Monthly Archives: June 2012

Stuffed Patty Pan Squash

Now that farmers’ market season is well under way, I have starting seeing a personal favorite….patty pan!! This is just one of the many ways to cook them. Roasted simply in some olive oil, salt and pepper is one of my favorite ways to eat them.

Start by preheating the oven to 350*. Cut the tops off the squash and scoop out the seeds. Place into a baking dish and bake thirty minutes or so until tender.

In a medium size skillet over medium-high heat, brown six slices of bacon which have been rough chopped. When the bacon is nice and crispy, remove to a paper tower lined plate. For a vegan version, either leave out the bacon or use a bacon substitute.

Into the skillet goes half an onion and two cloves of garlic that have been diced. Saute until tender, but not browned.

Combine the bacon, onion and garlic with one cup of bread crumbs and a half cup of soy cheddar cheese. The squash should be out of the oven by now, scoop out some of the squash to make room for the stuffing. Smash the removed squash and combine with the stuffing mixture. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Fill the hollowed out squash with the stuffing, making sure to add a little extra once you think they are full. It will shrink some during cooking. Once filled, place them back into the oven and bake another fifteen to twenty minutes until hot.

One of these squash could be a meal all by itself, or cut them in half or even quarters to serve as a side. If you wanted to, you could use the smaller ones and serve them as a side or appetizer, similar to stuffed mushrooms. They are as pretty as they are delicious!

 

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Fabulous Fish Tacos!

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This is another one of my Friday fish night recipes. One of the best parts of Friday fish night is how quickly dinner comes together. These fabulous fish tacos are no exception! I have, of course switched up the typical taco toppings.

To start, marinate some flounder fillets in a ziploc bag with olive oil, chili powder (be generous), garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper, white pepper, and some salt. Into the fridge it goes to marinate while we are away at work.

When we got  home at the end of the day, the flounder went  into a parchment paper (helps with clean up & the flounder won’t stick) lined baking dish. Preheat the oven to 350* and bake the flounder for about twenty minutes until it flakes easily.

Next, I sautéed some fresh kale with a little bit of red chili flakes to kick it up a notch. This replaces the lettuce typically found on a taco. We had some leftover grilled portobello mushrooms that got sliced up to replace the tomatoes typically found on a taco.

Into the food processor went a whole avocado diced up, half a container of dairy free sour cream, and a bunch of fresh cilantro. Dressed up sour cream, YUM!

For a side dish, I cheated a little. Open up a can of black beans, drain and rinse. Toss into a saute pan along with half a jar of salsa. Quick, easy side! The other half of the jar of salsa can be used on the tacos.

For the last five minutes or so of the cooking time for the flounder, throw some whole wheat tortillas on a cookie sheet and bake along with the fish.

Some dairy free soy cheese goes onto the tortilla, along with the flounder, kale, mushrooms, salsa and avocado not sour cream.

Within twenty minutes or so, a delicious dinner is on the table and ready to enjoy!


Breakfast Berry Bread Pudding

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What to do with day old italian bread from the farmers’ market?? Way to good to feed the ducks! How about some bread pudding for breakfast? That works for us!

Start by preheating the oven to 350*. Then I coated a nine by twelve baking dish with not butter (dairy free).  Break or cut the bread into bite size pieces and line the baking dish with it. The bread should be well packed, not loosely filling the dish.

Whisk together in a large mixing bowl four eggs, six cups of vanilla almond milk, and ground fresh whole nutmeg and cinnamon. Sprinkle in a small amount of sugar if you want to sweeten it up a little. I was VERY generous with the nutmeg and cinnamon bark.

Pour the egg mixture over the bread and allow to soak for a minimum of an hour. Occasionally, press down on the bread so that it absorbs the liquid.

Chop two bananas, and a cup or so of fresh strawberries and toss into a mixing bowl. Add in a cup or so of fresh blueberries and a tablespoon of brown sugar. Toss well to combine.

