Saturday, December 15, 2012

Lemon-Glazed Madeleines

The interesting thing about madeleines is that most store bought ones taste like stale cake.  Other than the very pretty shape, I never really knew what all the fuss was about.  Until I made my own.  Specifically, until I made my own lemon glazed madeleines.  The buttery, lemony sweet little cake (really, it is not a cookie in the true sense of the word) is a confection unto itself.  And I don't really dig cake all that much, so that is a high compliment indeed.
This recipe, from blogger extraordinaire David Lebovitz is pretty foolproof as long as you follow the directions.  Use madeleine molds: I tried both the metal and silicone versions...the metal is slightly better and there is so much butter involved that the cakes come out clean.  And you may need to double the icing...I did. They are a big hit, both in the looks and taste departments.  The only thing is that they don't keep super well, so you better eat them shortly after you make them.  Or you can invite my daughter over and she will make sure they are gone for you.  She does it for me every time.

3 large eggs, at room temperature
2/3 cup (130g) granulated sugar
rounded 1/8 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cup (175g) flour
1 teaspoon baking powder (optional)
zest of one small lemon
9 tablespoons (120g) unsalted butter, melted and cooled to room temperature, plus additional melted butter for preparing the molds

3/4 cup (150g) powdered sugar
1 tablespoon freshly-squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons water


1. Brush the indentations of a madeleine mold with melted butter. Dust with flour, tap off any excess, and place in the fridge or freezer.  (I was totally lame with this step...forgot to dust with flour, forgot to put in fridge, but then again it was a cold day.)

2. In the bowl of a standing electric mixer, whip the eggs, granulated sugar, and salt for 5 minutes until frothy and thickened.

3. Spoon the flour and baking powder, if using, into a sifter or mesh strainer and use a spatula to fold in the flour as you sift it over the batter. (Rest the bowl on a damp towel to help steady it for you.)

4. Add the lemon zest to the cooled butter, then dribble the butter into the batter, a few spoonfuls at a time, while simultaneously folding to incorporate the butter. Fold just until all the butter is incorporated.

5. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. (Batter can be chilled for up to 12 hours.)

6. To bake the madeleines, preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

8. Plop enough batter in the center of each indentation with enough batter which you think will fill it by three quarters (you'll have to eyeball it, but it's not brain-surgery so don't worry if you're not exact.) Do not spread it. I used a small ice cream/cookie dough scoop thingy.

10. Bake for 8-9 minutes or until the cakes just feel set. While the cakes are baking, make a glaze in a small mixing bowl by stirring together the powdered sugar, lemon juice, and water until smooth.

11. Remove from the oven and tilt the madeleines out onto a cooling rack. The moment they're cool enough to handle, dip each cake in the glaze, turning them over to make sure both sides are coated and scrape off any excess with a dull knife. After dipping, rest each one back on the cooking rack, scalloped side up, until the cakes are cool and the glaze has firmed up.

Storage: Glazed madeleines are best left uncovered, or not tightly-wrapped; they're best eaten the day they're made. They can be kept in a container for up to three days after baking, if necessary. I don't recommend freezing them since the glaze will melt.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Santa Maria Style Tri Tip Steak

So this is my NEW favorite meat recipe that I pulled from the blog, Simply Recipes. You can keep your filet mignon, your rib eyes and your giant roast beast.  This recipe is easy and pretty foolproof.  I had posted another tri tip recipe using a red wine  marinade, but that requires forethought and planning and marinating.  This recipe is easier and, frankly, better.  And requires only the forethought of having an awesomely stocked spice collection and catching the tri tip sales at your local market.  

My family likes it rare, hence the "dead cow walking" look to the photo, but you can cook it longer if you like.  This is one of the few recipes that my entire family gets happy about...can you imagine this universal enthusiasm for the sweet potato recipe I posted earlier?  Clearly a carnivorous crowd.


