Archive for the ‘Vegetarian Meals’ Category

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E is for Edamame

July 24, 2012

Indeed. E is for Edamame. They are probably one of my favorite legumes. I may have used “Erik Enthusiastically Eats Edamame” as one of those ice-breaker thingies in school. Yeah, I heart them that much. They are such a vivid springy green bean, packed full of protein and off the charts on the versatility scale. Why when I was an economic vegetarian in college, edamame were my equivalent of Frank’s Red Hot. I really put that shit on everything…well sans desserts. RamenàEdamame Ramen! Mac n’ Cheese + EdamameàAsian Mac n’ Cheese! Boring Salad + Edamameà Somewhat Exciting Poor College Student Salad! Yay!

So have you ever played that game “Eat the Fridge?” It is the game one plays when they are having first world problems like:

“I’m soo hungry and I want a meal but I don’t want to go to the store. It’s soo far. What do I have in the fridge that is about to wither and die?”

Well that is how this recipe was born. I had a lot of items in my fridge, and they all happened to be green…and expiring soon.  Best of all it is super easy, relatively inexpensive, and healthy because it is like Green!

Erik’s Green Goodness Edamame Hummus

  • 1 package of frozen edamame, de-shelled
  • 1 avocado, cubed
  • 1 bunch of cilantro, chopped
  • 2 limes, juiced
  • 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 sprigs of green onion (I had greens from a candy onion)
  • 1 jalapeño (with seeds if you want that extra kick)
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Cook edamame on the stove according to instructions. Actually cook a few minutes longer to help soften up the edamame further.  Strain and rinse well.

In a food processor (or magic bullet if you are me), put your edamame, avocado, cilantro, lime juice, jalapeño, and olive oil. Will it blend? I believe so. Process for a few minutes, stir with a spoon in between pulses to mix it up a bit more. If necessary, add up to ¼ c of water and/or more olive oil if the beans aren’t blending properly. When it is as smooth as you like (I like a really smooth hummus) stop pulsing and put into the fridge to chill up. Serve with pita chips, rice crackers or artisan crudités (my fancy way of saying cut veggies).

~Erik

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An Anniversary Challenge

January 27, 2012

I feel like I was lost in a time-warp for a bit and poof, here I am in the future…errr present actually. Whoa! I have been writing and cooking but just not posting (oops). Expect new content from us much more frequently, and *gasp* tasty leftovers of course. <(^_^)>

Sooooo my parents had their anniversary celebration this past year and it was a big one. I mean the 25th is quite the milestone (it is silver and all)! Wahoo! My gift to my parents (and personal challenge) was catering the event for them. It wasn’t massive, just an afternoon of light appetizers and dranks for about 25-30. I was pretty stoked and planned out a fun menu of classy appetizers and also sorta recreated their wedding cake. (P.S. in case you are curious/old soul at heart, here are the breakdowns of what each anniversary means).

The menu that Josie and I assembled included the following: Miniature beef Wellingtons, Asparagus spirals (familiar no?), basil & feta sweet potato cakes, and of course artisan crudite & cheese platters. I’m certain we will share all these recipes soon, but today I wanted to share the recipe for the cake.

When I asked for details about the original wedding cake there were some mixed stories. Most remembered it was a banana cake, the jury was out on the type of frosting and fillings. Hmm yes, they were kind of vague. So having this framework to work with I devised a plan. The cake would be banana of course, and I immediately thought of using this fantastic brown sugar frosting that I had made in the past. The cake came out wonderful. It was super moist and had a great flavor to it (the rum didn’t hurt either). So here is the final result:

Thoughts:

-I scaled back the recipe to be more fitting for 24 cupcakes or a 2 layer cake.

-You can easily make your own oatmeal flour by putting rolled oats into the food processor. It adds a wonderful warmth to just about any recipe.

-Using salted butter in the frosting really helps to balance out the sweetness.

-As stated before, not a fan of cinnamon, so I went pretty light on it for the frosting. Adjust to your taste preference ^_^

-Josie and I always use this simple marshmallow fondant found here. It is so easy, tints beautifully, and tastes pretty great for fondant. NOTE: Using this fondant will make your cake non-vegan friendly as there is gelatin in the marshmallows >_<

Bananas Foster Anniversary Cake

My parents love the tropics so I brought it to them with cheerfully bright flowers and bright teal fondant with swirling waves!

