Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Sweet Potato Black Bean Burritos

Ok, new rule. No cooking a new recipe at 9:00 at night after an hour long hot yoga session. Food turned out yummy, I was exhausted. Good thing that I have two weeks off of work (year round school schedule) so I could actually stay up and eat it. My kitchen was such a mess afterwards! I almost took a picture of the disaster. That is why I am posting the quiz on the side, are you a clean or messy cook? Does anyone have any tips on being a cleaner cook?

Sweet Potato Black Bean Burritos
Adapted from the Moosewood Cookbook


5 cups of sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
3 1/2 cups of diced onions
6 large garlic cloves, minced
1 jalapeno without seeds
3 teaspoons oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 teaspoons ground cumin
4 teaspoons ground coriander
2 15 oz cans of black beans
1/3 cup of chopped cilantro leaves
juice from 2 limes
fresh pico de gallo

Toss the sweet potatoes with the 2 teaspoons of oil and salt and place on baking sheet. Roast on top shelf of oven for around 30 minutes or until soft.

While cooking potatoes, place and onion, garlic, and jalapeno in small skillet or saucepan on medium low heat, covered, until soft (around 7 min). Add cumin and coriander and cook for 2 - 3 minutes stirring often.

When potatoes are done, put sweet potatoes, onion/spice mix, cilantro, drained black beans, and juice from limes. Toss. Then take a potato masher and mash the ingredients together. Place into a baking dish, cover with foil, and cook in oven at 350 for 15 minutes.

Put in tortillas, add salsa, and enjoy!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Oregano Pesto and Marinated Artichoke Hearts

It is the end of the season here and I still have a pot of fresh herbs growing outside. This year all I grew was oregano, rosemary, thyme and chives. Last year I grew so many more but with feeling so low energy from the GP and allergies and knowing that I would be gone for a week during the hottest part of the summer I didn't think I could keep up. Then, unfortunately, I really didn't use the herbs either during the summer. I was off of cooking, feeling that everything just made me sick, and just made basic meals. Since Im on a cooking vegetarian kick right now I wanted to do something with all the oregano that grew. It and the chives were the only things that really thrived this year. I was in the grocery store, getting food for the cats, and figured I could make an oregano pesto.

The store also had a display of cans of artichoke hearts. I haven't had artichokes since I was in elementary school. My dad wanted me to try a steamed artichoke and I refused, however I wanted to move my bedroom from one room to the spare room in the house. My dad said that he would do it if I ate the whole artichoke. So, I ate it. Didn't enjoy it, but I dipped the leaves in Italian dressing and at the end ended up eating artichokes and nacho cheese Doritos and managed to finish it so I could move my bed. Now Im trying them again for the first time to try to expand my veggie diet. Again, my phone was my handy recipe book, and found a recipe for marinated artichokes while in the store.

Oregano Pesto
Adapted from this Recipe

1 cup of oregano (leaves removed from stems)
1 cup of toasted pine nuts
1 head of garlic
1 teaspoon of salt
1/2 cup of olive oil, oil for drizzling

Place peeled garlic cloves in olive oil in a saucepan and cook for 5 minutes over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Toast pine nuts. Place garlic and oil, pine nuts and oregano into a food processor and drizzle in olive oil until it is at the consistency you like.

I mixed my pesto with gluten free pasta, sun dried tomatoes and parmesan cheese.

Did you know you can freeze pesto? Put pesto into a ice cube tray. People recommend first putting it into a zip lock bag, cutting a hole in the bag, and piping it out into the trays but I just use a spoon. Place plastic wrap over the top so it doesn't oxidize. Freeze the tray. After the cubes are frozen take them out of the tray and put them in a freezer bag so they last longer.

Marinated Artichoke Hearts
Adapted from Saveur

2 cans of artichoke hearts
1/2 cup good olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
1 teaspoon fresh oregano
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Rince artichoke hearts under cold water. Put together the artichoke hearts, olive oil, salt, thyme, oregano, and red pepper flakes in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Cover and cook for 10 minutes. Let it cool to room temperature and stir in lemon juice.

Spinach Mushroom Fried Rice

I had a craving for spinach. Wow, that is weird to say. I'm still getting used to eating mostly vegetables and actually liking veggies that I would never have tried a year ago. My favorite spinach dish to make and to eat is a Korean side dish with garlic, soy sauce, and sesame seed oil (one of the best condiments ever). I've always made it with baby leaf spinach because that was what was on sale, and for some reason thought that all spinach was the tender small leaves. When I bought spinach for dinner this time, I bough the regular kind, and figured out that regular spinach is not one of my favorites. I was surprised there really aren't any spinach fried rice recipes out there, so I made one myself.

Does everyone ever plan making fried rice ahead of time? I always come up with the idea right before I make it. So I make the rice in the microwave, throw it in a baking dish, then into the freezer to cool it down. It would probably taste better being a day old but it still tastes good!

