Sunday, September 16, 2012

grilled corn salad

this is what happens when perfect summer ingredients come together...

3 tablespoons of your favorite vinegar
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
6 ears fresh corn, grilled
2 cups worth of tomatoes
8 ounces fresh mozzarella, cut into small cubes
1 1/2 cups fresh basil leaves
salt and pepper

Whisk the vinegar, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Gradually whisk in the oil, starting with a few drops and then adding the rest in a steady stream, to make a smooth dressing.

Shear off the corn kernels with a sharp knife over a bowl. Toss in the tomatoes and mozzarella.

Pour the vinaigrette over the salad and toss to coat. Cover and let set for 15 minutes or up to 2 hours.

 (this is also good if you throw in some bacon, or some smoked salmon. i've used sherry vinegar, balsamic vinegar and white wine vinegar - all are good)

modified from food network's version

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Dinner for 2...

Gramercy Tavern.  Tasting menus for each, super good.

Red Snapper, Kohlrabi, Shiitake Mushrooms and Smoked Jalapeño

Soft Shell Crab, Corn, Red Leaf Lettuce and Pickled Green Tomato

Halibut, Zucchini, Black Olives and Lobster Sauce

Squab, Barley, Sungold Tomatoes and Artichokes

Pork tasting plate

Tart for dessert


Sweet Corn, King Crab, Shiso and Pickled Ramps

Heirloom Tomato Salad, Shishito Peppers and Pickled Fennel (there was also some cheese in here, and, when I had all the flavors together it might have been the single best bite of food all night)

Warm Bean Salad and Squash Sauce

Roasted Eggplant, Cucumbers, Peppers and Pine Nuts

Spinach Spaghetti, Tomato, Shishito Peppers and Basil

Cheese plate for dessert

Plus, the table was comped a strawberry tart from the bar menu that was superb.

Plus good beer:  Stone-Cali Belgique IPA, Speedway Stout, and J.W. Lees Harvest Ale, 1998 (it was ridiculous)

Thursday, August 23, 2012

inauthentically delicious

We have added two foods to our summer repertoire of dinner recipes this winter, both with staunchly ethnic roots, both Americanized for my tastes.

Banh Mi -- very little cooking involved, refreshing with its creamy/sour, meaty/crunchy combo of flavors and textures, and infinitely customizable, we've enjoyed creating sandwiches whose only commonality is the pickled veggies, light smear of mayo, and soft, crusty bread. We've found the rolls at Whole Foods' bakery work well, even though they aren't baguette at all, but rather soft rolls. I haven't found the perfect baguette here - they're all too thick-crusted, and I have trouble getting balanced bites with crusty loaves. We use the master recipe here, more or less, alongside the pickled veggie recipe from the same blog. Since I am among the cilantro averse, I've added parsley in place of the devil herb, and I tend to lazily buy whatever meat is on the hot food bar at the Whole Foods, which completely obviates the need for cooking.

Lomo Saltado -- I had this at Acuario's in Port Chester NY, and (aside from having to pick off all the cilantro), it was quite perfect: marinated meat over an order of fries, with the juices from the meat basting the fries. Peruvian poutine. I tried out Food and Wine's recent recipe, adding just a bit of cinnamon, and pouring the meat over potatoes that we doused in olive oil, salt and pepper and threw on the grill. Perfect the first day, and just as good wrapped into a tortilla with cheese and lettuce, burrito style, the next day.

Lomo Saltado, adapted from Food and Wine Magazine

1/4 cup + a couple tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 garlic clove, minced
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 pound skirt steak
1 red onion, halved and slivered
Vegetable oil, for frying
1 large tomato, chopped
1/4 cup parsley
3-5 medium sized yukon gold potatoes

  • Throw the steak in the freezer for about half an hour to make slicing it thin easier. 
  • Cut the potatoes into 1/2" cubes, toss with a couple tablespoons of olive oil, salt, and pepper. Put potatoes on the grill over medium heat. 
  • In a large bowl, combine the olive oil, cumin, coriander, garlic and a generous pinch each of salt and pepper. 
  • Cut the steak into 4-inch pieces; slice the steaks across the grain 1/2 inch thick and add to the bowl along with the onion. Marinate for 10 minutes. 
  • Heat a large griddle until very hot. 
  • Add the steak and onion and stir-fry over high heat until the meat and onion are cooked through and lightly charred, 3 to 4 minutes. 
  • Add the tomato and cook until softened and beginning to char, about 1 minute. 
  • Add the potatoes and parsley and flip with a spatula to combine. Serve right away.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012


Today in food-news...  beet salad.

