Monthly Archives: May 2011

Truly Scrumptious

Farmers’ Market Quiche

Fresh local vegetables are starting to show up at the local stores once again, which is my favorite time of the year.  There is something about eating a piece of broccoli knowing that it spent its entire life in a 10mile radius.  It tastes sweeter, earthier, and just all around tastier!  To make it even better I found a new monthly blog group via Maison’s Cupcakes that celebrates local seasonal vegetables.  Simple and In Season is a linky match-up group that celebrates local seasonal produce in all of its splendor.   I have been looking for an excuse to make a quiche for the past few weeks however I couldn’t find the right vegetables.  However last weekend everything changed, and suddenly the corn was from the Eastern Shore instead of the Carolinas while the broccoli was from my county.  The cilantro?  From my front porch! This quiche is the perfect celebration of everything to come as the weather gets warmer!

Ingredients (serves 4-5)

  • 1 9 in crust (I used Joy of Cooking’s recipe for Press-in-Pan Butter Crust)
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup skim milk
  • 1/2 cup broccoli florets
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup corn off the cob
  • 1/4 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 2 tbsp cilantro

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375.  Press the crust into a 9 in quiche pan and cook for 15minutes.  Turn oven to 425
  2. In a large bowl mix the eggs with the milk until the whites disappear.  Add the broccoli, onion, and corn and continue to stir well.
  3. Pour the egg mixture into the precooked crust.  Bake for 30minutes.  Remove and top with the cheese and cilantro then bake for an additional 15minutes, or until a toothpick comes clean out of the center and the crust is slightly brown.  Enjoy!

The best part about quiche is that it serves well cold, making it perfect for a light snack.  If having the quiche for dinner then it makes a simple breakfast for the next day, just cut and eat!

Kiss and Tell

Forever Nigella Challenge

Chipotle Salad w/Tomato Bean Salsa

You know you are in trouble when: in trying to locate a salad recipe you can’t find ANY main entree vegetarian salads.  When I saw that this months Forever Nigella challenge hosted by Belleau Kitchen was Salads, I thought I was in luck.  After all the go to dish for a vegetarian is a simple salad.  Alas that was not to be the case…  While Nigella offers a number of delicious side salads, including a delicious tomato salad, in searching her website I couldn’t locate ONE entree salad that was meat free.  I tried looking through a few of her books at the local store but still no luck.  I found chicken and steak and even one that involved lamb but alas no true vegetarian salad.  However I found light at the end of the tunnel, a chicken chipotle salad that featured a delicious sounding bean salsa.  I decided to take my go to Chipotle Salad recipe and double Nigella’s bean salsa in order to serve as the protein.

Ingredients: (serves 4)

For Dressing: (Warning: SPICY!)

  • 2/3 cup sour cream
  • 1 5oz can chipotles in adobo sauce
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 1/3 cup fresh chopped cilantro

For Salad:

  • 5 cups romaine lettuce, well washed and torn
  • 1 1/2 cups spinach, well washed and torn
  • 1 cup corn
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 avocado, pealed and diced
  • 1/2 red onion, minced
  • 1 green pepper, diced

For Bean Salsa:  http://www.nigella.com/recipes/view/mexican-chicken-or-turkey-salad-with-tomato-and-black-bean-salsa-79

Directions:

  1. Blend all of the dressing ingredients, minus the chili powder, together in a food processor.   Taste and then add the chili powder, if too spicy add more sour cream.
  2. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss well.  Serve into bowls and then top with the tomato black bean salsa.

I am hopeful that next month’s feature will be more vegetarian friendly, but even if it’s not I’m enjoying the challenge of converting recipes.  Plus the energy that goes into the writing found in Nigella’s cookbooks is positively contagious, which inspires me to want to do more!

Only Be Pretending

Creamy Tuna Pasta

Oh Glee, how I love you.  If only there was a sing along version I could watch my TV would be complete…or at least would be closer to complete.  My other TV fantasy involves the dishes from Top Chef magically appearing on my dining room table.  This Saturday I will have the opportunity to get as close to that as possible given modern technology thanks to the Top Chef Tour!  They will be at the Eastern Market this weekend, which means I will be at the Eastern Market for at least part of this weekend.  To say I’m excited about this is putting it mildly.  While I have been fortunate enough to talk to (!) Chef Spike on a few occasions this will be my first time seeing ANY of the other Top Chefs in person, including the amazing Hootie Hoo that is Carla :-D

This recipe is not a Glee themed recipe…or a Top Chef recipe…however it is a very filling recipe and a great weekday dinner since it comes together in no time at all.  For those wanting to keep it vegetarian replace the tuna with some cannelloni beans.

