Posts Tagged ‘Italian’

  1. vegan zucchini meatballs

    December 19, 2016 by Angie

    I love a fake meatball. Ever since Nate’s Meatless Meatballs became impossible to purchase without insane shipping costs, I’ve been searching for a suitable alternative. I’ve previously made some pretty great TVP-based “meatballs”. Alas, TVP is also nearly impossible to buy where I live now. I found this recipe for vegan zucchini “meatballs” on Pinterest from the blog Making Thyme for Health.

    Vegan Zucchini ‘Meatballs’

    They were pretty easy to make – easier than the TVP version. They did not bake all the way through in the middle, but I adjusted the recipe below with suggestions I think will correct that problem. I added more spices than called for in the original recipe. The taste and texture were really good. The only downside to this recipe is the cleanup. It was so heinous that Robbie asked me to never make it again ūüôĀ I suppose I will have to save this recipe for a day when I have the time to cook and do the dishes so, like never, basically. Huge shout out to my dish doing husband who makes cooking possible.

    a saucy "meatball"

    Ingredients

    1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
    2 tbsp minced garlic
    1/2 c rolled oats
    1/2 tbsp dried basil
    1/2 tbsp dried oregano
    1 tsp garlic powder
    1/2 tsp salt
    2 tbsp nutritional yeast
    juice of 1/2 lemon
    1 1/4 c shredded zucchini
    one jar of spaghetti sauce
    pasta of your choice, cooked as directed on the package (Robbie had fettuccine and I had zucchini noodles.)

    vegan zucchini meatballs with zucchini noodles

    Instructions

    1. Use a food processor with the shredding blade attached to shred the zucchini. I used almost two large-ish zucchini. Measure it out to be sure you have at least 1 and a 1/4 cups of shredded zucchini. Set aside.
    2. Remove the shredding blade and use the food processor to blend the drained and rinsed chickpeas, minced garlic and oats. I used pulse for 5 seconds three of four times to get everything finely chopped. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl.
    3. Add the basil, oregano, garlic powder, salt, and nutritional yeast to the chickpea mixture. Stir to combine with a spoon.
    4. Add the shredded zucchini and lemon juice. Stir to combine again.
    5. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
    6. Form the mixture into balls and place them, spaced apart, on the lined cookie sheet. I believe I had enough for 15 balls at about a rounded tablespoon each. Bake for 15 minutes then turn them over and bake for another 15 minutes.
    7. While the “meatballs” are baking, prepare the pasta and heat the spaghetti sauce.

  2. eggplant parmesan

    May 28, 2016 by Angie

    My mother-in-law makes the best eggplant parmesan. The best. I tried to make eggplant parmesan a couple of times using other recipes and I didn’t like what I made. The recipes called for salting then frying the eggplant slices leading directly to disaster. Even Italian restaurants seriously mess up eggplant parmesan so making delicious eggplant parmesan has been a culinary goal of mine for years.

    Blanky's eggplant parmesan

    Blanky’s stellar eggplant parmesan

    My mother-in-law shared her recipe with me along with some tips and the brand of sauce she uses – Ragu Chunky in a giant plastic container. Can you believe that? That sauce is key!

    The recipe is this baked, not fried, version from Martha Stewart. Baking is lower fat, less messy, and a lot easier than frying. I followed the recipe pretty closely because I really wanted it to succeed this time! My small changes included the addition of a quarter teaspoon of garlic powder to the bread crumb and cheese mixture and decreasing the initial baking time as advised by my mother-in-law.

    I don’t buy eggs, but I do keep Eggology egg whites in the house. Robbie looked up the conversion for me. Two tablespoons of egg whites are equivalent to one egg without the yolk. He poured four tablespoons of Eggology into a bowl and added 1 tablespoon of Smart Balance oil to try to make up for the fat missing from the two egg yolks he omitted. From there he added the two tablespoons of water and whisked.

    I ran out of the bread crumbs and cheese mixture halfway through and had to make another one. I will double it from the start in the future.

    I had to bake the casserole longer than the recipe said to achieve the coveted bubbly, golden brown status. I think my oven is wonky so YMMV.

    I’m happy to report that my eggplant parmesan was amazing! It was not exactly like my mother-in-law’s but it was really, really delicious. Way better than what I’ve had at many restaurants and I’ve eaten more than my fair share of restaurant eggplant parmesan.

    eggplant parmesan

    Next time I will do everything the same except I’ll also slice the eggplant more carefully to get consistently thin slices and I’ll be prepared to bake the final casserole longer, maybe even using the broiler for a couple of minutes at the end.

    unphotogenic serving

    Lifetime culinary goal achieved!


