Friday, December 28, 2012


Ok... so I have been cooking but not taking pictures. I cooked an entire Christmas meal without taking pics, so now I decided to post what I did with leftovers. 

Left Over Mashed Potato Tater Tots

(these are approximate measurements folks)
1 cup mashed potatoes (I used leftover roasted garlic and thyme mashed potatoes)
4 tablespoons egg whites (I didn't have eggs but it would probably be an egg or two depending on the size)
2 ounces of cheese (I used colby jack)
2 tablespoons flour
oil for frying

Heat the oil in a pan. Mix the ingredients together. Shape into tot sided bites. Fry for approximately 2 minutes until golden brown. You have to be gentle with them. You cannot just dump them all into the oil at once like frozen fries. Flip if they are not submerged. If you use a small pan (like I do to save oil), you may need to do multiple batches. I heat my toaster oven to 150 degrees and place the finished tots in to keep them warm and crisp. I served mine with ketchup mixed with Sriracha. 

Thursday, November 1, 2012

The long awaited chili post...

You're going to be disappointed by how easy this is. I took pictures of the ingredients because I don't know what is available to everyone. I know you are going to gasp with you see the canned tomato products, but let me tell you, you need canned tomato products for chili. I've tried it with fresh tomatoes. It's not the same. I don't usually use canned beans because I soak and cook my beans and then freeze them. If you freeze them flat in a bag when they are frozen they can easily be broken apart into the portions you need. I just find that frozen beans taste better than canned. If you are going to use canned, please wash/rinse them. You do not want that fermentation goop in your chili. 

Vegetarian Chili
makes a lot

1 medium to large onion
1 hot chili pepper (jalapeño or Serrano)
1-2 sweet peppers (this time I used poblano and green bell peppers but I have made it with probably every pepper out there and it doesn't make a huge difference)
4-5 cloves of garlic
2 dried guajillo chilis 
1 tablespoon ancho chili powder
1/2 tablespoon cumin powder
(I also threw in a little chipotle powder that I had on hand)
1 can chopped tomatoes and peppers (I use Rotel)
1 can of tomato sauce
1 cup cooked black beans
1 cup cooked red kidney beans
1 cup cooked garbonzo beans
approximately half a package of fake meat crumbs (I prefer Quorn brand)

*Not pictured: black beans
Heat a small amount of cooking oil in a large pot. Chop up your onion, peppers, and garlic. Place them in the oil with a little salt to help them sauté faster. Cook thoroughly. Then heat your fake meat crumbles in the same pan with the onions and peppers. Next add the beans, tomato sauce and can of peppers and tomatoes. Add enough water to achieve your desired level of chunkiness. Grind your dried peppers in a coffee/spice grinder. Add your spices. He this all to a boil then simmer and cover. Cook it for as long as your hunger will allow. I make my chili in a slow cooker. 

This recipe is very open to interpretation. I use whatever I have on hand. Sometimes we top it with cheese and tortilla chips or have it with cornbread. Usually we just eat it as is. It also makes pretty good leftovers. Like I said, it makes a lot. 

Wednesday, October 31, 2012


In my head I sound like Gir from Invader Zim saying burrito. So the taquito is the diminutive form of a taco, according to the source of all knowledge in the known galaxy, Wikipedia. It is simply a small amount of something rolled up in a corn tortilla and fried. It's more like a cross between nachos and a taco. Yes, it is more like a tubular nacho. It is by no means healthy. It is often delicious. 

This again is more of a method post and the taquito can be changed in a variety of ways to suit your taste. 

