Wednesday, December 12, 2007


So the reason, dear readers, all one of you (hi Mark!) is because this past August, I entered law school. And since my contract with those of you in readerland is illusory, I am not bound to post and thus, I did not much.
I also did not cook much. The cooking triumphs I experienced this semester were few and far between. The relationship triumph of having my boyfriend make dinner a lot of the time? That was a nice triumph. We've tried a lot of new recipes, especially for the slow cooker - if you are going to go to graduate school, invest in a slow cooker. It will change your life and you will never order takeout again. We also recently bought a wok and have been discovering the beauty of stir-fry. (Which is a manly thing to do, so men, wok it up. It's the indoor barbecue.)
So - a few cooking triumphs, with recipes to come:
1) Roasted red pepper risotto.
2) Potatoes au gratin (can be made either slow cooker or in the oven).
3) Mini - pineapple upside down cakes.

But the real reason for this post is its finals time. As in, I'm procrastinating. That's right. Although not by cooking as much as I used to. In law school, there isn't time to cook to procrastinate!
But finals requires a different eating schedule. During finals, you feed your mind. I'm always hungry while I study - I eat constantly. How can that possibly be healthy? It's not. Try to pick the highest volume lowest calorie snacks. Popcorn is good. Grapes are great. Oranges are a little juicy but not bad. A granola bar will not make you feel better about life, skip it. Small chocolate covered things are good, as long as you buy them in small packages. Get ones covered in dark chocolate - more antioxidants.
Also consider the smoothie. A morning smoothie with a healthy chunk of protien powder? mmmm!
Buy frozen berries, milk, and vanilla yogurt. Get some chocolate or vanilla whey protien powder, and use as much as you're comfortable with. This normally comes in giant containers, so I'll let you know when I find it in small, manageable sizes. Put in blender or mini-food processor. I actually recommend the mini food processor if you are only making one serving - less mess.
Pour into cup. Enjoy. Blend to your own preferred thickness - straw, spoon, or sip.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Gearing up for Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving, in some families, is prepared by Grandma, who has been slaving in the kitchen all day and then everybody shows up, watches football, inhales all the food, and forgets to thank her while they drift into food comas.
Thanksgiving, in my family, is a massive potluck to which everyone is expected to bring a dish. At least. You are expected to bring as much food as you plan to eat.
So portability is a problem. Tupperware melts when you put hot stuff in it, sometimes you don't want to transfer things from the dish you baked them in, and things get cold!
So I am pleased to share with you the greatest tool ever, not to oversell it.
The Pyrex Portables
These are great. They keep food hot, cold, and well packaged. They are insulated packages with hot/cold packs that solve the problem of melted tupperware.
Investing in plain old Pyrex dishes with lids is still a worthwhile thing to do - they're great for cold/cooled dishes, desserts, etc. and will make your holidays infinitely easier!
And if you grandma makes everything? Call her up and ask if you can bring anything. There is no better way to get favored grandchild status. Unless you clip her toenails. I think this is a no-brainer.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Honey Bran Waffles

This is a great healthy waffle recipe from The Joy of Cooking - which I still maintain that everybody needs to own. I usually half this for two people.
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup coarse wheat bran or miller's bran
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1/3 cup honey
1/2 cup butter, melted
2 eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Waffle iron
Mixing bowl

  1. Combine dry ingredients.
  2. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the wet ingredients.
  3. Combine. Pour into waffle iron.

Quick Potato and Carrot Latkes

Here is another Rachel Ray Recipe (from her small "comfort food" book).
Vegetable oil, for frying
1 sack (24 ounces) shredded potatoes for hash browns
1 large carrot
1 medium onion
2 eggs, beaten
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 tablespoons matzo meal, cracker meal, or all purpose flour

Heat 1/2 inch oil in a large skillet over medium to medium-high heat. To test oil, add a piece of bread to the pan. It should turn golden brown in a count of 10. Adjust heat as necessary.
Place potatoes in a large bowl. Using a hand grater, grate the carrot and onion into the bowl. Add beaten eggs, salt, baking powder, and meal or flour. Combine vegetables and meal with a wooden spoon. Drop mixture into oil in 3 inch mounds. Press down gently with spatula to form patties. Friy in batches of 4 to 6 patties, 1 inch apart, until golden, about 3 minutes on each side. Drain on a paper towel or parchment-lined tray.

I did this with regular potatoes that I shredded myself, but its a pain. Also, making potato pancakes is a messy business and takes a lot of practice.

Chunky Golden Applesauce

This is a Rachel Ray recipe. I haven't made it yet - but it looks good.
4 Golden delicious apples, cored and chunked
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1/2 cup golden raisins
1 cup apple juice or cider
3 tablespoons honey

Combine all ingredients in a medium pot and cook over medium to medium-high heat until apples begin to break down and raisins are plump, 10 to 12 minutes.

Sounds like a great fall recipe!

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Eggplant Steaks

This is an Alton Brown recipe and it turns out pretty well - if you are somebody who doesn't like eggplant, that is fine, but if you are somebody who finds eggplants in their purple rotundity a bit daunting, I encourage trying this recipe. They can be made in the toaster oven and they are fairly easy and turn out pretty good (while being hard to screw up).


