Welcome to My Kitchen

This is the place that I love to be. I like to be creative and cooking is what is doing it for me these days. It's kind of a necessity and it makes me feel accomplished. I like knowing what we are eating and where it comes from. I go out of my way to make sure this happens.
I like that I don't buy several household staples from a grocery store. I enjoy making applesauce, jams and jellies, apple butter, spaghetti sauce, spicy mustard, pickles and anything else I can.
I like getting dirty, getting my hands into things, feeling and experiencing my food from the beginning to the end. I like making things, growing things and bringing those two together to create a healthy meal. I like nourishing others and knowing that I did my best to give them the best.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Eggplant and Chickpea Curry

It's been a while but I wanted to document my process of trying this new recipe.  Turns out, I changed things up a bit too. 

I found this recipe on the Fat Free Vegan's website.


I should have made rice to try with this but it was very good as was.  I made a Tzatziki sauce along with a piece of pita bread and it was delicious.  I even dipped some pita in the curry and it was very good.  I could imagine eating this as a soup with a small bit of rice in it.  I really do like this dish and would make it again.  No one else tried it yet but I do know that it had a little kick and the kids probably wouldn't go for it unless I took the cayenne pepper out of the recipe.
The main way that I differed from the recipe was that I used fire roasted red peppers and a jar of homemade tomatoes.  And I didn't have turmeric so I used garam masala in it's place.  Still a great dish!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Soup/Salad and Pizza, Review and Pics

The soup was super easy.  I really liked it.  The kids said they didn't like it that much but they have never had minestrone before.  They might like it better next time.  Maura did eat all of hers though.  Chris isn't home from work to try his yet.

The pizza smelled awesome.  I knew that the kids wouldn't touch it with a ten foot pole so I made them a three cheese pizza.  I liked the pizza.  I would make it again for sure.  It had a unique taste and it's ingredients worked surprisingly well together.

The olive salad was good.  I ended up halving the recipe since I didn't have all that lettuce.  I was pleasantly surprised that the olive oil and olive brine was enough of a dressing for me.  I didn't miss any dressing at all.  I think if I made this again I would use less olives, maybe 1/2 of each type.  And for some reason I thought a thinly sliced cucumber would have added to the lightness of it.

And that was my dinner for tonight. 

Quick Minestrone, Sun-Dried Tomato, Veggie and Goat Cheese Pizza

These recipes were taken from the Vegetarian Times Vegetarian Beginners Guide.

Quick Minestrone
(makes 4 servings)

1 TBSP olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 stalk of celery with leaves, chopped
1 large clove garlic, minced
2 tsp dried Italian herb blend
3 TBSP raw quick-cooking brown rice
1 large unpeeled potato, cut into 1/4 inch dice
10-ounce package frozen mixed vegetables
4 cups canned vegetable broth
One 15-oz. can cannellini or other small white beans, drained and rinsed
1/3 cup elbow or small pasta shells
2 TBSP tomato paste
salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
Grated parmesan cheese for garnish, optional

1. Heat oil in large saucepan placed over medium-high heat.  Add onion, celery, garlic, and Italian herbs.  Cook, stirring, until onion is translucent (about 5 minutes) and herbs begin to release their flavor.  Add rice, potato, mixed vegetables, and vegetable broth.  Cover; simmer 10 minutes.
2. Stir in beans, pasta, and tomato paste.  Bring to a boil again over high heat.  Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer 10 minutes or until pasta is al dente.  Add salt and pepper.  Garnish with Parmesan.

