Archive | October, 2008

Roasted Garlic and Vegetable Pasta Sauce

10 Oct


From Hummus

My often officious behavior in the kitchen was everything but this morning, when I pulled out the food processor. I feel a sense of urgency when I get the food processor out. I frantically look through the pantry and think: What in the world should I make with this? I only get the FP out once in a while, because in order to the the impeccable processing job that it does, it uses many, many bowls and blades and requires a lot of cleaning. So, I used it to make peanut butter, hummus, and this roasted garlic and vegetable pasta sauce on its maiden voyage for October.

We built a garden last month, so I am begging my tomatoes to grow so that I can make this whole sauce from our backyard. I used to have a fancy roasted pasta sauce recipe from Ms. Stewart, but I gracefully winged it this time and it turned out even better. 

This is another recipe you can tinker with based on the available veggies that you have. It’s a great way to use up vegetables that may be on their last day – just make the sauce, let it cool, and freeze it for an easy dinner atop pasta noodles later!


From Hummus

Roasted Garlic and Vegetable Pasta Sauce

makes about 3 cups of sauce.


2 pounds of tomatoes, washed and quartered

2 squash (I used one zucchini, one yellow squash. You could also insert a few cups of cauliflower, broccoli, bell peppers, mushrooms…anything really in this spot)

1 onion, cut into rings

8 cloves of garlic, separated but not peeled

2 T. olive oil

8-10 basil leaves

2 T. rosemary leaves


Preheat oven to 450.

Toss tomatoes, veggies, and onion in olive oil and spread on a foil-lined pan. Leave one corner of the pan empty and put the garlic cloves there.

Bake 25-35 minutes, or until tops of tomatoes start to brown. 

Remove from oven. Put the tomatoes, veggies and onion into a food processor and let the garlic cool until it is bearable to touch. The garlic is now roasted, so you will be able to easily pull off its skin and throw the roasted cloves into the food processor. 

Add basil and rosemary and process until desired consistency.

Store in an airtight container in the fridge up to 5 days, or in the freezer up to three months.

From Fresh Pasta Sauce

Quick, Easy and Flexible: Hummus

9 Oct

Hummus is like the most popular cheerleader on the squad. She’s flexible, she shows up at every party, everyone likes her, she’s easy…well the hummus is easy, I don’t know about you, cheerleader. I haven’t made hummus before, I don’t know why, I just buy it on occasion if it is on sale and that’s it.

From Hummus

About a month ago, tahini was on sale, so I bought some (you see a trend in my shopping, I know. sale=possibility for purchase. no sale=no possibility) with the intent to make hummus one day, and I have a can of chick peas in the pantry. I don’t know when I bought the chick peas and I couldn’t decode what looked like a possible date on the can, so I am just trusting that cans last a few days short of forever, so I should be good. I think the beauty of hummus is that you can play up whichever ingredient you favor, and run with it. Unlike the peanut butter, you can keep adding more of whichever ingredient you like with no repurcussions. 

From Hummus


1 can chick peas/garbanzo beans (same thing), rinsed and drained

1/3 cup tahini (sesame-seed paste. think: peanut butter but from sesame seeds))

juice of 1 lemon

3 garlic cloves, chopped

1-2 T. olive oil

1 t. salt

chile powder (optional)

extra olive oil (optional)


Blend chick peas in food processor, when blended, add tahini, garlic, and salt. 

Stream in the lemon juice, and olive oil until you reach the consistency you like. 

Sprinkle with chile powder and drizzle with olive oil for presentation.

Homemade Peanut Butter – I’m not special

7 Oct

But, homemade peanut butter is special. It is so, so good. There is something that makes the peanut butter so fresh when the peanuts are ground only minutes before the peanut butter enters the mouth. 



Using honey-roasted peanuts makes the peanut butter naturally sweet and doesn’t require any extra sweetness. Sure, slap it on some bread with jelly, but you can also leave the jelly aside and let the slightly crunchy, slightly sweet, slightly salty peanut butter stick to the roof of your mouth with a piece of fresh bread. 

Now, if you don’t use honey roasted-peanuts,  you can use honey or sugar to sweeten your peanut butter if that suits your fancy, BUT and this is a big but…once you add honey you cannot turn back. You can’t add more peanuts, or more oil, or anything. If you do, the peanut butter will freak in rebellion and ball up and then you will add and add and add more oil to try and thin it out, but it won’t work and you will end up with peanut butter balls that have a nasty, greasy oil:peanut ratio. Once you add honey you need to start completely over to make another batch of peanut butter. I tried to take a shortcut and just add more peanuts after the honey addition when cooking with Carrie and I am clealy still bitter about it.



Peanut Butter

1 C. roasted peanuts (or use honey roasted and omit the extra honey)

1 t. salt

1-2 T. canola oil

2-3 T. honey or sugar


Place peanuts and salt in the bay of a food processor and start.

Once peanuts are ground and look like they are not being affected anymore by the food processor’s spinning blade (about 2 minutes), stream in the oil, 1 Tablespoon at a time.

Once the peanut butter looks like you want it to (about 60 seconds), you can add honey or sugar – stream it in and process only about 10 more seconds until the honey or sugar is incorporated.

