Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Homemade Naan

I made curried lentils and rice for dinner tonight (see recipe below), so I decided to make some homemade naan to go with it. Like the pita bread, this is really easy to make - you just need time. Since it's a yeast dough, you need time for it to rise, plus you need time to cook the bread one piece at a time.



  • 1 packet of active dry yeast
  • 1 C. warm water
  • 1/4 C. sugar
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 3 Tbsp. milk
  • 4 C. bread flour
  • 2 Tbsp. butter, melted
Dissolve the yeast in the warm water. Mix together the sugar, salt, egg, and milk, and add the yeast mixture. Slowly add the flour until a soft dough forms. Knead for 10 minutes. (I do all of this in my stand mixer with the dough hook attachment). Form the dough into a ball and coat it and the bowl with a small amount of oil.

Cover with a damp towel and allow the dough to rise for 90 minutes, until it's doubled in size.

Punch the dough down. Roll it into balls the size of golf balls and place on a pan. You should get about 15.

Cover with a damp towel for 30 minutes - the dough will rise again.

Heat a heavy skillet (cast iron or similar) over high heat. You want it screaming hot - nonstick pans are not good for this. You could also use a griddle or grill pan.

Using parchment paper to prevent sticking, roll each ball into a thin circle.

Put the circle into the hot skillet. As the bread cooks, pockets of air will begin to form on the surface of the bread. If the bubbles don't form, either the bread is too thick or the pan isn't hot enough. When the surface is covered with bubbles, it is time to flip the bread over - usually after about 1-2 minutes.

Cook the bread for about 1 minute more. Remove from the pan and brush with the melted butter. Keep warm while you cook the rest of the bread. If you notice that the bread is getting scorched, turn the heat down to medium-high.

Curried Lentils and Rice

  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp. curry powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 C. brown rice
  • 1 C. green lentils
  • 4 C. vegetable broth
  • 1/2 C. dried fruit (raisins, currants, apricots, etc)
In a large saucepan over medium heat, saute the garlic in the oil until fragrant. Add the curry powder, salt, rice, and lentils and stir to coat. Add the broth and dried fruit. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer for 40 minutes, or until the liquid has evaporated and the lentils and rice are tender. 

Serve with plain yogurt (or you could make a raita) and sauteed spinach.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Southern Style Pear Cobbler

This cobbler works well with many different types of fruit. I had pears, but you could use peaches, apples, blueberries, cherries... the possibilities are endless. This type of cobbler is super easy to make. You melt butter in the bottom of the pan, pour in a cake-type batter, and put the macerated fruit on top. It is good warm straight out of the oven, but I like to let it cool a bit first. Ice cream or whipped cream would be a great accompaniment.


  • 3 Tbsp. butter
  • 2 cups chopped pears (or any fruit)
  • 1 C. sugar, divided
  • 3/4 C. AP flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 3/4 C. milk
Preheat the oven to 325. Put the butter in a 9x9 baking pan and place it in the oven to melt the butter while you work. In a small bowl, macerate the chopped pears with 1/4 C. of sugar. In another bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Add the egg and milk and stir to combine. Remove the baking pan from the oven. Pour the batter on top of the butter. Do not stir. Then spread the fruit on top. Again, do not stir. Bake for about 45 minutes, until golden brown. Serve immediately, or allow to cool a bit first.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Cherry Mojitos

This is a sweet refreshing drink, perfect for the hot weather we're having around here! These are easy to drink quickly so be careful!


  • 1 C. sugar
  • 1 C. water
  • 1/2 C. mint leaves
  • zest of 2 limes
  • juice of 2 limes
  • 1.5 cups of cherries, pitted and chopped
  • 1 C. white rum
  • 16 oz. club soda
In a small saucepan over low heat, combine the sugar, water, mint, and lime zest. Simmer until the sugar dissolves and a syrup is formed. Cool slightly. Fill a large pitcher halfway with ice. Add the lime juice, cherries, rum, and syrup. Stir to combine. Add the club soda just before serving.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Red Pepper Gazpacho

This is a summer favorite of mine, since it involves absolutely no cooking (you do need a blender or food processor) and uses produce that is in season in the spring and summer. If you've never had gazpacho, it's a light and refreshing cold tomato and cucumber soup. I added a red bell pepper too. It is a very acidic soup, so it really needs a garnish. I used fat-free greek yogurt and avocado, but you could use goat cheese, creme fraiche, sour cream, or even prawns. Serve with a salad and tortilla chips or pita bread.


