Quick Weeknight Recipes · Random Recipes

One Fish, Two Fish

Pasta with Anchovies and Broccoli

I’m not sure when I first stumbled upon Dom and Belleue’s Kitchen, but it was back before the amazing kitchen transformation.  Random Recipes was one of the first link-ups I thought about joining after discovering the fun of International Incident Party, yet it has taken a long long long time for me to actual join in.  The idea is rather simple, randomly select a cook book and a recipe and then COOK!  I’m coming in just under the wire this month and I’m thrilled that I finally got my act together so that I could finally participate.

To obtain a random cookbook I asked the husband to just grab me one, he assigned numbers to them and then I called out a number which gave me the Essential Pasta Cookbook.   This month Random Recipes had an extra “rule” to pick something from the middle of the cookbook.  Halfway thru the book, on page 152 to be exact, are two delicious pasta recipes: Pasta with Anchovies and Broccoli and Pasta with Creamy Mushroom sauce.  I have done variations of the mushroom sauce more times than I can count meaning that the time had come to cook some anchovies.  I did make one alteration to the recipe, switching the cream for half&half, but everything I everything else exactly as written.

Overall it was a great dish, the broccoli and anchovies really did go well together and it came together extremely quickly.  In the future I’ll probably add more pepper to balance out the salt of this dish, that or half the amount of Parmesan Cheese.  This cookbook is one that tends to stay on the shelf but I think I might need to bring it out more often and see what other goodies are hiding in it.

Make sure to check out Dom’s round-up page for the rest of the entries!

Asian · Secret Recipe Club · Vegan

Our Little Tribe

Baingan Bhartha

I am especially privileged this month to get a third (3rd!!!) Secret Recipe Club post in order to help out an orphan from Group D.   As soon as I saw the recipe page from Enriching your kid! I knew that finding a recipe was going to be easy…and that settling on one was going to be a pain.  Once skipping over the baby recipes I noticed the large number of Indian dishes staring at me, including my favorite Palak Paneer.  I then noticed this delicious tofu dish followed by an International Incident recipe for Biryani, which was for the noodle theme that inspired me to join my first blogging link-up group.  Needless to say this match-up was meant to be!

After much debating back and forth I decided to go with Baingan Bhartha, which is one of Joe’s favorite go-to Indian dishes.  Joe had mentioned wanting to do Indian for lunch today, just more proof that this SRC feature was meant to be.  After a quick stop at the garden to get an eggplant and a few tomatoes, I was in business!  I did make two changes to the recipes, dropping the fresh coriander since I wasn’t sure how much to use and I also roasted the eggplant in half for 30minutes at 450, instead of grilling it for an hour.  I didn’t have the time to get our grill going once we got back from the vet and didn’t think any member of the household would appreciate the oven at such a high heat for an hour.  I didn’t notice any textural difference in the dish from how it’s served at our local Indian restaurant, but it’s possible they take the same short cut as well.   I plan to give this recipe another go using the grilling technique, once I hunt down some Paneer so that Joe and I can have a true Indian feast!

As a quick aside I have never seen or heard of a chayote but after seeing Shirley’s recipe for Chayote with grated coconut I’m going to be stalking the local Asian market until I find it.

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Wish They All

California Enchiladas

The other week I was roaming around Pinterest and saw a pin for an awesome open-faced chicken enchilada that looked amazing.  While my first inclination was to just switch the chicken tofu or chickun, I decided to take the general concept and go with it.  After further “research” I found that these open faced creations are also called California Enchiladas and decided that the time had come for me to give them a whirl.  I decided to avoid the tofu and go with some squash and also decided to make my own salsa verde in order to have more control over the heat involved.   Everything came together in record time, probably because there was nothing to roll!


I wound up being really bad at being even with my squash layering which resulted in some very cheesy end pieces and an insanely deep center.  Not that it stopped any of us

Salsa verde is probably my favorite salsa out there, followed by Texas Caviar (yum!), and one of these days I’m going to remember to save the seeds from some tomatillos so that I can attempt to grow my own.   I also need to remember to save the seeds from my other vegetables so that I can cut down on next year’s gardening costs.  If anyone has any tips for drying seeds please send them my way!

