Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Sliders with Shake Shack Sauce


The Star Tribune published a recipe for Shake Shack burgers, which I have never tried, but since I was planning to make burgers that night anyway I clipped the article. I decided to make sliders on small buns, but followed the rest of the directions. The key here is the sauce, the method for frying the burgers and the toasted buns. We will definitely make these again!

Monday, July 3, 2017

Rustic Cherry Tart



It's cherry season and this tart is a great way to use cherries when they are plentiful! My daughter made this for a dinner party and it was very good. The crust is crisp and the filling is tartly sweet. Serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Non-Dairy Chocolate Panna Cotta


This non-dairy panna cotta is quick and easy to make. I found the recipe on the Guittard website. It calls for ingredients that are pantry staples at our house, so it's an easy weeknight dessert. Melt ingredients together, strain and chill. What could be easier? Honestly, you could even skip the straining step. I use coconut sugar for a low-glycemic version.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Homemade Aloe Water


Aloe water is everywhere it seems. But most of the bottled versions are too sweet for my taste. Try this easy recipe to make it yourself. Aloe is a gooey viscous substance, which is why we mix it with coconut water. Try adding a few tablespoons to your morning smoothie for health benefits for your skin, liver, digestive tract and more.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Coconut Chicken Curry



I tore this recipe out of a magazine years ago and probably made it only once.  When a friend asked me to teach him how to cook a simple chicken curry, this recipe seemed like a good bet. First of all, it does not require any exotic ingredients beyond curry powder and coconut milk which makes it a good quick prep choice for a weeknight. It's a classic type of curry with a generous amount of sauce--perfect for serving over rice. Also, there are enough vegetables to make it a one pot meal.

The recipe makes enough for a family, or to consume over several days if you are cooking for yourself. My youngest child is a fan (that's his messy plate above), so I'm putting this on high rotation.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Aussie Bites



We tried these little gems for the first time at an inn in Guerneville, California. The hostess mentioned that they were Ozzie Bites purchased from Costco. I was intrigued because they were gluten-free. After our trip Google helped me determine that they were actually Aussie Bites and helped me find this well-researched recipe.

Of course, I can't follow a recipe to save my life and this is no exception. I replaced half the honey with maple syrup to lower the FODMAP quotient and changed out apricots for dates and pepitas for sunflower seeds to match what I had on hand. My husband declared them excellent!

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Seared Salmon and Noodles in Coconut-Ginger Broth



For a restaurant quality weeknight meal with little fuss, try this recipe. It's a good way to prepare salmon with Asian flavors. And as a one pot meal, it simplifies dinner preparation tremendously. Broccolini can be substituted for bok choy. Make the effort to grate the ginger root as it is a key flavor in this dish.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Green Coconut Curry



You can make this dish with chicken, as the recipe suggests, but for the rendition pictured above I used tilapia. I like to use Thai Kitchen Green Curry paste which comes in little jars in the international foods aisle in the grocery store. If you can find kaffir lime leaves, use 4 of them instead of the lime zest.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Asian Flavors Cucumber Salad



A classic salad that makes the most of crisp cucumbers that can otherwise be boring. We enjoy this with dumplings or tofu dishes. Sometimes salting the cucumbers releases a lot of liquid and other times, not so much. It really helps to dry them carefully in a towel before making the salad or the excess moisture will dilute the dressing.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Banana Oat Breakfast Squares


These banana oat breakfast squares are oddly compelling. They are not sweet, and at first I didn't think my kids would be interested, but they ended up eating them. These squares are best enjoyed spread with nut butter or Nutella. It's a healthy on-the-go breakfast! The next time I make these I'll experiment with adding some cocoa powder to the mix. Either way it's a great way to use up two mushy bananas!

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Apple Almond Cake


As a stocking stuffer last Christmas we gave my daughter a tube of Odense Marzipan paste. While home on spring break, she decided to make a cake with it. Her friend, Sien, came over to help. The kitchen smelled great! The cake was dense and moist and delicious. It didn't last long.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Skillet-Roasted Lemon Chicken



Delicious roast chicken recipes like this one are keepers.  Although the preparation is simple it still takes a little over an hour from start to finish.  Remember to wipe the skin on the chicken with paper towels before applying the oil and the herbs or your chicken skin won't be as beautiful, golden and crisp as Ina's.  I like to serve this with soft polenta and a salad.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Parsnip and Carrot Soup


