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Archive for the ‘Vegetarian’ Category

One of my favorite mostly vegetarian blogs is Branny Boils Over. When I saw her blog and rave about chana masala, I knew it was something that I must try. For some reason the stars just didn’t align on this one and it took me months to finally get around to cooking it. I ended up making the chana masala on a really random night – Brandon was out of town and I had a terrible cold. But for some reason Indian food sounded like something that would warm my soul and make me feel better.

This is the perfect vegetarian dish – tons of flavor and protein and very satisfying. I served the chana masala over brown rice with naan on the side for scooping. I fed Brandon leftovers when he got back in town and even he was impressed. This dish has been added to the ever expanding list of vegetarian favorites in our house. I’ve really been cutting back on my meat consumption over the last couple years (I probably only eat meat/seafood 2-3 times per week and never for breakfast or lunch) and meals like this make it so easy to forget the meat.

One Year Ago: Fruit Skewers with Vanilla Cream Cheese Dip

Chana Masala
(Recipe adapted from Branny Boils Over and Smitten Kitchen)

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 teaspoons fresh ginger, grated
1 tablespoon ground coriander
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes (juices included)
2/3 cup water
4 cups cooked chickpeas or 2 (15-ounce) cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 lemon (juiced)

Directions:

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and saute for about 5 minutes, until softened. Add garlic and ginger and saute for another 2-3 minutes.  Turn heat down to medium-low and add the coriander, cumin, cayenne, turmeric, paprika and garam masala. Cook onion mixture with spices for a 1-2 minutes and then add the tomatoes. Add the water and chickpeas. Simmer uncovered for 10 minutes, then stir in salt and lemon juice.

Serve over rice or with naan (or both!).

Yield: 4-6 servings

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I came across this recipe in the August issue of Cuisine at Home and immediately added it to the following week’s dinner menu. I had a variety of cherry tomatoes from my brother in law’s garden and basil growing in my herb garden. A perfect combination!

These were extremely easy to put together and created a pretty impressive side dish. The flavor was fabulous – what’s not to love about homegrown tomatoes, goat cheese and basil? I went on and on to Brandon at dinner that these would be the perfect thing to make for dinner guests. I also think you could cut the puff pastry a bit smaller for an impressive appetizer. I served my tarts with sautéed grouper and a salad but these could easily be a meatless main course alongside a big salad.

One Year Ago: Summer Corn Dip (this stuff is so addictive! I’m making it for a party this week!)

Tomato Tarts with Goat Cheese and Basil
(Recipe source Cuisine at Home, August 2010)

Ingredients:

2 sheets puff pastry (a frozen 17.3 ounce box)
1 egg yolk beaten with 1 tablespoon water
2 ounces herb flavored goat cheese
2 tablespoons milk
16 cherry tomatoes or varying colors (optional), halved
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons minced fresh basil

Directions:

Thaw puff pastry according to package directions. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Cut one puff pastry sheet into four even squares. Place squares on a parchment lined baking sheet. Cut remaining sheet into eight strips about 3/4 inch wide and then cut the strips in half crosswise (to create 16 total).

Place four strips around the edge of each pastry square, overlapping the corners (see photo above). Lightly brush edges with egg mixture and bake until puffed and brown, 22-24 minutes.

Whisk together goat cheese and milk. Divide cheese mixture among centers of baked tarts, spreading with a spatula and pressing very lightly to slightly deflate the centers. Top cheese mixture with tomatoes and season with salt and pepper.

Return tarts to oven and bake another 5 minutes. Garnish with fresh basil and serve warm or at room temperature.

Yield: 4 tarts

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I can’t even tell you how many times Brandon has asked me to make fried green tomatoes. And it’s not that I don’t love fried green tomatoes, I just don’t fry foods at home. I finally caved when Brandon came home with green tomatoes from his brother’s garden and presented me with this recipe from his Garden and Gun magazine. (Note, if you haven’t read Garden and Gun you must pick up a copy. It is a great magazine!)

I decided to go all out and top them with pimento cheese. Fried green tomatoes topped with pimento cheese were one of the passed hors d’oeuvres at our wedding and were a huge hit.

