Archive for ‘Vegetarian’

February 10th, 2011

Potato and Broccoli Fritatta


Yes! I’m still here. You would think being snowed in would mean lots of blog posts, about interesting food, etc. You would think I would have delighted my stomach with warm hearty slow cooked meals. Nope! Just the opposite.

Being snowed in for me, means watching lots of documentaries that make me question everything I believe about the food I eat. I made some, not so pleasant discoveries about a staple ingredient in my cooking. I used Quorn a lot. B liked it and that was the first reason I continued on with it. It was easy to use in place of meat and it was not made from soy. I do not care to incorporate too much soy into my diet, so this was a major plus. Then I decided to stop eating gluten. I THOUGHT some quorn products were gluten free. I was wrong. While the ingredients listed don’t say wheat, some of their flavors and starches are derived from wheat.

Another discovery I made was that another ingredient- autolyzed yeast (and others), is a form of MSG. I felt so lazy when I found this out. Why didn’t I do me research! I think I was afraid of another food being taken out of my diet. In all fairness, I will say I do not believe I am sensitive to the wheat and MSG in the Quorn products, however, I believe B is! One more thing to add to the trash can.

After coming to terms with the fact that I will no longer be eating processed “fake meat”, I had to start getting inventive.

I made this beautiful potato and broccoli frittata and it was so delish and satisfying. You can add as many ingredients as you want. It’s a great quick dinner in one pan!

Broccoli and potato fritatta

I-2 potatoes (enough to line the bottom of the pan and more for the top
2 C raw broccoli floretts, cut small
4 eggs
Extra virgin Olive Oil
1/2 t salt
pepper to taste
hot sauce to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
With a mandolin, slice the potatoes very thinly.
Boil in hot water until tender but still sturdy…about 3 minutes
Drain the potatoes
Add evoo to the bottom of a 9 inch oven safe skillet and place the potato slices in a concentric patter covering the bottom and up the sides of the pan. Fry the slices over medium high heat until golden brown.
Beat the eggs until light and fluffy. Add the salt and pepper and a little hot sauce if you like it spicy.
Slowly add the eggs to the potatoes and evenly distribute the broccoli. If you are going to add cheese, evenly distribute that as well.
Cover the top of the egg mix with the left over potatoes slices and bake in the oven for 20 minutes or until there is very little jiggle in the middle.
Place a plate on top of the skillet and flip over the frittata. Serve immediately.

*if you like your eggs on the spicy side, jalapenos are a great addition!

December 7th, 2010

Welcoming December With Potstickers

As my sweet husband put it, the seasons are beings very organized. Fall was fall, and Yesterday, on December 1, it snowed for the first time. It wasn’t anything major, but I nice little dusting to put me into Christmas cheer.

We actually spent the day with my Dad, waiting on our new countertops to show up. After they were finally installed, (at 6:30 PM!!) B and my Dad could get to work putting the plumbing back together and tiling. I felt bad because my dad drove up for just the day and thought he could be home that night to eat dinner with my mom. They live an hour and a half away.

Since we were taking him hostage for the night, we thought we would go get something to eat. Since I’m eating gluten-free, organic and for the time being, dairy-free, it’s hard to think of restaurants I can eat at! I always forget about it but we have a great Thai restaurant in town that use organic ingredients, free range meats and as much local as posible. My Dad loves asian food so this was a win win for me.

It was just us in the restaurant since it was a little before the dinner rush. The food was great, but what made it so awesome was looking out of the window at the falling snow, illuminated by the street lamps. It was such a perfect site to jump start the Holiday Spirit.

I don’t know what it is about winter but all I want to eat is potstickers. It was the highlight of my Chinese Restaurant experience as a kid. Every year since I’ve learned to make them, I just can’t get enough.

The best thing about food blogs, is that people bring their family recipes to the cyber table to share. I love Chinese food but could never recreate it at home, especially potstickers. I found a great blog, UseRealButter, that showed step by step instructions on how to make them. I make these babies in bulk and given them as gifts, they are so good.

