Sunday, February 27, 2005

Eggplant Caponata?

Originally uploaded by lesliegardner.
Here is what my first attempt at Martina's Eggplant Caponata looks like - does it look right???

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Pan Glazed Tofu with Thai Red Curry Sauce

Pan Glazed Tofu
Originally uploaded by lesliegardner.
This is a very good use of tofu and super easy! I thought it needed more simmering time, but I also made too much sauce. One of those "Oops - I added too much coconut milk. Oh well, I'll just add a little too much of everything else!"
Also, I used my vegan soup stock instead of chicken broth!

2-4 Servings
Time: 20 min (if you don't make too much sauce)

1 one-pound pk firm or extra firm tofu
1/4C coconut milk
1/4C chicken broth or stock
1T fish sauce
1T lime juice
1t thai red curry paste
1t granulated sugar
1T peanut oil
minced fresh cilantro for garnish

Cut tofu widthwise into eight 1/2" thick slices. Blot dry with paper towels.
Mix coconut milk, broth, fish sauce, lime juice, curry paste and sugar in a small bowl. Set aside.
Heat oil in large nonstick skillet until shimmering. Add tofu and cook over med heat until golden brown, 6-7 min. Turn and cook about 5 min more
Add coconut milk mixture to pan and simmer, turning tofu once, until liquid reduces to thick syrup and tofu is glazed, about 2 minutes. Transfer tofu to serving platter and scrape the glaze left in pan over the tofu. Garnish wiht minced cilantro and serve immediately

Monday, February 21, 2005

Piquant Meatballs

Since you asked, Martina. I think we originally got this recipe from someone that Mom worked with in Florida. I remember eating it for the first time while I was reading Nine Coaches Waiting by Mary Stewart, and for that reason they are always linked together in my head! Brains are weird! Anyway... I'm not going to post all the recipe since it is basically the sauce that makes it unique. Use whatever recipe you use for meatballs (meat, breadcrumbs, onion, egg, salt, etc.) and make them into small meatballs. The smallness is part of what makes them cool - although we hardly ever take the time to make tiny meatballs anymore.

The sauce -

1 bottle Heinz Chile sauce (if there is a W brand chile sauce, I don't want to know. I can only assume it would taste TERRIBLE and not be good for the recipe)

1 can jellied cranberry sauce (not whole - although I have made that mistake before and it is not tragic)

some brown sugar - say a couple of goodsize spoonfulls

half a chile sauce bottle's worth of water.

I usually heat up the cranberry sauce and the chile sauce together in an electric frying pan (or whatever you call those things that have lids and plug in) - mushing up the cranberry sauce with a fork. I am not such a micromanager that I would insist on this method - I magnanimously grant permission for you to mush up the cranberry sauce any way you see fit. hee hee. After that is combined pretty well I add the sugar and stir it in, and then the water. Give it another good stir then add the meatballs! cook on medium heat until the meatballs are done (about a half hour? I'm not sure on that.. it might be longer) You can cook it on a lower temperature for a longer time and get a nice thick sauce.

We usually have it over rice with home made cole slaw (or green vegetable) and corn bread. Yum!

I've had a variation on these that was grape jelly and salsa that wasn't bad. I can only imagine grape jelly and ketchup is horrible. I like the cranberry sauce because it adds that extra layer of tart but rich flavor. Dang. Now I am hungry (again!) and it is totally too late to eat!

Crazy Apple Beans

I know the apple part sounds kinda weird, but it's actually pretty good - similar to BBQ beans, just maybe a little more tangy from the fruit. Also, you don't have to use Goya beans, though I'm sure the Goya people would love it, if you did. They're actually pretty cheap. You can usually find them in those discount, bag-it-yourself-you-mofo grocery places as they seem to carry a lot of South of the Border products

Beans, Apples & Sausage

1 can Goya Small Red Beans, drained

1/2 lb. sausage, crumbled

2 cups apples, peeled and sliced

1/2 cup light brown sugar

2 medium onions, sliced thin

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 1/2 cups tomato juice

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. black pepper

1/2 tsp. chili powder

1. Sauté sausages until brown.
2. Combine all remaining ingredients with beans and add to sausage.
3. Cover and simmer 30 minutes till apples are soft and tender.

Serves 3-4

Sunday, February 20, 2005

Vegan Soup Stock

Originally uploaded by lesliegardner.

I love this recipe since it appeals to my No Waste leanings. If I were a hunter, I'd have to find something very useful to do with eyeballs and earwax but as it is, I don't even like to waste vegetable parts. Now I just save my onion and garlic skins in the fridge until I feel like making broth! It's also a good use of all those glass jars I save!

Ends and skins, but not roots, of one or two onions, rinsed and chopped coarsely
garlic clove peels
2 teaspoons coarse salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon rosemary
1 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon dried garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon ground dried chili pepper
water to cover

Place vegetable ingredients in a stock pot and add spices on top. Cover with water. Bring to a boil and simmer for 20 minutes, stiring occasionally.

