Wednesday, September 24, 2008

HG's Topless Cherry Pie

(1 slice; 1/8th of pie: 90 calories, 2.5g fat, 105mg sodium, 21.5g carbs, 7g fiber, 4g sugars, 1.5g protein = 1 Point)

This is a must-bake for cherry pie lovers EVERYWHERE!

2 cups Fiber One bran cereal
3 tbsp. light whipped butter
2 tbsp. Egg Beaters, Original
1 tbsp. cornstarch
1 20-oz. can no-sugar-added cherry pie filling (like the ones by Comstock and Lucky Leaf)**
8 servings (16 tbsp.) Fat Free Reddi-wip

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a blender or food processor, grind Fiber One to a breadcrumb-like consistency. Melt butter in the microwave for 20 seconds. Combine crumbs with melted butter and Egg Beaters and stir until well mixed. In an oven-safe pie dish sprayed lightly with nonstick spray, evenly distribute mixture, using your hands or a flat utensil to firmly press & form the crust. Press it into the edges and up along the sides of the dish. Bake crust in oven for 10 minutes, then remove and allow to cool. In a medium-sized nonstick pot, combine cornstarch with cherry filling. Heat stovetop at medium heat, stirring often. Once cherry mixture begins to bubble, lower heat and continue to stir for 3 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool for several minutes. Evenly spoon cherry mixture into piecrust and allow pie to cool and set in the fridge for several hours before cutting and serving. Before serving, top each slice with a dollop of fat-free whipped topping. Serves 8!

**Most no-sugar-added pie fillings are sweetened with Splenda. If the one you purchase is not sweetened at all, feel free to add some Splenda to the filling for sweetness.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Rockin' Roasted Shrimp and Asparagus Corn Chowder

Per serving (1 1/2 cups): 182 calories, 1.5g fat, 520mg sodium, 25g carbs, 3.5g fiber, 10g sugars, 18g protein

4 cups fat-free broth
12 ounces raw peeled and deveined shrimp
20 large asparagus spears
2 medium red bell peppers, seeded and chopped
1 medium russet potato, cut into 1/2 cubes
1 cup canned sweet corn kernels
1 cup evaporated fat-free milk
3/4 cup chopped scallions
1 tsp minced garlic
1/2 tsp thyme
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Take asparagus spears in both hands and snap in half. Discard the tough ends. Place asparagus spears and raw shrimp on a baking pan sprayed with nonstick spray. Spritz shrimp and asparagus with a light mist of nostick spray and place pan in the oven for about 6 minutes until shrimp are opaque and cooked through.

Remove shrimp from the pan and set aside. Flip asparagus over and cook for an additional 6 minutes. Remove asparagus from the oven and cut asparagus and shrimp into bite-sized pieces. In a large pot sprayed with nonstick spary, cook bell peppers, scallions, corn and garlic over medium heat for five minutes.

Add broth adn potato and bring to a simmer. Cook for about 15 minutes or until potatoes begin to soften. Add milk, shrimp, asparagus, thyme and cayenne pepper. Stir and continue to cook for 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Makes 6 servings.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Egg Flower Power Soup

Per serving: 50 calories, 0.5g fat, 734mg sodium, 6g carb, 1g fiber, 3g sugar, 6g protein

4 cups fat-free broth
1/2 cup egg whites (about 4 eggs)
1 small carrot
1 small zucchini
1/2 medium red bell pepper
3 medium scallions, chopped
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp lemon juice
Salt and pepper

Pour egg whites into a container with a spout (like a measuring cup). Stir briefly to eliminate any lumps and then set aside. Cut all veggies into matchstick-sized strips. Combine broth, carrots, zucchini, peppers, soy sauce and lemon juice in a medium pot. Bring to a boil. Once soup has reached a boil, reduce to medium heat and add scallions. Cook for about 5 minutes.

Next, reduce heat to the lowest setting. Very slowly pour in egg whites while very quickly stirring in one direction. Remove soup from heat immediately. The result will be gorgeous bursts of egg bits in your soup!

Makes 4 servings.

Freakishly Good French Onion Soup

Per serving: 113 calories, 4.5g fat, 897mg sodium, 9g carb, 1.5g fiber, 2g sugar, 10g protein

Toast bread and set aside. Combine onions and broth in a small saucepan and coo over low heat for 10 minutes. Pour soup into a microwave safe soup bowl. Place toasted bread on top of the soup and then cover with cheese. Place bowl in the microwave and heat for about 30 seconds or until cheese melts and begins to bubble.

Makes 1 serving.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Buffalo Chicken Choppity Chop

Per serving: 192 calories, 3g fat, 848g sodium, 15g carb, 5g fiber, 5g sugar, 29g protein

3 cups chopped romaine lettuce
3 ounces cooked boneless skinless lean chicken breast, chopped
1 tbsp Frank's RedHot Original Cayenne Pepper Sauce
1 tbsp reduced-fat Parmesan-style grated topping
1/2 cup chopped carrots
1/2 cup chopped celery

Top chicken with hot sauce and Parmesan, stir until coated and then heat for 45 seconds in the microwave. Place lettuce, carrots, and celery in a large bowl, and top with chicken mixture.

Makes 1 serving.

Eggs Benechick

Per serving: 183 calories, 8g fat, 627mg sodium, 16g carb, 3g fiber, 3g sugar, 13g protein

1/2 light English muffin
1 large egg
1 slice extra-lean ham
1 tbsp fat-free mayonnaise
1 tsp dijonnaise
1 tsp light whipped butter, softened
1 tsp lemon yogurt (or plain yogurt with a squirt of lemon juice)

To make sauce, combine mayo, dijonnaise, butter and yogurt. Set aside. Crack egg gently into small cup or dish and set that aside as well.

Fill a medium pot with 2 inches of water, and bring water to a boil. Once boiling, lower temperature until a steady and consistent (but very low) boil is reached. Gently pour egg into the pot, and allow it to cook for 3 to 5 minutes (3 minutes for a runnier egg, 5 minutes for a very firm one), or until egg white is mostly opaque. Carefully remove egg by sliding a spatula underneath it and placing it on a plate. Use a paper towel to soak up excess water.

Heat ham and toast muffin. Hat sauce in microwave for about 20 seconda and give it a stir. Top muffin with ham and egg, then cover with sauce.

Makes 1 serving.

