Monday, November 8, 2010

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Saturday, October 23, 2010

Moroccan Chicken with Kumquats and Prunes

Original recipe from Bon Appétit  | November 1992

Morrocan Chicken

I read about this dish on the Serious Eats blog much earlier in the year. Like, when kumquats were actually in the grocery stores? That's when. Kumquats should start showing up again sometime in November so when they do, you can be prepared with this luscious, warming, fragrant stew. 

If you've never seen or eaten a kumquat before (like me before making this), they look kind of like much smaller, smoother-skinned oblong oranges. And they taste kind of like a lemon on the inside, but you are meant to eat the skin and that's actually a little bit sweet. I tried one, thought it was terrible at first, and then I wanted another one. There's something about the mix of slightly bitter, slightly sour, and slightly sweet that is very appealing. 

In this recipe, the kumquats add a very nice citrus flavor with a little bit of sour to the stew, the prunes add a lovely sweetness and the squash helps thicken the broth. Together all the flavors combine to create something that is perfect for a cold fall or winter night.

Moroccan Chicken with Butternut Squash, Kumquats and Prunes

What you need: 
    • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 4-pound chicken, cut into 8 pieces
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 1 1-pound butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 3/4-inch pieces
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon saffron threads
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 4 ounces kumquats, quartered, seeded
  • 4 ounces pitted prunes
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • chopped cilantro
  • Salt and pepper
  • Cooked whole wheat couscous

What to do: 
  1. In a large skillet (with relatively high sides-- you'll want at least 4 inches and a lid) or dutch oven heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. 
  2. Sprinkle the chicken pieces with salt and pepper, then add to the skillet and brown for about 7 minutes per side.
  3. Transfer the chicken to a plate and pour off all but a thin film of fat from the skillet. 
  4. Add the onions and reduce heat to medium. Sauté until very tender and beginning to brown, about 10 minutes. 
  5. Add squash and stir for about 2 minutes. 
  6. Add cinnamon, cumin and saffron and stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds. 
  7. Add chicken stock and bring to boil, scraping up browned bits. Add chicken with any drippings on plate, kumquats, pitted prunes and honey.
  8. Cover skillet and simmer until chicken is cooked through, turning occasionally, about 30 minutes. 
  9. Uncover and boil until liquid thickens to sauce consistency if necessary. 
  10. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  11. Mound couscous on plates. Spoon chicken and sauce over. Sprinkle with cilantro and serve.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Weekly Recipe Roundup: Dessert, Breakfast, Appetizers (in that order)

Halloween is just around the corner and Food52 (aka. A+M Blog) just posted an extended tutorial on how to make salted pumpkin caramels with pepitas! I love caramel so much, I used to sneak into the bag of Bracht's caramels my parents kept on the top shelf of the cabinet in the kitchen and steal one or two to eat while watching cartoons when I was little. I still love them that much, but I don't have to sneak them anymore. But with sea-salt and pepitas? YES PLEASE. I haven't had much luck with making candy at high altitude thus far, but this is certainly a recipe I want to try.

Via Food52

Continuing the salted caramel kick, but this time with ICE CREAM, Brooklyn Supper whipped up some salted caramel ice cream (from a recipe by David Lebowitz) that looks fantastic. I think the only thing I might do when I make this recipe is cover it in dark chocolate... 

For something completely and possibly obnoxiously different than these salty-sweet delights, Dinner Tonight has a new take on the old breakfast sandwich: Chorizo breakfast sandwich with sage pesto. Sage pesto? I've never thought of that, but it sounds lovely. Plus, my mom has a garden full of it. 

And finally, Matt Bites has posted a recipe for tostones con mojo. Have you ever made tostones? They're  made with plantains which look a lot like bananas, but are much starchier. So, you have to cook them. One way is to slice them into rounds, fry them, smash them and fry them again: tostones. Matt serves his with mojo, a cilantro and garlic dip. It sounds delicious. And simple. I can imagine serving these the next time people come over to watch football for a new twist on chips and guacamole. (Nah, I don't think I can live without guacamole.)

Addendum: Serious Eats also has an article about scotch pairings with chocolate. Talk about a Halloween delight!

Quinoa Pancakes

Quinoa Pancakes

So, we eat a lot of quinoa 'round these parts. It has higher quality protein, fewer carbohydrates, more nutrients, and the real winner: it cooks faster than brown rice. So, we eat it quite a bit as a side-dish. But what we've found, is that it is particularly good in pancakes. These pancakes end up having more protein and tend to make me feel better than other pancakes after eating them. Plus, the quinoa adds a bit of texture to the pancakes for a bit of added interest.

This recipe is one we developed in the Spice Raconteurs Kitchen!

Quinoa Pancakes

What you need:

  • 1 1/4 cups cooked quinoa
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk (we used skim, but higher fat versions probably just taste better)
  • 1 Tablespoon real maple syrup or brown sugar
  • 2 Tablespoon vegetable oil or melted butter
  • More butter and maple syrup for the pan and to finish

Quinoa PancakesWhat to do:  
  1. Mix together the quinoa, flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl.
  2. Beat the eggs, milk, syrup or sugar and oil or butter in a medium bowl. 
  3. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix until just combined. 
  4. Set griddle to 350 degrees, or a skillet at medium high heat. (When it's heated, water should sizzle when ou flick a bit in the pan.) 
  5. Dollop some butter on the griddle and add about 1/4 cup of batter for each pancake. Cook on each side until nicely browned but not burned (I cook them on one side until the batter starts to bubble and the air holes start to show. Then flip and cook another minute or two.)
  6. Cook until all the cakes are finished. (You can keep them warm in an oven set to 200 degrees if you don't have a big griddle.) 
  7. Enjoy!

Serving suggestions: Dollop with real butter and a touch of real maple syrup. Add sliced fruit (like strawberries and nectarines above) with a touch of mint. ~OR~ slice a banana and use it to top a bit of plain yogurt. Sweeten with maple syrup and eat along with the pancakes. 

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Walnut Herb Encrusted Halibut

Adapted from Bon Appétit  | October 2007

Walnut Herb Encrusted Halibut

This is a really great topping for any white fish, but of course it is particularly nice with a lovely halibut. It is crunchy, nutty, herby and delicious. And it is a nice change from simple (but of course, lovely) grilled treatment with lemon juice. We ate this with an herby green salad and garden tomatoes. If you wanted to get fancy, I think it would be really good nestled on a turnip puree, or served with roasted fingerling potatoes.

