Recipes I Haven't Used (yet): Crushed Chickpea Soup

Want to make this: http://www.sfgate.com/recipes/weeknightdish/article/December-dinners-that-will-get-a-warm-reception-5083283.php

From the link:

Crushed Chickpea Soup

Serves 6
To make this a vegetarian dish, substitute vegetable broth for the chicken broth.
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 3/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • -- Pinch cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • -- Kosher salt and ground black pepper, to taste
  • 3 cans (about 14.5 ounces) chickpeas, 2 drained and 1 with bean liquid
  • 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth or stock (for stock, see recipe elsewhere in this section)
  • 1 can (about 14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes, drained
  • 2 tablespoons minced parsley + more for garnish
  • -- Lemon juice to taste, if desired
  • -- Greek yogurt and pita chips, for serving
Instructions: Warm the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic; cook, stirring often, until the onions soften, about 4-5 minutes. Stir in the cumin, paprika, cinnamon and lemon zest, and season with plenty of salt and pepper. Cook and stir for about 2 minutes to blend the spices.
Add the chickpeas and liquid from 1 can and the chicken broth; bring to a simmer and cook about 20 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, and cook for 5 minutes more.
Using a potato masher, lightly crush the chickpeas in the pot. Stir in the parsley, and season to taste with salt, pepper and lemon juice, if needed.
Garnish with parsley, and serve topped with yogurt and accompanied by pita chips.
Per serving: 338 calories, 16 g protein, 49 g carbohydrates, 10 g fat (1 g saturated), 3 mg cholesterol, 304 mg sodium, 14 g fiber.

(Green) split pea soup

from http://recipes.sparkpeople.com/recipe-detail.asp?recipe=936650 with modifications

6 cups water + Vegetable Bouillon powder (maybe 2 heaping TBS)
2 cups dried green split peas, rinsed (I used a 1-lb bag, that may be more than 2 cups)
1 medium onion, chopped
1 cup chopped carrots
3 celery ribs with leaves, chopped (celery leaves are bitter and gross and not a substitute for parsley or whatever people may claim.)
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried marjoram I used oregano 'cause I didn't have marjoram
1/2 tsp ground cumin
(omitted salt because bouillon is salty)
1/4 tsp pepper


I just dumped all this in a crock pot overnight, no sauteeing first. I heated the crock pot up a bit while I was chopping vegetables, and I boiled a kettle of water to dump over it. I left it on high for maybe half an hour and then turned it to low and let it cook for about 8 or 9 hours.

Verdict: pretty good.


soup (beef? barley? vegetable? ginger? it doesn't have enough of any of those to be named for them, so just "soup")

Nothing fancy, but I was surprised at how much flavor this had, especially since I didn't add much salt and the stock (I used Imagine "beef flavored cooking stock," low sodium, organic - 99 cent bargain at Grocery Outlet) had only 6% of the RDA of sodium per serving.

Saute:
1 onion, sliced
2 stalks of celery, sliced
about 3 not-huge carrots, sliced
1 clove of garlic, sliced
some salt
some pepper

in oil for a while, maybe 10 minutes.

Add 1 quart of (low-sodium) beef stock, plus two more chopped cloves of garlic, plus about 3/4" cube of fresh ginger, grated, plus a handful or two of barley.

Simmer for half an hour or 45 minutes.

I added in some shredded cabbage toward the end of cooking once, and that was nice too. As was throwing in some chopped fresh tomatoes. It's all good. Mostly I'm just amazed at what beef stock does for a soup (I haven't had the same experience with boxed chicken stock.)

Crockpot/chickpea adventures.

In case you were wondering - or more likely, in case I am wondering, at some yet-unknown point in the future - 3.12 lbs of dried chickpeas is too much for a 5-quart slow cooker. It was overly ambitious of me to even try.  I think a bit over 2 lbs - maybe 2.5 - is about the limit.

In happier news, hey, I have *lots* of cooked chickpeas now.

mushroom quiche - again.

