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Rice Cooker Mexican Rice

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Pickles in a Blanket

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Japanese Cucumber Salad (Sunomono)

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Quinoa Fig Salad with Apple Vinaigrette

Quinoa Fig Salad with Apple Vinaigrette

Quinoa Fig Salad with Apple Vinaigrette. Topped with dried cherries, walnuts and gorgonzola.

Quinoa Fig Salad with Apple Vinaigrette. Topped with dried cherries, walnuts and gorgonzola.

Over the weekend my family visited my Aunt and Uncle’s. They have a beautiful garden with tons of vegetables and fruit trees. We were so lucky to be able to bring home bags of fresh, organic produce. I found tasty ways to use all of it. Today’s recipe showcases their delectable figs. I grew up with a fig tree in my parent’s yard, and I absolutely love to eat them freshly picked, all on their own. I wanted to do something special with these figs though, and naturally a salad was the first thing that came to mind. I thought about one of my all time favorite salads, one that Trader Joe’s used to sell, but has discontinued. *wipes tear*  It was a mixed green salad with pears, dried cherries, gorgonzola cheese and a champagne vinaigrette (I think those were the ingredients). I also wanted to make this salad heartier… something that would fill me like a meal, so I added quinoa. This delicious salad was born, and just as important, was the creation of this wonderful apple vinaigrette, which I plan to use on many other salads in the future. If you wish to make this salad vegan, simply leave out the cheese. read more…

Banana Split Eclair Parfaits

Banana Split Eclair Parfaits

Banana Split Eclair Parfaits. Banana pudding, real cream and fresh fruit.

Three things inspired this dessert recipe: my mom’s Eclaire Cake, this organic banana pudding I found at Sprouts, and my love of banana splits, of course.  If you have ever had eclair cake, you might be familiar with how the graham crackers turn a little soggy from sitting in the pudding, and they take the place of the delicate puff pastry shells of a traditional eclair. The softened crackers fool the palate quite well. If you desire, graham crackers can be found gluten free. When you make this, you can use cool whip, but I used heavy whipping cream. Furthermore, fruit preserves or sundae toppings can be used in place of fresh fruit.  Next time you’re in the mood for a banana split, but want to mix things up a bit… or you just don’t want your dessert to melt quickly in the heat, whip these up instead! read more…

Japanese Cucumber Salad

Japanese Cucumber Salad

Japanese Cucumber Salad (Sunomono). Simple, cool and delicious.

It’s hot. Have I mentioned that? This is normal for Northern California, but I never  truly adjust to it. I have lived here all my life, and you would think that the heat would be something I would tolerate, simply because this is normal. Wrong! The heat seems to become less tolerable with each passing year, and I don’t think the climate has really changed much. One way I beat the heat, is by making salads often. Another food that I enjoy in warm weather (any time of year, actually) is Japanese food. Have you ever noticed that there are not too many heat-up-the-house-with-the-oven dishes found in Japanese cuisine? They know how to ‘cook’ for hot weather, so I take many tips from them. Makes it so much easier to follow their diet when their food is absolutely delicious to boot. This cucumber salad, or Sunomono in Japanese, is one of the great recipes I make when I want something cool. This simple salad works great as a side dish or salad with any meal, not just a Japanese one.  read more…

Zucchini Yogurt Dip

Zucchini Yogurt Dip

Zucchini Yogurt Dip. Cool, minty, garlicy, and delicious.

Eggplant Yogurt dip, or Kashkeh Bademjan, is another wonderful dish that my mother-in-law makes. This Persian dip is savory, cool, unique and oh so flavorful. I was craving it the other day, but I did not have any eggplants on hand. I did, however, have some zucchinis. In my mind, they would work as a perfect substitute, and I was…. correct-a-mundo! This dip turned out fantastic and delicious. It simply starts out with some grilled (or roasted) zucchini and then blends with yogurt and mint. Deeply caramelized onion and garlic tops this off and makes it delectable. read more…

Macaroni and Cheese

Macaroni and Cheese

Macaroni and Cheese. Gluten free... or regular... if you wish.

Macaroni and Cheese. Gluten free… or regular… if you wish.

