Monthly Archives: August 2012


Tomato Tortilla Soup


Getting a little better at Random Recipes, but still need to work on my timing since it’s once again the night before the recipe is due and I’m typing things up.  To be fair I did make dinner last week, I’ve just been dragging my feet in writing things up.  See the recipe didn’t turn out the way I thought it would based on the name and a quick read of the ingredients.  I was expecting something with fire and heat, which wound up being very far from the case.  That’s not to say the soup was bad, it’s a really good rich tomato soup.  It’s just not my idea of a tortilla soup, so I’ll have to figure out how to jazz it up in the future.   This is the first recipe from my Moosewood Restaurant Simple Supper cookbook that hasn’t worked out on the first go, so I’ll have to try it again and see what I can do to fix it.

Tomato Tortilla Soup


3 cups onion, diced

2 tsp EVOO

2 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp oregano

1 quart vegetable stock

1 28oz can off diced tomatoes

2 tsp minced canned chipotles in adobo sauce

1 1/2 cups crumbled tortilla chips (I used tostitos taste of jalepeno)


  1. Please see page 117 of Moosewood Restaurant Simple Suppers for instructions!

I know I could have just changed out for a different recipe, after all only I would know but this is the recipe that was picked so this is the recipe I’m featuring.  Extra bonus with this soup is it makes a great base for other dishes, one of which I’ll be writing up next week.   Moosewood also suggests a few different toppings so it’s possible that I need to add more than cheese next time, maybe some cilantro or chopped avocado!

Doing Just Fine

Baked Eggplant with Lentils


There is nothing more relaxing and refreshing than the sound of rain, it just seems to make everything better.   After the dry summer that most of the country has been experiencing, I can only imagine that for many the rain is a welcoming relief.  I had originally been planning to spend this weekend switching out the garden and starting some fall vegetables, but Mother Nature seems to have other ideas and now I’m wondering if I’ll have a chance to plant the fall garden at all!  This summer has been the craziest and busiest summer I’ve ever had, and it’s not over yet.  I’m looking forward to October and the chance to rest, relax, and recover assuming that October allows for that.  Until then, my kitchen will be my safe haven since it isn’t large enough to house a clock or calendar.

Since Joe and I have been traveling so much the past few weeks my trips to the grocery store have been few and far between.  I have been focusing on using my pantry basics in addition to the fresh vegetables I’ve been growing.  This recipe features the first of my Black Beauty Eggplants as well as some more delicious tomatoes and fresh herbs.  When I started cooking I really had no idea where I was going with this recipe, which was evident by the large cast of characters I had sitting on the counters.  I thought about sauting the eggplant with some basil and serving over lentils, or doing an all-eggplant stir-fry.  In the end I decided to bake the eggplant and serve the lentils over them as a thick ragu style sauce.   The result was a very filling and rich dinner that only needed a small salad to go with it,  perfection!

Doing Just Fine


1 large eggplant, cut 1/2 in thick length wise

1 egg, beaten

1 cup cornmeal

1/4 cup bread crumbs

1/4 cup tbsp Parmesan Cheese

1 tsp pepper

1/2 tsp salt

2 tbsp EVOO

3 garlic cloves, chopped

1 vidalia onion, chopped

3 large tomatoes, diced

handful of basil, roughly torn

1 cup red lentils

2 cups vegetable stock


  1. Place the eggplant in a large bowl and toss with salt, move eggplant to colander and allow to sit for 15 minutes. Preheat oven to 375 then rinse the eggplant and do a quick press to get as much water out as possible.
  2. In a small bowl combine the cornmeal, bread crumbs, cheese, pepper, and salt. Dip the eggplant in the egg before placing in the small bowl and covering with the dry mixture. Place on cookie sheet, bake for 15minutes then flip and cook for a final 10minutes.
  3. Meanwhile heat the olive oil in a medium sized sauce pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and onion and cook for 5minutes before adding the tomatoes. Cover and cook for 10minutes, stirring occasionally to help break up the tomatoes. Add the basil with the lentils, toss well and then add the vegetable stock. Bring to a quick boil, then cover and turn heat to low. Allow lentils to cook for 15-20minutes, or until reaching the desired tenderness. Serve the lentils over the eggplant and enjoy!

This recipe comes together pretty quickly once the eggplant has been salted.  For an alternate way of prepping the eggplant, press the cut slices between two plates lined with paper towels.  Failure to properly pre-treat the eggplant can result in a bitter aftertaste, which is probably why more than a few people have been turned off of this amazing vegetable.

