Hot weather celery salad

Hot weather celery salad

Climate change is the new black. My peppers and tomatoes are happy; the dog is miserable; the boy has the swimming unit in P.E. this month so he is just fine. Hot days deserve cool meals, you know, so here’s a recipe for a celery and jicama salad that promises to take the edge off the heat.

Mushroom caps stuffed with red pepper and quinoa

Mushroom caps stuffed with red pepper and quinoa

Our friend The Big Boss from work, a man who could, and did, eat two dozen prawns, half a dozen drumsticks, and an additional two pounds of roasted meat at one sitting, has gone practically vegan. I created these mushroom caps stuffed with red pepper and quinoa for him, a winner of an umami-laden dish that feels hearty and satisfying without any of those pesky high carbs, gluten, or dairy products. My only warning is they take a bit of time. You can make the stuffing in advance; it will keep for several days refrigerated. Ingredients: 36 medium-sized mushrooms, washed with stems removed 1/2 cup quinoa 1/2 teaspoon olive oil 1 cup water 1 red pepper generous splash full-bodied red wine (about 3/4 cup) 1 tbsp nutritional yeast plus extra to sprinkle on top 1/2 teaspoon lemon pepper spray olive oil Instructions: First, get your quinoa cooking. (Follow these directions from The Kitchn if you’re worried about doing it wrong) Whatever you do, don’t overcook it; there’s nothing worse than soggy quinoa. Ok, there are lots of worse things – I’m thinking about the brussels sprouts creme brûlée from LL’s ill-fated 50th birthday party – but for the purposes of this recipe, you want your grain more al dente than mushy. Let cool. Then roast your red pepper. I cut it in half, take out the seeds and membrane, and put it right on top of the gas burner on my cooktop just like I roast poblano peppers. Let the pepper cool, then scrape off any black charred spots. Now simmer your wine burn off the alcohol, or at...

Garlic and bread soup

Once I tried to make the garlic soup in Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking. I didn’t have all the right herbs, and I don’t know what else happened, but it was just plain wrong. There was no mellow garlic flavor; this was enough to paralyze every vampire within a 100-yard radius. I made it for The Big Boss that night, and evidently he is no vampire – he devoured four bowls as an appetizer. I sacrificed the rest to the kitchen drain gods – it was just too strong for the rest of us. That idea of garlic soup, a strong, aromatic, rejuvenating broth, really appeals to me, though, and I decided I was brave enough to try it again for a dinner guest this week. I used herbs from my garden and homemade stock made from leftover roasted chicken, and it turned out to be a really lovely, mellow-flavored soup. You don’t have to worry about peeling and mincing the garlic very much. I cut and smashed a whole head of garlic, then strained it after simmering. Here’s a picture:   The soup was a simple and flavorful started to our dinner of handmade ravioli and artichokes, and has been just as tasty for breakfast with a piece of toast. Try this: Garlic and bread soup   Save Print Rejuvenating garlic soup is thickened with bread - fast and simple to make Author: Life in a Skillet Recipe type: dinner, appetizer Cuisine: soup Ingredients 8 cups chicken stock 1 head of garlic 1 bay leaf 1 tbsp fresh thyme 1 tbsp fresh marjoram 1 tsp salt...

Is there really meat hidden in foods?

I found the graphic online and can’t figure out who created it. Google “8 foods you didn’t know contained meat” and you’ll find 4,290 websites with this image, or a variation thereof. Ick, right? I think that title is deliberately provocative and more than a bit misleading. Supposedly all these products contain meat? How accurate is this, really? Yes, I’ve been nosing around. Here’s what I found out:

Bannocks – gluten free, vegetarian oat cakes

Bannocks – gluten free, vegetarian oat cakes

It’s been an oatmeal kind of autumn around here – there’s something about the cooler weather that calls out for the warmth and earthiness of hot oats, don’t you think? Recently I was having a taste flashback to the bannocks we used to eat when I was a kid living in Sitka, and decided to try and make them for the boys – but there were so many recipes out there . . . I didn’t know where to start. I wanted simple and oat-y; I wasn’t interested in adding flour to make them bread-like. I also wanted to capture all the flavors of a bowl of oatmeal in a simple round patty. So I did what I always do – read a handful of recipes and then make up my own. After a few weeks of tweeking, here I present (drum roll, please!) the perfect oatcake! Oats, egg, and banana are really the only ingredients you need; everything else just dresses the oatcakes up a bit. And if you use leftover cooked oatmeal, you can omit the egg and make it vegan. Seriously, don’t these look scrumptious? And did you ever think you’d see the words “scrumptious” and “oatmeal” together???   The boys LOVE these oatcakes – seriously love them, like a kid might love a chocolate chip cookie. Ok, they are way too old for me to worry about making kid-friendly food, but these totally pass the test. Kid One has even memorized the recipe so he’ll be able to recreate them when the day comes he has a kitchen of his own.   I love them...
Carrot and radish leaf pesto

