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Archive for the ‘Vegetarian’ Category

I got a bunch of local grapes last week from Greenling, but they weren’t very sweet and were full of seeds. So, I had to find a way to cook them, and fast, before they went bad.

This jam is not only quick and easy (it took less than 25 minutes to make), but has some wonderful fall flavors from a bit of nutmeg, ground ginger, allspice, and cloves. In the picture above it was still warm and fresh from the stovetop, but as it cools it thickens to a more jam-like texture. I think I’m going to use it as a glaze over pork chops.

I adapted this recipe from the Wild Grape Butter recipe that came in the Greenling box ingredient list last week – I just made some tweaks based on my own tastes.

Quick Spiced Grape Jam

About 1.5 cups grapes, pulled from their stems
1 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
3-inch piece of orange peel
Dash each of ground cinnamon, ground nutmeg, ground ginger, and ground cloves

Combine grapes and water in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Lower heat to a simmer and cook 10 minutes. Pour grapes and juice into a strainer over a large bowl. Using the back of a large spoon, press grapes through strainer. The pulp will go through and the peel and seeds will stay behind.

Pour pulp and juice back into saucepan. Add peel and spices. Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to medium. Cook 7-10 minutes, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens to a syrupy consistency. It’ll bubble a lot at the end. Use warm as a glaze, or cool to spread on toast.

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Do you ever get in a breakfast rut? I do, often. In fact, it’s the meal at which I’m most likely to repeat the same foods over and over again. We’re talking months in a row of oatmeal. It gets old.

This casserole will add some variety to your breakfast routine. Roasted peppers and tomatoes combine with oregano and feta cheese for a combination of flavors not usually found on the breakfast table. Try this casserole on a weekend, as it takes a little while to prepare. It would be a great addition to a brunch spread. I made this one on a Sunday evening and reheated portions throughout the week.

Egg Casserole with Roasted Peppers, Roasted Tomatoes, and Feta (adapted from Kalyn’s Kitchen)

2 cups sweet peppers, such as banana or bell, cut into strips or sliced into rings
2 tsp chopped fresh oregano
1 cup diced fresh tomatoes (or halved cherry tomatoes)
1/2 bunch garlic chives or green onions, chopped
3/4 cup crumbled Feta cheese
10 eggs
1 tsp. lemon pepper
salt to taste

Preheat oven or toaster oven to 375 degrees. Spray a square baking dish with nonstick spray, or rub with olive oil.

Place peppers into baking dish, sprinkle with oregano, and roast for 10 minutes.

Break eggs into a bowl and beat until egg yolks and whites are well combined. Season eggs with lemon pepper and salt, and stir in chives.

After peppers roast for 10 minutes, add tomatoes and stir to combine. Put dish back in oven and roast 15 minutes more, or until tomatoes start to look slightly shriveled.

Sprinkle feta cheese over roasted peppers and tomatoes, then pour beaten eggs over. Return pan to oven and cook for 25-28 minutes, or until the top is lightly browned and eggs are set. (It will puff up a bit when it cooks, but after it cools for a few minutes the casserole will settle.) Serve hot.

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These little guys are incredibly easy to put together – so easy that they are perfect if you happen to be looking for ways to get your kids engaged in the cooking process. Here’s my little helper putting potatoes in a bowl:

I usually pull up a chair for him to stand on while I prep ingredients. He knows that only adults can touch knives, and reminds me each time I use one that they are “very very sharp” and can “give you owies.” Once I’ve chopped everything up, I let him put ingredients into a bowl and/or stir them together. For this recipe, which involves dividing the potato mixture into four parts and putting each part into its own foil packet, I also let him spoon the mixture onto each piece of foil, sprinkle with parsley, and put a dab of butter on top.

Sure, maybe he insisted on putting one potato piece at a time into each packet. And maybe it took much longer than if I had done it myself. But he loves cooking, and I love that he is excited about it. Plus, it’s nice to be able to channel some of that toddler “I do it!” mentality into something constructive.

Anyway, this recipe only uses a few ingredients and is easily customizable. I used parsley because I had some, but I’m thinking a rosemary/thyme combo would taste great. If you have some of those individual foil sheets (like these), they work perfectly here. If not, use pieces about 12″x12″ so that you have ample room for the potato mixture.

Simple Potato Packets

1 lb roasting potatoes, cut into 1/2 inch pieces (I used purple potatoes, but red ones would be perfect, too)
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 bell pepper, diced
1/2 cup green onions, chopped
1/4 cup parsley, chopped
4 tsp butter
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine potatoes, garlic, bell pepper, and green onions in a bowl and season with salt and pepper. Place 1/4 of the mixture onto each of four foil sheets. Top each with a sprinkle of parsley and teaspoon of butter. Draw up the sides of each foil piece and pinch at the top to create a packet. Place on a baking sheet and cook about 25 minutes, until potatoes are tender.

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Grain-based salads are filling, versatile, and wonderful picnic foods. For this one, I mixed barley with some maple-roasted carrots and tomatoes and pan-glazed tempeh, and then sprinkled with a bit of sliced basil to brighten up the flavors a bit. It’s just slightly sweet. Wheat berries would also work instead of the barley, or even brown rice. If you’re not a fan of tempeh, just use chicken instead.

