Sunday, May 31, 2015

Capellini with Morel Mushrooms in Cream Sauce

Capellini - Angel hair pasta - is a favorite at our table. It is dainty and takes well to light sauces, no marinara here. Cream sauces go especially well with it and tossing in some delicious morel mushrooms is the perfect accompaniment.

Let me back up a second, if you haven't had fresh morel mushrooms, find them now. They are truly seasonal, lasting only a few weeks and only in certain places. Mostly farmers markets are the place they will pop up (hee, hee, hee, couldn't resist the pun!). But sometimes a local natural foods store will get lucky and buy some from a local forager, because that's the only way to get them.

In this sauce, I sauted the bulk of the morels and added some cream. Just to gild the lily, I saved a few and fried them quickly to make a crispy garnish. Wow! Spectacular! Don't skip that part!

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Vegetarian Breakfast Sausage - DIY Pantry

Breakfast sausage is one of those faux meat items that I have begrudgingly bought in a package. My boyfriend's kids like it, I like it, he likes it. So hard to break that taste habit! But, being stubborn and an avid DIYer, I decided to break this cycle and make my own.

Wow, can I just say wow! Tooting your own horn is kind of declasse, but these were delicious! And great texture (always the tricky thing with homemade faux meat). We definitely preferred them sliced and fried in rounds or make them as skinny as possible, otherwise the insides don't get as warm nor crispy, the best part!

While I labeled this as "DIY Pantry", trust me when I tell you that they will not last long in the pantry! Yes, you can freeze them but really, everyone will gobble them up, no matter how many times you double and triple the recipe!

Oh, and the kicker? They're gluten free. Yes, really, truly, and delicious! They are actually healthy for you, packed with beans, oatmeal and quinoa. Whoodda thunk it?!

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Japanese Vegetable Pancakes with Dipping Sauce

I have admitted before that as a child I was a horribly picky eater. No food touching each other, no pasta, no tomatoes, no PB & J. Yup, a regular nightmare. My mom always had to make something separate for me, a truth which she never failed to remind me of once my tastes shifts and expanded greatly!

But I always ate my vegetables.

Salad was my one true love, especially with a good vinaigrette. How I loved my vinegar! So going vegetarian was no hardship for me, it was simply a refocusing on my beloved veggies. But for many, incorporating vegetables into their diet is more of a challenge. Enter these vegetable pancakes.

Shred lots of cabbage, carrots and some kale and add beaten eggs and you have a delicious, veggie-centric meal that is exotic enough to make your mouth sing and yet homey enough for the kids. Tell them the sauce is mostly ketchup and they'll be hooked!

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Urad Dal Makhani

It's funny how cooking experiments go. The first time I made my beau dal with black lentils, AKA urad dal, it was a disaster. He could barely finish the plate, one of the few total flops in my cooking career with him. I was not going to let that happen a second time!

So I read carefully through many urad dal recipes (the uncooked dal was in the house, I wasn't going to waste it), and found Urad Dal Makhani, "Punjab truck stop food" as Lisa's Vegetarian Kitchen noted, and it was a done deal. My beau lovvvvvved it. "Simple yet delicious and so satisfying." I asked him to say it again for the recording (just kidding!) But this is really one for regular rotation if you make dals. Even the teenager who doesn't like too much spice gobbled down leftovers!

I left out the traditional kidney beans because they don't agree with my digestion, but add them back in if you are a fan!

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Herb Crusted Tofu Cutlets with French Mustard Sauce

If you have tofu skeptics in your vicinity, serve them this on the sly and see if they can guess what they are eating...chances are they will become converts or at least curious and eager tasters of your next tofu based meal!

Of course breading anything weighs the scales in the cook's direction. It's so hard to resist a crispy crunchy crust with a creamy inside and when you smother it in a Marsala wine Dijon mustard sauce, I mean c'mon, that's not playing fair at all!

Yup, that's how I do it. Leave nothing up to chance, pull out the big guns, and hit them with awesome flavor, texture, and mouth-feel. What else is great cooking for?

By the way, the French may consider this sauce "spicy" because of the mustard, but obviously they are not accustomed to Mexican hot sauces or Indian heat, which my family is. Needless to say, this was a savory pleasure that was not spicy in the least!