Soups, Uncategorized

Fennel and Tomato Soup

Confession: this is the first time I have ever tried fennel. I’m not a fan of licorice flavor so I didn’t anticipate liking it much. The truth? I was right. I hate it. I couldn’t even finish my bowl of this soup, and that’s a shame because sans fennel it would have been perfect. This recipe from “Vegetarian Times” January/February 2012 issue will definitely be made again here, though probably not with the fennel. If you’re a fennel lover (as my boyfriend is) you’ll probably really adore this soup. It’s tasty and it’s so easy. Two qualities that I love in a weeknight dinner.

Fennel and Tomato Soup
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large fennel bulb, diced
3 vegan Italian sausages, sliced into 1/2-inch thick rounds
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
2 tablespoons dry white wine (vinegar)
4 cups vegetable broth
1 28oz. can crushed tomatoes
3 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley

1. Heat oil in soup pot over medium heat.
2. Add fennel and saute 3-5 minutes.
3. Stir in sausages and fennel seeds.
4. Cook 5-7 minutes or till fennel seeds are slightly softened and bits of sausage are stuck to bottom of pan.
5. Add white wine and cook 5-10 seconds to deglaze the pan, scraping up any brown bits.
6. Add broth, tomatoes, and parsley.
7. Cover and bring to a boil.
8. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer 10 minutes.
9. Season with salt and pepper, if desired.

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Fennel and Tomato Soup

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Main Course, Quick and Easy, Side Dishes

Carrot-Cheddar Casserole

I really love my More-With-Less Cookbook. The recipe below is from it, though I have altered it slightly to make it one little bit easier (it was already a pretty simple recipe). As for crackers, I recommend Ritz. I’m particularly found of their buttery garlicky ones for this. Just a little extra decadence. This was really yummy. It tasted just a little bit like a quiche, but not quite. Because of that, it would be great for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Perfect for a brunch, actually.

Carrot-Cheddar Casserole
3 cups cooked, mashed carrots
3 eggs, beaten
2 cups milk
1 1/3 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 1/3 cup crushed crackers
2-3 tablespoons butter, softened
salt and pepper, to taste
parsley, chopped
topping:
more crushed crackers

1. Preheat the oven to 350F.
2. In a greased baking dish, combine the ingredients and mix well.
3. Top the casserole with more crushed crackers.
4. Bake 30 minutes, or till top is nicely browned and a knife in the center comes out clean.

 

 

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Carrot-Cheddar Casserole

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Main Course

Couscous with Snow Peas and Radishes

Couscous with Snow Peas and Radishes

Couscous with Snow Peas and Radishes

Jake really loves snow peas so I wanted to try this recipe from the Vegetarian Times website out. I didn’t have asparagus in the house, so I ended up altering the original recipe a bit. This was an okay dish, but I don’t think I’ll be making it again any time soon. It didn’t really wow either of us, unfortunately. I think it could potentially be altered to be more delicious, but I’m not exactly sure how I would do that at this moment.

Couscous with Snow Peas and Radishes
1/4 lb. snow peas, sliced crosswise into 1/4-inch strips (about 1 cup)
2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
3 2-inch strips lemon zest
1 10-oz. pkg. couscous
3 radishes, thinly sliced (about 1/3 cup)
3 Tbs. lemon juice
2 Tbs. chopped chives
2 Tbs. chopped parsley
1 Tbs. chopped mint

1. Cook asparagus and snow peas in large pot of boiling salted water 2 to 3 minutes, or until crisp-tender. Drain and rinse under cold water.
2. Bring broth and lemon zest to a boil in large pot. Put couscous in bowl, and stir in broth. Cover, and let stand 10 minutes. Discard lemon zest.
3. Fluff couscous with fork, and stir in snow peas, radishes, lemon juice, chives, parsley and mint. 4. Season with salt and pepper. Eat hot.

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Side Dishes

Spiced Lentils with Spinach

Spiced Lentils with Spinach

Spiced Lentils with Spinach

This recipe for Spiced Lentils with Spinach from the “1000 Vegetarian Recipes from Around the World” cookbook was so tasty! I’ve added it into my regular rotation of delicious foodstuffs. It may even be one of those dishes that tastes even BETTER as leftovers than it does fresh. There are not many foods you can say that about. Maybe Kraft macaroni and cheese, which I maintain is better as leftovers than fresh. This would work well as a little side dish but keep in mind that it’s actually kind of heavy…lentils can be heavy in the tummy if you eat a lot of them (at least they are to me). So I suggest pairing this with something else that’s really light. This may not be the thing to go alongside a steak, but with the ginger and citrus components I think it would go really well with a chicken breast. I also know a lot of people like to eat grain bowls for breakfast and lunch and this is definitely a good option for that. I’ve been meaning to get into that myself, so you may see a lot of grain bowls on here in the future. While you’re waiting, try this recipe and get your fiber for the day!