1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup thick steak sauce
1/2 cup olive oil
2 tablespoon honey
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
8 (1/2-inch) eggplant slices, purged with salt
1 cup grated Parmesan
3 tablespoons chopped parsley, optional


1 oven set to Broil
1 shallow jelly-roll pan
Pastry brush (if you don't own a silicone one already, buy one)
1 small mixing bowl
Paper towels

  1. In a small bowl whisk together the Worcestershire, steak sauce, olive oil, honey, and apple cider vinegar. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Pat your eggplant dry with paper towels.
  3. With a pastry brush apply the sauce to both sides of the eggplant.
  4. Place eggplant rounds onto a sheet tray fitted with a rack.
  5. Place the tray under the broiler for until eggplant is nicely browned, approximately 2 minutes. Turn slices over and place back under broiler to brown the other side.
  6. Generously sprinkle freshly grated Parmesan over all of the slices. Place back under the broiler for 1 minute to nicely brown the cheese.
  7. Serve plain or sprinkle with freshly chopped herbs.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Cinnamon Jumbles

If you are like me, you have trouble when it comes to some types of baking. I have a lot of trouble with cookies. Usually because I don't let the butter sit out until it actually becomes "softened" or I try to make weird and unwieldy substitutions or I just have trouble when it comes to mixing. I do make delicious cakes, and my macaroni and cheese leaves little room for doubt, so I don't worry too much about my cookies.
I do make excellent Cinnamon Jumbles. Those of you who were lucky enough to have a good family friend who gifted you with the Betty Crocker Cooky Book when it was reprinted a few years ago will recognize these as The Best Cookie of 1880-1900. They are easy to make, don't require a mixer, and are fantastic care-package cookies because they stay soft for weeks. They are also a good "on hand" cookie, made from things you should have in the pantry.
  1. 4 cups flour (sift if you'd like)
  2. 1 teaspoon baking soda
  3. 1 teaspoon salt
  4. 1 cup butter
  5. 2 cups white sugar
  6. 2 eggs
  7. 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  8. 1 1/2 cups buttermilk - (I do not keep buttermilk on hand, so I use either sour cream (low fat, not fat free, or skim milk mixed with a bit of vinegar - check a substitution chart for details)
  9. 1/2 cup white sugar (for topping)
  10. 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon (for topping)
  1. Mixing bowls
  2. Measuring spoons
  3. Mixing spoons
  4. Dredge (optional) for shaking out topping
  5. Refrigerator
  6. Oven
  1. Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt; set aside. Combine vanilla and buttermilk, set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, cream together the butter and sugar. Beat in the eggs, one at time.
  3. Combine the dry mix with the wet mix alternately into the butter and sugar mixture.
  4. Cover dough and chill (for at least twenty minutes, or for as long as overnight).
  5. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Generously grease cookie sheets.
  6. Drop dough by rounded teaspoonfuls onto the prepared cookie sheets, about 2 inches apart. Combine the cinnamon and sugar, sprinkle some of the mixture onto each cookie.
  7. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven, until golden brown. Remove from baking sheets to cool on wire racks.

Travel Cooking

My family likes to stay in places where there are kitchens when we travel, both to reduce the cost of food and to be able to make healthy meals. Right now we are staying in a condo in Hawaii with a full kitchen. Last night my sister and I cooked Marlin for the family to enjoy.
The problem with marlin is that it is extremely tough - a "game fish" and the chunks we got of it were very thick - which we did not cut down.
Marlin is not a common fish on the east coast, leaving me blank on how to prepare it - and even my father said he had never had it before - it wasn't terrible, but I won't cook it that way (see the recipe for Salmon) again. Instead, if you are going to cook marlin, I recommend:
1.) Not cooking marlin
2.) Pan frying small chunks of marlin and mixing them with some kind of tropical fruit salsa
as a topping

Sunday, July 15, 2007


I've talked before about how everyone should own the Joy of Cooking, and one of the many reasons is because when you wake up in the morning and realize that you're out of pancake mix and you have no internet, you can turn to the pancakes and waffles section and find many many great recipes for waffles, from scratch. This is their classic one, and I've halved it to make the perfect amount of waffles for two people - one and a half each.

  1. 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  2. 1/4 plus 1/8 cups white flour
  3. 1/2 tbsp baking powder
  4. 1/2 tbsp sugar
  5. 1/2 tsp salt
  6. 1 egg
  7. 1 egg white
  8. 1/4 cup oil
  9. 3/4 cups milk
  1. 2 mixing bowls - one small, one large
  2. 1 waffle iron
  3. 1 spatula
  1. Plug in waffle iron to heat it up.
  2. Mix all dry ingredients in the large bowl.
  3. Mix wet ingredients together in the small bowl and pour into the large bowl.
  4. Mix all ingredients until combined.
  5. Pour 1/3 of batter into waffle iron. Allow to cook for ~5 minutes.
  6. Eat. Enjoy.

