Category Archives: Home Cooking

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.

Everything is Awesome

Summer Pasta Salad

Pasta Salad

I’m a firm believer in go-to-recipes – ones that always turn out perfect and can be varied to fit the event.  Pasta salad has the advantage of being not only an easy recipe but one of those recipes that can also unite vegans and meat-eaters.  Growing up my mom had her go-to variation and my first few pasta salads were basically her recipe – but over time I decided to branch out and have established my own “standard”.  While a few of the characters might change based on what’s growing in the garden, I keep the same dressing and rarely ever switch out the beans!

Everything is Awesome

Serves: Serves 5-6, as a side

Ingredients

  • 1 lb tri-color rotini
  • 1 tsp garlic scrapes, diced (or 2 cloves garlic, diced)
  • 1/2 vidalia onion,
  • 1 cucumber, sliced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 2 cups cannellini beans, presoaked and well washed
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 3 basil leaves, chopped
  • 2 argula leaves, chopped
  • 1/4 cup feta, crumbled

Instructions

  1. Cook the pasta per box instructions, then drain and rinse with cold water.
  2. Meanwhile prepare the vegetables and place in a large pyrex bowl. Mix together the olive oil, vinegar, and herbs.
  3. Toss the pasta with the vegetables then stir in the dressing.
  4. Top with feta (optional) - then serve and enjoy!
http://www.dancingveggies.com/blog/2014/07/everything-is-awesome.html

I generally enjoy this pasta salad with bbq tofu but with the addition of the beans it works just fine as a cold dinner – and generally it is eaten solo for lunch the next day.  It can also be made in advance, just be sure to add a tbsp of EVOO to the bowl and then toss well in order to insure it doesn’t dry out.  I’m sending this over to July’s Simple and in Season since everything about this recipe screams summertime!  This month Sally at MyCustardPie is hosting this awesome round up as our normal hostess is quite occupied with a new baby boy!

In gardening news I’ve now harvested almost a dozen cherry tomatoes, with more popping up every day!  I’ve also collected two jalapenos, what is most likely the last of my argula (which was used in this recipe!), and I’m still waiting on my first eggplants.  There’s a chance I’ll need to pull my veggies inside later this week, something about  a July Polar Vortex – which is another advantage of having a pot garden!

Sock You

Spicy Kale and Tomato Sauce

Spicy Kale Sauce

It seems the end of one growing season is already here as I look outside to see lots of wilted greens that weren’t picked in time.  I’m hopeful that the farmer’s markets but have some for at least the next week or two – but soon I’ll be forced back to the grocery store in order to get one of the staples of my diet: kale.  It wasn’t too long ago that I was living a kale-free existence, unaware of this amazingly healthy and tasty treat.   Now that I know it’s there – I essentially add it to everything!  It adds the perfect crunch with just a hint of bitter, which is perfect for me since I’m allergic to the more common acids (aka citrus).  I also understand that kale is not for everyone but I firmly think that’s just because everyone hasn’t tried kale!

Sock You

Serves: Makes 2 cups

Ingredients

  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, diced
  • 1/2 vidalia onion, diced
  • 5 roma tomatoes, peeled and halved
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3 basil leaves, sliced
  • 1/2 tsp fresh oregano, diced
  • 1 cup kale, torn

Instructions

  1. Heat the olive oil in a deep skillet. Add the onion and garlic and cook for 10 minutes, or until golden brown.
  2. Add the roma tomatoes, seed side down and cook for 7 minutes, then flip and use a spatula to break down the tomato. Add the fresh herbs and continue cooking for 5 minutes before adding the kale, half at a time.
  3. Once the kale has cooked down, cover and allow to simmer for 10 minutes. Then Serve and Enjoy!
http://www.dancingveggies.com/blog/2014/07/sock-you.html

I served this sauce over some whole wheat pasta but spaghetti squash or polenta would also work well.   What’s next? Kale cookies? Kale Cake?? Probably not, but I plan to continue this love affair as long as possible – unless I turn my skin green in which case I might back off.

Now for other gardening news: first red tomato has been picked!  There is one more that’s on the verge of ready and another 3 dozen or so close behind.  I’ve also jumped up to 8 fairy eggplants and 5 jalapenos :-) I have a feeling July is going to be a delicious month!!!

