Monday, October 11, 2010

Southwestern Sweet Potato & Quinoa Salad

Chow fellow food lovers!

My name is Brittany and I am one of the several food loving people who will be contributing to this blog.

First you should know that my food obsession is Quinoa. It's a fantastic grain full of protein. I need this protein as I'm a pescatarian (vegetarian that eats fish-sometimes people hear Presbyterian). I have made several different quinoa dishes but I got stuck on one for a while. Mediterranean Quinoa which consists of red onion, feta, kalamata olives, avocado, red pepper and quinoa. It comes with a dressing, optional of course, consisting of: olive oil, chopped garlic, a little mustard, white balsamic vinegar (also regular balsamic can be used) white wine, salt and pepper. I have tried to make it for most of my friends just because I love it so much.

This time I tried a recipe out of How to Cook Everything Vegetarian, which by the way is an amazing bible type cook book for vegetarians. Everything I have made out of this book has been divine. It doesn't have pictures which freaked me out a bit but I totally got used to it and LOVE it. It also offers an alternate recipe within a recipe. I'll explain.

The recipe I chose was Sweet Potato and Quinoa Salad. As I read it, I realized I was missing some ingredients. But at the end there was an alternate version! Southwestern Sweet Potato & Quinoa Salad, which I had all the ingredients for. Convenient.

To speed up your cook time, cook sweet potatoes at the same time as quinoa. Peel the sweet potato and dice it into 1/2 inch or smaller pieces. Cook it in boiling salted water to cover until tender, about 15 minutes; drain.

Just in case you haven't made quinoa yet, it is a two to one deal: 2 cups broth or water to 1 cup quinoa. Boil broth or water, add quinoa, cover and turn down to medium heat for 15 minutes. Now salad sometimes implies cold but whenever I make quinoa anything it's always warm. But it would be fantastic cold.

Add these ingredients to quinoa and stir:
1 large or 2 medium sweet potatoes (I used 1 small and that sufficed)
1/4 cup minced shallot
1 avocado
1/4 tsp cayenne, chili powder or hot red pepper flakes
1 bell pepper (we used a purple pepper from the Ballard Farmer's Market)
freshly squeezed lime juice (I used the lime I had which about 1/4 of it was missing)
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup minced cilantro

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Almost Vegan Tamale Pie

Hello - It's Lauren again!

Let's get real a minute - tamales are okay. They're high maintenance and you could take them or leave them. That's why I still haven't tried to make real tamales - I expect I would screw them up in some fundamental way.

Tamale PIE, on the other hand, sounded much easier to me. That's the recipe I've made four times now and I like it a lot. I actually don't put Tapatio on it most of the time, because it's got a different flavor to me. More...earthy? Authentic? (I'll let you decide)

This recipe is from a cookbook called The Accidental Vegan. I was browsing the vegetarian section of a used bookstore when a lady turned to me and recommended this book. "Everything in it that I've tried has turned out delicious!" Or something like that. I thanked her and started carrying the book around. I felt obligated - she was watching me! So the purchase was actually more forced than voluntary, but I could do it for just $6.

You start off with 1/2 a batch of Red Chile "Salsa" (I put it in quotes because I don't really consider it a salsa - more of a sauce). I always make a full batch so I can make a second Tamale Pie after I finish the first, but you may as well test it out first - half batch.


6 ancho chiles (I've always found there to be just 6 ancho chiles in the bag. They are dried poblano chiles)
3 medium tomatoes
1/2 bunch cilantro
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon sea salt (Remember, it's a vegan cookbook. Regular salt does just fine)

Soak the chiles in boiling water for 10 minutes. When finished, remove the seeds if you can't take the heat! Puree ingredients in a food processor/blender. I use my immersion blender and it does just fine. Set this mixture aside for now.

Next, for the actual Tamale Pie, you will need:

2 cups water
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 cups masa harina or masa mixta (flour made from corn, basically? I found it in a huge bag, hidden in the "ethnic food" section of QFC)
10-12 dried tomatoes (I think that's how many came in the bags I typically found hidden in the produce section - 24 sundried tomato halves)
3 canned chipotles and their sauce (You will never just find 3 - another reason I always make two pies and just split the can between them)
2 cups cooked black or pinto beans
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 batch Red Chile Salsa
Cheese, to taste (It's for the pie's topping, so you'd want at least 1/2 cup - it actually called for faux cheese, to make it vegan, but come on.)