Equipping the Kitchen

So - lets talk measures. Measuring is important when it comes to cooking, although I've been cooking long enough that I'm able to Rachel-Ray a lot of things and approximate. But for baking in particular, I do like to measure.
My boyfriend and I just moved in together and decided to buy good measuring cups, cutting boards, and a few other good items.
We went with these measuring cups and these spoons, both by OXO. The measuring cups are great because not only do they come with a 3/4 cup and 2/3 cup measures, they have half-measures marked on them, making it particularly easy to halve a recipe, particularly one that calls for 3/4 of a cup of something. They are really good - I highly recommend them to anyone who is looking to upgrade their measuring cups.
We also picked up some bamboo cutting boards - one large, one small. I love a good wood cutting board - because they take the chopping action much better then a plastic one and feel better.
We also picked up a slow cooker at Value Village for $4 - brand new, still with instructions - don't ever forget to look in strange places for lucky finds like that :-).

Saturday, July 14, 2007


Sometimes I can't make stuff well. One of those things is Calzones. I've tried once or twice to make them, and what happens is well, they don't come out right. Mostly because I like to make them healthier with whole wheat flour. This works really well in pancakes and chocolate chip cookies, recipes I'll post later.
But don't do it with calzones. Otherwise, this recipe will be pretty good - try substituting any of your favorite pizza toppings for the stuff.
1 env. active dry yeast
1 1/2 c. warm water (105-115 degrees)
4 c. all-purpose flour
1/4 c. olive oil
2 c. pizza sauce
1 lb. Mozzarella cheese, diced
1 c. mushrooms, sliced
1 green pepper, chopped
1 sm. can olives, chopped
12 sq. slices boiled ham
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Olive oil
For pizza dough, dissolve yeast in 1/4 cup water and let stand 10 minutes. Combine flour and salt in large bowl. Make well in center and pour in yeast mixture, remaining water and oil. Mix with fingers or fork until dough can be gathered into ball. Transfer to floured board and knead until smooth, shiny and elastic, about 15 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap and damp cloth and let rise in warm draft-free area until doubled, about 1 1/2 hours.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Punch dough down and divide into 6 equal parts. Roll out 1 part at a time (keep remaining dough covered with damp cloth) into 10-inch round. Spread 1 tablespoon pizza sauce over half circle and sprinkle with 1/6 of the cheese and mushrooms. Lay a small amount of peppers, onions and olives on. Cover with 2 squares ham and season with salt and pepper. Fold turnover fashion and pinch edges together to close. Repeat for each calzone.

Bake directly on oven racks until nicely browned, about 8-10 minutes. Brush each hot calzone with remaining pizza sauce and a few drops of olive oil. Sprinkle with oregano and serve immediately.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Alas, it has been awhile.

It has been awhile since my last post, but in the meantime I have graduated from College and moved. So, it is justified that it took me so long.
This is an easy, quick and dirty, soup-from-a-can recipe. I recommend using Trader Joe's Roasted Red Pepper soup that comes in a 32-oz box.
1 box roasted red pepper soup
1 1/2 cups rice
1/2 block tofu
1 cup frozen peas or other vegetables

Cutting board and knife
Large pot

  1. Pour box of soup into pot - if you like less sodium, use less soup and add water.
  2. Bring soup to a boil. Add rice. Cover and allow to simmer.
  3. Cut tofu into thin strips, add to soup.
  4. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Allow to simmer for 20 minutes. Add frozen peas.
  6. Allow to simmer an additional 10 minutes, or until soup is ready.

Monday, May 28, 2007


I have a new thing - mushrooms. I've been starting to eat them slowly, usually preferably marinated in some balsamic vinegar or something. They're still slimy and the same Kingdom as the stuff that grows between your toes, but every once in awhile I do like to try something new.
But here is a good roasted veggie recipe for the mushroom, pepper, and onion person in your life.
  1. 1/2 lb mushrooms
  2. 2 red peppers
  3. 1 sweet onion
  4. 2-8 cloves garlic (depending on taste)
  5. Garlic powder
  6. Balsamic vinegar
  7. Olive oil
  1. Oven at 350
  2. Jelly roll pan
  3. Cutting board/knife
  4. Bowls for marinating
  5. Saute pan
  1. Wash all vegetables.
  2. Chop mushrooms and put them in the bowl.
  3. Combine 1/6 (eyeball it) cup olive oil and 1/6 cup balsamic vinegar and pour over the mushrooms. Turn mushrooms to coat and allow to marinate.
  4. Chop red peppers. Put in a bowl and coat with a little olive oil. Set aside.
  5. Chop onions and garlic.
  6. Prepare a saute pan and pour in some olive oil.
  7. Saute onions until fairly tender, but not brown. (Transparent is good.)
  8. Combine marinated mushrooms (with the marinade), red peppers, and onions in jelly roll pan.
  9. Spread vegetables to be about one to two vegetables thick.
  10. Bake in the oven at 350 for 10-15 minutes or until tender, delicious and the red peppers have become yellow-orange in color.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007


