Monday, July 28, 2014

Zucchini Spice Bread & Muffins

This recipe immediately tastes like my childhood.  I remember growing so many zucchinis in our garden, we didn't know what to do with them all.  This was one of my mom's favorite ways to use it up.  So, this instantly makes me think of her.  I've taken her recipe and tweaked it a bit to make it my own.  I think she'd be proud.  :-)

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/8 tsp cloves
  • 3 eggs (or 3 "flax eggs")
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2-3 cups grated zucchini
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 cup raisins or dried cranberries

  1. Grease and flour two 8 x 4 inch pans (or fill muffin tins with paper liners). Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).
  2. Sift flour, salt, baking powder, soda, and spices together in a bowl (basically all dry ingredients except the sugar).
  3. Oil, vanilla, and sugar together in a large bowl. Beat in one egg at a time.  Add sifted ingredients to the creamed mixture, and beat well. (It will seem too thick at first.)  Stir in zucchini until well combined. Stir in nuts and raisins/cranberries.  Pour batter into prepared pans.
  4. Bake for 40 to 60 minutes, or until tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pan on rack for 20 minutes. Remove bread from pan, and completely cool.
  5. For muffins: You'll do everything the same, just bake for 15-25 mins depending on the size of your muffins.  Fill your cups about 2/3 of the way.

NOTE:  The bake time on this varies greatly on several factors (type of pan used, whether your oven runs hot, the moisture content of your zucchini, etc.)  So please just keep an eye on it and it'll be done when it starts to lightly crack on top and a knife or tooth pick comes out clean.

Also, you can tweak these to make them a bit healthier by using flax, applesauce, increasing baking powder, and adding less or no eggs.  I've done this recently, and it turned out well.  I didn't really measure for that one, though.  :-)

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Falafel Pita with Tzatziki Sauce

I have searched high and low for a falafel recipe that is authentic and as good as some of the falafel I had while living in NYC.  After several years, I've stumbled up on this, a Lebanese family recipe for falafel.  I have tweaked it a bit, but the original recipe comes from

You can also serve the falafel with hummus or eat with a salad.  The tzatziki makes a great dressing!

I suggest making the tzatziki first.  That way all the components can marinate and get delicious.  Just cover and place in the fridge until you're ready.

This tzatziki is courtesy of Two Peas and their Pod.

Tzatziki Ingredients
  • 2 cups plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 cup diced seedless cucumber
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh dill
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

  1. In a medium bowl, combine Greek yogurt, cucumber, lemon juice, garlic, and dill.
  2. Stir until well combined.
  3. Taste and season with salt and pepper. If you have time, chill before serving.

Now, you're ready to whip up some falafel!


Falafel Ingredients

  • 1 lb of dry peeled fava beans (you can also use all chickpeas)
  • ¾ lbs of of dried chickpeas
  • 1 bunch of Italian parsley leaves
  • 2 bunches of green cilantro leaves
  • 8-10 cloves of freshly peeled garlic, crushed
  • 1 large red or yellow onion
  • 1 bunch of green onions
  • 2 table spoons of salt
  • A dash of black pepper
  • 2 table spoons of flour
  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1 dash of red chilli pepper (optional, if spicy falafel is desired)
  • 1 teaspoon of cumin
  • 3 teaspoons of Coriander
  • Optional: 1/2 tsp sesame seeds on the outside (for added crunch)

    Preparing the Falafel Mix
    1. Soak the fava beans and the chickpeas in water in separate containers overnight.
    2. The following day drain the fava beans, rinse them with fresh water then peel them (you can save time by buying peeled fava beans).
    3. Dry fava beans in a colander for a few moments then run them in the food processor for a minute or two until they look like thin bread crumbs. Put aside in a large bowl.
    4. Similarly rinse and dry the chickpeas then run them in the food processor until they reach the same consistency of the Fava beans. Pour on top of fava beans.
    5. Place the garlic, red onions, green onions, parsley, cilantro, coriander, salt, peppers and flour in the food processor and run for a couple of minutes until they turn into a paste.  (Depending on the size of your food processor, you can mix some of these steps together)
    6. Add them to the container with the fava beans and Chickpeas and knead with hands until they reach a doughy texture. If they feel dry add a bit of water and kneed a bit more. At this point feel free to taste the Falafel mix to make sure it has a balanced flavor.

