Saturday, May 31, 2014

Guacamole with Cherry Preserves

A few weeks ago Dave and I went out with some friends to a new Mexican restaurant in town. We split a really delicious habenaro jelly guacamole as an appetizer. I wanted to recreate that recipe, but when picking up the ingredients I thought it might be nice to do a sweet/savory guacamole. The habenaro jelly guacamole will need to wait for another blog.

A Vegetarian & Cooking! original.

-3 avocados
-1 jalapeno, diced
-1 shallot, diced
-Lime juice
-Salt, to taste
-Cherry preserves
-Tortilla chips.
Remove the skin from the avocado.

Add the diced jalapeno and shallot.
Add a dash of salt and a little lime juice.

Mix together, make a crater for the preserves. 

Add several tablespoons of cherry preserves.

Serve with tortilla chips.

This recipe was phenomenal. The sweetness of the cherry preserves went well with the flavors of the guacamole. It also went well with the saltiness of the tortilla chips. The savory of the avocado and the sweetness of the cherry is just a great combination.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Slow Cooker Vegetarian Mushroom Stroganoff

I had to squeeze in one last slow cooker recipe this month. People like to use their slow cookers in the winter, but they're perfect for summer too. If you use the slow cooker you won't need to turn on the oven and if you're not using AC then the less heat the better. It is also nice because it allows you to enjoy a great home cooked meal despite a busy summer schedule.

Recipe form Amuse your Bouche.


-1 pound mushrooms, sliced

-1 onion, diced

-1 tbsp butter
-2.5 cups of vegetable broth 
-2 tbsp tomato ketchup
-1 tbsp paprika
-1 teas chili powder
-dash cumin
-3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
-4tbsp sour cream (heaped)
-Pasta for serving, optional

In a large skillet melt the butter and add the onion and mushrooms.
Saute for 5-10 minutes or until the onion is softened. 

Add the mushrooms, vegetable broth, ketchup, spices and sliced garlic to the slow cooker.
Cook on high for four hours. 

Serve over pasta with a large dollop of sour cream.

Dave and I both enjoyed this recipe. The mushrooms were full of flavor and the leftover broth was very flavorful. I enjoyed mine served over pasta, Dave liked the broth the best and ate his portion in a bowl with sour cream stirred into the dish. This is a recipe which I will be making again because it was so easy to put together and very enjoyable.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Maple Brown Sugar Glaze

I'm not a huge fan of sweet potatoes unless there is an additional layer of sweetness added. These have a great maple brown sugar glaze on them which takes the recipe to another level. This was the first time I had made gnocchi and it was incredibly easy to do.

Gnocchi recipe from Food 52.

-1 pound or a little more, sweet potato
-1/2 cup full fat ricotta
-1 medium egg, lightly beaten
-1/2 teaspoon sea salt
-1 1/4 cup all purpose flour, plus more for dusting
-1 orange, optional

Maple Brown Sugar Glaze
-3 tablespoons maple syrup
-3 tablespoons brown sugar

Wash the sweet potatoes and score them with an X.
Bake at 400 for about 30-40 minutes or until soft.

Remove the peels from the sweet potatoes and mash until smooth.
Add the ricotta and egg.
Mix together.

Then, stir in the flour 1/4 cup at a time, just until you have a workable dough.
You want to use as little flour as possible so that your gnocchi won't be dense and chewy.
Once a dough has formed turn the dough out onto a floured surface.
Slice into four equal pieces. 

Roll each into a 1 inch thick log of dough.

Use a knife to cut the log into 1 inch pieces.
Score each with a fork. 
In a large pot of boiling water cook the gnocchi until they float to the top -- scoop them out with a slotted spoon as soon as they are floating.

To make the maple brown sugar glaze heat the maple syrup and brown sugar in a pan until melted together and hot.

Drizzle the glaze over the gnocchi.
Squeeze an orange slice over the pasta if desired and serve with orange segments. 


I really enjoyed this recipe. The gnocchi was very light like it should have been, it did not become dense. The maple brown sugar glaze is very sweet, but I think that it helped to tie the recipe together. The citrus element helped to cut through some of that sweetness. I really enjoyed eating a little segment of orange with the gnocchi I think it was a nice flavor combination. 

