Sunday, December 16, 2007


My mom mailed me a photocopy of her recipe card for this when I was in college. She used to make it for us when we were kids and it originally came from the Whole Earth Catalog. If I may also use the adjective form of the word, it's truly granola Granola.

I usually halve the recipe because it's too much for one pan and I only have one acceptable baking sheet at the moment.


4 Cups rolled oats
1-1/2 Cups shredded unsweetened coconut (I omit)
1 Cup wheat germ
1 Cup chopped nuts
1 Cup sunflower seeds
1/2 Cup flax seeds
1/2 Cup bran (I omit)
1 Cup ground roasted soybeans (I omit)
1/2 Cup sesame seeds

(Other things I've added and liked: Raisins, pumpkin seeds, puffed brown rice cereal, Kasha and cinnamon)


1/2 Cup oil
1/2 Cup honey (I use agave nectar)
1/2 tsp vanilla

Combine 2 mixtures and spread on cookie sheet with sides.

Bake at 325F about 15 minutes until light brown. (I go for 20 minutes. When you first take it out of the oven, it will seem wet but it will crunch up after it sits out for a bit.)

Turn frequently (I do every five)

Update: I realized I already put this recipe within one of my CSA posts - oops. I'll leave it in though because it's good enough for its own post!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Quinoa and Black Bean Salad


This is one of my standard potluck faves. I cut it out of the Oregonian a million years ago and they cite Gourmet Magazine as their source.

The secret of success for this salad is the steaming of the quinoa. (The traditional cooking method for quinoa, boiling it in a measured amount of water, does not produce the light, fluffy texture that works so well in a salad.) This dish provides a complete protein and can stand alone as a luncheon or light supper entree.

[I guess you could tell that the last paragraph was from the recipe, not me, when you saw the word "luncheon"?]

1-1/2C Quinoa, uncooked (I use 2 because I think the dressing to salad ratio is too high)
1-1/2C cooked black beans, rinsed if canned (1 can)
1-1/2 T red wine vinegar
1-1/2C cooked corn (cut from two large ears) (or 1 can)
3/4C finely chopped green bell pepper (I like to use red for color)
2 pickled jalapeno chiles, seeded and minced (omit if serving to the heat-averse)
1/4C finely chopped fresh cilantro

5T fresh lime juice, or to taste
1t salt
1-1/4t ground cumin, or to taste
1/3C olive oil

To make salad: In bowl, wash quinoa in at least 5 changes cold water, rubbing grains and letting them settle before pouring off most of water, until water runs clear, drain in large, fine sieve.
In saucepan of salted boiling water, cook quinoa 10 minutes. Drain in sieve and rinse under cold water. Set sieve over saucepan of boiling water (quinoa should not touch water) and steam, covered with kitchen towel and lid, until fluffy and dry, about 10 minutes (check water level in kettle occasionally, adding more if necessary).
While quinoa is cooking, in small bowl, toss beans with vinegar and salt and pepper to taste.
Transfer quinoa to large bowl and cool. Add beans, corn, bell pepper, chiles and cilantro; toss well.

To make dressing:
In small bowl, whisk together lime juice, salt and cumin and add oil in a stream, whisking.
Drizzle dressing over salad and toss well with salt and pepper to taste. Salad may be made 1 day ahead and chilled, covered. Bring salad to room temperature before serving.

Per Serving:
Calories: 319 (35% from fat)
Protein: 9g
Total fat: 13g
Cholesterol: 0g
Fiber: 10g
Sodium: 405mg
Carbohydrate: 45g

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Sauteed Zucchini and Yellow Squash With Mint

I figure it is finally time I contribute something instead of just thankfully reading all of Leslie's excellent food-blogging. We have so much zucchini! So I went in search of zucchini recipes and found this one in the Martha Stewart Living Cookbook. I sort of put it together telephone game/ gossip style: I read the directions before I went to trader joes, and then came home and winged it! What I ate tonight was more INSPIRED BY than an exact replica: I sliced the garlic instead of mincing, my zucchini was cut in a crazy way, and my onions caramelized a little bit. but it was still good! The mint and lemon are really fresh against the warmer taste of the onion/garlic.

serves 4 to 6

Don't crowd the vegetables in the pan; they will steam rather than brown. If your skillet is not large enough, cook them in two batches.

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium garlic clove, minced
1 small onion, thinly sliced
2 medium (about 12 ounces) zucchini, cut into 1/2" pieces
2 medium (about 12 ounces) yellow squash, cut into 1/2" pieces
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup fresh mint leaves, cut into 1/4" thick strips

1. Heat 11/2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and onion, and cook until translucent but crunchy, about 2 minutes.

