Appetizer · Home Cooking · Secret Recipe Club · Side Dish · Vegan

Felt Like Springtime

Sweet Potato Falafels

with Garlic Hummus

Sweet Potato Falafel

Welcome to March’s Secret Recipe Club Post!  It’s a little strange how excited I get when I find out what blog I’ve been assigned, and this month was no different.  This month I was given Isabelle’s Crumb Blog and I was hooked from the moment I saw her intro.  This “coffee-chugging, booty-shaking, bargain-shopping, cookbook-collecting, photo-snapping, trucker-swearing, farmers-market-loving self-taught cook with a Mister and two cats to feed” chick has a blog chock full of recipes, for which I can overlook her being a cat person.  I want to say I pinned close to 30 recipes are my first go thru, before finally narrowing things down to the top 5.  In the end it became a battle between Saag Paneer and Sweet Potato Falafels, with the inability to find any paneer being the deciding factor.  I loved that the falafel recipe was really three recipes in one, though in the end I only did two of the three.  I have attempted, and failed, at making falafels before but these held together amazingly well making it super easy to fry them up.

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I served these without the pita per husband’s request along with some vinegar carrots, cucumber, greek yogurt, and (of course) the garlic hummus from the original post.   They were delicious and as a bonus heated up rather well the next day for lunch!  Needless to say another awesome recipe thanks to SRC.

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Vegan

Different Dimension

Goulash gone Vegetarian

We survived the storm and more importantly the vegetable garden survived the storm.  In checking for damage Joe harvested an eggplant, which became part of a vegetable appitizer I brought to a girls night in party.  The only sign that anything had happened in our yard were some branches and flat mint, but I’m not too worried about it.  Luckily my neighborhood came out mostly unscathed with one house losing some shingles, another a drainpipe, and a few missing trees.  When I went out to the girls night party I got to survey the surrounding area and realized how luckily my street was compared to people just a block or two over where trees were on fences, cars, and houses.  Only a few minutes away some people are still without power and being told that it could be Friday before things are back to normal.  Can only hope and pray that the temperatures stay down so that the power crews can do their job as quickly and safely as possible, and so that the people and pets without power aren’t completly miserable.

While we were in Austria we did indulge in meat on a few occasions, something I will deny to my doctor if/when the time comes.  I have always been a fan of Goulash, the rich tomato goodness combined with tender beef tips and then served over Spaetzle, Knoedel, or some other starchy goodness.  Amazingly enough I had never made this before, vegetarian or otherwise, and once we got back from our trip I knew I had to correct that oversight.  I debated back and forth regarding the meat substitute before finally deciding on kielbasa style tofurkey sausages.  I searched around the internet for recipes before finally deciding to just go for it, since most of the recipes I found were fusion dishes and I really wanted to be as close as possible to what we had on our honeymoon.   This dish could also be easily adapted to the slow cooker,  just sear the meat first before adding everything and cook on low for 4-5hours or high for 2hrs.

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Perfection!  This is something that will easily make the winter recipe rotation, especially once I figure out how to make spaetzle.   I have a feeling that once I find the right tool things will go smoother in that area, just have to figure out which one I want.

Quick Weeknight Recipes

Think Back On

Eggplant Feta

The wedding is a week away and my brain is more than slightly fried at this point, so the testing of new recipes has not been going as planned.  I’m hoping that with all the Farmer’s Markets opening in the next few week that I’ll be able to get back on track.  I was hoping to do a number of recipes featuring winter/early spring produce such as kale, spinach, chard, and other leafy greens.  This recipe on the other hand uses my old faithful: eggplant.  Instead of experimenting with the main ingredient, I decided to experiment with different spices.  Everything turned out perfectly plus the recipe came together in record time, making it perfect for crazy weekday nights.

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I am keeping my fingers crossed that I’ll be able to work on a few more recipes before next weekend…

Also a very happy first birthday to my favorite nephew!

Vegan

Looking Under

Spanish Quinoa

I’ve been experimenting lately with some of the cookbooks I got over the past holiday season.  I had already flagged the recipes I wanted to try and have s-l-o-w-l-y checking some of them off the list.  Last week I had planned to give the Paella recipe from Plenty and thought I had all of the ingredients.  Apart halfway thru the cutting prep work I realized that was not the case.  I was out of short-grain rice, saffron (boo),  and cooking sherry…not so good.  So I opened the pantry to check for what I did have: dry red wine, quinoa, and lots of chopped vegetables.  For a moment I thought about chickening out and just doing a stir fry but figured why not give it a go?  Worst case scenario: Chinese Take Out.  Best case scenario: awesome new recipe.  I decided to take the plunge and started tossing things in, tasting along the way, until I came up with this delicious new dinner idea.

