Slideshow


Thursday, July 23, 2015

See You August 1st

Vegetarian & Cooking is on a brief hiatus. I have a very important examination for my career at the end of this month and due to the focus I've been placing on studying, I have not been able to put the same amount of love into this blog. I will resume posting daily on August 1, 2015 when an incredible weight will be lifted off my shoulders giving me more time to dedicate to the things I love -- food and blogging.

See you on August 1st!

XOXO

Alecia

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Strawberry-Rhubarb Greek Yogurt Fool


I started incorporating rhubarb into recipe this summer and I feel like I've been missing out for such a long time. This recipe is intended as a dessert, but we ate it for breakfast. It wasn't too sweet and the Greek yogurt has plenty of protein, so enjoying this for breakfast or brunch shouldn't be a problem. Or it could be a light, summery dessert. 

Recipe from Food Network.

Ingredients:
-2 stalks rhubarb, cut into 1-inch pieces
-1 cup sliced strawberries
-1/2 cup sugar
-One 3-inch strip orange peel, plus 1 teaspoon grated zest
-2 cups nonfat or 2-percent Greek yogurt
-1 teaspoon vanilla extract
-2 tablespoons honey
-1/2 cup chopped pistachios

Combine the rhubarb, strawberries, sugar and orange peel in a smal saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer and cook until soft, stirring frequently, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and let cool completely. Remove the orange peel and discard before serving.

In another bowl fold the vanilla and orange zest into the Greek yogurt, orange zest. Swirl the rhubarb mixture through the yogurt; do not fold it in completely, you don't want it to be totally mixed, swirling it will make for a prettier dessert . Divide among bowls or martini glasses; there will be four servings. Drizzle some honey over each fool and top with pistachios.






This was pretty interesting. The orange zest made the recipe a little bitter, but the vanilla and strawberry helped to offset the bitterness and prevent it from being unpleasant. The pistachio added a nice crunch. This is something I would make again, there are several variations from Food Network involving different fruit combinations. 

Friday, July 17, 2015

Slow Cooker Peach Cobbler


A dish like this is perfect for a summer dessert because it uses those ripe and delicious peaches without heating up the whole kitchen with a hot oven. The crust comes out like a sweeter pancake, but it's still a nicely composed dessert, easy to make, and serves many.

Recipe from Spicy Southern Kitchen.

Ingredients:

-4 cups ripe, peeled and sliced peaches (snack on the peels)
-¼ cup sugar
-¼ teaspoon cinnamon
-1 cup Bisquick
-½ cup sugar
-¾ cup milk
-1 teaspoon vanilla extract
-2 tablespoons butter
-vanilla frozen yogurt

Brush or wipe slow cooker pot lightly with oil. Toss sliced peaches, 1/4 cup sugar and cinnamon in a bowl to coat, then pour into the slow cooker and spread evenly across the bottom. In a separate bowl, combine the Bisquick, 1/2 cup sugar milk and vanilla extract, then pour over peaches. Cut the butter into thin pieces and distribute over the Bisquick mix. Then, cover and set the cobbler to cook on low for 2 hours and 45 minutes, and then on high for 30 minutes more.


Serve with vanilla frozen yogurt for a creamy, cooling pairing with this sweet and easy dish.




Thursday, July 16, 2015

Vegetarian Pho



The local grocery store runs a weekly promotion where one item is free/highly discounted with your store card. When the item was a free eight ounce package of mushrooms, Dave and I each picked one up with our cards, but then I needed to find recipes to use them all before they could spoil. I had this recipe on my Pinterest already and plenty of homemade vegetable broth in the freezer -- it turned out to be a perfect match.

Recipe from Oh My Veggies.

Ingredients: 
-64 ounces vegetable broth
-6 green onions, thinly sliced
-1 tablespoon fresh ginger, peeled and grated
-Salt to taste
-1 1/2 tablespoon butter
-8 ounces  mushrooms, stems removed
-1 1/2 tablespoon hoisin sauce
-2 teaspoons sesame oil
-14 ounces rice noodles, cooked according to package instructions
-2 jalapeño peppers, thinly sliced
-Fresh basil, lime wedges, hoisin sauce, and chili garlic sauce or sriracha for serving


You'll start by creating a yummy ginger scented broth. In a large pot, combine the vegetable broth, green onion, grated ginger, and salt. Bring to a full boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes.

Shameless plug: You might be thinking, what the heck is that blue thing?!? This is a ceramic grater (demo video) and it's an awesome kitchen tool that Dave's parents gifted me for my birthday. You can grate pretty much anything with it without any leftovers, because you will not cut yourself on the ceramic grater like you would a metal grater. This is what I used to grate the fresh ginger and it allowed me to use the whole knob and to get the smallest possible pieces for the broth, that way no one was biting into a big chunk of fresh ginger.