Home Cooking

No Other Place

Balsamic Eggplant with Rosemary Polenta and Dill Sauce

I mentioned before that when Joe and I were in Austria for our honeymoon I was blown away by all the vegetarian restaurants and options available.  I had accepted that this trip would be filled with cheese sandwiches, potatoes, and garlic soup and was okay with that…more than okay with that in the case of the garlic soup.  However we were able to find plenty of places offering us an Austrian take on vegetarian food.  Our lunch at Nice Rice was one such occurrence, and I was sold the moment I saw polenta listed on the menu.  One of my earliest food memories is of my Grandma making her cabbage and polenta, stirring and stirring the polenta to make sure it was perfectly creamy.  There was a large polenta-free gap during my college years, until I finally had my own kitchen and set out to recreate this delicious side dish.  While I have experimented with garlic polenta and cheesy polenta, I hadn’t explored much in the way of adding herbs.  After this amazing lunch in Austria I can promise that will no longer be the case.

This recipe does have a fair amount of components, but the dill sauce can be made ahead of time as can the salad and salad dressing.  I also used my mandolin in order to speed up the eggplant cutting process tho there is no easy/quick way to make the polenta short of buying pre-made.  I prefer to use Indian Head brand for my polenta, their old fashioned corn meal has always come out perfectly for me.  The only change I make to their instructions is subbing in 1/2 cup of milk for some of the water in order to keep it more like Grandma use to make.


I serve this with the salad in the same bowl in order to keep it as close to the original meal as possible.  Sure enough as soon as I had the first bite I was flashing back to Vienna and remembering once again how amazing our honeymoon was.

Salad · Secret Recipe Club

Twice the Fun

Apple Salad

I’m writing this while enjoying the perfect salad on a HOT HOT HOT (almost) summer day.  When I went on Facebook to see what was going on in the SRC world I saw Angie’s post regarding two orphan blogs.  While one was claimed later in the day, Kate’s Kitchen was still alone.  Well, I’m a firm believer in no blogger left behind so jumped at the opportunity to check out another blog and some more delicious recipes.  I had a general idea of what I was going to do for dinner tonight, so I went looking for salads, breads, and desserts that would go with my main dish.  It didn’t take me very long to stumble upon Kate’s Apple Salad and realize the last apples in my fridge now had a calling.  I swung by the store on the way home to grab some extra spinach and I was set!  I did make two slight changes to the recipe, leaving out the almonds to make it nut-free and subbing some apple cider vinegar for the red wine.  The cider substitition made it closer to the original recipe but I have a feeling that either one will go great with this crisp winner.


In order to get the most bite out of the salad I recommend going with tarter apples in order to get more of a contrast.  Mine happened to be Granny Smith but I have a feeling that Pink Ladies would also go perfectly.

I should note that my amazing photographer was not available for this photo so please forgive the quality of the above shot.

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Secret Recipe Club · Simple and In Season

Round Round

 Zucchini Parmesan Crisps

Secret Recipe Club time!!!  I’ve been in the SRC for about a year now and I still get giddy when I see the name of the blog I’ve been given.  This month was no different, and once I saw all the delicious treats featured on Gloria’s Ginger Snap Girl blog I knew it was going to be difficult to narrow down to just one recipe.  In the end I would up doing two, but for this month’s SRC I’m going to focus on her delicious (and seasonal!) Zucchini Parmesan Crisps.  Not only were they quick to make, thank you mandolin, they were the perfect side dish for the bruschetta pasta I made using her tomato basil bruschetta recipe.  I did make a few changes to the recipe, using some leftover homemade rosemary breadcrumbs instead of the panko Gloria used and adding a little bit of minced garlic.


This made two and half cookie sheets worth of crisps, and I recrisped the leftover the next day in my toaster over with no issue.  I just dipped them all directly in the bruschetta sauce and it was absolutely AMAZING!

I’m also submitting this recipe to the June Simple and In-Season Round up since zucchini are slowing starting to take over gardens in my area.  As of last check I have 5(!) zucchini and 6(!!) crookneck squash sunbathing in my garden and signs of at least a dozen more ready to follow.  I have a feeling this recipe will be a summer constant in an attempt to keep them from taking over my kitchen as well.    Simple and In-Season was started one year ago by the amazing Ren of Fabulicious Food and it’s been a great motivator to focus on local/seasonal goodies.  This month Laura of How to Cook Good Food is hosting us, so be sure to head over to her blog to submit your own Simple and In-Season Recipe!


