Thursday, September 30, 2010

Early Fall Veggie Fritatta

I got this idea after having a wonderful dinner at a friend's house last weekend. It was phenomenal and I wanted to try it. I always put quiche on the menu and never quite get around to making one as I have always been disappointed in the texture of my quiche. Even when following a recipe and tips for a good quiche. This is a much easier version of a quiche without the butter heavy, carb adding crust. And much faster to boot.
I also was encouraged by the Minimalist who made a veggie heavy fritatta that simply used eggs as a binder for the veggies. GREAT way to eat more vegetables. And, I found out that my wok is oven safe up to 350 degrees: Score!
I apologize for the poor picture quality, the leftovers are my lunch today over my fail of a roasted ratatouille last night and improvisation of a smothered tempeh that had to be tofu because Trader Joe's was out of tempeh. Major fail of an evening that I had hoped would be lovely. Thank goodness for leftover fritatta. And my smart phone that emailed me a photo. This fritatta was beautiful and used all parts of the swiss chard, an idea often encouraged by G. The gorgeous yellow and red hues from the rainbow chard added such a depth, plus the lovely purple, orange, and yellow cherry tomatoes. Another plus, it took me a grand total of about 20 minutes to prepare. And every single vegetable, down to the garlic and onion, was from Red Hill farm. Enjoy! Early Fall Veggie Fritatta (printable version) Early Fall Veggie Fritatta 1 small red onion, diced 1 T oil 2 cloves garlic, minced 1 large bunch swiss chard, leaves and stems separated, stems diced, leaves chopped 1/2 c cheese (cheddar, feta, mozarella would all be good) 4 thyme sprigs 8-10 basil leaves (purple used) handful cherry tomatoes, halved 6 eggs, well whisked together Preheat oven to 350. In a pan, heat oil and add onion. Saute for 2 minutes, or until soft. Add minced garlic and saute for an additional 1 minute. Add swiss chard stems, saute for another 3 minutes. Add swiss chard leaves and saute until wilted. Spread contents evenly in pan and add cheese. Add eggs, topping with salt, pepper, thyme, basil, and cherry tomatoes. Let saute for 2-3 minutes then place in oven for 10 minutes.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Lentil Soup with Chili Oil

This soup is the hubs favorite soup and he regularly requests it during cold weather. Now, for the hubs to request a soup is a big deal. He is not fond of soup and always asks, "We are having soup and...?"
It has very few veggies in it, though I am sure the addition of a leafy green couldn't hurt. But is is super tasty, super easy, and a great pantry recipe. It can also be easily vegetarian and/or vegan. I am posting the original recipe for it out of convenience from Food network (mario batali), but I generally halve the recipe as it is way too much for only 2 people and we end up eating the soup for days to come if I forget. I also use vegetable broth in place of chicken, and that is about all the changes I make. It tastes great topped with some parmesan, or not, if you are trying to cut back on cholesterol or go vegan a little bit more as we are. The chili oil gives such a great flavor that the cheese is not really even necessary. disclaimer: if you are serving children or do not enjoy spicy food, cut back by at least 1/2 the amount of chili pepper flakes used in the oil.
Lentil Soup with Chili Oil (printable recipe)
3 cups castelluccio lentils (or french) 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 1/2 medium red onion, chopped into 1/8-inch dice 3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced plus 2 whole cloves 4 cups vegetable broth, hot Salt and freshly ground black pepper 1/4 pound Tuscan or Umbrian country bread 1 cup pasta shells Chili Oil, recipe follows
Wash and drain the lentils, carefully picking through them to take out any pebbles. In a 3-quart saucepan, heat the 6 tablespoons oil until just smoking. Add the onions and sliced garlic. Cook until softened but not brown, about 6 to 8 minutes. Add the lentils and the hot chicken stock. Bring the liquid to a boil. Lower then heat and simmer for 25 to 30 minutes, keeping the level of the liquid just over the lentils by periodically adding more water. Add the pasta shells during the last 6 minutes of cooking. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper. In the meantime, preheat the grill or broiler. When the soup is ready to serve, grill or toast, slices of the bread until golden brown, about 2 minutes per side. Rub each slice with a cut garlic clove.
Ladle the soup into warm bowls. Place a slice of garlic bread on top of each soup serving. Drizzle the bread and the soup with the chili oil and serve immediately.
Chili Oil: 2 cloves garlic, sliced thin 2 tablespoons chili flakes 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil 2 teaspoons salt 1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
In a small hot saute pan, add extra-virgin olive oil and garlic. Saute until golden and add chili flakes and salt and pepper. Cook for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and let infuse.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Burrito Salad

