Category Archives: vegetables, fruits, sides

super-blizzard comfort food

the wind has just picked up, right on schedule. we’ve been glued to the Weather News–all the local channels are covering the super snowstorm and we are just holed up at home, keeping warm and watching the snow pile up.
sandwich loaf
from a King Arthur’s Flour recipe which i made before in my trusty bread machine.
to ease my mounting anxious restlessness i made some bread to go along with the little baby bries we got from Trader Joe’s. really tender and mild, you can eat the rind too!
soft and tender brie bites

when it’s cold, it’s perfect for making pastries. this recipe i’ve bookmarked for the longest time, i finally got to attempt. i recommend it highly! a tasty little appetizer treat. my two boys loved them. (daughter’s stuck in the dorm at her university.)
i would make it with stronger cheese next time too, instead of the cheddar and cream cheese.

they were made in muffin cups, and the pastry had to be blind-baked first. i puzzled over it for a while, and came up with the idea of using some muffin cup liners, instead of cutting out parchment circles, then putting the pie weights on before popping them into the preheated oven:
dough-filled, butter-greased muffin cups
blind-baking the little tarts before filling
tomato and cheese tartlets
i imagine a hearty red wine would accompany it very well. keep warm and safe, and make pastries!

roasted pumpkin and pasta

something different, not sweets for my sweets, for a bit of a change.
roasted pumpkin and pasta and cheese
this dish earned the co-starring role to husband’s main dish of wiener schnitzel (or you can co-star it with my pork schnitzel). i love how the pumpkins and sage go together! my sturdy little sage bush in the little patch of herb garden outside–in the frozen arctic air!–still had some soft little baby leaves. must remember: pumpkins and sage, pumpkins and sage.
i think it’s a great winter belly-warmer. just make sure and use a firm-fleshed pumpkin or squash.

2 tbsps. olive oil
1 lb. pumpkin or butternut squash (peeled, seeds removed, and cut into 1-inch cubes)

4 ozs. burrata mozzarella
2 ozs. ricotta cheese
(or just the equivalent of 6 ozs. fresh mozzarella cheese)
4 tbsps. unsalted butter, softened
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tsps. chopped fresh sage leaves, plus extra whole leaves, to serve
grated zest and juice of 1 unwaxed lemon
10 ozs. dried pasta, such us fusilli bucati or cavatappi, (i used penne) about 5 cups
sea salt and fresh ground black pepper

preheat the oven to 400°F.
put the olive oil in a roasting pan and transfer to the oven for 5 minutes, until hot.
add pumpkin/squash to the hot oil in the roasting pan. add salt and pepper and toss to coat. roast for 30 minutes, turning the pumpkin or squash from time to time until tender and golden.

put the mozzarella, ricotta, butter, garlic, sage, lemon zest and juice, salt and pepper in a food processor. work into a coarse paste. transfer to a sheet of wax paper or cling film and roll into a cylinder. chill for at least 20 minutes or until firm enough to slice.
mozzarella butter

prepare pasta according to package directions, to al dente.
drain and return to the warm pan. add the roasted pumpkin or squash. slice or chop the mozzarella butter and add to the pasta.
toss, and top with sage leaves.
(based on a recipe from “easy vegetarian, simple recipes for brunch, lunch and dinner”, pub. Ryland, Peters & Small, ed. Sharon Ashman, 2003.)

zucchini pancakes

you have a bounty of green Italian squash, or zucchini? i envy you! :fryingpan
grated zucchini
i’ve tried growing them but had not much success…the blossoms all fell away from the vine before any harvest. (not good enough to make into stuffed zucchini blossoms even!)
no worries, since they are plentiful at the supermarket, but if you have the wicked awesome good luck of having zucchini in your garden or your friendly neighbors (neither of which we have *sniff*sniff*)…i recommend these zucchini pancakes from the late great (and lamented) Gourmet magazine, August 2002.
take a look at the ingredients list. i mean, i felt healthy just reading that!
zucchini fritters
Continue reading

a la Niçoise salad

egg-tuna-arugula-tomato-olives salad
this is what i hunger for, when i’ve overindulged and i’m feeling guilty. there’s a lot of fun in scrounging around the veggie bin and the pantry shelves, checking for the ingredients, and afterwards i almost feel smug.
just a composition of fresh and green arugula (rocket), solid tuna in olive oil, warm barely-hard-boiled eggs, sliced Kalamata olives, anchovies, tomatoes, and the astringent dressing of balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil fired up with freshly-crushed garlic and cracked black peppercorns.

jai, or Buddha’s delight

==or one fine lucky riot of a dish!
"Buddha's delight"
my kids look forward to this now, our New Year’s dinner of jai. this year, as husband noticed, i “pulled out all the stops!” each ingredient has a special meaning to usher in a lucky welcome for the New Year. i was aiming for 18–
and i did it!…not counting the shredded ginger, or the mashed fermented bean curd cubes in Szechuan oil, and how about the hoisin sauce and the soy sauce for the stir fry.
the vegetables and rehydrated dried ingredients are added in the order of how quickly they soften.

