Friday, January 31, 2014

Vegetable Stew with Cheddar Dumplings

My mom saw this recipe in the paper and thought it would be a good recipe because the slow cooker is one of my favorite things to use to cook. This recipe is done in a 4-5.5 quart slow cooker and will serve 4-6 people.

Recipe: Published in the Akron Beacon Journal in January 2014.

-2 1/3 cups, no salt-added canned diced tomatoes
-1 1/4 pounds cauliflower, trimmed and cut into small florets
-3/4 pounds zucchini, diced
-6 oz.  green beans, chopped
-1 medium onion, chopped
-2/3 cup vegetable broth
-1/2 tablespoon, dried basil
-1/2 tablespoon, dried oregano
-1/2 teaspoon salt

-1 1/3 cups flour
-3/4 teaspoon baking powder
-3/4 mustard powder
-1/2 tsp. salt
-3 tablespoons, very cold, unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
-1/3 cup cheddar cheese
-1/2 cup milk

Combine tomatoes, cauliflower, zucchini, green beans, onion, broth, basil, oregano and salt in a slow cooker.
Cook on low for 5 hours. 

Once the vegetables are tender, prepare the dumplings.
Whisk together the flour, baking powder, mustard and salt.
Add in the butter using a fork to work the butter though the dry mixture until it resembles coarse sand.
Add in the milk and cheese.

Spoon tablespoon sized dumplings into the slow cooker, making sure half of the dumpling is submerged.
Cook for 1 hour or until the dumplings are set. 

I was a little disappointed in this stew, I thought it was a little under seasoned. I think it needed more salt and some pepper added to it as well. Maybe even a little cayenne seasoning for a little heat. I thought the dumplings were the best part, they were moist and the flavors went well with the stew. I scooped all of the dumplings out of the stew and kept them separate from the leftovers in order to prevent them from getting too soggy.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Fontina Risotto

I had some extra fontina cheese leftover, so this risotto seemed like the perfect way to get to use it. This would be great as a side dish, but I like risotto so much that I usually just eat it as my main course.

This recipe is from Gourmet Traveller.

-1 Tbsp olive oil
-1 Tbsp
-3/4 cup rice
-1/2 cup white wine
-2 1/2 cup vegetable broth
-1/3 cup shredded fontina cheese
-1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
-parsley for garnish

Heat the oil and butter in a pan. Add the rice and cook
for a minute or two.
Add the wine and cook until it is absorbed, 3 or 4 minutes.
Heat the vegetable broth in a separate pot.
Add it a ladle-ful at a time until it is absorbed.
When all the liquid is absorbed, mix in the cheese, and cook
 for another minute until the cheese is melted and incorporated.

This was really good, the fontina went well with the rice, it was really creamy. It was easy to make this, if it isn't cooked enough, just add more broth and cook for a little longer. The only thing I would have done differently would be to use a smaller pan, because I didn't have enough rice to fill the pan, but the liquid spread out.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Champagne Bisque with Gruyère Cheese

Here is another soup we have for Soup Wednesday. This one was a vegetarian adaptation of a clam juice and shrimp bisque. Gruyère is always a good cheese to use and this is a good use for leftover champagne. Alecia had a little bit left in her fridge from NYE. 

-4 tablespoons butter
-1/2 cup minced shallots
-1/4 cup flour
-2 cups vegetable broth
-1 cup heavy cream
-1 cup champagne
-2 cups shredded Gruyère cheese
-fresh chives

Melt the butter in a saucepan and add the shallots, cook for a few minutes. Mix in some flour, then the vegetable broth, and simmer for 10 minutes once it comes to a boil. Add the cream and champagne. Slowly mix in the cheese, giving it time to melt before adding more.

The flavor of this was good, but it was really thin, I think it lost something by taking out the shrimp. Adding more flour might help to thicken this up a bit.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Potato Chip Omelet

This recipe reminded me of the Tortilla Española that we had previously made. This one incorporated potato chips for a little added crunch. The original recipe used the oven to cook the omelet, I don't have any oven-proof skillets so I did mine on the stove top.

Adapted Richard Blais at Food Republic.

-6 large eggs
-2 tablespoons milk
-1/2 teaspoon fresh ground white pepper
-1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
-1 tablespoon chopped green onions
-3 cups plain kettle-cooked potato chips
-2 tablespoons unsalted butter

Mix together the eggs, milk, parsley and green onions in a large bowl. Add the potato chips, gently coat in the egg mixture and allow to soak for 10 minutes.

