Tag Archives: recipes

The day after…

As I type these words the pot of turkey broth that is pictured above is simmering on the stove permeating the entire house with delicious aroma. If your like me you enjoy leftovers as much as the Thanksgiving meal itself (well, ok, maybe not quite as much, but almost). Anyhow, here’s a few recipes which incorporate leftovers from a traditional Thanksgiving feast. These originally appeared in Artvoice about five years ago; to read that  entire article, click here.

Turkey Broth

1 cooked turkey carcass, and any scraps, juices, and pan scrapings

1 onion, quartered

1 carrot, cut into thirds

4 ribs celery, cut into thirds

4 cloves garlic, crushed

2 bay leaves

10 whole black peppercorns

Combine the ingredients in a heavy-bottomed stockpot and cover with enough cold water to cover them by two inches. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to a slow simmer. Cook for a few hours, skimming the surface as necessary. Strain and refrigerate until needed.

Shepherd’s Pie Made from Thanksgiving Dinner Leftovers

Dice leftover turkey and vegetables, combine with enough gravy to moisten. Assemble the vegetable/turkey mixture in an oven-proof casserole and “cobble” it with mashed potatoes and stuffing. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven until golden brown and hot throughout.

Turkey àla King

Combine diced, cooked turkey with enough gravy to moisten it; add whatever vegetables you like. Bring to a simmer and add heavy cream. Serve over mashed potatoes, stuffing, or if you’re feeling particularly decedent, puff pastry.

Turkey Salad with Sundried Tomatoes and Chipotle Chilies

Dice leftover cooked turkey, along with fresh celery, onion, and a couple sliced sundried tomatoes. Mix it in a bowl with a few tablespoons mayonnaise and a little Dijon mustard. Add a small amount of either chipotle powder or minced chipotle in adobo. Season it with lime juice, salt, and pepper. Serve over lettuce salad or as the filling for a sandwich.

Turkey Noodle Soup

Dice 1 small onion, 2 carrots, a few ribs celery, a clove of garlic, a cup or two of cooked turkey, and one small turnip. Heat a few tablespoons of oil in a soup pot and add the vegetables and turkey; cook, while stirring, for a few minutes. Add enough broth to cover the ingredients by a couple inches. Season with salt and pepper; bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer. Cook egg noodles in a separate pot, then add to the soup.

Turkey and Vegetable Stirfry

Yield: 4 servings

3/4 cup broth

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 tablespoon cornstarch

1 teaspoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

3 thin slices ginger

1 clove garlic, sliced thin

1 pound mixed vegetables

8 ounces cooked turkey

In a small bowl, combine the broth, soy sauce, cornstarch, sugar and salt, then set aside. Heat the oil over high heat in a large skillet. Add the ginger and garlic, cook for a couple of minutes, then add the vegetables and turkey; stir fry for a few minutes. Stir the broth mixture and add it to the stir-fry. Cook for a couple of minutes, until the sauce is thickened and the vegetables are cooked.

Turkey Mulligatawny

Yield: 3 quarts.

3 tablespoon olive oil

1 small onion, diced

3 ribs celery, diced

2 carrots, diced

1 red bell pepper, diced

1 clove garlic, minced

2 slices ginger, minced

2 tablespoons sugar

1 tablespoon Madras curry powder

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon crushed hot pepper

1/2 cup flour

1 apple, diced

6 cups turkey stock

3 cups diced, cooked turkey

1/2 cup cooked white rice

Heat the olive oil in a heavy-bottomed pot, add the onion, cel­ery, carrot, and red bell pepper, sauté over medium heat until translucent. Add the garlic and ginger, sauté 2 minutes. Stir in the sugar, curry powder, cumin, black pepper, salt, and crushed hot pepper, sauté 2 minutes. Stir in the flour and cook for 5 minutes over low heat while stirring constantly. Add the diced apple, stir in the turkey stock and diced turkey, and simmer for 20 minutes. Just before serving stir in the rice. 