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Sometimes experimenting can go horribly wrong but sometimes accidental experiments can turn out very tasty.  The next day I added some sour cream to the dish, which wound up being the perfect addition since quinoa tends to dry up quickly.

So far all of the actual recipes from this book have worked out wonderfully, with only small seasoning tweaks needed.  If anyone is in search of a great vegetarian cookbook I give this one a big thumbs up.   Quick disclaimer: I am getting nothing for the above endorsement I just really enjoy this cookbook.  I’m also hoping to give them a try when Joey and I are on our honeymoon but we shall see if that works out!

Secret Recipe Club

Now Hush Hush

Eggplant Parmesan Pizza

Secret Recipe Club

Greetings one and all! Another month has flown by and it’s time for a brand new Secret Recipe Club recipe 🙂 I have to admit that one of the highlights of my blog month is getting the new blog assignment from my fearless host Amanda and checking out all the cool new recipes I can pick from.  This month I was assigned the Pictures of all my Princesses blog run by Jules.   I was immediately drawn in by the cute header and set out to find the perfect new recipe to try.  I wasn’t sure what recipe I wanted to try or even what type of recipe I was in the mood for so I started at the beginning and worked by way up.  I noted a few recipes that sounded interested before spotting the PERFECT recipe for my household: Eggplant Sauce!!!  Not only did the recipe give instructions for serving this sauce three different ways, one of them included a way to adapt it for pizza.  I was sold and quickly started collecting all the ingredients I needed.  I did cheat and use my bread machine to prep my crust, but I have found that my blood pressure tends to do best when I’m not trying to kneed dough.  I did make some slight modifications to make it vegetarian friendly and also left out the cream since I felt that much dairy might be a little much.   Please check out the original recipe if you don’t have the restriction and if you want to see the other ways you can use this incredibly versatile sauce.

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This dish was a HUGE hit in my house, and as an added bonus it gave off an amazing aroma.  To enhance the flavors I used an oregano pizza crust recipe and it worked perfectly.  The little bit of sauce left over was also the perfect dip for the pizza crust ensuring that not a single drop was wasted!

 


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Slow Cooker

Gonna Be

Israeli Eggplant Stew w/Poached Egg

or Shakshuka

I know I’ve mentioned it before, but recently Joe and I went to NYC for a belated birthday celebration.  While there we got lunch at Hummus Place, a local chain that specializes in hummus and other Middle Eastern delicacies.  I decided to branch out and order something that I had never heard of before, Shakshuka.  According to Wikipedia shakshuka is “is a dish of eggs poached in a sauce of tomatoes, chili peppers, onions, often spiced with cumin.”  The dish I got came with two eggs over easy and eggplant and it completely blew me out of the water.  All of the tastes combined to make an amazingly rich and filling dish, with everything working together in delicious harmony.  I knew right away that I wanted to give this dish a go once I got home, which is when the Googling started.   I borrowed some from the dish I tried at Hummus Place while adding spices of my own that I thought would work.  I doubt this version is anything like a traditional Shakshuka but it is insanely good and comes together with little work, just a bit of cutting.  I also put my slowcooker to work, which resulted in some great smells when I got home from work.

Ingredients (serves 4)

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, diced
  • 1 medium vidalia onion, diced
  • 1 lb eggplant. cubed
  • 1 green pepper, sliced
  • 1 cup diced tomatoes, with juices
  • 1 cup whole stewed tomatoes, with juices
  • 1/2 cup vegetable stock
  • 5 basil leaves, chopped
  • 1/2 tbsp paprika
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 fresh eggs (optional)
Directions:
  1. Heat the olive oil in a saute pan over medium heat, then add the garlic and onion.  Cook for 5-7minutes, or until onion starts to turn golden.  Add the eggplant and the green peppers, and cook for an additional 10minutes until the eggplant starts to become soft.  
  2. Add the onion, garlic, eggplant, and peppers to the slow cooker, along with the tomatoes and spices.  
  3. Cook on low for 6hours, adding more liquid as desired.  
  4. Turn slow cooker to high for the final 30 minutes, adding more seasonings as needed. 
  5. Meanwhile, poach the eggs in either a deep frying pan or a small sauce pan.  I used this guide and it worked great!  Serve the stew in bowls and then top with the poached eggs.

For those in a hurry this dish can also be prepared directly on the stove top, just allow the dish to simmer for at least 45minutes.  The other advantage of cooking on the stove top is that is allows for the eggs to be poached directly in the dish.  Yummy!