...sharing food...

i am currently sharing food pictures from Belize and travels in Latin America.... i hope you enjoy!
i have started this blog with a number of ideas in mind. i love to cook, bake, and otherwise play with food, so i thought sharing what i do might be fun. i am also going to use this as a means of recording the various dishes that i do come up with. i try to use all organic and as much local food as possible, and i am vegetarian, although a fish dish or two may pop up on here at some point along the way. i'll try to describe what i do to make the food, but if you want a recipe, email me at cocinadooglasATgmailDOTcom. i will also offer up some restaurant reviews from time to time, and share food that i eat on my travels. otherwise, enjoy, and make some food!!!

oh yeah... i like beer too!

Monday, April 28, 2008

Vegetarian Sweet Potato Shepherd's Pie

It sure has been a while, and while I have not been posting, it doesn't mean that I haven't been cooking. The fact of the matter is - these blogs take up a good portion of time, and at times, certain things take priority over sharing my food creations.

With that said, I could not resist getting this tasty little pot of goodness out there. What we have is a vegetarian shepherd's pie with a tofu/veggie layer, a vegetarian gravy, and sweet potatoes mashed on top. Known as a working-man's dish, the looks of this one fit that description, but the taste will make anyone strive to be a working-man.

So here's what we have. I sort of cooked everything at the same time so that it wasn't a drawn out process. I started by cutting up four sweet potatoes and boiling them in some slightly salted water (I would actually use 5 or 6 for a thicker potato layer - something this can definitely handle). While they were cooking, I made up the tofu layer:

1 block of tofu cubed small
1 large onion
2 stalks of celery
1-2 stalks of broccoli
1/2 cup of chopped almonds
1 tbsp thyme
1 tsp coriander
1 tbsp cumin
1 tsp lemon juice
3 tbsp Braggs (or soy sauce)

Start by cooking up the onions and celery in some oil with the thyme, cumin, and coriander on medium heat. After about 2-3 minutes, add the broccoli and cook for another 3 minutes or so. Next add the tofu and Braggs and cook for another 4-5 minutes. Finally add the chopped almonds and lemon juice and let cook for another 5 minutes. Stir occasionally throughout, and lower the heat after the tofu cooks for a few minutes.

Vegetarian Gravy:
1 1/2 cup of water from that used for boiling the potatoes
3 tbsp arrowroot starch (or cornstarch) dissolved in 1/2 cup cold water
1/4 cup tamari
1/4 cup Braggs
1 tbsp horseradish
1 small red onion chopped
6-10 cloves of garlic chopped

Start by sauteing the onion and garlic until the onions are translucent. Add the water, tamari, braggs, and horseradish. Slowly stir in the arrowroot water, and cook for about 8-10 minutes or until thick.
This would also be really good with some mushrooms - I just didn't have any on hand.

Finally, for the sweet-mashed-potatoes, I boiled up the four cut sweet potatoes until they were soft. I used a hand masher to mash the potatoes (skins and all), about 1/3 stick of butter, 1/2 cup of soy milk, a little bit of salt, and about 2 tbsp of raw sugar, and mashed until smooth.

Finally, I layered the three, with the tofu layer on the bottom, a layer of sliced zucchini (which will cook during the bake), the thickened gravy layer, and all topped with the sweet potatoes. I then baked it at 400 for about 20 minutes. This pot is probably good for 6-8 people, more if served with sides or salads.

yum yum yum yum...

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Healing in the Kitchen

I realize I have not posted a recipe or meal in what seems like weeks. I do appologize, and expect that I have lost what few readers I had in the first place. It just happens to be one of those stretches in life where you do what you can to survive. Well... in lieu of food, I offer an article from Alternet.org that promotes the healing properties of those spices in our spice cabinets. If the fun of experimenting with preparing foods from around the world doesn't inspire you to play in the kitchen, do it for the potential benefits to your health and well-being.
Check out the article here.
More importantly - keep cooking!!!

Friday, February 29, 2008

The Devil Lives in Florida Hot Sauce!!!

