Cauliflower Quesadillas

Slightly modified from Charred Cauliflower Quesadillas from Smitten Kitchen

Deb writes: Poblanos are very mild hot peppers. You could use fewer or swap them with a small bell pepper for less heat, or swap one or both with a hotter jalapeño or other chile for more heat.
Kristin says: I didn’t have a poblano on hand, and didn’t want the heat of a jalapeno, so I substituted a small can of chopped fire-roasted green chiles and it was delicious (and made the recipe even easier and quicker).

Yield: 6 quesadillas, serves 6

2 small or 1 large fresh poblano chiles OR 1 can (small or large, as you choose) chopped fire-roasted green chiles
1 small head cauliflower, cored and cut into rough 1-inch chunks
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
3 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for cooking quesadillas
3 scallions, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon lime juice
2 cups (about 8 ounces) coarsely grated Monterey jack cheese
12 small (7-inch) flour tortillas OR 6 burrito-sized tortillas, cut in half

If using fresh peppers:
Char peppers: Over a gas burner turned to high, hold the poblanos over the flame with tongs and char them until they are black and blistered all over. Alternatively, you could do this under a broiler, turning them frequently for even blistering. Transfer hot chiles to a bowl and cover tightly with foil. Set aside to steam and let their skins loosen while you cook the cauliflower.

Char cauliflower: In a large bowl, toss cauliflower with 3 tablespoons olive oil, salt and pepper, until it’s evenly coated. Heat your largest heaviest frying pan over high heat until almost smoking, add cauliflower, and let it cook until each piece has a few black spots but is not mushy, turning and moving it frequently to ensure even cooking. This will take 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer florets to cutting board to rest.

Mix filling:
If using fresh peppers:
When poblanos are cool enough to handle, peel the charred skin off with your fingertips or a paring knife. Pull out and discard stems and seed clusters, and slice peppers into 1/4-inch wide strips.

Add (fresh or canned) peppers to cauliflower on board and give both a rough chop together, reducing the cauliflower to no bigger than 1/2-inch chunks. Return cauliflower and peppers to the large bowl, add scallions, lime juice and salt to taste. You should have about 2 cups of cauliflower filling.

Assemble and cook quesadillas: Lay out 6 tortillas and spread 1/3 cup cauliflower filling and 1/3 cup shredded cheese on each. Place second 6 tortillas on top as lids. Heat a skillet over medium heat. Once hot, coat lightly with olive oil and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook quesadillas until browned underneath, about 3 to 4 minutes. Carefully a flip — a large, thin spatula helps here — and repeat on the second side. Repeat with remaining quesadillas.

To serve: Cut quesadillas into wedges and serve with your choice of fixings. Two choices are below.

Cumin-Lime Crema

1/2 cup sour cream or Mexican crema
A few gratings fresh lime zest
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
Pinch of salt

Combine, adjust seasonings to taste, and serve alongside quesadillas.

Lazy Taco Slaw

1 bag coleslaw mix, or 3 cups finely shredded red cabbage and 1 coarsely grated carrot
Coarse salt
Juice of half a lime
2 scallions, sliced thin
A dollop of mayonnaise, sour cream or plain yogurt
A dash of hot sauce (optional)
1/4 cup roughly chopped cilantro or flat-leaf parsley leaves

Toss cabbage mix, salt and lime together in a large bowl; set aside for 5 minutes. It will shrink down a bit. Stir in scallions, then mayo and hot sauce. Adjust seasonings/ingredients to taste, then stir in cilantro leaves. Serve alongside quesadillas or any of your favorite tortilla-clad meals.

Published in: on June 5, 2021 at 1:21 pm  Leave a Comment  

Simple Beef Stew

Lynda Balslev is a cookbook author, food and travel writer, and recipe developer based in the San Francisco Bay area.

