Saturday, December 27, 2014

Grandma Ikeda's Chocolate Mac Nut Cookies

These are Grandma Ikeda's signature cookies. I tend to make it smaller than she does because I must be more pake or something, haha!

3 sticks butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
3 cups flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1 cup macadamia nuts, toasted and cooled
1 package semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 275 degrees F. Cream butter with sugar then slowly add the flour and baking soda. The dough will be a little coarse. Hand mix the mac nuts and chocolate chips, then make balls of cookie dough. 

Place dough on cookie sheets with parchment paper and flatten the dough a little. Bake for 30-35 minutes. Cool the cookies and store in an air tight container with wax paper between layers.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Keeper Project: Easy Smashed Potatoes

I had a HUGE mashed potatoes failure about ten years ago - so bad that we had no mashed potatoes for Thanksgiving one year, so when mashed potatoes were assigned this year, I got a little panicky.

Luckily, for my family, this less ambitious recipe got thumbs up, especially from boy 3.

  • 3 pounds medium red-skinned potatoes, scrubbed
  • 2 tsp. course sea salt, plus more for salting the water
  • 3/4 - 1 cup heavy cream (just check texture)
  • 4 T. butter
  • black pepper
  • 4-6 stalks green onion, including whites, finely chopped
  1. Put the potatoes in a saucepan and cover with cold water seasoned with salt. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and cook until potatoes are very tender, about 20 minutes.
  2. Heat the cream and butter in a small saucepan until hot, not scalding.
  3. Drain potatoes and with a potato masher, rough smash the potatoes while adding the hot liquid. 
  4. Stir in half the green onions, season with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. The rest of the green onions can go on top before serving.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Thanksgiving Note to Self: the right pumpkin filling

My mother-in-law used to always do Thanksgiving. She cooked everything and we would take care of the sides, but as she gets older, more and more of the Thanksgiving dishes have moved to us. This year has been a change year for her. She stopped driving and that has been the start of stopping other things until this Thanksgiving, the whole thing was given over to us. The pies, which were always her thing went to me without any recipe so I have to battle memory of taste as well as my procrastination that comes with not having a plan.

The verdict on my very first pumpkin pie (seriously, I have been married for 27 years and I have never made a pumpkin pie because my mother in law has ALWAYS made it):
Thumbs up on the filling - work on the crust. My mom took the leftover pie home.

Note to self for next year: if I don't want to use store bought pie crust, mix the crust ahead of time and put it in the refrigerator. Also, practice before the "show."

The filling was a keeper, so I just need to work on crust.

From: Suzanne's Old Fashioned Pumpkin Pie (original recipe here)

  • 2 cups canned pumpkin puree (the original recipe talks about making fresh sugar pumpkin pulp, but in my small town in the middle of the Pacific, it is not something locally available)
  • 1 12oz. can evaporated milk (or 1 1/2 cup heavy cream)
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 eggs plus one yolk
  • 3 1/2 - 4 tsp pumpkin pie spice (I make my own)
  • 1/2 tsp. lemon zest
You also need a good deep dish crust, which I don't have yet. But when I do, I will link it here.

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. 
  2. Beat the eggs in a large bowl. Mix in the sugars, salt, spices and lemon zest. Mix in the pumpkin puree. Stir in the cream and beat together until everything is mixed. (I like the dark color of the filling, probably from the brown sugar, but I really despise lemony orange colored pumpkin pies.)
  3. Pour the filling into an uncooked pie shell.* Bake at 425 for 15 minutes. **After the 15 minutes, lower the temperature to 350 degrees F and bake for 45 - 55 minutes more, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. 
  4. Let the pie rest for about 2 hours and serve with whipped cream (traditional, but my family does not like whipped cream so I cannot rely on the whipped cream to hide any flaws)
* I had much more filling than my one 9" deep dish pie crust would hold, but not enough to make another pie, so I put it in an oven ramekin and baked it alongside my pie so I could try a crustless pie. Next time, I am going to put it in smaller ramekins, put it in a water bath and see if I can make it more brulee custard ish.

