November 25, 2009

Golden Beet Salad

What can I say - I LOVE beets!
When I find a recipe for beets, I must try it. While eating this salad, I realized it is the perfect substitute for fruit salad in the winter months, and it is beautiful. It is inspired from a recipe in Mollie Katzens book 'Vegetable Dishes I Can't Live Without'. I made it for Thanksgiving dinner, expecting to be the only one eating it, but it was surprisingly popular. I still have some leftovers that are quite tasty.

What's in it
2 bunches golden beets (any color would do, as long as it's not the dark purple)
6 mandarins, plus or minus
3 Tbls raspberry or cider vinegar
1 leek
salt to taste

How it's made
Pre heat oven to 450 degrees. Trim the greens off the beets. Divide beets into two groups, wrapping each group in foil, with a few tablespoons water tossed in. Roast them on a cookie sheet or baking dish up to an hour, until beets are tender enough to pierce with a fork. If you are not up for roasting, you can use this recipe to cook the beets.

Allow beets to cool, cut each end off, then take a spoon and peel off the skins. Cut into 1/2 inch cubes. Place beets in a bowl and immediately toss with vinegar and salt to keep their color.

While beets are cooking, peel the mandarins, and pull into their sections. Remove all the white pulp from the fruit. Cut each section in half, crosswise, with kitchen scissors, and add to bowl with beets.

Thinly slice leek, and add to bowl with mandarins and beets. Cover and marinate for a minimum 2 hours and up to a day. You may reserve some of the leek to add before serving, since the leeks will turn orange (the color of the beets), overnight in the fridge.

I have only made this once, but I imagine apple cubes, dried cranberries, or halved grapes would be a great addition to this salad.

Enchanted Broccoli Forest

This one comes from the cookbook by Mollie Katzen named for this recipe. Leann and I made it for dinner last week, and it was delicious! Of course, I love broccoli, so it is perfect in my mind. I'm always wary of casseroles, but this one has a fun twist.

What's in it
1 1lb bunch broccoli
1 Tbl butter or oil
1 C chopped onion
salt to taste
1 clove minced garlic
2 Tbl lemon juice
6 C cooked brown rice
pepper and cayenne to taste
2 tsp dill
3 tsp mint
1/4 C fresh parsley, minced
1-2 C packed shredded cheese

How it's made
Time the bottoms off the broccoli, and cut stalks into spears, however you like. Cook them in a steamer until bright green and just tender. Rinse with cold water.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease a 9x13 inch baking pan.

Melt the butter/oil in a skillet. Add onion and salt and saute until onion softens. Add garlic and lemon juice, and saute for about 2 minutes. Stir in the rice, seasonings, and cheese. Spread this mixture in the baking pan.

Arrange the broccoli spears upright in the pan like a forest of broccoli. Drizzle with melted butter (mixed with lemon juice if you'd like). Cover with foil and bake until heated through (20 minutes). Serve right away.

November 24, 2009

Pumpkin Pie

This pumpkin pie recipe is for the Reids in the family who are allergic to milk. It's super easy and tasty, if you like pies. A great last minute recipe for Thanksgiving.

What's in it
1 homemade graham cracker pie crust (or store bought)
2 C cooked pumpkin
2 eggs
1/3 C real maple syrup or honey or brown sugar
pumpkin pie spice (cinnamond, allspice, ground clove)
1 package Silken firm tofu

How it's made
If using real pumpkin, bake sugar pumpkin at 400 degrees for an hour until soft, and scoop out the inside (but not the seeds). Otherwise start with canned pumpkin. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a blender combine all ingredients except for the crust, and blend till smooth. Pour into pie crust, and bake 15 minutes at 425 and 45 more minutes at 350 until firm in the middle.

November 22, 2009

Eggplant Casserole

This dish was not very photogenic. Since it wasn't much to look at, I didn't take any pictures of it when it came out of the oven. After eating it, though, I wished I would have taken some anyway. It was really good (right out of the oven as well as reheated as leftovers) and I think people always like to see what the finished product looks like, even if it's not fancy food porn all the time. Some foods are not really that good looking, but we all know that has nothing to do with how they taste.

Now, that being said, this wasn't a groundbreaking dish, it was just a simple weeknight dinner that was satisfying and healthy. (Disclosure: I am desperately in love with eggplant, so I may have liked this more than the average person.) This recipe is loosely based on one from Meals in Minutes.

