Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Meatless "One"day: Latin Falafel

I may have to change the Meatless Monday name to Meatless Oneday. Sure I like the alliterative nature of the name, but I think Oneday has its own ring to it, too, right?

Recently our goal of foregoing meat for dinner at least one day of week met some challenges. Before I made the switch to being gluten- free we simply made some comforting pasta dish. Before you tell me they make gluten- free pasta, go out and buy a box; then we'll talk. It ranges in price from $4-$9 a box! On top of that, many of the brands I've tried taste like Elmer's glue. I'm sure there is something out there that resembles pasta but I haven't found it yet. If you do, fill me in.

At any rate, I had to do some searching for great recipes that satisfy both of our meatless requirements. These cousins of falafel hit the spot. They are super easy to make, full of protein, and incredibly satisfying. They were in the August, 2005 issue of Cooking Light and named their Best Vegetarian recipe.

Happy Meatless Oneday!

Falafel with Avocado Spread
Cooking Light, August 2005, recipe by Ann Taylor Pittman

1 15 ounce can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1/4 cup finely crushed corn tortilla chips
2 tablespoons finely chopped green onions
1 tablespoon finely chopped cilantro
1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
1 large egg white
1 1/2 teaspoons canola oil

1/4 cup mashed avocado
2 tablespoons finely chopped tomato ( I used salsa)
1 tablespoon finely chopped red onion
2 tablespoons sour cream
1 tablespoon lime juice
1/8 teaspoon salt

To prepare patties, place pinto beans in a medium bowl; partially mash with a fork. Add cheese and next 5 ingredients (through egg white); stir until well combined. Shape bean mixture into 4 (1/2-inch-thick) oval patties.
  • Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add patties to pan; cook 3 minutes on each side or until patties are browned and thoroughly heated.
  • To prepare spread, combine avocado and next 5 ingredients (through salt), stirring well. Place 1 patty in each pita half. Spread about 2 tablespoons avocado spread over patty in each pita half; top with onions and greens
You can stuff these into pita, wrap them in tortillas or serve them on a bed of greens.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Say Cheese!

I'm smack dab in the middle of a culinary identity crisis. Ever since giving up gluten and giving in to the reality that we don't get along, I've struggled with finding my groove in the kitchen. No groove in the kitchen = no love on the blog. In the meantime, my husband just keeps sending out delicious-ness. And in light of the fact that our fifth anniversary will be celebrated tomorrow, I thought it only appropriate to share something he wrote about a recent kick-ass meal. 

Thanks for keeping me fed, love!  -Holly

I’m Throwing Seven Different Kinds of Cheese

Of all the atrocious ailments and conditions that may befall the human body during the course of a lifetime, I don’t believe that any can quite compare to lactose intolerance. Sure, I think most of us could forgo the glass of cold milk with our chocolate chip cookie, or the half & half creamer in our morning coffee. But I’ll venture that very few of us would want to know what our lives would be like sans cultured milk. A hamburger without cheese is stomachable, but not very exciting. A pizza without cheese is painful. If you pair the right cheese with a glass of wine, it will make your week. Very few ingredients in modern cooking can measure up to this crucial building block of our food pyramid.

This was precisely what was going through my mind as I perused the aisles at Whole Foods Market on Saturday morning. If you have the patience to deal with things in complete excess (people and prices, namely), then you should swing by the cheese section the next time you’re there. It’s amazing. If Willy Wonka were into cheese instead of chocolate, then his factory would be just like this. There are soft cheeses, hard cheeses, warm and cold, light and dark, sharp and mild and everything in between. There are cheeses you have never heard of. It actually makes you want to drop everything and do whatever it takes to quickly become the most loyal Green Bay Packers fan ever. I wanted to buy all of it. Yet, as much as that would please me, I think we know that it would bring on immediate and stern disapproval of my checkbook, not to mention my stomach which would be working overtime to digest it all. I digress.

So, I set out to get as many different types of cheese into my next meal as possible. I didn’t want to cheat and do a “5 cheese pizza” or anything like that. I wanted the cheeses to be more individually featured, yet complimentary to their counterpart ingredients. Here’s what I came up with, and I have to say, it was delightful.