Next, while the broth is cooking, melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and sauté for about 6 minutes, or until tender, stirring frequently. Stir in the hoisin and sesame oil and cook until the sauce is thick and coating the mushrooms, about 1 minute more. Remove from heat.

Divide the rice noodles between four to six large bowls, then fill each bowl with the ginger broth. Add bean sprouts, sliced jalapenos, hoisin mushrooms, fresh basil and  lime wedges, 


Sorry for the slightly fuzzy photo, this soup was steamy! 

We divided our soup into four servings, our first bowls were a little too spicy, we ended up with some incredibly powerful jalapenos and by the time they steeped in the broth with the hoisin mushrooms the soup was very, very hot. Our second batch was better, we left out the jalapenos and served it the same way. The broth took on a wonderful, light ginger flavor. The hoisin mushrooms helped to add nice flavor and texture. I think added a squeeze of lime is a must, the acidity really complemented the ginger broth and the hoisin mushrooms.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Grilled Guacamole


I really love guacamole, to me it's just such a versatile appetizer, a blank canvas for adding seasonings and toppings. This recipe takes guacamole back to basics with the subtle twist of grilling the ingredients prior to turning them into the avocado appetizer that we all know and love.
-2 ripe avocados , halved, pits removed
-1 small onion, peeled, and cut into 1/2-inch thick slices
-3 small limes, halved crosswise
-extra virgin olive oil
-kosher salt
-freshly-ground black pepper
-1 garlic clove, minced
-3/4 teaspoon ground cumin

Lightly coat the limes, avocado and onion in olive oil. 

Grill cut side down until grill marks appear, this will take about 5 minutes.

Remove from the grill and let cool.

Once cooled, dice the onion, remove the avocado from it's shell and squeeze the juice from the limes. Combine those ingredients with the seasoning and garlic. Serve with tortilla chips.




Grilling the ingredients first helped to bring out a smoky flavor, especially when the cumin was mixed into the recipe. Otherwise this recipe was incredibly easy to make and aside from the smoky flavor, it was a pretty standard guacamole. It would be fun to grill some additional ingredients and add them into the mix, maybe I'll take on that challenge later. 

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Roasted Yellow Bell Pepper and Tomato Soup



I thought this recipe looked really fun. A lot of combinations include red tomatoes, but few showcase the beauty of yellow tomatoes. When paired with yellow bell peppers the result is a smooth and satisfying soup which is perfect for summer.

This soup can be served hot or cold, but it is not a traditional gazpacho since the ingredients are cooked before hand and not pureed raw.

Recipe from Ricotta and Radishes.

Ingredients: 
-4 medium yellow bell peppers, halved and seeded
-6 medium yellow tomatoes, halved, cored and seeded
-2 tbsp olive oil, divided
-1 English cucumber, chopped
-1 jalapeno, finely chopped
-1 clove garlic, finely chopped
-2 shallots, finely chopped
-Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Arrange the peppers and tomatoes on a baking sheet, drizzle with 1 tablespoon of  olive oil and use a brush (or your hands) to make sure that each tomato/bell pepper has a nice coating of oil on the outside. Roast at 375 or until softened and lightly browned, about 40 minutes.
When the tomatoes and peppers are finished roasting Heat the remaining olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the garlic and shallots and cook until softened but not browned, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the cooked peppers, tomatoes, cucumber and jalapeno. Use an immersion blender to puree until smooth.



The color of this soup was incredibly beautiful, I was very happy with how it turned out. Although I'm not usually a fan of cold soups, I thought this one good. I think in gazpacho sometimes the cucumber overwhelms the other ingredients, but in this the tomatoes and bell peppers got to shine through. 

Friday, July 10, 2015

Asian Pear Salad with Gorgonzola and Toasted Hazelnuts


Asian pears are an ingredient that I stumbled upon in my local grocery store about a year ago. The look more like an apple than a pear, although their crisp texture it akin to either fruit. Their flavor is light, which is nice in a salad like this with the assertive gorgonzola cheese.

Recipe slightly adapted from Vegetarian Times.

Ingredients: 
-2 teaspoon olive oil
-1 large shallot, finely chopped (¼ cup)
-3 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
-1 ½ tablespoon honey
-6 cups Boston lettuce, chopped
-1 medium Asian pear, cored and cut into matchsticks
-½ cup crumbled Gorgonzola cheese (2 oz.)
-3 tablespoons shelled, toasted hazelnuts, chopped

Heat the olive oil in small non-stick skillet over low heat. Add shallot, and sauté 4 minutes, or until soft. Remove from heat, and stir in vinegar and honey.

