Monday, March 28, 2016

See You April 1, 2016

Vegetarian & Cooking needed to take a brief break due to unforeseen circumstances, I'll be back on Friday with the start of Grilled Cheese Month 2016.

See you April 1, 2016.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Coconut Macaroon Nutella Nest Cookies

Happy Easter! This is of the first times in the last few years that I've been able to post an Easter recipe -- Easter had previously been falling during April which is when I'm typically posting grilled cheese recipes. I took these Coconut Macaroon Nutella Nest Cookies to work and everyone loved them, I'm glad they were a hit. 

Recipe from Two Peas and Their Pods.

-2/3 cup sweetened condensed milk
-1 large egg white
-1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
-1/8 teaspoon salt
-3 1/2 cups sweetened coconut
-1 cup Nutella
-M&M Speck-tacular Eggs (or other Easter candy)

Preheat the oven to 325°F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.  In a large bowl, stir together the sweetened condensed milk, egg white, vanilla extract, and salt. Stir until combined. Add in the coconut and mix well.

With a spoon, scoop up about 2 tablespoons of the dough and place the dough onto the prepared baking sheet. Form the cookies into the shape of a bird nest. Press down the center with your thumb. Bake cookies for 17 to 20 minutes, or until slightly golden brown. Remove from the oven and press your thumb down in the center of the nests again. Cool the cookies on the baking sheets for about 5 minutes or until they are firm and set. Remove with a spatula onto a cooling rack. Cool completely.

Place about a tablespoon of Nutella in the center of each nest. Place 3 egg candies in the center of the nest.

The coconut macaroons weren't too sweet, the nutella and chocolate M&M's really help to add a little bit of sweetness to the cookies. These were very cute and would be a great dessert for Easter or even just to celebrate spring.

Happy Easter!

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Roasted Tomatoes with Goat Cheese Polenta

We love making polenta for all meals, this recipe was a beautiful breakfast dish that would have been just as nice with a side salad for dinner.

Recipe slightly adapted from Pinch of Yum

-2 cups cherry tomatoes 
-3 cups spinach, steamed 
-3 cups water
-1 cup corn grits or polenta 
-4 ounces goat cheese
-½ teaspoon salt

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Wash the tomatoes, place on a baking sheet, and pat dry. Spray with cooking spray and season with salt. Roast for 30-40 minutes until the tomatoes have burst and browned.

Near the end of the tomatoes cooking time, bring the water to a boil and add the corn meal or polenta.
Whisk until smooth and simmer for 15 minutes or so until the polenta has thickened. Add the goat cheese and the salt and stir until smooth. Taste and adjust as necessary. Serve the polenta immediately with the tomatoes and the steamed spinach.

I loved the addition of goat cheese to the polenta, it helped to make it extra creamy. The tri-colored tomatoes looked beautiful and they added a lot of flavor to the polenta as well, roasting tomatoes helps to enhance their flavor and the juices from the roasted tomatoes helped to add a little more liquid to the dish. The goat cheese is pretty salty, so you might not need to add much additional salt, make sure to taste and adjust. 

Friday, March 25, 2016

Strawberry Pineapple Kale Smoothie

An easy smoothie recipe with a green layer that doesn't taste "green".

Recipe slightly adapted from Damn Delicious

-1 1/2 cups strawberries
-1/2 cup milk (use plain or vanilla almond milk for a vegan smoothie)
-1 tablespoon honey, optional
-1 cup chopped kale, ribs and thick stems removed
-1/2 cup chopped pineapple
-1 banana
-1/2 cup pineapple juice

Combine strawberries, milk, honey and 1/2 cup ice in blender until smooth; set aside. We poured the strawberry smoothie into glasses and placed them in the freezer while we prepared the next layer.
Combine kale, pineapple, banana, apple juice and 1/2 cup ice in blender until smooth; set aside.
Serve strawberry mixture immediately, topped with kale mixture.


This is the first time I've ever purchased bananas...I just don't like them. I didn't want to remove them from the smoothie, because I know that bananas are good in smoothies as a thickening agent. Dave and I both enjoyed a smoothie for breakfast, it's definitely a healthy smoothie, Dave wanted to add a little ice cream to this, which probably isn't advisable for breakfast. 

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Baked Camembert with Black Garlic & Thyme

This recipe was perfect for a busy week night when Dave and I needed to eat something when we got home from work before dashing off to somewhere else. It took less than 20 minutes from start to finish and was a nice light dinner.

