Good things to eat

Posts tagged ‘onion’

Vegan Challenge-Week 1 check in

Well…… I’ve DONE it!!  One whole week with not a hit of animal product past my lips! As suspected, it really hasn’t been that hard because we already enjoy many vegan dishes a week, so it’s not like it feels all “weird” to be eating the things we do, it’s just the every meal aspect of it and of course the cow milk in my tea! Oh and much to my dismay, discovered that most, readily available, chocolate products all seem to contain dairy!!

So what have I been eating you ask?

vegetables II

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On the first night I whipped up a little “Spicy Tofu with vegetables and noodles”.

Start a little before and marinade the tofu for maximum flavour.

Marinade:

  • 2 cloves crushed fresh garlic
  • 1 inch knob of fresh minced ginger
  • 1 tsp chili flakes
  • 1 tbsp sweetener of your choice – I used brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp soy  or Bragg sauce
  • 2 tbsp rice wine vinegar

I whizzed it all up in my mini chopper but if you do your mincing and crushing by hand, just mix it all in a bowl.

Meanwhile, chop up a block of firm tofu into 1 inch cubes.  I put them directly into a glass baking dish in one layer and then pour the marinate all over them and make sure they are evenly coated.

Let sit for at LEAST half hour, but the longer the better.

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When you are ready to eat, assemble your goods.

So now like any “stir fry” type thing, feel free to use what ever vegetables you enjoy but this is what I used:

  • 1 large onion thinly sliced
  • 4 medium size cremini mushrooms cut into fours
  • 1/2 head of green cabbage thinly sliced
  • 1 large handful of baby spinach with a rough chopped

Meanwhile:

Put on a pot of water to boil for the noodles.

I was surprised to find out that “Catelli Multigrain” noodles are in fact vegan.  I use these most of the time anyway but had never registered that they were egg free before because it wasn’t a priority, but good to know.

Then while the water is boiling, you might as well prepare a little garnish to go on top.

I chopped up a couple of green onions and made some carrot juliennes ( match stick size) with my new julien peeler ( I’ll show you that another time)

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Okay, let’s get started.

Firstly, in a large skillet or wok,  you want to pan fry your marinated tofu ( adding the marinade in a little at a time till it cooks down)  in a little neutral oil, till it gets  a little crispy on each side, just to give it some texture and the marinade makes a bit of a gooey sauce.

Then remove from the pan and keep warm in a heat safe container.

Add a little more oil and then toss in your vegetables.

Put you noodles in the boiling water and give a little stir.

Keep tossing the veg around until the cabbage starts to get nice and wilted.

Once the noodles are done, drain quickly and keep a bit of the cooking water.  Then toss the noodles into the pan with the veggies and toss them together.

Turn off the heat.

Give them a generous shot of soy sauce, sesame oil and rice vinegar and a sprinkle of sesame seeds and then keep tossing it everybody is well acquainted.

Place into your favorite bowl,  spoon on a helping of tofu, then top with the green onions,  carrot sticks and a sprinkle more sesame seeds.

Voila!  Vegan!

Vegan006

Pierogi Stuff Grilled Cheese Sandwich

I know what you are thinking.

That after getting back from our eating orgy in Oregon, that would be it! 

We’d get back on track and get back to “practice what I preach” and healthy eating and all that!

I know, I know but I just HAD to share THIS thing with you…..even if you NEVER eat one, you NEED to know that it is out there….for better or for worse!

Last weekend I was working at the Rifflandia music festival here in Victoria, so for the most part I was sequestered on the site the whole time can couldn’t go off in search of a healthy green smoothie ( although I bet if I looked hard enough, someone was probably making them there!) so I was at the mercy of what was available to eat.

What is nice is that instead of the regular concession stands normally found at these sort of events, they had several of the local food trucks and restaurants set up with their own fare.  This brought a lot of variety and local feel.

I couldn’t keep away from The Hungry Rooster food truck which specializes in pierogi based dishes.  I ate nearly every meal there!  I just couldn’t help it!

But the most note worthy, and what this story is even about, was The Slam Down.

Are you ready for this?   It is a grilled cheese sandwich, stuffed with bacon, grilled onions and PIEROGIES!!!  IN the sandwich!!  I mean seriously?  Could there be a more decadent and wonderous thing??

I didn’t have my camera with me but I talked about my sandwich so much that one of my co-workers broke down and got one herself so here is a picture of hers!

Pierogi stuffed grilled cheese sandwich

Look at the picture of it on the Hungry Rooster site to get a better look and the full list of ingredients.