In an 8 inch skillet melt the butter.
Pour in the egg/potato chip mixture and cook until the bottom and sides are set.
Using a cutting board flip omelet out of the pan, the uncooked side will be on the board.
Slide the uncooked portion of the omelet back into the skillet.
Let cook for a few minutes until firm.
Check out this blog for photos of the flipping.

Serve in slices. 
I thought this tasted good, it was very similar to the Tortilla Española, I thought the potato chips would make this crunchy, but they really didn't. The potato chips did add salt to the dish, so you probably won't need to add any extra. If I make this again I will serve it with some crushed up potato chips on top to add that extra crunch that I was hoping for.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Vanilla Extract

I went to the Cleveland Food Show this fall, and it always makes me want to cook even more and try new things. I tried this, to make my own vanilla extract. It was cool to be able to make something that will end up being an ingredient in future recipes. This came in a kit, but you could easily buy vanilla beans yourself to make vanilla extract.

-1 cup vodka
-5 vanilla beans

Clean the vanilla beans.
Cut a slit through the middle of each bean.
Fill a bottle with the vodka.
Let the vanilla sit for 6 weeks,
shaking it every few days.

I'll be using this in more blog recipes soon!

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Roasted Cauliflower Pizza

I think that cauliflower is officially my favorite vegetable because of it's versatility. I love cauliflower as a substitute for chicken in buffalo recipes (check out Buffalo "Wing" Cauliflower the base for many of my recipes), as a substitute for shrimp (check out Becky's Bang Bang Cauliflower) and as a healthy mix-in to lighten up mashed potatoes (Lighted Loaded Mashed Potatoes).

This recipe was flavorful and everyone in my family enjoyed it, it was also incredibly easy to put together. This is a great weeknight dinner.

Adapted from Woman's Day.

-1 pizza crust
-1/2 head(s) (medium; about 1 pound) cauliflower, thinly sliced
-1/2 small white onion, thinly sliced
-1/2 cup(s) fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
-2 tablespoon(s) olive oil
-1/2 teaspoon(s) crushed red pepper flakes
-Kosher salt
-1 3/4 cups Swiss cheese, coarsely grated

In a large bowl, mix together the cauliflower, onion and parsley. Coat with the olive oil and season with the red pepper flakes and kosher salt. Stir in the Swiss cheese.

Brush the pizza crust lightly with olive oil and then pour the cauliflower cheese mixture onto it.

Bake at 425 for 20-25 minutes.

The roasted cauliflower and onion both had a nice caramelized flavor. The swiss cheese added a tangy flavor and the red pepper added heat. This pizza has no sauce, but you won't miss it! I thought there would be leftovers for me to take to lunch, but there were no leftovers, everyone enjoyed two pieces.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Sweet and Tangy Cheese Wontons

Anything I've made with goat cheese turns out awesome, and this was no exception. The pepper jelly was sweet enough to balance it out, and deep frying them gave the wontons the perfect amount of crispiness.

This recipe is from Just Say Gourmet.

-20 wonton wrappers
-4 oz goat cheese
-2 Tbsp pepper jelly
-1 garlic clove, minced
-2 Tbsp chopped walnuts
-oil for frying

Mix the goat cheese, pepper jelly, shallot, garlic,and walnuts.
Spoon a small amount into the middle of the wrapper.
Spread a little bit of water around the wonton.
It helped to put the water everywhere on the wonton where there
wasn't filling, not just on the corners.
Fold the corners together first, then fold the other
two corners together to make small pockets.
Deep fry for about 3 minutes until they get crispy.
They don't take long because they are so small.

The goat cheese to pepper ratio was good in this. Make sure you are ready to eat these right away after you make them though, because I tried to eat the leftovers, and the flavor was still good, but a lot of the great taste of this was missing without the crispiness it had when it was fresh out of the deep fryer.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Clementine Upside Down Cakes

Have you ever started baking something and then realized that you didn't actually have half of the ingredients? That was this recipe for me, we had no butter and we only had half of the granulated sugar. The recipe below is adapted to what I was forced to use in my kitchen after finding out that I had no ingredients, overall I think it turned out pretty good. You can check out the original recipe if you don't like a baking challenge.

