April 3rd, 2012

Pizza Rustica

"pizza" in the title may be a little misleading for some.  Sure, this is dough and cheese baked together, but it really is more of a quiche than anything.  Don’t take that as complaining.  As much as I love pizza (and could eat it everyday), this was a really great recipe.  It is adaptable to almost any filling.  I had a vegetarian coming over for brunch, so I skipped adding prosciutto to the filling.  In it’s place, I roasted and chopped some fennel and mixed it in.  I’ve been a little obsessed with roasted fennel this winter and I tend to try to add it to everything.  Roasted fennel brownies were not a success. 

This week’s recipe was hosted by Emily of Capital Region Dining and Raelynn of The Place They Call Home, they will have the recipe on their blogs.  Oh! and before I forget, I decreased the sugar in the crust down to a tablespoon.  I try to decrease sugar in most recipes, and after reading the other bakers notes, extra sugar really isn’t necessary here.



March 28th, 2012

Thai Veggie Burgers

Homemade veggie burgers usually leave a lot to be desired.  Dry, crumbly, bland. These veggies burgers, however are full of flavor.  The first time I made them, they crumbled a bit.  So I went ahead and added more peanut butter the second go around and they stayed together well.  I’ve really enjoyed these for lunch during the week (and the ladies in the lunch room have been jealous).  You can serve them on a bun with lettuce and various toppings.  I like them as above, just a plain burger.  They’re that tasty.



Thai Veggie Burgers
Adapted from Mama Pea 

1/3 cup oats
1 14 ounce can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 tsp soy sauce
2 tsp lime juice
2 tsp sesame oil
2 tsp garlic, chopped
2 tsp fresh ginger, chopped
2-3 tbs peanut butter
2 tbs cilantro
3/4 cup broccoli slaw

Place the oats in the bowl of a food processor.  Pulse 4-5 times.  Add the rest of the ingredients and process until everything comes together.  (Start with 2 tbs of peanut butter and add the third if the mix seems dry).  Refrigerate the mixture for 30 minutes.  

Heat a frying pan to med high.  Spray with non stick spray.  Form 4 to 5 patties with the mixture.  Fry until heated, about 5 minutes per side.

January 9th, 2012

Roasted Potato Fennel Soup

Despite a warm weekend, I was still in the mood for soup. I started roasting the potatoes for this just as Ed started to come down with a cold. I think it is a perfect make you feel better soup. Tastes just like a baked potato, only better.

We ate the first round with just a little parmesan on top. I kept thinking how nice a little crumbled bacon on top would be. So, next round pictured with bacon, scallions and a little cheese. Perfect.



PS- using water, this soup is vegetarian.  If you’d like, you can add the fennel ends to the water and heat while preparing, strain and use the water (with added fennel flavor) for the soup.

Roasted Potato Fennel Soup
Serves 10
Adapted from the Barefoot Contessa

3 lbs red potatoes , unpeeled and quartered
olive oil
2-3 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
2 teaspoons sea salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
2 fennel bulbs, chopped
3 medium onions, chooped
3 quarts vegetable stock
3/4 cup heavy cream

Additional salt and pepper to taste

toppings: cheese, crumbled bacon, sliced scallions

Preheat oven to 400°F.

On a baking sheet, toss the potatoes with 1/4 cup olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper. Roast for 30 minutes, until cooked through.

Saute the chopped onions and chopped fennel with 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large stockpot on medium heat until translucent, 10 to 15 minutes.

Add the roasted potatoes (including scrapings from the pan) and the water.

Cover and bring to a boil.

Lower the heat and simmer uncovered for 1 hour, until all the vegetables are very soft.

Add the heavy cream and allow the soup to cool slightly.

Using a food processor, blend the soup in several batches until creamy.

Taste for salt and pepper. Reheat and serve hot.

October 27th, 2011

Silky Cauliflower Soup

One head of cauliflower survived in the fridge while we were away in North Carolina for a wedding.  On our return, I googled and quickly found this easy way to use it up.  The soup is good, standard cauliflower soup.  Nothing crazy here.  Just a little parmesan cheese and cracked pepper needed to make it complete.  Enjoyed on a rainy day with a side of sweet potato chipotle crackers from a Charlotte, NC bakery. I ate the entire package myself. Must find a way to make them at home.

Silky Cauliflower Soup
Recipe from David Lieberman

1 head cauliflower
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 quart low-sodium chicken (or vegetable) stock
1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan
Sea Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Remove the leaves and thick core from the cauliflower, coarsely chop, and reserve.

Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan or soup pot over medium heat and add the onion and garlic. Cook until softened, but not browned, about 5 minutes.

