Welcome to a special themed edition of the Secret Recipe club!!! Whenever a month has 5 weeks the 5th week gets a special theme and is open to members across all of the groups! The special theme for today is Picnic/BBQ which is rather perfect for Memorial Day. I was given The Cookaholic Wife which is run by Nichole who is “owned” by Gidget and Itty von Kat – her adorable cats! I might be a dog person but totally understand the concept of being owned by a pet 😀 I totally failed this month at picking one recipe – but it’s a special day so that makes it okay to do two, right?!?!? First up: garlic-chive fries! Garlic + potatoes = WINNER!!! We had friends over for dinner and these fries were devoured in minutes – and for once my hubby didn’t feel the need to coat his fries in Old Bay. Next up: Frozen Wine Grapes. These were the dessert for the same dinner and omgoodness they just made the entire dinner seem so fancy. The best part is I was able to make them during baby’s morning nap, freeing me up in the afternoon to tidy up the place. Love love love anything that can be done in advance!
Cut the russet potatoes into fries using a sharp knife or mandolin - making them as even as possible.
Preheat oven to 450
Place into a bowl and add the remaining ingredients tossing well to make sure the fries are coated. Pour onto a cookie sheet in a single layer. Bake for 12 minutes then flip and bake a final 12 minutes.
With the fries the only change I made was using minced garlic in place of the garlic salt while the grapes were perfect as is so head over to Nichole’s blog for that recipe!!! These grapes could also be added to a sangria to give it an extra punch or as a practical alternative to a travel ice bag to make sure your food stays cool while heading to a bbq or picnic.
A bonus reason why you should check out Nichole’s blog?!?! She’s another Maryland blogger! I’ll overlook that she prefers Delaware to MD’s Eastern Shore, after all nobody is perfect! I’m actually finishing this post up from MD’s Eastern Shore so I might be a bit partial.
In an attempt to get my kitchen mojo back, I’ve once again joined the /52weeksofcooking group in the hopes that their weekly challenge would get me going again. They are now on week 10 while I’m just now doing my second post – needless to say I’m still a work in progress! This week the challenge was Japanese and while I debated doing a tempura I couldn’t get over the idea of trying a Japanese curry similar to one I had in Pittsburgh a few summers ago. Luckily the internet provided me with lots of ideas, so I took the common ingredients from all of them and then winged the rest of it!
Heat the oil in a large wok and add the garlic and ginger. Cook until the ginger is brown and then add the onion. Cook for 10 minutes, or until onions start to brown. Add the tofu and cook 5-7 minutes on each side, tofu should be golden and onions should be slightly caramelized.
Add the curry powder, tomato paste, vinegar, sesame oil, apple, vegetable stock, potatoes, and carrots. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer over low heat for 20 minutes.
Add the peas then simmer, covered, for a final 10 minutes or until potatoes are soft.
I could say this was a huge hit but that doesn’t begin to cover it – this is one of the only curries where husband has wanted seconds! He couldn’t get over how savory it was – all the flavors working together. So good he didn’t believe it was vegan, BIG bonus there.
Make sure to come back Monday for February’s BONUS Secret REcipe Club post. It’s the 5th Monday of the month and this time the special theme is Spring & Bunnies.
I can’t believe today is already day 4 of TripleSBites – I’ve had so much fun thinking up recipes that fit the theme of “sexy, saucy, spicy” that I just want to keep going! The event ends on Monday and my last recipe is a BIG one involving special equipment in order to pull it off – go big or go home right? Today’s special ingredient also fits the description of “going big” as VooDoo Chef’s RED spice is out of this world! I first tested it out last week while making my loaded potato soup, adding a bit of smokiness to the dish, but today’s dish really allowed the spices to shine all on their own.
There’s no denying that I enjoy potatoes, a quick ctrl+f of my recipe page will quickly prove this point – and with that I’m always trying to find new ways of working with them. After making the soup, I wanted to try the spices with potatoes in a more intense pairing and with that debating doing a gratin of some form. Then I caught a glimpse of a very old commercial, and remember the awesomeness of Shake ‘N Bake. I might be a vegetarian now, but as a kid I loved helping my mom toss the chicken in a bake and shake it all up. While they did eventually release a potato version, I don’t remember ever trying it – but figured that if it worked for them it would work for me.
Doing the shaking in two parts really works the best – otherwise the spices and the oil tend to just clump at the bottom of the bag and not join the party. I served this with some awesome vegan mayo that I got from another TripleSBites sponsor! Being able to enjoy a saucy spicy mayo that was free of gelatin was fantastic, the consistency is a bit looser than a standard mayo but oh my goodness is it every tasty. Intensity Academy also offers a fantastic Chai Sweet Chili sauce that I also received as a gift, but so far I’ve only used it on a non-vegetarian dinner that I served the husband (it was a hit!).
Note: While I did receive the VooDoo Chef RED spices for free as part of participating in TripleSBites, I was not required to use or mention the product outside of acknowledging receipt of the product. All opinions are totally my own.
