Home Cooking · Soup · Vegan

Look at Me

French Onion Soup

We survived Sandy!  Unfortunately so did the annoying holly tree in our front yard, apparently my totally authentic tree removal dance wasn’t very effective.  On a positive note we did keep power throughout the Frankenstorm so we were able to have a mini-Harry Potter marathon which will hopefully continue tonight/tomorrow.  Before the storm hit I went on a baking rampage, figuring if we were going to be stuck in a cold house without power we would need certain supplies.  So with that thought in mind I made a double batch of cookies and some Sourdough Bread, first time  using our starter Gunther.  I had made sourdough bread once before using a kit which resulted in bread that was far from sour.  I decided to take advantage of being stuck at home last week for less than pleasant reasons, and finally make a sourdough starter.  Gunther isn’t very fancy, no buttermilk or cream was used in his creation, but he has survived an entire week and produced his first loaf of bread so we are off to a promising start.

With the creation of the sourdough I wound up with two loaves of bread and decided I needed a recipe that would take care of a few slices.  I also needed a recipe that would keep me off my feet, since the medication I was on at the time made me a little wonky.  Enter: French Onion Soup.  The original plan was for me to start the soup and then hubby would take over, but the potent (and delicious) Spanish Onions caused him to retreat from the kitchen area.  Luckily French Onion Soup requires lots of sitting between steps so everything turned out perfectly!

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In order to keep it vegan friendly, I used the last of my oregano bread and left the sourdough for another day.  Another option for toasting the bread would be broiling it directly on top of the bowls of soup, using French Onion Soup bowls or other oven-to-table safe serving dishes.  I decided to not use my FOS bowls at the last moment due to MIA oven mitts.

52Weeks · Home Cooking · Quick Weeknight Recipes · Vegan

Of Sugar

Roasted Vegetables

Growing up there were a few vegetables that never made an appearance on our table, and when I got older and started cooking for myself I tended to avoid them as well.  Beets, brussel sprouts, and turnips – I figured I had gone 20+ years without them, why change?  I was 25 when I had my first brussel sprout and with that realized they were actually rather good.  Turnips followed shortly after thanks to a great root vegetable recipe that I had to try.  Then there are beets, I try them at least once a year just to insure that I still can’t stand them.  Maybe one day I’ll try them and, like brussel sprouts, find them enjoyable instead of torturous. When that day comes, if it comes, I’ll be sure to post about it!  Until then I’ll enjoy eating those “other vegetables” that are typically ignored.  This recipe doesn’t mask them under cheese or hide them in a sauce sauce or disguise them as something they aren’t, which is why it works so well.  The bitterness of the brussel sprouts plays off the sweet crispness of the carrots with the turnips in the middle insuring that everyone in the roasting pan plays nice.

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I’m submitted this to /52weeks for Roasting Week, and hope that the lack of meat will be overlooked.  I’m looking forward to the vegetarian themed week coming up, even if every week is vegetarian week on my blog.

Dessert

Chapel

Chocolate Mousse

This past week Joe and I celebrated six months of marriage, because yes I am that dorky.  I decided that I wanted to do a special Joe-centric dessert that was more than just my standard creme brulee.  I started scanning my cookbooks for something that would wasn’t too complicated but still special enough the occasion.  I debated doing a Chocolate Cake, but didn’t think I could top the one my sister just did for Joe’s birthday.  With that I decided to start focusing on desserts similar to creme brulee, but with a chocolate component.  That narrowed it down to pots de creme and mousse, and in the end I decided to go with the mousse.

My experience with mousse is extremely limited, had it once in High School and that was it.  However that experience came back to haunt me when it came to the first batch.  See when my friend in HS made the mousse she was slightly off with some of her measurements which resulted in a very boozey, and delicious, chocolate milkshake concoction.  Stephanie’s French class may night have appreciated the oops, but our geometry class was more than willing to help her take are of the extras.   I certainly didn’t intend to recreate that mistake but that’s certainly what happened with the first batch.  Luckily I split the recipe so I still had two wine glasses full of perfect mousse.  I’m pretty sure my issues had to do with not blending the chocolate long enough and using cold eggs.  For the second batch I allowed the liquid to double in the blender and used room temperature eggs.

