Sunday, August 26, 2012

***UPDATE***

I am purchasing a new web domain and have to manually go through to update all my photo links (that's like, 2000 photos, ugh) on both my blogs. I will do my best to move swiftly but please be aware that it is why some photos will be down, and if you find a broken link in the future, please let me know. Thank you!

Creole Stuffed Peppers

I don't know what I was expecting, but for some reason this disappointed me. I added some cayenne pepper for extra spice (hello, it's creole?!) but it was still just okay. I should have made some dirty rice to go along with it. I don't know. I wouldn't make this again.

peppers

Creole Stuffed Peppers
Veganomicon, page 61

These peppers are stuffed with a mildly spicy mixture of black-eyed peas and veggies.

4 large bell peppers
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
2 jalapenos, cut in half, seeded (if you don't want too much heat), and sliced finely
1 cup finely diced carrots
4 cloves garlic, chopped finely
2 dried bay leaves
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
2 teaspoons paprika, or smoked paprika
3 sprigs fresh thyme
1 teaspoon salt
1 15 oz. can diced tomatoes
2 15 oz. cans black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed (about 4 cups)
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

1. Preheat the oven to 350 and grease a 9x13 inch casserole dish with a little olive oil. Bring a large pot of water to a boil.

2. Cut the peppers in half lengthwise through the stem end. For aesthetic purposes, try to leave the stem intact on one side; if you can't manage it, no love lost. Remove the seeds and membranes. Submerge the peppers in the boiling water and cover. Let them boil for 5 minutes, then drain them immediately and rinse with cold water to cool them down a bit.

3. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Saute the onions, jalapenos, and carrots for about 10 minutes. You want the veggies to brown, especially the carrots. If it looks like they are steaming rather than browning, then raise the heat a bit. Add the garlic about 5 minutes into the cooking process.

4. Add the bay leaves, the other herbs and spices, and the salt; saute for 1 more minute. Add the tomatoes and peas, stir and cover, and cook for 10 minutes. If it seems too liquidy then remove the cover and cook long enough to reduce some of the liquid. Mix in the parsley.

5. Remove the bay leaves and thyme sprigs. The mixture will be hot, so we find it's easier to just remove the herbs while filling the peppers; just be on the lookout for them.

6. Spoon a little less than 1/2 cup of the veggie mixture into each pepper half. Again, the filling will be hot, so be careful while you are handling it. Place the pepper halves in the casserole dish and bake for about 25 minutes.

Yield: 4 main dish or 8 side dish

Friday, August 24, 2012

Chickpea & Potato Hash

My original plan last night was to make Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Spicy Feta Salad - one of my absolute favorites. I thought about these potatoes all day yesterday. I was so excited for it. And then I pulled the sweet potatoes out of the pantry and they were no longer cookable.

Blah!

Luckily, I pulled myself together and made this curried breakfast hash. I love breakfast food (especially eggs!) but was very nervous about how curry powder would play into it. As it turns out, it all came together beautifully. I cooked it about 4 minutes longer than it says to so I could make sure the eggs were fully cooked through (personal preference), and it was wonderful. I would definitely make this again.

eggs

eggs

Chickpea & Potato Hash
Eating Well

The eggs cook right on top of this chickpea and potato hash—cook them a few extra minutes if you prefer hard-set eggs. Serve with warm pita bread and a cucumber salad with mint and yogurt.

4 cups frozen shredded hash brown potatoes
2 cups finely chopped baby spinach
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1 tablespoon curry powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
15 ounces chickpeas -- rinsed
1 cup chopped zucchini
4 large eggs

1. Combine potatoes, spinach, onion, ginger, curry powder and salt in a large bowl.

2. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the potato mixture and press into a layer. Cook, without stirring, until crispy and golden brown on the bottom, 3 to 5 minutes.

3. Reduce heat to medium-low. Fold in chickpeas and zucchini, breaking up chunks of potato, until just combined. Press back into an even layer. Carve out 4 “wells” in the mixture. Break eggs, one at a time, into a cup and slip one into each indentation. Cover and continue cooking until the eggs are set, 4 to 5 minutes for soft-set yolks.