  • 5-6 ripe tomatoes, chopped (I used canned since they're not in season here yet)
  • 1 medium-sized cucumber, chopped (I leave the skin on) - reserve about 1/4 of it for garnish
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped (you could use roasted peppers here for a different flavor)
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic, halved
  • a few shakes of Tabasco, to taste
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1 green onion, chopped, for garnish
  • handful of cilantro, chopped, for garnish
  • 1 avocado, diced, for garnish
  • fat free greek yogurt, for garnish
Blend tomatoes, cucumber, bell pepper, garlic, Tabasco, and lime juice until desired consistency. Garnish with chopped cucumber, green onion, cilantro, avocado, and greek yogurt.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Quick Garlicky Breadsticks

I wanted to serve some sort of bread with tonight's dinner of spaghetti and meatballs, but I didn't have anything frozen (that's my normal quick fix). So after googling a bunch of quick bread/roll recipes, I came up with this. They're sort of like the breadsticks you get from a pizza delivery place. Delicious and oh so easy!

  • 1 C. all purpose flour (may need an additional 1/4 C. if dough is too sticky)
  • 2 tsp. sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2/3 C. milk
  • 2 Tbsp. butter, melted
  • garlic powder for sprinkling

In a small bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Slowly add the milk, while stirring to combine. Mix until a soft dough forms. If the dough appears too sticky, add up to 1/4 C. more flour. Use floured hands to roll the dough into a ball and then flatten it into a rectangle.

Cut the rectangle into 8 even pieces. Place the pieces on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Brush the breadsticks with the melted butter and sprinkle with garlic powder. Flip them over and repeat.

Bake at 450 for about 12 minutes, until light golden brown.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Fluffy Buttermilk Pancakes

I don't always have fresh buttermilk in the fridge, but when I do, these pancakes are the best. Buttery and fluffy, perfect with a puddle of maple syrup!

  • 1 1/2 C. AP flour
  • 2 Tbsp. sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 C. buttermilk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 C. butter, melted and cooled slightly

In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In another bowl, beat together buttermilk and eggs and add to the dry ingredients. Add the melted butter and mix only to combine. It's okay for there to be small lumps - if you overmix, the pancakes won't be fluffy. Set the batter aside while you heat the griddle.

Heat the griddle (or a large pan) over medium heat. Grease with oil or butter if desired. Pour about 1/3 of a cup of batter per pancake onto the griddle. Cook until bubbles form on the surface, then flip and cook just slightly more. Keep warm until ready to serve. Spread with butter, if desired, and serve with maple syrup.

Makes about 15 pancakes.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Buttermilk Chocolate Cupcakes (a.k.a. "Red" Velvet)

I am trying to replicate the original red velvet cake, which was "red" due to a chemical reaction between the cocoa, buttermilk, and vinegar in the recipe. I really dislike the taste of food coloring (and I think red is the worst), so I was hopeful that I could get it to work. In my reading, I discovered that you need to have "natural" cocoa, not the alkalized, dutch-processed type. I am pretty sure I have the right kind of cocoa, but my cupcakes turned out more of a light brown instead of the reddish brown I was hoping for. Nonetheless, they are very tasty. I've seen some recipes that add pureed beets to get a redder color so maybe I'll try that next time. The frosting I used is a "cooked" frosting - if you've never tried it, you're in for a treat. It is light and not too sweet, the perfect compliment.

  • 1/2 C. unsalted butter (1 stick), softened
  • 1 1/2 C. sugar
  • 2 eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 C. cake flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder (natural, not dutch-processed)
  • 1 C. buttermilk, at room temperature
  • 1 tsp. white vinegar
  • 1 tsp. baking soda

Using a mixer, beat butter and sugar together until  fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, then add vanilla and cocoa powder. In a separate bowl, mix flour, baking powder, and salt.  Add the flour mixture and buttermilk in small batches to the mixer, beating after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl with a spatula to make sure all of the flour is incorporated.. In a small bowl, mix vinegar and baking soda - it will fizz slightly. Then incorporate the vinegar mixture into the batter. Fill 24 greased cupcake tins about 2/3 full of batter. Bake at 350 for 15-17 minutes, until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from tins. Cool completely before frosting.

