Thursday, August 10, 2017

Grilled Brie with Strawberry Wine Sauce and Honey

We bought a small grill on a whim and have been enjoying using it during this last half of summer. I found this recipe on Half Baked Harvest's website and adapted it to the ingredients I already had on hand. This would be delicious with any berry and you can substitute whatever alcohol you would like to use instead.

Grilling the brie added a lovely depth of flavor and this was such an easy recipe to put together. Dave thought the grilled bread was a nice accompaniment to the grilled brie. He didn't think this would have been as good with just toasted bread, as the grilled breaded added more flavor.

Adapted from Half Baked Harvest.

-2 tablespoons honey
-4 sprigs fresh thyme
-pinch of flaky sea salt
-1 (8 ounce) brie wheel
-Cooking spray
-1 cup sliced strawberries
-2 tablespoons white wine
-toasted or grilled bread, for serving

Add the sliced strawberries and wine to a small saucepan and bring to a simmer. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Preheat the grill and spray the wheel of brie with cooking spray and sprinkle with sea salt. Dave felt it would be best to put the wheel of brie in the vegetable basket as a way to easily flip the brie.

Place the brie on the grill and grill for 2-3 minutes per side, when it is time to grill the second side, make sure to flip the brie carefully. Once the brie has been grilled on both sides remove it from the grill and serve immediately topped with the strawberry sauce, and drizzled with honey. Serve with toasted or grilled bread.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Charred and Raw Corn with Goat Cheese

We made this as a side dish today served alongside vegetarian BLT's and grilled asparagus. The acidity from the lime helped cut through the sweetness of the corn. I made several substitutions to work with what we already had in our kitchen, and it seemed to work nicely.

It's probably easiest to grill the corn whole, Dave decided to cut it in half and then it was more difficult to take the kernels off the cob.

Slightly adapted from Bon Appetit

-4 ears of corn, husked
-1 large shallot, thinly sliced into rings
-¼ cup fresh lime juice
-Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
-1 tablespoon olive oil
-2 oz. goat cheese, crumbled
-4 tablespoons of lime basil
-Hot pepper flakes
-Cooking spray

Prepare grill for medium heat. Cut kernels from 1 corn cob and toss with shallot, hot pepper flakes, olive oil, and lime juice in a large bowl; season with salt and pepper and set aside.

Spray the remaining 3 ears of corn with cooking spray and season with paprika. Then grill, turning occasionally, until very tender and charred in spots, 10–12 minutes. Let cool.

Cut kernels from cobs and add to reserved corn mixture along with cheese and lime basil. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Garlic Scape and Cherry Tomato Pasta

Every year I pin recipes for garlic scapes and every year I miss the window to buy them. You're most likely to find garlic scapes in your CSA box or at a local farmer's market, but if you have a grocery store specializing in seasonal items, garlic scapes might pop up there as well. Garlic scapes usually start showing up May-June and the window to purchase them is incredibly short (which is why I keep missing it). Garlic scapes are the "flower bud" of garlic bulbs and removing the scapes allows the garlic bulb to devote more energy to plumping up.

I picked up a tangle of garlic scapes at the Farmer's Market and it looks like I will be able to devote at least three blogs to recipes utilizing them.

This pasta recipe comes together quickly and is a nice introduction into using garlic scapes. We cut them into bite size pieces, but some of our stems were a little woody -- chopping them smaller might be better. Overall, we enjoyed the flavor that roasting the garlic scapes brought out and paired with the other summery ingredients, the simple dinner was lovely.

Recipe slightly adapted from Savuer.

-Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
-1⁄2 lb. spaghetti
-1 tablespoon olive oil
-10 garlic scapes, sliced into bite size pieces
-1 pint multicolored cherry tomatoes
-1 onion, thinly sliced
-1 cup spinach
-1 lemon, zested and juiced

Heat oven to 400° and roast the garlic scapes, cherry tomatoes, and onion for 12-15 minutes or until the cherry tomatoes begin to burst. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil; add spaghetti and cook, stirring occasionally, until al dente, about 8 minutes.

