vegetarian

Pear & Blue Cheese Tart

Pear and Stilton are such a classic combination. As much as I like trying new food fusions, I always love the blends that are paired for a reason. So when I came across the gorgeous picture of the “Perfect Pear Tart in Nancy Fuller’s cookbook, Farmhouse Rules, I didn’t hesitate to put it on my to-do list. (Actually, there’s hardly a recipe in her book that I don’t want to try.) If you’re not a Stilton lover, it is possible that this recipe is not for you… However, if you are daring enough to try, it just might turn you into one!

Slightly adapted from Farmhouse Rule’s Perfect Pear Tart:

As organic as possible:

2 large ripe Bosc Pears, peeled, cored and sliced 1/4 inch thick

Juice of 1 Lemon

3 Tbsp Brown Sugar

1 Tbsp Butter, cut into pieces

2 tsp (non-GMO) Cornstarch

1 tsp chopped fresh Thyme

1 tsp chopped fresh Sage

Salt

Pepper

1 refrigerated Pie Dough crust

2 ounces Stilton (or other Blue Cheese), crumbled

1 Large beaten Egg

 

Preheat the oven to 425°.

In a large bowl, toss sliced pears, lemon juice, brown sugar, butter, cornstarch, thyme, and sage. Season wit salt and pepper.

On a piece of parchment paper, roll the pie dough into about a 14 inch circle. Slide the parchment paper (with dough) onto a baking sheet. Spoon half of the pear mixture onto the center of the dough (leaving about a 2 inch rim) and top with half of the Stilton. Repeat.

Fold the crust up over the filling, over lapping and leaving an open circle in the center. Bake for 12 minutes, then brush dough with beaten egg and return to the oven for 15-18 minutes more. Remove from oven and cool for 20 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Pear & Blue Cheese Tart

Ingredients

  • 2 large ripe Bosc Pears, peeled, cored and sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • Juice of 1 Lemon
  • 3 Tbsp Brown Sugar
  • 1 Tbsp Butter, cut into pieces
  • 2 tsp (non-GMO) Cornstarch
  • 1 tsp chopped fresh Thyme
  • 1 tsp chopped fresh Sage
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 1 refrigerated Pie Dough crust
  • 2 ounces Stilton (or other Blue Cheese), crumbled
  • 1 Large beaten Egg

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425°.
  2. In a large bowl, toss sliced pears, lemon juice, brown sugar, butter, cornstarch, thyme, and sage.
  3. Season wit salt and pepper.
  4. On a piece of parchment paper, roll the pie dough into about a 14 inch circle.
  5. Slide the parchment paper (with dough) onto a baking sheet.
  6. Spoon half of the pear mixture onto the center of the dough (leaving about a 2 inch rim) and top with half of the Stilton.
  7. Repeat.
  8. Fold the crust up over the filling, over lapping and leaving an open circle in the center.
  9. Bake for 12 minutes, then brush dough with beaten egg and return to the oven for 15-18 minutes more.
  10. Remove from oven and cool for 20 minutes.
  11. Serve warm or at room temperature.
http://sadiesnest.com/pear-blue-cheese-tart/

 

 

Aunt Shirley’s Sugarless Banana Walnut Cake

This week my Great-Aunt Shirley went to be with the Lord. She was remarkably witty and kind, and very much a part of my childhood. She was also a diabetic, although I never heard her complain. She and my grandmother were diligent in controlling the disease as much as possible with their diet. In her memory, I wanted to share one of her recipes. I think this is my first purposefully published sugar-free recipe; which seems befitting. And I’ll tell you what I love about it (besides that it came from my great-aunt), is that she didn’t try and substitute the sugar with something artificial. The bananas are the only sweetness, and the walnuts actually shine. I think it would be great served warm with a small pat of butter in the morning with your coffee. Or, depending on your GI intake, I might drizzle a small amount of honey (maybe a tablespoon or so for the whole cake – 9 servings) over the top while it is warm and can soak it up to represent more of a dessert to which we are accustomed. Enjoy.