I have since played with the ingredients and made my own, vegetarian, gluten free version, that hits the spot every time.

For the Wrapper

1/2 C. Tapioca starch
1/2 C. White rice flour
3/4 t. Xanthan gum
1 T. Toasted Sesame oil
6 or 7 T water

In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, mix all ingredients until well combined. Add the water until it forms a soft but not stick dough ball. Be sure to keep it moist until ready to use. I cover the bowl with a damp cloth or plastic wrap.
Adapted from Hey that tastes good!

Pot sticker filler

2 green onions
1 C. Quorn grounds
2 leaves of napa cabbage
1 oz gluten free soy sauce
2 T chopped ginger
1 clove of fresh garlic
1/2 C. dried shitake mushrooms
1/4 C. mushroom water
1 T tapioca starch
1/3 C water (for steaming)
2 or 3 T sunflower oil

In a skillet, heat the sesame oil to medium heat. Add the quorn grounds (I use them frozen) and cover to cook. Once the grounds are soft, add the soy sauce. Chop very finely the ginger, napa cabbage, green onions, and garlic. Add the dried shitake to a small pot of water and rehydrate them. This takes me about 10 minutes. Once they are soft and rehydrated chop them very finely. You can put all the “hard” ingredients into a food processor, but you need to be sure not to make it too paste. Add all the chopped food to the skillet and cook until every thing is cooked through and not raw. With 1/4 C of the remaining mushroom water add it to 1 T of tapioca starch and combine with your clean fingers. Add to the filling mix over medium heat. It will thicken everything, making it easier to fill the wrappers. Cool completely.

To assemble

Roll a small ball of the dough, about 1 tablespoon, and place between 2 pieces of parchment paper, do not use wax paper. With the back of a small pan, flatten the ball. Once it’s flattened, you can use a rolling pin and roll it a little thinner, but be sure to keep it circular. Peel it from the parchment and in the middle of the circle place a small teaspoon amount of the filling in the center. Fold it in half and press the sides together and place on parchment until ready to cook. Or you can lightly oil a pot sticker press and use it.

To cook

In a skillet that has a tight fitting lid, add 2 or 3 T of oil on med/high. Place the dumplings, side down in a circular pattern around the skillet, facing the same way to make the most room. Pan fry until the bottoms are golden brown. Once the bottoms are cooked, quickly add 1/3 C of water, it will spit and spatter, and cover with a tight fitting lid. Cook until the water has all cooked off. Uncover the pan and brown up the bottoms a little more to make sure they don’t stick. These are very hot, too hot to eat, so once they slide around, turn off the heat and make your dipping sauce.

Dumpling dipping sauce
1 oz. soy sauce
1 t. honey
a little bit of chopped green onion
1/2 t rice wine vinegar

Combine all ingredients. You can heat all the ingredients to concentrate the flavors.

September 30th, 2010

Vegetarian Tortilla Soup

When my parents would take us out to eat on Sunday nights, there was something I was always irritated with. Soup! I love soup. Being a vegetarian, and loving soup, there is always a moment of disappointment when you ask the server if the soup is made with meat stock, and their answer is yes (or you get the server who has no idea and makes up the answer, such as, I don’t think so…I don’t trust those servers!).

Some of B and I’s friends have made up a saying, based on one of our heated “disagreements”. They thought it was so funny and bring it up from time to time. When we were first married, B asked what we were having for dinner one night, I told him “soup” with no hesitation. He kept asking, “soup aaaaaand…..” I was confused, because, wasn’t soup enough? My parents always had just soup for dinner sometimes, and no one ever complained.

I continued to tell B that it was just a hearty soup. He said “you can’t just have just soup, there needs to be a point of interest, like a sandwich or quesadilla. I don’t even like soup”. I finished the “conversation” with a loud, “I like soup, soup fills me up!”

I guess I can see why this is funny to other people. You see, I got the last laugh. B loves soup now, and is happy when I serve soup for dinner.

I had never had tortilla soup, but I was always eyeing whoever ordered it, whenever we ate out. It looked and smelled so good. One day, I had had enough and started making my own. I love this recipe so much. It’s such a warm and hearty soup.

