quick italian soup.

One of my new go-to recipes. It’s healthy, a little bit spicy, and loaded with veggies. Plus, it takes about 30 minutes from start to finish.

Though I’ve made it using turkey sausage, you can easily make it without and add more kidney beans or subsitute Italian Field Roast or the like. Either option would be as satisfying as the original. :)

lv, molly

P1000476

Spicy Italian Sausage (or bean) Soup

Serves 4, entree-sized portions

1 Tbl olive oil
8 oz. mild or hot Italian Style, chicken or turkey sausage, casings removed OR Italian Field Roast OR double the kidney beans
1/2 C chopped onion
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 tsp red pepper (or more, to taste)
32 oz reduced sodium chicken or vegetable broth
1 can (15 1/2 oz) red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (14 1/2 oz) no salt added diced tomatoes, undrained
1 tsp oregano leaves
1 tsp rosemary leaves, finely crushed
1 tsp thyme leaves
1 pkg (6 oz) baby spinach leaves
1/2 C uncooked small pasta, such as mini bow ties or elbows (I use the Barilla Plus macaroni)

Heat oil in large saucepan on medium heat.

Add sausage or Field Roast; cook and stir 3 minutes. Add onion, garlic, and crushed red pepper flakes; cook and stir 3 minutes longer or until onion is tender and sausage is browned, being careful not to burn the garlic.

Pour chicken broth, beans and tomatoes into saucepan. Stir in oregano, rosemary, and thyme. Bring to boil; reduce heat to low and simmer 10 minutes.

Stir in spinach and pasta. Return to boil on medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer. Optional: sprinkle with parmesan cheese.

mexican wedding cookies.

P1000453_2

When I was little, my mom hosted an annual Christmas party. Aside from an excuse to wear patent leather mary janes and tie adults’ shoe strings together underneath the table, I loved these parties because my mom made Mexican wedding cookies– a cookie I deemed exceptionally festive and delicious (plus, it was fun to lick the powdered sugar off my finger tips).

This year for Christmas Eve, Christian and I decided to spend it alone together. (I love that phrase “alone together.”) We made a big pot of spaghetti, and for dessert I made these cookies. Healthy? No. But festive and delicious? Absolutely. These cookies store well too– for over a week if you keep ’em in an air tight container.

I’m a bit baked-out after the holidays, but I still wanted to share this recipe with you since it’s such a family favorite.

love, molly

Mexican Wedding Cookies

Makes about 2 dozen

1 cup almonds OR pecans
2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon (optional)
8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2 1/4 C sifted confectioners’ sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp pure almond extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread 1 cup almonds or pecans on a baking sheet; toast until fragrant, about 12 minutes. Let cool for a few minutes.

Put toasted nuts, flour, salt, and cinnamon in a food processor; process until nuts are finely chopped, about 1 minute. Set aside.

Cream butter and 1 cup confectioners’ sugar on medium until pale and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add vanilla and almond extracts, and mix until combined. Add the almond mixture, and mix on low until dough just comes together. Don’t overmix.

Roll dough into twenty 1 1/2-inch balls; place on ungreased baking sheets, spaced 2 inches apart. Flatten each ball slightly with your palm.

Bake cookies until lightly browned around the edges, about 25 minutes. Transfer baking sheets to a wire rack; let stand until cool enough to handle.

Place remaining 1 1/4 cups confectioners’ sugar in a medium bowl. Roll warm cookies in sugar, reserving any remaining sugar. Return cookies to baking sheets. Let cookies cool 15 minutes, and roll again. Serve!

perfect roast chicken.

P1000468_2

When I was vegetarian, this was one of the only meals I missed and craved. It’s simple comfort food, and it’s inexpensive and healthy to boot. I love that it takes about 20 minutes to prepare, and as it’s cooking, it fills your home with the most wonderful aroma.

