Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Macadamia Butter Cookies with Dried Cranberries

Hours and hours in the kitchen. Family members kept peeking in to see where the good smells were coming from.    The counters were loaded with macadamia nuts, cranberries, hershey kisses, peanut butter, walnuts, and powdered sugar. This year I made Peanut Butter Blossoms,  Macadamia  Butter Cookies with Dried Cranberries, and Meltaways. A few of our Christmas favorites. One of the key ingredients to a successful night in the kitchen is the music. Tonight I shuffled my Christmas collection on my Ipod. Everything from Ella Fitzgerald to She & Him to one of my favorite soundtracks, Mixed Nuts. Sure makes for a fun night.

Macadamia Butter Cookies with Dried Cranberries
2/3 C. macadamia nuts
1/2 C. sugar
1/2 C. brown sugar
1 t. vanilla extract
1 egg
1 1/4 C. flour
1/2 t. baking soda
1/4 t. salt
1/8 t. nutmeg
1/2 C. sweetened dried cranberries, chopped
sugar, for dipping (about 1-2 T.)

Preheat the oven for 375. 
In a food processor, process nuts until smooth, scraping the sides as needed. Combine nut butter and both sugars in a bowl and beat with mixer. Add vanilla and egg. Beat well. Lightly measure flour, level. Whisk together with soda, salt and nutmeg in a separate bowl. Add dry to sugar mixture. Beat at low speed just until combined. (Should be thick!) Stir in cranberries. Chill 10 minutes. Place dipping sugar in a small bowl. Roll dough into balls (makes about 30), pressing each bowl into sugar lightly and place each ball sugar-side up on baking sheet covered with parchment paper. Gently press top of each ball with a fork to form a criss cross.
Bake about 8-9 minutes until lightly golden. Remove from pan to a wire cooking rack. 

 At this point I'm about ready to call it a night. It's a lot of work to make Christmas cookies, but it's something I look forward to every year.  
After noticing how quickly the cookies are disappearing I think I can confidently say that they are all a success! 
I'm always looking for different recipes to try, if you have any to recommend let me know! Any family favorites you can share? I would love it. 

I hope your having a fun week preparing for Christmas! Don't let this time of year stress you out. Take time to relax, even for a few minutes. Stop a second and embrace the cheerfulness that this season brings, the giving spirit amongst most and do something to bless someone you don't even know! If you're in a drive-thru, pay for the person behind you, pay for someone's gas, or just wish someone "Merry Christmas" with a kind smile... it can make the biggest difference in someone's day.

Blessings to you all!

Chef Teebs

Friday, December 16, 2011

Hazelnut Pizza Dough & Hazelnut Spinach Pesto

So my friend Ro had a baby girl! (See the pizza I made for her baby shower here.) I signed up to bring them dinner, my turn came, and I thought, "Ooo i should try one of my hazelnut recipes!" My parents and I have been craving roasted vegetable pizza and I had a recipe for hazelnut dough I could use! I've never cooked with hazelnuts. I've had them in mouth-watering Godiva Chocolates...sounded so interesting to me to use them in a pesto and especially a pizza dough! Intrigued and excited to begin this adventure, I grabbed my recipes and headed to the kitchen. I made the pesto, the pizza dough, and then began roasting whatever veggies I had on hand. I threw together a salad with this vinaigrette and made a dipping oil with some herbs and evoo to serve with bread. I brought the pesto along with some al dente pasta and roasted vegetables, bread and dipping oil, the salad and some sweetened iced tea to their door. They loved it! 
 Chris, Ro's husband, doesn't like pizza so I made them pesto pasta. My parents and I ate the pizza. And it was deeee-licious!! You can find the recipe for the hazelnut pizza dough here. I topped the pizza with lots of sauce, piles of roasted veggies and sprinkled the top with nutritional yeast. Didn't even miss the cheese. Here's the pesto recipe from Rachel Ray:

Hazelnut-Spinach Pesto

1/3 C. EVOO (extra-virgin olive oil)
1-3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 sprig rosemary
1/4 C. peeled hazelnuts, toasted
12 oz. spinach, woody stems discarded
freshly grated nutmeg (optional)

In a small sauce pan, heat the EVOO, garlic, and rosemary sprig over medium-low heat and steep for 5 minutes. Let cool for a few minutes, then discard the rosemary and pour the oil and garlic into the food processor. Add the nuts and spinach and process into a thick paste. Season with salt, pepper, and the nutmeg, if using. 

