Spicy Sweet Potato Cakes
I am in search of good vegetarian recipes to round out my diet and when I saw this one just published in Saveur magazine, I knew I had to try it.
My mother used to make potato cakes with leftover mashed potatoes but I have never thought about mashed sweet potato cakes, and I do love sweet potatoes.
These potato cakes have a delightfully crunchy crumb exterior which gives great texture to the dish.
2 lb. SWEET POTATOES, roasted, peeled, and mashed with a fork
(I baked them in the oven at 400° for about 25 minutes)
2 cups PANKO CRUMBS (I used whole wheat Panko)... for divided use
½ cup FLOUR
1/3 c. roughly chopped CILANTRO
4 SCALLIONS, roughly chopped
2 small red Thai chiles or 1/2 SERRANO CHILE, minced
Kosher SALT and freshly ground PEPPER, to taste
1/3 c. CANOLA OIL, plus more as needed
SOUR CREAM for garnish
Mix mashed potatoes, 1 cup panko, the flour, chopped cilantro, scallions, chiles, egg, salt, and pepper in a bowl.
This can be prepared ahead and refrigerated until ready to fry, if so desired.
Heat the oil in a 12" skillet over medium heat.
Using oiled hands, divide potato mixture into eight 4-oz. patties about ½" thick; coat in remaining panko.
Working in batches, fry, flipping once, until golden and crisp, 2–3 minutes over medium heat.
Drain on paper towels. Season with additional salt and pepper as needed.
Garnish with a dollop of sour cream and cilantro leaves or with some chopped scallions.
Naan Flatbread with Avocado, Tomatoes and Feta
Looking for an easy vegetarian meal? Give this a try!
The original recipe was from Food and Wine and I have tweaked it to my liking.
And for those meat-eaters in the family... they can add some strips of grilled chicken or shrimp.
2 c. CHERRY TOMATOES, quartered (I used yellow and red)
1/2 c. EXTRA-VIRGIN OLIVE OIL
1 SHALLOT, minced
1/3 c. CILANTRO, chopped
1 1/2 Tbsp. RED WINE VINEGAR
1/4 tsp. CRUSHED RED PEPPER FLAKES
2 NAAN FLATBREADS
1 small container of GUACAMOLE
1 AVOCADO, peeled, pitted and thinly sliced
4 ounces FETA CHEESE, crumbled
Coarse SALT and freshly ground PEPPER
In a bowl, toss the cherry tomatoes with the olive oil, shallot, cilantro, vinegar and crushed red pepper flakes and set aside.
Grill the flatbread on a grill or in a grill-pan on the stove until lightly charred, turning once and transfer to a work surface.
Spread the guacamole over the flatbread.
Spoon the tomato mixture on top. Top with the avocado slices and the feta crumbles.
Season with salt and pepper.
Cut into wedges and serve.
Note: If you should have any of the tomato mixture left over, it would be wonderful over salad greens!
Pasta with Oven-Roasted Butternut Squash, Cheddar and Blue Cheese
This recipe comes from one of those nifty little booklets included in each issue of the Food Network Magazine that has 50 recipes of a particular food item.
This one is from "50 Twists on Mac & Cheese".
I like the recipes because they are not very involved and many sound very good.
8 ounces FUSILLI or other short pasta
4 Tbsp BUTTER
1/4 c. FLOUR
2 c. MILK
1 BAY LEAF
Pinch of NUTMEG
1 tsp. SALT
1 small BUTTERNUT SQUASH
A drizzle of OLIVE OIL
2 1/2 c. WHITE CHEDDAR CHEESE
3/4 c. BLUE CHEESE, crumbled
1/4 c. each CHEDDAR AND BLUE CHEESE for topping
Freshly ground BLACK PEPPER
Peel and cube the butternut squash; drizzle with olive oil, toss and roast at 425° until tender, about 20 minutes.
Bring a pot of salted water to a boil; add the pasta and cook until al dente. Drain well.
Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat.
Whisk in the flour and cook while whisking for about 2 minutes then whisk in milk.
Add the bay leaf, nutmeg and 1 tsp. salt and simmer, whisking occasionally until thick, about 8 minutes.
Remove the bay leaf and add the 2 1/2 c. Cheddar cheese and 3/4 c. Blue cheese.
Stir in the pasta and the roasted squash.
Place in a casserole dish and top with the additional Cheddar and Blue cheese.
Place under broiler until cheese is melted. Season with black pepper and serve.
Couscous Salad with Dried Cranberries and Walnuts
I recently bought the cookbook "The Food Matters Cookbook" by Mark Bittman.
It is on my bedside table and provides me with lots of good reading material
and already there are many pages with the corners folded, indicating another recipe to try.
I think this will be one of my very favorite cookbooks.
"Bittman demonstrates the satisfaction and pleasure in mindful eating. The result is not just better health for you, but for the world we share."
And I DO like that concept!
