Vegetarian

Sous chef Sid and eggplant


I love me some roasted eggplant. It’s my go-to thing for when my family is eating meat, or just to have on hand for adding to salads to make them more delicious and special.

The easiest way I’ve found to cook eggplant is to slice it thin-ish, lay it out on a parchment-lined baking sheet, spray with spray oil, sprinkle with salt, flip over, do the same, and then roast at any old temperature (really—I just bung it in the oven with whatever else is cooking, it’s very forgiving) until soft and a little golden. Flip it halfway through if you like.

It may seem weird to hear me talk about using spray oil—it’s weird for me to hear me talk about it—but after experimenting with lots and lots of eggplant-roasting methods, I realized that this is really the best and easiest way to evenly coat your eggplant with oil.

It may make you feel a little better to use canola or olive oil spray rather than Pam which can seems ambiguous in terms of being something that’s ok to consume.

Are you dying to know what’s in the taped-up aluminum foil box? I know you are. That, my friend, is the work of sous chef Sid. We discovered these gorgeous tomatoes called flavor bombs which—contrary to what the color, flavor and name would lead you to believe—are not actually genetically modified.

Sid thought they would best be presented like so:
And then insisted we tape the box back up. Thanks for the help little guy.

It’s all about that cauliflower 

 Seriously though. The best thing I ate this past week was a fantastic cauliflower dish from food52. My family won’t agree, but in this case, they’re wrong.

Last week, one of Rose’s classmates told me that cauliflower is good with salt and vinegar. I can’t say I was convinced, but it did inspire me to put cauliflower on my wunderlist.

I took some liberties with the recipe, halving the cauliflower but using the full amount of other stuff, because who doesn’t like their veggies with extra stuff? I also used a whole hell of a lot more salt than called for. A quarter teaspoon? Pshaw!

In addition to being delicious, this was quick and easy. A make again for sure. 

Simple meal, major feat

Ravioli & avocado saladOn Tuesday I made cheese ravioli with the simplest of sauce and an avocado & tomato salad. Easy as it was, this was by far the biggest dinner achievement of the week because the kitchen floor looked like this:kitchen floorIt was a what’s-in-the-fridge kind of meal, cheese ravioli is a freezer staple for us. The sauce was just the juice from a can of plum tomatoes simmered with half a stick of butter. That’s right.

The ravioli and, um, butter, paired surprisingly well with a salad of diced avocado, halved grape tomatoes and finely chopped arugula dressed with lemon juice, olive oil and sea salt.

Another ad-hoc success this week was tortilla soup. You can read all about it here, or just look at the picture below. Wishing you a less-snowy week ahead, unless you like that kind of thing. xoxotortilla soup

Brie quesadillas

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This week we accidentally stumbled upon brie quesadillas (top left) when we ran out of cheddar. Shane and I devoured them and wondered why brie quesadillas are not a thing. The kids were happy with cheddar, and for once we didn’t suggest they try something new because that would have meant fewer for us.

If you take one thing away from this week’s post, it’s brie quesadillas. They add a little pizzaz to a quick last minute meal (that may or may not have been given any forethought). Go ahead and make some while you still can—before a certain someone bans brie and tortillas for being un-American.

In other dinner news (clockwise from top right) 1. Linguine with Arugula, Pecorino and Pepper is something that kids are often uncharacteristically willing to eat despite all the green. 2. More brie for me on the night I fed them chicken. 3. Arugula salad with chili-lime roasted sweet potatoes, balsamic dressing and feta. And not to be left out, probably our all-time favorite dinner: Shane’s pizza (below).

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A regular old weeknight post

Vegetarian optionIt’s been so, so long since I did a regular, non-special occasion, weeknight post. This kind of breaks my heart because the whole point of this blog was dinner, every night. We still eat together, I just don’t have time to post. I feel like I’ve said that before.

Tonight was inspiring. Everyone was sitting down at the table (sort of). Everyone (except Sid) was eating. It was (almost) perfect. It was delicious, because it was Better Miso Glazed Salmon (which I don’t eat).

Vegetarians do not despair! It was also baked tofu (recipe below) with some of the butter-miso sauce put aside before it went on the salmon. Add to that roasted carrots, roasted little potatoes, salad and I’m hooked.