  3. bruschetta

    May 21, 2016 by Angie

    The jar of pesto in my pantry was in danger of expiring, therefore, bruschetta. Eating bruschetta is much more enjoyable than throwing pesto away. I made a good life choice.

    pretty bruschetta

    Ingredients:

    loaf of fresh French bread
    jar of basil pesto (I would guess I used about 3 tablespoons – the jar is still quite full.)
    1 cup of cherry tomatoes
    reduced fat feta cheese (I used almost the entire container.)
    balsamic vinegar

    Preparation:

    1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Spray a cookie sheet with olive oil.

    2. Slice the French bread into small discs. Arrange the bread slices on the cookie sheet and spritz them with olive oil.

    3. Bake the bread slices until slightly toasty. You have to keep a close eye on them – they want to burn.

    4. Quarter the cherry tomatoes. Combine the tomatoes and feta in a bowl.

    5. Spread pesto on the toasted bread slices. Top with the tomato feta mixture. Drizzle balsamic vinegar over the bruschetta, if you’re into that. Enjoy!

    plate of bruschetta


  4. goat cheese, arugula, & fig preserves panini

    November 10, 2015 by Angie

    Robbie and I are suckers for grilled cheese sandwiches. I made these “grown-up” grilled cheese sandwiches with French bread, goat cheese, extra sharp cheddar cheese, arugula, and fig preserves. I cooked them on a grill pan in olive oil, where I pressed them with a dish and a heavy bowl. My understanding is that the pressing and grill marks qualify them for panini status. I’m going with panini because I¬†am a resplendent woman deserving of an elegant sandwich.


    pile of arugula on top of cheesy bread goodness

    Serves two as an entree

    Ingredients

    freshly baked French bread – I used just shy of half of a baguette
    about 2 oz goat cheese
    about 3 oz sharp cheddar cheese, cut into thin slices
    4 tsp fig preserves
    3-4 handfuls of arugula, washed
    olive oil

    goat cheese, arugula, & fig preserves panini

    Directions

    1. Heat a grill pan over medium heat. Coat it in thin layer of olive oil.

    2. Cut the French bread to make two hearty chunks then cut those in half horizontally.

    3. Spread the goat cheese on the bottom half of each sandwich.

    4. Spread the fig preserves on the top halves.

    5. Place the both panini bottoms on the grill pan. Top with about 2/3 of the washed arugula. Top that with slices of the sharp cheddar followed by the top halves of the paninis.

    6. Place a dish upside down over the paninis. Put something heavy on top of that to press everything down. I used a glass bowl.

    7. Once the bottom half has grill marks and the cheese is starting to melt, flip the paninis over and replace the dish/bowl pressing setup.

    8. After that side is cooked and the cheese is melted, plate the paninis and top them with the rest of the arugula.

    couple of paninis


  5. garlicky zucchini noodles with tomatoes and fresh mozzarella

    January 31, 2015 by Angie

    For dinner Friday night I tried a slightly altered version of a new-to-me recipe from one of my favorite blogs, Kalyn’s Kitchen. She calls it Garlicky Zucchini Noodles with Tomatoes and Burrata. It was extraordinary. We enjoyed it with a California Pinot Noir. It made for a wonderful Friday night at home.

    Garlicky Zucchini Noodles with Fresh Mozzarella

    Makes 2 servings.

    Ingredients

    olive oil
    5 medium zucchini
    2 tbsp minced garlic
    1.5 cups cherry tomatoes
    1/4 tsp dried basil
    1/4 tsp dried oregano
    1/4 tsp dried thyme
    1/4 tsp dried sage
    fresh basil
    3 balls of fresh Mozzarella

    Directions

    1. Wash the zucchini, cherry tomatoes, and fresh basil. Cut the ends off of the zucchini. Cut the cherry tomatoes in half. Cut the fresh basil into ribbons.

    2. Mix the dried spices together in a bowl.

    3. Make the zucchini noodles by using a vegetable peeler to slice wide but thin slices of zucchini all around each of the zucchini. When you get to the seeds, discard the rest and move to the next one. I piled these on a plate as I worked.

    4. Spray a deep pan with olive oil and heat on medium. Add the halved tomatoes and minced garlic. After cooking for about three minutes, add the mixed spices and stir. Cook for another three minutes.

    5. Add the zucchini noodles. Stir and cook for about five minutes, stirring occasionally until the zucchini is heated through and the tomatoes start to create a sauce.

    6. Add the fresh basil.

    7. Serve the zucchini and tomato mixture. Cut the fresh Mozzarella balls into eight pieces. Top each serving with half of the Mozzarella pieces. Add salt and pepper to taste.


