Isa Does It

I got this cookbook for Christmas and I’ve been cooking from it exclusively from the last two weeks. This is my favorite of Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s cookbooks (and I have many) because the recipes are designed to not make too much time. And I have very little time to cook. Here’s a summary of what I’ve made so far:

Things I love

Kale Salad with Butternut Squash & Lentils (p. 77):  I love everything in this. I served it on its own, but it would make a more complete meal with some bread.

Things I Would Make Again

Sweet Potato & Red Curry Soup with Rice & Purple Kale (p. 34): Not as good as my favorite Peter Berley soup, but close, and a little easier to make.

Wild Rice Soup with Browned Seitan Strips (p. 42): Good soup. The wild rice could stand to cook a little longer.

Pesto Soup with Gnocchi, Beans & Greens (p. 49): I couldn’t find fresh basil, so I just used some actual pesto in this soup. And it was great.

Shiitake Banh Mi (p. 105): I love the almond-chili spread on these.

Probably Won’t Make Again

Porcini-Tofu Burgers (p. 88): The flavor in these is great — porcini powder! Brilliant! — but, like many veggie burgers, they were just too crumbly.

Everyday Pad Thai (p. 179): This wasn’t bad, I just probably won’t make it again soon because it took more work/time/dishes than I have time for right now. It’s very similar to the pad thai recipe in Vegan With a Vengeance.


That’s all for now. Next up, I’m trying the malai kofta recipe. I’m very excited about this.


Cupcakes for the Soul

I have made two amazing cupcake recipes from Your Cup of Cake recently.

Exhibit A: German Chocolate

German Chocolate CupcakeExhibit B: Blackberry White Chocolate

Blackberry White Chocolate Cupcakes


Baking Roundup

I don’t know if anyone looks at this blog anymore, but I do. It helps me remember what I’ve made before and liked. I’ve noticed that my last few posts have been heavy on the baking … and still I haven’t been keeping up with everything I’ve been making. Here is a roundup of all the things I’ve baked in the last month that I haven’t managed to share yet:

Classic Granola

I make this almost every week. I got the recipe from Liz Gunderson’s Food for Fun blog. My favorite way to make it is with pecans, cranberries, & maple syrup. I also sub flax meal for half of the wheat germ.

Cloverleaf French Bread

From Fresh Eggs Daily. Yes, it’s labor-intensive (5 rises!), but it makes a ton, freezes well, and is super delicious.

Mrs. Foster’s Lime Pie

You can read all about this recipe over on my other blog. This pie made me think of summer, and that’s worth a lot these days.

Brown Butter Soda Bread

This recipe is from Epicurious. I made it as part of our St. Patrick’s day feast.

Almond Raspberry Layer Cake

From the Smitten Kitchen. This was Sara’s birthday cake (hence, the profanity). It was pretty amazing.


Kale Galette

I’ve gotten into the habit this winter of baking bread for dinner. Not loaves of bread — pizzas, rolls, scones, and tonight a galette. I found this recipe for a mixed green galette with onions and chickpeas in the New York Times this morning, and it seemed like a perfect baking/dinner project to fit in between Sunday chores. Things have been especially busy lately with work and personal travel. Sara is hard at work on her dissertation trying to get as much done as possible before we become a family of three. It was nice to have a weekend at home, and to spend some time in my kitchen. And this galette was the perfect accompaniment for a night watching the Oscars.

So, here is the recipe from Martha Rose Shulman & the NYT. I made it all with kale instead of mixed greens because that’s what was on sale at the store, and it was perfect.


1 yeasted whole wheat olive oil pastry

1 large onion

1 1-pound bag washed, stemmed greens, such as a Southern greens mix (kale, collards, turnip greens and spinach)

Salt to taste

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

2 plump garlic cloves, minced

Freshly ground pepper

1 1/2 teaspoons za’atar (see below)

1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

2 eggs

3 ounces feta

1 tablespoon egg wash (1 egg beaten with 1 teaspoon milk) for brushing the crust

Note: To make your own za’atar mix together 2 tablespoons dried thyme, 1 1/2 teaspoons sesame seeds, 1 1/2 teaspoons sumac and 1/8 teaspoon salt. Keep in a jar.

1. Mix together the dough for the crust and set it in a warm spot to rise. Meanwhile prepare the filling.

2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Fill a bowl with cold water. Cut the onion into quarters, cutting from root to stem end, then cut thin slices across the grain.

