Category Archives: side dish

Easiest Beer Bread Ever!

It seems like every time I decide soup for dinner is a great plan, it’s too late to start a yeast bread to go with it.  Wah.  Fresh bread is so yummy with soup!  What to do, what to do?!  If you have an hour, beer bread is what you do!  It’s quick!  It’s easy!  It’s very much like “real” bread!  Yum!

yum1

I Googled this recipe, which says it’s the most popular beer bread recipe on the internet.  It IS super easy and super fast.  Now that I’ve made it, I do have one recommendation not mentioned in the original recipe–the beer you use will have a huge impact on the flavor.  I used an IPA–very hoppy–which gave that same hoppy flavor to the bread.  For my taste, I’ll be using a more mellow beer next time.  That being said, this recipe is a keeper!

ingredients

  • 3 cups flour (sifted)
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder (omit if using Self-Rising Flour)
  • 1 teaspoon salt (omit if using Self-Rising Flour)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 (12 ounce) can beer
  • 1/4 cup melted butter (or margarine)

Preheat oven to 375F and oil a standard loaf pan.

Sift the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, salt, sugar) together–very important to keep the bread light and fluffy.  Use a flour sifter or a fine mesh strainer.

sift dry ingredients

Add the beer.  Stir until just combined.

add beer

mix until moistened

Pour into the prepared loaf pan.

pour into loaf pan

Pour melted butter over the top.  (Sounded weird to me, but resulted in a wonderful crunchy, buttery crust!)

pour melted butter

Bake for 1 hour, and cool on a rack until you can handle the pan, then remove from the pan and cool for a total of 15 minutes.  This will make slicing a LOT easier!

let cool on rack

remove from pan

Slice, spread on your favorite buttery spread and enjoy!

yum2

I was making potato soup when I realized I needed a bread to go with it.  Yummy combo!

yum3

Now that I’ve made this once, I’m thinking of all the other things that would be yummy to include–like a whole wheat, oats and stout combo, or a light wheat ale and jalapeno combo, or roasted garlic or ????!!!!  Oh yeah, lots of ways to make this easy, yummy bread a bit more “gourmet!”  Have fun with your favorite combos!

Leave a comment

Filed under appetizer, comfort food, lunch, Potluck, recipe, side dish, snack, vegan, Vegetarian

Tazza Toscano aka Those Filled Wonton Thingies

For this year’s New Year’s Eve party, I wanted to make appetizers and finger foods for everyone’s dietary preferences.  This one satisfies everyone but the gluten-free.  It was one I had completely forgotten about until I asked my son what food he’d like to have for the party.  He remembered these when I suggested a filled mushroom as a possibility.  “What were those things you made that one time?  The ones in the wonton wrappers?”  Oh!  The Filled Wonton Thingies!  I knew where to look for the recipe….I think.  Success!  I found the stapled sheets that contained the recipes from a wine tasting we had attended at a local winery and there they were, Tazza Toscana.  Crunchymeltyflavor-y bites of pure yum.  I made them vegan from a non-vegan recipe; easily adjusted to go vegan or not.  These disappeared quickly; devoured by vegans and non-vegans alike!

yum

They’re amazingly easy to put together.

ingredients

  • 1 lb sausage, breakfast or Italian, cooked and crumbled.  I used Gimme Lean Sausage-style.
  • 1 1/2 cup grated cheddar.  I used Daiya.  (Be careful with non-dairy cheese. Not all of them are vegan.)
  • 1 1/2 cup grated montery jack.  I used Daiya pepper jack.
  • 1 cup ranch dressing
  • 1 bunch green onions, sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 package of wonton wrappers

Preheat oven to 375 F.

First, press wonton wrappers into 24 openings of mini muffin pans.  I discovered that the pestle from my small wooden mortar and pestle worked perfectly for this job.  Try to keep the wrapper as “open” as possible.

press wraps into tins

Bake the wraps for 5 minutes and remove to cooling racks.

bake wraps

Brown the sausage, breaking it up as you go.  I use a potato masher at the end to get a good crumbled texture.

brown sausage

Add cheeses, onions, pepper and ranch dressing to the cooked sausage and stir to combine.

add onion pepper cheese ranch

Divide the filling evenly between the 24 wrappers.  I had to “rob” some of the more generously filled ones to get enough for my 24.

fill and bake

Bake the filled wrappers for 10 minutes and transfer to a serving platter.  They are best served warm, right from the oven.

yum

Stand back.  Tazza Toscano are irresistible and will be immediately pounced upon by your party guests!  So yummy.  So easy.  I really should make these more often!

