Archive for the ‘Vegetarian’ Category

Weekday Brunch

August 17, 2006

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I was in a rush this morning and pretty much forgot all about breakfast. I’m not much of a breakfast eater during the week but I usually force myself to at least eat some cereal and yogurt by 10 a.m. But when I came home today at lunchtime, I realized that I hadn’t eaten anything at all. I wanted something quick and filling but not too heavy and the first thing that came to mind was eggs.

It’s when I’m hungry that I get creative in the kitchen. I don’t want to spend the time searching through recipes and my growling stomach doesn’t give me time to “overthink” what I’m throwing together, it’s more intuitive. So today, this omelette recipe just kind of happened. Luckily, It turned out really, really good and I’ll definitely be making it again!

Cheddar, Chive and Sour Cream Omelette

2 eggs
1 T. sour cream
1 T. water
1/2 T. fresh snipped chives
Salt
Fresh ground pepper
1/2 T. butter
1/4 C. grated extra sharp cheddar

  1. In a small bowl, beat the eggs, sour cream, and water with a fork until well blended. Stir in chives, a pinch of salt some some fresh ground pepper.
  2. Heat a nonstick skilled (8 or 10 inches) over medium heat. Add butter and swirl around. Pour egg mixture into pan and cook until the top is almost set. Gently loosen omelet and carefully flip it over in the pan. Sprinkle cheddar on one half and gently fold the omelet over the cheese. Serve immediately.

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Feeling Blue?

August 13, 2006

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For as long as I can remember I have loved blue cheese! Even as a kid, it was my favorite salad dressing whether it was creamy or dry crumbled with a vinaigrette. I can remember coming home from school and fixing a bowl of blue cheese crumbles, vinegar and oil then dipping carrots in it.

Now that I’m older, I’ve discovered lots of new ways to eat blue cheese but I still love it on salads and I still like to dip my carrots in it for an afternoon snack. Here’s a dip I made up yesterday just for that purpose. The chives weren’t added until this morning when I went outside to water my plants and realized I hadn’t used any fresh chives for a while. I think they made the dip 10 times better! Read the rest of this entry »

Veggie Chili Beans and Rice with Chili Garlic Chips

August 11, 2006

 

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I came up with this one pot meal yesterday. It was one of those “throw everything you can find in a pot and see what happens”-type meals. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. This worked. And it’s not only tasty, it’s really really healthy! The combination of beans and brown rice gives you a perfect protein and tons of fiber. Add a bunch of veggies on top of that and you’ve got yourself one big pot of nutrition!

Of course I couldn’t let myself be that healthy. So, I added a side of homemade corn chips that were perfect for scooping up the beans and rice. There are a few nice things about making your own chips. For one thing, you can make a small batch. That way you can satisfy your craving for something salty and greasy without devouring an entire bag of Doritos in one sitting (not that I’ve ever done anything like that). But another reason to fry them up at home is that you know exactly what you’re getting. You choose the tortillas, you choose the oil and you choose the seasonings. No weird ingredients and no weird preservatives–unless, of course, that’s what you really want. I made my chips in one of my favorite kitchen appliances, the Fry-Daddy. What? You don’t have an electric deep-fryer? Well, get one. I don’t fry stuff much but when I do, the electric deep fryer makes it so easy! The one I have is cheap, small, and easy to clean. Really, just go get one. If you do, I’ll give you my recipe for fried artichoke hearts ;-) Read the rest of this entry »

Sun-dried Tomato Hummus

August 10, 2006

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Sun-dried Tomato Hummus

6-8 oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes
1 can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained and rinsed
1 T. tahini
juice of 1 lemon
4 T. extra virgin olive oil
salt — to taste
fresh ground pepper — to taste
cayenne pepper or crushed red chilies (optional)

Combine everything in a food processor and process until smooth, adjusting the oil to create consistency that you like. Add salt and pepper to taste and hot pepper if you like things a little spicy.

Good served with toasted pita bread or as a dip with corn chips. Also really good as a sandwich spread.

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Avocado Pie

August 9, 2006

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I’ve had a couple of requests for this recipe and I think it’s something that everyone needs to try once! Don’t let the main ingredient fool you, this is one of my all-time favorite desserts!

This is a pie that my mom used to make and we grew up calling it “Frog Pie.” We would never tell our friends that the pie was made from an avocado. For whatever reason, “Frog Pie” sounded more appetizing than “Avocado Pie” to the other kids! The real name is Jagger Pie although I have no idea what that means or where the recipe originally came from.

