Tag Archives: How to Cook Everything Vegetarian

I can please them all

30 Jun

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How smashing that something on my to-make list was already gluten-free.
As I mentioned here a great deal of my fellow thespians in a Midsummer Night’s Dream(next Saturday the 7th is the last show-get your ticket and come see it!!!) are gluten-intolerant. So I made the chocolate cookie bars in a gluten-free manner and they were killed.

By the actors. In the green room. With their mouths.

Except for Demetrius, poor Demetrius, couldeth not been truer foul fortune for him. He eateth gluten, but is lactose-intolerantenty and thusly could not indulge in ye cookies.

This recipe was already on my to-make list and already gluten-free. I had to use almond milk and vinegar instead of buttermilk but it all worked out.

Normally I am a “northern” cornbread person. I prefer sweet and buttery to drier and cornier. This cornbread strikes a pretty good balance. The bean purée helps maintain a slightly softer texture, but it is not terribly sweet and the corn flavor stands out. I don’t think a piece should be eaten naked(you or the bread) but t’would hold up covered in butter and honey or dunked in spicy chili.
Then again, pretty much everything works well with butter.

Eateth up.

Corn and Bean Bread(adapted from How to Cook Everything Vegetarian by Mark Bittman)
1 c. Almond milk mixed with
1 Tbsp. Of vinegar and allowed to sit while you get everything else ready OR 1 c. Buttermilk
1 1/2 c. Cooked white Beans(drained, puréed, then strained)
1 1/2 c. Cornmeal
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. Sugar
2 eggs
Heat your oven to 375. Spray an 8×8 pan with nonstick spray. Mix beans, milk and eggs. Mix cornmeal, baking powder, salt and sugar. Stir together. Put in your pan and bake until top is starting to brown a just a bit, 30-ish minutes. The clean toothpick test applies as well. Feed a starving actor.

And for the Los Angeles set

27 Jun

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I did it. I purposefully made a dessert gluten-free.

I have no personal reason to do this.

I’ve done it not-terribly-successfully for me mum.

And now I’ve done it successfully for my castmates(of the ever-fabulous hard-core A Midsummer Night’s Dream tickets here! Ok I’m done). Being diet-aware as we Los Angelenos, especially those of us in the entertainment industry are, quite a few of my castmates had discovered a lack of digestive patience with good ol’ gluten. Fortunately none of them did it in the misled belief that gluten-free food is automatically healthy. They all actually had health problems caused by wheat.

But if any of them had started talking Paleo I’d have had to bite my tongue. That would hurt.

Despite the gluten-free challenge, the mom in me still wanted to feed the cast of Midsummer. Acting makes us hungry.

Plus, there was a bit of competition. First day of rehearsal and one of our actresses announced she baked. So of course I piped up. And then she dropped that g-free bomb and a good chunk of the cast bonded about being gluten-free so I realized if there was to be a bake-off I’d have to step up.

I was loathe to go buy a bunch of flours I generally have no use for but one of the g-f’s said she’d being me some brown rice flour.

I did done real good. The cast loooved these bars, original recipe courtesy of Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything Vegetarian.

All that remained from rehearsal was this sad tiny brownie which I shall now gobble.

So here ya go. My would-be cookbook bf’s recipe, adapted for the g-f’s.

Gluten-free Chocolate Bars adapted from Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything Vegetarian
8 Tbsp. melted butter
1/4 c. Applesauce
6 Tbsp. cocoa powder
3/4 c. Sugar(I subbed in Splenda for a 1/4 cup of it)
1 egg
Pinch salt
3/4 c. Brown rice flour
1/8 tsp. xanthum gum
1 c. Ghiradelli bittersweet chocolate chips
Spray a 9×9 square baking pan. Preheat oven to 350.
Use beaters to blend up the cocoa, applesauce, and butter then beat in sugar until smooth. Then ye ol’ egg. Which hopefully actually isn’t old. Blend in salt. Switch to a spoon and add remaining ingredients. Bake around 20-30 minutes. Better underbaked than over. Feed starving thespians.

