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Posts Tagged ‘recipe’

Raw kale salad

Posted by eemilla on April 27, 2013

While I love kale I never thought I would want to eat it raw until I saw this recipe at Use Real Butter.  I didn’t immediately make it, but then I failed to make anything for a potluck so this salad fit the bill as we had everything aside from the almonds.  I decided to sub pepitas as they are much cheaper and still tasty.  The second time I made this I used bottled orange juice rather than fresh, and it was just fine.  The only failed version involved  lacinato kale; I love it cooked, but it was too dense and bitter for my tastes uncooked.


kale salad

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Swiss Buttercream, you’ve broken my heart one too many times.

Posted by eemilla on February 21, 2013

Spurred by memories of my honey’s delicious homemade coconut cake last year as well as Short Street Cakes’ delightful version, I caved to impulse and purchased some coconuts at the Coop a few months back.

I used Alton Brown’s cake recipe which my husband did so well with, and Smitten Kitchen’s Swiss buttercream which I had previously done so well with.  This cake is crazy labor intensive, and it is really is a really special occasion cake (unless you just happen to love working your tail off in the kitchen for hour upon hour).  My husband tried the 7 Minute Frosting provided by Alton Brown, but it was an utter disaster so my Swiss Buttercream saved the day.  However, the two attempts since my first attempt have been hideously sweet and greasy.  Maybe one day I’ll get the courage to try it again.

coconut draining

peeled coconut

shredded coconut



coconut cake

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Crepes sans a non stick pan

Posted by eemilla on January 6, 2013

I love crepes, both savory and sweet, but I was frequently frustrated trying to make them without a non-stick pan.  I don’t like non-stick pans because they’re too high maintenance not to mention their questionable safety especially when you fail to perfectly maintain them.

With my most recent attempt, I conceded and used the non-stick pan my husband insisted on purchasing.  I tried our large cast iron skillet and our aluminum saute pan, and below is a pathetic result juxtaposed to crepes from the non-stick pan.


I began my quest for a crepe pan online, and I was irritated by how much they sell for.  Even the lower priced ones seemed too expensive (especially when you factor shipping) not to mention too large and sometimes even non-stick.  I found a 6″ cast iron pan at a kitchen box store for less than $10, and I’ve made beautiful crepes ever since (although an inch or two larger pan would be ideal).

crepe and the pan

I found my recipe on Smitten Kitchen who adapted it from Alton Brown.


2 large eggs
1.25 cup water
1 cup flour
3 tablespoons oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
Butter or oil, for coating the pan

Mix the flour and salt.  In a large measuring cup, measure your water then whisk in the eggs and oil.  Place the crepe batter in a covered bowl in the refrigerator for one hour or up to 48 hours.  To make pouring into the pan easier I like to use my spouted bowl.

Heat your pan over medium high heat. Heat your oven to 180F and leave a cookie sheet or broiling rack in the oven to store your cooked crepes and to keep them warm until you’re ready to serve.  Add oil to coat. Pour a couple tablespoons of batter into the center of the pan and swirl to spread evenly. Cook until firm enough to flip. Cook for another 10 seconds. Keep your cooked crepes warm in the oven until you are done cooking all of the batter then fill before serving.

I typically fill these with savory toppings, but they tasted great with chocolate hazelnut spread on Christmas morning.

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graham crackers

Posted by eemilla on February 13, 2012

We started attempting to feed LB purees around six months, but she hasn’t been a fan (sweet potatoes, pears, butternut squash, and avocado all failed).  We have had more success with chunkier servings of avocado and carrots.  A friend mailed us a baby food cookbook so our first recipe from it was for a cousin’s Christmas present as she (well her mom) asked for snack foods.  I saw the graham crackers, and I wanted to try them myself plus I figured they’d be as wholesome as most available prepared snack foods.  The recipe from the book required some tweeking as both times I followed it, my dough was more like drop cookie dough rather than anything one might roll and cut.

1.25 c graham or whole wheat flour
1.25 c all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
.25 c butter
.5 c honey
.25 c soy milk
Preheat oven to 400F. Combine dry then cut in butter until dough has consistency of cornmeal.  Mix in milk. If dough is too sticky and soft to roll add more flour.  Roll out on a liberally floured surface to a .25″ thickness.  Cut into desired shapes then prick with a fork.  Bake on ungreased baking sheets for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown.  Allow to cool a couple of minutes on the sheet then remove cookies to a cooling rack.
For vegan cookies use 1 c each of the flours then .25 c of a bland oil like canola, and .25-.5c raw sugar; it is possible that the dough may require a bit more flour as with the non vegan recipe.
snowmen graham crackers

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Fun with Fusion

Posted by eemilla on November 13, 2011

My love for fried potatoes has been mentioned before but rather than bother with making dough for samosas, I decided to make latkes and add some frozen peas then serve with red lentil/masoor dal for a quick and easy dinner.

