Sunday, November 25, 2012

Smashed Potatoes

I just love potatoes.  All forms- fries, baked, mashed, parsley, rusett, red bliss, Idaho, etc... Well, you get it.

Tonight I made some mini red bliss potatoes into "smashed potatoes" and they were great. Most recipes you see call for boiling them, smashing them and then cooling them to room temperature before baking them.  I did not have enough time to cool them so I took a short cut and just ran some cool water over them before smashing them... worked perfectly.

Smashed Potatoes

6 baby red bliss potatoes
1/8 cup olive oil
1 tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped
1 tbsp fresh thyme, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Bring a pot of salted water to a rolling boil and add the potatoes.  Boil until fork tender, about 30 minutes.  Drain in a colander and run cool water over them until they are cool enough to handle.

Lay a kitchen towel down and fold a second towel into quarters. Lay a potato on the towel and use the folded towel to gently smash the potato.  Transfer to a baking sheet.

Pour the olive oil over the potatoes and sprinkle with the thyme, rosemary and salt and pepper.  Place in the oven and bake for about 10-15 minutes until crispy on the outside.

Serve immediately.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Brussels Sprouts Slaw with Apple Maple Mustard Vinaigrette

I love Brussels Sprouts.  My better half? Not so much.  Actually I would say that exactly as much as love Brussels he hates them.  I keep trying different preparations hoping that he might try them but, until now, I had more or less lost hope.

I served this slaw last night with dinner. He ate all of what I put on his plate and said "that's not bad?". I 'll take it.

I think the key is that these are served raw- no stinky cooking process and the result is very similar to a cabbage based slaw (only better if you ask me).

I got the recipe from Williams-Sonoma's website. The only modification I made was to us a little extra lemon juice in the dressing.  Next time, I will also add some dried cranberries as I think it would make a great addition to the dish.

If you think you don't like Brussels sprouts I dare you to try this and still claim you don't like them!

Brussels Sprouts Slaw with Apple Maple Mustard Vinaigrette

1/2 cup pecan halves
1 1/2 tsp plus 1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 tsp unbleached organic sugar
Pinch cayenne pepper
2 lb Brussels sprouts, stems trimmed
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 tbsp whole grain mustard (I used Dijon)
3 tbsp maple syrup
Pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a small bowl combine the pecans, 1 1/2 tsp oil, salt, sugar and cayenne pepper.   Toss to coat.  Place on a baking sheet and put into the oven to toast- about ten minutes or so.  Remove from oven and set aside.

In a food processor with a grater attachment shred the Brussels sprouts (if you do not have a food processor you could grate by hand or cut very thinly with a knife).  Transfer to a large bowl.

In a smaller bowl whisk together the apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, whole grain mustard and maple syrup.  Slowly add the rest of the olive oil whisking constantly.

Add to shredded Brussels sprouts and toss to coat.  Roughly chop the pecan halves and add to the sprouts.  Allow to stand for about fifteen minutes before serving  to allow the sprouts to wilt slightly.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Butternut Squash Cranberry Muffins

Do you ever get lazy and buy the prepared butternut squash in the grocery store? You know, the peeled, seeded and cubed stuff all ready for cooking?  Though I am not a stranger to peeling and seeding a butternut squash I have to admit I take this convenience route sometimes.

Today I opened the veggie drawer and saw the lovely butternut squash I bought last week-- definitely in need of being used ASAP.  Though love butternut squash in savory dishes but wanted to try my hand at something sweet this time.  So, as any good blogger would do I took to the Internet and found a few sweet recipes using butternut squash. I decided on muffins, something I have never made before.

The recipe was decidedly not vegan but I like to fancy myself  someone that can veganize almost anything.  These are my first attempt at a vegan muffin and certainly won't be my last. They are SO GOOD!

On another note, if you have not heard I have been selected as a candidate for Epikur Magazine's Philly Top Writer of the Year! I would be most appreciative of your vote. You can click here or on the Epikur Magazine nomination banner to your right. Thank you very much!

