Monday, November 24

Best Vegetarian Chili in the World

We’ve been eating a lot of the Best Vegetarian Chili in the World. A lot of it.

But I want to point out that we have never used a quarter of a cup of chili powder in there. A heaping tablespoon maybe. We also use half the burger crumbles and a third of the tomatoes. I don’t really care for a tomatoey-soupy chili.

It freezes great. Have at it!

Wednesday, October 15

Dusting off this old blog...

I'll not make excuses for not posting, but shall strive to do better in the future. To that end...

I cooked up a STORM on Sunday afternoon! Tuna noodle casserole (so gross, so good), African chicken & peanut soup, rigatoni and chicken sausage casserole, and filling for empanadas. Everything was in large batches, so we're stocking our freezer to save time and meal planning stress.

Yesterday I made the dough for the empanadas and cooked 'em up for dinner. I thought the dough was going to be a disaster -- it was a crumbly, sticky mess while I was kneading it. However, it turned out very well. The empanadas were pretty and crazy tasty:
Big, too! I'll try to remember to take a photo of the soup when we eat it tonight.

Mostly I want to brag about Graham's recent interest in cooking. He adores it, and he's such a great little helper. He and I have been having fun browsing through The Toddler Cafe and trying some of the recipes in there. He hasn't liked everything, but he's been willing to try things I don't think he would have touched if he hadn't helped make them. That's progress.

So far, our biggest favorites from that book have been the grilled cheese sandwiches made on the waffle iron (the cover of the book has a picture) and the mint chocolate chip ice cream made with cream cheese and peas. I find the end result a little too tangy, but Graham digs it in small portions and Dean is addicted to it. Some photos from that session:
From Food

From Food

From Food

Don't you love his little apron? Next on our list from that book are treasure triangles and pumpkin pockets. I'll let you know how they turn out.

Yesterday afternoon both boys "helped" with making Halloween cookies. It was one of those projects that sounds really fun but was truly exhausting. However, the end result was delicious and super cute:
From Food

Mad props to the Martha Stewart sugar cookie recipe. These are definitely the best ones I've ever made.

Saturday, April 26

Moroccan-Style Tilapia

I don’t know if they have tilapia in Morocco, but anyway, this was delicious! Preparation is simple, though it takes an hour. One strange thing: this says to use five pounds of fish to make six servings! I don’t know about you, but I’m not that hungry. I halved the recipe and used .95 pounds of tilapia, and it made a generous three servings.

Serve with couscous!

Wednesday, April 2

This cracked me up

I've been lazy about chronicling the dinners lately. Last night we had huevos montelenos; Monday was crispy chicken tacos; Sunday was fish with homemade mango salsa. I'll try to remember to take pictures of tonight's dinner.

Anyhoo, I loved seeing this post on Defamisher this morning. Check it out!

Wednesday, March 26

Lemon pesto chicken

This is something Zach and I used to make a lot. You simply marinade some chicken breasts in fresh lemon juice and pesto for about 20 minutes, then throw those suckas on the grill! We served it on salad greens and topped it with parmesan. Yum!

Last night -- cheeseburger salad and grilled eggplant

Grilled up some burgers last night and served 'em up over greens. A side of grilled eggplant completed the meal! I thought the eggplant was super yummy, but poor Zach just can't bring himself to like it. C'est la vie!

Tuesday, March 25

More cooking for kiddos

In my frenzy last night I also made two recipes for the boys, rice balls (with sweet potato and spinach) and purple pancakes (with beets).

I had kind of a hard time with the balls -- the texture was way too gloppy, and I burned parts of them. (That's what I get for using my cheap nonstick pan. It always betrays me.) I took a small bite and knew Graham wouldn't eat them, but Dean sure did!

I'm not really sure how the purple pancakes went over. Graham ate a little bit this morning, but didn't gobble them with the enthusiasm he usually displays. On the other hand, he didn't complain, so we'll see.

