• Dessert,  Permaculture and Edible Forest Gardening Adventures,  Recipes,  Vegetarian

    Caramel Ganache Shortbread Bars

    Just because I don’t post as often as I ought to, doesn’t mean that I’m not always preparing for posts.  I take lots of photos, look up lots of data and try lots of recipes.  Many recipes are researched, tweaked, photographed, made and turn out… icky.  For instance, the no-bake  cookies of last week that were only firm enough to cut at refrigerator temperature.  At room temperature they turned into a pan of chocolate sludge, and at freezer temperatures they were too hard to cut.  I have found, to my dismay, that many food bloggers post recipes even if they don’t turn out well, just so that they have something to post.  I’m learning to read and heed the disclaimers.

    The recipe I’m about to impart to you is not a fluke.  It is, frankly, heavenly.

    At a baby shower a few months ago I ate a bar cookie that was supposed to taste like a Twix candy bar.  It was very good with its layers of shortbread, caramel and chocolate.  I asked for the recipe and reproduced it at home.  The recipe called for crushed pre-made cookies (the Keebler elves had made them, apparently) topped with melted caramel candies (unwrapping all those little buggers took time), and spread with melted milk chocolate chips.  The result was tasty, but I couldn’t get over the store-bought flavor of the shortbread.  This cookie has three simple flavors that need to complement each other, and since I don’t usually eat store-bought baked goods, it took some adjustment for my palate.  However, they froze very well and defrosted quickly.

    Ganache, baked shortbread and caramel mixture beginning to boil.

    Then I found a better recipe.  And then I made it perfect.  It is a basic shortbread cookie crust, topped with a simple homemade caramel, then topped with chocolate ganache.  The driving impetus for this improvement was that I had leftover heavy cream in the fridge from making homemade ice cream, and needed to use it before it went bad.  The ganache topping adds a bright, lighter flavor which keeps the cookie from being cloying.  Yum.

    Eat a small piece with some hot tea and be very, very happy.



    Caramel Ganache Shortbread Bars
    Recipe type: Dessert
    Prep time: 
    Cook time: 
    Total time: 
    Serves: 16
    Chocolate ganache atop firm homemade caramel and buttery shortbread. What else is there to say besides it is quick and easier than you may think.
    • For shortbread:
    • ⅔ cup butter, softened
    • ¼ cup granulated sugar
    • 1¼ cups all-purpose flour
    • For ganache:
    • 1 cup heavy cream
    • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
    • 8 oz. semi-sweet or milk chocolate, in small pieces
    • For caramel:
    • ½ cup unsalted butter
    • ½ cup packed light brown sugar
    • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
    • ½ cup sweetened condensed milk
    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
    2. In a medium-sized bowl, mix together the ⅔ cup butter, granulated sugar and flour until crumbly.
    3. Press the sandy shortbread mixture into a 9-inch square baking pan.
    4. Bake for 20 minutes or until shortbread begins to lightly brown around edges.
    5. Meanwhile make the ganache. In a small saucepan combine heavy cream and 4 tablespoons butter.
    6. Bring mixture to a simmer.
    7. Turn off heat and add chocolate, swirling to cover all the bits.
    8. Cover pan and let sit for about 5 minutes until chocolate is melted.
    9. Stir until smooth and creamy and set aside (don't refrigerate).
    10. In a 2-quart saucepan, combine ½ cup butter, brown sugar, corn syrup and sweetened condensed milk.
    11. Bring to a boil and continue to boil for five minutes.
    12. Remove from heat and beat quickly with a wooden spoon for about 3 minutes.
    13. Pour caramel over baked crust (warm or cold).
    14. Cool until caramel begins to firm, or chill.
    15. Pour ganache evenly over firm caramel.
    16. Cover dish with plastic wrap and chill completely in refrigerator until very firm.

