But I’m Not a Housewife!

Domestic Bliss, Eventually

Archive for Cooking

Recipe: Beet Salad With Kidney Beans and Romaine Lettuce

Beet Salad1

As promised, here is the recipe for the roasted beet salad that my husband and I ate a couple of times for lunch last week. The beets were based on Mark Bittlman’s recipe, which he shares in a video: Beet Salad With Garlic Walnut Sauce, and in and article:  A Divorce for Beets And Goat Cheese .

Bittman’s Recipe:

Time: 1 hour 20 minutes

2 pounds red beets, about 4 large, trimmed of greens

1/4 cup olive oil

6 cloves garlic, peeled

1/2 cup walnuts

2 tablespoons to 1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice

Salt and black pepper to taste

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves, for garnish.

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Wash beets well. While still wet, wrap them individually in foil and place on a cookie sheet or roasting pan. Bake beets, undisturbed, for 60 to 90 minutes, until a thin-bladed knife pierces each with little resistance. (They may cook at different rates; remove each one when it is done.)

2. Meanwhile, put oil in a skillet over medium-low heat. When it is warm, add garlic and cook until fragrant and beginning to soften, about 6 minutes. Add walnuts and continue to cook until they begin to color, about another 4 minutes. Let mixture cool slightly and then put it in a small food processor; process until you have a relatively smooth paste. Add orange juice to taste and sprinkle with salt and lots of pepper.

3. After beets have cooled, peel off skins. Slice beets into wedges or cubes and toss with dressing. Taste and adjust seasoning, garnish with parsley and serve.

Yield: 4 servings.

Beet Salad 3

I followed his recipe (without using measurments) until I got to the orange juice part – I had unwittingly drank the last of our orange juice that morning, so I used a splash of white wine vinegar, and some of that fig flavored basalmic vinegar that I used for my Wheat Berry Waldorf Salad the other day. I just kept adding olive oil and the two vinegars until it tasted right and there seemed to be enough of it to cover the beets. Next time I’ll add the walnuts last though, because it turned out a lot more nut-buttery than I would have liked. 

Meanwhile, I was also baking sliced whole wheat pitas with olive oil, salt, and garlic powder. These turned out great. They are nice served warm and chewy, or baked until crisp, like the ones you buy at the store.

To assemble the salad, I mixed up a regular vinaigrette in a cup, with a fork (this contains about 2 parts olive oil to 1 part vinegar, in this case white wine vinegar, salt and pepper or cayenne), and tossed it with the chopped romaine lettuce. Then I added a layer each of kidney beans and beet salad. It may sound like a lot of work for a salad, but I kept the beets in a tupperware and we ate it for lunch several times. I must say, I was pretty proud of myself for throwing this together while my husband was napping, and then for having it ready to assemble the next day when he unexpectedly came home for lunch! Go Jess!

Beet Salad

A Tasty Salad and A Very Good Day

Today is shaping up to be a very good day despite the fact that we had a spring snow storm yesterday, and the day before I got another flat tire! 

Snowy Day1

Snowy1Snowy Dog1

Snowy Dog2Snowy Dog4

Digression: This is the third flat tire in about two months! It started the week after my crazy neighbor yelled at me early one morning for parking in front of his house. The entire street is mostly empty; this is not one of those neighborhoods in which you have to search for parking everyday. But he “didn’t understand why we would be so inconsiderate as to park in front of his house and trample on his lawn.” (You know that strip of lawn between the sidewalk and the curb? We are so inconsiderate!) That particular morning, although there had been snow on the ground for several days, it being winter still, his gardener was about to arrive and would have no where to park his truck. What!? Apparently, this was some special gardening/watering service. Yet, what were they going to water in the winter!? “And besides,” he continued to yell, “when his friends come to visit, they don’t know where to park (because apparently they can’t figure out that the opposite side of the street is completely empty).” 

So, as I wrote previously, after that incident, I had a flat tire on my way to work which was so bad that I had to buy new tires. Then my husband got a flat tire, but was able to add air and the tire was okay. Then I got another one! and am crossing my fingers that I don’t need to buy new tires. Argh! Either our psycho neighbor is harassing us, or there are neighborhood hooligans vandalizing us, or, as my other neighbor suggested, “maybe it’s just a string of unfortunate circumstances.” Translation: The universe is out to get us.

Back to today: It has been a good day! Tim got to come home between clinics to work-out and eat lunch, and I made a gorgeous and tasty salad in continuation of my Mark Bittman inspired cooking streak.

