Category: Cooking


Pasta 1 & 2

Kohlrabi, carrot & Kale over noodles

Kohlrabi, carrot & kale over noodles

I saw an interesting recipe in my weekly Fresh 20 plan (which I’ve been ignoring for a while) that involved kohlrabi stir fried with onion, garlic, edamame, carrots, and kale and served over noodles. Neither K nor I like egg noodles, so we made pasta instead. It was my first time eating kohlrabi. Meh. What intrigued me about the recipe was the seasoning: white wine, Dijon mustard & Herbes de Provence (or Italian seasoning :)!) and vegetable broth, with sour cream or Greek yoghurt added at the very end – that explains the whitish thing on the vegetables. It was a nice meal – very home cooked, and not too difficult to make.

I always cook more pasta than I need for a recipe, because it’s handy to have it cooked and use it for something else. I’ve been thinking about that white whine sauce without the yoghurt or sour cream, and K suggested pasta primavera would be a good use of left-over cooked bow ties (mainly because he doesn’t really like tomato sauce).

I also had left-over frozen edamamae, so, here we go, 5 easy steps to a yummy meal:

  1. Sautee frozen edamame, carrots and peas in a bit of grapeseed oil (I skipped the traditional onion and garlic at the beginning, because I’m tired of my house smelling of food).
  2. Chop some red bell pepper and cherry tomatoes.
  3. Mix up 1-2 teaspoons Dijon mustard with 1/2 cup white cooking (aka cheap) wine, Italian seasoning, and salt. Dump it in the pan with the edamame, peas, carrots, and red bell pepper. Simmer for a few minutes.
  4. Add in cooked pasta, halved cherry tomatoes, and chopped olives and stir to warm them through, but do not cook the tomatoes.
  5. Sprinkle parmesan and fresh black pepper on top.
  6. (optional) get handsome black cat to pose with the meal and enjoy with some white wine (not the cooking kind, but I’m not judging!)
Pasta primavera in 5 easy steps.

Pasta primavera in 5 easy steps.

 

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Stormy tacos

The snow storm made my husband and I rummage through the fridge and pantry to find dinner. So we came up with these tacos:

tacos

– refried beans on the bottom

– spicy fried potato cubes in the middle

– queso on top

I made a salsa “sour cream” out of Greek yoghurt, mayo, chopped tomatoes, and lemon juice (lime and cilantro would have been nice, but we didn’t have any).

The Greek yoghurt sauce would work well in a wrap, too – maybe with tomatoes and black beans for an easy summer lunch.

Anyway, it was yummy and we enjoyed collaborating on something other than research grants. 🙂

I finally tried quinoa pasta (gluten free) today – and loved it. It’s very firm and tastier than regular pasta, in my opinion.

I made a simple dish with sautéed red bell peppers tossed with the cooked pasta and parmesan, seasoned with Italian herbs, salt, and a bit of balsamic vinegar. I mixed in fresh arugula at the end, because arugula makes everything better. It was light, nutritious, and delicious.

quinoa pasta with bell pepper, parmesan, and arugula

stuffed bell peppers and strawberry spinach salad

This is a combination inspired by a recipe I saw in vegetarian times and a salad from the Fresh 20 menu plan. I modified them a bit, and the result was:

Bell peppers, baked for 30 minutes, then stuffed with sauteed corn, quinoa, then mixed with goat cheese and parsley. Served with a spinach strawberry salad topped with toasted walnuts and pecans.

With rosemary sweet potato baked chips (slices, in this case).

We finally bought a panini press… yum!

Panini with sweet potato slices

Loved this, and it was easy to make.

Walnut pesto, sun-dried tomato and tofu pasta

Walnut pesto, sun-dried tomato and tofu pasta

The interesting part here is the tofu. I cubed it, froze it, defrost it (this takes the water out of it), marinated it in lemon juice+dill+soy sauce, pan-fried it, then added the cooked pasta, the pesto, and the sun-dried tomatoes. With a bit of planning ahead (I made the pesto this past weekend, and froze the tofu as soon as I bought it, so all I had to do was defrost and marinate overnight), this is a very easy recipe.

