Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Tomato Cobbler

This is a most excellent recipe, especially if you have a ton of tomatoes sitting around. It’s really easy to make, and ends up looking sort of fancy. The recipe comes to us from Marky Mark Bittman (naturally). Variation possibilities abound with this recipe; the original makes a plain topping, I added some scallions which was nice. Adding cheese or herbs to the topping would be awesome, or adding some sauteed onions or other veggies into the tomatoes could also be delightful. Anyways, it makes a nice snack, side dish, or even breakfast.

  • 2-3 pounds ripe tomatoes, cored and cut into wedges
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1 or 2 scallions, diced
  • 1.5 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • egg
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk (or 3/4 cup any kind of milk plus 1 tbsp vinegar)

If using regular milk, add the vinegar to the milk to allow it to sour.

Grease a pie plate or square pan with some butter or oil. Preheat the oven to 375.  Put the tomatoes in a bowl and mix with the cornstarch and salt and pepper to taste. Combine and set aside.

Mix flour, cornmeal, scallions, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl and whisk together. Cut the butter into small pieces and add to the dry ingredients. Using your fingers, mix the butter into the rest of the ingredients until sort of pea-sized clumps form (it will start to look like bread crumbs). Add the egg into the buttermilk and beat slightly with a fork. Add to the dry ingredients and stir until combined.

Toss the tomato mixture again and spread into the baking dish. Spoon the batter on top of the tomatoes and smooth it out a bit. Leave a couple gaps in the topping so the steam can escape. Bake for 45-50 minutes until the topping is done. Enjoy!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Smoky Chili!

Chili does not photograph well, but it sure is delicious. This recipe, involving smoked paprika, bacon, and fire-roasted tomatoes, does not disappoint. If you want the smoky flavor, do not substitute regular paprika. The smoked paprika is really something special. Serve with cornbread, rice, or whatever you like to have with your chili. The original recipe comes from Sunset Magazine. They recommend using ground beef, but I’ve made this twice now with Gimme Lean fake meat and it tastes great. Use whatever meat or meat substitute you have available.


  • 2 slices bacon, chopped
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1-2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1.5 pounds meat of choice
  • 1 tbsp plus 1.5 tsp chili powder
  • 1.5 tsp cumin
  • 1.5 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 can (14.5 oz) crushed fire-roasted tomatoes
  • 1 can (8 oz) tomato sauce
  • 1 cup beer (IPA, pale ale, or something light)
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 can (14.5 oz) pinto beans, drained and rinsed

In a large stockpot, cook bacon over med-high heat, stirring until it begins to brown, about 5 minutes. Add onion, lower heat to medium, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until starting to become clear, about 5-7 minutes. Uncover pan, add garlic, and cook 1 minute. Increase heat back to med-high and add meat. Note: if you are using Gimme Lean, I recommend breaking it up before you add it to the pan. This stuff is sticky, so it saves a lot of time and frustration to cut it into smaller pieces and then add to the pan. If using ground meat, just add it in and break it up. Cook for about 8 minutes, or until meat is no longer pink. Stir in spices and salt and cook for about a minute. Add tomatoes, tomato sauce, beer, and Worcestershire and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover partially, and simmer about 30-40 minutes. Note: this dish gets quite thick, so I usually add another 1/2 cup of beer to thin things out a little. Add beans and cook, uncovered, 15 minutes longer. Season to taste and enjoy!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Collards & Bacon call it what you want!

The inspiration for this recipe comes from an article in Sunset magazine a while back on Tim Luym, former chef at Poleng (aka my backyard). He called it bacon and kale adobo; I say, call it what you want. Either way, it’s delicious. My version is made with collard greens and adds a few additional ingredients to make it into a main dish. I usually serve it with brown rice, but this could easily be a very yummy side dish. Also very easily veganized: just replace the bacon with some tempeh or smoked tofu and you’re done. It would require some additional fat though, and I would recommend using something with a smokey flavor.

Heat a large pot over medium heat. When hot, add 6 oz diced bacon. Cook until done and almost crispy, about 6-8 minutes. When done remove to a dish and set aside. Keep about 5 tbsp of the bacon fat in the pan and discard the rest. Keep the heat at medium and add 1 small diced onion, 2 crushed garlic cloves, and 2 bay leaves. Saute for about 5 minutes, or until the onion is golden. Add 2 bunches of washed and chopped collards, or one bag of pre-torn collard greens. Saute for a couple minutes, until all the leaves are covered in oil and slightly wilted. Then add the rest of the ingredients: 2-3 tbsp soy sauce, 2-3 tbsp apple cider vinegar, 2 diced bird’s eye chiles (these are the small Thai red chiles that come frozen in a bag; they are my first choice, but if you don’t have them, a diced serrano or jalapeno would work too or even a few shakes of some crushed red pepper flakes), 1/4 tsp ground black pepper, 1 cup water, 1 can of drained and rinsed black beans, and half of the bacon that’s been waiting for you. Turn the heat down, cover the pot and simmer for one hour. Keep an eye on it occasionally and make sure it’s not drying out. If the pan looks dry, add some more water, more soy sauce, or more vinegar to your liking.

