Category Archives: My Favorite Recipes

Migas

We are fortunate enough to live in a walkable neighborhood of a walkable city, and sometimes days go by between car trips.  I made up for all those blissful carless days in one fell swoop today, though.  President Obama was visiting Seattle and I got stuck in traffic for almost two hours with five little girls in the back of that darn minivan.

Luckily, we were well-stocked with snacks, and the girls were full of songs and laughter.  My four-year-old told a detailed and breathlessly-enunciated story to anyone who would listen featuring characters named Macinnanin, Skingerque, Banana Peel, and Spoon Guy.  (The spellings of those first two names are approximate at best.)  The baby practiced her shrieks of joy at top volume.  Other drivers stared at the ruckus my passengers were making and then laughed.

Did you think this was going to be a post about how I came home hours late and cooked a nice dinner?  Heavens, no.  I collapsed on the couch with a beer and let J hustle the kids off to bed.  (Thanks, honey!)  We ate leftovers: this soup, that salad, those beans.  Leftovers are a cook’s reward, I say.

But if you don’t have a fridge full of good leftovers, make migas at the end of a frazzled day.  There’s a reason I mostly cooked scrambled eggs for all those months when life was so hectic: they’re fast, filling, and delicious.  The kids call these migas “cheesy chippy eggs” and eat their plain version (no salsa, no green flecks) without complaining.

Migas take various forms in various countries, but this surely-Americanized version is basically scrambled eggs with lightly crushed tortilla chips, green onions, tomato, cilantro, cheese, and salsa, maybe with a warm tortilla on the side.  Dinner will be served in ten minutes. Continue reading Migas (click for recipe)

Beet Chips

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During my first pregnancy, I had an occasional craving for citrus.  Grapefruit, oranges, pomelos, lemons, limes, anything.  During my second pregnancy, nothing.  And during my third pregnancy, I had no cravings, but one aversion: beets.

Other vegetables were okay: I would happily have eaten butternut squash tacos with chipotle and feta or a pound-of-greens frittata.  Those risotto-stuffed chard leaves were popular in my kitchen that year, and a simple arugula salad was just my speed (the arugula comes up in the garden by itself on years when I’m neglectful; what could be easier?).

But beets!  Woe!  I used to love beets!  Roasted with walnuts and blue cheese.  Grated beet salads with honey-ginger or lemony dressings.  Beets steamed with their greens and swathed in oil and vinegar.  Goodbye, beets.  Even after my baby was born they seemed a little too…sweet, too meaty.  Too beet-y.  So last year I dutifully piled the beets into my crisper as they arrived from my CSA.  I cooked the greens and packed the roots tighter and tighter into the left-hand drawer.  Finally, in the dead of winter, I cleaned out the drawer and composted them all.  Sorry, beets.

This year I am taking a more reasonable approach.  I’m planning to make all my beets into beet chips.  They’re crispy and salty and, while they’re still sweet, they’re a world away from the roasted beets that I once loved.  They’re a nice change of pace, and they’ll help free up some space in my fridge this summer. Continue reading Beet Chips (click for recipe)

Pound-of-Greens Frittata

A frittata is one of the nicest traveling foods I know.  We made this one tonight and the leftovers will accompany me and my sister on a very Pacific Northwest-y adventure with the kids tomorrow involving ferry boats and beachcombing.

Now that CSA season is underway, packing veggies densely into every meal becomes more urgent than ever.  This frittata will help you to dispatch an onion, an enormous bunch of chard (including stems), and a bunch of spinach–or whatever equivalent greens you need to use up this week.  My bunch of chard actually weighed a pound by itself, but “24-oz-of-Greens Frittata” just doesn’t have the same ring.

The first trick here is to cook the greens very well, until they give up most of their moisture and it evaporates.  The second is to season the vegetables well before adding them to the eggs.  When you combine the soft cooked greens with half a dozen eggs, the resulting frittata is moist and rich.  Not a bad way to eat a pound of greens. Continue reading Pound-of-Greens Frittata (click for recipe)

Summer Crunch Salad with Feta, Mint, and Lime

Need a last-minute idea for tomorrow afternoon’s Fourth of July picnic?  Look no further.  After a day that started and ended with chocolate yesterday, we needed a good salad around here today.  (I don’t mean that in a we-must-repent-with-salad way.  I mean that in a let’s-have-more-cake-today-but-maybe-some-salad-too way.)

