curried sweet potato soup: part 1.

the ingredients:

4 lbs sweet potatoes, boiled and peeled
2 medium yukon gold potatoes, skins on, boiled and diced
2 medium red bliss potatoes, skins on, boiled and diced
1 large red onion, diced
2 carrots, chopped (i leave the skins on; you don't have to)
1 shallot, diced
5 cloves of garlic, peeled and pressed
1 can coconut milk
2 tbsps olive oil
about 2 quarts of water or vegetable broth
curry powder
sea salt
black pepper
cayenne pepper
crushed red pepper flakes
garlic powder
fresh ginger, grated or sliced (to taste; ground ginger may be subbed)

combine shallot, garlic, onion, spices (all are to taste!), & olive oil in your stock pot.

cook until onions are translucent and the carrots are soft; add water or vegetable broth; bring to a rapid boil.

add all potatoes; lower the heat to a simmer.

cook for about 30-40 minutes, stirring occasionally.

** at this point i decided i had to go to bed. next post: coconut milk, pureeing the soup, last-minute tweaking, and what happens when you add a dollop of honey.

UPDATE: i pureed the soup, added a bit more veggie broth to thin it out, and left the coconut milk out. it was deliciously amazing. :)


super-green pesto!

if you know me, you know i love garlic and pepper. so, when you add basil and spinach to the mix, that's just cause for celebration. so, some time ago i made a LOT of basil-filled, spinach-tastic pesto and froze about half of it. because of the current economic climate, i've come to the conclusion that i must rely on my sense of creativity if i want to feel less like i'm eating the same thing over and over. i thawed the pesto out and was reminded that i should record my ingredients lest they be forgotten.

the recipe is loosey-goosey as there are no measurements (as per usual), so i say you do everything to taste and see what works for you.

baby spinach
frozen spinach (maybe 1/3 cup)
fresh basil (however much you like)
garlic ( a LOT)
pine nuts!
olive oil
onion powder*

toast the pine nuts in olive oil; add basil, baby spinach, onion powder, salt and pepper. once the basil and baby spinach are slightly wilted, throw it all in a blender or food processor with frozen spinach. blend the ingredients. if the sauce is too thick, add a bit of water to change the consistency.

i had mine with rice noodles and chopped tomato. om nom nom.

eat up! leave your pesto ideas in the comments. cuz, you know, i believe strongly that 3949 people read this blog and have been waiting patiently for an update. :)

*you could probably use fresh onion, maybe half a shallot or something, but i didn't have any on hand.


the best grilled cheese sandwich ever.

a yummy honey whole wheat or pumpernickel
cooper sharp
roma tomato, sliced crazy thin
a little bit of fresh cracked black pepper

holy crap.

a good time will be had by all.

leave your recipes in the comments. :D


potato soup!

with kale
with turkey sage sausage
with corn
with cheese
with whatever you like!

take the mashed potato recipe, add extra veggie stock (i used a combo if that and homemade mushroom broth) and whatever seasoning you'd like (i even threw some horse radish mustard in).

mine has kale and WAY too much hot pepper in it. it's definitely great. there's a huge pot of it so i'll have plenty to eat on those broke/ lazy days . . .


autumn is coming!

i love hot chocolate. i am lactose intolerant. most just-add-water hot chocolate mixes have at least a bit of dairy stuff in them. so, i went from chocolate soy milk to vanilla almond milk with cocoa powder & lackluster results to almond milk with tj's mint cocoa powder & still lackluster results . . . then i remembered heidi swanson's recipe for coconut chocolate pudding. & i was like, "yoooooo, maybe i can pull this off."

no measurements, just ingredients & instructions:

1 bar of 70% scharffen berger chocolate
coconut milk (i used the cheapest brand they have in my supermarket, and it's totally FAT & tasty)
chocolate almond breeze
vanilla hemp milk
cayenne pepper
sea salt
fresh cracked black pepper
chili powder

liquids go into the saucepan, chocolate goes in after the liquids, completely optional spices go in (to taste)
the whole thing gets sexy and kinda boils, you remove the pot from heat (and turn the damn burner off, too)

you pour some into a mug and sip your life away.


mashed potatoes.

(what? in august? YES.)

i saw this recipe from heidi "i am secretly the devil because i want you to cook and eat all the time" swanson and had to try it for myself.

holy crap. it's delicious. my variations:

no scallions, just fried shallots
veggie broth instead of milk
garlic powder in addition to fresh garlic
a sprinkle of cayenne
smart balance instead of butter (it was all i had available)
no parmesan

it's awesome. i wanna add some more potatoes to it. such goodness.

getting ready for fall . . .


fire roasted salsa.

tomato. shallot. green pepper. lime juice. salt. pepper. garlic.

