Tunisian chickpea and eggplant stew

November 30, 2012 at 9:39 pm (AMA, Beans, B_(3 stars, like), Fall recipes, Middle East / N. Africa, Quick weeknight recipe, Summer recipes, Vegetable dishes)

This stew from the AMA cookbook is vaguely similar to the Moroccan-style tagine recipe I posted earlier this year.  Like that tagine, the recipe calls for vegetables and chickpeas and sweet spices like cinnamon and ginger, but unlike the tagine recipe the ingredient list isn’t a mile long.   And yes, I did notice that the recipe calls for eggplant.  I decided to step outside my comfort zone, as well as the season. Read the rest of this entry »

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Lebanese lentils and rice with blackened onions

January 9, 2011 at 1:41 pm (AMA, Beans, B_minus (2.5 stars), Fall recipes, Middle East / N. Africa, Spring recipes, Starches, Winter recipes)

I remember going to a Lebanese restaurant in a basement in Pittsburgh, and getting a very tasty (but very oily) dish of lentils and rice, covered in caramelized onions.  This recipe from the AMA cookbook doesn’t say anything about its origins, but I imagine it’s based on the same traditional Lebanese recipe. Read the rest of this entry »

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Light, fruited noodle kugel

January 9, 2011 at 1:26 pm (AMA, B_minus (2.5 stars), Jewish, Necessarily nonvegan, Spring recipes, Starches, Winter recipes)

When I was a kid my mom used to make my grandmother’s noodle kugel recipe on special occasions.  It was a savory, not a sweet kugel, and I think it had about a pound each of butter, sour cream, cottage cheese, and eggs.  It was tasty, but super rich.  So when I saw a similar looking–but lighter–recipe in the AMA cookbook, I was curious to try it. Read the rest of this entry »

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Lemon mint lentil potato ragout

December 27, 2010 at 1:15 pm (AMA, B plus (3.5 stars, like a lot), Beans, Beans and greens, Dark leafy greens, Derek's faves, Monthly menu plan: dinner, Root vegetables, Starches)

The lentils and potato in this stew create a hearty base, while the lemon, mint, and feta add brightness and lots of flavor.  A bit of spinach adds more lovely green color, and more nutrients.  Based on a recipe in the AMA cookbook. Read the rest of this entry »

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Curried cauliflower with penne, peas, and chickpeas

December 24, 2010 at 8:21 pm (AMA, Beans, B_minus (2.5 stars), Cruciferous rich, Italian, Pasta, Starches)

This AMA recipe is a strange combination of a standard Indian curried cauliflower dish with peas and chickpeas, and a standard Italian cauliflower dish with parmesan, raisins, and pinenuts.  It also has tomato sauce.  I love curried cauliflower, but I’ve never been that excited about the sweet Italian cauliflower dish. (I’ve tried several versions, including one in Bishop’s Italian Vegetarian Kitchen and this Sicilian recipe from 101 cookbooks).  But I was curious to find out how I would like the combination of the two recipes.

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Black bean patties with dill and scallions

December 24, 2010 at 7:57 pm (AMA, Beans, C (2 stars, okay, edible), Quick weeknight recipe, Spring recipes, Winter recipes)

This recipe from the AMA cookbook combines  black beans and what I think of as traditional Greek flavorings (garlic, scallions, dill, and yogurt).  I couldn’t quite imagine the combination, so I decided to give it a try. Read the rest of this entry »

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Chickpea and cilantro stew with cumin croutes

December 10, 2010 at 4:18 pm (AMA, Beans, B_minus (2.5 stars))

This is another bean recipe from the AMA cookbook.  It’s interesting in that there are no thickeners.  The chickpeas themselves are pureed to turn the dish into a thick stew. The flavors are supposed to be Mediterranean–Spanish maybe. I tried the recipe once a long time ago and found it a bit watery and bland, but Derek liked it.  I decided to give it another try. Read the rest of this entry »

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Black bean and yam stew with sofrito

December 10, 2010 at 10:51 am (AMA, Beans, B_minus (2.5 stars), Caribbean, Root vegetables, Starches, Winter recipes)

Derek liked the Jamaican bean dish from AMA so much I decided to try another bean recipe from the same cookbook.  This one looked somewhat similar to my black bean and sweet potato burritos, but much easier to put together. Read the rest of this entry »