  • Breads,  Breakfast,  Cake,  Dessert,  Recipes,  Vegan,  Vegetables,  Vegetarian

    Two Sure-fire Zucchini Recipes

    Zucchini plants are like cats:  They both look harmless when small, so you think the more the merrier.  One plant is always enough, but it is hard to plant just one seed in case it doesn’t come up.  Then the sprouts are hard to thin.. what if something eats it?  Then before you know it, there are five enormous plants growing giant green clubs in the dead of night, just after you’ve checked all the plants.  Well, that’s my situation anyway.  Too many cats; too many zucchinis.  When there are enough all at one time, we’re taking them (the zucchinis, not the cats) to the Fallbrook Food Pantry along with pumpkins and tomatoes.  Until then, we’re exploring new ways to eat them.  And I refuse to sully cheesecake with zucchini! (yes, there is such a recipe!). 

    My son who is studying Culinary Arts at the University of Hawaii sent me a link to smittenkitchen.com with an exceptional zucchini pancake recipe… not sweet, very light and completely tasty.  I’ll include my version.  But first I want to explain my ‘discovery’, which everyone but me probably knows about anyway. 


     I had grated zucchini for bread and had some left over.  It was dinnertime and I was alone, so I experimented.  I heated a skillet with a little olive oil in it, threw in the grated, undrained zucchini, and stirred it around on medium-high heat for about five minutes.  When it was beginning to wilt and brown a little on the bottom, I sprinkled sesame oil on it lightly, and then gave it a touch of Bragg’s Amino Acids, which I use for many things.  A light soy sauce may substitute, but Bragg’s is high in nutrition, low in salt and a wonderful flavoring.  Buy it online or in health food stores.  The zucchini came out tasty and with a mouth-feel of wet wide noodles.  It was fantastic.  I’ve since made it for my daughter a couple of times, and each time we wanted more!  Imagine that!  On the plus side, it used up a medium zucchini.

      You really must give these pancakes a try. 


    Fabulous Zucchini Pancakes
    Recipe type: Breakfast
    Prep time: 
    Cook time: 
    Total time: 
    Serves: 4
    A light, flavorful, really good pancake that uses up a lot of zucchini and tastes like zucchini bread.
    • 2 large eggs
    • 3 tablespoons olive oil
    • 2 tablespoons sugar (optional)
    • ¼ cup buttermilk or soured milk
    • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 2 cups shredded zucchini
    • 1 cup all-purpose flour
    • ¼ teaspoon table salt
    • 1 teaspoon baking soda
    • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • ⅛ teaspoon ground or freshly grated nutmeg
    • ¼ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (optional)
    • Oil, for coating skillet
    1. In a large bowl whisk eggs, olive oil, sugar, buttermilk and vanilla until smooth.
    2. Stir in zucchini.
    3. In a smaller bowl, combine flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon and nutmeg.
    4. Stir dry ingredients into zucchini batter, mixing until just combined.
    5. Stir in chocolate chips.
    6. Heat oil or butter in a large, heavy skillet over medium heat.
    7. Scoop ¼-cup rounds of batter in pan so they do not touch.
    8. Cook until bubbles appear on the surface, about 2 to 3 minutes.
    9. Flip pancakes and cook another minute or two.
    10. Keep pancakes warm in on a tray in the oven set on low or in a toaster oven.
    11. Repeat with remaining batter.
    12. Serve warm with or without traditional pancake toppings.
    13. Pancakes freeze well.

  • Dessert,  Frosting,  Herbs,  Recipes,  Vegetarian

    Lavender Cookies with Rose Water Drizzle

    This is not the everyday, lunchbox type of cookie.  This is the cookie you put a sign next to with the name on it, and listen to the oohs and ahhs and hmmms when it is sampled. These coconut keto cookies are buttery and with no added extract have a very light lavender flavor.  The rose water icing and coconut oil should be added sparingly; it is better even to make the icing the day before to let the rose fragrance mellow some.  You don’t want cookies that taste like hand lotion.

    That said, these are fun to make, smell great, taste good, and are perfect for teatime or to bring to a ladie’s function.  Don’t forget the sign.

    Most lavender recipes require dried blossom.  This recipe calls for dried leaves.  If you don’t have dried leaves, you can set a few sprigs in the sunshine on a hot day, or dry them at lowest temperature in the oven or toaster oven.  My toaster oven has a ‘dehydrate’ setting, and it did an admirable job drying some fresh sprigs.  You don’t want nasty bits of leaf in your cookie.  Use a mortar and pestle to grind up the dried leaves.  The result should be like fluff.  Yep.  It doesn’t powder, it fluffs.