• Baked Tofu •

Ingredients:
1 package extra firm tofu

a few glugs of peanut oil
salt

Press tofu between several layers of paper (or clean cloth) towels, weigh down with a cast iron skillet or something else heavy for 1/2 hour or so until a lot of the water has been squeezed out. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Cut tofu into 1″ squares and toss with olive oil and salt, be generous!

Lay tofu squares out on a foil or parchment lined baking sheet – separate them so they’re not touching. Bake for about 20 minutes or until starting to become golden but not firm (they firm up after the come out of the oven). Remove from oven and let sit for a moment or two. Serve with your favorite tasty sauce (such as butter-miso sauce)

Oh, and here’s that salmon:

Salmon

 

Vegetarian chicken cacciatore (and regular chicken cacciatore)

veggie_chicken_cacciatoreOh hey there! It’s been a long, long while hasn’t it? We don’t have room for The Light in our tiny temporary basement apartment, but we added a new lamp in the kitchen so now I can take semi-decent pictures of dinner that don’t look all gross and flourescenty.

Shane and I recently became weary of our months-long, and very steady rotation of beans & quesadillas, penne alla vodka and pasta with Marcella’s famous sauce for dinner. He mixed things up when he had a week off of work, bringing recipes out of retirement and adding some new things to the mix from a cookbook Rose got him at a yard sale.

I was inspired to do the same with dinner tonight. There were a lot of mushrooms in the fridge so I resurrected easy chicken cacciatore, and while I was at it made vegetarian chicken cacciatore—aka white beans with garlic, rosemary and tomatoes—for myself. Rose said the chicken was amazing, especially the “soup.”

The chicken seemed like it would have been nice with some crusty bread or rice or pasta. The beans were just right with a side of roasted eggplant. chicken_cacciatore

Oh Shakshuka

We really love Shakshuka around here, ever since we finally decided to try it.

Since the sauce is really the only time-consuming part of the recipe—the onions cook for an hour—my mom had the brilliant idea to cook up a few batches and freeze them so that we can whip up a quick Shakshuka whenever we want.

We use the recipe from Dash & Bella with a few modifications. We cut down on the spice for the kids and I’m pretty sure my mom just roasts the garlic in the oven for the confit. (I’m not sure if it’s still considered a confit that way but it works.) Here it is, gooey yolk and all.

 

African peanut soup with sriracha – vegan!

PeanutSoupOne of the reasons I hardly post anymore—aside from the full time job, long commute and second kid—is that the lighting around here stinks for food photography. It’s perfectly nice overhead lighting but makes our meals look all orangey and gross.

I thought maybe my mad Photoshop skills were somehow lacking in the one area needed to get our meals not to look awful, and then I read this article and was vindicated. It’s not me, it’s the lighting!

Long story short, I’m working on the lighting. In the mean time, here’s a this totally amazing vegan peanut soup that my sister made for everyone on Thursday, which I took a picture of in glorious daylight, when I ate the leftovers for lunch.

Did I tell you my sister and brother in law moved in with us? We now have 6 adults, 2 kids and 5 cats living together in my parents’ house. It’s awesome, really.

Back to the soup. It’s thick, delicious, hearty and vegan. Full of creamy tomatoey goodness, collard greens, peanuts, served over rice and topped with Sriracha. How can you go wrong?

Anna served it with a rotisserie chicken (for Rose and the lads) and a nice cool cucumber salad. We all agreed it would be a great make-ahead.

• West African Peanut Soup •
from Cookie and Kate

6 cups vegetable broth
1 medium red onion, chopped
2 tablespoons peeled and minced fresh ginger
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon salt
1 bunch collard greens (or kale), ribs removed and leaves chopped into 1-inch strips
¾ cup natural peanut butter*
½ cup tomato paste*
Sriracha 
¼ cup roughly chopped peanuts, for garnish

In a medium Dutch oven or stock pot, bring the broth to a boil. Add the onion, ginger, garlic and salt. Cook on medium-low heat for 20 minutes.

In a medium-sized, heat-safe mixing bowl, combine the peanut butter and tomato paste, then transfer 1 to 2 cups of the hot stock to the bowl. Whisk the mixture together until smooth, then pour the peanut mixture back into the soup and mix well. Stir in the collard greens and season the soup with hot sauce to taste. Simmer for about 15 more minutes on medium-low heat, stirring often. Serve over rice if you’d like, and top with a sprinkle of chopped peanuts.

* Add more peanut butter and tomato paste if you want it thicker