Blueberry Apple Pancake Shake-up

Per serving (3 pancakes): 252 calories, 2.5g fat, 517mg sodium, 44g carbs, 4g fiber, 12g sugar, 13g protein

1/3 cup regular oats (not instant)
2 tbsp dry pancake mix
1/3 cup peeled and finely chopped apples
1/4 cup blueberries
1/4 cup fat-free liquid egg substitute
1 tbsp fat-free cottage cheese
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp Splenda
Dash of salt

Place all ingredients except for the blueberries and apples in a medium bowl. Add 3 tbsp of water and stir until thoroughly mixed. Gently fold in apples and blueberries.

Heat a large pan over medium and coat with nonstick spray. Evenly pour batter to form 3 pancakes. Once pancakes begin to look solid (about 3 minutes), gently flip. Cook for an additional three minutes, or until both sides are lightly browned and insides are cooked through. Now plate your pancakes and enjoy!

Makes 1 serving.

Eggamuffin 101

Per serving: 184 calories, 2g fat, 870mg sodium, 26g carbs, 6g fiber, 3g sugar, 20g protein

1 light English muffin
1 slice extra-lean ham
1 slice fat-free American cheese
1/4 cup fat-free liquid egg substitute

Toast English muffin. Cook egg substitute over medium-high heat in a pan sprayed with nonstick spray. Place cheese on the bottom half of the muffin, followed by the egg, ham, and then muffin top.

Makes 1 serving.

Smokin' Salmon Cream Cheese Roll-ups

Per serving: 239 calories, 5.5g fat, 1475mg sodium, 28g carb, 9.5g fiber, 3g sugar, 24g protein

1 medium low-fat flour tortilla (about 110 cals with at least 6g fiber)
2 1/2 ounces smoked salmon
2 tbsp fat-free cream cheese
2 tbsp chopped red onions
2 slices tomato, halved

Heat tortilla in microwave until slightly warm. Spread cream cheese evenly on top of tortilla. Place salmon in the middle. Top with tomatoes and onions. Wrap it up by folding in tortilla sides and then roll up from the bottom.

Makes 1 serving.

Faux-Fried Green Tomatoes

Per serving: 140 calories, 1.5g fat, 699mg sodium, 34g carbs, 12g fiber, 7g sugars, 8g protein

1 medium green (unripe) tomato, cut into 1/2-inch slices
1/3 cup Fiber One bran cereal (original), ground to a breadcrumb-like consistency
1 1/2 tbsp. cornmeal
2 tbsp. fat-free liquid egg substitute
2 tbsp. low-fat milk
1/4 tsp. seasoned salt
1/8 tsp. garlic powder
1/8 tsp. onion powder
dash salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Combine the ground cereal, cornmeal and spices in a sealable container or plastic bag. (For a more flavorful coating, add extra spices.) Pour the egg substitute into a small dish. Pour the milk into another small dish. Dip a tomato slice in the milk, and place it in the cereal/cornmeal mixture. Seal the container or bag, and shake until the slice is coated. Remove the slice and set aside, and then repeat with the remaining slices.

Next, repeat this entire process using the egg substitute in place of the milk, coating your tomato slices with the crumb mixture a second time. (Before coating the slices in crumbs again, give 'em a shake so they're not dripping with excess egg substitute.)

Place the double-coated slices on a baking sheet sprayed with nonstick spray. Pop 'em in the oven for 15 - 20 minutes, flipping the slices about halfway through cooking. Tomatoes are done when the outsides are nice and crispy. Enjoy!

Makes 1 serving.

So Good Sausage Gravy and Biscuits

Per serving: 235 calories, 5.5g fat, 725mg sodium, 34g carbs, 9g fiber, 1g sugar, 17g protein

1 meatless sausage-style breakfast patty
1 light english muffin
1/2 cup unsweetened Original Almond Breeze
4 tsp whole-wheat flour
dash of salt and pepper
dash of onion and garlic powder

Prepare breakfast patty according to package directions. Once cool enough to handle, cut the patty into small, crumbl-sized pieces and set aside. To make gravy, combine Almond Breeze, flour, and seasoning. Place gravy and sausage crumbles in small pot and heat stovetop over medium-high flame. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Once it reaches a boil, reduce heat to medium and continue cooking and stirring for 1-2 minutes, until gravy thickens. Remove from heat. Season gravy generously with additional spices. Separate the english muffin into halves and warm in the microwave. Pour gravy over the top and enjoy!

Makes 1 serving.

Kickin' Key Lime Pie Martini

Per serving: 129 calories, 0g fat, 21mg sodium, 7g carb, 0g fiber, 4g sugar, 0g protein

1.5 oz lime-flavored vodka
1 oz Torani Sugar Free Vanilla Syrup
2 tbsp pineapple juice
1 tbsp lime juice
1 tbsp Cool Whip Free

Place all ingredients in a martini shaker with 1 cup crushed ice. Shake thoroughly and strain into a martini glass to enjoy!

Makes 1 serving.

Mounds Bar Martini

Per serving: 112 calories, 0g fat, 80mg sodium, 2.5g carb, 0.5g fiber, 1.5g sugar, 1.0g protein

3 oz vodka (80 proof)
1 packet Diet Swiss Miss Hot Cocoa Mix (25 calorie one)
2 oz Torani Sugar Free Coconut Syrup
2 tbsp Fat Free Reddi-whip

Fill a martini shaker halfway with crushed ice. Combine cocoa mix with 2 oz hot water and mix well. Then add 2 oz cold water and pour mixture into th eshaker. Add vodka, syrup, and Reddi-whip, and cover to top of the shaker. Shake for a minute, then strain into 2 martini glasses. Enjoy!

Makes 2 servings.

Orange Creamsicle Martini

Per serving: 109 calories, 0g fat, 69mg sodium 2.5g carb, 0g fiber, 0.5g sugar, 0g protein

4 oz. diet orange soda, room temperature
1.5 oz. orange-flavored vodka
1.5 oz. Torani Sugar Free Vanilla Syrup
1 tbsp. Cool Whip Free

Place all ingredients in a martini shaker. Stir with a spoon until the mixture is mostly lump-free. Add about I cup of crushed ice and stir until mixture is cold. Then strain into a large martini glass and enjoy!

Makes 1 serving.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Jelly Donut Cupcakes

Makes 12 cupcakes. Takes 40 minutes.

1 cup soy or rice milk
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp cornstarch
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup canola oil
3/4 cup plus 2 tbsp granulated sugar
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup raspberry preserves
2 tbsp confectioners' sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Pour the soy milk, vinegar and cornstarch into a measuring cup and set aside. Line a 12 cup muffin pan with paper cupcake liners.

In a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg and salt. Create a well in the center of the flour and pour your wet ingredients into. Stir the soy milk mixtue with a fork to dissolve the cornstarch, then pour into the flour mixture. Add the oil, granulated sugar and vnilla. Stir until well combined.

