Gourmet Veggie Mama

Taco Night, Vegetarian-Style

One of my favorite meals as a kid was fried white bean tacos. I hadn’t thought about them in ages, until I suddenly got a craving for them the other day.* So, I set about searching all of my cookbooks and scouring the internets for a recipe… but to no avail. It’s like no one had ever heard of these things! There were a few recipes out there for white bean tacos, but nothing really like what I remembered. So I had to wing it.

* Pregnancy is weird.

That’s okay. Winging it can be fun, and it yielded delicious results, very similar to what I remembered, and it actually wasn’t all that much work.

white bean tacos

I started with dried white beans, but you could easily use canned if you don’t have time for that. I made a big batch of tacos and froze the leftovers (pre-frying), so hopefully that’ll provide another, even quicker meal for us some rainy day. With a baby on the way, there are sure to be some of those days in our future!

White Bean Tacos
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6-8
 
Ingredients
  • 1 Tbs olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 lb white beans (Great Northern or similar), cooked and drained (or 2 cans)
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1-2 tsp chili powder (to taste)
  • 1 small can sliced black olives
  • ¼ cup sunflower seeds
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 16 corn tortillas
  • 2-3 Tbs canola oil, for frying
Instructions
  1. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Saute the onion until soft and translucent.
  2. Add the beans, mashing with a potato masher, and stir until heated through. Add the cumin and chili powder and stir to combine. Stir in the black olives and sunflower seeds. Remove the mixture from the heat and set aside.
  3. Heat each corn tortilla on a griddle until soft and pliable. Stuff with the white bean mixture, fold in half, and secure with a toothpick. Continue with additional tortillas until all filling is used.
  4. Heat a thin layer of canola oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add a batch of tacos and fry on one side until golden brown. Flip and fry on the other side until golden brown. Remove to a paper-towel lined plate and continue, working in batches. Serve with sour cream and hot sauce, if desired.

 

Spaghetti Squash Alfredo

I’m late to the spaghetti squash game. I could never really get behind the whole squash-as-pasta-substitute thing, and I never really had too much opportunity to try it until now. But, when life (or, in this case, your CSA) hands you spaghetti squash… you make spaghetti squash alfredo.

For the uninitiated, spaghetti squash has an interesting feature — when it’s cooked, the insides scrape up just like, well, spaghetti, which makes it a perfect, healthy vessel for your favorite pasta sauce.

spaghetti squash

At first I was just going to use some run-of-the-mill pasta sauce with the spaghetti squash, maybe with some store-bought veggie meatballs thrown in. Then I ran across this recipe, and it looked too good to pass up — despite the “skinny” in the title, which tends to make me roll my eyes.

Let me tell you — it was good! Whether or not it’s truly “skinny,” I can’t say, but it definitely didn’t taste like it. It was creamy, garlicky, filling and delicious. A must try!

Spaghetti Squash Alfredo

5.0 from 1 reviews

Spaghetti Squash Alfredo
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Serves: 4
 
Ingredients
  • 2 spaghetti squash
  • 3 Tbs butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
  • 3 Tbs flour
  • 3 cups milk
  • 2 Tbs cream cheese
  • 2 cups parmesan cheese, grated, plus additional for topping
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • red pepper flakes, to taste (optional)
  • parsley, to taste (optional)
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350. Split each spaghetti squash in half lengthwise, and then scoop out the seeds and stringy bits with a spoon. Fill the bottom of a rimmed baking sheet with water, and place the squash cut side down on the sheet. Bake until the squash is tender, about 1 hour.
  2. Meanwhile, make the sauce. Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat, and add the garlic. Saute until fragrant, and then add the flour, whisking to combine.
  3. Add the milk gradually, whisking to break up lumps, and continue to heat, stirring, until the mixture thickens. Add the cream cheese and stir to incorporate. Remove from the heat, and add the parmesan, stirring to combine, and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. When the spaghetti squash are done, remove from the oven and drain the water from the baking sheet. Flip them over and, using a fork, scrape the insides to create that “spaghetti” texture, leaving just a little flesh around the outsides so the squash holds together.
  5. Preheat the broiler. Spoon the sauce into each squash half, and toss and stir to combine, so that the filling is well-coated with the sauce. Sprinkle each squash half with a bit of parmesan, crushed red pepper and parsley (if desired). Place under the broiler for 2-3 minutes, or until the cheese on top begins to brown and bubble. Enjoy!

 

Perfect Strawberry Shortcake (with Scratch Biscuits!)

