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Archive for the ‘Vegetarian’ Category

I did it!  I cooked!  I cooked like I used to cook – dreamed up a dish and set about throwing it together in the kitchen.  It’s been awhile.  I’ve been relying a lot (too much, maybe) on old staples like pasta with beans and goat cheese, Field Roast sausages, veggie-and-hummus snack plates, or big salads for dinner – all stuff that gets the job done, but dullsville and not really blogable.  It’s just been a challenge to get into the kitchen lately.  I’m completely wiped out when I get home from work, and all I want to do is lay on the couch with a book and shout out a running commentary on baby kicks.

But I was sick of relying on the easy staples and – although he’s far too nice to say so – I suspect hubby was too.  So last night I resolved to get my butt into the kitchen and create something new, something we could really enjoy.  This meal did the trick.  It was easy, packed with protein from the edamame and with nutrients from the carrots and cabbage, and with the wonderful rich flavor of tamari, which I just love.  I felt good eating it, and good after I finished, and I enjoyed every bite.  It turns out this meal isn’t just a flash in the pan (pun intended); I’m already planning out when I can have it again.  It’s going into my regular rotation… and maybe it will even inspire me to get back in the kitchen and whip up some new dishes on a more frequent basis.

Asian Noodles with Cabbage

Handful of udon noodles (or sub soba noodles or whole-wheat spaghetti)
5 carrots, peeled and grated
Extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup coleslaw mix (or sub finely shredded cabbage)
1 cup shelled frozen edamame
1 teaspoon Seaweed Gomasio (or sub white sesame seeds)
Salt and pepper
Several dashes tamari (or sub soy sauce)

  • Heat a pot of water to a rolling boil.  Salt generously and add udon noodles.  Cook according to package directions (mine called for 8-10 minutes at a low boil).
  • While udon noodles are cooking, heat a few dashes of olive oil in a separate nonstick pan until shimmering.  Add carrots, coleslaw mix, and edamame.  Season lightly with a sprinkle of salt (go easy on the salt though) and pepper, and saute until wilted down and until the edamame are warmed through.
  • Add Seaweed Gomasio and a few dashes of tamari to taste.  Continue cooking veggies over medium heat until the udon noodles are done.
  • Drain the udon noodles, then add to the pan with the vegetables.  Toss to combine well and taste for seasoning.  Add more tamari if necessary.  Serve immediately, or refrigerate for a chilled Asian pasta salad.

Source: Covered In Flour

Serves 2 as a main course, 4-6 as a side.

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I was going to spend yesterday evening creating a snack station and post about that today… but instead I spent the evening crying over videos of kittens on YouTube. Pregnancy – it’s not for the faint of heart! So instead I’m reblogging one more recipe from my archives – and this one is timed pretty well, if I do say so myself, since Memorial Day is coming up this weekend. If you have a picnic to attend, do consider this fresh, healthy alternative to the traditional mayo-laden potato salad. Enjoy!

At last, at last, it’s summer.  You can feel free to break out the white jeans, the linen skirts, whatever blows your hair back.  But more interesting – at least to me – is that summer is Picnic Season.

I LOVE picnics.  Cookouts, too.  Food just tastes better outside, if you ask me.  I think it has something to do with memories.  I have a lot of great memories, already in my twenty-something years, and many of them involve eating outside.  There were many, many barbeques at my parents’ lake house… including plenty of servings of my favorite marinated chicken, and the infamous day when my mom dumped citronella wax over our family friend’s fabulous peach upside-down cake.  (We ate the cake anyway, just picked off the wax.  If you’d met our friend, you’d understand.  It would be a crime to waste her cake over something as minor as a little wax… or even a lot of wax.) There were snacks on the beach, where the sand blew into the food and added that certain crunchy je-ne-sais-quoi.  Even in the winter, we ate outside, on days when the sun was beating down despite the snow and we were warm from skiing.

I still eat outside whenever possible.  My picnics nowadays consist of anything from a few coworkers eating Cosi sandwiches on the National Mall, to fruit and cheese at one of my favorite Virginia wineries, to lounging beside the Potomac, watching the tour boats go by on Memorial Day or the Fourth of July.  I’ve been known to carry a cherry pie on my lap in the car and plunk it down in the grass.  Why not?

If you ask me, the quintessential picnic food would have to be potato salad.  Whether it’s my grandma’s decadent potato salad with eggs – mandatory every Easter – or room-temperature boiled potatoes glazed with a salt water reduction and chives, or this wonderful, slightly more healthy, tangy and fresh yogurt potato salad, I’m more likely than not going to be toting some version of chilled potatoes in dressing along on my outdoor gustatory adventures.  Potato salad can be anything from outrageously rich to light and refreshing.  Who wouldn’t want some in their cooler?

