Stuff I’ve made recently, January 2012


  • Beer bread (Alton Brown): The ultimate weeknight bread recipe, for when you want something starchy/tasty to go with soup, etc. Super easy and super quick. My changes: used dried dill instead of fresh, subbed in part skim mozzarella cheese for cheddar, omitted the sunflower seeds. I also used Lagunitas IPA, with great results.
  • Carrot soup with miso and sesame (Smitten Kitchen): I have a long-standing hatred of carrots. So much so that it’s become a default joke with my loved ones. Something about the texture and the underlying sweetness just doesn’t work for me, despite my best efforts to overcome the distaste. I want to like them! Really! They’re so good for you! Despite all this, something about this recipe called to me, so I just ran with it. And you know what? It was pretty darn good, even for me. The miso helps offset the carrots’ sweetness, and the toasted sesame oil is just perfect. The texture still bothered me at times, but I ate three servings of it over the course of three days, so there you go.
  • Chicken lima bean soup (Taste of Home): I made this because I was dying to use my bag of Rancho Gordo Christmas lima beans, the recipe looked easy, and I wanted a nice sturdy soup after a whole holiday vacation of splurging on baked goods. It’s a very good soup, although I think the chicken may have been a tad overcooked. My changes: used Christmas limas, used kale instead of spinach, used dried parsley and other random seasonings instead of fresh.
  • Cottage cheese muffins (101 Cookbooks): Like every 101 Cookbooks recipe ever, these were really good. I made them for an office holiday potluck, but when I make them again, I’ll have them for breakfast instead.
  • Grapefruit yogurt cake (Smitten Kitchen): I had extra grapefruits, I had leftover yogurt that was threatening to go bad, I had everything else needed for this simple loaf cake. So I made it. And I’m really glad I did. It’s very, very good, and very, very easy. Next time, I’ll try the Ina Garten original lemon version, or a lime version with coconut milk yogurt and coconut oil. My changes: I used nonfat plain yogurt instead of whole milk.
  • Macaroni and cheese pizza (Food Network): For Jeffrey‘s birthday dinner! We used the Quick Beer Crust from King Arthur Flour, which is quickly becoming my favorite go-to pizza crust recipe. This is one of the more indulgent things I’ve ever made. Wow. We sort of winged it with this recipe – I don’t remember most of the changes that we made, however. The main thing is just stovetop mac and cheese, put on a pizza crust, and baked. Yum.
  • Meyer lemon fresh cranberry scones (Smitten Kitchen): I made these for my Bay Bridged comrades to enjoy while we set up for the Bay Brewed. They were a big hit. My changes: used regular lemons instead of Meyer.
  • Rustic lentil soup (Soup Addict): Delicious, hearty stew. That’s really all you need to know. Really, really good. My changes: I didn’t have any pancetta so I used more bacon instead, omitted the fish sauce, used 3 small leeks instead of celery, and used dried rosemary instead of fresh thyme.
  • And of course, I’ve made several more 30 before 30 items. Just need to actually sit down and write them all out!

Christmas lima bean soup with kale

Macaroni and cheese pizza


Curried potato-squash-leek soup

I made a clean-out-the-pantry-and-fridge soup last night. I had some potatoes and a delicata squash left over from dinner the night before, plus a leek in the fridge and some leftover cooked lentils that were threatening to go bad. So, I took Mark Bittman’s potato-leek soup recipe and adjusted to include some extra ingredients. No photos, sorry. šŸ˜¦

P.S. I have about three 30 before 30 posts in the vault, just need to actually sit down and crank ’em out!

Curried potato-squash-leek soup

3 tablespoons butter
4 medium red potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 delicata squash, peeled and chopped
3 leeks (white and light green parts only), chopped
4-6 cups broth (veggie or chicken)
1 cup cooked lentils (mine were cooked with broth and some cumin)
1/2 tablespoon garam masala
1 tablespoon curry powder
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Melt the butter in a soup pot over medium heat. Add the leeks, potatoes, and squash and gently stir until softened, about 3-5 minutes. Add enough broth to just cover the vegetables, bring to a boil, then adjust the heat so that the soup bubbles gently. Add a few shakes of salt and pepper and cook for about 20-30 minutes, until the potatoes and squash are tender. Stir in lentils.

Turn off the heat, and puree the soup until smooth – either with an immersion blender, or regular blender or food processor. Stir in the garam masala and curry powder, plus additional salt and pepper to taste, and re-heat over the stove if necessary.

Make this soup: Red lentil soup with lemon

I have no photos. I have nothing to give besides words. Sorry.

But you should make this soup. It is so very delicious.

I got it from my copy of The Essential New York Times Cookbook, and I mostly tried it because a) I really wanted to make some type of lentil soup, and b) I’ve been dying to use my new immersion blender.

The full recipe, plus more gushing about the greatness of this soup, can be found via bothĀ Orangette and Sassy Radish.

My additions/substitutions/notes:

  • I added one leek to the mixture (since I like leeks), andĀ I used coconut oil instead of olive for theĀ sautĆ©ingĀ (since I’ve been digging coconut oil recently).Ā I found both additions to be extremely pleasing, especially the coconut oil.
  • I increased the number of garlic cloves by 3 or 4, since garlic is boss.
  • I left out the cilantro because I didn’t have any, but I’m sure it would have been divine.
  • Lastly, the recipe dictates “juice of 1/2 lemon, more to taste” – I ended up using the juice from almost the entire lemon.

Cooking with Trader Joe’s

I love Trader Joe’s. Joe is my religion. The only downside of shopping at Trader Joe’s (for me, at least) is that sometimes it’s not a one-stop experience, especially if you’re picking up particular recipe ingredients.

Enter Cooking with Trader Joe’s, a rather large recipe resource. The site’s content is mostly user-generated, wherein users can upload and share recipes, as well as rate and review others. You can also create and print out recipe lists.

The pure beauty of it (aside from new meal ideas) is that every recipe utilizes items carried by Trader Joe’s, so unless your local TJ’s is out of something in particular, you’ll be able to pick up everything you need all at once. It’s brilliant.

This weekend, we made two recipes from the site: Potato Spinach Soup and Spicy Buffalo Pesto Pizza. Both were awesome. I used my own leftover pizza dough (use of frozen pizza dough = successful!) for the pizza instead of the TJ’s dough, so our pie was smaller and used fewer buffalo wings. Highly recommended.

P.S. The Cooking with Trader Joe’s site is the companion site for various “cooking with Trader Joe’s” cookbooks – I don’t happen to own any, but they are definitely tempting.