Sunday, October 23, 2011

Dark Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Cookies

October is my favorite month of the year... leaves changing, cooler weather, Halloween, cider, pumpkins. So when I wanted to bake a new cookie, it was only fitting that I chose one with pumpkin. This recipe is from, though I am sure there are many versions of this popular cookie.

This is a soft, almost cake-like cookie, and perfect to drink with hot apple cider.

  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon milk
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)


  1. Combine pumpkin, sugar, vegetable oil, and egg. In a separate bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, ground cinnamon, and salt. Dissolve the baking soda with the milk and stir in. Add flour mixture to pumpkin mixture and mix well.
  2. Add vanilla, chocolate chips and nuts.
  3. Drop by spoonful on greased cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for approximately 10 minutes or until lightly brown and firm.
*To make this cookie healthier, I replaced the vegetable oil with applesauce, and the all-purpose flour with whole-wheat flour. I also used dark chocolate chips. To make the cookies "orange", I added four drops of red food coloring to the batter before putting them on the cookie sheet.

Baked Chiles Rellenos with Smoky Tomato Sauce

I have been a subscriber of Vegetarian Times for about a year and a half now. It was a Christmas present from my mother-in-law, to help me find more vegetarian recipes for my husband.

Since then, I have tried a few recipes, but decided recently to make a list of ones I really wanted to try. This was the first one I chose. Chiles Rellenos is a popular Mexican dish that my Dad always ordered, and I liked to get a bite. This recipe from VT October 2010 has less calories as it is packed with lots of veggies and cheese and baked. It is a very spicy dish- you may want to handle the poblano peppers with gloves, as my hand was burning after pulling all the seeds out. Despite that, it was a very tasty dish. Be sure to serve with rice and sour cream.


Chiles Rellenos-

6 large poblano chiles
2 t. vegetable oil
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1 medium zucchini, chopped
1/2 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels
1 cup shredded low fat Cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese
1 large egg
1 cup panko breadcrumbs
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1 lime, cut into 6 wedges
1/3 cup low-fat sour cream or plain yogurt


2 t. vegetable oil
1/2 medium onion, chopped
2 t. chili powder
1 t. ground cumin
1 28 oz. can whole tomatoes
1 canned chipotle chile in adobo sauce, drained

1.) To make Chiles Rellenos: Roast and peel chiles.* Cut 3-inch slit in each chile, and remove seeds with a spoon.
2.) Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add onion, and cook 5 minutes, or until soft. Add zucchini and corn, and cook 5 minutes more. Season with salt, if desired. Transfer to a bowl, and stir in cheese.
3.) Stuff each chile with 1/2 cup zucchini mixture. Secure closed with toothpicks.
4.) Whisk egg with 1/2 cup water in bowl. Spread breadcrumbs on a plate.
5.) Dip chiles in egg wash. Coat with breadcrumbs. Place on baking sheet, and bake 15 to 25 minutes, or until golden.
6.) To make Sauce: Heat oil in saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, chili powder, and cumin, and cook 4 to5 minutes, or until onion is soft and spices are fragrant. Add tomatoes, and simmer 10 minutes, breaking up tomatoes with spatula or wooden spoon. Transfer to a blender, add chipotle chile, and blend on low speed until sauce is smooth.

Serve chiles rellenos with sauce, cilantro, lime wedges, and sour cream.

*To roast and peel chiles-

Stove top: place 1 poblano directly on grate of gas burner with flame turned to high. Roast until charred on all sides, turning with tongs. Transfer to a bowl, cover, and let steam 15 minutes. Rub off skin.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Caramelized Black Pepper Chicken

I have been wanting to try this for a while, and now that we are finally in our new apartment (which means I have a kitchen again!) I got to try it tonight.

The flavors are wonderful- definitely Thai influenced. I served it over brown jasmine rice with some bok choy on the side.


2/3 cup dark brown sugar
1/3 cup fish sauce
1/3 cup rice wine vinegar
1/2 cup water
2 T vegetable oil
2 teaspoons freshly grated garlic and 2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
2 teaspoons black pepper
1 or 2 fresh Thai chiles (I used serrano chiles)
2 shallots, thinly sliced (I sliced up some white onion)
2 lb. organic boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into small pieces
2 T coarsely chopped cilantro

1.) In a small bowl, combine the sugar, fish sauce, vinegar, water, garlic, ginger, pepper, and chiles, and reserve.

2.) In a large skillet, heat oil over medium high; cook the shallots until soft and a bit brown, about 3 minutes. Add the chicken and stir fry, browning the pieces all over. Add the sugar mixture and simmer over high heat until the chicken is cooked through. Stir in the cilantro and serve.