Sunday, November 22, 2009

Pan-Fried Pumpkin Gnocchi from Steamy Kitchen

From Jenny Also Cooks

Ever since giving in and setting up all the blogs I follow on Google Reader (best invention ever), I find it easier to catch up with some of my favorite cooking and baking bloggers. But then they post recipes I want to try making. Over at Steamy Kitchen I stumbled across this recipe for Pan-Fried Pumpkin Gnocchi with Sage Browned Butter Sauce. I have tried making gnocchi to disastrous ends one time in the past, because I guesstimated at the weight of a butternut squash (bad idea). I also haven't really enjoyed gnocchi we get at the store, but I'm married to a man who adores anything in dumpling form. This looked easy, so I went ahead and tried it. It was simple, tasted delicious, and I'd recommend it. I would recommend really making sure your pan has cooled off before adding that balsamic vinegar though.

Since most gnocchi at the store has ridges, I rolled mine along my tomato slicer before frying them.

Kung Pao "Chicken"

From Jenny Also Cooks

Another recipe from Hungry Girl - since I get them in my e-mail I feel inspired to try them more often. Of course, not eating chicken, I made this with Quorn. It was tasty, but I'd probably like it more on the spicier side.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Eggs Florentine

From Jenny Also Cooks

More from Mastering the Art of French Cooking, after I finally saw Julie & Julia! I poached eggs Julia's way, and made her blender hollandaise sauce. I'm not sure I've ever had hollandaise sauce, but wow, everything was really rich. I topped sauteed spinach with the egg and sauce, which I believe makes it Eggs Florentine.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Enchiladas Suizas

From Jenny Also Cooks

Fighting against food boredom, experimenting with vegetarian meat substitutes can provide hours of fun. I came across this recipe for Enchiladas Suizas, and used Quorn cutlets for the chicken. I also cut the amount of cheese and cream at least in half as it seemed excessive. They were delicious and flavorful, and the most time-consuming part was cooking the peppers and onions!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Soupe A L'Oignon

From Jenny Also Cooks

After making my first souffle, I was inspired to make more recipes from Mastering the Art of French Cooking, by Julia Child of course. I've had Better than Bouillon, No Beef flavor in my pantry for a while, just begging to be used in onion soup. Making Julia's version, it is Soupe L'Oignon, which she says you need to allow 2 and a half hours to make. Because onions can't be rushed, you know. First you have to thinly slice them (and cry), then saute them in butter and oil, then carmelize them, then simmer them in stock and wine. The end result is delicious, I just wish I'd put the time into making a cheesy crouton for better presentation.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Hungry Girl

From Jenny Also Cooks

I recently stumbled across Hungry Girl, and get her daily e-mail newsletter with recipes and healthy food products. I've been making a few here and there. My absolute favorite was the crunchy sassy chinese slaw but I haven't taken a picture of it yet. This is Dan Good Chili and Cheesy-Good Cornbread Muffins. I guess with all the baking I do, its smart to eat some healthier food from time to time. :)

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Fresh from the Garden - Pesto

From Jenny Also Cooks

I love going out into my backyard and picking food to cook with. It is an indescribable feeling, and tastes so fresh! I made pesto with three kinds of basil - one was purple, and then topped the pasta with fresh cherry tomatoes. Delicious. I'll have a lot of basil to experiment with as the summer goes on, but this time around I just used this basic recipe from

Friday, July 17, 2009

Fried "Chicken"

From Jenny Also Cooks

Oh the things vegetarians or almost-vegetarians miss out on! Then I came across this recipe for Fried Quorn Naked Chikn Cutlets, and I was pretty excited. Who doesn't want a substitute for fried chicken? These are vegetarian, not vegan, because the chicken substitute is made from egg whites and mycoprotein (mushroom fungus!!), and the batter uses buttermilk.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Salad for Summer

From Jenny Also Cooks

Amazing, summery, delicious. Recipe from here.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Back to the basics - Garlic Aioli

From Jenny Also Cooks

Nathaniel and I are slowly working our way through The Art of Simple Food by Alice Waters. We are only into the sauce chapter, but apart from the meat recipes (since we don't eat meat), we're going to try to learn the other basics. I've always admired Alice Waters with her commitment to locally grown food, and cooking simply with good ingredients. Couldn't we all live a little more simply?

One of the sauces is a garlic aioli. Aioli is basically mayonnaise with garlic added. It is more of a process than a recipe - an egg yolk is mixed with a splash of water and a dash of salt, plus 1-2 minced garlic cloves. Then a cup of olive oil is slowly whisked in.

