Author Archives: Justin Winokur

Mussels and Thai crab cakes


20140526-095355-35635266.jpgWe made mussels and crab cakes when my mom was here.

For the mussels, I sautéed some shallots in butter, added garlic, and then a cup of white wine. I steamed the mussels for about 5 minutes but saw they weren’t fully open and gave them (a bit too much) more. I had cleaned and de-bearded the mussels but some still had the beards (were they tucked in the shell?). I was also surprised with how sandy some of them were despite being rinsed. These were from the asian market. I wonder if I need to soak them in the future to get rid of more sand. Either way, despite being a bit overcooked, they were really flavorful. And I would get them again from the asian market. They were cheap, had good flavor, good size, and only two mussels were dead (not bad!).

We also had Thai Crab Cakes using the linked recipe from 2014-03-28. We doubled the recipe but basically followed it otherwise. Maybe a bit too much hot pepper but that was about it. We didn’t have thai chilli sauce which would have been better but it was still pretty flavorful. A very different flavor from regular crab cakes but I liked it a lot. I couldn’t believe how much chopping goes into them (veggies is the majority of the filler) but the SlapChopper made it really easy

We had baked them and only the ones that started on the bottom rack got as brown as I would have liked. Next time (which will also be a non-doubled batch), we will try broiling


Sweet potato hash

20140525-083233-30753379.jpgThis was a pretty simple breakfast. I spiralized a sweet potato and made it into hash. I started by just tossing a lot and then, when it was softer, I pressed it into the pan to try to develop some crispiness. Finally, I made a few holes and poached eggs in it. I put it under the broiler to try to cook it a bit but I may have over done it a bit. Some were a bit runny but not much.

Overall, it was pretty good and was surprisingly sweet. I would try with squash at some point in the future.


Seared Salmon, Zucchini Noodles with a Peanut-Sesame Sauce, and Roasted Green Beans

20140524-070829-25709278.jpgThis was dinner with Emily visiting. I made my regular (but always delicious) seared salmon (with Fox Point). I know I was searing properly since I set off the smoke alarms…twice. Meredith made zucchini with peanut sauce with the recipe from 2014-04-18 (Again with some peanuts for some of the peanut butter but this time without the heating the sauce). She used spiralized zucchini and heated it on a dry non-stick skillet for a little bit. Finally, I roasted green beans (450 for 15-20 min) with some Sandwich Sprinkle

Everything was very good and pretty easy


Seitan Chorizo and Egg Tacos

20140524-070732-25652614.jpgI made the regular seitan chorizo (1.5x) except that I tried to figure out the weight measures. I again did the method where I didn’t break it into pieces but instead chopped in the pan. It works well and is a lot easier except that you get some crumbs. I am also updating the main recipe to reflect both the weight measures and the two cooking techniques. I also used the immersion blender to really emulsify the liquid. That was nice as it spread it out better.

I also fried eggs and heated some of the leftover tortillas from the other night


Mango Sorbet (two ways)


Breakfast Style (with greek yogurt & Splenda):20140522-103525-38125196.jpg


Dessert Style (Agave nectar)20140522-103524-38124341.jpgI was looking at Sorbet at Trader Joes and I got to wondering if it could be done in the food processor since we don’t (yet) have a vita-mix :-(

I found this article which basically suggest doing it with just frozen fruit that has been defrosted slightly (about 20 minutes) and then adding sugar syrup. You pulse it at first to chop it and then add the syrup and run it until it is well blended.

I tried this last night with mango for dessert with agave syrup (really earthy flavors. I like this syrup). Anyway, I just did it without really taking notes and it worked really well. It came together nicely and was very sorbet like. (Bottom picture)

I figured that what the syrup did besides sweetening was to add the liquid to bring it all together. This led me to my breakfast sorbet today (top picture).

