Entries Tagged as 'Entree'

Greek Goddess Celebratory Nachos

Posted on: April 1, 2014

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These aren’t just any nachos – these are celebratory nachos! These are ‘I just got nominated for a Best Food Blog Award’ by Saveur Magazine and am gonna treat myself to nachos and ice cream for dinner. I still remember the first time I voted for Saveurs BFBA three years ago and felt like I had such a strong opinion on who should win every category because I knew one blog per category. And I remember the first time I saw Oh, Ladycake’s badge on her site and was like ‘Wow. That would look mighty nice on VV’ (ha!). Fast forward several years and I can honestly say I follow 80% of the blogs nominated and consider a large portion of them dear blog friends of mine.

I guess what I am trying to say is that, if you are feeling it, you should hop on over and vote for VV in the ‘special diet category’ on Saveur’s site. But honestly, its okay if you don’t because I’m just happy to be a part of the club and mentioned among so many talented writers and photographers. I’m thinking of it as a win-win since I’ll be munching on Laura’s Quinoa Onion Rings if The First Mess wins and this Orange Chocolate Tart if Happyyolks is sent to Vegas.

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These nachos are like no nachos you’ve probably ever munched on before. According to Food52, the most important elements for nachos are quality ingredients and strong layering ethic. We’ve got both of those bases covered here. These are a mix between eating a greek pita sandwich and a faleffel burger.

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Curried Carrot Soup With Maple Roasted Chickpeas

Posted on: March 5, 2014

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I’d like to start off by apologizing if this recipe looks faintly familiar. I may have made a super similar one over here but its been slightly updated for an even more delicious experience. I guess I could have omitted the chickpeas or swapped them out with croutons for more of a variety but, if we are being honest here, the maple chickpeas are what made this dish.

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We picked up the cutest little carrots at the Farmer’s Market on our trip to Marco Island. The market made me so gitty and very homesick for summer days. We have a market here in Bloomington in the winter but it’s in a gymnasium and I can’t seem to get myself excited about it. Perhaps the gymnasium part reminds me too much of being at a children’s christmas bazaar or the lack of sunshine in the building brings a whole new gloom to dirty vegetables. Either way, it will never compare to the exciting hustle and bustle of the summer outdoor market.

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This recipe is forever adaptable so please don’t feel limited by the ingredients and instructions listed below. Feel free to substitute some coconut milk for the broth or swap out whatever herbs you have on hand or toss the chickpeas in whatever spices you are craving at that moment. This soup is never the same for me because I always switch it up to fulfill my cravings at the time. As long as the soup is flavorful and the chickpeas are crispy then it’s probably going to be pretty darn delicious.

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Fresh Spinach Pasta with Roasted Carrot Almond Pesto

Posted on: January 13, 2014

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It’s 13 days into the new year – are you still kicking strong with your new years resolutions? So far 2014 has not just been about being conscious of what I am eating but why I am eating it. Why is it so important to get that green smoothie in every morning? How is my body benefiting from consuming greens, carrots, greek yogurt, and honey? I recently picked up The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods by Michael Murry and can’t seem to put it down. It’s a hefty thing ranking in at a whopping 900 pages (Hey… it does warn you with the word ‘Encyclopedia’ in the title and is often times used as a textbook in holistic nutrition courses) but is brimming with wonderful food insight on every page. The bulk of the book is split up by specific foods and tells you the history, health benefits, research conducted on that food, and potential harmful effects of pretty much any whole food you can think of (spices, fruits, vegetables, grains, meats, etc).

 

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All this new found knowledge has gotten me really excited about eating whole foods. After a breakfast of avocado toast and blueberry oatmeal, I notice myself immediately running to the book to find out the benefits of avocados, oats, blueberries, maple syrup, and almonds (from the homemade almond milk). And then again after lunch. And after my afternoon snack. And so on.

 

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So, as you probably expected, I can’t wait to share all the wonderful benefits of this veggie-centric dish with you (but please remember, I am not a certified health expert of any sorts and all insight shared here is to merely share a few of the engaging health benefits outlined in Healing Foods).

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Spinach & Avocado Stuffed Cornmeal Crepes with Curry-Lime Cream

Posted on: January 5, 2014

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How is your 2014 so far? Are you finally feeling back to normal after a 3 day hangover from all that sugary champagne? I, surprisingly, did not drink that much on New Years this year and woke up feeling recharged and ready to start a fresh new year. My college self would be so bummed at how ‘lame’ I’ve already become at 24 but sometimes a girl just wants to snuggle inside with her dog and boyfriend to watch the ball drop with Carson Daly. Oh wait, or are you a Ryan Seacrest kind-of-person? If so, I feel so so so very sorry for you.

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Just like every American this time a year, I’m taking another stab at eating health[ier]. I’d like to think we don’t eat terrible around here (no heart-clogging meat, minimal processed foods, no sugary drinks) but there is always room for improvement. I’m particularly bad about incorporating fresh vegetables into our diets this time a year – a salad feels very unappetizing (and usually pretty unnatural when its 10 degrees out and the produce was shipped in from 5 states over) so most of our vegetable intake is in the form of stews and soups and curries. And because of that, I can’t help but notice that our leafy green in-take has slowed down to a minimum. So alas, I decided to start the year off with a recipe that could highlight raw vegetables in another form other than smoothies and juice cleanses (since, you know, sometimes it’s so cold outside and the thoughts of downing a ice cold smoothie is about as appetizing as eating yellow snow).

If possible, choose cornmeal that is whole and not degermed to gain as much nutrition of it as possible. Whole cornmeal is chocked full of amino acids, vitamins (b-6, K), minerals (potassium, zinc, copper), and have been linked to benefiting your colon.

These crepes can be stuffed with whatever you are feeling but I highly recommend trying out this savory version and picking a few favorite vegetables to chop up for the insides. I choose spinach because of it’s well known benefits of having a high ratio of nutrients to calories (we are talking vitamin A, K, D, and E as well as omega 3 fatty acids and anti-inflammatory antioxidants).

I’ve also been on a curry kick lately but feel free to use whatever sauce you are feeling – perhaps a cilantro sirarcha sauce? Or even a peanut lime sauce for a protein boost?

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How To Make Pureed Soup Without A Recipe /// Guest Post by Livia Sweets

Posted on: December 12, 2013

Remember when I posted that wonderful staple recipe for homemade vegetable stock over at Livia Sweets last month? Well, Claire from Livia Sweets has been kind enough to build on that and create a wonderful tutorial for me to share with all you VV readers. I am so excited to say that she has the secret of how to make delicious pureed soup without a recipe and is here sharing it with all of us today!