** After 15 minutes (I think my oven is running hot), I had to already put foil on my crust because it was at the right color.


Monday, November 17, 2014

Giving Thanks Together Invites

I was wandering through my Pinterest board after work and saw some fabulous ideas for outdoor Thanksgiving table setting ideas.  Beautiful and way over my league, but I saw this card that gave me an idea to create a postcard invitation (above) to send to our guests (really it's just our usual Sunday dinner family, but they are still guests)

But since it is a postcard, I figured instead of the usual you're invited, I would choose a grateful poem and give each person a part of the poem. I chose "Invocation" by Jeanne Lohmann as a way to share a piece and enjoy some choral reading. 

I hope they like it. Here's the back of the postcard ( I took the addresses off)

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Kaiso Seaweed Salad

The weather has been so muggy in Hawaii, perfect for a cold kaiso hijiki salad. Look for this package of dehydrated assortment of seaweeds in the Asian aisle. It's a mix of seaweeds, hijiki, agar agar, etc. If the weather is cold, you can also drop a handful of this mix into your miso soup.

For the summer salad:

I used the whole bag (3 oz) but adjust as necessary. 
Directions - 
3 oz.  dried seaweed (kaiso salad) mix

Put the seaweed in a bowl, cover with cold water and soak (5-8 minutes)
Drain, squeeze out as much water as possible and put it back in a bowl. 


3 1/2 T. rice vinegar
3 T. shoyu
3 T. toasted sesame oil
3 T. sugar
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. grated ginger and juice
green onion for topping
toasted sesame seeds for topping

Whisk everything but the green onion and sesame seeds to create a vinaigrette. Toss through the seaweed and top with green onion and sesame seeds before serving.

Refrigerate if serving later. I'm putting it on our lunch salads (lettuce, fresh tomatoes, cucumbers, green onions, seasoned kaiso salad and some lemon slices for extra acid.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Roasted Cauliflower and Carrot with Shoyu/Lemon Walnuts

I had a partial head of cauliflower and a couple handfuls of baby carrots so I put them together so I would at least have a full pan of veggies to roast.

The walnuts were going to go on with just some lemon zest and olive oil but I was craving a little more savory flavor so I added some shoyu and lemon juice to taste and it just adds that extra oomph.


Cauliflower, cut into florets
Carrots, peeled and sliced diagonally
Extra virgin olive oil to lightly coat veggies
Hawaiian salt ( I used my mom's Rocking H dry rub)
Black pepper
Lemon zest (about 1/2 tsp)
Lemon juice to taste
Shoyu to taste

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

In the last couple minutes of oven preheat, I put the walnuts in a pan and toasted them. You could dry pan toast it on the stove. 

Toss the carrots and cauliflower with a little olive oil. I started with 2 T., tossed in a bowl to coat veggies then added maybe 1/2 T. more. Salt and pepper the veggies and lay it out on a roasting pan. 

Roast until the veggies are tender and lightly browned (about 25 minutes). Taste and season more if necessary (or just get it right the first time). 

While the veggies are roasting, I put the walnuts in a nut grinder or coarse chop them, add lemon zest, about 1 T. olive oil and shoyu and lemon to taste.

When the veggies are done, plate it, add the walnuts and enjoy. I put the extra walnuts in a container to add to salad later in the week. 

Friday, September 5, 2014

No Nut Pesto

This summer has been a good one for basil, tomatoes and green onions  but I hate using so much oil in pesto so I tried this Chef AJ version with no nuts and no oil. I made my usual Moosewood Cookbook version too and the No Nut held up pretty well. Use it first. Without the oil, it doesn't hold onto the basil taste as long as the original.

