Food Photography – The Baked Brownie

(The Baked Brownie, recipe from Baked: New Frontiers in Baking.)

This chocolate monster was almost too rich for me, even. Almost. Somehow I managed.

Second Time’s a Charm – Tempeh Curry Salad

It’s funny, with there being so many different dishes out there, more than one could ever hope to cook or eat in one lifetime, it’s easy to forget about the ones you’ve tried before.  You find an interesting recipe, maybe you make some improvisations, maybe you don’t.  Maybe it comes out great, maybe it comes out decent and you have some thoughts for “next time”  Then you forget about it, lost forever in the past.

Tempeh and Peas

This is one of those dishes.  I made a curry dish from Totally Vegetarian and, well, I was not knocked over by it’s awesomeness.  It wasn’t bad, but if I was a restaurant, I would not come back to me and order this (if that makes any sense).  SO, back to the drawing board.  Whole Foods has this awesome curry tempeh dish they have sometimes at their hot bar and apparently if you add mayonnaise it becomes a salad, which blows my mind.  I shall be calling club sandwiches salads from now on.  I gotta say, I was quite happy with how this came out.  It was delicious and the whole wheat couscous I paired it with worked quite well.  I encourage you to try this and next time someone tells you to eat healthier, whip this sucker out.

Curry Tempeh Salad

Tempeh Curry Salad
For the curry, I used one teaspoon hot, two teaspoons sweet and for me it was perfect. However, I am quite the spice-wuss.

2-3 tablespoons olive oil
1 white onion; chopped
2 garlic cloves; minced
1 teaspoon ginger; minced
1 tablespoon curry; any kind
1 teaspoon mustard powder
1/8 cup tamari (soy sauce in a pinch)
1 cup fresh peas (or thawed and drained)
8oz tempeh; chopped into small quarter inch pieces
1/2 cup mayo (I used vegan, but any should work)
2 tablespoons white vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
salt and pepper to taste

Under medium high heat, saute your onion in a large pan with the olive oil until translucent and slightly browned. Reduce the heat to medium and add your garlic, ginger, curry and mustard; stirring to mix well and prevent burning. Once fragrant (1-2 minutes), add your tempeh and tamari. Stir and cook for a few minutes until the tempeh has been heated up and the liquid has either mostly been absorbed or cooked away.

Add your remaining ingredients and stir to mix well. Cook for a few minutes and remove from heat. Serve immediately or cold; both ways are delicious. Enjoy.

I do, on occasion, try to eat a meatless dinner. Flipping through Giada De Laurentiis’s Giada’s Kitchen: New Italian Favorites always helps to make me feel good about veggies again. Italian cooking has a lot of great vegetables and healthy things about it, but in restaurants the food just seems to get so bogged down with cheeses and oil. Giada unearths the good food under all the excess.

Broiled Zucchini, Yellow Squash and Potatoes, Lightly Herbed & Sprinkled with Cheese1

I was drawn to her Broiled Zucchini and Potatoes with Pamesan Crust recipe… but with a few changes, of course!

I traded in the new potatoes for two small to medium sized Russet potatoes. I also added in two yellow squash in addition to the zucchini, and I used a bit of shredded Vermont White Cheddar cheese instead of Parmesan. Instead of buying fresh herbs (which are wonderful, but just not that accessible for a quick weeknight dinner) I used dried. I thought the result was pretty awesome.

Broiled Zucchini, Yellow Squash and Potatoes, Lightly Herbed & Sprinkled with Cheese2

Since I had more vegetables than the original recipe, I added in a little more unsalted butter to cook them in. So that I didn’t turn a relatively healthy meal into a butter fiesta, I used 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter + 2 tablespoons of Smart Balance butter. I would also recommend that you cook the veggies in batches in your skillet; I had a giant skillet to use and even with that things were just a little too crowded. The vegetables taste great, with a tiny bit of salt, cheese and butter giving it just enough zip to turn a veggiephobe into a new friend for life.

Broiled Zucchini, Yellow Squash and Potatoes, Lightly Herbed & Sprinkled with Cheese3

Broiled Zucchini, Yellow Squash and Potatoes, Lightly Herbed & Sprinkled with Cheese
adapted from Giada De Laurentiis

2 small/medium size Russet potatoes, cleaned and quartered
2 tablespoons unsalted butter + 2 tablespoons Smart Balance butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons thyme
1 1/2 teaspoons rosemary
2 small zucchini, halved lengthwise and then cut into 1 inch pieces
2 small yellow squash, halved lengthwise and then cut into 1 inch pieces
Pinch of kosher salt and black pepper
1/3 cup freshly grated Vermont white cheddar

Boil a medium pot of water on high heat. Add quartered potatoes and cook until tender, about 10 minutes. Drain and let cool. Cut into 2 inch pieces when cooled.

