Tag Archives: red onion

Moving on Up

Zucchini Tian

Zucchini Tian

Greetings!  Sorry for the long space between posts, turns out that running a food blog while moving is much harder than I thought.  Luckily I am all settled in my temp place so had lots of time test out some new recipes, and in theory should be covered until the official move ends.  Luckily this isn’t a long distance move, just heading on up 95 from DC to Baltimore – which is still enough of a transition to make things interesting.  Add in the gov’t shutdown and things have been a little more stressful than normal.  We are still hoping to close on our new place on time, but unless the IRS goes back to work (feels so wrong to say that) by the 8th our closing will most likely be delayed.   Until then I’ll be camping out at my mom’s place – and her awesome kitchen – while my hubby is up north starting his new position.  Not the most ideal living situation, but at least we can see each other on weekends so could be much worse.

This past week I decided to make a list of all the blog/cooking challenges that I have over the next month in an attempt to organize my life.  This first recipe comes from /52weeksofcooking who are just finishing up a week dedicated to the incredible Julia Child.  While most of her recipes aren’t exactly vegetarian, or vegan, friendly I found a few side dishes that needed just a bit of tweaking in order to go from awesome side to spectacular entree.  In the end I decided to go with her zucchini tian since squash in all forms are in abundance at the local markets – wahOo Indian Summer!!!   In order to make this in to a healthy veggie friendly entree I added some chickpeas for protein, switched the white rice for brown, and left the butter out.   I also used almond milk in place of dairy and vegan shredded cheese.

Moving on Up

Serves: Serves 4 as a main

Serves 6-8 as a side


2 lbs fresh zucchini or yellow squash

1/2 tbsp salt

1 tbsp olive oil

2 cloves garlic

1/2 cup red onion, diced

2 tbsp flour

1 cup almond milk

1/2 cup water (optional)

1 cup pre-cooked brown rice

2 cups pre-soaked garbanzo beans

1/3 cup grated cheese plus 2 tbsp - Parmesan or Mozzarella

salt and pepper


  1. Grate the zucchini into a strainer, and have the strainer over a bowl. Lightly salt the zucchini/squash and allow to sit for 5 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile heat the olive oil in a deep skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and onion, and cook for 10 minutes or until the garlic starts to turn golden.
  3. While the garlic/onion cook squeeze the water out of the squash using the strainer to catch and loose zucchini and the bowl below to catch the juice. Once the moister has been removed pour the juice in to a microwave safe measuring cup. Add the milk to the cup along with enough water to make 2 cups of liquid. Heat in microwave until mixture is warm, about 1 1/2 minutes.
  4. Add the flour to the onion/garlic mixture, toss well and then slowly add in the juice milk mixture while continuing to stir. Once all the liquid has been poured in add the grated zucchini along with the 1/3 cup cheese. Bring everything to a quick bowl, and then simmer for 10 minutes.
  5. Preheat oven to 425. Lightly oil a casserole dish, then add the precooked brown rice and the drained beans and stir in the zucchini mixture. Top with the 2 tbsp of cheese and then bake, uncovered, for 20 minutes or until the sides are bubbling and the middle is brown.
  6. Serve and enjoy!

When it came time for serving I enjoyed  it with just a bit more pepper while my mom went for Parmesan cheese, which is exactly how my hubby would enjoy this dish so I was entertained.  For lunch the next day I added a bit of fresh avocado to perk it up, after debating to serve it on top of salad greens.  This might not be the prettiest dish out there, but it’s certainly delicious.

In the Birds

Dill Potato Salad

Dill Potato Salad

Welcome to the official end of summer – when bbqs and picnics have one last blaze of glory before grills are covered and picnic baskets are put away.  This past weekend we went to two different bbqs, and I decided to bring along one of my favorite potato salad recipes.  While my family normally goes for the yellow potato salad, on occasion things get switched up and we go for the classic white potato salad.  This recipe is slightly tweaked from the original version in an attempt to lighten up this traditionally mayo heavy dish.  I decided to use one of my standard “tricks” and switch out the mayonnaise for yogurt.  While in most cases I go for Greek yogurt, I decided to use standard yogurt in order to keep the dish moist.  The main key is making sure it’s low-fat and plain flavored – and while I tend towards coconut milk, standard dairy or almond based would work just as well.

