Glazed Tofu with Leftovers

I made the Glazed Tofu from Myra Kornfelds Healthy Hedonist cookbook. I'm not a huge tofu fan but I absolutely loved it! She recommends serving this in salads and stir fry's.

I served it on soba noodles with chopped mint, cilantro, chives and carrots and some of the left over peanut sauce from the Spring Roll Salad. YUM!

I actually sat down and read the book yesterday and I think there are some winning recipes. I also learned about the health benefits of the long maligned coconut oil. It doesn't get absorbed in food as much as other oils so your food isn't greasy. I'm going to look for the unscented version next time I'm at Whole Foods.

Glazed Tofu

1 lb firm or extra firm tofu
2 tbs soy sauce
3 tbs maple syrup
3 tbs mirin
1 tbs sesame or coconut oil

Place the tofu on a pie plate and set another plate on top. Weight the plate with a heavy can and press the tofu for 15 minutes. Drain, pat dry and chop into 3/4 inch cubes.

Mix the soy sauce through the mirin and set aside.

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium high heat and stir fry the tofu for about 10 minutes until golden brown(it doesn't have to be golden on all sides). Add the soy sauce mixture and and simmer, flipping occasionally until the sauce coats the tofu with a syrupy glaze, about 3-4 minutes


Spring Roll Salad with Roasted Shallot Peanut Sauce and Tamarind Dipping Sauce

My Secret Santa Bought me a cookbook called The Healthy Hedonist: More than 200 Delectable Flexitarian Recipes for Relaxed Feast by Myra Kornfeld.

What the heck is a flexitarian? Well it's someone who mainly eats vegetarian meals but occasionally has meat.

I've looked through it and it looks like it has some great recipes. This spring roll salad recipe caught my eye. I didn't want to serve 8 so I cut the salad recipe way back (you can easily eyeball it) and cut the sauce recipes in half. It really isn't as labor intensive as it first appears. I did make the sauces ahead of time.

Also once you have the ingredients on hand it's easy to toss another salad with the leftovers.

The effort is well worth the result. I love the peanut sauce and my try it with the tempeh recipe I posted earlier. Or maybe I'll drizzle it over soba noodles. I did over-roast my shiitakes so watch them carefully.

This would be an excellent side dish to a seafood entree. If you want to make the dish heartier you can add some glazed tofu.

Some changes I made: I didn't use shoyu, I used tamari. They're both soy sauce by the way. And I didn't use tamarind concentrate I used tamarind paste which I found with the Indian food.


Spring Roll Salad with Roasted Shallot Peanut Sauce and Tamarind Dipping Sauce

3/4 pound fresh shiitake mushrooms
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons shoyu
4 ounces (4 cups loosely packed) fettucine-style rice noodles
2 carrots, sliced into matchsticks (1 cup)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
Roasted Shallot Peanut Sauce (recipe follows)
Tamarind Dipping sauce (recipe follows)
1/2 cup dry-roasted peanuts, chopped, for garnish

Preheat the oven to 375.
Cut the stems off the shiitakes and discard them (or save them for stock). Thinly slice the caps; you should have 5 cups. Toss the shiitakes in a bowl with the olive oil and shoyu. Then spread them out on a parchment-covered baking sheet and transfer it to the oven. Roast, stirring twice, until the mushrooms are shrunken, browned, and fairly crisp, about 40 minutes. Place the mushrooms in a small bowl and set it aside.

Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Remove the pot from the heat, add the noodles, and let them sit until softened, 3 to 4 minutes. Drain, and rinse the noodles for at least 30 seconds under cold water to prevent sticking.

Toss the noodles in a bowl with the carrots and herbs. Mound a portion of noodles on each plate, and drizzle the dipping sauce and the peanut sauce over the top. Sprin- kle with the mushrooms and peanuts.

Serves 8.

Roasted Shallot Peanut Sauce

This versatile peanut sauce is sweet with a spicy kick. It's great on a variety of dishes. Heat the sauce or serve it at room temperature.

