Thursday, September 9, 2010

Dangerous Texas Skillet Cornbread

This recipe requires the use of a cast iron skillet or dutch oven, and is written for one approx. 9" in diameter.

It's dangerous for 3 reasons:

1. It's not health food.
2. You can threaten people with a heavy skillet.
3. It's delicious.

The recipe is from Karen McEvoy of Comanche, TX, a co-worker at Wilderness Wind Camp this summer and a proud Texan (although one that loves the North Woods!). It's a typical cornbread recipe, but it's given a crisp, delicious crust by the recipe technique. I'd imagine that other cornbread recipes would work as well- maybe even gluten free ones, I'd venture.

2 1/2 c flour
1 1/2 c cornmeal
1/2 c sugar
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt

2 c milk
1/2 c veggie oil
2 eggs

1 stick butter

Mix wet and dry ingredients separately (except for the stick of butter), then combine. Melt butter in cast iron skillet on stovetop. Pour batter into skillet and cook on stovetop over medium heat until it bubbles around the edges. Then, bake in 400 degree oven for 20-30 min, until golden brown/ a knife comes out clean.

Cornbread & Beans Variation:

Omit butter. Make some pinto beans or crack open 2 cans of refried beans. Place prepared beans in the bottom of the pan, and pour cornbread batter on top. Bake as before. Time may need adjusting.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Gluten Free Pasta Bake

This is a bit of a homemade mash that myself and a few friends threw together the other night, but it turned out so delicious I decided I would post.

If you have ever tried to cook a lasagna with gluten free noodles, you will quickly come to realize the only substitute for regular lasagna noodles are made with rice. No pure quinoa or corn noodles are currently sold where I live, which means there is no store bought alternative.

We almost made our own noodles, but decided within our time constraints this would take too long, thus we turned to the alternative: pasta bake.

Enter one of my favorite brands ever: Ancient Harvest. If you ever look for noodles in the "alternative noodle" section, you will probably see this bright turquoisish box, most commonly containing spaghetti noodles. However, if you are lucky your local grocer will also have ordered the shells, elbow macaroni's, or something other than spaghetti noodles. Today we opted for shells.

And before I go into a narrative of how the entire recipe went. I will simply tell you everything we put into it.

Gluten Free Sausage Pasta Bake

Servings: enough feed entire italian family


2 boxes gluten free pasta (shells or w/e you happen to like)
4-5 italian sausages, uncased (you could do this the easy way and just buy a pound of sausage)
cheese, two types or more, of a sharpish french/italian variety
milk, higher fat content preferred, cream works best
1 zucchini
1 green bell pepper
1 red onion
2 carrots
1 head broccoli
Red Wine (drink while cooking, add while cooking)

Chop up all the veggies into chunk size pieces.

Start boiling enough water for the pasta.

It is probably easiest to cook the vegetables using a wok, since they have considerable volume prior to cooking down. However, any old pan works fine.

Saute onions in oil, and add all other veggies when onions are almost finished. Add wine to vegetables and leave to cook on medium heat stirring often. Add S & P as desired.

When water is ready, cook pasta according to box directions. Save pasta water to thicken cheese sauce.

Cook sausage in another pan. Do not brown too much since you are going to bake it for another 10 or fifteen minutes.

Preheat oven to 375.

Place cream in a small pot over medium heat. Finely grate cheese and add slowly, allowing it to melt with the cream. For thickener either add a flour of your choice or use the water from the pasta. Add S & P to taste. Stir until thickened.

Mix veggies together with pasta and sausage. Spread in a large pan and add cheese sauce on top.

Bake for 10-15 minutes. Serve with warm focacci, spinach salad, and more wine. Yum.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Olive Oil Granola

So. I became very excited about granola this week.

Teal sent me some granola that she'd made, roughly following this recipe for Olive Oil Granola from the New York Times. It is amazing. Of course. I will also share a similar recipe from Karen Peters, Jennifer's mother. Still yummy and with a different flavor. Try 'em both!

A note: granola is easy to make, but I've also found it easy to burn. Sometimes it burns on the bottom where you can't see it, so stir it often while baking!

Karen Peters' Granola

Makes 2 gallons (a lot!)

In a very large bowl combine dry ingredients:

12 c rolled oats
1 c wheat germ
1 c sunflower seeds
1 c sliced almonds
(Variations: pumpkin seeds, flax seed. I think most any nut or seed will work here)

Mix well.

