Sunday, October 13, 2013

Polenta with Sauteed Onions and Gorgonzola

I picked up some polenta at Trader Joe's for the first time, my thought being, Hey here's a vegetarian sausage-looking thing that I think I saw a recipe for putting with gorgonzola cheese one time.  Let's get it.  We had a bit of gorgonzola in the fridge, and boy am I glad I went down that aisle that day.

Delicious.  Seriously simple and amazing.  Matt loved it, and we ate it all that night.  There are so many possibilities for the flavorings and other vegetables you can incorporate.  Try it and let me know what you experiment with!


-1 package of polenta
-1 sweet pepper (bell pepper or other) - I had found a lovely one at the farmers' market
-2-3 oz. gorgonzola cheese, crumbled
-1 tomato
-1 yellow onion, sliced
-1 tbsp vegetable oil (for cooking the onion)
-garlic powder
-crushed red pepper
-salt and pepper to taste


-Slice the polenta into rounds about 1/4 inch wide and layer in the bottom of a baking dish.

-Slice/chop the sweet pepper and sprinkle on top of the polenta

-Heat the vegetable oil in a pan on medium heat, and cook the sliced onion until it is translucent.  You can also caramelize it if you want (Yum).

-When the onions are cooked to you liking, pour them over the polenta and pepper.

-Sprinkle the crushed red pepper, garlic powder, salt, and pepper on top of the onions.  I put only a tiny pinch of salt, because the cheese had so much already and the polenta was also slightly salted.

-Sprinkle the gorgonzola on top of everything

-Slice the tomato and place on top of the cheese. (The picture below looks a little lop-sided because I wanted more veggies and less cheese on my half).

-Bake in the oven at 250º for 20-30 minutes, until the cheese melts thoroughly and maybe browns a bit.

-Eat up!

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Cheap and Easy Gluten Free Cookies

Hello All!

I've been looking for an inexpensive gluten free cookie recipe--most have a million different flours in them, all hard to find and pricey.  I finally found a recipe that incorporates cornmeal (which I love) and is also super easy to make.  Oh, and it's dairy free, and really as cookies go, they're pretty darn healthy.

Here is the original recipe I found:
These are thumbprints, so there's jam in the center.  Instead of making them thumbprints, though, I decided to instead incorporate prunes and dried cranberries into the cookies themselves.  Also, while the original recipe calls for pistachios, I used raw sunflower seeds instead.  (They have a milder flavor, but have a softness similar to pistachios.)  I also like the flavor of lemon with cornmeal, so I added a bit of lemon extract to the mix, as well as vanilla.  And I replaced the agave nectar with honey.

Here is my modified recipe.


-1/2 cup rolled oats (gluten free)
-1/2 cup cornmeal
-1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds
-1/4 cup prunes
-1/4 cup dried cranberries
-1/4 tsp salt
-1/4 cup olive oil
-1/4 cup honey
-dash of vanilla (optional)
-dash of lemon extract (optional)


Preheat oven to 350º.

Pulse in a food processor the first 6 ingredients until the mixture has a sandy consistency with small chunks of the dried fruit.

Mix in the olive oil and honey, and continue to process in the processor until everything is well-mixed.

Mold tablespoon-sized cookies and flatten in a cookie sheet.  It will be a little crumbly, but be diligent and just make sure they stick before they go in the oven.

Bake 8 minutes, then turn the cookie sheet around and bake another 8 minutes or until the edges are browned.

Eat up!

They have a sort of shortbread consistency, and are soft and chewy.  I'm looking forward to experimenting with other flavors (like rosemary and brown sugar instead of cranberries and honey).  I encourage you to experiment too and let me know how it goes!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Vegan Broccoli Slaw

I can't take photos worth a crap.  Sorry.  I might just leave out photos for the most part, except to show steps that are actually difficult to explain with words.  See, look at this pathetic photo:

But I promise the food in the bowl looks way better in real life and is quite tasty, so you should try this at home.  This recipe is adapted from the recipe at the following website:
I changed it to make it gluten free, onion free, and less sugary.  Also, the recipe seemed to call for too much dressing, but you can certainly add more if you like.