The hubs and I had a picnic to go to, and I wanted to make something that could survive a morning trip and hold out until lunch time. Hubs never says no to Mexican food, and I was hankering for some avocados, so this salad was born. I called it burrito salad out of a lack of a more creative name, and due to the fact that the ingredients all belong in a burrito even though it does not have rice. I packed it up in a bowl, paired it with some chips and a blueberry black iced tea, put all of that into a freezer bag and off we went. I did make a naked burrito for our Labor Day picnic which is pretty similar except that it actually had rice. This meal is so cheap and so filling (with or without the rice) that it is a great family meal for those on the go or those needing to trim their budget a bit. I was a huge fan of the salad, it could have used a bit more heat though. If you do not have access to green zebra or heirloom tomatoes for the salsa, any medium sized tomato would do. This also really depends on how tomato-y you like your salsas. I am still a convenience cook at times, and enjoy just being able to throw together a salsa in about 3 minutes. This is a rough version of what I do every week when I get a fresh batch of tomatoes from the farm. Taste, taste, taste. That is the best advice I can give about throwing together recipes. And never forget a bit of salt, even if you are trying to cut back. A pinch of salt added to homemade salsa is still substantially less than if you purchase salsa. Burrito Salad (printable version) Burrito Salad 2 avacados, diced 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed handful cherry tomatoes, sliced 1/3 c cubed manchego cheese 1/2 -3/4 c salsa (recipe as follows) Toss all ingredients together in a bowl and serve with chips. Salsa: 4 green zebra tomatoes, cored and seeded 4 heirloom tomatoes, cored and seeded 2 small jalapenos, sliced and seeded 1 lime, juiced 1 medium shallot 1 generous handful cilantro 1/2 t sea salt Throw all ingredients into a blender, putting the onion and jalapeno in first. Blend until desired consistency. Pour into a fine mesh sieve and let the water drain out, about 30 seconds to 1 minute. Pour into a bowl.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Bahn Mi

The hubs and I went to Newark, DE to Home Grown Cafe for our anniversary. We are big lovers of finding new restaurants, and have a tricky time sometimes being veg. We are often disenchanted with the lack of options at vegetarian or vegan restaurants. Our mantra is basically if we could make it just as good/better at home, why go there? This tends to rule out italian, lots of tofu options, and some other types. We also look for menus with a couple options as we want to leave room for our mood once we get to the restaurant. Many veg friendly places have 1-2 options, which is not all that exciting.

Home Grown peaked my interest because it had cheaper and pricier options, varied cuisines, and about 75% of their menu could be made veg or vegan! Now, not only could it be made veg or vegan, but you had options for your protein. When I read that I nearly fell out of my chair. And boy did they deliver, as often does not happen, we had a hard time choosing not because of lack of appealing options, but because of an abundance of appealing options! I ended up with a Bahn Mi on flatbread (which i failed at trying to recreate the great punchy flavor here), and the hubs got some sort of grilled tofu with a grilled pineapple topping and purple mashed potatoes. This place was beyond fantastic! Wish we would have stayed for dessert instead of going to the overrated cupcake place. Next time. Anyone wanna go? We need an excuse...

Anywho, that evening made me want to try to make my own Bahn Mi. This recipe was nowhere near as flavorful, starting with the slaw. Now, in my defense, I do not have an appropriate slicer and dicer to julienne veggies, this changes the texture a lot. But it was pretty tasty, nice and cool, and a great way to use up some veggies.

Slaw: (based on recipe from foodnetwork)

1/2 c water

1/4 c sugar

1/4 rice wine vinegar

1/2 julienned carrot

1/2 c julienned daikon radish (or double the carrots)



1/4 c soy sauce

1 T chili garlic sauce

1 pkg firm tofu


1 baguette, sliced

1 cucmber, thinly sliced

1 jalapeno. thinly sliced

bunch of cilantro

mayonnaise mixed with a touch of siracha (optional)

Preheat oven to 400.

Drain tofu and wrap with a towel, topping with a heavy item to get moisture out, at least 10 minutes.

Once tofu is done, place in a baking dish and top evenly with the soy sauce and chili garlic sauce. Bake for 40 minutes or until firm.

While tofu is baking, marinate carrots and radish. To do so, in a small saucepan heat up water, sugar, and vinegar to a boil. Transfer mix to a bowl and cool. Add veggies, mix, add salt, and set aside for at least 30 minutes.