    Rose water can be found at International markets, some grocery stores, many liquer stores, or online.  If you can’t find it, or just don’t like the smell or taste of rose, then leave the icing unflavored, or add a drop of vanilla.

    Lavender Cookies with Rose Water Drizzle
    Recipe type: Dessert
    Prep time: 
    Cook time: 
    Total time: 
    Serves: 4 dozen
    An English teatime-type cookie.
    • ½ cup butter, softened
    • 1 cup sugar
    • 2 eggs
    • 2 teaspoons lavender, crushed until fluffy
    • 1½ cups flour
    • 2 teaspoons baking powder
    • ¼ teaspoon salt
    • For icing:
    • 2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
    • 5 - 6 teaspoons water
    • 6 teaspoons (or less... try it!) rose water
    1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
    2. In a medium bowl, cream together the butter and sugar.
    3. Add the eggs.
    4. Add lavender, flour, baking powder and salt.
    5. Drop by small teaspoonfuls onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Leave space between for spreading.
    6. Bake 10 -12 minutes, until edges begin to turn brown.
    7. Cool on racks.
    8. To prepare icing, mix the powdered sugar with water and rose water until it has a nice, non-globby drizzly consistency.
    9. Drizzle over cooled cookies.
  • Fruit,  Permaculture and Edible Forest Gardening Adventures,  Recipes,  Sauces,  Vegetarian

    Passionfruit Curd


    Passionfruit curd. Yum.

    Rather than post photos of the rabbits eating my vegetables,

    or other Eastery things, I thought I’d put in a recipe that is rather exotic.  If you have a passionfruit vine (the ones that produce edible fruit) you may be inundated with the fruit about now.  Also the flowers were named passionflowers because of the Christian symbolism read into the shape of the flowers.  I always wondered about this, but I figured that faced with ‘heathens’ who ate this aromatic, voluptuous and kind of sexy fruit, some Christian missionaries decided to put the stamp of Christianity onto the plant rather than try to ban its consumption.  That’s just my theory, of course, but it makes sense.  Therefore a post on passionfruit for the passion of Christ on Easter.  Yep, I’m stretching it, but you’ll like the recipe.

    Anyway, passionvines have abundant growth (as I mentioned in my post about building a trellis for them http://www.vegetariat.com/2012/03/questionable-carpentry/).

    Gorgeous flowers.

    There are many colors of flowers of both the ornamental and edulis varieties.  The flower has a tiny fruit all ready to go and awaiting some friendly bee to come rub herself all over the anthers and stamens (the missionaries are shuddering) and pollinate.

    Looks like the fruit is wearing an Easter bonnet! Kind of. Okay, it doesn't.

    The fruit grows as the flower fades. There is some mother-child allusion somewhere in there but you’ll have to go there yourself.

    A developing passionfruit.

    When the fruit is ready to fall, a good shake of the vines will make them come down.  Usually they are still smooth-skinned at this point.  You want to wait until the fruit starts to wrinkle before it is sweet, ripe and ready.  (I’ll not touch that one at all.)

    The fruit falls off still smooth... wait until it wrinkles to use

    Don’t eat the skin, but cut the fruit in half.  Many people like to eat the seeds as well as the pulp.  I’m not one of them, and neither is my daughter who very patiently sieved the insides of about 80 passionfruit to obtain the juice.  I like to add the juice to tangerine juice for breakfast.  We’ve also successfully made a hedonistic passionfruit ice cream that was stupendous.  This time we decided to make passionfruit curd.

    Wait until they're wrinkly, then scoop out the insides.

    I’ve posted already on how to make lemon curd (http://www.vegetariat.com/2011/03/when-life-gives-you-lemons-make-lemon-curd/).  (You’re wondering, what is UP with this woman and curd, anyway?).  The passionfruit curd is slightly different, but yet has that nice bite to it that doesn’t make it too sweet.  I thought this curd came out tasting a little eggy, but I believe that is because we used eggs from our own spoiled hens, which have a definate healthy flavor to them.  The eggs, not the hens (that we know of, nor will we find out).  It was all okay, though.

    Scoop and strain.