As organic as possible:

2/3 cup mashed Bananas (approx 2)

1/2 cup Butter or Margarine, softened

3 Eggs

2 cups all-purpose Flour

2 tsp Baking Powder

1 tsp ground Cinnamon

3/4 cup Water

1 cup Walnuts

In a mixing bowl, beat bananas and butter until creamy.

Add eggs and beat well.

In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon; add to banana mixture alternately wit water, beating well after each addition.

Stir in nuts.

Spoon into a greased 9 inch square baking pan.

Bake at 350° for 30 minutes or until cake tests done. Cool. Yield: 9 servings.

Because I just have to, here is a picture of my grandma (top left) with her brother and sisters, Aunt Shirley is top center.

And this is Aunt Shirley as I will always remember her.

Aunt Shirley’s Sugarless Banana Walnut Cake

Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup mashed Bananas (approx 2)
  • 1/2 cup Butter or Margarine, softened
  • 3 Eggs
  • 2 cups all-purpose Flour
  • 2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1 tsp ground Cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup Water
  • 1 cup Walnuts

Instructions

  1. In a mixing bowl, beat bananas and butter until creamy. Add eggs and beat well.
  2. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon; add to banana mixture alternately wit water, beating well after each addition.
  3. Stir in nuts.
  4. Spoon into a greased 9 inch square baking pan. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes or until cake tests done.
  5. Cool. Yield: 9 servings.
http://sadiesnest.com/aunt-shirleys-sugarless-banana-walnut-cake/

 

Barefoot Contessa’s Greek Panzanella

I love the Barefoot Contessa’s How Easy Is That? cookbook by Ina Garten. It is loaded with great recipes. This is one of the best salad dishes I’ve ever tasted. It’s fresh, perfectly dressed and beautiful to look at! Of course, it’s hard to go wrong with bites of tangy feta cheese and toasted cubes of bread too. Not to mention it’s easy to make! If you have any vegetables left from your summer garden, this might inspire you to use them- fabulously! If you don’t, well you probably want to add the following ingredients to your shopping list. (Trust me- worth it.)

From Barefoot Contessa’s How Easy Is That?

As organic as possible (from Sadie):

1/4 cup + 1/2 cup Olive oil (divided)

1 large loaf (6 cups 1 inch diced) rustic Bread

1 Cucumber, unpeeled, halved lengthwise, seeded, and sliced 1/2 inch thick

1 Red bell pepper, seeded and large-diced

1 Yellow bell pepper, seeded and large-diced

1 pint cherry or grape Tomatoes

1/2 small red Onion, thinly sliced in half-rounds (or 1/4 rounds)

1/4 cup good red wine Vinegar

2 tsp minced Garlic

1 tsp dried Oregano

1/2 tsp Dijon mustard

1 tsp salt (plus more for bread cubes)

1/2 tsp pepper (plus more for bread cubes)

8 oz. Feta cheese

1/2 cup Kalamata olives, pitted

Heat 1/4 cup of the olive oil in a large skillet on medium-low until hot. Add the bread cubes, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and toast, tossing frequently until browned (5-10 minutes). Set aside.

Placed the diced cucumbers, yellow and red bell peppers, tomatoes, and red onion in a large bowl. Toss.

For the vinaigrette, place vinegar, garlic, oregano, mustard, salt, and pepper in measuring cup (or bowl) and whisk. Slowly add 1/2 cup olive oil and emulsify.

Add feta, olives, and bread to tossed vegetables. Pour over vinaigrette and gently toss. Allow to set for 30 minutes to let flavors incorporate. Season to taste and serve.

