Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Citrus-Parsley Cucumber and Tomato Salad

This is a very classic recipe that you can see all over the place. I made this as a simple and brightly flavored accompaniment to BBQ Veggie Pizza for dinner one night and we enjoyed it. Leftovers were very delicious the next day after it had sat overnight in the refrigerator.

The feta cheese is optional, but delicious. If you use the feta, do not add in salt. If you don't use feta, you might want to add a pinch or two.

Citrus-Parsley Cucumber and Tomato Salad
  • 1/2 small red onion
  • 1 tomato
  • 1/2 cucumber
  • 6-7 sprigs fresh parsley
  • 1 lime
  • 2-4 ounces feta cheese (optional)
Slice the red onion very thinly. Cut the tomato into reasonably sized wedges. Halve the cucumber and slice into 1/4 inch half moons. Mince the parsley. Toss it all together in a bowl. Squeeze the lime juice on the top (you'll want 2-3 tablespoons) and mix again. Let sit for about 15 minutes, then add in the feta right before serving.

Fresh, Simple, Delicious

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

White Bean Pasta with Broccoli and Squash

Pasta with alfredo sauce was always one of my favorites, but lately I am not always huge fan of how large amounts of dairy makes me feel. After remembering the lovely creamy texture I got from my last batch of Pasta y Fagioli, I decided to give white beans a try for a pasta sauce. Now this is not alfredo sauce, but I think it makes a great substitute, and it's jam packed full of protein! Experiment with your favorite pasta shapes and veggies.

There's no picture of this recipe, unfortunately. I've been working two jobs lately and made this sauce to keep in the fridge for quick reheating throughout the week, and simply never had the time or desire to make a plate all pretty-style for picture taking.

The squash I used here came picked straight from the vine into my husband's hand by one of his friends he ran into while coming home from the farmer's market (I haven't been able to go - second job). She was tending to a community garden in the Westside area of Kansas City. He traded a bottle of my homebrew kombucha (ginger/blueberry flavor) for it - the squash was used two days later. Nothing quite like fresh picked produce! Thanks, Julie.

This sauce really comes together quickly and easily and makes for an awesome quick meal. Leftovers reheat nicely in a saucepan, perhaps using a bit more milk. Make this vegan by using vegan butter.

White Bean Pasta with Broccoli and Squash
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic
  • 3 cups cooked white beans (navy, cannellini, great northern)
  • 2 cups plain, unsweetened soy, almond or rice milk (I used almond)
  • 2 cups small broccoli florets
  • 1 medium sized squash, cut into half-moons
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red peppers, to taste
  • parmesan cheese and/or fresh minced parsley(optional)
  • 12 ounces pasta, cooked (I used linguine)
Melt the butter in a large pot and saute the onion over medium heat for about five minutes, until soft and translucent. Meanwhile, in a blender, add in the beans and milk. Blend until it makes a smooth, thick sauce. Add the sauce to the pot with the onions, along with the broccoli, squash, garlic and seasonings. Cover and let simmer over low heat, stirring frequently to ensure the sauce does not stick to the bottom of the pan, until the squash and broccoli are tender to your liking, about ten minutes. Toss with pasta, adjust seasonings, and garnish with parmesan cheese and/or parsley.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Ckn Fried Tofu Cutlets / Mashed Potatoes / Cream Gravy

I've been craving down-home comfort food. I am, after all, from the Midwest. Chicken fried chicken with mashed potatoes and gravy has always been one of my favorites, but since eating meat really isn't my thing anymore I decided to give it a try with tofu. I actually attempted this recipe a few months ago, but the breading got crispy before the tofu cooked to the consistency I enjoy.  I knew right away that the next time I would marinate, BAKE, then bread and fry. I am very pleased with the results!

To me, one of the best parts about chicken fried chicken was always the accompaniment of mashed potatoes and white gravy. I used farmer's market Yukon Golds and organic half-and-half to make my gravy. We don't really drink dairy milk very often, so I just bought a quart sized container of half-and-half and used most to make the gravy and the rest in the mashed potatoes. It worked wonderfully.

The traditional vegetable side in a restaurant would be green beans with bacon, but I decided to opt for simple steamed broccoli.