I told the Chef about this mythical sandwich and he was most intrigued so I thought I would try my hand at making him one for his Sunday breakfast yesterday……

So first you need to cook up some bacon.  Three slices per sandwich.

And then, in the drippings of said bacon ( this is optional if you want it “healthier” which to me is like diet coke with your cheese burger!) cook up one onion sliced so you are getting the longest pieces that you can.  Cook till soft and a little brown.

Then boil up some frozen pierogies, two per sandwich.

Once those are all set to go and keeping warm, you are ready to start.

I just grilled the bread in the oven under the broiler.  I would imagine at the Hungry Rooster they are actually grilling them on the flat top for that grilled deliciousness, but I didn’t want to get int the whole flipping thing!

So grill the bread on one side and then turn it over.

They add “aioli” to theirs which is fancy mayo.  So I just used regular mayonnaise and a bit of Dijon mustard.

Then top each slice of bread with some quality cheddar ( NOT the individually wrapped “cheese food product” IF you know what I mean!) and put the bread back under the broiler till the cheese melts.

Then on one side per sandwich lay out the three strips of bacon, then add a generous mound of fried onions and then finally two pierogies, strategically placed so you can cut the sandwich on the diagonal.

Top with the other slice of cheesy bread and cut in half.

Voila!  Pierogi stuffed grilled cheese sandwich!

Pierogi  stuffed grilled cheese sandwich

I didn’t find it quite as good as the Rooster’s…..didn’t have the same “ooy-gooy-goodness” but then again, I’m sure there is a good reason for that!!

The Chef liked his a lot but commented “I guess I won’t be getting THESE too often!”

Once a year should be the limit!!

Cheesy Eggy Pie

I think I might be watching too many episodes of “Top Chef” on the food network, because I am getting very good at just putting something together out of whatever happens to be around!!

For those of you who have never seen the show, Chefs are often given a few random ingredients and are expected to make something editable out of it.

I’d say my cheesy Eggy Pie might qualify!

So here is what is in mine, but as is always my motto, what ever you happen to have around will do!

  • 1 medium onion finely sliced
  • 1 bell pepper sliced ( any colour or combo)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced.

Toss these into a frying pan with a slosh of oil and saute till wilted.   Then add them to a casserole dish.   Then I added:

  • a large handful of chopped spinach
  • asparagus chopped in 1 inch bits ( fresh or left over cooked)
  • 2 green onions chopped

Toss in with the peppers.   Chopped tomato  or zucchini would go fine too.

Then add some cooked pasta.  I used rotini, but any short hearty pasta will do.  If you are going to use noodles, I would break them in half before cooking.

Toss all that together.   Feel free to add some chopped fresh or dried herbs like oregano or parsley.

Then, you will mix up some egg with cream or milk like you are going to make something like a bread pudding.   Add a few shots of hot sauce if you like, or paprika.

Then pour this mixture all over the pasta and vegetables.   It shouldn’t be swimming but enough to maybe fill up the sides half way.

Then sprinkle with your favorite cheese and bung it in the oven at about 350 degrees for about 20 minutes to half hour.

You will know it is ready when you take it out and shake it a little and there is no liquid moving around and the cheese is melted nicely.

Spoon it up and serve with a little green salad and you have a quick Summer supper!

Cheesy Eggy Pie

Tuesday night type pasta

Are you ever on your way home from work or whatever and just can’t bear to stop at the store because you are tired or don’t want to deal with all the people in way?

You come home and are determined to “make do” with whatever you can find in the pantry?

Well here is a suggestion.

I took out the large skillet, chopped up an onion and tossed it in.  I realize I really do cook with a lot of onions, but there is nothing wrong with that, they are very good for the blood!

What next?

I dug in the fridge for a bit…….

Okay, I got it.  Here we go:

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 5-6 cremini mushrooms sliced
  • 1 jalapeno pepper ( seeded and sliced in slightly larger than usual bits)

Stir those up till they are well acquainted then add:

  • 1 or more tbsp poultry spice ( or just plain dried sage)
  • 1 can rinsed white kidney or pinto beans

Stir those in well.

Then I added some of my  “Pulled Chicken”  left over from taco night.    But if you didn’t just happen to have that, you could add a can of tuna or just leave it completely vegetarian / vegan.

Meanwhile, boil up a pot of your favorite pasta.  Tonight I used linguini……cause that’swhat I had.

Once the pasta is done, toss it in with the veg and beans.  Make sure you save a bit of the pasta water and add that too, just to help make it a little saucy.

Toss those and then add some salt and pepper.

