Category Archives: Recipes

Fruit and Vegetables

Over on Facebook, several of my friends were posting this meme of ten favorite albums, “no explanations.”  The “no explanations” aspect of the record meme made it just a bunch of random covers someone posted.

Since I have an eclectic, arguably terrible music tastes, I started my own un-meme using fruits an vegetables.  I’m also going to add some recipes and original photos (except for the cartoon):

Day N of Y days. In no particular order, Y all-time favorite fruits and vegetables that really made an impact and are still in my daily diet, even if only now and then.

After laboring to post it, I was thinking how the content gets lost because there’s so much stuff on Facebook.   Fuck that.   I’m going to be back-posting stuff I should have put here in the first place, and then maybe post more than once every nine months.

But back to the fruits and vegetables:

Green beans: Wash and pat dry. Toss with a little bit of oil and schmancy French grey salt, roast at 400F (200C) for 20-25 minutes.

Heirloom tomatoes: Slice thick and alternate with fresh mozzarella and basil. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and balsamic. Sprinkle French grey salt and fresh pepper to taste.

Caprese with yellow and red tomatoes.

Beets. Golden, orange or red, as long as they have greens. (Not. Canned.) Wash them well, remove inedible parts, and cut into halvsies. Heat 2T oil, juice of one lemon, a chopped green onion, 1/2 teaspoon dill weed, 1/2 teaspoon tarragon, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and a clove of crushed garlic in a pan with a tight-fitting lid. Add beets, greens and 1/4C water. Cover and steam over medium heat until tender.

Remove the tough parts, scrub
Roasted, with pomegranate seeds

Cherries! During peak season (late June – July), Bing and Rainier cherries are sold along roadside or the farmer market*. The only way my rate of pitting can approach consumption is through specialized kitchen gadgetry.

The cherry dutch baby: 3/4C flour, 2T granulated sugar, 3/4C milk, 3 eggs, 1/4t salt, 4T butter, 2C of pitted, Bing (*not Google*) cherries, and powdered sugar. Preheat oven to 425F. Combine flour, sugar, milk, eggs and salt in a blender until smooth. In a 12″ cast iron frying pan, melt the butter. Add the pitted cherries and cook 2-3 minutes until warm. Pour in the batter. Bake 18-20 minutes until puffed and golden. Dust with powdered sugar.

Or just make a delicious fruit salad.  Too busy eating to judge!

(*Despite working a block from Pike Place, I still adore my local farmer’s market.)

Bananas. They’re delicious, full of carbs, available year-round, and also facing the bananapocalypse.

Blue Banana cafe, Lostine, OR. 2008 Cycle Oregon 🙂


 When overripe, you can freeze them for smoothies or bake them in breads.  Or leave hidden messages to help the next person waking up have a surreal day:
Banana vandalism

Or worse:

Just say C3P-*NO*
WIth squash friends like this…

Winter Squash are awesome enough that they would merit their own 10-day meme, but I’ll spare you that. Uchiki (red kuri) squash make great pies. Below are photos of the Tamal Pie ( made over Thanksgiving. Somewhat easier to make is the Khoresh-e kadu Halvai-o Alu ba Morgh, learnt during a PCC demo class last fall.

Butternut squash cream supporting pork tenderloins.
Kuri squash pie

Broccoli (mini-trees) goes well in soups, while Cauliflower (zombie brains) can add depth (and fiber) to macaroni and cheese. Both roast exceptionally well and are essential ingredients in one of my favorite staples: Hippie bowls.

Comic by Jim Benton

Lemons, sometimes known in the more polite geocaching circles as “absolutely not a durian,” add a wonderful tart flavor to desserts, keep guacamole and apples from turning brown, provide 99.97% of the flavoring in lemonade, and, in much smaller quantities than shown in the photo, can even be used on pizzas.  Avoid the mistake I made in my youth of not knowing how the zest could be flavorful (a zester is inexpensive ).  They’re also great with Lemon Ricotta Pancakes.

Lemon and parsley pizza

Lemon ricotta pancakes

The original recipe is from Cook’s Illustrated, and is a pretty tasty diversion from the standard buttermilk pancake.  To offset the weight of the ricotta, you fold in extra, whipped whites.

Lemon ricotta pancakes

Lemon ricotta pancakes (original source Cook’s Illustrated)

1 C all-purpose flour
3/4 t baking soda
3/4 t salt
1 1/2 C whole-milk ricotta
3 large eggs, separated
3 egg whites (to offset the weight of the ricotta)
1/2 C milk
1 1/2t lemon zest
6t lemon juice
3/4 t vanilla extract
3T melted butter
3/8 C sugar

Whisk together flour, baking soda and salt. Make a well in the center.
Add ricotta, egg yolks, milk, lemon zest, lemon juice and vanilla.
Stir in melted butter
Whisk the (four) egg whites on medium low until foamy. Increase speed. When there are billowy mounds, gradually add the sugar and continue whipping until glossy, soft peaks form. Transfer 1/3 into the batter and whisk. With a spatula, fold in the rest.
Cook pancakes!


