Monday, March 22, 2010

Hot & Sour Soup and Pot Stickers (Vegan!)


Hot & sour soup is one of our favorites, but we don't eat it often since we don't have a very good Chinese restaurant close by. I was hesitant to try to make the vegan variety since it typically gets it's flavor from pork. Now, this is not AS good as the pork flavored stuff, but it is really, really good and a lot healthier to boot.

We used this recipe.

Since I don't know what bamboo 'fungus' is, we used bamboo shoots. You can get all of this stuff at an Asian grocery.


The pot stickers are something we've made a lot of. You can fill them with whatever you like, but we love using tofu or mock duck or something like that. Shrimp is also good and obviously pork would be delicious too.


Pot Stickers

Round wonton wrappers
1 block of tofu, diced VERY small
4 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 thumb of ginger, chopped
1 carrot, grated
half a cup of chopped cilantro
half a cup of green onions
a few drops of sesame oil
a splash of soy sauce

Saute everything except the cilantro and green onions together in a frying pan for about 5-10 minutes. Remove from eat and then add cilantro and onions. Put a small spoonful of the veggie/tofu mixture on top and to one side of a wonton, and then fold the other half over. Seal with a little water.

Once all of your wontons are made, heat a skillet (that has a lid) to medium high, and then add a little splash of olive oil or stir fry tea oil. Once your oil and pan are hot, add as many wontons as you can fit. Cook the wontons on that side until they start to brown a little on the bottoms. Now, carefully add about a quarter cup of water and cover your pan. Let the wontons steam for a minute or two or until they tops are transparent. Remove and eat immediately. These are great served with hoisin, sriracha, or just more soy sauce.


Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Baked Eggplant Stacks


Who doesn't love eggplant parmesan? It's one of my favorites, but I've rarely had it when it isn't super greasy and heavy. I wanted to make something similar, but without all that grease and without it taking all night.

Look, I realize that you can fry anything in oil and it will be totally delicious. I understand that, BUT you don't have to do that to get cripsy, tasty eggplant. The only oil used is just a little olive oil on the baking sheet and little more drizzled over the sliced eggplant. Enough to give it some crunch, but not enough for it to soak into the eggplant slices. Perfection.


For the eggplant

1 large eggplant, sliced into 1/2" rounds
1-2 cups bread crumbs
pinch of oregano
2 eggs

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Season the bread crumbs with the oregano, salt, and pepper. Scramble the eggs together in a shallow and wide bowl. Dredge the eggplant rounds into the egg mixture and then into the bread crumbs. Drizzle a little olive oil on a baking sheet and spread rounds on it. Drizzle the tops with a little more olive oil. Bake for about 8-10 minutes and then turn over and bake until brown and crispy on both sides--about 8-10 more minutes.


Simple Marinara

1 large can crushed tomatoes
6-8 cloves of garlic, chopped
1/2 and onion, diced
1 teaspoon sugar
black pepper
olive oil

Saute garlic and onions in olive oil until onions start to sweat. Add the canned tomatoes, sugar and black pepper and simmer for 15 minutes.

To serve

Ladle some marinara sauce onto a plate. Top with one eggplant slice. Crumble some goat cheese on top of that and then some fresh basil leaves. Repeat again and then top with a third eggplant slice and finally more marinara.


Monday, March 1, 2010

Breakfast: Shrimp, Grits, and a Fried Egg


We had some leftover shrimp from the night before, so this was super simple. We just made some cheese grits, reheated the shrimp, fried an egg and served it with some salsa and lots of cilantro. Simple ingredients, but lots of flavor...

Shrimp: half an onion, 2 garlic cloves, crushed red pepper, smoked paprika


Just fill up your bowl with the cheese grits, top with the fried egg and then the shrimp and garnish!

For the fried egg, if you like yours runny, start with high heat and cook the egg on one side until the whites on top are close to solid, but still have a little transparency. Turn the heat down to low and cover and cook for an additional minute or two--until the whites are solid. No need to turn over and risk breaking the yolk!


Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Winter Squash Stuffed with Quinoa, Walnuts, and Grain Sausage


We made this a long time ago with the last of our African squash from the garden, but it would be perfect with any winter squash, especially acorn squash. One squash would serve two people.

You could use rice or couscous instead of quinoa if you had those on hand. This could easily be made vegan by omitting the parmesan topping.



1 acorn/carnival/small butternut squash per 2 people

2 grain sausages, diced (we used Field Roast brand, Smoked Apple Sage)
Several fresh sage leaves, chopped
1/2 cup walnuts, broken up
3/4 cup quinoa
1 1/2 cups broth (we used veggie broth)
handful of grated parmesan


For the squash:
Cut in half and remove all the seeds and innards. Roast at about 400 degrees until the squash is tender all the way through.


