My brave Vermont quest to bring together food-love and mom-life.


Pink Potato, Chicken & Vegetable Pie 3

Posted on February 15, 2011 by crankycheryl

Dairy free, gluten free, nut free, bovine free, soy free, low salt.  Plus Vermont localvore, and bright pink.   It was a potato-crusted chicken (or chick pea)  and winter vegetable pie for 40 for Burlington CoHousing’s Valentine’s Day dinner.

This recipe definitely exemplifies my “smoke ’em if you got ’em” theory of cooking.  In the cohousing kitchen we nearly always have leftover unused ingredients from previous meals:  my scavenging yielded peas and frozen brussels sprouts for the pie, plus some bonus greens for the slaw we served on the side.  I had wheedled vendors at this weekend’s farmer’s market for their less-than-perfect roots, and combined with what we had around.  The quantities and specific vegetables below are just a guide to get started – use what you’ve got, or can get cheaply.

Advance notes:

  • If you’re doing a meat version, make sure you’ve got the meat itself cooked and ready ahead of time.  Because we were cooking for 40, I used two large chickens; for 8 people about a half chicken should be enough.
  • Will your children eat pink mashed potatoes?   Do tell.   Z. kept both objecting to the food on his plate and eating the food on his plate, spearing Brussels sprouts and squealing “cabbage ball!” while giggling and eating away.

Chicken & Winter Vegetable Pot Pie with Pink Potato Crust
Reprinted from February 2011 Vermont Woman
Serves 8
1.  Starting your engines:
Turn on oven to 400.  Generously oil two rimmed baking sheets and set aside.

Put large pot of salted water on to boil.

Butter the bottom and sides of a nice deep lasagna pan, or other fairly large baking dish.  Set aside.

Cooked vegetables all heaped up in a gorgeous Vermont winter type of pile.

2.  Get those vegetables ready:

Chop into 1” pieces and place in large bowl:

  • ½ butternut squash (peel if you like)
  • 2 peeled beets
  • 3 medium-large peeled parsnips
  • 3 carrots

Clean outer leaves, and cut in half if very large:

  • 1 lb. brussels sprouts

Add sprouts to bowl along with:

  • ½ t. salt
  • few grinds fresh pepper
  • 3 T. olive oil
  • 1 T. balsamic or apple cider vinegar

Toss well (it’s easiest if you use your hands)  Spread onto prepared baking sheets into single layer, and place in oven.  Bake for about 30 minutes, or until sizzling and very tender when poked with a fork.  Leave oven on.


They're so beautiful. Let's look at another shot of those veggies.

4. Next stages of construction:   Take 3 or 4 pieces of beet, puree in a blender or with a hand-held immersion blender, and put puree in a medium-large bowl and set aside.  Place other vegetables in your prepared baking dish and toss with:

  • 3 c. cooked chicken (or turkey, or chick peas, or cubed firm tofu – Vermont Soy’s Maple-Ginger is perfect in this)
  • ½ t. ground thyme or 1 t. dried thyme leaves or whatever herb you feel like.
  • 1 T. flour (or rice flour, if you want to keep this gluten free)
  • ½ t. salt
  • ¼ c. broth or water

4.  And the potatoes:
While pot of water is heating, peel (if you like, or if your potatoes aren’t organic) and quarter:

  • 3 lbs. potatoes

Once water is boiling, add potatoes to water and cook at a gentle boil until tender, about 20 minutes.  Remove potatoes to bowl with beet puree.

5.  The mash:
Add to bowl:

  • ¼ c. butter
  • ½ c. buttermilk
  • ½ t. salt (or to taste)
  • beet puree

Then mash or whip until very smooth and creamy.  I like to use a hand-held electric mixer and beat them until they’re smooth and kind of gooey, but you should use whatever method gives you the potatoes that feel right to you.  (Vegan/dairy free version:  1/4 c. olive oil, 2 T. tahini, salt, reserved beet puree, which is what we made and it was deeeeeeeeeee-licious.  Look how adorable those pink potatoes, not to mention the fabulous Ming and Melinda with whom I was cooking!)


6.  Putting it all together:  Here’s where you can be fussy or not fussy.  There’s nothing wrong with taking a big spoon and dropping spoonfuls of the potato mix in a rustic fashion over the top of the vegetable and chicken mix.  Or you can use a pastry bag and pipe it on.  They’ll both taste great.