It's basically the standard beet salad that we make without even thinking about it these days.

Take some beets, roast them in an oven at 400ish for a while.  Peel, cube.

Toss with toasted walnuts, chopped parsley and either feta or ricotta salata (hard crumbly cheese, a nice blue would probably work too, but not too stinky)

Then, salt & pepper and a nice vinaigrette.  Do everything to taste.

While it takes about 90 minutes, most of that's roasting the beets and letting them cool.

It's really only 15 minutes of actual work, although I turn my hands pink every time when I'm peeling and cutting the beets.

Also, we cut up and slurped down some melon we got at the Trenton farmer's market.  There's about half left, it sounds like what I'll be eating tomorrow...

Monday, July 23, 2012

It's been a week, but that's partially because I was in NH last week doing some roofing and eating carrots.  The carrot was awesome.  I ate all of them that I found.  We haven't seen many here in NJ yet.

This week's share included more zuke! Onions, garlic, chard (I love chard, if I wasn't already married, I might marry it.  I'm hoping for dino kale in the fall though, mmmmm), corn, cabbage and basil.

Food wise:  it was grillin time!  All the corn got grilled and then made into a salad with some tomato and mozz.  Tasty, I just ate the last of it.  Zuke got cut on a bias, tossed with oil, salt and herb and grilled.  My goal was to get a bit of crispy on it.

I'm also going to do my first brewing this week.  It's my project for Wednesday to celebrate a pretty decent work-week.  I'm doing an ESM that's an adaptation of Peter's 5-plumber Ale that I brewed in January.  I'm going to add more munich than is called for in his recipe because (a) I've got 10lbs of the stuff, and (b) it's lighter in color when made all-grain rather than extract and I'd like to bring a bit more body to it.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Monday?  Bah and nonsense.

More food fun was had...  I made souffle of zuke!  It was pretty tasty.  Then, we ate it last night and I killed it all today for lunch.

Sadly, one of the loaves of zuke bread has already gone bad, we haven't cut into the other one, so no idea if it's both.

Plan for today is:  strata with tomato (thanks Trenton Farmer's market), bread, chard and a bit of gruyere.  mmmm, tasty.

It's sort of food news:  I spend so much energy trying to get and stay hydrated due to all the running that I can't really drink anymore.  Most days, even one beer makes me have a nasty-hangover headache because I lose too much water.  How sad...

Saturday, July 14, 2012

This week in CSA land:
a lot of onions (white & green<- too many of these)
more zuch
more beets

Today's adventures in baking:  zuch bread.  It's in the oven right now.  I went with Bittman.  Maybe later today or tomorrow; zuch souffle!

What to do with the other zuch that's accumulating in the fridge?  When is 'national leave zuch on your neighbor's porch day" again?  Crap, I have to hold out til Aug 8?!?

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Today in beer news, Tod Mott, longtime brewer of the Portsmouth Brewery, has decided to leave the job.

OMG, teh world is coming to an end.  Who will make Kate the Great RIS?  Who will make Coffee Milk Stout?  Who will make all of my other favorite beers?
Due to the fact that we had about a pint of jam in a tupperware and then another 1/2 pint popped so that it had to go in the fridge, Kate declared that it was to be jam cookies.

This was basically a sugar cookie dough rolled thin, with a dollop of jam, then baked.  I am not good at shaping them.

They're tasty, distressingly tasty.  They're good for breakfast, lunch and dinner...

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

So...  blueberry jam!