Taquitos with Black Beans and Smoked Gouda served with Roasted Poblano Salsa
makes approximately 12

1 can refried black beans (or simply mash up your black beans)
8 ounces of shredded smoked gouda 
12 corn tortillas
small amount of cumin, chili powder, garlic powder (whatever spices you like)
cooking oil

For the salsa:
2 poblano peppers
2 tomatoes (I would have preferred tomatillos but didn't have any on hand)
1 small onion
1 serrano pepper (or other hot pepper)
3 cloves of garlic
salt, to taste
lime juice, to taste
cilantro, to taste 

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Get a frying pan and fill with approximately 1/2 inch of cooking oil and heat over medium heat. While it is heating, place peppers, tomatoes, onion and garlic on a tray and spray with non-stick spray.  Place this in the oven. They will stay in there until nice and charred, which will likely be about the amount of time it takes to make your taquitos. (Of note, I put my serrano pepper and garlic in a pouch that I made out of foil to keep them from charring because I do not like the taste of burnt garlic.) 
Yes, that is an Xmas paper plate.
Then start preparing your taquitos. Using tongs, quickly dip each of the tortillas in the oil. You want them to be malleable, not crunchy. Allow them to cool a bit, so you can handle them. While they are cooling you can prepare your filling ingredients. You can choose to mix it all together, but I layered, as I did not know how much cheese I would need to use. I ended up having a good amount of left over cheese. When they are cool enough to touch, spread your filling in a line at about 1/3 the way in the tortilla (not straight down the middle). Do not make the line all the way down to the very tip of the tortilla or it will leak out during frying. Then roll them up and place with seam side down. The next step is very important. Place them in the pan SEAM SIDE DOWN FIRST. Once that side gets set and crunchy, you will not have any trouble with it falling apart. If you do not do this, well, good luck. Then flip sides and cook until it is crunch all around. It took me about 1-2 minutes per side. It depends on how hot your oil/pan/stovetop is. The last step will be to peel your poblanos and puree your salsa. 

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Easing back in with Bruschetta

Ok, I have not been doing very well keeping up my blog. I keep taking pictures of food that I am making, not posting it soon enough, and forgetting how I made it. I have a few requests and life is calming down a little bit right now, so let's start back in. 

Bruschetta with mozzarella balls

2 medium tomatoes (as you can see we used this strange dark variety of tomato that is currently popular in the store)
2 cloves of garlic, minced
6-8 basil leaves
a tablespoon or so of olive oil
1 tablespoon good balsamic vinegar
salt to taste
one baguette
little mozzarella balls (we used the little ones available marinated in the cheese case at the store)

Chop it up. Mix it up. Slice and lightly toast your bread. Let in marinade in the fridge for a while. We topped our with the little salty balls of cheese. 

Very yummy. Very simple. I will post more recipes soon. 

Monday, August 20, 2012

Cauliflower Pizza Crust

Between vacation and night float I have not been cooking much, but, hey, there's always the weekend. I've also been trying to diet. Though I give myself the weekend off from dieting, I've been seeing a lot of recipes for cauliflower pizza crust. I love cauliflower and I love pizza so I thought I'd give it a try. I combined good parts of several recipes, and I think it was a success. 
Cauliflower Pizza Crust (and a Quickle)
makes one crust

1 head cauliflower
1 egg
1 ounce of goat cheese
1/2 cup mozzarella cheese
toppings of choice

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Process the cauliflower in a food processor to a grainy texture. Place this and a small amount of water in a microwave safe bowl. Cover the bowel loosely and microwave for six minutes. Here's the important part: Put the cauliflower mush in a cheesecloth and squeeze... and squeeze... and some squeeze some more. 

Mix this with the cheeses and egg. Now shape into a pizza crust on a cookie sheet. I used parchment paper and some cooking spray to keep it from sticking. Bake for 30-35 minutes until it is cooked all the way through. Now you can top with whatever you like. I made my own sauce with onion, garlic, canned tomato sauce and red chili flakes. For the other toppings I had mozzarella cheese, fake pepperoni (which is seriously good stuff), green bell peppers and a quick jalapeno pickle that I made (a quickle). I made the quickle by slicing the jalapeno, covering with white vinegar, some salt, and popped in the microwave for two minutes. It did the trick. Then I popped the pizza back in the oven until everything got all melty. Admittedly, I overcooked the toppings as you can see, but it was still very tasty.
My super power is eating pepperoni.

