Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Spinach and Chickpeas

My sister made this recipe last week and it was simply delicious. It has a sweet yet savory flavor, and can be paired with virtually everything. The chickpeas are a great source of protein in the vegetarian diet, and paired with the spinach this dish is healthy and hearty.

She got the recipe from one of our favorite cooking blogs: Smitten Kitchen

Because it is such a great blog I want to give all of the credit to its author. Check out the link and explore her cite!

Picture from Smitten Kitchen

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Asparagus, Leek, and Mushroom Frittata

This dish was, again, spurred by what looked good at the farmer's market last weekend. I found a recipe on another food blog for asparagus and mushroom frittata and made a few changes of my own to come up with this.

Serves 3 to 4 

Asparagus, Leek, and Mushroom Frittata

Inspired by foodblogga

3 leeks, thinly sliced and thoroughly washed
A hefty bunch of asparagus (~3/4 lb), washed and cut diagonally into 1 inch pieces
~ 2 C sliced white or cremini mushrooms

6 eggs
~ 1/2 C grated cheese such as Paremesan of Gruyere 
~ 2 Tbs freshly chopped flat leaf parsley
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper

Whisk the egg, parsley, red pepper, and about half the cheese in a bowl.

First, heat some olive oil in a large skillet and saute the leeks over medium heat for about 7 minutes, or until the become soft. Add the mushrooms and saute for another 7 minutes or so, until the leeks are beginning to brown and the mushrooms have released and cooked-off their juices. 

Meanwhile, boil or steam the asparagus for just 3 minutes or so, so that they are almost tender but not quite done.

When the mushrooms and leeks are ready add the asparagus, cover, and cook another few minutes. Next, remove the mixture from the pan and wipe out any bits that may be left over. Heat a tablespoon or so of butter in the pan to coat the bottom and sides. Return the veggie mixture to the pan and spread it so that it is flat. Pour the egg and cheese mixture over the top, tilting that pan and/or using a spatula to distribute the egg evenly over and between the veggies.

Cook the frittata over medium heat for about 10 minutes, until the edges are set and the center is nearly cooked. Remove from the stove and place the pan under a hot broiler for just two minutes- long enough for the top to set. Remove the pan from the oven and sprinkle the remaining cheese on top, then return it to the broiler for another 2 to 3 minutes, or until the frittata is golden brown and beginning to puff up.

Allow to cool slightly and enjoy!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Indian-Spiced Lentils with Spinach and Rhubarb

I got a huge bunch of rhubarb at the local farmer's market this weekend, and after my sister made a delicious rhubarb upside-down cake, we still had quite a bit left over. I came up with this recipe in an older edition of Vegetarian Times and it turned out to be pretty tasty. The spices and flavor are pretty exotic, but we liked it! 

I served it over brown rice, but you could use quinoa or just about any other whole grain. 
Serves 4 to 6

Indian-Spiced Lentils with Spinach and Rhubarb

-Vegetarian Times

Photo from

2 Tbs. olive oil, divided
2 Tbs. yellow mustard seeds
2 ½ tsp. whole cumin seeds

3 Tbs. minced fresh ginger
3 cloves garlic, minced (1 Tbs.)

1 medium red onion, chopped (1½ cups)
½ cup golden raisins

1 C brown lentils (or green)
3 ½ cups low-sodium vegetable broth

½ lb. fresh rhubarb, cut into ¼-inch slices

6 cups baby spinach leaves
½ cup chopped cilantro

First, heat one tablespoon of the olive oil in a large, fairly deep skillet over medium heat. Add the mustard and cumin seeds and cook covered for about 2 to 3 minutes, or until the seeds begin to pop. Continue to cook another minute or so until the popping stops, shaking the pan to keep the seeds from sticking or burning. Remove from heat, stir in the garlic and ginger, and set aside in a bowl.

Add another tablespoon of olive oil back into the skillet and saute the onion and raisins over medium heat for about 7 to 10 minutes, until the onions are tender and beginning to brown. Add the lentils and 3 cups of the broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for about 25 minutes - until the liquid has diminished quite a bit. 