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Cooking this weekend

November 8, 2010 at 2:28 am (AMA, Cruciferous rich, Fall recipes, French, frozen tofu, My brain, Other, Spring recipes, Starches, unrated, Winter recipes)

I don’t have time to post full recipes right now but I wanted to say a few words about what I cooked this weekend, before I forget the details.  I’ll come back and post the recipes when I get a chance.  For dinner last night I started with white bean, rosemary, and fennel soup, which I’ve blogged about before. I also made two new recipes out of my French vegetarian cookbook.  The first was a brussels sprouts dish with apples, onions, and cider, and the second recipe was for a beet and potato gratin. Read the rest of this entry »

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Braised wild rice with cranberries and sage

November 2, 2010 at 1:13 pm (AMA, F (0 stars, inedible), Fall recipes, Grains, Winter recipes)

This is another Thanksgiving-y recipe from the AMA family health cookbook.   Read the rest of this entry »

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Fruit and nut bulgur dressing

November 2, 2010 at 1:06 pm (AMA, B_minus (2.5 stars), Fall recipes, Grains, Winter recipes)

As Thanksgiving is approaching, I’ve started experimenting with possible recipes for this year’s feast. This modern stuffing from the AMA Family Health cookbook looked tasty, and pretty easy, so I made it for dinner a few weeks ago, along with barbecued tempeh and some roasted broccoli and cauliflower.

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Broccoli Pie a la Grecque

October 11, 2010 at 10:41 am (AMA, Cruciferous rich, Necessarily nonvegan, unrated)

This is another new recipe from the AMA Family Health Cookbook.  I had a bunch of fresh mint and dill to use up, and went searching for a recipe.  This one, which combines broccoli, eggs, and cheese with fresh herbs and cubed bread, looked perfect.   Read the rest of this entry »

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Jamaican Rice and Beans with Thyme

October 11, 2010 at 10:28 am (AMA, B plus (3.5 stars, like a lot), Beans, Caribbean, Derek's faves, Fall recipes, Starches, Winter recipes)

When it comes to cookbooks, I have a “one comes in, one goes out” policy, which encourages a “use it or lose it” philosophy.  I have some new cookbooks I want to buy, so I was perusing my cookbook shelf to see what cookbooks I could get rid of.  In doing so, I realized that it’s been a long time since I’ve made anything from my American Medical Association Family Health Cookbook. Perhaps it’s time for it to go?

So I pulled the cookbook down from the shelf and selected a bunch of recipes to make.  If the recipes turn out well I’ll keep the cookbook.  If we don’t love them then the cookbook is getting gifted to a friend. I picked some recipes that I’ve made before but never blogged about, and some recipes I’ve never made.  This particular recipe is new to me.  I chose it because it looked strongly flavored.  The kidney beans and rice are seasoned with a lot of garlic, thyme, and scallions, as well as a little allspice and coconut milk, plus one scotch bonnet (aka habanero) pepper. Read the rest of this entry »

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Turkish Red Lentil Soup

July 20, 2009 at 1:36 am (AMA, Beans, breakfast, B_(3 stars, like), Quick weeknight recipe, soup, Turkish)

Based on a recipe from the AMA cookbook. I’ve made this soup many times. I particularly like it for breakfast. It’s pretty authentic I think, since a Turkish friend makes a very similar soup, except he fries dried mint in oil before adding it to the soup, and adds some white rice with the lentils. This recipe is an old standby that I’ve reposted. It was originally posted on Oct 3, 2006. Read the rest of this entry »

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Think outside the soup: non-standard vichyssoise

May 7, 2008 at 5:09 pm (AMA, B plus (3.5 stars, like a lot), Cruciferous rich, French, Meyer & Romano, My brain, Other, Quick weeknight recipe, Root vegetables, soup, Starches, Vegetable dishes)

When I was growing up my mom would often make a vegan version of vichyssoise. It was a simple soup made with unpeeled potatoes from her garden, leeks and onions, olive oil, salt and pepper. I always enjoyed it, even without the typical additions of butter, cream, and chicken broth. I ate vichyssoise both cold and warm, and only found out last weekend that the name vichyssoise actually refers only to the cold soup. Warm potato leek soup apparently is given a different name.