We used chick peas to indicate the vegetarian version.

7.  Cooking it up:  Bake for about 25 minutes at 400, until edges are starting to get golden and the filling is bubbling.  Let cool for a couple of minutes and then serve.

Rhubarb Baklava for CoHousing 2

Posted on April 30, 2010 by crankycheryl

What I probably should have made was strudel.   Sticky soft things do not go into baklava.  Nutty, crunchy, crumbly, sweet: yes.  Gooey and tart: no.

But today it was my turn to make the meal for our cohousing neighbors and I found myself stunned with spring sunshine and a taste for fresh food.  There was dessert to consider.  What if I made something with rhubarb?  But not a cake, and I didn’t feel like custard, and I wanted something to go with the Greek veggie burgers I was making.   Baklava is actually so easy to make, and why not with rhubarb?  Why not maple?

One of the great things about living in cohousing is that my neighbors tend to be an adventurous sort.  There are hard things too, of course, because we’re a feisty and passionate bunch.  But we’re very, very good at eating food around here, at trying new things, especially when they’re sweetened.  So why not rhubarb baklava?  I couldn’t think of a good reason.

Rhubarb Baklava
about 40 gooey pieces

Defrost 1 box of phyllo dough according to package directions.

Place in a heavy pot, bring to a boil, and then cover and simmer for 10 – 15 minutes or until very soft:

  • 2 lbs. rhubarb, chopped into 3/4″ pieces
  • 2 cups maple syrup

Strain the rhubarb very well, saving the liquid.

Preheat oven to 350.

Mix together in a medium bowl and place aside:

  • 6 C. chopped walnuts
  • 2 T. maple syrup
  • 1 t. of ground cinnamon

Pour into a small bowl:

  • 1/2 c. olive oil

Have a pastry brush ready.

Oil the bottom and sides of a large baking pan, at least 10 x 15. Place a sheet of phyllo in the pan and brush with a little oil.   Allow any overlap to hang out the sides. Repeat until there are 4 sheets on the bottom.

Spread one half the nut mixture across the phyllo, then repeat the layers of phyllo and oil until 8 more sheets are on the top.  Spoon the drained rhubarb on the top, then cover with 4 layers of phyllo and oil.  Spread the remaining nut mixture, and then place the remaining sheets of phyllo on top with olive oil brushed between.  Do not oil the top sheet.

Score the pastry in pieces using a razor blade, and follow up with a sharp knife, cutting all the way through. To make triangles: cut the pastry into squares, then, cut squares in half diagonally to make triangles.

Bake for 45 minutes, or until golden.  While it’s baking, heat the reserved syrup.

As soon as the baklava comes out of the oven, pour 2 cups of the hot syrup carefully over the entire pan.  It will crackle as it absorbs.  This is one of the most exciting parts of making the whole thing so be sure to take a moment for a satisfied grin.  But don’t burn yourself.

Allow the baklava to cool thoroughly and absorb the syrup before serving (at least 3-4 hours).  It’ll be a little goopy, but neither you nor your eaters will mind.

Chai Cupcakes with Orange-Honey Frosting 2

Posted on January 26, 2010 by crankycheryl

I made these cupcakes because I had volunteered to help out with a Nepali fund raising dinner here in our cohousing community.  They were delicious, yes, if I say so myself, but hardly up to the meal they followed.  My neighbor Ming made an amazing feast of red lentil daal, and stewed chicken, and fresh vegetables, rice, daikon pickle, raisin-sesame pickle.  Amazing, beautiful food that I forgot to take pictures of.  (Hey – the buffet gets pretty competitive around here.  I have priorities.)

But before I made a glutton of myself, I had offered to make dessert, and chai leaped to mind and here these came.

Chai Cupckaes with Orange Honey Frosting
Makes 12
Based on the 1997 Joy of Cooking’s 1-2-3-4 Yellow Cake & Swiss Meringue Buttercream Frosting

Make the cake:

  1. Preheat oven to 350.  Line 12 cupcake cups with parchment or foil liners.
  2. Sift together:
  • 2 1/2 c. cake flour (substitute part whole wheat pastry flour if you like)
  • 2 1/4 t. baking powder
  • 1/2 t. salt
  • 1/2 t. cardamom

3.  Combine in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer and then let sit for 3 or 4 minutes:

  • 1 c. milk
  • 2 crushed cardamom pods
  • 1 t. black tea

But don’t take a picture, or else it might look like this.  Really now, I couldn’t have wiped down the sides of the pan before I snapped this?  Jeez Louise.

