Category Archives: Recipes

Tofu Success!

Despite not feeling well, TPE wanted dinner last night. Perusing the ingredients in the fridge and taking TPEs request for something light into account, I settled on a stir fry. Since become vegetarians, these are the moments where I have attempted to make tofu edible. These moments have not turned out well, both for different reasons.

In search of a recipe that would appeal to TPEs palate, I settled on one in Deborah Madison’s cookbook (what a godsend this book is!) that called for fried tofu that was then glazed in soy sauce and brown sugar. Let me tell you…this was the way to make tofu. I’m not crazy about the idea of frying it all the time, but this gives it some very nice texture and the glaze gives it a nice flavor. When its hot its a little crunchy, a little chewy, and almost a little gooey on the inside. I won’t be messing with tofu anymore because this is how I’m going to cook it (perhaps with other glazes however).

It it occurs to me while writing it that there is no reason why tofu must be used almost exclusively with Asian cuisines. I know that’s tradition because the roots of tofu are Asian, but with my new insight on frying and flavoring it I can see applications for it. Some time in the next couple of weeks, I think I’m going to experiment with it in Mexican cuisine. Properly fried and seasoned, I could see it in a burrito. Whatcha think?

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Guest Recipe: Zucchini Fritters

This looks awesome. TPE has been sick the last couple of days, but we’ll be trying this first chance we get!

Who Knew

How hard it would be to find a good recipe for Aduki beans that don’t include a lot of heat.  Here is one I might try this week — Aduki, Orzo, and Peppers — but it doesn’t really strike my fancy that much.

Yum-Oh!

Goodness no, I won’t be posting about Rachel Ray.  She’s fine and all for what she’s trying to do, but I don’t have much interest in what she cooks.  No, I’m going to post about dinner last night and for once an annoying TV aphorism seem to fit the bill.

The menu last night was pizza (three kinds, of course…stupidly, or course) with peach galettes and homemade vanilla ice cream for desert.  TPE has not been feeling well of late so I needed something that would fit her sickly-stomach.  At the same time, I finally had some time to cook and was inspired to use the fresh peaches and ripening tomatoes from our Farmers Market.

Nothing comes easy in this house though.  TPE loves my homemade crust, She-Who-Hums (seriously…she’s sitting here humming as I type!) despises and detests it.  So, she would only agree to homemade pizza if I bought a Pilsbury crust (which I find atrocious).  With that under my belt, my plan was something like this:

  1. Get the crust for the pizza done, let it rise.  My uncomfortable relationship with yeast notwithstanding.
  2. Get the ice cream in the freezer to set.
  3. Make the galette crust.  Easy breezy.
  4. Cut the peaches and make the filling.
  5. Pre-heat the oven.
  6. Fill the galettes and put them in the oven.
  7. Get the toppings ready for the three pizzas.
  8. Cook pizzas.

A good plan, right?  I think so.  However, if you happen to let your yeast dough rise in your oven, its important to remove it from said oven before engaging in step #5.  I forgot that important detail and almost lost a bowl, crust, and house in the bargain.  TPE even asked me if I knew that you couldn’t put plastic bowls and towels in the oven.

Anyway, aside from that minor disaster things went very well.  Here are the highlights:

  • The filling for the galettes was sliced peaches, a TB of flour, and sugar.  Once on the galette, I drizzled it with honey.  If I were very adventurous, I might sprinkle a little rosemary on there sometime for an herbal note; other ideas?
  • She-Who-Hums had a three cheese pizza.  With olive slices.  It makes me want to vomit, but she seemed happy.
  • TPE’s pizza was straightforward — some sauteed mushrooms, diced tomatoes, and fresh mozzarella and parmesan.   It was surprisingly flavorful with a nicely textured bite.  Next time, I’m going to use a little basil puree to season it a touch more.
  • My pizza was an adaptation of one from Deborah Madison’s cookbook.  There was no sauce on it, save for some (good) olive oil.  I layered it with diced tomatoes (rather than cherry tomatoes), sliced and sauteed zucchini and squash, some caramelized onions, a little mozzarella, and 6 oz of goat cheese.

The pizzas turned out really well, as did the galettes.  But the highlight of the meal probably was the ice cream.  I used 2-parts heavy cream and 1-part milk to increase the butter fat, and added a couple of egg yolks.  It was awesome.

As a side note — Madison’s recipe for pizza dough is the best one I’ve found yet, particularly for this climate.  I strongly recommend it.  I added about 2 TB of sugar too.

