I know it looks like all I do around here right now is eat pie. And tomorrow, steel yourselves, there will be more. But in between, we’ve actually been making all kinds of great things with tofu. A vegan variation of this saag paneer, and a vegan riff on this lemony broccoli and harissa dinner salad, and straight-up tofu with greens and rice and so-good spicy peanut sauce. Stay tuned. Because by this weekend we’ll all be over talking about Thanksgiving, won’t we? Or at least ready to sneak in some healthier meals among the gravy-laden feasts?In the Kitchen
The rules below are mine. What are your ideas or family traditions for feeding the vegetarians on Thanksgiving? Please share your own insights—or feel free to request advice!—in the comments. Continue reading »
My thoughts are with the many people still suffering the after-effects of this week’s epic storm. My sister- and brother-in-law extended their visit last weekend to ride out the worst of the hurricane here in Seattle with us, and we were glad to be safe and dry and together. But seeing the aftermath unfold on the other coast, with all its tragedies big and small, is heartbreaking. I hope that you and your families are safe and warm. Let me know if I can send you cookies. And if you are lucky enough to live at a distance and can give $10 or more, please join me in making a donation to the Red Cross.
In The Kitchen
This week I roasted everything. Winter squash, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, tomatoes, carrots. Roasting vegetables sweetens them and makes the house smell good. Menu 1: Roasted squash wedges and roasted Brussels sprouts were finger food straight from the pan before falafel for dinner. Leftover roasted squash became a tahini-laced dip (also good with falafel!).
Menu 3: And speaking of comfort food, I made pasta with white beans, red onion, garlic, roasted broccoli, roasted tomatoes, and parsley, sauced with some of the cooking liquid from the homemade white beans. I served it with a variation on that lemony celery salad that I’ll be sharing soon.
Complete Fail: I made a gummy, heavy pasta dish with potatoes. For company. Whoops. Sorry, company. I won’t link to that recipe.
And the granola, this week, was a salted maple pecan. I’ve been adding ground flax seeds, I think they’re supposed to be healthy.
Remember my first batch of sauerkraut?Yeah, the one I spilled all over the floor? Well, my next batch is well underway. It’s in week 3 of fermenting in the basement and I tasted it today. It’s ok. The taste seems a little…flat. Is that going to improve with time? Help me out, fermenters!
I also made fruit leather under Janet’s tutelage. Oh, it’s good. I think I need a dehydrator of my own.
On My Plate
I browsed back through my archives and pulled together some vegetarian Thanksgiving recipe ideas. More on that topic soon!
And did I tell you that I brought home grape leaves from California last week? I have in mind some kind of grilled grape-wrapped goat cheese thingy, maybe, or the grape leaf pie from Plenty.
Thanks for Cooking with Emmy Cooks!
And finally, don’t forget to enter the Cookbook Giveaway this week! It’s a way to say thanks for reading and cooking along with me. Thank you!
Welcome to Emmy Cooks! You can see more of my favorite recent recipes by clicking the “My Favorite Recipes” category on the sidebar (here are July, August, and September). If you like what you see here, you can sign up on the sidebar to receive a daily recipe by email, add the RSS feed to your blog reader, or follow Emmy Cooks on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest.
What’s Halloween like in your neck of the woods? We here at Emmy Cooks are bracing ourselves for a sugar-fueled whirlwind of a day, complete with daytime and nighttime trick or treating (in the rain), hot apple cider, and an unreasonable number of plastic spider rings that will repeatedly turn up in the washing machine for months to come.
And oh, woah, what do you do about the candy? In past years I’ve simply spirited it away after the one night of debauchery (and by “spirited it away,” of course I mean “I ate all the good stuff”). But my big girls are older and wiser now, and it seems like the right time to teach them something meaningful about making good food choices and moderation. So, yeah, any tips you have on that front would be welcome!
Also welcome will be returning to real food after tomorrow’s sugar overload. The recipes below were some of my favorites this month.
|Italian Parsley Salsa Verde|
|Homemade Celery Salt|
|Green Spinach Soup|
|Savory Oatmeal with Curry, Greens, and Caramelized Onions|
|A Great Big Pot of Minestrone|
|And the readers’ favorite (aside from the recipes above, which were all popular this month): Shakshuka|
Thank you so much for reading and cooking along with me!
