Sunday, November 29, 2009

Zuccanoes

I found this recipe in a cookbook I received for my birthday from my wonderful Aunt Cathy and Uncle Mario. It's called The New Moosewood Cookbook. I highly recommend it. Any way, zucchini were on sale last week and I decided to give them a try. I've made them twice now, so here is my adapted recipe.

Zuccanoes:
  • 4 medium sized zucchini (about 2 pounds)
  • Olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1/2 pound of mushrooms, minced
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked rice (I used brown)
  • 1 1/2 cups minced pistachios
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • Black pepper and cayenne (or hot sauce), to taste
  • A few pinches of freshly minced and dried herbs (parsley, basil, dill, thyme, etc.)
  • 1 cup grated cheese, swiss, cheddar, mozzarella, etc.
  • Dash of salt
Cut the zucchini lengthwise down the middle. Use a smallish spoon to scoop out the insides, leaving a canoe with a 1/4 inch shell. Mince the insides, set aside. Heat the oil in a medium sized skillet. Add the onion and saute until the onion is soft, about 5 to 8 minutes. Add the minced zucchini and the mushrooms. Add the dash of salt. Turn up the heat and cook for about 8 minutes, stirring, until the liquid evaporates. Stir in the garlic and remove from the heat. Stir in the rice, nuts, and lemon juice. Season to taste with black pepper, cayenne, and herbs. Preheat oven to 350. Fill the zucchini shells, top with cheese, and bake for 30 to 40 minutes.

Some tips:
  • The recipes makes a lot of filling, I had leftovers both times I made it. However, the filling is delicious on it's own.
  • I used pistachios because it's the only nut I like, but feel free to use almonds, pecans, or the nut of your choice.
  • This dish seems to be a "chop and drop" dish. Add whatever vegetables you have on hand. I've added black beans and diced tomatoes and they were both delicious additions.
  • If you leave off the cheese, this is a wonderful vegan dish.
  • If you are not vegan, tossing extra cheese in the filling is super tasty.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Sweet and Sour Tofu


I'm not going to lie. After making this for dinner last night, I am extremely proud of myself. This is better than takeout. And the best part? All the ingredients are things you should have in your fridge/pantry. The only thing I needed to pick up from the grocery store was the tofu. And after making this, tofu will now always be in my fridge so I can make this meal.

Sweet and Sour Tofu

The sauce:
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 3 tablespoons plus 3/4 cup vegetable stock
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons light soy sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or hot sauce)
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 inch fresh ginger, grated (I used ground, about a tablespoon)
  • Black pepper, to taste
The tofu:
  • Vegetable oil for frying
  • 1 package firm tofu
The vegetables:
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1/2 package frozen mixed vegetables
  • 1/2 package frozen green beans
Mix the cornstarch with 3 tablespoons of the stock until smooth. In a medium bowl mix together the vinegar, remaining stock, sugar, ketchup, soy sauce, cayenne, and black pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil gently in a small saucepan, and soften the garlic and ginger. Add the vinegar mixture to the pan and simmer for about 4 minutes. Stir in the cornstarch mixture until the sauce thickens. Check the seasoning.
Slice the tofu into thin squares. Coat a saute pan with oil and heat over medium/medium high. Brown the tofu on both sides, about five minutes. Drain on paper towels. Toss the tofu in the sauce. Saute the onions and vegetables until slightly charred. Top the vegetables with the extra sauce.
Serve with brown rice.

An extra tip:
  • I would recommend doubling the recipe for the sauce so you have plenty for both the tofu and the vegetables.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Sweet Emepenadas


I love it when my brain surprises me. The last time I made empenadas for dinner I ran out of filling and had two leftover shells. I was just about to put them back into the fridge and use them another time when a light bulb went off in my head. Dessert empenadas!

Sweet Empenadas:

  • 1 apple, diced
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon cream cheese
  • 2 empenada shells
Preheat oven to 400. In a small saute pan melt the butter. Toss the apples in the butter. Stir in sugar and cinnamon. When the apples get somewhat caramelized add the cream cheese. When the cream cheese is melted turn off the heat. Spoon the apples into the middle of the shells. Fold and seal with a fork. Place on a baking sheet, brush with a little melted butter, and bake for about 15 minutes or until brown. Enjoy them on their own or with some vanilla ice cream. Yum.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Savory Empenadas

My mom started making empenadas a few years ago and they were an instant family hit. They're were very easy to make vegetarian and you can also make them into desserts! So, for round one:

Savory Empenadas

  • 1 package 10 grande empenada discs, goya brand (found in the freezer section of the grocery store under "ethnic food")
  • 1/2 bag frozen mixed vegetables
  • 1 onion
  • 3-4 cloves garlic
  • Tablespoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Complete Seasoning
  • Dash of hot sauce
  • Olive oil
  • Cheddar cheese (optional)
Preheat the oven to 400. Heat a saute pan on medium heat, coat the pan with olive oil. Saute the onion and garlic until soft. Add the frozen vegetables and cook until thawed. Add the chili powder, complete seasoning, and hot sauce. Remove pan from heat. On a cutting board lay out 2-3 discs at a time. Spoon the veggie mixture into the middle of the disc. Add some of the cheese. Fold the dough in half. Seal by pressing a fork around the edge. Place on a greased baking sheet. Repeat until all are stuffed. Brush the top of each empenada with olive oil. Bake for about 15 minutes or until golden brown. Serve with rice, sour cream, salsa, or condiment of your choice.

Some tips:
  1. The Goya brand discs are not vegan. I haven't shopped around for a brand that is, but if you find one, let me know!
  2. Feel free to use whatever vegetables use have on hand.
  3. I bake mine for several reasons. A) They're more healthy that way and B) I am terrified of a big pan full of hot oil. However, these empenadas are equally delicious fried if you are more brave than I am.