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Cranberry-Dijon Salad Dressing

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted anything simply because I haven’t been cooking anything but some of my old stand by recipes.  This is a recipe I’ve stolen borrowed from my daughters abandoned blog.  I’ve been waiting all year for fresh cranberries to be back in season so I can try it.  With the exception of the fresh cranberries all the ingredients are in either my pantry or fridge which I love.I’ve put this dressing on top of a salad made of fresh greens, sliced apple, onion, walnut, cucumber and feta.  I think it would also be a great dressing to accompany a variety of veggie sandwiches.

Sorry there are no pictures once again, but it’s a salad dressing.  You can pretty  much imagine what it looks like!  I am still very much adjusting to the hectic pace of my days and stopping to grab a camera does not seem to be in the forefront of my mind these days.  The good news is that while I’m nervous about the ever increasing pace of my job I am absolutely loving it.  I get to help people work through a troublesome experience (minor car accidents) and work to resolve their issues with as little inconvenience to them as possible.  It’s very rewarding and the busy days fly by.

Cranberry-Dijon Salad Dressing

Ingredients:

  • Fresh cranberries (a few handfuls, maybe 2 cups/4dl?)
  • 1 tbsp dijon mustard (this I did measure!)
  • White wine vinegar (probably about 1dl/0.5cup)
  • White wine (probably about 2dl/1 cup)
  • Olive oil (a couple tbsps)
  • Water (to bring to desired consistency.  Though I left mine pretty thick, I like the creamy texture.)

Cook:

  1. Put a couple of tablespoons olive oil in a small sauce pan and put on high heat.
  2. Add cranberries and put the lid on.  The cranberries will sorta ‘pop’ like popcorn, so you don’t want that oil splashing onto you.  When the popping stops lower heat and mash with a potato masher.
  3. At medium heat add wine, vinegar, and mustard.  Stir in more olive oil if desired.  Blend together.  Add water if desired.

Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.

~Enjoy~

Panzanella

This is the first time I’ve ever made Panzanella and I was really pleased with the results.  The combination of fresh tomato, cucumber, onion, and bread, combined with the dressing works very well together.  The quantity I made was for 2 main course servings or approximately 4 side salads.

I really wish I had some leftover grilled asparagus to toss in it.  While not a traditional ingredient I think it would have added an excellent complimentary flavor.  Another possible toss in would be some fresh mozzarella if you don’t mind dairy.  I kept to a basic recipe for my first time but will try variations in the future.

When making this I used only 1/2 a loaf of bread.  The other half I made a small bread pudding with.  I’ll post that later.  I’m trying to cook appropriate amounts of food with the hopes of having less waste.  It seems like a simple concept yet is proving to be quite difficult.  On one hand I enjoy leftovers on the other I always end guessing wrong and still making too much.  Hopefully, I’ll get the hang of it soon.

Ingredients

  • 3+ tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 large French bread, cut into 1-inch cubes (3 cups)
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 4-5 Roma tomatoes quartered and cut into 1″ pieces
  • 1 medium cucumber, halved, seeded, and sliced 1/2-inch thick
  • 1 yellow or red bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1/2 red onion, cut in 1/2 and thinly sliced
  • 10+ large basil leaves, coarsely chopped
  • 2 large cloves garlic sliced in half

Dressing

  • 1 teaspoon finely minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup good olive oil
  • salt, pepper to taste

Directions

Place oil and garlic in a pan and heat on medium heat for a few minutes, remove garlic and add bread, saute the bread until lightly browned adding more oil if needed

Toss all sliced veggies, bread and basil leaves in a bowl and season

Toss all ingredients for dressing in blender and blend until smooth and pour over salad, gently toss salad until evenly coated

Serve immediately or let sit for up to 1 hour

5 more questions

This seemed to be a hit last week so I decided to go for round 2.  Feel free to answer on my blog or at Vegetarilin on Facebook.