4.  In a large bowl, beat until creamy:

  • 2 sticks (1/2 lb.) butter

Gradually add and beat on high speed until light in both texture and color:

  • 1 1/2 c. sugar, then
  • 4 egg yolks, one at a time

5.  Add the flour mixture, 1/3 at a time, alternating with the milk, and adding the last third of flour last, using a wooden spoon or an electric mixture set on low speed until nice and smooth.

6.  In another large bowl, beat until soft peaks form:

  • 4 egg whites
  • 1 pinch cream of tartar

Then gradually add while beating still:

  • 1/4 c. sugar

Continue beating until the peaks are firm but not dry.  (I have no idea what this really means, but the recipes always say it and so I am too.  I stop beating when the peaks hold themselves up without immediately flopping over.)

Fold the meringue  into the batter, first adding one cup, and gently folding in until well-combined, then folding in the rest.

7.  Ladle batter into prepared pans and bake until golden brown and done, 20-25 minutes, then remove to a rack and cool.

While the cupcakes are cooling prepare the frosting:

Swiss Meringue Buttercream
This makes about 3 cups, which is probably more than you’ll need unless you want to get wacky with it.  What I love about this frosting is how it’s both rich in flavor and light in texture; it’s no healthier than traditional buttercream, but it seems like maybe it ought to be.

1.  Whisk together in a stainless steel bowl:

  • 4 large egg whites (this is a super use for the powdered egg whites you can buy in the baking aisle)
  • 3/4 c. water
  • 2 T. water
  • 1/4 t. cream of tartar

Set the bowl in a large skillet filled with water so that the depth of the water is at least equal to where the ingredients inside the bowl reach.  Clip on a candy thermometer, and beat with an electric mixture on low speed until the temperature reaches 140.  Don’t stop beating while the eggs are in the pan, or else they’ll overcook.

Turn up the speed to high and continue beating until the temperature reaches 160, 3 or 4 minutes.  Remove from the heat and beat in:

  • 1/2 t. vanilla
  • 1 t. orange blossom water
  • 1 T. honey

2.  In a separate large bowl, beat until light and fluffy:

  • 3 sticks of butter

Fold in 1/4 of the meringue of the meringue mixture, then slowly and gently fold in the rest.  Keep at room temperature for frosting once the cupcakes have cooled, and whatever’s left is between you, your conscience and any kitchen helpers you may have around.  (Should you choose to do so, the frosting will keep for about a week in the fridge, or 6 months in the freezer.)

Blessed Silence Sunday: Zucchini Tarte Tatin 0

Posted on September 20, 2009 by crankycheryl

cohousing intl meal 013

Zucchini-Polenta-Chevre Tarte Tatin a la Guilty Kitchen.  We made 6 of these to serve to a group of 20 international guests of our cohousing community this week, along with Maple Brined Chicken, Roasted Vegetable Salad and Elderberry-Blackberry Sorbet.  Hooray for the Vermont harvest!

Muy Macho Sweet Potato Hummus 3

Posted on August 04, 2009 by crankycheryl

Well, no, that can’t be quite right.  How on earth could a lowly little bean puree be macho?  Why, when it’s made into Sweet Potato Hummus by Macheesmo, of course!

I had come across his post a couple of days ago, and because my turn for the August cohousing meal had arrived and I had planned to do a vaguely middle Eastern menu, I had to fit it in.

Then, as usual, I left my laptop at home when I went up to our common house to cook, so I was left to wing it.  I remembered it had tahini in it, I remembered it was spiced, and off we went.

Now that I see Macheesmo’s, I see that I went pretty far afield.  But it was awfully good, and you can now feel free to make one version or the other.

