Monday, January 13, 2020

Eggplant and Cinnamon Pasta Sauce

I first made this Cinnamon Eggplant Pasta Sauce back in 2016.  It is a lovely departure from pasta with a more Italian style tomato sauce.  I adapted it from a couple of recipes I found online.  It comes together quickly and makes a hearty dinner for those weeknights when you don't feel like spending a lot of time in the kitchen but want something that will stick to your bones.  It also freezes well.

I served it over linguine here but it also goes well with orzo, and any other pasta for that matter.
Home Cooking 7.96 Chapter: Appetizers Spreads Dips Sauces
1 medium chopped onion
4-5 cloves minced garlic
1 medium eggplant, quartered and sliced 1/4-1/2" thick
28 oz can diced tomatoes
1/2 tsp cinnamon
pinch rosemary
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 tsp salt, or to taste

Heat oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet. Add the onions and garlic and cook until the onion is translucent. Add the eggplant and salt and saute until tender, about 10 minutes.

Add tomatoes, cinnamon and rosemary. Lower the heat, cover, and simmer for 10-15 minutes. Remove cover and allow liquid the to reduce, about 20 more minutes.

Serve over pasta.


Exported from Home Cookin v9.76 (

Monday, January 06, 2020

Red Lentil Dal with Cumin Seeds

I made my first red lentil (masoor) dal almost a decade ago.  It was delicious and flavored with many of the spices I have come to associate with Indian food.

In the interim years I have fallen victim to the idea that every Indian dish I make should have all of the spices I associate with Indian food in them.  Everything I have made is delicious, but it has all tended to taste the same.  So when my friend @virg.o121 on Instagram offered me her recipe for dal I must admit I was skeptical, as the only spices in it were turmeric, red chili, and cumin seeds.

But she was kind enough to share it with me, so I decided to make it.  And am I glad I did!  This recipe brought home to me how less is often so much more when it comes to food.  The lentils have a simple but surprisingly complex flavor and the cumin really shines!

It went together well with cilantro lime rice and would also be good with chapatis or roti.  And it comes together quickly for a fast weeknight meal.

Home Cookin v9.76 Chapter: Beans and Vegetables
1 cup red lentils
1 Tbsp grapeseed oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 onion, chopped
1 clove grated or crushed garlic
1 medium tomato, chopped, or 1 Tbsp tomato paste
cayenne to taste
salt to taste
1/3 tsp turmeric
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Combine the red lentils with enough water to cover by three inches in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat, then simmer over medium-low heat until tender, about 20 minutes.

When the lentils are done heat the oil over medium-high heat in a medium sized skillet. When the oil is hot add the cumin and let sizzle for about a minute, until it starts to crackle. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until the onions are soft and golden.

Add the tomato/tomato past along with the salt, cayenne and turmeric. Saute for several seconds to bloom the spices.

Add the onion and spice miture to the red lentils and let it simmer until it reaches the desired consistency, adding water as necessary. Keep in mind that it will thicken once removed from the heat.

Remove from the heat and add the chopped cilantro.

recipe by instagrammer @virg_o12

exported from Home Cookin v.9.76 (

Monday, December 23, 2019

Vegetarian Pinto Bean Sloppy Joes

This Vegetarian Pinto Bean Sloppy Joe recipe hits all of the buttons for a hearty satisfying cold weather comfort dish for both vegetarians and meat eaters.  The flavor profile is spot on and it has the same luscious consistency as the original beef version.  It's the perfect dish for these cold winter months.

I won't lie, there is a lot of chopping of vegetables involved.  But once you get into the dicing groove it goes pretty quickly, and once the carrots and onions are in the skillet you can start working on the garlic and red peppers, and so on, so much of the work is done during the cooking process.  And the end result is well worth the effort.
Home Cookin v9.76 Chapter: Beans and Vegetables
2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
2 medium carrots, diced
1 large white onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 large red bell pepper, diced
4 cups very thinly sliced green cabbage
1 Tbsp chili powder
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp allspice
1 tsp paprika
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp date or brown sugar
1 tsp salt
2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 cups cooked drained pinto beans
12 oz passata or tomato sauce
3/4 cup water
2 Tbsp tomato paste
1 medium zucchini, chopped
1 cup corn, fresh or frozen (thawed)

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add carrots and onion; cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minuts. Add the garlic and red pepper and cook for another 3 minutes. Add the spices and cook until fragrant, about a minute. Add the cabbage and cook for another minute or two until the spices are evenly distributed.

