Archive for Recipes

Eat With Your Eyes Week: Tahini gets dressed up

You’ve heard how we “eat with our eyes?” If not, then a quick tour of Pinterest – which is saturated with food porn – will support the idea that we love us some good-looking food. Why, then, is that my jumping off point for tahini, a plain beige paste with just about zero visual zing?

Quite possibly the worst photo I've taken of food.

Quite possibly the worst photo I’ve taken of food.

Well, tahini is sort of the plain white shirt of food. On its own, not much to look at. But it is can be dressed up and used in seemingly endless combinations that, when you catch a glance, are sure to whet the appetite.

Beet tahini salad

These roasted beets with orange-tahini dressing are what first caught my eye, thanks to the far-better photographs included in the original Roasted Root post. And then I found all sorts of other attractive tahini recipes, like a rainbow slaw with sweet tahini dressing, a Mediterranean-style pizza with minted tahini, and even chocolate tahini shortbread (hellooooo, gorgeous).

Lest I go too far down the road of objectification, let’s point out here that tahini is also beautiful on the inside – like, inside your body, where it delivers omega-3 and -6 fats, a reasonable amount of protein, and a good dose of copper and manganese. And it has an undeniably earthy smell and nut-like flavor that adds some depth and interest to a lot of vegetarian foods, in particular.

But if your food needs to pass your eyes before it gets anywhere near your mouth, go check out this week’s worth of recipes and the photos of good-looking tahini therein:

  • Roasted beets with orange-tahini dressing from The Roasted Root (here)
  • Rainbow slaw with sweet tahini dressing from Lunch Box Bunch (here)
  • Roasted butternut squash with tahini & bulgur from Foolproof Living (here)
  • Chickpea-stuffed eggplant with tahini sauce & couscous from Dishing up the Dirt (here)
  • Sweet potato veggie burgers from Love and Lemons (here)
  • Middle eastern pizza with minted tahini sauce & spelt crust from Just Eat Love (here)
  • Chocolate tahini shortbread bars from Spabettie (here)


Recipe ReDux: Stacking patties

March is well-known for its green-themed, leprechaun-y, gold & clovers holiday, so for this month’s Recipe ReDux I’m bringing you the luck o’ the Indians!

Wait, what?


Our task this month was to play off St. Patty’s with a healthy stackable patty recipe, but while we started in Ireland, I looked around on the other side of the globe for my stackspiration (wow, that’s bad, even for me). Garam masala – a spice mix originating from Northern India – is one of my all-time favorite flavorings, so I worked up a breakfast? lunch? recipe that combines it and curry powder with stacks of quinoa, sweet potatoes, leafy greens, and eggs.

How do those nutritional powerhouses stack up? Here’s the recipe so you can see/taste for yourself:

Curried quinoa, sweet potato, egg and spinach stacks

(6 servings)

2 cups cooked quinoa
2 cups mashed sweet potatoes
½ red onion, roughly chopped
2-3 cloves garlic
1-inch piece of fresh ginger
2 tsp garam masala
1.5 tsp curry powder

Stacking layers:
4 hard-boiled eggs
½ red onion, chopped
Olive oil for sauté

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.

Combine all the patty ingredients – quinoa, sweet potatoes, onion, garlic, ginger, and spices – in a food processor, and process until the large pieces are well-chopped and combined.

Lightly oil a baking sheet, or spray it with cooking spray. Dust your hands with some flour, and form the processed mixture into 12 patties, each a little smaller than your palm. Those of you playing along at home will note I just un-gluten-freed this recipe; but if you want to avoid the flour, a little oil or water on your hands will help keep them from sticking, too.

Arrange the patties on the prepared baking sheet, and put them in the oven for 15-17 minutes.

Meanwhile, cut the hardboiled eggs into slices. Heat some olive oil in a pan over medium-high heat, and sauté the spinach and remaining onion until just cooked.

When the patties are ready, carefully lift them off the baking sheet (sticky little buggers), then build each stack with a patty, egg slices, another patty, sautéed veggies and a few cashews on top. Grate some fresh black pepper over top, and then demolish that tower you just built.


If you want to play more patty-cake, my fellow Recipe ReDuxers have a bunch more recipes for you:

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Nooks & Crannies Week: Chocolate chip, banana, peanut butter waffles

A brief backstory on how I arrived at waffles for a weekly theme: I’ve been eager for a way to cram protein into a baked breakfast food other than pancakes (it’s an obsessive/hungry runner thing), and Santa brought me a waffle maker this past Xmas.