1 Tri tip roast, 2 1/2 to 4 lbs, well marbled with fat
Santa Maria Rub (enough for a 4 pound roast)
1 Tbsp Kosher salt
1 Tbsp finely ground black pepper
1 Tbsp garlic powder
1 Tbsp onion powder
1 teaspoon cayenne
1 Tbsp dried oregano
1 teaspoon dry rosemary (or fresh, finely minced)
1/2 teaspoon dry sage


1 Mix the rub ingredients together in a bowl. Sprinkle the rub on the meat on all sides, and massage the rub into the meat. Cover and let sit at room temperature for an hour.

2 Prepare your grill for hot direct heat on one side, and indirect heat on the other. Sear the roast on all sides, 3-4 minutes per side. Carefully watch the roast during this process as one side of the roast is typically quite fatty and as the fat heats up it can drip down and cause flare-ups. Keep moving the tri tip away from the flame if flare-ups occur.

3 Once the tri tip is seared on all sides, move it away from direct heat and place it fat-side up on the grill rack.  If you are grilling on charcoal or wood, you may want to turn the roast over every few minutes, for more even heating. Try to maintain a grill temperature of 250°F to 300°F.

4 Cover the grill and cook until the temperature of the interior of the tri tip reaches 120°F for a rare roast, 130°F for medium-rare and 140°F for medium. At this point the meat will take anywhere from 20 to 40 minutes to cook, depending on how hot your grill is, how well done you want it, and the size of the cut. Note that the interior temperature will continue to rise at least 5°F after you take the roast off the heat.

5 Once the roast reaches temperature, remove it from the grill and let it rest, loosely tented with foil, for 10 minutes. Slice against the grain and serve.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Turkey Soup with Lime and Chile, aka The BEST Use of Leftover Turkey


So after slaving away for hours trying to create a memorable and fantastic Thanksgiving dinner, I cooked, served, cleaned and swore I would never ever do it again (I swear, cooking Thanksgiving dinner is like giving birth... you never remember how crazy hard it is.  Good thing, I suppose.)

But then I came across this soup for the leftover turkey meat.  It is so clean and bright with the lime and jalepenos and cilantro that it doesn't seem like leftovers at all.  It is as if David Tanis from the NY Times waltzed into my tiny kitchen and gave me a reason for making turkey at all.

I kind of wish I could just serve this for the big day instead of a ginormous bird.   

Time: About 1 hour 


2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup diced onion
1 cup diced celery
1 cup diced carrot
1/2 teaspoon cumin seed
1/2 teaspoon coriander seed
1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
6 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1 cinnamon stick, 2 inches long
2 teaspoons salt, or to taste
8 cups unsalted turkey or chicken broth
Vegetable oil for frying (if you don't use premade tortilla chips)
4 corn tortillas, at least a day old, cut in 1/2-inch strips (OR TORTILLA CHIPS...Good quality!)
4 to 6 cups cooked turkey meat, shredded
1 or 2 firm-ripe avocados
6 scallions, chopped
2 jalapeños, thinly sliced
1 small bunch cilantro, leaves and tender stems, roughly chopped
Lime wedges.


1. Heat vegetable oil in a heavy-bottomed soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion, celery and carrot and let soften, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes.
2. Toast the cumin, coriander and peppercorns in a small dry skillet over medium-high heat until fragrant, about 1 minute, then grind in a spice mill or mortar (or dedicated coffee grinder.) Add the ground spices to the pot, along with the garlic, cinnamon, a pinch of cayenne and salt.
3. Add the broth and bring to a boil, then reduce to a brisk simmer. Cook for 15 minutes, then taste for salt and adjust. Keep hot, covered, over very low heat.
4. If you aren't using premade tortilla chips, pour vegetable oil to a depth of 1/2 inch into a wide skillet over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot and looks wavy, add the tortilla strips and fry until barely colored, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove with tongs and drain on paper towels. Sprinkle lightly with salt. (The oil may be strained and saved for future frying.)
5. In a medium saucepan, heat the shredded turkey meat with a little of the hot soup. Divide the meat among 4 to 6 soup bowls and add a few slices of avocado to each. Ladle about 1 cup soup into each bowl, then garnish with tortilla strips, scallions, jalapeño slices, chopped cilantro and a generous squeeze of lime juice.
Yield: 4 to 6 large servings.

