Category Archives: Home Cooking

Walk it

Sweet Potato Biscuits

I’ve posted before about how much I love the Farmer’s Market at my office, the market which will be ending for the season in two weeks – eek!  I’ve tried out so many different varieties of tomatoes, apples, and random greens that withdrawal is rather likely at this point.   A few weeks ago, Mark at Chocolates and Tomatoes (yep, still obsessed with the awesomeness of the name) tossed me the LARGEST sweet potato ever.  Not even joking, this beast was the size of my arm from wrist to elbow – total insanity.  He also challenged me to do something different with it, which really got me thinking.  It also had me asking around the office for ideas as I’ve already done a lot with sweet potatoes.  In the end, it was a suggestion from a coworker to do a sweet potato bread that had me thinking about drop biscuits.  Some quick googling gave me great information about all the different types of biscuits and with I decided to go with a quick rise drop biscuit – mostly because rolling dough is just never a good idea for me.

Walk it

Serves: Yields around 12 biscuits

Ingredients

  • 1/2 lb sweet potato, quartered and peeled
  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 tbsp baking powder
  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 cup milk

Instructions

  1. Bring a small pot of water to a boil along with the quartered sweet potato. Cook until potato is soft, then drain and rinse with cold water.
  2. Preheat oven to 425
  3. In a medium bowl sift together the flour and baking powder, cut in the sweet potato using two knives. The dough should form pea sized balls.
  4. Form a well in the middle, and pour the milk in to the well quickly mixing in the dry ingredients until just wet.
  5. Drop a walnut sized amount of dough on to cookie sheet and repeat to form 12 biscuits. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until biscuits are golden brown.
  6. Allow to cool on pan for a few minutes before removing to a rack. Serve and enjoy!
http://www.dancingveggies.com/blog/2014/10/walk-it.html

The sweet potato I was gifted actually produced three times what I needed for this recipe, so the rest of the puree was frozen and used to make sweet potato gnocci.   As for the milk in the recipe, if using dairy based be sure to use whole or 2% – while for non-dairy a full fat coconut or almond milk marked “plain” will work the best.  I hesitate to suggest soy milk due the lack of fat, which is the same reason I would avoid a 1% or skim milk.

Reality

DC VegFest

VegFest Nachos

It’s not often that I go to an event regarding food and come away disappointed, but that seems to be the trend lately.  I’ve been a HUGE fan of the DC VegFest since I stumbled upon it a few years ago on a DC adventure involving the Eastern Market and the Capitol Book Faire – and I was hooked.  There were demos showing how to work with nutritional yeast and Vegg when it come to vegan baking as well as info booths about all the uses for tofu and why the type matters.  I was able to try vegan cookies and cupcakes as well as smoothies thickened with tofu and the new (at the time) Daiya meltable line.  I came away with information on why being a vegetarian matters as well as how to be a GOOD vegetarian.  For many people, including myself in my early veg years, living vegetarian is synonymous with living the anti-Adkins diet of all carbs all the time.  VegFest was a nice post-college reminder that there is more to life than pasta and rice.  It was at VegFest that I saw my first Tofu Press and while I’ve never invested in an official one, I press my tofu each and every time and the difference in taste/texture is amazing.  To me this is what a vegetarian food festival should be – teaching people how to live a healthier life even if it’s as simple as #MeatlessMonday.

Instead more and more food festivals seem to be about preaching to people why what they are doing isn’t enough, or isn’t “right”.   From National Food Expos to VegFest to the Emporiyum, more and more of the focus seems to be on organizations preaching to people about why their specific type of living (natural oils, fruitarianism, freegans, etc) is the RIGHT one- Revival style if you will.  It’s almost the reverse of the classic teach a man to “fish” story – instead of being taught how to do the skill they are being told they aren’t good enough since they aren’t “fishing” but not being told HOW to do it.  I have heard speaker after speaker preach about the importance of green leafy vegetables,  but not one of them gave a recipe for HOW to use green leafy vegetables.  I heard speakers going on about the importance of limiting soy intake, but not one of them talked about HOW to make your own nut milk/cheese.  I get that talking about the problem is easier than fixing the problem, but from my experience it seems as if many of these organizations were doing a better job in their early years which makes me wonder why the change.   I saw more clothing, soup, and products booths at the event this year then anything else.