That’s right – a healthy recipe! You have to be getting a tooth ache from looking at all those sweet recipes all over the internet right now! Here is a nice break and cleansing meal idea to enjoy between woofing down sprtiz cookies. Enjoy!

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Hosting A Vegetarian Thanksgiving

Posted on: November 21, 2013

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(Although I wish this was my own feast that I was muchin’ down on, it is not. As a change of pace on VV, I’ve borrowed most of the photos in this post so please click on the images to check out more beautiful photos from the original authors)

 

I’m a total planner. Anytime my boyfriend mentions he’d like to go on a trip somewhere, I’ll have a full day by day itinerary wrote up and emailed to him by the following evening. He usually has forgot he even mentioned anything by the time he receives the email but I know he has to smirk a little in that moment he opens it to find days (usually by the hour) planned out with restaurants, museums, sights, road stops, forests, and campsites. At least, I know I smirk a little when I re-read those emails. I don’t realize I’m doing it but I’m being exactly like my father in those moments. He would take us all (my brother, my three cousins who lived with us, and my step-mother) on a two week vacation every August when I was growing up. For the months leading up to it, he would pull out the atlas after dinner and compare tourist books (this was before the internet was a real big thing) to what was along the route. I remember how playful he always was in those planning moments and he’d tease me with comments like ‘should we go gambling in Vegas or take that 7 mile hike all uphill to see the rock that resembles a monkey head?’ (as if either of those things were appealing to a 10 year old).

Most of these trips I plan are just ideas – tucked away in email folders – never to actually be carried out. Sometimes I wonder if I have more fun planning adventures then actually taking them. There is just something comforting about these plans being there – comforting in the sense that if we did ever decide to sneak away to the Smoky Mountains or Lake Powell or Montreal at the last second, we wouldn’t miss a thing because I’ve got an itinerary for that!

Anyhow, I bring this story up because I planned out Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is sort of like a trip – you spend months planning and prepping only to have it carried out in one big meal. The funny thing is I’m not even hosting Thanksgiving this year. We always have Thanksgiving at my parent’s house up north and all I do is pick out a few recipes to make the day of and demand a Tofurky. However, even though I’m not hosting Thanksgiving, I still made a Thanksgiving menu. You know, just in case I ever feel like throwing a Thanksgiving dinner on a non-Thanksgiving holiday or something? Okay, that sounded crazy. I just mean that I did it because I enjoy planning. Planning can be a hobby, right?

So, to get to the point, if you are looking to host a Vegetarian Thanksgiving this year or just still need a few ideas on some sides, here is how I envision the perfect Vegetarian Thanksgiving:

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Savory Pumpkin Hand Pies

Posted on: November 19, 2013

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Being a vegetarian at your boyfriend’s family Thanksgiving can be madly intimidating. Or going home and explaining to your family for the first time that you no longer will be eating your aunt’s legendary roast. Although it’s never fun having to repeat yourself over and over to every person at the gathering about why you aren’t diving into that meat, it’s something all of us vegetarians (and vegans!) have had to endure. Instead of spending your entire evening avoiding eye contact with everyone in the room in an attempt to avoid that ‘dietary needs conversation’, whip up a batch of these hand pies to win everyone over. No meat lover will miss the meat in these little pockets of savory deliciousness and they might just agree that these would make a better main course (or appetizer or side or all 3).

Although eating a giant turkery for Thanksgiving is ‘traditional’, I say the hell with it! Let’s make our own tradition!! You aren’t constrained to eating that one meat that is ‘traditional’ and you can play around with any food you enjoy. And, in my opinion, I think these little pockets of pot pies are better than any dried out turkey I was served as a child.

 

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Hop on over to DeSmitten Design blog for the full recipe and learn more!

 

Chickpea Tomato Minestrone [with vegan option]

Posted on: October 21, 2013

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When reflecting on past gardens, I can’t help but be grateful for the fact that I was able to have an inground garden this summer. In years past, I’ve always moved in August and had failed attempts with transplanting tomato plants and herbs. This means that the last time I had a real garden was when I was little and my parent’s let me pick out what I wanted to grow. And that was gourds – I remember distintcly only wanting to grow gourds and my parents thinking that was a little funny (although I wouldn’t understand why until many years later… when I realized they are really not very useful in the kitchen).

But anyhow, this year… this year I was able to go all out. No more of that half assing tomato and basil plant in a few pots. Nope, Nope. This year I wanted a garden both in the back and side yard (one for full sun and one for part). We planted tomatoes, potatoes, lettuce, kale, swiss chard, scallions, lemongrass, cucumbers, bell peppers, jalapeños, rosemary, sage, and so on. Some of them flourished (lemongrass, scallions, kale, tamotoes) and some of them never quite got off the ground (potatoes, cucumbers…). But whether they grew to monstorous portions or stayed micro size, we tried to harvest and enjoy them. We harvested everything in September but the swiss chard and lemongrass.

 

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I’m not sure what I was waiting for with the swiss chard but I knew I was ignoring it until a sign occured. Whether that sign was a must-try recipe or the first frost biting at it’s leaves, I knew I needed a sign. Perhaps it was because the leaves were coming in so beautifully with the colored veins speckled through out them. Whatever it was, I knew I didn’t want to waste these greens by burying them at the bottom of a recipe.

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Homemade Pumpkin Pasta with Goat Cheese Whip & Browned Butter Sage

Posted on: September 27, 2013

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You know, I was so proud of myself for thinking about using that can of pumpkin before October rolled around. I was like ‘damn, I’m going to beat the pumpkin craze this year for sure!’ and then I waited 3 days to post this. And now this recipe is in the dead middle of all the pumpkin blondies and nutmeg dutch babies. Oh well. This was my attempt to create a ‘savory’ dish with the pumpkin instead of the sugar overload that October tends to bring (helloooo Halloween!).

 

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Chickpea Dumplings in Curry Tomato Sauce

Posted on: September 22, 2013

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I know you were starting to worry. You were starting to wonder if my diet really could consist of sugar and alcohol based on the recipes that have been posted on VV the last month or so. So, in an attempt to show you a some-what ‘normal’ side of my diet, I’m posting this dumpling recipe which is an evening go-to in our home. Curry is always welcome around here and we tend to make it about once a week in the cooler months. I like this recipe because it breaks up the usual vegetable-sauce-rice ratio and has protein-rich dumplings cooked right in. Also, the best part about the dumpling literally steaming into the sauce is that it doesn’t take any longer than it would for you to simmer a pot of homemade curry sauce.

