado.  

Bitters Rock Candy + Champagne

I love bitters.  Bitters are a blend of alcohol, water, herbs, aromatics and spices.  They are an important component to cocktails, making soda water more delicious and a cure for hiccups or  stomach ache.  

Angostura bitters are my favorite and are used here to make rock candy which can be enjoyed alone or paired with a glass of champagne as a riff on the classic champagne cocktail.  

Use two chopsticks or bamboo skewers.

Makes 2.

Bitters Rock Candy Sticks

1 cup water

3 cups sugar

1 tablespoon angostura bitters

Prep the sticks by lightly wetting them and rolling them in sugar.  Set aside to dry. 

In a small pot, heat water and add sugar 1 cup at a time.  Let dissolve in between additions.  Let boil 6 minutes.  Stir in bitters.  Cool slightly and pour into 2 pint size glass jars or cups.  Insert 1 chopstick into each jar so the tip is 1 inch from the bottom and floating in the center of the glass away from the sides.  Secure stick with clothes pins or a piece of paper laid over the top of the jar with a hole punched in it for the stick.  Place somewhere, out of the way and leave undisturbed for about 1 to 2 days, Checking occasionally until a large amount of crystals have formed.  If you let it grow too much, it will grow onto the sides of the glass and be almost impossible to remove whole. 

 

Skirt Steak Noodle Bowl

I love anything "_____ bowl."  Noodle bowl, burrito bowl, rice bowl, stir fry bowl.  As someone who prefers all her food touches, it's delightful to enjoy all the components of a dish cozy in a bowl.  This one started with a strong steak craving.  Skirt steak, along with flank, is great when marinated.  This is a scallion ginger marinade and the steak really soaks it up.  

If you have one of those fancy spiral vegetable cutters this is a great time to use it on the carrots and beets.  

Makes 4 servings. 

Steak Noodle Bowl

for the marinade:

 juice of 1 lime

1 inch ginger, chopped

1 clove garlic, smashed

1/4 teaspoon red chile flakes

1 bunch scallions, whites and greens diced +  divided

3 tablespoons rice vinegar

3 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce

s + p

1 lb skirt steak

for the bowl:

8 oz soda or lo mein noodles

1 bunch spinach leaves

3 red beets, peeled, cut into matchsticks

2 carrots, peeled, cut into matchsticks

cilantro leaves, for garnish

scallion greens, for garnish

for vinaigrette:

juice of 2 limes

2 teaspoons rice vinegar

1 teaspoon grated ginger 

1 teaspoon chile flakes

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 teaspoons tamari or soy sauce

pinches of salt

Let's get that steak marinating.  Combine lime juice, ginger, garlic, chile flakes, scallion whites, rice vinegar, soy, salt and pepper.  Place in bowl or large zip lock bag.  Add steak, turning to coat.  Cover or seal.  Place in fridge, flipping occasionally so all sides of steak get marinated.  Let marinate 1 hour or more. 

Remove steak from marinade.  Discard marinade.  Brush off any bits of chopped ginger, scallion, whatever and slice against the grain.  Cook in lightly oiled skillet over high heat to desired doneness.  (I like it very well done and with a char.)  Remove from pan and transfer to paper towel. 

Cook noodles, following package directions.  Rinse and drain. (Can be tossed very lightly with oil to prevent sticking.)

Make the vinaigrette.  Combine lime juice, rice vinegar, ginger, chile flakes, olive oil and soy sauce.  Add pinches of salt to balance acidity.  

Build noodle bowls with noodles, carrots, beets, spinach and steak. Drizzle with vinaigrette.  Garnish with cilantro and scallion greens. 

 

Grapefruit Sherbet

Do you say sherbet or sherbert for you?  I think I've been saying it wrong my whole life.  It's a frozen dessert of fruit and cream without eggs. Similar to the basic ice cream recipe posted last summer.

Use fresh squeezed grapefruit juice.

