Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Sweet Cinnamon Walnuts

A great ebook, Raw for the Holidays
,has been on my list of books to purchase for a few weeks. Especially after seeing so many of the teaser recipes on the blog!

This is one of the recipes from that book and when I saw it, I immediately knew I wanted to try it. I've made a few changes, but they are tasty just the same!
These are the perfect little nibble and a great little snack to have on hand. I've used walnuts here, but you could easily substitute pecans, almonds, or other nuts.

This is also another great recipe to give for the holidays. It does use one of my favorite kitchen appliances, the dehydrator, but I'm sure you could make these in a low heat oven just as well.

Spiced Walnuts

Sweet Cinnamon Walnuts

2 tbsp coconut oil
3 tbsp agave nectar
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
3 cups raw walnuts
1/2 c dried flake coconut

Warm oil until it becomes liquid. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix well. Spread out on 2 Teflex sheets and place into dehydrator. Dry at 110 degrees for 15-20 hours until dry.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Sweet and Spicy Sweet Potato Chips

This post kicks off my "Homemade Holiday Gifting" Week here on 28 Cooks. I've come to realize that I don't just want to buy some sort of shiny trinket for friends and family for Christmas. Sure, I could spend hundreds of dollars and buy all sorts of things, but I really want to give something personalized and delicious. So all this week, I'll be posting gift ideas that are tasty and delicious and sure to be enjoyed.

So those that know me well know that I can sometimes be an impulse buyer. I'll see something and know that I just HAVE to have it. As I've gotten older and wiser, I've learned to curb it a bit. I'll be honest when I say that when I got my dehydrator, a small quiet part of me said, "You'll use this for a few weeks and then it'll collect dust." But honestly, I use this all the time. I've had it about 2 years, and I'd say I use it at least 5-6 times each month. Matter of fact, I use it so much, that it takes up extremely valuable counter space in my kitchen and has for the past several months.

One of my favorite things to make in it is crunchy and salty snacks. I'm a huge salty snack person, so having a dehydrator means I can make healthy snacks that don't come with all the guilt.

These sweet potato chips are on constant rotation in my kitchen. They are spicy and sweet and salty, and their crispity-crunchiness just can't be beat. I think a bag of these will be a perfect addition to any foodie gift basket.

And don't forget to check back tomorrow for another great homemade gift idea.

Sweet and Spicy Sweet Potato Chips

Sweet and Spicy Sweet Potato Chips

2 sweet potatoes
Olive oil
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
salt and pepper to taste
2 tsp raw sugar

Peel sweet potatoes. Slice thinly, using either a mandoline or vegetable peeler. Place in small bowl and drizzle a small amount of olive oil over, tossing well to coat. Add seasonings and mix well. Place onto dehydrator shelves and dehydrate at 105 degrees for 24 hours, until crispy and dry.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Creamy Cauliflower Soup with Shredded Brussel Sprouts

So let's be honest with each other, shall we? Listen - I love food. I do. I love gourmet restaurants and I love making labor-intensive recipes. For the most part. But in the real world, I work a pretty stressful job that gets me home later in the evening. Quite frankly, the last thing I want to do is spend hours in the kitchen making dinner. But at the same time, I want good flavors and I want the recipe to taste like I slaved over it for hours.

Before I left for work this morning, I noticed a head of cauliflower and some brussel sprouts I wanted to use up. I'm a huge fan of roasting them both, but I knew I wanted something different.

Let's talk about the soup first. Sweet cauliflower, it's delicious. It literally took about 25 minutes from opening the refrigerator to sitting down at my dinner table to eat. But the flavor? Tastes like I spent an hour on it. And the best part about it? It's practically fat-free and vegan!

The soup is wonderful on its own, but I decided to top it with some of the brussel sprouts I made. And trust me, these sprouts are no slouch! They could easily stand on their own as a side dish and I'm pretty sure they could convert even non-brussel sprout lovers. And again, these are quick and easy and cook up in just a few minutes.

So go ahead and give this wonderful combo a try! I promise you will not be disappointed!

Creamy Cauliflower Soup with Shredded Brussel Sprouts

Creamy Cauliflower Soup

1 cup diced onion
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 tbsp olive oil
5 cups chopped cauliflower
2 cups vegetable broth
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tbsp tarragon vinegar

In a medium saucepan, heat olive oil over medium high heat. Add onion and saute for 2 minutes. Add garlic and cauliflower to pan and stir well. Sprinkle with a little salt. Saute for 7-10 minutes, stirring occasionally. (it may seem dry in the pan, but you want it to get a little crispy) Add broth and bring to a boil. Lower heat to medium, cover, and boil for 10 minutes, until cauliflower is fork tender. Remove from heat. Using an immersion blender, process soup until creamy and no pieces of
cauliflower remain. Stir in tarragon vinegar and adjust seasoning.

Shredded Brussel Sprouts

2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp Smart Balance or butter
2 cloves garlic
1 pound brussel sprouts, cleaned and thinly sliced with knife
salt and pepper
1/4 tsp celery seed

In a small pan, heat olive oil and butter. Add garlic and saute for 30 seconds. Add brussel sprouts, salt, pepper, and celery seed. Stir well. Cook for 3-5 minutes, until brussel sprouts are tender but still retain some bite to them.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Tabbouleh, raw style

Before I get into this new recipe, allow me to announce the winner of Alissa Cohen's latest cookbook, "Raw Food for Everyone." Congratulations, dbswissy! Here is her randomly-picked winning comment:

"...looking for ways to incorporate more raw fruits and veggies in my family's diet. Also I want to support my mom who is very into the raw food diet. I would love to be able to surprise her with some great recipes!"

Now speaking of raw food recipes, I can completely understand someone's hesitation to venture into a "raw food diet." Most cookbooks have long lists of special ingredients and appliances, and some recipes take 4-5 days of preparation. That's pretty intimidating!

One of my favorite raw food blogs is "Raw on $10 a Day." I love it because not only does she post days' worth of menus that cost less than $10 per day to make (usually for 2-3 people), but most of her recipes are simple, easy, and don't require a kitchen stocked with fancy appliances.

She has a cookbook out that I really like and this is variation on her recipe for Tabbouleh. I've always been a fan of tabbouleh, so I was excited to find a version done raw style.

Sure, the weather is getting colder out there, but sometimes on a cold, windy day, you just want a fresh tasting dish with some snap to it. This recipe fits the bit - it's easy, it's full of fresh veggies and herbs, and will most definitely leave you feeling satisfied.