So every once in awhile, I do make myself a piece or two of fish, because it is good for you and it is easier to be a vegetarian who eats fish - I still haven't managed to reconcile the two behaviors, and after four years of being a vegetarian, letting fish back into my life does not feel like too terrible a thing to do, because I do not eat it daily or even weekly. But either way, this delicious recipe from the Food Network's episode of the Paula Dean show - Dean Family Cookoff - comes out perfect every time and is so easy to make.
  1. 1 lb piece of salmon (this is not important - if you use more fish, use more seasoning and butter, if you use less fish, use less)
  2. lemon or lime juice
  3. 6-8 thinly sliced pats of butter
  4. salt
  5. pepper
  6. garlic powder
  7. 2 tbs Olive oil
  1. Glass baking dish
  2. Oven @350
  3. Knife & cutting board
  1. Slice salmon into approximately 4oz pieces (it is most important that they be equal)
  2. Pour olive oil into the bottom of the pan.
  3. Place salmon skin side down on the pan.
  4. Drizzle lemon juice over tops of salmon
  5. Sprinkle salt, pepper, and garlic powder on salmon to taste.
  6. Top off with pats of butter, 2-3 per piece of fish
  7. Bake in oven at 350 for 25 minutes.
Really delicious served over rice or cous-cous.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

5 Minute Key Lime Pie

If you're like me, you don't really like key lime pie - I find it a little too sweet and a little too fluffy. Also, I know what's in it, and it will kill you.
So when I found this recipe on the back of a Keebler Reduced Fat Graham Cracker Crust, I decided to give it a shot anyway, because it looked easy and low in fat. It's delicious, and a great thing for any summer party, cuz it tastes like it was twice as hard to make.
  1. 1 Reduced Fat Graham Cracker Crust
  2. 1 pkg. sugar free jello
  3. 12 oz. Light Key Lime Pie flavored yogurt
  4. 1 8oz. pkg cool whip (thawed)
  5. 1/4 cup water
  1. Pyrex measuring cup
  2. Mixing Bowl
  3. Whisk
  4. Spatula
  5. Pie-crust in pan
  6. Refrigerator
  1. Heat water in measuring cup in microwave (1.5 minutes or until boiling)
  2. Add Jell-O and whisk together
  3. Add Jell-O to yogurt in a mixing bowl
  4. Fold in cool-whip
  5. Pour into pie crust
  6. Let sit in fridge for 2-4 hours
A helpful tip - the plastic container that comes with your pie crust is also a lid - just flip it over!

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Lemon Bars

I love lemon bars and I make them all the time - this recipe is easy to do and doesn't actually require a mixer - its just easier with one. I made these when I was living in Rome a few times, because Italian lemons are about twice the size of normal lemons and squeezing out the juice was really easy. Overall, for something made from scratch, these are totally worth the work - brownies are not.

1 c all-purpose flour
1/2 c butter or stick margarine, softened
1/4 c powdered sugar
1 c granulated sugar
2 tsp grated lemon peel (optional)
2 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 large eggs
powdered sugar

1 mixer
1 mixing bowl
1 8x8 or 9x9 pan

1) Heat oven to 350F
2) Mix flour, butter, and 1/4 c powdered sugar. Press in ungreased square pan, 8x8x2 or 9x9x2 inches, building up 1/2 inch edges.
3) Bake crust 20 minutes; remove from oven.
4) Beat remaining ingredients except powdered sugar with electric mixer on high speed about 3 minutes or until light and fluffy. Pour over hot crust.
5) Bake 25-30 minutes or until no indentation remains when touched lightly in center. Cool in pan on wire rack. Dust with powdered sugar. For bars, cut into 5x5 rows.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Spinach and Artichoke Dip

Spinach and Artichoke Dip is my favorite thing to make for parties. It's easy to make, delicious, and can be served with crackers, tortilla chips, or carrots and other crudites. It's also low in fat, if you want it to be. This recipe doesn't use mayonnaise, because mayonnaise is gross.
I eyeball this when I make it, depending on how many I'm cooking for. You can check out for more thourough recipes.
  1. Frozen chopped spinach, slightly thawed (use as much as you want)
  2. Canned artichokes, drained and chopped up (use as much as you want)
  3. Garlic
  4. Approx. 2 tbsp. butter
  5. Cream Cheese
  6. Sour Cream
  7. Salt
  8. Pepper
  9. Parmesan, mozzarella, moneterey jack or other white cheese.
  1. Cutting board
  2. Knife
  3. Omelet pan or wide bottomed saucepan
  4. Stirring Utensil (spatula or wooden spoon)
  1. Melt butter in saucepan on med-high heat
  2. Cook spinach in butter for about 2-3 minutes, until totally thawed and flexible
  3. Add garlic and saute for another minute.
  4. Add chopped artichokes, continue to saute.
  5. Add cream cheese and sour cream (if you are trying to make a large batch, use 8 ounces of each, or use 4 ounces if not trying to make a large batch).
  6. Stir constantly until melted, then melt in cheese and season with salt and pepper.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007


Judaism, in general, is a food based religion. Okay, so there is some stuff about G-d in there too, but mostly, its about the food - I only know this because I'm not actually Jewish, and when you are friends with a number of reform/liberal/non-practicing Jews you realize that the only thing they really connect with in their faith is the food. The High Holy Days - Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippour both involve eating massive amounts of food. Yom Kippour also involves the fast, as it is the day of atonement.
Passover is every Jew I know's least favorite holiday. For more information check out Passover, which exists mostly to remember the Exodus from Egypt, lasts for approximately a week (again, I'm not actually Jewish), and involves eating nothing with leavening. "This commemorates the fact that the Jews leaving Egypt were in a hurry, and did not have time to let their bread rise. It is also a symbolic way of removing the "puffiness" (arrogance, pride) from our souls." Different denominations of Judaism observe the rules of Passover differently - Reform tends to eat pretty liberally, just not eating breads and things with flour, etc.; some Jews also don't eat rice, corn, peanuts, and legumes (beans) - which includes corn syrup, which is in nearly everything in American pre-prepared foods.
If you're a vegetarian on passover, it can be very difficult, because Matzoh is not a great source of protein, and it is incredibly high in carbohydrates. Meats are still available to those who eat them, and fish for the pescetarians, and for the Vegetarians the options are pretty much down to mushrooms and animal proteins such as eggs and cheese.
I had this at a Seder last night, it's called Matzoh Brie and it is basically scrambled eggs with Matzoh in it. This is a smaller recipe, probably good for the individual on passover who is trying to eat.