Then I added, which is totally up to you, some lemon zest and the juice of said lemon just to zinger up a little!

Had I had any baby spinach or arugula, I would have totally added a bit of that just before serving too….but I didn’t.

Plate it up and add some parma cheese…….if that’s your thing.

Does the trick for a Tuesday night!

And on a further note, it makes a great lunch for work the next day!  Eat at room temperature with a squirt or two of lemon just before you eat it!

Pulled chicken tacos

I seem to have gone taco crazy lately.

Not sure why I haven’t enjoyed them more in the past?  I always tended to be more of an enchilada type girl before, but I am finding the taco experience so much lighter and fresher.

Here are some super easy chicken tacos to try.

Start with a good size heavy skillet and add:

  • 1 onion chopped into small cubes

Saute in a little oil till they are nice and translucent

Then I added four frozen  boneless, skinless chicken breasts ( the frozen part was poor planning on my part).  However boneless chicken of any sort will do just fine.  Then I add just enough water to cover them about half way, then put a lid on  and let them simmer a spell.

If you are using fresh chicken, I would brown on all sides and then follow the rest of the recipe.

Once the (frozen) chicken has thawed in the water and turned white it is time to add the rest of the ingredients:

  • 1/2 jar ( or more) of store bought salsa of your choice
  • equal part of water or stock
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar

Mix that in evenly and cover again for about 15 minutes at a slight boil, to make sure the chicken is cooked thoroughly.

At this point, test to see if the chicken is done inside by taking two forks and “pulling” the chicken apart.  Resulting in the “pulled chicken” part.

If the chicken comes apart easily, then it is time to add the herbs and spices.   But if you like you can shred up the chicken first, or leave it in the larger pieces and shred it later.  Doesn’t really matter too much.

So then I added and this is just a suggestion, what ever you have, or what ever you like better is fine, but this worked well:

  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp smokie paprika
  • 1 tbsp chili powder ( the kind that is more flavour than hot)
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp ( more or less) of chili flakes
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • salt & pepper to taste

And if you wanted to take it up just a notch,  add a couple of tsp of brown sugar.

Mix that all in well, cover again and let simmer about another 10 minutes until you are ready to serve.  Add a little more liquid if it gets too dry.

Now you are ready for assembly

I prepared a bit of a “taco bar” so we could dress our own.  Some possibilities are:

  • fresh made guacamole
  • sour cream ( I added chopped cilantro and hot sauce)
  • grated cheese
  • salsa
  • chopped tomato
  • chopped cilantro

Start with the tortilla of your choice ( warmed or not) and start piling on the fixins!

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Pulled chicken tacos

Happy times!

Veg Pate

For YEARS I have been trying to score a good recipe for Veggie Pate.

But until now have always been unsuccessful!  I have actually only tried a few because most seem to have some key ingredient that I find objectionable, like too much flour or too much white potato or something or other so I don’t even bother.  Or the ones I have made, have been……okay…..but doesn’t taste like “the one”.

Years ago I went to this bridal shower / stagette type event.  The Bride was a vegan so all of the food could accommodate her.  Actually she and her husband to be were both vegans and so the wedding reception was completely vegan too.  This was quite some time ago, so back in the day something like that was considered quite avant-garde!

But back to the shower.  That was the first time I had ever tasted veggie pate of any kind.  And as someone who LOVES stuff that you can put on bread or crackers, I was very intrigued and delighted.  I didn’t care necessarily that it was vegan or vegetarian or whatever, I just thought that it tasted great!

I had asked the lady who made it if she might give me the recipe and she very pleasantly said “sure, sure……..” but to this day have never got it out of her.  I hear from others that she is very protective of that recipe because it is her “signature” dish!

Well finally I found a recipe that works !  And tastes VERY close to that one I tasted so long ago! 

( click here ) for that recipe.

The only changes I made was that I used rice flour ( cause that’s all I had that wasn’t wheat) AND I added a tbsp of poultry spice because I love that stuff.  Other wise I followed it exactly and it came out perfect!

I have frozen some to eat later.  I will let you know how it holds up.

Chicken and Broccoli bake

I had a roommate long ago who used to make something like this.  It was very comforting and I often try to recreate it, but haven’t quite figured it out.

This version does the trick though.

I started with some frozen chicken breasts.   But don’t fret, we can use that to our advantage!

I popped them into a sauce pan with about 4 cups of water, give or take, with a shot of olive oil and about a table-spoon of “poultry seasoning” and a pinch of salt and then put them on to boil.

Meanwhile, I chopped up a nice size onion and browned it up in a bit of oil in a large skillet with a clove or two of chopped garlic.