When the bread is done soaking, pour the berry mixture over the top of it. Bake forty-five minutes or until the top is brown and the middle is firm. I made this for my hubby for father’s day, then we shared it with co-workers Monday morning as well!


Farmers’ Market Season at last!

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One of my favorite ways to spend the day this time of year is strolling around the farmers’ market. I love the sights, smells, tastes and sounds that surround me. Kudos to my hubby for sharing some of the pictures of my favorite local farmers’ market….Easton Farmers’ Market. Another great thing about the farmers’ market? The people!! Most of the vendors are more than willing to talk to you about their wares, whether it is produce, bread, or fabulous farm bags!

One thing to keep in mind when deciding to head out to the farmers’ market is the type of market. If you truly want to support your local farmers, make sure to go to a producer-only market. These market only allow vendors to sell their own produce, grown on their own farms. Or products made by the vendor themselves. No large wholesalers allowed!

The farmers’ market inspires me more than anything else. I will pick up a strange-looking veggie (like the kohlrabi I discovered a few weeks ago) and take it home to try it after talking to the farmer about it. My poor hubby will eat (and actually enjoy) fresh green garlic I mistook for spring onions, too. I would never do this in the grocery store.

Lets talk more about the kohlrabi I came upon a few weeks ago. If you have ever seen it, you know it is strange-looking! I couldn’t resist the bright purple color and beautiful greens. I am so glad I spoke to the farmer about it and decided to try it! It has the texture of a turnip, but a sweeter, more delicate flavor. I used it in place of potatoes in Doro Wat….YUM!

Anyone who knows me knows I LOVE MUSHROOMS! Another great find?? Organic mushrooms fresh from the dirt! How could I resist?? A pound of each please? Oysters, creminis and shitakes go into my bag! The possibilities are endless!

Kale? I never knew there were so many varieties! Tuscan, russian, redbor, siberian….I love them all and they are so good for you! Sautéed with the above mushrooms it makes a great topping for steak!

We are also lucky enough to have a local apiary at the farmers’ market. We now have raw unfiltered honey, solid honey, and traditional liquid honey in the cupboard. Our only regret is that he has been sold out of honeycomb and we have to wait for the bees to produce more. My favorite way to enjoy honey? On a spoon as is!

I can’t say enough about the breads. Honey whole wheat, whole grain, epi loaves, focaccia, even a chocolate cherry sourdough! French toast? Yes, please. Bread pudding? Yes, please!

This weekend as we strolled, a local chef was creating a fabulous looking cheese steak sandwich. Hold the cheese on mine, please? His creation was called the “local”, as all the ingredients were from the market. Organic veal, arugula, roasted red peppers, truffle aoili,  white cheddar (not on mine, but my hubby enjoyed), on a fabulous crusty bread. Best, yummiest steak sandwich I ever had!

One of the most enjoyable parts of the day?? Coming home, after spending the day in the fresh air buying fabulous local foods and unpacking the bounty onto the kitchen counter. Most days, the items get placed in my bags, thrown over my shoulder and forgotten about. The creative juices really start flowing as I unpack my precious cargo. thoughts of meals for the week dance in my head. Recipes (sometimes seen here) are begun, sometimes scribbled down right on the spot!

I could probably go on all day about how much I love farmers’ market and the inspiration I find at them, but I won’t bore you. I will however, recommend that you go out and find a producer-only local farmers’ market you love as much as I love mine.


Roasted Corn & Cannellini Bean Salad

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It really doesn’t get any easier than this. One night we grilled some corn on the grill. The next night, this salad was born.

There were four ears of corn leftover. I removed the corn from the cob, and threw it into a large mixing bowl.

Next I rooted through the pantry to see what we had available to join it. Cannellini beans? Those will work. Rinse and drain one can of cannellini beans to reduce the sodium level. Into the bowl with the corn.

Sun dried tomatoes? Perfect! Chop one cup or so of those and into the bowl they go.

Next? Out on to the deck to pick some herbs. A few sprigs of basil, thyme, hot oregano, and flat leaf parsley sounds good to me. Rinse, dry and rough chop the herbs and toss them in the bowl.