The tofu was very lemony and flavorful, and the right texture – not soft and crumbly, not hard, not chewy.

Served with an arugula salad with cantaloupe and goat cheese, which was amazing, but I forgot to photograph.

cantaloupe arugula salad

cantaloupe arugula salad from Vegetarian Times

Panzanella bread salad

For this one I pretty much followed the Fresh 20 recipe. It was yummy, healthy, filling. Served with black bean burger on top. It’s a salad with vegetables, chick peas, toasted bread, and feta cheese.

There are many recipes out there, here’s one for panzanella bread salad from allrecipes.com.

Fresh 20 and last night’s dinner

In a (continuing) effort to cook our own food, I bought a Groupon for this service called Fresh 20. They send weekly meal plans (vegetarian and gluten-free available!) with shopping lists and nutrition information and thus take the thinking out of cooking. Given that for me, the creative part takes more time (and anguish) than the prep itself, it seemed the perfect solution! I just activated my subscription (vegetarian) and I am happy to report that the recipes are interesting and appealing. But I didn’t make them. And that’s OK. Because they provided inspiration and ideas, so I couldn’t help but put my own twist on things.

So, what was for dinner yesterday?

Lentil-potato cakes, inspired by Fresh 20’s Mediterranean cakes recipe. I made mine with cooked lentils and potatoes, egg, bread, lots of parsley and dill, Moroccan seasoning, and added in peas and carrots for a bit of color and texture variation.

Lentil potato cakes

And watermelon salad with feta cheese, almonds, and mint, served with warm pita (in our case, store-bought naan):

Watermelon salad with feta and almonds

It was a nice summer meal, and most of the time was taken by boiling the lentils and potatoes, so I guess it counts as easy? – OK, medium difficulty 🙂

 

What’s been coooking lately?

I’ve been on a roll lately, and, with renewed commitment and enthusiasm, we tried eating at home at least 4-5 days a week. Here’s what’s been cooking lately 😉

This is a dish I quasi-invented with sauteed onions & apples, kale and quinoa – with a few toasted walnuts sprinkled on top.

The tostadas above start with vegetarian refried beans (from a can) and a bit of cheese. After broiling for a few minutes until the cheese melted, we topped them with a salsa made with tomato, mango, avocado, lime, and cilantro.

This soup started as a joke, after I saw a gross-looking green smoothie in Yoga Journal. But then I thought, why not make it into a savory soup? I blended an avocado, half a cucumber, spinach leaves and broccoli sprouts with lime and vegetable stock. I had leftover fresh corn and added it to the soup, along with pita chips. It was amazing!

This dish was surprisingly good – the kind I would actually pay money for in a restaurant. It is… barley (yes, barley) with shiitake mushrooms. I soaked the barley over night so it would cook in about 20 minutes. I sauteed onions, then shiitake mushrooms, and seasoned with dry Italian herbs and tomato paste – I basically followed the directions on the barley bag, but added shiitake. The flavors were amazingly savory and satisfying, and the nuttiness of barley made this dish so much better than a risotto. We sprinkled a bit of parmesan cheese on top.

There were other dishes, of course, but without photos, I don’t remember them. That’s why it’s important to save them here, for weeks when I need inspiration!

What have you been cooking lately?

I’ve been COOKING lately!!! The next few blog posts will document the “masterpieces”… but for now, we had a small vegetarian cook-out yesterday that my mom would be proud of:

We started with the traditional Romanian eggplant salad – it’s the Romanian version of baba ganouj: roasted, mashed eggplants flavored with salt, lemon, minced onion, and olive oil (we sometimes add a bit of mayo for smoothness).

Eggplant salad and roasted red peppers (marinated in a balsamic vinaigrette) go together like… peanut butter and jelly.

We roasted sweet potato wedges, and I made a lime-cilantro yoghurt/mayo dressing to with them.

We had a nice and light pasta salad with cherry tomatoes, fresh red bell peppers, kalamata olives, and feta cheese.

It all went perfectly with a light pinot grigio.

A perfect evening meal for a perfect September day.