In a large bowl toss the spaghetti, roasted vegetables, spinach, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Drizzle with the tablespoon of olive oil and serve immediately.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Loaded Mediterranean Street Cart Fries

I saw this recipe online and thought it looked like a fun weekend recipe to make. There are a lot of options as far as toppings, so you can customize it however you'd like. Having never been to the Mediterranean (and none of our local Mediterranean restaurants seem to serve a similar dish) I can't speak to the authenticity of the street cart fries. Even with no base comparison, these were good nevertheless, I think next time I would like to add hot sauce as a topping. A little spice would have put these over the top for me.

Recipe from Pinch of Yum

-1 cup plain full fat yogurt
-half of a zucchini, grated
-½ cup roughly chopped fresh parsley
-1 clove garlic, minced
-a few pinches of chopped fresh dill
-salt and lemon juice to taste

Marinated Tomatoes and Chickpeas
-1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
-4-6 tomatoes, diced
-2 tablespoons olive oil
-1 clove garlic, minced
-fresh minced parsley to taste
-salt to taste
-lemon juice to taste

Other Ingredients
-1 bag sweet potato fries
-1 head romaine lettuce, washed and roughly chopped
-Optional toppings: feta cheese, pepperoncini, olives, hot peppers, hot sauce, and/or fried pita chips

Start baking the sweet potato fries according to package directions and while they are baking make the tzatziki and marinated tomatoes and chickpeas.

For the tzatziki, you will combine all of the ingredients together and then adjust the seasoning and lemon to taste. For the marinated tomatoes and chickpeas, toss the chickpeas and tomatoes with the oil, garlic, lemon juice, and parsley. Set aside to marinate. During the remaining time chop the lettuce and prepare any of the optional toppings that you plan on using (we just used feta). 

For assembly you can either assemble each serving individually or just make a big plate of Mediterranean Street Fries. 

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Blackberry and Cream Cheese Stuffed French Toast Bake

When the Smashed Blackberry & Goat Cheese Toasts recipe left me with leftover blackberries, blackberry sauce, and ciabatta bread I decided to try to work them into a second recipe. I already had four ounces of neufchatel cheese in my fridge, so a stuffed french toast seemed like a pretty way to incorporate the blackberries and blackberry sauce.

The original recipe serves eight and can be made in an 8x8 glass baking dish. I cut the recipe in half based on the ingredients I had to make four ramekins of French Toast Bake. You could also bake this in a loaf pan if you don't want to make individual portions.

I didn't add any extra sugar to this and thought it tasted best liberally drowned in maple syrup (okay, maybe I didn't use that much, but it needs more than is baked into the recipe). Overall, it was a nice way to use some of the leftovers from the other recipe and an easy breakfast for dinner recipe to put together.

Inspired by this post from Creative Culinary.

-All of the leftover sauce from this recipe
-1/2 loaf ciabatta bread, sliced and cubed
-4 ounces neufchatel, cubed
-1/2 cup blackberries
-4 large eggs
-1 cups milk
-1 teaspoon vanilla extract
-4 tablespoons maple syrup, and more to taste

Preheat oven to 350° and grease four 9 ounce ramekins. Evenly divide the cubed bread and nuefchatel cheese between the ramekins. In a bowl combine the eggs, milk, vanilla extract and maple syrup. Pour the egg mixture over the bread and then bake for 30 minutes covered, 10 uncovered.

Serve with the blackberry sauce, I needed to add a little water to thin mine. And additional maple syrup and garnish with the remaining fresh blackberries.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Smashed Blackberry & Goat Cheese Toasts

It's spring! I'm loving all of the beautiful light we've been having the opportunity to enjoy later and later into the evening, although these are perfect for a light weekend lunch as well. The recipe will make more smashed blackberry sauce than you need, save the extra sauce and the leftover ciabatta bread for a different recipe that I'll post by Sunday.

