Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mother's Day

Hans put out all the stops this Mother's day. Culinary stops, that is. This morning he made me a fancy layered strawberry smoothie. For lunch, well I fended for myself, but that's okay. For dinner he made Chicken Cor Don Bleu and for dessert it was Crème brûlée. Oh la la!!! He even fired up the the fancy butane burner to crystallize the sugar on top so that it would look Tres Chic. If that wasn't enough, the Crème brûlée tasted Tres Riche (that's French for "it tasted delicious!") So I wanted to share the recipe Hans used, so that you can wow and woo your hubby for Father's Day, next month.

Crème Brûlée
              • 2 cups half-and-half or light cream
              • 5 egg yolks, slightly beaten
              • 1/3 cup sugar
              • 1 teaspoon vanilla
              • 1/4 teaspoon salt
              • 1/3 cup sugar


1. Preheat oven to 325 degree F.

2. Heat half-and-half or light cream in a small heavy saucepan over medium-low heat just until bubbly. Combine slightly beaten egg yolks, 1/3 cup sugar, vanilla, and salt in a medium mixing bowl. Beat with a wire whisk or rotary beater just until combined. Slowly whisk or stir the hot cream into the egg mixture.

3. Place four ungreased 4-inch quiche dishes or oval or round tart pans without removable bottoms into a 13x9x2-inch baking pan. Set the pan on an oven rack in the preheated oven. Pour custard mixture evenly into the dishes. Pour very hot water into the baking pan around the dishes until water is halfway up the sides of the baking pan.

4. Bake for 18 to 24 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center of each dish comes out clean. Remove dishes from pan; let cool about 30 minutes. Cover, chill for 1 hour or up to 8 hours. Before serving, let the custards stand at room temperature for 20 minutes.

5. Place 1/3 cup sugar in a heavy 10-inch skillet. Heat skillet over medium-high heat until sugar begins to melt, shaking skillet occasionally to heat sugar evenly. Do not stir. Once sugar starts to melt, reduce heat to low; cook until sugar is completely melted and golden (3 to 5 minutes more), stirring as needed.

6. Spoon melted sugar quickly over custards in a lacy pattern or in a solid piece. If melted sugar starts to harden in pan, return to heat, stirring until it melts. If it starts to form clumps, carefully stir in 1 to 2 teaspoons water. If desired, garnish custards with edible flower petals. Serve immediately. Makes 4 servings.

If you have a butane burner, skip steps 5 & 6 and liberally sprinkle (is that an oxymoron?) the top of the custards with granulated or brown sugar. If you're feeling fancy, raw sugar makes it look tres tres magnifique! Melt sugar according to your burners directions. Serve immediately.

I really don't think edible flower petals are all that tasty.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Cinco de Mayo

I cannot deny the beautiful buttery taste of the avocado! I love it! I wonder if in Greek mythology, the avocado was the fruit of the gods? Well if not, it should have been, but I digress. When we lived in Guadalajara, we ate at least 1 avocado per day. It was heavenly. Obviously our family doesn't pay any heed to the health related rumors spread by other vegetables. Clearly they are just jealous. So, in Honor of Cinco de Mayo and the avocado, I'm posting a fabulous & simple guacamole recipe that I found on
  • 3 avocados - peeled, pitted, and mashed
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup diced green onions
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 tomatoes, diced
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 pinch ground cayenne pepper (optional)
I love the pinch of cayenne!

Friday, May 2, 2008

Chocolate Pecan Pie

I would love to wear a fancy hat and go to the Kentucky Derby today, but since wonderful student housing brings me back to reality, I'll have to put that dream and my hat on a shelf for another year. In celebration of this old and timeless tradition I'd thought I throw in a fabulously sinful recipe that is reminiscent of Kentucky and her wonderful cooking heritage. The 1st time Hans & I tasted this recipe, we were at the Barhart's home and when we took our first bite, we stopped breathing. (In a good way). It was rich, chewy, full of flavor and loaded with everything that will give anyone with heart problems a heart attack, but pure happiness and smiles at the same time. Enjoy!

