Meet my Tiny Taste Tester. This post started as a Risotto recipe but somewhere I got off topic (I’ll return to risotto later). When The Boss learned this Tiny Human was coming to the house for a weekend visit she got quite excited. Then the orders began.
“Go to the store and buy some baby food.”
So I did just that. Little did we realize that this small person was not limited to the mush you buy in jars and pouches. We quickly began to realize our guest had worldly taste buds. OK…back to risotto. On most days I do a scan of what’s on hand and start thinking about what to make for dinner. When I gave The Boss a few options the other day her reply was:
“Risotto. You have never made risotto.”
I think I made risotto once but failed miserably. But when I made risotto this past week it turned out pretty good. When a cook makes something she has never made (or maybe just once and failed) and the dish turns out well you just can’t stop talking about it. And when the father of the Tiny Human heard the story he asked for risotto for dinner.
So I thought to myself, I can do this even if I’ve only made it once successfully.
Last night the crawler got to sample my vegetable risotto. We think she liked it because she asked for more. Today the small person sampled Ricotta Buttermilk Pancakes. When The Boss was eating her breakfast the Tiny Human crawled over and delivered her “more” sign, a small yet effective means of communication for the less vocally inclined.
Did I mention I can now make risotto? Tiny Taste Tester Approved.
“Only if you send me your Citrus Gazpacho recipe.”
The exchange was made and Frenchy’s recipe follows:
For 6 Cups
4 large ripe tomatoes
1 clove garlic
1 TBLS white wine vinegar
2 1/2 cups orange juice
zest and fruit of 1 orange-remove the peel and pith
zest and fruit of 1 pink grapefruit-remove the peel and pith
1/2 cucumber, peeled, seeded, diced
1/4 medium red onion, diced
1/2 yellow bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and diced
1 TBLS olive oil
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper
Cayenne pepper to your taste
Instead of using fresh tomatoes which you must boil for 20 seconds, then dunk in ice water to stop the cooking, cool, peel, then dice-you can use a can of diced tomatoes.
Use an immersion blender or container blender to mix the tomatoes, garlic, vinegar, orange juice, orange and grapefruit zest. Puree. Pour over the cucumbers, peppers, onion, orange and grapefruit, olive oil and seasonings.
This is best when it has been refrigerated overnight. Top with fresh cut basil before serving. A few pomegranate seeds in each serving for color.
Beautiful in martini or cocktail glasses as a starter.
Historical Note for Family and Friends
Frenchy is a real person and our friendship predates my marriage to The Boss. When the Doctor and the Architect were tiny humans themselves we would have wonderful meals at Frenchy’s. I’m positive I’ve had this gazpacho but at my age I can’t remember when. Enjoy!
How is it possible a grocery store on a SUNDAY has NO MUSHROOMS? The only plain white button mushrooms were the pre-sliced variety. They were brown and old. I guess I could have bought some of those fancy gourmet mushrooms for a gazillion dollars a pound. Or I could have stopped at another store for mushrooms. In the end I decided to just wing it.
So, no mushrooms. Dried shiitake? No, too Oriental for me. In the place of mushrooms I caramelized a medium sweet onion and also added some riced up cauliflower.
In about 20 minutes we’ll find out if the substitutions works.
In the bookstore the other day I could hardly contain my excitement. I found a used copy of Mollie Katzen’s 2013 cookbook The Heart of the Platefor six dollars! Middle and Early Boomers might remember her Moosewood cookbook.I still have a copy of that cookbook in my collection. There are a few recipes from The Heart of the Plate I want to try. The first one was Peruvian Potato-Bean Stew. But immediately I saw a problem.
I’m not in Peru. 4000 to pick from and the recipe calls for the blue one. Since I wasn’t going to find blue potatoes I figured I might as well just mess with the rest of the recipe too. So here’s my version inspired by Mollie.
Adapted from The Heart of Plate by Mollie Katzen
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 large sweet onion, diced
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon ground red chili
1 teaspoon Mexican oregano
1/2 large red bell pepper, diced
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon salt
4 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, 1/2 inch dice
3 cups cooked Mayocabo beans with cooking liquid
15-ounce can diced tomatoes with roasted garlic and onion
freshly squeezed lime juice
salt and pepper to taste
Heat a Dutch oven over medium heat.
Add oil, onions, chili powder, ground chili, oregano and cumin . Gently saute for 5 minutes.
Add the bell pepper, garlic, and salt. Saute for another 5 minutes.
Add the potatoes.. Cover, reduce heat to low, and cook for 5 minutes. Add 1/2 cup of the bean cooking liquid, canned tomatoes, cover again, and cook until potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes.
Add the beans, reduce heat to low and simmer until beans are warmed through.
Season individual servings with lime juice, salt and pepper to taste.
If you like chili you’ll like this recipe. It’s basically a potato and bean chili, no meat. If you cannot find Mayocabo beans use pintos. It won’t taste the same but will still be excellent, kind of like using yellow potatoes instead of the blue ones. Pinto beans will hold their shape better whereas the Mayocabo is creamier and tends to fall apart with prolonged cooking.
