Saturday, June 28, 2008

Spicy Szechuan Eggplant with Chicken


1-2 eggplants, diced (and peeled if you like)
4 tbsp soy sauce
1/4 cup chicken stock
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tbsp cornstarch
4 tbsp water
4 cloves garlic
1/2 red onion
1 tbsp minced ginger
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces

Cut eggplant into 1 inch cubes. In a separate bowl, combine soy sauce, stock, sugar, and pepper.
In another bowl combine cornstarch and water. Saute garlic, onions, and ginger for a few minutes. Add chicken and stir for a few more minutes. Add eggplant and soy mixture, turn down heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Stir in cornstarch mixture and heat through until thickened. Finally, stir in sesame oil. Serve over rice.

Baked Asian Style Honey Chicken, Spicy Rice, Fried Zucchini

Bad picture, fantastic meal! My husband says that this is his new favorite meal, but he says that pretty much every night. It was awfully tasty, though!

Baked Asian Style Honey Chicken

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
4 cloves minced garlic
1 tbsp minced or grated ginger root
2 tbsp honey
2-4 tbsp sesame oil
salt and pepper to taste
2-4 tbsp soy sauce

Mix garlic, ginger, soy sauce, honey, and sesame oil together. Season with salt and pepper. Whisk. Pour over chicken breasts in a ziploc baggie or a baking dish. Let marinate 1 hour, turning chicken over once. Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes.

Spicy White Rice

Make rice as usual, in rice cooker or stovetop. Add a tsp (or more if you like it super spicy) of crushed red pepper flakes. Easy and yummy!

Fried Zucchini

1-2 zucchini
3-4 eggs
1 tbsp or so of milk
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup corn meal
salt and pepper
oil for frying

Cut zucchini into rounds. In a separate bowl combine eggs and milk, whisk together. In another bowl mix flour, cornmeal, salt and pepper. Dip zucchini rounds into egg wash, then coat with flour mixture. Fry in frying pan with oil (I use canola) until coating is golden and crispy.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Tropical Gazpacho

2 posts in one day?? Oh my!

I'm telling you, I have been avoiding cooking at all costs. 118 degree weather will do that to a girl. This recipe was a perfect NO COOK, cool, refreshing summer dish. This is good as an appetizer, but we just ate it for dinner. I think the recipe came from Everyday Cooking. I think.

Tropical Gazpacho


3 mangoes, peeled, pitted, cut into chunks
2 cucumbers, peeled, seeded, and chopped
2 cups low fat buttermilk
1 tbsp fresh lime juice
1 tsp rice vinegar
coarse salt
hot sauce (optional)
mint, basil, or lime for garnish.

Working in batches, place mangoes, cucumbers, buttermilk, lime juice, and vinegar in blender. Puree until smooth. Season with salt and hot sauce (if using) Refrigerate until chilled, about 1 hr. Serve with mint leaves, basil, or lime wedges.

Flat Bread and Baba Ghanoush

OMG, an update! It has been quite awhile.

We have so much eggplant in the garden it's insane, so we made baba ghanoush and flat bread today. So simple, so tasty! This recipe for flat bread was from an old Martha Stewart Living magazine, not sure which issue. It is the best flat bread I've ever had, really good.

Baba Ghanoush


  • 1 eggplant
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Lightly grease a baking sheet.
  2. Place eggplant on baking sheet, and make holes in the skin with a fork. Roast it for 30 to 40 minutes, turning occasionally, or until soft. Remove from oven, and place into a large bowl of cold water. Remove from water, and peel skin off.
  3. Place eggplant, lemon juice, tahini, sesame seeds, and garlic in an electric blender, and puree. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer eggplant mixture to a medium size mixing bowl, and slowly mix in olive oil. Refrigerate for 3 hours before serving.

