Category: Dana Treat Original

What Is In This Dip?

February 14, 2012

I used to make a dip that I called The Dip.  I made it often and I loved it.  Simple, nutritious, easy to scale up, healthy.  Tasty.  I brought it to multiple yoga retreats.  I made it for parties.  People would ask, “Is this The Dip?”, and then they would use whatever scooping utensil that was handy to bring it to their mouths.

Then I saw Lisa talk about another Dip.  Similar to the one I made but with a few important differences.  Lisa doesn’t usually post the actual recipes for the food she makes, she just talks clearly about the ingredients.  So I bought the things I needed and made it to taste.  And got totally hooked.  Now this dip has become The Dip.  I always do it to taste but because I think it is really extraordinary, I decided to actually measure out what I add to it so I could share.  It is creamy (thank you silken tofu), a bit sweet (honey), a bit acidic (lime), and has a wonderful nose-clearing spice (wasabi).  All this things mix together to make an intriguing dip that people will ask you about endlessly.

The veggies and dip tray is the thing I tend to hover around at big parties.  This is partly so I don’t hover around the loaded potato skins tray but also because I really like veggies and dip.  Even the super gross pre-made-full-of-chemicals-and-fat dip.  So it is extra nice to be able to enjoy this dip knowing it is full of good stuff.

One Year Ago:  Somen Noodle Soup with Spring Vegetables and Baked Tofu
Two Years Ago:  Honey Roasted Pear Salad
Three Years Ago:  Tom Yum Soup with Mushrooms and Tofu

Wasabi Dip
Dana Treat Original
Makes about 2 cups

Silken tofu is not usually refrigerated.  It is in shelf stable packaging and can usually be found on the Asian food aisle.  It comes in bricks that weigh about 12 ounces but you will not use the whole thing.  I like this dip with quite a lot of heat but if you want less, add just 1 tablespoon of wasabi paste.

1 10-ounce bag frozen shelled edamame
8 ounces silken tofu
2 tbsp. honey
2 tbsp. wasabi paste
1 tsp. salt
Juice of 1 lime
2 tbsp. olive oil

Bring a medium pot of water to a boil.  Add a pinch of salt and then pour in the edamame.  Cook for 3 minutes, drain and cool.

Put the edamame in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade.  Add the tofu, honey, wasabi paste, salt, and lime juice.  Purée the mixture, stopping several times to scrape down the sides of the bowl, until it is more or less uniform.  It might still be a bit chunky.  With the machine running, pour in the olive oil.  You might use more or less than 2 tablespoons depending on how loose you want the dip to be.  Taste for seasoning and add more honey, salt, or wasabi to your liking.

Serve with crudité and/or pita chips.

Green Curry Noodles

February 10, 2012

Last weekend, the boys and I went to the West Seattle farmer’s market.  It is one of the three markets that stay open all year.  Although it is a bit of a hike from our house, I like this market because it is food only, some of the very best vendors are there, it doesn’t feel crowded, they often have music and little seats set up for children, and it’s in the middle of a thriving business district.  The weather last week was glorious and it almost felt like spring was just around the corner.  A trip to the market made me realize that winter is definitely still here.

I find the farmers’ market inspiring, even in February.  After making that amazing Sweet Winter Slaw five times in two weeks, I had seen a lot of Savoy cabbage – but not like this one.  How could I not buy this beauty?  And with delicata squash in the basket right next to it, a dish began to form in my mind.  Green curry, lots of shallots, rice noodles, sweet squash, cabbage cooked down to wilted.  Sounds good, no?

It was good.  Lovely really.  Warming, hearty, healthy.  I think those three words are magic in the wintertime.  If you can find or create a dish that warms your toes, fills your belly, and doesn’t weigh you down, life is pretty good.

Allow me to try to convince you to make your own curry paste.  Yes, I know that you can buy a nice little jar of it that lasts almost indefinitely in your refrigerator.  I have two of those jars myself, one green and one red.  The problem is that the consistency is similar to cement, so it can be a little difficult to incorporate into a dish.  It also has essentially two flavors.  Hot and salty.  There is no nuance there.  Just spicy and savory.  Nothing wrong with that if you are having a curry crisis.  But homemade is quick to make, has much more subtle flavor, a much looser consistency, and will also keep for a while in your fridge.  (I would say a  month.  You can freeze it for up to six.)  The ingredients are all natural – lemongrass, jalapeño peppers, cilantro, shallot, garlic.  If you love these ingredients, please give the curry a try.

