2011, Recipe 103: Bulgur and Kale Casserole with Yogurt Topping

Recipe courtesy of the New York Times

For the tomato sauce:
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 small or 1/2 medium onion, chopped
2 to 4 garlic cloves (to taste)
2 pounds fresh tomatoes, quartered if you have a food mill, peeled, seeded and chopped if you don’t, or  1 (28-ounce) can chopped tomatoes, with juice, or crushed tomatoes in purée
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice

For the gratin:
1 pound kale, stemmed and washed, or a 10-ounce bag of stemmed, washed kale
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 cup coarse bulgur (No. 3), cooked
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh dill
2 ounces (approximately 1/2 cup) freshly grated Parmesan
3 eggs
1 cup thick plain low-fat yogurt
Salt, pepper and paprika to taste

1. Make the tomato sauce. Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium heat and add the onion. Cook, stirring, until tender, about 5 minutes, and add the garlic. Cook, stirring, until fragrant, about a minute, and add the tomatoes, salt to taste, pepper, sugar, cinnamon, paprika and allspice. Turn the heat up to medium-high and cook until the tomatoes are bubbling. Stir together, turn the heat back to medium-low, partly cover and cook, stirring often, until the tomatoes have cooked down and the sauce is thick and fragrant, 25 to 30  minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning. Remove from the heat. If your sauce is chunky, put through a food mill or pulse in a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Set aside.
2. Meanwhile, blanch the kale in salted boiling water for 4 minutes or steam for 5 to 8 minutes, until tender. Rinse with cold water and squeeze dry. Chop fine (you can do this by pulsing in a food processor fitted with the steel blade.)
3. Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large, heavy skillet and add the garlic. When it begins to smell fragrant, in about 30 seconds, stir in the chopped kale. Toss together and season to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper. Stir in the bulgur and dill, combine well and remove from the heat.
4. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Oil a 3-quart baking or gratin dish. Spoon a small amount of tomato sauce on the bottom of the dish, and spoon in the bulgur and kale. Spread in an even layer. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of the Parmesan on top and cover with the remaining tomato sauce, spread in an even layer.
5. Beat together the eggs, yogurt and 2 tablespoons of the remaining Parmesan. Season with salt, pepper and paprika. Spoon over the tomato sauce and spread in an even layer. Sprinkle the remaining Parmesan on top. Place in the oven and bake 30 to 35 minutes, until golden. Remove from the heat and let sit for 10 minutes or longer before serving.
Yield: Serves 6 to 8
Advance preparation: All of the elements of this casserole will keep for 2 to 3 days in the refrigerator, as will the assembled casserole, without the egg-yogurt topping. Make the topping right before baking. The casserole can be baked ahead and reheated.
To cook the bulgur, bring 2 cups water with salt to taste to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add the bulgur, and when the water comes back to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer 15 to 20 minutes, until all of the water has been absorbed. Remove from the heat, place a clean dish towel over the pan and cover with the lid. Let sit 10 minutes.

Results: This was my first time cooking with bulgur and we were both pleased with the outcome.  It's pretty similar in texture to couscous.  The yogurt topping made me a little nervous but it gave the dish a tang that made it sing!  I was amazed that we both really liked this.  And with a side of naan, it was a great entree for vegetarians.


2011, Recipe 102: Indian Fish Curry

Recipe courtesy of Mantu at Allrecipes.com 

  • For the marinade:
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 4 white fish fillets
  • 1 onion, coarsely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1 (1 inch) piece fresh ginger root, peeled and chopped
  • 5 cashew halves
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper, or to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon white sugar
  • 1/2 cup chopped tomato
  • 1/4 cup vegetable broth
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  1. Mix the mustard, pepper, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 2 tablespoons of canola oil in a shallow bowl. Add the fish fillets, turning to coat. Marinate the fish in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
  2. Combine the onion, garlic, ginger, and cashews in a blender or food processor and pulse until the mixture forms a paste.
  3. Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  4. Heat 1 tablespoon of canola oil in a skillet over medium-low heat. Stir in the prepared paste; cook and stir for a minute or two. Add the cayenne pepper, turmeric, cumin, coriander, 1 teaspoon salt, and sugar. Cook and stir for an additional five minutes. Stir in the chopped tomato and vegetable broth.
  5. Arrange the fish fillets in a baking dish, discarding any extra marinade. Top the fish with the sauce, cover the baking dish, and bake in the preheated oven until the fish flakes easily with a fork, about 30 minutes. Garnish with chopped cilantro.
 Results: I'm always looking for fish dishes and Indian dishes so combining them?  I was on it!  If you aren't down with spiciness, you will want to cut down on the cayenne.  It's quite delicious!  I would definitely make this again!  I served it with basmati rice and sauteed spinach.


