Thursday, March 26, 2009

Red Lentil Soup with Leeks and Lemon

This is a great quick and easy soup that uses mostly cupboard staples.

1 cup red lentils
6 cups veg stock (I used two low sodium organic boullion cubes and 6 cups of water)
1 bay leaf
1 pinch cayenne
1 pinch tumeric
2 T. olive oil
1 medium leek, washed thoroughly, halved and cut in thin slices
salt and pepper to taste
juice of 1/2 lemon

Rinse lentils. Bring stock to a boil. Add lentils, bay leaf, cayenne and tumeric. Simmer 20 minutes. Sautee leeks in olive oil separate pan until soft, add to lentils. Season with salt and pepper and let cook 10 more minutes. Take off heat, add lemon juice and serve. Garnish with crispy leeks if you like!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Can anybody give me suggestions tailored to my dietary restrictions?

I know it is like a homework assignment, if anybody wants to try....

here are the things i can't eat:

legumes (including peanuts, peas, all types of beans, tofu, and soybean oil and peanut oil)




i also have high blood pressure and high cholesterol and need to follow doctor's orders on that stuff, low sodium, low cholesterol, etc...

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Singapore Noods

There are so many variations of Singapore Noodles recipes. To me, the basics are: rice noodles, a good curry powder (madras, muchi), and red chilies...the rest is up to you! I love it because of the fragrance and taste and because it feels like I'm making restaurant worthy fast-food in my kitchen. It's super easy- and the only thing that takes a bit of time is the prep. You want everything ready to go, as it all gets thrown in together very quickly.
Nick and I made this the other night...I prepped and he cooked. We made it with shrimp, but any other protein would work well, like firm tofu, etc. Our recipe is a bit just have to go with your own taste.

This is how we do:
* 1 package of rice noodles/vermicelli
* 1 large red bell pepper, thinly julienned
* 2 red chilies, minced and de-seeded
* 4 cloves minced garlic, or to taste
* about 2 inches worth of fresh ginger, minced
* 1/2 cup or about 2 shallots, minced (scallions are generally used, but we were out)
* 1 package of cooked, peeled shrimp from Trader Joe's- they sell them with tails off, which is great.
* 1 tablespoon of curry powder, more to taste (muchi or madras)
* soy sauce
* vegetable oil
* sesame oil
* sherry vinegar (rice vinegar is good too)
* 1/2 cup of vegetable broth or water
* fresh cilantro- a nice big handful.

Soak the noodles in hot water and set aside.
In a big pot, get some vegetable oil nice and hot. Throw in onions and red bell pepper and sautee until both are tender. Throw in the garlic, red chiles, and curry powder, stir quickly. Add the broth.

Once the broth has been mixed in well and you scrape up all the goodness on the bottom of the pot, throw in shrimp, stir it all up fast. It's easy to overcook shrimp. I always do. You can set them aside if you want, after the initial toss around, and add them back in the end.

Take drained rice noodles, throw in the pot, stir it up some more. Add some sesame oil, vinegar, and soy sauce to taste...keep it light, this is ultimately a dry noodle stir-fry, so you can keep tossing around at a high heat until the liquids reduce and flavor intensifies.
Add cilantro and stir in to disperse. Serve!

(bean sprouts, napa cabbage, celery, etc. are also great in this dish...)

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Avocado Soup

On Sunday I made a delicious Avocado Soup at Pure. I forgot the whole recipe but I'm pretty sure this is it. I don't think you could go wrong with changing any of these up a little bit, especially adding a little cayenne or making it more lemony. Also for those of you who are Avocadocly challenged, one of my classmates gave me this info on ordering organic avocados during the summer and it's a pretty great deal.
Full disclosure I forgot to take a pic so I grabbed this one from google image.

Avocado Soup

1 1/2 Avocados rough chop
1/2 cucumber rough chop (you can keep seeds and skin if it's organic)
zest of one lemon
2 T. fresh lemon juice
1/2 shallot finely chopped
1 C. water
1/4 t. ground cumin
1/4 t. ground coriander
1 t. white pepper (or black pepper if you don't mind the color)
1 t. salt (or to taste)
1/2 bunch cilantro (leaves only)

Put all ingredients in a blender (ideally a vitamix) and blend until perfectly smooth, the texture of heavy cream.