Dave and I are both not big on adding fresh mint to foods, but we ended up liking the hint of mint on the toasts.

Recipe from Wry Toast.

-1 1/2 cups blackberries
-1/2 cup blueberries
-1 teaspoon vanilla
-1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
-3 tablespoons water
-1 – 2 teaspoons cornstarch, sifted
-8 oz ciabatta bread, sliced (or your bread of choice!)
-4 oz goat cheese
-fresh mint to garnish

In a medium-sized saucepan combine the blackberries, blueberries, vanilla, sugar, and water over a medium low flame. Once simmering and the fruit begins to burst (about 5 minutes) gently mash with a fork, then whisk in the cornstarch until well incorporated.

While the berry sauce is simmering, toast the ciabatta bread.

Once both the sauce and bread are ready, spread the ciabatta bread with a thick layer of goat cheese, then spoon over with the smashed blackberries. Garnish with fresh blackberries and mint.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Strawberry, Blue Cheese, and Almond Guacamole

If you're a guacamole purist look away, but I love mixing non-traditional ingredients into guacamole. This was our Cinco de Mayo meal paired with some mango margaritas. I wanted to make guacamole and found this idea while pursuing the Nuevo menu for what I would like to order later this week when I have dinner plans scheduled. Dave and I love their rotating menu of guacamole toppings and I thought this sounded relatively easy to put together.

3 avocados will make quite a bit of guacamole, don't be afraid to reduce the number to two. You'll need a little less of each of the other ingredients if you do this, but it's more of less to taste anyway.

A Vegetarian & Cooking original inspired by Nuevo Mod Mexican in Akron, Ohio.

-3 avocados
-8 strawberries, diced
-4 tablespoons blue cheese
-2 tablespoons almonds
-Lime juice and salt, to taste

In a large bowl mash up the 3 avocados and then add lime juice and salt to taste. Carefully mix in the diced strawberries, blue cheese, and almonds.

Top with additional sliced strawberries and blue cheese, serve with chips or veggies.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Vegetarian Spring Roll Bowls


We're finally all moved into our new place. On one of our first full nights there we made this recipe. Temperatures were starting to get warmer and I liked the simplicity of only cooking the tofu. You can serve this recipe hot or cold, but I enjoyed it best served cold.

Adapted and Inspired by Pinch of Yum.

Sweet Garlic Lime Sauce
-3 cloves garlic
-2 tablespoons rice vinegar
-1/4 cup honey
-1/4 cup soy sauce
-1/3 cup lime juice
-1/3 cup vegetable oil

12 ounces of udon noodles
-1 package of extra firm tofu, drained, pressed, and cut into cubes
-1/2 cup fresh basil
-1/2 cup fresh mint
-1/2 cup fresh parsley
-3 serrano peppers, sliced
-1/4 cup chopped peanuts
-2 avocados sliced
-3 carrots, shredded
-1 yellow bell pepper, diced
-1 red bell pepper, diced
-1/2 a cucumber, diced
-1 mango, diced

In a large bowl add the udon noodles and cover them with cold water, set aside until all of the other steps are complete -- by that time the noodles will be softened and ready to eat.  Mix together all of the ingredients for the sauce and set aside.

In a large skillet over medium heat, heat a small amount of oil and then start browning the cubes of tofu. With all of the other ingredients, you'll only need to season the tofu with salt and pepper.

One all of the tofu has been browned, drain the water out of the bowl of udon noodles. Add the shredded carrots, bell peppers, cucumber, mango, and all three herbs to the bowl. Toss to combine everything and pour in the sweet garlic lime sauce.