1 c. COUSCOUS (he recommends whole wheat but I used the pearl couscous)
2 large CARROTS, grated
1/2 c. chopped NUTS (he used pecans, but I used walnuts)
1/2 c. DRIED CRANBERRIES
1/4 c. chopped SCALLIONS
1/4 c. OLIVE OIL
Grated zest and juice of 1 LEMON, or more juice as needed
1 tsp. ground CORIANDER
Pinch of CAYENNE, or to taste
1/2 c. PARSLEY
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh SAGE, or 1 tsp. dried
Put the couscous in a small pot and add 1 1/4 c. water and a pinch of salt.
Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer until done. The pearl couscous took about 8-10 minutes.
(Follow directions on couscous that you buy)
Put the slightly cooled couscous in a large salad bowl along with the carrots, pecans, cranberries, scallions, oil, and lemon zest and juice and sprinkle with the spices and salt and pepper.
Use two big forks to combine, fluffing the couscous and tossing gently to separate the grains.
(The salad can be made up to this point and refrigerated for up to a day; bring to room temperature before proceeding.)
Stir in the parsley and sage.
Taste and adjust the seasoning, moisten with a little more oil and lemon juice, as you like.
Curried Couscous Salad with Dried Apricots and Pistachios
Use pistachios instead of pecans, dried apricots instead of cranberries, and curry powder instead of coriander and cayenne.
Stir in 1/2 c. chopped fresh mint instead of the parsley and sage.
Mandarin Orange Crispy "Chicken" (Vegetarian Entree)
I have been trying different vegetarian substitutes for meat. Most of them are quite awful until I tried this.
The "chicken" nuggets are frozen and quickly pan-fried in a little olive oil until brown and crispy on the outside.
Honestly... these things are delicious when combined with a sauce of some kind.
The first time I had them, I used the mandarin orange sauce that came in two packets in the box.
Simply add the sauce to the sauteed "chicken" and cook until bubbling and the "meat" is coated.
I had some frozen veggies that I quickly cooked in the microwave and then added to the "chicken" mixture.
This is good on it's own or would be good on top of rice or noodles.
I also bought these and prepared them in a pan and then added barbecue sauce for a bbq sandwich and they were very satisfying.
Do check out some of the other products available and let me know if you have tried a substitute protein that you find good.
"Chick'n" Strips with Arugula, Grape and Almond Salad with Curry Vinaigrette
I've been trying different meat substitutes as I continue to eat a vegetarian diet.
These Chick'n Strips by Gardein (a product from Canada) can be found in the frozen department and cook up quickly and seem very adaptable to many recipes.
Just take the frozen strips and saute over medium-high heat in a little oil for about 5 minutes until crispy and browned.
I found that they are best if seasoned near the end of cooking with whatever your favorite spice might be as without it, they are very bland.
Set aside to cool if using in a salad.
I combined my favorite salad green, arugula, with green grapes, and sliced almonds.
To make the vinaigrette, shake in a jar:
3 Tbsp. extra-virgin OLIVE OIL
1 Tbsp. SEASONED RICE VINEGAR
CURRY POWDER, to taste
SALT, to taste
Adjust the seasonings to your preference.
Arrange arugula, chick'n, grapes and sliced almonds on individual plates.
Drizzle the dressing over the salad and squeeze a bit of lime juice over as well.
Season with additional salt and pepper if desired.
Miso-Roasted Eggplants with Tomatoes, Dill, Cilantro and Black Vinegar
I found this recipe on-line from Food and Wine. The recipe is by Chef Cara Stadler.
I am looking for good vegetarian recipes and this is superb!
The original recipe called for "shiso" which I could not find at the Asian market.
Evidently it is a kind of mint and I decided to substitute cilantro and it worked just fine.
The instructions said to turn the sugar to caramel which I did not do but I did dissolve it in the water on the stove.
I will give the instuctions as written and do as you wish.
1 Tbsp. SUGAR
6 Tbsp. BLACK VINEGAR
6 Tbsp. CANOLA OIL
1 Tbsp. SOY SAUCE
3 Tbsp. SHIRO (WHITE) MISO
1 1/2 Tbsp. MIRIN
6 Tbsp. CANOLA OIL
1 pound JAPANESE EGGPLANTS (the long purple ones) halved lengthwise
Several of the small HEIRLOOM TOMATOES, cut in half-inch dice
1/2 pint CHERRY TOMATOES, halved
1/3 c. DILL, chopped
1/4 c. CILANTRO (or shiso, if you can find it), chopped
1 Tbsp. SCALLIONS, minced
MAKE THE DRESSING: Preheat the oven to 350°.
In a small pan, combine the sugar with 1 tsp. water. Cook over low heat, swirling the pan until the sugar melts and an amber caramel forms... about 4 minutes.
Whisk in the black vinegar. Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature.
Whisk in the oil and soy sauce.
PREPARE THE EGGPLANTS: In a bowl, mix the miso with the mirin.
In a nonstick skillet, heat 3 Tbsp. of the oil.
Add half the eggplant cut side down and cook over moderate heat until deep golden, 3 minutes.