Here's what you need: 
  • Nonstick vegetable oil spray
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped toasted walnuts
  • 1/2 cup panko 
  • 1/4 cup (packed) chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh chives (or green onions)
  • 6 8-oz. halibut fillets (about 1 inch think; or any white fish... even talapia works)
  • 6 tablespoons butter, melted
  • Lemon wedges
What to do: 
  1. Preheat oven to 450°F & spray rimmed baking sheet with nonstick spray
  2. Mix walnuts, panko, and all herbs in small bowl; sprinkle with salt and pepper. 
  3. Brush each fish fillet with 1 tablespoon melted butter; sprinkle with salt and pepper. 
  4. Place fish on prepared baking sheet. 
  5. Sprinkle panko-herb mixture atop fish, dividing equally and pressing to adhere. Roast fish until just opaque in center, about 8 minutes. 
  6. If crisper topping desired, preheat broiler and broil fish about 1 minute, watching carefully to prevent burning. 
  7. Transfer fish to plates; garnish with lemon wedges.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Spice Raconteur's 25 (more) Things to Taste

Denver, CO

Denver Magazine Just came out with their opinion on 100 Things to Taste in and around Denver. We've assembled our own list of things that could have been included. 
  1. Stranahan's Whiskey Brickle Ice Cream - Sweet Action Ice Cream
  2. Chocolate Covered Sea Salt Caramel Ice Cream - Red Trolley Ice Cream
  3. Hen of the Woods Poutine (Porcini mushrooms and cheddar cheese curds) - Euclid Hall
  4. Blackberry-Sage Smash - Steubens
  5. Pizza Siciliana- Parisi's
  6. Pho and/or Vietnamese Eggrolls - New Saigon
  7. Housemade Bloody Mary - Shazz Cafe and Bar
  8. Reuben - Masterpiece Delicatessen
  9. Cheeseburger - Bang!
  10. Chocolate and fleur de sel caramel tart - Olivea
  11. Burbon-style whiskey - Stranahan's Distilery / Rackhouse Pub (also try their wasabi mayo!)
  12. Colette (Summer seasonal brew)Great Divide Brewery
  13. Dylan's Masa Fried Oyster Shooters - Delite 
  14. Chicken & Waffles - The Corner Office
  15. Bhakti Chai  - Various independent coffee shops and grocery stores
  16. Anything brewed for Stout Month - Mountain Sun/ Southern Sun/ Vine Street Pubs
  17. Chicago Dog - Top Dog in Coors Field
  18. Chicken Pesto Burrito - Illegal Pete's
  19. Burger - My Brother's Bar
  20. Greyhound - Cruise Room
  21. Smothered Chile Relleno - Brewery Bar II
  22. Beef Tacos - Los Carboncitos
  23. Shredded Buffalo Indian Taco - Tocabe, An American Indian Eatery
  24. Silver Coin Margarita - Lola
  25. Jerk wings- Eight Rivers

Monday, October 18, 2010

Shrimp with Spicy Creole Sauce

Adapted from Bon Appétit  | April 1997

New Orleans BBQ Shrimp

Well, the regular followers of this blog (all 5 of you) probably know that we went to New Orleans for our Honeymoon. Or have we forgotten to mention that? It appears that we have. Well, after we got married this May, we headed to the Big Easy for a short but sweet trip. It was just after the oil-spill spill started,  right after a big holiday and it was really pretty chill. Have you ever heard  New Orleans described that way? Me neither, but it was. 

It was my first time there and I'm already excited for our next trip. We ate and ate and ate. We ate the best Red Beans and Rice, Gumbo, Po'Boys, oysters and creole shrimp I've ever had. Although we did visit the famous Arnaud's, we were more impressed by how much everything cost rather than how good everything was. I mean, everything was very nicely prepared, but doesn't all food taste good when it's drenched in butter? Yes. It does. 

Our most memorable meal was actually brunch at a new restaurant called the Green Goddess.  It was there that we drank "Solidarity Sunshine" which featured Polish SobieskiVodka, Sparkling Meyer Lemon Juice and muddled basil. It was seriously amazing and where a good quarter of our garden's basil ended up this summer. For the food portion of the meal, I ate the "Acadian Country Breakfast" with two small patties of crispy Boudin sausage nestled inside two buttery sweet potato biscuits. Served with pepper jelly and Steen's cane syrup and grits on the side. It was devine-- salty, sweet, hot, crispy, and grits! All for $9. That was certainly the theme of our trip, in which less expensive food impressed us the most. 

But, I've gotten off track haven't I? In a moment of lustfulness for the tastes of New Orleans, we made some shrimp with Spicy Creole Sauce the other day. I adapted the recipe from a Bon Appétit (April 1997) recipe which was in take on the ones served at Mr. B's Bistro in New Orleans. I took out about half of the butter and we still had a very tasty meal so don't feel timid about it. We also ended up with shrimp with the peels already removed. I actually preferred this as it made it easier and less messy to eat, but it certainly wasn't as authentic. Make the decisions for you and your family based on your own preferences. 

What you Need: 

  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 3/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/8 teaspoon onion powder
  • Pinch (or more!) cayenne pepper
  • Pinch dried thyme
  • 28 uncooked large shrimp (shells on, or off depending on your preference)
  • 4 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 3 tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
  • 3 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons chopped garlic
  • hot french bread (or rice) 
  • Green onions, sliced for garnish (optional)
Cajun Spices

What to do: 
  1. Combine first 8 ingredients in a large bowl. Add shrimp and toss to coat. 
  2. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a large skillet over medium heat. (I used our big cast iron skillet.)
  3. Add Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice and garlic. 
  4. Saute until garlic is tender-- about 2 minutes.
  5. Add shrimp and saute until opaque in center-- about 3 minutes. 
  6. Add remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and stir until melted. 
  7. Transfer shrimp to a large bowl and pour sauce over shrimp. 
  8. Serve with hot French bread for dipping, or over the top of brown rice. (We used Forbidden rice because it happens to be pretty. 
  9. Garnish with green onions if you so choose. 
New Orleans BBQ Shrimp