For the dal, I diced the leftover latke onion and cooked it over medium high with a bit of sunflower oil; I then added some diced garlic and ginger.

cooking onions, garlic, and ginger plus spices

After that had cooked a few minutes I toasted some cumin, coriander, and methi/fenugreek seeds in the center of the pan then I stirred in the picked over lentils and allowed them to cook for a minute or two.

red lentils

Once everything was smelling tasty I added enough stock to cover the lentils and allowed to cook about ten minutes until the stock was absorbed.  I added maybe half a cup of water then allowed them to cook another five to ten followed by one more half cup or so of water and a final five minutes so that they were thoroughly cooked.

cooked red lentils

I finished by removing the dal from the heat and pureeing it with my immersion blender.  While the dal was cooking, I shredded the potatoes and half a large onion then beat an egg and combined the veggies with the flour and egg and salt.

latke batter with peas

Then I put a fried a heaping tablespoon worth of batter in a thin layer of oil in my cast iron skillet.  We ate these hot with hot dal, and they fulfilled my craving for samosas and fried potatoes.

dal and latkes

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Posted by eemilla on March 28, 2010

I’ve been laying low as we’ve had to reduce our budget a bit thanks to the general winter slowness combined with a few unexpected budgetary hurdles. We have been cooking so I’m going to share the new things we’ve eating over the past couple months.

I asked my husband to make some vegetarian “sushi” rolls, which were great, but my favorite part of the meal was the hijike and edamame salad.

veg sushi hijike salad

For a more seasonally fitting dish, I made some barley risotto with purple kale and parsnips. I was disappointed when the luscious purple cooked right out of the kale, but the final result was stick to your ribs goodness. My recipe comes from Deb at Smitten Kitchen, and I made it again last week this time using roasted butternut squash and sweet potatoes with lentils.  In an effort to reduce pots, I added the lentils to the barley about half way through the stock, and I ended up using about another half a cup of stock, although I think it would’ve been better with another entire cup of stock.  I also used red wine in lieu of the white wine, and of course I used veggie stock instead of chicken stock (my stock is not reduced sodium, and I didn’t find it too salty).  Finally I didn’t add any butter, although I did add some pre-shredded parmesan that we had in the refrigerator right before serving.

purple kale

At some point we became the proud owner of a massive restaurant sized jar of Lusty Monk Mustard, so for the Super Bowl party I made pretzels from Smitten Kitchen.  Unfortunately, they stuck to the waxed paper which I thought was non-stick so they weren’t terribly pretty after I baked them, but they were rather tasty especially since they were not overly salty.

risen pretzel poaching pretzels pretzel with mustard

Next my husband made me fall in love with brussel sprouts (although my first encounter at La Gavroche a few years ago planted a seed) by cooking them with a bit of butter, white wine, salt, pepper, and garlic in a lidded casserole dish at 350F for thirty to forty minutes.

brussels and butter

Nostalgia brings me to pancakes and biscuits; I’ve started eating pancakes for Sunday breakfast, which is something my father used to cook for the family, and it is one of the few fond memories I have of him. My pancakes don’t have any butter in the batter, and I use some whole wheat flour along with the all purpose flour; the biggest differences, however, are the syrup, milk, and raisins. My favorite drink as a child was whole milk (unless we were eating out where I would have some soda as Mom didn’t allow soda at home), and I hated real maple syrup and fruit in my pancakes or waffles or desserts.  I don’t drink milk any longer (although I cook with dairy), and my taste buds crave maple syrup from the moment the batter hits the pan until my first bite.