    Frying the Falafel
    1. minutes prior to frying, sprinkle baking soda on the Falfel mix, knead and let rest. When ready heat 1 inch deep of cooking oil in the frying pan on medium heat
    2. Scoop the falafel into by using a specialized Falafel scoop, an ice cream scoop, or by using 2 spoons whereby you scoop the falafel paste in one, and press the other spoon against it to compact into a "cake" then drop gently into the frying pan.
    3. Fry for a few minutes until the falafel turns brownish then scoop them out place on a paper town or in a colander and to dry out the extra oil.
    Baking the Falafel
    1. For the health conscious, you can scoop then layer the falafel patties on an aluminum/cooking tray that has been lightly oiled and bake in the oven at 400F for 7-10 minutes.  (But let's be real, they're better fried.)

    Monday, May 5, 2014

    Braided Cardamom Bread (Pulla)

    I am absolutely OBSESSED with cardamom.  Best. Spice. Ever!!  This Scandinavian bread recipe makes it even more delicious and dreamy.


    • 1 ⅓ cups milk, heated to 115°
    • ⅔ cup sugar
    • 4 tsp. ground cardamom
    • 2 ¼-oz. packages active dry yeast
    • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
    • 6 ½ cups flour
    • 1 tsp. kosher salt
    • 5 tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into ½" cubes, at room temperature
    • 1 tbsp. heavy cream
    • 1 egg yolk
    • Crushed lump sugar, for garnish (optional)
    • Sliced almonds, for garnish (optional)



    1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle, combine milk, sugar, 3 tsp. cardamom, and yeast; stir together and let sit until foamy, 10 minutes. Add eggs; mix to combine. Add flour and salt; mix until a dough forms. Replace paddle with hook attachment; knead dough on medium speed for 2 minutes. While kneading, slowly add butter in batches, mixing until incorporated before adding next batch, 3-4 minutes; continue kneading for 4 minutes more after last of butter is added. Transfer dough to a greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap; let sit until doubled in size, about 1 hour. Punch down dough; cover again with plastic wrap and let sit until fully risen, 30 minutes.

    2. Heat oven to 375°. Transfer dough to a work surface and divide into 2 equal pieces. Set 1 piece aside and divide other piece into 3 equal portions. Roll each portion between your palms and work surface to create a 16" rope. Braid ropes together to form a loaf, following the instructions below. Transfer loaf to a parchment paper–lined baking sheet. Repeat with second dough piece. Cover loaves with plastic wrap and let sit until slightly puffed up, about 20 minutes.

    3. Whisk together remaining cardamom, cream, and egg yolk in a small bowl; brush over loaves. Sprinkle with sugar and almonds (if using); bake, one loaf at a time, until golden brown, 20–25 minutes. Transfer to a rack; let cool 10 minutes before serving.


    Friday, May 2, 2014

    Cauliflower Pizza Crust

    For my gluten-free friends! 

    You can top the pizza with whatever you like, just make sure the toppings are already cooked since you’ll only be broiling the pizza for a few minutes. The crust already has cheese so you don’t need much on top. Also keep in mind that the cauliflower crust is less firm than most regular dough-based crusts so you don’t want to weigh it down with a ton of ingredients. Keep is simple. 

    I found that it’s easier to eat this pizza with a fork/knife. Once you get to only a few bites left, it’s fine to pick up with your hands, but it tends to collapse if you try to pick up the whole slice early on.

    •  ½ head cauliflower (about 2 cups riced)
    •  1 clove garlic, minced
    •  1 cup part-skim shredded mozzarella cheese
    •  1 egg, beaten
    •  1 teaspoon basil
    •  1 teaspoon oregano

