Breadwinner

……………………………………………………. Baking our mark

Cool Avocado Soup July 31, 2012

I rarely pull recipes off restaurant websites – I always feel like they’re going to leave off a key ingredient in order to inspire me to come back to their spot instead of making a dish myself. But, when I got this recommendation, it sounded too good to pass up.

Before I made this, I’d never eaten a cold soup. Now, I basically want to live off cold soup all summer long. This was incredibly refreshing, all while being incredibly creamy and decadent.

Plus, we finally got to use the antique cold soup china tureen that’s been in the basement for a year. Classy business, this soup.

Plus it’s green. Which is awesome.

Cool Avocado Soup from Panera

2 ripe avocados, peeled and pitted
1/2 English cucumber, partially peeled, then chopped (I used a little cucumber from my garden!)
4 scallions, green parts only
2 cups vegetable broth
Juice of one lime
1/3 cup packed cilantro (leaves and stems)
1/2 – 1 jalapeño pepper, depending on your taste preference, seeded and coarsely chopped
1 – 2 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
1/4+ tsp. cumin
1/4+ tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. salt

Throw everything in the blender and puree for 2-3 minutes. Let it sit for a few hours, then blend again for a few minutes before serving. Garnish with additional cilantro as desired.

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Mustard-Roasted Potatoes July 1, 2012

Filed under: Side dish,Vegetarian — krandle @ 8:36 am
Tags: , , , ,

Sometimes, I can look at a recipe and know immediately that I will love it and that it will turn out delicious. One of the only other places I get this sense of recognition, oddly, is on my daily walks to and from work. Sometimes, I see another girl, tromping along in her tennis shoes and business casual attire, hair a mess, carrying a giant bag – and I can just tell we could have a good conversation. Even if we just talked about walking and the homeless people we see and how we think we’re in every tourist’s photo of the Swann Memorial Fountain, I can just tell that it would be nice.

But here’s where the vague similarity between recipe research and  my identification with strangers ends. I have never once walked up to one of these fellow walkers to chat, and I can’t say that I have a strong desire to; I’m content to leave them alone in their own universes.

The recipes, however, I keep.

Mustard-Roasted Potatoes (from B.A.)

1/2 cup whole grain Dijon mustard
2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
2 Tbs. (1/4 stick) butter, melted
2 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbs. dried oregano
1 tsp finely grated lemon peel
1 tsp. coarse kosher salt
3 pounds 1- to 1 1/2-inch-diameter mixed unpeeled red-skinned and white-skinned potatoes, cut into 3/4-inch-wide wedges

Position 1 rack in top third of oven and 1 rack in bottom third of oven and preheat to 425°F.

Spray 2 large rimmed baking sheets with nonstick spray.

Whisk mustard, olive oil, butter, lemon juice, garlic, oregano, lemon peel and salt in large bowl to blend. This can be made ahead of time and refrigerated until you’re ready to roast the potatoes.

Add potatoes to the large bowl and stir to coat. Sprinkle generously with freshly ground black pepper.

Divide potatoes between two lightly greased baking sheets, leaving any excess mustard mixture behind in bowl. Spread potatoes in single layer. Roast potatoes 20 minutes. Reverse baking sheets and roast until potatoes are crusty outside and tender inside, turning occasionally, about 25 minutes longer.

 

Asparagus, pea and radish salad June 27, 2012

For the first time ever, I’m growing radishes in my yard. They’re terribly exciting because the red starts to show through the soil very early – and the greens grow to be enormous rather quickly.

As a result, I’m been looking for radish recipes – and something along these lines seems to be quite the thing this summer. It’s quick, easy and really delicious.

Note that it’s important to eat this right when it’s done. While it’s still edible, refrigeration does nothing good to the dish.

Asparagus, Pea and Radish Salad– adapted from a bunch of sources; everyone seems to like some combination of radishes and peas as a summer salad

2 tsp. cumin
2 Tbs. fresh lime juice
2 tsp. honey
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 Tbs. chopped fresh dill

1.5 lbs. asparagus, tough ends discarded
5 oz. frozen peas, thawed
8 or so radishes, greens discarded, thinly sliced
1 Tbs. butter

In a small bowl, whisk together cumin, lime juice and honey. Slowly add oil, then stir in dill. Set dressing aside (or refrigerate if you’re making ahead of time).

Steam asparagus until crisp-tender (less than you normally would), then immediately transfer to an ice bath. Let it cool completely, then pat dry. At this point, you can refrigerate the asparagus for up to a day.

In a large pot, heat butter over medium. Add asparagus and heat until it begins to get warm. Then add peas and cook until vegetables are warm, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, transfer to a bowl, and stir in radishes.

Pour dressing over and stir to coat. Serve immediately.

 

Recipe Flash: Frozen Banana Bites June 21, 2012

It’s day number two of nearly 100 degree weather in Philly.  I think this is the worst thing in the world.

Even the flowers don’t like it.

And, with the clarity of a corporate blackberry camera and the photojournalism skills of a writer, I give you a heat tour of my walk from work to home in Philly.

Everyone’s using the fountain as a pool

But no one’s in the park, which is usually overflowing with small children

Which means that no one wants to cook. Or eat anything other than ice for that matter.

The home-made solution to this predicament?

Frozen banana bites

Frozen Banana Bites (idea stolen from BA)

Basically, melt some chocolate with a little bit of oil. (Ratio:  1 cup chocolate to 1 Tbs. vegetable oil)

Dunk in a slice of banana and coat it. Fish it out with a fork and let some of the excess fall off.

Then, roll it around in something that goes well with chocolate and banana (i.e., coconut, oreos, peanuts, skor bits, etc. ).