Combine liquid ingredients:

1 c (to the line) olive oil
1 c (to the top) honey or maple syrup
2 TB cinnamon

Mix well together, combine with dry ingredients. Spread in a couple of baking sheets and bake at 350 degrees for a total of approximately 45 minutes, taking it out and stirring it every 15 minutes during that time. Take the pans out and let the granola cool, either leaving it in the pan or spreading on wax paper. Add dried fruit, raisins, dates, cranberries as desired.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Chicken Fajitas a la Gutenberg

Here's a very easy recipe. Prepared several times at Gutenberg house dinners 2003-05; I copied this from Melody Herrick but I don't know the ultimate origin of the recipe. The combination of lime, cayenne and cinnamon is tasty; not spicy.

3 chicken breasts
Finely grated zest and juice of two limes
2 Tb sugar
2 t dried oregano
1/2 t cayenne
1 t cinnamon
2 onions, sliced into strips
3 bell peppers, sliced into strips
3 Tb oil

sour cream

Slice raw chicken breasts into strips. Marinate at least 30 minutes in spices and lime. Stir fry chicken in oil for 5-6 minutes. Add onions and bell pepper and cook 3-4 more minutes. Serve with warm tortillas and toppings.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

More Troubleshooting

Thanks to an email from Melanie, I have been informed that the "comments" are still not working properly for some people. Unfortunately this is not the first time someone mentioned this problem.

The problem has been described as their being no way to scroll down to a word verification box, the kind you encounter when you are posting on a site that uses a more traditional blogger template.

I do not know exactly how this looks on people's screens since I have not actually encountered the problem myself. However, I have checked the comment settings and since turned the word verification off. We will see how much spam we get. Those of you who are having trouble commenting, try again and send me an email (kristenwal at gmail dot com) if you still unable to post.

Sorry for the inconvenience!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Tex-Mex Vegetarian Chili

From World Vegetarian by Madhur Jaffrey. This is a wonderful vegetarian cookbook, with recipes from around the world, including some delicious foods from India and the Middle East. It is organized by ingredient, a good feature when you want to make something with... lentils, or whatever. It also has an ingredient index for learning more about unfamiliar spices and so on.

I love beans. Until recently, I would try to cook up a big crockpot, making it up as I went along. Some of these creations were barely edible. The worst was when I added a large amount of vinegar to kidney beans following a recommendation that vinegar may help make beans more digestible. That one was destined for the compost pile. So, my new-found secret to cooking beans is: use a recipe! Amazing... And this is a very tasty recipe indeed. It's more of a comfort food than a spectacular main dish. The lentils end up being more dominant than the kidney beans. I took this to a potluck this fall where it took a starring role in chili-dogs, but it's good on its own, or with shredded cheese and avocado, sour cream, olives, chips, tortillas, and so on. It's easy to make, as well.

Tex-Mex Vegetarian Chili

3 Tb canola or olive oil
1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
3 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
1/4 to 1 jalapeño. (Jaffrey suggests 1/4 chile for medium heat and 1 chile for spicy. Instead, I substitute a 6 oz can of mild green chiles)
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp dried crumbled sage
1 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp cayenne (optional)

4 1/2 cups water
1 cup dried lentils
1 cup cooked drained red kidney beans (I use a 15 oz can, unless making this in a slow cooker)
1 15-oz can diced tomatoes, including juice (I like Muir Glen brand "fire-roasted")
3 Tb chopped fresh cilantro leaves
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 Tb yellow cornmeal

Put the oil in a soup pot and set over medium high heat. When hot, put in the onion, garlic, pepper, and jalapeño. Sautee a couple minutes until they just start to brown. Turn the heat down to med-low and add dried spices (through the cayenne). Stir briskly once or twice and add water, lentils, beans, tomatoes, cilantro, and salt. Bring to a boil. Cover, turn heat down to low, and cook for 50 minutes.

Mix the cornmeal with 3 Tb water and then pour the mixture into the chili pot. Stir to mix and bring to a simmer. Cover and simmer gently for 10 minutes, stirring now and then.

Makes 2 quarts.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Pizza Crust, the GF version

So there have been too many days since I went gluten free that I have found myself craving pizza. There was a brief six or seven month period at the beginning where I tried making a couple of recipes, none of which worked to any level of satisfaction. And then dear Mike discovered this book, Cooking Free, which just so happens to contain the best GF pizza crust recipe I have ever found.

However, the awesome pizza crust recipe isn't the only great thing about this cookbook. If you suffer from any kind of allergy or intolerance to dairy, gluten, eggs, soy, or processed sugar, you can probably make good use of it. There are substitutes listed for many ingredients, as well as symbols listed with each recipe indicating whether any substitutes may need to be made, depending on your allergy.

