Category Archives: Vegetarian

Vegetable Frittata

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Photo Credit: © 2017 GIANT LLC All Rights Reserved.

Frittatas just happened to be one of those dishes that you can use up a whole lot of random leftover vegetables and turn them into a savory meal for brunch or dinner. We like to serve this classic egg dish with fruit for breakfast or with Italian bread and a small mixed greens side salad for a light dinner.

Adapted from Giant LLC
Savory Magazine
September 2017

Serves 4

Ingredients:
2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, divided
One 8-10 ounce bag baby spinach leaves, washed and roughly chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons garlic salt
2 cups baby Yukon gold potatoes
2 medium tomatoes, diced
8 large eggs
½ cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the spinach to the skillet and cover; allow to cook 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic salt and cover again for another 5 minutes; remove from heat and allow to cool. Place the spinach in a clean kitchen towel. Roll the towel up and squeeze the moisture from the spinach. Remove the spinach from the towel and place in a bowl and set aside.

Cut the potatoes into quarters. Heat the remaining olive oil in a 10-inch nonstick or cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add the potatoes. Cook for 8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes start to brown.

Meanwhile, beat the eggs with 2 tablespoons of water and a pinch of salt. Arrange the spinach over the potatoes. Scatter the tomatoes over the spinach, then pour the eggs over the vegetables. Sprinkle with the cheese. Cook until the edges are set, about 3 minutes.

Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake for 12 minutes, or until the eggs are completely set in the center.

To serve, slide the frittata out of the skillet and onto a cutting board. Using a serrated knife, slice it into wedges and serve warm with a fresh fruit for brunch or with a small side salad of mixed greens for a light lunch or dinner.

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Cauliflower and Avocado Salad

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Photo Credit: Kruti Shah, 2017

I discovered this gorgeous and delicious recipe on Instagram from food blogger, Kruti Shah, who is a health & wellness food stylist, creating real food recipes using all fresh and local produce from a company  Southern California called Milk and Eggs. Unfortunately the company only delivers to customers in the  Orange County, California Area, but just think what you might be able to find in your local markets. Eat fresh and buy local!

The directions are simple and a listed here below:

Kruti uses organic Butter lettuce topped with ghee-sautéed mushrooms, florets of purple cauliflower, sliced avocado, cilantro and smoked jalapeño sauerkraut.

The smoked jalapeño kraut is available on-line at Farmhouse Culture.

This organic kraut serves as a spicy way to keep your gut healthy and awaken the palate. Farmhouse Cultures, Smoked Jalapeno Kraut blends oak-smoked jalapenos with cabbage, carrots, onions, and radish for a taste that’s packed with earthy bold heat.

Also, check out their site for other products that are organic and gluten free. You will not be disappointed.

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Thank you so much!

 

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Cacio e Pepe

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Utterly simple yet supremely satisfying, Cacio e Pepe is  the quintessential pasta dish from Roman cuisine. “Cacio e Pepe” means “cheese and pepper”.  Because the recipe is so elemental, it depends on using only three highest-quality ingredients possible. As the name suggests, the ingredients of the dish are very simple and include only black pepper, Pecorino Romano cheese, and pasta such as a long, thin spaghetti like tonnarelli or vermicelli.  A true cacio e pepe recipe does not needs any oil, cream or butter.

The cacio e pepe recipe is one of the most ancient Italian dishes. The legend of this recipe dates back to the days of  the Roman Empire. For centuries, cacio e pepe has been the perfect meal of the Roman shepherds. Dried pasta, aged pecorino and black peppers are easy-to-carry ingredient and hard to spoil.

One of the things I learned  from experienced cooks is that the most difficult recipes are the simply ones – the ones with less  ingredients.

If you were to watch a practiced hand make cacio e pepe, you might think the instructions were as simple as this: Cook spaghetti and drain. Toss with grated Pecorino Romano cheese and black pepper. Serve. But we all know that the simplest recipes can often be the most confounding, and so it is with cacio e pepe. The most important steps to be taken in preparing this dish is to leave some of the hot cooking water with the pasta and speed: If the water cools before melting the cheese, the sauce will clump.The heat melts the cheese, while the starches in the water help bind the pepper and cheese to the pasta, creating a creamy, emulsified sauce that coats each strand of spaghetti with flavor.

Serves 4 to 6
Ingredients:
Sea salt
1 pound spaghetti or tonnarelli
2 1/2 cups finely grated Pecorino Romano

4 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste

Directions:
Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil over high heat. Salt the water. When the salt has dissolved, add the pasta and cook until al dente.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine 1 1/2 cups of the Pecorino Romano, the pepper, and a small ladle of pasta cooking water. Using the back of a large wooden spoon, mix vigorously and quickly to form a paste.