Servings: 4

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

L.A.-Style Chimichurri Tacos

I thought this would be a nice way to use up some of the brown rice, canned tomatoes, canned beans, and tortillas I've had in my pantry (as part of the Moving Challenge). It was alright. The chimichurri came together quickly while the rice cooked, and the beans and mushrooms were nice. I may have added too much agave nectar because I think the sauce was way too sweet (I KNOW, I never say that) and it was kind of off-putting. It was okay but I wouldn't make this again.

chimichurri

L.A.-Style Chimichurri Tacos
Vegetarian Times, July/August 2012

Rice:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped (1 1/2 cups)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup low-sodium vegetable broth
1 medium tomato, chopped (1 cup)
1/2 cup brown or white rice

Chimichurri Sauce:
1 cup cilantro leaves
1/2 cup Italian parsley leaves
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup lime juice
2 tablespoons agave nectar
4 cloves garlic, peeled
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Taco Filling:
2 tablespoons olive oil
8 ounces cremini mushrooms, sliced
1 15 oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained
6 8-inch flour tortillas

1. To make rice: Heat oil in saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and salt; saute 5 minutes. Stir in broth, tomato, and rice, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer 45 minutes for brown rice, 15 minutes for white rice, or until broth is absorbed.

2. To make chimichurri sauce: blend all ingredients in blender or food processor until herbs are finely chopped.

3. To make taco filling: Heat oil in skillet over medium heat. Saute mushrooms 9 minutes. Add beans and half of chimichurri sauce, and cook 3 minutes, or until heated through.

4. Fill tortillas with rice and mushroom mixture. Serve remaining chimichurri sauce on side, if desired.

Servings: 6

Monday, August 20, 2012

Eggplant and Potato Tumbet

As I mentioned, my mom is attempting to be vegan but isn't quite sure how to do it without eating salad at every single meal. I picked out a recipe to ease her into it (not that I am vegan - we failed that epically a few months ago, but I do have a lot of vegan recipes).

This eggplant-potato tumbet is a casserole topped with crumpled phyllo dough. It is a lot like a ratatouille, minus the vinegar and capers and stuff. It is simple but delicious and we both enjoyed it a lot. I would make this again.

tumbet

tumbet

Eggplant and Potato Tumbet
Vegetarian Times, April 2012

Tumbet, a vegetable dish from Majorca, Spain, is traditionally made by frying vegetables in olive oil, then baking them in a tomato sauce. This version skips the frying to cut down on fat, includes chickpeas for protein, and gets a crumpled phyllo topping for wow factor.

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 small onions, quartered and sliced (2 cups)
1 red bell pepper, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (1 cup)
1 medium yellow bell pepper, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
4 cloves garlic, minced (4 teaspoons)
1 28 oz can diced tomatoes
1 1/2 pounds Japanese eggplant, sliced 1/4-inch thick (about 4 eggplants)
1 pound boiling potatoes, peeled and sliced 1/4-inch thick
1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas or 1 15oz can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh oregano
18 sheets frozen phyllo dough, thawed (1/2 of a 16oz package)
Olive oil cooking spray

1. Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onions and bell peppers; cook 7 to 9 minutes, or until softened, stirring frequently. Stir in garlic, and cook 30 seconds more.

2. Add tomatoes, eggplant, potatoes, and chickpeas. Stir tomato paste and oregano into 1 cup warm water, then stir into eggplant mixture. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer 20 minutes, or until potatoes are almost done. Season with salt and pepper, if desired.

3. Preheat oven to 350. Spread eggplant mixture in deep 13x9 inch baking dish.

4. Unroll phyllo, and keep under damp towel to retain moisture. Spread 1 phyllo sheet on work surface, and coat well with cooking spray. Crumple into loose ball, and place atop eggplant mixture. Repeat with remaining phyllo sheets until eggplant mixture is covered with phyllo crumples. Thoroughly coat top of casserole with cooking spray, and sprinkle with salt, if desired. Bake 25 minutes, or until phyllo is golden brown and crispy. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Servings: 12

Vegan Treats

My mom came to visit this weekend, and she has recently attempted to go vegan for health reasons. She was not even vegetarian prior, so this is a big change, although I've been vegetarian since I was 13 so she's gotten used to the idea of what we non-carnivores eat. First we got dinner at Cali Burrito, the best burrito in the entire Lehigh Valley (maybe the world), but then we decided to go out to Vegan Treats for dessert.

Vegan Treats is a little bakery in Bethlehem, PA that - shockingly, I know - makes vegan baked goods. Everything. Cakes, cheesecakes, mousse-filled cakes, sticky buns, cookies. It's been featured in a million bazillion different magazines and TV programs. I have had their brownies before, brought to a board meeting one time, and was surprised at how traditional they tasted. Super delicious.

