Category Archives: 52Weeks

Wasted Time

Twice Baked Potatoes – Samosa Style

This recipe is probably one of the first ones I ever wrote down as a MUST DO and I’m finally getting to it – four years later! The original recipe that I saw oh so long ago featured a standard russet potato, but I knew from the beginning that I wanted to try a sweet potato.  While regular potatoes are rather awesome, sweet potatoes are the definition of perfection in my opinion.  Previous curry experience gave me the confidence needed to start experimenting which is why this recipe went from a standard baked potato to a glorious twice-baked potato.  Twice baking gave all the ingredients time to get acquainted with each other, something I was worried wouldn’t happen in just making a topping and pouring it on top.

Wasted Time

Serves 2-3


  • 2 Sweet Potatoes
  • 1/2 tbsp curry powder
  • 1/4 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp amchur powder (dried mango powder)
  • 1/4 cup frozen peas, thawed
  • 1/2 cup cauliflower, very well diced


  1. Preheat oven to 425. Wrap the sweet potatoes in tin foil and bake in over for 30 minutes.
  2. Remove and slice potatoes in half length-wise. Gently scoop out the potato, leaving the skin in the tin foil, and remove to a small bowl.
  3. Add the curry, amchur, and cumin to the potato and mix well before folding in the cauliflower and peas.
  4. Spoon the potato mixture back in to the skins and bake, open side up, for 25 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to sit for 5 minutes.
  5. Serve and enjoy!

The real trick with this dish is cutting up the cauliflower as close to the same size as the peas as possible.   Not only does it insure everything fits inside the potato skin, it helps keep an even cooking time.  I’m also sending this potato-tastic dish over to /52weeksofcooking for their potato challenge – for while it’s a bit late it’s the perfect dish as it’s all about the potato!

Open Door

Belgian Endive Pear Boats

Endive Pear Boats

So far so good with the weather – Mother Nature is cooperating with the plan to end winter and signs of spring are everywhere.  A few of the Farmer’s Markets will be opening this weekend, with the BIG one for the area following next weekend!  I have a rather long list of vegetables that I want to try this year, including radishes (poor JT) and about five different types of greens.  Thanks for the /52weeksofcooking challenge I’ve already knocked one “green” of the list with this modified Belgian Salad.  When I tried to find a cuisine for the Belgian challenge I wasn’t that shocked to see all the not-so-vegetarian friendly food.  While Belgian Waffles were rather tempting (with Trader Joe’s cookie butter!!!), I’ve done waffles before and while I know that you don’t have to use a deep waffle iron for Belgian Waffles it just feels wrong to think about using a standard waffle iron – let alone using one!  So I decided to tackle the vegetable that kept popping up in so many dishes: endives.  I think I might have had an endive salad many moons ago at a wedding on the Cape but outside of a vague memory I couldn’t recall the taste.  However Pinterest was more than able to serve up a number of endive recipes, and I couldn’t resist the temptation to do one of the many cute boat designs that I saw.

Endive Pear Boats

Serves: Yields 8 Boats

Serves 4-8, as an appetizer or side


  • 2 small heads Belgian Endive, well washed
  • 2 Anjou Pears, cubed
  • 1 leek, chopped
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp white vinegar
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • salt and pepper - to taste
  • 1/4 cup Blue Cheese, crumbled (optional)


  1. Remove the four largest outer leaves from the endives and place on a large plate, open side up. Set Aside
  2. Shred the remaining endive and place in a large bowl along with the pear and leek.
  3. In a small bowl (or dressing mixer) combine the olive oil, vinegar, and garlic. Beat (or shake) until fully mixed, then pour over the shredded endive mixture. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  4. Carefully stuff around 2 tbsp of the endive mixture into the prepare endive boats. Top with Blue Cheese Crumbles (optional) and Serve!

In order to not kill my husband I dropped the nuts from the recipes I saw but those could easily be added back in for an extra crunch.  The tart endive was a great contrast to the sweetness of the pears, with the balsamic vinaigrette bringing it all together.   This would make a fantastic appetizer, especially since they act as their own plate!  I plan on trying this again in late summer, using some apples in place of the pears…or maybe in addition to.

Bottom of the Pit

Salted Rosemary Pretzel Buns

Pretzel Buns

I’m really hoping that with this last round of snow Mother Nature is finally done with winter – I’m ready for cherry blossoms, green grass, and spring vegetables!  We had a brief glimpse of spring over the weekend, to include the sighting of a few tulips, but now the world is again covered in a white blanket.  The only positive about winter continuing is that it gives me a little more time to plot out my spring recipes, to include the conquering of a few more new-to-me vegetables.  Today’s post however is not a veggie post – it’s a post about a delicious treat that is best enjoyed while walking down the city street (or at a ball stadium).   Pretzels might not the THE street food that everyone thinks of, but when I saw the challenge on /52weeksofcooking my mind went to pretzels.  Maybe because they are one of the few vegetarian items readily available from conventional street vendors, as I was trying to avoid caving in to the temptation of recreating something from a more modern food truck.