 

 

Hot Potato

Po-tay-to, Po-tah-to…

Did you know how healthy potatoes are? I’m not talking about diced, shredded and fried (although undeniably Delicious). I’m referring to the low-cal (about 110 calories in 1 medium) naturally gluten-free vegetable with more potassium than a banana, 45% of your daily intake of vitamin C, 10% of vitamin B6, zero fat, zero cholesterol that contains essential minerals like magnesium and zinc to mention a few. We all know the story: eat your potato while drinking a glass of milk and live forever! Or at least avoid scurvy. But seriously, with necessary blood aids like iron and much needed digestive assistance from fiber (of which sadly our diets are greatly deprived), it just might be what the doctor ordered. That is of course baked- to maintain the most nutrients. (Save the sticks of butter and cups of cream for special occasions 😉 ) And if I may, please make sure you buy organic- not crazy hi-bred weird GMO who knows what they are potatoes, because I can’t vouch for those.

Serves 4-6

2 1/2 pounds -about 10-12 medium Potatoes (Russet, Idaho, Golden, Red…)

1/4 cup Olive Oil

1-2 Tbsp Course Kosher salt

Preheat the oven to 375°. Wash, scrub and rinse the potatoes. Remove any eyes or blemishes that you don’t want to eat. Dry the potatoes completely with a towel. Brush on the olive oil (a little goes a long way) or get messy and use your hands to cover the skins. Generously sprinkle the potatoes with the course salt. (Do not be afraid of this- the Kosher course salt is not as “salty” as fine salt. If you are using regular table salt, go easier obviously… I trust your judgement.)

Place potatoes on a baking sheet. I like to cover the sheet with Silpat or parchment paper for easier clean-up. Bake for an hour (sometimes 15-20 minutes more if using large potatoes) until skin is crispy and inside of potato is tender. Eat just like this, or with a pat of butter and a little salt and pepper, or with a dollop of sour cream (or plain yogurt if you’re eating clean) or crumbled bacon if you’re feeling wild. I’ll stop. You know what you like.

For more information on the healthiness of potatoes along with recipe ideas check out potatogoodness.com or an interesting article on the health benefits at livescience.com.

Chowhound’s Grilled Corn with Cayenne, Lime, and Cotija

I’m a huge fan of appreciating ingredients for what they are. For example, when I’m having corn I like tasting the corn. I’m a believer in simple is best. That said, I also love experimenting with flavors. I love trying things I’ve never tasted before. So when my sister brought this to a recent gathering I was ecstatic. I love corn on the cob grilled in the husk, seasoned with a little pat of butter that melts into the cracks of the kernels and topped with a sprinkling of salt. As it turns out I also like it smeared with a spicy mayo, rolled in Cotija cheese, and brightened with a squeeze of lime.

As found on Chowhound.com

As organic as possible:

6 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 medium garlic clove, minced
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3/4 cup crumbled Cotija cheese (about 4 ounces)
6 ears corn, husks on
1 medium lime, cut into 6 wedges

Stir together the mayonnaise, garlic, salt, and cayenne in a small bowl until well combined. Place the cheese in a shallow dish that is at least as long as the corn.

Heat the grill to medium high (about 350°F to 450°F). Before grilling the corn, carefully peel back the husks of each ear a little more than halfway and remove as much silk as you can without pulling the husks off. Then pull the husks back up.

Place the corn on the grill and close the lid. Every 10 minutes, roll the corn a quarter turn so it cooks evenly. (If your grill tends to have hot spots, move the cobs around so they grill evenly.) Cook until the husks are charred and starting to peel back from the corn, about 35 minutes total. Remove from the grill and set aside until the corn is cool enough to handle.

Without detaching the husks, peel them back completely, turning them inside out so they form a handle. Brush the corn with a thin layer of the mayonnaise mixture, roll the cobs in the crumbled cheese, and serve. Pass the lime wedges on the side for squeezing over the corn.

