Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Cheese-stuffed figs

I had eaten fresh figs exactly twice before making this recipe. The first time was at Kool Beans in Tallahassee, and the second time was at a beginning-of-the-semester psychology department party here in Winston. Both times were amazing, and I realized that there really wasn't much to making stuffed figs. I think the reason they seem fancier than they are is because hardly anyone has eaten a stuffed fig! So, I consulted mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything Vegetarian (which you should buy) and learned all about figs. They are in season in the late summer/early fall and once ripe are only good for a day or so. Buy them ripe and use asap. A ripe fig will be soft to the touch and oozing a little juice. Cut off the stem and pop the whole thing in your mouth - fresh figs are so soft, juicy and delicious, they're like eating candy.

For this recipe I used a combination of chevre goat cheese and gorgonzola cheese, but you could use your favorite creamy cheese.
From Food pics

Friday, September 7, 2012

Light-as-air gnocchi

I like gnocchi, but EJ has had some less-than-awesome experiences. I had heard that they’re pretty easy to make, and I tried it once, with bad results. The taste was all right, but the gnocchi were heavy and doughy when they should have been light and airy. After that day I stayed away from gnocchi for a bit, until one day I ordered them in a restaurant in Chapel Hill and was reminded of how wonderfully delicious a properly made gnocchi can be. Gnocchi should be light and airy, should melt in your mouth, and should be accompanied by fresh vegetables and preferably high quality cheese (or cheese substitute). And so I did my research and have since come up with a recipe that made EJ decide he actually liked gnocchi!

From Food pics

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Sweet n Sour Chik'n

How did "Chik'n" become the shorthand for "vegetarian chicken"?  I don't know, but it works for me! So, the "Chik'n" in this recipe has sort of a cute story involving some very nice Whole Foods employees. I made a version of this recipe when I lived in Tallahassee, and the Chik'n I used was Quorn non-breaded chick'n nuggets. I thought they were great, because I love Quorn products. Anyway, I moved to Winston-Salem and wanted to make this recipe for EJ, but I couldn't find any suitable non-breaded chik'n nuggets. What's a girl to do? I went to Whole Foods, and bought the Quorn chik'n cutlets, intending to cut them myself. I asked the cashier if there was a way I could request for Whole Foods to carry what I was looking for. He thought that they should have a better product, but wasn't sure what it was. The girl that was bagging my groceries brought me to the frozen "meat" section and showed me the Gardein scallopini cutlets (which I love, but weren't right for this recipe). Then she showed me these Delight Soy nuggets that I'd never seen before. Apparently they are what Whole Foods uses to make their Mock-Chik'n salad. I told her I hadn't tried the salad before, and she brought me to the deli and got me a (huge) free sample! It was delicious, so I bought the Delight Soy nuggets, and for no reason at all, the cashier gave me a 20% discount. Thank you for your excellent customer service, Whole Foods!

That was the longest introduction ever to a blog post, so without further ado, I give you Sweet n Sour Chik'n (which I will just say quickly was amazing!)!!

From Food pics

Monday, October 3, 2011

Italian herb spaghetti squash

I've been really wanting to cook "autumn" foods lately - the weather has cooled, leaves are starting to change, and since I moved from Tallahassee to Winston-Salem, this is my first real fall in awhile!

I was pleasantly surprised at how easy this recipe turned out to be, and how delicious. I used a lot of fresh oregano and some dried thyme and rosemary. I really wanted to use fresh basil, but my plant just died and I couldn't believe that the grocery store didn't have any! Even with this sacrifice, it turned out great. EJ and I will be eating good tonight!

From Food pics

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Israeli cous-cous with tons of broccoli

Israeli cous cous is so cool looking and so fun to cook with, I don't know why I don't use it more often. Just like regular cous cous, it goes well with pretty much anything! This was a spin off Heidi Swanson's double broccoli quinoa. I tried to make it taste a little creamy and cheesy and not too healthy. Even though its super healthy and low-calorie, you'd never know it, I swear!

From Food pics

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Spiced Sweet Potato Fries

Sweet potato is my favorite of the fried starches - or in this case, of the baked starches. Baking the potatoes is just as easy and a million times healthier, and oh so yummy.

I recently heard something I hadn't heard before about making french fries - that with regular potatoes, you should remove excess starch by soaking them in cold water, but that with sweet potatoes, you should try to add some extra starch to add crispiness. I gave it a try with these, and they came out wonderful! Two thumbs up from me and EJ!

I used an Indian spice blend called garam masala - it should be available in the spice section of any grocery store. I've also made sweet potato fries with cajun seasoning, plain old salt, salt and sugar, or with garlic and onion powder. Use what makes you happy!

From Food pics

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Watercourse Foods Tempeh Burger

This isn't the first time I've linked to Watercourse Foods in Denver, CO. I have only been there once, but I am now making it my personal mission to visit every time I visit Denver!