Eggplant Casserole
~Print Recipe~

  • 2 medium eggplants, cut into 1/2 inch rounds
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 package sliced mushrooms
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 cups marinara sauce (we used low-sodium, but I think a garlicky sauce would be good)
  • Grated mozzarella cheese
  1. Preheat broiler. Line a baking sheet with foil and spray it with nonstick spray. Lay the eggplant in a single layer and spray with nonstick spray. Broil until golden brown, about 4 minutes. Flip eggplant slices over, spray with nonstick spray and broil until the other side has browned, about 4 minutes more.
  2. Meanwhile, heat oil over medium heat. Add onions and saute 2 minutes. Add mushrooms and saute, stirring occasionally, until onions are translucent and mushrooms are browned. 
  3. Spread 1 cup sauce evenly on the bottom of an 11x14 inch baking dish. Add half of the onion and mushroom mixture evenly over sauce. Sprinkle lightly with cheese. Add eggplant rounds, overlapping slightly to cover dish entirely. Add another light layer of sauce, then the rest of the onion/mushroom mixture. Sprinkle with more cheese. Add another layer of remaining eggplant, then finish with more sauce and top with another layer of mozzarella. 
  4. Bake about 20 minutes or until sauce is heated through and the cheese has browned. Let stand 10 minutes before cutting.

November 15, 2009

Goat Cheese Crostini

These are so simple and yet so incredibly flavorful and delicious! The creamy tang of the goat cheese and the sharp, savory bite of the garlic. The freshness of the parsley. We paired these with a mild potato soup and these were the standouts. We had a few left over and we figured they wouldn't necessarily store well, so we had the remainders for dessert.

These crostini are not particularly ground breaking, and yet I never would have thought to combine these flavors just so. I combine a few techniques I've gleaned from various sources here, but the cheese spread is actually from Meals in Minutes, a Weight Watchers cookbook. Who knew they'd have anything to add? Well, try these and you will see that they certainly do.

Goat Cheese Crostini

  • 1 baguette
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • Olive oil for brushing (of olive oil spray)
  • Salt, pepper, thyme, other seasonings to taste
  • 1/4 cup goat cheese
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (or more to taste)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped flat leaf parsley
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  1. Preheat broiler. Slice baguette on a bias into pieces 1/2 inch thick. Lay slices in a single layer on a baking sheet. Chop 1 clove of garlic in half. Rub the cut edge on the top side of baguette slices. Spread a thin layer of olive oil on slices with a pastry brush, or spray slices well with an olive oil spray. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and other seasonings to taste.
  2. Toast slices under broiler for 1-2 minutes until crispy and golden. (They will burn really quickly if you don't keep a close eye on them.)
  3. In a small bowl, combine goat cheese, pepper and parsley. Press in the remaining garlic clove with a garlic press (one of the best tools ever!) and add the oil. Mix until smooth. Spread on the baguette slices. Pop them back under the broiler for 1 minute to lightly melt the cheese mixture. Serve immediately.

November 13, 2009

Pumpkin Waffles

Ok, I guess it's that time of year---I have pumpkin on the brain. I know that pumpkin scones are good and the pumpkin chocolate chip cupcakes in Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World are amazing. So, when I saw this recipe for pumpkin waffles on Smitten Kitchen, I knew I had to try it. Waffles and pumpkin? Two things I love come together here in a very delicious way. These waffles are sweet and decadent---kind of like eating dessert for breakfast, which is just fine by me.

I suggest adding chocolate chips to individual waffles by dropping the chips onto the batter just after you put in the waffle iron, then covering them lightly with more batter. I also recommend adding chocolate chips as a topping like Amber does (one chip in each square). These waffles would be fantastic with whipped cream. I had peanut butter, pumpkin butter, Greek yogurt and maple syrup, but with these you can pretty much get away with plain, too. You can also save any extra waffles by wrapping them in twos in plastic wrap and then storing them in a freezer bag in your freezer for a few weeks.  The next time you want waffles, grab two and pop them in the toaster. Way better than Eggo.

Pumpkin Waffles
~Print Recipe~

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (I want to try substituting some whole wheat flour next time, a la Patty)
  • 1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 4 large eggs, separated
  • 2 cups well-shaken buttermilk
  • 1 cup canned solid-pack pumpkin
  • 6 tablespoons (3/4 of a stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • Cooking spray for waffle iron
  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices. 
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together buttermilk, pumpkin and butter. Separate egg whites into a separate small bowl and set aside. Add egg yolks to the buttermilk mixture and whisk until smooth. 
  3. Slowly add the dry ingredients into the buttermilk mixture and whisk until just combined.
  4. With an electric mixer, beat egg whites until they form soft peaks. Carefully fold egg whites into the batter, until just combined. 
  5. Heat waffle iron(s) while batter rests.
  6. When the irons are hot, spray waffle iron lightly with non-stick spray (and again before each new waffle). Using a measuring cup, quickly spread an even layer of batter over the iron (adding chocolate chips, if desired) and cook until crisp and golden brown.  Serve immediately, or allow to cool and then freeze.