2. Raise heat to medium high. Add the remaining 11/2 tablespoons of olive oil, the zucchini, yellow squash and red-pepper flakes. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender and golden brown, 5-10 minutes. Remove from the heat, stir in the lemon juice, and season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a serving dish, sprinkle the mint on top, and serve hot.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

CSA week 10

During week nine I forfeited the entire share to my mom as I was in lovely Vancouver, BC. So for week ten, I got the entire share. I wish I'd remembered to take a photo - it was a shocking and somewhat threatening bounty. I've been cooking in a panicked frenzy all week but I've finally managed to make all of it except one jalapeno that got lost underneath the beet greens, into dishes. Admittedly many of them have been mediocre, but even those are important learning experiences and all of them were perfectly edible.

My original inventory consisted of 1 giant freaking head of cabbage, 3 peaches, 8 or so new potatoes, 2 pasilla peppers, 1 banana pepper, 2 jalapenos, 1 cuke, 5 summer squash, basil, 5 or so tomatoes, 5 ears of corn, 5 beets, and a giant head of lettuce.

Do you kind of see what I mean by threatening?

My first big cooking day I used the beets and 1/4 of the Giant Head of Cabbage to make borscht and the other 1/4 GHoC, half the potatoes and one jalapeno to make a spicy cabbage soup. Both were pretty good and I ended up pureeing both of them. I can't seem to stop myself from putting a perfectly good soup in the blender. Maybe I miss baby food or something. But I also thought they might freeze better that way, and some of this food was going to have to be frozen.


So now the borscht looks like a strawberry daiquiri and the spicy cabbage looks exactly like baby food - yay!


Next up: Caprese salad for me which was to DIE for. I am speechless over how good those fresh tomatoes were. And fresh mozzerella was on sale at the store - hooray!


And a salad for Dag that is sort of Caprese but with cucumbers added and all cut up into chunks like a greek salad we had in Vancouver that he really loved.


Then yesterday I made a spicy corn chowder using all the corn and the peppers. I substituted 2% evaporated milk for the heavy cream and it worked just fine - I think I like that trick. The recipe called for just the yellow banana peppers but I threw in the pasillas because what the heck else was I going to do with them so it came out very green and yeah, a lot like baby food. It tastes fine though, I swear. It also went to the freezer.


Today I made zucchini fritters, which were OK but I'm not really willing to cook with enough oil to make them come out all crispy like they're supposed to. So they were kind of floppy but stil tasted good.

Then the 3rd 4th of Giant Head of Cabbage became stir fried with garlic and white balsamic vinegar with toasted walnuts.


The final 4th of GHoC became a low-fat non-mayo slaw which I'm hoping my mom will like. She has an emotional attachment to traditional coleslaw but wants a healthier alternative. This tastes a lot like it to me. If it passes her taste test, I'll come back and post the recipe.


THEN I made a beet green barley risotto using ideas from my new favorite cookbook and an entry from a vegetable blog I have been following. It came out pretty good and I like the pretty red and green colors.


Then, last but not least, almost in tears by this point (kidding), I used another recipe from Super Natural Cooking to use up the potatoes. It is a really cool technique of cutting the potatoes almost all the way through in slits and putting spicy oiled salted garlic into each slit and baking. UMMMM!


Holy moly, I'm really looking forward to my lunches this week!

I am also looking forward to having someone to share the next box with!

CSA Week 7


I received my half of week seven's CSA box two days before departing the country for a week's long vacation. So my goal was to use all the vegetables I could in a giant batch of vegetarian enchiladas - half for the freezer and half for my sister to eat while she took care of the cats.

Check out these gorgeous carrots!


Here are the enchiladas!


I really did just saute all of the veggies together and layer them with a can each of black beans and corn over and under corn tortillas (much faster and easier than rolling them up!) with some red sauce, which I believe I made from scratch although I can't rightly remember how I did that now, cheese and olives. They came out really good! I can tell because they were all gone when I got home!

That melon you see in the first photo was unbelievable. If it were any juicier, it would have been, well, juice. That went right into my smoothies and half into the freezer for future smoothies.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

CSA Week 6

Sorry this has kind of become the Leslie Show, but I've become so excited about food lately!

Here is my half of the veggies this week.


The warm weather we've been having has either been making more harvestables or mom is giving me more than half because this is the most I've seen yet! I have to admit it panicked me just a little. Then after work on Friday, I went back out to Sauvie Island Farms with Jen and another friend to pick more berries plus peaches! And now that I have seen how inexpensive it can be, I went a little nuts and picked 5lb of blueberries, 2.5lb each of marionberries and raspberries and a grocery bag full of peaches.


