Peoplewhoeat’s Weblog

June 25, 2008

Pico de Gallo: Fresh Salsa

Filed under: Appetizer, Healthy, Quick cook, Snacks, Vegetarian — Tags: , , , , — peoplewhoeat @ 8:06 pm

Salsa doesn’t have to come from a jar at the store!  It’s delicious when you make it yourself, and is a good way to use garden tomatoes when an onslaught comes. 

You can obviously increase the quantity easily, but I’m giving proportions for one normal-sized tomato.

1 fresh tomato
1/2 onion (I prefer red) (optional)
1 clove garlic
1 TBSP cilantro
1 TSP salt
juice of 1/2 lemon (can use lime, too)
a dash of hot sauce or a chopped chipotle pepper

Cut everything up and throw it in a bowl.  Simple and tasty.  You can experiment with some additions for fun;  my mom sometimes adds mango, and it’s delicious.  Use it just like salsa from the jar; dip in tortilla chips, or add to tacos or burritos.



June 24, 2008

Black beans and rice

Filed under: Dinner, Healthy, Light lunch, Vegetarian — Tags: , , — peoplewhoeat @ 8:47 pm

This rather marvellous dish was introduced to me by Emma. As delicious as it is lovely to look at, it, like many one-pot meals, improves with age.

Black beans and rice

Serves about 4 – 5

about 250g black beans, soaked for six hours
about 250g rice
about 1 red capsicum, chopped finely
2 cloves garlic, chopped finely
1 onion, chopped finely
2 tomatoes, diced

Boil beans for ten minutes and then simmer for about 50 minutes, until cooked. Black beans need to be boiled for ten minutes at least to destroy the toxins.

Suate onion, garlic and capsicum until slightly soft. Add tomato.

Add black beans, raw rice and water (a bit more than you would normally use to cook the same amount of rice). Simmer for 20 – 40 minutes – however long it takes for the rice to cook through. Not all of the water should be absorbed, though…

Serve with hot sauce.

Eat well…life is too short not to!


June 22, 2008

Pasta Salad Nicoise

Filed under: Dinner, Light lunch — Tags: , , , , , , , — peoplewhoeat @ 6:03 pm

This has been my favorite summer dinner since I was little.  It involves lots of chopping, but really isn’t hard other than that.

1/2 pound seashell pasta
2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
1/2 pound blanched green beans
14 oz. canned tuna fish
1 cup sliced red Bell peppers
1 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup scallions
1/2 cup kalamata olives, pitted and sliced

It looks very pretty if you layer these in a glass bowl, and toss it at the table. 

1 egg
1 cup corn oil
1/4 cup wine vinegar
1/4 tsp sugar
1 Tbsp. minced parsley
2 Tbsp. fresh dill
1 tsp. dried basil
1 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
2 oz. anchovies with oil, or a squeeze of anchovie paste

Beat the egg, than gradually add the oil before adding other ingredients.  Pour atop the salad, and toss.


June 16, 2008

Something on the side

Filed under: Healthy, Light lunch, Side dish, Vegetarian — Tags: , , , , — peoplewhoeat @ 1:38 am

Everyone needs their little bit on the side. Side dish, I mean. Stuffed capsicums are a sunny, summery side which are delicious and flavourful. What I really like about them, apart from their simplicity, is that they are robust and present beautifully. Their strong, though not overwhelming, flavour means they can stand up to whatever other mains you provide – I think they would be marvellous with plainly grilled meat or steak (mm…steak) – but they are also filling enough for any vegetarians you may be catering for (as a former vegetarian, I can attest that a little thoughtfulness in this area is much appreciated!).

The recipe below reflects what I did. The recipe easily stretches and measurements are versatile. My capiscums were somewhat small and I had a little zuchinni left over; you could use more capiscum or different stuffings. I considered adding a topping of dried breadcrumbs and cheese to add a little crunch!

Zuchinni-stuffed capiscums

4 capiscum, halved, with the stalk and white pith and seeds inside removed (I halved either lengthways or sideways depending on which side seemed most stable; generally I would say halve the capsicum along the width)
1 zuchinni, grated using the largest holes on a box grater
Pinch dried thyme and dried basil
4 tomatoes, diced
2 – 4 tablespoons parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius and oil a baking sheet.

