Tag Archives: olive oil

In the Way

Black Eyed Pea Cakes


I have to admit that some of my favorite challenges are ones where I’m forced to use things already on hand – such as the Cook from your Pantry challenge on /52weeksofcooking.  Not only do they force me to clean out things that might have been hiding in a back corner, but they also cause me to take stock of what all I’ve got – and what I might need.  In this case I had purchased a few cans of black eyes peas with the intent to make Texas Caviar, which never happened.  So I pulled those out and modified a recipe a coworker had given me a few weeks earlier for Black Eyed Pea Cakes.  The original recipe came with some delicious Vidalia Onions (straight from Georgia!) and featured a few ingredients that weren’t exactly vegetarian friendly (again, recipe is straight from Georgia).


Black Eyed Peas Cake

Serves: Makes 10 4inch patties

Serves 3-4


2 cans black eyed peas, drain with 1/2 tbsp of liquid reserved

1 tbsp olive oil

1/3 cup breadcrumbs

2 basil leaves

2 sprigs fresh thyme

2 springs fresh rosemary

1/2 vidalia onion, chopped

vegetable oil for frying


  1. Add all the ingredients to a food processor of blender and blend until mashed but not quite pureed. Slowly add more olive oil if needed.
  2. Form 4x2 inch patties on a cooking sheet lined with parchment paper then place in the fridge for at last one hour
  3. Cover a deep frying pan with at least 1/2 inch of oil and heat. Oil is ready when water flicked water "dances" across the pan. Add the patties one at a time, being careful not to crowd the pan, and cook for 5 minutes before flipping. Cook the other side for an additional 5 minutes.
  4. Remove cooked patty to another cookie sheet, this one lined with paper towels and allow to cook for 5 minutes.
  5. Serve and Enjoy!

These cakes weren’t the most stable when it came time to cook them, even after chilling in the fridge, but they were delicious!  I served them with some coleslaw which added a nice crunch to the dinner.  A green salad would also work – just need to have something with a bit of a bite so that the jaw doesn’t get bored!  They would also make a great appetizer, just shrink the size to 2 inches and enjoy!  With that the cakes could also be prepped the night before, or the morning of, depending on free time.

Shake Shake

Sweet Potato Fries

Sweet Potato Fries

Hello!  Welcome to my May installment of the Secret Recipe Club!  This month I was sent over to BCmom’s kitchen which is packed with simple and delicious recipes to get you cooking!  I love that her blog focuses on standard pantry staples, don’t get me wrong I <3 Wegmans but I can only spend so much time shopping – I want to cook!  After much debate (yummy, spinach!), and schedule checking (cuz surgeries requiring bedrest are fun), I decided to go with her Sweet Potato Fries.  I’ll be honest, the little kid in me just wanted to shake the fries up all shake n’bake style (do they still sell that???) and it was totally everything I thought it would be.   I added a few more seasonings since my herbs are starting to explode, and just added them to the bag.

Shake Shake


1 large sweet potato, peeled

1 tbsp olive oil

1 sprig rosemary (around 1/2 tsp)

1 spring thyme (around 1/2 tsp)

1/2 tsp salt


  1. Cut sweet potatoes in to fry shapes, keeping them around 4 inches long and 1/4 inch thick
  2. Preheat oven to 350
  3. Place the olive oil, herbs, and salt in to a gallon size zip lock bag and add the fries - half at a time. Gently squeeze (or shake!) the fries in the bag.
  4. Remove the fries to a cookie sheet and bake for 15 minutes, then flip, and bake for a final 15 minutes.

These fries were fantastic!  The clean up was a breeze and the fact that these were baked, not fried, means they are a nice healthy(ish) alternative to the standard bbq/grill side.   I also have plans to vegetarianize her zucchini hamburger pie – something involving beans I think as I love the idea of baking all that veggie goodness in a nice flaky crust.  Before I sign off just a quick Happy Birthday to my awesome SiL and my incredible BFF who both happen to be Cinco De Mayo babies!  Now, go check out the rest of the recipes from the awesome bloggers of The Secret Recipe Club 🙂

Finish Each Other’s

Warm Bulgur Wheat Salad

Bulgur Wheat Salad

I’m trying to get back on track with blogging, but I’m not going to lie – things have been a little rough lately and it has been hard finding the time to develop/test new recipes.  Fingers crossed things will start to get a little easier, and thankfully summer is approaching so soon cooking will switch over to the grill which is the realm of my amazing husband 🙂 The theory with that being I can prep, marinate, coordinate the effort and then write the post while he works magic on our indoor brick oven.   Thankfully my funk is not extending over to cooking in general, so blog challenges such as Secret Recipe Club and Random Recipes have been insuring that we are eating more than just pasta – and today’s A-Themed Random Recipe introduced me to an entirely new member of the grain family.   When I told Joe tonight’s dinner was going to feature Bulgar Wheat his reaction was to ask me if he liked bulgar wheat, at which point  I had to admit that I had yet to make or even eat bulgar wheat and thus had no idea.  I also reminded him that we had some leftover matzoh just in case this was a total failure, as well as the ingredients to make matzoh pizza, so with a back up plan in place I opened up Madhur Jaffrey’s World Vegetarian cookbook and turned to my “A” recipe: Tabbouleh, a Salad Made with Bulgar and Arugula.   I made a few seasonal changes, and also prepped the bulgur per the ingredients on the bulk food bag (Wegmans FTW) as I somehow missed that the original recipe calls for 2 hours of soaking, and that’s the quick version!