Recipe from My Fussy Eater.

-8 oz round of camembert (boxed)
-1 bulb black garlic, diced
-10 sprigs fresh thyme
-1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, diced
-balsamic glaze to garnish

Remove the camembert from all its plastic packaging and place it back into the box, leaving the lid off. Top with the sun dried tomatoes, half of the thyme, and black garlic. Bake in the oven for 12 minutes at 350.
Drizzle the camembert with balsamic glaze and serve with Triscuits or toasted bread.

I love using the black garlic, it's sweet and caramelized flavor is very different from traditional garlic. The acid of the balsamic vinegar helped cut through that sweetness and the camembert was a nice neutral cheese to help complement all of the other ingredients. 

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Turkish Fried Eggs in Herbed Yogurt Sauce

Dave made this recipe for breakfast over the weekend and it was absolutely delicious. I loved how bright and colorful the flat bread turned out with all of the different ingredients. This was also a pretty light breakfast.

Recipe from Half Baked Harvest

-1 cup plain Greek yogurt
-1 tablespoon fresh dill, chopped
-1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
-2 cloves garlic minced or grated
-salt + pepper to taste
-4 eggs
-4 pieces naan
-zest from 1 lemon
-1/4 cup sliced sundried tomatoes 
-1-2 cups fresh baby spinach
-4 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
-toasted sesame seeds, fresh dill, fresh mint and salt, for serving

Spicy Butter Sauce
-2 tablespoons butter
-2 tablespoons coconut oil
-1-2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
-1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika

In a bowl, mix together the Greek yogurt, dill, parsley, garlic and a pinch of salt + pepper. Stir until combined. Keep stored in the fridge until ready to use.

Heat a skillet with a little olive oil or butter over medium-high heat and fry the eggs to your liking. At the same time make the sauce by combining all of the ingredients in a small saucepan and warming until the butter has melted.

Spread the yogurt sauce over a piece of warm/toasted naan. Top with the yogurt, 1-2 eggs per piece of naan, then sprinkle with lemon zest, fresh spinach and sun dried-tomato. Drizzle the spicy butter sauce over the eggs. Garnish with fresh herbs and some crumbled goat cheese. 

This recipe was heavenly, it seemed pretty easy to make and resulted in a really tasty breakfast. All of the ingredients complement each other nicely while still standing out individually.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Peanut Butter Flourless Chocolate Cake

This incredibly rich and decadent dessert cake was served at a large birthday party for Alecia, and was a hit with everyone there. The smooth consistency and classic pairing of chocolate and peanut butter make for a stellar slice of cake, and it is made without flour, so it can be served to people who have that dietary restriction.

Recipe from Gimme Some Oven.

-8 eggs
-16 ounces dark or semisweet chocolate morsels
-1 cup butter
-1/2 cup peanut butter

-3 ounces dark or semisweet chocolate morsels
-1/3 cup heavy cream
-1/3 cup peanut butter

Begin by preheating the oven to 325, and start a pot of water to boil on the stove, it should be as much water as will halfway fill a 9x13 baking dish. When the water comes to a boil, pour it into the pan and place in the oven on the lower rack. The moisture coming from the pan will keep the cake from drying out.

Next, beat the eggs in a medium bowl with an electric mixer for three to five minutes on high. Meanwhile, melt the butter, pound of chocolate and 1/2 cup peanut butter in a large pot on the stove on low heat. Gradually stir the eggs into the melted chocolate.

Pour the mixture in a springform pan lined on the bottom with parchment paper and lightly greased on the sides. Bake above the pan of water for 25-30 minutes -- at this point the edges will have set. Turn off the oven and open the door a few inches so that the cake can cool slowly for fifteen minutes.

You need the cake to continue to cool, so put it on a wire rack and later on into the refrigerator. Remove the sides of the pan and transfer the cake to a serving dish. Melt the remaining chocolate in a small pot on the stove with the heavy cream, and the peanut butter in the microwave. Pour the chocolate over the cake, then drizzle the peanut butter, or pipe on with a plastic baggie.

Transfer back to the refrigerator and serve chilled.

Best enjoyed with friends and family!

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Mushroom Poblano Posole Verde

Last week it was in the 70's and today it's snowing -- Ohio weather is so crazy this time of year. This recipe is hearty and will warm you up. It would be wonderful served with crusty bread or some tortilla chips.

Recipe from Pinch of Yum.