Spinach Mushroom Fried Rice

2 cups of dried Jasmine rice
3 cups of water

Vegetable oil
3 large eggs
1 tablespoon sesame seed oil
1 large onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon minced ginger
4 tablespoons soy sauce
6 green onions, thinly sliced
3/4 cup of fresh shiitake mushrooms, sliced
1/2 cup of thinly sliced bamboo shoots
1 cup of baby leaf spinach

Make the rice and cool.

Make scrambled eggs with the eggs and place on a plate. Place a tablespoon of oil in pan or wok and stir fry onion until soft. Add the garlic and ginger and stir fry for 30 seconds. Add 2 more tablespoons of vegetable oil and stir in cooked rice, green onions, bamboo shoots, and mushrooms. Toss and mix until very hot. Then sprinkle with soy sauce and sesame seed oil and mix. Remove from heat, add eggs and spinach. Mix.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

2 Types of Apple Sauce

I was going to start today's post on one topic but now am totally focused on something else... I got my issue of Bon Appetit magazine today. I love getting it in the mail. I look at the cover and there seems to be endless possibilities...even though only one or two of the recipes per issue catch my eye and my taste buds. It has apple pie on the front and as I saw it I started thinking "oh no, I just put the apples in the pot for apple sauce!" but since I'm not in the mood for gluten free baking (which takes a whole lot more effort than regular baking) and I have to use this huge bag of apples from my parent's house before they go bad, we will have apple sauce.

This is my 2nd 8 - 10 pound bag of apples in 3 weeks from my parents. Last time it was all red delicious, now a mixture of red and golden delicious. Whenever I work with apples it brings up a very strong childhood memory. There used to be an apple orchard called Bell's in Barrington, IL by my grandparents house that made the most awesome apple squares, apple cider, and cider doughnuts. Just thinking about it makes my mouth water. They tore it down to build huge homes around 15 years ago, but I still miss it. I would deal with the physical repercussions I have for eating gluten just to have some cider doughnuts or apple squares!

I think the most handy kitchen gadget I have in my house is my food mill, which is the best thing to use for apple sauce. Last year when I made apple sauce on my own for the first time I hesitated on buying it since costs around $45 and I really don't have any more space in my kitchen, but it was one of the best buys Ive made for cooking. It allows me to halve the apples, take off the stems, and then just throw them in the pot with their skin, seeds and rinds intact. By keeping these parts of the apple the natural pectin makes it more creamy (at least that is what everyone who has eaten it has told me).

The first recipe is the one I made today:

Apple Pie Apple Sauce
Adapted from The Family Kitchen

3 - 4 pounds of apples*
1/4 cup of real maple syrup
1/4 cup of dark brown sugar
2, 2 inch pieces of orange zest
juice of half an orange
4 cinnamon sticks, ground cinnamon to taste
1/2 teaspoon of allspice
1/2 cup water
1/2 teaspoon salt

Wash the apples and cut them in quarters, removing the stems. Place them into a large pot along with the other ingredients. Cover. Bring to a boil then lower heat and simmer for 30 to 35 minutes until apples are soft.

Remove from heat and take out the cinnamon sticks and orange peel. Place your food mill over a bowl. Ladle apples into the bowl and use the food mill to make the apple sauce. Add ground cinnamon to taste.

*I use whatever apples that I get from our trees, but the best to use are good cooking apples like golden delicious, granny smith, Macintosh, Fuji and Jonathan.

Food Mill Applesauce

Here is the recipe that I have made the last few times that I've made applesauce. My family loved it and the nice thing was that it freezes well.

3 - 4 pounds of apples
Juice of one lemon
4 cinnamon sticks, ground cinnamon to taste
1/4 cup of dark brown sugar
1/4 cup of white sugar
3/4 cup of water
1/2 teaspoon of salt

Wash the apples and cut them in quarters, removing the stems. Place them into a large pot along with the other ingredients. Cover. Bring to a boil then lower heat and simmer for 30 to 35 minutes until apples are soft.

Remove from heat and take out the cinnamon sticks. Place your food mill over a bowl. Ladle apples into the bowl and use the food mill to make the apple sauce. Add ground cinnamon to taste.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Moroccan Spaghetti Squash

Why is it so hard to get on one of the food picture sites? Or any picture site? So I submitted my pictures for the last 2 dishes to both Photograzing and Tastespotting 2 or 3 days ago. It seems like they have all types of pictures up there, mine can't be that bad, so why havent they posted them? It turned out the same with my last food blog 2 years ago, I wanted to get my site out there and they never posted the pictures so no one ever looked at my blog, and what fun is that? You kinda feel stupid writing to yourself, even though your mom will read your blog when you send her the link for a recipe or two... oh well. Its just discouraging. The same happened when I posted one of my pictures of my cat Buddy to stuffonmycat.com. My brother and I spent a lot of time stacking DVDs on the most easygoing cat ever (I miss him!) and I watched for weeks trying to see if they ever posted it...and nothing.

So there is my rant. Today I tried spaghetti squash for the first time. I was actually going to try this recipe yesterday, but stupid Trader Joe's had their squash mislabeled and I ended up buying acorn squash instead even though I knew that it wasn't the right kind of squash. So then I went to this great fruit and vegetable stand by me and got a spaghetti squash. The final dish was ok. I really liked the flavor but the texture threw me off some. It think I'll get more used to it after I finish it off.