Vegan Broccoli Slaw

1 bag coleslaw mix (about 14 oz.)
1 1/2 large broccoli trees, chopped (about 2 cups)
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1 tbsp roasted sesame seeds
1/8 cup olive oil
1/8 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/8 tsp cracked black pepper
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt (more to taste)
pinch of dried ground ginger

Mix the first 4 ingredients in a large bowl.  Mix the last 7 ingredients in a cup, stir, and pour over the vegetable and nut mixture.  This salad retains the dressing flavor quite well, so it will keep for at least a day (probably longer, but we gobbled it up pretty quickly so I can't make any promises).

If you want some spice, I'd add some sriracha to the dressing (I'll probably try this the next time I make some!)

This slaw is so light and crunchy and flavorful.  I hope you like!

Soon to come: Vegan Stuffed Eggplant (gluten free)

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Our China's Debut

So it's been a while.  Howdy!

I'd like to tell you today about an engagement dinner Matt and I prepared for our dear friends Victoria and Josh earlier this summer.  I kept it simple--only 3 courses: 1st course, main course, and dessert.  We were very excited that we would get to use our china which we registered for and haven't had a chance to even open!  Cloth napkins, good wine, and good company--the evening turned out quite well.  Matt and Victoria took pictures for me, but I haven't gotten them yet, so I'll post the pictures as they come.

I recently read The Supper of the Lamb which I highly recommend if you care about food like I do.  (Note: It was written in the 60's, so there is some sexist talk; when I was reading it I thought it was written in the 90's and I felt very confused toward the end).   Anyway, in that book, the author said that when you have guests you should never make something you are not familiar with (so nothing new).  Well, that's pretty good practice, I suppose.  Except I've never made the same thing more than once (or twice AT THE MOST), and if I took his advice, I'd never be able to have people over except for hummus.  It also helps that I have a very supportive group of friends who are eager to try new things and patient with my manic cooking habits.  They never expect me to make a "tried and true" recipe.

I hope you all feel inspired to take risks and experiment in your own kitchen, and sometimes throw caution to the wind!

First Course: Savory Spinach and Cilantro Custard

First course was a savory custard with spinach, cilantro, garlic, coconut milk, and mushrooms.  I adapted it from this webpage recipe: but I substituted cilantro for half of the spinach, used fresh garlic instead of roasted, and chose coconut milk instead of cream.  I also added a mushroom topping.

The day before, I cooked the custard to make sure the flavors difused.  I used coconut milk instead of cream, which added a twinge of sweetness along with intense creaminess.  I let it warm in a saucepan and added spinach, cilantro, garlic, salt, black pepper, and white pepper.  After cooking for about 10 minutes, I let it cool and set it in the fridge to cool completely.  

The next day, I added some fresh cilantro and the eggs for the custard and blended the mixture.  I baked it as the directions specified, and it turned out quite lovely.

The day before the dinner, I also made some pepper infused oil.  I heated olive oil in a pan and added red pepper flakes to it.  I let it warm until the flakes started to turn brown.  I then strained the infused oil into a jar.

I used that infused oil to sautee some slice shitake mushrooms (also adding salt).  Those sauteed mushrooms went right on top of each serving of custard after it was inverted onto a plate.

I topped of that mushroom topping with some chopped enoki mushrooms -- they have a subtle flavor, and they look like parmesan cheese.  It was pretty.

We drank a rose wine (Trader Joe's petite syrah rose wine) before dinner and with this course.

Main Course: Beouf Bourginon with Country French Bread and Potatoes au Gratin

The main course was Beouf Bourginon, which I was terrified of messing up so I used this recipe exactly:
Since I used the recipe to the letter, there's no need to go over the directions again here -- just take a look at that page, or any other Julia Child rendition of the food.

