Here’s that honest part I promised…Failed gazpacho?

Spoiler alert: it was the olive oil 😦

I don’t know how I did it, but this evening I managed to screw up gazpacho, I dish I’ve made many times before with relative success. This time I precisely follow a recipe, trying to refine my technique. It was absolutely inedible! Bitter, especially in the aftertaste. Because the recipe is in Spanish, I’ll translate the basic ingredients here:

-1kg (2.2 pounds) tomatoes

-one green pepper

-one small onion

-one cucumber

-one clove of garlic

-Three big tablespoons of olive oil

-One small spoon of salt

The first thing that struck me about this recipe was that 1 whole onion seemed like a lot, but I have used a similar amount in the past and it has never failed like this. I also went a little heavy on the garlic (3 smallish cloves), but that wouldn’t be bitter. If anything the garlic taste would become too strong after several hours. Finally, I tried the olive oil, which I had just opened today. Devastatingly, this was a fine bottle of Spanish olive oil that I had forgotten in a box for several months. Assuming it was good, I poured liberally into the gazpacho. I’ve tried it on it’s own now and it does have that same bitter aftertaste. However, I’d like to feed it to an unbiased (and unsuspecting) party before I throw it out. Has anyone here tasted rancid olive oil? It happens from time to time with artisanal oils. You can read about it here.


Update: I fed the olive oil to an unsuspecting neighbor and she agreed that it was the culprit. Oh well!


Chicken broccoli Dijon casserole

Last night I tried this recipe for a chicken broccoli Dijon casserole. Very yummy with a perfect casserole consistency. My only complaint is that the dish could be made a lot healthier without compromising flavor. Here are some tips for next time:

–Double the broccoli

–Cut the cheese in half. It’s really tasty, but the extra calories aren’t worth it.

–Instead of browning the chicken in a pan, boil first and shred. This usually leads to more tender morsels with more surface area to absorb flavors.

We topped the whole dish with a little bit of Tabasco to give it a little kick, but this isn’t necessary.


Curried Lentils & Sweet Potatoes

Today I tried this delicious-ly stew-like curry (see recipe here). Pretty quick and easy to make; basically chop up the onion, chard, sweet potatoes, etc., and cook for about half an hour. Here are our thoughts and edits, and check out the pictures below!

– quite sweet despite no added sugar

– could be made healthier with some more chard or another green leafy vegetable

– goes great with a little added sour cream / yogurt

– lentils were a tiny bit undercooked; cook for maybe 10 min longer to make sure they’re good

– we didn’t add the nuts / scallions, and I wouldn’t say they’re necessary

– I doubled the spices, and I would definitely suggest doing this; lentils really soak up the flavor

Tastefully yours,



Upcoming Recipes!

I’m excited to try these recipes this week! Hopefully posting them here will keep me accountable. I’ve made both of these dishes before, but I’m going to follow the recipes to see if I pick up on any new tricks!

Healthy Cheesy Chicken Broccoli Rice Casserole

I plan on using normal brown rice instead of instant brown. I may start the rice on the stove so that I don’t have to overcook the whole casserole in order to get tender rice.


Don’t forget to add a slice of bread to thicken up the soup!


Leek and Swiss Chard Tart

Lately I’ve been going crazy for leeks. I’ve mainly been eating them in seafood dishes, but this terrestrial recipe caught my interest. I chose this Leek and Swiss Chard Tart to try a relatively healthy quiche (heavy on the vegetables, although it does sport a classic pie crust). I followed the recipe pretty much exactly, except that I did buy a pre-made whole wheat crust instead of working from puff pastry or tart dough. Also, I had to bake it for quite a bit longer than the recipe called for–an extra 25 minutes or so.


Overall I was really happy with the results! The flavor was great, and the Swiss chard gave it a light, healthy feel. The only problem was that the structure of the filling didn’t totally come together. You can see in the slice picture that the filling is a little granular, and the bottom crust was a little soggy. Part of the problem was likely that I did not defrost the pie crust before baking.

Still a yummy success, despite the consistency issue. It will make a luxurious breakfast. Mmm.


Update 1-19-15

This dish reheated very well, and a little time out of the oven fixed all the issues with the consistency. Next time let the quiche rest before serving.

Sweet Potato Quinoa Chili

Leeann and I love to use the crock pot. Naturally we were stoked to run across this compendium of crock pot recipes. Last night I tried out this yummy sweet potato quinoa chili to share with friends. This super easy recipe resulted in a flavorful and unique dish that was filling without being too heavy. The quinoa provides great filler for chili, although I wouldn’t say that you can taste the grain’s flavor over the sweet potato and spice.

IMG_1108Although the chili itself is vegan, I decided to treat myself to some dairy toppings–sour cream and sharp cheddar cheese–along with avocado, cilantro, and chipotle hot sauce.

IMG_1112Following the recipe, I got a chili that wasn’t too spicy. I love spicy food, so I added El Yucateco chipotle sauce for smokey flavor and heat. However, other folks felt that the spice level was just right without hot sauce. I recommend letting each person spice to their taste.