Denver Magazine's 100 Things to Taste

Denver Magazine just came out with their 100 Things to Taste in and around Denver. And it looks like a fun to do list for the dark winter months. (The items bolded are the ones we've sampled already.)
  1. Cheese Sampler - Opus Restaurant
  2. Sticky Toffee Pudding - Duo
  3. Absinthe Verte - Leopold Brothers 
  4. Kurobuta Pork Belly - Venue
  5. The King - The Berkshire
  6. Pho - Parallel Seventeen (it's pretty good, but it's not better than my favorite, New Saigon)
  7. Chile Relleno "en Nogada" - Chili Verde
  8. Soup of the Month - Twelve Restaurant
  9. Wonton Tacos - Zengo
  10. Chocolate Sandwich Cookie - Cake Crumbs (i.e. The Denver Cupcake Truck)
  11. Hercules Double IPA - Great Divide Brewing Co.  (this is one of Edward's favorites, and our favorite tap room in Denver!)
  12. Calamari - Il Posto
  13. House-Smoke Idaho Trout- The Oceanaire Seafood Room
  14. Shrimp Cocktail - Elway's Cherry Creek
  15. House-Cured Duck Prosciutto - The Village Cork
  16. Chapchae - Seoul BBQ
  17. Housemade Sodas - Hutch & Spoon
  18. Chicken Franki - Mirch Indian Grill
  19. Veg Taco - Gastro Cart
  20. Grilled Jumbo Artichoke - Cherry Creek Grill
  21. Raw Kitfo - Africana Cafe
  22. Torpedo Farms Chinese BBQ Pork Belly - Vesta Dipping Grill
  23. Moroccan Spiced Pork - Cafe Aion
  24. Ajo - The Med  (this roasted garlic, gorgonzola and tomato jam concoction is worth the drive to Boulder) 
  25. Mac & Cheese Fries - Jonesy's EatBar
  26. Long Farm Crispy Pig Trotter - Colt & Gray
  27. Z Cassoulet de la Maison - Z Cuisine
  28. Breakfast Charcuterie - Table 6
  29. Banh Mi Slider - Deluxe Street Food Truck 
  30. Ramen with Poached Lobster, Edamame & Miso Lobster Broth - Bones (I die. This is buttery and amazing. But, everything at bones is amazing. We also really like the Udon Noodles: Slow Cooked Pork Shoulder from Salmon Creek Farms with a Poached Egg).
  31. Pasta Carbonara- Fruition Restaurant
  32. All-Veal Brats- Continental Sausage
  33. Housemade Soup of the Day - Cafe Options
  34. Sauteed Wild Mushroom Breakfast Sandwich- Masterpiece Delicatessen
  35. Sourdough Baguette - City Bakery
  36. Garlic Dip with Pita - Phoenician Kabob
  37. Signature Bone-in Filet- Shanahan's Steakhouse
  38. French Onion "Soup" Dumplings - TAG
  39. Fig & Crispy Prosciutto Pizza - Osteria Marco
  40. Cinnamon Roll - Johnson's Corner
  41. Spicy Sesame-Cashew Jerky - New Saigon
  42. Scoth Egg - Argyll GastroPub
  43. Raisin Bran Muffin- The Market (at Larimer Square)
  44. Queso - El Camino Community Tavern  (I'm not a fan of queso in any form, but this is better than most.)
  45. Fried Chickpeas with Harissa Aioli - Olivea
  46. Chicken and Crawfish Gumbo - Jax Fish House
  47. Ginger Sashimi - Izakaya Den
  48. Soul of Autum Benedict - Gallop Cafe
  49. Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge New School Milkshake - H Burger
  50. Campania Pizza Napoletana - Marco's Coal-Fired Pizza
  51. Seitan Buffalo Wings - WaterCourse Foods  (Chewy, crunchy spicy. Vegetarian! Yum! And they're just as good at City O' City)
  52. Chef Mickey's Famous Red Beans - Lucile's Creole Cafe (Everything here is amazing, but these beans are fantastic... although they must be eaten with a beignet and strawberry-rhubarb jam)
  53. Potstickers - Lao Wang Noodle House
  54. Larkburger - Larkburger
  55. Pecan Caramel Bars - Living the Sweet Life
  56. Pecorino Ravioli with Fava Beans and Preserved-Lemon Vinaigrette - Rioja
  57. Frites- Mateo
  58. Pepperoni Piccolo - Il Mondo Vecchio
  59. Mojito - Cuba Cuba Cafe & Bar  (I love mojitos, and this is a good one. I think this is a little simple to put on the list, though.)
  60. Baked Garlic Bread - Kaos Pizzeria
  61. Calves' Liver - Strings
  62. Paella- Solera Restaurant & Wine Bar
  63. The Crippler - Vine Street Pub
  64. Mint Julep Gelato - The Red Trolley
  65. Croquetas de Jamon - Ondo's Spanish Tapas Bar  (Really good and authentic!)
  66. Yellowtail And Salmon New Style Sashimi - Sushi Sasa
  67. Huevos - Lola (Lola's brunch in Denver's best kept secret. Some of the best food, and never a wait. Plus, you can stay after brunch for happy hour from 2-5 for live music.) 
  68. Broiled Mushrooms - LoHi SteakBar
  69. Spicy Thai Beef Salad - Delite  (A great place to go for happy hour. We also really like the "Dylan's Ass" -- their take on the Moscow Mule, and the Steamed Pork Bun Sliders and the Masa Fried Oyster Shooters.)
  70. Escargot - Simms Steakhouse
  71. Soul Food Eggroll- CoraFaye's Cafe
  72. Housemade Sausage, Caramelized Onion and Ricotta Flatbread Pizza - Encore
  73. Pepper Blossom Cocktail - Rootdown
  74. Shrimp Po'Boy - Steuben's Food Service
  75. Lobster in French Style - JJ Chinese Seafood Restaurant
  76. Peel & Eat Shrimp - Billy's Inn
  77. Tom's Tavern Burger - Salt Bistro
  78. Cast-Iron Skillet Cookie - Second Home
  79. Potato Gnocchi - Fuel Cafe
  80. Denver Venison with Lingonberries - Cool River Cafe
  81. Chile Fried Calamari - Black Pearl
  82. Di Rucula, Pere e Asiago Salad - Undici Ristorante
  83. Beef Tenderloin Tartare - Shazz Cafe and Bar
  84. Farmer's Croissant - Buffalo Doughboy Bakery
  85. Ojo de Agua - Novo Coffee
  86. Croque Monsieur - Brassarie Ten Ten
  87. Uni- Sushi Den
  88. Sables - Andre's
  89. Tostadas al Pastor - Tacos y Salsas
  90. Crawfish Beignets - Beatrice & Woodsley
  91. Shroom Pizza - Brava! Pizzeria della Strada
  92. Frank's Salumi Plate - Luca D'Italia
  93. Smoked Pheasant Soup - Palace Arms
  94. Ruby Scones - Spruce Confections
  95. Nutty Cheese Salad - Racines  (One of my favorite salads, hands down. So simple. So nutty, cheesy and delicious. The banana and the honey mustard sound strange but make it sooo good.)
  96. Tofu & Black Egg Mix - East Asia Garden
  97. Bresaola- Panzano
  98. Sopa Azteca- Centro Latin Kitchen & Refreshment Palace
  99. Chicken Liver Mousse - The Squeaky Bean
  100. Any Farmers Market Salad - Potager