Gatsby time again: #

9 Jun

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Yes indeed. Another succulent hash.

It is feeling like summer.

Summer makes me think of the Great Gatsby.

Hashes make me think of The Great Gatsby.

So in honor of The Great Gatsby’s location, East and West Egg, I opted for an egg hash. So logical.

The Great Gatsby also think about Daisy and how she made people have to lean in to hear her as she spoke in her whispery way.

I’d sort of love to draw people to me like that but…I’m not like that.

So I draw people to me with hashes instead.

Daisy and Gatsby make me think of lovers.

So I turned to my lover Bittman, for a hash.

So damn logical.

Not quite as toothsome as this succulent one.
Less spicy than this one.
Easier to make than this one.

And with it, I believe I’ve conquered just about all Bittman’s hashes. Now to conquer him.

And to re-read Gatsby.

But before the recipe, a bloggerific notice: I am headed into tech week for A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and will not be posting next week. I’ll return to you with a very, ahem, cosmopolitan week of recipes on Monday the 18th. If you desire more Ellen in your life before then, come to the play! Tickets here: http://m.bpt.me/event/243225 or call 323-601-5310

Egg Hash(adapted from How to Cook Everything Vegetarian by Mark Bittman
Olive oil spray
1/2 lb. roasted potato wedges
2 hard-boiled eggy-weggs(whites chopped, yolks mashed separately)
Salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp. minced garlic
3 Tbsp. chopped scallions
Spray pan with oil and heat to medium high. Add egg whites and cook undisturbed. They’ll start to hiss at you at around 3 minutes. Try not to take it personally. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and toss, scraping pan. Lower heat to medium. Add garlic. Cool another couple of minutes, stirring that mofo from time to time. Add taters and scallions, cook til hot and succulent, them add yolks.

Pancakes: the right recipe to launch FLAT

26 May

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Before we dig into the gruel, I have an announcement: I started a new blog, y’all.
FLAT ACTRESS. Accessible hereThat’s right. I am flat and I think it’s super. I have a play called FLAT that I’ve performed a fair amount both here in LA and back in my hometown and I am currently writing an episodic spun-off from the play.
Not sure how often I’ll be posting on FLAT but if you are small and proud, a lover of small breasts, or just flat-supportive, please join me over at FLAT ACTRESS.
And now, appropos of my chest, I shall talk about pancakes, which is an acceptable term for small breasts because pancakes are delicious and my breasts are also good with maple syrup.

If you like the thick, fluffy pancakes, these are for you. I grew up with my dad’s denser, flatter(true story) pancakes, and I find I prefer those. But I enjoyed these.
Solid recipe. Mr. Bittman rarely disappoints.

Light and Fluffy Pancakes(reduced and just a tad altered from Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything Vegetarian)
1 egg
1/4 c. Almond milk
2 Tbsp. whole wheat flour
2 Tbsp. all-purpose flout
Dash salt
3/4 tsp. sweetener(I used Splenda)
1/2 tsp. baking powder
Separate egg. Beat eggs and milk. Mix flour, salt, sweetener and baking powder in another. In yet a third use clean beaters to beat that egg white until fairly stiff. Stir together yolk/milk mix with dry ingredients then fold in the whites. You’ll see some streaks if white in there, like they are not fully blended and that is ok. Heat a skillet to medium-low, spray with a nonstick spray which may or may not answer to a three-letter woman’s name, and cook yer cakes!

For one, fo’ realz

12 May

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I have to use words like “realz” to counteract the amount of Shakespeare I’m spouting. That’s right. Shakespeare. I just started rehearsals for a play, y’all. More details in future posts. Moving on.

I love single person recipes. Which gives me a tinge of sadness that they are not “for two” recipes until I remember I am cooking for me and my small-eater love, my career.

