Category Archives: Pre-fall Recipes

Apple Rhubarb Crisp

What better way to make a slow transition into fall than with an apple rhubarb crisp? I am a little reluctant to acknowledge the fact that fall is coming so it’s nice to bring the two seasons together in a dessert! I saw a lot of recipes for apple rhubarb crisp that called for green apples but I thought sweet red apples would be a good choice since rhubarb is so tart. To compensate on the apples’ sweetness I just cut the sugar a bit and it turned out great! The recipe is similar to the other rhubarb crisp recipe and just as delicious! I liked the combination of the sweet apples, tart rhubarb and crunchy crust. Whipped cream and vanilla ice cream are the perfect accompaniment for this dessert!

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Ethiopian Chickpea and Cauliflower Stew with Preserved Lemons

To go along my Ethiopian Lentil Curry I chose another Ethiopian-style curry with chickpeas and cauliflower.  One of my favorite things about curry is that both of these dishes can be called a “curry” yet they are both so different and complimentary at the same time.  This stew is a yellow curry seasoned with turmeric, cumin, cardamom, coriander and paprika.  It is more loosely based on Ethiopian chickpea and vegetable stews because I thought it would be fun to embellish it a bit.  I don’t think preserved lemons are found too much in Ethiopian food but they really added amazing flavor to this dish.  The preparation was easy and the result was so tasty! It tasted great with the lentils as well as the Injera bread.

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Ethiopian Red Lentil and Sweet Potato Curry

A few years ago I went to an Ethiopian restaurant and was completely taken with the food. I couldn’t remember all of the curries that I tried but I do remember the bread they served with the main course: injera. I wanted to recreate that meal at home so I set out researching Ethiopian curries. It turns out that the injera is served as the “plate” to place a variety of tasty curries. I settled on this red lentil and yam curry which I thought would go nicely on top of the injera. A spice blend of cumin, cinnamon, ginger, paprika and allspice flavor the curry. The sweet potato and lentils went together so well and provided an element of sweetness that balanced the spices. It was a really simple dish that tasted great with the injera.

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Chocolate Zucchini Bread

I’ve come across quite a few recipes for chocolate zucchini bread and I’ve always been intrigued by this recipe. I had two leftover zucchini wasting away in my refrigerator so I thought I would give this a shot. Turns out you can’t taste the zucchini at all! I’m not really sure why but chocolate and zucchini can both be a little bit bitter so maybe the flavors complimented each other.  The bread uses two blocks of unsweetened baker’s chocolate which gives it a very rich chocolate flavor.  I used plain yogurt to give it an extra bit of creaminess.  The result was a really moist, chocolatey bread with the added benefit of 2 cups of veggies! Plus the kitchen smelled amazing while the bread baked so I look forward to making this again.

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Korean Ramen with Kimchi and Sauteed Mushrooms

Just a disclaimer to twenty somethings: this is not your college ramen experience!  Korea has its own version of Japanese Ramen and you can eat it with all sorts of different toppings. I loaded the soup with a hard boiled egg, peas, green onions, sauteed mushrooms, cilantro and of course kimchi. Korea has had a long love affair with kimchi and I have had my own mini infatuation going on here in California for a while now. The kimchi spices mixes in with the broth and blanches a bit in the hot soup. I used the ‘Hakubaku’ brand of ramen noodles which had a really nice consistency and thickness. I wouldn’t recommend using the ‘top ramen’ noodles but it would probably do in a pinch if you can’t find the hakubaku brand in stores. I really liked how all the condiments mixed together with the noodles and broth. It was definitely the best ramen I have ever eaten!

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Roasted Butternut Squash Soup with Coconut Milk

It probably seems crazy to most Americans to down a hot bowl of soup right now. This soup makes more sense to me because temperatures on the central coast just haven’t risen much at all. Next time it hits lower temperatures this soup would be perfect to enjoy on a cooler day.  Better yet, you could wait until late summer or Fall when the squash actually comes into season.  If you are craving roasted butternut squash like me, there’s no time like the present for a good soup.

I chose to make this soup with a few of the great flavors from Thai cooking–coconut milk, red chili paste, and a mixture of fragrant spices. I roasted the butternut squash first in the oven and threw all the ingredients into a big soup pot to simmer. The soup had a lot of wonderful flavors. I loved the flavor of the roasted squash with the creamy coconut milk, spicy chilies, and thai spices. It was pretty simple to throw together and I couldn’t be more happy with how it turned out! I served it with a side of jasmine rice and ended up mixing a few tablespoons of the rice into the soup.  It turned out to be a great combination!

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Coppa and Manchego Cheese Sandwich with Roasted Tomatoes

Coppa is an Italian cured meat made from thinly sliced pork shoulder. It is a perfect meat for sandwiches and goes well with melted cheese (then again what doesn’t?)  I thought the tangy, Spanish Manchego cheese would go nicely with the flavors of the coppa.  I read online that coppa is usually seasoned with white wine before curing so I marinated the tomatoes in white wine, then roasted them in the oven.  I patted down the tomatoes a bit so that any wine vapor wouldn’t make the oven catch fire! The result was a wine infused roasted tomato and a fire-free kitchen.  On top of the roasted tomatoes I added a layer of basil and grilled it all together. I really liked the sourdough bread with the slightly sour/tangy manchego.  The roasted tomatoes provided sweet acidity and the pork was flavorful and a little smoky.  All the ingredients were nicely balanced and it was an all around tasty sandwich!

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Grilled Eggplant Panini with Roasted Tomatoes and Olive Tapenade

Eggplant has become a recent favorite food over the last 2 years. Before that I just never gave it a second thought. It’s an under rated vegetable and that might be due to the trickiness of cooking it. There’s acid in eggplant so it’s good to press some of the juice out to remove the bitterness. Grilling eggplant is one of the best ways to cook it just because it chars the eggplant and gives it a smokier flavor. I chose some roasted tomato slices to compliment the eggplant along with fresh mozzarella and olive tapenade.  The roasted tomatoes were especially good because they are in between fresh and sun-dried.  The tomato is concentrated like a sun-dried tomato but it remains just juicy enough to eat on a sandwich. It was so good! I really liked all the flavors together and I will definitely make this again.

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Achiote Roasted Butternut Squash Tacos

Who knew butternut squash could be so versatile? As a kid, I remember only having it around Thanksgiving and the holidays. It turns out butternut squash is great on both pizza and tacos. The squash is rubbed with ground annatto/achiote seeds, cumin, oregano, and smoked paprika. Then it’s roasted in the oven until soft. For the toppings, I caramelized an onion with brown sugar and smoked paprika.  The tacos were sweet and spicy and so good! I added a tablespoon of the black bean salsa along with some queso fresco for garnish.

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Massaman Chicken Curry

Massaman curry is a Thai dish that is influenced by Indian spices. It can be made with beef, chicken or tofu but I settled on trying the chicken version. I had this dish once at a Thai restaurant in Chicago and I have been dreaming about making it at home for a while. This recipe turned out to be quite similar to the restaurant’s and I was really happy about that! Massaman curry is a stew made with coconut milk, potatoes and served with rice. I tried to make this as authentic as possible so I avoided substitutions the best I could. The spicy and sweet flavors of this curry perfectly blended together and the finished product was really tasty! Feel free to substitute the protein for tofu, beef or pork.

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