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Grilled Romaine with Orange and Blue Cheese Vinaigrette

This is the last Salad Wednesday post, next week will start Grilling Wednesday for June-August. This is a recipe which incorporates salad ingredients with grilling. I was pretty skeptical about grilling the romaine, but I was really happy with the result. 

Other Salad Wednesday Posts: Greek Panzanella, Greek Yogurt Waldorf Salad, Chickpea Kale Salad,Cranberry Bacon Almond Goat Cheese Salad, Blood Orange CapresePesto Pasta Salad with Roasted Tomatoes & Asparagus and Mustard & Onion Potato Salad.

Recipe from Women's Health Magazine.

-1/4 cup fresh orange juice (from 2 oranges)
-1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
-1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
-1/2 tsp honey
-1/8 tsp sea salt
-1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper 

-2 medium oranges
-2 heads romaine lettuce, halved lengthwise
-Sea salt and black pepper
-1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese

Thoroughly clean the romaine. Slice each in half. 

Whisk together the vinaigrette ingredients. 

Brush with vinaigrette and season with salt and pepper.
Grill cut side down for one to two minutes.
Flip and repeat.
Serve drizzled with more vinaigrette.
Sprinkle with the blue cheese, add the orange slices and serve with additional black pepper.

This recipe was actually really good. Parts of the romaine got crispy when grilled, others were just warm. The tangy flavor of the blue cheese went well with the sharpness of the citrus. The vinaigrette was both sweet and citrus flavored.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Pasta with Vodka Sauce and Jalapanos topped with Crispy Shallots

I came up with the idea for this pasta while wandering around the grocery store. When I was in college living in my townhouse, vodka sauce was the only pasta sauce that I would buy -- it has a nice kick to it. If you really like spicy things keep the jalapenos in this recipe, if you're skeptical you might want to leave them out just because the sauce is spicy.

A Vegetarian & Cooking! original. 

-1 box of small shell pasta, cooked according to package directions
-1 jar of vodka sauce
-3 jalapenos, sliced
-4 mushrooms, sliced
-1 egg
-3 shallots, thinly sliced
-Oil for frying

Slice the jalapeno and mushrooms.

To make the crispy shallots.
Dip them into an egg which has been whisked together.
Then dip into flour to coat them.
Fry in hot oil until golden brown.

Saute both in a small sauce pan until the jalapeno has softened a little and the mushrooms have reduced slightly.

Stir together the pasta, vodka sauce, jalapenos and mushrooms.

Serve topped with crispy fried shallots.

Dave and I both liked this recipe -- but we both like spicy foods. If you want to take it down a notch you need to either use a marinara sauce + jalapenos or vodka sauce with no jalapenos. The crispy fried shallots added a little crunch to the recipe and had nice flavor. This is a dish which I would make again.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Stars & Stripes Pie

Happy Memorial Day! Thank you to everyone who is currently serving in the military or who has served. My best friend of fourteen years is in the Navy and I'm so blessed that I have the opportunity to travel to see her in about a week and half. Since she joined the Navy we've been trying to see each other about once a year.

I thought this recipe was adorable, if you want a bigger color contrast use prepared pie filling from a can. I used frozen berries for the filling and it detracted from the color contrast.

Recipe adapted from Women's Day.

-1 box(es) (15 oz) refrigerated ready-to-use pie crusts
-1 large egg, slightly beaten in a cup
-3 tablespoon(s) sanding or coarse (crystal) sugar

-1 bag frozen cherries
-1 bag frozen blueberries

To make the filling in 1 bowl combine a handful of frozen blueberries (you need to guest-imate. You will want one small corner of blueberries, the rest cherries), 1/3 cup flour, 1/3 cup sugar. Repeat the same thing with the frozen cherries, 1/3 cup flour, 1/3 cup sugar.

Bend a clean 6-in. square of cardboard (or a note card) in the middle to form a wedge.
Place in upper left corner of pie (like hands of a clock pointing to 9 and 12).
Fill with the blueberries.
Add the cherries to the rest of the pie.
Remove the note card.
Using a pizza cutter make three long stripes and two short stripes.
Place like so over the cherry filling.

Using a sharp knife cut out small stars from the remaining crust.
I made a template our of card stock in order to accomplish this.
Brush the crust pieces with milk and sprinkle with sugar.