This is about 12 inches wide and I made a little thicker crust at the edges.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Happy Father's Day Huevos Rancheros!

It's been a little while since I published anything. I've been busy at work and little uninspired. I have taken some pictures and may post some recipes later. Today I make one of my (and my husband's) favorite for Father's Day breakfast, so here is is. 

Huevos Rancheros
serves 2
Eggs (as many as you like to eat)
1/2 white onion, diced
1-2 cloves of garlic, crushed with a garlic press or finely diced
1 can diced tomatoes with chiles (I use the extra hot kind)
cilantro, to garnish
salt, to taste
2 corn tortillas, cut in half then into 1 cm wide strips
oil for pan frying

Chop your onions and garlic and cilantro first, so you don't have to worry about it. 

Start heating a small layer of oil in a small flat-bottom pan.  (Now is also the time to start heating your water if you are going to poach your eggs.) Cut the tortillas into strips. Toss the tortilla strips in the oil. Let them fry for a very shot amount of time (depending on your heat but I have a gas stove and on medium it takes about 10 seconds.) I like them kind of crunchy/kind of chewy. Lay them in a single layer on a paper towel to soak up the oil. Salt them at this point if you like. (I have this really tasty smoked salt that I use just for huevos rancheros.)

Heat just a tiny bit of oil in a pan (I use the same pan as the tortilla pan. Just pour out the access oil and leave the tiny bit you need.) Toss in the onions in the oil and cook until they turn clear. Then add the garlic and cook for about 20-30 seconds. Add the tomatoes and peppers (Do not drain). Stir and turn up the heat. You are going to let this mixture cook down while you cook your eggs.

For your eggs: You can fry, scramble or poach your eggs. I prefer to poach them, but this can be a little tricky. Here's the basic method. Fill a pot with about 3 inches of water and add a good splash of white vinegar. Heat to a simmer. You should see small bubbles coming up slowly. If you use a rolling boil you will break your eggs to pieces. Crack an egg into a small cup/mug/bowl. Gently let your egg slide out of the cup and into the water. Set a time for 3 minutes (this is the minimum it will take for a large egg). There is a trick to the timing that is kind of hard to learn. If the egg is young, it will take longer to cook (more like 4 minutes) because the egg whites stay in a tighter ball and thus it takes longer for the middle to cook. If the egg is older (i.e. been in your fridge for a week) it will take less time to cook (maybe even 2.5 minutes). This is because the protein in the egg whites are more broken down. You will actually see a lot more strings of egg whites in your water. It's science ;) Have paper towels laid out on a plate beside your pot. When your eggs look like they are cooked scoop them out with a slotted spoon. Lay them on the paper towel and then place another paper towel on top to blot them dry. 

Put it all together and enjoy. I know it's a long description because I am explaining technique (maybe I'll do videos eventually. You can also find plenty of videos about technique on the interwebs. I like for technique videos.) This really only takes about 20 minutes. I have made it all sorts of ways. I have used fresh tomatoes and peppers, but this is better to me. You can add cheese, black beans, avocados. Be creative, but this is a good base.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Happy Cinco de Mayo / You're Welcome America!

For Cinco de Mayo I decided to do some recipes even someone drunk on margaritas could follow. For starters, margaritas!

Watermelon Margaritas
serves 4

1 seedless watermelon
1 cup tequila
1/2 cup lime juice
1/2 cup triple sec
chili lime salt (the kind sold to sprinkle on fruit etc)

Cube the watermelon and freeze it. I like to lay things flat in a large plastic bag so it breaks apart easier later. Then rim your glass by wetting it with a lime wedge or water. Place chili lime salt on a plate and twist your glass around the plate. I always take my glass over to the sink and get rid of any of the salt on the inside of the glass. Blend 1/2 of your frozen watermelon and the rest of the ingredients for the smoothest margarita you've ever had. Pour into glass. This would work with any frozen fruit. I will definitely be trying frozen raspberries.