Sun-Dried Tomato, Veggie and Goat Cheese Pizza
(makes 4 servings)

3/4 cup oil-packed sun dried tomatoes, drained and thinly sliced (I am using Great Lakes vac pack Sun-Dried tomatoes.  They aren't in oil so I will use olive oil).
2 TBSP oil from sundried tomatoes, divided
5-6 large basil leaves, thinly sliced
1/4 pound mild goat cheese  (I will use Athenos crumbled Feta cheese here)
10-inch prebaked pizza shell (I am using Whole Foods premade dough)
1 medium onion, halved and sliced
4 oz. large mushrooms, stemmed and thinly sliced  (no fresh mushrooms :(  I will use canned)
freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 TBSP minced fresh rosemary or 1 tsp dried rosemary
3 TBSP grated Parmesan cheese

1. Adjust oven rack to middle position, preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. In a small bowl, combine dried tomatoes, half of the tomato oil, basil and goat cheese.  With a spatula, spread the tomato-goat cheese mixture over prebaked pizza shell to within 1-inch of outside edge.  Scatter onion and mushrooms over cheese.  Grind fresh pepper over all, then scatter with rosemary.
3. Drizzle remaining oil over pizza; sprinkle with Parmesan.  Bake 10-15 minutes.  Serve at once, cut in wedges.

Mixed Greens with Olives
1/2 pound mixed greens or 1 package pre-cut salad mix
1 cup green olives stuffed with pimento
1 cup sliced black olives
freshly ground pepper
1 TBSP olive oil
2-3 TBSP brine from green olives

1. Arrange mixed greens, green olives and black olives in a large salad bowl.  Grind black pepper over all.  Sprinkle with olive oil and green olive brine.  Toss well before serving.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Lemon Dill Halibut Kabobs

This recipe was taken from activeangler.com.  I have made it several times.  It is easy, healthy and the kids love it.  This is what I made for Chris and the kids tonight, along with garlic bread per their request and baby vegetable medley.  I had leftover eggplant parm. with salad and a few veggies and bread.  The best parts of this dish are fresh dill from the garden and the halibut was caught by my brother-in-law in Alaska.

Lemon Dill Halibut Kabobs

1 1/2 lbs. Halibut fillets
2 tsp grated lemon rind
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 TBSP chopped fresh dill
1 TBSP vegetable oil (I used olive oil this time)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp each salt and pepper

Cut halibut fillets into 1-inch chunks; place in bowl.  Whisk together lemon rind and juice, dill, oil, garlic, salt and pepper.  Pour this over the halibut and toss gently to coat.  Thread onto metal skewers.  Place on greased grill over medium-high or under broiler; close lid and cook for five minutes( turning once after about 3 minutes).  Fish is done when opaque and flakes easily when tested with fork.
Makes 4 servings.  They suggest this be served with mini potatoes and baby carrots.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Vegetarian Paella, Tomato and Orange Salad

More recipes taken from the Vegetarian Times Vegetarian Beginners Guide

Vegetarian Paella
Makes 4 servings

3 TBSP olive oil
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 fennel bulb, trimmed and thinly sliced; reserve fronds
1 bay leaf
1 1/2 cups quick-cooking brown rice
1 large red bell pepper, seeded and cut into thin strips
1 large yellow bell pepper, seeded and cut into thin strips
One 15 oz. can artichoke hearts, drained and quartered
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 cups "chicken flavored" vegetable broth, made from granules or canned
pinch saffron threads or 1/4 tsp turmeric
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

1. Heat oil in a large heavy paella pan or a 2 qt. Dutch oven.  Add onion; cook, stirring, over moderate heat 1 minute.  Add garlic; cook, stirring, 2 minutes.  Add fennel and bay leaf; cook 3 minutes, stirring occasionally, until fennel is crisp tender.
2. Add rice, bell peppers, artichokes, wine, broth, and saffron or turmeric.  Add salt and pepper.  Raise heat, stir well, and bring to a boil.  Cover, and simmer over the lowest possible heat 10 minutes or until liquid has been absorbed.  Adjust seasonings if needed.
3. Mince the reserved fennel fronds and sprinkle over the paella.  Serve at once.

