Saturday, May 19, 2007

Cooking of course, and a thank you to Middle Street Shell

Ok, first of all, I need to give a shout out to Middle Street Shell station in Portsmouth, NH.

Middle Street Shell40 Middle RdPortsmouth, NH 03801
(603) 436-9679
(603) 436-7677

If I have any local readers, I strongly suggest that you give this business your patronage. They are amazingly honest and fair, which is hard to come by these days, especially when it comes to car repairs. They have consistently proven themselves over the years to our family, and we would not trust anyone else with our car service/repairs.

Ok, onto cooking. I actually cooked quite a bit last night as I had a Personal Chef client this morning.

Super Chunky Marinara
Yes, I know you can't really see the sauce, but I just love this cup and saucer set my friend Michelle gave me, so I use it whenever I have the chance for photographs. I made around 4 quarts this week, which I will use to top pasta later in the week. Here is the recipe I used today:
4 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil (or less)
10 cloves garlic
2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
2 tsp dried rosemary
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
2 small eggplants, salted drained and rinsed (I don't usually do this, but the eggplants were not as fresh as they could have been , so this helps with the bitterness)
1 zucchini
1 green pepper
2 28 oz cans crushed organic tomatoes
14 oz lite firm tofu, diced into tiny cubes
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
stevia to taste (I used a teeny tiny bit, you could probably add a couple tbsp of sugar)
freshly ground pepper to taste
fresh basil or parsley to taste
In a 4 quart, heavy bottomed pan, slowly brown the garlic and spices until frangrant. Then add the rest of the ingredients and bring to a simmer. Simmer, covered for 45 minutes, then turn the heat to very low and simmer for another 45 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings. Add some fresh basil or parsley just before serving. This sauce freezes well.

Spicy Noodles , Tofu and Veggies

Ummm.. yeah. So, anyone who reads me knows I make a version of this every single week or so. I call them clean out the fridge noodles. This weeks had red cabbage, green cabbage, daikon, carrots, onions, garlic, ginger, lime juice, lite tofu, cilantro, scallions, red pepper, peanut butter, braggs, and a tiny bit of sesame oil. I only used 1 tbsp of sesame oil and 2 tbsp of peanut butter for the whole deal... and 1 lb of whole wheat angel hair. Very healthy and delicious... and it will be even better tomorrow and the next day.

Spicy Egglpant and Veggie Curry with Chickpeas

One of my favorite one pot meals. I often make this sans potatoes and serve it over basmati or brown rice, but being that I am super lazy these days when I get home from work, I figured adding potatoes would do the trick in rounding out the meal. You have to taste this to understand just how good it is.. and again, it is better after sitting for a day or two; perfect for the coming weeks dinner.

2 Bean and Veggie Chili

Simple, delicious and satisfying. (and better after sitting for 3 days).. this chili is a huge hit in our house. You have seen many versions of it on this blog, I'm sure. This one had black beans, kidney beans, green pepper, red pepper, serrano pepper, onion, garlic, ancho chile powder, oregano, cumin, coriander, cinnamon, crushed tomatoes, corn, lime juice and cilantro. The chili powder was made from dried ancho chiles that I roasted in my cast iron, then ground. Soooo good. Seriously, it adds such a special something to this dish.

Banana Oat Bran Muffins

Healthy and delicious, these muffins used up some bananas that were starting to turn. I also made a banana bread with the same batter. I scored 12 muffins and one large loaf out of the 6 bananas. I used 3 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil (I love to bake with evoo, it really adds a butter like flavor to sweet things in my opinion) and 1/2 cup of sucanat, along with applesauce and stevia to round out the fat/sugar additions to these goodies. I also used half oat bran and white whole wheat flour, so these are good for you as well as delicious.
Philly Sub

This is such a regular at my house lately.. Shredded seitan, mushrooms, green peppers, onions and garlic sauted with spices and braggs in my cast iron. The bread is a french bread type sub roll I mix in my bread machine and bake in my toaster oven on a stone.

I definitely need to talk my boss about baking these rolls at Cafe Indigo, so we can serve this sandwich. It is soo good!

Animals have souls. My baby....


  1. Melody, everything here looks so fabulous. I'm especially eyeing those banana oat bran muffins- I'm always seeking to come up with the perfect healthy, filling, yummy muffins that can work for breakfast too. Ooo, but your savory meals are gorgeous too, as usual. So colorful, so yummy.