Flat Bread


2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
3/4 cup warm water
2 cups all purpose flour, plus more for surface
course sea salt
pinch of sugar
1 tbsp plus 1 1/2 tsp olive oil, plus more for bowl and drizzling

Combine yeast, sugar, and warm water. Let sit 10 minutes, until foamy. Stir well. Combine flour and salt. Add yeast mixture and oil. Mix until dough forms, then begin to knead on lightly floursed surface. Knead 3-5 minutes. Shape into ball and place into oiled bowl. Cover and let rise in warm place until doubled in size, about an hour. Punch dough, divide into 4 pieces. Roll into 6 inch rounds. Drizzle each round with olive oil and sprinkle with coarse sea salt. Place on inverted baking sheet and let cook in 450 degree oven for approx 12 minutes. Let cool, then cut each in half crosswise and serve.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

It's been awhile !

Ugh, the weather has been so awful around these parts that I haven't felt like cooking! I will do an update tomorrow, I promise! I just customized my blog with a new header, come take a look if you're viewing me on Reader. Cute cute!

Monday, June 2, 2008

Fresh Chili

It's no secret that I'm a HUGE fan of chili. I make it all the time. Vegetarian chili, meaty chili, I like them all. I came across a lighter version of chili in the Everyday with Rachael Ray magazine and modified it quite a bit. It came out great! Perfect summertime chili.


  • 1/3 cup lime juice
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 7 tbsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 cup corn
  • 1 red onion, half chopped and half cut into slices
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 small zucchini, chopped
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tbsp paprika
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 1 cup Mexican 4 cheese shredded blend
Combine lime, cilantro, whisk in 6 tbsp of olive oil to emulsify. Salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

Heat remaining tbsp of olive oil in skillet. Add onions, garlic, and chili powder. Saute until onion starts to become translucent. Add beef, season with salt and pepper and paprika. Brown beef, drain excess fat from pan. Add the beans, corn, zucchini, tomatoes, red onion slices, and lime mixture. Cover, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are tender. Sprinkle shredded cheese on top and serve.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Fruity Macaroons

These were good, but I kind of screwed them up. I'm not sure what happened! I only had about 4 salvageable cookies, the rest fell apart. The ones that made it were delicious.


  • 1 package sweetened coconut flakes
  • 3 egg whites
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup dried fruit, chopped (papaya, pineapple, apricots)
Preheat oven to 325. Whisk together egg whites, sugar, and salt until frothy. Add coconut and dried fruits. Combine. Shape two tbsp of mixture into mounds and placed on greased baking sheet 1/2 inch apart. Bake until golden, 25-30 minutes. Transfer to wire rack until cool.


This meal included about 95% ingredients from our garden. Exciting! I modified a few different recipes that I found.


  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 lg zucchini, cubed
  • 1 lg sweet pepper, diced
  • 2 tomatoes, diced
  • 3 tbsp wine, chicken stock, or veg stock (I used chicken)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • fresh basil and oregano
  • salt and pepper to taste
Slice the eggplant in 1/2 inch slices, lightly salt and lay on a paper towel. This will draw out excess moisture and any bitterness in the eggplant. Let sit for about an hour, then rinse and pat dry and cut into cubes.

Saute the onions and garlic in the olive oil, until the onion is translucent. Add the eggplant, zucchini, pepper, tomatoes, stock, salt and pepper to taste. Bring to boil, lower heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Uncover and stir, then add the herbs. Let cook for another 5-7 minutes until the veggies are tender and serve! Great with brown rice or couscous!

Monday, May 26, 2008

Buttermilk Pancakes

I've never had much luck with pancakes. They're always too dense and never very good. This recipe is PERFECT for light, fluffy pancakes. We have a winner!


2 eggs

2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted

2 Tbs. sugar

2 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. salt

2 1/2 cups buttermilk

4 Tbs. (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted

1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

1 to 2 Tbs. vegetable oil or nonstick cooking spray

Maple syrup for serving


In a bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the eggs on medium speed until frothy. Add the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, buttermilk, melted butter and vanilla. Stir just until the batter is smooth and no lumps of flour remain; do not overbeat.