4 roma tomatoes, rinsed
1 large green pepper, seeded and halved
1/2 shallot, diced
lime juice, to taste
salt, pepper, garlic (crushed or powder) to taste

roast the tomatoes, one at a time, on your stovetop. when the skin is blackened and almost peeling, remove. dice the tomatoes and set them aside in a bowl w/ salt, pepper, garlic and lime juice.
roast the green pepper and dice it.
add the shallot and pepper to tomatoes.

serve room temperature or chilled. enjoy with eggs, toast, as a side to some home fries, with a tofu scramble for breakfast. yesterday it served as a topping for a vegetable tamale, and WOW was it delicious. :D

quorn porn.

quorn stir-fry. sort of. i hate the taste of most fake meats by themselves so enter the brilliant idea that spawned from my evil mind, inspired by omi's un-chicken salad recipe.

1 box quorn naked chik'n cutlets
3/4 cups water or veggie broth (about enough to cover the cutlets in a bowl)
1/4 cup bragg's liquid aminos, shoyu, soy sauce, or mushroom broth
1 large green pepper, seeded and sliced in half lengthwise
1/2 shallot, sliced
onion powder, to taste
garlic powder, to taste
olive oil

sit the frozen cutlets in the liquid mixture and seasonings; set aside to thaw for about 30 minutes or defrost in the microwave and set aside for about 15 minutes
lay the sliced pepper pieces across one gas stove burner. turn the flame on; blacken the pepper on both sides and set aside to cool (this process depends on how high your flame is; i recommend medium as your setting)
drain the liquid off of the cutlets (save it or trash it, it's up to you) and slice them widthwise into strips; place in a bowl
slice the roasted pepper into strips
add the olive oil to the trustiest skillet you own (mine is cast iron. act like you know!)
when the oil is hot, throw in the scallions, peppers, and sliced quorn
heat that mug to your desired brownness and/ or texture


after you finish cooking, serve with rice or rice noodles or whatever you want. i served mine on a bun with spinach and fire-roasted veggie salsa on it. please see below:

what's that, you say?
yes, it's a white bun. it's a white onion bun, fresh from teixeira bakery (they get delivered to "ethnic" aka puerto rock-friendly supermarkets in the philly area).
fire roasted veggie salsa? i'll post the recipe later.
i just had to get this one on the blog before i forgot how i made it.


black bean dip is the damn truth

how do i know? cuz i made some!

2 cans trader joe's cuban-style black beans
garlic powder, to taste (or crushed garlic to taste)
adobo, to taste
2 plum tomatoes

drain one can of beans. add it and one tomato to your blender or food processor.
dice the other tomato; set aside.
drain the other can of beans and mash them with a fork or potato masher.
combine the bean/tomato mix from the blender with the mashed beans; season the mixture to taste.
fold in the diced tomatoes
serve with chips, or use as a spread (i bet it's amazing w/ tvp or real chicken)


for all you summer sippers:

ginger limeade.

since limes seem to be the oft-neglected (unless you're preparing mexican, south asian, or maybe indian food) citrus fruit, i decided that instead of making a ginger lemonade (shoutout to naked chocolate) i'd do a ginger limeade. limes are really plentiful and super duper cheap at this time of year, and it doesn't take much to get me to put some ginger to work. so, here goes . . .


the juice of 10 limes
3/4 lbs ginger root, scrubbed and sliced (peeling optional)
about 3 quarts of cold water
honey and turbinado sugar to taste (enough to make a syrup with the lime juice)

add 2 quarts of water and the sliced ginger in a saucepan. bring to a boil; reduce the heat to a simmer.
in the pitcher you're serving, combine the honey and sugar with the lime juice
when the ginger tea has the color of ginger ale or weak tea, remove from heat. allow the tea to cool to room temperature; remove the ginger slices if desired.
mix the ginger tea with lime-honey-sugar mix.
refrigerate or serve immediately over ice. a splash of club soda may be added to each glassful.

** mixes well with extra-dry gin, peach rum, or vodka.


i'm a lightweight lush.

this cannot be denied.
i'm a teetotaler; a sipper of alcoholic beverages, if you will.

and, because of that, i'm always looking for new/ different ways to enjoy booze.

today's recipe is for something totally warm-weather inspired and awfully tasty: red wine sorbet.