Jagger Pie

1 medium Hass avocado
1 can Eagle Brand sweetened condensed milk
3 1/2 oz. fresh squeezed lemon juice
graham cracker pie crust made with brown sugar (use recipe on box of graham crackers)
heavy (whipping) cream, whipped without sugar
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In blender, mix avocado and milk thoroughly then blend in lemon juice. Pour immediately into pie crust (it starts setting up fast). Top with unsweetened whipped cream (The pie is so sweet that the unsweetened cream is a nice balance) and refrigerate for a few hours.
Hope you enjoy it!

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Avocado Update: Lately I’ve run across some other great avocado dessert recipes so I’ve decided to share those with you too. I think the most interesting one is the Chili-Lime Avocado Ice Cream found at The Weekly Dish, a great site I recently stumbled across. The ice cream combines the flavors of avocado, coconut, lime, and jalapeno peppers…yum! Another one is the Creamy Avocado Milkshake over at one of my favorite sites, The Traveler’s Lunchbox. For some great information on avocados and yet another sweet avocado drink recipe, visit this installment of NPR’s Kitchen Window.

Grilled Peaches with Blue Cheese and Honey

August 8, 2006

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I stumbled across a crazy site by the name of Steve’s Hot Dogs one afternoon and found this great recipe for grilled peaches. The actual name of the recipe is “The Best Damn Peaches You’ve Never Had…” and now I can say that they come pretty close to the best damn peaches I have had. These peaches were brushed with oil, grilled, filled with crumbled blue cheese and drizzled with honey. Unfortunately I didn’t have the Tupelo honey that was specified in the recipe but the bees in Sicily do a pretty good job.

Even if grilled peaches aren’t your thing, be sure to head over there for some interesting recipes (squirrel stew, for one), Samuel L. Jackson references, and the terrific beverage recommendations that accompany every recipe (“Serve with your favorite Cabernet Sangiovese and have yourself a Champagne Jam like the Atlanta Rhythm Section or with the Atlanta Rhythm Section”).

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Once you try these peaches, you’ll probably be hooked on grilling fruit. I love to grill apple rings after they have been brushed with oil and sprinkled with a little cinnamon and sugar. Be creative. Just about anything you put on a grill is going to taste pretty damn good! An interesting article about grilling fruit can be found here.

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Just Plantain Crazy

August 5, 2006

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Have you ever seen those large bright green banana-looking things in the produce section of your supermarket and wondered what they are or what you’re supposed to do with them? For years, I passed by the piles of lovely plantains without a clue as to what I was missing.

I was introduced to Puerto Rican cooking a couple of years ago when a friend invited me over for stewed chicken, black beans, rice, and something she called tostones. When I asked about the tostones, she explained that they were fried plátanos. This explanation did not help me at all because it’s been a long time since my two years of Spanish classes in high school and I’m pretty sure I never knew the Spanish word for plantain in the first place. But even though I had never cooked with them, or even seen one peeled, I recognized the large green bananas on the counter and I realized that plátanos are what I had always known as plantains. I couldn’t wait to taste them because I was really clueless when it came to these things.

Plantains are a staple throughout the tropical regions of the world. Despite their similarities on the outside, plantains are a little different than their cousin, the banana. When green, the plantain is starchy and very firm without any sweetness. At this stage they have a neutral flavor and are commonly used much like a potato. But as they ripen, plantains turn from green to yellow then black and sweeten much like a banana. As you might have guessed, plantains are eaten like a vegetable when green and when ripe, they turn into dessert. Read the rest of this entry »

Just Peachy

August 3, 2006

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What’s better than eating fresh, sweet, peaches over the kitchen sink with juice dribbling down your chin? Maybe nothing. Or maybe, some peach cobbler fresh out of the oven served warm on top of your favorite vanilla ice cream.

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A couple of years ago, I discovered something simple that changed the way I cooked. Fresh grated nutmeg. Maybe I’m one of the few who hadn’t caught on to this simple trick but I’m putting the word out, just in case there are others who haven’t been converted! Not only does fresh grated nutmeg make a world of difference in your desserts (i.e. Peach Cobbler), it will turn your ordinary béchamel sauce into something unforgettable. Try it with spinach, egg dishes, French toast; you’ll see what I mean.

With all the special gadgets dedicated to grating nutmeg, one might think that it was a difficult task! I’ve seen everything from “professional quality” microplane graters to cute, miniature graters to store in your spice cabinet. You can even find antique silver nutmeg graters. But I’ve found that I get by just fine by grating it on the side of my cheapo, very untrendy box grater (you know, the side that will rip the skin right off your knuckles, if you’re not careful!). It works just fine and you really don’t have to apply much pressure.

Well all this talk about nutmeg really is leading us back to peach cobbler, I promise! I discovered that fresh grated nutmeg tastes wonderful with fresh peaches in my favorite dessert. You can use this recipe or you can stick with your old standby cobbler recipe but just try it once with a few dashes of fresh nutmeg and see if you’ll ever want it any other way!