November 12, 2009

Gingerbread Cupcakes with Orange Cream Cheese Frosting

I needed something to pair with Christmas Blend coffee, so something with ginger, orange, cinnamon, nutmeg or cloves. I found this Martha Stewart gingerbread cupcake recipe (Martha always comes through in a pinch) online and that took care of all of the spices in one fell swoop. Then I saw a recipe on 52 cupcakes that topped gingerbread cupcakes with a lemon cream cheese frosting. I figured orange would work just as well. And done---I've got all of my flavors present and accounted for. This recipe makes 10 "jumbo" sized cupcakes, but since I only have the regular size pan it made about 20. And that's ok with me, because I figure the more cupcakes the merrier!

These cupcakes have 2 teaspoons of baking soda and 1/2 teaspoon salt, which I felt made them a little too salty. I would maybe add 1/4 teaspoon salt. Then again, maybe that's just the way gingerbread is suppose to taste, so salt to your preference.

I had forgotten how much fun cupcakes are to make and eat!

Gingerbread Cupcakes with Orange Cream Cheese Frosting
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (or less, to taste)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2/3 cup packed dark-brown sugar
  • 1 cup unsulphured molasses
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature, lightly beaten
  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line you cupcake tin with paper baking cups, set aside. In a saucepan or kettle, bring 1 cup water to a boil. In a small bowl, combine boiling water and baking soda and set aside. In a large bowl, sift flour, spices, salt and baking powder together and set aside. 
  2. With an electric mixer, cream the butter until light. Add the brown sugar and beat until fluffy, around 1 to 2 minutes. Beat in the molasses, baking soda mixture and flour mixture. Beat in the eggs. 
  3. Fill cupcake liners until 3/4 full. Bake cupcakes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Let cupcakes cool in the pan on a wire rack for a few minutes, then transfer them to the rack to cool completely before frosting.
  4. Frost and sprinkle with crystallized ginger.
    Orange Cream Cheese Frosting
    • 1 8 oz. package of cream cheese, room temperature
    • 1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) of unsalted butter, room temperature
    • 4 cups powdered sugar
    • zest of one orange
    • 1 tablespoon fresh orange juice
    1. Beat cream cheese and butter with an electric mixer until soft. Slowly add sugar, zest and juice. Beat until creamy--about 3 minutes.
    2. Chill frosting before frosting cupcakes.

    November 6, 2009

    Spiced Pumpkin, Lentil and Goat Cheese Salad

    Reading food magazines, I have come across a ton of pumpkin recipes lately. Since pumpkins are bountiful and priced to sell these days, I decided to give this recipe from Gourmet a shot. For cooking, you want to use sugar pumpkins---they are smaller and tastier than your typical jack-o-lantern. I'd never actually eaten pumpkin outside of a pie, but I sure do love pumpkin in that form so I figured me and a pumpkin dish would get along nicely.

    Well, yes and no. The roasted pumpkin in this salad was not quite what I was expecting. The spices I ended up using (I didn't have hot smoked paprika and substituted regular paprika with a dash of cayenne) seemed a little subtle and in the end were not the flavor direction I would have chosen for this dish. I liked the textural addition of the pumpkin and lentils to this salad, but the flavor of the pumpkin itself has a hard time standing up to the salty goat cheese and the shocks of mint. I liked this salad, but if I were to do it again, I would experiment with different roasting spices and/or a different dressing.

    Spiced Pumpkin, Lentil and Goat Cheese Salad
    ~Print Recipe~
    • 1 1/2 cups cooked lentils (either from a package--TJ's!--or from 3/4 cups dried and cooked)
    • 6 cups 1-inch pieces peeled, seeded sugar pumpkin or butternut squash (from one approximately 2 pound pumpkin)
    • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus 1 additional tablespoon (optional)
    • 1 teaspoon cumin
    • 1 teaspoon hot smoked Spanish paprika
    • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
    • 4 cups baby arugula (or other lettuce)
    • 1 cup soft goat cheese, crumbled
    • 1/4 cup thinly sliced mint leaves
    • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar (optional)
    • Toasted pumpkin seeds from your pumpkin (I used a great recipe from Simply Recipes)
    1.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place pumpkin in a large bowl. Toss with 2 tablespoons oil, cumin, paprika and sea salt. Arrange pumpkin in a single layer on a baking sheet. Roast for 20 minutes, then turn pumpkin over. Continue roasting until tender (10-20 minutes. I took mine out after an additional 15 min. but wish I would have left it in a little longer.) Cool.
    2. Combine lentils, pumpkin and oil from pan (my pan had no oil) with lettuce, half of goat cheese, mint, vinegar and 1 tablespoon of oil. (Or, if using a different dressing, leave out oil and vinegar at this point.) Season with salt and pepper. Divide among plates (add dressing, if you are using your own) and sprinkle with remaining goat cheese.

    November 5, 2009

    Roasted Radishes

    Okay Alexis here you go. . .
    This is a simple tasty side dish! I'm going to leave out any measurements, because I just guessed and it really depends on your own preference and how many radishes you have. Cook for about 30 min. at 375. (I actually cooked them at about 450 while another dish was also roasting.)

    Sesame oil
    chili pepper