Wednesday, September 9, 2009

BELOVED PEAS & CARROTS: Dealio with the Blogi-o

Hi friends!

I have pressed pause on Peas & Carrots, even though I love it so! I have been directing my focus to my new business, Honeypie Cooking & Events. Cooking classes, parties, & fun for children, teens, adults, & families! Hooray! Please email me if you have any questions, or if you just wanna say hi!

Happy cooking!

Love, Shayna

Sunday, April 12, 2009

TOO-EASY TEMPEH: Craving Simplicity

I don't usually make a grocery list. Generally when shopping for food, I allow myself to go with my instincts (for better and for worse!). Oftentimes my body has a strong sense of what it needs, even though my brain might not always be as attuned. And I just go with it. Lately - tempeh. Week after week, it's been tempeh in the grocery cart. Tempeh in the fridge at home, and tempeh for lunch and dinner.

While I have a few favorite tempeh recipes that I use, I have found my ultimate, no-fuss winner for right now. It makes a great little side, salad topping, sandwich filling, or main star of the meal. And as for now, I haven't gotten tired of it. Probably one reason being that it's so darn easy to make - why stray?

So this is what I do to make this no-hustle-no-hassle-tempeh-extraordinaire:
  • I chop the tempeh up into little or bigger squares.
  • I put the squares in a sauce pan.
  • I throw some stock in there, covering the tempeh. Of course veggie stock is fab, but because I am a non-vegetarian tempeh-eater, I like to do the mix-it-up veggie/non-veggie style and use chicken stock.
  • I add a little salt and pepper, let the mixture boil, then simmer, soaking up all of the stock.
  • Sometimes, if I have enough on hand, I add more stock, and let the tempeh soak up a second round for more flavor.

Because I'm a lemon-lover, I like to squeeze some of that in while it's cooking, but it's not necessary. Some fresh or dried herbs are great too. A bit of grated carrot is a nice touch, giving a dash of color and added flavor, while not veering from the easy factor.

You can spice up this lil' number however you like. It's forgiving and friendly to a range of tastes and options. If only all cravings were such a cinch!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

PRETTY IN PINK: Turnips To Die For

Maybe it's the Cyndi Lauper phase I've been in recently, or maybe it's because hot pink is secretly my favorite color (even though I usually tell people it's yellow). Whatever the reason, I needed to buy hot pink turnips at the farmers' market last week as soon as I saw them. Hot Pink! Turnips? Irresistible!

That sly Mother Earth - luring us to eat our veggies, creating such beauties in amazingly illuminated, near-fluorescent tones. Turning an ordinary day into a day that has me counting down the minutes until I get to eat turnips, she really put a turnip spell on me this time.

Once at home, I did some quick reading to familiarize myself with my new ingredient. I liked learning about how they can be grated raw into salads - an especially good use, I thought, for such magnificent-looking ones as these. It would be a shame to lose any ounce of pinkified pigment to the cooking process. One salad I glanced at called for some grated turnip and grated granny smith apple, yum!

However, since there were no grannies in the house, I decided to go the mashed route. Another turnip fave. I cut up a few turnips, leaving their bright skin unpeeled and untouched. I also quickly chopped half of a peeled celery root that I had in the fridge. I boiled all the veggies until I could pierce them easily with a fork. Then I just drained, added a pat of butter, some salt and pepper, mashed, and they were done. I must say, they were the flirtiest mashed veggie dish that I have ever eaten - blushing a rosy hue. A perfect belated Valentine's side dish.

Flax oil or yogurt would have been a nice substitution for the butter, I thought. And some fresh herbs could have livened it up a smidge. The wheels in my mind turned thinking of all the ways I can accessorize my turnips in the future, whether they be hot pink or not, mashed or unmashed. One thing was clear, a great appreciation of turnips had emerged without a doubt.