Anyways, back to pizza!

Delicious Gluten Free Pizza Crust

2 & 2/3 cup rice flour (or a flour mix if you are like me and don't use rice flour)
2 cups tapioca flour
1/2 cup dry milk powder, nondairy milk powder or almond powder
4 teaspoons xantham gum
4 teaspoons unflavored gelatin (yeah, I know, gross. Everyone's favorite kind of protein, right?)
4 teaspoons Italian seasoning
2 teaspoons salt

Just mix it all up and store in a container until you want to make pizza.

When it is pizza time, add:

1 tablespoon active dry yeast
3/4 cup warm water (110 F)
1/2 teaspoon sugar (or 1/4 tsp honey)
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 teaspoon cider vinegar

Mix with an electric mixer on high for 3 minutes. Or, if you are like me, just mix it real darn good. If the dough is too stiff add water 1 tablespoon at a time.

Put mixture on a prepared pan, sprinkling the dough with flour (whatever kind you happen to be using), pressing it into the pan. Make edges thicker.

Bake crust for ten minutes. Remove from oven. Top with sauce, toppings n stuff, and bake for another 20-25 minutes. The top should be nicely browned. Serves about six nice little slices. Yum Yum Yum!

Lentil Loaf

Please excuse the less than appetizing photo up there, it's pretty hard to make Lentil Loaf look as good as it tastes. But believe me, it is good. It's a favorite poverty meal around our house.

Versatile, easy, pennies and dimes cheap, though it's definitely not fancy like Bon Appetit, it ranks right up there with nutritional yeast popcorn and Annie's Mac 'n Cheese in terms of comfort food. Oh, and it's good for you.

Lentil Loaf

2 C cooked red lentils
1 C uncooked rice, millet, bulgar, or oats
1 C grated cheese, any kind
1/2 C barbeque sauce, tomato sauce, or salsa
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 C cilantro, scallions, chives or parsley chopped
2 tsp tamari or soy sauce
1 tsp garlic, minced
1 tsp dried oregano

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl. Pour into oiled loaf pan or casserole dish. Bake at 375 degrees for 45 min. Let cool for 5 min. before serving.

We spoon fresh salsa over the top, or greek yogurt (sometimes mixed with lemon or cumin). We like it hot out of the oven or cold the next day.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Camp Denali Chicken Curry

This is a fun and totally American-style curry. It doesn't pretend to be an Indian curry at all. It works like a salad bar, where people load up with rice, curried chicken, and an assortment of toppings. Great for a large group. I haven't tried this, but I think tofu could easily be subbed in for the chicken.

The recipe is from my friend Wendy White, cook at Suttle Lake United Methodist Camp in Sisters OR. Wendy had worked in the past for Camp Denali up in Alaska; I believe this recipe is in the Denali cookbook "A Cache of Recipes."

Camp Denali Chicken Curry (makes 4-6 servings)

Saute in cookpot:

3 Tb butter
1/4 c minced onion
2 tsp curry powder

Blend in:

3 Tb flour
3/4 t salt
3/4 t sugar
1/2 t ginger

Cook over low heat until smooth and bubbly. Remove from heat and stir in:

1 c chicken broth (can be made with bouillon)
1 c milk
1 apple, peeled and chopped

Cover and simmer on low 5 minutes. Then add:

2 c cooked diced chicken
1/2 tsp lemon juice

Heat through. Serve with white or brown rice on the side, and bowls of assorted toppings, including:

shredded dried coconut
cashews or peanuts
sliced green onions
chopped fresh tomatoes

Grizzly photo by my friend James Hiebert, taken at Halo Bay, Kodiak Island, Alaska.

Friday, February 5, 2010


Baking this cornbread is one of my earliest cooking memories: helping my mom measure the wet and dry ingredients for this recipe and reconstituting powdered milk. I was very young. Our small "one-horse" kitchen was sunny and we used the top of a mobile dishwasher as counter space. We lived in the house my dad grew up in, a Cape Cod on Portland's NE Dekum St. All day, I would run around that house, inside and outside.

The recipe makes a hearty, earthy cornbread. It's not sweet. There are many variations; we usually made the version with 1 cup shredded carrots and the minimum amounts of eggs, honey, and oil. The recipe is fast and easy; I think it's delicious. I enjoy the cookbook Laurel's Kitchen, a basic vegetarian cookbook from the 1970's with fun woodcut illustrations. Though you wouldn't want to try all the recipes for making your own soymilk and ketchup etc, it has basic instructions for a lot of beans and grains, sides and breads.