This meal brought to you with help from these local farms:

Brysons Farm - potatoes, garlic
Central Soyfoods - tofu
Campo Lindo Farms - eggs

Ckn Fried Tofu Cutlets
Poultry seasoning is a combination of herbs such as sage, marjoram and thyme. It is completely vegan. If you don't have it, make your own mix of those herbs, or whatever herbs you have on hand.
  • 16oz (or so) block of firm tofu
  • 2/3 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 tablespoon poultry seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • For breading:
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon Bragg liquid aminos or low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
  • 3/4 cup panko bread crumbs
  • enough olive oil to create a depth of 1 1/2 inches in your pan
Prop the block of tofu on its side and slice three or four 1/2 inch or so thick slices. With some tofu blocks I get three, with others I get four, depending on how thick it is. In a container with a lid, whisk together the broth, tablespoon of poultry seasoning, salt and pepper. Submerge the tofu slices in the marinade and cover. Let sit overnight in the refrigerator, flipping over once to ensure each piece gets to sit in the marinade for a while.

The net day, preheat the oven to 350°. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Remove the tofu slices from the marinade and place in a single layer on the parchment paper. Bake in the oven until almost firm, about 30 minutes, flipping each piece over once halfway through. Let cool completely before moving on to the net step - about an hour in the refrigerator.

Line up three plates in a row. Grab a towel you don't mind getting messy and place it nearby. Beat the eggs with the soy sauce in a cup and then pour into the first plate. Put the flour and teaspoon of poultry seasoning, well mixed, in the second plate. Place the breadcrumbs in the third.

Dredge each slice of tofu in the egg. Be sure to get the entire thing coated, including the sides, and let the excess drip off. Place the tofu piece in the flour. Wipe your fingers off with a towel, then coat the entire piece of tofu in the flour (including the sides). Place the tofu back in the egg and repeat the process, and then finally place the tofu in the bread crumbs (wiping your fingers off first). I find it helps to gently press the tofu into the breadcrumbs, and also to gather them up around the cutlet and sprinkle them on places that haven't been coated yet.

Lay each breaded slice of tofu in a single layer on a plate and let sit in the refrigerator for about half an hour to let the breading stick.

Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Fry the tofu slices until the breading is golden brown and crispy - about 3 minutes per side. Don't overcrowd the pan - fry in batches of one or two, depending on how large your pan is, and let the first ones stay arm in a very low oven until the rest are done.

Serve with gravy on the top and mashed potatoes on the side.

Mashed Potatoes
  • around 1 pound Yukon Gold potatoes
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 tablespoons butter (or more)
  • 1 - 1 1/2 cups half-and-half
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt - or more, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper - or more, to taste
Scrub the potatoes to remove any dirt but leave the peels on. Cut the potatoes into large chunks and place in a large pot. Cover with water to about two inches above the potatoes, cover and put over medium-high heat until boiling. Remove the lid, reduce the heat and simmer until the potatoes are very tender but not overcooked - about 20 minutes.

Drain the potatoes and leave in the colander for about ten minutes. This allows a lot of the steam to escape, ensuring your mashed potatoes won't be runny with water. Meanwhile, mince the garlic. Return the drained potatoes to the pot and add in the butter, half and half, garlic, salt and pepper. Mash with a potato masher until they reach your desired consistency, adding more milk or butter if you'd like. I like them creamy but still firm, so I use the suggested measurements. I also usually prefer more salt and pepper, however the gravy is very flavorful so I let the potatoes be a tad bit less this time.

Cream Gravy
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour 
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 3 cups half-and-half, whole milk, or cream
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt - or more, to taste
  • 2 teaspoons ground black pepper - or more, to taste
Melt the butter over medium heat in a large frying pan and add in the flour and onion powder. Stir until combined and a roux forms, about 3-5 minutes. Add in the milk/cream and whisk constantly until the gravy boils slightly and thickens, then reduce heat to very low. Season with salt and pepper, stir, taste, and season more if desired.

I would have taken a better picture, but I really just wanted to eat it.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Chickpea and Sweet Potato Enchiladas with Roasted Tomato Sauce

After making the Pesto Hummus the other day I had some chickpeas left in the refrigerator. I've also been craving enchiladas lately. After staring long and hard at some sweet potatoes from the farmer's market, I came up with the idea for these unconventional enchiladas.