I See Stars

Zucchini Oat Bread


I had a surprise in my garden yesterday: a zucchini.  I had basically counted them out since I hadn’t seen any sign of life on either plants all season.  Needless to say I was rather shocked when going to gather some tomatoes I nearly stepped on a gorgeous fully grown zucchini.  My original bread plan involved peaches, since bread is the theme for this week’s 52week challenge.  After finding the zucchini I knew that I had to make zucchini bread and that it had to be amazing.  For a few moments I debated chocolate zucchini bread, but decided to go for the health factor and modify a recipe in one of my favorite bread machine books.  The Bread Machine Cookbook does have a recipe for zucchini bread, but past experiences with it weren’t very good.  This time I decided to adjust the Carrot Bread recipe and made frequent checks to see if it needed more liquid in order to avoid the dryness of the last zucchini bread.   In the end I wound up adding a little bit more oil and zucchini, which resulted in a very moist and flavorful bread.

Zucchini Oat Bread


1 cup water

2 tbsp EVOO

3/4 cup grated Zucchini (pressed)

2 tbsp brown sugar

1 1/3 tsp salt

1 1/3 cup old-fashioned oats

2 2/3 cup bread flour

1/4 cup dry milk

2 1/2 tsp yeast


  1. Add the ingredients to the bread machine based on manufacturer's instructions. This makes one "large" loaf in my Panasonic using the standard cook time.

As you can tell from the picture we ate our with Nutella, but honey or just butter alone is always an option.  Since finding out Joe is not allergic to hazelnuts, Nutella has  been a regular addition to our breads.

I am also submitting this to August’s Simple and in Season link-up hosted by the always fabulous Ren of Fabulous Foods.   Make sure to head over there for some more great ideas for preparing seasonal recipes!

Throw Back

Rabbi Cookies


I apologize for the lack of posts this past week, I was getting my Geek on at GenCon Indy 2012.  This was my 5th year as a Captain and hopefully I’ll be a Captain for many years to come.  In my visit to Indy I was able to follow-up at a few of the restaurants I visited last year, and for the most part was pleased at what I saw.  However this post is not about the Indy food scene, this post is about a new version of an old favorite.  Once upon a time I could not bake to save my life and had to rely on roommates to make cookies in order to fulfill any cookie cravings.  There was one exception to the cookie rule: no-bake cookies!  I started with the standard “preacher” cookie recipe involving oatmeal, peanut butter, butter, and vanilla.  I then started experimenting with other combinations based on what was available finally settling with the following crazy combination.

Throw Back

Serves: 36 cookies


1/2 cup butter

4 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

2 cups white sugar

1/2 cup milk

1/8 teaspoon salt

3 cups quick cooking oats

1/4 cup nutella

1/4 cup peanut butter (smooth or crunchy)

1 tsp caramel syrup (I use Monin)


  1. Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat, then add the cocoa, sugar, milk, and salt. Bring to a boil and cook for 1 minute.
  2. Quickly stir in the oats, nutella, peanut butter, and vanilla.
  3. To form the cookies drop 2tbsp of dough on wax or parchment paper, and allow to sit until firm. Enjoy!

If you can’t find the caramel syrup, vanilla extract can also be substituted.  I find there is something about the caramel that goes amazingly well with the nuttiness of these cookies.

I am also submitting this to Maison Cupcake’s Zero Baking Required Link-Up, which is all about oven free baking.


Vanilla Twilight

Vanilla Bean Peach Cookies

Bonus SRC recipe!  This afternoon I saw a post calling for volunteers to help with some orphaned SRC blogs.  Always up for checking out new blogs I jumped at the opportunity and was given Heavenly Treats and Treasures.  It took me only a moment to realize that someone had missed out on an amazing blog.  This proclaimed southern mom offers a treasure trove of sweets, ranging from Brownies to Macaroons to Whoopie Pies to Giant Snickerdoodles!  She even gives out cooking tips for those new to the kitchen.  For a fair amount of time I debated trying out the whoopie pies, however I have a flight tomorrow so I wanted something that could travel with me.   So I kept on searching and then I found IT, the perfect summer time cookie recipe.  Even better, all I needed was to grab some vanilla beans on the way home.  This proved slightly harder than I thought but luckily World Market had some, and in keeping with HT&T I made sure to grab Fair Trade Vanilla Beans.

I had never tried a recipe with vanilla beans before but oh my goodness what a difference!  This dough was so heavenly I had to quickly get the cookies in the oven to avoid picking off the dough balls.  I made one slight change to the recipe, after finding out that my chocolate stash was lower than I remembered, by adding using fresh peaches in place of the chips.  To say the vanilla bean enhanced the flavor of the peach doesn’t even begin to describe the joyous dance my taste buds were doing.  I can’t wait to give this recipe another try, this time I’ll make sure to hide the chocolate away!