Tag Archives: beans

by popular vote…

6 Dec

You asked and so you shall receive.

Here is the rough recipe for the chickpea tart that I made for Thanksgiving. This was literally “a little of this, a little of that”, so please know there is tons of room for interpretation.

Savory Holiday Tart

1 recipe pie crust, minus sugar (I used white whole wheat flour to make it more savory)

1 medium onion or 2-3 shallots, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups cremini mushrooms, rinsed and sliced
2 cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
white wine
thyme (finely chopped)
rosemary (finely chopped)
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
soy sauce
balsamic vinegar

3-4 cups of pearl onions, skin peeled (You could also make regular caramelized onions to top, if you don’t want to deal with the pearl onions)
sprinkling of sugar

Make pie crust per directions. Wrap and let chill in fridge.

In a large skillet, saute onions and garlic in some oil. Add mushrooms and cook until onions are translucent and mushrooms are cooked down. Drain off any liquid. Add chickpeas and saute for about 10 minutes on medium stirring often and adding splashes of wine to deglaze the pan as needed. Add nutritional yeast and herbs to your liking (I used about 2 tbsp. of thyme and 2 teas. of rosemary. Add a nice splash of soy sauce, about 2 tbsp, and a small splash of balsamic vinegar, about 1 tbsp max. Mix to combine and spoon mixture into a food processor. Process while adding more wine as needed and scraping down the sides of the processor, to make a mixture like a thick pate. Set aside.

In a pan, melt a about 1-2 tbsp. of margarine. Add peeled pearl onions. Sprinkle with a little sugar and cook on a medium heat, stirring often, until onions are translucent and they begin to caramelize, about 15 minutes. Add wine as needed to deglaze.

Remove pie crust from oven. Press crust into the bottom and sides of a 12- inch tart pan. You may not use all of the crust, depending on how thick you make it. Spread in chickpea mixture and smooth with a spatula. Top with onions.

Bake at 400 covered with tin foil for about 45 minutes, then remove foil and bake for an additional 10-15 or until top is set. Let tart sit for 10-15 minutes before serving.

You can easily prep this recipe the night before and refrigerate it, drive 5 1/2 hours in holiday traffic and bake it upon arrival. I feel about 95% confident that you could also bake it the night before, cool and refrigerate and then reheat it in a 350 oven for about 15-20 minutes with tin foil on it.

best. pancakes. ever!

25 May

That’s quite the claim, I know. But I swear I can back it up.

We are putting the finishing touches on episode 2. I hope to have it up by tomorrow night, so stay tuned for that. It will be actual documentation that I do create food that is not baked. No body doubles, I swear. 🙂

So, I just have to say, I made the most delicious pancakes the other day I even surprised myself. Jim is a big time cinnamon lover, so I tend to use it in our pancakes, which are usually just plain jane pancakes which we dress up with toppings or sauces. His recent kick has been making cinnamon toast, a throwback to both of our childhoods. So I wondered, what if I made cinnamon toast pancakes? Would they just be cinnamon pancakes or something else?



Oh, unassuming pancakes. Thou art but a pile of goodness, reserved for those with discerning taste and much love of beloved cinnamon, joined in matrimony with a light crunch.

That’s right. The cinnamon/sugar mixture slightly caramelized into a slightly crunchy thin coating, giving way to a fluffy, moist interior. A textural treat to tease the tastebuds. (Say that five times fast.) The delicate flavor of TJs new maple agave blend was the perfect addition.


I didn’t want cinnamon. I had to have fruit. Yes, I was sure I didn’t want cinnamon. No, Jimmy, I won’t want to steal your pancakes… like a foolish child who trades one quarter for three pennies, I had the flapjack slinger’s remorse. Sure, my vanilla pancakes with yogurt and fresh fruit were good, but that didn’t keep me from sneaking bites off Jim’s plate. Lesson learned: never say no to Cinnamon Toast Yum Pancakes!

Cinnamon Toast Yum Pancakes

1 1/2 cups flour
3 tbsp. sugar
1 tbsp. baking powder
1/8 teas. salt
1 1/4 to 1 1/2 cups milk of choice
1/4 cup water
1 tbsp. oil
1/2 teas. vanilla
1 1/2 teas. cinnamon
1 tbsp. + 1 teas. sugar

In a large bowl combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. In another bowl combine milk, water, oil and vanilla and mix to combine. Add wet ingredients to dry and whisk until just mixed, it may be a little lumpy and that’s fine. Add more milk if needed. In a little bowl combine the cinnamon and 1 tbsp. sugar.