Pumpkin Orange Mascarpone Pie

Thanksgiving approacheth.  And while we all have our favorites and tradition does not allow us to stray much from the set menu that we have used for years, I offer you my favorite pumpkin pie from Sunset Magazine.  It is a pie with depth.  With character.  With serious OMG flavor.  With mascarpone cheese, a hint of orange flavor and a gingersnap (brilliant!) crust.  This will kick your regular old pumpkin pie in a pastry crust to the curb...I promise you.

And you can make it in advance.  Which ups the usefulness quotient by one hundred thousand for me...and hopefully for you.

Total: 1 Hour, 20 Minutes


  • 2 cups finely crushed gingersnap crumbs (about 32 gingersnaps)
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted 
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature 
  • 8 ounces mascarpone cheese (thank you Trader Joes, for carrying this item all the time!)
  • 2/3 cup plus 2 tbsp. sugar 
  • 3 eggs 
  • 1 can pumpkin purée (15 oz.)
  • 2 teaspoons orange-flavored liqueur, such as Grand Marnier
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly grated orange zest 
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest 
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg 
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt 
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup crème fraîche


1. Preheat oven to 325°. In a 10-in. pie pan, stir together gingersnap crumbs with melted butter and press into a crust. Bake until set, about 6 minutes. Set aside.
2. Increase heat to 350°. Beat cream cheese, mascarpone, and 2/3 cup sugar in a large bowl until smooth. Add eggs one at a time, beating for 30 seconds after each egg. Add pumpkin, 1 tsp. orange liqueur, citrus zests, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and salt. Mix until smooth.
3. Pour filling into crust and bake until edges are firm but center still jiggles a bit, 45 to 50 minutes (bake any extra filling in ramekins). Cool to room temperature, then chill at least 6 hours and up to overnight.
4. When ready to serve, beat cream, crème fraîche, and remaining 2 tbsp. sugar and 1 tsp. orange liqueur in a large bowl until soft peaks form. Serve pie with orange whipped cream.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Roasted Sweet Potatoes

Jeff was out of town this week, which left me to cook whatever caught my fancy (as long as the children were adequately mollified by some random pasta dish.)  One night it was a head of roasted cauliflower, another it was leftover lamb shank with dilled rice and lima beans from Raffi's Place in Glendale.  Tonight, it was sweet potato.  Yup. Sweet potato for dinner.  Not as a side (though, that would certainly work for those who desire a more balanced meal) but as the main attraction.  And it was good.  Great, even. Which, of course, is why I bother to share it with you.

It is adapted from Yotam Ottolenghi's new book, Jerusalem.  I have been waiting for this book to come out since his other tome, Plenty, makes me plenty happy in a vegetarian sort of way.  And it is the first recipe that I have seen on the internet (oh, the internet makes me so happy sometimes!)

I used a purple sweet potato which just happened to be lying around my house (because I have that kind of house with random ingredients,) but any color will work.  Without further ado, I bring you:  Dinner (or Side Dish.)

Yield: 6 servings 
Cook Time: 25 minutes

  • 4 medium sweet potatoes (about 2¼ pounds) (the recipe doesn't specify that you peel them, but the photo in the book looks like they are peeled, so I did it.)

    3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

    2 teaspoons flaky sea salt (such as Maldon) (I actually just used kosher...totally ok.)

    Freshly ground black pepper

    2 tablespoons plus 2½ teaspoons balsamic vinegar

    1½ tablespoons granulated sugar

    12 scallions--white and light green parts only, stalks halved lengthwise, then sliced crosswise into 1½-inch segments

    1 Fresno chile (or another small, mild red chile), thinly sliced crosswise (I could only find a red jalepeno, so I seeded it and it was fine...not too hot.)

    6 ripe figs, quartered (optional) (this was not in my fridge tonight, so no figs for me...)

