Tag Archives: vegetarian

Baby Bok Choy with Cashews

It’s a gloomy day today in NYC, so I’m taking advantage of being inside by writing up this yummy recipe for baby bok choy with cashews.  This is a really simple, healthy recipe that’s great as a side dish.

Bok Choy is essentially a Chinese cabbage.  There are a few varieties of bok choy, but I tend to gravitate towards buying the baby bok choy.  Like most leafy greens, you want to make sure you do a very good job washing this prior to cooking it.  The layers of leaves make for good hiding spots for bugs and dirt.BokChoy1

When preparing this dish, I usually break the outer leaves off and wash each individually (I know; tedious) and then leave the center as a piece of it’s own.  Depending on the time of year, the baby bok choy can even vary in side.  If your outer leaves seem too big and inconsistent with the cooking size you’re going for, just chop them into large pieces (that’s what I did in this recipe).

I love how quick this dish comes together.  After prepping the ingredients, cook time takes no time at all.  I hope you enjoy this…. If you master this side dish, you’re only a pot of white rice with steamed Chinese Sausage and Pork Wontons away from what my family considers traditional Chinese dinner.

Ingredients:
10 Baby Bok Choy
2 garlic cloves chopped
3-4 green onions chopped
1 tsp. sesame oil
1 T soy sauce
1 tsp. canola oil
¼ C cashews chopped

Directions:  In a large pan (or wok) heat on med to med-high heat.  Add canola oil; allow to warm then add green onion and garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes.

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Next, add in the cashews, and cook for another minute.  Add cleaned baby bok choy, soy sauce and sesame oil; stir then cover with lid.  Covering the pan will help the bok choy wilt and steam.  Keep a close eye on and it make sure to stir it a few times.

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Once bok choy has achieved desired doneness (I like it wilted, but with a crunch when you bite it; not mushy) remove from heat.  Top with reserved chopped cashews and serve.

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Enjoy and have a fantastic day!

Roasted Broccoli

Yep, that’s right! I’m bringing you yet another roasted veggie with today’s blog post.

One of my favorite veggies is broccoli.  A great source of fiber and high in vitamins, see here for nutrition facts.  This is a great way to salvage some broccoli if it’s been sitting in your fridge too long.  It works wells with brand new, fresh broccoli as well.  It takes very little time to prep and not long cook time either.  This can be an easy side dish or snack when you’re running a little short on time.

This flavor combination is oddly addicting.  I’m sure this season combination would also be good on roasted cauliflower or brussel sprouts.

No need to keep building anticipation… here you go!

Ingredients:RoastBroc1
1 lb. broccoli florets
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. lemon pepper
1 tsp. Mrs. Dash Spicy Blend
1/2 tsp. turmeric
2 cloves garlic (fresh, finely chopped)

Directions: Preheat oven to 450.  Toss broccoli florets with spices and garlic.  Lay out evenly on a cookie sheet. (I lined mine with parchment paper to make clean up easier.) Roast for 8-10 minutes and serve.

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Too easy… what other veggies does this make you want to roast?

Grilled Artichokes with Lemon Dill Dipping Sauce

If you haven’t noticed by now, I really like grilling vegetables (see Grilled Sweet Bell Peppers and Grilled Romaine Salad with Bacon and Bleu Cheese).  I think I’m drawn to doing this because roasting and grilling gives veggies another dimension of flavor you can’t achieve in other cooking methods.  It also is a low fat way to give your veggie more flavors.  With very little seasoning (if any at all) you can transform a bland vegetable into a vegetable with slightly more flavor.

I’ve always been a fan of eating artichokes.  I know some people have never even picked one up at the grocery store because they wouldn’t know how to go about cooking it or eating it.   Hopefully if you’re an artichoke virgin, this blog post helps alleviate some of those fears about artichokes.

First things first – prepping the artichoke:

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Each leaf on the artichoke has a little thorn at the tip of it, which makes them undesirable to handle.  Before steaming the artichoke, these spiky tips should be removed.  I use a serrated knife to cut off the tops of the artichokes.  I recommend a serrated knife as opposed to a regular knife because the leaves are rather tough when raw, and the serration help cut through the leaves easier.  I also trim up the stem at this point.  My only motivation behind it is so that it fits in the pot easier when I steam them.  Next, you should use a pair a scissors to remove the remaining spiky tips around the rest of the artichoke.

Once that is completed, place them in a pot with some water and steam them anywhere from 20-30 minutes.  The artichoke is ready when you can easily pierce the stem with a fork.

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Grilling the artichokes:
I started doing this about a year ago, and now that I’ve tried it, it’s my preferred method of cooking.  The ‘chokes are ready after being steamed, but I like taking it one step further and grilling them.

