Tag Archives: Vegetarian

Broccoli Slaw with Cashews and Cranberries

What amazing weather we’ve had here in Boston this week! Torrential downpour for three days last weekend, then summer-like sunny, clear days for the last three. Today–March 20, let me remind you–it reached 75. NUTS. Speaking of nuts, I bought some cashews yesterday and I’m super excited.

In the spirit of spring (I hear today is the first day?), I’ve been kicking into high-gear with my green-vegetable cooking. Last night I made Kale Chips for the first time and ate them so fast that I didn’t take pictures…so I’ll wait until my next post to share those 🙂

Today I made broccoli slaw to eat on my porch while sitting in the sun. Behold.

Broccoli Slaw with Cranberries and Cashews

I adapted Peanut Butter and Jargon’s recipe, which was adapted from The Kitchn’s. The modifications were largely out of convenience: I peeled my broccoli stalks and then chopped them roughly, since I just broke the food processor 2 weeks ago; I roasted/salted my raw cashew pieces while I was prepping everything, since I buy them raw; I accidentally used twice as many cashews as I was supposed to (from the original), and I only used half of the mayo/yogurt sauce since I don’t really need much at all (compared to original). NO MATTER: this was tasty. The recipe below reflects the amounts I actually used.

This would make a tasty side dish for some kind of chicken–I’m thinking grilled on a kebab. It also might work well for a picnic, though it would definitely need to be kept cool, since it has mayo in it (so maybe a backyard picnic instead of a hiking picnic). It’s a great example of experimenting with different combinations and just going with it. Just my kind of recipe these days….

Broccoli Slaw with Cashews and Cranberries
Makes about 6 cups

Adapted from Peanut Butter and Jargon’s recipe for Broccoli Slaw and The Kitchn’s recipe for Broccoli Slaw, which PB&J adapted from. To roast your own nuts, lightly coat in olive oil (I used 1 tsp for 1 cup cashew pieces), then salt, and put in a 350 F oven for about 10 minutes.

2 stalks of broccoli, stalks peeled, chopped roughly
1/2 cup red onion, chopped
1/2 dried cranberries
1 cup cashews, roasted and salted, chopped (use less if you’re not really into the nut thing)
3 Tbsp mayonnaise
3 Tbsp plain yogurt
1.5 Tbsp lemon juice
1/2 Tbsp sugar (omit if you prefer savory–I think I will next time)
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1/8 tsp ground mustard

In a large bowl, mix together the broccoli, onions, cranberries, and cashews. In a separate small bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, yogurt, lemon juice, sugar (if using), salt, pepper, and mustard. Pour the dressing over the broccoli mix and stir well. Let rest on the counter for 30 minutes or in the fridge for an hour before serving. I discovered 2 days later that this doesn’t keep particularly well–the nuts get soggy–so it’s best eaten the day it’s made. Enjoy!

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Daring Bakers January 2010 Challenge: Nanaimo Bars

I am known for my…ahem…tardiness. I have historically done a terrible job of predicting how long it will actually take me to complete a task. I also hate to tell my friends that I’m going to be late, so I used to tell them how long it would be until I would *like* to get there (even if I suspected that it might be a bit longer).

For whatever crazy reason that’s changed in the last year or so. I mention this because this is the first month I’ve actually completed my Daring Bakers challenge not only on time, but 3 WEEKS EARLY! (Though I’m posting along with everyone else). It was a lucky coincidence that I would also get the input of a real live Canadian in assessing this month’s dessert, which hails from Nanaimo, British Columbia, Canada.

Nanaimo Bars

The January 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Lauren of Celiac Teen. Lauren chose Gluten-Free Graham Wafers and Nanaimo Bars as the challenge for the month. The sources she based her recipe on are 101 Cookbooks and www.nanaimo.ca.

These are very, very sweet and rich. They’re best in small pieces…that way you can pop them at intervals instead of getting overwhelmed by big ones! They also freeze well (and I preferred them cold); I wrapped mine individually in plastic wrap, then threw them in the freezer a day before the event and they held up perfectly in transport.

