Archive for the ‘Vegetables & Vegetarian’ Category

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Baked Onion Blossom

April 21, 2016

Who hasn’t indulged in a deep fried, heavily breaded,  grease soaked at the end, onion? While they are absolutely delicious, they are most certainly an artery clogging, calorie crying “indulgence”. I was  craving one of these, but really am trying to eat clean. I had seen a baked version, but most of the reviews were not too kind. In an effort to simplify, improve and of course, satisfy “my” craving, I bring you my version of the baked onion blossom. It’s a bit awkward to make, but that will only improve in time, as this is most certainly something I will make again (and again!) I served it as a side rather than  an  appetizer, and long after my sesame seared tuna was gone …I was still sitting at the table picking away at the onion. I think it would be a lovely addition to a plate in a much  smaller  individual portion  as well…

1 giant Vidalia onion

1 egg, with 1 T. water added

1/2 C. panko breadcrumbs

1 T.Cajun seasoning, or any seasoning with a kick to it (unless you don’t like spice!)

1 t. teaspoon paprika

1 t. garlic pepper seasoning

Dipping sauce

1/4 C. yogurt

1/4 C. horseradish sauce

1/2 C. ketchup

1/8 t. each:paprika. garlic pepper, Cajun spice

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Pre-heat your oven to 400*.

Make your dipping sauce and season to taste. As it sits, it will get spicier.

Beat your eggs very well, and allow all the  foam to die down. This helps keep the crumbs on.

On a piece of wax paper, combine your panko and your seasoning.Really you can any seasoning “you” like. I didn’t have a Cajun seasoning so I used the Tabasco one you see above. I also cut out any additional salt. You don’t need it.

Peel your onion. Cut off about 1/4 off TOP of the onion. Do not cut the root end as this is what holds your “blossom” together. Starting about 1/4 inch from the root, cut down. Continue every 1/4 inch or so. Do not cut close to the  root, as your onion will immediately fall apart.. With a very large onion you should make about 14-16 cuts. You can see how  large my onion is compared to the egg in the picture.

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Open the petals gently….Pretty, isn’t it?

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The egg bath got a  little tricky. First of all I couldn’t find my pastry brush. That would have made things easier. I’m still not  sure mine was  the better way, as I did get a good amout of coverage. Using my hands I turned the onion  around several times in a bowl. Then I poured the rest of the egg over the onion.

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Ready to bread this bad boy, I placed him on a parchment covered baking sheet. I sprinkled the breading all over, and up the sides. Gently open the petals so that you get the crumb mixture all over the inside. Press down so it  holds.  Remember ..this is a lower carb and healthier version of that million calorie heart stopping one in the  restaurants. It’s not going to look exactly the same, but trust me the taste is every bit as satisfying.

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Into the oven for 30 minutes. If you want the onion softer, add 5-7 minutes. I prefer them not as limp as the restaurant version. You many have to use a small spoon to add crumbs to some of the pieces as you pull them ..Again, this is  about saving calories,  tasting onion and not a  greasy glob of breading,  and not having the mess of a vat of  oil..

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As delicious  as it is pretty. Enjoy.I surely did!

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Eggplant Tapenade a la Izzy

November 2, 2014

Hands down this is my favorite way to make eggplant. It came from a very dear friend,that I don’t keep in touch with as often as I should. We  chatted via text last week, and it reminded me that I finally need to share and  blog this recipe. The olives are my addition.. You can eat this on crackers, scoop it up with pita, or serve it under or over a beautifully grilled chicken breast and top it with some fresh feta.. Addicting…simple but  elegant enough to be an appetizer  for your fanciest guests.. or for a lazy  football Sunday with friends… It is highly recommended that you at least double this recipe. I love you Izzy.. I hope you are more honored at my blogging your recipe than you were when I named the bearded dragon after you ❤

1 large eggplant

3 cloves garlic, minced

3 T. good red tomato sauce, or seasoned diced tomatoes, or one whole tomato diced

10-15 chopped black olives

1 T. Italian seasoning

1 t. black pepper

2t. Kosher salt

1/4 t. red pepper flakes (optional)

2 T. good olive oil

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Peel eggplant. Slice in 1/2 inch circles and then cut into cubes. Put about half of the eggplant in a sieve and sprinkle with one teaspoon of Kosher salt.Toss a bit to distribute. Top with remaining eggplant and sprinkle with another teaspoon of salt. Allow to drain for a minimum of one hour and preferably more.

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That is all the bitterness coming out of the eggplant.

I do not rinse the salt off the eggplant, which is why there is not additional salt in the recipe. Heat a large saucepan and add the oil and crushed garlic. Saute the garlic on low heat til fragrant. Do not try to rush this as the garlic will burn. There is no saving oil that garlic has burned in.

Pre heat oven to 350*

Taking handfuls squeeze as much liquid from the eggplant as you can. Add to the flavored oil.  Stir in Italian seasoning and pepper. Saute  the eggplant for about 5 minutes, and then put the pan in a pre heated oven for 20  minutes. Remember the handle is HOT! Use a pot holder to remove it!