Portion the noodle mixture into bowls and then top each with sliced serranos; chopped peanuts; avocado; and tofu. I added some black sesame seeds for a contrasting color, but they aren't needed if you don't have them on hand.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Homemade Ricotta Gnocchi with Asparagus Pesto

It's a very rainy day here in Ohio, but we're coming off of a week or two of summer-like weather which has been the perfect introduction into spring. Asparagus is one of the quintessential spring vegetables and seems to make its way into most spring recipes. For this recipe, asparagus is used in two different ways and although this was our first foray into making ricotta gnocchi, overall I think everything came together really nicely. 

Recipe from How Sweet Eats.*

Ricotta Gnocchi
-12 ounces ricotta cheese
-1/4 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
-1 cup all-purpose flour
-1 large egg + 1 egg yolk, lightly beaten
-1/4 teaspoon salt
-1/4 teaspoon pepper

Asparagus Pesto + Serving
-1 pound asparagus spears, woody ends removed
-1/4 cup  toasted sliced almonds
-1/2 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
-3 garlic cloves
-pinch of crushed red pepper
-1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
-shaved parmesan, for topping

* The original preparation involves squeezing excess moisture from the ricotta and weighing out a perfect eight ounce portion. Dave declared this to be messy and a waste of time, so it didn't happen for our recipes. All turned out fine. 

To Prepare the Ricotta Gnocchi: 

In a medium bowl stir together the ricotta that you've weighed out, 3/4 cup flour, cheese, eggs, salt and pepper until just combined. Add the remaining flour one tablespoon at a time until the dough has come together. Once the dough is ready, form a ball of gnocchi dough, then press it into a disk on a floured surface. Cut the disk into four equal pieces and then take each piece and roll it into a log about 16 to 18 inches long. Use a sharp knife to cut the rolls of dough into 1-inch pieces.

To Prepare the Asparagus and Pesto:

Cut the asparagus spears into thirds and bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Cook for 5 minutes until still bright green, but now tender. Remove some of the pieces and set aside to toss with the gnocchi later.

Add the remaining asparagus, almonds, garlic, cheese and crushed red pepper to a food processor. Pulse the food processor until the mixture begins to come together, then stream in the 1/3 cup of olive oil in while the processor is running. Once you have used all of the olive oil and the pesto has reached the desired consistency, taste and season with salt and pepper if desired.

Cooking the Gnocchi:

To cook the gnocchi, bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and then add the gnocchi -- cook about 2 to 3 minutes, until it floats for about 30 seconds. Remove with a large slotted spoon. Once all of the gnocchi are ready, drain the water reserving about 1/2 cup of the pasta water.


In sauce pot that you used to cook the gnocchi add the pasta back in and the asparagus pieces. Toss the gnocchi and asparagus together with the pesto. Add the reserved pasta water until the sauce has reached the consistency that you would like. Divide into four servings and top with shaved parmesan and garnish with lemon.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Ginger + Lemongrass Infused Thai Soup with Crispy Tofu and Wild Rice

We made this soup a while ago, but it was so good that I needed to share the recipe. This soup would still work for spring if you wanted to serve it as a starter to a light Thai meal. The lemongrass infuses the soup with a tangy flavor which works nicely with the savory vegetables and sweetness of the coconut milk.

Adapted from Sobremesa.

-2 teaspoons coconut oil, divided
-1 package of extra firm tofu, pressed
-1/4 cup soy sauce
-1 tablespoon honey
-1 teaspoon sesame vinegar
-1 small yellow onion, diced
-2 carrots, peeled and chopped into coins
-1 bunch scallions, chopped and divided into two piles
-4 cloves garlic, minced
-1 inch piece of ginger, peeled and minced
-2-3 tablespoons lemongrass paste OR 1 stalk lemongrass, leave whole and cut an x in the bottom of the root end
-3 cups vegetable broth
-1 can full fat coconut milk
-zest and juice of 1 lime
-4 cups cooked wild rice

Mix the soy sauce, honey, and sesame vinegar together in a small bowl. Then cut the tofu into bite sized cubes. Toss the sauce and tofu together, then in a large skillet melt down a small amount of coconut oil over medium heat. Add the tofu cubes to the hot pan and cook on all sides until brown and crispy. Once the tofu is finished cooking, remove from the pan and set aside.