Add tomato paste and cook for a minute, then add the water, apple cider vinegar and passata. Bring to a boil and let simmer for 15 minutes.

Add zucchini and bring back to a simmer then cook for 5 minutes. Add corn and beans and cook until heated through.

adapted from this Eating Well Magazine s.htmlrecipe found at Eating Well Magazine

exported from Home Cookin v.9.76 (

Monday, December 16, 2019

Baking Class: Sourdough Focaccia

I found this recipe for sourdough focaccia a few years ago and have been making it regularly ever since so I figure it's about time that I share it with you.  It is thicker, softer, and more bread-like than the Focaccia de Luciano I posted about here.  Both are delicious and I will sometimes make that one and sometimes make this one.  The Focaccia de Luciano is thinner and more crisp.  I think because of that it goes stle pretty fast and is best made when there will be enough people to eat it in one sitting.

This focaccia lasts a bit longer so it can be made when you know you might have leftovers on hand for a few days.  Both are delicious as is, or topped with herbs and/or cheese and other goodies.
Home Cookin v.9.73 Chapter: Breads and Muffins

275g (1-1/2 cups) active starter
1 cup water
1/4 cup olive oil
1 Tbsp honey
120g (1 cup flour)

1/4 cup olive oil
480g (4 cups) flour
2 tsp fine sea salt
2 Tbsp olive oil, plus about 2 Tbsp more for spreading over the top before baking

Combine the ingredients for the sponge in a large bowl.  Cover and let rise for a few hours until it is quite bubbly.  Add the rest of the ingredients and mix until a soft dough forms.

Turn the dough out onto a floured board and knead for 5 to 7 minutes, until smooth and elastic, adding more flour as needed.  The dough should be soft and slightly sticky.  Form into a ball and place in a greased bowl.  Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled, about 1-1/2 hours.

Pour two tablespoons of olive oil into a rimmed half-sheet size (or two quarter size) baking sheet(s) and spread it evenly across the bottom(s).  Gently punch down the dough and then press it into the pan as evenly as possible.  Cover with a towel and let rise until doubled in size, about one hour.

After 30 minutes, preheat the oven to 450° F.  When the oven is ready, dock the dough lightly with the tips of your fingers.  Brush the top with olive oil and sprinkle with coarse sea salt.

Bake for 20 minutes, or until golden brown.  Remove from the oven and let cool for a few minutes before removing it from the pan.  Let it cool on a rack to your desired serving temperature.

Adapted from

exported from Home Cookin v.9.76 (

Monday, December 09, 2019

Baking Class: Basic Buttermilk Biscuits

I have posted a biscuit recipe before but was never fully satisfied with it.  Although it made flaky biscuits, they were missing that quintessential biscuit texture and flavor but I did not know why.  And then I was recently looking for recipes to make them with my baking companion and I discovered that the recipe I had been using had eggs in it and many that I was seeing online did not.  So I tried it without the eggs and boom - there was that beautiful biscuit flavor I had been missing for so long.

These biscuits are easy to make and delicious.  I also learned a new trick for making them even flakier than I was getting with the folding method.  Instead of being folded they get cut into three pieces, stacked, rolled or patted, and then cut and stacked again two more times before being cut into biscuits.

If you are looking for a simple, classic biscuit recipe then look no further - this is the one!
Home Cookin v9.76 Chapter: Breads and Muffins
2 cups (240g) all purpose flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 cup cold buttermilk

Cut the butter into 32 equal pieces and place in the freezer for about 15 minutes.