Banana-Rum Cake

  • 1 cup of ripe banana, well mashed (3-4 bananas)
  • 2 cups of all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup of oatmeal flour (easily made by putting rolled oats in a food processor)
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 1/3 cups of sugar
  • 2/3  cup canola oil
  • 1 cup soymilk
  • 1/3 cup dark rum
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • Extra Rum (optional…but is it really?)

Preheat your oven to 350 F. To make the banana smoother, put it through the blender or food processor. In a large bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and sugar. In a separate bowl, whisk together the bananas, soymilk, oil, rum and vanilla. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix just to combine.

For cupcakes, fill two-thirds full and bake for 20-24 minutes. For layer cake, fill 2 greased 8 inch cake pans evenly and bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Let cool slightly then carefully stab cake/cupcakes with a toothpick (don’t go all Psycho on it) then drizzle a dash of dark rum and let it seep in.

Cinnamon Brown Sugar Frosting

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • 1/4 cup of soymilk
  • 2 cups of powdered sugar
  • 1-2 tsp of cinnamon (depending on your taste)

In a saucepan, melt the butter and brown sugar. Bring sugar mixture to a boil and lower the heat to medium low stirring constantly for 2 minutes. Add the milk and whisk until it is all incorporated. Cool to lukewarm then using an electric mixer  gradually add in the powdered sugar and cinnamon. Continue to beat until thick enough to spread. If it is too thick, add a little hot soymilk. Frost cake/cupcakes immediately as frosting hardens quickly.

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Candied Curried Pumpkin Seeds

November 1, 2011

It’s hard to believe it’s already November.  It seems like I was only just in the early stages of planning my Halloween costume and pulling out decorations!  Yikes…time is moving at warp speed.

Seeds, fresh from the pumpkin. A colander waits in the wings....

On a less depressing note, I have finally perfected toasted pumpkin seeds.  For years, they have been my ultimate downfall.  I’ve tried countless recipes and methods and techniques, and they always turn out too chewy and not right.  NOT ANYMORE, my friends.  Not anymore.

I scoured the internets searching for the perfect method and piecing together different recipes (you’d be surprised how many wide variations there are in temperature and cook time).  And I found something interesting…

If you BOIL the seeds first for about 10 minutes, the shells soften and become much more edible.  So simple.  Then you let them initially dry on a paper towel, then complete the drying in the oven on low heat.  THEN, you add my special blend of spices and bake for an additional 40 minutes.  Magical.

Boiling the seeds -- my new secret step!

I’ve been using the “Candied Curried” recipe for several years, mostly for pecans or mixed nuts, and everyone loves them.  It may sound like a weird combo, but trust me, unless you have some aversion to curry, you’re going to love this recipe.  They make for a great holiday snack at parties, and they’re also great to package in little treat bags with a cute ribbon as a sweet/salty/spicy addition to any gift.

Seasoned seeds, straight out of the oven. Mmm...

So, without further ado…the PERFECT toasted pumpkin seed recipe.

Candied Curried Pumpkin Seeds

  • Seeds from 1 pumpkin (~2-3 cups), thoroughly washed of pumpkin guts
  • 4 tbsp. butter
  • 2 tbsp. honey
  • 1 1/4 tsp. onion powder
  • 1 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 3/4 tsp. curry powder
  • 1/4 – 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper (to taste)

Remove seeds from pumpkin and wash thoroughly to remove all pumpkin guts.

Boil seeds for 10 minutes in water with a pinch of salt.  Lay seeds out on a paper towel to dry.

Spread seeds onto a baking sheet (lined with heavy duty foil or a silpat) and bake at 275 for an hour, tossing seeds every 15 minutes to ensure even drying.

In a saucepan on medium heat, melt butter and honey together.  Combine remaining dry ingredients in a small bowl on the side.  Stir seeds (or nuts, etc.) into honey/butter mixture, coating evenly.  Add dry spices and turn out in a single layer on the baking sheet.  Bake at 250 for 40 minutes, stirring halfway through cook time.  Remove from oven and cool completely before enjoying.

And to round it out, a picture of the carved pumpkin!

Om nom nom...