I plan to make the balls again sometime and play with the texture issue. And pancakes are one of Graham's favorite foods, so I'll be experimenting with them for a long time to come!


Last night I made two soups from the South Beach Quick & Easy Cookbook. As promised, both were easy and pretty quick to make.

Here's my lunchtime bowl of Asparagus Soup with Parmesan Sprinkle:

I ate it with a trifle more than a sprinkle. It's been a light caloric day, though! And please, whatever you do, don't ask me to give up cheese.

The second soup is the Vegetable and Bean soup, which I haven't tasted yet. Zach took some to work, so maybe he'll be generous enough to update us with how he liked it.

Mmmm, chard!

Saturday, March 22

God bless you, Jessica Seinfeld

Oh, Jessica. Your cookbook is relentlessly cheesy. You seem a trifle smug with how well your children eat. You rely too heavily on mixes, cooking spray, and the like. And yet, Jessica, my son, who eats nothing but variations on bread and cheese if he can help it, has supped on vegetables since you entered our lives. Yes, vegetables.

Right now his bowl is empty. Empty because he gobbled up his macaroni and cheese to which, at your suggestion, I added pureed cauliflower. (By the way, Jessica, I also add some nutritional yeast. Try it!) And HOLY MOSES, he just asked for seconds.

Consider this my endorsement of your work, Ms. Seinfeld. I will be trying many more recipes from it, averting my eyes from the creepy cartoon drawings of your family offering cooking tips and comments, and really, truly enjoying the peace of mind that Graham is getting some nutritional diversity in his diet.

So far we have successfully fed Graham sweet potatoes (pancakes), carrots and spinach (brownies, which Dean actually like more than he did, probably since I messed up the mixing process), chickpeas (chocolate chip cookies), and the aforementioned cauliflower.

I also picked up this little number today, which looks extremely promising:

Expect an update soon!

Wednesday, March 12

Bittman’s Basic Meatloaf

Last night was basic meat loaf with Panorama grass-fed beef, and some organic green beans from the freezer aisle.

The meat loaf was plenty good (bacon on top!) but this old-fashioned recipe from Gourmet is better.

Also, not even Central Market can make frozen green beans that aren’t sad and floppy. Looking forward to Spring’s bounty so we can have the real thing!

Wednesday, March 5

Chicken and Shiitake Mushroom Stir-fry

Yummy! Wholesome! With Brown Rice!

P.S. World’s Healthiest Foods is a really great website about food.

Monday, March 3

Walnut-crusted tilapia, rice, and brussel sprouts

Last night we had jambalaya from a box. I'll spare you the details.

Tonight I made the yummiest brussel sprouts I've ever eaten. This being, perhaps, the second time I've eaten them, that may not impress you. Anyway, they were good, even though I left them in the oven a wee bit too long.

The rice was leftover from a stir fry a few nights ago. The fish was easy, too. Drench in flour, then egg, then ground walnuts mixed with a bit of sucanat. Bake at 400 next to your awesome brussel sprouts about 15 minutes.

Friday, February 29

Yes, we have been eating. No, we haven't been blogging.

But here are a selection of dinners and food-related fun from the past 30-odd days...

Fish with veggies and saffron rice:

The 2nd best wine we've had this year:

We had it with roast chicken and vegetables:

Graham enjoys juicing:

Dean has 7 teeth and is working on number 8:

Thai curry:

Saturday, January 26

Rosemary Roast Chicken and Vegetables

Another recipe from Emiril Lagasse. I bought this book at Half Price Books a few years ago. I thought, hey, it’s cheap! And it has turned out to be our only can’t-fail cookbook. This is my go-to when I’m not trying to be a vegetarian.

Anyway, tonight I made rosemary roast chicken and vegetables. This is a very basic recipe. In other words, you don’t need a celebrity chef to tell you how to do this.