"Cooked" Frosting

  • 5 Tbsp. AP flour
  • 1 C. milk
  • 1 C. (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 1 C. granulated sugar (not confectioner's sugar)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, whisk flour into milk, stirring constantly until it thickens, about 5 minutes. It will be very thick. Set aside to cool completely. In a mixer with the whisk attachment, beat the butter and sugar until fluffy. Add the vanilla and the cooled flour-milk mixture. Beat on low to incorporate, then turn the mixer up to the highest speed setting. Beat until it resembles whipped cream. Resist the temptation to eat spoonfuls of the frosting from the bowl and frost your cupcakes.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Turkey Stroganoff

This is a quick comfort meal for me - it reminds me of something my mom would make when I was younger. Instead of the traditional beef, I use ground turkey breast, which has very little fat. I also use non-fat greek yogurt in place of sour cream. And I serve it over whole wheat pasta. The flavor of the onions and mushrooms really hides the fact that this is a healthier version of a traditional dish!


  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 lb. ground turkey breast
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups assorted mushrooms, roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp. ground mustard
  • 3/4 C. non-fat greek yogurt
  • 1/4 C. mayonnaise
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 8 oz. pasta
Cook the pasta according to package directions. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook for about 1 minute. Add the ground turkey breast, breaking it up with a spoon as it cooks. When it's about half-way brown, add the onion and mushrooms, and cook until the meat is brown and the onions and mushrooms have softened. Turn the heat down to low. In a small bowl, mix the ground mustard, yogurt, and mayo. Add to the pan, season with salt and pepper to taste, and cook for 1-2 minutes until the sauce coats everything. Serve over the cooked pasta. Serves 4.

Sunday, May 15, 2011


Sangria is a great spring or summer beverage, perfect for company! These are my two favorite recipes, one for white wine and one for red.

White Sangria
  • 1/2 C. water
  • 1/2 C. sugar
  • 1/4 C. mint leaves
  • 1 bottle white wine (I used Sauvignon Blanc)
  • 1/2 C. Grand Marnier (or other orange liqueur) 
  • 1 lime, sliced
  • 1 lemon, sliced
  • 1 apple, sliced
  • 8 oz. club soda
In a small saucepan, combine water, sugar, and mint. Simmer over low heat until sugar is dissolved. Cool slightly. (This syrup is great for iced tea, too!) 

In a large pitcher, combine all ingredients, except the club soda. Chill in the fridge for several hours, if possible. When ready to serve, add the club soda. Fill glasses with ice, then pour the sangria. Don't forget to eat the fruit when the glass is empty!

Red Sangria
  • 1 bottle red wine (I used Cabernet Sauvignon)
  • 1/4 C. Grand Marnier (or other orange liqueur)
  • 1/4 C. brandy
  • 1/4 C. orange juice
  • 2 Tbsp. sugar
  • 1 orange, sliced
  • 1 apple, sliced
  • 8 oz. club soda
In a large pitcher, combine all ingredients, except the club soda. Chill in the fridge for several hours, if possible. When ready to serve, add the club soda. Fill glasses with ice, then pour the sangria. Don't forget to eat the fruit when the glass is empty!

Chicken With Peanuts, Stir-Fry Asparagus, and Thai Cucumber Salad

We love having people over for dinner, and this is a popular item that we make. Joel's dad originated the chicken and peanuts recipe, and it is fantastic - so much better than take-out! 

