Category Archives: Uncategorized

Breakfast (or Anytime) Bean Bowl

Yesterday we woke to a mist hanging low among the trees and houses, and when it lifted autumn had come.  Our breath rose in puffs around us as I walked the kids to school, and later in the sunshine the highest branches glowed amber and gold as if newly gilded from above.

You need some warmth in your belly on days like these, and this bean bowl is a fortifying way to start the day.  It’s inspired by the menu at the Beachcomber Cafe in Trinidad, CA—a wintry place most days of the year, so they know warm-you-up food.

For a real indulgence, start with a homemade pot of beans.  I know I’ve already sung the praises of the ojo de cabra beans pictured below (from Rancho Gordo), but white beans or black beans make a fine substitute.   With black beans, of course, you can go the cilantro and salsa route; with white beans I love parsley and tomato jam.  The only essential ingredients are beans, a soft-cooked egg, and a cold day.Breakfast Bean Bowl

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Let us outshine the random acts of violence in our world with random acts of kindness. I’m holding my girls even closer than usual this week, and trying to do my part.

PomegranateOne nice, small thing you can do for someone is to peel them a pomegranate. My parents have a pomegranate tree, and my dad has mastered this act of generosity after years of lovingly extracting the sweet seeds for my mom, and us, their children, and now my children. (When he left after a recent visit, my baby had learned to say “I wan’ mo’ pom-a-gran-ate.”) I’ve long relied on his expertise to avoid the task myself, but this week I had good luck scoring the fruit’s leathery exterior—without cutting into the juicy arils—and prying off the outer peel one section at a time. Releasing the seeds is slow, meditative, an act of love. J and I crunched the seeds by the handful, and my big girls happily ate them one at a time, sucking away the fruit and spitting out the tiny seed. What a luxury it is to be together, to eat a pomegranate together.

I’ll be posting here less often in the coming weeks, and spending more of my time delighting in my family’s company while the girls are out of school. May there be much happiness in your holiday season, and so much kindness in the world.

Help! Thanksgiving is Tomorrow and I Have No Plan!

You already know that I’m not much of a planner.  But here’s how not-much-of-a-planner I am: it’s Wednesday now (or it will be in a few minutes), Thanksgiving is tomorrow, and I have no plan.  No plan!That might sound ridiculous, since I’ve been giving you Thanksgiving meal planning suggestions for weeks.  But behind the scenes, I haven’t actually been planning to cook on Thanksgiving myself.  We’ll be on Vancouver Island, in Victoria, BC (where Canadian Thanksgiving was observed weeks ago, I know, but no matter).  We’ll be in a rental with a (probably inadequate) kitchen.  We’re meeting my brother and his sweet little family, so it will be a small gathering.  We’ve been playing it cool; we vaguely talked about skipping Thanksgiving dinner in favor of a fancy high tea, or picking up tacos from Hernandez.

But it’s Thanksgiving, and I like cooking for Thanksgiving.  And have you ever tried taking two toddlers and two barely-older children to high tea?

So, maybe we should cook a Thanksgiving dinner.  Help! Continue reading

What’s Cooking: November 2012, Week 1

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 2: More leftover roasted squash & the leftover Brussels sprouts went into quinoa cakes, which I served with a kale caesar salad.

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!

Kalyn’s Kitchen featured my Green Olive and Celery Salad and my Greens With Lemon, Dill, and Feta. Good choices!

I had a great time cooking with my friends and eating (ok, reading) my way through the offerings in the Virtual Vegan Potluck. I brought a creamy roasted celery soup.

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!

What’s Cooking: October 2012, Week 4

In which I fall in love with savory oatmeal, salvage a pot of giant beans, and still have apples coming out of my ears.  Also, we went to California (where my sweet mama fed us this and this), then took an 8 p.m. flight home with three children.  We are fearless.  We are foolish.  Note to self: children never sleep on planes when you want them to.  At least we had good snacks.

In The Kitchen

Menu 1: I cooked up a pot of white beans using a bag of Greek gigantes (yes, they are giant) I found in the back of my cupboard.  And I cooked and cooked and cooked that pot.  Hopefully your beans haven’t been sitting around as long as mine, which took hours to become tender.  But they were good in the end!  We had a simple dinner of white beans with roasted delicata squash and an oregano-olive oil drizzle.  Menu 2: I pureed the leftover beans into a spread using some of the bean cooking liquid and some of the oregano oil.  We served it on baguette rounds alongside a big pot of vegetable-and-bean soup and a green salad with pears and hazelnuts.  This was an easy way to feed ten on a weeknight.  Watch for recipes for the white bean puree and the soup this week!

Menu 3: I caramelized a pot of onions and have been using them all week.  A cup went into quinoa cakes tonight along with simmered kale, and I made a parsley salsa verde to serve with them.  I seriously need help figuring out how to make a vegan version of those quinoa cakes.  Anyone?Menu 4: Ok, this isn’t much of a menu, but if you are at all intrigued, please make this savory oatmeal with curry, greens, and caramelized onions.  It’s everything you’re imagining and more.  Make it as a 10-minute dinner if you don’t have time in the morning.  Even babies love it.Preserving

While I was making caramelized onions anyway, I used my biggest pot and froze some to make caramelized onion hummus later.  (Although, let’s be honest, they might all just go into oatmeal now.)