-2 tablespoons olive oil
-half a yellow onion, minced
-2 poblano peppers, seeds removed, minced
-16 ounces fresh sliced baby bella mushrooms
-1 teaspoon southwest seasoning
-24 ounces salsa verde
-1 cup water
-4-5 cups vegetable broth
-3/4 cup uncooked bulgur
-28 ounces white hominy
-1½ teaspoons salt
- lime juice and cheese for serving

Heat the olive oil  in a large pot over medium high heat. Add the onions; saute for 1-2 minutes. Add the peppers and mushrooms; saute for 10-15 minutes or until the mushrooms are cooked down to about half their volume and are deep brown.
Add the seasoning, salsa verde, water, 3 cups broth, bulgur, and hominy. Simmer about 15 minutes or until the bulgur is soft. Once the bulgar is soft add additional broth if needed.
Serve a squeeze of lime juice and cheese. I added parsley as well for additional color. 



We both loved this soup, it was hearty and full of flavor. Dave was a little skeptical about it, but he was happy with how it turned out, he described it as "shockingly delicious." The lime juice and goat cheese on top helped to add extra layers of flavor, so don't skip out on adding those. This made plenty of leftovers as well. 

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Roasted Cauliflower and Garlic Dip with Toasted Pepitas

This cauliflower dip makes a great appetizer or side dish with a week night meal. It was easy to prepare even though I was making a main course at the same time. 

Recipe from Booklyn Supper.

-4 cups 3/4-inch thick cauliflower florets
-2 cloves garlic, minced
-4 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
-sea salt
-2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
-1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
-ground cayenne pepper to taste
-3 tablespoons pepitas
-2 tablespoons minced flatleaf parsley
-flatbreads or crackers, for serving

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
In a medium-sized bowl, toss the cauliflower florets with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Spread out on a rimmed baking sheet. Sprinkle generously with sea salt. Roast for 20-25 minutes flipping halfway through. Set aside to cool.
Meanwhile, set a small skillet over medium heat. Add 1 teaspoon olive oil, then the pepitas. Toast 2 - 3 minutes, just until the seeds become fragrant and a few start to pop. Remove from the pan and set aside.

In the bowl of a food processor, pulse to combine roasted cauliflower and garlic, 2 tablespoons toasted pepitas, lemon juice, nutmeg, and cayenne pepper to taste. With food processor running, drizzle in 3 tablespoons olive oil. Taste and add additional sea salt, pepper, and lemon juice as needed.

Spoon the dip into a serving bowl, drizzle with the remaining olive oil and toasted pepitas.

This received mixed reviews, I thought it was just okay, but Dave really seemed to like it.Overall, it was just very ho-hum for me, nothing special, but not actually bad. It just didn't have any flavors that made this a special dish, but it was easy to make and Dave ate most of it. 

Friday, March 18, 2016

Pumpkin Breakfast Cookies

This recipe continues my quest of using up things in my pantry. These breakfast cookies finished off a can of pumpkin that I had lurking in the pantry, and I already had most of the other ingredients on hand which made this even easier to put together.

Recipe from Leela Licious.

-1/4 cup olive oil
-1/2 cup honey
-2 cups rolled oats
-2/3 cup dried cranberries
-2/3 cup pumpkin seeds
-1/4 cup flour
-1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
-1/2 teaspoon salt
-1/2 cup pumpkin puree
-2 eggs, beaten

Preheat oven to 325 F. Line a baking sheet.
In a large bowl add the olive oil and honey. Then combine the the oats, cranberries, pumpkin seeds, flour, pumpkin pie spice and salt. Add pumpkin puree and eggs. Stir until fully combined.

Drop about 1/4 cup sized scoops of the mixture onto a cookie sheet and flatten. Bake for about 15-20 minutes until edges are lightly browned.

These breakfast cookies were good, not too sweet and easy to put together. Dave and I both enjoyed them and thought they were a decently filling breakfast. 

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Irishman’s Mac and Cheese

A delightful and filling macaroni and cheese perfect for St. Patrick's day; drawing inspiration from the emerald isle, from the Irish cheese to the 1/2 cup of beer to the shimmering green kale.

Recipe from Half Baked Harvest.

