Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Add-Pay Eye-Tay

I'm making an honest attempt at incorporating more dairy-free "vegan" (I'm using the term "vegan" loosely as I'm not scrutinizing over the processes and ingredients of non-dairy/vegetarian products) meals into our diet. I'm still intimidated by tofu, but I want to use it more than two times a year. I bought some this week at the grocery store after I found yet another tasty recipe from the Martha Stewart Everyday Foods Recipes app. It's totally worth downloading. It's awesome and the recipes are fairly simple, not as many steps, and don't use too many ingredients. This recipe was called "Whole Wheat Spaghetti with Vegetables and Peanut Sauce". Ummm, because "pad thai" has a copyright, or because this recipe isn't an authentic Pad Thai? It tasted like pad thai to me, and I made a few modifications.

Pad Thai, the adapted Martha Stewart Everyday Recipes recipe by a white girl who has eaten pad thai a total of 10 times.

8 oz. whole-wheat spaghetti (I had linguine and prefer it to spaghetti in a recipe w a rich sauce such as this)
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1 container (14 oz.) firm tofu, drained and cut into 1-inch cubes
1 large carrot, cut into matchsticks
4 oz snow peas, tough strings removed
(I didn't have snow peas, but I had asparagus, 1/2 yellow bell pepper - julienne, and half a bunch of scallions sliced)

For the sauce:
3 T. smooth peanut butter
2 T. soy sauce
2 T. rice vinegar
2 T. light-brown sugar

Fresh lime wedges

Directions:
1. Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water, approximately 6 minutes. Reserve 1/2 c. pasta water. Dump in the tofu and vegetables into the pot of boiling pasta. Cook for a couple of minutes, until the pasta is al dente and the vegetables will be bright in color. Drain the pasta, tofu and vegetables all into a colander and set aside.

2. In that same (now empty) pot, stir togetherh peanut butter, soy sauce, vinegar and sugar. Add reserved pasta/tofu/veg mixture to the sauce; toss gently, adding reserved pasta water a little at a time as you gently stir, to create a thin sauce that coats the pasta (you may not need all the water). Season as desired with salt, pepper and a lime wedge. Serve. Makes approximately four servings.

Like I said, I don't know if this can legitimately be called Pad Thai, but it's reminiscent of the dish. The few times I've had pad thai, it had bean sprouts, minced thai chili, cilantro and peanuts. I didn't have any of these ingredients on-hand.

This dish is great served cold and is very filling!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Asparagus-Leek Quiche


I can count the times I've eaten quiche on one hand, and one time it was awesome and that was in an amazing bakery in Belem, Lisbon, Portugal. With a track record like that, quiche seemed intimidating for me to attempt to make at home. My beautiful friend, Steph, makes quiche all the time and she claimed it was easy. If Steph says a dish is easy to make, I believe her. But her quiche is Carne-Quiche-Insanity and since we are attempting to eat vegetarian 90% of the time, I chose a Asparagus Leek Quiche recipe I got from the Martha Steward Everyday Food app on my phone. I will throw a disclaimer out there: regardless of ease, quiches do take a bit of time to prepare and bake. If you made miniature quiches and bought individual-sized prepared crusts, it will definitely cut down the baking time as there is less surface area to bake in each mini quiche.

Asparagus Leek Quiche from the Everyday Food Recipes App

Ingredients:
1 T. butter
1 Leek (white and light green parts only ), halved and thinly sliced, then well washed - leeks are grown in a soil that contains a lot of sand, partly because it is easy to harvest from the earth. There will always be sand in leeks. After halving and slicing the leek, put the bits in a bowl of cold water and agitate the water w your hand. The sand will sink to the bottom of the bowl. OR, put sliced leeks into a colander and rinse well.
Coarse Salt-and-Pepa
1 bunch (1 lb) asparagus, tough ends removed, thinly sliced on diagonal
4 large eggs
1-1/4 c. half-and-half (using a dairy product with less fat than half-and-half will create the quiche to be watery.)
Ground nutmeg
Pie crust, fitted into a 9-inch DEEP DISH pie plate, well chilled
1 c. shredded Gruyere cheese (4 oz.)

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, with rack on lowest position. In a large skillet, melt butter over medium. Add leek and asparagus; season w Salt-and-Pepa (nerd alert). Cook, stirring occasionally, until asparagus is crisp-tender, approximately 6-8 minutes; let cool.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, half-and-half, 1/2 t. salt, t. of pepper, and a pinch of nutmeg. Place pie crust on a rimmed baking sheet. Sprinkle w cheese; top with asparagus mixture. Pour egg mixture on top.

3. Bake until center of quiche is just set, 50 to 60 minutes, rotating sheet halfway through the baking time. Let stand 15 minutes before serving. I served the quiche with homemade stewed tomatoes and lemon wedges, which is a personal preference. The great thing about quiche is you can eat quiche for any meal. It is great served warm, room temperature and cold (IMO). Although this quiche does take time to bake, it's a great dish to serve for brunch, as you don't have to serve it piping hot.

NOTE: I added a little bit of feta cheese to the quiche because I had some feta cheese on-hand. It was very tasty, and would be great without the feta cheese as well. I also used a premade Pilsbury pie crust. Stay tuned! I'll show you what I did the the remaining pie crust.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Seven Layer Salad

From the indulgent scones in the previous post, I'm switching to the healthier side of things. It's all about balance. :) Eating a lighter meal at night is good for your gut. You get a more restful sleep, you don't suffer as much from heartburn and/or acid reflux, and you're not packing on those calories at day's end. All around, eating light at night is good schtuff. This Seven Layer salad is kind of a twist on the seven layer bean dip with some healthier switches. I omitted the dairy altogether and took out the olives because E doesn't like olives. This Seven Layer salad is so flavorful, you really don't need the fats from the cheese and sour cream. Omitting these ingredients also give the dish a cleaner taste and lightens things up.

Ingredients:

1 red bell pepper, sliced
1 zucchini, sliced
1/2 red onion, sliced
splash of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2, 3, 4 tomatoes, whatever you have on hand, halved. I used heirloom tomatoes of all sizes.
Juice from 1 lime
3 ears of corn, kernels cut from cob
1 can of beans (Pinto, black, kidney), rinsed
1 avocado, cubed
Salsa to your preference
pinch of salt

I sauteed the onion, zucchini and bell pepper in olive oil and set aside. Sprinkle your halved tomatoes with the juice of half of the lime. Add a tiny pinch of salt to the tomatoes.Cut the kernels from the ears of corn. Roast the corn kernels in a dry skillet for about 8-10 minutes. Use your spatula to stir the corn every couple of minutes, so the sides brown up a bit. After the kernels are browned but not burned, remove from heat, sprinkle with a tiny pinch of salt. On a platter, layer the following:

Roasted Corn
Pinto Beans
Bell pepper/onion/zucchini mixture
Salsa, however much/little you prefer
Tomatoes
Avocado
Lime juice (I know, far fetched to include lime juice as a layer but it is a significant part of the flavor profile so it counts as a "layer".) If you want to add more zing, sprinkle some Mexican spices like cumin and chili flakes.

You can squeeze more lime juice on the entire thing or serve w lime wedges for individual tastes. For me, I can never have too much fresh lime juice. Serve with warmed soft taco sized tortillas or tortilla chips. I didn't realize this until after dinner last night, but this meal is vegan, considering you eat it with vegan tortillas. You can also opt for a gluten-free dinner and eat this salad on romaine.

Buen provecho!