Appetizer · Dessert · Gluten Free · Quick Weeknight Recipes · Secret Recipe Club · Side Dish · Vegan

In my Head

Sugared Wine Grapes & 

Garlic Chive Fries 

fries wine-graps

Welcome to a special themed edition of the Secret Recipe club!!!  Whenever a month has 5 weeks the 5th week gets a special theme and is open to members across all of the groups!  The special theme for today is Picnic/BBQ which is rather perfect for Memorial Day.  I was given The Cookaholic Wife which is run by Nichole who is “owned” by Gidget and Itty von Kat – her adorable cats!  I might be a dog person but totally understand the concept of being owned by a pet 😀  I totally failed this month at picking one recipe – but it’s a special day so that makes it okay to do two, right?!?!?  First up: garlic-chive fries!  Garlic + potatoes = WINNER!!!  We had friends over for dinner and these fries were devoured in minutes – and for once my hubby didn’t feel the need to coat his fries in Old Bay.   Next up: Frozen Wine Grapes.  These were the dessert for the same dinner and omgoodness they just made the entire dinner seem so fancy.  The best part is I was able to make them during baby’s morning nap, freeing me up in the afternoon to tidy up the place.  Love love love anything that can be done in advance!

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With the fries the only change I made was using minced garlic in place of the garlic salt while the grapes were perfect as is so head over to Nichole’s blog for that recipe!!!   These grapes could also be added to a sangria to give it an extra punch or as a practical alternative to a travel ice bag to make sure your food stays cool while heading to a bbq or picnic.

A bonus reason why you should check out Nichole’s blog?!?!  She’s another Maryland blogger!  I’ll overlook that she prefers Delaware to MD’s Eastern Shore, after all nobody is perfect!  I’m actually finishing this post up from MD’s Eastern Shore so I might be a bit partial.

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52Weeks · Asian · Gluten Free · One-Pot · Vegan

In the Saddle

Japanese Curry

japanese_curry

In an attempt to get my kitchen mojo back, I’ve once again joined the /52weeksofcooking group in the hopes that their weekly challenge would get me going again.  They are now on week 10 while I’m just now doing my second post – needless to say I’m still a work in progress!  This week the challenge was Japanese and while I debated doing a tempura I couldn’t get over the idea of trying a Japanese curry similar to one I had in Pittsburgh a few summers ago.  Luckily the internet provided me with lots of ideas, so I took the common ingredients from all of them and then winged the rest of it!

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I could say this was a huge hit but that doesn’t begin to cover it – this is one of the only curries where husband has wanted seconds!  He couldn’t get over how savory it was – all the flavors working together.  So good he didn’t believe it was vegan, BIG bonus there.

Make sure to come back Monday for February’s BONUS Secret REcipe Club post.  It’s the 5th Monday of the month and this time the special theme is Spring & Bunnies.

Gluten Free · Side Dish · TripleSBites · Vegan

For Your Touch

VooDoo Fries

voodoo_fries

I can’t believe today is already day 4 of TripleSBites – I’ve had so much fun thinking up recipes that fit the theme of “sexy, saucy, spicy” that I just want to keep going!  The event ends on Monday and my last recipe is a BIG one involving special equipment in order to pull it off – go big or go home right?  Today’s special ingredient also fits the description of “going big” as VooDoo Chef’s RED spice is out of this world!  I first tested it out last week while making my loaded potato soup, adding a bit of smokiness to the dish, but today’s dish really allowed the spices to shine all on their own.

sauces
Saucy Everything Mayo, Roasted Beet Dressing, Caribbean Hot Sauce, Chai Sweet Chili Sauce, VooDoo Chef RED, Salsa de Casa – WahOo Sponsors!!!

There’s no denying that I enjoy potatoes, a quick ctrl+f of my recipe page will quickly prove this point – and with that I’m always trying to find new ways of working with them.  After making the soup, I wanted to try the spices with potatoes in a more intense pairing and with that debating doing a gratin of some form.  Then I caught a glimpse of a very old commercial, and remember the awesomeness of Shake ‘N Bake.  I might be a vegetarian now, but as a kid I loved helping my mom toss the chicken in a bake and shake it all up.  While they did eventually release a potato version, I don’t remember ever trying it – but figured that if it worked for them it would work for me.

