Author Archives: vignettesfrommyfork

About vignettesfrommyfork

local food, local flavor and my thoughts about it all!

Multigrain Chocolate Chip Cookies

It’s always nice when dessert can feel just a tiny bit healthy, right? These Multigrain Chocolate Chip Cookies are not health food by any stretch of the imagination but they do have some good for you ingredients that eliminate some of that dessert guilt. They also freeze well and are adaptable to whatever you might have on hand.

I did not have any millet but I did have peanut butter with flax seed so I let that flax count as one of my grains. I also didn’t add any nuts because, well honestly, because I forgot. 🙂 But, it worked out because I took them to work and several people were happy to see they were nut free as they don’t like nuts in cookies. (I am now suspicious of these people. who doesn’t like nuts in cookies?!? 🙂 )

If you are making them on a terribly hot day like I was then you may want to chill your dough for 10 minutes or so to make them easier to portion out.

If you want to freeze them then simply portion out the cookies and freeze on the cookie sheet. Transfer the frozen balls to a plastic bag and cook from frozen when the mood strikes. You need just a minute or two more to account for the frozen dough. I can’t really recommend keeping them in the freezer, however. You will find that the mood strikes all. the. time. It’s dangerous. You’ve been warned.


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Salmon Burgers

I really enjoy salmon burgers and usually keep some of the Whole Foods frozen variety in the fridge for quick dinner. I decided to try making my own and used the recipe from Cooking Light for Hoisin Glazed Salmon Burgers with Pickled Cucumber.

These take just minutes longer than a frozen burger and they were really tasty. I enjoyed the flavors with the quick pickled cucumber and soy and hoisin.

I make breadcrumbs out of whatever leftover bread we have and keep them in the freezer so I just used those instead of panko. We ended up using 2 egg whites to get the consistency we wanted for the burgers but other than that I stuck pretty true to the recipe.

If you have the option, I would get the folks at the fish counter to skin the fish for you. That was a little more difficult than I expected. Glad Neal stepped in and finished that task!


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Spicy Basil Chicken

The basil is coming in in full force this time of year! It grows best when you cut from it so it’s good to have lots of basil options for dinner. When you cut a bunch of basil and bring it in the best way to store it is in the windowsill in water. You may find you actually grow roots and you could replant some of it if you wanted!

We tried this Spicy Basil Chicken from Cooking Light recently. It was very good although not very spicy at all. That’s probably because we just used dried chillies instead of the sambal oelek that was recommended. I’ve never been able to find such before but just located it at the Indian grocery last week so we now have it on hand for future use.

I used onions instead of shallots and I did not add the garlic with the onion. My recipe pet peeve is when they call for garlic to be added way too early in a recipe. The garlic would be burnt to a crisp if you added it when they called for it and then cooked it for 13 minutes with the chicken.

drives. me. crazy.

So, cook your onions, add the chicken (which doesn’t take nearly 13 minutes to cook. keep an eye on it and cook until done) and then add the garlic. Cook for 30 or so seconds before adding the sauce. I was skeptical that this was enough sauce but I was pleasantly surprised that it was just perfect.

Serve over brown rice. We ate this with Chinese Long Beans and the flavors worked well together.

This recipe is a great example of knowing when to follow the recipe and when to make adjustments. Just because a recipe is published doesn’t mean it is error free nor does it mean it always utilizes the best methods. Recipes are guides, not rules 🙂


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Stir fried Chinese Long Beans

When you discover something like Chinese Long Beans at your Tennessee farmers market I think you are obligated to give them a try, don’t you think?

Often called yard long beans they are a bit closer to a half yard long but even that is significant enough to make the common green bean a bit jealous.

A quick search for recipes yielded this recipe for Stir Fried Yard Long Beans. It’s the type of recipe that Neal loves best since it sends him to the Indian grocery searching out ingredients we’ve never before encountered like curry leaves and asafetida powder.

Curry leaves are interesting things. The texture reminds me a bit of a holly leaf and the flavor is decidedly smokey. It bears no resemblance to actual curry powder.

The night before we made this dish I began to notice an unusual smell in the kitchen. I was finally able to pinpoint the cabinet it was coming from and we began pulling everything out, trying to figure out what was spoiling. It was puzzling since that cabinet is primarily canned goods and dried grains. And then we noticed the jar of asafetida powder. ohmygoodness! Now I know why it is also called devil’s dung. It’s a pretty indescribable smell except to say you can’t imagine actually voluntarily adding it to your dinner. But, add it in we did! I’m happy to say that you don’t notice the smell in the cooked dish. I’d be interested to try the beans with and without the powder to know what it added. The recipe only called for a pinch so I now have several ounces in the cabinet awaiting experimentation. We were at the Indian grocery again this weekend and the man who checked us out said he adds a pinch to pretty much everything he cooks. Hmm…not sure I’m that adventurous.

The beans were delicious and pretty reminiscent of green beans in texture.


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Grilled Pizza

Most of us are not lucky enough to have a wood fired pizza oven in our home kitchen. However, if you have a charcoal grill you can get a great grilled pizza!

