Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Dover Sole with Sauteed Carrot, Leek, and Fennel

Happy New Year, Fellow Foodies! I seem to have recipes stuffed everywhere...scrawled on a pad of crumpled and coffee-stained paper, typed and saved somewhere in the depths of my computer, even lurking in the drafts folder of this blog. Like this one. Which was apparently waiting for a picture that I never took.

So screw it—this one is photo-less. Here's to a new year full of delicious food, messy kitchens, and human imperfections!

[now please imagine a photo of a beautiful fish.]

Serve this alongside orzo or Israeli couscous mixed with a little butter and lemon zest or chopped sorrel. Pairs wonderfully with a lemony Sauvignon Blanc.

Olive oil
1-2 leeks, white and light green parts, halved lengthwise, rinsed well, and sliced
3-4 carrots, halved crosswise and julienned
1 cup diced fennel bulb
1 lb dover sole
Slosh white wine
1 tbsp butter
Few handfuls cress or baby arugula
Zest of 1/2 lemon
Freshly ground black pepper

Heat a saucepan over medium heat. Add the olive oil, then the leek. Sprinkle with salt and sauté for about 7 minutes, turning the heat down to medium-low to avoid browning. Add the carrot and continue to cook about 3 minutes more. Decant the mixture into a bowl and set aside.

Return the pan to the stove and set over medium heat. Add a glug of olive and then the fennel. Sauté, stirring occasionally, for about 7 minutes or until tender, allowing it to brown.

Turn the heat down to medium-low. Give the fennel a stir and space it out in an even layer across the pan. Lay the dover sole down across it, first in one layer, and then in a second overlapping layer if needed. Sprinkle each layer with salt. Drizzle a little olive oil over the top, add a slosh of wine and the butter cut into small pieces, and cover.

Cook 5-7 minutes or until the fish is almost done (no longer pink but not yet flaking). Sprinkle generously with cress or arugula and the lemon zest, then cover the pan for another minute to let the greens wilt. Serve hot, with freshly ground black pepper over the top.

Saturday, September 1, 2018

Spacecakes 2.0

This version is toastier, crunchier, crumblier, still savory, and delicious.

1/2 cup almonds
1/4 + 1/2 cups rolled oats and/or quick cook steel cut oats
1 large handful fresh basil leaves, rinsed and dried
1 clove garlic
1-2 tomatillos (optional)
1/4 cup almond butter
2 tbsp olive oil
Squeeze or two of lemon juice
Generous 1/4 tsp ground cumin
(optional: 1 tsp salt)
1/8-1/4 cup water
1 cup grated zucchini
1/2 cup or slightly more stone ground whole wheat flour

Preheat the oven to 475°.

Lightly salt the zucchini and toss. Let sit for 10 minutes, then wring out well in a kitchen towel to remove excess moisture.

In a food processor, pulse the almonds until evenly ground. Add 1/4 cup oats and pulse a few more times. Add basil, garlic, and tomatillos, and blend until everything is finely chopped. Add the almond butter, olive oil, lemon juice, cumin, salt if desired, and 1/8 cup water. Blend until smooth, adding a little more water if necessary to help the ingredients combine easily.

Scoop the mixture out into a bowl and mix in the zucchini, then the oats, then the flour. You can add a little more water if necessary to get all the flour to combine, but the dough should be thick rather than easily spreadable. Spoon onto a lightly greased cookie sheet and flatten to make cakes. Bake for 15 minutes.

Makes 8-12 spacecakes depending on how you size them. You can freeze extras and thaw them in the toaster.

Thursday, August 16, 2018


Breakfast cookies are, of course, for breakfast, but is there a way to pack whole grains and veggies and protein into some sort of magic, savory, whole food, hand-holdable biscuit for the middle of the on-the-go toddler day? Enter the spacecake. So named because (1) it's fun to say and (2) it's way better than astronaut ice cream and (3) it's just as unlikely as astronaut ice cream to ever make it onto an actual space mission menu (because of crumbs, apparently).*

Adapted from this recipe here, with some tweaks to improve the texture and some added tomato juice and lemon for Vitamin C (which helps maximize iron absorption from the almonds and oats, which is nice if you're trying to make sure a toddler gets enough iron in his diet). These are flavorful, so if your kid prefers their food bland, take out the shallot and garlic and maybe add some chopped apple for a bit of sweetness. If you're making these for yourself, add the optional salt, and eat them warm out of the oven, maybe dipped in some yogurt sauce.

