Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Not a Dead Blog - PROMISE!!

Yeah, yeah, I know it's been awhile. I've been super lazy about what I eat, and the times that I cook it tends to be a repeated favorite or something thrown together that isn't blog worthy. However, this summer we subscribed to a CSA, so we're getting some interesting vegetables. It's sparked my interest in creating foods again and I'm hoping to return to healthier eating. So, there's more to come, promise.

Blackberry Wine Pops

12oz blackberries
1 cup red wine
1/3 cup sugar

1)  Combine blackberries, wine and sugar in a medium pot.
2)  Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring and crushing the berries, until sugar dissolves (about 5 minutes).
3)  Use a slotted spoon to fish blackberries out of the syrup mixture. Divide the berries among 10 3oz popsicle molds. Pour the syrup mixture over the berries, filling each mold.
4)  Insert the sticks/bottoms of the molds. Freeze until firm, at least 4 hours.

Review:  I let these freeze 24 hours, but due to the chunks of berries and the alcohol content, these were a bit crumbly. The original recipe called for a 1/2 cup of water also, but I only have 7 molds (Mike broke one awhile back). I think the addition of water would likely make for a firmer popsicle. The blackberry and red wine combo makes for a DELICIOUS popsicle. I used a non-fancy red blend wine, which was a particularly strong wine. It worked well for this purpose. I wouldn't recommend using a nuanced wine for this - go bold!

Adapted from:

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Roasted Fingerling Potatoes with Corn-Chive Vinaigrette

2 lbs fingerling potatoes, quartered
6 Tbs olive oil, divided
2 cups frozen corn, thawed
2 Tbs white balsamic vinegar
1 Tbs lemon juice
1 Tbs maple syrup
1 shallot, minced
2 Tbs sliced chives
1/4 cup chopped parsley

1) Preheat oven to 425F.
2) Bring potatoes and enough salted water to cover by 1 inch to a boil in large saucepan. Boil 12 minutes, then drain and cool.
3) Toss potatoes with 3 Tbs olive oil and season with salt, if desired. Arrange on 9x13 inch baking sheet. Roast 25-28 minutes, or until golden. 
4) Meanwhile, mash 1/2 cup corn kernels in medium bowl to release some milk. Whisk in remaining 3 Tbs olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice, maple syrup and shallots. Season with salt and pepper, if desired. Stir in remaining corn kernels and chives.
5) Arrange potatoes on platter. Spoon corn vinaigrette around and over potatoes. Top with parsley leaves. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Review:  This was definitely a side dish and not an entree. But it was super delicious. It was both spicy (from the shallots) and sweet. I loved the competing tastes and they combine for a super fancy flavor. I'd love to bring this to a potluck or family meal. 
Adapted from:

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Shepherd's Pie

2 1/2 lbs Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and chopped
1/4 cup vegan butter
2 Tbs olive oil
1 leek, diced
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 bag frozen mixed mushrooms
1 bag (lb) frozen mixed vegetables
1/2 cup dry red wine
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
2 Tbs Herbes de Provence
2 cups cooked lentils
2 tsp smoked paprika

1) To make potato topping: Bring potatoes and enough water to cover by 2 inches to a boil in a large saucepan. Reduce heat to medium, simmer 15 to 20 minutes, or until potatoes are fork-tender. Drain, and return to saucepan. Add vegan butter and mash until smooth. Set aside.
2) To make filling: Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add leeks and garlic, and season with salt if desired. Saute 3 to 5 minutes, or until leeks are softened.
3) Stir in mushrooms, and increase heat to medium-high. Saute 10 to 13 minutes, or until much of liquid released by the mushrooms has cooked off. Add mixed vegetables and saute 3 to 5 minutes, or until heated through. Add wine and stir to combine. Simmer mixture over medium-high heat2 to 3 minutes, or until wine has evaporated. Add cayenne pepper and Herbes de Provence.
4) Serve filling topped with mashed potatoes. Sprinkle smoked paprika on top of the potatoes to finish the dish.