When the pasta is cooked, use a large strainer to remove it from the cooking water and quickly add it to the sauce in the bowl, keeping the cooking water boiling on the stove. Toss vigorously, adjusting with additional hot water a tablespoon or two at a time as necessary to melt the cheese and to obtain a creamy sauce that completely coats the pasta.

Plate and sprinkle each portion with some of the remaining Pecorino Romano and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.

Cook’s Notes:
And if you really want the full Roman traditional experience of eating cacio e pepe, make a crispy Parmesan bowl. Simply spread 3/4 cup Parmesan in a thin layer on the bottom of a non-stick saucepan and cook for three minutes, or until it becomes pliable. Remove the cheese sheet from the pan with a spatula and use a ramekin or small bowl to mold it.Arrange the cacio e pepe in its cheese cradle and top with more cheese.

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Mushroom and Fontina Stuffed Roasted Potatoes

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Are you bored with you ordinary loaded baked potatoes. Why not dress them up with an elegant topping of  buttery mushrooms and a wonderful ooey gooey melted cheese? The perfect comfort food for a Meatless Monday!

Serves 4

Ingredients:
4  russet baking potatoes
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/4 pounds mixed mushrooms (i.e. maitake, oyster and enoki), cut into small pieces
Kosher salt, to taste
Ground black pepper, to taste
1 cup Italian Fontina cheese, shredded
Chopped parsley, for garnish

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 450°F.

Wash or potatoes  thoroughly with a stiff brush and cold running water. Pat dry with paper towels.

Using a fork, pierce the potatoes several times all over. This will allow the moisture to escape during cooking.

Place  the potatoes in a large  bowl and coat lightly with oil. Sprinkle with kosher salt.

Place the potatoes on a baking sheet, and bake the potatoes for about 1 hour, until tender or until  the skin feels crisp but flesh beneath feels soft.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in the olive oil. Cook the mushrooms over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until tender and golden, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Slice halfway down the length of each potato, then crack  each of the spuds open by squeezing the ends towards one another. It will pop right open. Be very careful; there will be some steam released. Spoon 1 tablespoon of butter and 2 tablespoons of cheese into each one. Season with salt. Top with the mushrooms and the remaining cheese. Bake for 3 minutes, until the cheese melts. Garnish with parsley and serve hot.

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Polenta Pizza

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Gooey cheese melting into baked polenta—crisp on the outside with a creamy interior—is as satisfying as a pizza but it’s gluten-free. Serve with a green salad for a satisfying meatless Monday meal.

 Serves 4

Ingredients:

For the polenta crust:
1 1/3 cups  gluten-free medium-ground cornmeal
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 1/2  tablespoons olive oil, plus more as needed

For the topping:
1/2 pound fresh mozzarella cheese, coarsely grated
1/4 cup thin asparagus spears, sliced into  1 1/2 inch lengths
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2  tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
Kosher salt, to taste
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
1/3 cup  freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano

Directions:
To make the polenta crust, in a microwave-safe bowl, mix 4 cups  water, the cornmeal and 1 3/4 teaspoon salt. Place in the microwave and cook at the high setting for 5 minutes. Stir thoroughly, then return to the microwave and cook at the high setting for 5 more minutes. Stir well. Return to the microwave and cook at the high setting until very thick, about 5 minutes longer. Stir again, and then mix in the 1 1/2  tablespoons olive oil and a generous amount of pepper.

Brush a large pizza pan generously with olive oil. Spread the cornmeal mixture out on the pan in a circle about 1/3 inch thick and about 12 inches  in diameter, building up the edges slightly.

Preheat an oven to 375°F .

Sprinkle the mozzarella cheese over the pizza crust on the pizza pan, leaving a border.

In a small bowl, mix the tomatoes,  asparagus, shallot, 1 1/2  tablespoons olive oil, garlic and the vinegar. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Spoon the tomato mixture over the cheese. Sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese.

Bake the pizza until it is beginning to brown in spots, about 20 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes to set up. Sprinkle with the oregano and serve immediately with forks and knives for eating.

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Roasted Brussels Sprouts & Cauliflower Soup

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Roasted seasonal vegetables add depth to this simple winter soup.

Serves 4

Ingredients:

1 pound fresh Brussels sprouts
1 small head of cauliflower, cut into  florets
3 Tablespoons olive oil
Salt, to taste
Ground black pepper, to taste
1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
1/2 cup diced  white onion
2 cups vegetable broth
1 cup  milk
Crushed red pepper flakes, for garnish

Directions:

Preheat oven to 450°F. Halve Brussels sprouts. Arrange sprouts and cauliflower on a large sheet pan. Light season with salt and pepper and drizzle with the olive oil. Roast for 15 minutes, stirring halfway.

