So, I took a long leave of absence, in case ya didn’t notice.
I didn’t even ask the bossman. I just did it. She let me come back graciously, but not without a little reprimanding.*Licks wounds*
Anyway, sorry to leave you all hanging like that. I needed a break. Work got crazy. I’m poor. It was too hot to blog. The cat scratched up my fingers so I couldn’t type. The dog needed to be let outside. [Insert more non sequitur excuses here].
The good news is, I’m back. You know, until there’s some emergency, like toenail painting or something.
Are we ready for a Meatless Monday recipe, my little veggies out there?! This week’s is all about the beets. The root veggies, not these ones:
I found a great beet burger recipe from veggie blog The Hearty Herbivore. She’s got some awesome stuff on her site. Take the time to check her recipes out.
Basically, she takes beets, shreds them up and mixes them with other yummy things, like barbecue sauce, peanut butter (yup, PB), onions, mustard and some herbs. You won’t miss the beef with these. And if you’re scared of beets, try them this way first before you eat them any other way. They’ll make you a beet believer.
Click here for the recipe and Happy Monday! It’s good to be back.
I had a great recipe lined up for you guys, but I’ve been a little under the weather and couldn’t stomach food the past couple of days. So my delicious meal went uncooked.
But fear not. It will make a glorious appearance next week.
Instead of a recipe this Meatless Monday, I’m giving you hundreds of recipes.
Did you all know that Meatless Monday has its own dotcom? Mmhmm. It’s that important.
It has plenty of information on the Meatless Monday Movement, articles and enough recipes to keep you busy for a while.
I want to encourage y’all to go check it out and try a recipe from there tonight. If I had to pick one for you (you indecisive little minion), I’d go with the spinach tart, for obvious reasons.
And if those reasons aren’t so obvious, here they are:
- it’s ridiculously easy to make
- you probably have most if not all ingredients on hand
- there’s spinach in it
- saying you’re having a “tart” for dinner is just fun
Thanks guys. Happy Monday! May this week be your best.
You know I’ll find any excuse to work avocados into my meals.
So now that I’ve been washed clean of rainbow throw-up, I’m back in the kitchen whipping up a meatless meal that incorporates the green fruit.
Today’s Meatless Monday is a little bit different. I’m just supplying you with the heart of the dish, and what you do with the rest is up to you.
Succotash is usually made with kidney beans and corn, but I made my own variation with fresh avocado, black beans, onion and corn. It’s almost like a guacamole, but better. Because you can eat hoards of it and no one can blame you for eating all of the game-day dip. And you don’t get charged extra for it.
This stuff packs healthy fat (avocado), plenty of protein (hello, black beans), crunch (onions) and sweetness/color (corn).
I’ll give you the how-to for this stuff and you can pair it with whatever your vegetarian heart desires. I would suggest piling this high on:
- A bagel or English muffin
- Brown rice
- Veggie burger
- Your favorite lettuce
Be creative! You can even eat this straight out of the bowl with a fork. No one has to know.
Here’s what you need:
- 1/2 cup frozen corn
- 1 avocado, chunked
- 1/4 onion, minced
- 1/2 can of black beans, rinsed and drained
- Cumin, to taste
- Chili Powder, to taste
- Cayenne, to taste
- Salt, to taste
- Pepper, to taste
- Lemon Juice, to taste (about half a lemon)
- Drizzle some EVOO in a pan and toss in the corn. Saute until browned.
- In a bowl, combine the browned corn, avocado chunks, black beans and onion. Season with all seasonings, toss and taste. If it needs more seasonings, adjust to your tastebuds and toss again.
- Add the lemon juice and toss again to evenly distribute.
- That’s it. Seriously. You’re done. Go enjoy this “succotash” with some quinoa and feel good!
I’m back! After a week of Spring Breaking (i.e. working and not-cooking), I have returned to supply you with mediocre pictures of stellar food.
I missed you all. I missed blogging. I missed the instant gratification of someone pinning something from my blog.
