Monday, December 29, 2008

I Heart Sweet Potatoes

I found this recipe in a fellow Friday-Illustrator's blog, and I had to try it, using the leftover cooked sweet potatoes I had from making the hanukah balls.

The only thing I did different was that the sweet potatoes - both white and orange - were already cooked (in the microwave), and I used fresh tomatoes (3) and some tomato puree. It was really yammy.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Thai Pumpkin Soup

It was time to relieve the fridge from some of the tupperware that occupied it, so I decided to make a soup out of pumpkin puree and coconut milk, and it turned out surprisingly delicious (not surprising that the flavors blend so well, but that I managed to get something tasty out of them). It's also super easy and ready in less than 10 minutes!

Everything goes into the pot:
about 1 c of pumpkin puree
about 1/2 can of coconut milk
about 1 T of peanut butter
some salt, ginger and garlic powder
about 1 T of brown sugar

warm it all up while stirring and add some water to get the desired consistency. When it's hot enough for you, pour into a bowl and sprinkle with some roasted peanuts and then drizzle some soy sauce (I know it sounds weird, but it's really good - even Mark liked it, and he's not a fan of creamy soups).

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

French Bakes

Mark's been craving french fries for a while, but he can't find anything in the store that looks remotely healthy, so he decided to make some from scratch.

He also made some out of sweet potato, for me. Yammy!

I know some people consider potatoes as a vegetable side, but I had to make a real vegetable side, so I used up the green beans we had left, and topped them with some sauce. The recipe is taken from the Moosewood Restaurant cookbook (Sundays as Moosewood, I think it's called). It's basically just boiled beans and onion (yes, boiled onion... Mark didn't appreciate it), and the sauce is just butter (1T), flour (2T), a cup of water from the boiled beans, salt, pepper, chives, lemon juice (1t) and 1/4 cup of yogurt (that I used instead of sour cream). I liked it, but I don't think I'm allowed to make it again, not with boiled onions, at least. ;)

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Smile - I Made Cheese!

Paneer, to be exact. Second time is the charm, apparently! This time I added a bit of vinegar, as suggested here, and it turned out much better than my first attempt. Actually, it was STUPENDOUS! Yeah, I'm very proud of myself :)

This time the medium I made for it to flow in was also much better than the thick, chunky sweet potato curry I made last time. Indeed, Shahi Paneer, as the name suggests, is the perfect medium for my cheese!

It was somewhat spicy, so it's good I had a glass of lassi handy to put out the fire!

Sweet Potato Gnocchi, In White

Sweet potatoes are so good just as they are, simply cooked, with a bit of salt. But they're also awesome as gnocchi.

We had them with just melted butter and sage. Simple yet delicious!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Pumpkin Soup

What could be better than a nice, warm, flavorful pumpkin soup on a cold winter night? Especially when it's so easy to make!

I took the recipe from here, but modified it somewhat, so here are the ingredients:

  • 1 c pumpkin puree
  • 1 1/3 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 T peanut butter
  • onion powder
  • garlic powder
  • ginger powder
  • thyme
  • parsley
  • salt & pepper
  • 1/4 c evaporated milk or cream
Combine everything but the in a sauce pan over medium-low heat, reduce to simmer when it starts to jump out (I mostly covered it, but not completely), and add the milk when it's hot enough for you (for me it was within about 15 minutes). Cook on low a few minutes more, then serve.
I sprinkled some crushed roasted peanuts on top and ate it with some bread sticks that Mark made a few weeks ago. YUM!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

A Pineapple Upside-Down Cake In A Tea Cup

That's right!
Inspired by the chocolate cake in a mug that bakes in under 3 minutes and doesn't leave too many dirty dishes, I wanted to make use of the few pineapple slices I had from the last time we made some pina-colada smoothie. I couldn't find any recipe for a quick, individual-serving pineapple upside down cake, so I decided to make it up myself.

