Batter Licker

December 19, 2011

sausage and spinach stuffed mushrooms

Do you know anyone who doesn’t like stuffed mushrooms? I don’t. Even self-proclaimed mushroom-avoiders dig in eagerly when the mushrooms are stuffed with ingredients they love.

Sausage. Greens. Bacon. Cheese. Bread crumbs. Whatever you have on hand or know your friends and family love to eat generally works as a stuffing.

My favorite thing about stuffing mushrooms, besides the endless flexibility with stuffing ingredients, is that the natural size of mushrooms is appetizer-friendly: one or two bites’ worth of food. No time-consuming prep required, as it often is when I’m trying to convert something larger to small, bite-sized, nibble-appropriate portions.

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I also love that the mushrooms themselves are naturally shaped as cups, which allows them to act as fairly mess-free, self-contained vessels. This makes them easy to serve with or sans toothpicks, which is key because I often forget to pick up toothpicks anyway. (more…)

March 31, 2011

smoky black bean and spinach soup

A few weeks ago, Jay and I enjoyed a weekend in Bodega Bay with his five other former roommates from college and their significant others. After a late morning and early afternoon of local wine tasting, we ventured upon a cute little cafe (whose name now escapes me) for lunch. It was in that cafe that I made a fatal error: I did not order the black bean soup. But luckily, our good friend Matt was up for swapping bites, and that one spoonful inspired this post.

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Subtly smoky from cumin and smoked paprika and very creamy thanks to pureed black beans, the soup was also lightened by the fresh, raw flavors of lime, cilantro, tomatoes, and peppers that clearly contributed more than just a colorful garnish to the bowl. (more…)

March 17, 2011

aloo palak dal (indian-spiced lentils, spinach and potatoes)

To those of you who didn’t jump the gun like I did to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with cabbage and celery root in drunken mustard last week (and then again last weekend with a full-on family shebang), I hope you’re wearing green clothes, drinking and cooking with whiskey and beer, picking on your favorite leprechaun, and planning to make cheesy corned beef hash bread tomorrow with your leftovers.

As for me, it’s time for more whiskey and beer some Indian food that’s equally cheap as cabbage and potatoes (but isn’t boiled to death while everyone is distracted by adult beverages and rowdy conversations and then smothered in a spicy mustard disguise at the dinner table because obviously, after several whiskey shots and black and tans, this is the best cabbage ever!).

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One of the benefits of eating vegan (or reducing meat and processed foods, at least) during the week is how cheap my grocery bill has become. I’m talking $20 per week for two people cheap, which, compared to my formerly $60-70 per week bill, is ridiculously low. I should probably go buy a new toy to play with a very necessary device for my kitchen to reward myself.

The other major benefit comes in the form of Indian food. (more…)

January 12, 2011

ultimate creamed spinach

Filed under: cheese,veggies — Tags: , , , , , , , — Kristen @ 1:05 pm

Truth be told, I’ve always found creamed spinach a little blah. Why sully healthy spinach with cream when you could steam or saute it and season the wilted greens with exactly the same ingredients used in the creamed spinach?

Enter Parmesan and Emmental, a smooth Swiss cheese, and my attitude towards creamed spinach is transformed as profoundly as the dish’s flavor.

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Yes, the cheeses are rich. But so is creamed spinach, naturally, as it contains heavy cream and, often, whole milk. The difference is that the flavor from the cheeses makes the spinach much more flavorful and creamy and totally worth the caloric splurge. (more…)

December 16, 2010

pomegranate, persimmon, pear and goat cheese salad with orange-thyme vinaigrette

On those beautifully sunny winter days when it’s almost temperate outside, I long for the colorful, juicy produce of summer. In those moments, I often forget about the vibrant fruit available to spruce up winter salads, and I suspect others are guilty of making this same mistake.

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Tart pomegranate seeds and sweet pears bring some crunch to this salad, while the pulpy sweetness of persimmons is balanced by peppery arugula the creamy saltiness of goat cheese. Tossed with a sweet, slightly tangy and herby Orange-Thyme Vinaigrette, this salad showcases the best flavors and colors that winter has to offer and gives summer salads a run for their money.

(more…)

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