On My Plate

I still have a fridge-full of apples that escaped the applesauce binge.  Our fruit CSA is giving us a huge weekly box of apples.  I have this apple-lemon-honey jam in my sights.  Any other apple novelties I should know about?  What about recommendations for healthyish apple baked goods?And finally, I am obsessed with savory oatmeal, and not just the one above.  Today’s had blue cheese, black pepper, and an olive-oil poached egg.  There’s also a version in the works with peanut butter, soy sauce, and spicy sesame oil.  Do you have any recommendations for me in this vein?

Once again, thanks for cooking along!

Thanks for visiting Emmy Cooks!  You can see some 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 own reader, or follow Emmy Cooks on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest.

Marcella Hazan’s Tomato Sauce

Have you made this tomato sauce?  People swear by it.  People LOVE it.  People think it’s genius.  I am completely undecided.

The sauce has only four ingredients.  One of them is butter.  The sauce was so fine-textured that it clung delicately and evenly to each individual noodle.  Its flavor was the summer flavor of the good tomatoes I used, enriched with butter and salt.

With very little effort, this recipe produced a refined and tasty dish.  Which made me notice that refined and tasty aren’t necessarily enough for me.  Continue reading

Frittata with Chevre and Caramelized Onions

We’ve had backyard chickens in Seattle for more than a decade now.  I kind of like to think that we had city chickens before having city chickens was a thing.  (Now everyone has chickens here; you have to get backyard goats to have any urban farming cred.  J says we’re not getting goats.)  I’m sure Seattle has a home and garden tour somewhere, but I’m also sure that it’s nowhere near as popular as the city’s annual Chicken Coop Tour.

At the moment we have just three hens: Ducky, Feather, and Feather.  Lately one of the Feathers has been acting upon a likely-well-intentioned but completely misguided plan to hatch a nestfull of eggs, except that we kept taking her eggs away and, ahem, with no rooster in flock the eggs had exactly zero chance of hatching anyway.

Feather was petulant about the situation and hunkered down in one of the nesting boxes for weeks.  She would not be stirred, unless I would let her into the garden to eat my tomatoes, in which case she happily abandoned her maternal duties and left the nest for hours at a time.  Luckily Feather has abandoned her dreams of motherhood and we are getting a few eggs again (broody hens don’t lay).

Let us celebrate with a frittata.

You made a big batch of caramelized onions and froze some, right?  If not, just throw a few thinly-sliced onions in your pan over high heat and cook them until they have softened and sweetened and proceed from there.  I also like this recipe with a few leeks in place of the onions. Continue reading

Whole Wheat Pasta with Basil Pesto and Greens

Tonight I had the good fortune of being invited to an event celebrating the release of the Herbivoracious Cookbook (more on that another day) at the lovely Seattle restaurant Emmer&Rye.  (Check out the lovely new top-floor, west-facing deck if you’re in Seattle–but hurry, summer’s almost over!)  Chef Seth Caswell has earned a host of accolades for his food and wide admiration for his commitment to sourcing ingredients locally.  Seattle is a bit Portlandia in its fascination with locavorism and chef-farmer relationships, and Caswell is rightly a bit of a local celebrity in this regard.

The event’s food was an excellent show of a good restaurant’s place in the world.  I was charmed by plates of the most perfect diminutive vegetables: baby eggplant topped with shaved goat cheese, sweet little stuffed orange tomatoes, rich mushroom-topped tiny toasts, a single slice of purple potato topped with cauliflower puree and roasted cauliflower.  Each was exquisitely garnished.

As far as I am concerned, it was perfect restaurant food.  Fancy, thoughtful, and ridiculous to contemplate reproducing at home.

And then I came home to simpler fare.  Whole wheat pasta.  A basil pesto.  Those sauteed greens.  Home cooking as perfect in its place as the restaurant fare was on that gorgeous deck tonight. Continue reading Whole Wheat Pasta with Basil Pesto and Greens (click for recipe)

Green Salad with Radishes, Feta, and Fresh Herbs

I love a good salad.  This one was a favorite of mine last spring, and I have been thinking about it all winter.  I bought bunches of radishes at the farmers market last weekend and they have been calling to me from the crisper ever since.  Finally I got around to slicing them into thin rounds, stepping out the back door for a handful of herbs, and shaking up a jar of dressing.  Easy as that.

Here’s what this salad has going for it: Crunch. Salt. Zing. Tang.  Every green salad is an opportunity, friends, and one that I hate to see wasted.  So spend a few extra minutes, chop the herbs, make your own dressing.  This salad is a nice reward.  Continue reading Green Salad with Radishes, Feta, and Fresh Herbs (click for recipe)