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Category Archives: Vegetarian

A New Take on a Takeout Classic – Chinese Fried Rice

Everyone always has their favorite dish when it comes to getting Chinese food. While some people will always defer to things like egg rolls, beef and broccoli, wonton soup, General Tso’s chicken or Mushu pork, there always seems to be one thing that is consistent with all Chinese food takeout orders – fried rice. The great thing about fried rice is that it goes so well with any of the entrées you might choose for takeout but it can also be an entrée all of its own. There are different varieties available from whatever place you normally get your Chinese food from but fried rice is easy enough where you can make something like this right at home to go with your favorite Asian meal or just to have as the centerpiece of your dinner. I have tried a few different fried rice recipes over the years and recently came across this one at Food.com that promise to have the taste and flavor just like you get from your favorite takeout place.

Chinese Fried Rice

3cup finely chopped onion

2 1tablespoons oil

1 egg, lightly beaten (or more eggs if you like)

3 drops soy sauce

3 drops sesame oil

8 ounces cooked lean boneless pork or 8 ounces chicken, chopped

1cup finely chopped carrot (very small)

1cup frozen peas, thawed

4 cups cold cooked rice, grains separated (preferably medium grain)

4 green onions, chopped

2 cups bean sprouts (optional)

2 tablespoons soy sauce(add more if you like)

Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a wok or large skillet over medium-high heat; add the chopped onions and stir-fry until the onions turn a nice brown color, about 8-10 minutes; remove the onions from the skillet.

Allow the skillet to cool slightly.

In a small bowl, mix the egg with 3 drops of soy sauce and 3 drops of sesame oil; set the bowl aside.

Add 1/2 tablespoon of the oil to the skillet, swirling to coat the surface; add the egg mixture. Working quickly, swirl the egg until the egg sets against the skillet. When the egg puffs, flip the egg and cook the other side briefly. Remove the egg from the skillet and chop the egg into small pieces. Set the egg aside.

Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in the skillet. Add the selected meat to the skillet, along with the carrots, peas, and cooked onion. Stir-fry the ingredients for about 2 to 3 minutes.

Add the cooked rice, green onions, and bean sprouts (if using), tossing the ingredients to mix everything well and stir-fry for about 3 minutes.

Add 2 tablespoons of the soy sauce and the chopped egg to the rice mixture and fold them into the rice. Stir-fry everything together for 1 minute more and serve.

As is always the case with fried rice, you can use any type of protein you like with the dish – beef, pork, chicken, shrimp, tofu – or no meat at all and keep everything vegetarian. I did find that this recipe does seem to taste a lot like takeout rice. I am not sure if it is the amount of soy used or just the method, but the taste was really close for me. I served this with the chicken teriyaki I made and it complemented the meal perfectly, but as I said this fried dish could stand on its own as a meal if you want something easy one night and have some leftover protein and vegetables to deal with. I even threw in some leftover asparagus tips into the mix to top ours off.

That’s all I have for today. Check back next time for another recipe. Until then, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!

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How to Use Squash, from Frying to Dips | Bon Appetit

Fall weather is upon us and winter is not far behind and among the bounty of great vegetables available this time of year or all the different types of squash that you can get. The choices seem almost endless and if you are looking for some ideas of what you can do with the different types of squash out there Bon Appetit has 23 squash recipe ideas you can try out that are ideal for all different types of cooking and baking. Check it out!

Source: How to Use Squash, from Frying to Dips | Bon Appetit

 

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The First Soup of the Season – Baked Butternut Squash and Celery Root Soup

Okay, so the weather hasn’t been exactly fall weather here the last 2 days, with temperatures getting up into the 80s during the day on both days, but it still seems to be that soup time of year. Things cooled down quite a bit last night and should be back more towards normal here, which means brisk autumn air that makes for good soup weather. With so many great fall vegetables around right now, particularly a bunch of different root vegetables, the opportunities are there to make all kinds of good soups. One that has always been a family favorite of ours has been butternut squash soup and since squash is so plentiful right now  I knew I just had to make some soup the other night. I had picked up a couple of butternut squash at the farmer’s market last week, along with some carrots, celery root and leeks and I knew this was all going to come together nicely for a soup dinner. I decided to use this recipe from Molly O’Neill at New York Times Cooking for a baked butternut squash soup and adapted it to include some other great root vegetables to make it my own.

