Posts Tagged ‘vegetarian’

Fresh Tomato Cream Pasta Sauce

Monday, September 5th, 2011

Fresh Tomato Pasta Cream Sauce

Tis the season of fresh tomatoes, vine-ripened in the garden.  Summer isn’t complete until we’ve had pasta with fresh tomato sauce, and also until the heat and humidity give us a break.  But more importantly, homemade pasta, with fresh from the garden tomatoes.

To make this sauce, I went to my trusted America’s Test Kitchen and read up on their idea of the best recipe.  Unlike the old rule of letting the sauce simmer for hours on end, they claimed that fresh tomato sauce really should only cook for 10 minutes, to keep that fresh garden flavor. What? A great dinner in 10 minutes (except the time prepping the tomatoes)–they were right about that, though I added some more herbs and garlic.  This really does taste garden fresh, so heed the 10 minute recipe.

Fresh Tomato Cream Pasta Sauce Recipe Makes 3 servings

Adapted from The Best Italian Classics

2 tablespoons butter
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 medium onion, diced
2 pounds ripe tomatoes, cored, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1 inch pieces
2 teaspoons dried basil
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 teaspoons dried thyme
pinch salt
cracked black pepper
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

  1. Melt butter in large nonstick skillet on medium-low heat.
  2. Add  onions and garlic and sauté until onions become translucent, about 5 minutes.
  3. Stir in the tomatoes, basil, oregano, thyme, salt, and pepper.  Increase the heat to medium-high and cook until any liquid given off by the tomatoes evaporates and the tomato pieces lose their shape to form a chunky sauce, about 10 minutes.
  4. Add heavy whipping cream to sauce and simmer until cream thickens, about 2-3 minutes.
  5. Serve over pasta and sprinkle with parmigiano reggiano.

Blueberry Muffins

Sunday, June 26th, 2011

Blueberry Muffins

Blueberry muffins have always been one of my favorite breakfast foods, but like many other things, I’m particular about these, too.  I don’t need anything fancy, and I think that having a streusel top is just extra calories to get between me and the blueberries.  For me, there is no such thing as too many blueberries, so I cram as many into the batter as I can.  In fact, it looks pretty much like blueberries just glued together. Then, I throw a few more blueberries on top after spooning the batter into the muffin cups.  Every bite should be full of blueberries, and if you take this approach, it will be.

If you do like a crumble topping, you can add that on.  Just mix a little softened butter with some brown sugar, and put it on top just before putting the pan into the oven.

Blueberry Muffin

Blueberry Muffins Recipe  Makes 12 large muffins.

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup buttermilk
1/3 cup oil
1 egg
1 1/2 cups blueberries

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Combine flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder in large bowl.
  3. Combine buttermilk, oil, and egg in small bowl.
  4. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients, and very gently combine. Having a few lumps and streaks of unmixed flour is ok.
  5. Gently fold in blueberries.
  6. Spoon batter into muffin cups or muffin pan.
  7. Bake for 20-22 minutes.  Allow to cool in pan for five minutes.  Then move muffins to cooling rack and allow to cool for an additional five minutes.  Serve warm.

Candied Ginger and Ginger Syrup

Tuesday, May 31st, 2011

Candied Ginger

I think that homemade candied ginger is so great that everyone should have some.  My family calls me the ginger pusher because I give the ginger and the syrup to everyone as gifts.   My family laughs, but I’ve noticed that they keep asking for more.  Aside from just noshing on this ginger, my favorite thing to do is make these scones, which make it to every brunch I serve.

Ginger Syrup

I like to slice the ginger as thinly as possible, so I use my mandoline.  It makes the work a lot faster and easier, but I have certainly made this ginger many times without one.  Using a thermometer is also helpful, but if you don’t have one, you can just eyeball it.  Once the liquid is the consistency of thin honey, the ginger is ready.  Be sure to save the syrup–it is absolutely delicious on pancakes and waffles.  You can also mix a bit with seltzer water for a homemade ginger ale, or make some homemade granola.

Candied Ginger

Candied Ginger and Ginger Syrup Recipe

1 pound ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
4 cups sugar, plus additional for coating ginger
4 cups water

  1. Put ginger in a large pot, and cover with water.  Bring to a boil, then turn down to a simmer.  Allow ginger to simmer for 20 minutes.  Add more water if necessary to prevent ginger from boiling dry.
  2. Drain ginger.
  3. Combine ginger, sugar, and water in the pot and put over medium high heat.  Cook until temperature of the liquid reaches 225 degrees.
  4. Remove ginger from heat and drain, but keep the syrup.
  5. Toss ginger in sugar to coat, if desired.  Spread into a thin layer and allow to dry overnight.

Spiced Almonds

Saturday, April 30th, 2011

Spiced Almonds

Here is an easy appetizer/dessert/snack.  Toasted almonds, sweetened with a bit of spice.  Sure, it is easy to just open a can of nuts to serve at your next party, but that is ordinary.  Entertain in style in 8 short minutes and 6 ingredients.  These are a tasty, fun treat that fill the kitchen with a wonderful aroma.