Total Time: 3 1/2 hours

Yield: Serves 4 to 6

2 1/2 pounds beef chuck, excess fat trimmed, cut into 1-inch pieces
Freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 large shallot, finely chopped, about 1/4 cup
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 1/2 cups dark beer, such as porter or stout, divided
1/4 cup tomato paste
3 cups beef or chicken stock
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 large carrots, sliced 1/4-inch thick
2 medium Yukon gold potatoes, cut into 1-inch chunks
1 large yellow onion, cut into 1-inch chunks

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Season the beef with salt and pepper.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. (Burns family note: Use Le Creuset Dutch oven.) Add the beef in batches in one layer, without overcrowding, and brown on all sides, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer the meat to a plate and repeat with remaining beef.

Pour off all but 1 tablespoon fat from the Dutch oven. Add the shallot and saute until soft, about 2 minutes. Add the garlic and saute until fragrant, about 30 seconds more. Add 1/2 cup beer to the pot and bring to a boil, scraping up any brown bits with a spoon. When the beer is nearly evaporated, add the tomato paste and cook, stirring constantly, until slightly caramelized, about 1 minute. Return the beef to the pot and stir to coat.

Add the remaining 1 cup beer, the stock, bay leaf, brown sugar, thyme, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon black pepper. The meat should be just covered with liquid. If not, add additional stock to cover. Bring to a boil, then cover the pot and transfer to the oven. Cook until the meat is tender, 2 to 2 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.

While the meat is cooking, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the carrots, potatoes and onions and lightly season with salt. Saute until the vegetables begin to soften without browning, 4 to 5 minutes.

Add the carrots, onions and potatoes to the stew and stir to combine. Return to the oven and cook, partially covered, until the vegetables are tender and the sauce slightly thickened, 30 to 40 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Remove bay leaf and serve warm ladled into bowls.

Sean: Omit carrots and potatoes

Published in: on April 11, 2021 at 8:23 am  Leave a Comment  

Meyer Lemon Loaf Cake

Modified from recipe by Erin McDowell on PureWow

Just delicious, and the perfect texture.

Makes one 9-by-5-inch loaf (about 8 servings)

½ cup (113g) butter, at room temperature
¼ cup (60g) vegetable oil
1 cup (212g) light brown sugar
½ cup (99g) granulated sugar
2 tablespoons Meyer lemon zest
3 large (170g) eggs
½ teaspoon lemon extract
2 cups + 2 Tablespoons whole wheat pastry flour
1¼ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
¾ cup (170g) light sour cream
demerara sugar

Glaze – optional (I didn’t use it)

1 cup (113g) confectioners’ sugar
1 tablespoon Meyer lemon juice
1 tablespoon heavy cream, plus more as needed
Meyer lemon zest, as needed for finishing

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan with nonstick spray.
Or make 8 mini-loaves (bake for 25 minutes); or 4 mini-loaves (bake for 25 minutes) and 6-8 cupcakes (bake for 20 minutes).

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter, oil, brown sugar, granulated sugar and lemon zest until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes.

Add the eggs one at a time, mixing after each addition until fully incorporated, then scraping the side of the bowl before adding the next. Add the lemon extract and mix to combine.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Add half the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and mix to combine. Add the sour cream and mix until incorporated, then add the remaining flour and mix to combine.

Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and spread into an even layer. If you won’t be glazing the cake, sprinkle the top with demerara sugar. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean (or with just a few moist crumbs), 50 minutes to 1 hour. Cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then turn out onto a cooling rack to cool completely.

Make the Glaze (If Using): In a medium bowl, whisk together the confectioners’ sugar, lemon juice and cream to form a thick glaze. It should fall off the spoon in a thick drizzle, but if it’s too thick, add more cream 1 tablespoon at a time until the glaze reaches the desired consistency. Spoon over the cooled loaf, then garnish with lemon zest. Let set 15 minutes before slicing and serving.

Published in: on March 22, 2021 at 11:46 am  Leave a Comment  


Pork bacon

At the store: check the packages and select the meatiest bacon.

When ready to cook: Open the package and take out all the slices of bacon in one block.

With a sharp knife, cut the whole block of slices in half cross-wise. You will now have twice as many short slices. These shorter slices are easier to manage in the pan and to get them cooked evenly. Trim large areas of fat from the sides and ends of the slices. Wrap the fat scraps tightly in the bacon packaging, secure with a rubber band, and throw in the garbage can outside.