Grapefruit Sherbet
1 tablespoon grapefruit zest
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup heavy cream
Pinch of salt
3 cups grapefruit juice (3 large grape fruits will get you there)
2 tablespoons Cointreau

In a small pan, heat and stir zest, sugar, cream and salt. Once sugar is dissolved, remove from heat. Chill in fridge 1 hour or until cool. Combine with juice and Cointreau. Freeze in ice cream machine until frozen, about 25 minutes. Serve or store in freezer.

Cauliflower + Chickpea Coconut Curry

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This is a quick curry you can whip up while your rice is cooking.  (I can't eat curry without rice.  No way.)  The spice level is up to you and your curry paste.  Spice levels vary from paste to paste so give yours a little taste before you begin.  A mild paste, I suggest 2 to 3 tablespoons.  A spicy paste, maybe only 1 tablespoon. 

Serves 4.

Red Curry + Cauliflower + Chickpeas

1 block firm tofu

2 tablespoon grapeseed oil, divided

1 to 3 tablespoons red curry paste

1 shallot, chopped

3 cloves garlic, diced

1 inch fresh ginger, grated

2 carrots, peeled, chopped

1/2 head cauliflower, chopped into florets

1 1/2 cup vegetable stock

1 1/2 cup lite coconut milk

1 tablespoon brown sugar

1 tin chickpeas, drained, rinsed

1 teaspoon fish sauce

juice of 1 lime

1/2 bunch lacinato kale, sliced

s + p

rice vinegar, to taste

fresh basil, chopped, for garnish

Place tofu block on a folded dish towel and cover with another.  Place something heavy on top and leave it alone to drain for 30 minutes.  The less water in the tofu the better for frying.  

Heat 1 tablespoon grape seed oil in a skillet over medium high heat.  Add tofu and cook about 4 minutes on each side.  Once crispy, transfer to towel to drain.  

Wipe out skillet and heat 1 tablespoon grape seed oil over medium high heat.  Add curry paste, shallot, garlic and ginger.  Cook, stirring continuously for 2 minutes.  Add carrots and cauliflower, stirring to coat.  Add stock, coconut milk and brown sugar.  Cook 5 to 7 minutes until cauliflower is done.  Add tofu, chickpeas, fish sauce, lime juice and kale.  

Season with salt, pepper, rice vinegar.  Garnish with basil.  Serve with rice. 

 

Meyer Lemon Meringue Cookies

So much good looking citrus around lately.  I love Meyer lemons, they tasty like a very lemony orange.  Meringues are super light, airy confections for whipped egg yolks and sugar with a crisp outer shell and soft inside.   Easy as they are too make, they are easier to eat.  I have the hardest time not eating all of these while they are cooling.  

Also, don't throw out those egg yolks.  Save them for hollandaise, mayonnaise, key lime pie, custard, ice cream.  I think I'm saving mine for pasta.  

Makes about 36 1 1/2 inch cookies.

Meyer Lemon Meringue Cookies

3 egg whites (at room temperature)  (save the yolks!)

1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

generous pinch of salt

3/4 cup sugar

zest of 1 meyer lemon

1 1/2 teaspoon meyer lemon juice

Heat oven to 200 degrees.  Line 2 half pans with a silpat or parchment paper.  

In a mixing bowl, give eggs a quick beat eggs until foamy, about 10 seconds. Add cream of tartar and salt.  Beat on medium speed until peaks form.  Slowly add sugar, by the tablespoon, beating well after each addition, until all sugar is gone and stiff peaks have formed.  Fold in zest and juice.  

Transfer to a piping bag fitted with a large flower tip.  Pipe cookies of desired size onto lined baking sheet.  Meringues don't expand or rise when baking so they don't require much room.  Cookies can also be formed by being dropped by the spoonful onto the baking sheet.  

Bake 2 hours on upper racks.  Cool in oven 15 minutes.  Remove from oven and cool 20 minutes more. 

Pork + Chive Dumplings + Dipping Sauce

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Dumplings!  I just don't eat enough dumplings.  For me, they are a bit too time consuming to make all the time but when I do, a pork and chive is the best way. 

Makes about 30 dumplings.

