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Posts from the ‘Cooking’ Category

father’s day trout burgers

June 20, 2010

zora naki

I invented trout burgers for dinner tonight – delish!

1 lb trout, chopped
1/2 small onion, minced
2 eggs
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp dill weed
juice of a lime
1/2 cup panko (bread crumbs)
salt and pepper to taste

Mix everything together and form into five patties (205 calories each). Chill for 20 minutes before cooking. Fry over medium heat in a non-stick pan, using olive oil spray.

We served them with mustard, cheater’s tartar sauce (mayo, capers, relish), pan-fried mushrooms, and slicer dills on sourdough buns – extremely yummy.

happy father’s day!

Grow Your Own #29

June 17, 2009

zora naki

Wow! Prepare to be awed by the fabulous entries for this edition of GYO.

Cannellini Bean Salad

Cannellini Bean Salad

Andrea Meyers (Virginia, United States) of Andrea’s Recipes came up with her usual yumminess in her recipe for Cannellini Bean Salad with White Balsamic Vinaigrette.


Artichoke Salad with Sage

Graziana of Erbe in Cucina used sage from her Italian garden to make Artichoke Salad with Sage.

Sweet and Sour Chicken Thighs

Sweet and Sour Chicken Thighs

I never thought that a chicken recipe would appear on my blog, but this one from Núria of Spanish Recipes (which makes sense since she is from Barcelona) sounds good – Sweet and Sour Chicken Thighs with Rosemary, Honey and Orange.

Braised Rhubarb with Herbs and Saffron

Braised Rhubarb with Herbs and Saffron

Jessamyn Tuttle from Mount Vernon, WA used up some of her rhubarb harvest in Braised Rhubarb with Herbs and Saffron which you can read all about in her blog Food on the Brain.

Lemony Rosemary Polenta Cake

Lemony Rosemary Polenta Cake

Bee and Jai from Jugalbandi created a Lemony Rosemary Polenta Cake using some home-grown rosemary from their garden in the North-Western U.S.

Quinoa Flake Crisp

Quinoa Flake Crisp

Linda Simon (WI, USA) from Kitchen Therapy created a lovely Q-is-for-Quinoa Flake Fruit Crisp using the last of her rhubarb.


Lemon Thyme Shortbread Hearts

Elissa from the blog 17 and Baking lives in Seattle, WA (USA), and made Lemon-Thyme Shortbread Hearts using lemon-thyme grown in her herb garden. Sounds yummy. I wonder if she’ll have to change the name of her blog when she turns 18?

Potato Salad with Peas and Peppers

Potato Salad with Peas and Peppers

Kim Lewandowski (Portsmouth, VA) of Live, Love, Laugh, Eat came up with a delicious Potato Salad with Peas and Peppers, featuring her spring peas.

Raspberry Tiramisu

Raspberry Tiramisu

And finally, this fabulous-looking Raspberry Tiramisu comes from Dhanggit’s Kitchen in Aix en Provence, France and uses home-grown raspberries.

Bon appetit! If I’ve missed anyone, please fire me an angry email. I hope to have the cojones to contribute to the next round of GYO – #30, hosted by Graziana of Erbe in Cucina.

Grow Your Own 2009

a month of soup: vegetarian chili

February 23, 2009

zora naki

okay, so technically my month of soups will probably stretch over the course of a year, and chili isn’t really soup (unless you add a lot of water), and this isn’t really chili at all, if you’re any sort of purist, what with the lack of meat and all the veggies and stuff, but this is my blog, so there you have it.

vegetarian chili

this is tangy! zesty! quick to make, once you get past the chopping, and very kid-friendly, without being bland. i served it over some mashed roasted butternut squash, and topped with shredded cheddar, to go with the whole red/orange theme i had working. For those of you keeping tabs on grow-your-own, i incorporated my overwintered carrots (a bit meh raw) and some persistent thyme from the garden.

vegetarian chili

3 onions, chopped
1 head of garlic, chopped
3 stalks of celery, diced
3 carrots, peeled & diced
1 small zucchini, chopped
1/2 yellow pepper, diced
1/2 green pepper, diced
1 cup frozen corn
a pinch of crushed chilies (more if you like to bring the spice)
1 1/2 Tbsp cumin
1 1/2 Tbsp chili powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
1/4 cup chili sauce
1 orange, zested and juiced
1 19 oz can mixed beans, rinsed and drained
1 Tbsp fresh thyme
salt & pepper to taste

splash some olive oil in a large skillet and cook the onion/garlic/celery over medium heat.

throw in the carrots/zucchini/peppers and saute until tender. add the corn.

stir in the chilies, cumin and chili powder (i probably would have used coriander as well if i’d had any).

add the tomatoes, chili sauce, orange (zest the outside first and then juice it straight into the skillet), beans and thyme. add a cup or two of water and then cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally for about 15 minutes (or until you’re ready to eat). Add salt/pepper to taste and serve.

