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Archive for the ‘Vegetarian’ Category

I just turned 30 on Sunday and thought to myself “what a great time to start blogging again.” Turning 30 was overall uneventful, besides the minor 1/3 life crises that I had. I won’t bore you with those details, but I will tell you about my 3 week cleanse that I started on my birthday.

I’ve decided 30 is a year for self reflection and inner peace. Therefore, I’m starting with a basic anti-inflammatory cleanse for 3 weeks. These typically mean, no dairy, gluten, alcohol, nightshades (tomatoes, peppers and eggplants) and citrus. I think those are the big ones but I could have missed something. This is absolutely hard because my diet mainly consists of  bread, pasta and cheese. Further, it’s the beginning of tomato season here, which I look forward to all year. But I’m pretty convinced I’m allergic to all nightshades so it’s very important to do this.

I ran into this recipe a few weeks ago. The original calls for tomatoes but I figure I can substitute mushrooms and still be happy. Of course I also had to leave out the cheese. I was pretty happy with the overall recipe and it turned out quite flavorful.

Zucchini Rice Gratin

Adapted from Gourmet, March 2008

Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 60 minutes
Level: Medium
Yield: 4 servings

  • 1/3 cup long-grain white rice
  • 1 1/2 pounds zucchini (about 3 medium), sliced crosswise 1/4 inch thick
  • olive oil
  • 10-15 large crimini mushrooms, sliced thick
  • 1 medium onion, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • Splash of white wine
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon chopped thyme
  • salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 450°F with racks in upper and lower thirds.

Cook rice according to package instructions. I like to cook my rice with chicken broth instead of water to give it more flavor.

While rice cooks, toss zucchini with 1 tablespoon oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt and freshly ground pepper in a shallow baking pan. Toss mushrooms with 1/2 tablespoon oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt and freshly ground pepper in another baking pan.

Roast zucchini in upper third of oven and mushrooms in lower third, turning vegetables once halfway through roasting, until tender and light golden, about 10 minutes for mushrooms; 20 minutes for zucchini. Leave oven on.

Meanwhile, cook onion and garlic with 1/2 teaspoon salt in 2 tablespoons oil in a large heavy skillet, over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until slightly golden, about 15 minutes. Deglaze the pan with a splash of wine, enough to coat the bottom of the pan. Simmer for a few minutes until the wine is reduced slightly.

Stir together onion mixture, cooked rice, eggs, thyme and additional salt and pepper if needed. Spread half of rice mixture in a shallow 2-quart baking dish, then top with half of zucchini and mushrooms. Spread remaining rice mixture over zucchini/mushrooms, then top with remaining zucchini and mushrooms.

Bake in upper third of oven until set and golden brown, about 20 minutes.

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Vegetarian Korma

I’ve been cooking and baking a lot lately, but have been too lazy to put up posts. Every time I get lazy with the posts I think about trying to make a weekly commitment and sticking to it but then I feel like it’s too much of an effort. Yes, I’ll be the first to admit, I have a lack of discipline when it comes to such things. The result is a backlog of pictures and ideas sitting on my desktop or sometimes in my head. Here is a recipe that was shared with me by a good friend. This is such a simple and versatile recipe and can be thrown together pretty easily.

You can substitute yogurt or coconut milk for the cream in this recipe. I went with plain yogurt to lighten up the dish and it turned out great. You can also add chicken or tofu for extra protein. I also skipped the cashews because I didn’t have any.

Recipe adapted from Allrecipes.com

Prep time: 25 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
Level: Easy
Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients

1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 small onion, diced
1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger root
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 potatoes, cubed
4 carrots, cubed
1 fresh jalapeno pepper, seeded and sliced
3 tablespoons ground unsalted cashews
1 (4 ounce) can tomato sauce
2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 tablespoons curry powder
1 cup frozen green peas
1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
1 cup heavy cream
1 bunch fresh cilantro for garnish

    Directions

    1. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Stir in the onion, and cook until tender. Mix in ginger and garlic, and continue cooking 1 minute. Mix potatoes, carrots, jalapeno, cashews, and tomato sauce. Season with salt and curry powder. Cook and stir 10 minutes, or until potatoes are tender.
    2. Stir peas, green bell pepper, red bell pepper, and cream into the skillet. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer 10 minutes. Garnish with cilantro to serve.

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    I made this sometime in early September when I had a bunch of tomatillos and tomatoes from my CSA farm. The recipe came from Vicki at Sun Gold Farm but I can’t find the recipe anywhere. So, I’ll have to try to remember what I did more than a month ago. Hope it turns out okay for you because I really enjoyed this recipe.

    Roasted Tomatillo and tomato Pasta Sauce

    Prep time: 15 minutes
    Cook time: 30 minutes
    Level: Easy
    Yield: 2 servings

    Ingredients:

    combination of 4 pounds tomatoes and tomatillos
    2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
    2 tablespoons olive oil
    1 pound shaped pasta
    salt and pepper to taste

    Directions:

    Cut the tomatoes in half and toss with garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast in the oven at 350 degrees for around 30 minutes. Once everything is nicely roasted remove from the oven and let everything cool slightly. You’ll want to puree everything in a food processor, then heat it back up in a sauce pan. At this point you can add butter if you’d like but I skipped that. Pour over pasta and sprinkle with cheese.