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Farmer’s Market Quiche

August 14, 2011

I love to go to the farmer’s market for fresh vegetables.  But, if you’re anything like me, you tend to get a little overzealous – buying entirely too many vegetables only to get them home and realizing they take up a lot more fridge space than you’d planned for.  And there’s no conceivable way you can eat them all before they go bad.

The crust, vented and ready to blind bake.

Of course, it makes me almost physically ill to have to throw them away, weeks later – each moldy, meely, or otherwise unsavory bag I plunk into the trash forcing me to admit I wasted my money.

All of the fresh, farmer's market finds!

Sautéing the vegetables.

The makings of the egg mixture.

I don’t know what made me think of this recipe, other than it’s been a while since I’ve had quiche and we used to have it pretty often when I was growing up.  I really love the versatility and inexpensiveness of quiche.  It can be made out of almost anything.  It works for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.  And all for around $0.50 in eggs!

And the vegetables are in!

You can use literally any ingredients you have on hand for this recipe (feel free to mix and match from what I’ve used).  I could easily see using peppers, spinach, tomatoes, broccoli, eggplant, … stop me anytime.  I had several ears of corn on hand to use, so I put it in with the egg mixture and the dish became something between a quiche and a corn pudding (and that’s FINE with me, because I love a good corn pudding).

The filling is in the asparagus decoration is on.

As far as cheese goes, my favorite cheese to use in a quiche is a good, sharp swiss.  Though in this case, I treated it like a clean-out-the-fridge recipe and used the remnants  of cheddar and mozzarella I had on-hand.

Golden brown from the oven.

Now, the notes:

I used our classic tart crust, because it’s just so rich and delicious and simple (You’ll find the recipe here).  Of course, you can always go the easy route and buy a refrigerated pie crust, in which case I urge you to make two quiches and freeze one for later, because it really makes enough filling for two.

You can use regular milk or even cream instead of the buttermilk, if you prefer.  I thought buttermilk felt more farmy (plus it was nearing its expiration date…).

Sliced and served (and promptly consumed, no doubt).

Farmer’s Market Quiche

  • 1 Pie/Tart Crust
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • ½ Cup Chopped Onion
  • 1Cup Sliced Zucchini
  • 1 Cup Sliced Mushrooms
  • 5 Eggs
  • 1 Cup Shredded Cheese
  • ½ Stick Butter, Melted
  • ½ Cup Buttermilk
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • A dash of cayenne pepper, if you’re into that
  • 10 Asparagus Spears

Prepare the pie crust(s) and press into a tart pan or pie plate.  Prick air vents with a fork and blind bake for 10 minutes at 400 degrees before adding the filling.

In the meantime, sautée onions, zucchini, and mushrooms in olive oil.  Remove from pan to cool slightly.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the eggs with the next 5 ingredients (through cayenne pepper), mixing until incorporated.

Place sautéed vegetables at the bottom of the pie crust, and pour egg mixture over the vegetables (only fill ¾ of the way to avoid overflow).  Place your asparagus spears evenly around the top of the quiche, pressing down into the mixture slightly, to create a starburst pattern.

Bake for 15 minutes at 400 degrees, then lower the temperature to 375 and bake for an additional 25-35 minutes, until set.  Slice and serve hot, warm, or cold.  It keeps well in the fridge for 2 or 3 days, covered.

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Happiness is a Warm Peach Cobbler

June 20, 2011

Peaches are summer to me.  They’re so sweet, juicy, and refreshing, and they can be put into almost any dish, savory or sweet.  And though peak peach season is still a few weeks off, I wanted to give you this recipe in preparation (plus, peaches were on sale at the store this week).  You’re going to want to try it.  It’s painfully easy and extraordinarily delicious.

My gramma gave me this recipe several summers ago when she came to visit and brought a big basket of peaches she’d bought at a roadside stand.  I made it for dessert then, and haven’t ever strayed.

One of the great things about this recipe is that it can be made with canned peaches just as easily, if you can’t get your hands on fresh peaches (i.e., in the middle of winter).

This recipe doesn’t make a huge amount of cobbler, only about 4 good-sized servings.  But it can easily be doubled or tripled if you have a lot of guests (or really like cobbler).  You could also easily add blueberries or raspberries for complexity!

Freshly-baked cobbler, warm and bubbly straight from the oven! (I had to use my Henn pottery, since it was a Gramma recipe).