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Weekly Recipe Roundup

Well, maybe this will have to be a regular part of this blog-- there is just more stuff I'd like to try than time and money to cook, let alone enough mouths to cook for. For now, here are some of the recipes that have me drooling this week:

Donna Hay's chocolate crème caramels with hazelnut toffee.

What Kate Ate's Individual Devil's Food Cakes with Salted Butterscotch Caramel Sauce

Matt Bites' Vegetable Crumble

Simply Recipes Roasted Red Pepper Pasta Sauce

In other news, I think it is going to frost here in Colorado tonight so I'll be making pesto tonight. We've also been talking about making our own ketchup or marinara sauce to can, and pickled green tomatoes. When that happens, I'll make sure to keep you in the know!

Oskar Blues Homemade Liquids and Solids -- Worth the Drive

This was a busy week for the Spice Raconteurs. One of my best friends who I have known since middle school got married this weekend. I was a bridesmaid which also means that I devoted Thursday-Sunday to spending time with the bride and other friends, primping, chatting, eating, drinking and partying. It was all SO fun, but this borderline interovert needed some good old time my herself after the weekend. Luckily, Netflix started streaming season 4 of Friday Night Lights so maybe it was meant to be. 

A picture from the OB website

Back to food, one of the great things we did this weekend was visit Oskar Blues Home Made Liquids and Solids in Longmont. We've been to the original outpost in Lyons several times on the way back from Rocky Mountain National Park and both of us Raconteurs love the beer they brew. And, we went to this new location in Longmont for brunch a few weeks ago after a camping trip. Now, after a second try, I just want to say, it is definitely worth the trip (but find a DD).

The menu at the new location is larger with a greater focus on theme-- there's a nice mix of Southern BBQ (pulled pork, brisket, fried pickles) and New Orleans style grub (crab and corn fritters with remulaude sauce, oysters, red beans and rice, dirty rice, Po' Boys). The food is tasty and well-made and certainly better than most pub food. And most importantly, the food complements the tasty and creative beers brewed there as well as the large selection of guest beers they provide. Most of my dining companions opted for the beer sampler so they got to taste 5 beers of their choice for about $10.

I was driving so I got two half beers-- Mama's Little Yella Pils (a Pilsner that is light and refreshing, but still with a bit of hoppy flavor to keep it interesting) and the Columbian Supreme which was a dark stout packed with coffee flavor.

This place is getting a lot of good press, and is a much needed alternative to the chains ever present in lovely Longmont so it is also getting a lot of people to visit for happy hour and dinner most days of the week. If you go on the weekend, be prepared for long lines. But still go. It is worth the drive!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Recipe Round-up

Well, it has been some time since we've updated this blog. It has not had anything much to do in a decrease in cooking, per se, but more a decrease in fantastic delectable delights. We've been eating pretty close to the ground this summer-- grilling garden veggies, chopping tomatoes for bruschetta, and generally making quite simple food that seems too mundane to blog about.

But, other bloggers are QUITE busy, and I've been accumulating some recipes from around the internet that I think will be tasty and worthy of a trip to the kitchen.

First, there's this delicious looking sour cherry upside-down cake from Brooklyn Supper. I'm new to Brooklyn Supper, but I am recently enamored. Besides the cake, there is a recipe for home made bloody mary mix for goodness sakes!

Speaking of being enamored, I am also a proponent of  entree salads these days. All kinds are fair game, but this skirt-steak salad with arugula and blue cheese from Smitten Kitchen looks just lovely. I'm not even usually that keen on steak, but the idea of combining garden cherry tomatoes and late summer arugula along with blue cheese just makes my mouth water...

Dinner Tonight also has a recipe for a steak salad, although this one is Thai and is called Yam Neua with cucumbers, mint and other delicious things. To round out a possible Thai-inspired meal,  Simply Recipes had a recipe for Thai Green Curry with Eggplants.

Or, there is a different kind of curry discussed by Dinner Tonight which made with green tomatoes; apparently an Indian specialty. I'm really interested to try this when the weather cools down enough that I can give up on seeing the green ones in our garden turn red!

And yesterday a good friend forwarded this recipe from Mark Bittman's Minimalist column in the New York Times. I think I'll save this recipe for when the weather cools off a bit here (it was still quite warm here in Denver this past week), but it looks lovely: Chickpea Tagine with Chicken and Apricots. The last time I was in New York City, some friends took us to a lovely Moroccan restaurant where we had a meal similar to this and burnt our mouths on the (new to me at the time) harissa. I'm looking forward to giving it a shot and seeing how it is different from another tagine I made earlier this year with plums and kumquats in addition to the chicken.

Our zucchini plant is not being quite as prolific as it was during the boom-time of the summer, but it is still craking those suckers out. 101 Cookbooks has a very interesting recipe for Quick Pickled Zucchini which I think could be quite fun... and delicious... and a great way to make summer last just a little bit longer.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Quinoa & Black-eyed Pea Summer Salad

Black-eyed peas & Qunoa Salad

This is one of those lovely salads that sings of summer and summons the vision of (ideally) sitting on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea. It is lovely with herby oregano, acidic lemon and red wine vinegar, salty olives and feta, matched with earthy quinoa and cool cucumber. It is a delcious mix and can be eaten all on it's own as a vegetarian main dish (for about 2 people) or as a side dish (for about 4). I'd recommend a simply grilled fish to go along with this. If you want to get fancy: fresh fruit, mint and vanilla ice cream for dessert.
This recipe comes from the August 2008 issue of Gourmet Magazine and can be found here. I changed the orzo to quinoa for added fiber and protein (and general whole-grain goodness). The original recipe also recommends constructing the salad in two layers so I'll describe the recipe in that way as well if you want to do something similar to what I did in the photo and make it all pretty. If you just want to get on with the eating, you can most certainly just mix everything together all at once. 

