It’s the first Monday of the month which means that once again it’s time for the Secret Recipe Club!!!! I was so excited to see that I had been partnered up with Jessie – aka The Vanderbilt Wife. After all, how can you not like a blog that sponsors so many amazing charities! For the longest time I was planning to make her delicious peach cake, which would have been perfect for my pit fruit entry but I couldn’t move past a certain dish with “magically delicious” in the title. I’m a sucker for a good dip, as evident from past secret recipe club posts, and since I was hosting a day of board gaming I just couldn’t pass up her Corn Dip. The only change I made was to up the spice level since everyone attending enjoys things on the hotter side.
Yes – this recipe is magically delicious and magically quick to put together! While most of it was killed the day of serving there was just enough left to serve on top of some chilaquiles the next evening. The corn dip added the perfect crunch along with a bit of heat which was perfect. I also took advantage of some local “early corn” at the market, instead of the canned corn – and while it’s a pain to cut the kernels off I’m a sucker for local produce. I also tossed in a green pepper for color and extra crunch, which worked perfectly with the corn and tomatoes. I served this dip hot and cold, and both ways was a hit!
Speaking of local produce I’ve now harvested three cherry tomatoes, with another 40+ on the horizon, and one jalapeno. At last check there were 10 (!!!) fairy eggplants growing and fingers crossed will be able to pick some this week! The cold snap we had the other day also brought some life back to my arugula so maybe that’ll give up another harvest? So far so good – just have to hope the weather continues to cooperate. Thanks again for stopping by for another awesome SRC!
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!
Heat the olive oil in a deep skillet. Add the onion and garlic and cook for 10 minutes, or until golden brown.
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.
Once the kale has cooked down, cover and allow to simmer for 10 minutes. Then Serve and Enjoy!
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!!!
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.
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.
Remove the tomatoes and set aside.
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.
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.
Time for another installment of /52weeksofcooking – this time featuring a Turkish dish! I’ve had Turkish food a few times, but I’ll be honest in that it’s not a regular cuisine in our house tho after making this eggplant dish that might have to change! In order to figure out a recipe I searched the menu of a few local Turkish restaurants, to get an idea of what kind of vegetarian dishes were out there. I saw so many different eggplant dishes – it was insane! Now figuring out what kind of eggplant dish, that was a bit of a challenge. I debated doing an appetizer I found called Saksuka but in the end decided it was too close to the Shakshuka dish I’ve already done – which defeats the purpose of this challenge. So I decided to go with a stuffed eggplant dish, specifically Imam Bayildi. This dish features eggplant, tomatoes, onion, and garlic in addition to HUGE amounts of olive oil.
Fill a large pot up with salt water and add the eggplant. Allow the eggplant to soak for 15 minutes
Preheat oven to 425 and coat a roasting pan with 2 tbsp of the olive oil. Remove the eggplant from the salt bath, rinse, and lightly pat down with a paper towel before placing flesh down on the roasting pan. Roast for 40 minutes. Remove, cut a slit down the middle (being careful to not go thru the ends of the bottom), then set aside. Turn oven down to 375
Meanwhile heat the remaining olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and onion and cook for 7-10 minutes, or until garlic is golden. Add the diced tomatoes, then cover and allow the tomatoes to breakdown - check after 10 minutes. Use a wooden spoon to help the process as needed.
Carefully squeeze the ends of the eggplant to create a pocket from the cut slit, gently stuff the onion and tomato mixture inside. Top with slices of cheese (optional) then place back in the oven and bake for a final 20 minutes.
Allow to cool for 5 minutes, then serve and Enjoy!
With our 4 eggplant sections I did half with the cheese and half without and for once Joe preferred the cheese-less option while I went for the cheesy ones! It’s not your normal cheese, and I think that’s part of the reason I enjoyed it – the texture actually reminded me of daiya. With that said, Daiya would make a great option for this and would probably go for a non-meltable in order to recreate the firmer texture this cheese had as the contrast was rather nice. Of course there is nothing wrong with going totally naked in the cheese department – gotta love flexible dishes! I served this up with some garlicky green beans and had planned to include some lentils but in the end decided there was already enough going on. In the future I might include some pre-cooked lentils in the eggplant stuffing in order to “beef” them up – again with the flexibility
What to make for an 80s food challenge when I wasn’t eating food for the majority of the 80s…that was the question! Thankfully Google has come to the rescue again by providing all sorts of lists of popular 80s cuisines. After ruling out a number of dishes that would be beyond my skill set to convert to vegetarian living (meatloaf I’m looking at you), I decided to convert something that I had adjusted during my early vegetarian days. While I know that Hamburger Helper, and its friends Tuna and Chicken Helper, are far from healthy – they were easy to make and by switching the beef for mushrooms they were easy to vegetarianize. This time I decided to make one of my favorite helpers from those good ole days totally from scratch: Cheesy Pasta Helper. I debated making the pasta in one pot and mixing in to the sauce after the fact but after my one-pot pasta success last month I decided to do it again! This also made it much more authentic since one of the best things about Hamburger Helper is the ease of making it all in one pot.
1 cup "meat" crumble (I used Wegman's brand where's the beef crumbl)
2 14.5 oz cans no salt added diced tomatoes
1 bay leaf
spring fresh thyme
4 basil leaves, diced
2 cups small shell pasta (or similar)
1/2 cup water
1 cup baby spinach, coarsely torn
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, finely grated
1/2 cup Mozzarella Cheese, coarsely grated
Heat the olive oil in a 14 inch saute pan that's at least 3 inches deep. Add the onion and garlic and cook for 5-7 minutes, or until lightly golden. Add the dried spices and continue cooking for 2 minutes, stirring well before adding the mushrooms and "meat". Cook for 7 minutes, or until the "meat" has started to brown - different substitutes will have different cook times!
Add the tomatoes along with the fresh spices and bring to a boil. Stir in the dried pasta along with the water and return to a boil.
Boil for 2 minutes, then turn heat to medium low and simmer for 10 minutes or until pasta is al dente. Stir in the spinach and cheese and allow to sit for a minute
This is totally not 1980s Hamburger Helper but it’s got all the ease of that one-box wonder without all the sodium and fat! Plus it can easily be veganized by switching in Diaya meltables, or cashew cheese, for the “real” stuff. Always an important thing to note, most cheeses are not vegetarian due to various enzymes so make sure to double check to avoid a less than pleasant surprise! Another quick note – when using GF pasta you might need to add up to a 1/4 cup of extra water in order to insure the pasta cooks all the way just be sure to only add 1 tbsp at a time to avoid watering down the sauce.