Probably, though, you'll make them as a healthy snack for someone too young to care that they're green, because you'll think (like I did) that they look...dry and healthy. That's fine. Just know that if you taste one that's still warm from the oven, you'll probably have a hard time taking just one bite.

1/2 cup almonds
3/4 cups rolled oats or quick cook steel cut oats
3-4 handfuls spinach, baby arugula, or other leafy greens
1 small shallot
1-2 cloves garlic
1 plum tomato
1/4 cup almond butter
1 tbsp olive oil
Zest of 1/2 lemon
Squeeze or two of lemon juice
1/4 tsp ground cumin
(optional: 1 tsp salt)
1/8-1/4 cup water
Scant 3/4 cups stone ground whole wheat flour

Preheat the oven to 475°.

In a food processor, pulse the almonds until evenly ground. Add about half the oats and pulse a few more times. Add greens by the handful, then the shallot and garlic, and blend until everything is finely chopped. Add the tomato, almond butter, olive oil, lemon zest and juice, cumin, salt if desired, and 1/8 cup water. Blend until smooth, adding a little more water if necessary to help the ingredients combine easily.

Scoop the mixture out into a bowl and mix in the flour. Spoon onto a lightly greased cookie sheet and flatten to make cakes. Bake for 15 minutes.

Makes 6-10 spacecakes depending on how you size them. You can freeze extras and thaw them in the toaster.

*Apparently, it's also a pot thing, but you know what, I'm having too much fun saying it to change the name now, so too bad. Just be cautious with the spelling (space cake, two words, can be ordered in Amsterdam. Spacecake, one word, is a fun, kid-friendly veggie-filled biscuit that you might want to call something else in front of your Dutch friends).

Thursday, August 2, 2018


Sometimes, you're wandering along the road of life, minding your own business, when it suddenly becomes apparent that breakfast cookies are a real, actual, possible-to-create-in-this-particular-universe sort of a thing. And then you make them. And you eat them. And you tinker and bake and eat some more.

These particular breakfast cookies were purportedly inspired by the need to find a way to transmute the grain-and-veggie mixes I had been feeding my increasingly independent one-year-old into something he could hold in his own two hands (spoon feeding is for babies; big kids feed themselves cookies for breakfast).

Of course, secretly, the breakfast cookies are for me.

Did I mention that they taste like a perfect blend of chewy cookie and muffin but have crazy healthy ingredients and just a hint of banana-cinnamon-vanilla sweetness?

Make some and see.

2-3 oz baby spinach
2 ripe or overripe bananas
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup or slightly more creamy 100% peanut or almond butter
1 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup Bob's Red Mill 10 grain breakfast cereal*
1/2 cup cooked quinoa*
1/2 apple, peeled and diced**

Preheat oven to 350°.

Toss the spinach, bananas, cinnamon, vanilla, and peanut butter in a food processor and blend until smooth. Spoon out into a mixing bowl and add the grains and apple. Mix well to combine.

Spoon the dough onto a nonstick cookie sheet and pat to form cookies. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown on the bottom.

Makes about 12 cookies.

*you can sub rolled oats (quick cook or regular) for either or both of these, or a different cooked grain like farro...just use whatever you have on hand. I liked this combination for the texture and protein.
**I like my cookies not too sweet. But if you like them on the sweeter side, consider subbing raisins or chocolate chips for the apple, and use bananas that are overripe.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Creamy Butternut Spaghetti

Vegans, I suspect, already know about the miraculous richness and versatility of the cashew. Non-vegans, I suspect, eschew the cashew (oh yes, I went there) because they assume that it's some sort of lackluster substitute for real cheese.

It is not. It is brilliant. In fact, in this dish, cheese would be a lackluster substitute for cashew.

Make it and see.