    We made two half-pints, and I didn’t ‘can’ them.  However you may sterilize the jars and lids, add the hot curd, and give them a 15 minute hot water bath and the curd will last for months.  I still refrigerate it, just to be on the safe side.

    I found the original recipe in Nigella Lawson’s How To Be A Domestic Goddess.  She stirs some passionfruit seeds back into the curd, which looks nice (if you like the fish egg look to your food) and can certainly be done for all of you who enjoy the seeds.  I like my curd seedless.  On scones.  With mascarpone cheese.  Mmmm.

    Happy Easter!

    Passionfruit Curd
    Recipe type: Spread
    Prep time: 
    Cook time: 
    Total time: 
    This wonderful spread based on Nigella Lawson's recipe can be used to top baked goods, put in a pie shell, in a jelly roll cake, or used any way you would lemon curd, jam or jelly. It makes an exotic gift, too!
    • 12 passionfruit
    • 2 large eggs
    • 2 large egg yolks
    • ½ cup granulated sugar (superfine if you have it)
    • 8 tablespoons unsalted (good quality) butter
    • 2 sterilized ½ pint jars
    1. Cut the passionfruit in half and scoop out the insides into a sieve.
    2. With a spoon, strain the juice into a measuring cup. You should have about 10 tablespoons, or a scant ⅔ cup of juice. If you'd like seeds in the curd, reserve the pulp of the 12th one instead of straining it.
    3. In a bowl beat the eggs, yolks and sugar together.
    4. In a saucepan, melt the butter over low heat.
    5. Stirring continuously, add the passionfruit juice and then the sugar mixture, being careful not to cook the egg.
    6. Keep cooking and stirring until the mixture thickens, about five minutes. It should coat the back of the spoon.
    7. Take the pan off the heat. If you have reserved the pulp of that one last fruit, here is where you whisk it into the mixture.
    8. Pour the curd into the jars and seal.
    9. Store in refrigerator. Try it on scones with mascarpone cheese. Really. I mean it.
    10. Makes two half-pint jars full, about 1¾ cups.



  • Cake,  Dessert,  Humor

    How Desserts Lose Calories: My Theory

    After years of careful scientific research,  I have discovered that food can lose its caloric content under certain conditions.  I’m not talking about after you eat half of it, either.  This thesis, which I firmly hold to be true, gives a little break to all of us who gain weight if we even see a drawing of a donut.  Here it is:

    High calorie foods, such as cakes, cookies, ice cream, pastries, pies… you get the picture… lose caloric content when:

    They are dropped on the floor.

    When they are stale.

    When they are given to you by someone who doesn’t want them.

    When left over.

    When eaten from the container.

    When slightly burnt.

    When overcooked (different from being burnt).

    When eaten reluctantly (food guests force on you and you have to eat some to be polite).

    When someone who is a bad or indifferent cook makes them.

    After the cat has sniffed them.

    When reduced to crumbs in a pocket/purse/backpack.

    When eaten other than in their native environment (i.e., ice cream on a cold day, pie in the garden, batter-dipped cheesecake-onna-stick at the fair.  No, wait, that is its natural environment!).

    When eaten onna-stick, unless they are supposed to be onna-stick, such as ice cream bars.

    When eaten with an unusual complimentary food (donuts and Corona) (something about food combining, like making a whole protein).

    When taken medicinally.

    When washed down with a diet drink.

    When eaten en masse at one sitting (like the heavenly cranberry biscotti my wonderful neighbor makes every Christmas.  They are MINE.)

    When eaten with a plain green salad (they cancel each other out). (If you add sprouts to the salad, you can have seconds on the cake.)

    When eaten instead of a regular meal.

    Of course, this theory doesn’t work if you plan to do any of the aforementioned.  You can’t drop a cookie deliberately and then eat it (ten second rule or no) and expect calories to break off and go skidding around the floor.  This works only when you forget to set the oven timer and the brownies come out dry, but you eat them anyway.  Or if you are laying kitchen tile and someone brings donuts and someone else brings a six-pack.  So what it comes to is this: there is a reward for clumsiness and forgetfulness.  We should embrace and reward our faults.  With sugar.

    I hope this theory aids you in your diet.  If you have any corroborating evidence of your own, please comment.  Someday I’ll write a paper on my findings and send it to medical journals.  Won’t they be surprised!