To do this, cut the ‘chokes in half and remove the heart.  Drizzle olive oil, salt and pepper and make sure the flat surface of the ‘choke is covered (the part that will be touching the grill).  Put them on a grill with medium to medium-high heat for about 2-3 minutes.  This part is to your own preference on how grilled/charred you like them.

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Traditionally, artichokes are served with some sort of dipping sauce.  Usually it’s a mayonnaise or aioli of some sort, or melted butter.  I wanted to change it up and make a healthier dipping sauce with flavors that compliment the artichoke well.

Lemon Dill Dipping Sauce:
Plain Greek Yogurt
Juice from ½ lemon
1 tsp dill
salt & pepper

Mix the ingredients above to desired consistency.  The lemon juice is meant to add flavor as well as thin the yogurt a bit so it’s not so thick and easier to dip into.

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There you have it, I hope you enjoy.  What other veggies do you like grilling?

Green Onion Condiment

Hiya Everyone!  Well, today I’ve got a quick and easy recipe for you that may or may not blow your mind.  I know… the name is lame-o, but I did not know what else to name it.  In my family, we literally refer to it as “the green onion stuff.”  Since it’s essentially a condiment to add as a topper to different proteins and tasty nibbles like egg rolls, I gave it the ever-so-appropriate title of “Green Onion Condiment.”  Sometimes I lack imagination…GreenOnion3

This recipe is really easy – three ingredients.  Be warned, if you decide to double or even triple this recipe, the ratio of ingredients may not necessarily be the same.  The onion can double, triple and so on, but I caution you to use your best judgment in increasing the salt and oil ratios.  You’d probably be safe keeping the onion to salt ratio consistent, but there is no need to double and triple the oil.  A little oil can go a long way and this condiment isn’t meant to be overly oily.

Ingredients:
8 green onions (thinly sliced)
1 tsp salt
2 T canola or vegetable oil

I do not recommend substituting extra virgin olive oil or regular olive oil in this recipe.  These oils have different smoking points than canola and vegetable.  I cannot guaranty the results if you make an oil substitute.

Directions:
Thinly slice green onion.  Heat oil in a pan/pot until smoking.  (Yes, until it is smoking, that’s when you know it’s hot enough.  If not hot enough, you won’t get a flash cook on the onions.  You’ll just have greasy onions.)  Add salt to onion.  When oil is smoking, immediately pour it on the onion and mix.

Ta-da!  All done.  Fast. Easy. Flavorful.  Did I just make a new acronym?  FEF.  Move over Rachel Ray.

While this is something we usually only eat on Chinese food, I’m sure it’d be a yummy topping to many other things.

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What can you think of that this would be a great topping for?

Cucumber Noodle Salad

Often times, I crave pasta at lunch.  I don’t know what it is about twirling noodles on a fork that I find so appealing.  But since I try to be sensible about what I eat, I know that a daily dose of pasta probably isn’t the best choice to be making for the waist line.

I was sitting at work one day, pondering the possibilities of lunch, when the only thing on my mind was pasta… pasta… and pasta.  UGH!  There has to be a way I can combat this pasta craving with a healthier substitute.  (LIGHT BULB)

A few weeks back, I had encountered this handy little tool at William’s Sonoma.  It is a julienne peeler.  Hmm… well that could enable me to make noodles out of nearly any veggie.  An idea was hatched… I will try my hand at making cucumber noodle salad.

Ingredients:
2 English cucumbers
½ red onion
salt
¼ C rice wine vinegar
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp red pepper flakes (or more depending on desired spiciness)
¼ c water
toasted sesame seeds

Directions:  Peel English cucumber lengthwise to create long “noodles”.  Continue around the cucumber until you’ve reached the core, do not peel the seeded portion. (I just save the middle of my cucumber and cut it into slices for a snack).  In a bowl, salt the cucumber noodles to help extract the water.  If you have time, allow this to sit refrigerated for up to an hour.  (I gave myself about 15 minutes, and my “noodles” were a little soggy, but still eatable).

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While cucumber noodles are refrigerating, thinly slice the onion.  Shoestring slices are preferable to match the noodle consistency of the cucumber.  Blanch sliced onions (this step is optional, I don’t like an overly strong onion flavor because it literally gives me a headache when I eat it, I’ve found that if I just shock them with some boiling water, then drain that the flavor is more palatable).

Mix together ingredients for dressing: rice wine vinegar, red pepper flakes, sugar and water.  Once cucumber noodles are done “draining” combine it with red onion and dressing.  Sprinkle sesame seeds on top and serve.

