Archive for the ‘recipe’ Category

Summer is just about wrapping up in Portland, and we are still getting tons of tomatoes in our garden! I’ve been roasting and freezing most of them, so we can have good garden tomatoes all winter.

This year I planted several yellow and green varieties, and wanted to use them in a special way. This soup is tangy, sweet, and absolutely delicious – perfect for the first day of Fall!



Golden cherry tomatoes, green zebras, green cherry tomatoes, and blush tomatoes.

Chop tomatoes roughly.


This was about 8 cups of tomatoes. You don’t have to use yellow and green ones if you don’t have any! Red tomatoes would be delicious too.


In a medium pot, sauté one large onion (chopped roughly) with a few tablespoons of olive oil on medium-high heat.


Add a few cloves of garlic, smashed and peeled.



Add a few tablespoons of fresh herbs. I had oregano and rosemary on hand; but any combination of thyme, basil, or sage would be great.


Let everything cook down for about 15 minutes, or until onions are translucent.


Add the tomatoes, and a few teaspoons of kosher salt. Let everything simmer for about 20-30 minutes, or until the tomatoes have cooked down and the liquid is bubbly.


Add a quart of chicken broth. If you are a vegetarian, you can use vegetable broth.


Once everything is simmering, turn down the heat and use an immersion blender until the soup is smooth.


Garnish with a little cooked and chopped bacon.




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When I was in college, I worked at a wonderful summer camp in Northern California. One week, I worked in the camp kitchen, chopping vegetables, packing up food to be served at the different camp sites, and making ranch dressing. The ranch dressing was the worst. Kids wanted to put it on everything – pizza, hot dogs, burritos, ugh. I don’t know if you have ever made ranch dressing for a crowd, but it involves a lot of buttermilk, seasonings, and scooping mayonnaise from a bag. You can understand I have had had a mayonnaise aversion for many years. I’m just starting to come around to using it in cooking – tuna salad and deviled eggs really do taste better with a little dollop.

I have been wanting to try making mayonnaise for a long time, but never got around to it. Let me tell you – it’s incredibly easy, and the results are really delicious. This recipe is from Everyday Paleo.

Ingredients. The oil is a mix of canola and olive (I didn’t have enough olive. This makes this recipe not technically paleo. Whoops.)

Blend eggs, vinegar, and mustard until frothy and mixed.

Drizzle in the oil super slowly, while the blender is running on high.

Once the oil is incorporated and the mayo is creamy, sprinkle salt and cayenne and blend again until mixed.



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Portobello pizzas

I made a delicious and quick dinner tonight.

Roasted asparagus and spring onions


Pasture raised ground beef cooked in marinara I canned last summer.


Roasted mushroom caps


Topped the mushroom caps with the beef sauce, cheese and spring onions.



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I love kale salad so much. My favorite one in Portland can be found at our neighborhood place. It’s super lemoney and bright. I attempted to make a version at it at home last week.

Step one: rinse the kale. I get dinosaur kale/Lacinato kale because it’s dark green and delicious.

Separate the leaves from the stems. I don’t like the stems. Put them in the compost bin.

A pile-o-kale.

Cut up the kale into small, bite-sized pictures. Put the kale into a bowl.

The dressing is really simple. Lemon juice. Olive oil. Salt.

Juice a whole lemon on top of the kale. Drizzle olive oil (maybe 1/4 cup?) on the kale.

Mix it up with your clean hands. Some people call this “massaging” the kale. I call it delicious.

It’s good for your hands too.

Add a few pinches of salt.

Grate up some cheese. I used an Irish cheddar, because we had some left over from St. Patrick’s Day. Any hard-ish, nutty, sharp, cheese would be delicious.

Almost ready!

Walnuts! Other delicious nuts in this salad: macadamia, pine nuts, brazil nuts, all the nuts!

All done! Oh my goodness this is the best salad ever. Make it!

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Ultimate Ginger Cookies

It’s an official snow day here in Portland!

I have a practicum with the school district here, and school was canceled, so my practicum was too! SNOW DAY!

The chickens were not happy.

But Ryan was. We walked over to get some coffee before he had to work. No snow day when you work at home!

I probably should have spent the morning catching up on assignments and reading. But instead I started a batch of No-Knead Bread (uh have you made this yet? You should).

Rise up little dough baby. (Yes, I am eating a bit of gluten again! I’m sticking to mostly homemade, mostly organic, and mostly whole-grain, and I haven’t really had any problems).

Since Ryan had to work and I felt sorry for him, I decided to make a batch of these ultimate ginger cookies.The recipe is from one of my favorite Ina Garten cookbooks – The Barefoot Contessa at Home. My mom says always trust the Barefoot. She never fails.

It’s also available here, and I followed it pretty closely. The only changes I made were subbing whole wheat pastry flour for white flour (fiber!), making my own brown sugar (instructions from Joy the Baker here), and using candied ginger instead of crystallized ginger (which I think made the cookies chewier).

Did you know that blackstrap molasses is really good for you? Especially if you need more iron? So I guess these are healthy cookies! (ha).