Baked Butternut Squash and Celery Root Soup

2 butternut squash, about 1 pound each, peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch pieces

2 carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces

medium leeks, white and light green parts only, rinsed well and finely chopped

1 celery root, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces

2 tablespoons olive oil

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 teaspoons honey

teaspoon each of mace, ground ginger, cinnamon and allspice

 

3 cups chicken broth

1/2 cup heavy cream

4 sprigs flat-leaf parsley, stems removed, finely chopped (optional)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Place the squash, carrots leeks and celery root in a shallow roasting pan or casserole dish. Sprinkle the olive oil over the vegetables, add salt and pepper to taste and toss the vegetables in the oil to coat them well. Drizzle the vegetables with the honey and add the mace, ground ginger, cinnamon and allspice and toss the vegetables again so they are well mixed. Cover the pan with aluminum foil and roast the vegetables in the oven for about 20 minutes. Remove the foil from the pan and continue roasting the vegetables until they are lightly browned and fork tender, about another 20 to 25 minutes.

While the vegetables are roasting, heat the chicken broth in a large pot or Dutch oven until it is simmering. Remove the pan from the oven and place the vegetables in the pot with the broth and mix them well. All the broth and vegetables to continue simmering for about 5 minutes. Remove the pot from the stove and using an immersion blender, blend the vegetables and broth together until the vegetables are smooth (You can also do this in a blender in batches if you prefer). Return the pot to the stove and bring the soup slowly to a boil over medium-low heat and then stir in the heavy cream. Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with parsley, if desired.

You get some great combinations of flavors here with the squash, celery root, carrots and leeks. The honey just bumps up the sweetness a tiny bit here and the spices, even though they are in small amounts, add just the right touch. I like roasting the vegetables before putting them in the soup because they get nice and tender and seem to have better flavor this way than if you sautéed them in a pan or the same pot as the soup. You can leave out the heavy cream if you prefer but I added it because it helps create some great texture to the soup. The soup would benefit even more if you added a peeled and sliced apple to the vegetables when roasting, but I didn’t have any on hand so I left it out. You could also easily make this a vegetarian meal by using vegetable broth instead of chicken broth or just using water.This makes a nice batch of soup so you can have leftovers for other meals or lunches and we had the soup with sandwiches for dinner, but you could easily have it by itself, with some croutons, a salad or just with some homemade bread or biscuits. It was a great way to kick off what hopefully is the first of some awesome soups and stews this year.

That’s all I have for today. Check back next time for another recipe. Until then, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!

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Posted by on October 20, 2016 in Leftovers, Lunch, One Pot Meals, Vegetables, Vegetarian

 

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Don’t Dill-y Dally – Make These Dill-icious Homemade Quick Dill Pickles

As much as I love sandwiches it only makes sense that I love the things that can help them make them extra-special for lunch or dinner. That includes having a great side dish like potato salad, coleslaw or another kind of salad, just the right condiments and. of course, pickles. The thing about pickles is that there are some really good ones that you can get when you go out or buy them from the store or farmers’ market and then there are some really bad ones. You know the bad ones as soon as you get them – limp, lifeless and they have no flavor at all or have been sitting for too long. As much as I love pickles, the price for a good pickle is pretty darn expensive today. The good ones in the stores are three or four dollars a jar and you pay just as much or even more at farmers’ markets for good pickles. Now I have never been much of a person when it comes to canning and preserving myself; I just don’t have the space for everything you need or the space to store anything. However, I did want to find a way to make a good, quick batch of pickles so I could have some on hand when I wanted them. I got myself a good jar and set about looking for a recipe and I found this one from Food and Wine that seemed just right for some homemade dill pickles.

Homemade Dill Pickles

1 1/2 cups distilled white vinegar

1/4 cup granulated sugar

4 teaspoons kosher salt

1 teaspoon mustard seeds

1 teaspoon coriander seeds

3/4 teaspoon dill seeds

2 cups hot water

2 pounds Kirby cucumbers, sliced 1/4 inch thick or sliced into spears

3/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh dill

3 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped

In a large, heat-proof measuring cup, combine the vinegar, sugar, salt, mustard seeds, coriander seeds and dill seeds with the hot water and stir the mixture until the sugar and salt are dissolved. Let the brine cool.

In a large bowl, toss the cucumbers with the fresh dill and the garlic. Place the cucumbers, dill and garlic into a jar with a tight seal or leave them in the large bowl. Pour the brine over the cucumbers and turn to coat the cucumbers (if they are in the bowl; if you have them in the jar they are fine as is). If you are using a bowl, place a small plate over the cucumbers to keep them submerged in the bowl, then cover the bowl with plastic wrap. If you have the pickles in a jar, close the jar tightly. Refrigerate the pickles overnight, stirring once or twice. Serve cold.