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Siracha Kale Chips

Here’s another edition of “Lessons learned the hard way by Cindy.”  One of the things I love about cooking is the experimenting; laughing at myself, then sharing it will all you lovely people.

This week’s lesson is on Kale.  All kale is not created equal.  Ok… well nutritionally, it’s more or less the same, but in kitchen cooking it is not exactly the same.  There are three types of kale: curly kale, red kale and lacinato kale.

Lays Potato Chips just had a contest to have consumers help pick the next big potato chip flavor.  Chicken & Waffles, Garlic Bread and Siracha were the three flavors vying for the winning spot.

It seems to me that it would be a no-brainer that Siracha should win hands down.  I’ve tried the Lays chips, and they were good.  I didn’t think it tasted THAT much like the real thing, but it was a spicy reddish colored chip and I managed to eat nearly an entire bag of them so they couldn’t have been that bad.  However, since I wasn’t that satisfied with the flavor, and eating a whole bag of potato chips isn’t a healthy thing to do, I decided to try to make Siracha kale chips.

Round 1:
I used curly kale.  Why? Because it was already cut, washed and ready for me in a bag and I figured it would be good enough.  The flavor was… “meh” at best.  I didn’t add enough siracha mixture to the kale prior to baking. The result was just average, not above average.  I deemed it more or less a fail, and thought “not sharing this one with the world…”

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Round 2:
Next, I tracked down some lacinato kale.  It has more of a flat appearance.  I ramped up my Siracha mixture and took another stab at it.  MUCH better results this time around!!  Siracha Lacinato Kale Chips = success!

Both types of kale will work, but now that I’ve had curly kale and lacinato kale, I prefer the lacinato kale for chip purposes.

Ingredients:
Lacinato Kale
1 Tbsp. Siracha
1 Tbsp Extra virgin olive oil
1-2 tsp red vinegar

Directions:  Wash and dry kale really well.  Break kale into large chip size pieces.  Remove stems (they can be bitter when cooked).  Combine Siracha, olive oil and red vinegar well.  Toss with kale.  Lay flavored kale out on a cookie sheet, single layer.  Bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes until crisp.

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Hope you enjoy this recipe!  Let me know what you think.

Habanero Cheddar Cauliflower Fritters with Avocado Cream Dipping Sauce

Have you ever eating something that tasted so good and made you so happy that you found yourself dancing?  No?  That’s just me?

Maybe fritters just do that to me.  A little, lightly fried morsel made of a vegetable so it MUST be healthy.  It’s such a simple concept for food, but so yummy.  It makes me wonder, where did fritters originate?

It was really the cheese that inspired me to make fritters.  It’s one of those ingredients where things really can’t go wrong.  Cheese makes everything better.  Habanero cheddar not only makes it better, but it makes it spicy too.  And that’s a win-win in my book.

The best thing about this fritter recipe is that you can really substitute any cheese that you want.  So many grocery stores are now carrying a nice variety of delicious, cleverly flavored specialty cheeses that the combination possibilities for this dish are mind-bottling.

I had an afterthought while I was inhaling one of these fritters, and that was to try my almond flour from the Almond Flour Debacle to see if they would bind the fritter well enough.  I suspect that it will, but you may run the chance of a slightly “nutty” flavor.  I still think it’s worth giving it a shot.

Ingredients:
1 small head cauliflower, cut into chunks
1 large egg
1 garlic clove, chopped
3 oz. habanero cheese, chopped (or 3 oz. of any cheese)
½ cup all-purpose flour
½ tsp. baking powder
Salt and pepper to taste
Olive oil (for cooking)

Avocado Cream Sauce:
1 avocado, chopped
½-3/4 cup sour cream (depending on how thin you want the sauce)
1-2 tbsp. lime juice

Directions:  Cut cauliflower into 1-2 inch chunks.  Place in microwave safe bowl, lightly drizzle with water and microwave for 5-6 minutes until cauliflower is soft to mash up into pea size bits.  Mashed bits will not be consistent in size, but that’s perfectly OK.  Allow cauliflower to cool.  In a bowl combine, chopped garlic, egg, cauliflower (cooled, if you put it in hot, it could scramble your egg), cheese.  In a smaller separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt and pepper.  Mix well and then add this mixture to the cauliflower mixture.  Mix until combined.

Drizzle olive oil in the bottom of a nonstick skillet.  Scoop fritters into hot oil, and allow to brown on one side, then flip.  Prepare a plate with paper towel, or a cooling rack to rest completed fritters.

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Combine ingredients for avocado cream sauce.  Serve and enjoy!

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What cheese and dipping sauce combo would you come up with?