    1. Pre-heat oven to 400° F.
    2. Prep a cookie sheet or pizza stone by grease it with oil. It will stick if you don't grease it properly!! (I used a baking stone, and made sure to oil it before putting on the crust.)
    3.  Remove the stems and leaves from your cauliflower and chop the florets into chunks. Add to a food processor and pulse just until the texture is similar to rice. If you don't have a food processor or Vitamix, you can grate the cauliflower with a cheese grater or chop it.
    4.  Sauté cauliflower "rice" in a non-stick skillet over medium heat and cook until translucent, approximately 6-8 minutes.
    5.  In a bowl combine the cooked cauliflower with all remaining ingredients.
    6.  Spread dough out evenly over foil (or stone) - about ¼ to ⅓ of an inch thick. The pizza should be about 9-10 inches in diameter.
    7.  Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the crust is golden, crispy on the edges and cooked through the middle.
    8.  Remove the crust from the oven.
    9.  Top with pizza sauce and toppings. Be careful not to add too many heavy toppings as you don't want to weigh down the crust.
    10.  Broil the pizza for 5 minutes, or until the toppings are hot and the cheese is melted. Allow the pizza to cool for 2-3 minutes then cut and serve immediately.

    Whole Wheat Pizza Dough

    I had been looking all over for a good pizza dough recipe ever since we left NYC.  I didn't have much luck for the longest time, until now.  This one has been adapted from a few different recipes.  And I think I've finally mastered it.  
    • 3 cups bread flour, plus more for rolling (Note: Using bread flour will give you a much crisper crust. If you can't find bread flour, you can substitute it with all-purpose flour which will give you a chewier crust.)
    • 1 cup of whole wheat flour
    • 1 teaspoon sugar
    • 1 envelope instant dry yeast
    • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
    • 1 1/2 cups water, 110 degrees F
    • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus 2 teaspoons

    • Combine the bread flour, sugar, yeast and kosher salt in the bowl of a stand mixer and combine.
    • While the mixer is running, add the water and 2 tablespoons of the oil and beat until the dough forms into a ball.
    • If the dough is sticky, add additional flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the dough comes together in a solid ball.
    • If the dough is too dry, add additional water, 1 tablespoon at a time.
    • Scrape the dough onto a lightly floured surface and gently knead into a smooth, firm ball.
    • Grease a large bowl with the remaining 2 teaspoons olive oil, add the dough, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and put it in a warm area to let it double in size, about 1 hour.
    • Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and divide it into 2 equal pieces.
    • Cover each with a clean kitchen towel or plastic wrap and let them rest for 10 minutes.
    *You can freeze this dough as well, if you want to prep a few batches at once.
    *This dough rises and will be thicker than it appears in your pan.
    *To make the pizza, just top it how you'd like and bake at 450 (425 for pizza stones or dark pans) for about 10-15 minutes, or until cheese is lightly browned on top. 

    Wednesday, April 30, 2014

    Bourbon Cupcakes with Maple Frosting Topped with Candied Bacon

    Brace yourself for this one, y'all...

    The adults in your life will love these! They are perfect for game days or Father's Day. Just be sure not to share with anyone under 21, the alcohol does not bake off.

    I used Jim Beam Bourbon Whiskey in my cupcakes. Feel free to use your favorite bourbon.

    These cupcakes have a subtle whiskey flavor. If you want them to pack more of a punch, just exchange 1-2 tablespoons of the milk for additional bourbon whiskey. Then you will have one saucy cupcake!
    • 1½ Cups AP Flour
    • 2 tsp Baking Powder
    • 1 Stick Salted Butter (room temp)
    • 1 Cup Brown Sugar
    • 2 Eggs
    • 6 Tb Whole Milk
    • 6 Tb Bourbon Whiskey
    1. Preheat oven to 350°
    2. Sift together the flour and baking powder. Set aside.
    3. In a large bowl, cream the butter and brown sugar. (2-3 minutes)
    4. Add the eggs and milk. Mix until incorporated.
    5. Add the bourbon and mix.
    6. Slowly add the dry ingredients and mix until smooth.
    7. Place liners into 2 cupcake pans. Fill liners 2/3-3/4 full.
    8. Bake for 22-24 minutes. Or until light golden brown and cupcakes spring back to the touch.
    9. Let cool in pans for 1-2 minutes. Then transfer to cooling racks.

    Top cupcakes with Buttercream and Candied Bacon
    • This recipe yields 12-14 cupcakes.
    • For a stronger bourbon flavor, exchange 1-2 tablespoons of the milk for additional whiskey.