I had some pesto left over and used it to make roasted veggie sandwiches with spinach leaves. It was amazing. Soo easy but only quick if you have the veggies handy. I like to roast a large amount and keep them in the fridge for the week. 

How's your Christmas plans coming along? I got all my shopping done. Just anxiously awaiting to hand these gifts out!! I love it. 

Chef Teebs

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Composed Salad of Roasted Broccoli, Romaine, Chickpeas and Walnuts

Went to Stiles Vegetable Farm to get their last picks of the season. My mom and I ended up getting a bargain: a whole basket of squash for $5! So I thought I would try a spaghetti squash recipe. I've always found it amazing how God made spaghetti squash. It's incredible... after you cook it, cut it in half and just fork through it and you have what looks like noodles! What an awesome Creator! We got home, unloaded the vegetables, and I began searching through my mass amount of recipes. I found this recipe for Spinach and Sun-Dried Tomato "spaghetti" from Vegetarian Times. I was very disappointed with it. The recipe is currently in the garbage next to a dead spider I crushed and some used kleenx. Spaghetti squash is my least favorite squash. I may try it again with a different recipe. But never this one again. Luckily I made a delicious salad that everyone enjoyed! First time making a salad with roasted veggies in it. Yum!! After I began preparing the dinner, I realized both recipes called for chickpeas. So I substituted black beans in the squash recipe. 

Composed Salad of Roasted Broccoli, Romaine, chickpeas, and Walnuts (From Martha Stewart Living)

For the broccoli
  2 small heads broccoli, trimmed & cut into large florets
  3 T. EVOO
    coarse salt & fresh cracked pepper

For the chickpeas
  2 T. EVOO
  1 shallot, thinly sliced (I used onion)
  1 can (15-oz) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  coarse salt
  1 t. sherry vinegar (I used rice wine)
For the goat cheese puree (I omitted)
  1/2 C. (3 1/2-4 oz.)fresh goat cheese
  2 T. water
  2 T. EVOO
  1 T. sherry vinegar
For the vinaigrette 
  2 T. dijon mustard
  1 T. plus 1 t. sherry vinegar (or rice)
  1/2 t. honey (or for vegan, agave nectar)
  1/2 t. coarse salt
  1/4 C. EVOO
For the assembly
  1 head romaine lettuce (or 2 hearts any lettuce), leaves separated  
  candied walnuts (recipe follows) or 1 c. toasted nuts

To make broccoli, preheat oven to 450° Toss broccoli with oil, and season with salt and pepper. Spread on a rimmed baking sheet and roast until broccoli begins to soften and brown, about 15 minutes. 
To make the chickpeas, heat oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add shallot, and cook, stirring until translucent, 5 minutes. Stir in chickpeas, and season with salt. Cook for 1 minute. Add vinegar, and cook until liquid has evaporated, about 1 minute.
To make the goat cheese puree (if making), combine all the ingredients in a food processor and puree until smooth, scraping down sides once. Puree can be refrigerated for up to 1 day.
To make the vinaigrette, in a small bowl, whisk (or in a mason jar, shake) together mustard, vinegar, honey (or agave) and salt. Pour in oil in a slow, steady stream, whisking constantly until emulsified. 
To assemble, Toss broccoli with 2 T. vinaigrette, and toss romaine with 2 T. vinaigrette. Arrange on a platter with chickpeas and walnuts. Serve with puree and additional vinaigrette on side.

Candied Walnuts
 makes 1 cup

1 C. walnut halves
1 garlic clove, crushed
3 T. honey (or agave nectar)
1 T. plus 1 t. fresh lemon juice
1/4 t. coarse salt
1/4 t. freshly ground pepper

Preheat oven 400°. Combine all ingredients on a rimmed baking sheet, and spread out mixture. Roast, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Let cool. They can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
 My whole family loved the salad. It was definitely a delicious change. When I served the salad, the broccoli, chickpeas and nuts were at room temperature. So the temperature thing wasn't weird and actually the taste of the caramelized broccoli was the best part! Give it a try and let me know how you liked it! Also, if you try it with the goat cheese I'm curious how different that makes it...

Happy Christmas shopping:) I'm almost done! Yay!!

Chef Teebs

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Whole Wheat Pasta Arrabbiata with Spinach

Thanksgiving was a wonderful time with family and included the best stuffing a vegetarian, vegan or carnivore could imagine. My mom makes it every year. She puts cornbread, toasted pine nuts and fresh sage... oh so glad we have leftovers. This year my dad, sister and I, each had separate conversations with my mom about making sure there would be enough leftovers. My mom insisted we would have plenty. We all cracked up about it when we realized we were all so concerned. I guess you would have to taste this stuffing to understand. It's just that good. We're both relieved it's over though. 