Place a large cast-iron or non-stick skillet on the stove and turn on the heat to medium. Lay as many trimmed slices in the cold pan that will fit without touching each other. Let the slices cook on the first side for a few minutes, then turn with a fork. Repeat cooking and turning until the slices are as done as you like.

Cover a large plate with three layers of paper towels. Lay the cooked bacon on the paper towels in a single layer to drain.

Under your sink you should keep an empty rinsed-out can from soup or tomatoes or beans. Now get out that can and put it in the sink. Cover the bacon pan handle with a potholder, grab the pan and take it over to the sink and pour the bacon grease into the can. (Grease/drippings should never be poured down the sink to avoid clogging the plumbing. Bacon grease will solidify completely within several hours. Drippings from cooking chicken may stay a bit liquid so be careful not to knock over the can.)

Return the pan to the stove and cook the remaining bacon in batches. (I recommend cooking the whole package of bacon in one session.)

Put the bacon grease can back under the sink. (When the can is eventually full, put it into a plastic bag [a newspaper bag, or a bread bag is good], twist the bag at the top of the can, pull the top of the bag back over the can, and secure the bag with a rubber band around the can. Take this carefully out to the garbage and put it in the garbage can right-side up.)

Refrigerate leftovers.

To reheat slices: warm in a pan on the stove; or put on a plate, cover with a paper towel, and microwave for a few seconds at a time until as hot as you like.

Turkey bacon

At the store: select a package without any large white bits appearing in the bacon slices – they could be bone or cartilage, which you don’t want to eat.

When ready to cook: Open the package. Place a large cast-iron or non-stick skillet on the stove and turn on the heat to medium. Lay as many slices in the cold pan as will fit without touching each other.

Place a large cast-iron or non-stick skillet on the stove and turn on the heat to medium. Lay trimmed slices in the cold pan so they are not touching each other. Let the slices cook on the first side for a few minutes, then turn with a fork. Repeat cooking and turning until the slices are as done as you like.

Cover a large plate with three layers of paper towels. Lay the cooked bacon on the paper towels in a single layer to drain.

Repeat with remaining bacon.

Turkey bacon is best served immediately. It gets rather hard and leathery when reheated so I don’t recommend cooking it ahead to serve another day.

Published in: on March 21, 2021 at 8:03 am  Leave a Comment  

Whole Wheat Biscuits

These did not rise much, but they were tasty and easy.

2 cups whole-wheat pastry flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons butter, cold, cut into small pieces.
½ cup buttermilk
½ cup milk

Put the dry ingredients into a medium-sized bowl. Stir them together with your pastry blender until evenly mixed.

Cut in the butter with a pastry blender until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs (with the occasional lump).

Add the milk and buttermilk and mix with a rubber spatula until the dough just holds together. Do not overmix. Dump onto a floured board or smooth counter.

Pat it out flat with your hands into ¾-inch thick square or rectangle (sprinkle with a little flour if necessary).

Using a sharp knife, cut the into 12 equal squares/rectangles.

Place biscuits on an ungreased baking sheet or in a cast iron skillet and bake at 450 degrees for 10 – 12 minutes or until golden brown. Enjoy while warm.

Published in: on March 10, 2021 at 5:34 pm  Leave a Comment  

Ellie Krieger’s Zucchini-Walnut Bread

From “Comfort Food Fix”.
This bread is barely sweet and quite delicious for a healthy treat.

3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoonbaking soda
1/2 teaspoonnutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup canola oil
1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 large eggs
1 small zucchini (6 oz), coarsely grated (about 1 1/4 c)
1/3 cup chopped walnuts

Heat oven to 350° F. Coat 9″x5″ loaf pan with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, whisk together flours, sugar, cinnamon, baking soda, nutmeg, and salt. In another large bowl, whisk together oil, applesauce, and eggs. Stir in zucchini. Add wet ingredients into dry ingredients, add the walnuts, and stir with a rubber spatula just enough to combine.

Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake until wooden skewer inserted into center comes out clean, 50 to 60 minutes. Cool 15 minutes in pan, then transfer bread to rack to cool completely before slicing.