1 medium butternut squash, cut in half lengthwise, seeds removed, roasted, and diced
2/3 cups cashews
Kosher salt
Olive oil
1 strip applewood smoked bacon, diced (optional)
2 large shallots, diced
3-4 cloves garlic, pressed
2-3 pinches dried thyme
Freshly grated nutmeg
3-4 oz baby arugula
3-4 tbsp chopped parsley
4 servings whole grain spaghetti
Black pepper

In a small pot, bring about 2 inches of water to a boil. Add the cashews, simmer 2 minutes, then turn off the heat and let soak for 20 minutes more or until soft. Drain, then place in a food processor. Add 1 cup of the roasted squash, 1 tsp salt, and a glug of olive oil. Pulse to blend, adding up to 1/3 cup veggie broth or water to thin.

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil for the spaghetti. Cook until al dente, according to package directions (you might want to take it out 30 seconds early, since it will continue cooking a bit in the sauce). When the pasta is done, add a ladleful or two of the pasta water to the squash-cashew mixture and pulse briefly to combine (you want to end up with a deliciously creamy consistency, like alfredo sauce).

Meanwhile, in a large pan with high sides, heat a glug of olive oil over medium heat. Add the bacon if desired and cook until the edges turn golden. Add the shallot and sauté, stirring occasionally, for 2-3 minutes until it softens, then add the garlic and cook a minute more. Toss in 2-3 cups of diced squash, sprinkle it with thyme and a pinch of salt, and cook for a couple of minutes, stirring occasionally. Grate nutmeg lightly over the squash and continue cooking for a minute more. Add the arugula and toss to distribute evenly, turning off the heat after about a minute.

Add the spaghetti to the pan with the veggies, then add the squash-cashew mixture and toss to distribute evenly.

Serve hot, sprinkled with parsley and freshly ground black pepper.

Serves 4.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Grilled Curry Yogurt Chicken

This recipe is simple enough for a midweek dinner and delicious enough for a dinner party; it works well as leftovers to top a salad for tomorrow's lunch or it can scale up easily to serve 8 or 16. Magic? Perhaps. Accio dinner.

Four boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 cup plain yogurt
1 tbsp curry powder
2/3 tbsp garam masala
Squeeze or two of a lemon or lime
1 clove garlic, pressed
Sprinkle of salt

Pound 4 chicken breasts flat in a gallon-sized ziplock bag. Add all the other ingredients, smush around, and let marinate in the fridge overnight.

Preheat grill to medium-high. Brush grill with oil. Grill chicken breasts 4 minutes on the first side, then turn. Grill 4 1/2 minutes more. Serve hot.

Dinner suggestions: Serve over rice, quinoa, or farro tossed with lime, lemon, and/or orange zest, chopped cilantro, and a pat of butter.

Leftovers for lunch: Toss leftover rice, quinoa, or farro with a little olive oil and some lemon or lime juice. Cut chicken into bite-sized pieces and layer on top of the grains. Top with baby greens tossed with olive oil, lime juice, and very coarsely chopped fresh cilantro.

Serves 4.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Pumpkin Sage Biscuits

Good things come to those who cook in a Tahoe cabin.

Fortunately, the edible parts can also be recreated when you come back to reality. And reality, I assure you, is better with pumpkin sage biscuits.

2 cups multigrain pancake mix plus extra for dusting
1 pastured egg
2 tbsp softened butter
1/3 - 1/2 can pureed pumpkin
1 tbsp chopped fresh sage
1.5 tbsp whole milk Greek yogurt

Preheat oven to 425°.

Combine all the ingredients in a mixing bowl and mash with a fork until blended. Knead a few times with your hands, then form the dough into a ball (if it's much too dry, add a little water; if it's very sticky, dust with a little flour or pancake mix).

Place dough on a lightly floured wooden cutting board and pat or roll out evenly to 1/2 inch thickness. Cut out biscuits with a drinking glass or cookie cutter and lay on a lightly greased cookie sheet.

Bake for 8-9 minutes or until golden on the bottom.

Makes 8-10 biscuits.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Steak Salad with Lime-Cilantro Vinaigrette

Quite possibly the best summertime salad of all. After all—mostly plants still leaves room for the occasional giant hunk of steak.

