Monthly Archives: November 2011

Upside-down Mushroom Tartlets

This is the second of three posts about appetizers I made for Thanksgiving this year.

Rather than doing as the recipe said (using a big muffin pan and then cutting the tartlets into 4 pieces) I used a regular muffin pan (all I had) and employed a drinking glass of appropriate size to cut pastry rounds that fit the smaller cups. I made about 30 of these tartlets for Thanksgiving appetizers.


  • 1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed and cut into six 3-inch rounds
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for muffin pan
  • 1 large shallot, diced small [I used white onion]
  • 1 pound cremini mushrooms, sliced
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves, plus more for serving
  • 3/4 cup grated Gruyere cheese (2 ounces) [I used plain Swiss]


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place puff pastry rounds in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet and refrigerate while mushrooms cook. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high. Add shallot and cook, stirring, until soft, 3 minutes. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring, until soft and browned, 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in thyme and remove skillet from heat.
  2. Lightly oil 6 jumbo muffin cups. Divide mushroom mixture and cheese among cups, then top each with a chilled pastry round. Bake until pastry is golden brown and puffed, about 25 minutes, rotating pan halfway through.
  3. Run a small knife around cups to loosen tartlets. Place a rimmed baking sheet or large plate over pan and invert to release tartlets. Sprinkle with more thyme. Serve warm.

-Recipe courtesy Martha Stewart’s Everyday Food magazine.

Onions and cheese waiting for the pastry rounds (I didn’t use that one cup because it had a bad rusty spot):

Tartlets finished in pan:

Removed from pan and sprinkled with thyme:

Leave a comment

Posted by on November 30, 2011 in Uncategorized


Onion Focaccia

This Thanksgiving, my brother and his wife hosted their first Thanksgiving in their new home, which of course is always a big undertaking. I chose appetizer duty as my contribution and this is the first of three well-received dishes we enjoyed on the big day. The onion focaccia turned out a bit more spicy and slightly more toasty than I intended, but it didn’t seem to scare everyone off. The evening was a great success, and of course there was way too much great food for us all to eat!


  • 3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 pounds homemade or store-bought pizza dough [I used Trader Joe’s pizza dough, two bags]
  • 2 large red onions, thinly sliced
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup grated Pecorino Romano [I used Asiago]
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon red-pepper flakes [I used Aleppo pepper, which I prefer to regular red pepper. You can get this from specialty herb and spice purveyors like Penzey’s]


  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Coat an 11-by-17-inch rimmed baking sheet with 2 tablespoons oil. Place dough on sheet, stretching to fit (if dough springs back, let rest 20 minutes and repeat). Drizzle edges with 1 tablespoon oil. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit 15 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat 1 teaspoon oil over medium-high. Add onions and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are tender and golden brown in spots, 12 minutes. Add vinegar and cook, stirring and scraping up browned bits with a wooden spoon, 1 minute.
  3. Remove plastic from dough. With your fingertips, poke dimples all over dough, then top with cheese, browned onions, and red-pepper flakes. Bake until golden brown around edges, about 30 minutes. Let cool on sheet 5 minutes. Cut into 20 pieces and serve warm or at room temperature.

–Recipe courtesy Martha Stewart’s Everyday Food magazine.

The onions cooking:

Onions and pepper flakes on the dough, ready for the oven:

Done! After this, Woody cut it into about 24 appetizer-sized pieces for me with a pizza cutter:


Posted by on November 29, 2011 in Uncategorized


Everyday Granola

Sadly, I must confess that I don’t usually find much in Bon Appetit magazine these days to justify continuing my subscription. The one exception is Molly Wizenberg’s column. The stories she tells about the food are as good as the food itself, and the food is quite good.

She’s the one who contributed the British Flapjacks recipe that has garnered me so many compliments over the last year, a luscious lentil soup, a simple cold chickpea salad, and I’m pretty sure there was at least one other brilliant recipe I’ve gotten from her column. The Everyday Granola below is no exception – it’s nothing short of amazing.

One note: though it may just be a quirk of my rental-house oven’s temperature-calibration, 40 minutes of baking is too much time. I realized at about the 35 minute mark that it was extremely dark – on the edge of burned – and luckily took it out at the last second before it was ruined. I like toastiness, so actually I’ve enjoyed it being quite dark, but many may not. Keep an eye on it!


  • 3 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped pecans
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut [at the “regular” supermarket, they didn’t have unsweetened so I ended up using sweetened, but it seemed to work out fine]
  • 3 tablespoons (packed) brown sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • [as with other recipes, I added a bunch of nutmeg]
  • 1/4 teaspoon (generous) salt
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 cup assorted dried fruit [I used a whole bag of Trader Joe’s Triple Fruit Treat – cranberries, blueberries, and mango – which has been delicious, though I’m sure virtually anything would work]


  • Preheat oven to 300°F. Line rimmed baking sheet with parchment. Mix first 7 ingredients in large bowl. Stir honey and oil in saucepan over medium-low heat until smooth. Pour honey mixture over oat mixture; toss. Spread on prepared sheet. Bake until golden, stirring every 10 minutes, about 40 minutes. [see note above – 40 mins may be too much time, be careful] Place sheet on rack. Stir granola; cool. Mix in fruit. DO AHEAD Can be made 1 week ahead. Store airtight.

–Recipe courtesy Bon Appetit magazine/Molly Wizenberg.

