Month: May 2013

No-Bake Chocolate Chip Cookies

Posted on

cookies

It doesn’t get easier than no-bake desserts and snacks. They are mostly vegan and save you a lot of electricity (except the part where you need to let them chill for a while in the refrigerator).. Chocolate chip cookies are one of my favorite cookies.  I’m a sucker for cookie dough. Who isn’t? I am in the process of fighting off a bad baking habit which I have that involves nibbling more than my share of cookie batter. Baking cookies usually requires eggs and eating batter with raw egg in it is probably not the best idea. That is where these no-bake chocolate chip cookies come in. They are a gooey, unbaked form of blondies. Since eggs are not necessary for this recipe, these cookies are safe to eat. Can I get a hurray? Rather than using copious amounts of oil and butter that a lot of cookie recipes require, I used chickpeas and a bit of almond butter. These ingredients give these no-bake chocolate chip cookies the chewy and soft texture we all crave for. If you have a nut allergy, you can replace almond butter with a bit of trans fat-free margarine or coconut oil.  If you don’t feel like making cookies, this recipe makes a great cookie dough dip. You can eat a couple spoonful of those.  I can’t seem to get enough of that gooey goodness. Fortunately (for my waistline) I used up all the chickpeas I had left and am too lazy to buy more. Stay tuned for my no-bake brownies recipe 🙂

For this recipe, you will need:

  1. 1 1/2 cup of cooked chickpeas or white beans with reserved water
  2. Pinch of salt
  3. 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda
  4. 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
  5. 1/4 cup of almond or peanut butter
  6. 2/3 cup of brown sugar
  7. 1/4 cup of flour
  8.  Bag full of bitter-sweet chocolate chips
  9. 1/4 cup of oats (you can omit that for a thinner dough

Instructions

Add all ingredients (except for chocolate chips) to a good food processor , and blend until very smooth. Then mix in the chocolate chips and oats.  Form cookies and lay them on a baking sheet. Cover with plastic wrap and allow it to chill in the refrigerator for an hour or 2.

Yields 8 -10 cookies

Vegetarian Submarine Sandwich

Posted on

veggie sub

Are you looking for a quick,nutritious, and a vegetarian dinner idea? This vegetarian submarine sandwich is the perfect solution for you. I generally enjoy submarine sandwiches stuffed with a variety of cold cuts. Cold cuts and various deli slices, by in large, contain an excess amount of calories, fat, and sodium.  This vegetarian submarine sandwich is very easy to make and a delicious simple sub for veggie lovers. You can make it at home easily with vegetable patty along with your favorite veggies wrapped in your choice of bread. Rather than using vegan bologna, I used Portobello  mushrooms and eggplant. For some added bit of dairy, you can sprinkle some crumbled goat cheese or tofu for some protein.  I generally love sandwiches as they are easy to prepare, very filling and open many doors to creativity. You can take the traditional route or non-traditional route and it will still be delicious. Since most restaurants seem to have the same and very few vegetarian sandwich options on the menu, a creative meatless (and sometimes cheese-less) sandwich is something you need to create from your own home. While there is a variety of vegetarian submarine sandwich recipes, I stuck to the basics. I used a bit of schug and humus and condiments which worked pretty nicely with this sandwich but you can use any condiments of your choice. I’d like to hear your vegetarian sub sandwich ideas. Feel free to share a recipe. I may give it a try 🙂

For this recipe, you will need:

  1. 2 crusty sub rolls, preferably multi-grain or whole wheat
  2. 1 onion sliced
  3. 2 large cloves garlic, minced
  4. 2  large bell pepper cut into stripes (use any color you want)
  5. 4-6 Portobello mushrooms cut into thick slices
  6. 1 medium-small eggplant sliced
  7. 1 teaspoon of dried thyme leaves
  8. 1 teaspoon of oregano
  9. Humus
  10. Schug
  11. Salt and pepper for taste

Instructions

Preheat oven to 425° F. Lightly spray a shallow-sided sheet pan, large enough to hold the vegetables in one layer, with cooking spray. Place the peppers, onions, eggplant and mushrooms on the pan. Drizzle with the olive oil, adding a little more if needed to lightly coat. Add the garlic, thyme, oregano, salt and pepper. Toss well to combine. Roast until the vegetables are tender, about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, halve the rolls horizontally. Remove some of the extra bread from the centers of both halves to form a boat. Place under the broiler, cut side up, and toast slightly. Spread each half with a little hummus and a bit of  schug. Put a generous amount of the vegetables in the bottom halves.

