Tag Archives: recipes

St Patrick’s Playdate

I had a few, very cute, little girls over on Friday to play. My daughter was elated to have company. I made some snacks to go with the holiday– you know me. Anyway, I just wanted to share the pictures.

I think you can see where this is going…

Irish Soda Bread

The Irish Soda bread recipe I used is from the Cakewalker blog, with 3:1 bread to whole wheat flour and mixed raisins. The hint of caraway was nice. I really liked this bread.

Guinness Chocolate Pudding. So cute, right?

The recipe for the pudding is here.

The cat in repose.

Kiss me, I’m 1% irish.

Happy Saint Lucia Day

In Sweden, they celebrate the feast of St Lucia by sending the oldest daughter down to the kitchen to whip up some buns (with saffron and cardamom) and deliver breakfast in bed to all the adults in her white jammies with her head encircled with a flaming centerpiece. Sounds like fun, huh?

I have a 2 year old so flaming centerpieces are right out. She put the raisins on the buns and was happy to carry the tray, but that was about it. She looks adorable in her white flannel dress.

I could eat these buns all day.

Saint Lucia Buns

1 cup warm milk
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup sugar
3 beaten eggs
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 strands of saffron
1 tsp ground cardamom pods
4-6 cups bread flour
1 package (2.5 tsp) dry active yeast
1/4 cup warm water

To top buns:
Swedish pearl sugar or 1 tablespoon granular sugar
pinch saffron

1. Dissolve yeast in warm water with 1/2 tsp salt and let foam until doubled. Preheat oven to 350 F.
2. Add butter to milk, heat until melted. Transfer to a mixing bowl and add salt, saffron strands, and 1 tsp ground cardamom.
3. Mix butter/milk with eggs, slowly, tempering the eggs.
4. Add sugar and 1 of the cups of flour.
5. Add the yeast and the rest of the flour, 1 cup at a time until dough is no longer sticky and wet. Knead for 5 minutes.
6. Sprinkle dough with flour and let rise until doubled (2 hours-overnight).
7. Turn out on floured board and shape into S shaped or }{ shaped buns and allow to rise again on baking sheets, 30 min-1 hour.
8. Brush with beaten egg, decorate with sugar and saffron (optional nuts and raisins).
9. Bake at 350 F for 10-20 min until golden.

Butternut Squash Curry

It’s been awhile since I recipe-d at you all –sorry an old Onion joke– but I keep meaning to take pictures of stuff I am making and then forgetting until it’s done or possibly all eaten.

Lately, I’ve been scrapping together dinners from pretty random things and feeling a bit uninspired by it all, but this one was worth sharing. Sweet and spicy, warm and healthy. Perfect for November. Omg it’s November.

Butternut Squash Curry

2 cups butternut squash soup*
2 cups (about 1/2 head) cauliflower
1 medium onion, chopped in big pieces
1 red pepper
2 large carrots, cubed
1 cup shelled edamame
1 cup paneer cubes**
2 tbsp hot red chili paste (less or more depending on how hot you prefer)
1 tbsp garam masala
2 tbsp curry powder
1/2 tsp salt
olive oil

1. Preheat oven to 400 F. Cut your cauliflower into small florets and toss with just a drizzle of olive oil and a dash of salt. Cut your red pepper into bite-size pieces and toss in olive oil. Bake both on a cookie sheet for 10-15 minutes until slightly brown. Set aside.

2. In a large skillet over medium heat, cook your carrots in olive oil, stirring occasionally, until tender and and reduce to medium low. Add your onions and cook until softened and starting to brown, stirring frequently. Add cauliflower, pepper, edamame and stir until combined. Mix in masala and curry.

3. Add butternut squash soup, stir to combine. Let simmer for about 5 minutes and then mix in red chili paste and paneer cubes.
4. Serve over jasmine rice or with naan.

*Butternut Squash Soup

I made my own soup for this, well actually, I used leftover soup for this. I recommend doing that.
Simply roast a whole butternut squash at 400 F for about 35-45 min, in large chunks, scrape the flesh from the skin into a saucepan, add 2-3 cups of vegetable broth (depending on the relative size of your squash) and 1 cup of coconut milk. Heat over medium-low and then blend with an immersion blender or mixer (you could pour into a blender, but then I’d recommend pureeing before you heat) and season with a little curry powder and cinnamon.


