Tag Archives: garlic

Garlic OCD

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I might judge you if you don’t cut off the little dry nubs at the end of the garlic cloves before using…so you probably should. I’ve always had this hangup, this thing, this annoyance with garlic. When it comes right off the bulb, the little clove has one delightful and beautiful smooth side and then this incredibly gross, haggard, dry, crackled side that makes me hate it. I cut that piece off every, single, time. You should too-it creeps me out.


Garlic, Chickpeas, Broccoli and Politics

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Previously, the only thing that George HW Bush and I had in common was our dislike of broccoli.  I’m proud to say that after eating this dish from Appetite for Reduction, I can distance myself a little  more from HW, with only a slight dislike of broccoli and have narrowed it down to  when it is 1) overdone or 2) raw.  I love broccoli in this dish.

Warning, this is one ugly dish.  I mean, there isn’t a food blog around that would claim this dish a beauty.  So maybe not on the top 5 of dishes to serve when say the Queen is coming to dinner, but certainly a fail-safe dish for a busy week day dinner.  After you roast this off the possibilities are endless, it would make a great soup with some veg broth added, perhaps toss it on a piece of naan for a sandwich, over rice, lentils, quinoa, etc.  Or do as I do and just eat it off the baking sheet as you don’t want to dirty another dish.  I won’t judge you.

  • 1 lb broccoli, cut into large spears and stems chopped into 1/2-inch pieces (around 9-10 cups) – I really hate the spears, so I used just florettes out of a bag, 2 bags worth.
  • 10+ cloves garlic, peeled and smashed-use what you want.  I’ve done up to 20 and an no worse for the wear.
  • 2 cups cooked chickpeas (or a 19-oz can, rinsed and drained)
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 2 tsp lemon zest (zest from 1 lemon) reserve the juice
  • 1 1/2 tsp dried oregano or 3 tsp fresh
  • 1 cup vegetable broth

Preheat the oven to 400F. Place the broccoli, garlic and chickpeas in a 9×13 inch baking pan. Drizzle with olive oil, salt, chili flakes, lemon zest, oregano and black pepper to taste. Toss to coat and bake, uncovered, for 30 minutes, flipping once.

After 30 minutes, mix broccoli and chickpeas again and add broth, deglazing any browned bits at the bottom of the pan. Continue to bake another 15 minutes until the garlic is tender and the broccoli is browned in some places.

I finished this dish with the lemon juice from the zested lemon, and baked for another 5-10 minutes until it was absorbed.

Adapted from Appetite for Reduction

Soggy Baby Cukes Remade Into Crisp Quick Pickles

I’m a pickled veggie snob.  I will spend $12.00 on a jar of pickles.  I will eat one a week so as not to get rid of them too soon, savoring every bite, then I will keep the jar of juice and dump baby carrots into the remaining sea of spices until I drain the jar dry.

Today I noticed some very much neglected pickling cukes in the back of my crisper, not looking so much crisp as sad.  Here is my science experiment and foray into quick pickles.  I hope you like it spicy.

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  • 6 baby cucumbers washed and cut into rings
  • 1 habanero pepper cut into 4ths
  • 2 jalapeno peppers cut in half
  • 2 whole cloves garlic smashed
  • Handful kosher salt


  • 1 1/2 C white vinegar, cause I’m old school
  • 1 C water
  • 1 1/2 T garlic chopped
  • 5 bay leaves, whole
  • 2 T dried dill, or 4 T fresh dill
  • 1 T black peppercorns
  • 1 T agave nectar
  • 1 T cumin seeds, whole
First, prep the cukes.  Cut into rounds, place in colander, salt generously, let sit for 15-30 minutes.  This should perk up your cukes if they were a little sad like mine.  Place cukes, peppers, and garlic cloves in a couple of jars you have lids for, it could be a jam jar for all I care, just make sure it’s clean.  Since we are not “canning” here, it doesn’t make a difference.
To make the brine, boil for 15 minutes the ingredients listed in brine list.  Remove from heat, pour over veggies in the jars.  Let cool on counter, then pop in the fridge. 
Eat these little guys within the week.

