Spring minestrone

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Moosewood Restaurant Daily Special is one of our lesser used Moosewood Cookbooks. It’s all soups and salads.

This was the Spring Minestrone, a very hearty soup even without any pasta or potatoes. It’s got white beans, asparagus, greens, summer squash and peas.

I made a fresh batch of vegetable stock early in the day for this one, and it was worth it. I used the quick veggie stock recipe from Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything Vegetarian. This time I didn’t double it and I actually measured the water. It made just enough for this one recipe.

Problem was, the soup is so full of good stuff that it could have used way more stock (or less stuff) to remain a soup. This was more like a stew. Delicious anyway.

Served with fresh, homemade sourdough bread.

 

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Whole wheat country loaf

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This was my first attempt at Michael Pollan’s recipe for a Whole Wheat Country Loaf in the appendix of his book Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation, where he learns to cook four basic categories of food and, among other things, makes a case for wild yeast-leavened bread.

This is the recipe I woke up Jim’s starter for. He captured these little yeasties from the air a while back after reading the same book. (We’ve also been using the discarded sourdough starter for pancakes, but this was their big moment).

I’m extremely pleased with the result. The texture is just like he described in the book — creamy on the inside, crisp crust. It had nice oven spring. It even has “ears” from rapid expansion in the hot, steamy pot.

The only thing I was a little disappointed in is the sour flavor, which normal in a sourdough, of course, but I think I would shorten the bulk ferment next time to see if I can make it less sour. It went almost 6 hours this time, which is much longer than the recipe calls for.

The starter is still alive, so there’s plenty of opportunity to try again.

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Sweet potatoes and chili

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Here’s a whole pile of vegetables for dinner.

The main dish is Sweet Potatoes Topped with Vegetarian Black Bean Chili from The Bon Appetit Cookbook. The kids just ate the sweet potatoes, but that’s OK. I really liked the yellow squash in the chili.

On the side is a tomato, cucumber and radish relish from The Bon Appetit Fast Easy Fresh Cookbook (it’s part of a swordfish recipe, minus the swordfish). It’s a great combination of veggies and really simple to put together. We’d make this one again.

Molasses spice cookies

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I made a batch of cookies for a family party this weekend. This is the Molasses Spice Cookies recipe from Cook’s Illustrated The New Best Recipe cookbook.

I always get good results with this recipe, but I’ve never had the cookies stay so thick before. Usually they spread out on the pan and run together. The difference? This time I made sure to follow the recipe EXACTLY. Imagine that.

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Ginger fried rice

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I almost don’t need to look at the recipe anymore for this Mark Bittman classic. This is Ginger Fried Rice, a quick and delicious dinner for late in the week, especially on a week with leftover rice.

The best part (aside from the oily, salty, onion-y rice itself) is the crispy garlic and ginger topping. It’s a little bitter and so good.

Chana dal with golden garlic tarka

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Yum!

This was our first time trying Chana Dal with Golden Garlic Tarka from Meera Sodha’s Made in India cookbook.

It’s pretty simple, for an Indian recipe, and it’s delicious. We will definitely make this one again.

PS. Nobody ate that enormous red pepper. It was pricked and rolled around in the saute pan to flavor the oil, then removed. The dish was actually not very spicy.

Thin wheat crackers

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This is Peter Reinhart’s version of Wheat Thin crackers, which we buy a lot of in our house.

The recipe is in his Whole Grain Breads cookbook. This is the second batch I made. The first got so dark so quickly that I had to throw away half the batch. The second time I used sugar instead of honey and took the pan out of the oven early.

Mine came out thicker than Wheat Thins, but they taste surprisingly similar. They didn’t last long. Fortunately it’s easy to make another batch.

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