Last month a little packet of delicate Japanese Brown Beech Button Mushrooms came in my CSA box. Fortunately there was a recipe for a flatbread using the little rascals. I modified it slightly into a pizza using what I had on hand. This was a total success! Even G ate the mushrooms (unknowingly)!
Of course you can make this with any kind of mushrooms you have on hand! Just wipe any dirt off and slice first depending on their size.
All you need:
1 tsp olive oil
2 c Japanese Brown Beech Button Mushrooms
1/2 small onion, chopped finely
pizza dough (I used Trader Joe’s Whole Wheat)
2-4 TBSP pesto sauce (also used TJ’s here)
1/2 c shredded mozzarella cheese
OPTIONAL: 3-4 fresh basil leaves
1. Preheat oven to 450.
2. Cut mushrooms off base. These mushrooms are so tiny they don’t need to be chopped. Mine were clean w/out dirt on them so I just cut the base off so that they were all separate & free individuals!
3. Heat olive oil in a skillet at medium. When oil is hot, add onions & mushrooms. Stir frequently cooking until onions are slightly soft, for about 2-3 minutes.
4. If you’re using a pizza stone, prepare as you normally would for a pizza. I used a cookie sheet. Brush with olive oil and then sprinkle corn meal on top of the oil.
That prevents the pizza dough from sticking plus it gives a nice texture to the bottom of your crust.
5. Place rolled or stretched dough onto cookie sheet (or pizza stone).
6. Spread a few spoonfuls of pesto (either homemade or pre-made) over the top of your dough, leaving 1/2″ at the edge.
7. Add mozzarella cheese, then the mushroom/onion mixture following by a sprinkling of grated parmesan (to your taste!)
Bake for about 10-12 minutes or until cheese is melted & golden. Sprinkle fresh torn basil on top!
Phew! The holidays kicked my butt this year. How did my parents do this? Better yet, WHY did they do it??
Although I try to post only the best of my kitchen attempts, here are some of my absolute favorites from last year. I mean the ones I crave & want to make again & again.
Happy New Year to you!!
1. Gardener’s Pie (vegetarian version of Shepherd’s Pie): This is always a huge hit. I took it to a Christmas pot luck this year and got so many compliments from vegetarian & non vegetarians alike.
2. Best Coffee Cake in the World There are no surprising ingredients in this but it’s simply delicious. Perfect for a special brunch or to warm up a chilly Sunday morning.
3. Kermit Smoothie (green smoothie) Want to sneak a handful of spinach into your family’s gullets? Try this! So yummy, easy & fun.
4. Blueberry Lara Bars. A healthy, yummy & portable snack. Perfect for hiking or just to carry in your purse (or man purse) to keep the munchies at bay.
5. No Knead Bread. If you’ve never made bread before I strongly encourage you try this one! It takes less than 5 minutes to prep and is so rewarding! There’s something wonderful about the smell of bread baking in your home.
6. Glory Bowl. After the holidays many people (ahem, THIS person) feel compelled to eat a little, shall we say, “lighter?” Although this dish contains many light elements the rice & dressing make it so satisfying. I had serious doubts about it when my dear friend Kinga recommended it but now it’s one of my favorites. Try it!! I mean it, really! I wouldn’t put it up here if it weren’t super yummy.
7. Red Velvet Cupcakes. Make these for Valentine’s Day! Or use green food coloring and make them for St. Patrick’s Day.
8. Simple Caesar Salad. This is a cheater’s version of caesar salad. Oh garsh sometimes I crave caesar salad so much but don’t want to get involved with raw eggs & anchovies etc. This is a satisfying remedy when you’re short on time. Now that I make this I find most restaurant salads disappointing. Totally reminds me of an ex boyfriend’s mom (who happened to be an excellent cook) answering the waiter’s “How is everything?” with a tragic look followed by her New York accented, “Mine’s bettah.”
9. Chocolate & Butterscotch Chip Cookies. After trying many recipes, I have to say that these are my favorites for both simplicity & results. Because of the cornstarch they end up a bit pale and can trick you into thinking they aren’t done but they are soooooo sooooooo sooooooo (sooooo) good. Every time I make them I have to double the recipe b/c of all the greedy hands snitching them off the cooling racks (G!!!).