The hot pink turnip certainly is a real looker - and mighty fine in the taste department too. Not bad, not bad at all.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


Why do sweet potatoes get to have all the fun? There's room in this town for another orange fry. That's right. Introducing an old friend in a new role: Miss Butternut Squash. Tasty, charming, and unexpected, this seasonal wonder in fry form is sure to add a little umph to the dinner table. Stylish and fun, it won't disappoint.

The butternut squash fry is a pretty simple one to prepare. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Grab your veggie peeler and peel the skin from your squash. The peeler makes this task a cinch! Once your squash is in the nude, chop off its very top and bottom bits. Cut it in half lengthwise, and with a soup spoon, use a little force to quickly scoop out the seeds.

Taking each squash half, sever the round portion from the tall neck. Slice each squash quarter into thin, fry-like pieces. Place the butternut squash fries on a baking sheet and coat with olive oil. Don't be shy with the olive oil - a nice, healthy pour will add a delicious element of fry glam. Now give some good shakes of salt and black pepper. Throw 'em in the oven, and bake for fifteen minutes. Take them out and flip them around with your spatula. Put them back in for another fifteen, and that's it!

Your beautiful fries will be nicely browned, a little caramelized, and impossible not to eat right away. Add another sprinkle of salt and pepper, and a squeeze of fresh lemon or lime if you so desire. These fries give sweet potatoes a run for their money!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

HOMEMADE BREAD: Tender Loving Care for the Bread and for the Baker

Baking your own bread? That's crazy talk! I know, I know, at first, homemade bread might seem like a stretch to the everyday cook - way too time-consuming, and best to be left to the professionals. It sure sounded that way to me at least, and I even used to make my own bread on a regular basis years ago!

But it had been so long since I made bread and I forgot what it entailed. My mind immediately went to wild stories of complicated steps and secret tricks, only for the skilled bakers to master. But when I reeled myself in, I realized that there was no possible way that this was the case. If I made bread regularly when I was just out of my teens, it must not be too intimidating.

That was it - I became convinced that baking bread was going to be my new (old) thing. So I dusted off my trusty bread-baking books, pulled out the flour, yeast, and honey, and got goin' on the bread-ness, with the quickness.

As I mixed the yeast in some water, reviewed a basic recipe, and dipped my measuring cup into the flour, I shook my head thinking, how does this all go again? But it took no time for me to remember. And that's how bread-baking is - if you've done it once, twice, fifty times, or never ever before, your body just knows. Or if it doesn't, it learns fast. Working with the dough is something that feels natural; it's quite possibly something humans were just designed to know how to do.

Bread dough instructions and ingredients vary slightly from one recipe to the next, but the general idea is the same. Mix some stuff up in a bowl, knead it (which in my opinion is one of the best things ever), let it sit, do its thing, and rise for a while. And then, depending on the recipe, you might punch it down (so satisfying), knead the whole blob again (yay!), and let it rise again, before shaping the loaves that will bake in the oven.

As an added bonus, I have found that thanks to my new bread-baking habit, I'm actually getting a lot more done around the house. I have been very productive during the big, 1-hour windows of time that the bread needs between risings and while it's baking. Cranking out that big sink of dishes, completing that project that's been sitting in the corner for a while, and getting some laundry ready are some of the things that I tend to while my dough is rising. Fun times, I know. But without bread to watch, I'm sorry to say, the dishes probably wouldn't get done as fast, the project would still be sitting, and laundry...ha! For this reason alone I'm a big fan of bread-baking.

As far as recipes go, I'm trying different ones on for size, figuring out which I like best, and which ones are the keepers. Right now the books that I am using are The Tassajara Bread Book and The Cheese Board Collective Works.

I'm so glad I've fallen back into the rhythm of baking bread. What comfort just a handful of ingredients, a few hours, and a few side projects can bring!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


I'm just a cupcake girl living in a cupcake world.