I took notes and did the following:

  • 10-1/2 oz frozen mango (defrosted for about 10-20 min)
  • 5-3/4 oz non-fat greek yogurt
  • 3 splenda packets
  • tiny bit of water (maybe 1-3 tsp)

Above is the final ingredients. I started with less splenda and no water but it needed a tiny bit more moisture and more sweetness. It was actually really, really good. I would definitely make it again but it was a lot of fruit (and splenda or sugar…neither of which is great) so I wouldn’t do it often

I think it came out about as well as it would have from a vita-mix because I used mango and I used a good amount of it. I am guessing here, but I think the vita-mix would have allowed me to make a smaller amount and probably would have handled other fruits better (such as berries). But until we have one, this will suffice for sorbets


Fish Tacos with Pan Fried Cod

20140521-211227-76347580.jpgMeredith and I made fish tacos for dinner.

We used cod which we pan-fried. I mixed a bunch of cumin, cajun seasoning, cayanne and (not enough) salt into about a cup of flour and tossed with the fish. I then pan fried it in canola oil. One problem is that our stove is just slightly off-level (I need to fix that) so I needed more oil than i would have liked to coat the pan. And, it was, in general, more oil anyway than I like to use in cooking. So next time, we broil it. I was very uncertain on how much to cook the fish but it actually came out pretty good, though it needed salt.

We also topped the tacos with cabbage slaw, avocado and chipped clinatro. The slaw is from the recipe below except that we doubled it (lots of cabbage), used regular onion, used fresh lime juice, and used red cabbage. Also, we let it sit for a long time since we postponed our original meal plan. It was pretty good but I would still look for different recipes for next time. My tacos had greek yogurt too.

For the shells, we used small 6″ flour tortillas (78 cal/tortilla). Meredith correctly pointed out that we would likely use the same number of tortillas no matter the size so we bought the small ones. I think they make a whole wheat version so we’ll look out for that one. Also, next time, I want to take the time to heat them on the stove instead of the microwave. They come out really good like that


Southwestern Slaw (from The Culinary Institute of America)
Makes 8 servings

2 cups fine-shredded green cabbage
2 tsp lime juice
2 tsp honey
2 tbsp minced red onion
2 tsp minced jalapeños
2 tsp chopped cilantro
Salt, to taste

Combine all ingredients. Allow to sit for 30 minutes to 8 hours


Baba Ganoush (appetizer) and Shakshuka (with fried eggs or hard-boiled eggs)



Baba Ganoush:

Meredith made Baba Ganoush using the recipe at the very bottom. She basically followed it except she skipped burning the eggplant and just roasted it (cut in half, flesh side down). She also added some cumin (surprise) and sumac. Finally, this time she used less tahini (scant 1/4 cup) and added some sesame seeds to make up for it. On the note of tahinni, she says that she has experimented and found that you can go as low as a 1/4 of a cup but do not go lower as it looses the needed creaminess.


We made the shakshuka using a lot of leftover veggies as well as some new ones. I do not remember all of the details, but as I recall, the base was

  • 2 medium onions
  • lots of mini sweet bell peppers
  • a few stalks of celery
  • one large carrot
  • 2 crowns broccoli
  • 4 or so cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 x 28 + 1 x 14 oz can of diced tomatoes

We did it in the cast-iron dutch oven (which I think tends to make things cook really well and results in richer flavors). We started by sautéing the onions in a bit of canola oil. As they cooked I added the rest of the veggies and sautéed for a while. I separately sautéed the garlic in a bit on canola and then combined everything with the tomatoes.

For seasonings, I used the following. I started with measures and then I eventually just added more as I went.

  • Smoked Paprika (1 Tbsp)
  • Oregano, further ground between fingers as I added (1 Tbsp)
  • cumin (heaping tsp)
  • garlic powder
  • chipotle powder
  • hot paprika crushed red pepper
  • salt

I let it simmer (between setting 2 and 3 on the induction) for probably a good 30-40 minutes.


I have never been happy with eggs poached in the shakshuka (especially the next day). So we topped them at night with fried eggs (with yolks barely set).

For lunch, I hard-”boiled” some eggs. After having trouble peeling them last time, I followed The Food Lab’s (newest version) ideas about starting with hot water or steam. The idea is that there is no fool-proof way but starting with the cooking liquid hot tends to do better.

I chose the steamed version which says to heat water on high. Once at a rolling boil, steam eggs for 6 minutes for soft, 12 minutes for hard). If cooling, chill in ice bath immediately (reduced the air-pocket area).