I know the "2 cups cooked sweet potato" is an odd measurement - I would normally use a quantity of potatoes themselves. The sweet potatoes I had, though, are tiny - like little fingerlings...I got a bushel of them from a farmer for only $2! They're pretty much impossible to peel while raw, so I simply boiled them and then slipped them out of the skins after they cooled. I roughly chopped the cooked flesh and measured it after that. I am going to estimate that two cups of cooked sweet potato would equal one or two large to medium sized sweet potatoes.

These enchiladas were filling and delicious. I served them with simple steamed broccoli seasoned with salt and pepper.

Roasted Tomato Sauce
  • 4 ripe tomatoes
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 or 1 jalapeno, stem removed
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 tablespoon chili powder
Preheat the oven to 400°. Roughly chop the tomatoes and mince the garlic cloves. If you'd like, remove the ribs and seeds from the jalapeno (for a milder taste - I like things spicy so I didn't). In a medium bowl, combine the tomatoes, garlic and jalapeno with the olive oil and oregano.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Lay the tomatoes in a single layer on the paper and bake in the oven for about 15 minutes, until the tomatoes are shriveled and the garlic is golden brown. Let sit for fifteen to twenty minutes.

Place the tomatoes in a blender or food processor and add the cumin and chili powder. Blend until smooth. Either use immediately or refrigerate for future use.

Chickpea and Sweet Potato Enchiladas
  • 2 cups cooked chickpeas
  • 2 cups cooked sweet potato
  • 1 jalapeno, stem removed
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1/4 cup minced garlic chives
  • 12 corn tortillas
  • olive oil
  • 8 ounces shredded cheese (I used sharp cheddar)
  • more green onions and garlic chives for garnish
  • 1 recipe Roasted Tomato Sauce (above)
Preheat the oven to 350° (or, if you just made the Roasted Tomato Sauce, lower the temperature to 350°).

In a large bowl of a food processor, place the chickpeas, sweet potato, jalapeno (remove the ribs and seeds if you like a milder taste), cumin and chili powder. Mix until the consistency is that of thick hummus or mashed potatoes. Fold in about 1/4 of the cheese.

Spread some sauce onto the bottom of a large baking dish, just enough to lightly cover the bottom. Heat a small skillet over medium heat. Brush a very small amount of oil onto the skillet. Fry the corn tortillas, one at a time, on each side until they are soft and pliable - about 5-10 seconds per side. You should start to see the texture change and brown spots appear on the surface. As each tortilla is finished, fill it -

Spread a couple tablespoons of the filling in the center, all the way to the edges. Roll up and place, seam side down, on the sauce in the baking dish. Place each enchilada right next to each other. When they're all rolled, cover the tops with the remaining sauce and the rest of the cheese and bake in the oven until the cheese is melted and bubbly, about 20-30 minutes. Top with chopped green onions and garlic chives before serving.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Pesto Hummus

The other night before I went to sleep I put a bunch of chickpeas in my slow cooker to simmer overnight. I do that quite often - put a pot of beans on the cook before I go to sleep and wake up the next morning wondering what to do with them. Despite not having any lemon juice on hand, I decided to make hummus. After scouring my refrigerator and pantry for lemon juice substitutes, I decided to use some pesto sauce that was sitting in there.

I used my homemade Broccoli Pesto, a thicker pesto. It would be simply delicious if you made the Broccoli Pesto, however you can use any pesto that isn't runny and saucy. Using the pesto, you don't need any tahini or olive oil.

This time I made the Broccoli Pesto with fresh parsley instead of spinach (as in the recipe) since that is what I had on hand. To match, I added some fresh parsley to the hummus. If your pesto uses basil, add basil - etc. This makes a pretty big batch of hummus - we eat it very quickly as a spread for sandwiches and dip for crackers and veggies. Cut the recipe in half if you don't think you'll eat it all in time.

