If you’re reading this, and you’re like, “Really, just another kale salad?” then feel free to go on with your day. You know kale salad. I don’t need to tell you. Otherwise, this is for you. I realize I’ve written about kale salad plenty of times before, and I also realize that if I posted a spring mix salad with tomatoes, and then another spring mix salad with cucumbers, you’d think I didn’t think much of you and your creativity. That’s not the case. But kale salad needs a voice.
I made this salad last week for a friend’s family’s holiday dinner. I had made something similar the year before and resisted writing about it, but this year when I made it again for many of the same people I realized there was a serious need out there to continue discussing kale salad publicly. People wanted the recipe because using kale instead of spring mix or romaine or whatever still isn’t the norm for a lot of folks. So I continue in my kale salad advocacy campaign.
This is my go-to winter kale salad. I know it’s April, and we’re all excited about the brand new veg that are on their way. Go ahead and make a kale salad and add those veg. But even without the bright green goodness that spring and summer bring, this is a pretty mean salad. To read about my conversion to kale, please click here. To read about an awesome kale salad for summer, please click here. Otherwise, let’s add some tangy dried cranberries and some onion and make this salad happen. (more…)
Hummus is one of those foods that I had never thought of making on my own, until one day I did, I was shocked at how quickly it came together. Other than causing me to purchase tahini, which I really had no other use for, hummus is simple.
Average hummus is simple. Ok hummus is simple. But you can do better too.
Chickpeas, tahini, lemon, oil, water, garlic, salt, processor. That’s all you need.
Garlic hummus is one thing, roasted garlic hummus is entirely another. The garlic flavor is milder, nuttier, and more distributed throughout the hummus. There aren’t tiny bits of garlic throughout, rather some of the creamy goodness is chickpeas and some of the creamy goodness is garlic, and the flavor is deep and rich and integrated. This is just better.
You could make this without the cranberries, but then I’d have nothing to contribute to the literature, because there already is a perfect recipe for English muffins. I’ve been trying to do this for a while. I hinted at it 14 months ago (!) It turns out that everyone uses the same recipe anyway, and it’s Alton Brown’s. “My” recipe is *so* Alton Brown’s that I’m not going to post it at the end, really, this is someone else’s work.
The only changes I made were:
2. Earth Balance instead of shortening
3. Equal parts whole wheat and AP flour
When I say everyone uses Alton Brown’s recipe, I mean that most of the first page of Google hits on “English Muffin Recipe” is either that version or something based on that version. I mean that when I searched for video guidance on making English muffins, the most useful video is based on Alton Brown’s recipe. Also, I’ve made English muffins not using Alton Brown’s recipe and they were less than awesome. These, however, are awesome, so let’s do it this way.
Minestrone can be anything you want it to be. It’s super flexible, adapting to what’s in season. In the summer, your minestrone can be full of zucchini and fresh tomato and herbs, and in colder months minestrone can be a refuge from thick, pureed vegetable soups while still providing an outlet for the squash, potatoes and hearty greens of winter.
Minestrone can easily be made vegetarian or vegan. Many recipes call for pancetta or beef both, but a dab of extra oil and a bit of sundried tomato can fill in for the rich flavor and texture provided by the meat. If you don’t use butter and don’t sprinkle the top with parmesan, it’s a vegan soup. If you leave out the pasta, it’s gluten-free. Minestrone is what you need it to be.
The recipe below is an amalgam of all the recipes out there, skewed towards what was in my fridge on Sunday. Yes, this was Superbowl minestrone. It’s vegan, and while I threw some pasta into mine at the last minute, it’s portioned to result in a rich soup with plenty of chunky vegetables and beans and no need for pasta. (Though, if you’d like to add pasta, just add more stock).
I’m just starting out honestly, with “breakfast cake.” I know there’s a fine line between bread and cake – (banana bread and carrot cake?) and this is a non-dessert cake. It’s not a bread. It’s also not super sweet. It’s breakfast cake, but you can have it for dessert if you want.
I was looking to make applesauce cake for two reasons:
1. I had too many apples, and am not interested in things like crisps, crumbles, pies, tarts; and
2. When I was a teenager, there was this orchard/farm market by the mall and they made amazing applesauce cake.
So working off the idea that cake can be made of applesauce – and not just in the swap-the-oil-for-applesauce-in-the-Duncan-Hines-mix-way – and that I needed to use some apples, I went to work.
Except, it’s hard for me with desserts. I don’t like really sweet things. Also, I have no idea how that applesauce cake I grew up with was made.
But it worked. A very lightly sweet cake (dust it with powdered sugar and you get a bit more sweet in every bite) that’s not really CAKE in the plan-your-other-meals-to-account-for-it way. (more…)
Sure, I try to write about using the fresh, seasonal, local produce bounty to create dinner. But sometimes, it’s about upcycling.
I don’t make white rice, but I do sometimes acquire white rice. Sometimes it comes along with General Tso’s Tofu. And it sits in the fridge. Sometimes I have the common sense to freeze it and make fried rice with it later, other times it sits until we have to give it the old sniff-n-toss.