Made enough for dinner (2 adults, 3 kids) with leftovers for lunch the next day.

a month of soup: kabocha, tomato & black bean

January 13, 2009

zora naki


kabocha: the squash that’s fun to say! this is another soup from a kosher collection, and i like it. I’ve never cooked a kabocha before, but really (like any squash), the hardest part is peeling and chopping it – it’s hard to go wrong after that. if you can’t find a kabocha, substitute butternut or acorn squash.

The addition of chinese 5-spice, along with various other herbs give this soup a bit of attitude which everyone seemed to appreciate (as usual, I doubled or tripled the amount of spice).

kabocha squash, tomato and black bean soup

kabocha squash, tomato and black bean soup

olive oil
1 onion, chopped
8 cloves of garlic, chopped
2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp chinese 5-spice powder
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp chili powder
2 Tbsp sugar
1 can (796 mL) diced tomatoes
1 medium kabocha squash (peeled, seeded, cubed)
6 cups stock
1 can (540 mL) black beans, rinsed and drained
1 lime (my suggestion)
a splash of soy sauce (my suggestion)

Sauté the onion in a splash of olive oil for around 5 minutes. Throw in the garlic, spices and sugar and stir for a minute.

Add the tomatoes, squash, stock, and black beans. Cover and bring to a boil, then simmer over medium-low heat until tender.

If you so desire (and i did) blend about half of the soup to give the base some heft for the chunky vegetables. After two taste testers sampled the final product, the general consensus was that it needed a little something something, and so i juiced a lime and added a splash of soy sauce to finish it off. yum.

a month of soup: sweet potato chowder(less)

January 12, 2009

zora naki

This recipe comes to us courtesy of my beloved Nana. She passed away last year and I asked for her cookbook collection, which heavily features soup recipes and Jewish food. This cookbook handily combines both into one fabulous kosher cornucopia.

The recipe itself is for sweet potato chowder, but we have some unfriendly-to-dairy people in these parts, so i left the flour/cream out. But if somebody out there wouldn’t mind making it (i included the original instructions at the bottom) and letting me know how it tastes, i sure would appreciate it.

Without the chowder, the soup is sweetly unassuming – a bit of a wallflower really. Might be nice paired with something a bit more assertive – like pumpernickel croutons.

sweet potato chowder

sweet potato chowder

olive oil
1 onion, chopped
3 stalks of celery, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 extremely large, or 2 middling sweet potatoes (peeled and diced)
6 cups stock
1/2 cup frozen corn kernels
2 yellow/orange/red peppers, cored, seeded and diced
2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
3 Tbsp flour
1 cup half-and-half

chopped sweet potato, carrot and peppers

Saute onion and celery in a splash of olive oil until the onion is translucent.

Add carrot, sweet potato and stock – bring to a boil and then simmer on medium low for 15 minutes.

Add the corn, peppers, salt and pepper and simmer until everything is lovely and soft. If you’re stopping here for the non-dairy option, I would suggest blending about half of the soup to give it some creaminess.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour and half-and-half, getting rid of any lumps. Pour this into the soup, mixing well.

Let the soup simmer for another 5 minutes, until the flour cooks and the soup thickens.

a month of soup: winter lentil

January 11, 2009

zora naki

day three of making soup, and i unleashed the root vegetables.

this recipe is well-meaning and a bit earnest — you probably wouldn’t want to be trapped with it in a corner at a cocktail party, but it would be great to come home to after tramping around a frosty field all afternoon. i started with bill granger’s dhal but got bored halfway through and added a bunch of things.

i don’t know if anyone else does this, but i found myself trying to chop the vegetables into small, equally square cubes in an homage to campbell’s vegetable soup.

winter lentil soup

red lentils

olive oil
1 large onion, diced
8 garlic cloves (what’s the point of just 2 or 3?)
1 jalapeno, deseeded and minced
2 Tbsp ginger, minced
1/2 giant sweet potato
3 parsnips
2 small turnips
4 carrots
6 cups veggie stock
2 cups red lentils
1 Tbsp cumin
1 lime
salt to taste

heat a splash of olive oil in a large sauce pan and saute the onion, garlic and ginger (i really should make this sentence a macro).

Throw in the jalapeno and the cumin.

Peel and cube your vegetables and toss them in.

Add the stock and the lentils and simmer over medium-low heat until everything starts to melt together.

Blend it up if you like a smooth soup.

Add the juice from the lime and salt to taste.