While the tofu is cooking, heat the remaining 1 teaspoon of coconut oil in a medium sauce pan. Add the onion and carrot and cook until soft and fragrant. Next add half of the scallions, garlic, ginger, and lemongrass. Cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the vegetable broth and coconut milk and bring the mixture to a boil. Once boiling, reduce to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes.

Remove lemongrass from pan (if you're using the lemongrass stalk, I was only able to find lemongrass paste). Season the soup with salt and pepper to taste and add the lime zest and juice.

Scoop a serving of rice into each bowl, top with tofu, and ladle broth over top. Add the remaining scallions and peanuts as a garnish for more texture, color, and flavor.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Blackberry & Bacon Grilled Cheese

Happy National Grilled Cheese Day! The are 81+ grilled cheese recipes on Vegetarian & Cooking! if this sandwich doesn't seem like the perfect grilled cheese for you to celebrate National Grilled Cheese Day.

I love using Morning Star's vegetarian bacon, this would also be good with coconut bacon (or regular bacon if you would like to make the sandwich non-vegetarian). The combination of salty, sweet, and spicy is delightful. Dave and I each ate a sandwich and a half and were wanting more. This would be good with any jam that isn't too sweet, elderberry jam is coming to mind as one that still has a little pucker to it while maintaining some sweetness.

Adapted from Lemon Tree Dwelling.

-1/2 tablespoon Miracle Whip (or mayo)
-6 pieces bread of your choice (I used a multigrain bread)
-3/4 cup shredded swiss cheese
-6 pieces Morning Star veggie bacon, cooked
-Pickled jalapeno slices
-3 tablespoons blackberry jam

Lightly spread Miracle Whip on one side of three pieces of bread and place the bread Miracle Whip side down in a skillet.

Top each piece with swiss cheese, pickled jalapeno slices, and the veggie bacon. Add more swiss cheese on top. Spread the blackberry jam onto the remaining three pieces of bread and place the bread jam side down on top of the sandwiches that are in the pan.

Spread the remaining Miracle Whip on the top of the sandwiches. Grill over medium heat until each side is golden brown. If you use your hand to steady the sandwich, you should be able to flip the sandwich without losing any of the filling.


Monday, April 3, 2017

Key Lime Coconut Doughnuts

Dave brought home some key limes and I had some leftover coconut milk in the fridge, so this was my attempt at finding a recipe that would utilize those ingredients, but not require me to buy anything new. I purchased my doughnut pan several years ago on Black Friday, but have found it to be a lovely piece of baking equipment for an every once in a while baked doughnut treat.

I made these when I had a day off work and Dave was happily surprised to come home to warm doughnuts. I enjoyed one or two with coffee, but these really were a treat that he liked. It's usually best to eat donuts within a few days, but these didn't last too long in our house so keeping them wasn't a concern. I was able to make seven doughnuts with this recipe. 

Recipe from Baker By Nature.

For the Key Lime Coconut Donuts:
-1 and 1/4 cups all purpose flour
-1 teaspoon baking powder
-1/2 teaspoon salt
-1/2 cup granulated sugar
-2 teaspoons fresh lime zest
-2 1/2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
-1 large egg, at room temperature
-1/2 cup coconut milk
For the Key Lime Glaze:
-1 cup confectioners' sugar
-1 and 1/2 tablespoons key lime juice
-1 teaspoon lime zest
-1/8 teaspoon salt
(Optional) Decoration:
1/2 cup shredded coconut, toasted
2 teaspoons lime zest

Prepare the glaze first, combine the juice and sugar whisking to combine. Add some addition lime juice if the glaze looks too thick and if the glaze looks too thin add additional sugar. 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and great a doughnut pan with coconut oil.