Add the cauliflower and stock and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer, cover, and cook until the cauliflower is very soft and falling apart, about 15 minutes.

Remove from heat and, using a hand held immersion blender, puree the soup, or puree in small batches in a blender and return it to the pot.

Add the Parmesan and stir until smooth.

Season, to taste, with salt and black pepper. Serve warm.

August 11th, 2011

Mmmmm Sauce!

I’m a pretty earth crunchy gal and I love making vegetarian food- the more unusual the better.  I’ve seen this mmm sauce on many blogs recently and the combination of nuts, chickpeas and nutritional yeast looked right up my (weirdo) ally.  I decided to give it a try this past weekend when I had a couple of vegetarians head over for dinner.  I served the sauce over bok choy, mushrooms, snap peas, tofu and rice.  The sauce is lightly curry with a good measure of nutritional yeast for a cheesy/nutty flavor.  I really like cooking with nutritional yeast and recommend trying it.  You can find it in the bulk bins at stores like whole foods.  I used some in an edamame burger recipe recently and everyone seemed to be surprised by how much they liked it.  That recipe will be posted next week…

Leftovers of mmm sauce were used in a beef and veggie stirfry and- my favorite use so far- as a sandwich spread on toasted ciabatta with sharp cheddar cheese, scallions, and garden tomatoes.  The recipe comes from Mama Pea’s website and she notes “Nutritionally speaking, this sauce is in the same ballpark as hummus or salad dressing, but with a little more protein and vitamin B12, and a whole lot more totally craveable flavor.” Good stuff! Here’s the original recipe with my changes noted. Try it, you’ll like it…



Mmmm Sauce
From Mama Pea
Makes 1 1/2 cups

1/4 c. canola oil (or oil of your choice)
1/4 c. almonds (Spike used raw cashews)
1/3 c. water
1/4 c. chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/4 c. nutritional yeast
2 1/2 T. lemon juice
1 t. minced garlic
1/4 t. salt (Spike used fine sea salt)
3/4 t. curry powder
1/2 t. dried oregano (Spike skipped this)
1/2 t. dried cilantro

Note: this recipe could easily be doubled and leftovers will keep covered in the fridge for 7-10 days

In a high speed blender or food processor, combine oil, almonds, water and chickpeas.  Blend until relatively smooth.
Add remaining ingredients and blend until smooth.Transfer to a small bowl and refrigerate until serving.

June 17th, 2011

Spring Pea Soup with Fiddleheads & Mushrooms

One of the favorite courses during diner at the Table was a spring pea soup with sauteed mushrooms and fiddleheads, and a drizzle of lavender oil.  After seeing some fiddleheads on a trip to Whole Foods, I knew I had to try recreating the soup.

I did a quick version (sans lavender oil).  Chef Sam had used avocado to make the soup creamy in texture but avocados were wicked expensive so I went with good old cream.  Frozen peas too.  The mushrooms and fiddleheads add just enough crew and crunch to this sweet spring soup. So easy but gone in seconds.

Spring Pea Soup with Fiddleheads & Mushrooms
Serves 4

1 onion, diced
Olive Oil
2 packages of frozen spring peas (or, you know, fresh is cool too)
1/4 cup of heavy cream
2-3 cups of chicken broth, warmed (more or less depending on how thick you want your soup)
2 Handfuls of wild mushrooms (I used baby bellos and shitakis)
2 handfuls of fiddleheads, cleaned and trimmed
1-2 tablespoons butter
sea salt and pepper

Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a pan over medium heat.  When onions are translucent, add the peas and cook for 5 minutes.  Add the cream to the pan and continue cooking another few minutes until the peas are cooked through. 

Puree the peas and stock together in a blender or food processor- do this in a couple of batches.  Add the pureed soup back into the pot.  Keep warm and season with salt and pepper to taste.Add more stock to thin out your soup if needed.

While the soup warms, saute the mushrooms with 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat for 2 minutes.  Add the fiddleheads to the pan and season with sea salt, cook for an additional 5 minutes.  Reduce heat to low and add the butter to the pan.  Stir occasionally and cook until fiddleheads are done (another minute or two).

Serve a few ladles of soup with the mushrooms and fiddleheads spooned on top. 



April 22nd, 2011

Lemony Quinoa Salad with Olives & Cheese

After the success of the quinoa salad made for French Friday’s with Dorie, I decided to try a different version.  I stopped by the olive bar at my local Star market (in ritzy Chestnut Hill) and picked up some nice black olives and herbed green olives.  They were really the star of this salad- nice and briny and salty.  