Pork + Chive Dumplings

for the dough

2 cups all purpose flour

3/4 to 1 cup boiling water

for the filling

1 cup shredded cabbage 

12 oz ground pork

1 tablespoon grated ginger

2 garlic cloves, grated

1/4 cup fresh chives, chopped

1/2 teaspoon white pepper

1 tablespoon cooking sherry

1 teaspoon sesame oil

1/2 teaspoon red chile flakes

1 1/2 teaspoon soy sauce

2 tablespoons canola oil

for the dipping sauce

1/3 cup soy sauce

3 tablespoons rice vinegar

1 teaspoon grated ginger

sugar and siracha to taste

Place flour in the bowl of a food processor and slowly add water until a a shaggy mass forms.  Remove from bowl but be careful - it's hot!  Knead 1 minute or until smooth and elastic.  Place in zip lock bag or small bowl covered in plastic and let steam for 30 minutes. 

Toss cabbage with a pinch of salt and set aside for 10 minutes.  This will help remove any water the cabbage maybe holding.  Drain, rinse and squeeze out cabbage.  Combine cabbage, pork, ginger, garlic, chives, pepper, cherry, sesame oil, chile flakes, soy sauce and canola oil.  Stir until evenly combined.  Set aside to marinate for 20 minutes.  

While pork mixture is marinating, get the dumpling wrappers formed.  Take out the dough and divide it into quarters.  Divide each quarter into 8 little discs.  Place back into bag or under plastic or a damp towel so dough won't dry out.  Line a tortilla press with plastic wrap and as you go, lightly flour each dough disc and flatten with tortilla press.  A thin three inch dough wrapper should now be sandwiched between two pieces of plastic.  Peel away one sheet of plastic, then gently peel away the wrapper.  Place wrapper under a damp towel.  Replace plastic over press and repeat until all dough discs are flattened into wrappers.  

Scoop about 1 tablespoon of pork filling onto each wrapper.  Press edges together to seal completely.  You don't want any holes or they will leak when cooked.  Fill each wrapper until there is no more filling left.  

Boil a pot of water and add dumplings in 2 or 3 batches (depending of your pot size). Reduce heat to a gentle boil and boil 10 minutes.  When dumplings are done, they will float to the top and look slightly translucent.  

Get the sauce ready.  Mix together soy sauce, rice vinegar and ginger.  Add sugar and siracha to taste.  

Place cooked dumplings in a covered dish to keep warm until serving.  Serve warm with dipping sauce. 

Orgeat Syrup

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Orgeat Syrup is an almond simple syrup.  It's an important ingredient in tiki drinks like the Mai Tai or the japanese cocktail.  It is also great in pineapple juice or milk. 

The vodka is added to extend the shelf life for the syrup but can be omitted.

Makes about 1 1/2 cup. 

Orgeat Syrup

2 cups raw almonds

1 1/2 cup water

1 1/2 cup sugar

1 teaspoon orange blossom water

1 ounce vodka

Place almonds in a bowl and cover with water.  Soak for 30 minutes.  Drain.  Transfer almonds into a food processor and process about 1 minute until almonds are a course crumb.  

Heat water, sugar and pulverized almonds in a pot on the stove.  Stir until sugar is dissolved.  Do not boil but heat for 15 minutes.  Turn off heat and let stand 2 hours.  Add orange blosson water and vodka.  Strain through cheese cloth or a fine mesh strainer.  Store in fridge up to 2 weeks.  

Passion Fruit Chocolate Chip Cupcakes + Coffee Frosting

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Momofuku Milk Bar has a crazy cake that is a chocolate chip cake base, passion fruit curd filling, chocolate crumb crunch and coffee butter cream.  It's crazy, and also a pain to make and only available as a whole cake order.  These cupcakes are a simple solution to hold you over til some one's birthday.  

Makes 12 cupcakes.  

Passion Fruit Chocolate Chip + Coffee Frosting

for the cupcakes

1 1/2 cup cake flour

1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

8 tablespoons butter, softened

3/4 cup sugar

2 eggs

1/2 cup passionfruit puree

1 tablespoon milk

1/2 cup mini semi sweet chocolate chips

for the coffee frosting

1 tablespoon instant coffee powder

1 tablespoon warm water

8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

3/4 cup powdered sugar, more or less

pinch salt

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Prep muffin pan with liners.  