Tomato and Orange Salad
Makes 4 servings

2 Temple or Valencia seedless oranges
4 large or 8 small Roma or plum tomatoes
1 medium head Boston lettuce
1 medium red onion, peeled, thinly sliced, and seperated into rings
Reduced-fat salad dressing

1. Peel oranges, and cut them horizontally into 1/4 inch-thick slices, set aside.  Cut tomatoes vertically into quarters.  With a small spoon, scoop out core and seeds and discard.
2. Arange lettuce leaves on 4 salad plates.  On each plate arrange 2 or 3 slices of orange, a few onion rings and 4 pieces of tomato. Drizzle light with dressing.

They suggest Steamed Sugar Snap peas as an accompaniment.

Fettuccine with Black Olive Pesto and Scallions, Tomato and Mozzarella Salad with Vinaigrette

(Recipes taken from the book Vegetarian Times Vegetarian Beginners Guide)

Fettuccine with Black Olive Pesto and Scallions

Makes 4 large servings

1 or 2 fresh jalapeno peppers, seeded and sliced
2 cloves garlic
2 TBSP chopped onion
2 TBSP chopped fresh parsley
1 tsp fresh thyme or 1/2 tsp dried thyme
One 9 oz. can pitted black olives (plus 3 TBSP black olive brine)
1 tsp red wine vinegar
1 TBSP olive oil
10 oz. spaghetti or fettuccine
salt and coarsely ground pepper to taste
Grated zest of 1 med. lemon
4 large scallions, thinly sliced

1. Set a large pot of lightly salted water on high heat to come to a full rolling boil.

2. In a food processor fitted with a steel blade, finely mince the jalapenos, garlic and onion.  Add parsley, thyme, olives and brine, vinegar, and oil to the garlic mixture; pulse three or four times to coarsely chop olives and combine ingredients.  Set aside.

3. Drop fettuccine into boiling water and cook rapidly according to package directions until al dente.  Set a large colander into a large serving dish and place both in sink.  Pour the pasta into the colander, automatically warming the serving dish while draining the pasta.

4. Discard cooking water.  Dry underside of dish with a towel, and fill it with fettuccine.  Top with pesto sauce, six to eight grinds of fresh pepper and salt to taste.  Scatter lemon zest and sliced scallions over top.

Tomato and Mozzarella Salad
Makes 4 servings

4 large or 8 medium plum tomatoes
8 oz. part-skim mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced
6 large fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced
Low-fat vinaigrette or oil and vinegar salad dressing

1. Stand tomatoes, core down, on cutting board, and make vertical 1/4 inch thick slices, stopping just short of the core.  Gently press each on the side to open into a fan.  Place one large or two small fans on each of 4 salad plates.  Slide a slice of cheese between each tomato slice.
2. Scatter basil over each salad, and drizzle with dressing.  Serve at once.

They suggest hot garlic bread as an accompaniment.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Vegetarian Recipes I would like to try

This week I read Vegetarian Times Vegetarian Beginners Guide.  I think there are some good sounding recipes in there and I would love to give some of them a try as soon as I can.
Here are some that sounded good to me;
1.Fettucine with Black Olive Pesto and Scallions
served with Tomato and Mozzarella Salad with Vinaigrette
and garlic bread
2. Vegetarian Paella
served with Tomato and Orange Salad
and steamed sugar snap peas
3. Quick Minestrone
served with Sun-Dried Tomato, Veggies and Goat Cheese Pizza
and Mixed Greens with Olives
4. Vegetable Curry with Lentils
served with Basmati Rice
and Cucumber and Radish Raita
5. Black Bean Enchiladas
served with Orange, Radish and Onion Salsa
and Spicy Mexican Rice
6. Moroccan Vegetable Tagine with Couscous
Served with Cucumbers with Garlic Yogurt
and Pita bread
Other things that sounded good but I didn't like their whole meal choices were:
1. Apple Salad
2. Spicy Sesame Noodles
3. Cucumber and Dill Salad
4. Cincinnati Chili
I look forward to making and sharing these recipes with you in the coming weeks!!