To assemble the sandwich, spread the bread with the mayonnaise mix. Add tofu, top with cuke, jalapeno, and cilantro, finally with the slaw. Enjoy!

Oatmeal Blueberry Pancakes

Mmmmm oatmeal pancakes. Top it with some leftover cinnamon whipped cream, oh yeah.
I tried Rachael Ray's oatmeal cookie pancakes minus the raisins and walnuts. They were pretty good, a bit too sweet for me and I think I will stick with my oatmeal pancake recipe from Vegetarian Times though both of them leave room for improvement.
Topped them with blueberries that simmered on the stove for a couple minutes with about 1/4 cup of maple syrup. And oh that whipped cream. Anything is better with whipped cream.

Beet Ravioli

Simple yet complicated. Savory yet sweet.
(I forgot to take a photo until I put the leftovers into a plastic container for lunch the following day- sorry for the poor quality)
I wanted something daring, something new, something unexpected for my beets languishing in the bottom drawer of the fridge, mildly forgotten. I searched the web and scoured all of my favorite spots, including some sites that generally make me cringe a bit. Then, an old favorite revealed this wonderful recipe.
Certainly it will not be a recurring menu item for these two reasons: time and fat content. This meal is chock full of butter, whew, butter. But as a random special meal, it is great.
The filling could not have been more simple. Roast some beets, peel 'em, and mash 'em up. Add some ricotta (i added the entire container) and voila! (i neglected the milk on accident).
I did cheat and just use wonton wrappers, which I suggest for those of us not wanting to spend 3 hours preparing dinner. I had dinner guests and was going to be arriving home later than they would be arriving at my house so I filled the ravioli the morning of, and made the filling the night before. All in all it was not any more work than any other ravioli, perhaps more simple, just time consuming.

Crepes with Cream Cheese and Blackberry Raspberry Sauce

Berries do not last long.
I wish they lasted longer.
This was my attempt to use the berries and hope to mask the tartness of the blackberries. I just couldn't eat them on their own they were so tart.
Natural reaction to tart: need some sweetness! I put the berries I had from the farm into a small pot with about 1/4 c of sugar and turned it on medium. I let the berries cook for about 5 minutes till they cooked down a bit.
Meanwhile, I made some crepes and a cream cheese filling. Man, this was a wonderful Saturday morning breakfast. Ok, so perhaps it was more of a brunch as the crepes took long enough to push the morning along. But well worth the wait.
Vanilla Crepe Batter (f/ Crepe Cookery) 3 eggs 1/2 t salt 1 1/2 c flour 2 c milk 1 T sugar 2 t vanilla extract 2 T melted butter Combine eggs and salt in a mixing bowl. Gradually beat in flour alternately with milk. Then add sugar and vanilla extract. Beat with a whisk until smooth, then beat in melted butter. Refrigerate 1 hour. Spoon a small amount into a well greased pan and immediately swirl around the bottom of the pan. Cook until bottom is slightly browned, flip. Cook for a few seconds on other side and slide out of pan onto a plate. Be sure when moving along that the pan is well greased. Cream Cheese Filling 1 pkg cream cheese 3 T honey 2 T milk Whip together on a high setting until well mixed. Blackberry Raspberry Sauce 3/4 c blackberries 1/2 c raspberries 1/4 c sugar Place in a small pot over medium heat. Cook 5 minutes or until berries just begin to break down.

Broiled Tofu with Blueberry Peach Salsa

This recipe was so good I had to post if first. I am attempting to set up some posts so that I can post a meal a day or so. We shall see if it works out in my favor. But for today, I tried a recipe from Fat Free Vegan that sounded so tasty, I bought the extra fruit even though blueberries are back to being quite expensive.
This recipe kept unfolding in your mouth. It had so many layers of sweet and spicy that you just wanted to keep eating it to figure it out. But you can't.
I also had some cabbage that looked like it needed to be used right away. So I chose a quick recipe that I thought would meld, and it so did not. It was tasty, but probably better with a good texmex veggie burger or some tacos. I should have known, it is a Bobby Flay recipe. I did add a bit of parsley in an attempt to meld the two dishes. The parsley worked here, though it did not meld, no melding.
As far as for a hot summer day, which it was, these are pretty good recipes, though not together. I did use my oven because we have no grill, so my kitchen did get a bit hot, but by no means must you even touch your oven for this. But try this salsa!