NUTRITION (per serving: 1″ thick slice) 270 cal, 5 g pro, 33 g carb, 3 g fiber, 14 g fat, 1.5 g sat fat, 250 mg sodium

Published in: on February 21, 2021 at 11:39 am  Leave a Comment  

Ellie Krieger’s One-Skillet Grain Bowl with Chicken, Spinach, and Tahini Dressing

From Whole in One

1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast, pounded to 1/2″ thickness
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
2 Tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 Tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, divided, plus lemon wedges for serving
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
4 cups fresh baby spinach
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 1/4 cups quick-cooking (fine) bulgur wheat
1/4 cup tahini
1 cup diced cucumber (or more)
1 cup chopped fresh tomato (or more)
1/3 cup pitted kalamata olives
1/4 cup fresh parsley leaves

Season the chicken with 1/4 teaspoon each of the salt and pepper. Heat 1 Tablespoon of the oil in a large, deep skillet over medium high heat. Add the chicken to the skillet, then lower the heat to medium and cook until the the chicken is browned and cooked through, 3-4 minutes per side. Transfer the chicken to a cutting board to rest for 5 minutes, then slice it across the grain and drizzle with 1 1/2 teaspoons of the lemon juice.

Heat the remaining Tablespoon of oil in the same skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Then, stir in the spinach and cook until it is just wilted, 1 minute more. Transfer the spinach mixture to a bowl. Season it with 1/8 teaspoon each of the salt and pepper.

Add the broth to the skillet and bring to a boil, then stir in the bulgur. Lower the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 8 minutes, then remove from the heat and allow to steam, covered, until the bulgur is tender, 5-7 minutes more. Fluff with a fork.

Meanwhile, make the tahini dressing: stir together the tahini and the remaining 1 1/2 Tablespoons of lemon juice with 2 Tablespoons of water, then add more water, 1 Tablespoon at a time, until the sauce is the consistency of a thin pancake batter. (The mixture will seize up at first, but don’t worry — it will become smooth again as you add the water.) Stir in the remaining 1/8 teaspoon each of the salt and pepper.

To serve, put 1 cup of the bulgur into each of four bowls and top with a few slices of chicken, some spinach, cucumber, tomato, and olives. Drizzle with the tahini dressing and top with the parsley leaves.

Each of the elements will keep in the refrigerator in separate containers for up to 4 days.

Makes 4 servings.

Per serving: Calories 490: Total fat 20 g (Sat Fat 3 g, Mono Fat 16 g, Poly Fat 6 g); Protein 37 g; Carb 43g; Fiber 8 g; Cholesterol 85 mg; Sodium 520 mg; Total Sugar 2g (Added Sugar 0 g.)

Excellent source of: copper, fiber, folate, iron, magnesium, manganese, niacin, pantothenic acid, phosphorous, potassium, protein, selenium, thiamine, vitamin A, vitamin B6, vitamin C, vitamin K.

Good source of: calcium, riboflavin, zinc.

Published in: on February 7, 2021 at 6:06 am  Leave a Comment  

Ellie Krieger’s Chicken with Provencal White Bean and Vegetable Ragout

Slightly modified from her original recipe from Whole in One.

1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts, pounded to 1/2″ thickness
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
2 Tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 small onion, chopped
1 large carrot, scrubbed well and finely diced
1 small zucchini, diced
4 ounces haricots verts, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces or 1/2 cup frozen french cut green beans
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon Herbes de Provence
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1-1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
One 15-ounce can low-sodium white beans, such as cannellini or Great Northern, drained and rinsed
1/2 packed cup fresh basil leaves, sliced into ribbons, divided
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Season the chicken with half of the salt and half of the pepper.

Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once the oil shimmers, add half of the chicken; cook until browned on both sides and cooked through, 3-4 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate and cover with aluminum foil to keep warm. Cook the remaining chicken in the same manner (no need to add oil).

Add the remaining tablespoon of oil to the skillet; reduce the heat to medium, then add the onion and carrot. Cook, stirring frequently to dislodge any browned bits of chicken (fond), until the onion starts to soften, about 3 minutes.