Alright... this is bound to be a hot sauce that throws some real heat out there. This is almost all hot peppers, and to add a touch of Florida, I threw in the meat of a big old locally grown mango. Again, I'm letting it sit for a few weeks before I give it a try, but I already have the first jar out to friends, so I'm hoping for some other opinions too...
Here's what I did to make it:
I had a bunch of garlic, 4 habaneros, 4 red jalapenos, 5 cayennes, 3 long red hots, and 1 hot red pepper. I used about 1/3 of a cup of organic balsamic, the meat of that mango sitting there, and blended it all together. Once it was well blended, I cooked it on low heat for about 30 minutes, after which I jarred it. Really, this was a simple one, but sometimes simplicity leads to the tastiest stuff. I can't wait to give this one a try. Just taking a little dip o' the finger while it was cooking, and my tongue was on fire. And you know... living down here in the sunshine state, I sometimes think the devil really is incarnate here - he/she could be any number of folks i've run into down here in the last couple of years. Maybe he's all of them!!!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Guacamole, Ginger-Baked Tofu & Corn on the Cob

A simple, but diverse dinner here, with a small bowl of guacamole, some baked tofu topped with a peanut-soy-garlic-ginger mix, a cob of corn, and a few spears of asparagus. And that's a glass of homemade green & sage tea. And really, this was a simple meal to put together. While I was boiling the corn, I steamed the asparagus on top of the pot at the same time. A slab or two of butter on top, and these were ready to go. The baked tofu is a little more complicate, but remains one of my favorite ways to enjoy this soy product. In a bowl, mix 1/4 cup of peaunut butter, 1/2 cup warm water, a few cloves of chopped garlic, 2 tablespoons of Braggs (or soy sauce) until mixed well. Cut the tofu into 1/2 inch slabs, place on a baking sheet, and spread the mixture on top evenly. Bake this for about 10-15 minutes (I do it in my toaster oven), or until some of the sauce is sizzling. Next, take a sauce (I have used various barbeque sauces in the past, but for this one, I used the Ginger People's Ginger Jerk Sauce), and pour liberally over the all of the tofu, and bake for another 5-7 minutes. That will be ready to go.
And finally, the guacamole. This is super simple. One avocado, the juice from half a lime, and a tablespoon (or two) of your favorite hot sauce or salsa (I used the "Florida Heat" hot sauce that I have posted previously here) and a few dashes of salt. With a fork, mix and smooth the ingredients together, and voila - a simple, but yummy guac.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Sorry for the lack of posts...

I'm in a really busy stretch right now with some work stuff, so posts may be a bit sporadic. I have a couple of things ready to put together for a post, and hope to have a few more come together through this busy period. Keep checking though, as the food, pics, and recipes will continue to flow at some point in the near future.
Thanks for being patient....

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

A Taste of Summer...

I just made the easiest dinner:
Empty 1 container of homemade tomato sauce into pot. Heat.
Cook 1 bag organic whole wheat pasta (Trader Joes).
Pour sauce over cooked pasta.
A few organic greens, parmesan cheese... Voila!!

The sauce was made last summer from those wonderful tomatoes we can only dream about this time of year here at the river. Nothing fancy: tomatoes, onion, green peppers, GARLIC, olive oil, fresh basil, oregano, parsley, pepper and sea salt - but the flavor just can't be beat! So, this summer, remember to freeze some of those luscious sauces and veggies and enjoy summer's bounty all year long!

As you leaf through those seed catalogs, be sure to order some heirloom veggies!

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Pasta and Veggies!

