Tuesday, July 31, 2012

my favorite color

When trying to come up with something to accompany my leftover sloppy lentil sandwich for dinner tonight, I ended up thinking up way too many amazing-sounding side dishes.  I had such a hard time choosing one, I decided to simply save the sandwich for another night, and eat only side dishes for dinner!

Zucchini fritters, edamame, dilly beans, and a steamed artichoke.  I promise I didn't intend on a monochromatic dinner!  Green is my favorite color, though, so I guess it's okay.

Oh, and more green for dessert . . . zucchini cookies!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Waffles, perhaps.

I had a lovely brunch with some friends yesterday, at which I volunteered to share some Breakfast Sausages, which were a hit!  Since the recipe makes a pretty large quantity, John suggested that, perhaps, I could make him some waffles to go along with the leftover breakfast sausages.  :)

I almost always make "Amazing Overnight Waffles," from Mollie Katzen's Sunlight Cafe, as they truly are amazing, and they are also dead easy.  Throw some stuff in a bowl, whisk it together, cover and head to bed . . . in the morning, add an egg and some melted butter, and it's time to make waffles!  I usually have the batter ready before the iron is preheated, they are that quick.  Sausages, coffee, and blueberries on the side rounded out the meal nicely.

What are some of your lazy weekend go-to favorites?

Friday, July 27, 2012

Blueberry-Oatmeal Muffins . . . With Zucchini!

An experiment that well this morning, but not perfectly, in an effort to continue to use up the ever-present zucchini in my refrigerator these days . . . Blueberry-Oatmeal Muffins With Zucchini!

I wasn't perfectly happy with how these turned out, (they fall on the side of "way too moist to have any actual structure,") so I'm not going to post the recipe . . . but if I make them again and figure out a better balance, I'll be sure to let you know!

Until then . . . please tell me . . . what would you do if you were faced with still more zucchini?

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

MORE zucchini, favorite vegetables

I think I might just turn into a zucchini.  My advice to you . . . if you happen to meet a farmer or gardener this time of year, and you don't want zucchini, make it a quick meeting.  :)  John has been volunteering at a farm this summer, and comes home weekly with ginormous zucchini.  Since I've already made chocolate cake, fritters, and cookies, it's time for muffins:

I used this recipe from Real Simple, with excellent results.  I did decide to use half whole-wheat pastry flour, and I can't really tell at all.  Next time, I  might use all whole-wheat flour!  I doubled the recipe, using three packed cups of well-squeezed zucchini, and ended up with 26 muffins.  Some for me, some for John, and some for my friend Dora!  I think everyone will be pleased.

Dinner last night accidentally incorporated both my favorite vegetable and John's favorite vegetable:

"Spanikopita," from The Cheese Factory Restaurant Cookbook, is one of John's favorite meals, and containing his all-time favorite vegetable -- spinach!  I don't make this recipe all that often, as it's kind of expensive, (just think . . . a pound of feta and three pounds of spinach!), but it's so dang tasty, it's worth the occasional indulgence.  :)  We enjoyed my favorite vegetable, steamed, on the side!  Delicious.

Back to work today, after a busy but fantastic three-day-weekend.

Monday, July 23, 2012

finishing up leftovers

This weekend has been busy as heck, but also kind of uneventful when it comes to cooking -- we have mostly been finishing up leftovers, skipping meals in favor of huge bowls of frozen yogurt topped with every candy known to man, and enjoying somewhat boring, yet still fun meals of egg salad sandwiches while out hiking.  :)  I did manage a little cooking yesterday, though!


Whole-wheat and chickpea flour blueberry pancakes, with a side of blackberries.