    1. Preheat the oven to 475°. Halve the sweet potatoes lengthwise, then slice each half lengthwise into thirds. On a rimmed baking sheet, place the sweet potato wedges and season with 2½ tablespoons olive oil, the salt and some ground black pepper. Toss to combine and arrange the wedges skin side down. Roast until soft and dark around the edges (but not mushy), 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from the oven, set aside to cool, then arrange on a platter.

    2. In a small saucepan set over high heat, add the balsamic vinegar and sugar and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until thick, 2 to 4 minutes. Once the vinegar looks slightly runnier than honey, remove it from the heat (it will continue to thicken as it cools; stir in a drop of water if it is too thick to drizzle).

    3. In a medium nonstick skillet set over medium heat, add the remaining ½ tablespoon olive oil. Once the oil is hot, after 1 to 2 minutes, add the scallions and sliced chile. Fry until the scallions are browned and frizzled, stirring often so they don’t burn, 3 to 5 minutes (I actually cooked it at medium heat for about 7 minutes without it turning brown.) Spoon the scallion-chile mixture over the sweet potatoes. Add the figs, if using, then drizzle with the balsamic reduction. 

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Fresh Tuna Salad

Yes, it is still hot in Los Angeles and though I was foolish enough to heat the oven to 500 degrees to get some pizzas going last week (another blog post on that, coming soon!), I really tried to make things as cool as possible.  Hence, this really fabulous looking and eating Nicoise Salad from Thomas Keller's Ad Hoc at Home cookbook.  The Ad Hoc cookbook is in coffee table size huge.  And even though I generally go for function over form when it comes to cookbooks, this is a pretty good one.  The recipes aren't IMPOSSIBLE (where, oh where, do I find corn fungus or freekeh?) and the pictures are glossy and inspirational.  

Trader Joes and a decent fish market are your best friends for this dish, though you can get everything from just about any ol' market.  Just make sure your fish is sushi grade (thank you, ubiquitous Japanese markets around West LA.)  It is definitely company worthy, but totally worth making for you and whatever other members of your family will eat it.

1 lb trimmed center cut tuna loin (4 x 4 x 2 block if possible)
3 heads Bibb lettuce (or you could use another delicate lettuce like the butter lettuce package from Trader Joes)
3/4 c Canola oil
2 Tbl Dijon mustard
1/4 c. red wine vinegar
6 oz haricort verts (skinny french green beans, again available at TJ's)
bowl of ice water
4 oz cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 c pitted kalamata olives
4  eggs
tarragon leaves (tasty, but the dish will work without it)
chervil (yep, this is one of those ingredients I just left out...where on earth do you find chervil?)


1.  Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil and dump in the haricort verts for a couple of minutes, until bright green. Drain and put in ice water for 5 minutes or so until cool.  Drain again and put aside.  Get more ice water ready for the eggs.

2. Put the eggs into a pot of cold water and bring to a simmer over medium high heat.  Cook for 4 minutes once water is simmering.  Transfer the eggs to the ice water to stop them from cooking further.

3.  Make the dressing:  combine canola oil, red wine vinegar and dijon mustard in a small jar...shake, shake, shake like a polaroid picture.  

The above steps can be done ahead of time.  You don't have to use all of it in one salad...use your will stay in the fridge for more salads of any sort during the week.

4.  Season the tuna on all sides with kosher salt and pepper.  Heat some canola oil over a frying pan and when it is really hot, add the tuna.  Turn the tuna when the bottom has cooked through (you can see it on the ends) and continue to cook until the top has cooked through.  Remove the tuna from the pan and drain on paper towels.  Slice tuna into 1/2 slices.

5.  Assemble the salad:  Toss the lettuce with some of the dressing and add kosher salt and pepper.  Cut the haricort verts in half and add to salad along with tomatoes, olives, peeled eggs cut in quarters, and cut up avocado.  Taste and add salt and pepper to taste.  Place tuna on top and add tarragon, if using.


Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Gazpacho! Gesundheit....

It has been hot all over.  Yeah, the rest of the country has been making headlines all summer and I know that corn has been withering all over the Midwest like nobody's business.  But when the temps go high in West Los Angeles, it is especially brutal as many of the older homes don't have any air conditioning.  So what is a girl to do? Make gazpacho, of course!