This recipe is traditionally prepared by frying the dumplings but I’ve chosen to steam them in the tomato sauce instead for both time and health sake. Think of it as an Indian-curry version of chicken and dumpling stew. Except the sauce plays a much more flavorful part than in our traditional comfort stew. The dumplings end up gooey and steaming them in the sauce lends to the dumplings soaking up the flavors around them.

We serve ours over basmati rice but you can make it a little bit healthier by substituting brown rice. We also like to top ours with greek yogurt for an extra creamy consistency but it’s plenty flavorful without the yogurt if you are trying to keep it vegan.

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Goat Cheese Polenta with Basil Almond Pesto & Pan Fried Chickpeas [For one]

Posted on: August 21, 2013

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Wyatt is off at a Black Sabbath concert tonight . No, I’m not sure why – he’s not a 60 year old fan or a metal head of any kinds [but this is beside the point]. The point is that I’m here alone tonight. I decide to have a sort of girl’s night…with myself. Yoga, red wine, and a chick flick (Bridesmaid to be exact…hey, don’t judge! Everyone ALWAYS references it and I have no idea what they are ever talking about). This is a special treat because I’m usually get suckered into alien, death-centric, action flicks and a case of beer.

This also meant I was on my own for dinner this evening. Any normal American would have probably just got chinese take-out but I was excited by the thought of not having to worry about another person’s needs / preferences. Both polenta and chickpeas are two things Wyatt isn’t really that crazy about – and I totally disagree. I personally don’t think there could ever be anything wrong with a big bowl of corn creaminess that takes on the subtle flavor of whatever cheese you decide to melt into it. And as for chickpeas – give me them anyway you’d like: blended, roasted, sautéed, or panfried.

Needless to say, I’ve settled in for the night with this big polenta bowl and my boxer dog, Tuko. If you need us – we’ll be over here watching some girls relieve themselves in wedding dresses because of some bad Mexican food they ate (gross! Sorry, Bridesmaid reference?)

When pan frying the chickpeas, make sure you use just a big enough skillet so that they can lay evenly in one layer but not so big that you have to use half your bottle of oil. And as for the pesto, I’ve been into using kale (since it grows like wildflowers in my garden) but went with basil on this one since it’s finally basil season – feel free to use whatever leafy green you have on hand!

 

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Goat Cheese Polenta with Basil Almond Pesto & Pan Fried Chickpeas

  • 1 cup dried polenta
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 ounces goat cheese (or more if you are like me)

 

  • 1/2 cup raw almonds
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh basil
  • 1/4 cup parmesan
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • salt / pepper

 

  • 2 cups cooked chickpeas (from a can or from dried)
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • salt / pepper
  • oil (I used olive but you could use vegetable as well)

In a food processor or very powerful blender, combine all the pesto ingredients and blend until a smooth paste forms. Add more olive oil if needed to reach your desired consistency. Set aside.

In a saucepan, bring 4 cups of water to a boil. Add polenta and lower heat to medium low. Whisk continuously until the polenta has become thick enough that it won’t stick to the bottom. After fifteen minutes of simmering, stir in the cheese and remove from heat. Cover to keep warm and set aside.

In a large cast iron skillet, heat a thin layer of oil over medium. Add chickpeas, cumin, chili powder, salt, and pepper. Sauté for ten to fifteen minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pan with a slotted spoon and place on a paper towel lined tray. Let sit for a few minutes to crisp up.

Mix the polenta, chickpeas, and pesto all together and enjoy!

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French Onion Soup [Revisited]

Posted on: May 15, 2013

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Soup?! Really? But it’s SPRING. Soup season is over. Or so I thought. This past rainy and chilly Saturday sparked my desire for one last soup for the season. My stepfather and Ma had dropped off a 10 pound bag of onions from Shriners earlier in the week week. TEN pounds. Do you know how many onions that is for two people? A lot. I racked my brain trying to think of recipes that used more than 1 onion in it…stuffed onions with couscous and goat cheese? Or Pickled onions with beets and coriander? And then Wyatt suggested onion soup. Of course!

I’ve only made quick french onion soup but the rain challenged me to spend the afternoon in the kitchen caramelizing the onions. And don’t get me wrong – the quick method is delicious but it’s not even comparable to traditional french onion soup. This method leaves you with melt-in-your mouth, sweet slices of onion amaziness. I wish I had caramelized all ten pounds of onions to throw onto of everything (pizza, pasta, salads, …ice cream?).

Try this method of making french onion the next time you are stuck inside because of the weather or come home after a long day and need some serious cooking therapy.

 

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French Onion Soup [Revisited]

  • 7 cups sliced onions
  • 3 Tablespoons butter
  • 2 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 4 springs of fresh thyme
  • 8 cups vegetable broth (I used homemade)
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • fresh baguette, cut into 1 inch thick pieces
  • 1 cup grated Swiss or gruyere (or a combination of the two)
  • Salt/Pepper, to taste

 

Melt the butter and oil over medium-low heat in a large saucepans. Add the sliced onion and toss until coated with butter / oil. Cover, lower heat to low, and let cook for 15 minutes untouched (go play with your puppy, eat some almond butter, read a magazine, etc).

Uncover, turn the heat back up to medium-low and add in the sugar and a dash of salt. Cook for about an hour and stir frequently. Cook until the onions have become a deep brown and are irrisistable sweet.

Add the flour and cook for a minute. Next, add in the wine, broth, and thyme springs. Cover and cook for 30 minutes. Remove from heat and use a spoon to scoop out the thyme stems.

Transfer soup into your desired amount of  ovenproof soup bowls. Top each with a  thick slice of baguette and grated cheese. Stick under the broiler until the cheese has melted and is just started to brown.

Enjoy!

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Cornbread Waffles with Roasted Vegetables & Chimichurri Ramps

Posted on: May 1, 2013

My daily posts have turned more into weekly posts as thing have become a bit hectic around here. There are so many things I’ve wanted to share without over sharing on a food blog…which then usually just turn into not sharing them at all. So, instead, I’m just going to give off a short list of excuses that have been both tearing me from this blog and keeping me occupied in my “real” life:

1. I got a new day job / promotion. I was promoted from indie-rock-princess to indie-rock-queen. Hah, no. But I did go from a glorified secretary to being in charge of over 200 of our music client accounts. So, needless to say, I’ve been working 9+ hours a day trying to figure out everything that goes along with this new job.

2. It’s spring! And I’ve been putting most of my free time energy into prepping my garden. What good is a food blogger who can’t even grow her own produce to write recipes with?

3. My grandma passed away. I realize that this is a normal occurrence for people over the age of 80 but that does not make it any less unsettling. I don’t care how old you are – it’s very upsetting to watch a wonderful person have everything ripped away from them.