But, alas, I’m back and Goat Cheese is making a return appearance with me. This sammy was inspired by what-we-had-in-the-fridge ingredients and when I saw goat cheese, well, you can’t just waste something like that.
I would’ve added spinach had we had some tucked away in the crisper, but beggars can’t be choosers. If you don’t eat cheese or don’t like it, substitute some fresh pesto for the spread!
Also, I was much too lazy to pull out the panini press. It is a Monday after all.
Roasted Red Pepper, Veggie and Goat Cheese Panini
Round ‘em up
- 2 slices of sourdough bread
- 1/2 zucchini, sliced thinly
- 1/4 onion, sliced
- 1/2 roasted red bell pepper, chopped
- Goat cheese, to taste
- 1/2 cup spinach (not shown), optional
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Crushed red pepper, to taste (optional)
- In a large, shallow pan, drizzle a little bit of EVOO (about a tablespoon) and throw in the sliced zucchini and onions. Cook down on medium heat for about 5 minutes.
- Add the roasted red bell pepper and season the pan contents with the salt, pepper and crushed red pepper, if using.
- Let cook for another 5 minutes, occasionally stirring.
- Meanwhile, spread the goat cheese on the inside of each piece of sourdough. If using a panini press, turn it on and get it up to medium-high heat.
- Once the veggies have cooked down and onions are softened, remove them from the pan and pile them high onto one slice of the bread. Top off with the other slice of bread, drizzle with EVOO and sandwich it into the panini grill until cooked, about 5 minutes.
- If you don’t have a panini press, simply stick the sandwich back into the same pan you cooked the veggies in and smoosh it down with a griddle pan or the lid of another pan. Make sure you put some EVOO on the top slice of bread so it doesn’t stick to the lid. Cook for 2 minutes, then flip over, squish again and cook for another 2 minutes, or until golden brown.
- Eat with your favorite kettle chips or pasta salad.
There you go! An easy and light Monday dinner that’s satisfying without the meat. Who says sandwiches are lunch-food only?
Make it Your Own
- Add spinach and cook it down with the rest of the veggies.
- Add artichoke hearts and kalamata olives for a mediterranean twist. You could even switch out the goat cheese for feta.
- Use peso instead of cheese.
- Use provolone instead of goat cheese.
- Try it with hummus or avocado.
- Add sprouts.
I got this dish as a request from a certain Cory Galano from Brooklyn. He thinks that because he’s from “New Yawk” he’s Italian. *insert exaggerated eye roll here* We all know “Galano” is Francais!
You can check out his blog on sports and film here. Don’t tell him I told you, but he’s actually pretty funny.
Anyway, I decided to humor Cory and make some “penne vodka” for ye olde blog.
I usually stay away from vodka sauce, even though it’s my SO’s fave. It’s usually pretty calorie-heavy and laden with so much cream you moo when you’re done eating it.
But then, I cogitated and quoted an inappropriate line from Risky Business (hint: it gave me freedom) and went to work.
I’ve never made a vodka sauce before so I went to the mattresses, or the webpages or something and found this recipe here. It got rave reviews and just needed a slight tweak with the cream. It was a hit out of the ballpark, I tell you.
I used whole wheat penne (cause I don’t have a pasta attachment for homemade penne yet) to make it somewhat healthier. And mushrooms added some meatiness to the dish.
I went cheap on the vodka 1) because I’m cooking it down and burning off the alcohol and 2) vodka is my least favorite alcohol. So the leftover stuff is going to be used solely for cooking purposes. No need to go expensive.
Make this for your family tonight and forgo the meat! And Cory, on days when you feel especially Italian, pull up this recipe and cook for your Ma.