  • 1 lb. dried chick peas, cooked and cooled (or 4 cans chick peas, drained and rinsed.  How do I know this is the equivalent?  Here’s how I know this is the equivalent.)
  • 1 lb. tahini
  • 2 sweet potatoes, baked at 400 for 1 hour, then cooled
  • ~1/3 c. olive oil
  • juice of 2 limes
  • 1 T. smoked paprika
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped fine
  • 1/2 t. ground coriander seed
  • salt to taste

Put it all in a food processor and blend until very smooth.  You can even get your little one to join in the fun of scooping the beans in.  Not that he’ll try the finished product, no matter that he helped make it and adores hummus and loves sweet potatoes.  No, no, he’ll not eat the result because IT’S NOT WHITE!

Sir Z. blocking the noise of the food processor with his rice bag helmet.  Awesome.

Sir Z. blocking the noise of the food processor with his rice bag helmet. Awesome.

Beet Gnocchi with Chevre Cream Sauce 2

Posted on July 28, 2009 by crankycheryl

Good Vermont goat cheese about to dive into cream sauce.

Thank you friends and foodies for all the nice thoughts about our dinner, and support for saving our beloved strip of trees!

Oh, I cooked for three days and sweated and calculated and worried, and in the end CrankyGreg and I produced a three course plated dinner for 41 neighbors, friends and well-wishers.

The only thing we ran out of must have been the best thing, it seems to me, and so that’s the recipe I’ll post first.  I was so excited to make this as part of the big feast, even though I had to buy (local) beets since the ones in the cohousing garden remain kind of puny.

Z. has a current love affair with all things pink and purple, and I had chosen this with him in mind.  He squealed adorably when I showed them to him while I was making them, and could barely keep his tiny little hands off the tray of magenta balls of goo.

If only it kept this color after cooking.

Beet gnocchi dough: if only it kept this color after cooking.

I know:  you don’t have any plans to slave stoveside with steaming pans or fuss with handmade pasta.  I agree with you.  But you should do it anyway because this is so darn good.

Beet Gnocchi
From The Recipe Files
Serves 6

  • 1 medium or two small red beets, washed
  • 1 pound ricotta, set in cheesecloth-lined colander set in a bowl and allowed to drain for a day
  • 1 whole egg
  • 1 cup grated imported Parmesan cheese plus more for the table
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2/3 cups all-purpose flour plus more for dredging
  • Chevre cream sauce (recipe below)
  • 1/4 c. chopped parsley for serving

Place clean beets with their skins on inside a baking dish with a snug-fitting cover. Bake in 450 degree oven until tender, 45 minutes – 1 hour. Remove from oven, remove lid and let beets cool. Slip the skins off with your hands. Grate the beets into a mixing bowl on the large hole of a box grater. [I questioned grating rather than pureeing, but concluded that it may matter to have the extra structure that having shreds would provide.]  Add the ricotta, eggs, Parmesan cheese and salt and freshly ground black pepper to the beets. Mix well with a whisk or wooden spoon. Add 2/3 cup flour to the ricotta mixture and whisk together to mix. Set the mixture aside for a minimum of 2 hours in the refrigerator. Can be made up to two days ahead.

While the gnocchi dough is resting, go ahead and make the Chevre Cream Sauce.

  • 2 T. butter
  • 4 T. unbleached flour
  • 2 c. milk
  • 1 c. heavy cream
  • 6 oz. chevre, broken or sliced into 1″ pieces
  • 1/2 t. salt (or more to taste)
  • 1/4 t. nutmeg
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped fine
  • 1/2 t. smoked paprika

Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium-low heat, and then slowly and thoroughly whisk in the flour.  Cook for 3 minutes.  Whisk in the milk and cream, beating thoroughly after each addition to prevent lumps.  Bring to a slow but steady boil, then turn down and simmer for one minute or until thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon.  Remove from heat, and stir in goat cheese a little bit at a time.  Whisk, whisk, whisk until thoroughly melted and incorporated.  Add nutmeg, garlic and smoked paprika.  Place aside to keep warm while you form and cook the gnocchi.

Back to the gnocchi:  I’m writing in the instructions I followed for making them, but let me tell you that mine were really unattractive, like a platter of gizzards once cooked.  You surely are more dextrous than I am and will end up with something beautiful.  But just in case, here’s a link to alternate instructions for making them.

