Friday, May 28, 2010

Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms

I made some wonderful stuffed mushrooms for our dinner guests a week ago, and then in Berkeley Bowl this week I spied some beautiful portobello mushrooms for a great price. I was inspired! My imagination got to work, and created the following...

2 portobello mushrooms
1 veggie sausage link (optional)
1 large clove garlic, minced
1/2 slice whole wheat bread
4 oz (1/2 package) cream cheese
1/4 cup fresh ricotta cheese or cottage cheese
onion salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

The key here is to chop all ingredients as small as possible. Wash mushrooms, and remove stems. Place mushroom caps to the side. Slice off the bottom portion of each stem and discard. Chop each stem into very small pieces. Chop the sausage and garlic into very small pieces as well. Saute the mushroom stems, sausage, and garlic together in olive oil for 5-7 minutes, being careful not to burn the garlic. Remove from heat and cool.

Chop the bread into very small pieces. In a medium bowl, combine the cooled saute ingredients and the bread with the cream cheese and ricotta cheese and salt and pepper. Stir until well mixed.

Divide, and spoon the cream cheese mixture over the 2 portobello mushroom caps. Bake at 400F on a greased cookie sheet until the juices are released (20-25 minutes). Serve warm.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Tamale Pie

1 medium onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 red pepper, diced
1 tomato, diced
1.5 cups black beans (or one can, partially drained)
1/2 cup salsa
1/2 cup frozen corn
1.5 tsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
3/4 cup water (or enough to make a thick soup)
salt to taste

Cornbread Crust:
1 cup cornmeal
1 cup all-purpose flour
2.5 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup agave nectar
1 cup soymilk or milk
1 egg
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/3-1/2 cup cheese (I used white cheddar)

Saute onion in oil for 3-5 minutes. Add garlic and red pepper and saute for 3-5 minutes more. Add tomato, and saute until juices are released (about 5 minutes). Add the rest of the ingredients, bring to boil, and let simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from heat.

While soup is simmering, make the cornbread crust. In a large bowl, combine the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, and salt. In a small bowl, beat the egg, then add the agave, milk, and oil, and beat together. Combine the wet and dry ingredients and stir until everything is evenly moist.

Pour the soup into a 2 quart casserole dish (or a 9 x 13 cake pan). Sprinkle cheese on top of the soup. Place large spoonfuls of the batter over the soup, and after all the batter has been placed, spread it out, trying to connect all the spoonfuls together, spreading the batter as evenly as possible over the soup (it doesn't have to reach all the way to the edges). Bake at 400F for 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out of the "crust" clean.

Serve hot, with the soup spooned over large scoops of the bread.

Apple Banana Muffins

Really moist, really good...

3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup wheat bran
1 Tbsp baking powder
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup agave nectar
2 bananas, mashed
2 eggs
1/3 cup oil
1 cup soymilk
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 medium apple, diced

In a large bowl, combine flours, bran, baking powder, pumpkin pie spice, and salt. In another bowl, mash the bananas, then beat in the eggs, agave, oil, and milk. Fold the wet mixture into the dry mixture until just mixed. Then stir in the nuts and apple chunks. Bake at 350F for 18 minutes.

Aunty's Healthy cookies

--This recipe post was written by my sister-in-law, Audrey. After sending us an Easter package with these amazing cookies, I asked her if I could post the cookie recipe on this blog. Cookies are more delicious when they are made with so much love, as you can read below...

My Aunt Ty is an amazing woman. I admire her so much. I look up to her as a role model of what a great woman is. When I became an Aunt on March 30, 2009, it was one of the proudest moments of my life. Evan is my dear nephew and I cherish him. Now I have another nephew, Soleil Butler, born April 1, 2010. It has been such an honor to know these amazing boys. I love watching their development and feel pride in each of their accomplishments.

In Hawaii it is a term of great respect and endearment to call your elders "Aunty" and "Uncle". I always felt proud when a child in Hawaii called me Aunty, so that is the name I chose for myself in relation to my nephews. I like to be "Aunty Audrey".

A few weeks ago I went to my Uncle Don and Aunt Luanne's house for a potluck family dinner. I brought a Banana Cream Pie. When we started on the dessert, Aunt Ty brought out the most amazing healthy cookies - everyone was in awe and wanted the recipe! Later, when we were exchanging emails about the details, I noticed she signed her name "AunTy", short for Aunt Ty. Since I am aunty, and she is AunTy, I like to call these "Aunty's healthy cookies".

There is no sugar, butter, or flour. We like to think of them as protein bars. They are great to take with you camping. This recipe is the result of some experimenting, and it is flexible so you can be creative. We have some chocolate protein powder we are planning to to try sometime. Thank you Kendra and thank you Aunt Ty for being such inspiring, amazing women who I can look up to and learn from.