You can make your own paneer! I promise! It must be the world’s easiest cheese. You simmer some milk, you add some buttermilk and voila! Stir your curds, strain them into cheesecloth, a dash of salt, squeeze, set them under something heavy. Done. It’s so simple. I used the recipe and instructions here, at The Flourishing Foodie.

Baba Ganoush

There is a Jewish market across town that sells respectable baba ganoush, but I haven’t made it over that way in awhile. The grocery store chooses to sell something labeled “baba ganoush” but I’m fairly convinced it’s very bland hummus mixed with paste.

I miss the Greek restaurant in my old neighborhood of NYC that had absolutely amazing baba ganoush. It was so much more flavorful and rustic. So, I tried to make it myself.

The result was excellent! I will no longer have to stoop to dip disappointment! I welcome you all to experience this liberation!

Baba Ganoush

(makes about 2.5 cups)

2 medium-sized eggplants, sliced into 1 inch discs and halved
1/4 cup tahini (or 1/4 cups sesame seeds and 1 tablespoon of sesame oil)
1 teaspoons coarse salt
2 tablespoons freshly-squeezed lemon juice
1 large bulb garlic
1/4 teaspoon cumin
a pinch of ground black pepper
5 tablespoons olive oil, divided
3/4 cup flat-leaf parsley, chopped

1. Preheat the oven to 400 F. Cut your eggplant and rub each piece with olive oil, generously, and place on a oiled or nonstick baking sheet.

2. Roast eggplant pieces in the oven for 20-30 minutes until they are completely tender, golden on the surface, and the skins are blackened. Also, wrap your garlic bulb in aluminum foil with a tiny drizzle of olive oil and bake for 10 minutes. Remove both from oven and let cool.

3. Scrape your eggplant centers off their skins into a food processor (or a large mixing bowl). To your eggplant, add salt, lemon juice, roasted garlic pieces (you can squeeze them out of their skins easily), cumin, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, pepper, and parsley. Mix until uniform in your processor or in your bowl with a masher or immersion blender.

4. Season to taste with additional salt and lemon juice, if desired. Chill, in sealed containers, for an hour or two. You can save some in the freezer for later and keep some in the fridge for now! Serve with pita and sliced vegetables like cucumber or peppers.

NB: I have found that several recipes suggest that you can grill your eggplant to achieve roasted-ness. So, if you’re breaking out the grill soon, keep this recipe in mind.

Rice Noodle Soup

Pinterest is probably the worst thing that has ever happened to me.

Let me take that down a notch. Pinterest is probably the best thing that has ever happened to my recipe card box but the worst thing to have happened to my kitchen and sleep habits.

I saw a caption that someone pinned that said “Honey, could you order a pizza? I have been too busy pinning healthy recipes on Pinterest to make dinner.” I would have included this image here, but I didn’t pin it and now it has disappeared from the current top pins. That’s how fast this stuff moves, people! It’s built for insomniacs with ADD. I have considered no less than 50 projects in the last hour, ranging from harmless little kids’ crafts to large-scale ceramics. Because what my apartment REALLY needs is a potters wheel and 100 lbs of clay.

Anyway, so when my husband gets home, I have about an hour to look at my laptop and go “oh, shiny!” and then go make dinner. Sometimes the shiny stuff wins, so it helps to have some recipes that while they won’t get you Top Pins on Pinterest will, however, result in dinner, with vitamins, and flavor, in under 10 minutes.

I know that all these ladies on TV with their 30 minute meals and their “this only takes a few minutes” have really dominated this speed-cooking topic, but they are all full of lies. I’m talking to you like a real person. A person who doesn’t wants to dirty more than one dish, one knife, and wants to be done with the whole dinner ordeal as fast as possible without contributing to your Vitamin A deficiency.

To that end, I give you:

Rice Noodle Soup

1 package of rice noodles
1 box (2 cans) of vegetable broth
6-8 baby bok choy
1 small piece of fresh ginger (~1 tablespoon), sliced
1 cup enoki mushrooms (or oyster, whichever you prefer)
2 medium carrots
1/2 cup firm tofu, diced
Chili garlic sauce like Sriracha or similar

1. Start your vegetable broth boiling in a saucepan on medium-high. Add your sliced ginger.
2. As soon as you get to a boil, add your noodles. Rice noodles cook in a ridiculously short amount of time, so have all your other ingredients out and ready for action.
3. As soon as your rice noodles have started to soften, toss in your tofu, the mushrooms, and the bok choy. You don’t have to cut the bok choy if you don’t want to, but I cut off the bottoms so the leaves would separate and cook faster.
4. Cover your pot and wait like 1 full minute.
5. Shred or use a zester tool to create thin carrot strips over your soup. Stir these in and go grab some bowls. By the time you get your bowls and your chopsticks ready, your soup will be done.
6. Divide out your noodles and veggies and things sort of evenly over your bowls and then pour the broth over them. Serve with chili garlic sauce that can be added to taste.