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Fresh Peach Cobbler

Filling:
4 C. sliced fresh peaches
1/3 C. brown sugar
fresh grated nutmeg
1 T. flour
Pinch of salt (optional)

Topping*:
1 C. all-purpose flour
1/4 C. sugar
1 t. baking powder
Pinch of salt (optional)
3 T. cold butter, cut into small pieces
1 beaten egg
3 T. milk

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix together peaches, sugar, flour, a couple dashes of fresh grated nutmeg, and salt (if using); set aside.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.
  4. Add butter and cut in with pastry blender or rub butter into flour with fingertips until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
  5. In a separate bowl, beat the egg and milk together.
  6. Add the egg mixture all at once to the flour mixture.
  7. Stir just until combined–don’t overmix!
  8. Pour peach mixture into a small baking dish (8”x8”x2”). Drop topping mixture by large spoonfuls over the top of the peaches.
  9. Bake for 30 minutes in a preheated 375 degree oven. Topping is done when golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  10. Serve warm with ice cream and then eat the rest cold for breakfast!

* The topping part of the above recipe comes from Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book.

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Cheese Enchiladas

July 30, 2006

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I didn’t feel like defrosting any meat so I made up a quick enchilada sauce from ingredients I had on hand and filled some corn tortillas with a combination of sharp cheddar and monterey jack cheeses. Ready to go in about 30 minutes and the house smells great!

I’ve been craving enchiladas ever since I saw the recipe and photo for Enchiladas Chipotle over at Gardenpath. I didn’t have all the ingredients for that recipe so I made up my own with the ingredients I did have. I did use some ground chipotle chiles in addition to my regular chili powder. If you use a lot of chili powder, I really suggest trying some from The Spice House. I have the medium strength and it is pretty spicy so I wouldn’t start out with the “hot” unless you really like some heat! I think the prices are very reasonable…probably less expensive than supermarket prices in many cases. Their Web site also has a great forum where you can ask the employees any spice-related questions and they can usually come up with an answer.

Here’s how I made the sauce:

Enchilada Sauce 

2 T. olive oil
2 T. butter
2 T. flour
2 T. chili powder (part of this was chipotle chili powder)
1/2 t. cumin
1/2 t. unsweetened cocoa powder
2 C. water
1 8 oz. can tomato sauce
1/2 t. garlic powder
1/2 t. brown sugar
1/8 t. cinnamon

  1. In a small bowl mix together flour, chili powder, cumin, and cocoa powder.
  2. Heat oil and butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat.
  3. Add flour mixture and cook, stirring, for about a minute.
  4. Whisk in water and tomato sauce, making sure there are no lumps.
  5. Add salt, garlic powder, brown sugar and cinnamon and cook, stirring constantly, until thickened.
  6. Taste and correct seasonings as desired.

I’m typing this from memory so hopefully I included all the ingredients! This recipe is based on the Ten Minute Enchilada Sauce recipe I found on allrecipes.com

For the enchiladas I used corn tortillas. My tortillas were a little stale so I steamed them by placing a splatter shield over a pot of boiling water and laying the tortillas on top for a few seconds until they were pliable. I then dipped the tortillas in some sauce, filled with cheese and placed in the baking dish. After the baking dish was filled, I poured on some extra sauce and sprinkled some cheese and black olives over the top. Normally I would also include some beef, shredded chicken or shredded turkey in the enchiladas and maybe some green chiles.

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Whole Wheat Banana Bread

July 3, 2006

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This recipe come from The King Arthur Flour 200th Anniversary Cookbook and it’s definitely my favorite banana bread recipe. I never used to use whole wheat wheat flour in quick breads but I think it really adds to the flavor (and nutrition) in this bread. The only changes I make to the original recipe are to occasionally add equal parts wheat germ and applesauce (about 1/4 cup each).  Here is the recipe:

Whole Wheat Banana Bread 

1/2 C. (1 stick) butter
1 C. sugar
2 eggs
1 C. mashed ripe banana (2 or 3 bananas)
1 t. vanilla
2 C. King Arthur Stone Ground Whole Wheat Flour
1 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
1/2 C chopped walnuts (optional, pecans are also good)

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar.
  3. Add the eggs, bananas and vanilla (plus applesauce if using) and beat well.
  4. In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda and salt (plus wheat germ if using).
  5. Stir the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients. At this point, add the chopped nuts if using.
  6. Pour this mixture into a greased, 9×5-inch loaf pan and bake for 60 minutes. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes then take it out and let cool on wire rack.
  7. Enjoy!

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