Mindful Magazine had a very pretty picture of this soup recipe in their December issue.  At this time of year, my interest is easily piqued by parsnip recipes.  I made a few alterations to lower the FODMAP content.  Also, the orange zest they recommended seemed to make the soup bitter.  Now it's simpler soup, but still good on a winter night.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Lentil and Kielbasa Salad


That something so simple could taste so good is a mystery to me.  The key seems to be the right kind of lentils (find them at Whole Foods or your local co-op) and some chemical reaction that happens when you boil them with a turnip.  The dressing has all the right savory notes to perfectly season the otherwise boring combination of lentils and a fairly plain-tasting sausage. This makes a great weeknight dinner with the addition of a crisp green salad and some corn chips or corn bread.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Easy Soft Polenta


Making polenta over a hot stove used to be an Italian torture experience.  You had to tend to it constantly, stirring, stirring, stirring.  And the hot cornmeal would pop burning your skin during the long cook time.  Forget contact sports with coarse cornmeal--this is the 21st century!  Hello, microwave:)  With this simple recipe, you can have perfect polenta in 20 minutes.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Dong Po Pork


See those two mahogany strips of pork belly in the photo above?  I know, they don't look like much, but they are the most flavorful bites of pork ever.  We had delectable Dong Po Pork, baby bok choy in oyster sauce and fried savory taro cake for Chinese New Year dinner this year--Year of the Rooster! 

We also made Hong Kong style egg tarts and sticky rice cakes with red bean paste. It was so good! Have your own Chinese feast in the Year of the Rooster!

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Okonomiyaki


Okonomiyaki is a Japanese cabbage pancake. We had these in Osaka and they are a wonderful street food. I made this version with grated taro and chopped bacon and green onion. If you don't have taro, try a potato. You can play around with the mix-ins-- the cabbage is the essential ingredient. For an authentic touch make the sauce and put it in a thin-tipped squeeze bottle. Drizzle the sauce over the pancake. Repeat with mayonnaise or aioli in the perpendicular direction. It's fun. It's tasty.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Cocoa Crisps


I based this on Ella's recipe for Quinoa and Cacao Crispy Treats.  Not having popped quinoa available, I used another kind of gluten-free cereal called Gorilla Munch.  You can really use any kind of cereal and your choice of mix-ins--nuts, cereal, dried fruit, etc. In the rendition pictured above, I used walnuts, pumpkin seeds, dried cranberry, and date pieces.  Warning: addictive!

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Quinoa and Turmeric Fritters


These fritters are a nice accompaniment to any meal.  The bright orange color is fun and the heavy dose of spice makes them anything but boring. It's a good way to use up leftover cooked quinoa, but if you have leftover rice, that would work too.  You can use a rice cooker to steam the sweet potato--my rice cooker has a steamer basket for this purpose.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Canal House Chicken


This is one of those simple but reliable recipes that you could make every week. And we do. The process yields crisp skin, and perfectly seasoned juicy meat that is dinner party worthy.  I often skip the lemon in favor of a little white wine or broth. You can customize this recipe endlessly, but it's pretty good as it is--a foolproof pan-roasted chicken recipe.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Raspberry Cream Cheese



My son likes to eat bagels with flavored cream cheese.  I thought we could make our own fruit-flavored cream cheese with the plain stuff we already had at home.  A little Googling and --voilá!  Flavored cream cheese in a jiffy.  Try this with mashed strawberries or blueberries.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Chinese New Year Taro Cake



This is a popular item on the Dim Sum cart.  It's a soft taro cake studded with little pieces of mushroom and sausage with a crisp exterior. It's the chewy/crunchy contrast that makes this cake so good, so don't be tempted to skip the frying step.  I should also mention that this is a savory cake, not a sweet one.  My son had this on the menu for Chinese New Year along with Bok Choy and Pork Belly.  The recipe makes a large cake, so we were eating slices of it for the next week.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Hong Kong Style Egg Tarts


These are a dim sum item in Hong Kong style restaurants.  My son likes to make them for Chinese New Year. They have a delectable buttery crust and a a sweet egg custard filling. The recipe makes a fair number, but you can freeze them. We make these in small muffin tins. They are intended as dessert, but you could also try them for breakfast!

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Best Baked Sweet Potato


Family weeknight dinners don't get easier than this.  I turn on the oven when I get home from work, scrub the potatoes and get them baking.  From that point, dinner is ready in less than an hour with not too much more work.  Save the extra dressing for a salad like a marinated kale salad.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Spiced Sweet Potato Stew


A good midwinter stew, the combination of sweet potatoes and black beans is rich and hearty.  I like the addition of fresh spinach for a pop of green.  This makes a large batch and the extra stew packs well for lunches.  Another vegan recipe from Ella!

