Archives for September 2007

Black-Eyed Pea and Soybean Salad with Lime and Avocado

It’s hard to stop eating this simple salad

I saw a recipe recently – the first-place winner in the Vegetarian Times Reader Recipe contest – that inspired me to make this salad for lunch yesterday. It was delicious! This is a recipe to satisfy any number of your vegan, high-fiber, low-carb, low-fat desires. My only problem is that I wanted to eat the whole bowl myself.

Black-Eyed Pea and Soybean Salad with Lime and Avocado
adapted from Greens (aka Vegetarian Times) magazine October 2007

makes 6 servings
1 (14-ounce) can black-eyed peas, rinsed and drained
1 (14-ounce) can soybeans, rinsed and drained
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 avocado, diced
1 small tomato, diced
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup finely chopped shallot or red onion
1 serrano chile pepper, finely chopped (You could use a jalapeno, but I love serranos because they have a dependable heat level, unlike jalapenos which are sometimes very bland)
1 small garlic clove, finely chopped
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon low-sodium teriyaki sauce
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1. In a large bowl, layer the peas, beans, bell pepper, avocado, tomato, cilantro, shallot, chile pepper and garlic.

2. Whisk together the lime juice, oil, vinegar, teriyaki, sugar, salt and cayenne in a small bowl.
Pour dressing over the bean mixture and toss gently to avoid smashing the avocado.

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Copyright (c) 2007 FamilyStyle Food

Old-Fashioned Sugar Cookies with a Twist

Spoon Cookies filled with Chocolate

A while back, I clipped this cookie recipe from Gourmet magazine, filed it away and forgot about it.
But in a fit of house cleaning, which is ongoing and never ending, I found the recipe in a crumpled pile under some old notebooks and 3rd grade homework. Before sticking the page in the recycling bin, though, I went over to Epicurious and added it to my online recipe box.

(And just to digress for one second, is anyone else as irritated with the “new and improved” Epi as I am? What was wrong with the old one? Now I sit and twiddle my fingers waiting for the pages to load and the annoying little pop-ups to go away.)

As much as I enjoy having some quiet time flipping through my favorite food magazines, they multiply like mold spores and I never seem to catch up. I make a mental note to remember a certain page or recipe, which everyone over the age 35 knows is a bad idea. All those notes end up in a dusty corner of my mommy brain, lost forever.

Since I’m still in the gather-it-up-and-get-rid-of-it stage ever since The Big Flood, I’m liking the idea of flagging favorite recipes and menus on sites like Epi and My Recipes. They pretty much have every recipe that’s been published in the last decade available for free, so there’s no need for me to stockpile issues in the basement, where I trip over them. I even bought new recipe organizing software that allows me to import recipes and their swell photos. I know! I’m all 21st century now.

Anyway, I’m glad I saved this one since they were so simple and fun to make. This is basically a shortbread dough made with brown butter, which is the secret to their extraordinary flavor. I love the little nut-like bits of browned butter in the baked cookie, too.

These seem to be fairly unusual; in my brief search for similiar cookies, all I found was one in a cookbook by Beatrice Ojakangas, The Great Scandinavian Baking Book. She calls them Finnish Teaspoon Cookies.

I chose to fill these with chocolate because, why not? My second choice would be some good apricot jam.

Cook butter until it turns the color of golden honey
Form cookies with a deep-bowled spoon
Spoon Cookies

2 sticks (1 cup) cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
3/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt, slightly rounded
Chocolate ganache * or fruit preserves

Melt butter in a medium saucepan over moderate heat. Cook 10-12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the butter turns golden, smells nutty, and flecks on bottom of pan turn deep caramel brown. A thick foam will form and cover the surface just before butter begins to brown – keep close attention and stir more frequently.

Pour the butter into a medium bowl set into a larger bowl of ice to stop cooking. Stir frequently until butter appears emulsified and opaque, about 3 minutes. Stir in sugar and vanilla.

Whisk together flour, baking soda and salt in a small bowl; add to butter and stir until a dough forms. Shape the dough into a ball, wrap in plastic and let stand at room temperature 1 or 2 hours.

Place oven rack in middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees.

Pinch off a piece of dough and press firmly into the bowl of a teaspoon. Slide the dough off the spoon and place flat-side down on an ungreased cookie sheet. Continue forming cookies and arrange on sheet. Bake until very pale golden, 12-15 minutes. Cool cookies on a rack 5 minutes before transfering to a rack to cool completely.

Spread cookies with soft, spreadable chocolate ganache or warmed preserves.

Makes about 2 dozen sandwich cookies.

Chocolate Ganache

8 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
1 cup heavy cream

Place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Heat cream just to a simmer, then pour over chocolate. Stir gently until smooth.

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Copyright (c) 2007 FamilyStyle Food

Good Omens


I came home recently and found this wayward starling flying around my house, looking as panicked as a little bird could look.

It took a long 15 minutes before she finally noticed that I’d propped open the front door for her, and away she went, doubtless home to her nest to share the story — “Oh, darlings, you’ll never guess the day I’ve had!”


Copyright (c) 2007 FamilyStyle Food