Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Good Soup/Bad Soup

I've been trying to come up with a reason to tell you about a recent, minor kitchen disaster, and my hero Mark Bittman gave me a good one in the New York Times this week. He describes a soup he had in Tuscany which was excellent but not something that he or an experienced cook would have come up with spontaneously. I happened to have all the ingredients on hand, so I made it for lunch today. The picture is a bit blurry, but that's it above. Delicious, fresh-tasting and easy. Now for the not-so successful soup...
A couple weeks ago, I was totally uninspired and not in a cooking mood. I got out the LAST can of Campbell's Tomato Soup, and proceeded to pour in 1/2 a can of water and 1/2 can of milk. After it heated up a bit, I noticed that it had nasty looking clumps in it. The milk was spoiled. NO SOUP FOR YOU!!!!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Pretty Healthy but Really Good Snack Cake

The first time I made this cake I was inspired by the overripe bananas on the counter. It seemed like this cake would be better than the typical banana bread recipe. "Better" doesn't even begin to describe how good this cake is!
The source is King Arthur Flour: Whole Grain Baking. The Banana Crunch Cake recipe uses oat flour (conveniently made of oats chopped to flour in your food processor), whole wheat flour, yogurt, nuts, and optional chocolate chips. You then mix a topping of oats, brown sugar, and more nuts. I used less sugar than the recipe calls for; judge this by your audience. It's a wonderful cake, warm or cold. No need for ice cream or whipped cream, it's that delicious on its own, but you can justify eating it for breakfast. I call that a winner.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Asian Chicken Pasta Salad

I wanted to make a salad with leftover Hainanese chicken (from the always-wonderful Mark Bittman: ). You must make this chicken. The only thing I do differently than Mark is for the sauce I use a few dashes of toasted sesame oil, a couple Tablespoons soy sauce, chopped scallions, and some water to mellow it out.

I read several recipes on food blogs for ideas, and then I made it with the ingredients I had on hand. It turned out to be really good. And it always feels nice and healthy to eat a salad!


leftover shredded Hainanese chicken

cooked whole wheat spaghetti

shredded carrots

shredded red cabbage

shredded celery


1/4 cup soy sauce

1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

1 teaspoon chopped ginger

1 teaspoon chopped garlic

2 Tablespoons water

Toss pasta, chicken and vegetables in a bowl. Bell peppers, cucumber, scallions, etc. would also be great.

Combine the dressing ingredients in a mini-chopper or blender, pour over salad and toss to combine.
I didn't crop the photo so you could see just a small part of the mess I make in the kitchen. Poor Dan!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Something different

One day, during the daily what's-for-dinner discussion, I was drawing a complete blank. I was so sick of my own cooking I couldn't stand it. Everything I cook tastes exactly the same, I thought.

Then I looked through one of my favorite cookbooks, 5 Spices, 50 Dishes by Ruta Kahate. This book is amazing in the way that it makes Indian food accessible for someone who would never be able to cook it intuitively, like me.

I had some ground lamb in the freezer, so when I paged through to the recipe for Lamb Meatballs in a Spicy Malabari Curry, I knew I had found my dish. I served this with brown basmati rice and Simple Cabbage Stir Fry from the same book. Incredible, and it was so good we didn't have any leftovers. Buy this book.