Sunday, May 25, 2008

Scrumptious Dessert in less than 30 minutes - Mini Fruit Crisps

Sorry, no picture. But a few weeks ago, and again last night, I made quick 2-person fruit crisps with fruit that was just starting to get a little overripe, and both attempts were highly successful. The first crisp was pear, the second was peach blueberry. For both crisps, I used about 2 cups of fruit (2 medium-large pears or 2 small peaches and couple of handfuls of frozen blueberries, still frozen). I just lazily chopped the washed, unpeeled fruit, without really caring about uniformity.

I tossed the fruit into a small round baking dish - 6 inch diameter, holds about 3 cups.

For the topping, I roughly followed a recipe like this one, scaled down for 2: rolled oats, flour, brown sugar, a dash of cinnamon, and butter (about 1 tbs works for a small 2-person crisp). Then I squish the butter into the dry ingredients with my hands until it's crumbly. In last night's crisp, I used wheat germ in place of the walnuts called for in this recipe, and that worked out just fine. I think the ratio of about 2 cups fruit to 1 cup topping is about right.

Then put it in the oven at 375 for 15 mins or so (since it's small). Pour a glass of soy milk or cow milk, and a relatively healthy, homemade, warm dessert is ready.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Two recent meals from 101 Cookbooks

Last night's dinner: Green curry from 101 Cookbooks

It turned out great and was very easy. I've never made my own Thai-inspired curry before, so one thing to adjust to was how much lighter this was than Thai restaurant curry. Which is a good thing. But it was a bit of a surprise at first how different it was in this healthier, lower fat preparation.

Then for breakfast this morning I had Cinnamon Quinoa

This was also excellent. As you can see, I made mine with strawberries, and the original recipe calls for blackberries. I also didn't have any agave nectar, so I drizzled a little honey on top. I thought this would be more work than it was, but it was actually pretty easy. And so healthy.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Breakfast for a Week

I have been getting into making my own granola lately. So versatile - with yogurt, soy milk, sprinkled on top of my swiss muesli to add some crunch, as a little snack on its own... And 5-10 minutes of work (plus 30 minutes in the oven) gets you all this for a week or more.

Last week I made the Candle Cafe Cookbook version, which was delicious and a little unusual, with part steel-cut oats and part rolled oats. But that recipe had a lot of oil in it, and was a little rich for everyday consumption.

I found Mark Bittman's Granola Recipe and made it tonight.

It's also very good, and noticeably lighter, without the oil and steel-cut oats. Next week I might try making my own recipe that combines the Candle Cafe and Mark Bittman ones.

5-ingredient Lentil Salad

Also adapted from Nava Atlas's 5-ingredient gourmet.

Yum! Super easy, especially with the help of a couple of Trader Joe items, and you don't even really need a recipe.


1 bag Trader Joe pre-cooked black beluga lentils
1/2 container Trader Joe fat-free feta
A few scallions, chopped
1/2 bell pepper, any color, chopped*
Olive oil and balsamic vinegarette, to taste
Salt and pepper to taste


Dump ingredients into bowl and stir.

The original recipe calls for chopped tomatoes. I didn't have any available, so I substituted red bell pepper. I liked the crunch and color it added (and with the green scallions, black lentils, and white feta, it was a very pretty salad). I think tomato would be nice, so next time, I plan to use red tomatoes and yellow pepper, for more flavor and color.

The recipe also recommends serving with warm pita bread. That would have been delicious. Sadly, I didn't have any.

5-ingredient miso soup

No pictures. But this was super easy and scrumptious. Since I used pre-sliced mushrooms, I just dumped them in the pot with water and let them simmer while I chopped the tofu and scallions. Another note: I was just cooking for myself, so I was too lazy to make a side dish. But this is definitely a light soup and some brown rice with soy sauce or perhaps some store-bought avocado sushi would have been a nice complement to the meal.

Adapted from Nava Atlas's Five-ingredient Vegetarian Gourmet:


About 2 cups sliced mushrooms, any variety (I used white, pre-sliced because I had them on hand, but next time I'll use a combination of shitake and cremini for richer flavor.)

8 ounces cubed firm tofu

2 sliced scallions, white and green parts

3 to 4 tablespoons miso, any variety, (I used white) dissolved in a cup water

The recipe also calls for snow peas. I didn't have any on hand, and still thought the soup was good. It would have been nice to have them.