Review:  I deviated from the recipe in that I wasn't about to take the additional step of topping the filling with potatoes and baking it. Pfffftt. I'm sure it would be pretty and browned on top, but I WAS HUNGRY!! This was absolutely divine. The leeks, mushroom, lentils and red wine made for a very earthy flavor. Yet, the carrots and corn from the mixed vegetables added a bit of sweet that perfectly balanced the dish. I loved this so much!!
Adapted from:
November/December 2016 issue of Vegetarian Times

Monday, November 14, 2016

Avocado & Quinoa Salad with Tomato Confit

2 cups cherry tomatoes
2 tsp olive oil, divided
1 cup quinoa
2 large avocados, diced
1/2 cup cilantro leaves
1 cup pitted, marinated olives
1/2 cup olive oil
2 Tbs white balsamic vinegar
1 tsp honey
1/2 tsp ground cumin
3 drops hot sauce 

1) To make salad: Preheat oven to 350F. Line baking sheet with foil or parchment paper.
2) Toss cherry tomatoes with 1 tsp olive oil, and season with salt and pepper, if desired. Roast 25 minutes, or until tomatoes have rendered their water and look slightly wilted. Transfer to paper towel lined plate and refrigerate until ready to use.
3) Cook quinoa according to package directions. Spread on large plate, stir in remaining 1 tsp olive oil, and cool.
4) To make dressing: Whisk together 1/2 cup olive oil, white balsamic vinegar, honey, cumin and hot sauce in a bowl. 
5) Combine tomatoes, quinoa and avocados in a large bowl. Top with cilantro and olives.

Review:  I didn't make this as fancy as it recommended, because I really don't care about presentation. I made this last night and allowed it to refrigerate for a tasty cold salad lunch. The flavors melded together so well and was phenomenal. It was slightly sweet, with an exotic Mediterranean flavor. Which was surprising with the avocado and cilantro. This was simply divine and will make a great potluck dish. 
Adapted from:
September/October 2016 issue of Vegetarian Times

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Squash, Mushroom, Kale & Dill Soup

1 lb frozen mixed mushrooms
32oz vegetable broth
2 lb butternut squash, peeled and diced
1 cup sprouted rice blend
4 cups loosely packed baby kale leaves
1 cup chopped fresh dill

1) Preheat the oven to 400F. Spread the butternut squash evenly on an oiled baking sheet. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until tender.
2) Meanwhile, add the mushrooms and vegetable broth. Heat over medium heat until boiling. Add rice, cover and lower to low-medium heat. Simmer for 25 minutes.
3) Add roasted butternut squash to cooked rice mixture. Mix in baby kale and dill, until kale has wilted.
4) Serve warm.

Review:  I usually use Trader Joe's broth, but had to go with a different brand this time. It was oddly light on the vegetable flavor and weirdly sweet. I need to stick with what I trust!! This was otherwise a hearty meal. The kale wasn't too strong and the dill balanced the earthy flavors. I really liked this!
Adapted from:

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Curried Quinoa Salad with Asparagus & Cauliflower

1 cup quinoa
3 Tbs lemon juice
5 Tbs olive oil
3 Tbs white balsamic vinegar
1 Tbs curry powder
2 tsp whole coriander seeds, coarsely cracked in mortar with pestle
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1 bunch asparagus, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 head cauliflower, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

1) Preheat oven to 425F. On a greased baking sheet. evenly spread out the asparagus and cauliflower. Bake for 20 minutes.
2) Place quinoa in small saucepan, with 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil over high heat. Cover and reduce heat, simmering for 15 minutes, or until water is fully absorbed.
3) Whisk together lemon juice, oil, vinegar, curry powder and coriander in a small bowl.
4) In a large bowl, mix together roasted vegetables, quinoa, dressing and cilantro. Season with salt and pepper, if desired.

Review: The original recipe called for this to be a cold dish. I wasn't in the mood for cold curry, however. I roasted the vegetables and tossed this all together while still warm. I definitely think roasting was the way to go. However, I wasn't wowed by the flavor of the dish. I haven't been a big fan of regular curry (love Thai curry, though!), so maybe it's just me.
Adapted from:
June 2016 issue of Vegetarian Times