Wednesday, December 05, 2007

= Pressing PAUSE =

Well, I have been meaning to write about all of the fantastic things that I cooked and ate at Thanksgiving . . . but I haven't had time! Come to think of it, I only really made a couple of things over Thanksgiving break, because I didn't have time! And guess what? I won't have any time to write a post in at least the next couple of weeks.

I shall return for a post that I am required to make later this month for my all new daring bakers project, but aside from that, I will be (hopefully in this order):
1-4. completing my coursework
5. selling my house
hosting some fabby houseguests
7. packing my house
8. driving to nc
9. flying to brooklyn
10. attending my brother's wedding :)
11. flying back to nc
12. celebrating the holidays
13. driving back to indiana
14. finding a new place to live?
15. finishing my house-packing
16. renting and packing a moving truck
17. celebrating new years?
18. driving a moving truck to nyc
19. unpacking my house
20. starting an internship!

phew! see you when i see you.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Free Food for Free Words

I'm always looking for ways to improve my vocab skills, and now all of that skill-building pays off in the form of rice donated through the UN to feed the hungry. Yay!

You are given a multiple choice question like this:

and for each answer you get right, 10 grains of rice get donated, without limit. Some are easy, but there are some definite challenges, too.

On the day the website went up (October 7), 830 grains were donated . . . yesterday, 188,987,290 grains were donated. So, if there are over 29,000 grains of long grain white rice in a pound, that would mean . . . over 6,516 pounds, just yesterday!

Thanks for sharing, Emily!

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Apple Cider Mini-Doughnuts

My new favorite blog to read (in my oodles of spare time) is Aussie-based Milk & Cookies. I knew I liked the blog when she posted a recipe for Apple Cider Doughnuts - right on time as the chilly air moved in to Bloomington (although it's certainly not autumn in her neck of the woods). I have been looking for a good excuse to buy a doughnut pan for a looong time . . . and this was it! So, I promptly went after a mini-doughnut pan I found at Good's for Cooks downtown.

I made the Milk & Cookies recipe just as she wrote it, with a couple of slight changes. I agree that the batter is incredibly light and airy . . . most definitely yeast-like without the use of any yeast. The result was scrumptious, although next time I might make a couple of changes. Following is the recipe, and see my notes after that.

Apple Cider Mini-Doughnuts
adapted from Milk & Cookies
For the Doughnuts:
oil and sugar (or flour) for baking pans
2 c. unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 t. baking powder
1 1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
2 t. ground cinnamon
1/2 t. grated nutmeg
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2/3 c. packed brown sugar
1/2 c. applesauce
1/3 c. maple syrup
1/3 c. apple cider
1/3 c. plain yogurt
3 T. oil

For the Icing:
1 c. confectioner's sugar, sifted
1 t. vanilla extract
1-2 T. milk

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Generously oil each doughnut cavity and sprinkle with sugar or flour; shake out excess. In medium bowl, whisk together flour through nutmeg. In a separate bowl, whisk together egg through oil. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and stir until just-mixed.

Carefully place batter in a ziploc bag and seal closed, removing excess air. Using scissors, snip a 1/2" opening in a bottom corner of the bag. Pipe a ring of batter into each doughnut cavity, filling each about halfway.

Bake for 13 to 15 minutes, until the tops spring back when touched. Loosen edges of each doughnut and turn pan onto cooling rack; position doughnuts on rack and leave to cool completely.

To make icing, combine ingredients and stir until liquid but not drippy. Add more milk or sugar depending on consistency. Dip each cooled doughnut into bowl of icing and turn until top is well-coated. Return to cooling rack for icing to set.
My notes:
  • in general, the doughnuts were tough to get out of the pan, which is why I have suggested the less-sweet but slightly more practical option of dusting the pans with flour instead of sugar
  • Milk & Cookies suggested using hazelnut oil - I liked the idea of trying out a new oil but went with toasted walnut instead - but I don't really think it makes a difference.
  • with one batch, I added finely diced apple to the pan before piping in the batter - this tasted great but proved to be a bad idea, because the moisture level got too high, and the apples stuck to the pan, requiring that some of the doughnuts be surgically removed
  • my icing looks a lot different than Milk & Cookies does because a.) i made it too thin (but I kind of like it that way because it is like a glaze) b.) my doughnuts were still a bit warm and c.) soymilk makes the glaze a less-attractive beige color, so it is good that I went with more of a glaze and less of a frosting
  • these would be tasty with a maple-ginger icing made by substituting the vanilla with 1/4 t. ground ginger and adding 1 1/2 T. of maple syrup to the mix
  • like Milk & Cookies, I HATE to fry things in my house, and avoid doing so at all costs, which is why I love the baked doughnut idea in the first place. however, these were not as crispy on the outside as I would have liked, so next time I will be trying to bake these in a 425 degree oven for less time and see where that gets me . . .