Yogurt Potato Salad with Dill

2 cups chopped potatoes (red or Idaho)
1/2 cup fat-free plain yogurt (regular or Greek-style)
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
2 scallions, finely sliced
fresh black pepper

  • Cook the potatoes in boiling salted water until tender.  Drain and allow to cool.
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine remaining ingredients and mix well.
  • Add potatoes and toss to coat with yogurt mixture.  If necessary, add more yogurt a little at a time until proportions reach your preference.
  • Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.  Serve chilled.

Source: Covered In Flour

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Here’s another blast from the recipe archive past for you, because I’m on my second business trip of two weeks and have barely cooked in days.  And also because I love looking at my beautiful granite countertops from my old condo.  Sigh.  I haven’t made this recipe in a LONG time and now I’m thinking of picking up the ingredients next time I hit the market.  Stuffed peppers are one of my favorite foods… Hope you enjoy these!

This dinner started out planned, in my menu notebook, as Zucchini and Orzo Stuffed Peppers, a Giada de Laurentiis recipe.  But then a certain someone – who shall remain nameless – threw out my zucchini.  He thought it was a weird cucumber, apparently.  This sort of thing happens occasionally – little elves raid my produce drawer – and fortunately, I was prepared this time.  A few quick adjustments, some fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants sauteeing, and I had some incredibly delicious Eggplant and Orzo Stuffed Peppers on my hands.  You know what?  I like eggplant better anyway.

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Eggplant and Orzo Stuffed Peppers

2 Japanese eggplants, peeled and finely diced
4 Roma tomatoes, coarsely diced
1/4 cup full-bodied red wine, such as Cab or Zin (2012 edit: or sub mushroom broth)
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/3 cup + 4 teaspoons freshly grated Parmesan
1/2 cup orzo
Kosher salt and cracked pepper to taste
4 red bell peppers
4 teaspoons Italian-seasoned breadcrumbs
Fresh chives

  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and simultaneously begin heating vegetable oil (a moderate amount) in a saute pan, and water in a saucepan.  Add the diced eggplant to the saucepan, season with salt, and saute until browned and crispy in parts, soft in others.
  • Add red wine – not too much, just enough to deglaze the pan.  Stir eggplant around and be careful to scoop up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan.  Add cracked pepper and dried oregano.
  • Meanwhile, cook orzo until al dente, according to the instructions on the box.  Drain and reserve.
  • When eggplant starts to smell too divine for words (it’s a scientific process), add diced tomato and stir just until warm.  Dump the whole mess into a bowl and stir in 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan and orzo.
  • Prepare the red peppers – slice off the top (and if necessary, a tiny sliver from the bottom so the peppers will stand upright in the baking dish).  Carefully cut out the ribs and remove the seeds, but don’t bother being too terribly precise.
  • Scoop the eggplant and orzo filling into the red pepper shells.  Top with breadcrumbs, remaining Parmesan, and a drizzle of olive oil on each pepper.
  • Bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 20-25 minutes, until tops are golden and peppers are slightly soft.  Let cool slightly before serving.
  • Garnish with chopped fresh chives, if desired.

Yield: Serves 4 moderately hungry people (with sides) or 2 very hungry people.

Source: Adapted from Giada’s Kitchen, by Giada de Laurentiis

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Bean Chili with Quinoa

All right, all right, I know I’m about a week and a half late with this one.  You’re all shaking your heads – yes, you, I see you – saying “Where was this recipe for Superbowl Sunday?”  Yeah, sorry about that.  I was behind with recipes.  But the good news is twofold: (1) it’s still cold out, so you have plenty of opportunities to eat chili before spring sets in; and (2) this is a really good way to use up extra quinoa.  Because I know you always have extra quinoa lying around!  (No?  Just me?)  Actually, this is a great pantry dinner for those meals you have to put together when it’s been awhile since you made it to the grocery store and you’re looking for something healthy.  You could easily do canned beans with this, or you could use some Slow Cooker Beans for extra deliciousness.  Either way, this protein-packed entree is definitely going to be one of my staples from now until spring.  Enjoy!

Bean Chili with Quinoa

1/2 onion, diced
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 batch Slow Cooker Beans (or sub two cans of black beans)
1 cup cooked quinoa
1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes in juice
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon coriander
salt and pepper to taste
cilantro, grated cheddar and/or plain Greek yogurt for optional garnish

  • In a large cast-iron pot over medium heat, warm olive oil until shimmering.  Add onion and saute until golden.
  • Add beans, quinoa, and tomatoes and stir to combine.
  • Add spices, salt and pepper and taste.  Adjust seasonings as necessary.
  • Simmer over medium-low heat for 30 minutes, then serve with “fixins.”

Source: Covered In Flour

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Slow Cooker Beans

A few years ago, I got a slow cooker for Christmas from my mother-in-law.  I was extremely excited about this gift.  I had big plans for tossing ingredients in while I had breakfast and coming home to find a wonderful finished meal just waiting for me.  Then I discovered that hubby views the slow cooker as a fire hazard and will only allow us to use it when we’re home to babysit it all day.  I try to explain that this defeats the purpose of the slow cooker, but my protests have fallen on deaf ears so far.  And that, friends, is why you have never seen a slow cooker recipe on here!