This one is a beaut.  I think that my love for radishes has been well documented here, and when I saw this Smitten Kitchen recipe I was pretty sure that a radish-less version would be a pale imitation.  But in a very unusual turn of events, my fridge is relatively bare (we were out of town for 10 days and I haven’t gone shopping yet).  The only crunchy vegetables I could scare up were romaine lettuce, a yellow pepper, a few baby carrots, and a couple of green onions.  Into the salad they went.

I toasted pepitas for more crunch, and because I was thinking of Barrio’s chopped salad, a place my mind often wanders in my wistful-for-salad moments.  I piled on the one-two-three punch (is that a thing?) of feta, mint, and lime juice, which I copied from Deb and Deb copied from April Bloomfield.  Genius.  Do it. Continue reading Summer Crunch Salad with Feta, Mint, and Lime (click for recipe)

Link

Hello, friends, and welcome to my first-ever attempt to post from my mobile phone.  [Update: It was not so successful, but I’ve cleaned it up from a real computer.  I also downloaded the mobile app and will try that next time!]  Live reporting: we’re in the Man Van heading north through Oregon.  There are so many people sleeping in back (three little girls plus my sister, hooray!) that J and I don’t dare indulge in conversation.  That leaves me happily leafing back through this blog’s pages to see what’s been cooking this month.  As usual, it’s hard to pick just five of my favorite recipes from this month, so I’ve cheated where I could below.

  Maple-Roasted Almond Butter
  J and I are divided on this month’s best chocolate treat. He says Crispy Chocolate Granola Haystacks by a nose. I say Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies by a hair. We both say don’t make us choose.
  Beans and Greens. We are totally unanimous on this one.
  The Secret to Better Iced Coffee
  Green Tartine, or, Radish Top Toast
  And, of course, the readers’ favorite: Salted Caramel Ice Cream, No Ice Cream Maker Required

And (blatant cheating now) there are more that I hate to leave out: Broccoli Pesto! Orange-Roasted Carrot and Avocado Salad!  Ok, I’ll stop.

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Crispy Chocolate-Granola Haystacks

Road tripping ain’t what it used to be, friends.

Gone are our lazy days of puttering down the coast, of long lunches with spectacular views, of starting and stopping and pitching camp where and when we like.

We’re all business now.  It’s I-5 all the way from Seattle to Northern California, aggressive packing of PB&J fixings so we don’t need long lunches, and hardly noticing the view because of the song and dance I’m doing in the back seat to entertain the girls.

That’s right, we packed the whole family into the minivan (which I like to call the “Man Van” now, both to distance myself from it and to convey to J how sexy it is for him to take the kids to swimming lessons).  And we drove all afternoon and night, and much of the next day, and lived to tell the tale.

Here are some of the things that we did in the car to entertain three children aged 1, 3, and 5: made a list of things to do, read books, sang songs, colored, napped, watched a video, ate snacks, played peek-a-boo, and let the baby pull out an entire package of floss.

Here is something we did not do in the car: eat these chocolately granola treats.  We meant to, we really did.  Hannah said they were road food and I’m inclined to agree, but once I made them we had to taste one and then, wow, another, and they were so crispy and chocolately and then it was the next day and J was asking me to please take a photo of the things already so he could keep eating them and just like that…gone, as fast as the miles roll by when you’re having a good time out there on the road.

Continue reading Crispy Chocolate-Granola Haystacks (click for recipe)

Homemade Maple-Roasted Almond Butter

A new cookbook is such a good treat.  Whether it’s on loan from the library or all mine from my great local bookstore, I always love to curl up on the couch or in bed with a new cookbook.  And I just got a good one.

I’m telling you about it because you might think that the Food in Jars cookbook, by Marisa McClellan of the delightful Food in Jars blog, is only for us fringe types who are into canning.  Not so!  First of all, this is truly small-batch stuff, with most of the recipes yielding a manageable 2 or 3 pints of jam or pickles.  No need to can those–give one to the neighbors and put the other(s) in your fridge; they’ll be gone in no time.  Second, there are also plenty of recipes that have nothing to do with canning: think of them instead as recipes for foods that you could put in jars, if the urge struck, but it would be mostly for decorative purposes.  Granolas.  Nut butters.  Pancake mixes.  Infused salts.  This recipe falls into that latter category.