If you Google ‘Macaroni and Cheese’ you will find thousands of recipes for it. Most of the recipes you find will be very similar… unless, of course, you are looking for a dairy free or vegan version, such as my Free Fettucini Alfredo. 😉  Anyway, I knew I wasn’t going to blow anyone’s socks off with a new and improved mac -n- cheese recipe, but I do want to share with you a gluten free version. Making this gluten free is so simple, you only need to switch out one ingredient… two, if you count the macaroni. read more…

Chocolate Muffins

Chocolate Muffins

Chocolate Muffins. A copycat version of Costco's, with gluten free flour.

I’m sitting here thinking of a good title for this recipe (chocolate muffins is so boring)…. Chocolate Chocolate Chip Muffins, Devil’s Food Cake Muffins, Costco Copycat Chocolate Muffins, Gluten Free Chocolate Muffins, Death By Chocolate Muffins, Heavenly Chocolate Muffins…. OK, I’m getting tired of typing Chocolate Muffins… That is simply what they are, and the title I settled on says what it needs to.  I like to emphasize the label, ‘muffins’. Muffins typically contain less sugar than cupcakes and they are not normally topped with frosting, as cupcakes are.  When you eat these, you may be thinking “these cupcakes are soooo goooood”, but don’t forget that they are a tiny bit better for you. 😉 read more…

Tex Mex Salad

Tex Mex Salad

Tex Mex Salad with Cumin-Yogurt Dressing

Tex Mex Salad with Cumin-Yogurt Dressing

 I don’t want to bake today, nor cook…. This happens a lot in the summer. I just want something quick, tasty and cool. This salad fills the bill and solves the ‘no burners today’ problem.  The seasonings in this simple yogurt dressing are simple and classic: cumin, lime, garlic and honey.  I love those flavors together, I use them in my Fajita Marinade as well. This dressing can be made vegan if you use vegan yogurt, and agave syrup in place of the honey. read more…

Layered Jello with Yogurt

Layered Jello with Yogurt

Layered Jello with yogurt in the white layer. Use any color combo!

Layered Jello with yogurt in the white layer. Use any color combo!

I’m a big fan of jello recipes. Not plain jello…..  layered jello, jello with marshmallows, jello with whipped cream and all sorts of indulgent add-ins. I even like fruit mixed in… sometimes… depends on the fruit… and my mood. 😉  Jello reminds me of childhood, and I feel like a kid when I’m eating it. Naturally, nostalgic memories create child-like cravings. Three holidays come to mind when I think of fun jello recipes: Easter, 4th of July, and Thanksgiving. As you can probably tell, I made these for the 4th of July. This recipe uses yogurt in the white layer, instead of sweetened condensed milk. I personally like the flavor of the vanilla yogurt much more than the flavorless milk. I also really like the fact that the yogurt is healthier. read more…

Shrimp Tacos with Avocado Salsa Verde

Shrimp Tacos with Avocado Salsa Verde

Shrimp Tacos with Avocado Salsa Verde

Summer ‘vacation’ is in full swing. If you are a parent, you probably understand that summer is a vacation for the kids, but certainly not one for yourself. It can be a task, keeping your children occupied, keeping their pre-adolescent bellies full, and cleaning up after them more than any other time of year. Adding to the harried summer days, is the unbearable heat that is common in Northern California. We try to get away when we can, such as camping and other short trips, but it is difficult and time consuming, both preparing for departure, and coming home to clean-up. So, my blog has suffered, as it has been put on the back burner. I have made quite a few great recipes and have snapped some pictures and cataloged them, but haven’t had the time to post them here. Today, I will share one of my recent meals: Shrimp Tacos. read more…

Thousand Island Dressing

Thousand Island Dressing

Thousand Island Dressing. Made with ketchup, mayonnaise and relish. (Vegan options).

I have some fond memories connected to Thousand Island Dressing. Odd….. Well, no, it’s not odd. All the recipes posted here are connected to a fond memory. I am comforted by all of these recipes because they are tied to positive emotion.  Whether that emotion came from a childhood memory, or feeling good about putting something healthy in my body, or because I was privileged to be eating such diverse wonderful flavors from different cultures. Thousand Island dressing was part of my childhood. I remember going out to eat with my mother and grandfather at buffet style restaurants (King’s Table is one that stands out in my mind the most). At the salad bar, I would fill my salad plate with croutons and Thousand Island dressing…. that is all. I don’t even remember eating anything else, other than possibly corn or mashed potatoes. Besides the buffets, I also remember that my grandfather’s favorite dressing was Thousand Island, and my mom would always have a jar of her homemade recipe on hand for him. He ate with us every Sunday for spaghetti lunch (a tradition my parents continue today) and always used her dressing on his salad. In honor of my mother and grandfather, I am posting her recipe. read more…

Crock Pot Oatmeal

Crock Pot Oatmeal

Crock Pot Oatmeal. Throw it all in the pot at night, wake up to breakfast!