For all my caution, I made my own beef stock and made the mistake of putting salt in it - so in my opinion, the stew turned out a little salty, but everyone seemed to like it fine.  Also, the recipe says to take out the onions and carrots which cooked with the stew - and that's fine, but I'll say they still tasted pretty good to me, and I ate them with lunch the next day.  No need to waste!

Matt made some delicious bread to go with the meal (I'd love to share the recipe, but he ran out of white flour and just used whatever he could find--cornmeal, wheat flour, oats--and he doesn't even know what was in it).  So we decided to call it Country French Bread.  Anyway, it was delicious, and I personally thought it was way better than the stew.

Matt made a potatoes au gratin with the rind of the brie cheese (which I used for dessert), some bacon bits, and chives.

We drank 2 bottles of Cotes de Rhone wine with this meal - two different brands from the Wine Merchant (I can't recall what the brands were, but they were on the inexpensive side).

Dessert: Layered Apricot Cheesecake

Dessert was a layered apricot "cheesecake," my own invention.  This is not what it sounds like at all, I'll tell you right now.  It was a series of very different layers, one of which was cheese.

The bottom layer was a mixture of almonds and raisins (an a teensy bit of salt and cinnamon and nutmeg) which were ground together in a food processor till they formed a paste.  

The second layer was brie cheese (a triple-cream cows milk cheese).  I had to sample several bries before getting the right one--most of them had sharp flavors, not at all conducive to a dessert creation.  To make sure the layer was even, I melted the brie in a double boiler.  After pouring it into the mugs on top of the first layer, I let it cool in the refrigerator to harden before continuing with the layering.  

The third layer was fresh apricots pureed with honey and creme fraiche (See here for how to make creme fraiche at home).  Then the dessert was topped with whipped cream sweetened with honey, and a sprinkle of sliced almonds.  I served this dessert in our china coffee cups, which was pretty cute.

If I had it to do over, I would add honey to the brie when it was melted.  The brie, plus the touch of salt I added to the crust, just seemed to give a savory taste as opposed to a sweeter one, and more honey might have helped with that.

With dessert we sipped on some Don Pedro brandy (my absolute favorite brand).

Friday, July 5, 2013

Creme Fraiche

It's possible, people.  And it's so easy you'll wonder what all the hype is about.  We're making the elusive creme fraiche today!


-1 pint heavy whipping cream (not ultra-pasturized)
-2 tbsp yogurt with active cultures, buttermilk, or creme fraiche (1 tbsp per cup of cream)


-Mix the ingredients together well in a jar with a lid (I shook mine for good measure, and I used a cleaned olive jar)
Note: It's okay if the ingredients are cold -- no need to heat up.
-Store in a warm or room temperature location for at least 6 hours (I put mine in my gas oven overnight, but I think just sitting on the counter during the summer is fine).
-Take it out and put it in the fridge to cool.  Note: At this point in my process, it still seemed very liquid-y and I was afraid it wouldn't firm up.  Turns out it firmed up quite a bit, almost to a sour cream consistency.  It was delicious.  If you want it runnier, don't let it sit out too long (6 hours would be better than overnight).  Also, if it is bubbly, DON'T PANIC (like I did).  It's totally fine.  When you stir it up, you'll be amazed.
-Stir it up and eat up with strawberries, cake, cobbler, or whatever!

The consistency of mine turned out like super thick greek yogurt, with a slight tang.  It was delicious over sliced strawberries and bananas with a drizzle of honey for breakfast.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Something's Coming

Some dear friends of ours just got engaged, and in honor of their engagement we will be having them over for a nice meal.  Hold onto something, lest you get blown away.  In a week and a half, there will be some interesting stuff happening in this here kitchen.  Get ready for your imaginations to get a workout.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Zatar Eggplant and Kale

Before I decided to do more raw foods this summer, I first decided to cook on a budget.  So far, there are wins and loses in that department, but this recipe was a win.  Growing up, my mom would make Zatar Chicken, with sauteed onions and chicken (it was the only form of onions I cared to eat), cooked with zatar and lemon and served over rice.