For What

Avocado Tomato Grilled Cheese

Avocado Tomato Grilled Cheese

I’m thrilled that summer has finally arrived, yet sad that days are already getting shorter.  It seems like winter just ended, and yet I’m already seeing stories advertising “back to school” and “fall fashions”.  If it’s alright with them I’m going to stay in a firm state of denial until at least labor day – I need my long hot day of sun!  Today’s recipe features my favorite summer ingredient (which won’t come as a shock to anyone): tomatoes.  To say that I’m stoked about the emergence of tomatoes at the local markets doesn’t begin to cover it as few things are as awesome as a summer tomato.  Since I’ve only been able to harvest a few little cherry tomatoes so far I needed to figure out a recipe where I only needed a few in order to make a big POP.  As an added necessity I had half an avocado and a bit of fresh bread that needed to disappear before heading to visit family in NYC.  What better way than a lazy (but delicious!) grilled cheese sandwich?!?

Tomato Avocado Grilled Cheese

Ingredients

  • 4 slices of your favorite bread
  • 2 tbsp yogurt spread (or unsalted butter)
  • 2 roma tomatoes, sliced
  • 1/2 avocado, sliced
  • 4 slices of favorite "cheese" or cheese (I used Colby)

Instructions

  1. Evenly distribute the butter on all sides of the bread.
  2. Heat a large griddle over medium heat and place two slices of bread on it, allow to cook for about 2 minutes then remove and set aside. Place the other two slices on the grilled, cook for two minutes, and then flip.
  3. Place a layer of cheese on the toasted side of the bread, then add half of the tomato and avocado slices. Place one last layer of cheese then top with the reserved pieces of bread - toasted side down.
  4. Continue cooking for 5 minutes, then gently flip, and press sandwich down for 30 seconds. Cook on the final side for 7 minutes, or until desired browning level.
  5. Remove and enjoy!
http://www.dancingveggies.com/blog/2014/06/for-what.html

I served this up with some fresh coleslaw – the recipe for which is forthcoming – and it was the perfect summer dinner.  Heck, this would also make the perfect summer lunch, or brunch, or linner or whatever!

In gardening news the new tally is:  41 tomatoes (only 1 is close to picking), 4 jalapenos, 7(!) fairy eggplants, and the fine beginnings of a rosemary bush.  My containers might not give me the same options as my awesome box garden in VA but it’s certainly doing its best to give us in fresh veggies.

What about Angels

Garlicky Green Beans with Confit Tomatoes

Turkish Stuffed Eggplant

I apologize for the repeat photo but none of the ones of the green beans straight on were in focus – so a repeat it is!  Since I had been falling behind a bit for my 52weeksfood challenge, I decided to do two challenges in one week.  The Turkish dish being the delicious stuffed eggplant I posted about this past Thursday, and the confit dish being today’s feature.  While I had heard of confits before (thank you Top Chef), I always assumed it required skills well beyond mine.  Nothing like being proved wrong and getting a delicious meal out of it!  BTW – this is not an appropriate side dish for people that don’t enjoy garlic.

Garlicky Green Beans

Serves 4-5, as a side

Ingredients

  • 3 tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 1/4 tsp fresh thyme
  • 1/2 tsp fresh rosemary
  • 2 basil leaves, diced
  • 3 plum tomatoes, halved
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 1 lb green beans, ends snipped off

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 325.
  2. Toss the halved tomatoes in 2 tbsp of olive oil, along with the thyme, basil, and rosemary. Place flesh down in a roasting pan and cook for 45 minutes.
  3. Remove the tomatoes and set aside.
  4. Heat the rest of the olive oil in a deep skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and red onion and cook for 10 minutes, before adding the green beans. Cook for another 10 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent sticking.
  5. Toss the tomatoes in - then Serve and Enjoy!
http://www.dancingveggies.com/blog/2014/06/what-about-angels.html

The tomatoes can be done a day or two in advance – just add them a little bit earlier so that they can get heated up.  Taste wise they reminded me of sundried tomatoes, just a real concentrated WOW of tomato goodness.  The tomatoes would also go well on top of pizza, pasta, or as an alternative to brucshetta.