Who doesn’t love a good quesadilla? I mean really. Certainly not my career. She ate it all and left me none. She does the same thing with my time and energy, selfish whore,

But she’s really sometimes delightful and fulfilling so I’ll keep feeding her.

Good thing these are easy:

Bean and Chili Quesadilla for Uno(from How to Cook to Everything Vegetarian by Mark Bittman)
olive oil spray
1 tsp. minced garlic
1/2 poblano chili, chopped
2 Tbsp. black beans
2 tortillas(wheat or corn, I used corn-multigrain-flax ones)
cilantro
1 oz. shredded cheese(I used Swiss)
Spray nonstick skillet with olive oil and heat over medium. Cook garlic and chili a couple of minutes then add beans. Transfer to a bowl and add cilantro.
Clean skillet then spray and heat again, over medium low. Put a tortilla in it and spread chili-bean mixture and cheese on it, then add another tortilla. Cook a couple minutes, til cheese starts to melt. Flip, cook a wee bit longer. Then mangia. Comate!

I hate yogurt!

24 Mar

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When I think of Spaceballs, the main things I remember are the line “I hate yogurt!”(Yogurt being Yoda) and that they go plaid speed.

Fashion and food. All that really stuck with me. I am a very deep individual.

Oh, wait now I am remembering Pizza the Hut.

Food again.

My first memory after I had brain trauma was food too. Egads.

Oh, wait, yogurt. Sorry.

I do strongly dislike it. But it can be used for good instead of evil in baked goods and being as such I bought some to make banana bread. Then was faced with trying to decide what to do with the remainder.
So I called my lover for help.
That’s Ellen-glish for “I consulted How to Cook Everything Vegetarian by Mark Bittman”.

He told me to make the Indian-style Omelet and I agreed, but only if I could keep the lights on.

Indian-style Omelet (Ever-so-slightly-altered from Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything Vegetarian)
2 eggs
1 Tbsp. milk
salt
freshly ground black pepper
olive oil spray
1/4 c. yogurt
1 cup spinach
1/4 tsp. cumin + small amounts of cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and fennel-I am pretty particular about these spices and so are lots of folks so use more of what you like, and less of what you don’t
1 oz. diced reduced-fat swiss cheese
Heat that yogurt over medium-low, then add the spinach, spices, salt and pepper(grind that shiz-nit fresh, fo realz). Cook until spinach is wilted then add cheese. It would be more Indian if you have paneer but since we don’t all have fresh cheese at the ready…and by we I mean me.
Set aside.
Spray skillet with olive oil and heat over medium-high. Whisk eggs, milk, salt, and pepper(yes, freshly ground). Pour into skillet and make an omelet however suits your fancy. Just be sure to put your yogurt-spinach mixture down the middle before you fold it or roll it.

Gateway: Waffle Week!

11 Mar


It’s here! The long awaited waffle week hath arrived!
Lest anyone think this week was influenced by a recent spate of waffles on Bon Appetit or the kitchn’s sites, I’ll have you know I conceived this idea ages ago here, on May 23rd 2011 to be precise, and have been hoarding waffle recipes ever since.

Neither a joiner nor a follower. Just an accidental follower.

I must confess I amassed these waffle recipes over an embarrasing length of time. A girl can only waffle so much. Or can she?

The debate wages on.

A great deal of things are waffle-able, and the waffle-ization improves not only taste, but the also appearance. The looks of food can be highly influential on how we perceive their taste. Check out my science-y post here for more on that.

By the way, Webster definition of science-y is science lite.

Disclaimer: the previous statement is in fact false.

I wanted to see just how far I could push myself with the waffler. Cause I’m a doer. But this did not happen suddenly. There was a gateway waffle. The waffle that started it. I’m warming y’all up with that before I push the hard stuff.

Who better to get us loose and easy than my lovah, Mark Bittman.