3 medium shallots, unpeeled
1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
3 tablespoons natural sugar, preferably maple sugar or evaporated cane sugar
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon shoyu
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon fresh lime juice

Preheat the oven to 375 F.

Place the shallots on a parchment-covered baking sheet and roast until they are very tender and the juices have started to ooze out, 30 to 35 minutes. Let the shallots cool slightly, and then squeeze the pulp out of the skins. Place the shallot pulp and all the remaining ingredients in a food processor or blender, and blend until smooth. The sauce will keep, covered and refrigerated for up to a week. Warm before serving.

Makes 2 cups.

Tamarind Dipping Sauce

This tangy sauce takes only a few minutes to make and complements the sweet and spicy peanut sauce, making the noodles come alive with flavor.

2 tablespoons natural sugar, preferably maple sugar or evaporated cane juice
6 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon tamarind concentrate
1 tablespoon shoyu
1 teaspoon chopped fresh cilantro
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon finely slivered seeded red serrano or Thai bird chile

Combine the sugar and water in a small saucepan, and warm over medium heat until the sngar dissolves. Remove the pan from the heat and mix in the lime juice, tamarind concentrate, and shoyu, stirring until smooth. Let the mixture cool slighdy, and then stir in the cilantro, garlic, and chile. The sauce should be tangy and slightly sour. The sauces will keep, covered and refrigerated, for up to 5 days.

I'll be getting back to the ethnic food soon so stay tuned!


Baked Macaroni and Cheese

I have a confession to make. I love mac and cheese from a box. And although I avoid processed food I think Velveeta is just perfect in macaroni and cheese.

This recipe is from Bittmans book. I used Barilla Plus Pasta and 1% milk. I also used panko instead of bread crumbs.

I've never been a huge fan of home made mac and cheese. I didn't even like the Patti LaBelle Over the Rainbow mac and cheese that everyone raves about. I don't know what inspired me to try this one. I think I was just craving some comfort food.

I did like it which suprised me because it didn't look particularly cheesy before I put it in the oven. I confess I mixed in more grated cheddar. The end result was quite good. I had seconds and the leftovers are in the freezer.

I definitely plan on making this again only with the goat cheese and blue cheese variations. Or maybe I'll mix in some cubed Velveeta. And I love Sriracha or Salsa in my mac and cheese so the chile version appeals to me as well.

I'll also warn you ahead of times this requires 3 pots and a big bowl so cleanup is a bit of a pain in the butt.


Baked Macaroni and Cheese
How to Cook Everything Vegetarian by Mark Bittman

Makes: 4 to 6 servings
Time: About 45 minutes

It's a shame to think that some people only know mac and cheese out of a box. The real thing is rich, filling, and delicious. Use nearly any pasta—tube, corkscrew, or cupshaped ones work best because they grab the sauce—just be sure to slightly undercook whatever pasta you use since it will continue to cook in the oven. Vary the type of cheese you use too: try blue cheese, goat cheese, smoked Gouda, or even mascarpone for a decadent version; see the variations.

2 1/2 cups milk (low-fat is fine)
2 bay leaves
1 pound elbow, shell, ziti, or other cut pasta
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups grated cheese, like sharp cheddar or Emmental
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup or more bread crumbs, preferably fresh

1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt it.

2. Cook the milk with the bay leaves in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. When small bubbles appear along the sides, about 5 minutes later, turn off the heat and let stand.

3. Cook the pasta to the point where it is almost done but you would still think it needed another minute or two to become tender. Drain it, rinse it quickly to stop the cooking, and put it in a large bowl.

4. In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, melt 3 tablespoons of the butter; when it is foamy, add the flour and cook, stirring, until the mixture browns, about 5 minutes. Remove the bay leaves from the milk and add about 1/4 cup of the milk to the hot flour mixture, stirring with a wire whisk all the while. As soon as the mixture becomes smooth, add a little more milk and continue to do so until all the milk is used up and the mixture is thick and smooth. Add the cheddar and stir.