Leave a comment

Filed under appetizer, Holiday foods, recipe, side dish, vegan

Muy Bueno Vegan Tamales

Yesterday, I made my favorite chili-stuffed peppers, which always leaves me with extra stuffing.  I’ve turned that stuffing into burritos, I’ve turned it into enchiladas; both delish.  This time I got to thinking: tamales!  My friend, the Google, provided me with lots of inspiration–recipes without lard or butter, but still used a fair amount of fat, and some that used very, very little fat.  I decided on one that used vegan margarine, thinking it might create a dough that would be closer to tamales I’ve enjoyed before.  I reduced the margarine by half and upped the other liquid.  The dough was super workable and the resulting tamales were, well, muy bueno!

yum2

Another reason to love this recipe is that it only makes 12 tamales.  Very do-able.

ingredients

  • 4 ounces dried corn husks
  • 2 cups masa harina (a corn flour–find it in most grocery stores)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup vegan margine, room temperature
  • About 1 1/2 cups warm “no-chicken”  broth, plus more as needed
  • 2 cups of the vegan filling of your choice.  I used my pepper stuffing, there are a couple more that sound yummy here.
  • sauce of your choice

First, 15 minutes before starting the dough, soak the dried husks in warm water, using a plate to weight them down.

soak husks

Then, mix the masa harina with the baking powder and salt.  Set it aside.

Whip the margarine until it becomes fluffy.  Add the masa and broth alternately until a light, soft and non-sticky dough is formed.

whip butter, ad masa

soft dough

Pat each corn husk dry and place on a surface, the pointed end toward you.  Roll a two-inch dough ball and place it near the top of the husk.

2 inch dough ball

Smoosh (yes, this IS a culinary term!) the dough ball into a square about four inches per side.

smoosh to 4 inch square

Place 1 1/2-2 TBSP filling down the center and top with the sauce of your choice.  We like enchilada sauce.

add filling and sauce

Roll the husk from the side, encircling the dough and filling.

roll

Fold up the bottom and tie with a little strip of husk if you want.  If you’re making tons of tamales, they’ll hold each other together as they pack in the steamer.  I worried the ones on the edges might flop open, so I tied them.  They’re kinda cute that way; yummy little presents.  🙂

fold up bottom

tie

Place them into a steamer basket open side up, place it over boiling water and put a lid over them.  Steam for 50 minutes to an hour–until the dough firms and pulls easily from the husks.

stand up in steamer

all 12 in steamer

place lid

When they’re steamed, unwrap your yummy little presents and enjoy!

yum1

We had just a couple each, with a bowl of squash blossom soup.  We’re expecting a freeze tonight, so I picked all my squash and squash flowers.  The last time we’ll enjoy the soup until next summer, but I’m planning on LOTS of tamales!  Can’t wait to try all sorts of fillings!  Especially at Christmas–tamales are a Christmas tradition I thought I might need to do without. What will you fill your tamales with?

 

2 Comments

Filed under comfort food, dairy-free, dinner, Garden produce, Gluten-free, Holiday foods, recipe, side dish, Vegetarian

Barb’s Pesto

My neighbor Barb is one of the reasons I’m vegan.  She and her family have been low-fat vegan for a while and finally convinced Michael and I to give it a try.  We did, we’re more healthy, we love it!  Low-fat vegan cooking is a whole new beastie, when you’re used to olive oil and cheese and eggs.  Barb is my go-to girl when I have questions like, “but how do you saute?”  I love basil and make pesto every summer to preserve that lovely summery flavor all winter.  But pesto has cheese.  And oil.  So, I went to Barb with a “but how do you…” question and of course, she had the answer.  So yummy, so fresh.  And an added bonus–no nuts!  Barb’s allergic to tree nuts, so naturally, she makes her pesto without them.  How could it be yummy without oil and cheese and nuts?!  See for yourself:

yum2

Here’s what you’ll need:

ingredients

  • 8-12 cloves of garlic, depending on the size and how much you like garlic, minced
  • juice of 2 limes (2/3 cup)
  • juice of 1 lemon (1/2 cup)
  • garlic salt to taste, or just regular salt–again, depends on your garlic tolerances  🙂
  • 1 bag (16 oz) frozen corn, thawed
  • black pepper to taste
  • enough fresh basil to fill your processor

Place everything in the bowl of a food processor with the chopping blade in place.

all in the processor

Process until smooth, scraping down sides as needed.

process til smooth

To freeze for later, place 1/2 cup pesto into containers–I use snack size ziplocs and then place them into a labelled freezer bag.

package to freeze

Or, enjoy right away:  on pasta, with crackers, with veggies, on a yummy garden-fresh tomato….

yum3

What do you like to eat pesto with?