Heat a griddle over medium-high heat until a few drops of water flicked onto the surface skitter across it. Lightly grease the griddle with vegetable oil, or spray with nonstick cooking spray. Set the molds on the griddle and heat until hot.

Pour about 1/3 cup of the batter into griddle. Cook until bubbles form on top and the batter is set, about 2 minutes. Using a spatula, flip the pancakes. Cook until golden brown on the other side, about 2 minutes more. Keep warm until all the pancakes are cooked.

Repeat with the remaining batter, adding more oil to the griddle as needed. Serve with maple syrup. Makes 12 pancakes; serves 4.


Dorie Greenspan's Perfect Party Cake

My mom asked me to bring a dessert to her Memorial Day BBQ and I knew I had to make this cake! After seeing it in so many Daring Bakers' blogs I was inspired and it was so worth it! Everyone loved it. I had some coconut-haters in the crowd so I think I might not do the coconut next time but overall it was fantastic.

For the Cake
2 ¼ cups cake flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 ¼ cups whole milk or buttermilk (I prefer buttermilk with the lemon)
4 large egg whites
1 ½ cups sugar
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
1 stick (8 tablespoons or 4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
½ teaspoon pure lemon extract

For the Buttercream
1 cup sugar
4 large egg whites
3 sticks (12 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
¼ cup fresh lemon juice (from 2 large lemons)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For Finishing
2/3 cup seedless raspberry preserves stirred vigorously or warmed gently until spreadable
About 1 ½ cups sweetened shredded coconut

Getting Ready
Centre a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter two 9 x 2 inch round cake pans and line the bottom of each pan with a round of buttered parchment or wax paper. Put the pans on a baking sheet.

To Make the Cake
Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.
Whisk together the milk and egg whites in a medium bowl.
Whisk together the sugar and lemon zest in a mixer bowl or another large bowl and rub them together with your fingers until the sugar is moist and fragrant.
Add the butter and working with the paddle or whisk attachment, or with a hand mixer, beat at medium speed for a full 3 minutes, until the butter and sugar are very light.
Beat in the extract, then add one third of the flour mixture, still beating on medium speed.
Beat in half of the milk-egg mixture, then beat in half of the remaining dry ingredients until incorporated.
Add the rest of the milk and eggs beating until the batter is homogeneous, then add the last of the dry ingredients.
Finally, give the batter a good 2- minute beating to ensure that it is thoroughly mixed and well aerated.
Divide the batter between the two pans and smooth the tops with a rubber spatula.
Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the cakes are well risen and springy to the touch – a thin knife inserted into the centers should come out clean
Transfer the cakes to cooling racks and cool for about 5 minutes, then run a knife around the sides of the cakes, unfold them and peel off the paper liners.
Invert and cool to room temperature, right side up (the cooled cake layers can be wrapped airtight and stored at room temperature overnight or frozen for up to two months).

To Make the Buttercream
Put the sugar and egg whites in a mixer bowl or another large heatproof bowl, fit the bowl over a plan of simmering water and whisk constantly, keeping the mixture over the heat, until it feels hot to the touch, about 3 minutes.
The sugar should be dissolved, and the mixture will look like shiny marshmallow cream.
Remove the bowl from the heat.
Working with the whisk attachment or with a hand mixer, beat the meringue on medium speed until it is cool, about 5 minutes.
Switch to the paddle attachment if you have one, and add the butter a stick at a time, beating until smooth.
Once all the butter is in, beat in the buttercream on medium-high speed until it is thick and very smooth, 6-10 minutes.
During this time the buttercream may curdle or separate – just keep beating and it will come together again.
On medium speed, gradually beat in more lemon juice, waiting until each addition is absorbed before adding more, and then the vanilla.
You should have a shiny smooth, velvety, pristine white buttercream. Press a piece of plastic against the surface of the buttercream and set aside briefly.