Spiced Lentils with Spinach
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, diced
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground ginger
generous 1 cup green lentils
about 2 1/2 cups veggie broth
1/4 pound spinach
1 tablespoon fresh mint leaves, chopped fine
1 tablespoon fresh cilantro, chopped fine
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped fine
lemon juice, to taste
salt and pepper, to taste

1. Saute the onions and garlic in the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat till translucent.
2. Add the cumin and ginger and fry 2 minutes more.
3. Add the green lentils and veggie broth to the skillet till the veggie broth covers the lentils by 1 inch. Bring to a boil and then lower the heat to a simmer for 20-30 minutes or till lentils are tender. Watch to make sure your lentils don’t get mushy!
4. If the broth has boiled away, add a bit more. Then add the spinach, mint leaves, cilantro, and parsley.
5. Season with the lemon juice, salt and pepper to your liking and serve.

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Main Course, Quick and Easy

Sunrise Pasta

Sunrise Pasta

Sunrise Pasta

News news! I got a new-to-me cookbook from the used bookstore I work at. It’s called “The Garden of Earthly Delights Cookbook: Gourmet Vegetarian Cooking” by Shea MacKenzie. I haven’t decided if I like it a lot yet. It has potential, though the author seems to use a worrisome amount of vermouth in her recipes. I don’t have vermouth so I’ve been subbing. This was the first recipe I made from the book and it was super serious. I’m not kidding. I will never make this recipe again. There was so much starch in it that Jake and I almost died from our stomachs exploding. I will make the veggie part of it again for sure as a side dish, or perhaps to eat alongside a small amount of rice. But this AND pasta was such overkill that it shocked me it even made it into this cookbook. I was skeptical about pasta and potatoes, so I’m very happy that I tried it. However, I’m good from now on. Maybe if there’d been LESS potato it would’ve worked well. Five red potatoes was rather overkill. That said, when you make this in your own home, definitely chop your potatoes SMALLER than I did. I followed the directions for chopping in the cookbook that had me making potato chunks rather than smaller ones. I recommend you take a bit of extra time and make the potato pieces a bit smaller. It would’ve helped the madness factor of this recipe A LOT if the potato pieces were smaller and blended in with the rest of the stuff rather than showing up in your mouth as a massive chunk. Although this isn’t my favorite pasta recipe, I do think you should give it a try with smaller potatoes and possibly fewer potatoes. Potatoes and pasta is definitely a thing in many places and I’m glad I tried it at least once. And if you, like Jake and I, find it too crazy for your pasta, just eat the leftover pasta and potato mix separately later in the week. You won’t be sad about it. I promise.

Sunrise Pasta
12 oz. penne
5 small red potatoes, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large red onion, sliced thin
2 cloves garlic, sliced
1 pound fresh snow peas, de-stringed and trimmed
2 tablespoons white wine
1 17-oz. can corn kernels
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup minced parsley, for garnish
grated parmesan or mozzarella cheese, optional

1. Cook the penne according the the directions on the package. Try to time it so everything is done at just about the same time.
2. While the pasta is cooking, place the chopped potatoes in a medium sized pot of boiling water and cook till just about tender. Drain and set aside.
3. In a large skillet heat the olive oil and all the onion and garlic. Sauté 2 minutes, stirring frequently, before adding in the snow peas and sautéing another 3 minutes.
4. About 3-5 minutes before the pasta is cooked, add the white wine, potatoes, corn kernels, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper to the skillet. Toss to blend well. Cover and simmer 3 minutes.
5. Drain the cooked pasta and return it to the cooking pot or a big old fancy serving bowl. Add the potato and veggie mixture and toss gently.
6. Garnish with parsley and cheese (if using) and serve hot.

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Main Course

Herb-and-Mushroom Rice Casserole

The obligatory just-out-of-the-oven photo.

The obligatory just-out-of-the-oven photo.