This dish is comprised of two parts: a penne pasta with a simple tomato, mushroom, and garlic sauce, alongside oven-baked vegetables, which included red and sweet potatoes, broccoli, carrots, garlic, and red and yellow peppers. It was all pretty basic and simple, but with just the right amount of flavor to keep it interesting. For the pasta dish, I used one small diced sweet onion, a handful of sliced baby portabella mushrooms, and a chopped tomato, along with a bunch of rough chopped garlic.
Start the onion and garlic in the pan, and cook for about 4 minutes. Add the mushrooms and tomato, and let it cook for another 4 minutes or so. When it's finished, add it to the pasta. I finished it off with about 2 tsp of sesame oil, which gave it a little bit of an Asian flavor, which worked well with the mushrooms.
While I was making all of that, I had the veggies in the oven baking. I started them in a covered pot with a mixture of olive oil, hot sauce, and braggs (or soy sauce). I took it out every 10 minutes or so, and stirred it up, and after about 45 minutes, I put it on some foil, topped it with poppy seeds and Parmesan cheese, and baked it for another 12 minutes or so. Served together with the penne dish, and I had myself a nice dinner, and a couple of lunches for the week. Yum...

Monday, January 28, 2008

Veggie Quiche

New blogger here! While not nearly as creative as Dooglas, I do try to use local, organic products and EASY is the type of cooking I lean towards! This morning I decided to clean out the veggie bin in the fridge and altered a recipe from Dr. Weil - a fabulous quiche that uses potato slices in place of the traditional crust. Healthier and just as tasty!

The dish is lined with thinly sliced potatoes and then filled with fresh veggies of any sort, eggs, milk and spices. Local eggs and produce I find at Jack's Farm, now a weekly haunt of mine. The recipe calls for milk and sour cream, however I substitute rice or soy milk (without carrageenan) and an extra egg. I also use whatever veggies I have on hand. Mushrooms are always a nice addition as well as a little hot sauce.

The basic recipe...
Saute 1/2 c chopped onion, 2 cloves chopped garlic in a little olive oil till onions are transparent. Add 1 c sliced carrots (and mushrooms to taste) 1 T parsley, 1 T basil, chili flakes to taste, 1/8 tsp nutmeg, salt and pepper to taste. Continue to cook 5-10 minutes longer.
Butter pie dish and line with thinly sliced potatoes.
Whisk 6-7 eggs, 1 c milk, 1/4 c softened sun-dried tomatoes, 3/4 c shredded cheese of your choice, and a little hot sauce.
Mix liquid mixture with any fresh chopped veggies (enough to fill dish) and pour into potato crust.
Sprinkle with cheese.
Bake 1 hour at 375.
Let cool a little bit before serving.

Serve with some greens.....

A nice winter tummy warmer here at the river!

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Thai Green Curry

Ok - I'm pretty sure this was the best plate that I have made so far (since starting the site at least), and it definitely is the best curry that I have created. How does this sound: white eggplant, sweet potato, and peanuts in a green curry sauce. The only thing I was missing was some fresh cilantro with which to top it all off. Here's the basic recipe:1 medium size white eggplant cubed
1 sweet potato cubed
1 sweet white onion chopped
3 cloves garlic chopped
1 can coconut milk
1/2 cup green curry paste (see recipe below)
1 cup vegetable stock
1 lime - juice, and grated rind
2 tbsp raw sugar

Start by cooking the garlic, onion, and curry paste in a large wok or frying pan for about 3-4 minutes. Add the eggplant, and cook an additional 4 minutes or so. Add the coconut milk, and vegetable stock, heat to a near boil, and then simmer for about 5 minutes. Add the sweet potato and cook until tender - about 10 more minutes. Finally add the sugar, lime juice and rind, and the peanuts, and serve with brown rice in a bowl. Yum.Green Curry Paste:
2 jalape├▒os
1 small white onion
1 long hot green pepper
1 clove garlic
1 tbsp fresh grated ginger
1 lime - juice & grated rind
1 tsp soy sauce (braggs)
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp cumin

Prep: Throw it all in a blender or food processor, and blend until smooth. Simple and easy, and it comes out good - just the right amount of heat.

