Saturday, September 24, 2005


The spam commenters have found a way in. Grrr. But I have also found a way to delete comments. So I'll change my commenting preferences back to "anyone can comment." Comment away, friends! (Stay away, spammers!)

Holy Smoking Spatulas, Batman!

All right, well, the planets are in alignment, the food gods are smiling on me, and multiple factors are influencing what is turning out to be a weekend of cooking and baking. (It is finally NOT 90 degrees outside and I can turn on the oven without baking myself. I'm sick of eating hummus and cheese and crackers for dinner. (Although those were great summer foods!) I got paid yesterday and was thus able to make a voyage to the Wedge for raw materials. (I walked. You should have seen me, hoofing it back with a backpack and two tote bags loaded to the gills, in the light drizzle this morning. I got pitying stares from passersby. Oh well.) And I have nothing to do this weekend . . . I repeat . . . NOTHING! Wahoo!) So, I'm cooking. And baking. And I will eat well all week. I have a big plan, and I'm sharing the recipes with you! Here goes.

BASIC PIZZA WITH TOMATOES AND ARTICHOKE HEARTS (one 12-inch pizza, which is 4 generous servings)
~ For the crust, combine 1 cup bread flour, 1 cup whole wheat flour, and 1/4 tsp salt in a medium bowl. In another bowl or measuring cup or something, combine 1/2 cup very warm water (110 to 115 degrees Farenheight,) 1/2 tbsp honey or raw sugar, and 1 3/4 tsp active dry yeast. Stir, then allow the yeast mixture to sit for a few minutes until it gets nice and foamy. Add the yeast mixture to the flours, and stir together with your fingers until it all pulls together. (You may not use all of the flour.) Turn your dough out onto the counter and knead for about 5 minutes, or until it feels smooth. Place the dough ball in an oiled bowl and cover it with plastic wrap that you've oiled or sprayed with cooking spray. Let it rise in a warm place until double, 30 minutes or longer.
~ While the crust is rising, prepare your toppings. (SEASONED OLIVE OIL) First, smash a big clove of garlic and place in a mini saucepot. Add a couple of glugs of extra virgin olive oil and a bunch of dried Italian seasoning. Bring this to a high simmer, then remove it from the heat and let the oil absorb the flavors while you prepare the rest of the toppings. Strain before using. (CHEESE) Shred about 2 cups part-skim mozzarella and about 1/2 a cup of parmigianno-reggiano. Toss to combine and reserve. (ARTICHOKES) Open a can of artichoke hearts and drain. Cut each into quarters, and place on about 3 paper towels to further drain. I wrapped them up lightly in the paper towels and flipped them upside down partway through the draining process. (TOMATOES) Open a can of diced tomatoes, and drain and rinse well. Do the paper towel thing with these guys, too.
~ After the crust has risen, punch it down and lightly knead it for a couple of minutes. Work it out into a 12-inch circle and place on a greased pizza pan that has also been dusted with semolina flour. Top the crust with the oil, half the cheese, the tomatoes, artichokes, and the rest of the cheese. Let it rest for about 5 minutes before baking at 475 until lightly browned and crisp, about 10 minutes or so. Let the pizza rest for 5 minutes before cutting to prevent cheese run-off.


~ Combine 1 cup yellow cornmeal, 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour, 4 tsp baking powder, and 1/2 tsp salt in a medium bowl.
~ Make a well in the center and add 1 cup milk, 1 egg, 1/4 cup oil, and 1 tbsp honey. Stir together until just moistened.
~ Fill greased muffin tins about 3/4 full and bake at 425 for about 12 minutes, or until light golden brown. Cool on a wire rack.

go with . . .

BLACK BEAN CHILI (This is a Catherine Classic, and I may have shared the recipe with you previously. I apologize if this is a repeat!) (8 or more servings)
Combine the following in a Crock Pot and cook on low for 8 hours:
2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed, or a comparable amount of beans that you've soaked, drained, and cooked
30 oz can diced tomatoes with liquid
14 1/2 oz vegetable broth
1 1/2 cups frozen corn kernels (or more if you like a lot of corn!)
1 large or 2 medium green peppers, chopped
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced (optional)
4 green onions, sliced
1 to 2 cloves garlic, minced
2 to 3 tbsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin


FALAFEL (4 servings)
Combine in a food processor (or alternately, smash the chickpeas with a fork and stir everything until well blended -- this is what I do because I don't own a food processor!):
1/4 cup dry breadcrumbs
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1 1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 egg
15 oz canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed (or alternately, 2 cups cooked chickpeas you did yourself)
Shape the mixture into 16 small patties. Cook patties in 1 tbsp olive oil about 5 minutes per side, or until lightly browned. Serve in pita halves with lettuce leaves, tomato slices, and YOGURT SAUCE (Combine until smooth: 1/2 cup plain yogurt, 2 tbsp lemon juice, 2 tbsp tahini, and 1 clove garlic, minced.)

and a nice side for these sandwiches is . . .

Combine 1/2 cup plain yogurt, 2 tbsp brown sugar (or less,) and a dash of cinnamon until smooth. Toss this dressing with 3 cups of red grapes, halved, and 3 tablespoons of chopped walnuts.