So that's what I did:
I put a slice of pineapple in a tea cup (wide and short with non curving sides), and a cherry inside the hole and sprinkled some brown sugar on top of that (1 t). In a little bowl, I combined:
  • 2.5 T soymilk
  • 0.3 t apple cider vinegar
and let it sit for a minute or two until it curdles
(can substitute with 2.5 T buttermilk)
Then I added:
  • 1.5 T sugar
  • 1/4 t vanilla
  • salt
  • 3/4 T oil
and mixed it well

Then I added - without mixing at first:
  • 4 T flour
  • a little less than 1/4 t baking powder
  • a sprinkle of baking soda

I Made sure the baking powders are equally spread within the flour by mixing it slightly with a teaspoon, and then started mixing a little more vigorously (but not too much) with the wet ingredients. The mixture then went on top of the pineapple and into the microwave. About 1 minute later it started to rise, and I took it out 40 seconds later.

It was good. Not very delicate - I think taking it out of the microwave a few seconds earlier might have been better. I will continue to experiment and see if it can be improved somehow. Also, if you have any suggestions for making it more light and fluffy, I'll be glad to hear them. All said, it was fairly good, especially for something that take so little time and effort!

(The batter recipe is taken from here and roughly divided by 10).

Monday, November 24, 2008


Jicama is such a wonderful root! Peeling it is so much fun! It's worth eating it just for that, but it's also quite tasty, especially in this delectable salad.

This recipe is really good, and it's the best I've ever tried (admittedly, I only tried two). For this recipe I am willing to forgo my winter-summer foods rule, and have salad in winter. It's so easy to make and can make a great left-over lunch.
I altered the recipe a little bit: regular mustard instead of dijon, 1/2 can of beans instead of 1, more corn kernels, green onion instead of regular onion, jalapenos instead of green chilies, and no lemon peel. Those adjustments were mostly made due to inavailability of ingredients, convenience, or sheer laziness, but the result was still VERY good.
I can't recommend this salad enough. Try it!!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Squashy Spaghetti

Squash season is here, but with the temperatures still pretty high, stews are not the best option. Spaghetti squash is an excellent solution!

This is the best way we know to eat spaghetti squash. You will need:

1 spaghetti squash
1 onion
2 medium sized tomatoes (or 1.5 cups)
fresh basil
a bunch of black olives (12 or so)
1/2 lb or so Panela (or less than 1/2 lb Feta) cheese

Cook squash according to your preferred method (I like to half it, seed and place the half in a pan with 1/3 c water, cover with a plastic bag and microwave for 7 minutes. Repeat for the other half).
In the meantime, chop onion and saute in a bit of olive oil. When golden brown add tomatoes and cook until they're slightly warm. Don't overcook.
Scape the spaghetti out of the squash, add onion-tomato mix, chopped basil, coarsely chopped olives and cheese, and mix it all together. Don't forget salt!

It's very delicious and light (you might want to have some nice dessert later, like a pumpkin roll).

Mushroom Polenta

This is a case where the food doesn't look very pretty, but it's tasty, quick and easy to make, so thought it would be good to share with all of you busy people.

The polenta is made as previously instructed. The mushrooms go like that:
Slice them, saute them in some olive oil, add salt and parsley flakes, maybe some freshly crushed black pepper, and keep sauteing until they're cooked (takes about 5-10 minutes). Toward the end you can add some heavy cream for extra richness (highly recommended, even if I didn't here).
Pour the mushrooms on top the polenta and sprinkle with shaved Parmesan or Romano.

Cupcake Ant

In celebration of Rebecca's passing her comps, Dani and I made a little cupcake ant for her.

Dani made the cupcakes. They turned out really moist and tasty. She said she followed this recipe exactly. We assembled it together in the Fewell lab, and it went much better than I had anticipated.
Congrats, candidate Rebecca!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Soba X 2

That's right! Soba noodles are so good, we had them TWICE last week. (Yeah, I know, it's been a while...).
The first one was SOOO good, you just have to try it. Really - it has lime, mint, and mango - how much better can it get?