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Black & Orange Cauldron Bubble

Happy Halloween!

Today's Splendid Table email newsletter was forwarded to me (shout out to the Moms & MJ), which included Robin Robertson's recipe for Pumpkin and Black Bean Chili. The recipe is excerpted from her book One-Dish Vegetarian Meals (I have had my eye on her Fresh from the Vegetarian Slow Cooker for a while), as well as Splendid Table Lynne's tips and ideas for buying, storing, cooking, and eating squash and pumpkins. It was a really nice email - not gimicky at all like most email newsletters - with lots of practical (okay, splendid) ideas. I think I'll subscribe.

The recipe was just right for today - tasty, quick, and festive (more and more, quick and easy is a prerequisite for my cooking, if you haven't noticed). For an ol' boring lady like me with exciting Halloween plans to catch the tail-end of the trick-or-treaters at home after class and hunker down with a big pile of homework . . . it worked great. Plus, I happened to have an excellent husband who had some free time this afternoon to hit up the grocery store and assist with some pumpkin-choppin' prep work. I was really impressed that he went so far as to carve up the pumpkin into chunks . . . back pain and all.

This was a really fantastic, savory chili - packed with flavor from the pumpkin, cider, and kale that we used. Although the added greens were one of Lynne's tips and not included in the original recipe, I highly recommend adding them. It brings a brightness to the chili, as well as a ton of nutrients that you don't come across every day. If you are not big on the flavor, don't add too much, but give it a shot.

Pumpkin & Black Bean Chili
adapted slightly from One-Dish Vegetarian Meals as presented by The Splendid Table

1 2-lb. pie pumpkin or butternut squash (we used a pumpkin & were quite pleased)
2 T. olive oil
1 large onion
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 minced jalapeno chile, or 1-2 minced chipotle chiles in adobo
1 32-oz. can diced tomatoes with juice
1 1/2 c. water
1 1/2 c. apple cider
4 T. chili powder (or chili powder blend - go light on this and add more if you are not a spice fan)
1 t. salt
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper (optional)
3 15-oz. cans rinsed and drained black beans
1 head kale or other hearty green, rinsed and chopped (optional)

Suggested toppings: toasted pepitas, soy sour cream, chives or green onion

Cut the pumpkin into 1/2-inch dice and set aside. Heat oil in large pot over medium heat, then add the onion, garlic, and jalapeno or chipotle. Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened. Add remaining ingredients except for beans and greens. Stir, bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat to simmer, and let cook for about 30 minutes or until pumpkin has softened. Add beans and greens, and more water if necessary. Cover and cook for about 15 minutes until flavors have been incorporated. Serve with toppings, a small salad, and a slice of savory bread.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007


I ask you: WHY have I never made granola?

Reasons for asking why:
1. We go through copious amounts of granola/fancy organic no-HFCS cereal in my house.
2. It is expensive to buy boxed granola!
3. All of those boxes add up to a lot of waste, right? (although...all those bags you use to get stuff out of the bulk bins does, too...unless you save them like a good environmentalist would)
4. Making granola is SOOO easy!

A super-duper friend of mine gave me La Dolce Vegan! for my birthday this year, and I have been so happy and excited by all the new recipes at hand. I wanted to make something easy for this week's breakfasts...and then I came across a few tasty-sounding granola recipes. I've always thought about making granola, but I have just never done it..and now I suggest that you quickly whip up a batch. You can collect all the right amounts (or estimates of the right amounts) of the ingredients at the bulk bins - then go home and just dump all that shit into a bowl...and you are almost there! OK - enough with all of this granola praise...on to the recipe.

Cranberry Almond Pecan Granola
(altered from La Dolce Vegan!)

