Archive for February 2015

Favorite Valentine’s Day Desserts

February 13th, 2015 — 3:31am

From right to left, top to bottom: Chocolate-Hazelnut Tart, Heart Beet Cookies, Sugar Cut-Out Heart Cookies, Arroz Con Leche, Chocolate-Cherry Ganache Bars, Thick and Chewy Double Chocolate Cookies, Chocolate-Covered Cherry Cookies, Chocolate Coffee Cake with Dark Chocolate Ganache, and Chocolate Fudge Cookies with Toffee and Dried Cherries.

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Slow Food UW Cafe Lunch – 2/11

February 11th, 2015 — 11:45am

DSC05654Today’s Slow Food UW Cafe lunch featured a breakfast-themed menu. There was just one entree—a savory harvest bowl with wheatberries, sweet potatoes, spinach, and a poached egg. Sides included parmesan and caramelized onion hashbrowns, as well as spicy roasted carrots with honey-mustard sauce (I chose the carrots). Dessert was a granola and yogurt parfait with oats, maple, hickory nuts, plum compote, yogurt.

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Baked Stuffed Shells

February 10th, 2015 — 12:27pm


I learned about Terry Walters’ cookbook Clean Food: A Seasonal Guide to Eating Close to the Source from Larry’s Aunt Ellen. She introduced me to the recipe for Sweet and Savory Root Vegetable Stew, which uses a variety of winter veggies like rutabagas, turnips, sweet potatoes, celeriac, etc. I loaded up on these veggies at a recent farmers’ market, and made a batch of the stew over the weekend. We have plenty of leftovers to freeze and use for healthy sides for weeks to come.

My positive experience with the vegetable stew made me want to explore the cookbook further. I checked out a copy from the library and looked through the “winter” recipes over the weekend. I was drawn to the baked stuffed shells, and made the dish for dinner the other night. Surprisingly, I think it’s the first time I’ve ever cooked with tofu. And possibly collard greens. I used regular mozzarella in place of the soy or rice mozzarella, but otherwise kept to the original recipe. It’s not a super speedy weeknight meal, but it’s one you can tackle on a weeknight if you have a little extra time. I really enjoyed this meal and will definitely make it again.

Baked Stuffed Shells (slightly adapted from Clean Food: A Seasonal Guide to Eating Close to the Source; serves 4)

8 oz. large pasta shells
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 large onion, chopped
1/4 cup mirin
2 teaspoons dried basil
2 teaspoons dried parsley
1 1/2 pounds fresh firm tofu (not silken)
2 bunches kale or collard greens, chopped
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
4 cups tomato sauce
1 cup grated soy or rice mozzarella (I used regular mozzarella)

Cook shells according to directions on package. Drain and set aside.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Prepare filling: In a large skillet or dutch oven over medium heat, sauté the garlic and onions in olive oil until soft (about 5 minutes). Add mirin, basil and parsley and stir. Press the tofu with paper towels to remove excess liquid. Crumble tofu into the pot, mix with other ingredients and cook for 5 minutes.

Add the chopped greens to the skillet and continue cooking until soft. Season to taste with salt and pepper and remove from heat.

Assemble: Spoon the filling into the shells and place in a 9 x 12-inch lasagna pan. Cover stuffed shells with tomato sauce and sprinkle with cheese. Cover the pan with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove foil and bake uncovered for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and let stand 5 minutes before serving.

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Quinoa Oatmeal with Bananas and Chopped Walnuts

February 9th, 2015 — 12:20pm

This has been my go-to breakfast for the past year-and-a-half. Almost every Sunday night, I make a batch of quinoa oatmeal and place it in the refrigerator for a week’s worth of breakfasts. Then each morning, I mix together about a cup of quinoa oatmeal, a cup of almond milk and a sliced banana, and heat it in the microwave for a few minutes. The banana slices become caramelized from the heat, adding just the perfect amount of sweetness to the oatmeal. I top the oatmeal with a hand-full of chopped walnuts. It’s filling, nutritious, and a breakfast I’ve never stopped looking forward to. And sometimes you need something to look forward to on Monday morning.

Quinoa Oatmeal with Bananas and Walnuts (adapted from Thug Kitchen; makes 4-6 servings)

1 cup steel cut oats
½ cup quinoa (I used red quinoa)
1 teaspoon olive or coconut oil (I generally use coconut oil)
4 cups water

For serving:
1 cup unsweetened almond milk (any type of milk is fine, but I love the flavor of almond milk for this dish)
1 banana, sliced
a handful of chopped walnuts

Put the quinoa in a fine strainer and rinse under water for at least 30 seconds. Heat 4 cups of water in a kettle on the stovetop until it is near boiling. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the steel cut oats and cook, stirring occasionally, for 1-2 minutes. Add the quinoa and the water and bring the mixture to a boil. Turn down the heat and let simmer for about 20-25 minutes, or until the water is absorbed. Refrigerate the quinoa oatmeal until ready to serve.

For serving – Place one cup of quinoa oatmeal, one cup of almond milk and a sliced banana in a small bowl. Heat in the microwave for 3-4 minutes, or until hot. Add chopped walnuts and serve.