  • Breakfast,  Dessert,  Recipes,  Vegetarian

    Streusel Gingerbread Muffins

    Gingerbread Streusel Muffins

    I love gingerbread.  Take gingerbread, put some extra zing to it with freshly grated ginger, deepen the dark flavor with a tablespoon of cocoa, and sprinkle some gingery streusel on the top and wow, what a muffin!

    Streusel Gingerbread Muffins
    Recipe type: Breakfast/Dessert
    Prep time: 
    Cook time: 
    Total time: 
    Serves: 18
    These gingerbread muffins have an extra kick and a deeper flavor from special ingredients.
    • 2 cups all-purpose flour
    • 1½ teaspoons baking soda
    • 1½ teaspoons ground ginger
    • 1 tablespoon unsweetened baking cocoa
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
    • ⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg
    • ⅛ teaspoon ground cloves
    • 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger root
    • ½ cup dark molasses
    • ½ cup granulated sugar
    • ½ cup vegetable oil
    • ½ cup boiling water
    • 2 large eggs, whisked
    • Streusel topping:
    • 1 cup granulated or brown sugar
    • 2 tablespoons cinnamon
    • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
    • 2 tablespoons finely minced candied ginger
    • 1 cup all-purpose flour
    • ½ cup (one stick) butter, softened
    • ½ cup all-purpose flour
    • 4 tablespoons butter, softened
    1. Preheat oven to 325F.
    2. Line or grease 18 muffin cups.
    3. In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, ground ginger, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and cocoa powder.
    4. In a medium bowl, whisk together molasses, sugar, oil, water, eggs and grated fresh ginger.
    5. Add molasses mixture to flour mixture until well combined.
    6. Divide batter evenly among prepared muffin cups (an ice cream scoop really works!), each cup half full.
    7. In a medium bowl, combine the sugar, cinnamon, ground ginger and flour.
    8. Cut the butter into small bits and using a pastry blender, forks or your fingers, work the butter into the mixture until it is crumbly and there are no large chunks of butter.
    9. Stir in minced candied ginger.
    10. Sprinkle streusel on top of muffins, pressing lightly to firm it up.
    11. Bake 18 - 24 minutes, or until wooden toothpick inserted in the centers of the muffins comes out cleanly.
    12. Remove muffins from oven and cool.



  • Breads,  Breakfast,  Dessert,  Frosting,  Recipes,  Vegetarian

    Spiced Pumpkin Scones

    Spiced Pumpkin Scones
    Recipe type: Bread
    Prep time: 
    Cook time: 
    Total time: 
    Serves: 6
    Tender, healthy, satisfying scones for breakfast, break or dessert.
    • 2 cups all-purpose flour
    • ¾ cup granulated sugar
    • 1 tablespoon baking powder
    • ¼ teaspoon salt
    • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
    • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
    • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
    • ½ cup pureed pumpkin, canned or fresh (make sure fresh is drained)
    • 3 tablespoons milk or milk substitute
    • 1 large egg
    • 6 tablespoons cold butter, cubed
    • For Icing (optional):
    • ¾ cup powdered sugar, sifted
    • 1-2 tablespoons milk or milk substitute
    • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • ⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg
    • pinch each of ground ginger and ground cloves
    1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
    2. Grease a cookie sheet and dust with flour
    3. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and spices.
    4. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg, milk and pumpkin.
    5. Cut butter into dry ingredients using a pastry cutter, forks or your fingers, until there are no butter chunks left, and it is like fine crumbs.
    6. Fold the wet ingredients into the dry.
    7. Form dough into a ball. Dough should be sticky, but not stick to baking sheet, so add a little more flour if necessary.
    8. Pat dough onto prepared baking sheet into 9x3x1" rectangle.
    9. Using a greased knife (spray with cooking spray), cut rectangle into thirds.
    10. Cut each third diagonally to form a total of six rectangles. (If you want smaller ones, cut these in half to form twelve).
    11. Gently pull each section apart so that there is a half an inch between each scone (for even baking).
    12. (Alternatively, form dough into large circle 1" high, and cut crossways into wedges, and pull slightly apart).
    13. For six large scones, bake 14 - 16 minutes until slightly browned; for twelve smaller scones, bake 10 - 12 minutes until slightly browned.
    14. Remove scones to wire cooling tray set over a plate or piece of foil, and cool completely.
    15. Meanwhile, mix together icing ingredients until smooth, if using.
    16. Drizzle icing over cooled scones and serve.
    17. Serve plain, with marscapone cheese, cream cheese or butter.

