Thursday, April 5, 2012

Easter Menu

It's been a while since I posted, so I thought I'd start back with a teaser.  Our Easter menu is finalized planned and ready to share!  I will follow-up with the actual recipes soon, but until then...


Fungi Marinati con Olio e Limone
Mushrooms Marinated with Oil and Lemon

Bruchetto con Tonno
Bruschetta with Tuna Spread
Cucina di Calabria, p. 34

Peperoni Fritti
Fried Italian Peppers
Cucina di Calabria, p. 51

Prosciutto Pie
Ciao Italia in Umbria



Fried Rice Balls
Cucina di Calabria, p. 135

Carciofi Imbottiti


Polenta con Salsicce e Pomodori
Polenta with Sausage and Tomatoes
Cucina di Calabria, p. 135

Lamb Meatballs in Marinara
Found online, I don't have the cookbook this came from but the marinara sauce I use is from Lidia's Italian-American Kitchen


Spring Peas with Lemon

Asparagi al Sesamo e Limone
Asparagus with Sesame and Lemon
Cucina di Calabria, p. 223

Insalata di Olive Verde, Tonno, Sedamo, e Peperoni
Green Olive, Tuna, Celery, and Red Pepper Salad
Finocchi Brasati


Fried Dough Balls with Honey
Cucina di Calabria, p. 279

Limoncello Tiramisu
Lidia's Italy

Jam Crostada
Found online.

Almond Macaroons
Trattoria, p. 290

Cioccolato Amaretti
Chocolate Macaroons

Hazelnut and Orange Biscotti
Trattoria, p. 314

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Gotta Make Money Pasta

I made-up a new recipe for dinner last night, and have officially named it "Gotta Make Money Pasta". Why? Because it's GREEN!  And finding new ways to use the prolific zucchini this time of year is always helpful.

This is Vegan and Vegetarian.

Cost is probably 50-75 cents per serving.  I got the pesto at Trader Joe's and the artichoke hearts are from Costco.  Start to finish, this is about a 15 minute dinner.

Prepare 1 pound of rotini-shaped Pasta (or penne)

While pasta is boiling, cut 2 zucchini into bite-sized pieces (little chunks, not round slices).

Take about 1 & 1/2 cups of marinated artichoke hearts and cut into bite sized pieces.

Scoop a little of the oil from the artichoke hearts container into a saute pan. Add another 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Heat up to medium-high. Add 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper and 1 teaspoon salt.  Saute the zucchini until almost cooked through. Add artichoke hearts. Cook together another 1 or 2 minutes.

Drain pasta when finished. Add 2-3 Tablespoons of pesto to the bottom of the pasta pot. Add veggies and mix. Add more pesto to tase.

Serve with fresh parmesan.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Cucumber Salad

Summer is the ONLY time to eat cucumbers!  They are super cheap - and they are delicious.  I never buy cucumbers in the winter, when they are bitter and stale and travel 2,000 miles to get to our grocery store.

Nearly all the produce I buy is in season for several reasons.  My favorite reason is that it is the least expensive way to buy produce.  I saw plums at my produce market this week for just 49 cents/pound! 

Another important reason I buy in season is that it is more likely to be local.  Local food means less fossil fuels are burned, and it is better for the environment.  It also supports local farmers and the local economy.

Lastly, in season produce comes to you faster from the farm so it is fresher and more vitamins are inside!

So today, I'm sharing two of my favorite recipes for cucumber salad.  They are super simple and very delicious.

Sweet German-style Cucmber Salad

  • 3 cups cucumbers, thinly sliced

  • 1/2 cup of onion, very thinly sliced
Place cucumbers and onion in a large collanderand sprinkle with salt (about 1 tablespoon).  Shake the collander to cover everything with salt.  Let drain for one hour.  Rinse of salt, lay on a clean kitchen towel, and pat dry.

  • 1/3 cup raw sugar or turbinado sugar (evaporated cane juice)

  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar

  • 1/2 teaspoon celery seed
Mix together in a saucepan.  Bring to a boil, cook and stir until sugar is dissolved.  Pour over cucumbers.  Cover and marinate in refrigerator for several hours or overnight.

Persian-style Cucumber Salad

  • 3 cups cucumbers, thinly sliced

  • 1/2 cup of onion, very thinly sliced
Place cucumbers and onion in a large collanderand sprinkle with salt (about 1 tablespoon). Shake the collander to cover everything with salt. Let drain for one hour. Rinse of salt, lay on a clean kitchen towel, and pat dry.

  • 3/4 cup plain yogurt (see my easy homemade yougurt recipe here, or store bought)

  • 1 tablespoon fresh mint or dill weed
Place cucumbers/onions, yogurt, and mint or dill on a bowl.  Mix well.  Chill at least one hour.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Whole Wheat Flax Bread

Once you start making your own bread at home, I doubt you will stop!  It is soooooo easy and healthy.  There is nothing sweeter than the smell of bread baking.

Think about it.  A loaf of organic, whole-grain bread will set you back about $5 in the market.  You can make it at home for $2/loaf or less. 

This recipe is Vegan if you don't use the optional whey and if you replace the honey with raw sugar.

I get my organic flax meal and yeast at Costco in bulk.

Wheat flour can spoil fairly quickly, so I buy mine in bulk at the natural food market near our home.  Bulk flour turns over in the store much faster than bagged flour, so it is fresher.  Plus, you only need to buy the amount you really need so you won't waste anything!

I have never had this recipe fail.  Every loaf has been perfect.