After seeing nice-looking leeks in the Saarbruecken market last week, I thought it would be nice to make a spring vichyssoise as one course in our Saturday night dinner party. Although the leeks looked good, all the potatoes in the market appeared to be from last fall; they were all shriveled and starting to sprout. My friends Spoons and Kathy suggested I use celeriac instead, since the celeriac looked very fresh. I was hesistant, as I thought that celery root would be a very strong flavor to replace the normally quite mild, earthy potatoes. But they insisted that celeriac can be used anywhere you use potatoes. (I have no idea where the celeriac or the leeks were from, but assumed they weren’t local to Germany in early May.) Read the rest of this entry »

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The quest for the perfect skillet cornbread

February 10, 2007 at 5:47 pm (AMA, breakfast, Grains, Mom’s recipes, Quick weeknight recipe, Soymilk, unrated, Website / blog)

I have tried many cornbread recipes over the years, but have not yet settled on my favorite recipe. I’ll record below some of the many recipes I’ve tried. All recipes are designed to be made in a 9-inch cast iron skillet, and cut into 12 pieces. Typically, rather than making plain cornbread, I pour the cornbread batter over beans to make tamale pie.

This is my mom’s vegan cornbread recipe:

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.


  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1 cup white flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 2/3 tsp. baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 1-3 Tbl. sugar

Whisk together in a separate bowl, then add to dry ingredients:

  • 1 cup soymilk or 1 1/3 cups plain yogurt + 3 Tbs. water
  • 2-3 Tbl. oil

Pour into cast iron pan or 9 inch square pan. Mix sparingly. Bake about 20 minutes, or until top is golden brown.

This is a non-vegan but relatively light recipe originally from the AMA cookbook:

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Coat an 8-inch-square baking pan or cast iron skillet with vegetable oil spray.
In a large bowl, mix together:

  • 3/4 cup cornmeal
  • 3/4 cup white flour
  • 1.5 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 Tbl. sugar

Whisk together in a separate bowl:

  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup nonfat plain yogurt
  • 2 Tbs skim milk
  • 3 Tbs oil

Pour the wet mixture into the dry ingredients and whisk gently, until the batter has no lumps. Pour into the pan and smooth the top with a spatula. Bake in the center of the oven until the corn bread is golden brown on top and beginning to pull away from the sides of the pan, about 20 minutes. Cut into 12 pieces and serve hot.

PER PIECE: About 112 cals, 37 cals from fat, 4g total fat, 1g sat fat, 18mg chol, 208mg sodium, 15g total carbs, 1g fiber, 3g protein

My Notes:

I had some yogurt I wanted to use up but no egg, so I tried to improvise by substituting 1 Tbs. oil and 3 Tbs. unsweetened soymilk for the egg. I also used stone ground cornmeal, and added 1/2 cup of frozen corn kernels and 1/2 small can of green chilis to the batter. I poured the batter over beans to make tamale pie. After 20 minutes the top was starting to brown nicely but the underside of the cornbread was totally raw. We left it in for another 20 minutes and it was still a bit underdone but very tasty. I’m not sure what caused it to take so long to cook–the missing egg, the stoneground cornmeal, or the chilis and corn?

Take two: I followed the recipe exactly this time, and used the stone ground cornmeal. It baked up just fine in the specified amount of time. So clearly the issue was the egg or the additions, not the cornmeal.

This is a flour-less, gluten-free, very buttery recipe:

This recipe was given to me by my friend Kathy. She found it posted on epicurious, but it was originally printed in Gourmet magazine, as the recipe of Susan Goss, chef at Zinfandel, in Chicago.

Chef Susan Gross says that the secret here is in her cast-iron skillet. Nonstick pans produce anemic, soft corn bread. This recipe also works well with corn-stick or muffin molds, as long as they’re well-seasoned cast iron. If your pan is hot enough, the batter will immediately rise and start to cook around the edges. (The restaurant’s skillets rarely leave the oven.) At Zinfandel, the corn bread is served with a wonderful spread. To make it, combine 1 stick of softened unsalted butter with 2 tablespoons buckwheat honey (another honey or pure maple syrup can be substituted).