Vegan Zucchini Pancakes

Sometimes inspiration comes in the form of ‘payday isn’t for 2 more days, so use what you have in the fridge’.  This recipe comes from precisely that situation. Thank goodness Trillium Haven Farm CSA and Doorganics day was yesterday, so at least there were fresh veggies from which to create goodness.  The result is Vegan Zucchini Pancakes not to be confused with a prior post, Zucchini Fritters which are definitely NOT vegan (goat cheese).

Vegan Zucchini Pancakes

Cucumber Salad (topping)

  • 1 lb tomatoes
  • 2 small cucumbers
  • 1T balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tsp EVOO


  • 1 1/2 zucchini or summer squash, shredded
  • 1 medium, sweet yellow onion
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp salt (to taste…err on the side of less)
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 C egg substitute
  • 1/8 tsp fresh ground nutmeg
  • 3 T flour
  • 2 T fresh basil, chiffonade
  • 2 T Parmesan cheese (if Vegetarian, do not include for Vegan)
1.  To create the cucumber salad chop the tomatoes and cucumbers coarsely and top with EVOO and balsamic vinegar.  Set aside.
2.  Grate the zucchini and onion, roll up in paper towel or cheesecloth and squeeze until it is fairly dry.
3.  Combine the pressed zucchini and ionion with garlic, salt, basil, nutmeg, fake eggs, flour, salt and pepper.
4.  Heat oil in a heavy-bottomed skillet.  Pour 1/4 C of the batter into the oiled pan.  The batter will be lumpy.  Let the pancake completely brown on one side then flip to brown the other side.  Remove from the pan and place on paper towels.
5.  When you are ready to serve, top the pancakes with the cucumber salad and enjoy.

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Thanks to a reader for writing in that the original recipe for these pancakes were too salty!  I’ve changed the recipe to account for her feedback.  If you are putting these on a bun or in a flatbread, you will need additional salt, but if just eating as a pancake, please follow the change in added salt.  Thanks!

Doorganics Tacos

Mike Hughes I salute you.

It’s a rare opportunity when you can shake the hand of the person who not only planted, but harvested and DELIVERED your fruit and/or veggies to, your, door.  I don’t want to ruin the fantasy I have playing in my head about him digging up my little french radishes, putting them in a cooled green bin and driving them over to me personally just to say hi…but he basically did just that.

I’m going to keep this short and sweet.  Doorganics delivered today, thus, these tacos were created from my bin.  Go online, hook up with Doorganics and be pleasantly surprised.  I was.

I give you Doorganics Tacos.

  • 1 tablespoon, vegetable oil
  • 2 cups fresh white or yellow corn kernels
  • 1 cup chopped white onion
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, diced
  • 1 bell pepper, diced ( I used purple)
  • 4 french radishes, finely diced
  • 4 green onions, green parts diced only
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 large tomato, roughly chopped
  • 1 large zucchini, diced
  • 1 cup cooked black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 teaspoons fresh oregano leaves
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 warm corn tortillas
  • 1/4 cup salsa
  • goat cheese or Daiya to taste


  1. Heat half of oil in a large skillet over high heat. Toast corn 5 minutes, stirring; season with salt. Remove corn; set aside. Heat remaining oil in skillet. Cook onion, stirring, until it caramelizes, 5 minutes. Add garlic; cook 1 to 2 minutes. Add tomatoes, both peppers and cook 1 to 2 minutes, until warm-I like ’em crunchy still.  Add zucchini; cook until tender but not mush, 6-10 minutes; season with salt. Add corn, beans, oregano and pepper. Cook 3 minutes. Split filling among tortillas; top each with 1 1/2 tsp salsa, a few bits of radish, green onion and 1 tsp cheese.  This makes a TON more than 8 tacos worth.  I’m taking it to lunch tomorrow sans shells.

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Independence Day Holiday Weekend = Food Coma

Hello summer!  Nothing screams 4th of July holiday like making a ton of high-calorie food and carting it all over the city visiting friends, drinking adult beverages, and watching small children play with matches.

Mr. Wonderful and I started off the July 4th Holiday weekend relatively healthy with Yin and Yang Salad with Peanut Dressing from The Real Food Daily Cookbook as and it sorta went downhill from there.