4. My boyfriend is obsessed with the X-Files. And not only is he obsessed but he is determined to watch EVERY SINGLE EPISODE. So starting at season one in Februaray, he has constantly had that on the TV…which has been…very distracting. Do you know how many episodes of the X-Files there are? HUNDREDS. There are NINE seasons. Do you realize how many hours have been wasting getting sucked in by that when I could have been cleaning my stove-top or seasoning my cast iron or making butterscotch cookies?!

5. Remember that Lemon Thyme Butter I posted about last week? OH MY! I’ve discovered that it’s pretty much amazing on everything. Melt it over pasta or spaetzle and thank me later. You’re welcome.

Okay, enough about me. Let’s talk about YOU! I have an ice cream recipe for YOU. Yup, that is right – homemade ice cream. And it’s filled with the most delicious…well I can’t tell you. But it’s sweet and savory and creamy and Middle Eastern. And it’s going to be posted on VV soon…how soon? I can’t tell you that either (can’t ruin the fun now!) – you’ll just have to check back.

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Now back to ramps. Yes, that is right. I am posting ANOTHER ramps recipes. Two in a row, really? Well if we compare it to how many pizza or tofu recipes I’ve posted then it’s really not that bad. Ramps are new to me…and I’m pretty obsessed. I know they are going to start disappearing from the Farmer’s Market just as quickly as they appeared. This means, I’ve been cooking them up like crazy while I can!



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Cornbread Waffles with Roasted Veggies & Chimichurri Ramps

Makes 2 generous servings

Cheddar Cornbread Waffles:

  • 3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cups cornmeal
  • 1 Tablespoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 2 eggs, separated
  • 1 cups milk
  • 4 Tablespoons butter, melted
  • 3/4 cup grated cheddar cheese

Roasted Vegetables:

  • An assortment of your favorite vegetables to roast (I used 1/2 pint cherry tomatoes, 1 diced onion, 1/2 diced small sweet potato, 2 chopped carrots)
  • 2 springs of fresh thyme, minced
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt/Pepper

Chimichurri:

  • 1 bunch of ramps (about 10 stalks)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 red pepper flakes
  • dash of pepper

 

To roast the vegetables: Preheat oven to 400 and toss the veggies with olive oil, thyme, salt, and pepper. Lay in a even layer on a baking sheet and roast for 20 minutes or until the vegetables have softened and just started to brown.

To make the chimichurri: Rinse the ramps and cut off the roots and any rough tips.  Slice into big chunks. Blend all ingredients in a food processor (or blender) until a smooth paste forms.

To make the waffles: Preheat your waffle maker. Mix the flour, cornmeal, baking soda, salt, and sugar in a bowl. In another bowl, whisk together the egg yokes, milk, and butter. Fold the dried ingredients into the liquid until incorporated. In another bowl, beat the egg whites with a mixer until stiff but not dry peaks form. Fold the egg whites and grated cheese into the batter.

Ladle 1/2 cup (more or less depending on how big your waffle maker is) of the batter onto your preheated waffle iron and cook according to manufacture’s instructions (mine usually takes around 3 minutes).

Pile high with roasted veggies and chimichurri.

 

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Lentil Meatball Subs

Posted on: March 22, 2013

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Lentils are known for being a good source of protein, increasing energy, helping with digestion, maintaining good cholesterol, and so many other important dietary needs. So, of course, these inciting benefits make me want to cram as much lentil’s into my diet as possible. Although I enjoy a big bowl of Lentil soup now and then, my palette often longs for some variety. So I’m on a new hunt to conquer more lentil recipes without taking the easy way out and making soup. This recipe was my first attempt on this new journey. And damn – it is delicious!

I made a sub out of these with delicious meatballs but I don’t plan on stopping there. With the leftovers there are talks of spaghetti and ‘meatballs’ or ‘mostacholi’ bakes. Also, I cannot wait to make these again in appetizer form and serve them on cute little sticks with a Sweet Pepper Aoili or a cilantro dipping sauce. The options are endless with these little balls!

These do take a little time because there are several rounds of cooling processes but it’s totally worth it. And these freeze super well! The recipe below easily feeds 4-6 so if there are only 2 of you then I’d suggest freezing the rest for an easy spaghetti weeknight meal.

 

 Lentil Meatball Subs

 

Lentil Meatball Subs

Adapted from The New York Time’s Wellness Blog

For the meatballs:

  • 2 cups lentils
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 carrots, chopped
  • 2 celery sticks, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 Tablespoon fresh thyme
  • 3 Tablespoons tomato paste
  • 8 ounces button mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 3/4 cup breadcrumbs

 

For the subs:

  • Tomato Sauce (I used my homemade sauce)
  • Baguette
  • Gouda Cheese (fresh mozzarella would be wonderful too)
  • Fresh basil or oregano, for garnish

 

Place the lentils in a saucepan with 8 cups of water. Let the water come to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Simmer for 30 minutes or until the lentils are soft but not falling apart. Remove from heat and drain. Let cool.

In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium. Add the onions, carrots, and celery and let cook for about ten minutes (or until they begin to brown). Next, add in the garlic, thyme, and a little bit of salt. Let cook for another minutes. Add tomato paste and stir for three minutes. Then add in the mushroom and continue to cook until most of the liquid has been absorbed (about 15 minutes). Remove from heat and let cool.

Combine the cooled lentils with the cooked vegetable and add the Parmesan, eggs, and breadcrumbs. Refrigerate for 15 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and grease a 13×9 inch pan. Using clean hands, roll the mixture into golf ball size (smaller if you want to use them as appetizers) balls and place on greased baking sheet. Continue with the rest of the batter.

Bake for 30 minutes or until the meatballs start to brown on top.

To assemble: Take two pieces of baguette and slice them down the middle (but leave a little piece at the bottom still attached). Press the baguette open and stick slices of Gouda on each bottom followed by meatballs and sauce. Stick under the broiler for a minute or until the cheese has melted. Top with fresh basil or oregano and server fresh!

I served mine with Parmesan Thyme Sweet Potatoes and it was fantastic!

 

Chickpea Magazine Winter 2013 /// February Recap

Posted on: February 28, 2013

Good afternoon! Before I get to the monthly recap, I wanted to share my excitement with you guys about receiving the new Chickpea Quarterly in the mail yesterday. I have an article on DIY Kitchen Staples (Homemade Vegetable Broth, Vanilla Extract, and Almond Milk) in it. Also, It’s chocked full of vegan recipes, beautiful photography, and oh so much inspiration that I am grinning from ear to ear just looking at it. I thought I was ready for winter to be over but the magazine has re-sparked my cold weather senses. Here are a few highlights (and yes, those are BOURBON CHOCOLATE CAKE POPS pictured below…)

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Okay, enough drooling over my favorite magazine – it’s time for a recap! No offense but I am SO glad that February is only 28 days long. With spring on the mind since January 1st, I have been having trouble getting through this month while still feeling present. Instead, my mind has been wondering to beaches, beeragritas, and long bike rides. Here are a few recipes that have helped me kick the winter [mind] wandering..