Cornbread from Laurel's Kitchen

2 cups cornmeal
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder

1-3 Tb honey
1-2 large eggs, beaten (2 eggs makes a more moist version)
1-2 Tb oil or melted butter
2 cups buttermilk (you can sub 1 Tb white vinegar per cup of fresh milk or soy if you don't have buttermilk)

Preheat oven to 425. In a large bowl stir dry ingredients together, making sure there are no lumps of baking soda or powder. Mix liquids; add to dry ingredients, stirring until smooth (or only slightly lumpy). Turn into a greased 8" x 8" pan or muffin tin. Bake 20-25 minutes.


Add 1 C grated carrot or raw yellow zucchini. Reduce buttermilk to 1 3/4 cup.

Saute parsley, peppers, onions in the oil and add along with 1 tsp chili powder and some grated cheese. (I haven't made this version.)

"For a light, delicate New England style cornbread, use 1 1/2 cups cornmeal and 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour, plus the maximum of honey, eggs, and butter."

Illustration by Laurel Robertson from The New Laurel's Kitchen.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Testing 1....2....

Apparently the feed for this site is not working properly any more. I am not exactly sure why. I will do some problem solving later this week.

In the meantime, to be updated properly on new posts you will either need to check back manually or add this site to google reader. Apparently the geniuses over at google have a sneaky way of knowing when your site updates, even if the feed is not properly workings.

To conclude, for the time being it seems that all blogger updating devices probably won't properly notify you if someone posts here. Either that or it's just my computer that is broken. Let me know if any of you are having problems seeing updates too!


I think I might have solved the problem. Or at least it is a roundabout substitute for a fix. You can find the correct feed URL by scrolling to the bottom of this page, click on the Posts (Atoms) link, and copy the URL.

T.L.C. Chicken Soup

To begin with, I have to say that this is a recipe from my Mom. Yay Mom!

There is not a lot to say about this soup other than that it is one of my all time favorites. Admittedly, I am partial due to reasons of childhood nostalgia. However, I have heard claims of deliciousness from just about anyone who has tried it. It is also filling and inexpensive so you can't go wrong.


1 whole chicken, cut up, with skin removed
3-4 medium onions, chopped
2 carrots, sliced
8 cloves of garlic, minced
8 cups of water
2 cups of brown rice or quinoa
2 tbs parsley, minced
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
4 tsp tamari


Place the chicken pieces, onions, carrots, garlic and water in a large kettle (I use a 6 quart pot). Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer.

After 50 minutes, add the rice parsley, and cayenne. Simmer an additional 30-40 minutes, until rice (or quinoa) is cooked. Stir in tamari at the end of cooking.

To prepare for serving, allow the soup to cool somewhat, then remove the bones from the chicken, returning the chicken meat to the soup. Reheat soup before serving. Makes about 10 cups with bones removed.

Mmm mmm good. I hope you all enjoy!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Bean Griddle Cakes

This Christmas I received many remarkable presents and I'm thankful for them all, but among my favorites was Mark Bittman's cookbook 'How To Cook Everything' (Thank you, Axon). It lives up to its name. I think of it as the Joy of Cooking for the Gen X, Y and whatever comes after us generations - with olive oil replacing vegetable oil and easy DIY recipes for mayonnaise, coconut milk and ketchup. The layout is clear and logical with a basic like 'Beef Stew' accompanied by a box with ten variations on the recipe to fancy it up. It's particularly guy friendly, somehow, with Cooking 101 style diagrams and instructions. That's handy since, in this house, the guy does most of the cooking these days and he's just not the Julia Child type. But my favorite, favorite thing about the cookbook is that Mr. Bittman dedicates a fat, 50 page chapter, just to beans. It's like he knew, knew there would be a recession and that we'd all be newlyweds (or at least Kristen is) and we'd all be living on beans. I used to think that living on beans was a terribly desperate and depressing prospect. But when hard times came a knockin' and forced our hand, I realized beans are like the chicken of the vegetarian world - when overcooked they're dry and bland beyond tolerance, but in capable hands they're infinitely versatile and absolutely delicious. Beans (and lentils) are wonderful, they really are, if you know what to do with them. And lately this is what we do with beans.

