Category Archives: Cooking

Roasted Brussels sprouts, sausage, and hazelnuts in less than an hour


You can make this. Yes, you. The one who doesn’t have a lot of time, or a lot of ingredients. If you can set aside 15 minutes and get the produce, you will like this.


The best part about this recipe is you don’t need much more skill than being able to cut things in half, and know how to use a stovetop and oven.


Continue reading Roasted Brussels sprouts, sausage, and hazelnuts in less than an hour

Easily Vegan Potato Leek Soup Recipe

This is one of those recipes that, with one simple substitution (vegetable instead of chicken stock) and one omission (bacon), is easily a vegan meal.

The upside to living with a gluten-free, dairy-free person is that we eat fresh and eat well. We also eat quite a few meatless meals, but still enjoy a full omnivore diet. And really, aren’t most things better with bacon?

A couple weeks ago, our CSA farm share supplied us with some really nice leeks and potatoes, so we made soup.

Nearly-vegan Potato-leek soup served with gluten-free/dairy-free bread.
Nearly-vegan Potato-leek soup served with gluten-free/dairy-free bread.

In searching for vegan soups, several folks added onion, which I found intriguing, but only one I came across included grated onion. Though there was no real explanation or reasoning behind it, I added the grated onion. I didn’t notice much of a difference, so you can probably just dice it to save yourself some time and cleanup.


One bunch leeks (three)

One medium yellow onion, grated or finely diced

Dried dill from Penzey’s

Penzey’s caraway seeds. In my opinion, no potato soup should exclude caraway.

One sprig of fresh rosemary, or to taste

Trader Joe’s uncured bacon

Approx. 8oz of Mimicreme Vegan Cream (this one:)

MimicCreme cream substitute
This stuff is pretty good.

Approx 16 oz. Kitchen Basics unsalted chicken stock (replace with vegetable stock for vegan)

Fresh chives for garnish


  1. If you’re using bacon, heat a dutch oven or similar vessel over medium-high heat, add a small amount of canola oil, and then cook the bacon. Reserve the bacon, and then remove most of the fat. Lower the heat to medium-low, and skip to step 3.
  2. If not using bacon, in a dutch oven or similar vessel, heat about two tbsp. (again, i never measure) of canola oil over medium-low heat.
  3. Add the leeks and allow to sweat for a bit. Your goal here is not to brown, but to release moisture.
  4. After a few minutes, add the onion and allow to sweat.
  5. Once the onions look translucent, add the potatoes.
  6. Add the stock, rosemary, and caraway seeds.
  7. Bring to a boil, then simmer on low until potatoes are cooked through.
  8. Add cream and stir.
  9. Use a stick blender to smooth out the soup.
  10. Serve in warm bowls, garnish with bacon (optional), snipped chives, and a swirl of extra-virgin olive oil.

Photo Shoot – My New Tagine

Does everyone have a professional photographer friend? Sure seems that way. I’m lucky, because I’ve known mine most of my life, and he’s pretty damn good. Over the summer, I went to my first-ever estate sale. Stephanie and I had to stand in line to get in, for chrissakes. After about an hour searching through the life of someone we didn’t know, we decided that we weren’t really serial estate sale people, and that’s a Good Thing. However, we didn’t walk out empty-handed. We bought a middle eastern-style tagine, which is a cone-shaped cooking vessel. Incidentally, the boys were coming over that night to hang out, and Michael, the photographer, strongly hinted in an email that he wanted some food shots for his online portfolio.

Photo by Michael Einreinhof, Arclight Images

The tagine, and the food, clearly were the focus of the evening.

Interestingly enough, both the cooking vessel and the stew are called tagines. This one was laden with relatively cheap cuts of lamb neck, herbs grown right on our deck. and vegetables from our CSA farm share. I mean, what else can you do with ground cherries? Dried fruit work especially well in this type of dish, and by simply deleting the lamb and adding some more beans like chick peas, you can easily transform this to a vegan dish. It is also gluten- and dairy-free. You can cook with the tagine right on the stovetop, and then serve from it at the table for a great presentation.

Middle Eastern Tagine Recipe

Photo by Michael Einreinhof, Arclight Images

I don’t work with recipes, so there’s no actual "recipe" to share. I often take my influence from several different web sites and TV shows. Instead, I’ll list the ingredients; keep it simple and be creative!