I did not try the veggie burger when I went, but I have heard raves about it. Their recipe has now been published, and since my wonderful husband loves veggie burgers, I thought I'd test it out. I took some liberties with the recipe*, and the burgers came out a little dry. Other than that, they were super tasty, and these sweet potato fries were the perfect accompaniment! There was a lot of prep work, but my food chopper gets the job done (or if you have a nice sous chef, that works also).

From Food pics

Monday, August 8, 2011

Soft pretzels

Ok...so these are sort of like the pretzels I learned to make in 7th grade cooking class. But so what? They were freaking amazing...the outside is salty and just a tiny bit crispy while the inside is soft and doughy. I crave these constantly. Serving suggestion: straight out of the oven with some yummy mustard!

From Food pics

Monday, August 1, 2011

Cabernet poached pears with blue cheese

My husband and I tried this dish on our 1 year wedding anniversary. We stayed in a B&B in Bar Harbor, and popped into this little place for appetizers and cocktails before dinner. We ordered the only vegetarian appetizer on the menu and were blown away with how amazing it was. If we weren't in a fancy restaurant, I think both of us would have licked the plate. EJ asked me how happy I would be if I had the recipe for the dish, and I agreed that it would be amazing to be able to recreate this exactly. Lo and behold, at the hostess stand was a book featuring restaurants throughout Maine, and Mache Bistro was in the book. What recipe did they decide to submit for the publication? Why, the Cabernet poached pears, of course!

I made this for my in-laws on the 4th of July, and it was a hit! Of course, I can't take credit for the recipe. This is unaltered from the original. I'm thinking about experimenting with different fruits instead of pears, though the pears were out of this world.

From Food pics

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Basic Scrambled Tofu

Scrambled tofu is a simple and easy-to-put-together breakfast dish. You can dress it up any way you want - my favorite way to eat it is covered with beans and salsa (and guacamole when I really want to go crazy!). I served it (to myself) with an everything bagel-thin and two strips of fakin'. Yum.

From Food pics

Monday, June 27, 2011

Sausage and Gravy Filled Biscuits

I've become obsessed with Morningstar sausage egg and cheese breakfast pockets, and I eat them way more than I should. They're so good! I decided to try to recreate them myself, but make them vegan and maybe slightly more healthy (I don't think there is ever such a thing as a healthy biscuit, but at least I know I used good, fresh ingredients!)

Anyway, these came out fabulous. Seriously amazing. They were a little time consuming, so next time I make these I probably will just have the biscuits and gravy the old-fashioned way (unstuffed). The reason I stuffed these was because I wanted to freeze them. My husband and I are moving out of state, and I'm trying to cut down on the amount of cooking I do. I'll update this when I find out how they are after being frozen.

From Food pics

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Curried Quinoa Salad

I know I've mentioned this before, but quinoa is a superawesome grain for vegetarians and vegans - its packed with protein and nutrients. In fact, its so good for you that its being considered a possible crop in NASA's Controlled Ecological Life Support System for long-duration manned spaceflights!

The curry and the lime in this salad give it that oomph that all salads need to be considered awesome. Eat it hot or cold - it's really filling, so it does make a great meal. Especially if you want to get your booty back in shape for the beach this summer!

From Food pics

Friday, June 17, 2011

Whoopie Pies

Who doesn't love a whoopie pie? As a New Englander, I grew up with whoopie pies, but I never realized that they were a regional thing. So, for those of you unfortunate enough to be unfamiliar with the whoopie pie, it is a marshmallow-cream filled pie/cake/cookie combo, originally from the Amish. According to legend (legend? Are the Amish that old?), Amish women would bake these and pack them in lunches for their husbands. When the husband opens his lunch box for the day, he would see the pie and shout "Whoopie!" (Disclaimer: I'm not totally convinced that this is true, but whatever).

Anyway, this is a fun and easy take on the whoopie pie that my friend Kathleen showed me. Bonus: They're fat free, gluten free, AND they only need 3 ingredients! Kathleen uses a can of pumpkin puree, but I used squash puree instead, and it worked out just fine. I made these for my sister's graduation party and they were a HIT!

From Food pics

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Crunchy Miso-Peanut Bowl

I've been on a peanut kick this week. Ever since I spur-of-the-moment grabbed a can of peanuts from Publix last week, I've been hooked. Instead of just gobbling them down by the handful (like I had been doing!) I decided to throw them in a recipe and see how it turned out. I also had some miso paste leftover in my fridge, and as it turns out, marrying peanuts and miso equals happiness. I ate this without any pasta or rice, but if you decide to add some you might need to add more of the miso sauce.

From Food pics

Guest blogger for Farmtina

My long time friend, fellow blogger, and bad-ass renaissance woman, Martina, keeps a farm in her Brooklyn apartment and writes abut her experiences. She's always looking for new information, so she asked my husband and me to write a guest blog post about the environmental impact of reducing meat intake. My husband and I are both full time vegetarians, but we believe that vegetarianism doesn't have to be an all-or-none thing - everyone should choose a level that they are comfortable with. Please READ ON to learn more about felxitarianism, and why animal agriculture is harming the earth.

From Drop Box