Give yourself a couple of days to make these, since the graham cracker dough needs to refrigerate for a while. You can also cheat and buy graham crackers, but these are really cool to create, so I’d recommend it if you have time and the inclination. I made only a half batch of the crackers and still had leftovers for the Nanaimo Bars, by the way.

For Graham Crackers

2 1/2 cups plus 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1 cup (200 g) (7.1 ounces) Dark brown sugar, lightly packed
1 teaspoon (5 mL) Baking soda
3/4 teaspoon (4 mL ) Kosher salt
7 tablespoons (100 g) (3 ½ ounces) Unsalted butter (cut into 1-inch cubes and frozen)
1/3 cup (80 mL) Honey
5 tablespoons (75 mL) Whole milk
2 tablespoons (30 mL) Pure vanilla extract

Directions:
1. In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade, combine the flour, brown sugar, baking soda, and salt. Pulse on low to incorporate. Add the butter and pulse on and off, until the mixture is the consistency of a coarse meal. If making by hand, combine aforementioned dry ingredients with a whisk, then cut in butter until you have a coarse meal. No chunks of butter should be visible.
2. In a small bowl or liquid measuring cup, whisk together the honey, milk and vanilla. Add to the flour mixture until the dough barely comes together.
3. Turn the dough onto a well-floured surface and pat the dough into a rectangle about 1 inch thick. Wrap in plastic and chill until firm, about 2 hours, or overnight.
4. Divide the dough in half and return one half to the refrigerator. Sift an even layer of flour onto the work surface and roll the dough into a long rectangle, about 1/8 inch thick. Cut into 4 by 4 inch squares. Gather the scraps together and set aside. Place wafers on one or two parchment-lined baking sheets. Chill until firm, about 30 to 45 minutes. Repeat with the second batch of dough.
5. Adjust the rack to the upper and lower positions and preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (180 degrees Celsius).
6. Gather the scraps together into a ball, chill until firm, and reroll. Dust the surface with more flour and roll out the dough to get a couple more wafers.
7. Prick the wafers with toothpick or fork, not all the way through, in two or more rows.
8. Bake for 8-12 minutes, until browned and slightly firm to the touch, rotating sheets halfway through to ensure even baking. The ones that started on the bottom browned faster–check early and often, because these can burn quickly.
9. When cooled completely, place enough wafers in food processor to make 1 ¼ cups (300 mL) of crumbs. Another way to do this is to place in a large ziploc bag, force all air out and smash with a rolling pin until wafers are crumbs.

Graham Crackers

Nanaimo Bars

Bottom Layer
1/2 cup (115 g) (4 ounces) Unsalted butter
1/4 cup (50 g) (1.8 ounces) Granulated sugar
5 tablespoons (75 mL) Unsweetened cocoa
1 Large egg, beaten
1 1/4 cups (300 mL) (160 g) (5.6 ounces) Graham cracker crumbs (see previous recipe)
1/2 cup (55 g) (1.9 ounces) Almonds (any type, finely chopped)
1 cup (130 g) (4.5 ounces) Coconut (shredded, sweetened or unsweetened)

Middle Layer
1/2 cup (115 g) (4 ounces) Unsalted butter
2 tablespoons and 2 teaspoons (40 mL) Heavy cream (or whole milk with a thin pat of butter)
2 tablespoons (30 mL) Vanilla custard powder (Such as Bird’s)– Vanilla pudding mix may be substituted
2 cups (254 g) (8.9 ounces) Powdered sugar

Top Layer
4 ounces (115 g) Semi-sweet chocolate
2 tablespoons (28 g) (1 ounce) Unsalted butter

Directions:
1. For bottom layer: Melt unsalted butter, sugar and cocoa in top of a double boiler. Add egg and stir to cook and thicken. Remove from heat. Stir in crumbs, nuts and coconut. Press firmly into an ungreased 8 by 8 inch pan.
2. For middle layer: Cream butter, cream, custard powder (or pudding mix), and powdered sugar together well. Beat until light in color. Spread over bottom layer.
3. For top layer: Melt chocolate and unsalted butter over low heat. Cool to a bit over room temperature (give it maybe 10 minutes). I let mine cool too much and it didn’t spread well! It should still glisten when you pour over the middle layer. Chill until firm, about 20-25 minutes.

