Archive for the ‘Cooking’ Category

PostHeaderIcon Thanksgiving Prep: ready, set, go

My lists of menu ideas have been scribbled on many note pads and scraps of paper and the shopping list is being generated. Being the organized planner that I am, some elements are being prepared in advance. The way I figure it is if it freezes well, why not.

I previously mentioned this being a mostly vegetarian thanksgiving. I relented a bit by allowing my brothers to prepare a Turkey for the die hard meat eaters and I will make some salmon for my husband who is a meat eater at heart. Those two dishes aside, everything else is vegetarian and healthy (except for dessert—a must).

So, here is the menu as it stands today. I have yet to gather all my recipes.

- hummus two ways and veggies
- whole wheat pizza appetizer with gorgonzola and apples
- cranberry sauce
- tabouli salad
- roasted eggplant salad
- squash/carrot soup
- sweet potato souffle
- roasted potatoes with garlic
- apple pie
- brownies

*Did I mention everything is from scratch?!!!!

PostHeaderIcon Cooking Time: Roasted Eggplant Salad

photo 4 1024x764 Cooking Time: Roasted Eggplant Salad

One of the first recipes I will make for my vegetarian Thanksgiving is my roasted eggplant salad. This is a go to in my house on a pretty regular basis. I have several variations of it and all are delicious. The best part is, it takes literally 10 minutes to prepare other than the roasting time. Even better; it tastes so good after sitting overnight in the fridge. Give it a try, I know you’ll like it.

Ingredients

2 large eggplants

1/4 cup olive oil

Cumin

Paprika

Curry

Sea Salt

1 large lemon

3 cloves of garlic

Dill, parsley or cilantro

  • Cut your eggplants into large cubes. I’ve experimented with different sizes, but I can assure you the large cubes are the best. They keep their shape and look appealing in the end.photo 1 300x224 Cooking Time: Roasted Eggplant Salad
  • Preheat the oven (or toaster oven as in my case) to 400 degrees.
  • Place eggplant cubes into oven tray and coat with olive oil. I use the eyeball method, but I would say it works out to about a 1/4 cup.
  • Using the eyeball method or a teaspoon, put about 2 to 3 teaspoons of curry, cumin and paprika.
  • I then salt using the pinch method. About 4 pinches of the large kernal sea salt.
  • Mix everything together and pop it in the oven to roast for about an hour, stirring it around occasionally.
  • Once you remove your roasted eggplant from the oven it is already delicious, but for the next step you let it cool.
  • Squeeze one large lemon and crush three cloves of garlic into the eggplant.

photo 5 300x262 Cooking Time: Roasted Eggplant Salad

     

    • Finish off with a rough chopped dill, parsley or cilantro. I use about a 1/2 cup worth.
    • Stir and enjoy!
    Some notes: I make many variations of this as I said. Sometimes I roast the eggplant with one chopped onion and other times I add some fresh scallions in at the end. The beauty of this salad is that you can’t really mess it up. If you season the eggplant well, the finished product will be delicious. For a really fancy party dress, top it off with a dollop of sour cream and chives. 

    PostHeaderIcon Vegetarian Thanksgiving….Yeah, it can happen

    no meat 300x300 Vegetarian Thanksgiving....Yeah, it can happenI’m a vegetarian. I’m no hipster with a knitted cap and weird skinny jeans. I’ve been a vegetarian since high school, but really wanted to be one since birth. Let’s just put it this way, eating meat was torture and dinner time was hell. When my Mom gave up trying to get me to eat that piece of chicken and I realized I could create my own food destiny, I came out to my family as a vegetarian. Over the years, I’ve had to explain this to people. I’ve had to justify. Luckily, the hipsters have made it acceptable enough that I can just hang out and be a vegetarian with little to no questions. I have heard a thing or two about the diet I choose to feed my children, but that’s a story for another day (a long and annoyingly frustrating story!).

    After 11 years of living with me, my husband’s meat eating had really dwindled down to the occasional BBQ chicken and steak in a restaurant. Recently, in an effort to do some healthy living, and as a result of multiple food documentaries on Netflix, my husband has gone all out vegetarian. We eat the occasional fish, but this is rare. Good fish is both expensive and generally far from local. Cooking a balanced diet has not been an issue. That is, until I remembered that Thanksgiving is held at our house. Thanksgiving with a room full of voracious meat eaters. So, now my Thanksgiving planning begins. A mostly vegetarian Thanksgiving (My meat eating brothers will prepare a turkey).

    Unlike previous Thanksgivings, I will not ask someone to prepare a red meat dish for my picky father-in-law. I will not prepare a vat full of shrimp for everyone to attack as the turkey is being carved. And I will not concern myself over the number of heavy proteins on the table for these meat eaters. This year, I will give them all a taste of how we eat. I will let them all experience how well we eat, taste and satisfaction. There will be loosening of belts and long sighs over full bellies. There will be heavy eyelids. There will be Thanksgiving my way.

    Stay tuned.

    PostHeaderIcon Food options

    My boys are getting temperamental during meal times. From my research I learned not to push and to try to give them a couple of options. Previously, we did this right on the height chair tray because plates ended up on the floor.

    This week we tried something new and we have success! Next step: utensils and mushy food!

    20111015 084249 Food options

    20111015 084256 Food options

    20111015 084304 Food options

    PostHeaderIcon Sunday Cooking Show

    No, not really a show. It’s just my own personal show every sunday. I turn on Food Network to keep me company and cook my heart out in the early hours of the day. Although I cook something every day, I like to spend Sundays cooking in mass quantities and freezing portions. I will also focus on the foods that might take a bit more prep and are therefore not ideal to a busy weekday night.

    On today’s menu was a delicious beet salad, a garlic infused salad of tomatoes and cucumbers, brown rice with spicy peppers and onions and the grand finale; a squash casserole.  The squash casserole is a large version of bite size snacks I make and freeze to serve as appetizers or between meals. Following is the rough recipe. I say rough because unless I am following a cook book, my recipes are all from the heart.

    Ingrediants:

    -One large onion (your choice of onion variety, I use white)

    -One medium size butternut squash

    -Two medium size zucchini (You can really use any squash you like)

    -Optional, one large cooked beet

    -Approximately 3 cups of puffed brown rice cereal

    -24 ounces of cottage cheese (I used 1%)

    1. Peel and cut the squashes into cubes and put them in a tray with some olive oil and salt. Pop them in the oven or toaster oven at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes. They don’t need to be cooked through, just soft.
    2. Chop onions and saute
    3. Slice beet and lay at the bottom of a baking dish. Cover the bottom of the dish. You can overlap beet slices. This is not an exact science.
    4. Once the onions and squash are complete mix in a large bowl with cottage cheese and cereal. Season to taste.
    5. Evenly pour the mixture on top of the beets.
    6. Put the tray in the oven at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes. You want it to solidify without the top getting burnt. I find that in the toaster oven 45 minutes works just fine.
    7. Let the tray cool.
    This dish is tasty right out of the oven or cooled. We actually prefer it after it has sat in the fridge a while. I always cut half the tray and put it in the freezer and keep the other half in the fridge for more immediate eating.
    Try it. Make your own twist. Enjoy!