Meanwhile, melt butter in a large sauce pan and sauté diced onion until translucent. Add the vegetable broth and bring to a boil. Simmer over low heat for 5 minutes.

Transfer half of the roasted vegetables to the broth and simmer for about 2 min., stirring occasionally. Return the remaining vegetables on the baking sheet to the oven, to roast for another 5 minutes.

Use an immersion blender to purée the soup. Remove from heat and stir in the milk and remaining roasted vegetables.

Pour the soup into serving bowls and garnish with a few sprinkles of crushed red pepper. Serve immediately.

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Sautéed Mushrooms with Polenta

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A savory appetizer or main dish full with of flavorful mushrooms sautéed in herbs and a rich balsamic vinegar sauce, spooned over creamy polenta with melted  smoked gouda cheese.

Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients:

For the  mushrooms:
4 Tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 pounds Baby Bella  mushrooms, sliced
3/4 teaspoon dried thyme
3/4 teaspoon dried oregano
3/4 teaspoon black pepper
6 garlic cloves, minced
3 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
3/4 cup chicken broth
3 Tablespoons unsalted butter
Salt, to taste

For the  polenta  (See Cook’s Notes):
2 1/2 cups milk
2 1/4 cups chicken broth
1 1/2 cups instant polenta
8 ounces  smoked gouda  cheese, shredded (See Cook’s Notes)
Salt, to taste

Directions:

For  the mushrooms:Warm a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil. When oil begins to shimmer, add mushrooms; and cook stirring occasionally for 7 minutes. Stir in thyme, oregano, pepper and garlic; continue to cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Stir in balsamic vinegar, scraping up any brown bits from bottom of pan, stirring constantly about 30 seconds. Stir in chicken broth, reduce to low. Stir in butter.  Adjust the seasoning with salt to taste. Keep warm.

For polenta: In a saucepan, bring 2 1/2 cups milk and 2 1/4 cups chicken broth to a boil. Reduce heat to medium; gradually stir in polenta; cook, stirring constantly until mixture thickens, about 3 minutes. Add more liquid (broth, milk or water) as needed to achieve desired consistency. Remove from heat. Add shredded cheese; stir to combine until smooth. Salt to taste. Serve polenta warm topped with mushrooms.

*Cook’s Notes:
Other cheeses may be substituted. A few recommendations: Gouda, Gruyère, Havarti, Fontina,  or Cheddar.

For a homemade polenta, follow the link here: Creamy Polenta

 

 

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TODAY.com Parenting Team FC Contributor

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Creamy Polenta

Polenta, in short, is a cornmeal porridge that is a common dish in Northern Italy. It’s frequently eaten with meats and ragù, cheese like gorgonzola, or condiments like mostarda d’uva, a grape-and-nut jam from Piedmont. It can either be eaten freshly cooked, much like a thick porridge, or it can be cooled and then sliced and fried, grilled, or baked.

Long before corn was brought from the Americas to Europe, polenta was already a staple food—it just wasn’t made from corn, obviously. The name originally comes from the Latin word for pearled grain (like barley), and the dish, a gruel that could be made with all sorts of grains and legumes, dates back to Roman times.

Today, it’s no longer associated with those other grains, just corn (or, in the case of polenta taragna, cornmeal mixed with buckwheat). While there are certain heirloom varieties of corn, like otto file and biancoperla, that some prefer over the more generic stuff, for all practical purposes any medium- or coarsely ground cornmeal will do. Even grits, which often have a coarser grind than polenta and are sometimes made with a different variety of corn , are a perfectly acceptable substitute in just about any situation requiring polenta.

The first thing that’s helpful to know is that polenta doesn’t have to be made with a product that says “polenta” on the package. There’s nothing wrong with using a product designed exclusively for polenta, but you can just as easily use any medium or coarse-ground cornmeal.

There are a lot of old wives tales people say you need to follow to make polenta, like using a wooden spoon, stirring in only one direction, adding the polenta to boiling water, and stirring constantly. Forget those rules, because none of them could be further from the truth. What’s really important is using the right ratio of liquid to cornmeal and cooking the polenta long enough for the cornmeal to properly hydrate and cook. Pre-soaking helps hydrate the cornmeal and cuts down on actual cooking time.This recipe allows you to choose whether to use water, stock, or milk as your liquid (though I’m partial to the light, clean flavor of a water-based polenta), and can either be served right away with braised meats or cheese like gorgonzola dolce, or chilled, cut into pieces, and seared, grilled, or fried.