Fill the cupcake liners about 3/4 cup full with batter. Place a heaping teaspoonful of jam in the center of each cupcake. You don't need to press down on the jam or do anything else; the baking will take care of all that.

Bake for 21 to 23 minutes. You can't really do a toothpick test here but the cupcakes should be done by this point. The tops should be firm. Remove from the oven and let cool completely on wire racks.

Once cooled, set them someplace cool and dry, and leave uncovered. Let them sit overnight and preferably up to 24 hours. This will makes the tops dry and a little bit crispy and more donut-like. Sprinkle with confectioners' sugar.

Caramel Apple Spice Cupcakes

Makes 12 cupcakes. Takes an hour.

2 tart, firm cooking apples such as Granny Smith
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp margarine
1 cup soy milk
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/3 cup canola oil
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp grated lemon zest
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

Caramel-penuche frosting:
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 tbsp margarine
1 tbsp molasses
1/3 cup soy creamer or soy milk
2 tbsp plain or vanilla soy milk powder
pinch of salt
2 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup chopped, roasted peanuts for sprinkling

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a 12 cup muffin tin with paper liners.

Leaving the skins on the apples, core and dice them into small pieces (about 1/4 inch cubes) for about 1 2/3 cups diced apples.

Heat the brown sugar and margarine in a heavy skillet over medium heat, stirring until the mixture begins to bubble. Add the apple pieces and sir to coat. Cook the apples, stirring occasionally, until almost all of the water has evaporated and the apples are lightly caramelized, about 12 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool before proceeding.

In a large bowl, whisk together the soy milk and lemon juice, and allow to sit for a minute to curdle. Add the canola oil, granultaed sugar, lemon zest and vanilla and beat well. Sift in the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg and stir only unti lthe dry ingredients are moistened. Fold in the sauteed apples along with any remaining juices. Fill the cupcake liner 3/4 full and bake for 20 to 22 minutes, until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. When the cupcakes are done, remove them from teh oven adn cool on wire racks.

While they cool, prepare the frosting. Combine the sugar, margarine, molasses, soy milk, powdered soy milk, and salt in a heavy bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Stir and bring to a boil. Allow the mixture to boil and foam for 7 to 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat.

When the frosting mixture has cooled slightly and is still a little warm, stir in half the confectioners' sugar and the vanilla and beat with electric mixer for 2 to 3 minutes until creamy. Slowly beat in remaining confectioners' sugar until a thick, smooth, fugelike frosting forms. It can be spread warm or slightly cooked, but too much cooling will make the frosting too stiff to spread. If this happens let it warm to room temperature. Top with chopped peanuts.

Strawberry Plum Crisp

Serves 6. Takes about an hour.

2 pounds black plums (about 10)
1 cup strawberries, hulled, sliced in half
1 tbsp tapioca flour or arrowroot flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/8 tsp ground cloves

3/4 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp aniseeds
Pinch of salt

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Prepare the filling:
Chop the plums by cutting around the seed. Cut them into slices that are between 1/4 and 1/2 inch thick. Place in an 8 inch square baking pan. Add the rest of the filling ingredients and stir to dissolve the starch. Set aside.

Prepare the topping:
Toss all the topping ingredient except the canola oil into a mixing bowl and mix together with a fork. Drizzle in the oil by the tablespoon while tossing with fork until the topping becomes crumbly and doesn't look too dry. If you've go tit by 3 tablespoon of oil, more power to you, but you may need to add another few teaspoons up to a tablespoon to get the right consistency. Sprinkle relatively evenly over the plum mixture.

Place in the oven and bake for 45 minutes, the filling should be bubbly. Remove from the oven and let cool for about 10 minutes. Scoop into bowl and top with ice cream.

Fudgy Wudgy Blueberry Brownies

Makes 16 brownies. Takes 50 minutes.

2/3 cup plus 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
10 ounces blueberry spreadable fruit
1/4 cup soy milk
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup canola oil
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup fresh blueberries

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Grease a 9 x 13 inch baking pan.

Melt the 2/3 cup of chocolate chips in a double boiler, reserving the other 1/2 as whole chips. In a large mixing bowl, combine the blueberry spread, soy milk, sugar, canola oil and extracts. Mix on high speed until no large clumps of the spreadable fruit are visible. This could take 2 to 3 minutes.

Sift in the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and alt. Stir until well mixed; use a fork because the batter is very thick. Mix in the melted chocolate as well. Fold in the remaining chocolate chips and fresh blueberries. Spread the batter in the baking pan.

Bake for 45 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool. Slice into squares and serve warm.

Chewy Chocolate Raspberry Cookies

Makes 2 dozen. Takes 35 minutes.

1/2 cup raspberry preserves
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup canola oil
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 tsp almond extract
1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease cookie sheet.

In a large mixing bowl, stir together the raspberry preserves, sugar, canola oil, vanilla and almond extract. In a separate mixing bowl, sift together the other ingredients. Add the dry to the we t in three batches, mixing well with a fork after each addition. When you get to the last batch, you may need to use your hands to work the batter into a soft and pliable dough.

Roll the dough into walnut-size balls and then flatten them with your hands into disks. Place on cookie sheet 1/2 inch apart. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely . You can also serve these cookies still warm over a scoop of ice cream.

Lower-fat Banana Bread

Makes one loaf. Takes 1 hour, 20 minutes.

2 large or 3 small very ripe bananas
1/4 cup applesauce
1/4 cup canola oil
1/2 cup sugar
2 tbsp molasses
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan.

In a large mixing bowl, mash the bananas really, really well. Add the sugar, applesauce, oil and molasses and whisk briskly to incorporate. Sift in the flour, baking soda, spices, and salt. Use a wooden spoon to mix until the wet and dry ingredients are just combined. Fold in the chocolate chips if using. Transfer the batter to a prepared pan and bake for 45 to 50 minutes. The top should be lightly browned and a knife inserted through the center should come out clean.

Remove from the oven and invert onto a cooling rack, flip the bread right side up and let cool.

Skillet Corn Bread

Makes 8 big slices. Takes 35 minutes.

Basic corn bread:
2 cups plain soy milk
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
2 cups cornmeal
1 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup oil

Jalapeno-onion variety:
1 tbsp canola oil
1 medium sized yellow onion, sliced
3 jalapenos, seeded and sliced thinly
1/4 tsp salt

Double-corn variety:
1 cup fresh or frozen and partially thawed corn kernels
1 tbsp oil

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. If making plain corn bread, lightly grease the bottom and sides of a cast iron pan and place it in the oven to warm while the oven preheats, then proceed to prepare corn bread. If using a variation, read the following first.