Pesto Hummus
  • 2 cups chickpeas
  • 6 tablespoon Broccoli Pesto
  • 1 tablespoon [vegan] mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon stone-ground mustard
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
  • pinch of sea salt, to taste
Add all ingredients to a food processor and blend until thick and creamy. Add a little bit of olive oil if it's too thick for your tastes.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Mustard Vinaigrette

This week's Farmers Market trip went very well! I got so many delicious items from so many different farms that I can't even remember where they all came from. Here's a quick rundown of items and cost:

- 1/2 pound fingerling potatoes ($3)
- 1 pound red potatoes ($3)
- 1 pound asparagus ($5)
- 4 yellow onions ($2)
- bunch 2-foot long, huge bulbed sweet green onions ($1)
- bunch collard greens ($1)
- four baby bok choi ($1)
- head Chinese (napa) cabbage ($1)
- bunch garlic chives ($1)
- bunch red radishes ($1)
- head of purple romaine lettuce ($1)
- bag of tender, light green leaf lettuce ($2)
- 5 beautiful red tomatoes ($5)
- 1 cute heirloom tomato ($1)
- box of small young zucchini and yellow squash ($4)
- absolutely HUGE cucumber ($1.75)
- couple crowns of broccoli ($4)

And some of the farms I got them from. I visited a few that I hadn't seen before and some others that I don't always buy from and I can't remember their names! I'll be sure to do so next week.
- Bryson's Farm
- Goode Acres
- Hun's Garden
- Peacock Farms

Here's the super cute heirloom tomato we got from Goode Acres. We bought it because it looks like two tomatoes kissing :)

We missed the market last week because we were camping, so we had pretty much nothing in the kitchen already except for some parsley. I whipped up a quick salad with the napa cabbage, radishes, green onions, tomatoes and parsley and made this mustard vinaigrette dressing to go over it. It's slightly sweet, tangy and delicious. Here's a tip: if you buy dressing in a glass bottle, when it's all gone wash the bottle and remove the labels. Then you have a perfect sized glass bottle with a screw top lid for your homemade dressing!

Mustard Vinaigrette
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons stone ground mustard
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley
  • 1 tablespoon raw honey
  • sea salt and ground black pepper
Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend until well mixed. When you store this in the refrigerator, the ingredients will settle and separate and the olive oil will solidify. When you go to use the dressing, let it sit out on the counter for twenty minutes or so before you use it, then shake it very well before you pour.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Pesto Pasta Nights Roundup

My little blog here is delighted to be the host of Presto Pasta Nights #214! I have been watching the emails with entries pour in and salivating at some of the new recipes for one of my favorite foods, pasta. Explore this week's roundup and maybe you'll find your next pasta favorite! 

Presto Pasta Nights #214

Philly Pesto Chicken Pasta from Fuss Free Flavors

Spaghetti Fritters from girlichef 

Gorgonzola and Pesto Pasta from Erbe in Cucina 

Pasta with Cauliflower, Walnuts and Feta from Eats Well With Others

Linguine con Asparagi, Pancette e Limone from My Kitchen Treasures 

Bloody Mary Pasta from Lavendar and Lime

Chinese Cabbage and Soba Noodle Salad from Morsels and Musings

Asparagus and Ramp Pesto Mac n Cheese from Closet Cooking


Presto Pasta Nights is a weekly event whose only theme is pasta, pasta, pasta in all its forms, started by Ruth and her blog Once Upon a Feast. See the website for past roundups and more delicious recipes! Next week the roundup will be posted by Trish at My Slap Happy Kitchen. If you'd like to participate (you don't need a blog to do so!) send your recipe to Trish and Ruth, trish(at)slaphappykitchen(dot)com / ruth(at)4everykitchen(dot)com. Happy pasta eating!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Recent Meals

Cooking... I've been doing that these past few weeks, but it's been a lot of "Oh wow, what's in the kitchen and what can I make from it?!" So I haven't been taking the time to write recipes. But, I'm not in school for the summer (although I am working full time...) so hopefully there will be more recipes. Until then, here's a picture post of various meals we've eaten the past few weeks.

 Roasted cherry tomatoes. Tossed with olive oil, oregano, garlic, salt and pepper and baked at 400° for fifteen minutes. We ate some as they were (YUM!) and some cold on salads.

Cumin and honey glazed baked sweet potato fries, served as a side dish to...

Bean and cheddar cheese enchiladas with homemade cumin-chili sauce. With sweet potato fries, corn chips and homemade salsa, avocado slices, sauteed collard greens with onions and peppers.

"Chicken" fried tofu cutlet with cream gravy, mashed potatoes and "vegetable surprise" (sauteed cabbage, onions and green beans). The tofu cutlet was very delicious and flavorful, BUT the texture left something to be desired. By the time the breading got crispy, the inside of the tofu was still soft and mushy. Next time I will marinate and bake the tofu, chill it, and THEN bread and fry. And post the recipe! 