In a small bowl whisk together flour, baking powder and salt; set aside. In a large bowl combine the granulated sugar and lime zest; mix together with your fingers until zest is evenly distributed in the sugar. Add in the melted coconut oil and, using a whisk, mix until combined. Beat in the egg, then stir in coconut milk.Add in the dry ingredients and gently fold the mixture together using a rubber spatula, stirring only until mixture is evenly combined.

Spoon the batter into a large ziplock bag and use the bag as a piping bag in order to get the batter into the molds of the greased pan. Fill-up each mold 2/3 of the way. Bake for 10-13 minutes, or until firm and lightly golden.

Remove the doughnut pan and allow the doughnuts to cool for a few minutes, before transferring them to a cooling rack. Once the doughnuts are cool dip them into the glaze and top with shredded coconut and additional zest if desired. 

Once cool, dip each doughnut in glaze and serve once the glaze is set. 

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Blood Orange Tequila Fizz

Blood oranges are one of my favorite parts of winter -- they have a distinct flavor making them much different than their regular orange varieties cousins. They also add beautiful color to drinks, salads, and desserts.

I mixed this blood orange fizz on an unseasonably warm day and it was the perfect amount of tart and refreshing.

Recipe from How Sweet Eats.

-3 ounces freshly squeezed blood orange juice
-2 ounces gold tequila
-1 ounce lime simple syrup
-2 ounces ginger ale (or ginger beer)

lime simple syrup
-1/3 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
-1/3 cup sugar

lime simple syrup
Heat the lime juice and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat. Once the mixture begins to simmer and is looking like it has reduced, remove from the heat and let it cool, I made mine directly before I made my drink and ended up just throwing the simple syrup in the freezer for a massive cool down.


Fill a chilled glass with ice. Add a blood orange slice.

Combine the blood orange juice, tequila, lime juice and lime syrup in a shaker or large glass. I don't have a shaker, so I used a large Pyrex measuring cup and stirred everything until combined.  Pour the drink over the ice and then top with the ginger ale/beer and add a lime wedge. Enjoy.


Sunday, February 26, 2017

Almond Pear Cake

Happy Five Year Blogiversary to Vegetarian & Cooking! I continue to be amazed at the difference between now and five years ago when I started this blog in my tiny college kitchen. As always year five brought about a lot of changes, with less free time I switched back to posting sporadically like I did in the beginning of this blog.

I made this Almond Pear Cake to serve at the end of dinner with my parents and then took the leftovers to the office. It was a hit all around, one of my coworkers took a big slice and told me that the cake was absolutely amazing. If  you're not a fan of almond, stay away, because it is in every bite of this cake.

Recipe from Bakers Royale.

-1 cup cake flour
-1/2 teaspoon salt
-1 teaspoon baking powder
-2/3 cup sugar
-5 oz. almond paste
-3/4 cups butter
-3 eggs
-1 teaspoon almond extract
-2 poached pears

-4 tablespoons butter
-1/2 cup brown sugar
-3/4 cup almonds

Heat oven to 350F and then butter and flour a springform pan.

In a medium bowl, mix together cake flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

Add the sugar and almond paste to a large bowl and use a pastry cutter to blend the sugar and almond paste until it looks like wet sand. Add the butter and use an electric mixer to beat the butter/almond paste/sugar on medium speed until combined. Then increase the speed to high and beat for 2-3 minutes until the mixture is light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, making sure that each is combined before adding the next. Lastly add the almond extract and beat until fully combined.

Fold in the flour mixture and then your batter is ready. Thinly slice the poached pears. Spoon half the batter into the prepared pan, top with the with the poached pears and then the remaining batter.

Bake at 350F for 50 minutes.  

After 40 minutes, prepare the cake topping by melting the butter and brown sugar in a small sauce pan. Boil and then fold in the almonds. After the cake has baked for 50 minutes, remove the cake from the oven and spread the topping onto the cake.  Return cake to oven and bake for another 15-20 minutes, or until inserted cake tester comes out free of crumbs.

Remove cake from oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes in the pan, before removing cake from pan.