Ok so I am trying to low carb it (except for the margaritas). While initially I made fun of them and so did Eric, they are good. Eric says "They may be better than regular tortillas." They are also less work than regular tortillas. Also they are not really eggy.


Egg whites (I used packaged)
shredded cheese

Heat a non-stick pan on medium high. Place a ring mold (or not, I originally did these "free form") in the center. I used the outside part of my small spring form pan. Spray with non-stick spray. Pour a thin amount of egg whites in  the bottom just to coat. There is no need/no time to swirl around like a crepe. Then sprinkle the top with a small amount of shredded cheese. Cook on each side til browned. Fill with whatever you like. I used guacamole, pico di gallo, black beans and marinated mushrooms, onions and green peppers.

The cheese side give it this great salty crunch. Trust me. It does not taste like breakfast but I will be making breakfast tacos with theses! Each of mine had about 60 calories and 5 grams of protein, so that is way better than a regular tortilla right there!

Free form tacos!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Tom Kha Soup

This is my all time favorite soup, and it just got more amazing. I usually make it with cauliflower, mushrooms and tomatoes. This time I used three kinds of mushrooms: oyster, enoki and beech mushrooms. I also added a little baby bok choy and japanese noodles that I had on hand. I used to have a kaffir lime tree in my house just for the purpose of making this soup. However, after years of suffering in West Virginia, I gave it to my mom to take home to Texas. Now I just use kaffir leaf powder that I bought online and sprinkle it on top. That's the green powder you seen on the final product picture.

Here is the general recipe that I use for my tom kha soup.

Tom Kha Soup (AKA the best soup in the world!)
(serves 4)

1/2 cup coconut milk
3 cups vegetable stock
1 stalk lemongrass, chopped
1 inch fresh ginger root, sliced
3 kaffir lime leaves
4 small chilies, crushed or chopped
1 tsp sugar (optional)
2 tbsp light soy sauce
1 cup cauliflower (or any vegetables you like, mushrooms, bamboo shoots, and tomatoes are nice in this soup
2 tbsp lemon juice

Heat the vegetable stock with lemongrass, ginger, kaffir lime leaves, soy sauce, chilies, sugar, and stock. Simmer with the lid on for ten minutes then strain the debris from the broth by placing a strainer in a bowl. Return soup base to pot. Add vegetables. Simmer vegetables until al dente. Add the coconut milk and heat up (do not boil rapidly or it may break the coconut milk into particles). Remove from heat and add lemon juice. Garnish with cilantro (and kaffir leaf powder if you are using it).

*If you don’t have access to kaffir lime leaves you can use other citrus leaves like lemon or lime zest. If you are using zest make sure not to get any of the white pith and do not add it until two minutes before you are going to strain the soup. The zest will make your soup too bitter if you cook it for too long.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Fakin' Bacon

Those of you who know me on Facebook might already know this, but I have never had a BLT. This is mostly because I never cared for the "B." This proves Anthony Bourdain wrong ("Everyone likes bacon. Even vegetarians like bacon.") Pig meat always gave me a headache, so avoided it, which could be difficult with an Appalachian mommy. However, in the last six months I have been experimenting with making a vegetarian version of the classic BLT. Something about crisp lettuce, juicy ripe tomato and good bread just seemed so refreshing to me. I have tried disgusting commercially available faux bacon strips. I have made tempeh bacon. I even cut eggplant into thin strips and then battered and fried it. That was probably the closest until a magical idea popped into my head: smoked cheese. It has the fat. It has the smoke. My original idea was to pan fry the cheese into one of those little crisps that you sometimes get on salads, usually made out of Parmesan. However, I decided to just cut it into strips to mimic the look of bacon. Also in reality it did not melt down but still got crispy and chewy. As Eric put it "The closest thing to bacon that I've ever had." 
F. L. T (Facon, Lettuce and Tomato Sandwich)
serves 2

1 block smoked cheese (I used Gruyere)
1 large tomato, sliced
2 romaine lettuce leaves (because iceberg is for chumps)
4 slices sourdough (or your favorite white bread)
mayonnaise, to taste
salt and pepper

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line a pan with parchment paper. Slice the cheese or grate and place in mounds. Cook until crisp and brown, approximately 20 minutes for the hard Gruyere). In the mean time you can slice you tomato and toast your bread. I like mine only lightly toasted for this sandwich. When the cheese is finished you can assemble your sandwich by slathering mayonnaise (or vegan mayo. I am fine with just low fat mayo). Then salt and pepper the mayo. Stack your tomato, cheese and lettuce.  