Until today.  I have been meaning to learn how to use the slow cooker to make beans.  Yes, I know they’re better when they simmer on the stovetop all day, but I’m not picky about beans that I’m going to turn into chili or soup or other dishes.  (If they’re destined to be eaten on their own, now, that’s another story.)  Although it would still be more convenient to set the beans to cook while I’m at work, until hubby is convinced that the house won’t burn down if we leave the slow cooker on all day, my bean-cooking is a Saturday enterprise.  But it does help to be able to make a large batch of beans to use in different dishes all week… even if I have to be home and staring at the darn slow cooker the entire time.

Slow Cooker Beans

1 pound dried beans of your choice (I used Rancho Gordo)
water
1 tablespoon oregano
1 tablespoon thyme

  • Combine beans and herbs in slow cooker and cover with approximately 1 inch of water.
  • Set slow cooker to cook on low for 8 hours.  Walk away.
  • Come back 8 hours later.  Done!

Source: Covered In Flour (use your own slow cooker’s instruction manual to verify cooking temps and times)

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Cabbage Frittata

Okay, I realize that I haven’t behaved quite as you may have expected this holiday season.  I haven’t given you cookie or pie recipes.  If it’s any consolation, I haven’t baked anything for my friends or co-workers, either.  In fact, the other day several people brought treats into work and I can’t even tell you how many people stopped by my office to ask if the treats were from me.  The answer is, well, I just haven’t felt like baking recently.  It’s just not on my radar screen at the moment.  What IS on my radar screen?  Quick and easy, but still healthy, dinners to power me through long evenings of gift-wrapping, card-writing, tree-decorating, et cetera.  Like this cabbage frittata, which I’ve now made twice (plus another time as a sort of deconstructed frittata – scrambled eggs with a side of cabbage).  It’s definitely good enough for a repeat, and – bonus – packs plenty of protein and nutrients to get you through those long days ahead.  So I’m being a little bit different and not giving you more ways to rot your teeth this year… I’m just trying to go with my heart.  Enjoy!

Cabbage Frittata

1/2 head green cabbage, shredded
1 tablespoon olive oil
8 eggs
splash milk
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • In a heavy-bottomed saucepan or saute pan, heat olive oil until shimmering.  Add shredded cabbage and saute, tossing frequently so as to avoid burning.  When cabbage is softened and browned in parts, remove from heat.
  • Beat together eggs, milk, salt and pepper.  Add cabbage to egg mixture and toss to coat cabbage well with eggs.
  • Add cabbage and egg mixture to a greased or sprayed casserole dish.  Bake for 30-35 minutes, until top is set.

Source: Covered In Flour

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Golden Herbed Tofu

So… how’s everyone’s sugar hangover coming along?  This might help.  This Halloween, instead of gorging ourselves on candy, hubby and I contributed to the incomes of children’s dentists across the DC metro area by distributing handfuls of candy to our trick-or-treaters, and (muahahaha!) saved the good stuff for ourselves.  And by “good stuff,” I mean tofu.  Herb-crusted tofu, to be specific, broiled until it is golden brown on the outside and creamy on the inside.  Better than Hershey’s any day if you ask me.

I know what you might be thinking.  Tofu – really?  Doesn’t that stuff taste like, well, nothing?  Well, yeah.  But that’s the beauty of it.  Tofu is very mild in flava and so it willingly takes on any flavors you cook it with.  (Remind you of anything else?  Chicken?  Pork?  Anyone?  Bueller?)  That makes tofu extremely versatile.  But I think I found my ultimate tofu.  It’s crispy, salty and herby.  15 minutes under the broiler gives it a yummy crust and wonderful texture.  If you think you dislike tofu, try this over a bed of greens with your favorite salad dressing (Annie’s Organic Goddess for us, please!).  You might just change your mind.

Golden Herbed Tofu

1 block extra-firm tofu, rinsed and patted dry*
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
herbs de provence
kosher salt
black pepper

  • Preheat broiler to high.
  • Slice tofu as follows: cut into 1 1/2 inch thick rectangles, then cut each rectangle in half on the diagonal to form triangles.  Arrange triangles on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a Silpat.
  • Drizzle olive oil over tofu and brush with a silicone brush until olive oil lightly coats each piece.  Season generously with herbs de provence, salt and pepper.
  • Broil for 10-15 minutes (I needed the full 15, but if your broiler has more oomph than mine you may need less – so check it after 10) until golden brown.  Remove from oven, allow to cool slightly, and serve over a salad the size of your face.

*Nota Baker: I don’t bother to press extra-firm tofu because the brand I buy (Twin Oaks, which I think is generally available at Whole Foods in Virginia – I know KERF buys it in Charlottesville – but may not be accessible elsewhere) just doesn’t seem to need pressing.  With some brands, pressing does really improve the texture.  So if your typical practice is to press your tofu, go right ahead and don’t let me stop you.

Source: Adapted from Giada de Laurentiis

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