1 can   cannellini beans, drained
1 oz. basil
2-3 cloves garlic
1 T. miso
1/4 cup lemon juice

Blend it in the food processor. If I put it in the Vitamix, would it make a difference? I need to buy more beans and then I will try it again.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Book Review: Meatless All Day

Author: Dina Cheney

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Taunton Press (March 2014)

About the book:

Meatless all day is a sumptuous book that looks at vegetarian and vegan meals not as quick and easy or even healthy, but as fine dining experiences using the freshest seasonal ingredients and worldly spices and herbs. 

I am used to vegan or vegetarian cookbooks that spend the introduction explaining and defining vegetarian and vegan food in order to highlight the oddity of this type of cooking, but I like that Cheney's book instead goes into some specific tips on cooking. I especially liked the section on tips for golden brown, crispy exteriors. With vegetarian and vegan food, sometimes focusing on textures makes it more palatable for non veg heads. Saw another tip from "The Kitchen" about salting home fried potatoes after and not before cooking for that golden brown color. 

Another plus for this book is that the pictures are fabulous. This is not a book to read when you're hungry or even right before dinner. This is a plan ahead for the week Sunday morning read.

I definitely loved the vegan dishes like the "tabbouleh with dates and pomegranate vinaigrette." The spices of cumin, coriander, sumac, cayenne created a vibrant palate of flavors. I lucked out that my health food store had sumac which I think makes a difference.

I also enjoyed going out of my usual comfort zone of Indian/Asian/Mediterranean flavors and made the Mexican chopped salad with cornbread croutons. I don't use lime zest enough and I need to start doing that. I didn't use the cheese cubes because I am more vegan than vegetarian, but I don't think it made a difference. 

What I want to try and I'm waiting for the right time is the Greek salad with roasted chickpeas and watermelon. Perhaps fourth of July. Also fall would be great for the veggie chili with butternut squash.

There are just so many intriguing recipes in here that it will take a year to try everything and with so many different ethnic flavors, going meatless all day will not be a boring journey.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Almost Homemade Ketchup with a Kick

Tango Cafe in Honolulu is one of my favorite places to eat breakfast in Honolulu. When we are there for work, we wait in line outside at 7 am for their coffee and eggs benedict. My favorite is a half half - half gravlax benedict and half florentine or crab hash benedict. Really great restaurants have great food, true, but a really really great restaurant knows how to do those little off the menu things like make sure that every refill of coffee is unasked for and fresh. But the real key is their ketchup. When it comes to the table and you're sitting with Tango newbies, don't say anything. Just nonchalantly move it toward you. It comes in a little dish, not really red and kind of thick and grainy in texture, but this stuff is so good you will want to lick the dish. 

We asked them how to make it and all they said was it's tomatoes cooked down, carmelized onions, some cumin.

This is my first attempt. I didn't cook down tomatoes. I just used bought ketchup I had, carmelized some onions and added some kick. The Tango version is not spicy, but this one has a bit of a kick. 

1 T canola oil
1 medium onion, sliced thin

In a heavy bottom saucepan, slowly cook the onions with oil until they are brown and super soft (I stood over the stove for about half an hour which is long for me). 

While it cooks, put together -
1/2 cup ketchup
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp. chili powder
1/4 tsp. ground cumin
dash of ground cinnamon
dash of ground nutmeg
black pepper

When the onions are carmelized, not burned, add 1 Tablespoon of cider vinegar, stir it around to scrape some of the crusty bits from the pan then add the ketchup mix. Cook it gently for about 5 minutes to meld the flavors, then take it off the heat. When it cools down a little, put it in the Vitamix, blend to the consistency you want and enjoy. 

I'm pre-prepping for the Father's day sliders, so ketchup done.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Nobu's Den Miso with Broiled Eggplant

Summer is the worst time to cook, but I have so many recipes in my Evernote folders and my Pinterest boards so this is the down time for me. I think this is a fabulous fall or winter recipe, but with a cold Kirin, it's still good in the summer and it can be eaten cold on salad for lunch.

