Monday, October 22, 2007

WLP Quiche

I made this up one day at the Women's Lunch Place when I was supposed to be making a quiche with fresh vegetables and my produce order didn't come in on time. . . and it turned out to be a hit with the ladies! It's super-easy, since most of it comes from a can or jar (which is usually not the way I prefer to cook . . . but it's tasty!). The measurements are a guesstimate, since I'm used to making this for a whole lotta people . . .

1 jar artichoke hearts (the kind that come marinated in olive oil and herbs)
1 jar roasted red peppers (or 1 or 2 freshly roasted red peppers, if you have the time and inclination to do it yourself)
1 or 2 tomatoes, diced, or 1 can diced tomatoes
salt and pepper
pinch each of dried oregano and basil
1 pie crust
5 or 6 eggs
splash of half-and-half (optional)
shredded mozzarella and parmesan cheese

Combine artichokes and their marinade with the roasted red peppers and tomatoes. Let sit for 30 minutes or so. In the meantime, beat the eggs (and add the half-and-half, if using). Season with salt and pepper and dried herbs.

Drain marinade from veggies and add to egg mixture. Pour into crust, sprinkle with cheese, and bake until mostly firm (you know . . . quiche-type firm . . .)

Monday, October 15, 2007

Karin's Fabulous Tortilla Soup

This light but filling soup is packed with veggies and feels like a special treat every time. It's so quick and easy even folks with little cooking experience can make it! It is best to use stale tortillas but fresh ones will work too.

5 cups vegetable broth (I like to use vegan bullion cubes)
one bunch of green onions chopped
three zucchini or squash sliced thick
2 cobs of fresh corn, remove the kernels or just break each cob into thirds (this is more traditional)
ten corn tortillas (in a pinch you could use about 1 1/2 cup stale tortillas chips)
2 tbsp oil
a few shakes of chili powder
1/8 tsp cumin freshly ground cumin
1/2 tsp "Italian seasoning mix" or oregano, sage and tarragon

Add all ingredients less the tortillas and oil to a stew pot. Cover and bring to a simmer. Heat up the vegetable oil in a skillet. Add tortillas (if using chips skip this step) and toss them in the pan until they are evenly coated with oil. Saute them on medium to medium high turning them frequently until they become browned in some areas about five minutes. When the vegetables are nearly the desired firmness (I usually let them cook about ten to fifteen minutes) throw in the tortilla "chips" you made. Remove from heat and let steam a minute before serving, if you used store bought tortilla chips allow the soup to sit until the chips soften.

Sunday, October 14, 2007


I just discovered this blog/website . . . it's full of simple and yummy-looking recipes, and I believe they're all vegetarian.

Quinoa Breakfast Cereal

I've been really into quinoa lately . . . it's really good for you (lots of protein in a grain -- woohoo!) and also really inexpensive. It has a slightly nutty flavor (yum), and it takes all of 10-15 minutes to cook.

Serves 1

anywhere from 1/4 to 1/2 cup quinoa, depending on how hungry you are
pinch salt
about 1/2 cup chopped apple
about 1/4 cup chopped walnuts, toasted if you like
brown sugar to taste
cinnamon to taste
nutmeg to taste
splash of milk or cream (optional)

Boil water (1/2 cup water if you're making 1/4 cup quinoa) and add a pinch of salt (very important! Makes it much tastier). Add quinoa and cook, covered, for about 5 minutes. Add apple, brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg, and cook until the water is absorbed and the outside germ of the grain is visible (it'll look like a little ring around it. Personally, I like leaving it a teeny bit crunchy). Remove from heat; stir in walnuts and add milk or cream, if using.

Best eaten on a chilly morning :-)

Lemon-Garlic Pasta

A superquick, very easy dinner. I'm excited to try it over the gnocchi I just bought . . .

Olive oil
2 garlic gloves, peeled and minced
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup lemons juice
1 cup chopped tomatoes
8 oz pasta
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
grated Parmesan cheese
black pepper

Saute garlic in olive oil; remove from heat and pour in the wine. Return to heat; cook for 1-2 minutes until reduced by half. Stir in the lemon juice and tomato. Remove pan from heat.

Cook pasta and toss with sauce, basil, parm, and black pepper.

Optional tasty add-ins:
broccoli (cook it in the same water as the pasta!)
Artichokes (from a car or jar)
Shredded mozzarella

Couscous with Apricot Vinaigrette

My mom discovered this recipe . . . soooo tasty!