Combine zuchinni and dried herbs. Stuff inside hollowed-out capsicum halves.

Place diced tomatoes on top of zuchinni inside the capsicum halves.

Sprinkle with parmesan.

Place on oiled baking sheet.

Bake until filling is cooked and capsicum are soft but not collapsed, about 20 – 30 minutes depending on the size of your beasts.

Eat well…life is too short not to!


June 14, 2008

Baked Pears

Filed under: Dessert, Healthy — Tags: , , , , , , — peoplewhoeat @ 9:34 am

One of my family’s favorite desserts are baked pears.  Mom makes them stuffed with hazelnuts, with a syrupy coating that I think involves apple juice and maple syrup.  As a student, I had none of these three ingredients, but thought a baked pear would hit the spot.  My version isn’t quite as good as Mom’s, but it uses more store cupboard ingredients.

Store Cupboard Baked Pears:

1 pear, halved and with the seeds and woody bit removed

1 TBSP butter
1 TBSP brown sugar
2 TBSP oats

To serve:
milk, cream, or ice cream, depending on what level of dessert you’re going for

After removing the woody parts from the pear, you’ll be left with a little hollow in each half.  Fill these hollows with the oat mixture.  Pile on as much more oat mixture as is structurally possible.  Put the halves of pear in a baking dish, and bake at about 300 F for about 20 minutes, or until the pear gets soft and the topping gets golden.


June 12, 2008

Parmesan potato wedges

Filed under: Appetizer, comfort food, Snacks, Vegetarian — Tags: , , , , , — peoplewhoeat @ 12:34 pm

These were both simple and delicious. I adapted the original recipe a little to be more convenient for me (e.g. it’s not easy for me to use only eggwhites, so I used a whole egg). It was very tasty and a delicious and super-simple accompaniment to some stuffed baked peppers (recipe soon!). It would also be a really nice side to something like roast or meatloaf.

Parmesan potato wedges

6 potatoes, cut into about 6 wedges each
1 whole egg, beaten
finely grated parmesan, about 3/4 cup

Preheat oven to 220 degrees celsius. Oil a baking sheet. Toss the potatoes wedges into the beaten egg (you may need more) and place on baking sheet. Sprinkle parmesan over the wedges and bake until the potatoes are soft, about 30 minutes.

Original recipe here.

Eat well…life is too short not to!


June 11, 2008

Lasagna of love

Filed under: comfort food, Dinner — Tags: , , — peoplewhoeat @ 11:18 am

No photo because we devoured this. The lasagna recipe below is a take on this one, which I changed slightly to take into account different ingredients and to serve more people. We are clearly hungry people, because my version, which virtually doubled the recipe, was shared between four.

As to the baking medium: Martha recommends (for her recipe, which is half of mine) an 8×8 inch square baking dish. I used a large round casserole dish which was very deep.

Healthier lasagna

10 lasagna sheets, soaked in a bowl of hot water to soften (NB: you may need more or less sheets. Ten was what worked for me)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium-to-large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 zucchinni, cut into half-inch chunks
500g ground beef
about 9 tablespoons tomato puree
300g cottage cheese
125g ball mozzarella, shredded
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons finely grated parmesan, plus more to serve

Preheat oven to 190 degrees celcius.

Heat oil over medium-high in a heavy pot with a lid. Add onion, zucchinni and garlic (I don’t have a large pot so I did it in batches, which worked fine). Cover. Cook, stirring occassionally, until zucchinni chunks are tender, about ten minutes. Add ground meat. Cook it until no longer pink, breaking it up with a spoon . Add tomato puree and cook until thickened, 3 – 5 minutes. I also threw in one fresh tomato towards the end

Combine cottage cheese and 1/4 cup parmesan in a bowl.

Remove noodles from baking dish. Discard water.

Spread about 1/3 of the meat mixture in the bottom of the dish and cover with noodles. Spread 1/3 of the cheese mixture over the noodles. Do this twice more (1/3 meat, noodles, cheese each). Sprinkle with mozzarella and remaining 2 tablespoons parmesan.