Here is a preview of the salad (I’ll post the recipe and all that tomorrow):

Salad With Garlic Walnut Beets

Potatoes With Dandelion Greens

Pots with Dandelion Greens

My husband recently turned me on to a particular food writer at the New York Times, Mark Bittman, who has a collumn called The Minimalist. In it he creates simple dishes in a few minutes accompanied by four minute videos to prove it. He also has a blog called Bitten. You, my devoted readers, know I’m having a hard time feeling motivated to cook, and his foods are delicious and easy, with just a few ingredients. Score!

Below is the link to the recent article and video about potatoes with dandelion greens, which stayed on my husbands mind for days.

The Greening of Mashed Potatoes

The photos are of dinner a couple of nights ago, just in time for St. Patty’s Day. Tim made the potatoes with dandelion greens, which have a mild, almost sweet flavor – it’s hard to believe there was actually a green out there we had never tried before!  I ate them with veggie sausage patties (which Tim slightly overcooked, but what’re’ya gonna do – at least he cooks when I clearly don’t want to!) and Tim ate them with some kind of German sausage.

And if you’re interested, the Dining & Wine and Fitness & Nutrition sections of the New York Times, are definitely worth your regular perusal. Cheers!

Pots with Greens

Caramelized Onions and Eggs and Greek Yogurt, Like Heaven

It figures that the day after I sign up for NaBloPoMo, in which bloggers vow to post every day, I would slack off and miss a day. I was on a five day streak, and then yesterday it was soooo beautiful here in Denver, that I spent the day outside with my husband, cooked a lovely supper with him, and then was too tired to remember that I had breakfast pics to post about.

So here they are today, two of my favorite breakfasts:

Fried Eggs With Caramelized Onions

Eggs and Onions

Greek Gods Yogurt With Berries

Yogurt and Berries

I read about the caramelized onions with eggs years ago in Suzanne Somers’ first Cookbook Eat Great, Lose Weight. I’m not anti-carb, but sometimes I go on Carb heavy streaks and I feel I need to eat fewer for awhile.

Yesterday, I knew we’d be eating spaghetti for dinner, so I left the toast out of my breakfast. I sauteed an entire red onion in olive oil and fried up two eggs. I used to eat this with sliced tomatoes on the side, but we got a great deal on grape tomatoes at our local market, so I added them to the pan when the onions were almost done and I was just putting the eggs in the pan. They added a sweet tanginess as a contrast to the caramelized onions. Oh my gosh! My favorite breakfast ever!

Tomatoes, Onions and Eggs

As for the Greek Gods Yogurt, my husband found it the other day and thought it was so good, he texted me about it from work. That night he was eating it again. When I asked him what it tasted like, he said, “Like heaven!” And we laughed and laughed because it sounded so cheesy. But it is true! This yogurt is amazing! It’s not exactly low in fat, but if you eat it instead of ice cream, it’s a very healthy dessert. You could easily serve it on a graham cracker crusts with berries and pass it off to guest as alow-fat cheesecake.

Blueberries and Yogurt

Greek Gods Yogurt

Casey snuck into the yogurt photos. He follows me wherever I go!

The Argentine Hearts of Palm Salad and My Attempt at Tim’s Deconstructed Pesto

Hearts of Palm

I had a wonderful New Year’s Eve in California with some of my best girlfriends, whom I only get to see once a year. We decided to cook dinner before going out. I mentioned the Deconstructed Pesto, since it’s easy and one of the few dishes for which I can think of the ingredients off the top of my head. We also had on hand cans of olives, hearts of palm (a unique and delicious food that I had never eaten before), and artichoke hearts, as well as avocados and tomatoes. My friend, Misty, arranged the beautiful salad you see above based on a salad that her Argentinian father makes, which is composed of just hearts of palm, tomatoes, and olives. Drizzle some good olive oil on top, pepper, and serve.

A couple of suggestions to make the best tasting salad (these things I  know because my husband and I tried to recreate the salad on the night of the oysters, and made several mistakes):

  •  Use grape or cherry tomatoes and keep them whole, the hearts of palm are already tangy and the extra acidity from sliced tomatoes throws of the whole salad.
  • Use good quality whole hearts of palm, not the “salad” or “sliced” style.
  • Add olive oil and pepper, but leave off the salt and vinegar for people to add themselves on their own plate, again, the salad is already salty and tangy, a dash of salt and vinegar tastes good, but the salad should not be left to marinate in them.
  • Finally, for a special night, add artichoke hearts and avocado, as we did on New Year’s Eve. The smoothness of the avocado creates a lovely balance for this tangy salad.

