Friday, October 17, 2008

What To Do With Butternut Squash

I know it's been a while, and I can't promise that I'll get committed to posting frequently or anything, but I'm going to try and keep better records of what I'm cooking -- if only so I can recreate things that are truly yummy. After I got home with my CSA share yesterday, I realized that I've got to get focused on cooking lots of dishes with winter squash in them or else I'm going to have to move somewhere with cold storage so I have a place to put all of these beautiful squash! Don't worry -- for now, I'm just going to cook them :)

Butternut Squash Muffins
makes 18 muffins
adapted from Jamie Oliver's Butternut Squash Muffins with a Frosty Top
I stumbled across Jamie Oliver's recipe while searching for squash muffins. We have some new neighbors down the hall and a friend was coming for a play-date this afternoon, so I thought that some muffins would be a perfect "welcome" gift, as well as a tasty treat with tea. I cut down on the oil, subbed some whole wheat flour for the white flour and skipped the frosting, but these muffins came out deliciously moist and sweet, even with my modifications.


  • 14 ounces butternut squash, skin on, deseeded and roughly chopped
  • 2 1/4 C light brown sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 C all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 C whole wheat flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • Handful of walnuts, chopped
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  1. Preheat oven to 350. Grease muffin tins or use paper liners.
  2. Pulse squash in food processor until chopped.
  3. Add sugar, eggs, olive oil and salt and pulse just until combined.
  4. Add flours, baking powder, walnuts, and cinnamon and pulse until batter comes together.
  5. Transfer batter into muffin tins.
  6. Bake for about 20-25 minutes, until a tester comes out clean.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

My Favorite Turkey Chili

Another recipe that I've adapted from Cooks Illustrated, I've cut down on the oil and used turkey instead of beef (though you could swap lean ground beef for the turkey if you prefer), I love that this recipe makes enough chili for a crowd and freezes very well. It's also really versatile: one night we'll have bowls of chili with sour cream and grated cheese and a few nights later we can have taco salad using the leftovers. It's also great served with cornbread or rice.


  • 2 t oil
  • 2 C chopped onion (about 2 onions)
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped (either red or green is fine)
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 C chili powder
  • 1 T ground cumin
  • 2 t ground coriander
  • 1 t red pepper flakes
  • 1 t dried oregano
  • 1/2 t cayenne pepper
  • 2.5 lbs lean ground turkey (93/7)
  • 2 15 oz cans kidney beans, rinsed and drained (you can sub other beans if you prefer)
  • 1 28 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 28 oz can tomato puree or crushed tomatoes
  • salt
  • limes, cut into wedges
  1. Heat oil in large pot or dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion, pepper, garlic and spices (excluding salt). Cook, stirring occassionally, until vegetables soften -- about 10 minutes.
  2. Raise heat to medium-high and add half of ground turkey. Break up with a wooden spoon, cooking until no longer pink. Add remaining meat and repeat.
  3. Add beans, tomatoes and 1/2 t salt. Bring mixture to a boil, and then reduce to low. Stir occassionally, cooking for about 2 hours covered.
  4. Adjust seasoning, and serve with lime wedges, cheese, onions, sour cream or any other desired toppings.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Cream of Tomato Soup

I adapted this from one of my favorite recipe sources Cooks Illustrated, but I took the fat content down quite a bit by cutting down on the butter and using half & half instead of heavy cream.