In a bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Set aside.  

In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar for 2 minutes.  Add eggs, mix 2 minutes more.  Alternate adding 1/3 passion fruit puree with 1/3 dry ingredients until both are mixed into the batter. Fold in milk and chocolate chips.  Spoon into muffin/cupcake pan.  Bake about 25 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean.  Let cool in pan 5 minutes.  Gently remove from pan and cool completely on a rack.  

While cooling, get the frosting together.  Dissolve coffee powder in warm water and set aside.  Beat cream cheese for 30 seconds.  And butter and beat until combined. Add sugar, coffee and salt.  Beat until combined. 

Frost cupcakes. 

 

Sesame Crusted Baked Tofu + Dipping Sauce

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Crispy and nutty bite size tofu snacks.  Best part is that they're baked, not fried.  Would be a great as part of a dim sum style dinner.  

makes 16 pieces.  

Sesame Crusted Baked Tofu + Dipping Sauce

1 block extra firm tofu

1 cup lite coconut milk

s + p

3/4 cup black and white sesame seeds

for the sauce

2 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce

1 tablespoon rice vinegar

1 teaspoon sambal oelek

1/2 teaspoon sesame oil

Drain tofu and place on a towel.  Place something heavy on top of tofu block, like a fry pan with a tin can of something in it, to press any water out of it.  This will help make it crispy.  While tofu is draining, heat oven to 500 degrees.  Line a pan with parchment paper, set aside.  

Place coconut milk in a shallow bowl, next to a shallow bowl of sesame seeds.  Slice tofu into 16 squares and season with salt and pepper.   One by one dip each square in coconut milk and then coat with sesame seeds.  Arrange on parchment paper lined pan and bake 6 minutes.  Flip tofu squares and bake 4 minutes more.  

Mix soy sauce, rice vinegar, sambal oelok and sesame oil together.  Serve on the side of squares.

French Onion Risotto

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You heard me.  Just when we thought risotto couldn't get any better.  

Serves 2 huge portions or 3 normal portions.

French Onion Risotto

6 cups beef stock

2 bay leaves

4 springs thyme

1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns

1 yellow onion, sliced

splash olive oil

1 tablespoon butter

1 cup aborio rice

1/2 cup white wine

1/2 cup grated gruyere cheese

Heat stock, bay, 2 thyme sprigs, a couple slices of onion and peppercorns.  Keep warm without boiling or simmering. 

Add onion slices and 2 thyme sprigs to a saucepan over medium heat.  Stirring every minute or so, cook for 20 minutes.  Add a splash of olive oil, reduce heat,  cover and cook 20 minutes more.  Remove thyme sprigs.  

Strain stock.  

In a saucepan, over medium heat, melt butter in splash of olive oil.  Add aborio rice, stir to coat, cook 1 minute.  Add white with, cook and stir until evaporated.  Spoon stock, half a cup at a time, into rice, stirring until absorbed into rice.  Repeat until almost all stock is gone and rice is tender, about 15 to 20 minutes.  Stir in caramelized onions and cheese.  Spoon onto dinner plates, garnish with a pinch of onions, cheese and stock.  

 

 

Black Bean Quinoa Burgers + Pickled Jalapeno Poppers

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Vegetarian burgers with a mexican vibe.  Great chopped up over  a salad, or in a wrap or served as a burger.  Pickling the jalapenos mellows their spiciness, so does stuffing them with cheese.  Worth making even on their own as snacks or working into a grilled cheese sandwich.  Just a thought.  

makes about 8-10 burgers

Black Bean Quinoa Burgers + Cheese Stuffed Pickled Jalapenos

for the burgers

1 tin black beans, drained, rinsed

1/4 cup uncooked quinoa

1 teaspoon olive oil

1 shallot, minced

3 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 a red bell pepper, diced

1/2 cup frozen corn, thawed

2 teaspoons cumin

1/2 teaspoon paprika

1/4 teaspoon dried oregano

3 cilantro sprigs, chopped

1 tablespoon flaw seeds, ground

1 egg

juice of 1/2 a lime

for the jalapenos

6 jalapenos

1/2 cup water

1 cup white vinegar

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon sugar

1 teaspoon black peppercorns

monterey jack cheese, about 2 ounces

Mash beans.  Set aside.  Cook quinoa, add to beans.