Tabbouleh, raw style

A variation from "Raw on $10 a Day"

1 c cauliflower florets
1 cup minced flat parsley
2 medium sized cucumbers, diced
2 tomatoes, seeded and diced
1/2 large onion, diced
1/4 cup minced fresh mint leaves
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 tsp garam masala
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
Drizzle of olive oil
Salt and pepper

Place cauliflower florets in food processor. Pulse until it becomes small rice-sized pieces. Add to a large mixing bowl and combine with remaining ingredients. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve and enjoy!

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Win a copy of "Raw Food for Everyone!"

I was so excited when I was contacted and asked if I wanted to give away a copy of Alissa Cohen's newest book, "Raw Food For Everyone." I've been a huge fan of Cohen's, ever since I laid my hands on her first book, "Living Food."


What a great second book this is. What I love about it is that it's a very tangible and usable book for almost any home cook. The problem I have with most raw food books is that they use all sorts of fancy ingredients and equipment that most kitchens aren't stocked with, unless you just happen to be a raw vegan. As someone who dabbles with eating raw as much as I can, I'm not always in the mood to make a recipe that requires special ingredients that require a trip to my local health food store and 48 hours of prep and cook time.

Now don't get me wrong - like her first book, this definitely has some recipes that will require some time. But it's a great mix of easy, quick recipes and more gourmet, intensive recipes.

The book starts with chapters on soaking, sprouting, why raw foods are good for you, etc. Then it moves into the recipes. There are some great cheese recipes, pickles, smoothies, crackers and wraps - you name it, it's probably in here. Whether you're a raw foodist, a vegan, or just interested in raw food, this is definitely a great book to have in your library!

Alright, now that I've gone on long enough, let's get to the good part.


It's easy to participate. All you have to do is answer the following question in this post's comment section. The contest will end Sunday night, November 7th @ midnite. I'll enter everyone's name who answered the question into a drawing and announce the winner on my blog Saturday, November 6th.

QUESTION: What is your primary diet - vegan, vegetarian, raw foodist, none of the above but just curious, etc.?

For another entry - follow 28Cooks on Twitter. Make sure to leave me a comment if you do.

For an additional entry - Post this message on Facebook – you can do this once each day for an extra entry: I entered to win a a copy of "Raw Food for Everyone" at & you can too –

For an additional entry - Tweet this contest on Twitter, you can do this once each day for an extra entry - copy this for your Tweet: RT – I entered to win a copy of Alissa Cohen's "Raw Food for Everyone" & you can too @28Cooks –

Want another chance to win? Write about this giveaway on your blog and link back to this blog post. Come back to let me know in a separate comment.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Idiot's Delicious Mushroom Soup

The Internet is a wonderful thing. But it's kinda like a GPS - you sort of become dependent on it and then forget that you actually DO know how to get there.

I just got home from a weekend away (which was glorious, by the way) but came home to a refrigerator full of rapidly expiring veggies. I saw some mushrooms that were just starting to turn to the dark side and thought that a mushroom soup would be fantastic. I really didn't want a heavy cream-based soup, but yet I wanted something with some serious flavor punch.

So what did I do? I started Googling. And then googled some more. And then more. And after looking at the 17th recipe, it hit me - I'm not an idiot! I can easily just make my own recipe. So that's what I did. And so this soup was born.

It's easy, it's delicious, it's warming and filling, and it's flavorful. Is there anything else you want from a soup?? Oh, you wanted quick too? Good, because this recipe takes about 20 minutes, from idea to mouth. So go ahead and give this a try!

Idiot's Delicious Mushroom Soup

Idiot's Delicious Mushroom Soup

Serves 6-8

4 tbsp butter or margarine
2 tbsp olive oil
2 stalks celery, diced
1 medium white onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 (8 oz) pkg sliced baby bella mushrooms
1/2 tsp dried thyme leaves
1/2 tsp celery seed
1/2 tsp poultry seasoning
4 cups vegetable or chicken broth

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Add olive oil and allow to warm. Add celery, onion, and garlic, and saute for 4-5 minutes, until vegetables start to soften. Add mushrooms, thyme, celery seed, and poultry seasoning. Saute another 3-4 minutes. Add broth and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer, uncovered, for another 10-12 minutes. Remove from heat and puree with an immersion blender. Serve, and enjoy!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

No-Knead Bread

Okay, so I'm smack in the middle of "Pantry Week" and I've vowed to not purchase any new groceries until it's over. That was all well and good, until I remembered I wanted some bread for the leftover meatloaf to make sandwiches. So what was I to do? Make some.

I have never made bread outside of a bread machine. I've always thought about it, but have just never tried it. Even when I purchased the No-Knead cookbook. And even when i saw this recipe online. I just didn't try it. Until now.

And let me tell you - I'm kicking myself for not doing it up until now. Seriously, listen to me. If you have not tried this recipe, do it. Right now. Get up, go to the kitchen, and start this. Why? Because it's easy and the finished product is delicious.

This gorgeous loaf of bread literally cost me about 10 minutes of actual labor. The rest was spent either minding it's own business overnight on the counter, or cooking. The recipe is foolproof.

Oh, and the bread. Absolutely delicious. It has a lovely thick chewy crust, and the inside is delicious. It's exactly what I want my bread to be. Seriously. I mean, just look at it!

No-Knead Bread

Anyway, here's the link to the recipe. I followed it exactly as written, using parchment paper. I plan on making some variations for the next batch. Enjoy! And if you try it, let me know!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Coconut Almond Cookies

So as you can tell from the recipes listed on the sidebar, I'm not much for baking or sweets. Salty snacks tempt me far more than a piece of cake or pie. That being said, there are times that I do crave just a little something sweet to take the edge off.

I'm deeply embroiled in pantry week, so I've been pulling out all of my cookbooks and looking for some stellar recipes to use. I was looking for a cookie that was easy, but also one where I had all the ingredients already in my kitchen. I knew I wanted something vegan, but as I sadly realized I as out of Smart Balance, the list of potentials grew shorter and shorter.

I finally found a recipe in Veganomicon (which is a fantastic vegan cookbook, by the way) that sounded tasty. I quickly skimmed the ingredient list, thought, "yeah, I have all that," and proceeded to the kitchen to make it.

Well, as I started throwing it all together, I realized I was out of a few crucial elements. The first was canola oil, or any oil actually. As I realized my olive oil supply was on the slim side, I knew I didn't want to use that all up. I almost bagged the entire recipe, but then remembered the 2 jars of coconut oil I stashed away. I crossed my fingers and began making the recipe.