Janet and I took the Persian Cuisine demo cooking class at the local hippie grocery store last week.  I reproduced two of the recipes: Khoresh-e kadu Halvai-o Alu ba Morgh (Braised butternut squash and chicken stew with prunes and walnuts) and Aash-e-Reshteh (beans, fresh greens and noodle soup).

Aash-e-reshteh (beans, fresh greens & noodle soup)

Aash-e-reshteh (beans, fresh greens & noodle soup)

Serves 4-6, preparation time: 30 minutes, cooking time: 50 minutes

2T olive oil
2 large onions, diced
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1t salt
1/2t pepper
1t turmeric
1t cumin seeds
1t ground coriander
1 can red kidney beans, rinsed
1 can garbanzo beans, rinsed
1 can white beans, rinsed
1C lentils
6C no/low-salt beef or vegetable broth
2C water
2C fresh parsley, finely chopped
1C fresh cilantro, finely chopped
1C scallions, finely chopped
1C fresh dill, finely chopped
6C fresh spinach, finely chopped
8 ounces linguini (break into thirds)
sour cream to dollop on top

In a large pot, saute the onion, garlic and olive over medium heat for ~5 minutes. Add the salt and spices, stir 1 minute. Add beans, borth, water and bring to a gentle simmer. Cook 30 minutes on medium-low heat.

Add chopped fresh herbs, spinach and noodles. Gently mix and cook an additional 15 minutes or until the noodles are cooked

Serve with a dollop of sour cream.


Koresh-e Kadu Halvai-o Alu ba Morg (Braised butternut squash and chicken stew with prunes and walnuts)   Serves 4.
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

3T ghee (I used coconut oil)
1C walnuts
1 medium butternut squash, cut into 2″ cubes.
1 onion, sliced
4 chicken pieces bone-in and skin-on (I used two large chicken breasts)
1t cinnamon
1/2t turmeric
1/4t cloves
1t salt
1/2t pepper
2C unsalted chicken broth
2T sugar
juice of one lime (and lime zest, because zest is too good to throw away)
1C pitted prunes (mine were pre-chopped; would do this with halves next time)
pinch of ground saffron dissolved in 2T hot water

In a dutch oven over medium heat, saute the walnuts in 1T ghee for 2 minutes. Remove and set aside.
In same pot, add an additional tablespoon of ghee and sautee the butternut squash for 15 minutes. Remove from pan and set aside.
In the same pot again, add 1T ghee and lightly sautee the onion and chicken pieces for ~5 minutes. Add the cinnamon, turmeric, cloves, salt and pepper. Saute for a minute. Pour in chicken broth. Cover and cook on low heat for 30 minutes.

Once the chicken is tender, add usgar, lime juice (and zest), prunes and the sauteed butternut squash. Cover and cook over low heat for an additional 30 minutes.

(At this point, I pulled out the chicken breasts to remove the skin & bones; I chopped it into chunks).

Pour in saffron water, stir and transfer to a serving platter. Sprinkle walnuts on top.

Khoresh-e Kadu Halvai-o Alu ba Morgh
(Braised butternut squash & chicken stew with prunes and Walnuts)
Work in progress

Paseo-like Cuban pork sandwich

And now for something completely different… Paseo-like Cuban pork sandwiches, using a recipe from the Seattle Times food blog, originally based on Paseo reverse-engineering done by Lorna Yee, presented in her cookbook The Newlywed Kitchen.

This took me about 1 1/2 hours of attentive cooking, but elapsed time was about 20 hours as most of the marination happened the night before.  It makes enough to feed six.

For the pork, mix in a gallon-sized, sealable ZipLoc baggie and let marinate overnight:

  • 3 pounds boneless pork shoulder or loin roast
  • 10 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 T kosher salt
  • 2 C orange juice
  • 1/2 C lime juice
  • 2 T brown sugar (they recommend dark brown, which I didn’t have, so I added 1t of molasses)
  • 2 t dried oregano (they use 2T fresh. I couldn’t find any at the store)
  • 1/2 C extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 C diced onion
  • 2 bay leaves

For the garlic mayonnaise, also prepared in advance:

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3/4 C mayonnaise
  • 3 T sweet relish
  • Juice from one lemon. I also added the zest because zest is awesome.