Heat up a griddle to medium heat. Sprinkle a small coating of the cinnamon mixture where you will put your batter, then ladle out the batter on top of it. Sprinkle the exposed side of the pancake with an equal amount. Flip pancake when edges look slightly firmed up and it bubbles a little in the middle. Overcooking can burn the sugar. Cook on other side until puffy bottom is lightly browned. Continue with the rest of the batter. Serve with margarine and syrup.

Yields: 6 medium sized pancakes

We had a nice mish-mash of food for our Memorial Day feast. The weather has been absolutely beautiful here in Portland and I was craving summery fare. And completely contrary to my normal leanings, I was craving hot dogs. If you know me, you know that hot dogs have never been something I normally consume, vegan or otherwise. Sometimes I’ll have a Field Roast sausage, but I usually won’t eat anything resembling a hot dog. A recent trip to Food Fight while on lunch had me contemplating the hot dog machine and I impulsively purchased one to chow down before heading back to work and the craving has been there ever since. Go figure.


Tofurkey hot dog with lemon-garlic roasted potatoes, grilled asparagus and homemade baked beans. Wow, I didn’t realize how much time it took to make baked beans, so next time I will start sooner and probably crock-pot it. We ate this meal on Sunday and it wasn’t all ready to go until 9:45pm! We are late eaters, but that’s even late for us.

I hope you all had a good long weekend, if you were so lucky as to have one, and took a moment to remember those we’ve lost.

Cooking show episode 2- next post!

dinner in a flash

18 May

Okay, so I promise no posts with strawberries for awhile. 🙂

We are gathered here today to celebrate the quick meal. The effortless menu you can lean on after a long day at work. The dinner you can throw together in a flash, especially if you’ve planned and have some choice ingredients ready to go. With a little assistance from my friend, Trader Joe, of course.

Eggplant thing

A jar of some eggplant caponata from TJ’s, sauteed with some fresh zucchini and served with quinoa on the side. Light, summery and fresh, what more can you ask for? I did dishes while the quinoa cooked in the rice cooker, let it sit while sauteeing the zucchini, then added the caponata to the zucchini and let it simmer for a few minutes. Dinner was served, tangy and flavor.

bindhi ricotta

This was a “what do we have that requires minimal effort?” meal. I knew I wanted to make my tofu ricotta because we hadn’t had it in awhile. I had to modify a little because I had no tahini and no basil, but it worked. After a little rummaging, some whole wheat pasta was unearthed, along with a jar of garlic tomato sauce. Bindhi initially gave it her seal of approval. When something smells good enough to please her feline sensibilities, she air-chews, making this odd little noise you might make if you were pretending to eat something crunchy. Here, she is in mid-chew. After being allowed to try a piece of pasta, though, she retracted the air-chew.


Trader Joe’s recently started carrying a new aseptic soup called “Garden Patch Veggie Soup”. Essentially, it’s V-8 in soup form. I’m not a big fan of things so tomato-based, but decided to give it a try. It’s a consistently thick, pureed soup, so I jazzed it up with some onion, zucchini, green beans, and carrots. It was alright, but probably won’t be made again, as we’re just not big fans of tomato in that form. On the side you see my Green White Bean Spread, paired up with some crusty artisan bread. Ooh, baby. I could eat a vat of it with chewy, yeasty bread. Heavenly.

Green White Bean Spread

2 tbsp. olive oil
1 1/2 cups baby spinach leaves, washed
1 can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 head roasted garlic
1/4 teas. salt

In a pan, sautee spinach in olive oil on medium heat. Cover and cook until spinach is wilted. Add cannellini beans, mixing to combine. Add unpeeled garlic cloves. Cook until heated through. Remove from heat and add salt. Process mixture in a food processor until processed through and creamy, adding water one tablespoon at a time if needed.

Serve with crudites and bread. Yields: 1 1/2 cups.

Further proof that I do indeed eat more than just baked good and, now, strawberries and rhubarb.


2 Jan

Happy New Year!