Whoa. These cookies are amazing! Not only are they light and crispy, they aren't overly sweet and have a lovely almond and coconut flavor. And seeing how they took me only a few minutes to throw together before they went into the oven, I can guarantee you these shall make an appearance many many times in the future.

Check back tomorrow for my first attempt at breadmaking and the reason why everyone should try this recipe.

Coconut Almond Cookies

Coconut Almond Cookies
Makes 38-40 cookies

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 c natural almonds, ground into flour
1 1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 c coconut oil, warmed slightly
1/4 c agave nectar
1/4 c coconut milk or almond milk
2/3 c sugar
1 1/2 tsp almond extract
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350. Put a layer of parchment paper onto 2 baking sheets and set aside. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, almond flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside. In a large bowl, beat together coconut oil, agave nectar, milk, sugar, and extracts until well combined. Add in flours and beat until a thick batter is formed. Allow to rest in the refrigerator for a few minutes. Drop by the tablespoon onto baking sheets. Place in oven and bake for 7-9 minutes, until cookie is golden brown. With a flat spatula, remove from baking sheet and place on wire racks to cool.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Just Because It's Vegan: Delicious Vegan Meatloaf

This is by far the best vegan meatloaf recipe I've ever made. How many other recipes have I tried, you ask? Well, only 1 other, but that's only because I found this one and had no need to ever try another recipe!!

I've only recently come to appreciate the versatility of TVP. Although I've had it in my pantry for quite some time, I've sadly neglected it in exchange for shelling out unnecessary money on the expensive brand-name meat substitutes.

This meatloaf is meaty and tasty and filling and comforting - all the things you want in your meatloaf. I also love that it slices perfectly, making it perfect for sandwiches for later in the week.

This recipe is a variation from a recipe in Cozy Inside, another great vegan cookbook. It was a perfect fit for Pantry Week, and also another great addition to the "Just Because It's Vegan" series. (See the previous entries of Spicy Italian Sausage, Thai Curry Tempeh Spread, and Raw Brownies!)

Check back tomorrow for a delicious cookie recipe that stood up to my many ingredient substitutions!

Delicious Vegan Meatloaf

Delicious Vegan Meatloaf

Serves 6

3 cups TVP
2 1/2 cups vegetarian beef broth
2 tbsp vegan worcestershire sauce
1 cup diced onion
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp fennel seed, crushed
1 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
1 tbsp garlic powder
1 tbsp onion powder
1 tsp cumin
1 cup vegan barbeque sauce
1 1/2 cups vital wheat gluten

Preheat oven to 350. Mix TVP with broth and worcestershire sauce in a large glass mixing bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Microwave on high for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, heat olive oil over medium high heat. Add onion and garlic, and saute for 5-8 minutes. Add fennel seed and saute another minute. Place onion mixture in a large mixing bowl, and add TVP and remaining ingredients. Stir until well combined.
Remove half of the mixture, and process in a food processor until paste-like. Add back to the mixture and combine well. Place in a well-oiled loaf pan and press down well.
Bake for 45 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to rest at least 10 minutes before serving. Enjoy!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Pantry Week Begins!
Spicy Zucchini and Mushroom Saute

So I went to the amazing Amish health food store that I frequent, and one of my purchases was a bag of organic dried pinto beans that I was intending to turn into chili. I brought them home, and as I went to put them away in my pantry, I realized I had already made that exact same purchase. Twice before.

One of the perils of not having a lot of visible cupboard space is that things get pushed to the back and then they are forgotten. I decided to pull everything out and take stock of what I had.

Well, color me embarrassed. I was floored by how well-stocked my pantry was, full of things I had purchased with good intentions and then promptly forgot about. Lentils, beans, cans of tomato sauce, green chilies - the list goes on and on. I then opened my refrigerator and realized how much fresh produce I had too!

Right then and there I decided to instill "Pantry Week" at my house. No new groceries for a week. Period. Not only will it force me to use up the things I already have, but it's a challenge, and those that know me well KNOW that I love a good challenge. And here's the thing - I've made most of the menu for the week and I haven't even begun to get rid of all the things that linger in my pantry.

Today, it's rainy and dreary outside, so I needed something filling and comforting. The main dish will be featured tomorrow, but for today, a unique side dish. I had a zucchini that has been languishing in my fridge for a bit, as well as a few different boxes of mushrooms. I wanted something simple, yet tasty, and this saute was born.

I'm always a fan of using spice in my cooking, and if I can utilize whole spices, all the better! This saute gets a nice punch of flavor from the cumin and celery seeds, and is a nice change from the boring everyday side dishes.

Check back tomorrow for a great vegetarian main dish and later for my first attempt at homemade bread!

Spicy Zucchini and Mushroom Saute

Spicy Zucchini and Mushroom Saute
Serves 4-6

4 cups chopped zucchini
1 (8 oz) container of sliced baby bella mushrooms
3 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 tsp cumin seed
1/2 tsp celery seed
salt and pepper to taste

In a large pot, heat oil over medium high heat. Add zucchini and saute for 7-8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic and mushrooms, and saute for another 4-5 minutes. Add cumin seed, celery seed, and salt and pepper. Saute for another 2-3 minutes, until zucchini and mushrooms are tender. Serve and enjoy!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Raw Onion Dip

I've mentioned before how much I enjoy Alissa Cohen's "Living on Live Food." It's full of great recipes that are raw, vegan, and most importantly, tasty!

I was looking for something to dip my "Flax Crackers with Everything" into and thought I'd flip through her book for something raw and delicious. I discovered her "French Onion Dip" and immediately thought that I should give it a try.

I've made a few changes and added some things, and I think it really kicks it up a notch. It's creamy, it's delicious, and it's perfect for dipping. I also used it in a wrap as a base for some sprouts, fresh cucumbers, and tomatoes, and it was delicious!

Raw Onion Dip

Raw Onion Dip

2 cups raw macadamia nuts
3/4 cup water
1 tsp salt
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp celery seed
1 cup diced onion

In a food processor, combine nuts, water, salt, garlic powder, and celery seed until creamy. This took a minute or so for me. Scoop into bowl and stir in onion. Allow to chill in the fridge for a few hours.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Fun with the Dehydrator: Flax Crackers with Everything

There's something about an Everything bagel that just makes me swoon. Actually, I think it's the combination of the "everything" spices that really gets me. I was in the grocery store yesterday and saw some Everything Pretzels and almost picked them up. But I've been trying to eat as raw and as healthy as possible the past few days, so I left them on the shelf. As I came home and unpacked my groceries, the pretzels still loomed in my mind.

