01 June 2008

spinach salad with baked tofu

spinach salad with baked tofu

For the tofu:

2 teaspoons soy sauce
approximately 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
approximately 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
3 tablespoons water (or vegetable broth)
3 tablespoons white wine
2-3 cloves garlic, pressed

For better results, pressing the tofu in this recommended. Not necessary, but I didn't and it could have come out better if I had. Mix all of the ingredients and put some of it into a small pan. Add your tofu (cut however you'd like it), spread in a single layer, then pour the rest of the mixture over the tofu. Cover with foil and bake at 400F for 30 minutes. Flip the tofu over then bake with the foil removed for 20 minutes longer. In the end, broil for 2-3 minutes on each side. Let the tofu cool some first if serving on salad.

The marinade comes out surprisingly sweet which was a wonderful contrast to the balsamic vinegar dressing we made. I served it over a salad of baby spinach with a pita on the side :)

11 May 2008

beet piadini

beet piadini

Sliced, boiled & roasted with sea salt and fresh ground pepper. Serve with feta and lettuce (anything but iceberg!)

These have quickly become a favorite that we make every week :)

16 March 2008


world, meet lina

meet lina :)

17 February 2008

feta piadini

feta piadinis

Still trying even more new piadini topping combinations. Sautéed sliced mushrooms, artichoke hearts, sun-dried tomatoes, and Greek black olives. Topped with feta instead of Parmesan. So good, but so so filling! This is one piadini you must try.

13 February 2008

mushroom piadini with lemon zest

mushroom piadinis

After a visit to the doctor two weeks ago, I found out I might have a pre-ulcer condition. The results came back negative, but while we were waiting for the news, I decided to stay away from anything acidic that might upset my stomach, aka, the most beloved tomatoes. But anyone who knows me and Jason knows how piadini-obsessed we are, and we weren't going to let this get in the way of that! We decided to try a new topping. We've talked about new toppings before, but we just couldn't bring ourselves to have a piadini without that wonderful marinated tomato topping that we love so much. I am so glad that we finally pushed ourselves to try something new because these are amazing!

I've posted the recipe before, but I'll post it again for those who have missed it. We've since cut it down to half the size, but we still make this into 4, so there are 4 much smaller piadinis. Much cuter, and easier to handle on the stove. We've also switched to using King Arthur's white wheat flour instead of all purpose in an attempt to eat more whole wheat. This flavor is much better than using all regular whole wheat, and is healthier than using part whole wheat and part all purpose. If you don't have any on hand, you can use all purpose flour or half white and half wheat (using whole wheat flour, you may need to add slightly more water)

Piadini Sponge Ingredients:
1 tsp yeast (active dry or instant)
1/4 cup warm water
1/4 cup white wheat flour

Piadini Dough Ingredients:
3/4 cup white wheat flour
1/4 cup + up to 2 tablespoons warm water
1/4 tsp salt (optional)

Combine all the sponge ingredients and stir with a wooden or plastic spoon. Let it sit uncovered at room temperature for about 30 minutes. The sponge should start to grow slightly and have bubbles when it's ready.

Add to this bowl the wheat flour and 1/4 cup water. Add up to 2 tablespoons more water if the dough is too dry. It should be sticky yet manageable, with just enough water to pull all the flour together. The salt is optional. Jason stopped using salt in the piadinis and hasn't found that they taste or feel any different, so we don't add it. Why add extra salt to our diets if it isn't necessary?

Turn the dough onto a VERY well floure surface. Jason finds that using whole wheat flour for this step produces the best texture. Knead until the dough is soft but no longer sticky, about 6-7 minutes. If the dough starts tearing easily when you knead it, you've gone too long. Place the dough in a well oiled bowl, covered, for 45 minutes. While the dough is rising, you can prepare the topping:

Piadini Topping Ingredients:
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella (or more! add as much as you want! or at least, how much can fit)
1/2 tablespoon butter
1 clove garlic, minced
8 oz mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
zest of half a medium lemon
a pinch of flour

Shred the mozzarella, divide it into 4 pieces and set it aside. In butter (or oil if you prefer), cook the garlic for about one minute. I like do this slightly below medium so that the garlic doesn't start to brown. Add the mushrooms and a little bit of salt and pepper. Cook until they're soft. Stir in the lemon zest and cook for about 1 minute. If the ingredients in the pan are too watery, don't drain off the water. Just add a pinch of flour and stir to thicken the juices.

To make the piadini, divide the dough into 4 pieces. Working one at a time, flatten the ball of dough into a thin circle (it will puff up more when cooking) on wax paper or a silicone mat to keep from sticking to the counter. Place on a pre-heated skillet on medium heat, and flaten more with the back of your spatula. Add shredded mozzarella and continue flattening that down some. Check for the texture of the piadini to determine if it's done. It should feel firm, yet soft when you press it with your finger. You may need to turn the heat up or down some depending on if it's starting to burn too easily or if it's not cooking fast enough. They usually cook in 4-6 minutes each. Once it's done, move to a plate and add 1/4 of the mushroom mixture to one side of the piadini. Add some freshly grated parmesan and fold in half. Keep it in a warm oven while you cook the rest.