You'll also need a 9x13'' casserole dish.

Yes, it sounds like a lot - it is! But it's good.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Bring the 2 cups water to a boil and add the olive oil and 1 teaspoon sea salt. I recommend using a medium saucepan for this, because when I use my 4 cup saucepan, the masa harina always comes out.

Remove this from heat and immediately add the masa harina (I don't think you have to freak out about how long you're taking to mix in the harina - just don't wait for the water to cool). You're told to stir until it's smooth. I have yet to find that the masa harina is "smooth" after adding it to this amount of water. It's more clumpy, but it still works. If you want it to be smooth, add small amounts of water until then. But who knows what that will do to the end product.

Spoon half of the masa harina into your casserole dish so that you cover the bottom and sides. I've never really tried to hard to get it to go up the sides and it still tastes good to me. The beans just tumble out a bit.

Cook the dried tomatoes in about a cup of water for about a minute. Drain and chop them finely (easier said than done - I use a food processor). Add them to a bowl containing your black/pinto beans, vinegar, and sea salt.

Chop the chipotles and add them to your bean bowl mix.

Fill the "masa shell" you just made with this bean mixture. It may look something like THIS:

Cover this up with the rest of the masa harina mix by flattening handfuls of it and laying it across the top (like a puzzle). It's going to look stupid (see below), so don't try to make it perfect.

Top the pie with your freshly made salsa (see below - that's about half of a batch of salsa) and then with as much cheese as you want.

Bake for 20-30 minutes, until the stop starts to brown. Serve. Eat.

I've been looking at all morning and then I went to write this post, so now I'm really hungry! It's time for me to scrounge for some food. Enjoy the recipe!

Until next time...

Monday, April 19, 2010

Chicken Noodle Soup From Scratch

Hello readers,

Let me introduce myself. My name is Gina, I'm a nurse living in Portland, OR. I love to cook and bake in my free time. I mainly cook comfort foods and crock-pot dishes since it makes a week of lunches so easy! As for baking- it's mostly cookies. I love all baked goods, the "sweet-fats" but there's something about sinking your tooth into a cookie and getting that instant sugar rush that I love! My guiding motto for cooking is "work with what you got." No specialty ingredients, no special cook/bakeware.

Today, I bring you chicken noodle soup. My recipe is adapted from a local food blog I adore ( and from my go-to cooking reference (sorry, Martha, Rachel, and Julia.) This "recipe" is a guide. You can really add or omit whatever you want, however I don't know what you'd do if you're a vegetarian. This is a chicken-heavy soup. For this recipe there's a set of vegetables that will give all their nutrients to the stock and will become soggy and gross, and a second set of vegetables you add later that will be a little crisper and still have their nutrients. I guess this is why people eat it when they're sick- twice the "good stuff." The amount of veggies you add depends on how much you like eating them.


  • 1 "young chicken"

  • 1 lg onion, peeled and quartered

  • 3-4 lg carrots- 1-2 for the stock, 2-3 for the soup

  • 1 bunch celery- 2/3 bunch for the stock, 1/3 chopped up for the soup, reserve the leaves for later

  • water- enough to fill pot

  • 3 bay leaves

  • salt and pepper- freshly grind it, enough for your tastes

  • poultry seasoning- to taste

  • 1- 8 oz package dry egg noodles (Ronzoni Healthy Harvest was on sale... thus I am using it)

  • 1/4 c chicken bouillon powder (I'm not using this, but you might want to)

  • 8 oz sliced mushrooms

1.) Attack the chicken. I'm sure that there's a French, methodical way to do this but here's what I did: Slice down the chicken's chest, remove all the skin and fat that you can, and remove chicken breasts and freeze for later. Loosen up all the joints by freeing up skin and tendons then dislocate them all! Then cut the limb off and take the skin off, throw it in the pot. When the giblets fall out of your massacred chicken, throw them out. Rinse out the "cavity" just in case some digestive juices are left over. Put the cavity in the pot.

