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 (

Monday, October 28, 2019

Marinated Whole Wheat Pasta and Vegetable Salad

I posted the recipe for this dish in May of 2006, not long after I first started blogging, in 2005.  For years it was a staple dish in my kitchen, and then as so often happens it fell by the wayside and I forgot about it.

And then I was looking for something to make for a mint and parsley themed potluck for my spice group and it popped into my head.

I am not a fan of those pasta salads that involve lots of mayonnaise and cubed cheese.  I liked the idea of this dish when I first ran across it because it features more healthful options.

You can find the recipe here in my original post.  The only difference this time is that the farmer's market did not have the broccoli that usually goes in this salad but they had kalettes, a cross between kale and Brussels sprouts.  I was pretty sure they would work just as well and indeed they did.

The other difference is that because it was a parsley and mint potluck I added some mint to the oregano and basil for the vinaigrette.

This dish is best if made ahead so the flavors have time to combine, which gives you plenty of time to plan ahead.  You do not have to use whole wheat pasta, but in my opinion it stays firmer in these kinds of dishes than regular pasta does.

Monday, October 21, 2019

Chioggia Beet and Fennel Salad

I made this version of my ubiquitous beet salad for the friends I had over for dinner the week before last.  (If you want to see more versions, enter "beet salad" in the Search This Blog window in the upper right corner.) It was the first time I had used Chioggia beets.  They are noticeably sweeter than red beets and made for a delicious salad.  I was somewhat disconcerted, however, that they did not turn all of the other ingredients red and so it did not look like my usual beet salad.

But it tasted just as delicious.  This is great to make for company as it actually tastes better if made the day before you plan to serve it and all of the vegetables have time to marinate and the flavors all come together.  And in my book there are few vegetables that combine as well together as beets and fennel.

How was it received?  Both of my guests asked for the recipe.  So here you have it!
Home Cookin v9.76 Chapter: Beans and Vegetables
1 bunch Chioggia beets, boiled and sliced
1 large fennel bulb, trimmed, cored and thinly sliced
1/4 medum red onion, thinly sliced
2 large celerty stalks, sliced
1/2 cup toasted walnuts
2 to 3 Tbsp chopped fresh dill, or to taste
blood orange-infused olive oil for garnish (optional)

For the vinaigrette:
1/4 cup lemon juice or vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Combine the beets, fennel, onion and celery in a large bowl and toss together.

To make the vinaigrette, combine the lemon juice and olive oil in a small jar. Season with salt and pepper. Cover the jar and shake well until the oil and vinegar have emulsified.

Pour the dressing over the beet mixture and stir until everything is well coated with the vinaigrette. Add the dill and stir it into the salad.

Just before serving, drizzle the blood orange-infused olive oil and walnuts over the top of the salad.

exported from Home Cookin v9.76 (

Monday, October 14, 2019

Savory Cauliflower Cake

The subtitle of this post should be:  In Which I Learn to Make a Recipe As Written before I Start Playing with It.  It took me a few tries to perfect it, which basically involved moving closer and closer to the original.

For my first attempt I left out the roasted red pepper as I did not have any on hand and did not think it would make much of a difference.  The result was bland and all I could taste was the cauliflower.  Which was not bad, but why go to all the trouble of making it if that is all the flavor you are going to get?  I kept the cauliflower pieces on the large side, which contributed to that being the main discernible flavor.  But there was enough potential for me to try again.

For my second attempt I decided to add the roasted red pepper and used the baking powder that the recipe called for instead of the baking soda I accidentally used on the first version.  As you can see, it got a much better rise and the red pepper made it much more visually appealing.  It also added a welcome complexity of flavor.  I cut the cauliflower into smaller pieces but they were still on the large side.  I also did not cook the onions or the cauliflower enough so it was a little crunchy and not as cohesive as I thought it should be.  But I knew I was on the right track and decided to give it one more try.

For this last version, the only change I made was to increase the amount of caraway and coriander, and I used fresh dill instead of the dried dill I used in the original two versions.  The end result was a delicious, satisfying dish that works as a side dish or entree.

I would like to say that I have learned my lesson about not playing with a recipe until I've followed it as written.  But: old dog; new tricks.
Home Cookin v9.76 Chapter: Beans and Vegetables
Servings: 6

1 medium head cauliflower (about 2 pounds), trimmed and broken into small florets
1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 tsp caraway seed, ground or crushed
1 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper, or to taste
3/4 tsp salt, divided
3/4 cup garbanzo bean flour
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
6 large eggs
1 jarred roasted red pepper, rinsed and chopped (about 1/2 cup)
3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
3 Tbsps chopped fresh dill, divided

Break the cauliflower into large florets and place in a microwave-safe casserole dish. Add a couple of tablespoons of water, cover, and cook on high for about four minutes, until the cauliflower is tender. (This can be done the day before the casserole is assembled and baked).

Once the cauliflower has cooled or just before putting together the rest of the dish, cut the florets into small pieces about the size of chickpeas.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 9-inch cake pan.