Chicken With Peanuts

  • 2 lbs chicken breast, diced
  • 4 slices ginger root, minced
  • 2 tsp. cornstarch
  • 2 Tbsp. soy sauce
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 C. peanuts
  • 8-12 dried asian red chili peppers (sold in asian markets or in the asian section of the grocery store)
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. rice vinegar
  • 2-4 Tbsp. hoisin sauce (sold in asian markets or in the asian section of the grocery store)
  • green onions, chopped, for garnish
Combine the chicken, ginger, cornstarch, soy sauce, and salt, and marinate in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. In a skillet or wok, heat 1 Tbsp. of vegetable oil over medium high heat. Stir fry the peanuts for 2 minutes. Remove to a bowl with a slotted spoon. Next, stir-fry the chili peppers for about 1 minute. Remove to a bowl with a slotted spoon. Add the chicken and stir fry for 3 minutes. Mix the sugar, vinegar, and hoisin, and add it to the chicken. Cook for 3 minutes more. Add the peanuts and chilis and heat through. Garnish with chopped green onions, and serve with rice.

Stir-Fry Asparagus

  • 2 Tbsp. soy sauce
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. sesame oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 bunches asparagus, cut into small pieces

Heat oil in large skillet over medium high heat. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, dissolve the sugar in the soy sauce. Add the garlic to the hot oil and cook for about 1 minute. Add asparagus and stir-fry until tender, about 4-6 minutes. Add soy mixture and cook about 1 minute longer.

Thai Cucumber Salad

  • 2 small cucumbers, halved and thinly sliced
  • 1/4 C.green onions, sliced
  • 1 jalapeno, finely chopped (remove some seeds depending on your heat preference)
  • 1/4 C. cilantro, chopped
  • 1/2 C. rice vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp. sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
In a small bowl, mix the vinegar, sugar, and salt until dissolved. Put the cucumbers, green onions, jalapeno, and cilantro in a bowl with a lid (I use a plastic tupperware type container). Pour the vinegar mixture over top and cover. Shake gently to coat the vegetables. Refrigerate for several hours before serving.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Homemade Pita and Hummus

If I had to choose only one type of food to eat for the rest of my life, it would probably be Middle Eastern food. I love the flatbread, hummus and baba ghanoush, lamb, mint, etc, etc. The other day the blog Kitchen Explorers posted a simple recipe for Middle Eastern Stuffed Pitas, and I thought this would be the perfect excuse to make homemade pitas and hummus.

Everyone makes their own pita wrap, choosing from such fillings as lettuce, mint, cucumbers, tomatoes, spring onions, and feta cheese. The recipes for the pita bread and hummus follow.

For the Pita Bread (makes 8-10)

  • 3 C. AP flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 Tbsp. sugar
  • 1 packet active dry yeast 
  • 1/4 C. warm water
  • 1 C. water
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil

Activate the yeast by mixing it with the warm water in a small bowl. Add the yeast mixture to the flour, salt, and sugar. Add the olive oil and water and mix until combined and the mixture forms a ball. Knead the dough on a floured surface for about 10 minutes. I used a stand mixer and dough hook to knead on the lowest setting for 10 minutes.
Put the dough in a bowl that has been lightly coated with oil, form a ball with the dough, and move it around the bowl so it is covered with the oil. 
Cover the bowl with a damp kitchen towel and let rise until it has doubled in size, approximately 90 minutes.
Punch the dough down and divide it into 8-10 pieces. Roll each piece into a ball, cover the balls with a damp kitchen towel, and let them rest for 20 minutes. 
While the dough is resting, preheat the oven to 400 degrees. If you have a pizza stone, put it in the oven to preheat. I don't have a pizza stone, so I just used an inverted cookie sheet.
Once the dough is rested, use parchment paper to roll each ball of dough into a thin circle - I rolled two at a time.
Open the oven and place 2-3 pitas on the hot pizza stone or cookie sheet.

Bake 3-5 minutes - they will puff up and be light golden brown. Keep warm until serving.

For the hummus:

  • 2 cans chickpeas, drained
  • 2-3 Tbsp. tahini (sesame paste, sold with the middle eastern foods)
  • 1/4 C.lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • 4 cloves garlic, halved
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil

Place all ingredients in a blender or mixer and blend until smooth. For best results, make ahead and chill for several hours before serving.

Baked French Toast

I got the idea for this recipe from a friend's blog: Yummy Food Dance - but I made some changes, so here's my modified version. This french toast is very rich and needs no syrup or sauce - it's baked right on! You really need to serve it with something to cut the sweetness and richness - I chose salty bacon, but you could also serve it with fresh fruit, plain yogurt, or unsweetened whipped cream.