Put those things together with a 7-year-old who would take chocolate chips intravenously, if he could, and we get crispy-soft banana pancakes with hits of rich chocolate and peanut butter.

Waffle iron

The backstory is pretty simple, just like waffles. They’re basically crispier, fluffier pancakes with ready-made receptacles for all kinds of sweet or savory toppings. And while the topping options (toptions?) seem limitless, there’s something even more interesting about tweaking the waffle itself to include some novel ingredients.

Miles eating waffles

So while Miles is perfectly happy with the additions of chocolate, peanut butter and banana, I went a little farther out to find recipes using fun stuff like bacon, sweet potato, cardamom, and even crabmeat. This week’s recipe list also includes a way to get almost-waffles from scratch without a waffle iron, in case Santa was too busy getting you FaceBlast IV: Facepocalypse for the PS4 to bring you new kitchen gadgets.

  • Chocolate chip banana peanut butter waffles from Eating The Week (recipe follows below)
  • Sour-cream cardamom waffles from Epicurious (here)
  • Crab & veggies waffles from Runners World (here)
  • Sweet potato protein waffles from Food & Fitness (here)
  • Crispy cornmeal bacon waffles from Epicurious (here)
  • Apple, cheddar & prosciutto waffles from 10th Kitchen (here)
  • Grill pan waffles from Always Order Dessert (here)

Chocolate chip banana peanut butter waffles

(4 servings)

1 cup whole-wheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
½ cup chocolate chips
1 ¼ cup milk
1 large egg, lightly beaten
¼ cup peanut butter
1 Tbs olive oil
1 Tbs honey
1 ripe banana, mashed

Combine all the dry ingredients (flour through chocolate chips) in a mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, combine the remaining ingredients (milk through banana). Pour the wet ingredients into the bowl with the dry ingredients, and stir to combine.

I usually transfer the batter to a 2- or 4-cup measuring cup, to make pouring easier.

For each waffle, pour approximately ¼ of the batter onto a warmed up waffle iron & cook according to your equipment’s instructions. Top with buttery spread and maple syrup, and enjoy!

An alternative method is to keep the chocolate chips separate, and then sprinkle some on the finished waffles.

Recipe ReDux: The merriment of mixes – chocolate chip banana scone gift mix

Blink and you might miss the end-of-year holiday season. Before you know it, the pumpkin pie pan will host nothing but crumbs, smoke will waft away from the blown-out menorah candles, and you’ll be considering launching a search & rescue team to find Little Timmy in the avalanche of ripped-open wrapping paper.

But thanks to the Recipe ReDux, you can feel good about gifts that will endure right into the new year – for this month’s theme, we’re doing shelf-stable food mixes that you can share with hostesses, friends and family alike.

Scone mix2

Now would be the time to get your name on my gift list, because I think you’ll like what I’m giving out: a mix to make warm, moist but crunchy, banana chocolate-y scones.


These are the same tasty little guys with which I kicked off this blog; with a pedigree like that, you know they’re good. But I don’t want to be that jerk who gives the gift of a grocery-shopping trip, so I changed up the ingredients (dry vanilla powder in the mix instead of liquid extract) and the method (chocolate chips added before butter, not after) to try to minimize the effort needed to bring the dry mix to scone-y life.


Do you know someone who likes a little something special for breakfast? Then package up this mix and check some gifts off your to-do list.

Chocolate chip banana scone mix

(8 servings, approx. 310 calories each)

Dry mix:
1 cup whole-wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
1 tsp dry vanilla powder
½ cup chocolate chips

Combine all the dry mix ingredients and package in a sealable, present-y container.

Scone mix1

Write or print out the following instructions to accompany your scone mix gift:

Ingredients to add to the dry mix:
½ cup (1 stick) of butter, softened slightly
2/3 cup buttermilk (or 2/3 cup 1% milk with 2 tsp vinegar; let sit 5-10 minutes)
½ banana, cut into small pieces

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.

Put the scone mix in a large bowl. Use your fingers to squish the butter into small pieces & drop them into the dry mix. Using your fingertips, blend the butter into the dry mix until it resembles wet sand and the butter is evenly distributed

Add the buttermilk to the butter/dry mix and blend with your hands until they just come together. Add the banana pieces and mix until evenly distributed.

