Tuesday, September 28, 2010

By popular request: Re-post of the Blueberry Muffin Recipe

Two posts before dinner, after not getting to post in almost a month. I'm on a roll now. A few of you have asked me for the recipe for the muffins that were served for snack today. That was a triple batch of this recipe . I did have yogurt on hand this time, so I used yogurt instead of sour cream. And, since blueberry season has passed in CT, I thawed organic berries overnight and used them with equally delicious results.

Meatless Meal Idea: Black & Pinto Bean Cakes with Feta

Whoa, time to play catch up. My friends' comments that my postings have been few and far between have gotten less subtle. Apparently, while we can all do recipe searches online, many of you are waiting for me to cull through the clutter and test the recipes on my own kiddos, passing along those that everyone likes-- and that we can all quickly whip up. Lucky for you, everyone's (finally) healthy and back to school as of today. I am doing a little happy dance right now, but I'll spare you the visual. I do, however, have some cooking videos (from this winter when the film crew was here) that I will be sharing once I have a moment to work out the technological side of things.

In the meantime, let me share a good recipe...or two or three.

I know a few of you are trying to incorporate more meatless meals into your family dinners. Here's one that I recently made that was a total hit:

Black & Pinto Bean Cakes

1 onion, diced
olive oil
two 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 15-ounce can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1 tub crumbled Feta
2 teaspoons ground cumin

2 teaspoons chili powder (optional, omit if you want them more mild)
2 eggs
1 cup whole wheat breadcrumbs
(maybe a little more)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Saute the onion in a bit of olive oil, until tender, and set aside to cool.

Place drained pinto and black beans in large bowl. Using a potato masher (or fork if you don't have one), mash beans coarsely. (You want some left whole, and some smashed into more of a paste, so your cakes will have good overall texture.) Mix in onions, feta, garlic, cumin, chili powder, eggs and 1 cup of whole wheat breadcrumbs. Using your hands, combine all ingredients. (If necessary, add additional breadcrumbs until you get to the consistency of oatmeal cookie dough. You want the patties to hold their shape.)

Shape bean mixture into 1/2 to 3/4-inch thick patties and place them on a cookie sheet that's been lightly sprayed or rubbed with olive oil. Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes or until warmed through and a little crispy on the outside, carefully flipping the cakes after 10 minutes.

The cakes themselves are more of a vehicle for toppings than being scrumptious on their own. I serve warm with a variety of toppings, letting each person choose their own. Here are some topping ideas:
Corn (fresh, or thawed frozen)
Cherry Tomatoes, halved

Avocado chunks
Sour cream

Hot Sauce
Pickled Jalapenos
Shredded Cheese

And to answer the next burning question of whether my kids ate them too?: Absolutely! They loved them. I went light on the chili powder and heavier on cumin. Then I let them choose their toppings...and to spice mine up, I just added some extra hot sauce.

Friday, September 3, 2010

New Food Crush: Vicolo Cornmeal Pizza Crusts

I am still sick. This is outrageous. Dinners since we flew back to Connecticut have been simple. I'd rather make them than eat take-out, so I know we're eating nourishing, good food, but it would be an understatement to say I am short on energy. The first night back I made a quinoa salad with edamame, corn, tomatoes and a cilantro vinaigrette. (And I put some frozen stuffed pork dish in the oven for my husband so I didn't have to deal with "where's the beef"-- he ate the quinoa as a side, but my kids ate it as their entree...) Tonight we're having grilled fish with Whole Food's Pinapple-Mango-Jicama Salsa (found by the cut up fruit) and the quinoa as a side, and I'll probably throw some zucchini on the grill. Last night I had the kids help me make pizzas and they were a hit.

"Homemade" Pizza
Toppings of your choice (I offered up what I had on hand: a Trader Joe's package of grilled eggplant and zucchini, a ball of smoked fresh mozzarella, some jarred tomato sauce (which I let them paint on their crusts with a basting brush), a fresh zucchini, and a tube of sundried tomato paste)

Top crusts with desired toppings, then bake (on a baking sheet) at 425 for approximately 15 minutes.

*My mom introduced me to
these crusts (pictured up top, that photo is poached off of the Vicolo website) when we were out in Idaho. She simply tossed some cherry tomatoes on the crusts, added some fresh mozzarella and baked them. Then before serving, she chopped fresh basil on top of the pizzas. It couldn't have been easier, and they were delicious. You get these crusts in the frozen section and in Fairfield County, CT I know they carry them at Whole Foods. They beat making your own dough-- or even dealing with rolling store bought dough out-- because they are these perfect self-contained "canvases". The texture is hearty, and slightly crunchy. They're my new food crush.