I found this recipe in the “Vegetarian Times Cookbook” by Lucy Moll. It’s always good to peruse an old favorite and that’s what’s been happening the last month or so. Jake left to go salmon dipnetting in Chitina for the weekend (I cannot fish yet since I haven’t been an Alaskan resident for long enough), but I had to stay home to work. And as usual, when Jake’s gone I make something with one of his hated vegetables in it. Usually mushrooms. Jake is actually at this very moment out on a moose hunt with a couple of his friends and his dad. So once again I’ve found myself making some new yummy mushroom recipes. But you’ll see those a little later.

Herb-and-Mushroom Rice Casserole
2 cups uncooked white rice
4 1/2 cups vegetable stock
1 tablespoon butter
3 tablespoons olive oil
5 scallions, chopped fine
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 medium bunch fresh parsley, stems removed, leaves minced
4 cups white button mushrooms, finely chopped
2 medium bunches dill weed, stems removed, and minced
plain yogurt, to garnish

1. In a medium saucepan, cook the rice with 3 cups of the vegetable broth and the butter. Bring the ingredients to a boil and then lower the heat, cover and simmer till the rice is tender. This should take about 20 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat and sauté the scallions and garlic, stirring frequently till scallions are limp.
3. Add the cayenne, oregano, and black pepper to the scallion mixture and cook 1 minute more before adding the parsley, mushrooms, and dill. Then cook 5-10 minutes, till the mushrooms are soft.
4. While the mushrooms are cooking, preheat your oven to 350 F.
5. Combine the rice and vegetable mixture in a 2 1/2 quart casserole dish and pour the remaining 1 1/2 cups vegetable stock over all.
6. Bake uncovered for 30 minutes.
7. Serve hot, garnished with plain yogurt.

Herb-and-Mushroom Rice Casserole

Herb-and-Mushroom Rice Casserole

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Side Dishes

Caramelized New Potatoes

Caramelized New Potatoes

Caramelized New Potatoes

I love this recipe from “1000 Vegetarian Recipes from Around the World”. Potatoes are a huge favorite with us and it’s always fun to try a new way to gobble them up. These were really good, but a bit sweet for me. I was quite happy with a few potatoes for my side dish. However when I went back into the kitchen to put the leftover potatoes into a tupperware for the next day I saw something very interesting. Jake had been stealthily sneaking potatoes from the skillet bit by bit until they were ALL GONE. He was very very full and happy. Which makes me happy too, though I was surprised that he liked these so much since he’s more of a salty guy than a sweets guy. So for those of you out there wondering, these are 100% Jake-tested and approved.

Caramelized New Potatoes
1 1/2 pounds new potatoes, well scrubbed
4 tablespoons dark brown sugar
5 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon orange juice
1 tablespoon parsley or cilantro, chopped
salt and pepper, to taste
orange zest curls, to garnish

1. Boil the new potatoes for 10 minutes in a large pot of water. Drain and set aside.
2. Meanwhile, melt the brown sugar and butter together in a medium pan, stirring constantly to prevent sticking and burning.
3. Add in the orange juice and cilantro and cook a few minutes more before adding in the potatoes.
4. Cook, stirring and turning the potatoes constantly, till the liquid caramelizes and coats the potatoes.
5. Season with salt and pepper and orange zest curls and serve hot.

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Quick and Easy, Side Dishes

Eggplant Slices in Yogurt

Eggplant Slices in Yogurt

Eggplant Slices in Yogurt

I altered this recipe from my “Vegetarian Cuisine” cookbook a bit. It was originally a microwave recipe, but after trying that I decided microwaving eggplant was really not a great idea. I’d rather roast my eggplant. This was a pretty good recipe, but honestly, my favorite part was the yogurt sauce. Particularly when it’s been tossed with the roasted eggplant and those other spices are added. I will definitely be using the sauce recipe over again for other things like cucumber slices or pita bread. I’ll have to add in the spices that the eggplant was roasting in to the yogurt sauce as well, but the combination at the end was so good I’m sure it’s going to translate really well.

Eggplant Slices in Yogurt
1-2 large eggplants, cut into 1/4-inch thick rounds
salt
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 green chili, seeded and thinly sliced
2/3 cup plain yogurt
1/4 teaspoon coriander
paprika, to taste
4 tablespoons parsley

1. Lay out the eggplant slices on a cutting board covered in paper towels and salt well. Let the eggplant sit for 30 minutes. Then lightly squeeze the eggplant slices of their moisture using another paper towel or two.
2. Preheat the oven to 350F.
3. In a tiny bowl, mix the olive oil, chili powder, turmeric, garam masala, and green chili.
4. Toss the eggplant in the oil and spice mixture and transfer to a baking dish.
5. Bake about 20 minutes, or till the edges of the eggplant get nice and brown. Turn or toss the slices halfway through cooking.
6. Meanwhile, mix the coriander and some paprika in the yogurt.
7. Once the eggplant is cooked let it cool for 7-10 minutes. Then toss the eggplant slices in the yogurt mixture.
8. You can serve this hot (my favorite) or cold. When dishing it up add an extra sprinkle of paprika and a sprinkle of parsley.