-1 bunch kale, sliced into thin shreds
-2 tablespoons olive oil
-1/3 cup pesto
-1/4 cup lemon juice
-1 pound medium shell pasta
-4 tablespoons butter
-1/4 cup flour
-1/2 cup beer, room temperature
-3 cups milk, room temperature
-2 1/2 cups Irish white cheddar cheese, shredded
-1 1/2 cups havarti cheese, shredded
-1 teaspoon mustard
-dash cayenne pepper
-salt and pepper
-potato chips

In a large bowl, massage kale in olive oil for two minutes. Add pesto, dash of salt, and lemon juice, and toss to coat evenly.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook pasta al dente, drain and set pasta aside. In the same pot, melt butter over medium heat. Whisk in flour and stir for one minute. Add the beer and whisk again for another minute. Pour in the milk and bring up to a boil for three minutes, stirring periodically. Lower the heat and gradually add the cheese until it is all melted. Stir in 1/4 cup kale-pesto slaw, mustard, cayenne, salt and pepper. Mix in the pasta shells, then transfer to a 9x13 baking dish, sprayed lightly with cooking spray. Top with a layer of potato chips and bake at 375 for 25 minutes. Let sit for five minutes, and serve topped with additional kale-pesto slaw.

A wonderfully cheesy dish elevated by the light bitterness of the beer and aroma of basil. Perfectly creamy and filling, this makes for an excellent St. Patrick's day festive meal, or a good, comforting meal any day of the week.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Falafel Burgers with Pepperoncini Salsa

Happy Sandwich Wednesday! Dave and I both enjoy Mediterranean food, so I thought this baked falafel burger looked like something we would both enjoy. Also, I love finding creative ways to make veggie burgers at home -- veggie burgers make for a nice meal and are easily paired with sides.

Recipe from Joanne Eats Well With Others.

-2 (15 oz) cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
-1 red onion, chopped
-2 cloves garlic, minced
-handful of parsley, minced
-3-4 tbsp flour
-1 tbsp cumin
-1 tbsp chili powder
-1½ tsp turmeric
-salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
-4 slices provolone
-4 burger buns
-1 medium cucumber, quartered and chopped
-1 pint cherry tomatoes, quarters
-½ cup hot pepperoncini peppers, sliced

Place the chickpeas in a food processor along with the red onion, garlic, parsley, flour, cumin, , chili powder, and turmeric. Process until fairly smooth. Season to taste with salt and black pepper. Form into 4 patties and refrigerate for 15 minutes -- this will help the burgers stay a little more firm during the cooking process.
Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for 30-40 minutes, flipping once halfway through.
In the last few minutes of baking, top with the provolone cheese slices and cook until they melt.
Meanwhile, toss together the cucumber, tomatoes, and pepperoncini and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Serve burgers on the buns topped with the pepperoncini salsa.

This turned out just okay, the burger was pretty crumbly and I wasn't in love with the whole thing overall. However, the crumbly burger topping and pepperoncini salsa made for an excellent salad topping paired with light buffalo ranch dressing. 

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Crispy Brussels Sprouts with Black Garlic Dip

I'm working on using the black garlic that we purchased last week. Black garlic is much more mild than traditional garlic, so if you don't have access to black garlic, use 2 cloves of regular garlic instead.

Inspired by Chez Us.

-1 pound brussels sprouts, clean and quartered
-Cooking spray
-1/4 cup Miracle Whip
-5 cloves black garlic, minced
-1 teaspoon harissa paste

Clean your brussels sprouts by washing them, removing a few outer leaves and cutting them into quarters. Place on a foil or parchment lined baking sheet and spray liberally with cooking spray. Season heavily with salt and pepper and then bake at 450 for 30-35 minutes. The brussels should be looking pretty browned.

While the brussels bake, combine the Miracle Whip (or mayo), black garlic, and harissa paste. Serve alongside the crispy brussels sprouts.


Both of us essentially inhaled these brussels sprouts. The dip had a nice complexity of flavor and the roasted brussels sprouts paired nicely with the heat and sweetness of the dip. The dip recipe could be very versatile, there are a lot of flavor notes that would pair well with the black garlic and harissa. It might have been nice with a little mustard in it. 

Monday, March 14, 2016

Pecan Pie

Happy Pi Day! I can't believe I've never posted a pie recipe in honor of this day. Dave's sister Donna gave me a book called Vintage Pies: Classic American Pies for Today's Home Baker for Christmas last year. The author spent forty years collecting heirloom pie recipes and the book details the origins of each recipe. All are surprisingly simple and start with the same basic pie crust. It's a beautiful book and although this pecan pie isn't one of the more adventurous pies in the book, surprisingly I had all of the ingredients on hand making this an easy Sunday night baking adventure for my office colleagues.