Penne a la Vodka
Gather These Up
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 onion , chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
- 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
- 6 -8 fresh basil leaves, chopped or 1/8 teaspoon dried basil leaves
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
- 8 tablespoons butter, divided
- 12 ounces fresh white mushrooms, quartered, about 3 cups
- 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes(to taste)
- 1/2 cup vodka
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 1 1/2 lbs whole wheat penne
- 1/4 cup dry Parmesan cheese, plus additional for the table
Turn it into “a la Vodka”
- Heat the oil in a large saucepan; when hot, saute the onions until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Add crushed tomatoes to the saucepan.
- Stir in the oregano, basil, salt and pepper and simmer 1 hour to concentrate flavors.
- While the sauce is cooking, heat 4 T of the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Saute the mushrooms and hot pepper flakes until the mushrooms are golden.
- Carefully add the vodka and simmer for 5 minutes to cook off the alcohol.
- Add the heavy cream and bring to a simmer; pour the cream mixture into the tomato puree; stir to mix. Keep the sauce warm while cooking the pasta.
- Add the kosher salt to 6 quarts of water. Bring to a rolling boil. Add pasta to boiling water; cook uncovered until pasta is al dente, about 12 minutes. Drain well.
- Melt the remaining 4 T of butter in a large skillet. Stir in pasta to glaze, then add Parmesan cheese and mix thoroughly. Stir in 1/3 or the sauce and mix with the pasta; divide among plates. Top each plate with some additional sauce; pass remaining sauce and additional cheese at the table.
- 6 Tbsp. butter, softened
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 Tbsp. chopped flat-leaf parsely
- Crushed red pepper, to taste
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix with the back of spoon.
- You can also mix all of these ingredients up in a mini-chop.
- Spread the butter on half a loaf of bread, that’s been sliced length-wise. Bake it at 400 degrees CLOSED for about 10 minutes or so.
- Open up the bread and bake for another 5-1o minutes, until bread is crusty and butter is completely melted.
P.S. Cory, are you impressed with all the movie and sports lines I’ve littered throughout this post?! Ok, so there was only like, three. But “A” for effort?
I wasn’t fooling anyone in yesterday’s Sneak Peek. You all knew what Arborio rice is for. I bow down to you *bows dramatically*
The only way I can describe risotto is a rich, creamy, pasta/rice dish that’s starchy and filling. And oh-so-delicious. The best part is it feels pretty sinful, but you only use about 2 Tbsp. of butter and no cream.
The trick is in the stirring. As you stir the rice, you slowly release the starches, which, when combined with the broth, create a thick and cream-like sauce. Those Italians. So tricky.
Risotto is one of those versatile dishes. Throw in whatever’s in season and you’ve got a delicious dish. Since Spring is on its way (just ask my allergies), I decided to make mine an asparagus lemon varietal. I would’ve used fresh peas had I gotten myself to a farmers market. But I never really complain when asparagus is in the picture.
Some things to note:
- Make sure your broth is hot and only add a ladle-full at a time. You don’t want your broth to be simmering, but steam should be coming up from the pot.
- You want the risotto to have a bite to it. I’m not talking crunchy. I just don’t think it should be mush. “Al dente” is perfect. Tender but still chewy.
- This recipe is for two people. It can very easily be doubled (and let’s face it, if you’re going through the trouble of making risotto, you might as well make a lot. Um, hello risotto balls!)
- I squirted in about 1 tsp. of lemon juice every third ladle pour.
- This is the time to break out that lovely wooden spoon and put it to work
Risotto with Lemon, Asparagus and Pecorino
- 1 cup Arborio rice
- 3 1/2 cups vegetable broth
- 1 clove garlic, chopped
- 1/2 Tbsp. EVOO
- 1 Tbsp. butter
- Half a bunch of asparagus, just the tips
- 1 lemon, juice to taste
- Lemon zest, to taste
- 1/4 cup Pecorino Romano or Parmesan, grated
- Salt and pepper, to taste
Stir it Up
- In a medium-sized pot, heat the broth over medium heat until steaming, then reduce heat to low. Do not let it simmer, just keep it hot.
- In a large, heavy-bottomed skillet, melt the butter with the EVOO over medium heat. Add garlic and saute for about 3 minutes.