My first canning in some time and definitely the first here in NJ.  The last time I made jam I put it in pint and quart jars that were way too big.  We'd open one and then throw a lot of it out (unless it was being used in baking).  So, this time:  1/2 pint jars.

Easy as, well, jam:
0) Pick through and wash berries
1) Berries, lemon juice and spices into the pot
2) Squish it all up with your potato masher
3) Add pectin & bring to a boil
4) Add sugar & bring to a hard boil for a minute
5) Off the heat, into the jars
6) Process for 5ish minutes (I did 10ish for kicks)
7) Stick in basement and eat as needed

Monday, July 9, 2012

I don't understand how one of the farmers at the Trenton market can make anything close to a profit.  Last week I bought 12 pints of blueberries for $20.  This week, I had a coupon for $15!  We're eating them much more slowly this week (only 3 pints so far! I ate 3 pints last Saturday by myself).

We also picked up a pint of plus, nectarines and sour cherries.  I sucked down the cherries in a 30-minute session of joy.  I'm such a fan, but I only knew of one sour cherry tree within 40 miles of us in NH.

My goal for Tues or Wed is to make some jam.  I'm thinking of making some blueberry spice jam.  It's basically blues, lemon, sugar, nutmeg, & cin.  Should be super easy and I'll can it up and be all happy in the winter with tastes of summer.

This week in the CSA:  chard, beets, cukes, zuch, corn, garlic, onion and scallion.  Nothing really on-tap for those things yet.  I'll probably do zuch bread, since that's fast, easy and tasty.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Cleaning out the fridge...

I knocked off 3 zuch with Zuch pie.  It was super easy and dang tasty:

4 cups chopped zucchini (chopped small)
A few cloves of garlic
1 small onion, diced
1 cup flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ cup Italian grating cheese (Romano, Parmesan, or Asiago)
½ cup vegetable oil
4 eggs
Salt & Pepper
Fresh parsley (optional)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Mix all the above ingredients together.
Pour into greased 8 or 9 inch square or round baking dish.
Bake at 375 degrees F. for 45 minutes (or until nicely browned).

Also...  lots of salad (I've started making honey mustard dressing because I love it)!  Plus, some grilled potato on the fourth when we also pounded out bulgogi and marinated tofu and carrot-apple salad.

Finally, there's been red-lentil, sweet pot, and chard curry going on in the house for a few days.  That was dang tasty and pretty easy to make.  I did it up early in the morning to beat the heat and then let it hang out for the day.

Summary:  most of the big leafy greens are gone and we're down to just 3 beets.  So, not bad right now, hopefully it's not another box with 3 heads of lettuce tomorrow.

Monday, July 2, 2012

CSA values...  We stopped being CSA members when we lived in MD for a couple years.  We signed up when we were moving after a year while in IA.  The IA CSA was amazingly cheap ($150?) for the summer and literally there was so much food we didn't know what to do with it.  I made tomato sauce like a maniac!

The MD CSA was something like tripple the price for one grocery bag of veg per week.  It was decent produce and I did like the fact that it was super-local, but there was an amazing farmer's market that was even closer and we went there every week anyone (partially?  mostly? for the scones).  So, it just didn't make sense (especially on our salaries at the time).

For 3 years in MA and 3.5 years in ME we had amazing CSAs, great prices, good selection of veg and super convenient.  We still went to the farmer's market with frequency, but often it was as a cultural excursion (and for pastry).  For example, Heron Pond Farm was $550 and we were working hard to eat it all, but (as an example) this week includes 2 tomatos, 2 zuch, 2lbs of potato, 1 pint of peas, 2 onions, 1 head of lettuce, 1 bag of greens, 1 bunch of chard, and a bunch of carrots (we looooove carrots, they are like orange crack).  See, it's a good mix, makes sense together and would be a good, but not unreasonable amount of anything for a week (turnips and rutabagas in the winter are a different thing, too many).