You’ll need to start with a very thin crust. In the past I’ve used a recipe from Cooks Illustrated that works well. We recently bought a premixed dough at the market that was from a local flour miller – Fresh Flour in Dayton, TN. The recipe called for the dough to make 1 crust but I rolled it out into 2 crusts. You don’t want something so thin that it will burn quickly but this is not the time for your thick crust pizza. Use whatever dough recipe you like, or buy a pre made dough and roll it out a bit more if needed.

While your crust is rising, prep all your toppings. You’ll want to precook anything as the pizza doesn’t spend enough time on the grill to really cook the toppings. We used garlic scape pesto instead of marinara sauce, onions, peppers, diced tomatoes, fontina cheese and sausage from Link 41 sausage.

Light your grill and allow it to get hot. When you are ready to put the dough on, move all the charcoal to one side and lay the dough on the opposite side.

Put the lid on and let cook for 4 minutes or so and then check it. The bottom is done when it starts to bubble and you can see nice brown grill marks.

Pull the dough off the grill and top the cooked side with your toppings. (try not to rip a chunk out of the side…)

Slide the pizza back on the grill and cook for another 4 minutes or so. If you know your grill cooks hot then certainly you want to be checking more frequently.

When the cheese is melted and the bottom is browned to your liking then slide the pizza off.

It’s nice to have an option to cook pizza that doesn’t require you to turn on the oven in the middle of summer!


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Berry Vinaigrette

This is a very versatile vinaigrette recipe to have on hand this time of year as it works well with just about any berry.

Crush 1/4 cup of your berry of choice in a bowl.


1 oz honey

1/4 c white wine vinegar

chopped basil (to taste)

pinch of salt

Whisk all together and then slowly drizzle in walnut oil until you reach your preferred consistency. I usually use about 1 oz of oil but I do not like a lot of oil in my vinaigrette so you may want a bit more. While walnut oil will give you the best flavor you can certainly use a mild olive oil or grapeseed oil.

This well keep for several days in the fridge, just blend well before adding to your salad.


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Purple Hull Pea Hummus

After putting up about 16 pounds of purple hull peas last week we had just a cup or so left over. Not enough to freeze or eat with dinner but too much to just toss. What to do? Make hummus!

Hummus is a Middle Eastern dip made with chickpeas. Substituting purple hull peas for the chickpeas gives you the same creamy dip with a Southern twist.

In the food processor toss your cooked peas, garlic, lemon juice, tahini paste, olive oil and salt. You can certainly find a variety of recipes for hummus but it’s really just all to taste and the consistency you prefer.

It’s not much to look at, but it’s yummy!


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Dandelion and Goat Cheese Gratin

I’ve had this recipe for a Dandelion and Goat Cheese Gratin from Fine Cooking in my must try folder for several years. I’ve never made it because apparently dandelion greens are expensive! I’ve never seen them at the market and at Greenlife they are about $6/bunch.

I found dandelion greens at The Dekalb Market in Atlanta recently for $2/bunch so I finally pulled the recipe out to try. The recipe notes say that it would be a good side dish for lamb but I decided to actually add the lamb into the gratin for a one dish meal. If you aren’t adding meat to the gratin I would probably double the amount of greens I used as they cook down a lot.

Our lamb is from Sequatchie Cove Farm and the goat cheese is from Bonnie Blue Farm.

dandelion greens!

I tried a bite of the greens before they were cooked and they are bitter, bitter, bitter! Thankfully the bitterness is greatly tamed after cooking.

I used half and half instead of the heavy cream since that’s what I had in the fridge. I also added about double the amount of goat cheese called for because it just seemed right 🙂

If you are adding meat to the gratin, cook it first and then just mix it in the bowl with the chopped greens and cheese.


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Cherry Tomato Salad

Summer is here in full force with 100+ degree temps! At times like these turning on the oven should be outlawed. Thank goodness for the tomatoes! They need little other than chopping to be a quick, cooling side dish.

These are Sungold and Black Cherry tomatoes from Signal Mountain Farm. I tossed them with a bit of goat cheese from Bonnie Blue Farm and some basil from the yard. Let it sit for just a few minutes so the flavors can meld together and that’s it! A quick piece of fish or chicken would finish this off nicely.


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Recipes and copyright law

I’ve had several requests for recipes that I’ve mentioned here. I’ve been doing a bit of reading and soul-searching and making some decisions about how I interpret the copyright law. It reads:

Copyright law does not protect recipes that are mere listings of ingredients. Nor does it protect other mere listings of ingredients such as those found in formulas, compounds, or prescriptions. Copyright protection may, however, extend to substantial literary expression—a description, explanation, or illustration, for example—that accompanies a recipe or formula or to a combination of recipes, as in a cookbook.


I read this to mean that the listing of ingredients is not protected by copyright but the instructions are protected (the description and/or explanation that accompanies the recipe).

There are a good number of people who disagree with my interpretation. However, my conscience is just not comfortable repeating verbatim what someone has created to support their livelihood.

If I am using a published recipe that is available on-line then I will try to always link to that so you can have access to the recipe. If I’m using a recipe from a book or other printed source then I encourage you to succumb to your cookbook hoarding tendencies and buy the book…you’ll find lots of other recipes to try, I’m sure 🙂


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