Cream of Tomato Soup

  • 2 28 ounce cans of whole tomatoes (packed in juice, not puree)
  • 1 1/2 T brown sugar
  • 2 T butter
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 T tomato paste
  • pince of ground allspice
  • 2 T flour
  • 2 1/4 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 C half & half
  • salt
  • cayenne pepper
  1. Heat oven to 450 degrees and line a cookie sheet with foil.
  2. Drain and seed tomatoes, reserving juice.
  3. Place tomatoes in a single layer on the cookie sheet, and sprinkle with brown sugar.
  4. Bake in oven approximately 30 minutes, until mostly dry and beginning to color.
  5. Once tomatoes have cooled a bit, remove from foil and set aside for later.
  6. Over medium heat, melt butter until foaming and then add onion, tomato paste and allspice. Cover and ook over low until onions are soft, stirring occassionally (approx. 7-10 minutes).
  7. Add flour, stirring constantly, until well combined.
  8. Whisk in broth, reserved tomato juice, and roasted tomatoes. (You want a total of 4 3/4 cups liquid, so adjust the amount of broth depending upon how much tomato juice you have.)
  9. Increase heat to medium, cover, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for about 10 minutes.
  10. Remove from heat (it's less dangerous if you let it cool a bit) and use an immersion blender (or regular blender) to puree the mixture until fairly smooth.
  11. Add half & half and bring back up to serving temperature. Add salt to taste and a dash of cayenne (or more if you like it hot). Serve immediately.
This soup works really well with macaroni and cheese or grilled cheese sandwiches. This recipe makes 4-6 generous servings. If you want to use half now and half later (as I did) make the entire recipe as far as the pureeing stage, reserve half of the soup (approximately 3 cups) and add 1/4 cup of half and half to the remaining mixture and serve. When you want to serve it again, heat reserved soup until warmed throughout, and add 1/4 C of half and half.

She's Back

Well, now that I've been staying home a lot, I'm one of the few pregnant women who seems to have gotten myself into cooking even more. I like having this site as a way to record the recipes I try that I like (& might want to try again) so I'm going to attempt to revive it and post some of the recent successes I've had.

Lemony Chicken & Green Bean Stirfry


  • 12 ounces green beans, trimmed & Cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces
  • 2 T vegetable oil
  • 1.5 lbs chicken breast, cut into 1/2 inch wide strips
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • zest of one lemon
  • 3 T Thai fish sauce
  • 3 T sugar
  • 2 t ground coriander
  • 1 t tumeric
  • 1/2 C chicken broth
  • 2 T oyster sauce
  • pinch of ground red pepper (to taste)
  1. Cook beans in boiling water until tender. Drain and rinse with cool water to stop cooking.
  2. Heat oil in non-stick pan over high heat. Stirfry chicken, onion & garlic about 4 minutes (chicken shouldn't be completely cooked).
  3. Add lemon zest, fish sauce, sugar, coriander & tumeric and cook for about 2 more minutes.
  4. Add beans, broth & oyster sauce, reduce heat to medium and cook until sauce thickens and chicken is fully cooked, about 4 minutes longer.
  5. Adjust seasoning and serve over rice.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Happy BBM2 To Me!

I finally got my hands on the amazing package assembled by Holly of Craving Cleveland for Blogging By Mail II. Of course, it wasn't Holly's fault -- she responsibly sent the package on September 26, about 4 hours before I realized I should tell her that I was moving and give her my new address. (I had remembered to contact all my creditors, utilities, magazine publishers and forgot to pass along the information for my BBM package that would be filled with delicious goodies? Clearly my priorities need some restructuring!)

Fortunately, Holly's package contained all non-perishable items, which are quickly disappearing from my house. Here is a picture of the tasty goodies Holly sent:

BBM2 Package

First off, there was a lovely note from Holly explaining all the items she included and it had pretty cakes on the cover. She included three recipes -- Crockpot Chili, Spinach Artichoke Dip and Spaghetti & Red Clam Sauce. They arrived handwritten on the most adorable recipe cards that all say "kissin' wears out, cookin' don't." I'm excited to have these new additions to my recipe collection to test out -- I'll be sure to report back when I try them!

Who doesn't love chocolate? As a matter of fact, I created a list of the Best Chocolate Shops in New York City pretty much just so I'd have an excuse to try them all out. ("It's my job!" "I'm doing research!") So I was excited to receive a couple of Malley chocolate bars (one almond, one rice crisp) and a box of Malley Ohs!, which Holly said are her husband's favorite. I must say, they are delicious... and I was even nice enough to share one with my husband today, though I'd be lying if I didn't say I was tempted to keep them all to myself.