Remove from heat. Strain and store in a glass jar or other airtight container (discard what is filtered out). Allow container to cool before storing. Refrigerate and use within a few days, or freeze for long-term storage.

Check out Basic Vegan Soup Stock on Boutell.Com's web site.

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Let's Deep Condition!

Ok, this one isn't a food recipe, but recipes using food for deep hair conditioning! They are mega easy, plus I told Martina I would put them here. They are from Rona Berg's book called Beauty: the new basics.

Oil or Nothing

1/4 -3/4 cup olive or almond oil
(depending on the length of your hair)
A few drops of lavender oil

1. Shampoo you hair.
2. Heat the olive or almond oil until it's warm to the touch. Add the lavender oil.
3. Gently massage the oil into your scalp and hiar, from top to tips.
4. Heat with a blow-dryer (using a diffuser attachment) at low speed until dry. (the heat opens the cuticle and helps the oil absorb better.) Then shampoo again.

South of Shanghai Moisturizing Treatment

In Chinese medicine, ginseng is believed to cure impotence. It can also rejuvinate dry, colored hair and scalp. (Transcribers note: what kind of correlation are they making ?!?!?!)

1/2 avacado
2 pinches of ginseng powder
1 egg yolk

1. Mash the avacado and mix in the ginseng powder and egg yolk.
2. Massage the mask into your scalp, wrap a thin towel around your head, and leave on for 10 minutes
3. Rinse, then shampoo.

Tuscan Protein Pack

Egg is rich in protein, and the oil will moisturize your hair. After applying, wrap your head, go into the backyard, and imagine yourself sitting outdoors on a terrazzo in Tuscany.

1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup olive oil
1 egg

1. Mix the honey and olive oil
2. Scramble the egg and mix it in (transcribers note: we discussed this and you do NOT cook the egg like, just mix it up like prior to making an omelette)
3. Massage into the hair, and let it sit for 20 minutes
4. Shampoo out, Rinse.

Monday, February 07, 2005

Quick Tagine-Style Chicken

Recipe courtesy Rachael Ray

30 Minute Meals

Supermarket Exotic

Recipe Summary
Difficulty: Easy
Prep Time: 12 minutes
Cook Time: 23 minutes
Yield: 4 servings

Tidbit: Cubed tender cuts of lamb or diced eggplant or tofu may be substituted for the chicken in this dish. Tidbit: Double or triple the recipe for spices and store in cool dry place.

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, 2 turns of the pan
4 cloves garlic, smashed beneath the flat of your knife with the heel of your hand, discard skins
1 1/2 to 1 3/4 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into large bite-size pieces
1 1/2 teaspoons grill seasoning blend (recommended: Montreal Seasoning by McCormick) or coarse salt and coarse pepper
2 medium or 1 large yellow skinned onion, quartered and sliced
10 pitted prunes, coarsely chopped
1-ounce box or 1/4 cup golden raisins
2 cups good quality, low sodium chicken stock, available in paper containers on soup aisle

Spice blend:
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons sweet paprika, eyeball it
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander, eyeball it
1/2 teaspoon tumeric, eyeball it
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon, a couple pinches

1 1/2 cups chicken stock
1 1/2 cups couscous
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, eyeball it
2 scallions, finely chopped

Chopped cilantro leaves or flat-leaf parsley
Finely chopped scallions
Mango chutney, any variety and brand -- available on the condiment or International food aisles

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Add extra-virgin olive oil, 2 turns of the pan, in a slow stream, and add smashed garlic. Season the chicken with seasoning blend. Scatter chicken around the pan in an even layer. Cook chicken pieces 2 minutes on each side to brown, then add the onions, prunes, raisins and stock. Mix spices in a small dish and scatter over the pot. Cover and reduce to moderate heat. Cook 7 or 8 minutes, remove the lid and stir.

To prepare the couscous, bring chicken stock to a boil. Add couscous, extra-virgin olive oil and scallions and remove the couscous from the stove immediately. Cover and let stand 5 minutes. Fluff the couscous with a fork.

Uncover chicken and cook another 2 to 3 minutes to thicken slightly. Adjust the seasoning, to taste, and serve chicken on a bed of couscous. Garnish with chopped cilantro and scallions. Serve with chutney.

Other Recipes from this Episode

Smoked Almond Stuffed Dates

Green Pepper and Tomato Salad

Saturday, February 05, 2005

Eggplant Caponata

I think this recipe originally came from The Food Network. Wherever it is from, it is REALLY good. We usually use it as a topping for bruschetta. It tastes best at room temperature (though sometimes we can't wait that long). It is one of those things that tastes even better the next day, so it doesn't hurt to make extra.