Leave a comment

Filed under Canning and preserving, dairy-free, dinner, food gifts, Garden produce, lunch, recipe, salad, side dish, Vegetarian

Lizette’s Dilly Beans

Late August and September are when my garden is most productive.  Tomatoes, squash, peppers, and LOTS of beans.  They need picked twice a week!  Definitely more than I can keep up with, so what to do?  Make my friend Lizette’s Hot and Spicy Dilly Beans, of course! Just as easy as regular cucumber-based dill pickles, but even more yummy.  

let cool and label

Head out to the garden or farmer’s market and grab some dill, garlic, jalapenos and green beans.  Mine are purple, an heirloom variety called Royal Burgundy.  They turn green when cooked, unfortunately.  Although, these pickles retained some of the purple color in the brine!  I’ll give you the brine proportions (make more as needed) and what you’ll put into each jar.  It’s easy to adjust as you go.

ingredients

  • 5 cups vinegar
  • 5 cups water
  • 1/2 cup pickling salt
  • peeled whole garlic cloves
  • fresh heads of dill
  • jalapeno peppers
  • fresh green beans

Sterilize jars, rings and lids; make your best guess at how many you’ll need.  I try to over-estimate so I don’t have to stop mid-process to get more ready.

Get your brine going (vinegar, water and pickling salt) at the same time you start water boiling in your canner.

prepare brine and canner

Wash and snap the stem ends off the beans.

snap beans

Peel garlic and wash and cut jalapenos in half length-wise.  Remove seeds and veins if you want your beans less spicy.

cut jalapenos

Place a head of dill and a clove or two of garlic at the bottom of the jar.

dill and garlic on jar

Fill the rest with beans, and then squeeze in a jalapeno half.

beans and jalapeno in jar

Add boiling brine, leaving 1/2 inch head space.  Use a knife to help any air bubbles come to the surface, and add more brine to keep the 1/2 inch head space if needed.

add brine

Wipe the rim and adjust the lid.  Process 10 minutes in boiling water. 

process

Remove jars and let cool.  Label each jar with the date.   If any refused to seal, re-water bath them, or keep them in the fridge.

let cool and label

Let your Dilly Beans sit for a day or two for full crispy-spicy-dilly yumminess.  Save a jar for midwinter and enjoy the taste of summer.  Perfect for your holiday relish trays!

1 Comment

Filed under Canning and preserving, food gifts, Garden produce, Holiday foods, recipe, side dish, snack, Vegetarian

Curried Chickpea Salad Sammiches

Last weekend, we were at a wedding up in a beautiful, flower-filled meadow.  Some 20 degrees cooler than the valley floor, it was still a warm day.  A light lunch of veggies and chicken salad sandwiches were served before the cake, and being vegan, I abstained from the sandwich.  Sigh.  How I love a good chicken salad sandwich.  My friend Barb, who is also vegan, was there and she told me she’d heard of making “chicken salad” using chickpeas.  Well!  Chickpeas are my fav and go great with curry, so I started thinking about how I’d make that all come together in a satisfyingly yummy summer sammich.  Oh, I am one happy, happy vegan!

yum1

Next time I make this, I’m doubling the recipe; it’s that yummy and crave-able.

ingredients

  • 1 (15oz) can of chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 2-3 TBSP vegan mayo
  • 1/4 cup chopped cashews or peanuts
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onion
  • 1/4 cup chopped celery
  • 1/4 cup chopped apple
  • splash of lemon juice
  • salt and pepper to taste

Drain the chickpeas and place into a food processor.  Pulse about 10 times to break up the beans, you want chunks, not hummus.

pulse chickpeas

Place the chickpeas and everything except salt and pepper into a bowl.

everything in the bowl

Stir until well combined.  Taste and add salt and pepper to your liking.  Add more curry and/or mayo if you like, or another splash of lemon juice to make it more spreadable.

stir til blended

Spread a bit more mayo on some yummy whole grain bread, add lettuce, and pile on the chickpea salad!  So yummy!

yum2

Chicken-schmicken.  I’ve got a new favorite summer sammich!  This salad is better the next day, and is delish all on its own, or wrapped in a lettuce leaf or tortilla, or inside a pita pocket.

yum3

1 Comment

Filed under comfort food, dairy-free, dinner, lunch, recipe, salad, side dish, snack, Vegetarian

Broccoli Rice Cups

The other day, a friend posted a recipe for broccoli rice cups on her Facebook timeline.  They involved cheese and eggs, which reminded me of the tofu mixture in a recent gratin recipe.  Could I somehow combine the two ideas and come up with Somethin’ Yummy?!  I tried it out on my usual test subjects, and the verdict came in like this:  vegan hubby sez yummy, non-vegan son sez I’d like a couple for breakfast with an over-easy egg and some cheese.  I thought they were mighty fine.  Have a look:

broccoli rice cups

I could have eaten them all.  I didn’t take a bunch of pictures like usual, but wanted to share this idea, because now I’m thinking of all sorts of “cups,” as individually portioned breakfasts and side dishes.  Let’s brainstorm those in a bit.  First, here’s how it all started today.