For the sandwiches, you’ll need:

  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1 onion, cut into 1/4 inch rings
  • 48 inches of baguettes, sliced into 6″ lengths. You can use banh mi-style bread, really crumbly and light.
  • Bunch of cilantro, leaves only


  1. Plop the pork into a roast pan and pour the rest of the marinade mixture around it.  (Obvious note: do not cook the bag.) Tent the pan with a sheet of aluminum foil and cook at 300F for two hours.  Turn the meat over, remove tent, and cook for another 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
  2. Pull out the garlic mayonnaise so it can reach room temperature.

    Garlic mayonnaise.  I amended the recipe to include the zest because zest is awesome
    Garlic mayonnaise. I amended the recipe to include the zest because zest is awesome
  3. Cook the onion slices in a sauce pan until they’re browned

    Onions.  You can slice them thicker.
    Onions. You can slice them thicker.
  4. Remove meat from the heat and let it set about 20 minutes until it’s cool enough to manage.  I used a fork to shred the meat into chunks, then dumped the chunks back into the cooked marinade.

    I cut the loin into smaller chunks, then used a fork to pull them apart, but I did this in the cooked marinade where it could absorb more.  End result is shown.
    I cut the loin into smaller chunks, then used a fork to pull them apart, but I did this in the cooked marinade where it could absorb more. End result is shown.
  5. Sandwich assembly is simple:
    a) Spread some mayo on each slice

    Slices of bread, mayo spread, rhyme said, right Fred?
    Slices of bread, mayo spread.

    b) On one side, add cilantro leaves.  The other, onion.  I didn’t use the jalapeno Yee’s recipe called for because I didn’t want it to be too spicy for my kids.

    Cilantro leaves and onions, oh my!
    Cilantro leaves and onions, oh my!

    c) Add pork

    Add a layer of pork mixture.
    Add a layer of pork mixture.  Angelic singing to commence in three… two… one..

    d) Enjoy!

    Nom nom
    Nom nom

Initially, there’s a mild jolt as your taste buds try to figure out what kind of citrus is involved (orange, lime and lemon!), then you just enjoy the sandwich.

Very enthusiastic thumbs up.

Dumpling Cube

I love making gyoza, but because I am not adept enough at it to hand-make them at the rate my family consumes them, I wanted to try the Dumpling Cube my mother-in-law gave me for Christmas.  The result was my best batch of gyoza using the Classic Pork Gyoza from Japanese Soul Cooking as a starting point.  Of course, I would make a few changes:


  • 3 C finely chopped green cabbage (about 8 ounces)
  • 1/2 C seitan (optional, it was leftover from last week)
  • small bunch of chives
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 6 ounces woodear mushrooms, stems removed
  • 2 carrots, peel the skins
  • 1 T freshly grated ginger 
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1 T soy sauce
  • 1/2 C toasted sesame oil
  • 1/2 t ground black pepper
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 2 t sugar
  • 2 T corn starch, plus extra for dusting
  • 100 square wonton wrapper, 3-4 inches in diameter
  • 1 T corn starch mixed with 3 T cold water
  • 4 bouillon cubes dissolved in a quart of water


  1. Chop stuff.  Given how much work is downstream, I relied heavily on the food processor.
    Chopper: Cabbage, chives, garlic, seitan
    Shredder: woodear mushrooms, carrots
    Hand-grated: ginger
  2. Mix with soy, 2T of the sesame oil, pepper, salt, sugar and ground pork.  Work it until evenly mixed.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix the corn starch into water. This is going to be used to help fuse the wrappers.
  4. Heat a sauce pan with 2T sesame oil to medium-high.
  5. Load the Dumpling Cube with four wrappers:

    In this photo, I used round ones.  just use the square ones.
    In this photo, I started with round wrappers.  Don’t.  Just use the square ones.
  6. Dollop a half ounce of filling into each wrapper.

    Dollop about a half ounce-ish of filling into each.
    Dollop about a half ounce-ish of filling into each.
  7. Paint with the corn starch solution.

    Coat with corn starch
    Coat with corn starch
  8. Clamp down.

    Fold up the sides of the dumpling cube.  Easy-peasy!
    Fold up the sides of the dumpling cube. Easy-peasy!
  9. Repeat.

    Repeat a few times until you have a plate-worth ready to go.
    Repeat a few times until you have a plate-worth ready to go.
  10. To cook: in a large saucepan, add 2T of sesame oil. Add ~20 gyoza and cook about a minute on each side to brown. Pour in about 3/4 C of the boullion mixture and cover. Cook until the steam dies down.

    It's going to splatter.
    It’s going to splatter.
  11. Serve promptly.
  12. I didn’t have the usual dipping sauces (rice vinegar, soy, fresh ginger, sesame oil) because these were plenty flavorful.


For dessert, I made black rice pudding.