4 c. rolled oats
1 1/3 c. sliced almonds
1 1/3 c. unsweetened shredded coconut
1 1/3 c. pecans
1 scant c. unrefined sugar
2 1/2 t. ground cinnamon
1/4 t. ground cloves
1/2 t. ground nutmeg
2/3 c. cranberry juice
1/4 c. oil
1 1/2 c. dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 325. In a large bowl, combine the oats through the spices, then add the juice and oil, and mix until well combined. Spread granola in a single layer on two large baking pans. Bake for 20-25 minutes, stirring and rotating the pans after 10 minutes. Let granola cool, untouched (no stirring! you will get better clusters that way), then add cranberries when cool. Store in an airtight container and enjoy all week long with delectable soy milk.
p.s. don't the pictures look better? (granted, the ones from the last post are cell phone pics) I bought a new camera with my birthday money - yay!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

I caught a good one.

It was my birthday this week, and it turned out to be one of the best ones in a while. Chris and I have been away from each other on my birthday for the past couple of years, and this was extra special just because he was there and being so great to me all day long. He woke me up with a cup of coffee under my nose (not really out of the ordinary) and lured me into the dining room, which was all aglow with this spread:I had been sleeping soundly, and he had been up for an hour in the dark, whipping up whole wheat blueberry pancakes and soysages and coffee and orange juice. This is extra special, you see, because he is not exactly an experienced pancake-maker. I was very proud of him. Also, he really hates wrapping presents - he told me that you can tell that he loves me because he wrapped ALL of those presents. I always kind of considered his family tradition of unwrapping presents in the morning with birthday breakfast (and not after dinner with birthday cake, which is my family tradition) to be cheating, but this whole fabulous experience kind of debunked that theory (especially since I was not even supposed to get presents this year). This bonus gift came at the end:Anyways, I told him after that fantastic breakfast it really didn't matter what happened during the rest of my busy day - he had set the tone right and that was all that mattered. I ended up having a really nice day, especially capped off with dinner and drinks at Malibu with some of our great friends.

Then, he upped the ante even more by cooking dinner for me the next night! He made another of our Giada favorites, Rigatoni with Red Pepper, Almonds, and Breadcrumbs. I don't have a picture, but you can look at the one with the recipe here. To sum it up: Boil a pound of penne or rigatoni. Place a 5 oz. bag of garlic-flavored croutons and 1/4 c. toasted slivered almonds in a food processor until like breadcrumbs. Toss pasta with crouton mix and 3/4 c. olive oil and/or pasta water. Top with a jar of roasted red peppers that have been julienned and a rinsed can of garbanzo beans (that is our own addition - it makes it really good). It's cheap, fast, easy, and really really good - the makings of a perfect weeknight dinner.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Moroccan Roasted Vegetables

So, this recipe is probably what I would consider my "signature" dish, only because every time I cook it, I get asked for the recipe. Then, those people seem to misplace the recipe (just as I would if I had originally requested it), and then they ask again. Then they pass it on to their loved ones and cook it for other people and get asked for the recipe themselves. It's a good recipe.

I was just asked for it by my friend Chez Megane, and I realized I have never posted it here before. Since it is one of those recipes that gets lost, I figured I would post it now to be used by all. Although I don't have photos of it to share, trust that it is a beautiful and humbly delectable dish.

Moroccan Roasted Vegetables
slightly adapted from Moosewood Restaurant New Classics

note: I generally add a good bit more spice than called for by mounding up the spices in the measuring spoons as I measure them - it makes it better.

1 medium onion, cut into 1/4-inch slices
1 medium zucchini, cut into 1/4-inch thick semi-circles
1 small eggplant, cut into 1/2-inch cubes or semi-circles
1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch thick cubes or semi-circles
1 large red bell pepper, cored and sliced into 1/4-inch strips
2 medium fresh tomatoes, chopped
15.5 oz. can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
4 large garlic cloves, minced
2 T. olive oil
1 T. fresh lemon juice
1 T. ground cumin
1 1/2 t. turmeric
1 1/2 t. ground cinnamon
1 1/2 t. paprika
1/4 t. cayenne
2 t. salt

Optional, but HIGHLY recommended for toppings:
chopped toasted almonds
crumbled feta cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large bowl, thoroughly mix together ingredients.

Spread vegetables onto parchment-lined baking 11x17-inch baking tray. Bake for 20 minutes, remove from oven and stir well, then bake for another 20 minutes, or until vegetables are tender.

Serve warm over couscous, topped with suggested toppings.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Yay for Functioning iPhoto...and a trip down Pitchfork Lane...