Now back to normal life. Cleaning. Going through recipes and magazines. Watching Christmas movies. Practicing for the Christmas choir. Christmas shopping... and back in the kitchen again. This time I made a pasta recipe from Rachel Ray's magazine. With leftover baby spinach in the fridge, broccoli, and random pasta in the cabinet, the dinner menu was starting to come together. Now to alter this recipe a tad..

Whole Wheat Pasta Arrabbiata with Arugula

1 lb. whole wheat penne rigate (I used 2 kinds)
1/4 C. EVOO
1 sm. red onion, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, grated or minced
1 t. crushed red pepper flakes
1 T. balsamic vinegar
1 28-oz. can diced fire-roasted tomatoes (I used regular)
Black pepper
1 C. grated pecorino-romano cheese (I served nutritional yeast on the side)
4 C. arugula, coarsely chopped (I used spinach)

Bring a large pot of water to a boil, salt it, add the pasta and cook until al dente. Drain, reserving a ladleful of the cooking water.
While the pasta is working, in a deep skillet, heat the EVOO, 4 turns of the pan, over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic and crushed red pepper and cook for 5 minutes. Stir in the vinegar, then the tomatoes. Season to taste with salt and black pepper and simmer over low heat for 10 minutes. 
Add the pasta and reserved pasta cooking water to the skillet and toss for 1 minute. Add the cheese, then toss in the arugula and cook until wilted, 1 minute longer. Serve!

 I served this dish with roasted broccoli I had tossed with walnut oil, cracked black pepper, garlic and Maldon Sea Salt Flakes I got when I was in London. The pasta was really tasty...basically a marinara sauce with a kick from the red pepper flakes. 
 I hope your thanksgiving's were filled with good memories and delightful food to pass around the table. 

Anyone have any memories to share? 

Chef Teebs

Monday, November 21, 2011

Tempeh Fajitas

This recipe is one of my very favorites. My family loves it. I always enjoyed fajitas when I was a meat-eater. I was so happy to find this recipe. It's much better than any fajitas I've had before. The flavor in the pineapple-soy sauce marinade is perfectly scrumptious! This time I used coconut oil instead of olive oil (or cooking spray) when I sautéed the vegetables to give it a new twist. Turned out amazing. I ended the night with a big mug of hot tea. 

I recently got a facial and my lovely esthetician recommended that I drink green or black tea. She said the antioxidants will help my skin. Yes ma'am. Will do! :)

Anyway, I got this mouth-watering recipe in Cooking Light. And yes, I will share it with you.

Tempeh Fajitas
  • 1 (8-ounce) package five-grain tempeh
    1 cup pineapple juice
    1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
    2 T. fresh lime juice
    2 t. ground cumin
    2 t. canola oil
    1/2 t. freshly ground black pepper, divided
    1 garlic clove, minced
    2 C. (1/2-inch) vertically sliced onion
    1 1/2 C. (1/2-inch-thick) slices green bell pepper
    Cooking spray (or coconut oil)
    1/4 t. salt
    4 (8-inch) whole wheat tortillas
    1/4 C. chipotle salsa (such as Frontera)
Cut tempeh in half crosswise; cut each half lengthwise into 6 strips. Place tempeh in a shallow dish. Combine pineapple juice, soy sauce, lime juice, cumin, oil, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, and garlic in a small saucepan; bring to a boil. Pour pineapple juice mixture over tempeh. Marinate at room temperature 30 minutes or up to 2 hours.
Prepare grill.
Lightly coat onion and bell pepper with cooking spray; sprinkle with salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Arrange onion mixture in a wire grilling basket coated with cooking spray. Place grilling basket on grill rack; grill 5 minutes or until lightly browned, turning occasionally. Remove the tempeh from marinade, reserving marinade. Place tempeh on grill rack coated with cooking spray; grill 2 minutes on each side or until lightly browned, basting occasionally with reserved marinade.
Warm tortillas according to package directions. Arrange 3 tempeh pieces, 1/2 cup onion mixture, and 1 tablespoon salsa down center of each tortilla; roll up.

I served these fajitas with a side of homemade guacamole and my mom whipped up her fabulous salsa and chips.
Some variations you may want to try:
more veggies: broccoli, cauliflower, green onion, cherry tomatoes
other additions: sour cream, spinach, black beans, lime, cilantro, hot sauce
Play with it and have fun!

