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for chacha and anyone else, the lemon cornmeal scones, with my notes:

3 c. flour
1 c. yellow cornmeal
4 TBS sugar
6 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
8 TBS chilled butter, cut in pieces
3/4 c. plain yogurt
4 eggs
4 tsp. grated lemon peel
optional topping: 4 TBS sugar + 2 tsp. grated lemon peel

Preheat oven to 400. Mix all the dry ingredients in a large bowl; cut in butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Whisk eggs, yogurt, and lemon peel in a mixing cup and pour into flour mixture. Stir until just blended. Knead dough about 8 times on a lightly floured surface, adding a little extra flour as needed to keep from sticking. Divide dough into four rounds, pat out, and cut each round into four wedges. Sprinkle with optional topping. Bake wedges on a lightly-greased baking sheet 15-20 minutes. Makes 16 large scones.

* * *

Now, for some reason, my dough was REALLY wet and sticky. I hadn't even used the full 3/4 c. of yogurt (I ran low)... I did squeeze in half a lemon, but I dunno, even after adding nearly a full cup of extra flour as I tried to knead, the dough was still crazy goopy. I had to get ready for our party, so I simply used a tablespoon and dropped even-sized balls onto the baking sheets (which really didn't need any greasing, by the way). Skipped the topping, so I added an extra 2 TBS of sugar in the dough, to make 'em just a tad sweeter. Baked 'em for about 10 minutes... perfect little bites. And it made, like, 50. People loved them, but I still have a plate of leftovers downstairs - not that I'm complaining. I had one warm this morning with a schmear of marmalade, oh yes!

also, I just ordered a used copy of that "small batch baking" book. it was $3 on amazon. I was inspired to do that after contemplating the leftover plate of mini-scones, which was sitting beside the leftover bowl of chocolate-chip granola cookies. argh. my baking desires are always greater than my actual needs for baked goods.
Hey---Check out mah friend's blog.

love, Jemisattentionwhorerageous
In the US it's standard to make baked goods with measurements by volume, where in the UK it's by weight. This means that the fact that there can be a huge difference in the moisture levels of different flours (depending on age, storage conditions, etc) is taken into account in UK recipes (well, mostly) and not in US recipes so much.

I think that's part of the reason you might have noticed that about the scones being sticky. Or maybe it's the the recipe.

I would have done what you did--make drop scones--rather than add more flour.

As for chewy vs. crispy--I remember Sunset doing a whole thing on this in the past re: cookies. Unfortunately I can't remember what they said. It seems like a perfect question for Cooks Illustrated, too.
I've done what you've suggested, chacha, and still got crispy cookies, so I think there's more to it than that. At least the way I bake.
(I'd bet it makes more of an impact in some recipes than others, too. But which?)

Anyway, I do seem to remember that vegetable shortening tends to make chewier cookies than butter but as much as I love chewy cookies rather than crisp, I'm not using that scary stuff. There must be a better way!

My recent cooking success was fresh corn tamales from Anna Thomas's New Vegetarian Epicure. YUM.
I just made the most delicious, easy and ridiculously healthy lentil soup. It is SO good. Seriously, oh my fucking god.

OMFG Lentil Soup

soak 3/4th a lb. of lentils in some water

chop and saute' 3 minced garlic cloves, a big white onion, a carrot, and a green pepper in some olive oil and a little bit of sugar in a big ol' pot. Season it with sea salt and black pepper.

Add a large can of crushed tomatoes, the soaked lentils and one of those big boxes of veggie broth.

Season wth some sprinkles of paprika, thyme, and crushed celery seed, more salt and pepper, and a little more sugar.

Bring to a boil and then cover and simmer for maybe 2 hours, until it gets really thick and carmelized and yummy. I served it with a splash of balsamic vinagrette.