Everyday Buttermilk Waffles(adapted from How to Cook Everything Vegetarian by Mark Bittman)
1/2cup flour
1/2 cup oatmeal
Pinch of salt
1 Tbsp. sugar
3/4 tsp. baking soda
14 Tbsp. buttermilk
1 egg, separated, white beaten into sweet surrendering soft peaks
2 Tbsp. melted smart balance light
1/4 Tsp. vanilla extract
Mix the flour, oats, salt n suga. The soda too. Don’t you forget it.
In another bowl mix the butta milk, egg yolk, melted pseudo-butta(smart balance) and vanilla. Stir liquid into dry and fold in egg white. Cook according to waffle maker instructions. Who am I to tell you how to work your iron. That’s a personal choice.

Bittman time

16 Feb

In honor of Valentine’s Day I had to visit the cookbook of my true author-love, Mark Bittman:

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It’s another simple dish.

Can I bore you with another acting tale? Cause acting is the reason I’ve been resorting to the quick and simple.

I am busy this week trying to find a shot from my last headshot shoot in which I have “ice in my eyes”. My agent’s words.
Ummmm, yeah.

Here is what my agent picked out of the options I gave him:

Am I icy? I dunno.

In between actual jobs, auditions, mailings and class, finding an appopriate photo out of the hundreds taken that day took the rest of my time. My eyes are rarely icy, apparently.

Woe is me, having to look at myself all day. That’s enough of that.

On to food.

Again with the dishes with nationalities. This one is “Swiss-style”, according to my love, Mark Bittman. At least, the original recipe made with potatoes and other vegetables was. I made the variation on this bake.

Bake means casserole. But sounds fancier.

This is so simple it seems silly to post it, almost. It’s basically a mound of cheese and some peppers on bread.
In the future I want to make a version with cheddar and pimientos.
That would no longer Swiss.
More Southern like pimiento cheese?
Pimiento cheese is the shiz-nit, incidentally.

What are your favorite cheese/veggie combos? I want to know!

Swiss-style Bake(based on Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything Vegetarian)
Several slices of whole wheat bread
Freshly ground pepper
Freshly ground sea salt
2 cups reduced-fat mozzarella, shredded(but really I’d use full-fat in the future as this was a bit dry)
1 Tbsp. cornstarch
I cup chopped jarred roasted red peppers
Preheat oven to 375.
Layer bread, salt and pepper, then cheese, then peppers in an 8×8 pan. So hard. Cover with foil and bake around 15 minutes, then uncover and bake til cheese is browned n bubbly. Kind of how you want your champagne to be minus the brown part.

Bitt me, Bayby

20 Nov

Mark Bittman recipe from How to Cook Everything Vegetarian for Baked Macaroni and Cheese=delicious.
Nothing makes a white sauce based dish better than infusing the milk with a bay leaf. Seriously. One tiny leaf and the sauce will sing. It might even take requests.
I confess I made this months ago. I was in the middle of a passionate affair with everything Bittman. Thought I posted it. I did not. Which is dandy considering that working like a fiend has left me with little time to do much beyond shake a jar once a day.
What reminded me to post this mac and cheese was an evening containing both a delectable dish and an epic fail. It all started quite normally, wandering downtown Culver City in search of a nosh. We eventually settled on Bottlerock. I noted the “mystery wine” option on the menu. If you guess the grape and region you get a free glass. Aha! I could show off my wine smarts-not that it really mattered to partner in crime who claims that every wine tastes “exactly the same” to him. Clearly I was going to be on my own for this one. So I went with the mystery white and ordered a smashlingly good Albarino for him(I waited and tasted after I thought I’d identified my mystery drink). I took a sip of mystery wine. First thought? NOT a chardonnay. It was a light, easy-going wine without a lot of depth or frankly, personality. Quaffable, but not complicated or oaky. So not a chardonnay. My guess was pinot grigio. Wrong! The sancerre? Nope. Third desperate try: a northern climate sauvignon blanc? Not even close.
The answer: A Chilean Chardonnay.
WTF?!! NO!!! Just….NO!
I felt like a huge loser. Fail!
HOWEVER! The truffle mac and cheese was we ordered was the delectable part of the evening and kept my spirits high. So there you go. A good mac and cheese saves the day.
One last note. On the way out the waitress confessed it was indeed an unusual Chardonnay. It was aged in a steel barrel. No oak. AHA! I felt much better hearing this. Validated. If it were a typical Chard and my taste buds couldn’t pick it up I’d feel pretty lame.
Anyway. Screw Chard. Get yourself a Sancerre. Love me some Loire valley goodness. Or an Albarino. Go Rioja region. Make this mac n cheese. Or if you are feeling lazy go to Bottlerock, get their truffle-y goodness, take the mystery wine challenge and let me know what wine shenanigans the staff is up to this week.