Yields 2 to 4 servings

 

Lemony Herb Linguine

Posted on

Linguine

Pasta and cheese normally go well together like a marriage. I have a bad habit of drowning my pasta or grains with cheeses or sauce.  Who can resist a bowl of pasta with gooey cheese? I barely could. I’ve been trying to keep my temptation for cheese in check. I’ve used a bit of veggies, mostly mushrooms seasoned with herbs as a healthier alternative to cheese and heavy sauces. This lemony herb linguine is a vegan solution to any of my favorite dairy ridden pasta dishes. A bit of lemon zest adds from freshness and a semblance of Spring to this linguine dish. Mushrooms, fresh  basil, and baby spinach give this dish some flavor as well as balance. You can use other vegetables as well such as tomatoes, peppers, or zucchini. You can throw is some tofu or fish for some protein.  Add some pecans (not the candied ones) to this lemony herb linguine for some crunch. When using linguine, whole wheat linguine is a healthful choice.  I haven’t given up cheese for now. This experience has taught me that butter, cheese, heavy cream, and milk are not crucial to creating a creamy yet flavorful pasta dish. For parents who are struggling to encourage their kids to eat more vegetables, this recipe may be your saving grace.

For this recipe, you will need:

  1. 6 ounces of uncooked linguine (preferably whole wheat)
  2. 1 lbs of mushrooms sliced
  3. 1 onion chopped
  4. 1 clove of garlic minced
  5. 1 lbs of baby spinach
  6. 1 cup of fresh basil chopped
  7. 1 teaspoon of oregano
  8. 1 tablespoon of fresh parsley chopped
  9. 1 tablespoon of lemon zest
  10. Salt and pepper for taste

Instructions

Cook linguine according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, saute the, mushrooms, onions and garlic in a greased skillet for 3-5 minutes. Add the spinach, basil, oregano, salt and pepper; cover and simmer for 3 minutes. Drain linguine; add to vegetable mixture.  Toss in lemon zest and pecans (optional). Season with salt and pepper. Top with parsley.

Yields 6 servings

 

Turkish Chicken

Posted on

Chicken

Turkish chicken is similar to Tandoori chicken in terms of using a yogurt marinade. Rather than using drumsticks, Turkish chicken requires chicken breasts.  And there is no curry. The acidity of the yogurt and lemon juice helps tenderize and keep the chicken breasts moist.  A bit of hot paprika or cayenne pepper adds some kick to this Turkish chicken. Due to my dietary restrictions, I am unable to use dairy yogurt wit this chicken and non-dairy yogurt is hard to find where I live. I used soy milk instead which worked just as well. Like Tandoori chicken, Turkish chicken requires at least an hour of marination. Turkish chicken serves well with grains and pasta. You can serve each chicken breast whole like I did or cut them up into pieces. Although not necessary, I added some sauted onions to this chicken. If you decide to cut them up, reduce the cooking time as chicken breasts are vulnerable to drying out very easily. Stuff leftovers in a pit with some salad.

For this recipe, you will need:

  1. 4 lbs of  skinless and boneless chicken breasts
  2. 1 tablespoon of lemon juice
  3. 1 cup of soy milk, yogurt  or non-fat plain yogurt
  4. 2 cloves of garlic minced
  5. 1 tablespoon of fresh minced ginger
  6. 2 teaspoons of hot paprika or cayenne pepper
  7. 1 1/2 teaspoon of cumin
  8. 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
  9. 1 tablespoon of fresh mint chopped
  10. Salt and pepper for taste

Instructions

Pound and butterfly chicken breasts. Place chicken breasts in a bowl. Add lemon juice and toss to coat. Whisk soy milk, garlic, ginger, paprika, cumin, mint, salt and salt in a separate bowl. Pour the yogurt/soy milk mixture over the chicken and stir to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 24 hours.  Position rack in upper third of oven; preheat broiler. Remove the chicken from the marinade. Place the chicken on a broiler rack and broil until browned on top, about 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 400°F and bake until the chicken is juicy and just cooked through, about 15 minutes longer. (Thigh meat will appear dark pink, even when cooked through.) Serve immediately.

Yields 4 servings

 

 

 

Root Beet Soup

Posted on

beet soup

Whenever I think of beets, borscht is the first thing that comes to my mind and not in a positive way. As a matter of fact, the word beet makes me grimace. My maternal grandmother, God rest her soul, would live on this cold Russian beet soup every Passover. After having a couple sips, I couldn’t fathom why. Most Russians I know and those from the Soviet Union claim that my dislike for borscht stems from the processed canned stuff which everyone unanimously agrees is total crud. Having root beet soup at a friend’s house slightly made me have a change of heart. Honestly, I was a little hesitant to try it when she mentioned that she was serving this soup. Just out of morbid curiosity, I tried a bit of it and it wasn’t as bad as I was anticipating it to be. It was actually downright good enough for me to want to replicate this soup.  I forgot to ask for the recipe but decided to improvise my own version based on the ingredients I was able to memorize. Beets are bland when eaten alone. A bit of tomato paste and balsamic vinegar adds some kick to this soup. When made right, this root beet soup is rich and velvety. I especially love the deep purple and red hue.