  • 4 Tbsp. (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1/3 C. brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. maple syrup
  • 6 slices (1/2 inch thick) of eggy bread (brioche, challah, croissant, etc)
  • 3 eggs
  • 3/4 C. buttermilk (you could use regular milk, but I think the tang of buttermilk is a good contrast)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • pinch of salt

In a small saucepan, melt butter, brown sugar, and syrup over low heat, and stir until smooth. Pour into the bottom of an 8x8 square baking pan. Arrange bread slices on top of the syrup in two layers, cutting the bread to fit as necessary. In a small bowl whisk together the eggs, buttermilk, vanilla, and salt. Pour evenly over bread, pushing down on the bread if necessary to make sure it is evenly coated. Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown and puffy on top.

Cool for 5 minutes, then slice into 4 squares, and flip upside down to serve.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Strawberry Mojitos and Strawberry Lemonade

Most days I drink just tea and water, so every once in a while, I like to make a special drink to serve with dinner. In this post, I am sharing two yummy strawberry drinks - either can be made with or without alcohol. In my case, I made the mojitos with rum but didn't add any alcohol to the lemonade.

Strawberry Mojitos
Serves 2

  • 1/2 C. fresh mint leaves
  • 1 Tbsp. sugar
  • 1 C. chopped strawberries
  • 8 oz. club soda
  • 1 Tbsp. lime juice
  • 3 oz. white rum (optional)

In a pitcher or cocktail shaker, add mint leaves, strawberries, and sugar. Using a wooden spoon, muddle the mint and strawberries with the sugar until the mint is bruised and the strawberries are crushed. Add the club soda, lime juice, and rum, if desired. Stir or shake until combined. Pour into two tall glasses with ice. Serve immediately.

Strawberry Lemonade
Serves 4

  • 2 C. chopped strawberries
  • 1 C. sugar
  • 1 C. lemon juice
  • 2 C. water
  • 2 C. club soda (or just use more water)

In a small saucepan, combine strawberries and sugar. Simmer on low for 5-10 minutes, stirring constantly, until a thick sauce has formed. Cool the sauce and puree in a blender, if desired - I don't mind chunks in mine, so I didn't blend it. In a 2 quart pitcher, combine the strawberry sauce, lemon juice, water, and club soda. Stir to combine. Serve over ice. If desired, add 1 oz. of rum or whiskey to each glass to make a tasty adult beverage.

Strawberry Muffins

It's the beginning of strawberry season, so get ready for a deluge of my favorite recipes. I almost never buy strawberries in the grocery store - they're so expensive and flavorless by comparison. I just gorge myself about 6 weeks out of the year!

Make sure you have ripe, sweet strawberries for this recipe, or the muffins won't taste like much.

  • 1 1/2  C. AP flour
  • 1/2 C. sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 1/2 C. chopped strawberries
  • 1/4 C. vegetable oil
  • 1/2 C. milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • cinnamon sugar for sprinkling on top

In a large bowl, mix flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder. Add chopped strawberries and stir to coat. In a small bowl, whisk oil, milk, egg, and vanilla. Add wet mixture to dry mixture and stir until just combined.

Fill 12 greased muffin cups about 3/4 full with batter. Sprinkle lightly with cinnamon sugar. Bake at 375 for 15 minutes, until golden brown at the edges. Cool 10 minutes before removing from pan.

NOTE: I love cinnamon toast, so I always have cinnamon sugar in my spice cabinet. If you don't have any, mix an equal amount of cinnamon and sugar together in a bowl. Keep in a tightly sealed container in your spice cabinet - wait until you run out of another spice, then thoroughly clean the container and put the cinnamon sugar in that - just be sure to relabel it :)

Monday, May 9, 2011

Tortellini and Asparagus Salad with Honey Lime Dressing

Once again, it's Monday, and I'm raiding the fridge to see what I can put together for dinner. I had some leftover cooked tortellini from last week (Sometimes I save leftover pasta and sauce separately to use in other recipes). Combined with a bunch of produce I had left from last week's farmers market, it's another easy, healthy meal. I included a good amount of chopped mint in each salad because I love the combination of mint and lime.