To Assemble the Cake
Using a sharp serrated knife and a gentle sawing motion, slice each layer horizontally in half.
Put one layer cut side up on a cardboard cake round or a cake plate protected by strips of wax or parchment paper.
Spread it with one third of the preserves.
Cover the jam evenly with about one quarter of the buttercream.
Top with another layer, spread with preserves and buttercream and then do the same with a third layer (you’ll have used all the jam and have buttercream leftover).
Place the last layer cut side down on top of the cake and use the remaining buttercream to frost the sides and top.
Press the coconut into the frosting, patting it gently all over the sides and top.

The cake is ready to serve as soon as it is assembled, but I think it’s best to let it sit and set for a couple of hours in a cool room – not the refrigerator. Whether you wait or slice and enjoy it immediately, the cake should be served at room temperature; it loses all its subtlety when it’s cold. Depending on your audience you can serve the cake with just about anything from milk to sweet or bubbly wine.

The cake is best the day it is made, but you can refrigerate it, well covered, for up to two days. Bring it to room temperature before serving. If you want to freeze the cake, slide it into the freezer to set, then wrap it really well – it will keep for up to 2 months in the freezer; defrost it, still wrapped overnight in the refrigerator.

Playing Around
Since lemon is such a friendly flavour, feel free to make changes in the preserves: other red preserves – cherry or strawberry – look especially nice, but you can even use plum or blueberry jam.

Fresh Berry Party Cake
If you will be serving the cake the day it is made, cover each layer of buttercream with fresh berries – use whole raspberries, sliced or halved strawberries or whole blackberries, and match the preserves to the fruit. You can replace the coconut on top of the cake with a crown of berries, or use both coconut and berries. You can also replace the buttercream between the layers with fairly firmly whipped sweetened cream and then either frost the cake with buttercream (the contrast between the lighter whipped cream and the firmer buttercream is nice) or finish it with more whipped cream. If you use whipped cream, you’ll have to store the cake the in the refrigerator – let it sit for about 20 minutes at room temperature before serving.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Perfect Summer Salad

Here's a quickie update since I haven't been around lately. Family is gone, I am back in business!

This watermelon salad sounds a little strange, but take my word for good. Really refreshing and savory at the same time. Perfect for summer cook-outs.


  • 3/4 cup halved, thinly sliced red onion
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 1 1/2 quarts seeded, cubed watermelon
  • 3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1/2 cup pitted black olive halves
  • 1 cup chopped fresh mint
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil


  1. Place the onion slices in a small bowl with the lime juice. The acid of the lime will mellow the flavor of the raw onion. Let stand for 10 minutes.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the watermelon cubes, feta cheese, black olives, onions with the lime juice, and mint. Drizzle olive oil over it all, and toss to blend

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

I've not forgotten you!

I swear! We have family in from out of state this week so there will likely be no updates until this weekend. Stay tuned!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Mediterranean Frittata

This is hearty enough to eat for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Mm! Adapted from a recipe in the Better Homes and Gardens cookbook.


  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 8 eggs, beaten
  • 1/4 cup half and half, light cream, or milk
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1/2 cup chopped roasted red sweet peppers
  • 1/2 cup sliced kalamata or pitted ripe olives
  • 1/4 cup slivered fresh basil
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper
  • fresh basil leaves for garnish
  • I also threw in some mushrooms and topped with some fresh grated parmesan cheese

Preheat broiler. In a large skillet (that can go in the broiler) cook onion, garlic, and mushrooms in the oil until tender.

In a bowl, beat together the eggs and half-and-half. Stir in feta, peppers, olives, basil, and pepper. Pour egg mixture over onion mixture in skillet. Cook over medium heat. As mixture sets, run a spatula around the edge so that the uncooked portion flows underneath. Continue until mixture is almost set. Reduce heat to prevent overcooking. Sprinkle parmesan cheese over the top of frittata. Broil 1-2 minutes, until top is set and cheese is golden. Garnish with fresh basil.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Pasta with Peanut Sauce

I had an intense PMS craving for peanut butter and carbs. MMm. I used spaghetti, but you can use any kind of pasta you have around!

