Shall I Be

One Pot Pasta

One Pot Pasta

I’m not going to lie, I’m a bit of a Pinterest nut.  I find so many interesting and tasty looking treats that I just can’t help but to “pin all the things!”  When I started seeing one-pot pasta meals I was intrigued as it goes against everything I was taught growing up regarding the proper cooking of pasta.  Which is why I was expecting this post to be more of a #pinterestfail than anything else, I just couldn’t imagine this working.  Just worked it did, after checking out almost half a dozen recipes.  I wanted to insure that my pasta was al dente and my vegetables cooked but not floppy – which isn’t exactly the easiest thing.  The first step was figuring out what vegetables have a similar cooking time, and what type of pasta was equal to or less than that cooking time.  I wanted the pasta to have the shortest cook time just in case the vegetables needed extra time, again al dente pasta is (and always will be) the goal for any pasta dish.  Luckily green vegetable are starting to show up at the market so I had a very large selection to pick from!

Shall I Be

Serves 3-4

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 vidalia onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1 tsp rosemary
  • 6 basil leaves, minced
  • 4 cups water
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp roasted red pepper flake
  • 1 cup broccoli florets
  • 2 large carrots, sliced 1/2 inch thick
  • 1/2 cup frozen sweet peas
  • 8 oz penne (look for one with a 10 minute cook time)

Instructions

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large dutch oven over medium heat. Add the garlic and onion and cook for 7 minutes, or until slightly golden. Add the rosemary, basil, and thyme and cook for 2 minutes - stirring frequently to prevent burning.
  2. Add the water along with the salt, red pepper flakes, and vegetables. Bring to a boil, then add the pasta and cook for 10 minutes. Stir regularly, using a tong as needed to make sure the pasta cooks thoroughly.
  3. Allow to slightly cool and then serve!
http://www.dancingveggies.com/blog/2014/03/shall-i-be.html

Now this recipe comes with a true tip/trick: cut and EVERYTHING first!  Once it’s time to add the water everything needs to be ready to go in order to avoid a mushy mess.  For this same reason I would avoid most members of the squash family and would also hold off adding any tomatoes until the very end.

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

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  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.
http://www.dancingveggies.com/blog/2014/03/bottom-of-the-pit-2.html

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…

Without this Fear

Root Vegetable “Lasagna”

Potato Au Gratin

Another day, another delicious recipe!  I was hoping to start prepping some delicious spring-themed treats but apparently mother nature is not quite ready for that.  As I’m writing this the temperature is preparing to drop some 40 degrees, and with the forecasted wind chill we’ll be back in the single digits.  So instead of thinking up ways to use the asparagus that will soon be arriving in the market, I’m back to my winter favorites: root vegetables (and mushrooms)!  This dish doesn’t really have a name as it’s a bit of a hybrid between an au gratin and a vegetable lasagna.  While lasagna noodles could be used I’m trying to think outside the pasta box – and so I decided to use pan fried potatoes as my “pasta” with various vegetables in between.

Root Vegetable "Lasagna"

Serves: Serves 4-5

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 1 lb butter potatoes, 1/4 in slices
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme
  • 1 tsp fresh rosemary
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 vidalia onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 1/2 cups wild mushrooms, diced
  • 1 parsnip, coarsely grated
  • 2 large carrots, coarsely grated
  • 2 tbsp unsalted soy butter or margarine
  • 2 tbsp whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/4 cups milk (coconut or dairy)
  • 1 cup plain Greek Yogurt (coconut or dairy - can also use ricotta cheese)
  • 1 1/2 cups kale (or chard or spinach), divided
  • Parmesan Cheese (optional), finely grated
  • Mozzarella Cheese (optional), shredded

Instructions

  1. Heat half of the olive oil in a deep saute dish over medium heat. Add the herbs and cook for 1 minute, then add the potatoes and cook until lightly brown. Remove from heat and set aside
  2. Heat the remaining olive oil in the pan along with the garlic and onion. Cook for 5 minutes and then add the mushrooms along with the carrots and parsnip. Cook for another 7-10 minutes, or until carrots become slightly tender.
  3. Meanwhile prepare the sauce by melting the butter in a small saucepan. Stir in the flour and allow to turn slightly golden before slowly whisking in the milk. Bring to a simmer, then cover and turn heat to low.
  4. Preheat oven to 375.
  5. Spoon 1/4 cup of the sauce into the bottom of a 2QT casserole dish, and use a spoon to spread the sauce around the bottom and sides of the dish. Begin layering starting with a single layer of the potatoes, then add 1/3 of the mushroom mixture, then 1/2 cup of the fresh kale, and 1/3 cup of the Greek Yogurt. Add 1/4 cup of sauce and then begin layering again - topping with a final layer of potatoes and sauce. (Optional - add shredded cheese on top of the sauce)
  6. Bake for 35 minutes, or until sauce starts to brown on the edges. Remove from oven and allow to cool for at least 5 minutes before serving.
  7. Enjoy!