So I spent all day in the kitchen today peeling and freezing peaches (on a pan first so they won't stick together when they go in the bag) and cooking most of the vegetables into a yummy Indian style dish in the crock pot. I would have done all of them but my crock pot isn't that large.


I know what you're thinking: "what were you doing in the kitchen all day after you got done with the peaches, staring at the crock pot?" Well, of course, I was inspired to make Dal and Saag Paneer to go along with the vegetables.


It all turned out just great despite having dumped most of the curry for the Saag Paneer on the floor and having to use some other spices instead - I am so pleased!

But also, I made a giant batch of my mom's granola from the 70s for my BF, who has been very generous with his car lately even though I run into yard debris containers and lose the plastic backing to his side mirror and stuff. And while I'm out being so careless with his posessions, he is coming over and feeding my cats for me. So I think he at least deserves some homemade granola.


I had a bowl and it tasted just like my mom used to make. It is so good - here is the recipe:

Granola (from the Whole Earth Catalog)
4C rolled oats
1/2 C shredded unsweeteend coconut (mom & I omit this)
1C wheat germ
1C chopped nuts (I used cashews)
1C sunflower seeds
1/2C flax seeds
1/2C bran (didn't use it)
1C ground roasted soybeans (mom & I omit this)
1/2C sesame seeds
1C pumpkin seeds (my addition)
1/2C rice cereal (my addition - found it at whole foods - looks like little brown BBs and adds a wonderful little rice krispy style crunch)

Heat: (oops, just now realized I forgot to heat it)
1/2C oil (I used 1/4 C)
1/2C honey (I used 3/4C agave nectar)
1/2t vanilla (I was out)

Combine two mixtures. Spread on cookie sheet with sides. Bake at 325 about 15 min until light brown. Turn frequently.

I ended up baking it longer because it seemed a little wet while I was turning it. But once it's been out of the oven for a while that goes away, even if you really only bake it for 15 minutes - I practiced on the second batch.

Monday, July 16, 2007

CSA Week 5

I made the trek out to Forest Grove to pick up the veggies from my mom this week. Here's a photo of most of the haul:


Broccoli, 2 kinds of squash, onions, blackberries and blueberries (unbelievable head of lettuce not pictured)

I pretty much put everything together into a giant stiry fry very loosely based on another of Heidi Swanson's recipes from her beautiful book, Super Natural Cooking, which I am deeply in love with. I may have mentioned this before.

But when it came time to add the hoisin sauce, I just couldn't. So I didn't. And it turned out that the fresh mint and basil from my mom's backyard, the ginger, garlic and red pepper provided plenty of flavor and I could still taste the veggies (I find hoisin a little overpowering in vegetarian dishes).


I tried serving it with this tofu noodle thing I found at the store, which as it turns out is pretty much devoid of nutritional value but I liked the texture and taste anyway.


So far I've noticed:

The amounts have been good for two people except last week I needed help with all the lettuce because some of it did go bad the week before but probably because I accidentally bought spinach, forgetting I had lettuce coming.

There are little green worms etc. Today I threw a couple of those out my window on a piece of broccoli into the courtyard. I don't know if they can eat the plants out there but at least they have a better chance of survival than in my garbage disposal. I wonder if any of my neighbors noticed. Hee.

CSA Week 4

In week 4 mom and I met halfway at Whole Foods and sat for an hour talking and eating the Bing Cherries we got in the box. Well, mom ate half of one cherry and threw it back in the bag because she wasn't really hungry after her WF Spanikopita. I, however, ate half the bag sitting there and the other half once I got home.

I used part of the yellow squash to make a spicy chipotle frittata with spinach

Frittata after

I'm also excited to be using my iron skillet.

Since mom kept the kohlrabi she gave me all the squash. She likes the idea of one person keeping all of one veggie and I am more of the "split everything" camp. I just want to have a taste of everything, even if it's only a little. She'd rather maximize possibilities for each item, which I totally get.

(Jen, how did you feel about quotes in the above context? Unnecessary? OK?)

So I chopped the rest of the squash in with some roasted red pepper, cannelini beans and basil I'd preserved in olive oil.

Salad toppings

To this, I added tuna fish and dumped it all over some of the lovely Red Tide lettuce we got in the box. Delish.