5. Pour the sauce over the noodles, toss in the Parmesan, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Use the remaining 1 tablespoon butter to grease a 9 x 13-inch or similar-size baking pan and turn the pasta mixture into it. Top liberally with bread crumbs and bake until bubbling and the crumbs turn brown, about 15 minutes. Serve piping hot.

Simpler Macaroni and Cheese. Here the ingredients are just layered and cooked together: Proceed with Steps 1—3 as directed. Butter the baking pan with an extra 1 or 2 tablespoons butter. Layer one-third of the pasta, sprinkle with half of the flour, fleck with half of the butter, cover with about 1/2 cup of the cheddar, pour half of the heated milk over the top, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Repeat the layers, using the remaining flour, butter, and milk, and top with the remaining pasta, cheese, and bread crumbs. Bake until bubbling and browned on top, about 30 minutes.

Rich Macaroni and Cheese. Super-creamy and decadent; make this even more special with some sautéed wild mushrooms: Reduce the milk to 3/4 cup. Omit the bay leaves, the first 3 tablespoons butter, and all of the flour. Substitute mascarpone cheese for the grated cheese. Add about a cup or so sautéed wild mushrooms, if you like, and 1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage leaves (or 11/2 teaspoons dried sage). Cook the pasta as directed. Mix together the milk, mascarpone, and Parmesan in a large bowl. Add the cooked pasta and the sage, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and combine. Proceed with Step 5.

Nutty Macaroni and Blue Cheese. Substitute 1 cup blue cheese for the Parmesan and reduce the cheddar by 1/2 cup; use a mild or medium cheddar. Add 3/4 cup roughly chopped walnuts. Fold the blue cheese and walnuts into the pasta mixture in Step 5 (melting the blue cheese in the sauce will make it gray and not so attractive).

Macaroni and Goat Cheese with Roasted Red Peppers. Nice and tangy from the goat cheese, while rich and sweet from the roasted peppers: Add 2 roasted red peppers, peeled and chopped, and 1/2 cup each chopped fresh basil leaves and toasted pine nuts. Substitute 1 cup soft goat cheese for the Parmesan, and reduce the grated cheese by 1/2 cup. Omit the bay leaves. Proceed with the recipe, stirring in the peppers, basil, and pine nuts with the pasta in Step 5.

Macaroni and Chile Cheese. For a spicy dish, use a hotter chile or add a tablespoon chopped chipotle chile with adobo sauce: Use grated Jack or cheddar for all 2 cups of the cheese. Add 2 medium poblano or other mild green fresh chiles, roasted, cleaned, and chopped, 1/4 cup or so chopped fresh cilantro leaves, and 1 medium tomato, sliced. Proceed with the recipe, stirring in the chiles and cilantro with the pasta in Step 5, then top with the tomato slices and bread crumbs.

And now I shall torture you with a picture of my cat. Puddy-Tat is the laziest cat in the world. She sleeps all night and flat out refuses to get up in the mornings. I'm pretty sure she sleeps most of the day too. Anyway this is her reaction to me turning on the lamp.


Seared Tempeh Wraps with Thai Style Peanut Sauce

This recipe from Jack Bishop's A Year in the Vegetarian Kitchen was underwhelming. The only reason I'm posting it is that I think it could be really good with a better peanut sauce.

So now I guess I'm in search of the perfect peanut sauce. But this dish has potential and I will make it again with some tweaks.

I'm not much of a wrap person so I took the leftover vegetable mix and tempeh and put it on a bed of lettuce and ate it as a salad.

One great thing that happened is I discovered I love tempeh! I love the taste and the texture and since I cut back on meat I appreciate the high protein content.


