Eat well. You owe it to yourself.

Month: February, 2013

Edamame, Corn, and White Bean Salad

Candace Cooks: Edamame, Corn, and White Bean Salad

Last Friday, a friend of mine made some really awesome vegetarian nachos. They had cheese and corn and edamame and cumin and garlic and man, they were good. Since then, I hadn’t been able to get idea of an edamame and corn salad out of my head. But it couldn’t just be those two things; I also wanted it to have bit of heft, a source of protein. I wanted it to have crunch and color, a slight acidity and a subtle heat. I wanted it to ooze of summer and outdoor barbeques and fresh food, something that feels so far away here in Springfield, MO, where we are experiencing an odd thunder/sleet/ice storm.

Candace Cooks: Edamame, Corn, and White Bean Salad

So, late last night, with the cold settling in, I made this and stuck it in the fridge until morning. I had tried a few bites the night before, for research purposes – I am committed to the scientific process and stuff, guys – but it wasn’t until lunch that I sat down with a bowl of it. It was, in a word, awesome. In many other words, it was the type of food that transports you from your current cold, icy existence to sunshiny picnics where you eat drippy watermelon and swat away mosquitoes.

Candace Cooks: Edamame, Corn, and White Bean Salad

Something cool about this salad is that it’s vegan and gluten-free, perfect to bring to those aforementioned barbeques that can be a minefield for those with special dietary needs. If you’re one of those people, put this recipe in your regular rotation. If you’re not, make this and share with a friend who is. They’ll love you forever. (At least I would.)

Candace Cooks: Edamame, Corn, and White Bean Salad

Edamame, Corn, and White Bean Salad

Serves 8, generously

1 cup black rice (wild rice), dry

1 lb. edamame, shelled

12 oz. frozen or fresh corn

1 15 oz can cannellini beans (white kidney beans), drained and rinsed

½ large or one small red onion, finely chopped

¼ – 1 jalapeño pepper, finely diced

3 tablespoons olive oil

Juice of 2-3 limes

2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped

1 teaspoon salt, or to taste

Cook your rice according to the directions on the package.

Boil or steam your edamame and corn. The edamame I bought was frozen and steam in the package, which made things easy. If you have fresh edamame, use these instructions. For the corn, if it’s fresh, I’d boil it. I, again, bought it frozen (Thanks, winter produce!) so I just used the microwave instructions on the package.

When the rice, edamame, and corn are all cooked, combine them in a large bowl with the beans, jalapeño, and onion. Toss with olive oil, lime juice, cilantro, and salt. Add more jalapeño, lime, cilantro, or salt to taste.

Eat right away, or store in the fridge until chilled, no need to reheat.

Variations: Add feta cheese or avocado, experiment with different kinds of beans and peppers.

Molasses Spice Cookies

Do you have any go-to recipes that you make over and over until you almost have them memorized? I do, but not for ordinary, standard things. I don’t have a go-to chocolate chip cookie recipe, or whole wheat bread, or grilled chicken, or blueberry muffin recipe. I have ones for broccoli, challah bread, (maybe I’ll share that soon!) chickpea salad sandwiches, and these molasses cookies.

Candace Cooks: Molasses Spice Cookies

Candace Cooks: Molasses Spice Cookies

I’ve made these more times than I can count over the last few years. They come together quickly, there’s no fancy ingredients, and they are a crowd-pleaser. They are simple without being uninteresting, gently spiced, and an absolute revelation warm and fresh out of the oven with an cold glass of milk. I believe this so strongly that I recommend that if you know you’re not going to eat the whole batch right away, bake a few and keep the dough refrigerated for up to 3 days, frozen for more, baking as needed.

Candace Cooks: Molasses Spice Cookies

Can we talk for a minute about cookie texture? I think these hit the mark. I don’t like cakey, puffy cookies, nor hard, crisp ones. Instead, these cookies are slightly gooey in the middle and crisp on the edges – perfection in my book. But don’t trust my opinion. Try them out for yourself.