Recipe adapted from Drizzle and Drip.

-1/2 cup Greek yogurt
-1/2 cup granulated sugar
-1/2 cup powdered sugar
-1 cup flour
-2 teaspoons baking powder
-4 large eggs, room temperature
-finely grated zest of 2 small clementines
-about 1/2 - 1 teaspoons of brown sugar for each cake
-15 slices of peeled clementines (1 slice per cake)

Hot Syrup
-1/2 cup of orange juice
-1/2 cup powdered sugar

Sprinkle 1/2-1 full teaspoon of brown sugar into each cup of a greased muffin tin.
This will make 15 cakes.
Place a clementine slice in each muffin cup.

Using an ice cream scoop, fill the prepared muffin cups 3/4 of the way full of batter. Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes.

In the bowl of a stand mixer combine the Greek yogurt and sugar. Add the eggs one at a time, making sure that each one is fully combined before adding the other. Mix in the flour and baking powder. Add the clementine zest.

Boil the sugar and orange juice together in a saucepan until thickened.

Remove the cakes from a muffin tin and cool slightly on a cooling rack, pour the syrup over the cakes and serve warm.

Overall I was happy with the results, I thought the cake was a little dense, using butter in place of Greek yogurt should fix that. I thought it had good flavor, the citrus flavors were pretty apparent. I think that they turned out very pretty with the clementine slices on top.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Margarita Fruit Coupe

This was great for the winter because we got to change it up and eat some fruit. These fruits are all good for the winter, when you can't always get fresh fruit. These were all easy to find at the store and were pretty fresh.

This recipe is from Vegetarian Times.

-2 1/2 Tbs. tequila
-2 1/2 Tbs. sugar
-1 Tbs. lime juice
-1 can frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed
-1  mango, peeled and diced
-1 apple, diced
-3 kiwifruit, peeled and diced
-1/2 cup frozen pineapple
-Kosher salt, for the rim.

Cut up the fruit and mix it in with the juice, sugar, and tequila. Let it sit in the fridge for about an hour. Serve in a margarita cup with salt on the rim.

The orange juice and tequila mixture with this fruit was the perfect sauce for this fruit to be in, it gave it a great flavor. I liked it because I could eat it as a dessert, but it was different because it was lighter than eating something chocolaty or rich for dessert.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Slow Cooker Tomato Basil Soup

Happy Soup Wednesday!! There are only two more left before we move on to something cool at the end of February, we'll keep you posted.

I love slow cooker recipes, but since I'm usually cooking for just myself, I prefer to use the 1.5 quart slow cooker as opposed to some of the larger models which can make 6-8 servings. I cut this soup recipe in half in order to make it in the 1.5 quart slow cooker and it made about three or four servings of soup.

I just served this with some toast, but it would be awesome served with grilled cheese or even grilled cheese croutons.

Other Soup Wednesday Posts: Pumpkin Black Bean Soup, Caprese Soup, Jalapeno Beer Cheese Soup, Tomato Basil Avocado SoupSouthern New Year's Day Soup, Hungarian Mushroom Soup and Chilled Avocado & Cucumber Soup.

Mel's Kitchen Cafe.

-1 (14-ounce) can petite diced tomatoes, undrained
-1/2 cup finely diced carrots
-1/2 cup finely diced onion
-1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
-1/2 tablespoon dried basil
-2 cups vegetable broth
-1 bay leaf
-1/8 (2 tablespoons) butter
-1/4 cup flour
-1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
-1 cups fat free milk, warm
-1/2 teaspoon salt
-1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1.) In a small slow cooker combine the tomatoes, carrots, onion, oregano, basil, vegetable broth and bay leaf. Cook on low for 5-7 hours.
2.) 45 minutes before serving, remove the bay leaf and discard. Then melt the butter in a small saucepan, stir in the flour whisking continuously until the mixture is golden and bubbly. It may appear crumbly, that's fine!
3.) Slowly ladle into the saucepan a ladleful of the hot soup from the slow cooker. Whisk until smooth and bubbly. Do that two more times. Pour the mixture back into the slow cooker.
4.) Add the Parmesan, warm milk, salt and pepper. Cook for an additional 30 minutes on low.

Serve with croutons or with grilled cheese.