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Add the olives and tomatoes or tomato sauce to the roasted eggplant cubes. Stir. Refrigerate.

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     Serve with crackers, as an appetizer, or light lunch on top  of Red leaf or Romaine lettuce.

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 Additionally,   you can reheat and serve on top of a grilled chicken breast. Crumble a bit of feta on top.

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I hope you enjoy this versatile recipe from my long time friend.

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Spaghetti Squash Genovese

October 28, 2014

There is a delightful Italian recipe called Spaghetti Genovese, I never quite understood pasta and potatoes in the same dish, but being the pesto lover that I am, I never questioned it too far. To cut down the carb content it only made sense to use spaghetti squash, and size down the potatoes to those creamy flavorful minis. A must try adaption of an classic Italian favorite.

1 small spaghetti squash, roasted

12-15 small red, yellow and purple potatoes (usually called tri color, in a mesh  bag)

1/3 lb. fresh green beans

1/2 C. pesto ( made with fresh spinach tonight)

3-4 T. freshly grated parmesan

Prepare pesto.(I substituted spinach for kale- no need to salt and macerate spinach)

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Roast the squash. Cut potatoes in half.  Cut off tips of  green beans, and cut them in half  as welI .

I boiled the green beans and potatoes together,in a small amount of water, until fork tender.

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Drain well. Strand the squash and mix with the potatoes and beans.

Toss with pesto. Grate cheese over top and serve immediately.

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Cauliflower Tabouli

October 6, 2014

Tabouli  or Taboulleh is a traditional vegetarian  Middle  Eastern dish, most closely classified as a salad. Usually made of tomatoes, finely chopped parsley, mint, and onion, and seasoned with olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Some type of grain like bulghur  is often added to the dish. This is my variation of it. It’s a pretty flexible recipe. I added some jalapeno because…well because I add jalapeno or some kind of heat to most things we eat! Tomatoes, unless straight off the vine or green and fried, also don’t do it for me in most dishes. In this I have substituted red pepper, which also makes it less watery than tomato. I am not much  a bulghur fan (but  then I also haven’t given it much of  a chance) and I wanted to keep this grain  free. Quinoa would make a tasty addition and add  a nice texture contrast and I might try it another time with that. Crumbled feta took the place of salt in my version, but if you are looking to make it dairy free it can be omitted.

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1/2 head cauliflower grated

1/2 red pepper. diced

1 finely minced jalapeno

1 medium cucumber. seeded and diced

3 diced scallions. including green tops

1/3 C. chopped fresh mint

1 C. chopped fresh parsley

1.4 C. olive oil

1/4 C. fresh lemon juice

1/2 C. crumbled feta (optional but will need salt if this is omitted)

1/2 t. pepper

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 Here is a close up of your cauliflower. You want it “grainy” not mush. I grate it rather than process it.

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Combine your lemon juice and oil and whisk a bit.Mix all your veggies together. Pour the olive oil and lemon over all. Stir to coat all of the vegetables. At this point you can add in a 1/2 cup of cooked bulghur, quinoa or couscous. Lastly stir in your feta if you are using it.This is best if left to sit a few hours. but it is  really hard  not to keep  tasting it! This didn’t last very long and I would definitely double it all next time.

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This dish is so colorful, and it tastes as happy as it looks.

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Roasted Cabbage Rounds

January 10, 2014

There are several different version of this super simple “recipe” going around the internet. Since seeing it, I have made it several times. Honestly, I could eat it once a week. The nutty, naturally sweet, and seasoned as you like cabbage slice goes with everything.. You can personalize it to accent your meals (Asian seasoning with salmon, steak seasonings with meat, all the way down to olive oil and Sea salt alone- there is no wrong with this veggie!) As with most recipes that I research online, this is my way, through trial and error what I find works, and tastes best. Remember, your fondest recipes are those you make your own..adding the tastes that you and your family love best.

I head cabbage, I get approx. 12 slices per medium head

6  cloves roasted garlic, mashed into a paste

3 T. olive oil

1-2 T. Montreal Steak Seasoning

A shake of Himalayan Sea Salt on each slice

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Pour one tablespoon of oil on a foiled cookie sheet.I have used flavored oils, but olive oil works perfectly. Spread the oil around. Pre heat oven to 375*.

Hold the cabbage by the core end. Starting opposite the core, begin slicing the cabbage into discs. Most recipes called for one inch intervals. We like them thinner for a number of reasons. They get crispy. The outer circles are reminiscent of guilt free onion rings. They cook faster but still get that nutty roasted taste. If it is just you and the children at the table, they can be finger food, no need to cut them. But it is up to you!  You might like them a little thicker. When you get to the core end, keep slicing and just remove when you lay it on the cookie sheet.

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Rub the roasted garlic on the slices. Use your fingers and massage it in there. (or don’t use it and  use plain garlic for more “bite” )Drizzle the other two tablespoons of oil  over the rounds. then season with  really, whatever you want. I used Montreal Steak seasoning even though we were having fish. Lastly, give a good turn of salt on the top of each. Send them into the over for 30 minutes, turn them over and season the other side a bit, and return to the oven for another 30 minutes.