From Jenny Also Cooks

The end result is not necessarily pretty, and I apologize that this picture is terrible! But it should be glossy, smooth, and thick. I think I actually could have added a bit less oil this particular time, but in general the formula is 1 egg yolk = 1 cup oil. I did it all by hand, but I've heard that it is easy to do in the blender or food processor. Why dirty one more dish? Seriously. I'd rather whisk by hand than clean more.

From Jenny Also Cooks

The best part of making basic recipes like sauces is that they need something to be used on. One of our favorite quick dinners is a vegetarian BLT. Actually most days we'll make MBLATs, because we always add mayo and avocado to ours if we can find any ripe enough. This time around the avocados were too firm, and I used garlic aioli in place of the mayonnaise. You know how there are certain flavors that you identify with restaurant food but can't always put your finger on? I swear garlic aioli is one of those things. So simple, so easy, but very delicious. I'm not sure what I'll do with the rest of it, since it won't last that long and is very pungent in my fridge.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Moroccan-Spiced Fava Bean Stew

From Jenny Also Cooks

Surely I have waxed eloquently, or at least waxed, about the amazing Vegan Planet cookbook. It is my Bible of Vegan Cooking. I think I love it because it does not give you recipes that are the result of people being vegan too long (and forgetting what non-vegan food tastes like), nor does it exchange flavor for health. Every recipe I've tried has been flawless, featuring the ingredients it contains, and is just good food that I'd be proud to serve anyone. Buy it.

The Moroccan-Spiced Fava Bean Stew was a new recipe to me, but I knew that I loved fava beans. Where I live, there is only one place to buy canned fava beans, and I will make the trek just to be able to make things out of them. Okay, plus a trip to Pita House (where they have a grocery too) is never a bad thing. This time around we brought home the larger fava beans, which was a good experiment. They are rather large, but the flavor is the same. I would probably use them just as often as the regular sized ones.

I wasn't sure what dried fruit would be like in this stew! I used dried apricots and cherries, since that is what I had that needed using up, but I can imagine any kind of dried fruit being nice in this stew. We had flatbread with it but I was really wishing I had made couscous because the broth just seemed to want to be soaked up with something.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Pineapple Casserole

From Jenny Also Cooks
I am not sure how long I lived in the south before I was introduced to the wonders of pineapple casserole. A co-worker friend brought it to a party, or maybe to a work function, and I was pretty skeptical. Imagine cheddar cheese, pineapple, and ritz crackers in your mind, now mash them together, add sugar and butter, and bake it. Sound good? I know, not to me either. But this is one of my favorite dishes that was introduced to me since moving to the south.

From Jenny Also Cooks

There are a lot of similar recipes floating around out there for pineapple casserole, but I went with Paula Deen's version. All of them are probably the same result.

The question you should ask yourself, when you make this dish, because I hope you will, is - is this a side dish? Is it dessert? Is it better cold or hot?

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Vegetarian Meatloaf Attempt 1

From Jenny Also Cooks

I'm still not convinced that vegetarians should be trying to make meatless versions of things that were meat-based to begin with, but there are a lot of meat substitutes out there. The question is, what to do with them?

Gimme Lean is a hamburger substitute that is meant to be made into things, as opposed to the crumbles of Morningstar Farms and others that are more free-form. We used it for the first time for Oktoberfest, where Nathaniel mixed in herbs based on standard sausage recipes, and cooked it in beer.

I have to admit to just doing a Google search to try to find vegetarian meatloaf recipes that used Gimme Lean for my first attempt. Since I have another tube of it in the fridge, I'll probably do the same thing for the second time around.

The recipe I used comes from the Happy Herbivore blog, which looks to be a great resource of healthy vegan cuisine. I don't want to copy and paste the recipe here because it looks like she sells cookbooks, but please give her blog a visit!

The things I liked about this recipe - well, it is vegan, for one thing. I doesn't depend on cheese for flavor. It was easy to do and all the ingredients were things I always have on hand, apart from the Gimme Lean, of course. It baked evenly and would make great leftovers as well. The horseradish was great!

The things I liked less - it was too salty for me. I think if I make this recipe again, I might leave the soy sauce and not add the salt. I wish I had sprayed or greased the foil, because it really stuck to it, making it hard to cut and serve. I blame the lack of fat in the recipe, as opposed to what you would find in real meatloaf where it would probably slide right off. Just typing that makes me think the tradeoff is worth it.