I have come to simply adore the combination of kale and eggplant.  When those two vegetables are cooking (with onion and garlic), the smell is simply heavenly.  Add this spice of my people, and we have an excellent vegetarian, budget-friendly, and super healthy and delicious dish.  Added to rice, the mixture goes a long way (Matt and I ate it for lunches most of the week).


-3 tbsp vegetable oil (and olive oil to be added later, at your discretion, but try not to do the initial cooking with olive oil, as it can burn)
-1 yellow onion, sliced (cut in half, then halve the half, then slice)
-1 eggplant (skin on), chopped into bite-size pieces
     Note: The easiest way for me is to cut it lengthwise from just below the stem to the end, three approximately even cuts with one side up, then rotate and make another 3 cuts to make a cross hatch pattern so that it stays attached at the stem; then chop it widthwise.  I will add pictures the next time I use this technique.
-1 bunch kale, chopped into bite-size pieces (stems too)
-2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
-3 tbsp lemon juice (or more, if you prefer)
-2-3 tbsp zatar (a middle eastern spice found at ethnic grocery stores, though the regular grocery store might have it too)
-1 tsp salt (more if desired)
-cracked pepper to taste
-1 can garbanzo beans (aka chick peas)
-rice for serving (jasmine rice is my favorite, but any long-grain rice will do)


-Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet or a pot
-Sautee the sliced onion, garlic, kale stems, and eggplant for 3-5 minutes
-Add the kale leaves and continue to sautee.  You may need to add them a bit at a time, and let them cook down to make room for the rest.
-Add the zatar and lemon juice, a few twists of cracked pepper, and salt, and continue to cook


-Rinse the garbanzo beans and add to the pan.
-Add a bit of olive oil to moisten the mixture.  You want to have a bit of a sauce (just a bit).
-Continue to cook on low-medium to warm the beans, and mix everything together.
-Serve over rice.

Serves 6-8

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Raw Shaved Squash Salad

I hereby declare this a summer of raw fruits and veggies (and other things in moderation).

We went to a guerilla restaurant, the Agrarian, for dinner with some friends, and I ordered a dish that involved raw shaved yellow squash, and a black garlic puree mixture for dipping.  It was quite delicious, and I was very pleased to learn it was possible to enjoy raw yellow squash.  Our friend Gretchen works for the restaurant and informed me that they soaked the squash in some kind of vinegar.  And doesn't that just sound fresh and yummy!

So today at the farmers market I bought some squash and decided to make it into a salad.  The process was so simple that a paragraph of explanation should suffice:

Shave the squash into a bowl with a vegetable peeler, and add a couple splashes of rice vinegar, a sprinkling of salt and sugar, and fresh cracked black pepper (I used flower pepper from Trader Joes).  Mix the contents of the bowl.  No need to let it soak, just eat up.  

Note: The squash we bought also tasted surprisingly delicious raw without the vinegar mixture, but that may have been the variety.  With other varieties, you may find it needs some soak time.

I used rice vinegar because I like its sweetness and wanted to see how it would taste.  I'm sure balsamic or apple cider vinegar would work quite well also.  If a significant amount of vinegar accumulates at the bottom of the bowl, carefully drain it.  I put a little too much vinegar in mine, and after tossing it a bit, had to pour some out.

The result did not disappoint.  Here's to an excellent start to the summer of raw fruits and veggies!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Tart Cherry Frozen Yogurt

Last night I made the best frozen yogurt (possibly best food) I have ever had.  Then again, I'm a sucker for sour, tart, tangy foods and desserts.  And I couldn't get you a picture because we gobbled it up right quick.  Just let your imagination soar with Tart Cherry Frozen Yogurt.