We moved to NJ and we got into a CSA that's about the same price (a little more, but NJ costs more, so that's fine), but has a MUCH bigger client base (2700 households, it's got to be one of the biggest in the country). It's certified organic which our two previous weren't, so that's probably a bit pricier too.  But, let's compare shares;

3 heads of lettuce (after getting 4 for the last 4 weeks)
1 bunch of beets
1 bunch of chard
1 bunch of onions (4)
2 heads of garlic
2 zuch

So, less diversity, more overwhelming quantities of one product (we're now turning into lettuce fairies), and less quantity in general.  What since rolling into the Trenton Farmer's market I'm strongly considering not renewing for next year.  I'm underwhelmed so far and can see easy ways to get my fill of local produce with better variety and balances, plus, we're almost certain to head to the markets a lot anyway...

Saturday, June 30, 2012

I haven't written anything about food since we moved to NJ...  I feel like I should rectify that.

Today's food news:  (1) picked up the CSA box.  Inside I found chard, 2 enormous heads of garlic, a bunch of onions, 2 zuch (to go with the 6 already in the fridge, MUST do something with them), a bunch of beets (to go with the 4 in the fridge, gah) and...  3 heads of lettuce.

The heads of lettuce are becoming (really, have been for the last few weeks) a problem.  See, the CSA has been giving us 4 heads of lettuce for the past 3 weeks and heads of radiccio and other salad greens. 2 people just don't eat that much lettuce...  I'm trying to look out for the neighbors, offer them lettuce n'stuff.

In looking through the fridge I discovered a 1/2 pint of peas, so I ate them while driving about.  They were from the farmer's market a few weeks ago, so the outsides weren't great, but I opened them up and ate the tasty green goods inside.

It's hot enough here that I'm against cooking, but I've got to do something with the beets.  So, we appear to be at an impasse.  Otherwise, I may or may not have acquired 12 pints of fresh-picked blueberries from a local farm for $20 and eaten 2 pints so far today.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

french fry disenchantment

So, four-fifths or so of us have moved to Princeton, New Jersey. How does that math work, you ask? Well, I'm here full-time, thanks to an unexpected job opportunity. So that's one half of us. Tim will be here more or less 60% of the time - the great majority of the summer, and about 3.5 out of 7 days during the school year. So, .5*1.00 + .5*0.60 = .8, or four fifths. Does math actually work like that? It really isn't the point of this post.

The point is: there are no good french fries in princeton, and this makes me sad. There were two very good places for fries in Portsmouth (though neither of them ideal): Coat of Arms for fatty steak fries and Portsmouth Brewery for decent hand-cut style fries (not to mention decent sweet potato fries by UNH at Young's, and Duckfat if I go as far as Portland, and many places in Boston...). I have had five different restaurants' french fry offerings so far in Princeton, and they all pale in comparison:

  • Witherspoon Grill: overpriced, underflavored
  • Efes: completely unacceptable -- limp, greasy, especially compared to so many good fries I've had at Mediterranean places (but I ate them anyway)
  • Winberie's: average, boring
  • Triumph: they're the double fried ones, maybe lightly battered. not a big fan
  • Zorba's Grill take out: probably the best deal of them all for the price, but still nothing special

Honestly, the best fries I've had were at Rocky Dining Hall. I'm hoping that as I broaden the search over the summer, that I'll find something decent that isn't as far away as The Continental in Philly or Pommes Frites in NYC. I suppose it's not such a bad thing that it takes an hour to get good fries - it could mean I just won't eat fries that often... but, knowing me, it probably just means I'll eat bad fries and be sad. The search continues.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

beet risotto

Beet Risotto--

1) take some small beets, skin and grate them.
2) Chop up an onion and some garlic (2T ish)
3) Take your fancy-pants risotto pan, put it on the stove-top on high-medium
4) Throw 4T of butter in, or whatever randome amount of butter that you've got, add some olive oil too.
5) Toss in the onion and let it soften until it's translucent
6) Add the garlic, cook a bit
7) Add the risotto (1C) and stir it about for a while (I wandered off and did something in the basement). While that's happening, warm 3C of water in your water-boiler and mix with bullion or whatever you're using (I do about 1.5C of bullion by the package dilution)
8) Add the beets and about 1C water. Then, as the water cooks out, add 1/2c at a time all the while stirring.
9) After adding all the water, add 1 slightly old lemon worth of juice and grated peel.
10) Add 1/2 c (ish) of nice cheddar cheese.
11) Add a splash of balsamic vinegar
12) Grate some parm on top...