The lemon in this is just enough to give a fresh contrast to the mushrooms, but not too much that it's overpowering. Of course, almost anything would be wonderful on dough like this. Please share any other topping ideas you might have :)

13 January 2008

homemade semolina pata with lemon sauce and parmesan

lemon pasta

The sauce for this is so simple. Melt 2 tbsp butter with 2 tbsp olive oil. Once the butter has melted, add 2 medium cloves of minced garlic. Saute for about 1 minute. Add the zest and juice of 2 lemons and cook until slightly reduced. Add salt and pepper to taste. Top with parmesan.

mini piadini with cucumber salad

mini piadini

Recently, we've found out that making the piadinis with King Arthur's White Wheat flour is the best. It adds some complexity (and nutrients!) to the flavor of the bread, but without taking away from the taste of the tomato mixture like when using whole wheat flour. Plus, the wheat dough is much easier to handle when rolling them out. We've also started making them smaller. They fit better in the pan this way, making them easier to cook. Plus, they're just cute. For a side, we had cucumber salad.

cucumber salad

For the cucumber salad, cut a very thin slice of onion and separate the rings. Place them in a bowl with white vinegar and fresh ground black pepper. Add to that the cucumber slices and marinate for about 1 hour, stirring once or twice. The onions infuse into the vinegar and then into cucumbers, giving it a more complex flavor without it tasting too strongly of onion. I take the onions out, but you can eat them with the salad if you want :)

30 December 2007

making santars at grandma's

making santars

Making santars with my mom on Christmas morning. I made the dough and she shaped them. It's one recipe I will never blog about ;)

29 December 2007

Christmas in New Mexico means food & family

For the last 7 days, Jason and I have been in New Mexico for Christmas. To me, New Mexico means two things: food and family. Christmas morning, my auntie, her husband and 4 daughters, all of my cousin's kids, and everyone's husbands, boyfriends, and fiancés come to see my grandma, mom, me, and Jason (the newest to join the family). During Christmas in New Mexico, every house has posole, tamales, and of course, red chili. Jason's family couldn't understand why we serve this instead of a "traditional" Christmas meal... this is our tradition!

The posole and tamales can't be made without meat, but when I first became vegetarian, my mom worked to make a vegetarian version of New Mexican red chili. The chili is different than what most people outside of New Mexico think of as chili. It's more like a sauce instead of a soupy tomato-based mixture of vegetables and meat.

The chili powder is the key to making this dish; it's made from New Mexican chilis which are dried then ground to a powder. The more seeds that are left in, the hotter the chili powder. This is used instead of fresh or canned whole chilis. When making the chili, traditionally, you start with either chunks of pork or a pound of ground beef, cooked in a cast-iron pan. You make a roux by adding flour and New Mexican chili powder which combines with the fat from the meat, then add water and let simmer until thickened.

To make my vegetarian version, I start with butter or oil in a sauce pan, then add the flour, chili powder, and garlic (fresh or powdered). The recipe is rough because it's one I learned from sight, and I doubt any measurement I could write down would be accurate. If you're trying this, just use your senses and add more or less of what you think for it to come out how you want it.

Vegetarian New Mexican Red Chili

4 tbsp butter or oil (I use a mixture of both)
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
2 tbsp New Mexican chili powder (or more for a stronger flavor and more heat)
3/4 -1 tsp garlic powder
4 cups vegetable broth
salt and pepper to taste

1 cup Morningstar Meal Starters Recipe Crumbles
1 can beans (pinto or black), drained and rinsed
1 potato, peeled, diced, and pan fried

Combine the butter or oil, flour, chili powder, and garlic powder in a saucepan and whisk until the flour is cooked, 1-2 minutes. If you've added more chili powder, add more butter so that the consistency is smooth, not lumping. Add the vegetable broth, salt, and pepper, and whisk constantly, scraping the edges of the pan to combine all of the roux. Continue stirring until the sauce begins to thicken. It wont thicken much, but if you like your chili thicker, like a sauce, add up to 1 tbsp. corn starch dissolved in water. Don't add the cornstarch directly to the chili or it'll lump.

making vegetarian chili, new mexico stylemaking vegetarian chili, new mexico style

When the chili is thickened and done, you can add extra ingredients which make up for the lack of meat. If adding the recipe crumbles, add them first because they have to warm from being frozen, then add the remaining ingredients. I usually use only recipe crumbles and pinto beans, but you can add the potatoes or any other combination you can think of. Just, please - no cilantro!

vegetarian chili, new mexico style

Serve with shredded cheddar (mild or medium), and corn chips, or on its own with Spanish rice on the side. It can also be used as an accent to other dishes like burritos or served with breakfast on top of fried eggs and fried potatoes.

