Saturday, February 14, 2009

Quick Pizza Magherita

This recipe comes from Cooking Light, and it was super super yummy and fast.

the ingredients are:

1 10 oz. can of refrigerated pizza dough (we used pilsbury)
cooking spray
5 plum tomatos
1tsp extra virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, halved
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup thinly sliced basil
salt and pepper

working with the pilsbury dough was interesting. we preheated the oven to 400 and then placed the dough by itself for 5 minutes to make it a little sort of tasted like a big crescent roll though....for our next pizza adventure i think we'll try making our own crust.

plum tomatos are awesome...really easy to slice and they are super meaty.

once the crust comes out you brush some olive oil on it, rub a halved clove of garlic and then start layering the tomatoes and then sprinkle the cheese on top. we grated the cheese fresh so it tasted really great. be sure to leave about an inch of crust around the sides. and then back in the oven for 12 minutes

once it comes out, sprinkle balsamic mixed with some oil all over, place the basil on top, and your'e good to go! it was very drippy, we're not sure if it was the cheese or the tomatoes but a lot of liquid poured out when it was cut, but still very very delicious.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Fried Plantains!

first of all....YUM

holy crap these were delicious.

These also come from Vegetarian Planet by Didi Emmons. I made them last week as a quick snack from scratch because I was really too busy to make a whole meal from scratch on any particular night. These were sooo easy and I plan on frying up some more tonight

Ingredients include:

1 yellow or black plantain
1/2 cup canola or corn oil
and 3 slices white sandwich bread

below, is a plantain.

so 1 plantain cuts nicely into 8 bit size but still meaty pieces, cut on an angle.

the bread has to be de-crusted and lightly toasted. then, chop it up into really fine bread crumbs. this takes a little while but i'm sure it would have worked much faster if i had a cutting board. the crumbs in the picture below are still far to big and had to be cut some more.

and...then...fry them. didi suggests a trick to test the heat of the oil in the pan. take one plantain and put it in the pan, if the oil is too hot the plantain wil burn instantly. but these were ok. i reccomend staying close to them as they brown quickly. once brown on one side, turn them over, brown again, and then place on a paper towl.

then eat! serve them hot. i was tempted to let them cool a bit but the plantain is so watery that they really were ready to eat prety much right out of the oil. and soooooo good. it was almost like i was back in Costa Rica when fried plantains were part of our daily diet.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

knit toys

I finished my toys! these patterns come again from Kids Learn to Knit, same as with the puppies. the owls i think are way more successful than the dogs. the tan one is made with a thicker yarn and size 8 needles. it's measurements (i think, i can't quite remember...) are 16 stitches by 20 rows.

the green owl is again a finer yarn, size 6 needles, and measures 25 stitches by 45 rows.

they both are made in the stockinette stitch which comes from alternating one row of knit stitch and one row of purl stitch.

here they all are! the tan ones are simon's, the colored ones at heading off to new york this weekend for micah and zoe!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Poblanos Rellenos

A few nights ago we made Poblanos Rellenos from Vegetarian Planet, and i gotta say...they were not that good. the recipe includes:

15 sundried tomatos slices
1 1/2 tablespoons oil
20 pecans or walnuts, chopped
4 garlic cloves
kernels from 3 ears of corn
1/2 teaspoons salt
black pepper
6 oz mild chevre
1 cup cottage cheese
1/2 grated cheddar cheese
4 green bell peppers

the most interesting part was probably working with the tomatos. the recipes says to boil 2 cups of water and pour it over the tomatos, letting them soak for ten minutes and then draining them and chopping them fine.

the water made an interesting broth around them, that eventually turned into a deep reddish black color that resembles black tea..but we didn't taste it to check.

simon cut them and said it was really hard to do so because they were mushy. they didn't really "chop" as much as tear apart and make a mess.

toasting the walnuts was fine

adding in the corn, tomatos, and garlic was fine

even folding in the cheeses and crumbling the chevre was fine.

stuffing the peppers was a little disheartening, there wasnt' enough stuffing to fill each pepper to the top, but close enough i guess.

