Tag Archives: 2010

vegetarian stew? daring cooks challenge.

how to adapt a meaty meat stew into a vegetarian stew?

well here is the recipe below for the less exotic version, the other version had rabbit or squirrel.

Brunswick Stew. Serves about 10

  • 2 ½ lb TOTAL diced stewed chicken, turkey, and ham, with broth – yes, all three meats
  • 3 medium diced potatoes
  • 2 medium ripe crushed tomatoes
  • 2 medium diced onions
  • 3 cups/ 689.76 grams / 24.228oz frozen corn
  • 1 ½ cups / 344.88 grams / 12.114oz frozen lima beans
  • 4-5 strips crumbled bacon
  • ½ stick / 4 tablespoons / ¼ cup / 56.94 grams / 2oz of butter
  • 1 Tablespoon / 14.235 grams / .5 oz sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon / 14.235 grams / .5 oz ‘Poultry Seasoning’
  • Dash of red pepper
  • 2 diced carrots (optional)
  • Tomato juice

I did my best to vegetarianize the recipe and ended up with this recipe:

Serves about 10

  • 1 package of morningstar farms chick’n strips, thawed
  • 3 medium diced waxy potatoes
  • 2 medium diced onions
  • 3 cups frozen corn
  • 1 can of beans, I used kidney, because I forgot to get the butter beans and since I was totally redoing the recipe I figured what the heck.
  • 4-5 strips fakin’ bacon or other “veggie bacon” , browned and crumbled
  • a bit of olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon ‘Poultry Seasoning’
  • 2 dried hot peppers, split, destemmed, and seeded
  • 3 diced carrots
  • 1 can crushed tomatoes with juice

I also added a few drops of liquid smoke to make up a bit for the missing smokey, meaty taste

In large stock pot or Dutch Oven, mix all ingredients, heat until bubbly and hot. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add tomato juice as desired. Cook until all vegetables are tender. Serve hot.

I think it came out pretty well, let me know if you try it!

James really liked this dish, I served it with sauteed kale and homemade bread.

The 2010 April Daring Cooks challenge was hosted by Wolf of Wolf’s Den. She chose to challenge Daring Cooks to make Brunswick Stew. Wolf chose recipes for her challenge from The Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook by Matt Lee and Ted Lee, and from the Callaway, Virginia Ruritan Club.

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Posted by on April 14, 2010 in Uncategorized


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alex chilton heads for the big star.


alex chilton died yesterday in new orleans, of a suspected heart attack.

i originally heard a few big star songs as this mortal coil covers, loving the lyrics, it wasn’t until i started hanging out with james that he told me most songs i love were covers! including siouxsie, fall, and this mortal songs amongst hundreds.

it was probably a good introduction to these songs though, for me, and when i heard the originals i was blown away, especially by “kangaroo” and “holocaust”

alex chilton wrote james’ wedding vows, he used the lyrics to blue moon and read them at our wedding. so sweet.

and then there is this:

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Posted by on March 18, 2010 in Uncategorized


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mushroom risotto for my 2nd daring cooks challenge.

For this months challenge we made risotto. As part of the challenge we were asked to make our own stock, i made mushroom stock. i make my own veggie stock b.c. of my food allergies (celery in this case), but i had never made mushroom stock. james has been bringing me interesting mushrooms home from the union square market, like maitake and pom pom mushrooms. We had to look them up to figure out how to eat them. The maitake was quite large, and i needed to use it up so it became the inspiration for the risotto and the stock.

I made the stock a few days ahead of time using a recipe loosely based on this one.

I whipped up the risotto along with stuffed portabello mushrooms (with veggie sausage, bread crumbs, onion, mushroom stems and herbs) spinach salad, and steamed asparagus.

For the Risotto (below) use any type of homemade or store bought stock, and i used diced onion and left it in (instead of the quartered onion) and also saute’ some chopped mushrooms (portabello, and button) along with the onion. There are endless ways to do up risotto with the basic recipe below, saffron, lemon, butternut squash, or asparagus are a few other options. we also added some shaved parmigiano on top, but the meal could have been made vegan without it.

Risotto Base

olive oil 2 fluid oz 60 ml
1 small onion, quatered
rice 14 oz 400g
Any type of risotto rice will do. I use Arborio but the recipe itself says Vialone Nano. Another to look for is Carnaroli.
white wine 2 fl oz 60 ml
(chicken) vegetable or mushroom stock , simmering 2 pints 1 L


  1. Heat oil in a pan and add onion. Fry for a few minutes to flavour the oil then discard. (We diced ours and left it in as we like onion).
  2. Add the rice and stir for a few minutes to coat each grain of rice with oil and toast slightly.
  3. Add the wine and let it bubble away until evaporated.
  4. Add enough stock to cover the rice by a finger’s width (about an inch or two). Don’t actually stick your finger in, it will be hot. Just eye it off.
  5. Cook on medium heat, stirring with a wooden spoon from time to time, until most of the stock has been absorbed.
  6. Repeat Step 5 making sure to leave aside approximately 100 ml. of stock for the final step. .
  7. Repeat, save 100ml for the final stage.
  8. Once you are at this point, the base is made. You now get to add your own variation.

The 2010 March Daring Cooks challenge was hosted by Eleanor of MelbournefoodGeek and Jess of Jessthebaker. They chose to challenge Daring Cooks to make risotto. The various components of their challenge recipe are based on input from the Australian Masterchef cookbook and the cookbook Moorish by Greg Malouf.