    Maple Buttercream

    • 6 Tb Pure Maple Syrup
    • Butter (softened/room temp)
    • Sugar
    1. In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the butter for 30 seconds.
    2. Add the powdered sugar 1 cup at a time. Scrape the sides in between each addition and start mixing slow then increase to medium/high. Mix for 30 seconds between each sugar addition.
    3. {3 cups for plain frosting or 3.5 cups for maple buttercream}
    4. Stop and scrape down sides. Add the maple syrup now if doing so.
    5. {1-2 tsp of vanilla paste or extract can be added for vanilla buttercream frosting}
    6. Mix on medium/high speed for 3-4 minutes. Frosting will be light and creamy.
    7. Chill in the refrigerator for 5 minutes before frosting your cake.
    8. Store leftover frosting in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

    Candied Bacon

    Despite the fact I don't eat meat, even I know how amazing this would be.  But I don’t think I need to explain how delicious bacon is . . . duh.  Add some Bourbon Whiskey and Maple Syrup for Pure Bacon Bliss!

    This Glazed Bacon Recipe is perfect for snacking on or to use in recipes.
    • 1/2 lb Bacon
    • 2 Tb Brown Sugar
    • 2 Tb Maple Syrup
    • 2 tsp Bourbon Whiskey
    1. Preheat oven to 350°
    2. Cut bacon strips in half. (optional)
    3. Mix together the brown sugar, maple syrup and whiskey.
    4. Transfer bacon strips to the glaze bowl and toss until evenly coated with bacon.
    5. Line a baking sheet with foil and place a rack on top.
    6. Lay bacon on the rack in a flat even layer.
    7. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until crispy. Baste a few times in between.
    8. Watch closely the last 5 minutes because the bacon will burn quickly.
    9. Cool for 5 minutes before serving.


    Tuesday, April 29, 2014

    Gomen Wot (Ethiopian Collard Greens)

    These fragrant collards go really well with Yemisir Kik Wot (Ethiopian red lentils). 

    • 4 tbsp. unsalted butter
    • ⅛ tsp. black cardamom seeds
    • ⅛ tsp. ground fenugreek
    • ⅛ tsp. nigella seeds
    • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
    • 1 large yellow onion, minced
    • 3 cloves garlic, minced
    • 2 Thai chiles, stemmed, seeded, and minced (or hot pepper flakes)
    • 1 1" piece ginger, peeled and minced
    • 1½ lbs. collard greens, stemmed and cut crosswise into ¼"-wide strips
    • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
    • 1 1/3 cups of hot water (or more as needed)
    • White wine vinegar, to taste
    1. Heat butter in a 6-qt. pot over medium heat.
    2. Add cardamom, fenugreek, and nigella and cook, stirring often, until fragrant, 1–2 minutes.
    3. Increase heat to medium-high and add oil; add onions and cook, stirring often, until browned, 10 minutes.
    4. Add garlic, chiles, and ginger and cook, stirring often, until soft and fragrant, 3 minutes.
    5. Add collards, 1⅓ cups water, and salt and pepper; cover and bring to a boil.
    6. Reduce heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally, until collards are tender, 50–55 minutes.
    7. Peek every now and then and add more hot water if needed.
    8. Stir in vinegar and serve collards hot.

    Berbere Spice Blend (Ethiopian Spice Mix)

    I can't even begin to tell you how amazing this spice mix is.  It is essential for Ethiopian cooking. Some of these spices might be hard to find (ahem... ajwan seeds??), but it really is worth the trip to an Indian market (or order online, if you have to).

    *Note: Start with a lower amount of cayenne and test it before you add more. 
    • 1/3-1/2 cup cayenne (depending on your heat tolerance)
    • 1/2 cup paprika
    • 2 TB Himalayan pink salt (yes, it makes a difference)
    • 2 tsp ground ginger
    • 2 tsp onion powder
    • 1 tsp ground fenugreek
    • 1 tsp ground nutmeg
    • 1 tsp ground cardamon
    • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
    • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
    • 1/4 tsp ground allspice
    • 1/4 tsp ground turmeric
    • 1/8 tsp ground cloves
    • 1/8 tsp ground ajwan seeds
    I like to grind/mix it all with a mortar and pestle, but you can just mix it, as long as it's combined well.  Store in a dry, airtight container.  Use in Ethiopian cooking.  Also really good on fries, meats, fish, etc.