For this recipe, you will need:

  1. 4 beets peeled and chopped
  2. 1 large potato peeled and cubed
  3. 1 large leek chopped, washed, and rinsed
  4. 2 cloves of garlic minced
  5. 2 large celery stalks chopped
  6. 1/2 cup of tomato paste
  7. 1/3 cup of balsamic vinegar
  8. Salt and pepper for taste

Instructions

Place all ingredients in a stock pot. Fill it up with 4 to 6 cups of water or vegetable stock. Cover and bring to a boil. Uncover and let it simmer for 30 minutes or until vegetables are soft and tender. Puree with a hand blender or in batches with a blender. Season with salt and pepper.

Yields 4 to 6 servings

 

Yemenite Spicy Relish – Schug

Posted on Updated on

Schug

If you have been to a Middle Eastern  theme party, you will notice an array of spiced spreads from hummus, eggplant spreads to tahini and more. Most Middle Eastern cuisine is by in large spiced with cayenne pepper, cumin, tumeric, chili peppers, and jalapeno peppers. Unlike my previous dips, making this schug does not require prior cooking or roasting. This Yemenite spicy relish, or schug, is basically made with raw chiles, garlic, jalapeno, cilantro, or parsley. Schug is comprised of 2 different colors – either bright green or brick red, depending on which pepper you decide to use. I initially intended to use a bit of both but couldn’t find chili peppers as they were sold out by the time I went to look for them. Instead, I’ve used a red bell pepper and a bit of chili oil along with jalapeno pepper and garlic. Unless you have an iron stomach or a fire-proof palate, schug is not meant to be eaten in copious amounts. Its flavour, even in the smallest amount, can be very fiery from a miniscule amount of dried chiles to black pepper.  While schug is spicy, it is one of the easiest dips to make. I find jalapeno peppers not to be as overwhelmingly pungent as chili peppers but you can use hotter chili peppers if you prefer.

Yemenites serve this spicy relish as an accompaniment for soup. Most people usually spread this Yemenite spicy relish on bread or pitas and eat it with the soup. Others like to add it to their pita and felafel. I like to add a bit of it to my salad or use it in a sandwich. Indeed, you can use it like pesto and mix a small amount of it with pasta and add a little olive oil. Or you can use it as a marinade for chicken. Since schug is easy to prepare, I generally make it in small quantities so the flavours stay fresh. You can remove the seeds and membranes of jalapeno and chili peppers for mildler effect but I leave them in so they give their heat to this spicy relish. Since cilantro gives plenty of flavour to the relish, I use them. If you don’t like cilantro, however, you can always substitute them for flat-leaf parsley instead or omit them entirely.

For this recipe, you will need:

  1. 2 jalapeno peppers quartered
  2. 1  small red bell pepper diced
  3. 4 cloves of garlic peeled
  4. 1/2 cup of cilantro sprigs or flat-leaf parsley
  5. 1 teaspoon of chili oil
  6. 2 to 4 teaspoons of water
  7. Pinch of salt

Instructions

Combine jalapeno peppers, red bell pepper, garlic, chili oil, cilantro, 2 teaspoons of water and salt in a mini-food processor. Process ingredients into a smooth puree, stopping every few seconds to push mixture down so ingredients are grounded evenly. Add a bit more water if necessary.

Yields 1/3 to 1/2 cup of schug

Spinach Broccoli Goat Cheesecake

Posted on Updated on

quiche

Most people associate cheesecake with dessert. They will seldom think of it as as a savoury side dish. Truth be told, a savoury cheesecake isn’t much different than a quiche, per say. As a matter of fact, this spinach broccoli goat cheesecake recipe is practically a vegetable crustless quiche. I merely sauted the vegetables, used 2 eggs and cottage cheese for the filling, and used goat cheese as a topping. I normally enjoy quiches with the crust but I figured that I could make some sacrifices on the excess amount of oil and butter fat that is normally embedded in most pie crusts. It doesn’t necessarily need it. Leftovers make great breakfasts.  If you use the salty goat cheese, however, I do recommend that you use additional salt very sparingly as too much can overpower the flavour of this savoury cheesecake.

For this recipe, you will need:

  1.  1 onion chopped
  2. 1 clove of garlic minced
  3. 1 lbs of baby spinach
  4. 2 cups of fresh broccoli florets
  5. 2 large eggs beaten
  6. 1  1/2 cup of low fat cottage cheese
  7. Crumbled goat cheese
  8. 1/2 teaspoon of ground pepper

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9 inch pie pan. Saute onion in a greased skillet over medium high heat for 5 minutes. Saute garlic for another minute. Add the spinach and broccoli florets and saute till soft. In a bowl, mix pepper, eggs and cottage cheese.  Pour in vegetables and mix well. Transfer to pie pan. Bake for 30 minutes. Sprinkle crumbled goat cheese and bake for another 5 to 7 minutes or until browned on the edges.

Yields 8 servings