Whole Wheat Flax Bread

3 cups fairly warm water (or whey left over from yogurt/cheese making, warmed in the microwave)
2 tablespoons (2 packages) active dry yeast

Combine in a mixing bowl and stir until dissolved.  Set aside until bubbly, 5 minutes.

3 cups organic whole wheat bread flour
3 tablespoons honey (for vegan, replace with raw sugar or agave syrup/stevia to taste)
3 tablespoons oil (neutral oil, like safflower or canola)

Add and stir until smooth.

2-3 cups organic bread flour
1 1/2 cups flax seed meal (sometimes called milled flax seed)
1/3 cup raw sunflower seeds (optional - but highly recommended)
2 tablespoons poppy seeds (optional)
2 teaspoons salt
1/3 cup flax seeds (optional)

Add, stirring in enough flour to make a stiff, smooth dough.  Knead about 10 minutes.  Place in a greased bowl, turn to grease both sides, cover with a damp dish towel, and let rise until doubled in bulk, about 1 1/2 hours.

Punch down, divide in half, and let rest 5 minutes.

Shape into loaves and place in greased loaf pans (grease with oil for vegan) or shape into round loaves and place on a greased baking sheet sprinkled with cornmeal.

Cover with damp dish towel, and let rise again, about 1 hour.

Bake in a pre-heated oven at 375 degrees F for 30 minutes.  You will know the loaves are done when you tap on the bottom and they sound hollow.

This freezes beautifully!

Adapted slightly from Simply in Season, by Mary Beth Lind and Cathleen Hockman-Wert (page 288).

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Toasted Herb Rice with Shiitake Mushrooms

DH really liked this one!  It has protien if you use the Bragg Amino Acid, but you could also add tofu or chicken.  We added chicken.  I was asked to put this on in the standard dinner roatation!

I also like the effect of toasting the brown rice before cooking it.  It gave a slightly nutty flavor.
Toasted Herb Rice with Shiitake Mushrooms

About 75 cents/serving.
Vegan, Vegetarian, and Gluten-free*.

6 servings.

*The Bragg Amino Acid is gluten-free, but the tamari/soy sauce option may not be.

3 cups short-grain brown rice
3-1/4 cups water
1-3/4 cups plus 1/2 cup vegetable broth
3 cups fresh shiitake mushrooms, sliced (or 1 cup dried, rehydrated in hot water)
1 teaspoon dried dill
1 teaspoon dried sage
1 teaspoon dired marjoram (or oregano)
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
1/2 cup sunflower seeds, toasted in a dry skillet
1-2 cloves of garlic, minced
Bragg Liquid Amino or low-sodium tamari, to taste (high quality soy sauce)

In a large saucepan, bring the water and broth (except 1/4 cup) to a boil.

In a small bowl, combine the dill, sage, marjoram (or oregano), and rosemary.

In a large, heavy skillet, toast the rice and half the herbs over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until the rice is a shade darket (about 5 minutes).

When liquid comes to a boil, add the toasted sunflower seeds and the toasted rice-and-herb mixture.  Cover, lower the heat, and simmer until all of the liquid is absorbed, about 40 minutes.  Remove from the heat and let stand covered about 10 minutes.

Add the reserved 1/4 cup of vegetable stock, garlic, and Bragg Amino Acid (or tamari or soy sauce).  Cook covered over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the mushrooms are tender and heated through (7-10 minutes).

Add to the cooked rice, stir, and serve immediately.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Zesty Cous Cous with Black Beans and Carrots

Zesty Cous Cous with Black Beans and Carrots

About 60 cents/serving when ORGANIC.  Salad additional.
Serves 3-4
Vegetarian and Vegan as written.
For a Gluten-free option, replace cous cous with quinoa or rice.

1-1/4 cup vegetable broth (increase to 2 cups for gluten-free)
1 cup whole grain cous cous (replace with rice or quinoa for gluten-free)
15-ounce can of black beans, rinsed (or 6 oz. dried, soaked overnight, and boiled 1 hour)

1 cup carrots, finely diced
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

In a large saucepan, combine the seasonings and broth.  Bring to a boil, then remove from the heat.  Stir in the cous cous, followed by the beans and carrots.  Let sit, covered, for about 10 minutes.  Serve with a salad that has lots of crisp greens.

Gluten-free Instructions:
Pre-cook the rice or quinoa with vegetable broth.  When cooked, combine with all other ingredients.  Serve with crisp salad.

Source: Recipes for Healthy Bliss: Using NatureFoods and Lifestyle Choices to Rejuvinate Your Body and Life, by Susan Smith Jones, Ph.D.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Spinach Pie

As my friend Lisa recently put it, "Sandi", she said,"You need to start writing your food blog again.  You are really letting that slide".  She's right.  I'll admit it.  So I'm back.  Thank you for the kick in the butt, Lisa!

Spinach Pie

Vegetarian, as written.  Filling is vegan and gluten-free, but be careful about the crust you choose as it may not be.  About 75 cents/serving. (6 servings)

10-ounce box frozen spinach (defrosted and drained)
1 & 1/2 cups onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tablespoons oil
3 cups crumbled tofu (if silken) or finely diced (if firm)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper (adjust to taste)
Salt and pepper
1 pre-made pie crust (frozen OK)

Pre-heat overn to 350 degrees. 

Cook spinach according to package directions (drain well).  Saute onion and add garlic in a large pot over medium heatfor 3 minutes.  Ad spinach, tofu, lemon juice, and seasoning.  Continue cooking fo 5 minutes.

Pour mixture into pie crust. 

Bake for 15-20 minutes until crust is brown.

Source: Meatless Meals for Working People: Quick and Easy Vegetarian Recipes by Debra Wasserman & Charles Stahler, 1998.