Put the completed slices onto some parchment paper, then pop them in the freezer for a few hours. (Put them in a sealed container after you’ve frozen them if you intend to store them in the freezer for any length of time.)

…you’ll need more than two…

They taste like summer, but are lovely and cold. Can’t think of anything better for dinner tonight.

 

Simple Appetizer: Goat-cheese wrapped grapes June 14, 2012

My favorite food group is snacks. I love tasting menus and happy hours and tapas and cocktail hours at weddings. Snack-sized things allow me to taste as many things as possible before I get too full to move.

And, when I headed to a friend’s house after work to look at vacation photos, I had the perfect excuse to make a lovely, simple snack / appetizer (an idea I borrowed from A Daily Something).

Grapes, wrapped in goat cheese, rolled in chopped pecans.

Not only do these involve some of the best parts of a cheese plate, they are also perfect for popping into your mouth whole, which makes you seem lady-like and prevents you from making a mess when you bring these to someone else’s house.


In case you were wondering, getting the goat cheese to stick to the grapes is not difficult; it’s kind of like playing with play-dough. Also, don’t make these too far ahead of time – the nuts will get a little soggy (and you will have a longer period of time to resist eating them all yourself).

 

Oatmeal breakfast bars June 10, 2012

Filed under: Breakfast,Vegetarian — krandle @ 11:45 am
Tags: , , ,

One of my all-time favorite grab and go breakfasts are Quaker oatmeal squares (which have changed names several times and are now called “oatmeal to go“). They are dense and sweet and delicious and filling. However….they are loaded with sugar, plus they have preservatives and such. And they’re not cheap, especially compared to the cost of just making my own instant oatmeal.

However, I have recently found a wonderful solution: make my own. The home-made versions are delicious, easy to make and easy to store  (in the freezer!). Plus, they’re a tad healthier, and I can make them taste like whatever I feel like.

I’ve made two versions after amalgamating several similar recipes I found on the interwebs. (Make these now, while it’s still bearable to turn on the oven – then freeze them for later this summer when you can’t stand the thought of baking.)

Banana Cranberry Pepita Oatmeal Bars


1 banana, mashed (great time to use a freezer banana)
1 egg
3/4 cup milk
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1 1/2 cups rolled oats
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup pepitas
1/4 cup pecans, chopped

Blend the wet ingredients, stir in the dry ingredients, then add the mix-ins at the end. Bake at 375 for 20 min. in silicon or lined muffin cups or a 30+ minutes in a greased baking dish. These will not rise when baked, so don’t worry about filling muffin cups to the top.

If you want to store them for future munching, let them cool, then wrap them individually and freeze in a freezer bag until you’re ready to grab one for breakfast.

Mounds Oatmeal Bars
1 egg
1 1/4 cup milk
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ginger
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup almonds
1/2 cup coconut
1/4 cup chocolate chips (ok, these aren’t so healthy)

(Follow the same cooking directions as above.)

 

Red Lentil Soup May 30, 2012

Filed under: Lunch,Soup,Vegan,Vegetarian — krandle @ 5:27 pm
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Sometimes, you wind up with an ingredient that you have to invent uses for. It doesn’t fit into the things you normally make, you have no idea how to use it, and none of your stockpiled recipe ideas mention it anywhere. So you start making things up.

A while ago, my mother gave me a bag of red lentils. Not just any old bag. An enormous, unending bag of red lentils, so authentically designed for frequent lentil cooks that Lakshmi is on the outside of the bag. It was an incredibly thoughtful present, and I do love cooking beans/lentils/etc., so I was excited about it. I have to say that I ended up using most of the bag to make a weird rice/lentil mixture. Every time I needed a grain for a stir fry or something, I’d do 3/4 cup rice and 1/4 cup lentils. It added some texture and fiber…and that was pretty much the only idea I had. All my other lentil recipes called for firmer green or brown lentils.

That is, until I decided to make some red lentil soup. I have to say I wish I’d never concocted the rice/lentil mixture; this soup is so much better than that.

Curried Red Lentil Soup with Dried Cherries and Cilantro
from Martha Stewart Living

Lentil soup is delicious – but it always looks weird, so you get a small photo. The coconut milk drizzle adds extra creaminess to the soup.

2 tsp. safflower oil (or just vegetable oil if you’re a plain person)
3 Tbs. finely chopped peeled ginger (from a 2-in piece)
6 garlic cloves, finely chopped (2 Tbs.)
1 large shallot, finely chopped (4 Tbs.)
2 carrots, finely diced (about 1 cup)
2 tsp. curry powder
Coarse salt
3/4 cup unsweetened coconut milk, divided
1 cup red lentils
1/3 cup chopped dried cherries
3 Tbs. finely chopped cilantro stems, plus 3 Tbs. cilantro leaves for garnish

Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook ginger, garlic, shallots and carrots, stirring often, until softened, about 7 minutes. Add curry powder and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.

Add in 1 1/4 tsp. salt and 1/2 cup coconut milk, 4 cups water and the lentils and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until lentils and carrots are tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Pour 2 cups of soup through a fine sieve into a bowl, reserving the solids. Puree the strained liquid and the remaining soup in a food processor until smooth. Reheat after blending and stir in reserved solids.

At this point, if you’re going to freeze your soup, this is the time to do it. If not, stir in some of the cherries and cilantro stems, then ladle soup into bowls. Swirl the remaining coconut milk and garnish with cherries and cilantro leaves.

Per serving: 348 calories, 8 g saturated fat, 48 g carbohydrates, 15 g protein, 12 g dietary fiber