Employee Meal 09.04.12 (part of it)

As the head cook where I am employed it is within my job description to make lunch for the employees every day. And some days I enjoy this more than others. I’ve posted some of these recipes in the past, but haven’t in a while. Anyhow, this was one of the components to the meal we had today…deep fried beer-battered onion rings. Okay, so they are not the most healthy thing to eat, nor are they the most nutritious…but geeze o’ man were they good.  There’s a simple recipe below, which also included a basic beer batter. And The batter recipe can be used with nearly anything…seafood, vegetables, poultry…

 Beer Battered Onion Rings
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 egg, separated
1 cup beer
two large onions 
oil for frying
flour for dredging

Combine the flour, baking powder, egg yolk, and beer in a bowl and mix with a wire whip until smooth. In a separate bowl, whip the egg white to soft peaks, then fold it into the batter, then set aside. Fill a deep skillet with an inch of oil and heat it to 350F. Toss the sliced onions in flour, shaking off any excess. Dip the onions in the batter a couple at a time, allowing some of the batter to drip free. Fry as many onion rings in the hot fat at a time as you can without overcrowding the pan. Remove and drain on absorbent paper.

Broccoli and Bean Curd Stir-Fry Recipe

This is one of my favorite stir-fry recipes…it’s, simple, quick, and really delicious and nutritious. This is one of those simple restaurant-quality dishes that you’ll be wondering why you ever pay to have it prepared when it is so easy to make yourself. I’ve posted this recipe, or variations of it, a few times before, but I haven’t in a while. Anyhow, I made it for dinner tonight and thought I’d share the recipe again. As I type these words I am–in a word–stuffed. It is so delicious I couldn’t stop eating it. The only difference between the recipe pictured (the one I made tonight) and the actual recipe listed below, is that  in tonight’s version I added sliced carrots (which should be added when you add the onion and pepper). Anyhow, I hope you try it.

Broccoli and Bean Curd with Ginger, Garlic, and Hot Peppers
Makes about 4 servings
4 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
4 heads broccoli, cut into florets
12 ounces firm tofu, sliced into 1-inch pieces
1 cup vegetable oil (for frying)
1 small onion, sliced
1 red bell pepper, julienned
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon minced ginger
1 teaspoon crushed hot pepper
1-1/2 cups chicken broth

In a small bowl combine the soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, and cornstarch. Mix to dissolve the cornstarch and set aside. Par-cook the broccoli boiling water, then drain it and cool it under cold running water.

Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet. Carefully add the tofu and cook it on both sides until golden brown. Remove the tofu and transfer to absorbent paper. Carefully pour most of the oil into a separate pan (or other safe container), leaving just enough oil to stir fry in. Heat the pan and add the onion and bell pepper. Sauté the vegetables until they begin to caramelize. Add the garlic, ginger, and hot peppers. Sauté for another minute or two.

Stir in the chicken broth; bring it to a boil, than stir in the soy-cornstarch mixture. Bring it to a simmer, then add the broccoli and bean curd. Stir and toss it to evenly coat it with sauce. Continue to heat the pan just until the broccoli is heated throughout.

A Food Photo and a Parallel Universe

Just a quick note…

The above is a photo of something I made as a side dish for dinner last night….tomatoes, peppers, onions, and whole garlic cloves basted and braised slowly in a cast iron Dutch Oven just five feet from where they grew. Delicious (and easy)…my mouth waters as I type these words. It’s really just a modern version of the French poele method of braising and basting things in butter.

Also, and I haven’t mentioned this in a while, but Urban Simplicity has a Facebook page as well…mostly photos and links, but it’s a quick way to keep up to date. Hope to see you there. Peace.

La Tomate

Beautiful isn’t it. It is–or at least was–as big as my fist. I ate most of it for dinner as an tomato and raw onion sandwich on whole wheat bread slathered with mayonnaise and doused with a liberal amount of cracked black pepper. It was, as I ate it, still warm from the sun. Delicious. I’ve always enjoyed growing my own tomatoes, but this one in particular seems especially special to me because, as I’ve stated in an earlier post, I’ve had a difficult time with “blossom end rot” this year. But this is a sign, I think, that the plants are overcoming it (with a little help from me). I’m keeping my fingers crossed. Anyhow, if you want to learn a bit of history, lore, and a few recipes involving tomatoes, here’s a link to an article I wrote for Artvoice a couple years ago.