One Year Ago:  Spicy Sweet and Savory Cauliflower
Two Years Ago:  Pesto Parmesan Cornbread
Three Years Ago:  Red Curry with Winter Vegetables and Cashews (recipe for red curry in this one!  coincidence!)

Green Curry Noodles with Cabbage and Squash

Dana Treat Original
Serves 4

While you should never rinse your Italian style noodles, rice noodles do need a good rinse.  This step will keep them from sticking together.  Both Savory and Napa cabbage would work here.  I wouldn’t use green as it will take to long to soften and purple will turn your whole dish a crazy color.  Finally, if you do decide to use a commercial curry paste, I would start with one tablespoon and add more later to your taste.

10 ounces extra firm tofu, blotted dry and cut into 1-inch pieces
4 tbsp. soy sauce, divided (I like tamari)
8 ounces rice noodles, linguine width
Canola, peanut, or coconut oil
6 ounces shallots, peeled and thinly sliced
Kosher or sea salt
½ medium delicata squash, seeded, and cut into 1-inch chunks
1 carrot, peeled and cut into thin rounds
2-3 tbsp. homemade Green Curry Paste (recipe follows)
½ head Savoy cabbage, cored and thinly sliced
1 14-ounce can coconut milk (can be “lite”)
1 cup vegetable broth
½ cup chopped cilantro, plus a few whole leaves for garnish

Place the tofu in a large ziploc bag.  Sprinkle in two tablespoons of the soy sauce and give the bag a vigorous shake.  Allow the tofu to marinate while you prepare the noodles.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Turn off the heat and add the rice noodles to the pot.  Allow to sit for ten minutes, stirring occasionally, then taste.  The noodles should be al dente.  Allow them to sit for another few minutes if they are too firm, then drain.  Immediately rinse very well with cold water.  Run your hands through the noodles to make sure the water reaches the ones on the bottom.  Allow to drain well.  Set aside.

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Drizzle in just enough oil to coat the bottom of the pan.  Carefully add the tofu to the pan, making sure that all the pieces are touching the bottom of the pan.  Allow to cook for about 3 minutes on one side then, using tongs, turn all the pieces over.  They may stick a little and that is ok.  If you have the patience, you can brown all sides of the tofu, but I usually stop at two.  Scrape the tofu to a plate and sprinkle with salt.  Set aside.

Return the skillet to the heat.  Drizzle in a bit more oil and then add the shallots and sauté, tossing occasionally, until the shallots are soft and starting to brown in places, about 6 minutes.  Add the squash and the carrot, then spoon in the curry paste.  If you are nervous about the heat, just use two tablespoons to start.  Give everything a good stir.  Add the cabbage and toss until the cabbage starts to wilt, about another 5 minutes.  Pour in the coconut milk and the broth and the other 2 tablespoons of soy sauce.  Toss to coat well, reduce the heat to medium-low and cover.  Cook for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Remove the lid and taste the broth.  You might want to add more curry paste or more soy sauce.  Once it is to your liking, add the tofu and chopped cilantro and cook for another 5 minutes.  Check the squash and carrot to make sure they are tender and also adjust the liquid amount to your taste.  If you prefer a saucier dish, add more stock.  If you want it drier, allow the mixture to cook without the lid to allow some of the liquid to evaporate.

To serve, place a bundle of noodles in the bottom of a shallow bowl and ladle on the vegetables and tofu in their sauce.  Garnish with cilantro leaves.

Green Curry Paste
Adapted from Real Vegetarian Thai
Makes about 1½ cups

1 tbsp. whole coriander seeds
1 tsp. whole cumin seeds
½ tsp. freshly ground black or white pepper
3 stalks lemongrass
4 fresh green jalapeño chilies, seeded for a milder heat, roughly chopped
¼ cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro leaves and tender stems
2 medium shallots, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tbsp. chopped or grated fresh ginger
Zest of 1 lime
1 tsp. kosher or sea salt

In a small skillet over medium heat, dry-fry the coriander and cumin seeds until they turn a shade or two darker, shaking the pan and stirring often, about 3 minutes.  Turn out onto a plate to cool.  Grind the spices in a coffee grinder or with a mortar and pestle.  Set aside.

To prepare the lemongrass, trim away and discard any root section below the bulb base, and cut away the top portion, leaving a stalk about 6 inches long, including the base.  Pull off the out layer and then thinly slice the rest.

Combine the lemongrass, chopped chilies, cilantro, shallots, garlic, ginger, lime zest, salt, and spices in a mini food processor or a blender.  Pulse to combine to a smooth paste, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.  You might need to add just a couple tablespoons of water to keep the blades moving.  Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one month.