Our Dinner

Our Dinner

To form the gnochetti roll a walnut-sized piece of beet mixture into a nice [whatever] round. Drop it into the bowl of flour, carefully turning to coat all sides. Lay each dumpling on a parchment lined baking sheet lightly covered with flour. Continue forming the Gnochetti until all the mixture is gone.  Slip the gnocchi into a pot of gently simmering salted water [this is important since a big old energetic rolling boil can bubble your poor little dumpling to smithereens]. Wait until they float to the surface of the water and continue to cook for an additional minute. Using a slotted spoon, remove them from the water as they are done and place them on a serving platter.

When all are cooked and are on the platter top with the cream sauce and parsley and serve.

Save Sherwood Forest! 0

Posted on July 21, 2009 by crankycheryl

If you’re local, I hope you’ll come by to join us for a great dinner this Saturday, July 25.

I’ve had this maple-coriander liqueur brewing for nearly two weeks for us to enjoy after the meal.

This picture’s a little out of focus because I was really trying to take a picture of the strip of woods that some local developer is hoping to shoehorn nine apartments into, destroying a bit of nature that houses wild turkeys and gives shelter to foxes and owls and bunnies and even a peregrine falcon who seems to like it there in the winter.

If they’re successful, we’ll have a 3-story building about 20 feet from our back deck.  E. & Z. will no longer be able to run free in this little bit of nature they’ve dubbed Sherwood Forest, where we pick black raspberries and grape leaves and have  child-sized snowshoe adventures in the winter.

But that’s our problem – what I’m hoping is that the menu that CrankyGreg and I have put together will be so enticing that you local friends will want to join us for this Saturday’s dinner that’s raising funds to help cover our legal fees in fighting this crazy development.  Here’s what we’ll be making, with as much very-local goodness as we can get our hands on:

  • Bocconcini and Zucchini Skewers with Basil-Lime Drizzle
  • Sicilian Sesame Bread
  • Fresh Greens with Maple Vinaigrette
  • Beet Gnocchi with Chevre Cream Sauce
  • Swiss Chard Fettuccine with Salsa Verde
  • White Bean & Wilted Kale Salad with Garlic and Fresh Tomatoes
  • Black Currant Sorbet (or maybe gelato – we’re negotiating)
  • Maple-Coriander Liqueur

And we can accommodate any dietary needs if you let us know in advance.

It’ll be $10 – $25 (you decide) per adult, and $5 per child under 10.  We’ll have live music with some extremely talented neighbors, and the convivial good times that are the usual hallmark of cohousing gatherings.  Additional donations will of course be welcome.

Want to come?  Just leave me a comment or send an email to my neighbor who’s taking the reservations by Thursday 7/23/09:

silversneakerexc (at) juno (dot) com
Hope you can make it!

So Summer, Quiche and Clafouti 2

Posted on July 20, 2009 by crankycheryl

bread bcoho july dinner 008Oh, it’s summer, green and wet and if not exactly sunny, then still with beautiful days for the beach and camping and adventure seeking.  The boys are covered with dirt and mosquito bites and scraped knees, whirling around in a perpetual cloud of brotherly violence/love, worlds of pirates and griffin-hunting and trucks and dinosaurs, pleas for more ice cream, for just five more minutes at the beach, in the water, under a tree.

“Be here,” I keep telling myself.  Just be here with them, in the streams of light through pine trees while we’re camping.  With the smells of leaves and the sounds of their laughs as they run to the far side of the pond to capture a frog or tackle a friend.

And I’m trying, I’m trying.  To be here, to breathe deep of this beautiful life, my wild and wonderful boys.  To keep the joy in balance with all the worry, my fears about taking a brave plunge, about money, work, how I’m going to deal with fixing my bathroom floor, all of it.

In the midst of it, it was still my turn to make a cohousing community dinner last week.  And what else is there to do but use the what we have at hand to celebrate, even sanctify these full moments?   So though I was packing to go camping, and in a full-scale anxiety attack over the rest of it, we grabbed vegetables from the garden, and Vermont cheeses and cream and eggs from our co-op and off we went to cook and feast together on this beautiful, thrifty, simple and custard-y Vermont Bastille Day meal.

Rolling Out the Piecrust

Rolling Out the Piecrust

Summer Quiche
4 – 6 servings

Preheat oven to 375.

Gather and prepare ingredients:

  • 3/4 c. sauteed or steamed vegetables, well-drained.  (This amount is the yield you want after it’s cooked, so make sure to start with more!)  We made two combinations:  1.  Broccoli, mushroom, basil and sage.  2.  Swiss chard, lacinata kale, zucchini, garlic scapes.  We sauteed each combo in a large pan with butter and olive oil.