Urban Simplicity.

This Year’s Garden Issue, and a quick tomato recipe

Every year it seems there is a new “issue” in the garden. Such is life, right? I can’t imaging how difficult it must be for farmers who rely on their crops for their livelihood, or those who rely on the food they grow to sustain them entirely. A few years ago I had an army of city rabbits who chose to inhabit my tiny gardens each night, then I had giant tomato-eating slugs wreak havoc, and last year there was a hungry city raccoon that all but wiped out my small patch of corn and ate it in a nearby tree (no kidding). Well, this year it is not an animal or insect that is causing trouble, but the plants themselves. The tomatoes in the front of my house, while they look incredibly healthy, are inflicted with–what I’ve finally been able to identify–the not so technical sounding blossom end rot…and it quite literally does as the name describes, the blossom end, or the end that is not connected to the plant, rots. I’m still getting a few healthy tomatoes from the front, and the rear garden does not seem affected, but it’s still early and most of them are still green (the rot begins while they are still green). The tomatoes pictured above and below obviously were not affected, but I’ve been pulling and discarding at least a half-dozen black rotted tomatoes a day in hopes of slowing and halting the problem. From what I’ve read this is not an easy problem to overcome, but I’ll try (and there are far worse problems to have in this world today). If any gardeners out there in the blogosphere have had this problem and overcame it I would love to here about it. Thanks. Anyhow, on to the recipe.

This recipe is about as simple as it gets but is still bursting with nutrients and flavor. It’s really just another aglio e olio type recipe, but in this case the ingredients are turned into a sauce. The easy steps are below.

Heat olive oil in a heavy skillet and add onion, peppers, and garlic (I used sweet and hot peppers)…cook them slowly until they begin to brown, forming a sort of sofrito. Add diced tomato. Any type will do, I used two types of red tomatoes plus a couple yellow cherry tomatoes with seeds and skins intact. Cook the tomatoes for a couple minutes to release and evaporate some of their juices. Then add chicken broth (or vegetable broth if you want to keep it vegetarian) and a bit of seas salt. Bring the sauce to a boil then lower it to a simmer; cook the sauce for a few minutes until it reduces and thickens. Meanwhile boil whatever pasta you prefer. When the sauce is to your liking (in consistency and flavor) it can be pureed or left chunky, which is what I did. Add a few chopped basil leaves and then the cooked pasta. Toss or gently stir the pasta into the sauce allowing it to soak up flavors.

Urban Simplicity.

Le Nouveau Tarte Tatin

This recipe is a play on the classic Tarte Tatin, which of course is normally made with apples. I’m currently researching and testing recipes for an article I’m writing about Tarte Tatin for Buffalo Spree Magazine and thought I’d try a couple savory recipes (the poor Tatin sisters must be rolling in their graves); this one is made with portabello mushrooms, figs, and brie cheese. It’s sort of a savory rustic pie that is baked upside-down then turned right side-up to serve (and isn’t that what the original is only made with apples and caramel). Anyhow, it’s really delicious and easy to make…and you’ll likely impress your friends with it as well. When the article is published–with history, lore, and more recipes–I’ll post the link.

