Tag Archives: Recipes

Almond, Orange, Olive Oil Cake

At first glance, this cake looks simple and unassuming. And olive oil being one of the main ingredients is both intriguing and…worrisome. But, when A.E. brought it as her contribution to Cooking Club S01E02, I dove in when it came time for dessert. WOW.

This might be the best new dessert I have tried in a very, very, very long time. She got it off of the blog Orangette by Molly Wizenberg, who adapted the recipe from one she ate at a restaurant. A.E. claims to not necessarily be skilled in the culinary arts, but she nailed this. It was soooo delicious. I wish I had taken a picture. (I vow to not make that mistake again and can only pray that my Cooking Club cohorts don’t mind being featured every month when I share their recipes – the paparazzi will be there from now on).

Here’s the recipe (with description by Wizenberg):

1 small to medium orange
1 lemon
6 ounces raw almonds
1 c. all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp. baking powder
4 large eggs
½ tsp. table salt
1 ½ c. sugar
2/3 c. olive oil
Confectioners’ sugar, for serving

First, get to work on the citrus. Put the orange and the lemon in a saucepan, and cover with water. (They’ll want to float. Don’t worry about it.) Bring to a boil over medium-high heat; then reduce the heat to medium and simmer for 30 minutes. Drain, and cool.

Meanwhile, toast the almonds. Preheat the oven to 325°F, and set a rack in the middle position. Put the almonds on an ungreased sheet pan, and bake until they look golden and smell warm and toasty, 10 to 15 minutes. (I tend to get nervous about burning them, and consequently, I always try to pull them out of the oven too soon. Don’t do that. Let them really toast.) Set aside to cool completely. When the almonds are cool, pulse them in a food processor until finely ground, the texture of coarse sand. Set aside.

Set the oven to 350°F, and grease a 9-inch round springform pan.

When the citrus is cool, cut the lemon in half, and scoop out and discard the pulp and seeds. Cut the orange in half, and discard the seeds. Put the lemon rind and orange halves in the food processor – there’s no need to wash it after grinding the almonds – and process to chop finely, almost to a coarse paste.

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour and baking powder.

Combine the eggs and salt in a mixing bowl. Beat until foamy. Gradually beat in the sugar. Fold in the flour mixture. Add the citrus, almonds, and olive oil, and beat on low speed to just incorporate (A.E. did this party by hand because she doesn’t have a mixer and said it worked just fine!). Do not overmix. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, and bake for about 1 hour, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool the cake in its pan on a wire rack. Remove the sides of the pan. Before serving, dust the cake with confectioners’ sugar.

Blanched Kale with Peanut Dressing from Cooking Club Season 1, Episode 1

Some ladies and I have decided to get together roughly once a month, each of us bringing a different course, sharing the recipes, learning some new things. Among the group are people who eat meat, don’t eat meat, don’t do dairy — lots of diets to take into account. I’m not sure how they all will pan out, but Episode 1 was all vegan and vegetarian, which works for me!

I tackled the vegan entree of Pumpkin Baked Ziti with Cashew Ricotta and Sage Crumb Topping, straight from the Veganomicon cookbook. Other deliciousness was squash/ginger/shallot soup, homemade bread, cheesecake, sweet potato hummus and the first recipe I’ll share:

Kale with Peanut Dressing, with instructions by A.A.

1 head of kale
1/4 cup peanut butter
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 Tbsp. rice vinegar
A few dashes hot sauce or sriracha, depending on how spicy you like it
Ginger, fresh or powder (optional)
Garlic, fresh or powder (optional)
Agave or honey (optional)
Sesame seeds to garnish (optional)
Red onions to garnish (optional)

I put on a pot of boiling water, and while I wait for it to boil I
make my peanut sauce. You may already have a peanut sauce recipe you
love, so feel free to run with that. Mine is a mix of peanut butter,
soy sauce, rice vinegar, hot sauce, and water. I don’t really measure,
so the measurements above are really general. I usually heat a blob of
peanut butter in the microwave for 20 seconds. Then pour a little soy
sauce and stir. Then add the rice vinegar and hot sauce, stir again,
taste, adjust, then add a little water to thin it all out. (Sometimes
I’ll add those optional ingredients above, but when I’m doing it
quickly, I leave them out.)

Now your water’s boiling. Remove all the leaves from the kale stems
and then blanch the leaves in the boiling water for about 1.5-2
minutes, until soft.

