Tag Archives: Basil

Portabella mushroom pizzas


It has been an exciting week over here at DR: DR-Sis got engaged! Rest assured: I am going to DIY the sh*t out of this wedding!!! What’s that, DR-Sis? You don’t need my help? Well, maybe you should have gone through with that whole divorcing-the-family plot you had when you were 17. Because this. is. happening. Yaaaay!

Pinterest is going to show up at this wedding and then duck out in shame when it sees the wedding-cake-with-cupcakes-inside-served-in-mason-jars-with-cream-cheese-and-crushed-oreos*-hand-tied-with-twine-and-small-handles-for-carrying-home <hits three-pointer at buzzer>. Betcha never thought of that, Pinterest!!!

Yes, that sound you hear is DR-Sis eloping.

Anywhoo, this recipe is for DR-Sis, since she can’t eat gluten. Reality check: DR-Sis never cooks and the rest of you will just order real pizza. I guess this recipe is for me.

*why does every recipe on pinterest involve cream cheese and/or oreos? just me?

Portabella mushroom pizzas, serves 2, adapted from BodyrockTV
-1/2 white onion
-2 T olive oil
-4 cloves garlic
-1 leek
-4 tomatoes
-about 1/4 cup fresh basil
-juice from 1/2 lemon
-3 or 4 of the biggest portabella mushrooms you can find
-about 1 cup mozzarella cheese (I tried the Diaya brand this time and it was pretty good!)
-salt & pepper to taste


First, the pre-work: Chop up your white onion, tomatoes, and basil. Mince the garlic. Slice the leek into thin coins (I only use the white and light green portions).


Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Heat up the olive oil in a large skillet and add the onion.

Cook the onion until soft (looks like this):

Add the garlic, leek, and tomatoes.

Saute for about 5 minutes, or until leek and tomatoes are soft.

Add the lemon juice, basil, and salt & pepper to the skillet. Give it a stir and remove from  heat.

Twist the stems off of your mushrooms and fill each mushroom with the onion/leek/tomato mixture.

Top each ‘shroom with about 1/4 cup of cheese.

Bake for about 12 minutes, then change oven temp to broil and cook for 1-2 additional minutes (keep an eye on them so they don’t burn – this is just to get the cheese browned a little). Note: I baked my pizzas on a cookie rack on top of my cookie sheet. This keeps them from sticking and also drains out some of the excess moisture from the mushrooms. If you don’t have a rack, don’t sweat it – just use some parchment paper or spray the cookie sheet with a little oil to keep from sticking.

Remove from oven and top with a little extra basil and salt & pepper. Pizza time!


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Cornbread: Then and Now


In Mrs. Johnson’s second grade class, we made our own Thanksgiving recipe book.  Each child contributed a recipe that they made up themselves. This is exactly as big of a disaster as you might imagine.

Without further ado, I present my first recipe ever:

Clearly, I was at the head of the class.  Cornbread in 2 minutes and 4 seconds!?! I can hear all of you running to crack your eggs into your muffin tins right now.

On the next page, my BFF Johanna shows her stripes early in her recipe, which calls for a very particular arrangement of the accoutrements:

Unlike most mashed potato recipes, the mashing of the potatoes is the easy part here. The hard part: the precise arrangement of fruits (?!) and vegetables around the potatoes.

We could go on and on (there’s a gravy recipe that calls for chocolate, coffee beans, and dirt), so let’s stop here and improve a little on the cornbread recipe. Of course we can’t possibly improve on the cooking time, so I tried to improve on taste. Pretty sure I succeeded.

Fresh corn, basil, and jalapeno cornbread, adapted from Bon Appetit

-1 1/2 c unsweetened plain almond milk (any kind of milk will do)
-3 T fresh lemon juice (the combination of this and the above is a substitute for buttermilk)
-3 eggs
-1/2 c fresh basil, chopped
-2 c stone ground cornmeal
-1 c flour
-1/2 c sugar
-4 t baking powder
-1 t salt
-1/2 c butter (I used Earth Balance)
-3 ears of corn
-1 jalapeno pepper
cooking spray


Equipment needed: whisk, large mixing bowl, food processor, spatula or spoon, baking pan (I used a 9″ pie pan)

Let’s do this:

Preparation: remove corn kernels from cob, dice jalapeno pepper, chop up your basil, and cut butter into cubes. Combine the milk and lemon juice, stir, and let sit for 5 minutes until curdled.  Spray your baking pan with cooking spray.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Combine the newly made buttermilk, basil, and eggs in a mixing bowl and whisk.