    What to do with leftover pumpkin?  Here is the perfect thing, spiced pumpkin scones.  Hearty without being heavy, healthy without being icky, these scones are more than just a morning treat.    I used fresh pureed sugar-baby pumpkin, but canned pumpkin (unseasoned) works fine, too.  The dough is a little damp, so instead of cutting the scones and removing them to a baking sheet, it is easier to form the scone dough right on a floured baking sheet and then cut them.  The way I show how to do it makes large scones; you may cut them smaller and reduce the baking time.  The scones are great without the icing.  Eat them plain, with butter or best of all, with a smear of marscapone cheese or cream cheese.  They also keep well for the next day, and freeze beautifully.  Wrap them individually in foil and freeze, and when defrosted they are just as good as fresh.

  • Dessert,  Recipes

    Crunchy Cayenne-Cashew Candy

    Bite-sized pieces of sheer yum (in my mother's candy dish).

    I don’t like very spicy foods.  I like to taste the nuances of my food and not allow heat to overrule the flavors.  However, a little heat now and then can be very nice.  Heat can also be medicinal, helping everything from stomach upset and preventing colds to relieving the pain of arthritis.  I have the perfect solution: a buttery, crunchy candy that has just a little burn to it.  Yum!  Originally from Gourmet magazine, I’ve been making it annually for Christmas for many years now, and it is hard to not polish off.

    Put everything into a pan!

    It is simplicity itself to make.  You put all the ingredients into a pan, heat it until the butter and sugar melts, turn up the heat until it begins to clump, pour it out onto a buttered cookie sheet and wait for it to harden.  If it is still sticky, put the pan in the refrigerator for five minutes.

    Pour out onto cookie sheet to cool.

    Crunchy Cayenne-Cashew Candy
    Recipe type: Dessert
    Prep time: 
    Cook time: 
    Total time: 
    Buttery, crunchy, sweet, salty candy with a slight burn. Yum!
    • 2 cups whole salted cashews
    • 10 tablespoons (1¼ sticks) unsalted butter
    • ½ cup granulated sugar
    • ¼ cup packed brown sugar
    • 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
    • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
    • ¼ teaspoon salt
    1. Butter a nonstick baking sheet and put aside.
    2. Combine all the ingredients in a large nonstick skillet.
    3. Stir over low heat until the butters melt and the sugars dissolve.
    4. Increase heat to medium and boil, stirring constantly until mixture turns golden brown, thickens and begins to mass together (about 5 minutes).
    5. Immediately pour out onto prepeared baking sheet, spreading evenly.
    6. Cool completely.
    7. Break into pieces.
    8. Makes about 1⅓ pounds.

  • Dessert,  Recipes,  Vegetarian

    Forget ‘Em Cookies

    Store in a moisture-free container

    You really can’t forget these cookies.  First of all, they are so tasty.  Secondly, they are low fat and high in protein.  Thirdly, they are exquisitely easy to make, especially after a day of baking.  If you have two left-over egg whites (maybe from making lemon curd {see recipes}), you can make these merangues in a matter of minutes.  Stir in some mini chocolate chips or broken chocolate pieces (or try toffee pieces, or crushed peppermint, or even some tiny mixed candied fruit), plop teaspoonfuls onto foil-lined baking sheets, put them in a 350F oven and turn off the oven.  Leave sit with the door closed for 8 hours.  Bingo.  Beautiful, Christmassy, crunchy on the outside, slightly moist on the inside, with a definate chocolate yum.  Make sure you use chocolate that you really like, because the flavor is dominate.  You can also make these plain and they’d be just as wonderful.  So make some, forget them… but remember them the next day!  Store in a moisture-free container, because they will absorb moisture from the air and become sticky.  If that happens, pop them back into the oven and turn off the heat again.