2.) Making stock: put chicken parts, onion, celery, carrots (I chopped the celery and carrots into big pieces) in a large stock pot and add enough water to cover everything and nearly fill up the pot. Bring to a boil, skim off the fat, add the bay leaves, then lower to a simmer for 4 hours. Strain the stock, throw out the dilapidated veggies and dig through all the meat- throwing out the cartilage, bones, skin and fat (unless you're into that)

3.) Now you have the stock and chicken bits. Add the poultry seasoning, fresh chopped carrots, mushrooms and celery, bring to a boil, add the egg noodles then lower to a simmer for 10-20 minutes (depending on how soft you want the noodles to be). Salt and pepper to taste. Mine didn't turn out as savory as I had hoped, so definitely try the bouillon. Otherwise, pretty delicious! Serve with multigrain crackers.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Mac 'n Cheese, please!

Hello there! I will also introduce myself: my name is Lindsey. I love chocolate (like, love love), and just food in general (duh). I love to cook and bake although recently I have been too tired from work to do much of it (lame excuse, I know). But when I'm really compelled by a recipe or idea I do it. I make it. And I love to!

I'm the kind of person who has a lot of internet tabs open all the time--I don't know why--it just happens. Like how clothes keep piling up on my floor (I swear it wasn't me) and how'd my desk get so messy? I just seem to have this habit of compiling things until the point of me getting really frustrated that I've compiled all those things and uggghh I gotta clean shit up. So. Here's what I do: I clean shit up (-ish). And I do that with my internet tabs too. When you have Stumble Upon it's way too easy to find all these interesting sites, and since I don't have time to look at them right away: I save that tab, open up a new one, etc. etc. They all collect atop my browser, and once I realize that I have to scroll right or left on my tab bar, well, that's when I know it's time to look and see what I've gotten myself into. And now I know it's too late to say "long story short" but it still sounds good, so: long story short, one of my saved tabs was a blog that had a macaroni and cheese recipe.

I felt my calling. It was time to pursue my (immediate future) destiny.

The result was pretty tasty.

I manipulated the original recipe to fit my needs/wants/what I had in my fridge. I feel like you can do that with almost any recipe, and that way you put your own personal spin on things. Don't be afraid! Here's how it goes:

Servings: 3-4 in 8x8 dish, double ingredients for 13x9

  • 2 cups rotini (or similar pasta)
  • 4 Tbsp butter (Salted Butter)
  • 1-2 whole medium onions (depending on how onion-y you like it), cut in half and sliced thin
  • 5-7 slices prosciutto or pancetta
  • 1/8 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup non-fat milk
  • 1/4 cup half-and-half
  • 1 whole egg yolk, beaten
  • salt n pepa, to taste
  • 1 cup-ish of Quattro Formaggio cheese blend from Trader Joe's (parmesan, asiago, fontina, provolone) -OR- 1 cup-ish of similar cheese(s)
  • Bread crumbs (optional)

Preparation instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cook macaroni for half the time of the package instructions. Drain and set aside.

Fry prosciutto/pancetta until slightly, but not overly, crispy. Set aside.

Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a skillet and then saute onions over medium-low heat for 10 to 12 minutes, or until golden brown and soft. Set aside.

In a pot, melt 2 tablespoons butter. Sprinkle in flour and whisk to combine. Cook, stirring constantly, over medium heat for 1 minute. Pour in milk and half & half, then cook for 3 to 5 minutes or until thick. Reduce heat to low. Add salt & pepper to taste.

Beat egg yolk and drizzle 1/4 cup hot mixture into the yolks, stirring constantly. Stir to combine. Pour egg mixture into sauce and cook for another minute.

Add cheeses and stir until melted. Add onions and prosciutto/pancetta and stir. Taste for seasonings and add more salt if needed. Add cooked rotini pasta and stir to coat.