You can find the recipe here.
I think it was a bit too sour, so next time I will use less vinegar and maybe dilute it a bit.

The second soba noodle recipe was okay, but nothing to rave about, especially after eating the first one. If you have near-expiration spinach and have no bananas, this recipe will be a good use for it.

I have to admit, I modified the recipe a little bit, so maybe it could be better if you follow it directly. I used teriyaki sauce instead of soy sauce, and mirin instead of sherri. Can't see why these modifications wouldn't make it better, really, but who knows?

Monday, September 29, 2008

Hunting Mousse, Again

Well, I did have some silken tofu leftover, and I did find this interesting concoction, so I had to do it.

I did make my life simpler by using 1/2 a can of sweetened bean paste (we got it ages ago, thinking we'd make some dessert dim-sam, which never happened) - it's made of adzuki beans, and so I didn't have to add any sugar.

It was delicious!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Hunting Mousse

Well, this hunting is more animal-friendly than Sarah Palin's. It's vegan.

6 oz silken tofu
1/3 c bittersweet chocolate chips, melted
powdered sugar to taste (~2 T)

Blend the tofu in a blender and add chocolate and sugar, blend some more, add sugar if not sweet enough for you.

This should make 2 small servings plus a whole lot more in the blender for the person who makes it :)

P.S. - I guess I'm also a cereal killer...

Friday, September 12, 2008

Broccoli Pesto Pasta

Again, we had some broccoli we had to use before it went bad. I found this recipe in the VT magazine, and it was nice and easy. We used almonds instead of pine nuts because that's what we had. It was very complementary.
I can't find this recipe online yet, so I'll give general instructions below.

What you'll need:
Broccoli crowns, florets separated
Nuts, roasted
Parmesan or Romano, shredded
3 T Olive oil, divided
1/4 c lemon juice
6 cloves garlic

How it goes:
Spread the broccoli on a cookie sheet, sprinkle or spray 2 T or so olive oil and roast for 30 minutes or so.
While it's roasting, make the dressing by combining lemon juice, garlic, 1 T olive oil and salt in a large bowl.
Cook pasta and drain, transfer to large bowl and toss to cover with the dressing.
Coarsely chopped the roasted broccoli and add to the pasta.
Sprinkle cheese and nuts.


Monday, September 8, 2008

Anniversary Restaurant Review

We don't go out a lot to eat for a number of reasons, but for special occasions like birthdays and anniversaries we make an exception. This past weekend such special occasion occurred - it happened to be our first anniversary! So we went out 5 (!!) times. Vegan every time, too. It was awesome.
Here's a summary:

Friday night: Chakra 4, phoenix, AZ. Sorry for the over-exposure of the lavash + pattes and marinated veggies. It was very dark. One of the pattes was hummus, the other black bean with sunflower seeds. It was ok, but nothing special. The Morroccan stew and quinoa was very good.

Saturday morning: Green Carrot Cafe, Cottonwood, AZ. Oh, my god - it was AWESOME!!! We started with a savory dish: Southwestern wrap. It had potato, onions and god knows what else, but it was so good! And it was all wrapped in a deliciuos tortilla. Yum! We finished with a sweet delicacy: polish crepes with raspberry jam, strawberries and whipped cream.

Saturday night: Raw Cafe Bliss, Sedona, AZ. This is where we had our first raw food experience, the day after we got married. We liked it SO much that we decided to come back every year. First, I asked for their raw tortilla chips, which, last year, were probably the best thing I've ever had. I was disappointed... They keep changing the recipe, she said. This year they weren't half as good. They weren't crispy at all, and their flavor was off. Too bad. I hope that they will someday go back to the original recipe. Both entres were awesome. The zucchini pasta alfredo was my favorite, but it failed to arrive with nut "meat"balls. I complained, and the waitress gave me a nut patte instead, saying the meatballs are dehydrated forms of the patte, and they ran out. It was very good. The alfredo sauce is also made of nuts, and is very rich and filling. The enchilada was also very good. I have no idea how they made the tortilla. Probably the same way they made the chips. It was soft and filled with raw goodness: dried lettuce (!!), fresh tomatoes, and god knows what else. It's a mystery to me how raw food is made. But it's delicious. It was covered with yummy tomato salsa and some nut sauce to act as cheese.
For dessert we had a double chocolate pie. The chocolate part was very creamy and tasty, and the flavor had no trace of avocado, even though that's the ingrediend that gives it its creamyness. I didn't particularly like the crust, but it was ok.
After dinner I felt so full. It must be all the richness of nuts.