Carrot and radish leaf pesto

When our week 3 CSA box arrived I was determined to use every bit of the animal – um, I meant vegetable – to the fullest. That meant getting creative with root vegetable greens, the fresh leafy tops from the radishes and carrots in the box. How cool would it be, I thought, to make pesto? I looked around online and found Chocolate & Zucchini had already pioneered that territory with radish greens alone. I followed the basic proportions of her recipe, improvising mostly by mixing up the greens and doubling up on the garlic. Here’s my version of the recipe; by the way, it’s not only deeply green but gluten free and vegetarian, too: Carrot and Radish Leaf Pesto   Save Print Prep time 15 mins Total time 15 mins   Radish leaf and carrot top pesto, adapted from Chocolate & Zucchini's Radish Leaf Pesto recipe. This recipe makes approximately 8 ounces. Author: Life in a Skillet Recipe type: sauce, condiment Ingredients - 2 large handfuls fresh radish leaves, thick main stems removed - 1 small handful carrot tops, thick main stems removed - 1 ounce grated pecorino cheese - 1 ounce toasted pine nuts - 2 cloves garlic, germ removed, cut in four - 3 tablespoons olive oil - salt and freshly ground lemon pepper to taste Instructions Toss all the ingredients in a blender and pulse in short bursts. Scrape the sides of the bowl and repeat until you have a finely textured paste. Spoon out into a glass jar and keep refrigerated. Wordpress Recipe Plugin by EasyRecipe 3.1.09   Don’t wait for pizza night; this...
Meatless Monday: Potato leek soup with a twist

Meatless Monday: Potato leek soup with a twist

Fennel and artichoke hearts add an earthy twist to Julia Child’s excellent potato leek soup – a quick entree I learned to make forever ago from her Mastering the Art of French Cooking. In addition to 2 large chopped leeks – white part only –  and 2 pounds peeled and chopped russet potatoes, just add 1 large chopped fennel bulb and 1 can water-packed artichoke hearts to your pot. I discard the feathery fennel tops and thinly slice the bulbs. Use these often in your soups – they hold up nicely in a stew, puree well, and add a hind of licorice along with a boost of fiber and potassium to your meals. The rest of a proverbial piece of cake. Just barely cover with water, add a pinch of paprika and lots and lots of freshly ground lemon pepper. Simmer until it’s all tender, about 30 – 40 minutes. It will look like this: Use a hand blender to puree, and you end up with a nice thick warming entree. Add butter and salt at your pleasure and discretion. Serve in warm bowls with a fresh baguette and warm radishes. Go crazy and top with a bit of sour cream and crispy prosciutto if you like....
Sliced buttered radishes

Sliced buttered radishes

We’ve been on a warm buttered radish kick lately, serving them up every couple of days on top of a slice of fresh baguette and topped with a bit of crunchy green salad. Mmmm. If you’ve never tried these, give it a go. . . it’s the simplest side dish you’ll ever make: Sliced buttered radishes   Save Print Serve these warm, spicy, buttery radishes with a fresh baguette. Author: Life in a Skillet Recipe type: salad, side dish Ingredients 1 bunch fresh radishes 1 tbsp unsalted butter 1 tsp sea salt Instructions Wash and trim the radishes. Slice into thin circles. Arrange on a microwave-safe plate. Top with 1 tbsp butter. Microwave on high for 1 minute. Sprinkle with salt and serve. Wordpress Recipe Plugin by EasyRecipe 3.1.09...
Oatmeal muffin magic and recipes for happiness

Oatmeal muffin magic and recipes for happiness

You certainly have a recipe for a perfect roasted chicken or chocolate chip cookies – for some dish that makes you and your family smile – but have you ever considered your recipe for happiness? It’s a little bit harder to describe, hmm? That’s the question the Allrecipes.com team posed to us bloggers at this year’s BlogHer Food ’12 conference, and it’s definitely something to chew over. Food is a way of bringing people together, of showing love, and of sharing a culture – all things that bring happiness. How do you put it all together? I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to do just that – to think about my recipe for happiness and share it with Allrecipes’ Fresh Bites blog. Of course, it involves my children, and cooking, and being creative. Click here to read Muffin Magic – One Family’s Recipe for Guaranteed Happiness. And thank you, Allrecipes, for letting me stop by your blog and share a...
Spicy pickled vegetables

Spicy pickled vegetables

Here’s a quick recipe for pickled vegetables for you to play around with. I’d been making a batch of pickled red onions every couple of month ever since I found Monica Bhide’s recipe in a magazine last year and finally started playing around with it to mix up the color and flavors. I love this version – it’s a gorgeous mixture of oranges, yellows, and purples – and it tastes just fabulous. Crunch, tang, spice, a bit of sweet . . . we’ve been adding it to everything from pizza to hot dogs to hummus and spinach tortilla wraps. Plus, it’s vegan, gluten-free, and has that super-healthy boost turmeric provides. Best of all, it’s a simple recipe that keeps for – well, I don’t know how long it will keeps. We’ve always eaten this size batch within 2 weeks. This is all you do. Pour 1 cup very hot water in a 2-quart Pyrex mixing bowl. Stir in 1 tbsp sugar and stir until dissolved. Add 1 tbsp turmeric and stir again Now add: One thinly sliced red onion 3 ribs thinly julienned celery 1 bunch thinly sliced radishes 1 cup shredded carrot a pinch of red pepper flakes Cover with white vinegar, and your work is done. Just snap on the lid, place the container in the refrigerator, and let the turmeric and vinegar do their thing for 6-8 hours. Drain the mixture well before serving; a colander works best. Store unused portion in the vinegar mixture in the refrigerator....

Who figured out a beaver’s behind tastes like raspberry?

By now you may have heard, thanks to Jamie Oliver and Dr. Oz, that castoreum is a natural flavor behind some of the products we consume. I use the word “behind” literally, since castoreum is the product of a beaver’s anal glands. Castoreum is totally unique, chemically speaking, to the beaver – not to be confused with that stinky defensive spray that comes from a skunk’s anal glands, or reason dogs walk in circles sniffing each other’s rear ends. Same place, different thing. Urban myth or no?

Voluptuous vegetable sandwich

Voluptuous vegetable sandwich

We had an Easter Sunday picnic basket from the Post Ranch Inn’s Sierra Mar restaurant that turned a casual lunch into haute cuisine . . . a vegetable sandwich made positively voluptuous – studded with thickly sliced grilled eggplant, beefy tomato, and mild roasted red peppers, all dripping with richly flavored olive oil, sandwiched between slabs of densely olive-studded bread, and slathered with creamy parsley-laced Jersey ricotta. Mmmm. All the more awesome – accompanied by chips, a crunchy melange of thinly sliced and quickly fried roots: turnips, parsnips, golden beets, yams. Yum.   Their chicken curry was a close runner-up, shredded chicken mixed with Greek yogurt and curry spices, layered on another toothy homemade bread, this one laced with pecan chunks and raisins and probably made with spelt, and a few fresh spinach leaves. The spicy apply chutney was meant to be slathered on the bread for a fully tricked out taste sensation.   Other treats in our lunch baskets: packets of dried mixed fruit, figs, cherries, apricots, and golden raisins; salty mixed nuts, walnuts, cashews, hazelnuts, and pecans; and a crumbly oat and raisin-laced house made granola bar. I brought those goodies home for Kid Two to enjoy in his lunch this...
Corn and Poblano Chowder Recipe

Corn and Poblano Chowder Recipe

“Rich, rich, rich, pale green with teeny tiny flecks of carrot and a perfect corn, cream, poblano balance” – that’s what I jotted down about el Papagayo’s crema de elote y poblano – cream of corn and poblano. Of all the wonderful food we ate in Loreto, this is the one I was most interested in recreating as a family meal. It was served topped with fresh diced tomato and had a few discernible corn kernels, but was mostly a lovely, velvety, pureed soup.   I thought it would be nice to recreate as a chowder, but my first try was much more hot mess than chowdery goodness. The first mistake: cutting my carrots and potatoes into stew-size chunks instead of soup-sized nibbles. The biggest mistake: simmering corn on the cob with seeded poblano peppers to make what I thought would be a tasty green pepper-infused corn stock. Fail. Big time. Since I didn’t char the poblano first, the broth was WAY too spicy, and not in a “good burn after the bite” sort of way, just in a “I just bit into a poblano” bitter spice sort of way. Because of the strong raw pepper taste, the corn was lost along with any depth of flavor. Plus, it still wasn’t green. Sadly, though, I’d already added two cups of the mixture to a sautéed onion, celery, and carrot base, so I carried on, simmering the corn cobs in the soup to boost the corn flavor. Then the cobs started to disintegrate, leaving tiny corn kernel casings in the soup. Grrr. I gave up on trying to infuse any more corn taste...