Eat. Also, you can add some sort of greens.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Chicken Rama

I wanted Thai for lunch on Monday, but my co-worker who I was eating with claimed that because she was having Chinese food on Tuesday, she didn't want Thai on Monday. I decided that it wasn't worth arguing about the differences between the two, and had a very tasty chicken pesto sandwich and sweet potato fries. As soon as I got home, I searched for an easy Thai recipe to put together, and this is what I settled on. The chicken is poached in coconut milk - I like cooking braised/poached meats because it's harder to overcook them. The sauce comes together easily, and could be adjusted for spice levels easily as well.

Chicken Rama (adapted from recipe)
serves 3-4

1 can coconut milk
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 -1 ½ lb boneless skinless chicken , cut in 1/2 inch pieces
1 tbsp chunky peanut butter
1 tablespoon red curry paste
dash of fish sauce
3 tablespoons brown sugar
½ cup finely chopped roasted peanuts

1. Add coconut and ginger to a medium saucepan over medium heat, and stir until well blended. Bring it to a boil, add chicken pieces, reduce heat, and simmer  5-7 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through (i.e., no pink remains).

2. With a slotted spoon, remove the chicken and transfer to a bowl; cover and set aside. If any coconut milk accumulates at the bottom of the bowl, just pour it back into the saucepan.

3. To the saved coconut milk, add the peanut butter, red curry paste, fish sauce, brown sugar, and chopped peanuts. Continue cooking over medium heat, stirring constantly, for 10 minutes or until the sauce is creamy and not grainy in appearance.

4. Add the chicken, and heat for another 2 minutes.

5. Serve with steamed white rice and broccoli.


  • The original recipe calls for a lot more fish sauce. I pick the fish sauce out of dishes really easily, and err on the side of extreme caution when cooking for myself. 
  • The original recipe says creamy peanut butter, but all we ever have in our house is chunky. I upped the amount, too, and decreased the sugar slightly. I like my sauce good and peanutty.
  • For curry paste, I used Spice House Thai Red Curry Powder, and just dumped it into the sauce without thinning with water. I love everything that Spice House produces. Using powder might have made the sauce's consistency thicker than it would've been if I used curry paste.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Apple pancake

1) Heat your oven to 450 or 425, whatever.

2) Chop up 3ish apples (4 if they're small or you like more apple)

3) Mix in a bowl: 1/2c flour, 2 eggs, a bit of salt, 3/4c dairy liquid (milk, half & half, not-yogurt)

4) Melt some butter (1T+) in a pan, throw the apples in and put some brown sugar in (maybe 1/4 cup, dark or light, I usually use dark because I like it more)

Sautee it all for a while, til the apples are nicely browned.

5) Pour the batter over it, I leave it on the stove for 30 seconds after that. Toss it in the oven, turn down the heat to 425 (if you had it above that) and let it cook for 17 minutes.

6) Take out of oven. Cut into pieces. Wait for it to cool.

7) Eat.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Coffee cake

I made coffee cake yesterday in between brewing. The basics:

Pre-heat oven to 350.

1) Into the mixer (not exact): 1tsp salt, 1tsp baking powder, 3/4tsp baking soda (or vice versa), 2 1/4 c flour, 8T butter cut into 12 pieces, 1 1/c c sugar. Beat it up a bunch.
2) Then, add 1/2c sour cream or plain yogurt

3) In a different bowl mix 1c sour cream or yogurt, 4 eggs, some vanilla (eh, pour a reasonable amount, I like vanilla).

4) Mix the wet into the dry

5) Pour it into a greased 9x13 pan.