When they were brown enough, I poured them into a good size casserole dish and spread them evenly on the bottom.

Then I fished the chicken breasts out of the boiling water ( which is now very much like chicken broth!) and popped them into the skillet with the onion flavours still lingering!

Brown the chicken breasts to give them a little colour and a lot more flavour.

While those are browning, wash and chop up a head of broccoli, in hind sight, I would have chopped it smaller than I did, but if you like bigger bits of brocoli feel free to chop them to  the size you like.  Spread them into the casserole over the onion.

I then added a few handfuls of fresh chopped parsley to help give it some colour.

Meanwhile back at the chicken……

As they browned up, I fished them out of the skillet one by one and sliced them into 2-3 bite size morsels then tossed them back in the skillet and repeated till all were cut.  Then I added about 1 tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce to zing it up a bit.

Meanwhile, add two cups of short grain brown rice to the casserole dish and toss everything together making sure everything, especially rice, is coated with any juices or flavours going on in there.

Then arrange  the chicken bits in the casserole in some sort of evenly distributed pattern.

Then get about four cups of the left over “chicken water”  ( thought we were just gonna waste it didn’t you??) and pour it all over everything, making sure that most of the stuff, at least all the rice anyway, is submerged.

I think my roommate used to use a can of “cream of something” type soup in hers and that’s what made it so much more creamy or saucyer than mine.  Feel free to experiment, but just make sure you have double the liquid to whatever the rice amount is.

Then cover tightly with tin foil and place into a 375 oven for at least 45 minutes.

After that time take it out and test the rice to see if it’s done.   If it is, sprinkle the top of everything with a good few handfuls of your favorite grated cheese.   I used smokey cheddar and then replace in the over UNCOVERED under the broiler and turn it up to 500 degrees and watch it closely.   It should only take about 5 minutes or less to melt and brown the cheese.

Your done!

Serve at will!

What’s good about this stuff is, it works well the next day as a work lunch, either re-heated ( but I don’t use micro waves) or at room temperature  it is just as good!

Chicken and Broccoli Bake

Lamb and lentil stew

We get good lamb around these parts.

It is my feeling that if you are going to eat meat, then you need to at least eat the best quality of products.  From farms that treat the animals ethically and under the best circumstances.

And I am also of the feeling that you can eat meat, without having to eat a LOT of meat.

This lamb and lentil stew is a perfect example of that.

I started with a fairly small amount of meat, about a pound, cut into bite size chunks and brown them in your Dutch oven in a little olive oil.

Once well browned, all a large onion coarsely sliced and or chopped so that you have nice big pieces.

Stir those in with the lamb meat.  Cook until then are wilted down and even a little brown is okay because it adds flavour.

Then add about a cup of rinsed green lentils and stir them into the mix.

Now add the flavouring.  This is what I used, but feel free to come up with your own:

  • 2-3 minced fresh garlic
  • 1 tbsp grated fresh ginger
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp smokey paprika
  • six dried dates finely chopped

Add all of these and mix in well.  Then add:

  • one can of tomato paste

Stir in to coat everything well.

Then add about 4 cups of water or stock of your choice.

Stir well and then put on high and cover till it comes up to the boil.  Then turn down to a low simmer.

The longer you can leave it the better, but keep checking it and adding more liquid if you need it.   Cook until the lentils are tender and you have a nice thick sauce.

We had it on a bed of couscous.

Very comforting.

Spinach crepes with mascarpone

I found myself with a grave dilemma.

I had a tub of mascarpone cheese in the fridge that I had been “saving for something special” which I simply never got around to and now was faced with a looming expiry date!  And that stuff isn’t cheap, not that ANY cheese these days cheap!  So I had to come up with something to do with it and fast!

But it was just a regular week night, no company was coming, I didn’t feel like making some involved dessert, so WHAT to do??

I decided to go with a savory route and make it into a dinner item.  Why not make some spinach crepes and stuff them with some sort of delectable mascarpone filling??

First I whipped up a batch of spinach pancake mix.   ( click here  ) for Kale pancakes and exchange the kale for  spinach and add a little extra liquid so the batter is a bit runnier.

Then put that aside.

Then for the filling heat some oil in a skillet and add:

  • 1 medium onion sliced ( or shallots would be nice if you have them)
  • 2 cloves minced fresh garlic
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms ( any kind)
  • chopped or dried herbs of your choice ( thyme, parsley etc)
  • salt & pepper

cook these up till nicely wilted then put aside in a bowl to cool a little, but don’t clean out the skillet because you want to save the flavour for making the crepes.

