Cucina Italiana

Chevon wowed us not only with her amazingly creamy and flavorful polenta (her secret ingredient was beer), but also with some pyrotechnics as she made creme brulee.

Chevon’s menu:
Spring mix salad with fig-infused balsamic vinaigrette and goat cheese
Tagliatelle with artichokes, patty pan squash, shallots, fresh herbs, and garlic
Soft polenta with goat cheese and ratatouille
Vanilla creme brulee

This time we finally took photos before eating, and Kristy even got some action shots.

Polenta and ratatouille

Creme brulee

Babu loves creme brulee!

Babu and Creme Brulee


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Subcontinental Flavors

On MLK Jr. day we all piled into Rachel and Brandon’s tiny Tacoma apartment for an Indian inspired meal.

Rachel’s menu:
Lentil dal and rice dish with cashews
Curried cauliflower pakoras
Baked sweet potato and green pea samosas
Haagen-Dazs mango sorbet

This time we remembered to take pictures, but not until after we’d started eating.

Tiny Apartment, Tasty Eats

The Cook

Both the samosa and pakora recipes are from Robin Robertson’s Vegan Planet. If you don’t own this, go to your nearest independent bookstore and buy it – now! This is like the Joy of Cooking for vegetarians. If you’re still in doubt as to whether or not you need another cookbook, try this fabulous recipe for samosas.

Baked Sweet Potato and Green Pea Samosas

1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour (I used whole wheat)

1/4 cup water

1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons peanut oil, plus more for brushing

1 small yellow onion

1 large sweet potato, baked until tender, peeled, and diced

1/2 cup frozen green peas, thawed

1 garlic clove, minced

1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder

1/2 teaspoon cayenne, or to taste


1. In a medium-size bowl, combine the flour, water, and the 2 teaspoons peanut oil until well blended. Cover and let stand for 30 minutes.

2. Heat the 1 tablespoon peanut oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, cover, and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients and cook until the vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes. Set aside to cool.

3. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. On a floured work surface, roll out the dough into an approximately 16-inch square that is about 1/8 inch thick. Cut into sixteen 4-inch squares. Place a small amount of the filling in the center of each square and fold one corner over the filling to the opposite corner to make a triangular shape. Seal the edges with water. Place the samosas on a lightly oiled baking sheet and brush lightly with peanut oil. Bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes. Serve hot.

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Mexican Mania

Our inaugural dinner party was hosted by “the Reverend” Jay, who belonged to a veggie cooking club in GR.

Jay’s menu:

Salad with fresh lime dressing
Baked potatoes with corn and cilantro
Enchilada pie
Raspberry strudel

In our haste to eat, we forgot to take pictures of Jay’s food, so instead here’s Jay in his element.

Jay’s Enchiladas


2 pkgs burrito size tortillas

1 box Zatarains black beans and rice mix

2 cans refried beans

1 large onion

1 pkg queso cheese (a white Mexican cheese)

1 pkg Mexican blend style cheese

2 jars Pace enchilada sauce

3 to 4 tomatoes, diced

Olive oil for sauteing

Olive oil spray for your pans

1 tsp of chili powder


Preheat the oven to 350.

Start the black beans and rice mix using the cup less water for a less saucy mix as suggested at the end of the recipe on the box.

In a separate pan saute the onion in a little olive oil with the chili powder until the onion begins to get soft. Then add the refried beans and cook both over a low heat, stirring often.

Now is a good time to chop the tomatoes.

When the black beans and rice are done, so are the refried beans and onions. Lightly spray your pans.

Place a small handful of the queso cheese in the center of a tortilla. Then, add two small spoonfuls of both the black beans and rice and the refried beans. Top that with a spoonful of enchilada sauce and some diced tomatoes. Roll it up and put five to a pan.

When this is complete, use as much of the remaining enchilada sauce as you prefer to cover the enchiladas. Then use the rest of the cheese to do the same.

Place in the oven uncovered until the sauce is bubbling around the outside and the cheese begins to brown. This could be anywhere from 45 minutes to one hour. Enjoy.

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