  • 1 Passover matzo (can be found in most supermarkets)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • Butter/Cooking Oil Spray
  • Salt, to taste
  • Syrup, jam, etc. for topping
  • 2 large bowl
  • Cold Water
  • 1 frying pan/skillet


  1. Break the matzo into medium-sized pieces.
  2. Put them in a small bowl, cover with cold water, and let them soak until soft.
  3. Add the pieces of matzo to the beaten egg, stirring once or twice to coat. Season with salt.
  4. Grease a small or medium skillet and pour in the egg mixture.
  5. Scramble matzoh/egg mixture like scrambled egg (push around in skillet).
  6. Turn off the heat when the mixture starts to brown.
  7. Serve with jam, syrup, or a topping of your choice.
To the Seder I, with my Unitarian Universalist upbringing, brought mashed potatoes with garlic and cream cheese. To make these you will need:

  • 3-6 potatoes (I like to use Yukon Gold and leave the skin on)
  • 3-12 cloves of garlic (I like garlic)
  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • Cream Cheese (to taste)
  • Salt (to taste)
  • Pepper (to taste)
  • Vegetable brush
  • Cutting board/sharp, heavy knife
  • Mixing bowl
  • Large Pot
  • Colander
  • Stove
  • Potato Masher or electric mixer
  1. Scrub and peel potatoes (leaving the skins on is a matter of personal taste and also largely depends on the type of potatoes - Yukon Gold and Redskin potatoes are good with the skin still on, some other types aren't - its entirely up to you.)
  2. Cut potatoes into small chunks - 1 inch cubes or a little bit larger - they will boil much faster.
  3. Put potatoes into a pot of water and bring it to a boil.
  4. Chop garlic
  5. When potatoes are soft enough to be smushed against the side of the pot with a fork, empty them into the colander.
  6. Melt the butter into the pot and cook the garlic for a few moments, then add the garlic and the potatoes to the mixing bowl.
  7. Add the cream cheese to the top of the bowl and stir it in, then use potato masher or electric mixer on a low speed.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Twice-Baked Sweet Potatoes

This is another reason to own the Joy of Cooking - twice baked sweet potatoes!
Sweet Potatoes
Heavy Cream
Oven at 400
1 baking dish
1 small bowl
1 large spoon
1 fork/potato masher
  1. Pierce potatoes several times with a fork.
  2. Bake potatoes for 1 hour
  3. Slice potatoes in half and scoop out insides with a spoon.
  4. In a small bowl, mash potatoes with heavy cream, butter, and salt to taste, then refill potato skins and bake at 375 for 30 minutes.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Slow Cooker Vegetarian Couscous

This is another recipe from
1 tablespoon dried onion flakes
2 carrots chopped
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can garbanzos drained
1 veggie bouillon cube
1 tablespoon diced garlic
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon tumeric
1/4 cup raisins
1 1/2 cups cooked couscous
1 slow cooker/crockpot/rice cooker
  1. Put all ingredients except for couscous into the crockpot.
  2. Cover and put on the high setting for 3 hours.
  3. After 3 hours, stir the mixture, shut off the crockpot, and then add the cooked couscous.
  4. Let set for 10 minutes.

Baked Macaroni and Cheese

There came a point where in my life where I had to admit to myself that cheese should not come in powder. And while I still enjoy the sporatic box of Kraft Mac&Cheese, I have since moved on to a more grown up form of Mac&Cheese which is only a little bit more difficult to make and can be made even if your kitchen is almost completely bare. I'm going to put in both a very specific recipe and a much more general recipe so you can have some general guidelines of things to make sure you have.
This recipe came from my first vegetarian cookbook Ok, So Now You're A Vegetarian, by Lauren Butts. It's a great book for anyone you know who just became a vegetarian, particularly if they're in high school.
4 tbs. (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups skim milk
2 1/2 cups grated Cheddar cheese
1 1/2 cups dry elbow macaroni
Salt & Pepper
Breadcrumbs (optional)
Oven at 350
Large pot
Frying pan or saucepan
8x8 glass baking dish
1. Boil some water and cook up the Macaroni. When the Macaroni is about half done, start the sauce. When the macaroni is all done, just drain it and set it aside - since this is baked, it's okay if it gets a little cold.
2. In the small saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter.
3. Whisk the flour and salt into the butter. This will form a paste, but don't be afraid.
4. Gradually whisk in the milk and simmer for 4-6 minutes, stirring. The sauce will become thick - about the consistency of slightly melted ice cream. Add salt and pepper to taste.
5. Add half of the cheddar cheese and melt it in.
6. Pour the cooked macaroni into the baking dish.
7. Pour the sauce over the macaroni and stir to ensure all macaroni is coated.
8. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese. (I actually like to stir the remaining cheese into the macaroni until it melts a little bit, and then top with breadcrumbs.)

