Tag Archives: vegetarian

Ginger-Butternut Squash Soup

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Ah, autumn. After a long mid-Atlantic summer, I always look for forward to fall. Not only for the cooler temps, but for the food! Today’s recipe uses one of my favorite fall farmer’s market finds: butternut squash.

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This soup is inspired by a recipe given to me by my MOH at my bridal shower. Each attendee at my bridal shower brought a recipe and small gift that would help in making said recipe…so fun!

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Along with this recipe, I received my immersion blender, which is something I never thought I needed but in retrospect is AWESOME. Don’t get me wrong, I love my Vitamix, but an immersion blender eliminates so much mess from transferring soup from the pot to the blender.

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There’s a secret ingredient in this recipe: parmesan rind. Every time I finish off a piece of parmesan, I toss the rind in my freezer. A piece of parmesan rind is awesome to add into so many soups and sauces!

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Another tip for this recipe (or any recipe that calls for fresh ginger), use a spoon to peel the ginger and then a microplane zester to ‘mince’ the ginger. SO much easier!

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Ginger Butternut Squash Soup

Serves: 4-6

Prep time: 10 min

Cook time: 40 min

  • 1 butternut squash, peeled & diced
  • 2 leeks, white part only, sliced
  • 2 T butter
  • 2″ piece of ginger, peeled & grated
  • 4 C broth (I used Chicken, but Vegetable broth will keep this recipe vegetarian)
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1/4 t white pepper
  • parmesan rind (optional)
  1. Melt butter over medium heat in dutch oven
  2. Add butternut squash, cover and cook for ~20min until fork tender
  3. Add leeks, ginger, salt and pepper
  4. Stir well, cook for ~10min
  5. Add broth and parmesan rind
  6. Bring to a boil, cook for ~10min
  7. Blend soup, either in the pot using an immersion blender or transfer into a blender
  8. Enjoy!

Question: What’s your favorite fall food?

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Crispy Smashed Potatoes

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The recipe for these potatoes is pretty straight forward, yet so versatile that it should become a staple in your kitchen! This past winter, while visiting my in-laws over Christmas, my mother-in-law made these and they were SO GOOD. I’ve been making them ever since and decided it was finally time to share with the world.

20130917-124541.jpgWe ate these potatoes as a side for a pretty classic dinner; steak, broccoli & Crispy Smashed Potatoes. The great thing about this side dish is you can use any fats, seasonings and potatoes you’d like. This recipe is kind-of like one of those “build your own adventure” books.

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I used small red potatoes here, but any potato, fingerling, red, russet, sweet etc., can work for this side dish. Just be sure to boil the potatoes until fork-tender, especially for larger potatoes.

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This time, I made a truffle-version of Crispy Smashed Potatoes, thanks to a couple of wonderful gifts I’ve received recently! I used Black Truffle Oil and White Truffle Salt, but you could do anything here: from basic olive oil & salt to more a decadent butter & a sprinkle of parmesan…the possibilities are endless!

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What makes these potatoes special is how crispy they get when you put them in the oven. It makes a boring potato really come to life!

Crispy Smashed Potatoes

Servings: 2 (easily doubled, tripled, etc.)

Prep time: 5min

Cook time: 45min (depends on size of the potatoes)

  • potatoes of your choice (red, russet, sweet, fingerling, etc.)
  • fat of your choice (oil, butter, etc.)
  • seasoning of your choice (salt, dried herbs, parmesan, etc.)
  1. Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees
  2. Boil potatoes until fork-tender
  3. Place potatoes on baking sheet
  4. Using a fork, smash potatoes until flattened
  5. Drizzle with your fat of choice, and top with your seasoning of choice
  6. Bake for 20min, or until the edges are brown & crispy
  7. Enjoy!

Question: Do you enjoy receiving food-related gifts? What’s your favorite kitchen item to receive?

Sweet Potato & Red Lentil Curry

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Okay, I know this dish doesn’t look super appetizing, but I promise it is! That’s the thing with red lentils, they melt right into whatever you’re cooking with them, leaving a mushy-looking dish. Original recipe can be found here.IMG_2498

Lentils and sweet potatoes are one of my favorite combos, remember Maple Lentil & Sweet Potato Stew? Don’t be surprised if you see this combo again in the future!

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Please pardon the kitchen mess! I usually try to keep things together as I cook, but for some reason these ingredients ended up all over the place…

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Once again, this dish features this blog’s namesake, sweet potatoes! Did you know sweet potatoes are fabulous for controlling your blood sugar, as well as being a great source of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, potassium, fiber, antioxidants etc etc (source: Whole Foods). And, health benefits aside, sweet potatoes taste amazing and are super cheap – win, win, win!

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Do you see those green I used? That a schmorgesborg of chard, kale and mixed lettuces that I brought home with me after visiting my friend who’s currently working at Stonegate Farm in the Hudson River Valley. I came home with two bags of greens, the other was used for salad throughout the week…I love having farm-fresh produce!

