Category Archives: Vegetarian
I thought this might be fun on Cinco de Mayo and I promised someone a vegetarian treat today.
The original recipe comes from Cooks Country and normally I’d just link to it, but they’re behind a paywall and I never know if you can access the information. So I’m reproducing it here.
WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS
Tasters liked the consistently sweet taste of grape tomatoes compared with other varieties. Tasters also liked the flavor of minced garlic present in many guacamole salad recipes, but thought raw onions were just too harsh, so we used scallions instead. Steeping the garlic and scallions in lime juice for a few minutes before combining them with the avocados mellowed their flavor.
We wanted plenty of peppers for crunch and bulk, but a large quantity of jalapeños made the salad too hot to eat. Milder poblanos, with just a hint of heat, were a better choice.
Serves 4 to 6
If you can’t find poblano peppers, substitute an equal number of Anaheim chiles, or a large green bell pepper mixed with up to 2 tablespoons of minced jalopeño chile.
- 1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
- Salt and pepper
- 4 scallions, sliced thin
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 tablespoon grated lime zest
- 1/3 cup fresh lime juice
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 poblano chiles, seeded and sliced into 2-inch matchsticks
- 2 ripe avocados, pitted, skinned, and cut into 1/2-inch pieces (see related Dicing Avocado tip)
- 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
1. SALT TOMATOES Toss tomatoes and ½ teaspoon salt in medium bowl. Transfer to paper towel-lined baking sheet and let drain 15 minutes.
2. MAKE DRESSING Combine scallions, garlic, lime zest, lime juice, ½ teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper in large bowl. Let sit 5 minutes, then slowly whisk in oil.
3. TOSS SALAD Add chiles, avocados, cilantro, and drained tomatoes to bowl with dressing and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Serve.
POBLANOS, THE RELLENO CHILES
Our recipe for Guacamole Salad calls for poblano chiles, a tapered, deep-green, medium-sized Mexican chile. They taste slightly bitter, similar to green bell peppers but with a spicier finish. Sold both fresh and dried (the dried are called anchos), they are used in many Mexican dishes, most famously in the United States in deep-fried, cheese-stuffed chiles rellenos. If you can’t find poblanos, substitute one medium green bell pepper and 1 to 2 tablespoons of minced jalapeño (about ½ chile) per poblano.
No, these aren’t a favorite of David Hasselback. Rumor has it they were named after a restaurant in Stockholm. Otherwise known as accordion potatoes. They are simple to prepare, but make an elegant presentation on any dinner plate.
I’ve been practicing for a few days because I wanted something special to make for a dinner party. These really fit the bill. Once I got the hang of it I was able to slice 4 potatoes and prep them for baking in less than five minutes.
One trick I read really made the job easy: use a wooden spoon to keep the knife from slicing all the way through the potatoes. Worked like a charm.
But what if you slice all the way through a section? No worries, it bakes up just as well and if you set the cut end down on the baking sheet, it comes out extra crisp and a pretty shade of yummy…otherwise known as golden brown.
Here’s an easy recipe, you can add anything you like in the category of herbs and spices, add cheeses (at the very end only) or serve with herbed butter or sour cream. Add some parsley before serving to class it up. Mine are seriously lacking, because when I pulled the parsley out of the vegetable keeper it was decidedly unphotogenic.
If you’re looking for something a bit special, but still quite simple, these are it. They are moist and fluffy on the inside and crisp and buttery on the outside. This recipe is a keeper:
Hasselback (Accordion) Potatoes
I used russet potatoes because that’s what I had on hand, but I think Yukon Gold or Reds would work well. I’m also thinking of trying it with sweet potatoes and using a little brown sugar and cinnamon in the butter.
- 4 tbsp melted butter
- 4 cloves of crushed garlic (more as desired, but for any garlic flavor at all, you’ll need a clove for each potato)
- 1/8 tsp onion powder
- salt and pepper
- 4 medium to large potatoes
- shredded sharp cheddar or grated parmesan
- minced parsley
baking sheet, wooden spoon, saucepan, pastry brush, foil or parchment
Melt butter and stir in garlic, onion, salt and pepper.
Using the wooden spoon as your guide (see photo above) slice potatoes 3/4 of the way through, in thin slices. Place on foil or parchment covered baking sheet and baste thoroughly with butter and bake at 425 degrees F for 1 hour, or until potatoes are tender and the outsides crisp.
Sprinkle cheese over potatoes and broil until cheese is melted and golden. Remove to platter and sprinkle with minced parsley.
When I did the meatball post a while back, I asked for some vegetarian meatball recommendations. This was the one that I thought sounded really good and I can’t wait to try it. It may take me a while before I can get to it, so I thought I’d go ahead and link to the original recipe. I’ll revisit it when I have the chance to test it out.