1. What is your favorite source of protein? I love tofu.  It’s so versatile and soaks up the flavor of whatever you cook it with.

2. What’s your favorite prepackaged vegetarian product? I don’t eat many of these but I enjoy Morningstar Farms Chipotle Black Bean Burgers from Costco.

3. Do you personally cook or allow meat products to be cooked in your home? Meat is almost always grilled to keep the smell out of my house.  I respect my husband’s decision to eat meat but I don’t want to smell it.

4. If you have pets are they vegetarian? Not totally, but we’re working on it.  We switched over to a veg variety but we (not me) mixed the veg variety in with the old dog.  I need to have them finish this current mixture and then buy another bag and try this again!

5. Is your entire household (humans not pets) vegetarian? As stated above no.  Currently half my household is vegetarian and I don’t see that changing anytime soon.

Peace, love & greens Lin

Break Time

For those of you who read this blog regularly I apologize for posting so little lately.  I was on a roll of cooking a lot and posting 5+ times a week.  I am finding that is pretty much impossible to keep up with so I’ve decided to scale down a bit.

There’s a couple of reasons for this.  First being my hectic home and work life.  As I’ve said before I work 4 days a week until 8pm and I absolutely don’t cook on those days.  It’s just too much.  I also seem to be so busy trying new recipes that I tend to neglect family favorites.  Last week I made Gluten Free Macaroni & Cheese with all the gluten.  Sadly 1 lb of pasta was devoured in about 36 hours.  I wasn’t counting on that!

Also, my family structure has changed and I’m still working out the kinks.  My niece recently moved in with us and I’m surprised at how much I’m loving having another female in the house again.  It’s all good but she’s not a vegetarian and she’s a picky eater.  She does not enjoy the level of spice my family is accustomed to.  It’s taking some work.  I’m also pretty sure that at this point with 2 young adults in the house they should take some of the responsibility for preparing meals.  I don’t have high hopes on this one.

I’m hoping to have 1 recipe post a week and then just post anything else of interest I find along the way.  I think my “5 Questions” post last week was a hit (minus a little animosity) so I’ll continue that.  We’ll see how it goes.  If anyone is interested in writing a guest post please let me know.  My email is linjohn65@gmail.com.

I have 2 more days of work and then I’m off to Disney for the weekend!  I’m really looking forward to it.  We’re having a girl’s weekend celebrating my mom’s birthday.  The last time we went I was pleasantly surprised that the resort we stayed at offered a reasonably good veggie lasagna with veggie sausage!  Hopefully I’ll fare as well this time.

Peace, love & greens, Lin

Primo Pasta

This recipe actually came from the most recent copy of  Vegetarian Times although I’ve made a few changes to it.  It’s photo was the magazine cover and looked really good.  As I read the recipe I realized that it was listed under an article for meals with 5 ingredietns or less.  I love that type of recipe but I always end up adding extras.  It’s still a really simple recipe and has a lemony creamy taste.

Now I’ve got to be honest and tell you that I’ve made much better recipes and when we ate it for dinner we thought it was a good weekday meal but nothing fabulous.  Sunday I took a container of it to work for lunch and was pleasantly surprised at how well it lasted and reheated.  It made me like this even more.  Following the recipe as written it was a little to thick and sticky.  I fixed this by adding a little fat free half and half until it was a creamier consistency.  I also added some veggies making it a convenient 1 dish meal.  Feel free to add in or remove whatever veggies you like.  I had considered adding some cannellini beans but last minute changed my mind.  They would have worked fine.

