Sunday, December 1, 2013

Turkey and Vegetable Miso Soup - Thanksgiving Leftovers

The third Thursday of November marks the day on which cooking and feasting together as a family occurs in the United States. Thanksgiving reminds everyone to be grateful for the bounty that is before us every single day. We have so much to be thankful for and sometimes do not act like we appreciate it. 

I missed spending the holiday with my Mom, Dad, eldest Sister and Grandmother this year but I did have a memorable Thanksgiving. I spent it with my Sister, my Neighbor, my Friend, and my Dog. Honestly, I can't describe how humble and blessed I feel to have all of them. It was a beautiful day, calm and friendly. Everyone made contributions to the meal and the enjoyment, even Ginny (my dog). Despite the fact that she cut her paw and we had to go to the animal ER, it made for a memorable Holiday.

The last thing about Thanksgiving that many people enjoy is the sheer bulk of leftovers that remains after the initial feast. Mounds of vegetables. Plates of turkey meat. More green beans that you could ever know what to do with. It calls to the creative juices of any foodie/chef to come up with the most delicious recipe hack using any and all leftovers. Here is what I came up with.

Turkey and Vegetable Miso Soup


• 1/2 yellow onion (chopped)
4 cloves of garlic
1/2 zucchini (chopped)
1/2 yellow squash (chopped)
1/2 red bell pepper (chopped)
1 ear of corn (remove the kernels and dispose of the cob)
4 cups miso broth **
1-1 1/2 cups shredded turkey meat (legs, breasts, etc.)
1/2 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp rosemary
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp white pepper
dash of cayenne

  • Chop and prepare all the vegetables and meat before starting.
  • In a large pot, turn on heat to medium. Drizzle a little olive oil in the bottom of the pan.
  • Add the onions and garlic and let cook until fragrant (give them about a minute). 
  • Add the zucchini, squash and bell pepper and let cook another 2-4 minutes. 
  • Add the corn and miso broth. 
  • Bring the broth to a boil and add all the spices.
  • While it is boiling, add the turkey meat and let it cook for about 20 minutes. 
  • You can let it simmer for a while or serve immediately!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

My Special Pumpkin Pie

"Let me tell you about the time that I rode a bike across country, 2500 miles." 

What a trump card. 

If anything can make you feel like your excuses are pathetic, that can. As luck would have it, I have two guys that pull that trump card whenever I make an excuse. It's a bad habit of mine. Little do they know that it's a greatly appreciated, healthy dose of medicine for me. 

One of them has asked me about making some pumpkin pie for about three weeks. I don't know how we originally reached the subject of pumpkin pie, but the conversation ended with me gladly saying, "Yeah! Sure I'll make some pie!" 

Slightly out of character for me, seeing as how I don't bake much anymore.

Four papers, four midterms, lots of hours put in at work, and three weeks later - the pie has been produced. Think of it as a "Thank You Pie." 

So here you go Dev. Rob. This pie's for you guys. For all those miles pedaled. It's pretty good, if I do say so myself. 

Pumpkin Pie with Browned Butter Ginger Snap Crust
Makes one 10 inch Pie.

For the Crust:
• 12 oz. bag of ginger snaps (the higher quality the better)
• 6 tbs butter
• 3 tbs brown sugar
• 1 tbs honey
• 1 tsp finely chopped crystallized ginger

For the Pumpkin Filling:
• 1 medium sweet potato, baked
• 1 (14oz) can of fat free sweetened condensed milk
• 2 large eggs
• 1 3/4 cups of homemade pumpkin puree (or one 15oz can)
• 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
• 1/2 tsp ground ginger
• 1/2 tsp fresh ground nutmeg (fresh nutmeg makes a huge difference)
• 1/4 tsp salt 