 

   

 

1. Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese with Gingersnap Crust – Comfort food with a fancy twist. And by fancy, I mean crumbling cookie bits on top of my already insanely indulgent dinner. Not bad…not bad at all…

2. Vegan Stuffed Brunch Biscuits – these were my ‘pride and joy’ of the month. One of those ideas that comes to you at a completely random time and you start to obsess over it until the recipe is executed. Veggie Sausage or Bacon? Scones or Biscuits? Cheddar or Tomato Scones? Southwestern or Indian Tofu Scramble? Mushroom or Pepper Gravy? So many combinations to choose from and the product was an irresistible combination of everything amazing that comes to mind when you think ‘Vegan Breakfast’.

3. Heart Shaped Polenta Crostini with Roasted Tomato & Goat Cheese – Three of my favorite things all in one bite. And SO simple to make. How can it get any better than that?

4. Cinnamon Quinoa Granola – New breakfast go to. Chocked full of fiber, protein, and antixidents. The texture from the quinoa bring a whole new level of granola and this stuff keeps me filled all morning long.

 

Okay, well GOODBYE February and HELLOOOO March. I’m thinking [hoping] March will be filled with more outdoor adventures, road trips, and garden prepping. Yesss!

 

Song Pairing:

Butternut Squash Mac N’ Cheese with Gingersnap Crust

Posted on: February 19, 2013

…And we are back from Nashville, Tennessee. Wyatt played a show down there with is band over the weekend so we decided to round up a group and cruise down in his big red van. The weekend consisted of tacos, live music, day drinking, and sooo much exploring. All the pictures I took were with film so I’ll have to wait to get them developed before posting a real re-cap.

Nashville was oh so much fun but now that I am home, I can feel myself craving comforts. The comfort of not sleeping on a tiny couch in a 17 bedroom co-op. The comfort of knowing exactly where my food is coming from and what I am putting into my body. The comfort of eating massive quantities of macaroni and knowing I have a [clean] floor to hibernate on after. The comfort of spinning the new[ish] TSwift album and watching ‘Girls’ on my laptop without being judged by every hipster in the neighborhood.

Macaroni and cheese is the ultimate comfort food for me. I made a Baked version after returning from Portland / Seattle last spring and made a delicious Vegan version over the summer after we moved into our new home. This dish makes a great side but don’t hesitate to be like me and eat it for dinner right out of the pan [while on the floor listening to teen pop albums AND watching terribly dramatic sitcoms - at the same time]. It’s nice to be home.

gingersnapmac3

 

Butternut Squash Mac N’ Cheese with Gingersnap Crust

adapted from LickMySpoon
  • 1 butternut squash, peeled and cubed
  • 1 pound of pasta (I used shells)
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup vegetable broth (I used homemade)
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 2 Tablespoons flour
  • 1 Tablespoon sage, minced
  • 1 cup grated cheddar
  • 1 cup grated Gouda
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 1 cup crumbled gingersnap cookies
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans
  • Salt / Pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Toss the butternut squash with 1 Tablespoon olive oil and a dash of salt / pepper. Let roast for 20 minutes or until the squash has started to brown. Remove from oven and let cook.

Turn oven down to 350 degrees.

Cook pasta according to package directions. While the pasta is cooking, heat the butter and 2 Tablespoons of olive oil in a large saucepan. Add the onions and cook for five minutes (or until translucent). Add the garlic and sage and cook for a minute. Next, add in the flour and stir. Add broth and milk; turn heat up and bring to a boil.

Once boiling, add the cheeses and mustard (you can also add a little cayenne or hot sauce at this point if you’d like a kick). Add in the roasted squash and use a whisk or wooden spoon to break up the squash (a few chunks are fine!) and stir until everything is combined. Season with salt and pepper.

Remove from heat and toss in drained pasta. Pour into a 9×9 baking pan and top with the gingersnaps / pecans. Cover with foil and bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until lightly browned.

Serve warm to all your favorite people!

 

Song Pairing:

Heart Shaped Polenta Crostini with Roasted Tomato & Goat Cheese

Posted on: February 8, 2013

Heart Shaped Crostini with Goat Cheese and Tomatoes

I’m not very into doing ‘holiday themed posts’…or…. maybe I’m just not good at them? ‘Ms. Bah! Humbug!’ over here. I’ve done a few Thanksgiving recipe suggestions and a Christmas post here and there but as for anything else? Meh, not really. St. Patrick’s Day? When is that again? Labor Day? Too busy playing at the lake to worry about the internet. 4th of July? I’ll be the girl preppin’ tofu with a beer in hand by the grill (and not a laptop in sight). It’s just never been my thing to make a recipe based on it’s color scheme (hello red, white, and blue… fruit salad?!), shape (4 leaf clover cut outs aren’t even that cute! What is that…a pot leaf?), or any other gimmicky food trend. Buuuut…on that note, here I am with a Valentine’s day post. Why? I honestly don’t know. When pink everything started showing up on my Pinterest feed a few weeks ago, I was totally appalled. ‘Oh noooo. Heart and pink everything? No way. Nah uh.’

But then I kind of started getting obsessed with the idea. I started imagining all my food in heart shapes… the marshmallows in my hot cocoa, the setian cutlet I served for dinner. And then the pink and red hallucinations started coming… pink colored orange juice and red oatmeal. I finally came to terms with the fact that this was my mind subconsciously telling me ‘You are taking on this Valentine’s Day challenge and you will come up with something clever to try’. Okay okay okay. So I opened up my pantry and this is what came out…

But, wait..before we go any farther, I should warn you that I’m a bit bitter when it comes to Valentine’s Day. I have a boyfriend…a boyfriend I’ve had for the past 3 Valentine’s days which is…I guess cool and all. BUT there are so many fun ‘single ladies’ activities that go down on February 14th that I cannot help but feel a bit left out. Last year I lived with 4 single girls and they decided to throw a ‘Single Ladies Party’. Guess who was the only one NOT invited? Yup, that’s me. And you know what? If I was invited then I would have made these. Because these are the perfect little bites for a party and they are cute and themed and oh so delicious. Those girls’ lose, obviously. Anddd…if anyone feels like inviting me to their Vday celebration this year, I will leave my boyfriend at home and come baring a tray full of these.