It’s a good day when I make two great salads. I couldn’t decide which to tell you about first, so I’m going in chronological order. My brother was passing through town today, and he and I had this one for lunch. I’ll tell you about the dinner one (kale! toasted almonds! the rest of that black garlic!) another day.
Because, no, I don’t cook something new every day. In fact, some days I don’t cook at all. (Who cooks every day? More power to you, I say, but not me.) Here’s how it works around here: when I make something I really like that hasn’t yet been featured on Emmy Cooks, I snap a picture and jot it down on my list. Often I do tell you about it the same day, because it’s on my mind, but sometimes I don’t. And sometimes, like today, it’s fridge cleaning day and I make two worthy new salads and save one for another day. So that’s how I build up my list, which is where I turn for inspiration if it’s not a cooking day, or if I’ve only cooked old favorites that you already know about (I do that a lot), or if I tried something new that wasn’t so great. Because I only tell you about the great stuff.
The truth about how J and I met is kind of boring, so we usually make something up when people ask us. For a long time we used to say that we’d met in an internet chat room, back when that sounded scandalous, but now everyone meets online and we have to be more creative. We met underwater off the Great Barrier Reef? We were seated side by side for jury duty in small claims court? We both worked at Baskin Robbins in high school?
That last one is true, actually, although the establishments in question were thousands of miles apart. But it proves an important point: we have a long history with ice cream around here.
So I am well-qualified to tell you that this one is outstanding. I already sang its praises here, but I feel wrong depriving you of this recipe for Seattle’s iconic ice cream flavor from Molly Moon’s Homemade Ice Cream. Especially since, get this, you don’t need an ice cream maker to make it. Some magic having to do with the salt and the cream keeps the texture sublime, even if you make it with a pan and fork instead (directions below). If you do have an ice cream maker, you can save yourself a few minutes of stirring. Either way, this recipe will make your summer better. And probably the entire rest of your life. Continue reading Salted Caramel Ice Cream (click for recipe)
Well, the nice thing about this endless Seattle gloom is that the lettuce isn’t bolting.
When I first moved to Seattle, J and I lived in a tiny house, and one of the first things we did was put in a tiny garden. We built four raised beds in the grassy strip between the sidewalk and the street. Everyone does that now, I know, but this was more than a decade ago and I liked to think of us as pioneering urban farmers back then. (We got chickens too, of course.)
There was just one problem. I’m from California. And when I moved to Seattle, I was cold. I consulted with my local garden store about what kind of vegetables I could grow in this inhospitable climate and planted things like lettuce, arugula, and broccoli. And then I bundled them up as warm as I could. I put hoops over the beds and sheathed them in clear plastic, trapping the heat to create toasty little greenhouses for my tender plants. They thought it was high summer and went happily straight to seed, of course. Learning that some plants prefer cooler temperatures was the beginning of my education about the benefits that a cool climate has to offer. (Others include not needing much of a summer wardrobe, only needing an air conditioner a few days each year, and the blueberries. Oh, the blueberries!)
In any case, delightful lettuces grow in this part of the world nearly year-round. They are floppy or pert, frilly or reserved, pastel green, deep maroon, or freckled. They are the stars of the show at springtime farmers markets, and I find them irresistible. Here’s a nice thing to do with any sturdy, crunchy lettuce. (Romaine is the classic, of course, as we’re riffing on the Caesar salad here, but it gets much more exciting than that.) Continue reading Sorta-Ceasar Salad (click for recipe)
Let’s start with this: I’m not at all above feeding my kids a box of mac and cheese, or declaring that it’s leftover night and wishing everyone good luck, or piling us all into the car to go out for ramen. But I do try to make dinner for my family with some frequency.
Do you know this nice blog called “Dinner: A Love Story“? I was just introduced to it recently. It’s all about feeding your family dinner every night and of course they have a new cookbook (who doesn’t these days?), apparently full of recipes and strategies for feeding a family of picky eaters without going crazy. I should probably get that cookbook.