Preheat a cast iron skillet over medium heat. Saute the onion and jalapeno in oil for about 5 minutes, until the onions are softened. Add the slat and mix well. Transfer to a bowl. Don't wash the pan, you'll pour the batter right into it in a bit.

Preheat a cast iron skillet over medium heat. Saute the corn kernels in oil for about 7 minutes, until the corn in slightly browned. Transfer to a bowl. Don't wash the pan, you'll pour the batter right into it in a bit.

Preparing the corn bread:
Combine the soy milk and vinegar in a measuring cut and set aside to curdle as you prepare everything else.

In a large mixing bowl, sift together the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Create a well in the center and add the soy milk mixture and oil. Use a wooden spoon to mix together until just combined, some lumps are okay. If using the double-corn variety, fold corn into the batter.

Pour the batter into prepared cast iron skillet. If using the jalapeno variety, scatter the topping over the batter in the pan. Bake for 30 to 32 minutes, until a toothpick or butter knife inserted through the middle comes out clean. Remove from the oven and let cool a bit before serving.

Dill Tahini Sauce

1/2 cup tahini, at room temperature
1/2 cup water, at room temperature
1 clove garlic, chopped coarse
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (juice of 1 lemon)
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup lightly packed fresh dill

Combine all ingredients but the dill in a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth. Add the dill and pulse a few times until the dill is just small green flecks. Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to use. Bring back to room temperature because it thickens dramatically when cold.

Mushroom Gravy

Makes 4 cups. Takes 30 minutes.

2 cups vegetable broth
1/4 cup flour (1/3 cup for thicker gravy)
2 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
10 ounces cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced (about 4 cups)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp sage
1/4 tsp salt
Several dashes fresh black pepper
1/4 cup white cooking wine

Mix the flour into the vegetable broth until dissolved and set aside.

Preheat a large non-stick pan over medium heat. Saute the onion in the oil for about 5 minutes, until translucent. Add the mushrooms and saute for 5 more minutes, until the mushrooms are tender.

Add the garlic, thyme, sage, salt and pepper. Saute for another minute. Add the wine and turn the heat up to bring to a simmer. Let simmer for about a minute, then lower the heat and add the flour vegetable broth mixtures.Stir constantly until thickened, about 5 minutes. If not serving immediately, then gently reheat when ready.

Salsa Verde

Makes about 2 cups. Takes 40 minutes.

10 tomatillos (husks removed), cleaned and diced
1 tsp olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 serrano peppers, minced
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
Juice of 1 lime
1 cup loosely packed fresh cilantro

In a small saucepan over low heat, saute the garlic and chile in oil until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add the tomatillos and salt, saute until the tomatillos begin to soften and release moisture, about 5 minutes. Add the vegetable broth, bring to a slow boil, and cook for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat, let cook until it is not steaming, then add the cilantro and lime juice. Pour into a blender and blend until relatively smooth, about 30 seconds.

Red Wine Roux

Makes 2 cups sauce. Takes 15 minutes.

1 1/4 cup boiling water
1 vegetable bouillon cube
2 tbsp margarine
3 tbsp all-purpose flour
3 large shallots, minced fine
1/4 cup finely minced celery
1 clove garlic, minced
3/4 cup dry red wine
1 bay leaf
1 tsp dried marjoram
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp dried rosemary, crumbled between your fingers
2 tbsp minced fresh chives

In a small saucepan, dissolve the bouillon cube in boiling water. Keep the broth warm on the lowest flame possible. Melt the margarine in a separate small, heavy bottomed saucepan and stir in the flour with a wooden spoon. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly until the mixture is a deep golden brown and smells toasty, 6 to 8 minutes. Stir in the minced shallots and garlic, coating with the sauce, and continue to cook, stirring, for another 5 minutes; it will resemble a coarse paste. Stir in the celery and cook for another 3 to 4 minutes, until the celery has softened a little.

Pour in the hot veggie bouillon and stir with a wire whisk to create a thick sauce. Add the bay leaf, marjoram, thyme, and rosemary. While stirring constantly, bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 2 minutes.

Gradually pour in the wine, continuing to stir with the whisk and bring to a boil again. Lower the heat once more and simmer for 4 to 6 minutes, until slightly reduced and thickened (sauce is not as thick as a gravy but will cling to the back of a metal spoon). Remove from heat, stir in the chopped chives, and either ladle directly over food or serve in a gravy boat.

Asparaugus and Lemon Risotto

Serves 4 to 6. Takes 1 hour 20 minutes.

Lemongrass broth:
3 cloves garlic, whole and unpeeled
1-inch piece fresh ginger, sliced into 1/4 inch slices
1 small stalk lemon grass, or 1 tbsp dried, chopped lemongrass (if using dried, then tie off a bouquet for soaking)
3 cups vegetable broth
3 cups water
3 tbsp soy sauce


1/3 cup cooking sherry
1 pound asparagus
5 tbsp peanut oil
1 cup basil leaves (Thai preferred), rolled and sliced into very thin strips
2 tbsp chopped fresh mint
6 large shallots, sliced thin
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 serrano red chile, sliced very thin, or 1/2 to 1 tsp dried red pepper flakes
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
1 tsp sugar
2 tbsp lime juice
Chopped roasted peanuts and lime wedges for garnish

If using fresh lemongrass, peel away and discard any brown stems from the stalk. Slice in half and cut into 3-4 inch lengths, then slice into matchstick pieces. Lightly bruise the ginger slices with the side of a knife. Crush the garlic with the knife as well, but keep whole. Prepare your boquet garni using an empty tea bag or cheesecloth tripled up.

Place all broth ingredients in a large stockpot and bring to a boil, then lower the heat to medium-low. Simmer for 10 minutes, then strain the broth, discarding the vegetables and herbs. Pour the broth back into the pot, cover, and place over over low heat to keep warm.

Warm the cooking sherry in a separate, small saucepan over medium heat. Slice the asparagus into 1/2 inch pieces, removing any tough parts from the bottom of the stem. separate tips from stems and place each in separate small bowls.

In a medium size heavy bottomed pot, saute the asparagus tips in 1 tbsp oil over medium heat until the tips are bright green and crisp-tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Return them to their small bowl. Add 1 more tbsp of oil to the pot and saute the sliced asparagus pieces until crisp-tender, 5-6 minutes. Add the basil and mint, saute for 30 seconds more, removing from the heat, set the asparagus mixture aside in a small bowl separate from the tips.