****EDIT on 9/6/12: Vegan Treats has been named one of the best bakeries in the WORLD by American Express's "Departures" magazine. Holy crap.****

treats

So my ma and I went there at like 9:00 and picked an assortment of desserts. They are expensive, but we like sugar so we bought a lot. We got a white-chocolate raspberry cheesecake, peanut butter bombe, death by chocolate cake, and carrot cake.

treats

I think the death by chocolate cake looks kind of like a Dalek from Doctor Who. No?

treats

We liked the peanut butter bombe the best. The cheesecake was a little disappointing, and the carrot cake was good but very dense. The chocolate cake was delicious and tasted kind of like a ring-ding, but the middle was not delicious (to us). When I go again (because you know I will), I'll probably stick to the peanut butter flavored things, and the brownies. And things made of brownie. And cookies.

It was fun!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Sweet Corn & Quinoa with Honey-Lemon Vinaigrette

I saw this recipe on Pinterest months ago and decided I must make it once sweet corn is in season and at the farmer's market. And what do you know? Corn was finally at the farmer's market last weekend. I immediately planned to make this.

Because it's such a simple meal, it relies on the quality of the ingredients you are using. You really do taste the honey so make sure it's not a crappy, flavorless honey.

I really liked it, but I got bored of it very quickly. I had made it as a vegetarian entree for myself, but I kind of wished it had just been a side dish. It was really good, just not in mass quantity on its own. I have the day off today (a rarity!) and I am planning to heat up the leftovers to have for lunch next to a tomato sandwich. That just makes more sense to me. I would make this again as a side dish for a picnic or something.

P.S. You can tell it's from Pinterest because it tells you to mix things up in a mason jar. If there's anything pinterest loves more than cream cheese, it's mason jars.

corn

Sweet Corn & Quinoa with Honey Lemon Vinaigrette
Iowa Girl Eats via Pinterest

1 cup dry quinoa
2 cups water
2 tablespoons butter
2 green onions, sliced
2 ears sweet corn
Salt & pepper

For the Honey Lemon Vinaigrette:
1 tablespoon lemon zest
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 garlic clove, microplaned or finely minced
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

1. Rinse quinoa thoroughly under running water in a fine mesh sieve. Combine with water in a saucepan, bring to a boil, then place a lid on top and cook until the water is absorbed and the quinoa is tender, about 15 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, combine all the ingredients for the Honey Lemon Vinaigrette in a mason jar or small bowl, then shake or whisk to combine. Set aside.

3. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add green onions and sweet corn, season with salt & pepper, then saute until corn is tender, about 3 minutes. Add in cooked quinoa and Honey Lemon Vinaigrette, then toss thoroughly to combine. Taste, add more salt & pepper if necessary, then serve.

Yield: 3-4 servings

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Roasted Vegetable Panzanella

Things I learned while making this recipe:

1. Panzanella does not always result in soggy bread, like the ones I have made before.

2. Suddenly I seem to really like capers. I am unsure when that happened.

3. Amish Butter Cheese is not like mozzarella at all but is still a good stand-in for this recipe. (Fontina would work, too.)

4. Purple green beans from the farmer's market turn green when you roast them.

This was excellent. I really, really enjoyed having this for dinner last night. I wish I had kept the bread and vegetables separate from one another so I could take some for lunch today (soggy bread, ick!). I would definitely make this again. It is a lovely summer meal.

panzanella

Roasted-Vegetable Panzanella
Gourmet, June 2006

This version of the Italian classic is an irresistible mix of crusty-chewy bread cubes and colorful roasted vegetables, all bathed in a lusty balsamic vinaigrette. Be sure to use a good-quality French-style baguette, as a lesser bread won't keep its texture.

1 large garlic clove
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 (12-inch) lengths of crusty baguette -- cut into 1-inch cubes (12 cups)
3/4 pound cherry tomatoes -- halved
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 pound green beans -- trimmed and halved crosswise
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar -- (preferably white)
3 tablespoons capers -- (packed in brine) rinsed, drained, and chopped
1/2 teaspoon sugar
19 ounces cannellini beans or chickpeas -- rinsed and drained
1 pound lightly salted fresh mozzarella -- cut into 1/3-inch dice
3/4 cup chopped fresh basil

1. Arrange oven racks in upper and lower thirds of oven and preheat oven to 425°F.

2. Mince and mash garlic to a paste with a pinch of salt using a large heavy knife, then transfer to a small bowl and add 1/2 cup olive oil in a slow stream, whisking until combined well. Put bread cubes in a large bowl and drizzle with 3 tablespoons garlic oil, tossing to combine, then divide bread between 2 large shallow baking pans, arranging in 1 layer. Toast in oven, stirring once or twice, until golden, 10 to 12 minutes. Leave oven on.