2011, Recipe 101: Hasselback Potatoes

Recipe courtesy of Seasaltwithfood

  • 6 Medium Yukon Gold Potatoes
  • 2 - 3 Cloves Garlic, thinly sliced
  • 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 30 g Butter
  • Maldon Sea Salt
  • Freshly Ground Black Pepper

Preheat the oven to 220˚C (425˚F). Put the potato on a chopping board, flat side down. Start from one end of the potato, cut almost all the way through, at about 3 to 4 mm intervals.

Arrange the potatoes in a baking tray and insert the garlic in between the slits. Scatter some butter on top of each potato. Then drizzle the olive oil and sprinkle some sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Bake the potatoes for about 40 minutes or until the potatoes turn crispy and the flesh is soft.

Results: So impressive! And easy!  When you cut them, put chopsticks on either side to keep you from cutting through.  You can see a few of my cuts are a tad deeper than I'd like because I didn't have chopsticks (strangely).  The crevices spread apart as you cook them.  The modification allows for using all olive oil, no butter.  I can see how butter would've made them even better.  The garlic pretty much disappeared.  I think next time I'll use garlic powder.  Very yummy!


2011, Recipe 100: Smoky Chipotle Meatloaf

Recipe courtesy of Serenebeader on Allrecipes.com
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup hickory flavored barbeque sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced, or to taste
  • 2 chipotle chilies in adobo sauce, minced, or to taste
  • 2 tablespoons adobo sauce from chipotle peppers
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup dry oatmeal
  • 2 pounds lean ground beef
  • 2 tablespoons hickory flavored barbeque sauce
  1. Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Spray a 9x5-inch loaf pan with cooking spray.
  2. Beat the eggs in a large mixing bowl until smooth, then whisk in 1/3 cup barbeque sauce, garlic, chipotle chiles, adobo sauce, kosher salt, black pepper, celery salt, cumin, and Worcestershire sauce until evenly smooth. Mix in the onion, oatmeal, and ground beef with your hands until evenly blended. Pack the mixture into the prepared pan. Brush the top of the meatloaf with 2 more tablespoons of barbeque sauce.
  3. Bake in the preheated oven until no longer pink in the center, about 1 hour. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the center should read at least 160 degrees F (70 degrees C). 
Results: AMAZING!!!! You should definitely use the entire 2 lbs. of meat this recipe calls for because you will want it!!  I halved it and greedily, we ate the whole pan the same night.  I KNOW!!  Just shameful.  But it's truly that good!  I added diced onion & diced green peppers because I had them and needed to use them but the recipe really doesn't need it.


2011, Recipe 99: Potato, Sage & Rosemary Pizza

Recipe courtesy of Epicurious.com
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 12 ounces unpeeled small Yukon Gold potatoes, sliced into very thin rounds
  • 1 (13.8-ounce) tube refrigerated pizza dough
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary (I used dried)
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh sage
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
  • 1 cup (packed) grated whole-milk mozzarella cheese (about 4 ounces)
  • 1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
 Preheat oven to 400°F. Heat oil in heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add potato slices in single layer. sauté until just tender, about 5 minutes. Cool briefly. Unroll dough on rimmed baking sheet. Scatter potato slices over dough, leaving 3/4-inch plain border. Sprinkle with rosemary, sage, garlic, and crushed red pepper. Sprinkle with cheeses to cover.

Bake pizza until crust is crisp and cheeses melt, about 20 minutes. Using metal spatula, loosen crust from sheet. Slide out onto platter or board and serve. 

Results: We both agreed... strange.  Not bad... just strange.  I always roll my pizza out on cornmeal so that was awesome but the potatoes were soft against the crunchy crust.  I don't think I need to eat a pizza with potatoes anymore though.


2011, Recipe 98: Chai-Spiced Pancakes

Results: I loved them!  And I can only eat pancakes about three times per year.  I don't like sweet breakfasts too much so it's usually night when I eat them.  Rashan was less enthused.  I did think they needed about 1.5xs the spices the recipe requested to elevate these pancakes but I still definitely enjoyed them as is.


2011, Recipes 96 & 97: Wild Mushroom-Cheddar Burger and Cole Slaw with Spicy Dressing

 Burger Recipe courtesy of Bobby Flay
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 12 ounces assorted mushrooms (such as cremini, lobster, chanterelles, and stemmed shiitakes), chopped
  • 1 small shallot, finely diced
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground chuck (80 percent lean) or ground turkey (90 percent lean)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 4 slices sharp cheddar cheese
  • 4 hamburger buns, split; toasted, if desired (see below)
  • Chipotle Ketchup (optional, recipe follows)
Heat the olive oil and butter in a large saute pan over high heat until almost smoking. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the shallot, season with salt and pepper, and cook until the mushrooms are golden brown, about 5 minutes. Stir in the thyme and parsley and transfer to a bowl.
Divide the meat into 4 equal portions (about 6 ounces each). Form each portion loosely into a 3/4-inch-thick burger and make a deep depression in the center with your thumb. Season both sides of each burger with salt and pepper.

