Sunday, June 14, 2009

Spinach Enchiladas with a Mexican Red Sauce

I made this for my dad and I one night for dinner a week or two ago. I don't have any pictures (I know, I know, a food blog post with NO pictures?!) because as soon as they came out of the oven my dad and I attacked them... and the remains were not pretty enough for pictures. These were so good that I'll be making them again when I get back from Europe (this time for my mom and sister), and I'll make sure to post a picture them. The backbone for these recipes again came from my favorite cookbook of all time, The New Moosewood Cookbook, but I changed them enough that I can almost confidently call the enchiladas 'my own.'

You'll want to make the Mexican Red Sauce ahead of time... (here comes the recipe)


2 TBSP olive oil

1 cup minced onion

1 poblano chili, minced

1 tsp kosher salt

2 tsp ground cumin

1 TBSP chili powder

3 TBSP minced garlic

3 cups chopped tomatoes, peeled and seeded (directions how to do this at the bottom of the page)

1 cup tomato juice

Black pepper and cayenne to taste


  1. Heat the olive oil in a medium-sized saucepan. Add the onion, chili, and salt, and sauté over medium heat for 5 minutes, or until the onion becomes transparent. Add cumin, chili powder and half the garlic, and sauté for about 3 minutes longer.
  2. Add the tomatoes and tomato juice. Bring to a boil, partially cover, and turn the heat down as low as possible. Simmer for 30 minutes, adding the remaining garlic, and black pepper and cayenne to taste during the last 5 minutes or so.
  3. Transfer to a blender and puree until smooth. Set aside for enchiladas!
The Spinach Enchiladas!


1 tablespoon olive oil

1 cup onion, minced

1 package of "no sauce" frozen spinach, thawed

1 1/2 tsp kosher salt

Black pepper to taste

2 TBSP minced garlic

1 medium-sized bell pepper, minced

1 packed cup grated jack cheese (or any mild white cheese)

12 corn tortillas

Mexican Red Sauce (the wonderful recipe above this one)


  1. Heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven. Add onion, and sauté for about 5 minutes over medium heat.
  2. Add thawed spinach, salt, and pepper, and mix well. Cover and cook for about 10 minutes over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add garlic and bell pepper. Stir and cook 5 minutes longer, or until the pepper is tender. Taste to correct salt.
  4. Remove from heat; stir in cheese.
  5. Preheat oven to 350°F. Moisten each tortilla in water then place approximately 1/4 cup filling on one side and roll up. Gently place the filled enchiladas in a baking pan, and pour a full recipe of Mexican Red Sauce over the top. Bake uncovered for about 30 minutes, or until heated through. Serve hot with beans and wild brown rice.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

"Bowl o' Oatmeal Cookies" Experimentation

Today is one of my days off and I felt like experimenting. No, no... not with the chemicals of science, but the chemicals of COOKING! (However, if you talk to Alton Brown, science is cooking and cooking is science). Now, I was having a hankering for peanut butter cookies, but I didn't want just plain peanut butter cookies. I wanted them to have some spice, some crunch... just a little more flavor. Hence, I thought of what I usually have in my oatmeal when I make it for breakfast: Cinnamon and Peanut Butter. Thus, the birth of "Bowl o' Oatmeal Cookies"


  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups natural peanut butter
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups AP flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cups quick-cooking oats


  1. Preheat Oven to 350 degrees
  2. In a large bowl, cream together butter, brown sugar, and white sugar. Once light and fluffy, cream in the peanut butter, cinnamon, and vanilla until smooth.
  3. Beat in the eggs one at a time until well blended.
  4. Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt; stir into the creamed mixture. Mix in the oats until just combines. Make teaspoon-sizes balls and drop onto an un-greased cookie sheet. Flatten lightly with a fork.
  5. Bake for 13 and a half minutes in the oven, or until just light brown.
After testing out these cookies on my daring Bivouac co-workers, they made a few suggestions that I think I will try out the next time I make these. One - mashed bananas in the batter. Two, chocolate chips? (I kinda like how these cookies aren't ovely sweet, so I may pass on this one). Three, a little less starch.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Pumpkin Bread

This is a pretty easy recipe for pumpkin bread; you mix the dry ingredients (sifted together) into the wet ingredients (beaten together). Of course, you have to get the balances of spices just right (I'll try to give you approximate measurements, but honestly, I mix spices until it "smells right" to me). I made this pumpkin bread for my manager, Pam.

  • 2 cups of pureed pumpkin (more on how to make that in a later post, if you absolutely have to, use a 16 oz can of pumpkin puree)
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3.5 cups AP Flour
  • 2 cups of sugar
  • 1.5 tsp baking soda
  • 1.5 tsp salt
  • 1.5 tsp allspice
  • 2 tsp nutmeg
  • SO MUCH CINNAMON (maybe 3 tsp?)
  • 1.5 tsp apple pie spice
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  1. Combine pumpkin, vanilla, eggs, and oil together in a large bowl. Beat until well combined
  2. Sift together dry ingredients. Slowly combine the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, with the mixer still running
  3. Pour into 2 greased 9x5x3 inch bread pans and bake at 300 degrees for an hour and a half (however, depending on your oven, the time may be more or less. Sometimes when I have baked this bread, it only takes an hour and 20 minutes, sometimes an hour and 40 minutes. Just keep an eye on the bread in the later part of the cooking process.)
And if anyone was wondering the "cook it low, cook if slow" method keeps the bread moist and fluffy. If you would have baked it at a higher temp for a shorter period of time, the bread would have gotten dry and crumbly.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Memorial Day Dinner Pt. 2: Eggplant Parmesan

Remember that tomato sauce you JUST made? Now use it on the eggplant parmesan!