I know I may be pushing my luck here, trying to get in one last summery recipe before fall is officially here. But, as I am daily reminded, it still feels like summer around here, so I think it’ll be okay.

I love berries. The good folks at Driscoll’s Berries were kind enough to provide me with some of their fine berries to play with this summer (they’re the ones I usually grab at the store anyway), and strawberry shortcake has always been one of my favorites… so I set about perfecting my recipe. I have the berry part down — all you really need are fresh, ripe strawberries, a bit of sugar and some orange liqueur, if you’re feeling frisky — but I was bound and determined to make the perfect sweet biscuits from scratch. The hubby has always been the biscuit maker around our house, and he does make some amazing biscuits for breakfast now and then, but I’m definitely in charge of dessert. Sure, the standard Bisquick recipe does the trick — but I really wanted something that didn’t come from a box. And frankly, I like to make things with ingredients I already have in my pantry.

It didn’t take much trial and error to land on an easy and delicious recipe. I found this one from About.com, of all places, and it fit the bill just fine. I tried it out on my neighbors at our end-of-summer block party, and it got rave reviews. Even a strawberry-allergic neighbor gobbled the biscuits with whipped cream and came away pleased — although I’ll admit, I think the strawberries are really the star of the show here.

Strawberry Shortcake (with scratch biscuits!)

Enjoy one last taste of summer, before it’s really gone!

5.0 from 1 reviews

Perfect Strawberry Shortcake
Author: 
 
Ingredients
For strawberries:
  • 1 quart strawberries
  • 2-3 Tbs sugar (to taste)
  • splash of Cointreau or Grand Marnier (optional)
For shortcake:
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 Tbs baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 3 Tbs sugar
  • ½ cup (1 stick) butter, chilled
  • ¾ cup cream
For topping:
  • 1¼ cups heavy whipping cream
  • ½ tsp vanilla
  • sugar to taste
Instructions
For berries:
  1. Hull the berries and sliced them in half or quarter, depending on size. Toss with the sugar and liqueur (if using). Set aside while you prepare the shortcakes.
For shortcake:
  1. Preheat the oven to 425. Combine the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a blade and pulse to combine. Cut the butter into pieces and add to the flour mixture. Pulse until the texture resembles coarse sand.
  2. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and make a well in the center. Add most of the cream and combine with a fork until just moist. Add additional cream as necessary. The dough may not hold together well at this point — that’s okay. Let the dough rest for a minute or so.
  3. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead it, turning 2 or 3 times, until it comes together well. Pat the dough until it’s about a ¾-inch thick rectangle, and, using a 3-inch biscuit cutter, cut into 8 biscuits. (If you are like me, you may need to reshape it a couple of times to make this happen!)
  4. Transfer the biscuits to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Brush the top of each biscuit with a little cream, if desired, and bake for 10-15 minutes, or until risen and golden.
For whipped cream:
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the whipping cream, vanilla and sugar to taste. Using the a whisk attachment, whip the cream until it is light and fluffy.
To serve:
  1. Split each biscuit in half and spoon some of the berry mixture over. Top with a dollop of whipped cream.

 

Note: I received free berries from Driscoll’s Berries in exchange for experimenting with a few recipes and sharing the results with my readers, but I was not otherwise compensated, and my opinions are my own.

Crock Pot Potato Soup

You guys. It is still so hot. But, I have it on good authority that fall has come to other parts of the country, and that it may soon make an appearance here! If Starbucks has pumpkins spice lattes, it must be true — right?

Anyway, if you’re ready for soup weather (and boy am I ever), hop on over to LiveMom and check out my latest post with a delicious recipe for crock pot potato soup.

potato soup

It’s easy to throw together, delicious and comforting — perfect for fall. Enjoy!

Eggplant Stir Fry with Green Beans and Cashews

I don’t usually write about stir frys, since I tend to put them together often, and on the fly, with no real recipe to speak of. This time, however, I was feeling inspired to try something a little different with the Chinese eggplant we scored in the CSA box. I had been flipping through an issue os Vegetarian Times, and I came across an article on eggplant, complete with a recipe for Eggplant Stir Fry with Green Beans and Cashews.

eggplant stir fry

I’m not usually one to shop for stir fry ingredients, either, but this sounded so delicious — and I was admittedly lacking any green vegetables in the fridge to throw in — that I decided to give it a whirl. I’m glad I sucked it up and bought green beans, because this was a wonderful dish, and one we’ll definitely be enjoying again. The hubby raved, and Nora, who has scarcely tried a bite of anything I’ve cooked for the past three days (sigh) nibbled at it a bit… and then settled for plain rice instead. Can’t win ‘em all. I did eat her leftovers, though, so at least there’s that.