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Sweet Potato & Red Lentil Curry

Prep time: 5min

Cook time: 25-30min

Serves: 4-6

  • 1T olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2t garlic, minced
  • 2T curry paste*
  • 1C red lentils
  • 1.25lb sweet potato, diced
  • 1 15oz can tomato sauce
  • 3C vegetable broth
  • 4 handfuls of spinach or greens
  1. Heat the oil in a dutch oven over medium heat
  2. Add onion, cook for 5 min
  3. Add garlic and curry paste, stir and cook until fragrant
  4. Stir in lentils, sweet potato, tomato sauce and broth; bring to a boil
  5. Cover, lower the heat to a simmer; cook 15-20min
  6. Enjoy!

*I made my own curry paste by mixing equal parts Thai Green Curry Powder & fish sauce (fish sauce will make this recipe non-vegan)

Question: Are you a member of a CSA (community supported agriculture)? 

Eggplant Dirty Rice

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A few weeks ago, I came across this recipe for Eggplant Dirty Rice and got really excited! I don’t know about you all, but I have never successfully cooked eggplant. This recipe seemed different though, there was no salting and draining of excess moisture or anything crazy like that…you simply dice the eggplant and cook it. Easy.IMG_2372

I’m so glad that I found this recipe, because it turned out wonderful! The mixture of black, white and red pepper was FABULOUS. And while the soy sauce may seem out of place, I can assure you it is not, it’s perfect.

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To start, you chop up your mirepoix (sub green pepper for carrot…although, carrots would be just fine):

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Then I cubed my eggplant. Since I knew I wanted to blog about this recipe, I made sure to use my handy kitchen scale to weigh my eggplant so I could tell you all exactly how much I used (it reads: 575g, if you’re curious).

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Fun fact: eggplants are also known as aubergines.

The aromas coming from the kitchen were out of this world.

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I was a little nervous about the rice. I rely on my trusty rice cooker to do all the work for any rice we eat, so I was worried it would be over/under cooked, but the liquid & timing worked out and the rice was perfect.

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The worst part about this recipe is that you have to wait 10 whole minutes from when you take it out of the oven and when you can put it on your plate. I made this after work one night last week, so it was getting late at this point, but I knew if I didn’t let it sit the rice would be ruined…so I sat, and patiently waited those 10 minutes.

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I re-heated some grilled chicken I had in the fridge and mixed that in to add a little protein to my dinner. That’s optional though, the next day I ate some leftovers for lunch (sans chicken) and was totally satisfied. This meal may take a little while to make, but the time & effort are absolutely worth it!

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Eggplant Dirty Rice

Prep time: 10 min

Cook time: 50 min

Serves: 4 hungry people

  • 4 stalks of celery, sliced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 bell peppers, diced
  • 1-1.25lb eggplant (1 large), cubed
  • 1T grapeseed oil (any neutral-flavored oil will work)
  • 1/2T marjoram
  • 1/2T dried basil
  • 1/2t black pepper
  • 1/4t white pepper
  • 1/4t red pepper (cayenne)
  • 5t minced garlic
  • 1T tomato paste
  • 1/4C soy sauce
  • 1C brown basmati rice (from Trader Joe’s)
  • 1.5C broth
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
  2. Head oil in dutch oven over medium heat
  3. Add celery, onion and bell peppers; cover and cook for 5 min
  4. Uncover, turn the heat to medium/high and cook 5 more min
  5. Add eggplant, marjoram, basil, black pepper, white pepper and cayenne; cook for 8 min
  6. Add minced garlic and tomato paste, stir well and cook for 1 min
  7. Add soy sauce and scrape bottom of the pan to incorporate
  8. Add rice and broth, cover and bring to a boil
  9. Place dutch oven into the oven for 20 min
  10. Remove from the oven, let stand 10 min
  11. Enjoy!

Question: Do you have a kitchen scale? How often, and for what do you use it?

Chickpea Za’atar Salad

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You guys. Change whatever you have planned for your next meal, and make this instead. I winged this recipe and it turned out phe. nom. e. nal.

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We ate this for dinner a few nights ago, but then I had it for lunch the next few days too. Now, I want to work this into the normal rotation for lunches because it’s great straight from the fridge!

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Are you familiar with za’atar? It’s a mixture of sumac, toasted sesame seed, salt, cumin, thyme, oregano and marjoram (source: http://www.savoryspiceshop.com/blends/zaat.html). Another great use is to add it to olive oil and dip bread in it…mmmm. You probably won’t find it at your everyday grocery store, but any spice shop or international grocery store should have it. My favorite spice shops are Savory Spice Shop and Penzeys Spices.

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This is a fabulous dish to serve to to any meat-eaters in your house who think they’ll miss the meat. They won’t. The flavor is amazing, and the mix of beans, quinoa and veggies is light but filling.