For miz-onths my iPhoto has been completely f'ed, making it a super-frustrating and lengthy process to do anything with photos. Yes, I could have brought my computer in to the shop, or bought a new version of iPhoto, to possibly get the problem solved, but that seemed so complicated... There was a much easier solution in the forecast for us, and that was a new computer. :) Now that it is here, I couldn't be more happy - I love laptops, but there is something really nice about sitting down to a desktop - especially one that organizes all of your photos into events (sort of - I think there is a husband that did most of the legwork there)!

As I perused my newly organized photo library this evening, I came across photos from Pitchfork '07, which was a delightful quartet of days filled with great food, beer, music, more food, great friends, more beer, more food, and lots of fun. I immediately looked through the pictures hoping for ones of eating the out-of-this world jerk seiten wrap, or the grilled corn on the cob, or the soy ice cream cones, or the watermelon lemonade, or the tofu pad thai, or the pineapple salsa...but my search came up dry.
It turns out that we scarfed down those bad boys all too fast. There is something so great about sitting in the hot hot sun on a nasty, nubby woolen blanket named Baby James, taking runs to the food area every hour or so just because your body needs fuel to ward off the elements. R.I.P. Baby James, R.I.P.The food pics I do have are from our great trip to Orange for brunch, so I will share those here.

First up is my pan-seared steel-cut oatmeal, cooked in apple cider and spices and served up with fruit compote (sooo good! my personal favorite):
Next is C's crazy-ass Veggie Sandwich on toasted brioche with jalapeno mayo and spicy garlic yogurt (really good, but damn...that is a lot of veggies in the morning):The flashiest selection was E's pancake flight, with a summertime theme: smore's, watermelon-cucumber(?), one about a pool with basil and blue curacao, and a pork BBQ stack (which was supposedly the best):
Last but not least were A's French Toast Kebobs (really tasty, but poor A wasn't too crazy about the coconut-infusion going on) shown with the cucumber water, orange peel-infused coffee, and our very own freshly squeezed juice selections (I tried a tame and delicious watermelon-cantelope juice):I think we all really enjoyed our experience at Orange - it was fun and tasty, and I would definitely go back. But, if I had to pick, the food at Pitchfork was surprisingly better and less expensive (huge water bottles for $1!). It would be so nice to make a trip back to the midwest next summer for the festival again, just to sink my teeth into one of those jerk seiten wraps one more time.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Summer Faves

It is so very clear now that the summer days are coming to an end. I of course mean the official season of summer, since the actual feeling of summer is long gone. During the transitional period, I was having panic attacks about it - stressed about balancing school and multiple works and putting my house on the market, and upset about my lack of a summer vacay. But now that I am almost completely crossed over into the new school-year lifestyle, I know everything will be fine. I am actually really looking forward to the fall season...the leaves, the warm food, and the non-unbearable weather. We are already experiencing chilly mornings and a lil' bit of fall color :)

During the summer, I was lucky to reap the benefits of friends with garden
s as well as the ever-bountiful WonderLab garden. We've had some really delicious eggplant, tomato, and squash, and I found some new favorite recipes that worked well with the season. Also, I realized I want to try to plant a vegetable garden at my next house. It's a hell of a lot of work, I know, but wouldn't it be so nice?
My #1 summer fave is this amazing broiled eggplant, onion, and hummus sandwich that I made after trying a super-bland eggplant and hummus sandwich at Bloomingfood's a while back. The BFood's sandwich was JUST eggplant and hummus on bread. blah. So, I decided it would be best to toast the bread, spread both sides with a layer of hummus, pile up thinly-sliced eggplant and red onion (both broiled with olive oil, salt & pepper) on one half, mixed greens on the other half, and top it off with black pepper and a touch of salt. Oh my goodness...this thing is da bomb. So it wins the gold prize for summer food love. The picture above was taken on a night when I packed a couple of these up with some Miller Lite tallboys and popcorn to take to the Starlite Drive-In. It was fun. Another summer fave is this summer corn salad that is delicious either warm or cold. This is an adaptation of a recipe from The Red Cat Cookbook, which I received as a gift last Christmas. I am especially fond of the added soybeans, which make it a delicious full meal, all on its own.
Summer Corn Salad
6 small Yukon Gold potatoes, diced
1 pound asparagus, trimmed and cut crosswise into bite-size pieces
fresh kernels removed from from 6 ears of corn (don't use frozen)
5-6 roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
1 can soybeans, drained and rinsed
juice and zest from one lemon
approximately 1/4 c. olive oil
1 T. chopped thyme
1 T. chopped fresh basil
1 clamshell package of arugula

Boil potatoes in salted water for about 5 minutes, or until tender when pierced, drain (it is best to fish them out or use a pasta pot so you won't lose the hot water), and add to a very large mixing bowl. Return the water to a boil and add the asparagus, cooking for about 2 minutes or until bright green, but crisp. Remove asparagus from water and add to the large bowl.