Chocolate Pecan Pie
              • 1 c light corn syrup
              • 3 eggs
              • 1/3 c sugar
              • 1/4 cup butter, melted
              • 1/2 t salt
              • 1 (6 -ounce) package semisweet chocolate chips, melted
              • 1 c coarsely chopped pecans
              • 1 (9-inch) unbaked pie shell

Heat oven to 275. In large mixing bowl, combine corn syrup, eggs, sugar, butter and salt; beat until blended. Gradually beat in melted chocolate; stir in pecans. Pour into unbaked pie shell. Bake on lowest oven rack until filling is completely puffed across top and crusted over (55 to 60 minutes). Cool.
Pour 1/4 cup chocolate chips In small ziploc bag; seal. Submerge bag in very hot water until chips are melted. Snip off corner bag, making a tiny hole; drizzle melted chocolate evenly over pie and up onto edge of crust. Refrigerate at least 4 hours.

To serve: Garnish pie slice with Whipped Cream mounds and Chocolate Decorations.


To prevent excessive browning on top of pie, cut piece of foil 10 inches long; fold into quarters. Round off outer edge; cut curve in center 3 inches from outer edge. Unfold foil ring and center over edge of pie crust before baking. Remove foil 10 to 15 minutes before end of baking.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Better For Your "Boca"...Burger

Black Bean Burger
(Easy and Excellent)
  • 1 tsp. oil

  • 1/2 c. minced onion

  • 5 minced scallions, optional

  • 1 c. corn kernels

  • 1/4 c. homemade salsa

  • 1/2 c. cooked brown rice

  • 1 1/2 c. (16oz.) cooked black beans

  • 1-2 c. whole wheat bread crumbs

Heat oil in medium and saute onion and scallions for 4 minutes. Add corn and salsa and heat through. Scoop corn mixture, rice, beans, and 1 cup bread crumbs in a food processor and blend well. Check texture by trying to form a patty. If it doesn't hold together, add more bread crumbs. Divide mixture into 8 patties. Grill or broil on a cookie sheet 5 minutes each side. Serve as you would hamburgers.

Recipe from A World of Wisdom by Amy Cox Jones,

*It can be hard to find good whole wheat hamburger buns. Trader Joe's has a half way decent bag, but in this recipe, whole wheat english muffins are also really tasty!

*Guacamole is a terrific compliment to this recipes southwestern flavor.



This recipe makes a great chewy granola that is a perfect spring-board. Don't be afraid to experiment with additional ingredients and combinations. It comes from Amy Jones' cookbook, A World of Wisdom.
  • 4 c. rolled oats
  • 1 c. coconut shreds, optional
  • 1 c. wheat germ
  • 1/2 c. oil
  • 3/4 c. honey
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/4 c. sunflower seeds, optional
  • 3/4 c. raisins, optional
  • 1/4 c. chopped almonds
  • 1/4 c. sesame seeds, optional

Combine oats, germ, oil, honey, and vanilla in a bowl. Spread on a cookie sheet and bake at 300 for 20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes. Remove and add almonds and optional items.

*I think the coconut really makes this recipe. I also increase the almonds to about a cup. Flax seed would be another great add in. It's great as a cereal, in yogurt, or by the handful; I've even added semi-sweet chocolate chips for a treat.

*Don't miss this "How Granola Are You" Quiz for a chuckle:

*If you're now thinking, "How can I increase my crunchy count?", check this out:

Marinated Tofu

Marinated Tofu
Stacy Boe Miller
          • 2 lb. firm tofu
          • 1/2 c. tamari or soy sauce
          • 1/4 c. olive oil
          • 1/4 c. lemon juice
          • 1/4 c. honey

Cut tofu into appropriate size pieces for
whatever dish you are preparing. Place on
well oiled cookie sheet and cover with marinade.
Bake at 250 for 30 for 40 minutes. Let sit in oven
until cool (Important for texture!) I use this for fajitas,
spring rolls, with udon noodles and peanut sauce stir fry, etc.
My kids love it, especially dipped in peanut sauce.

Fresh Pesto

My very food savvy, dare I say Chef friend Stacy Boe Miller taught me the simple, yet complex art of Pesto making. This recipe is Magnificent! I love it and I love her for helping me kick my cooking up a notch. Thank you.
  • 1 1/3 C fresh basil leaves, plus for garnish
  • 2-4 garlic cloves (I use 2)
  • 4 tbsp pine nuts ( some recipes call for much more)
  • 1/2 c olive oil (I don't usually use quite this much)
  • 1 1/3 freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/3 c freshly grated pecorino cheese (I only use Parmesan cuz I'm lazy. :)

1. Put the basil leaves, garlic, and pine nuts in a blender or food
processor. Add 4 Tbs of olive oil. Blend until the ingredients are finely
chopped, then stop the machine. Remove the lid and scrape down the
sides of the bowl.