Divide the Boston lettuce among four salad plates. Top each serving with Asian pear matchsticks, gorgonzola cheese, and hazelnuts. Finish with a drizzle of dressing.




This salad has a nice combination of flavors and textures. The Asian pears helped to bring a sweet element, the dressing a slightly acidic element and the shallots a nice savory flavor. The hazelnuts added a firm crunch, while the Asian pear added a softer crunch. We both really enjoyed this salad and it would lend itself to a variety of variations. 

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Crock Pot Thai Vegetable Curry


The slow cooker isn't just for the winter! This summer is pretty unique for Dave and I, because we're both at home following a study program that is necessary to complete an exam which is necessary for our future careers. So, although neither of us is juggling a work schedule, our days are pretty jam packed and we're home all the time eating meals and snacking. Making dinner in the slow cooker helps to free up my schedule a little bit and guarantees a lot of leftovers for future meals.

Recipe from Edible Experiments.

Ingredients:
-1/2 head cauliflower, chopped into florets,
-2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
-1 small onion, diced or sliced vertically into sections
-1 (14 oz.) can light coconut milk
-3 tablespoon soy sauce
-2 teaspoons sriracha sauce 
-1/2 teaspoon salt 
-3 tablespoon green curry paste
-1 tablespoon brown sugar
-8 ounces quartered white mushrooms
-1 cup green peas 
-a couple fresh bail leaves, for garnish
-cooked brown rice


Place the cauliflower, sweet potatoes, and onion in the crock pot. Prepare the mushrooms and put them in a bowl, you'll need those later.

To make the sauce, combine the coconut milk, soy sauce, green curry paste, brown sugar, sriracha sauce, and salt.  Pour the sauce over the the veggies in the crock pot and stir until the veggies are all coated. Set the crock pot to low and let cook for 4 hours.

After four hours add the mushrooms and peas and cook for another 30 minutes. 

Serve over brown rice and garnish with fresh basil if desired.




We both enjoyed this curry, it was full of flavor, but not overly spicy. There was a good amount of vegetables in it and a nice variety which helped to keep it interesting. Dave and I both enjoy spicy foods, so I think next time I would add a little more sriracha sauce to bring up the heat level a little. Overall, we were pretty happy with the easy of assembly and the flavors. 

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Portobella Peach Sliders


Happy Grilling Wednesday! These Portabella Sliders are a great addition to any grilling menu. Both the mushrooms and peaches are marinated before being grilled together. The result is an incredibly flavorful slider.

Ingredients: 
-4 portobella mushrooms, cleaned, stems removed
-4 peaches, halved, pits removed
-4 slider buns of your choice
-Handful of spinach 
-Spicy mustard (I used Koop's Arizona Heat, my mom bought it at Walmart)
-1 tomato, sliced

Marinade Ingredients
-4 tbsp olive oil
-2 fresh rosemary sprigs
-1 tbsp fresh thyme
-2 garlic cloves
-1/2 lemon
-salt & pepper

Combine the marinade ingredients in a zipped plastic bag. Add the mushrooms and peaches, allow them to marinade for several hours.

Cook both the peaches and mushrooms on a grill set to high heat. You'll want both to become fork tender, grill for about 5-7 minutes each.

Put your slider buns on the grill near the end of the grill time for the other ingredients, you want them to get just a little bit of color. 


Build your burger by slicing the peaches into smaller pieces and layering spinach, portabellas, spicy mustard and peaches onto a slider bun. 




Enjoy!

    


Dave and I both really liked these sliders. The addition of the spicy mustard helped to bring out some of the sweeter flavors in the peaches. The marinade for the mushrooms and peaches subtle, but the rosemary flavors really came through in both ingredients after they were grilled. 

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Red, White and Blue Yogurt Parfait



Happy Fourth of July! It finally stopped raining here, so we've already been able to enjoy part of the weekend outdoors. 

Normally I wouldn't advocate for a specific type of product, but we made two versions of this parfait one with the Yoplait Greek 100 Whips! and one with plain Greek yogurt. The Yoplait was a lot easier to use to make layers and I think it tasted a lot better.

Inspired by Jeanette's Healthy Living

Ingredients:
-Yoplait Greek 100 Whips! Vanilla Cupcake
-Granola
-Strawberries
-Blueberries

Layer the yogurt, granola and berries in whatever pattern you'd like. I used eight ounce stemless glasses, this would also be cute in a wine glass or a martini glass if you'd like to be eating a lot of yogurt parfait. 






Dave and I both really enjoyed eating this for breakfast. As I mentioned above, using the whipped yogurt made for better layers and because it was already sweetened I think it helped to balance out some of the tart flavor in the blueberries.