10. Vegetable Pot Pie. I just realized I have a few “best _____ in the WORLD” recipes. Do I exaggerate? Or am I just hungry? Anyway, this pot pie was a sleeper hit! I always loved pot pies. From the nastiest to the high end restaurant ones. But I was tired of paying $5.00 for a tiny Amy’s vegetable pot pie, plus I thought I could feed more than 1 person with a lot less packaging. This recipe takes almost 3 hours to make but is TOTALLY worth it! YUM.
11. Broccoli Gribiche. Last year I started making some dishes from Heidi Swanson’s “Super Natural Every Day” and this was one of the hits. I seriously didn’t make ONE bad dish from that cookbook and still use it every week. This is a surprisingly hearty, satisfying yet tasty meal that can be a main or side. The simple ingredients make it a no-brainer!
12. Moscow Mule. Alcohol is a good way to end a list/night/year so here is a simple, tasty drink that we enjoyed time & again mostly during the summer. Our friend Trish introduced us to them last June when we stayed at her house in Denver. We drank them all summer. Not all day but you know what I mean.
I hope you enjoy these recipes & for all the best to you in 2013!
You know those nights you’re so sick of serving pasta with jar sauce? Yet, you know you’ll still be serving pasta out of some weakness of character? This is the recipe for you!
Our friend, Liana, made this over vacation. It’s the perfect meal for a large crowd – especially a large crowd who just hiked for several hours at altitude carrying toddlers. When we got home she threw this together & everyone loved it!
It’s so easy & satisfying.
2 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb dried pasta (I used whole wheat)
1 head broccoli, cut into small pieces (I use the stems too – peeled & sliced)
1 can diced tomatoes
a couple of handfuls of baby spinach
salt & pepper to taste
fresh parmesan cheese
OPTIONAL: crushed red pepper to taste
Heat water in large pot for pasta. When water has started boiling, add salt & pasta.
Heat your oil in a large skillet. I only have a medium sized skillet. But if I had a large one, that’s what I would’ve used!
Add garlic & cook for about a minute, stirring occasionally.
Add broccoli & stir to coat with oil.
Cover & lower heat to medium-low. Cook for 7-10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Test a piece of broccoli – it should be just tender but still have some crunch.
Remove lid & add tomatoes. This will give it some “juice” too!
Top with a couple of handfuls of spinach, stir to combine & turn heat up to medium.
Meanwhile, cocktail hour Legos.
When spinach has just barely wilted, remove from heat.
When pasta is done, drain & drizzle with olive oil to keep it from sticking.
In a large bowl or pot, combine pasta & veggies. Adjust salt & pepper to taste.
Serve with sprinkled parmesan cheese!
Either my kids loved this or they were starving to death.
My friend, Olivia, put me onto this! Why didn’t I think of it??
All you need:
3-4 TBSP miso paste
roasted seaweed, cut or torn
16oz firm tofu, pressed & cut into small cubes
8 oz soba noodles
green onions, sliced
crushed red pepper
Knowing how those soba noodles like to be babied, I looked at a few recipes to check on the order of things. Those of you who have cooked soba noodles know they have to characteristics that make them distinct from, like, spaghetti.
1. They expand QUITE a lot during cooking.
2. After cooking, they need to rinsed with cold water to avoid unsightly CLUMPING.
My advice: follow the package directions to a T. (Tee or T? I dunno!)
Here’s what I did after reading several recipes:
1. Press tofu. Also: I think FIRM tofu would be best for soup. I had extra firm so I used that.
2. Start your water for the soba. Use a medium or large saucepan since the soba will expand. Follow package instructions. I know I already suggested this. I can’t stress it enough because of my own failure to follow package instructions.
3. While that’s boiling, cut the seaweed into strips of whatever size you’d like! I used kitchen scissors.
I cut some of the strips into thirds afterwards. By the way, what’s Monkey Binky doing on the floor?
4. Drain your noodles, rinse & set aside. Do NOT skip the rinsing or you’ll have a giant clump o noodle.
5. Set 4 c of water to boil. This will be for your broth. In a small bowl, whisk together 3 or 4 TBSP miso paste with some of the hot broth water. Then add that mixture to your broth water & stir to combine. This supposedly helps avoid clumping but you can try skipping this step & just add the miso paste directly to the boiling water if you’re feeling adventurous (i.e. short on time.)
Add the seaweed & tofu to the broth and let it sit for a few minutes.
Ready to serve!
Drop some noodles in your bowl:
Ladle some broth over the noodles.
DISCLOSURE: My broth isn’t as purdy as it could be because I was trying to save on dishes/energy use. I decided to reserve 4 cups of the noodle water to use for the broth. (Instead of tossing perfectly good hot water & starting over again.) The results tasted excellent but looked sort of murky.