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, until it is tender and golden, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in the caraway seed, coriander, crushed red pepper and 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about one minute. Add the cauliflower and stir gently until it is well coated with the onion and spice mix. Cook for another 2 to 3 minutes to combine all of the flavors.

Combine the garbanzo bean flour, all purpose flour, baking powder and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a small bowl and whisk together. Crack the eggs into a large bowl and whisk together until they are well mixed. Add the dry ingredients and continue to whisk to combine and to elimiate any lumps. Stir in the roasted red pepper, feta and 2 tablespoons of the dill. Add the cauliflower mixture and comine. Spread the mixture evenly into the cake pan.

Bake until the top is golden and the cake is set, 35 to 45 minutes. Let cool to warm and remove from the pan. Serve warm or at room temperature, garnished with the remaining 1 tablespoon dill.

adapted from this recipe from Eating Well Magazine
exported from Home Cookin v9.76 (

Monday, October 07, 2019

Braised Chicken Thighs with Marinated Artichokes

I bookmarked and saved this recipe a few years ago and recently had the opportunity to make it.  It was an unqualified success.  There is a little bit of work involved, as you sear the chicken thighs skin-side down before baking, but other than that it is a simple dish and even with that extra step I was able to make it for guests on a weeknight after work.  And if you really don't want to put in the extra effort of browning the skin I have it on good authority that you can skip that step and it will still turn out delicious.  So for company, I would take that extra step but when it's just for family I will most likely skip it.

But I will definitely be making it again.  For such a simple dish there is a large "wow" factor that makes it perfect for entertaining, as you can see in this photo, which I think looks just as good, if not better, than the original recipe!

The cooking juices are on the thin side so I served it over rice.  It was the right decision, although it would also be good with roasted new potatoes, I am thinking.

You can find the recipe here.  I pretty much followed it exactly as written.  If you do too you will not be disappointed.

Monday, September 30, 2019

Restaurant Review: Casa Yari, Logan Square, Chicago

Thought I’d give a shout out to Casa Yari, an amazing Puerto Rican/Honduran fusion restaurant in Logan Square. For just about every meat entree they also offer a vegeterian and a vegan version and it is all delicious and beautifully presented.  I first went with friends to check it out as a possible place for one of our Spice Group BYOB dinners.  The verdict was unanimous and we went for it.  And then we went back again for some folks who couldn't make that dinner.  And I plan to go again soon!  It's near the intersection of Fullerton and Kimball and not that difficult to get to with public transportation and again, it is well worth the effort.

These yucca fritters were amazingly delicious, with a light crunchy exterior and soft, pillowy interior.  There was just enough seasoning to enhance the taste without overshadowing the delicate flavor of the yucca.  It would be worth going there for these alone.

A lot of the food here is fried.  But it is all fried with such a delicate touch that it is not at all greasy.  It's not something I would want to eat every day for health reasons, but if it's going to be fried, this is definitely the way I want to go.

There were other appetizers we did not try that looked delicious as well.  I plan to rectify that situation the next time I dine there.

For the paladar, they offer a meat version (Chicken-Cheese (flour) and Shredded Beef and Potato (corn dough)) and a vegetarian version (Spinach-Cheese and Potato (flour), Bean and Corn (corn dough)).  Since there were vegetarians dining with us we opted for the vegetarian version, and both the flour and the corn dough empanadas were delicious.  Again, the exteriors were light and crisp and the interiors were full full of flavor.  Either the yucca fritters or the empanadas (or both) would make a meal in and of themselves.

The pastelon is the Chef's take on a Caribbean version of lasagna where the noodles are replaced with sweet plaintains.  They offer a beef, vegetarian, and vegan versions of this dish.  The vegetarian version was quite tasty, although I am not a huge fan of sweet plantain.  I much prefer the less ripe, savory plantain so I think I would have liked this better if it were made with unripe plantains.  But that did not seem to be a problem for anyone else.

And now for the piece de resistance.  I felt obligated to try their mofongo, a staple of Puerto Rican cuisine.  Although they offer a vegan version with jackfruit which was tempting, I had to go with the more traditional pork version.  It was full of garlic and savory plantain, and the pork was tender and flavorful, with beautifully crisp edges.

They get as many points for presentation as for flavor.  Every dish looked gorgeous and it was clear that great thought was given to how they should be presented.  All three times we went the service was exceptional and the atmosphere was warm and inviting.  For such well crafted, sourced and delicious fare it is wallet friendly, especially being BYOB.

If you are looking for something special you can enjoy on any occasion, you can't go wrong with Casa Yari.  I cannot recommend it highly enough.

Their hours vary from day to day and they are closed on Mondays and Tuesdays so be sure to check the schedule before you go.  The restaurant is small so I would recommend that you make a reservation.  From what I observed the three times I was there they have a booming takeout business.

Casa Yari
3268 W Fullerton Ave, Chicago, IL 60647
(773) 661-9546
Hours:  varied
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