Time to Cook!

Inspiration for wholesome weeknight & weekend cooking.

Posts tagged ‘vegetarian’

For some reason, I craved this when I was pregnant with both of my boys and might have had it everyday as an afternoon snack.  It’s healthy and somewhat filling and super easy!  I call it a milkshake because it really does taste like one, but it’s just milk and banana!  I’ve newly discovered unsweetened almond milk, which is fun to use in smoothies or in oatmeal.  It has a slightly nutty taste and is very good for you (twice the calcium and half the calories of cow’s milk).

Banana Milkshake

Banana Milkshake

Ingredients:

1 cup unsweetened almond milk (can use regular cow’s milk)

1 banana, cut into thirds

Directions:

Purée milk and banana in blender until smooth and drink immediately.

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This is my easy recipe for Swiss chard – I love the flavor of this healthy superfood (excellent source of vitamins A & C and fiber), so I don’t do much to mask the taste.  If your kids won’t eat this, try pureeing it with a bit of the cooking liquid or chicken stock.  You can easily substitute kale if you wish (I prefer the taste of Swiss chard as I find it a tad less bitter).

Swiss Chard

Weeknight Swiss Chard

Ingredients:

2 bunches of Swiss chard (or kale), rinsed and chopped

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

3/4 teaspoon sea salt flakes

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Directions:

Boil 12 cups of water in a large pot and add Swiss chard leaves and stems so they are submerged in the water.  Cook over medium heat for 10 minutes.  Drain in colander, pressing with back of a spoon to remove any excess water.  Return Swiss chard to the pot and add lemon juice, salt and pepper.  Serve warm.

Serves 6.

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This is a fun recipe because it’s easy to make, yet looks so elegant!  My kids like this (they think the stack is fun) or it could also make a nice side dish to a fancier dinner if you are entertaining.  It’s so delicious…

Personal Potato Gratin Stacks

Recipe from blog Witty in the City, which was adapted from Martha Stewart’s Everyday Food.

Personal Potato Gratin Stacks

Ingredients:

  • Baking potato – 1 (for 2 servings)
  • Gruyère cheese
  • Cream
  • Salt and pepper

Directions:

To make these potato gratins, preheat your oven to 400ºF. Use a mandoline to slice a baking potato into 1/8th of an inch slices. Make sure the slices are all the same size so that the potatoes cook evenly. One potato makes about 6 gratin stacks. Two stacks per person is probably sufficient for most people, but we each ate 3 and wanted more!

Coat a muffin tin with non-stick spray. Put 2 potato slices into each of the cups, and season them with salt and pepper. Sprinkle on some shredded Gruyère cheese. Repeat this process until your muffin tins are full, about 2 more times/4 more slices.

After you’ve salted and peppered the top potatoes, pour 1 tablespoon of cream into each cup. Sprinkle more shredded cheese over the tops.

Bake the potato gratins for 30 minutes or until the cheese is brown and the potatoes can easily be pierced with a fork. Run a small knife around the edges of the stacks to break them free from the muffin tin, and pop them out. I don’t know what happens to the cream, but these potato stacks aren’t liquidy at all.

The top layer is crisp from the cheese and the heat, and the bottom layer is crisp from touching the hot metal muffin tin. And the in-between layers are perfectly soft and cheesy. You can pick these stacks up with your fingers and take bites out of them (me), cut them with a fork and knife like a civilized person (David), or peel each layer apart for more individualized attention (also me). I want another one right now.

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This is hands-down my favorite chocolate cake recipe.  It’s rich and moist and delicious.  Apparently, the cake is better when made the day before (so I’ve always done that).  The chocolate frosting is delicious too (although not pictured below).  This recipe makes two 8 inch round cakes, which you can stack with a layer of frosting in between – or one single layer rectangular cake.  Enjoy!

Mom's Chocolate Cake

Recipe from Food & Wine (contributed by Marcia Kiesel.)

Mom’s Chocolate Cake

This is a real old-fashioned American chocolate layer cake. It’s very moist, very chocolatey, a snap to make and best baked the day before serving. Marcia Kiesel acquired the recipe from her friend Joyce Cole, who got it from her mother.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 ounces unsweetened chocolate
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
Directions:
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Butter and flour two 8-by-1 1/2-inch round cake pans. Line the bottoms with wax paper. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; set aside.
  2. In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar with 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil over high heat and stir until the sugar dissolves; then pour into a large bowl. Add the chocolate and butter and let sit, stirring occasionally, until melted and slightly cooled. Stir in the vanilla.
  3. Beat the eggs into the chocolate mixture at medium speed until combined. Add the dry ingredients all at once and beat at medium speed until smooth. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans and bake for about 25 minutes, or until the top springs back when pressed lightly and a cake tester comes out clean. Cool the cakes in their pans for about 25 minutes, then invert onto a rack to cool completely.
  4. Set one cake, right-side up, on a serving platter. Using a metal spatula, spread one-third of the Chocolate Frosting evenly over the cake. Top with the second cake and frost the top and sides with the remaining frosting.

