When I saw that /52weeksofcooking was heading to Spain for their weekly challenge, I knew I would have a hard time picking one recipe. I toyed with the idea of making a vegetarian paella, but in the end decided to go with that similar yet slightly less well know (at least to me) dish known as Fideua. Many sites refer to this as “pasta paella” instead of rice, which made the Italian in me very happy. As with paella, this is normally not a vegetarian friendly dish but it is one that can be converted over rather easily! I decided to use chickpeas as the protein, along with a variety of mushrooms, but soy chorizo or tofurkey would also work.
This dish requires a bit of attention at first, but once the pasta is added there is plenty of time to enjoy some wine – or let the dogs out! I enjoyed mine naked while Joey topped his with some fresh Parmesan cheese
Cabbage & Polenta
Kitchen is set up, unpacked, and finally usable – and with that the first recipe from our new place in Baltimore! While it took a fair bit of time to get to this point, it feels like things are finally get back on track with new routines and ways to do things. With that I have been cooking in our new place but I’ve been relying on old favorites, things that I could easily put together while also working on the million other projects going on. This recipe falls in to the category of old favorite, as I grew up eating it, but it took a bit of time to figure out how to make this vegetarian. Cabbage and polenta was a family tradition, we knew that if my Grandma was visiting we would have this filling dish at least once. I attempted to make it a few months ago ala veggie but the resulting taste just wasn’t the one I remembered. I debated using a meat substitute but in the end I decided to stick with the vegetables and adjust the seasonings.
Growing up my Grandma would have made the polenta on the stove top, but I went for baked polenta in order to save time and energy. I also added 1/2 tbsp of dried oregano to the recipe to give an extra kick – which worked perfectly!
When one is a vegetarian blogger seafood challenges require thinking a little outside the box. After all what most people picture when they hear seafood is NOT vegetarian and while at one point I did include those recipes I don’t really make that anymore. So with /r/52weeksofcooking’s seafood challenge I really had two options: fake seafood or using a sea-based vegetable. I debated recreating Richard Blais’s banana scallops but while those are really outside the box they aren’t exactly challenging so I decided to keep looking. Then while reading a Washington Post article I saw a recipe for vegan sushi and instantly latched on to giving sushi a try. I liked the idea of using mushrooms for one of the fillings, which is what WP had listed, but switching the suggested citrus soy sauce for a sesame ginger sauce. For the other filling I decided to use sweet potatoes, which are right there with eggplant on my must have in kitchen at all times list. I decided to make a garlic ginger soy sauce for the sweet potatoes which resulted in a very crowded stove top.
I did cheat a little in using Alton Brown’s sushi rice recipe, figuring I had enough work figuring out the right sauce to vegetable ratio. For rolling the sushi I watched a few videos to get the idea and used plastic wrap to make up for my lack of a mat. I served the sushi with some siracha sauce since fresh wasabi is not an easy to locate ingredient at my local market, and also skipped the soy sauce. I was surprised in how easy these were to roll, even without a bamboo mat!
Stuffed Shells Casserole
I’ll admit it, sometimes I don’t want to cook or at least don’t want to spend hours in the kitchen. For example I’m a huge fan of stuffed shells but they take much longer than I’m willing to spend on the average work night. So I decided to cut a few corners and make a stuffed shell casserole with all of the flavor and half the prep time. To further speed up the process I used some frozen pomodoro sauce, leftover form a large batch I made in my slowcooker. I swear one of the best things about my slow cooker is the ability to prepare huge batches of sauce (and other yummies!) and saving them for the future. I simply placed the frozen sauce in the fridge before I left for work and then zapped it a bit to finish the process, adding a few more leaves of basil to make sure it had the right taste.
The photo might not be the best, but it’s delicious and quick and easy – which is all that matters after a long day at work. I served this up with some oregano bread but would be just fine on it’s own.
Veggies and Dumplings Soup
Welcome to the first Secret Recipe Club reveal day of 2013! It felt soooo strange not posting something in December but with the craziness of the holidays I’m sort of glad there was a break in order to insure I could focus on my assigned blog. This month I was sent over to Daily Dish Recipes hosted by the amazing Nicole. In reading about Nicole I also found out that her daughter has her own food blog, as well as an adorable hedgehog, so kitchen skills seem to run in the family! Since I had more than the usual amount of time to find a recipe I decided to take my time and really explore all that Nicole had to offer. For the longest time I was leaning towards her candy section, because who doesn’t want to make homemade lollipops??? However after reflecting on the extreme amount of sugar I have ingested over the holidays I decided to refocus on all of her savory options. This led me to her two Chicken and Dumpling posts, and some hard core inspiration to make a vegetarian version. I took a little bit from both posts in order to come up with my recipe, and it was a HUGE hit! The from-scratch dumplings were delicious, the perfect meal for a rather rainy winter day.
This is one of those stews that could be done with so many different vegetables, I have every intention of trying it with some roasted winter vegetables! There is nothing like a delicious dumpling soaked in a simple stew to make the winter a little warmer. Make sure to check out all of the amazing SRC recipes this month 🙂
Mushroom Stuffed Shells
I apologize for the lack of posting, work and wedding have been kicking my ass and unfortunately my time in the kitchen has been suffering. While I’m still cooking, I’m falling back to my old faithfuls. This recipe is one that I’ve been making for years but I decided to try something different this time and stuff it with more than just yummy cheese. I also pulled out one of my favorite sauce recipes and splurged for some fresh basil since my summer supply has long since been depleted. I did use canned tomatoes instead of fresh, but that was a judgement call after seeing the sad tomatoes at the store. I try to avoid using canned produce as much as possible, but sometimes it has to be done. Fingers crossed my vegetable garden will do great this year and I’ll be able to try canning some of my own vegetables. Those are some canned vegetables I could certainly get behind!
In wedding news, things are coming together and I thin I have everything figured out at this point. We did our tasting this past Monday and it was amazing! Fingers crossed my guests will enjoy everything as much as we did, tho I’m not worried since we have such a wide variety of thing for them to try.