Repeat with remaining eggplant.
Transfer the eggplant cut side up to a baking sheet.
Spread the miso mixture on the cut sides of the eggplants.
Roast for 15 minutes until the eggplants are very tender.
Transfer to a platter.
MEANWHILE, MAKE THE SALAD: In a large bowl, toss the tomatoes with the dill, cilantro and scallions.
Toss with 2/3 of the dressing.
Spoon the salad over the warm eggplants and drizzle with the remaining dressing.
Garnish with additional dill and cilantro, if desired and serve.
I served this with steamed buns that I had bought frozen from the Asian market.
Cucumber Agua Fresca
I had copied this recipe from the Food Network to try prior to joining my daughters at one of the new restaurants in the area called Lyfe Kitchen.
And there on the menu was a cucumber water with cucumber juice, mint, lime and agave.
It was delicious and very green!
So... here is the one from the Food Network that I tried today.
2 unpeeled CUCUMBERS, cut in small pieces saving a few slices for garnish
Juice of 2 LIMES
3 Tbsp. SUGAR
1 cup WATER
1/4 SERRANO PEPPER
Buzz all ingredients in a blender.
Strain and serve over ice.
I used the "burpless" English cucumber.
I didn't have a serrano and used a pickled jalapeno slice.
I added some cilantro as I REALLY like cilantro.
I added a sprinkling of salt.
I didn't strain it and just poured it over ice.
You may need to adjust the sugar depending on how sweet you would like it.
Hatch Chile Veggie Burger
Since I have become vegetarian, I am learning to cook for one as my husband has no interest in anything that I fix... unless it is pasta, as he is most happy with a package of meat.
He does not like salads and has little interest in veggies.
Needless to say, I am trying to eat well with a minimum of fuss.
I have tried some of the vegetarian substitute products. Some are quite good and others are dreadful!
I've found that the Morningstar Griller Prime Veggie Burger is a fine substitute for a burger by the time you load it up with the "fixins", and to my mind, that is what makes a burger so good.
The hatch chiles are now in the market so I thought I would get some to pile on my burger along with some fried onion rings for crunch.
The heat of hatch chiles will vary but the ones I purchased were really quite mild.
Just put them under the broiler, turning until blackened on the outside.
Place them in an enclosed container to cool and then peel the skin away.
Remove the stem. cut in half and remove the seeds, then dice and they are ready to add to your favorite dish.
Prepare the veggie burger by sautéing in a hot pan with a little olive oil until browned and cooked through.
Add your choice of cheese, cover the pan until the cheese has melted.
Put on a sesame seed bun and garnish with lettuce, diced hatch chiles and top with fried onion rings.
This is not difficult to prepare and is very satisfying... and you will not miss the meat!
Years ago, if I was going to make a pizza, I would start from scratch making my dough,
letting it rise and then forming it but today, I look for something easy for a quick and inexpensive meal.
One of my favorites is using the Naan flatbread as the base and then using bits and pieces of leftovers on top of the pizza.
It is simple, it is frugal and easy to prepare. Vary your ingredients depending on what you have on hand.
For this pizza I used:
Yellow and Red Cherry Tomatoes, halved
Green Beans (leftover)
Roasted Hatch Chiles (leftover)
Mozzarella Cheese, shredded
Spread the flatbread with pesto.
Arrange tomatoes, green beans, scallions, and chiles on top.
Sprinkle with cheese.
Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with Italian seasoning.
Bake at 400°F for about 10 minutes until your cheese is melted and bubbling.
1 RED BELL PEPPER, cut into strips
1 ORANGE BELL PEPPER, cut into strips
1 YELLOW BELL PEPPER, cut into strips
1-2 PORTOBELLO MUSHROOMS, SLICED
1 ONION, sliced
Juice of one LIME
2 Tbsp. CANOLA OIL
1 JALAPENO, chopped fine (optional)
1 clove GARLIC, minced
1 tsp. CUMIN
1 tsp. MEXICAN OREGANO
SALT, to taste
2 Tbsp. CILANTRO, chopped
1 can REFRIED BEANS, heated
1 package WHOLE WHEAT TORTILLAS
CHEESE (Queso Fresco or Queso Oaxaca)
Combine the lime juice, oil, jalapeno, garlic, cumin, oregano, cilantro and salt.
Pour this mixture over prepared vegetables and toss.
Saute veggies in a large pan until cooked through, adding more oil if needed.
Warm the tortillas in microwave or oven.
Spread each tortilla with refried beans.
Top with vegetable mixture.
Drizzle with salsa.
Top with cheese, if using.
Add a dollop of sour cream.
If you have leftovers of the pepper mixture, you will have the beginning of the next recipe.
Soyrizo and Peppers on Pasta
OK... so this is an easy meal using the leftovers from the Pepper Fajitas.
Sauté Soyrizo (a vegetarian substitute for chorizo) in a large pan.
Add the leftover pepper mixture from the Pepper Fajitas and heat through.
Use this to top your pasta of choice and enjoy!