Sunday morning, Green Carrot Cafe, Cottonwood, AZ. It was so good, we had to go back and try the other menu items. Again - awesome! On Saturday I deliberately didn't take any of the tofu scramble dishes, because I had bland experience with them in other restaurants. After Saturday's experience I felt a bit more confident in trying the tofu scrumble wrap. I was not disappointed at all. It was very flavorful and delicious. It was wraped in the same kind of yummy tortilla. That was our savory dish. For dessert, we took the special: some kind of bread (banana? hazelnuts?) stuffed with (vegan) strawberry cream cheese and topped with strawberries and blueberries. (Forgive the bites and disorder - The excitement took over). It was tasty, yet not too sweet.

Sunday evening: D'lish, Sedona, AZ. After the stuffing experience we had the night before, we decided to go light and only oredered one dish and one dessert. I chose the Jamaican pineapple burger, which was very delicious, and Mark got the carrot cake, not pictured here due to mere neglect.

We didn't just eat all day while we were in Sedona, of course! Check out our hiking pictures!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Not Yucky And No Soba

We got non-soba noodles for the yakisoba we intended to make (see previous post). They weren't really the ones one is supposed to use (round egg noodles), but they were purchased at a Japanese store. That surely counts, doesn't it?

We kind of followed this recipe from someone who really misses real yakisoba he had in Japan, assuming it should be authentic. We were amazed to find out how much sugar this recipe calls for! And that's in addition to the oyster sauce where the main ingredients are water and sugar! No wonder the guy is addicted!
Anyway, it turned out really good! Despite the excess sugar, it's not as sweet as you'd expect.

We used a vegetable that was new to us, some Chinese cabbage that looks like this, and a new mushroom (again, new to us, not to science): brown beech mushroom. These mushrooms are SO cute! And lovely-tasting, too!

That's how we made it:

Cooked a package of Japanese noodles (they were of medium thickness and made of wheat, don't know how much was in the package), but not all the way - they're still supposed to be stir-fried.
In a large frying pan over medium heat heated and lightly fried:
  • 1 T sesame oil
  • 9.5 oz cubed firm tofu
When tofu was golden-brown on the outside, added:
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, julienned
  • 6-7 baby carrots, julienned
  • sprinkle of salt
About 3 minutes of stirring later, added:
  • One package (150 g) brown beech mushrooms, separated (YUMMY!)
  • 3 Chinese cabbages, leaves cut diagonally
After about 3 minutes of stirring everything together I added about 3 T of the sauce I made ahead of time:
  • 1 T (vegetarian) oyster sauce
  • 4 T soy sauce
  • 4 T sugar
  • 1 T honey
  • 1 T sesame oil
  • 3 T mirin
  • red pepper flakes, to taste
When the vegetable were nicely coated with the sauce, we added the cooked noodles and the rest of the sauce, and cooked for a couple more minutes.

MMM.... Yukisoba...

Not Yakisoba, Yummy Soba!

We wanted to have yakisoba. don't ask why. So Mark went to the store and got soba noodles. Alas, yakisoba is not supposed to have soba noodles in it. The absurd! So I looked for a recipe that uses soba (buckwheat) noodles. I found this one, but I didn't have fiddleheads (I didn't even know they existed!) so I made it with broccolli instead.