This is a really easy recipe to make larger or smaller, and I'll be posting one of my other favorite mac&cheese recipes at a later time. Also, it gives you lots of leftovers for the week!

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Stovetop Italian Tofu with Roasted Red Peppers and Snow Peas

The boyfriend and I got busy in the kitchen the other night - in a totally G-rated way. Feeling experimental, we variated a little on the themes we learned when making the below-mentioned Lemon Rosemary Tofu. The results were fantastic. This is a three-food-group meal, totally FDA approved, all unsaturated "healthy" fats and actually totally vegan. Until I covered everything with Pecorino Romano cheese at the end :-D.
1 block firm or extra firm tofu, pressed.
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
4 tbsp. Italian dressing (we used a Wishbone Olive Oil Vinaigrette)
1 can Vegetable Broth
Italian Seasonings (oregano, basil, thyme, or a mixed container)

1 package couscous of desired flavor (we used a Near East parm. flavor) prepared according to package directions

2 red bell peppers
2 tbsp. olive oil
Italian Seasonings

Snow peas
2 cups water

1 large frying pan with deep sides (omlett pan or wok will work best)
1 two-part-pot (these are called either pasta pots or steamers, it is not essential. If you have a metal colander you can also set that over a smaller pot, or you can just use a regular pot.)
1 oven or toaster oven at 350 degrees
1 small pot to prepare couscous in
1 good knife
heat resistant spatula

1. Cut tofu into strips and/or bite sized pieces.
2. Heat olive oil in pan, fry tofu in pan on medium-high until one side is browned. Flip tofu.
3. While the other side browns, add the garlic and onions and cook until translucent.
4. After the onions are ready, pour in the italian dressing. Fry everything in the dressing until coated. Turn heat to medium-low.
5. Pour vegetable broth in the pan. Allow to come to a boil.
6. Let simmer for ~20 minutes on medium-low, or until almost all liquid has evaporated.
7. While the broth is simmering, prepare snow peas and red peppers by chopping off the ends of snow peas and coring and chopping the red peppers.
8. Brush red peppers with olive oil, spread evenly on pan, and put in oven.
9. Fill pasta cooker/steamer with 2 cups of water and bring to a boil. Put snow peas in the colander part (or just in the pot if you don't have a steamer) and allow to cook until tender (about 10 minutes), making sure the pot doesn't boil dry.
10. Turn red peppers and add seasoning.
11. After 15 minutes, prepare couscous according to package directions.
12. Grate some cheese to put on top, or serve cheese-less.


Saturday, March 10, 2007

A quick note on pancakes

Pancake mix is a waste of money. For very little more time, you can make your own pancake mix, and its cheaper and tastes better and you know what goes in it.
For good pancake mixes, I like to consult the Joy of Cooking.
The Joy of Cooking should be on your shelves at all time. If you had to move to southeast wherever, and could only take one cookbook and wouldn't have internet, you would take The Joy of Cooking. It's authoritative, and the recipes are actually good. It offers variations and different ideas.
A great cooking website is Cooking for Engineers. Because in the past, men have refused to admit that cooking is a science instead of a "domestic art", cooking has been viewed as "weak" and "feminine" which is a load of crap. But Engineers and scientists make great, if not anal-retentive cooks, because they are so good at following procedures.
So check out Cooking for Engineers here and discover the joy that is cooking.
Also buy the Joy of Cooking because its something everybody should own.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Andes Brownies

In honor of my roommate's birthday on March 5th, I'm posting the recipe for Andes Brownies. I made these for her birthday three years ago when they had come out with delicious Andes baking chips. The chips have since disappeared from the grocery store, but regular Andes work just fine.
These are a great St. Patrick's day recipe, because they're green, and they're also good for Christmas. What they are best for though, is making people think you've put more effort into baking than you have.
Andes Brownies
1 box brownie mix
eggs, as required by mix
oil, as required by mix
water, as required by mix
1 box Andes chocolate mints (if you work at Olive Garden, you could also just steal a lot of those mints) - I would say to use about 20 mints or so.
oven, as required by mix
mixing bowl
mixing utensil
1 gallon freezer locking bag (Ziploc, Glad, etc.)
rolling pin, hammer, or other smashing utensil

1.) Bake brownies as instructed on package. Clean mixing utensil. (And probably everything else, but I'll not dictate.)
2.) While brownies are baking, unwrap Andes and place into freezer bag. Work quickly, because your hands will melt the Andes if you take too long to unwrap them.
3.) Gently use rolling pin or hammer to smash Andes into smaller pieces. (You can use your hands but you may melt the chocolate.) You want each Ande to break up into about four pieces of relatively equal size. Don't get too anal.
4.) When the brownies come out of the oven, immediately pour the Andes bits over the pan, spreading the chunks as evenly as possible. Wait about 2 minutes for them to melt, then using your mixing utensil, carefully spread the melted, minty, Andes goodness around on top of the brownies.
5.) ALLOW TO COOL. This is key. Yes, they look delicious, but if you do not allow them to cool, you will not get the full Andes Brownies Effect. You can refrigerate them uncovered to speed up the process, but do not freeze.