    Yemisir Kik Wot (Ethiopian Red Lentils)

    I've been craving Ethiopian ever since we left NYC, but was intimidated by making my own berbere (an essential African spice mix)... until now! 

    • olive oil (I used about 2-3 TB)
    • 1 large red onion, chopped
    • 4 cloves garlic, minced
    • 2 T. ginger, minced
    • 2-4 tsp. curry powder
    • 1 tsp. garam masala
    • 3-4 tsp berbere (depending on how spicy you like it, start with less)
    • 1 15oz can of tomatoes, pureed
    • 12 oz. small red lentils
    • 4-5 cups vegetable broth, or more as needed
    • 1 scotch bonnet pepper, minced (omit if you can't handle too much heat)
    • Himalayan pink salt
    1. Heat oil over medium heat in a dutch oven or heavy bottomed stock pot.
    2. Saute onion and ginger with a pinch of salt until the onion is translucent.
    3. Add the garlic and spices; saute for about 30 seconds, stirring constantly.
    4. Add the tomato puree and let simmer down for about 5 mins, stirring often.
    5. Add broth and lentils, bring to a boil.
    6. Cover, simmer on low for 45 mins, stirring occasionally and checking fluid levels. 
    7. Add more broth as needed.
    8. Check to see if you need more spices or salt; add more to taste.
    *I didn't have injera bread, so I served ours over basmati rice. 
    *These pair nicely with Gomen Wot as well.

    Tuesday, April 15, 2014

    Breakfast Burritos with Spicy Grilled Pineapple

    These are extremely versatile.  So, feel free to adjust the ingredients according to what you like or have on hand. 
    • 3-5 Eggs (depending on how many people you're feeding)
    • Splash of milk (few TBSP)
    • 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil (or more as needed)
    • 3 garlic cloves
    • 1 medium onion
    • 1/2 bell pepper, diced
    • 1 cup diced potato (half a medium potato)
    • 1.5 cups sliced crimini mushrooms (about 9 mushrooms)
    • 1/4 c queso fresco
    • 3-4 tbsp chopped cilantro
    • 1-1.5 tbsp fresh lemon juice
    • Salt (or to taste) + black pepper (I'm in love with pink salt!)
    • For garnish: salsa, hot sauce, shredded cheese, green onion, sour cream, etc.

    1. Beat the eggs and milk with a whisk
    2. Meanwhile, heat a large skillet with 1 tsp oil over medium heat. Sauté onion and bell pepper for a few minutes over medium heat. Add in the diced potato and mushrooms and sauté for 12 minutes, reducing heat if necessary and stirring frequently so it doesn’t stick to the bottom.
    3. Pour eggs on top, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Continue cooking on low until potato and egg is cooked through.
    4. Add a scoop of the mixture on a large tortilla wrap, spoon on salsa, and top with shredded cheese and chopped green onion if desired.

    These are really good paired with my spicy grilled pineapple (see below).

    Spicy Grilled Pinapple

    'Tis the season for grilling!  (Well, almost...)  Here's a great way to enjoy something delicious on the grill without sabotaging your diet.

    • 1 fresh pineapple - peeled, cored, and cut into 1" rings
    • 1/4 tsp of agave nectar or honey
    • 3 TB of melted coconut oil
    • dash or two of cayenne or hot pepper flakes (sriracha works well too)
    • dash or two of salt to taste
    1. Add all the ingredients to a big ziplock bag and lightly shake.
    2. Marinate for at least 30 minutes, or preferrably overnight.
    3. Preheat grill on high (or grill pan on med-high).
    4. Lightly oil grate or grill pan with coconut oil.
    5. Grill on each side for 2-3 minutes or until grill marks appear.
    6. Nom!!

    Saturday, March 8, 2014

    Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Chia Pudding

    This one looks and tastes like dessert, but it's low in sugar and is so good for you.  Plus chia acts as a natural energy boost.  So this is great before a workout or after a night of poor sleep.  You'll be tempted to eat the whole thing, but trust me, split it in two.  It is more filling than it looks.

