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December 26, 2010 / Michelle Ferris

Miso Vinaigrette Salad Dressing

This simple recipe for a miso dressing can be used thinned as a salad dressing, left thicker as a marinade, or as whatever other delicious thing your heart desires. Enjoy.

1/4 C miso paste

2 Tbsp seasoned rice vinegar

2 Tbsp soy sauce (or tamari, for gluten free)

2 Tbsp toasted sesame oil

1/2 tsp to 1 tsp fresh ginger, grated or finely minced

Water as desired

  • Add everything (except water) together.
  • Mix well.
  • Add water as needed for whatever you’re making it for. You can also leave the majority of it thicker, then dilute as necessary. It refrigerates just fine for a couple weeks or more.
December 25, 2010 / Michelle Ferris

Pepper and Onion Salad

What better side dish than a crisp, light salad with bold flavors. Peppers and onion can be a bit overwhelming, but by letting them marinate for a while, it softens them up and makes the texture much  more palatable.

3 peppers (one each of red, yellow, and orange), cored and seeded

1 small sweet onion (Walla Walla, Vidalia, or Maui), peeled

1/4 C chopped fresh parsley or basil

Salt & Pepper to taste

2 Tbsp seasoned rice vinegar

1/2 Tbsp sesame oil

1/2 orange, juiced

1/4 C crumbled feta cheese

1/4 C slivered almonds

  • Slice peppers and onion into matchstick sized pieces and place in a large bowl.
  • Add parsley or basil.
  • Add orange juice, rice vinegar and sesame oil. Stir well.
  • Salt & Pepper to taste.
  • Refrigerate for one hour before serving.
  • Lightly toast almonds in a dry pan.
  • Right before serving, toss in feta.
  • Move contents to a serving bowl and sprinkle almonds over the top.
  • Serve.
December 25, 2010 / Michelle Ferris

Smoked Mushroom Truffle Pasta Salad

I said to my brain, “well, what are we going to bring to Christmas dinner? There are a lot of people coming…”

To this, my brain replied with nothing but a quiet hum, which was not the most useful of responses, given the urgency of the situation. Christmas dinner was in a few hours.

“Truffles,” said my stomach, “and Parmesan.” I let the flavors roll over my thoughts, and as though a creature unto itself, it became.

Sun dried tomatoes… Basil… Farfalle pasta… with a smokiness that curls on your tongue, smooth like cream.

It was positively spectacular.

Serves 15

2 lb dry Farfalle pasta (bowtie) (use quinoa pasta for gluten-free option)

1/2 C rehydrated sun dried tomatoes, chopped (I used tomatoes jarred in oil)

8 small crimini mushrooms

8 shiitake mushrooms

1/2 lb oyster mushrooms

1/2 lb Chanterelle mushrooms

2 Tbsp white truffle oil

2 tsp liquid smoke

1 1/2 C half & half

1/4 lb Parmesan cheese, grated with a fine microplane

2 Tbsp butter

6 cloves garlic, finely minced

1 C fresh basil, chopped

4 Tbsp parsley leaves, chopped

Salt & Pepper to taste

3 oz smoked salmon (omit for vegetarian option)

  • Boil water in large pot, cook pasta, drain, and aside.
  • Slice crimini and shiitake mushrooms thinly.
  • Take oyster and Chanterelle mushrooms and rip them into strips by tearing from the cap toward the bottom of the stem.  They should be fairly thin segments.
  • Heat a large, nonstick pan on high and add butter.
  • When pan is hot, toss in sundried tomatoes, garlic and all mushrooms. Add about a half teaspoon of salt, and crack fresh pepper over the top. Cook through and remove from heat.
  • Add cream to small pot and heat gently. When warm, add Parmesan a little at a time, stirring to melt it in.
  • Add truffle oil to cream, mix, and remove from heat.
  • In a large bowl or pot, add drained pasta, mushroom mixture, cream sauce, bail, and parsley. Mix well.
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • Sprinkle liquid smoke over the top and crumble smoked salmon over the top and fold both into the mix until well blended.
  • Serve hot or cold.
December 23, 2010 / Michelle Ferris

Hot and Sour Soup

I love me some hot and sour soup. It is one of my most favorite things on the planet. When I’m feeling under the weather, it’s a neck at neck fight between pho and hot and sour soup – and it’s usually only decided by just how under the weather I am… am I mobile, or do I need delivery?

There was a time that my bestie and I would literally go out for hot and sour soup two to three times a week. Yes, we were that addicted. Now, due to gluten this and soy that and every other allergy under the moon that we’ve developed, we don’t get to do this often, but we do make it gluten, soy, and everything-else-free at home from time to time.