I've been addicted to flax crackers lately, since they are healthy and super easy to make in the dehydrator. I was thinking about making another batch of my standard Mexican flavor until it hit me - flax crackers with "everything!"

This recipe is delicious. The seeds and spices add a wonderful element of flavor to this cracker. They are crispy and delicious, and I've been dipping them into everything lately. I'm sure you can make this in a very low heat oven, so if you try it, let me know how it works out!

Oh, and check back on Wednesday for a lovely creamy Raw dip that pairs wonderfully with these.

Flax Crackers with Everything

Flax Crackers with Everything

Makes 5 trays

1 cup golden flax seeds, soaked in 1 cup water
1 cup golden flax seeds, ground
1 cup onion, chopped
1 cup red bell pepper, chopped
1 cup fresh (or frozen) corn
4 tsp dried minced garlic
1 tbsp poppy seeds
1 tbsp sesame seeds
1 tbsp caraway seeds
1 1/2 tsp salt
More sea salt to sprinkle

In a food processor, combine onion, pepper, and corn until well processed. Pour into medium mixing bowl and add remaining ingredients. Mix by hand, making sure to mix well. Spread onto Paraflex sheet-covered dehydrator trays 1/4" thick. Score with pizza cutter into desired shapes. Dehydrate at 105 degrees for 6 hours, then flip and remove Paraflex. Continue to dehydrate another 18-24 hours. Store in airtight container.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Un-Stirfry with Ginger Sauce

I love summer. I do. I love everything about it. I love the weather, the social functions, and the hanging out. But most of all, I love the fresh produce and food that's available this time of year. Everything is just so delicious and flavorful, and you can get it almost anywhere!

This is such a great way to use up some of that tasty local produce. Although I've used carrots, mushrooms, string beans, and onion, you can easily substitute any other vegetables you'd like. The sauce can be thrown together in a matter of minutes, so you can easily have this on the table for dinner in no time!

Un-Stirfry with Ginger Sauce

Un-Stirfry with Ginger Sauce
Serves 2

1/8 c sesame oil
1/8 c olive oil
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp tamari (or soy sauce)
1 tbsp grated ginger
1 pitted date (or 1 tbsp honey)
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4-1/2 tsp crushed red pepper

3 cups chopped veggies of your choice (I used red onion, green beans, mushrooms, and carrots)

In a small food processor, combine all sauce ingredients. Pour over chopped veggies. Can be eaten right away, or for more of a cooked texture, allow to marinate overnight in the fridge.

Monday, May 31, 2010

28 Cooks' Memorial Day Remix - Potato Salad with Chili-Cumin Vinaigrette

I was digging through my archives for this potato salad recipe, since it's one of my favorites. I saw the date posted and realized I made this last year for Memorial Day, so I thought I'd share the recipe again, although this time with an updated picture.

Following is the original post:

Everyone loves a picnic - the fresh air, the smell of the barbeque, and the variety of potluck dishes on the table. Usually, you'll find at least one or two mayonnaise-based salads, a macaroni salad, and some sort of potato salad. I'm not crazy about mayo, so I'm always interested in any potato salad without it.

I knew what I wanted to try with this salad, but it wasn't until I tasted the final product that I knew I had hit it. The toasted cumin in the dressing, alongside the fresh cilantro and dried thai chilies, provide a perfect summery dressing with a bit of a twang. Also, since it's mayo-less and uses olive oil as the base, this is very low in calories and fat, which makes it almost guilt-free.

*On the heat scale, it's only about a 2 out of 5*

Potato Salad with Chili-Cumin Vinaigrette

Potato Salad with Chile-Cumin Vinaigrette

5 cups red potatoes, scrubbed and cut into 1" pieces
1 tsp salt
2 green onions
3 tbsp red onion, diced

1 tsp cumin seeds
4 dried thai chiles
1/2 c fresh cilantro leaves
1/2 jalapeno
1 tsp minced onion
1 clove garlic, minced
6 tbsp seasoned rice vinegar
1/4 c olive oil
1/2 tsp sugar
Salt and pepper to taste

Place potato pieces into a large saucepan and cover with water. Add 1 tsp of salt. Bring water to a boil, and boil about 8 minutes. Potatoes should be tender when pierced with a skewer. Drain pot, and place potatoes into large bowl. Add green and red onion.
Vinaigrette - place cumin seeds in a small skillet. Over high heat, toast 2 minutes, until seeds are fragrant and brown. Allow to cool, and grind in a mortar and pestle. In food processor, combine cumin, chilies, cilantro, jalapeno, onion, garlic, and rice vinegar. Process until all ingredients are well minced. With motor running, slowly add olive oil until dressing is emulsified.
Pour vinaigrette over potatoes and stir to coat. Serve at room temperature or chilled.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Cheddar Ale Potato Soup

Yes, I realize we are just getting into spring and the weather has turned warmer, which means it ain't soup season anymore. But I've been on a soup and salad bender lately, and have been craving some hearty cheese soup.

I rarely ever order any sort of cheese soup in a restaurant, because it either comes out way too thick and more suitable for a dip, or with a plasticky taste. I've never made it myself, but for some reason, I woke up this morning thinking I should start.

Although the ingredient list is on the long side, this really is a very easy soup to make. It's not too thick, not too thin, and has just the right amount of cheesiness to it. I've added potatoes to give it more heft, but you could easily substitute broccoli or cauliflower, as the mood strikes.

This is definitely a recipe you'll want to keep on hand for the snappy weathers of fall, or for a rainy spring day when you're just craving something hearty and warm.

Cheddar Ale Potato Soup

Cheddar Ale Potato Soup
Serves 8-10

1 1/2 cups diced celery
1 1/2 cups diced carrot
1 1/2 cups diced onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 stick butter
1/3 cup flour
4 cups fat-free half and half
3 cups vegetable broth
2 cups beer
4 cups potatoes, small diced
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp dijon mustard
1 tsp Tabasco
1/8 tsp cayenne (optional)
1/2 - 1 tsp salt (depending on saltiness of broth)
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tsp dry mustard
6 cups shredded sharp cheese

In a large stockpot, melt butter over medium high heat. Add celery, carrot, and onion. Cover with lid and saute for 7-8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic and saute another minute or so. Stir in flour, mixing well, and cook another few minutes, stirring frequently. Slowly whisk in half and half, whisking well. Slowly add in broth and beer, and then stir in potatoes. Bring mixture to a boil, stirring frequently. Add Worcestershire, dijon, Tabasco, cayenne, salt, pepper, and dry mustard. Simmer 10 minutes, or until potatoes are soft. Remove from heat. Stir in handfuls of cheese slowly, until melted. Serve with croutons.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Warm and Spicy Black Bean Dip

I have been looking for some sort of warm bean dip recipe to make for quite some time. I've looked at all of my favorite recipe spots and through a few cookbooks, but nothing has really jumped out at me. It wasn't until I had some fresh sofrito in my refrigerator that made me think that it would be the perfect thing to start the recipe.

