Thursday, September 30, 2010

Apple Ladybugs

I just had to share this adorable recipe that I made with my students. This month, we are celebrating apples as our fruit of the month. I did a 'cooking demo' class for them, and the girls loved it! This treat- while being cute, also is quite tasty.

1 red apple per 'ladybug'
thin pretzel sticks
peanut butter, other nut butter, or honey

Cut the apple in half and remove the seed and core.
Dab the peanut butter on several spots on the back of the apple.
Place a raisin on each peanut butter spot.
Stick some peanut butter on the end of each pretzel, add a raisin, and attach to the front of the ladybug.

Snack away!!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Roasted Pears

Pears are not my favorite fruit- you wait around for days until they are ready to eat, and then in what seems like a minute, they are over-ripe and gross!! I had a batch of too-ripe pears, and thought I'd try this recipe to save them. After all, it only requires 2 other ingredients, so it seemed fairly no-risk. Well, what came out of my oven tasted more like candy than fruit, took no time at all to prepare and make, and was delicious hot and cold!! I could imagine pearing (haha, get the pun?) them with a peppery arugula salad and a little goat cheese, or in a sandwich with brie and a splash of truffle oil. Enjoy!

Pears- as many as you want, I used 3 slightly over-ripe ones
Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Cut pears in half and core them.
Place pears in a baking dish, drizzle with olive oil, and salt and pepper generously.
Bake about 30 minutes, until pears are soft.

Eat hot or cold!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Buddha Bodai

Oh, vegetarian heaven. I have been here several times- but this past time, almost 7 months in to my vegetarian goodness, this vegetarian-kosher spot tasted better than ever before. I am not the world's biggest fan of fake meat- I usually opt for real tofu or for all-veggie dishes- but this chinese restaurant- which I'm pretty sure is the real deal- I was one of the few english speakers on my last visit- is no joke. My veg friend, Stacey, joined me, and declared it "the best food ever". It was like two hours of pure chow down.

So, what delights did we try? We split an order of the sesame chicken- actually tofu, not fried, with the most perfectly steamed bright green broccoli ever. It pretty much cured every chicken craving I've had in the past months- and reminded me that the best part is the broccoli anyway. The sauce was sweet and tangy, not overly syrupy or thick, and just pretty much made the fresh broccoli taste amazing.

We also had the Buddha's delight crisp noodles- a massive plate of crispy ramen noodles in sauce with bok choy, mushrooms, tofu, and more broccoli. I ate far too much of everything.

As a final compliment to the awesomeness that is this spot, on a previous visit, even my totally skeptical of veg food husband was impressed by the cuisine!

If you are in chinatown and want vegetarian heaven, seek this spot out!!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Lemon Rosemary Sugar Cookies

These little cookies were to-die-for. Ryan was reluctant at the thought of rosemary in his cookie, but in my brain, this made sense to my sweet-salty-savory loving palate. I also could imagine a childhood in the italian countryside - and the smell of these cookies coming out of Nonna's oven. The recipe yields about thirty small-bite cookies! PS: this recipe is another winner from vegetarian times- Simple, great tasting- I highly recommend it!

1 stick butter, softened
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. finely chopped rosemary (fresh!)
1/2 tsp. finely grated lemon zest
2 egg yolks
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup flour
1/3 cup corn flour (this was a little tricky to find- I'd look in advance!)
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup turbinado (sugar in the raw) or decorative crystal sugar for decorating


Beat butter, sugar, rosemary, and lemon zest with electric mixer 3 minutes, or until creamy. Beat in egg yolks and vanilla.
Whisk together flours, baking powder, and salt in bowl. Add to butter mixture, and beat until just combined. Shape into 2 1-inch-wide logs. Wrap in wax paper, and chill 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 325°F. Spray 2 baking sheets with cooking spray. Slice cookies into 1/3-inch-thick rounds. Place turbinado sugar in bowl and press one cut side of cookies into sugar. Place sugar-side up on baking sheets. Bake 15 minutes, or until golden brown on bottoms. Transfer to wire racks to cool.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Pasta Sauce: One Year Later

One of my earliest posts to this blog was a recipe for homemade sauce- and that was over a year ago! In that time, I've learned so much- and even that recipe has evolved and changed. The original is still up on the site, if you are curious, but here is the one-year-later take on how to make some good ol' Italian Gravy:

