Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Cauliflower Fritters and Romesco Sauce

These make really great appetizers as well as week day meals if served with pasta salad or a whole grain like brown rice pilaf or quinoa salad. If you don't like romesco sauce you could serve these with a simple marinara sauce.

  • 4 cups cauliflower, cut into florets and steamed
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup Pecorino Romano or Parmesan
  • 1/4 cup Italian parsley, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup hot water
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  1. Preheat oven to 425°.
  2. Roughly mash cauliflower in a large bowl. 
  3. Stir in flour, garlic, egg, cheese, parsley, salt and pepper. Add water until batter becomes slightly thicker then pancake batter.
  4. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spoon 1/4 cup size scoops onto a baking sheet.
  5. Bake for 10 minutes on each side. 
Romesco Sauce 
  • 4 Roma tomatoes, diced
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 sweet red pepper. diced
  • extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 cup cubed crustless day-old bread
  • 3 tbsp sherry vinegar
  • 3/4 smoked sweet paprika
  • 1/2 salt
  1. Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in a medium size saucepan. Add tomato, onion, garlic and pepper. Cook until onions turn translucent.
  2. Transfer tomato mixture to a food processor and puree.  Add bread, sherry vinegar, paprika and salt and pulse until mixed. Add a tablespoon or two of olive oil if mixture is too thick.
  3. Serve romesco sauce with cauliflower fritters.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Chimichurri Portobello Steak Sandwhich

If your a vegetarian or vegan craving a steak sandwich or looking for something meaty but trying to cut back on your red meat, this is a really satisfying and flavorful recipe. The lemony garlic chimichurri* sauce pairs very well with asparagus and a chilled glass of pinot blanc!

*Chimichurri is a green sauce that originated in Argentina and is commonly used as a marinade for grilled meat.

Recipe adapted from "Once Upon a Plate"
  • 2 large portobello mushrooms
  • 2 thick slices crusty bread
  • 1 cup Italian parsley, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon chili pepper flakes (increase if you like more heat)
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 tbsp shallots or red onion, minced
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 tbsp sherry wine vinegar, or red wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  1. Preheat oven to 400°.
  2. To make the chimichurri sauce combine all ingredients from parsley through to lemon juice into a food processor and pulse until well chopped, but not pureed. Add more water if you feel your sauce is too thick.
  3. Wash and dry portobello mushrooms and place gill side up in a a baking dish. Pour 3/4 of the chimichurri sauce over top of portobellos and cover with tin foil. Bake for 20 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, prepare you bread by brushing with olive oil and rubbing with a fresh garlic clove. Lightly sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place on baking sheet.
  5. Remove tin foil and raise temperature on oven to broil. Move mushrooms to lower rack and place bread on top rack. Toast your bread until browned then flip bread and toast on other side. You may choose to brown your mushrooms under the broiler once you have removed the bread.
  6. Slice portobellos and serve on bread with the remaining chimichurri sauce spooned over top.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Citrus Rice Noodle Salad

This salad is so fresh and flavorful. I can't wait to make this again using a different combination of veggies, nuts and fruit. I served this salad with sandwiches when I was feeling to lazy to cook!

  • 1/2 cup rice noodles, soaked and drained (bean thread noodles are best)
  • 1/2 semi-ripe mango, peeled and chopped into small pieces
  • 1 carrot, shredded
  • 1/4 cup scallions, both green and white parts thinly sliced
  • 1 cup black beans, cooked and drained
  • 2 roma tomatoes, chopped into small pieces
  • 1 cup pea shoots
  • 1 cup cucumber, diced
  • 1/2 cup cashews, toasted
  • 1 small organge, peeled and diced
  • 4 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1 fresh hot pepper, minced (optional)
  • 1 tsp freshly grated orange zest (organic is preferable)
  • 1 tbsp freshly squeezed orange juice (use same orange you zested)
  • fresh ground salt and pepper
  1. Combine all ingredients for dressing and let sit 15-20 minutes allowing the flavors to infuse.
  2. Combine salad ingredients into a medium size bowl. 
  3. Pour dressing over salad . Toss and serve!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Baked Zucchini Sticks

One of my favorite foods growing up was deep fried zucchini. I now understand that although deep fried tastes wonderful it isn't always good for me. Lucky for us there are alternative ways to cook our favorite deep fried foods. This particular recipe requires you to bread and baking the zucchini at a high temperature. The result is very satisfying and if done properly very similar to deep fried zucchini. I served my zucchini sticks with ranch dressing but I also recommend marinara sauce.