Homemade brown sugar (I made it extra dark with extra molasses), oil, egg, and more molasses.

Dry ingredients: whole wheat pasty flour, salt, baking soda, spices

Don’t you just love the way fresh nutmeg looks? Like a little brain.

Chop the candied ginger.

Mix it up! This dough is super sticky so I used my hands to mix.

Roll the dough into small balls, flatten slightly, and pat each side with sugar.

Into the oven they go!

Ina says bake for exactly 13 minutes. Listen to Ina.

Oh yum.

These cookies are absolutely perfect – sticky, chewy, spicy and delicious. Enjoy with black coffee or a glass of milk.

Yay for a snow day!

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fudgy balls

It seems like every blog on the internet has made some version of these homemade Lara Bars. My turn!

1 cup of almonds, processed for a few minutes until powdery

Add 1 cup of pitted dates (these are just cheap-o bulk bin dates. Next time I’d use medjool)

3 TB of water and 2 TB of dark cocoa powder (unsweetened)

1 TB of honey (you could use agave to make this vegan)

Process until it looks like this! It’s super sticky.

Roll into balls and let them sit for 30 minutes or so to dry out a bit.

Roll them in more unsweetened cocoa powder

Oh my LORD these are so delicious. Chocolately but not too sweet.

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almond butter

Who knew it was so easy to make almond butter?

1 cup of almonds

Food processeor

Not yet

Coming together

Almond butter?

I think I could have let it go a bit longer but I was getting impatient.

Into a jar (like everything else in our kitchen)

On toast with plum jam.

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Spinach smoothie

All three chickens are laying pretty regularly now. It’s always so neat to see how different the eggs are from different breeds.

Zuni laid the one on the left, and either Boogaloo or SilverCrest laid the one on the right.

My mom gave me this really cute egg basket for my birthday, so I’ve been keeping the eggs out on the counter. Home-grown eggs don’t need to be refrigerated because they are so fresh!

It hasn’t been raining much so we let the girls out every morning. Geordi sits and watches them from the counter.

On Fridays I have more time in the morning, so I made smoothies for breakfast!

Tangerines, a tangelo, and a banana

Add unsweetened plain almond milk

A big handful of baby spinach

Ice of course

Delicious and so green!

I promise you can’t taste the spinach. The only thing that would make these smoothies better is if I had a better blender. Like a Vita-Mix. (hint hint)

Have a good one!

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While I was shopping at Kruger’s for kirby cucumbers for pickles, a giant bunch of basil caught my eye. And since I am still completely enamored with my new food processor, I knew pesto had to be made.

Pesto is so easy. Just take 2 parts basil (or any other herb), and blend with one part oil, one part cheese (optional), 1/4 part pine nuts (or walnuts or hazelnuts or whatever you’ve got), and a few garlic cloves.

Extra virgin olive oil


So much garlic

Pinenuts! Yes they are pricey, but my wonderful friend Elena is allergic to walnuts and I knew I wanted to use some of this pesto to make her dinner later this winter. Pinenuts have a great nutty flavor and add a lot of richness to the pesto.

My batch made about 4 half pints, which went into the freezer.

The tiny bit that was left went into dinner.

Zucchini, bell pepper, onions

Cherry tomatoes, swiss chard, and brown rice pasta, all tossed with yummy pesto. I don’t have any pictures of the final result, but trust me, it was delicious.

Chard is the new beet (according to me), so get ready for more recipes featuring chard.

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Pickled Taqueria Carrots

One of the things I miss the most about California is the Mexican food. We lived on Mission Street in San Francisco for three years and had multiple taquerias with amazing salsa bars at our fingertips. I miss the salsa bars. When Ryan and I were first dating, and living in Davis, we drove out to a small town near Davis every Saturday for thrift stores and taquerias. We would buy one taco each, and then stuff our faces with chips and salsa and spicy pickled carrots and jalepenos.

I need those spicy pickled carrots. And all of the recipes I found include oil – which makes them un-cannable. Well you might be able to can them with a pressure cooker, but I don’t have one and they kind of scare me.

I am on a mission to create delicious taco toppings! And I have a 25 pound bag of carrots (that I got for $7.50!) so there’s plenty of room for experiments!

Let’s start!

I washed and peeled a ton of carrots. Two colanders full. What did I do with all of those peels? Made stock of course!

I sliced them all up in about 5 minutes using my amazing food processor.

The recipe I used was for spicy pickled carrots in Put ‘em Up. The brine was basically distilled white vinegar, sugar, and salt. Pretty basic. The only thing I adapted was the spices.

Hot taco mix, whole cumin, oregano, jalepenos, and plenty of garlic. I got the fixins ready while the jars were sterilizing in the boiling water.

By the way, what’s more patriotic than buying American made jars and canning delicious things in them?

Once the jars were sterile, I stuffed them with the spices.

And the carrots.

I filled the jars with boiling brine, and bubbled them. Then I wiped the rims, put on the lids and rings, and processed at boiling for 15 minutes.

The finished product!

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