  6. grilled eggplant parmesan

    December 7, 2014 by Angie

    Eggplant parmesan is my best favorite food. After pizza. I haven’t had much success making the breaded version but I saw a recipe on the Food and Wine website that seemed doable and yummy so I tried it. I am happy to report that I pulled it off and it was really good! Robbie made the garlic bread – also phenomenal!

    with garlic bread

    Grilled eggplant parmesan is best with garlic bread made by Robbie – he never skimps on the garlic.

    Ingredients

    1 large eggplant
    3 tomatoes on the vine
    olive oil
    sea salt
    jar of spaghetti sauce (Gia Russa Tomato Basil is preferred in our house.)
    minced garlic
    dried basil
    dried oregano
    garlic powder
    mozzarella cheese, sliced into thin chunks
    shredded parmesan cheese

    closeup

    Right out of the oven.

    Instructions

    1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

    2. Heat a grill pan over medium heat. Spray with olive oil.

    3. Wash and peel the eggplant. Slice it into 1/4″ slices.

    4. Slice the tomatoes into thin slices.

    5. Spray the eggplant with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt. Place them on the grill pan in batches, flipping after about 2 minutes. Repeat with the tomato slices.

    6. Arrange the grilled eggplant on the cookie sheet so that they are slightly overlapping. Top with the grilled tomato slices.

    7. Spoon some of the spaghetti sauce over the tomatoes. Sprinkle the minced garlic, dried basil, dried oregano, and garlic powder to taste.

    8. Strategically place chunks of mozzarella cheese for optimal cheese coverage. Sprinkle with the shredded parmesan.

    9. Bake for about 15 minutes.

    10. Serve with garlic bread.

    on the cookie sheet

    Less work, fewer carbs, and almost as delicious as the original!


  7. zucchini crust pizza

    July 19, 2013 by Angie

    I’m trying desperately to keep up with the South Beach Diet but, as you may have noticed, I really love pizza. I tried making a cauliflower crust pizza once before. I’m into the spirit of the cauliflower crust but it did not work out for me at all. It fell apart and was mushy and grainy and created a million dishes and was just sad all around. I came across this recipe for zucchini crust pizza at my favorite South Beach Diet-friendly blog, Kalyn’s Kitchen. The main ingredient is obviously zucchini. There’s some oregano, garlic powder, salt, and shredded mozzarella and parmesan cheeses in there. The ingredients that hold everything together though were problematic for me and I feared a repeat of the cauliflower disaster. It calls for almond meal (instead of flour, sticking to the no grains rule) and a beaten egg. I’m very allergic to almond meal but I figured a nut is a nut so I made my own cashew meal by pulverizing a handful of raw cashews in my food processor. I don’t buy eggs so I improvised with a flax egg instead. And would you believe it…it worked out! It stayed together and was a real crust! And it tasted great!

    zucchini crust pizzas

     

    Right out of the oven

    I topped with garlicky tomato sauce, shredded mozzarella and parmesan cheeses, spinach, and artichoke hearts. I ate pizza and my diet is intact! At least until tomorrow when we go to dinner at our favorite vegan restaurant, Ethos. Oh, well.

    up close and pizza-nal (I'm sorry)

    Delicious pizza with parmesan and red pepper and extra sauce


  8. “Chloe’s Kitchen” Cookbook Review

    December 12, 2012 by Angie

    Book:¬†Chloe’s Kitchen: 125 Easy, Delicious Recipes for Making the Food You Love the Vegan Way
    Author: Chloe Coscarelli
    Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

    I recently checked out Chloe Coscarelli’s new book Chloe’s Kitchen: 125 Easy, Delicious Recipes for Making the Food You Love the Vegan Way from my public library. I’m a fan of her blog and heard good things about this cookbook so I dove in and made several recipes over two weeks. Here’s a rundown of the recipes I tested.

    Penne alla Vodka with the Best Garlic Bread in the World: This was my favorite. I made the garlic bread twice – once for our omnivorous friends to go with a stew I made. Everybody loved it. The Penne alla Vodka was so good too. I made it with Dreamfields penne for fewer carbs. The sauce was excellent and was possibly even better the next day. It’s fast so it could be a weeknight meal. Using the hand blender to blend the cashews and water together made it really easy and the cleanup was pretty painless that way too.

    The Christmas Kitty salt shaker presides over the delicious garlic bread.