Peanut Sauce


  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 small chopped bell pepper
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 2 tbsp minced ginger root
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, minced
  • 3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup tamari or soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp honey

Heat oil over medium heat. Saute onions and bell pepper for a few minutes. Add garlic, jalapeno, and ginger. Cook and stir about 2 minutes. Stir in peanut butter, water, soy sauce, and honey. Whisk until smooth.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Barbeque Chicken Pizza

This pizza takes quite some effort, but TRUST ME, it is worth it. You can create shortcuts for yourself by making double batches of BBQ sauce and dough, or you can use store-bought (although I don't recommend it, the homemade stuff is the BEST!) Sorry about the picture, I forgot to take one until the pizza was almost all gone. That's how fast it goes around here!

Barbeque Chicken Pizza

Start the sauce first, it takes several hours of simmering to reduce.

BBQ Sauce Ingredients
  • 1 quart apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup margerine
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • one little squirt of honey =)
Add all ingredients to a saucepan. Bring to a rapid boil, reduce heat, and simmer until sauce is thick. I've had it take an hour, and I've had it take 3-4 hours. I don't really know what the trick is to get it reduced faster.

For the crust:


  • 1 tsp white sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water
  • 1 tbsp yeast
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 cups whole-wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

Dissolve sugar in the warm water. Add yeast, and let sit 10 minutes until it is foamy. Stir in olive oil and salt. Mix in the wheat flour and 1 cup of the all-purpose flour. Knead on surface floured with the remaining flour for 10 minutes. Place in oiled bowl, and let rise in a warm place for 1 hour. Remove dough and separate into 2-3 pieces, depending on the thickness you want your dough. I do 3 parts because I like thin crust. Form into tight balls, and let rise, covered, for another 45 minutes. Lightly sprinkle countertop with cornmeal and roll the dough out with a rolling pin on top of the cornmeal so that it coats the bottom. Form crust, if desired. Place on cookie sheet or pizza stone and poke holes into the bottom of crust with a fork. Pre-bake crusts in oven for 5 minutes at 500 degrees. Remove and let cool.

For Pizza Topping


  • Pre-cooked chicken (cook with olive oil, salt and pepper in 400 degree oven for 30 mins)
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded monterey jack cheese
  • 1 small red onion, diced
  • 1 bunch of fresh cilantro, chopped
Shred pre-cooked chicken. Top the crust(s) with BBQ sauce, then layer the cheese, onions, chicken, and cilantro. Bake in 425 degree oven for 14-16 minutes.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Ricotta Gnocchi with Mint-Basil Pesto

This was so good! I like the addition of mint to the pesto, really refreshing but not overpowering. The ricotta gnocchi is awesome!


  • Gnocchi:
  • 1 (8 ounce) container ricotta cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour, or as needed I used closer to 2 cups


  1. Stir together the ricotta cheese, eggs, Parmesan Cheese, salt, pepper, and garlic powder in a large bowl until evenly combined. Mix in 1 cup of flour. Add additional flour if needed to form a soft dough.
  2. Divide the dough into 3 or 4 pieces, and roll into 1/2-inch-thick ropes on a floured surface. Cut each rope into 1-inch pieces
  3. Add the pieces to a pot of lightly salted boiling water, in small batches. Gnocchi is done when it floats to the top of the water, about 1-2 minutes.

Mint-Basil Pesto

  • 20 fresh basil leaves
  • 10 fresh mint leaves
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts
  • 3 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons ricotta cheese
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
Blend all ingredients together in food processor until smooth. Add more olive oil as needed.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Guest Blogger: The Husband's Famous Bruschetta

My husband makes the BEST bruschetta in the world. Seriously, the best. We ate this all the time when I was pregnant with Keira. Hello, cravings! I would make him run to the store in the middle of the night for prosciutto. Lucky guy! The recipe is informal, adjust to your own tastes. We don't measure around these parts.