Chef Teebs 

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Pea and Potato Curry over Brown Rice

 One of my favorite dishes is thai curry. But honestly almost anything "curry" appeals to me. I lived in Tulsa, OK for a couple years and would go to this neat little place for red curry with tofu and veggies. It was the best. My sister is the one who introduced me to this new world. I can't seem to make it quite like they do. I wish someone would teach me. So meanwhile I keep trying different recipes. My mom claims she's not fond of curry, yet has enjoyed most of the recipes I've made that include it. Haha! This particular dish sounded so good to me. I've had it pulled aside to make soon for quite some time. We really loved this recipe. I actually got it from Whole Living Magazine... which I have recently been introduced to. Great magazine!

Pea and Potato Curry

1 t. coriander seeds
1 t. fennel seeds (I omitted)
1 t. mustard seeds
1 T. EVOO (Extra-Virgin Olive Oil)
1/2 cinnamon stick
1 green chili (I used a jalepeno)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 T. fresh ginger, minced
7 fresh curry leaves (optional)(I didn't have any, so I used 1 t. curry powder)
3 large tomatoes (about 2 lbs.), chopped
1 lb. yukon gold potatoes, chopped into 3/4" pieces
1 C. fresh shelled peas (I used frozen)
coarse salt
2 T. greek yogurt (I served coconut milk on the side)

Brown Rice
 (Prepare according to directions and serve on side)

Heat a 4-qt. heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. Toast coriander, fennel, and mustard seeds until fragrant, about 1 minute. Transfer to a spice grinder and process until finely ground (You can also crush the seeds with a mortar and pestle). Heat oil in the pot. Add ground seeds, cinnamon stick, chili, garlic, onion, ginger, and curry leaves (if using). Cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are soft, 6-8 minutes. 

Add tomatoes and bring to a boil, then simmer, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, about 15 minutes. Add potatoes and 2 cups of water. Simmer, partially covered, until potatoes are tender, about 35 minutes. Add peas and cook until tender, about 12 minutes. Season with salt. Stir in yogurt. Remove cinnamon stick before serving. 
When I cook I almost always use what I have on hand instead of following the recipe exactly. The original recipe said to use the side of a chef's knife to crush the seeds if you're not using a spice grinder. I tried that... huge mistake! The mustard seeds rolled all over the counter. So i changed that in the recipe. Next time I'll use a mortar and pestle. I didn't think of it at the time so I used the whole seeds. Also if I had basil I would have added that instead of the curry leaves and probably still would have added curry powder. It would be a fun recipe to play around with. It was so good! I served this with a salad topped with dried cranberries, toasted pepitas, carrot slices, broccoli pieces,  and the vinaigrette from a previous post. But this time I used walnut oil. It really hit the spot!
I'm looking forward to making dinner this weekend... more to come.

Chef Teebs

Vespers House Concert

I will be having a house concert December 16th. The Vespers are playing!! If you would be interested in coming, send me an email and I will send you the information! There will be delicious finger foods and cozy drinks to warm you up along with festive-Christmasy fun! Check out their music whether or not you can make it anyway! You can download some of their music for free here

Good Night friends!

Chef Teebs 

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Basmati and Wild Rice over Acorn Squash with Braised Vegetables

Sometimes I'm just amazed at the endless possibilities in cooking. Just thinking about all the herbs, vegetables, grains, fruits and spices I have never even heard of all over the world and the combinations you can come up with... wow! What an amazing and creative God! This is one of those rare recipes I have tried that is just bursting with flavor and texture. It's got sweetness from the squash, earthy and savory spices from the vegetables and rice and the tart cranberry sauce is a perfect addition. This recipe was fun to put together and really impressive to serve to others. This recipe is from Vegetarian Times magazine. I served it with bread and butter. 

Basmati and Wild Rice over Acorn Squash with Braised Vegetables
  **Serves 8**

Acorn Squash
  1 T. olive oil
  1 t. maple syrup
  1 t. soy sauce
1/4 t. ground cinnamon
  2 medium acorn squash, quartered and seeded

Basmati and Wild Rice
1/4 C. pine nuts
1.5 C. basmati-wild rice mix, such as Lundberg Farms
  1 T. olive oil
  1 small red onion, diced
  2 garlic cloves, minced

Braised Vegetables
  2 T. olive oil
  1 head fennel, cut into chunks (1.5 cups)
  2 C. baby carrots
  2 C. sugar snap peas
  1 T. capers, drained
1/3 C. fresh parsley, chopped
    cranberry sauce for garnish, optional

To make Acorn Squash: Preheat oven 350°F. Coat baking sheet with cooking spray or line with parchment paper. Whisk together olive oil, maple syrup, soy sauce, cinnamon, and 2 Tbs. water in small bowl. Brush inside and edges of acorn squash wedges; place on prepared baking sheet. Bake 30 to 40 minutes, or until squash is soft enough to prick with tip of knife. Keep warm.