The basil flavor in this was pretty strong, if I made this again I would add about half of the basil. Overall I thought that this was really good, I split it with my brother who also enjoyed it. The one bowl of leftover soup that I had thickened up a lot in the fridge, but it reheated back to soup pretty well without needing additional broth added. You'll just need to microwave it for a good amount of time, I did it for about one and a half minutes.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Eggplant Fries + Honey

Eggplant Parmesan is one of J.'s favorite dinners and since he's so picky I thought that this recipe might be a nice way to incorporate some vegetables as a side dish. This was very easy to make and the results were delightful.

We served this with Buffalo Ranch Stuffed Peppers.

Recipe from Use Real Butter.

-3/4 cup flour
-2 tsps garlic powder
-1 tsp dried oregano
-1 tsp fresh parsley, minced
-1 tbsp kosher salt
-1/2 tsp black pepper, fresh ground
-oil for frying
-2 medium eggplants
-salt for seasoning

Preheat a deep fryer to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl whisk together the flour, oregano, parsley, salt and pepper.

Peel each eggplant and the slice into 3/4 inch slices. Coat each slice in flour mixture.

Fry several at a time until golden brown. When you remove them from the fryer drain the fries on a plate covered with paper towels, salt the fries as soon as they come out of the oil.

Drizzle the eggplant fries with 

This was fantastic! The eggplant fries were crispy on the outside, but soft on the inside. The saltiness of the seasoning went great with the cloying sweetness of the honey. These were good without the honey, but I think that they were best served with the honey. J and I both enjoyed extra on the side to dip the fries in as well as the honey drizzled on top.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Zucchini Chips

These were just really good. I didn't think these would be as good as they were, they were the perfect amount of crisp and tasted like a chip, but with extra flavor.

This recipe is from Vittles and Bits.

-1 medium zucchini
-cooking spray
-salt or garlic powder

I was excited because I got to use my new food processor.
I used the slice blade to make really thin slices.
Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray, lay out the
zucchini, spray the top with cooking spray and sprinkle with
salt or garlic powder.
Bake at 225 for 45 minutes, then rotate, and bake another 40 minutes.

The the ones I made with salt were good, but the ones with garlic powder were even better. I thought they looked a little dark so I thought they may be a little burnt, but they didn't taste like it, so it was good to let them get a little darker. I would try this again with other seasonings, maybe some cajun or pepper next time.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Buffalo Ranch Stuffed Peppers

When I found the original recipe from Primally Inspired, it was made with chicken to make it vegetarian I substituted rice for the chicken, I usually make stuffed peppers with rice. Sometimes I'll add in sunflower seeds or some chopped up broccoli to make it a little more of a meal. We already had some side dishes planned with this recipe so I just used the rice filling.

Recipe inspired by Primally Inspired.

-2 1/2 cups of white rice, cooked
-1 ranch seasoning packet
-sea salt and pepper, to taste
-2 orange bell peppers, tops cut off and seeds cleaned out
-½ cup buffalo sauce
-2 tablespoons of butter, melted

In a large bowl mix together the rice, ranch seasoning, buffalo sauce and melted butter.

Fill the bell peppers with the buffalo rice. 

Bake for 35 minutes or until the peppers are cooked.

I really enjoyed this recipe, but it was incredibly filling! J. thought that it was a little too spicy, if you want to make it less spicy incorporate more melted butter into the filling. If you really like recipes to be spicy, you can use less butter. The ranch flavor was discernible, even through the heat of the buffalo sauce. Overall I really liked this recipe and will be making it again.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Pomegranate Margarita

I haven't had pomegranates too often, but recently we've done a few things with them, like Tequila Sunrise Sorbet, and Pomegranate Hazelnut Bacon Salad. Pomegranates aren't too hard to work with, and are sweet, so they went well with this margarita.

This recipe is from How Sweet It Is.

-1 1/2 ounces Tequila
-2 ounces pomegranate juice
-2 ounces lime juice
-coarse salt for the rim
-lime and pomegranate arils for garnish

You can find instructions on how to get the seeds out of the pomegranate in our this Chocolate Pomegranate Clusters post.

Rim the glass with lime and salt. Mix the ingredients in the blender with some ice and pour in a glass.

We tried this first without the ice, just kind of like a martini. It was good, but we made another batch frozen, and we thought it was even better.