Posts Tagged ‘Recipe Exchange’


E is for Edamame

July 24, 2012

Indeed. E is for Edamame. They are probably one of my favorite legumes. I may have used “Erik Enthusiastically Eats Edamame” as one of those ice-breaker thingies in school. Yeah, I heart them that much. They are such a vivid springy green bean, packed full of protein and off the charts on the versatility scale. Why when I was an economic vegetarian in college, edamame were my equivalent of Frank’s Red Hot. I really put that shit on everything…well sans desserts. RamenàEdamame Ramen! Mac n’ Cheese + EdamameàAsian Mac n’ Cheese! Boring Salad + Edamameà Somewhat Exciting Poor College Student Salad! Yay!

So have you ever played that game “Eat the Fridge?” It is the game one plays when they are having first world problems like:

“I’m soo hungry and I want a meal but I don’t want to go to the store. It’s soo far. What do I have in the fridge that is about to wither and die?”

Well that is how this recipe was born. I had a lot of items in my fridge, and they all happened to be green…and expiring soon.  Best of all it is super easy, relatively inexpensive, and healthy because it is like Green!

Erik’s Green Goodness Edamame Hummus

  • 1 package of frozen edamame, de-shelled
  • 1 avocado, cubed
  • 1 bunch of cilantro, chopped
  • 2 limes, juiced
  • 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 sprigs of green onion (I had greens from a candy onion)
  • 1 jalapeño (with seeds if you want that extra kick)
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Cook edamame on the stove according to instructions. Actually cook a few minutes longer to help soften up the edamame further.  Strain and rinse well.

In a food processor (or magic bullet if you are me), put your edamame, avocado, cilantro, lime juice, jalapeño, and olive oil. Will it blend? I believe so. Process for a few minutes, stir with a spoon in between pulses to mix it up a bit more. If necessary, add up to ¼ c of water and/or more olive oil if the beans aren’t blending properly. When it is as smooth as you like (I like a really smooth hummus) stop pulsing and put into the fridge to chill up. Serve with pita chips, rice crackers or artisan crudités (my fancy way of saying cut veggies).



D is for Demerara Sugar (Raw raw raw ahh ahh)

February 5, 2011

That’s just fancy talk for raw sugar. It probably seems like a rather simple ingredient, and while it is, it is a welcome addition to a recipe IMHO.

Demerara sugar typically has a light golden brown color, similar to that of brown sugar but its texture is actually more like that of regular white granulated sugar. It has a much nicer crunch factor though. So what makes demerara sugar so different (I kind of want to call it D-Shugg)? Well, I’ll tell you <(^_^)> ! All sugar is not created equal. D-Shugg comes from pressed sugar cane juice that is steamed and then becomes a thick syrup. This syrup is dehydrated and voila! in its wake it becomes crunchy, slightly molasses-y, and delicious. Fairly simple and natural process right? It’s sad that it is generally more expensive that refined white sugar <(T_T)>.  Wamp wamp. On an interesting note, its name comes from the Demerara colony in Guyana where it was originally sourced. Use this tidbit to impress that special someone at the next party you go to. <(^_~)>

Also, here in the U.S. we have our own version of raw sugar referred to as turbinado. For this type, the cane juice is spun in a turbine or centrifuge. It has a slight taste difference than demerara but they are pretty interchangeable. Regardless of your choice of sweetness, raw sugar has a higher moisture content so try and store in an airtight container like you would brown sugars.

This is a large granule raw sugar my parents bought me on a trip to Hawaii.

This is the more commonly available sugar in the raw. It has much smaller granules and is lighter in color.

Raw sugar is excellent way to play with the texture of a recipe that may need a little extra something to break up its uniformity. Enter baked goods! Lots of sweet baked goods such as cookies, muffins, and scones benefit greatly from the power of D-Shugg. Give it a chance. Oh hey—look I’ve even included a simple recipe that is amazing with our new found friend! Yah!


-I got this recipe from my friend Kelly via Josie. Be careful. They are addicting.

-One of the most widely available brands of turbindo is “Sugar in the Raw” if you can’t find Demerara anywhere.

-If you want a heartier cookie, substitute 1 c whole wheat flour+ 1 c all purpose for the flour.

They're just so Sparkly! ❤ <(^_^)^

Kelly’s Molasses Ginger Chews

  • ¾ c butter, softened at room temp
  • 1 c light brown sugar
  • ¼ c molasses
  • 1 egg
  • 2 ¼ c flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • Raw Sugar (demerara or turbinado) For Rolling

Preheat the oven to 375°.

In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar. My favorite method of doing this is using a large wooden spoon and mixing and smashing until it is light in color and combined ^_^ Alternately you can use a mixer and cream together. In another bowl sift together flour, baking soda, salt, and spices. Set aside.

Stir in molasses and egg into creamed butter until well combined. Then add 1c flour mixture. Stir then add in remaining flour.

Rolling on the mix of the two raw sugars I had.