Ingredients:  (serves 5)

  • 1 lb tri-color pasta
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, diced
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 1 lb fresh baby spinach, chopped
  • 1 8oz can tuna, drained
  • 1 cup alfredo sauce
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved

Directions:

  1. Cook the pasta according to the directions on the box, omitting the salt.  Drain and return to pan.
  2. Meanwhile heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large saute pan.  Add the garlic and onion and cook for 5 minutes, until the onion becomes translucent.  Gradually add the spinach allowing it to wilt before adding more.  Add the alfredo sauce, and bring to a simmer.  Cook 5 minutes and then season to taste.
  3. Pour the sauce over the drained pasta and toss well.  Add the tomatoes and SERVE!

I normally serve this with oregano bread but regular garlic bread would also work to help soak up the sauce.

Cheap Bottles of Wine

Roasted  Eggplant Pasta

The sun is finally shining!  I know this sounds like such a simple statement but this is the first time the sun has been truly shining since Sunday afternoon.  While my plants enjoy this weather, I do not…mostly because this means my dogs have been essentially stuck inside and they get a little stir crazy.  I have been taking advantage of this weather to start working out new recipes and to catch up on some reading.  I am still working on expanding my horizons so I bought a book of world recipes, and I’m now in the process of basic vegetarian conversions.  When I get a new recipe book the first thing I do is flag all as-is-vegetarian recipes, which will go straight to testing.  Then I start trying to figure out how to convert the remaining recipes to be vegetarian or vegan.  Once that fun part has been taken of I start testing and tweaking the recipe, and after it passes the exam I write it down in my recipe in journal.  Most recipes are tested at least three times before going into the book while others, like this one, wind up being testing closer to a dozen times before it’s deemed perfect.

Ingredients: (serves 4-5)

  • 1 large eggplant, cubed (1 – 1.5lbs)
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinaigrette
  • 1 lb linguine noodles
  • 1 tbsp EVOO
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 Vidalia onion, diced
  • 3 Roma tomatoes, diced
  • 1/4 cup fresh grated Parmesan Cheese

Directions:

  1. Turn oven to 450 and lightly grease a large roasting pan.
  2. Lay the eggplant in a single layer on the roasting pan, then cover with half of the balsamic vinaigrette and light dust with salt and pepper.  Roast for 20minutes, then turn and coat with the remaining vinaigrette and roast for an additional 25 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile in a medium saute pan heat the olive oil over medium heat.  Add the garlic and onion and cook for 5 minutes, until the onion begins to turn translucent.  Turn the heat down to medium low, add the diced tomatoes and cover.  Cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to help break down the tomatoes.
  4. While the sauce is cooking prepare the pasta according to the box, drain and return to pan.
  5. Once the eggplant has finished roasting add to the sauce and stir.  Season to taste with oregano and basil and cook for 5 minutes.  Pour sauce over pasta, add the freshly grated cheese, and mix well.  Serve!

This dish involves only a few recipes which really allows everything to shine with the balsamic vinaigrette just adding another layer.  This dish also goes really well with some nice oregano bread or other crusty Italian bread.

Leaving is worse

Vegetarian Gumbo

Good evening!  It is once again time for another International Incident Party hosted by the lovely jeroxie :-D I was thrilled when I saw this month’s theme of GUMBO.  I have been trying to be more adventurous in my cooking and cajun/creole dishes most certainly fall in that category.  I have attempted etouffe and jumbalaya in the past, but in both of those cases my dish was more in the spirit of.  This time I set out to do something as traditional as possible, minus the andouille sausage of course.  I was orginally hoping to make my own vegetarian sausage but realized that was way out of my skill level, so had to settle with doing everything else from scratch and using tofurkey sausage.  However I didn’t want to go heavy on the soy based products so I decided to add some beans, figuring they would add the right texture/taste to the dish.  I am rather impressed with what I came up with, even more so in the fact that this dish is also vegan!

Ingredients: (serves 6-8)

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 can (16oz) black or red beans, drained and rinsed
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can stewed tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tbsp Cajun Seasonings (I used Emeril’s Essence)
  • 1 lb tofurkey sausage

Directions:

  1. In a large dutch oven melt the butter over medium heat.  Once the butter has melted whisk in the flour, allow to cook until the mixture has turned a very rich brown color, darker than peanut butter for the best results.
  2. Meanwhile in a large saute pan heat up the olive oil.  Add the garlic, onion, celery, and green pepper.  Cook for 5 minutes, until the garlic begins to turn golden and the vegetables are tender.
  3. Once the flour mixture has turned brown stir in the water and vegetable stock, then add the tomatoes, beans, and cooked vegetable.  Cover and simmer for 30minutes.  Add the seasonings, recover and cook an additional 30 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile dry brown the sausage in a small pan.  Cut into bit size pieces and add to the gumbo.  Allow the mixture to simmer for a final 30minutes.  Serve over brown rice!

I think this dish might be one of the few dishes were celery is acceptable, normally I leave that out but since I was resolved to be as traditional as possible I sucked it up and kept it in.  I’m sure most locals would still turn their noses up at my vegan gumbo but it is insanely dishes and really is a rib sticking dish.