Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Fennel & Orange Salad with Black Olive Vinaigrette

I was inspired to make this by VeganEpicurean, but as she mentioned it’s a healthified version of a classic, I decided to find a more authentic version—and healthify it myself, if necessary. I didn’t find it necessary. This take on the salad, from Eating Well actually popped up in my inbox within hours of my decision to make the recipe.


1 tablespoon red-wine vinegar

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/8 teaspoon salt, or to taste

Freshly ground pepper, to taste

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 cup Kalamata olives, pitted and coarsely chopped

1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

3 medium navel or Valencia oranges

10 cups mixed lettuces, (3 small heads), such as chicory, radicchio and leaf lettuce, torn into bite-size pieces

2 heads Belgian endive, sliced

2 bulbs fennel, trimmed and sliced


1. To prepare vinaigrette: Whisk vinegar, lemon juice, mustard, garlic, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Slowly whisk in oil. Stir in olives and parsley.

2. To prepare salad: Using a sharp knife, remove peel and white pith from oranges. Quarter the oranges; slice pieces crosswise.

3. Just before serving, combine lettuces, endive, fennel and the orange slices in a large bowl. Drizzle the vinaigrette over the salad and toss to coat well.

MAKE AHEAD TIP: Cover and refrigerate the vinaigrette (Step 1) for up to 2 days. Washed, dried lettuce will keep in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to 8 hours. Keep prepared oranges and fennel in separate containers in the refrigerator for up to 8 hours.

Comments: This was definitely tasty, and it was easy enough to throw together, I repeated it several days. Sorry for the lack of photos, I’m not sure what happened to them!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

African Pineapple Peanut Stew

This is a recipe from Bridget at The Way the Cookie Crumbles adapted from Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home.

4 servings

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 small onion, diced
1 bunch kale or Swiss chard, large stems discarded, leaves chopped coarse
1 (20-ounce) can crushed pineapple, undrained
½ cup peanut butter
1 tablespoon Tabasco or other hot pepper sauce
½ cup chopped fresh cilantro
¼ cup peanuts, chopped
1 scallion, sliced

4 servings cooked grain, potato

1. Heat the oil in a 5-quart Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion and a pinch of salt and sauté, stirring occasionally, until just browned at the edges, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

2. Add pineapple to the pot and bring to a simmer; add the greens, cover, and simmer for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until just tender. Stir in the peanut butter and hot sauce and simmer for another 5 minutes, until the flavors are blended. Stir in the cilantro just before serving and add salt if necessary. Serve over rice or couscous, garnishing each serving with the peanuts and scallions.

Comments: Definitely needs the recommended cayenne. I used the full T. of Tabasco, and was underwhelmed. Otherwise, it’s a decent dish, but not something I went crazy for. I probably won’t return to it. On the other hand, it was great for getting ideas on how to shoot an otherwise un-photogenic dish.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Cauliflower Cheese Pie


Butter (for greasing pan)

2 c. raw potato, grated

¼ c. grated onion

1 egg, lightly beaten

1 T olive oil

1 large onion, thinly sliced

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

Salt and pepper to taste

½ t. dried basil

½ t. dried thyme

1 t. salt

1 T. flour

Olive oil (for brushing)

1 med. Cauliflower, coarsely chopped

1 c. grated cheddar cheese

2 eggs

¼ cup milk

Paprika (for sprinkling)


1. Set the oven at 400F. Use butter to grease a shallow 9 inch baking dish.

2. In a mixing bowl, combine the grated potato, onion, egg, salt, and flour. Transfer the mixture to the buttered pan and pat it down with a rubber spatula.

3. Set the pan in the hot oven and bake for 30 minutes. Brust the crust lightly with olive oil, return the pan to the oven, and bake for 10 minutes more. Set the pan aside.

4. Turn the oven temperature down to 350F.


1. In a saute pan, heat the olive oil until it is hot. Add the onion, garlic, salt pepper, basil and thyme. Saute over medium heat for 8 minutes or until the onions are translucent. Stir in the cauliflower and cook for 5 minutes more.

pouringeggs2. Spread half of the cheese on the potato crust. Spoon the sauteed vegetables on top, then sprinkle thos e with the remaining cheese.

3. In a small bowl beat together the eggs and milk, and pour this over the vegetables. Sprinkle with paprika and transfer to the oven.

4. Bake the cauliflower for 35 minutes or until the custard is set and the top is browned. Serve at once with a salad and crusty

4 servings.