Makes enough for a dinner and lunch for 2 adults and 3 smallish kids.

a month of soup: pumpkin curry

January 10, 2009

zora naki

pumpkins last forever, and thank goodness for that, because pumpkin #2 from last year’s harvest has been sitting on my counter since September.

this soup is from bill granger’s Simply Bill. i really like his recipes. straightforward, delicious, uncomplicated – everything that i’ve tried so far (okay, all 5 recipes) has turned out very well.

my one small (eeny) criticism is that the book is filled with gorgeous envy-inducing photos of him and his family looking very lovely and australian in a donna hay kind of way and the man seems to live in all-white clothing. i don’t know about you, but i cook swathed in large bib-style aprons that my Nana made for me, and i still get splattered. also, he never seems to look directly at the camera, and i’m not sure why. Is he slightly cross-eyed or just avoiding me for some reason? maybe he doesn’t want to look at the mess i’ve made of my kitchen…

pumpkin-curry soup


1 volley-ball size pumpkin
olive oil
an inch of ginger, minced
1 pkge of Thai red curry paste (i used Asian Home Gourmet) or 2 tsp (Bill’s amount)
170 ml (1/2 can) light coconut milk (you can freeze the other half)
1 Tbsp fish sauce
1 Tbsp lime juice
salt to taste (my preference) or 1 tsp sugar (his suggestion)

roast the pumpkin by cutting it in half, splashing some olive oil on a rimmed cookie sheet and baking it cut-side down in a on a tray – 45 minutes in a 375º oven should do it. Check to see if it’s tender. Let it cool a bit before chunking it off the skin. I cut the pumpkin halves into strips, make vertical cuts down to (but not through the skin) and then slide the knife between flesh and skin (this sounds rather gory) to separate it into neat little chunks. I’m only telling you this in case you’re at all slow on the uptake (like me) and curiously persist in trying to scrape the pumpkin off with a spoon. why would i even do this? i think it has to do with getting rid of the guts in jack-o-lanterns – old habits and all that. Oh, and i seem to have forgotten to mention the guts. You can either get rid of them before roasting or wait until after – i don’t think it makes a difference.

Add a splash of olive oil, plus the onion, ginger and curry paste to a large saucepan and cook for a few minutes over medium-heat. Add the pumpkin and 4 cups of water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.

Blend it up and then add coconut milk, fish sauce, lime juice and salt or sugar. Simmer for another 5 minutes before serving. Add fresh coriander (cilantro) to garnish, if you are so inclined.

Served 2 adults and 3 smallish kids with enough left over for lunch the next day.

As usual, this is my modified version – more spice, etc. also, i roasted the pumpkin first for more flavor before adding it to the soup, whereas he just chops it up and cooks it in the water. actually, now that i read the recipe, he calls it a “butternut pumpkin (squash)”, so maybe this isn’t really a recipe for what i would call a pumpkin, but rather for a butternut squash. hmm. well, it’s all gourd to me!

this is the first time i’ve submitted anything to andrea’s grow-your-own event, but here goes… the post can be found here. gorgeous photos.

a month of soup: carrot-ginger

January 9, 2009

zora naki

one of my new year’s resolutions (and there are many, because i love the resolving) is to do MORE cooking around here, and so i decided to kick off the new year with a month of soups. Well, a new year starting from when we got back from our trip to the wintry Prairies (and seriously, -30°C for DAYS is just not reasonable), so technically january 5th or so, but you get the point.

soup number one comes to us courtesy of Joshi’s Holistic Detox: 21 days to a healthier slimmer you – for life. you’re probably snerfling into your coffee right about now, and i know that detoxing is just so GOOPy of me (and in fact, it says right on the cover of the book that Gwyneth Paltrow loves Joshi), but i can’t help myself – I love love LOVE the idea of being all fresh and clean and sparkly at the start of a new year. i’m trying to reduce my dependence on cheese and eat a little better overall, and so far it’s going okay, although all of the vegetables seem to have made me especially prone to run-on sentences and CAPITAL-istic enthusiasm, but there you have it.

Carrot-ginger soup

Endorsement: Son #1 loved it and asked me to make it again the next day. It’s sweet and fairly uncomplicated, with the ginger adding a nice little hello! every now and then.


1 large onion, chopped finely
olive oil
8 carrots, sliced (yes, i know there are nine in the picture, but i didn’t want to leave one an orphan in the crisper)
2 cups veggie stock
1 Tbsp fresh ginger, minced
salt to taste

Heat a splash of olive oil in a large pot. Chop your onion and cook it in the oil until translucent. Throw your carrots and stock in and simmer until tender. Puree the carrots with a stick blender/blender/food processor and then add the ginger. Simmer for another ten minutes. Serve.