Whisk together the flour, baing powder, baking soda and salt in a large mixing bowl. Add the cubed cold butter and cut it into the flour mixture with a pastry cutter or your fingers until the butter is the size of petite peas.

Preheat the oven to 450° F.

Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and add the cold buttermilk. Gently stir to combine until everything just comes together.

Place the dough onto a floured surface and work it gently into a ball. Pat it out into a rectangle approximately 1/2-inch high. With a sharp knife, cut the rectangle into thirds crosswise and stack the three layers. Pat it out into another 1/2-inch rectanble.

Scoop the dough onto a lightly floured surface and gently work it together with your hands. Pat the dough into a rectangle and fold it in thirds. Turn the dough, gather any crumbs, and flatten back into a rectangle. Repeat this process two more times.

Cut out the biscuits with a 2.5- or 3-inch biscuit cutter, making sure to push straight down without twisting to ensure that they will rise. Place on a rimmed baking sheets so that they are touching each other.

Bake for 15 minutes, until the biscuits are lightly browned, turning the tray in the oven about halfway through. Start checking after about 12 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for a few minutes.

adapted from recipe found at

exported from Home Cookin v9.76 (

Monday, November 25, 2019

Red Cabbage, Carrot and Basil Slaw

Greetings from Austin.  I am home for Thanksgiving and I thought I would share the recipe for this red cabbage and carrot slaw I made for a recent dinner with friends.  It's a refreshing change from the traditional mayonnaise-based slaw, with a nice Asian twist.

It makes a beautiful side for any meal and would be a great addition to your Thanksgiving spread if you are looking for something a little different from the usual T-day fare.
Home Cookin v9.76 Chapter: Beans and Vegetables
3 Tbsp Rice Vinegar
2 Tbsp Soy Sauce
2 Tbsp sesame oil
1 medium shallot, diced
1 clove garlic, crushed or grated
2 Tbsp grated ginger
1/2 tsp sugar
1/4 cup grapeseed oil

1/2 head red cabbage, thinly sliced
1 medium carrot, thinly julienned or grated
1/4 red onion, cut in thirds and thinly sliced
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds for garnish (optional)

To make the dressing, combine the first seven ingredients and whisk together. Add the grapeseed oil in a continuous stream, whisking constantly.

Combine the cabbage, carrot and the red onion in a large bowl and season to taste with the salt and pepper. Add the dressing and mix well.

Refrigerate for at least one hour before serving. Remove from the refrigerator and bring to room temperature. Add the basil and cilantro just before serving.  Serve the sunflower seeds on the side to prevent them from getting soggy.

November 14, 2019

exported from Home Cookin v9.76 (

Monday, November 18, 2019

Fast and Easy Baked Chicken Thighs

I thought I would share with you what has become my standard baked chicken recipe.  It takes minutes to prepare and you can make rice and whatever vegetables or salad you want to go with it while it is baking.  You can use skinless if you prefer, but that is pretty much my favorite part of the chicken so I always use skin-on pieces and folks can remove it if they don't want to eat it.

This recipe offers a huge return of flavor for minimal effort.  I make it just about once a week.  Once you try it I am sure it will become a regular part of your dinner rotations as well.

Home Cookin v9.76 Chapter: Meat Fish and Eggs
6 to 8 bone in chicken thighs with skin
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 to 1 tsp garlic powder
1 - 2 tsp paprika
1 - 2 tsp thyme

Preheat oven to 350° F.

Arrange chicken thighs in a single layer in a baking dish. Cover and cook for about 40 minutes, then uncover and cook for another 30 minutes, until the skin is crisp and the internal temperature registers 165° F.

Remove from the oven and let sit at least ten minutes before serving.