1 10-ounce box couscous
1/2 cup apricot jam
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar (though I think she actually uses cider vinegar)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoons black pepper
3 scallions (white and green parts), chopped
1/4 cup (1 ounce) roasted almonds, chopped

Place couscous in serving bowl. Add 1 1/2 cups boiling water and stir. Cover tightly and let stand for 10 minutes. Heat jam in small saucepan over medium heat until bubbling, 30 to 60 seconds. Remove from heat. Immediately add vinegar, then oil, and mix until combined. Season with salt and pepper; set aside. Fluff couscous with fork; stir in scallions and almonds. Add vinaigrette and toss.

Miso-Ginger Salad Dressing

This dressing is technically supposed to go over eggplant, but I liked it better over mixed greens. Serious yummy. Also, a general miso recommendation, based on recent experience; don't buy the floofy expensive organic miso you find in health-food stores . . . it might be organic, but it's not as good as the stuff you get in Chinatown. (I will never make that mistake again!)

1/3 cup rice vinegar
1 tablespoon miso
1 tablespoon chopped basil (I used fresh, which was really good, but I bet it would be fine dried)
2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
1 large garlic clove, minced
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/2 cup vegetable oil

Whisk first 6 ingredients in bowl to blend. Gradually whisk in the vegetable oil. Season with salt and pepper.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Laurel's Famous Tofu Balls

Alex requested this recipe, so here is a close approximation. My mom made various versions of these when I was little but never actually measured the ingredients. I've been making them for about four years and of course I've never actually measured the ingredients either, so you might have to futz with the wet/dry proportions a little. Sooooooo delicious as a vegetarian alternative to meat balls on spaghetti. (Just make sure the boys in your life don't eat eight and make themselves sick. For real. Not only are sick boys no fun, but you totally want to have leftovers for lunch tomorrow.)

Basic ingredients:
1 package firm tofu
1 medium onion, diced
4-6 cloves garlic, minced
1 TBSP olive oil
2 large eggs
3/4-1 C bread crumbs
fresh parsley, chopped
fresh/dried basil
salt and pepper
vegetable oil for frying

Magic ingredients:
splash soy sauce
toasted sunflower seeds
chopped walnuts
handful of poppy seeds
sauted diced mushrooms
chopped olives
any other spices that sound good to you

Saute onion and garlic together in the olive oil over medium heat until onion is translucent and fragrant. Drain tofu well and crumble it into a large bowl. Add sauted veggies, eggs, bread crumbs, herbs, and salt and pepper. (Note on the breadcrumbs: if you don't have any lying around, feel free to throw crackers or stale bread into the blender and pulse until crumbled. And for the gluten-free among you, rice crackers work great for this!) Here's the fun part: with your hands, mush and crumble all ingredients together until well mixed. If it feels too wet, add another small handful of bread crumbs. Now, you want to think about adding a magic ingredient or two. These balls are delicious just like this, but everybody likes a little magic, and I've had great success adding various combinations from this list. The walnuts are probably my all-time fave, but add whatever sounds good to you. Of course, if you have a stroke of genius and come up with another amazing ingredient addition, by all means do it and post a note about it. Mix thorougly.

Roll the mixture between your hands in medium chunks to form about a dozen balls. Heat a good amount of vegetable oil in a non-stick frying pan, and when hot, add half the balls. Allow them to brown on the bottom (usually 4-5 minutes depending on the heat of the oil), before turning to the next side. I think I end up browning them on four sides usually, so they come out of the pan looking a little bit like little pyramids.

Serve over pasta and sauce with plenty of parmigiano sprinkled on top! Yummy!

PS - This is your new favorite recipe.

Tofu-Veggie Saute with Tahini

You should just use whatever combination of veggies you have on hand. Mushrooms, asparagus, chard, carrots...really anything you have in your fridge would be great in this stir fry. Personally, I loved the broccoli, kale, avocado combination. And it's oh-so green and cancer-fighting!

plenty olive oil
6 cloves garlic, minced or sliced
1 package extra firm tofu, drained and cubed
1 medium head broccoli, chopped
2-3 TBSP soy sauce
1/2 pound kale, washed well and chopped
3-4 scallions, sliced (white AND green parts)
1 avocado, peeled and sliced
1/4 C tahini
splash of cider vinegar
pepper to taste

In a very large pan, saute garlic, tofu, and broccoli in enough olive oil for about 3 or 4 minutes on medium heat. Add soy sauce, stir well. Add kale and 3/4 of the scallions, cover pan and steam for 3 more minutes, or until kale is wilted and broccoli is bright green. Uncover, stir in avocado, tahini, a capful of cider vinegar, and pepper. Mix well. Serve over cous cous or brown rice with the remaining scallions sprinkled on top for eye appeal!