Savory Fig, Portabello, and Brie Tarte Tatin
Makes one 10” tart
3 ounces unsalted butter
2 medium portabello mushroom caps, sliced
1 small onion, sliced
½ pound dried figs (about 8), sliced
½ teaspoon kosher salt
4 ounces brie cheese, sliced
1 sheet puff pastry
Preheat an oven to 350F. Heat the butter over medium-high heat in a 10” oven-proof skillet. When the butter begins to bubble add the mushrooms, then the onion. Stir and cook the onion and mushroom for about five minutes, or until most of their juices are released and evaporate from the pan and the mushrooms just begin to brown. Stir in the sliced figs, the salt, then the cheese. Remove the pan from the heat and gently lay the puff pastry across the pan, trimming and folding it as necessary to fit. Place the pan in the preheated oven and bake it for about 20 minutes, or until the pastry is puffed and golden-brown. Rem0ove the pan from the oven and allow it to rest for a couple minutes, then loosen the edges of the pastry with a knife and gently but carefully invert the tart onto a plate. Lift the inverted pan from the plate slowly, guiding any pieces of tart onto the plate that may have stuck to the pan. Allow the tart to cool for 5 minutes before slicing. It is delicious warm or at room temperature.

Urban Simplicity.

The Flavor of Summer…

I made this salad for employee meal last night at work. Like much of the nation it has been hot in Western New York and the last thing I wanted to eat while working in a sweltering kitchen was something hot. This fit the bill; I had leftovers for lunch today. This is really just a variation of tabbouleh or fattoush…and when I say this I mean that while some of the salad ingredients are different (though some are also the same) the flavoring is the same; it’s made with a highly flavorful lemon-mint-olive oil dressing. The other key is to use lots of fresh parsley (too often American tabbouleh recipes lack a significant amount of parsley, making it a bulgar wheat salad garnished with parsley when in fact t is a parsley salad garnished with wheat). In addition to the vinaigrette and parsley in this recipe, I also used tomato, chick peas, cucumber, onion, and shredded carrots (I thought about adding cooked and cooled potatoes as well but didn’t have the time to cook and cool them)…basically you can add whatever ingredients you have…the fresh taste of the dressing and summer ingredients are foolproof.

For a traditional and also a barely tabbouleh recipe, click here.

For a fattoush recipe (with photos), click here.

For a really simple but very flavorful and versatile mint vinaigrette recipe, click here.

For additional Lebanese/Mediterranean inspired recipes (with plenty of photos), click here.

Urban Simplicity.


You’ve likely had this sauce/condiment before…maybe you purchased it or had it at a restaurant; or maybe you’ve made it. But with the summer upon us, gardens–and supermarket shelves–are bursting with fresh herbs. Originally this was made by pounding everything with a mortar and pestle (the Italian word pesto loosely translates as “pounded”), but today a few second zip in a blender does the job. The recipe below is a variation on the original, which is usually based on basil alone, but for variation I’ve used five fresh herbs. Sealed and refrigerated, pesto will keep for weeks…but you’ll likely eat it first 🙂
5 Herb Pesto
Makes about a cup-and-a-half
1 cup basil
1/4 cup parsley
1/4 cup oregano
1/4 cup fresh tarragon
1/4 cup  minced chives
2 or 3 cloves garlic
1/4 cup pine nuts, almonds, or walnuts
1/2 cup virgin olive oil
1/2 cup grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
Combine the herbs, garlic, nuts, and olive oil in a blender; puree until smooth. Add the cheese and  processor another 10 seconds.

Crispy Spice-Fried Fish (recipe and pics)

To prepare chicken or fish like this is so easy and delicious that if you haven’t in the past you’ll be wondering why. I used salmon and ate it in fish tacos for dinner, but the fish is delicious on its own or as an accompaniment to rice pilaf or a salad. I used southwestern flavors for the tacos, but this could easily be made with Mediterranean herbs and spices or Indian spices (just to mention a couple variations). Chicken–or other meats–are delicious like this as well. Below is an image of it being cooked, and below that is the method to make it.