Results: Just okay.  It turns out I don't really like shiitake mushrooms.  Kind of chewy.  I used those and creminis.  The chipotle ketchup was AWESOME!! I should make it all the time!

Slaw Recipe courtesy of Tyler Florence
  • 1 head napa or savoy cabbage, shredded
  • 4 carrots, shredded
  • 2 Granny Smith apples, thinly sliced
  • 1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup pecans, toasted and chopped
  • Leaves from 1 bunch fresh mint, for garnish


  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground chipotle
  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Combine the cabbage, carrots, apples, onion, and pecans in a large bowl. Mix well with your hands and set aside.

In a small bowl, stir together the mustard, sugar, mayonnaise, ground chipotle, and lemon juice until blended. Season with salt and pepper. Pour the dressing over the cabbage mixture and toss well to coat. Taste again for seasoning, then mound onto a platter and garnish with mint leaves.

Results: Surprisingly delicious!  I definitely did not expect to like a slaw with apples in it but this was amazing!  Both of us really liked it.  Oh and you know I don't like mint or pecans so I didn't use either in this recipe.  Shame on me but I just can't stomach buying mint anymore knowing I'll ONLY use it for this recipe.


2011, Recipe 95: Dairy-Free Green Pea Soup

Recipe courtesy of Ellie Krieger

I made some changes to this recipe to give it another layer of flavor.  First, I grated two carrots and added them after the onion, cooking for a very short amount of time.  That didn't do anything flavor-wise but added some extra vitamin A.  Of course you can easily make this a vegetarian recipe by using vegetable stock instead of chicken stock.  I used half chicken and half veg stock.

Now on the flavor side of things, I remembered seeing a cumin-spiced pea something or other so I added a tablespoon of cumin to this and a little extra salt.  It was delicious!  Before cumin?  A bit flat.  After cumin?  Fantastic!  Rashan had seconds.  I served it with sandwiches.  YUM!


2011, Recipe 94: Spaghetti Squash

Recipe courtesy of James at Allrecipes.com
  • 1 spaghetti squash, halved lengthwise and seeded
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped tomatoes
  • 3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 3 tablespoons sliced black olives
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease a baking sheet.
  2. Place spaghetti squash cut sides down on the prepared baking sheet, and bake 30 minutes in the preheated oven, or until a sharp knife can be inserted with only a little resistance. Remove squash from oven, and set aside to cool enough to be easily handled.
  3. Meanwhile, heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Saute onion in oil until tender. Add garlic, and saute for 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, and cook only until tomatoes are warm.
  4. Use a large spoon to scoop the stringy pulp from the squash, and place in a medium bowl. Toss with the sauteed vegetables, feta cheese, olives, and basil. Serve warm. 
Results: This was yummy & quite easy.  My mom had never had spaghetti squash before and LOVED this!  I subbed dried basil and it was still good.  You could easily make this vegetarian dish your entree and be satisfied.  You could also add sauteed ground turkey to it like my mom did.  Both are great.


2011, Recipe 93: Pear Cobbler with Cranberry Streusel

Recipe courtesy of Tyler Florence

Rashan & I both LOVED this!  It was so delicious!  The "streusel" needed more flour to be more like a traditional streusel.  It was really more like a butter topping.  LOL  That did NOT in any way diminish the amazingness of this!  I also think you could probably cut the sugar by at least 1/4 and still enjoy this immensely.


2011, Recipe 92: Indian-Style Salmon Fry

Recipe courtesy of Fran on Allrecipes.com
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon brown mustard seeds
  • 1 small onion, sliced into thin half-circles
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger root
  • 1 green chile pepper, chopped
  • 10 fresh curry leaves, chopped (optional)
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 2 (14.75 ounce) cans salmon, drained and bones removed
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat; place the cumin and mustard seeds in the hot oil and cook until the seeds begin to pop. Cook and stir the onions in the spice mixture until they brown. Mix in the garlic, ginger, chile pepper, and curry leaves; cook and stir until the garlic becomes golden. Add the tomatoes and stir for a few seconds before adding the salmon, using the back of your stirring spoon to break the salmon into small pieces in the pan; cook until the salmon is heated through, 5 to 10 minutes; remove from heat. Garnish with cilantro to serve.

Results: Yummy! Rashan didn't like it but I love Indian spices so I was all over it. No matter how gross it may look in the picture. LOL I used curry powder and ground mustard. If using ground mustard, just add with the onion and stir. I halved the recipe and there was plenty for 2 people with some leftover for one the next day. I didn't have cilantro so I didn't use that but it was still great!