Homemade Nanaimo Bars

Banana Oatmeal Bake with Whipped Cream

I signed up for Twitter a couple of weeks ago. I can’t say that it’s been life-changing, given my current Facebook addiction, but it DID make me aware of National Whipped Cream Day on January 5th.

A few months ago I made whipped cream by hand during a dinner party at Becca and Kiki’s darling abode, but it was comical: the whisk was maybe 2 or 3 inches long and I had an entire pint of heavy cream. Eventually we did get it whipped and we dipped fresh peaches in it and ate the whole bowl. Wonderful.

Since I had spent the morning of Jan. 5th baking this banana oatmeal conglomeration and noticed the NWCD announcement while it was in the oven, I just decided to top it off with the fluffy stuff from the can….and ohhhh my goddd….it was divine. The bake alone is sufficient breakfast food–warm, hearty, simple, nutritious, and can be made in batches–but when you add the whipped cream it is over the top, wonderful, beautiful, subtle deliciousness.

Banana Oatmeal Bake

It’s one of those dishes that doesn’t LOOK too special, but I’ve had it both mornings since then and I’m looking forward to my last serving tomorrow bright and early 😀

I used a recipe from Kath Eats Real Food. I think I would add cinnamon next time to spice it up a bit. Otherwise it is an easy dish that can be multiplied if you have several mouths to feed!

Banana Oatmeal Bake
Adapted from Kath Eats Real Food’s recipe for Baked Banana Oatmeal. Her photos are helpful, too!

3 bananas
2 cups rolled oats
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp kosher salt (I rubbed the salt between my fingers to make it a little finer as I added it)
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 1/2 cups milk
1 tsp vanilla
1-2 Tbsp brown sugar
Whipped cream, optional

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line an 8×8 inch baking dish with parchment paper (bottom and sides), or lightly grease.

Slice 2 of the bananas into equal-sized slices. Cover the bottom of the lined or greased baking dish with half of the slices.

Combine the oats, baking soda, and salt. Mash the remaining banana. (I found it helpful to peel then microwave the banana for about 30 seconds before trying to mash it). Add the egg, milk, and vanilla to the mashed banana and whisk together. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix until well combined. Pour this batter into the dish over the slices. Lay the rest of the banana slices on the top in an even layer.

Bake for 26 minutes. Sprinkle the brown sugar over the top of the bake, then broil for 3-4 minutes to melt the brown sugar (caramelizing it, essentially).

If you used parchment paper you can lift the whole thing out and cut it up; otherwise divide the bake into four servings and go. Add some whipped cream if you want to send it out of this world.

Roasted Stuffed Baby Portobello Mushrooms

I was hoping to post about my foray into ciabatta bread-making tonight. Unfortunately, my adventure turned into a dead end when the yeast just refused to cooperate after kneading the dough. I think I know what went wrong and hopefully soon I’ll be able to add to the chorus of praises for King Arthur Flour’s recipe for ciabatta.

It’s no great loss, though! Last night Mike threw together an impromptu dinner combining crap we had lying around in the fridge (well, not crap, but you know what I mean…) and some things we’d just picked up at the mecca of local grocery stores, Market Basket. Usually, Market Basket is nothing short of a madhouse on Sunday afternoons–no parking spots, packed aisles, many children and older people, and my favorite feature, sawdust on the floor. I think the snowstorm that lasted from Friday night until yesterday held some regulars back, though, because I wasn’t as exhausted after our trip as I normally am.

Working on the pork he’d picked out, Mike assigned me the stuffed portobello mushroom project.

Roasted Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms

(Side note: Writing “portobello” feels funny to me. I’ve always preferred “portabello.” And then there’s “portobella.” Apparently, they are all correct, but portobello is by far more common in a Google search, so…I’ll trust the wisdom of the crowds and go with that one. Sheesh.)

He grabbed a handful of baby spinach that was hanging out in the fridge, a few cloves of peeled garlic we buy in bulk, and sliced a piece of the Tuscan loaf we’d just bought. A piece of pecorino cheese from a few weeks ago was starting to get moldy, so we sliced off the edges and chopped it up. Mike also pulled out the block of cheddar we’d just thawed (apparently it can be frozen!).