I recommend buying a 5 to 6 lb. organic, free-range chicken. It’s worth the extra cost; you’ll notice a difference in taste, and it’s better for all the reasons you already know. If you can, find out it’s name and how many friends it has, a la the characters in “Portlandia.”

Use salted butter, too, and don’t skimp on buying good veggies. All you need to accompany this dish is a nice green salad, crusty bread or roasted potatoes, and a bottle of wine. It’s a good dish for company, too, as it looks fancy (when my mom saw it, she was very impressed! Or perhaps she was flattering me…) and difficult to prepare, but you and I know better!

love, molly

Perfect Roast Chicken

Serves 4-5

1 5-6 lb. organic, free-range chicken
Olive oil
Kosher Salt
Pepper
1 whole head garlic, halved lengthwise
1 lemon, halved
2-3 sprigs rosemary
5 carrots, cut in 2″ pieces
5 celery stalks, cut in 2″ pieces
1 yellow onion, thickly sliced

For the herb butter:
4 Tbl. salted butter, softened
1 tsp. each: fresh thyme and rosemary
1 tsp kosher salt
3 cloves garlic, minced

Prepare the chicken: Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Remove the giblets from the chicken (I cringe at this part; don’t feel ashamed if you do too). Rinse the chicken inside and out, and pat COMPLETELY dry with paper towels. Season the inside of the chicken generously with salt and pepper. Stuff the chicken with both halves of the lemon, the whole head of garlic, and the rosemary springs. Tuck the wings under the chicken, and tie the legs together using kitchen twine. I never used to do this, but it does make a difference, as it allows the garlic and lemon to steam slowly inside the chicken.

Put the chopped vegetables on the bottom of a roasting pan. Toss vegetables with salt/pepper to taste and approximately 1 Tbl. olive oil.

Place the chicken on top of the veggies. Mix all the ingredients of the herb butter together, and brush the chicken generously with it. Make sure your chicken is very dry, or the butter won’t stick to it. Distribute any extra butter on top of the vegetables.

Roast the chicken for 1 1/2 hours, or until the juices run clear when you cut between the leg and the thigh. If the chicken gets too brown on top, simply cover it with aluminum foil. When chicken is done, remove from pan and cover with aluminum foil; let rest for 15 minutes.

For carving instructions, see here. This helped me out a lot, and the Frenchman “star” of this video makes me laugh, for no discernible reason.

Serve carved chicken on a platter over the vegetables. Enjoy!

engagement raspberry crisp.

 

I am calling it “engagement berry crisp” solely because Christian and I made this together 2 days after we got engaged, and I’m still beaming and want to talk about it! So there.

While this crisp has almost nothing to do with our engagement, it is simple and delicious and easy to love. It’s also a nice way to showcase raspberries, which are in abudance and at the height of their deliciousness right now. I use less sugar in my crisps because I think the berries should really shine; I like them to stand out more than the sugar, and they bring enough sweetness all on their lonesome.

What’s your favorite summer dessert? Do you prefer crisps or pies? I love both, but the former are so easy to whip up that I can’t help but love them.

lv, molly

P.S. Christian put the butter with its wrapper on in the microwave, and it exploded. He has something to learn about baking, but I think I can teach him! (I also conveniently got the ring in the picture of Christian with his exploded butter. Ha. I’m creepy.)

P.P.S. He replaced my tire this morning after it had a nail in it. Looks like I have something to learn about car maintenance. (I didn’t even know where the spare tire was…)

Engagement Raspberry Crisp

3 C raspberries
1 Tbl (Heaping) cornstarch
1/3 C sugar
1 tsp vanilla or almond extract (I love the latter!)
1 C white whole wheat flour
1/4 C sugar
1/4 C brown Sugar
1/3 cup oats
1/4 cup pecans or walnuts, chopped
Pinch of salt
3/4 sticks butter, cut into small pieces

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, combine (rinsed) raspberries, corn starch, 2/3 cups sugar, and vanilla. Stir and set aside.