3. Gently toss tomatoes with 1 tablespoon oil (not garlic oil), 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper in a bowl, then arrange in 1 layer on a large shallow baking pan. Toss green beans in same bowl with remaining 2 tablespoons oil and 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper, then arrange in 1 layer in another large shallow baking pan. Roast vegetables, switching position of pans halfway through roasting and shaking pans once or twice, until tomatoes are very tender but not falling apart and beans are just tender and browned in spots, 12 to 16 minutes. Cool vegetables in pans until ready to assemble salad.

4. While vegetables roast, add vinegar to remaining garlic oil along with capers, sugar, remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and whisk to combine well.

5. Put green beans, tomatoes (along with any pan juices), toasted bread, beans, mozzarella, and basil in a large bowl, then drizzle with dressing and stir to combine well. Let stand 10 to 15 minutes at room temperature to allow flavors to develop, then stir just before serving. add your own note

Servings: 8

Monday, August 13, 2012

Lentil Cakes with Feta-Yogurt Sauce and Cucumber-Cress Salad

I have a ton of dried beans and rice in my pantry, so I decided to use up some of the extra red lentils in this dish. It sounds kind of weird and bland, so I was very nervous. The addition of harissa, a wondrously spicy ingredient, was intriguing, but I still had low expectations. Well, I was wrong. This was DELICIOUS. Even the salad, which at first seems totally un-needed, turned out to go super-well with everything else. I really, really liked this a lot. I would definitely make it again.

lentils

Lentil Cakes with Feta-Yogurt Sauce and Cucumber-Cress Salad
Martha Stewart Living, March 2012

Inspired by falafel, these cakes are made from a puree of raw red lentils, harissa, and scallions.

1 cup red lentils
3 scallions, pale-green and white parts chopped; greens thinly sliced on bias
1 tablespoon harissa
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
Coarse salt
1 large egg plus 1 large egg white
2 1/2 ounces goat's-milk or sheep's-milk feta cheese, crumbled (1/2 cup)
1/2 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon finely grated garlic
1/2 English cucumber, cut into half-moons (1 cup)
1/2 ounce upland cress or watercress (1 cup)
1/4 ounce fresh mint leaves (1/2 cup)
2 teaspoons safflower oil

1. Cover lentils with 2 inches cold water. Soak 4 hours at room temperature or up to 1 day in refrigerator. Drain well. Pulse pale-green and white parts of scallions in a food processor until minced. Add harissa, turmeric, baking powder, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and egg and egg white; pulse to combine. Add lentils; puree until almost smooth. Transfer mixture to a bowl, and stir in a little more than half the feta.

2. Whisk remaining feta, the yogurt, lemon juice, and garlic in a small bowl. Combine cucumber, cress, and mint in another bowl.

3. Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Place a scant tablespoon of scallion greens in pan, and spoon about an eighth of the batter on top, spreading to make a 3-inch cake. Repeat, making 4 cakes at a time. Cook until golden brown, flipping once, about 6 minutes. Add remaining teaspoon oil, and repeat.

4. Divide sauce among 4 plates; top with salad. Place cakes next to greens, and serve.

Servings: 4

Upside Down Plum Cake

I originally had decided to make this cake a few weeks ago with the sugar plums I got at Shady Maple, but they got way too mushy and jammy to make a proper cake. At the farmer's market this week, Beechwood Orchards (who I've mentioned a million times because they're my favorite fruit vendor) had like a zillion varieties of plums, so I thought I'd buy a variety to try out this cake.

I got five different types of plums and was so excited. I made this cake effing beautiful. It's hard to see in the photo but I actually made something that looks presentable and lovely. And I did it well. No sticking the pan, everything went perfectly. I flipped it without a mess. It was quite a feat.

cake

cake

Here's the problem: It did not taste good. The plums are delicious. The caramely topping from the butter and brown sugar is wonderful. The cake itself? Not good at all. It has kind of a dry texture and I absolutely hate the combination of the lemon and the allspice. Oh my gosh. I hate it so much. I ate one little square of it yesterday and the rest of it is just sitting there, staring at me.

There's only one thing to do in a case like this: scrape all the fruit off the top and put it on some ice cream. Hooray!

Not at all a make-again.

cake

Plum Upside-Down Cake
Everyday Food, July/August 2003

Let the cake rest no longer than ten minutes before turning it out or the topping may stick. If it does stick, dip the pan bottom in hot water, then try turning it out again.