To make Basmati and Wild Rice: Toast pine nuts in small skillet over medium-low heat 3 to 5 minutes, or until browned and fragrant, shaking pan often. Set aside. Cook rice according to package directions. Set aside. Heat olive oil in large skillet over medium heat. Sauté onion and garlic in olive oil 3 to 5 minutes, or until soft. Stir in rice and pine nuts, and season with salt and pepper. Keep warm.

To make Braised Vegetables: Heat olive oil in Dutch oven or large saucepan over medium heat. Sauté fennel in oil 10 minutes, or until softened. Add carrots, and sauté 5 minutes more, or until carrots begin to brown. Add 2 cups water, cover, and steam vegetables 10 to 15 minutes, or until soft. Add snap peas, and steam 2 to 3 minutes more. Season with salt and pepper, and stir in capers.

To serve: Place 1 Acorn Squash wedge on each plate. Spoon Basmati and Wild Rice into center of each squash quarter, and top with Braised Vegetables. Sprinkle with chopped parsley, and add a dollop of cranberry sauce, if desired.
 A few changes that I made: well first of all I used a different kind of squash. I looked at this website and still can't figure out which one I used haha. But Acorn would be amazing as well. For the rice I actually used an Archer Farms "wild rice" and mixed it with short grain brown rice. Instead of fennel I used turnips and parsnips. I also used regular carrots and cut all the vegetables in sticks. I used edamame instead of sugar snap peas and I omitted capers because I don't like them. I encourage you to make the recipe yours. Be creative! Also I served each plate with a generous portion of cranberry sauce since we are all quite fond of it! 

I sure can't wait to start cooking with some Christmas tunes. I'm ready! 

Chef Teebs

Monday, November 7, 2011

Tossed Greens with Apple Slices and Caramelized Walnuts

It was one of those rare nights where my sister and I were in the kitchen together. When we were little we used to occasionally make a surprise dinner for my parents. My mom says one of our specialties were sauced meatballs. Haha. My sister and I were very close. We were always doing something silly together: calling 800 numbers to get free stuff in the mail, dressing up in mom's clothes, making home videos, running a pretend video store called "Express the Video" (later known as "Carmen's Videos"), and we even put on shows for our parents. We would hand them a bulletin we had made and we'd sing and dance our hearts out. 
This particular night didn't include singing or dancing but it included a killer salad my sister threw together while I prepared the pasta: roasted vegetables with bow ties and toasted pepitas and of course my usual garlic bread. Here's the recipe for my sister's amazing salad. The dressing is from a friend of my moms. 

Tossed Greens with Apple Slices and Caramelized Walnuts

romaine lettuce, torn up (or baby spinach)
fresh broccoli pieces
apple slices, cut think and in half
dried cranberries
walnuts, cooked in brown sugar and butter (1 T. butter & sugar in skillet with nuts until coated and crisp)


1/2 C. vegetable oil
1/3 C. rice wine vinegar
1/2 C. sugar
2 T. soy sauce

Add ingredients in a mason jar and shake. (Or whisk) 

Assemble salad in order, ending with toasted walnuts. Serve salad with dressing on the side.
Be aware that the salad is very sweet with a little tang. We all absolutely enjoyed it though. So if you aren't big on sweetness, adjust as needed. 

The pasta was super easy to make. I roasted random veggies we had with a little olive oil, garlic, sea salt and freshly cracked pepper. I baked it at 375°F for about 25 minutes or until lightly caramelized and tender, stirring halfway through. Meanwhile in a small pan I toasted a handful of pepitas for a few minutes, until fragrant and toasty. I cooked whole wheat bow tie pasta according to package directions until al dente and threw it in a big bowl. Then I topped the pasta with the veggies, pepitas and a squeeze of lemon. 
For fun I made an appetizer I had been wanting to make for a while. You peel a sweet potato and slice it in large "coins." Toss with olive oil, salt and pepper and bake until tender. Top with a dollop of sour cream and dill. It wasn't as good as I had hoped. My sister said if I hadn't used vegan sour cream it might have been better. I assume it could be adjusted... i really like the idea. I've seen recipes where you use a regular russet potato, maybe that would be better. Anyone have any suggestions?

Chef Teebs