I know it looks like a lot of ingredients, but it’s really just some ingredients used many times…tricky.  Replication of flavors from ginger, garlic and sesame make this dish seem complex and rich, you don’t need to tell anyone you basically had to shop in two aisles, the “ethnic” and produce aisles.

  • 4 cups shredded napa cabbage
  • 1 sleeve soba noodles, cooked al dente, drained and cooled
  • 2 carrots, peeled and julienned
  • 1 (2 1/2-inch) piece daikon radish, peeled and julienned (I used red radish)
  • 10 green onions (white and green parts), julienned
  • 1 cup Peanut-Sesame Dressing (recipe follows)
  • 4 cups 1/2-inch cubes chilled ginger tofu (recipe follows)
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds

Toss the cabbage, carrots, radish, and green onions in a large bowl with enough dressing to coat. Mound the salad into 4 wide, shallow bowls or onto plates. Arrange the tofu around the salad. Sprinkle with the sesame seeds and serve.

Serves 4.


  • 2/3 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/3 cup brown rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons tamari
  • 1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup lightly packed fresh cilantro leaves

Ann’s header notes: If you’d like a spicier dressing, just add more crushed red pepper flakes. This thickens up once it’s refrigerated, so you can either add a little water to thin it or leave it thick to use as a sauce on grains and other cooked dishes.

Blend the peanut butter, vinegar, maple syrup, water, tamari, ginger, garlic, sesame oil, and crushed red pepper in a food processor until smooth and creamy. Add the cilantro and blend just until it’s finely chopped The dressing will keep for 2 days, covered and refrigerated.

Makes abaut 1 1/4 cups.

Gingered Tofu

  • 2 (12-ounce) containers water-packed extra-flrm tofu
  • 2/3 cup tamari
  • 1/4 cup brown rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • I tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger
  • I tablespoon canola oil

Drain the tofu and save the containers. Cut into 1-inch wide strips, and pat dry with paper towels. Cover a large baking sheet with more dry paper towels. Place the tofu in a single layer over the towels on the baking sheet and let drain for 2 hours, changing the paper towels after 1 hour.

Whisk the tamari, vinegar, sesame oil, garlic, and ginger in a bowl to blend. Pour half of the marinade into the reserved tofu containers. Return the tofu slices to the containers, and pour the remaining marinade over. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours and up to 1 day.

Preheat the oven to 400’F. Oil a heavy, rimmcd baking sheet with the canola oil. Drain the tofu and place it on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes on each side until golden brown and heated through. Serve warm or cold, or at room temperature. The tofu will keep for 1 day, covered and refrigerated.

Serves 4 to 6.

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If you plant a herb garden, you better damn well like pesto.

My herbs are staging a coup d’état in the backyard.

I’m striking back with pesto.

One of my fave 101cookbooks.com blog posts is entitled “How to Make Pesto Like an Italian Grandmother”.  She’s right.  It’s a brilliant recipe; however, sometimes I do not have 1) pine nut cash allowance (so expensive!), 2) oh, I don’t know 1000 extra calories to inhale a 2 tablespoon mouthful of wonderfulness or 3) time to chop BY HAND (wtf?!) a zillion leaves into a paste-like substance-I guess that’s where the grandmother part comes in for Heidi Swanson’s recipe; grandmothers have lots of extra time for this stuff.

Tonight when I realized my parsley was about to FLOWER for goodness sake, I took it upon myself to hack it all down, grab some garlic and headed to the food processor to make, “Certainly not an Italian Grandmother’s Pesto” while muttering to myself, “it’s a damn good thing I like pesto.”

Pesto from the Fridge

  • 2 lemons zested and juiced
  • 2 large handfuls of something delish and green from your herb garden (could really be anything)
  • 4 cloves of garlic, 2 if you are not interested in vampire protection (TrueBlood starts at the end of the month)
  • 1/4 C good EVOO

**To make this real pesto, add 1/2 C toasted walnuts or pine nuts,  sometimes called Pinons and 1/2 C grated parm cheese to the mix then increase your EVOO as needed to get a nice puree.