Seared Tempeh Wraps with Thai Style Peanut Sauce

Serves 4

1/4 cup hot water
1 tbs soy sauce
1 tbs fresh lime juice
2 tbs smooth peanut butter
1/4 tsp hot pepper flakes
8 oz tempeh cut into 1/2 inch squares
1 medium cucumber peeled seeded and diced
1 medium carrot shredded
4 medium scallions cut into 1/2 inch lengths
1/4 cup whole cilantro leaves(I rough chopped mine)
2 bs roasted peanut oil(mine wasn't roasted)
4 12 inch flour tortillas warmed(I used whole wheat)
4 small romain lettuce leaves torn in half

Whisk water through pepper flakes together in a medium bowl. Transfer 3 tbs of the peanut sauce to a small bowl and reserve. Add the tempeh to the medium bowl and marinate, tossing occasionally for about 20 minutes.

Combine cucumber, carrot, scallions and cilantro in a bowl. set aside.

Reserve any marinade the tempeh has not absorbed. Heat the oil in a nonstick skillet. Add tempeh and cook, turning the pieces several times until browned on all sides about 5 minutes. Add the reserved marinade and cook until the tempeh is glazed, about 30 seconds.

Pour the reserved 3 tbs of peanut sauce over the cucumber salad and toss.

Lay the warm tortillas on a plate. Top with 2 pieces of lettuce, cucumber salad and tempeh. Roll, tucking in the sides to make tight bundles, slice in half and serve.

Moomies Famous Buns, The Simplest Bean Burgers and Roasted Brussels sprouts with Garlic


Who the heck is Moomie and why should I make her buns you ask?

I posed the same question after hearing multiple raves about these home made hamburger buns.

People said, "you'll never go back to store bought again!" "Making these is easier than going to the store!"

Really someone said that!

Anyway Moomie is a member of King Arthur Flour's Baking Circle and she has her own website HERE with all the variations to pimp your buns.

I caved and made some last night and I have to agree. They are ABSOLUTELY FANTASTIC!

Whether I ever go back to store bought remains to be seen. There's a bakery near my work that doesn't use all the crap you find in store bought bread and buns.

But I'll definitely make the effort to have some of these in the freezer for my bean burgers.

The only problem I had is mine weren't bun shaped. Apparently I didn't slap them into submission enough.

I also noticed King Arthur sells a hamburger bun pan. I may invest in this if I continue to have bun shaping issues because I'm a maniac like that.

Anyway here's the recipe. I used the food processor method because I don't have a bread machine.

I also cut the sugar back to 2 tablespoons and I used 1 cup of King Arthur's Whole Wheat Flour and 2 1/14 cups of King Arthur's white flour. I would have used all whole wheat but I hear from bread baker friends that there's different techniques for WW flour because of the gluten. I am not a baker so I don't know what those techniques would be but I'm gonna find out.

I also wouldn't use margarine because it's frankenfood and it's evil. Use the butter and keep it natural.

Moomies Buns

Here’s my “famous” hamburger bun recipe! I make these at least once a week! I seldom ever buy buns. And these are delicious.

1 cup warm water (90-95 degrees)
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
1 egg
3 1/4 cups flour*
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon instant yeast

*Ed. Note: We think King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose is a good choice, naturally!

Place all ingredients in your bread machine. Select dough. Allow to run cycle.

Dump out onto lightly floured surface. Divide into 8 pieces. With each piece, slap into a bun shape. Usually four or five slaps will do it. Place on greased cookie sheets or your bun pans, cover; rise about 30 to 40 minutes.

Bake in preheated 375°F oven for 12 to 15 minutes till golden. Cool on wire racks. I like to add a teaspoon of onion powder and about 1/2 teaspoon dried onion to the dough in the bread machine. It makes a light onion-y flavor that is wonderful!

I made these in my food processor since I don't own a bread machine.

I combined the flour, sugar, salt and yeast in the food processor and pulsed to blend. Added the butter and pulsed a bit more. With the motor running I gradually added the warm water until a rough ball formed about 20 seconds. It should be slightly sticky. I then turned it out into an oiled bowl and let rise for an hour. Punched down, kneaded a bit and formed my buns and baked.