The blueberries were, of course, smoothie stuff.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

CSA week 3

During week 2, I was out of town so my mom got the whole haul. For week 3, I took the summer squash and broccoli and roasted it in olive oil and balsamic vinegar with my mom's neighbor's onions then ate every day for lunch over the beautiful lettuce from the box with some cotija cheese. While I was out at my mom's, she also gave me some mint from her yard which I chopped in the cuisinart and froze in ice cubes. I pop one of these into my smoothie in the morning with some CSA rhubarb and frozen blueberries from last year that my mom gave me when I was out there. I think, honestly, that I got more from my mom this time than from the CSA! She also gave me some cilantro and basil from her yard, which perked right up when I put them in a jar of water in the fridge. The basil made its way into my salads and the cilantro made an appearance in my second attempt at the skinny omelettes in this post from the lovely 101 Cookbooks blog by Heidi Swanson. The filling is inspired by the demi-vegan crepe at Le Happy down the street - it has tofu, peanut sauce, fermented black beans and cilantro. Mine had all that except farro instead of tofu since that's what was in my fridge.


Again, I ate the snowpeas raw and did the same with one of the Kohlrabi. The other, I sauteed in olive oil with some crushed red peppers and mixed in with a salty-sweet tempeh and spinach over farro.

stir fry

See how beautifully the kohlrabi is chopped up? I bought myself a Mandolin at Goodwill last week. Every time I've tried to use it I think "how could such a dangerous device be sold to the general public?" and even while thinking this thought, sliced my finger a little bit. After a bit of research, I discovered that these things are originally sold with some kind of finger guard - ahhhhh! So I'll have to work on that - I guess I could just use a towel or something to push the vegetable instead of my bare hands. Frankly, a chain mail glove seems the most sensible choice - this thing is sharp and it works so quickly you don't even realize how close it's getting to your fingers until - whoops!

What have you all been doing in week 3?

Thursday, June 14, 2007

CSA Veggies/Strawberry Rhubarb Smothie

CSA Veggies
Originally uploaded by lesliegardner

First haul! Woo and HOO! This is all of everything except only half the strawberries since my mom left hers at home but brought the rest over so we could split it up together. Since I'm going on a business trip next week and don't think I'll get around to too much cooking, I'm going to eat the favas and snowpeas raw. The bok choy will be a stir fry with tempeh and the strawberries are obviously smoothie stuff. I had trouble with what to do with the rhubarb since I'm not so into the sugar. I chopped it up and threw a small handfull into my strawberry smoothie this morning and it was so good! Not bitter at all!


Approximate ingredients
1/2c rice milk
1/4c strawberries
1/8c rhubarb
1T soaked raw sunflower seeds
2T nutritional yeast
1/2c water

Monday, June 04, 2007


Originally uploaded by lesliegardner
Four out of five contributors to this blog are members of this farm's CSA program. We are all first-timers. Today we all went out for open farm day and I think I speak for us all when I say:
On the hayride around the farm, every time they pointed out something else that we'd be getting in our first box next week, Jen would turn and look at me or Bec would squeal just a little bit and I would go YAY!! inside my head.
This is going to be so much fun!

Sunday, May 06, 2007



Today I was going through some cookbooks my Grandma gave me last weekend. This one was full of recipes I wouldn't really consider making but then I came across this! Just yesterday I had been scouring the internet to figure out how to make a relatively healthy cornbread to go with my chili and not having great luck. Lots of white flour, sugar, bacon grease etc. But this one was exactly what I was looking for and I think they came out great. They look like little cornbread cookies and they still have whatever that thing is that makes me like cornbread.
The real title of the recipe is "Depression Johnnycakes" but that makes it sound like they are seasoned with Prozac or something though I'm sure it really has more to do with how cheap they are to make. I like them for that reason but also because I made mine with whole grain cornmeal so they're just what I wanted - relatively healthy, cornbread-esque blobs.

1C Yellow Cornmeal
1/2t baking powder
1/2t baking soda
1t salt
2/3 c buttermilk (you can sub with 2/3c milk+1t vinegar - let sit for 5 min)
2T cooking oil

Mix together dry ingredients, then stir in buttermilk and oil. If necessary, add a little more cornmeal so mixture is thick enough to hold its shape. Form into 8 mounds on oiled baking sheet and bake at 400 for 12-15 min, or until pale golden brown. Do not overbake.

Easy Vegetarian Bean Chili

Vegetarian Chili

I cut this out of The Oregonian recently. When I made this I violated so many of the instructions I hate to even comment on how it turned out - but, I mean, it's Chili. I'm sure if you follow the recipe it would be just as good as how I did it using 1 can of tomato sauce to make up for only having half the diced tomatos, using canned corn, skipping the food processor part, reversing the cooking vessels, omitting the sugar and adding a bunch of vegetable broth. The main reason I'm putting it here is that I'm on a "budget meal" kick while trying to re-stock my savings account with dough. I estimate this to be around $.85/serving and chili is always so good. I made Johnnycakes to go with it.