3/4 cup raspberry sorbet
1/4 cup lemon sorbet
red wine (i used cabernet sauvignon) to taste

you can blend the ingredients in a blender if you'd like -- i was lazy and used a spoon inside the wine glass.

it's good.

i'm enjoying it despite having taken some allergy meds earlier today (i forgot!). . .

happy sippin!


un-chicken salad

1 package of fake chicken
(i used trader joe's "chickenless strips", but there are morningstar "starters", your fave TVP recipe, whatever...adjust for allergy considerations)
1-2 red bell peppers (you're going to roast them, so keep 'em whole)
1 lg. green pepper, finely chopped
2-3 scallions, finely chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, finely chopped or pressed
1-2 tomatoes, seeded & chopped OR sundried tomatoes, soaked in water for about 20-30 min
olive oil
(sea) salt / pepper to taste
mayo or nayonaise
celery seed
pinch of thyme
braggs liquid aminos (optional...but great flavor enhancer)
*poultry seasoning also works well in place of the sage and/or thyme
  • season the chicken strips with salt, pepper, sage/thyme or poultry seasoning. set aside.
  • chop your green pepper, garlic, and scallions. season w/ salt, pepper, basil, dill and bragg's aminos to taste. set aside.
  • roast your red peppers. you do NOT need any fancy equipment for this. cut the top off the pepper & remove the seeds. if you have a gas range, turn one of the metal things (what are those called??? lol) upside down and put the pepper directly on the burner. use a medium flame. let it blacken, then rotate. once it's blackened all around, take it off the heat.
    • let cool until you can handle it. scrape off as much of the blackened skin as possible, then chop the peppers.
  • chop your tomato(es) and add them to a bowl with the roasted red pepper. sprinkle liberally w/ celery seed. set aside.
  • in a nice sized skillet, heat up just enough olive oil to coat the pan. when it's hot, toss in the scallions/green pepper/garlic. saute until softened, then add the chicken strips. cook until strips are heated through. adjust seasonings as necessary.
  • remove the chicken & veggies from the heat and let cool to room temperature.
  • add the roasted peppers and tomatoes to the cooled chicken/veggies. fold in mayo or nayo and taste/adjust again, if needed. chill before serving.


chick pea & chard soup

with garlic and couscous.

this recipe was made up on the spot, inspired by the chick pea hot pot recipe at 101 cookbooks. i'm feeling a bit under the weather so i decided i needed some sort of soup; this is really the product of my need for comfort & a desire to use a bunch of random stuff from my cabinets.

here goes:

1 bunch swiss or rainbow chard, stems chopped off, cut to your desired width
4 cloves garlic, pressed
1/2 medium red onion, diced
16 oz vegetable broth (i used trader joe's, of course)
1/2 cup whole wheat couscous
1 can chick peas, undrained (trader joe's again)
a splash of olive oil
3 tbsps lemon juice
3 tbsps orange juice
cayenne pepper
sea salt
cracked black pepper
bay leaf

saute spices, onion & garlic in olive oil until the onions turn translucent.
add vegetable broth, orange juice & lemon juice; bring to a boil.
add chick peas and bring to a boil; reduce to a simmer. simmer for about 15 minutes. add chard and couscous. remove from heat. allow the soup to sit for 5 minutes.



unconventional breakfasts

sometimes, oatmeal isn't gonna get it. freshly made waffles can be a really dramatic endeavor. so what's a broke foodie to do?


make a home fry hash out of 1 trader joe's vegetable masala burger, diced red onion, and spinach. serve with scrambled tofu or eggs.

if you're feeling indulgent and like a sugar rush won't kill you: smear nutella on your waffles, french toast, or pancakes. serve with bananas or other sliced fruits.

make a smoothie, or use your juiceman jr. to bring some greatness to your beverage game. apple + cucumber + ginger. lemon + orange + ginger + grapefruit. blueberry + strawberry + apple. raspberry + apple + lemon.

(more later)


black eyed peas with brown jasmine rice

(i meant to make this post days ago, but i've had a series of internet issues that have resulted in my becoming comcast's bitch as opposed to verizon's or earthlink's again)

if you're a person from the african diaspora or live in the southern united states, you probably know about the new year's day tradition of eating black eyed peas & collards to bring in a new year of wealth & prosperity.

so, here's my recipe. late as hell (i forgot to publish it after adding photos) . . .


one 1-lb bag of goya frijoles caritas (it says in english somewhere on the bag, black eyed peas), soaked & rinsed
one carton of trader joe's vegetable broth
diced bell peppers (assorted colors)
olive oil
1 small red onion
garlic, crushed (to taste)
salt, pepper, adobo & whatever spices you like (to taste)
bragg's liquid aminos (for the smoky taste)


1) saute veggies & sofrito in olive oil, in the same stock pot you're going to cook the peas in.
2) once the onions are translucent, add veggie stock, braggs & spices.
3) add peas. bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.
4) cook the peas to your desired consistency.
5) serve with the rice of your choice. enjoy!

note: i cooked my brown jasmine rice with bay leaf. YUM.