Bake for about 30 – 35 minutes, until lasagna is bubbling and cheese topping is golden. Let stand about ten minutes before cutting and serving.

Eat well…because life is too short not to!

Sicilian pasta

Filed under: Dinner, Healthy, Light lunch, Quick cook — Tags: , , , , — peoplewhoeat @ 1:44 am

I didn’t expect this recipe to be as good as it was. I’d never eaten anchovies before, but I’ve resolved to be more adventurous in my eating habits, so I tried not to let my apprehensions stop me; besides, I was cooking for two, and this looked simple and quick… Still, when I was frying the anchovies and garlic, I was feeling nervous and started to wonder if my friend would be able to polish off most of the pasta…

I tasted it to check the seasoning and started eating out of the serving bowl. If not for the fact that I’d had two square meals prior, I could have eaten the whole bowl. Something about the combination of anchovy, parsley and parmesan drove me completely wild. This is delicious. This is beyond super-speedy. This is extremely, extremely cheap. This is based on store-cupboard staples and a bit of parsley. And it is wonderful.

Sicilian pasta

What I made would serve four (I have leftovers)

I used about 250g pasta
3 cloves garlic, smashed and chopped finely
50g tin anchovies, drained of oil and rinsed, chopped fine
About 1 cup breadcrumbs, preferably fresh (I didn’t measure; it was a couple of handfuls).
About 1 cup parsley, chopped finely
about 50g freshly grated parmesan, grated finely
4 tablespoons olive oil (didn’t have any; used vegetable oil and a little butter for flavour, which worked fine)

Cook pasta. While cooking, heat oil in a frying pan and throw in garlic and anchovies. Cook for a couple of minutes, stirring constantly. Smush up the anchovies as much as you can; they do something magical and seem to simply melt away…

Throw in the breadcrumbs. Take off the heat. Add the parsley. Toss.

Drain pasta, but not too completely (there should be a little cooking water included to prevent the breadcrumbs-sauce from becoming too dry). Throw pasta in frying pan and toss through.

Transfer to serving bowl. Scatter over parmesan and toss to distribute it evenly. I did this in a couple of batches so that it transferred evenly.

Eat well!


PS original recipe here

June 8, 2008

Cyber salad

Filed under: Dinner, Light lunch — Tags: , , , , , , — peoplewhoeat @ 3:15 pm

Because it’s exam season, none of us have been paying as much attention to cooking as we usually do. That doesn’t mean I haven’t had some truly spectacular meals – it just means I haven’t bothered to photograph them. In the interests of the historical record, however, here are a few links with recipes I’ve tried and loved in the past month of slog and worry.

Korean beef stew

A wonderful recipe. I used 500g (about a pound) of casserole steak which came diced into cubes and halved the rest of the recipe (more or less – see below for my modest variations).

I used small, hot peppers I bought at the grcoery store, unlikely to be jalapeno. I used a packet, which was three or four peppers.

I added about five cloves of peeled garlic at the beginning of the cooking process, adding three or four more after about an hour of cooking. This was not too much garlic! The garlic softened and sweetened deliciously.

Because I don’t like my food to be excessively sweet (even in those salty-sour-sweet combos, the sweetness often puts me off), I used 1/2 cup of soy and under 1/2 cup brown sugar (just over 1/4 I reckon).

I also added about a cup of water at the beginning of the cooking process and stewed it over moderate heat for ages. The original recipe says the meat should not be ‘falling apart’, but I prefer it to be tender and melting, so I let it cook for about half a day.

I served the stew with sliced cucumber and tomatoes. If I’d had sesame seeds and sesame oil, I’d have served this salad alongside.

Walnut-crusted chicken breasts

I rarely mess with one of Ms Martha’s recipes, although I did use only 2 chicken breasts. I used the same amount of topping nonetheless and a whole egg rather than an egg white. I used either olive or vegetable oil instead of grapeseed. This was wonderful. I served some to various friends who were disappointed when there wasn’t more. I was, too!


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