Hey! I just had some of the fabulous leftover lentil soup I made the other day, and it was one of those throw-in-what-ya-got lentil soups...

with lotsa crushed garlic and chopped onions sauteed in lotsa sweet butter and a bit of olive oil, fresh thyme, fresh broadleaf parsley, bay leaves, canned lentils, leftover white wine, lime juice, and, as a last minute thought, some baby fava beans. It maybe doesn't sound like the end of the world, but it sure did taste amazing for lunch today.

Coincidence? Hm? It's raining here so it's a hearty lentil soup type of day. Is it raining where you are, Jem?

Anoushh, I bet it does make more of an impact on some recipes than others, too. But I thought I killed the problem with the butter creaming thing (because to me, not wanting to actually cream the butter was just laziness, you know? I can avoid so many problems if I'm willing to not be lazy for a change). Also, what do I know? My baking projects are so often disasters I have to let a few years go by in between them before I venture forth anew each I haven't baked enough to know whether or not there are other "tricks" with cookies. This exchange, however, has made me very determined to bake some more.

And the first thing? Those Corn scones, which sound absolutely amazing, wet dough or not! Thanks for posting that recipe, FlyingFrog, it's my project for tomorrow morning. Fresh corn scones and DVDs in bed on a Sunday morning...yum.

I wonder if it would make a difference to the moistness of the cornmeal scone dough if I soaked the cornmeal in the yogurt first, like you do with cornbread? I'll give it a try and see what happens.
So I had to drop by to let ya'll know that my afternoon project was getting into my coconut...I think it should have come with instructions, as I am used to getting them with the thin brown shell, and just having to drill it, and take a hammer to it. Oh no, not this one still had the outer husk on it, and it took me about a half hour to get into it....and then, there was only 1/8" of coconut flesh. stupid organic coconut.

But, being the intrepid cook that I am, I scooped out the coconut, and made a small pot of coconut lime rice with it, and YUM! Now I want to go to my hispanic market and pick up a coconut that will be easier to crack into!

I served some grilled curried chicken thighs with it - the heat and sweetness of the rice were a perfect complement. Thanks for the idea chacha!
well done turbo! it takes some perseverance but it's worth it in end. I'm loving pomegranate just now but it's not the easiest to prepare (although I don't need a hammer!)
Bunny, at work in december when we get Poms, we squeeze them gently like stress balls all over. Until they feel like a sack of pulp. Then, we hold it over the sink, pierce it with a knife and suck them dry. Much fun. You have to be careful that you don't squeeze it too hard when you are drinking it, or else you will explode the pom. It's funny though.
hee, turbo are you sure you didn't have a young jelly coco? they come with lots of husk and are Full of water, there's hardly even any flesh and what's there is all jelly-like. usually those are bought just for the water.
I love the young jelly cocoanuts! Actually, I think I'm addicted to the water, too. I'll often drink some of that when I'm hungry cause it actually makes me feel full.

I'm so glad you perservered and got it open...then used it to make food that sounds like it tasted fabulous.

Now I must eat something. I'm hungry just because I looked in here!
that must've been exactly what I had - it had an unbelievable amount of water in it - which was delectable, and the flesh was indeed very jelly like. I let the co-op know that the next time they put one of those in our produce boxes, they should include some instructions in the weekly newsletter! But it definitely was worth it...and I still have some rice leftover for lunch today - YUM!

Thanks for all your help!
the coco water is full of nutrients and electrolytes, totally amazingly awsome for you, very hydrating and super yummy! the jelly flesh i love so much but most people just toss the shell with the jelly still inside after drinking up the juice. back home, china town would be just littered with coco husk shells, like Everywhere, rotting in the sun.
have you even smelled rotting coconut? oh, gotta be the nastiest aroma ever.
I'm happy to say rotting coconuts and I have never become acquainted...but I get my coconut water fix by buying the water and jelly in a can, imported from places like Thailand and also distributed here by a company specializing in "exotic" (mediterranean, oriental, and caribbean) foods. Yummy. It's actually pulled me away from a former addiction I used to have: anything fizzy on lots of ice, that I'd have to chew.

