Friday, April 5, 2013

Cranberry Kale Salad

If you're reading this, and you're like, "Really, just another kale salad?" then feel free to go on with your day.  You know kale salad.  I don't need to tell you.  Otherwise, this is for you.   I realize I've written about kale salad plenty of times before, and I also realize that if I posted a spring mix salad with tomatoes, and then another spring mix salad with cucumbers, you'd think I didn't think much of you and your creativity.  That's not the case.  But kale salad needs a voice.  

I made this salad last week for a friend's family's holiday dinner.  I had made something similar the year before and resisted writing about it, but this year when I made it again for many of the same people I realized there was a serious need out there to continue discussing kale salad publicly.  People wanted the recipe because using kale instead of spring mix or romaine or whatever still isn't the norm for a lot of folks.  So I continue in my kale salad advocacy campaign.

This is my go-to winter kale salad.  I know it's April, and we're all excited about the brand new veg that are on their way.  Go ahead and make a kale salad and add those veg.  But even without the bright green goodness that spring and summer bring, this is a pretty mean salad.  To read about my conversion to kale, please click here.  To read about an awesome kale salad for summer, please click here.  Otherwise, let's add some tangy dried cranberries and some onion and make this salad happen. 

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Creamy Roasted Garlic Hummus

Hummus is one of those foods that I had never thought of making on my own, until one day I did, I was shocked at how quickly it came together.  Other than causing me to purchase tahini, which I really had no other use for, hummus is simple.

Average hummus is simple.  Ok hummus is simple.  But you can do better too.

Chickpeas, tahini, lemon, oil, water, garlic, salt, processor.  That's all you need.  

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Carrot Ginger Miso Soup

I have a list of secrets to tell you about carrot soup.  I don't like carrots much. I'm not wholeheartedly opposed, like I am to say, beets or okra, but I'm not a fan.  I keep carrots around, I eat them raw with hummus, I add them to things, but when I'm served up a pile of cooked carrots, I'm not thrilled about it. They're so sweet and orange.  But, as a colleague of mine would say, I don't want to yuck your yum.  Maybe you love carrots.  It's really none of my business. 

So I bought far too many carrots for a stew that never happened, and they were just sitting there, staring at me.  I considered making seven or eight carrot cakes to freeze.  And I had this sinking feeling that I knew what I had to do.  Carrot soup has been all around lately.  Not so much around me, but you know, you see a friend post on Facebook that she's eating carrot soup and a colleague is microwaving something in the break room that looks like it's guaranteed to stain their tupperware and it's just everywhere.  So much so that when I asked my Facebook friends what to make with all these carrots, I was like, "Yeah, I know, soup.  What else?" And they were all creative and sweet and thought about pickling carrots and carrot salads and deep in my heart I knew the whole time I was going to have to make soup.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Cranberry English Muffins

Lately, I've just been sticking cranberries into everything I cook.  I really miss fruit this winter, and I got tired of apples pretty early on.

You could make this without the cranberries, but then I'd have nothing to contribute to the literature, because there already is a perfect recipe for English muffins.  I've been trying to do this for a while.  I hinted at it 14 months ago (!)  It turns out that everyone uses the same recipe anyway, and it's Alton Brown's.   "My" recipe is *so* Alton Brown's that I'm not going to post it at the end, really, this is someone else's work.  

The only changes I made were:

1. Cranberries!
2. Earth Balance instead of shortening
3. Mix of whole wheat and AP flour

When I say everyone uses Alton Brown's recipe, I mean that most of the first page of Google hits on "English Muffin Recipe" is either that version or something based on that version.  I mean that when I searched for video guidance on making English muffins, the most useful video is based on Alton Brown's recipe.  Also, I've made English muffins not using Alton Brown's recipe and they were less than awesome.  These, however, are awesome, so let's do it this way.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Vegan Minestrone

Minestrone can be anything you want it to be.  It's super flexible, adapting to what's in season.  In the summer, your minestrone can be full of zucchini and fresh tomato and herbs, and in colder months minestrone can be a refuge from thick, pureed vegetable soups while still providing an outlet for the squash, potatoes and hearty greens of winter. 

Minestrone can easily be made vegetarian or vegan.  Many recipes call for pancetta or beef both, but a dab of extra oil and a bit of sundried tomato can fill in for the rich flavor and texture provided by the meat.  If you don't use butter and don't sprinkle the top with parmesan, it's a vegan soup.  If you leave out the pasta, it's gluten-free.  Minestrone is what you need it to be.

The recipe below is an amalgam of all the recipes out there, skewed towards what was in my fridge on Sunday.  Yes, this was superbowl minestrone.  It's vegan, and while I threw some pasta into mine at the last minute, it's portioned to result in a rich soup with plenty of chunky vegetables and beans and no need for pasta.  (Though, if you'd like to add pasta, just add more stock). 

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Spiced Applesauce Breakfast Cake

I'm just starting out honestly, with "breakfast cake."  I know there's a fine line between bread and cake - (banana bread and carrot cake?) and this is a non-dessert cake.  It's not a bread.  It's also not super sweet.  It's breakfast cake, but you can have it for dessert if you want.

I was looking to make applesauce cake for two reasons:
1. I had too many apples, and am not interested in things like crisps, crumbles, pies, tarts; and
2. When I was a teenager, there was this orchard/farm market by the mall and they made amazing applesauce cake.

So working off the idea that cake can be made of applesauce - and not just in the swap-the-oil-for-applesauce-in-the-Duncan-Hines-mix-way - and that I needed to use some apples, I went to work.

Except, it's hard for me with desserts.  I don't like really sweet things.  Also, I have no idea how that applesauce cake I grew up with was made.

But it worked.  A very lightly sweet cake (dust it with powdered sugar and you get a bit more sweet in every bite) that's not really CAKE in the plan-your-other-meals-to-account-for-it way.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Cranberry Rice Pudding

Sure, I try to write about using the fresh, seasonal, local produce bounty to create dinner.  But sometimes, it's about upcycling.

I don't make white rice, but I do sometimes acquire white rice.  Sometimes it comes along with General Tso's Tofu.  And it sits in the fridge.  Sometimes I have the common sense to freeze it and make fried rice with it later, other times it sits until we have to give it the old sniff-n-toss.

Let's face it, not every meal is a home-cooked treasure.  But just like I add spinach or chard to my leftover Chicken Tikka Masala to stretch my takeout into a three day experience, cooked takeout white rice can be turned into a creamy dessert that pretty much comes free with your delivery meal.  Recycled rice = instant dessert. 

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