I was really surprised by how easy these were to make. I fried them in my cast iron skillet. It was relatively painless and didn’t leave the house smelling “fried.” I was very pleased with the final result – the tomatoes were perfectly crispy on the outside and had a great texture on the inside. The pimento cheese topping really took them up another notch!

I admit that I am planning on making these again soon for fried green tomato BLT’s and I can’t wait! Take advantage of tomato season and give these a try!

One Year Ago: Tomato Pie (one of my ALL TIME favorites!!!)

Fried Green Tomatoes with Pimento Cheese
(Recipe source Garden and Gun for tomatoes and Bakin’ and Eggs for pimento cheese)

Ingredients:

FOR THE TOMATOES
4 to 6 green tomatoes, sliced
2 cups buttermilk (not fat free)
2 large eggs
2 cups White Lily (self-rising) flour mixed
1 cup stone-ground (medium) cornmeal
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
Generous pinch of salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 cups canola oil mixed with
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter (I just used canola oil!)

FOR THE PIMENTO CHEESE
2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup pimentos (or chopped roasted red peppers)
Pinch cayenne pepper
Salt and pepper, to taste
Pinch garlic powder (if desired)

Directions:

FOR THE TOMATOES
Place sliced tomatoes in colander. Salt lightly, and let sit for about 5 minutes to help draw out moisture. Rinse under cool water and pat dry with paper towels.

Prepare wash by mixing buttermilk and eggs. Prepare dredge by mixing flour, cornmeal, onion powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper.

Working one at a time, completely coat each tomato slice in the wash and then in the dredge, gently shaking off excess.

In a cast-iron skillet over high heat, bring butter and canola oil to 350 degrees (use a candy thermometer). Reduce heat to stabilize. Working a few slices at a time, fry the tomatoes until golden brown, turning only once (about 3 to 4 minutes total). Transfer each batch to drain on brown paper bags or paper towels.

FOR THE PIMENTO CHEESE
Mix together cheese, mayo, pimentos, cayenne, salt, pepper and garlic powder if using. Stir together and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Yield: 4 to 6 first course or side dish servings

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I was born and raised in Georgia and one of my favorite Southern foods is cornbread. Especially the old fashioned, slightly sweet variety that is baked in a cast iron skillet with plenty of butter and topped with honey. When I saw this recipe on Pink Parsley for Jalapeno Cheddar Cornbread, I decided I would have to stray from my old favorite and give it a try.

I’m so glad I did. This is nothing like traditional cornbread but it’s a fun twist on the classic. The addition of sharp cheddar cheese, fresh jalapenos and scallions is delicious and I just have to mention how fabulous this smells when it’s baking. I made this to take to a family dinner and I had to use all of my willpower not to sneak a taste of it on the car ride over.

This recipe makes a ton. I served it to eight people and had a good bit leftover but the recipe could be easily halved and it also freezes really well.

I think this would be a perfect bread side item for a summer cookout. I also think it would be nice to make these as muffins if you’re feeding a crowd so that it’s easier to grab and go. Just some ideas for you!

Jalapeno Cheddar Cornbread
(Recipe source Pink Parsley, originally published in Barefoot Contessa at Home)

Ingredients:

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons baking powder
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 cups buttermilk
3 large eggs, slightly beaten
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted, plus extra to grease the pan
8 ounces extra-sharp cheddar, grated
1/3 cup chopped scallions (3-4 scallions)
3 tablespoons fresh jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced (2-3 peppers)

Directions:

In a large bowl, sift together flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder and salt. In a separate bowl, combine buttermilk, eggs  and butter. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in wet ingredients. Stir until just combined and then mix in 2 cups of the cheddar, scallions and jalapenos. Stir until just combined, being careful not to overmix.

Allow the mixture to sit at room temperature for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9 x 13 baking dish. Spread the batter into prepared baking dish and sprinkle with the remaining cheddar.

Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool slightly and cut into squares to serve.