So, I'm thrilled it's around.
uh huh, lookie what i foundied...

yup, that's right, food colouring Markers.

you heard me.

use them to make candy sushi.

ya, that's right. you heard me.
ok, i made some savory pancakes with dip. (recipe in the healthy threads for some reason).

grated potato, zucchini, onion with garlic, dill, salt, wheat and spelt flour, (rice) milk and egg.
yogurt and sourcream, salt, cumin, paprika, pepper.

yum, even the kids liked them. kinda.

i made enough so i can have toaster cakes later (my favourite kind!).
what's funny is that we had regular pancakes for breakfast and i have enough left over for toaster cakes of them too!

it's a pancake kinda day.
pepper, those pancakes sound amazing! YUM! Maybe I'll make something like them next weekend...was the yoghurt and sour cream in the cakes, or a topping? If they're in the mix, I'll have to come up with a sub for egg, I can deal with.

Chacha...what should I be looking for in canned coconut water and jelly, is there a brand, or what does the can say - I can get lots of exotic stuff here, I just need to know what to look for...opening a can sure would be a lot easier than getting into a coconut!

I have no real food news to share...but tomorrow morning, I am making a veggie lentil soup, with basil pesto garnish for brunch with my BFF. Should be yummy! First soup of the season - I just made the stock on Thursday!
the yogurt stuff was the dip. you could do an avo mash instead of the dairy though, it would be awesome. my friend makes something similar to this with a squeeze of lime and some chopped cilantro. so damn yummy! ugh.

they would be good with salsa too.
Hi Turbo,

I just buy the coconut water from a company called "Grace", but I also find it in my grocery stores by a company called Mr. Goudas. A can is usually about 20oz or so--so it's easy to share. The jelly is in bits in the water, so be sure to shake it up before opening it. It's always in the section where you find asian foods, various rices, caribbean beans and the like.

I just learned that coconut is a massive crop in the world, there's quite a lot of it grown but it's still overwhelmingly grown on small farms throughout Asia (it's the most important nut crop in the world--so I think we're lucky it's still largely produced in small hands). Most of it is grown in tropical climes, too, and that makes me think there may not be a lot of crappy chemicals used in producing it or in extracting things like water from it. Bonuses all around--though I'm pretty sure your home-delivered, fresh, organic jelly coconut is the top of the line coconut.
sorry to burst that bubble chacha but coco is actually dipping in great vats of preservatives and other yummy chemmies before it gets shipped. the whole outside of the coco is a toxic mess, wash your hands after you touch that stuff.
not only that, apparently the water inside a coco will turn pink if you soak the thing in a bath of red food colouring so whatever it gets soaked in goes right into the water and the flesh.
coco is totally toxic. still so damn yummy though.
you can find more info on this (and so much more actually, these cats RESEARCH!) on a raw foods website like there are some VERY knowledgable people there, but a few radical raw vegans who think that cooked food is poison and using or eating any animal products (including honey) is torturous murder. they may be right but i don't want to hear it al the time. that said, it's the best place to find out about foodie stuff.

today will be a day of toaster cakes. the kids are yelling "i'm hungry!" from the other room as i type. i'm so glad i made lots of pancakes yesterday!
Is that stuff the same as "cream of coconut"? I made a coconut cake a couple of years ago and it called for coconut milk. The store I went to didn't have stuff organized very well, so they had cream of coconut separate from coconut milk, and I'd never really cooked with coconut (other than the shredded stuff) and never moticed there was a difference, so I ended up with cream of coconut instead. It made the cake sweeter, and also a sort of crispy, candy-like quality, and people really liked it. I think if I had gotten the coconut milk, it would have been more like a tres leche cake.
I'll definitely have to check that site out, but I do know that you can buy organic coconut products quite easily. Coconut meats, milks, creams, all of that is available from small farmers who don't have the kind of $$ to use all those chemicals in their production, or produce stuff large scale. I don't think what I'm getting is top quality, but when I buy the cocoanut oil I use, I can find organic extra virgin cold pressed first pressed stuff with no problem. It's one of my biggest complaints about our food that we're told all kinds of nonsense about what is supposed to be healthy--by the same people who allow food conglomerates to genetically modify, spray, and basically denature the hell out of our food so that it ends up being deadly instead of nourishing. So whenever I see that the conglomerates aren't controlling absolutely everything...well, I try to look hard for that stuff if I know I can find it (maybe it's a small and deluded comfort that I live in an area where a lot of caribbean immigrants have settled...and they seek out these food products and local grocers now carry them). For a real horror story, take a peek at the Canada Food guide at health canada's website, then click down to where they talk about "novel" foods and look at all the licenses they intend to grant for Frankenfoodstuffs. How these people can call themselves scientists or nutritionists is beyond me.