dried oysters
dried shiitake mushrooms
dried bean curd skin
dried bamboo pith
straw mushrooms
water chestnuts
pea pods
baby corn
dried tree ears
dried lily buds
dried mung bean sticks (sotanghon)
sea moss
boiled peanuts
fried firm tofu cubes
tofu puffs
fresh bamboo shoots
napa cabbage

previous recipe here.
bamboo piths *are really mushrooms*bamboo pith, FINALLY located these tucked away high up in the grocery shelves, wonder why?
my MIL used to serve us these with black mushrooms and dried scallops and sometimes chicken gizzards…yummy :drunk:

spinach and artichoke lasagna

“A world without lasagna is a world without love.”–anonymous (but i suspect Garfield)
from “For the love of Lasagna,”
i’ve been going to the charity shop QUITE often, lately. i got so many books, 😆 :goodvibes :yes: :drunk: :bouncy :cheerful: oh yeah i go there for the books. :fryingpan and i picked up a little pamphlet of lasagna recipes.
my kids and i love lasagna but i wanted a change from the usual meat and cheese, or the vegetable and tomato sauce types, that i pounced on the first recipe that made me go hmmmm: spinach and artichoke lasagna made with no-boil dried pasta, and a really lovely ricotta cheese layer. it is served in a little puddle of marinara sauce (it’s okay to use bottled sauce, but homemade would be even more sumptuous).
it truly is the ultimate comfort food–especially for the chilly days being served up to us right now–and maybe eight, no, maybe nine! months more. :faint:

spinach & artichoke lasagna pan
sorry for the photo! it was sliced while still quite hot.
spinach & artichoke lasagna on marinara
here’s the recipe.

cornbread, sweet, Southern-style

it seems like food trucks are the latest trend nowadays, and we sure did get intrigued enough to look for a whole parking-lot’s-worth of them at the SOWA Sundays food fest this past weekend.
big Moe's food truck
when we got there the only truck that whet our appetite was the M&M food truck–it’s our fault, we were there kind of later than we intended–but we were primed to try out M&M’s from word-of-mouth and publicity and hype and hoopla. it’s a veritable institution hereabouts!
M&M spareribs
M&M’s had bbq pork ribs that we had heard about, and stewed collard greens, and cornbread. they serve food hot off the grill/smoker.
aah, but that cornbread! we just had one tiny little tidbit of a mini-cupcake serving that everyone shared. while the ribs were marinated and smoked and slow-roasted in the most luscious way, it was the cornbread that left us hankering for more.
this one’s moist, and rich, yet has a delicate crumb that’s just so suited to a roast beast, be it fowl or mammal. i made a simple chicken gravy to dip with this mellow corn bread–made with roast chicken drippings, broth, and flour for thickening.
roast chicken plate
i thought that i had my favorite recipe already committed to memory/featured in this little scrapbook/blog–i’ve talked about it in a thanksgiving post years ago– but then i found it wasn’t!!! i hadn’t even provided a link properly!
EGAD! sacre bleu! hell’s bells!
so here it is now in all its moist. corny. yellow. bready. glory.
southern style sweet cornbread

sweet cornbread (recipe from Continue reading


i’ve been eating them straight out of the box, washed of course, but i think they’d be just wonderful with cakes and whipped cream…not that i have the go-ahead from the doctors or nurses or nutritionists but i would really really gobble them up like that. amen.
and here’s the current earbug to go with it!

old mother, pock-marked too, cooked tofu

yeah you got that right…old mothers need to eat (or drink) lots of tofu, soy, soy-based products.
here’s one from the book*: pock-marked mother’s tofu “ma po dou fu”….quite easy to make, kids love, and you feel like you’re healing yourself. or something like that.
pock-marked mother's tofu
ground pork, firm tofu cubes, and black beans sauteed with ginger and scallions and sweet rice wine and sprinkled with ground Szechuan pepper…
not much to look at, but really scrumptious over hot steamed rice; for a healthier version use ground turkey or chicken.
*Savoring China, edited by Jacqui Passmore, Williams-Sonoma.

lovely, lovely laing (dried taro leaves stewed in coconut milk)

i thought all along i had a post on laing! it’s a dish of dried gabi leaves stewed in coconut milk and shrimp paste from the Bicol Region
ang laing ni Venus + lobsters
(famous for the use of coconuts and chilies in their cuisine) which i never had at home, but which i first tried at the now-long-gone Filipino Restaurant in Quincy called “The Shuttle Stop.” Aida, the chef served it topped with crab meat, which gave me the idea of topping my version with lobster meat.
i’ve made laing many times, sometimes using shrimp, sometimes just pork, and with the root crop (gabi or taro) itself, but this version made me sit up and take notice. posted by Mga Luto ni Dennis, which he in turn got from the one and only Maria Venus Raj, Ms. Philippines 2010 and fourth runner up in the last Miss Universe contest, it is an easier version to make–down to earth and lovely like Ms. Raj.
there was a hot debate raging after she lost the title, when she seemed to be a clear favorite right from the start.
i only added a few, like four!, bird chilies (siling labuyo) for that extra ooomph, and since i had some leftover grilled baby octopus and fried fish i threw them into the pot as well, and topped with steamed soft-shell lobsters. stewing the cubes of pork belly in the coconut milk seems to be the extra secret step….
thanks to Mr. Dennis Glorioso for sharing the recipe. there are lots more dishes to try over at his kitchen.