Holly also included two jars of jam that she made -- one strawberry and the other raspberry, with berries from her in-laws berry farm. We only tried the raspberry one so far, but it took some serious restraint to avoid eating it directly from the jar with a spoon. It was nicely tart with tons of raspberry flavor -- YUM! I think it might find it's way atop a bowl of vanilla frozen yogurt later.

I haven't gotten a chance to try the Bertman Mustard or the peppercorns yet, but I'm looking forward to both. Thanks Holly for such a lovely package of delicious treats! And thanks to Samantha for coordinating BBM2. If you want to participate in BBM3: Home for the Holidays you've still got a few days left to sign up before the 10/23 deadline.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Little Lamb Happy Family Restaurant

Cuisine: Chinese, Mongolian
Neighborhood: Flushing
Address: 36-35 Main St., Flushing
Phone: 718-358-6667
Price: $30 for 2

Never having had Mongolian hot pot before, I don't have much to compare this experience to, but I must say the half spicy/half mild lamb hot pot ($19.95) was delicious. Hot pot is basically the Asian version of fondue, where you cook various ingredients in the boiling broth and finish the meal with a bowl of the cooking liquid, made richer and more delicious from cooking the items.

We were the only non-Asian guests at the restaurant, which I always see as a good sign. The hot pot was delivered to our table, the not-spicy side of the pot was filled with a cloudy white broth (soy milk based?) with red beans, ginger, and whole nutmeg, as well as numerous other spices and the spicy side was a deep brown broth with a thin layer of chili oil floating atop, as well as chili peppers and nutmeg. They brought out a plate with a variety of items for cooking in the hot pot, including bean sprouts, cabbage, mushrooms, watercress, carrots, a whole egg, noodles and what we believe was intestine. When they came back to our table to uncover the now boiling hot pot, they brought out a plate with rolls of thinly sliced raw lamb.

Unsure of exactly how to eat the hot pot, we watched other patrons who seemed to be using their chopsticks and the slotted ladles to cook the items and then bring them to their plate or bowl before eating. We followed suit, enjoying both the ritual of the meal, as well as the flavorful food. The hot side left a spicy tingle in my mouth, while the soy milk based broth was both flavorful and cooling in constrast. Toward the end of the meal, Dan cracked the egg into the spicy broth and we each had several bowls of the now enhanced cooking broth which had a predictably more complex flavor than at the beginning.

We also ordered some pork chive dumplings ($3.95 for 12) which were fine, but not worth having again. Interestingly, the menu featured many items which you could add to your hot pot for less than $5 each (with just 2 of us, we had plenty of food with the items that came with the hot pot) -- including more meats, seafood and vegetables. We'll have to return with more friends in order to sample a wider array of offerings, but it was a delicious meal that would be fun with a group.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Garlic = Great Greek Dips

Had some friends over on Saturday night, and contrary to my usual behavior, I tried to tone down my usual ritual of slaving all day and preparing way too much food. Of course, it's still important to me to serve up delicious edibles, but after spending the past couple of weeks on compulsive house-hunting, it was a nice change to be able to sleep in on Saturday and still have time to run errands and clean before our guests arrived. (Not that I'm complaining about all the delicious meals we sampled in Jackson Heights while hunting!) Anyway, I served tzatziki and skordalia -- two classic Greek dips, along side toasted pita pointes, carrot sticks and blanched broccoli spears. (I must also mention that blanching broccoli before serving it for dipping makes it wildly more appealing than raw broccoli -- the brilliant green spears were perfectly crisp, without the woody texture of raw broccoli.)

adapted from

2 C low-fat plain yogurt
2 medium sized cucumbers
1 T salt
1/2 C low-fat sour cream
2 T fresh lemon juice
2 T fresh dill, minced
1 garlic clove, minced