As fall has made it’s debut here in Ohio, soup was definitely on the menu. I always save those tiny bits at the bottom of the tortilla chip bag. They are perfect for my tortilla soup. I feel so included when I make this soup. I even make it with Quorn so it tastes authentic. B, a meat eater, even loves this soup!

Vegetarian Tortilla Soup

1 T extra virgin olive oil
1 C frozen Quorn tenders
1 t hot sauce
1/2 t smoked paprika
2 C veggie stock
2 C water
1 1/4 C diced tomatos (or you can use crushed)
1 jalapeno de-seeded
2 chopped garlic cloves
1 C chopped leeks or onion
1/4 t cumin
1/2 t chili powder
1 t. garlic granules
1/2 t pepper
2 T chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 a lime juiced
2 t celtic sea salt (course)
1 C old tortilla crumbs
1 C pepper jack cheese
1.Add the evoo to a medium size pan, and heat on medium heat.
2. Add the Quorn, hot sauce and paprika. I use the Quorn frozen. Sautee until the spice has absorbed. About 2 minutes.
3. Cover with the stock and water and add in all the other ingredients, except the salt, cheese and tortilla crumbs. Bring to a boil and once it boils, cover and turn to medium low for about 20 minutes.
4. Once the ingredients has cooked together add the cheese, tortilla crumbs and salt. Continue cooking for about five more minutes.
5. Top with shredded cheese and plain greek yogurt.

*my favorite brand of chips to use are organic Xochitl.

September 27th, 2010

Coconut Porridge

As the mornings are getting a little colder here, I have noticed a void in my breakfast ventures. Since changing my diet to low grain/mostly gluten free, breakfast isn’t as familiar as it used to be. I used to eat eggs and toast, pancakes, crepes, homemade english muffins, oatmeal, you get the picture, mostly carbs/grains!

On the cooler, misty, fall mornings, it seems like nothing will satisfy like oatmeal. I haven’t had oatmeal since the winter, probably. I’m not the biggest oatmeal fan, but as an adult, I was learning to love it. I used to love those Quaker instant packs as a kid. They even had ones where there was a squeezable topping, like strawberry jam, or chocolate fudge. I have a hard time finding people that remember those. Anyways, those are less than healthy, so I gave those up a long time ago.

I figured, to fill the void, yet sticking to my grain/gluten free diet, I would play around with some ingredients. I had been making a lot with shredded coconut, so that was going to be my medium. To my delight, things turned out just as I had hoped. It was warm, creamy, filling and satisfying. There was no grains, which made my belly happy.

The coconut offers a lot of health benefits and there’s a lot of fiber in it. Add in whatever trips your trigger. I topped it with honey and raw, slivered almonds and a white wine poached pear (left over from the party).

Coconut Porridge

2/3 C. coconut milk (or whatever milk you like)
1/4 C. shredded, organic coconut (unsweetened)
1 t. vanilla
a pinch of salt
2 T almond flour
1 T. golden flaxseed meal
honey to taste

Heat the milk in a small sauce pan and add in the remaining ingredients, cook on medium heat until it reaches the desired thickness.

September 23rd, 2010

Black bean noodles

I’m still recovering from the party! I don’t know why it’s taking so long, maybe it’s just mental. In the days following I just wanted healthy, nutritious food. It’s probably because I was up to my elbows in sugar for 4 days straight. Whatever the reason, I needed healthy eats.

I had a bundle of fresh green beans in the fridge and a new bag of black bean noodles I was excited to try. I remember hearing, on some show, that black bean noodles existed. I thought that was too good to be true but it wasn’t! I saw it in the gluten free section of my health food store and I grabbed the last bag for around $5!! Whatever, I was excited to try it.

What I liked about it was that it was way lower in carbs than other GF pastas, had more protein, a lot more. One of my favorite snacks has always been pasta with soy sauce and toasted sesame oil. I don’t know why, but it just hits the spot.

