Archive for the ‘Recipes’ Category

Moroccan Chickpea Soup

December 13, 2008

This is probably my all-time favorite soup recipe, which is saying a lot since I make soup  a l l  t h e  t i m e  in the winter.  Nutritious, inexpensive, delicious — it just doesn’t get any better.  The recipe is from Gourmet, with a couple of my own tweaks.


  • 2 cans of chickpeas, drained
  • 8 cups water
  • 1 (35-oz) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 small celery rib (including leaves), finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons chopped garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 2/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 4 cups vegetable broth (preferably organic) or chicken broth
  • 1 cup lentils
  • 2 oz dried capellini, broken into 1-inch pieces, or fine egg noodles (3/4 cup)
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • red pepper flakes to taste

Cook garlic, onion and celery in butter in a 4-quart heavy pot over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until softened.  Add turmeric, pepper, cumin, red pepper flakes and cinnamon and cook, stirring, 3 minutes.  Stir in tomatoes, 1/3 cup cilantro, chickpeas, vegetable broth and lentils.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, until lentils are tender, about 35 minutes.  Stir in pasta and cook, stirring, until tender, about 3 minutes. Stir in parsley, remaining 1/3 cup cilantro, and salt to taste.


Turkey Meatloaf

December 10, 2008

I don’t normally think of myself as a meatloaf kind of a girl, but for some reason, I got a massive meatloaf craving a couple of weeks ago.  I found a recipe from Gourmet magazine with 378 rave online reviews.  Since it was a recipe for a healthier loaf made with turkey instead of grandma’s traditional beef loaf, I knew I had to try it.  It did not disappoint!  

This is a great comfort food dish.  Although I’ve made some of my typical simplifying edits to the original recipe, the recipe still involves a number of steps.  Don’t worry, it’s really quite simple.  It’s the perfect sort of thing to let bake while you’re doing some grading on the sofa.  Remember the 475th law of food (if meatloaf, then potatoes) and serve it with baked potatoes and a green salad or broccoli.  Then, reheat it with a slice of provolone in a sandwich the next day.  Bonus points if you listen to Bat Out of Hell II while you’re cooking.


  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 medium carrot, cut into 1/8-inch dice
  • 3/4 lb cremini mushrooms, trimmed and very finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon ketchup
  • 1 cup bread crumbs
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 whole large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 large egg white, lightly beaten
  • 1 1/4 lb ground turkey

Preheat oven to 400°F.  Cook onion and garlic in oil in a nonstick skillet over moderate heat, stirring, until onion is softened, about 2 minutes.  Add carrot and cook, stirring, until softened, about 3 minutes.  Add mushrooms, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid mushrooms give off is evaporated and they are very tender, 10 to 15 minutes.  Stir in Worcestershire sauce, parsley, and 3 tablespoons ketchup, then transfer vegetables to a large bowl and cool.

Stir together bread crumbs and milk in a small bowl and let stand 5 minutes.  Stir in egg and egg white, then add to vegetables.  Add turkey and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper to vegetable mixture and mix well with your hands. (Mixture will be very moist.)

Form into a 9- by 5-inch oval loaf in a lightly oiled baking pan or form inside a loaf pan and brush meatloaf evenly with remaining 2 tablespoons ketchup.  Bake in middle of oven until thermometer inserted into meatloaf registers 170°F, 50 to 55 minutes.  Let meatloaf stand 5 minutes before serving.  Serve with additional ketchup.

Spicy Tomato Soup

December 5, 2008

Here’s a Gourmet magazine recipe that I just tried for the first time and enjoyed.  It’s a great twist on a classic winter food: tomato soup.  I’ve made a few simplifying changes to the recipe because, well, I’m lazy!  I recommend serving this with garlic bread or grilled cheese sandwiches.


  • 2 (28- to 32-oz) cans whole tomatoes in juice
  • 1 large onion, coarsely chopped (2 1/4 cups)
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped garlic
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh jalapeño chile including seeds
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped peeled fresh ginger
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 1/4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth (18 fl oz)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar, or to taste
  • 2 teaspoons salt, or to taste

Drain 1 can tomatoes.  Cook onion, garlic, chile, and ginger in oil in a 4- to 5-quart heavy nonreactive pot over moderate heat, stirring frequently, until onion is softened, about 8 minutes.  Add cumin and cook, stirring, 1 minute.   Stir in tomatoes, broth, 1 tablespoon sugar, and 2 teaspoons salt and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, 20 minutes.  Working in 3 or 4 batches, blend soup in blender until smooth (use caution when blending hot liquids).  Stir in additional sugar and salt to taste.  Reheat in cleaned saucepan if necessary.