Spiced Almonds

Spiced Almonds Recipe

Adapted from The America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook

1 tablespoon butter
2 cups skin-on raw almonds
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon cloves
1/8 teaspoon allspice

  1. Heat 1 tablespoon butter in large nonstick skillet o medium-low heat.
  2. Add  almonds, sugar, cinnamon, cloves, and allspice.
  3. Stir often while toasting until fragrant and the color deepens slightly, about 8 minutes.

Edamame Dip

Thursday, March 31st, 2011

Edamame Dip

Edamame is delicious and healthy, but did you know that it is also a dip? At least it can be.  Throw a few ingredients in the food processor (or blender) and you’re set.  This dip is a great party food, appetizer, snack, or lunch.  It is also a fun, bright green that looks great in a pretty bowl with some chips or crackers on the side.  And did I say healthy? Seriously, how many dips can say that?

Edamame Dip Recipe

Adapted from Alton Brown

12 ounces shelled, cooked, and cooled edamame
1/4 cup diced onion
1/2 cup parsley, tightly packed
1 large garlic clove, sliced
1/4 lime juice
1 tablespoon brown miso
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon hot chili sauce
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

  1. Place the edamame, onion, parsley, garlic, lime juice, miso, salt, hot chili sauce and black pepper into bowl of food processor and process for 15 seconds.
  2. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and process for another 15 to 20 seconds.
  3. With the processor running, slowly drizzle in the extra virgin olive oil.
  4. Once all of the oil has been added, stop, scrape down the bowl, and then process another 5 to 10 seconds.
  5. Taste and adjust seasoning
  6. Serve with pita chips.

Cheese Potato Casserole

Sunday, February 27th, 2011

Cheese Potato Casserole

This is one of my all time favorite recipes.  I have served this to many people, both kids and adults.  It is a standby for an easy side, a last minute dish to take to work parties, a barbecue, or a potluck.  There is never a bite left.  People rave over it.  One avid cook/eater even declared this “the best hash-browns I have ever eaten.”

Cheese Potato Casserole

It is hard to go wrong with cheese and potatoes, especially when the recipe is basically throw a few ingredients in a dish and bake.  The beauty of this dish is that it is customizable.  I have made many variations including adding ham or bacon, but my favorite is to add mushrooms.  Just sauté a few with the onions and this can be a one-dish meal.  AND, this can be served as any meal or part of a meal.  Breakfast?  Yes.  Lunch?  It is great to take to work and just re-heat in the microwave.  Dinner?  As is, this makes a great side, especially with barbecue, but if you throw in some mushrooms, ham, or bacon there is no reason this can be the entrée.

Cheese Potato Casserole

Cheese Potato Casserole Recipe  Makes 5-6 servings

adapted from my mom’s family cookbook Secret Ingredients

1 lb frozen hash-brown shredded potatoes
1 C sour cream
3 T butter
8 oz shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 small onion, diced

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Sauté  onion in butter over medium heat.  Then combine onions with hash-browns in a large bowl.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine cheddar cheese and sour cream.  Fold mixture into hash-browns.  Add salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Garnish with paprika.
  5. Bake for 30 minutes.

Lemon Scones with Lemon Glaze

Sunday, January 30th, 2011

Lemon Scones with Lemon Glaze

We had a baby!  More accurately, my brother and sister-in-law had a baby, but why get caught up in the details.  Madelyn was born January 17th, a whopping 8 lbs 3.9 ounces, but she looks so tiny compared to the pictures of her sister as a newborn, who was over 10 lbs at birth.


We knew Madelyn was coming that Monday, and I couldn’t wait to meet her.  How was I to pass the time in the morning before I could visit her in the hospital in the afternoon?  I knew I had to cook something.  I had a hankering for scones, I had some fresh lemons, so lemon scones it was.

Lemon Scones with Lemon Glaze

Just as we sat at the table to eat them, it occurred to me that this was only the second time I had made lemon scones, the first being for the baby shower last month.  Coincidence, or does little Maddie just scream lemons somehow?

Lemon Scones with Lemon Glaze

Lemon Scones with Lemon Glaze Recipe  Makes 8 scones

2 cups (10 ounces) all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/4 inch cubes
zest and juice of 2 lemons
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup powdered sugar

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Whisk together flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt in a large bowl.
  3. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse meal, with a few slightly larger butter lumps.
  4. Stir in all the lemon zest and the juice of 1 1/2 lemons.
  5. Stir in heavy cream.
  6. Transfer dough and all dry, floury bits to countertop and knead dough by hand just until it comes together into a rough, slightly sticky ball.
  7. Shape and press the dough into an approximately 8″ circle, like a pizza.  Then cut into eight wedges.
  8. Place wedges on ungreased cookie sheet and bake until tops are light brown, 12 to 15 minutes.
  9. Cool for 10 minutes before eating.
  10. Combine powdered sugar and juice from 1/2 lemon to make glaze.
  11. Drizzle scones with lemon glaze.