Here is a simple one! Throw a few ingredients in a crock pot at night, and wake up to breakfast- already made. Sweet! This even beats emptying a dry packet of instant oatmeal and waiting 2 minutes for it to cook. This oatmeal is literally only a few seconds, and a spoonful away. It may seem as though this recipe calls for a lot of liquid (4 cups to one cup oatmeal), but it really is necessary, since it sits for so long in a crock pot. You may want to adjust your liquid depending on exactly how long you plan on cooking it. For instance: Using 3 cups of liquid per cup of oatmeal should only be a 6 hour spell. If you want to leave the oatmeal in the crock pot for 8 hours or longer, you definitely need 4 cups of liquid. I have made this plain and with bananas. The bananas darken the oatmeal a bit and make it taste like banana bread. I think I prefer it plain, because then individual servings can be customized however one likes. Sometimes I put fresh fruit on top of mine, sometimes raisins and other dried fruits. Other times I like it plain with a little milk and honey. Customize this recipe to your hearts content! read more…

Chewy Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chewy Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies. Uses my gluten free flour mix!

I’m currently on a peanut butter kick. I’ve been enjoying it on rice cakes, celery, toast… and I would love to have some in a cookie. I always like peanut butter, but it is not my favorite. Sometimes I just get a craving, and I must satisfy it. I crave it, I eat it, I am comforted!… Hence, the blog titled ‘Comfort Food Infusion’… 🙂 I made a half batch of this and it yielded over 30 cookies. They are chewy, peanut buttery, and have the perfect amount of sweetness. These delightfully delicious cookies have satisfied my craving, as well as the rest of my families’. They are simple and quick to make… but, they will be gone in a flash! read more…

Loaded Baked Potato Bites

Loaded Baked Potato Bites

Loaded Baked Potato Bites. Baby yellow potatoes topped with vegan meat crumbles and cheddar.

A few years back, a friend of mine, Jennifer, made some baked potato skin appetizers for a party. I think they lasted like 5 minutes or something. I was able to get my hands on one, and they were delicious. She kindly passed the recipe on to me and I have made them a few time since, and they are always a hit. I decided to change the recipe up a bit: swap out a couple of ingredients and make them a little smaller. One of the changes, was using my nutmeat recipe in place of the Morning Star Farms brand of meat substitute. They turned out so tasty and addicting. You don’t realize that you just popped 10 in your mouth in the last 5 minutes… suddenly the plate is empty. You could use vegan cheddar in this. You could also use ground beef in place of non-meat crumbles. Whatever floats your boat! read more…

Sushi Rolls

Sushi Rolls

Sushi rolls filled with egg (tamagoyaki), carrots and shitake mushrooms.

Sushi rolls filled with egg (tamagoyaki), carrots and shitake mushrooms.

su·shi  noun /ˈso͞oSHē/
A Japanese dish consisting of small balls or rolls of vinegar-flavored cold cooked rice served with a garnish of vegetables, egg, cooked meats, or raw or cooked fish.

Just thought I would add that definition, because, for some reason, the word sushi has become associated with raw fish. Understandably so, after all, sushi does contain raw fish on many occasions. If I am not mistaken, sashimi is the correct term for raw fish. I was introduced to sushi rolls at a young age, and they did not contain raw fish. A close family friend, Toshi would make them on occasion, and I remember the ingredients as follows: egg (tamagoyaki), carrots, possibly cucumber or avocado, and marinated mushrooms (or was it kampyo… can’t remember). When I first attempted to make my own sushi rolls, a couple of years ago, It was these ingredients that I used. To this day, these ingredients are still what I crave when I think back on Toshi’s. read more…

Marinated Mushrooms – for sushi rolls

Marinated Mushrooms – for sushi rolls

Marinated Shiitake Mushrooms for Sushi Rolls

Marinated Shiitake Mushrooms for Sushi Rolls

 

 

 

 

 

 These marinated shiitake mushrooms are perfect for sushi rolls. Start with dry shiitake, rehydrate, and quickly marinate in sugar, soy sauce and mirin.