Next, put it in an ice bath or run it quickly
under cold water to stop it from cooking further, and to keep it
green. Now you want to get the water out of it so it will soak up the
dressing. You can squeeze it with your hands (this will bunch it up,
but you can separate it again) or dab it with a clean kitchen towel.
Then mix it with the peanut dressing you’ve made. You can eat it right
away, but I actually like to refrigerate mine a little first.

The kale cooks down a lot, so a whole head of kale really makes about
2 portions.

This was delicious! AA confessed she put a ton of sriracha in it, but that’s just fine with me. So good! I can’t wait to try this on things other than kale too, as I’ve been on the hunt for the perfect peanut sauce.

Mushroom Tarts

I found myself with a few random ingredients and decided to make something out of them a couple of weeks ago when some friends were coming over to watch the Golden Globes. You won’t see any specific amounts here, since I was just winging it. I’m sure all kinds of stuff would be good added to these, but this is a good starting off point for variations…

I used almost 2 pkgs of crescent roll sheets — basically the ones without the perforations. I sprayed muffin pans with Pam, then cut squares of the dough and pushed them into the cups. Some covered the whole cup, some didn’t — it didn’t really matter in the end.

1 pkg sliced baby bella mushrooms,
onion and/or shallot
minced garlic
fresh herbs: thyme, sage
Italian bread crumbs
Parmesan cheese (you could easily substitute veggie cheese(s) here!)
salt and pepper

1. First, I sauteed the onion and garlic in a little olive oil, then added the chopped sage and thyme, salt and pepper.

2. Chopped and sauteed almost the whole package of mushrooms — in the end I could have used more filling, so I should have used the whole thing.

3. After they were all soft and sauteed, I added just a little bit of shredded Parmesan cheese, and a sprinkling of bread crumbs to bind everything together.

4. I divided the filling into the cups, remembering that the dough would puff up a bit upon cooking. I sprinkled extra cheese on top of about half of them, knowing half of the people eating them don’t love a lot of cheese.

5. I baked them according to a recipe on the side of the roll canister — about 10 minutes at 350 degrees or so. I just kept an eye on them until the dough started to brown a little.

I realize this is all a little vague, but that’s what’s good about cooking sometimes — it doesn’t have to be exact. Everyone loved them, so I guess winging it sometimes works!

See the happy faces!!

I think if Scott was alone, he would have rolled around in them. He smacked my hand away when I tried to enjoy one of my own creations.

WOOL AND WATER: Mmmmm Lentils…..

Here is a delicious looking lentil dish, posted by another fellow Michigan crafter. Check it out!

WOOL AND WATER: Mmmmm Lentils…..

Best kale dish and super easy too!

This recipe comes from my crafting partner in crime Jay (pictured* with me at our 2009 Detroit Urban Craft Fair booth). I was kind of a kale freak this summer, but never really found the perfect recipe. This one sounded sooooo good when Jay told me about it, I asked her to pass it on. Here it is!

Kale (I like the dark purple kind best, with the stems removed and chopped coarsely)
sliced almonds
dried tart cherries
red wine vinegar or lemon juice
salt and pepper
olive oil

• Saute shallot, almonds and cherries in a little olive oil until shallots are soft.
• Add kale and toss around until wilted. sprinkle with salt and pepper and a little lemon juice or vinegar.
• Serve over a bed of couscous (for extra flavor, use broth instead of water when cooking the couscous)

* Photo by Tafari

The return of the blog: Italian Eggplant Ragout

Four months without an entry? Does that even constitute a blog? Among my New Year’s Resolutions (there will be some this year, for a change), is to get back to blogging. I’ve done a poor job of late, especially with my half-hearted attempts at a daily “Michigan Etsy Shop of the Day” over on Monkita Knits.

Not without good reason, I suppose. I’ve been nannying and knitting myself ragged. I see the light at the end of the Christmas-rush-order tunnel and I’m going to start with a few blogs in the next week or so (hopefully). For months I’ve been taking pictures of the delicious things I’ve been cooking (though few and far between), so now it’s time to go back through iPhoto and catch up.

Up first is something I made last week, actually: Italian Eggplant Ragout, a vegan dish from the May 2008 Vegetarian Times

Eggplant can be a good hearty meat substitute and it’s full of antioxidants. It’s very good for people looking to lower their cholesterol too.