Another day, another delicious recipe! I was hoping to start prepping some delicious spring-themed treats but apparently mother nature is not quite ready for that. As I’m writing this the temperature is preparing to drop some 40 degrees, and with the forecasted wind chill we’ll be back in the single digits. So instead of thinking up ways to use the asparagus that will soon be arriving in the market, I’m back to my winter favorites: root vegetables (and mushrooms)! This dish doesn’t really have a name as it’s a bit of a hybrid between an au gratin and a vegetable lasagna. While lasagna noodles could be used I’m trying to think outside the pasta box – and so I decided to use pan fried potatoes as my “pasta” with various vegetables in between.
1 cup plain Greek Yogurt (coconut or dairy - can also use ricotta cheese)
1 1/2 cups kale (or chard or spinach), divided
Parmesan Cheese (optional), finely grated
Mozzarella Cheese (optional), shredded
Heat half of the olive oil in a deep saute dish over medium heat. Add the herbs and cook for 1 minute, then add the potatoes and cook until lightly brown. Remove from heat and set aside
Heat the remaining olive oil in the pan along with the garlic and onion. Cook for 5 minutes and then add the mushrooms along with the carrots and parsnip. Cook for another 7-10 minutes, or until carrots become slightly tender.
Meanwhile prepare the sauce by melting the butter in a small saucepan. Stir in the flour and allow to turn slightly golden before slowly whisking in the milk. Bring to a simmer, then cover and turn heat to low.
Preheat oven to 375.
Spoon 1/4 cup of the sauce into the bottom of a 2QT casserole dish, and use a spoon to spread the sauce around the bottom and sides of the dish. Begin layering starting with a single layer of the potatoes, then add 1/3 of the mushroom mixture, then 1/2 cup of the fresh kale, and 1/3 cup of the Greek Yogurt. Add 1/4 cup of sauce and then begin layering again - topping with a final layer of potatoes and sauce. (Optional - add shredded cheese on top of the sauce)
Bake for 35 minutes, or until sauce starts to brown on the edges. Remove from oven and allow to cool for at least 5 minutes before serving.
Earth Balance makes an awesome vegan "butter" while So Delicious (coconut) is my choice for Milk products, including Greek Yogurt. I used normal mozzarella in mine but have had Daiya before at various VegFests and rather certain it would be a great alternative! None of these companies know who I am as far as I'm aware - I just like what they sell!
Once plated this isn’t the prettiest of dishes, lots of white with a bit of green and orange for color – but it’s delicious! I served it with some crusty sourdough, but anything with a good crust will do well when it comes to getting every last bit of the sauce. I’m sending this on over to the amazing Ren who hosts Simple and in Season, and I’m crossing my fingers and hoping that winter will soon be over. As much as I enjoy root vegetables, I’m ready for some fresh greens and spring onions!
When I saw the challenge for /52weeksofcooking was North African cuisine, I was a bit nervous. Most of my recipes draw on meals I’ve had or meals I’ve seen prepared on one of the many cooking reality shows on TV. While I’ve prepared a fewtagines, that’s really the limit of my N. African exposure so I set out on an internet search. First I decided to focus on nations in Central North Africa, in order to avoid the temptation to do another tagine or something that might be considered more Middle Eastern. Which is what led me to finding the Algerian Brik (or Borek), which seems to come in many varieties across N. Africa thru the Middle East and up in to South Eastern Europe/South Western Asia. After reading a few articles on the history and origin of this easy to transport dish I realized I had a different version of it while in NYC last winter. So with my new found knowledge, and a halfdozenrecipes, I set out to figure out the best way to conquer this dish while living in temporary housing. I decided to use pre-made phyllo dough and got a variety of ingredients for the fillings. Previous experiences with phyllo dough led me to go for the flat “panini” style we had in NYC but I’m hoping one day to have the skills to make these cigar or “eggroll” style.
Traditional filling includes eggs, which I used in two of the boreks. All of them were filled with onion, spinach, mashed potato, and a garlic clove.
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
12 sheets of phyllo dough (10x20)
2 cups mashed potatoes , divided in to 4 portions
1/2 lb fresh spinach (or kale) well washed and torn
1 cup onion, diced and divided in to 4 portions
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 eggs, cooked scrambled style (optional)
1 cup feta cheese (optional)
Take three sheets of phyllo, make sure to cover any not being used with a moist papertowel, and fold in half so that the sheet becomes 10x10. Place desired fillings in the middle third on the phyllo dough, and then fold over the edges as if wrapping a present - ends first and then sides.
Preheat oven to lowest setting possible, along with a lightly greased cookie sheet.
Heat the oil in a large skillet or other flat-bottomed pan. Place borek folded side down in the pan and cook for 7 minutes, or until starts to turn golden. Gently flip the borek and repeat on other side.
Place the finished borek on the cookie sheet in the oven in order to keep warm while preparing the final boreks.
I love dishes like this, quick and simple with a million different preparations. Once I’m fully moved in to our new place I’m hoping to give the fried version a try, though I think I’ll stick to pre-cooking the eggs if I use them. I served this with a bit of Greek Yogurt, though sour cream would also work – or nothing at all!