Simmer mushrooms in 5 cups water for 10 mins.

Add the snow peas (if using) and tofu; simmer 2-3 mins.

Add scallions and dissolved miso.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Wish List

I never ended up making Quinoa Salad with Baked Marinated Tofu, so it's on my cooking wish list. Maybe this week.

Other wish list items:

Cinnamon Quinoa from 101 Cookbooks

Mark Bittman's Savory Wheat Quick Bread

Green curry from 101 Cookbooks

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Tonight's dinner - Mushroom Soup and Asparagus Salad

The soup isn't that photogenic, so here's our table all set. The red liquid in our glasses is homemade raspberry iced tea. The soup is a mushroom and wild rice soup from The Candle Cafe Cookbook. I'll try to post the recipe later. I used pre-cooked wild rice from Trader Joe's, which saved some time. It was insanely good, and fat free - the veggies (garlic, onion, leeks, and mushrooms) are sauteed in white wine.

The salad is from the same cookbook, and it's quite photogenic:
We also had a delicious Acme Bread baguette. More later. Gotta go - it's Saturday night, after all.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Quick Tuscan Style Minestrone

From the Mediterranean Vegan Kitchen by Donna Klein. Easy, healthy, and pretty. You can get the recipe through this Google Book link. The recipe is on page 57. This was a breeze with the help of Trader Joe's mirepoix. Though with the food processor, dicing a bunch of onions, celery, and carrot isn't too bad.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Tonight's Dinner - May 4, 2008

Linguine with Artichokes and Lemon from Sunset Magazine

I changed the recipe slightly, using about 3/4 tbs olive oil instead of a full tbs, whole wheat dried (not fresh) spaghetti, and Fage 0% yogurt (which I am obsessed with and always have on hand) because I didn't have any cream. Next time I'd probably get the cream and use it, because though the taste was excellent, the yogurt didn't cling and blend the way I think cream would have. We used plenty of freshly ground black pepper, so the dish had a great bite.

Dandelion Greens, Spinach, Tomato, and Olive Salad

My husband, the Internal Monologuist, made this, and it was great. We'd never tried dandelion greens, but they were abundant at the farmer's market, so it seemed like a good time to have them. My husband used just the tender top half of the leaves, discarding the tougher parts. They had a slightly bitter taste, in a good way. The salad was dressed with a mixture of mostly balsamic vinegar and a drizzle of olive oil, and that was perfect - the sweetness of the balsamic vinegar played nicely against the bitterness of the greens.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Tonight's dinner - May 2, 2008

Mollie Katzen's After-Work Bulgur Special
Vegetable Heaven

I like this dish so much, I keep all the ingredients except the scallions and bell pepper on hand all the time (and these ingredients are used in lots of other recipes I like, too).

Before work, boil 1 and 3/4 cup water. Put 1 cup bulgur in a large heatproof bowl (bulgur will expand). Dump water over bulgur, cover tightly, and leave for work.

After work
, toss bulgur with a handful of currants, pine nuts, a drizzle of olive oil, 4 chopped scallions, 2 tbs lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste. For a prettier presentation, put in bell pepper halves and microwave to your preferred doneness.

I should mention that the above after work preparation took about 10 mins, and was highly entertaining to my toddler, who enjoyed his front row seat at the cooking show. This is how I usually make dinner, with him safely strapped into his high chair, after he's eaten his dinner. He'll only sit there happily for 10-15 mins, so whatever I do can't take long.

Caprese salad

A simple plate of sliced fresh mozzarella, sliced tomato, fresh basil, and olives drizzled with olive oil, salt, and pepper.

I made up the salad while my husband gave our son his bedtime snack.

Lovely Friday night dinner.

Waking up to fresh bread

I've been making a lot of bread in the bread machine lately, also partly inspired by Pollan's writing about store-bought bread and how many (strange, artificial, and unnecessary) ingredients are in it. So last night I tried the delay timer on the bread machine for the first time with this recipe.

It turned out pretty well, considering that I nearly ruined it at 2 AM. Around 2, I heard the bread machine go on to start the bread. It was making a horrible clanging sound. For some reason, in my sleepy stupor, I thought the best thing to do was to add some water. When that didn't stop the din, I investigated further to see that the pan was not fully clicked into place. Once I clicked it, the noise stopped, but then I worried about all the water I added. So then I added some extra flour.

