All posts filed under: vegetarian

Farro Pilaf with Walnuts and Cranberries

Autumn is just around the corner.  I swear, I can feel it.  I did a double-take this morning when I saw a few golden leaves on the Chinese Pistache tree in the front yard; then this evening, a storm blew through and it rained and the weather cooled a bit and I got that familiar excitement again.  Fall is coming.  Time for roasted things! Hot soup! Turkey Day!  It will be here before you know it! I think I’ve mentioned how much I love farro.  I love its nutty flavor and chewy texture and it’s a great alternative to rice.  This farro pilaf is so easy and it makes an elegant side dish.  This pilaf even makes an amazing stuffing for cornish game hens! The drippings from the bird make it even more delicious!  There is so much flavor in this dish–from the sage and thyme to the toasty walnuts and tart dried cranberries.  It really just speaks Autumn and I love it! I always buy “pearled” or “semi-pearled” farro, which takes less time to …

Sizzling Mushrooms with Sage and Thyme

If you were to ask me to describe a perfect evening, I would describe our first night out with our closest friends on the first day of our vacation.  We spent the evening wandering around Portland, getting caught up on all the events of our year and sharing laughs over some amazing cocktails and nosh.  As the weather cooled and a soft rain began to fall, we ducked into one of our favorite haunts–the Driftwood Room at the Hotel DeLuxe, where we knew we could continue our conversation long after most other restaurants and bars had closed for the night (it was Sunday, after all).  The Driftwood Room is a dimly lit, cozy spot that evokes that sense that you’re about to star in your own Film Noir. The cocktails are so inventive and their “Bar Bites” serve as the perfect accompaniment.  We ordered the “Sizzling Forest Mushrooms” and they were incredible!  They arrived at our table in a little cast iron skillet, still sizzling from the broiler, earthy and fragrant and served with bread …

Breakfast for Dinner: Frittata Española

As a kid, I would get so excited when my mother made breakfast food for dinner! There was just something exciting and extra special about having bacon, eggs and grits at night.  I know now that my mother was making breakfast at night because she was simply tired and couldn’t muster the energy for anything else!  But, to this day, I still love to eat eggs at dinnertime. To continue with the inspiration from the tapas cooking class, I made this version of a “tortilla española”, which is a classic Spanish dish made of sliced potatoes, onions and eggs.  It is very similar to a frittata, the main difference being the technique in which the eggs are finished.  Both dishes consist of eggs and filling cooked in a frying pan on the stove, but a frittata is finished in the oven, whereas a tortilla española is flipped over so that the top of the eggs are finished in the frying pan.  Because I didn’t want to risk possible disaster trying to flip the tortilla over …

Marinated Olives and White Bean Hummus

While on vacation in Portland, The Man and I took a Spanish Tapas cooking class at Hip Cooks.  Besides having a lot of fun and learning some new techniques, we came home with some new recipes and fresh inspiration for a few dishes that we were already familiar with. It’s funny, but I can remember a time when I didn’t like olives at all.  They just weren’t part of our family’s diet and the only time I was ever exposed to them was when they ended up on a pizza (by mistake, I’m sure).  When I was eighteen years old, I decided that being olive-averse was unacceptable and determined once and for all I was going to learn to like them. So, from that point on, every time I had the opportunity to eat an olive, I did.  And little by little, I learned to love them.  Now I can’t imagine life without them! My favorite olives are Castelvetrano olives. I love them as much for their neon green color as for their buttery flavor! These …

Grilled Corn and Black Bean Salad with Lime-Cilantro Vinaigrette

We are now halfway through the summer and the bulk of our summer vegetables have completed their season.  As much as I hated to admit it, the time had come to put part of the garden out of its misery.  We cut down almost all of the tomato plants, leaving only the green zebra and the yellow pear to finish out their yield.  Recently I learned on our local NPR program, Desert Bloom that by cutting the tomatoes almost all the way down and mulching them,  we may get a second round of tomatoes in September.  So, that’s what we did this morning and boy, was I sentimental about it!  I’m going to pause  now for a moment of reflection on our first real summer crop and a remembrance of the herbs that perished during the heatwave:  Purple Sage, English Thyme, French Thyme, Biergarten Sage, Greek Oregano. They served us well and died spectacularly–seriously, they turned white and disintegrated!  115 degrees will do that to tender herbs! Reminiscing on how pretty everything was just 6 weeks …

Quinoa "Fried Rice", Tempeh Lettuce Cups and Inspiration from Poppy Den

Lately, I’ve been having a little trouble finding inspiration in the kitchen.  The garden isn’t helping–the only growth this time of year being the eggplants and a few scraggly tomatoes that are trying hard to ripen in the heat.  On top of that, the Man of the House made a special request for two weeks of vegetarian dishes!  So, what’s a girl to do? My answer is to go out and find some excitement in someone else’s kitchen! So, on Friday night, the Man of the House and I joined some friends at a fairly new Asian Gastro-pub called Poppy Den.  Led by Chef/Owner Angelo Sosa and located in Tivoli Village in Las Vegas, the restaurant features Asian fusion small plates and entrees along with inventive cocktails.  We were familiar with Chef Sosa when he was a “chef-testant” on the television show, Top Chef (Season 7), so we were more than excited to see what he was cooking up.  We were not disappointed!  The service was impeccable, the food was delicious, and Chef Sosa himself visited our …

Summer Vegetable Tian

This simple dish is a wonderful way to take advantage of peak season summer vegetables.  I’m happy to say that I picked the eggplants, tomatoes and zucchini from our little garden!  Yes, you heard that right–I actually grew two more zucchinis! Huzzah!  The most difficult part of this dish is the assembly and that’s only if you’re slightly impatient, like me, and get tired of layering seemingly endless slices of vegetables, but the finished product is so worth the extra time. For this dish I used: 1 large zucchini, sliced  4 medium sized green tomatoes, sliced (Roma tomatoes would be great for this dish) 3 small eggplants, sliced–mine were rather small and I had two Japanese eggplants and one Black Beauty 1/2 red onion, sliced 3 cloves garlic, minced 3 sprigs thyme, stems removed, lightly chopped handful of fresh basil, stems removed, chopped olive oil splash of white wine softened butter First, cut a piece of parchment paper to fit the top of the gratin or casserole dish you plan to use.  Butter the dish …