Spinach and Ricotta Vegetarian Meatballs
Yield: Serves 4. Prep Time:20 minutes Total Time:50 minutes
- 1 Cup ricotta cheese
- 1 Cup Parmesan cheese, grated
- 1 Cup fresh spinach, chopped
- 1 1/2-2 Cups Italian breadcrumbs (plus some for rolling)
- 4 Eggs
- 1 Tablespoon fresh oregano
- Salt and pepper
- Olive oil
For the complete recipe, click on this link and let me know how yours turn out.
Making your own pizzas can be pretty quick and definitely much cheaper than ordering out as long as you plan ahead a bit. Things to keep on hand for the weekly Friday night pizza: shredded mozzarella, grated Parmesan, tomato sauce, and some type of crust, which I’ll address below. Then you can top with your favorite things. Let your imagination run wild.
My idea of pizza is a good crust, spicy sauce and cheese. Pepperoni is a plus. Nothing more.
What’s a good crust varies by personal preference. I’m as happy with a Chicago-style flaky crust as I am a thin New York-style.
Pizza seems like a good place to have a lively discussion. I bet everyone has a favorite they’d argue for, what’s yours? Is pizza a treat or a weekly item on the menu?
JeffreyW seems to have one for every occasion. For your viewing pleasure: JeffreyW Pizza Gallery.
Now let’s run through a few ingredients.
Sauce is pretty easy, you can use leftover spaghetti sauce – I always make a double batch and freeze half (recipe here).
Or try some of JeffreyW’s Awesome Sauce™ (recipe here)
A simple sauce of one 15-oz can tomato sauce, and 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of crushed garlic and dried oregano, with a dash of dried basil will deliver a nice pizza. Skip the dried basil if you’re going to use fresh basil as one of your toppings. Always crush the dried spices between your fingers to release the flavor. You can keep a jar of pizza seasoning if that’s easier. Oregano is the key to restaurant style pizza, that’s the signature flavor of a traditional pizza.
So for a quick pizza crust, this one from my Men Who Cook Series works really well:
Todd D’s Pizza Crust
(enough for two large cookie sheets)
- 2 c. whole wheat flour
- 2 c. white flour
- 2 c. warm water
- 2 pkg yeast
- 2 tsp sugar
- 2 tsp salt
- ¼ c olive oil
Mix together and knead. Add enough flour so that it’s not sticky. The dough should be elastic.
Roll out and place on greased cookie sheets. Top with chopped tomatoes, pizza seasoning and parmesan cheese. Then add your favorite toppings and cheeses.
Bake 25 minutes at 400.
Instead of using a baking sheet, how about using a cast iron skillet. It worked great (see here)
Or try JeffreyW’s (photos of the process here):
I’ve been adding stuff to my pizza dough lately. It may be overkill, given that the sauces and toppings are what a pizza is all about, but if I have fun doing it-why not?
Tonight’s dough got thyme, red pepper flakes, granulated garlic, and fennel seeds. The candidates for inclusion are limited only by whether they might taste good on a pizza. The dough recipe isn’t anything special or “to die for”. You can find hundreds of “the best dough ever” recipes-just pick one and go with it. I put this one together on the fly, some sourdough starter, perhaps a half cup, then a tablespoon of sugar and one of yeast, about a cup of water, four cups of flour, a half tablespoon of salt, a generous drizzle of olive oil, and the additions mentioned above. Mix in the stand mixer for ten minutes, then a turn in a greased bowl for a first rise. After the first doubling, divide into eight portions, form them roughly into balls, and let them rise again, covered, on a tray.
I roll them out on a plastic mat. Let them rest for a few minutes after a first roll to relax a bit, then finish rolling. I manage to get them to about ten inches in diameter. Poke holes all over with a fork or they may balloon out like pocket bread.
I “par bake” them on a stone in a 375 oven for about two minutes a side. You don’t really want them to brown, they will finish cooking when you use them for a pizza. I let the first one tonight get too brown, I had the oven a bit high, and left it a wee bit too long.
They are ready to use right away-freeze what you don’t use for a quick pizza anytime!
You don’t have to make your own crust, you can do what friends of mine do, and keep frozen, store-bought crust dough in the freezer, or you can use pita bread, which JeffreyW does frequently, use refrigerator tube dough, or make french bread pizzas with loaves from the grocery. Now why would you order out? But if you do, you’ll probably find your best pies with a small, local vendor instead of a chain.
According to CNN, today is National Homemade Soup Day. Hoocoodanode?
Homemade soup is easy and you can make a big batch and freeze most soups. Or, just make a chicken, beef or vegetable broth, freeze it and when you want soup, add the broth, some frozen vegetables and noodles to a saucepan and in 20 minutes or less, you’ve got homemade soup.
What’s your favorite soup?