Make Something New Every Day

This blog is inspired by all those who love to cook, whether experienced or not, and who continue to experiment with new ideas & ingredients, and best of all, share their passion with others.

The first entries are recipes prepared by the students of Lionel Wilson College Preparatory Academy in Oakland, CA. Fifteen students with varying cooking experience participated in my weekly workshop (via Tutorpedia), and successfully prepared various meals, snacks, and baked goods as part of an after-school program.

Along with the recipes from that class, I will continue to add new seasonal items, spanning every genre of the culinary world, as well as a helpful list of links to recipes, instructional videos, and places to shop and volunteer in your area.

Feel free to ask me questions and share your recipes and ideas as well. I look forward to cooking with you.

August 30, 2015

Sweet Potato Tacos with Zingy Coleslaw

Why did I wait so long to post this staple to my diet? The epitome of my mantra (Tasty Cheap Easy), these tacos always hit the spot. 

Now why would anyone post a recipe for tacos? I can't think of a more elastic and widely interpreted dish. All I can tell you is that the texture/flavor mix of my favorite cheap version is really satisfying, and the keys are as follows:
Hannah Sweet Potatoes: Tan skin, white flesh. Kind of like a yukon gold, but sweeter. 
La Tortilla Factory Green Chili Tortillas: A magical corn/wheat combo that can take a lot of crisping, but stays chewy and soft. Vegan. Local.
Coleslaw that's more vinegary than mayonnaisey: What can you tell from this photo? Nothing. But I can tell you that people who hate mayonnaise like this coleslaw.
Get it Together

The Slaw
Whisk together
2T mayo
1T dijon mustard
2t maple syrup
3T apple cider vinegar
Toss in: 
Half a cabbage, shredded finely
2 carrots, shredded
1 green inion, thinly sliced
Season with black pepper (it shouldn't need any salt)

The Sweet Potatoes
Peel and slice the potatoes about 1/4" thick. Steam for about 10 minutes (til fork tender but not mushy). At this point you can use the potatoes in the tacos, or sear them in a little butter for added flavor. 

Heat a large skillet on medium/medium-high. No oil needed. Heat tortillas until golden brown. 
At this point you can add any toppings you crave. Some combos I like include a bed of salsa-style refried beans, pepper jack, avocados and tomatoes. 

Slaw is good for a few days, as are extra cooked sweet potatoes. So you can make several meals out of this and eat very well for a couple bucks a day. 

на здоровья! 

August 21, 2015

Pesto Dedicated to Someone I Love...

I have the best friends. Today one of them came over to visit me in my new place, and as she was leaving, she shared with me how happy she was that I finally found my home. I could see that she had been with me through my long wait (and near misstep into taking the wrong apartment). She is a true friend.

These are the people I live for and love most to cook for and with. Pardon my ending a sentence with a preposition, but it's true.

So here it is. Pesto. 

  • Basil (about 4 ounces, or one large bunch)
  • Olive Oil (up to 1/2C)
  • Garlic (2 cloves)
  • Lemon Juice (about 1T to taste)
  • S&P
  • Parmigiano reggiano (about 1/4C)
  • Toasted Pine Nuts (about 1/4C) 

If making a large batch, use a Cuisinart or blender. A mini-prep works great for smaller batches. 
Pick leaves off stems. Wash & dry leaves if they're noticably dirty. You don't want grit it your pesto.
Toast pine nuts in a dry pan on the stove. Don't walk away. They go from 0-60 in no time. 
Stuff the leaves into the blender/food processor. Add the garlic, pine nuts, parm, about 1/2 the oil, and about 1/2 the lemon juice. Sprinkle with a little kosher salt and pepper. 
Blend until chopped up. Stop and scrape down the sides, and blend again until pesto-like. 
Add more oil to make the right consistency. You can also add a tiny bit of water. 
Adjust the lemon juice salt & pepper to taste.
Serve immediately. Store in the fridge in an airtight glass container for up to one week, or freeze in ice cube trays for easy use later. 

Recommended uses:
Roasted Potatoes with Pesto (great hot or cold)
Grilled Vegetables and Fish
Homemade Gnocchi with Pesto & Goat Cheese 

A mini-prep is ideal for small batches of pesto and other quick sauces and salsas.

The mini-prep blade is designed to rotate clockwise on one speed, and counterclockwise on the other, helping to incorporate ingredients.

August 11, 2015

Curried Rice with Avocado and Tomato

It occurred to me the other day when I posted my recipe for rice patties made from leftover curry rice, that although that post includes the recipe for the curried rice, that some folks may want the down & dirty simple recipe for the rice on its own. So as I sat down to eat my easy-peasy super-cheap delicious lunch, I snapped a photo before my first bite (that took will power!)

This meal is really satisfying but doesn't leave you in a food coma, so it's great for work. You can also make 4 meals for hella cheap (depending on where you buy that avocado!)

So here's the recipe (which is really just cooking rice with a little yellow curry powder & cumin). I like to top it with avocado, freshly picked cherry tomatoes, and a sprinkle of S&P. Enjoy! 

To Make Yellow Curry Rice
Boil 1.5 cups of water and set aside (microwave for 3 minutes).
Measure 1 cup dry white rice (I find that jasmine, or any regular medium-grain rice works well)
Heat 1 teaspoon butter or olive oil in a quart-sized saucepan (one that has a lid)
Stir in the rice, & add about 2 teaspoons yellow curry (I like the Sun Brand Madras Curry), 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin, and 1/4-1/2 teaspoon kosher salt.
Pour the 1.5 cups of boiling water over the rice. It will come to a rapid boil. Stir, cover with the lid, & turn the heat all the way down. A gas burner should be barely going. On an electric burner, use the lowest setting.
Set your timer for 20 minutes. Do not take the lid off the rice during this cooking time.
Once the timer goes off, turn off the burner but LEAVE THE LID ON THE RICE FOR ANOTHER 5 MINUTES.
Remove the lid and fluff the rice with a fork, top with whatever, and eat. 
If you prefer, omit or change the seasoning as desired. Just remember that salt it key. You can also use veggie or chicken broth for more flavor. Add onion, herbs, & almonds or pine nuts for a pilaf.
Store leftover rice in a container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. 

August 8, 2015


Why make your own sauerkraut? 

  • Many store-bought varieties are pasteurized as they are packaged, so they don't retain the probiotic benefits of a fresh batch. 
  • It's easy. You basically squeeze salt into shredded cabbage, then let it sit in a jar for about a week. 
  • It's cheap. One cabbage (about $1) makes about 3C of sauerkraut. 
  • It's fun. If you're exploring making more of your own food, this is an easy way to start. 

As simple as this process is, first-time fermenters may have a lot of questions about food safety and general trouble-shooting. Rather than reinvent the wheel, I'll refer you to this wonderfully laid out blog that includes lots of pictures and step-by-step instructions. 

I just put up a batch, and can't wait to add it to roasted potatoes with caramelized onions and mushrooms, sausages, tacos, and more. 

На здоровье!