Monthly Archives: July 2012

Edamame Soup with Smoky Mushrooms

Woody loves edamame, so when I came across this recipe, I knew I had to try it for him. Also, I have plenty of kombu now that I bought it for Agedashi Tofu purposes. I also tried adding some bonito flakes, like I do with the AT, but I think that was going too far – it got really fishy tasting. Next time I probably wouldn’t do that. Also, a lot of the moisture boiled off in the process and the soup wasn’t very soupy. I had to add water to the blender to get it to work, and even then it still wasn’t very soupy. I realize now that I also forgot to add the lemon juice, which might have helped considerably. Woody seemed to enjoy it though, so I considered it a win.


  • 4 cups water
  • One 3-inch piece kombu (Japanese kelp)
  • One 2-inch piece fresh ginger, scraped and sliced into ½-inch-thick coins
  • 2 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 1 pound frozen edamame (shelled green soybeans)
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons grapeseed oil
  • 8 ounces oyster mushrooms (or cremini mushrooms), ends trimmed
  • Smoked salt [I don’t have this frou-frou item, I didn’t worry about it]
  • 2 lemon wedges


  1. Bring the water, kombu, ginger and garlic to a gentle simmer in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Simmer for 30 minutes, then use a slotted spoon to remove the kombu, ginger and garlic.
  2. Add the frozen edamame to the broth and gently simmer over medium heat for 30 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes, then transfer to a blender and purée until smooth (purée in batches if necessary). Return the puréed soup to the saucepan and season with the kosher salt.
  3. Heat a medium skillet over high heat for 1½ minutes. Add the grapeseed oil and mushrooms. Quickly shake the skillet to coat the mushrooms with oil, then let the mushrooms brown, without moving them, for about 2 minutes. Shake the pan and cook until the mushrooms are tender, about 1 minute longer.
  4. Turn the mushrooms out onto a plate and season with the smoked salt. Warm the soup over medium heat, stirring often, then divide among bowls. Squeeze a few drops of lemon juice over each serving, top with smoky mushrooms and serve.

–Recipe courtesy Tasting Table.

Finished soup (not very soupy):

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Posted by on July 30, 2012 in Uncategorized


Onion, Potato, Rosemary, and Blue Cheese Pizza

At some point we were on the homemade pizza kick. We hadn’t done it in a while, so I picked up some premade wheaty pizza dough at Trader Joe’s and got back down to business. I used the last of the blue cheese we bought at Cowgirl Creamery in Point Reyes Station recently. It’s great, and was well spotlit here. The potatoes on the pizza were grown in my parents’ compost heap. Not kidding, some potatoes that went bad were thrown in there and didn’t get disturbed, and they grew into a potato plant, with baby potatoes. Nature is awesome, and the potatoes were tasty!!


  • 1 Package of premade pizza dough
  • 2 small potatoes
  • 1 small onion
  • Blue cheese, crumbled (how much is up to you)
  • Olive oil
  • Garlic or garlic powder
  • Dried basil flakes
  • Dried oregano flakes
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Red pepper flakes or chili powder (optional)
  • Rosemary for topping


  • Mix oil, garlic, basil, oregano, salt, pepper, red pepper (if using) together in a small bowl.
  • Using a mandoline, slice onions and potatoes very thin (they don’t cook well if they’re too thick).
  • If you don’t have a really big pizza stone (I don’t) divide the pizza dough in half, and stretch each half out on two heavy oiled cookie sheets.
  • Brush the oil mixture on each half of the pizza.
  • Distribute the sliced onions over the pizzas, then the sliced potatoes.
  • Distributed the crumbles of cheese over the pizza.
  • Sprinkle the rosemary bits over the pizzas.
  • Bake in the oven per dough directions (usually I have to bake a bit longer until the pizzas are as brown as I’d like). Seems like normal directions are 450F for 12 minutes or similar.
  • Cut with a pizza cutter and serve or store immediately.

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Posted by on July 28, 2012 in Uncategorized


Skinny Cucumber Ranch Dressing/Dip

We got a cucumber from FFTY and I never know what to do with cucumbers. I like the taste of them fine, but they weep all over everything you use them in and that’s annoying. Luckily, the FFTY newsletter included a recipe for this dressing. I didn’t use it as a salad dressing, though. I mixed some of it with some Greek yogurt to make it thick enough to be a dip for veggies. It was a nice change!


  • 1/2 cup lowfat buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup light mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup fat-free Greek yogurt
  • 1 small cucumber, peeled and seeds removed
  • 3 tbsp fresh parsley
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/4 cup chives or scallions
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1/8 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Combine all ingredients in a blender and serve.

