Archive for the ‘Vegetarian’ Category

Daring Bakers: Lavash

September 28, 2008

I decided to come out of blogging hiding to write about this month’s Daring Bakers challenge. When I saw that the challenge was making Lavash, an Armenian cracker, I was not so excited because I’m not a big cracker person. I was even less excited when I read that we had to make a vegan dip or spread to go with the crackers. VEGAN?!? I’m the furthest thing from a vegan you will ever find! I can’t live without my meat and I DEFINITELY can’t live with cheese or eggs!!!

Despite my reservations, I decided to suck it up and give it a shot. After all, being a Daring Baker is all about being challenged right? Well, I’m glad I didn’t pass on this month because it actually turned out to be a great experience! I really enjoyed the Lavash and I never would have thought it could be so easy to make your own crackers. Plus, I love the rustic look of the broken apart shards that you get. These would be great for a party!

I made my Lavash with whole wheat flour and I sprinkled Kosher salt, dried rosemary, and sesame or poppy seeds on top. I really loved this combination of toppings! The first batch of Lavash didn’t turn out as crispy as I wanted (parts of it were more like pita bread) so I learned my lesson with the second batch and rolled it out even thinner. The second batch turned out perfectly!

For the vegan spread I decided to improvise and make a very simple Sun Dried Tomato and Artichoke Spread. Basically it’s just a can of artichokes, a few sun dried tomatoes packed in oil, a splash of the sun dried tomato oil, juice from half a lemon, salt to taste, and about a tablespoon of olive oil. I just threw everything in a food processor and ground it up until it was pretty smooth. It turned out suprisingly good for being so simple and not have any dairy products in it!

Thanks to Natalie from Gluten A Go Go, and co-host Shel, of Musings From the Fishbowl for challenging me to step outside my non-vegan box!


RECIPE – Recipe Reference:  The Bread Baker’s Apprentice: Mastering The Art of Extraordinary Bread, by Peter Reinhart. Ten Speed Press, Berkeley, CA.  Copyright 2001.  ISBN-10: 1-58008-268-8, ISBN-13: 978-158008-268-6.

Here’s a simple formula for making snappy Armenian-style crackers, perfect for breadbaskets, company and kids…It is similar to the many other Middle Eastern and Northern African flatbreads known by different names, such as mankoush or mannaeesh (Lebanese), barbari (Iranian), khoubiz or khobz (Arabian), aiysh (Egyptian), kesret and mella (Tunisian), pide or pita (Turkish), and pideh (Armenian).  The main difference between these breads is either how thick or thin the dough is rolled out, or the type of oven in which they are baked (or on which they are baked, as many of these breads are cooked on stones or red-hot pans with a convex surface)…

The key to a crisp lavash,…is to roll out the dough paper-thin.  The sheet can be cut into crackers in advance or snapped into shards after baking.  The shards make a nice presentation when arranged in baskets.

Makes 1 sheet pan of crackers

* 1 1/2 cups (6.75 oz) unbleached bread flour or gluten free flour blend (If you use a blend without xanthan gum, add 1 tsp xanthan or guar gum to the recipe)
* 1/2 tsp (.13 oz) salt
* 1/2 tsp (.055 oz) instant yeast
* 1 Tb (.75 oz) agave syrup or sugar
* 1 Tb (.5 oz) vegetable oil
* 1/3 to 1/2 cup + 2 Tb (3 to 4 oz) water, at room temperature
* Poppy seeds, sesame seeds, paprika, cumin seeds, caraway seeds, or kosher salt for toppings

1.  In a mixing bowl, stir together the flour, salt yeast, agave, oil, and just enough water to bring everything together into a ball.  You may not need the full 1/2 cup + 2 Tb of water, but be prepared to use it all if needed.

2.  For Non Gluten Free Cracker Dough:  Sprinkle some flour on the counter and transfer the dough to the counter.  Knead for about 10 minutes, or until the ingredients are evenly distributed.  The dough should pass the windowpane test (see … ong-Enough for a discription of this) and register 77 degrees to 81 degrees Fahrenheit. The dough should be firmer than French bread dough, but not quite as firm as bagel dough (what I call medium-firm dough), satiny to the touch, not tacky, and supple enough to stretch when pulled.  Lightly oil a bowl and transfer the dough to the bowl, rolling it around to coat it with oil.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap.


2.  For Gluten Free Cracker Dough:  The dough should be firmer than French bread dough, but not quite as firm as bagel dough (what I call medium-firm dough), and slightly tacky. Lightly oil a bowl and transfer the dough to the bowl, rolling it around to coat it with oil.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap.