Note: The canned cherries I bought were rather large, compared to a normal cherry pie filling, so I smushed them up.  Chopping them would also be an option, but I had already poured them into the yogurt and stirred the mixture when I realized it.


-1 quart yogurt (I used my homemade yogurt, which is much tangier than the plain yogurt from the store, see recipe for homemade yogurt here)
-1 can pitted cherries in heavy syrup (DO NOT DRAIN - you want the sweetness of the syrup) -- a can of cherry pie filling would be good too
-1/4 cup sugar


-Mix all of the ingredients in a bowl.  Stir well to help remove yogurt lumps.
-Freeze the mixture in an ice cream maker until frozen like soft-serve ice cream.
-Put the frozen yogurt in the freezer for an hour or so (I put them in individual mugs first, then stick those in the freezer).  I much prefer a softer-serve, so if you prefer it harder, just freeze for longer.

The result was incredibly creamy, tangy, and a beautiful red violet colored frozen yogurt with delicious fruit.

Matt loved some sliced almonds on top of his serving, and we both agreed that fudge would also have been a good addition.

Something I thought to do in the future is to make a goat milk yogurt (which tastes similar to goat cheese), and add a can of blueberries in syrup and some sugar.  I suspect that would be delicious too.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Stuffed Poblanos and Cilantro Lime Ice Cream

     Matt just finished a 4-day-long bike ride.  So naturally he wants Mexican food.  And I am rededicated to eating healthy, more veggies and less gluten.  What are we to do?  I found a recipe on Against All Grain's blog for roasted poblano peppers, stuffed with ground beef and sweet potatoes.  It sounded like it had potential.  With a little help, it became phenomenal.

     Step 1 was nixing the ground beef and instead cooking up some lengua.  If you don't like the idea of beef tongue, just use whatever meat you desire.  The fun part is roasting and stuffing the peppers and adding delectable sauces to your heart's content.

     I also modified the veggies a bit.  Just sweet potatoes and yu choy (a cousin of bok choy which can be found at Asian grocery stores). Against All Grain uses spinach, so feel free to substitute any green you like.  Greens are good.

     We made 3 sauces for our peppers and for dipping chips.  We did make some salsa verde, as the base recipe suggests, with some modifications.  Matt loves mole sauce (a chocolate chili sauce found in some regional Mexican foods), so he was in charge of making that.  He says the recipe is a secret (you can look it up on the internet).  I also decided to take this opportunity to make an avocado cilantro lime cream sauce.  Yum.  Just yum.  Cilantro and lime is probably my favorite flavor combination (I'm planning to make some cookies with those flavors soon).  Add avocados, and it's heaven.

     As a continuation of the cilantro-lime theme, we just had to do some coconut milk ice cream that incorporates the two flavors.  I was very excited, and the results were not too shabby.

     I think I can safely say that this meal is the most delicious Mexican food I've ever put together, and it's relatively "clean" and healthy :)


Salsa Verde:
-1 lb. tomatillos
-2 jalapenos, seeded (Cut the sides lengthwise, leaving the stem and seeds separate.  This helps you to avoid touching the inside of the pepper and is quick and easy.
-2 cloves of garlic
-zest and juice from 2 limes
-1/2 tsp salt

Avocado Cilantro Lime Cream Sauce:
-2 avocados
-1 bunch cilantro (just stems or just leaves would be sufficient; I used just stems, then saved the leaves for the salsa)
-zest and juice of 2 limes
-1/2 tsp salt
-1/4 tsp black pepper
-dash of olive oil
(I needed a little more liquid, so I added a dash of bottled lemon juice.  Use fresh-squeezed whenever possible, though.)