Find the original recipe here. Besides cooking the sauce on eggplant, it's a good dipping sauce for fried tofu, tossed with blanched green beans, and used as a dipping sauce for boiled tako (octopus). Keep the extras in the refrigerator.

Den Miso:
  •  1 1/2 cups white miso 
  • 3/4 cup sugar 
  • 3/4 cup sake 
  • 3/4 cup mirin 
Combine miso and sugar in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan. Add sake and mirin, whisking to combine. Bring to a simmer over low heat and cook, stirring frequently, until sugar is dissolved and color begins to darken, 30 to 45 minutes. Remove from heat.

Den Miso with Nasubi (eggplant)

  • Extra-virgin olive oil, for frying 
  • 4 Japanese eggplants (about 6 ounces each), halved lengthwise and skin scored in a crosshatch pattern 
  • 1 cup Nobu's Den Miso 
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds 
  • Pickled ginger and plums, for garnish (optional) 
 Heat oven to broil. Line a baking sheet with paper towels; set aside. In a large heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat about 2 inches of oil to 360 degrees. Working in batches, place eggplants in pan, skin side up, and fry 1 minute. Turn and fry 30 seconds more. Transfer eggplants to baking sheet and let drain. 

 Transfer eggplants, skin side down, to an unlined baking sheet. Spread each half with slightly more than 1 tablespoon miso. Broil until miso begins to darken and caramelize, about 30 seconds to a few minutes, depending on the strength of your broiler. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and garnish with pickled ginger and plums.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Pasta with Chickpeas, Baby Spinach and Sundried Tomatoes

This is a light dinner. Big Spazz would have liked more salt, but maybe he would be ok with more red pepper flakes instead.

1 10oz. bag fresh spinach, rough chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 15oz. can petite tomatoes, drained
1/3 cup oil-packed sundried tomatoes, chopped
1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
8-10 oz. pasta, cooked

I water sauteed the spinach just until some of the water came off of it, then put it on the side. 
Saute garlic until the smell intensifies, then add chickpeas, spinach. Season with salt and pepper. Add some red pepper flakes (optional) for spice and simmer to blend the flavors for about 10 minutes. 

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Roasted Kabocha and Green Onion Hummus

Sunday is my clean the refrigerator and cook ahead day so I had half a kabocha left over from the Mother's Day Thai yellow curry.

I sliced it as best I could (it wasn't pretty), put about 1 T. of coconut oil and roasted it in a 400 degree oven for about 30 minutes.

It was a little dry, I may have forgotten it for too long, so decided to make hummus with it instead. It's sweet for hummus because of the kabocha, but it's good with more fresh green onions on top.

2 cups roasted kabocha (I took the skins off)
1 can chickpeas (about 1 1/2 cups if you made your own)
1/4 cup tahini
1/4 cup lemon juice
6 green onions, chopped

Put everything in a high speed blender and add water if needed to thin it a little.
Garnish with green onions, paprika and pepper.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Shredded Kale Salad with Pecan Parmesan Cranberries

Safeway has $5 deals every Friday so this takes advantage of the whole clear box of baby kale and it's so good that when I made it for dinner, we finished the whole salad. 

2 bunches kale, finely chopped, or 1 clear box of baby kale (8 cups or so)
2 large garlic cloves
1/4 c fresh lemon juice (usually 1 lemon)
3-4 T olive oil ( I know, it's a no-no so use less or use a oil dressing substitute) - still working on this
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1-2 handfuls dried cranberries

Pecan Parmesan ( I usually do the almond faux parm, but tried this)
1 c pecan halves, toasted
1 1/2 T nutritional yeast
1T olive oil
2 pinches fine grain sea salt

Toast pecans in  300 degree oven or toaster oven for about 8-10 minutes. Don't let it burn. Clean kale, remove stems, spin dry. Place in a bowl large enough to get your hands in and massage the kale. 