So once the filling has cooled a little, mix it with about 3/4 of the mascarpone.

Now to the crepes.

In the same skillet, heat some oil and then pour some batter into the pan.  You will have to experiment with amounts depending on the size of your pan.  Pour the batter in and quickly swirl it around till it covers as much of the bottom of the pan as you can manage.

Let it sit until you see the bubbles or tell tale holes form on top and then it will be time to flip it.  Be careful, this is always a high risk procedure!

Once it is done on both sides, transfer to a flat surface, like a baking sheet or cutting board or something.  Then pour another pancake.

Once the first one has cool enough to touch, spoon in a few shots of filling to the centre of the crepe and roll it up and then put it in a baking or casserole dish, seam side down.

Repeat till you run out of ingredients.

But before you use up all of the filling, put aside about 1/4 to 1/2 cup of the mixture into a sauce pan, add the remaining mascarpone and about 1/4 cup of milk.   Slowly heat these up, stirring frequently till you have a nice topping sauce.

Once you have made all the stuffed crepes put them in the oven ( don’t put on the sauce yet) at  350 degrees for about 15 minutes just to make sure everything is nice and heated again.

Then serve them up with a bit of sauce and some side salad and you’ve got a nice little meal.

Now I’ll admit that I did a bit of a bushwhack job on these because we just wanted to eat, so my sizes were all over the place and my sauce a bit sloppy.

Spinach crepes with mascarpone filling

But if done with care, these could actually be quite a fancy dish to be served on a special occasion.

Just sayin.

Oldy but goodie

For those of you who have been following my blog for awhile, I know that you will have seen this one before.

But given it is winter in half the world right now, I didn’t think anyone would mind this recipe again.  Try it tonight, it is so easy and so comforting.

Enjoy. 

Sorry I haven’t figured out the “reblog” feature yet so:

Click here to see “My Favorite Soup” recipe.

 

Thai noodle soup

Pork loin with veg

This is actually a pretty healthy dish, even if it is pork.

Pork loin is a nice lean cut and you can add so much flavour to it that you don’t really need to eat that much of it at one sitting.

I started by marinating it in:

  • 1 inch fresh ginger finely chopped
  • 2-3 cloves of fresh garlic finely chopped
  • 1 tsp chili flakes
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 3 tbsp soya sauce

Whiz that up in a food processor, mini chopper or by hand and then pour over the pork loin in a non reactive container.

Marinating pork

When you are ready to go, sear off the pork in a large skillet.  Make sure you brown it on all sides and then return to the roast pan.  This will help keep the meat moist.  Then put it into a 350 degree oven.

Meanwhile, put on a pot of rice.   Normally we only eat the brown nice, on account of the high nutritional value, but for this dish, plain long grain white rice looks really nice!

Then chop up some vegetable of your choice.  Tonight I used baby bok choy, kale, onion and red peppers.

Drizzle a little sesame oil into the same pan you used to sear the pork and stir fry the vegetables very quickly till they are only slightly wilted.

Chop and stir fry veg

When the pork is done, let it rest a few minutes and then slice into 1/2 inch thick rounds.

 To assemble, first place a bed of rice on the plate, then a ring of stir fried veg, then a few pieces of pork lion into the centre.
 
Then I used the left over drippings and marinade in the bottom of the pork pan to pour over as a simple little sauce.
 
 
 
Marinated pork loin with rice and veg
 
 
Actually, based on this photo, seems it would make a nice “Christmas Wreath” dinner too!
 
Just a thought.
 
 
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Garlic soap

Do you ever go to bed at night, stick you hand under your pillow, ready to sleep and all you can smell is garlic or onion left over on your fingers from cooking dinner?   I found it very distracting, until now!

I bought this at a store called NOOD (click here to check out store website).  I like to call it “garlic soap” .  What it is actually, is a piece of stainless steel shaped like a bar of soap.  It even comes in it’s own little soap dish.

garlic soap

So when you find yourself with smelly garlic or onion fingers all you have to do is use this little thing  just like a bar of soap.  Rub it on your fingers under running water and it will take the smell away.

Washes away garlic smell

There is something in the stainless steel that reacts to the chemical in garlic or onion that neutralizes the smell.

Actually, I heard Martha Stewart talk about this years ago.  She had some old random strip of stainless steel that she used, but this “garlic soap” is much cuter.  She also said that in a pinch you could actually just rub your fingers on your stainless steel sink and it would work just as well.

So don’t let smelly fingers keep you up at night!

However, it does little for garlic breath!

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