Stuffed Peppers
-Beef tongue (or any other meat or meat substitute)
-6 Poblano peppers, seeds removed
-goat cheese (chevre)
-2 tbsp vegetable oil
-1 onion, sliced
-1 bunch cilantro, chopped
-2 sweet potatoes, diced
-chopped green (yu choy or spinach or anything else you want)
-3 roma tomatoes, roughly chopped

Cilantro Lime Ice Cream
-2 cans coconut milk
-1 bunch cilantro (leaves only)
-juice of 2 limes
-1 cup sugar


For the Main Dish:
*Preheat oven to 350º
1. Prepare the meat as desired.  I was making a beef tongue, and to do that you can boil it for 4 hours or so, or cook it on low in a crock pot for 8-10 hours (or on high for 6 hours).  In the Against All Grain Recipe, she browns ground beef then sautees the meat with the veggies.  

2. Combine all ingredients for the salsa verde in a food processor, process together until salsa-consistency.  Transfer to another container and store in the refrigerator until serving.

3. Combine all ingredients for the avocado cilantro lime cream sauce and process in the food processor as well.  Transfer to another container and store in the refrigerator until serving.

4. Cut the poblanos lengthwise along one side.  Remove the seeds (Try not to touch them, and be careful not to touch your eyes right after.  Wash your hands with soap).  
5. Evenly sprinkle pieces of the goat cheese on the bottom of the pepper and roast in the oven for 20 minutes, until the peppers are soft and the cheese is nice and melted.

6. Sautee the sweet potato in 1 tbsp vegetable oil until almost soft.  Then add the greens and continue sauteeing for 5 minutes. Lastly, add the tomatoes and stir over heat until warm.

7. Sautee separately the onion in 1 tbsp of vegetable oil.  When it is almost translucent, add the chopped cilantro and continue sauteeing over medium heat for 2-3 minutes.  This needs to be done last so that the cilantro will keep its strong flavor.  I've never been happy with this combination when it is permitted to cook too long or is not eaten immediately when it is hot.

Stuff the peppers with the meat, sauteed veggies, and onion.  Add the desired sauces and eat up!

If you would like all of the components to "homogenize" better, stuff everything (except for the salsa or avocado sauce) in the pepper and cook it another 10-15 minutes.  Then add the condiments and eat up.

For the Ice Cream:
1. Blend the coconut milk, cilantro, lime, and sugar until smooth and green :)
2. Process in an ice cream maker.  Allow to chill in the freezer for at least 30 minutes before serving (unless you prefer soft serve).  I like to divide the ice cream into servings, then putting the individual serving containers in the freezer for their chilling time.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Ice Cream with a BANG!

Sorry to have ignored you for so long, readers.  My cooking experiences during finals were basically either 1) asking Matt to cook dinner for the week, 2) baking potatoes, and 3) Getting together leftovers from when Matt cooked and making a soup out of the random ingredients.

But Sunday was Cinco de Mayo, and something better was called for :)

Like Chocolate Habanero Frozen Yogurt.  Yum.

I first made homemade yogurt a couple days before, see the recipe here.  I only let it sit for a day and a half, so it was not as firm as it usually is.  It was still quite tart, though.  Everyone liked it all the same!

2 quarts yogurt (whatever kind you want.  If you buy it at the store, you might need to use less, and add some liquid - water or milk so that it won't be too thick.  On the other hand, I'm sure that would be delicious too)
1/2 cup cocoa powder
2 habaneros (NO seeds - they're hot enough as they are) (And of course you can reduce this to 1 if you want less spice.
2 cups sugar

Blend all ingredients in a blender.  Then freeze in an ice cream maker!  Bada-bing.  That's it :)
You may wish to reduce or increase the sugar.

It's certainly tangy and sweet and chocolat-y, then gives you a kick in the back of your throat when you swallow.