Aperitif – Harp Lager/Woodchuck Hard Cider (Gluten-Free)

Appetizer – seedless red grapes & smoked gouda

Salad – Organic Mixed Greens with fresh grape tomato, red onion and crumbled bleu cheese. Topped
with 25-year barrel aged Balsamic Vinegar from William Sonoma

Main Course
Grilled Prime Rib Eye topped with Boursin garlic cheese
Grilled portabella mushrooms (marinated in Balsamic Vinegar above)
Fresh brussel sprouts topped with shredded parmigiano-reggiano
Baked Macaroni with Wisconsin Cheddar and Monterrey Jack cheeses

Fresh cut strawberries topped with Balsamic Vinegar (from above) and marscapone cheese

In short, it was amazing. And as a good friend of mine put it, “nothing says cheesy like dinner with Ladd.”

I agree!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

How I know he loves me

I don't need to pull the petals from a flower chanting, "he loves me, he loves me not." I just need to sit down at the table and enjoy what he brings me from the kitchen.

This recipe is from the January issue of Bon Appetit and it's amazing. Yes, it's just soup. But it's crab soup. And it's delicious in every way.

Go show someone you love them and make this soup.

Tomato, Fennel, and Crab Soup
bon appetit, january 2011, recipe by Mark Bittman

1/2 cup olive oil
3 1/2 cups chopped onion
2 medium fennel bulbs with fronds; bulbs cored, thinly sliced, fronds chopped and reserved
3 large garlic cloves, minced
2 14 1/2 ounce cans diced tomatoes in juice
2 cups (or more) vegetable broth
8 ounces fresh crabmeat, picked over
   additional olive oil

a great rustic bread for dipping

Heat 1/4 cup oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add onions, fennel, and garlic; sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Saute until onions and fennel are tender, stirring often and adjusting heat to medium if browning too quickly, about 15 minutes.  Add tomatoes with juice and two cups of broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer until flavors blend and vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes. Stir in crabmeat and add more broth by 1/4 cupfuls to thin soup, if desired; simmer just until heated through, 3 to 4 minutes. Season soup with salt and pepper.

Divide soup among bowls. Sprinkle each with chopped fennel fronds. Drizzle each with oil and serve with bread.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

A stick-to-your-bones kind of meal

We used to frequent an English Pub, by the name of the Blue Anchor, when we lived in Delray Beach. After happily recalling a fond memory of this spot we decided to try and recreate their Beef and Stilton Meat Pie. Aside from my minor mishap with the phyllo dough the "pie" was just as we remembered: hearty and delicious.

I don't know about you, but the term "meat pie" doesn't sound all that appetizing to me. Essentially that's what chicken pot pie is though, right? That name sounds much more appealing. Unfortunately I couldn't come up with anything as catchy for this upcoming recipe. When you get right down to it, it's a meat pie, plain and simple. OK, it's not so plain but it is fairly simple. Unless, like me, it's your first time using phyllo dough. Tip: read the thawing instructions on the package of phyllo...it takes a lot longer than you'd think.

Beef and Stilton Meat Pie
special equipment: crock pot
makes 4 pies
1 1/2 pounds stew beef
1 dark beer
3-4 garlic cloves, smashed
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 cup beef broth
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2-3 tablespoons flour
1 cup peas
1 cup pearl onions
1 cup Stilton cheese
4 sheets of phyllo dough, thawed
butter, melted

Add all ingredients through the brown sugar to a crock pot and cook on low about 4-5 hours (check to make sure more liquid isn't needed as it cooks). Add flour and stir then add peas and onion. Continue cooking about 20-30 minutes more. Add salt and pepper to taste. Ladle filling into 4 crocks. Stir equal amounts of Stilton cheese into each crock. 

Take one sheet of phyllo and brush with butter. Add next sheet on top and brush with butter. Continue with remaining sheets. Cut into four squares and add one square to the top of each crock. You'll need to tuck and pinch to make it cover. It doesn't have to be perfect. 

Bake at 375 for about 30 minutes or until the top is golden brown. 

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Last minute baking to do?

This past weekend the D.C. contingent of Food52'ers gathered at Mrs. Wheelbarrow's home to share some sweets... and some savories.  It was a fabulous afternoon with an inspiring group of woman, all of which brought nothing but the best from their kitchens.  