Joshi suggests adding some fresh thyme with the ginger, and i would if it were summer and my thyme wasn’t buried under two feet of snow in the backyard (in VANCOUVER!), but it isn’t and it is, and i’ll try it that way another time.

Served 3 adults and 3 smallish kids.

tuna casserole

December 13, 2008

zora naki

oh tuna casserole, how i love you.

it snowed yesterday (for the first time this winter) – great wet globs that splattered all over everything in sight, and melted on touchdown. then it rained some more.

this is the weather that comfort food was meant for – warm, creamy, soothing stuff that slides down your throat and settles in your belly. who doesn’t have fond memories of old-style tuna casserole (you know what i’m talking about – cream of mushroom soup and crunchy cornflake topping) from days gone by?

i had a craving last week and cobbled together this recipe for a zorafied version (more green, less cream). i would have taken a picture, but it disappeared too quickly. it’s not a healthfest, but it’s really yummy.

tuna casserole

I surfed through epicurious and a few other sites, but i didn’t have any cream or whole milk in the house, and i couldn’t stomach the idea of three jars of alfredo sauce clogging my arteries (seriously – who eats like that?), so i compensated with the basics – the starch (pasta), the veggies (spinach and peas) and a cheese sauce (modified, natch) from vegetarian comfort food (how appropriate) and then a topping (grated cheese and bread crumbs).

3 cups of macaroni (or enough to fill your casserole dish)
1 package of frozen chopped spinach (defrosted)
1 cup of frozen peas
2 cans of tuna
panko (bread crumbs for topping)

Defrost the spinach and squeeze the water out. Throw it in a mid-size casserole dish. Drain the water from the tuna and add it to the spinach. Boil water in a large pot – cook the macaroni and add the cup of peas just before the pasta is done – drain and add to casserole dish. While this is cooking, make your cheese sauce.

cheese sauce:
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup flour
1 1/2 cups milk (skim works fine)
1 1/2 cups grated gouda
1 tsp garlic powder
salt and pepper to taste

Melt the butter over medium heat. Whisk in flour, then gradually add 3/4 cup milk. It will start to thicken. Remove from heat and stir in 1 1/4 cups of grated cheese and garlic powder. Throw in some oregano or basil if you feel like it.

Put back on the heat and add the rest of the milk, stirring until it starts to bubble. Keep stirring for the next few minutes while it gets nice and gloppy. Add some salt and pepper if you so desire. Take off the heat.

Mix the sauce into your casserole dish until everything is a nice big mess. Smooth it out and sprinkle panko (bread crumbs) and the last of the grated gouda over the top. Bake in a 400° oven for about 25 minutes, until the top is golden brown and bubbling around the edges. Yummy.

I haven’t tried this out yet, but i might try some sharper cheese next time – really old cheddar or asiago or even blue cheese to add some more depth. If you like the spice, adding cayenne or chili powder to the cheese sauce would perk things right up. Let me know if you have other ideas!

recipe: roasted mystery squash soup

September 7, 2008

zora naki

i grew a giant yellow orb-shaped squash, and i had no idea what kind of squash it was. Didn’t matter though, I made this great soup with it.

i know, it’s hard to take good pictures of soup, but trust me, this is the good stuff.

Best of all? Six (count ’em) of the ingredients came from my garden (squash, tomatoes, onions, shallots, sage, thyme).


1 honking big mystery squash
4 roma tomatoes
2 red or yellow peppers
1 garlic bulb
2 small onions
5 shallots
1 orange
handful of sage, thyme, other fresh herbs
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp chili powder
10 cups vegetable stock
olive oil, salt, pepper


Roast the squash in a 375°F oven (cut it in half, scoop out the seeds, throw a little oil on a baking sheet and bake it cut-side down until it’s soft enough to scoop out with a spoon).

Once you’ve got the squash started, cut your peppers in half, scoop out the seeds and roast them cut-side down on a parchment-paper covered sheet. Once the skins start to turn black, take them out, put them in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let them steam themselves loose for about 10 minutes and then peel the skins off.

The tomatoes are chopped and go into a pan with the garlic cloves (peeled but not chopped) and a splash of olive oil. Cook them for about twenty minutes – til the garlic looks soft.

Heat some more olive oil in your stockpot, chop the onions and saute for about 5 minutes. Add your herbs and spices and cook a bit longer. Add the tomatoes and garlic. Chop up the cooked squash and peppers and add them. Saute for a few minutes more and then add the vegetable stock.

Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Puree soup with your food processor or stick blender (one of these makes things so much easier).

Juice and zest your orange and add it to the soup, along with salt and pepper to taste. Scrumpdiliumpitous!

The takeoff point for this recipe came from Rebar: modern food cookbook – a popular cookbook in this part of the world – the owners run a funky restaurant in Victoria if you’re ever in the area.

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