  • Approximately 1.25 lb of Lamb necks
  • carrots, cut into disks
  • dried apricots
  • dried cherries
  • ground cherries
  • celery
  • honey
  • red pepper
  • quinoa
  • chick peas (ceci!)
  • garlic
  • shallot
  • bay leaves
  • rosemary
  • mint


  1. Cook and serve right in the tagine. Just don’t forget it’s hot!
  2. Don’t forget to cover the tagine with the lid during cooking.
  3. Be sure to sear the lamb to get a nice crust.
  4. Put the ground cherries on last, and keep them raw. They provide a nice contrasting pop.

I should update this.

Am I the only technical writer that doesn’t feel like writing or blogging when they get home? Lately, I feel like that’s the case.

I comfort myself in the fact that I’m making good food.

Summer’s over. I’m not happy about it.

Overall, I think it’s been a mediocre year, musically.

I updated from WordPress 2.9 to 3.01. I backed up my database. It was a click. It was good. The dashboard looks the same; am I missing something?

Android 2.2 Froyo is a nice upgrade. It actually looks like they put sometime into the user experience. Today I noticed a little “You declined this call” message at the top of the screen. Nice.

I have an IPA in secondary, based on the same recipe I’ve used for the past three years, but with Cascade instead of Amarillo hops. I think it’s gonna be good. There’s a porter in primary waiting to be transferred to secondary, as well as the two vanilla beans that have been soaking in scotch the past two weeks.

It’s time for Wii Fit Yoga.

Recipe: Crispy tilapia with blood orange-avocado salsa

It always amazes me when I tweet what I made for dinner, and get comments like “do you cook that every day” or “when should we be over?”. I often don’t have inspiration, which is why we eat at 9:00 at night (that and the 7:00 Simpsons when I get home from work…). Last night’s meal seemed to get some interest, so I thought it’d be a good blog post. If you have decent knife skills, you could have this on the table in 30-45 minutes.

Fish, as I mentioned, is always best cooked simply. It also is quick-cooking, making it an excellent weeknight meal. This recipe uses tilapia fillets, since that’s what we had in the freezer, but probably any fish will work. The key to making the fish crispy is using cornmeal instead of flour.

Stephanie liked the salsa, but I thought it wasn’t very bright, so I think I’d use more lemon juice, and less blood orange juice. However, I have it here as I prepared it last night.

Again, I don’t measure my ingredients, so everything here is “to taste” or “what I have left in the fridge”.

Crispy Tilapia with Blood Orange-Avocado Salsa

(serves 2)
For the Fish:
2 tilapia fillets
Egg wash – one egg mixed with a bit of water (maybe a teaspoon?).
Panko bread crumbs
Salt, pepper, garlic powder

For the Salsa:
One avocado, ripe, split in half and removed using a checkerboard pattern.
12-15 grape tomatoes, quartered
1/4 of a jalapeno pepper (or to taste; this was fairly mild. also depends on the heat of the pepper)
juice of 1 blood orange
juice of 1/2 a lemon
fresh ginger, minced (to taste)
fresh mint leaves
fresh cilantro

Make the salsa:
In a bowl, mix the chunked avocado, tomatoes, jalapeno, and juice. Finely dice or mince the ginger (I probably used an inch-long piece), and add. Chop the herbs (make sure they’re fresh!), and add in (I used far more cilantro than mint, as mint can easily overpower). Add salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

Prep the fish:
On a paper plate, measure out some cornmeal to coat the fish; add salt and pepper to the cornmeal and mix. In a bowl, whisk together the egg, water, salt and pepper till the egg is scrambled, like you’d make an omelette. On a second paper plate, measure out the panko to cover the fish, add salt, pepper, and garlic powder and mix. Place all three in the order listed in line on your counter, preferably close to the stove.

Heat a non-stick pan on medium-high heat. When hot, add enough canola oil to cover the bottom of the pan. Dip each fillet first into the cornmeal, then the egg wash, and finally the bread crumbs, ensuring the fish is evenly covered with each; however, you should tap or shake off any excess of each ingredient so it doesn’t clump.

Add each fillet to the pan, and cook until golden brown on each side, approximately 3-4 minutes per side.

I serve the salsa on the side, so the crust doesn’t soften. It also makes a nice presentation that way.