Moroccan Spaghetti Squash


1 (3 1/2 to 4 pound) spaghetti squash
3 tablespoons of butter
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
3/4 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

Take a knife and pierce the squash all around (around an inch in) to keep it from blowing up in your microwave. Put it in your microwave and cook it on full power for 6 - 7 minute on one side and around 10 on the other until it feels slightly soft when pressed. I would put it on a plate while in your microwave and for when you take it out because mine made a huge watery mess both in my microwave and on my countertop. Let rest for 5 minutes.

While cooking, take the butter and melt it in a pan. Add the garlic and saute for a minute on medium heat. Then stir in the spices and salt and remove from heat.

Cut the squash in half and take out the seeds. Then use a fork to scrape the squash out into a bowl in a way to make the strands look like spaghetti. Then mix the butter and spices into the squash.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Honey Pecan Figs

So, I am trying to increase the number of foods that I like to eat. Foods that I wont eat include all fish and seafood (except sushi tuna), cheese (except parmesan), and many fruits and vegetables. However in the past year or two I have found new foods that I enjoy include avocados, daikon radish, and spinach. This has made me much more adventurous in what types of foods I will try.

This week when I went to the produce store they had a container of black mission figs for $2.00. I knew that I enjoy fig newtons (well I did before going gluten free) and dried figs, so I thought that I could turn these figs into a great dessert. I didnt know how to pick ripe figs, and just went for the ones that were soft. I then went looking for fig recipes. Most of them had some type of cheese or were wrapped in meat that I didnt have around the house (and am trying not to eat) so I combined 3 recipes to make a honey pecan fig dessert. Once I got a chance to eat my fig creation, I figured out that I don't like them. They are a bit earthy for me and the texture really threw me off. However my husband really liked them and ate the whole bowl.

Honey Pecan Figs


1 pint of fresh figs
1/3 cup of honey
1/4 cup of roasted pecans
1 tablespoon of cinnamon

Heat the oven to 375 F. Wash, cut, and stem figs. Slice them in half and put into a dish. Drizzle the honey over the figs and sprinkle on the cinnamon. Put in oven for 15 minutes or until the figs are soft but not so soft that you cant pick them up. Let them cool for 10 to 15 min and spread roasted pecans on top.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Hoppin' John

So, why start a food blog during one of the most busy times of my life? I'm the head Special Olympics soccer coach for our school, it is 1 month into the school year, I'm heading a huge service learning project, and drowning in IEP paper work... I have to do something to get myself away from work.

I've been cooking for the past 3 years, but only in the last few months have I been making dishes and sharing them with anyone other than my husband (which is weird to write since we just got married after 10 years of being together and 13 years of knowing each other). People in my family were so impressed with my dishes that I have been sending them recipes for the past few weeks. This is one way to make it easier to get to them. I also love food blogs. The fact that I cant eat, or wont eat, most of the food on them is funny. I have a very specific diet, that is why the blog is called "What Can You Eat?" because there are so few things that I can eat. 4 years ago I developed Gastroparesis, a condition where my stomach does not contract any more, so that food just sits in it for hours. A year ago it we finally found a cause... allergies. However all the tests say that I'm not allergic to anything! However I have found, through elimination diets, that I have strong allergic reactions to gluten and cola nut. So between the allergies, not being able to digest heavy foods, and being a picky eater... you end up with a very interesting collection of food.

I wish I could say my first post is some amazing dish.... I made one the day before, but didn't take pictures...so this is the dish you get! I got this Hoppin' John recipe from Seriouseats.com. I have found in the past two weeks that eating vegetarian makes me feel alot better. Meat is very hard to digest. However, I have been a self-proclaimed carnivore since age 5 and eating just vegetables kinda freaks me out! I am trying though.

I found the dish to be a bit bland when I followed the recipe from seriouseats.com so I increased the spices in this recipe. Enjoy!

Hoppin' John

  • Olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, roughly chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1 cup medium or long-grain rice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1 (20-ounce) bag frozen black-eyed peas
  • 2 cups of vegetable stock
  • 1/4 cup beer
  • 3 chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, minced
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • Chopped scallions
  • Halved grape tomatoes

Heat a bit of olive oil. Cook your onions and garlic for around 5 minutes until soft. Add your rice and stir it frequently for 1 minute to roast it. Then add the paprika and stir it for around 30 seconds until it is fragrant. Add your frozen peas, water, beer, chile and salt. Bring to a simmer, reduce heat to low, cover, and cook for 25 minutes without disturbing. After 25 minutes, check rice for doneness. Mixture should be moist, but not soupy. If mixture appears dry, add additional liquid, 1 tablespoon at a time, folding gently with a wooden spoon after each addition until desired consistency is reached, up to 1 additional cup liquid. Return lid and allow to cook for additional 5 minutes. Season to taste with soy sauce. Serve immediately, topping with scallions and tomatoes.