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Looking at this- I want some NOW!

I really urge you to try this even if cabbage isn’t your vegetable of choice. Roasting any vegetable, as I have said before, will completely erase  any negative thoughts you might have. If you are a cabbage lover, (especially fried cabbage) welcome to a healthier version. If you love boiled cabbage, cook them a little less. Guaranteed you will never drown your cabbage again!

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Pumpkin Chili

November 21, 2013

Yes, you read that  right. Chili made  with  pumpkin. I won’t lie  and tell you  this  is  a quickie  recipe. The prep is  fairly labor intensive.  I think I created a few new  cuss words  while  cutting the pumpkin. Next time I make it …and   there will be a next  time as  it was “that” good” , I will cook the pumpkin a little longer before attempting to cube it. I was  afraid it would lose it’s  shape and become  too soft, (like butternut squash can in soups and stews) but the pumpkin retained it’s shape  even  after being reheated several times. It definitely can  withstand a few more minutes in the microwave, or some roasting to make the prep easier. Once you have  everything roasted and cut, it becomes  simple. Into the crock and  done. It is also  optional to leave the peppers raw. I roasted them, which added  a little more time. Now about the taste… vegetarian wise, hands down this is  the best  chili you will ever make. Rich, earthy and filling. Vegetarian soul food. My carnivore devoured it, and  the next  day arriving home from Busch Gardens  asked for a  bowl..and wanted to  know if I had  enough so he could have it the NEXT day, as a  snack after school.  My daughter said.. “don’t  give me the big  container”, (she was  going back to school)” because I forget what I have and I hate throwing things  out.” (she lives with  7 people – I won’t  detail  the  refrigerator situation!). Two days later she texted “The chili is gone :(“. So…6 thumbs up in this family of three. I hope you  agree.

1 small pie pumpkin
1 T. olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 28 oz. can plum tomatoes, rough chop
2 cans  black beans, drained and rinsed
2 C. Pacific Vegetable Broth
2 T. brown sugar
1 T. chili powder
1 T. ground cumin
1 T. cinnamon
1 T. oregano
2 poblano peppers, roasted, chopped (or raw)
1 roasted red pepper, rough chop (I just tore the peppers by hand)
1 can corn

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Pierce the pumpkin with a sharp knife in a few spots. Microwave it at least 5 minutes and set aside to cool. Roast peppers in
400 degree oven for  20 minutes. Put in a sealed container until you can handle them and peel the skin. Rip into small pieces.

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Once cooled, Clean out the inside of the pumpkin.(Save the seeds and roast them!) cut the pumpkin in sections.
Score the sections as  shown.Carefully cut between the skin and the sectioned pieces, making cubes. Be careful!

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Measure oil in pan, add onion and saute until just clear, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and pumpkin, and continue cooking for another 15 minutes. I added just a pinch of each of the spices to infuse them into the pumpkin. I can’t tell you how good the house  smelled!

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While that is cooking, pour broth into your  crock and all the other ingredients except the corn. Add in the pumpkin and onions.

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Cook on high for 3 hours. Add corn. Continue cooking  3-4 on low, depending on your crock.Pumpkinchili8

Serve  hot with your favorite chili garnishes – grated cheddar, sour cream, green onions and black olives and a sprinkle
of red pepper flakes is what you see here.

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Since pumpkin is  seasonal, I plan on getting another, cubing and then freezing. This one is  a keeper and I want to make sure I can make it more than once  a season. I might  even  have to try growing my own! Enjoy!!

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Cranapple Sweet Potato Casserole

November 20, 2013

Thanksgivukkah. This  year  Chanukah begins on Thanksgiving. A once in a life time occurrence , this event calls for some  different  festive combinations. Here is one that will be on out table this year. A crispy on the outside, tender on  the inside  sweet potato and apple combination, kicked up  with the  tart and tangy cranberry.

2 medium-sized sweet potatoes

2 Granny smith  apples

3/4 C. fresh cranberries

1/2 lemon , juice and zest

2 T. olive oil

1 T. fresh grated ginger

1 t. salt

1 t. cinnamon

1/2 t. nutmeg

Sunflower seeds,

almonds or candied pecans for garnish (optional, but nice texture contrast)

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Peel and grate potatoes and apples. I keep my ginger cut in one inch pieces in the freezer. When I need some I grate (or cut)  them frozen. Toss with lemon juice and zest. Stir in cranberries. Add oil and seasonings, and combine well. This smells amazing before it’s even  cooked, and looks so pretty too.

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Lightly oil a 9×9 pan or equivalent and spread mixture evenly in pan. Leave it loose, don’t pat it down in the pan so it gets crispy, almost like a latke.

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Bake in a 400 degree oven for approximately 30- 40 minutes, until nicely browned.

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Slice into squares and top with sunflower seeds, or almonds …or even candied pecans  if you have no allergies in your family!

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