A few tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil and red wine vinegar, along with salt and pepper to taste get mixed in. Fresh, light and delicious! Word of advice? It was even better the next day!


Summertime Salads….otherwise known as Potato and Macaroni Salad

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Summertime is upon us….and what says summer more than a picnic with potato and macaroni salad? Of course these salads are a little non-traditional and dairy free, but still have all the tastes of summer!

First, the potato salad. Clean and cube approximately one pound of red potatoes. Place in a pot and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil and cook until fork tender.

I am fortunate enough to have a herb garden on my deck, right outside my kitchen door. Out to the herb garden to snip six sprigs each of blue mint (any mint will do) and lemon balm. Clean and chop the herbs finely. Add them into a mixing bowl with one half cup of extra virgin olive oil. Press one clove of garlic into the bowl as well. Season to taste with fresh ground sea salt and black pepper.

When potatoes are done cooking, strain them well and pour them into a large mixing bowl. Pour the herb mixture over the potatoes while they are still hot. Toss well to combine. Chill until ready to enjoy.

Next, the macaroni salad. Place a pot of water onto the stove over high heat. Once it starts to boil, pour in one pound of your favorite pasta. For this batch I used a brown rice pasta, so this recipe is gluten free as well as dairy free.

While the pasta is cooking (according to package instructions), work on the rest of the ingredients. Dice one yellow onion (red would work well too), six celery stalks and eight sweet gherkins.

Strain and rinse the pasta with cold water and pour into a large mixing bowl. Combine with the diced veggies, one cup of grape seed Vegenaise (or whatever mayonnaise you prefer), a quarter cup of the juice from the sweet gherkins, one teaspoon of dry mustard, along with salt and pepper to taste. While I was out on the deck earlier, I also snipped some fresh flat leaf parsley. Rinse and chop finely, and toss into the salad. Toss until combined, then chill until ready to serve.

In my opinion, both of these salads are best served outside picnic style. So many memories of picnics and BBQs growing up include these (not exactly) salads. Enjoy!


Not Your Grandma’s Tuna Casserole

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I know it is summer and lighter dishes are in, but some days I need comfort food! This is an  updated version of an old school favorite…green bean tuna casserole. The dairy is gone, as are the green beans and fried onion like straws. Remaining is all the deliciousness!

Start by preheating the oven to 350*. Fill a four quart pot three-quarters or so full with water and put on the stovetop to boil the noodles. I used a sixteen ounce package of no yolk egg noodles, feel free to use whatever noodles you have in the cupboard. Cook for two minutes less than the package calls for since they will continue to cook in the oven.

Over medium heat in a large skillet, saute one diced yellow onion and two diced shallots (to replace the fried onion like straws but keep the flavor) in one turn of extra virgin olive oil. Salt well to sweat and soften. Saute until tender, two to three minutes. Sprinkle in three tablespoons of flour. Slowly add in one and a half cups of plain soy milk to make a “bechamel” sauce. Stir constantly to make sure it doesn’t scorch.

In another skillet, saute one pound of chopped cremini (or your choice) mushrooms until nicely browned. This will take ten minutes or so. DO NOT salt or the mushrooms will get mushy instead of browned.

When the noodles are done, combine with “bechamel”, half a tub (four ounces or so) of non-dairy cream cheese and half a tub (again, four ounces or so) of non-dairy sour cream in a large mixing bowl. Add the mushrooms into the mixture as well.

In a medium skillet over medium-high heat, saute one bunch of asparagus cut into roughly half-inch pieces (this replaces the green beans) until deep green. This will take three minutes or so. We like our asparagus crisp still, if you like it softer, saute a little longer. Add into the noodle mixture.

Strain two cans of albacore (or whatever you have on hand) tuna well and mix into the noodle mixture. At this point you want to mix very well and pour into a baking dish.

Cover with aluminum foil and bake for twenty minutes. Meanwhile, brown one cup of panko in a skillet. After twenty minutes, sprinkle the panko over the casserole and bake another ten minutes or so uncovered.


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