In a blender or food processor, process garlic until minced. Add lemon, oil, salt and pepper. Pour on kale and massage until everything is coated.

For pecan parm - in processor, add pecans and process until they are the size of peas or a bit larger. Add nutritional yeast, oil, and salt and process again until it's a course crumb. Sprinkle parm over salad. Toss with the cranberries and place it in the fridge to marinate for an hour in the refrigerator until serving. Don't let it marinate too long or it will get too soggy.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

HH's Vegan Fat-Free Curried Sweet Potato and Wild Rice Soup

My dad has been living in Minnesota for about 30 years, so he is my source for Minnesota wild rice. I just went to see him in November at the beginning of their long winter and ever since I've been making wild rice soup at least once or twice a month.

I bought 2 bags of what I though was butternut squash only to find out it was sweet potato, so I tried the Happy Herbivore sweet potato soup here. She is right, if you make it on Sunday and eat it the next day, the curry and garam masala winds its way into every part of this soup for a depth and spice.

The wild rice ladled on top also adds a nice texture to an otherwise textureless soup. 

I also doubled the recipe and used the peeled cut up frozen sweet potatoes. It will make 4 cups of soup. Enough for a side. 

Monday, April 14, 2014

Ugly Yummy Vegan Zucchini Tots

There is no reason why these zucchini tots should be yummy, but the crunchiness is irresistible, even if it can't keep itself together.

The original recipe with egg and cheddar are here. I made one batch on the left with the original recipe. Notice that they are able to stay together on their own without the mini silicone wrappers.

Here's the veganized version. 
Ugly Yummies
1 cup zucchini, grated
1 ground flaxseed egg (1 T ground flaxseed and 3 T water - mix and set aside until it turns gelatinous)
1/4 yellow onion, diced (I like to dice it a little larger to give it the yummy crunchiness)
1/4 cup faux parmesan
1/4 cup breadcrumbs (it's a lot of dry ingredients, I'm going to try 1/4 cup daiya soy cheese and the faux parmesan instead of the breadcrumbs) 
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Use mini cupcake holders, make egg and set aside.

Grate zucchini, squeeze out excess water and chop onions. 

In a bowl combine all ingredients. Use a melon baller or spoon to fill the cupcake liners.

Bake for 15 - 18 minutes until the top is browned and set. Ono!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Book Review: The Beginner's Guide to Making and Using Dried Foods

Title: The Beginner's Guide to Making and Using Dried Foods: Preserve Fresh Fruits, Vegetables, Herbs, and Meat with a Dehydrator, a Kitchen Oven, or the Sun
Author: Teressa Marrone
Storey Publishing, LLC
To be published July 11, 2014
Thanks to Net Galley and Storey Publishing for an advanced reader copy


     The length of a title says something about the length of the book. At 352 pages, Marrone can use the first 67 pages just to talk  about the basics of drying foods including temperatures and creating your own home dehydrator how to's. If I could put this much detail in my dissertation I would be a happy camper. This is a textbook of preservation knowledge and most useful for those people that want to make dehydration a passion project or a money maker. Everything you need to know or didn't know you needed to know is right here.

Ready to dehydrate? Chapter 4 starts with fruits, from apples to watermelons. True to the methodical, throrough nature of the rest of the book, the author takes you alphabetically through the fruits starting with an intro, preparation methods, drying methods for the three common types of drying: dehydrator/convection oven, sun drying or non-convection oven. In addition, for each fruit, get information on the doneness test, yield and ways to use it. Thorough.