In a separate bowl (or food processor) combine flour, 1/4 cup sugar, brown sugar, oats, pecans, dash of salt, and butter pieces. Cut together with a pastry cutter (or pulse in food processor) until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

Add berry mixture to a small baking dish or pie pan. Sprinkle topping mixture all over the top. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until topping is golden brown.
Allow to sit for ten minutes before serving. Scoop out with a spoon and top with sweetened whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

We had a little extra topping and decided to make 2 mini crisps in ramekins with some strawberries that were on their last leg. Delicious!!

almond milk smoothies!

My recent run-in with stress fractures was a great reality check. I realized that my calcium and vitamin D intake were too low and that I needed to strength train far more than I do. While I’m not yet Sally Fields starring in a commercial for osteoporosis medication, I don’t want to get there. (Plus, being a petite woman makes me more susceptible to that… yikes!)

The one problem? I don’t like dairy milk, arguably the most readily available and easily consumable source of calcium. I talked with my trainer (yep, I got one of those when I was wearing a walking boot to help me from being sedentary and unhappy), and she recommended I switch to almond milk. I was reticent because almond milk is not a significant source of protein (only 1-2 grams per serving), but it’s a great source of calcium and other vitamins and minerals and it has zero cholesterol.  It’s also not very caloric (about 40 calories per serving), so it works well as a base in a smoothie. Coupled with protein powder and fruit or peanut butter, an almond milk smoothie provides a quarter of my daily calcium needs and 10-20 grams of protein. An awesome pre or post workout snack.

Plus, I like making things that taste like milkshakes. (Who doesn’t?) What are your favorite smoothie recipes or post workout snacks? Hope you enjoy these easy to make, tasty shakes.

lv, molly

High Protein Blueberry Smoothie

1/2 C blueberries
1 C almond milk
1 scoop protein powder (I like this one, but soy or vegan protein would work well too)

Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie

1/2 frozen banana
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 Tbl peanut butter

Peanut Butter Chocolate Smoothie (this one’s arguably a dessert…)

3 ice cubes
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 Tbl organic peanut butter
1 Tbl nutella

P.S. It’s The Rolling Stones’ 50th anniversary today. I have such fond memories of my dad blasting their records in the garage while my mom was upstairs. I inherited his love for this band, and I think their music fuels my workouts as much as any snack. This song’s always been one of my favorites.

crisp, simple summer salad.

Coldslaw has never enticed me. Not that it tried that hard, with its mayonnaise dressing and limp cabbage leaves, but it’s the side dish I’ve always steered clear of at bbqs and summer gatherings. This is a great alternative.

I like crisp summer salads with some texture and a refreshingly tart vinaigrette. I don’t normally think brussels sprouts when I think of salads, but they work remarkably well in salads when shredded. Trader Joe’s sells them pre-shredded, but I highly recommend you shred them yourself using a mandolin. Freshly shredded sprouts have a lot more flavor.

This salad would be welcome at a bbq– a nice complement to anything from the grill!

lv, molly

Brussels Sprouts Salad

Serves 4 as a side

Optional Add-ins: parmesan & walnuts // parmesan & pecans // apples & pecorino or gruyere

4-6 cups shredded brussels sprouts
3 Tbl apple cider vinegar
9 Tbl extra-virgin olive oil
2 tsp Dijon mustard
kosher salt and cracked black pepper

Whisk the last 4 ingredients together until emulsified. Toss with the sprouts. Let sit for several minutes before serving.

spicy sweet chicken.

(Side note: I’m feeling tremendously guilty about this sudden shift in posts. Have I betrayed readers by incorporating some meat into my diet? Will people stop reading if one out of every ten posts has chicken? Is this concern pompous? I’m not sure yet… but something isn’t sitting well, and it’s not the chicken.)