In the Birds

Serves: Serves 6-8, as a side


1 1/2 lbs butter potatoes, halved

1 tsp salt

1 red onion, diced

1/2 tbsp white wine vinegar

1/4 tsp white sugar

1 tbsp fresh dill

1/2 cup plain yogurt (I used So Delicious)


  1. Place the potato in a large stock pan and cover with water, bring to a simmer and add the salt. Allow to cook for 30 minutes or until potatoes are tender
  2. Pour the potatoes into a large strainer and rinse with cold water. Allow to cool to room temperature.
  3. Meanwhile mix together the onion, vinegar, sugar, and dill. Place in fridge until potatoes are ready.
  4. Put the onion and potato mixtures together in a large bowl. Slowly add the yogurt, breaking up the potatoes as you go along. Place in the fridge and allow to chill for at least 2 hours.
  5. Serve cold and enjoy!

The real key with this dish is layering everything, giving all the ingredients a chance to meet each other if you will.  Which is probably why this dish is best done the night before a gathering, or early morning.  I’m sending this over as a late submission to /52weeksofcooking classic family recipes week – in my attempt to get back on schedule with everything.  My mind set isn’t back to 100% yet (see last post for explanation) but it feels good to be back in the kitchen, and hopefully my mojo is just chilling behind the flour raiding the last of the chocolate chips.

Remember This



Many moons ago a good looking guy with curly dark hair asked the office HR girl if she would help him find an apartment.  Seeing as how she had lived in the area for the better part of a decade she decided to help out, agreeing to meet him on Saturday at a local “fast food” place for a quick bite before looking at places.  A few years down the road, wedding bells were ringing and as of tomorrow the software developer and (former) HR girl will have spent one year in wedded bliss.  I still can’t believe it’s been a year since our wedding, and I can’t even begin to describe how excited I am to be spending the rest of my life with such an amazing person.

In honor of our anniversary I decided to attempt to recreate that first lunch, which was spent at a Middle Eastern restaurant.  This happened to fit perfectly with this week’s r/52weeksofcooking challenge as falafel is one of my go-to fast food options.  I know it isn’t the “standard” concept of fast food but being vegetarian the standard fast food joint doesn’t really work for me.  Luckily I’ve always worked near a place offering these delicious protein packed treats, be they in pita form or served with golden rice.  Since Joe and I both got the falafel platter and not the pita, I decided to go that route and make some delicious coconut & tumeric rice to go with.  I also made up some of my lazy Greek sauce which got drizzled on top of everything.

Remember This

Serves: yields 10 falafels


2 cans chickpeas, well rinsed

1 red onion, minced

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 tbsp Ras El Hanout seasoning

1 tbsp flour

1 tbsp bread crumbs

enough vegetable oil for frying


  1. Pulse the chickpeas, onion, garlic, and seasoning in a food processor to create a thick paste-like dough.
  2. Roll the dough in to golf ball sized balls. Place on a plate then refrigerate for an hour or place in the freezer for 20 minutes. (for best results keep falafels in the fridge until they are reading to be fried)
  3. Meanwhile heat up the oil in a deep saute dish. Oil needs to go halfway up the falafels so around 2.5inches of oil. Oil is hot enough when you can flick water in and it bubbles off the top (can also use wooden spoon method), gently add the falafels to the oil being sure to not crowd the pan. Cook on each side for around 3 minutes or until a deep golden brown, removing with a slotted spoon.
  4. Remove the falafels to a plate covered in a paper towel. Allow to cool then serve and enjoy!

I can’t stress enough the importance to keep the falafels as cold as possible before cooking them up.  This will help them keep their shape, something that is not so easy to do with vegan falafels.  The other important thing is to make sure the oil is at the right temperature: too hot and the outside will burn leaving a raw middle; while too cold will cause the falafels to fall apart and cook unevenly.

Cold Outside

Sweet Potato Chili

Sweet Potato Chili

Looking out the window it’s more than a little clear Mother Nature has forgotten to take her medication.  We’re almost a week in to spring yet there is snow on the ground and more falling from the sky, which isn’t exactly spring in my book.  This is the time of year for starting a garden, looking at the Cherry Blossoms, and sorting through the past season’s clothes.  Instead I’m pulling out my snow boots and trying to figure out how to navigate my curvy slightly hilly street in order to get to the main roads and work.  However I have a secret recipe for days like this: sweet potato chili.  My first experience with this vegan delight was at my in-laws the day we told them we were engaged, needless to say just one bite of this winter weather soup warms me up heart and soul.  This is a slightly spicier version of that soup, but for a gentler variation just leave out the jalapeno and add chili powders to taste.