Pineapple Ginger Upside-down Cake

Okay, here's another adaptation of a recipe I found online (because we all know how I can't just follow directions...). It came out tasting like some amazing cross between dense molassesy gingerbread and pineapple cake. Awesome awesome awesome - this dessert is so worth the calories.


1/4 C (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
2/3 C (packed) brown sugar
1 small pineapple, peeled, cored, and sliced

1 1/2 C all purpose flour
1/2 C oats
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cloves
3/4 C molasses
1/2 C (packed) brown sugar
1/2 C (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
2 large eggs
2 TBSP fresh grated ginger root
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 C whole milk or soy milk


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt 1/4 cup butter in 10-inch heavy ovenproof skillet (preferably nonstick) over medium heat. Add 2/3 cup brown sugar and stir until mixture begins to form thick mass, about 4 minutes. Continue cooking, without stirring, until butter mixture spreads and covers bottom of skillet and bubbles appear all over surface, about 6 minutes longer. Remove skillet from heat. Arrange pineapple slices close together in concentric circles over sugar mixture in skillet (we ended up with two layers of pineapple).

Sift dry ingredients into medium sized bowl. Using electric mixer, beat molasses, brown sugar, melted butter, grated ginger, eggs and vanilla extract in large bowl until well blended, about 2 minutes. Add half of dry ingredients, then milk, then remaining half of dry ingredients, beating until well blended after each addition. Spread batter evenly over pineapple in skillet.

Bake cake until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 40 minutes. Cool cake in skillet 5 minutes. Run small knife around edge to loosen cake. Place platter over cake in skillet and invert cake onto platter. Cool at least 20 minutes. Serve warm by itself, or with fresh whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

the best squash recipe ever. for serious.

We've been eating this for the past three nights . . . and I just made more because Priya told her lab partners that they HAD to come over to try it. Do NOT, under ANY circumstances, skip the yogurt, the lime, or the fresh cilantro.

1 butternut squash
1 large shallot (or 1/4 large red onion)
2 tbs olive oil
about a tablespoon of curry powder, preferably the sweeter kind with more cinnamon in it -- adjust to taste
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
1/3 cup lentils
2 tbs chopped fresh cilantro sprigs
fresh lime juice to taste

Halve, peel, and seed squash (much easier if you stab it a few times and then stick it in the microwave for 2 minutes before attempting to peel) and cut into 1/2-inch pieces. Finely chop shallot/onion and in baking pan toss with squash, oil, curry powder and salt and pepper to taste. Bake squash mixture until almost tender, about 15-20 minutes.

Cook lentils.

Chop walnuts and sprinkle over squash. Return to oven and bake until squash is tender and walnuts are toasted.

Combine squash mixture with lentils and squeeze lime juice over the whole thing. Serve hot with yogurt and cilantro on top.

Priya made roti to go with this, which was soooo good . . . but would also be tasty in pita bread or over couscous.


Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Pasta with Garlicky Butternut Squash

This is adapted from an Urban Organic recipe. Chris and I made it last night for dinner and it was seriously tasty. And oh so autumnal.

1 lb whole wheat pasta of choice
1 large butternut squash
1/4 cup olive oil
6-8 large cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup water
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp sage (I substituted 1/2 tsp thyme)
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley (I substituted 1/2 tsp dried cilantro)
salt and pepper to taste
parmesan cheese for garnish (optional)

Seed, peel, and dice the squash (about 1/2" chunks). Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat and add squash. Saute about 5 minutes until it begins to brown. Add garlic and saute for another couple of minutes. Add water, herbs, salt, and pepper, and cook until squash is tender, about another 5 - 10 minutes. Meanwhile, add pasta to boiling salted water and cook until al dente. Drain pasta and toss with squash. Generously cover with grated parmesan cheese and serve immediately!

NOTE: One of the very best things about eating squash, I think, is toasting the seeds. So don't throw those seeds away!! Remove all the squash guts from the seeds, rinse them well, and mix with about 1 TBSP olive oil and any combination of spices. Combos I've tried and like: salt and pepper, curry powder, paprika and S & P, nutmeg and pepper, black tea and pepper, cinnamon and sugar. Be creative! Spread evenly on a baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees for 5 - 10 minutes, checking regularly so they don't burn. So good on top of salads, soups, or just by the handful...