Back to coconuts...The stuff that does come from huge food conglomerates, however, yeah--that stuff is dripping with poisonous chemicals. But that goes for all foods as well. Orange juice that's commercially sold...just reading about that is enough to keep you off the stuff forever!

pollystyrene, cream of coconut is different from the coconut water I've been talking about with pepper and Jenn; and coconut cream is different from coconut milk. Coconut milk is what comes out of coconut flesh or pulp when it's been pulverized and then squeezed. Coconut cream separates out of coconut milk (as long as there are no emulsifiers put in the milk! back to pepper's warnings) and it has a consistency that's similar to dairy cream (the real stuff, not the stuff they take from pasteurized milk and then adulterate with seaweed). You can even whip coconut cream as you would dairy cream and use it the same way; but it's harder to find this stuff in the store. Creamed coconut's a different thing too; that's really finely ground coconut flesh that's pressed into hard white blocks and kept refrigerated. You can reconstitute that to make coconut milk or just add it to food you're cooking.

That cake you made sounds scrumptious.
uuunnggghhh coconut cream, creamed coconut, yer killin' me here...

it is hard tofind too, beleive me, i've tried.

i have made a version myself though. i have one of those juicers that is a press (has a big steel screw in it instead of a spinning grater) and i've run coco flesh through it and out comes ground coco from the pulp end and coco cream from the juice spout. it is the most amazing stuff, mix it with thangs, freeze it and you've got an incredible ice cream. so rich though, more than a couple of mouthfuls leaves you gasping on the floor. no joke.
Some of it's available on-line, though--so if you really, really wanna have it, it's possible. I can post those sources if you want.

Coconut ice cream would probably leave me gasping on the floor for reasons other than richness, I think.
Probably yumminess would do it.
Ben and Jerry's makes an ice cream with a coconut ice cream base, roasted almonds and fudge chunks. It is called (wait for it) Coconut Almond Fudge. It. is. so. good. wub.gif wub.gif
must. get. every. coconut product....Yummmmm......

I just made my very delicious lentil veggie soup for my friends for lunch of them is even afraid to try new things, and especially afraid of veggies, and he ate 2 bowls! even better, I top the soup with a little dollop of homeade pesto - just brings it all to life. And then I made some peach-raspberry-blackberry crisp for dessert. Double yum!

I must start researching making some coconut sorbet here....sounds amazing!
I thought Coconut Almond Fudge had been discontinued (I just posted about this in the Busting Trolls thread, in fact.)

All my favorites have, in fact. I'd be happy to be wrong about this, however. Very happy.
Mmmm...turbojenn, that soup sounds good. Care to share the recipe?
How could they discontinue that? Gad. Don't they know? Don't they realise that even the ancient mayans knew, through their extensive use of chocolate as a food and medicine, that its synergy with coconut made their combination a perfect food?

It hardly needs the almonds, but maybe the almonds are chocolate covered too. So, you know, I wouldn't kick them out or anything.

I have just discovered a recipe for a coconut pie crust and I feel like I have a new lease on life, since all my pie crusts come out about as flakey and as delicious as winter mix tar.

Look: Coconut Pie Crust

(From Eat Fat Lose Fat by Mary Enig, PhD and Sally Fallon.)