 

 

Ingredients:
 4 dried shiitake mushrooms
 1 Tbsp. sugar
 3 Tbsp. soy sauce (or tamari for gluten free)
 2 Tbsp. mirin

Directions:
 Cover mushrooms with 2/3 cup boiling water and let soak for 20 minutes. Pour into a strainer and reserve the liquid for later. Rinse mushrooms and remove stems. Bring mushroom soaking water, sugar, soy sauce (or tamari) and mirin to a boil. Add the mushrooms to boiling broth and let simmer for 10 minutes. Drain and let them drip dry (or place on a towel to dry quicker). Cut mushrooms into strips. Use for sushi rolls.

 

Japanese Omelet  (Tamagoyaki)

Japanese Omelet (Tamagoyaki)

Japanese Omelet- Tamagoyaki.

Japanese Omelet- Tamagoyaki. Simple, oven baked version. Use in sushi rolls or eat it on its own.

How many of you like Japanese food? I love all types of Japanese food: sushi, tempura, somen, miso, teriyaki, korokke, kuromame, the list goes on and on. I was first introduced to traditional, homemade Japanese food when I was about 6 years old. In first grade, my best friend was Mayumi, and our families spent a lot of time together. Her mother, Toshi is an amazing cook, so I had the privilege of sampling Japanese cuisine from the best source imaginable. The food she made was similar to what you would find in an authentic Japanese restaurant, only better. When she made sushi rolls, I don’t remember California rolls, or spicy tuna, or any of the popular rolls you might find on a menu. I remember rolls filled with egg (tamagoyaki) and carrot and either mushroom or kampyo (can’t remember which… memory is a little fuzzy). So, whenever I make sushi rolls, I make them with Toshi’s version in mind. read more…

Carrot Cupcakes

Carrot Cupcakes

Carrot Cupcakes. Gluten free and vegan. Kid friendly version: no chunks of raisins, nuts or pineapple ;)

My oldest son’s favorite dessert is carrot cake. The first time I made carrot cupcakes was for his second birthday. Twelve years later, I’m still making them for him. He discovered his very favorite version a few years ago at one of his friend’s parties. It does not contain nuts, raisins or pineapple, and most kids might agree that little chunks of hard stuff in their cake is not cool. His friend’s mother, Nancy, kindly passed on the recipe to me. Turns out, it comes from the “Better Homes and Gardens, New Cook Book” .  Because my son is so fond of this recipe, I did not tweak the ingredients at all when I made the cupcakes for his birthday. Although, I did make a second batch and brought it to a school function where there are a number of kids who are gluten, egg, and/or dairy sensitive. The recipe I posted here is the gluten free/vegan version. read more…

Tomato and Corn Pasta Salad

Tomato and Corn Pasta Salad

Tomato and Corn Pasta. Heirloom tomatoes for character, basil and vinegar for flavor.

Tomato and Corn Pasta. Heirloom tomatoes for character, basil and vinegar for flavor.

Here is another great recipe that uses my favorite vegetable, corn, along with heirloom tomatoes. This salad is so similar to one I did a short while back, Corn and Tomato Salad. With the addition of pasta, this becomes a heartier dish, and it is also a popular one for kids. I tripled this recipe and made it for a school function. I used gluten free pasta, but any pasta works fine. I also made this salad vegan, but the option of  topping it with feta cheese is an easy adjustment. Simply serve the feta on the side and it can be added to individual servings. This is another perfect barbeque, potluck, or camping side dish. read more…

Butter Lettuce Salad with Yogurt Dressing

Butter Lettuce Salad with Yogurt Dressing

Butter Lettuce Salad with Yogurt Dressing. An infusion of spring and fall flavors.

A couple weeks ago, I made some Candied Orange Pecans. I had just a few of them left, and decided I wanted to use them on a salad. The pecans have a very fall/winter flavor to them. I felt that a salad of butter lettuce and fall flavors would be perfect for them. I really wasn’t craving a salad with pears though, as the original recipe uses them. Since this is spring and warm weather fruits are those that are in season, I mixed things up a bit. I used strawberries and apples and made this a fall/spring infusion salad. The flavors turned out to complement each other beautifully. This salad was delicious and comforting.  read more…

Welcome to Comfort Food Infusion!

Thank you for stopping by. Here you will find recipes infused with a variety of flavors, cultures, diet choices, and nostalgia. All of these foods bring me comfort and I would like to share them with you. Please feel free to comment. Click the links at the top of the page to follow me on Pinterest, Facebook, or receive posts by email by subscribing to my feeds. ~Ginger

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