–Recipe courtesy FFTY newsletter/

Finished product:

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Posted by on July 26, 2012 in Uncategorized


Cherry Cobbler

We got a bunch of cherries from FFTY, and I had never made a cherry cobbler before, so I figured, why not. We had bought a cherry pitter before I made the Diabetic Dad pie (it actually worked on the cherry plums!), so that helped make prep tons quicker. This recipe was billed as “Cobbler for 2” but we easily made it into 4 servings – it’s a lot of food. I also wanted more toasty flavor to the topping, so I added a bit of oatmeal and wheat germ. It turned out great


Cherry filling

  • 2 cups of pitted cherries
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • dash of salt


  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • [I also added a handful of rolled oats and a sprinkle of wheat germ, I added a little more butter and milk to make sure it would still be moist enough]
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • dash of salt
  • 1/2 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 1/4 cup milk


  1. Preheat oven to 400 F degrees.
  2. Pit the cherries and wash them. Add the 2 tbsp of sugar, lemon juice and a dash of salt to the cherries and mix well. Set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl add the remaining ingredients and mix well with a fork. Dough will be crumbly.
  4. Butter two ramekins (4″ in diameter). Pour half the cherries in each. Add the crumbled dough on top of the cherries.
  5. Bake for 30 minutes or until the top is golden.

–Recipe courtesy JoCooks.

Going in for baking:


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Posted by on July 24, 2012 in Uncategorized


Diabetic-Dad-friendly Cherry-Plum Pie with Almond Meal Crust and Streusel-like Top Crust

For Father’s Day I decided to try to make a pie for my Diabetic Dad using almond meal for the flourless crust and Stevia instead of sugar in the filling. This kept the potentially blood-sugar-spiking ingredients to a minimum – the only sugar here is from the fruit itself. This is a new bit of recipe acrobatics for me – I’ve combined two recipes before, but this is a mash-up of three.

Woody harvested the cherry-plums from our neighbor’s back yard, and I added a few cherries we bought at the store to make sure there was enough to fill the pan. I decided to add some extra crust material to the top of the pie sort of like a streusel to get it closer to a “traditional” pie situation with a top crust, since the almond meal wouldn’t have been strong enough to make a real, solid, top crust.

I succeeded in making the pie, and I purposely erred on the side of making it too sour, since people who didn’t have diabetes could sprinkle sugar on it, but if I had added too much Stevia it would have been too sweet and no one could have done anything about it. Everyone politely ate some during Father’s Day dinner, but in my opinion it wasn’t very good. I had never cooked with the plums before, so I don’t know if it was their fault, or if the Stevia was just too weird-tasting for me. The crust turned out OK though.

Crust/Streusel Ingredients:

  • 1 and 1/2 cups almond meal or almond flour
  • 3 tablespoons melted butter
  • Artificial sweetener equal to 3 tablespoons sugar

Crust/Streusel Preparation:

  1. Heat oven to 350F. Melt the butter (if the pie pan is microwave safe, melt the butter in it) and mix the ingredients up in the pan and pat into place with your fingertips.
  2. Bake for about 10 minutes until the crust is beginning to brown. After 8 minutes, check every minute or so, because once it starts to brown it goes quickly.

Filling Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs fresh plums (8-10, depending on size) [I used about this much in cherry-plum form vs regular plums]
  • 1 cup sugar [I replaced this with a bit less than the equivalent amount of Stevia so it wouldn’t be too sweet, conversion amounts are on the Stevia container] 
  • 1/4 cup plus 3/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

Filling Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 375F.
  2. Wash plums and cut in half, removing the pits. Cut about half of the plums into quarters and half into sixths (the size variety helps them fit into the pie plate well).
  3. Combine 1/4 cup water, 1/4 cup cornstarch, and the stevia in a small bowl and set aside. You have to stir a bit to get the ingredients to mix together well.
  4. Pour 3/4 cup of water into a large saucepan. Take the bowl with the water/cornstarch/stevia mixture and stir it again and then add it to the water in the saucepan. Place the sauce pan on the stove, and while stirring constantly, cook over medium low heat for about 1 minute. Add half of the plums, continue to stir, and cook for an additional 2 minutes. Add the salt and the rest of the plums and cook until thickened, about an additional 3-4 minutes.
  5. Add the vanilla extract.
  6. Fill pie crust you made earlier with plum mixture. [I added more almond meal mixture to the top]
  7. Bake for 65-75 minutes, until the filling is thick and bubbling.
  8. Cool pie on a wire rack completely before slicing, to ensure that the filling thickens up and sets.

–Recipe parts courtesy Laura Dolson/, Going Sugar Free, and Baking Bites.


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Posted by on July 22, 2012 in Uncategorized


Rosemary-Honey Butter

Woody found this recipe while surfing seed sites. He asked me to make it because it sounded good to him, but also in order to use up some of the bounty of our rosemary plant (and my trip to beekeeping class with subsequent buying spree of local honey), but I wasn’t sure at first. Rosemary is OK, but I’m not a huge fan. Once I made it, though, I was hooked. Rosemary and honey together make a great flowery fresh combination. This is heavenly on toast in the morning.