Makes 1 pie crust

2 cups desiccated coconut
1/2 cup melted butter or coconut oil
1/2 cup sucanat or maple sugar
arrowroot powder for dusting pie pan

Brush a pie pan with melted butter or coconut oil and dust with arrowroot powder. Mix butter or coconut oil with coconut and sweetener and press into pie pan. Fill with pie filling and bake. For an unbaked filling, bake the pie crust first for about 20 minutes at 350 degrees.

An idiot could do it! That's generally my cue.
oh, you will like that raw foods website.

almond date no bake pie crust:

process almonds and medjool dates (or another very sticky date) in a food processor until finely crumbly, press into a pie mold and put into a warm oven (basically turn it on, then turn it off and stick the crust in, the warmth will dehydrate it) or into an oven on the lowest setting. take it out when it's dryish and retaining it's shape. fill with whatever no bake pie filling you like. (cheese cake anyone?)

damn tasty and AWESOME if you can't handle grains.

if it won't hold it's shape you can shake a little psyllium powder into the mix right before pressing it into the pie form. it's a binding agent and also an excellent source of good fiber!
almonds + dates = yumtastic. that sounds good, pepper.

there's a company called sharon's that makes a coconut sorbet... it's so creamy you'd swear it's got dairy in it, but it doesn't. good for the lactose-intolerant and the coconut-obsessed, both.

I'm actually (shh!) not a huge coco fan. but I did buy a can of light coconut milk the other day, because, der, it was on sale for $0.80. and I will buy anything I can cook with for eighty cents. I just don't know what to make with it. I'm thinking maybe some kind of stirfry/simmer with red pepper, green beans, shrimp, and garam masala. hmm.

I'm also thinking I have to do something with the bag of plums in the fridge, before they turn to mush. a crisp perhaps. a nice oaty cinnamony plum crisp. gettin' ready for apple season. hmm again. too much thinking, not enough actual cooking. inertia doesn't taste good.
coco plum pudding. mmmm.

maybe i should move this obssession to the troll thread. heh.

hee hee, here's the zucchini my friend just brought back for me from montana. the cut off end i made into those pancakes.
IPB Image

sorry this picture is so big, like the zucchini isn't big enough all on it's own!
i am a technophobe. i need a help-group. seriously.

I got coconut-date rolls from Whole Foods yesterday. They aren't Ben and Jerry's, but they're pretty damn good.
Mmmm! Pepper! I think that crust would be exquisite with a cheesecake filling (but I love baked cheesecake. Do you think it would hold if I baked it up? I think it would--as long as I baked it before filling it). I did run over and take a look at that site and I found a forum--and I started to peek into those. I think I will list it as a resource for my nutrition course students.

I so appreciate anything that can help me fix my disastrous baking record. I have a great recipe for buttermilk pie (and I'm going to make some next week cause M. ChaCha's mom is on her way) and I've always just bought crappy store pastry for it--but I think it will be really good with a pressed-into-shape nut crust.

Plums--my absolute favourite thing to bake up in a pie is plums. Especially those long, blue skinned "italian" plums which have a deep red juice. Another pie to try with these crusts. And some creme fraiche.
chacha - the date crust will definitely hold up in baking - I made a very similar crust for a tofu-pumpkin faux-cheesecake last year for thanksgiving and brought it to my dairy-sweets loving family and I didn't tell them what it was - and they loved it and said it was better than grandma's pumpkin pie! I'll have to dig up that recipe again for this year. The crust got kind of caramelized on the bottom and a little chewy, and it was soooo good. I love me some dates.

I'm definitely going to try it out then. And, oh yes, it is time for pumpkins and pumpkin pies and cheesecakes.
Yummy -- I'll think of you all as I bake...successfully, for a change!
You know, I'm good a baking, but pie crusts always defeated me. But not now.

Here's what I've learned:

It is much more difficult to make a pie crust with butter instead of lard or crisco. However, since I"m not willing to eat crisco or lard, I use butter.