Trust Me

January 12, 2012

Before I ask for your trust, I have a small announcement to make.  I am teaming up with the Yoga Tree, one of the very best yoga studios in Seattle and the one where I started my own yoga journey 12 years ago, to do an Urban Retreat next Saturday, January 21st, from 3:30-8pm.  The retreat is called Winter Warmth and Nourishment and participants will spend two hours building heat (and an appetite) through dynamic yoga flow, and then another two hours in a cooking class with me, right next door!, at Book Larder.  I am really excited about this partnership and the retreats are something we plan to do seasonally.  (Next one will be in April if you want to plan a trip to Seattle…)   Registration information can be found here.

OK, so now I am asking for your trust.  Trust me – those are not fingerling potatoes on the pizza – it is poorly melted smoked mozzarella – I bought the wrong kind.

Trust me – eggs are good on pizza.

Trust me – this combination of leeks, smoked mozzarella, and egg is magical.

Trust me – it may not be beautiful but it is tasty.

Last Thursday, as I was getting excited for night out with three of my lovely friends to a new super hot pizza joint, I got a message from Spencer’s teachers at preschool.  He was running a fever and I needed to come pick him up.  He was sleeping when I called back (a red flag – he never sleeps at preschool), but when I went to get him an hour later, I was shocked.  With kids running all over the room, chasing each other, doing art projects, eating snacks, my (not so) little baby was lying in the middle of the floor on a mat just staring off into space.  I dropped to my knees next to him and could feel the heat radiating off his body.

He let me carry him to the car (another red flag) and when we got home he was shaking so badly that he could not hold the little cup of Tylenol steady enough to put it to his lips.  Absolutely heartbreaking.  But that Tylenol is a wonder drug and after he was able to take it, with the help of an oral syringe, he seemed much better.

But not better enough to go to Cub Scouts with Graham and Randy that night and so, I had to email my friends and ask that they either go without me or come keep me and the patient company.  A flurry of emails when through the ether – yes, they would come over!  Yes, we could make our own pizza!  Yes, I have salad stuff!  Yes, I’ll bring what I have!  It is a great thing to have friends who are great cooks and like to eat.

So, we made our own pizza and salad to which we each contributed various things.  I had one hunk of dough, slow-roasted tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, and some leeks I had sautéed to silky.  Others contributed salad makings, another hunk of dough, a knob of smoked mozzarella, eggs, and wine.  What a great way to cook!  Coming together as a community and offering up yummy things.

So we made two pizzas and the standout, by far, was the one I drizzled with olive oil, then topped with a healthy mound of the leeks, thin slices of smoked mozarella, and – after it had been in the oven for a few minutes, two farm fresh eggs.  I can’t take full credit for the pizza, we all contributed.  And we all really loved it.

I  loved it enough to make it again a few nights later.  Even with the wrong mozzarella, it was really tasty.  I loved the contrast in flavors and textures.  Crisp savory crust (salting it is key), soft sweet leeks, smoky melty cheese, and a runny egg.  So good!  Unless you want want your cheese to not melt and to look like fingerling potatoes (which are delicious on pizza by the way – another pizza post for another time), do not buy the mozzarella that is braided and very firm.  Buy one that is cryovaced and soft and with some copper colored markings.

Pizza with Silky Leeks, Smoked Mozzarella, and Eggs
Dana Treat Original (with assistance)
Makes one medium size pizza, serves 3-4

I made this pizza with approximately one half of the recipe of my favorite pizza dough.  I put the other half in a ziploc bag and into the freezer.  The night before I wanted to use it again, I took it out and let it thaw in the refrigerator, then took it out and let it rise at room temperature for about an hour before using it.

Olive oil
4 large leeks
Kosher or sea salt
Freshly ground pepper
2 tbsp. fresh thyme leaves
6 oz. smoked mozzarella, very thinly sliced
2 large eggs
½ of Mark Bittman’s pizza dough

Place a pizza stone in the oven and turn the heat as high as it will go.

While the dough is rising for the second time and the oven is heating, place a very large skillet over medium heat.  Drizzle in just enough olive oil to coat the bottom and then add the leeks with a large pinch of salt.  They will be very crowded in the pan but will wilt down so don’t worry.  Give the leeks a few good stirs and then add the thyme leaves.  Turn the heat down to medium-low and let them cook, stirring occasionally, until they are silky soft and wilted, about 25 minutes total.  If at any time they seem to be browning, turn the heat down lower.  If necessary, add a bit of water to keep them from browning.  (Browned onions are good, browned leeks are not.)  Once they are really soft, if there is quite a bit of liquid in the pan, turn the heat back up to medium and cook until most of the liquid has evaporated.  Seasons to taste with salt and pepper and set aside.