This recipe is adapted from Thomas Keller of French Laundry/Ad Hoc fame and the best part about it is that you rough chop all of the vegetables, put them in the blender with tomato juice, DON'T BLEND and stick it in the refrigerator all day or overnight.  When you get home, pull it out, blitz the daylights out of it, pour it in a mug/bowl/dainty tea cup with roses and dinner is ready. If you are feeling especially fancy, you can chop up avocado and add that on top.  You will have about 1 1/2 quarts of soup.


1 cup chopped red onions
1 cup chopped green bell pepper (I don't even LIKE green peppers, but still good in this soup.)
1 cup chopped English cucumber (I used Persian Cucumbers...I live in Westwood after all!)
1 cup peeled and chopped tomatoes (You could use canned, but it is summer and what is summer but tomato heaven?  Slice a shallow X into the bottoms of tomatoes, drop in boiling water, wait 30 seconds or so, pull them out, drop them in an ice bath and slip the skins off...this is the HARDEST part of the soup.)
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped garlic
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/4 cup tomato paste
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
3 cups tomato juice
Sprig of thyme

In a large bowl, mix together the red onions, green bell pepper, English cucumber, tomatoes, garlic, salt, cayenne, tomato paste, white wine vinegar, olive oil, lemon juice, tomato juice and thyme. Cover and refrigerate overnight. The next day, remove the thyme (yeah, I totally forgot to do this removal worse for the wear)  and blend the soup in a blender until it is smooth.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Mexican Corn Salad with Salmon (or Shrimp)

Sometimes we (and when I say "we," I really just mean "I) just get lazy.  We make great food, but forget to take a picture or we put the "recipe to blog" on a to do list that never gets done.  Or we start a blog entry with said good food and get interrupted and never quite get back to it.  So many reasons, so little time.  But I happened to bring a corn salad with salmon to my Friends of Westwood Library board meeting and people really liked it and requested the recipe.  Luckily, I had the forethought to have snapped a photo with my trusty iPhone (no fancy food styling photos for me!) and I had a few minutes to put this entry together.

I made the salad for my camping trip last weekend (sans the salmon....just served some TJ's carne asada with tortillas and the salad) and was so happy that there were enough corn salad leftovers for me to scarf down the next day for a pre dinner snack.  And while it is called "Mexican," that seems to merely be a function of the lime and jalapeño doesn't come off that specific in flavor.  Which is why I paired it with a simple seared and flaked salmon for the meeting.  But I think sauteed or grilled shrimp would be equally delicious.

And considering the insane amount of pork product that I ate on the camping trip (scrambled eggs cooked in bacon fat and laced with andouille sausage, anyone?) this seemed like a nice antidote to start the week off on a better foot, healthy heartwise.

I adapted the recipe from a fab blog called Serious Eats.

  • Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 4 ears fresh corn, shucked,  (I use a pie tin to catch the kernels as I slice them vertically off the cob.)
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise (I was tempted to disregard this as I am not a big mayo fan, but it really really works well.)
  • 2 ounces feta or cotija cheese, finely crumbled..I have also used queso fresco cheese
  • 1/2 cup finely sliced scallion greens
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves, finely chopped (I have omitted this as not everyone is a big cilantro fan, but if I were making it just for me and Jeff, I would go nuts on this one.)
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and stemmed, finely chopped (doesn't end up that spite of the whole pepper chopped.)
  • 1 to 2 medium cloves garlic, pressed or minced on a microplane grater (about 1 to 2 teaspoons)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh juice from 1 lime
  • Chili powder or hot chili flakes, to taste


  1.  Heat oil in a large non-stick skillet or wok over high heat until shimmering. Add corn kernels, season to taste with salt, toss once or twice, and cook without moving until charred on one side, about 2 minutes. Toss corn, stir, and repeat until charred on second side, about 2 minutes longer. Continue tossing and charring until well charred all over, about 10 minutes total. Transfer to a large bowl.