When I first looked at the recipe I was skeptical that I would be able to get good flavor out of pickles with such an easy recipe and with them just sitting overnight, but boy I was wrong. These pickles have fantastic flavor that they pick up from all of the spices, the fresh dill and the garlic. If you like garlic with your pickles these are ideal because the flavor is there without completing overpowering the pickles. If you really like garlic you could always add a few more chopped cloves to the mix, but  I thought they were perfect as is. I have been making these pretty consistently for a couple of months now and once you have all of the ingredients on hand the only cost of making them is buying the pickles. I get a package of 6 Kirby cucumbers for $2.50 and it makes lots of pickle spears that last me for weeks, so the cost savings is pretty good in my opinion. These pickles are perfect to go with any type of sandwich or a burger and will be great for picnics, barbecues or any party. I brought a jar with me to the Outer Banks a few weeks ago and every ate them up. It’s definitely worth the little bit of time it takes to make them.

That’s all I have for today. Check back next time for another recipe. until then, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!

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Savor the Summer for Lunch with This Tomato Sandwich

Summertime brings about some of my favorite vegetables and fresh fruit to make all kinds of great things with. I love to go to the farmers’ markets and see what I can get from some of the local farms and I always come back with something great and delicious. Know that Monroe finally has its own farmers’ market every Sunday I can just drive to town and get some great stuff, which I did this past weekend. I got a great haul of strawberries and peaches, but I also picked up some local beets,  cauliflower, honey, heirloom tomatoes and even a chuck roast from one of the local farms that raises organic beef. Tomatoes are just starting to hit their stride now and instead of turning to what you can get at your local supermarket and pay lots more for sub par fresh tomatoes, go to your nearest farmstand or farmers’ market and get some great heirlooms. I got a basket of heirloom tomatoes which had 6 good-sized tomatoes in it for only $6.00 where they easily sell for at least four dollars a pound in my local store. Now that I have some great tomatoes to use, I needed to find something to make. The first thing I thought of was to have a great lunch with a classic and simple tomato sandwich. You probably don’t even really need a recipe for a tomato sandwich, but I took this idea from Melissa Clark at New York Times Cooking, followed her idea and added a bit to it to really make it my own.

Tomato Sandwich

4 slices crusty bread

1 fat garlic clove, halved crosswise

1 ripe, soft tomato, halved

Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Mayonnaise, as needed

1 ripe heirloom tomato, sliced

Thinly sliced red or white onion

1 ripe avocado, pitted and sliced thinly (optional)

4 slices cooked bacon (optional)

Toast the bread slices until they are golden. Take each slice and rub one side all over with the cut side of the garlic clove. (The clove should start to disintegrate into the bread.) Rub each slice with the cut sides of the soft halved tomato, pressing so the tomato flesh sticks to the bread. Drizzle the bread with the olive oil, then sprinkle each slice with a bit of salt.

Spread the mayonnaise over the tomato pulp on the slices of bread. Place the sliced heirloom tomatoes on top of 2 pieces of the bread. Cover the tomato slices with the onions and sprinkle them with salt. Top with the avocado slices or the bacon if using, sprinkle on some freshly ground pepper to taste and then use the other 2 slices of tomato-rubbed bread to make sandwiches.

You have lots of options of course, as you do with any sandwich. I omitted the bacon she suggested as I just wanted the taste of the tomato and avocado with the onion. I prefer the bite a red onion provides, but if you like something mellower a white onion is also good. The combination on the sandwich of the great-tasting tomatoes with the onion, avocado and the little hint of garlic on the bread makes it all a perfect lunch. I put a little bit of parsley on mine for some extra flavor and you could do the same with some lettuce, arugula, spinach, fresh basil or anything else you might like. I made the sandwich on my favorite homemade bread and it was divine. It is the perfect sandwich to have during the summer and it makes me wish I could get heirloom tomatoes like this locally all year-long.

That’s all I have for today. Check back next time for another recipe. Until then, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!

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Healthy Soups and Stews – Recipes from NYT Cooking

With the new year and the cold weather finally settling into this part of New York, I know my attention turns more to making soups and stews for dinner to give you a warm, satisfying meal. It is even better if you can make healthy choices in the soups and stews you make and the New York Times has provided you with some great options. NYT Cooking has put together a batch of healthy soup and stew recipes for you to try out this winter to keep you warm and cozy, your belly full and your body feeling better. Check it out!

Source: Healthy Soups and Stews – Recipes from NYT Cooking

 

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50+ Classic Thanksgiving Side Dish Recipes

While the turkey is the centerpiece of your Thanksgiving meal, the side dishes can be the ones that steal the show. Everyone has their own personal favorites and traditional dishes that they make, but if you are looking for some new ideas and new ways to make old classics or something different, Food Network has put together over 50 classic Thanksgiving side dishes for you to try. Check it out!

 

Source: 50+ Classic Thanksgiving Side Dish Recipes

 

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