Pour into an 8x8 baking dish, sprinkle bread crumbs on top if you want (I didn't do this, although it would probably be delicious!). Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until sizzling and hot. Serve with vegetables so you don't feel too guilty. I threw some raw spinach in my bowl and mixed it in with the mac 'n cheese.

So good. So. Good.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Bowties & Spicy Broccolette

Hello! This is Lauren and I'm here to kick off our new blog - Delicious Dish! We started this blog to discuss the one thing that keeps us from hating each other - food. We plan to discuss recipes we try, restaurants we go to, and whatever other food-related topics we feel like discussing. We all live on the West Coast, so we will mainly discuss Seattle, Portland, and San Francisco.

To tell you a little about myself: I'm kind of new to cooking and baking, but I enjoy trying new recipes. I'm mostly drawn to healthy recipes for dinner and horrible-for-you recipes for dessert. I also like baking breads and am honing my skills in that area (it's complicated...especially with an oven that runs too hot and crazily). I love going to new restaurants, but it takes really good food for me to start raving about one.

I'm just going to get this out right now, before you think I have a problem I that hasn't been acknowledged: I love hot sauce. Specifically, Tapatio. I buy maybe four 32 ouncers a year. I have been known to consume it by itself, in the privacy of my own home where no one can shame me for it. I will probably talk about it as if it were my close friend.

Now, for my first topic. Dinner. I went searching through my collection of recipes and picked one that I tore from the Every Day with Rachael Ray magazine. I gave it a whirl - like I said, I'm kind of new to actual cooking. It actually went really smoothly. I actually read ahead to make sure I wouldn't have to rush to chop something in the middle of cooking something else.

Now, one of the letters to the editor complained that Rachael Ray's (RR) recipes were often bland. I have to agree that some of them are lacking (i.e. Cajun Chicken Fingers - put some Tapatio on that shit!), but Bowties & Spicy Broccoli Rabe was delicious and plenty flavorful for me. Maybe it was all the salt I accidentally ("accidentally"?) added. Please see the RR recipe below.

Bowties and Spicy Broccoli Rabe with Crunchy Crumbs

Rachael Ray

Serves 4; 15 minutes to prep; 35 minutes to cook

1 head garlic
1 bunch broccoli rabe (about 1 1/4 lbs) - I used broccolette and I thought it went fine
1 lb farfalle (bowtie) pasta
1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 red chile, seeded and chopped finely - I couldn't find this, so I used a serrano pepper...
1 dinner roll - I think any bread will do; I used an english muffin I made a few weeks ago
1 pint ricotta cheese

1. Fill a large saucepan three-quarters full with water. Add the garlic (separated into unpeeled cloves with the base of each clove trimmed), bring to a boil and cook for 3 minutes; transfer the garlic to a plate. Reserve the saucepan of boiling water. Once the garlic is cool enough to handle, slip off the skins and halve lengthwise (I am just now seeing this "halve lengthwise" business...leave them whole if you feel rebellious!).

2. Add the broccoli rabe to the boiling water and cook until the stems are just tender, about 5 minutes. Drain in a colander, then rinse with cold water until cool.

3. In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the pasta until al dente.

4. Meanwhile, in a large nonstick skillet, heat 1/4 cup olive oil over medium heat, add the garlic and cook, stirring, until lightly golden, about 5 minutes. Stir in the reserved broccoli rabe and cook, stirring, until heated through, about 2 minutes; season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat, stir in the chile and transfer to a medium bowl. Wipe the skillet clean, then add the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and warm over medium heat. Add 1 1/2 cups of the dinner roll breadcrumbs (I only crumbled about 1/4 cup, so I'll probably be missing out when I get to the last few plates of this dish - DO NOT SKIP THE BREADCRUMBS. I was going to skip them to save time, but they are really good in this dish) and cook, stirring, until browned and crisp, 3 to 4 minutes.

5. Drain the pasta, reserving 1/4 cup cooking water, and return to the pot. Stir in the ricotta and reserved pasta water, then the broccoli rabe mixture; season with salt and pepper. Top with the crunchy breadcrumbs.

If you don't think it's got flavor, just add more salt and pepper. Red chile flakes would have been good in here as well.
Over and Out!