    Mounds of fluffy goodness


    Forget 'Em Cookies
    Recipe type: Dessert
    Prep time: 
    Cook time: 
    Total time: 
    Easy overnight meringues that take hardly any time to prepare, use up extra egg whites, and bake using residual heat from your oven. How environmentally friendly is that?
    • 2 egg whites
    • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
    • ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
    • ½ cup superfine sugar (or regular sugar)
    • 6 oz. mini chocolate chips, chopped chocolate, crushed peppermint, toffee pieces, (optional)
    • 1 cup chopped macadamia nuts or pecans (optional)
    1. Preheat oven to 350F
    2. Beat whites, vanilla and cream of tartar at high speed of an electric mixer until foamy.
    3. Gradually add sugar one tablespoon at a time until sugar is dissolved and soft peaks form (2-4 minutes; don't overbeat)
    4. Fold in chocolate and nuts, or whatever you choose. Or leave them out. It's your cookie!
    5. Drop mixture by heaping teaspoonfuls onto cookie sheets lines with aluminum foil.
    6. Place in oven.
    7. Turn off heat immediately.
    8. Forget 'em for 8 hours (don't even open the oven door!)
    9. Carefully remove cookies from foil
    10. Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week.
    11. Depending on whether you add chocolate and nuts, makes between 2 and 4 dozen.

  • Breakfast,  Dessert,  Grains,  Recipes,  Soups,  Vegan,  Vegetarian


    Jook with sesame oil and chopped cilantro

    Jook, Juk, Chinese rice soup, rice porridge, congee… these are many names for basically the same food, rice cooked with a lot of water. There are equally as many ways to fix this wonderful comfort food. Jook can be made with plain water and white or brown rice, then served with toppings such as cilantro, sesame oil, chopped peanuts, bits of cooked tofu, soy sauce, chopped hardboiled egg, preserved or cooked vegetables, chives… as little or as much as you’d like. Jook can be prepared with or without salt; I prepare mine without, then grind a little on the top when serving for that little burst of flavor. Jook can be served with cinnamon and sugar for dessert; this is especially nice for those who love rice pudding but don’t want to eat or can’t eat dairy. Commonly eaten as a savory breakfast dish, Jook is also a perfect food for when you are ill. Not only is it comforting and filling, but it is easy to eat for a sore throat, easy on a troubled stomach, nutritious, and if you are a victim of Montezuma’s Revenge (if you know what I mean), rice is very good for helping you to stop going. Ah-hem. Jook is a very good baby food for those little mouths that are just getting into semi-solids.

    You can find hundreds of different versions of Jook on the Internet.  Many make it with part broth, part water.  Some throw in fresh ginger, some cook bones in it for added calcium.  Cooking it plain allows you to top each bowl up the way you want, which is what I do.  Leftover Jook can be mixed with water to loosen it up, or eaten in its more solid form.  You can’t get a much easier comfort food to make that is so versatile.  It is particularly good for celiacs (those who cannot eat gluten).  With cooler weather upon us, make one dinner a Jook day!

    Recipe type: Main
    Prep time: 
    Cook time: 
    Total time: 
    Serves: 6-8
    Jook, rice porridge, rice soup or congee, is a wonderful versitile comfort food.
    • 1 cup washed white rice (short or long grained depending on your taste)
    • 8 cups water (if you like it thick)
    • or
    • 10 cups water (if you like it medium)
    • or
    • 12 cups water (if you like it very thin and soupy)
    • optional: 1-2 tsp. salt)
    • optional: substitute broth for equal parts of the water)
    • optional: add a thumb-sized knob of fresh ginger)
    • Topping suggestions:
    • sesame oil, peanuts, fresh cilantro, chopped hardboiled egg, cooked tofu, seaweed, soy sauce, freshly ground salt and pepper, butter, cooked vegetables, pickled vegetables... leftovers. Also make it sweet with sugar, honey, cinnamon, nutmeg, dried fruit, chocolate chips!
    1. Put washed rice and the desired amount of water in a dutch oven
    2. Heat until boiling
    3. Turn down heat to a simmer and cook uncovered 2½ - 3 hours, depending on how thick or thin you want it.
    4. Serve hot in small soup bowls with choices of toppings.