Divide the dough into eight balls and transfer them to the baking sheet. Press gently on the tops to flatten them a little, then pop them in the oven for 20-25 minutes (the magic number is 22 in my oven). When done, let them cool for a few minutes on a rack before eating

Have a big gift list this year? Never fear – my fellow ReDuxers have got you covered with a bunch more shelf-stable gift mix recipes:

No-Theme Week: Goat cheesy, roasted zucchini pasta can’t be penned in, man

Pasta with roasted zucchini, goat cheese and basil just doesn’t give a damn about weekly food themes.

Roasted zucchini & goat cheese pasta

It’s a standalone. It follows the beat of its own drummer. Could it be part of a Simple Veggie & Pasta Dishes post? Sure. A New Ways to Use Goat Cheese post? Yep. Is it going to play any of those games?


This pasta is just doing its own cheese-creamy, lemon-squeezy, roasted zucchini thing, thank you very much. And sure, you can rope it into a list of Things A Blogger Ate This Week, but it’s not even going to break stride for that.

So while the pasta keeps on keeping on, here’s the list of weekly hangers on just trying to get a nod from the main attraction:

  • Pasta with roasted zucchini, goat cheese and basil (recipe follows below)
  • Butternut squash & black bean enchiladas, from Wendy & Brian Tie the Knot (here)
  • Curried lentils and sweet potatoes, from Smitten Kitchen (here)
  • Mushroom & black bean tortilla casserole, from Martha Stewart (here)
  • Egg, avocado, tomato & basil breakfast salad, from Seasoned to Taste (here)

Pasta with roasted zucchini, goat cheese and basil

(2 servings, approx. 400 calories each)

2 servings bite-size pasta (like penne), dry – depends on the pasta, but usually 1.5 cups dry
1 zucchini
1 summer squash
½ Tbs olive oil
Pinch of salt
2 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
Juice of ½ lemon
4-6 fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced
Ground black pepper, to taste

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Quarter the zucchini & squash lengthwise, and cut into bite-size pieces. Toss with the olive oil and salt, pour into a foil-lined pan and roast for 25 minutes or until the edges jus start browning.

Roasted zucchini

Meanwhile, put a pot of water on high heat & cook the pasta per package instructions. When the pasta is done, reserve ½ cup of the water and drain the rest.

Return the pasta to the pot, and add the roasted vegetables, goat cheese and lemon juice. Stir to melt the cheese and add reserved pasta water as necessary to get the cheese well-distributed.

Divide the pasta between two bowls, and top each with the basil and some freshly ground black pepper.

Stir-Fry Week: Tempeh, mushroom & cabbage stirflunk

Stirflunk is the sound made by a recipe that didn’t quite cut it.


After a weekend of successful stir fries thanks to Kate Sherwood’s recipes in the most recent Nutrition Action newsletter, I decided to try my hand at it with tempeh. I love that protein-y, fermented brick of soy, but it tends to taste acrid if only quickly cooked.

So there was the dilemma, because quickly cooked is the crux of stir-frying. I thought instead I’d give the tempeh separate treatment in the slowcooker, where I could also make the rice. The veggies and sauce got the standard fast, hot, constantly-moving stir-fry treatment in the pan.

veggies cooking

When everything came together in the bowl, though, it wasn’t quite as rich-tasting as I’d hoped, although the tempeh did mellow out considerably. It wasn’t sad-trombone bad; it was a mild stirflunk.


So I’m a little hesitant to share this, but since I did end up eating this for several meals, maybe I’m being a little hard on it. Give it a try and let me know how it tastes (and sounds):

Tempeh mushroom stir fry

(4 servings, approx. 410 calories each)

1 cup short grain brown rice, uncooked
3.5 cups water
1 package tempeh, cubed (or rectangled, if that’s a thing)
2 + 1 Tbs soy sauce
1 Tbs rice wine vinegar
2 tsp molasses
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 Tbs dry sherry
1 + 1 Tbs peanut or canola oil
2-3 cups mushrooms, diced
4 cups finely cut red cabbage
6 scallions, cut into 2-inch pieces

Add the rice, water, tempeh, 2 Tbs soy sauce, vinegar and molasses to a slowcooker. Cook on high for 3-3.5 hours, stirring occasionally.

Combine garlic, sherry and 1 Tbs soy sauce in a small bowl.