The Simplest Bean Burgers

These are from Bittmans book. I made todays burger mix with black beans. I've had them with garbanzos and kidney beans and I prefer it that way.

By the way someone bought all the garbanzos from Rancho Gordo. I looked at dried beans at the grocery store and the difference was so apparent I'll never go back to store bought beans again!

Makes: 4 to 6 servings
Time: 20 minutes with cooked beans

This is the way to go when you want a burger and have neither the time nor the inclination to fuss. When made with chickpeas, they're golden brown and lovely; with black beans, much darker; with red, somewhere in between. Lentils give you a slightly grainy texture.

There are, of course, an infinite number of ways to jazz these up (see the variations, as well as “13 Ways to Build Delicious Burgers”), but this has good flavor and texture and is excellent served on a bun with the usual fixings.

If you start with beans you've cooked yourself—especially well-seasoned ones—the results will be even better, and you can put the bean-cooking liquid to good use (I usually don't use the liquid from canned beans, which often has a tinnier taste than the beans themselves). Like almost all veggie burger mixtures, these will hold together a little better if you refrigerate them first (ideally you'd refrigerate both before and after shaping, but that's only if you have the time).

2 cups well-cooked white, black, or red beans or chickpeas or lentils, or one 14-ounce can, drained
1 medium onion, quartered
1/2 cup rolled oats (preferably not instant)
1 tablespoon chili powder or spice mix of your choice
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 egg
Bean-cooking liquid, stock, or other liquid (wine, cream, milk, water, ketchup, etc.) if necessary
Extra virgin olive oil or neutral oil, like grapeseed or corn, as needed

1. Combine the beans, onion, oats, chili powder, salt, pepper, and egg in a food processor and pulse until chunky but not puréed, adding a little liquid if necessary (this is unlikely but not impossible) to produce a moist but not wet mixture. Let the mixture rest for a few minutes if time allows.

2. With wet hands, shape into whatever size patties you want and again let rest for a few minutes if time allows. (You can make the burger mixture or even shape the burgers up to a day or so in advance. Just cover tightly and refrigerate, then bring everything back to room temperature before cooking.) Film the bottom of a large nonstick or well-seasoned cast-iron skillet with oil and turn the heat to medium. A minute later, add the patties. Cook until nicely browned on one side, about 5 minutes; turn carefully and cook on the other side until firm and browned.

3. Serve on buns with the usual burger fixings. Or cool and refrigerate or freeze for later use.

Simplest Vegan Bean Burger. Many options: Omit the egg, obviously. Add 1/2 cup Mashed Potatoes; or 1/2 cup cooked oatmeal or short-grain rice (white or brown); or 1/4 cup miso or 1/2 cup tofu.

Bean-and-Cheese Burger. As a flavor-adder, cheese can't be beat, plus there are two bonuses: You don't have to mess with melting cheese on top of the burger, and—for the most part—it acts as a binder. Add 1/2 to 1 cup grated Parmesan, cheddar, Swiss, Jack, mozzarella, or other cheese to the mix (you can omit the egg if you like).

Bean-and-Spinach Burger. Of all the veggies you can add to a burger, I like spinach. You can leave it uncooked and just shred it if you prefer (figure about 2 cups), but this gives better results; it's great with a little garlic added: Squeeze dry and chop about 1 cup cooked spinach (you'll need about 8 ounces of raw spinach to start, or you can use frozen spinach); add it to the mix and proceed with the recipe.

Bean-and-Veggie Burger. Many options, but don't overdo it or the burger will fall apart: Add up to 1/2 cup carrots, bell peppers, shallots, leeks, celery, potato, sweet potato, winter squash, zucchini, or a combination. Cut into chunks as you do the onion and grind with the beans or shred or mince and add afterward.

High-Protein Bean Burger. The soy gives it just a little boost: Instead of rolled oats, use rolled soy (soy flakes).