Dice 12 ounces of fish or chicken and place it in a bowl. Season it with whatever you like…I used two teaspoons each of mild chili powder, smoked paprika, and ground cumin; also add 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt. Mix the fish or chicken gently to coat it with the spices. In a separate small bowl mix together a tablespoon each of lemon juice and cornstarch; mix it until the cornstarch is dissolved. Add a large egg and beat it with the lemon and cornstarch until mixed. Add the egg-lemon-cornstarch mixture to the seasoned fish and gently mix again. Set aside for about 10 or 15 minutes. Heat about 1/2 inch canola oil in a heavy skillet over a medium-high flame. When the oil is hot enough that a piece of fish or chicken sizzles when dipped, it is ready. Carefully add the fish or chicken and fry it on both sides for about two minutes, or until crispy, golden, and cooked through. Carefully remove it from the hot oil with a slotted spoon and transfer it to a plate that is lined with absorbent paper.

Urban Simplicity.

Twenty Minute Pasta with Beans and Greens Recipe

This recipe–as I say about all the recipes that I post on this blog–is really easy to make, nutritious, and super delicious. And it only takes twenty minutes (or less) to prepare, granting you have your beans cooked and have good knife skills (in other words, if you can chop things fast). The only meat in the recipe is the chicken broth, but it can easily be vegetarian/vegan by using vegetable broth. If you do prefer to have animal protein in this recipe almost any poultry or meat (or even fish) would be good, as would a bit of ham, bacon, or smoked sausage. It would just take a little longer to cook. I also doused it with a liberal helping of Parmesan cheese (which is not listed in the recipe). Anyhow, here’s a few pictures of it being prepared; the recipe follows.

Beans and Greens
Serves 4
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, diced
1 small green bell pepper, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
½ teaspoon crushed hot pepper
½ teaspoon basil
½ teaspoon oregano
½ teaspoon fennel seed
2 medium tomatoes, diced
2 cups cooked beans
3 cups chicken broth
4 cups (about 5oz) chopped fresh spinach
½ pound whole wheat pasta

Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a heavy pot and add the onion, green pepper, and garlic; saute for a couple minutes. Stir in the salt, paprika, hot pepper, basil, oregano, and fennel seed; stir and cook for another minute. Add the tomatoes, beans, and broth. Bring the liquid to a boil, then lower it to a simmer. Simmer the bean mixture for about 10 minutes, or until it reduces by 1/3 and start to thicken. Then stir in the spinach and cook for a couple of minutes. Meanwhile, boil the pasta in plenty of boiled water. Drain the pasta and add it to the beans and spinach, allowing it to absorb some of it’s flavor. 

Hearty and Meaty Spring Ragout

I’ve mentioned a few times on this blog that while I am far from being vegetarian I have been making efforts to eat less meat for a variety of reasons…but sometimes I crave it. Today was one such instance. Maybe it was that I swam 1/2 mile and hauled concrete blocks about 5 miles (one way) on my Mundo–what, do I think I’m Jack Lalanne or something–but I really had a hankering for lamb, which is my favorite meat, by the way. Anyhow, I made the pictured recipe for Lamb Ragout and ate it tossed with whole wheat penne. Like most of what I post here…it is really easy to make, nutritious, and really delicious. It would also be great over rice or as a pizza topping.

Tomato, Carrot, andLamb Ragout
Makes about 4 cups
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound lamb, diced
1 small onion, diced
1 medium carrot, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon fennel seed
1 teaspoon crushed hot pepper
1 teaspoon basil leaves
1 teaspoon oregano leaves
2 cups tomato puree
½ cup red wine
2 cups chick broth
Heat the olive oil over medium-highheat in a heavy sauce pot. Add the lamb, onion, and carrot; cookuntil the lamb and vegetables just start to brown, then add thegarlic, sugar, salt, fennel, pepper, basil, and oregano; cook anotherminute. Stir in first the red wine, then the tomato and chickenbroth. Bring to a boil then lower to a simmer. Cook the ragout forabout 30 minutes, or until it has reduced and thickened, and the lambis tender. Toss with pasta, serve over rice, or use as a pizzatopping.

