Thursday, August 26, 2010

French green lentil salad (or soup)

8 c water
1 or 2 cubes not-chicken bouillon
1 T oil
2 c French green lentils
2 large spring onion bulbs, minced
4 cloves garlic, minced
8 crimini mushrooms, chopped
3 oz spinach, chopped
2 c Israeli couscous
>2 T lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste

Bring water, bouillon, and oil to boil. Add lentils, onion, and garlic, and simmer for a bit. Add mushrooms and simmer until the lentils are pretty much done. Add spinach and Israeli couscous, and simmer until the Israeli couscous is done. Add salt, pepper, and lemon juice. I usually make this as a soup--just add more water. Add some feta to make it richer and less vegan.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Chapathis and parathas

the full menu: chapathi, paratha, bhindi, baigan bharta, rice

from The Art of Indian Vegetarian Cooking
This is for 4 chapathis and 2 parathas for 2 hungry people; multiply as you wish.

2/3 c whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 c all-purpose white flour
1/2 t salt
1 T melted butter (or ghee, if you're more awesome than me)
slightly less than 1/3 c warm (wrist-temp) water
melted butter for brushing

Sift together flours into a bowl and mix in the salt. Drizzle in the melted butter and mix with your fingertips as for biscuits. Pour in the half the water, mixing with your fingers as you go, until it forms a cohesive blob. Continue to knead and slowly add more water as needed to form a nice pliable dough. Knead for a few more minutes. When you're happy with the smoothness and pliableness, swirl the ball of dough in the residual melted butter, then cover and let rest in a warm/hot place for 45 min.

Sprinkle a little bit of flour on a clean work surface. Knead the dough for a minute, cut it in half, and cut each half into one big piece (just over a third) and two small pieces (just under a third). Make big pieces into parathas: roll out into a 6" circle, brush the top with melted butter, fold in half, brush with butter again, fold in half again, and roll out into a 6" triangle. Make the small pieces into chapathis: just roll out into a 6" circle.

Preheat two cast-iron frying pans on medium and brush one with butter. After a few minutes when the pans are hot, fry the chapathis in the dry pan and the parathas in the buttered pan, flipping when the bottom side gets brown spots and the top is puffing. Wrap in a towel while cooking the rest.

Baigan bharta

from The Art of Indian Vegetarian Cooking

1 eggplant
1 T oil (or ghee)
1 hot chili, sans seeds, minced
1/8 t asafetida
1 t cumin seeds
1 t coriander
1 t salt
a few torn-up leaves of mint (which is all I had, but more mint plus some cilantro would be better)
1/3 c yogurt

Put the eggplant on a baking sheet at roast at 350F-400F for 45 min until very squishy. Slice in half and scoop out the pulp, discarding the seedier bits. Mash up a bit. Fry chili, asafetida, and cumin seeds in hot but not smoking oil, until the cumin seeds darken. Add eggplant, coriander, and salt, and cook until the mixture is thick and liquid is reduced. Let cool for a few minutes, then stir in the yogurt, garam masala, and mint.


KD's base, Lester's interpretation

150g (half of a) onion, sliced
1 t cumin seeds
1/8 t tumeric
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 finger chilis, deseeded and minced
1" piece ginger, peeled and minced
3 good-sized tasty tomatoes
1/2 t salt, or to taste
300g okra, trimmed and chopped in half
1 t garam masala
some freshly-chopped cilantro

Fry onion in some oil on medium until it starts to turn brown. Add cumin seeds and continue frying until they brown and pop. Add tumeric and turn the heat down to lowish. Add garlic-chili-ginger (GCG, as they say) and stir as it simmers gently. After 30 sec to a minute ish, add tomatoes and salt and increase the heat. Simmer and stir, letting liquid reduce. You can add any veggies you want at this point, but we're adding okra, which has been meanwhile frying in a separate pan in a bit of oil until brown. Add that okra and simmer for 10-15 min. Stir in garam masala and cilantro.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Chocolate salted caramels by Toni

Once upon a time Toni made some chocolate caramels...and things went badly wrong but luckily then there was a second attempt:
no candy thermometer, but hopefully no glass in the caramels either.