6) In a bowl mix something like (I really made this up) 3/4c flour, 3/4c sugar, a bunch of dark brown sugar (maybe 3/4 cup?), 8T butter cut into 12 pieces, and then some brown spices like cin, all spice, cloves and a bit of fresh nutmeg. I did some double-knife action to cut the butter into the dry goods.

7) Bake for about 40 minutes. Watch the butter pooling and bubbling and almost deep frying parts.

8) Nom nom nom. Oh, I'm sorry, did you want some?

8) Watch the butter pool on top

Saturday, January 21, 2012

36 Hours in New Orleans

We actually spent seven luxurious days in NOLA, but if I blogged about all of it, it would get boring. Or at the least, I would get bored halfway through and might never get to some of the highlights. Instead, I'm going to boil down my recommendations for a 1.5 day food-centric excursion through the Crescent City, based on things I ate during this trip. I stayed in the French Quarter, so everything in this list is basically easily accessible from there. Someday I'll get back and roam a little more widely through other parts of the city.

Arrive. Eat an order of beignets and have a coffee at Cafe du Monde. It doesn't matter what time you arrive - any time is the perfect time for beignets. Enjoy the busy atmosphere, the old school uniforms that the servers wear, and the shower of powdered sugar that you will inevitably be wearing once you're done.

Lunch: stand in line at Central Grocery. It looks unbearably long, but it'll move fast, and you'll wind through what might as well be a museum of food oddities, but is actually a market. If there is only one of you, get a half a muffuletta. You probably won't finish the whole thing, but if you only get a quarter, you might long for one or two more bites. Also get a root beer in an old fashioned bottle. And some Zapp's potato chips if you like the salt to cut through the olivey goodness of the sandwich. Take your lunch to Jackson Square and eat it on the grass. They're closed Sunday and Monday and are only open til 5 on the other days, so plan accordingly.

Snack: walk into the Central Business District and grab a crepe and an espresso beverage at Merchant. Or a frozen yogurt at Pinkberry, because you can't go wrong with frozen yogurt. Or a Pimms Cup at Napoleon House Bar if you don't want to leave the Quarter and you want a refreshing drink surrounded by excellent atmosphere.

Dinner: start with the spinach salad at Muriel's. It's warmed slightly by the apple bacon vinaigrette, and topped with a perfect combination of sweet spiced pecans and thinly shaved sweet onions. I usually dislike raw onions, but these were thinly shaved enough that they just blended in with the rest of the salad rather than overwhelming it. Next, I'd have the butternut squash soup from Restaurant August. Butternut squash soup is everywhere, but this rendition was especially creamy and luxurious, just the right temperature, and garnished well. For an entree, I had so many crazy rich good dinners that it's hard to choose, but I guess the prime rib at Besh Steak wins, for being over the top and still excellent. It is probably the largest portion of meat I have ever been served. The veggies on the side were also lovely, though the potatoes were way too buttery. For dessert, I'd go back to Muriel's and its bread pudding, because bread pudding is a must in NOLA, and this one was rich and comforting and the portion size was right.

After dinner: dueling pianos and hurricanes at Pat O'Briens. Even the sixth rendition of Sweet Caroline sounds fine after a couple of hurricanes.

Super late: at 2:30am, a hard cider from the Dungeon poured into a plastic cup and drunk on the streets with all the revelers was pretty great.

Breakfast/Brunch: The corned beef hash and eggs at the Old Coffeepot plus the grits with roasted corn from Zea's plus some boudin and a pastry from Cake Cafe plus an cappucino shakerato (refreshing and strong despite its silly name) from Merchant would be my ideal combo while I recovered from the night before.

While you wait til you're hungry again, roam the shops in the French Quarter. Check out the Mardi Gras and Katrina exhibits at the Presbytere museum (it sounds like a weird juxtaposition, but it totally works). Sit on the benches and watch the boats on the Mississippi. Visit the excellent Aquarium. Browse through the cookbook shop on Toulouse.