Chocolate Frosting recipe also from Food & Wine (contributed by Marcia Kiesel.)
Servings: Makes about 3 1/2 cups.

The inspiration for this frosting technique comes from dessert maven Maida Heatter’s Book of Great Chocolate Desserts (Alfred A. Knopf).

Ingredients:

1 1/3 cups heavy cream

1 1/2 cups sugar

6 ounces unsweetened chocolate

1 stick (4 ounces) plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Pinch of salt

Directions:

  1. In a medium saucepan, bring the cream and sugar to a boil over moderately high heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the liquid reduces slightly, about 6 minutes. Pour the mixture into a medium bowl and add the chocolate, butter, vanilla and salt. Let stand, stirring occasionally, until the chocolate and butter are melted.
  2. Set the bowl in a larger bowl of ice water. Using a hand-held electric mixer, beat the frosting on medium speed, scraping the sides occasionally with a rubber spatula, until thick and glossy, about 5 minutes. Use at once.
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These cupcakes are delicious and because of their all-white coloring and coconut topping (which looks like confetti), they are perfect for a special celebration (birthday party, baby shower, engagement party, Easter, etc.)  They are always a hit.  I did learn a lesson while making these once though.  While making my batter, I was cracking the eggs directly into the bowl, and I got a little shell in there.  For the life of me, I could not fish it out.  I just continued on, forgetting all about it… My husband ended up bringing in some cupcakes to work (so we didn’t end up eating all of them ourselves) and later that day, his future boss appeared at his door.  He said he really enjoyed the taste of the cupcakes, but next time would prefer them with no egg shell.  I was pretty mortified when this got relayed to me!  Ever since then, I’ve taken the time to crack my eggs into their own little bowl before adding them to my mixture!

Note: if you don’t like the taste of almond extract (I don’t), you can substitute with more vanilla extract.

Coconut Cupcake

Recipe from The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook by Ina Garten.

Coconut Cupcakes

Ingredients:

3/4 pound (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups sugar
5 extra-large eggs at room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons pure almond extract
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup buttermilk
14 ounces sweetened, shredded coconut

For the frosting:

1 pound cream cheese at room temperature
3/4 pound (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract
1 1/2 pounds confectioners’ sugar, sifted

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. With the mixer on low speed, add the eggs, 1 at a time, scraping down the bowl after each addition. Add the vanilla and almond extracts and mix well.

In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In 3 parts, alternately add the dry ingredients and the buttermilk to the batter, beginning and ending with the dry. Mix until just combined. Fold in 7 ounces of coconut.

Line a muffin pan with paper liners. Fill each liner to the top with batter. Bake for 25 to 35 minutes, until the tops are brown and a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Remove to a baking rack and cool completely.

Meanwhile, make the frosting. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, on low speed, cream together the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla and almond extracts. Add the confectioners’ sugar and mix until smooth.

Frost the cupcakes and sprinkle with the remaining coconut.

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This is a very flavorful lentil salad if you are looking for something different…

Spicy Red Lentils

Recipe from Mayo Clinic.

Spicy Red Lentils

This Moroccan-style dish is quick to assemble. Serve it as a side dish with roasted meats or fish. In larger portions, it also makes a satisfying main course.

By Mayo Clinic staff

Serves 6.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cups dried red lentils, picked over, rinsed and drained
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 serrano chili, seeded and finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf (Italian) parsley
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro (fresh coriander)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

Directions

In a saucepan over high heat, combine the lentils, water, bay leaf and 1/4 teaspoon of the salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover partially and simmer until the lentils are tender but still firm, 12 to 14 minutes. Drain and discard the bay leaf. Set aside.

In a small frying pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the chili and garlic and saute until softened, about 1 minute. Add the cumin, coriander and cinnamon and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Remove the pan from the heat.

In a large bowl, combine the lentils and the spice mixture. Toss gently to mix. Stir in the parsley, cilantro and mint and season with the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and the pepper. Stir in the vinegar and serve immediately.

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