Meanwhile, heat 2 T. olive oil in a wide, deep saute-pan over medium-high heat. When the pan is hot, add the corn and toast until beginning to brown, about 2-3 minutes. Add the tomatoes until heated through and beginning to break apart. Add soybeans to the pan and stir together until heated through.

Add corn mixture to the large mixing bowl and top with lemon juice, a sprinkle of lemon zest, and a hefty drizzle of olive oil. Season generously with salt and pepper, add thyme and basil, and mix to combine. (Note: if you are not eating all of the salad right away, reserve the basil to top the individual portions. It will turn brown if left overnight.) Serve salad on top of a bed of arugula when warm or refrigerate and serve cool.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Polenta & Phicken with Blackberry-Nectarine Salsa

I have shaved away all of my cooking magazine subscriptions except for one - Eating Well - which I love. It was a gift from my sister-in-law, and I am so glad that she introduced me to it. I notice that sometimes when I am thumbing through a cooking magazine, I gloss over the meat dishes without thinking about it, and that really eliminates so many tasty options. I have to remind myself sometimes to keep an open mind . . . it usually only takes an easy substitution or two to make things work.

This recipe jumped out on the page at me, and Chris, actually. We had both seen the photograph and had this discussion about how it made us both kinda want to eat it with chicken, which rarely happens. But of course, that was an option I didn't want to consider - I had to make this work, and there was a fantastically easy solution that I had almost forgotten about completely. My favorite veggie brand on the plant, Quorn, makes frozen naked cutlets that you can sub into almost any chicken dish. Unlike the Morningstar Farms pre-seasoned strips (yuck), these actually hold together, have a great firm texture, and are not already covered in weird dehydrated flavorings that don't match with the dish you are making.

The original Eating Well recipe can be found here, but I will let you know about my substitutions.
1. As I don't own a grill, I used my faithful broiler for this one (I know, not as fun - but it works).
2. Obviously, I replaced the chicken with Quorn Naked Cutlets (straight from the freezer).
3. I doubled the amount of spice rub mixture - it was tasty, so why not?!
4. As you can see from my photograph (which I am embarrassed to post alongside a link to the pretty pretty EW picture), the nectarines overcooked to a pulp - and quickly. Based on my experience using the broiler for this one, I would place the Quorn, polenta, and nectarines on one pan and place in the broiler at the same time - then remove the nectarines first - after 3 or 4 minutes, not 6 to 8 like the recipe suggests. Then, keep the polenta in the oven until the Quorn is done, so it gets a nice golden crust.

Let me just end this by saying that I was kind of amazed at how easy this was to throw together, in that you only need to use one pan for cooking, and you can make the salsa in the time it takes the Quorn and polenta to finish you are really looking at only 15 or 20 minutes. Beyond that, the flavors and fresh and full and hearty (yum!), while the dish is still really light and good for you. You will probably want to bust into the leftovers, so I suggest eating this with a small salad so that you don't ruin your chances of having an equally scrumptious lunch the next day.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

From the Archives::Black Bean Soup

So, I kind of can't believe that this one has not made it onto the blog yet, because this is probably the dish (aside from plain pasta and sauce) that I have made more than any other. It requires very few ingredients, barely any time, and almost no effort. This is an absolute favorite of ours in the fall and winter months (I know this is totally out of season), served with a simple salad and bread or tortilla chips. Cheap, filling, and delicious!