18 December 2007

Seasoned Eatings - Brown Cakes


Though I'm new to reading their blogs, Thyme For Cooking and Country Girl City Living were kind and let me join Seasoned Eatings, a Secret Santa-esque inter-continental spice exchange. You send a spice unique to where you live (or unique to you cooking style), along with a recipe, and you receive a package with a new spice.

I got in the mail spices and flours from Ulrike in Germany. The recipe included is for Brown Cakes, or Braune Kuchen. Ulrike sent me cinnamon

ground cinnamon

cloves and pottash (which I've never worked with before)


and two bags of flour (rye and cake flour). Making something new was exciting but also left me feeling very unsure of what I was doing. Not knowing how things should look and feel at certain stages made me uncertain that things were going well. The moment I was least sure of what I was doing was when I mixed the butter, brown sugar, and molasses - "Is it supposed to look like that?" I even had to call Jason over to get his input but he had no idea (only adding "photoshop could never save this picture"). But the cookies came out well (I think!) and it was fun to roll them out. They smell wonderful in the oven and though I'm not sure of proper brown cake etiquette, I think they'd be wonderful with a glass of milk, or maybe coffee.

Thank you to Ulrike for sending me this wonderful package and to Lindsay & Katie for organizing this.

You can view the recipe for Brown Cakes at Küchenlatein.

17 December 2007

roasted butternut squash with sage

i've never had butternut squash before, in fact i don't think i've ever cooked any other squash besides zucchini and yellow squash, but when our plans to make butternut squash risotto with sage and parmesan didn't work out, i was left with a butternut squash i didn't want to waste.

i cut the squash into quarters then scooped out the seeds and insides with a spoon. spray or brush the quarters with olive oil then sprinkle with salt, pepper, and rubbed sage. before baking, place 1/2 tbsp butter in each of the hollowed holes. bake for 40-45 minutes (or until tender) at 400 degrees.

while the squash bakes, the butter and sage infuse and begins to soak into the squash leaving the center tender and extremely flavorful. there should still be a small puddle of butter in the center, use this as a dipping cup while you eat the squash - just a tiny dab of butter is enough! when you get to the center, the squash just melts in your mouth.

04 December 2007

lemon chickpea soup

4 cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
6-7 cups vegetable broth
zest and juice of 1 large lemon (or 2 small)
1 potato, peeled and diced
1 tsp dried rosemary
salt to taste

combine all ingredients in a large saucepan. let simmer for 50 minutes to 1 hour. blend the soup in a blender, and serve with a bit of olive oil and shredded parmesan.

this is practically hummus soup!

14 November 2007

oaffie's special mashed potatoes

these mashed potatoes are especially good in fall. a sprinkle of nutmeg balances the cream cheese and sour cream perfectly.

9 large baking potatoes
1 stick unsalted butter, soft
12 oz cream cheese
3/4 c. sour cream
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

Boil the potatoes and place them in a mixing bowl. Cut the cream cheese and butter into pieces and add to the potatoes. Beat with an electric mixer. Add the sour cream and continue beating until mixed and free of lumps. Serve with nutmeg sprinkled on top.

13 November 2007

meatless meatballs

this is one of my favorite recipes that i've been making for years. a friend i used to know, sarah, gave it to me and can be used for so many things. meatballs, veggie burgers, or even meatloaf. the original recipe is wonderful on its own. something about it reminds me of fall, but normally i substitute a few things, making this completely different. the original recipe goes:

+ 1 lb. cheddar cheese, grated
+ 4 cups ground cracker crumbs (like saltine crackers)
+ 1 large chopped onion
+ 6 eggs, beaten
+ 1 cup chopped walnuts

mix together and season with sage (or thyme, or cumin, or oregano). make into small balls the size of walnuts. roll in flour. brown in oil (sarah uses a pan and fries them, turning them so they get even).


when i make this recipe, i usually half the cheese and crackers. i use one pack of saltines and that's always enough. instead of walnuts, i use one portobello mushroom, chopped finely in a food processor. sometimes i add some chopped walnuts to give my dish extra protein. because of the extra moisture in the mushrooms, i find i only need to use 1-3 eggs. add 1 egg at a time until the mixture sticks together and can be formed into balls, patties, or loaves.

i also find it helps to refrigerate the mixture a little while. the cheese will melt slower and you have less chance of cheese escaping the wall of browned flour coating and burning on your pan. the meatloaf of this recipe also goes very well with sarah's special mashed potatoes (recipe coming soon!)

jin's scarf

thick grey and white sripes.
5'' x 69.5''
100% merino wool