Pancakes (yield six large pancakes)

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • .5 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1.5 teaspoons baking powder
  • .5 teaspoon salt
  • 1.5 cups almond milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • .25 cup raisins


  • Heat a skillet over medium-high heat
  • Whisk the dry ingredients together and set aside.
  • Beat the eggs and the milk
  • Pour the wet over the dry and whisk just until combined
  • Add enough oil to grease the pan then add the batter and cook until small bubbles form then flip and cook for another few minutes

Pancakes are easy and quick, so I ignored my biscuit cravings. Buying a jar of honey for hot toddies was the straw that broke my will. That taste brought to mind my mom rolling out the dough, pulling hot, misshapen biscuits from the oven, and beating honey and butter together to be spread over the fresh biscuits. I pulled out her recipe and made a quarter batch of the mix then added water (or maybe almond milk), shortening, and butter and rolled them out and cut them with a drinking glass just like Mom used to do.  I followed Alton Brown’s advice to indent the center which helped my biscuits rise evenly.  My honey has requested another batch twice so he can eat some with grits and gravy, but so far I’ve had other uses for saturated fat.  I would post the recipe, but I cannot recall how much or which liquid I used.

biscuits ready for the oven hot biscuit honey biscuits

Last year I tried to make car bomb cupcakes (from my favorite baking site, Smitten Kitchen, but my efforts were foiled by impatience.  This year I knew to allow the cakes to cool completely in the pan before attempting to remove them (I waited a good thirty to forty five minutes).  I made some amendments to the ingredients so I’ve listed my recipe below, but I followed Deb’s method.  Next time I make these, I’m going to find another frosting as this was too sweet for me, and I even stayed on the conservative side of the sugar measurement.

Car Bomb Cupcakes

  • 1 cup of stout
  • 1 cup of butter
  • .75 cup cocoa unsweetened powder
  • 1 tablespoon instant coffee
  • 1.5 cups all purpose flour
  • .5 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1.5 cups sugar
  • 1.5 teaspoons baking soda
  • .75 teaspoons salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • .67 cup of plain yogurt
  • 8 oz bittersweet chocolate
  • .67 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons butter (at room temperature)
  • 2 tablespoons Irish whiskey
  • 3 cups confectioners sugar
  • .5 cup butter
  • .25 cup Irish cream (Baileys is my choice)

Cupcake Preparation

  • Preheat oven to 350°F and line 24 cupcake cups with liners.
  • Bring beer and butter to simmer in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add cocoa and instant coffee and whisk until mixture is smooth. Cool slightly
  • Whisk remaining dry ingredients in large bowl to blend.
  • Beat eggs and yogurt in another large bowl to blend. Stir stout-chocolate mixture into egg mixture until just combined.
  • Fold dry into wet until completely combined.
  • Divide batter among cupcake liners, filling them 2/3 to 3/4 (Note: I have twelve silicone liner so I made some cupcakes and a small cake in a pound cake pan.)
  • Bake cakes until tester inserted into center comes out clean, rotating them once front to back if your oven bakes unevenly, about 17 minutes.
  • Cool cupcakes on a rack completely (Note: I allowed over thirty minutes because these will break if you try to remove them early).
  • With a 1″ cookie cutter core the cupcakes, being careful to puncture the bottom (Note: I made the opposite mistake and didn’t take out enough cake which meant the ganache wasn’t distributed as evenly as it should have been; also I used a butter knife and a quarter teaspoon to take out the centers).
  • Pipe the ganache into the wells of the cupcakes (Note: I dropped the ganache in with a spoon.)
  • Pipe the frosting on top
  • These store fine in an airtight container for a week in the refrigerator, but they serve best at room temperature.
  • For the cake I used the ganache as a topping along with the frosting.

Ganache Preparation

  • Chop the chocolate and transfer it to a heatproof bowl.
  • Heat the cream until simmering and pour it over the chocolate.
  • Let it sit for one minute and then stir until smooth. (If this has not sufficiently melted the chocolate, you can return it to a double-boiler to gently melt what remains.)
  • Add the butter and whiskey and stir until combined.  Set aside to allow to firm up.

Frosting Preparation

  • Whip the butter for several minutes. You want to get it very light and fluffy. Slowly add the powdered sugar, a few tablespoons at a time.
  • When the frosting looks thick enough to spread, drizzle in the Baileys (or milk) and whip it until combined. If this has made the frosting too thin (it shouldn’t, but just in case) beat in another spoonful or two of powdered sugar.

cored cupcakes car bomb cake bisected cupcake

Now that spring is here I cannot wait to break ground on the garden; we’re also getting ready for our festival of the season, the French Broad River Festival. I cannot wait to get down to James McMurtry, Larry Keel, and the the Trainwreks among others!

