A Heaping TBSP of Life


~ presenting a slightly currated collection of all things edible ~

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Drunken Noodles

Drunken Noodles

I first ordered drunken noodles on a whim because I liked the name.  Once I got my plate full of sauce-y savory noodles and tasted my first bite, I was hooked.  The dish is essentially what it sounds like:  a massive plate of spiraling noodles […]

Green Ribbon Salad

Green Ribbon Salad

When the days are long and hot, and the veggies are all starting to ripen, there’s no better way to use up nature’s bounty than in massive salads.  They consist of relatively little prep time, zero oven time, and, with a little planning, can look […]

Chocolate Lava Cakes

Chocolate Lava Cakes

The other night I had the strongest craving for chocolate.  Like I’m talking, super intense.  I didn’t just want any chocolate either, I wanted melt-in-your-mouth, ooey, gooey, sinfully delicious chocolate lava cakes!

And thankfully, I have a go-to recipe that can make that exact thing, and have it – from deconstructed in the cupboard, to sitting on the table in front of me ready to be devoured – in less then 20mn!

Needless to say.  I had my lava cake.  I also made it dairy free, because I wanted to be able to share it with my kiddo.  It’s surprisingly easy to make these dairy free (and even vegan for that matter).  I always buy bar and chip chocolate now that is free from soy and dairy.  Guittard and Enjoy Life are both good brands for that.  I’ve also swapped out most of our butter in the house for the Earth Balance soy free brand (which actually tastes great, and doesn’t have a laundry list of non-pronounceable ingredients like many vegan substitutes).  This most recent time making these guys I actually swapped three flax eggs for the regular eggs, and still got good results.  The only major difference I noticed was that the outside cooked up a bit more dense than usual, and the flavor wasn’t quiet as deep.  If you’re vegan though, and want to give these guys a try with flax eggs, know that they will still be lava-y in the center!  (And served with some coconut-vanilla ice cream, no body is going to have anything to complain about!)

This recipe only makes 2 cakes, but to double it is easy.  Double everything except the eggs.  Add one whole egg and one whole egg yolk for a total of 3 eggs, and 2 yolks.  I haven’t tested it doubled with egg subs yet – if you do, let me know how it goes!

 

Chocolate Lava Cakes
Prep Time
5 mins
Cook Time
13 mins
Total Time
18 mins
 
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Servings: 2 Cakes
Ingredients
  • 1 ounce Semi-Sweet Chocolate
  • 1 ounce Bittersweet Chocolate
  • 1/4 cup Butter (I used Earth Balance)
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 2 tsp Vanilla
  • 2 whole Eggs
  • 1 egg Yolk
  • 2/3 Cup Powdered Sugar
  • 1/4 Cup All Purpose Flour
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 425.  Spray two 6 ounce ramekins with oil.

  2. Place the chocolate and butter in a 4 cup measure and melt in the microwave in 30 second bursts, stirring between each one.  It should take a little over a minute.

  3. Whisk in the salt, vanilla and eggs until thick and glossy.

  4. Stir in the flour and sugar until just combined.

  5. Portion the chocolate mixture into the two prepared ramekins.  Bake at 325 for 13 minutes.  The center will look barely set.

  6. Turn the ramekins out onto two small plates, be careful not to burn yourself when lifting off the hot ramekins!

  7. Let the cakes sit for two minutes before serving.  Best served with a sprinkle of powdered sugar and vanilla ice cream.  They do not reheat well.

Carrot-Ginger Soup

Carrot-Ginger Soup

What do you do when a bushel of carrots is on sale for $5?  Well, buy all of them of course! Which is absolutely what I did.  My motto for farmer’s marketing: stock up now, worry about how in the heck you’re going to eat […]

Blackened Corn & Pepper Salsa

Blackened Corn & Pepper Salsa

Corn was 50 cents a cob at the farmers market this weekend, so you better believe I stocked up! My all-time favorite way to eat corn is a quick parboil in salted water, and then finishing it on the grill.  It’s fast, easy, and can […]

Aloo Saag Curry

Aloo Saag Curry

The farmers market produce seems to come in waves around here.  Meaning, I like to buy metric tons of certain vegetables when they look good, and nothing of everything else.  Such was the case with the potatoes and tomatoes last week.

There were 1/2 bushel baskets of each for five dollars at one of the stalls.  I mean – how can you say no to that?  Five dollars for enough to potatoes and tomatoes to feed me for a month???  The Irish girl in me couldn’t resist!  And then, this Irish girl promptly decided to make the most Punjabi style potato curry she could think of.  Does that count as culture fusion cuisine or what?!