- Add the asparagus and cook for another three minutes, stirring often. Season with salt and pepper.
- Turn the heat to low. Add the risotto and stir, toasting for about 2 minutes.
- With a ladle, pour some broth into the pan with the risotto and stir. Stir occasionally until evaporated.
- Continue pouring the broth in by the ladle, adding a new ladle-full each time the previous has evaporated. Keep stirring! This will release the starches. Continue until broth is gone and rice is al dente.
- Season with pepper and lemon juice about every third ladle of broth.
- After you pour your last ladle of broth, add the cheese and a good squirt of lemon juice and stir to incorporate.
- Put the lid on top and let sit for about 5 minutes.
- Scoop the risotto, which should be thick and sticky, into bowls and top with a squirt of lemon juice and lemon zest, to taste. Add black pepper on top, to taste.
- Serve up and see what it’s really like to warm your soul.
Tips, Tricks and Variations
- This recipe is easily doubled (2 cups Arborio, 7 cups broth).
- I didn’t use very much salt because of the vegetable broth and the cheese.
- Use peas instead of asparagus.
- Use mushrooms and gruyere for a fall-inspired dish.
- Saute some onions or leeks with the garlic before you add the risotto.
- Substitute one cup of the broth for a cup of dry white wine
- The trick to knowing when to add more broth is simple: The rice will be dry enough that your stirring spoon leaves a trail showing the bottom of the pan.
I can’t remember my first run in with the potato taco, but it was sometimes last year (2011) and I haven’t looked back since.
What’s that? You’ve never eaten potato tacos? You will after this.
The great thing about these is they’re totally customizable. Serve them with whatever toppings and fixings your little vegetarian heart desires. I made a roasted corn salsa, pico de gallo, guacamole and sauteed onions and peppers. If you’re a dairy lover, you can add sour cream and cheese.
I used mostly purple potatoes because colorful food is just more fun.
This is what they looked like mashed up with a tiny bit of cream:
Delicious. We’ve got red, purple, green, yellow and white in these tacos. It’s like eating the rainbow, but without the chewy center and cavities that Skittles provide.
- 1 1/2 cup potatoes, cubed into inch pieces
- 2 Tsp. cream
- Garlic Salt
- Small corn tortillas
- Pico de gallo (see recipe below)
- Roasted corn salsa (see recipe below)
- Guacamole (click here for recipe)
- Sauteed onions and peppers, optional
- In a steam bag (or in a steam pot), steam the potatoes until they’re soft and fork tender.
- Once the potatoes are steamed, mash in a bowl with salt, pepper and garlic salt to taste. Feel free to throw in some cumin or chili powder. Add the cream and mix well. They should still be somewhat dry.
- Pile the potatoes onto warm corn tortillas and layer on your toppings.
- That’s it! Easy peasy lemon squeezy!
Pico de Gallo
- 1/2 small onion, chopped
- 3 vine-ripened tomatoes, chopped
- 1 jalapeno, minced
- 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
- Salt, to taste
- Garlic salt, to taste
- Pepper, to taste
- Mix all ingredients in a bowl and let sit for an hour in the fridge for the flavors to marry.
- Serve over potato tacos.
Roasted Corn Salsa
- 1/2 cup frozen corn, thawed
- 1 lime, juiced and divided
- 1/2 Tbsp. EVOO
- 1/4 cup cilantro
- 1/2 jalapeno, minced (or whole if you like spice)
- 1/4 cup onion, chopped
- Salt, to taste
- Pepper to taste
- Drizzle the olive oil and half of the lime juice over the thawed corn. Toss to coat.
- In a hot pan, toss in the corn and roast over medium heat until corn gets browned and roasted
- Toss the roasted corn with the onion, cilantro and jalapeno. Season with the rest of the lemon juice, salt and pepper.
- Cover and let sit in the fridge for an hour to let the flavors marry. Serve over potato tacos.