When I was growing up I couldn’t stand being a kid and I spent most of my adolescence wishing it away. I could not wait to grow up, because then life would really start. Time moved forward at a crawl’s pace. I remember actually getting bored with summer vacation and looking forward to school so that I had something to do. Now a long weekend flies by faster than a single work day and my pen can’t keep up with the year. If you could see how many checks I’ve written that I had to void and rewrite in the last year, you’d shake your head.

Did you remember to eat your black-eyed peas on January 1st? Eating black-eyed peas on New Year’s is a southern tradition stemming from the late 1800s. During the Civil War northern troops would raid fields of food in the south, but overlooked black-eyed peas, thinking that they were cattle feed and not suitable for eating. Those hardy beans were a staple for survival in the war-ravaged south. They symbolize good luck and wealth in the new year and are traditionally eaten with ham and greens.

2009 looks to be a rough year with the economy and all, so I figured a little luck wouldn’t hurt. Besides, I love black-eyed peas because they are neutral enough to go in virtually any recipe, require no pre-soak and are just plain delicious! I made up some black-eyed pea and quinoa cakes that I lightly fried and served with a creamy roasted garlic sauce and carmelized onions. I simply cooked up some black-eyed peas, quinoa and some minced onion, mashed the peas, mixed them together with some dried basil and salt, formed them into patties and lightly pan fried them. For our greens, we bypassed the collards and went with some garlic roasted brussel sprouts.

Black-eyed Pea and Quinoa Cakes with Roasted Garlic Sauce and Carmelized Onions

Black-eyed Pea and Quinoa Cakes with Roasted Garlic Sauce and Carmelized Onions

P.S. If you have a rice cooker and have not yet made quinoa in it, you must! It is fluffy and absolutely perfect! Instead of the regular 1 part quinoa to 2 parts water ratio I use 1 cup quinoa to 1 2/3 cups water and it comes out perfect everytime! Always remember to rinse off your quinoa first.

I am not one much for convention or following tradition, but there’s a certain appeal to setting New Year’s Resolutions. Have I ever actually kept one? Well, maybe, but I usually forget what they were come March. 🙂 This year, however, I’m feeling determined, so here goes.

1.) Purge. I’m getting rid of my stuff. It’s incredible as you go from occupying a room to an apartment to a house that you can find so many things to fill your space with! I’m paring down to only the things I really need and keeping sentimental mushiness to a minimum. So far I have 2 garbage bags full of clothes and 2 large rubbermaid totes full of stuff, and that’s only from sorting through my dressers, my side of the closet and our Christmas decorations. Goodwill will know us well this year.

2.) Stop using the word “like”. Yes, I am one of them. One of those people who says “And then I was like blah blah blah and then he was like blah blah blah”. I also use it as a filler word when I am grapling for my next though. Any ideas on how to stop it? So far I’ve thought of wearing a rubber band on my wrist and snapping it whenever I say it, like when a smoker is trying to quit or putting X-amount of pennies in one pocket and everytime I say it, I put one penny into the other pocket to make myself aware. Any thoughts?

3.) Exercise. C’mon now, stop laughing. I know we all say it, but I’m serious here. My pants are getting tight from working on the cookbook and my metabolism is starting to slow down. I have four new workout DVDs coming from Amazon to mix it up.

4.) Become a chocolate connoisseur. That was actually one of my goals from last year, but this year I’m taking it quite seriously. I know, chocolate connoiseur may not make sense after exercise, but really good dark chocolate only requires a small square to satisfy a sweet tooth, so no guilt here. And yes, I know that eating chocolate isn’t exactly something most people have to work towards, but I want to really know it. The process, the differences, the blends of beans. Semisweet, bittersweet, dark, I want to understand it beyond “This tastes good”.

I’m starting off with this wonderful Dark Chocolate Palette from Trader Joe’s that Jim bought me for Christmas. It has 8 squares of dark chocolate of differing cocoa amounts from unique origins.

Chocolate Palette

So far we have sampled the first 5, with Peru and Tanzania being our top picks. Did you know that cacao trees can only grow within 20 degrees from the equator? The closer to the equator, the harder the cocoa butter and therefore the harder the chocolate.

Palette Square Open

I am learning a lot about chocolate right now due to some new books I received this holiday as well. Once the manuscript is off to the publisher this spring I plan on personally trying my hand at creating some confections, which I will document, of course.

Does anyone have any New Year’s Resolutions they are also feeling passionate about?