Ingredients

8 oz dry linguine cooked according to directions

1/2 cup light cream cheese

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 lemon zested

Juice of 1/2 lemon

Approximately 1/2 cup fat free half and half  or milk

Parsley, basil, salt and pepper to taste

12 oz bag of veggies such as broccoli and cauliflower florets

Directions

Cook pasta according to directions, during the last minute or two of cooking toss veggies into the boiling water

Drain pasta and veggies well, reserving 1/2 cup of the pasta water

In a large saucepan warm cream cheese, olive oil, lemon juice and zest until melted, add seasoning and pasta water

Stir in pasta and veggies and add half and half or milk until desired consistency, add additional seasoning if needed

Greek Tomato & Cucumber Salad

It’s Labor Day in the US which means I’m having the family over.  I’m sticking to a basic barbecue with some simple sides.  Since coming home from Europe my son has been eating a lot of cucumber and tomato.  I’m pretty sure it’s the Mediterranean influence.  So today I’m going to make him a Greek version of a cucumber salad.

I’m pretty excited because I’ll have almost a full house.  My daughter and her boyfriend will join us, my son of course, and my niece who will be moving in with us today.  To round out the generations my parents will be joining us.  I enjoy preparing meals for my loved ones.

My one upset is that I thought Ghirardelli’s brownie mix was vegan and was going to follow the directions on the box except using banana in place of the egg.  I didn’t read the box until I got home and discovered that the variety I bought is not vegan.  Now, it doesn’t really matter since my dinner itself won’t be vegan but I think it’s cool to slip a vegan dessert by everybody without their realizing.  I decided to try the banana anyway considering the entire egg recall fiasco.  They look yummy!

Back to my salad, I prepared it hours in advance to let the flavors soak together.  Personally I’m not a fan of olives so I omitted them.  That’s probably pretty selfish of me since others like olives but at this point I don’t have them in the house and I’m making it the cook’s prerogative.  Also, I went pretty traditional and stuck with red wine vinegar but I see no reason not go get creative and try a different variety.

Ingredients

1 really large English hothouse cucumber (0r 2 standard)
• 1/3 cup red wine vinegar
• 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
• salt and pepper to taste
• 4-5 medium tomatoes,
• 1 medium red onion
• a few sprigs fresh basil
• 1 tablespoon parsley & 1 clove of garlic
• 2 tablespoons olive oil

Optional Ingredients: Kalamata Olives and or Feta Cheese

Directions

Halve cucumbers and remove seeds, then slice thin

Halve the tomato’s remove the seeds quarter and halve the quarters, slice even thinner for larger tomatoes

Halve the onion and slice thin, toss in a bowl with cucumber and tomato,

Add optional ingredients such as olives or feta

Toss the remaining ingredients into a blender and pulse until well blended, then pour over salad and gently hand mix  until blended

Set on counter or refrigerate before serving

Peace, love, & greens, Lin

“Eat food, not too much, mostly plants”

The title was the premise for Michael Pollan’s book In Defense of Food.  I just read through his little hand guide Food Rules which is written with the same basic theme.  Food Rules is a well written book for those who just want a simple synopsis of all his other books.  It’s simply a list of rules to live by when eating.  These rules as based on common sense and eating like our great grandmothers did.

I loved the fact that this is a quick read.  It’s not just for vegetarians but it does state that a vegetarian diet is healthier and that people who eat far less meat than that of a typical westernized diet are healthier. Rule 22 is eat mostly plants especially leaves which is exactly what most food science is stating.  When I cook broccoli I make sure to eat the leaves it’s considered the most nutritious part.

Another rule is to eat only foods that will eventually rot.  This one  made me laugh.  Has anyone else noticed how long a packaged loaf of bread will last these days?  When I was a kid a loaf of bread was meant to last a few days and then it turned green.  I’ve thrown out bread that’s over 2 weeks old and still looks fine.  That scares me.  Bread is not supposed to last.

The book is too short to give away too many of the “rules” but you really should read it.  Personally I’m glad I read it  but am also glad I borrowed it from the library.  It was a fun read full of information that I mostly already knew but put in simple terms.  Much of this I probably knew from reading his other books but I enjoyed this regardless.

Peace, love, & greens, Lin
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