    • 1 banana, mashed
    • 3 TB chia seeds
    • 1/2 c almond milk (soy, rice, or coconut milk works too)
    • 1-2 TB natural peanut butter (the kind you need to stir and refrigerate)
    • 1-2 TB cocoa powder
    • Splash of vanilla extract (omit if your milk is flavored)
    • Optional - small squirt of sweetener (agave, maple syrup, honey, etc)


    Use whichever container you plan to store it in.  Mash the chia seeds into the banana.  Add all other ingredients and stir well.  The amounts are approximate based on whatever you prefer.  If you like more chocolate, go with the higher measurement, etc.

    Be sure all your chia seeds are pushed down into the liquid.  Cover and refrigerate overnight or several hours.  Stir again before eating.  Brace yourself for deliciousness!

    Disclaimer: If you eat this close to bedtime, you may be up all night.  I'm not exaggerating the energy boost.  Chia are zzzzzzing!!

    Thursday, March 6, 2014

    Pesto Pasta with Roasted Cauliflower, Sun-dried Tomatoes, and Peas

    This recipe is incredibly versatile.  Feel free to switch up the veggies based on what you prefer or have on hand.

    Start by prepping your pesto.  This can be done a few hours in advance.  I use the Vegan with a Vengeance "classic pesto".

    1/2 cup walnuts
    3 cups packed basil leaves
    3 cloves garlic, smashed and coarsely chopped
    1 1/2 teaspoons kosher or sea salt
    1/2 cup good olive oil, or more to taste
    1/4 cup nutritional yeast (or grated parmesan, if you're not vegan)
    2 tsp lemon juice
    Toast the walnuts. Combine walnuts, basil, garlic, salt in a food processor. Process while you add the olive oil in a slow, steady stream. Add the nutritional yeast and lemon juice, and pulse to combine until the mixture is a slightly grainy paste (not a puree).

    • 1lb of pasta (macaroni, shells, or orecchiette work best)
    • Small head of cauliflower
    • Bag of frozen peas
    • 4-5 sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
    • Olive oil
    • Small amount of white wine (water or broth could be used too)
    • Sea salt
    • Black pepper
    • Garlic powder

    After you whip up the pesto, just set it aside and prep your veggies.  
    Preheat your oven to about 400F.  

    Cut your cauliflower into bite sized pieces.  Put it on a baking sheet.  Drizzle with olive oil and lightly season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder.  Toss with your hands to combine and put in a single layer.  Roast for about 15 mins, flipping halfway through.  When done, set aside.
    Meanwhile, boil a big pot of salted water and cook your pasta according to directions.
    While that's boiling, soak your peas in hot water.  Drain a few times until they're room temp and thawed.
    Make sure your sun-dried tomatoes are chopped and set aside.  
    When your pasta is done, strain and set aside.  Using the same huge pot you boiled them in, heat up a small amount of olive oil on medium heat.  Add your tomatoes.  After about a minute, deglaze with about a TB or 2 of white wine.  Cook until most of the liquid is gone.  

    Turn down to low.  Add the peas, when warm, add the pasta, cauliflower, and most of the pesto.  Stir gently.  Only heat up for a minute or two.  Add more pesto if needed.

    Wednesday, April 24, 2013

    Chole Palak (Chickpeas With Spinach)

    I was looking for a vegan version of saag paneer and happened upon this. It's basically like chana masala with spinach. I couldn't find the asafetida, but it still turned out amazing. Enjoy!

    • 1 15oz can of chickpea (chole, garbanzo)
    • 3 cups finely chopped spinach (palak)
    • 2 medium tomatoes
    • 1/2″piece ginger (adrak)
    • 1 green chili
    • 3 tablespoon oil
    • 1/4 teaspoon asafetida (hing)
    • 1 teaspoon cumin seed (jeera)
    • 1 tablespoon coriander powder (dhania)
    • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric (haldi)
    • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper adjust to taste
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt adjust to taste
    • 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
    1. Drain the liquid out of the chickpeas and rince the chick peas well.
    2. Blend the tomatoes, green chilies, and ginger to make a puree.
    3. Heat the oil in a saucepan. Test the heat by adding one cumin seed to the oil; if seed cracks right away oil is ready.
    4. Add the asafetida and cumin seeds.
    5. After the cumin seeds crack, add the tomato puree, coriander powder, turmeric, red chili powder and cook for about 4 minutes on medium heat.
    6. Tomato mixture will start leaving the oil and will reduce to about half in quantity.
    7. Add spinach, and salt and one half cup of water and let it cook covered for 4 to 5 minutes on medium heat covered.
    8. Add garam masala and cook a minute more.
    9. Serve with jasmine rice and naan or roti.