Eggplant Stir Fry with Green Beans and Cashews
Author: 
Cuisine: asian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
Ingredients
For sauce:
  • 2 Tbs soy sauce or tamari
  • 2 tsp brown sugar
  • 1½ tsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp Sriracha
For stir fry:
  • 8 oz (about 1 cup) fresh green beans, snipped
  • 1 Tbsp canola oil
  • 2-3 Chinese or Japanese eggplant, sliced crosswise on the diagonal
  • 1 carrot, sliced crosswise on the diagonal
  • 2 green onions, sliced crosswise on the diagonal
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
  • 1 tsp fresh ginger, grated
  • Crispy fried tofu (about 8 oz before cooking, prepared ahead)
  • Cashews for serving
  • Brown rice for serving
Instructions
  1. Mix the soy sauce, brown sugar, rice vinegar and Sriracha together in a small bowl and whisk until combined. Set aside.
  2. Bring 2 cups of water to a rapid boil in a small pot, and blanch the green beans, about 3-4 minutes. Drain, reserving the cooking liquid, and rinse with cold water Set aside.
  3. Heat the oil in a large skillet or wok over high heat. Add the eggplant and stir fry for a few minutes, until beginning to soften. Add the carrots and stir fry for an additional minute or two, and then cover with a lid and allow to cook for 3-4 minutes.
  4. Remove the lid and add the green onions, garlic and ginger, and stir for 30 seconds. Add the green beans and the sauce, plus a splash of the green bean cooking liquid. Stir until the sauce begins to thicken.
  5. Add the tofu and stir to coat. Cook until warm and fragrant. Serve atop brown rice, topped with a handful of cashews.

 

Hatch Two Ways

Since Hatch chile season — the most beloved of all seasons* — is in its waning days, it was time to break out The First Ever Un-Edited and Un-Tested Hatch Chile Pepper Recipe Book from Central Market and try a few new recipes. Of course, I have my old standbys — this enchilada sauce among them — but we always like to experiment a little too.

* And also, apparently, something of a fraud, at least according to New Mexicans. This article (discovered via Addie Broyles) has me questioning everything I hold dear.

One evening last week saw the hubby thumbing through the Recipe Book, and he landed on two recipes that sounded equally delicious, so we decided to try both of them out. The first was a squash casserole starring cheese and Hatch peppers. I’m always looking for ways to use zucchini and summer squash (other than zucchini bread, of course), and this turned out to be a good combination.

Green Chile Squash Casserole

Hatch-Summer Squash Casserole
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
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Serves: 4-6
 
Ingredients
  • 3 Tbs olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
  • 3 Hatch chiles, roasted, peeled, stemmed, seeded and chopped
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 3 small zucchini, sliced
  • 3 small yellow squash, sliced
  • 1½ cups cheddar cheese, grated
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350. Lightly oil an 8×8 pan and set aside.
  2. Heat the oil in a saute pan over medium heat and saute the onion and garlic together until the onion is soft and translucent.
  3. Add the Hatch chiles, zucchini and squash and saute until softened but not soggy. Season with salt to taste.
  4. Transfer the squash mixture to the baking pan and top with the cheese. Bake for 10 minutes, or until the cheese is hot and melted.

 

The second, delightfully termed a “Potato, Corn and Green Chile Thing” by the author, was originally a camp recipe, and it was delicious just as it is. It would be even better treated as a hash and served with some fried eggs over the top. Next time, that’s what we’ll do. The sweet corn was a wonderful complement to the spicy Hatch peppers.

Potato, Corn and Green Chile Hash

Hatch Two Ways
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Prep time: 
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Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
Ingredients
  • 4 Tbs butter, divided
  • 2-3 large red potatoes (or Yukon Golds), chopped into ½-inch pieces
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed, divided
  • 2 ears corn, grilled and cut off cob
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 3 Hatch chiles, roasted, peeled, seeded and chopped
  • 1 onion chopped
Instructions
  1. Melt 2 Tbs butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Fry the potatoes with one of the garlic cloves, stirring, until golden brown. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain and set aside.
  2. Melt the remaining 2 Tbs butter in the same skillet. Add the corn and the other garlic clove and saute for about 10 minutes. Add the sugar and stir for 5 more minutes.
  3. Add the reserved potatoes, the onion and Hatch chiles to the pan and cook for 10 minutes, or until the onion is softened. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve alone as a side dish, or topped with a fried egg.