Lunch: be more adventurous and leave the Quarter. Ride the St Charles streetcar to S Carrollton Ave @ Willow Street, and walk a block to Boucherie. I liked this place so much I would order the whole meal again without having to supplement from other places: get the duck confit po boy with roasted garlic, bread and butter pickles, arugula and creole tomatoes if you're a carnivore, or the curried vegetable stuffed roasted beet with red jasmine rice and beet hoisin if you're a vegetarian, and split an order of fries. We didn't sample cocktails here, but a sazerac is one of those quintessential things you should try in NOLA. The thai chili chocolate chess pie was fine - I wish my people had been willing to try the krispy kreme bread pudding, though.

Hop back on the street car and take it to Avenue Pub. The selection is great, and you get $2 off a pint between 4 and 6pm.

Dinner: you might be too full for another super rich meal, so sample a bunch of appetizers like the eggplant caviar and olive tapenade, Crispy Smoked Quail Salad with Pears and Bourbon Molasses Dressing, and fried pork cake with poached egg, spinach and warm lentil dressing at Bayona. Check out their beautiful courtyard and toast a successful trip. If you're too full for dessert, order the petit fours plate to go, and eat them in your hotel room after you've digested properly.

Friday, January 20, 2012


Inspired by Mary's post of Gluten Free Goddess' Black Bean and Sweet Potato Enchiladas, we threw a bunch of stuff in tortillas last night, topped it with canned enchilada sauce, and called it a day:

1. Preheat oven to 425.
2. Toss some potato and sweet potato in olive oil, spread on a baking sheet, toss in oven til tender.
3. Thinly slice an onion and saute in olive oil. When it's soft, add a can of black beans, then throw in potato and sweet potato, and a small can of olives.
4. Coat the bottom of a 9x13 pan with a layer of enchilada sauce.
5. Bathe tortilla with sauce by moving it around in the pan, then add some filling plus some cheese, roll up, and leave in pan. Repeat til you're out of space, adding more enchilada sauce as needed to keep tortillas moist-ish.
6. Bake at 350 or so until the cheese melts.

I have a lot to say about our weeklong trip to New Orleans. Hopefully I'll get to it soon!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Chard and Sweet Potato Soup

Chard and sweet potatoes are my go-to winter vegetables. I love them both, and they are plentiful. I usually put them in a coconut milk curry, but my coconut milk consumption is getting a little out of hand. So, when Lynne Rosetto Kasper featured a newer, lighter soup based on these veggies on her podcast, I thought I should try it. I am pickier than I'd like to be when it comes to soup. I almost never like soups with chunks of things in them, possibly because I want every bite to have every taste in it, and if there are more than a couple things, it's impossible to get them all on a spoon. I also have trouble getting just the right salt level, and so soup often seems too bland or too salty for me (plus, Tim and I have different salt preferences). I do love a creamy, pureed soup, but again, often not as healthy due to cream ladenness. I like this one - there aren't too many competing flavors, and the bit of cheese at the end gives it extra earthiness. The lemon juice also balances the saltiness.

Anyway... here's what we made:

original Splendid Table recipe

Sweet Potato and Chard Soup, our version:


1 yellow onion, chopped
1 Tbs. olive oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed with the side of the knife and roughly chopped
1 large yam, about 12 oz.
6 cups water
6 tsps better than boullion
1 bunch Swiss chard, about 12 oz.
salt and pepper
a dash fresh lemon juice
gruyere cheese
additional olive oil

  • In a medium sized skillet, sauté onion with a pinch of salt in the olive oil, stirring often on medium low heat until it is soft and beginning to color. Add the chopped garlic, and keep cooking on a low flame, stirring often, until the onion is golden brown, about fifteen more minutes.
  • Meanwhile, peel the yam and cut it in 1/2" dice. Wash the chard, slice the greens off the stems, and cut the leaves into 1-2" pieces. Thinly slice the chard stems. Combine the yams, chard, water and bouillon concentrate in a soup pot and simmer gently, covered, for about twenty minutes.
  • Add the sautéed onions to the soup, and simmer another ten minutes. Add fresh ground black pepper and  lemon juice to taste.
  • Ladle steaming hot soup into deep bowls, drizzle the top of each serving with some fruity green olive oil, top with croutons and grated cheese.