Happy Fourth of July! Enjoy your celebration and be safe! 

Friday, July 3, 2015

Blackberry, Strawberry, Basil and Brie Pizza Crisps



These pizza crisps aren't quite red, white and blue, but they're so cute and summery I couldn't resist including them as a 4th of July recipe. If you're feeling ambitious, you can even arrange the ingredients to form an American flag shape like in the original post.

Recipe slightly adapted from Half Baked Harvest.

Ingredients:
-Bagel Thins
-16 basil leaves, chopped + divided
-8 ounces brie, sliced
-1 cup strawberries, chopped
-3/4 cup blackberries
-1/2 teaspoon pepper

Balsamic Honey Glaze
-1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
-3 tablespoons honey

To make the balsamic honey glaze heat the ingredients in a small saucepan until thickened. 

I made these pizzas in two steps. First toast the bagel things slightly, you don't want to crisp them up two much because they're going back in the oven, but you don't want them to be totally uncooked. Once they're just starting to brown, remove them from the toaster oven and top with the brie and berries. Bake at 350 for five minutes or until the brie has started to melt.

Remove from the oven and top with basil and the balsamic honey glaze. 









I loved this pizza crisp. Brie is a pretty light cheese, so it paired beautifully with the berries and let them shine through. Their sweetness paired well with the acidity from the honey balsamic glaze. The basil added some nice color contrast as well as a hint of bright flavor. 

Thursday, July 2, 2015

4th of July Milkshakes



This recipe didn't turn out 100% the way I wanted it to, but it was pretty tasty and easy to make. The idea was that the colors would sit on top of each other in clear layers, but the milkshake mixture was already pretty soft due to my use of frozen yogurt instead of ice cream. I don't feel too bad though, because the blogger I got the idea from had some similar issues.

Inspired by Pint Sized Baker.

Ingredients:
-Vanilla frozen yogurt
-1% milk
-Red food coloring
-Blue food coloring
-Whipped topping


In a blender mix together the frozen yogurt and 1% milk. For two 8 ounce milkshakes I used 3 cups of frozen yogurt and one cup of milk.

Once blended, pour 1/3 in a bowl and another 1/3 into a bowl, working quickly mix blue food coloring into the milkshake of one bowl and red food coloring into the milkshake of the other.

Pour into glasses, although they won't layer, they'll swirl together. Top with the remaining undyed milkshake and serve topped with whipped cream.



These were milkshakes so they were of course very tasty. The swirled effect was cool, I'm a little disappointed that the layering didn't work out, but overall I was still pretty happy to have a milkshake.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Grilled Cabbage Wedges with Spicy Lime Dressing


When most people think of grilling, they think of main dishes. I picked this recipe, because I thought it would be really cool to make a side dish to accompany the Grilled Eggplant and Roasted Red Pepper Sandwich with Herbed Goat Cheese that we made.

Other Grilling Wednesday Recipes: Grilled Potato Salad with Scallion Vinaigrette; Grilled Brussels Sprouts; Grilled Eggplant and Roasted Red Pepper Sandwich with Herbed Goat Cheese; Thai Citrus Tofu Kebobs.

Recipe from Breanna's Recipe Box.

Ingredients:

-1/4 cup fresh lime juice
-1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
-1 teaspoon soy sauce
-2 garlic cloves
-1/4 cup parsley leaves
-1/2 teaspoon salt
-1/2 teaspoon cayenne
-1/2 teaspoon sugar
-1 head of cabbage (I used half of head of green and half a head of purple)
-Canola oil

In the a blender combine the lime juice, olive oil, soy sauce, garlic, parsley, salt, cayenne and sugar and blend until smooth.

Remove the loosest, toughest outer leaves from the cabbage; cut into 8 evenly sized wedges.  Do not remove the stalk or inner core.  Lightly brush the wedges with canola oil.

Place the wedges on the grill and cover.  Cook for 5 to 7 minutes or until the edges of each layer are blackened and the cabbage is beginning to soften.  Flip each wedge over, cover the grill, and cook for an additional 5 to 7 minutes on the other side. Remove the cabbage when it has softened and most of the edges are blackened.



Take the cabbage off the grill and place on a serving plate.  Pour the dressing over the top of the cabbage and serve immediately with wedges of lime.




We liked this recipe, but I don't think we quite got our cabbage cooked all of the way through and we had it on the grill for quite a while. I think maybe the cabbage wedges need to be cut thinner to allow them to get cooked more thoroughly. For most of them, we ended up cutting the wedges more finely and sauteing them in a skillet. We both liked the spicy lime dressing with the cabbage though, it had nice flavor and goof heat.