Salute the General

I made this for staff lunch at work today…General Tso’s Chicken. It is not that difficult to prepare and really rewarding because when you make it yourself it is not greasy or sickeningly-sweet. The only differences in the version I prepared today (the one picture) is that I added a sliced orange and toasted sesame seeds to the recipe. Other than that the recipe listed below is the one that I used (but multiplied by six times). If you want to prepare a simple yet delicious Chinese recipe at home–one where guests or family members may think you ordered out–this is the recipe. I originally published this recipe in Artvoice a few years ago, and also on this blog around the same time. If you’d like to read the story behind this recipe, and how I came about it, click either here or here.

General Tso’s Chicken
Yield: 3-4 servings

For the chicken:
1 pound boneless chicken thighs, cut into pieces
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 egg
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon flour

For the sauce:
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup sherry
1/2 cup chicken broth
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
1-2 tablespoons cornstarch

Additional Ingredients:
6 small dried red chilies
1 tablespoon minced ginger
2 teaspoons minced garlic
3 green onions, sliced
peanut oil for deep frying

Combine all of the chicken ingredients together in a bowl, mix to evenly coat, and set aside. Mix all of the sauce ingredients together in a separate bowl and set aside. Heat a couple inches of peanut oil in a wok or skillet until 350F. Stir the chicken again, then carefully deep fry it piece-by-piece and remove to a plate lined with paper towel. Cut a piece of the chicken to make sure it’s thoroughly cooked. Carefully transfer the oil to a tin can or other pot to cool, reserving a few tablespoons in the wok or skillet. Over medium-high heat stir-fry the chilies for a minute, then add the ginger and garlic. Stir the sauce ingredients again, then carefully add it to the hot pan. Bring to a boil and simmer for 1 minute. Add the cooked chicken and green onion. Toss to coat. Serve with steamed rice.

Urban Simplicity

Barley Tabbouleh

Yesterday I made mushroom-barley soup but cooked too much barley (it’s amazing how it just keeps expanding isn’t it). The outcome was that I had an excess of cooked barley today. So I made a variation of tabbouleh for staff lunch today. I had never made this with barley before but it was delicious. And it was a real variation–a sort of stone soup version of tabbouleh–because every time I went to the cooler I grabbed another vegetable and chopped it up and mixed it in. It really ended up being a sort of barley-vegetable salad with lemon-garlic-mint dressing. Nonetheless, it was truly delicious (and simple to make). Anyhow, the recipe I made today is below, and the recipe for classic tabbouleh is just below that.

Barley Tabbouleh
Makes about 6 servings
2 cups cooked and cooledbarley
1/2 pint grape tomatoes, cutin half
1 small red bell pepper,diced
1/2 English cucumber, seedsremoved and diced
1 ripe avocado, diced
1/4 cup kalamata olives,coarsely chopped
1 bunch fresh mint, coarselychopped
1 bunch flat-leaf parsley,coarsely chopped
3/4 cup virgin olive oil
1/3 lemon juice
2 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon kosher salt
In a medium bowl, combinethe barley, tomatoes, bell pepper, cucumber, avocado, olives, mint,and parsley. Gently mix together and set aside. Combine in a blender,the olive oil, lemon juice, garlic cloves, and salt. Process theseingredients for about 20 seconds, or until the garlic is pureed andthe liquids are emulsified. Pour the dressing over the saladingredients and mix gently. Serve chilled or at room temperature.
 Classic Tabbouleh
Makes about 4 servings
3/4 cup bulgur wheat
2 cups warm water
2 cups chopped parsley
3/4 cup chopped mint
1/2 cup sliced green onions
1/4 cup olive oil
3 tablespoon lemon juice
2 diced tomatoes
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon pepper
Soak the bulgur in the warm waterfor 1/2 hour, or until soft, then drain and squeeze out any excess water. In a medium bowl, combine the bulgur, parsley, mint, green onions, olive oil, lemon juice, tomatoes,salt, and pepper. Serve chilled or at room temperature.