The finished brownies will be soft and gooey, with a hard mint chocolate layer on top.

Saturday, March 3, 2007

Lemon Rosemary Baked Tofu

This is another great recipe from It's a good pantry staple - something you can make with stuff you should have on hand. (If you're a vegetarian, or live with one.)
1 block of extra firm tofu packed in water (frozen and thawed)
2 tablespoon margarine
2 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup whole wheat flour + 2 tablespoons
1 lemon juiced and zest (or a few generous squirts of lemon juice...about 1tbsp.)
4 tablespoon rosemary
1/2 onion chopped
2 cloves of garlic minced
1 cup of veggie broth
1 Pyrex 9x9 dish
1 frying pan
cutting board
small container to roll tofu in (a tupperware dish works well for this)
Oven at 350
  1. Slice the tofu on the short end to create 12 similar size cutlets - press the tofu for at least 30 minutes to drain.
  2. Once drained, dredge the tofu through the flour and brown in olive oil in a skillet till browned on each side
  3. Place all the browned tofu into a 9x9 baking dish.
  4. In the skillet add 1/2 tablespoon of margarine and sauté the onion and garlic until they are translucent. Then add the remaining margarine and 2 tablespoon of flour and combine well. When it all forms a paste, add the juice and zest of the lemon, rosemary and the veggie broth and stir well to combine all ingredients. (If you are going to make rice to go with it, start boiling the water now.)
  5. Pour the sauce over the tofu and bake in a 350 degree oven for 15 - 20 minutes.
This is best served over rice, if you'd prefer something a little weird, try noodles.

Good Knives

I don't understand how anybody cooks without good knives. I just don't get it. You should never ever have to saw through a piece of meat or a vegetable. Nor should you have to hack - gravity and the knife's weight should do most of the work for you.
The thing about knives that sucks is that knives are expensive. Good knives are really expensive. I'll readily admit that I'm a knife snob, but there are far worse things to be a snob about. I'm also lucky - my father is an even bigger knife snob and he will habitually clear out his knife drawer. I get the leftovers, and now I'm set for life.
Knives, like anything else made well, will last a long time. You can get them sharpened or buy a sharpener yourself, depending on where you live and how comfortable you feel sharpening your own knives.
Here are a few tips to remember when you are knife shopping:
1. Start small. Don't buy more than you can afford at once. If you can afford a fancy Henckels knife block, power to you, but you might not need all of those knives. Start by investing in what you really need. Think about what you chop the most frequently - for example, if you chop a lot of vegetables maybe you should be looking at a flat bladed santoku, and if all you cook is meat, make the investment in an 8 inch meat knife.
2. Do some research. Look at different brands, different companies, different styles of making the same knife. Read reviews. Ask other people you know who cook.
3. Know how a good knife should feel in your hand. This sounds stupid, but people have different sized hands and one brand might not work for you.
4. Comparison shop. Get knives off of e-bay. Just because knives cost a lot doesn't mean you have to pay full price.
5. Don't be a blockhead! All your knives don't have to be the same brand just so you can have a "clean kitchen" without knife clutter. Don't just buy a set, or think that all the knives you buy have to fit into your knife block. Explore other options - both magnetic strips for hanging knives over your stove (not suitable for clumsy people or homes with small children), or consider the Kapoosh Universal Knife Block .

Using up the Fridge Chocolate Cake

So I sometimes like to experiment with cake mixes, and sometimes our fridge is full of half-empty cans of stuff that just beg to be turned into something delicious. This is today's.

2/3 box of chocolate cake mix
2 eggs
1/3 cup of vegetable oil
1/3 cup of water
3 tbsp. sour cream
chocolate chips
1/2 can cherry pie filling (or you can use, I suppose, regular icing)

8 inch square cake pan
Oven at 350

1. Combine all indgredients.
2. Put in oven.
3. Cook for about 25-30 minutes.
4. Pour on pie filling, or allow to cool before icing.

Friday, March 2, 2007

Tofu-Chickpea Curry

So my boyfriend has an apartment right next to an H-Mart (an Asian grocery store which carries many many types of tofu and other foods not normally found in Safeway.)
This makes for great vegetarian adventures. One of my favorite websites for such recipes is, which,being a vegan website provides some of the best tofu recipes I've tried yet and last night's was no exception.
Tofu-Chickpea Curry
1 large onion (chop fine)
2 cloves garlic (feel free to double)
1 block firm tofu
1 can chickpeas
curry powder
A few tablespoons oil for frying
1 wok
1 cutting board
1 really good knife (sadly, boyfriend fails me in this category.)
1. Add finely chopped onion to wok with oil, fry at medium heat until tender.
2. Add garlic cloves and fry until the onion starts to brown, make sure heat is low enough not to burn the garlic.
3. Add tofu cut into strips. Fry the tofu strips and onion/garlic mixture until the tofu starts to brown.
4. Add 1 1/2 cups water and 1 can of drained chickpeas. Bring to a boil. Once at boil, reduce heat, cover pot, and simmer for 5 minutes.
5. Add curry spices/mix. Simmer, stirring constantly for 5 minutes--this is the time when your tofu and chickpeas will absorb the curry flavor, so you don't want to rush this stage.