1 cup of heavy cream
5 oz dark chocolate
2 tbsp honey
2 tbsp dark corn syrup
2 tbsp water
1/8 tsp salt
3/4 cup sugar
2 tbsp brown sugar
1.5 tbsp butter

Bring the heavy cream to the boil, add chocolate and let it melt for a minute, then stir until everything is melted and remove form heat.
Bring all the sugary items plus salt to the boil. Let it go dark golden brown, which should take about 10 minutes. This will also require quite a bit of stirring. Then slowly add the chocolate cream mix. Don't be afraid the steaming and bubbling is normal. Boil all this on medium heat for about 15 minutes with constant stirring so it doesn't burn. If you had a thermometer (unlike me, because I broke it with my previous attempt) the mixture should reach a core temperature of 255F or 125C.
Then add the little bits of butter wait till they are melted and then pour the entire mixture into a 8x8 inch dish lined with parchment paper. Don't be tempted to scrape the left overs from the pan out! Let it cool for 10 minutes and then sprinkle with coarse salt.
Everything should cool thoroughly for about 2 hours then, little squares can be cut, which can then be wrapped into wax/grease proof paper.
Et voila some salted chocolate caramels ready to be served.

Lester's coffee & walnut cupcakes

1 cup earth balance or butter
1 2/3 c brown sugar
3 eggs
1 c chopped walnuts
[1 1/4 c all-purpose flour + 1 T baking powder] OR [1 1/4 c self-rising flour + 1.5 t baking powder]
2 T Camp coffee chicory essence

Preheat oven to 325F and check your cupcake liner stash. Cream together earth balance and sugar, then beat in eggs. Combine flour, baking powder, and walnuts in a separate bowl. Add dry ingredients and Camp coffee to batter, stir to combine. Scoop into at least a dozen lined cupcake tins; I got 14 big cupcakes. Bake for about 25 min and cool before decorating.

3/4 c earth balance
3.5 c powdered sugar
1 T milk
1 T Camp coffee
walnut bits for decorating

Beat together until your desired combination of light, fluffy, creamy, etc is achieved, adding tiny amounts of powdered sugar or milk to tune the texture. Pipe (with a bona fide pastry bag!) onto cupcakes and top with walnut quarters.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Veggie paella with shrimp

bit of olive oil
1 red onion, cut into thin wedges
3 cloves garlic, smashed and chopped
1/2 pack TJ's soy chorizo
1 red bell pepper, cut into strips
1 long yellow summer squash, cut into semicircles
2 little tomatoes, diced
1 handful green beans, trimmed and halved
1 dozen frozen artichoke quarters
1.5 c arborio rice
2/3 c white wine
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 pinch saffron in 2.5 c hot broth
enough shrimp to loosely tile the top of your pan

Preheat oven to 400F. In wide oven-safe frying pan, saute onion and garlic in oil. Add chorizo and cook for a few minutes. Add veggies and saute briefly, then add rice and saute for a few minutes. Add wine and lemon and cook off. Arrange everything how you want it now, because you won't be stirring it after this! Pour on broth, 1/2 c ish at a time, and simmer on medium-high until the rice is almost done (about 15 min). Arrange shrimp on top and transfer to oven. Bake for 6 min, until the rest of the liquid is absorbed, the shrimp and rice are done, and the veggies on top are a bit browned around the edges. Serve with baguette and more white wine. There's supposed to be a crispy but not charred crust on the bottom, and you're supposed to eat it and enjoy.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Red onion and apple chutney

1/2 c apple cider vinegar
2/3 c packed brown sugar
2 Braeburn apples, peeled and chopped (2.5 c)
1 red onion, minced (1 c)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1" piece ginger, minced
1/4 t chili flakes, minced
1/4 t cloves
1/4 t cardamom
1/2 t soy sauce

Simmer together vinegar and sugar to dissolve. Add the other ingredients and simmer for 45 min, covering the pot except when you're stirring and mashing at the apples (which should be every few minutes). If the apples are cooking faster than the liquid is reducing, leave the lid off for a bit. Makes 2 cups. This is delicious in a variety of contexts, but was designed to go in stuffed Japanese yams.

Stuffed Japanese yams

per 7 yams (or per yam half):
7 (half) Japanese yams with a good aspect ratio for stuffing
1-2 oz (1 spoonful) chevre (eg Redwood Hill)
1.5 Tb (a little) melted butter
1/2 t (a tiny bit) soy sauce
4-5 oz (2 spoonfuls) crumbled Bulgarian sheeps-milk feta from Berkeley Bowl
2/3 c (1 spoonful) red onion-apple chutney

To pre-roast: Preheat oven to 450F. Wash yams and roast on a foil-covered baking sheet for 35-45 min, until they give just a little bit when squeezed, turning over halfway through. Let cool for an hour or two, then cut in half crosswise and scoop out the middles into a little bowl. Mash the middles a bit with the chevre.