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Fennel Onion Tart

Posted by eemilla on January 9, 2010

SmittenKitchen gave me the perfect tart recipe because I had everything aside from enough fennel seeds on hand; the onion tart with fennel and mustard was so easy to throw together the morning before Christmas lunch, and I think it’s going to be my 2010 party recipe.  I did heap on more fennel seeds (a tablespoon plus) and cheese (emmentaler in lieu of parmesan) than the recipe called for, although the increased cheese was inadvertent and disappointing the increased fennel seeds were not.  I also thinned out the mustard with a tablespoon of stock because I was using the hellishly hot Lusty Monk mustard.  The final product provided just a hint of the mustard’s bite, and the fennel provided a sweetish counterpoint.

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Smitten Kitchen Cakes

Posted by eemilla on November 8, 2009

My first SmittenKitchen baking attempt was a disaster; I thought Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes would be perfect for St Patrick’s Day, considering my love of Jameson, Bailey’s, and stout beer, but my attempt ended up severely stuck the silicone (i.e. notoriously non stick) cups.  However, I was determined to enjoy some of the delicious cakes I’ve seen since I started reading her site.  My second recipe was chosen by my husband for his birthday in August (although I ended up making the cake a few weeks later).  Thankfully he chose a single layer affair without any fancy decorations.  The results were delightful and sentimental (it tasted so much like a torte from the old, but now defunct, Old Europe that I used to eat on our early dates).  This cake was easy, but it tasted like a professional effort.  It is definitely one of my favorite cakes for both its appearance and taste.

Hazelnut Brown Butter Cake

For our third legal anniversary, we pondered and agonized over several delectable cakes, and we ended up with the Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake.  The original recipe is for a three layer cake, but I only have two round pans so I made two layers and some cupcakes.  Although I tried to eyeball it, the batter distribution between the pans wasn’t equal which resulted in one layer being much thicker than the other.  I did not overfill the cupcake tins, but the silicone cups were not again not as non stick as I thought they should be when I purchased them.  I also tweaked the recipe a bit: unsweetened not too smooth peanut butter (in lieu of smooth commercial peanut butter) and an entire cup less of confectioner’s sugar for the frosting (next time I will probably knock it back an additional cup).  Deb at SmittenKitchen provides a page of layer cake tips as well as advice with each recipe that have really helped me make better looking cakes.

3rd Anniversary


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Buns from the oven

Posted by eemilla on August 30, 2009

I’m not someone who has to cook everything from scratch, but I am demanding about my food so if I cannot find an easier substitute then I will make it myself.  Thanks to SmittenKitchen for this lovely light brioche bun recipe.  Although I don’t make many baked goods without subbing out some of the bread or all purpose flour with wheat flour; here though, I only traded 1/4 cup of bread flour out for the whole wheat in order to keep the light in the recipe.  As a result they turned out just like the buns I was buying from a local bakery until they started selling defrosted (and as a result deflated) hoagies.  We used them for phillies, and next time I think I will stretch them out into hoagie rolls.  I will also likely trade another quarter cup of bread for wheat flour.

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Change the World Wednesdays

Posted by eemilla on August 9, 2009

I’ve been slack about posting the Change the World Wednesday Challenges from Reduce Footprints, but this week the challenge involves food.  This week if you are an omnivore then go vegetarian one full day, and if you regularly eat veg then go vegan one full day.  Our household will go vegan as much as possible this week (cheese is something I cannot live without).

My extended family and the other meat eaters in my life seem to get hung up on the “missing” protein and fear of tofu.  Just like chicken that isn’t properly cooked and seasoned, tofu will not taste good.  Another issue with tofu seems to be texture; we use extra firm almost all of the time even for marinara (it gets pureed in with the rest of the veggies using the immersion blender).  To make tofu more firm and chewy, press it to remove excess water (between your hands or with a weight) then freeze it.  My husband also likes to bake it for 30 minutes on 350F in a flavorful liquid then add it to the stir fry or salad.

Earlier this week I threw together a nice fresh little meal of quinoa and baked tofu; I messed up by not making enough for lunch the next day.  We had two servings each for a dinner.  Below is the recipe.