I like to read food books like novels rather than like manuals, so I am a sucker for author's voice. Here's my favorite example of voice:
Grapes (Raisins) First a bit of advice: If you have to purchase grapes from the supermarket, it's probably not worth your time to dehydrate them. Raisins are available everywhere, at a good price. . (89).
Not just thorough, practical! I love that. Seriously, though, this really is a textbook on drying and dehydrating: fruits, vegetables, herbs & spices, meat & poultry, leathers, baby foods & prepared foods, snacks, cereals gift foods. I think this is a must have door stop type of reference rather than on my e-reader.

Admittedly the amount of words were just too much until I looked at this as a way to preserve food, not, like my kale chips, as a way to eat food dehydrated because raw is yucky. It appeals to my thrifty nature of not allowing what we have in abundance to spoil.

Now if I could just get free electricity.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Kombu Broth for Miso Soup

One of the mother broths in Japanese vegetarian cooking is the kombu or kelp clear broth. It's a good broth to cook kabocha (pumpkin) in or make miso soup, vegan ramen broth or udon dashi. You can also add goodies and just use it as a clear broth soup.
It's pretty simple. Kombu (thick kelp that comes in a sheet) put in about 8-10 cups of cold water and 2 pieces of kombu. Put it in a glass container and let it sit for about 30 minutes, but I have left it in for half a day. 

It's not heated because kombu has naturally occurring glutamates (like MSG) and it is heat sensitive.  After about half an hour, take the konbu out and discard. The broth will keep for about a week in the refrigerator. If there is a white film at the bottom, it has spoiled and toss it.

For the clear broth, I took the kombu out and added dehydrated daikon (turnip), dried shiitake mushrooms and some wakame/hijiki. Once the broth heated up, I took the mushroom, daikon and larger pieces of wakame, rough chopped it, added frozen edamame and some tri-colored somen. 

Eat like this with green onions or add about 1/4 cup miso dissolved in broth first and added in. 

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Oil-free dressings of the week

I am trying some of the recipes from Healthy Girl's Big List of No-oil Salad Dressings. One has potential, but for the other one I cannot figure out what I am going to do with it yet.

Balsamic Vinaigrette is adapted from "Chef AJ's Husband's Favorite No-Oil Balsamic Vinaigrette"

1 c balsamic vinegar
4 T nutritional yeast
3 T low sodium soy sauce
3 T Hawaiian lehua honey (or date syrup or maple syrup)
1 T Dijon mustard (Big Spazz made his own mustard with mustard seeds and beer)
1/2 tsp chia seeds

Put in a blender. We like the vinegar shoyu honey combo probably because we're Asian so it suits our palette.

Cashew raisin is the Cashew Currant recipe here. Maybe the problem is that my almond milk from Costco is the unsweetened vanilla so it has a little after taste. Not sure. I will probably try this with some plain veggies steamed with this as dipping sauce, but the sweetness may throw it off. 

I tried this with a red bell pepper and the sweetness made the bell pepper taste salty. Weird.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Roasted Brussels Sprouts w/ Rosemary and Macadamia Nuts

Our new favorite roasted brussels sprouts recipe (in other words, something boy 3 will eat)

2 lbs. of brussels sprouts, brown bottoms cut off, and halved if the sizes don't match up
1 shallot, sliced
3 T. olive oil
3/4 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
1 tsp. fresh rosemary, coarse chopped
1/4 cup chopped macadamia nuts

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

Prepare brussels sprouts, and shallot. Toss with oil, salt, pepper and rosemary and put on a large baking pan.
Bake for 40 minutes, tossing once or twice so it cooks evenly. In the last 5 - 7 minutes sprinkle with macadamia nuts.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Basil Vinaigrette

I send Big Spazz off to work with a salad that looks like this and then jazz it up with a new oil free dressing or some "fat" just to keep it lively. It's a way for me to keep notes on what he likes and doesn't like. After 26 years of marriage, we're still learning.

He does not like avocado in his salads as the "fat" although he does like pesto, curry pea edamame salad and his homemade pastrami (haha).

The togarashi dressing I made the other day is a little too spicy. It actually gets spicier the longer it sits in the refrig until by day 5 it was much too spicy for my taste buds.