I'll be experimenting with frozen yogurt recipes a lot this summer - some savory ones too that can be a healthy frozen snack or meal.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Pasta-less Spaghetti Squash

I love Italian food.  Like majorly.  I could eat it for every meal.  But a ridiculous amount of pasta is not good for the waistline or the digestive system (for me).  I'm not going totally gluten-free, because I'm too much of a foodie for that.  But here is one excellent substitute for pasta -- spaghetti squash.  Matt and I love to put it with spaghetti sauces.  Light and tasty.  

This evening, though, I just have a small onion, some old parsley stems, a wrinkling orange bell pepper, and the basic garlic and lemon to accompany tonight's spaghetti squash.  This will be an excellent meal for two (maybe with leftovers, but we have a hard time monitoring our serving sizes with food like this, especially when it's mostly veggies and perhaps should not be monitored too closely in any case).


-1 spaghetti squash
-1 bell pepper (I recommend orange or red, as they are the tastiest)
-1 small onion
-1/2 bunch of parsley, or just the stems if you have them leftover from another dish, like I did.
-3 small cloves of garlic (or two large ones)
-1 tbsp vegetable oil
-1 tbsp lemon juice
-1/2 tsp thyme (optional)
-1/2 tsp crushed red pepper (optional)
-olive oil to drizzle
-salt to taste


-Preheat the oven to 375º
-Cut the spaghetti squash in half lengthwise (This is not easy.  It will take perseverance and cautiousness so that you don't cut yourself.  Or you can get a husband/boyfriend to do it.  I prefer to do it myself.  It's character-building.)
-Scoop out all the seeds and string from the inside of the two halves.
-Lay the two halves, face down (with the shell side up) on a baking pan or sheet.  I have found it easier to line my glass pan with foil, for easier cleanup.
-Bake for about an hour.
-While that's cooking, chop up the onion, pepper, parsley, and garlic (mince as fine as you like).  
-Heat the vegetable oil in a pan and sautee the onion and pepper on medium heat with some parsley stems (parts that will need more time to soften) for about 3-5 minutes.

-Add the parsley and the minced garlic and continue to sautee on low for a few minutes.
-Add the salt, and thyme and red pepper (if you are using them) and continue to stir for about a minute
(I added about 1/4 tsp of salt)

-You can turn off the heat and let this sit until the squash is ready.
-When the squash is finished, take it out of the oven and carefully scrape out the squash (I use two forks -- one for holding the squash, one for scraping.  Cuz that thing is hot).  Add the squash to the pan with the vegetables and turn the heat back on low to warm everything while mixing the veggies with the squash.

-Add the lemon juice and a drizzle (about 1 tsp) of olive oil to the pan until combined
-Add more salt if needed, and a bit of black pepper if you like.
-Serve immediately and enjoy!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Beef Sandwich with Horseradish

Brace yourselves.  This is no ordinary cut of beef.  I just made it sound that way to get you to read this post.  But you CAN do this.  Do not doubt yourselves.

Anyone every had langua at a Mexican restaurant?  It is the most delicious cut of beef I have ever had - so tender and juicy.  It's beef tongue.

And I'm not gonna lie.  When you buy it, it does look like a huge tongue.  Grossed me out at first.  I still refuse to touch it with my bare hands (I bought disposable gloves just for the few seconds when I have to touch it raw to rinse it.)  But trust me, you won't have to touch it for long.  And it is very much worth the disgust.  Also, if you are able to handle it, it will be very impressive to others who might think you have lost your mind but will still secretly admire you (albeit, from afar).

This weekend was the second time I made it.  Before, I had served it shredded over sweet potatoes, with sauteed vegetables and a mole sauce.  Yum.  This time, I decided to do a simple deli sandwich with horseradish sauce.