Comments: I used nutmeg and sage instead of thyme and basil. This was another just-okay recipe. No zip, no zing (I added Tabasco)…but nothing wrong with it. It wasn’t as cheesy as I’d hoped for. I made the potato crust the night before, and it was soggy, although this may have been my own fault.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Quick Pickle Cucumbers

After falling in love with the quickie pickle carrots, Alicia at VeganEpicurean posted about her Quick Cucumber Pickles, and that became next up on my list.

4 small cucumbers, cut in half and thinly sliced
½ cup vinegar (any type of light colored vinegar, I used champagne)
½ cup water
Stevia, to taste (I used 6-1gram scoops)
Fresh cilantro, minced, to taste (I used about ¼ cup)
Heat the water, vinegar and stevia until about body temperature. Place the cucumbers and pickling solution in a jar. You are heating the vinegar so the flavor will penetrate the vegetable more quickly. Refrigerate until needed. If the liquid doesn’t cover all the cucumbers turn the jar over periodically so all the cucumbers are submerged for part of the time. I made these about 30 minutes before dinner but sooner would not be a bad thing. When you are ready to serve drain the pickles and toss with cilantro.

Comments: Despite looking beautiful, these just didn’t do it for me. I replaced the stevia with sugar and used apple cider vinegar. I also had a giant cucumber which I know was part of the problem (too juicy!)…and no cilantro, although I don’t think that would have saved this in my books. I’m not sure if her tastes are just so different from mine, or my changes added up…but I’ll keep looking!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Cauliflower Cheese

Craving Mac-N-Cheese once too often, I decided to make a cheesy cauliflower dish to keep my refined wheat intake in check. Little did I know, it’s a traditional British dish.

1 large Cauliflower
300ml (½ pint) nonfat milk
110g (4oz) gouda cheese
3 tbsp Plain Flour
50g (2oz) oil
25g (1oz) Fresh Breadcrumbs
1½ tsp Mustard
Salt & Black Pepper

  1. Trim the cauliflower boil in salted water for 5 minutes or until just tender.
  2. Drain and place in a flameproof dish.
  3. Add the milk, flour and butter to a saucepan.
  4. Heat, stirring continuously until the sauce thickens, boils and is smooth.
  5. Allow to simmer for a further 2 minutes.
  6. Add three-quarters of the grated cheese, mustard, a pinch of nutmeg and seasoning.
  7. Cook for further minute stirring well.
  8. Pour the sauce over the cauliflower.
  9. Mix the remaining cheese and breadcrumbs together, sprinkle over the top.
  10. Place under a hot grill until golden brown.
    Serve immediately.

Comments: This is no mac-and-cheese, but it’s not a bad healthier fix. I actually felt full after a bowl, rather than ready for more like I usually feel after pasta dishes. I added hot pepper to it, as I usually do in homemade mac-and-cheese and I added spinach, since I had it and it seemed like a good add. I also made some tweaks to the original recipe from the start. Next time, I’d chop the cauliflower smaller, as the bigger pieces were distracting. Otherwise, it was a success!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Vegan Almond Feta

Ah, but for valiant efforts! Alicia at Vegan Epicurean has raved about this vegan cheese forever. We have very little (very expensive) feta, so I was eager to find a replacement. Unfortunately, I also lack a blender and reliable oven in Argentina.

1 cup of blanched almonds
Juice and zest of one lemon (approximately ¼ cup of juice)
3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
1/2 clove of raw garlic (if small clove use it all)
1 ¼ - 1 ½ teaspoons salt
¼ cup water, or more if necessary

In a jar with a lid, cover the blanched almonds with water and refrigerate 24 to 48 hours hours. Then drain the nuts rinse them thoroughly and drain again. The longer soak seems to make the nuts process more completely.
Move the drained nuts and the remaining ingredients to a food processor and puree until the mixture is very smooth but has a very slightly crumbly texture. This took 8 minutes during which time I periodically stopped the processor and scraped the side of the container and restarted the machine. If after 10 minutes the consistency is not smooth you can add up to another ¼ cup of water to help the mixture to process.
If you used the extra water to process the nuts, then take the nut mixture and move it to a strainer lined with three layers of cheesecloth.