Yield: 12 large servings (these would be really big!) or 24 smaller squares

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In the past I’ve been pretty indifferent to pasta salads. I never feel like they really deliver on flavor. I’ve been lucky in the past couple months to try two outstanding pasta salads. First there was the Whole Wheat Pasta Salad with Zucchini and Olives and last night my mother in law served this Orzo Salad as part of our joint birthday/Father’s Day celebration. (My birthday was last Wednesday and Brandon’s is this Tuesday.) I went back for seconds and took leftovers home for lunch. It is so full of flavor and I think it’s a very pretty and colorful pasta salad.

The ingredient list is a little long but the preparation is simple. I think it would be easy to cut down on the ingredients.  Although pretty, I don’t think it’s necessary to use three different colors of peppers and I also think you could get away with using one variety of olives instead of two. But I do recommend the recipe as is. I’m definitely keeping this one in my summer side dish lineup.

One Year Ago: Seared Tuna with Herbed Aioli

Orzo Salad
(Recipe source In Order to Serve: Christ Church Cooks II)

Ingredients:

1 cup uncooked orzo
1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped (rehydrated in hot water if necessary)
1 cup feta cheese, crumbled
1/4 cup red onion, chopped
1/4 cup green bell pepper, chopped
1/4 cup red bell pepper, chopped
1/4 cup yellow bell pepper, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
2 tablespoons green olives, chopped
2 tablespoons black olives, chopped
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

Cook orzo according to package directions and drain. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix well. Chill before serving.

Yield: 4 servings

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I saw a beautiful bunch of beets with the greens still attached at the farmer’s market this weekend. They were definitely coming home with me. I’ve been wanting to roast beets and experiment with beet greens for a while now. I’ve been so inspired  by everyone’s CSA boxes full of interesting ingredients!

I was searching for a recipe that used both the beets and the greens. I found this Roasted Beet Salad with Oranges and Beet Greens from Bon Appetit on Epicurious and knew it was something I could work with. I made a few modifications to the recipe – I left out the garlic, caramelized the onions, reduced the amount of oil and vinegar in the dressing and added goat cheese. The results were fabulous. I loved this dish and all the flavors in it. The added plus was that it was pretty healthy – the beet greens are loaded with nutrients.

Unfortunately, my husband was not such a big fan. I will honestly say that he tried really hard to like it but he’s just not a fan of beets. Sad for me because I would love to make this again.

And now I have a ton of leftover roasted beets to use! Please let me know if you have any suggestions on favorite beet recipes.

One year ago: Barbecue Chicken Pizza

Roasted Beet Salad with Oranges, Goat Cheese and Beet Greens
(Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit, January 2004)

Ingredients:

6 medium beets with beet greens attached
1 large orange
1 small sweet onion, cut through root end into thin wedges
1/8 cup red wine vinegar (add more, up to 1/3 cup, to taste)
1/8 cup extra-virgin olive oil (add more, up to 1/4 cup, to taste)
1/2 teaspoon grated orange peel
2 ounces goat cheese, crumbled

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Trim greens from beets. Cut off and discard stems. Coarsely chop leaves and reserve. Wrap each beet in foil and place directly on oven rack. Roast until tender when pierced with fork, about 1 hour 30 minutes (mine smaller beets tool about an hour and the larger ones closer to 90 minutes). Cool and peel beets – you might want to wear gloves to avoid staining your hands. Cut each beet into eight wedges and place in a medium bowl.

Cook onions in a heavy skillet (I used cast iron) with olive oil, salt and pepper over medium heat for about 15 minutes, or until golden and soft.

Cook beet greens in large saucepan of boiling water just until tender, about 2 minutes. Drain and cool. Squeeze greens to remove excess water. Add greens to bowl with beets. Peel and remove white pith from oranges. Working over another bowl and using small sharp knife, cut between membranes to release segments. Add orange segments and onion to bowl with beet mixture. Whisk vinegar, oil and orange peel in small bowl to blend and add to beet mixture and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper. Let stand at room temperature 1 hour (mine only stood for about 20 minutes). Top with crumbled goat cheese and serve.

Yield: 4-6 first course/side dish servings

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I know the first thing that a lot of readers are thinking is, “What in the world is tempeh?” so let’s cover that first! I read a lot of healthy living blogs and saw several bloggers eating tempeh regularly. As a lover of alternative proteins and grains, I had to give it a try. The best overview I found was from The George Mateljan Foundation.