Heat 1 Tbs of oil over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and cook for 3-4 minutes. Add the garlic/sherry/soy sauce to the pan along with cabbage and scallions. Cook, stirring frequently, for 2-3 minutes. Remove contents from the pan.

Heat another 1 Tbs of oil over medium-high heat. Add the cooked rice and tempeh; stir fry for 1-2 minutes. Combine with the veggies to mix and heat everything through. Remove from heat and serve in 4 bowls.

If that recipe also lands with a thud in your kitchen, here’s a week’s worth of stir-fry recipes to make up for it:

  • Coconut curried pork, snow pea & mango stir-fry from Cooking Light (here)
  • Mushroom, pepper & basil stir fry from The Simple Veganista (here)
  • Bay scallop stirfry from Martha Stewart (here)
  • Ginger coconut peanut tofu & veggie stirfry from Lunch Box Bunch (here)
  • Cantonese-style shrimp and cabbage from Cooking Light (here)
  • Three-pea, cashew & tofu stir fry from Eating Well (here)

Recipe ReDux: Chipotles are red, corn can be blue, slowcooker cornbread is ready for you

The Recipe ReDux crew are taking advantage of fall(ing) temperatures to break out the slowcookers. We were charged with steering clear of the casserole zone, and to instead use the low & slow treatment roast a chicken, bake bread, make homemade yogurt or for other creative dishes.


I’d seen several recipes for avocado cornbread recently and thought, what a great way to add fiber and healthy fats, followed immediately by whoa, you need how much oil and butter? So in Recipe ReDux fashion, I took the added fats down a notch, and spiced things up with chipotle peppers to make a loaf of chipotle avocado cornbread in the slowcooker.


On a whim, I used blue cornmeal, which seems to taste the same but gives the cornbread an added color dimension along with the peppers’ red, corn kernels’ yellow, and the green from bits of not-fully-mashed avocado. In my original attempt, I only used 1 chipotle pepper and it wasn’t enough kick for my liking, so I’ve suggested 2 in the following recipe:

Chipotle avocado cornbread in a slowcooker

(8 servings, approx. 225 calories each)

1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup cornmeal
¼ cup sugar
1 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
1 egg
1 cup milk
1 Tbs butter, melted
1 avocado, diced
2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, diced
½ cup frozen corn kernels

Mix the flour, cornmeal, sugar, salt and baking powder in a large mixing bowl. Whisk the egg into the milk in a separate bowl.

Add the melted butter to the avocado in yet another bowl, and mash them together until creamy (but leave some of the avocado a little chunky).

Add the milk/egg and butter/avocado mixes to the dry mix in the large bowl, and mix until the batter is well combined. Fold in the chipotle peppers and corn.


Line a slowcooker with parchment paper (or grease the sides), and pour the batter in. Cook for ~3 hours on high. Lift the parchment paper out to remove the cornbread; slice into 8 wedges and enjoy!

But don’t stop there – my fellow ReDuxers came up with another ~60 recipes to keep your slowcooker busy! Just follow the links below:

Recalling Fall with Favorites from Cooking Light

You know the feeling when you run into someone who you know you know, who you probably worked with, or traveled with, maybe dated… but for the life of you, just can’t place them or recall their name?

That was me trying to make pizza this week. There was a time that muscle memory would immediately kick in, and my hands would assemble, knead, proof and stretch the dough without an assist from any higher brain functions. I knew that recipe, inside and out; made it at least weekly, often a few times a week.


But after a long pizza-making-free stretch (moving, work, the usual), I was staring at a jar of yeast and bag of bread flour, dumbfounded. It’s what, five ingredients and a handful of steps? How have I forgotten this?!

Maybe this was part of a bigger food-related amnesia, as I have been stumbling through the switch from no-bake summer fare chock full of fresh new produce, to the warm, hearty fall standards. Squash? Crockpots? Pies? What are these things and HOW DID THEY GET IN MY KITCHEN?

Our CSA went bonkers with the apples in the last couple weeks

Our CSA went bonkers with the apples in the last couple weeks

Thankfully, Cooking Light helped jog my memory with 24 favorite fall recipes. Reading through the collection – soups, desserts, pumpkin-y things, spiced meats, vegetable-rich sides – and then reviewing the aforementioned pizza dough recipe, that muscle memory clicked back on. Right, yes, I do know what to do with flour, yeast and salt! Apples, butternut squash, bring them on!