Homemade Whole-Wheat Tortillas and Other Good Things

I didn’t intend on making homemade tortillas tonight but I did…and here’s a quick story why. Last night I made my son and I tacos for dinner (using store-bought tortillas). I filled them with homemade carnitas de pollo (click here for the recipe and pics), salsa pico de gallo (recipe below), lettuce, and cheese. They were delicious, to say the least. Anyhow, I knew I was going to be home alone tonight and that there were leftover pollo and salsa…all I needed was a few tortillas (we ate the last of them last night). I was going to the health club for a steam and swim and figured I’d pick up the tortillas on the way home. I was/am tight on cash and had just a few dollars with me; enough to purchase the tortillas. Lap swimming often makes me hungry, and all I was thinking about was these tacos when I came home (they were that delicious last night). So on my way home I stopped at a local grocer…no tortillas, he told me. Sorry, all out. Not even the white flour variety. So I went to another store, this time a chain store…the same issue. Huh? After unlocking my bike for the third time, I stood on it for a moment contemplating as to whether I should go to the supermarket (I really dislike large supermarkets). To make a long story short, as I stood there straddling my bike, I thought to myself a few things. One was that I had the few meager ingredients home to make tortillas; the second was that I knew they were easy to make because I’ve made them in the past; and three was that being a professional cook I could make these in just a few minutes. So that’s just what I did…and they were so good I wondered I was going to purchase them in the first place. Recipes are below.

Whole Wheat Tortillas
Makes 12 tortillas
3 cups whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon sea salt
6 tablespoons olive oil
1 ½ cups warm water
Mix the flour, baking powder, and salttogether in a small bowl. Add the oil, and using your fingers, rubthe ingredients together until it resembles course cornmeal. Add thewater; stir to form a dough. Knead the dough by hand for a fewminutes, then allow it to rest for ten minutes. Cut the dough into 12pieces. Using a small rolling pin or wooden dowel, roll the tortillasout very thin on a lightly floured surface. Heat a large skillet andcook the tortillas one at a time on both sides until lightlyblistered and browned.
 (For a recipe for the Carnitas de Pollo pictured above, click here.)
SalsaPico de Gallo
Makesabout 2 cups
2ripe tomatoes, seeded and diced
½medium onion, diced
2cloves garlic, minced
1 jalapeno, minced
2tablespoons olive oil
1tablespoon lime juice
½teaspoon sea salt
afew leaves cilantro
Mixall ingredients together. Use straight away or refrigerate for up to3 days.

Spicy Cheddar Meatloaf Recipe

I am far from being a vegetarian but some days–most days–I eat far less meat than grains and vegetables…but comfort foods like this literally make my mouth water. Now I don’t expect you to make 50 lbs / 22.6 kg of the stuff (pictured above) but I hope you try the below recipe. It is simple to make, really delicious, and the leftovers are even better the second day. The recipe below calls for turkey and pork but those pictured above were made with pork and beef. You can interchange your meats or just use one. Delicious.

Spicy Turkey and Pork Meatloaf with Cheddar
Yield: 6 servings
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 small onion, diced
1 rib celery, diced
1/2 green bell pepper, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
3 jalapeño peppers, seeded and minced
1-1/2 pound ground turkey
1-1/2 pound ground pork
1 bunch parsley, washed and minced
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
1-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon oregano
1 tablespoon basil
2 large eggs
1/2 cup ketchup
1 tablespoon hot sauce
1 cup shredded cheddar
1/2 cup breadcrumbs

Heat the oil in a heavy skillet then add the onion, celery and bell pepper. Sauté until translucent but not browned. Add the garlic and jalapeño and sauté a minute longer. Remove the vegetables, spread them on a clean plate and place them in a refrigerator for 15 minutes. Transfer the cooked and cooled vegetables to a bowl along with the turkey, pork, chili powder, parsley, cayenne pepper, salt, black pepper, oregano, basil, eggs, ketchup and hot pepper sauce. Mix thoroughly then add the cheddar and breadcrumbs and mix again until combined. Pack the meatloaf into a lightly oiled loaf pan, cover it with aluminum foil, and bake it at 350F for about 1/2 hour. Remove the foil and continue to bake it until it reaches an internal temperature of 160F. Allow it to cool 10 minutes before slicing.