Serves 2 adults and one very happy noodle-baby, in UNDER 10 MINUTES.

Egg Nog Pancakes

This morning, while attempting to make pancakes (ok, it wasn’t really “morning”) my mom handed me what she THOUGHT was milk out of the fridge and I didn’t really look at it until after I dumped in a cup and a 1/2.

It was egg nog.

They turned out pretty well, and it’s a nice way to use up any leftover egg nog you have laying around.

Egg Nog Pancakes

1 1/2 cup flour
3 tbsp sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/3 cup canola oil
1 1/2 cup egg nog
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract

Mix dry, add wet, mix together until smooth. Heat a pan/griddle to medium-low. Melt a pat of butter or similar. Pour pancakes. About 4-5 min on the first side and 3-4 min on the other.

After we had pancakes, we went out and played in the snow. It was quite festive.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

On the list of the three best words to ever have existed together, “chocolate chip cookies” might run a very close second to “I love you” and depending on the day, might even eclipse them. They are probably the closest we’ll ever get to the Platonic ideal of a cookie. I could wax poetic about them for a long time, but then we’d never get down to making any. Tragic!

Cookies are a trick of fat and sugar. There are parts of the recipe that matter, and parts that don’t. But the key is to know what kind of cookie you LIKE. I know plenty of people who like hard, flat cookies. I think they are weird and probably secretly hate me. Some people like their cookies totally gooey and practically falling apart. There are ways to make all these preferences work. Unfortunately, it would take a seriously long post indeed to cover them all. So I’m just going lay down my favorite recipe for my favorite interpretation: soft and puffy cookies. But I’ll throw in a few points of variation.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 cup unsalted butter, fresh from the fridge, cut into cubes (if you want a flatter, harder cookie, you can use room temp butter)
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar (if you want a darker cookie, you can change the ratio to 3/4 cup brown, 3/4 cup white)

Put these 3 ingredients into a bowl together and stir until almost all the butter is mixed with the sugar. It’s best if you can do this in as few stirs as possible. You can use a Kitchen Aid to do this, but keep the speed really low. You want to keep the batter as cool as possible and with very little air.

Then add:
1 tsp vanilla extract (use the good stuff, not imitation… it helps if you have a Mexican source)
2 eggs

Mix. The batter will look a little like it’s curdled, don’t worry about it.

2 1/4 cup white all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking soda

Mix the soda into the flour a little bit before you start stirring all of it into the liquid batter below. Once you get a nice sticky and consistent batter, add your chocolate chips. I use one small package of Ghirardelli Semi-Sweet chips (it’s about 1.5 cups). Stir them in so they are mostly even. Your finished cookie dough should be firm and not greasy or shiny. It should be pretty hard to stir but not clumpy and breaking apart.

Then, preheat your oven to 365 F and put your batter in the fridge. When your oven gets to 365, your batter should be ready to go (unless you have one of those amazing ovens that just snaps to attention, in which case give your batter a few more minutes and know that I’m very jealous).

Wash your hands and then, put your batter in roundish clumps (you do not have to roll them) on your baking sheet. Bake for about 6-10 minutes. You are looking for doneness in the middle and a SLIGHT brown-ness appearing around the bottom edge. These cookies go really fast from done to OVERdone, so don’t get distracted. Cool cookies on a wire rack for about 20 min before putting them in an air tight container

If you like a bit of gooeyness you can leave them a tiny bit underdone and let them sit on the baking sheet for awhile after getting out of the oven.

Troubleshooting: If you notice that your cookies are too runny, you can try adding a little bit more flour before you bake your second batch. Be careful, though, too much flour adding can cause your chocolate chips to start falling out of the batter. If you notice your cookies are getting dark on the bottom but not done on the top, you may want to use a different cookie sheet and/or turn your oven down a little bit. I prefer professional no-nonsense “jelly roll” baking sheets. Those cookie sheets with air in them are really inconsistent and nonstick can be weird too.