This recipe - from Moosewood - modified:

1 (9 inch) pie crust - deep dish, still frozen - and despite it being deep dish, I still had extra filling
1 1/2 cups grated cheese  - about two thirds swiss and the rest aged Havarti
1 medium onion, chopped
oil for frying
1/4 lb sliced mushrooms[I would have perhaps used more mushrooms and fewer onions]
salt and pepper
thyme


Egg Custard Ingredients

4 eggs  - i used three and a half jumbo - I doubled the recipe
1 cup milk, half a cup half and half
3 tablespoons flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon mustard powder
freshly grated nutmeg

Sautee onions for a bit, then add mushrooms and thyme and salt and pepper and sautee til soft. Meanwhile, make up custard mixture and grate cheese. Preheat oven to 375*

Dump veggies into crust. Mix cheese with custard mixture, stir, and then dump over veggies while cheese is still evenly dispersed. Bake forty to forty-five minutes.

This also totally works without a crust if you use a good amount of oil spray in the pan - it comes out fine and is solid enough to be sliced. 

Whole wheat pita chips WITHOUT OIL

Recipes for pita chips tell you to brush them with olive oil first.  While oil adds some taste/mouthfeel and is useful if you want salt or other seasonings to adhere to your pita chips, if you're just looking for a crispy version of pita to use as a simple base for some sort of spread, you can skip it. Spreading oil on bread evenly is kind of a pain because bread is porous, and if you're putting cheese or nut butter on your pita chips anyway, oil doesn't really seem worth the additional step.

I preheated the oven to 450 degrees, split a few whole-wheat pocket pitas so that they were single-layer, and cut into wedges. Put on a cookie sheet, bake for about 5 minutes - watching very carefully - and then take them out when they're crisp but not burnt. Let them cool on the sheet. Other recipes suggest longer baking times at cooler temperatures but this seemed fine.

They don't stick to the cookie sheet, and mine didn't need to be flipped halfway through or anything.

cabbage soup

I am really only posting this so I'll think of it next time I'm looking for something simple to cook.  I've been having a really hard time finding things to cook that don't do weird things to my blood sugar or at least what I imagine is my blood sugar and this seems to be decent. In the past I haven't added anything for protein to cabbage soup and I think adding the sausage really helps.

In a 5 or 6 qt crock pot:

-about three quarters of a large head of cabbage, chopped (as much as will fit in the crock pot basically)
-one medium onion, chopped
-tomato stuff, chopped or food processed - about a  28 oz can worth
- 3 carrots
-3-4 cloves of garlic
-freshly ground pepper
-a few tbs of bouillon powder
-vegetarian sausage, sliced (I have been using the Tofurkey italian sausages, which are particularly cheap at Trader Joe's) Sometimes I add them at the end instead.
-water to cover - boiling water will speed everything up

Cook on high for a few hours, then for the last forty-five minutes or so, add
-a few handfuls of barley (optional)

Almond Bundt Cake III (I think, for this blog)

I used this recipe:
http://www.bubblews.com/news/914894-almond-bundt-cake-recipe

but I made my own almond paste, using this recipe:
http://candy.about.com/od/nutcandyrecipes/r/Easy-Almond-Paste.htm
(actually, I used 3/4 of that recipe - 12 oz out of a supposed 16). I used blanched slivered almonds from trader joes and I doubled the amount of almond extract it called for. It looks nice and smooth and not homemade at all. I let it process for a long long time.

For the cake itself - the recipe's unclear but I mixed the sugar with the almond paste first (I pretty much had to use my hands instead of hte mixer) and then added in the butter. It took some strength to get it done--I was glad for my heavy glass bowl, which stayed in place as I used to hands to corral the mixer. (Oh to have a KitchenAid!)

I was happy with how it turned out. Also this bundt cake was a little taller than some bundt cakes I've made (my pan has tall sides so cakes never fill it up entirely.  It says 10-15 cups on it.) 

not really a recipe at all - cost of black beans from scratch

I'm always curious how dried beans translate to cooked beans in quantity.