Add the remaining oil to the pot. Saute the shallots and garlic, stirring occasionally until the shallots are very soft and just starting to brown, 6 to 8 minute. Stir in the chile pepper and rice, and saute for about 8 minutes until the rice smells slightly toasted. Add the cooking sherry and stir constantly until the liquid is absorbed.

Ladle about 1/2 cup of borth at a time into the rice, stirring constantly until each addition is absorbed. Stir and cook until the rice is creamy but still somewhat firm in the center. When the broth is almost gone, stir ithe sugar and lime juice into the last of the broth before adding to the risotto. You may add more water or additional regular vegetable broth in 1/4 cup increments if the broth runs out and the rice isn't cooked enough yet. This will take 35 minutes.

Stir the asparagus stems into the risotto and cook for another 5-10 minutes, until the asparagus has reached desired tenderness. Garnish with sauteed tips, chopped peanuts and lime wedges.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Southwestern Corn Pudding

Serves 6. Takes 1 hour, 20 minutes.

2 tbsp corn oil
4 cups fresh corn (about 6 ears)
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped fine
2 serrano chiles, chopped fine
1 cup coconut milk
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 cup cornmeal
2 tbsp pure maple syrup
1 cup finely chopped scallions
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cayenne

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and lightly grease an 8 inch square baking dish. Saute the corn, bell pepper and chiles in a large skillet for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally; the corn should be very lightly browned. Meanwhile, stir together the cornstarch and coconut milk until the starch has mostly dissolved.

When the corn and peppers are ready, transfer 2 cups of them to a blender. Add the coconut milk and cornstarch mixture, and pulse about 20 times until the mixture is mostly pureed but not completely smooth.

Transfer to a large mixing bowl and mix with the remaining corn, cornmeal, maple syrup, scallions, cilantro, salt and cayenne.

Pour the batter into a baking dish and bake for 40 minutes. Let cool for about 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

Baked Potato and Greens Soup with Potato-wedge Croutons

Serves 6. Takes 30 minutes.

6-8 baking potatoes (3 1/2 pounds) baked and cooled
2 tbsp olive oil
1 large yellow onion, sliced into short strips
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp fennel seeds, crushed
1 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp dried rubbed sage
1 tsp salt
Plenty of fresh ground black pepper
1/4 cup dry white wine or more broth
4 cups veggie broth
4 cups kale, torn into bite-size pieces (about 6 leaves, rough stems removed)
1/4 cup plain soy milk

Potato wedges:
2 heaping tbsp coarse cornmeal
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp paprika
Generous pinch of salt
2 cloves garlic
Olive oil

Once your potatoes are baked and cool enough, preheat a soup pot and saute the onion in olive oil over medium-high heat until good and brown, about 12 minutes.

Slice baked potatoes in half lengthwise. Reserve three of the halves to make the wedges. Slice the rest into 3/4 inch chunks.

Once the onions are browned, add the garlic, fennel, thyme, sage, black pepper, and salt. Cook for 2 more minutes and then add the wine to deglaze the pan. Add the chunks of potatoes and the broth, cover and lower the heat a bit to bring to a low boil. Mix in the kale. Cover and cook for 15 to 20 minutes more.

Slice the reserved potato halves lengthwise. Preheat a heavy-bottomed skillet over medium0high heat. Combine all ingredients for the wedges, except the oil, on a plate.Wet the wedges and dredge them in the cornmeal mixture.

Lightly coat the skillet with oil. Cook the potatoes on each side for about 4 minutes, or until golden and crispy. Spray with oil as you alternate cooking sides. The soup should be done by this point. Use a potato masher to mush up about half of the soup, add the soy milk, and mix.

Roasted Yellow Pepper and Corn Bisque

Serves 6 to 8. Takes 1 hour, 20 minutes.

4 yellow bell peppers
3 cups fresh corn, cut from the cob
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 medium-size Vidalia or Walla Walla onion, diced
3 cloves garlic
2 hot chiles, sliced thin
1 yellow summer squash, cut in half lengthwise and sliced thin (about 3 cups)
3-4 cups vegetable broth
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 (14 ounce) can coconut milk
1 tbsp pure maple syrup
Juice of 1 lime
1 whole nutmeg

Preheat oven to 375. Cut the stems off the peppers and pull out the seeds. Place on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for about 40 minutes, turning once. The pepper should be very soft and collapsed. When the peppers are done, place them in a plastic bag for about 30 minutes. This will steam them and make the skin very easy to peel away. Remove from bag, peel away the skin, and roughly chop the peppers.

Preheat a soup pot over medium-high heat. Saute the onion in the oil for 5 to 7 minutes, until softened and translucent. Add the garlic and chiles. Saute for another minute or so. Add the corn and squash, and cook for 3 to 5 minutes, until moisture begins to release from the squash. Add the roasted peppers, veggie broth and salt. Cover and bring to a boil. once the soup is boiling, lower the heat and simmer for about 20 minutes, covered.

Add the coconut milk and puree the soup. Let eh soup heat through again and grate the nutmeg with a microplane grated directly into the soup. Add the maple syrup, lime and serve.

Porcini Wild Rice Soup

Serves 6. Takes 1 hour.

1/2 ounce dried porcini mushrooms
2 cups boiling water
2 tbsp olive oil
1 large yellow onion, sliced thin
4 cloves garlic
2 tsp fresh thyme
1 tsp salt
Several pinches of black pepper
8 ounces cremini mushrooms (about 3 cups), sliced thin
1 1/2 cups wild rice
4 cups veggie stock
1 carrot, peeled

Place the porcinis in a bowl. Measure 2 cups boiling water and pour over the mushrooms. Cover with a plate and set aside. Preheat the stockpot over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil and saute the onions for about 3 minutes. Add the garlic, thyme, salt and pepper. Cook for 10 minutes or until browned, stirring frequently.

Add the sliced creminis and saute for about 3 minutes. In the meantime, remove the porcinis from their broth. Slice them thinly and add to the stockpot along with the porcini broth. Let the mixture cook for a few more minutes.

Add the wild rice and the veggie stock. Cover and bring to a boil. Once the soup in boiling, lower the heat and low and simmer for about 45 minutes. When the rice in tender, grate the carrot in and turn off the heat. Let sit for 10 minutes or more. If the soup is too thick, add another cup or so of water or broth.

Chickpea Cutlets

Makes 4 cutlets. Takes 30 minutes.