Barley Salad with Sweet Roasted Vegetables

1 cup barley
3 cups water

8 oz carrots, cut into small pieces
2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
1 tbsp maple syrup
2 tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

8 oz tempeh, cut into thin slices
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp maple syrup
1/2 cup vegetable broth
Salt and pepper to taste

1/4 cup sliced basil

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Combine water and barley in a large saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook 40 minutes. If there’s any water left in the pan, drain it off. Set the barley aside in a large bowl.

Combine vegetables, 1 tbsp maple syrup, 2 tbsp olive oil, salt, and pepper. Roast for 20 minutes, or until veggies are browned and tender. Add to the barley.

In a small bowl, combine balsamic vinegar, 2 tbsp maple syrup, broth, salt, and pepper. Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add tempeh and fry about 5 minutes per side, until golden brown. Add vinegar mixture and cook, stirring as necessary to keep tempeh from sticking, until liquid thickens into a glaze. It’ll take about 10 minutes.

Add tempeh to barley mixture and stir to combine. Sprinkle with basil and serve.

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Fruit salsas scream summer. I love the combo of sweet peaches and mangoes with spicy peppers, and it goes well with more than just tortilla chips. Try this salsa on grilled chicken or pork, or as a dip for mild vegetables like squash. I like salsa spicy enough to make my nose run, so if that’s a little too hot for you, remove the seeds from the jalapenos before you add them, or just cut down on the amount of peppers you use.

One more thing — I didn’t peel the peaches for this recipe, although you are certainly welcome to. It’s kind of a pain, but if you want to go the extra mile, check out my peach-peeling instructions at the bottom of this post. I don’t mind a little peach fuzz, and once everything’s mixed up you don’t even notice it. If I was cooking the peaches I’d peel them, but for this recipe it’s not necessary.

Fresh Peach-Mango Salsa

1.5 lbs peaches, pitted and chopped
2 mangoes, peeled and chopped
2 jalapenos, chopped
1 red onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
3 tbsp lime juice
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix well. Chill at least an hour before eating. You can eat it right away, but chilling for a little bit lets the flavors combine nicely.

How to Peel Peaches (or any stone fruit, or tomatoes, for that matter)

Bring a pot of water to boil. Meanwhile, use a sharp knife to cut an X on the bottom of each peach. Fill a large bowl with ice water. When the water reaches a boil, drop the peaches in and let them boil for 45 seconds. Remove with a slotted spoon and immediately drop into the ice water. Wait a few minutes until you can handle them, then peel. The skin will start to pull away at the X you cut, and it’ll slide right off.

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I really, really don’t like mayo, so I don’t eat most people’s versions of potato salad. This one, however, is perfect. It’s fresh, easy, and absolutely mayo-free, coated instead with a dressing made of whole-grain mustard, spring onions, and olive oil. If you are still finalizing your Memorial Day menu (like me), try adding this salad to the list.

Red Potato-Green Bean Salad (adapted from Epicurious)

8 ounces green beans, trimmed, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
3 pounds red potatoes, unpeeled, quartered
2 tablespoons champagne (or white wine) vinegar
1 spring onion, chopped (about 1/4 cup)
1 tablespoon whole-grain (or Dijon) mustard
2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add potatoes* and boil about 15 minutes, until tender. Add green beans to the water about 4 minutes before potatoes finish cooking. Empty potatoes and green beans into a colander to drain.

Meanwhile, prepare dressing. Combine onion, mustard, olive oil, salt, and pepper in a small food processor and process until smooth. Place potatoes and green beans in a large bowl. Add dressing and mix to combine. Sprinkle with parsley and serve. You can make this a day ahead, but I like it warm.

*I used to avoid boiling potatoes because I hated getting splattered by boiling water when I dropped the potatoes in. Then, I realized that if I used a small strainer like this to lower the potatoes into the water, I’d stop being splattered. Now, my family gets mashed potatoes a lot more often. Try it if you have a strainer laying around and are also tired of being splattered.

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I don’t consider summer to have fully arrived until it is so hot out that all I have to do is step outside to break a sweat. This week was full of days like that, and after spending some time in my garden today, you couldn’t have paid me to turn on my oven or stove.

Enter this simple salad. It’s for arugula lovers, and is full of that green’s peppery bite. I used raspberry white balsamic vinegar for the dressing, which I found at HEB, but if you can’t find it, substitute regular white balsamic or red wine vinegar instead. Add grilled shrimp to make it an entree.

Arugula and Pea Salad (adapted from Recipezaar)

2 cups green peas (fresh or frozen)
1 cup green onions, cut in 3 inch strips
6 cups arugula or baby spinach
4 cups Swiss chard
1/4 cup raspberry vinegar
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp black pepper

Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add peas, return to a boil, and cook 3 minutes. Drain and cool. Combine peas, green onions, arugula and Swiss chard in a large platter or in a serving bowl.

Whisk together raspberry vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper until well-combined. Drizzle over salad.

Makes 6-8 servings.

*If you aren’t planning to serve the salad immediately, wait to dress it until it’s time to eat.

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