Last night I cooked 2 lbs of dried black beans (in the crockpot, which is the best way ever to do it because you don't have to watch it - also the texture is good) and came up with about 11 cups cooked. This included a little bit of liquid but it was mostly solid beans.

Canned black beans claim to be 3.5 servings of 1/2 cup each, which translates to 1 3/4 cups. So for $2.77 of dried beans, I got a bit over 6 cans' worth. So a bit less than 50 cents a "can." Not a huge bargain, probably, since you can generally find beans for $1 a can or maybe 89 cents, but:

a) doing this induces me to eat more beans because I have them around
b) my beans were organic, that's something
c) cans sometimes contain BPA; my beans do not
d) metal cans feel wasteful in general
e) you can probably find dried beans for less than the $1.39/lb that mine were.

Minestrone

I've made minestrone a bunch of times but was never incredibly happy with it. I had dinner at a friend's house a few weeks ago and they'd made a really great vegetarian minestrone from Moosewood. I'm actually not sure if this is the exact same recipe (there are so many different Moosewood cookbooks) but I was pretty happy with the way this came out. Putting green peppers in was a new thing for me, so that may have helped. Here's roughly what I did, which is a variation on what's listed in the link. (I made this last week so my memory's not perfect.)

http://www.ivu.org/recipes/italian/minestrone2-j.html

  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 5 cloves crushed garlic
  • 1 cup celery -- minced
  • 1 cup carrot -- cubed
  • 1 cup zucchini, cubed
  • 1 cup chopped green bell pepper
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley -- chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked garbanzo beans
  • 1 potato, cubed
  • 1 teaspoon basil
  • 3 cups tomato puree (~42 oz canned tomatoes blended in Cuisinart)
  • 3 1/2 cups water or less - to cover (use water from cooking garbanzos if possible)
Saute garlic and onions in oil until they are soft and translucent.
Add 1 tsp. salt, carrot, celery.
Mix well.
Add oregano, black pepper and basil.
Cover and cook over low heat 5-8 minutes.
Add green pepper, zucchini, stock, puree, and cooked beans.
Cover and simmer 15 minutes.
Add tomatoes and remaining salt.
Keep at lowest heat until 10 minutes before you plan to serve. Add parsley for the last ~20 minutes of cooking.

Dal Makhani / Madras Lentils

I want to try my hand at Dal Makhani--I really like Trader Joe's Madras Lentils which seem to be a version of it. I have no idea if the TJ's stuff is authentic or not, but it's tasty. And I have some black lentils sitting around that I want to use up.

The TJ's stuff contains tomatoes, lentils (pretty sure they are black lentils--they are unlike any red or green or brown lentil I've used), kidney beans, onion, cream, salt, butter, oil, ginger, red chiles, and cumin.

I'm going to play around with this recipe (but without a pressure cooker since I don't have one.) Kasoori methi seems to be fenugreek, but I think I'll leave it out the first time.

pumpkin bread

From  http://sweetpeaskitchen.com/2010/09/pumpkin-bread/ with modifications:

1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree
4 eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup butter, melted
2/3 cup water
1.5 cups brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1  teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
3/4 teaspoon allspice

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour two 9x5 inch loaf pans.
In a large bowl, mix together pumpkin puree, eggs, oil, butter, water, sugars and vanilla until well blended. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, pumpkin spice and walnuts. Stir the dry ingredients into the pumpkin mixture until just blended. Pour into the prepared pans.
Bake in preheated oven 45-50 minutes or until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Keep pumpkin bread tightly wrapped in plastic wrap to retain freshness.


This time I substituted about 1 1/4 cups of oat flour (whole grain) for 1 1/2 cups of flour because I wanted to use up the oat flour.

Baking in 1 glass 9x5  and 1 glass 8x8 pan, greased with flour+butter spray.

Verdict: tasty, and it comes right out of the pan. Win. 

Cherry brown butter bars

I made these:
http://smittenkitchen.com/blog/2009/06/cherry-brown-butter-bars-new-video-project/

OMG.