And finally - a really easy way to make your own vegetable stock:
1/2 onion
1 stalk celery
1 small carrot
3-4 cloves garlic
1 tbsp oregano
salt & pepper

Dice all the veggies very small, and cook in some oil in a small pot for about 4-5 minutes. Add 2 cups of water, bring to a boil, and simmer for another 5 minutes. Sometimes I'll add some vegetable seasoning too - like Spike or something to give it a little more flavor. You can then take out what you need (one cup for the above recipe for instance), and use the remaining water/stock to cook your rice in.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Florida Heat Hot Sauce!

I enjoy making different types of sauces, and with a good variety of hot peppers down at the market, I decided to start making some hot sauces. This one utilized the BPUs of 4 types of red peppers - three habaneros (orange actually), four long red hots, 1 cayenne, and 2 large red hots. Chopped, and placed in a blender - seeds and all - with about 1/3 cup of white vinegar, 1 cup of prepared salsa (tomatoes, various peppers, onions, garlic), 2 tablespoons of honey, and a handful of garlic cloves, and then blended until smooth. I then cooked the sauce over low heat for about twenty minutes, and jarred it. I'm letting it sit for a bit before trying - at least a week - and sharing two of the jars with friends, which I think is one of the best things about making and jarring hot sauces! Another fun thing is the creativity you can use to make hot sauces. Fruits, veggies, and hot peppers seem to go so well together, and in so many combinations. I'll try to keep a jar of my own on hand pretty consistently, and if I find friends who like them (and use them!), I should be making a bunch of them. If you enjoy the heat, you should definitely try your hand at making your own - and stay tuned for new ideas...

Salt & Pepper Tofu with Green Stir Fry

After trying that salt & pepper tofu at Yummy House a couple of weeks ago, I have been wanting to try to put something similar together at home. So I gave it a shot, and served it with another stir fry and some brown rice.
Salt & Pepper Tofu: I cubed a half-block of tofu, breaded it with my salt & pepper mix, and pan fried it until the tofu started turning that golden brown. For my breading mix, I used seasoned bread crumbs, a good amount of ground salt, garlic, and pepper, and some spike seasoning. I rolled it around in the seasoning, and threw it in the pan. The breading didn't stay on as much as I had hoped, but it still cooked up to make a sort of salt, pepper, and garlic crumble, and topped with some fresh chopped cilantro, and I had myself a pretty good side of tofu.
Green Stir Fry: With a head of yummy broccoli, and some sweet peas in the fridge, I decided to make a simple stir fry to serve with the tofu. Chopped up the broccoli, a jalepeno for some spice, and threw in the snow peas, cooked it in a mixture of sesame and canola oil, tamari, and some thai fish sauce that I just picked up. Simple but yummy...

Friday, January 18, 2008

Dinner with the Anthro Peeps

I got to do a group dinner for a change the other night when a group of friends from the anthropology department got together for a little welcome back from the holidays dinner. And as I love it, the whole bunch of us were buzzing around the kitchen putting it all together. The meal included a walnut-cranberry-fetta over baby-greens salad, a nice caprese salad, and a vegetarian lasagne served with garlic bread. Not pictured was a bunch of yummy golden corn-on-the-cob, and the dessert of dark-chocolate dipped strawberries. Two of us put together the lasagne, so that's what the focus of this post will be. We started with the sauce by cooking up a large onion, a bunch of garlic and mushrooms. We added a large can of diced tomatoes, along with some sun-dried tomatoes and some extra tomato sauce to increase the volume. We created a mozzarella-ricotta cheese mix, a shredded basil-spinach mix, and some steamed zucchini. This gave us three distinct layers in addition to our homemade sauce and the noodles. Topped with mozzarella and parmesian, baked for about 30 minutes, and then enjoyed with the rest of the spread. Thanks to everyone for a great meal and a great evening!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Okra Over My Cauliflower - Indian Style

