Thursday, January 27, 2011

A Flavorful Trio


In the event of snow, make sure you have lots of great ingredients hanging around the house. And a copy of Bittman’s How to Cook Everything Vegetarian. Or just have a great imagination. I suppose this meal was a combination of Bittman’s and my own imagination and I’m pleased to say that it was the perfect I’ve-been-couped-up-all-day-meal. I’m not really complaining, a day off is nice… however, a day off that is basically forced upon me due to inability to get to work, kind of sucks. It sucks in that “I’m-using-vacation-time-to-shovel-my-driveway” sort of way. But when all was said and done, it was a good day.

DSC06422 Meatless Meatballs with a Soy Sesame-Lime Glaze

DSC06426 Bittman’s Millet Mash with Carrot and Ginger

DSC06425 Sautéed Chili-Lime Bok Choy with Crushed Red Pepper


*Meatless Meatballs with Soy Sesame-Lime Glaze*


  • 1 lb Soy “Ground Beef” (I used LightLife’s “Gimme Lean”)
  • 2 T Lime Juice
  • 3 T Reduced-Sodium Soy Sauce
  • 4 t Sesame Oil (divided)
  • 1 T Rice Vinegar
  • 2 t Sugar
  • 2 T Water
  • 3 t Cornstarch (optional)
  • 1 t Toasted Sesame Seeds (optional)

Form “meat” into 1/2 balls by rolling. Cook in 1 t Sesame Oil in saucepan over medium-heat, until browned. Remove from heat.

In a bowl, whisk together remaining 3 t of Sesame Oil and the rest of the ingredients. Put meatballs into mixture and let sit for a few minutes. Sprinkle Sesame Seeds on top, if desired. Serve with additional glaze on top.

*Bittman’s Millet Mash with Carrot and Ginger* (adapted)


  • 1 c Millet
  • 2 T Fresh Ginger, chopped
  • 2 T Oil (I used Extra Virgin Olive Oil)
  • 6 oz Carrots, chopped
  • 4 c Vegetable Broth, divided
  • Soy Sauce
  • Toasted Sesame Seeds
  • Salt and Pepper

Heat oil in pan over medium-high heat. Add millet and ginger. Cover pan. Let toast for about 3 minutes. Add 2.5 c vegetable broth and chopped carrots. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat so mixture is slightly bubbling. Let the millet continue to cook for about 30 minutes. Add additional broth as it becomes absorbed. Once the liquid is fully absorbed, you can either use an immersion blender to puree it or let cool and transfer to a food processor. Serve warm garnished with soy sauce and toasted sesame seeds.

*Sautéed Chili-Lime Bok Choy with Crushed Red Pepper*


  • 2 Heads of Bok Choy, ends removed and chopped
  • 1 T Lime Olive Oil (or combination of olive oil and lime juice)
  • 2 t Chili Powder
  • 1 t Cayenne Pepper
  • 1 T Crushed Red Pepper

Heat oil in pan over medium heat. Add Bok Choy and remaining ingredients. Continue to sauté until leaves of the Bok Choy are wilted and the stalks have softened.

I guess there are few better ways to end a snow day than with a feast, and a flavor-packed feast this was. Bring on the next storm.

Just jokes.

I’m submitting this to Meatless Mondays over at My Sweet and Savory.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Wine in Arizona?!

Maybe I’m late to the game but I discovered this gem the other night while browsing Nextflix for something to watch instantly. This particularly piqued my interest since the wine maker being documented is none other than Maynard Keenan! Who is he? Shame on you. He’s the lead singer of Tool and perhaps the even lesser known, A Perfect Circle. To be fair, I’m not a Tool fan but I was once upon a time a fan of A Perfect Circle, but in either case, I’m well aware of who Maynard is and how much of a following he has.

The real story here is how Maynard bought a vineyard in Arizona (subsequently making a G I N O R M O U S investment in something that isn’t all that common in those parts), and has created several award-winning wines. Pretty cool, right? Well, it’s really an interesting documentary… lots of dry humor, jokes, personal stories, guests (Patton Oswalt!?) and chit-chat with the main man himself. Of course there’s also music snippits and a glimpse into Maynard’s crazy antics.

Though it doesn’t appear as though Maynard’s wines (sold under the name Caduceus Cellars) are available here in the Northeast, I definitely have my eyes open for it now. That goes for Arizona wine in general… apparently a vineyard in Arizona uses four times less water than one single-family home would on the SAME land.

Take it for what it is, it’s a low-budget, yet well-done documentary (at some moments it even has a “mockumentary” feel) that is both light and entertaining. If nothing else, it will make you thirsty for wine, consider moving to the dessert to grow grapes (just me?) and mayyyybe incite a slight crush on Maynard (still just me?)…


Sunday, January 23, 2011

Just Popping Over


I remember the first time I ever had a popover. It was dinner with my dad at a “fancy” restaurant in our hometown on the night of the annual Father-Daughter Valentine’s Day Dance. I don’t remember much else about the meal or the dance, but I can’t forget those popovers. They were warm, crisp, egg-ey puffs of deliciousness and clearly memorable as years later, I can still remember how delightful they were.

