Thursday, January 31, 2013

Classy Ramen-Style Mushroom Soup

Super flavorful and quick enough that it just may get me to drop my Top Ramen habit.

From The Mushroom Channel

Makes 3 to 4 servings
  • 8 small dried shiitake mushrooms
  • 8 square inches dried kombu (optional)
  • 4 ½ cups water
  • 4 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
  • 6 – 8 ounces cremini and/or shiitake mushrooms, stems removed and sliced
  • 6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon – 1 tablespoon crushed red chili flakes (to suit your tastes)
  • 1 ½ tablespoons shiro miso (white miso paste)
  • 1 ½ tablespoons aka miso (red miso paste)
  • 10 ounces dried ramen noodles (aka, chukka soba), freshly cooked (or any other Asian noodle you have - soba would be delicious)
  • Fresh cilantro leaves, to garnish (optional)
1. Make the mushroom stock: Place the dried shiitake mushrooms and kombu a pot with the water.  Bring the water almost to a boil and then turn down the heat to maintain a simmer.  Cook for 5 minutes.
2. Remove the pot from the heat and let the stock stand for 3 minutes.  Strain the stock through a fine-mesh strainer and set the stock aside.
3. Make the soup: Heat 3 teaspoons of the toasted sesame oil in a large skillet or wok over high heat.  Add the sliced cremini mushrooms and cook for about 20 seconds.  Drizzle in the remaining 1 teaspoon of toasted sesame oil, then add the finely chopped garlic and crushed red chili flakes, and stir-fry for another 20 seconds.
4. Pour the mushroom stock through a fine-mesh strainer held directly over the pan.  (Discard the solids left in the strainer.)  Adjust the heat to maintain a steady simmer, and separate the cooked noodles into 3 or 4 bowls.
5. Place the shiro miso and aka miso in a small bowl and ladle some of the hot stock from the pan into the bowl. Whisk the miso pastes and broth together until smooth, then add to the simmering stock in the pan.
6. Turn off the heat, then ladle the broth over the noodles in each bowl.  Garnish with fresh cilantro leaves and serve immediately.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Wine of the Week - Carivintas "Max" NV blend


This is a non-vintage blend of Barbera, Rosé of Tempranillo, Syrah and Malbec, and it's absolutely delicious.

Red fruits on the nose, including strawberry and cherry. Some maple aromas give the whole thing a sugary undertone.

Surprising dark flavors hit your tongue immediately on tasting - cloves and black pepper. It starts to brighten up with a little hint of Golden Delicious apple. And there's still that bit of maple underneath it all.

A richly-flavored and mouth-pleasing wine.

13.9% alcohol

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Cinnamon Apple Swirl-overs

A simplified version of my simplified apple turnovers.

1/2 package (1 sheet) of puff pastry, thawed
1 large apple (any variety) peeled & sliced thinly (use more if you want it super apple-y)
cinnamon sugar (I use this ratio, very cinnamon-y and good)
a pinch of nutmeg (optional)

Preheat oven to 400. Line a small cookie sheet with parchment paper or grease it. Unroll the thawed puff pastry sheet and sprinkle generously with cinnamon sugar. Lay apple slices over the entire sheet. Sprinkle generously with cinnamon sugar and a pinch of nutmeg. Carefully roll the long side away from you (as you would sushi or cinnamon rolls). Lay the log on the cookie sheet and bake for 10 minutes. Remove the log and slice it into 1/2 inch rolls (be careful, it's hot!). Place rolls back on the cookie sheet and put back in the oven for another 10 minutes. Allow a few minutes to cool after removing from the oven before eating.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Southern style salad and hush puppies

A tasty combo, and easy and quick to make! These were in the January/February issue of Vegetarian Times.

The salad is just canned black-eyed peas, chopped onion, diced carrots, diced green peppers, sliced green onions, chopped tomatoes, apple cider vinegar. How to make? Just throw it all together in a bowl and refrigerate for about an hour.

The hush puppies recipe is very similar to this one from, but they are baked for about 10 minutes rather than deep frying.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Wine of the Week - Heritage NV Burgundy


First and foremost, let's be clear about one thing: this is not Burgundy.  It doesn't come from France, and it's unclear what grape varietals are in this bottle.  Here's what is clear: this is a remarkable and surprising wine, full of all sorts of twists and turns for the nose and mouth.