Add the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt to the bowl of your food processor and process until combined (about 10-15 seconds). Add the butter and process again until a coarse meal forms.


Add corn kernels and process for about 10-15 seconds (some corn kernels will still be visible.


Empty the contents of the food processor into your mixing bowl with the milk mixture. Stir to combine, then add jalapeno and stir until distributed.


Bake cornbread until top is golden, about 40 minutes.


Enjoy with the last of your summer gazpacho. Our house will be seeing this recipe a lot now that football season is coming – hello cornbread and vegetarian chili!!!


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Summer Gazpacho


I’ve talked on the blog before about my love for tomatoes. Well, the CSA gods must have heard my cry, because this week we got a bunch of gorgeous tomatoes.

After shoving a few in my mouth straight from the bag, tomato juice dripping down my chin, I decided I needed a plan for these cuties. Cue the gazpacho recipe. Last time I made this, I ate the entire batch in one sitting. Not that this means very much to any of you, since I have repeatedly demonstrated a lack of restraint when it comes to food. See: tomato juice on chin, pesto, sweet potato hummus, etc.

Gazpacho, adapted from Natalia Rose’s Detox for Women cookbook

Go get:
-about 6 medium tomatoes (we got a bunch of cherry tomatoes, so I just eyeballed it)
-1 c fresh basil leaves
-juice of 1 lemon
-1 t soy sauce
-2 cloves garlic
-2 t Spike (this is a seasoning/salt alternative available at Whole Foods. It’s great but if you can’t find it, no biggie, just add more salt + pepper)
-1 bell pepper
-1 small jicama (just add extra bell pepper & corn if you can find this)
-1 ear corn
-avocado (for garnish)
-Salt & peppa


Let’s do this:
Chop up your bell pepper and jicama. Remove kernels from corn. Combine in a bowl and set aside.


Quarter your large tomatoes. Add the tomatoes and the remaining ingredients to your blender or food processor and blend for about a minute. Add the blender mixture to the bell pepper, jicama and corn and mix well.


Ideally you have time to chill this for about an hour. If you have no time, or if you have no self restraint (yours truly), serve immediately.


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Light Pesto


Those of you who didn’t vacation at the Jersey Shore as a child might be sad to hear that you missed out on something. And no, I’m not talking about STDs from Karma.

I’m talking about Jersey tomatoes. The tomatoes at the farmer’s markets here in Illinois are good, no doubt, but there is nothing quite like a Jersey tomato. Am I right, Jersey natives? Especially in a caprese salad. DR Aunt makes a mean caprese that she seems to whip up out of nowhere for her dinner parties, but unfortunately nothing I do is quite that effortless.

In an attempt to increase the sheer volume of pesto I can eat with my summer tomatoes, I looked around for a “light” pesto that is oil-free. This one is super flavorful, and I’m not sure I missed the oil at all. Especially after about a cup of the stuff.

“Light” Pesto, inspired by Eat Live Run

-2 cloves garlic
-1 bunch fresh basil
-1 handful spinach, arugula, or other green (note: super fresh arugula makes this recipe spicy!)
-1/4 c bread crumbs
-2 T Pecorino Romano cheese (Parmesan works too)
-3 T white miso (you can find this refrigerated at Whole Foods. It tastes a little cheesy)
-1/4 – 1/2 cup water


Let’s do this:
Process the garlic in the food processor first to mince it. Scrape down sides and add the remaining ingredients, saving water for last and adding as much water as needed for your desired consistency. I used about 1/4 cup water.


This whole recipe has about 170 calories (I threw the ingredients in a nutrition calculator, results below). Regular pesto has that much in 2 tablespoons! All the more caprese you can eat, or fried pickles if you are Snookie.


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