That puppy wants some facon!

Next time I may try slicing firm tofu and marinating in liquid smoke then deep frying. I may even add an avocado. Overall, I would say big success in the world of fake bacon.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Beer Battered Green Bean Fries

I like green bean fries, so here goes!

Beer Battered Green Bean Fries with Avocado Ranch Sauce
Serves 4 (probably)

1 lb fresh green beans
whole wheat flour
1/2 bottle of cold beer
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
Oil for frying 
Salt to taste

1 Avocado
1/4 cup ranch dressing
1 pickled jalapeno (if desired)
1 tablespoon lemon or lime juice

Bring a pot of water to boil and preheat oil in a pan over medium. In the meantime, puree the avocado, ranch, jalapeno, and lemon juice in food processor or with immersion blender. Place it in the refrigerator. When the water is boiling, blanch the green beans for a few minutes making sure they are still crisp. Drain and rinse with cold water. Place them on a paper towel and pat dry. 

Then set up a batter station. Place a handful of four in a shallow wide bowl. Then put approximately 3/4-1 cup of flour in a large mixing bowl and blend the baking powder. stir in enough beer for the mixture to be a really thin batter, fairly soupy. Toss green beans in the flour in batches and then coat in beer batter. Remove them individually but quickly from the batter and place in hot oil. Cook til golden brown, approximately 2 minutes. Salt while they are still hot. Serve with dipping sauce. 

Monday, April 9, 2012

Deviled Eggs for Easter

Does anyone else find it weird that it is traditional to make something called "deviled eggs" for Easter? Oh well. After dyeing Easter eggs, that is exactly what I did. This post will be more pictures than words. 
Easter Devils Two Ways
makes 24

1 dozen eggs
mayonnaise (I prefer light)
Dijon mustard, about 2 tablespoons
4 green onions, chopped greens and whites
1 tablespoon dill pickle relish
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 tablespoon curry powder (or to taste)
salt to taste

Hard boil the eggs by placing in a pan of cold water, bring to a boil, turn off heat and cover. Let sit for 9 minutes. Drain the water and fill the pan with cool water and a few ice cubes. Peel eggs and cut in half. Gently scoop out the yolks. Add about 1/3-1/2 as much mayo as yolks in volume. Add all of the other ingredients, except curry powder. I mash mine with an avocado masher but you can use a fork. I filled half of my eggs with this basic mixture and garnished the top with paprika and dried dill. I added curry to the other half of the egg mixture and garnished with some leftover green onion. 

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Fake Tuna Sandwich

Ok so we all know about fake meat products. They are all some weird smashed soy stuff with food coloring (or in the case of Quorn: mycoprotein translates into fungal sludge).  I know, I eat the stuff and I genuinely like it. However, I like this better: real food. This is how I made fake tuna sandwiches out of real food.

Combine equal proportions of cooked chickpeas* and artichoke hearts (canned or frozen but probably don't want do use marinated as it will change the taste and texture). Pulse in a food processor until the consistency is like tuna from a can. Then add other stuff you like: mayo, green onions, white onion, pickle relish, lemon juice, salt and pepper for me. You could do it like a chicken salad too and add grapes and walnuts. Get creative. Then I just spread it on some nice sourdough bread with crisp romaine leaves and ripe tomato.  It hit the spot. It has protein like tuna and a lot of fiber. I served it with an Israeli couscous asparagus salad on the side.