Seriously Delish’s BBQ Roasted Chickpeas

I love seasoned & lightly salted snacks. Specifically popcorn, potato chips, roasted nuts & seeds, pretzels… actually it’s not specific to anything- just season & salt it. But for a period of time I almost lost that passion. I was on a train in Alaska when my husband brought me a thoughtful and highly seasoned snack pack, because he knows me so well… that I could never eat because just the smell of the unopened package made me sick (like many things on that trip). Of course, when we got home, it all began to make sense because we found out I was pregnant (with who is now my daughter). I’ll admit it took a while to get past my little hangup, but let the good times roll and the seasoned snacks too! It’s nibbles like these that remind me of how good snacking can be. Did I mention they are healthy? Purely Coincidental! (Furthermore they are awesome tossed in a salad!)

As found in Seriously Delish by Jessica Merchant:

1 Tbsp Smoked paprika

1 Tbsp Onion powder

1 1/2 tsp light Brown sugar

1 1/2 tsp Garlic salt

1/2 tsp Chili powder

1/2 tsp freshly ground Black pepper

1 1/2 cups canned Chickpeas, rinsed and drained

1 Tbsp extra-virgin Olive oil

 

Preheat the oven to 425°.

In a small bowl, whisk together the paprika, onion powder, brown sugar, garlic salt, chili powder, and pepper.

Pat the chickpeas completely dry with a towel and remove any of the skins that become loose. Add the chickpeas to a bowl and toss them with the olive oil and three-quarters of the spice mixture. Mix well to coat the chickpeas and spread them out on a nonstick baking sheet. Bake the chickpeas for 20 minutes, toss them with a spatula, and bake for 15 minutes more. Remove the pan from the oven and let the chickpeas cool on the baking sheet.

Taste the chickpeas and season them with the additional spice mix if needed… Roasted chickpeas are best the day they are made- after a few hours they can lose their crunch. However, you can store them in a container with a sheet of plastic wrap lightly covering the top for 2 to 3 days.

 

 

Baked Parmesan Zucchini Bites

I love zucchini. It’s a green vegetable with a creamy, almost buttery, texture when baked. Top it with a little pepper and salty Parmesan, and well you’ve got yourself a tasty treat. But let’s take this one step further and serve it with a side of marinara dipping sauce. Oh my goodness! Guiltless indulgence is like an oxymoron when it comes to healthy eating… but it does exist!

As organic as possible:

Snack serves 2 (or a hungry 1) 

Olive oil cooking spray

2 Medium Zucchini, washed, dried and sliced into 1/4 inch rounds

3 oz. Freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Coarse Kosher salt

Freshly ground Black pepper

Preheat the oven to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, lightly sprayed with olive oil. Place zucchini rounds on the oil-misted parchment paper, not touching eachother. Sprinkle with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Pinch a tiny mound of Parmesan cheese to top each slice of zucchini. Place baking sheet in the preheated oven and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until Parmesan turns golden brown. Serve warm with a side of marinara. (And maybe an iced glass of S.Pellegrino?) Indulge.

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Beet Chips & Cilantro Hummus

You know I’ve been digging the veggies lately. Just can’t get enough… they can be really fun and super delicious! Again to give accolades where they are due: thanks to Gwenyth Paltrow and her new cookbook, It’s All Easy. Eating healthy doesn’t mean bland, or that you have to squash your creativity. In fact, just the opposite, vegetables can make your mind whirl with possibilities! For example beets can be more than a Greek salad or Bortsch, they make for great chips! I love their red color and there little sweet crunch. Adding herbs like parsley or cilantro to your hummus, is a nice way to play with flavors and add a little variety to your intake of nutrients. But seriously, even if none of that matters to you- you’re going to love this because it is yummy!

As organic as possible:

Beet Chips

1 Tbsp olive oil, plus more more for the baking sheets

2 medium beets, peeled  or very well scrubbed

leaves from 1 sprig fresh rosemary, minced (*I used almost 1/2 tsp dry)

Kosher salt

Preheat the oven to 325°F. Grease two baking sheets lightly with olive oil.