1 eggplant, peeled and cut in medium dice
12 ounces sweet Italian sausage
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 small red onion, peeled and minced
1 teaspoon minced fresh peeled ginger
1/2 cup golden raisins
1 teaspoons chopped capers
1 cup chopped fresh or canned tomatoes
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup orange juice
1 tablespoon curry powder
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon honey
1/4 to 1 cup water
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary leaves
2 tablespoons chopped scallions

Place a large non stick pan over a medium heat and when it is hot, add the eggplant. Cook until the eggplant is golden brown on all sides, about 10-15 minutes. Remove the eggplant and set it aside. Reheat the pan, add the sausage and cook over medium high heat until golden brown, about 7 minutes. Discard the fat. When the sausage is cool enough to handle, roughly chop it. Reheat the pan an add the oil. Add the garlic and onion and cook for 2 minutes. Add the reserved sausage, raisins, ginger root, capers, tomatoes, salt, orange juice, curry powder, pepper flakes, honey, reserved eggplant and 1/4 cup water, stirring well after each addition. Reduce the heat to medium low and cook until the eggplant is soft and the mixture is chunky and saucey, adding more water if necessary, or about 30 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and add the vinegar, basil, cilantro, parsley, rosemary and scallions. Serve at room temperature.

White Bean Chili

Originally uploaded by lesliegardner.
I was totally unenthralled with this soup until I completed the final step of adding a whole bunch of cheese! Now I think it's spectacular! OK, good. Do we need a rating system? If we go with the standard iPod five stars, I give this a good solid three. Maybe not really 100% postable, but I was anxious to prove to you all that I intend to post recipes, not just stories and random questions!

8C Vegetable broth
2 chopped onions
2C dried navy beans, soaked overnight
1C dried great Northern beans, soaked overnight
1C cooked or canned garbanzo beans
1/2C canned diced green chiles
1t crushed red pepper flakes (or chopped thai chiles)
2C canned tomatillos, crushed
2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced
1T tabasco sauce
2t ground tumeric
salt and pepper to taste
2C shredded monterey jack cheese (8oz)
shredded pepper jack to garnish
diced red onion to garnish
hot wing sauce to garnish

First let me say "to heck with garnishing". Next let me say "what are great northern beans?" I filled that gap with more garbanzos and more navys. Lastly, "Fred Meyer doesn't carry tomatillos but green salsa seems to have worked fine for me"

In a large stockpot, combine the vegetable broth, onions, navy and great northern beans, garbanzo beans, green chiles, pepper flakes, tomatillos, jalapeno peppers, tabasco and tumeric.
Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until the beans are tender, about 1.5 hr. season to taste w/salt & pepper.
Puree some of the chile to thicken and stir in the cheese.
Serve hot, topping each serving with the garnishes.

Friday, February 04, 2005

It was...Teflon...poisoning!

So Teflon is poisonous, right? So do any of you lovely creative ladies have any ideas for what to do with a heart shaped cake pan whose teflon is peeling and I shouldn't be cooking with anymore? I almost tossed it tonight but thought - if I made soap it could be a great mold for a giant Lush-style block of soap. But I don't like to make soap. Any ideas? In 7 days it goes!

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Curried Chicken Penne with Fresh Mango Chutney

I got this out of Cooking Light, and it is SO GOOD. I think you could reasonably substitute tofu for the chicken. I would try, but I fear the dreaded boob-rash. This is great as left-overs too - the flavors get even more intense. It is a nice combination of spicy and sweet.


2 cups diced peeled ripe mango (about two mangoes)
1 cup finely chopped onion
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon curry powder
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon chopped peeled fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt


1 teaspoon olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 cup light coconut milk
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons red curry paste
1 to 2 teaspoons thai fish sauce
2 cups broccoli florets
2 cups cauliflower florets
4 cups hot cooked penne rigate (about 2 cups uncooked pasta)
2 tablespoons chopped green onions (Optional)

1. to prepare chutney, combine first 9 ingredients in a medium saucepan; bring to boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes or until most of the liquid evaporates and mixture is thick, stirring occasionally.
2. To prepare chicken, heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic and chicken; saute 5 minutes. Combine coconut milk and next 4 ingredients (coconut milk through fish sauce), stirring with a whisk. Add coconut mixture to pan; bring to a simmer. Add broccoli and cauliflower; cover and cook 7 minutes or until vegetables are crisp-tender, stirring occasionally. Stir in chutney and pasta; toss well to combine. Sprinkle with green onions if desired.

Clearly I need brain food!

Today I took a recipe to the store to get ingredients for white bean chile. So I got home and was putting it together and it kept seeming strangely foreign even though I knew I'd made it once before (because I'd written "very good" on it). I kept getting confused with the ingredients, which is not unusual. I normally have to look at the recipe twice for each addition or action. Then I realized I had TWO white bean chile recipes out - one on either side of the stove! I had been looking at whatever one caught my eye first! AUGH! Luckily, they are pretty similar so it was totally salvagable. It is simmering now and if it's good I'll post it. Seems that it will be mighty spicy with a whole teaspoon of crushed red peppers and two fresh jalapenos! Yow!