Normally when I make a curry I start by toasting some spices and peppers to make my masala, then reduce some of the more savory/aromatic ingredients and whir them in the blender to get a base, and then mix everything together with the rest of the ingredients to put it all together.  This curry is a little different.  I do start by toasting my spices, but then instead of tossing them in the spice grinder, I leave them whole, and add the rest of the aromatic/base ingredients, cover and cook them all down together.  The juice released from the tomatoes ensures nothing burns or sticks, and the long, slow cooking time ensures that the spices are softened enough that when I do blend everything together, the pulse right in and don’t leave any unappetizing chunks.

The greens in this curry are totally up to whatever you have on hand.  I typically use spinach, since that’s a very neutral flavored one, that lets the other flavors shine, but just the other day all I had on hand was a massive bunch of pumpkin leaves that were approaching the end of their life (I bought them and then realized I have NO IDEA what to do with pumpkin leaves…) so I threw them in instead.  They were delicious! You could even skip the greens, but I really like the extra nutrition they add, and they make it so pretty!

My favorite potatoes for this are baby reds, as they hold their shape well and have a nice firm texture that contrasts well with the rest of the curry.  You could use russet as well though if that’s all you have on hand.  I wouldn’t recommend Yukon golds though, as they tend to break down quickly and would make the curry more of a stew!

As always, if you don’t have an immersion blender, you can use a regular blender, just be careful while pouring the hot liquid as it tends to splash! (And tomato burns are no joke!)  You can use a ladle to get out the big chunks, which makes pouring the curry much easier.

 

Aloo Saag Curry
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
1 hr 30 mins
Total Time
1 hr 40 mins
 
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Indian
Servings: 6 Servings
Ingredients
Masala
  • 2 Tbsp Canola Oil
  • 1 Tbsp Coriander Seeds
  • 2 tsp Cumin Seeds
  • 1 tsp Black Mustard Seeds, or Nigella Seeds
  • 1 tsp Turmeric
  • 1 tsp Chili Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Fenugreek Seeds (methi)
  • 1/2 tsp Garam Masala
  • 1/4 tsp Asafoetida (Hing)
  • 2 Garlic Cloves, roughly chopped
  • 1/2" Ginger, roughly chopped
  • 2-3 Green Thai Chilis (to taste), roughly chopped
Curry
  • 3 lb Tomatoes, blanched and skinned
  • 1.5 lb Baby Red Potatoes, scrubbed and cut into 3/4" chunks
  • 1 large Bunch Greens (Spinach, Kale, Chard etc)
  • 1.5 tsp Salt (or to taste)
Instructions
  1. Heat the oil on medium high in the bottom of a large Dutch oven.  Add the whole spices, chopped chilies, garlic and ginger and toast until fragrant, stirring frequently, about a minute.

  2. Add the ground spices and toast another 30 - 45 seconds.

  3. Add the skinned tomatoes.  Using a wooden spoon break them up a bit.  Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer, covered, for 30 - 45 minutes, or until tomatoes are almost completely broken down and thickened.

  4. Using an immersion blender (or a counter-top blender) pulse the curry until it is completely blended and smooth.  Add salt, taste, and adjust seasoning as necessary.

  5. Add the potatoes, cover the pot again, and cook for another 15 - 20 minutes, or until you can easily poke the potatoes with a knife.

  6. Add the greens, stir in, and cook uncovered until the greens start to wilt (5 - 10 minutes).  Adjust the seasoning again if necessary and serve!

Strawberry Rhubarb Hand Pies

Strawberry Rhubarb Hand Pies

I recently read a quote in one of my cooking magazines that couldn’t have rung more true.  I don’t remember it word for word, but the general gist was, you can buy too many carrots and beets and have them get soft and wrinkly before […]

Coconut Turmeric Curry

Coconut Turmeric Curry

I’ve been all about simplicity lately.  The days are long and hot, which has had me dreading turning on the oven for more than a few minutes, and my work schedule has been crazy (I’m up to 30 hours already and it’s only Wednesday morning!!)  […]

Pad Thai

Pad Thai

Okay, I’m going to start this off with a disclaimer. I am pretty sure this isn’t an authentic recreation of Pad Thai. Whew. Got that out of the way. That being said, please don’t stop reading. It might not be strictly authentic, but I can promise you, it is strictly delicious!