Cuban Black Beans and Rice, with sauteed chard from the garden on the side!  The chard is really kicking butt lately -- it seems like every time we harvest a big bunch, we turn around fifteen minutes later and there's another big bunch ready to go!  What fun.  This recipe for black beans and rice was excellent, by the way -- relatively quick to the table, simple yet flavorful, nutritious, and inexpensive!  I enjoy beans and rice from time to time, but I have a hard time finding recipes that make me want to eat huge quantities.  This one was definitely worth going back for seconds for!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

a long list

It's amazing how long one's "to-do" list gets after not having a single evening free during the week!  I spent the first part of my long weekend, yesterday afternoon, cooking, baking, cleaning, prepping, washing dishes, and tidying up my apartment.  Whew!  I'm still pretty tired this morning!  Here was one of my major accomplishments yesterday:

I finished up the last of the monstrous zucchini John brought home from volunteering over a week ago, and made a batch of zucchini cookies!  Here's my recipe:


Combine dry ingredients:
3/4 cup AP flour
3/4 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp Penzey's Baking Spice
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 3/4 cups regular rolled oats
1/2 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
1/2 cup raisins, Craisins, or other chopped dried fruit of your choice
Cream together:
1/2 cup butter at room temperature
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup natural granulated sugar

Stir into butter mixture:
1 egg, beaten
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 medium zucchini, grated and obvious water squeezed out (1 1/2 to 2 cups)

Stir dry ingredients into wet until combined. Drop by 2-tablespoon fulls onto parchment-lined cookie sheets. Bake at 350 for 12-20 minutes. (The bake time depends significantly on how much moisture is left in your zucchini before adding to the recipe -- just keep checking that first batch!)  Cool on a wire rack.

Shout out to my friend Tiffany, who was over for most of the evening yesterday, and helped with a number of my projects, including these cookies!  They turned out soft, moist, slightly spiced, and just a little nutritious.  :)  I think John, Dora, and I will really enjoy these with our picnic lunch today!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

amazing deals

I really kind of love Costco.  Now, don't get me wrong . . . I live within throwing distance of my co-op, so I do most of my shopping there, and definitely love the Farmer's Market for cheap, local, seasonal produce, but Costco has some amazing deals, let me tell you!  I met my friend Ann after work tonight, and we loaded up our cart.  I picked up tons of produce, some cheese, organic eggs and butter, Greek yogurt, natural peanut butter, and a pack of packets of "Wholly Guacamole."  I think some of my best scores, however, were on shelf-stable items:

Notice the coconut water on the left.  One of those shelf-stable boxes is typically $4.99 at my co-op.  I scored a pack of SIX for FIFTEEN BUCKS!  That's like getting three boxes for free!  I also picked up roasted/shelled/salted pistachios, (I see plenty more Magic Kale Salad in my future,) walnuts, pecans, organic and Fair-Trade sugar, organic shelled hemp seeds (!!!!!!), organic quinoa, pine nuts, and bulgur.  I still kind of can't believe I found hemp seeds at Costco!  I've really never cooked with them much before, as they are typically VERY expensive.  Have you used hemp seeds before?  What do you enjoy them with?

Sunday, July 15, 2012

back in the kitchen again!

After a long hiatus from cooking much of anything, (thank you, 90+ degree heat and high humidity,) I decided I had had enough salads, and got back in my kitchen this weekend.  :)  It's still hot, but I managed to sweat my way through several meal's worth of stovetop cooking and/or baking/roasting in the oven, and boy, was it worth it!

Dinner Friday night:

A simple meal of whole-wheat pasta tossed with homemade marinara and parmesan, with roasted pattypan squash on the side.

Bunch Saturday:

Breakfast burritos!  A whole-wheat tortilla stuffed with homemade refried beans, cheese, hashbrowns, scrambled eggs, salsa, guacamole, and sour cream.  This is one of those meals that if eaten after 10 am, will keep you full until dinner.  :)  Mmm.

Dinner Saturday:

Sloppy lentils piled on a whole-wheat bun, dilly beans, cherries, and Spud Puppies.

Dinner Sunday:


Tofu Steak with Miso and GingerSteamed Baby Carrots with Orange-Dill Butter, cucumbers with sour cream and dill, and Zucchini Fritters.  This meal was a LOT of work, (and generated a lot of dishes -- shout out to John, who washed nearly all of them!), but it was so worth it!  I had a blast finding new ways to make some seasonal produce shine.

My life is incomplete without dessert:

Chocolate Zucchini Cake!  Between the cake and the fritters, I have managed to take down about 2/3 of the ginormous zucchini John brought home from volunteering last week.  I still have about a pound left . . . muffins?  Bread?  Cookies?  What's your vote?