  1. Poke the Sweet Potato with a knife in several spots. Wrap it in some foil and bake it for an hour and 15 minutes at 425ºF. Do this any time before you make the pie. Morning before, night before... whenever. 
  1. Brown the Butter. In a small saute/frying pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Keep it on the heat until you start to see it turn a golden color, small brown bits start to appear in it, and you smell a toasted butter aroma. Careful not to burn it!
  2. Crush the snaps. In a food processor or blender, pulse the ginger snaps until they are crumbs.
  3. Mix it up. Add the browned butter, brown sugar, and honey to the gingersnaps in the blender. Pulse until all combined.
  4. Turn it into a Crust. In a 10 inch pie plate, lightly spread a small amount of butter to grease the pan. You don't need much because the mixture is already buttery and won't stick much. Using a rubber spatula, spread the crust mixture into the pie plate and firmly press to form a solid crust on the bottom and sides of the plate. Evenly sprinkle the crystallized ginger over the bottom.
  5. Chill it. Put the crust in the freezer while you do the next steps for the filling (about 20 minutes). 
  1. Get it hot. Preheat oven to 400ºF. Once it reaches 400ºF reduce the heat to 350ºF.
  2. Peel and mash.  the sweet potato and mash with a fork until mostly smooth.
  3. Mix it together. In a 4 qt. saucepan combine the sweet potato, pumpkin, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and salt over medium-low heat for about 6-8 minutes. Don't burn it. Keep stirring it, getting rid of as many lumps as possible. This step combines all the spices and cooks off excess water from the pumpkin puree. Remove from the heat and set aside.
  4. Dairy items. In a medium mixing bowl, combine condensed milk and eggs until mixed thoroughly. 
  5. Put it all in one. Add the Pumpkin mixture to the milk and eggs. Stir until fully combined and it looks smooth.
  6. Don't forget the crust. Take the crust from the freezer. Pour the pumpkin mixture into the pie crust and spread so it is even. If you have extra pumpkin then pour it into a couple of greased ramekins to make a couple single serve, crustless pumpkin pies! *SEE NOTE*
  7. Bake the Pie! Bake in the oven for about 40-50 minutes. Depending on your oven, it may take more or less time. Watch for the pumpkin to set and feel sold when touched lightly with your finger tip. The crust will be slightly bubbly because of the butter. It will get crunchy while the pie cools and sets. Don't worry!
  8. Eat it like nobody's business
*I like to put some foil over the edges of the pie plate and crust so that the edges don't burn. It's a good little trick.*

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Red Native Hash

Many months have since I last shared a recipe and I'm happy to say this one was a complete "make-it-up-as-you-go" kind of deal. Aren't those usually the tastiest ones anyhow? 
To start, it's a penny-pinching week. The end of summer and the start of school always spells one thing - money shortage. I like to keep things positive though; the fact that I started my day with my puppy poking her nose in my ear, had a great breakfast, easy first day of classes, great afternoon at work, and an enjoyable time with friends rock climbing lets me forget any woes that come from green dollar bills. 

In addition, future posts will most likely be themed towards southwestern taste-buds. The summer gave me two opportunities to drive across the high deserts of Arizona and New Mexico - my most cherished environment of nature, food, and culture. From the green chiles of New Mexico, to the rustic taste of black beans and fry breads in Arizona, the southwest competes with the delicacies of Italian and Asian fare  in my opinion.

Sweet and Spicy Red Potato Hash
with Red Bell Pepper, Onion, and a Basted Egg
and Dark Rye Toast with Butternut Squash butter

Serves 2
1 red potato, juilenned
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 onion, diced
1/4 cup diced red bell pepper
1 small red jalapeño, diced
2 Tbs apple cider vinegar
2 Tbs pure maple syrup +1 tsp
1 1/4 Tbs tomato paste
1 tsp dried basil, divided
1/2 tsp rosemary
1 roma tomato (or other favorite variety)
pinch of salt & black pepper
2 eggs

2 slices dark rye bread
chosen butter or vegan butter
Homemade Butternut Squash Butter

Prep all vegetables before beginning - julienne the potato, dice garlic, onion, red bell pepper, and jalapeño and set aside.
Cut tomato into slices and place in small bowl. sprinkle with 1/2 tsp basil, salt and pepper and set aside.

Heat a medium skillet to medium heat (just right to lightly sauté the garlic).
Add about 1 Tbs of coconut or canola oil.
Add garlic and cook for about 20-30 seconds.
Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, for another 30 seconds.
Add the potato, stir to coat with onion and garlic, and cover with lid. Let cook, covered, for about 2 minutes.
Reduce heat to low (not simmering, slightly hotter).
Add the bell pepper and jalapeño to the skillet, give a light stir.
Once the vegetables start to look more cooked and you might start seeing a little residue on your pan, add the apple cider vinegar (which helps deglaze the pan) and stir, add the maple syrup, and tomato paste and stir until everything is coated. Cover with lid and let continue to cook for another 5-8 minutes.

Cook your eggs as you like them (sunny side up, basted, or over easy) but keep the yolk runny.
Place the bread in your toaster or oven.
Plate the hash and then arrange the tomatoes around the perimeter. Top with eggs, sprinkle with salt and pepper.
And it's that easy to enjoy a really good breakfast, lunch or dinner from the southwest.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Collard "Noodles"

The past weekend had a series of adventures including trekking excursions with a friend, precarious tree climbing/rope fetching with another, Easter holiday, and unexpected free groceries. A friend of mine has recently decided to move on in life and pursue new things. Thus, he is getting rid of everything he owns. In that he has gifted me his old climbing rope. No longer worthy of weight baring activities where your life hangs in the balance, it is suitable for some snazzy dog leashes and other fine products. Equipped with an idea, an old rope and some vintage carabiners - my next project will be constructing roughly 20 6ft. dog leashes.

