Parchment-Paper Baked Sweet Potatoes

I recently tried this recipe from The Splendid Table, and it was so easy, with results so delicious, that I just had to share!

Here’s what you need:

About 8 sweet potatoes (my favorite was the white flesh yams) (note: I tried this with regular potatoes, and while delicious, not as good because they don’t have the same sugars that get all caramelized in the process)

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon dried thyme or other favorite spice (once we did this with a Singapore Spice Mix that had fenugreek and cumin and it was amazing)

Kosher salt

Here’s what you do:

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet (or two) with parchment paper.

2. Cut the sweet potatoes in half lengthwise. Then, either toss them in a bowl with the olive oil, spices and salt, or drizzle the oil onto the parchment paper with the spices and salt and rub the potatoes on all sides into the mixture.

3. Place the potatoes cut side down on the parchment paper and bake in the oven for 1 hour.

The potatoes will be soft on the inside, and crispy and sweet and caramelized on the outside. Enjoy!

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Olive Oil Chocolate Cake

I made this recipe once as is, and it was so good I had to make it again, but the second time with a little less cinnamon, and with cream cheese chocolate frosting. It’s easy to make and so delicious!

Here’s what you need:

1/2 cup coffee (the recipe also suggests you can use Earl Grey tea, dry red wine, orange juice, or water)

1/2 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (or just use a dash, or leave it out)

1/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 cup white sugar

3 eggs at room temperature

2 teaspoons vanilla

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Here’s what you do:

1. Heat up your coffee (or other liquid of choice), and whisk in the cocoa powder, cinnamon (if using), and salt, until smooth. Set aside and allow to cool.

2. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease a 9 inch cake pan, and put parchment paper on the bottom of the pan.

3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the olive oil, sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Beat on medium to high for about 3 minutes.

4. Reduce the speed, add the cocoa mixture to the bowl, and mix to combine. Then add the flour and baking soda until just incorporated.

5. Pour the batter into the pan. Bake 35 to 45 minutes until fully set and a toothpick comes out with a few crumbs.

6. Transfer cake in pan to a wire rack and allow to cool in pan.

Enjoy! (And feel free to top with a favorite frosting, or just eat as is!)

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Tomato and Cauliflower Soup

This title really doesn’t do the end result justice. I modified a recipe from a cookbook I checked out from the library (can’t remember the name!) and ended up with a huge pot of deliciousness. Simon says, “it isn’t good, it’s great!” It’s a slow cooking recipe, so make sure you can be home for a while, but doesn’t require all that much active work.

Here’s what you need:

1 large onion

3 stalks celery

2 cloves garlic

1/4 cup olive oil

24-ounce can of tomato puree or jar of tomato passata (which I’ve been unable to find in a standard grocery store, but puree works just as well!)

2 bay leaves

kosher salt

One pepperoncini, chopped

2 large carrots, peeled

1 head cauliflower, broken into florets

1 cup Arborio-rice or similar type of rice

1 cup shredded parmesan cheese (optional)

Here’s what you do:

1. Puree the onion, celery and garlic in a food processor until smooth.

2. Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the celery puree, and cook until it dries out and starts to stick, about 15 minutes.

3. While cooking the celery puree, lightly chop the carrots in your food processor.

4. Once done cooking the celery puree, add the can of tomato puree, and 3 quarts of water, broth, or some combination. Then stir in a 2 teaspoons of salt (unless you went all broth, you may want to use less), the bay leaves and the pepperoncini. Bring to a rapid simmer.

5. Add the carrots, and simmer, uncovered, until the liquid is reduced about one-third, about 30 minutes.

6. Add the cauliflower and simmer another 45 minutes.

7. Add the rice, and simmer another 15 minutes.

8. Add the parmesan, and cook another ten minutes on low.

9. Turn off the heat, and allow to sit, covered about 15 minutes.

10. Spoon into bowls, and enjoy, or refrigerate overnight to allow to thicken and meld flavors.


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Turkey Lamb Minty Tahini Meatballs

I love Molly Baz’s Cook This Book. Everything I’ve made is delicious. I tweaked this a bit to (a) make more and (b) make it a little healthier (hence the half turkey), and it turned out great! Adapted from Molly Baz, Cook This Book, Minty Lamb Meatballs.

Makes 24 meatballs

Here’s what you need:

2 eggs

1 1/3 cups fine breadcrumbs or panko (I had whole wheat bread crumbs)

4 tablespoons tahini or Japanese sesame paste (neri goma)

3 teaspoons ground cumin

2.5 teaspoons salt

2 tablespoons olive oil

4 cloves garlic

1 cup chopped mint leaves

1 pound ground lamb

1 pound ground turkey

Here’s what you do:

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

2. In a large bowl, lightly beat the eggs. Stir in the bread crumbs, tahini, cumin, salt, and olive oil, and combine.

3. Grate or crush the garlic into the bread crumb mixture.

4. Stir in half of the mint into the bread crumb mixture, then add one pound of meat and gently combine. Add the rest of the mint and meat, and mix (with a spoon or hands) until fully mixed (but don’t overmix).

5. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray. Roll the meat into 24 balls. Bake for approximately 15-20 minutes. Flip the meatballs, and bake another 10-20 minutes, until cooked through fully.


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Vegan Causa Limena

I came across this recipe from a favorite food online food publication called Taste. When the aji amarillo came in the mail (I bought this from Amazon and it was great), I used what I had (meaning I modified a bit) and the result was delicious. Adapted from Vegan Causa Limena.

Here’s what you need:

1.5 pounds potatoes (small variety, like yukon gold or red skin; I also threw in half of a Japanese sweet potato)

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons aji amarillo

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons lime juice

1 15-oz can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed (I only had salted, and suggest not adding extra salt if your can is salted, but if you have unsalted, I’ll note where to add another teaspoon of salt in the recipe below) (you can replace with garbanzo beans instead)

4 tablespoons vegan mayonnaise (I had 2 tablespoons vegan and 2 tablespoons tartar sauce, so I used that)

3 green onions, thinly sliced (or you could do red onion instead, about 1/4 cup)

generous handful cilantro, including stems, finely chopped (or you could replace with 1/4 cup celery, finely diced)

a few sprigs of parsley, finely chopped (or you can skip)

Here’s what you do:

1. Cover the potatoes with approximately 2 inches cold water in a pot. Place the pot over high heat, uncovered, and bring to a boil. Then allow the potatoes to cook, uncovered, for approximately 25 minutes, until the skin starts to split.

2. Drain the potatoes and allow them to cool until you can handle (about 20-30 minutes).

3. While the potatoes are cooling, make the bean salad: after draining/rinsing the beans, mash the beans with a potato masher or a fork. Then stir in the mayo, green onions, cilantro and parsley. Taste, and add salt if needed. Place in the fridge.

4. When the potatoes have cooled, remove the skin, and using a potato ricer, or a masher, or an egg slicer, or a fork, mash up the potatoes.

5. Stir the salt and 1 teaspoon aji amarillo into the potatoes until combined. Then add the olive oil one tablespoon at a time, and stir to combine. Do the same with the lime juice.

6. Taste, and add additional salt and the rest of the aji amarillo (if you want it).

7. In a pan, spread the potato mixture in an even layer and smooth. Then, spread the bean salad in a second layer on top.

8. Refrigerate at least an hour, or overnight. When ready to eat, cut into squares or slices and enjoy!

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Wrinkly Potatoes

This one’s for you, Nicki!

These potatoes take about 20 minutes to make, have the perfect consistency, and are perfectly seasoned. Serve with a chimichurri dip; chop up and add to a salad or omelet or scramble (the photo is an egg white scramble with corn and wrinkly potatoes, topped with some avocado smashed with garlic salt, and some tomatillo salsa); or just eat on the side. From the LA Times.

Here’s what you need:

1.5 pounds tiny potatoes, rinsed

1 tablespoon coarse salt

2 cups water

Here’s what you do:

1. Place the potatoes, salt and water into a pot. Stir and cover.

2. Place over high heat and bring to a boil. Simmer, mostly covered, until all the water has evaporated, about 20 minutes.


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(Vegan) Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

I recently came across this recipe via Taste, a great food e-magazine. I’m sometimes wary of vegan baking recipes if they over-add ingredients. But this one doesn’t–it’s simple and straightforward, created when the author had trouble finding eggs. Full disclosure: I made mine with milk chocolate chips, so they weren’t fully vegan, but if you use dark chocolate, they will be.

Here’s what you need:

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup white sugar

scant 1/2 cup vegetable oil

4.5 tablespoons water

2 teaspoons vanilla extract or paste

5.5 tablespoons peanut butter

1 3/4 cups all purpose flour (full disclosure that I was low on this ingredient, so I also used some rye flour and cake flour)

generous 1/2 cup rolled oats

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

7 ounces chocolate chips or chopped chocolate

Here’s what you do:

1. In a bowl, mix together the sugars, oil, water, and vanilla until smooth. Add the peanut butter and mix until fully smooth.

2. Add the flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix to combine. Stir in the chocolate. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to cool and firm at least 2-3 hours in the fridge.

3. When you are ready to bake: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with two layers of parchment paper. Using an ice cream scoop, scoop about 6-8 balls of cookie dough onto the sheet, leaving some space around each ball. Press down lightly on the balls to flatten a bit (I used half an egg slicer, but you could also use a masher or even a fork). Bake 15-18 minutes, until the edges have firmed, even if still soft in the middle.