I followed this (except I misread it as 11 minutes). The eggs came off the shell very nicely and the yolks were well set (1 more minute could have been better but not noticeable). This will be my go-to method in the future. And, it is faster to bring water to a boil for steaming than to do the whole pot! Continue reading

Balsamic Broccoli with Seitan

20140517-104511.jpgI made Balsamic Broccoli using the seitan logs. I used the regular recipe as a base and kind of just winged it with some of the additions. I will note though that I had the sugar-free version of the dressing and that was  a Big Mistake! It gave it a very fake and overly-sweet aftertaste. The fat-free (w/ sugar) is only about 50 more calories total and taste a lot better (and isn’t fake either. Just doesn’t use oil). I still liked it all but Meredith thought the broccoli absorbed too much of the fake flavor.

Also, in the future, I need to barely cook the broccoli before combining it all. It was too mushy since it continues to cook when combining the sauce with it and the meat.

The seitan was pretty good though!


Seitan Logs

20140516-150313.jpgI made seitan again to use in a variety of different things (salad and for a broccoli thing). I use the basic ideas from the last time except I tweaked a few things and used whole numbers by weight. The recipe is below but first my thoughts. It seemed to work pretty well and tasted good, though it was a tad rubbery. The outsides were a bit wetter and fluffier. I think that I may want to stop trying to use the pressure cooker and instead do a full hour simmer in broth (probably need more of it though). Still, I liked the flavor of this bunch and the only tweak i would make is to not add salt since the Penzey’s gives it enough. I also had to skip wine in the broth since I didn’t have it so I went heavier on the other stuff



  • 250g vital wheat gluten ( 1.5+ cups)
  • 20g Nutritional yeast (1/4 + cups)
  • 50g regular (wheat) flour (~1/4 cup)
  • 1 tsp Penzey’s Sandwich Sprinke
  • 1 Tbsp Italian Seasoning Mix
  • 1/4 tsp salt (but skip in the future)


  • 1-1/4 cup water
  • 1 Tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp Bragg’s Liquid Aminos (or soy sauce)
  • 1/2 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • 1/2 tsp olive oil

Broth (for pressure cooking. Need more if simmering)

  • 2 cups water
  • 2 Tbsp Braggs
  • 3 Tbsp Marsala
  • 1 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1Tbsp Osem

Combine dry ingredients. Combine wet ingredients. Slowly add the wet to the dry. Knead by hand to fully combine. Knead in the food processor for 30 seconds. Knead by hand to combine, then split into four servings. Knead to clean up the loaves. Wrap in cheesecloth (optional). Let sit for 5-10 minutes

Get broth to a boil, add the seitan and seal. Set to highest setting. Once fully up to pressure (light hiss of steam), reduce heat to maintain a light his and let cook for 30 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit until pressure drops.

(Future note: make more broth and try a 1hr simmer).


Falafel with Soy Tzatziki

20140515-091331.jpgI made falafel with a few minor changes. First of all, I tried to triple the recipe since I had the stuff and the herb bunches were large. That was a mistake. The food processor really had trouble. I eventually dumped it into a large bowl, mixed it together and put it back in.

Other than that, I added some turmeric since Meredith is trying to eat more of it. Also, while I followed the recipe amounts, I used newer, fresher and higher quality coriander. Between the more potent coriander and the turmeric, the falafel took on a decidedly curry-esque flavor. And, the turmeric stained the new white counters (oops!). And I used a fresh squeezed lemon instead of lemon juice.

Still, despite over chopping it, it still came out pretty good. For future reference, I used the Oxo Medium cookie scoop (1.5 Tbsp) on 2/3 of the final dough (2 batches) and it made 30 so about 15/batch. We served it with small whole wheat pita pockets (~130 cal/each)

Meredith also made tzatziki with soy yogurt. They claimed it was “plain” yogurt but it was exceedingly sweet. If you read the ingredients, they add both white grape juice and agave. Why?!?!?!?!?!? Anyway, this is pushing me even more to try to make my own Almond Milk Yogurt so we can [attempt to] control the final output.