I think I cooked them for 35 minutes (after assembling), which was fine. I used 36 cherries, which seemed like a good amount. Not sure how many pounds it was, but I pitted 2.5-3 cups total and didn't use anywhere near all of them.

Done again, I might bake the base for slightly less time (15 minutes?) but it was fine as-is.

I don't think I modified the recipe at all.

Almond cake!

Last night I made this:
http://www.davidlebovitz.com/2010/06/almond-cake-recipe/

I made it in a 8.5x8.5 square pan. I'm convinced it would have been nicer in a round pan, but ya do what ya have to, right? I don't have a round pan right now.

Wouldn't this have been prettier if it were round?

It was good, but unfortunately I used salted butter instead of unsalted by accident, and I think the salt overwhelmed the almond taste a little bit. It wasn't bad, but almond's a delicate flavor and doesn't stand up to salt the way that chocolate or caramel does. I bet it'll be fabulous with the correct butter. And it's definitely a bit better after it's had some time to sit - it gets moister and the flavor matures somehow.

So I'll have to try again.

Also, n.b., Bob the food processor, whose work bowl is only about 7 cups or so, was a tight fit for this cake. I had to dump the batter into a separate bowl before adding the flour. Not surprising, really--poor Bob has always been on the small side, as much good food as I pour into him.


Text of recipe reproduced after the jump in case it ever goes away (because you bet I want to make this again):

French Yogurt Cake

Making this French yogurt cake:
http://orangette.blogspot.com/2004/08/slow-roasting.html

Omitting lemons, adding a splash of almond extract for flavoring, baking in an 8x8 nonstick square pan sprayed with PAM. I'm not sure that the almond flavor pairs well with tanginess of yogurt, but we'll see. I used full-fat yogurt because that's what I had. I am confident that it will be cake, regardless, and cake is good.

Verdict: my housemates loved it. See above re: cake is good, etc. I don't think the tanginess of the yogurt was an issue. However, I prefer to add almond flavor to things that have more substance. Like, say, some ground almonds. 

Adventures with Steak

I'm still relatively (~2009) new to eating red meat, and because I try to only buy decently-sourced stuff, most of the meat I've eaten since then has been in the form of hamburgers. (Ground beef is the only grass-fed my budget allows, generally.) I've been trying to branch out a bit, though, and for me that will probably mean some inexpensive cuts of  "level 4" beef from Whole Foods.

Today I bought two relatively thin (1cm?) pieces of "outside bottom round steak" which I understand can be kind of tough. I trimmed some of the (fat? gristle? can't quite tell), stabbed both sides of it with a fork many many times, and dumped it into a mixture of balsamic vinegar, canola oil, chopped garlic, ground pepper, and some fancy whole-grain mustard that was in our fridge. It wasn't that much liquid--I didn't want to waste a bunch of balsamic vinegar. Honestly, I'm never sure what to use to make up volume in marinades. Oil? Water? Neither of these really makes sense, and I don't want to use gallons of balsamic vinegar or whatnot. Anyway. I am going to let it sit in that perhaps overnight, turning it at least once, and then cook it on top of the stove in a cast iron skillet.

In other meat news, ground turkey is gross, chili made from ground turkey is gross, and it is especially so when your source of ground turkey is a defrosted Trader Joe's turkey burger.  I rarely make something I can't bear to eat, but this fit into that category - and it was definitely the turkey, not the rest of the chili. I wish I hadn't wasted the onions, beans, and tomatoes on it, because those alone could have actually been tasty.

VERDICT: it wasn't actually that great--it felt a little tough and the balsamic flavor was too strong--it's a nice flavor but I want to taste meat.. For the second piece, I pierced it more times with a fork, seasoned only with salt and pepper, didn't marinate at all, and didn't cook for as long. It was better.

Blueberry yogurt muffins (whole wheat)

I made these using white whole wheat flour and a smidge more than 1/2 cup white (refined) flour. Pans greased with real butter because I still need to buy baking spray for my new house. I don't think the oven was at the full 375 when I put them in, and it may have gone up to 400 mid-baking, because my oven has been a bit weird lately.