Garnish with micro cilantro, a squeeze of lemon and a sprinkle of coarse sea salt.


Last night was cold and damp and I wanted pasta. I also had to have green veggies. So I recalled a hearty side dish I saw in Gourmet recently and tweaked it to do my bidding. The result was a luxurious garlicky green pasta dish that of course I forgot to photograph.

1 nice big brocolli bunch (1/4 to half pound)
1 lb whole wheat noodles (like the no yolks kind, but wh wheat)
as much garlic as you deem appropriate
same with some shallots
one cup heavy cream
olive oil
milk to adjust
one cup to one cup and a half freshly shredded parmasean

Set a large port of water to boil
Peel and chop the broccoli in very tiny pieces, (the end result is a chunky sauce not whole pieces)
Steam sautee until very tender
Add cream, garlic, shallots and oil and continue to sautee over low med heat
(at this point if you have an immersion blender you can give the pan a few shots from that, not too many)
and gradually add the cheese until it gets nice and satiny
meanwhile cook your wheat pasta, reserving a 1/4 cup or less of the water after you drain it
Add pasta to sauce and serve with lots of freshly cracked black pepper and red pepper flakes. If you want the sauce to be the star don't use all the pasta. I used the whole pound so my sauce was not smothering everything. Just coating.
Bon Appetit!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Best Macaroni and cheese in the universe!

This is a recipe i got from Every time i make it people freak out it's so good! it's a little involved and the cheese can be kinda spendy but it's so worth it. Also the recipe makes a huge amount so I recommend halving it unless you're going to a potluck.

For topping
  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter
  • 2 cups panko (coarse Japanese bread crumbs) or 3 cups coarse fresh bread crumbs(from 6 slices firm white sandwich bread)-i tried it both ways and i like the fresh bread crumbs better
  • 1/4 pound coarsely grated extra-sharp Cheddar (1 1/2 cups)
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

For macaroni and sauce
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 5 cups whole milk
  • 1 pound coarsely grated extra-sharp Cheddar (6 cups)
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • 1 pound elbow macaroni


Make topping:
Preheat oven to 400°F with rack in middle.

Melt butter, then stir together with panko and topping cheeses in a bowl until combined well.

Make sauce:
Melt butter in a heavy medium saucepan over medium-low heat and stir in flour. Cook roux, stirring, 3 minutes, then whisk in milk. Bring sauce to a boil, whisking constantly, then simmer, whisking occasionally, 3 minutes. Stir in cheeses, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper until smooth. Remove from heat and cover surface of sauce with wax paper.

Make Macaroni:
Cook macaroni in a pasta pot of boiling salted water (2 tablespoons salt for 4 quarts water) until al dente. Reserve 1 cup cooking water and drain macaroni in a colander. Stir together macaroni, reserved cooking water, and sauce in a large bowl. Transfer to 2 buttered 2-quart shallow baking dishes.

Sprinkle topping evenly over macaroni and bake until golden and bubbling, 20 to 25 minutes.


Artichoke Risotto

Adapted from Deborah Madison’s Vegetarian Cooking For Everyone

Serves 4

1 can of quartered artichokes (DM uses fresh. You can def use more too.)

2 Tbs butter

6 cups of vegetable stock

½ cup finely diced onion

1 minced garlic clove

1.5 cups arborio rice (this is usually much cheaper from bulk bins)

½ cup white wine or more if you’re feelin

½ cup cream (i think this is what makes the recipe my fave risotto recipe)

¾ cup grated parmesan and more for garnish

salt & pepper

Simmer stock in one pot.

In another pot:

  • Melt butter, add onions and cook for about 2 minutes.
  • Add garlic and artichokes and cook until onions are soft (about 2 more minutes).
  • Add rice and cook for one minute.
  • Add wine and simmer until it’s absorbed. Add 2 cups of simmery stock, cover and simmer until it’s absorbed.
  • Stirring all the while, add stock in ½ cup increments (add the next batch when the prior one is absorbed.) This usually takes about ½ hour or so to get all the stock in the rice and for the rice to taste done.
  • When rice is done, stir in the cream and parmesan cheese. Cook about another minute.
  • Season with salt & pepper.

I usually serve this with a fackload of more cheese on top, a vinegary salad and crusty bread. It’s fun to watch Hell’s Kitchen on hulu when you’re eating this, b/c you’ll know your risotto kicks theirs’ butt.

