Friday, May 23, 2008

Vegetarian Sloppy Joes

I got this recipe from another expat mom. Sloppy Joes are the ultimate kid food, right? Of course, my kid won't eat it...but Markus and I thoroughly enjoyed it! I think it was extra fabulous because the red beans we used were Blue Runner, sent to me by the fabulous Muses from Louisiana so I could have a taste of home over here.

Vegetarian Sloppy Joes

1 tablespoon olive oil

½ cup chopped onion

½ cup chopped celery

½ cup chopped carrots

½ cup chopped green bell pepper
 (I used red)
1 clove garlic, minced

1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes

1 ½ Tbsp chili powder

1 Tbsp tomato paste

1 Tbsp distilled white vinegar

1 tsp ground black pepper

1 (15 oz) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed

8 kaiser rolls

1. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion, celery, carrot, green pepper, and garlic: saute until tender. Stir in tomatoes, chili powder, tomato paste, vinegar, and pepper. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes.

2. Stir in kidney beans, and cook an additional 5 minutes.

3. Cut a 1/4 inch slice off the top of each kaiser roll; set aside. Hollow out the center of each roll, leaving about 1/2 inch thick shells; reserve the inside of rolls for other uses.

4. Spoon bean mixture evenly into rolls and replace tops. Serve immediately.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Green cheese?

Today at the cheese shop, I noticed green cheese on display. I couldn't help but be intrigued, and the shop owner insisted I try it. It's pesto-cheese, my friends! Naturally, we had to take some home and try it out as grilled cheese. The assessment: if you can get past the color, it's a tasty treat! But getting past the color was a challenge. When your grilled cheese is oozing green goo, it's hard to reconcile the image with a good taste (though the good taste was definitely there).

Baked Mini-Donuts

Here's another favorite that I de-veganized from gail's site: Baked Mini-Donuts. With the occasional exception of a piping hot, fresh Krispy Kreme donut, I prefer baked, cake-style donuts to the fried variety. When gail found this delicious recipe for homemade donuts, I had to try it! I bought myself a donut pan, and we have had very few donut-free weeks since.

Baked Mini-Donuts

Makes 12 Donuts

Dry Ingredients:
1 cup all-purpose flour
½ cup sugar
1 ½ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp nutmeg
pinch of cinnamon

Wet Ingredients:
½ cup buttermilk
½ tsp pure vanilla extract
1 egg, slightly beaten
4 Tbsp butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350ยบ F
In a large bowl, combine dry ingredients with a whisk to mix thoroughly. Mix wet ingredients in separate bowl. Add wet to dry until just combined; this should form a very soft dough.
Using a tablespoon measure, scoop out dough into ungreased non-stick mini-donut pan (2 Tbsp fills each spot in my pan perfectly). Smooth out the top of the dough for a more even donut (though this isn’t crucial).
Bake for 12 minutes or until tester comes out clean. Try not to let the donuts brown on top.
Invert hot pan over cooling rack to release donuts. Cool completely.

Chocolate Dip
Melt 6oz of high-quality milk chocolate over low heat in a double boiler, stirring until chocolate is smooth and only slightly warm to the touch. Do not get water anywhere near your melted chocolate or you will have problems; trust me on this.
Dip each donut into chocolate until covered. Place on cooling rack to set (chocolate isn’t shiny or runny anymore). If you must have sprinkles (and we must!), sprinkle away before the chocolate sets.

Other options are glazing them Krispy Kreme style with a very thin powdered sugar glaze or simply tossing them in cinnamon-sugar for a thin coating; you could also eat them straight-up, which is darn tasty too.

Below is a picture tutorial of donut eating.

First, inspect for adequate sprinkle coverage.

You are clear to enjoy!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Roasted Bell Pepper and Goats Cheese Sandwiches

My gorgeous foodie friend gail keeps a blog that regularly provides me with great recipes. She finds something tempting, fabulizes (my word) and veganizes it, and then I turn around and de-veganize it to meet our grocery finds. This recipe is one of those. Make it tonight! You won't be sorry.

Roasted Bell Pepper and Goats Cheese Sandwich
makes 4

5-6 bell peppers (I use a mix of red, yellow and green peppers)
A handful of basil leaves (10-12) (be green and use basil fresh from the garden – delicious!!)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 – 2 cloves garlic, minced
Salt & pepper to taste
goats cheese
1 loaf of “long" fresh bread (i.e. French bread or a long sour dough loaf) or ciabatta sandwich rolls
Olive oil to spray or rub on peppers

Roast peppers by turning oven to broil and placing halved, seeded peppers on a cookie sheet lightly sprayed with olive oil or covered with aluminum foil to prevent sticking. Lightly spray peppers with olive oil (or rub them all over with oil if you can't find an oil spray) and place in oven. Broil them black. This looks scary, but believe me, it's the way to go and the skin is so easy to remove when they are done right. Remove peppers from oven and cover tightly with aluminum foil or place in a brown paper bag (roll the end shut to trap steam) for 30 minutes or until completely cool. Uncover peppers, peel outer skin off and place peppers into a bowl until ready to use.
In a separate bowl, whisk together olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic, salt and pepper. Set aside until ready to use.
Slice bread in half lengthwise. Spread goats cheese on the bottom half of the bread. Place the peppers evenly on top and then put the basil leaves on top of the peppers. Drizzle the garlic vinaigrette dressing on the top half of the bread and then close your sandwich. Enjoy!

(sorry there is no picture, but Markus was very hungry so we tucked in straight away. the sandwiches were delicious though!)