4. Allow to cool and firm up. Then enjoy!

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Roasted Cabbage

This recipe uses few ingredients, doesn’t take much work, and yields a really delicious result.

Here’s what you need:

2 tablespoons olive oil, divided

1 head of green cabbage

1 yellow onion

salt or garlic salt

1 teaspoon turmeric

1 teaspoon mustard seeds

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1/2 cup water

Here’s what you do:

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. In a cast-iron skillet, spread around 1 tablspoon of the olive oil.

2. Cut the cabbage in half, then into quarters. Cut out the rough stem, and then cut each piece into a couple of wedges. Nestle the wedges together in the skillet.

3. Cut the onion in half, and then in thin slices. Scatter the onion around the cabbage.

4. Sprinkle the cabbage generously with salt or garlic salt. Then sprinkle the turmeric, mustard seeds, and coriander over the top. Drizzle the second tablespoon of olive oil over the cabbage. Pour the water in the pan.

5. Roast in the oven for about 20 minutes. Remove, stir so the spices get incorporated and the softer bottom leaves move to the top. Sprinkle again with salt, and cook another 25-30 minutes or so until all the cabbage is tender, but not too limp.

This is great chopped up and mixed into anything, or on its own, or filled with rice and rolled up like a little burrito!

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Sour Cream Spinach

All you need are a few ingredients and about 10 minutes to put together this delicious dish. Not only good on the side, but also on a sandwich with some fried eggs, multigrain bread, and a bit of gruyere or feta cheese. Adapted from the NY Times Essential Cookbook.

Here’s what you need:

1 3/4 pounds spinach (baby or regular)

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon sugar

1/2 cup sour cream

1 tablespoon grated onion

Here’s what you do:

1. Rinse the spinach, and place in a large pot with the salt and sugar. Cook over medium-high heat, covered, until just tender (about 3-5 minutes), tossing now and then with tongs.

2. Remove the spinach from the pot and chop the cooked spinach (if you want). Place the spinach in a bowl, and top with the sour cream and onion. Stir to combine, and add more salt if desired.


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Bang Bang Cauliflower

This is a little spicy but also a little sweet, and would probably be delicious with broccoli, tofu, or even chicken. It was so good that everyone in my house ate it, even the 2 year old! Adapted from Gordon Ramsay’s “Ramsay in 10.”

UPDATE: Yesterday, I made this by cooking the cauli and a pack of extra firm tofu in the oven using this method (SHEET PAN ROASTED BASIC TOFU AND VEGGIES), although I coated the tofu in some of the gluten free flour instead of cornstarch, and then I doubled the recipe for the sauce, and finished it all in a saute pan, and I think it was better than the first time. I also noticed that it was less spicy the second day. The steps/ingredients for the NEW METHOD are noted in ALL CAPS below.

Here’s what you need:


2 tablespoons sweet chili sauce or Chinese chili garlic sauce

4 tablespoons maple syrup

1 tablespoon Sriracha

For the remainder:

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1/2 head of cauliflower, cut into small florets, plus tender green leaves reserved (if any)


1 tablespoon rice flour (I only had a gluten free flour blend that contained rice flour, so I used it, and it worked great) (DOUBLE FOR NEW METHOD)

2 tablespoons sesame oil (DOUBLE FOR NEW METHOD)

1/2 onion, thinly sliced (DOUBLE FOR NEW METHOD)

3/4 inch piece of ginger, peeled and sliced (DOUBLE FOR NEW METHOD)

2 cloves garlic, crushed (DOUBLE FOR NEW METHOD)

Here’s what you do:

1. Make the bang bang sauce: Combine the ingredients in a bowl and mix well.

2. Make the cauli: Heat the vegetable oil over high heat in a pan or wok. Toss the cauliflower with the rice flour. When the oil is hot, add the cauliflower and cook about 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally (adding additional oil or cooking spray, and/or reducing heat slightly, to avoid burning). If you have tender leaves reserved, add them now and cook another 3 minutes. Then turn down heat to low.


3. In a small saucepan, heat the sesame oil over medium high heat. When warm, add the onion, garlic and ginger, and cook until onion softens, stirring often, about 4 minutes. Stir in the bang bang sauce and turn off the heat.

4. Add the sauce to the cauliflower, and continue to cook over low heat for another 4-5 minutes until cauliflower is tender and the sauce is thick and sticky. [SAME FOR THE NEW METHOD, EXCEPT YOU NEED TO MOVE THE CAULI AND TOFU TO A SAUTE PAN, AND THEN ADD THE SAUCE.]

Serve over freshly steamed brown rice and enjoy!

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