*I always buy dry beans and soak them overnight. After I boil in salted water, drain and rinse them, I let them cool to room temperature. Then I put them in a large freezer bag and lay flat in the freezer. This gives me a lot of beans on hand to use and they are a lot better than those from a can.

**For this recipe you could also use white beans.

Indian Pizza

I had this great idea for making Indian inspired pizza. I thought about it for a week and knew it would be a lot of work. I did it over the course of two days. I make the homemade paneer and marinated the Quorn chicken tandori on the first day. On day two I made the chutney and pizza dough. I also make lemon pickle swiss chard but found that the pizza was better without it. For the dough I used Fleishman's pizza yeast which does not require doubling time. I just followed the recipe exactly as written on the package. I could have made naan bread to be more Indian but I was looking for a short cut time-wise. I suppose I could have bought naan.

Indian Tandoori Chik'n Pizza
serves 4 (or 2 hungry bears)

Dough made according the package instruction or you can use my dough recipe here.

I always precook my dough. Usually I do this on the grill but I did it in a pan this time. I brushed it lightly with olive oil and cooked both sides on medium heat until bubbles formed.

For the paneer:
1/4 gallon milk
1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice (lime juice or vinegar would work as well)
cheese cloth

Place the milk in a heavy bottom sauce pan and bring to a boil. Then add lemon juice. The milk will form curds and whey. When your whey is greenish and thin it's time to strain. Tie your cheese cloth around the ball of curds and hang above the sink for 30 minutes to an hour. (As you can see I could not find my cheesecloth, so I found a shirt with open weave like a cheese cloth and made it work. It's kind of funny.) Then I pressed mine into a plastic container and put it in the refrigerator overnight. This helped to make it more firm. When it was time to use I cut it into cubes.
Making it work!

For the chutney:
1 bunch cilantro
2 hot peppers, serrano or jalapeno
1 handful shelled pistachios (I guess this is about 1/4 cup)
2 tablespoons lemon juice or to taste
salt to taste
Blend it!

For the tandoori chik'n:
1/2 bag Quorn chicken pieces
1/2 cup plain yogurt
Tandoori spice and paprica (enough to get the red color you desire for me this was about 1/4-1/3 cup)

Just mix this together and pop it into the refrigerator to marinated for however long you have. Mine marinated for 24 hours.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. When it was time to assemble  I smeared the chutney onto the dough, placed the paneer and marinated "chicken" on my pizza. I let it cook for about 25 minutes if memory serves me correctly.

In retrospect the chutney lost it's acidity in cooking so I would probably change the recipe by cooking the dough and chicken in the oven on their own, then assembling all of the ingredients. Paneer doesn't really melt anyway so it doesn't need to be cooked in the oven. The other option would be to make the tandoori marinade as your sauce instead of marinating your chicken with it. I think I might try to make a saag paneer pizza or a madras mixed vegetable curry pizza.... mmmm.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

How to make enchiladas

I have been making enchiladas for a few year but have only been making them well for about a year. It took a lot of toying with because they often just turned out so squishy. Being from Texas this simply would not work. 

Spinach and Mushroom Enchiladas Verdes
serves 4

12 ounces mushrooms (I used shitake because that is what I have)
12 ounces fresh or frozen spinach
8 ounces light cream cheese (I used Laughing Cow light)
10 tortillas
1 jar tomatillo sauce (or make your own)
oil for frying
shredded cheese for topping
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Heat oil in pan for tortillas. Cook down sliced mushrooms in oil. Then wilt the spinach or defrost if using frozen. Mix spinach and mushrooms with cream cheese. Place a tortilla in oil and cook on each side for about 5-10 seconds, until slightly puffed and soft fried. Then place tortilla in pan and spoon filling into it to fill it about 1/3 way. Roll, preferably using tongs. Do this with each tortilla. Then cover with tamatillo sauce and top with cheese. Put in oven for 25 minutes. Ta-da!

This is just the basic way to make enchiladas and can be used to make any number of combinations. I served mine with avocado and tomato salad.