Thanks to Eleanor and Jess.

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Posted by on March 15, 2010 in Uncategorized


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my first daring cooks challenge completed!

First of all let me tell you a little bit about the daring cooks.

What is The Daring Kitchen?

The Daring Kitchen is the home of The Daring Bakers and The Daring Cooks. The premise of both groups is to create one recipe each month, given to us by a monthly host. We all create the same exact recipe and then post about it on our personal blogs on a designated date.”

now on to this month’s challenge!

this month was hosted by a veggie blogger (yaaaaaaaaaaay) veggienumnums

and she came up with the idea of cooking a mezze, which is similar to tapas, which is a lot of little plates of food to be shared with a crowd. my crowd was james, his father, and his step-mom beth, and me of course 🙂

using the recipes provided i made hummus*, pita bread, and falafal. *this is the first time i ever used a recipe for hummus! i make it often but never use a recipe, i just wing it and taste as i go, sometimes i make it more lemony, some times super duper garlicky, but the recipe was a nice balance and fresh and delish. james really enjoyed the hummus, and he is become a real food critic.

the pita bread was super easy-but i probably should have cooked it about 1-2 more minutes, it was lovely but i tend to wuss out on leaving the bread to get a bit darker for fear it will get too dark. i make bread a few times a week and have gotten over that fear and just let it get dark and crispity. but the pita are so thin! i didnt want them to become too crispy! luckily i have A LOT of the pita dough left and will have more time to experiment over the next few days.

for the falafal: i used my vita-mix to ‘chop’ and blend the ingredients, so it was super quick and easy to make the batter. the only thing i added was a tiny bit more flour to stiffen the batter. wow, i haven’t made falafal in a while and they were delish! i cannot eat them out b.c. of food allergies to wheat and lentils (among other things), lentils are sometimes used in addition to or in replace of the chick peas.

i also served homemade pickles we canned with this past summer’s crop of cucumbers, olives, fresh vegetables: lettuce, cucumbers, carrots, broccoli, grilled eggplant, and pomegranate seeds. we also had some of the macarons from last night (pictured below this post).

this was a great first challenge for me, i did not have to do too many replaced ingredients, and it was all vegetarian! i am excited for next month! make yourself a little feast of small plates, mezze, using the recipes below. thank you to michelle of veggienumnums!

some recipes via Michele from Veggienumnums

Pita Bread – Recipe adapted from Flatbreads & Flavors by Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid

Prep time: 20 minutes to make, 90 minutes to rise and about 45 minutes to cook

2 teaspoons regular dry yeast (.43 ounces/12.1 grams)
Hummus – Recipe adapted from The New Book of Middle Eastern Food by Claudia Roden

Prep Time: Hummus can be made in about 15 minutes once the beans are cooked. If you’re using dried beans you need to soak them overnight and then cook them the next day which takes about 90 minutes.

1.5 cups dried chickpeas, soaked in cold water overnight (or substitute well drained canned chickpeas and omit the cooking) (10 ounces/301 grams)

2-2.5 lemons, juiced (3 ounces/89ml)

2-3 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed

a big pinch of salt

4 tablespoons tahini (sesame paste) OR use peanut butter or any other nut butter—feel free to experiment) (1.5 ounces/45 grams)

additional flavorings (optional) I would use about 1/3 cup or a few ounces to start, and add more to taste

1. Drain and boil the soaked chickpeas in fresh water for about 1 ½ hours, or until tender. Drain, but reserve the cooking liquid.
2. Puree the beans in a food processor (or you can use a potato masher) adding the cooking water as needed until you have a smooth paste.
3. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well. Adjust the seasonings to taste.
*Recipe: Falafels – Recipe from Joan Nathan and


  • 1 cup dried chickpeas
  • 1/2 large onion, roughly chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2-1 teaspoon dried hot red pepper
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 4-6 tablespoons flour
  • vegetable oil for frying

1. Put the chickpeas in a large bowl and add enough cold water to cover them by at least 2 inches. Let soak overnight, then drain. Or use canned chickpeas, drained.

2. Place the drained, uncooked chickpeas and the onions in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Add the parsley, cilantro, salt, hot pepper, garlic, and cumin. Process until blended but not pureed.

3. Sprinkle in the baking powder and 4 tablespoons of the flour, and pulse. You want to add enough bulgur or flour so that the dough forms a small ball and no longer sticks to your hands. Turn into a bowl and refrigerate, covered, for several hours.

4. Form the chickpea mixture into balls about the size of walnuts

5. Heat 3 inches of oil to 375 degrees in a deep pot or wok and fry 1 ball to test. If it falls apart, add a little flour. Then fry about 6 balls at once for a few minutes on each side, or until golden brown. Drain on paper towels.


Posted by on February 16, 2010 in Uncategorized


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sunday animal movie-thon.

james and i were feeling a bit under the weather on sunday and HMC, the hallmark channel, came through with some great movies:

The Million Dollar Duck (1971)

That Darn Cat! (1965)

The Cat from Outer Space (1978)

a whole lotta sandy duncan cuteness and animal cuteness. that and the matzoh ball soup and we are feeling much better.

inspired by one of sandy duncan’s dresses in Million Dollar Duck i made this pattern,

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Posted by on February 2, 2010 in Uncategorized


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