  • 1 loaf French bread
  • 4 cloves roasted garlic (adjust to taste, we love garlic)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 8 slices prosciutto (1 slice for each piece of bread)
  • large bunch of fresh basil
  • a few sprigs of fresh rosemary
  • 1/2 cup to 1 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp dried Italian seasoning


First, put the balsamic vinegar and brown sugar in a small sauce pan over medium heat on the stove to make a balsamic reduction (stir occasionally). Slice the French bread at a bias, should yield about 8 slices or so. Place the slices of bread on a cookie sheet under the broiler for a minute or two, until slightly toasted. Meanwhile, chop up the rosemary and mix it with the olive oil and Italian seasoning in a small bowl. When the bread is toasted, remove it from the oven and rub the tops with the roasted garlic. Brush the oil and herb mixture on top of the bread, then place one slice of prosciutto on top of that. Sprinkle the tops with parmesan cheese and place under the broiler until the cheese is bubbly and slightly browned. Chiffonade the basil (roll it up and cut it into long, thin strips like confetti) and add it to the top of the bruschetta. Drizzle the balsamic reduction over the top and serve!

*we also usually add tomatoes but we didn't this time*

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Pita Bread & Hummus

We eat a LOT of hummus around here. With veggies from the garden, pita bread, pita chips, etc. I don't know why I didn't think of making it myself before, especially the pita bread! It was a lot easier than I thought it was be and I'm happy with the results. The family is happy, as well!

For the pita bread, I used this recipe from Allrecipes, though I made some changes also. (my changes in purple)


  • 1 1/8 cups warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour (I used 2 cups all-purpose, 1 cup whole-wheat)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons white sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast


  1. Place all ingredients in bread pan of your bread machine, select Dough setting and start. When dough has risen long enough, machine will beep.
  2. Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface. Gently roll and stretch dough into a 12 inch rope. With a sharp knife, divide dough into 8 pieces. Roll each into a smooth ball. With a rolling pin, roll each ball into a 6 to 7 inch circle. Set aside on a lightly floured countertop. cover with a towel. Let pitas rise about 30 minutes until slightly puffy.
  3. Preheat oven to 500 degrees F (260 degrees C). Place 2 or 3 pitas on a wire cake rack. Place cake rack directly on oven rack. Bake pitas 4 to 5 minutes until puffed and tops begin to brown. Remove from oven and immediately place pitas in a sealed brown paper bag or cover them with a damp kitchen towel until soft. Once pitas a softened, either cut in half or split top edge for half or whole pitas. They can be stored in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for several days or in the freezer for 1 or 2 months.
I don't have a bread machine, so I dissolved the yeast and sugar in the warm water and let it sit for 5 minutes to make sure it was active. After it started bubbling I mixed in the oil and salt, then gradually added the flour in to make a dough. Once the dough was made I kneaded it by hand for 8 minutes. After kneading I let the dough sit in an oiled bowl covered with a dish towel in a warm spot (my utility room is always HOT, so I always let yeast breads rise there!) After 45 minutes, I took the dough and formed it into a rope and divided it into 8 pieces. I rolled the pieces into rounds, covered them with warm damp paper towels and let rise for another 30 minutes. When the time was up, I baked as directed (500 degrees for 5 minutes.)

I am really happy with how they turned out. They aren't as puffy as the pictures on allrecipes, but I think the texture and taste was perfect.

For the hummus, I used this basic recipe with some changes of my own, of course! I didn't have tahini (H bought sesame OIL instead of PASTE) so I had to make do with what I had.


  • 1 (15 ounce) can garbanzo beans, drained, liquid reserved
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed (I used 2 cloves...I love garlic)
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin (I was out of cumin, so I used paprika instead)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil (I did 1/2 olive oil and 1/2 sesame oil for the nutty taste)
  • I also used the juice of one small lemon


  1. In a blender or food processor combine garbanzo beans, garlic, cumin, salt and olive oil. Blend on low speed, gradually adding reserved bean liquid, until desired consistency is achieved.
The consistency was a little more gritty/grainy than I'm used to with store-bought hummus, which I think tahini would have taken care of. The taste is absolutely fabulous, though, and it went well with the pita and some carrots straight from the field!