Carrot, asparagus and almond salad; Brown rice with broccoli and onions; both with cilantro-parsley pesto

Breakfast! Scrambled farm fresh eggs with spinach, tomatoes and cheese, with baked garlicy purple potatoes

Baked lime pepper tilapia with broccoli couscous, lime roasted asparagus and cilantro-parsley pesto

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

BBQ Veggie Pizza

These next two weeks are a bit crazy for me. It's finals time, so that means cooking is being pushed to the side. I did go to the market on Saturday, and I have been cooking and will be cooking... just probably not posting. And now I'm off to the library again! Here's a recipe that I've been holding on to for a couple of weeks. See you soon :)


When ate this for dinner along with a Citrus-Parsley Cucumber and Tomato Salad, and I even joked at dinner about how it's a 'multi-cultural meal' :: BBQ sauce (American), pizza (Italian), Greek-style salad, Lavosh bread as the crust (Middle Eastern).

Al Habashi Mart is a Middle Eastern grocery and they sell delicious, locally baked breads. For the crust, I used their lavosh bread: it's a large, round flat bread about a foot and a half in diameter. Perfect size for a medium to large pizza crust! If you don't have that, any pizza crust will do. I'm sure a homemade one is best... although I have never attempted to make one myself :)

The deliciousness of this pizza will depend entirely on the sauce you use. I used a Kansas City  hometown legend: Gate's. Kansas City is really known nationally for it's delicious BBQ, and while I don't partake in the meat very often I can still enjoy the sauce. It's made locally and even when you buy it at the store the ingredients list isn't too long or scary (only a preservative to be worried about). Gate's original sauce is tangy from vinegar and slightly spicy. Go your favorite BBQ sauce route - tangy, spicy, sweet, smoky - but just make sure it's a delicious sauce on it's own, because it really is the star of this pizza.

BBQ Veggie Pizza
  • 1 medium to large pizza crust or flatbread
  • 1/2 cup barbeque sauce
  • 1 head of broccoli
  • 1 carrot
  • 5-6 mushrooms
  • 1-1 1/2 cups meltable cheese or cheeze (we used cheddar)
Preheat the oven to 350°, or whatever temperature the oven needs to be to cook your pizza crust. Prepare the pizza crust, if needed.

Cut the head of broccoli into small florets. Halve the carrot and cut into thin rounds. Place in a medium pot along with a couple tablespoons of water. Heat over medium heat and steam just until the broccoli is bright green and the carrots are a little less crunchy. Drain and arrange on a plate in a single layer. Let sit for about ten minutes to let most of the steam come off.

Spread the sauce over the pizza crust out to the edges. Thinly slice the mushrooms and arrange, along with the broccoli and carrots. Top with the cheese. Bake in the oven for anywhere from 10-20 minutes, until your pizza crust is done and the cheese has melted.

An unconventional pizza

Friday, April 29, 2011

Cherry Almond Muffins

It has been a while since I have made muffins at home, and last night I got a sudden craving. I made this batch of muffins from items I had laying around the house. They are dense (almost like quick bread) and slightly sweet, making them delicious and filling snacks or accompaniments.

I like eating muffins plain, or reheating them in the oven topped with butter, or cut into cubes and eaten with fresh fruit or with yogurt. These are warm and spicy from the ginger and cardamom but also bright from the cherries and coconut.

I can't really call these muffins healthy, but they do have whole wheat flour - only a small amount of sugar - and almonds and dried fruit. So I'm going to say they're much healthier than most muffins while still being sweet :-)~

To make this recipe vegan, use cultured soy, almond, rice or coconut milk as yogurt. A creamy variety works better than a thick one.

Cherry Almond Muffins
  • 1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 cup creamy yogurt, plain or vanilla flavored
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup shredded coconut
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/2 cup dried cherries
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds + more for garnish
Preheat the oven to 400° F. Line a muffin pan with baking cups or spray with non-hydrogenated cooking spray.

In a large bowl, mix together the flour, coconut, baking powder, baking soda, salt, ginger and cardamom. In a separate bowl, combine the maple syrup, yogurt and olive oil. Mix the wet ingredients into the dry and then fold in the cherries and almonds.

Use two spoons to drop the batter into the prepared muffin pan. Sprinkle some more almonds on the top of each muffin, pressing in slightly. Bake in the oven until done, about fifteen minutes.