To assemble: Melt butter and soy sauce together in a little bowl. Brush the inside of each yam half with soy-butter (1&2), squish a bit of feta into the bottom of each well (3), add a spoonful of chutney (4), top with another bit of feta (5), and cover with mashed middles, smoothing the top to seal the insides in (6). Wrap in foil and roast at 450F for another 30 min (or grill!). Cool until holdable, then eat like a burrito or ice cream cone, peeling back the skin as you go (or not).

You'll probably have some middles left over, so you should eat them with some more chutney and feta, or just by themselves.

PS A couplet said by Anna accidentally during testing and noticed by Lester:
There's two with chevre and two with feta;
The question now is, which kind is better?

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Mint brownies

based on these, incorporating the comments

1.5 sticks butter
4 oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped
3 eggs
1.5 c sugar
3/4 c flour
1/2 c chocolate cookie crumbs
1 t vanilla
1.5 t mint syrup
1/2 t salt
a little more butter and some cocoa powder

Preheat oven to 350F. Melt butter and chocolate together in a small saucepan until smooth, then let cool. Beat together sugar and eggs until fluffy. Mix in all the other ingredients (except the last bit for the pan). Butter a 9x13" pan and dust with cocoa powder (great idea Jill!). Pour the batter into the pan, bake for 20 min until toothpick comes out almost clean, and cool for 10-20 min.

mint frosting:
3 c powdered sugar
3/4 stick butter, softened
3 T milk
1.5 t mint syrup

Beat together until creamy, and spread over warm brownies. Put in the fridge for an hour to set.

chocolate ganache:
1/2 stick butter
8 oz dark chocolate (18 squares of TJ's pound plus)
2 T milk

Melt together until smooth, cool for 5 min, spread over brownies, and stick back in the fridge until ready to serve.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Trivial TJ's dinner 2: queso-less-dillas

2 tortillas (I like thicker flour ones for this, eg TJ's handmade)
spread: TJ's spicy black bean dip (by the salsas) or hummus
greens: spinach and/or arugula
thinly sliced veggies: usually mushroom, but pretty much anything would work
can also put in chevre (goes with hummus) or avocado (goes with anything, of course)

Start heating a large heavy-bottomed frying pan on medium. Spread with your spread of choice, assemble with other fillings, and cook in ungreased pan until the tortillas are toasty and the veggies are semi-cooked. Clearly trivial; the main point of posting this is to say how good the spicy black bean dip is, and how cheese is pretty unnecessary if everything else is flavorful.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Trivial TJ's dinner 1: pizza

TJ's spicy spinach pizza (above the prepared sandwiches) (keep in the freezer indefinitely)

topping options:
greens (spinach, arugula, basil, etc)
thinly sliced veggies (tomato, mushroom, bell pepper, etc)
mozzarella cheese
grated parmesean or similar (I keep a little pregrated tupperware in the freezer for such situations)
salt, pepper, herbs

Take a pizza crust out of the freezer, peel off the waxed paper, and toast in the toaster oven to defrost. Prepare assorted toppings. Put toppings on crust (greens then veggies then cheese) and toast again. Cut into quarters and eat. So easy, and tastes like food! One pizza is enough for a not-starving person.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Mexican-style veggies

fajitas, burritos, something

1 T oil
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 sweet potato, peeled and cubed
1.5 t cumin
1/2 t chili powder
salt to taste
1 can black beans
1 red bell pepper, cut into shortish strips
2 long summer squash or zucchini, cut into thin semicircles
2 handfuls green beans, ends removed and cut in half
both halves of a lime
grated cheddar, cubed avocado, warm tortillas

Cook onion and sweet potato in oil on medium-high for a good long while, stirring occasionally and covering the pot occasionally, until onion is light brown and sweet potato is mostly done. Reduce heat to medium low, then add spices+juice of half a lime+beans, then red pepper+squash, then green beans, cooking for a few minutes between each addition. Serve on tortillas with cheese, avocado, and wedges of the other half a lime.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Mushroom gnocchi

2 cloves garlic
4 small spring onion bulbs
1 not-too-hot chili pepper
1.5 TJ packs crimini mushrooms
1-2 T madiera
pinch bouillon in 1/4 hot water
1-2 handfuls arugula
2-3 T cream
handful grated asiago
salt and pepper to taste
1 pack gnocchi

Mince garlic, onion, and chili, and saute in a large pot with some olive oil. Thinly slice mushrooms (stems on and skin off, if you're Toni), add to the pot, and saute. (Start boiling water for the gnocchi at this point; cook gnocchi in a separate pot.) Add madiera and bouillon to the mushrooms, simmer until liquid is reduced and/or absorbed. Stir in arugula and cook until wilted. Stir in cream, cheese, and seasonings, then stir in gnocchi (which should be done by now). This is more filling than it appears, or at least more filling than we expected.