Aunty's Healthy Cookies

1/2 cup organic soy milk
3/4 cup organic agave nectar
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
1 cup organic peanut butter
1/3 cup (heaping) wheat germ
3 cups oatmeal
1/4 cup ground organic flax (optional)
1/2 cup chopped dates (optional)
2/3 cup sunflower seeds (optional)


1. Heat milk, sugar, and cocoa powder over high heat until boiling, stirring constantly.

2. Take off heat and stir in vanilla and peanut butter; stir until peanut butter has melted completely

3. Stir in wheat germ, oatmeal, and other optional ingredients.

4. Drop by large spoonfuls onto wax paper, form into cookies by hand, or eat immediately :)

5. This recipe is flexible - have fun with it! If you don't have wheat germ or flax seed, just use more oatmeal. The recipe above should work out just perfectly and does most of the time, but if your cookies come out crumbly, use less oatmeal next time. If they never set, use more oatmeal next time. [From Kendra: I used almond butter instead of peanut butter, and it was delicious.]

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Good 'n Green Soup

Like so many of our dinners, I spontaneously created this recipe because of the particular combination of vegetables available in our fridge today. They all happened to be green. So what did I do? I chopped, added water, boiled, then blended! The result was super good, especially when served with a thick slice of garlic bread.

1 medium onion, diced
1 lb asparagus, ends trimmed, then diced
1 head broccoli, chopped
1 zucchini, chopped
3 large handfuls baby spinach
salt to taste
3 cloves garlic, minced
seasoning blend of choice
2 Tbsp flour
1/3 cup half-n-half or a little more, to taste
1/4 cup feta cheese
1/3 cup white cheddar cheese

Saute onion in olive oil until soft (3-5 minutes) in a large pot. Add asparagus, and saute for another 5 minutes. Add broccoli, zucchini, and spinach, and cook until spinach wilts. Pour in water until it comes to the same level as the vegetables. Add salt, garlic, and spices. Cover, bring to boil, and let simmer until all veggies are soft (about 10 minutes).

While veggies are simmering, put the flour in a small bowl. Add a little of the half-n-half to make a paste, then add the rest of the half-n-half and stir until smooth.

When veggies are soft, puree the mixture with a hand blender until it's slightly lumpy. Add the half-n-half mixture, and the feta and white cheddar cheese. Stir until well combined, and bring to a gentle boil to thicken. Remove from heat. Serve hot with crusty bread.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Mushroom, Spinach, and Asparagus Quiche

The crust (inspired from a French friend):

3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp salt
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup water


1/2 pound fresh mushrooms, washed and quartered
1 red pepper, diced
10-15 stalks of asparagus, ends trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
3 large handfuls of fresh baby spinach
garlic to taste
salt to taste
Italian seasoning
1/4 cup feta cheese
1/3 cup cheddar (I used a sharp white cheddar)
4 eggs
1 cup milk or soymilk
1/2 tsp pepper

For the crust, combine the flour, salt, and baking powder in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, wisk together the water and oil. Add just enough of the liquid to the dry ingredients until a soft dough is yielded. Roll out the dough to 1/4 inch thickness, and place in a greased pie dish, trimming off any extra dough.

Saute the mushrooms and red pepper together until the mushrooms begin to release their juices. Add the asparagus, garlic, salt, and italian seasoning, and cook for another 8 minutes, or until asparagus is soft enough to eat. Place the spinach over the cooked vegetables, and cook for another 5 minutes, stirring to bring wilted leaves up from the bottom. Remove from heat when all the spinach leaves are wilted.

In a small bowl, beat the eggs, milk, and pepper together until smooth.

To assemble the quiche, pour the vegetable mixture into the prepared crust. Sprinkle the feta cheese over the veggies and gently stir to combine. Sprinkle half of the cheddar cheese over the veggies. Pour the egg mixture over the veggies, and gently stir again until everything is evenly distributed. Sprinkle the remaining cheddar cheese over the top.

Bake in a 350F oven for 45-55 minutes or until set (will be lightly browned with a rounded top). The quiche will have a slight domed appearance when you take it out of the oven, but will flatten as it cools.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Fruit, Nut, and Chocolate Scones

These were super super good. Highly recommended!! I ate so many of these that I didn't have much appetite for dinner (oops)!

1 1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/3 cup cold butter
1/3 cup chopped dates
1/3 cup raisins
1/3 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1 1/4 cup soymilk

Mix flours, baking powder, salt, sugar, and cinnamon in a large bowl until well combined. Cut in the cold butter with a pastry blender or a fork until the mixture is crumbly. Stir in the fruit, nuts, and chocolate. Add the milk gradually, until the mixture comes together to form a slightly sticky dough. Drop by large spoonfuls onto a greased cookie sheet. Bake at 400F for 15 minutes or until golden.

