Thursday, October 30, 2008

Black bean chili

The delicious secret in this chili is in the larger chunks of tomato and creamy black beans

1 large can whole tomatoes, roughly mashed
2 cups black beans, soaked and cooked
1/2 cup ground beef (optional)
1/2 onion, chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tsp oil
1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp paprika
1 tsp red wine vinegar

Heat the oil in a large heavy pot over medium heat. Cook onion and garlic until onions are translucent. Add ground beef and cook, stirring, until meat is brown. Stir in beans, tomatoes, chili powder, cumin, paprika and vinegar. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer until flavors are well blended. Salt to taste.

Serve with grated Gouda or Chedddar cheese and tortilla chips.

Pork roast with mushroom wine sauce

3-4 lb pork roast
4-6 cloves garlic
sprigs of thyme
sprigs of rosemary
1 cup red wine
4-6 button mushrooms
1 Tbsp olive oil
lemon wedge

Cut slits in the roast and push 1/2 garlic clove in each.

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over med-high heat. Sear the roast for about 15 seconds on each side or until mostly white instead of pink.

Season roast with salt and pepper. Tuck sprigs of thyme and rosemary in under twine. Place in a large baking dish and sprinkle with 1/4 cup water.

Bake in preheated oven at 350° until the thickest part of the roast registers 160° (about 25 minutes per pound). Baste with juices every 20 minutes. Be careful not to not overbake!

Remove roast and keep warm. Scrape juices and bits into a frying pan. Heat to medium and add wine. Cook on low for 15-20 minutes until reduced by half. Taste and salt as needed. Add mushrooms and cook until just starting to soften. Squeeze lemon over sauce. Stir gently then pour it over the roast and serve.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Orange spiced apple pie

Apple pie for me should be a fall recipe with lots of warm spices!

1 prepared pie crust
4-5 apples, peeled and sliced
2 Tbsp flour
2 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp orange juice
1-2 tsp butter
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp orange zest

Roll the crust out into a pie pan.

In a large bowl, toss together apples, flour, sugar, cinnamon, cloves and zest. Pour into pie crust pie. Sprinkle with orange juice and dot with butter.

Bake in preheated oven at 350° for 30-40 minutes or until apples are soft and crust browns.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Fudge au café

1 can sweetened condensed milk
12 oz chocolate chips or bars (broken)
1⁄4 c cocoa
1 T finely ground coffee
1 tsp vanilla

In a heavy saucepan heat all ingredients, mixing well. Once chocolate is completely melted, pour into a buttered dish. Let cool, then refrigerate at least three hours before serving. Can be kept in a tightly sealed container for a week or in freezer for two months.

Thursday, October 23, 2008


Just in case you were missing inspiration for using up the last of a batch of sauce caramel... May I suggest topping for an apple coffee cake?

Sunday, October 19, 2008

White pizza with fresh vegetables

1 batch favorite pizza crust (optional: add 1 Tbsp flaxseed with the flour)
1 1/2 cups ricotta cheese
1/4 cup crumbled Mimolette or sharp cheddar
3/4 cups frozen spinach, drained
1 small tomato, thinly sliced
1 roasted red pepper, thinly sliced
3-4 Paris or button mushrooms, thinly sliced
1/2 purple onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, crushed

Roll the dough out onto a baking sheet or pizza stone. Mix together the garlic and ricotta, then spread over the crust, going almost to the edges. (If the ricotta is too thick, stir in a little milk to thin it.) Top with veggies and then crumbled cheese.

Bake in preheated oven at 400° for 25 minutes or unitil crust is just browned. Sprinkle with salt and serve.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Lemon & garlic vinaigrette

Mix this vinaigrette in the bottom of your salad bowl. Then add the lettuce and toss to coat.

1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp Dijon-style mustard
1/2 tsp fresh lemon juice
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 garlic clove, crushed
3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil or sunflower oil

Whisk together vinegar, mustard, lemon juice, salt, pepper and garlic. Add 1 Tbsp oil, whisking until completely blended. Add remaining oil 1 Tbsp at a time, being sure to blend thoroughly.

Makes dressing for 3-4 small side salads.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Homemade chicken pot pie

1 cup cooked chicken, cut into bite-sized pieces
2 carrots, cut in half lengthwise then sliced thinly
1/2 cup celery, chopped
1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed
2 medium potatoes, cubed
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
1/4 tsp thym
1 tsp chicken bouillon
2 tsp butter
2 tsp flour
2 cups milk
1 prepared pastry crust

Place potatoes, carrots, rosemary, thym and bouillon in a saucepan and add enough water to barely cover them. Bring to a gently boil and cook until tender.

In a large frying pan, melt the butter over low heat. Stir in flour with a wire whisk. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly. Do not allow the mixture to brown. Gradually stir in milk, whisking constantly. Cook over low heat for 3-5 more minutes until sauce begins to thicken.

Once the sauce thickens (think gravy) stir in the chicken, potatoes, carrots and liquid from cooking. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Stir until mixed evenly.

Roll pastry crust out and place in a slightly undersized baking dish so that the edges stand above by about 1/2 inch. Pour filling into crust, then gently bring the edges in to wrap over filling a little.

Bake on 350° 25-35 minutes until browned and bubbly.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Walnut biscotti

Crunchy, twice-baked Italian cookies perfect for dipping in coffee, tea, hot chocolate or milk. They don't take long to make and store well.