Sprinkle cornmeal on a pizza peel and stretch the dough out to your desired shape.  Place the dough on the prepared peel and drizzle the surface with about 2 tablespoons of olive oil.  Sprinkle about 1 teaspoon of salt over the top.  Mound the leeks on the dough leaving a small border around the edge and top with the thin slices of smoked mozzarella.  Slide the pizza off the peel and onto the baking stone.  Bake for 5 minutes.

Crack the eggs into a small ramekin.  At the end of 5 minutes, slide the oven rack with the stone on it out enough to put the eggs on the pizza.  Be very careful because everything is super hot at this point.  Put one egg on one part of the pizza and the other on another part.  Push the rack back in and cook for another 4-5 minutes, until the crust is brown and the eggs are set.  (If you want your eggs runnier, you can add them later in the process.)

Slice and serve.

Soup for Later

December 23, 2011

This soup recipe?  It’s not for now.  Now is roast and potatoes, or maybe ham or maybe duck.  It’s figgy pudding and sticky toffee pudding, and maybe a Bûche de Noël.  If you come to the house where we celebrate Christmas, it is exactly the same dinner as Thanksgiving, minus the pumpkin pie.  Or perhaps now is latkes and donuts in which case, can I come over?

Now is cookies and treats and presents and stockings and dreidels and gelt.  Now is wrapping and bows and lights and songs and menorahs.  Now is not soup.  But soon it will be soup.  Soon it will be over-full and clean-up and let-down and you will want some soup.  Soup that has nothing to do with ho ho ho or Hanukkah Harry.

I’m not being pessimistic.  I don’t want any of this to be over.  I just know how I feel on December 26th and I know I will want soup.  You might too.

I’m a Jewish girl who grew up in a suburb of Seattle.  So I feel kind of funny calling a Minestrone Soup a Dana Treat original.  It started as a soup from a magazine whose font I don’t recognize (Sunset maybe?) and I have changed so many things about it that I call it mine now.

One Year Ago:  Chocolate Coffee Cake, Scalloped Chocolate Pecan Strip

Minestrone Genovese
Dana Treat Original
Serves 6-8

I’ve made this with all different vegetables (zucchini is nice in the summer) and different pastas.  To make a lighter soup, I use a small pasta, like an orzo or a ditalini.  If you do so, use about a cup of dried pasta and cook it directly in the soup.  About 10 minutes before you are going to serve it, bring the soup back up a boil and add the pasta.  Cook through and serve.

10 ounces cheese tortellini
Olive oil
2 large leeks, washed well, cut in quarters and thinly sliced
2 large carrots, peeled, cut in ¼-inch dice
2 large stalks celery, cut in ¼-inch dice
1 tsp. dried oregano
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 15-ounce can white beans, drained
2 quarts (8 cups) vegetable stock
5 large leaves kale, leaves stripped off the vein, and finely chopped
1 cup frozen peas
2 tbsp. pesto, homemade or store-bought, plus more for serving
Parmesan cheese, for serving (optional)

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Add the tortellini and cook according to the package instructions.  Be sure to cook them just to al dente.  Drain and set aside.

Place the same pot over medium heat.  Drizzle in just enough olive oil to coat the bottom of the pot.  Add the leeks, carrots and celery.  Sauté, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are starting to soften, about 5 minutes.  Add the oregano, a large pinch of salt, and a few grinds of pepper.  Cook for another 5 minutes, taking care the the leeks don’t burn.

Add the white beans, give everything a good stir, then pour in the stock.   Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer.  Cook stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are very tender.  Add the kale and cook until wilted, about 5 minutes.  Add the tortellini and peas and cook just until heated through.  Spoon in the pesto and give everything a good stir.  Taste and add more pesto, salt, and/or pepper to taste.

Serve in shallow bowls garnished with Parmesan cheese.  Pass more pesto and cheese at the table.

“You Won’t Miss the Meat!”

November 2, 2011

Hi.  It’s nice to be back here again.  Talking about food.  Including a recipe.  Thanks for your patience.  I misplaced my blogging mojo but I seem to have found it again.  Phew.  Now please pardon me while I jump up on my high horse for a moment.

The title of this post is one of the things I hate hearing most when it comes to vegetarian food.  “You won’t miss the meat!”  I see it in print, I hear it come out of chefs’ mouths and it makes me crazy.  I will say it to anyone who asks, I say it in my classes, and I’ve said it here, but the way to approach a switch to the vegetarian diet or even a vegetarian meal is not about substituting.  You can’t take a plate with a steak, baked potato, and green beans, and then just swap out the steak for tofu.  The vegetarian diet requires a shift in thinking – no longer being so hung up on protein and envisioning your plate differently.