Add the zucchini, haricots verts, garlic, Herbes de Provence and the remaining salt and pepper. Cook, stirring for 1 minute. Stir in the tomato paste until it’s evenly distributed, then add the broth and beans. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender and the sauce has thickened, about 5 minutes. Stir in 1/4 cup of the basil and the lemon juice.

To serve, slice the chicken into strips. Spoon the bean-vegetable mixture onto serving plates and top each with chicken strips. Garnish with the remaining basil.

4 servings

Per serving: 360 calories, 39 grams protein, 23 g carbohydrates, 12 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 105 milligrams cholesterol, 440 mg sodium, 6 g dietary fiber, 5 g sugar

Published in: on February 5, 2021 at 12:49 pm  Leave a Comment  

Glorious Chicken and Mushrooms

Based on “Chicken Casserole with Mushrooms (Chicken Gloria)” from Natasha’s Kitchen

Serves 4

1 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts (2 large), cut into 1 -inch wide strips, larger strips cut in half cross-wise
1/2 teaspoon salt plus more to taste
1/4 teaspoon black pepper plus more to taste
1/2 cup all-purpose flour to coat the chicken
2 Tablespoons olive oil divided
1/2 pound mushrooms, thickly sliced
1/2 medium onion or 1 large shallot, finely diced
1 garlic clove, minced

For the Sauce:

2 Tbsp unsalted butter
2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1 cup hot water
1 teaspoon chicken Better than Bouillon
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
3/4 cup half and half

  1. Saute the onion or shallot in a small skillet in 1 Tablespoon of oil over medium-low heat until soft.
  2. In the meantime, season chicken with salt and pepper and dredge both sides in flour. Heat 1 Tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium/high heat. Once oil is hot, add chicken and saute until golden. Work in batches so you don’t crowd your pan. Don’t worry about cooking the chicken through; it still needs to go in the oven. Transfer chicken to an 8×8″ casserole dish.
  3. To the pan you took the chicken out of, add another teaspoon of oil if needed, and saute the mushrooms until soft and golden. Add garlic and sauteed onions and saute another 1-2 min. Spread the mixture over the chicken.
  4. In a medium saucepan (or in the same pan you’ve been using), melt 2 Tablespoons butter. Whisk in 2 Tablespoons flour and cook until lightly golden (1-2 min).
  5. Add the hot water (all at once), Better than Bouillon, lemon juice, and pepper, and whisk until smooth. Add the half & half and bring to a simmer. Taste and correct seasoning.
  6. Pour sauce over the chicken and mushrooms. Cover with foil and bake at 350˚F for 45 minutes.
Published in: on January 31, 2021 at 6:58 am  Leave a Comment  

100% Whole Wheat Toasting Bread

Slightly modified from King Arthur Flour

1 1/4 cups (283g) lukewarm water
2 Tablespoons walnut oil, olive oil or vegetable oil
1/4 cup honey or maple syrup
3 1/2 cups (397g) White Whole Wheat Flour
2 Tablespoons ground flax
1 Tablespoon vital wheat gluten
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast

To make bread in a bread machine: Put all of the ingredients into the bread pan in the order listed. Program for whole wheat bread (if your machine has that setting, otherwise use the basic white bread setting), and press Start.

Remove the bread from the machine when it’s done. Either turn it out of the pan onto a rack to cool; or turn it out of the pan, place it back in the machine (atop the structure that holds the pan), crack the lid open about 1″, and let it cool right in the cooling-down machine. This helps prevent the crust from wrinkling as the loaf cools.

To make bread by hand: Mix all of the ingredients in a large bowl, or in the bowl of a stand mixer.

Knead the dough until it’s smooth and just slightly tacky, about 8 to 10 minutes. Place the dough in a greased bowl, cover, and let it rise until doubled in volume, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

Gently deflate the dough and shape it to fit a greased 8 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ loaf pan. Let it rise, covered, until doubled, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

Bake the bread in a preheated 375°F oven for 35 minutes, or until a digital thermometer inserted in the center of the loaf reads 190°F. Remove the bread from the oven, remove it from the pan, and cool it on a rack.

Published in: on January 18, 2021 at 7:42 am  Leave a Comment