Get a chicken, put some garlic cloves and rosemary under the skin above the breast, put a quarter cup each of chopped onion, celery, and carrots inside the cavity along with a couple of bay leaves, rub a tablespoon of olive oil on the bird, lay on some salt and pepper, put it in a roasting pan on a bed of carrots, celery, potatoes, quartered onions, and maybe other stuff, with a cup of water and another dose of salt and pepper. Roast at 400 degrees for 45 minutes, and 350 for another hour.

We had gotten some root vegetables in our Local Box that we didn’t recognize. They’re the size and shape of radishes, but they’re white. I figured we should throw them in with the veggies and see what they’re like. They were awesome, like a cross between carrots and potatoes. My Google search suggests that these may be turnips! Anyway, a perfect wintery vegetable for a chicken roast.

Friday, January 25

Dinner in a Huff

Tonight I was in a lousy mood, but I was determined to at least cook something so the day wouldn’t be a complete loss. I made burgers. I am zeroing in on a pretty good formula, which goes something like this:

  • into two pounds of ground beef mash:
  • an egg
  • a tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce
  • a teaspoon of onion powder
  • a teaspoon of garlic powder
  • a teaspoon of Emeril’s southwest seasoning

I make six generous patties and sprinkle some salt and pepper on ‘em for good measure.

We also had a glorious salad from our Local Box, augmented by an organic red bell pepper from California we paid two fucking dollars for. Didn’t I say I was in a bad mood?

A Few Nights Ago

It’s hard to keep track, but on Tuesday night I grilled up some of our Bastrop Cattle Company grass-fed local (round) steaks. I also wanted to get rid of some new potatoes and a big ass pile of collard greens. I mashed the potatoes with salt, pepper, and buttermilk and stewed the collards in the Kashmiri fashion, which involves asafetida, chiles, cumin, coriander, and turmeric. The collard greens were more bitter than I would like, and the meat was a little tough (in the near future I want to get the Grassfed Gourmet cookbook). But boy, was this meal local!

We were on our way out the door to see The Business of Being Born so we probably spent about ten minutes eating dinner. Now we know what it’s like to be Graham.

Tuesday, January 15

Breakfast for Dinner

A broccoli, collard greens, and onion omlette with skillet potatoes and onions on the side.

The omlette was pretty good, but the potatoes were, to my chagrin, just OK. Still, breakfast for dinner is always fun, and it was hearty and wholesome.

Last night we had mushroom burgers

Not really worth blogging about, though they were a tasty meal!

In lieu of photos of our frozen food, check out this awesome slide show of families with their weekly groceries. I'm always interested in what's in other people's fridges and pantries, so enjoyed the photos on that level. But even more interesting is seeing the distribution of produce, meat, bread, and processed foods among people from all over the globe. The slides also include the families' weekly food expenditure (anywhere from $1 to $500) and favorite meals. I'd like the Italians to adopt me (no offense, Mom, but you know my feelings about pasta), but I'll drink with the Germans, thank you very much.

Sunday, January 13

Lively Up Yourself Lentil Soup

After a few nights of leftovers/dining out, we returned to the kitchen with another offering from the 101 Cookbooks blog. I wouldn't exactly describe this soup as "lively," but it was tasty and wholesome, and a cinch to make.

Edited to add: The saffron yogurt gets more interesting after a day or two -- more vivid color, more complex flavor. If you're planning a weekly menu, making the yogurt a night or two in advance is a good idea.

Graham, of course, continues to resist nutritious lentils.

Here's Dean, enjoying O's and teething biscuits.

Wednesday, January 9

Sweet Potato Pot Pie

Dinner tonight was inspired by the abundance of sweet potatoes in our refrigerator. Thank goodness for 101 Cookbooks! Check out the many enticing recipes and downright pornographic food photography.

I made this recipe with two small modifications:
1) I used peas instead of corn, since that's what we had (corn would have been good, and slightly more in keeping with the spirit of the recipe, but the peas were fine).
2) We didn't have oven-proof bowls suitable for pot pie-ing, so I made it as a casserole.