“Although not a common item in most households in the United States, tempeh, with its distinctively nutty taste and nougat-like texture, is increasing in popularity. It easily absorbs the flavors of the other foods with which it is cooked making it adaptable to many types of dishes. Tempeh can be found in health food stores and specialty markets throughout the year.

Tempeh has been a staple in Indonesia for over 2000 years. It is a highly nutritious fermented food traditionally made from soybeans and its high protein content makes it a wonderful substitute for meat.”

For more information on tempeh, including nutrition breakdown, check out their site.

I picked some Lightlife Organic Tempeh at Harris Teeter. I was surprised that it was so easy to find at my normal grocery. I decided to try a recipe from Whole Foods for Roasted Tempeh and Sweet Potatoes. I thought that for my first time trying tempeh, it would be best to make it as part of a dish. Some of the hardcore bloggers eat it raw but I’m not there yet!  :)

The verdict? I really enjoyed it and have made it again several times since. I loved topping a salad with the leftovers. My husband, however, was not such a fan. He ate it (I’m so lucky – he will try anything!) but I don’t think he’ll be requesting it again. I think it’s one of those foods you either like or don’t care for – it definitely has a unique taste and texture – but if you are conscientious about your meat intake and looking for new sources of protein, I definitely recommend trying tempeh.

Roasted Sweet Tempeh and Sweet Potatoes
(Recipe source, Whole Foods)

Ingredients:

1/4 cup reduced-sodium tamari
1 tablespoon mirin (sweet Japanese cooking wine)
1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic, garlic powder or 1 large garlic clove, minced
1/2 teaspoon onion powder or 1/4 cup onion, minced
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1 (8-ounce) package tempeh, diced
2 medium sweet potatoes (about 2 pounds), peeled (optional) and diced
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon canola oil
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons parsley, chopped

Directions:

In a shallow dish, whisk together tamari, mirin, granulated garlic, onion powder and sesame oil. Add tempeh, toss to coat, cover and set aside to let marinate for 30 minutes at room temperature. While tempeh is marinating, toss sweet potatoes with olive oil, ginger, cinnamon and 1 1/2 tablespoons of the marinade from the tempeh. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Heat canola oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Drain tempeh and then place in skillet. Cook, turning frequently, until golden brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer to a 2-quart baking dish and toss with sweet potatoes, salt and pepper. Cover with foil and bake until sweet potatoes are tender, 30 to 35 minutes. Garnish with parsley and serve.

Yield: 6 side dish servings or 3 main dish servings

And if you’re looking for more ideas on how to use tempeh, check out Cate’s World Kitchen and Whole Foods.

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68 Days of Gourmet: Day 65

I haven’t had much luck with making pasta salad in the past. It always seemed to be lacking in flavor and pretty mediocre. We decided to grill kebabs last week and enjoy our first dinner out on our patio. I thought pasta salad sounded like the perfect side item.

I read through several recipes from Gourmet on Epicurious and this recipe for Whole-Wheat Pasta Salad with Zucchini and Olives sounded like a winner. We love Mediterranean flavors and I didn’t see how this could be boring with zucchini, olives, onions, tomatoes, garlic, fresh basil and feta.

I made a few modifications to the recipe. First, I made the pasta salad ahead of time (wanted to go to a late yoga class!) so I skipped grilling the zucchini in favor of a quick saute. Second, I just do not love the flavor of raw onions and garlic so I gave those a quick saute too (and subbed Vidalia’s for red onions because they were on hand).

The verdict? Awesome! The only complaint Brandon had was with the whole wheat pasta but that’s typical. He’s not a lover of the added chewiness. If you struggle with that too you may want to substitute white pasta for the wheat but keep in mind the added health benefits of using whole wheat pasta :)

I loved the flavors of this pasta salad and enjoyed the leftovers for lunch the next couple days. I cut the recipe in half and it still made a ton. This would be great for entertaining or to make for lunches for the week. I will most definitely be making this recipe again soon.

