Shepherd's Pie is an English casserole typically made with ground beef or lamb and mixed vegetables topped with mashed potatoes and baked. I've made very successful vegetarian versions with faux ground beef, but for this dish I replaced the meat with hearty vegetables - eggplant and zucchini. These veggies plus the parsley, basil and mild purple pepper are some of my last summer vegetables. What better way to welcome fall!
Pumpkin Barley Soup
January 17, 2010
Still have Halloween pumpkins on your front porch? I snatched up two 4-pounders and roasted them this weekend. I took half of one pumpkin to make this hearty, winter-warming soup that's loaded with fiber and low in fat. Then I pureed the other halves and froze them for future use in more soup, bread, cookies, casseroles, etc. I'll probably have enough pumpkin to last me until this Halloween. The soup comes together quickly and makes the house smell lovely with its fall and wintery spices. And I got to cook it in my new fancy pot I got for Christmas from Michael's brother, Patrick, and his girlfriend Meaghan - thanks guys! I chose to puree the soup, but if you cut all the vegetables in uniform pieces, you could certainly keep it chunky.
Sweet and Sour Veggies with Rhubarb
May 13, 2014
I was trying to brainstorm a way to use, now in season, rhubarb in a savory dish. Why should you care about eating rhubarb? It's super low in calories and a particularly good source of Vitamins C and K (K is good for blood clotting and bone health) as well as Calcium (no kidding!)
Thinking about rhubarb's sour profile led me to..."nuclear-red" sweet and sour Chinese take-out! That sounded terrible, so could I remake a veggie version with a more natural sauce? Yes! Instead of sugary ketchup as a base, this one uses plum sauce, adds the bright flavors of garlic and ginger, and sweetens it naturally using the juice from the pineapple can. Add cubed tofu to boost the protein. Brilliant...and ready in less than 30 minutes!
October 14, 2014
I was watching an old "Good Eats" and Alton was cooking popovers. It made me think about the Puffy Pancake my beau's mom makes, which uses a popover-like dough (basically a very wet one). You may also know this as a Dutch Baby. This traditional one is a sweet and sour version with powdered sugar and lemon butter, but with a neutral batter like this, the possibilities are only limited by your own creativity. The first few ideas that come to mind are topping with Sloppy Joes, Pumpkin Chili, Tofu Cacciatore, or Tandoori Vegetables. Bonus nutrition - one serving is "High In" Riboflavin and Thiamin and "Low In" Sodium.
Chef Paul’s Mushroom Salad
July 1, 2014
With permission from one of my instructors at school, Chef Paul, I bring you THE dish that will wow your 4th of July guests. You want evidence of this fact? It's ready in less than 20 minutes, the salt and lemon do the cooking so no sweating over the oven, stove or grill when it's already a million and one out, and did I mention it was created by a chef? BONUS: it's also low in calories, carbs and cholesterol, and high in Vitamin A (thanks to the shallots) and riboflavin (which is good for energy metabolism - thank you, mushrooms).
Grilled Apricot Salad with Basil Oil
June 25, 2014
Stone fruits are in season (that's anything with a pit 'AKA stone' - apricots, plums, peaches, nectarines), and this appetizer salad is just the trick for a hot summer day when you already have the grill going. The basil oil is a light, fresh dressing that compliments the sweetness of the fruit as well as the cheese. It's an extra step to blanch, shock and dry the herbs before whizzing them up with EVOO, but it cuts the bite and keeps them beautifully green. This dish is also super flexible - substitute any stone fruit, any salad green, any nut, any herbs and just about any cheese. Not surprisingly, this salad is low in carbs and cholesterol, and high in Vitamins A and C as well as calcium.
French Caramelized Onion Tart
March 3, 2015
This savory tart is modeled after a version native to Nice in Southern France called Pissaladiere. That one uses anchovies - I sub'd with fresh, in-season asparagus! I also made a whole wheat crust and used vegan butter to boost the fiber and reduce fat. You can actually make this on just about any kind of flatbread, puff pastry or pizza dough. But I think knowing how to make a savory tart dough is a good trick to have up your sleeve because it's easy, inexpensive and the look is quite impressive. By the way, this is what really caramelized onions are - no butter, just time and heat. The sugar and sherry promote that sexy caramel color and add to the sweet-savory flavor (trust me, it's worth the time!) One slice of this tart is a "Good Source" of fiber, vitamin K, thiamin, phosphorus, and magnesium.
Spanish Sweet Pea Soup
January 25, 2009
To continue my shameless promotion of my upcoming cooking class at the Davis Food Co-op on Saturday, February 7th, today's Sunday Serving is a Spanish Sweet Pea Soup. This is not one of the dishes I'm making at the cooking class, but a beautiful, creamy, sweet soup that is easy to make and shows off some of the wonderfully tangy Spanish cheeses. It's also quite high in protein and fiber. If you want to reduce the fat content, simple omit the cheese crisp.
May 16, 2010
In celebration of all the May birthdays in my family (that's me, Rodney, Kathy, Meaghan and Patrick) I have a super fun, get-you-tipsy-without-realizing-it, sparkly cocktail. If you've ever made a mojito at home, you've made simple syrup by dissolving sugar in water. For this drink, we dissolve sugar in fresh-squeezed lemon juice and infuse it with fresh rosemary - ooo, yum! After a few hours of cooling (but if you can't wait you can put it in the fridge), you mix up your simple syrup with vodka and a splash of club soda or seltzer to give it a kick and some fizz. You can make this without vodka, but I wouldn't recommend it. Happy Birthday (or un-Birthday as the case may be)!
November 23, 2008
Gruyere Pumpkin is, in effect, a bread pudding baked right into a sugar pie pumpkin. So easy to assemble, you can sit back and drink some wine with friends as the pumpkin cooks for two hours. Don't forget to save the seeds, and roast them for a yummy snack!
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