Bake at 425 for 30 minutes.
Then reduce the heat to 350 and bake an additional 20-30 minutes.
Let cool before serving.

I was a little disappointed in this recipe. The pie crust needed to be baked prior to the filling being added, the bottom crust got a little soggy. I also wished that the color would have come through a little better, I think pre-made filling would be the best to use -- the concept was adorable though.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Blue Sparkling Cocktail

Sometimes you need simplicity. This recipe is a simple cocktail which is perfect for Memorial Day or the Fourth of July due to its color. The color comes from the blue curaçao which is blue in color, but orange flavored. I'll have another Memorial Day recipe tomorrow.

The weather here has been beautiful this weekend and we're planning on enjoying it fully. Dave and I will be at a picnic today with my family so expect lots of Instagram posts. If you have a three day weekend like I do, enjoy it!

Recipe from Day Dreamer Desserts.

-2 ounces triple sec
-2 ounces blue curaçao
Mix all ingredients in desired glass.
Add as much champagne as you'd like.
This drink got mixed reviews -- Dave thought that it was okay except for the color which is a little off-putting alone. I usually love champagne cocktails and I just didn't like the mixture of flavors. This is also an incredibly strong drink, I could not finish my glass. If I made this again I would use a mixer that wasn't alcohol based -- instead of champagne, maybe some sort of juice. 

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Zucchini Fritters with Chili Lime Yogurt

My summer class is finally over! Dave and I had a great time celebrating last night with some of our friends. We're excited to enjoy what the rest of the summer has to offer for us without thinking about school. As I mentioned a few days ago we're taking two trips out of Ohio in June -- I will hopefully have some great blog ideas from our travels for you in July.

This recipe is something that is good to use up all of that zucchini from your garden at the end of the summer. My parents always plant a huge garden for the summer and I love that I don't have to buy as much produce during those months since I cook so much.

Recipe from Family Feed Bag.

-vegetable oil for frying
-3 cups grated zucchini
-1 cup diced onion
-2 eggs
-1 cup all-purpose flour
-1 tsp baking powder
-1/2 tsp chili powder
-1/2 tsp salt
-1/4 tsp pepper

Chili Lime Yogurt
-1 cup Greek yogurt
-juice of half a lime
-1/2 tsp chili powder

To make the chili lime yogurt, mix all of the ingredients together.

Combine the zucchini, onion, and eggs in a large bowl.

Add flour, baking powder, 1/2 tsp of chili powder, salt, and pepper and stir to combine.

Heat oil in a skillet and fry heaping tablespoons of dough until golden brown on each side.

Drain on a paper towel.
Serve with the chili lime yogurt.

Dave and I both really enjoyed this recipe. The zucchini fritters had good flavor, but the chili lime yogurt was the star of this. The yogurt added both a coolness (from the yogurt), a tangy flavor (from the Greek yogurt) and a spice (from the chili) -- all of those went really well with the hot, slightly crunchy fritters.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Slow Cooker Greek Lemon and Rice Soup

You've seen a lot of slow cooker recipes this month because that was the easiest way for me to recipe test during finals week.

Today is the last day of my summer class and I am so relieved. I had a really great time and it was an awesome learning experience -- but I have a two to three hour trial to put on today for my final class project. Send good thoughts my way!

Recipe from 365 Days of Slow Cooking.

-6 cups of vegetable broth
-3/4 cup long-grain brown rice
-1 Tbsp dried parsley flakes
-3 egg yolks
-1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
-Salt and pepper to taste
-Garnish with lemon zest and/or slices

1.  Add vegetable broth, rice and parsley into slow cooker. Cover and cook on HIGH for 3 hours
2.  Turn slow cooker to LOW.
3.  Whisk together the egg yolks and lemon juice.  Add a ladle of soup into the egg yolks. This is to temper the soup and prevent the eggs from cooking too quickly. You don't want scrambled eggs! Whisk.  Add all back into the slow cooker.
5.  Cover and cook on LOW for another 10 minutes.
6.  Add salt and pepper.  Serve garnished with lemon slices.

I was a little disappointed in this recipe. It was really just okay. The flavor was lemony, but the texture was pretty off putting to me. It was like oatmeal...I don't like oatmeal so that could be contributing to that. The flavor was a little bland too. Not sure if this is one I would make again.