For the beans I used a pound dried, rinsed multiple times and soaked overnight. The next day I tossed the beans into a pot, added water to one inch above the beans with about a teaspoon each of cumin, Mexican oregano, garlic powder and a bay leaf.
1 can Great Northern White Beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup tahini, organic, unsalted
1 and 1/2 large lemons, juiced
1 tsp pure maple syrup
½ tsp cumin
Salt to taste
The Office Christmas party is at the house this year. I was asked to make some hummus for the event. Since I was going to dirty up the juicer and the food processor I decided to try something different. I made more hummus. There was a leftover baked sweet potato in the fridge. A quick Google search turned up this recipe which I’ll credit as my inspiration.
Bake the sweet potato for around 75 minutes or until soft to the touch. I actually had my potato in the oven for 2 hours at 425F because I forgot about it. Allow to cool and set aside.
Process the garlic first.
Toss everything else in the pool and process until smooth and creamy.
Did you take the skin off the potato?
Find some pita bread or crackers STAT.
The first thing is to avoid any arguments about whether or not you can call this dip hummus. It has no chickpeas so technically it’s not hummus. Google “is hummus without chickpeas really hummus” and take a side. The second thing you have to get used to is the color.
Pink. The dip comes out pink.
Put this hummus out at a party and tell everyone it’s a salmon dip.
Have your smartphone cameras ready for your guests’ reactions.
Sometimes you have odds and ends in the fridge. Half an onion, two halves of red and green peppers, maybe even some leftover fresh spinach sauteed with garlic in the freezer. No one else is home. So it doesn’t really matter if this thing turns out OK or not.
I hate wasting food. There’s just too many people on the planet who would gladly take your odds and ends, the scraps that might get thrown away. So tonight I made a frittata with what I had on hand. And if it turns out OK, then this recipe stays on the blog.
If not, well you’ll never know it was here.
2 Tbl EVOO
1/2 medium sweet onion, sliced thinly
1/4 red pepper, sliced thinly
1/4 green pepper, sliced thinly
2 small Yukon Gold potatoes, organic, small dice
1 cup sauteed fresh spinach with garlic, drained
1/4 cup half and half
Dried basil, healthy pinch
Salt and pepper
Heat the olive oil in an 8 inch non-stick pan.
Saute the onions and peppers for 5 minutes.
Add the potatoes and continue cooking until nearly cooked through, about 10 minutes. Add more olive oil if needed to prevent sticking on the bottom of the pan.
Add the basil, salt, and pepper. Add oil if needed.
Spread the spinach evenly over the potato/pepper mixture.
Sprinkle Parmesan over the spinach. Be as generous as you like.
Beat the eggs and half and half. Pour over the vegetable mixture.
Preheat your broiler.
Allow the frittata to sit over a very low flame until set.
Place the pan under the broiler to brown the top.
Remove from the broiler and place the frittata on a serving plate.
Nothing of importance is ever achieved without discipline. I feel myself sometimes not wholly in sympathy with some modern educational theorists, because I think that they underestimate the part that discipline plays. But the discipline you have in your life should be one determined by your own desires and your own needs, not put upon you by society or authority.
We all know better, but we don’t choose better. I was a cokehead, a heroin addict. At night you get coked up knowing you’re going to feel terrible in the morning. You have to make the habit of doing what’s difficult now to make you better. It’s easy to do the right thing when you’re used to it.
I named this soup Unoriginal because there’s really nothing original about cabbage soup. It could just as easily be called What’s in the Fridge Soup because I had a small head of cabbage that needed to be eaten. There were two halves of two different peppers and half an onion. What do you do with these odds and ends?
Something happened to me this summer. I was a lapsed vegetarian for over 30 years and in the beginning of August I got serious about my diet (again). Kyrie credits his diet for the recent Celtics winning streak. Clearly something is happening to a lot of people. It’s not just me.
Choose better. Losing 200 pounds was not easy. Regaining 40 pounds was easy. Making the right food choices? Trust me, it’s easier than you think.
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic minced
1/2 large onion, thin sliced
2 carrots, peeled cut into coins
1 stalk celery sliced thin diagonally
1/2 each red and green bell pepper, slice
1 cup frozen corn
7 oz canned diced tomatoes with juice
1 small head green cabbage sliced
1 quart organic vegetable broth
1/2 Tbsp paprika
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried thyme
Salt and pepper to taste
In a medium size pot heat the olive oil.
Everybody (except tomatoes, corn and broth) in the pool in the following order: onion, carrots, celery, peppers, garlic, cabbage.
Saute until the cabbage wilts, add herbs, salt, and pepper.
Add vegetable broth and tomatoes. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer.
Simmer partially covered for 30 minutes. Add corn and simmer an additional 5-10 minutes.
Turning and turning in the widening gyre | The falcon cannot hear the falconer | Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold | Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world | The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere | The ceremony of innocence is drowned | The best lack all conviction, while the worst | Are full of passionate intensity. -- W.B. Yeats, The Second Coming