13 Ways to Build Delicious Veggie Burgers

There are more ways to vary the burgers in this section than I can imagine, but here are a few ideas. The basic rules are to make sure the mixture is neither too dry nor too wet (if you find yourself in the first situation, add a liquid ingredient; in the second, add some oats, ground rice powder or flour, cornmeal, flour, bread crumbs, or the like). But as for flavors, the sky's the limit.

1. Fresh herbs. You can almost not go wrong with fresh herbs, as long as you don't use overwhelming amounts. Add up to 1/2 cup parsley, basil, or dill leaves; somewhat less of mint, cilantro, or chervil; a tablespoon of oregano or marjoram; or only a teaspoon or so of fresh thyme, tarragon, or rosemary.

2. Dried herbs. Use by the pinch; to really get the seasoning right, taste and adjust it (you can cook a little bit first if you don't want to taste it raw).

3. Spices. The spice mix—chili or curry powder, for example—is an easy way to go, but you can combine fairly small amounts (usually 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon) of various spices as you like. Try, for example, smoked paprika, cumin, and ground chiles; coriander, cumin, ginger, and cardamom; or anything else that appeals to you.

4. Garlic. Can't go wrong, really. Add 1 teaspoon or more minced garlic to the mix, or a tablespoon or more Roasted Garlic, with a little of its oil.

5. Chiles. For heat, you can simply add cayenne, hot red pepper flakes, or the like. But if you want some texture, you might include 1/4 cup or more roasted (or canned) green or red chiles.

6. Soy sauce or miso. Just a tablespoon or so of soy sauce, but up to 1/4 cup of any miso; you can omit the egg if you like.

7. Ketchup, salsa, or mustard. Up to 1/3 cup of ketchup or salsa (both of which are pretty good); 1 tablespoon or so of Dijon or other mustard.

8. Nuts or seeds. The nice thing about nuts is the crunch. Add 1/4 cup or so of sesame or sunflower seeds and up to 1/2 cup nuts or pumpkin seeds toward the end of the processing so they don't become too powdery.

9. Lemon, lime, or orange zest. The slight acidity brightens the taste.

10. Tomato paste. A tablespoon or two will give the burgers nice color and a more complex flavor.

11. Mushrooms. Add a tablespoon or so of dried mushrooms, soaked and cooked, as you would any other vegetable (see number 12). Or use up to about 1/2 cup raw, trimmed and added along with the oats and beans.

12. Cooked veggies. Milder flavor, softer texture than raw veggies: Add up to a cup of cooked vegetables— onions, greens, broccoli, potatoes, sweet potatoes, winter squash, zucchini—whatever you like. If you use potatoes and add them to the food processor along with the beans, you can omit the egg and oats.

13. Cooked grains. All-grain burgers tend to be mushy and uninteresting, but adding a bit of grains to other burgers results in a terrific light texture. Feel free to add up to a cup of cooked grains, along with the beans. Omit the oats and, if you like, the egg.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Garlic

Brussels sprouts used to be on my "most hated" list but that was before I discovered how awesome they can be when roasted! These are beyond delicious and simple. Mom's gonna be shocked they're on my menu!

This is also from Bittman's book.

1 pound Brussels sprouts
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
5 cloves peeled garlic, or more to taste
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

1. Preheat the oven to 450. Trim the hard edge of the stem from the Brussels sprouts, then cut each in half through its axis. Put the oil in a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. When it shimmers, arrange the sprouts in one layer, cut side down. Toss in the garlic and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
2. Cook, undisturbed, until the sprouts begin to brown, 5 to 10 minutes, then transfer to the oven. Cook, shaking the pan occasionally, until the sprouts are quite brown and tender, about 30 minutes.
3. Taste and adjust the seasoning drizzle with the balsamic vinegar, stir, and serve hot or warm.

Barley & Mushroom Stew

This is so easy to make. Throw everything in a pot. Boil and simmer for 30 minutes. There's minimal chopping too.