Vegetarian on Vacation

To Remember

Vegetarian on Vacation

When Joe and I started planning our trip to Europe it wasn’t a honeymoon and it also included a few more stops.  It’s amazing how fast things can change!  While the original trip included a few days in Amsterdam we decided to spending more time in Austria and focus on day trips.  Looking back it was the PERFECT decision, since it allowed us to change plans when the weather wasn’t cooperating.  After searching thru a good dozen tour books at Barnes and Noble, I decided that Rick Steve’s series seemed to be the best fit for us with his large focus on walking and biking tours.  I also appreciated the number of vegetarian restaurants he listed in his guide books, something frequently left out by many of the other tour guides.  Looking at the list of options for Vienna, I was shocked by how much things had changed since my first BIG trip to Austria almost 10 years ago.  At that time a request for a vegetarisch meal was meet with wide eyes and a brief moment of panic, and dinners that closely resembled breakfast.  Needless to say I was thrilled to see that more and more restaurants are including vegetarian meals in their menu, and there are also a handful of vegetarian/vegan restaurants starting to pop up in the city.

While in Vienna, we went to two such vegetarian restaurants both of which included a Bio-Bar for a full veggie experience.  The first place we went to was located near the Holocaust Memorial near St. Stephan’s in the heart of Vienna.  The Bio Bar von Antun is located in a quiet square not so far from the hustle and bustle that is Stephanplatz, making it an ideal place for a leisurely meal.  We went for lunch on a Sunday and ordered two of the daily specials.  Joe enjoyed a stuffed potato dish with rosemary polenta and mushrooms, while I enjoyed marinated tofu served with asparagus and dumplings.  The vegetables were amazing, and we later found out that everything was from gathered from a local market.

On our last day in Vienna we wondered down to the Naschmarkt where I indulged in some amazing sour cherries, before going on a hunt for lunch.  After debating the dozens of pop-up restaurants at the market we decided to go wondering down Mariahilferstrasse instead.  Upon the advice from our guide we looked down the side streets for a quieter place to eat and were eventually rewarded.  Nice Rice is located down one of those side streets, right before you reach one of the many H&Ms.  Originally we were heading to the Gasthaus located at the opening of the street but they had just stopped serving lunch.  Seeing the bright green signs advertising Nice Rice, we continued down the alley in search of outdoor seating.  While we weren’t able to find outdoor seating, we were able to get a seat indoors overlooking the alley.  I set about translating the daily special menu while Joe looked over the standard menu, which included an English section.   After confirming with our waitress that everything was peanut free, we decided to indulge in the three course lunch special of the day.  Our meal started with an amazing root vegetable soup that was amazingly creamy for being dairy free.  I was able to gather that leeks, carrots, and sweet potatoes were involved but I have a feeling that there were some other vegetables present as well.  Our salad course was simple and delicious, featuring seasonal vegetables tossed with a simple balsamic vinaigrette.  The main course was a true highlight of the trip, and one that I’m hoping to recreate this week.  It featured rosemary polenta, topped with a layer of goat cheese, followed by a layer of lightly sauted eggplant before being topped with a dill yogurt sauce.  Cherry tomatoes were also tossed in along with some arugula, which gave a nice crispy contrast to the rest of the dish.  Everything about the dish reminded me of the Austrian meals I had before, to the point that I kept having to remind myself that it was vegetarian!

The rest of the trip I enjoyed some of the more standard vegetarian fares, noshing on käsespätzle, dumplings, and my favorite soup: knoblauchcremesuppen.  I have tried recreating this garlic masterpiece more times than I care to admit, but have yet to get it close to the richness of the soup.  I will be giving a try again shortly, and I’m hoping that maybe this time I’ll be able to figure out the secret to the richness of this incredible soup.

I’m not sure when we’ll be able to go back overseas, hopefully sooner than later since there is still so much of Austria I want to show Joe.  I can only imagine how many more vegetarian restaurants will be in Austria by then, and I look forward to trying out as many of them as I can!