This doesn’t mean that you should be robbed of the full-fledged experience, though. Because it’s absolutely marvelous. So, I present to you, a nomtastic hot and sour soup recipe.

Note: I tend to make mine hotter and add white vinegar to the final product to give it a real tangy bite. I like food that fights back. The recipe below omits this.

4 tsp sesame oil

5 large cloves garlic, pressed

2 tsp reed pepper flakes

1/4 C minced/grated ginger (if you grate it, be sure you pull out the large bits of fiber)

1/2 lb shiitake mushroms, julienned (you can sub for a couple handfuls dried, rehydrated mushrooms, but it really doesn’t taste quite the same)

1/2 C dry sherry

6 Tbsp soy sauce (or tamari if gluten free, or coconut aminos if soy free – but if using coconut aminos, add it as late as possible, as the flavor cooks off)

1/2 C sliced bamboo shoots

1 can sliced water chestnuts, drained

1 tsp sugar

1/2 lb shrimp (deveined, shells and tails removed. Okay to use cooked shrimp.)

6 Tbsp rice vinegar

10 C chicken stock

1/2 C water

6 Tbsp cornstarch

Fresh ground black pepper

1 lb silken tofu, drained and cut into 1/4″ to 1/2″ cubes

1 C black fungus (yes, it’s really called black fungus), rehydrated

1 C lily flowers (trust me, you do not want to omit these – they’re AMAZING)

1/2 tsp white pepper

2 eggs, beaten

3 green onions, sliced thinly.

  • In a big ‘ol pot, heat the sesame oil to about medium. Add garlic, red pepper flakes, and ginger until fragrant and lightly browning.
  • Add mushrooms and cook 2-3 minutes.
  • Add sherry, soy sauce, and broth. Add black fungus and lily flower. Bring to a simmer.
  • Simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Add shrimp, bamboo shoots, water chestnuts, sugar, white pepper, and vinegar. Simmer for a couple minutes.
  • In a small bowl, mix the 1/2 C water and cornstarch together until dissolved. Slowly drizzle mixture into the pot while constantly stirring for one minute. This will thicken the soup.
  • Add tofu, gently, and heat through.
  • Remove from heat and pour in the beaten egg in a circle shape around the perimeter of the pot. Mix the soup with a slow stir, only once, around the perimeter of the pot. Stir it more than once and the egg will break down into bits smaller than you want.
  • Use black pepper to taste.
  • Ladle into a serving bowl or individual bowls. Garnish with a sprinkle of green onions.
  • Set out a bowl of white vinegar and ladle, and a pepper option to spice it up.
  • Serve.
December 23, 2010 / Michelle Ferris

Kim Chee Recipe

My grandma taught me how to make kim chee. I have always loved it. It takes time, but very little actual work. Just patience while you wait for the flavors to develop. Since I found out I am allergic to fermented foods, this is a real treat for me (read: I can’t eat it often, but I love to cheat by eating it), so I learned to make it in a much less fermented fashion than is traditional. Really, though, it’s close enough to the real thing that it works for me. Instructions below are not my cheatery way, but I’ll enlighten you after the kim chee recipe.

1 head napa cabbage

1/2 C salt

1 C daikon (long, white radish), julienned

1/4 C carrots, shredded

1 bunch green onions, cut into 1″ lengths

1 tsp paprika

1 to 3 Tbsp cayenne, depending on how spicy you want it

6 cloves garlic (half pressed, half chopped)

1 Tbsp ginger, minced

1 Tbsp salt

1 tsp sugar

1 tsp fish sauce

  • Start with fresh, washed ingredients.
  • Cut cabbage into bite sized pieces (Slice across it into rounds with about 1″ between cuts. Improvise when you get to the base to make the most out of what you have.).
  • Drop cabbage and julienned daikon into a large bowl.
  • Sprinkle heavily with salt and rub so that it’s all well salted. Let stand for 40 minutes.
  • Rinse well. Taste the cabbage. If it tastes very salty, continue rinsing and squeezing out excess water until it tastes mildly salty.
  • Once fully rinsed out and squeezed of excess water, add in all other ingredients (however, use salt to taste. 1 Tbsp is an estimation.).
  • Mix well – use gloves and massage in, if possible. If not, use a mixing spoon – the cayenne really gets into your hands if you don’t.
  • Put a weight over the cabbage mixture (try using a plate with heavy cans on it), put saran wrap loosely over the top, and put it in a dark spot if possible (the back of a cupboard or pantry is perfect). Let sit for two days.*
  • Pack kim chee in jars and refrigerate. Your kim chee is ready to nom on.