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Spinach Artichoke Pesto Tortellini Soup

February 5th, 2015 — 10:46am


I’d put this recipe in the category of quick and easy weeknight meals. It’s healthy, it’s vegetarian, and it incorporates a few of my favorite ingredients like artichoke hearts, pesto and cheese tortellini—and other ingredients I know are good for me, like spinach and beans. It’s a hearty enough soup to serve as a main dish, and makes plenty of leftovers.

Spinach Artichoke Pesto Tortellini Soup (slightly adapted from Two Peas & Their Pod; serves 6)

2 tablespoon olive oil
1 small yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
8 oz frozen artichoke hearts
64 oz vegetable broth
2 (14 oz) cans cannellini or Great Northern white beans, rinsed and drained
3 cups cheese tortellini or ravioli (refrigerated or frozen)
2 cups fresh spinach leaves, roughly chopped
1/3 cup basil pesto
Salt and black pepper, to taste
Grated Parmesan cheese, for serving

In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in the artichoke hearts and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the vegetable broth, beans, tortellini, and spinach leaves. Increase the heat to high and cook until the tortellini is soft, about 7 minutes.

Stir in the basil pesto and season with salt and black pepper, to taste. Serve warm with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

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Slow Food UW Cafe Lunch – 2/4

February 4th, 2015 — 10:54am

DSC05608Today marked the start of a new semester of Slow Food UW Cafe lunches. If today’s lunch is any indication of what’s in store this semester, I’d say we have some fantastic meals ahead. Today’s lunch ranked among my favorites of the year—especially the pork and squash seeded rye tartine. It was excellent! And how can you go wrong with salt and vinegar homefries with horseradish aioli? The chai carrot cake with goat-cream cheese frosting was a wonderful ending—a perfect-sized portion, and not too sweet. It’s great to be back!

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Rice Pudding with Fresh Pears and Honey

February 3rd, 2015 — 10:18am


With a snowstorm in progress this past Sunday morning, I set to work making pancakes while Larry headed out to shovel the driveway. At 33 weeks pregnant, I’m not much help these days when it comes to shoveling, but I’m still rather nimble in the kitchen. I was nearly finished making the batter when I realized I was missing one crucial ingredient: buttermilk. And there was no way either of us was about to navigate the yet-to-be-plowed, snow-filled roads. And so I switched course. I packed up the pancake mix for another day, and began making rice pudding with fresh pears and honey. Larry was surprised. You just happen to have ingredients on hand for another gourmet breakfast? Yes. Breakfast is a meal for which I’m always prepared.

The rice pudding is sweet—some might say it’s more dessert-like than breakfast appropriate, but I tend to like a sweeter breakfast. The sugar in the rice pudding combined with honey for serving is probably overkill, though—at least for breakfast. Next time I’d probably cut the sugar in half. I’ve just recently started using orange-flower water with cooking, and have become hooked. It doesn’t take much, and I’ve been amazed by how much it changes the flavor of whatever I’m making. The sliced pears and chopped pistachios also provide a nice texture contrast to the creamy rice pudding. It was the perfect breakfast for a Sunday morning snowstorm.

Rice Pudding with Fresh Pears and Honey (from Bon Appétit, September 2014; serves 6)

1 cup bomba or arborio rice (I used arborio)
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
5 cups whole milk
½ cup sugar (I’d use 1/4 cup sugar next time)
½ teaspoon orange-flower water (I found this at Orange Tree Imports)
1 pear, sliced
⅓ cup chopped unsalted, roasted pistachios
Honey (for serving)

Bring rice, salt, and 1½ cups water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Reduce heat, partially cover, and simmer until water is almost completely absorbed, 6–8 minutes. Add milk, return to a simmer, and cook, stirring occasionally, until rice is tender and milk is thickened, 30–35 minutes. Add sugar and orange-flower water and cook, stirring, until sugar is dissolved, about 1 minute longer. Let cool slightly.

Serve rice pudding topped with sliced pear and chopped pistachios and drizzled with honey.

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Sweet Potato and Caramelized 
Onion Hash with Baked Eggs

February 2nd, 2015 — 10:07am

DSC05605I’ve been on a kick of making breakfast for dinner. Recently I tried Sweet Potato and Caramelized Onion Hash With Baked Eggs from The Kitchn Cookbook. Of the 150 recipes featured in the book, this one stood out most to me. Other than maybe fresh rosemary, the dish features ingredients that many cooks probably already have on hand: sweet potatoes, onions, olive oil, eggs, paprika, Parmesan, etc. I especially enjoyed the flavor from the caramelized onions. Sauteing the sliced onions in a cast-iron skillet for 20-30 minutes before baking them with the sweet potatoes is a step not to be skipped. When I baked the sweet potatoes and onions together, my total cooking time was closer to 25 minutes than 40 minutes—a rather large range of time provided in the recipe. I considered baking the eggs over the hash in individual ramekins (which would look lovely for brunch), but ultimately decided to do it all together in a 9 x 13 baking dish. For a side, the dish serves 4-6. For a full dinner, I’d say closer to 3-4.

Recipe for Sweet Potato and Caramelized 
Onion Hash with Baked Eggs


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