Soba noodles are SO good! It's hard to believe, considering kasha is not the most flavorful grain you can find... The noodles really taste good just by themselves, but adding the sauce and the vegetables make them even better.

These are the ingredients we used:
  • 10.58 oz soba noodles (can use 8 oz - we didn't put all the noodles in the sauce)
  • 1 T sesame oil
  • 1 crown of broccolli, florets separated
  • 6-7 baby carrots, julienned
  • 9.5 oz firm tofu, cubed
  • about 7 dried shitake mushrooms, rehydrated by soaking in hot water (they were awesome!!)
  • 1 T lemon juice
  • 1 T sesame oil
  • 2 T soy sauce
  • 1 T sugar
Cook the noodles and drain.
In a large frying pan, over medium heat, heat sesame oil and fry the tofu till lightly browned. Add the broccolli florets, the carrots and the shitake mushrooms, salt and stir until broccolli is cooked, but still crisp.

In a large bowl combine lemon juice, sesame oil, soy sauce and sugar. Add the cooked noodles and the stir-fried vegetables and serve!
Also delicious cold on the next day!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Zucchini Pasta

It is not one of those raw pastas. It's just regular pasta with a single-ingredient sauce. I learned it from my Italian-chef-brother-in-law, Sandro. It's very simple and quick. If you can't see how this could possibly be delicious - try it! I assure you - you will be surprised at how amazingly good it is!

Bowtie or other large and short pasta
2 large zucchinis (or whatever little squashes you have - I used Gray Mexican)
1 T butter
Freshly ground black pepper

Yes, that's it!

Cook pasta.
While it's cooking, saute the zucchini in butter until translucent.
Sprinkle salt and pepper
Mix pasta in.

Sour Grapes

What to do when you find that the grapes you got are way too sour to eat fresh?
Luckily, I wasn't the first person with this problem. I decided to follow one of the suggestions given here.

The suggestion included sausages, but I completely forgot about it! It was delicious and filling even without it.

1 cup cornmeal
4 cups water

Mix together and bring to a boil while stirring. It will be ready withing minutes. Add:
1 T butter
Gorgonzola - as much as you want (of course, the more the better!)
Salt to taste

Sour Grapes:
Remove from stems (half if too big) and add to caramelized onions in a large frying pan.
It is ready when the grapes are soft (5-10 minutes)
sprinkle some chopped rosemary and balsamic vinegar.

The best thing to do with sour grapes!

Taco Salad

1 lb meatless crumbles
1 c dark red kidney beans
8 oz taco sauce (Ortega is recommended)
2 cloves garlic, chopped

Cook on medium-high heat till done and add to a bowl with:

Lettuce, coarsely chopped
4 medium tomatoes, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
2 spring onions, chopped
1/2 c olives, chopped
1/2 cheddar cheese (super sharp Hoffman is recommended), chopped or shredded

Makes 4 servings

Serve with sour cream and tortilla chips -- Salud!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Rice Kalabush

I've been thinking... There are so many beautiful cooking/baking blogs out there with wonderful photos. Probably by the millions. Why should I continue with this blog? It certainly doesn't get read by the masses. Why load the world wide web with yet another mediocre cooking blog? I have contemplated on quitting. But then it occurred to me that by having this blog I end up trying to create nice-looking and tasty dinners. It kind of "forces" me to do so. So if I get something out of it, why not keep doing it?

One such nice-looking and tasty dinner was the one I made last night:

I wanted it to be quick and easy and use whatever vegetables we had in the fridge and needed to be used immediately.
I titled it rice kalabush because I used kielbasa as a proteinaceous topping and kalabush (meaning a prison in Turkish, I think) sounds close enough. Also, this could be a good prison food :)