1 cup cooked chickpeas
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup vital wheat gluten
1/2 cup plain bread crumbs
1/4 cup veggie broth
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 cloves garlic, pressed or grated
1/2 tsp lemon zest
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp dried rubbed sage
Olive oil for pan-frying

In a mixing bowl, mash the chickpeas together with the oil until no whole chickpeas are left. Add the remaining ingredients and knead for about 3 minutes, until the strings of gluten have formed.

Preheat a large heavy-bottomed nonstick skillet over medium heat. Meanwhile, divide the cutlet dough into four equal pieces. To form the cutlets, knead each piece in your hand for a few moments and then flatten and stretch each one into a rough 6 x 4 inch rectangular cutlet shape. The easiest way to do this is to first form a rectangular shape in your hands, and then place the cutlets on a clean surface to flatten and stretch them.

Add a moderately thin layer of olive oil to the bottom of the pan. Place the cutlets in the pand and cook on each side for 6 to 7 minutes. Add more oil, if needed, when you flip the cutlets. They're ready when lightly browned and firm to the touch.

Just in case you were wondering, you can also bake these! Baking the patties give them a toothsome chewy texture and firm bite. Preheat oven to 375, lightly oil baking sheet. Brush both sides of each patty with olive oil, place on baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes. Flip patties and bake another 8-10 minutes until firm and golden.

Chickpeas Romesco

Serves 4 to 6. Takes 50 minutes.

1/3 cup sliced almonds
1 (28 ounce) can diced tomatoes (fire roasted are especially good here)
2 roasted red bell pepper, homemade or store-bought
3 tbsp olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced fine
2 shallots, minced fine
1 serrano chile, minced fine
1/4 cup white wine or veggie broth
2 tsp red wine vinegar
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp dried rosemary, crumbled
2 (15 ounce) cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/2 tsp salt and pepper

Using a food processor, grind the almonds into a very fine, almost powdery crumbs. Empty into a small bowl and set aside. Working in two or more batches, puree the tomatoes and roasted peppers together until smooth. Pour the tomato mixture into a large bowl and set aside.

Preheat a medium sized heavy bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Saute the garlic, shallots and chile in oil until the shallots are turning golden, 4 to 5 minutes. Pour in the wine and stir to dissolve any browned bits of garlic from the bottom of the pot, simmer for 1 minutes. Add the tomato puree, vinegar, sugar, thyme, and rosemary. Turn the heat to medium-high and bring to a near boil. Lower the heat to medium-low and simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the ground almonds and stir the mixtures until they are completely combined. Fold in the chickpeas and simmer, uncovered for 20 to 25 minutes, until the sauce is slightly reduced and the chickpeas are very tender. Remove from the heat, seasons with salt and pepper and allow to cool for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.

Saffron Garlic Rice

1 3/4 cup water
1 bouillon cube
Pinch of saffron (5-6 threads)
2 tbsp olive oil
5 cloves garlic, minced fine
1 small yellow onion, diced fine
1 cup long-grain white rice, rinsed and drained
Pinch of ground coriander
Salt and pepper
1/3 cup toasted, sliced almonds

In a medium saucepan boil the water, add the bouillon cube and stir until dissolved. Turn off the heat, add the saffron threads, and stir. Cover and set aside until ready to use.

Preheat a medium pot over medium heat. Saute the garlic in oil until it has softened and is jst starting to turn golden, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the onion and continue to saute until the onion turns translucent, 5 to 6 minutes. Add the rice and stir to combine. Saute the rice for about 1 minutes. Pour in the broth and stir in the coriander. Cover and bring to a boil, stir the rice just once, and lower the heat to low. Cover and let the rice simmer for 20 to 25 minutes until the liquid has been absorbed and the rice is tender.

Remove from heat and allow the rice to stand for 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork and add the toasted almonds. Season with slat and pepper if desired.

Israeli Couscous with Pistachios and Apricots

Serves 4. Takes 40 minutes.

2 tbsp vegetable oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups Israeli couscous
2 1/2 cups water
1 cinnamon stick
1 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
Several pinches of black pepper
1/2 tsp salt
Zest from one lime
1/4 cup chopped mint
1/2 cup chopped dried apricots, to size of raisins
1/2 cup shelled pistachios
Juice from 1/2 lime

Preheat a large heavy bottomed skillet over medium-low heat. Place the garlic and oil in the pan and saute for 1 minutes. Add the couscous, raise the heat to medium and stir pretty constantly for 4 to 5 minutes; the couscous should start to toast.

Add the water, cinnamon stick, cumin, cardamom, pepper, salt and lime zest. Raise the heat and bring to a boil. Once the mixture is boiling, lower the heat again to as low as possible and cover. In about 10 minutes, most of the water should have been absorbed. Add 2 tbsp mint, apricots, pistachios and lime juice. Stir, cover again and cook for 5 more minutes. At this point, the water should be thoroughly absorbed. Remove the cinnamon stick, fluff the couscous and garnish with remaining mint.

Lemony Roasted Potatoes

Serves 4 to 6. Takes 55 minutes.

2 1/2 pounds Russet potatoes
1/3 cup olive oil
6 cloves garlic, chopped fine
1/2 cup fresh squeezed lemon
1 cup veggie broth
2 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp salt
2 tsp tomato paste
Freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Peel potatoes and slice in half lengthwise, and slice each half into wedges no more than 3/4 inch thick.

In a large, deep baking pan (at least 10 x 17 inches or bigger, combine the olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, veggie broth, oregano, salt and tomato paste. Add the peeled, sliced potatoes. Sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper and toss the potatoes to cover with the sauce. Cover the pan tightly with foil, place in oven and bake for 30 to 35 minutes until the potatoes are almost done. Several times during the baking process, remove the pan from the oven, uncover, stir in the potatoes, place the cover back, and return the pan to the oven.

Uncover the pan one last time, stir the potatoes again, and bake, uncovered, for an additional 15 to 20 minutes, until most of the sauce has evaporated and some of the potatoes have just started to brown on their edges. Sprinkle with chopped fresh parsley and more dried oregano before serving.

Herb Scalloped Potatoes

Serves 4. Takes one hour.

2 pounds white potatoes (3 average size), scrubbed, sliced into 1/8 disks
3/4 cup veggie broth
1/2 cup unsweetened soy milk
1 tbsp olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 tbsp flour
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp dried rosemary
1/4 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp salt
Several pinches fresh ground pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease 9 x 13 inch glass baking dish.

Layer the potatoes in the pan, allowing them to slightly overlap. Lay them across the short way first, overlapping a little less than half of each potato slice. In each subsequent row, overlap the potatoes by one quarter of each potato slice.