Sweet Potato Chili

serves 4-5


1 tbsp vegetable oil

1 tbsp chili powder

1/2 tsp cayenne powder

1/4 tsp cumin seeds

1 red onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, diced

1 jalapeno, diced

2 sweet potatoes

2 1/2 cup kidney beans, presoaked (or 2 14oz cans drained and rinsed)

2 14 oz can tomatoes, chili style

1/2 cup vegetable stock


  1. Heat the oil in a large dutch oven over medium heat, add the spices and allow to cook for 60 seconds. Add the red onion and garlic and cook for 5-7 minutes, the onion should be translucent and the garlic golden.
  2. Toss in the jalapeno, cook for one minute while stirring before adding the sweet potatoes. Cook for 5 minutes, allowing the potatoes to get slightly brown, stirring to keep anything from sticking.
  3. Add the kidney beans along with the tomatoes and vegetable stock. Bring to a boil then cover and simmer for 45 minutes. Season to taste and serve!

I enjoy topping mine with some Greek Yogurt while Joe tends to go for shredded cheese and sour cream – either option is delicious!  This dish can also be done in the slow cooker, follow the above directions and after the onion/garlic have cooked just add everything to the slow cooker and cook on low for 7 hrs or high for 2.5 hrs.  For those seeking an even hotter chili, switch the jalapeno for a serrano (or habanaro!) pepper.

Note: So Delicious has no idea who I am, I just enjoy their products and more often then not they have awesome coupons on their website!

Second Note: Yes there is a hair on the lens but it wasn’t noticed until the picture was inserted and the last of the chili had been devoured – sorry!!!!

Fire WIthin

 Quinoa Verde con Tostada



Not going to lie, the theme for  r/52weeksofcooking had me more than a little nervous this week.  I understand the importance of Presentation but I tend to focus more of the substance and taste of the dish and not so much of what it looks like – after all I’m not cooking for Gordon Ramsey or Anthony Bourdain or someone else who will comment on whether or not my dish resembles cat food.  However I haven’t missed a challenge yet this year and wasn’t going to start now!  So I thought about all the things I could do before deciding to go with color and vibrancy instead of knife skills or something insanely elaborate – after all I didn’t want to screw up the food in my quest for a pretty plate.  I decided to make something with as many colors in it as possible without going too overboard while utilizing things I already had in my pantry.  Watching an episode on Chopped gave me the inspiration, and confidence, to try making a tostada.  I still had some tortillas left from the taco challenge and since tostadas are traditionally made with slightly stale tortillas the timing was perfect!

Quinoa Verde con Tostada

serves 5-6


1 1/2 cups tri-color quinoa, well rinsed

3 cups water

2 tbsp vegetable oil, divided

1 tsp cumin seeds

3 cloves garlic, diced

1/2 cup red onion, diced

3 tomatillos, diced

2 plum tomatoes, sliced

1 jalapeno, diced

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (daiya brand shreds also works!)

1 tsp cayenna powder

1/2 tbsp chili powder

4 tbsp vegetable oil

10-12 corn tortillas

1 avocado, sliced


  1. Heat 1 tbsp of canola oil in a large sauce pan. Add the quinoa and allow to cook for a minute before adding the water. Bring to a boil, the cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Set Aside
  2. Meanwhile in a large saute pan heat up the remaining oil along with the cumin seeds. Toast for 3 minutes, then add the onion and garlic. Cook for 5 minutes and then add the tomatillos, cook for another 8-10 minutes or until tomatillos are soft and garlic is golden.
  3. Remove lid from quinoa and then add the onion mixture. Stir well then toss in the tomatoes and jalapenos and set aside on a warm burner.
  4. In a medium bowl toss the cheese with the chili powders and set aside.
  5. Rinse the saute pan used for the onion mixture and then heat over medium heat with the vegetable oil. Once the oil is warm gently place the tortillas one at a time in the oil. Allow to puff up and turn golden, then flip to the other side and repeat.
  6. Move the cooked tortilla to a plate then cover with the spiced cheese. Once the cheese has melted add the quinoa along with the sliced avocado. Serve and Enjoy!

I spent a fair bit of time trying to figure out the perfect way to plate this dish, I wanted to make sure everything could be seen and keep the picture from being too saturated.  I wound up plating the dish four different ways before picking this option.  Needless to say doing this dish gave me a great appreciation for people who do this on a regular basis and will probably result in much better pictures as I will be paying a lot more attention in the future!!!