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Chickpea Za’atar Salad

Prep time: 15 min

Cook time: n/a

Makes: 4 2C-servings

  • 1/2C dry quinoa, cooked
  • 1 can chickpeas, rinsed & drained
  • 2 carrots, shredded
  • 2 small zucchini squash, diced
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 1/4C tahini
  • 1T za’atar seasoning
  • juice from 1 lemon
  1. Combine lemon juice, tahini and za’atar in the bottom of a bowl
  2. Add the remaining ingredients, mix well
  3. Enjoy!

Question: Have you every used za’atar seasoning before? In what way?

Mother’s Day Brunch

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Wow, we really lucked out with some amazing weather for Mother’s Day this year. My parents came to visit us for the day, starting with a trip to my favorite farmer’s market, The JFX Farmer’s Market. We made our way around the market, picking up things for the week as well as some key ingredients for brunch that I would cook when we came home.

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On the menu: Spinach, mushroom & artichoke quiche, lemon ricotta muffins and a beet & feta spinach salad. Mmmmm, delish! The salad is pretty straight forward, dressed with fig balsamic vinegar and garlic & mushroom olive oil (I use a 2:1, vinegar:oil ratio), that I bought at a cute shop, Pure Mountain, while visiting a friend last year.

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The lemon ricotta muffins are a Giada De Laurentiis recipe from Food Network, Nonna’s Lemon Ricotta Biscuits. It was the first time I’ve made these, so I followed the recipe exactly.

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I made them the night before and then popped them in the oven for 5 min before putting them on the table for brunch. I also baked them for 26 min, not 20 like the recipe calls for. They just didn’t look done at 20 min, so I added time in 2 min increments. As a result (I presume), the outside of the muffins were a little hard, but the insides were perfect!

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The quiche was one I’ve made before. It uses ricotta cheese, hence the ricotta muffins…I hate having left over ingredients!

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It turned out great, I almost didn’t get a picture before it was gone! The mushrooms and eggs I used were straight from the farmer’s market which was awesome.

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Previously, I’ve added parmesane cheese to this quiche but I totally forgot on Mother’s Day. It was still good, but in the future I will be sure to not forget the parmesan cheese. Cheese makes everything better.

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Mushroom, Spinach & Artichoke Quiche

Prep time: 10 min

Cook time: 40 min

Makes: 4 servings

  • 1C ricotta cheese
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/4C parmesan cheese
  • 8oz mushrooms, sliced/chopped
  • a few handfuls of spinach
  • 1 can artichoke hearts, drained & quartered
  1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees
  2. Saute the mushrooms, about 5-10 min
  3. Towards the end, add the spinach to wilt
  4. Meanwhile, combine ricotta, eggs and parmesan in a bowl until smooth
  5. Add mushrooms, spinach and artichokes to ricotta mixture
  6. Pour into 9″ cake pan, top with fresh ground pepper
  7. Bake 40 min
  8. Enjoy!

Question: Did you cook for your mom on Mother’s Day?

Garam Masala, Sweet Potato & Black Bean Burritos

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I’m not that great at cooking real Indian food, but I like to use Indian flavors every now-and-again to spice things up!IMG_2173

We opted to have our burritos “naked” AKA no tortilla. So, brown rice on the bottom and burrito ingredients on top!

IMG_2168Ignore the fact that the spice jar pictured above says coriander, it’s actually garam masala. I bought my garam masala from H-Mart (a local international grocery store) and it came in a plastic bag so I reused an empty spice jar to keep it fresh. Other great uses for an empty spice jar? Transporting salad dressing in your lunch box!

IMG_2169This recipe was inspired by one I saw on a blog a while ago (click here for original recipe), and I’ve made it many times. One thing I’ve learned is that a covered pan is really handy! It allows for the vegetable broth to essentially steam the sweet potatoes, which cuts down on their cooking time. If you don’t have a pan with a lid, just cover your pan using aluminum foil.

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I used to be wary of using fresh ginger, but let me tell you, fresh has so much more flavor than ground ginger. Did you know the best way to peel fresh ginger is with a spoon? All you do is use the side of the spoon and scrape the skin right off the ginger (you can watch this video to show you how). Because mincing ginger can be tedious, I usually use a microplane grater (like you would use for zesting citrus) instead.

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This burrito filling can be served wrapped up in a tortilla, or over rice like we did. Some great toppings would be a few slices of avocado or even some mango chutney!

Garam Masala, Sweet Potato & Black Bean Burritos

Prep time:10 min

Cook time:20 min

Serves: 2-4

  • 2 small (or 1 large) sweet potatoes, diced
  • 2 green bell peppers, diced
  • 1/2T coconut oil
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed & drained
  • 1/2C vegetable broth
  • 2t garam masala
  • 2t fresh ginger, grated
  1. Heat oil in large pan over medium heat
  2. Once heated, add sweet potatoes and bell peppers
  3. Stir, cover and cook for 5 min
  4. Add garam masala and ginger, stir
  5. Add vegetable broth, cover and cook 10 min
  6. Add black beans and warm through
  7. Enjoy!

Question: Where do you get most of your recipes? Cookbooks? Blogs? Family members?