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Even the non-set mousse still found a home and tasted similar to a Kahlua milkshake, which is not a bad thing in my opinion.

Home Cooking · Quick Weeknight Recipes · Vegan

Shark Under Water

Quinoa with Acorn Squash

Another new seasonal vegetable!  Acorn squash was once of the seasonal squashes I had always seen at the market, but since it’s normally right next to the butternut squash I would skip over it.  This time I went straight for it and grabbed a large white squash.  Typically I got for the mid-range options but since I had two recipes to try I knew I would need a bigger than normal baby.  Once I got home I split it down the middle, wrapping half and placing in the fridge for later in the week.  The other half was seeded, reserving the seeds for a tasty late-night snack as well as a topping for the quinoa.  I had debated how to cook the squash, before deciding to saute this half and bake the second half so that I could try out the two most popular methods.   The “base recipe” is one I have used many, many, many times with other gourds that way I could get a good comparison between the acorn squash and those I have had in the past.

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I wasn’t impressed with how well the squash didn’t stand up to the recipe, but the taste was still amazing which is what really matters.  At the last moment I decided to top it with some Greek Yogurt, just to see what it would do and I really enjoyed the creaminess it added to the dish.  As a bonus there is also a coupon on the linked website, so great excuse to give it a try if you haven’t! (btw this company has no idea who I am, just noticed the coupon offer when I went to find a link to the brand I used)

For the seeds after making sure they were dry and clean, I coated them in olive oil and tossed them in a mixture of paprika, cayenne powder, and salt and then sauted them in EVOO.  I cooked them until they were a nice golden brown shade, stirring frequently to prevent popping and burning.

52Weeks · Casserole · Mexican · Random Recipes · Slow Cooker

Trapped In

Mexican Casserole

For the most part I’m pretty good about buying things and then immediately using them, partially because I like a clean kitchen and partially because my lack of a pantry demands that.   I write my grocery lists and menus for the week on Saturday, and do my best to stick to those occasionally allowing some extra staples to sneak in.  Every now and then however I’ll get got up in some “sale” going on and over fill my pantry with an ingredient that I use but not enough to really justify buying three or four cans of.  Coconut milk frequently falls in this list, as do un-salted canned diced tomatoes, and bags of all types of rice.  This results in a stuffed cabinet that prevents me from being able to see the item I really need (MIA: pineapple chunks) which results in more over purchasing.  It’s a vicious cycle but this month I was able to take care of a fair amount of the bulk after being motivated by October’s Random Recipe challenge.

This month we were challenged to grab an item lurking in the back of the cupboard and DO something with it.  The first thing I grabbed, some black bean soup, wound up being extremely expired so that went straight to the bin.  The second item was a can of Rotel Diced Tomatoes – Original recipe, which I was very excited about.  For cookbooks I decided to utilize my oft neglected Slow Cooker cookbook to find the perfect recipe for these tomatoes.   Enter: Mexican Casserole – from the main dishes section.

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I did have to make some dietary changes to the recipe, for the original recipe substitute the black beans for ground beef, and also finished it off in the oven since I didn’t trust my slow cooker to properly crisp the chips.   The best part about this recipe is that it’s extremely versatile, and has the potential to clear the cabinet of more than one neglected can.  One of the side panel variations suggested using velveeta or a similar cheese product in place of the shredded cheese, something that many of my friends have lurking in their cabinets.  All in all this dish was a great success, which is why I’m also sending this over to /52weeks for Casserole Week.