Just sayin’. It might be fun. And you won’t be disappointed by these little bites. Or my company. Hopefully.

 

Heart Shaped Crostini with Goat Cheese and Tomatoes

 

Heart Shaped Polenta Crostini with Roasted Tomatoes & Goat Cheese

  • 1 tube of prepared polenta
  • 2 ounces goat cheese
  • 2 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • ~1 teaspoon milk
  • 1 Tablespoon sage, chopped
  • 15 cherry tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon olive oil, divided
  • Salt / Pepper

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Mix together the tomatoes, 1/2 Tablespoon olive oil, and a little salt / pepper. Put on a cookie sheet and roast for 15 to 20 minutes (depending on how soft you like your tomatoes).

Cut the polenta into 15 slices and use a heart shaped cookie cutter to cut out the heart shapes. Set aside the leftover plenta for another use (goes perfect under eggs).

In a small bowl, combine the goat cheese, cream cheese, and milk (you may have to add more milk depending on how stiff the mixture still is. You want it to be thin enough to spread). Set aside.

In a large skillet, Heat olive oil over medium. Add the polenta hearts and cook until browned (time will depend on how hot your skillet it). Flip over and let brown on the other side.

Remove from heat and place on a tray. Top each polenta heart with goat cheese mixture, sage, a little more pepper, and one roasted cherry.

Serve warm and to all your lonely friends [or loving couples].

Heart Shaped Polenta Bites

 

 

 

Song Pairing:

Leblebi // Chickpea Stew

Posted on: January 31, 2013

Chickpea Stew

The fascination with my Tangine has really morphed my cooking this past month. I didn’t even use the tagine for this recipe but was drawn to it since the recipe is so similar to the other Tunisian dishes I’ve been playing around with. Who knew 2013 would be the year of preserved lemons, harissa paste, and spicy stews? Well, the first few months of 2013 at least. Can’t predict past that.

I am sooo in love the contrast that is created when you mix spicy harissa paste with sweet honey and lather it all over vegetables / beans. Oh my goodness! Do you know what I’m talking about? Well, you should. And here is a perfect starter recipe for it. Harissa paste is super easy to make (check out the recipe here) or you should be able to find it at any international market store. As for preserved lemons? It took me a long time to come around to them and I would recommend slicing them VERY thin until you get use to their intense flavor. But with that said, they really do add a depth of flavor that could not be achieved by this simple stew without them.

 

Chickpea-Stew

 

Lablabi / Chickpea Stew

Serves 2

  • 3 cups cooked chickpeas (about 2 cans drained)
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 preserved lemon, sliced thinly
  • 1 roasted bell pepper, sliced
  • 3 teaspoons capers, rinsed
  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • dash of salt
  • Day old Bread

Simmer the chickpeas in the vegetable broth until heated through. Whisk together the olive oil, honey, garlic, cumin salt, and harissa paste in a small bowl. Fold in the capers, lemon, and red pepper to the dressing.

Tear the bread into large chunks and divide between two bowls. Spoon the chickpeas and broth over the bread and top with dressing / lemon mixture. Serve right away so the bread doesn’t get soggy.

 

Sweet Potato and Mascarpone Ravioli with Caramelized Onions

Posted on: January 14, 2013

Did I tell you about Christmas? I received so many wonderful kitchen tools and they have been filling my free time with cooking inspiration. First, I received a Tagine which is a wonderful Moroccan clay pot that I’ve been using to cook up flavorful veggie strews. Have you ever cooked with preserved lemons? Or harissa? I had not until I discovered the wonderful world of tagine cooking and now I am hooked!

We also received a pasta maker and ravioli press. It’s a tradition for my Ma and I to make homemade pierogies once a year so I am very acquainted with their pasta machine. But to have my own?! The options are endless! I started my adventures with this ravioli. There is something so wonderful about the creamy mascarpone that pairs nicely with the sweetness of the potatoes and then the savory garlic and onions.

Before we get started I have to tell you that I did a total no-no. In my recipe, I posted a link to ANOTHER recipe so you have to [gasp] follow two recipes at the same time. I know this is both annoying and could possibly even be confusing. BUT, I promise I did it for a reason [and that reason was NOT laziness]! This was my first time making homemade pasta on my own and I am no where near an expert. Thus, I didn’t really feel like it was right trying to tell you how to make it since I am still in my learning phase of this process. And instead, I sent you to a REALLY informative and easy to follow link that I used to make the dough for this recipe. So, I know you are wondering, why even post this recipe at all? Well because the ravioli filing / combo was totally my own inspiration and I found it too damn delicious not to share on here! So, don’t be mad! And I promise I’ll hopefully have my own step-by-step tutorial on homemade pasta one day. Until then, The Kitchn is a wonderful guide. Now, let’s make some ravioli!

 

homemaderavioli

 

Sweet Potato and Mascarpone Ravioli with Caramelized Onions

For the pasta dough:

 

For the filling:

  • 2 sweet potatoes, peeled
  • 1/2 vanilla bean
  • 1/4 cup mascarpone cheese
  • 1/2 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • Salt

 

Topping / Sauce:

  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 Tablespoon dried thyme
  • Salt/Pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil

 

  • Parmesan

 

To prep the filling: Bring a large saucepan full of salted water to a boil. Peel and dice the sweet potatoes and add to the boiling water. Let boil until a fork can easily pierce through them (about 25 minutes). Drain the potatoes and let cool. While that is cooling, slice the vanilla bean in half and scrap out the seeds. Once the potatoes have cooled, mash with the vanilla seeds (discard the pod), mascarpone, lemon juice, and salt. Set aside.

 

homemaderavioli4

 

Follow the Kitchn’s recipe on how to make the dough (follow through step 8).

Once the dough is rolled out to your desired consistency, lay across your ravioli press and fill each pocket with a tablespoon of filling. Lay another sheet of dough across the top and use a heavy rolling pin to gently roll back and forth over the ravioli until its sealed. Repeat with the rest of the dough / filling.

 

homemaderavioli5

 

Bring a large saucepan full of salted water to a boil. Add the prepared ravioli (only doing about 6-8 at a time, depending on how large your pot is) and let cook for 2-3 minutes or until they float. Transfer to a wire rack and repeat with the rest of the ravioli.

To make the topping / sauce: Heat the butter and olive oil in a saucepan over medium low. Add in the onions and sauté for about 5 minutes or until they become translucent. Add in the garlic, turn the heat down to low, and let cook for 30 to 45 minutes or until caramelized. Finally, add in the thyme, boiled ravioli, salt, and pepper and turn the heat back up to medium. Saute for about five minutes or until the ravioli just starts to brown.