(*Note that you do have to make the quinoa ahead of time, so get that started before anything else if you don't have any lying around as left-overs).

Black-eyed Pea Layer (layer 1):
  • 1 15 ounce can black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed (other salad beans like kindney and garbanzos can work well here too) 
  • 1 large tomato, chopped (~1 cup)
  • 2 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
 Mix everything together and let sit at room temperature about 15 minutes while you chop everything and mix up the other layer. 
Quinoa Layer (layer 2):

  • 1/2 seedless cucumber, halved lengthwise, cored, and diced (1 cup)
  • 1/2 cup pitted Kalamata olives, slivered
  • 1/3 cup thinly sliced red onion
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped oregano
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Mix all this together. 
 Assemble the salad: 

  • 2-3 cups of romaine or other salad green
  • 1/4- 1/2 lb of feta, crumbled (1/2 - 1 cup)
  • 4-8 pepperocini
  1. Layer some of the black-eyed pea mixture in a glass bowl or jar. 
  2. Layer some of the quinoa mixture on top.
  3. Top with a good handful of romaine leaves or other delicate salad green, and some feta crumbles.
  4. Dig in.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Chicken Meatball Banh Mi (Vietnamese Sandwiches)


I remember my first Banh Mi sandwich that I devoured in San Francisco while traipsing around the city with my dear friend Carly. She took me to a fabled store in the Tenderloin district where the sandwiches cost about $2 (but probably could have been sold for $9.) My first taste was that of love. Herby, sweet, salty, cruchy and fresh, these sandwiches are a perfect way to utilize some of the garden veggies you may be growing out back, or the farmer's market produce you might pick up on the weekends.

This recipe comes from the January 2010 edition of Bon Appétit. You can find the original recipe here. I stayed pretty true to the original recipe, but substituted ground chicken breast instead of the ground pork. This saved about 100 calories (of fat) per serving so I thought it was worth it. You put so much goodness into the meat, that I didn't miss the fatty porky flavor and neither did Edward.

Next time I make these, I might try cooking the meat on the grill, although I'll have to figure out some way to bind the meat-- as it is, it is a little too gloppy to make solid burger (maybe panko?) I'm also interested in exploring vegetarian versions of this sandwich. In San Fran, I sampled a tofu Banh Mi that had deliciously marinated and sweet grilled or fried tofu.

There are several components for the sandwiches and the ingredients are divided accordingly...

Carrot & Daikon Slaw: 
  • 2 cups coarsely grated carrots
  • 2 cups coarsely grated peeled daikon radish (or plain old red radishes)
  • 1 very thinly sliced small cucumber (optional)
  • 1/4 cup unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
Mix these ingredients together in a medium bowl and let sit at room temperature for about an hour. 


Hot Chili Mayo:
  • 2/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 green onions, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon hot chili sauce (such as sriracha)
Mix these ingredients together and set aside in the refrigerator. 

  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh basil
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 green onions, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce (such as nam pla or nuoc nam)*
  • 1 tablespoon hot chili sauce (such as sriracha)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
Mix these ingredients together and then shape into 1-inch balls. When ready to cook, coat a large pan with about a tablespoon of Asian sesame oil and fry/saute about half of the meatballs until they are browned on all sides and cooked through. This will take about 15 minutes. Remove the first batch from the pan to a clean plate and tent with foil, or place in a 300 degree oven. Then repeat with the other meatballs.


Other ingredients for the sandwiches:
  • 4 10-inch-long individual baguettes or four 10-inch-long pieces French-bread baguette (cut from 2 baguettes)
  • Thinly sliced jalapeño chiles
  • 16 large fresh cilantro sprigs
Assemble the sandwiches: 
  1. Cut the baguettes in half and then hollow them out so only about  a 1/2 inch of bread is on the circumfrence of the crust. 
  2. Spread the mayo on each side of the baguette halves. It is okay to get wild and spread a lot on there. 
  3. Place the jalapeño slices on the bottom half along with about 4 sprigs of cilantro. (Go easy on the jalapeño if you're sensitive to spice!) I think some mint might be good here too.
  4. Place a 1/4 of the meatballs on each baguette half. 
  5. Drain the slaw and cover the meatballs with a heafty portion. 
  6. Slap on the other baguette half and enjoy!! 
These make a tasty lunch or summer dinner. I'd recommend serving with some fresh fruit dressed up with a little few mint or basil. 


Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Garden Goodness



A rainbow!!

For tomorrow (Bahn mi!):


Friday, July 2, 2010

White Fluffy Icing


This icing takes a little bit of work, but it is a fun change from run-of-the-mill buttercreams. It is light, and actually doesn't have any fat in it (although it does have sugar and my nemesis, corn syrup, in the mix).  You'll also need some slightly special equipment for this; mainly a hand-held electric mixer and a double boiler.

What you need:
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 2/3 tablespoons water
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
What to do: 
  • Set up your double boiler. I don't have one, technically, so I used a glass bowl that would fit over a medium sauce pan. Here's what it looked like mid-way in, when I decided I should take a picture for you.

  • Start the water boiling in the bottom half of the double boiler, while you mix together all of the ingredients except the vanilla in the top bowl. Also make sure your hand-held mixer has a long enough cord to reach the stove. If not, find an extension cord.
  • When the water is boiling, place the icing mixture on top and start mixing with your hand-held electric mixer on high speed. The egg whites will start to cook and become opaque, and the consistency will become thick.
  • When the mixture is thick enough that when you shut off the mixer and pull it out of the icing, the icing forms peaks, then you're done. 
  • Remove from heat and mix in the vanilla. 
  • Allow to cool and then spread over a cake of your choice. 

Thursday, July 1, 2010



This is a cupcake version of one of my family's favorite cakes, the aptly named "Chocolate Cake with White Fluffy Icing"

The name says it all, really. This is a delicious chocolate cake with a whipped marshmallow-y icing on top. There is surprisingly little fat in these delicious creations-- just 1/2 cup of oil for over 18 cupcakes, but there is plenty of sugar so I don't feel comfortable calling them "healthy". Instead, they are simply "less bad".