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    Sometimes you have an over abundance of  peppers and tomatillos. This has been the case for me all summer long; I’ve constantly had an overabundance of some vegetable or fruit and had no idea what to do with it. At first it was lettuce and cabbage then it was rhubarb and garbanzo beans, and now squash and onions and corn; oh my!

    I guess that’s really one of the only cons of being part of a CSA, having all this food that you don’t know what to do with. I’ve given away tons of stuff this summer and even frozen several batches of green beans and onions and still feel overwhelmed. Although I will not participate in a CSA next year for this specific reason I will really miss having vegetables in my share that I would not normally buy. It’s been fun receiving greens that I wouldn’t normally think of eating and finding creative ways to incorporate them into my diet.

    Portland has a plethora of Farmer’s Markets within my reach and my plan is to hit them up frequently next year. With the subscription to the CSA this year I haven’t really had much need to hit up the market, although I do still go to several because I love the atmosphere and the farmers. Here is what is available to me as far as markets go:

    Sunday: Montavilla Market
    Monday: Pioneer Square Market
    Wednesday: PSU Market
    Thursday: PGE puts on a market in August and September in the plaza
    Saturday: PSU Market and Hollywood Market

    Now that we’re talking about markets, let me mention that I have been getting involved in the Montavilla Market. This market is literally down the street from my house and it’s truly a wonderful place. I love going there and getting to know all the volunteers, vendors and shoppers. It feels so good to be involved in something not only sustainable but also invigorating. I’ll talk more about the market in another post but I do want to mention that Kyle Curtis the Assistant Market Manager and Volunteer Coordinator is speaking at a community food forum this coming Saturday, September 25th. The talk is titled “Where’s the Food” and the subject is about access to healthy food in East Portland. The event will be held at the Highland Church of Christ in the Fellowship Hall, 7600 NE Glisan St.

    Prep time: 20 minutes
    Cook time: 40 minutes
    Level: Medium
    Yield: 4 servings

    5 large tomatillos – paper removed, washed and cut in half
    1 bell pepper (I used a purple bell and an anaheim pepper)- roughly chopped
    1/2 medium onion – roughly chopped
    2 tbsp olive oil
    salt & pepper
    1/2 jalapeno – chopped (more if you want it hotter)
    1 large handful cilantro

    Toss tomatillos, peppers and onions in oil and season with salt & pepper. Roast in 350 F oven for 35 -45 min or until charred spots begin to form. Allow the mixture to cool slightly. Then blend all ingredients with jalapeno and cilantro in a food processor. You’ll want to leave it slightly chunky.
    Season with more salt & pepper if needed.

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    Dahl
    This is a wonderful and easy recipe I’ve made over and over again. Next time you’re stumped on what to make for dinner, try this recipe.

    Recipe adapted from Hillbilly Housewife.

    Prep time: 5 minutes
    Cook time: 45 minutes
    Level: Easy
    Yield: 3-4 servings

    Ingredients

    • 1 cup dry split peas (I recommend yellow split peas)
    • 2 tablespoons olive or cooking oil
    • 1 teaspoon cumin
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
    • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
    • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
    • Cooked Brown Rice (or quinoa)

    Directions

    Simmer the peas in about a quart of water for 45 minutes, or until they are tender. Cook the rice while the beans cook. Brown rice takes about the same amount of time to cook. After the peas are tender, heat the olive oil in a small skillet or saucepan. Add the seasonings and fry them gently in the fat until they are fragrant and bubbly. You do this to bring out the full flavor of the spices, please do not omit this step or the finished dish will loose part of it’s trademark flavor. After frying the spices, scoop about 1/2 cup of juice from the split peas into the small pan with the spices. Stir it up to dissolve all the spices in the juice. Pour the spicy juice back into the big pot of split peas. Stir it up and simmer for a few minutes to blend the flavors. Ladle the split pea dahl over cooked rice and serve.

    This recipe calls for a lot of spices. Essentially you are making your own curry powder by combining the spices this way. Regular curry powder, purchased in cans at the market, is a combination of spices, specifically blended for the American palette. This dish is a little closer to authentic than it would be if made with store bought curry powder. It also tastes much better. Like dishes from many other countries, Split Pea Dahl makes use of those foods which are cheapest and most abundant in the locality which created them. This one gets it’s inspiration from India.

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    Lasagna

    Lasagna Slice

    Prep time: 2 hours
    Cook time: 70 minutes
    Level: Intermediate to Hard
    Yield: makes 8-10 servings

    This recipe is adapted from Baking and Books.