In the end I’m sure it comes down to money – bringing in produce to cook is not cheap and shockingly (to me) I’ve never seen a local farm participate in one these food events, only restaurants selling the final product.  So why the disconnect?  Why the move from showing people HOW to borderline discouraging them by saying what they are doing isn’t enough?  Is this the new direction for Food Festivals – making them more like user group seminars where the attendees are expected to already know how to make their own almond milk or cashew cheese?  I’m not sure, and with that I’m not quite sure if I’m ready to stop going to these events – but I know that I’m not going to be as eager to bring friends to the events.  I want to go to a VegFest that is a celebration of all things veg*n – which to me means including the fruits and vegetables and legumes that are so fundamental to this way of living.

Note: Nachos pictured above are from Bread and Brew and were fantastic!  However in fitting with my other issues, a recipe for that fantastic vegan queso would have been a fantastic addition :-) Tho Belle did appreciate the frisbee the bamboo plate was resting in!

Happy Birthday Dear

Joe’s Favorite Things

stove_top_mac_n_cheese

Today is my wonderful husband’s birthday – and so I’m celebrating him with a post featuring all of his favorite foods.  I’ve been cooking for him since before we were dating, at the time just trying to help out a coworker who was living on hummus sandwiches and veggie burgers.  Cooking has always been a big part of my life, and with his support, and willingness to taste test, Dancing Veggies was born.  Things haven’t exactly been easy over the past year (silly troll uterus) but my husband has been there for it all – equipped with Vitamin Water and ice cream – which is why today is all about him.

caprese_grilled_cheese

When Joe and I first moved in together he brought a few cookbooks with him, including a number of the Moosewood series.  In one of those books was a recipe for Yellow Rice with Curry Beans – something he made for me a few times when I was late getting home due to yoga.  I started tweaking it early on, which eventually resulted in this Curry Bean and Rice Dish.  Every time I make this dish I immediately flash back to those early days – and how hard it was to add the pineapples to the dish before he snatched them up!!!

Caramel Potatoes

Apparently this Coffee Cake is how one of Joe’s sisters “knew” he was going to be well taken care of.  It takes some early morning planning but the end result is worth it.  Amazingly enough these  caramelized potatoes are also on the list – along with creme brulee (another Joe birthday post!).  It’s almost as if my other half has a thing for caramel…tho that would explain why the homemade dulce de leche never lasts!

Avocado Tomato Grilled Cheese

However while he might love caramel, his favorite food group (yes, group) is easily CHEESE!  I once made a comment about going vegan and there were no comments regarding the missing eggs, or milk, but rather extreme concern about the potential for no more cheesy dinners.  Which is why at least one meal a week includes a fair amount of this special diary product to include: Avocado Tomato Grilled Cheese, Caprese Grilled Cheese (was served at our wedding as a surprise for Joe!), Stove Top Mac & Cheese, Stuffed Shells, and Cannelloni.

 

Stuffed Shell Stuffing

I’m still not 100% certain what I’m going to make for his actual birthday dinner – tho I do have dessert planned out!   

Apple Caramel Muffin

and Let Live

Taco Bowl

Taco Bowl

Greeting!  Today’s dish is what happens when you leave a crucial item off of a shopping list – in this case taco shells.  While I first debated attempting to make my own shells, I then realized a much safer option would be forgetting about the shells and going for the taco version of a burrito bowl.  I used the usual cast of characters when it came to the taco “filling” and then tossed it all with some rice for a simple bowl of delicious.   As an added bonus the jalapeno came from my own garden, tho sadly I can not claim the tomatoes since this year I only have the cherry variety going – but maybe next year!

and Let Live

Serves 4-5

Ingredients

  • 2 cups brown rice
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp cayenne powder
  • 1/2 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 vidalia onion, diced
  • 1 jalapeno, diced
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • 1 large beefsteak tomato, diced
  • 2 cups presoaked black (or pinto) beans
  • 1/2 cup black olives, halved
  • 1/2 cup crushed tortilla chips (optional)

