Category Archives: 52Weeks

We are the

Watermelon Feta Salad

watermelon_feta_salad

Getting back in to the swing of things and also getting back in to the swing of /r/52weeksofcooking.  One of the weeks I missed was a tribute to melons, no other rules or restrictions just all about the melon.  I knew from the start I wanted to do something with watermelon, it’s hard to pass by a stand on the Eastern Shore and not be amazed by the size and number of watermelons they have for sale.  As an added bonus, I inherited half a watermelon a few weekends ago when Joe and I went out to the shore.  After a quick internal debate of gazpacho vs. salad, I decided to go with the salad since there was only half left and I wanted something edible at the end of the adventure. The first time I heard of a watermelon salad, outside of the typical fruit salad, was on Top Chef back when Richard Blais made his first appearance. I then had it for the first time a number of years after, at a friend’s baby shower. Recently I’ve seen it popping up on seasonal menus around the Baltimore area, including a rooftop BBQ hosted by a friend! There are a few different versions with the variation normally in the herb choice. Some use basil, others use mint, and some use both, because why not? I went with basil alone, but as with any recipe there is no one way to make it.

We are the

Serves 6-8, as a side

Ingredients

  • 3 cups watermelon, cubed or balled
  • 1 cup Feta, crumbled
  • 1 tbsp fresh basil, sliced
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl combine the watermelon and Feta. Place in the fridge until 10 minutes before serving.
  2. Meanwhile stir together the basil and balsamic vinegar. 10 minutes before serving pour the dressing over the watermelon and gently toss.
  3. Allow to sit for a few minutes, then toss again, and Serve!
http://www.dancingveggies.com/blog/2014/09/we-are-the.html

This salad was fantastic!  I served it alongside my SRC recipe and it provided the perfect light and sweet contrast to the spicetastic dish.   I still had some watermelon left over, even after making another round of salad – and looking forward to sharing that sweet treat sometime next week!!!

In the Way

Black Eyed Pea Cakes

black_eyed_peas_cake

I have to admit that some of my favorite challenges are ones where I’m forced to use things already on hand – such as the Cook from your Pantry challenge on /52weeksofcooking.  Not only do they force me to clean out things that might have been hiding in a back corner, but they also cause me to take stock of what all I’ve got – and what I might need.  In this case I had purchased a few cans of black eyes peas with the intent to make Texas Caviar, which never happened.  So I pulled those out and modified a recipe a coworker had given me a few weeks earlier for Black Eyed Pea Cakes.  The original recipe came with some delicious Vidalia Onions (straight from Georgia!) and featured a few ingredients that weren’t exactly vegetarian friendly (again, recipe is straight from Georgia).

 

Black Eyed Peas Cake

Serves: Makes 10 4inch patties

Serves 3-4

Ingredients

  • 2 cans black eyed peas, drain with 1/2 tbsp of liquid reserved
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/3 cup breadcrumbs
  • 2 basil leaves
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 springs fresh rosemary
  • 1/2 vidalia onion, chopped
  • vegetable oil for frying

Instructions

  1. Add all the ingredients to a food processor of blender and blend until mashed but not quite pureed. Slowly add more olive oil if needed.
  2. Form 4x2 inch patties on a cooking sheet lined with parchment paper then place in the fridge for at last one hour
  3. Cover a deep frying pan with at least 1/2 inch of oil and heat. Oil is ready when water flicked water "dances" across the pan. Add the patties one at a time, being careful not to crowd the pan, and cook for 5 minutes before flipping. Cook the other side for an additional 5 minutes.
  4. Remove cooked patty to another cookie sheet, this one lined with paper towels and allow to cook for 5 minutes.
  5. Serve and Enjoy!
http://www.dancingveggies.com/blog/2014/07/in_the_way.html

These cakes weren’t the most stable when it came time to cook them, even after chilling in the fridge, but they were delicious!  I served them with some coleslaw which added a nice crunch to the dinner.  A green salad would also work – just need to have something with a bit of a bite so that the jaw doesn’t get bored!  They would also make a great appetizer, just shrink the size to 2 inches and enjoy!  With that the cakes could also be prepped the night before, or the morning of, depending on free time.

Paradigm Shift

Buddha Bowls

 buddha_bowl

Summer time and the vegetables are going crazy! Perfect time for a Clean Eating challenge thanks to /52weeksofcooking.   For the most part I try to avoid highly processed foods, including fake meats, but there is something to be said about the convenience that comes with those items.  However, this week I wanted to go all out, so I decided to all incorporate elements of raw eating in my recipe which is what lead me to making a buddha bowl.  A budha bowl is a (traditionally) vegan dish featuring raw fruits and veggies with a whole grain.  I decided to use brown rice, but quinoa and barley were also debated.

