Archive for December, 2008

New Year’s Eve @ 1323 Menu

Who doesn’t love a menu that dazzles and wow’s, but doesn’t wear you out before a night of partying? Jo and I decided at the last minute to throw a NYE party (hence the last minute posting), so naturally I must put together a menu as well. If you don’t have all day to spend in the kitchen, canned beans and pre-baked pita will suffice. Cocktail anyone?

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus
Herbed White Bean Puree
Fresh Pita bread
Yucca chips
Rosemary cashews
Black bean and Roasted Corn salsa
Tortilla chips (homemade or store-bought, depending on your time)
Zesty Lemon Shortbreads

Happy New Year’s Everyone!

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Baked Yuca Fries

I know this post looks long because of all the pictures, but I assure you, these tasty yuca fries are easy to make. I just wanted to show you each step, since most of you probably haven’t worked with yuca before. The skin looks quite serious, but it’s not as tough as it looks. Yuca has many of the same vitamins as potatoes, but it is starchier, so it crisps up very nicely.


1 yuca

1 TBS extra virgin olive oil

salt and pepper to taste


1. Bring medium pot of water to a boil. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

2. Peel yuca with vegetable peeler. Cut off ends and discard. Cut yuca into ~3 inch sections.


3. Boil sections for 12 minutes, or until the center of each section begins to split.


4. Slice each section in half, following the central cleave. Remove the thin stalk you’ll find running along the length of the yuca.


5. Cut into wedges, or shape of your choice. Brush lightly with olive oil and spread over a cookie sheet.


6. Bake for 10 minutes, turn and bake 12 minutes more. Salt and pepper to taste and enjoy!



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Contrary to popular opinion, a salad can be a very satisfying meal. One critical error that many people make is to treat the leafy greens as the focus, rather than the basis of the meal. A proper salad is not some lettuce with tomatoes tossed on top, but rather a mixture of vegetables, fruits and nuts brought together on a bed of greens.

This recipe should make enough for four salads. You could assemble the salad in one large bowl, and then serve it out, or assemble each person’s salad individually (my preference).


6 C baby spinach

2 carrots, grated

2 medium tomatoes, chopped

1 C chickpeas, cooked and rinsed

1 C pecans, toasted

1 apple, sliced

1 C croutons

4 tsp extra virgin olive oil

1 tsp salt


Divide spinach between four bowls. Top with carrots, tomatoes and chickpeas. Drizzle 1 tsp of olive oil over each bowl of veggies. Add a few shakes of salt. Place apple slices and pecans around edge of bowls. Top with croutons.


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Nothing tops off a salad like some homemade croutons. It’s a great way to use up that two day old bread that’s starting to dry out. And they are very easy to make.


4-5 1/2 inch slices of farmer’s breadcroutons1

1 TBS mixed herbs, such as oregano, thyme, sage, rosemary

1/4 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp salt

1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper

3-4 TBS extra virgin olive oil


Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

After slicing the bread, brush each side with olive oil. Cut the slices into cubes. In a large bowl toss the bread cubes with the herbs and spices.

Spread cubes in a single layer on a cookie sheet. Bake for 5 minutes, flip cubes, and bake 3-5 minutes more. Croutons should be browned and crunchy.


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It doesn’t feel like a true family gathering, or a complete menu to me, without a little salsa. For a change of pace, here’s an exciting and equally delicious roasted corn salsa. This recipe makes about 5 C worth (with the beans), which is guaranteed NOT to go to waste… trust me!


1 jalapeño or hot pepper of choice *for a mild salsa, remove seeds..for hotter, keep seeds
1-2 roasted red bell peppers, either fresh or jarred (sliced into large flat surfaces so you can lay them skin side up on a baking sheet, or do them diced)
2.5 C frozen corn
1/4 C lime juice, (about 2 limes)
1.5 C (or 1 15oz can) cooked black beans, drained and rinsed *optional for added hearty-ness
1/2 C loosely packed fresh cilantro, leaves, coarsely choppedroasted corn salsa
1/4 C roasted red onion, finely chopped
1/2 tsp garlic, minced
1 TBSP olive oil
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper


  1. Preheat oven to broil. Roast peppers (jalapeños and red bell, if using fresh), and cook until skin is black all over, about 10 minutes for jalapeño and 10 to 15 minutes for red pepper. Remove from oven and turn heat down to 400°F. Place roasted peppers in a bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap; let stand about 10 minutes. Remove peppers from bag, and peel away and discard charred skin; rinse your fingers from time to time under cool running water, if necessary, but do not rinse the peppers. Remove and discard stems and seeds (for mild, keep seeds for hot). Mince jalapeño, and transfer to a large bowl. Cut red pepper into 1/4-inch pieces, add to jalapeño, and set aside.
  2. Place corn, unpeeled whole garlic cloves, and sliced onion in oven and roast until tender, about 15 minutes. Remove from oven, and let cool slightly. Peel and mince the garlic. Dice the red onion and add all roasted veg to peppers.
  3. Add lime juice, black beans, cilantro, olive oil, and cayenne to corn and pepper mixture, and toss well. Season with salt and pepper, and serve.

roasted corn salsa2

Happy Chopping!

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festivus morning cocoachristmas tree 08Happy Festivus Everyone!! Hope ya’ll are having a wonderful day thus far! Jo and I got up just before 5 this morning, started in with the delicious cinnamon rolls and the making of hashbrowns and hot cocoa…so delicious! Here’s our Festivus breakfast: cinnamon rolls, hashbrowns, and fruit with some juice and cocoa…

For the hashbrowns, festivus hashbrownsI simply grated about 3 medium sized potatoes, heated a small amount of olive oil over medium heat..then sprinkled with some sea salt and let them cook, covered for about 20 minutes. I gave them a stir (or if you have the skill-set, you can flip the whole thing in one blow), let them go again until the bottom was browned and served them up with the cinnamon rolls!

festivus 08 breakfast

Now that we’ve arisen from our post-present and breakfast nap, it’s time to begin on lunch! Many more delicious recipes and photos to come shortly!

Happy Holidays!

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Since the caramel bonbons didn’t travel so well for T-day, and my oven is now working..I can go back to my standard travel baked goods. red velvet cakeTypically I’ll do cookies, but when I sent out my 3 choices for secondary holiday dessert (in addition to pecan pie, standard) everyone picked something different, thus I feel an undeniable urge to please everyone – but not at the expense of myself of course. When this urge emerges, I simply cut down the recipes to only have a few of each kind so as not to overwork myself. So, for mother..here’s the Red Velvet mini-cupcakes! Coming soon..for father, Gingerbread mini-cupcakes. And for Jo, the cranberry upside-down cake will be served with the Festivus feast. These treats certainly travel better than the bonbons did…unfortunately, I planned to frost them upon arrival (to ease travel complexity) but they became gobbled up before I could frost them, ergo no completed pictures. So sorry 😉

I made the basic chocolate cupcake recipe from VCTOTW, and went insane with the red food color – I think they turned out nice and pretty! The intention was also for a basic white buttercream, but we can all see how that didn’t turn out! 🙂

Happy Baking!

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So for the holiday, dad requested gingerbread cupcakes in the voting. Well, Jo hates ginger and mom wanted red velvet cake..ergo, making a mini-batch for everyone – I’m a pleaser, what can I say? 🙂 I’ve been wanting to make these for a while, so I opted to have them count as the gingerbread request for Pops! These are the gingerbread oatmeal raisin cookies from Heather at The Liberal Vegan. I did make some alterations, since I don’t like raisins, but what a delicious recipe!! I also halved the recipe, which made about 24 mini (two-bite sized) cookies. Oh, and Mocha enjoyed them too… while they were cooling, I caught her up on the table (which she NEVER does, EVER) working her way through a hearty handful of cookies!


1/4 C canola oil
1/3 C turbinado sugar
1/4 C hemp milk
1.5 TBSP molasses
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 C white whole wheat flour
1/4 C oat flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp all-spice
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 C (1/4 C normal oats, 1/2 C spelt flakes) *note: the spelt flakes turned out delicious, for those that need a 100% gluten-free option in place of oats
1/2 C cranberries


1. Combine oil, milk, sugar, vanilla, molasses and whisk until well blended. In a separate bowl combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, spices and salt and whisk ingredients together well for a few minutes. Add dry ingredients to wet in batches and stir using a spoon until it’s blended. Fold in oats and cranberries.
2. Roll into a round or square-shaped log, wrap in plastic wrap, and chill in fridge overnight. Or immediately do drop cookies: Preheat oven to 350°F and line a baking sheet with parchment. (I cut mine into squares after chilling overnight.) Roll into balls about the size of a walnut and place a few inches apart on a baking sheet. Flatten the balls into disks and then bake for about 10 minutes. Remove and let stand for a few minutes. Transfer to a plate or cooling rack to finish cooling and enjoy!