  • 1 1/2 cups yellow cornmeal (preferably stone-ground)
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 3/4 cups well-shaken buttermilk
  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • Accompaniment: buckwheat honey butter

  1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Put a dry, well-seasoned 9- to 9 1/2-inch cast-iron skillet in middle of oven to heat. Stir together cornmeal, baking soda, and salt, crushing any small bits of baking soda. Whisk eggs in another bowl until blended and whisk in buttermilk.
  2. Remove hot skillet from oven carefully and add butter, swirling gently to coat bottom and sides of skillet. (If butter begins to sizzle and brown around edges, so much the better.)
  3. Whisk hot butter into buttermilk mixture and return skillet to oven. Stir cornmeal into buttermilk mixture just until moistened. (The batter doesn’t have to be smooth — a few small lumps are good.)
  4. Scrape batter into hot skillet and bake until golden, 20 to 25 minutes. Invert skillet over a platter and cool bread at least 3 minutes.

Active time: 10 min, total time: 30 min

My notes:

Kathy and Spoons served this at their gluten-free 2006 Spoons’ birthday extravaganza, and it was delicious. Airy but substantial, with great big pieces of stone ground cornmeal and corn kernels (they added this–it’s not in the original recipe). I tried making it with normal fine-ground cornmeal, and it wasn’t that great. The crumb was very fine and it needed more salt (although I might have mis-measured the salt). Definitely not worth all that butter. I’ll have to try it again with stone ground cornmeal and see if it tastes like Kathy’s.

Update Feb 2012:  I made this gluten-free cornbread again using half masa harina and half “polenta”–a much coarser grind than normal cornmeal.  I cut the butter down to two Tablespoons and didn’t mix it into the batter, just left it on the bottom of the pan.  Instead of buttermilk I used about 1.5 cups whole milk yogurt plus 1/4 cup of water.  I added 2/3 tsp. of Morton kosher salt.  The cornbread came out well.  It had a nice texture and was crisp on the outside.  The flavor was salty and eggy, but pleasantly so.  (I might go back to 1/2 tsp. salt next time though.)  I’ll also add fresh corn next time!

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Molasses Raisin Bran Muffins

October 30, 2006 at 5:45 pm (AMA, breakfast, B_minus (2.5 stars), Dessert, Muffins and quick breads, Quick weeknight recipe)

These bran muffins have a noticeable molasses flavor and a moist crumb. Based on a recipe from AMA family cookbook.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Coat 12 muffin cups with vegetable oil spray or line with paper liners.
In a large bowl, whisk together:

  • 1 1/4 cups wheat bran
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup white flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt (a little too salty?)
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger

In small bowl whisk together until smooth:

  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil

Whisk in:

  • 1/4 cup honey (use the same cup you measured the oil in)
  • 1/4 cup molasses (ditto)
  • 1 cup nonfat buttermilk

When well mixed, stir in

  • 1/2 cup raisins

Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir until no specks of flour remain. Do not overmix. Spoon into the muffin tins, filling them about 3/4 full.
Bake until the muffins are a dark brown, 18 to 22 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature. These muffins can be refrigerated for 1 day or frozen for 2 weeks.

My Notes

I didn’t have buttermilk so I substituted 3/4 cup nonfat yogurt and 1/4 cup unsweetened soymilk. I skimped just a bit on the 1/2 tsp. salt as well. The muffins are small but make a pretty nice snack. I like the bran texture, and the taste is pretty good. These aren’t the ultimate bran muffins but I enjoy them. They’re not quite decadent enough for dessert, unless they were served maybe with an icing or compote or side of fruit or something. They’d be a nice addition to breakfast as well, except they’re pretty low in protein (only 9% of the calories are from protein, and almost 30% are from fat, plus they have 3.5g fiber).

For slightly larger muffins, it might be worth multiplying this recipe by 1.25…. or going the other way and making them smaller in a mini-muffin tin. I’d like to try making these vegan sometime, using flax seeds.

Rating: B

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Cranberry Pumpkin Bread

October 11, 2006 at 12:44 am (Alma's faves, AMA, B plus (3.5 stars, like a lot), Dessert, Muffins and quick breads, Quick weeknight recipe, Yearly menu plan) ()

This is a great fall dessert. I make it at least once or twice each fall when I first see fresh cranberries in the stores. The pumpkin and cornmeal give this bread a great texture and the cranberries are marvelously tart. I made it last year for Thanksgiving and everyone liked it. This is based on a recipe in the AMA Family Health cookbook. I’ve decreased the sugar, doubled the number of cranberries, and swapped out half the flour for whole wheat flour. It was good to start with, and now I think it’s even better! The traditional look is to bake this in a loaf pan but I think it holds together better and has a better (crispier) texture when baked in a standard cake pan. Read the rest of this entry »

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