And, we shall see...

Vegetarian chili!

I made a big pot of vegetarian chili for my anti-Superbowl party (beer, classic snacks, the company of friends, but no annoying game to sit through)yesterday and I'm really happy with how it came out. I think part of the trick is that I didn't really add any water--all the liquid came from the tomato products and maybe a tad from not-perfectly-drained reconstituted TVP.  I was especially happy that it was flavorful enough since the TVP was totally unseasoned. (You can buy beef or chicken flavored TVP and I think I've used that in the past.)

To the best of my memory, this is what I did (in a humongous 11-qt stockpot, which was useful because it's thick and can kind of splash if it bubbles when it's cooking--but this doesn't make anywhere close to 11 quarts of chili, as eyeballing the recipe should reveal):

-2 onions, chopped relatively fine, sauteed in a healthy (haha) amount of oil with some (1 TBS each?) cumin and chili powder (mine was labelled "mild". Can't remember where I got it.)

Added after a while:
-2 smallish red peppers, diced relatively fine (more so than the onions)
-3 cloves of garlic, minced
-about 1-1.5 (dry) cups of unflavored TVP, the sort with a texture approximating ground beef/turkey, reconstituted with boiling water (but I mostly tried to squeeze the water out again before adding to the pot)
-1 jalapeno pepper, diced (including seeds)

I stirred that around for awhile, then added:
-3 (small-14-16oz) cans of fire-roasted diced tomatoes, 1 of which was pulverized in the food processor)
-about the equivalent of 1 more can of not-fire-roasted tomatoes, also pulverized
-about 1/4 cup (maybe less? maybe 2 TBS?) of cocoa powder
-a bunch more cumin, a bunch more chili powder, some dried oregano (ground between my palms, which I believe makes it more potent somehow), a bunch of paprika, maybe 1/4-1/2 tsp of liquid smoke
-2 cans of low-sodium dark red kidney beans (drained)
-2 cans of low-sodium pinto beans (drained)
-3 more cloves of garlic, minced

 I let it cook on a pretty low flame for a good long while. It needed a little bit of salt.

Dukkah

On Saturday I tasted dukkah (brand: "Alexandra's", imported into the US from NZ, oddly) on bread (dip bread in olive oil, dip in dukkah, eat) and it was very tasty. I want to try to make some myself. The kind I ate and liked had hazelnuts, sesame seeds, coriander seeds (oh so different from fresh coriander--AKA cilantro!) and cumin.

Red Cabbage and Roasted Cashew Salad

from http://www.endlesssimmer.com/2008/07/29/oh-yes-its-ladies-night/
I want to make this, haven't done it yet. I'll probably buy pre-roasted cashews (maybe the 50% less salt sort), skip the cilantro, and...not sure about the hot pepper. I just like the idea of a crunchy cabbage salad with something other than ramen noodles, tasty as they are. 1 1/2 cups unsalted raw cashews
1/2 of a medium-large red cabbage
1 basket of cherry tomatoes, washed and halved
1 tablespoon curry powder
3/4 cup cilantro, chopped
One cap full of olive oil whisked with 1/4 cup lime juice
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
One finely diced hot cherry pepper, seeded and veined (optional if your guests are sensitive)
Sprinkle raw cashews with season salt and splenda (or sugar). In a skillet roast the cashews for 5 to 10 minutes, shaking the pan a few times to avoid burning. If you have extra cashews, put them aside for people to snack on… they sure are tasty!
Cut the cabbage into two quarters and cut out the core. Shred each quarter into thin slices, bite-sized. Combine the cabbage, tomatoes, cherry pepper, and cilantro in a bowl.
In a separate bowl combine the lime juice, olive oil, salt and whisk. Add to the cabbage mixture and gently stir to combine. Just before serving fold in the cashews. Taste and adjust the flavor with more salt if needed. Serve room temperature or chilled.
--
Postmortem, months later - this was pretty good! I wanted it to be a little sweeter so I added some juice from some tangerines I had sitting around that weren't really a good texture for eating anymore.