In retrospect, feta cheese is probably the most obvious choice but I had crumbled goats cheese in the fridge.  The creaminess of the cheese and a few sweet sun-dried tomatoes finished up the salad nicely.  As the samplers noted, this is a salty combo so be careful in adding any additional salt.  I tend to have a heavy hand with salt. A nice side dish for a Mediterranean inspired meal. 

Late today (hopefully) I’ll be posting the next FFwD recipe, mustard batons.  bien sûr

Lemony Quinoa Salad with Olives & Cheese
Inspired by a Dorie Greenspan Recipe

1 1/2 cups dried quinoa
1 cup of olives (black, green or mix), coarsely chopped
4-6 Sun-dried tomatoes (preferreabley packed in oil with a tablespoon of oil reserved for the dressing), chopped
Zest of one lemon
Juice of one lemon
3 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon oil from sun-dired tomatoes jar (or an extra tbs of EVOO)
3/4 cup crumbled goat cheese or feta cheese

Rinse the quinoa in cold water.  Bring 3 cups of water to a boil in a medium sauce pan and then stir in the quinoa.  Lower heat and cook quinoa for 12-15 minutes (each grain will have a little ring around it). Turn off the heat and cover the pan.  After 5 minutes, drain the quinoa and cool to room temp.

In your serving bowl, mix the quinoa, olives, and sun-dried tomatoes to combine.  In a small bowl, whisk together lemon zest and lemon juice, slowly add the oils while whisking until the dressing comes together.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Pour dressing over the quinoa salad and mix to combine.  Add the cheese and combine.  Let the salad stand for about an hour (or refrigerate until ready to serve) and let he flavors combine. 

April 8th, 2011

Quinoa, Fruit and Nut Salad

Super seed salad that is.  It has been another crazy week- teaching lots of spin classes, trying to run more during the week and not just weekends, getting the windows replaced at home, another episode of my car not working correctly, making carnitas.  Luckily, I had a nice protein packed lunch to keep me going all week. 

This is not the cheapest recipe in the world- both quinoa and dried fruit a pretty expensive.  Then add in nuts, fresh herbs…it adds up.  I did a version that left out the fresh herbs.  Instead, I made a dressing from orange juice, olive oil, fresh grated ginger, and salt and pepper.  Mixed in with cooked quinoa, dried cranberries, and chopped pecans.   Pretty tasty.  I’m thinking about trying a different version with crumbled goats cheese and olives for next week.  That’s one of the many great things about quinoa- so easy to dress up. It’s worth a little extra $. 

This recipe comes from Dorie Greenspan’s book Around the French Table.  Also worth the investment.

Happy weekend.


March 16th, 2011

Vegetarian Cassoulet

I have a few hearty recipes left to make while the weather is still cool and damp.  This vegetarian cassoulet was at the top of my list.  It is hearty and earthy with a good dose of red wine (!). I used organic red wine recommended by the guy at whole foods so this dish is 100% hippy. 

You could always add additional root vegetables- parsnips would be great.  If you’re scared of weirdo vegetarian foods like seitan and tempeh, just skip them.  I like the added protein.  I also like any recipe that requires a little work up front (chopping veg) but then is fairly inactive for most of the cooking process.  Let’s me take a break to watch a little tv (end of BSG? Heavy? Tosh.0? too many choices).  My low fat and nutritious lunch for this week…

Vegetarian Cassoulet
Based on a recipe by Moosewood Restaurants Low-Fat Favorites
Serves 4-6 

1 tbsp. olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 onion, chopped
1/2 tsp. dried or fresh thyme
1 tsp. fresh or dried rosemary
3/4 cup dry red wine
1 cup peeled and diced carrots
3/4 cup diced celery
1 cup diced potatoes
1 cup diced tomatoes
3/4 cup seitan or tempeh, cut into cubes (I used tempeh)
1 tbsp. molasses
1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
1-1/2 cups kidney beans (one 15 oz. can, drained)
1-1/2 cups cannellini beans (one 15 oz. can, drained)
Sea Salt and black pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350°F.

In a large saucepan (I used a le Creuset pan so it could go straight into the oven afterwords), warm the olive oil, and add garlic, onions, thyme, bay leaves, marjoram, and rosemary. Sauté for about 2 minutes.

Add wine, cover, and simmer on low until the onions are soft (5 minutes or so). Stir in carrots, celery, potatoes, and tomatoes. Cover and simmer about 10 more minutes.

Add seitan or tempeh, molasses, mustard, and both kinds of beans. Return to a simmer, until the beans, etc. are warmed through.

Add salt and pepper to taste and transfer to a casserole dish that has been oiled (or just stick with your oven safe dish if you used it above), cover, and bake for about 45 minutes.