Maybe they would call this Bhindi Gobi, I'm not sure, but either way, it was kind of a fun new dish that I haven't made before. What we have here is a baked head of cauliflower, on a bed of rice, covered with an okra-tomato Indian curry.
I'll start with the cauliflower - take the full head, brush it with olive oil and a little bit of tumeric and curry powders, add a little bit of water to the pan, and bake it. It took about 45 minutes until the cauliflower was soft enough so that when I dished it out, the serving spoon sort of just went right through. Then I took the short-grain brown rice that I've been using, and spooned it around the cauliflower.
For the okra-tomato curry, I used my array of spices (pictured here) to make my own sort of garam masala, which I cooked in oil before adding anything else. After cooking the spices for a few minutes, I added the chopped garlic, onion, and okra, and cooked them until the onions were translucent. Then I added the diced tomatoes, and let it cook on low for about 20 minutes or so. During this time I also added a tiny bit of cinnamon, and some more powdered garlic, just because I can't get enough of the stuff. Then I simply ladled the curry over the the cauliflower and rice, and it was ready to serve.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Simple Stir-Fry

Feeling decidedly uncreative, but still with the pangs of hunger in my belly, I decided to go stir-fry last night. This is a basic and simple dish with two shallots, carrots, celery, green pepper, broccoli, sweet peas, and tofu, all chopped to preference. In a wok-fry hybrid pan, I heated some oil, and started with the garlic, and quickly added the rest of the veggies, stirring and flipping occasionally. I then added Braggs liquid aminos, tamari, and some homemade hot sauce at this stage. After a few minutes, I added the tofu, and let that cook for a another few minutes until everything looked like this... Served with short-grain brown rice, and enjoyed!

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Latin Night!

With a fridge full of stuff, and an empty belly, I decided to cook something for myself tonight, but I couldn't really come up with anything too striking. Well I finally decided on a Latin/Mexican theme, and came up with some pretty interesting, and definitely yummy stuff. On the plate is some corn-on-the-cob topped with a slab of fresh mozzarella, a baked sweet potato topped with rice and beans, some more fresh mozzerella, and some fresh salsa, and finally a spicy hot-pepper eggplant baked with three cheeses. Yup - yummy yummy.
So let's see - the corn is pretty simple, so no explanation needed there. The sweet potato was pretty simple too. I baked the potato and then cut it in half. The rice and beans was a simple kidney beans and rice, with some garlic, peppers and onions, and some green salsa I had in the fridge, served with the mozzarella and fresh salsa on top. The eggplant was a little more time consuming, but not all that much. I used a really flavorful, almost creamy, heirloom variety of eggplant that I got down at the market. It was sort of like purple and white zebra-striped. I first cooked the cubed eggplant with some cumin and dried hot red pepper, and set it aside. Next I cooked up some garlic, onion, and three different types of peppers until they were soft, and then added the eggplant back in for just a minute or so. The mixture was then put in a small baking dish and topped with shredded cheddar, mozzarella, and parmesian cheeses mixed with seasoned bread crumbs (pictured at right without the cheese topping). Baked for about 12 minutes, and served with the rest. Now I just need someone to share this with!

Friday, January 4, 2008

Stuffed Peppers & more Brussel Sprouts

Back to the cooking.... With the market coming up, I needed to use a few things in the fridge so that I could restock, and I came up with a nice two course meal. Dish one was caraway-dill brussel sprouts over pasta spirals. I started with a quick and easy veggie broth which I make by dicing onion, garlic, celery, and carrots, cooking them until soft, adding spices to taste (oregano, basil, cumin, or in this case some caraway), then adding water and letting it simmer for 10 minutes or so. After getting the broth going, I cooked up another onion and some more garlic in a fry pan, and added the brussel sprouts, dill, and more caraway, and let it cook for a few minutes, finishing it up by adding the broth and letting it cook for about 15 minutes until the brussel sprouts were done. I served it mixed with some left-over pasta spirals.
Dish two was Proven├žal-style stuffed peppers. Here I cooked baby portabellas, red onion, garlic, and zucchini, for about 5-10 minutes, added two chopped tomatoes and some basil, and cooked for another 5 minutes or so. I used this as a filling in 6 halved red and green peppers that I first blanched for about 3 minutes. I baked the filled peppers, covered for about 20 minutes, then topped them with shredded cheddar and fresh basil, and baked them five minutes more. Served and enjoyed.