Try not to eat it all before you put it in a jar. Store in fridge for up to 60 days.


The grass is always greener?

7 Oct

More REAP.

R. What does the worker gain from his toil? I have seen the burden of God laid on men, He has made everything beautiful in its time. He also set eternity in the hearts of men, yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end. I know that there is nothing better for men than to be happy and do good where they live. That everyone may eat and drink and find satisfaction in his toil-this is the gift of God. I know that everything God does will endure forever, nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. God does it so that men will revere Him…and I saw something else under the sun; in the place of judgment – wickedness was there, in the place of justice – wickedness was there. Ecc 3:9-15

E. This all comes after Solomon says there is a time for everything. God has planned everything. We are supposed to do good and be happy wherever we are. What dies that even mean? Solomon knows it is the desire of our hearts to find meaning in our work. He also knows that God created eternity and we can’t and won’t understand it on this earth. It is a promise that he has made everything beautiful in its time. I think this is difficult to come to terms with—that yes…our toil is meaningless…and just lean on eternity! Solomon was so much wiser that I imagine, and was probably that much more burdened by these truths. And he still trusted in them, understanding that God was more than the wisdom he could think up with his own mind. I think we often toil in our work.

A. We feel confused by if we’re doing the right thing, and burdened by attempting to toil with meaningful work, and not let it be meaningless. But Solomon seems to understand that it all can seem meaningless when shone under the light of eternity that is God. God places eternity and eternal desires on our hearts though we will never fully understand them. Maybe that is why the grass is always implacably greener on the other side? Because we are always seeking to understand more, to become closer to that end-promise of eternity. God does all of this so that we will see that on our own, our toils are meaningless. He does it so that we will revere him. That seems simple enough. He does all of these things, he creates all of these iniquities, and all so we will turn to him. So we will ask why, so we will not try to do this on our own, because we are not made to. Solomon recognizes that in place of righteous judgment and justice there is just wickedness. Our sin has bore nasty wickedness that is the cause for hurt and pain and injustice in this world. So it seems as though we’re not supposed to understand everything, but we’re supposed to lean on the promise of eternity. Looking back through all of this, it seems kind of ridiculous that I try to understand the meaning in everything that God does and that I can’t just rest in the fact that He has all knowledge and all power. It is a bit pretentious that I think my small mind, in my small body, in a city in a state, in a country, on a continent, on a planet, in a huge, huge universe, could easily comprehend the plans of the God of the universe.

It Smells Like Christmas in Here

6 Oct


From Honey Cake


It smells like Christmas in my house, which is ironic because I made a Jewish Honey Cake. It is not really a cake, it is more like a bread because, well, because I made it in a loaf pan. If I would have made it in a bundt pan I would be telling you wholeheartedly that it was a cake. Funny how that works.

This cake is full of spice and flavour, and the spices are what pull my mind to Christmastime and days of baking in the kitchen with mom. My mom always told me to double the spices in Christmas-type goodies, to go hefty on the cinnamon, all spice, cloves, ginger, and all things alike. Now, as I begin to use more sophistocated recipes by foodies who make them and write about them and maybe even have a taste for spices as much as my mom and me, I am finding  I can trust other’s spice recommendations. This cake is perfectly spiced.

This cake has many of my favorite things in it…honey, coffee (who would have known?), orange juice…It seems, from Deb’s description, that Honey Cake is traditionally something like the Jewish rendition of a Fruitcake, just never, ever good – but she found a recipe that is great!


From Honey Cake

Jewish Honey Cake

3 1/2 cups cake flour (she used all-purpose and it seemed to do fine)
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 Tablespoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup honey
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 large eggs at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup warm coffee or strong tea
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
1/4 cup rye or whiskey <<I didn’t have either on hand, so I used vanilla coffee syrup!

Fits in three loaf pans, two 9-inch square or round cake pans, one 9 or 10 inch tube or bundt cake pan, or one 9 by 13 inch sheet cake. I halved the recipe and made mine in one full-size loaf pan plus one miniature loaf pan.

Preheat oven to 350 F. Generously grease pans with non-stick cooking spray. For tube or angel food pans, line the bottom with lightly greased parchment paper, cut to fit.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cloves and allspice. Make a well in the center, and add oil, honey, white sugar, brown sugars, eggs, vanilla, coffee or tea, orange juice and rye or whiskey, if using. (If you measure your oil before the honey, it will be easier to get all of the honey out.)

Using a strong wire whisk or in an electric mixer on slow speed, stir together well to make a thick, well-blended batter, making sure that no ingredients are stuck to the bottom.

Spoon batter into prepared pan(s). Sprinkle top of cake(s) evenly with almonds, if using. Place cake pan(s) on two baking sheets, stacked together (this will ensure the cakes bake properly with the bottom baking faster than the cake interior and top).

Bake until cake tests done, that is, it springs back when you gently touch the cake center. For angel and tube cake pans, this will take 60 to 75 minutes, loaf cakes, about 45 to 55 minutes. For sheet style cakes, baking time is 40 to 45 minutes.