Zucchini Bread

Friday, December 31st, 2010

Zucchini Bread

The weather outside may be frightful, but the zucchini bread is so delightful.  Zucchini bread is great anytime, and I’ve never met a person who didn’t love it.  I like to serve a nice warm loaf to guests for breakfast. The leftovers, if you have any, are great for snack or dessert.

I felt inspired on Christmas to head out to Nashville’s Room in the Inn to volunteer to serve and celebrate with the homeless.  I decided against it, thinking that many others had the same idea and wouldn’t it be better to wait a week or so until the holidays are over and there isn’t a storm of volunteers.  So today, I made zucchini bread, miniature loaves to warm the souls of the homeless who surely would benefit to ending the old year and starting the new year with a little homemade treat.  I hope that sometime in 2011 that you will do the same.

Zucchini Bread

Zucchini Bread Recipe  Makes 1 loaf, or 7 miniature loaves

3 eggs
1 cup canola oil
2 cups sugar
2 cups grated zucchini
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease 9 X 5 loaf pan.
  2. In large bowl, combine all dry ingredients except the sugar.
  3. In a separate large bowl, beat eggs until light and frothy.
  4. Mix oil and sugar into the eggs.
  5. Mix zucchini and vanilla extract into the egg mixture.
  6. Mix dry ingredients into egg mixture.
  7. Pour batter into pan and bake about 1 hour, until toothpick comes out clean.

Roasted Corn Chowder

Sunday, October 10th, 2010

Roasted Corn Chowder

The gods must have heard my pleas for cooler days.  The weather suddenly snapped without warning from 100 degree mugginess to cool 60 degree mornings.  And I love it.  Just when I thought I couldn’t take another day of blazing torture, I realized I didn’t have to.  The first thing this weather makes me want to do is have soup.  And there is no better time of year for corn chowder.

Roasted Corn Chowder

Why is there no better time for corn chowder?  It is cool enough for soup but corn is still in season, so you can make corn chowder the right way, that is with fresh corn on the cob, not frozen or canned.  Roasting the corn and using the cobs to make a corn broth is definitely the way to go with corn chowder.  Ever had corn chowder that left you wondering what happened to the corn?  Not with this recipe–you can taste the corn through and through.  Sure you could substitute vegetable or chicken broth for the corn broth, but this is so easy, and it makes the chowder taste like it came straight from the corn field, so there really is no other “right” way to do it.  This brings me back to the narrow window of time in a year that you can make great corn chowder, and this is it, so hop to it before it is too late and the fresh crop is gone for the season.

Roasted Corn Chowder Recipe

adapted from Mark Bittman’s Corn Chowder in How to Cook Everything Vegetarian

6 cobs of corn, shucked
olive oil
2 1/2 cups water
4 tablespoons butter
2 cups onion
1/4 cup flour
1 cup whipping cream
3 cups milk
1 large potato, diced very small
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
salt to taste
freshly ground pepper to taste

Roast the corn and make a broth.

  1. Heat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Lightly coat each of the corn cobs with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Roast the corn, turning frequently, for about 20 minutes.
  3. Once the corn is cool, remove kernels from cobs.
  4. Put the corn cobs and water in a pan, cover, and put over medium-high heat.
  5. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to medium.  Cook for 30 minutes. Remove cobs and save broth.

Prepare the soup.

  1. Melt the butter in a skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the onion and stir occasionally until onion becomes translucent, about 10 minutes.
  2. Turn the heat down to medium and add flour and salt.
  3. After about two minutes, add the whipping cream and milk.  Turn the heat to medium-high, and stir for about 2 minutes
  4. Combine this mixture with the corn broth.
  5. Stir in the corn kernels, the potato, and the cheese.  Bring to a boil, then reduce temperature to medium-low.
  6. Cook, stirring occasionally until the potato has broken down, at least 20 minutes.
  7. Garnish with sour cream, cheddar cheese, green onions, and/or parsley.

Frozen Mocha Shake

Monday, September 27th, 2010


Why does it still feel like July in late September?  Living in the South in the summer has become all but unbearable.  If not for the fabulous straight-from-the-garden summer vegetables, I would seriously have no need for the season.  Could we just get to fall already?  Please, do what you can to reverse global warming because I just can’t see myself fleeing the South in search of cooler ground.  And in the meantime, cool off with a frozen mocha shake.


I don’t know how people drink coffee in the summer.  Yeah, I know, they say it makes them sweat, which cools them off.  But seriously, I’m sweating already.  Please nothing hot for me.  Frozen mocha shake?  Yes, thank you.  Breakfast?  Dessert?  Both.  Life is too short to only have dessert after dinner.  I’m usually too full for dessert anyway.  So why not jump-start the day with one of these cool babies.  Chocolate, coffee, ice cream.  Delightful.  It just might make your Southern summer bearable.

Frozen Mocha Shake Recipe

4 scoops chocolate ice cream
2 cups hazelnut flavored coffee
1 tablespoon sugar
dash of vanilla extract
chocolate shavings

  • Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend for 30 seconds.
  • Pour into glass and top with whipped cream and chocolate shavings
  • *Mint variation–Use mint chocolate chip ice cream, a dash of mint flavoring, then top with whipped cream, and Andes mint shavings.