2. Turn the machine on again and slowly pour the remaining oil in a
thin, steady stream through the feeder tube. You may need to stop the
machine and scrape down the sides of the bowl once or twice to make sure
everything is evenly mixed.

3. Scrape the mixture into a large bowl and beat in the cheeses with a
wooden spoon. Taste and add salt and pepper if necessary.

4. Cook the pasta according to the instructions on the packet. Drain
it well then add it to the bowl of pesto. Garnish with basil and

Stacy's notes (Recipes really vary on this, but these are the main
ingredients. I always reserve about 1/4 c of pasta water and add it to the
final product. It helps the sauce and past blend better.)

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Sweet & Natural Banana Bread

Banana Bread
from Sweet and Natural by Meredith McCarty

  • 1 1/2 Cup flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 Cup ripe bananas 2-3 bananas (blend with oil or soymilk)
  • 1/4 Cup olive oil
  • 1/4 Cup plus 2 T. maple syrup (optional)
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp citrus zest (lemon, lime, or orange)
  • 2 T to 2/3 Cup soy milk (sweetner free add more) or add another banana

Bake in oven 350 degrees 45-60 minutes

Do not overmix

Monday, April 7, 2008

Quote of the day...

"this corn looks like an angel" - Dan in real life.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Vegetarian Chili

Winter Vegetable Chili
By: Christa Ogden

I had this at a baby shower and couldn't believe it was meatless.

  • 4 tsp olive oil
  • 1 medium size butternut squash (peeled and cut into 3/4 inch cubes)
  • 2 medium carrots, shredded (food processor)
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 3 T chili powder (plus or minus to taste)
  • 1 28 oz can plum tomatoes
  • 1 4 oz. can chopped green chilies
  • 1 cup veg. broth
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 2 15 oz. can black beans (rinsed and drained)
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro (parsley or basil works as well)
  • 4 T non fat sour cream
  • 1 T Adobo spice (from Pensey's...this is completely optional) or spice to taste
Saute carrots and onions in olive oil Add everything else Bring to boil Reduce heat and simmer until squash is soft (should not take longer then 45 min)

... instead of getting butternut squash, my mom almost always just gets the butternut squash soup (I think Campbell's makes it, in a box instead of can).

Friday, April 4, 2008

Baked Southwestern Talapia

Baked Southwestern Tilapia

Turn on the oven, blend a few spices and dinner is ready before you know it. Feel free to adjust the heat level of the seasonings to your liking. Try this also with swordfish, cod, halibut or trout. Serves 4.
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 4 skinless tilapia fillets, 6 ounces each
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 lime, cut into wedges

Preheat oven to 450°F. Rinse and pat tilapia dry. In a small bowl, mix garlic powder, chili powder, salt, black pepper and cayenne. Sprinkle evenly over both sides of tilapia.
Coat a baking sheet with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Arrange tilapia in a single layer on the baking sheet. Drizzle the tilapia with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil and bake 7 to 9 minutes or until tilapia is a light golden brown and just begins to flake. Garnish with lime wedges.


*I love the seasoning blend in this recipe and I make up a whole bunch in bulk so that it's always ready in one of my spice jars. I buy my talapia in frozen fillets and I general serve this with wild rice and a vegetable(tonight we had lima beans). It's one of my husbands favorites.

Flourless Chocolate cake

Flourless Chocolate Cake
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for pan

  • 1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips (or 8 ounces chopped bittersweet chocolate)

  • 6 large egg yolks

  • 6 large egg whites

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar

  • Confectioners' sugar, for dusting

    Preheat oven to 275 degrees; with rack in center. Butter a 9-inch springform pan. Place butter and chocolate in a large bowl. Microwave in 30-second increments, stirring each time, until melted; cool slightly. Whisk in yolks.
    In another bowl, beat egg whites to soft peaks. Gradually add sugar; beat until stiff and glossy. Whisk 1/4 of whites into chocolate mixture; gently fold mixture into remaining whites.
    Pour into prepared pan; smooth top. Bake until cake pulls away from sides of pan and is just set in center, 45 to 50 minutes. Cool completely on a wire rack. Serve dusted with confectioners' sugar


* Dairy free flourless chocolate cake:

I have a daughter with a dairy allergy and a wheat sensitive nephew. I use Earth Balance(a great non-hydrogenated, non-GMO butter substitute) for the butter and ghirardelli chocolate and it makes a great dessert everyone can enjoy. It's easy to have all of these ingredients on hand.