I hate making pie crust, so I cheated an used a pre-made crust, if you'd like to follow the recipe from Vintage Pies which I've included below.

Recipe by Anne Haynie Collins as published in Vintage Pies: Classic American Pies for Today's Home Baker.

-1 pre-made pie crust or recipe from Vintage Pies**
-1/3 cup salted butter
-3 large eggs
-1 cup cane syrup or dark corn syrup
-2/3 cup granulated sugar
-1 cup pecan halves or pieces

-1 cup unbleached flour, plus 1/2 cup for kneading
-1/2 teaspoon salt
-7 tablespoons shortening
-1/4 cup cold water.

Combine the flour and salt in a large bowl. Divide the shortening among the flour/salt and use a pastry blender to cut the shortening into the flour until the mixture is full of pea sized crumbles. 
Next, sprinkle the cold water on top of the flour mixture and stir until the dough just holds together.  
Dust your work surface with flour and turn the dough out of the bowl onto the floured surface. Use your fingertips to knead the dough until smooth, about 10-15 strokes should be enough, you don't want to over work it. Then form the dough into a ball and flatten into a thick circle. Roll the dough out, fold in half and transfer to your pie plate and lightly press the crust into the pie plate. 
Preheat the oven to 350. Melt the butter in a small sauce pan. While the butter melts whisk the eggs in a medium sized mixing bow. Then add the syrup, sugar, and melted butter whisking to combine all three ingredients. Gently fold in the pecans, and then pour the filling into the unbaked pie crust.

Bake for 35 minutes or until the filling is set in the middle...this took about 55 minutes in my oven. Like most baked goods, if you insert a knife into the center, it should come out clean. That will help give some indication if the pie is done or not.

Dave and I had a test slice before I brought this to work and it got a two thumbs up from both of us. Happy Pi Day! Look for more recipes from Vintage Pies here in the future.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Korean BBQ Tofu Bowls

I loved the colors in this bowl, such bright and happy spring colors.

Recipe from Oh My Veggies.

-1/2 cup ketchup
-1/2 cup rice vinegar
-1/4 cup tamari or soy sauce
-1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
-1 tablespoon sesame seeds
-2 teaspoons yellow miso
-1 teaspoon sriracha
-1/4 teaspoon black pepper
-2 green onions, thinly sliced
-1 clove garlic, minced
-1 (1-inch) piece ginger, grated
-2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil

-2 tablespoons sesame oil (or any neutral flavored, high-heat cooking oil), divided
-1 crown broccoli, broken into florets
-1 tablespoon water
-1 medium zucchini, sliced into half moons
-1 cup fresh pineapple chunks
-1 red pepper, cored and sliced
-1 tablespoon soy sauce
-1 (15-ounce) package extra-firm tofu, pressed for 30 minutes and cut into 1-inch cubes
-Cooked quinoa
-shredded red cabbage

Whisk together all of the sauce ingredients except the sesame oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. When the mixture comes to a simmer, reduce the heat to medium-low and continue to simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 15 minutes, or until slightly thickened—it will not get as thick as traditional BBQ sauce. Stir in the oil and set aside.

Next, heat 1 tablespoon of sesame oil in a large wok. Add the broccoli and stir fry for 1 minute. Carefully add the water to the skillet and cover; let the broccoli steam for about 2 minutes, until bright green.

Add the zucchini, pineapple, red pepper and soy sauce to the skillet. Cook, stirring constantly, 3-5 minutes more, or until all the vegetables are crisp-tender. Divide the vegetables into 4 bowls and wipe the skillet clean with a paper towel.

Return the skillet to medium-high heat. Add the remaining sesame oil and swirl to coat, then add the tofu. Cook the tofu until lightly browned and crisp on all sides, turning occasionally, 8-10 minutes. Pour 1/2 cup of the Korean BBQ sauce over the tofu and toss to coat; cook 2 minutes more, until sauce has thickened and the tofu is coated. Divide the tofu into the bowls, then add the quinoa and red cabbage. Drizzle with the remaining sauce and garnish with sesame seeds.

This was a wonderful lunch, the sauce on the tofu had nice flavor and it complemented the stir-fried vegetables nicely as well. You could use whatever mix of vegetables you'd like, but a traditional stir-fry combination is easy to put together and helps keep with the theme. I appreciate how versatile this recipe is, it would be a good way to use leftover veggies or rice, just add tofu with that yummy BBQ sauce.