Hack down a bunch of your herbs you have been neglecting, use the tender leaf part for the pesto (wash and dry it) and the stems to clean out your garbage disposal, it will make it smell better after you grind them up in there and send them to their new water home.

In a food processor, take the peeled garlic cloves, lemon juice, lemon zest and all of that beautiful greenery and blend while slowly adding the EVOO.  You might need less than 1/4 C depending on how liquidy you want the pesto.  I like mine a little bit on the dry side.

To store, I take an old ice cube container, spray a little oil in the bottom and on the sides then portion out my pesto in the little wells which happens to make a nice amount of sauce for 2 people when I decide I need a pasta fix; freeze and then pop out and store in a freezer bag.

I have also used this concoction as:

  • Tofu marinade
  • Combined with greek yogurt to make dip, or thinned with water to make salad dressing.
  • Mixed with more EVOO and a dash of balsamic vinegar to create a quick and flavorful vinaigrette.
  • Tossed with pasta and raw veggies for a quick lunch or dinner.
  • Tossed with pasta, a little pasta water, goat cheese and toasted walnuts for a yummy dinner.
  • On top of crusty bread for the base for bruschetta or plain as garlic bread.
  • Tossed with saute’d mushrooms.
  • Base for marinated olives and bocconcini (baby mozzarella balls) skewers.
  • Base for tortillini soup.
Technically this recipe might be considered a Coulis due to lack of cheese; but whatever the case, it’s a flexible, cheap, quick and yummy way to put that herb garden to use and just about any herb or green will due.  I’ve even used spinach with fantastic results.  Pulling one of these little cubes out of the freezer in February makes my heart remember spring.

Rummaged Flatbread

Some nights I just don’t feel like cooking.  Really.  Yes, even me.  Which is why I’m thankful that I am competitive enough to make a game out of what I can scavenge from the fridge to pull dinner off.  Mr. Wonderful loves anything in the family of pizza.  So naan is a great quick pizza crust and Costco has the best deal on naan in the free world.  Enter naan from freezer and let the creative juices flow.  The most difficult part about this recipe is the patience it takes to caramelize the onions…chop them up and toss into a fry pan over very, very low, for a very long time.  You can vacuum, do dishes, watch some YouTube videos in the mean time.  Hell, get crazy and read a real book.

Here’s a quick flatbread recipe as rummaged from the fridge/freezer/pantry:

Grilled Asparagus, White Bean and Caramelized Onion Flatbread

  • 1 very large onion, any type, chopped finely into half circles (approx 2 C raw)
  • 1 bunch asparagus trimmed and washed
  • 1 C Provolone cheese, grated (goat or gorgonzola cheese would be better here, but none in the fridge, alas)
  • 4 C white beans, cooked or 2 cans, drained-reserve this liquid in case your hummus is too thick and you can drizzle some in (I pulled these from my freezer-reserve 3/4 C to sprinkle on TOP of flatbread, the rest will be used for “hummus” for the sauce on the flatbread)
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 2-3 T Tahini (or just use a little of the juice from the beans if you don’t have this in your cupboard)
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano or a handful fresh
  • 1/2 tsp dried cumin
  • 1/2 tsp dried chipotle or red pepper flakes, omit if you are not pro-heat
  • 2 T lemon juice, fresh squeezed preferred, but that little plastic lemon kind won’t kill you here
  • salt to taste, this will take more than you think…white beans have little flavor
  • EVOO
  • 2 pieces commercial naan bread

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Cut up onion, toss in hot frying pan with a swig of EVOO, then turn way, way down to low.  Here is where the patience comes in…now, wait.  Stirring every 15 minutes or so.  Caramelized onions take TIME.  Like, an hour or so.  Good news, you don’t have to do anything to them except poke around at them every quarter hour….seriously quit your complaining.
Take the following ingredients and zap them in the food processor until smooth:
white beans (minus 3/4 C for topping of flatbread)
lemon juice
garlic cloves
pinch of salt
You just made white bean hummus which is the “sauce” for the flatbread.
Asparagus should be washed, trimmed and tossed with a splash of EVOO, then turned out onto a hot grill, or in a grill pan until just warm, they should be crispy, semi-raw still, they will be cooked again in a hot second.
Fire the naan for a few minutes in a 400 degree oven to crisp it up just a little.
Now assemble:
Apply “sauce” to naan bread, then onions, reserved white beans, asparagus and top with provolone cheese.  Toss back into hot oven until cheese melts.   Season with a bit of black pepper.