Guest Recipe: Lentil Croquettes

A friend from high school recently asked me for a lentil recipe because (to paraphrase) “she was tired of eating mushy lentils with no flavor.”  I dug up this link to a recipe from Deborah Madison’s cookbook that is fun, yummy, and not too hard.  You can find it linked here, with appropriate credit given to Ms. Madison.

Guest Recipe: Corn-Tomato Scramble

Looks yummy, from epicurious.com.

Guest Recipe: A new twist on lasanga

Fontina, spinach and pesto courtesy of Epicurious.

Don’t Be Galled by Galettes!

After savoring the leftovers from my Father’s Day feast yesterday, I was looking forward to getting back in the kitchen today.  That’s especially the case because I’ll be spending some time out of the kitchen again for the next few days and I wanted to use up some of our ingredients that weren’t going to make it much longer.  I finished up work a bit on the early side and planned to make an elaborate dinner when I got home.

For once, things went according to plan.  I was intent on using the remainder of our button mushrooms and baby portabella mushrooms.  In perusing my cookbooks, the one thing that caught my eye was a recipe for a galette.  I’ve never made a galette before and I’m not smart enough to avoid pastry crusts in the middle of the week, regardless of whether it means dinner will be a disaster.  So undaunted, I decided to jump into this dish with one small change — I’d add some white beans.  TPE hadn’t really had any protein (save for cheese) the past few days, I figured it was a good idea to add some in.

Much to my surprise, the galette is easy.  (TAKE THAT PASTRY CRUST!  HA!)  The dough is simple, easy to use, and very tasty.  It also has a lot of butter in it, so healthy it is not.  But we don’t eat them every night and you only live once, so I embraced the butter this evening.  The base of the dough is a cup of flour, two teaspoons of sugar, a pinch of salt, and 6 TB of butter cut in (yeah, I said 6 TB).  After you get the crumbled texture you’re looking for, you start sprinkling ice water until a ball forms.  Let it sit and you’re ready to go!

The crust is very flexible and you can put just about anything in it after you roll it out.  You can go savory, as I did this evening; you can go sweet, with poached fruit or even a fruit-cheese mixture.  And the beauty of a galette, according to a cookbook of mine, is that the rough edges add to the charm.   The filling tonight was onions cooked in olive oil with fresh rosemary, mushrooms, and some white beans.  There is a sauce that includes tomato paste, red pepper flakes (more on this in a second), broth, and Dijon mustard.  You could clearly add cheese and any sort of herbs as well.  (Note: The basic recipe comes from Deborah Madison’s cookbook.  The white beans were my idea…I know, real impressive to add beans, huh?)

I served mine with some fresh broccoli and cucumbers, for a meal that I’d say was pretty good.  The problem was that TPE apparently does not tolerate any heat in her food.  And when I say “any”, I mean it.  There couldn’t have been 1/4 TSP of red pepper flakes in the dish and it came into the cooking process very early on, so it was a real background flavor to the dish.  However, she alternatively accused me of making her face go numb and trying to poison her.  So the dish was a success, but the meal was not unfortunately.

What did TPE end up eating?  Lasagna of course.

But I won’t give up!  I’ll find something for the galettes that won’t make her gag.  I’m already pondering Madison’s suggestion of leeks and goat cheese.

Black bean enchiladas

Earlier this week I made the black bean and squash enchiladas that were featured in my Guest Recipe from last week. Its a really nice recipe, but I had some trepidation about making it for TPE. She’s only had one experience with squash so far. It was an OK experience with squash, but with her its always hit or miss. I was also a little concerned because most of the flavor in this recipe comes from various chili powders, and TPE does not tolerate heat in food very well. I figured I’d try adjusting it for her tastes and go from there.

All in all, I’d say the experiment was a success.  TPE not only liked it, but she had seconds.  The squash (and zuchinni…I mixed it up) wasn’t really mushy and retained its texture, but she still really liked it.  I managed to get enough flavor in the recipe by playing with cumin, salt, and cheese (some of these aren’t part of the original recipe) for both of us, while keeping the heat in the background.  I imagine that those of you who have different tolerance for heat would be able to adjust as necessary too.

Probably the most interesting part of all this was that she came out of the experience saying that the black beans are her favorite.  That surprised me a bit because just last week TPE was adamant that black beans were not high on her list of things to each and that she didn’t really want me to force them on her!  This is quite a relief to me, because different beans mix with different ingredients.  If we were really going to limit the different beans that we could eat, it was going to be a problem for me because of my need for variety in my diet.

Guest Recipe: Gelato a Limone!

OK, I’ve already displayed my weakness for making creamy, icy treats.  This one looks fabulous and I will try it first chance I get.

I tried the black bean and squash enchilada from