Over medium heat, place a medium saute pan with butter, garlic, thyme and rosemary – heat until the butter melts. Meanwhile, lightly salt the cut surfaces of the zucchini, squash and potatoes. Place the cut side down in the melted butter and cook for about 15 minutes when golden brown.

Preheat the broiler and line a baking sheet with foil. Place the browned zucchini and potatoes on the sheet with the cut side facing up. Sprinkle with Vermont cheddar. Broil until cheese melts (about 4 minutes). Serve while hot!

Natural Veggies for Charlottesville, Blacksburg & Lynchburg!

Recently a friend alerted me to a pretty awesome opportunity to get fresh, natural vegetables! The co-op is new to Charlottesville and Blacksburg, but has already been in place in Lynchburg, Va.

For $35.00 a year, you can get 5lbs per week of vegetables of your choice for 24 weeks. They haven’t chosen a pick up location yet in Charlottesville, but it’s coming soon.

I have already sent in my membership form and fee, and I’m really looking forward to this come springtime! Check out their website to see all the great veggies they offer and if it may be up your alley – Sausser Farms.

Even MORE Rainbow Ideas

In case our Rainbow Week left you wanting for even more crazy rainbow food recipes, take a quick trip to CafeMom for their lineup of rainbow recipes on the interwebs.

Rainbow Pancakes from i am mommy

I gotta say those pancakes kinda freak me about a bit

Pop quiz: what ingredient do you use most often?  Onions?  Pasta?  Salt?  I have a feeling it’s probably oil; olive, peanut, take your pick.  There is rarely a recipe in one’s repertoire that doesn’t pair heat with oil (I suppose baking is the most notable excepting with butter taking the crown).  Oh, oil, how we love you.

Working with cooking oil isn’t a particularly complex area of the cooking process.  Sautéing, roasting; it’s all just lubrication with a subtle touch of taste.  I do feel a little constrained at times when I want to do something with finer control.  Ever see those purtty photographs of soup with the broken circle of oil on top?  Or maybe you just want to throw some veggies on a baking pan, coat them a little and roast.  I have a difficult time getting an even spread with the bottle it comes in (especially if it’s a large one), so I moved my olive oil to a squeeze bottle.  The smaller spout and squeeze-ness (technical term, for reals) allows me much more control.

I used a frosting bottle leftover from a Drop In & Decorate event I hosted, but any kind would work; one of those condiment bottles you’d find at most restaurants, for example.  Just be sure there’s a tight seal or you’ll find yourself with an oily mess.  Of course, there’s also dressing bottles, but I prefer to use that just for my really good olive oil.

Carrot Zombie!

Hahaha, hilariousness from Bent Objects.

Carrot Zombie from Bent Objects

While we’re laughing about the best playing-with-your-food application I’ve ever seen, what’s your favorite parsnip recipe?  I’ve done a simple roasted dish with nothing but salt and attempted to make a mashed concoction, much like I did with cauliflower.  Neither were bad, just, ‘meh’.  How do you like yours?

Food Photography – Fried Cinnamon Buns!

Deep Fried Cinnamon Buns!

I don’t usually eat that much fried food, I swear.  But with Florida, all bets were off.  As if a deep-fried Oreo sundae wasn’t enough, the following day we reached new heights of culinary delight with deep-fried cinnamon rolls!  Words fail to describe this the the full extent.  This is something that must be experienced.  Another delight from HUE.

Deep Fried Cinnamon Bun - Cut

Chocolate, chocolate and more chocolate

What did you enjoy for Valentine’s Day?

My husband and I skipped candy this year and instead chomped on an amazing chocolate bundt cake I baked courtesy of Cookie Madness. However because I can’t leave well enough alone, I drowned the cake in Mrs. Milman’s chocolate frosting recipe from Martha Stewart.


On first bite, I regretted drowning it in frosting because the cake is so excellent and moist that it can really stand alone. But by the second day of cake noshing I grew to appreciate my pile of chocolate in all its decadent glory.

cake slice

Steak Alchemy?

Can you make higher quality meat with nothing more than a little salt and time?  Jaden Hair of Steamy Kitchen claims you can.  In Steak: How to Turn Cheap “Choice” Steak into Gucci “Prime” Steak, Jaden goes into some great detail on how salt tenderizes and changes the protein in side meat.  Very sciency, very cool and something I’ll definitely try.

Photo by Steamy Kitchen

Via xenbu