Posts tagged ‘Vegetarian’

September 8, 2015

Caprese Pasta Salad

Caprese Pasta Salad

If you’ve been reading this blog for much time, you probably know that I’m a big fan of culinary challenges. Unusual ingredients, strange kitchen set ups – you name it. Recently though, I completed a trial like no other.

I spent two weeks as a vegetarian.

Yes, it’s true. Your humble blogger and avowed carnivore went fourteen days without a single bite of meat. It was part of a deal that my girlfriend and I made to “eat healthier,” because meat is “bad for you.” In exchange she agreed to give up sweets for two weeks. I think I got the raw end of the deal.

(For the record, there is ample evidence to suggest that eating less meat contributes to better overall health. There, I admitted it.)

So what did I learn from the experience?

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June 2, 2015

Revisited: Gazpacho with Pea Shoots and Capers

Gazpacho Redux

With both the legislative session and school winding down, I’m making it a goal this summer to really explore one or two international cuisines. I realized recently that not really having the opportunity to cook for several months has left me in something of a culinary rut. I think a deep dive into the subtleties of a specific palette is just what the chef-doctor ordered.

And since a visit to Spain many years ago was what really piqued my interest in cooking, so it only seemed like a fitting place to return.

Almost four years ago (!) when I had just started this blog, I posted a recipe for one of the most ubiquitous of Spanish dishes – gazpacho. Here is what I wrote at the time:

There are hundreds of ways to spice up a gazpacho recipe – and believe me, I’ll be back here with some of my own takes down the road – but for a quick, refreshing dish on a hot day, you can’t beat the original.

Don’t say I’m not a man of my word.

Technically the addition of bread to this dish would make it salmorejo, the less famous cousin of gazpacho, but it’s largely the same concept. This recipe is a bit heartier – enough to be a light meal by itself – but still delightful for a warm summer day. The fried capers offer little bursts of salt and vinegar that help break up the flavor of the soup. The pea shoots, meanwhile, are a beautiful visual addition that also provide some diversity in texture.

Traditional? Not as much. Delicious? Sí.

Gazpacho with Pea Shoots and Capers

Equipment

  • Food processor

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup crusty bread, preferably a bit stale, cut into small cubes
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 red pepper
  • 3 medium tomatoes
  • 1 cucumber, peeled
  • 1/2 red onion
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 tablespoon pimentón or smoked paprika
  • 2 teaspoons cumin powder
  • 1/4 cup olive oil, plus extra for plating
  • 10-12 capers
  • 1/2 cup pea shoots

Instructions

  1. Place the cubed bread in a small bowl with the vinegar. Let it stand until all of the liquid has been absorbed so that the bread is slightly soggy.
  2. Roughly chop the red pepper, tomatoes, cucumber, onion, and garlic. Don’t worry about getting them too small or the same size.
  3. Add the chopped vegetables to food processor along with the bread, pimentón, cumin and quarter cup of olive oil. Blend to your desired consistency (there are all manner of opinions on how much you should blend your gazpacho. I’m a fan of almost completely smooth, but it’s up to you).
  4. Chill the soup for at least 30 minutes in the refrigerator before serving. Feel free to let it sit overnight, as the flavors only develop over time.
  5. To serve, fry your capers in a small sauce pan with a dash of oil until lightly crisped and beginning to lose their shape, about 2-3 minutes. Drizzle a bit of olive oil over the gazpacho and top with a handful of capers and the pea shoots.
June 23, 2014

The Great Green Pizza

The Great Green Pizza

If chlorophyll could turn you green, then this pizza would make you into the incredible hulk. A happy, satiated hulk that is very content with his/her dining decision.

The peas and asparagus on this pizza retain just enough of natural crunch to provide a nice textural contrast while developing a faint sweetness under the heat of the oven. The roasted green onions bring a mild but noticeable flavor that winds up somewhere between biting onion and soothing vegetable. Combined with creamy mozzarella and sharp, salty parmesan cheese against a backdrop of aromatic pesto makes this a delicious and multi-dimensional dish.

With a light sauce, veg-heavy toppings and just the right amount of cheese, this pizza is perfect for the warm summer months. Find yourself a park or a patio and enjoy while you soak up the rays!

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May 19, 2014

Fennel Falafel with Simple Salad

Fennel Falafel

My girlfriend Maggie and I recently celebrated two years of dating by heading up to Vancouver, BC for a long weekend getaway. We had a blast stroll through downtown and Granville Island, biking around Stanley Park, and taking in all the beautiful scenery. It’s a really wonderful area, absolutely worth a trip if you haven’t visited already.