What's not to love about these happy delights? They're a sight to see - pretty in their paper tutus, adorned with wild hairdo's of frosting, and halos of sprinkled gems. I admire how cupcakes of all types are party-ready at every moment, always equipped with their sweet and stylish sensibility.

The cupcakes that I enjoy to make and to eat consist both of the butter, eggs, and cream versions, as well as the butter-less, egg-less, soy milk varieties. I am proud to say that I run an inclusive, non-judgemental, welcoming cupcake-loving home. I'm no vegan by any means, but I have become a great fan of two vegan baketresses from Brooklyn. Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World is the cupcake book of cupcake books, written by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero. I love it so much - it speaks to the cupcake-maker in me.

Chocolate Cupcake Ingredients
  • 1 cup soy milk
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract, chocolate extract, or more vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
Cupcake Directions
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place cupcake liners in a muffin tin. Whisk together the milk and soy milk in a large bowl, and set aside for a few minutes to curdle. Add in the sugar, oil, and extracts, and whisk until foamy. In another bowl, sift together the remaining dry ingredients. Add the dry ingredients to the wet mixture in two batches. Beat until no large lumps remain (but a few small lumps are ok). Pour the batter into the cupcake liners, filling 3/4 of the way full. Bake 18-20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Transfer to a cooling rack, and let cool completely before frosting them.

Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting Ingredients
  • 1/4 cup nonhydrogenated margarine, softened
  • 1/4 cup vegan cream cheese, softened
  • 1 ounce bittersweet chocolate squares or chips
  • 2 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Frosting Directions
Melt the chocolate in a double boiler. Make your own double boiler by placing a small metal bowl in a pot half-filled of lightly boiling water. Cream together the margarine, cream cheese, and melted chocolate until just combined. Use a handheld mixer to whip while adding the confectioners' sugar in 1/2 cup batches. Mix until smooth and creamy, and then mix in the vanilla. Cover tightly and keep refrigerated until ready to use.

Now the fun part - decorating! Enjoy smearing frosting and sprinkling sprinkles. Those babies are gonna look good enough to eat!

And in the cupcake-party spirit, a little song to sing inbetween bites (Madonna-inspired)...
Living in a cupcake world -
-And I am a cupcake girl.
You know that we are living in a cupcake world-
-And I am a cupcake girl.

Recipe copyright 2006 by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


This time of year, pumpkins and winter squash are all the rage. Delicious in pies, soups, curries, and stews, it's hard to imagine cooking during the fall without using these gorgeous gourds.

Like the prize in your cereal box, pumpkins and winter squash come complete with a lil' something extra. They're generously filled with seeds that are wonderful when roasted. That's right, you get to have your squash and eat the seeds too!

While pumpkins seem to have the monopoly on roasted seeds, they're not the only seeds in the biz. Try roasting the seeds from your butternut, acorn, or kabocha squash, as well as any other winter squash that you like, for an equally satisfying delight.

This is my method for roasting pumpkin or winter squash seeds:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Scoop out all of the seeds from the inside of the squash. Remove as much of the flesh as possible. Give the seeds a good couple rounds of rinses, draining after each, until they look and feel very clean, with as much of the pulp gone as possible. Pat them dry with either a paper towel or a cloth towel, but don't spend too much time trying to dry them. Put them on a roasting pan, add a nice slug of olive oil, a shake or two of salt and pepper, and mix. Sometimes I like to add other spices and seasonings, depending on my mood. Perhaps a little cinnamon and nutmeg, or some fennel seeds, or maybe a little cayenne, or sometimes a dash of sugar. Whatever sounds good to you will probably taste delish on your roasted pumpkin or squash seeds. Pop them in the oven and give them a little toss every five-ten minutes or so. Take them out in about fifteen-twenty minutes, or once they're browned. Yum!

So get crackin' on your winter squash! Crack 'em open, eat 'em up, and toast up those seeds for a one-of-a-kind, two-for-one food!