20 oz crushed pineapple or pineapple chunks in juice (drain and reserve 1/4 cup juice)
3 tbsp rice wine vinegar
2 tbsp ketchup
2 tbsp reduced sodium soy sauce
1 tbsp brown sugar
14 oz extra-firm water-packed tofu, rinsed, patted dry, and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
2 tsp cornstarch
2 tbsp canola oil, divided
2 tbsp minced garlic
1 tbsp minced ginger
1 large red bell pepper, cut into 1/2 by 2 inch strips
1 large green bell pepper, cut into 1/2 by 2 inch strips
1. Combine pineapple juice, vinegar, ketchup, soy sauce, and sugar until smooth. Marinade tofu in 3 tbsp sauce up to 30 minutes. Add cornstarch to remaining sauce and whisk until smooth.
2. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a large skillet. Transfer tofu to pan and cook until golden brown, about 7 to 9 minutes. Remove from pan and keep warm.
3. Add remaining oil to pan. Add garlic and ginger and cook about 30 seconds. Add peppers and cook 2 to 3 minutes or just until tender. Add sauce and cook, stirring until thickened, about 30 seconds. Add tofu and pineapple chunks and heat through.
(I plan on serving this with brown rice and a side of steamed broccoli for dinner Monday night.)



1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup natural granulated sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened good-quality cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup vanilla organic low-fat yogurt or soy yogurt
1/4 cup low-fat milk, rice milk, or soymilk
2 tablespoons light vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, preferably cane-juice sweetened

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. Combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt in a mixing bowl. Stir together.Make a well in the center of the dry mixture and pour in the yogurt, milk, oil, and vanilla. Stir until thoroughly combined, then stir in the chocolate chips.
3. Pour into a lightly oiled 9- by 9-inch baking pan. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the sides of the cake begin to pull away from the pan, and a knife inserted in the middle tests clean.
4. Let cool in the pan until just warm or room temperature, then cut into squares to serve.


Well, off to do dishes before I can keep cooking. :)

Friday, September 16, 2005

even weirder

The latest thing Oliver likes to lick? Envelope glue. I can't leave an envelope lying around, or there's no glue left by the time I'm ready to seal it and sent it on its way!

Cats are weird. Still.

Monday, September 12, 2005

happiness is . . . chocolate chip cookies!

If any of you know the Broadway musical "You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown," you'll get my reference in the title. If not, it's still pertinent.

I never posted my recipe for healthfully updated chocolate chip cookies the other day, because I wasn't completely sure about them. I've been munching on them the past few days, and have decided I LOVE them. So, I'm sharing. (The recipe, that is. The cookies are MINE!) For some odd reason, they are especially tasty chilled. This recipe makes about 30 small cookies. (Half what a standard cookie recipe makes. I can't eat a whole batch of cookies by myself, however much I might want to.) These are higher in fiber/whole grain, lower in fat, and lower in sugar than a traditional CCC, but taste pretty damn fabulous. Here goes:

2 tablespoons butter (you could also use margarine)
1/3 cup natural sugar/raw sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
6 tablespoons low fat vanilla yogurt (or soy yogurt)
2 1/2 teaspoons egg replacer (found in the natural foods aisle -- you could use 2 egg whites instead, but your dough may be a bit runnier)
1 cup quick cooking oatmeal
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup grain-sweetened chocolate chips (or regular chocolate chips)

1. Cream together the butter and sugar. Stir in the vanilla, yogurt, and egg replacer.
2. Stir in the oats, flour, salt, and soda. Gently stir in chips.
3. Drop by rounded teaspoon fulls onto ungreased cookie sheets. (These cookies don't spread much, so feel free to jam them together on the baking sheets to speed things up. You may also want to squash them flat a bit, otherwise you'll have little round balls instead of cookie-looking things.) Bake 8 to 10 minutes at 350. Cool.

Enjoy, my friends.

You know, I post all of these crazy recipes up here, but I never hear back from you all as to whether you've tried any of these yourselves! I'd love your feedback, especially since a lot of this baking/cooking is experimental and in the early stages of development. (And if you don't want to make a whole batch of cookies and live nearby, I might be persuaded to share one, just to receive feedback. Just one, though!)

cats are weird

Oliver seems to like to lick the condensation off the outside of cold pop cans. He's currently going to town on my Diet Coke.

I wonder if it's some sort of weird texture thing, or he just likes the ice-cold driplets of moisture?

Regardless, cats are weird.

Saturday, September 10, 2005


Phooey. I just lost a whole post.

The succinct version: I had to change my comments preferences to "members only" because of SPAM commenting. (I hate SPAM in both its electronic and foodstuff forms.) I will still, however, love to hear from you all! You can easily set up a blogger account, even if you don't want to blog. I encourage you to do so, and leave me comments!!

I wrote this whole long thing about why I was so tired today (combination of very late night last night and early babysitting job this morning,) and also a rant/rave on grain sweetened chocolate chips. I don't have the energy to write them again. Sorry!

Thursday, September 08, 2005

I'm showing Dan how to blog

We're thinking about creating a Willow Room blog at school, so I'm showing Dan how to use Blogger. I'd be showing Sarah, too, but she's home sick today.

3 more days before the children come . . . must go make playdough!