Butternut Squash and Cranberry Muffins

2 1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 cup unbleached organic cane sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp ground clove
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup cooked, mashed butternut squash
1 egg replacer (I used Ener-G, applesauce or a flax egg should work)
1/2 cup avocado oil*
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup non dairy milk (I used So Delicious Unsweetened Coconut)
1/2 cup dried cranberries, rough chopped

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease or line a twelve muffin tin with cupcake liners.

In a large mixing bowl whisk together the flour, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, salt, baking powder and baking soda.

In a second bowl add the butternut squash, egg replace, oils and non dairy milk.

Add the wet ingredients into the dry all at once and stir to incorporate. Do not overmix.  Fold in the cranberries.

Place the batter into the muffin tin in equal portions. You should have enough for just twelve muffins.  Place in the oven at 375 for ~20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the muffins comes out clean.

Allow to cool and serve.

*Note: Avocado oil adds a lovely buttery flavor to baked goods but is very expensive. If you do not have or do not want to use avocado oil you can certainly use all vegetable oil.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Pumpkin Ravioli and Philly's Top Writer 2012

I am really excited to have been nominated as a candidate for Epikur Magazine's Philly's Top Writer for 2012! I am the lone vegan nominee and hope to represent the vegan community with a strong showing! Voting is simple- just a couple of clicks.  Go to Epikur Magazine, click "Top Philly Food Writer" across the top then scroll down to find Lee Khatchadourian-Reese. That's it!  Thanks for your consideration- they are featuring my Baked Almond "Feta" post (one of my favorite recipes) if you want to check it out.

Ok, enough of that- on to my latest cooking creation- Pumpkin Ravioli. This one I just made up as I went along. Really simple flavors that make for a hearty and filling meal. And the use of wonton wrappers instead of pasta makes this even simpler- no messing with rolling out pasta dough, though if you wanted to do that you certainly could. The sauce also came together easily and was a nice compliment to the ravioli.

Pumpkin Ravioli with Thyme and Sage Brown Butter

For the ravioli:
Wonton wrappers (check labels, not all are vegan)
1 cup pumpkin puree
1/4 cup raw cashews, soaked in hot water for one hour and drained
2 oz vegan cream cheese (I used Tofutti)
2 tbsp fresh thyme
1 tsp rubbed sage
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (more if you like a little heat)
Salt and pepper to taste

For the sauce:
1/2 cup vegan butter such as Earth Balance
1 tbsp fresh thyme plus some for garnish
1 tsp rubbed sage (you can use fresh if you have it, I did not)
1/4 cup chopped toasted hazelnuts (or nut of your choice)
Pepper to taste

Prepare the ravioli filling by adding all ingredients to a food processor. Pulse until very smooth.

To make the ravioli place some parchment paper on a baking sheet.  Place a wonton wrapper on the parchment, add one teaspoon of pumpkin filling in the center.  Brush water around the edges of the wonton wrapper, about a quarter inch around. Place another wrapper on top and press around the edges to seal, ensuring that you are not sealing in air.  Repeat until you run out of filling.  This made twenty ravioli for me.

Cover the baking sheet with a towel or plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for at least an hour.

When ready to cook the ravioli bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil.

As the water begins boiling place the vegan butter in a large skillet and heat over medium.  Add the thyme,sage and pepper and allow to cook until vegan butter becomes foamy and starts to become a bit brown.

Add the ravioli to the boiling water and allow to cook for 2 minutes.  Remove from the water with a spider and place into the melted butter mixture. Toss gently to coat and add the chopped toasted hazelnuts.

Serve immediately garnished with fresh thyme.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Peach Cobbler

I have been on a bit of a tear to use up all sorts of stuff in my always packed freezer.  A couple of days ago I used some frozen berries to make a Mixed Berry Crisp and it was good (and now gone).  I still had a bag of frozen peaches in the freezer so this morning I decided to try out a Peach Cobbler.

I have never had a peach cobbler before so I cannot tell you how it compares to non vegan versions but this one was rather good.

The only thing missing was that I did not have any So Delicious Ice Cream to serve with it; but rest assured ice cream is now on the shopping list!

Peach Cobbler

16 oz frozen peaches, thawed
1 stick (1/2 cup) vegan butter, melted (I used Earth Balance)
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup unbleached organic sugar
3 tbsp turbinado sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup non dairy milk (I used So Delicious Unsweetened Coconut)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

In a large bowl mix together the flour, unbleached sugar, baking powder and salt.  Add the non dairy milk and stir to form a batter.  Set aside.