Use mandolin to slice the beets as thin as possible.

In a bowl, toss the beet slices with rosemary, olive oil, and a generous pinch of salt. Arrange the beets in an even layer on the prepared baking sheets, making sure that none of the slices overlap. If you can’t fit all the slices, use another baking sheet.

Place the baking sheets in the upper and lower thirds of the oven, bake for 10 minutes, then switch their positions and bake for another 10 minutes. Let the chips cool on the baking sheets before eating. Eat plain or with the cilantro hummus for dipping.

 

Cilantro Hummus

1 – 15 oz. can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

Juice of 1/2 large lemon, plus more as needed

1 1/2 tsp salt, plus more as needed

3 Tbsp tahini

1/4 cup olive oil

2 garlic cloves, very finely minced

1/2 cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro leaves

Combine all the ingredients in a bowl with 1/4 cup water and use an immersion blender to blend until smooth (alternatively, use a food processor). Adjust with more lemon, salt, or water to taste.

 

 

Szechuan-Style Green Beans

This dish is amazing. Yes, you can serve it as an awesome side. But I am telling you this dish could stand up to being a meal in itself. Seriously, it is that good and flavorful. Even better, it’s easy and quick! Yay! The original version can be found in Gwyneth Paltrow’s new cookbook, It’s All Easy; which I am loving btw… It’s makes healthy eating fun! A couple of the ingredients might not sound familiar, so here’s a quick note: you could probably replace the tamari with soy sauce and the sambal oelek with a chili paste (such as Thai). Enjoy!

 

As organic as possible:

Salt

2 tsp minced fresh Ginger

2 tsp Sambal Oelek

1 Tbsp Tamari

1 tsp toasted Sesame oil

1 1/2 tsp Maple syrup

1/2 pound Green Beans

3 Tbsp Olive or Peanut oil

Toasted sesame seeds, for garnish (optional)

 

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil for the green beans.

In a small bowl, combine the ginger, sambal oelek, tamari, sesame oil, and maple syrup to make the sauce.

Add the green beans to the boiling water and cook just until the water comes back to a boil, about 3 minutes; drain well and dry on a kitchen towel.

Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan or wok over high heat. When the oil is very hot but not smoking, add the green beans and cook until sizzling and beginning to blister, about 3 minutes. Add the sauce, turn off the heat, and let sit for 2 minutes before serving. Garnish with sesame seeds if desired.

Brown Eyed Baker’s Spinach Artichoke Dip

A good dip is hard to beat. I mean, how many times have I spoiled my dinner filling up on a crazy delicious appetizer… with no regrets? Too many to count probably, and totally worth it every time. I love the combination of creamy artichokes, slightly bitter spinach (for a little depth), smooth cream cheese, and salty Parmesan. Who doesn’t? I’m drooling just thinking about it. I owe my friend AnnMarie credit for bringing this winner to my attention.

As organic as possible: (you know I have to say that)

1 (14-ounce) can artichoke hearts, drained and finely chopped
1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
1½ cups (6 ounces) finely shredded or grated Parmesan cheese, divided
1½ cups (6 ounces) shredded Monterey Jack cheese, divided
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
2/3 cup sour cream
1/3 cup mayonnaise
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
Paprika, to taste (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Press the excess moisture from the spinach.

Combine the artichokes, spinach, 1¼ cups of Parmesan cheese, 1¼ cups of Monterey Jack cheese, cream cheese, sour cream, mayonnaise, and garlic in a bowl and mix well.

Spoon the artichoke mixture into a 1½-quart baking dish. Sprinkle the remaining Monterey Jack and Parmesan cheeses on top, and then sprinkle with paprika, if desired. Bake for 30 minutes. Serve warm with tortilla or pita chips, crackers or vegetables.

Thank you Annie for sharing this recipe with me! View the original at www.browneyedbaker.com