*This is where I stray. Rather than fermenting for two days, I simply let it sit on the counter, weighted, for two to four hours, then pack it up in jars and put it in the fridge. From there I eat it whenever I want. It’s not quite perfect, but much less doom for my joints.

December 20, 2010 / Michelle Ferris

Simple Sesame Stir Fry

I took all the stir-fry vegetables in my house, chopped them, and threw them in the wok. It was tasty, though the flavors were simple and straightforward.

6 asparagus stalks (with the toughest part of the root end snapped off)

2/3 head cabbage

1 onion

20 green beans

1 tsp grapeseed oil (or other cooking oil)

1/2 tsp corn starch

2 Tbsp sesame oil

2 Tbsp seasoned rice vinegar

1 1/2 Tbsp oyster sauce

1/4 tsp cayenne

Salt to taste


  • Chop all ingredients into small, bite-sized pieces.
  • Heat cooking oil in wok on high.
  • Toss all vegetables in the wok and keep ingredients moving while they cook.
  • When everything is almost done, add in everything but the cornstarch.
  • Cook through until everything is well glazed and ingredients are fully cooked through.
  • Put corn starch in small bowl with a couple tablespoons of cold water. Mix until dissolved.
  • Add cornstarch to the wok until sauce thickens a bit, then remove from heat.
  • Serve over rice or other starch.
December 18, 2010 / Michelle Ferris

Seafood Paella

Serves four (13″-14″ paella pan is ideal)

Paella is a traditional Spanish dish that can be made in many different ways. Though around here, often you have to go to a gourmet restaurant, paella is traditionally a “peasant food.” The reason there are so many different varieties of paella is because it is affected by region. Whatever food resources were available locally and were affordable were what went into the paella. The version I am using is a seafood paella. Feel free to tweak the recipe with additions of vegetables or meat of choice.

1/3 lb. shrimp, peeled (reserve the shells for broth)

pinch of saffron threads

salt to taste

1/4 C extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)

1/3 lb scallops (or squid with tubes cut in rings)

1/2 onion, grated on the largest holes of a box grater.

8 cloves garlic, peeled

5 Tbsp minced parsley

1 C minced cilantro

1 ripe tomato, halved and grated on the largest holes of a box grater (discard the skin)

1 1/2 C medium grain rice

8 small mussels or clams (1/2 lb), scrubbed, cleaned, and allowed to “breathe” any sand

1 lemon, cut in wedges for garnish

You may want to keep a cup of additional chicken stock on hand in case you need it if the rice absorbs more liquid than you have available.

Garlic alioli



  • Scrub clean the mussels/clams. If using mussels, snip off “beards” with scissors. Drop them into cold water and let stand for at least two hours underwater so that they eject any remaining sand they may be holding.
  • While waiting for the clams, prep all ingredients and make garlic alioli:
    • Add a few cloves chopped garlic and a large pinch of salt to a mini food processor.
    • Process until very fine.
    • With motor running, slowly drizzle in olive oil to make a thick, mayonnaise-like consistency.
  • In a medium saucepan, boil 3.5 cups salted water. Add the shrimp shells and simmer, covered, for about 10 minutes. Strain the broth and return the broth to the saucepan.
  • In a dry skillet, toast the saffron gently, crush the threads with the back of a spoon, and add to the broth.
  • Taste broth for salt – it should be well seasoned.
  • Pat the shrimp and scallops/calamari dry.
  • In a 14″ paella pan, heat the oil on high. When the oil is hot, saute the seafood until almost cooked through, about 2 minutes.
  • Transfer to a plate and set aside.
  • Pour out all but 1 tablespoon of oil from the pan.
  • Reduce the heat to medium and saute the onion and garlic until the onion softens, about 5 minutes.
  • Add the tomato, season with salt, and saute the mixture (called sofrito) until it has darkened and is a thick puree (about 10-15 minutes).
  • Add 5 Tbsp minced parsley.
  • Bring the shrimp shell broth back to a simmer.
  • When the sofrito is ready, add rice to the pan.
  • Saute until the rice loses its opaqueness – about 1 minute.
  • Increase heat to medium high and pour in 3 cups of broth (reserving the remaining 1/2 C), and stir or shake the pan to evenly distribute the rice in the pan.
  • Mix in minced cilantro.
  • As the liquid comes to a boil, arrange the mussels/clams in the pan, submerging them as much as possible below the level of the liquid. From this point on, do not stir the rice.
  • Cook paella on medium high, rotating and moving the pan over one or two burners to distribute the heat. When the rice begins to appear above the liquid (after 8-10 minutes), reduce the heat to medium low.
  • Continue to simmer, rotating the pan as necessary, until the liquid has been absorbed (about 10 min).
  • Taste a grain of rice just below the top layer – it should be al dente.
  • If the rice is not done but all the liquid has been absorbed, sprinkle a bit of hot broth to the pan and cook a few minutes more.
  • Arrange the remaining seafood in the pan.
  • Cover the pan with aluminum foil and cook gently for another 2 minutes to help ensure that the top layer of rice is evenly cooked.
  • With foil still in place, increase heat to medium high and, rotating the pan, cook for about 2 minutes, or until the bottom layer of rice starts to caramelize, creating the socarrat.
  • The rice may crackle somewhat, but if it starts burning, remove the pan from the heat immediately.
  • Let the paella rest off the heat, still covered, for about 5 minutes.
  • Serve with paella in the center of the table and invite guests to eat directly from the pan, starting at the perimeter and working toward the center.
  • Spread garlic alioli across the top of the rice.
  • Serve with lemon juice squeezed over the top (individually, to taste).
December 18, 2010 / Michelle Ferris