Serve warm with shaved parmesan.

 

homemaderavioli3

 

Track of the day:

Wake up with Mascarpone: Breakfast Bowl & Breakfast Sandwich

Posted on: January 10, 2013

Usually when I purchase mascarpone, I use it up in one sitting by making a fruit dip or smothering on top of cookies. However, this time I’ve been savoring it by throwing a tablespoon or two into pretty much ever meal. Pasta? Sure, why not!? Granola. Yes, please! blondies? Why not dip them in mascarpone? It’s been wonderful to open up the fridge and wonder “what can I douse in mascarpone today?”.

This intention has caused the creation of two delicious, quick breakfasts. I am the type of person who wakes up 20 minutes before she has to leave for work and needs a breakfast FAST. The first one is an indulgent twist on my usual morning granola and yogurt. And the second is a bit more YOLO (do you say that? I don’t actually say that…I just could not think of a better describing word. Thank you mainstream media for RUINING MY VOCABULARY).

Let me elaborate a bit more on my contrast between these two breakfasts. I have a [wonderful] boyfriend who is so skinny that you could probably see threw him when he turns to the side. This really irritates me when we eat 80% of the same foods (the other 20% is him getting a side of fries when I get a side salad) and it’s like he is getting skinnier as I am getting bigger! This is good in the aspect that it strives for me to constantly eat better as to not become the husky one in this relationship. But, at the same time and out of frustration, it also makes me want to down an entire jar of nutella when he is not looking. So this week’s breakfasts have consisted of ‘Morning bebe. Here is a big bowl of Granola / Mascarpone / Fruit that I made us for breakfast” and “Oh, you aren’t awake yet? Well I’m downing this Nutella / Ciabatta / Mascarpone sandwich before you get up” [I mean the Nutella has been in that cabinet for far too long...it could go bad soon! I'm only eating this as to not waste food...maybe...no, not really].

So, whether you are feeling like treating yourself or giving your body a good foundation for the day, one of these breakfasts should satisfy your needs. I’d suggest you whip up a batch of your own mascarpone so you can have yummy, creamy breakfasts to look forward to all week as well!

 

MascarponeBreakfastBowl

 

Mascarpone Breakfast Bowl

Slice the vanilla bean in half lengthwise and scrap out the seeds. Discard the pod and transfer seeds to small bowl with the mascarpone. Whisk until combined and then pour in granola. Top with fresh fruit and a drizzle of honey.

 

MarcaponeBreakfastSandwich

 

Mascarpone Breakfast Sandwich with Nutella & Fresh Fruit

  • 1 slice ciabatta bread
  • 2-3 Tablespoons Nutella or any hazelnut spread
  • 2-3 Tablespoons fresh mascarpone
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Fresh fruit

Slice the ciabatta bread in half and spread the Nutella on one side and the mascarpone on the other. Sprinkle the cinnamon on both sides and spread a single layer of bread. Fold the two pieces into each other and set under the broiler for a minute (or until your desired warm/crispiness is achieved). Eat immediately [preferably before anyone else sees you or else you may have to make more].

 

 

Daily dose. Why wake up slowly? Let’s get this day going:

Pear, Brie, & Spicy Brown Mustard Grilled Cheese on Pumpernickel

Posted on: January 2, 2013

pear grilled chee

One of my 2013 goals was to eat less processed food so I started my new journey today with some homemade bread. And not just any homemade bread – pumpernickel bread! Have you ever made pumpernickel bread before? I always knew that the flavor was complex but I was blown away by the flavor profile of this bread. We are talking coffee, chocolate, cornmeal, and molasses all going into this wonderfully delicious loaf. I’ll be posting the recipe for the bread tomorrow so make sure to check back if you are interested in making your own!

As for today? How about a seriously dangerous grilled cheese recipe? Like peanut butter and jelly, pumpernickel bread and spicy mustard were made for each other. There is something about the tangy mustard that lightens up the complexity of pumpernickel perfectly. Then throw in some sweet pear and melty brie? Irresistible! I thought keeping brie around the house was hard enough…now with this sandwich option it is going to be straight up impossible.

This recipe is like the winter version to my fall Apple, Brie, Arugula and Fig Grilled Cheese but with a bit more tang and less sweet. It still hits the spots with the salty/sweet pulling at your tastebuds and leaves you wondering why you would ever make a grilled cheese without brie again.

 

Pear Brie Grilled Cheese

 

Read More

Quick & Easy Lentil Soup

Posted on: January 1, 2013

Did you have a wonderful New Year?! Did you get to kiss that special someone at midnight and maybe drink a little too much bubbly? Yeah, me too. Ah well. How about we start off the new year right with this super healthy and delicious lentil soup?

I usually make dinner for Wyatt pretty much every night and this has been going on for well over a year now. However, I just recently found out his favorite soup is lentil soup. That means all this time I’ve been making these elaborate and time consuming (and delicious… see Curried Butternut Squash Soup with Goat Cheese Croutons and Rosemary Soup with Rustic Bread) when I could have just made this simple lentil stew. Go figure!

This soup is not only easy but it’s packed full of vegetables and protein. Not bad, eh? And this recipe made enough for us to enjoy for two meals plus some for me to freeze for later! It’s dairy free so it freezes super well and will go perfect with a big salad or crusty bread or grilled cheese.

 

Lentil Soup

  Read More

Wild Rice Stuffed Acorn Squash

Posted on: December 12, 2012

So I curated (doesn’t that sound so much more important than planned?!) 90 percent of my family’s Thanksgiving dinner menu this year. The only thing I did not pick out was the Wild Rice Stuffing which my aunt made. And it was probably my favorite thing that was served that day. I don’t really have much experience with wild rice and I was blown away by the added texture it gave to the stuffing.

And so this experience made we realize I want more wild rice in my life which led to me making these stuffed squashes. And let me tell you….this stuffed acorn were great but I probably ended up eating 50% of the wild rice mixture before I could even get around to sticking  it in the acorns. It was chewy and savory and sweet (thanks to the maple syrup!) and oh so addicting. I’m already dreaming of quick winter salads that are really just a healthy (throw the term ‘salad’ at the end of anything and it becomes guilt-free) way to talking about this wild rice mixture!

 

 

Anyhow, this is great as a side dish or even as a main vegetarian entree at your next dinner party (which, according to The Kitchn, are dead these days)!

 

 

Wild Rice Stuffed Acorn Squash

Serve 2 as a side. Adapted from My Daily Morsel
  • 1 acorn squash, sliced in half
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 cup wild rice
  • 2 cups vegetable stock (I used my own from this recipe)
  • 2 scallions
  • 1/2 cup pecans, chopped
  • 1/2 cup dried cherries (or any dried fruit), chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons maple syrup
  • Juice from half an orange
  • salt/pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease a baking sheet and place squash cut side down. Cover the squash with tin foil and roast for 40 minutes or until cooked all the way through.