Meanwhile, roast your walnuts in a hot pan that has a lid. When they start to brown, add the diced grain sausage. When that starts to brown, add the sage. Pour in the broth and bring it to a boil and then add your quinoa and cover, lowering the heat. It should be fully cooked in 15-20 minutes.


Stuff your squash halves with the stuffing mixture, add cheese, and bake at 375 degrees for about 20 minutes. Serve with a salad or roasted vegetables.


Monday, February 22, 2010

Lasagna with Venison Bolognese


This is the very first time I ever made a lasagna with meat! I made this for the hubby one night while he was studying for his comprehensive exams for his PhD. He PASSED! Now all he has to do is write a biggie.

Anyway, this recipe is adapted from Gourmet. Theirs calls from pancetta and they used beef chuck--I used venison instead for a lighter and leaner version. I also cut the eggs in half (they used 4!!!) in the ricotta filling.


For bolognese sauce:
1/4 cup olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 large carrot, finely chopped
1 celery rib, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1-2 pounds ground venison
1 1/2 cups dry white wine
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1/4 cup tomato paste
1 1/2 teaspoon thyme leaves

For Ricotta filling:
2 (10-ounce) packages frozen chopped spinach,thawed
2 (15-ounce) containers whole-milk ricotta
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
3/4 cup whole milk, divided

For assembling lasagne:
12 lasagna noodles (from 1 box)
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano



  • Make Sauce: heat oil in a 12-to 14-inch heavy skillet over medium heat until it shimmers. Cook onion, carrot, celery, and garlic, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are golden and softened, 12 to 15 minutes.
  • Add venison and cook, stirring occasionally and breaking up any lumps, until meat is no longer pink, 6 to 10 minutes.
  • Stir in wine, milk, tomato paste, thyme, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 3/4 teaspoon pepper. Simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until most of liquid has evaporated but sauce is still moist, about 1 hour.
  • Make ricotta filling: put spinach in a kitchen towel (not terry cloth) and twist to squeeze out as much moisture as possible.
  • Whisk together ricotta, eggs, parmesan, nutmeg, 1 1/4 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Transfer 1 1/2 cups ricotta mixture to another bowl and whisk in 1/4 cup milk; set aside.
  • Whisk spinach into remaining filling with remaining 1/2 cup milk.
  • Assemble and bake lasagna: preheat oven to 375°F with rack in middle.
  • Soak no-boil noodles in a bowl of very warm water until pliable but not softened, 3 to 5 minutes. Place on a kitchen towel (it's not necessary to pat noodles dry) or if using regular noodles, boil until not quite al dente
  • Spread 1 1/2 cups bolognese sauce in baking pan and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon parmesan. Cover with 3 noodles, leaving space in between.
  • Spread half of spinach filling on top, then 1 cup bolognese sauce, and top with 1 tablespoon parmesan and 3 noodles; repeat.
  • Top with remaining bolognese sauce, 1 tablespoon parmesan, and remaining 3 noodles. Pour reserved ricotta mixture over top and sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup parmesan.
  • Cover pan tightly with foil and bake 50 minutes.
  • Remove foil and bake until top is browned in spots, about 15 minutes more. Let stand 15 to 30 minutes before cutting.
Serves 8-10


Thursday, February 18, 2010

Monday, January 11, 2010

Winter Squash Pizza with Sage Pesto & Feta


Long time, no post. Sorry about that. I've been busy trying to start a business!!

If you follow this blog, you already know that we love pizza. Well, get ready to start seeing a lot of pizza here. Making your own pizza dough is so simple that we now have pizza about once a week, at least. The best thing about this pizza is that it uses local, seasonal ingredients. Pizza is ridiculously versatile, so be creative!

Simple Pizza Dough

For the sage pesto:

about 20 large sage leaves
4 cloves of garlic
half a cup of shredded parmesan cheese
1/4 cup walnuts, pine nuts, pecans, etc.
1/4 cup olive oil

Process in a food processor or blender until smooth.

To make the pizza:

Start by dicing some winter squash--we used african squash that we grew in our garden, but butternut, acorn, etc. will work perfectly as well. Roast at 400 degrees until fork-tender. Meanwhile, thinly slice a yellow onion (vidalia is what we used).

Preheat over to 500 degrees and go ahead and heat up your pizza pan or pizza stone. We used to use a pizza stone, but now we prefer just a regular old cookie sheet.


To assemble the pizza:
Roll out your dough on a floured service and then transfer to your pan/pizza stone. You will probably need to put a little dusting of corn meal on your pan or stone so the dough doesn't stick. Now spread the pesto out over the entire dough (you may need to add more oil if it's not easily spreading). Next, add the roasted squash, then the feta, some black pepper, and then some shredded mozzarella. Finally, add the sliced onion.

Cook for about 12-15 minutes or until top begins to brown and bottom is crispy.
Valpolicella would be my wine choice, but Pinot Gris would also be great, if white is your thing.