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June 25, 2007

Salmon and White Bean Salad

This is barely a recipe, more something I threw together when it was dinner time and I hadn't been to the grocery store and didn't feel like eating out. But since everyone needs more recipes for those haven't-shopped/don't-feel-like-cooking moments in life, I decided to post this. I've even created a category for these not-quite recipes ("Real Fast Food" after Nigel Slater's excellent book of the same title. Which is full of great recipes for those haven't-shopped/don't-feel-like-cooking moments.)

Take the following:

Stir everything together in a bowl until combined, taste, and add salt, pepper, mustard, lemon juice, whatever. Some red or green onion would probably be great in this. It would have been most delicious served with some dark rye bread and/or some nice crunchy romaine or iceberg lettuce leaves, but we didn't have any.

Posted by spaceling at 03:49 PM

June 24, 2007

Chickpea Curry With Dill

I recently picked up a nifty little cookbook called 5 Spices, 50 Dishes. This features 50 relatively simple Indian recipes, centered around the five spices of coriander, cumin, mustard seed, cayenne pepper, and turmeric. Not every recipe in the book uses all of these spices, and many recipes use additional spices, but they are the flavor backbone of the recipes.

The first recipe I made from this book was a black-eyed pea salad with cayenne pepper, cumin, cilantro, chilies, and mustard seed. It was pretty tasty, but I had to substitute ingredients liberally because I hadn't checked the recipe before grocery shopping, so I think it didn't quite taste the way it was supposed to. The second recipe was this chick pea curry. It caught my eye because, as the author notes, it uses dill as more of a vegetable than an herb. It uses a lot of dill. If you are not a dill fan, skip this recipe.



  1. Heat the oil in a medium sauce pan or a deep skillet over medium heat. Saute the onion until it has softened, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add the cayenne, coriander, garlic, ginger, and turmeric and cook, stirring, for 3-4 minutes.
  3. Add the tomato and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes.
  4. Add the dill, chick peas, water, and salt. Cook, stirring, for 5-8 minutes or until the dill is tender.

I served this with a simple raita made by stirring together strained yogurt, diced cucumber, diced red bell pepper, finely chopped garlic, and a bit of ground coriander, salt, and pepper.

Serves about 4.

Posted by spaceling at 08:44 PM

June 23, 2007

New Use for Torani Syrup

So, I've discovered a new use for Torani flavored syrups besides flavoring your coffee - stir a splash into oatmeal or yogurt to sweeten and flavor it.

I've been doing this with sugar-free almond syrup, but I might try a few other flavors soon.

Posted by spaceling at 09:42 AM

June 17, 2007

Famer's Market Haul - 6/16/2007

I went to the Willow Glen farmers' market yesterday, and there were people selling soap, and ceramics, and greeting cards. And a dude playing guitar. But still no sign of Happy Boy farms and their incredible salad greens, or the guy with the incredible orange and purple cauliflower. What's up with that? I don't go to the farmers' market for soap, or dudes with guitars (nice as they are). I go for lettuce and orange cauliflower.

Still, there were plenty of goodies. I bought:

Posted by spaceling at 11:14 AM

June 15, 2007

Osmanthus Tea

At work, they've started providing us with funky organic tea bags in addition to the half-dozen flavors of Bigelow tea that we've had. This includes a white tea with omanthus flowers that is pretty nice. I don't usually like white teas because they often don't taste like much of anything. This one tastes like osmanthus. What does osmanthus taste like - I dunno, a bit like jasmine but sweeter and less piercingly floral.

I seem to recall Peet's carrying an osmanthus tea that was very nice, but I was looking at their website just now, and can't find it. If you should come across any, it's worth trying.

Posted by spaceling at 07:40 PM

June 10, 2007

Garlicky White Beans and Kale over Teff Polenta Wedges

When I was in Florence back in April, one of the most amazing dishes I had was "fettunta": slices of bread brushed with olive oil and grilled, and topped with a mixture of sauteed cavolo nero (Tuscan kale) and white beans.

Since then, I've been itching to recreate that dish. I've also been wanting to have another try at teff prepared-polenta style. When I came across some nice Tuscan kale at the farmers' market yesterday, it occurred to me that the kale and white bean preparation would make a great topping for polenta.

The recipe turned out great. It would be equally good served over corn polenta. But if you want to recreate what I did, start by making your teff ahead of time, because it needs time to chill.

This recipe uses quite a lot of olive oil, because such amounts were called for in all the cookbook recipes for fettunta that I consulted for inspiration. ("Fettunta" apparently means "oily slice".) You could probably cut down some on the oil, although the oil and the starch from the beans emulsify into something that gives the dish a nice creamy texture. Mr. Spaceling described it as being like creamed spinach, only good. (Mr. Spaceling does not like creamed spinach. I fall more in the camp of thinking that anything that combines spinach and fat cannot be bad.)

Teff Polenta



  1. Bring the water to a boil. Add teff and salt.
  2. Turn down to a simmer and cover. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the teff reaches the consistency of a thick spreadable porridge.
  3. Stir in the cheese. (To avoid getting clumps of melted cheese, add it bit by bit and stir thoroughly.)
  4. Line a 9 x 9 inch baking pan with aluminum foil. Spread the teff out in the pan and let it cool a bit. Cover with more foil or plastic wrap, and chill in the fridge for at least 1 hour.
  5. Cut the polenta into wedges or squares. (I got 8 wedges out of a 9 x 9 pan.)

White Beans and Kale



  1. Wash the kale. Remove the leaves from the stems, and cut the leaves into bite-sized ribbons. Discard the stems.
  2. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and cook the kale for about 10 minutes. Drain and rinse with cool water. (Plunging the kale into a bowl of ice water would probably be the approved method for shocking your greens. Rinsing with cold water worked fine.) Press out the excess water.
  3. Heat the olive oil in a saute pan over medim heat. Add the garlic, and saute for 30 seconds or so. Then add the greens and the beans. Simmer everything gently for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. In another skillet, heat a thin film of olive oil over medium high heat. Cook the polenta wedges, in batches, until browned and slightly crispy on each side. Keep the cooked wedges on a plate covered with foil to keep warm.
  5. Serve a wedge or two of polenta in a shallow bowl, with the bean and kale mixture piled on top.

Serves 4 or so.

Posted by spaceling at 08:38 PM

June 09, 2007

Farmers' Market Haul - 6/9/2007

I hit up the Willow Glen Farmers' Market for the first time this year. Not a bad selection today, though there were a larger proportion of prepared-foods and baked goods vendors than I remembered. But plenty of fruits and veggies.

I got:

The stone fruit vendor had plumcots and apriums in addition to pluots - I was tempted to get some of each and have a plum/apricot hybrid tasting.

I'm roasting the beets now - I'll use them in a salad later when they've cooled.

Posted by spaceling at 09:25 AM