After stumbling upon a picture of a popover in a magazine, I decided it had been far too long since I had had one and given the simplicity of the recipe, I knew I had to make them right away. Staying in due to the freezing temps, popovers seemed like the perfect accompaniment to some hot soup.

DSC06389 popovercollage Though these didn’t popover as much as I would have liked, they were still crisp and light and just as delicious as I remembered. You better believed I popped (sorry, had to go there) many of them into my mouth. Next time, because there definitely will be a next time, I plan on experimenting a bit with dough levels in my muffin tin. Though supposedly a popover tin does exist, I’m not in the market for such a specialized item… however, given the addictiveness of these, that may change.

Here’s the simple recipe I followed (seemed like a pretty standard recipe):

Popovers (makes about a dozen)

  • 1 Cup All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 Cup Milk (I used unsweetened Almond milk)
  • 1/2 Tsp Salt
  • 3 eggs (room temperature suggested)
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted and allowed to slightly cool

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Grease (cooking spray works fine) muffin tin generously.

In a large bowl, mix together flour and salt. In another bowl, whisk together milk and eggs. Once liquid mixture is blended, add to flour and salt mixture along with melted butter. Mix batter well (I recommend using electric hand-mixer or the likes to eliminate clumps). Strain out any remaining clumps (I didn’t have to do this but if you mix by hand, you might). Pour batter into muffin tin about 2/3 of the way full (this ended up being about 1/4 Cup per muffin for me).

Bake for 25 minutes in preheated oven. After 25 minutes do not open oven door, but reduce temperature to 350 degrees. Bake for an additional 15 minutes. Remove from oven, let cool just along enough so they can be picked up, and serve.

Don’t forget to thank me if you love them, but don’t be upset with me if you can’t stop eating them… ;)

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Pomegranate Scones


If it isn’t already clear, I have a thing for scones. I love their crusty exterior and doughy, chewy interior. Though I have yet to meet a scone I didn’t enjoy, these are by far up there with my favorites.


Low Fat Pomegranate Scones
adapted from Gina's Skinny Recipes (makes 8 scones)


  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp lemon zest
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 tbsp chilled butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1 cup pomegranate arils
  • cooking spray
  • 1 large egg white, lightly beaten

Preheat oven to 375°. Combine the first five ingredients in a medium bowl, stirring with a whisk. Spray baking sheet with cooking spray.

Combine flours, baking powder, salt, in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk. Cut in chilled butter until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Gently fold in pomegranate arils. Add milk mixture, stirring just until moist (the dough will be sticky).

Place dough onto a floured surface and knead lightly with floured hands. Form dough into an 8-inch circle onto baking sheet, about 3/4" thick. Using a pizza cutter, cut dough into 8 wedges (do not cut all the way through). Brush egg white over dough. Bake until golden, about 18-20 minutes, depending on your oven. Serve warm.


These will make your day better. Well, at least they did that for me.


Saturday, January 15, 2011

Pasta with Roasted Eggplant Puree


They said it was going to snow, a lot, and it sure did. With work closed, I ventured out with a shovel to do some damage on the driveway. Two hours later (after one major wipeout resulting in sopping wet boots), the driveway and walk were clear (at least for the time being)… and I wanted food.

DSC06346 I wanted warm, filling, flavorful comfort food. And that’s exactly what this was.

Giada’s Rigatoni Pasta with Roasted Eggplant Puree adapted from Food Network


  • 1 large eggplant, cut into cubes
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 pound pasta (I mixed bowties and rotini)
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl combine eggplant, grape tomatoes, olive oil, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Spread the vegetables out on the baking sheet. Roast in the oven for about 35 minutes.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite. Drain pasta and reserve 1 1/2 cups of the cooking liquid.

Transfer the roasted vegetables to food processor. Add the extra-virgin olive oil. Puree the vegetables.

Transfer the pureed vegetables to the bowl with the pasta and add the Parmesan. Stir to combine, adding the pasta cooking liquid 1/2 cup at a time until pasta is saucy. Garnish with more red pepper flakes (if desired) and serve.

Makes 6-8 servings.


Monday, January 10, 2011

Basil Coconut Curry with Chicken


This dish was everything I imagined in my head and more. So. Delicious.

Fresh basil. Tender chicken breast. Creamy coconut milk. Curry.

You get it.


Basil Coconut Curry with Chicken – A Lemongrove Avenue Original


  • 1 Whole Chicken Breast
  • 1/2 Can Unsweetened Light Coconut Milk
  • 1 t. Cumin
  • 1 t. Coriander, ground
  • 1/2 t. Cayenne Pepper
  • 1 t. Chili Powder
  • 1/4 t. Turmeric
  • 1 t. Curry Powder
  • 1 C. Vegetable Broth
  • Handful of Fresh Basil Leaves
  • 1 Jalapeno, chopped and seeded

Begin by cutting the chicken breast into chunks. In a bowl, mix all spices and then add chicken chunks, coating chicken. In a large sauce pan, sprayed with non-stick cooking spray, heat chicken (medium heat) until cooked through. Remove chicken and put aside. Pour 1/2 of broth into pan to deglaze with cooking juices from chicken. When pain is deglazed, add coconut milk, basil leaves and jalapeno. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to a simmer. Add cooked chicken to pan and allow to heat for a few more minutes. Allow sauce to thicken (doesn’t take very long… I added 1 t. cornstarch to assist). Serve chicken with sauce over rice or veggies (I served mine over sautéed spinach and mushrooms).