Granola ingredients before mixing:

Granola after coming out of the oven before mixing in the fruit:


Posted by on November 28, 2011 in Uncategorized


Lentil Salad with Grapes and Feta

I love this kind of salad, and anything that can help us use up a ton of bulk Moong or Chori beans we bought from Vik’s in Berkeley (an amazing no-frills Indian restaurant, two thumbs up to a visit if you’re in the area) is always welcome, given that I hate wasting food.


  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 3/4 cup French or brown lentils [I used Moong beans instead]
  • 2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons honey
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 cup walnuts, toasted and roughly chopped [I used almonds instead]
  • 1 1/2 cups seedless red grapes, halved
  • 1 celery stalk, thinly sliced
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 ounces feta, crumbled (1/2 cup) [I still had a lot of queso fresco I needed to use, so I used that instead]
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper


  1. In a small saucepan, bring water to a boil. Add lentils, reduce to a simmer, and cover; cook until lentils are tender, about 30 minutes. Drain and rinse under cool water. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together red-wine vinegar, lemon juice, and honey. Whisk in olive oil. Stir in lentils, walnuts, grapes, celery, and thyme. Add feta. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Beautiful ingredients ready for mixing:

Here’s the finished product:

Leave a comment

Posted by on November 27, 2011 in Uncategorized


Braised Bok Choy

Bok Choy is another awesome item we get from the Farm Fresh to You people. This recipe makes for a very tasty side. I had less Bok Choy than the recipe mentions (though honestly, I didn’t convert 300gm – darn metric) so I’ll need to be more strict on the next attempt about the amount of water I put in – I ended up with too much liquid and had to boil it down a bit after the choy was done cooking. I would’ve preferred to caramelize the choy using much less liquid; I’ll have to remember that next time. I plan to add some ginger and sesame oil to the recipe next time as well.


  • 300g bok choy
  • 2 tsp dark soy sauce
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 2 tsp oil
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 tsp salt, or to taste


Soak whole pieces of bok choy in sink with sufficient water for about half an hour. As we are not going to cut off each stalk one by one, soaking makes dirt come out between leaves. Swish them in water and change water until clean. Give each bok choy the last rinse under running water if required.

Half each bok choy lengthwise, drain in a colander. If you have drained your vegetable to very dry, say more than an hour, you may need to increase the water amount from 1/2 cup to 3/4 cup for making the sauce.

Mix water, dark soy sauce, sugar and oil in a pot or wok. Bring it to the boil over medium heat.

Put halved bok choy in the boiling sauce, with stalks touching the sauce. Slightly press down the vegetable if required. Cover.

Turn to low flame and simmer for 5 to 7 minutes. My cast iron pot conducted and retained heat pretty well, so I checked the bok choy after it was simmered for 5 minutes. Add salt to taste and mix well (the boy choy are rather tender at this point, so be gentle if you do not want to break them). Dish up, with or without sauce, and serve hot.

–Recipe courtesy

The choy while cooking:

Finished product (with more watery sauce than I would have liked, even after reducing):

Leave a comment

Posted by on November 26, 2011 in Uncategorized


Herbed Spaghetti Squash

Thanks to receiving a spaghetti squash in Farm Fresh to You’s box, I was encouraged to cook one, which I had never done before. In the end, I think I prefer other squashes (pumpkin, butternut, Mexican, etc), but it was fun to try. I also think it might have been better with some parmesan sprinkled over it. If I end up with another squash, I’ll have to try that.

Here’s the recipe, process photos follow.


  • 1 small spaghetti squash, about 2 1/4 pounds
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped mixed soft herbs, such as basil, chives, chervil, parsley and sage
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Using a sharp knife, cut the squash in half lengthwise and place, cut side down, in a baking dish. Add enough water to come 1/2-inch up the sides of the baking dish and cover with aluminum foil. Bake for 45 minutes, until the squash is easily pierced with a paring knife. Turn squash over and cover with foil again and continue to cook another 15 minutes, until the squash is very tender. Remove from the oven, uncover, and allow to cool slightly. Using a spoon, remove the seeds and discard. Using a fork, gently pull the strands of squash away from the peel and place the squash strands into a mixing bowl.

Heat a skillet. Add the butter, spaghetti squash, herbs, salt and pepper and toss thoroughly but gently to heat and combine. Serve immediately or cover and keep warm until ready to serve.

–Recipe courtesy Emeril Lagasse/Food Network.

The squash about to go into the oven:

Removing the seeds after cooking:

Making spaghetti!

After removal:

Finished product:

Leave a comment

Posted by on November 25, 2011 in Uncategorized


Sweet-and-Sour Green Cabbage with Bacon

Farm Fresh to You sent us a small cabbage in this last box and usually I struggle with what to do with cabbage that’s reasonably tasty. I think I’ve finally found something that works. Amazingly, I did no substitutions or additions!


  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 4 slices bacon, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 medium head green cabbage (3 pounds), cored, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1/4 cup cider or rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce


  1. In a large Dutch oven or heavy pot, heat oil over medium-high and cook bacon, stirring, until browned and crisp, 6 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer bacon to a plate. Add onion and cabbage to pot and cook, stirring, until cabbage is wilted, 10 minutes. Add vinegar, sugar, and soy sauce and cook until cabbage is crisp-tender, 10 minutes. Stir in bacon and serve.

The tasty result:

–Recipe courtesy Martha Stewart’s Everyday Food magazine, May 2011

Leave a comment

Posted by on November 23, 2011 in Uncategorized