Chill for 15 minutes in the freezer. Scoop out dough and shape into balls and roll in raw sugar.

Bake for 10-12 minutes, until “lovely”.  Should make about 2-3 dozen depending on the size of your rolled scoops.

They really are lovely! So good! Om nom nom.

This cookie has it all. Sweet, spicy, chewy, crunchy. Noms.

~Erik <(^_^)>



C is for Chinese Five Spice and Cupcakes

January 14, 2011

I apologize for the delay in posting – I started my last semester of classes this week, and am having bittersweet mixed feelings.  On top of which, I already have a ton of homework (yuck!) but plan to get back on track now because I don’t like waiting a week between posts.  Well, I’m surprised to say we’re 3 for 3 on our ingredient/recipe alliteration (Chinese five spice/cupcakes).  Interesting coincidence.  I wonder how long that trend will continue.

So you’re all aware, I make no bones about the fact that I detest the flavor of licorice.  Whether in candy like Good n’ Plenty or black Twizzlers (which I’m pretty sure are marketed exclusively to old people), or the shots of Jagermeister I’ve rather reluctantly choked down with RedBull at parties—I just can’t stand the stuff.

So, naturally I was apprehensive when Erik turned up with Ingredient C:  Chinese Five Spice (particularly as I could smell the putrid pungency of anise trailing from his overnight bag before he was barely through the door).  The blend encompasses the five tastes (sweet, sour, bitter, pungent, and salty) usually in a combination of cinnamon, cloves, anise, star anise, and Szechuan pepper and is apparently very common in – you guessed it – Chinese cuisine.  (Some versions, including McCormick, have ginger instead of the pepper, but we used the Williams-Sonoma version which has the classic five flavors).

We decided to make Chinese Five Spice Cupcakes with a Maple Buttercream Frosting, which turned out to be surprisingly delicious despite my reluctance.  My advice to those of you who have never tried this, or are wary of its potency and complexity:  try it anyway.  It reminds me of a spice cake (such as you’d get using pumpkin or apple pie spice blends, etc.) but with more of an exotic depth of flavor from the anise and pepper.  And the maple from the frosting only enhances the experience.  I hate to admit when I’m wrong about something, but I must admit I certainly misjudged Chinese Five Spice.  So, the recipe:

Yum so pretty!

Chinese Five Spice Cupcakes with Maple Buttercream


  • 2/3 c. soy milk
  • 1 tsp rice wine vinegar (or white or apple cider vinegar)
  • 1 ¼ c all purpose flour
  • ¾ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • 1½-2 tsp chinese five spice
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp cornstarch (or arrowroot powder)
  • ½ c maple syrup (REAL maple syrup, the Log Cabin stuff won’t work)
  • 1/3 c canola oil
  • 3 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 drops Lorann maple oil (or 2 tsp maple flavoring)

In small bowl, combine soy milk and vinegar and let stand for 5 minutes, allowing the soy milk to curdle slightly.  Once curdled add oil, syrup, sugar and flavorings to milk.  In a separate bowl, combine all dry ingredients.  Whisk wet ingredients to dry.  Pour into cupcake liners.  Bake at 350 for 18-20 min.

Woot for single bowl recipes!


  • ¾ c. margarine or butter
  • ¼ c. shortening
  • 3 ½ c. powdered sugar
  • 2 drops Lorann Maple oil (or 2 tsp maple flavoring)
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract

In electric stand mixer, cream margarine (or butter) and shortening with extracts.  Add sugar, beating until blended and fluffy.  Frost cooled cupcakes and sprinkle lightly with five spice if desired.  Nom.

Fun Fact:  If you use margarine instead of butter in the frosting, this recipe is 100% vegan!



B is for Beets; and Borscht, Coincidentally

December 2, 2010

The second ingredient of the recipe exchange is beets! Oddly enough, we’re two for two in terms of ingredient+recipe alliteration. First annatto+Andean potato stew and now this. Wonder how long it will continue on? Regardless, the colorful red root veggie was Josie’s choice for us and it was actually really interesting to work with.

I know what you are thinking. Eww. Gross. No. I was thinking that too. I’ve always seen beets as those sweet and sour red things at the salad bar. I tried them when I was little, but never really developed a taste for them. I just remember them being slightly sour and that they were bleeding into the mushrooms and boiled eggs lying adjacent to them on my salad plate.

So yesterday I went to the nearby Harris Teeter to procure some of these crimson orbs. I had seen them before in the produce section but never paid too much attention. When picking my bunch, I was shocked by how large the beet plus all the greens were. They barely fit in the bag. Fast forward to me in the kitchen. I had heard tales of the staining power of beets, but thought to myself “meh, I got this. I’m pretty graceful.” Haha. Good joke…hopefully those red droplets wash out from my orange Piggly Wiggly T-shirt. <(-_-)>

So the recipe that went along with the beets was for a vegetarian borscht soup. I liked where it was going, but of course changed everything around a bit. The ingredients are about the same, just changed the cooking method.