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees when you are ready to proceed.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Put the cheese onto the baking sheet and form it into a flat disk that is about ¾ of an inch thick. Bake the cheese until it begins to become slightly firm on the top. (About an hour)

Remove the cheese from the oven and allow it to cool to about room temperature before you move it to a serving platter. If you have a wide spatula and have cooked it long enough it will move in one piece. Be careful it is delicate.
To serve: Drizzle the nut cheese with the extra virgin olive oil and salt, freshly cracked pepper and thyme leaves.

Comments: While the recipe wasn't so terrible I had to toss it, from the perspective of cheese, it was a definite FAIL. I found it very lemony—not in a bad way, but too strong to resemble the acid of feta. And of course, my texture was WAY off (I may attempt it again, and steal my roommate's blender for the project)...and it was clearly cooked. Browned on the bottom. I ended up tossing it in various dishes throughout the weak, giving them a lemony, savory twist.

Cupboard Oatmeal Cookies

Another night of cookie searching lead me to Heidi's recipe on 101 Cookbooks. I had enough of the ingredients, I decided to give it a go. However, I made quite a few substitutions. One day I’ll have to try her recipe.

1 cup white flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup rolled oats
2/3 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 c. chopped prunes (or raisins, if you have them)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup oil
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger (not sure if I had this to use, maybe I used powder?)

Preheat oven to 375F degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a large bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and oats. Add the sugar, oil, and ginger and stir until just combined. Carefully mix in the nuts and prunes.

Drop onto prepared baking sheets, one level tablespoonful at a time, leaving about 2 inches between each cookie. Bake in the top 1/3 of the oven for 10 - 12 minutes or until the cookies are golden on top and bottom.

Makes about 2 dozen cookies.


Comments; These are great cookies. They're not grandma's, but I probably shouldn't expect them to be, given the healthy twists.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Carrot and Ginger Quickie Pickle

Pickles grab my attention at times, and then leave for long periods...but suddenly they were popping up all over my blogosphere, and I knew I had to give them a shot. I chose Clotilde's recipe to start, as, conveniently, I had all the ingredients on hand.

- 2 medium-small carrots, about 200 grams (7 ounces)
- a 40-gram (1 1/2-ounce) knob of fresh ginger, scrubbed but unpeeled, sliced thinly
- 120 ml (1/2 cup) apple cider vinegar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar

Makes about 1 2/3 cups; the recipe can be doubled.

Peel the carrots and, using the vegetable peeler, cut them into thin ribbons. Place the ribbons in a heatproof bowl, and set a fine-mesh sieve over the bowl.

Combine the ginger, vinegar, salt, sugar, and 240 ml (1 cup) water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. When the mixture boils, stir with a wooden spoon to make sure the sugar and salt are dissolved, and remove from the heat.

Pour the ginger brine through the sieve and into the bowl of carrots. Make sure the carrots are completely immersed, cover with a plate, and let cool to room temperature. Transfer to a clean jar, close tightly with the lid and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.

Comments: I had no sea salt in my kitchen, so I used regular. The first time I doubled the recipe (a single recipe just seems so small), and had TONS of extra brine, so the next time I doubled everything except the water. I also left the ginger in the mix, which I enjoyed, although I'd probably decrease the ginger a bit next time. These are a bit addictive, but a great healthy snack!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Regina (Pinto) Bean Balls 6/2

I've been on the quest for the perfect vegan bean balls for a while, but it only became a priority when I moved away from Trader Joe's, to a land nearly absent of meat analogs. So, I bookmarked this recipe from Matt, but was again delayed by a search for pinto beans. Alas, they're called regina beans in Argentina!

Ingredients (for 4 servings):

  • 30-0z cooked pinto beans,

  • 1 carrot, minced (or processed)

  • A big handful of fresh parsley, minced (or processed)

  • 1 clove garlic, minced (or processed)

  • 1/2 cup whole wheat breadcrumbs

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil or canola oil

  • 1-2 Tbsp your favorite Italian seasoning (basil, oregano, garlic, salt, etc)

  • salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. In a large bowl, combine carrot, parsley, garlic, Italian seasoning, bread crumbs, oil, and beans. Mash with a potato masher (or use a food processor) until the mixture is sticky and relatively homogeneous. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Form the bean mixture into 1-inch balls and align on a cookie sheet. Bake for about 20 minutes, turning once midway through, until the bean balls are nicely browned all over. Serve over pasta or on sub rolls.

Comments: Pasta or sub rolls are my dream! I tried these plain, and with a bit of tomato sauce. The mix came together a bit moist, so I needed extra bread crumbs, otherwise they were good, though fragile.