 2.   Add mayonnaise, cheese, scallions, cilantro, jalapeño, garlic, lime juice, and chili powder and toss to combine. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and more chili powder to taste. Add flaked seared salmon or shrimp.  Serve immediately.  Eat and get seconds.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Chickpea Saute with Swiss Chard and Greek Yogurt

Those of you lucky enough to have seen my Facebook feed the other day (or unlucky, if you get bugged by constant status updates involving food porn) saw this delicious looking veggie type dish that I had made for lunch.  I found the recipe in Yotam Ottolenghi's amazingly gorgeous cookbook, Plenty.  This book is a fantastic collection of Mediterranean-ish recipes that just happen to be vegetarian.  My copy has plenty of drool marks as the photos just inspire such a salivatory response.

The notes in the recipe suggest that if Swiss chard is not available, you can use a combination of arugula and spinach.  But right now, there is plenty of chard around. Just make this one soon. I'm telling you, I wanted very much to lick the bowl when I was done. It was that good.


3/4 lb Swiss chard
1/3 c olive oil (I used 1/4 cup to no ill effect)
4 medium carrots, diced
1 tsp caraway seeds
1 1/2 c cooked chickpeas (yup, the can will do nicely here..just drain and rinse)
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 tbsp chopped mint
1 tbsp chopped cilantro
1 tbsp lemon juice
salt and pepper
1/2 c Greek yogurt
1 tbsp olive oil


Separate the stalks from the Swiss chard leaves.  Blanch the stalks in lots of salted boiling water for 3 minutes.  Add the leaves and continue cooking for another 2 minutes.  Drain everything, rinse under cold water and squeeze dry.  Chop roughly.

Heat a large skillet with olive oil and saute carrots and caraway seeds for 5 minutes over medium heat.  Add the chard and chickpeas and cook for 6 minutes more.  Add the garlic, herbs, lemon juice and salt and pepper.  Remove from heat and check seasonings.

Just before serving, mix the yogurt, olive oil and some salt and pepper.  Put the veggies in a bowl and spoon the yogurt over.  If you want to get fancy in the presentation, sprinkle it with more pepper and a few drops of olive oil.


Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Quinoa Patties

It is Passover.  And while I am not the most kosher keeping person (just how many shrimp recipes do I have on this blog?) I always feel a little bit better when I can stray from my usual glutenous palate and stay wheat free for at least one of these eight days.  I have been meaning to make this particular recipe for a few weeks and when husband left town for a few days, I took advantage of the situation by concentrating on recipes he might be reluctant to try.

I pulled this recipe from a blog called eatingwelllivingthin, which focuses on recipes limiting carbs, calories and fun in general.  While I am never a fan of substituting nonfat anything or fake sugar where the real ingredient will do, this recipe stays true to real food.  I jacked up the spices a bit in the version below, and the salt a lot...but I do love my salt!  So play with it.  I also didn't bother to measure out the two rounded cups..I just mixed everything into however much quinoa comes from one cup uncooked.

The true test was the friend who came by to drop off her daughter so the girls could go to a UCLA softball game.  First she commented on the yummy smell when she walked in, then she split a patty with her daughter and then she gladly took some home for dinner.


rounded cups cooked quinoa (see note below for cooking instructions)

3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese (or other variety, if you prefer)
1/2 cup low-fat cottage cheese
1 medium carrot, finely grated 
3 eggs
3 tablespoons all purpose flour
2 green onions, including white parts
1 /2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
Olive oil for frying

To cook quinoa:
1 cup uncooked quinoa
2 cups water
1/2 teaspoon salt
  • In a medium saucepan bring the 2 cups water and 1/2 teaspoon salt to a boil over high heat.  Add quinoa and reduce heat to low.  Cover and cook for 18-20 minutes, or until all water is absorbed and the seeds are tender.  Allow to cool for a few minutes.
  • In a large bowl combine the cooked quinoa, cheddar cheese, cottage cheese, carrot, eggs, flour, green onions, sugar, pepper, cumin, salt, and garlic powder.
  • (To help them stay in patty form and not fall apart, I cook them on med-low slowly so they have longer to set-up without burning.  Makes them easier to flip, too.)  Heat a frying pan and a couple teaspoons olive oil over medium-low heat.  Mixture will be slightly sticky, so using a 1/4 cup measuring cup, drop mixture into pan and lightly flatten to 1/2 inch thick.  Fry until golden-brown, about 4 minutes on each side.   Makes approx. 10 burgers.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Shrimp with Kale and Shitakes