If you have a favorite vegetarian meatloaf recipe, I would love to hear it. Apart from Gimme Lean versions, there seem to be a lot of lentil loaves out there. I'm sure one will find its way into this blog, despite the fact that certain members of my household are less than fans of the mighty lentil.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Creamed Mushrooms on Cornmeal Waffles

From Jenny Also Cooks

As a new transplant to the south, I feel like I need to educate myself in southern cuisine! I got this amazing cookbook, the Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook, written by two southern expatriates now living in NYC. There aren't as many options for vegetarians, but the idea of savory waffles has always intrigued me. On a road trip through the south, I can guarantee you will count more Waffle Houses than anything else, after all.

Creamed Mushrooms on Cornmeal Waffles
from The Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook

For the creamed mushrooms:
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1 1/2 tbsp all-purpose flour
1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
6 oz shiitake mushrooms, trimmed and roughly chopped (about 2 cups) - I subbed white mushrooms
6 oz portobello mushrooms, trimmed and roughly chopped (about 2 cups)
1 tsp chopped fresh thyme or tarragon
2 tbsp Madeira or dry sherry (optional)
1 tsp salt, plus more to taste
1 cup heavy cream

For the cornmeal waffles:
1 cup stone-ground cornmeal
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp sugar
1 3/4 cups whole or low-fat buttermilk
4 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
2 large eggs

1. Start by preparing the mushrooms. In a 12-inch skillet or saute pan, melt the butter over medium heat until frothy, about 1 minute. Add the flour, whisking to break down any lumps, and when the flour is well incorporated, add the onion. Cook the onion until soft and translucent but not yet browning, about 5 minutes. Add the olive oil, mushrooms, thyme, Madeira, and salt and cook until the mushroms have darkened and released some of their liquid, about 3 minutes. Add the cream and stir to distribute it throughout the pan. Once the cream begins to simmer gently, cook until it takes on some of the mushrooms' color - a rich beige hue - about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat.

2. While the mushrooms are cooking, preheat the oven to 225 degrees. Place a rack in the middle.

3. Sift the dry waffle ingredients together into a bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk the wet waffle ingredients together. Add them to the dry ingredients and whisk until thoroughly blended.

4. Ladle the batter onto a hot buttered waffle iron (a 4x4 inch iron will require 1/2 cup batter) and cook 8 minutes, or until the outside is crisp and golden brown. As the waffles come off the iron, place them in a single layer on the oven rack so they stay warm and crisp.

5. When creamed mushrooms are cooked and the waffles are ready, ladle the mushrooms over the waffles and serve immediately.

For 4 people

This is delicious, and I would definitely make it again!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Black Bean Chili with Cilantro Pesto

From Jenny Also Cooks

It is cold outside, and what is better than a nice bowl of something hearty and warm? I have made many recipes from Vegan Planet, which is still my favorite vegan cookbook, but I was stuck on the backyard barbecue chili because it has become such a favorite in our household. I decided to try one of the other chili recipes in the book and was not disappointed!

This chili is flavorful without the cilantro pesto, but I would urge you to take the extra two minutes it takes to make the pesto - it perks up every bite of the chili, and adds such depth of flavor. I also served it with sour cream which would make it no longer vegan, in case you're keeping track.

Black Bean Chili with Cilantro Pesto
from Vegan Planet

1 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1/3 cup chopped celery
2 garlic cloves, minced
One 6-oz can tomato paste
One 14.5-oz can plum tomatoes, drained and chopped
2 tbsp chili powder
1/2 tsp ground cumin
2 cups water
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
3 cups cooked or two 15-oz cans black beans, drained and rinsed
1/3 cup Cilantro Pesto (recipe follows)

1. Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, celery, and garlic. Cover and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the tomato paste, tomatoes, chili powder, cumin, water, and salt and pepper to taste. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes.
2. Add the lemon juice and beans and simmer for about 15 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasonings. Just before serving, swirl in the pesto.

Serves 6

Cilantro Pesto

1 cup tightly packed fresh cilantro leaves
1/4 cup raw almonds (I used cashews)
2 large garlic cloves, peeled
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup olive oil

Combine the cilantro, almonds, garlic, and salt in a food processor and process until smooth. With the machine running, add the olive oil through the feed tube and process into a smooth paste. Store, tightly covered, in the refrigerator with a thin layer of olive oil on top to prevent discoloration.

Makes about 1 cup (hmm, not hardly, but enough for the chili)

Friday, January 16, 2009

Undecided blogger

Welcome to my newest cooking blog! I am still trying to post weekly in JennyBakes, have finished the challenge for Nathaniel Sauce, and abandoned 52 Veggie several years ago.

I was torn. Part of me wanted to do all vegan, because I like to cook vegan and have a bunch of vegan cookbooks that I've made little out of. Another part of me wanted to blog my southern cooking adventures, but there are already blogs that do that. So this is just for me. Whatever I experiment with that isn't baking goes here. Tada!