Next time I’ll add shitake mushrooms & green onions.
Btw: both kids showed their usual level of disinterest in it the first night but I now realize they are not big dinner eaters. They eat most of their food during the daytime. The next day they scarfed down 2 bowls each! Which tells you the leftovers are great too…
During my salad-a-day month last March, my Canadian friend Kinga sent me this recipe. It’s a really popular dish named not after anything in the movie Porky’s but rather a ski bowl at Whitewater Ski Resort in Nelson, British Columbia. It took me a while to get over to Whole Foods for the nutritional yeast flakes. I had never heard of them & tried to never go to Whole Foods for various reasons. Also, when I read this recipe it sounded a little TOO healthy in that unsatisfying way some restaurant salads are. So I put it off.
Finally I had all the ingredients and decided to go for it. It’s SO WORTH IT!!!! SOOOOO WORTH IT!!!!! It’s amazing – something that looks like a pile of what G would call “Rabbit Food” but is so flavorful, satisfying & doesn’t weigh you down.
You’ve got to try this. Although it has a lot of components, the prep for each one is pretty simple.
Here’s what you need for the salad:
**NOTE: this makes enough for 8 people so you may want to halve it, which is what I did.**
2 TBSP vegetable oil
2 c cubed extra firm tofu (remember to press water out first!)
8 c hot cooked brown rice
2 c grated carrots
2 c grated beets
2 c packed baby spinach
2 c slivered or slice almonds, toasted
For the dressing:
1/2 c nutritional yeast flakes
1/3 c soy sauce (or tamari)
1/3 c apple cider vinegar
1/3 c water
2 TBSP tahini
2 cloves garlic, crushed or minced
1-1/2 c vegetable oil
2. While that’s a-pressin’, add all your dressing ingredients to the blender & puree until creamy!
(Note: Properly stored, this can be kept for up to ONE week in the refrigerator.)
3. Cook your rice. I found this quick cook brown rice at Trader Joe’s. Takes about 10 mins instead of 45 mins so I did it! You can also find pre-cooked brown rice in the FREEZER section at Trader Joe’s. Just pop in micro for about 3 mins. That’s what I do when I’m in a crunch. **NOTE: if you’re using the regular brown rice – start this earlier according to how much time you need. You can always heat it up if you need to.**
4. Now prep your veggies. As you may or may not know (or care) I use a hand grater. Builds character.
5. Time to lightly pan fry that tofu! Heat oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet. I sprinkle a few pinches of salt over the tofu and turn when it’s golden brown. After all sides are lightly browned, drain on a paper towel lined plate.
6. Now for the fun part: ASSEMBLY! Add your rice layer in a nice sized bowl.
Drizzle about a tablespoon of dressing over the rice.
Top rice with spinach.
Add carrots & beets.
Now the almonds.
The tofu and about 3 more TBSP of the dressing.
Bea loved this dish! She doesn’t have that many teeth yet so she had some trouble chewing the spinach but she ate 2 bowls of this.
First, press your tofu. This needs about 15-30 mins and can be done while making the dressing, cooking the rice & grating the carrots/beets.
While that’s a-pressin’, add all your dressing ingredients to the blender & puree until creamy! (OR start your rice – depending on your cook time.)
Cook your rice. I found this quick cook brown rice at Trader Joe’s. Takes about 10 mins instead of 45 mins so I did it! You can also find pre-cooked brown rice in the FREEZER section at Trader Joe’s. Just pop in micro for about 3 mins. That’s what I do when I’m in a crunch.
Now prep your veggies. As you may or may not know (or care) I use a hand grater. Builds character.
Time to lightly pan fry that tofu! Heat oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet. I sprinkle a few pinches of salt over the tofu and turn when it’s golden brown. After all sides are lightly browned, drain on a paper towel lined plate.
Now for the fun part: ASSEMBLY! Add your rice layer in a nice sized bowl. Drizzle about a tablespoon of dressing over the rice. Top rice with spinach. Add carrots & beets.
Now the almonds, the tofu and about 3 more TBSP of the dressing.
1. Start your rice depending on how much time you need. You’ll want warm rice to put in your bowl. Or you can always reheat your rice if you’ve made it ahead of time.
2. The dressing will keep for up to a week, properly stored in the fridge.
3. Definitely halve this recipe if you need to. This is for EIGHT people!