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Secret Ingredients

November 7, 2011 Food No Comments

What I learned making dinner tonight:

Even the most bitter things will turn sweet and gooey if you supply a warm environment and check in to see how things are going every once in awhile. The secret ingredients are love and patience.

Here’s to caramelized onions and roasted garlic.

What’s Cooking?

March 5, 2011 Food 2 Comments

Thanks for your comments and feedback on my love/hate relationship with food. It’s somewhat comforting to know that I’m not the only one with this problem!

Here’s another true confession: I hoard recipes. I didn’t realize that it was a problem until a friend wanted a recipe for such-and-such and I just knew I had pulled that very thing out of a magazine not long ago… So I went down to the basement where I store my cookbooks and sheepishly returned to the kitchen. I had a 4″ three-ring binder absolutely full of recipes that I had pulled out of magazines or printed off the internet. That did not include the more recent stash piling up on my microwave for quick reference. Or my list of bookmarked recipes. Am I the only one??

I really do enjoy trying new recipes — and these days, I almost never try something unless I have scoured the comments to make sure it’s fool-proof. I guess that makes my paper copies a little obsolete, eh? And while I do love a good recipe for inspiration, I am not afraid of the possibility of screwing something up if I make it up as I go. Like I said, I’m very fortunate for a non-finicky husband!

I promised to share a few of the things coming out of my kitchen recently, so here are two easy recipes as a start. I will provide more over the coming weeks, giving credit where credit is due — many of these recipes come from fellow bloggers I follow. You should check them out for more great recipes, especially if you are getting on the vegan and/or gluten free bandwagon! Also, you’ll see their food photography is MUCH BETTER than mine. One of the occupational hazards of being a food blogger is sacrificing a hot dinner for a photograph — I am not there!

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VEGGIE FRITTATA (compliments of a book club member!)
11 eggs (you could probably use Egg Beaters for some or all of this)
1 leek, thinly sliced
1 bunch fresh spinach (you could use frozen – thawed and drained)
1 ~1/4 lb. ball fresh cow’s milk mozzarella (I used 2 wedges Laughing Cow Swiss + fresh goat cheese)
Salt to taste
2 T butter

1. Preheat oven to 425. Saute the leeks in a little water by themselves until very soft, then add the spinach.  Cook until the water is evaporated and salt to taste.  Let cool slightly.

2. In a bowl, whisk the eggs until a bit foamy, maybe a minute.  Add the leeks and spinach, mix well.

3. In a frying pan (one that will transfer directly to the oven — cast iron works best) melt the butter, making sure to coat the sides as well. Pour in the egg mixture.

IMPORTANT: DO NOT MIX ONCE YOU POUR IN THE FRYING PAN – WILL MAKE IT STICK – THAT WOULD BE BAD.

4. Cook on the low while you break up the cheese and distribute on the top of the frittata. Then transfer to the oven and cook for around 15 minutes or until starting to brown on the top.  Take out and let cool before trying to remove from the pan.  It actually tastes best when just warmer than room temperature.

Substitutions: This is a versatile recipe that also tastes really good when made with potatoes, mushrooms, shallot or leek, really good with shredded zucchini.  Basics are just eggs, cheese, and something from the onion family.

This was served with dinner at book club, but I think it would also work well as an appetizer, if sliced into small enough pieces. Greg and I had this for lunch last weekend, then were able to reheat the leftovers for two breakfasts each. Yum!

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AMAZEBALLS (compliments of The Fitnessista, including all photos. Thanks, Gina!)

2 T vanilla or chocolate protein powder (I happened to have both on-hand, so I use one of each)
2 T almond butter
2 T shredded unsweetened coconut (Unsweetened is critical. I found mine at Whole Foods)
1 T honey (pure maple syrup or brown rice syrup would work)

Pinch of each: sea salt and cinnamon

1. In a small food processor, add the protein powder + almond butter + coconut and pulse until the ingredients are well incorporated.

2. Add the cinnamon, sea salt and sweetener (honey or whatever you decide to use) and pulse again. The mixture will start to clump together.

mixture

3. Add in 1 square of extra dark chocolate (break it apart with your hands), or whatever mix-ins you’d like to use. Dried berries would be delicious. Pulse together one more time to finely chop the chocolate, and assess the situation to see if you’ll need more liquid sweetener for the balls to stick together.