 

Vegetarian Tamale Pie

Ah, tamale pie. I confess I hadn’t ever made it before, but now that I’ve given it a shot, it’s bound to become a regular feature on our weeknight table. Not only is it quick and easy to pull together, but it also serves as a “kitchen sink” meal for veggies I have a lot of — like summer squash and zucchini. Oh, and it’s delicious.

Vegetarian Tamale Pie ~ Gourmet Veggie Mama

I used a yellow crookneck squash and a zucchini here, plus some roasted sweet peppers, but you could play around with it and add all kinda of fun stuff, depending on what you have on hand. The corn was a must, though — we had some sweet corn that the hubby had grilled a couple of weeks earlier, removed from the cob and frozen, and it was perfect in the filling. Enjoy!

5.0 from 1 reviews

Vegetarian Tamale Pie
Author: 
Cuisine: Mexican
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
 
Ingredients
For filling:
  • 1 Tbs canola oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced or pressed
  • 2 colored sweet peppers, roasted (if desired), stemmed, seeded and chopped
  • 1 zucchini, sliced into half moons
  • 1 yellow squash, sliced into half-moons
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • 1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed well
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 Tbs tomato paste
  • 1 small can sliced black olives, drained
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels
For crust:
  • 3 cups boiling water
  • 1 cups cornmeal
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • ½ cup grated cheddar cheese, plus extra to sprinkle on top
Instructions
  1. Saute the onion and garlic in the oil over medium heat. When the onions are soft and translucent, add the peppers, zucchini and summer squash, along with the chili powder and cumin. Saute until softened.
  2. Add the beans, mashing with a potato masher as you incorporate them, and the salt, tomato paste, black olives and corn.
  3. Preheat the oven to 350°. Grease an 8×8 glass pan.
  4. Bring the water to a boil in a medium saucepan, and then the cornmeal gradually, stirring constantly to prevent lumps. Cook, stirring, until thickened and beginning to boil. Add the salt and chili powder.
  5. Spread half of the cornmeal mixture on the bottom and up the sides of the baking dish. Spread the filling mixture over the cornmeal mixture evenly, and top with ½ cup cheese.
  6. Drop and spread the remaining cornmeal mixture over the top. Top with additional cheese to your taste. Bake for 35-45 minutes, and serve warm.

 

A Mediterranean Feast

Okay… so I’ve been on a bit of an unscheduled blog-cation. I’ve been busy with other deadlines (yay for being busy!), and with the heat and the inevitable crankiness that comes along with it,* especially when one is pregnant, I just haven’t been feeling like cooking much… or writing.

* I really think there should be a diagnosable disorder, a la SAD, for people who live in hot climates during July and August. Heat-induced irritability is all too common!

The cooking came back first — and honestly, I’ve been feeling pretty inspired and have some fun stuff to share — so now I just have to get over the writer’s block. I’ll start with a fun one — a Mediterranean feast that the hubby whipped up not too long ago.

Mediterranean feast ~ Gourmet Veggie Mama
None of it took too terribly long to make, and it’s all very do-able in advance, so this make the perfect (cool) lunch for us a couple of days in a row. The cucumber salad was my favorite — with cucumbers from our own garden, which are coming in like gangbusters nowadays — and the feta-yogurt dip was sublime. I know it doesn’t sound like much, but the flavors together were just awesome (and it had a strange spiciness to it that I still can’t quite account for). Store-bought pita, cut into triangles, and some pitted kalamata olives completed the meal. We’re working on perfecting the recipe for roasted-pepper hummus (we’ve got plenty of peppers coming in from our garden right now too) — so stay tuned for that in the near future.
All in all, it was a delicious, protein-filled meal that left us feeling full, but not icky — and that’s a big plus in these dog days of summer. Enjoy!
Cucumber and Mint Salad
Author: 
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
Ingredients
  • 2 cucumbers
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ¼ cup red onions, finely chopped
  • 2 Tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2½ tsp sugar
  • ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh mint (or less, to taste)
Instructions
  1. Halve the cucumbers lengthwise, and use a spoon to scoop out the seeds. Cut into thin slices.
  2. Toss the cucumber with the salt in a colander and allow to drain in the sink for 30 minutes. Tap to remove any remaining water, and then dump the cucumbers onto a clean dish towel spread on the counter, using its edges to blot any excess moisture.
  3. While the cucumbers are draining, soak the onions in a small bowl of ice water for 10 minutes (this tames their bite a little bit), then drain using a fine mesh sieve.
  4. In a medium bowl, combine the cucumbers, onions, white wine vinegar, olive oil, sugar, pepper and mint. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 20 minutes before serving.
Feta-Yogurt Dip
Author: 
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
Ingredients
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
  • 1⅓ cup feta cheese, crumbled (about 8 oz)
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt
  • ¼ tsp lemon juice
  • black pepper, to taste
  • 1 tsp za’atar spice mix, plus more (to garnish)*
Instructions
  1. Add the garlic, feta and olive oil to the food processor and process until the cheese is roughly crumbled. Remove half of the cheese to a bowl.
  2. Add the Greek yogurt, lemon juice, pepper and za’atar seasoning to the food processor with the remaining feta. Process until smooth.
  3. Add the Greek yogurt mixture to the bowl with the crumbled feta and mix well. Garnish with a sprinkle of za’atar seasoning and serve.
* Za’atar seasoning can be purchased in Middle-Eastern markets, or substitute 1 tsp toasted sesame seeds and 1/4 tsp each dried oregano and thyme.