Serves: Serves 4-5


2 cups water

1 cup bulgur wheat

1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved

2 cups arugula, well chopped

8 scallions, cut about 3/4 of the way in to the green

1/2 cup golden raisins

1/4 cup olive oil

fresh ground pepper


  1. Bring 2 cups of water to a boil, then stir in the bulgur. Allow to reboil then remove from heat, and cover for about 20 minutes.
  2. Fluff the bulgar and then stir in the remaining ingredients. Rest for 5 minutes and then give a quick mix and Serve!

Thanks Dom and AlphaBakes (Ros and Caroline) for an A+ experience!  For those that haven’t yet picked up this international buffet of vegetarian recipes I can not recommend it enough as this book is probably the most used of all my cookbooks – and it shows.

Open Door

Belgian Endive Pear Boats

Endive Pear Boats

So far so good with the weather – Mother Nature is cooperating with the plan to end winter and signs of spring are everywhere.  A few of the Farmer’s Markets will be opening this weekend, with the BIG one for the area following next weekend!  I have a rather long list of vegetables that I want to try this year, including radishes (poor JT) and about five different types of greens.  Thanks for the /52weeksofcooking challenge I’ve already knocked one “green” of the list with this modified Belgian Salad.  When I tried to find a cuisine for the Belgian challenge I wasn’t that shocked to see all the not-so-vegetarian friendly food.  While Belgian Waffles were rather tempting (with Trader Joe’s cookie butter!!!), I’ve done waffles before and while I know that you don’t have to use a deep waffle iron for Belgian Waffles it just feels wrong to think about using a standard waffle iron – let alone using one!  So I decided to tackle the vegetable that kept popping up in so many dishes: endives.  I think I might have had an endive salad many moons ago at a wedding on the Cape but outside of a vague memory I couldn’t recall the taste.  However Pinterest was more than able to serve up a number of endive recipes, and I couldn’t resist the temptation to do one of the many cute boat designs that I saw.

Endive Pear Boats

Serves: Yields 8 Boats

Serves 4-8, as an appetizer or side


2 small heads Belgian Endive, well washed

2 Anjou Pears, cubed

1 leek, chopped

1/4 cup olive oil

1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

1 tsp white vinegar

1 garlic clove, minced

salt and pepper - to taste

1/4 cup Blue Cheese, crumbled (optional)


  1. Remove the four largest outer leaves from the endives and place on a large plate, open side up. Set Aside
  2. Shred the remaining endive and place in a large bowl along with the pear and leek.
  3. In a small bowl (or dressing mixer) combine the olive oil, vinegar, and garlic. Beat (or shake) until fully mixed, then pour over the shredded endive mixture. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  4. Carefully stuff around 2 tbsp of the endive mixture into the prepare endive boats. Top with Blue Cheese Crumbles (optional) and Serve!

In order to not kill my husband I dropped the nuts from the recipes I saw but those could easily be added back in for an extra crunch.  The tart endive was a great contrast to the sweetness of the pears, with the balsamic vinaigrette bringing it all together.   This would make a fantastic appetizer, especially since they act as their own plate!  I plan on trying this again in late summer, using some apples in place of the pears…or maybe in addition to.

Never Meant to Say

Baked Polenta

Baked Polenta

Second Secret Recipe Club entry! When I saw there was an orphaned blog from Group D I jumped at the chance to explore another delicious blog! Turns out delicious was the right word when it comes to Dororthy’s Shockingly Delicious blog, as it is full of “terrific, tried and true, scrumptious” recipes.  Since this was an orphaned blog I only had a few days to find the perfect recipe to highlight everything that Dorothy has to offer.   I debated her non-traditional arroz verde before figuring it was a bit too similar to my other Secret Recipe Club entry so was back to debating delicious treats before seeing her recipe for a Baked Polenta.  I’ve always been a huge polenta fan, outside of the standing and stirring for 30 minutes over a hot oven, so a BAKED recipe was perfect!!!  (husband also agreed as normally he is recruited for stirring duty)

Never Meant to Say

Serves: Serves 6


1 cup corn meal

3 ½ cups warm water

½ teaspoon kosher salt

1 tablespoon butter

1/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese


  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly coat the bottom of an 8inch baking dish with olive oil. Pour all the ingredients into the dish and stir to combine and remove any lumps. Cut butter into small cubes and sprinkle on top; butter will float.
  2. Bake, uncovered, for 50 minutes. Stir polenta and return to oven to bake for another 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and stir in the grated cheese. Allow to rest for a couple of minutes

Another awesome thing is how easily this recipe could be adapted by adding different cheeses or spices, such as fresh rosemary, thyme, or basil.  I have a feeling that after adding this recipe to my collection polenta will become a frequent menu item in our house.   I served mine with a squash and bean mixture, the full recipe for which will be up tomorrow!