In addition to the rope, my friend also gave me a grocery bag full of fresh collard greens from his garden. I never buy them at the store, but love them! Tonight I wanted to make something kind of original with them. Inspired by seaweed salads at Asian restaurants, I made Collard "Noodles." Seriously, once the greens have been cut thinly and then quickly cooked using this method, they taste like a perfect Asian pairing.

Pan Seared Chicken Breast with Asian Collard "Noodles"
and roasted Turnip Fries
serves: 1

  • 1 chicken breast
  • 1/2 large turnip
  • 1 tsp fresh grated ginger
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/4 tsp sage
  • salt and pepper to taste 
  • 5 large leaves of collard greens
  • 1/2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • sesame seeds (to garnish)

  1. Cut along the middle of each leaf lengthwise, and cut out the center stalk of the collard greens.
  2. Stack the halves on top of each other, with the cut sides aligned with each other.
  3. Roll the pile tightly like a fruit-roll-up.
  4. Cut the roll, using a very sharp knife, into thin slices, producing long "noodles."
  5. Toss the "noodles" in a bowl with olive oil and a little salt and pepper and set aside.
  6. Heat a large skillet on medium heat.
  7. Chop ginger and garlic into fine pieces.  
  8. Julienne turnip into fry shapes.
  9. Sprinkle one side of the chicken breast with sage, salt and pepper.
  10. Coat skillet with extra virgin olive oil - I usually eyeball it, but I would say no more than 1 Tablespoon, no less than 1 Tsp. Just pour a little into the center, swirl it around as it heats until all areas of the bottom of the pan are covered. 
  11. Place chicken breast in the center of the pan and top with the chopped ginger and garlic and a sprinkle or two more of salt and pepper. Add the turnips around the chicken breast. Cover the pan with a lid and let sit undisturbed while the chicken cooks on one side.
  12. To get a good sear, do not touch the chicken for about 5 minutes. Wait until you see steam escaping from the edges of the lid, then check to see if it has "seared" off (meaning that it has gotten crispy enough that the flesh has released from the pan and is not stuck to it any more). 
  13. Flip the chicken breast over, and let cook another 5 minutes or until it is at the desired temperature of about 145-155 ºF.
  14. Remove from the pan to your plate and let sit.
  15. Quickly add the green noodles to the pan and stir around for about 30 seconds and then add the soy sauce. Stir for another 30-60 seconds until the greens darken in color and are a rich, deep green.
  16. Plate next to the chicken and turnips, sprinkle with sesame seeds to garnish.
  17. ENJOY!      


Friday, February 22, 2013

White Chile

Occasionally we all cause ourselves more stress than we ever needed to experience. The worst is admitting that the only source of the trouble was you. Stubborn, stupid, and (in the words of my sister) impetuous you. Is it an age thing? A gender specific thing? Or perhaps you're just mentally unstable.

I hope that it is merely age to blame. Thankfully, the hard part of pulling off the band-aid (admitting to yourself that you're stupid mistake is not unique to just you, it happens to everyone) is not too painful, and the sting subsides, leaving that feeling of relief.

Certain things remind you that things aren't as terrible as you initially made them out to be.  For example, you could come down with a mysterious disease leaving you bedridden in the hospital for days. Such a thing happened to a friend of mine recently. Thankfully, he is all better and he and his fiance are back into their normal routine. As a special "happy you are alive!" gesture, I made this chili for them. The great thing about this chili is the value. Memory value, I mean.

My Mom has made this since I can remember. One of my favorite chilis growing up, it was gobbled down in Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall. Just give it a try. I promise, it will help you feel energized and warm inside. Ready to tackle anything that jumps in your way.


An additional note: I usually add a little extra cumin, and if I want a little extra heat, a few drops of my favorite peppers sauce! (I recommend "The Pepper Plant" from Gilroy, California - best ever!)

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Butternut Squash Fries!

The new year of 2013 has arrived with great opportunities waiting in the folds of its calendar. So many things have changed for me personally, and for my family, my friends, and community.
It wasn't until I made these fries tonight that I remembered - I haven't blogged in over a month!!!
So I whipped out my camera and took a picture before I took another bite - otherwise I would have missed the opportunity and would have devoured them all before a decent photo was taken.

Butternut Squash Oven Fries
 serving size for 1

1 cup butternut  squash cut into 1/2 inch thick fries
1 tsp olive oil
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp season salt
1/4 tsp ground pepper
1/4 tsp ancho chili powder
1/2 tsp chili powder


Heat oven to 400ºF
Spray baking sheet with a little cooking spray or coat with a little bit of olive oil.
Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl.
Toss to coat.
Spread on baking sheet.    
Bake for 20 minutes, toss, and then bake for another 20-25 minutes (until soft and tender, and starting to get crispy!)