 

Buddha Bowl

Serves: Serves 2-3

Ingredients

  • 2 cups brown rice, cooked
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp fresh rosemary
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • 6 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 cups chickpeas, presoaked
  • 2 carrots, sliced
  • 1 ear corn, kernels sliced off

Instructions

  1. Toss the rice with the olive oil, vinegar and fresh herbs in a large bowl. Allow to chill for at least 30 minutes, then toss again and add more oil if needed.
  2. Place in a bowl and layer the vegetables on top
  3. Top with cheese (optional) or nuts (optional)
http://www.dancingveggies.com/blog/2014/07/paradigm-shift.html

I was lucky enough to have tomatoes from my garden, along with all the herbs, while the corn comes from the Eastern Shore.  I tried to use all local ingredients but I couldn’t pass by the avocados at the store without grabbing a few.  I could easily eat one, or more, of those each day – they are simply fantastic!  At some point I want to try the fried egg in an avocado dish but a bit terrified of having raw egg and overcooked avocado.  Anyone ever tried it before? Any tips???

In gardening news – I have no idea where I am tomato wise!  Every day I go out I grab another handful and they are amazing.  I’ve also harvested four jalapenos, with another 4 on the vine.  However no eggplants yet – three stopped growing while a few more of showing some promise.  They are a smaller variety so not expecting massive veggies but thought they would be a bit bigger than their current state.  Fingers crossed the random chilly weather last week didn’t stunt them or something.

Be Unforgettable

Vegetable Pancit

Pancit

One thing I love about blog challenges is that they push me out of my comfort zone, on the flip side one thing I hate about blog challenges is how they push me out of my comfort zone.  When I saw the theme for /52weeksofcooking was Filipino I was once again thrown for a loop – but unlike other challenges were I was totally in the dark at least this time I had some friends who could help out.  After crowd sourcing ideas and recipes, I decided to make a vegetarian variation of Pancit – a dish I had heard of but never experienced.  Traditionally this dish features one of the white meats and while I debated adding tofu I decided to stick with the normal vegetables featured in the dish just in MUCH larger amounts.

Be Unforgettable

Serves: Serves 4-5

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 4 scallions, cut half way up the green
  • 1 vidalia onion, diced
  • 1 small head of broccoli, chopped
  • 1 lb napa cabbage, chopped
  • 1/2 lb red cabbage, chopped
  • 4 carrots, sliced
  • 1/2 lb thin rice noodles
  • 1 tbsp teriyaki sauce
  • 1/2 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce, low sodium

Instructions

  1. Heat the vegetable oil in a large work or sauce pan over medium heat. Add the garlic, onion, and white part of the scallions. Cook for 7 minutes, and then add the broccoli and carrots. Continue cooking for 5 minutes before slowly adding in the cabbage, being careful to not crowd the pan. Cook for 10 minutes, uncovered, stirring to prevent sticking.
  2. Meanwhile bring a pan of water to a boil and cook the rice noodles per instructions on bag (or box). Once cooked rinse with cold water and set aside.
  3. Add the cooked noodles to the vegetables and stir in the teriyaki, rice vinegar, and soy sauce. Toss well then top with the green part of the scallions.
  4. Serve and Enjoy!
http://www.dancingveggies.com/blog/2014/07/be-unforgettable.html

I was blown away but how flavorful this dish was, especially considering how quickly it came together.   Based on the fact he took his chopsticks directly to the pot I think it’s safe to say my other half also greatly enjoyed this dish!  Next time I might leave out the teriyaki sauce since the recipes I found online were rather split on including it – but it was a nice addition to the dish!   Looking forward to seeing where /52weeksofcooking sends me next!

Out in the Rain

Peach Dutch Baby

Peach Dutch Pancake

There is nothing like a good rain storm to make everything seem fresh and new and wonderful.  There is also nothing like waking up on a rainy day to the smell of peaches and cinnamon – or baking something that smells like cinnamon and peaches!  Hurricane Arthur decided to chill off the coast a few days ago and while I waited for the heavier bands to go away I decided to make my hubby a delicious (and not so nutritious) breakfast featuring fresh peaches.   I’ve had dutch babies before and while I thought I made them before apparently that was not the case – so husband was quite surprised by the fluffy breakfast item.

Out in the Rain

Serves 2-3

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 peaches, pitted and sliced
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400. Place the butter on a 10 inch tart pan and preheat in the oven.
  2. Whisk the eggs until foamy in a large bowl before adding the milk, set aside. Blend the dry ingredients together in a small bowl then quickly blend with the wet ingredients until just mixed.
  3. Toss the sliced peaches in the cinnamon and nutmeg, once the tart pan has been preheated align the peaches on the bottom. Pour the dough over top and then bake for 20-25 minutes or until the outer rim is golden brown.
  4. Remove and Serve!
http://www.dancingveggies.com/blog/2014/07/out-in-the-rain.html

I enjoyed mine “naked” but powdered sugar would be a great addition to this treat for those who like things on the sweeter side.   I’m sending this over to /52weeksofcooking for their pit fruit challenge – and as a bonus this recipe would also work fantastically with cherries and other pit fruits.  In fact I might give a cherry version a try this weekend – regardless of weather!