Thursday, July 12, 2012

"I could eat this every week."

That was the comment I heard during dinner last night; too bad it's been at least six months since I last made this meal!  Whoops.  Well, in my defense, it wasn't the healthiest dinner around -- but it sure was tasty!

Homemade buttermilk biscuits, split and topped with tempeh sausage gravy.  I pulled the biscuit and creamy gravy recipes from The Betty Crocker Cookbook, and stirred in "Tempeh Sausage Crumbles" from Vegan with a Vengeance.  Yum, yum, extra yum.

And I just had to show off how tall and fluffy my biscuits grew:

Monday, July 09, 2012

on sandwiches

I have a confession to make:

I kind of hate sandwiches.

Why?  Well, I can't really say.  Part of it probably stems from my early childhood, when I craved foods served separately.  You remember those huge sectioned trays you'd sometimes get at church potlucks, that had something like 7 or 8 holes in them?  Those made my day.  Even my roll had it's own compartment.  You know, so it wouldn't get "juice" from something on it and get a soggy corner.

Part of it is probably because there aren't many creative vegetarian sandwiches out there.  How many times have you had to choke down a mediocre-to-poor hummus and veggie sandwich/wrap because that was the only healthy/non-meat option?  Right.  I've had my fair share, too.

Part of it is definitely because, even though sandwiches are portable and that's probably their biggest selling point, sandwiches DON'T keep well.  Can you think of a single sandwich that is better 4 hours later?  I can't.  Soggy bread, soggy veggies, misshapen and squashed overall.  No thank you.

But, I don't hate all sandwiches.

I love egg salad.

I love avocado, mayo, and sprouts on toast.

I love sloppy joes.  (Well, sloppy lentils.  Or sloppy tofu.)

I love vegetarian "barbecue" sandwiches, made with homemade seitan and topped with tons of creamy coleslaw.

Every once in a while, I love a good PBJ.

And hot damn, do I love tofu banh mi:

More often than not, I really prefer to make my own -- and this recipe is one of the best I've found to date.  (However, I double the tofu marinade ingredients, and add a teaspoon each of grated fresh ginger and grated garlic to the marinade.  What Asian food isn't better with extra garlic and ginger?)  This sandwich has all of the things I love most about banh mi, in reasonable quantities -- plenty of flavorful tofu, plenty of sriracha mayo, and plenty of carrot/daikon pickle.  MMMMMMMM.

What are your thoughts on sandwiches?

pie to share, pie for keeps

I decided I was going to make TWO pies this weekend -- one to share with John's family at a post-4th barbecue on Saturday night, one for us to keep at home.  We ended up with a busier-than-planned Saturday, so I only had time to make one pie . . .

. . . that was promptly devoured before we left the party Saturday evening.  I don't know about you, but 1/12 of a homemade pie wasn't NEARLY enough for me; I think I'm due for a pie almost all to myself, wouldn't you agree?  ;)

Pie to share is great; pie for keeps is even better!

Saturday, July 07, 2012

$37 can get you ...

... three daikon radish, a head of broccoli, a pint of raspberries, two pints of strawberries, two bunches of rhubarb, carrots, pattypan squash, cucumbers, green beans, and a big bunch of lacinato kale! My thanks to the farmers who grew all of this delicious food!

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Red, white, and blue breakfast

Greek yogurt pancakes topped with strawberries and blueberries ... and I figured it was ok to use white flour this time, in keeping with the theme. :)

Monday, July 02, 2012

salad days

It's hot.  (And I don't have A/C!)

"Too hot to sit on the couch" hot.

"Too hot to sleep" hot.

"Too hot to turn on the stove" hot.

("Too hot to eat" hot, for that matter!)

Except, well, one still kind of has to eat.  Consequently, I have been eating nothing but salads for days.

Magic Kale Salad with "Tempeh Bacon" from Vegan with a Vengeance:

Taco Salads:

Mixed greens, steamed beets, goat cheese, and homemade balsamic vinaigrette:

Tempeh Nicoise:

What do you eat when it's too hot to eat?