Melt the vegan butter in a baking dish (an 8 inch square dish would work well).  Add the batter to the melted butter.

In a small bowl mix the peaches, turbinado sugar and cinnamon.  Toss to coat well.

Add the peaches to the baking dish with the butter and batter.

Place in the oven and bake for 25-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the dish comes out clean. The top should be lightly browned.

Allow to cool for about 15 minutes before serving.

Note: I used this recipe as the inspiration for my peach cobbler.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Quinoa, Brown Rice and Pine Nut Sliders

For those of you who are regular readers you know I am not a big fan of leftovers I usually cook once and eat once and leave the leftovers for somebody else or freeze them for another time when they won't feel like leftovers. But every once in a while you get some leftovers that you can transform into a completely new meal. I love when that happens!

Take for instance the recipe for Pine Nut Stuffed Mushrooms my Mother in Law recently made while visiting (coincidentally, the recipe was written for Clean Eating by my friend Amie Valpone aka The Healthy Apple!).  They were really good but we only had enough mushrooms to use half the stuffing so I ended up with the rest of the stuffing in the fridge.

Hmmm.... I thought... the leftover mixture would make a perfect burger.. but what to do to bind them?  Some flax seed meal did the trick! A little added salt, pepper and sriracha sauce and wow, did these make awesome little burgers!

I served this with a massaged kale salad. Perfect!

Quinoa, Brown Rice and Pine Nut Sliders

4 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup minced white onion
2 carrot, peeled and grated
1/2 cup brown rice, cooked
1/2 cup quinoa cooked
1/2 cup raw, unsalted pine nuts finely chopped
2 tbsp organic salsa
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tbsp flaxseed meal
2 tbsp hot water
2 tbsp sriracha sauce

In a small skillet heat 2 tbsp olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and saute until it turns translucent.  Add carrots, rice, quinoa, pine nuts, salsa, salt and pepper.  Continue to saute until heated through.  Remove from heat, transfer to a bowl and set aside.  Allow to cool until it is not to hot to touch.

Add 2 tbsp flaxseed meal to a small dish and cover wit hot water.  Let sit until water is absorbed by the flaxseed. Stir and add to the quinoa mixture.  Add the sriracha sauce and stir to incorporate.

Form the mixture into burgers (either eight slider size or four regular size).

In a skillet over medium heat the rest of the olive oil (you can do this in the same pan you made the mixture in).  When oil is hot add the burgers and allow to cook for about 2-3 minutes on each side or until bot sides are golden brown and the burgers are heated through.

Serve immediately garnished with some more sriracha sauce if desired.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Mixed Berry Crisp

Hurricane Sandy has come and gone, and thankfully we survived with no major issue.  Even more thankfully, at least in the minds of my children, Halloween was not canceled or postponed.  As they went off trick or treating I decided to make a treat of my own.

I had a bunch of frozen berries in the freezer and decided it was time to use them and make some room in my always crowded freezer.  What do do with these lovely berries? Hmm.. a berry crisp? Yep, a berry crisp.

Far better than any Halloween candy I can think of, don't you agree?

Mixed Berry Crisp

For the topping:
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 1/2 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup flour
6 tbsp vegan butter, cut into pieces
1/2 tsp cinnamon
Juice and zest of 1/2 lemon

For the filling:
~12 oz frozen blueberries, thawed
~12 oz frozen strawberries, thawed
~12 oz frozen raspberries, thawed
3 tbsp flour
1/2 cup dark brown sugar

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In a bowl add all of the topping ingredients. With your fingers, potato masher, fork or pastry cutter mix ingredients until it resembles large crumbs.  Set aside.

In a large bowl mix the filling ingredients and stir to incorporate.

In a lightly greased casserole dish add the filling and top with the crumb topping.  Place in the oven for 40 minutes or until filling is bubbly and top is golden brown.  Allow to cool at least 15 minutes before serving.

Note: Since fresh berries are not in season I used frozen but fresh would work as well.
Note: The filling quantities for the fruit do not need to be exact- I estimated based on what was left in each of the open frozen bags of fruit I used.