Easy Peach Cobbler

  • ½ cup all purpose flour
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • ¼ cup butter, melted
  • 2 cups peaches, peeled and sliced (or 1 large can, drained)

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and butter – mix lightly (it doesn’t need to be entirely incorporated).  Place peaches at the bottom of a greased, small – medium baking dish.  Top with spoonfuls of “batter”.  Bake at 400 degrees for 30-40 minutes or until golden and bubbly.  Serve warm with good vanilla ice cream!

Served warm with vanilla ice cream. Divine.

(As a side note:  The hardest part of this whole recipe was deciding which scoop to use for the ice cream – cow or penguin?)

The penguin and cow ice cream scoops. I ended up going penguin, in case anyone is dying to know, for no particular reason at all.

~ Josie

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Biscuit Empanadas, or The Semi-Homemade Vegetarian

June 4, 2011

Most of the recipes we’ve shared so far are almost entirely homemade.  With the exception of a few ingredients, like puff pastry dough (still working on getting brave enough to do that myself), we try to make lots of our dishes from scratch.  But there’s no way around the fact that sometimes we get really busy and pressed for time, and dinner takes a backseat to the million other things we have going on (and then so does our blogging).  But of course, we have to eat.  So I resort to what Sandra Lee would call “Semi-Homemade” recipes…or, eating lots of pre-packaged foods that have been tricked out slightly.  And I’ve been hesitant to share a lot of those recipes here because they feel a little like I’m cheating.  But I realized, why not post them?  Most of you are just as busy as I am, and everyone is looking for a little semi-homemade action once in a while to make his or her life easier.  So here goes.

My "supporting cast" of packaged ingredients.

I came up with this recipe when I was craving both the spiciness of tacos and the warm comfort of biscuits.  I called them biscuit empanadas in my head, and was thinking I probably was incorrect on the terminology, but a quick Google search told me “empanada” comes from the Spanish word “empanar” which means “to wrap in bread”.  Though traditionally it would be a pie or pastry crust, biscuits are still bread, so I wasn’t too far off the mark!  Empanadas can be filled with various types of meats and vegetables, and either baked or fried.  Mine are baked – I think I’d go to hell if I tried to deep fry a biscuit (Paula Deen and I, both).

Mushrooms, onions, and my "supporting cast" in the background.

I decided to do the filling just like I would any other taco meat, and got a frozen package of Morningstar Farms ground soy crumbles (the vegetarian version of ground beef) and a package of taco seasoning.  To bulk it up and make it fresher, I added fresh onion and mushrooms.  Then took a can of refrigerated biscuits and rolled each one out to a flat oval, then filled with the “meat”, cheddar cheese, and sliced jalapenos (from a jar, no less!), then folded them over, crimped the edge, and baked to perfection – or, according to package instructions.  Couldn’t be easier.  Or more delicious.

Sautéing the onions, meat, and mushrooms. About to add the seasonings.

Thoughts:

Obviously, this recipe could be made non-vegetarian by using real ground beef or ground turkey to make your filling.  If you decide to go this route, be sure to drain your meat really well because you don’t want your empanadas to be oozy or soggy (On a side note, I was realizing the other day that of all the adjectives used to describe food – and there are some weird ones – soggy is probably the worst.  Nothing good is ever soggy.).

Rolling out the biscuits. Ready to fill!

I used the “hot” taco seasoning blend and still added a dash more cayenne pepper to kick it up.  If you’re not a huge fan of super spicy foods, feel free to use the mild seasoning and eliminate the cayenne.

This recipe could easily be given a more Southwest feel by adding corn and black beans to the filling, and dipping in a Southwest ranch dip instead of the sour cream.  You could also add refried beans to bulk it up.

Filling the biscuit/empanada.

I used the buttermilk Grand’s biscuits, but I’m sure any variety would work fine.  Flaky layered biscuits might give it more of a pie crust feel.  You could even do mini empanadas with the normal-sized biscuits.  Make sure when crimping the edges, you really press firmly – don’t be shy – if you don’t create a good seal, all the filling will seep out while baking.

For the soy crumbles, the brand is irrelevant, though I find Morningstar Farms (in the green bag) to be the best.  Boca is a little too salty for my taste.  The recipe uses half a bag, but with the rest and the remainder of the onion and mushroom, you can make a delicious meat sauce for spaghetti!  Just add some garlic, a large can of diced tomatoes, a small can of tomato paste, and Italian herbs of your choice.