Looking for a quick and easy recipe to make for impromptu guests? This is definitely it! All ingredients can be kept on hand and it literally takes about 10 minutes to throw together. If you don't have any fresh sofrito, use the jarred type. No matter how this quick and easy dip is made, I guarantee it'll be a hit at the party!

Warm and Spicy Black Bean Dip

Warm and Spicy Black Bean Dip
Serves 3-4

1 (15 oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 (3 oz) package cream cheese, room temperature
1/3 cup shredded sharp cheddar (plus more to top, if desired)
1 fresh jalapeno pepper, diced (optional)
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp chili powder
2 tbsp sofrito

Preheat oven to 375. In a large bowl, mash black beans with cream cheese, retaining some texture of the beans. Stir in remaining ingredients. Top with additional shredded cheese if desired. Spread into a greased baking dish and place into oven. Bake 20-25 minutes, until dip is bubbly. Serve with tortilla chips.

Monday, May 03, 2010


So I have been craving Mexican and Spanish food like nobody's business. Perhaps it's the coming of Cinco de May, although to be honest, it wasn't until I was writing this blog post that I realized it's only 2 days away!

I'm almost embarrassed to admit that this is the first time I made my own Sofrito. As you may or may not be aware, sofrito is the basis of many hispanic dishes. It's the perfect flavoring base for all sorts of dishes. The onion and garlic and cilantro add just the right flavor notes.

As I said, this was my first time making it, and as easy as it was, I can definitely guarantee this will be a repeat recipe. It literally took about 20 minutes, start to finish. It freezes perfectly, so I freeze it in 1/2 cup portions so that I always have it on hand when the craving for Spanish food strikes!

And be sure to check back later this week for more recipes utilizing this wonderful item.


Yields 6 cups

12-16 cloves garlic, peeled
3 jalapenos, roughly chopped
2 green peppers, seeded and roughly chopped (about 2 cups)
1 red bell pepper, seeded and roughly chopped (about 1 cup)
2 medium onions, peeled and roughly chopped (about 2 cups)
4 plum tomatoes
1 bunch cilantro, washed and torn

In a food processor, pulse garlic and jalapenos until chopped. Add bell peppers and onions, and pulse. Add tomatoes and cilantro, and process until well combined. Store in the refrigerator for use within 3-5 days, or freeze in 1/2 cup portions for later use.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Spicy Steak Fries

I'm going to go ahead and admit that I've made this recipe more times than necessary, under the guise of "perfecting the spice blend", only because these are seriously tasty. As I mentioned in the last post, I'm a huge fan of salty snacks, and fries are no exception.

This is a great recipe to have on hand for a pretty easy side dish. (and not a meal, as it may or may not have been for me at one point this past week) Although it does require some time in the oven, most of the time is non-active, so you can easily be making the rest of the meal in the meantime.

I guarantee that you'll be making this recipe again and again - it's just that good!

Spicy Steak Fries

Spicy Steak Fries
Serves 2-4

2 large russet potatoes, scrubbed clean
1 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp butter
1/2 tsp Old Bay
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp black pepper
pinch of cayenne pepper

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Cut potatoes into steak fry wedges. In the microwave, melt butter in a small dish. Whisk in olive oil, garlic, and remaining spices. Toss wedges in butter mixture and spread into 9x13" baking dish. Place into preheated oven. Allow to roast for 15 minutes, then toss. Continue to toss every 15-20 minutes, until potatoes are crispy and brown. (this took about 45 minutes for me). Remove from oven and allow to cool for a few minutes before serving.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Fun with the Dehydrator: Cheezy Kale Chips

Snack foods are my absolute demise when it comes to trying to eat healthy. I can easily pass up cakes, cookies, pies, and other sweets, but my resistance is low if you dangle any kind of salty snack in front of me.

Whenever I'm trying to really at healthy, I usually fire up the dehydrator (or Dry Baby, as I like to call it) to make some healthy snacks to have on hand. To be honest, my dehydrator is probably used more for snacks than anything else!

This week, I dried some lovely apple slices tossed in apple pie spice, some lovely fresh kiwi fruit, and these cheezy kale chips. The last kale chips were such a hit, but the Dry Baby really makes them even better. Any recipe of kale chip, when made in the dehydrator, will last for days, so it's perfect to make a large batch and snack on them throughout the week. When I'm feeling lazy, I will just toss some fresh kale leaves with a smidgen of olive oil and whatever seasoning salt happens to be on hand - lemon pepper being my favorite at the moment. If I have a few more minutes, I'll make this recipe.

Cheezy Kale Chips

Cheezy Kale Chips

2 large bunchs of kale, washed, destemmed, and torn into pieces
1 cup raw cashews, soaked in water for 2 hours
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
juice of 1 lemon
1 tbsp nutritional yeast
2 tsp agave nectar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp chili powder

Drain cashews. In a food processsor, combine cashews and remaining ingredients, except for the kale leaves. Process until well combined. In a large bowl, toss kale leaves with cashew mixture, and mix well with your hands, until every piece is coated.
Place in dehydrator and dry at 115 degrees for 6-8 hours, until crispy and coating is dry. Store in a airtight container.

You may also like:
*Fun with the Dehydrator - Mexican Crackers
*Fun with the Dehydrator - Lemon Macaroons

Monday, March 15, 2010

Apple Crisp with Gingersnap and Black Pepper Streusel

Oh, the days of spring. The weather is warmer and the days are getting longer and I think I'm in love with it. And yet, it's cold and rainy days like today that make me think of filling, warm, and delicious comfort food.

Although fall is traditionally the season for apples, I was able to get my hands on some super tasty ones at my local Wegmans. I haven't made an apple crisp in years, but for some reason, that's all I wanted. But not just any apple crisp - it needed some sort of flair. So I kicked it up with some gingersnaps and at the last minute, threw in some freshly cracked black pepper for some extra punch, which was fantastic.
This recipe is super easy to make and incredibly delicious!