    Tuesday, December 6, 2011

    Egg Nog Crème Brulee

    • 2½ cups  Egg Nog
    • 1 ea.  Vanilla Bean, split & scrape
    • ¼ cup  Brown Sugar
    • ¼ cup  Granulated Sugar
    • 8 ea.  Egg Yolks
    • ¼ cup  Granulated Sugar for Finishing Brulee

    1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. 
    2. Place Egg Nog, vanilla bean and its pulp into a medium saucepan set over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat, cover and allow to sit for 15 minutes. Remove the vanilla bean and discard. 
    3. In a medium bowl, whisk together ¼ C. of granulated and brown sugars and the egg yolks until well blended and it just starts to lighten in color. Add the Egg Nog mixture a little at a time, stirring continually. Pour the liquid into 5 (4-ounce) Brulee boats or similar ramekins. Place the containers into a large pan. Pour enough hot water into the pan to come halfway up the sides of the Brulee containers. Bake just until the creme brulee is set, but still trembling in the center, approximately 20 to 30 minutes. Remove the ramekins from the roasting pan and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
    4. Remove the creme brulee from the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes prior to browning the sugar on top. Top with 1 T. of sugar spread evenly over Brulee.
    5. Using a torch, melt the sugar and form a crispy top. Allow the creme brulee to sit for at least 5 minutes before serving.

      Sunday, July 3, 2011

      Cake Balls

      Cake balls are probably one of my favorite desserts.  They require a bit more effort than a regular cake, but they're way less messy to serve.  No cutting, people can portion control as they desire.  They're super versatile.  You can use any flavor cake mix, frosting, coating or decorations you like.   They're easier to transport than a regular cake.  No need for utensils.  And, most importantly, they're friggen adorable! 

      • 1 (18.25 ounce) package chocolate cake mix
      • 1 (16 ounce) container prepared chocolate frosting
      • 1 (3 ounce) bar chocolate flavored confectioners coating


      1. Prepare cake mix according to package instructions using any pan size.
      2. Let the cake COOL for at least a half hour! Don't mix in the frosting while HOT! You will get a gooey, albeit yummy, mess! 
      3. Crumble the cake into a large bowl and stir in the frosting until well-blended.  I use a hand mixer to mix the cake and frosting, because I'm lazy. 
      4. Put this mixture in the refrigerator, covered, for at least 3 hours but I did it overnight and it was perfect. 
      5. Using your hands or a melon baller, roll the balls bite size. Place the balls on a wax paper lined cookie sheet.  If all you have is tin foil, that's fine, but wax paper works better.
      6. Stick the balls in the freezer for an hour. 
      7. Melt up whatever chocolate you prefer (use the good stuff)
      8. Using a toothpick (or fork), pick up the balls and dip in the chocolate. Using a second toothpick in the other hand help the ball slide off the toothpick. NOTE:If your balls fall off the toothpick into the chocolate they are not frozen enough. 
      9. Place in refrigerator to set.
      10. Stuff face!!

      Monday, April 25, 2011

      Coconut Lime Rice Pudding

      2 cups water
      1 cup rice
      1 1/2 cup coconut milk
      1/3 cup raisins
      1/3 cup maple syrup
      1 tsp vanilla
      1/2 tsp cinamon
      1/4 tsp ground ginger
      1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
      1/2 cup shredded coconut
      lime zest (optional)

      • Bring water to a boil, add rice and cook for about 30 minutes or until rice has lost moisture towards the bottom
      • add coconut milk maple syrup vanilla and seasons and continue cooking and stirring until rice is super thick and creamy
      • add raisins and cook and additional 1 to 2 minutes
      • mix in shredded coconut
      • and garnish with lime zest (optional)

      Monday, February 14, 2011

      Hannah's First Meal

      My 12 year old daughter, Hannah, wanted to cook for all of us.  So, I helped her plan a meal and gave her my recipes.  The rule was that I wouldn't help.  I'd be nearby in case she has a question, but she had to do everything.  And she did.  And let me tell you, her food tasted better than most chefs could make!  We were all blown away.  This post is dedicated to her.