Beat together:

  • 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 1/2 cups cream, whole milk, or creme fraiche
  • 1/2 t. salt
  • 1/4 t. freshly ground black pepper
  • Pinch freshly ground nutmeg

Arrange vegetables on bottom of crust, then sprinkle over them:

Pour the egg mixture over the top.  Bake until the filling is browned and well set, 25 – 35 minutes.

Clafouti Egg Breakin'

Clafouti Egg Breakin'

Nectarine & Strawberry Clafouti
6 servings

Preheat oven to 375.  Butter a 10-inch deep-dish pie pan.

Beat until very frothy:

  • 4 large eggs
  • 3/4 c. sugar

Add and beat until smooth:

  • 1 c. milk
  • 1 T. cognac or rum (optional), or
  • 2 t. vanilla

Stir in:

  • 3/4 c. all-purpose flour
  • pinch of salt

Arrange evenly over bottom of pie pan:

  • 1 lb. mixed nectarines, cut into 1″ cubes, and halved strawberries, rinsed and dried

Pour batter over the fruit and place the pie pan on a baking sheet.  Bake for 10 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 350 and bake until puffy and well-set, about 35 minutes.  Cool on a rack for about 20 minutes, then dust with:

  • Powdered sugar.

Serve in wedges, or sloppy scoops, whatever seems to come out of the pan.

bread bcoho july dinner 022

Zucchini-Greens Quiche

Finished Clafouti, Ready to Serve

Finished Clafouti, Ready to Serve

Leftover clafouti batter, mixed with strawberry jam and baked into a dutch-baby style pancake for breakfast the next morning.  Yes, that's a Blue's Clues plate.  What of it?

Leftover clafouti batter, mixed with strawberry jam and baked into a dutch-baby style pancake for breakfast the next morning. Yes, that's a Blue's Clues plate. What of it?

Paprika Braises & Pineapple-Vanilla Sorbet 3

Posted on June 05, 2009 by crankycheryl
Paprika Braised Seitan with Chick Pea Mash

Paprika Braised Seitan with Chick Pea Mash

So I was out trolling for interesting meals to cook for my turn in the cohousing kitchen, when I had the good fortune to stumble on “Eat for Eight Bucks” on Serious Eats, where Michele Humes posts excellent recipes for feeding 4 people for – yes! – $8 or less. Paprika-Braised Chicken with Mashed Chick-Peas and Crispy Shallots? Yes, please!

For the vegetarian version, seitan seemed like the right protein, and I was excited to try this recipe from the always-reliable postpunkkitchen. If you’ve ever been tempted to make your own seitan, I really encourage you to give this one a try. Now that we can easily purchase vital wheat gluten, it’s simple – if just a little time-consuming because of how long it has to cook – but so delicious and will cost you a quarter of what store-bought seitan will.

Pan-Frying Seitan

Pan-Frying Seitan

So we made two batches: the Braised Chicken and Braised Seitan, each with a mild smothering of vegetables. We followed Michele’s recipe with a few exceptions:

  • The seitan version used the homemade seitan cut into slices, and used just like the chicken, but not cooked as long.
  • In spite of the clear flavor benefit it would provide, I left the salt pork out of the chicken version.
  • To add in more flavor, we used strong mushroom broth and smoked paprika.
  • We doubled the amount of all vegetables, and substituted more shallots for onion.
  • Rather than frozen spinach, we were lucky enough to have fresh greens from the cohousing garden, which meant chard, kale, and mustard greens that we cleaned, blanched, and chopped before adding to the dish.
  • We added whole canned chick peas to the seitan braise because we wanted to make sure to give a nice, substantial meal to the veg folks.
  • According to fire code, we’re not allowed to deep-fry in the community kitchen because we don’t have the proper ventilation system. Though in my heart I wanted to rebel, we oven-roasted the slivered shallots in olive oil for 20 minutes at 400, just until they were on the verge of burning.