I did the extra-tough task of throwing it all in the food processor and adding enough olive oil to get it to blend smoothly. I performed my salt-and-pepper-adding magic and DELICIOUS. Try not to eat it all before stuffing the mushrooms.

We bought baby portobello caps, so they only needed to be relieved of the woody interior (what’s left of the stem). When I used a spoon, I tore open a cap. Try using your finger instead…I had much better results. Practice makes perfect, I found, as I was much better at it by the last mushroom.

These took about 30 minutes overall, with about 15 minutes of that being oven time. They would be difficult to make in concert with another complicated dish, but I think if I had been cooking alone I would have managed to flip the meat when necessary so that everything finished at the same time. Luckily, with two cooks in the kitchen, it was a breeze.

Roasted Stuffed Baby Portobello Mushrooms
1 1-inch thick slice of crusty white bread, like a rustic loaf, sourdough, or baguette (use 2 slices for baguette)
Handful of fresh baby spinach (1/8-1/4 cup of frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry, might work)
4 cloves of garlic, peeled
2 oz. Pecorino, or any hard, waxy cheese (like Parmesan or Fontina), cut into pieces
2 oz. cheddar, cut into pieces
2-4 Tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
6 baby portobello mushroom caps

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Tear the bread into smaller pieces and add to food processor. Pulse until broken up into coarse crumbs. Add spinach, garlic, cheeses, and about 2 Tbsp of olive oil in food processor and pulse to combine with bread. Add more olive oil if necessary for easier chopping. Add salt and pepper, pulse, taste, and repeat until it tastes excellent.

Remove woody center of each mushroom cap and discard. Gently but firmly spoon filling into each cap so that the mushroom is full but not overflowing. Once each is filled, distribute the rest of the stuffing so that there are small mounds (giving it that “stuffed” look). This way you won’t run out before actually filling each.

Place mushrooms, stuffing side up, on a baking sheet. Roast for 12-15 minutes, checking after 10 minutes for doneness. When ready, they will feel “spongy” if gently squeezed–similar to the texture of a hard-boiled egg (a bit softer).

Caramelized Onion and Goat Cheese Flatbreads

Birthdays in middle school were so much easier than they are now. I invited 10 or so girls to my house for pizza, cake, presents, a movie, a sleepover, and breakfast from my mom the next morning before everyone headed home. Now it seems so much more complicated! This year, I finally decided to have a party that would allow me to cook a bunch of delicious food I wouldn’t normally make and then…write about it!

I ordered Martha Stewart’s Entertaining last week. Opening it up made me feel like there were endless possibilities for cooking for my friends, and that suddenly I couldn’t have ENOUGH dinner parties. And so my ideas for the weekend’s food came in a flood.

I decided (after many iterations) on a relatively simple menu of 3 savory appetizers and 4 desserts, balanced to feed vegetarians and non-vegetarians, warm and cold, crunchy and soft, salty and sweet, traditional and non-traditional, picky and adventurous. I’ll be posting those recipes throughout the week.

The first is one of the simplest yet most delicious and impressive-looking. Courtesy of Mike, as always, come these Caramelized Onion and Goat Cheese Flatbreads. I was originally planning to make roasted tomato and goat cheese tarts on puff pastry, like O Pistachio’s Bite-Size Tomato Tarts, but flatbreads are a particular inside-joke with my friend Steph.

Steph’s from Portland, ME, and on a recent trip to the city for a frisbee tournament, she brought me and Mike to the Flatbread Company, a restaurant specializing in flatbreads. She told us it would be like nothing else we’d ever had before. It WAS delicious, but we teased her to no end for framing the flatbreads as the exotic cuisine of Portland. So now, at any opportunity, I like to make these “Portland specialties.” Somehow it never stops being hilarious!

We used pre-made pizza dough from the grocery store to save time, since we were making so many other dishes for the party. It’s so cheap, too–$2 for enough dough for 2 whole pizzas! My only complaint is that it’s difficult to find whole wheat pizza dough, and if I were to make my own I’d definitely make it with WW flour. We bought way too much dough, but extra flatbreads make great sandwiches the next day!