The ingredients I used (feel free to substitute with whatever vegetables you have and need to use:
  • Chopped 1/2 onion
  • Chopped 1/2 green bell pepper
  • Chopped 3 large roma tomatoes
  • Coarsely chopped 5 large white button mushrooms
  • Chopped ~1 c fresh spinach
  • 2 Tofurky kielbasas, sliced 1/2"
  • 1 cup corn kernels
  • 1 T oil
  • 1 T vegetable broth powder
  • 1.5 c non cooked rice
  • Salt
The way I made it:
  • Cooked the rice
  • In a large frying pan over medium-high, heated oil and sauted onion
  • Added the kielbasas, until both sides were browned, then pulled them out and set aside
  • Added the green bell pepper
  • Added the rest of the vegetables
  • Added vegetable broth powder and salt
  • Cooked until it seemed juicy enough to soak the rice in, reduced heat to low
  • Added the cooked rice, stirred, took off flame
  • Served, topped with kielbasa slices
Even though the vegetables are full of flavor, it might be worthwhile experimenting with some spices. Maybe paprika?

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Hanging Pasta and Crazy New Dishes

I never liked this clothes drying rack I got - it's very small and the access to most of the "wires" is very inconvenient. So I was happy to find a better one in IKEA and try to use the old one as a pasta drying rack.

It worked out very well for the hanging and drying parts, but then, taking the pasta off was a mess. I guess this rack is good for nothing!

The pasta turned out very good, and we had it with a black-cherry-pesto sauce, this time not overdosing it with pasta. It was delicious! I adapted it to the ingredients I had on hand, so the recipe goes like this:

in a large frying pan over medium-high heat combine :
  • 1/3 c olive oil
  • 1/2 c chopped basil
  • 1/8 c chopped garlic
  • 1 chopped scalion
  • 2 c grape tomatoes, cut in half
Reduce heat to low when it looks about ready, and add 1/2-1 c walnuts.
Stir well and mix with the 2 servings of pasta. Top with plenty of good, grated Parmesan or Romano cheese.

Isn't it lovely?

The pasta was served in the dishes I got from a friend as a late-wedding-gift that was totally unnecessary since we got married secretly. But I appreciate it and think their craziness gives them some charm. So thanks, Kelly!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Monkeying Around

I found this monkey sitting against the cushion on our couch. The cushion looked significantly slimmer and not well at all. Turned out the monkey sucked the fluff out of it!

The next day, apparently, the monkey was done sucking fluff, and tired of not being able to see anything, him being so small, he climbed up to the top of the couch:

He didn't seem to be at all remorseful about practically killing the cushion... Since the lives of two other cushions are at hand, I decided to find him a new home. He now lives with a one year old. Hopefully she will resist the urge she naturally has to stick fingers in mouths and eyes of people when dealing with him.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Stewed Mushroom Quesadilla

I had it first at the El Rodeo Restaurant in Raleigh. The one on Hillsborough, not the downtown one. They share the same name, and probably owners, but differ significantly in quality. It was so good, I did not believe I could ever make it myself. I kept getting pretty much the same thing whenever I went there (how I miss all those prospective-student-lunches and lab-outings!).
Finally I decided to give it a try, and was very surprised to find how easy it is!

It may not look very good, but believe me - it is delicious!

Here's how you make it:
  • Cut mushrooms into medium-sized chunks
  • Saute the mushrooms in a bit of olive oil
  • Add salt and oregano
  • Stir until the juices exuded from the mushrooms have all evaporated
  • Remove from heat
  • Warm up a griddle, and with the help of a flipper (spatula) spread a little bit of olive oil (1T for 2 large tortilla is plenty)
  • Now here's a trick I saw somewhere online. It yields great crispy quesadillas, and yet, quesadilla cooking shows never use it: You flip the tortillas every 10 seconds until they start to bubble and tan a bit
  • Now you have to be fairly quick: On half of the tortilla spread Mexican cheese, mushrooms, and cheese again, and fold
  • Press with the spatula and flip after a few seconds and press again until all cheese is melted
Serve with your favorite salsa!

Sipping in the Arizona Nights

I've been wanting to do that for ages: sit outside, in the shade, in the nice warm evenings of Arizona, and sip some cold smoothie. What a bliss would that be?!
Well - I could finally do that last night! Yay!