Ultimate Baked Potatoes

Okay, so I fully admit it is not baked potato weather. We’re going on a streak of 100-degree days here, and I don’t love turning the oven on.

On the other hand, I am loving potatoes right now, and sometimes, when I’m having a blah day,* a baked potato is the only thing that sounds good. So you can imagine how thrilled I was when I discovered a recipe that not only promised to deliver the tastiest baked potato possible (with butter and cheese cooked right into it!), but also cut down cooking time by a third.

Perfect Baked Potato

* Yes, I still have them occasionally, and yes, I’m taking about nausea/food aversions. This pregnancy has been difficult, especially with the heat, but I’m coping — and it could be a lot worse. But carbs are still my friends a lot of the time.

Of course I tried it at the earliest possible opportunity, and — there’s no better way to say it — these potatoes were awesome. The other members of my family, neither or whom has ever been as enthusiastic about baked potatoes as I am, loved them too.

Mom to Bed by 8 offers a great tutorial here, but I tweaked it just a little bit (and not in the direction of making it any healthier, I’m afraid — quite the opposite). So I’ll share my version here, too, but hop on over there to get a step-by-step feel for how you should be doing things. I don’t think you’ll ever make baked potatoes the “old way” again!

4.0 from 1 reviews

Ultimate Baked Potatoes
Author: 
Recipe type: weeknight meal
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
Ingredients
  • 4 large baking potatoes*
  • Butter
  • Cheese, sliced
  • Sour cream, chives, salt and pepper and any other ingredients you desire for garnish
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 450°.
  2. Wash and dry the potatoes. Using a sharp knife, but ¼-inch slices into each potato, crosswise, but don’t cut all the way through to the bottom.Leave enough flesh to keep the potato together (think accordion-style).
  3. Stuff each of the slits you’ve just made with butter and cheese, alternately. Place the potatoes on a baking sheet (make a little foil “boat” to keep things neat if you want — I did) and bake for 35 minutes.
  4. Add additional shredded cheese to the potatoes and bake for an additional 5 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and the potatoes are cooked perfectly.
  5. Remove from the oven and cool slightly, then add your additional toppings — I recommend a healthy dollop of sour cream and chives, if you have them, plus salt and pepper to taste. Enjoy!

 *Or as many servings as you would like to prepare.

Watermelon Granita

Wow. I have found my new favorite chilled treat — and not a moment too soon, as August is here in full force, in all its brain-melting glory. A little watermelon is just what the doctor ordered… and frozen? Well, yeah, that just makes it even more refreshing.

Watermelon Granita ~ Gourmet Veggie Mama

This watermelon granita is kind of like a snow cone, only way better. Not only is it healthier — it’s made with whole fruit instead of super-sugary syrup — but it’s better tasting, too. Plus it’s a snap to whip up — and with only three ingredients, and no need for special equipment, you can’t go wrong.

Watermelon Granita
Author: 
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8-10
 
Ingredients
  • 8 cups seedless watermelon chunks
  • 1 cup sugar
  • juice of 2 limes
Instructions
  1. Mix all ingredients in a blender and blend thoroughly.
  2. Pour into an airtight container and freeze for 2-3 hours, or until frozen chunks start to form. Stir, breaking up any large chunks, and return to the freezer for another 2-3 hours, or until frozen through.
  3. Using a fork, scrape vigorously to form icy flakes. Keeps well for several days in the freezer (although it’ll probably get gobbled up sooner than that). Allow to thaw for a few minutes for easier scraping.

 

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