    Ingredients:

    • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
    • 2 1/2 cups diced yellow onion (1 large onion)
    • 2 lbs butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1/4 inch thick slices (I cut them into small cubes)
    • 1 3/4 cups vegetable broth
    • 4 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme, divided use
    • 4 tablespoons chopped fresh sage, divided use
    • 2 15oz containers of ricotta (I almost felt like this was too much, you could go with slightly less)
    • 4 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella, divided use
    • 1 cup shredded Parmesan, divided use
    • 3 large eggs
    • 3 biscotti cookies (not sweet ones, we used almond & walnut biscotti with a hint of anise flavoring) (I skipped this all together)
    • Salt and pepper to taste
    • 1 10oz package no-boil lasagna noodles (I used fresh lasagna that I purchased from Pastaworks)
    • (I also added about one cup of toasted hazelnuts)

    For béchamel:

    • 2 tablespoons butter
    • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
    • 1 3/4 cups whole milk
    • Pinch of nutmeg
    • Salt and pepper to taste

    Equipment: 9 x 13 inch baking dish

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

    Melt 4 tablespoons butter in a large pot or dutch oven. Add onion and cook over medium heat until soft, about 10 minutes. Raise heat to high and continue to cook, stirring constantly, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a bowl and set aside. (I didn’t remove and set aside; I just added the squash and herbs to this pot)

    In the same pot, add the sliced squash, vegetable broth, 3 tablespoons of thyme and 3 tablespoons sage. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until squash is tender, about 20 minutes.

    While squash is cooking, in a medium bowl combine ricotta, 2 cups of mozzarella, 1/2 cup Parmesan and the remaining 1 tablespoon thyme and 1 tablespoon sage. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the eggs and mix well. Set aside.

    When squash is done, cool slightly and remove 3/4 cup of the excess liquid (1 cup if there is an excessive amount of liquid). Transfer to food processor. (I used my handy dandy immersion blender; what an amazing gadget!) Break the biscotti in half and add to the processor. Blend until smooth, then season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

    In a medium saucepan melt 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Add 2 tablespoons flour and whisk for 1 minute. Gradually whisk in the milk. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce the heat to medium and simmer until the sauce thickens slightly, whisking frequently. Whisk in the nutmeg. This sauce is called “béchamel” and it’s done when it coats the back of a spoon. (Make the bechamel just before assembling the lasagna, if it sits too long it will develop a skin).

    Now it is time to assemble the lasagna. Coat the bottom of your baking dish with 1/2 of the béchamel. Then layer the rest of the lasagna as follows:

    • 1/3 of the ricotta mixture
    • Noodles (make sure they are not overlapping)
    • 1/3 of the squash mixture
    • 1/2 of the onions
    • 1/3 of the remaining mozzarella
    • 1/3 of the ricotta mixture
    • (1/2 of the hazelnuts)
    • Noodles
    • 1/3 of the squash mixture
    • 1/2 of the onions
    • 1/3 of the ricotta mixture
    • 1/3 of the mozzarella
    • Rest of the béchamel
    • Noodles
    • Remaining squash mixture
    • (1/2 of the hazelnuts)

    Sprinkle the remaining mozzarella and Parmesan over the top. Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 350 degrees F for 40 minutes. Then remove the aluminum foil and bake for an additional 10 minutes, or until cheese is completely melted and starting to color a bit.

    Remove from oven and allow to rest for about 10 minutes.

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    This recipe is from another one of my fave food blogs, 101 Cookbooks. It’s easy and the flavors mesh nicely together. I’ve made some slight modifications to the original.

    Prep time: 30 minutes
    Cook time: 15 minutes
    Level: Easy
    Yield: 3 servings

    Ingredients

    • 2 tablespoon butter or extra-virgin olive oil
    • fine grain sea salt and freshly ground pepper
    • 1 small onion or a couple shallots, sliced
    • 1 cup cooked chickpeas (canned is fine, if you don’t want to cook up a pot of dried chickpeas)
    • 8 ounces extra-firm tofu (cut into bite size squares)
    • 1 cup of chopped kale (you’ll want to remove the stem of the kale)
    • 2 small zucchini, chopped
    • zest and juice of 1/2 a lemon

    Directions

    Heat 1 tablespoon of the butter/olive oil In a large skillet over medium-high heat and stir in a big pinch of salt, the onion, and chickpeas. Saute until the chickpeas are deeply golden and crusty. Stir in the tofu and cook just until the tofu is heated through, just a minute or so. Stir in the kale and cook for one minute more. Remove everything from the skillet onto a large plate and set aside. In the same skillet heat the remaining tablespoon of butter/olive oil, add the zucchini and saute until it starts to take on a bit of color, two or three minutes. Add the chickpea mixture back to the skillet, and remove from heat. Stir in the lemon juice and zest, taste, and season with a bit more salt if needed. Turn out onto a platter and serve family style.

    Note: I’m not a big fan of tofu and I didn’t think it was that great in this recipe. I think this recipe would taste just as good without.You could probably even serve it over rice if you wanted to. The rice and beans will make a complete protein.


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