This stew is more about the veggies than the barley. It's very filling and healthy.

I used three medium French fingerling potatoes. My mushrooms consisted of button and a dried porcini and some other mushroom blend. Adding the reconstituting water to the broth really added a lot of flavor.

1/3 cup is a small amount of barley but if you have leftovers they grow overnight !


Barley & Mushroom Stew
Mark Bittman: How to Cook Everything Vegetarian)

Makes 4 servings
Time: about 30 minutes

Here barley almost plays a supporting role, as a toothsome component of a hearty vegetable stew. Use any root vegetables you like here and serve with crusty bread.

1 cup chopped onion
2 med. carrots, cut into chunks
2 celery stalks, roughly chopped
2 medium potatoes, preferably low starch, peeled and quartered*
8 garlic cloves, peeled
2 cups sliced mushrooms, preferably an assortment, or 1 cup sliced button mushrooms and ½ cup dried porcini other dried mushrooms, reconstituted in hot water to cover
1/3 cup pearled barley
1 tsp. fresh thyme or ½ tsp. dried
salt & freshly ground pepper
3 cups vegetable stock or water
chopped parsley or celery leaves for garnish(I didn't use it)

1. Combine all the ingredients except the parsley in a sauce pan. (If you use dried mushrooms, include their strained liquid and reduce the amount of stock or water accordingly.) Bring to a boil over medium high heat, then turn the heat down so the mixture barely bubbles. Cover and cook for 30 minutes, stirring once or twice.

2. The stew is done when everything is tender. Taste, adjust the seasoning, garnish and serve.

Cauliflower Steaks with Cauliflower Puree

I was fascinated by the picture of this in February's Bon Appetit. I LOVE cauliflower and the presentation of this particular recipe would be impressive if you have colorful plates.

Note to self: buy new plates

Anyway, I only made two modifications. I used 1% milk instead of whole milk and I used olive oil instead of vegetable oil.

The steak you see is a grass fed organic ribeye from Whole Foods. It was really tasty!

I was really depressed when Whole Foods bought Wild Oats but I was in there yesterday and they haven't jacked the prices and they still carry grass fed beef which is the only beef I'll eat.


Cauliflower Steaks with Cauliflower Puree Bon Appétit February 2008

Few ingredients, big payoff: Large "steaks" are cut from a head of cauliflower, sautéed until golden, then baked until tender. They're served over a simple puree made from the cauliflower florets. An impressive first course, this can also be a lovely side. Just sear two mahi-mahi fillets in butter and place them alongside the cauliflower.

Makes 2 servings

Dan Barber

1 1 1/2-pound head of cauliflower
1 1/2 cups water
1 cup whole milk
2 tablespoons vegetable oil plus additional for brushing

Preheat oven to 250°F. Using sharp heavy knife and starting at top center of cauliflower head, cut two 1-inch-thick slices of cauliflower, cutting through stem end. Set cauliflower steaks aside.

Cut enough florets from remaining cauliflower head to measure 3 cups. Combine florets, 1 1/2 cups water, and milk in medium saucepan, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bring to boil and cook until cauliflower florets are very tender, about 10 minutes. Strain, reserving 1 cup cooking liquid. Spread florets on large rimmed baking sheet, and bake 10 minutes until slightly dry. Transfer florets to blender. Add reserved 1 cup cooking liquid and puree until smooth. Return puree to same saucepan and increase oven temperature to 350°F.

Heat 2 tablespoons vegetable oil in heavy large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Brush cauliflower steaks with additional oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Add cauliflower steaks to skillet and cook until golden brown, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer skillet to oven and bake cauliflower steaks until tender, about 10 minutes.

Rewarm cauliflower puree over medium heat. Divide puree between 2 plates; top each with cauliflower steak.

Baked Lima Bean Parmigiana

Not so photogenic but yummy in my tummy!

I used the last of my Rancho Gordo Christmas Limas. I will be ordering again!