This recipe is as kitchy as kitschy gets, and I’m okay with that. I thought it would be a fitting recipe to feature on the first carnivorous post, since this recipe is all about a classic carnivore staple: fried chicken… gone healthy.

Christian and I spent the last week in Michigan soaking up some Midwestern sunshine, visiting the AMAZING art museum in Detroit (the Diego Rivera mural painted for the museum is spectacular), and catching up with his family for the 4th of July. All this Americana left me with a hankering for an American classic without all of the empty calories.

Adapted from a recipe in Fitness Magazine, this dish was fun to make (I can see kids being really into it) and healthy to boot. We served it with a shredded brussels sprouts salad with an apple cider vinaigrette. A perfect summer meal, a nice foray back into the world of a more flexible diet… and it was fun crushing the corn flakes to some Rolling Stones tunes blasting in the other room.

lv, molly

Spicy Sweet Chicken

Serves 6

Nonstick cooking spray

For the glaze:
1/2 C apricot preserves
2 Tbl Dijon mustard
1 Tbl Worcestshire sauce
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp hot sauce (more to taste)

For the crust:
2 C crushed cornflakes*
2 tsp salt
1 tsp dried thyme

6 boneless, skinless organic free range chicken breasts (about 2 lbs)

*To crush cornflakes, place them in a freezer bag, and crush with your hands or a rolling pin.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Coat a baking dish with cooking spray (or cover with a thin layer of olive oil). Whisk together apricot preserves, mustard, Worcestshire sauce, garlic powder, and hot pepper sauce in a small bowl. Taste and adjust seasonings; I added more hot sauce.

Mix together the cornflakes, thyme, salt, and pepper. Brush the breasts with the glaze, and dip in the cornflake mixture. Arrange chicken in a single layer in the baking dish.

Bake chicken for 35 minutes or until done. To get the chicken extra crispy, you may use the broiler for 1-3 minutes at the end of cooking. Serve with a nice crisp salad.

balance is good… and hard.

A%20man%20holds%20a%20chicken%20outside%20at%20organic%20farm.%20%28Andy%20Ryan/The%u2026%29

For clarification… I am still going to be eating mostly vegetarian, but I will include chicken and fish recipes from time to time (and likely provide an alternative way to make the dish vegetarian-friendly). This is certainly not going to become a steak ‘n’ eggs kind of blog any time soon. :)

Hello, readers and friends!

The start of summer has held its ups and downs for me. Recent health problems have caused me to consider a host of things I hoped I wouldn’t need to think about in depth for at least another 10 years: my diet, what kinds of exercises I do and if they’re enough, what vitamins and supplements I should take, and whether or not I should move into a retirement home now or later (hardy har har). My discussions with doctors, solitary ruminations, and extensive reading on the subject led me to make a huge decision in terms of my diet (and consequently, this blog). I’m hesitant to use this blog as any kind of soap box, unless that soap box concerns the joys of pickled onions, but I wanted to explain my thought process, for any who care to read. In truth, I feel that in some small way I’m betraying (this is too strong a word, but the English language sometimes fails us) those of you who follow my blog because you can identify with my choice to become vegetarian.

My decision to include small amounts of chicken and fish in my diet is rooted in the same reasons behind my conversion to vegetarianism 5 years ago: I want my food choices to embody my values, and I want to eat food that fulfills my body’s nutritional needs. It’s possible that a radical shift in beliefs acted as the catalyst for this change, but I’m beginning to think, begrudgingly, that my original beliefs were founded in a fallacy. My decision to be vegetarian was filled with the best of intentions, and I have learned about the joys of tofu and legumes (and will continue to eat both in droves), but it was also based on some misconceptions.

I strongly connoted a carnivorous diet with factory farming. When I read Fast Food Nation and an essay by Temple Grandin and saw violent images of factory farms, I had a visceral reaction. I felt sad, powerless, and a little naive. How had I not known what a chicken farm was really like? I didn’t want to support such an industry monetarily, and I believed that if more people ate less meat, we could be agents for change. To act in a way that’s not in accordance with your values makes you feel bad, and I wanted to avoid that. I assumed that to eat meat I would have to compromise my values by contributing to a system that harms humans and animals alike. But I’m beginning to realize that eating with integrity isn’t this black and white, as nothing worth thinking about is.