The Best Fucking Peanut Sauce You’ll Ever Eat

Yes, it really is. It’s the best fucking peanut sauce you’ll ever eat. I have tried recipe after recipe after recipe. I tried using roasted peanuts, peanut butter, raw peanuts. I tried so many different concoctions that I’m surprised I didn’t hate peanut sauce by the end of it (partially from eating so much peanut, and partially because there are some really gross recipes out there).

At long last, I finally came across a recipe that won me over. It is absolutely the best fucking peanut sauce you will ever eat. It is a thicker peanut sauce, but can also be thinned out with some water for use as a salad dressing.

5 oz roasted unsalted peanuts

4 C unsweetened coconut milk

2 Tbsp red curry paste

2 Tbsp sugar

3 Tbsp lemon juice

3 Tbsp fish sauce

  • Blend or process the peanuts until they are a fine meal. Reserve.
  • Heat half the coconut milk in a saucepan at high heat and add the red curry paste. Stir to dissolve and continue cooking at high heat for 10-12 minutes, until the oil from the coconut has risen to the surface.
  • Lower heat to medium high and add processed peanuts. Stir and add the rest of the coconut milk. Bring to bubbling boil.
  • Lower heat to medium and add sugar, lemon juice and fish sauce.
  • Cook, stirring occasionally, for 15-20 minutes, until the sauce has thickened somewhat and the oil has returned to the surface.
  • Take off heat and let rest for half an hour.
  • Stir to blend oil that has risen to the surface. It should be the consistency of thick cream. If thicker than that, add a couple tablespoons of water of coconut milk and blend.
  • The sauce can be served lukewarm or reheated to piping hot. Leftover sauce can be refrigerated (where it will solidify) and then be reheated on a low heat, thinned down with water or coconut milk. It can also be frozen and used later.
December 13, 2010 / Michelle Ferris

Heather’s Popcorn Goodness

1.5 Tbsp nutritional yeast

1 tsp curry powder

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp garlic powder/granules

1/2 tsp black pepper

1/4 tsp paprika

dash cayenne

December 12, 2010 / Michelle Ferris

Kale and Herbed Spring Green Salad

Serves 4-6

1/2 large bunch kale
2 large handfuls spring/herb salad mix
1 carrot
4 mushrooms
1/2 red onion
1/2 package alfalfa or clover sprouts
1 pear
1/2 cup feta cheese
1 cup cilantro
1 Roma tomato

  • Wash all ingredients.
  • Pull ribs off kale, keeping only the leafy bits.
  • Tear kale into bite-size pieces.
  • Massage with a tablespoon of oil as though you were kneading dough. Do so for about a minute or until kale starts to soften up and become more pliable.
  • Slice mushrooms, onion, and tomato in thin, quartered pieces and toss in large serving bowl.
  • Add kale, salad mix, sprouts (thin out so that they mix in evenly) minced cilantro.
  • Use a cheese grater or microplane to shred carrot into salad.
  • Toss all together very well with dressing.
  • Slice pear into thin slices and fan across a corner of the salad (if served individually on plates) with a few pieces, or in a few “fans” on the serving bowl.
  • Crumble feta over the top.
  • Serve.