3. When the water in the pot reaches a boil, salt generously and add the greens. Boil for about 3 minutes, until tender. Use a skimmer to transfer the greens to the bowl of cold water, then drain. Take the greens up by the handful and squeeze out excess water. You can squeeze out the water most effectively if you take up small handfuls. Then coarsely chop (they are already chopped but the stems can be big). Set aside.

4. Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a wide saucepan or a large skillet and add the onions. Cook, stirring often, until soft and golden, about 10 minutes. After the first couple of minutes of cooking add a generous pinch of salt so they don’t brown too quickly or stick to the pan. When the onions are nicely colored and soft add the garlic and continue to cook for another 30 seconds to a minute, until fragrant. Stir in the greens and combine well with the onions. Add the za’atar and season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir in the chickpeas, taste and adjust seasonings, and set aside.

5. Beat the eggs in a large bowl. Crumble in the feta and stir in the greens mixture. Stir well to combine.

6. Dust a large work surface with flour and turn out the dough. Shape into a ball and let rest for 5 minutes. Then roll out into a thin round, 16 to 18 inches in diameter. Line a sheet pan with parchment and place the round in the middle, with the edges overlapping the pan (this will eliminate the need to lift the galette once it is filled). Place the filling in the middle of the rolled out pastry and spread it to a circle, leaving a 3 or 4-inch margin all the way around the pastry. Fold the edges in over the filling, pleating them to cover the filling and drawing them up to the middle of the galette, so that the filling is enclosed. The finished galette should be about 10 to 11 inches in diameter. There can be a small circle of exposed filling in the middle but it shouldn’t be more than an inch in diameter. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the freezer for 45 minutes to an hour.

7. Meanwhile, heat the oven to 375 degrees. Remove the galette from the freezer, brush with egg wash, and place in the oven. Bake 50 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and let sit for at least 15 minutes before serving.

The recipe says this serves 8-10, but I cut it into 6 pieces and served it with roasted carrots. I think that’s more reasonable for a dinner unless you’re having a few side dishes.

Pumpkin Lentil Soup

Gah! I made this soup tonight and had to write down the recipe as soon as I finished eating it so that I don’t forget. This soup is so good. I had a bumper crop of pie pumpkins in my garden this year (see my harvest in the picture), so I have lots of pumpkin puree hanging around my freezer. Adding it to this lentil soup makes it so smooth and rich-tasting. I highly recommend it.

Pumpkin Lentil Soup
Recipe type: Soup
Author: Megan Kocher
Prep time: 15 mins
Cook time: 40 mins
Total time: 55 mins
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbsp minced ginger
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp red curry paste
  • 1 C pumpkin puree
  • 1/4 C marsala wine
  • 1 C dry red lentils
  • 1 15oz can light coconut milk
  • 2 1/2 C vegetable broth
  • Juice of 1/2 lime
  1. Heat oil in a large pot. Add onion and saute until translucent.
  2. Add garlic, ginger and salt and saute for another minute.
  3. Add curry paste, pumpkin, and wine. Mix together and cook for 3 more minutes.
  4. Add lentils, coconut milk, and broth. Bring to a simmer and cook until lentils are tender and falling apart (about 40 minutes.)
  5. Add lime juice and serve.


Fancy Pants Pizza

Roasted Beet Pizza

I’m back! You may or may not have noticed, but I took a little blogging hiatus. This hiatus coincided with me starting a new job and, along with that, a new food blog. That, in addition to taking care of three cats and a PhD student, has had me a little distracted. I’m hoping that this little dip of my toes back into the blogging waters will be the start of some more consistent posting.

So what am I eating? Pizza! Sara is allergic to tomatoes, so I’ve been trying out some tomato-free pizza recipes. I came up with a combo last week that sounds a little fancy, but didn’t take very long to put together and tasted delicious. Here’s how it went down:

Fancy Pants Pizza

Brush an unbaked pizza crust (I make my own using the recipe from Vegan With a Vengeance) with some extra virgin olive oil. Top with:

Caramelized Onions
Roasted Beets
Toasted Walnuts
Crumbled Feta

Bake according to pizza dough instructions. When finished, top hot pizza with:

Balsamic Vinegar Reduction



Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

I can’t believe I haven’t posted this recipe yet! This is my go-to cookie recipe. It can be vegan or not depending on what ingredients you have around, and the cookies are just super tasty. I think the large portion of vanilla makes them extra good — and if you’re also using vanilla soy milk, just woah. We got our first snow of the season today in Minnesota and baking cookies seemed like the perfect cozy activity. I also needed something to bring to my orchestra concert tonight for the post-show reception, so, win-win. I get a cozy, cookie-smelling house, and concert attendees get delicious cookies.


Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
Recipe type: cookies
Author: Megan Kocher
Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 30 mins
Total time: 40 mins
Makes about 35 cookies depending on how much dough you eat (no judgment!)
  • 1 1/2 C Flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3/4 C Canola oil
  • 1 1/3 C Sugar
  • 2 Tbsp vanilla soy milk
  • 6 Tbsp Apple sauce OR 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp Vanilla
  • 2 1/2 C rolled oats
  • 12 oz Chocolate Chips
  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. Mix flour, baking soda, & salt together. Set aside.
  3. In a different bowl, mix together oil & sugar until creamy.
  4. Mix applesauce/eggs into sugar mixture, then mix in the soy milk & vanilla.
  5. Stir in the flour mixture, oatmeal, & chocolate chips.
  6. Spoon onto ungreased cookie sheet & bake for 9-13 minutes

Rosemary Pull-Apart Rolls

And here are the rolls I served with the veggie sausage & white bean stew. They are nearly impossible to stop eating when they’re warm & fresh from the oven. I adapted the recipe very slightly from the Poppy Seed Pull-Apart Roll recipe in Vegan Brunch by Isa Chandra Moskowitz.


Rosemary Pull-Apart Rolls
4.0 from 1 reviews
Recipe type: bread
Prep time: 2 hours 10 mins
Cook time: 30 mins
Total time: 2 hours 40 mins
  • 1 tsp active dry yeast
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups lukewarm water
  • 3 cups white flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp dried rosemary
  • olive oil for brushing
  1. Combine yest, sugar, and water in a small bowl and set aside for about 5 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, combine flour, salt and rosemary in the bowl of a stand mixer and make a well in the middle.
  3. Add water mixture to flour mixture and beat on low until a dough forms (about 30 seconds.)
  4. Switch to dough hook and knead the dough for a few minutes, until smooth and springy.
  5. Cover the bowl with a damp tea towel and put in a warm place until dough is doubled in size (about an hour).
  6. Punch down the dough. Divide into 16 balls and place the balls in a greased, 9 inch circular cake pan. Start with 1 roll in the middle and form circles around it. Cover and let rise for another hour.
  7. Preheat oven to 375.
  8. Brush the tops of the rolls with olive oil, sprinkle with additional rosemary, and bake for 30 minutes.
  9. Serve warm.

Veggie Sausage and White Bean Stew

Sara is working on the research for her PhD dissertation. It’s a grueling process that so far has been full of much excitement and some major lows. At times, it seems like this study is taking over our house.  I’m glad that I can at the very least be a support for her during this process because of love, and because I really believe in the work that she’s doing. And of course, the way that I best offer support is with food. Yesterday we were badly in need of something comforting around here, so I decided to make this hearty stew coupled with homemade pull-apart rolls because, really, what is more comforting than freshly-baked bread? I think this will be a good recipe to keep around for the long, cold months coming up.

Veggie Sausage and White Bean Stew
Recipe type: Soup
Author: Megan Kocher
Prep time: 15 mins
Cook time: 35 mins
Total time: 50 mins
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 1 lb Gimme Lean vegetarian sausage
  • 2 cups diced yellow onion
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 1 cup diced carrots
  • 3 Tbsp flour
  • 2 tsp dried rosemary
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup marsala cooking wine
  • 1 15oz can Great Northern beans
  • 1 bunch curly kale, stems removed, chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 bay leaf
  1. Heat 1 Tbsp of olive oil in a large pot or dutch oven. Crumble the sausage into the pot and saute until browned (about 5 minutes). Remove sausage from pot and set aside.
  2. Heat the remaining Tbsp of olive oil in the pot and add the onion, celery and carrots. Saute until soft, about 7 minutes. Add flour, rosemary, and salt and saute for 2 more minutes. Add wine, beans with liquid, kale, broth, and bay leaf and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Serve over rosemary pull-apart rolls.

Pumpkin Hummus

It’s my birthday! And I have a pie pumpkin, so I made up this recipe for pumpkin hummus. It tastes great — birthday magic!

Pumpkin Hummus
Recipe type: Dip
Author: Megan Kocher
Prep time: 10 mins
Total time: 10 mins
  • 2 C cooked or canned chickpeas
  • 1 C pumpkin puree
  • 1/4 C lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 2 Tbsp toasted pine nuts
  • 3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  1. Combine all ingredients except olive oil in a food processor.
  2. While food processor is running, add the oil in a steady stream.
  3. Continue processing until well combined.
  4. Sprinkle with additional paprika to serve.