Saturday, January 8, 2011

Bittman’s Spiced Coconut Pancakes

DSC06311What came to mind when I woke up this morning and there was snow on the ground (and still falling from the sky)?! Get me somewhere warm. Now. 

Well, it’s no surprise that that wasn’t going to happen. Not anytime soon anyway. Next best thing? Bringing a little taste of the tropics to me. Specifically in my kitchen.


Mark Bittman’s Spiced Coconut Pancakes with Tropical Fruit Bananas

adapted from Bon Appetit, January 2011


  • 2.5 C WW Flour
  • 1 C unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 2 t. baking powder
  • 3/4 t. ground nutmeg
  • 3/4 t. ground allspice
  • 1/4 t. baking soda
  • 1 can light unsweetened coconut milk
  • 2 T pure Maple Syrup
  • 1 T vanilla extract
  • oil for cooking
  • additional maple syrup for topping
  • banana for topping, quartered and sliced
  • additional unsweetened shredded coconut for topping

Whisk dry ingredients together in one bowl. In another, whisk together the wet ingredients. Add wet mixture to dry mixture and whisk together until a pourable batter forms.

Heat griddle or skilled over medium heat, brush with oil (I used Canola). Add butter by 1/4 cupful. Cook until small bubbles appear on pancake surface then flip. Heat an addition 2-3 minutes until golden brown.

Top with bananas, coconut and maple syrup.

*Recipe yields about 20 pancakes, I halved it and it worked just fine. Also, Bittman suggests heating oven to 250 degrees and putting cooked pancakes in on a baking sheet to keep them warm, I did this but you can keep them warm anyway you wish.

DSC06327 These were absolutely divine. They were incredibly soft and fluffy and the shredded coconut inside gave them great texture. The original recipe calls for a medley topping of banana, pineapple and mango but I forgot to buy the latter ingredients and honestly, I can’t say I missed them.

I can already tell that there will be many more days I’ll be starting with these babies!

I'm submitting this recipe to Tackling Bittman Recipe Hop Volume 3! hosted by girlichef.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Light-Box Adventures

DSC06285Upon realizing I forgot my sneakers at home, which meant I wouldn’t be going to the gym as planned, I decided to finally make the light-box I was hoping to make over my vacation. I won’t show you what it looks like yet because it isn’t pretty… and it’s not quite finished. As in, I need to make some improvements before it will be a complete success… but so far, not so bad!


These pictures are taken using one lamp with a soft white bulb filtered through white tissue paper. I need to get a couple of additional lamps and some indoor light bulbs but the difference is already noticeable.

DSC06288 My first subject?

Vegetarian Slow-Cooker Chili (serves 4-6)

Into my crock-pot went:

  • 3 small Sweet Potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 1 can Black Beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can Fire-Roasted Tomatoes, drained
  • 1/2 cup frozen Tri-Colored peppers
  • 1/2 Sweet Onion, sliced
  • 2 Jalapenos, seeded and chopped
  • 1 TBSP Chili Powder
  • 1 TSP Ground Cumin
  • 1 TSP Cayenne Pepper
  • 1 1/2 Cups Vegetable Broth
  • Dash of salt

I turned the crock-pot on low and left going for about 7 hours. I reheated (from refrigerator) to eat the next day by simmering on the stove for about 5 minutes.

Top with Greek yogurt (or sour cream), cheese (if desired) and pair with corn-bread (with Goat Cheese and Jalapenos if that’s your thing!).

Sunday, January 2, 2011

My Plea for Eggnog Year-round

sconeIt doesn’t truly seem like the holidays have arrived until Eggnog stars popping up in the supermarket alongside the milk. And from now on, it will never truly seem like Christmas morning without these popping out of the oven. I’d been eyeing Mama Pea’s Eggnog Scones for about a week, then I decided that there was absolutely no way these weren’t going to make it into our Christmas Day menu.

DSC06214 I followed her recipe pretty much to the T. The main difference being that I didn’t use dairy-free ‘Nog. I also added a bit more Eggnog to my glaze. These were gone by the time the presents were all opened – maybe by the time the presents were half-opened.

DSC06211And a hint, while these scones will not cause intoxication (though the brownies I made for New Years Eve may in fact do just that – story for another time), they could be said to…

DSC06232Works better than Mistletoe”*

Make one for your honey and see what happens. If nothing happens, don’t blame me. I’m just the messenger.

*Note, this picture is not cropped. This is the only part of my brother I was intending to capture with the camera… for the record, he had no idea and was totally smiling.