At first glance the ingredient list may seem a bit daunting, but let me promise you, this is an easy weeknight meal! The sauce actually gets better if it’s allowed to hang out in the fridge for a night, so feel free to mix that up in advance (just don’t forget to shake it before pouring all over the veggies! The tofu take about 25mn to cook, but while it’s doing that, you can get all the veggies chopped up, so by the time the tofu comes out of the oven, you’re ready to dump it in the stir fry! I promise, this really is a quick and easy weeknight meal! 🙂

I use honey and eggs in my version, but if you are looking for the vegan variation, don’t worry, I got you! I’ve had excellent luck subbing the honey for agave (go a little lighter) and using soft silken tofu, blitzed in the food processor in place of the eggs. Or you can just leave the eggs out! I’ve done that several times when I don’t have them on hand, or am making the dish as more of a side. I like the extra protein though when this is the main dish.

I use ground ginger and garlic. Is that a cop out? Maybe. But it sure is faster than very finely mincing fresh ginger and garlic! Using fresh though will give you a very slight improvement in flavor. So go ahead and use those if you like, I was all about speed and efficiency when I wrote this recipe up, so I opted for the easy version! 🙂

Feel free to play around with the recipe. The ingredients aren’t set in stone. In fact I tend to go all over the board when I make it. Sometimes I add baby bok choy, purple cabbage or even snow peas. It all depends on what you have on hand. The important part is that you keep the proportions relatively equal and don’t go too overboard or you can wind up with more veggies than space quickly! I like just adding a few veggies so that their individual flavors and colors can really shine!

This dish is absolutely great on it’s own, but if you have a little time over the weekend to assemble some pot-stickers, they will really put it over the top! I have an amazing portabella and cabbage pot-sticker recipe which will hopefully be coming soon…!  And if you don’t have time to make your own, don’t let that hold you back! There are more and more amazing vegetarian egg rolls and pot-stickers popping up in the frozen section of most groceries, why not test one out! 🙂

Pad Thai
Prep Time
25 mins
Cook Time
10 mins
Total Time
35 mins
 
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Asian
Servings: 4 Servings
Ingredients
Stir Fry
  • 8 oz Thin rice noodles
  • 1 block Extra firm cottony tofu, do not use silken
  • 1 Red Bell Pepper
  • 1 Green Bell Pepper
  • 1 Small Red Onion
  • 1 Cup Bean Sprouts
  • 2 Eggs, beaten
  • 3 Scallions, white and green seperated
  • 1/4 Roasted Peanuts, roughly chopped
Sauce
  • 1/4 Cup Soy Sauce or Tamari
  • 2 Tbsp Rice Wine Vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp Sesame Oil
  • 1 Tbsp Hoisen Sauce
  • 1 tsp Sambal Oelek
  • 1 Tbsp Honey
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp ground garlic
  • 2 Tbsp Chunky Peanut Butter
  • 1 Tbsp Corn Starch
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 450. Slice the tofu into 1/2 cubes. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray and spread the cubes out in a single layer, making sure none are touching, sprinkle them with a little salt and black pepper and place in the oven. Bake for about 25mn or until the tops are golden brown.
  2. Meanwhile get a medium sized pot of water boiling for the rice sticks. Don't add them yet though as they cook very quickly!
  3. Julienne the peppers and thinly slice the onion. Slice the green part of the scallion on a diagonal and set aside with the peanuts for topping. Finely mince the white part of the scallion and put in a small container with a tight fitting lid (a pint jar works great!)
  4. Add all of the sauce ingredients to the jar with the scallions except cornstarch and shake! Taste and adjust the seasoning as desired. Add the cornstarch and shake vigorously until well combined.
  5. Just before starting the stir fry, add the rice noodles to the pot of boiling water to cook. They will only take about 5 minutes, so keep an eye on them!
  6. Get a large skillet or wok hot, and add a drizzle of olive or sesame oil. Toss in your peppers and onions and saute until starting to brown. Pour in the pre-whisked eggs and continue stirring until eggs are just barely cooked. Make sure you keep moving everything around in the pan so nothing burns! Add in your tofu cubes and the bean sprouts and stir until just combined. Pour the sauce over everything and stir until it starts to thicken. At this point you can either add the the drained noodles to the pan and stir everything together before turning off the heat, or turn off the heat and serve the veggies dolloped over the noodles. Your call!
  7. Once the Pad Thai is plated garnish with a sprinkle of crushed peanuts and some scallion.
Tropical Pancakes

Tropical Pancakes

I rarely wake up craving pancakes, but when I do…the cravings are real!! Of course, the one time that I woke up wanting a stack of these light fluffy pillows of buttermilk, sugar and all purpose flour also happened to be right smack dab in […]


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