Friday, February 10, 2017

Homemade Date Nut Power Bars




Rachel Perron is Kowalski's culinary director and this based on her recipe for Apricot and Pistachio Bars.  The original recipe called for pistachios, but I swapped them out for almonds.  I used more coconut in place of the sesame seeds.  Feel free to improvise with the dried fruit and nuts you have on hand as long as the quantities are the same.

The bars are very soft, and not so good for shipping or packing in a lunch box.  If you plan to eat these on the run, I'd recommend taking spoonfuls of the mixture and forming them into balls for energy bites rather than bars.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Tilapia with Orange Sauce


Citrus flavors go well with fish, that's what I was thinking when I searched up this recipe.  And it's a Cooking Light recipe, so how can it be bad for you?  There is a nice combination of flavors with the layers of citrus, balanced by salty tamari and a touch of sweetness.  Serve it with green beans and brown rice for an easy weeknight dinner.


Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Cranberry Steamed Pudding


In the Lowry family, plum duff is the traditional holiday pudding.  My husband, Phil, usually makes it once a year in a mold with clamps that was passed down from his mother.  Somehow that mold is now lost, and the new one lacks clamps.  This was disconcerting to Phil, so much so that he thought it not suitable to make Plum Duff in.

Finding this recipe in the paper prompted him to take a closer look at the new pudding mold.  Why yes, it is watertight, even without clamps!  He decided to take a chance on the new recipe and we all enjoyed it. Steaming the fruity mixture turns it into a moist and flavorful cake-like substance.  The pudding itself is not too sweet, so a bit of hard sauce is welcome.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Mexican Quinoa Bowl


Try this instead of tacos.  Ella's original recipe was meatless, of course, but on this particular night I used some ground meat instead of the second can of black beans.  I also had some cherry tomatoes on hand to use instead of salsa.  To simplify the recipe for a weeknight dinner, I use store bought salsa and guacamole.  To change it up, you could add some chopped greens, like kale or chard, to the bean mixture and wilt them in the frying pan.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Roasted Vegetable Salad



In the winter, roasted vegetables are a welcome comfort food.  I played around with Ella's recipe a bit and subbed in parsnips for the white potatoes and added some roasted butternut squash I had from a previous roasting episode.  Double the recipe to have plenty for vegetable side dishes throughout the week.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Breakfast Sausage


After years of buying breakfast sausage links and patties, I finally woke up to the realization that I could make my own.  These are free of nitrates and other bad things and taste great.  Best of all they only add a few extra minutes of preparation in the morning.  Feel free to leave out the maple syrup if you don't like the sweetness.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Squash Bowls with Meat Sauce



I cut this recipe out from the newspaper years ago.  I thought it was really clever to serve meat sauce over squash instead of over noodles.  My kids thought so too, apparently, because they loved this dish.  Recently my teenage son started asking for it again, which is interesting as his palate his definitely become more sophisticated.  It's an easy weeknight meal, so I'm happy to oblige.  Serve with a side of cranberry sauce, if you have it.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Slow Cooker Chai



This is a great recipe for holiday parties!  My son likes to set up the slow cooker the night before to make the spiced mixture (pictured below).  He steeps the tea and adds the milk right before the guests show up. Be prepared to hand out copies of the recipe.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Wild Rice Stuffing


Most Thanksgivings at our house feature stuffing made of bread cubes.  This gluten-free version is much tastier and has higher nutritional value to boot.  Essentially it's a warm rice salad that you could serve alongside any entree. It could also be a meal in itself.

I like to cook the wild rice in a rice cooker.  Combine 1 cup wild rice to 3 cups water.  For the butternut squash, I like to buy it cubed and frozen to save time. That way I can just add it to the stuffing and heat through.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Marinated Kale Salad


I've made this kale salad several times.  In the version pictured above I used pumpkin seeds instead of pomegranate and I added chunks of avocado.  I've also made it with fresh blueberries, dried chopped cranberries and pecans. It was still good.  Massaging the kale leaves with your hands is the key to softening the kale so that it's palatable as a salad, though it will reduce the bulk of the leaves by half.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Brazil Nut and Arugula Pesto Pasta



This is a nice dish for an informal dinner party.  It also makes a fairly quick one-pot meal during the week.  Who knew that Brazil nuts, avocado and arugula could make such a creamy delicious pesto sauce?  Feel free to change up the vegetables to whatever is seasonal.  Here I've used zucchini, broccoli and peas as the original recipe suggests.