This wonderful recipe came from Carolyn Cope, author of the Umami Girl blog.  It is very umami, indeed, with the shitakes, soy and shrimp doing their umami-ish thing and the kale going along for a little trendy veggie cred.  And it is so good that husband, when told of this dinner, started squawking (righteous indignation against kale) but promptly quieted down and finished his dinner happily.  

Please splurge on the shitakes and don't settle for criminis or other button mushrooms unless you have no choice...the shitakes really add the meaty quality that makes this dish sing.  If you can't find the lacinato kale, you could try another kind, but it will be more bitter.  And don't use bagged have to get those stems off. 


  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 pound shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and thinly sliced 
  • 6 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 bunches Lacinato (black) kale, stemmed and chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 1/2 pounds shrimp, peeled and cleaned
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream (optional and I used about 2 Tbsp instead of the full amount)


1.  Melt the butter over medium-high heat in a wide frying pan. Add the onion and shiitakes and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for one minute.

2.  Add the kale by the handful and cook, stirring occasionally, until wilted and almost tender, about 3 minutes. Push the vegetables to the sides of the pan to make room for the shrimp. Then add the shrimp and cook, stirring occasionally , until not quite opaque, about 3 minutes.

3.  Add the soy sauce, wine, and cream if using, and cook until sauce has thickened slightly, 2 to 3 minutes. Serve immediately.

Serves 4.  

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Sweet Breakfast Quinoa

For years and years and years it was cereal as breakfast for me.  When I started hitting the gym in the morning, I finally realized why people drink their breakfast instead of eat it.  So a blueberry banana protein shake became the new morning routine.  But on the weekends, with no gym plan in the works, I wanted something a little different.  Tired of the cereal, loving the eggs (but who can eat them every single weekend,) I saw this recipe, scrounged the cupboard for the ingredients, got busy and fell in love....with my breakfast.

The most important part of this meal is the ricotta...without it, it is just sweet mushpaste.  But the ricotta elevates it to a super happy, this is not your mother's oatmeal kind of place.  And, no, my kids wouldn't touch it.  But now I have an inkling as to why.

Not super low fat (especially if you put in twice as much ricotta...yum,) but high in protein and iron and unlike cereal or even oatmeal for that matter, I stay full until lunchtime (a miracle!)  This recipe is adapted from Jill Donenfeld of Food & Wine.

You can make half a recipe, or you can make it all and store the leftovers to be heated up the next morning (well, don't reheat the ricotta, please.  That would be disgusting.)


  1. 1 cup red quinoa, rinsed
  2. 2 cups water
  3. 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  4. 1/4 cup slivered almonds
  5. 1/2 cup dried apricots, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  6. 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  7. 1/2 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
  8. 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  9. 1/4 cup fresh ricotta


  1. In a small saucepan, cover the quinoa with the water and bring to a boil. Cover and cook over low heat until the water has been absorbed and the quinoa is tender, about 15 minutes. Lightly fluff the quinoa with a fork and cover it again.
  2. In a medium skillet, heat the olive oil. Add the almonds and cook over moderate heat, stirring a few times, until golden brown, about 2 minutes. Add the apricots, maple syrup, orange zest and cinnamon and stir well until heated through.
  3. Add the quinoa to the skillet and stir gently to incorporate the almonds and apricots. Top each portion of quinoa with a tablespoon of ricotta and serve.
MAKE AHEAD The recipe can be made through Step 1 and refrigerated for up to 5 days. Reheat as needed or serve cold.
NOTES One Serving 311 cal, 44 gm carb, 11 gm fat, 2 gm sat fat, 10 gm protein, 4 gm fiber.