Bottom of the Pit

Serves: Yields 6 Buns


  • 2 tsp bread machine yeast
  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3/4 cup warm water
  • 2 tbsp baking soda
  • 1 cup HOT water
  • 1 tbsp kosher salt
  • 1 tbsp fresh rosemary


  1. Mix the yeast, sugar, flour, and salt in a large bowl. Form a well in the middle and set aside.
  2. In a small bowl mix together the olive oil and water and slowly pour in to the well. Quickly mix all the ingredients and then kneed for 5-7 minutes on a flat surface.
  3. Lightly oil the large bowl and place the dough in the bowl, rolling the dough around to cover in oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in a dry/warm location for an hour, or until dough has double.
  4. Combine the baking soda and hot water in a shallow bowl or saute pan.
  5. Divide the dough in to 6 balls. Remove the balls out at time, keeping the others covered in the bowl. Roll the dough out to form a snake like shape, then twist and form a bun.
  6. Dunk in to the water/baking powder mix then place on a lightly greased cookie sheet and repeat for remaining dough. Top with the fresh rosemary and kosher salt.
  7. Place pretzels in oven and heat to 415. Bake for 10-15 minutes.

I can easily say the hardest part of this recipe was figuring out the right way to form them.  Since that didn’t really work for me I decided to twist them in to a bun shape – which turned out fantastic.  The quick baking soda bath gave them their distinct outer shell while the bun insured the inside was soft and moist!   Now it’s back to doing an anti-snow day since rumor has it more is coming on Tuesday…

Take a Breath

Sweet Potato Lentil Burger (Aussie Style)

Sweet Potato Lentil Burger

Prior to this week’s Australian challenge on /52weeksofcooking my knowledge of Australian food was limited to that I seen on TV and that which is shown on the awesome Australian show known as Dance Academy (season 3 finally on Netflix streaming!!!!!).  So essentially this left me with The Outback (not happening) and salad (rather boring).  Luckily there is this thing called the internet, and with that Google, which allowed me to find all sorts of delicious treats.  In that search I found an unusual number of links talking about beets and burgers – which I didn’t really understand.  Granted this could be because I’m only starting to tolerate beets but still, beets on a burger???  However I was intrigued and so I set off to figure out a way to do a vegetarian burger – Australian style.

Sweet Potato Lentil Burgers

Serves: Makes 5-6 patties


  • 1 cup lentils
  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 cup mashed sweet potatoes
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup beet leaves, chopped
  • 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs (or Red Mill GF)
  • 1/4 cup mayo (vegan or otherwise)
  • 2 tbsp siracha
  • 2 beets, sliced
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • salt and pepper (to taste)


  1. Rinse the lentils then place in a small sauce pan along with the vegetable stock. Bring to a quick boil, then cover and allow to simmer over low heat for 25 minutes. Allow to slightly cool then mix in the sweet potato mash, along with the garlic cloves and beet leaves.
  2. Form the patties and then lightly cover in the panko bread crumbs. Place on a plate, cover in saran wrap, and place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile mix up the chili mayo by adding the siracha to the mayo (or veganaise), then place back in the fridge until ready.
  4. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet, or griddle, over medium heat. Gently add the patties and cook for 5 minutes on each time, adding the beets to the skillet after flipping. Cook the burgers until they are slightly brown on each side - at which point the beets should be roasted.
  5. Assemble the burgers using the siracha mayo, beets, and burgers.

For an even more authentic burger experience add some roasted pineapple and a fried egg – which was (and is) a bit too much for me.  However I have to say that the spicy sauce went fantastic with the sweetness of the potatoes and the tart earthiness of the beets.  Lots of contrasts in this dish but it all came together to make a fantastic meal.  I served the burger with some spicy carrots – which will eventually show up on the blog.  I had a fantastic time with this, so another success thanks to /52weeksofcooking.

Missing Pieces

Creamy Garlic and Potato Soup

Creamy Potato Soup

A garlic challenge?!?!  It seriously does not get much better than trying to figure out the perfect garlic recipe, at least for this garlic addicted Italian :-D  Of all the allergies in the world, an allergy to garlic would probably have the biggest effect on my life as I have it in almost every savory dish – garlic makes my world go round.  I thought about making a vegetarian friendly version of 40 Clove Chicken but I really wanted to focus on the garlic and not have a protein overshadow it.  So I decided to recreate one of my favorite vacation dishes: knoblauchcremesuppe (trying saying that three times fast!).  When Joe and I went on our honeymoon, this is THE dish I was most looking forward to – and with that introducing it to Joe.  This dish screams garlic – and it’s also insanely delicious and comforting which is perfect for this dreary time of year.


Serves 4-5


  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter (or margarine)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 10 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large sweet onion, diced
  • 1/2 lb butter potatoes, cubed
  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 cup plain Greek Yogurt (dairy or coconut milk)


  1. Melt the butter in a large dutch oven over medium heat. Add the olive oil along with the garlic and onion, cook for 5-7 minutes or until garlic has started to turn golden.
  2. Add the potatoes along with the stock and bring to a quick boil. Cover then turn heat to low and allow to simmer for 20 minutes. Use immersion blender to puree the soup, then add the Greek Yogurt.
  3. Recover and cook for a final 10 minutes, adding salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Serve and enjoy!

Traditionally this would be served with cream but since I’m trying to keep my doctor happy I used Greek Yogurt.   I topped mine with some homemade croutons, but crusty bread would be a great alternative – anything to help soak up every last drop!