I meant  to put it in a jar, I really did,  but unfortunately I halved the recipe.  Served alongside a plate of apple slices, it was gone before the jar question even came into play.  The full recipe is below, and I don’t recommend halving it. Continue reading Homemade Maple-Roasted Almond Butter (click for recipe)

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chocolate is woefully under-represented on this blog compared to the role it plays in my life.  I’d say I eat chocolate almost every day, sometimes in moderation and sometimes, frankly, not.  But most of the chocolate I eat these days is in pure, unadulterated bar form.  I don’t bake with it much anymore because, in a perplexing twist of fate, I have a child who doesn’t like chocolate.  She spits out a cookie, face twisted in disgust, if she finds an errant chocolate chip in her mouth.  It’s unfathomable to me, but I work with it and mostly bake without chocolate.

So when I make something chocolate, I like to go all-out. These cookies are all-out. Are you still mulling over what nice thing to do for your dad for Fathers Day?  Skip down to the ingredients list and start baking.

The brookies (brownies+cookies=brookies) recipe on this site is one of my favorite chocolate cookie recipes. This is the other.  Those are chewy; these are a decadent, chocolatey, crumbly sable, packed with chunks of chopped bittersweet chocolate.  The recipe comes from French pastry chef Pierre Hermé, Dorie Greenspan published in her book Baking: From My Home to Yours, and I found it via The Splendid Table.  Thank goodness.

The only warning I will offer is this: the dough can be quite crumbly, and if it is too crumbly it will be difficult to slice into cookies.  I have read that using high-quality cocoa powder makes the dough easier to handle, but I used up some decidedly low-quality cocoa powder this time and the cookies came out fine.  If your dough is truly too crumbly to form into logs, stir in a spoonful of milk and the dough will come right together.  You’ll lose a tiny bit of the light, sandy texture, but the cookies will still be delicious. Continue reading Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies (click for recipe)

Beans and Greens

I was trying to decide whether to make you black sticky rice pudding with coconut milk or chocolate cookies tonight.  But J, scrolling back through my recent posts, said that I haven’t been feeding you enough protein.  (That’s a dad talking, there.  Fair enough, though, since yesterday’s “recipe” was for ice cubes.)

Thank J, then, for this heartier fare.  We’ve been making this dish for more than a decade and it is always satisfying.  It’s a quick dinner and our regular answer to the question “how am I going to cook down of some of these greens to make more room in the fridge?”

The core ingredients are, as you may have cleverly deduced, beans (white ones) and greens.  The spare supporting cast includes a small onion, garlic, chile flakes, white wine and rosemary.  These bit players can be swapped or omitted depending on availability.  I most recently made this dish with lacinato kale, but any kind of hearty green will work.  I have been known to combine kale, chard, beet greens and radish tops when the fridge is full to bursting.

I like to serve a big bowl of these greens alongside a grainy slice of grilled or toasted bread, preferably spread with a Cypress Grove goat cheese. Now that’s a proper meal. Continue reading Beans and Greens (click for recipe)

The Secret to Better Iced Coffee

Consider this a public service announcement.

Usually I don’t care what you eat.  You only eat foraged foods?  You only eat Cheetos?  You’re on a cabbage-based fad diet?  Ok.  Cool.  I can work with that.

But there is one thing that bothers me.  (You have something that bothers you too, right?  Something?  Feel free to make me feel better by sharing in the comments.) Mine might be the world’s strangest pet peeve, but at this time of year it’s everywhere I look.  It’s this business of the ice in summer’s ubiquitous iced coffee.

Here in Seattle, it does get warm enough to enjoy iced coffee occasionally in the summertime.  I really prefer to make my own, though, because even Seattle’s own coffee shops, which should know better, commit a grave offense in serving their otherwise-delicious cold brew: they put actual ice in it.  Ice as in frozen water.  No!Coffee should be a strong, black brew, tempered only by something creamy or something sweet if your tastes incline that way.  Adding water to my coffee, even in the form of ice cubes, is unforgivable.

The solution, of course, is simple.  Take the time to freeze a tray of coffee ice cubes, and plunk a couple in your cup next time you want your coffee cold.  As they melt, instead of creating a watery, undrinkable mess, they make…more coffee.  You see how this is a winning proposition?

You can hot-brew or cold-brew your coffee, sweeten it or don’t.  I like a spoonful of cinnamon mixed into the coffee grounds, myself.  But I wouldn’t presume to tell you how to make your coffee.  What I will tell you is this: the secret to making better iced coffee is now in your hands. Continue reading The Secret to Better Iced Coffee