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Archive for the ‘Vegetarian’ Category

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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67 Days of Gourmet: Day 58

I’m really embarrassed to admit that tonight was the first time I’ve cooked with quinoa. Bad foodie, especially given my love for all things healthy, whole grain and nutrient packed. :( And I’ve had it from the hot bar at Whole Foods and Earth Fare, just haven’t cooked with it yet.

I’ve been meaning to make this recipe for the last couple months. Every time I made homemade Mexican this was on the menu but I kept bailing on it. Every time I went to Harris Teeter I was annoyed that they were charging $5 for a small bag of quinoa. I was picking up a few things at Earth Fare this weekend and was so excited to find awesome bulk prices on all kinds of grains. I stocked up on quinoa and rolled oats.

I can’t believe I waited so long to make this. Whether you’re a quinoa lover or someone who has never tried it, this is a must try recipe. The flavors are so well balanced with the quinoa, black beans, fresh corn, bell pepper and jalapenos and the lime/oil based dressing is the perfect finish. I’m so looking forward to enjoying the leftovers for lunch this week topped with diced avocado and an extra squeeze of lime and know I’ll be making this many more times in the future.

BIG NEWS #1
YOU HAVE SUCCESSFULLY REGISTERED FOR THE 35th MARINE CORPS MARATHON! I did it! I registered! I’m beyond excited. And even better news, my friend Meghan registered to run it too! This will be her first marathon. I can’t even put into words how happy I am that I won’t be running this race alone!

BIG NEWS #2
I’m launching a Healthy Living blog!!! Don’t worry, Bakin’ and Eggs isn’t going anywhere but I’ve really been conflicted over whether to continue discussing fitness/my life on this blog or whether I should start a new blog. In the end, I decided that the healthy living blog was the best way to go. The name has been selected, the domain has been registered and I’m in the process of getting it all set up. I promise that I’ll let you all know the second it goes live!

Please try this quinoa recipe and then let me know what you think!

One Year Ago: Fresh Strawberry Scones

Black Bean and Quinoa Salad
(Recipe source Gourmet, July 1994)

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups quinoa
1 1/2 cups cooked black beans, rinsed if canned
1 1/2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
1 1/2 cups cooked corn (cut from about 2 large ears)
3/4 cup green bell pepper, finely chopped
2 pickled jalapeño chilies, seeded and minced (wear rubber gloves)
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh coriander (I subbed a bit of ground coriander because the store did not have fresh)

FOR THE DRESSING
5 tablespoons fresh lime juice, or to taste
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 teaspoons ground cumin, or to taste
1/3 cup olive oil

Directions:

In a bowl wash quinoa in at least 5 changes cold water, rubbing grains and letting them settle before pouring off most of water, until water runs clear and drain in a large fine sieve. (I attempted this step but my quinoa went right through my sieve so I skipped this step and just cooked it as is. Turned out totally fine.)

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Cook quinoa 10 minutes. Drain quinoa in sieve and rinse with cold water. Set sieve over a saucepan of boiling water (quinoa should not touch water) and steam quinoa, covered with a kitchen towel and lid, until fluffy and dry, about 10 minutes (check water level in pot occasionally, adding water if necessary).

While quinoa is cooking, in a large bowl toss beans with vinegar and salt and pepper to taste. Add bell pepper, jalapenos, corn and coriander.

Let quinoa cool a bit then add to bean mixture and toss well.

FOR THE DRESSING
In a small bowl whisk together lime juice, salt and cumin. Add oil in a slow stream, whisking constantly.

Drizzle dressing over salad and toss well.  Salt and pepper to taste.

Yield: 4 to 6 as an entrée or 8 as a side dish

Note: I cut this recipe in half and it made plenty for 2 with lots of leftovers!

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