I originally got the recipe from Everyday Food, but adapted it somewhere along the way - I can't seem to find the original recipe anywhere. Here is my quick and dirty version:


3 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
1 medium onion, diced
3-4 cloves garlic, diced
1 jalapeno pepper, ribs and seeds removed, diced
2 or 2 1/2 t. cumin
2 or 2 1/2 t. oregano
1 or 2 vegetable bouillon cubes (optional)
juice of 2 limes
handful of cilantro, chopped (if you belong to the "cilantro tastes like soap" club, I am sure Italian parsley would do the trick)

Heat 1-2 T. olive oil in a stock pot over medium heat. Add onions and cook until softened and beginning to brown, then add garlic and jalapeno and cook for about one minute more. Add cumin and oregano (I usually eyeball the spice measurements to taste), season with salt and pepper, stir to combine, and cook for another minute. Add the beans, and pour water into the pan until the beans are covered by 3/4" or so of water. Add the bouillon cubes, stir, cover, and let cook until the flavors have combined and heated through, about 10 minutes. Puree with an immersion blender, transfer to an upright blender, or my favorite - use a potato masher to mash the beans, leaving some in tact for texture. Stir in the lime and cilantro, and season to taste. Serve topped with soy sour cream and cilantro.  

Thursday, July 26, 2007

From the Archives::Hummingbird Cake

I came across an old box of undeveloped film and throw-away cameras in my craft room recently, and found some fun discoveries when I developed the film onto photo CDs. One of my favorites were pictures from Chris's 24th birthday, which we celebrated a little over a month after moving to Bloomington. It is so odd to think back to those days, when Indiana was so new and SO midwestern. We were both still very unemployed, spending our days doing projects on the house & becoming increasingly depressed about not having places to go aside from the hardware store.

Every year (except for one maybe?) since Chris turned 20, I have made him a birthday cake - it is one of those traditions that we have established and I really love it (even if I don't necessarily get a birthday cake in return, ahem, brownie mix ;). For this particular birthday, I made Martha Stewart's Hummingbird Cake, which is so beautifully covered in dried fresh pineapple slices. The cake is good - kind of a twist on a carrot cake - but really, my favorite part has to be the frilly frilly pineapple.

You can find the recipe here. Notice that it calls for 3 cups of mashed ripe banana - Lord knows I love my husband when I mash up 3 RIPE bananas for him (erhghgh - *gag reflex*).

Saturday, June 23, 2007

For the love of frittata.

While recently debating about what to serve at a big museum brunch, the topic of frittatas, and just how good they are, came up. I have sort of stayed away from frittatas (and other heavily egg-laden dishes) for some time in my quest to eat a little less egg & dairy. Plus, lots o' egg can make me sick at times. :( But, this delectable conversation about the goodness that is a frittata got me salivating.

My friend and I reminisced about a particular Cooking Light recipe that included corn and smoked mozzarella, and was absolutely to die for. I remembered a delectable Giada receipe from my pre-veggie days that included sausage frittata on slices of buttered baguette. I decided it was time to make a frittata. Now, a frittata is obviously the kind of quick-cooking dinner that is best made without the fuss of measurements. So, I used what I thought looked good - I prefer a high vegetable content (I think you could even get away with less eggs), but you should make it however you think works best.
Summer Frittata with Corn, Asparagus, Tomato, Basil, and Mozzarella

In a small bowl, whisk together 3 whole eggs and 2 egg whites (or whatever combination of egg : egg whites you prefer) with a healthy pour of soymilk (or regular milk). Season with salt and pepper and set aside.

In a nonstick pan, saute 1/2-3/4 lb. chopped asparagus, 20 or so grape tomatoes (cut in half), and a cup or so of fresh or frozen yellow corn until the asparagus begins to turn a vibrant green. Add a medium-sized ball of fresh mozzerella, diced, and a small handful of basil chiffonade. Stir the mixture together and add the egg mixture to the pan. Shake the pan to evenly distribute the eggs and vegetables. Cook over medium heat until the mixture begins to set from the bottom, and then place in a 400 degree oven until the top sets. If you like the eggs a bit browned, turn the broiler on for a moment.

When the frittata has set, loosen it from the pan, cover with a plate or cutting board, and invert. Slice the frittata into 8 or 9 square-ish slices. Slice a thin baguette lengthwise, butter the inside, and then cut into 8 or 9 pieces. Place a warm wedge of frittata on each piece of buttered baguette and thank me for sending you to heaven.

I roasted the asparagus that I had leftover and served it up with some of the tomatoes on a healthy bed of baby arugala with my new favorite dressing. Yum.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Blueberry-Lemon Muffins with Coconut Crumbs

I love those glorious mornings when you have the energy (and time) to not just make coffee, but also to whip up a delectable batch of warm muffins (or french toast, or waffles, or other yummy stuff). Sounds cheesy but it's true. I also love a good muffin, and I have to say these are my most favorite muffins that I have made in a really long time - maybe even ever.