Apple Crisp with Black Pepper and Gingersnap Streusel

Apple Crisp with Black Pepper Gingersnap Streusel

1 cup gingersnap cookie crumbs
½ cup flour
¾ cup quick-cooking oats
1/3 cup brown sugar
½ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp nutmeg
1 tsp coarsely ground black pepper
½ cup butter

5 cups apples, peeled and chopped
2 tbsp lemon juice
¼ cup brown sugar
½ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp nutmeg

Preheat oven to 375. Combine cookie crumbs, flour, oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and pepper in a medium-sized mixing bowl. Cut in butter, using a pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Set aside.
In another bowl, toss apples with lemon juice, sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Place into well-oiled baking dish, and top with streusel. Place in preheated oven and bake for 30 minutes, until apples are bubbly and top is golden brown.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Chinese Takeout Night - Stirfry in Curry Sauce

I was on my way home from work tonight and was on the phone with my father. I passed a Chinese buffet and an intense craving for some takeout gripped me. But just as quickly and intense was the conversation I had just had 3 minutes before about the dip in pay I'd be taking after starting my new job on Monday and how I needed to refine my budget. I sadly continued on my way home, visions of takeout eggrolls and fried rice fading in my rear view mirror.

When I got home, I was sadly perusing my kitchen, when the inspiration to just make my own "takeout" struck me. I was thinking some sort of stirfry or lo mein, until the sad realization that out of the plentiful supply of Asian condiments that were stocked in my pantry, I was unbelievably out of soy sauce. I googled "stir fry no soy sauce" a few times, but nothing really caught my eye.

Just as I had decided to give up and eat some pretzels, memories of my second favorite Chinese takeout meal popped into my head - stirfried vegetables in curry sauce! I couldn't find anything like I wanted after a brief internet search, so just decided to see what I could come up with.

And boy, am I glad I did. This is almost exactly like the dish I've enjoyed so many times. The best part about it - it was literally ready to eat after 20 minutes. This recipe can easily be modified to include any vegetables or protein you have on hand, and with the quick ease of making this sauce, you can have your own Chinese takeout night any day of the week.

Stirfried Vegetables in Curry Sauce

Stirfry in Curry Sauce
Serves 4

5 tbsp sesame oil
1/2 red onion, cut into slivers
1 tbsp minced ginger
2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1 1/2 tbsp flour
2 1/2 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp salt
2 cups warm water
1-2 tbsp chili garlic sauce
3-4 cups broccoli, cut into pieces
1 (8oz) pkg sliced baby bella mushrooms

In a large wok, heat 2 tbsp sesame oil over medium high heat. Add onion and saute for 2 minutes. Add ginger and garlic and saute for another minute or so. In a small bowl, whisk flour and curry powder together. Add to wok and saute for 30-45 seconds, stirring continuously. Add chili powder and salt, and saute for another 30 seconds. Slowly whisk in water until well combined and thickened. Stir in chili garlic sauce. Pour sauce into a bowl and set aside.
After cleaning out wok, place back on medium high heat and add remaining sesame oil. Add broccoli and saute for 2-3 minutes. Add mushrooms and saute an additional 2-3 minutes. Pour sauce over vegetables and continue to saute for another minute or so, until well combined and heated through. Serve over rice or noodles.

Monday, March 08, 2010

Hot Sauce Glazed Tempeh

I'm a huge fan of tempeh, although I don't use it enough. I probably make the Tempeh Buffalo Wings the most, but the "Thai Curry Tempeh Salad" is definitely a close second. I had given those recipes to a few friends of mine, who used tempeh for the first time and really loved it. They asked for more recipes using up tempeh, and since i'm always up for a culinary challenge, I agreed to find and post more.

When I'm looking for ideas for vegan recipes, Veganomicon is usually the first book I grab. It's got some really solid vegan recipes, and even non-vegans can find something delicious in the book to make. Although there are quite a few tempeh recipes within its pages, the Hot-Sauce Glazed Tempeh caught my eye.

It's tasty and easy to make, and definitely a great little tempeh recipe to add into your rotation. Instead of making it in triangle slabs like the recipe calls for, I instead just cut it into cubes, which were very easy to broil and get nice and crispy. So if you're looking for another tempeh recipe, I'd suggest giving this one a try!


Hot-Sauce Glazed Tempeh
a slight variation of Veganomicon's recipe
Serves 4

8 oz tempeh
1/2 c wine (i used a Chardonnay)
1/4 c Louisianna-style hot sauce
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp soy sauce
3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
1/8 tsp cayenne

Bring 4 cups of water to boil over high heat. Meanwhile, remove tempeh from package. Cut into 1" cubes. Once water is boiling, lower heat to medium high, add tempeh, and boil for 15 minutes. Drain and rinse with cool water.
In the meantime, whisk remaining ingredients together and pour in a large ziploc bag. Add tempeh cubes and place in refrigerator for as little as an hour or up to 2 days.
Preheat broiler in oven. Place drained tempeh cubes in oiled baking dish and place under broiler. Broil for 15-20 minutes, turning every few minutes and basting with remaining marinade, until cubes are crispy and heated through.
Serve and enjoy!

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Brown Rice Salad with Orange Chipotle Vinaigrette

Well, it's official - I'm snowed in for the weekend. I'm not sure of the exact measurement of how much we got (and it's still snowing) but it's somewhere between over the knee and under the waist. That's a pretty scientific measurement, right?

There's nothing like having all day to be in the house, and it's given me a great opportunity to monkey around in the kitchen. I've got a huge stack of cookbooks next to me and a note pad absolutely covered with ideas, so today should be quite the productive day - foodwise, that is.

I've recently fallen back in love with brown rice. I picked up a gorgeous bag of some organic brown rice and wanted a fun, yet different way to use it, so rice salad it is.

This is a delicious salad. The dressing has just the right mixture of sweet and spicy, and combined with the heartiness of the rice and black beans, you have a salad that could easily stand on its own as the main event. This is also a great make ahead dish, so this is definitely one you may want to file away for future use when guests are coming over.

Brown Rice Salad with Orange Chipotle Vinaigrette

Brown Rice Salad with Orange Chipotle Vinaigrette
Serves 4-6

4 cups fresh orange juice
2 tsp pureed chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (or more, should you really want to kick it up!)
1/2 tsp cumin
2 tsp agave nectar (or honey)

4 cups cooked and chilled brown rice
1 (15 oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 c diced red onion
1/4 c chopped fresh cilantro

In a medium saucepan, boil orange juice until reduced to 2/3 cup. (This takes about 25-30 minutes). Remove from heat and set aside to cool. In a small food processor, blend reduced orange juice, chipotle peppers, cumin, and agave until well combined.
In a large bowl, combine rice, beans, onion, and cilantro. Pour vinaigrette over salad and toss until well combined. Serve and enjoy!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Indian Cream of Spinach Soup

My best friend Lina will probably agree that there are few flavors that go together as well as spinach and Indian spices. Her favorite thing to order at an Indian restaurant is always Saag, regardless of how many times she's had it.