One Year Ago: Stuffed Chicken with Goat Cheese, Sundried Tomatoes and Basil

Whole-Wheat Pasta Salad with Zucchini and Olives
(Recipe source Gourmet, July 1994)

Ingredients:

1 1/2 pounds vine-ripened tomatoes, chopped
1/2 cup red onion, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, minced and mashed to a paste with 1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus additional for brushing  zucchini
1 1/2 pounds zucchini, cut diagonally into 1/3-inch-thick slices
1 pound whole-wheat penne or other tubular pasta
2/3 cup Kalamata or other brine-cured black olives, coarsely chopped
6 ounces ricotta salata or feta cheese, crumbled
1 1/2 cups whole small or torn large fresh basil leaves

In a large bowl gently stir together tomatoes, onion, garlic paste, vinegar and olive oil. Set aside.

Brush one side of zucchini slices lightly with additional oil and season with salt and pepper. Heat a well-seasoned ridged grill pan over moderate heat until hot and grill zucchini, oiled sides down, in batches, brushing tops with more oil before turning, 1 to 2 minutes on each side, or until just tender but not soft. Transfer to a small bowl.

In a pot of salted boiling water cook pasta until just tender (following package directions) and drain. Add hot pasta to tomato mixture and toss to combine. Cool pasta slightly and stir in zucchini, olives, cheese, basil and salt and pepper to taste.

Serve warm or at room temperature.

Yield: 8 servings

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68 Days of Gourmet: Day 64

My most sincere apologies for the lack of updates over the last couple weeks. We closed on our first home and have been moving. Life is a little crazy right now! We LOVE our new house and are having so much fun getting everything unpacked and organized. The house hunting process was long with a lot of ups and downs but we really feel like we ended up with the perfect first home! Pictures of my new kitchen to come very soon.

I made this mushroom appetizer before we moved out of our apartment. It was also from the July 1946 issue of Gourmet (check out my previous post – Veal (or Pork) Scallopine – also from the 1946 magazine). They were a fun appetizer – Brandon loved them!

Promise I have tons of good stuff coming at you guys over the next few weeks. Stay tuned!

Mushroom Smetana
(Recipe source Gourmet, July 1946)

*Note – this is word-for-word how the original recipe was written. Crazy how different recipes were written then!

One fairly fancy hot whet which I dug into in the Shanghai-that-was is so good that we list it here. Never a gourmet-purist yet who didn’t want the recipes, once he tasted it. I call it Mushrooms Smetana – mushrooms with sour cream sauce – as did the Russian princess who was our dance partner for that night…Slice 1/2 pound of fairly small mushrooms fairly thin. Brown gently in 1 1/2 tablespoons butter. Mince one fairly large onion (we seem to be using a lot of “fairly’s” in this one!) and cook gently in another 1/2 tablespoon butter. (Original recipe said to do them separate, but I put them all together.) Now, turn in enough beef boullion or consomme to make quite moist, but not quite enough to cover. Simmer until mushrooms are tender. Work in 1 tablespoon of flour smooth with a little hot juice, put in pan and season with salt and cayenne to taste. Add 1 scant cup of sour cream (now buyable from any good town dairy); simmer up for 5 minutes. Serve hot on little squares of thin crisp toast. We add 1 tablespoon sherry just before serving.


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68 Days of Gourmet: Day 60

I wanted to include a couple more vegetable/side/meatless dishes in the 68 Days of Gourmet project. I flipped through The Gourmet Cookbook vegetable dishes and Peas with Spinach and Shallots looked like a great choice for Spring. It took less than 15 minutes to put together, was a nice change from plain peas or spinach and looked pretty on the plate. I find myself repeating the same sides over and over so it was good to try something new that was so easy and manageable on a weeknight!

One Year Ago: Grilled Sweet Potato Slices

Peas with Spinach and Shallots
(Recipe source The Gourmet Cookbook, published in Gourmet January 2002)

Ingredients:

2 medium shallots, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
10 ounces frozen peas
1/4 cup water
5 ounces baby spinach
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Directions:

Heat a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add oil and butter and heat. Add shallots and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until soft 3-6 minutes.

Stir in peas and water and cook, covered, stirring occasionally, until peas are tender, about 5 minutes. (Note that you might want to start with a little less water and add more if necessary.)

Stir in spinach, salt and pepper and cook, tossing, until spinach is just wilted, about 1 minute.

Yield: 4 servings

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