Notes

Earth Balance makes an awesome vegan "butter" while So Delicious (coconut) is my choice for Milk products, including Greek Yogurt. I used normal mozzarella in mine but have had Daiya before at various VegFests and rather certain it would be a great alternative! None of these companies know who I am as far as I'm aware - I just like what they sell!

http://www.dancingveggies.com/blog/2014/03/without-this-fear.html

Once plated this isn’t the prettiest of dishes, lots of white with a bit of green and orange for color – but it’s delicious!  I served it with some crusty sourdough, but anything with a good crust will do well when it comes to getting every last bit of the sauce.  I’m sending this on over to the amazing Ren who hosts Simple and in Season, and I’m crossing my fingers and hoping that winter will soon be over.  As much as I enjoy root vegetables, I’m ready for some fresh greens and spring onions!

Down to Earth

Spicy Chili Carrots 

Chili Carrots

Before leaving Virginia, we were able to visit a top restaurant in the Potomac area – and with that enjoy some Korean Cajun fusion.  One of the snack items on the menu were these incredible firecracker carrots, they had just the right amount of sweet and spice with a bit of crunch.  Ever since that meal I’ve been trying to figure out how to recreate it, adding this spice and that in an attempt to find that perfect balance.

Spicy Chili Carrots

Serves 4-6, as a side

Ingredients

  • 2 lb carrots, peeled and cut in to 2 inch pieces
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp fresh ginger, minced
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 1/2 tbsp siracha

Instructions

  1. Place the cut carrots in a large bowl and toss with the olive oil and salt.
  2. Remove to a large skillet over medium heat, then add the ginger along with the brown sugar. Cook for 7 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent sticking.
  3. Add the siracha, then cover, and turn heat as low as it goes. Cook for 10 minutes, or until carrots are slightly tender. Add more siracha as desired.
http://www.dancingveggies.com/blog/2014/03/down-to-earth.html

While I’m not 100% confident this is the exact recipe, it’s probably as close as I’m going to get without someone on the kitchen staff giving away secrets.  Regardless, they are deliciously amazing and went perfectly with the Sweet Potato Lentil Burgers I made the other week.

Felt Like Springtime

Sweet Potato Falafels

with Garlic Hummus

Sweet Potato Falafel

Welcome to March’s Secret Recipe Club Post!  It’s a little strange how excited I get when I find out what blog I’ve been assigned, and this month was no different.  This month I was given Isabelle’s Crumb Blog and I was hooked from the moment I saw her intro.  This ”coffee-chugging, booty-shaking, bargain-shopping, cookbook-collecting, photo-snapping, trucker-swearing, farmers-market-loving self-taught cook with a Mister and two cats to feed” chick has a blog chock full of recipes, for which I can overlook her being a cat person.  I want to say I pinned close to 30 recipes are my first go thru, before finally narrowing things down to the top 5.  In the end it became a battle between Saag Paneer and Sweet Potato Falafels, with the inability to find any paneer being the deciding factor.  I loved that the falafel recipe was really three recipes in one, though in the end I only did two of the three.  I have attempted, and failed, at making falafels before but these held together amazingly well making it super easy to fry them up.

Sweet Potato Falafel

Serves: Yields 12 Falafels

Ingredients

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 can (19 oz) chickpeas, rinsed and thoroughly drained
  • 1 cup mashed sweet potato
  • ¼ cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1 tsp fresh rosemary
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1?2 tsp chili flakes
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil

Instructions

  1. Place the garlic, chickpeas, sweat potato, bread crumbs, and herbs in a food processor or blender. Process until almost pureed and then form walnut sized balls then place on plate and cover in plastic wrap. Place in fridge for at least 30 minutes.
  2. Heat oil in a deep frying pan until 375 degrees. Remove the falafels from the fridge and use a slotted spoon to place in the hot oil. Cook for 3-5 minutes on each side, using the spoon to gently flip them.
  3. Set aside finished falafels on a cookie sheet covered in a paper towels.
  4. Allow to cool and enjoy
http://www.dancingveggies.com/blog/2014/03/felt-like-springtime.html

Garlic Hummus

Serves: Yields 1/2 cup Garlic Hummus

Ingredients

  • 1 can (19 ounce) chickpeas, well rinsed but reserving 1 tbsp of liquid
  • 2 tbsp tahini
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • ½ tsp salt

Instructions

  1. Place everything in a blender and puree until smooth. Place in fridge, well covered, until time to use.
  2. Serve with the cooked falafels, either as a dip or as part of a falafel sandwich and Enjoy!
http://www.dancingveggies.com/blog/2014/03/felt-like-springtime.html

I served these without the pita per husband’s request along with some vinegar carrots, cucumber, greek yogurt, and (of course) the garlic hummus from the original post.   They were delicious and as a bonus heated up rather well the next day for lunch!  Needless to say another awesome recipe thanks to SRC.