Archive for the ‘Recipe Report’ Category

My Favorite Harvest Baked Beans Recipe

November 12, 2009

These are my favorite baked beans… actually, they’re the only baked beans I eat.   I searched and searched for a recipe like this.  You would not believe how many “recipes” said called for “1 can of baked beans.”  How is that a recipe?  Instructions for heating up canned beans?   When I came across this Three-Bean Baked Beans recipe from Simply Recipes, I knew it was the one I was looking for.

The texture of my favorites: kidney, garbanzo and butter beans make it far superior to any white bean recipe and the sauce is a smoky, not-too-sweet base.  It calls for kidney, black and cannellini beans, but sub in your favorites like I do for a perfect harvest side dish.  Finish with a tablespoon of cognac or bourbon to enhance the flavors.


Recipe Report: Vegetable Quiche with Cornmeal Crust

June 16, 2009

One of my favorite dishes before I realized I was allergic to dairy was quiche.  Now, it’s very difficult to find quiche recipes made without cream and cheese, since these are two of joys of eating a quiche, so I was excited to try out this Dairy Free (DF) recipe for Vegetable Quiche with Cornmeal Crust.  Hmmm… what do I say about it?  It was an extremely poorly written recipe for a very delicious dish.  So, I’d recommend it, only if you keep these changes in mind:

The crust calls for 2 1/2 teaspoons of salt!  Yuck!  I don’t know why I didn’t trust my instincts on this one.  As I was making it, I thought, “Huh, that seems like a lot of salt, but whatever.”  Half a teaspoon or even just a pinch would do it.  Then, the custard calls for a whole tablespoon of salt!  I don’t know what is wrong with this cook’s taste buds (and blood pressure), but luckily I didn’t put that in.  Just a dash will do it.

Also, the crust seemed very thick, so I wasn’t sure if it was supposed to be for two pies or not, but the filling definitely made enough for two.

The ingredient list never calls for rosemary, but then in the instructions it says to add it, so I just grabbed a couple sprigs from my garden, gave them a good chop and added them in to the veggie mix.

The veggie instructions are missing the step where you add the mushrooms to the onion pan.  I would cook the onions a little and then add the mushrooms to the mix.  It also says to chop them, but I would slice them.

I am not a huge fan of soy milk, so I was a little nervous, but the egg and vegetable flavors really came through and I didn’t mind it.  I also couldn’t find soy milk powder, so I substituted 1/2 a cup of my son’s baby rice cereal and it worked great.

I found this recipe on and there are more DF quiche recipes there that I plan on trying out.  This recipe does make a lovely thick custard, so keep these warnings in mind and you can have a yummy DF quiche.

Recipe Report: Oatmeal Cookie Comparison

March 21, 2009

I made two different recipes of oatmeal cookies recently. The first recipe I used was from the pastry flour bag and was tasteless and lacking texture. The second batch was from Alton Brown’s cookbook: I’m Just Here for More Food: Food x Mixing + Heat = Baking. This is not just a cookbook, but a text for learning the how and why of baking. Chef Brown’s understanding of the importance of baking technique made a far superior cookie.

Both of these recipes had basically the same ingredients, but in different quantities and with different techniques.  The better of the two did not spread out all over the pan, but held a good shape and had a great texture.  I even tried adding an egg to the egg-less flour bag recipe, but it couldn’t rescue the taste, texture or shape. 

Now, of course I couldn’t follow the recipe in I’m Just Here for More Food directly.  Instead of white flour, I used whole wheat pastry flour and not being a fan of raisins, I added very finely chopped walnuts instead.  I also added a few chocolate chips to half the batch, but I have to admit, the chip-free cookies were just as good (and I’m a huge chocolate fan).  I baked them to crispy. 

I’ve made other recipes from this cookbook with great success.  If you had to buy one baking book, I’d suggest this one.  Even as a whole grain baker, I find the recipes easily adaptable.  In my opinion, I’d rather start out with a tasty recipe with a good technique and adapt it to be whole grain than fumble around with a second rate whole grain recipe. 

Note:  There are other oatmeal cookie recipes by Alton Brown printed on the web, but I haven’t seen this particular one.  I don’t think it’s kosher to reprint it here, so you’re just going to have to go check the book out for yourselves.  I highly recommend the library if your cookbook shelf is as stuffed as mine.

Recipe Report: Itailian Sausage Soup

February 9, 2009

In this installment of Recipe Report, I’m reviewing Itailian Sausage Soup from the website 

Everyone likes a nice, hearty soup during winter, right? This Italian Sausage Soup really hits the spot and is quick and flexible. My family likes this soup with some bread for an easy, complete meal. Every time I make this soup, I change it up a little depending on what I have on hand (different veggies, beans, or adding pasta). The comments to the recipe suggested the following modifications, which I follow as well:

  • use hot Italian sausage if you want more spice
  • use 2 cloves of garlic
  • use 3 cans of stewed tomatoes
  • add 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth in addition to the beef broth
  • add 1 cubed potato
  • add 1 chopped onion
  • use frozen chopped spinach if you don’t have fresh spinach

I usually don’t add any salt because I think there’s plenty of salt in the broth. I’ve made this soup with Kim’s beef stock or with store-bought beef broth. I’ve never had a lot of luck with store-bought beef broth. However, Cook’s Illustrated has recommended the Pacific brand of beef broth and I’ve been pleased with it too. It’s really convenient if you don’t have any homemade beef stock on hand.

Let me know what you think about this recipe. Next time I make it, I’d like to experiment with using the crockpot. Maybe I’ll make extra to freeze and see how it tastes from frozen.

Recipe Report: Biggest Loser Style Thai Turkey Wraps

December 12, 2008

In the Recipe Report, Malissa or I (Kim) review a recipe from TV, the internet, or our cookbook collection.  The first installment is Thai Turkey Wraps from the Biggest Loser TV show. 

One of my favorite things to do on a Tuesday evening is to grab a bag of cookies and dig in while watching the contestants of Biggest Loser battle it out.  This week the last remaining male contestant and resident chef, Ed, cooked some tasty looking Thai Turkey Wraps.  They are basically ground turkey mixed with diced raw veggies, lime juice, and cilantro wrapped in lettuce leaves and sprinkled with cashews.  I figured by the conspicuous product placement that the recipe would be on the Jennie-O website and so I looked it up and cooked it up. 

I really enjoyed the tangy flavor of limes mixed with lots of crunchy fresh veggies.  Since I shop at a small food cooperative, I wasn’t able to get Jennie-O ground turkey and had to “settle” for ground free range chicken.  For some reason the 350 people who rated the recipe on the Jennie-O website only averaged two out of five stars, but I’d give it a four. 

Overall, it was a very healthy meal, easy to prepare (although lots of chopping), and yummy.  My only critiques are that peanuts would go better than cashews and that the recipe was not as specific as it should be.  “1/2 bunch cilantro” should be more like ¼ cup of chopped cilantro.  Also, I added a little chicken stock to the chicken as it cooked to give it a more flavor and keep it moist.  (Look for How to Make Chicken Stock in a future episode of Building Blocks Show.)

Have you made this recipe?  What did you think?  Leave a comment below.