Use a food processor. That's the secret. I think it's worth having a food processor just for this item alone (though they are pretty darn useful, in fact. More than you'd think if you've never had one.)

Put the resulting mix (which wont be in a big ball most likely--just give it a pinch and if it sticks together and doesn't feel dry, it's ok. It will come together) in some plastic wrap and mush it all together into a ball and put it in the fridge before rolling out.

Also, Cooks Illustrated had an article in the last year or so about how to make a good butter pie crust, if you want to look that up.
Definitely look for a recipe designed for the use of butter.

I often forgo the pie crust and make crisp toppings for any fruit pie (making a crisp instead of a pie then, I guess) but for some things you need a crust.

I think the no bake ideas are great too, but those are my pie crust tips.
Thank you Anoushh...I have a food processor and I've never yet used it, though, you know, it makes so much sense that a food processor would be the best way to avoid handling a crust so that it comes out beautifully. You're lovely for the suggestion.

I once saw Jacques Pepin make a puff pastry with nothing but butter, flour, and a french rolling pin--and I swear I made notes so I could duplicate what he did. He got perfection, I got well, less than perfection, even though the method was simply: put butter between layers of dough, and beat with pin. fold. beat with pin. fold. repeat for a long while. What could I have done wrong?

But I'm so encouraged now that I feel like baking will be fun. With guests coming, I have even more incentive to give it another shot.

HEllO! did you ALL miss the ginormous zucchini i posted?!? what the heck.
I'm sorry, pepper, I didn't scroll down far enough earlier to see that FARKING HUGE ZUKE!!!! No wonder you were able to make pancakes for an army!
I wonder if you had trouble with the butter being too warm? It is touchy that way--that's why the marble pins and rolling boards were invented. (No, I don't think you need one, but that's the theory, anyway.) The butter needs to stay in small pieces, not melt into the dough, or it will be tough. If in doubt I'd stick it back in the fridge for a bit. When it says use ice water for the dough, even though it seems silly, especially as you hardly use any, do it. It can't hurt and I do think it helps.

I've never made puff pastry, so have no specific suggestions for that, but I imagine the principle is the same.

Anyway, just got my mom to try the food processor method and she too is now the master of all butter pie crusts. It makes a big difference. No matter how little I try to work it manually, it comes out tough, but the processor is always ok (fingers crossed.)
Anoushh, try as I might I always managed to overwork the dough. Even if I put it in the freezer so that the butter would re-solidify, the crusts I've made have always been just like cardboard. That's why Jacques Pepin's method looked so promising: he never once touched the butter or the flour mixture with his hands, only with the rolling pin, and even with that he used it to quickly pound the butter into the flour. Minimal contact in order to ensure that the butter globules would only expand and melt when the pastry heated up, so that the pastry would come out flakey and light as air.

I have a feeling part of the "magic" of the food processor is that the butter is "cut" into the flour so quickly there's hardly time for temperature change, so it has to be the reason why so many swear by using the processor. I'm looking forward to giving it a try. I'm totally disillusioned with pre-made crusts, and though the pressed in crusts described here sound amazing they might not be suitable for all the pastry I'd love to make well. As always, thanks for your generous encouragement!

Pepper, honey, I didn't see that giant vegetable but let me just say I'm Italian and insanely oversized zucchini contests were part of my upbringing (though I have never been able to digest zucchini in my entire life). I understand you've fed a small army with it, so perhaps you will use the leftovers to make a lovely chocolate cake for a moderately intimate group of close friends. Next year, if you're planting, I'm coming to your house to harvest some of the zucchini flowers so you might end up with fewer veggies, but they'll be even more huge! Then you can send some down to Montana and show 'em what's what. What the heck, indeedy.
QUOTE(chachaheels @ Sep 11 2006, 08:57 AM) *

Anoushh, try as I might I always managed to overwork the dough.

Me too. In spite of the fact that I can make perfectly good biscuits, scones, etc, where it's also important not to overwork the dough.