This is going to sound crazy, but here's what I smelled: strawberry, banana, grape seed.  Essentially this smells like a fruit cocktail.

On tasting, the banana was consistent.  Yes, I'm telling you that this wine tastes like banana.  Tasty acid comes in from the sides.  Light, crisp and cheery.  This wine has a long, long finish that slowly develops into a burnt wood taste.

This is all-around delicious.  Certainly unique; you'll never taste another wine like this.  Whether that's a good thing or not is up to your individual taste.  I liked it.

12% alcohol

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Lima Beans You Will LOVE

I'm not kidding. I love them. My husband loves them. My kid loves them. I make it as a main dish with rice and greens on the side, but would work as a side dish just as well. I usually use baby lima beans, which are for some reason easier for me to find. This recipe is originally from Veganomicon.

Mediterranean Lima Beans

Friday, January 11, 2013

Wine of the Week - Bellini 2010 Chianti


This is a nice, simple mass-market wine that goes down easy.  Mildly tart, with some yeasty taste and texture; light hints of cherry.  This is a ful-bodied, well-rounded wine that fills out your taste buds nicely.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Loaded Pasta

This started off as ziti, but I didn't have any ziti. And I wanted to add some "meaty" tempeh. And spinach. All amounts are approximate, because I didn't measure anything

1 recipe of cashew ricotta
2 cups marinara sauce
3/4 lb pasta, any short shape (I used fusilli)
1/2 recipe of tempeh from here, minus the fennel & red pepper flakes
1/4 cup frozen spinach, defrosted

Preheat oven to 375.

Cook pasta according to instructions (I had it going while I cooked the temeph to save time). A little at a time, incorporate all ingredients into a large casserole dish until it looks yummy and delicious.

Bake for 30 minutes, until the top is nice and crunchy.

Serve with kale chips or any other delicious greens you have on hand.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Champagne wishes and cupcake dreams

Tired of mimosas? Got leftover champagne? Here's a tasty way to use up some of that bubbly.

A easy recipe surprisingly from

Champagne cupcakes

For the frosting, I whipped up my own batch:
1 cup vegetable shortening
2 tsp raspberry extract
3 cups sifted powdered sugar
3 tbsp milk

1. Beat the shortening to soften and mix in extract.
2. Slowly add the sugar, throwing in milk as needed to make creamy.

I added a little food coloring and topped with red and yellow sprinkles for some charm.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Wine of the Week - Frey 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon


Frey is an organic winemaker whose label, contrary to most, reads: "Contains no detectable sulfites."  How's that for a change of pace?

Cherry, pomegranate and grape skins on the nose.  The cherry and pomegranate carry over to the taste, making this an enjoyably tart and dry wine.  This is a crisp, bright, lively drinking experience.  Notes of fresh ground coffee beans lend a nice, dark undercurrent.

12.8% alcohol

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Cinnamon pull-apart bread

(it was mostly gone when I took this picture, because who can resist?)

Cinnamon bread is my #1 favorite quick late-night snack. This presentation makes it "fancy" enough to serve to company. I basically followed the instructions here, but changed around the amounts. This is  my version:

1 unsliced round loaf sourdough bread

1/2 cup margarine, softened (I just eyeballed it, actually and surely used a lot less)

2 Tbsp + 2 tsp sugar
2 tsp cinnamon

1 cup powdered sugar
1-2 Tbsp soy milk


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Cut the bread lengthwise into 1/2" slices, without cutting through the bottom crust. Spread vanilla honey butter in between slices.  Rotate the bread 90 degrees and slice the bread again into 1/2" pieces, without cutting through the bottom crust. Spread more vanilla honey butter in between new cuts. This doesn't need to be perfect - just make sure there is lots of butter in between all the cuts. Combine sugar and cinnamon. Generously sprinkle in between all cuts.

Wrap in foil; place on a baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes, until bread is warm.  Unwrap cinnamon bread and place on serving platter.  Combine powdered sugar and milk - adding milk until you get the consistency desired.  Drizzle icing over bread and serve immediately.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Broccoli-Cauliflower Tower of Power

As I was looking for a new recipe to try out on my Christmas party guests, I was excited to find this one from
A very easy, yummy, and healthy side dish to any meal. Unfortunately, the bowl I used wasn't deep enough to make a second layer of broccoli. I also added cheddar cheese to the top - next time I make this, I'll probably add cheese between layers for fun.