November 14, 2019

exported from Home Cookin v9.76 (

Monday, November 11, 2019

Baking Class: Artisan Sourdough No Knead Bread

I have been working on sourdough no-knead bread for a while and I think I have finally figured it out enough to get consistent results. Most recipes call for a small amount of starter proportionate to the rest of the ingredients but I had built up a sizeable starter for my fennel seed bread and did not feel like mixing and kneading the dough so I decided to turn it into a no-knead loaf instead.  I did not want to waste the additional starter.  I wondered what would happen if I used more starter and put it into the refrigerator immediately rather than letting it sit outside for hours.  I used this percentage method for calculating starter I found at Chocolate and Zucchini to calculate the amount of starter to use and went to work.

My first attempt was decent with a good crumb, but the crust was a bit soft.  The crumb was decent, however,  and I knew I was on the right path.
My next attempt yielded the result you see here.  The crust was crisp and chewy.  And the crumb was all that I could have hoped it would be!

An interesting note - I only had about a third of a cup of whole wheat flour (not sure how that happened!) so I added enough rye flour to make a full cup.  The result was delicious and I think I will keep that ratio in the future.  And of  course I will play with other flour combinations as well.

But this one is a keeper.  You mix the dough together and put it in the fridge for a couple of days, maybe take it out and fold it once, and then take it out and bake it.  It's as close to set it and forget it as an artisanal home-made bread can be.
Home Cookin v9.76 Chapter: Breads and Muffins
Artisan Sourdough No-Knead Bread
142 g starter
304 g water
120 g any combination of whole wheat or rye flour
229 g white bread flour
12 g salt

Combine the flours with the salt and whisk together.

Dissolve the starter into the water. Add the dry ingredients and stir to combine. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerator for as little as overnight or as long as three days. If more than two days, remove from the refrigerate and bring to room temperature, then fold about 15 times. Cover and put back in the refrigerator until ready to bake, up to two days later.

When ready to bake, remove from the refrigerator and bring to room temprature. Fold the dough again 10 to 15 times, then transfer to a floured piece of parchment paper in a bowl. Cover with a towel and let rise until doubled, about one-and-a-half to two hours.

After about 45 minutes, place a Dutch oven with the lid on it into a cool oven and preheat it to 500°. When the dough has risen and you are ready to bake, remove the pot from the oven and carefully drop the dough into the hot pot. Cover and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the lid, lower the heat to 450° and bake for an additional 15 minutes.

Let cool completely on rack.

adapted from

Monday, November 04, 2019

Chili-Style Pinto Beans

I made a batch of skillet cornbread last weekend for breakfast and had quite a bit left over for the rest of the week so I decided to make some pinto beans to eat with it.  I didn't feel like looking for a recipe so I decided to wing it.

I basically threw all of the ingredients into a Dutch oven, filled it with water, brought it to a boil and then turned it to a simmer and cooked it for a couple of hours until the beans were tender.  It turned out to be a great way to use up some vegetables that needed to be used sooner rather than later and was basically effortless.

I usually season my pinto beans with cumin, oregano and cilantro but adding different vegetables made me think about using a different seasoning so I added some of my DIY Chili Powder, which is made with cumin and oregano but also has quite a bit of paprika in it.  It made for a nice change from my usual flavor profile.

I split the cornbread and spooned the beans over it and topped the whole thing with avocado slices.  It made hearty, satisfying lunch and traveled well for the work week.

This dish is easy to throw together and is perfect for a chilly Autumn day.
Home Cookin v9.76 Chapter: Beans and Vegetables
1/2 lb dry pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 onion, chopped
3 cloves minced garlic
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 hot red pepper (such as a Barker's Hot Pepper or a Fresno Chili)
1 pickled jalapeno, or to taste
14 oz can of diced tomatoes
1 tsp kosher salt, or to taste
1 tsp ground cumin
1 Tbsp chili powder
1 Tbsp crushed oregano

Combine all of the ingredients in a medium size dutch oven and add enough water to cover the mixture by about three inches. Bring to a boil over medium heat then cover, lower to a simmer, and cook for about three hours, until beans are tender. Check every half hour or so and add water as necessary.

Remove the jalapeno, chop it, and then stir it back into the beans before serving.

20 October 2019

exported from Home Cookin v9.76 (

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