Happy Baking!

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Festivus 07 cookiesJo and I made these frosted sugar cookies last year for Festivus, Christmas, Hanukkah, Boxing Day, Yule… Whatever you happen to celebrate in the month of December these sugar cookies have it covered! It’s a basic sugar cookie recipe, but what gives them that holiday spirit is the endless hours of decoration involved! Not that it wasn’t fun, but after a few hours…you start to feel as if you’re made of sugar too! 🙂 I opted for a quicker, yet equally festive decoration technique this year. If you want a more low-maintenance holiday cookie, choose sprinkles! Play with different cookie cutter shapes specific to your celebration needs… This recipe makes about a baker’s dozen 3- or 4-inch stars, and can be doubled quite nicely.

sprinkled festivus cookies


1/2 C Earth Balance vegan butter
1/2 C granulated sugar
1/4 C turbinado sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1.5 TBSP hemp milk
egg replacer: 1/8 C mix of canola oil and milk
2-2.25 C oat flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp cream of tartar
decorating sugar, various colors


1. In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients. In another bowl, cream the vegan butter with the sugar. cut sugar cookiesAdd the vanilla, milk, water, and milk/canola combo. At this point the mixture may look a bit clumpy and gross. Put the hand mixer away and add in the dry ingredients to the clumpy mixture, and stir with a wooden spoon to combine to beautiful cookie dough consistency. Adjust the moisture content as needed – you want a firm but soft dough…no tackiness or feeling of being to wet, or so dry that it crumbles apart.
2. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill in fridge for an hour to overnight, or quick chill in the freezer for 20-30 minutes.sprinkle with dec sug If you opt for the quick chill, only work with small batches at a time, leaving the remainder in the freezer to keep chilled. Roll out the dough and cut into desired shapes. Place cut shapes in the freezer (on the baking sheet if need be) while the oven preheats.
3. Preheat oven to 375°F. Sprinkle cookie with decorating sugar in your choice of color just before going in. Bake for 8-10 minutes for a softer cookie, 12 minutes for a crisper cookie. I like the softer cookies, so they’ll poof a bit as seen below, but then they’ll cool to a perfectly soft sugar cookie! I find it best to send in a scout cookie – if it spreads to much, you may need to add more flour and rechill. Let rest on cookie sheet a few minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.

let cool on sheet

Happy Baking!

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Here at the Primate, it’s obvious we’re huge fans of Seinfeld…so why not take part in a Seinfeld Holiday celebration: Festivus! And while Festivus is traditionally celebrated on December 23rd, we choose to celebrate Christmas and Festivus simultaneously on December 25th – just to keep things simple for those participants not otherwise inclined to celebrate something outside the norm of society.

Our Festivus menu is very similar to our T-day menu, but here’s what I plan to organize for the Festivus Feast this year!

5 AM Breakfast: That’s right..I make everyone wake up and open presents before the sun comes up, but the consolation prize is yummy breakfast and hot cocoa! And if someone opts to have “two-fingers” of whiskey on the rocks or a shot of Amaretto in the cocoafinal, fine…it’s Festivus, nobody is here to judge. But beware the Airing of Grievances if you have more than those two fingers 😉

Hot chocolate with Sweet & Sara marshmallows
Cinnamon Rolls

Festivus Feast – late lunch/early dinner:

Baby Spinach Salad with lime & herb dressing
Black Bean Tamales
Mashed Potatoes
Texas Cornbread Dressing
Roasted Corn Salsa
Pico de Gallo
Roasted Green Beans and Carrots with Red Onion
Potato House Rolls
Chianti Classico and Rieslings, per usual

img_2854pico de gallo

Post-coma Dessert:

Cranberry-Upside Down Cake
Pecan Pie à la mode
Vanilla Bean-Bourbon Ice Cream (for la mode) – just add a hearty shot of bourbon into the vanilla ice cream, hoohoo-doggy!

Other things we might be noshing on include Cardamom-Spiced Coffee Cake, a plethora of teas, Sprinkled Festivus cookies, Peppermint Brownies, Red Velvet Cake with White Chocolate Ganache Frosting, Chuy’s Tex-Mex (that’s SOP on a trip to Houston), and possibly fudge and/or pralines.festivushumanfund

Happy Festivus Everyone!!


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