* The spring form pan is a good idea for this cake as you need fairly high sides to prevent it from over flowing in the oven.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Mediterranean Epicurean possibly Vegetarian

Roasted Shrimp & Orzo Pasta
  • 2 tbsp salt
  • ½ cup olive oil , + some for cooking
  • 3/4 pound orzo pasta (rice-shaped pasta)
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (3 lemons)
  • 2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 lbs (16-18 count) shrimp, peeled and de-veined
  • 1 cup minced scallions, white and green parts
  • 1 cup chopped fresh dill
  • 1 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 hothouse cucumber, unpeeled, seeded, and medium-diced
  • 1/2 cup small-diced red onion
  • 3/4 pound good feta cheese, large diced

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Fill a large pot with water, add 1 tablespoon of salt and a splash of oil, and bring the water to a boil. Add the orzo and simmer for 9 to 11 minutes, stirring occasionally, until it's cooked al dente. Drain and pour into a large bowl. Whisk together the lemon juice, 1/2 cup olive oil, 2 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon of pepper. Pour over the hot pasta and stir well.
Meanwhile, place the shrimp on a sheet pan, drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss to combine and spread out in a single layer. Roast for 5 to 6 minutes, until the shrimp are cooked through. Don't overcook!

Add the shrimp to the orzo and then add the scallions, dill, parsley, cucumber, onion, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Toss well. Add the feta and stir carefully. Set aside at room temperature for 1 hour to allow the flavors to blend, or refrigerate overnight. If refrigerated, taste again for seasonings and bring back to room temperature before serving.

This recipe tastes just as fabulous without the shrimp.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Bulk Whole Grain Pancake and Waffle Mix

Easy Pancake and Waffle Mix

  • 8 Cups whole wheat pastry flour, Spelt or Kamut flour*
  • 4 tsp. salt
  • 7 TB Baking powder
  • 1/2 Cup fructose
  • 2/3 Cup dry milk powder

Combine the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl and stir well to distribute the ingredients evenly. Store in a Zip-loc freezer bag or other freezer cannister. Be sure to label contents and include recipe for making up a batch of pancakes.

Pancakes or Waffles

  • 1/3 Cup oil
  • 3 Cups Pancake Mix
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 2/3 Cup water

Put all the ingrdients into a blender or large mixing bowl. Blend or stir until well mixed. Batter should be more thin than thick, adjust liquids if necessary so batter will be pourable. Heat griddle to medium hot. Make pancake size as desired. When the top of the pancake is bubbly, flip to other side. Serve with syrup, honey, apple butter, fruit syrup, fresh fruit or other topping of choice.

For Gifts: Package the mix in decorative jars or bags. Be sure to include the recipes.

Recipe authored by For more information please visit The Urban Homemaker

* For pastry flour I grind my white wheat berries super fine and it works great! Anything else may make for heavier pancakes than you'd like.

* I do not keep fructose on hand and use organic granulated sugar in the recipe with good results.

Ada Dittli's Whole Wheat Bread Recipes

Ada Dittli's Whole Wheat Bread
  • 7 c whole wheat flour
  • 2 T yeast
  • 2 T salt
  • 5 ½ c hot water
  • 2/3 c oil
  • 2/3 c honey
  • 3 eggs
  • 9 + c whole wheat flour

Mix first four ingredients and stir until a stretchy dough is formed. Add the oil, honey & eggs, mix well, and add flour until dough cleans the bowl as you knead. Knead for at least five minutes on a floured board. Let rise until double, separate and form into 5 or 6 loaves. Put into greased loaf pans, let rise until double, then bake at 350 for 35 minutes or until the loaf sounds hollow when you tap it.