2 28-oz cans of peeled tomatoes (I prefer san marzano imported)
2 28-oz cans of a different brand, sometimes I use wood-fired for different flavor
2 healthy handfuls of freshly chopped basil
1 healthy handful of fresh chopped parsely
1 handful of fresh oregano
Dashes of marjoram, thyme, and rosemary
3 garlic coves peeled & minced
1 shallot minced
stems of celery, minced
olive oil
up to 1/2 can of water
splash of wine
sea salt & pepper- black and red
Pecorino & Parmeggiano cheese to grate on top
Pasta of preference

1. Coat bottom of a sauce pot with olive oil. Over low heat, add in garlic, shallots, and celery. 'Sweat' the onions and garlic- stirring frequently, and NOT allowing to brown. Cook until they begin to break down softly.
2. Add in herbs. Continue to cook over low heat, stirring and crushing ingredients against the sides and bottoms of pot. Add in more olive oil if it starts to dry out. Wilt greens into the oil, releasing flavors.
3. Once herbs have wilted into the oil, add in the 4 cans of tomatoes. Stir and crush some of the larger tomatoes with wooden spoon. Turn up heat and allow to boil briefly, then turn down to simmer.
4. Salt & pepper, allow to simmer, the longer, the better, but at minimum, an hour. If simmering for longer times, you may need to add in more water.
5. Stir occasionally, and after first hour, smell and taste, adjust flavors.
6. Prior to serving, pour in a splash of a dry red italian wine.

This sauce freezes up really well!! We usually have enough to make 4 1-lb boxes of pasta with this recipe. We've also used it on pizzas and in our eggplant & chicken parm!!

Monday, September 13, 2010


I love it when spontaneity pays off! Ryan & I were out for drinks with friends, and a bit hungry- and decided to head off to find some food. On our way somewhere else, we walked past Braeburn- a restaurant I had heard of for its organic, local, fare, and intimate neighborhood vibe. They also have a menu with multiple vegetarian options- which makes them already a hit on my list. So, we popped in, asked if they had space- and to our pleasure, they did!

Ryan had an Old Fashioned cocktail which he said was made just right. A complimentary amuse bouche- a bite of watermelon in mint oil- was light and refreshing. We tried a poached & panko-crusted farm egg for our appetizer, which was both savory and light at the same time. There were pea shoots in the egg that were delicious, as well as mushrooms, making it a great start to the meal.

I tried a second appetizer- which was fettuccine with black pepper, preserved lemon, and ricotta cheese. I am often reluctant to order fettuccine dishes when I'm out because more often than not they are extremely heavy and gooey- but I had high hopes for this spot, and they delivered! The pasta was actually light- the lemon flavor giving it a really nice, clean taste, and the portion size was perfect. A few cherry tomatoes made a nice acidic contrast to the pasta.

Ryan tried the steak, which was a really impressive piece of meat, both in quality and quantity for the price. Ryan, who has had a few steaks in his day, actually declared it one of the better ones he's come across of late- perfectly cooked medium rare throughout with a nicely flavored and seared outer crust. Topped with 'blistered' tomatoes, zucchini and carmelized onions, the dish was really well seasoned and prepared!!

We were both really happy with the atmosphere, cocktails, food, and service- and not to mention the price point! Appetizers were around $10-$12 each, and most entrees were around $22-$25, with the steak at $33. Dinner for two with a shared appetizer and a cocktail in the city that clocks in at the $70-$80 range and tastes this good deserves to be celebrated!!!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Lime-Cilantro Dressing

Oh man, a new favorite. I am so sick of oil and vinegar and even balsamic vinaigrette- and this is a light, summery, refreshing dressing! We served it with an arugula, spinach, and mesclun salad, topped with cherry tomatoes, and it complimented the bitter greens perfectly.

The recipe is adapted from Frontera Kitchens- a Rick Bayless Restaurant/ product line- and it is just amazing. Check them out!!

2 1/2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice

2 small cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped

1/2 of a fresh hot green chile, such as chile serrano, seeded and roughly chopped (I used jalapeno)

1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

2/3 cup olive oil

Mix together in a food processor or blender, shake well, and voila!