This was prepped, assembled, and cooked in a reasonable amount of time, and it was awfully tasty. Very nice comfort food, and chock full of vitamin A!

It's evil how good puff pastry is.

Tuesday, January 8

Pasta & salad

Running late getting dinner together + needing to hit the grocery store = Pasta!

All the produce is local, so that felt good. As Dean could have told us from his sampling pictured below, the mustard greens are spicy! I like a leaf that packs a punch, but a couple of bites made my eyes water. Thank goodness for the cooling influences of romaine and radish micro-greens.

It's nice to eat pasta because Graham will actually share our meal, and not just our table. Dean ate a little baby dahl and mama grain. Mmm!

Local produce

Tuesday is Greenling day, and our local box arrived brimming with sexy greens, grapefruits, oranges, carrots, and potatoes aplenty.

Here, Graham shows off what real carrots, grown by real farmers, look like.

Baby gourmand Dean tries some mustard greens:

I've also updated the post below with a picture of the fish tacos we ate last week.

Monday, January 7

Cabbage Conquered

My mission tonight was straightforward, but not easy: to dispatch a head of cabbage without us having to hold our noses while we ate it. Lately it's common to find a big beautiful head of cabbage in our Greenling Local Box™ delivery, but they run the risk of going to waste in our fridge.

Madhur Jaffrey to the rescue! I made Turkish cabbage and seasoned rice from her "World Vegetarian." When done properly, this layered dish is supposed to slide out of your pan like a cake. I didn't even bother. I just stuck a spoon in it and said "I'm done! If you're hungry, you'll eat it."

It's got onions, pine nuts, currants (for which I cleverly substituted raisins), cinnamon, and dill.

This would have gone great with some braised lamb or something cool like that. Too bad I didn't have the energy or the food on hand. We are such a one-dish family!

Cabbage and Seasoned Rice

Foodie celebrity boyfriends

Age matters not when your celebrity boyfriend is none other than The Minimalist. We -- well, Zach -- made his Baked Eggs on Sunday. Ohmigod.

But then there's Michael Pollan, savior of local, real food, whose new book arrived today from Amazon. I could see Zach being very Pollan-esque in about 10-15 years, especially if we embark on a farming adventure and he gets to indulge his dream of building his own house/office/studio on the property. Lucky me!

Saturday, January 5

January 2-4

On the 2nd, we had leftovers from the first!

January 3rd, I made a dish I'm dubbing "Haphazard Fish Tacos." It went a little something like this:
Tortillas (flour, 'cause that's what we had)
Swiss chard
Breaded Tilapia fillets (bread crumbs from many-days-old French bread, plus chili powder and cumin)
Onions, carrots, cilantro, and pineapple sauteed in a little olive oil, lemon, and fresh orange juice

I served the tacos with wedges of sweet potato baked with paprika and cumin.

It was a pretty good meal, which indicates either that fish tacos are pretty hard to mess up or that I am a culinary genius.

January 4th the boys and I had pizza at my parents' house; Zach had a tuna salad sandwich.

Tuesday, January 1

Mediterranean Lentil Salad

Happy new year! I made this Mediterranean salad today. It was mid-afternoon, and not meal-time, but I wanted to have some fresh food on hand.

I've done this a few times before. It's really simple and fresh-tasting. It would be perfect for taking to a pot-luck or a picnic of some kind.

Happy New Year! Chicken and Black-Eyed Peas

Chicken Pockets Stuffed with Goat Cheese, Chorizo, and Pine Nuts on a Bed of Southern-Style Black-Eyed Peas
from Emeril's New New Orleans Cooking

Easy to make, moderately time-consuming. This was a very tasty dinner (definitely the best black-eyed peas I've made). We used soyrizo instead of the real stuff; next time I think I'd use less of it, since the flavor was a little dominating. Otherwise a success!