-Roasted vegetables are always amazing to use in soups, IMHO.

-Next time I would try using extra seasonings in the soup to spice it up such as caraway seeds. While tasty, it could definitely use something extra/I wish I had some caraway…

-Potatoes would be a much-welcomed addition.

-I love mushrooms. ❤

Such a wonderfully deep red. Be careful, it stains!

Roasted Vegetable Borscht

  • 1 lb fresh beets (no canned junk)
  • 1 large sweet onion
  • 1 lb carrots
  • 1 lb cabbage, shredded finely
  • 8 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 large portabella caps
  • olive oil
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • lemon juice
  • chives
  • sour cream

Preheat the oven to 400° F. Clean the beets well to remove any dirt and grit. Chop off the leafy stems and set aside (you can cook these later). Using a peeler, remove the tougher outer layer from the beets. Set one smaller beet aside. Cut into 1 inch cubes. Peel carrots and cut in half, then dice. Cut the onion into half moons and slice thinly. Toss all the root vegetables with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 20-25 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.

While the veggies are roasting, heat the broth until boiling. Add in the roasted vegetables and shredded cabbage. Reduce heat and let simmer for 20 minutes. While soup is simmering, roast the portabella caps upside down with olive oil, salt, and pepper until tender.

When soup has simmered, take the reserved beet and grate it into the soup. This will brighten up the color even further. At this point add the juice of ½ a lemon or a tablespoon or two. You want just enough to balance the sweetness from the beets. Let simmer for 5 more minutes. Adjust flavor to you liking with additional salt, pepper, and or lemon juice.

To serve, top with a dollop of sour cream, some slices of the roasted portabella, and a sprinkle of chives. Enjoy this deliciously sweet n’ sour warming winter nom.

~Erik <(^_^)>


In case you were wondering about how to prep the beet greens:

Clean the stems and leaves to get rid of all the dirt and grit. Chop up the greens and put in a medium sauté pan and fill with about ½” of liquid be it broth or water. Season liberally with salt and pepper. Add a few teaspoons of lemon juice. Cook on high uncovered until the greens have cooked down to about nothing. Season as desired and enjoy. (Note be careful with the lemon juice…I may have gone overboard with my first attempt and the sourness was overpowering and couldn’t be overcome…wamp wamp<(>_<)>).


A is for Annatto

November 6, 2010

Josie and I have been doing a recipe correspondence a la alphabet exchange style. We thought it would be an interesting way to explore more in the culinary world especially in terms of exotic ingredients. Also, just in case we can’t find an ingredient that works for a letter, it could also be a recipe. I’m just glad I don’t have letters “X” and “Z”, good luck with those Josie.

Obviously, since I am writing this, I decided to pick the first ingredient. For the amazing letter “A” I decided to pick Annatto. It was really intriguing to me as it is more of a coloring than a flavoring. I’m a sucker for natural colors when it comes to art or food. Anyways, getting back to annatto…

They kinda look like triangular pieces of dehydrated strawberries that come from this crazy spikey venus fly-trap looking plant. Browsing around trying to find ways of using this amazing red seed. I found an amazing recipe on Epicurious for Andean Potato Stew.

I ended up tweaking it a bit though. Here were my additions:

-I traded out the whole milk for soy milk

-I also topped my stew with fresh tortilla strips

-I love love love queso fresco and may have been a little more generous with it <(>.>)>

I need a real camera...this was taken with my iPhone

Andean Potato Stew

  • 2 teaspoons annatto seeds
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3 1/2 lb russet potatoes
  • 1 cup chopped white onion
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 7 cups water
  • 1 cup soy milk
  • 5 1/2 oz queso fresco, plus extra to top
  • 2 medium firm-ripe avocados
  • Crispy tortilla strips

Heat annatto seeds and oil in a very small saucepan over low heat, swirling pan frequently, until oil is bright red-orange and starts to simmer, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, peel potatoes and cut into 3/4-inch pieces.

Pour annatto oil through a fine-mesh sieve into a wide 7- to 8-quart heavy pot, discarding solids. Cook onion and half of potatoes (reserve remaining potatoes in a bowl of cold water) in annatto oil over moderately high heat, stirring, until onion is softened, 3 to 5 minutes. Add cumin, salt, and pepper and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add water (7 cups) and bring to a boil, scraping up any brown bits. Reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, until potatoes are very tender, 25 to 30 minutes, then mash into broth. Drain remaining potatoes and add to stew, then simmer, partially covered, until tender, about 20 minutes. Stir in milk and cheese and increase heat to high, then bring to a simmer, stirring. Remove from heat and season with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, quarter avocados lengthwise, then pit, peel, and cut into 1/2-inch cubes.

Serve stew in large soup bowls, topped with avocado, queso fresco, and tortilla strips.

Enjoy the creamy rich golden goodness. NOM!

~Erik <(^_^)>