The noodles are short, thin and dry feeling. Very delicate, unlike other GF noodles. When cooked, they are a bit rough on the tongue and dry tasting as well. They are best suited for an asian application. I really did like them, despite my negative toned description. They held onto my sauce well.

This did make me feel better. I think my body was satisfied with the unexpected protein punch.

The brand I got was Explore Asian Authentic Cuisine. It was called gluten free black bean spaghetti. I also liked that it was organic. All the ingredients are- black beans, water. An added bonus was also that it was locally made.

Black bean spaghetti- Asian style
2 oz. black bean spaghetti
Cook the noodles for about 6 minutes and drain in a fine sieve.

Add about 1 tablespoon of GF tamri, 1/4 t. toasted sesame oil and a little bit of red pepper flakes to taste to a warm pan and toss with the noodles. Finish with sesame seeds.

This is how I like it but you can adjust it to your taste.

August 14th, 2010

Guests for breakfast

Black bean cakes topped with poached eggs with roasted jalapeno hollandaise sauce

I don’t know how she did it with such grace. My mom never dashed around the kitchen, but floated with intention and calm, when we had guests over for brunch. It must come with years of practice.

I, on the other hand, am a dasher, dropper, sweater, occasional cusser, rushed, wanna-be-Martha-Stewart type. I try to invite my guest in, make them feel like they are part of the cooking experience and hopefully present the food, on time, perfectly cooked and hot. I think that’s every hostess’ desire, right? It’s not unreasonable to think this can happen. Maybe I think that so I can strive for it.

We had great friends, and their sweet baby girl, over for breakfast the other day. I had been talkin’ a big game about my breakfasts, so this was where I had to put my money where my mouth was! I had prepared some things the night before, thinking this would give me a head start. In the morning, I juiced the oranges, warmed the maple and hickory syrups, sauteed the black bean cakes warmed the hollandaise sauce, and then it was all down to the eggs. I had watched Julia Child make poached eggs for her “English Muffins Brunch” show and I was confident in my skills.

As I was chatting away and cutting some fresh peaches, brought by my friend E, my poached eggs, to my dismay, hard boiled. I tried again and finally got it as I burnt my fingers and dropped the hot pans, one after another. I had hungry guests, and I didn’t want to disappoint.

I think everyone enjoyed the black bean cakes. We were all satisfied, with full bellies, and continued with conversation at the dining room table.

I love big breakfasts because it seems like if you could have one meal all day, it fills you up and you don’t want to eat the rest of the day. People seem happier to see each other in the morning. There’s something about being with other people, over food, and hot coffee in the morning that brings on a good day.

I love these black bean cakes because they are a nice alternative to an English Muffin , for Eggs Benedict and they are filling with very little grain. These are flavorful and hearty and perfect, topped with a slice of fresh tomato, topped with a fresh poached egg and slathered in buttery hollandaise sauce. Yum!

black bean cakes
1 can rinsed and drained organic black beans
1 jalapeno diced
1 egg
1/2 t smoked paprika
1/2 t cumin
1/2 t garlic granules
chopped red onion (to your taste)
2 T chopped fresh cilantro
2 T organic corn meal
1 t seasoning salt

With the back of a fork, mash the beans until some are paste-y but you can still tell they are black beans. Add all the other ingredients and combine well. On a hot griddle (I had mine on high), coat with butter or evoo, and drop a spoon full of the mix and form a patty. The thicker they are the more wet and moist they will be. If they are too thin, they dry out fast. Cook both sides until golden brown. Top with a sliced tomato and poached egg, with the Jalapeno hollandaise sauce and sprinkle with more seasoning salt or paprika. Makes 4 patties.

roasted jalapeno hollandaise sauce
1 jalapeno
2 egg yolks
1/2 stick butter melted
juice of half a lemon
1/4 t seasoning salt
4 T hot water
pepper to taste

Roast the jalapeno, dry, over a flame until the skin is black. De-seed the jalapeno and add to a small food processor along with the yolks, lemon juice and salt and pepper. Pulse until well combined. Melt the butter and add this to the food processor and combine all ingredients until creamy and thick.