Caramelizing onions is a long process, usually about an hour or so, but it’s really easy if you’re patient, and so worth it. The pictures below show a couple of the steps to caramelization. They cook down to a soft, brown, super-savory treat that matches perfectly with the taste of goat cheese.

For this party, we made 4 flatbreads and cut each into eighths to serve 32 appetizers. You could also serve each flatbread as 1 dinner serving.

Caramelized Onion and Goat Cheese Flatbreads
Serves 4-32, depending on how you cut them!

Olive oil
3 large red onions, cut into spears (see photo)
Salt and pepper
1/2 bag pre-made pizza dough (usually 1 pound)
8 oz goat cheese, cold
Dried (or fresh) parsley

Heat about 1 Tbsp olive oil in your pan, enough to coat the bottom. Add onions and a few pinches of salt. Let the onions caramelize, stirring only occasionally, for about an hour, or until they’re brown and very soft.

To make flatbreads, divide pizza dough into quarters (you’ll get eighths from the whole bag, but we used only half for this particular appetizer). Stretch dough until it is evenly thin and about the size of your grill pan. Lightly brush oil onto the dough and place in a grill pan. Let cook for about 5 minutes, then flip and cook for another 5 minutes. Don’t move the dough once it’s in the pan or you won’t get the grill marks.

Once all of your flatbreads are finished, spread caramelized onions on each. Crumble about 2 oz of goat cheese on each flatbread, then sprinkle parsley over the top. Cut into appropriate portions and serve.

Panko-Coated Fried Eggplant

For last week’s dinner party, I needed to find a vegetarian entree that would be filling and delicious. I hate to say it, but that has never been an easy task for me. Pasta is an option, but it’s never filling enough to have a true “portion,” and I always crash and feel starving again after an hour.

Mike, being the former vegetarian and uber-talented food-idea-man that he is, came up with fried eggplant as a hearty, tasty meat alternative for dinner with Becca and Kiki. It’s simple, but looks fancy, and it really is great!

Whenever you “bread” anything, be it chicken or eggplant, you’ should set up a “dredge/egg wash/bread” station. The first layer is flour–we used whole wheat, since it was all we had. Your egg wash will form a glue when added over the flour. The general rule of thumb is 1 tsp of water per egg yolk. As for the bread crumbs, I’m a huge fan of panko (Japanese bread crumbs), which you can sometimes find with other bread crumbs and sometimes in the Asian section.

(You’ll have to forgive me that all of these pictures were taken at night, so the light is a little off.)

You should use a fair amount of oil–maybe 1/2 inch deep in the pan? You want it to be pretty hot when you fry the eggplants so they don’t get soggy; I set my gas stove to one notch above medium. As always, be very careful around the hot oil!

Enough little tips. Time for some cooking!

Panko-Coated Fried Eggplant
Serves 6-8

2 eggplants, sliced into 1-inch wide medallions
1 cup flour, any kind
4 egg yolks
4 tsp water
2 cups panko
Olive oil (a lot)
Salt and pepper, to taste
Paper towels (or plain brown paper bag)

Prepare your breading station by pouring the flour and panko into separate dishes. Quickly whisk the egg yolks and water in another dish. One by one, dredge each medallion of eggplant in the flour, brushing off as much flour as you can. Quickly dip the eggplant in the egg wash, then into the bread crumbs. Thoroughly coat the eggplant in crumbs by pressing the crumbs on. Set aside until you’ve finished all of the medallions.

Lay out a few layers of paper towels next to the stove.

Fill a large saute pan with enough oil to be about 1/2-inch deep. Heat over medium-high until shimmering. VERY GENTLY place each medallion in the oil; you should be able to fit about 4. Don’t overcrowd the pan or they won’t fry correctly. The oil should be bubbling moderately vigorously, but not spattering out of the pan–adjust heat as necessary. Fry first side for about 4 minutes or until bottoms are golden-brown, then very gently flip and fry for another 3-4 minutes.

When you remove each medallion, immediately place it on the paper towels and quickly sprinkle salt and pepper on top. The hot oil will suck up the salt and make these really delicious. When somewhat cooled (after about 2 minutes), these are ready to serve!

*Note that with 2 eggplants, this turns into a good 4 batches in the pan, so you might want to serve and eat the first set, then finish cooking them after dinner.