Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Oh, Simple Things

Broiling halibut with olive oil gives it such a nice, golden crust, and is so much less messy than searing it. Add a little bit of fresh thyme on top, some lemon rounds, a vegan rice pilaf and there you have it...dinner!


Vegan Rice Pilaf
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 c long grain white rice
  • 1 3/4 c vegetable stock (I love Imagine's No Chicken Vegetable Stock)
  • 1/2 of a yellow onion, finely diced
  • 1 carrot, finely diced
  • 1 rib of celery, finely diced
  • 1/3 c toasted slivered almonds
  • salt and pepper
  • 1-2 tbsp chopped fresh, flat leaf parsley
  • in a medium saucepan, heat the oil over medium-low
  • add the onion along with 1 1/2 tsp salt, and cook until tender, about 8 minutes
  • add the celery and carrot, raise heat to medium high, and cook another 4 minutes, stirring often
  • add the rice and stir to coat it with the oil
  • add the vegetable broth and bring to a boil
  • reduce heat to a simmer, cover, and cook until all of the liquid is absorbed, about 20 minutes
  • remove from heat and allow rice to sit, covered, for five minutes
  • remove lid, add the parsley, almonds, and some fresh ground black pepper, and fluff well with a fork until well combined

Halibut Broiled in Olive Oil with Lemon and Thyme
  • 1 lb halibut fillet, wash and patted dry
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme
  • one lemon, thinly sliced into rounds
  • salt and pepper
  • preheat broiler
  • place halibut on a baking sheet, skin side down and brush top and sides of the fillet generously with olive oil
  • rub top and sides of the fillet with salt and pepper
  • place 4 inches under broiler
  • broil for 5 minutes and then brush top of filet with more olive oil and sprinkle the top with more salt
  • return to broiler and repeat above steps after 5 more minuites
  • broil another 5 minutes and the fish should be done, just check to make sure the center is opaque, if not broil a few minutes longer
  • remove from broiler, carefully flip the fillet skin side up with a spatula, and remove the skin (discard)
  • lip the fillet crust side up, sprinkle with fresh thyme leaves and serve with lemon rounds for squeezing

Sunday, September 16, 2007


Tofurkey- quintessential vegetarian fodder and fare

Since I almost always have my 2-year old with me when I go to the market, I usually have to adjust my vision into eagle's eye mode in order to zoom in on only the items on my list, swoop down on them with amazing speed, and toss them from talons to cart as quickly as possible. However, channeling my inner totem doesn't exactly allow for much browsing action, so every now and then, I purposefully decide to go solo and have a little fun. Being alone without the usual grocery games (i.e. standing up in the cart, knocking over spice displays, and screaming at the top of the lungs for a balloon) allows me time to thoughtfully and thoroughly peruse all of the various vegetarian products. It also affords me the opportunity to discover new culinary treats to write about here for you!

Sun-dried Tomato Italian Veggie Sausages with Peppers and Onions
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, cut in half and sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 package of Tofurkey Sun-dried Tomato Italian Sausages
  • 1/2 each - red, orange, yellow, and green bell peppers cut into strips
  • 1 tbsp fresh oregano or 1 tsp dried
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste (I love Amore tomato paste imported from Italy because it comes in a squeezy, aluminum tube and can be stored 'indefinitely' in the refrigerator)
  • 1/2 c water
  • salt and pepper
  • heat the olive oil in a heavy skillet over medium heat
  • add the onions and cook 2 or 3 minutes, then add the garlic, cook another minute, add the water, tomato paste, and 2 tsp salt and stir until combined
  • add the peppers and sausage, and bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook another 30 minutes or until the onions and peppers are melt in your mouth soft
  • season with the oregano and salt and pepper
The sausages and peppers could easily be served on a nice Portuguese style roll. I choose to serve it with one of the packaged foods I wanted to try, Alexia Olive Oil and Sea Salt Oven Fries (pictured below -reviews follow.)


YUMMY! The Tofurkey Sun-dried Tomato Italian Sausages are SO GOOD. I bet they'd even be good on the grill. The texture was a little denser than meat sausages, but less greasy and so deliciously tasty and filling. The sun dried tomato and basil really made the flavor pop, and accompanied by the peppers, oregano, and onion, I felt like I was eating at a Brooklyn Italian Festival. I will definitely make these this way again, but I will serve them on lightly toasted and buttered Portuguese style rolls, seriously...just like Nonna used to make! (well, my Italian friend's grandma anyway.)
Grade - A (would be A+ if the texture was a little less compact)

As for the Alexia Olive Oil and Sea Salt Oven Fries, well, I wish I could be as enthusiastic. They were decent, but just not, well, scrumptious. They needed more salt and were rather dry. Maybe I'll try tossing the other half of the bag with some more olive oil, salt, and rosemary before cooking them. Grade - C (nice try, but seriously lacking)

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Oven Roasted Tomato & Braised Leek Puff Pastry Tart with Goat Cheese

A nice neighbor of mine gave me a nice big basket of nice grape tomatoes and I really wanted to put them to good use. I started thumbing through some recipes that I'd cut out over the years and had, uhh, 'filed' in my buffet table and came across one that I believe was originally published in an issue of Food and Wine. My rendition turned out quite a bit different but absolutely delicious. (note there's only half of one in the photograph;-) Yeah, it was that good.