In the meantime, prepare the inside. Heat oil over medium in a large saucepan. Add onions and saute until soft (about five minutes). Next, add in the garlic and cook for another minute. Add oregano, 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper, wild rice, and vegetable stock and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce to a simmer and cook until all the stock has evaporated/ been absorbed (about 20 to 25 minutes).

Remove from heat and fold in the pecans, scallions, cherries, maple syrup, and orange juice. Season with salt and pepper. Once the acorn squash is finished cooking, stuff with the wild rice mixture and enjoy warm!

 

 

Black Bean & Wheatberry Chili

Posted on: December 3, 2012

 

Morning, Morning. Can you believe it is already December? It sure does not feel like it. I don’t know about where you live but I’m located in the Midwest and we are suppose to have some 70 degree weather today (such a weird introduction to winter…). Not that I’m complaining but I would have considered making something a little more…light and refreshing had I known it was going to be so warm. Ah well, this chili is oh so delicious regardless of the temperature.

I’m not going to lie. I am really proud of this recipe. It’s packed with so much nutrients I can hardly wrap my head around it. We are talking loads of protein, fiber, vitamin C, iron, potassium, vitamin A, etc etc etc. The list goes on and if you make the beans from scratch… this chili is packed full of fresh and non-processed foods as well. I’ve never felt soooo good about gobbling down a bowl of food. And not to mention, it is absolutely delicious. The wheat berries give it slight chewy texture while the cocoa powder (learned that trick thanks to a very good friend of mine) bring a new complexity to the flavor.

Oh and don’t worry! If my over zealous attitude towards super healthy eating is freaking you out – I made some oh so irresistible Corn Cheddar biscuits to go with packed full of two sticks of butter and loads of gooey cheese [recipe on that to follow tomorrow!]

This recipe is vegan (unless you add cheese and sour cream) and makes about six serving. You could even double the recipe and plan to have leftovers for lunch the rest of the week.

 

 

Black Bean & Wheatberry Chili

adapted from Eating Well
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 4 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 cups black beans, cooked (I used dried but feel free to use canned)
  • 1 24 ounce can of diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 2 cups vegetable broth (I used homemade)
  • 2 teaspoons cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 cup cooked wheat berries, cooked*
  • Juice of 1 lime

 

  • Avocado, optional
  • sour cream, optional
  • cilantro for garnish, optional

Heat olive oil over medium in a large pot. Add in the onion, carrots, bell pepper, chili powder, cumin, garlic, salt, and pepper. Cook for about 7 to 10 minutes or until all the vegetables has softened. Next, add in the tomatoes, broth, black beans, and cocoa powder. Bring the chili to a bowl, cover, and reduce to a simmer. Let simmer for 30 minutes. Add wheat berries and let cook for another two minutes.

Remove from heat and squeeze in lime juice. Serve with garnish options (avocado, sour cream cilantro, plain yogurt, etc).

*To cook 1 1/2 cups of Wheatberries: Rinse 3/4 cup of berries and letting them simmer for 45 minutes or until softened.

 

 

 

 

Rosemary & Vegetable Soup with Rustic Bread

Posted on: November 13, 2012

Well, I think I’ve finally accepted that winter is here and we won’t be experiencing any more 70 degree days. Ah, this a very bittersweet realization. On one hand, it means endless cups of chai tea, lazy mornings under the covers with favorite novels, all day bake-a-thons, and soup soup soup. On the other hand, this means six more months before lake adventures, cross country road trips, and waterfall picnics.

And with this new acceptance comes a soup recipe! I’ve already made a few soups this season (see: curried butternut squash soup) but the weather had me craving a hardly soup packed full of starchy potatoes and earthy flavorings. This soup did the trick! Along with some simple (and delicious) rustic bread, this soup filled us up and will be making leftover appearances for the next two days!

As for the rustic bread…so simple and soft with a crisp outer crust. I’ve discovered (after trying it for the first time with my Muesli Bread) is the trick to REALLY delicious bread baking is to have a pot of steaming water under the bread while it’s cooking. This helps keep the bread soft and full of moisture. Oh so delicious! Perfect side to this soup. And let’s be honest, the only reason we even make soup is for an excuse to make homemade bread to go with it. Right? Or is that just me?

So what I am are trying to say is you should embrace that the cold and darkness is forcing you to stay inside and spend a few hours in your kitchen…perhaps whipping up this comforting and hardy dish?

 

 

Rosemary & Vegetable Soup with Rustic Bread

For the bread:

  • 3 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 1/4 teaspoon of active yeast
  • 1 1/2 cup lukewarm water

 

For the soup:

  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 potatoes, cubed
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 1 cup water
  • 5 cups vegetable broth
  • 4 celery stalks
  • 4 springs of rosemary
  • 2 cans of fire roasted tomatoes (14 ounces)
  • 1 bunch of kale, washed and chopped (with stems removed)
  • Salt/Pepper

 

Start with the bread: In a small bowl, combine the yeast and water and let sit for five minutes (this will give it some time to start foaming and activating). In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour and salt. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and pour in the water/yeast mixture. Mix until combined (the batter will be VERY sticky – don’t worry! It’s suppose to be like this). Place in an oiled bowl and cover with a towel. Let rise in a warm place for an hour. [Start on the soup while this is rising]

Once it has doubled in size, knead the dough a few times and move to an oiled baking sheet. Let rise on this sheet for a half an hour. Sprinkle with flour and preheat oven to 450 degrees. Place a cast iron skillet or pan on the bottom rack of the oven and let it heat during the preheating process. Once the oven is ready, place the dough (on the baking sheet) on the top shelf of the oven and pour a cup of warm water in the skillet below (it will steam and this is exactly what we want to happen). Let cook for 40 minutes or until golden brown.

To make the soup: Heat the olive in a large stockpot over medium. Add in the onions and cook for about five minutes (or until translucent). Next, add in the garlic and cook for another 30 seconds. Add cubed potatoes and celery and then season with salt / pepper. Next, combine in the tomatoes, rosemary (throw them in whole and then take out the twigs at the end), white wine, water, and vegetable stock. Bring the mixture to a bowl, cover, and lower to a simmer. Let simmer for about 40 minutes or until the potatoes are soft.

Once ready to serve, chop the kale and add at the last moment (this keeps the kale a little crispy) and season again with salt/pepper.

Serve warm with fresh bread!

 

 

 

 

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