I made rice before I went to work today–1 cup brown rice, 2 cups water; boil and simmer covered 50 minutes.  When I got home, I cut up a “head” of broccoli, mainly the floret part, and steamed it for 5 minutes.  A head in this case was the amount packaged together by the grocery store.  I set my oven to 350F, and sprayed a 12-cup muffin pan with cooking spray.

Then, I made the tofu mixture from the Potato, Spinach and Summer Squash recipe, adding enough non-dairy milk to make it somewhat pourable–1/2-3/4 cup total.  I mixed the steamed broccoli, cooked rice and tofu mixture together, divided it evenly into the muffin pan, and discovered I needed room for a couple more.  I sprayed a couple cups in a second pan, filled them with my remaining mixture and popped ’em in the oven for 35 minutes.

Ta-Da!  I was lucky enough to have a couple ripe tomatoes in the garden today and sliced a few for the tops, along with a fresh basil leaf.  Perfect flavor combination! The baked cups lifted cleanly out of the pan without needing to cool at all.  I thought they needed a bit of salt and pepper after the first taste; an easy fix.

broccoli rice cups

So what do you think?  I have a vegan chorizo that’s just screaming to be a part of a breakfast cup, along with some green onion and green pepper?  How about turning the potato squash gratin into little cups?  Asparagus!  Black beans and chorizo!  Potato, green pepper, red onion and mushroom!  How about cooked macaroni and frozen peas to make little mac and “cheese” cups–maybe with a few bread crumbs baked on top!  What flavors will you try?

 

Leave a comment

Filed under comfort food, dairy-free, dinner, Garden produce, lunch, Potluck, recipe, side dish, snack, Vegetarian

Celine’s Favorite: Squash Blossom Soup

Aka: Sopa De Flor De Calabaza.  When Mom and Dad moved to New Mexico years ago, Mom immersed herself in all things Southwest, especially the flavors.  She and Dad had a favorite restaurant in Palomas, Mexico called The Pink Store, where she ALWAYS ordered their Squash Blossom Soup.  Last summer, as my plants produced more squash than I could keep up with, I decided a bit of flower pruning was in order and thought about Mom’ favorite soup.  A squash plant makes tons more male flowers than female (the ones with a baby squash at the base of the blossom), so you can gather the male flowers for this soup.  Or, if you need a break from squash, gather some female flowers as well.  Without the recipe from The Pink Store, I was on my own with my friend, The Google.  I selected a recipe that was attributed to Frida Kahlo–I think Mom would have liked the recipe with a history.  And, like Mom would have, adjusted it it to ingredients I had on hand that stayed within the intent of the original recipe.  So here you go, Mom:

yum1

I made this prior to becoming vegan, but it will be super easy to veganize the recipe this summer.  I’ll place vegan substitutes in parenthesis.

ingredients

  • 1 white or yellow onion, peeled, and finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
  • 4 TBSP unsalted butter  (use veggie or “No Chicken” broth for sauteing)
  • 2 ears of corn, kernels cut off, or one package frozen corn
  • chile peppers of your choice–I used 1 poblano and 1 jalepeno–finely chopped, seeded if you want less heat
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 2 cups chopped summer squash–I used 1 zucchini and 2 patty pans
  • 2 or 3 tomatillos, chopped
  • 1-2 cups squash blossoms, cleaned and rough-chopped
  • 4 cups chicken broth (No Chicken broth)

For toppings:

  • tortilla chips
  • plain yogurt (soy yogurt or skip altogether)
  • cilantro
  • lime wedges
  • avocado

In a large pot, melt butter (heat about 1/4 cup of broth) and saute onions and garlic until onions are translucent.  3-5 minutes.

saute onions

Add chile peppers, corn and cumin.  Cook for an addition 2-3 minutes.

add peppers and corn

Add squash and tomatillos, cook 2-3 more minutes.

add squash

Separate the stems and sepals from the flowers.

clean blossoms

Chop and add squash blossoms and continue to cook, 5 more minutes.

chop and add blossoms

Add broth (No chicken broth) and bring to a boil.  Simmer for 15 minutes.  Adjust seasonings to your taste.