  2. Hi Mel, Oh I love everything. Thanks for the marinara recipe, I have an eggplant just waiting to be used. :o)

    I love the philly sandwich. I can't wait for your seitan recipe. Really I can't wait. ahhhhh :o)

    I think I am off to make some spicy peanut noodle dish. Clean out the fridge..

    Have a great week at work and thank you for once again giving us a wonderful Saturday post. You are an amazing person!

  3. Hi Melody- you are most impressive- always cooking up such gorgeous, healthy meals for your whole family after all the cooking you've done all week & blogging it all for us to share. That 2 bean ancho chili looks particularly mouth-watering...

    I want to cook like you, um, cookbook time please?

  4. Your photos are so beautiful! I love peanut noodles, chickpea curry, and oatbran muffins - yum! The sandwiches should definitely go on the menu.

  5. Oh usual, you have my mouth watering.

    Congrats on the personal chef client!

  6. Melody, i love using evoo when baking. it definetly does give a buttery taste to baked goods. i use to use it exclusively at this restaurant where i was the pastry chef at. the chef thought i was nuts but then had to shut his mouth when he coudn't taste it in the cakes. good luck with ther personal chef client!


  7. That photo of the chili reminds me of the bowls I saw in Buddhist temples in Nepal, with flowers floating in them. But I couldn;t EAT those. Of cours,e my fave is your Philly sub.

    I could also eat noodles of some sort every night, but I try to limit my consumption to once a week.

    Your pupster is just adorable. Her face almost looks human.

  8. Melody, everything looks picture perfect! I am especially grateful to you for the marinara sauce recipe - I had been looking around for something extra special, but nothing with as many wonderful ingredients has come to light until now. Shall try it soon :) Thank you very very much.

    My two babies send arrooooos to yours.

  9. That chili looks particulary gorgeous....and the subs, too. (minus the green peppers, cuz I loathe them suckers!
    Your pictures are beautful as always. Hope your job is going great!

  10. Everything looks delicious! This is a great treat when I first wake up in the morning to view your food pics. :)

  11. Aww, you pooch has the most precious face! Your food photog skills are really impressive, making food look this good in pictures is not easy. Your café is lucky to have such an artful chef on board. :) Thanks for sharing the marinara, I’d never think to put tofu in tomato sauce. Bet it’s delicious. I might try that philly sub recipe tonight, I’ve got some seitan in the fridge that needs to be used up.

  12. wow! It's all looking so delicious and beautiful... I wish I could come over to your house (or to Cafe Indigo) and be fed by you!!!! I think my bf would love some sort of philly cheesesteak sandwich with seitan. I don't want to infringe on your secret recipe (!) - but what sort of spices do you use? I'm not so familiar with philly subs, but my poor boyfriend seems to miss them a lot! :)

  13. Could you have *possibly* included anything else in that spicy peanut noodle dish?! :)

  14. great photos! i can almost taste that food! yum!

  15. Everything looks deeelish, Melody. Love that philly, especially!

  16. That is a nice cup and saucer set. I need to get some fancy dishes soon.

  17. Your baby is ADORABLE!!
    All of the food looks incredible, especially the curry!
    I'm glad things are going so well for you and your personal chef endeavor. Congratulations!

  18. First of all, WOW!

    Secondly, YUM!

  19. Yum! I just made an Asian tofu and noodle dish for dinner last night. You can never have it too often.

  20. Aaaaw, your doggy is just so adorable! Everything looks so yum, but I think my favourite is the curry today! Are you sure there’s only one of you Melody?! I am always amazed that you have time to do all of this amazing cooking and have a life!

  21. Oh my gosh, your dog is the cutest!!!! Nice blog too. ;-)

  22. Hi Melody! Catching up on some of your old posts and first and foremost, I wanted to say CONGRATULATIONS!!! I am so happy for you and your new job. It sounds like such a wonderful place although I'm a little sad because I think it's taking too much time away from you and your cookbook endeavor. I really really hope you get it out soon because I'm going crazy with these wonderful meals and not being able to make them.

  23. Hey Melody - that shout out was so nice! it's so hard to find honest and fair vendors sometimes (is it just me of is this particularily true of auto repair?)
    Thrilled to hear that you're doing Personal Chef-ing. all of your endevors must really feed on each other.

  24. yes, they do. the photo with the steam coming off your favorite coffee cup is awesome! :o)