Adapted From
Daniel Gritzer, Culinary Director
SeriousEats.com
May 2015 

Ingredients:
5 cups water, milk, or chicken or vegetables stock (See Cook’s Notes)
1 cup medium or coarse yellow cornmeal (See Cook’s Notes)
Kosher salt, to taste
2 tablespoons unsalted butter or extra-virgin olive oil

Directions:
Pre-soak the  cornmeal, which requires advance planning but cuts cooking time roughly in half, combine water with cornmeal in a large mixing bowl and let stand, covered, at room temperature overnight. When ready to cook, scrape soaked cornmeal and water into a large saucier or saucepan and set over high heat.

Bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Let boil, stirring frequently, until polenta thickens enough that it starts to  sputter or “spit”. Lower heat immediately to prevent spitting and continue to cook, stirring frequently with a spoon or silicone spatula and scraping bottom to prevent scorching, until polenta becomes thick and pulls away from side of saucepan, for  about 30 minutes. Taste and season with salt.

Stir in butter or olive oil using either a spoon, silicon spatula, or whisk. If the polenta forms lumps, beat vigorously with a stiff whisk to remove the lumps. If polenta becomes too firm or begins to set, add a small amount of water, stock, or milk, and beat in with a whisk until fully incorporate and no lumps remain.

Serve right away with accompaniment of your choice, or scrape into a vessel and chill until set, then cut into pieces for grilling, searing, or frying.

Cook’s Notes:
Any medium or coarse cornmeal will work here, whether the package says “polenta” or not; avoid instant polenta, which promises a quick cooking time in exchange for sub-par flavor and texture. For the liquid, milk will produce a rich and creamy polenta that is delicious and indulgent, but also very heavy. Chicken or stock vegetable will infuse the polenta with more flavor, but that flavor can also cover up the taste of the cornmeal. Water produces the lightest polenta with a mild corn flavor that pairs well with everything and won’t leave you feeling weighed down after eating it.

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Thank you so much!

TODAY.com Parenting Team FC Contributor

TODAY.com Parenting Team FC Contributor

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Pumpkin and Sage Ravioli with Spiced Apples and Pecans

 Why not whet your guests’ appetites for this Thanksgiving Dinner with  this impressive sweet and savory starter!

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Serves 4

Ingredients:
6 ounces whole pecans, shelled
1 Gala apple (See Cook’s Notes)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon sugar
1/8 teaspoon allspice
1/8 teaspoon ginger
Dash of nutmeg
Pinch of salt
1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
One 9- ounce package Pumpkin and Sage  Ravioli (See Cook’s Notes)

Directions:
Prepare ravioli according to package directions. While ravioli boils, add the cinnamon, sugar, a chop the pecans, allspice, ginger, nutmeg and salt in a small bowl. Slice the apple in 4 quarters, and then slice the quarters into 1 inch slices. Toss the apples in the spiced sugar mix.

In a large skillet, melt the butter, add chopped pecans and apple, and sauté for 1 minute. When ravioli is ready, drain and arrange on the plate. Top the ravioli with pecan-apple mix, and serve.

Cook’s Notes:
Any variety of apple can be substituted for  the Gala apple.

Most grocery stores and large supermarkets carry various brands of fresh and frozen ravioli. If Pumpkin and Sage ravioli is not available in your area, a plain ricotta cheese ravioli can be used in this recipe as an alternative.

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Spaghetti with Arugula and Mint Pesto

Here is a peppery update to a classic basil pesto: arugula and fresh mint are combined to create a sprightly, fragrant pesto that’s wonderful with spaghetti. Add a salad and some crusty bread for an easy vegetarian supper.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Serves 4

Ingredients:
5 cups packed arugula
3/4 cup packed fresh mint leaves
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup shaved aged hard cheese such as Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus more for sprinkling
2 garlic cloves
Zest of 1 lemon
Salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 pound spaghetti

 

Directions:
In a blender, combine the arugula, mint, olive oil, the 1/2 cup cheese, the garlic, lemon zest, salt and pepper and blend until smooth. Stir in 1 tablespoon of the lemon juice. Taste and adjust the seasonings with salt and pepper.

Refrigerate the pesto until ready to serve.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until al dente , tender but firm to the bite,  10 to 12 minutes, or according to the package instructions. Reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water. Drain the pasta and return it to the empty pot.

Toss the pesto with the spaghetti. Thin it out with a small amount of reserved cooking water if needed. Taste, season with salt and pepper, and toss with the remaining 1 tablespoon of lemon juice. Divide among warmed serving bowls. Sprinkle cheese over each portion and serve immediately.

 

TODAY.com Parenting Team FC Contributor