  • ½ cup (1 stick) salted butter, softened
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon honey


Cream the butter in a small bowl until smooth. Stir in the rosemary. Add the honey and stir until partially mixed. Spoon the butter onto wax paper and roll into a log, twisting the ends like a peppermint wrapper. Chill until firm.

–Recipe courtesy BonniePlants.

I did the roll thing at first, but I decided the second time to just put it in a container in the fridge. It’s less pretty, but easier to use up fully.

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Posted by on July 20, 2012 in Uncategorized


Agedashi Tofu

I had always wanted to try to make Agedashi Tofu, but when frying is involved, I get anxious. In the past, I always got too much smoke or the temperature is too low. Finally, I now have both grapeseed oil (very high smoke point) and a thermometer than can be placed in a very thin layer of oil and will still be reasonably accurate (and can stand the heat). With both of these things, I felt like I had enough data to control what was going on and neither burn down the house nor cook things poorly. 

Also, I found a very tiny and hidden Japanese market nearby that could supply me with kombu and katsuo-bushi (bonito fish flakes) to make the broth, thereby saving me the discouraging 20+ minute drive to get to any other place I know of with the stuff. Further, I found 2 different recipes that together told me 1) How to make dashi (the base broth), 2) What temperature to fry the tofu, 3) What to add to the broth to make the sauce and 4) How to drain the tofu in the microwave. All of these things really helped me, and now I’ll combine them into one grand recipe!

I’m proud to say that I’ve succeeded in making passable Agedashi Tofu several times now. The first time the broth was too watery, which I’ve since tweaked, and the first time I also used extra firm tofu, because that’s what I had. It was edible, but since then I’ve used Medium tofu and Medium is much nicer (I don’t think I’m skilled enough handling tofu to go full Soft on the texture yet, but maybe someday).

Anyway, if you have access to the tools and ingredients, you should give it a try!

Dashi (broth base for sauce) Ingredients:

  • Piece of konbu – Japanese packaged kelp, comes dried out in big flat package
  • Half a packet of katsuo-bushi/bonito flakes – sold in little clear plastic individual packets, usually 5 to a bag

Ingredients for Sauce and Tofu prep:

  • 1/2 cup dashi
  • 1/2 pkg Medium/Regular tofu
  • 1/4 cup corn starch
  • Oil for deep frying – I use grapeseed oil because of the high smoke point, you need enough to come up 1/4″ to 1/2″ in your pan. I use a small cast iron pan, which seems to work well.
  • Sauce seasonings (to add to the dashi to finish the sauce)
    • 2 Tbsp. cooking sake (I just bought cheap sake from Trader Joe’s, it works fine)
    • 2 Tbsp. Mirin
    • 2 Tbsp. soy sauce
  • Remainder of the packet of bonito flakes you used to make the dashi
  • 1 green onion, finely sliced
  • Pickled ginger or grated daikon for garnish (optional)

Directions – Dashi

  1. Steep the konbu in simmering water for 10 minutes, then add the bonito flakes and steep for another 7 minutes.
  2. After the steeping, strain out the konbu and flakes and you’re left with the dashi broth. If too much moisture evaporated to make 1/2 cup, add a little water to it.

Directions – Tofu and Sauce

  1. Gently cut the tofu into 1/2″ to 3/4″ wide slices (you’ve already cut the whole block of tofu in half and saved one half for another use) and arrange the slices on paper towels on a microwave-safe plate.
  2. Place the tofu on a plate and microwave it for 1 minute. Leave it on the plate for a few minutes to drain further. I also squish it a bit with another layer of paper towel on top to squeeze out more moisture.
  3. Put the corn starch in a small bowl (you’ll use this setup for dredging each piece of tofu in the starch).
  4. Mix the seasoning ingredients with the dashi you made earlier. This is now the finished sauce.
  5. When the tofu is drained, heat oil to 355˚F for frying.
  6. Lightly dredge all sides of the tofu pieces in the starch and add to the hot oil. Don’t fry too many (crowd the pan) at any one time.
  7. Fry until lightly golden, turning once (I’ve found this to be about 1-2 minutes for the first side, and maybe 1 min for the second side)
  8. Remove and drain on paper towels as you fry the rest of the pieces.
  9. Serve on a plate or in a bowl, pour sauce over, and garnish with green onions and the rest of the bonito flakes, adding pickled ginger and/or grated daikon if you wish. Serve immediately.

Serves 2.

–Recipe inspiration and Frankenstein-parts from momofukufor2 and Just One Cookbook.

The first time I made it – sauce was too watery!


Posted by on July 18, 2012 in Uncategorized