The cake is moist, and has a rich chocolaty flavor. I'm pretty sure the original recipe comes from Hershey and can be found here (where you can also find the recipe for low altitude). 

I'm going to post the recipe for the cake here today and the recipe for the icing tomorrow so as not to overwhelm you. This cake would also be tasty with a little whipped cream on top, chocolate buttercream, vanilla buttercream or any of your other favorite icings. 

What you need:
  • 1 3/4 cups + 2 tablespoons unsifted all-purpose flour
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup powdered cocoa
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • Icing
What to do:
  1. Combine the dry ingredients in a large mixer bowl. 
  2. Add the eggs (beaten), milk, oil and vanilla. Beat for 2 minutes at medium speed (or just use a whisk) until all the lumps are incorporated. 
  3. Stir in the boiling water and mix again until it is incorporated. You'll have a very soupy concoction at this point-- that's what you want. 
  4. Now pour the batter into 18 lined cupcake tins-- fill about 3/4 of the way up-- or, into a greased and floured 13" x 9" x 2 " pan.
  5. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-18 minutes for cupcakes (or until a toothpick comes out clean) or 35-40 minutes for a cake. 
  6. Allow to cool before frosting.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Alice Waters' Pizzetta with Farm Fresh Egg and Prosciutto

I've never had a pizza with an egg on it before, but it turns out, these chefs know what they're talking about. The mixture of the egg on the onions and cheese created a very interesting quiche-like topping along with some delicious runny yokes. I recommend eating this with a fresh green salad with lots of chopped herbs and a light vinaigrette. Each pizzetta is about the right amount of food for one hungry person so make as many as you need.

I think this egg technique would also be good with a garlicy tomato sauce and grilled asparagus along with the fontina and onion... the options are endless.
What you need (for 1 pizzetta): 
  •  1 portion of pizza dough
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • extra-virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 a small onion, sliced thin
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons grated mozzarella
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons grated fontina cheese
  • 1 egg 
  • 2 slices prosciutto di Parma
  • 1 teaspoon chopped parsley
  • optional: white truffle oil (or a white truffle!)
What you do:
  1. Preheat oven to 500 degrees F, with a pizza stone in the middle of the oven.
  2. Roll out the dough to an 8-9 inch round and place on a well floured peel (if you have one. We don't, so I just used a cookie sheet.) 
  3. In a small bowl, cover the chopped garlic with olive oil, and then brush the mixture over the dough using a pastry brush. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Evenly distribute the onions across the dough, then evenly distribute the cheeses. 
  5. Place the pizzetta in the oven for about 5 minutes. 
  6. While the pizzetta is cooking, prepare the egg by cracking it into a small bowl and set near the oven. 
  7. Pull the rack that the pizzetta is sitting on out and carefully let the raw egg fall into place onto the cheese and onions. Slide the rack back in and cook for about another 5 minutes or until the white part of the egg looks set and the dough is golden. 
  8. Take the pizza out of the oven and drizzle with olive oil, and then place the slices of prosciutto over the pizza, but not covering the yolk. 
  9. If you have it, drizzle the pizza with white truffle oil (Alice says an actual truffle is best, but I don't have that kind of money) and sprinkle the parsley over the pizza. Serve with a green salad. 

Monday, June 21, 2010

Alice Waters' Pizza Dough

The Spice Raconteurs recently got married. (It was a blast, but that's not really what this post is about.)

One of the cookbooks we received as a wedding gift is the Alice Water's Cafe Cookbook with recipes for some of the delights she serves at the Chez Pannise Cafe in Berkeley, California.

Last year I took a trip to San Francisco to visit a dear friend and some family members. Because my friend had to work during the day, I took quite a few solo walks through the city. I went to some fun locations like the SF Academy of Sciences, Alcatraz and also took the BART to Berkeley. I also ate everwhere I went so when I went to Berkeley, I had to visit Chez Panisse. I was there for lunch so I visited the Chez Panisse Cafe and had one of the most delicious meals of my life-- and wishing Edward was there to share with. Not long after my trip to San Fran, he and I took a road trip to Wyoming where we ended up getting engaged. So, Chez Pannise is mixed up into my vision of romance despite having gone there by myself. I can't wait to share that dining experience with Edward some day. For now, we'll have to content ourselves with the cookbooks.

One recipe that is included in the cookbook is for "Pizzetta with Farm Egg and Prosciutto" which I'll post tomorrow. Today, we'll dwell on making the dough which came together quite nicely. 

What you need:
  • 2 teaspoons dry yeast (about 1 packet)
  • 3/4 cup lukewarm water
  • 2/3 cup bread flour 
  • 4 cups white flour (or 2 1/2  cups white and 1 1/2 cups whole wheat)
  • 1/4 cup rye flour (or whole wheat)
  • 1 teaspoon salt 
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
What to do:
  1. Make the sponge by disolving the yeast in the water and adding the 2/3 cup of flour. Mix well, and then let sit for about 30 minutes until it is "quite bubbly".
  2. Mix together the other dry ingredients (white, whole wheat and rye flours and salt) in a separate bowl. Now add a cup of this dry mixture to the sponge along with a cup of cold water. Mix thoroughly and let sit another 30 minutes.
  3. Add the rest of the dry ingredients and the olive oil and mix by hand, or using a mixer with a dough hook, then knead about 5 minutes until the dough is soft and elastic. You want a "soft, slightly sticky" dough so add a little more flour if necessary, but not too much. 
  4. Place the dough in an oiled large bowl and cover with a towel. Put in a warm place until the dough has doubled in size, or about 2 hours. (At high altitude, this will take far less time. It took about 45 minutes for me. Someone concerned with the flavor of the bread could punch the dough and let rise again for another 45 minutes. Or, if you're hungry, just use it after the first rise-- it will still work fine.) 
  5. Punch down the dough and divide into portions-- I separated my dough into 6 balls for the pizzettas-- and smooth into nice round spheres. Alice recommends wrapping each ball in plastic and letting rest at room temperature for about an hour before shaping. I didn't do this, however, and it worked out fine.
  6. Either roll out the dough balls to make a pizzetta, or you can store individually wrapped dough balls in the freezer. Just take them out and thaw in the refrigerator the night before.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Chana (Gobi) Masala


Indian food confounds me. There are so many spices that,  I don't really have much experience with. With that in mind, I set out to find a good recipe with which to make Chana (Chickpea) Masala.