Instructions

  1. Soak the brown rice in the water for 25 minutes, set aside.
  2. While the rice is soaking heat the oil in a deep skillet over medium heat. Add the cumin and toast for 3 minutes before adding the remaining spices, cook for 2 minutes while stirring constantly.
  3. Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes before adding the peppers. Cook for an additional 10 minutes, or until onion starts to brown. Add the tomato, beans, and olives and cook for 5 minutes stirring as needed to break up the tomato.
  4. Drain the rice then place in a sauce pan along with 3 cups of water. Bring to a quick boil, then turn hit to simmer, cover and cook for 10 minutes. Fluff the rice and then add to the vegetable mixture along with any remaining water.
  5. Stir well and cook for a final 10 minutes. Add the crushed up chips and give everything a final stir.
  6. Serve and Enjoy!
http://www.dancingveggies.com/blog/2014/09/and-let-live.html

Sometimes it pays off to forget something as now I have a new quick dish that has all the taco taste – just minus the shells. Plus it uses up random scraps of food that might otherwise have been thrown away, which is a HUGE positive in my opinion.  The taco rice can be topped with avocado, sour cream, cheese, or salsa – whatever your taste buds desire!

Note: Saying extra prayers today for all the family and friends who lost loved ones in the horrible attacks 13 years ago.  I’ve written before about my own experience before here for anyone interested.

Could Cry

Hi everyone!  I wrote this post back in April for Jane of The Heritage Cook.  Things have been a bit rough over here so sharing this now while we attempt to get back on our feet :-) Huge thanks to our family and friends who have helped us out during this not so pleasant adventure.  Will most likely write something up about that soon as well but not quite there yet.  
Hi!  I’m Amanda E and I can normally be found blogging about vegetarian dishes over at DancingVeggies.  I’m in the Secret Recipe Club with Jane, and with that have been following her for a few years now – which is why I jumped at the opportunity to write a guest post.  While I normally stick to the healthier recipes, the crazy weather here in the mid-Atlantic has driven me to the sweeter side of life.
S'More Pie
This past weekend we watched as the weather went from 60 and rainy to below freezing and snowing in a matter of hours – typical for February but not the tale end of March.  Since we weren’t exactly expecting snow at the end of March, all of our firewood was outside which resulted in a minor panic.  See, I’m not a fan of snow and the only positive I can find about winter weather is the excuse to build a fire indoors and make S’mores!  I needed my chocolate marshmallow fix but had no way to safely prepare the marshmallows since we are currently living microwave-free.  In my panic I started rummaging thru the pantry before finding a box of pudding tucked away behind my backup flour.  I then realized what needed to be done – I needed to prepare a S’more pie.  So I got out all my ingredients and set to assembling all my goodies, with the added excitement of being able to show this pie off to the company joining us for dinner.
 
Guest Post

Serves: Yields 1 10inch Pie

6-8

Ingredients

  • 10 full size graham crackers
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter or earth balance, melted
  • 1 box instant chocolate pudding
  • 2 cups cold milk (dairy or coconut - almond milk will not set!)
  • 1/2 bag marshmallows (I used Dandies), cut in half

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375
  2. Break the graham crackers in quarters and place in blender along with melted butter. Blend until the crackers form small (pencil eraser) sized crumbs. Press the crumbs in to the bottom of an 10inch pie or tart pan.
  3. Blind bake for 15 minutes, crust will solidify and turn a rich caramel shade. Set aside to cool
  4. Once crust has reached room temperature begin preparing the pudding per instructions. After whisking for 2 minutes quickly pour the mixture in to the pre-baked crust before it fully set. Place in fridge for one hour.
  5. Gently press the marshmallows in to the partially set pie crust then place in fridge for a final hour.
  6. Remove pie from the fridge. Carefully use a brulee torch to brown (or blacken) the marshmallows to your desired "doneness".
  7. Serve and enjoy!
http://www.dancingveggies.com/blog/2014/08/could_cry.html
In the future I would hunt down a creme brulee torch (or blow-torch) in order to fully char the marshmallows but we had to work with what we had and it worked out.  I made sure to char a few for my hubby while leaving the rest just slightly cooked per guests’ requests.  In the end, we had the awesome combination of s’mores without the hassle of drying out wood.  Even better is this pie insures that the goodness of s’mores can continue in to the summer months – which is as it should be.
Thanks Jane for letting me do a guest post on your amazing blog!