3. Ferment at room temperature for 90 minutes, or until the dough doubles in size. (You can also retard the dough overnight in the refrigerator immediately after kneading or mixing).

4.  For Non Gluten Free Cracker Dough:  Mist the counter lightly with spray oil and transfer the dough to the counter.  Press the dough into a square with your hand and dust the top of the dough lightly with flour.  Roll it out with a rolling pin into a paper thin sheet about 15 inches by 12 inches.  You may have to stop from time to time so that the gluten can relax.  At these times, lift the dough from the counter and wave it a little, and then lay it back down.  Cover it with a towel or plastic wrap while it relaxes.  When it is the desired thinness, let the dough relax for 5 minutes.  Line a sheet pan with baking parchment.  Carefully lift the sheet of dough and lay it on the parchment.  If it overlaps the edge of the pan, snip off the excess with scissors.


4.  For Gluten Free Cracker Dough: Lay out two sheets of parchment paper.  Divide the cracker dough in half and then sandwich the dough between the two sheets of parchment.  Roll out the dough until it is a paper thin sheet about 15 inches by 12 inches.  Slowly peel away the top layer of parchment paper.  Then set the bottom layer of parchment paper with the cracker dough on it onto a baking sheet.

5. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit with the oven rack on the middle shelf.  Mist the top of the dough with water and sprinkle a covering of seeds or spices on the dough (such as alternating rows of poppy seeds, sesame seeds, paprika, cumin seeds, caraway seeds, kosher or pretzel salt, etc.)  Be careful with spices and salt – a little goes a long way. If you want to precut the cracker, use a pizza cutter (rolling blade) and cut diamonds or rectangles in the dough.  You do not need to separate the pieces, as they will snap apart after baking.  If you want to make shards, bake the sheet of dough without cutting it first.

5.  Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the crackers begin to brown evenly across the top (the time will depend on how thinly and evenly you rolled the dough).

6.  When the crackers are baked, remove the pan from the oven and let them cool in the pan for about 10 minutes.  You can then snap them apart or snap off shards and serve.


Roasted Garlic Bruschetta with Crostini

July 23, 2008

This is an excellent appetizer to serve when you are doing your summer entertaining. Especially since it utilizes so many fresh herbs which many of us have growing in our gardens. Plus, you can make it ahead of time and chill it in the fridge until your guests come over. I actually recommend doing this because it lets the flavors combine better. If you don’t have the time to roast the garlic you could just sub regular minced garlic but the roasted adds such a nice depth of flavor.

Roasted Garlic Bruschetta with Crostini

Adapted from this recipe on Martha Stewart Living

  • 1 loaf baguette or French bread, cut on the diagonal
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 3 cloves Roasted Garlic (see this recipe for method)
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely chopped oregano
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh basil
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • 3 large beefsteak tomatoes (each about 9 ounces), seeded and coarsely chopped

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place bread slices flat on a baking sheet and drizzle (or brush) with olive oil. Bake in the oven for about 8-10 minutes until golden brown. If making ahead of time, place crostini in a plastic zip-top bag until ready to use.

2. Place roasted garlic in a small bowl and mash with a fork. Then add the rest of the ingredients to the bowl and mix well. Cover bowl and place in refrigerator until ready to use. Serve with the crostini

Roasted Garlic

  • 1 head of garlic
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

1. Preheat the oven to 375°.

2. Cut the top third of garlic heads off so tops of cloves are exposed. Place heads, unpeeled, in small ovenproof dish and drizzle with 1 tablespoon oil. Cover with aluminum foil; bake 30 minutes.

3. Uncover and bake until the garlic cloves are soft and golden brown, another 30–40 minutes. (Make ahead and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.)

4. Once cooled, gently squeeze the cloves out of the peel.

Creamy Corn

July 15, 2008

Yet another success thanks to Everyday Food. This was the side dish suggested to go with the pork chops on the episode of Martha that I saw and I thought it looked so easy and so delicious. It did not disappoint! I love to have another idea for a starch side dish besides potatoes in my recipe box. I especially like that it uses frozen corn that you take straight out of the freezer and put it in to cook. Who has the time or money to buy corn on the cob, roast the corn cobs, cut the corn off the cobs, etc. This will be one of my go-to side dishes from now on. Creamy, easy, tasty, and cheap! What’s not to love??