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Doing the shaking in two parts really works the best – otherwise the spices and the oil tend to just clump at the bottom of the bag and not join the party.  I served this with some awesome vegan mayo that I got from another TripleSBites sponsor!  Being able to enjoy a saucy spicy mayo that was free of gelatin was fantastic, the consistency is a bit looser than a standard mayo but oh my goodness is it every tasty.   Intensity Academy also offers a fantastic Chai Sweet Chili sauce that I also received as a gift, but so far I’ve only used it on a non-vegetarian dinner that I served the husband (it was a hit!).

Note: While I did receive the VooDoo Chef RED spices for free as part of participating in TripleSBites, I was not required to use or mention the product outside of acknowledging receipt of the product.  All opinions are totally my own.

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Casserole · Gluten Free · Quick Weeknight Recipes · Simple and In Season · Vegan

Without this Fear

Root Vegetable “Lasagna”

Potato Au Gratin

Another day, another delicious recipe!  I was hoping to start prepping some delicious spring-themed treats but apparently mother nature is not quite ready for that.  As I’m writing this the temperature is preparing to drop some 40 degrees, and with the forecasted wind chill we’ll be back in the single digits.  So instead of thinking up ways to use the asparagus that will soon be arriving in the market, I’m back to my winter favorites: root vegetables (and mushrooms)!  This dish doesn’t really have a name as it’s a bit of a hybrid between an au gratin and a vegetable lasagna.  While lasagna noodles could be used I’m trying to think outside the pasta box – and so I decided to use pan fried potatoes as my “pasta” with various vegetables in between.

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Once plated this isn’t the prettiest of dishes, lots of white with a bit of green and orange for color – but it’s delicious!  I served it with some crusty sourdough, but anything with a good crust will do well when it comes to getting every last bit of the sauce.  I’m sending this on over to the amazing Ren who hosts Simple and in Season, and I’m crossing my fingers and hoping that winter will soon be over.  As much as I enjoy root vegetables, I’m ready for some fresh greens and spring onions!

52Weeks · Breakfast · Quick Weeknight Recipes · Vegan

Dancing Thru

Brik/Borek

Borek

When I saw the challenge for /52weeksofcooking was North African cuisine, I was a bit nervous.  Most of my recipes draw on meals I’ve had or meals I’ve seen prepared on one of the many cooking reality shows on TV.  While I’ve prepared a few tagines, that’s really the limit of my N. African exposure so I set out on an internet search.  First I decided to focus on nations in Central North Africa, in order to avoid the temptation to do another tagine or something that might be considered more Middle Eastern.  Which is what led me to finding the Algerian Brik (or Borek), which seems to come in many varieties across N. Africa thru the Middle East and up in to South Eastern Europe/South Western Asia.  After reading a few articles on the history and origin of this easy to transport dish I realized I had a different version of it while in NYC last winter.  So with my new found knowledge, and a half dozen recipes, I set out to figure out the best way to conquer this dish while living in temporary housing.  I decided to use pre-made phyllo dough and got a variety of ingredients for the fillings.  Previous experiences with phyllo dough led me to go for the flat “panini” style we had in NYC but I’m hoping one day to have the skills to make these cigar or “eggroll” style.

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I love dishes like this, quick and simple with a million different preparations.  Once I’m fully moved in to our new place I’m hoping to give the fried version a try, though I think I’ll stick to pre-cooking the eggs if I use them.  I served this with a bit of Greek Yogurt, though sour cream would also work – or nothing at all!

Appetizer · Breakfast · Quick Weeknight Recipes · Secret Recipe Club · Vegan

Potato, Potato

Aloo Tiki

Aloo Tiki

Time for October’s installment of Secret Recipe Club!! This month I was assigned the amazing Camilla who blogs over at Culinary Adventures with Cam.  I was immediately blown away by how many amazing international dishes she has her blog, including recipe from Malaysia, Kiribati, and Estonia.  I came oh so close to trying the rhubarb cake but the farmer’s markets were working against me so I went for my back-up recipe: Aloo Tiki from Pakistan.  I loved that the recipe was vegetarian to begin with, and by leaving out the egg wash I was able to make these appetizers vegan friendly as well.

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These were amazing, both with our dinner curry and as breakfast the next morning.  For breakfast I paired them with applesauce, my mom went for the sour cream, while my sister enjoyed them naked.  Any way you dress them up (or not!) they were AMAZING!

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52Weeks · Home Cooking · Salad · Side Dish · Vegan

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.

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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.