The smaller, organic farms that are popping up all over the nation have spawned a locavore movement that stands in stark contrast to factory farming. In fact, I think this change has huge political and nutritional implications for our society. It also offers compelling reasons for eating sustainably raised meat, poultry, and fish. We can help our local economies and invest in smaller-scale agriculture that promotes healthy animals, healthy land, and healthy consumers.

The more I considered these implications, the more I realized that I had, indeed, bought into a myth. Being vegetarian and eating many organic goods did contribute to improved health and, in my own small way, was a protest against factory farms. But investing in local farms and eating grass fed animals that weren’t treated cruelly can also be a small protest against a system that is as bad for its workers and animals as it is for consumers. It seems to me that small scale organic farms promote dignity for workers and consumers and restore integrity to farming and agriculture– an industry that’s gotten a bad rap precisely because of the ills of factory farming.

I’m happy with my decision to incorporate locally raised chicken and fish in my diet, while continuing to cook my favorite vegetarian meals. Balance is a good pursuit and a hard one to achieve. Finding a diet that works with your body and your beliefs is valuable (and seemingly impossible… we can never be perfect). Moreover, being able to choose our diets is a privilege, one for which I’m grateful. I’m excited to see how this change affects my overall health and well-being, and I’m looking forward  to sharing some new recipes (vegetarian and with chicken and fish) with you as this blog evolves!

lv, molly

P.S. If you’re interested, I think this article points out some compelling reasons for a balanced diet that includes meat, recognizing that diets are a personal decision!

P.S. The blog has a new look to fit its slightly new direction. Check back tomorrow for an organic chicken recipe… (and some pictures from our Michigan adventure).

a piquant taco topping.

pi·quant   [pee-kuhnt, -kahnt, pee-kahnt]
adjective
1. agreeably pungent or sharp in taste or flavor; pleasantly biting or tart: a piquant aspic.
2. agreeably stimulating, interesting, or attractive: a piquant glance.
3. of an interestingly provocative or lively character: a piquant wit.
4. Archaic . sharp or stinging, especially to the feelings.

Ever since I heard the word “piquant,” I knew I wanted to cook something that I could describe as “piquant” to my hypothetical guests. Like “flautist,” “beelzebub,” and “Zimbabwe,” it is a fun word to say.

Last weekend, I had an end-of-the-year taco party at my house that was inspired, in part, by a recent article in Bon Appétit. The article listed various accoutrements you should have on hand for your guests when serving tacos. The standards were included (diced white onions, limes, cilantro), but there was a beautiful dish of pale pink something that caught my eye.

Pickled red onions. I could do this, I thought. I could pickle something. And finally, at last, I could make something that provokes everyone (or only me) to use the word “piquant.”

This process takes a total of 10 minutes of active work time and a few hours of waiting. It becomes exponentially easier if you have a mandolin. We have this one, and while it’s not pretty, it does the job well. You can also use whatever pickling spices you have on hand. I’ve listed several ideas, but you can pick and choose. The main thing is to get the ratio of salt/ sugar/ vinegar/ and water right.

What taco toppings do you enjoy? Anything unusual? lv, molly

Quick Pickled Onions

1/2 C apple cider vinegar
1/2 Tbl sugar
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 red onion, thinly sliced
pickling spices (e.g., bay leave, 3-4 peppercorns, star anise, all spice berries, or any combination of them)

Whisk the first three ingredients, and add 1 cup of water in a small bowl, until sugar and salt dissolve. Place onions in a Mason jar (or similar), and pour vinegar mixture over. Let sit at room temperature for 1 hour. Refrigerate after (can be made 2 weeks ahead if kept in the fridge). Drain onions before serving.

broken bones & some good banana bread.