4. Roll mixture into 4 balls with your hands.

balls (2)

Save in an airtight container if you can stop yourself from eating them all on the spot. I keep mine in the fridge. They’re the perfect snack at only ~130 calories each, and I swear they taste like raw cookie dough!

You Can Call Me Betty

April 17, 2010 Food, Friends No Comments

As in Betty Crocker, that is.

I’ve been in the mood to cook lately. It might be the rainy weekends we’ve had. Having garden-fresh vegetables on-hand was probably a contributor as well. And there was certainly the pressure to fix a delicious meal for my book club last week. I enjoy cooking and I’m getting better at it all the time, so I consider it a beneficial hobby. (I’ve just got to get better at photographing what I’m doing!)

Last week, I went for a rainy bike ride on Sunday and came home instantly craving comfort food. I had all the ingredients on-hand to make a white bean tortellini soup for lunch and got to work on that. I make a few modifications to this recipe based on our tastes. I usually add a can of tomato sauce that adds more liquid and a heartier flavor overall. I also add red pepper flakes because we like it spicy. I have found that the smaller the tortellini, the better (thank goodness for Trader Joe’s). Once this was done, I proceeded to eat 3 bowls of it (Greg had one). I absolutely love it and it really hit the spot on that rainy, miserable day.

While I was putzing around in the kitchen over this soup, I also decided to make a pavlova (I actually halved the recipe for just the two of us). My friend Suzie fixed this dessert for a few of us last month and I fell in love with it. The crust is a little bit high maintenance, so I was preparing it for our after dinner treat. Everything worked out beautifully and we gobbled the whole thing up. It’s got a fair amount of sugar in it, but is otherwise not a horrible treat to indulge in. I used a thawed frozen berry medley, a fresh peach, and a fresh mango. DELICIOUS!

The dinner that preceded the pavlova was equally healthy and delicious. I was really on a roll that day! We had mahi mahi with harissa. This was a recipe from Women’s Health Magazine and the picture looked delicious. Unfortunately, I didn’t take a picture of mine and can’t find the picture online. Hmmph! I served this with sauteed spinach, as suggested. The sauce didn’t overpower the fish and the garlicky spinach was the perfect accompaniment. Completely low carb as well. We ate like kings on Sunday!

For book club this week, I made a truffled asparagus crostini appetizer, then whipped up a skillet ravioli with chard and white bean main course (I substitute tiny ravioli instead of gnocchi as a matter of taste) served with a fairly standard issue green salad and then a mixed berry cobbler with vanilla bean ice cream for dessert. Oh – and wine. LOTS of wine. Our book club has been dubbed a “wine club with a reading problem” and that sums it up pretty well. I had the hangover yesterday to prove it…

I’ve got a refrigerator full of fresh vegetables — broccoli, chard, cabbage, spinach, Japanese sweet potatoes — to use up this week. I love being part of a CSA and the challenge of finding delicious ways to make use of the simple abundance of each week’s bounty.

What’s cooking at your house?

This Native is Restless

July 22, 2009 Fitness, Food No Comments

It’s 3:18 on a Wednesday. I decided to come to the office today. Going to the office always makes my stomach hurt the night before as I lay down for bed. The idea of going to the office and working on stuff that I don’t care about and I can’t really make a difference at eats at me. What a way to spend a gorgeous summer day, eh? And by this time EVERY DAY, regardless of where I have chosen to “work,” I am over it. There are things I could do. There are things I could start. There are things I could research. Nope. I’ll choose to do none of it. And I’m not generally what you would call a slacker.

In other news, my shoulders and trapezius muscles have really been bothering me since I started riding longer distances on my bike to train for the Death Ride. The event was 10 days ago and my shoulders/back/traps seem to be worse. I don’t know if it’s how I scrunch my shoulders up because of stress, or the acupuncture is “working” to break things up, or what. All I know is that it doesn’t feel great most of the time.

I am trying to talk myself into working out today, but am easily coming up with excuses to just take today off. We’ll see how motivated I am when I blow this popsicle stand in 40 minutes…

I’m going over to Mel’s house tonight for a little girl talk and dinner.  I think we’re making Stacked Ratatouille using ingredients we have on-hand. For whatever reason, I like eggplant this year. Weird.