Creamy Corn

Source: Everyday Food


Serves 4

* 1 box (10 ounces) frozen corn kernels
* 1/4 to 1/2 cup whole milk
* 3 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese, cut into pieces
* 2 tablespoons snipped fresh chives
* Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper


1. In a medium saucepan, simmer corn and 1/4 cup milk over medium heat until corn is tender, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in cream cheese and chives. Season with salt and pepper. If desired, adjust consistency with a little more milk.

White Bean and Roasted Garlic Dip

April 30, 2008

White Bean Dip

Alex and I are big garlic fans. Really, really, REALLY big garlic fans. There are very few recipes that we make/eat that don’t have garlic in them. There is really no such thing as too much garlic in our opinion. That being said, I really wanted to try this recipe for White Bean and Roasted Garlic Dip when I saw it in The Food You Crave by Ellie Krieger. It was really a delicious dip and very healthy. We ate it with Reduced Fat Wheat Thins but according to Ellie you should eat it with veggies. The garlic flavor wasn’t as powerful as we would have liked (probably because roasting it mellows the flavor) but we still enjoyed it. We will definitely make this again!

White Bean and Roasted Garlic Dip
Prep: 7 minutes Cook: 60 minutes
Makes 10 servings

Source: The Food You Crave by Ellie Krieger

4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2 whole garlic heads
2 (16-ounce) cans canellini beans or other white beans
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves for garnish

1. Preheat the oven to 375°.

2. Cut the top third of garlic heads off so tops of cloves are exposed. Place heads, unpeeled, in ovenproof dish and drizzle with 1 tablespoon oil. Cover with aluminum foil; bake 30 minutes.

3. Uncover and bake until the garlic cloves are soft and golden brown, another 30–40 minutes. (Make ahead and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.)

4. In a food processor, combine the beans, roasted garlic, remaining 3 tablespoons oil, and lemon juice and process until smooth. Add the salt and white pepper. This will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

5. To serve, transfer to a bowl, garnish with the parsley leaves, and serve with vegetables. (Serving size: 1/4 cup)

Calories 145 (28% from fat); Fat 5g (sat 1g, mono 3g, poly 1g); Cholesterol 0mg; Protein 7g; Carbohydrate 20g; Sugars 0g; Fiber 4g; Iron 3mg; Sodium 94mg; Calcium 69mg.

White Bean Dip

Green Pea Soup

April 30, 2008

Green Pea Soup

In an effort to eat healthier after a couple weeks of eating out a lot, I looked for a couple recipes in my Ellie Krieger cookbook, The Food You Crave. This Green Pea Soup caught my attention and I thought it’d be the perfect thing to whip up for lunches this week since it’s light and you can eat it hot or cold. It was quite good and VERY easy. Even Alex liked it, which I did not expect! And at 95 calories per 1 1/4 cups it’s something I can feel good about eating!

Green Pea Soup
Source: The Food You Crave by Ellie Krieger

1 teaspoon olive oil
1 large onion, sliced (about 1 1/2 cups)
2 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth (to make it vegetarian you can sub vegetable broth)
3/4 teaspoon dried tarragon
1/2 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 (10-oz) bag frozen peas
4 teaspoons plain nonfat yogurt, optional

In a large pot, heat the olive oil over moderately-low heat. Add the onion, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the broth, tarragon, salt and a few turns of freshly ground black pepper and bring to a boil. Add the peas and cook just until defrosted.

In a blender, puree the soup in 2 batches until very smooth. If serving hot, return the soup to the pot and bring just to a simmer. If serving cold, transfer to the refrigerator to chill. Ladle into bowls. Stir the yogurt so that it is smooth and top each serving with a swirl of yogurt.

Nutrition Information
Nutritional Analysis per Serving Calories: 94
Total Fat: 2.5 grams Saturated Fat: 0
Protein: 7 grams Carbohydrates: 13 grams
Fiber: 3 grams

Green Pea Soup

Green Salad with Strawberry Balsamic Vinaigrette

April 30, 2008

Green Salad

This salad was DEL-ICIOUS and went perfectly with our Croque Madames! Alex is a HUGE fan of balsamic vinegar so I knew he would love it. And love it, he did! He filled 3/4 of his plate with salad, which is not typical for him! We will definitely continue to make this salad.

Green Salad with Strawberry Balsamic Vinaigrette

Source: Rachael Ray 2, 4, 6, 8 Cookbook

2 teaspoons strawberry jam
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, eyeball it
Salt and pepper, to taste
6 strawberries, sliced
4 cups chopped romaine or mixed greens of any kind

Place jam in a medium bowl and whisk in vinegar then extra-virgin olive oil. Season the dressing with salt and pepper. Add the strawberries and greens to bowl and toss to coat evenly in dressing.