Michael Pollan's New Book

I'm a huge fan of Michael Pollan's Omnivores Dilemma and was really excited for his follow-up, In Defense of Food An Eater's Manifesto.

When I perused it in the bookstore I decided against buying it because it looked like the same territory covered in Marion Nestle's What to Eat.

I did check a copy out at the library, and it's worth a read. He boils it all down to, "eat food, not too much. Mostly plants". He also advises us to avoid processed food and to follow the "great grandmother" rule, which, is to not eat anything your great grandmother wouldn't recognize as food. I also found the "nutritionism" chapters informative.

Pretty standard stuff but Pollan is such a good writer I found the book worth reading.



Today I made a double batch of Bittman's vegetable stock. I freeze it in 1 cup increments since I'm single and only use a little at a time.

Homemade stock takes very little effort and tastes so much better than the grocery store stocks and broths. You can also control the sodium that goes into it.


2 tbs olive oil
2 carrots sliced
1 onion quartered (I peeled mine)
1 potato sliced
1 celery stalk sliced
2-3 cloves garlic (I peeled mine)
5-10 white mushrooms sliced
10-20 parsley stems with leaves rough chopped
2 tbs soy sauce
salt and pepper to taste.

Heat olive oil in a large stock pot over medium high heat. add carrots throgh mushrooms. Cook without stirring for 5 minutes, then stir once or twice and cook until vegetables begin to brown.If you have time brown them well stirring infrequently.
Add parsley, 6 cups of water, soy sauce and pepper. Bring to a boil, adjust the heat and simmer for 30 minutes or until the vegetables are very tender. Longer is better if you have the time.

Strain then taste and adjust the seasoning adding more soy sauce or salt as desired.

Autumn Millet Bake

This is so good I just had leftovers for breakfast. And I'm having it for lunch. It's also simple. The only pain in the butt part is peeling the squash.

This would make an excellent side dish for the holidays. I loved the way the tangy cranberries offset the sweetness of the squash.

Bittman offers a richer variation where you replace the stock with 1 cup of warmed cream with 1/2 cup of vegetable stock.



Autumn Millet Bake
How To Cook Everything Vegetarian by Mark Bittman

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus oil for the dish
3/4 cup millet
1 medium butternut or other winter squash or 1 small pumpkin, peeled seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes
1 cup fresh cranberries
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon minced sage leaves or 1 teaspoon dried
2 tablespoons maple syrup or honey
1 cup vegetable stock or water, warmed*
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds or coarsely chopped hazelnuts

Preheat the oven to 375F and grease a 2-quart casserole, a large gratin dish, or a 9x13-inch baking dish with olive oil.

Put 2 tablespoons of the oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat. When hot, add the millet and cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant and golden, about 3 minutes (don't overdo it). Spread in the bottom of the prepared baking dish.

Scatter the squash or pumpkin cubes and the cranberries on top of the millet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and the sage and drizzle with syrup. Carefully pour the warmed stock over all. Cover tightly with foil and bake without disturbing, for 45 minutes.

Carefully uncover and turn the oven to 400F. As discreetly as possible, sneak a taste and adjust the seasoning. If it looks too dry, add a spoonful or two of water or stock. (This is key! The millet should be close to being cooked through at this point, if not you need to add liquid and keep it moist and cooking). Sprinkle the pumpkin seeds on top, and return the dish to the oven. Bake until the mixture bubbles and the top is browned (and the millet is cooked through), another 10 minutes or so. Serve piping hot or at room temperature.

Serves 4 to 6.

More beans!


I cooked up my Christmas Lima Beans!

These are nothing like the green succotash lima beans of my youth. These are meaty with a chestnut flavor and don't need much enhancement.

Again I started out by preparing them simply by drizzling them with my good olive oil and grating dried goat cheese on top. I used Capra Valtellina.

Next week I plan on using some of these in the lima bean parmegiana.


Tomorrow: an Autumn Millet Bake!