Now add the rhubarb and remaining 1/2 C of broth. Cook for about 5 minutes then add the spinach and cook covered for another 5 or 6 minutes. Once the spinach has wilted and the rhubarb is nice and soft, remove from heat, thoroughly mix everything, then stir in the spice mixture and the cilantro - I added a little flat leaf parsley as well. 

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Mac and Cheese Style Cauliflower

This dish is absolutely delicious. It's creamy and warm - perfect for a cold night or anytime you need some comfort food. I served it with a giant bowl of green peas and a fresh, crisp salad.

Next time, I think I will mix some broccoli in as well, and probably double the amount of cauliflower/broccoli for the amount of cheese sauce. Also, I used half Gruyere half cheddar cheese which gave it a nice extra little flavor dimension.

It says it serves 8, but 4 of us happily downed this recipe :)

Mac and Cheese Style

Vegetarian Times
VT's photo

1 large head cauliflower (1 ½ lb.), cut into medium florets 
(I would add some broccoli and make the total amount closer to 2 1/2 lbs.)

2 Tbs. butter or margarine
3 Tbs. all-purpose flour
2 cups low-fat milk
1 clove garlic, minced (1 tsp.)
2 cups grated extra-sharp Cheddar cheese 
(Try doing half Gruyere or another cheese of choice to add flavor)

½ cup nutritional yeast
1 pinch cayenne pepper
2 egg yolks
1 ½ cups fresh breadcrumbs

First, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the cauliflower (and broccoli) until almost tender, about 5 minutes. Reserve one cup of the cooking liquid then drain the veggies. 

Back in the same pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and cook for a minute before vigorously whisking in the milk, reserved liquid, and garlic. Cook this mixture over medium-high heat for about 7 to 10 minutes, until it boils and thickens. You will want to stir it pretty much constantly.

When the sauce has thickened, stir in the nutritional yeast, cheeses, and egg yolks and mix thoroughly. Fold in the cauliflower (and broccoli).

Spread the mixture into a greased baking dish, either a 13 by 9 rectangular dish or a large oval casserole dish will work. Sprinkle the top generously with the bread crumbs. 

Bake at 350 for about half an hour, until the cheese is bubbly and the top begins to brown. You may want to broil it for a minute or so at the end to achieve the perfect golden-brownness. 

Remove from the oven, let cool slightly, and enjoy!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Bean and Egg Burrito - For One!

Whenever I am on my own for dinner I usually just end up making something up based upon whatever I'm craving. I'm surely not the first to make a burrito of this sort, but here is my special version.

 Do note that the measurements - as well as ingredients - are very subjective and depend upon personal preference.

 Bean and Egg Burrito

 My own creation!

 1 8-inch flour tortilla
 ~Two white or baby bella mushrooms, cleaned and chopped
One section (about 1/6) of a red bell pepper, chopped
1 egg, whisked to mix white and yolk
~1/4 C black beans
 ~1/4 C shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 C baby spinach l chopped
Few slices of avocado

 First, heat a little butter in a Smollett and waite the mushroom and pepper until tender and beginning to brown. Remove the veggies from the skipper and wipe it clean to rid of any residue.
Heat a little more butter in the skillet and add the whisked egg. Season with pepper and let it cook until almost set, then break it up into a scramble. Add the mushroom and pepper back into the pan along with the black beans. Allow the mixture to heat through.
Spoon the egg mixture onto the warmed tortilla and top with the cheese, spinach, and avocado slices. It may be hard to wrap your burrito, but if it is a little messy that's okay. Have a fork handy...

Serve with salsa if desired. Enjoy!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Fresh Tortellini with Asparagus, Peas, and Mint

This is a  dish that I have been wanting to make for a while. I love how full of veggies it is, and the cheese makes it deliciously satisfying.

I substituted grated parmesan for the goat cheese it calls for, as most of my household doesn't like the taste. I also left the mint on the side as a garnish and replaced it in the recipe with fresh flat-leaf parsley - again because not everyone likes the distinct flavor. Overall it tasted great, but next time if I leave the mint out I may consider replacing it with something equally as potent, such as basil.

Note, once you get this dish rolling it only takes about five minutes to cook, so have all other aspects of year meal ready to go when you throw the pasta and veggies into the boiling water!