I had a huge bag of spinach left in the fridge and wanted to use it up. And since the weather is 25 degrees here today, I thought a nice warm soup would just hit the spot.

And let me tell you what - not only is this soup tasty, but it's extremely easy. From start to finish, I probably only spent about 20 minutes in the kitchen. It's also pretty healthy, using just a 1/2 cup of half & half at the end to give it some creaminess. The vegans in the house can easily substitute soy creamer to make this soup completely vegan.

Don't let the picture fool you - this soup is actually rather tasty! (Soups, especially green ones, are notoriously hard to photograph!)

Indian Cream of Spinach Soup

Indian Cream of Spinach Soup
Serves 6

2 tbsp olive oil
1 cup onion, chopped
8 cups packed pinach leaves, washed
32 oz vegetable stock
1 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 c half and half

In a large stockpot, heat olive oil over medium high heat. Saute onions for 5 minutes, until tender. Add spinach and stir well. Add stock and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for 8-10 minutes, until spinach is wilted. Stir in garam masala and salt. Remove from heat. Using an immersion blender, puree soup. Stir in half and half. Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


So I know as a vegetarian that Superbowl parties usually aren't vegetarian friendly. Which is okay with me, because I'm not really a huge football fan anyway. But a girl needs to eat, right?

I'm reposting one of my favorite recipes from last year. It's the Hearty Vegetarian Sub, and I think it would be a perfect substantial little meal to serve to your non-meat eating friends. It's also a snap to make, so it's easy to make ahead of time and have on hand for those craving something hearty and filling.

I'm also reposting two of my very favorite vegan finger foods that are wonderful for having as appetizers, Tempeh Wingz and BBQ Ribz. Even non-meat eaters I know love these recipes! And check back for more snack-type recipes that will be perfect for your upcoming party!

Hearty Vegetarian Sub

Hearty Vegetarian Sub
Serves 4

3 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1 c onion, chopped in slivers
2 c baby bella mushrooms, sliced thickly
2 c zucchini, cut into 1" long slivers
1 green bell pepper, cut into slivers
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
2 tsp italian seasoning
1/2 tsp fennel seed, crushed
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 (6 oz) can tomato paste
1 (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes

In large saucepan over medium-high heat, warm olive oil. Add garlic and saute for 30 seconds. Add onion and bell pepper and saute for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add mushrooms and zucchini and saute an additional 5 minutes. Add spices and stir for 30 seconds. Add remaining ingredients, stir well to combine, lower heat and cook, covered for an additional 10 minutes until veggies are tender. (I wanted some texture to remain, so I didn't completely cook them until done). Serve on hoagie rolls with cheese.

Buffalo Tempeh "Wings"

Buffalo Tempeh "Wings"
1 (8 oz) pkg tempeh
1/3 c soy milk
1/3 c flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp thyme leaves
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp garlic powder
Freshly ground pepper to taste
1 cup Italian seasoninged panko crumbs

Wing Sauce
1/2 c Louisiana-style hot sauce
2 tbsp butter
1 tbsp ketchup

Bring 4 cups of water to boil over high heat. Meanwhile, remove tempeh from package. Slice into 8 strips. (If you are a first time tempheh eater and have texture issues, I recommend slicing into 10-12 strips) Once water is boiling, lower heat to medium high, add tempeh, and boil for 15 minutes. Drain and rinse with cool water.
Set out 3 bowls. In one, pour in soy milk. In the second, combine flour and seasonings. In third bowl, add panko crumbs. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Place each strip in milk. Coat in flour mixture, then briefly re-dip into milk. Toss with panko crumbs, coating well. Set on slightly oiled baking sheet. Repeat with remaining tempeh strips. Once all are coated and on baking sheet, lightly spray all "wings" with cooking spray. Place into oven and bake for 10 minutes. Flip "wings" over and bake for an additional 10 minutes.
While they are baking, place wing sauce ingredients in a medium sized bowl. Cover with Saran wrap and heat in microwave on medium high setting for a minute and a half. Remove from heat and whisk ingredients together.
When wings are finished baking, toss with sauce. Serve immediately.

BBQ Seitan Ribz

Susan V's BBQ Ribz
An ever-so-slight variation

1 cup vital wheat gluten
2 teaspoons smoked Spanish paprika
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
2 teaspoons onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
3/4 cup water
2 tablespoons tahini or other nut butter
1 tsp Better than Bouillon Vegetarian Beef Base (optional)
1 teaspoon Liquid Smoke
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 cup of your favorite barbecue sauce

Preheat oven to 350. In large bowl, mix together all dry ingredients, from gluten to garlic powder. In a smaller bowl, whisk together tahini, bouillon, Liquid Smoke, and soy sauce. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and stir until combined. Press and pat into lightly-oiled 8x8 baking dish. Cut in half lengthwise, then slice each half into 6-8 pieces. Place into oven and bake for 25 minutes. Start heating grill or lightly-oiled grill pan. Brush top of baked seitan with a generous amount of BBQ sauce. Place, sauce-side down, on grill rack. Brush bottom side with BBQ sauce. When there are nice grill marks on bottom, flip and rebrush with sauce. (Mine took about 2-3 minutes each side) Remove from grill and cut into riblets. Serve with additional sauce if desired.

Monday, January 25, 2010


Okay, so thanks to, we have 2 winners of this gorgeous cookbook, "Chocolates and Confections."

First, is Jenny from Peanut Butter and Jenny, which is a a great blog name, by the way! Her comment was "only one thing makes me happier that I'm awake than seeing little chocolate covered pretzels on my screen... and that would be eating them."

And the second winner is Tennesue, with the comment was "I really want this book. I dream of confections that aren't really viable, such as chocolate covered cherries with a pretzel crust (can you imagine how they'd break apart when you bit in)." That sounds delicious, and if you perfect it, I want the recipe! =)

And those who didn't win, please stay tuned because I have another great cookbook to give away in the next few days!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Ooh, more free stuff!

Okay, so everyone likes free things, right? And those who love to cook know that you can never have enough cookbooks!

I recently received an AMAZING cookbook from Wiley Publishing that is absolutely incredible. The title is Chocolates and Confections, and it's authored by resident experts at the Culinary Institute of America, so it goes well beyond your normal cookbook.