    Mongolian BBQ Seitan: This one was kind of a miss. It wasn’t bad but I wouldn’t make the seitan part again. The sauce was good although I’d made something very similar on my own before out of ingredients in my fridge so it was nothing revolutionary. Her seitan recipe from the back of the book wasn’t great. I had never made seitan before but I followed the directions perfectly. The only thing that might be user error is how I sliced it. I tried to slice it thin but it was still kinda chunky. If I had used a vegetable peeler to shave the seitan that might have resulted in a better texture. It was on the rubbery side but it also didn’t taste like much even though it cooked in a tasty soy sauce/vegetable broth for over an hour.

    Tomato-Basil Bisque: Robbie said it was the best tomato soup he’s ever had and he’s a tomato soup connoisseur. I have to agree with him. I’m kinda picky about tomato soup and sometimes find it a bit gross but this one was excellent. The recipe is easy – roughly chop the vegetables, roast them, then combine everything in a stock pot and use the hand blender to get it to the right, smooth consistency. I think this would be a much bigger hassle if you had to pour it in batches into a blender as the recipe suggests. Hand blender is the way to go!

    Fettuccine Alfredo: Another very easy weeknight recipe. I sauteed some zucchini, yellow squash, broccoli, baby carrots, and cauliflower in vegan margarine to go with it. I also used Dreamfields¬†linguine¬†instead of real fettuccine to make it healthier/low carb. It’s creamy and delicious like real Fettuccine Alfredo but I didn’t feel like I needed to take cholesterol medication after I ate it. I have leftovers I’m looking forward to for lunch.

    Best-Ever Baked Macaroni and Cheese: I made the stovetop version of this recipe from her blog. It’s identical up until the point where you sprinkle with breadcrumbs and bake it. It’s fast and tasty but definitely not my favorite vegan macaroni and cheese recipe.

    I’ve made and enjoyed at least two other recipes from her blog in the past, as well: panang curry and chocolate chip cookie dough truffles. It’s no doubt she has some great ones.

    Overall, I give the book four out of five stars.¬†I deducted a star mostly because it’s light on the photos. There are no photos at all of several of the recipes which is kinda lame, in my opinion. I read a lot of blogs and love that I can see photos of every finished dish and often step by step photos for the recipes I make. She clearly hired a food photographer for this book and has included several photos of herself so I don’t see why there can’t be at least one color photo for each recipe. We need to know how the finished product is supposed to look! Also, the index is not great.

    Everything I tried was a great success except for the Mongolian BBQ Seitan. Now that I’m the proud owner of a bag of vital wheat gluten, I’ll be trying out other seitan recipes and would happily use her Mongolian BBQ sauce/stir fry idea to go with it once I find one we like. She explains everything clearly so it’s not difficult to follow the directions and get the same results in your kitchen. She also uses fairly “normal” ingredients that I’m able to get at my grocery store. The only thing she called for that I’ve never seen before is canned lentils. Only dried lentils ’round these parts. Another thing I like is how she names her recipes so arrogantly – “Best-Ever Baked Macaroni and Cheese” and “Best Garlic Bread in the World”. She’s the cocky rapper of vegan chefs.


  9. minestrone soup

    October 3, 2012 by Angie

    It’s soup season! Bring out the slow cooker and make some minestrone soup. This recipe is from my favorite slow cooker cookbook Fresh from the Vegetarian Slow Cooker¬†by Robin Robertson.¬†There is an option to add noodles (I made Dreamfields macaroni) and pesto at the end. I add it to the individual servings so I can store everything separately for leftovers. If you skip the store-bought pesto or make your own without cheese, this soup is vegan. Robbie and I really like this one because it tastes so healthy and delicious and the cooking and cleanup effort is minimal.


  10. baked breaded zucchini bites

    July 22, 2012 by Angie

    The theme for week 29 of Reddit’s 52 Weeks of Baking Challenge is summer. It can be a summer decoration or a summer ingredient. I made baked breaded zucchini bites because zucchini is everybody’s favorite summer vegetable, right? Well, it’s mine. We used to order a similar appetizer all the time at Bar Louie in International Plaza along with their amazing soy burger. As part of a large anti-vegetarian conspiracy they removed both from their menu and now offer only a¬†portobello¬†burger. Eww. Now we must improvise at home.

    This was pretty easy to make. I chopped the zucchini into rounds and sticks then set up my breading stations. There’s a a little plate for soy milk then the Italian-style bread crumb/parmesan cheese/garlic powder mixture then the cookie sheet. Baking these instead of frying let me stick to the guidelines of the challenge and avoid a lot of fat from the oil. You can also skip the parmesan to make these vegan. I sprayed the tops with olive oil and baked them for about 20 minutes at 400 degrees.

    They held together better than I thought they would without egg and they tasted really great. I’ll definitely make this again. They’d be great for a party.

    ¬†Don’t forget the spaghetti sauce for dipping!