Home Cooking · Soup

Fits Just Right

Cheesy Brassica Soup

My kitchen now has LIGHT!  Since buying my house many moons ago I had been dealing with a rather dark interior galley style kitchen that was lit by one 4×4 recessed light.  This recessed light was not one of those nice “let there be light” versions, but rather the kind frequently found over the shower in middle school locker rooms across the nation.  So not only did I suffer from no light, I also had to deal with everything being tinged a sickly yellow shade.  Not anymore!!!  Now my kitchen has three (3!!) gorgeous modern normal recessed lights and I can finally see what I’m doing in the kitchen at all  hours of the day.  There are a few more things left on the kitchen to-do list, but having these new lights is enough to satisfy me for now.  For some reason it seems that doing one project seems to push me towards other projects, many of which are on the don’t really need but man would it be nice list.

This soup was one of the first things I made in my “new” kitchen, and with that I was finally able to appreciate how white cauliflower really is.    I also wanted to cook something a little different than normal, using some new-to-me herbs and another attempt at a cauliflower soup.  I number of years ago I tried recreating a delicious Curried Cauliflower soup and failed dramatically, killing my old blender and a nice white sweater in the process.  Since soupgate, I had avoided using cauliflower in anything but basic stir frys for fear of recreating the crime scene that featured cauliflower soup on the walls…ceiling…and dogs.  My new kitchen gave me the strength to get over my issues, knowing that with my new lights I would be able to see if the blender lid wasn’t fully sealed.   This time, I would be eating the soup instead of wearing it!

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Perfection!  I served this with some left over English Muffin bread to make sure none of the soup escaped by hanging on to the side of the bowl.   In the end I did decide to use my immersion blender instead of my pretty pink blender, just didn’t feel like tempting fate.  If you decide to add salt or pepper, make sure to wait until after adding the cheddar cheese to avoid a salty mess.

52Weeks · Home Cooking · Slow Cooker

Inside My Head

Potato Chowder

Happy Wednesday!  If my counting is correct this post marks the 200th (!!!!) recipe posted on Dancing Veggies!  When I started just over two years ago I honestly thought it would be something I would do for a month or four and then I would move on to something else.  I’ve never been great at commiting to a project long term, call it ADHD or just a general lack of patience.  However this blog has become my outlet and my way of meeting so many amazing people.  From my first blog group to those I’m currently in, I’ve been able to “visit” with people in places I had only read about.   I’ve also been forced to go outside of my comfort zone and cook cuisines and with ingredients that never would have happened otherwise.

This recipe doesn’t push my comfort zone but does come from my favorite type of cooking challenge, the ones that make you think outside the box.  This week the theme for /52weeks is “comfort food”, which is about as abstract as concept as one can see in the cooking world.  This concept really will vary from person to person and culture to culture since comfort food in one area could be considered haute cuisine in another area.  To me comfort food is something that warms me up while trigging some form of memories.  The first things that come to mind are pasta and various Austrian cookies, but since I’ve already posted a fair amount of those I had to really dig around for something new.  While I don’t remember having potato chowder growing up, chowder is in many ways a quidessential comfort food.   Not only does chowder warm you up, there is something about it that just makes my world a better place.   Chowder also reminds me of college, both fish the bacon out of the various chowders Chef Bob made as well as the cans of potato corn chowder I kept stashed in my room for days when I didn’t have the time to make the trek to the dining hall.   I originally thought about doing a Potato Corn Chowder, but in the end decided to go for a Potato Vegetable Chowder, since I had a fair amount of veggies left over from various meals earlier in the week.   I had to take careful notes the entire time, since normally a recipe gets tested a few times before I post.  However this time the stars aligned and the recipe turned out perfectly the first time, something that rarely happens in my kitchen.

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I served this with some leftover English Muffin Bread but anything would go great with this hearty soup, or nothing at all!  It should also be noted that I enjoy my soup on the thick side, for a thinner soup add more water or half&half depending on personal taste.  If using canned corn can also add the liquid from the can to enhance the corn flavor.   This recipe can also be easily adapted for a slow cooker, just follow step one using a skillet and then transfer to a slow cooker.   Cook on low for 5-7hrs or on high for 2-3hours, before blending and adding the cream.  Then leave on high for at least 30minutes before serving!