add broth

Ladle into bowls, garnish with toppings and enjoy!

yum2

Squash blossoms taste like squash, only more delicate.  They add a luxurious texture and flavor layer to this soup; and for me, a lovely memory of my Mom.

yum3

1 Comment

Filed under appetizer, comfort food, dairy-free, dinner, Food memories, Garden produce, Gluten-free, lunch, recipe, restaurants, side dish, Vegetarian

“Cheesy” Broccoli Mashers

Potatoes are my ultimate comfort food.  I love them baked, fried, mashed, boiled, stuffed, scalloped,… I don’t think I’ve encountered a potato I didn’t like.  Aside from being comforting and yummy, potatoes are nutritious–containing almost half your daily requirement for vitamin C in a single potato!   This post is really more of a technique rather than a recipe–think of what you’d stuff a baked potato with–and mashers can be your go-to side dish in no time.

yum2

Just a few ingredients, a couple of pans and you’re on the way:

ingredients

  • 4 medium red or yellow potatoes–“boiling” potatoes work best for mashers–washed and cut into bite-sized chunks
  • 1 bunch of broccoli florets, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 packet of vegan cheese sauce, (purchased at a natural foods grocery) prepared according to the package, thinned with 1/2 cup soy milk
  • extra soy milk to adjust the texture of the mashers

Cut your veggies into pieces of a similar size, cover with water and boil until potatoes are fork tender.  I don’t peel the potatoes to keep as much of the nutrition intact as possible.

chop and boil

Prepare the cheese sauce and thin it a bit with non-dairy milk.  Set aside.

prepare cheese sauce

Drain the veggies and place back into the hot pan to cook off any left-over water.  Add the cheese sauce.

drain and add sauce

Mash everything together, adding a bit more non-dairy milk to adjust the texture to your preferences.  I like to leave my mashers a bit chunky.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

mash

Serve as a side dish!  Mashers are a yummy and nutritious alternative to chips or fries with (veggie!) burgers.

yum

What will you put in your mashers?

 

Leave a comment

Filed under comfort food, dairy-free, dinner, Garden produce, recipe, side dish, Vegetarian

Crustless Vegan Asparagus Quiche

Asparagus is my absolute favorite spring-time veggie.  It grows wild on our property, but won’t be up for a while yet.  Lucky me, though-it has started appearing in the grocery store!  Hurray!  But….quiche always comes to mind when I see asparagus–what’s a vegan to do?  You go to your new friends, the authors of vegan cookbooks and blogs and get a tasty solution!  While this quiche is not exactly the same as a custardy quiche, it has the eggy-cheesy yum factor of  quiche.  Enough that I crave the leftovers as much as I ever did.  Served up with a savory tomato soup, it’s one satisfying meal.  Happy, happy tummy.

yum3

This recipe is now a go-to when I have tofu in the fridge; it’s adapted from The Everyday Happy Herbivore‘s Greens Quiche.

ingredients

  • 1 lb firm or extra-firm tofu, drained
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1/4 cup corn starch
  • 1 1/2 TBSP Dijon mustard
  • 1 TBSP lemon juice
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flake (optional)
  • 1/2 pound asparagus, trimmed, cut into bite-sized pieces and steamed (half of the bunch shown)
  • 1 large shallot, chopped and sauteed  ( I have 5 little ones from last years’ garden–I have a tendency to use the big ones up first.)

Preheat oven to 350F.  Lightly spray a shallow 8 or 9 inch pie pan with cooking spray, set aside.

Prepare and steam the asparagus, saute the shallot in a couple TBSP veggie broth until soft and translucent.

Combine everything else in a food processor.

everything but asparagus and shallot

Blend until smooth, scraping down the sides as needed.

blend til smooth

Remove the blade and stir in steamed asparagus and sauteed shallot.

add asparagus and shallot

Pour and spread evenly into the prepared pie pan.

pour into prepared pan

Bake 30-40 minutes; until golden and firm in the center.  (Not mushy)  Allow to cool 10 minutes before cutting.

bake

Cut into 6-8 wedges and dish it up!  Very quiche-y, super yummy paired with this savory tomato soup.

yum1

So wonderful warmed up the next day.  You’ll be so glad you made it.  Especially when you know 1/6 of the quiche costs you only 84 calories with only 1.2 grams of fat, 10.7 grams carbs and a whopping 9.2 grams of protein!  (A regular egg and cheese asparagus quiche comes in at 260 calories with 17 grams of fat, 18 carbs and 7 grams of protein.)  Happy tummy and healthy me.   🙂

4 Comments

Filed under comfort food, dairy-free, dinner, Garden produce, lunch, recipe, side dish, Vegetarian