I adjusted a recipe for a raisin balsamic vinaigrette and took advantage of the extra basil I had after making this week's pesto. The handfuls of basil makes the dressing look like green goop or a pesto shake, but I like it.

1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup white wine vinegar (the original recipe calls for 1/2 a cup of white balsamic vinegar but I ran out of my white balsamic)
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup raisins
1 large clove garlic
3 fists of basil leaves chopped up
3 tsp fresh oregano or 1 tsp dried
1 T lemon juice
2 tsp Chia seeds
1 tsp miso

Put it in a Vitamix or other high speed blender and whir it up.
I will try this again with 1 T of dijon or 1 tsp of tahini next time.

Friday, February 28, 2014

Chunky Celery Soup (that doesn't have the yucky celery taste)

First off, my family hates celery. Cooked, raw, I get the rolled eyeballs or sometimes worse. I wanted to try this anyway because I like the smell of celery chopping and I really love finely diced celery in my tuna sandwich. The original recipe is here from 101 Cookbooks.

1 large onion, chopped
1 large sweet potato, diced
3-4 small - medium carrots, diced
10 stalks celery chopped (about 2 1/2 cups)
2 cloves garlic, chopped
5 cups of water
3  veggie bouillon  (or use 5 cups of broth)
2 cups cooked wild rice
celery/basil pesto (optional)

Chop all vegetables as evenly as possible. In a large soup pot, over medium high heat, water saute the vegetables. Saute until the onions and celery soften a touch and expel some water. Stir in the garlic and add the water and bouillon. Bring to a simmer and let cook for another 10 minutes until the celery, carrot and sweet potato are cooked through. Stir in the rice.

Make your favorite pesto but use half basil and half celery leaves.  I'm still working on my no oil, no parm pesto. I'll change the recipe when I get it down.

The best comment I got for this from boy 3 was "It doesn't taste like celery." He then ate 2 bowls.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

No Oil Salad Dressings

Salad is the main dish
That's what we have to focus on for week three. 2 weeks done and we've done pretty well, but only because we have done this nutritarian focused lifestyle before. What doesn't make it easier is the realization that salad is the main dish, especially for Big Spazz and I who spend really sick amount of times during the day thinking about food.

The focus this week is to continue to prep on the weekends which means making more salad dressings and hone in on my hunger, own it and move on. We eat a huge salad for lunch and salad for dinner, so we usually go through three dressings a week. I make the Kurosawa Kick Ass and these two:

Balsamic Di"tang"o
This is originally a balsamic dijon vinaigrette from Everyday Happy Herbivore, but I wanted to balance the sour with a little sweet, and I wanted to use my plethora of tangerines from my yard, so here's our seasonal balsamic+dijon+tangerine vinaigrette.

2 1/2 T dijon mustard
4 t. balsamic vinegar
4 t. red wine vinegar
4 T water 
2 dates
1/2 c. tangerine or citrus juice (I used tangerines and one grapefruit that was threatening to go bad in my produce bin)

Blend in a high speed blender or food processor. This one is a little sweeter, so  this is good on green salads with fresh fruit, sweet peppers or other dainty greens like mizuna and spring mix.

Spicy Pake Miso Dressing

Compared to the sweet/sour of the balsamic di"tang"o and the wasabi, salty, garlic heaviness of the Kurosawa kick, this dressing is the middle child. It has the creamy spicy of the Kurosawa, but the dates and Chinese five spice give it that sweet licorice note.

The original is here.
1/2 c water
2 T. tahini
3 pitted dates
1 T shiro miso
3 T lemon juice
1 T rice vinegar
1 tsp. minced ginger
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. togarashi (or to taste - I have a wimpy palette)
1/2 tsp. Chinese 5-spice

Blend in a high-speed blender or food processor.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Kurosawa Kick Ass Dressing

Akira Kurosawa is one of my all time favorite directors. His samurai movies are some of my coveted possessions, especially Seven Samurai, Dreams, Rashomon, Ran, Yojimbo. His films kick ass, so this dressing is named after him. This is a creamy wasabi caesar type of dressing - no oil, vegan, with a little bit of wasabi kick. I double batch this as my everyday dressing, but you can divide it in half.