After about an hour, the collards are soft and awesome and your meal awaits!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Zucchini bread!

People, it is zucchini season. This fact lead me to have an abundance of zucchini in my fridge that needed to transform itself into meals as soon as possible. What to do with too much zucchini? Make zucchini bread of course! The only thing holding me back was grating it, but actually, zucchini is the perfect consistency for grating; kind of fun when you get into it. Anyways, enough of that, on to the recipe!

This one comes to us from the wonderful/awful Silver Palate Cookbook. As I’ve mentioned in the past, the Silver Palate is a loving, spiteful, but most of all complicated mistress. It can be difficult to make her recipes come through, but when they do, they do not disappoint. Oh man, this bread is so good. As you can see, I had to hurry up and take a photo before I gobbled up the rest of the bread. This one is also definitely an “easy” on their scale of difficulty.

  • some butter for greasing the pan
  • eggs
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1.5 cups sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups grated unpeeled zucchini
  • 2.5 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp cloves
  • 1 cup walnuts, chopped (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 and grease a standard loaf pan. Sift the dry ingredients together in a small bowl and set aside. Beat the eggs, oil, sugar, and vanilla with an electric mixer until “light and thick.” Light and thick required a bit too much mixing for my little hand mixer to handle. Instead my batter got to somewhat thick but still quite runny. Either way the bread ended up tasting fine. Add the zucchini to the mixture. Stir in the dry ingredients until just blended. Add the walnuts if you’re using them. (I didn’t use walnuts only because I didn’t have them in the house. I’m sure this bread would be even more delicious with them added.) Pour the batter into the buttered loaf pan and bake for 1 hour, 15 minutes. Cool slightly and then turn onto a wire rack and cool completely.

This bread keeps very well for about one week. I’ve been just storing it in a ziploc bag and it still tastes great. Especially good slathered in your buttery spread of choice.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Enchilada Casserole!

This dish sure does look a mess, but it really doesn’t matter. This magical deliciousness covered in melted cheese will be your new favorite dish, and it can feed a crowd! (Or you and one other person.) This can easily be made into more proper enchiladas, but this is the lazy version. Everything falls apart on your plate anyways, so why not have it start that way? This version is made with chicken, refried beans, and green enchilada sauce, but feel free to take this in any direction.

Put one 14.5 ounce can of your favorite refried beans into a small saucepan. Add some water (about half a can), some garlic salt, cumin, oregano, and a few shakes of crushed red pepper flakes. Stir all together and simmer over med-low heat. They should be slightly soupy.

While the beans are cooking, dice one chicken breast (or whatever meat/non-meat you want to use) and heat some olive oil in a skillet. Saute the chicken until it is browned and cooked through. Remove to a plate.

In the same skillet, heat some more olive oil. When hot, add some sliced onion, red or green peppers, and a couple cloves of minced garlic. Saute over medium heat until done to your liking. You could easily just make more veggies and skip the meat. I have also made this with fresh spinach and zucchini and it was very delicious.

Assembly: Heat the oven to 350 degrees; lightly grease a 9x13 glass dish with some vegetable oil. Now you can get creative. I usually layer some corn tortillas so that they cover the bottom, then a start with a layer of beans, then some of my grilled veggies, then some diced green chiles from a can, then some chicken, then some cheese. I use Trader Joe’s jalapeno yogurt cheese, but use whatever you like/have around the house. Be generous with the cheese; I usually use at least one pack (which I think is 12 or 16 ounces). Top this off with another layer of tortillas. Open up a can of green enchilada sauce and pour enough on top of everything you’ve assembled until it’s all quite saucy. Repeat this process until you’ve got a couple layers and you’ve used up all the ingredients lying around or you run out of space in the pan, whichever comes first. Be sure to finish it off with cheese on top, and then pour as much of the remaining enchilada sauce on top as well.

Bake for about 45 minutes or until the top looks kind of crispy and everything is bubbly. Eat as much as you can and then slowly descend into a food coma of bliss.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Product shout out: Onion Goggles!

If you’re like me and chopping onions turns you into a teary, sniveling mess, purchase these onion goggles immediately, if not sooner! They work incredibly well. The onion smell hits your nose, but then, miraculously, nothing happens! You just keep chopping in a goggled state of bliss. Plus, you get to look super stylish while you cook. This is the best new piece of equipment my kitchen has seen in quite a while.