The sleeper star of this meal was the mashed chick peas, which were very simply rinsed, then thoroughly pureed with a generous amount of olive oil and just a little salt. When we tasted to correct seasoning, I was ready to jump in with this or that, but realized that the creamy simplicity was just right as is. What a great side, and I’ll be pulling it out often.

cohousing-dinner-broken-couch-010For dessert, I was inspired by Coconut & Lime’s Roasted Pineapple-Five Spice Sorbet. I loved the idea of the crazy flavor combination but since I don’t love cinnamon, I substituted fennel seed (which I lightly crushed) and then placed in a tea ball along with a quarter of a vanilla bean, and brought to a boil in the pineapple juice. My trusty Cuisinart ice cream maker (thanks Dad!) quickly made it into a frozen vegan treat with no added sugar.

And now on to my search for July’s meal. Any ideas?

April CoHousing Meal 0

Posted on April 06, 2009 by crankycheryl

april-coho-005I love when I walk through the community kitchen here at Burlington CoHousing and see someone wearing the brightly striped apron I brought up there when we moved in.  (Realizing I didn’t need to actually own three aprons.)  Or how my little rusty red wagon was missing yesterday when I came home because a neighbor had it up the path, clearing the dry grey sticks from the herb plants growing in our rock wall, letting the new green shoots of sage and thyme out into the light.

We live close together here, each with our own homes, but connected to each other.  At any given moment when I look out a window, I see Charles walking down the path with power tools or a wheelbarrow, heading for the barn.  Or members of the Garden Committee heading off to mark plots and build terraces.  Or Sharyl and Peter and their black and white dog Ocsy going for a walk in the woods.   Visitors, neighbors bringing their compost to the pile, young, old, fast and slow, all humming along together.

With all my busyness, I can’t do as much around here as I one day will.  But for now, I can share wagons and aprons, and when my turn comes, I can offer delicious food that any neighbor could enjoy.  Today’s dinner is my latest attempt to do that.

Feniger, of Too Hot Tamales fame, returned to India for a visit with a friend, and came home with wonderful recipes.  I’m sure this trip is one of the inspirations for her new restaurant, which I’d love to get myself to.

  • 2/3 c. yellow split peas
  • 1 2/3 c. basmati rice
  • 3 T. ghee, or vegetable oil
  • 1/2 t. cumin seeds
  • 1/4 c. chopped cilantro
  • 1/2 t. Garam Masala
  • 1/2 t. turmeric
  • 3 to 4 c. water
  • Salt

Soak the peas and rice separately in enough water to cover amply – the peas for 3 hours and the rice for 1 hour.  Drain.

Heat the ghee or oil over medium-high heat in a heavy skillet or saucepan large enough to accommodate the rice and peas.  Add the cumin and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.  Add the peas and rice and stir to coat with the ghee/oil, then add the cilantro, garam masala, turmeric, 3 cups water and 1 t. salt.  Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer, partially covered, until the peas and rice are soft and the liquid has been absorbed, 18 to 20 minutes.  If necessary, add more water in 1/2-c. increments.  Turn off the heat and let stand for 10 minutes to steam.

    While peas and rice are cooking, make the onion relish:

    • 1 white onion, quartered and very thinly sliced
    • 1/2 t. salt
    • Juice of 1/2 lemon
    • 1/2 t. paprika
    • 1/2 t. cayenne
    • 2 T. chopped cilantro

    Toss all ingredients together, and serve on the side with rice and peas.

    Blueberry-Mango-Maple Sorbet

    april-coho-007Yummy!  The thing to remember with frozen stuff is that sugar and fat are what keep your treats from freezing into solid blocks of ice – so when you start getting kooky and inventing your own flavors, make sure you’ve got sufficient fat (cream, coconut cream, tofu) and/or sugar (honey, maple, even – gasp! – corn syrup if you’re inclined).  If I hadn’t already been putting coconut in the main course, I would have used coconut cream in this.  But I wanted to keep it dairy and soy free, and I didn’t want to repeat a flavor, so I added a bit more maple than I otherwise might have.

    • 2 14-oz. cans chopped mango
    • 1 c. rice milk
    • 1 lbs. frozen blueberries
    • 1 1/2 c. maple syrup

    Blend all together, in batches if necessary, until smooth, and then freeze in ice cream maker according to its instructions

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      Cheryl Herrick's brave Vermont quest to bring together food-love and mom-life. All original content (written, graphical, recipes or other), unless otherwise noted, is © and/or TM Cheryl Herrick. All rights reserved by the author. Want to reprint a recipe? Just get in touch and ask.

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