Serves 4 to 6

Fresh Tortellini with Asparagus, Peas, and Mint

Fine Cooking

The picture from

1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 medium cloves garlic, pressed or minced
1/8 tsp. cayenne

1 lb. fresh cheese tortellini
1 lb. asparagus, stems trimmed, and cut crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces (leave the tips whole)
1 cup shelled fresh peas or thawed frozen peas
1/3 cup pine nuts, toasted **

1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh mint  ( See above comments)
2 oz. fresh goat cheese, softened (See above comments)
Freshly ground black pepper

**To toast pine nuts - or any type of nut - simply place them in a skillet over medium-high heat. Cook them until they are golden brown or cooked as otherwise called for. Be careful to toss/stir them regularly so that they brown evenly and don't burn.

First, combine the oil, garlic, and cayenne in the serving dish you will be using for the tortellini. 

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add about 1/2 tsp salt. Boil the tortellini, peas, and asparagus for three to five minutes, until the veggies and pasta are tender. 

Drain the pasta-veggie mixture and toss it with the oil and spices in the serving bowl. Stir in the pine nuts, herbs, and cheese. Season with black pepper and serve.


Sunday, May 6, 2012

Rainbow Stir Fry

This is based on a recipe in Vegetarian Times. I changed some of the veggies and ingredients around, and I am just going to post the recipe my way :). The flavor was great.

As with any stir-fry, I would recommend a leafy green salad and fruit on the side.

Serve 4

Rainbow Stir-Fry

Inspired by Vegetarian Times

3 Tbs. orange juice
2 Tbs. hoisin sauce
1 Tbs. low-sodium soy sauce
1/2 chile-garlic sauce (such as Sriracha)

2 tsp sesame oil
~3/4 lb broccoli, stems thinly sliced cross-wise and florets cut into bite-size pieces
2 large carrots thinly sliced cross-wise
1 can sliced water chestnuts
1 leek, white and light green parts thinly sliced

3/4 C snow peas cut in half lengthwise
1 C thinly sliced purple cabbage

Whisk together the orange juice. hoisin sauce, soy sauce, and chile sauce. 
Heat the sesame oil in  a large skillet or wok. Add the broccoil, carrots, leeks, and water chestnuts. Stir fry for about three minutes, then add 3 tbs. of water and cook for another three minutes. Add the cabbage and snow peas and cook until the veggies are almost done, about four to five more minutes. You may want to cover the wok for this part, and be careful that the veggies don't burn - a bit more water or oil may be needed!
Next add the sauce mixture and toss the veggies thoroughly. Cook for about a minute more in order to heat the sauce.

Serve over brown rice. I threw some shrimp on top for my mom and my sister made some great tofu for the vegetarians. I will post her tofu recipe soon!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Warm Lentil Salad with Grapes, Feta, and Mint

It was a hot day today and this salad hit the spot. I did use a bit less mint than called for and increased the parsley. I think it had the perfect amount of mint flavor - I don't like it when it get's too powerful. The pistachios  provide a nice salty crunch, and the grapes are a sweet and crisp. Can't go wrong!

Serves 4

Warm Lentil Salad with Grapes, Feta, and Mint

Vegetarian Times

The photo from Vegetarian Times

2 leeks, washed with white and light green parts thinly sliced
2 Tbs. sherry vinegar (I had to substitute red wine vinegar)
2 tsp whole-grain mustard - any nice fancy dijon

2 C cooked lentils
1 1/2 C red grapes, halved lengthwise
1/4 chopped roasted pistachios
3 Tbs chopped fresh mint (I used about 2 tbs!)
3 Tbs chopped fresh flat leaf parsley (I used closer to 4 Tbs)

1/4 C crumbled feta cheese

First, heat some olive oil in a skillet over medium heat and saute the leeks for about 10 minutes, until they are tender and just beginning to brown. Remove from the heat and stir in the vinegar and mustard.

Combine this mixture with the grapes, lentils, mint, and parsley. Toss and season with salt and pepper - I didn't do much salt because my pistachios were already salted.

Sprinkle with the feta and enjoy!