Chocolates and Confections is a gorgeous book, and is positively loaded with great information, tips, and helpful hints. Matter of fact, the first 3 chapters are all about the basics, before getting into some seriously yummy recipes.

Want some recipe titles to wet your whistle? How about:
Green Tea Truffles
Cherry Cordials
Chocolate Covered Confit
Toasted Hazelnut Squares
Peanut Butter Bombs
Lattes Molded Chocolates

If you have any interest in making any sort of candy or confection, this is the book for you! And the best part about this giveaway? I have 2 copies to give away!

There are two easy ways to enter:

The first is simple. Just leave me a comment below with a valid email address to enter the random drawing.

The second is to tweet about this giveaway. Just copy and paste the following into your Twitter for another chance to win. Make sure to leave me a comment when you're done!

"Win the CIA's "Chocolate and Confections" cookbook from @28Cooks! RT to enter"

Enter by Midnight EST on January 24. I'll announce the winner on Monday, January 25! Good Luck!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Lentil Sloppy Joes

You ever have those days where you get home from work and REALLY don't want to make dinner? Days where a bowl of popcorn sounds like a perfectly nutrition meal? Today was that day for me. I even had all of the ingredients and a plan to make these, but just couldn't bear the thought of cooking.

Well, of course, I ended up making this recipe. And boy, am I glad I did! Not only did it literally take me about 20 minutes from start to finish, but it's really quite tasty!

See, my mom used to make sloppy joes all the time for us when I was growing up. It's been years since she made it (probably due to the fact that neither of us eat meat anymore), so I wanted to come up with a vegetarian version.

What I love about this dish is that it's quick, it's easy, it's nutritious, and all of these ingredients can be in your pantry when you need a speedy meal. Although the picture doesn't really say much, I can guarantee you the flavor will knock your socks off! If you're not a lentil fan, substitute any tvp or soy meat substitute. And although these are served traditional-style on a bun, I think they'd be awesome over rice as well.

Lentil Sloppy Joes

Lentil Sloppy Joes
Serves 6-8

1 cup red lentils
2 cups water
2 tbsp olive oil
1 cup diced onion
1 cup diced red bell pepper
2 (8 oz) cans tomato sauce
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp smoked paprika
2-3 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp spicy brown mustard
1 tsp Louisiana-style hot sauce

In a small saucepan, combine lentils and water. Bring to a boil, lower heat, and simmer 15-20 minutes, until tender but still a bit of bite left to them. In the meantime, heat olive oil in medium pan. Add onion and bell pepper, and saute for 3-5 minutes, until slightly tender. Add remaining ingredients, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until lentils are done. Add lentils to pot, allow to simmer just a few minutes more, and serve.

This is also part of Tempt My Tummy Tuesdays hosted over at Blessed With Grace. Be sure to check it out for more tasty recipes!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Roasted Tomato Basil Soup

For years, I've avoided tomato soup. I think it's because I had the canned version once as a child and instantly knew that wasn't going to happen again. Even as I got older and my culinary tastes started to change, I never willingly sought out or tried tomato soup again. However, about 2 years ago, I was at a little soup and sandwich place and for some reason, their tomato bisque sounded tasty to me. So I tried it, and guess what? I loved it. It was absolutely delicious, and since then, I've had it multiple times at a few different places.

I usually have a counter overflowing with produce in my kitchen. Unless I'm using it right away, it'll typically languish there until I realize it's close to being past prime. This morning, I noticed some gorgeous red tomatoes that were just perfectly soft. There was no way I was going to eat 2 1/2 pounds in a day, so I decided to make some soup.

Roasting the tomatoes adds such a lovely base to this soup, and quite frankly, couldn't be easier! The rest of the ingredients are so simple that this soup is a snap to make. It can be served hot or cold, depending on your mood or menu. This is also a great healthy recipe, as there is absolutely almost no fat, other than the few tbsp of olive oil.

Roasted Tomato Basil Soup

Roasted Tomato Soup
Serves 4

2 1/2 pounds tomatoes, cored and cut in half
3-4 cloves garlic, peeled and cut in half
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 c chopped red onion
1/2 tsp crushed fennel seed
2 c vegetable broth
1/4 c chopped fresh basil leaves

Preheat oven to 450. In a 9x13 pan, place tomatoes, cut side up. Drizzle with 2 tbsp olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place in oven and bake for 40-45 minutes, until starting to brown. Remove from oven and set aside.
In large stockpot, heat remaining 1 tbsp of oil over medium high heat. Add onion and saute for 8 minutes. Add fennel and saute for another minute or two, until onion is soft. Add tomatoes and broth to soup and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for 10 minutes, uncovered. Remove from heat, taste, and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Add basil. Puree soup with an immersion blender until creamy.

Friday, January 01, 2010

Happy New Year and a Fresh New Salsa!

Happy New Year, everyone! It's amazing how quickly this year has rushed by and I felt like the holidays came and went before I even realized they were here. That being said, I was lucky enough to spend quite a few days with close family and it was absolutely heavenly just relaxing and enjoying each other's company.

Those long-term readers of 28Cooks will know that I love me a good detox. Although I did the Martha's Vineyard thing a few years back, I find that just spending a few weeks eating nothing but raw food really gives my body a break. Even though I consider myself to be a fairly healthy eater, there are times that I eat my fair share of junk food.

The internet is abuzz with the Raw revolution and there are plenty of excellent websites devoted to only eating raw and natural things. My goal this time around is to just eat as raw as possible for as long as possible, but keeping it as low stress as possible.

This recipe comes from Living on Live Food, which is an encyclopedia of excellent recipes and testimonials about how eating live food has changed lives. What I love about this salsa is the full flavor. The substantial addition of flat parsley and cilantro make this salsa a huge flavor salsa, and it's wonderful on raw crackers or tortilla chips. It's also a lovely little salad dressing. However, my favorite application is tossing a few tablespoons of this with a smashed avocado for a quick and perfectly-flavored guacamole.

Go ahead and let this salsa kick the winter doldrums right out of your tastebuds!

And be sure to check back tomorrow for a pretty cool giveaway and a chance to add a cool new appliance to your kitchen!

A Fresh New Salsa

Alissa's Salsa
an ever-so-slight variation from Living on Live Food

3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup fresh flat italian parsley, roughly chopped
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp fresh lime juice
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp salt
6 plum tomatoes, cut into quarters
3 scallions, chopped into pieces

In a food processor, combine garlic, parsley, cilantro, vinegar, oil, lime juice, cumin, and salt and process until well minced. Add tomatoes and scallions and pulse until chunky and well mixed. Serve and enjoy!