  • 3 baby eggplants (they taste better and have less seeds)
  • 3/4 cup of skim milk (or unsweetened almond milk if you're me)
  • 1 cup of fine bread crumbs
  • 1 cup of wheat germ
  • 1 TBSP of fresh basil
  • 1/2 TBSP of fresh oregano
  • 1/2 TBSP of fresh thyme
  • 1 batch of that yummy tomato sauce you probably just made
  • 1 lb of mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup (ish) of grated parmesan cheese
  1. Preheat the oven to 275 degrees. Lightly oil a baking tray and a 9x13 inch pan
  2. Cut the eggplant into rounds about a half an inch thick. Place the milk in a shallow bowl; combine bread crumbs and wheat germ with herbs on a plate. Dip each eggplant slice in the milk, moistening both sides, then coat it thoroughly with the bread crumb/wheat germ mixture. Spread the prepared slices on a pan and bake until tender (25ish minutes).
  3. Ladle some tomato sauce into the bottom of the 9x13-inch pan. Add a layer of eggplant slices, and cover with more sauce. Arrange some mozzarella over the sauce, then repeat the layering until you run out an ingredient or room (I ran out of ingredients first). Sprinkle the top with parmesan.
  4. If you want, you can prepare this ahead of time and refrigerate the pan (covered) for a few hours.
  5. Bake uncovered at 375 degrees for about 40 minutes... or until the edges are yummy and bubbly. Remove from the oven and let sit for about 10 minutes before serving. Serve hot.

Memorial Day Dinner Pt. 1: Italian Tomato Sauce

Sorry it has taken so long for me to post this. For Memorial Day, as I mentioned earlier, I cooked my grandpa a dinner that included some of his favorite foods (eggplant parmesan) and flavors (mint/chocolate). The recipe for the eggplant parmesan is actually two recipes combined into one: Italian Tomato Sauce and Eggplant Parmesan. These recipes I adapted from The New Moosewood Cookbook, probably my favorite cookbook on this entire planet. Not only are the recipes delicious, vegetarian, easy to 'adapt' (or change), but they are healthy! I really want to get Mollie Katzen's other cookbook, The Enchanted Broccoli Forest. This is the tomato sauce that will be used IN the eggplant parmesan.

  • 3 TBSP olive oil
  • 2 cups chopped onion
  • 1 medium-sized bell pepper, diced
  • 1 TBSP fresh basil
  • 1 TBSP fresh thyme
  • 1.5 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 1-lb. 13oz can of whole tomatoes
  • 1 6oz can tomato paste
  • 1 TBSP honey
  • lots and lots of fresh ground pepper
  • 6 LARGE cloves of garlic, minced
  1. Heat the olive oil in a dutch oven. Add onion, bell pepper, herbs, and salt and saute over medium heat until the onion is quite soft.
  2. Add tomatoes, tomato paste, honey, and black pepper. Break up the tomatoes into bite-sized pieces. Bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer, partially covered, for 20 to 30 minutes
  3. Add garlic and cook about 10 minutes more. Now....just wait.... for the eggplant parmesan!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

German Pancakes!

CONGRATULATIONS CAROLINE! If you all didn't know, which I doubt you do, today was my sister's LAST day of high school. To celebrate her completion of her prison sentence at Brighton High School, I made her a nice little breakfast. Since we will be taking a family vacation to Europe in two weeks, I thought it'd be nice to make something 'from' one of the countries we're visiting... "German Pancakes"!


  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup flour, sifted
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons soft butter


  1. Heat oven to 400°F. Butter two 9-inch cake pans well.
  2. Beat eggs with an electric mixer until light yellow.
  3. With the electric mixer still running, add the remaining ingredients and beat until smooth.
  4. Pour into prepared pans and bake 20 minutes; then reduce heat to 350°F and bake 10 minutes. Slide onto hot plates.
  5. Either heat up some maple syrup or dust with powdered sugar, either way, you'll enjoy it!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Oven-Roasted Asparagus.

Once again... no pictures. There was no time - hungry people wanted to eat! But here is a very very simple recipe for oven-roasted asparagus. The days of boiling asparagus are over! NO MORE!

  • Asparagus
  • Kosher Salt
  • Fresh Ground Pepper
  • Olive Oil
(I told you, so easy! Only FOUR ingredients!)

  1. Place a rack in the top level of the oven and then preheat to 450 degrees.
  2. Wash and dry the asparagus, cut off the ends, then peel (with a vegetable peeler) the lower portion of the asparagus.
  3. Arrange on a large cookie sheet/jelly roll pan and drizzle with olive oil, followed by a nice sprinkling of fresh ground pepper and kosher salt.
  4. With a spatula (or your hands), roll the asparagus around on the pan so it gets coated with the olive oil and spices. Make sure that before the asparagus is placed in the oven, it is evenly arranged on the baking sheet.
  5. Cook in the oven for approximately 15 minutes, or until the asparagus has started to wilt/look 'roasted'
  6. If you want, you can grate some parmesan over the hot asparagus. Otherwise, plate and enjoy!


Blog Widget by LinkWithin