It's a cantapear smoothie: 1/2 cantaloup, 2 small ripe pears and a bit of almond milk. I guess any milk would be great, since the one I used doesn't taste like almonds or anything. It was delicious.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Gorgoncoli Risotto

You guessed correctly - we had Gorgonzola and broccoli to consume before they expire. For some reason it's recommended to finish up the cheese within five days from opening the package. As if there's a risk it would get any greener... Anyway, I thought a risotto made with sticky rice would be a simple and quick dish to prepare, and it could use the single crown of broccoli left from the night before.

  • In a medium sized pan, saute the broccoli in a couple of tablespoons of cooking wine until it's soft but still crunchy (about 3-5 minutes).
  • Mix one teaspoon of cornstarch in one cup of milk and add to the broccoli.
  • Add the chopped cheese to the pan and mix until it's all melted and you get a nice, thick, fragrant sauce.
  • Add the rice, mix and serve.
An easy way to cook sticky rice:
  • Soak 1 cup of sticky rice in 1 cup of water for ten minutes or more in a bowl.
  • Microwave covered for 3 minutes.
  • Stir and add a little more water if necessary (for risotto you can add half a cup without any fear).
  • Microwave covered for another 3 minutes.
  • It should be ready by now, but if it's not, stir again and microwave 1-2 minutes more.
On the side we had some fresh mozzarella, tomato and basil salad. Together it made for a very cheesy dinner!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Pasta Brocconzola

This was a collaborative idea of Mark and myself.
It turned out very yummy, and, despite its gourmet appeal, it's very simple to make!

  • Caramelize an onion, set aside.
  • Cook pasta
  • Saute broccoli (2 crowns) in the same pan
  • Toast walnuts
  • Chop 4-5 sun-dried tomatoes
  • Mix everything together and add the Gorgonzola (3"x2" block, diced. Can use blue instead)
  • Grate Parmesan or Romano
  • Serve immediately - makes 5 large servings (leftovers are also very good - I just had it for lunch)
I liked it with some ground nutmeg sprinkled on top. Mark didn't.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Stormy Summer Night II

That's what we had for dinner last night:

Light and summery, right? Well, guess what - it rained on us. Again.
Landlord said he fixed it today.

They're easy to make:

  1. Cut tofu into 1"x0.5"x3" slices and marinate it for at least 15 minutes in the same sauce used for the cold Thai noodles, except, omit the peanut butter.
  2. Julienne baby carrots (~0.5 carrot per roll).
  3. Julienne a cucumber (1 Persian cucumber per 10 spring rolls).
  4. Chop some green onion.
  5. Cook rice noodles, rinse and let cool.
  6. Soak rice spring roll wrap in warm water for a few seconds (get it out when it's still stiff - it will soften more later. If you leave it too long, it'll tear).
  7. Pile the filling ingredients in the middle of the wrap. (I find the nicest result is achieved when you start with a bit of the vegetables, then tofu, then some more vegetables, and finally the noodles).
  8. Roll!
  9. Use the marinade as a dressing.
Filling and refreshing at the same time!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Stormy Summer Night

Yesterday I got an email from Vegetarian Times (they started sending me emails after my subscription ended, probably to get me to renew it, which I certainly did), and it enticed me with this recipe, so I tried it. I have to say, I'm not very good at following recipes, especially when I just read them and then try to recreate them from memory. So I completely forgot about the salt and pepper and cheese inside the tomato! And about the baking time! It came out soft and runny. But doesn't it look pretty? Besides, we could finally tell what chervil tastes like!

The salad is spring mix with raspberry-walnut dressing, topped with strawberries, macademia nuts and Gorgonzola cheese bits (you have to cut it small - it's really strong). Yum!