In a skillet, heat olive oil and cook shallots 2 minutes.  Add garlic, bell pepper and corn.  Cook 2 minutes more. Add to back beans.   Add cumin, paprika, oregano, cilantro, flax seeds, egg and lime juice.  Stir until well combined. Season with salt and pepper.   Portion with a 1/4 cup.  Cook 5 minutes on each side in an oiled pan over medium heat.  

We served as burgers with cheese stuffed pickled jalapenos.  Slice a capital T shape in each jalapeno and remove seeds.  Place in a small pot with water, vinegar, salt, sugar and peppercorns.  Boil for 2 minutes.  Set aside and let cool to room temperature, at least 30 minutes.  When ready to use, remove from pickling liquid, stuff with a rectangular slice of cheese.  Heat a pan on the stove over medium heat.  Cook jalapenos in pan, flipping as needed.  They will be a toasty color and the cheese will be melted.  

 

Vegetarian Split Pea

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I know, I know, I know.  I just made a split pea soup about a month ago.  That one wasn't vegetarian.  Although I'm not a vegetarian, I eat like one most of the week.  

Vegetarian Split Pea Soup

splash olive oil

1 onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 stalks celery, diced

1 large carrot, peeled, diced

2 cups dried green peas (or yellow) 

8 cups vegetable stock

1 teaspoon dried marjoram

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

1 teaspoon cumin

1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika  

2 potatoes, peeled, chopped

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar  

s + p

In a large pot, heat a splash of olive oil.  Sauté onion, garlic, celery and carrot 5 minutes.  Add dried peas and cook, stirring, 2 minutes.  

Add stock, majoram, thyme, cumin and paprika.  Boil, reduce heat, simmer 30 minutes.  Add potatoes, simmer 30 to 45 minutes more, mostly covered.  When it's done, the peas will be very tender and with a good stirring will fall apart. 

Add cider vinegar.  Season with s + p.  

 

 

Grilled Portobellos + Creole Tomato Sauce

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There's a restaurant in Ithaca, New York called Maxie's Supper Club that I am obsessed with.  Their margaritas come in pint glasses and there are things like tasso gravy and mighty mighty gumbo on the menu.  They also have chicken fried tuesdays.  (And who doesn't need a little fried chicken on a tuesday?)  

I'm getting carried away.  The reason I bring up my beloved Maxie's is that they have something on the menu that is grilled portobellos with creole tomato sauce.  While I've never seen or ordered it I've haven't stopped thinking how good it sounds.  Cam and I decided to give it a go.

We had sauce leftover and ate it over roasted spaghetti squash.   

(If you are vegetarian, omit worcestershire sauce.  It contains anchovies.)

Serves 4. 

Grilled Portobellos + Creole Tomato Sauce

splash olive oil

1 onion, diced

1 green bell pepper, seeded, diced

2 stalks celery, diced

4 cloves garlic, diced

2 green onions, diced, white and green separated  

1 28 oz tin tomatoes

3 bay leaves

4 thyme sprigs, stems discarded

s + p

splash worcestershire sauce 

1/4 teaspoon cayenne powder

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

pinch sugar

8 portobello mushroom caps, cleaned, stems removed

In a medium pot, on medium high heat, cook onion in splash of oil until soft, about 8 minutes.  Add bell pepper, celery, garlic, green onion whites and thyme, cook, stirring, 5 minutes.  Add tomatoes, bay, thyme leaves, worcestershire sauce, salt, pepper and cayenne.  Boil, reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes.  Adjust seasoning with sugar, salt and pepper.  Stir in parsley.  

While sauce is simmering, cook mushrooms on medium high heat in a grill pan on the stove.  About 5 minutes on each side.  Mushrooms can also be roasted in 425 degree oven, loosely covered with foil for 35 minutes.  

Once mushrooms are done, top with warm tomato sauce.  Garnish with green onion greens.  We served ours with kale sauted with garlic.  yum.