3 tbsp olive oil
1.5 tbsp lime juice (about half a lime, hand squeezed)
Kosher salt
2 tbsp chopped cilantro
4 oz mixed baby spinach and baby arugula
2 endives, julienned
1/2 pint fragrant cherry tomatoes, halved
1 avocado, diced
Leftover steak, sliced

Whisk together the olive oil, lime juice, and a couple pinches of salt in a large bowl. Add half the cilantro, then add the greens and endives and toss to coat evenly. 

Toss the tomatoes with the rest of the cilantro. Serve a bed of greens onto each plate. Sprinkle with tomatoes and avocado, and top with the sliced steak. 

Serves 2.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Slow-baked Salmon with White Beans and Fennel

This is an easy, different, and delicious take on salmon that's easy to scale up for company or leftovers. Loosely adapted from this recipe here, crossed with this long-time favorite.

1 lb wild salmon
2 tbsp chopped green garlic (or sub 2 cloves garlic, pressed)
1 1/2 tbsp minced fennel top
Zest of ½ lemon
1 tsp mustard seeds
Olive oil
Kosher salt
1 large or two small fennel bulbs, diced
2 cans cannellini beans
1 tbsp good-quality mustard
Few sloshes white wine
1-2 tomatoes, diced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Combine in a small bowl: 1 tbsp of the green garlic (or one clove garlic, pressed), the fennel top, lemon zest, mustard seeds, 1.5 tbsp olive oil, 1 tbsp or so wine, and a couple pinches of salt. Lightly oil a foil-lined baking sheet and place the salmon on it, skin side down. Spread the garlic-fennel mixture evenly over the top in a thin layer. Let sit for 10 minutes while you preheat the oven to 275°F. Bake the salmon for 20-21 minutes or until you can see that the fat has started to melt out a bit from the bottom.

In a wide nonstick pan, heat a generous glug of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the fennel and reduce heat to medium. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about six minutes, allowing the fennel to brown.

Add another glug of olive oil if the pan seems dry, turn the heat down a little, and add the rest of the garlic. Stir a couple times, then add the beans. After 1-2 minutes, add the mustard and a couple generous sloshes of wine and cook for another minute or so until some of the wine evaporates. Stir in the tomatoes and let cook until just heated through (unless they’re not really in season, in which case, cook them a couple minutes longer), then turn off the heat and add salt and pepper to taste.

Serve the beans onto plates and top with a piece of salmon.

Serves 3-4.

If you're reheating leftovers the next day, reheat the beans only, then lay the salmon over the top. The warmth of the beans will bring the salmon to room temperature without overcooking.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Orzo with Broccolini and Frisee

Broccolini, toasted walnuts, and parmesan put bass notes under a treble clef of lemon zest and still-slightly-crunchy frisée. Easy, different, and delectable.

2 rounded cups whole wheat orzo pasta
2.5 cups chicken broth
Olive oil
1 large shallot, chopped
3 cloves garlic, pressed
1 bunch broccolini, coarsely chopped into 1 inch pieces
1 can butter beans, rinsed and drained
Slosh of white wine
2/3 head frisée, cut into 1 inch pieces (saute for 2-3 min until just wilted)
Zest of 1 Meyer lemon
Shaved Parmesan
About 3 handfuls toasted walnuts, chopped
Coarsely ground black pepper

Bring the broth to a simmer in a small covered pot.

Heat a wide, deep pan over medium heat. Add a generous glug of olive oil and let heat for a moment, then add the shallot and sauté for a minute until it softens slightly. Add the garlic and a pinch of salt, turn the heat down a bit to medium-low, and continue to sauté for another couple minutes until the shallot is translucent.

Add the orzo to the broth, replace the cover, lower the heat, and simmer gently for 8-9 minutes or according to package directions.

Add the broccolini to the shallot-garlic mixture and return the heat to medium. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 3-4 minutes. Add the butter beans, stir, then add a slosh of wine and cover the pan to steam for another couple minutes. Stir in 2/3 of the lemon zest and another pinch of salt. Adjust both to taste.

When the orzo has only a minute to go, fold the endives into the broccolini mixture and let wilt slightly. Add the orzo, sprinkle liberally with freshly ground black pepper, and turn off the heat. Fold everything together.

Serve into soup plates. Use a carrot peeler to shave Parmesan over the top, and sprinkle liberally with chopped walnuts.

Serves 4.