What is your favorite wine grape and region? Do tell.

Rotini and Cheese(adapted and healthified from How to Cook Everything Vegetarian by Mark Bittman love of my cookbook life)
1 1/4 cups skim milk
salt
bay leaf
8 oz. rotini
2 Tbsp. light smart balance
1 1/2 Tbsp. flour
1 cup grated cheese, your favorite(I used reduced fat)
freshly ground black pepper
1 piece of bread turned to crumbs(rip it up!)
Preheat oven to 400. Cook pasta just to al dente. Drain and rinse. In another small pot cook the milk and bay leaf on medium-low heat til little bubbles appear along the edge. Wait 5 minutes then turn off heat.
In yet another small pot melt the smart balance add flour and mash the stuff in like crazy, let mixture brown just a tiny bit then slowly, slowly add the milk(sans bay leaf, it’s done its job) and stir it up til smooth. Then stir in cheese.
Spray a 9×5 pan, put noodles in it, then mix in the sauce and sprinkle with breadcrumbs. Bake til it looks like bubbly goodness. Consume. Sip Sancerre. Enjoy the good life. That would be my choice, anyway.

It Ain’t Pumpkin

5 Nov

In fact it is not even a pie. It is a Tart.

But it looks vaguely pumpkin-ish. If pumpkin was pinker.
Calling it a tart makes it sound elegant but this tart totally feels earthy and hippie to me. Hmmm, another Mark Bittman recipe from How to Cook Everything Vegetarian that strives to sound elegant yet is…not. Like the beans and taters I made awhile back.
Anyway, to make up for the fact that is is November already and I’ve been a bad little blogger and holding out on autumnal pumpkin recipes, I promise next post will have two pumpkin recipes. TWO! Contain yourselves. Make this tart while you wait:
Pinto Bean Tart With Millet Crust1 Tbsp. Smart Balance
1/2 cup millet
1 cup H2O
salt
freshly ground black pepper
2 cups cooked pinto beans
1/2 cup chopped onion
3/4 cup chopped red bell pepper
1 tsp. chopped garlic
1/4 tsp. dried rosemary
1/4 tsp. dried thyme
3/4 cup H2O
1/4 tsp. vegetable bouillon granules
1 egg
1/2 cup corn(I used frozen, no need to thaw)
Melt Smart Balance in small saucepan over medium heat then add millet and stir til golden, about 3 minutes. Add one cup H20 and a pinch of salt and bring to boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer until liquid is absorbed and millet is tender. Set aside.
puree beans, onion, red bell pepper, garlic, rosemary, thyme, vegetable broth powder, black pepper and a pinch of salt. Stir in corn and egg.
Grease a pie plate and press millet in to form a crust. Pour in bean mixture. Place pie plate in a bigger dish and pour water until it is halfway up the side of the pie plate. Bake at 350 degrees until the bean mixture is set but still jiggles a bit in the center. Bittman says this takes around 30 minutes but mine took closer to an hour-maybe I should get an oven thermometer…
Savory pies, yes or no? Also, is a quiche a pie?
Opinions, por favor:))