This is why I loooove the food processor. And your theory is basically mine too. Anyway, as long as it works, right?

hey everyone! I need something for dinner for a friend that is: vegetarian, nut free, soy-free, and dairy-free.
How about a fresh field tomato salad with fresh sliced red onions, optional sliced hot pepper, extra virgin olive oil and the kind of celtic sea salt that comes in coarse crystals (so it tastes fabulous when you bite into them)? Served with a really good baguet?

Then...stuffed peppercorn squash filled with carrots, a little celery, fresh red peppers, and chunks of the squash itself, seasoned with olive oil salt, pepper, a little wine, some fresh that the contents make a kind of stew...

sliced, toasted whole wheat toast spead with fresh pesto, and covered with roasted portobello mushrooms that have been dressed with olive oil fresh marjoram, salt and pepper...and herbs of your choice.

For dessert: a "crisp" (can she eat butter? I almost suggested a pie crust from below, but they contain nuts!) or a baked fruit dessert (like a poached pear dessert, or baked apples).
You came up with waaay better suggestions than I could have. I was stumped.

Pesto usually contains pine nuts (traditional) or other nuts (cheaper) and dairy. You can make a dairy free pesto, or just puree garlic, olive oil, and basil, and use that, though.
ha ha! that's what i have LEFT! it really is giant.
i wish i had space for a garden so i could share zucchini blossoms. sigh.

i make the same thing over and over again for my veggie friend who doesn't eat eggs.
roasted root veg tossed in olive oil, salt and cracked pepper. i sometimes add a spice to one veg and another spice to the next (rosemary potatoes, cumin squash, dill carrots, etc.)
and i make this great three rice mix with tamari and butter, but you could use a bit of olive oil or throw a veggie broth cube in with it.
sometimes i make a lentil lemon soup and fresh bread or biscuits.
veggie shepherds pie is nice too with a layer of mashed sweet potatoes on top.
veg lasagna is good without cheese, layers of thinkly sliced veg with tomato sauce and pesto (nut free, could you use sunflower seeds though?).
i like cooking vegetarian. have fun!
You know what, Anoushh, I often find myself with a bunch of fresh basil, fresh olive oil, and garlic--and I don't have the nuts handy at the parmiggiano doesn't always sound interesting to me, so I just leave that stuff out. True to my (previously examined and admitted) tendency towards laziness, I'll often just chiffonnade the basil, mix it with the olive oil, throw in the minced garlic, and the salt and pepper. I've done that so often I'd forgotten that the nuts and cheese are usually part of the deal!

The tomatoes, the basil, the squash, corn, and the carrots (oh, put in beets, too! nothing like roasted root veggies!) are all fresh from the harvest right now, so they're uppermost in my mind. I love having nothing to eat in the house, going outside to the garden, and coming back with a feast. All of this is so easy to prepare--and there is just enough chill in the air tonight that the root veggie stew stuffed into the squash and baked in the overn just feels right.

Whatever you make, enjoy every bite!
Thank you!!!
Wait! Ophelia! I wanted to throw in a white bean salad (there isn't enough PROTEIN!!!! in the dishes I suggested...for shame).

White bean salad: with cannelini beans or white northerns....
you can use canned that you rinse and soak in lemon juice and water for a hour or so, then rinse and dress, or soak dried beans in water and lemon juice over night, and quick cook those by boiling them up for a few minutes till they're tender

If you've got some chopped fresh mint leaves, dried hot pepper flakes (or, if you've got one handy, a little bit of fresh hot pepper, your choice of your favourite type) some diced red onion (or you can use scallions or chives--the colour looks beautiful) and really good olive oil, white balsamic vinegar, and salt, you can make a really great side salad with lotsa protein. Use the mint and pepper so that there's just a bit of freshness and coolness to the flavours, and just a bit of heat (in other words, not too much of both; 4 or 5 mint leaves is usually good, a pinch of the pepper is good too--but it's really to your taste).

This is so yummy I sometimes just have that for lunch with some really good bread.
oooh. I forgot about that one, I do that myself sometimes...thanks for the reminder!!
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