Serves 6

2 medium eggplants (I used one large and it was quite a bit)
2 Tbsp. salt
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 large onion, chopped (about 2 c.)
2 cloves garlic minced (about 2 tsp)
1 15 oz. can diced tomatoes, drained
1 15 oz. can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
2 Tbsp. capers
1 tsp. sugar
1/4 c. chopped fresh parsley

1. Half and seed eggplants. Cut into 3/4-inch chunks and toss with salt in a bowl. Let sit for 30 minutes, then drain, rinse and pat dry. This draws out the bitter juices of some eggplants and helps it hold its shape and not get mushy while cooking.

2. Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and saute about 5 minutes, until softened. Add garlic and cook 1 minute more, until fragrant.

3. Stir in tomatoes, chickpeas and eggplant. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook 15 minutes or until eggplant is tender but not mushy. I stirred mine often to make sure everything cooked as evenly as possible.

4. Stir in capers and sugar, and cook about 2 minutes more. Fold in parsley and season with black pepper.


On the side that night, I made some crispy rosemary potatoes, so I figured I’d take a picture of those too!

Cut up any combination of potatoes you like — I used a few sweet potatoes and a couple of large redskin potatoes.

Preheat oven to 425

1. Peel potatoes (I left the skin on my reds) and cut into about 1-inch chunks.

2. Put in pot and fill with water until potatoes are just covered. Bring to a boil and let boil for about 5 minutes.

3. Drain and return to pan. Toss in 2-3 Tbsp. of butter and a drizzle (about 1 Tbsp.) of olive oil and coat potatoes.

4. Chop fresh rosemary (how much is up to you — I used quite a bit and it still didn’t seem like very much!), add to potatoes, along with salt and pepper to taste.

5. Spray a couple of cookie sheets/cake pans with PAM if you have it, then spread potatoes in a single layer. Bake for about 20 minutes, tossing at least once, until your desired crispiness is reached.

They are flavorful and delicious!

Crispy Gnocchi with Brussels Sprouts and Mushrooms

New recipe time! It’s been a long time, I know. I’ve got a backlog of things I’ve made in the last few months. The pictures are taken, the food is eaten. I just have to find the time to share them!

But I’ll start with last night’s victory. I was setting out to the grocery store to buy things to make dinner for some friends I decided could use a good, home-cooked meal. Then I realized, ‘Hey, we could use a good home-cooked meal.”

I was in a hurry though, and when I get in these moods, I like to try something new. With my keys and purse already in hand, I grabbed a few back issues from my pile of Vegetarian Times stacked next to my cookbooks and started flipping through. I wasn’t sure what I was looking for — few ingredients, easy and fast — since it would be late by the time I got back from dropping off the meal to Chris and Jess and my chief taste-tester, Dan, would be famished.

Although it was the picture of the Artichoke and Green Olive Souffle that caught my attention on page 32 of the February 2009 issue, I scanned down the page to find a recipe for Crispy Gnocchi with Brussels Sprouts and Mushrooms. I had no clue whether Dan liked Brussels sprouts or gnocchi, but I decided I didn’t care and I would go for it anyway.

Turns out, he didn’t know whether he liked either. And he didn’t know what he was about to eat. But the first bite brought out the best reaction I’ve ever gotten from any food I’ve ever made. Ever.

“OH. MY. GOD. Oh, my god! This is the best thing I’ve ever eaten!”

SO, here it is:

2 Tbsp. butter (real or vegan, etc.)
1 16-oz. pkg frozen gnocchi (I used some that wasn’t frozen, and wasn’t traditional — I bought Gia Russa whole wheat gnocchi with sweet potato. Vegan. Delicious. I popped it in the freezer for a couple of hours before I cooked it.)
2 tsp. olive oil, divided
1 lb. cremini mushrooms, quartered — about 4 cups (Holiday Market didn’t have creminis, so I went with baby bellas. They were great, but I think I’ll try shitakes next time for the hell of it.)
8 oz. Brussels sprouts (I ended up using about 10 fresh sprouts, sliced the long way)
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 c. shaved Parmesan cheese for garnish, optional (I used regular grated because it’s what I had)

1. Heat butter in nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add gnocchi and cook 4 to 5 minutes, turning often, until both sides are browned. Transfer to a large bowl.

2. Pour 1 tsp. oil into pan and add mushrooms. Cook 7 minutes or until mushrooms have cooked down and all liquid is cooked off. Season with salt and pepper, if desired, and transfer to bowl with gnocchi.

3. Pour remaining oil into pan and add Brussels sprouts. Saute 5 to 7 minutes, until crisp-tender. Add garlic and cook 1 more minute. Return mushrooms and gnocchi to pan and saute a couple of more minutes to heat through.

4. Transfer to plates or a platter and garnish with cheese. Enjoy!