And every oven is different, you may have to rotate your cookies 1/2 way through if the ones in the back are getting done faster. Last time I made these cookies for Julia, we were a mile or so above sea level and I think that did some weird things to the recipe too. I think I turned the oven down and added more baking soda, sugar, and refrigerated for awhile longer. One of the only things you CAN’T fix is over-melted butter. Your cookies will be pancakes, adding flour probably won’t help. If you over-soften your butter (like you leave it out too long before you start), it’s best to just put it back in the fridge and start with different, cold butter.

You can keep finished cookie dough in the fridge overnight, if you need to. Just make sure you wrap it up well or even put it in a ziplock. You can also freeze it for a few weeks. It should bake about the same. You will just need to let it get a little warmer so you can work with it, obviously.

Hooray for cookies!

Our Lady of Salad

Among the mysterious ways of my brain, that even I dare not question, is the occasional, self-indulgent, humorous, extrapolation of my own mistakes. I was on the bus a few days ago, and we passed by a church. I thought the sign said “Our Lady of Salad.” In reality, it was “Notre Dame de Salatte” (Our Lady of Salatte, a small village near Grenoble, France). You can read about it here.

About 5 minutes later, I was heading into the grocery store to pick up some things, as planned. But I was still thinking about Our Lady of Salad. So, when I wandered the produce section, my mind just started building this. I figured we needed salad anyway. It’s a recipe steeped in significance, as it should be.

NB: the Vatican does not recognize Virgin appearances in lettuces, so stop looking

Our Lady of Salad (serves 2)

4 cups green leaf lettuce, baby spinach, arugula blend
1 cup diced granny smith apples
1 cup green grapes, halved
1/2 cup crescent hearts of palm
1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese
2 tbsp red wine vinaigrette (1 part *extra virgin* olive oil, nudgenudge winkwink, say no more! and 1 part red wine vinegar with just a dollop of honey. Shake.)

Dress greens with almost all of the vinaigrette and put into salad bowl(s). Then top with remaining ingredients dividing equally if making individual bowls, leaving the goat cheese for last. Drizzle with remaining vinaigrette and serve.

I thought it was pretty tasty, and it’s also decently healthy. I’m not sure it can save your soul, but it might be good for your heart.

Winter Squash and Beet Salad

Non-lettuce based salads are some of the more deceptively time-consuming things to make. However, this one isn’t too bad if, like me, you tend to keep some roasted beets in your fridge ready to eat. Other than baking the squash, the rest comes together really easily and quickly.

1 buttercup squash (or butternut), baked in quarters (350 F for like 30 min), then cubed
4 medium-sized roasted red beets, peeled and diced
1/2 cup chopped fresh mint
2 radishes, grated with a fine grater or citrus zester
4 tsp sour cream
1 tsp dried crushed red pepper flakes
4 tbsp red wine vinaigrette (1 part olive oil, 1 part red wine vinegar)

It is best to keep all these things separate until you’re ready to eat this, since the beets really like to leave their little red rootprints all over everything. Put your cubes of squash, then beet in 4 bowls. Top each with the 1/4th of the mint, radish, drizzle your dressing, add the dollop of sour cream, and then sprinkle your red pepper flakes. Pretty, huh?

A lovely quiche

You know, so many people use pie dishes to make quiches. I much prefer this round cake-pan look. Especially because it can stand on it’s own outside the dish.

1 1/4 cup flour
1/2 cup cold butter, diced
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 cup cold water

Crumble flour, butter, and salt together until mostly even. Add the water and mix dough with your hands into a ball. Press dough into a nonstick or buttered, round, 6-inch cake-pan (or spring-form pan) until the bottom and sides are covered and mostly even thicknesses. No rolling! No floured counter! Unless you want to…

Quiche Filling:
Break 5 eggs into a bowl and whisk until bubbly. Add a few tablespoons of grated parmesan, a tablespoon of ground pepper, 1 cup of grated cheese (I used mozzarella, but cheddar or many other kinds work), 1/2 cup of steamed spinach, 1/8 cup of whole milk or cream, and a tablespoon of salt. Stir to incorporate. Pour filling into the cake-pan with crust.

Bake at 360 F for about 25-30 min, until set in the center. If you want some nice brown on the top, you can switch to broil for just a few minutes.

Makes a nice breakfast, lunch, or dinner! You don’t have to use spinach, you can use mushrooms (but cook them first) or tomatoes, pretty much whatever you like or have around the kitchen. My daughter was willing to even eat a few bites of this. C’est si bon!