Easy Vegetarian Bean Chili

Makes 4 servings

1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes 2 15-ounce cans low-sodium beans, rinsed (see note) 2 to 3 teaspoons minced chipotle chiles in adobo sauce 2 teaspoons granulated sugar Salt 1 to 2 tablespoons vegetable oil 1 onion, minced 3 tablespoons chili powder 2 teaspoons ground cumin 3 cloves garlic, minced 11/2 cups frozen corn, thawed 2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro Ground black pepper
Pulse tomatoes and their juice in food processor until slightly chunky, about 5 pulses. Bring tomatoes, beans, chipotle chiles, sugar and 1/2 teaspoon salt to boil, covered, in large saucepan. Reduce to simmer and continue to cook. Heat oil in large Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering. Add onion, chili powder, cumin and 1/4 teaspoon salt and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 secondsStir in tomato-bean mixture, scraping up any browned bits. Bring to simmer and cook until slightly thickened, about 15 minutes. Stir in corn and cilantro and return to simmer briefly. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve. Note: You can use a combination of pinto, black and dark-red kidney beans in the chili. The texture of the pureed diced tomatoes with their juice is very important; do not substitute crushed tomatoes or tomato puree.

-- Adapted from "The Best 30-Minute Recipe"
by the editors of Cook's Illustrated

PER SERVING: calories: 330 (15% from fat); protein: 7.7 grams; total fat: 5.6 grams; saturated fat: 0.8 gram; cholesterol: 0; sodium: 794 mg; carbohydrate: 69.6 grams; dietary fiber: 19.3 grams

Sunday, March 11, 2007


This year I've decided to purchase a CSA share. I'm growing more and more interested in fresh, sustainable, local, organic etc and think this is just a fantastic way of doing my part AND having to go to the store less AND bonding with my mom more often since we're going to share the share. I picked a farm near her house so she'll go pick it up every Tuesday and then at some point I'll take the Max out to Hillsboro and she'll meet me with my half. I'm seeing myself making lots of freezable soups and stuff since I assume it'll be way more food than I can eat in a week. Then in winter when the deliveries stop, I can continue to enjoy. Look at some of the great things that will be included each week! I'm SO excited!

Sunday, March 04, 2007

The best recipes in the world

I checked out Mark Bittman's The Best Recipes in the World from the library and have been spattering the pages with ingredients every Sunday as I cook my lunches for the upcoming week. For the most part, I've been very impressed. The recipes are simple with easy to find ingredients and the results so far have been more than satisfactory. Since I don't want to be all copyright infringement girl, I'll just paste in a great example that is already on the website.

Chestnut Soup:

This is a rich soup. Add a little splash of port just before serving to give this a bit of a kick.
2 tablespoons butter
1 onion, chopped
1½ pounds fresh chestnuts, boiled and peeled, or 2 cups thawed frozen or canned chestnuts, drained and rinsed (I used frozen from Trader Joe's)
1 quart beef, chicken, or vegetable stock, preferably homemade, or water
Salt and black pepper to taste
½ cup heavy cream, or more to taste

Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat, add the onion, and cook until softened and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the chestnuts and stock and simmer until the chestnuts are very soft, about 30 minutes. (You can prepare the soup up to this point and let sit for a few hours or cover and refrigerate for up to a couple of days.)
Cool the mixture slightly if time allows (it’s never a good idea to puree boiling hot mixtures if you can avoid it). Use a food mill, an immersion blender, or an upright blender to puree the mixture. Return the soup to the saucepan and reheat it over low heat. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in the cream and serve immediately.

When I made this, I tasted it before adding the cream and my socks flew off my feet! I couldn't believe that a soup using only four ingredients could be this spectacularly flavorful! Then I added the cream and it somehow became about half as tasty. So next time I'll leave it out because who needs the extra calories anyway? Frankly, most of the recipes I've tried call for more fat than I like to cook with, but that's easily adjustable.

Other dishes I've made that I will definitely make again:
Sopa de Habas (Fava bean soup) - it was similar to the chestnut soup in its heartiness and simplicity
Saag Paneer (Cheese or tofu with spinach sauce) - I made mine with tofu and it was really fantastic
Fish Tagine - I love that this can be made with a variety of different types of fish. Like many of Bittman's recipes, it's more about learning a simple technique that you can tweak to your own taste (or to the herbs, spices and vegetables you have on hand).