Deep-Dish Pizza with a Whole-Wheat Seven-Grain Crust, Five Vegetables, and Three Cheeses

Deep-Dish Pizza with a Whole-Wheat Seven-Grain Crust, Five Vegetables, and Three Cheeses…that’s a mouthful if I ever heard one (pun intended). This is yet another variation of pizza that I made tonight for dinner. The vegetables (onion, pepper, carrot, cauliflower, and broccoli) were cooked aglio e olio style before being placed on the dough. The cheeses I used were cheddar, mozzarella, and Parmesan. When I shaped the dough I formed a sort of ridge around the edge to hold all the ingredients (yum!). Anyhow, for a recipe for the seven-grain bread (with photos and directions), click here. To see how to cook vegetables aglio e olio, click here. For additional pizza recipes, click here.

Urban Simplicity.

Spiced Lentil Soup

I really enjoy lentils….and I’m grateful that I do. Because not only are they super-healthy for you, they are also a great medium for all sorts of flavors and textures…and not just vegetarian recipes. Anyhow, a purveyor at work gave me a couple pounds of these lentils as a sample (pictured above)…beautiful aren’t they? I made the below soup recipe for staff lunch today…it was so good (if I do say so myself) I had a double serving. It’s also really easy to make. And while I used the above multi-colored lentils, any lentil will do…some just take longer to cook than others. The spices I used (pictured below and also listed in the recipe) are also interchangeable…add or subtract whatever suits your personal taste. And listed at the bottom of this post are a few links of other easy and  delicious lentil recipes.

Spiced Lentil Soup
Makes about 3 quarts
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 onion, diced
1 carrot, peeled and diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon curry powder
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons turmeric
1 teaspoon whole fennel seed
1 teaspoon whole coriander seed
½ teaspoon sea salt
1 pound lentils (about a cup)
3 cups diced tomatoes
8 cups chicken or vegetable broth
½ cup lemon juice
Heat the oil over medium-high heat in aheavy soup pot. Add the onion, carrot, bell pepper; saute untiltranslucent but not browned. Add the garlic and saute another minute.Lower the heat and add the curry, paprika, cumin, turmeric, fennel,coriander, and salt. Stir the spices for about a minute to bring outtheir flavor, than add the lentils; stirring to coat with the oil andspices. Add the tomatoes and broth; bring the soup to a boil thenlower to a simmer. Cook the soup for about 30 minutes, then add thelemon juice. Continue to simmer the soup for another 30 minutes, oruntil the lentils are very soft. If too much liquid evaporates addmore as needed.
 For other lentil recipes on this blog follow these links:

Olive Oil for the Dogs

That’s Franklin on the left and Maxwell on the right, and they love olive oil. Well, OK…they would love any food I gave them. And yes, while some may find a pug unattractive, I think they are almost too cute…they are great house dogs and companions; and it’s like having two little aliens follow me around the house all evening. Anyhow, I’ll get to my point. Most know that olive oil, which happens to be my favorite cooking oil, is good for us humans on many levels, but did you also know that it is good for dogs as well, specifically their skin and coat? And this, I believe, is true for any breed dog, not only pugs. But I have  to back up a bit. Pugs, I’ve come to learn over the last few years, are prone to skin problems; Maxwell and Franklin are no exception. They get rashes and itchy skin so bad that sometimes they chew themselves raw (literally). I’ve taken them to the vet only to spend big bucks on medications and physician’s fees with little results. A few people have suggested putting fish oil on their food, which I did for a while. Recently, though, I came to learn that olive oil is just as good. I put a tablespoon or so on their food in the morning and evening. It took about a month to really show difference but what a difference it is. Their coats are soft and shiny again, and they have nearly stopped scratching…they even smell less “doggy.”  The only issue is that now every time I reach for the olive oil when I’m cooking dinner they start going nuts because they think it’s their dinner time…

Anyhow, I just thought I’d pass this along to other dog owners.

If you’d like a few recipes (for humans) using olive oil, click here.

Urban Simplicity.