As of late, I have had a series of moments that have convinced those around me that I am Tina Fey’s twin (more like Liz Lemon’s twin, but I think my comparison is more flattering…). It started out with having stress fractures in one foot, which led to me having crutches, which resulted in me losing parts of the crutches and sending my 6th graders on a “scavenger hunt” to find them. I was the only one to win that game.

But wait; there’s more! Now I have not one but two broken feet! (I feel like an informercial– “if you call within 2 minutes, a second chopping ninja is included!”–, but the addition of the second broken foot isn’t convincing you to order anything.) This is the result of having low bone density and increasing the duration/frequency of my workouts too quickly. Please don’t do that.

With rest and a very sexy boot, I’m on the road to recovery and feeling remarkably better after only  a week.  I even have a stool in the kitchen that I sit on as I cook (thanks, Christian!). This may strike you as sad; to me, it’s inventive!

And so, all of this information is intended to do two things: inspire pity so you won’t judge me when I tell you I’ve been watching “Pretty Little Liars” (I’ve been watching “Pretty Little Liars”) and convince you to make some fine banana bread with the very ripe bananas you may currently have in your pantry.

lv, molly

P.S. I made it through the school year! It is officially summer. :)

Olive Oil Banana Bread w. Chocolate Chips

Makes 1 bundt loaf*

*I used a bundt pan because then it feels like you’re eating cake. A regular loaf pan would certainly suffice, if you prefer to convince yourself you are eating bread.

1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup dark muscovado or dark brown sugar
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 C coarsely chopped bittersweet chocolate
1/3 C extra-virgin olive oil
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/2 cups VERY ripe bananas (~3 bananas)
1/4 C plain, whole milk yogurt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350° F. Grease a 9- by 5- inch (23 x 13 cm) loaf pan or bundt pan, or equivalent.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, sugar, baking soda, and salt. Mix in the chocolate; combine well.

In a medium bowl, mix together the olive oil, eggs, mashed banana, yogurt, and vanilla. Pour the banana mixture into the flour mixture and fold with a spatula until just combined.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake until golden brown, about 35-45 minutes. Don’t overbake! When it’s lightly browned, take it out. Err on the side of underbaking so you don’t lose the moisture.

Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool in the pan for 10 minutes; then turn the loaf out of the pan to cool completely.

Enjoy plain or with peanut butter, honey, or any other toppings you can dream up.

YUM!

green chili hominy casserole!

Yeah, casserole!!! I can hear the excitement build across the internet!

But this is a hip casserole with chillis and hominy! Not like your grandmother’s with its condensed soups! (…Can a casserole be hip?…)

I bought a can of hominy last week at the Grocery Outlet because I love a steal; I love the gross out; and I like hominy a lot. I’ve never cooked anything with it before, so I scoured the internet and finally happened upon Homesick Texan’, an awesome food blog written in New York by, you guessed it, a homesick Texan lady with a penchant for cooking up delicious Southwestern eats. Her photos of this casserole made it look so delectable that I thought this would be the perfect way to use hominy in a comforting, warm dish during a dreary week here in Seattle.

One of the coolest things about this recipe is it teaches you how to remove the skin from poblano chillis! I eagerly waited by the oven as the skin of the poblanos blackened, charred, and popped. So cool! Plus, with this new knowledge of chili skins, I think I’ll be well-prepared to make chili rellenos and other delicious things! Again, and I can hear your excitement! Or maybe that’s Christian talking. Anywho…

I’ve made a few changes to the recipe in order to make it a tad spicier and lower the fat content. I’m going to end this now because I really want seconds.

