Sunday, October 15, 2017

Pacific Rim Honey Grilled Pork

Two Honey Grilled Pork Steaks
Nontraditional Octoberfest Food

Recipe from Letters from the Hive

BBQ season isn’t over, so my friends on both US coasts tell me. And they’re right. Golden October days are perfect for grilling, provided that we start early enough to avoid grilling after dark. Also, rake away those dry leaves from the BBQ area to keep it safe. Autumn grilling is especially good for roasting meats that pair well with seasonal homemade applesauce.  This sweet-savory pork recipe comes from an unlikely source. The book Letters from the Hive is an informative and rather sexy look at bees, honey, and beekeeping—see my Goodreads review for details. Essentially, the pork is saturated in an Asian-inspired honey-lime marinade, then grilled or broiled. This marinade also works on fish.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Ginger Glazed Winter Squash

Glazed Buttercup squash half on plate
Try it on Buttercup

Recipe adapted from Classic Zucchini Cookbook

One of the great loves of my life is butternut squash. I have whipped it, pied it, baked it, minestroned it, honeyed it, spiced it, saged it, saladed it, seeded it, puddinged it, muffined it, blondied it, and even microwave-steamed it in a motel room. And after all of this, I found yet another delicious way to serve it. Essentially, it’s baked, but adding sherry and ginger to the mix distinguishes it from the more usual cinnamon-maple syrup glaze. It’s a more sophisticated flavor that’s at home at fancier dinner parties and potlucks. So far I've glazed both butternut and buttercup squash.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Baked Tunisian Eggah

Slice of Tunisian Eggah Garnished with Parsley
Eggah! A Fantastic Way to Eat Your Veggies

Recipe from Mediterranean Light

Eggah! I made it because I love saying it, and because bell peppers and tomatoes will soon be out of season. Tunisian eggah is technically an oxymoron, since eggah is an Egyptian dish, and the closest dish in Tunisia is called tagine (and is quite different that tagines from other Arabic countries). It’s called kuku in Iran, and Ej’jah in other places. It’s similar to Spain’s omelette, except it’s packed with festive red and green veggies rather than potatoes, and spiced up with cumin, cinnamon, and other lovely aromatics. It’s similar to a frittata, but thicker and more fragrant.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Fish and Corn Chowder

Bowl of Fish and Corn Chowder with spoon and napkin
Recipe adapted from Everyday DASH Diet

Why would anyone take a healthy recipe from a healthy cookbook and add potatoes, extra flour, extra bacon, and half and half? But then again, whoever heard of fish chowder without potatoes or cream? And so it is that I padded the light recipe with these traditional flavors. There’s just a small amount of half and half, which kicks up flavor and texture. Potatoes, not considered the healthiest veggies, contain potassium and other minerals, and their high glycemic index is mitigated when eaten with lean protein, like fish and lowfat milk. And as for the bacon, I’m going to call it a moderate amount since there is less than one strip per serving. And it adds indispensible traditional flavor.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Summer Corn and Tomato Salad

Grilled Halibut Plated with Generous Portion of Corn and Tomato Salad
Summertime and the Living is Yummy

Recipe by Robin

The quintessential summertime meal is made with garden-fresh corn and tomatoes backed by toothsome barbecue. Late summer bell peppers and sun-loving herbs are the proverbial icing on the cake. For years I’ve wanted to create a corn and tomato salad. Finally this year I was spurred to action. Jeanne, a thoughtful librarian colleague, brought several pounds of flash-frozen halibut to work. Every summer her kids board charter boats in Ketchikan, Alaska to do some deep sea fishing, and she shares their fishy wealth with others. Her generous contribution inspired me to get going on the corn salad.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Baba Ganoush

Bowl of Baba with ring of multicolored carrots around it
Colorful Carrots are Delightfully Dipable

Recipe by Robin

About 25 years ago, my friend Bee turned me on to Baba Ganoush, the Middle Eastern eggplant dip that he calls Eggplant Baba. He uses just grilled eggplant, cumin powder, cayenne, garlic, salt, and “lotsa olive oil.” Since I can’t recreate his delicious concoction of just 6 ingredients, I’ve added the traditional lemon juice, tahini, and white pepper.  The key to authentic flavor is grilling the eggplant slowly till the skin is charred and insides are soft. I use a Weber grill for added charcoal flavor. Bee uses a hibachi, and also suggests grilling under a broiler or over a flame burner if it’s not barbecue weather.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

High Protein Vegan Chocolate Fruit Shakes (Smoothies)

Chocolate and Fruit: A Summer Natural

Recipes inspired by Everyday DASH Diet

What’s better than summer fruit? Summer fruit with chocolate, of course! And better yet, how about a high-protein smoothie that tastes like a decadent milkshake? A delicious and protein-rich smoothie is an excellent pick-me-up for those who, like me, are only allowed short breaks at work. In 10 or 15 minutes, almost any small meal feels like force-feeding. But guzzling a smoothie in 15 satisfies hunger easily. For those who are working up to Green and Pink Smoothies for lunch, adding chocolate to the mix might make joining the smoothie culture more palatable.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Blueberry Buttermilk Muffins

Two Blueberry Muffins with Two Pats of Butter
My Mom Served 'Em with Butter

Recipe Adapted from The 250 Best Muffin Recipes

From ‘way back when I was a preschooler, I have two vivid memories of special breakfast foods. Though we mostly ate cereal and milk, like most kids of our era, every so often my mom would make us something special. In the winter, it was fresh squeezed orange juice, crafted with a special attachment on Mom’s Mixmaster. In summer, it was blueberry muffins: fresh, fruity, and unpretentious. This recipe tastes pretty close to what Mom used to make: not too sweet or buttery, loaded with beautiful berries.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Cherry Cobbler

Cherry Cobbler with Whipped Cream
Cherry Cobbler: Fabulous With or Wthout Cream

Recipe adapted from Crumbles and Cobblers

Throughout this short cherry season, I’ve failed twice at making a simple cherry dessert. My potluck chocolate cherry clafouti landed upside-down on the bedroom rug (don’t ask). And the flavor wasn’t chocolatey enough to try again. Next, Fresh Cherry Cobbler, a top recipe from the usually brilliant All Recipes website, tasted more like butter and sugar than cherries. So, back to my favorite cobbler resource, Crumbles and Cobblers, to adapt a Berry Cobbler recipe. Light, pastry tops a just-sweet-enough base of cherries, and leftovers were solid enough to go car camping.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Chocolate Molten Lava Cupcakes

Chocolate Molten Lava Cupcake cut up to reveal molten center
Molten Lava Demo

Recipe from Unknown Photocopy

Here’s a fast chocolate-y recipe that has never failed to delight. It’s a hit both at potlucks and at home. Chocolate lava cupcakes require only about 50 minutes of your time including baking and cooling. The only challenging part is that the batter, with its hefty dose of melted chocolate, is thick and sticky and tricky to get into the muffin tins neatly. Scooping with a soup spoon in one hand and a small rubber spatula in the other helps direct the batter somewhat accurately. If you can’t serve these right away, a short zap in the microwave will re-moltenize the cupcakes to gooey deliciousness.