-One 3-5 pound beef tongue (I get it as big as is available)
-2 tsp salt
-One roma tomato
-fresh parsley
-lettuce or pita bread (I made lettuce wraps and Matt had pita sandwiches)

For the sauce:
-3 tbsp horseradish sauce (or just the horseradish, then add some mayo)
-1 tbsp lemon juice
-1 tbsp mayonnaise
-1/2 tsp cracked black pepper

Game Plan:

-Get out your crock pot
-Rinse the beef tongue thoroughly (I suggest only touching it with one gloved hand, or two gloved hands)
-Place the beef tongue in the crock pot
-Cover with water
-Add spices as you desire.  I used garam masala, because I had it on hand and it smelled pretty good.  Cinnamon, ginger, all kinds of stuff in it.  If I had it to do over, I would have just used salt.  Or simpler spices.  Use any spices you desire.
-Put the lid on the crock pot and let it cook on low for at least 8-10 hours.  I usually let it cook during the day, but this weekend I let it cook overnight, for about 11 hours.
-Pour out some of the water, and fork the tongue onto a cutting board.
-Now comes the hard part...  Hold one side of the tongue with a fork, and use another fork in your other hand to take off the layer of skin that covers the meat.  I also take off any layers of fat on the back end of the tongue, whatever is covering the meat.  It should come off VERY easily at this point.

-Throw away the skin.
-Cut against the grain of the meat, or just pull it for shredded beef.
-Mix horseradish sauce, lemon juice, mayonnaise, and black pepper thoroughly until there are no lumps.
-Make sandwiches or wraps using the meat slices, diced tomato, parsley, and the sauce.


Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Cleansing Vegetable Soup

Christmas is through, and Matt and I are several pounds heavier.  We have been gorging ourselves since pretty much Thanksgiving.  Not good.

So today I am making a cleansing soup full of fiber, and devoid of meat and wheat.  A perfect way to spend our first day back home.  I'm sure we can all use some cleansing.


1 1/2 cups dried lentils
3 parsnips (When the soup was complete, this was not my favorite part.  I would probably put carrots next time.  But Matt liked them in the soup.  I much prefer the taste of roasted parsnips to those in the soup.)
1 bunch green onions
3 celery stalks
1 bunch cilantro (for garnish)
2 eggplants
1 bunch of kale
4 cloves of garlic, minced
Chicken bouillon (or chicken stock, or vegetable stock if you prefer)
Splash of wine (I had some old wine in the fridge and thought, hey let's dump that in too)
1/4 cup lemon or lime juice (I prefer lime)
1/2 tsp black pepper, cracked
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp basil (fresh or dried)
1 tsp oregano (fresh or dried)
Vegetable oil (3 tbsp)
Drizzle of olive oil


Rinse the lentils with warm water several times.
Soak the lentils for at least 2 hours (up to overnight).  They can be soaking while you're chopping vegetables and preparing the first part of the soup
Heat the vegetable oil in a large stock pot on medium heat
Chop the green onions into small pieces (diced), stir
Peel and chop the parsnips into small, bite-size pieces (or smaller if you like), and add to the pot, stir
Chop the celery (including the leaves) and add to the pot.
       Note: Play it by ear.  I had to turn the stove to low heat because it was taking me a while to chop everything in each step.  Try your best to keep it from sticking to the bottom of the pot.
Chop the eggplant, leaving the skin on, into bite-size pieces as well.  Stir into the mixture.
Optional: Chop the stems of the cilantro and add to the pot.
Drizzle with olive oil and stir for 5 minutes.  The parsnips should smell nice and sweet by now.

Drain the lentils that have been soaking, rinse them thoroughly again, and drain again.  Add them to the pot and stir a bit.
Add hot water from the sink until it covers the eggplant mixture.
Chop the kale and add it to the pot.  Add more hot water until the pot is almost full (see picture)

Add 2 tbsp of the bouillon and put the lid on the pot.  Bring the pot to a boil.

Taste the broth and add more bouillon if it is not flavorful enough.
Add the minced garlic and other herbs and seasonings at this time.

Turn the heat down and let the pot simmer with the lid on for an hour.
Taste the broth and add any desired seasoning (I just added a bit of salt)
Drizzle olive oil before serving.
Serve with chopped cilantro on top.  Enjoy!