lv, molly

Green Chili Hominy Casserole

Serves 4-6

3 poblano chillies or anaheim chillies
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1/2 pound Mexican chorizo, removed from casing and crumbled, OR soyrizo or Field Roast (chipotle flavor)
1/2 medium yellow onion, diced
2 jalapeños, seeds and stems removed, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 15-ounce cans of hominy, drained
8 ounces low fat sour cream
1 tsp cumin
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
2 teaspoons lime juice
2 C low fat shredded cheddar cheese
Salt and black pepper to taste

Roast the poblano chillies under the broiler until blackened, about 5 minutes per side. Place chiles in a paper sack or plastic food-storage bag; close it tight; and let the chile steam for 20 minutes. Take the chillies out of the bag, and rub off the skin. Remove stem, and seeds and dice chillies.

Preheat the oven to 350.

If using meat…
On medium-low heat, heat the vegetable oil and then cook the crumbled chorizo while occasionally stirring in a 10-inch cast-iron skillet until brown, about 8-10 minutes. With a slotted spatula, remove the chorizo and drain any excess grease from the skillet, leaving 1 teaspoon. Add the diced onions and jalapeños while occasionally stirring, cook on medium-low heat until onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 30 more seconds. Return the chorizo to the pan.

If using soyrizo or Field Roast…
Heat the vegetable oil in a skillet. Add the diced onions and jalapeños while occasionally stirring, cook on medium-low heat until onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 30 more seconds. Add the soy chorizo or Field Roast.

Remove the skillet from the heat and add the diced poblano chile, chorizo, hominy, sour cream, cumin, cayenne, cilantro, lime juice and half of the cheddar cheese. Stir until well combined, taste and add salt and black pepper and adjust seasonings. Top with remaining the cheddar cheese and bake uncovered for 30 minutes or until brown and bubbling.

lemon pasta w. broccoli & parmesan.

I’ve always heard that using pasta water helps bind ingredients, but I’d never tried it until I made this. Huzzah! It is ingenious! Adding pasta water helped create the consistency of a light cream sauce, without all the richness. A great idea for non-tomato sauces. Christian and I both sung this pasta’s high praises as we sipped cheap champagne. The perfect weeknight.

lv, molly

Pasta with Lemon, Broccoli, and Parmesan

Serves 4

Adapted from Real Simple

12 ounces spaghetti (3/4 box) or fresh pasta
3 Tbl extra-virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 lb baby broccoli, chopped (use the stems too)
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
kosher salt
1 lemon, zest finely grated and juice squeezed
3/4 C grated parmesan

Cook the pasta according to directions. Reserve 3/4 cup of the cooking water, drain the pasta, and return it to the pot.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until golden, 1 to 2 minutes.
Add the broccoli, red pepper, and 1 teaspoon salt. Cook until heated through, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the broccoli mixture, lemon juice, Parmesan, and reserved pasta water to the pasta.

Cook over medium heat, stirring, until combined and heated through, 2 to 3 minutes. Sprinkle with the lemon zest and serve.

spelt & berry muffins.

I don’t know exactly what the deal with spelt flour is, but apparently it’s easier for your body to digest than regular wheat flour. That being said, the only reason I bake certain baked goods with spelt flour (muffins, sometimes cakes) is because I find that it yields a lighter, more delicate crumb. Its taste is also less pronounced than regular whole grain flours.

Last weekend, Christian and I had my older brother over for brunch. In addition to a frittata with slow-roasted tomatoes, we served these muffins and fruit (and lots o’ bacon for them). Neither Christian nor Matt is vegan, but these muffins are… and neither gentleman said they noticed.

In fact, they both ate two muffins, while I congratulated myself on making healthy-ish muffins that rock. Enjoy!

Spelt & Berry Muffins

Makes one dozen

1/2 C vegetable oil
1/2 C soymilk
1/2 C pure maple syrup
1/4 C light agave nectar or honey
1 C white spelt flour
1 C whole spelt flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 1/2 C fresh blueberries, blackberries, or raspberries

Heat oven to 375°. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners. Whisk oil, soymilk, syrup and nectar in a bowl. Combine flours, baking powder and salt in another bowl. Stir wet ingredients into dry ingredients; fold in blueberries. Divide batter evenly among muffin cups. Bake until muffins are golden brown and a knife comes out clean, 20-25 minutes. Serve warm with large cups of coffee or tea.