We kind of overdid it on the food though.

We had a ton of great food while we were there, from organic farm-to-table at Fable to sublimely good Indian food at Vij’s. But a decadent multi-course meal at Wildebeest – which specializes in some of the most succulent meat you’ll ever taste – left us both a little bit of a food hangover at the end of our trip.

So when I got back, I decide to do a week of vegetarian eating to balance things it. It was in interesting experience – not one I’ll likely repeat again soon – but it did broaden my repitoire of recipes – including this falafel dish.

Traditionally a Middle Eastern food, falafel is now found in many different regional cuisines, leading to many styles and interpretations. The version in this recipe is definitely less traditional and more Greek-inspired with the addition of fresh oregano and fennel. The pair gives these falafel a more refreshing and simple flavor profile than you would find at most restaurants.

Stacked atop a simple salad of tomato, cucumber and vinegar, this dish makes for a perfect light summer meal!

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March 21, 2014

Stuffed Pasilla Pepper

Stuffed Pasilla Pepper

If you live in the Pacific Northwest, all you need to do is look outside your window to know that Spring has sprung. The sun is out, the air is crispy, and the cherry blossoms have blossomed.

There is are plenty of things to love about Spring, but a top contender is the return of deliciously seasonal Mexican cuisine – which is exactly what inspired these full-flavored but light-bodied stuffed bell peppers.

These peppers are perfect because 1) they aren’t terribly complicated 2) you can make several components ahead of time, and 3) it only requires a couple spices, despite being totally delicious. Between the spicy pickled veggies, the creamy guacamole, the salty cotija cheese and the crispy black beans it’s impossible to settle on the best part of this dish. And it’s healthy to boot!

Carnivore or vegetarian, you want this on your plate. Stay tuned for the Avocado Margarita recipe pictured below!

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August 5, 2013

“The Pizza”

THE PIZZA

It’s been months since I first made this pizza (I’ve made it several times since since then too), but I’ve held off on posting it for two simple reasons: it is too damn good to describe and too delicious to name.

I just can’t wait any longer to share this little miracle with you all though, so I’m simply going to refer to it as The Pizza.

How does it taste, you ask? Let me paint you a word picture.

Every ingredient, every part, every bite in The Pizza is positively bursting with delicious flavor. The sauce alone is something to marvel at; with some bread, it would be a noteworthy appetizer in its own right. It’s full of finely diced sauteed mushrooms that melt into the tomato sauce as it simmers, creating a whole new meaty depth of flavor. The shallots and sun-dried tomatoes add another layer of zest and complexity.

But The Pizza hardly ends at the sauce. The cheese trifecta of mozzarella, parmesan and mascarpone brings creamy, sharp, and nutty notes together over each slice. That richness is punctuated by earthy fresh basil, spicy arugula and tart balsamic vinegar. And there’s extra sliced mushrooms as well – because why not?

So the next time you have a free evening go ahead and dim the lights, light some candles, crank up the smooth jazz and make yourself The Pizza. It’s a culinary imperative.

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April 22, 2013

Fried Bhindi Masala with Spiced Tomato and Tofu

Bhindi Tofu

Another week, another culinary challenge from my friends: make something using okra, tofu, and cream cheese.

My immediate inclination with okra was to do something Southern. “Is there even another way to cook okra?” I wondered.

Yes, I learned after doing a little research. Yes there is.

Okra – also known in Hindi as bhindi – is actually a relatively common ingredient in Indian food, stewed or stir fried with spices and served with rice or lentils. And thus the idea for this bizarrely tasty recipe was born.

I opted to retain some of that classical Southern preparation and fry okra in beer batter – but only after stuffing it with a zesty garam masala-packed cream cheese filling. Served with a tomato and tofu sauce that is full of robust flavors and spices, and surprisingly filling, it made for quite a delicious meal.

This recipe is an odd fusion of Indian and Southern flavors and styles, but it totally works.

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November 24, 2012

Butternut Squash and Pomegranate Croquettes

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, plain and simple. Nothing against all the other holidays, but Thanksgiving has the perfect combination of football, food, and family that just can’t be beat.

And did I mention the food?

I love everything that’s on the Thanksgiving table, from the turkey to the mashed potatoes to the green beans to the cranberries. But every year I can’t help but long for a surprise in the mix. Some dish that comes along and turns the whole dinner on it’s head (in a good way!)