Pour most of the vegetable broth over the potatoes, reserving about 3 tbsp. Pour the soy milk and drizzle the olive oil over potatoes, making sure to coat each one. If you need to use a little more than 1 tbsp, that is okay.

Scatter the minced garlic over everything, then sprinkle 2 tbsp of flour over the potatoes. Drizzle the remaining veggie broth so it gets moist. Then sprinkle the last tbsp flour, herbs and salt.

Cover loosely with aluminum foil and bake for 35 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 15 minutes.

Sauteed Collard Greens

Serves 4. Takes 15 minutes.

1 pound collard greens, de-stemmed
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup marinade:
1/4 cup veggie broth
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp liquid smoke
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp maple syrup
2 cloves garlic

Preheat a large skillet over medium heat. Saute the garlic in the olive oil for about a minute, being careful not to burn it. Add the collards and saute for about 2 minutes. Add the marinade and cook for another 10 minutes, until the collards are tender and a deep green.

Black Bean Burgers

Makes 6. Takes 30 minutes.

2 cups cooked or 1 (15 ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup vital wheat gluten
1/2 cup plain whole wheat bread crumbs
1 tsp chile powder
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 cup water
1 tbsp tomato paste
1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro
2 cloves garlic
1/2 small onion
2 tbsp olive oil
Whole wheat buns

Mash the beans with a fork in a mixing bowl. You don't want to puree them, just get them mashed so that no whole beans are left, but you should leave some half beans.

Add the wheat gluten, bread crubms, chile powder, water, adn atomato paste, but don't mix yet. Grate the garlic in. Grate the onion in. Mix everything together with a fork, adn then proceed to knead with your hands until the mixture is firm and uniformly mixed.

Preheat a heavy -bottomed pan over medium heat.

Divide the burger mixture into six equal pieces. Roll each piece into a firm ball. Use your palm to press the ball down on a clean surface to form a patty that is about 1 1/2 inches thick.

Pour a thin layer of olive oil into the pan. Cook the patties three at a time for 5 minutes on each side, gently pressing down on them with a spatula.

Miso Tahini Dressing

Serves 2 to 4. Takes less than 10 minutes.

1/4 cup white, sweet miso
1/4 cup tahini
1/3 cup or more warm water

In a medium bowl with a large spoon, blend miso and tahini together to form a creamy paste. Slowly pour in warm water, gently whisking a little at a time until creamy. The dressing will thicken if allowed to sit a while. Keep refrigerated until ready to use.

Corn and Edamame-Sesame Salad

Serves 4 to 6. Takes 45 minutes.

2 tbsp toasted sesame oil
1 tbsp rice vinegar
2 tsp tamari or soy sauce

2 cups frozen, shelled edamame
1 cup fresh corn (1-2 ears) or frozen corn
2 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
Generous pinch of salt

Bring a pot of water to a boil. Meanwhile, whisk all the dressing ingredients in a medium size mixing bowl.

Boil edamame for 3 minutes. Add the corn and boil for another 2 minutes. Drain into colander and run under cold water until cool enough to handle. Add the edamame and corn to the dressing and toss to combine. Add the sesame seeds and toss again. Salt to taste. Cover and chill for at least 15 minutes.

Blueberry Corn Pancakes

Makes 8 to 10 pancakes. Takes 25 minutes.

3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup cornmeal
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp canola oil
1 1/4 cup plain soy milk
1/3 cup water
1 tsp vanilla
2 tbsp pure maple syrup
2 tsp grated lemon zest
1 cup fresh blueberries
Cooking spray for greasing the pan

Preheat a large non-stick pan on medium high heat.

Sift together flour, cornmeal, baking powder and salt. In separate bowl, combine all other ingredient. Add we to dry, mix until just combined, then fold in the blueberries. Do not over mix or pancakes will be tough, a couple of lumps is okay.

Spray pan with cooking spray. Use a 1/4 cup measuring cup to pour batter into pan. Cook pancakes until brown on bottom and bubbles form on top, about 4 minutes. Flip pancakes over with thin spatula and cook until bottoms are brown and pancakes are barely firm to touch. Transfer to plates. Repeat with remaining batter, adding more oil to pan as needed.


Serves 4. Takes 10 minutes, plus chill time.

2 (15 ounce) cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
3 tbsp sesame tahini
2-3 cloves garlic, crushed
1/4 cup water, more or less for desired thickness
Pinch of ground cumin or ground coriander
Salt and pepper

Place half the chickpeas an olive oil in a blender and pulse several times, stopping to stir with a rubber spatula. When the mixture is almost pureed and creamy add the remaining chickpeas and oil, lemon juice, tahini, garlic, cumin and a little salt. Pulse, stopping to stir several times, until the mixture is very creamy. Season with salt and pepper, add more lemon juice if necessary. Transfer to an airtight container and chill 30 minutes before serving.

Fold in 1/2 to 1 cup of the follwoing: caramelized onions or shallots, roasted garlilc, roasted carrots, roasted beets, roasted red peppers, 2 to 3 tbsp of fresh dill and parsley, 1/4 cup black or green olives.

Walnut-Mushroom Pate

Makes 2 1/2 cups. Takes 30 minutes plus chilling time.

3 tbsp olive oil
1 cup diced yellow onion
3 cloves garlic
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried tarragon
3/4 tsp salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 pound cremini mushrooms, chopped
1 cup lightly toasted walnuts
3/4 cup cooked cannellini beans
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
Up to 1/4 cup cold vegetable broth

Heat 2 tbsp oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and saute for 3 to 5 minutes until translucent, then add the garlic, thyme, tarragon, salt and pepper, and cook for another minute. Next, add the mushrooms and cook for 7 to 10 minutes until they are very soft, lowering the heat if necessary to prevent them from burning.

While the mushrooms are cooking, place the walnuts in a food processor or blender and pulse until fine.

Add the cooked mushroom mixture to the walnuts in the food processor, along with the balsamic vinegar, beans and remaining tbsp olive oil. Process until smooth, adding the veggie broth 1 tbsp at a time as needed. Continue to puree until the pate resembles a smooth, thick and spreadable paste. Scrape mixture into an airtight container and chill for at least an hour before serving, to allow the flavors to meld.

White Bean Aioli

Makes 1 1/2 cups. Takes 10 minutes.