Speaking of my older brother… check out the adorable little addition to his household!

asparagus & fried eggs on toast!

This dish hardly warrants a recipe, since the title says it all.

Rachel Ray posted a recipe for “Midnight Bacon” that goes a little something like this… “Place microwave bacon in microwave. Cook according to directions on the box.” This recipe is like that. Easy. Fool-proof. The kind of dish for which you don’t need a recipe, but one for which I will give you a recipe out of a stubborn belief that you should make it properly and do it justice. Also, this dish is good and healthy and doesn’t involve microwaves, bacon, or strange upstate New York accents. Naturally, it follows, you should make this.

Just for a minute, millions of readers, consider the possible variations of vegetables and eggs on toast! [There are so many vegetables in the world that the possibilities are almost infinite! Have I blown your mind yet?]

Broccoli raab instead of asparagus, poached eggs instead of fried (poaching intimidates me, in part because of the connotation with elephant tusks), garlic toast instead of plain! The list goes on! My excitement is in earnest!

lv, molly

P.S. I haven’t started eating meat, despite what the picture suggests. That was my carnivorous boyfriend’s plate, and his looked (I hate to admit) so much more appetizing than the veggie and egg-yolk-free version!

Asparagus & Eggs on Toast

Serves 2

4 slices crusty bread
1 lb asparagus, ends trimmed
2 Tbl olive oil
4 eggs
kosher salt + pepper, to taste

Heat broiler. Place the bread and asparagus on a baking sheet. Drizzle with the oil and season with salt + pepper.

Broil until the bread is toasted, 1 to 2 minutes per side; transfer the bread to plates. Continue broiling the asparagus, tossing once, until tender, 4 to 8 minutes more.

Fry or poach the eggs.

Divide the asparagus among the toast and top with eggs.

slow-roasted tomatoes.

For the millions (nay, trillions) of you who read this blog, this post was slowly cultivated, after weeks of consideration, hours of roasting, minutes of salivating. It seems like an appropriate first post after a 1 month hiatus. These tomatoes are so…. slow.

I recently made a purchase on Amazon for which Christian has mocked me incessantly. I bought Gwyneth Paltrow’s cookbook. (I can hear the snickers from here, people of the internets!) While there’s nothing particularly ingenuous or inventive in it, I do like that most of the recipes are healthy and focused on fresh ingredients. They’re also simple enough that I could easily make most of them on a weeknight after a long day of teaching. While the cloying narratives that precede each recipe grate on the nerves, she seems earnest, and the recipes work really well. I truly like this cookbook.

The first recipe I made from the book was the simplest. We used these tomatoes on a pizza (see below), in a frittata, and had there been leftovers, I would’ve added them to a grilled cheese sandwich. They’d also be delicious in a simple pasta sauce, omelet, salad, or soup. Completely versatile, and they last in the fridge up to a week.

The slow roasting brings out the sweetness of the tomatoes that I’d never tasted before. Truly delicious. Even Christian cut out the mockery when he tasted these.

lv, molly

PS- Now that I’m finally back to this blog, I have so many recipes to share: asparagus with fried eggs and toast, broccoli and lemon pasta, blackberry muffins. Stay tuned.

Slow-Roasted Tomatoes

vine-ripened tomatoes (use a bunch, since they last a while!)
olive oil
salt

Preheat the oven to 275 degrees. Cut the tomatoes in half horizontally. Rub with a tiny bit of olive oil and a pinch of salt. Bake seed side up for 3-5 hours, or until they look nearly sun dried. The edges will be caramelized and the moisture will be almost entirely evaporated. Make a bunch at once!