Special Fried Rice

November 30, 2008

My favorite food blog, Smitten Kitchen, pretty much summarizes my feelings when it comes to Rachael Ray:

I have no doubt I’m opening a can of worms here, but I really don’t see the point of the classic foodie hobby, Rachael Ray Bashing. Sure, her voice is unnecessarily loud, and it makes you wonder why her supposedly caring producers wouldn’t tell her to cut back on all the yelling; of course, the (trademarked) EVOO is hideously annoying; and yeah, that FHM photo shoot was, at best, a pathetic cry for attention, but in the kitchen? The 30-minute meals? How did these become the enemy?

Yes, her knife skills are lacking, but guess what? So are mine. Yes, she relies a bit on pre-processed ingredients, but I’ve got no beef with canned tomatoes, beans and frozen peas when you are short on time. Yes, she lacks finesse but hello! I’m a big as a dork as anyone, and yet you are still here. To be honest, I often parallel her cooking to Oprah’s Book Club. (At the rate she’s earning, she’ll be as loaded as Oprah in a couple years, which is what I suspect is actually what irks people.) For the most part, the books aren’t to my taste but I won’t begrudge a woman who got thousands of Americans back into reading. In the realm of food, I can think of more worthy nightmares to dump on (ahem).

I’ve actually never seen her cooking show.  The only time I’ve seen her on television is when I saw the last fifteen minutes of her travel show when she visited Boston.  Her dishes aren’t always (or even usually) to my liking, but about once or twice a year, I make one of her recipes on a weeknight and I really enjoy it.  Last week was one of those times.  

Rachael Ray has a recipe for Vegetarian Fried Rice that I think is really tasty and easy — and it’s one of those quick recipes that mostly uses ingredients that I already have on hand.  I like to be generous in the amount of vegetables that I throw in to make it more nutritious.  I also like to be generous in the amount of fresh ginger that I throw in because ginger is just so good.  When I made it for dinner most recently, I served it with Chung’s Vegetarian Egg Rolls (frozen), which were surprisingly decent.  It’s a great recipe for lunch leftovers and it actually does take less than 30 minutes.  So, without further ado, here is the recipe.


  • 2 3/4 cups water
  • 1 1/2 cups white rice
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable, sesame or wok oil, 3 turns of the pan
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 inches fresh ginger, minced or grated
  • 1/2 cup shredded carrots, available in pouches in produce section, a couple of handfuls
  • 1 small red bell pepper, diced
  • 4 scallions, thinly sliced on an angle
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • 1/3 cup Tamari, dark aged soy sauce

Bring water to a boil.  Add rice, reduce heat, cover and cook over medium low heat until tender, 15 to 18 minutes. Spread rice out on a cookie sheet to quick cool it.  (I normally skip that last step…)

Heat a wok, wok shaped skillet or large nonstick skillet over high heat.  Add oil to the pan. Add egg to hot oil and break into small bits as it scrambles.  When eggs are scrambled, add garlic and ginger to the pan. Add carrots, pepper, scallions to the pan and quick stir-fry veggies 2 minutes. Add rice to the pan and combine with veggies.  Fry rice with veggies 2 or 3 minutes.  Add peas and soy sauce to the rice and stir fry 1 minute more, then serve.

Honey and Soy Glazed Salmon

November 24, 2008

This recipe is such a quick and easy dinner for a weeknight when you arrive home from the lab or an exhausting day at the library.  I’ve been making it for several years and it still hasn’t failed me, even though I’m not even that much of a salmon lover.  The recipe is from Gourmet, as always with a few small tweaks from me.  


  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lime juice (lemon works, too)
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • two 6-ounce pieces salmon fillet

In a small bowl whisk together honey, soy sauce, lime juice, mustard, and water. In a small non-stick skillet heat oil over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking and cook salmon 2 to 3 minutes on each side, or until golden and just cooked through. Transfer salmon to 2 plates. Add honey glaze to skillet and simmer, stirring, 1 minute. Pour glaze over salmon.

I like to serve this delicious fish with steamed vegetables (broccoli is my favorite) and brown rice or a baked potato.

Curried Lentil Soup

November 19, 2008

I’m always on the lookout for recipes that are delicious, relatively simple, inexpensive, nutritious and make great leftovers (in other words, perfect grad student dishes).  A tall order?  Not so tall as you might think.  Take a look at Exhibit A below: Curried Lentil Soup.  I’ve been making this one for several years and it never disappoints.  Recipe courtesy of Bon Appetit with a few small changes that I like.


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 8-ounce russet potato, peeled, chopped
  • 1 large carrot, peeled, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
  • 2 tablespoons curry powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 3 14 1/2-ounce cans low-salt chicken broth
  • 1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes in juice
  • 2 cups lentils (about 12 ounces), rinsed, drained
  • 2/3 cup frozen peas
Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion, potato, garlic and carrot and sauté. until vegetables begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Mix in curry powder and cayenne and stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add broth, tomatoes with juices and lentils and bring to boil. Cover pot, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until lentils are very tender, about 45 minutes. Throw in the frozen peas with about 10 minutes to go.  Season soup to taste with salt and pepper. (Can be made up to 2 days ahead. Refrigerate until cold; cover and keep refrigerated. Before serving, rewarm soup over low heat.)