Need a little guidance on your memory-lane trip? Here’s a week’s worth of recipes from the CL list that I thought looked especially good, plus a oldie but goodie from me (fruit-and-barley-stuffed butternut squash), now that I remembered my own recipe:

  • Apple, goat cheese, walnut pizza from Cooking Light (here)
  • Bacon & butternut pasta from Cooking Light (here)
  • Savory baked apples from Cooking Light (here)
  • Baked Italian-style cauliflower from Cooking Light (here)
  • Fall vegetable curry from Cooking Light (here)
  • French onion & apple soup from Cooking Light (here)
  • Fruit-and-barley-stuffed butternut squash from Eating the Week (here)

Recycling Week: Regrow your food scraps

If you bought 10 bags’ worth of groceries, would you chuck four of them out the window on the way home? Unless you were doing some really weird cross-training for upper-arm strength, no, of course you wouldn’t.

But it turns out that most of us are doing something like that, because up to 40% of edible food goes wasted in the United States (NRDC pdf). Some of that is lost on the fields or in transportation before it reaches stores; but we consumers contribute a good share of waste, as well.

One of the oft-mentioned solutions is to compost food scraps – it cuts down on the millions of pounds of food waste piling up in landfills, and returns nutrients to the soil for future crops. But what if we skipped the compost middleman and went right from scraps to food? It turns out, it’s stupidly easy to do.


Pretty much any food that you would buy with its root end (leeks, scallions, bok choy, cabbage, onions, celery, garlic) or that easily sprouts new buds (potatoes, ginger) can be resurrected from its leftover bits with just some water and/or soil plus a little light. Andy Whitely wrote about 16 veggies you can easily regrow on Wake Up World, and you can find little summary charts all over Pinterest.

Bok choy

I recently tried my hand at this with leeks and bok choy, and it really is as easy as Teh Internets say. The leeks sprang up within a mere 24 hours of me putting the hacked-off root ends in water, and the bok choy has re-leafed itself nicely (although, it keeps trying to bolt on me).

So if you start regenerating vegetables, what are you going to do with all those second helpings? Glad you asked, because I’ve found a week’s worth of recipes that use these easy-to-restart veggies:

  • Minty green celery-olive salsa from HuffPost Taste (here)
  • Seared scallops with crispy leeks from Delish (here)
  • Potato, spinach and leeks frittata from Cooking Light (here)
  • Summer coleslaw with snow peas, hazelnuts and scallions from Health (here)
  • Carrot soup with ginger from Our Earth Land (here)
  • Mushroom and cheddar stuffed onions from Eating Well (here)
  • Sesame-shiitake bok choy from Eating Well (here)

Asparagus Week: Whoa! Where’d those come from?

Did spring go from zero to ALL OUT in roughly 14 seconds where you live? It sure seemed that way here in New England, where the boxes of dirt and pine needles we called our vegetable garden sprang to life almost overnight. Plants going gangbusters currently include some beans (tended by a gopher family)…

…hearty chard that survived our snow-tastic winter…

…and a surprise appearance by this week’s star, asparagus.

It’s not a complete surprise to see the asparagus – it’s there thanks to our planting last year, not because of some Johnny Asparaseed sneaking into our backyard. But we were under the impression that asparagus plants took at least 2 years to produce edible stalks, so when that (admittedly, small & overgrown) bunch of spears shot up unexpectedly, I had to scramble to figure out what to do with it.

I went with a long-standing spring favorite of mine: the white bean, leek and asparagus panzanella from Smitten Kitchen. It’s a colorful, vibrant mix of spring’s best that highlights the unique flavors of each component.

But, of course, there are innumerable things you could do with those slender green spears – and the more the better, since asparagus is a good source of several vitamins (especially K), minerals (including iron), and the pre-biotic fiber, inulin. Give some of these a try, and see if asparagus surprises you, too

  • Spring panzanella from Smitten Kitchen (here)
  • Zucchini pasta with roasted asparagus & sweet potato from Spabettie (here)
  • Asparagus soup with poached egg on toast from Jamie Oliver (here)
  • Spicy pickled asparagus from Simple Bites (here)
  • Coconut ginger braised asparagus from Teaspoon of Spice (here)
  • Indian-spiced chicken & asparagus from Eating Well (here)
  • Flatbread with pancetta, mozzarella & asparagus from Cooking Light (here)