4 T chopped garlic (or shallots)
4 T raw cashew pieces
2 T tahini
2 T shiro miso 
2/3 cup  water
4 T of freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tsp of wasabi paste
3 pitted umeboshi (to taste)
Freshly ground black pepper 

Blend it in a blender or food processor. I have a Vitamix so itʻs a little too powerful for this job and I choose my food processor instead. With the Vitamix, it gets a little gummy and foamy.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Butternut Squash, Sausage and Wild Rice Soup

When there are kids in the house and everyone has a million activities, cooking is the last thing anyone wants to think about, so Sunday is a great day to cook ahead. It will at least get you to Wednesday. It also helps to have designated days. For us, Thursday was Chinese food takeout from the local restaurant. Monday is burger day or soup and sandwich day so that Sunday can be used for making soup/stew.

This is not an old recipe, but I made a huge pot and it went fast, so it's a keeper. I visited Grandpa Clayton in Minnesota and picked up wild rice. The only wild rice I can get in Hilo is mixed with other types of rice, but the Minnesota wild rice is just pure wild rice, long thin, black, tight kernels. 

The original recipe is from Emeril and it's here. I adapted it to include meatless sausage, homemade broth and no heavy cream.

**Warning - this recipe takes hours so this is a Sunday recipe

2 lbs. butternut squash, already peeled, seeded (I like to use the 30oz package of Eat Fresh butternut squash from Costco)
2 T. olive oil
12 cups of veggie or chicken stock (1 veggie bouillon cube for 2 cups of water)
1 -2 onions, chopped
1 c. wild rice
1 package meatless kielbasa (like Tofurkey or Field Roast) cut into 1/4" rounds
2 cups frozen corn kernels

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

Season squash with 1 T. of oil, salt and pepper. Place on a baking sheet with parchment paper and roast for 45 minutes to 1 hour until it is fork tender. Remove from oven and cool completely. When it is cool, put it in a blender and puree the squash with 2 cups of stock.

While the butternut is roasting, in a pot, simmer 4 cups of stock and 1/2 chopped onions to simmer. Stir in the rice and cook until the rice is tender and the liquid is absorbed (about 1 hour), stirring occasionally. Remove the rice from the pan and cool. 

In a larger pot, add oil or water saute the sausage just until it's brown. Add the remaining onions and corn. Season with salt and pepper and saute until the onions are soft. Add the remaining 6 cups of stock and the squash puree. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cover. Cook for about 20 minutes, skimming off any fat/foam that rises to the surface. Stir in the rice and continue to cook for another 10 minutes. 

Serve hot, or cool and put it in containers for Monday dinner. When the soup is cooled and heated later, the wild rice will "bloom" as it absorbs the liquid. If you don't wait, the wild rice will be tender but a little more chewy.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Keeper Recipe Project

Evernote, Pinterest, 3 1/2 x 5" cards splattered with sauce or recipe books with the pages yellowed, bought from a store or made by the local women's league. . .I have cookbooks and recipes all over the place. Some, no most of them have never been used. This year, I wanted to create a recipe book of keepers for my boys, but I where did I put that recipe and how do I find it. 

Instead, I am starting a Keeper Recipe Project first to try the recipes again, work on making it a little more healthy and then putting it somewhere (here) where I can find it again.

Maybe by the time my dissertation is done and this project is done, I will have something to put into my recipe book for the boys.

Either way, I will use this little picture if it is a keeper, potential book recipe so I can just search later.

Excited like it's Sunday Dinner Project all over again.