Friday, May 2, 2008

Baked Eggplant with Savory Cheese Stuffing

Stuffed Eggplant, originally uploaded by Dayna Riley.

Remember that eggplant from earlier? Yeah, this is what it looked like after cooking. Mm!

I got the recipe from Brinnalee, who got it from Cooking Light

The only change I made to the recipe is that I used store-bought breadcrumbs instead of making my own. I served it alongside brown rice.


2 medium eggplants, each cut in half lengthwise (about 2 pounds)
Cooking spray
1 (1-ounce) slice white bread
1 teaspoon extravirgin olive oil
1 1/2 cups finely chopped onion
1 1/4 cups finely chopped red bell pepper
1 cup finely chopped seeded plum tomato
1 teaspoon chopped fresh or 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
2 garlic cloves, minced
3/4 cup (3 ounces) crumbled feta cheese
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 400°.

Score cut side of each eggplant half by making 4 crosswise cuts. Place the eggplant halves, cut sides down, on a foil-lined baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Bake at 400° for 25 minutes or until tender. Remove from oven; cool on pan 10 minutes. Carefully remove pulp, leaving a 1/3-inch-thick shell; reserve eggplant shells. Chop pulp.

Reduce oven temperature to 350°.

Place bread in a food processor; pulse 10 times or until coarse crumbs measure 1/2 cup. Drizzle the breadcrumbs with olive oil, and pulse to combine.

Heat a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat. Add onion; sauté 3 minutes. Stir in the chopped eggplant, bell pepper, tomato, oregano, and garlic; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Uncover and cook 5 minutes or until liquid evaporates, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat; stir in cheese, parsley, salt, and black pepper. Stuff each eggplant shell with about 1/2 cup onion mixture; sprinkle with breadcrumb mixture. Place on a baking sheet; bake at 350° for 30 minutes or until thoroughly heated and lightly browned.

4 servings (serving size: 1 stuffed eggplant half)

First Eggplant of the Season!

054, originally uploaded by Dayna Riley.

This little sucker grew so fast! It was hiding behind the zucchini and I didn't realize that it had gotten so big. Also pictured are the first roma tomatoes of the season. These will be incorporated into dinner tonight!

Tomorrow we head off to San Diego for my birthday weekend. We're going to the Red Bull Air Race....I've never been to an air show before, it should be a good time!

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

First post! Vegetarian Chili

I've been wanting to start a food blog for awhile, but I had an awful camera that took AWFUL pictures of food. The Husband got me a new camera for my birthday and I can now take decent (I hope!) food pics. I hope everyone enjoys my stuff as much as I enjoy making it!

This vegetarian chili is my go-to ALL THE TIME. I switch the recipe up a lot, depending on what I have available. I never measure for it, so all measurements are an approximation.

Dayna's Three-Bean Vegetarian Chili


  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 cups chopped onion
  • 4-5 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 can tomato sauce
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 can (6 oz) tomato paste
  • 1 can vegetable stock or chicken stock if you don't mind meat!
  • 1 can kidney beans, drained & rinsed
  • 1 can black beans, drained & rinsed
  • 1 can great northern beans, drained & rinsed
  • 1 cup chopped zucchini
  • 2 cups frozen corn or frozen mixed veggies (corn, peas, carrots, green beans)
  • steak rub spice mix, 2 tbsp (my secret ingredient! My mix contains chili powder, paprika, and dry mustard)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Heat the vegetable oil in a stock pot over medium-high heat. Add onions and garlic and saute for 5 minutes. Stir in stock and the rest of the ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and let simmer 20-40 minutes. Serve! Simple and oh-so-good.