I don't know, maybe they just hit the spot today, but there was something about the way that these whole wheat, low fat, fairly low sugar things baked up super moist, light and flavorful (perfect for summer). After I had one, I had another, and then, as I passed by the still-warm muffin pan, I realized that I could seriously eat a half a dozen of them if I wasn't standing guard with a serious dose of self control.

Blueberry-Lemon Muffins with Coconut Crumbs

for the topping:
2 T. flour
2 T. brown sugar
2 T. butter, cut into small pieces
1/2 c. shredded coconut (I used sweetened)
1/2 t. cinnamon

for the muffins:
1 c. whole wheat pastry flour + 2 heaping T. flour
1 1/4 t. baking powder
1/4 t. salt
2 T. butter
1/3 c. brown sugar
1 egg
1/4 c. sour cream
1/4 c. soy milk
zest of 1 small lemon (or about 1/2 of a large lemon)
1 c. frozen blueberries, thawed under warm water and drained, or fresh blueberries

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Place the topping ingredients in a bowl and mix together with your fingers, breaking the butter up into small clumps until the dry ingredients have been incorporated. Set aside.

Mix together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl and set aside. Mix the sour cream and milk in a liquid measuring cup and set aside.

Cream the butter with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, then add brown sugar and mix until incorporated. Add egg until well blended, scraping down sides of the bowl as necessary. Add 1/3 of the flour mixture, mix to combine, then alternate adding 1/2 of the milk mixture, and continue until dry and wet ingredients are incorporated. Add lemon zest and mix in. Toss the blueberries with the 2 heaping T. flour until coated and fold into the batter.

Divide batter among 12 lined muffin cups (for small muffins), and top with the coconut topping (use it all!). Bake for 21-23 minutes.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Holy Knitballs!

If you know what is good for you, check out these unbelievable cupcakes at VeganYumYum. I am almost tempted to try them for a Knit-Pic/Pic-Knit, but I know this would never work for me in a million years. Never.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Please forgive me . . . with a slice of rhubarb coffeecake on top.

Dear loving readers,

Please forgive me for my absence of the past six months. I have no excuse, except for the fact that my life became insanely crazy last semester and I lived off of pb & j, grilled cheese, hummus & vegetables, pasta, trail mix, toast, cereal, pizza, and take out. I have started to cook again, and I feel confident that I will continue as I have in the past. I vow today to inform you in the future if, blog-god forbid, I need to take another extended leave of absence.

With loving apology,

p.s. the puppy pic is just a ploy to win back your hearts

Okay, now that that's taken care of, let's move onto this coffeecake. In Wednesday's Dining In section of the NY Times, Melissa Clark included her recipe for Rhubarb 'Big Crumb' Coffeecake, which she designed as a lower-sugar alternative to baked goods with rhubarb that contain copious amounts of sugar to offset rhubarb's tart bite. The bright red stalks at the grocery store have been flirting with me lately, so I decided this would be an excellent way to get them back to my place.

My only substitution to the recipe was the use of whole wheat pastry flour (in both the cake and the crumb topping) instead of cake flour. This certainly makes a difference in the final product, but I think it worked out well, considering I hoped to eat this with my morning coffee and not as a dessert. I was pleased in general with the results (except for the fact that I think I over-baked it by a minute or two), although I think I would make just a couple of changes for the future:

1. I hesitantly purchased only one large stalk of rhubarb that weighed in at just over half a pound, so after trimming, I had just the amount that the recipe called for. I think the cake could stand for almost double the amount of rhubarb, or even better, a half pound of apples, strawberries, or raspberries in addition to the rhubarb. Next time I will try it with apples, as I think this would work perfectly with the hint of cinnamon and ground ginger in the cake.

2. The recipe calls for the crumb topping to be shaped into large crumbs that are 1/2-3/4" in diameter. Although I really enjoyed shaping the crumbs and sculpting my cake into a rocky landscape with towering peaks and deep crevasses (just like the ones I have been watching on Planet Earth), in the end, I don't know if they needed to be so big. I kind of enjoyed the bites with the smaller, dustier, crumbly topping, and I think I will take that route next time. Of course, my opinion might be different here if I had used cake flour.

This recipe, although a tad more labor intensive than simpler crumb cake recipes I have used in the past, was well worth the effort. I was very pleased with the results, which made an excellent companion to my coffee this morning (and my wine last night). This time of year, we all need a little rhubarb in our lives, even if it is not in a pie.