Friday, March 6, 2009

decadent lentil shephards pie

Decadent because I mash the potatoes with a sweet potato and/or yam, sour cream AND cream cheese! (it's really good on it's own - it's called "tri-potatoes")

O.K. the filling is this:
bottom Layer - lentils
then - tri-potatoes (or your basic mashed)
then - seared mushrooms
then more mashed potatoes
final layer of broiled cauliflower with toasted whole cumin seeds on top.

Lentils: I use french green, but any will do.
Rinse about a cup and boil in 2 c. water/stock. (I used to buy veg stock, but now I just use the salt-free Rapunzel bouillon cause it's cheaper and easier!)
About half-way, add sauteed onion and garlic and a few good dashes of worcestershire and soy.
Salt towards the end to prevent beans from being tough. Pepper to taste with extra olive oil.

Tri-Potatoes: 4-5 potatoes/ 1 yam / 1 sweet potato.
Peel and boil with salt until it falls off the fork. Drain.
Mash well with a 1/2 stick of cream cheese + 1/2 cup of sour cream (or more, depending on how many potatoes you have).
add salt and pepper to taste. set aside.

Seared Mushrooms: any will do. I used 1/2 chanterelle, 1/2 button
Turn your cast iron skillet on HIGH. add butter. when it starts to melt, add the mushrooms and allow the mushrooms to sear on HIGH. They will get a rich golden color which gives them a nice meaty flavor. Don't stir too often. Don't turn down heat. Toss in a bowl when done.

Broiled Cauliflower with whole cumin seeds: wash. cut. toss with olive oil, salt + pepper, and toasted whole cumin seeds (just dry roast them in a cast iron pan then smash them with your mortar and pestle... mmmm - so good!)
broil in a shallow pan until golden. set aside.

Layer that shiz up in a buttered casserole dish, bake it @ 350 for about 40. Serve with a salad or braised greens and then retire to couch for the rest of the evening.

p.s. any of the above fillings work for a simple side dish. xom

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Bran upon the brain...

Nick and I have been on a weight-watchin' adventure for the last month, so I've been trying to make foods that are both healthy and filling. I also wanted something portable for when we're on the run, so I decided to make some high-fiber bran muffins- mainly because I've had a pack of Wheat Bran in my pantry that has been taunting me for weeks.
I wanted healthy recipes- no oil, no straight sugar, and nothing from a cereal box. I ended using an amalgamation of a few recipes, plus a couple of my own additions.
They turned out great- not too sweet either, so you could easily shmear on some butter or peanut butter, or fruit spread...or just scarf 'em down plain. Either way, they hit the spot and don't sit in your tummy like a brick o' bran.

Recipe follows the pic:
1 & 1/4 cup wheat bran
1 & 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
2 bananas, broken into pieces
1 & 2/3 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 cup low fat milk
1/2 cup agave nectar
1 heaping tablespoon peanut butter
2/3 cup of vanilla or any fruit yogurt (one of those single-serve containers of any fruit yogurt is fine)
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Stir (all by hand) together: bran, flour, soda and cinnamon. In another bowl, mix the rest of the ingredients. Add to dry ingredients and stir just until moistened. Spoon into lightly greased muffin tins and bake in preheated 400 degrees oven for 15 minutes or until muffins pull away from sides of cups.

Some variations: if you don't like bananas, add different fruit (I'm gonna use dates and pear next time), or add some nuts, replace the yogurt with applesauce, replace the agave nectar with maple syrup (or split it half and half), add cocoa powder or some chocolate chips for more decadence, yum yum.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Olives, Fennel and Cumin Marinated with Citrus and Herbs

I made this at the recipe tonight. Technically it's "raw" and it sure is delicious. Serve this at your parties and wow your friends.

1/2 a bulb of fennel, thinly sliced, core removed
zest of 1 orange
zest of 1/2 a lemon
2 T. olive oil
1 t. balsamic vinegar
1/4 t. cumin
1/2 shallot thinly sliced
1 C. Kalamata Olives
1 C. Picholine olives (drained)
1 C. oil cured black olives
1 t. each of rosemary and thyme leaves

Combine all ingredients in bowl, cover and let marinate refrigerated for 24 hours.