Mint simple syrup

Simmer together for 20 min:
1 c water
1 c sugar
3/4 c packed spearmint leaves

Let cool, pour into a glass jar (squishing all the syrup out of the mint leaves and discarding them), and store in fridge. To be used in mint juleps and mojitos, in place of mint extract in baked goods, etc.

Monday, August 2, 2010


Remember to make this 12-24 hr before serving.

12 oz mascarpone (340 g)
1/2 t vanilla
3 good fresh eggs, separated
2 T + 3 T sugar
2/3 c whipping cream
2/3 c strong coffee (better yet, espresso)
1/3 c milk
2 oz booze (I generally use rum or Kahlua, but this time I tried rum + Drambuie)
~3 dozen ladyfingers, storebought and/or homemade

In a large bowl, stir together mascarpone and vanilla until smooth. Add egg yolks (putting whites in a medium bowl), 2 T sugar, and a splash of booze, and stir until smooth and pale. Beat the egg whites until soft peaks form, add 3 T sugar, and beat until stiff glossy peaks form. Fold the whites into the mascarpone. Whip the whipping cream and also fold into the rest of the creamy things.

In a flat-bottomed bowl large enough to fit your ladyfingers, combine coffee, milk, and a couple more splashes of booze. Dip ladyfingers in coffee-booze and arrange them in the bottom of a 9x9 glass pan. Pour half the creamy deliciousness over the ladyfingers. Repeat with another layer of ladyfingers and the rest of the creamy deliciousness; this should fill the pan just about to the rim. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until serving. At serving time, scoop into pretty little bowls or glasses and dust with cocoa powder.

Sunday, August 1, 2010


Neither Berkeley Bowl nor Trader Joe's had ladyfingers, and I'd rather try making my own than go all the way to Andronico's. Thus, an attempt based on They taste good but turned out spongier and tougher than store-bought ones; cake flour instead of all-purpose might help with that.

5 eggs
1/2 c + 1.5 T sugar
7/8 c flour
parchment paper for the pans

Preheat oven to 400F.

Separate eggs, putting yolks in the larger bowl. With electric mixer, beat yolks with 1/2 c sugar for many minutes until it's very pale yellow and forms thick ribbons as it drips off the mixer. By hand, gradually stir in the flour.

Wash beaters, and whip egg whites until soft peaks form. Slowly pour in 1.5 T sugar and beat until stiff glossy peaks form. Stir a third of the whites into the dough to lighten, then gently but thoroughly fold in the rest.

Scoop into a ziploc with the tip snipped off (or a pastry bag if you're better-equipped than I am) and pipe ladyfinger-sized strips of batter onto parchment-lined cookie sheets. Turn oven down to 350F and bake for 6-9 min until pale gold. Remove from parchment to cooling racks after a few minutes.

English muffins

a combination of and

Dissolve together and cool:
3/4 c powdered skim milk
2 T sugar
1.5 t salt
1.5 T earth balance
1.5 c hot water

Combine and let sit for a few minutes:
1 packet yeast
1/2 c warm water

also need:
3.5 c flour
1.5 t baking soda
cast-iron pan(s)

Add yeast mixture to milk mixture. Put 2 c flour in a large bowl, stir in liquids, and stir in another 1.5 c of flour. Stir with determination for a couple minutes until smooth, cohesive, viscous, and even slightly glutinously stringy--snotty, really. Cover with a cloth and let sit for 6 hr (or overnight) at warmish room temperature.

Cover a plate with cornmeal. With a plastic spoon or spatula, stir dough to deflate and homogenize. Scoop muffin-sized blobs of dough, the right number to fit in your pan(s), onto the cornmeal plate. Preheat the pan(s) on just-above-low. Carefully transfer blobs to pan, cornmeal-side down, using a slotted spoon or just your fingers--pulling up and kind of folding over the edges of the blob to create more cornmealed surface on the sides helps. While the first side is browning, put more blobs on the cornmeal, adding more cornmeal if needed. Flip when the first side is brown and remove to a cooling rack when the second side is brown, 5-15 min per side depending on pan temperature. Repeat with the rest of the muffin blobs.

When cool, split open with a fork or fingertips and toast. Eat with butter and jam for breakfast, as a burger bun for dinner, etc.