General notes for making wheat bread: Bread rises because gluten (protein from the wheat) makes an elastic matrix which captures the gases released by the yeast as it ferments. SO… fresh ground flour is better than store-bought, new wheat tends to have more gluten than old, red wheat more than white, more kneading helps develop the gluten and no amount of kneading will work if you forgot the salt! You can also buy gluten (high gluten flour) and use it in place of one or two cups of the flour in the recipe.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Mediterranean Vegetarian Epicurean

Sean's Falafel & Cucumber Sauce
I found this on and loved it!!!
  • 1 (15 ounce) can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 egg
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 dash pepper
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup dry bread crumbs
  • oil for frying
Cucumber sauce
  • 1 (6 ounce) container plain yogurt
  • 1/2 cucumber - peeled, seeded, and finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon dried dill weed
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
  1. In a large bowl mash chickpeas until thick and pasty; don't use a blender, as the consistency will be too thin. In a blender, process onion, parsley and garlic until smooth. Stir into mashed chickpeas.
  2. In a small bowl combine egg, cumin, coriander, salt, pepper, cayenne, lemon juice and baking powder. Stir into chickpea mixture along with olive oil. Slowly add bread crumbs until mixture is not sticky but will hold together; add more or less bread crumbs, as needed. Form 8 balls and then flatten into patties.
  3. Heat 1 inch of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Fry patties in hot oil until brown on both sides.
  4. In a small bowl combine yogurt, cucumber, dill, salt, pepper and mayonnaise. Chill for at least 30 minutes.
You can make a healthier version by baking the falafel patties instead of frying them. Just bake patties at 400F for 20 minutes then turn over and baked for another 8-10 minutes.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Italian vegitarian epicurean III

Spinach Lasagna

  • 9 dried lasagna noodles
  • 1 cup chopped onion (1 large)
  • 1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 T butter
  • 1 7 oz jar roasted red sweet peppers, drained & chopped
  • 1 10 oz packages frozen chopped spinach, thawed and well drained
  • 1 15 oz container ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • ½ cup grated parmesan or romano cheese
  • 2 beaten eggs
  • 1 t dried basil
  • ½ t dried oregano
  • 1 30 ½ oz jar spaghetti sauce
  • ¼ c grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
  1. Cook lasagna noodles for 10 to 12 minutes or till tender but still firm. Drain noodles; rinse with cold water.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large skillet cook onion, mushrooms, and garlic in hot butter till tender but not brown; stir in sweet peppers. Set aside.
  3. Pat spinach dry with paper towels. In a medium bowl stir together spinach, ricotta cheese, mozzarella, the ½ cup parmesan cheese, eggs, basil, oregano, and ¼ t pepper. Stir sweet pepper mixture into spinach mixture.
  4. Spread ½ cup of the spaghetti sauce evenly in a 3 quart rectangular baking dish. Arrange 3 lasagna noodles over sauce. Layer with half the sweet pepper-spinach mixture and 1 cup of the spaghetti sauce. Repeat layers, ending with noodles. Spoon remaining spaghetti sauce sauce over the top. Sprinkle with1/4 cup parmesan (I also put mozzarella on top too).
  5. Bake, covered, in 375 oven for 20 minutes. Uncover and bake about 10 minutes more or till heated through. Let stand 10 minutes before serving. Makes 8 main-dish servings.
FYI: I often use fresh bell peppers instead of the jarred kind.

Italian Vegitarian Epicurean II

Pasta with Fresh Tomato & Basil Sauce

  • ¼ cup chopped onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 T olive oil or butter
  • 3 lbs or 4 cups chopped tomatoes
  • ¼ cup fresh basil, choped or 2 t dried Herb de Provence
  • 6 oz pasta
  • ¼ t salt & ¼ t pepper
  1. For sauce, cook the onion and garlic in hot oil till onion is tender but not brown.
  2. Carefully stir in tomatoes, ¼ t salt and ¼ t pepper. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer uncovered, 35 to 40 minutes or to desired consistency. Stir in basil. Cook 5 minute more.
  3. Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions. Makes 6 side-dish servings.
  4. Liberally sprinkle with Parmesan or Asiago cheese.

Italian Vegitarian Epicurean

Crumb-topped tomatoes

  • 2 large tomatoes

  • 2 T fine dry bread crumbs

  • 2 T grated parmesan cheese or Feta (it gives it a great twang)

  • 1 T butter melted

  • 1 ½ t fresh or ½ t dried: basil, oregano, thyme, or rosemary (my favorite)

  • 1/8 t pepper

  • Dash garlic salt or onion salt

1. Remove stems and cores from tomatoes; halve tomatoes crosswise. Place tomatoes, cut sides up, in 2 quart square baking dish. Combine bread crumbs, cheese, butter, herb, pepper, and garlic/onion salt. Sprinkle atop tomatoes. Bake in a 375 oven 15 to 20 minutes or till heated. Makes 4 servings.