Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Squeeze Inn

 This is a "Squeeze" with cheese.  One of the more unusual cheeseburgers I've come across as of late, it's a 1/4 lb. burger topped with a "Skirt" of melty, crusty, bubbly, cheddar cheese.  The Squeeze Inn  also has terrific french fries and the most unusual Tacos I've ever eaten (I can't even begin to describe that experience).  If you are ever in Sacramento, CA you have to give The Squeeze Inn a try. Ooh! And it's Super Cheap!

Vegan Chili

I love this recipe because not only is it super easy to make , it screams to be gussied up with your favorite ingredients and toppings.  You can serve it over cooked spaghetti like they do in the diners around Chicago.  Try it over Spanish rice with chopped green olives (anchovy stuffed ~ yum!) thrown on top.  My friends love it served over a bed of steamed broccoli and cauiflower.  Kids will love it tossed with cooked macaroni, Chili~Mac.  I love it simple,  with kernel corn and steamed zucchini stirred in.  The possibilities are endless.  This Vegan Chili is so yummy, healthy, and not at all scary.  I doubt anyone would ever turn up a nose at a steaming bowl of this hearty bean stew. 

My Easiest Vegan Chili

Olive Oil, for cooking
1 medium Yellow Onion, peeled & diced
1 T. Garlic, minced
1 t. Granulated Garlic, coarse ground garlic powder
1 t. Oregano
2 t. ground Cumin
2 T. Dark Cocoa Powder
1 15 oz. can Tomato Sauce
1 1/2 cans Water
1 T. Veggie Soup Base**, a paste form of bouillon found in most grocery stores
2 t. Pasilla Chili Powder*
2 t. Ancho Chili Powder*
1 t. Arbol Chili Powder*
1/2 t. Red Chili Flakes
Kosher Salt, to taste
Black Pepper, to taste
1/4 c. Masa Flour ~or~ 3 (5 inch) Corn Tortillas, torn
1 14 1/2 oz. Black Beans
1 14 1/2 oz. White Beans
1 c. Soyrizo ~or~ any Sausage Substitute, browned & crumbled

    In a medium stock pot heat the Olive Oil over medium heat.  Saute the Onion and Garlic until the onions are translucent.  Add in Granulated Garlic, Oregano, Cumin and Cocoa Powder and stir until a smooth paste forms.  Add in the Tomato Sauce, Water, Chicken Base, Chili Powders, and Red Chili Flakes.  Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer for 15-20 min. stirring occasionally.  Stir in the Masa Flour or Corn Tortillas and simmer for another 15-20 min.  Stir in the Black Beans, White Beans, and the Soyrizo, simmer until hot.  Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.  Serve and enjoy.

*The Chili Powders can be found nowdays at most grocery stores or you local Latin Market.
**You can substitute 2-3 cups of Vegetarian Broth or Stock for the Water and Veggie Soup Base.

While on a walk I came upon this cat...

Thomas o' Malley

Thomas o' Malley is a ginger tabby
with sleek body that's not flabby
He was somehow, by persons unknown,
discarded, but with us found a home.
He has lazy green eyes and pink nose
always sitting in comfortable pose.

Thomas is not just an ordinary good cat,
at times he's worse than a stinking rat.
He talks to his human in various sounds
as they, in the garden, do their rounds.
He has his comments and criticisms
of the layout, watering and schisms.

Thomas is a connoiseur and taster of food
as he'll not eat if not in the right mood.
He looks with disdain on the other cats
as they scramble for cookie rats.
He'll have fish biscuits, if you please,
not on the floor in the dirt and fleas.
~ Dr. J A Vorster ~

Happy Birthday George Harrison

While My Guitar Gently Weeps

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Poeny in Love ~ by Lisa See

 I am completely captivated by Peony in Love.  A beautiful novel of love, strong women, and what lies on the other side.  Lisa See is a masterful storyteller, artfully weaving Chinese history and folklore in a tapestry of lush tales of heartbreak, rivalry, and friendship.  I highly reccommend this book.

I ❤ Rugelach!

I'm a Catholic girl who worked in a Jewish Deli for 10 years. I made latkes, blintzes, matzo balls, and kugels. I built up my arms packing buckets of sauerkraut, pickling barrels of cucumbers, and slinging briskets of corned beef and pastrami. I toasted and schmeared bagels, sliced the lox, baked the bobka, and scrambled the matzo brei. Day in and day out it was all about Food. Food. Food. Food. Day in, and day out. I loved it. Especially the Rugelach.
I worked tirelessly to perfect my Rugelach recipe. Tender and flaky. Rich and fluffy, with a beautiful golden crust. Oh, the miracle that is Cream Cheese, Butter, and Flour. I made tray after tray of the Apricot, Raspberry, Chocolate, and Cinnamon confections (best eaten 5 min. out of the oven). I love that smell. I love to eat them more.
Now I'm making my own varieties. A little unorthodx, but a lot delicious!

Mission Fig & Goat Cheese Rugelach with Hazelnuts

Jamaican Banana Bread

Yesterday was not a day for going out, it was cool and cloudy and verging on a cloud burst all morning. A perfect day for baking, in my book.
I tied on my apron, did a quick inventory of the pantry, and decided I was making Banana Bread, since I had everything I would need.


* Cooking Spray
* 2 T. Butter, softened
* 2 T. Neufchatel Cream Cheese, softened
* 1 c. Sugar
* 1 large Egg
* 2 c. all-purpose Flour
* 2 t. Baking Powder
* 1/2 t. Baking Soda
* 1/4 t. Kosher Salt
* 1 c. mashed ripe Banana (approx. 2)
* 1/2 cup Vanilla Soy Milk
* 1 T. Dark Rum
* 1 t. grated Lime Zest
* 1 T. freshly squeezed Lime Juice
* 1 t. Vanilla Extract
* 1/4 c. Pecans, chopped & toasted
* 1/4 c. flaked sweetened Coconut

For the Glaze:
* 1/4 c. packed Light Brown Sugar
* 2 t. Butter
* 1/2 t. grated Lime Zest
* 1 T. freshly squeezed Lime Juice
* 2 t. Dark Rum
* 2 T. Pecans, chopped & toasted
* 2 T. flaked sweetened Coconut

Preheat oven to 375°. Coat an 8 x 4-inch loaf pan with Cooking Spray. Line the pan with parchment paper (over hang the lip by 1 in. in all sides) and spray again; set aside (optional).

Beat the Butter and Neufchatel Cream Cheese at medium speed of a mixer; add the Sugar, beating well after the addition. Add the Egg; beat well.

Combine the Flour, Baking Powder, Baking Soda, and Kosher Salt; whisk together. In a separate bowl combine the Banana, Vanilla Soy Milk, Dark Rum, Lime Zest, Lime Juice, and Vanilla Extract; stir well. Add the flour mixture to creamed butter mixture alternately with the banana mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture; mix well after each addition. Fold in the Pecans and Coconut.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan; bake at 375° for 50 to 60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow loaf to cool in the pan for 10 minutes; remove from pan. Let cool on a wire rack.

For the Glaze:
Combine the Light Brown Sugar, Butter, Lime Zest, Lime Juice, and Dark Rum in a saucepan; bring to a simmer. Cook 1 minute; stirring constantly. Remove from the heat. Stir in the Pecans and Coconut; spoon over the loaf.