I tried one from Nirvana's Kitchen which was pretty tasty. It has you flavor the cooking oil with whole cloves, cardamom pods and cinnamon sticks before you start cooking which lends a subtle, but tasty Indian flavor to the dish. The very next week, Smitten Kitchen posted a chana masala recipe, and was quickly tested over at Serious Eats. Those versions both hail from Madhur Jaffrey's Indian cookbooks and so are not terribly different.

Today I did my best to put together a recipe that took the best parts from both, added some cauliflower for a little texture and and came up with something pretty good, but I think someday it could be better.

2 Tablespoons of vegetable oil or ghee
2 cinnamon sticks
5 cardamom pods
5 cloves
1 medium onion, chopped
1 cup cauliflower, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
2 teaspoons fresh, grated ginger (I used dried, but think fresh would be MUCH better)
1 fresh, hot green chili pepper, minced
1 tablespoon ground coriander
3 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper (taste to make sure your hot pepper isn't too much first_
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
2 teaspoons paprika
2 teaspoon garam masala
2 cups tomatoes, chopped small or 1 15-oz. can of whole tomatoes with their juices, chopped small
2/3 cup water
1 25 oz. can of chickpeas, drained (or 4 cups cooked chickpeas)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 lemon (juiced) (or use amchoor powder which I don't have)

What to do:
  1. Put the oil in a large pan (I used our wok pan) and heat on low heat. And add the cloves, cinnamon and cardamom seeds and stir around. Let steep for a few minutes and then remove the spices
  2. Add the onions, cauliflower and jalapeno to the oil and cook on medium heat until the onions are translucent. 
  3. Add the spices to the oil and stir. Cook about a minute and then add the tomatoes and the chickpeas. 
  4. Cook about 15 minutes until the flavors meld. If you want to, put a dollop of plain yogurt into the mix (about 1/2 cup) while the flavors are developing for a slightly creamier consistency
  5. Serve with rice or whole wheat naan.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Improved sesame and cilantro noodle salad

It is possible that you remember the Sesame and cilantro noodle salad that we posted last summer from Simply Recipes. Well, this is an improvement in health, taste and beauty.

Asian noodle salad

(Damn, I love my Canon f/1.4 50mm)

This recipe is nearly the same, but I've added grated carrots and sugar-snap peas. I used whole-wheat vermicelli for some added fiber and I omitted the tofu this time, because we served it with a piece of salmon marinated in a sesame honey glaze*.

What You Need:  
Honey Soy Dressing
1/8 cup vegetable oil
3 Tbsp dark sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon crushed dried red pepper (you can use more for a little extra heat)
3 Tbsp honey
2 Tbsp soy sauce

8 ounces of whole-wheat vermicelli (i.e. angel hair pasta)
Salt to taste
1/2 cup coarsely chopped cilantro (more is fine)
1/4 cup chopped roasted peanuts
1 bunch thinly sliced green onions
1 red bell pepper, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and then shredded (try to get long strips for fun!)
1/2 lb. sugar-snap peas, washed and sliced on a diagonal
1 Tbsp toasted sesame seeds

What you do:
  1. Cook the pasta according to package instructions in salted water. Drain.
  2. Prepare the dressing by combining (in a large microwave safe bowl) the oils and red pepper and nuking for 2 minutes. After the oil is heated, and the chili has been infused (yum!), add the honey and soy sauce. Mix well.
  3. Add the pasta to the oil mixture and chill for several hours.
  4. After you've mixed the pasta, chop the rest of the ingredients for easy assembly later.
  5. When ready to eat, combine the noodles with the veggies and top each serving with peanuts and sesame seeds.
 * The marinade included:
1 Tablespoon sesame oil, 1-2 Tablespoons soy sauce, 1 dollop of honey and a couple pinches of cilantro. Add these to a gallon-sized Ziploc and mix. Then add the fish (we used salmon) and marinate for about an hour or so. Then grill it. Yum.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Quick, easy and healthy garbanzo bean salad

Garbanzo Bean Salad

Kind of like hummus but without the tahini, and with chunks, this salad is easy, quick and healthy. I put it together the other day when I had a hankering for Middle Eastern food, but didn't feel like making a big deal out of it by going out to eat, or making a feast at home. It tastes great on whole wheat pita and a little Greek yogurt, or alongside a nice green salad. Check it.

What you need: 
1 15-oz. can of garbanzo beans (a.k.a. chickpeas)
Handful of Italian parsley, chopped
1 clove of garlic, diced
1 teaspoon salt (or more to taste)
1 lemon, juiced
1 glug of good olive oil (about 1-2 Tablespoons)
freshly ground black pepper to taste

What you do: 

1. Add all the ingredients together in a medium-sized bowl and stir.
2. Smash some of the garbanzo beans with the back of a fork, but don't try to make it smooth. Breaking the beans allows for a slightly more cohesive texture, and lets the flavors get into the beans.
3. Test the seasonings and add more to taste.
4. Serve and enjoy.

Garbanzo Bean Salad

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Coconut Red Lentil Soup

This soup, from 101 Cookbooks, is delightful. It tastes a little like spring, but provides warm comfort if you happen to be sitting through another spring rainstorm or perhaps, as we had last week, a freak snow storm with the biggest flakes you've ever seen.

The coconut flavor is really mild so if you don't usually like coconut, you should still try it. The curry flavor is luscious and the raisins plump up to add just a little bit of sweetness when you want it. (If you hate raisins, you could try apricots or prunes, chopped.) And, finally, the green onions provide a springy current throughout this thick, hearty soup. This recipe is also really healthy, full of fiber, vegetarian, and gorgeous. As you can see, I served it with forbidden rice which just so happens to be a beautiful dark purple color because I liked how it looked, of course.