As we were munching, I felt tiny droplets of water on my feet and heard a weird tapping noise seemingly coming from under the floor. Turned out our nice sun roof was leaking! It was raining real hard outside and we got a free sample. :)

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Cannelloni and Cashew-Crusted Tofu

These might not seem like they go well together, but we didn't really have them together, so there!
It's been awhile since I got to update this blog, so things have accumulated a bit.
We had the cannelloni because Mark wanted to make pasta, and we needed to use some ricotta, but we didn't want to leave the oven on for about an hour to make a lasagna. Did you know that the only difference between cannelloni and manicotti is that the latter is made with a pre-shaped tube?

It's pretty simple to make: we used one container of ricotta (I guess it's about a pint), lots of mozzarella, and some herbs and garlic. It was enough for 9 cannelloni (4 servings).

I've been wanting to make the cashew-crusted tofu ever since I found something similar here. It was good, but not as good as I expected. Probably my fault; I never claimed to be a great cook. Also, the sweet-n-sour sauce was too chunky because of the kind of preserve we got. But I like cashews, and I could definitely taste the cashews here, so that was good. Maybe if I used a firmer type of tofu it would have worked better... Actually, I think that next time I will try it with the wonderful mock chicken I like so much!

Friday, July 11, 2008

More Than Just a Fruit Salad

Trying to find a quinoa recipe for dinner last night, I stumbled upon this one, and decided to have quinoa for dessert instead. We had a relatively light dinner (leftover pizza and some red corn on the cob), so a nice nutritious dessert was fitting.

I have to say I modified it quite a bit, not because I know better, but because I didn't have some of the ingredients. So mint and flax seed were out, though I'm sure they would make a good addition. I also omitted the avocado - just because I don't like it - and replaced the almonds with pecans. Mmm... pecans... Oh, and I halfed the recipe. One cup is enough for 4 small (dessert-like) servings.
I really liked the idea of cooking the quinoa in orange juice. Very refreshing! It served well as lunches too!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Cocolime Sorbet

Someone brought limes to the lab. I took 4 and made this out of the juice:

This is how I made it:

Juice from 4 limes (about 1 c)
1 c coconut milk (1/2 can)
2 c sugar
3.5 c water

Boil sugar and water till sugar dissolves, add juice and milk.
Put in large flat taper ware container and freeze.
Four hours later use a hand mixer to blend the frozen edges with the less frozen center.
3 hours later use the hand mixer again to homogenize the sorbet and make it nice and creamy.

That's it!

It came out pretty sweet. I think next time I will use half the sugar and maybe only 2 c water and an extra cup of coconut milk.
The hand mixer really works well and subsequently makes it very easy to scoop the sorbet. An excellent idea I found on an Australian website.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Green Power

Inspired by madcap cupcake again, I made this green smoothie and, as she promised, it was delicious! Certainly surprising. Even Mark, after tasting it, admitted that it was "...interesting...".
I am looking forward to having some more this evening!

After I had it, like Popeye, I had a burst of energy in me and I decided to lash it on the toaster oven. It looks almost like new now (which is also thanks to the magical powers of baking soda).

Also, I made the perfect summer food: cold Thai noodles with sugar snap peas and mandarins. It is one of Mark's favorite dishes. It is very good, and doesn't require too much cooking.

This is how it goes (4 servings):
You choose a tapper ware container that will be big enough to hold about 10 oz of tofu cut into 3/4" cubes, such that the marinade will cover it completely.

You put in it:
2 T peanut butter
3 T sesame oil
2 T brown sugar
1/3 c lemon juice
1/2 c soy sauce
1 t minced garlic
1 t minced ginger
crushed red peppers to taste

and mix it well.
Then you put the tofu cubes in it to marinate for at least 15 minutes in the fridge.

You cook the noodles (I use an amount that fits in between my index finger and my thumb) and wash them with cold water to cool them down.

You add frozen sugar snap peas (about 1/2 bag) to the noodles (they will bring each other to the right temperature), a small can of mandarins (or 1/2 14oz can) and the tofu in its peanut sauce, and mix it all together. It tastes great as no-heating-required leftovers, too!

We later watched the movie Chocolat and of course, we had to have some: