Archive for the 'Recipes' Category

Spinach Ricotta Fritatta

Cause this was good enough to write down.

Preheat the broiler, rack should be in the second to top notch.

In a 10″ nonstick broiler safe fry/omlette pan, Cook a diced sweet onion, add a couple handfuls of choped mushrooms. These should cook till the onions are soft and dark, the mushrooms should be rather reduced. Put aside.

Puree a can of tomatoes, make sause with a little cayenne peper and salt.

Wilt 5 oz or so chopped spinach. This was two large handfuls from a salad bag. Put aside, let the pan cool a bit.

Scramble 6 eggs, 1 cup ricotta cheese, then add the mushrooms, onions and spinach and mix. Heat the pan on medium with some olive oil, add the egg mixture and cover. Cook for a while, till the bottom is browned and it’s solidifying in about an inch from the edge.

Put in broiler, watch carefully till it’s starting to brown, add some grated mozerella and let it start to turn brown. It whould be firm and not runny at all by now. Pull out, let sit for a couple minutes. Remove from the pan, cut, and serve with tomato sauce.

Bonus unrelated recipie.

1 Avocado, mashed. Add a bit of soy sauce, toasted sesame oil, and hot pepper oil. Serve with Udon or Soba noodles and tofu. Might also be interesting with a touch of wasabi.

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Thanksgiving shorties

Sometime about 5 years ago, I got this new software called Manila, and did a silly logo in the gimp. Started a website that turned into a weblog, and started flipping the home page in early December. It was an intense time, as the WTO came into town right at the end of November.
A few years ago, Rose and I observed buy nothing day as an invitation to do a create something day. 3 years go that involved several dozen hand dipped candles. This year it involved writing documentation and amusing a baby. Times do change.

Thanksgiving has always been a cooking holiday, this year one of the starters will probably come back in a slightly different form — spicy thai pumpkin soup. It’s identifiably pumpkin, but it’s not the sweet cinnamon taste that pumpkni seems to always have this time of year.

This goes quickly, so have everything ready to go.

1/2 tbsp cumin seeds, ground
1/2 tbsp coriander seed, ground
1/4 tsp tumeric
Cayenne pepper, to taste. This year, I put in one whole dried one, next year I’m going to cut that way back.
1 can coconut milk
Guts from 1 smallish pumpkin, blended smooth. 2 cups or so.
1 tbsp fresh ginger, blend with pumpkin.
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup or so brown sugar

Heat some oil, when it’s hot put in the spices. They should sizzle for 30 sec or so, then pour in the coconut milk. Let simmer for a minute, stirring, then add the pumpkin guts. Add a cup of water or so to thin out, and add the soy sauce and brown sugar, and cayenne pepper. Stir in till everything is smooth, simmer, then reduce to low for 10 minutes or so. Cool for a few hours for the flavors to mingle, then reheat just prior to serving. Drizzle in a bit of cream into the serving bowls for that gourmet chef look.

Dogfish Head Worldwide stout is good, but not ‘Oh my, that’s the best beer I’ve ever tasted’ good. It’s deep, has wonderful flavor and a long finish, tastes like a good imperial stout should, and you don’t really taste the 20% alcohol. I think all in all, I prefer the Fish Tail and Stone brewing imperial stouts, especially since they’re each less than half the price of Dogfish Head.

Finally, at the risk of officially becoming a catblog:
Cat in the glass

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Daily Bread

This bread has evolved over the last 6 months, ever since we realized that since every trip to the grocery store cost $40, buying bread every other day was pretty pricey. It started out as white bread following a Cooks Illustrated recipe for rustic Italian bread, then evolved to half whole wheat, then some of the whole wheat got replaced by wheat germ. This makes something like a reduced bran whole wheat bread, with more of the flavor and less of the bitter or grittiness of the bran. Less fiber too, oh well. Eat veggies or something too, you can’t live on bread alone.

This makes good toast or snacking bread, but hasn’t been making tall enough loaves to make a proper sandwich.

To Start:

  • About 8-10 oz of whole wheat flour, and white flour to make up the rest to 22oz. (so that’s 12-14 oz. Depending).
  • 1/2 teaspoon yeast
  • 16 oz (2 cups) water.

Early in the morning, or the night before mix, cover, and let sit for 3 hours. Refrigerate or use immediately in the next stage. It will be a rough dough, and rise a little before adding to the next stage. If the flour is rather dry and doesn’t form into a dough from just the 2 cups, another 1/2 oz or so can help.

Later — Do this twice. I use a Kitchenaid mixer which can only hold 1/2 of the full batch at a time. Mix:

  • 1 to 1 1/2 oz of wheat germ
  • White flour to get up to 16.5 oz
  • 2 teaspoons yeast
  • 10.75 oz water

Mix till combined, then cover and set aside for 20 minutes. Next, combine this, 1/2 of the first stage dough and 2 teaspoons salt and knead in the mixer for 5 minutes or so until the dough is nicely elastic. Turn into a large greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap. Repeat for the other half of the first stage.

When the dough has risen some, fold over. It should take an hour or two per rise, but that really depends on the temperature. When it’s risen some more, split it into loaves. I use 4 9″x5″ loaves, but they aren’t terribly full. It would probably fill 8″ pans a bit better.

Preheat the oven to 450. I use a baking stone under the loaf pans, and it seems to bake nice and evenly. Let the bread rise in the loaf pans until there is a good shape to the loaves, then mist the tops with water, and put them in the oven.

After baking for 10 minutes, rotate the loaves and turn it down to 350. Bake for 25 more minutes or until the tops are nicely browned.

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Avocado Curry, revisited

This is another shot at avocado curry, now that I’m beyond using curry powder and other methods of cheating.

Start with a yellow curry paste:
1 large onion
5-6 cloves garlic
10-12 quarter sized pieces of ginger
one serrano
1 tsp tumeric
1 tsp garam masala
a touch of lime juice
cayenne pepper to taste

Use a food processor to make a paste, then cook in peanut oil, in a nonstick pan, medium high for 3ish minutes, then medium for another 10 till it’s browned somewhat. A spatter screen really helps keep tumeric from coating your stove. Set aside to cool.

1 block tofu
2 large avocados
1 1/2 cups ground tomatoes
1 tbsp coriander, ground
1/2 tbsp cumin, ground
2-3 cups vegetable broth or water.
A couple of handfuls of cashews, lightly salted.

Cut a block of tofu into 1/2 ” pieces, remove the good stuff from the avocados. Fry the tofu in a little peanut oil (med-hi) till lightly browned, then add the spices, stir and let them cook for a minute or so. The spices should bubble and simmer in the oil, I cheated and added a little extra ghee. Add the tomatoes, stir while they lose their water, 3-4 minutes. Once again, a spatter screen keeps you from redecorating your kitchen with tomato spatter. Add the yellow curry paste, stir till it’s well incorporated. After a couple of minutes, start adding the vegetable broth, then add the avocados, and stir. Keep adding the vegetable broth for a few minutes, then turn the heat down to med-low, add the cashews and let cook for 10 minutes or so. Adjust salt and cayenne pepper after adding the cashews.

Right at the end, add 1/2 tsp garam masala, about a tablespoon of lime juice, and a tablespoon or two of fresh cilantro, chopped, and serve with rice and fresh pineapple on the side.

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New World Spanish Rice

Sort of mole, sort of spanish rice.

  • One sweet onion, diced
  • 2 fresh Thai Dragon peppers, chopped
  • 1 block tofu, 1/2″ chunks
  • 2 tsp cumin – ground
  • some cumin seeds (1/2tsp?)
  • 2 small cans stewed tomatoes
  • 1 cup arborio rice
  • 1 cup basmati rice
  • 1 fresh ancho pepper
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • handful semisweet chocolate chips
  • Salt, lime juice to taste.

Saute onion in olive oil, make somewhat soft. Add Thai dragons, tofu and cumin. Saute for a little while more without burning anything.

Add tomatoes, water, rice, and ancho. Simmer covered for a while, keep stirring every so often. Add the chocolate after 10 minutes or so. Salt and lime to give a little non-pepper bite to it.

This will end up as a spanish rice with just a hint of mole in it. The thai dragons are pretty hot, and stand up pretty well to being added early. Somehow I managed to make balanced flavors, instead of any one component dominating.

Of course with a whole plant of thai dragons, I think we’ll have that dominating flavor soon.

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Almost Tofu Mole since google can’t find the recipe

I made a Tofu Mole a while ago from a recipe on the web. It was good, but needed adjustments. Now it’s nowhere to be found. So this is what I could come up with that passes for a quick thick red mole recipe.

All of these are rough quantities. Nothing was really measured.

  • 2 tbsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tbsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 dried chipotles, deseeded and minced
  • 1 tsp unsweetened cocoa
  • 15 oz can stewed tomatoes, pureed
  • 8-10 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 package extra firm tofu, pressed dry, cut into small slices.
  • 1 1/2 oz unsweetened chocolate

Cover the bottom of a pan with oil, when it’s between warm and hot, add the spices, chipotle and seeds all at once. It should bubble and cook for a minute or two, then add the tomatoes and garlic. Stir, let bubble a bit, and add the tofu and chocolate. Let cook for 15-20 minutes. Add sugar and salt to taste, 1/2 tsp each or so.

This recipe also needs a little work – I’m pondering adding reconstituted dried blended chilies instead of the powder, and maybe more sweetened vs unsweetened chocolate to cut down the bitterness and make it a bit smoother.

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Chipotle Tomato Soup

For a the winter “I want quick soup” mood. Everything is canned, adjust to taste.

  • 1 28oz can tomatoes, whole or diced.
  • 1 (14oz?) can corn
  • 1 (14oz?) can whole cooked beans, drained (I use a 3 bean blend)
  • 1 quart veggie broth

Conviently enough, all of the above are found in 2 aisles of Trader Joes. Finely diced potatoes can be good in this too. You may need a little more liquid if you use potatoes too.

Add the tomatoes, smoosh or cut them up if they’re whole. Add corn liquid, beans minus liquid, and broth. Simmer for 1/2 hour or so. You may need to go longer if your beans are still really firm. The tomatoes will start to break down a bit. Add the corn near the end so that it doesn’t go to mush.


  • Chipotle
  • Salt
  • Lime Juice

All to taste. Probably about a tablespoon of the lime and chipotle, a couple of teaspoons of salt. But do taste it as you go.

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This is a pancake recipe that is good enough that I normally eat the pancakes without syrup or butter. And I’m a sugar freak.

The Core:

  • 2 cups flour*
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 3 eggs seperated
  • 2 cups milk
  • oil, 1 tbsp more or less.
  • Some salt, less than tsp.

The Flavorings:

  • 1/3 cup Brown Sugar
  • 1.5 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • Other seasoning to taste: nutmeg, cardamom, whatever you have that’s interesting.

A word about the flour. You want something with flavor that doesn’t have a lot of protein, like bread flours. Too much protein will make your pancakes rubbery instead of tender. Depending on where you are in the country, you may need to seek out something with less gluten than the ordinary all purpose flours. I use Bob’s Red Mill Whole Wheat Pastry Flour, which is 10% protein instead of 13% for their normal flours. And a good flavor.

To make:

Mix the dry ingredients. Seperate the eggs, add the yolks to the mixture and beat the whites till they are stiffish or your hand gets tired. Mix in the other wet ingredients till you have a good batter, then fold in the egg whites.

Cook like pancakes. (nawww. you don’t say.) With a good nonstick pan and the right temperature, you don’t need any additional oil in the pan. Too cool and they’ll stick, too warm and they turn brown fast.

If you’re not into following recipies, the only proportions that are really essential are the baking powder, flour and milk. Everything else is open to intrepretation.

This started as something from the Tassajara bread book.

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Basic biscotti, hacked from a recipie on allrecipies.com. Makes about 3 days worth of biscotti for 2 people.Oven @ 375, mine runs a little hot I think.

Mix: 1/3 cup oil, 3 eggs, 1+ cup sugar, 4 teaspoons assorted extracts. (vanilla/almond/etc)

Add: 3 cups flour, 1 tbsp baking powder. Add couple handfuls chocolate chips. Mix till uniform.

Parchment paper a cookie sheet, roll and flatten to 1/2 inch thick. You’re going to cut across the width, so if you like small biscotti, you may want two sheets, or multiple smaller blobs of cookie.

Cook 25 minutes, till golden. Take out, cool enough that you can cut into 3/4″ thick slices. Arrange cut side up, cook 5 more minutes on each side. The biscotti should be crispy.

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