      The menu was Cajun Red Beans & Rice, Sauteed Spicy Shrimp, Garlic String Beans, and Balsamic Strawberries with Whipped Mascarpone Cheese.

      Cajun Beans & Rice

      • 6 cans red beans
      • 1 lb andouille or smoked sausage, sliced
      • 1 or 2 TB olive oil
      • 1 med yellow onion, diced
      • 1 stalk celery, diced
      • 1/2 green bell pepper, diced
      • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
      • 1 1/2 tsp black pepper
      • 1 tsp cayenne
      • 1 tsp paprika
      • 1 tsp dry mustard
      • 1 tsp garlic powder
      • 1 tsp salt
      • 1/2 tsp thyme
      • 1 bay leaf
      • water
      • steamed rice
      1. Brown sausage in frying pan, stir occasionally.  Once browned on both sides, turn off heat and set aside.
      2. Cut up veggies while sausage is browning.  In a large dutch oven or pot, heat 1-2 TB of olive oil.  Saute onions, celery, and green pepper over medium heat until onions are clear but not browned.
      3. Add garlic for about 30-60 seconds; stir constantly.  
      4. Before the garlic browns at all, add about a half cup of water.  Stir to deglaze pan.
      5. Add beans (undrained) and sausage to the pot.  
      6. Add just enough water to make a stew consistency, not soupy but not dry.  The beans should be just barely covered with liquid.
      7. Add all of the spices.
      8. Bring to boil.  Stir.  Turn down to low.  Put lid on.  Simmer for about an hour.  Stir every 15 mins or so.
      9. Serve over steamed rice.

      Sauteed Spicy Shrimp

      • 1 lb of raw, peeled shrimp (if you want more, double the rest of ingredients)
      • 1 TB olive oil
      • juice of one lemon plus extra lemon wedges to serve
      • 1/2 tsp black pepper
      • 1/4 tsp cayenne
      • 1/4 tsp dry mustard
      • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
      • 1/4 tsp salt
      • 1/4 tsp paprika
      • pinch thyme
      1. In a large ziplock bag or container, add spices, shrimp, and lemon juice.  Set in fridge until ready.  (Best if you let it marinade for a few hours.)
      2. Saute in oil over medium heat until done.  Stir to ensure even cooking on both sides.

      Garlic String Beans


      • 1-1/2 lbs french string beans, both ends removed
      • 2 TB unsalted butter
      • 1 TB olive oil
      • 3 garlic cloves, minced or thinly sliced
      • salt and pepper to taste
      1. Blanch the string beans in a large pot of boiling salted water for just 1 1/2 minutes. Drain immediately and immerse in a large bowl of ice water to stop the cooking. When they are cool, drain and set aside.
      2. Heat the butter and olive oil in a very large saute pan over medium heat and cook the garlic for 1 to 2 minutes, tossing occasionally, until lightly browned. Add the string beans, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and toss together. Reheat the string beans and serve.
      Balsamic Strawberries with Whipped Mascarpone Cheese

      • about 3 containers of strawberries, hulled and halved
      • 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar (good quality)
      • 4 TB plus 2 tsp sugar
      • 1/2 tsp lemon juice
      • 1/2 c mascarpone cheese
      • 1/2 c heavy whipping cream
      • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

      1. Balsamic Sauce:  Combine vinegar, 2 tsp sugar, and lemon juice in a small sauce pan.  Stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves.  Transfer to a small bowl and set in fridge to cool completely.
      2. Cream:  In a mixing bowl, combine mascarpone, cream, vanilla, and 2 TB sugar.  Whisk until thick soft peaks form.  Refrigerate until ready to use.
      3. Strawberries:  Combine berries and 2 TB sugar in mixing bowl.  Drizzle with chilled balsamic sauce and toss to blend.
      4. Serve strawberries with cream on top.