For the people who embrace this philosophy, our way of eating can be exhilarating.  So many choices!  So much delicious food!  New cuisines!  But the bulk of our country, even though the message is coming through louder and clearer that we need to reduce our meat intake for a variety of reasons, still sees vegetarian food as boring or needs to find a way to substitute for the lack of meat.  There are all  kinds of fake meat out there and people are choking it down hoping it will taste like what they really want to eat, or it will give them the protein they are terrified they won’t get if they don’t have meat.  And here is where I must remind you that I am not trying to convert anyone.  As I always say, my own husband eats meat.  I just want to help people find their way to a delicious dinner (and breakfast, lunch and a treat).

Thud.  That was me sliding off my high horse.  Now, I don’t use a lot of fake meat.  Why?  Because I never liked meat.  I haven’t had it in 25 years.  Meat’s flavor and texture is not something I am trying to replace in my food.  This is a reason that I never have in the past, and never will in the future buy a Tofurkey.  But sometimes you pause.  I’ve been a bit obsessed with making orecchiete with broccoli rabe and sausage recently.  Maybe this is my body’s cry for protein.  Who knows.  But, of course, I have been unable to find broccoli rabe when I need it.  So I persevered and bought something I never had before – Field Roast Italian Sausages – and kept it really simple.

Good canned tomatoes simmered down with some onion and garlic, sliced rounds of sausage (without their plastic casings) sautéed in a pan, ear-shaped noodles in salty water boiled away, and mozzarella cheese grated.  A heavy foil-covered pan went into the oven and 30 minutes later we had a hearty and tasty dinner.  It’s good to be back here.  Thanks again for all the support.

(Because I haven’t posted a recipe in a while, there is a big backlog of what I was writing about one, two, and three years ago.  I will pick my favorites and highlight them in a separate post today or tomorrow.)

Baked Orecchiete with (Veg) Sausage and Tomato Basil Sauce
Dana Treat Original
Serves 6-8

Field roast is sold in links of 4, I only used 3 of them in this dish.  I’ve also made this same dish with a more penne shaped pasta and it worked great as well.  A 28-ounce can of tomatoes will be enough sauce for this dish but it is a bit dry.  If you like your pasta saucier, add another 14-ounce can.  Finally, you may wonder why I would suggest you buy canned whole tomatoes and then purée them rather than just buy puréed tomatoes.  I once read that the lesser quality tomatoes end up in diced and puréed cans because you can’t see their imperfections.  For this reason, this article said, it’s best to buy the whole ones, so that is what I do.

Olive oil
1 small onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp. dried basil
½ tsp. dried oregano
28-ounce can whole tomatoes
3 links Field Roast vegetarian sausage, Italian style
1 pound orecchiete pasta
2 cups mozzarella cheese, grated, divided
½ cup fresh basil leaves, slivered, plus extra whole leaves for garnish
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 375ºF.  Have a 9×13-inch baking dish handy.

Place a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Drizzle in just enough olive oil to coat the bottom, then add the onion and a large pinch of salt.  Stir and allow to cook until starting to soften, about 5 minutes.  Add the garlic and the dried herbs.  Cook for another 3 minutes.  Meanwhile purée the tomatoes.  If you have an immersion blender, you can stick the wand directly into the can – just be careful.  Otherwise, pour the can into a blender and blend until smooth.  (If you want to do neither of those things, you can crush the tomatoes with your hands as you add them to the pot, the sauce will be chunkier.)  Carefully pour the tomatoes into the saucepan (they will splatter), give the sauce a good stir, and turn the heat down to medium low.  Allow to simmer for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally, until thickened.  Set aside.

Heat a medium non-stick sauté pan over medium heat.  Add the slices of sausage and allow to cook, turning occasionally, until the slices are browned.  Set aside.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Pour in the pasta and allow to cook until just shy of al dente.  (The pasta will continue to cook once it goes in the oven, so be sure to undercook it a bit.)  Drain well and return to the pot.  Pour in the sauce and toss to coat well.  Stir in the sausage and the basil.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Spoon half of the pasta into the dish.  Sprinkle on half the mozzarella.  Spoon the other half of of the pasta and top with the remaining cheese.  Cover the dish with foil and place in the oven.  Bake for 25 minutes, remove the foil and bake for another five minutes.  Allow to sit for five minutes or so before serving.

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