1 (15 ounce) can of navy or great northern beans, drained and rinsed
2 tbsp lemon juice (about 1/2 a lemon)
1/4 tsp salt
Several pinches of pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
6 cloves garlic, chopped

Combine the beans, lemon juice, salt and pepper in blender and puree until smooth, scraping down the sides a couple of times. Heat a small pan over low. Cook garlic in olive oil for about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and oil to the mixture and puree. Taste for salt, pepper and lemon, and adjust to your liking. Transfer to a container, cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

Curried Carrot Dip

Makes 2 cups. Takes 25 minutes, plus chill time.

1 pound carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch chunks
1/4 cup roasted sunflower seeds
2 tsp grapeseed or other vegetable oil
1/2 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp salt (less if sunflower seeds are salted)
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice

Bring a small pot of water to a boil, add carrots and cook for 7 to 10 minutes, until soft. Drain and let cool just until they are no longer steaming.

Place the sunflower seeds in a blender and process to crumbs. Add all remaining ingredient and blend until smooth, scraping the sides down a couple times. Taste for salt and adjust the spices and lemon. Transfer to covered container and refrigerate until ready to use (at least 30 minutes).

Caraway-Parsley Carrot Dip
Omit the curry and cumin. Add 1/2 tsp caraway seeds toward beginning and 1/2 cup loosely packed fresh parsley at end.

Creole Stuffed Peppers

Serves 4. Takes 55 minutes.

4 large bell peppers
2 tbsp olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped fine
2-3 serrano chiles, sliced fine
1 cup finely diced carrots
4 cloves garlic, chopped fine
2 dried bay leaves
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried basil
2 tsp paprika
3 sprigs thyme
1 tsp salt
1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes
2 (15-ounce) cans black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 9 x 13 inch casserole dish with olive oil. Bring a large pot of water to boil.

Cut the peppers in half lengthwise through the stem end. Remove the seeds and membranes. Submerge the peppers in boiling water and cover. Let them boil for 5 minutes, then drain immediately and rinse with cold water.

Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Saute the onions, chiles and carrots for 10 minutes, until the veggies brown. Add the garlic 5 minutes into the cooking. Add the herbs, spices and salt and saute for 1 more minute. Mix in parsley.

Remove bay leaves and thyme sprigs. Spoon a little less than 1/2 cup of veggie mixture into each pepper half. Place the pepper halves in the casserole dish and bake for 25 minutes.

Samosa Stuffed Baked Potatoes

Makes 8 potato halves. Takes 20 minutes after taters are baked.

4 large Russet potatoes, scrubbed baked and cooled
1/4 cup unsweetened soy milk or vegetable broth
3 tbsp peanut oil
1 tsp yellow mustard seeds
1 tsp coriander seeds, crushed
1 small yellow onion, cut into a small dice
1 medium-size carrot, cut into a small dice
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tsp grated fresh ginger
2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup frozen peas, rinsed
juice of 1/2 lemon

Slice cooled potatoes in half lengthwise and scoop out the insides, leaving about 1/4 inch of potato in the skin. Mash the potatoes with soy milk and set aside the skins.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Heat the peanut oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the mustard and coriander seeds. The mustard seeds should begin to pop; if they don't pop in a minute or two, turn the heat up. Let the seeds pop for about a minute (put a lid on them so you don't get splattered), add the onions and carrots, and saute for 7 to 10 minutes, until the onions begin to brown.

Add the garlic and ginger, and saute for a minute more. Add the cumin, turmeric and salt with a splash of water, stir well, then add the potatoes, mixing everything well. Add a little extra water if it looks too dry. Cook until the potatoes are heated through, then add the peas and cook until those are heated through. Add the lemon juice to taste and stir to incorporate.

Brush the inside of the potato skins with la little bit of oil. Then scoop the filling into the skin, pressing gently to hold the filling in place. Line the potato halves on a baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes.

Acorn Squash and Black Bean Empanadas

Makes 12 empanadas, takes 2 1/2 hours to make, total.

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cornmeal
2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup shortening
1/2-3/4 cup very cold water
2 tsp apple cider vinegar

1 acorn squash (about 1 1/2 pounds)
2 tbsp olive oil
1 red onion sliced in 1-inch pieces
2-3 serrano chiles, sliced thin
2 tsp coriander seeds, smashed
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp water
1 cup cooked black bean, drained and rinsed
2 tbsp fresh lime or lemon juice
2 tsp pure maple syrup

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Prepare the pastry:
Combine the flour, cornmeal, sugar, salt and baking powder in a large mixing bowl. Cut the shortening into small chunks and combine with the flour using a pastry cutter. The dough should be crumbly and pebbly.
Combine the vinegar with 1/2 cup water. Add to the dough in three batches, gently tossing with a fork until the dough holds together when pinched. Use up to 1/4 cup more water if needed.
Gather the dough into a ball and knead gently in the bowl a few times until it holds together. Sprinkle a clean work surface with flour and roll out the dough into an 8 x 5 inch rectangle. Place baking parchment on cutting board, gently lift dough onto it, cover with plastic and refrigerate for at least an hour.

Prepare the filling:
Roast the squash by cutting in half lengthwise and scooping out center seeds. Place face down on a greased baking sheet and bake for about 50 minutes, until lit is easily pierced with a fork. Remove from heat and cool, cut side up. Peel squash and cut it into 3/4 inch chunks.
Preheat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Saute the onions and chiles in olive oil for 5 to 7 minutes, until softened. Add coriander seeds and garlic to pan and saute a minute more. Add cumin, salt and 2 tbsp water. Add squash and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring often to coat. Add black beans and heat thoroughly. Lastly, add lemon juice adn maple syrup. Turn off heat and prepare empanada dough.

Creating the empanadas:
Grease a baking sheet and set it aside. Grab the dough and slide it off the cutting board. Roll it out into a 9 x 12 inch rectangle. Trim edges to make it even. Slice the doguh into 3 inch squares- four cuts across and 2 cuts lengthwise.
Take a square and roll it out a bit more to about 6 inches square. Place 2 tbsp filling on half of dough, leaving about 1/2 inch of space at the bottom point. Fold over the dough so that it makes a triangle. Pinch together seams with a fork or fingers.
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes until golden brown!

Roasted Garlic

Take one or more whole, unpeeled and non-separated bulbs of garlic. With heavy, sharp knife, slice off approximately 1/2 inch of the entire top of the bulb, exposing the insides of the garlic cloves. Drizzle about one tablespoon of olive oil onto the top of the bulb, making sure the cut cloves are covered with oil and some oil sneaks into the spaces between the cloves. Wrap tightly in foil and bake at 375F for 20 to 30 minutes, until the cloves are very soft and turned a deep golden color. For slightly caramelized cloves, unwrap the tops of the bulbs and let them roast for an 8 to 10 additional minutes.