Candace Cooks: Molasses Spice Cookies

Molasses Spice Cookies

Makes 25-30

Adapted ever so slightly from The New Best Recipes Cookbook (Cook’s Illustrated)

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

3/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

12 tablespoons (1 1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened

1/2 cup brown sugar, packed

1/2 cup granulated sugar, plus more for rolling

1 large egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/3 cup unsulphured molasses

Preheat oven to 375˚.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, and spices and set aside.

In another medium bowl, cream butter and sugars until fluffy. Add the egg, vanilla, and molasses and continue stirring. Pro-tip: Oil your measuring cup to insure the molasses will come out easily and completely.

Stir in the dry ingredients until just combined.

Pour granulated sugar onto a plate, maybe about 1/3-1/2 cup. Now, take a small amount of dough in your hand and roll it into a 1 1/2 inch ball, and roll into the sugar, and place on the cookie sheet 2 inches apart. It is easier to roll the cookies if you let the dough chill in the fridge for 20-30 minutes, but it won’t hurt anything not to do that. Sometimes you just can’t wait!

Bake for 10-12 minutes (I found 11 to be perfect) until brown and crackled on top. Let them sit on the pan for 2 minutes, then remove. Store in an airtight container if not eating immediately.

Note on the spices: Because it’s what I had on hand, I used fresh grated ginger this time around, which added a heat to it that ground ginger lacks. It’s good either way, but if you’re using fresh ginger knock it down to 1/4 or 1/2 teaspoon.

Roasted Red Pepper & Feta Chicken Burgers

This post marks two things in the history of this blog: the second month of blogging (whoo, sticking to it!) and my first recipe using meat. The truth is, while I’m not a vegetarian, I eat very little meat when I’m cooking for myself. It’s expensive, the raw stuff kind of grosses me out, and sometimes meat is just not what it’s cracked up to be. (Don’t tell Ron Swanson.)


But I recently remembered some chicken burgers I’d made last year, with salty feta cheese and Italian dressing, and I wanted to recreate it, but with more flavor and all-natural ingredients. It seemed like a good recipe for these cold winter months, reminiscent of summer without having to pull out a grill in the freezing cold air.



These burgers turned out even better than I expected. It’s one of my favorite meals I’ve made in a while, filling and flavorful and different. It seems like a lot of steps, but it really comes together pretty easily and the results are so very worth it. You should make it tonight.


Roasted Red Pepper and Feta Chicken Burgers

Makes 8 burgers

1 red pepper

1 large piece of bread

1/3 cup milk

1 lb. ground chicken (You can also substitute turkey if you wish)

1 egg, lightly beaten

½ onion, chopped

1-2 cloves of garlic, minced

1 tsp olive oil

½ cup feta cheese

To roast the red pepper, turn your oven to broil and place the pepper on a baking pan on the top rack, flipping every 5 minutes until it is black and charred. While it’s cooking, tear your bread (it can be totally stale, that’s fine) into small pieces into a bowl and pour the milk over. To be honest, I didn’t measure; I just poured the milk over until all of the bread was soaked.

Cut the pepper in half and deseed, then gently peel the skin off – I was able to do this with my fingers – and chop into small pieces. Set aside.

Heat a teaspoon of olive oil in small pan and sauté the onions and garlic until soft and slightly browned.

Drain excess milk from bread. In a large bowl, mix all ingredients until combined. It will look gross. Be thankful I didn’t take any pictures of this.

Heat a large frying pan with a touch of olive oil on medium heat. Scoop the chicken mixture by 1/3 cup and drop onto the pan. Using your spatula, flatten it until it’s about three inches in diameter. Cook for 2 ½ – 3 minutes on each side. If desired, let rest in the pan, away from heat, for about two minutes for extra flavor and juiciness.

Serving suggestions: I served mine on a toasted bun with spring mix and avocado smashed with lime juice and garlic salt. I imagine that caramelized onions, spinach, sautéed mushrooms, bacon, or a myriad of other things would be delicious on this.