But in the meantime I thought I’d share a tip of my own. One of the ways in which I manage to get dinner on the table on a regular basis is by using the term “dinner” fairly loosely. Some examples: breakfast for dinner? Sure. Sandwiches? If necessary. Tonight’s dinner? These pretzels. The girls gleefully chose their own dips (peanut butter, rhubarb jam, and applesauce), and the grown-ups had theirs with a sweet grainy mustard. I made a pot of that great turnip soup soup as well, but it was certainly the accompaniment to the pretzels and not the other way around.It’s a little time-consuming to make pretzels (you boil these in a baking-soda bath in addition to letting them rise twice), but it was a fun project to do with the girls and the resulting pretzels were very good. They have just the right combination of crispy bottom and chewy center, with a little tang that I assumed was from the rye flour, but Kim Boyce tells me is from the baking soda instead. This recipe is adapted from Boyce’s Good to the Grain cookbook, which I want to cook from front to back after having started with those Rhubarb-Strawberry Cornmeal Tarts recently.
There’s a great-looking recipe for graham crackers, do you think I’ll be able to get away with calling those dinner? Continue reading Soft Rye Pretzels (click for recipe)
What is your super power in the kitchen?
I usually joke that mine is the ability to cook when it’s messy (it’s always messy), but in truth I think it’s that I like to eat. So as I cook, I ask myself, does this taste good? What would make it better? Do I want a finely chopped vegetable here, or big chunks? This description makes my cooking sound more planned-out than it usually is, but I just mean that these are the things that go through my head on the fly. I believe that constantly thinking about the end product and tasting occasionally as I go increase my chances of producing something delicious. (There are plenty of failures too, of course–I’ve been thinking lately that I should start taking pictures of those as well for an Emmy Cooks bloopers reel.)
But this ability to envision the eventual dish fails me when it comes to cuisines that I am less comfortable cooking. Indian food falls into this category, which is why I appreciate starting with a good recipe that will rely less on my intuition and more on my ability to follow directions. So mostly I stick to recipes from Vij’s At Home. But dazzled by the success of that saag paneer I keep making (thank you, Kolpona Cuisine!), I decided to branch out to this aloo gobi recipe from the gorgeous vegan blog v:gourmet. I followed the recipe exactly, except for the splash of cream I added at the end. What can I say? My super power told me to.
This dish plus the saag paneer and rice make a respectable Indian-themed feast for company. And whether or not you’re making multiple dishes, consider making this one a day ahead. The flavor was even better the following day. Continue reading Aloo Gobi: Indian-Spiced Potatoes, Cauliflower, and Peas (click for recipe)
Eggs are the original fast food, as far as I’m concerned. I have been reasonably successful in cooking other things too lately, but that doesn’t mean that eggs don’t continue to make a regular appearance on our table (often shortly after they make their appearance in our backyard chicken coop). Here’s the glorious thing about an egg: treated properly, it elevates any hodgepodge of leftover vegetables into a meal. Think of those chard stems!
So odds and ends often end up in little single-serving frittatas around here. To anyone who thinks they don’t have time to cook, I say, get an 8″ cast iron skillet. Two eggs, a few generous handfuls of vegetables, a pinch of salt and your meal is ready in ten minutes. And you know as well as I do that eggs aren’t just for breakfast. Fancy them up like this and you can serve them for any meal of the day.
The usual rule applies: use what you have. I was working with leftovers from that arugula salad I kept making, but you might have other tidbits in your fridge. The eggs cook quickly, so you’ll want to briefly cook most of the other ingredients first, then add the eggs. I usually cook the veggies, add the eggs for a few minutes, sprinkle a bit of cheese on top, and then broil the pan for minute or two to set the eggs. Fresh herbs are nice sprinkled on top after cooking (basil would have been perfect here if I had it). Usually I’d say to avoid wet ingredients like tomatoes on top of a frittata, but this little one cooks so fast that they don’t have time to melt into a juicy mess.