Archive for December, 2009

From Dish Gwen:

What to do with a leftover ham?

Christmas came and went fast this year, and I wouldn’t even know it had happened if it weren’t for the leftovers. The fridge is packed with cookies, yams, the odd beer and half-drank bottle of wine, and the scraps of an 11-pound ham roast that I made for my family of 14. It’s rare that I’ve got this much food in the house, and my goal is to eat it all before it goes bad. Luckily I have friends like Dish Paige to come over and help me.

The only way I know to deal with a leftover carcass is boil it and make a soup. So here we go.

1 meaty ham hock and two cups of ham, cubed
1 medium size chopped onion (white or red)
2 or 3 sticks of celery, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
Olive oil
Two cups dry split peas, rinsed


Heat up your soup pot with a couple teaspoons of olive oil, and throw in some chopped onion. Once the onion starts to brown, put in the ham hock (I had to hack mine in half with a cleaver because it was too long to fit in the pot) and add enough water to cover the top of the bone, and throw in the celery and carrots with a pinch of salt. Boil for one to two hours covered on low heat, and don’t stir it (you want a nice, clear broth). Once the broth has some flavor (should taste rather hammy), strain the whole pot through a fine gauge strainer into a big bowl and then pour the liquid back into the pot. Add the split peas and simmer in the covered pot on medium heat for a half hour. If the water level drops below the top of the peas, add some more water so everything is submerged. Once the peas are tender, add the chopped ham and salt to taste. Serve with bread (my dad’s famous Christmas dill bread went very nicely with this) and garnish with fresh parsley if you’re feeling fancy.

Merry leftovers!

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From Dish Erin:

Two of my best friends are vegans and I love to give them flack about their strict dietary lifestyle, what Anthony Bourdain once dubbed a ‘Hezbollah-like faction” of vegetarians. But the truth is, there are some damn good non-dairy, non-meat, non-anything-that’s-usually-tasty dishes out there. My obsession with peanut butter is legendary (my sister and I melt it in the microwave and pour it over ice cream). Hell, I’d bathe in it if I could. But savory peanut sauces can sometimes be complicated. I can’t handle the 14 ingredient recipes I’ve seen in cookbooks–so this is a quick way to get your peanut butter fix. I will admit, I usually use honey in this recipe, so über orthodox vegans will need to swap out the honey for molasses or agave nectar…and I’ll save my tirade on how healthy honey is for you. Meat eaters, just substitute the tofu for something that once had a pulse, I think chicken or a thinly sliced flank steak would be best. Courtney & Rob, this recipe is dedicated to you.

1 package tofu, cut into cubes or triangles
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 yellow onion, sliced into half rings
1 small red, yellow, or orange pepper, sliced into spears
1 teaspoon fresh ginger
2 cups of broccoli florets
2 cups sliced carrots

For the peanut sauce:
2-3 heaping spoonfuls of natural peanut butter (start with 2 of you’re not the keenest on peanut butter)
1 tablespoon rice vinegar (you can use another mild flavored vinegar if you don’t have rice)
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
Hot water

Saute tofu in the sesame and vegetable oil over pretty high heat to get the outside crispy. When they turn a golden brown color, flip and turn down the heat a bit.

Add the onions, garlic, and peppers cook for a few minutes until the onions become translucent and the peppers soften. Add the broccoli and carrots. Tofu tends to release water as it’s cooked, so there may be enough moisture in the pan to steam the veggies, but if not, just add a few tablespoons of water. Zest fresh ginger in, cover and cook for about 4-5 minutes until the carrots are fork tender and the broccoli is bright green.

In the meantime, make the sauce. Combine the peanut butter, vinegar, soy sauce, honey and cayenne pepper in a bowl. Top with a couple splashes of boiling water, stir with a whisk or fork to fully incorporate. It will take a little elbow grease to get the peanut butter completely melted. The sauce should be thick to coat the back of the spoon, but pourable.

Turn off the heat under the saute pan and pour the peanut sauce over the veggies. Serve immediately over soba noodles, brown or white rice. Optional: top with crushed peanuts and cilantro.

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From Dish Jodi:

It’s been chilly here in LA. In the 50’s and 60’s…brrrrr…so I wanted something cozy for dinner this week. This is an old standby in my house, healthy, vegetarian with just enough spice to heat you up on a cold day. I fully realize that 60’s isn’t cold…we’re just wusses out here in LA. No idea how I’ll handle Chicago next week for Christmas.


Splash of olive oil
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, diced
1 butternut squash (cubed into bite sizes)
1 large parsnip (cubed into bite sizes)
1 T cumin
1 T coriander
2 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can garbanzo beans
1/4 cup raisins
2 cups chicken or veggie stock
2 cups water
6 oz spinach
2 T chopped fresh mint
green onions diced


In a large pot, soften the onions and garlic in a bit of olive oil. Add the squash and parsnip and toss with the spices.

Once you start to smell the toasty spices, add the tomatoes, beans, raisins, stock and water and bring to a boil. Simmer, covered until the squash is tender.

Right before serving, add the spinach and mint and toss until wilted.

I served over couscous, that was cooked in chicken stock with some of the same spices as above, and sprinkled with green onion.

This makes a lot, but luckily, it’s very easy to reheat…I might have to strap bags of it to my body and fill up my socks to make it through this cold spell.

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