Note: I made the mistake of using fresh breadcrumbs that were coarsely ground. When I make these again I will without a doubt use fine bread crumbs.
  • 2 medium zucchini sliced into 3" x 1/2" sticks
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup whole wheat seasoned bread crumbs (fine)
  • 2 tbsp grated Parmesan or Pecorino cheese
  • 1 garlic glove, finely minced or crushed
  • fresh ground salt and pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 425°.
  2. In a small bowl, beat egg and season with salt and pepper. In a ziplock bag, place breadcrumbs, garlic and cheese and shake well. Line with parchment paper or spray with cooking oil.
  3. Dip zucchini sticks into eggs then into bread crumb and cheese mixture, a few at a time and shake to coat. Place the breaded zucchini in a single layer. Bake at 425° for about 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Rebar Chocolate Cake

Happy Valentines bloggers! I hope you are all enjoying some decadent chocolate treats washed down with some wonderful chilled wine. I know I will be digging into some chocolate covered strawberries and rose wine shortly... Let's not forget that you don't need a significant other or Valentines as an excuse to indulge in chocolate!

Speaking of chocolate I had the pleasure of making yet another birthday cake for a colleague who absolutely loves chocolate. I had planned to make her a raw vegan cheesecake but for whatever reason the Rebar cookbook was beckoning me to flip open to the dessert section and discover their signature chocolate cake. I made a few alterations to this recipe by cutting the butter in half and substituting with more cream cheese (I used a full brick) for the cake filling. My cake looks staggered because I didn't realize my cake pans were slightly different sizes. The coffee in this recipe makes for a super moist cake and I really liked how the filling turned out too, sort of like chocolate cheesecake sandwiched between chocolate cake. I will be making this recipe again for sure.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Roasted Red Pepper and Acorn Squash Soup with Orzo

I always look forward to trying out new soup recipes, mostly because it allows me to eliminate soups that I once thought were fabulous only to discover they were really quite blah. I figure if I commit to trying a different soup recipe every week for the next year or two I will possibly be able to say that I know from experience that this is the best way to make squash soup!

With that said there are infinite possibilities when it comes to making squash soup. It all depends on what flavor you are looking for or prefer. This particular recipe has a nice smokey flavor which is complemented by the roasted red peppers. I have been told that veggie based soups are always more flavorful with roasted vegetables especially those that will be pureed.

I made a few changes to this recipe by using acorn squash instead of butternut and roasting all of the vegetables including the squash in one large roasting pan at 400° for 40 minutes. I also added half a cup cooked orzo for substance.

In the end I decided I enjoyed this recipe but I will not be adding it to my favorite list, mostly because I am not a big fan of paprika.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Brussels with Cranberry and Walnuts

I wasn't a fan of Brussels until I tried them glazed with cherry jam. Now I can't get enough of them! I can even boast that I have converted at least three people into liking Brussels by glazing them with a few tablespoons of cranberry sauce or jam.

Here is another way to serve Brussels that is similar to a simple glaze but slightly more complex with nuts, shallots, walnut oil and agave syrup. This recipe is very simple and makes for a very good side dish. I used honey instead of agave syrup and served with cranberry glazed tofu as pictured below.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Roasted Squash, Spinach and Three-Cheese Cannelloni

This is the very first vegetarian recipe I ever made. Actually, it was also the very first meal I made for Mike on our second date. When he arrived for dinner I asked him if there was any foods he didn't like. He told me that he wasn't a fan of squash... Uh oh! I told him squash was in fact on the menu but I could whip something else up if he preferred. He said that whatever was baking in the oven smelled far too good for him to pass up! Needless to say Mike is now a very big fan of squash.

I treasure this recipe and serve it to anyone I am trying to woo, especially those that may favor eating animals over vegetables. I consider this recipe the turkey dinner of my vegetarian world as it is so rich and time consuming that you wouldn't normally make the effort unless it were for a special occasion.

Other then using whole wheat or brown rice lasagna noodles, I never change a thing about this recipe. I recommend serving with garlic bread and either a tossed salad or steamed Brussels or broccoli.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Millet and Black Bean Timbales

Although this dish is nice and refreshing I think I would serve it as a salad next time with a cilantro vinaigrette as I found it a bit bland. I used a tin-can with both ends removed to form the cylindrical shape presented below. Still can't believe I was actually able to pull of the timbale (according to Wikipedia this means a dish baked in a round mold). I did not have high expectations in being able to do this. I get quite giddy every time I reflect on this!

Millet is rich in B vitamins and is celiac friendly because it does not contain case your wondering!