Do you like potato tacos?
Did anyone notice that yesterday’s sneak peek was my pasta drying rack?
Yes, I finally made homemade pasta and concocted this seemingly-weird recipe with it.
My parents and SO were super skeptical about this dish, whether it was for the pasta or the contents, I’m not sure. But let me tell you that it turned out so very good.
I made this dish for the Oscars, so I made sure to make it as rich as I possibly could, without it turning into a Scientologist.
But really, it’s a super rich and heavy dish, so you only need a small plateful to feel satisfied.
I roasted the cauliflower to make it sweet and crunchy and I toasted the pine nuts on the stove to get them buttery and nutty. I made a creamy browned butter sauce to drizzle on top and the green olives added some acidity and bite to the otherwise heavy dish.
You don’t have to use homemade pasta, but I did and I’ll show you how the making of it all went down on Friday. Hint: It was super fun.
Fettuccine with Roasted Cauliflower, Olives and Pine Nuts in Creamy Browned Butter Sauce
- 1 pound of fettuccine pasta
- 1 head of cauliflower
- 1-2 Tbsp. EVOO
- Seasoned Salt
- 12 green olives
- 1/4 cup pine nuts
- 6 Tbsp. butter
- 3 Tbsp. cream
- 1 Tbsp. grated Pecorino, plus more for garnish
- dried parsley, optional
- Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.
- Cut the cauliflower into 1/2-inch or 1-inch florets. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and add the cauliflower. Drizzle with EVOO and season with the seasoned salt.
- Roast in oven for about 45 minutes, or until cauliflower is browned and caramelized.
- Meanwhile, in a small, dry pan, toast the pine nuts over low heat until lightly browned. Be careful to watch them closely as nuts go from perfectly browned to burnt in a matter of seconds. Set aside.
- Pit the olives (take a chef’s knife and turn it to its side, like you were going to smash garlic. Give it one good hard whack. The pit should pop out of the olive.) and roughly chop. Set aside.
- In a big pot of boiling, salted water, cook pasta according to directions.
- In a small pan (use the same one you used for your pine nuts), slowly melt the 6 Tbsp. of butter over low-medium heat. Add some dried parsley to it for color and cook until medium to deep brown. Click here for more instruction.
- Once the butter has browned, slowly whisk in the 3 Tbsp. of cream. Whisk, whisk, whisk until it has combined. This will take about 3-5 minutes. Add 1 Tbsp. of Pecorino to it and whisk again.
- Divide the pasta into four portions and evenly divide the cauliflower, olives and browned butter sauce. Toss to coat each plate.
- Top with pine nuts and extra Pecorino.
Tips and Variations
- Don’t like olives? While I’m not sure if we can still be friends, I’ll suggest you squirt some fresh lemon juice on the end result to brighten up your dish.
- Try this with roasted broccoli for more color.
- Use toasted pecans for a different flavor profile.
- Use Parmesan instead of Pecorino.
- Use goat cheese to top it off.
- Add some roasted red peppers.
Sometimes, breakfast for dinner sounds really good. It was especially appealing when I was 9 years old and extremely picky. What kid wouldn’t want pancakes and bacon for dinner on a weeknight?!
This meal isn’t necessarily confined to the “breakfast” category, but it can be used for any meal in the day.
The hummus and egg provide some protein, the bellpepper some crunch, the spinach some folate and the multi-grain muffin some healthy carbs for anyone who’s hosting Aunt Flow for the week.
The Gruyere on top is just cause we can’t make things too healthy. Decadence keeps us sane, ladies and gents.
The best part about this dish is scooping up all the runny yolk at the end with your leftover bits of English muffin with hummus—the combo is extraordinary!
You can easily swap out the English muffin (if you’re not a fan of nooks and crannies) for a whole wheat pita or tortilla and make it a wrap. Nix the spinach and opt for spicy arugula. Use a red or orange bell pepper for more color. Forget the Gruyere and add cheddar. Add avocado. Sprinkle with capers. Make this dish your own.