Crimping the edges of the empanada with a fork to seal it.

Biscuit Empanadas

(Makes enough for 1 can of Grand’s biscuits, or 8 empanadas)

  • olive oil, for pan
  • ½ bag of soy crumbles, or ½ pound ground beef/turkey
  • ½ a medium onion, diced
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms (I used cremini, any are fine)
  • ½ packet taco seasoning
  • ¼ tsp. cayenne pepper, or more to taste
  • 1 can Grand’s biscuits
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • pickled sliced jalapenos, if desired

Before Baking: Filled, sealed, vented, and sprinkled with cheese.

In a large pan, sauté onion, mushrooms, and soy crumbles in olive oil.  Add taco seasoning and cayenne.  *If cooking soy crumbles, you will need to add ~1/4 water when you add the seasoning, because it cooks drier than real meat.  When onions and mushrooms are thoroughly cooked, remove from heat.  Begin rolling out each biscuit to a thin, flat oval.  Scoop meat filling into the center of each biscuit (it may take a couple tries to find the perfect amount, but you don’t want too much or it won’t seal).  Top with a sprinkle of cheddar cheese and 3-4 jalapenos.  Fold biscuit over to form a half moon, and crimp the edges with a fork to seal.  Use a knife to score the top to create a vent.  Sprinkle the tops with cheese, if desired, and bake on a foil-lined sheet according to biscuit package directions (or until golden brown).  Serve with sour cream.

After Baking: Cheese melted, biscuits golden brown and delicious.

The finished product: Plated and ready to go with a side of sour cream. Nom.

~Josie

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Vegetarians are eating the rainforests! /panic

May 31, 2011

Oh wow…Look at that a whole month has seemed to have gone by!? Where has the time gone…No but seriously? Ugh feeling a little disappointed that I have been neglecting to share recipes and even more so that I haven’t been in the kitchen as much. Wamp wamp <(-_-)> Well, this changes now and I have just the idea to remedy this situation.

A challenge.

I shall have a post up at least every other week. Something fresh, something colorful, and (hopefully) inspiring. I mean summer has some of my favorite flavors—tropical fruits, fresh herbs, citrus, and icy desserts. HEYYO! Get excited!

So speaking of personal challenges, it has been an official year since I’ve committed to being a vegetarian—(in the sub-category of a sometimes pescatarian). This is the longest I have been a vegetarian, in the past I had been a flexitarian, eating meat like 2-3 times a week or as I felt I needed it. This past year of being more conscious of my eating habits has really helped me out a lot in discovering what really constitutes a meal. In addition, I feel I have gained an appreciation for so many new ingredients I never thought about before like kale, beets, rutabagas, etc. I certainly do miss some meat products (<3 bologna & pork chops) but I am fairly confident that I will be in this for the long haul.

This design always makes me laugh.

Anyways, here is a one of my favorite and easy recipes from this past year.

Thoughts:

-The kale can easily be substituted with any other leafy green from spinach to mustard greens. It is tasty with any green honestly.

-Make it spicy! Add some cayenne pepper to kick it up!

-Make it more substantial, sauté some diced cremini mushrooms with the onion and garlic.

 Creamed Kale

  • 2 lbs kale, rinsed well and stalks removed
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • ½ of a large onion finely chopped (I like red for this)
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 c cream
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tbsp butter, melted
  • 1 c crushed Ritz crackers

Boil a large pot of salted water and blanch the kale for 1-2 minutes until bright green. Put immediately into a bowl of ice water, then cut into small ½ inch ribbons. Dry and set aside.

In a large sauté pan over medium heat melt the butter and add the garlic and onions. Stir around and let caramelize, about 3-4 minutes. Add in the kale and continue to cook for a few minutes until everything comes together and kale wilts a bit. Reduce the heat to low, add in the cream and stir well. The cream will sauce up fairly quickly in a matter of minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Get a small to medium sized baking dish and spread the creamed kale into it. Mix together the butter and crackers and sprinkle over the dish. Broil for 2-3 minutes or until the topping is nicely golden browned. Enjoy immediately.

Note: I seem to have misplaced my pictures, expect an edit soon.

~Erik <(^_^)>