Papaya Quinoa

  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed
  • 1 cup papaya juice (feel to substitute the fruit juice of your choice)
  • .25 cup water
  • 1 pound extra firm tofu
  • 1 tablespoon tamari or soy sauce
  • 2 gloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1″ fresh ginger root, peeled and minced
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 yellow onion, peeled and minced
  • 6 or so leaves of kale, de-stemmed and chopped
  • 4 carrots, peeled and chopped

Preheat the oven to 350F.  Pour the quinoa into a strainer and rinse it for a few minutes to remove the bitter coating (better safe than sorry on the rinsing because if you skimp you will ruin the entire dish; I speak from sad experience).  Move into a medium sized saucepan and toast for a few minutes over medium heat.  While the quinoa is toasting, slice the tofu into four slabs and press the excess water.  Back to the quinoa, add .75 cups of juice and the .25 cup of water to the pan then increase the heat to high and bring to a boil.  Once it boils, stir it once or twice then reduce heat to medium and cover and allow to cook until the liquid is absorbed (twenty or so minutes).  Once done set aside.

In the meantime, place the tofu in a glass baking dish and cover with the rest of the juice, tamari, garlic, and ginger.  Turn the tofu to be sure both sides are exposed to the liquid.  Bake for about thirty minutes, flipping the tofu halfway through.  It is done when it has a nice crust and smells yummy.

After you turn the tofu at the halfway point, heat the oil over medium heat in your favorite skillet (we can’t live without our seasoned cast iron one). Begin preparing and cutting your vegetables then add them as you cut them.  Grind the pepper over the veggies and allow to cook over medium-low.  By the time the kale’s green has brightened, your tofu should be done.  Cube it and add the entire baking dish to the veggies.  Stir in the coriander and the quinoa and serve.


The next vegetable protein I discovered was tempeh.  While it is still a soy protein, it has a solid texture and more of its own flavor (although still very mild).  We usually get the flax seed flavor for its omega-3 punch.  The first tempeh dishes I cooked I just subbed tempeh for tofu in stir fry.  However, I think tempeh lends itself to sandwiches since it comes in nice square or rectangular packages, and I would much rather have tempeh in my burrito than tofu.

Tempeh Sandwich

  • 2 tablespoons miso (I prefer something milder than red, like chickpea or white)
  • 4 tablespoon water
  • 1 tablespoon lemon or lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons tahini
  • 1 pound tempeh
  • 1 teaspoon oil
  • 1-3 cloves garlic
  • eight slices of thick, hearty bread
  • 1 ripe avocado
  • half of a red onion (or less depending on taste)
  • 1 cup spinach

Combine the miso, water, and lemon juice to make a paste.  Stir in the tahini.  This is a riff on a dressing recipe from Miso Master, and I usually don’t measure it but rather taste it.  Slice the tempeh into half crosswise, making two rectangles then divide those into four thinner pieces (like dividing a cake layer).  Cook these in a skillet with oil and garlic until they have a nice crusty exterior or bake or grill them.  Divide all of the ingredients for four sandwiches and assemble them without the miso spread as heat kills the beneficial bacteria in miso.  Toss as many onto a panini press as it will hold and toast the bread for a few minutes.  For our wedding we received a Forman grill which works great as a panini press, but before that I would’ve tossed the sandwich into the skillet and used a spatula and some elbow grease and flipped it to toast both sides.  Once it has been toasted spread the miso spread on the top slice then reassemble and cut diagonally for eating ease.  For a vegetarian option, I love this with manchego.


My most recent vegetable protein find and probably my favorite is seitan.  It is the meatiest of the vegetable proteins, and as such it lends itself to more fine dining applications, although I think it is just perfect in my lentil and peanut butter stir fry and seitan phillies (even without cheese).  The Laughing Seed works magic and turns seitan into soysage, which I think is so similar to grocery store sausage patties from my childhood that they are perfect for someone scared of vegetarian cuisine.  In the winter I make a delicious stew that I envision should be made with game, but between the mushrooms, seitan, rosemary, and red wine there is no need for game.  The Co-op has had some amazing shiitakes for the past few weeks, so for my honey’s birthday I made him the mushroom bourguignon from SmittenKitchen (I didn’t take any photos, though).  With shiitakes being a bit pricey, I added much cheaper seitan to fill the dish out.  Homemade seitan is really easy to make, especially if you purchase the wheat gluten rather than make your own, but unless you have a pan and the storage to make pounds I think it is more cost effective to purchase it.

mushroom bourguignon

mushroom bourguignon from the archives

When thinking about vegetable protein, please don’t limit yourself to the “meat substitutes”.  Lentils, chickpeas, fava beans, mung beans, and quinoa among other grains and beans are fairly good sources of protein with none (or substantially less) of the fat found in animal protein (not to mention the cost benefit).

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