Curried Noodle Pot

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Curry on the brain this week I guess.  Monday I wrote about Curried Hash and now, we have the Curried Noodle Pot courtesy of the lovely Heidi Swanson from 101cookbooks.com.  This recipe comes from her cookbook Super Natural Cooking.  Why buy one of her books?  Her photography.  You can thank me later for the copious amounts of food porn present.

Curried Noodle Pot

  • 8 oz whole-grain wide Asian noodles ( I used whole spelt udon)
  • 2 T coconut oil
  • 4 cloves garlic finely chopped
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 1-1/2 tsp red curry paste
  • 12 oz extra firm tofu pressed and cubed
  • 1-14 oz can coconut milk
  • 2 C veggie stock
  • 2 tsp ground tumeric or curry powder
  • 2 T shoyu sauce (or any other type of soy sauce)
  • 1T agave syrup
  • juice of one lime
  • 2/3 C peanuts (optional)
  • 1/3 C slivered shallots
  • 1/3 C chopped fresh cilantro

Cook noodles in plenty of water until just tender.

Start making curry while noodles cook. Heat coconut oil in large saucepan over medium-high heat.  Stir in garlic, onion and curry paste and mash the paste around the bottom of the pan a bit to distribute evenly. Cook until fragrant – just a minute or two.  Add the tofu stir until well coated with curry. Stir in the coconut milk, stock, shoyu and agave, bring to simmer for 5 minutes.  Remove from heat, stir in the lime juice and add the noodles.  Turn to coat.

To serve, heap big piles of noodles into individual bowls and top with a ladle or two of curry. Top with peanut and cilantro and shallots.

Note:  I thought this needed a bit of salt because I used unsalted peanuts for garnish.  From start to finish, this took me less than 20 minutes to make.  Bonus points for quick dinner.

Tried and True. Asparagus Stir Fry.

In an effort to get Spring to hustle up a little, I bought asparagus today from my new fave food store Horrocks on 44th and Breton in Kentwood.  It’s not quite Whole Foods or Trader Joes, but it is a fine substitute.  When I saw asparagus was on sale, I started dreaming of my fave stir fry recipe from Heidi Swanson at 101cookbooks.com.  When I think of stir fry, I think of this recipe. Salty, sweet, crunchy, tart, easy to add ingredients to, a great clean out the fridge starter recipe and very, very pretty, super green.  It just reeks of good for you.  And if you serve it over soba noodles or brown rice, it will net you 2 dinners and 2 lunches.  Enjoy!

Asparagus Stir Fry

  • toasted sesame oil
  • 8 ounces extra-firm tofu, cubed 1/2″
  • 1 cup shelled edamame
  • 1 hand full pea pods
  • 4 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon freshly chopped ginger (peeled)
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 bunches of asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • a couple big pinches of fine-grain sea salt
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 big handful of toasted cashews, chopped up a bit
  • a few handfuls of spinach, or chopped kale, or chopped chard
  • zest and juice of two limes
  • 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
  • 1 small handful fresh mint, slivered
  • 1 small handful fresh Thai basil, slivered

Have all your ingredients prepped and within arms reach of the stove. Heat a splash of sesame oil in a large pan, or well-seasoned wok over medium high heat. Alternately, you can do this in a dry non-stick pan – one of the few occasions I still use non-stick. When it is hot, add the tofu, and cook until golden – a few minutes. Remove the tofu from the pan and set aside.

Add another (generous) splash of oil to the pan and, as soon as it is hot, add the onions, ginger, red pepper flakes, asparagus, edamame and salt. Stir fry for about a minute, then add the garlic, cashews, and spinach and stir-fry for another minute, or until the spinach wilts. Return the tofu to the pan. Stir in the lime zest and juice and the hoisin sauce. Cook for another 10-20 seconds, stirring all the while.

Remove from heat and stir in the mint and basil. Taste and add a bit more salt if needed.  I like to serve this over soba noodles or brown rice.

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