the peppers are supposed to bake in a casserole dish, filled with 1/4 cup water, covered in tin foil, for 30-45 minutes at 350 degrees. our oven was completely preheated, we started it before we even began to chop anything in the beginning, and the peppers had to stay in there for at least 10-15 minutes longer than the recipe called for and i'm still not sure they were done all the way. however, the biggest problem was that they had no flavor. they were bland, greasy and fatty. now i don't mind pools of oil on the top of a meal, as long as that oil makes it taste good, but this didn't do that. and to top it all off, the ingredients cost 30 dollars. 30 dollars! on the positive side, they were super filling, one pepper was enough to fill up a person, but i just don't think it will be something i make again

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


i finished the two dogs i was knitting. the pattern comes from this book: Kids Learn to Knit. they are SO cute. button noses and eyes, felt ears, tails, and feet. the small tan one is simon's, he named it chester after a cute weimaraner we found a few weeks ago, and the blue one is for micah and zoe.

i think they were quite successful and very huggable, however, also very time consuming.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Chunky Vegetarian Chili

This recipe comes from, Simon and I made it with our friend Lauren and it was super simple and really successful. perfect for a post-big-snow-storm-day. The ingredients include:

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 cups chopped onion
1/2 chopped yellow bell pepper
1/2 chopped green bell pepper
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 1/2 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 16 oz. cans stewed tomatos
2 15 oz cans black beans
1 15 oz can kidney beans
1 15 oz can pinto beans

basically the whole thing was just chopping the peppers and onion, mixing the spices, and heating it all up in a pot. we did have to rinse and drain the beans, which i have never done was simple

onions and peppers and oil first

then add everything else!

lauren also brought some delicious bread from clearflour. one was pan de mie, and the other was a seven grain/sourdough/seeded crust bread.

both yummy.

finished product! i don't know what the picture is sideways but with some sharp cheddar cheese on top, this chili was delicious. really sweet, probaly from the brown sugar and the onions. and once everything was in the pot it only simmered for 30 minutes before it was all done.

Knitting Puppies

so i've been teaching myself how to knit.

my first task are to make these really cute puppies, which i am going to send to some of my brother's friend's children, micah and zoe. there will also be an owl later on. these toys really consist of rectangles of knitting that you add felt and buttons to in order to make it look like an animal, but they are really very cute.

so far i've made a practice body in a tan yarn that is going to be simon's. only three sides are sewn together because i need to buy toy stuffing and other accesories this weekend to finish it off.

simon's dog is 16 stitches x 40 rows with a size 8 needles. big yarn, big needles, big stitches.

for micah and zoe's dog i'm using a blue, much softer, much finer yarn and a size 6 needle. so, i had to increase the pattern to 20 stitches by 70 rows. it's still slightly shorter in height, but much longer in length...think a dachsund or something like that.

the one side that is done took about 4 hrs and 15 minutes...a lot of time for something so small, but it's pretty and very soft.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Cinnamon Snaps!

These cinnamon snaps come from Didi Emmons' cookbook, Vegetarian Planet

the ingredients are:
2 cups unbleached flower
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3-4 teaspoons ground cinnamon (i used closer to 3)
1 teaspoon ground allspice
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup plus 1/3 cup white sugar
1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1 egg

the recipe involves a wet bowl and a dry bowl. above is the wet bowl, it has the butter, beaten, the 1/2 cup sugar, brown sugar, and the egg. at first it looked like too small of an amount, and frankly it looked like dog food. but it smells and tastes delicious. mixing these ingredients together was probably the most difficult part in the whole process. without a mixer it seems as though the butter will never soften, but it does...with work and dedication.

the dry bowl includes the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and allspice. this part is easy.

mix the two bowls together, slowly pouring the dry mixture into the wet and mixing it a bit at a time. again, tedious, but fairly easy. i pounded this into a large ball, put it in a bowl, covered it in plastic wrap and let it chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. it still looks like very little dough for 24 cookies, but i went with it anyway. once it's chilled, roll 24 little balls, roll them in the left over white sugar, place them on cookie sheets (widely spaced apart...this is important because they EXPAND like crazy), so i used two cookie sheets, and press them down lightly.

they look quite beautiful actually.

bake them at 350 degrees. the recipe says 6-8 minutes, but i kept them in there for much longer, i don't think my oven gets hot enough. just keep an eye on them and it's easy to tell when they are done.

they were super yummy and a big hit at the party i took them to. they get really big and filling so don't worry about the small amount of dough it makes. they are thin but have a nice crisp to them without being so hard that you feel like you're going to break your teeth.