Simple Tomato Sauce

April 6, 2008

No picture for this one but I just had to share the recipe because it was SO yummy and super easy. I made this Tomato Sauce to go with Chicken Parmesan tonight and I will definitely make this sauce again and again! I couldn’t believe how simple and tasty it turned out.

Simple Tomato Sauce

Source: Cooks Illustrated

1 28 oz. can diced tomatoes (I used Crushed Tomatoes w/ Italian Seasonings to save the step of pureeing the tomatoes)
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp. tomato paste
1 tsp. olive oil
1/8 tsp. red pepper flakes (I used probably a full teaspoon)
1 tbsp minced fresh basil leaves
salt and pepper

Pulse the tomatoes with their juices in a food processor until mostly smooth, about 10 1-second pulses; set aside (I omitted this entire step by using Crushed Tomatoes). Cook the garlic, tomato paste, oil, and pepper flakes in a medium saucepan over medium heat until the tomato paste begins to brown, about 2 minutes. Stir in the pureed tomatoes and cook until the sauce is thickened and measures 2 cups, about 20 minutes. Off the heat, stir in the basil and season with S&P to taste (I also seasoned with Garlic Salt).

Simplest. Soup. Ever.

March 21, 2008

Black Bean and Salsa Soup

Today is Good Friday which means the last Friday of Lent which means the last Friday that we have to give up meat! Yay! Although I do believe on this last Friday of Lent we stumbled up on a recipe that we will continue to make, regardless of meat-free Lenten Fridays. I believe the recipe comes from but I copied and pasted it a long time ago without writing down who the source was. Sorry!

It really turned out quite delicious and even Alex, who used to claim he didn’t like black beans, raved about it. The original recipe called for garnishes of green onion, cheese, and sour cream (all of which we used), but I also HIGHLY recommend garnishing with fresh cilantro. It totally MADE the soup, in my opinion (but that’s coming from a self-proclaimed cilantro-lover). I served them with refried bean and cheese quesadillas on the side. Yummy!!!

Black Bean and Salsa Soup
2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
1.5 c. vegetable broth
1 c. salsa
1 t. cumin
sour cream, green onion, shredded cheese for garnishing (I also highly recommend fresh cilantro as a garnish)

Combine beans, broth, salsa and cumin in a food processor (or use an immersion blender, which is what I did). Blend until fairly smooth. Heat soup in a saucepan over medium heat until thoroughly heated. Put soup in bowls and garnish as desired.

Source: Allrecipes

A Lent-Friendly Dinner

February 15, 2008

My husband and I are Catholic and today is a Friday. That means no meat! Meatless Fridays are a part of the Lenten season sacrifices, along with choosing to give up something of your choice. Alex and I both decided to give up coke (or “pop” as he would call it) which has been tough going sometimes. There are many times when all I want is a nice refreshing coke. The meatless Fridays are also not the easiest things for us since we tend to be meat-in-every-meal kinda people. You are permitted to eat fish/seafood but this week I decided to try something totally vegetarian to save some money in our grocery budget. I saw this recipe in the same “Simply One Dish” Pillsbury Magazine. It turned out pretty good for a vegetarian dish but we still weren’t raving about it. I would make it again but maybe add some Italian sausage or something. I know that sort of defeats the purpose but what can I say?! We like our meat. 🙂

Main Dish Minestrone

Main Dish Minestrone
(Pillsbury Simply One Dish magazine)

  • 3/4 c. water
  • 1 c. chopped onions
  • 2 small, unpeeled red potatoes, cubed (1 cup)
  • 1/2 c. chopped carrot
  • 1/2 c. chopped celery
  • 1/3 c. chopped bell pepper
  • 2 large garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 box (9 oz) frozen spinach
  • 1/4 c. uncooked orzo pasta or broken spaghetti
  • 2 cans (14 oz each) chicken broth
  • 1 can (15 oz) cannellini beans, drained & rinsed
  • 1 can (8 oz) tomato sauce
  • 1/4 c. chopped fresh parsley or 1 tbsp dried parsley flakes
  • 1/2 tsp. dried oregano leaves
  • 1/2 tsp. dried basil leaves
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper

1. In a 4-quart nonstick saucepan or Dutch oven, heat water to boiling over medium-high heat. Add onions; cook 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add potatoes, carrot, celery, bell pepper, and garlic; cook 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add remaining ingredients. Heat to boiling.

2. Reduce heat; simmer about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until potatoes and pasta are tender.

Per Serving (1 cup): Calories 190; Total Fat 1.5g; Sodium 720mg, Dietary Fiber 7g