What you need:
1 cup  yellow split peas
1 cup red split lentils (masoor dal)
7 cups water
1 medium carrot, diced
2 tablespoons fresh peeled and minced ginger
2 tablespoons curry powder (I used the Madras curry powder from Savory Spice Shop)
2 tablespoons butter or ghee
8 green onions (scallions), thinly sliced
1/3 cup golden raisins (I used the dark kind and it didn't seem to matter)
1/3  cup tomato paste (this is about half of a tiny can)
1 14-ounce can coconut milk (light is fine)
2 teaspoons sea salt
one small handful cilantro, chopped
cooked brown or forbidden rice, for serving (optional)
What to do: 
  1. Rinse the split peas and lentils until they no longer make the water murky. Place in in a large soup pot, cover with the water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to simmer, then add the carrot and 1/4 of the ginger. Gover and simmer about 30 minutes. 
  2. As the peas cook, toast the curry powder in a small dry skillet over low heat. Watch it to make sure you don't burn it. When you're done, find a skillet and put it over medium heat. Add half of the green onions, the rest of the ginger and the raisins. Stir constantly for about 2 minutes, then add the tomato paste and saute for another 2 minutes. 
  3. Add the curry powder to the tomato mixture and mix, then add all of that to the peas and lentils along with the coconut milk and salt. 
  4. Simmer for about 20 minutes, uncovered. The soup should thicken, but you can cook it longer to make it thicker. 
  5. Serve  the soup over or alongside a scoop of rice. Top with cilantro and the rest of the green onions and enjoy!
Coconut Curry Red Lentils

Friday, April 16, 2010

Shredded Buffalo for delicious tacos

Buffalo tacos

So, not that you can really tell from the recipes we've been posting, but we really do try to eat mostly vegetarian food with about one or two meat dishes during the week. Regardless, this recipe does not come close to qualifying in the meatless category.

What's great about this recipe is that you can put everything in the slow-cooker before you go to work (or go to school, or go to the park, or whatever) and when you get back home, your house smells like someone has been cooking all day.

(I consulted some websites about how to slow-cook meat before I put this together, but this recipe is my own, so you can look forward to some alterations as the time goes by.... )

What you need:
  • 1 Tablespoon oil
  • 1 lb. buffalo stew meat, cubed
  • 1/2 white onion, sliced thin
  • 1/2 jalapeno, sliced thin
  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 Tablespoon chili powder
  • 1/2 Tablespoon cumin
  • 2 cups water (or, try less...)
Shredded Buffalo tacos

What to do:
  1. Before you head out in the morning, put all this stuff in the crock-pot. First the oil, then the meat, then layer the veggies, add the spices and then add the water. 
  2. Set the slow-cooker to low and cook for 8 hours (or a couple more) while you're at work or out for the day. 
  3. When the time's up, take the meat and veggies out of the liquid and place on a large plate. Pour the liquid into a separate container and reserve.
  4. Using the back of a fork, smash the buffalo cubes. They should fall apart easily. If not, use two forks to shred the meat. When you've finished, add the meat back to the slow cooker (on warm). 
  5. Add some of the liquid back until you achieve a consistency you like. I added back about 3/4 of a cup.
  6. Season to taste. I added some more chili powder and cumin. 
  7. For tacos, place some meat on a tortilla (flour or corn), add some salsa, chopped onions, cheese (cheddar or queso fresco), your favorite salsa and a sprinkle of cilantro. 
  8. Serve with beans and rice. Or quacamole. Or margaritas. Or some delicious combination

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Farm fresh eggs!

Grant Family Farm Eggs

Those of you that live in Colorado might be pleased to know that I found these eggs at Whole Foods.

These are eggs from farm chickens who actually get to wander around a pasture at Grant Family Farms, an organic CSA up in Wellington. These eggs aren't cheap, but they sure are beautiful (it makes me wonder why we even dyed eggs this Easter) and they make delicious fried eggs... which I forgot to photograph. I was hungry.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Good morning

Good morning

I just wanted to share with you what a morning with a Battlestar Gallactica fan looks like.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Whole Wheat Pizza Dough (at high altitude)

Home-made Pizza

There are two main positions on pizza at home, in my opinion. One position is taken when you're damn hungry, don't have any food at home and don't feel like cooking anyway. So, you order up some delicious melted cheese on some baked bread and enjoy. Making the pizza at home is a completely different position. Making your own dough requires about an hour to let it rise (possibly longer in lower altitude places) but the result is lovely. It tastes healthier, it can be packed with veggies, it is likely cheaper, you can be more selective about your ingredients (for instance: organic flour, veggies, sauce; part-skim mozzarella) and is kinda fun.

I found a tasty little recipe for home-made whole wheat pizza dough today from I didn't know that website even existed, but it looks to be a good resource for vegetarian and vegan recipes. This dough came together really nicely, was easy to roll out and was also quite tasty. The only change I would suggest is that if you only make one pizza with this amount of dough, you'll have a pretty thick crust. The Spice Raconteurs prefer something a little crunchier so I made two pizzas with this amount.  (Oh, we also didn't have any what gluten-- it turned out fine.)

For the dough, here's what you need:

1 1/2 cups warm water
1 envelope active dry yeast (1/4 oz)
2 teaspoons sugar
2 tablespoons olive oil (separated)
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 1/2 - 3 cups whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon gluten (optional ?)
yellow cornmeal

What to do:
  1. Combine the water, yeast, sugar, gluten (or 1 T flour) and 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large bowl. Let this sit for 5 minutes until the yeast show their vigor by making the mixture foamy on top.
  2. Add 1 1/2 cups of the flour and the salt. Mix with a spoon (it will be be pretty wet.)
  3. Add the remaining flour 1/4 cup at a time until you get a nice dough ball. Incorporate the flour as you knead until the dough ball is just barely tacky. 
  4. Slice the ball in two and then knead again to make both balls smooth. 
  5. Put the rest of the oil into two medium sized bowls and place one dough ball in each. Roll them around so they are covered with the oil. 
  6. Cover the bowls with plastic wrap and a towel and let sit for about 1- 1 1/2 hours in a warm (but not hot) place. (I turned the oven on for about 2 minutes to warm it up, turned it off and then put the dough in there.)
  7. After the dough has doubled in size, take them out and roll them out.

For the pizza*:
  • 1 can (15 oz) pizza sauce (I like Muir Glen
  • 1 chopped red pepper
  • 2 small zucchini sliced thin
  • lots of mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 a white onion, sliced
  • grated part-skim mozzarella
  • pepperoni
  • Parmesan cheese
What you do:

  1. Spread a little less than half the sauce on each pizza round
  2. top with all of the toppings
  3. Put in the oven for about 15 minutes at 375 degrees

* You can really use whatever you want and be creative. This is what I did tonight. Yummy.