Below is proof that we were indeed cooking:

We were proud that we mangaged all this food preparation despite the fact that this was the amount of wine and port we had for three young women:

A lot of Booze

My mother was given these bottles after a wine tasting the day before, so we had a fun night of tasting $10-25 bottles of wine, mostly Pinot Noir, and $30 Tawny Ports. We hardly made a dent in the bottles and gave them back to my mom the next day.

And finally, a view of our picnic spread:

Supper Spread

Whoops, a noodle is trying to escape.

My Husband Cooks: The Deconstructed Pesto!

I’ve been meaning to post pics of Tim’s Deconstructed Pesto for weeks. When counting my blessings, I note how lucky I am to have a husband who does half of the cooking. One of my favorite of his creations is his Deconstructed Pesto:

The Deconstructed Pesto


  • olive oil
  • tagliatelle, fettuccini, or linguini 
  • cherry tomatos, halved
  • pine nuts, toasted
  • six heads of garlic, roasted*
  • fresh basil, roughly chopped 
  • freshly grated asiago or parmesan cheese
  • freshly cracked pepper


1. Cut off tops of garlic heads and roast them in the oven for 45 mins to an hour. Squeeze out the roasted cloves and keep them whole.

2. Saute the garlic in olive oil for a minute then add chopped tomatoes and chopped basil. The oil will infuse with garlic flavor and the tomatoes will release enough juice to caramelize into a sauce for the noodles. Add salt, pepper, and a bit of grated cheese as desired.

3. Meanwhile cook the noodles in boiling, salted water and toast the pine nuts in a small pan on medium to low heat (don’t let them burn!).

4. When you are happy with the consistency of the sauce, toss in the cooked noodles and toasted pine nuts. 

5. Serve when mixed thoroughly, topped with shredded cheese and cracked pepper.

Eat this with a tossed salad and garlic bread as you wish. Perfect for a night when you want a cozy restaurant meal at home!

*My husband insists that the roasted garlic is the whole point of the dish. You could certainly do with fewer heads of garlic, you could also just mince some garlic and saute it in the olive oil and forget the whole roasting thing. The choice is yours.

Success in the Kitchen Again!


It seems like every couple of weeks now I manage to squeeze in a couple of yummy dinners to please my husband when he gets off work. I mean, something other than Annie’s Homegrown mac and cheese and kale, which is our in-a-hurry standby.

The first meal I made stemmed from a desire to use a butternut squash without using sage. I also had some cauliflower and was in the mood for a curry. So instead of flipping through the phone book to look for Indian restaurants that my husband could swing by on the way home, I found this recipe for Curry-roasted Butternut Squash and Chickpeas with a Cilantro Lemon Yogurt Sauce. To round out the meal, I found this recipe for Curried Cauliflower. I left out the coconut milk, though, and just sauteed onion and garlic in olive oil before adding curry powder and the cauliflower. Then I finished off the meal with short grain brown rice and, of course, kale. Some of the chickpeas got very toasty (which leads me to believe that one could make toasted curried chickpeas for snacks) and I may have been a bit heavy handed on the curry, but it was very good, and the sauce was a perfect complement to cool down the dish. Tim ate it with chicken.


The next meal stemmed from a desire to face my fears and buy some fish from the supermarket. I’ve bought fish before, but it’s by far a natural thing for me to do at this point. I do love to eat fish, though – it’s the only meat I eat. The next problem to solve, was what to eat for sides.


My husband agreed to eat mashed potatoes if I left the skins on and I had zucchini in the fridge, but I wanted to do something different, yet easy with it. The following mouth watering meal is a combination of these recipes found on Allrecipes.com: Easy Lemon-Pepper Blackened Salmon and Baked Zucchini de Provence.

I chose this zucchini recipe because I knew we had herbs-de-Provence, which we sometimes put on chicken breasts for my husband (I almost typed “on my husband’s chicken breasts!”). We also had bread crumbs in the cupboard and a hunk of Parmesan cheese which I grated. Perfect!

And finally, what made the salmon recipe especially good was that my husband recently bought fresh green peppercorns – they come in a jar like capers, and they are yummy – I’ll post a pic sometime if you’re interested. I think it was my favorite meal yet. Feast your eyes on this:


Now it’s my turn to sit back and be served a lovely dinner. My husband stopped by his favorite deli on the way home to buy lots of foodie treats and he was inspired to make his “deconstructed pesto pasta” for dinner. Score! But currently I’m eating a snack of cottage cheese and apple sauce, because when hubby cooks, we tend to eat very late.