- 1 multi-grain or whole wheat English muffin
- 2 Tbsp. your favorite hummus (I like pine nut)
- 2 slices of bell pepper, kept in rings
- 2 eggs
- 1/4 cup spinach, divided
- 1/4 cup gruyere, shredded
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- The How-To
- Place the pepper rings in a greased pan (with butter or cooking spray). Over medium-high heat, crack eggs into each ring and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Cook eggs to desired doneness (I like over-medium).
- When the eggs are just about done, top them with the cheese and spinach, turn the heat off, and cover the pan to slightly wilt the spinach.
- Meanwhile, toast the English muffins and spread each half with 1 Tbsp. of the hummus.
- Top the English muffins with the bell pepper/egg and spinach.*
- Take a bite. Sigh. Take another bite.
*Note: I finished mine off with some hot sauce (Tabasco). If you like spice, I highly recommend doing this, as it enhances the dish’s flavor.
On yesterday’s post, I noticed that I said I’d share a Bloody Mary with you. My apologies. Everyone deserves their own Bloody Mary. It’s only right.
No one took a guess on what I used Spicy Hot V8 for, but I’m sure you know now after reading the headline.
I made gazpacho, basically because it’s just a fun word to say. Gaz-pacho. Let’s see how many times I use the word in this post.
I was inspired by a vendor at the Coronado Farmers Market to make one and I was also given some beautiful avocados from the market manager. It was fate, staring me right into the eyes.
Gazpacho is basically a cold soup made with raw vegetables, no cooking involved. It’s especially delicious when the weather’s warm and here in SoCal, the weather’s been pretty beautiful. Of course, as I type this today it’s cold, wet and rainy.
The gazpacho was an experiment for me. I winged it and I think it came out pretty darn good. I do wish it was just a tad bit smoother, but it still went down nice. And it’s really good when you dip your hot and cheesy grilled sandwich in it. There’s a nice contrast of flavor, temperatures and textures.
Without further ado, here’s the recipe:
- 1 1/2 pound of tomatoes, roughly chopped and seeded (I used orange. I recommend orange heirlooms if you can find them, but any tomato will work)
- 1/2 cucumber, seeded, plus thin slices for garnish
- 1/2 can of spicy hot V8 tomato juice
- 1 red bell pepper, roughly chopped (any color will work)
- 1/2-1 lemon, juiced
- 3 Tbsp. cilantro, roughly chopped, plus more for garnish
- 1 shallot, chopped, plus more for garnish
- 3 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
- 3 tsp. Tabasco
- 1 Tbsp. EVOO, plus more if needed for thinning or flavor
- Salt and pepper, to taste
Turn It Into Gazpacho
- Dump everything in the blender, including seasonings.
- Whirl it around until smooth (I blend on high, then liquify on high.) If it seems too thick, add some more EVOO.
- Taste it and adjust seasonings as you see fit. Does it need salt? More acid? More spice? Tasting as you go is always the best way to cook. Adjust to your liking, then hit blend again.
- Chill for at least an hour in the fridge. The flavors really marry if you let it sit in the fridge overnight.
- Pour into shot glasses and enjoy aside a hot grilled cheese (see below). Garnish with cucumber, cilantro and shallots.
Avocado and Havarti Grilled Cheese
- Get two slices of your favorite bread and spread the inside with a grainy mustard on both slices.
- Layer one slice of havarti cheese on each side of the bread.
- In between the cheese slices, layer avocado slices and salt and pepper.
- Close up the sandwich and spread MAYO (yes, Mayo. It browns so nicely!) on the outside of both pieces of bread and sprinkle with Parmesan or Pecorino.
- Cook over medium heat on a skillet, smooshing the sandwich down with a griddle pan or a lid.
- Cut in triangles and service with the gazpacho, dunking the cheesy goodness in the cold, spicy soup!
Final Gazpacho count: 13. My lucky number. Fate comes through again.