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Soups

Erin’s Bean and Olive Soup

Erin's Bean and Olive Soup

Erin’s Bean and Olive Soup

Winter is here at last! And Tucson has been hit by the same chilly stroke of arctic air that the rest of the country is dealing with. Sweater weather days are fewer here than in the northern parts of our country so we like to enjoy them when they happen. This started out as a recipe from “The Garden of Vegan” cookbook, but I didn’t have everything I needed, so I decided to make it my own. Which, if we’re being honest, is really the best part of cooking. I’m not sure I was a huge fan of the olives in this soup. I would rather just cram them all into my mouth as fast as possible instead of plop them into a pot of soup and wait around for everything to be finished. That said, this soup wasn’t half bad and I’ll probably make it again. Only next time I’ll put the olives on the side.

Erin’s Bean and Olive Soup
1 medium onion, chopped
4-5 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 bunch asparagus, cut into 1/2-inch lengths
2 medium carrot, diced
4 cups vegetable stock
1 small zucchini, diced
1-2 15-oz. cans white kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 15-oz. can Kalamata olives, drained, pitted and sliced
salt and black pepper, to taste
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil
3 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
5 tablespoons dried parsley
1 tomato, diced for garnish
parmesan or mozzarella cheese, to garnish

1. Saute the onions, garlic and carrots in the olive oil in a large soup pot on medium heat.
2. Add the vegetable stock, asparagus, zucchini, beans, olives, salt and pepper, oregano, basil, tomato paste, red wine vinegar and lemon juice.
3. Bring the soup to a boil and then reduce the heat to low.
4. Simmer 10-15 minutes or till vegetables are cooked through.
5. Garnish the soup with the parsley and fresh tomato and cheese, if desired.

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Main Course

Mushroom Gougere

Mushroom Gougere

Mushroom Gouger

Yum yum yum! I love mushrooms. This recipe from the “Encyclopedia of Vegetables and Vegetarian Cooking” and I’d been wanting to make it for quite a while. I finally had my chance when Jake left for Alaska back in August. Sadly I hadn’t gotten around to posting it till now. I thought this was really delicious, but I think I can do better next time. The flavors are really mild, making this a great choice for folks who may not like things that are super herby or spicy (I know a few of those people). But if you’re not scared of a little bit of oomph you may want to try adding in some extra herbs and spices to give this a bit more of a punch. I think next time I’ll be adding some sage to the recipe, or maybe more of the curry paste or some curry powder. Sadly, I’ll have to wait for Jake to leave before I can make it again. Drat!

Mushroom Gougere
for the crusty bits:
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons butter
3/4 cup cold water
3 eggs, beaten
3/4 cup diced Gruyere or Gouda

for the filling:
1 small onion, sliced
1 carrot, coarsely grated
1 cup sliced white mushrooms
3 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon mild curry paste
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups milk
2 tablespoons parsley
salt and black pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons flaked almonds

1. Preheat the oven to 400F.
2. Grease a 9-inch shallow ovenproof dish, or use a pie pan.
3. To make the pastry, sift the flour and salt into a small bowl.
4. In a large saucepan, heat the butter and water on low till the butter has melted, not letting the water boil.
5. Dump the flour into the saucepan all at once.
6. Beat the mixture quickly with a wooden spoon till the lumps smooth out and the mixture begins to pull away from the sides of the pan. Turn off the heat and let it cool for 10 minutes.
7. Beat the eggs into the mixture gradually till a soft, but structured dough forms.
8. Stir in the cheese and then use the dough to line the sides of the pie pan.
9. To make the filling, sauté the onion, carrot and mushroom in butter over medium heat for 5 minutes.
10. Stir in the curry paste and then the flour till well incorporated.
11. Gradually add in the milk, stirring constantly till thickened.
12. Add in the parsley and season with salt and pepper.
13. Pour the mixture into the center of the pastry in the pie pan.
14. Bake for 35-40 minutes until the dough is risen and golden brown.

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