That’s what inspired these croquettes, which combine some classic Thanksgiving flavors with some not-so-traditional ingredients. The inspiration also came from one of my favorite food bloggers, Nick Evans over at Macheesmo, who recently crafted a Kabocha squash risotto topped with pomegranate and sage. It’s a damn good risotto, but I wanted to make something that emphasized the traditional Thanksgiving flavors of squash and sage.

These croquettes definitely hit the mark. The squash, along with the sweet potato that provides enough hold for frying, shine through in every bite of croquette, perfectly seasoned with sage, onion and a hint of parmesan. The pomegranate is a great twist, each a burst of tart, sweet juice.

When I made this I let it chill for 15 minutes the in freezer to really solidify it in preparation for frying it. Although it retained its shape well, the first one I fried was still cool in the center when I pulled it from the pan. Leaving it for only ten minutes in a refrigerator will mean the croquettes aren’t as firm –  making them a bit more finicky – but the end result is definitely worth it.

I think it’s going to be a new Thanksgiving tradition in the Rosemary Renaissance kitchen!

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October 14, 2012

Teriyaki Garbanzo Salad

I know it’s been a while since I’ve answered a “Dear Chef” question. But don’t worry, dear readers, I have not forgotten your plight. From Emily:

I vote you do a mini-series with purely veggie-friendly foods that even a novice could make. PLEASE? I can’t cook at all, but I’ll give it a shot if you can convince me that it’s better than quinoa, broccoli, and avocado.

I’m not sure I can top that – sounds pretty darn good to me – but I can at least give you something different, and variety is the spice of life.

Although you might have to grab a couple ingredients, this dish really couldn’t be easier to make. All you have to do is pan sear some veggies and garbanzo beans and you’re set.

The flavors are explosive, however. The garbanzo beans take up all the sweet, zesty notes of the sauce while the still-crispy seared veggies add crunchy-red and leafy-green goodness. The dish looks petite, diminutive even, but is nonetheless very filling. The sriracha is optional, but highly recommended. It really adds an extra dimension to the dish.

I’ll keep working on easy, vegetarian-friendly recipes. In the meantime, enjoy!

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September 23, 2012

BBQ Pizza with Pineapple & Arugula

While I was ingredient-hunting for this dish I ran head-first into a big old bottle of nostalgia. In Woodinville, where I grew up, there was a small, divey barbecue joint that I used to go to with my family. The lights were perpetually dim and the staff were all surly pranksters. Most importantly though, their barbecue was unparalleled.

The Armadillo barbecue eventually closed shop as Woodinville grew and gentrified. Although they reopened as a catering only operation in another town, I never saw anything from them again. Until, while wandering my local grocery store, I saw a bottle of their barbecue sauce.

Washingtonians – If you see Armadillo Barbecue sauce, purchase it immediately. I suggest a quick nip in the nearest alleyway to tide you over until you get home.

Now onto the pizza at hand. (See what I did there?)

A great barbecue sauce brings everything together, but the full cast of characters really makes this recipe. The pineapple highlights the sugars in the sauce while adding notes of tangy tartness. The red onion brings zest and cut through the underlying sweetness. The arugula, added at the very end so that it cooks just so, adds crunch and notes of spice.

All the toppings rest on a bed of Parmesan and mozzarella that sit atop fresh-made dough. Making your own dough can seem intimidating at first – I certainly was for me – but pizza dough is one of the simplest kinds to make. You wouldn’t expect flour, water and yeast to taste so good, but it really kicks this dish up a notch.

BBQ Pizza with Pineapple & Argula

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 envelope dry yeast
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 cup lukewarm water
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, plus reserve
  • 1/3 cup barbecue sauce
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan
  • 5 mozzarella balls, sliced
  • 1/2 red onion, sliced into half moons
  • 1/3 cup pineapple, diced
  • 2/3 cup arugula

 

  1. In a large, non-reactive bowl combine the flour, sugar, yeast, salt, water and olive oil. Mix until evenly combined and knead the dough into a smooth, firm ball.
  2. Coat the outside of the ball lightly with olive oil. Cover the bowl with saran wrap and let stand until the dough doubles in size, approximately 1 hour. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to desired thickness (I recommend thin crust). Pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees.
  3. Cover a baking sheet with tin foil and cover lightly with olive oil. Place the dough on top. Spread the barbecue sauce over the dough, followed by the mozzarella and parmesan, red onion and pineapple. Place the pizza in the oven and cook until the cheese is melted and crust is golden brown, approximately 16-20 minutes.
  4. Remove the pizza from the oven and add the arugula on top. Let sit for at least 5 minutes, cut as desired and serve.
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