Oven Roasted Tomato and Braised Leek Puff Pastry Tart with Goat Cheese
  • One sheet of frozen, commercial puff pastry (like Pepperidge Farm), thawed
  • About 1 c of grape tomatoes, halved lengthwise
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 large leeks, white and tender green parts only, rinsed very well and sliced lengthwise
  • 1/4 c of vegetable stock, water or white wine (braising liquid)
  • salt and pepper
  • 3 oz (one small log) of goat cheese, crumbled
  • chopped fresh basil, about 2 or 3 tbsp, to garnish
For the tomatoes
  • preheat oven to 400
  • place the sliced tomatoes, cut side down, on a baking sheet
  • sprinkle with salt and pepper
  • roast tomatoes for about 15 minutes, or until starting to caramelize slightly
  • remove from oven and let cool
For the leeks
  • raise the oven temp to 425
  • slice the leeks into semi circles and toss with the olive oil and salt and pepper
  • arrange evenly on a baking sheet
  • roast for 20 minutes, tossing once
  • add the braising liquid and roast another ten minutes , or until very tender (if leeks are not tender, a bit more liquid can be added at this point, just roast a little longer until tender)
  • remove from oven and let cool
For the pastry
  • on a lightly floured surface, gently roll out the puff pastry (the dough should be thawed but kept cold in the refrigerator until ready to use)
  • invert a 12 in plate on top of dough and cut around it to make a 12 in circle of dough
  • return dough to refrigerator on some waxed paper until ready to bake
To assemble the tart
  • reduce oven temp to 400 and remove the pastry from the refrigerator
  • spread the leeks evenly over the tart, leaving a 1 in edge all around
  • sprinkle the cheese and tomatoes evenly over the leeks
  • bake for about 25-30 min until the crust, tomatoes, and cheese is just starting to brown
  • remove from oven and sprinkle with the chopped basil and some freshly ground black pepper
  • allow to cool slightly, cut into wedges and enjoy!

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

The Drama Club's Promo Video

Sweetie's online now too! Click here to check out the band's new promo video for their single Brand New Day on their my space page or click here to see the video on you tube

Monday, September 3, 2007

Tofu Walnut Burgers

I've been making these little burgers for years now, and they are a deeeee-licious way to get protien and omega 3's into a pescetarian, vegetarian, or vegan diet. I got the recipe from an article in Vegetarian Times that covered the famous pescetarian restaurant, Moosewood, in Ithaca, NY. I literally cut and pasted the recipe from the VT website. (if you click on the recipe title below, it will link you there and you can search through hundreds of great recipes for free, it's great!)

the burgers before being cooked

Tofu Walnut Burgers
serves 8
  • 2 cakes firm tofu (16 oz. each)
  • 2 Tbs. vegetable oil
  • 2 cups diced onions
  • 1 cup peeled and grated carrots
  • 1 cup diced bell peppers
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 tsp. dried basil
  • 1 tsp. dried dill
  • 2/3 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 cup bread crumbs
  • 2 Tbs. tahini
  • 2 Tbs. light miso
  • 2 Tbs. soy sauce
  • 1 to 2 Tbs. Dijon mustard, optional
  • Preheat oven to 400F. Generously oil baking sheet.
  • Sandwich tofu between two plates, and rest heavy weight on top plate. Press for about 15 minutes. Drain off liquid from bottom plate.
  • Meanwhile, heat oil in skillet, and sauté onions, carrots, peppers, oregano, basil and dill for about 7 minutes, or until vegetables are just tender. Crumble pressed tofu into large bowl. Stir in walnuts, bread crumbs, tahini, miso, soy sauce and mustard, if using. Add sautéed vegetables, and mix well. Using about 3/4 cup burger mix per burger, form 8 patties by hand, and place on baking sheet about 2 inches apart.
  • Bake for about 30 minutes, or until burgers are firm and browned. Serve hot.
They suggest serving it on toasted while wheat with lettuce, tomato, and Russian dressing, but as Russian dressing completely grosses me out, I substitute a tahini dressing I love and serve it in a whole wheat pita.

Tahini Dressing
  • 1 tblsp olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/4 c tahini
  • 2 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 c water
  • 3 tbsp fresh, chopped parsley
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • put all ingredients except the parsley in a food processor or magic bullet and pulse until smooth and creamy
  • fold in the parsley
This dressing is also good on roasted or steamed vegetables or salads as an accompaniment to any middle eastern or mediterranean flavored meals. It also rocks a falafel sandwich as well.