1/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tsp almond extract
1 TBSP melted butter
1 cup flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
pinch ground cloves
small handful walnuts

In a bowl mix together the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, spices). In a second bowl the sugar, egg, extract and butter. Once completely blended, stir in dry ingredients. Stir until completely mixed in, then stir in walnuts. The dough will be stiff and heavy.

Shape the dough into a wide, flat loaf about 1/2 inch tall. Place on a baking stone or nonstick cookie sheet. Bake in preheated oven at 375 degrees for 20 minute or until the top is browned and begins to crack.

Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack for about 10 minutes.

Transfer loaf to a cutting board and, using a serrated knife, cut into slices 1/2 inch thick on the diagonal. Arrange evenly on the baking sheet or stone. Bake 10 minutes, turn slices over, and bake another 10 minutes or until firm to the touch.

Let the biscotti dunking begin!

(If there are any left, let cool completely before storing in an airtight container.)

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Senegalese ceebu yapp

This recipe falls somewhere between the Senegalese Ceebu Yapp (pronounced cheh-boo-yap), Riz au Gras (ree-oh-grah) from Côte d'Ivoire and Jollof rice made in Nigeria, Ghana and Sierra Leone. In any case, it is most definitely a West African dish!

4 Tbsp oil (divided)
1 lb stew meat, cubed
1 onion, sliced
2 carrots, sliced
1/4 head cabbage, sliced (opt)
4-5 "chunks" of winter squash (opt)
3-4 cloves garlic, crushed
2 cups broth (or bouillon + water)
1 small can tomato paste
hot sauce (Scotch Bonnet is best)
cayenne pepper
2 cups rice

Heat 2 Tbsp oil in a large skillet. Cook beef until browned on all sides. Remove the meat from the oil and set aside.

Add the onions, garlic and carrots and fry until the onions begin to become tender. Remove the onion mixture from the skillet and set aside with the meat.

In a large pot, bring the 2 cups broth to a simmer, then add meat and onion mixture. Season with salt, pepper, cayenne and about 1-2 tsp Scotch Bonnet hot sauce. Let simmer while you...

Heat 2 Tbsp oil in frying pan. Over low heat, mix the rice and tomato paste in the pan. Allow to cook for a few minutes, stirring often. Add the rice to the large pot and stir gently. Place chunks of squash and cabbage on top.

Cover and cook over low heat until the rice is done and the vegetables are tender.

VERY IMPORTANT: Stir gently every ten minutes or so and be sure there is still some liquid in the bottom of the pan so the rice does burn. Add more water or broth as needed (1/3 cup at a time).

When the ride is done, serve in large bowls with a squeeze of lemon and another dash of Scotch Bonnet hot sauce.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Rosemary-garlic round bread

A new twist on the 60-minute yeast bread!

4 1/2 tsp yeast
1 Tbsp sugar
1 1/2 cups water
3 1/2 cups flour
1 1/4 tsp salt
3/4 tsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp fresh snipped rosemary
2-3 cloves crushed garlic,
Oil for bowl

Pour water into a large microwave-safe bowl and heat to 120° (test it with your pinkie - it should be hot, but not so hot that you can't keep your finger in it). Stir in the sugar, then add yeast. Let sit a few minutes until foamy.

Heat the oven to 450°. Put aDutch oven, ceramic or stoneware baking dish/loaf pan in to heat up with the oven. Otional: place a cookie sheet in the bottom of your oven. You'll see why later.

Add 3 cups of the flour, salt, vinegar, rosemary and garlic to the yeast mixture and mix well with a sturdy spatula or wooden spoon. Add the last 1/2 cup of flour and stir in as much as possible. Turn out onto lightly floured surface and knead for 5 minutes. The dough will be smooth and elastic, not sticking to your hands, but maybe to the counter still a bit.

Oil the microwave-safe bowl and place the dough in it, rolling it in the oil. Cover the bowl with a very wet towel. Cover the whole thing with a dry towel and microwave on high for 25 seconds.

Let rest in the microwave for about five minutes.

Microwave for another 25 seconds, then remove.

Let rest and rise for another 15 minutes.

Optional: While waiting, pour 1/2 cup water into the cookie sheet in the bottom of your oven. Be careful - steam is what you're after and it can burn you! The steam will help form a nice crust on the bread.

Gently shape into a ball and place carefully into the hot pan. Quickly cut two or three slashes on the the top with a sharp knife. Bake for 40 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown and the internal temperature is 200°. (You can add another 1/2 cup of water about 15 minutes into baking, if you want.)

Remove bread from oven and pan. let sit 10 minutes before slicing. Stores well in Ziploc and makes great sandwich bread the next day.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Beef stew with root vegetables

2 pounds stew beef
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 clove garlic, peeled
1 bay leaf
2 onions, sliced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
3 large carrots, sliced
2 turnips, peeled and cubed
2 potatoes, cubed

Brown meat in hot oil. Add water, garlic, bay leaf, onion, salt and pepper. Add water to cover. Cover and simmer 1 1/2 hours. Add carrots, potatoes and turnips. Cover and cook 30 to 40 minutes longer.

Goes great with Rosemary-garlic bread!

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Two-minute yellow cake

One big bowl. Two-minute prep. Three cheers.

1 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup sugar
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 cup milk
1/3 cup oil
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Beat for with electric mixer for two minutes. Pour into greased baking dish. Bake in preheated oven at 375° for 25 to 30 minutes. Cool, then serve with a dollop of chocolate frosting.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Gumbo with greens

Here's a new spin on Nana's gumbo: stir in 1/4 cup chopped spinach for a little leafy green nutritional boost.