Bean Griddle Cakes (Cooked Straight from How To Cook Everything by Mark Bittman)

2 Cups cooked beans (I've used Adzuki but anything would work) (We buy bulk dry beans from Whole Foods - beans in a can just don't compare in taste or cost)
1 C whole milk plus more if needed
1 Egg
2 Tb melted butter or extra virgin olive oil
1 C all purpose flour (I use bread flour 'cause that's all I have)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Put the beans in a large bowl and mash thoroughly with a fork. Mix in everything else (you want pancake batter consistency so adjust milk or flour accordingly) and (When adding salt keep in mind whether or not the beans were cooked with salt).

Heat oil in a skillet, ladle in pools of batter and fry till browned on each side.

Optional addition ideas: Shredded cheese, mushrooms, herbs, onions, garlic, corn, chiles, curry, chopped nuts, fresh or crystallized ginger, or really anything!

We usually make this with cheese, onions, garlic and mushrooms added to the basic batter, and serve this with greek yogurt and fresh chunky salsa on top. Oh man, delish.

Other sauce ideas: Tomato sauce, basil soy sauce, miso dipping sauce, tomato and fruit salsa...

(This also works well for big groups, make the batter a day or so ahead and just fry it up real quick)

Friday, January 22, 2010

Puffy Oven Pancake

In our lonely and barren youth in the cold world of college, my roommate Tiffany and I made comfort food, it always involved eggs and butter and the oven. She introduced me to the Puffy German Pancake (it has other names, Puffy Oven Pancake being one). I still bake it occasionally as comfort food. Now that I'm in my studio, however, I make it more so that I'll have an excuse to turn my oven on and heat up at least ONE room.

Here's what the puffy pancakes tend to look like, redolent in puffiness and fluffiness and usually exploding out of the pan.

I hunted around on the internet, and it's not just me afflicted with enormous, misshapen pancakes. However some people have these lovely, perfectly-puffed things that they can cut into like a pie or a quiche. I hate those people.

Anyway. Here's how to make it. It's very simple.

You will need:

2 tbsp. butter
2 eggs
1/2 c. flour
1/2 c. milk
1/4 tsp. salt

Oven, 400 degrees.

Mix the eggs, milk, flour, and salt together in a bowl.

Melt the butter in a pie pan once the oven has hit 400 degrees. Tilt the pan around a few times to make sure the melted butter is evenly distributed then pour the mixture into the pie pan.

Bake for about 25-30 minutes. Usually 25 is enough unless your oven is stupid.

When it's done, you can sprinkle powdered sugar along the cavernous interior. I usually do that, but now I'm wondering with the way mine turn out if you couldn't just use the whole thing as a shell and heap sausage and eggs and herbs inside. That might be good.

It feeds as many people as you want it to feed (two people definitely), but it will probably not supply an army. Four people at the most maybe? I don't really know. I can usually eat one by myself over the course of a morning, but I have a bottomless stomach so I'm special that way.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


I have never actually disassembled an entire shoulder of pork. But let me tell you, it was well worth it. Thanks to Elise at Simply Recipes I discovered an easy and satisfying recipe for enough carnitas to feed my husband and I for 4 days.


4 lbs Pork shoulder, cubed (remove bone and as much fat as possible)
4 cups beef broth
2 cups chunky tomato salsa

Place the cubed pork, beef broth, and salsa together in a medium saucepan (8 quarts worked for me). Add enough water to cover meat. Turn heat to medium high and bring to boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 3 hours or more depending on how long it takes for the meat to be pulled apart easily. Add a dash of salt if necessary after tasting.

I prefer my carnitas a little more tender so I usually skip this step. But if you like em brown and crispy, go for it!

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Strain liquid from meat (it can now be discarded or saved if there is something else you plan to use it for). Pull meat apart using whatever means work best (I use two forks). Spread meat in a baking pan and roast for 15 minutes or until brown and crispy.

Warm up some corn tortillas, make some salsa, chop the cilantro, squeeze a lime and it is time to eat!

Note: Traditionally this dish is made with pork but it can also be made with beef chuck. One can also slow cook their carnitas in lard, as this was how they were originally made. Check out BBQJunkies blog to see a rendition of this method.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Just Another Blog...

Hi Everyone,

If you made it here you probably received an email from Jen or I asking you if you wanted to join the first Gutenberg online recipe exchange (at least, the first that I know of). We would love if you would join us!

If you would like to become an author, you can email me (Kristen) at But Hurry! Becuase there are only 99 openings left for authorship. And I think all of you can guess how many people are lining up right now to get a slot on this sweet blog....

Happy cooking!