Let’s face it, not every meal is a home-cooked treasure. But just like I add spinach or chard to my leftover Chicken Tikka Masala to stretch my takeout into a three day experience, cooked takeout white rice can be turned into a creamy dessert that pretty much comes free with your delivery meal. Recycled rice = instant dessert.
So we start with one “pint” white rice. The quotes are intentional. It looked like a pint. It had a pink “16″ on the bottom. It weighed 14 ounces and measured into about two and a third cups. Sure, fluid ounces and rice ounces don’t take up the same amount of space, and how packed your pint is will vary from restaurant to restaurant and meal to meal.
Let’s say you’re starting with two cups of rice. Scale as needed. Add that rice and an equal amount of milk to a pot. That can be cow milk or vegan milk, whole, skim, whatever. It’s your dessert. If you want to go all out, do some milk and some cream. I used whole cow milk.
Add two thirds of a cup of sugar. That’s a lot of sugar! If you’re avoiding sugar, use less. It can be more breakfasty than desserty.
Add a tablespoon of butter.
And a third- to a half-cup of dried cranberries. The cranberries will rehydrate a bit as they cook.
And vanilla extract. A tablespoon or so. More if you’re like that.
Stir it all together, and bring it just to a boil. Dial it down to a low simmer and stir occasionally for 10-20 minutes, depending on how dry your rice was to start with. This batch took 12 minutes.
When your milk is all absorbed and the pudding is creamy, you’re almost done. If absorbs all the milk and still isn’t creamy, add a splash (1/4 cup?) of milk and give it five minutes, stirring over low heat.
If you’re into it, and I’m into it, stir in some cinnamon. A teaspoon is a good start.
And grate in some nutmeg. I used a half.
Bust out your pretty ramekins or martini glasses or a cereal bowl and chill. This makes six small (reasonable) servings. Or, you could serve it hot and call it breakfast.
This is cross-posted at SaturdaysMouse.com where I’m working on making food out of food.
Cranberry Rice Pudding
Leftover rice turns into a creamy dessert with a balance of sweet and tart.
Cook time: 20 mins Yield: 6 servings
I make a lot of “quick breads.” I try to always have banana bread or blueberry bread in the freezer for a quick breakfast. Blueberry bread is just blueberry muffins without the worry about whether they’ll come out of the tins properly. I buy extra berries in the summer and keep them in the freezer for as long as I can stand it. I keep whole bananas with their skin on in the freezer (stash them just when they’re too brown to eat raw). But sometimes, the season catches up with you and you’re out of nanners and blueberries and you’re *so over* things like pumpkin and apple. What then?
Cranberry bread. Cranberry orange bread. Seasonal, but not squash. (more…)
I’ve been traveling for work, and staring at hotel carpeting. I don’t do a ton of traveling but this past month or so has been exhausting. I spent more time elsewhere than I did here. So I’ve seen an array of conference center rugs*, but I haven’t seen my kitchen.
Which means I haven’t been cooking, because you know, I’ve been elsewhere, and that I came home and had no idea what was in the fridge or freezer. So I had to do a serious overhaul/cleanout/accounting for what’s what like I did a while back.
The magical part of doing that was finding soup in my freezer. Chicken soup and butternut squash soup and potato cauliflower soup. Finding soup in the freezer isn’t like finding frozen tofu or leftover pasta sauce. With soup, you’re already there. It’s dinner.
Before I left, I had made up a lot of potato cauliflower soup. I don’t find a lot of use for potatoes, and potato soup has a guilt-laden heaviness to it that stems from the clear association between potatoes and saddlebags–an association often forgiven in the face of french fries.
Still, somehow soup sounds like I’m pretending. “Oh, it’s healthy, it’s soup.” “No, it’s potatoes.” But when I found myself with these potatoes, I also found myself with a head of cauliflower. And if there’s one thing cauliflower does well**, it’s pretending to be a potato. (more…)
I’m not a perfect locavore in any way. I try to buy local, in-season produce, but then sometimes I find myself with a pineapple, or a banana, or a mid-winter red pepper. But I try pretty hard. In the warmer part of the year, I get the majority of my food from a CSA and a farm market, and in the cooler part of the year, I rely on a buying club and can get almost everything I need from local folks. Don’t look too hard in my fridge at the pickles or the worcestershire.
There are huge advantages to eating this way. You can get to know the producers. You understand what you’re eating. You help the local economy. Your food is fresher. You get more variety, year round.
One of the tiny drawbacks, however, faces me every time I go to use an egg. I get my eggs from my CSA right now, and when that’s over I’ll get them from another fairly local farm. That means that my eggs aren’t always sold in new cartons that are clearly labeled with the date. So sometimes, eggs are a gamble. Did we get those eggs two weeks ago, or was it the week before that? Which of the two cartons in the fridge is newer (more…)
It’s pasta salad, without the pasta. You could call it Low Carb Pasta Salad, if you were a carb-driven sort of person or you could call it All Vegetable Pasta Salad, if you were a vegetable-driven person, or you could stop lying to yourself about the pasta and just call it salad. You’re in charge here.