I liked using the delay timer, but think it won't work in our house again during the night. Even after I fixed the clanging sound, it was way too loud during the kneading phase. But I will use the delay timer while I'm at work to have bread ready for dinner. And I'll make sure I click the pan in next time.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Iced Tea

This isn't a recipe, more of a note that, um, it's really easy to make your own iced tea. We were buying lots of the Trader Joe white tea iced tea, which is really good and nearly sugar-free, but then I realized that's kinda silly. And I feel guilty about throwing away (even with recycling) all of those big plastic containers it comes in. So now I make iced tea a lot. Boil a big pot of water. Turn off heat. Throw in a few teabags of any variety. Sweeten with honey if desired. Let cool. Pour in pitcher. Store in fridge. It pretty much makes itself, and we can experiment with herbal teas, green teas, whatever is in our tea shelf (and frankly needs to be used up). Seems kinda duh. I don't know why we weren't doing this before.

And weirdly, when I offer my homemade iced tea to guests, they seem delighted. So I'm thinking maybe others, like me, just thought of iced tea as something you buy in the store or order in a cafe.

Note added 7/18/08 - this is kind of embarrassing, but I recently started boiling just a cup of water, making super-strong tea, and then diluting with cold water, for even faster, more energy-efficient iced tea making. Don't know why this didn't occur to me before. It was written on the side of my box of tea!

Tonight's dinner - Pizza with homemade whole wheat crust

We're gonna try to make this Amazing Whole Wheat Pizza Crust in the bread machine tonight...I'll update later with how it turns out.

Pizza toppings: tomato sauce, mozzarella, fresh basil, and whatever veggies look good when I visit the North Berkeley Farmer's Market this afternoon.

Update: The pizza turned out pretty good. I think next time I'll try to get the crust thinner - it was a bit thick and chewy for our tastes. But the flavor was excellent. We kept it simple with just sauce, fresh basil, and cheese, and served a spinach salad with it using our farmer's market finds.

A favorite breakfast - Swiss Bircher Muesli

This is a delicious and simple mix of raw oats, milk, yogurt, fruit, and/or nuts. This sounds gross, but magic happens as the oats soak, and they become almost pudding-like. Yum!

I don't follow a recipe exactly, but here's one to get you started.

I soak the oats in soymilk (not apple juice as indicated in the link above) with the shredded apple overnight in a covered bowl in the fridge. In the morning, I mix in yogurt, fresh fruit and/or dried fruit, cinnamon, and honey or 100% real maple syrup.

I've only made this a few times, so I've made it a little different each time. It's a fun dish to experiment with - you can change up the type of milk/juice, yogurt, fruit, spice, and sweetener and still get a great result.

Extra tips: Only enough milk to cover the oats, otherwise you get soup. And I use my food processor to shred the apple in like 1 minute. And I leave the apple peel on.

Last night's dinner - Giant Mushroom Popover

Giant Mushroom Popover by Mollie Katzen
Organic mixed greens with feta, olive, and tomato
A glass of red wine, extra wonderful after a long day of work

Excellent. This was the second time I made this. I foolishly left the lid on when I put it in the oven, so it didn't rise as well as I had hoped. But it was still delicious. I followed Mollie's suggestion to make the mushrooms ahead of time and store them in the fridge, so after work all I had to do was warm the mushrooms, add the batter, and bake.


Even as a vegetarian of 20 years and a Californian for the last 12 years, I was inspired by Michael Pollan's books to eat, well, food.

So I've decided to start cooking more. And if I want baked goods, I'll have to make them myself, dammit. (Though I make an exception for my mom's goodies, which we get a few times a year, and for special occasions, because I like birthday cake as much as anyone else.) I'm even planning to start my own small garden. A far cry from running out for take-out every night.

This is not a diet blog. Just a simple food blog. By a working mom with a 19-month-old son. It will mostly be about how we are eating food not "food", but since cooking and eating are a big part of life, some posts will also be about life in general as a thirtysomething, liberal, Unitarian Universalist, mother, and life partner to a fabulous guy.

I hope this blog inspires me, and perhaps a few others, to eat more real food.