Since you aren't going to find many cookie recipes here, I'm sharing the links to some of their wonderful recipes accompanied by photos compliments of Sally.  

Mrs. Wheelbarrow's Pistachio Sand Dabs

Cathy's Rainbow Cookies


Margi's Mexican Chocolate Tea Cakes

Danielle's Chocolate Dipped Chocolate Chip Cookie Balls (from: Oh She Glows)

Christine's Chili Infused Chocolate Caramels (from gluttonforlife)

Christine's (award winning) Salted Pumpkin Caramels

There are more recipes that I don't have my hands on now... these should be enough to get you started, though!

Make sure to check out the gorgeous photography from the cookie swap taken by Julia: Julia Rochelle Photography 

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Quality Time in the Kitchen

My younger sister and I are 7 years apart.  Now that we're adults it doesn't seem like such a large gap, but when we were kids it wasn't always so easy to find something we liked to do together.  Being in the kitchen , however, we were able to find some common ground.  We found ourselves stretching taffy with our mom, making caramel popcorn for our father's Christmas gift and inevitably making some kind of candy to send off to our relatives. Spending hours upon hours in the kitchen creating cookies and making candy during the holiday season was something we loved doing together.

Until recently my sister and I haven't lived near each other in many years.  To say we live close by now is even a bit of a stretch.  If you've ever tried to get to Virginia Beach from D.C. during the summer you'd understand what I'm getting at.  So it stands to reason that it's been an incredibly long time since we've been able to join forces in the kitchen together and have some fun.  This Thanksgiving we were able to do just that and I'm quite thankful we had such an opportunity.

After putting together a pumpkin pie pudding and apple pie with oat streusel we decided on an easy, crunchy, rather addicting little treat for ourselves.  Of all the things to make, we chose something we used to make together when we were younger, Chex Muddy Buddies.  We claimed we were making it for everyone, but managed to sit and eat the whole batch ourselves.  Oops. There is nothing glamorous or complicated about this snack. But it's the classic combo of chocolate and peanut butter that makes it so easy to eat. With crunchy Chex cereal, all dusted in powdered sugar, it's a quick treat to throw together and saves more time for the good stuff... like some quality time with family.

Chex Muddy Buddies

9cups Corn Chex®, Rice Chex®, Wheat Chex® or Chocolate Chex® cereal (or combination)
1cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/2cup peanut butter
1/4cup butter 
1teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2cups powdered sugar
Into large bowl, measure cereal; set aside.

In 1-quart microwavable bowl, microwave chocolate chips, peanut butter and butter uncovered on High 1 minute; stir. Microwave about 30 seconds longer or until mixture can be stirred smooth. Stir in vanilla. Pour mixture over cereal, stirring until evenly coated. Pour into 2-gallon resealable food-storage plastic bag.

Add powdered sugar. Seal bag; shake until well coated. Spread on waxed paper to cool. Store in airtight container in refrigerator.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Stuff his stocking with this book!

Black Friday is quickly approaching and crowds of people will rise at the crack of dawn to stand in line with dozens of others to get the best deal on the latest hot items.  Why?  I don't know, I'm still trying to figure that out.  Something about good deals...

If you're a stocking stuffer kind of person with a man in your life that needs a little... shall we say, guidance in the kitchen, then Susan Russo and Brett Cohen's Recipes Every Man Should Know is a must have this season (or any season for that matter).  This handy pocket-sized guide is full of info and great recipes that every man actually should know. It also gives new meaning to "little black book." It is completely approachable, both in size and content, and features everything that a man loves from beer, bacon and bar food to hearty breakfasts and dinners to woo the girls.  The best part? It's already priced at Black Friday savings and only costs $9.95.  You needn't rise at 3 a.m. to beat the crowds or be the first in line to get this book.  Just pad over to your computer in your slippers and pj's and visit Amazon.com or Irreference.com to pick one up.  Or two.  I can assure you, you won't be disappointed.

To get a glimpse of a recipe featured in the book, Bacon Wrapped Meatloaf, click over to Susan's blog, FoodBlogga, and check it out!