1. Place yogurt in a sieve lined with cheesecloth. Allow to drain on counter for 3 hours (or overnight in the fridge).
2. Cut cucumbers in half and remove seeds. (I use a spoon to scrape them out.) Grate cucumbers on box grater, toss with salt, and place in fridge for 3 hours.
3. After 3 hours, squeeze grated cucumber to remove as much water as possible. In the end, I think I had 1/3 the volume of cucumber once the water was removed.
4. Mix drained yogurt, grated cucumber, sour cream, lemon juice, dill, and garlic in a small bowl. Cover and refrigerate to allow flavors to meld.
Yields about 2 cups.

adapted from

1 lb russet potatoes, scrubbed
8 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 C almonds
1/2 C extra virgin olive oil
1/2 C water
5 T fresh lemon juice
3 T white wine vinegar
4 t salt
freshly ground pepper

1. Boil potatoes until tender (about 20 minutes).
2. While the potatoes cook, combine garlic, almonds, and olive oil in a food processor until they are well combined and fairly smooth.
3. Rinse potatoes in cold water until cool enough to handle (you can just let them rest, but if you're trying to speed things up, this is a good strategy).
4. Rub skins off of potatoes, and roughly chop potatoes. Depending on the desired texture, you can put them through a potato ricer, in the food processor, or mash them by hand. (I used a potato ricer.)
5. Combine garlic mixture with potatoes, stirring until well combined. Add lemon juice, vinegar, and salt, stirring again. Season to taste. Refrigerate until ready to serve. (The garlic flavor will mellow a bit with time.)
Yields about 4 cups.

Friday, March 18, 2005

SHF #6: Stuck on You - Gingerbread Caramel Corn

I've been quietly blogging over here about various cooking adventures, and I've been spending way too much time reading (and sometimes drooling over) other food bloggers. After seeing the announcement for Sugar High Friday #6 on Debbie's blog (who's dark chocolate pudding has become a staple in my house), I promised myself I'd participate.

On a lazy Sunday afternoon, I poured through my cookbooks -- I found Payard Patisserie Caramel Ice Cream that sounded decadent, but little else jumped out at me. I was struggling to find something that fit the theme (caramel), but also was something I could eat (Weight-Watchers friendly). One of the essential items in my WW "survival kit" is microwave popcorn (along with Trader Joe's fake Peanut Butter and sugar-free Jello), so the idea of caramel corn seemed like it might fit within the limitations, but also be a delicious experiment. I love the science of candy-making and any chance to use my candy thermometer (though this recipe doesn't require one).

I perused recipes online, looking for low-fat caramel popcorn with a twist. I refused to use commercial microwave popcorn, so I popped several batched of plain popcorn in a paper bag in my microwave (while regretting the decision to donate my air popper to the Salvation Army several weeks ago) (Martha Stewart has directions, which work just as well with loose popcorn as with her fancy popping corn on the cob). This Gingerbread Caramel Popcorn was created by merging several different recipes, and it created a luxurious texture and complex flavor that even adults will find irresistable.

Gingerbread Caramel Corn

12 C popcorn
1 C light brown sugar
1/2 C light corn syrup
1/3 C butter (5 T plus 1 t)
1 T robust molasses
1 t vanilla
1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
1 T ground ginger
1 t cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 250. Prepare your popcorn, using no additional salt or fat. (Air popped or microwave in batches. (My microwave recipe: 3 T of kernels in a brown paper bag, fold over the end and cook on high for about 2 minutes.) Place popcorn in a large bowl.
2. Combine sugar, corn syrup, butter and molasses in a large saucepan. Heat over medium until butter is melted, stirring to combine. Allow it to come to a boil, and cook for 5 minutes, stirring just once.
3. Remove saucepan from heat, and stir in vanilla, baking soda, salt, ginger and cinnamon.
4. Pour mixture slowly over popcorn, stirring well to cover as much as possible.
5. Spread popcorn in a jelly roll pan coated with cooking spray. Bake for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes.
6. Once baked, stir popcorn as it cools to break up large chunks. It's delicious warm or at room temperature. Store in an air-tight container (will store for about a week -- if you're that self-depriving).
Weight Watchers: 2 points per 1/2 cup