Alternatively, after forming the dough, press it out into a circle, about 1/2 inch thick. Cut into 8-10 wedges. Brush each edge with milk or a little melted butter and dust with cinnamon and sugar. Bake until golden.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Tasty Lentils

This is my favorite lentil recipe, and has been serious comfort food on several occasions!

Note: you may use the typical green lentil that is so common here in America. I prefer to use French green lentils (pictured in this post).

2 tsp cumin seed (or ground cumin)
1 red pepper, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
olive oil for sautéing
2 cups lentils, rinsed
4 oz. tomato paste (1 small can)
5 1/2 cup water (or a little more)
salt to taste
brown rice, quinoa (I used red quinoa this time around), or other grain
feta cheese
1 fresh tomato, diced

Heat oil in saucepan. Sprinkle in the cumin seed and toast in the oil for a minute. Add red pepper and garlic, and sauté for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add lentils, and continue to stir and sauté for another 5 minutes.

Add tomato paste and stir until it is mixed with the lentils a little bit, then pour in the water. Add salt to taste (if you are using ground cumin, add it now). Bring mixture to a boil, then let simmer for 30-40 minutes until lentils are soft and mixture is thick. Spoon over rice or quinoa, and top with fresh tomates and feta cheese.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Cauliflower Casserole

This was really yummy, especially served with a thick slice of crusty bread and a salad.

1 Tbsp olive oil
1Tbsp butter
1 onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 links veggie sausage, diced
2 tomatoes, diced
1 tsp herbed seasoning (I used TJ's 21-seasoning)
1 head cauliflower, cut into its natural flowerets
1/4 cup marinara sauce (or tomato sauce with a pinch of extra herbs, as desired)
1/3 cup water
salt to taste

2 eggs
1/2 cup soymilk
1 Tb cream or half 'n half (optional)
salt and pepper to taste
pinch of cumin
1/2 to 3/4 cup of shredded colby jack cheese

Melt butter in frypan and add olive oil. Add onion,garlic, and saute for 3 minutes. Add sausage, and continue to saute until sausage begins to brown. Add diced tomatoes and spices, and continue cooking until tomatoes begin to release their juice. Add cauliflower, marinara, and water. Let cook until cauliflower begins to soften, about 7-10 minutes.

While cauliflower mixture is cooking, beat eggs, milk, cream, salt, pepper, and cumin together. After the cauliflower is finished cooking, pour the mixture into an 8x8 glass baking dish. Sprinkle cheese on top, and then stir gently to work it in a little. Pour the custard mixture over the top, stirring gently again, until veggies and custard are just mixed. Bake at 375F for 40-50 minutes or until knife inserted comes out clean (there may be some residual juice on top, but the custard will be cooked). Serve steaming hot.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Gallo Pinto

We discovered this dish when travelling in Costa Rica, and we have been trying to recreate it ever since. To make it truly authentic, we would need Lizano Sauce, which is expensive to buy in the USA (especially at the rate we eat Gallo Pinto). Instead I substitute with a mixture of worcestershire sauce and tamari. We also started adding tofu and veggies, which is not authentic by any means, but very tasty!

1 onion, diced
1 red pepper, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 Tbsp worcestershire sauce
1 tomato, diced
2 Tbsp tamari
salt to taste
1 can kidney beans, partially drained (or red beans, which are more authentic)
1 zucchini
1 cup extra firm tofu, diced (optional)
2 cups cooked brown rice
2 eggs, beaten
sour cream

Saute onion, red pepper, and garlic until soft. Add the worcestershire sauce, tomato, tamari, salt, and beans. Let simmer for 10-15 minutes. Add zucchini and tofu and let simmer for another 5 minutes. Stir in rice, and let cook together until all is warmed through.

In a frypan, scramble the eggs. Stir the scrambled eggs into the rice mixture.

Serve topped with sour cream, with fresh tomates on the side.

Apricot Nut Muffins

1 cup dried apricots, chopped
1 cup water
1 tsp salt
1 1/4 cups white flour
3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
3 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup canola oil
1/3 cup agave nectar or honey
1/3 cup soymilk or milk
2 eggs, beaten
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (or pecans or almonds)
1/2 tsp orange rind (optional)

Combine apricots and water in small saucepan, bring to boil, then let simmer for 10 minutes. Let cool. Drain the apricots and in a separate bowl reserve the water the apricots were cooked in.

In a large bowl, combine salt, flours, and baking powder. In a separate bowl, beat eggs, then add oil, agave, soymilk, vanilla, and the water the apricots were cooked in, mixing well. Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture and stir until just mixed. Fold in the apricots and the nuts.

Pour the batter into a greased muffin tin and bake at 350F for 18-20 minutes. Makes 12-15 muffins.

Variation: For Apricot Nut Sweetbread, pour batter into greased breadpan and bake at 350F for 35-40 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.