Black Rice Pudding.  This goes for $6/small cup at the local Thai place.  Much cheaper to make myself.
Black Rice Pudding. This goes for $6/small cup at the local Thai place. Much cheaper to make myself.


  • 1/2C Hei Mey (I got mine here)
  • Coconut milk (or coconut oil + milk)
  • 2T sugar

Simply cook the black rice in the Zojurishi rice cooker.  Stir in the remaining ingredients and serve.

More Cheese Making

It’s been a couple of years since I took the Cheese-Making class at PCC, but while thumbing through their course list again, I had the urge to try it again.  The last couple of weeks have been experimenting with:

Yogurt – I picked up a used “yogurt maker,” which is a just a fancy hotplate with a timer that keeps the yogurt ingredients at  45°C for up to 15 hours.  It looks a lot like this:

Yogurt Maker (not actual size)
Yogurt Maker (not actual size)

Making yogurt is easy-peasy:

  1. Heat 1.25L of milk to 85°C.
  2. Cool to 45°C.
  3. Stir in 150 ml yogurt as seed culture.
  4. Pour into each of the seven glass jars and let it yogurify overnight. (Key point: leave it alone.)
  5. Eat.

The yogurt comes out slightly thinner than most grocery store brands, but tastes good.  I did look at milk powder to thicken it, but it imparted the odd milk powder taste.  I suppose if it really bothered me, I could sieve it through a cheesecloth.

Ricotta – As before, this was super-easy and super-tasty, but also super-expensive when using the super-awesome Pure Éire milk.  Since I was on a roll, I used it in the Lemon-Ricotta Pancakes recipe that was in the September 2013 Cook’s Illustrated:

Lemon-Ricotta Pancakes (source: Cook’s Illustrated, 2013-09)

2/3 C (85g) all-purpose flour 1/2 t (2.5g) baking soda 1/2 t (2.5g) salt 1 C (250ml) whole-milk ricotta 2 large eggs, separated 2 egg whites 1/3 C (80ml) milk zest from two small lemons juice from two small lemons 1/2 t (2.5ml) vanilla extract 2T (30ml) melted butter 1/4 C (50g) granulated sugar
  1. Whisk together flour, baking soda and salt.
  2. Make ricotta from scratch (see above)
  3. Mix ricotta, the 2 egg yolks, milk, lemon zest, lemon juice, vanilla extract, melted butter.
  4. Stir into flour mixture.
  5. Whip the 4 egg whites and sugar until stiff peaks form.  (But not this stiff.)
  6. Stir in half of the egg white mixture.
  7. Fold in the remaining.
  8. Cook the pancakes on medium-low heat.
The yogurt is good.
I’m Jim and I approve of this pancake recipe.



Feta is in progress.  There were numerous idle moments, during which I binge-watched my accumulated episodes of Agents of Shield and Person of Interest.  The basic ingredients were:

2L goat milk

1 package mesophilic yeast

2ml liquid vegetable rennet

cheese salt

The recipe in the “Cheesemaking 101” book was pretty terse, omitting several specifics of the well-documented site here, so I’m curious to see how things turn out.

Given a choice, I would have liked to try this with sheep’s milk, but I couldn’t find any within the normal shopping radius.  The second choice, goat’s milk, was about 5-times the price of cow’s milk.  The guide book said one can also use cow’s milk, but I’d need to add some lipase for flavor and calcium chloride for texture.  Since I’m making a small batch, I went with the goldilocks compromise: goat milk.

As I started writing this, the curds just came out of the pot:

Pre-feta.  Needs to drain, ripen and be salted.
Pre-feta. Needs to drain, ripen and be salted.

After three hours of draining, The result was a nice, soft cheese blob.  Had I started this project earlier, I would have let them sit out for a few more hours to firm it up, but I need to go to soon.

After draining for a few hours, we have a ball of cheese.  Whee!
After draining for a few hours, we have a ball of cheese. Whee!

I cut the ball into 2cm cubes, lightly salted the result, and put them in the fridge for ripening the rest of the week.  I did give some serious consideration to brining (8% solution), but there was a suggestion that it might cause the cheese to fall apart.

Salted feta cubes, ready to ripen for a week.
Salted feta cubes, ready to ripen for a week.


One aspect that I hadn’t really thought about was how I was going to maintain a balmy 30°C.  The stove top temperature seemed to take freaking forever to get close to it.  Once there, it suddenly shot up and I had to remove it entirely.  It’s really too bad the yogurt machine doesn’t have a lower setting.

Peeking forward a bit in the cheese-making book, I noticed cheddar needs to be eaxed and then ripen at around 15°C for a few months.  As best as I can tell, the crawlspace would be the best location, but it’s unclear if that would lead to problems.