Sunday, November 30, 2014

Mini Apple Tarts

Source: (slightly modified by Aimee)

1/3 cup brown sugar 
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 tablespoons canola oil 
1 tablespoon 1% low-fat milk 
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup all-purpose flour 
1/3 cup very finely chopped toasted pecans or walnuts

2 cups finely diced peeled Granny Smith apple
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons sugar 
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon water 

Topping (optional): 2 TB oats & 1 TB brown sugar, mixed

1. Preheat oven to 350°.
2. To prepare crust, place first 6 ingredients in a medium bowl. Beat with a mixer at medium speed 1 minute or until well combined. Weigh or lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Add flour and nuts to butter mixture; beat until just combined. Divide dough evenly among 24 miniature muffin cups coated with baking spray. Press dough into bottom and up sides of muffin cups. Bake at 350° for 15 minutes or until golden brown. Cool in pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Carefully remove from pan; cool completely on wire rack.
3. To prepare filling, place apple and juice in a bowl; toss to coat. Add 2 tablespoons sugar and the next 4 ingredients (through ginger); toss well.
4. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add apple mixture; cover and cook 5 minutes or until apple is tender, stirring occasionally. Combine cornstarch and 1 tablespoon water in a small bowl. Stir cornstarch mixture into apple mixture; cook 1 minute or until mixture thickens, stirring constantly. Place apple mixture in a bowl; cool to room temperature. Spoon about 2 teaspoons apple mixture into each tart shell. Sprinkle with topping if desired.

French Onion Soup Tartines

Source: Vegetarian Times (modified by Aimee)

  • 2 Tbs. olive oil, divided
  • 4-5 cups chopped onion
  • 2 shallots, sliced
  • 2 Tbs. dry white wine
  • 2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • ½ tsp. honey
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme
  • 1 baguette, sliced
  • 4 oz. grated Gruyère cheese (1 cup)
1. Heat 1 Tbs. oil in saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, cover, and cook 15 to 20 minutes, or until onions begin to brown. Add wine, and cook 1 to 2 minutes, or until most liquid has evaporated. Stir in broth, honey, and thyme; season with salt and pepper, if desired. Partially cover, and simmer 10 to 20 minutes, or until most liquid has evaporated.
2. Heat remaining 1 Tbs. oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add shallot slices, and cook 5 minutes on each side, or until browned. Transfer to paper-towel-lined plate. 
3. Preheat oven to broil. Place bread slices on baking sheet. Spread a little onion mixture on each slice of bread. Top with grated cheese & 1-2 shallot slices. Broil 2 to 3 minutes, or until cheese begins to bubble and brown.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Butternut Bisque

  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped celery
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh, chopped thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh, crushed rosemary
  • 1 fresh sage leaf, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 medium butternut squash, peeled and cubed
  • 2 1/4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • Croutons for garnish
1. In a large saucepan over medium, sauté the onion, celery, thyme, rosemary, and sage in the olive oil for 5-7 minutes, until the vegetables turn tender. Add the salt and pepper and sauté the vegetables and herbs for an additional 2 minutes.
2. Add the butternut squash and broth to the pan and bring the soup to simmer (add enough water to just cover). Reduce the heat slightly, cover, and simmer the soup for 20 minutes, until the squash is tender.
3. Puree the soup in a countertop blender or with an immersion blender until it is completely smooth. Stir in the heavy cream and heat through. Serve the bisque hot, garnished with croutons.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Black Bean & Veggie Quesadillas

Source: Cooking Matters (Deborah Kelly)- slightly modified by Aimee
Makes 6 folded quesadillas (serves 4)

1 can black beans (15 oz), drained & rinsed
1 zucchini, shredded
4 cups fresh spinach, chopped
1 cup corn kernels
1 cup shredded cheddar
oil for frying
6 (8-inch) whole wheat flour tortillas
sour cream & salsa for garnish, if desired

1. Heat oil in large skillet. Add zucchini & cook about 5 minutes. Add corn & spinach; cook until tender, about 5 minutes more. Remove from heat.
2. Lightly mash black beans & stir into veggie mixture. Transfer to bowl.
3. Spread mixture evenly over half of each tortilla; top with cheese. Fold tortillas; press lightly with a spatula to flatten.
4. Add folded tortillas to oiled skillet & cook about 4 minutes per side, or until both sides are golden brown. Repeat until all quesadillas are cooked. Cut into wedges & serve with salsa & sour cream if desired.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Dill Pickle Soup

Source: (slightly modified by Aimee)

  • 5-1/2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1-3/4 pounds russet potatoes (2-3), peeled and quartered
  • 2 cups chopped carrots (smaller dice)
  • 1 cup chopped dill pickles (smaller dice ~ about 3 large whole dills)
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 8 oz. sour cream
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 cups dill pickle juice*
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1. In a large pot, combine broth, potatoes, carrots and butter. Bring to a boil and cook until the potatoes are tender, 15-20 minutes. Lightly mash potatoes to break them up. Add pickles and continue to simmer.

  • 2. In a medium bowl, stir together flour, sour cream and water, making a paste. Vigorously whisk sour cream mixture (2 Tablespoons at a time) into soup. 
  • 3. Add pickle juice, pepper and cayenne. Cook 5 more minutes and remove from heat. Serve immediately.
  • *All pickle juice is not created equal. Some is saltier than others. Taste your soup after adding the pickle juice and final seasonings. It's possible you will not need any salt or would prefer more or less.

Vegan Cashew Pesto with Pasta


14 ounces whole wheat pasta, such as shells, penne, or spaghetti
1/2 cup cashews
4 cups chopped spinach or kale
1/2 cup parsley
1/4 cup basil leaves
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, cut in half
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1. Prepare the pasta according to the package instructions, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid. Set aside.
2. Place the cashews, spinach or kale, parsley, olive oil, garlic, balsamic, and salt in a blender along with the reserved pasta water. Blend until a chunky pesto forms. Toss with pasta and serve immediately.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Spicy Tofu Lettuce Wraps

Source: Vegetarian Times
Makes 16 wraps

  • 2 tsp. vegetable oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped (1 ½ cups)
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 1 Tbs. minced lemongrass (optional)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (2 tsp.)
  • 1 lb. extra-firm tofu, cubed extra small
  • 1 8-oz. can water chestnuts, drained and chopped
  • 1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup hoisin sauce
  • 2 tsp. chile paste or sriracha 
  • 16 lettuce leaves
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • ½ cup chopped green onions
  • ½ cup finely chopped peanuts

1. To make Filling: Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add onion, ginger, lemongrass, and garlic, and cook 7 to 10 minutes, or until onions are soft and beginning to brown. Add tofu and water chestnuts, breaking tofu into small crumbles; cook 4 minutes, or until heated through. Stir in soy sauce, hoisin sauce, and chile sauce. Transfer to serving bowl.
2. Place lettuce leaves on platter, and set out garnishes in small serving bowls. Let guests wrap tofu mixture in lettuce leaves, and top with their choice of garnishes. 

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Jack-o-Lantern Hummus

Use raisins for the face and a folded lettuce leaf for the stem. Here is the recipe for hummus I used:

Veggie Skeleton

Perfect for Halloween!