12 tablespoons unsalted butter -- (1 1/2 sticks) room temperature
1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar
3 medium plums -- (about 12 ounces), halved, pitted, and thinly sliced
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest -- (about 1 lemon)
2 large eggs
1 1/3 cups cake flour -- (not self-rising)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/2 cup milk

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place 4 tablespoons butter in an 8-inch square cake pan. Heat in oven until butter melts, about 4 minutes. Remove from oven; sprinkle brown sugar evenly over butter. Arrange the plum slices like rooftop shingles. Start at one end of the pan, then stagger and overlap the slices so the bottom of the pan is covered.

2. In a large bowl, cream remaining 8 tablespoons butter with sugar and lemon zest. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until combined after each.

3. In a medium bowl, whisk together cake flour, baking powder, salt, and allspice. Add flour mixture to butter mixture in three batches, alternating with the milk and starting and ending with the flour.

4. Pour batter into cake pan, and spread evenly over plums. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean, about 50 minutes. Let cool 10 minutes, then invert cake onto wire rack to cool again slightly before serving.

Servings: 6

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Black Bean Tacos with Corn Salsa

YOU GUYS. I actually made dinner tonight. I KNOW.

The stress of the house buying/selling is getting to me, and I can't focus on making food when I'm panicking about house inspections. You know? I want to be one of those people who de-stresses by rolling out fondant, but instead I am one of those people who de-stresses lying on the couch watching action movies and cross-stitching (is that not common?). Some of the days this week I haven't even eaten dinner at all, with the exception of last weekend when I went to a Mexican restaurant in Brewster, NY with my family. That doesn't really count. Boxes of Triscuits and mini-scoops of Haagen Daaz do not count either.

I promise I will work hard to eat legit meals, but I can't guarantee I will be posting as often as I'd like. I close on both houses (!!) on September 18 (omg so soon), and my hope is that once I am settled, I will cook more. My rationale for that is that I will live only 8 minutes from work and thus will have more free time at home. I also will be near a ton of my friends, which hopefully will provide more opportunities for dinner guests and fancy cocktails.

Hopefully.

So tonight let's celebrate this one small victory: I made a new recipe.

It wasn't great. It was kind of like cardboard. I have a photo but I can't post it because my desktop computer has a virus and until I can clean that off, I can't use it. I'll update with a photo when I can. This was bland and had an odd texture from the oats. I would not make this again.

EDIT: HERE IS A PHOTO:
tacos

Black Bean Tacos with Corn Salsa
Self, April 2012

Where's the beef? Who cares? The spiced beans in these festive folds contain fiber, a blood sugar regulator that fends off cravings, as well as protein, which builds lean muscle. Satisfied taste buds and a trimmer you—check and check!


Olive oil cooking spray
2 cloves garlic
2 1/2 cups canned black beans, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup cornmeal
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
8 small corn tortillas
1 cup corn, thawed if frozen
1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
1 small green chile, diced
2 scallions, chopped
Juice of 2 limes
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Heat oven to 400°F. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray. In a food processor, chop garlic. Add beans, oats, cornmeal, chili powder, 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper; process, stopping once or twice to scrape down sides, until mixture is combined, 1 minute. Crumble bean mixture with hands, sprinkle on prepared sheet, and coat with cooking spray. Bake until firm and crisp on bottom, 10 to 15 minutes. Use a spoon to break up pieces, coat with cooking spray, and bake until crisp all over, 10 to 15 minutes. Stack tortillas and wrap in foil; warm in oven 5 minutes. In a bowl, combine corn, bell pepper, chile, scallions and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper; sprinkle with lime juice. Divide bean crumble among tortillas; top with corn salsa and cilantro.

Yield: 4 servings

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Spicy Vegetarian Chili

Well, it's official: I've sold this house and bought a new one. Closing for both is in September. And if you've been following my blog for awhile, through the four different moves I've had throughout its existence, you are aware of what I call the Moving Challenge. During the Moving Challenge, I attempt to cook with or eat whatever is left in my freezer and pantry. I have no problem moving dried goods, condiments, frozen foods, etc between houses, but let's be honest - the less I have to move, the better. And so begins six weeks of Moving Challenge.

Tonight I ate the last frozen container of Greasy Sae's Spicy Vegetarian Chili. I still love it. In New House, I will have to make another batch to freeze because it's wonderful.

I also warmed up the amazing cornbread I bought from Shady Maple last weekend. It wasn't quite as good as fresh-from-the-oven like at Shady Maple, but it went perfectly with the chili. Hoorah!