This went really well with Asian noodles, it would also be good with some rice. We had grilled red peppers alongside it.

Thursday, March 1, 2007

Peppermint Meringues

Another healthy and delicious recipe. The long cooking time is annoying, but totally worth it.

Peppermint-Chocolate Chip Meringues
16 red-and-white peppermint candy rounds
4 large egg whites
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
Pinch coarse salt
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup baby chocolate chips

1.) Preheat oven to 225°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or aluminum foil (shiny side down).
2.) Place candies in a heavy-duty zip-top plastic bag. Squeeze out air, seal, and using a heavy-bottom small saucepan, crush well.
3.) In a large bowl, beat egg whites, cream of tartar, and salt with a mixer until soft peaks form (about 2 minutes). Reduce speed to low and put in 1 tablespoon of sugar at a time, beating for several seconds between each addition. Increase speed to high and beat until stiff, glossy peaks form. Blend in crushed candies and chocolate chips.
4.) Drop 16 well-rounded tablespoons of meringue onto each baking sheet, spacing them 1 inch apart. Bake 1 hour on the oven's top rack. Move cookie sheets to bottom rack and bake 1 more hour. Turn off oven; let meringues sit until oven is completely cool. Remove from baking sheets and store in airtight containers.

Raspberry Swirl Cheesecake Pie

This is one of my favorite recipes - it's so easy to make low fat, and in general its very easy to make. It comes off of a Keebler graham cracker crust package.

1 8oz pkg cream cheese (use neufchatel cheese for a low fat version) softened
1 can sweetened condensed milk (use fat free for a low fat version)
1/4 cup lemon juice, divided
1 egg
1 graham cracker crust (chocolate or regular, can use low fat version)
1/2 cup seedless red raspberry preserves

Graham cracker crust in aluminum pie pan
Oven at 300

1.) In a small mixing bowl, beat cream cheese on medium speed of electric mixer until fluffy. Gradually beat in sweetened condensed milk and 3 tablespoons of lemon juice. Add egg, beating until just combined.
2.) Pour half of cream cheese mixture into crust. In small bowl combine preserves and remaining lemon juice. Spoon half of preserves mixture over cream cheese mixture in crust.
3.) Top with remaining cream cheese mixture and remaining preserves mixture and remaining preserves mixture. Use knife or narrow spatula to swirl preserves into cream cheese mixture.
4.) Bake at 300*F for 50-55 minutes or until center is almost set. Cool on wire rack for 1 hour. Refrigerate at least 3 hours.
5.) Garnish as desired. Store in refrigerator.


For my first recipe, I'd like to bring out a staple recipe that I use. Eighteen months ago I bought a 2lb bag of yeast at Costco (for $3, totally worth it), and thus my career as breadmaker was born. This is my most tried-and-true recipe, one that is both easy to make and easy to alter.
2 2/3 cups flour
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp basil
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp yeast
1 tbsp sugar
1 c. warm water
olive oil
extra flour
shredded Italian cheese (parm, mozzarella, romano, etc.)

cookie sheet or pan (any size and shape will do, as long as it is more than 12in square/in diameter)
large mixing bowl
rubber spatula
optional: dredge for flour (can be bought at restaurant supply stores)


1. Mix flour, spices, and salt together in a large bowl.
2. Make a well in the center of the bowl (by pushing the flour up to the sides).
3. Add the yeast and sugar to the well.
4. Pour the water into the well.
5. Wait for the yeast to react (about 5 minutes - it will look like small explosions).
6. Mix dough. Turn out on a lightly floured cutting board/surface.
7. Knead for ~10 minutes, until the dough is "smooth and elastic" - about the texture of a small child's skin.
8. Rinse and dry the bowl, then pour in ~2 tbs of olive oil and swirl around so the bowl is coated.
9. Add the dough to the bowl, then turn it once to coat it with oil.
10. Cover with saran-wrap or a wet cloth.
11. Let rise for 30min - 1hr (until doubled in size).
12. Heat oven to 450 and grease a pan.
13. Squish dough into a round or square shape, depending on your preferences. The dough should be about 3/4 of an inch thick all around. Pour cheese on top, also depending on your preferences. (about 1 c. is usually sufficient.)
14. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until cheese browns nicely.
15. Eat.

In which one feminist tries to reconcile her hobbies and her beliefs by creating a blog.

I'm a vegetarian, a feminist, and a prolific baker/maker of food. I love to cook - the weight of a good knife in my hands, the scraping of a spatula around the edge of a bowl, kneading bread dough until it is "smooth and elastic" - and it has nothing to do with my femininity. It is also not an ironic statement about my feminism.
I have never felt as if women belonged in the kitchen, because growing up, my mother stayed as far as possible from the kitchen - usually somewhere in the basement creating a digital imaging system that hospitals around the world use today - while my father taught my sister and I to make spaghetti so she wouldn't starve when he taught late.
This blog is mostly for my own use, so I can access the recipes I use reglarly at any time, any day, anywhere in the world, but if in the process I end up sharing some really great recipes with the world? I'm okay with that too.