  • Cheese tortellini, cooked and cooled
  • Asparagus, cooked, cooled, and cut into pieces
  • Salad greens
  • Cucumber, sliced
  • Cherry Tomatoes, halved
  • Carrots, diced
  • Green onions, sliced
  • Mint leaves, roughly chopped
  • Pepitas (shelled pumpkin seeds)
  • Blue cheese
  • 1/4 C. lime juice
  • 2 Tbsp. honey
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Mix the last four ingredients to make the honey lime dressing. Toss the rest of the ingredients together and drizzle with the dressing.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Single Crust Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

The strawberries and rhubarb that I bought at this week's farmer's market have been taunting me. I've had a busy few days and I have a busy weekend ahead, but I just couldn't let them sit there. So I decided to make a one-crust strawberry-rhubarb pie. The crust is a press-in crust, so it's quick. And you cook the crust and filling separately and allow the pie to chill at the end. If you want a pie, this is one of the quicker ways to go.

For the Crust:

1 1/2 C. AP flour
4 tsp. sugar*
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 C. vegetable oil
2 Tbsp. milk

*I don't like my pie crusts super sweet, especially with a filling so sweet as this one, so you may want to taste the dough and add a little more sugar if that's your preference.

Mix all ingredients together with a fork. Press into pie plate. Poke holes in bottom and side of crust. Bake at 400 for 15 minutes, until light brown. Cool completely before using.

For the Filling:

1 pint strawberries
2 C. diced rhubarb, about 4 long stalks
1 C. sugar
3 Tbsp. cornstarch
1/2 C. water
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1/4 tsp. salt

Quarter half the strawberries. Add to a pot with the rhubarb and sugar. Combine the cornstarch, water, lemon juice, and salt in a small measuring cup and stir to combine. Pour over the other ingredients in the pot. Cook over medium heat until the mixture is thick, stirring often and mashing the strawberries with the back of the spoon, about 15 minutes. Set aside to cool.

Halve the remaining strawberries and arrange them in the cooled baked crust. Pour the strawberry-rhubarb mixture over the berries and chill to set.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Cinco de Mayo

Once again, a day on the calendar is an excuse to cook! A cooking blog mentioned Taco Soup, which is like a soupy chili, so I adapted my own recipe. I also decided to make homemade tortillas to serve on the side. Add a green salad (with lettuce from the farmer's market - oh, how happy I am that it's open again) and a margarita, and you're set!

For the Taco Soup, aka Soupy Chili - this is moderately spicy - cut back on the cayenne to make it less spicy

  • 1 lb ground turkey, chicken, or beef
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. chili powder
  • 2 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 1 tsp. oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 2 cans diced tomatoes, with juice
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can corn (no salt-added), drained
  • 1 cup water
  • garnishes: cheddar cheese, sour cream, green onions
In a large pot over medium heat, saute the ground meat, onions, and garlic until the meat is browned. Add the spices and stir to coat. Add the tomatoes with juice, black beans, corn, and water. Simmer the soup over medium-low heat for 15-20 minutes. I garnished with cheddar cheese, non-fat Greek yogurt, and green onions (also from the farmer's market).

For the tortillas:
  • 2 1/2 C. AP flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 C. shortening
  • 1 C. water, heated in the microwave for 60 seconds
In a stand mixer, mix the flour, salt, and shortening until combined. With the mixer on low, slowly add the hot water until the dough comes together. The dough shouldn't be sticky and should form a nice smooth ball. Divide the dough into 10-12 equal portions (if you want burrito size tortillas, make only 6). Heat a small pan over medium heat. Roll the balls one at a time into a small flat circle - I put the dough on a piece of parchment paper, then fold it over and roll - no mess, no flour, no sticky counter! Put the dough into the hot pan. Cook it for about 2 minutes, until the dough begins to puff up. Flip the tortilla over and cook for a minute more. The tortilla should be golden brown - if it gets too dark, turn down the heat. If desired, sprinkle the cooked tortillas with a little salt or brush with melted butter. Cover the tortillas with foil or put them in a low oven to keep warm.