simple Augustan meals

broiledzucchiniI must say that this is a joy that you only get for a few weeks a year when you live in Chicago.

I stopped at the farmer’s market on my way home from work. At home I cut up the zucchini, an heirloom tomato and some fresh herbs (from my little urban porch garden), mixed up the dressing and broiled it all for a few minutes (recipe) dropped it onto some fresh spinach and dinner was served.

…if only I was drinking (sigh) but I’m not. It is my “no bagel breakfasts/no potato chip lunches/no wine dinners” diet. I’m not sure if it is working.

But there were little plums and sun-gold cherry tomatoes for dessert!



Okay maybe there is a 15oz can out there somewhere, but I can never find one in Chicago. I always have to buy the 28oz and then I either just add it all over hominy my soup OR I put it half in the fridge and eventually give up on finding something to do with them and throw them out.

I used adzuki beans in mine, which is odd I know, but that is what I had. I used a poblano chili because I wasn’t looking for anything too spicy but obviously you could pick a spicier chili if you so desire. (link to a copy of the recipe)

It was tasty and easy to make and vegetarian…and I super-love this filter that makes my picture look a bit like an ancient fresco.

meatless cassoulet


Yes, you heard me correctly, vegetarian cassoulet…I know it is silly. Cassoulet is all about meat, pork, and duck fat for heaven’s sake… but it tasted good with just beans and seitan. I promise. Moosewood got it right this time.

Cook 6 cloves of minced garlic, 1.5 cups of chopped onions, 1/2 tsp thyme and marjoram, 3 bay leaves, 1 tsp of minced rosemary in some olive oil for about 2 minutes.  Add 1/2 cup red wine, cover simmer about 5 minutes (soft onions). Add 1 cup each of diced carrots, potatoes, tomatoes, and 3/4 cup of diced celery, cover and simmer 10 more minutes. Add a package of italian sausage flavored seitan, 1 tablespoon each of molasses and mustard, 15 cans one each of kidney and cannellini beans (drained). Cook until everything is warm and then put in a casserole dish and bake for 45 minutes at 350 degress F.

It really was delicious. Rob was still eating vegetarian so chorizo-flavored, or italian sausage whatever it was…, seitan made him very happy. I must say it was super delicious in a pita with greens and goat cheese.

soba soup and a messy life


I wish my life was just a bit tidier but this is probably an accurate representation of it.

The meal? Asian noodle soup with carrots, bok choy and tofu and buckwheat soba noodles and some broiled whitefish in sweet soy (kecap). I needed to use up some miso. So I made vegetable broth (which always feels like a waste of vegetables to me) and then made it into garlic broth with some roasted garlic and miso and then made the soup.

Remember: Don’t try to save leftover soba in broth because you end up with very thick gravy and buckwheat mush, the tofu also doesn’t hold up all that well either.

a dip made of lima beans

1 can of lima beans (or butter beans) drained

3 tablespoons of the reserved bean liquid

1 smashed garlic clove

3 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon of fresh minced dill

1/2 tablespoon of fresh chopped mint

1/2 teaspoon of olive oil (puree all the above in a food processor until smooth then add the onions and season)

3 tablespoons of minced red onions

salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste

(I like mine with multi-grain pita chips)

artichoke toute seule

That plate is so pretty and it was so easy and so delicious.

It is a little labor intensive to eat a whole artichoke and once you start breaking into it, there were leaves and all the little hairs of the choke everywhere. It isn’t particularly healthy either considering that I dipped every piece in lemon butter….now that I think about really is like a vegetarian version of  a crab feast.

The steak is London broil with a horseradish chimichurri sauce. It was good, not fabulous. I liked the couscous with peas and onions…sage-y. An enjoyable meal.

And just so dang pretty.

Bad mashed potatoes?

Okay, I have not written anything in awhile but I’ve had a run of bad luck and who wants to read post after post about the really yucky food I made last week, which I threw out and ended up eating pizza and sandwiches. So here is the summary:

steakandmashedmasher cakes, steak in lots of steak sauce and salad

Yes, bad mashed potatoes, sorry Alton, they were actually bad. Maybe I did something wrong? Although I’m not sure how that is possible. I also did not like the cognac blue cheese sauce.

I did really like the ‘masher cakes’ recipe where you mix the leftover mashed potatoes with an egg and some green onion then cover in panko bread crumbs and fry…yummy. I then also doctored the questionable cognac blue cheese sauce into some homemade steak sauce that was pretty yummy. So take-2 was pretty good.

fish with fennel and couscous

And this one was really gross. Swordfish steaks with fennel. I put it on some whole wheat couscous…..seriously foul. There was no take-2 here and I threw most of it away. Thank you Moosewood.

taramasalataAnd finally Taramasalata…two bites…that is all I managed. The rest went in the dumpster.  This is supposed to be a very popular dip in Greece made with salted/cured fish roe. Now, I like smoked fish; I like roe (fish eggs); I like dip made with smoked fish; I really hated this!!!   I will not be trying it again.  If I ever find myself in a seaside cafe in Greece, then, perhaps, someone might talk me into trying it just one more time.  I will try not to memory gag.