Tag Archives: gluten free

Tropical Fajitas With Jicama and Pineapple-Lime Glaze

Seitan Jicama and Pineapple Tacos

I don’t know what the weather is like in your part of the world but here it is the Winter-That-Never-Ends or the Spring-That-Never-Comes (there are still 3 feet of snow where my poor mom lives in the Upper Peninsula so I’ll hush now).  Today was dark and rainy, so dark that I had to turn on the lights in my house as though it was nighttime.  I needed a pick-me-up.  Pronto.  So I made this lively and lovely fajita recipe, courtesy of Mark Bittman.  Thanks to the darling Margarita at Let’s Cook and Be Friends for choosing this recipe as the Food Matters Project recipe of the week.  The original recipe is called “Not Your Usual Steak Fajitas” and can be found on Margarita’s blog by clicking here.  This being a vegetarian blog, I ended up making mine with seitan (seasoned wheat gluten) instead of steak.  But if you prefer, you can substitute meat or any meat substitute in this recipe and it will still be delicious.  If you want to check out what the other FMP bloggers came up with, head to the Food Matters Project website for more.

Browned Seitan

Browned Seitan

This recipe uses jicama, an often forgotten vegetable in my cooking repertoire.  Jicama tastes a little bit like a green apple when it is uncooked.  Cooked, it retains a pleasant crunch and light sweetness.  The pineapple and limes in this recipe really bring out the tropical flavors of this dish.

Radishes, Jicama, Onions, Bell Peppers, and Limes ready to go in the skillet.

Radishes, Jicama, Onions, Bell Peppers, and Limes ready to go in the skillet.

I tried these in taco-form initially but really ended up coming to the conclusion that this is just as good as a stand-alone or served over a bed of rice.

Deconstructed Fajitas

Deconstructed Fajitas

Each bite is a reminder of the summer that I know will eventually come.  It was a great pick-me-up today and along with my chaser of hot yoga, by the end of the day I was sitting pretty.  I hope you enjoy this as much as I did!

Tropical Fajitas With Jicama and Pineapple-Lime Glaze
Adapted from “Not Your Usual Steak Fajitas”; Mark Bittman, The Food Matters Cookbook
Makes: 4 servings        Time: 40 minutes

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 8 ounces of seitan, thinly sliced (don’t feel limited by this–if you prefer you can use steak, chicken, tofu, or any other protein you want–this dish would also be great with veggies alone if you don’t have protein on hand)
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 1 large onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into strips
  • 1 or 2 fresh hot chiles (like jalapeno or Thai), seeded and minced
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 8 ounces jicama, peeled and cut into matchsticks
  • 3 radishes, cut into matchsticks
  • 2 large carrots, cut into matchsticks
  • 1 cup cubed fresh pineapple
  • ¼ cup lime juice
  • ½ cup water
  • Chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish
  • Warm corn or whole wheat tortillas, for serving, optional
  1. Put a large skillet over high heat until it smokes, 3 to 4 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon of the oil and, a few seconds later, the seitan/protein. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and stir immediately. Cook, stirring every 20 seconds or so for just a minute or 2 until it has some nice charring on it. Transfer to a plate.
  2. Add 1 tablespoon of the remaining oil to the skillet and reduce the heat to medium-high. Add the onion, bell peppers, chile, and garlic and cook, stirring, until soft and golden brown, about 5 minutes. Transfer to the plate with the seitan/protein.
  3. Raise the heat to high again and add the jicama, radishes, and carrots. Stir immediately, then cook, stirring every 30 seconds or so, until the vegetables soften and begin to char slightly, 3-5 minutes. Transfer everything to the plate with the seitan/protein.
  4. Add the pineapple, lime juice, and water to the skillet. Bring to a boil and cook, stirring to scrape any brown bits stuck to the bottom of the pan, until the glaze thickens a little. Return all the vegetables and seitan/protein to the pan and toss to coat with the lime and pineapple mixture. Garnish with cilantro and serve with warm tortillas.

Roasted Vegetables with Cheese Sauce and Toasts

Roasted vegetables with cheese sauce and toasts

Welcome to another Meatless Monday with the Food Matters project!  I say that half-joking because everything on my blog is meatless, Monday or not.  This week Lexi from Lexi’s Kitchen chose “Reverse Fondue” for the Food Matters pick of the week.  If you have a minute, check out Lexi’s blog.  She grows her own vegetables and has tons of tasty recipes.  I have been meaning to try her baby spinach salad with dates and almonds for a couple of weeks.  It looks amazing and I can’t wait to try it.

I had such a busy, busy day today and had about 30 minutes to whip together lunch (and exactly 7 minutes to eat it!).  This no-fuss recipe was easily done in that span of time.  All I had to do was rough-chop some veggies, drizzle with olive oil, salt, and pepper and roast for a short time.  While that was happening, I mixed together the cheese sauce, which was a five-minute-max project and pretty impossible to screw up.  Slice up a few pieces of bread from a baguette and toast a moment, and voila!  Roasted Vegetables with Cheese Sauce and Toasts.

Veggies Read to Roast

Feel free to experiment.  This recipe is hard to go wrong with.  Use any veggies good for roasting, use any cheese you want, any kind of bread you want (or skip the bread if you want).  Piece of cake.  I couldn’t help thinking when I made this that this trick is how parents get their kids to eat veggies (broccoli with cheese sauce, anyone?).  I felt a little childlike digging into this dish myself.  Not a bad thing in the middle of a hectic workday.

Roasted Vegetables with Cheese Sauce and Toasts

Roasted Veggies With Cheese Sauce and Toasts, adapted from Mark Bittman’s The Food Matters Project Cookbook

  • 1 cup broccoli florets
  • Stem of broccoli, shaved then sliced on the diagonal
  • 2 carrots, sliced diagonally in about ½ inch pieces
  • 1 turnip, cut into wedges
  • ½ medium onion, cut into wedges
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 oz vegetable broth or chicken broth if you aren’t vegetarian
  • 1 tsp cornstarch
  • 4 oz cheese (I used a combination of Swiss and goat cheese)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Heat oven to 450°.  Cut all of the veggies roughly—they don’t need to be perfect.  Spread on a large, rimmed baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil.  Sprinkle with some salt and pepper and toss to coat.  Roast in the oven for 15-20 minutes, until crisp-tender and beginning to brown. 
  2. Meanwhile, cut a few ½ inch thick slices of baguette and place in the oven on another sheet or move the veggies over to make room for the bread if you only have a few slices.  Toast until browned but still soft in the middle.  This should take less time than the veggies, about 10 minutes. 
  3. While the veggies and bread are in the oven, mix cornstarch with broth in a small saucepan.  Bring to a soft boil and add cheeses.  Stir continuously until all of the cheese has melted.  Pour into a small bowl and put a pinch of pepper on the top if you like. 
  4. Serve the cheese sauce with the roasted veggies and the bread on the side. 
  5. Dip away to your heart’s content!

Indian Cooking At Home: Easy Red Lentil Dal

Red Lentil and Vegetable Dal

Welcome to another Food Matters Project/Meatless Monday!  Today, Anita from Cooking Poetry chose Dal With Lots of Vegetables from Mark Bittman’s The Food Matters Project Cookbook.  I love making a quick and easy dal and have been meaning for some time to show everyone what I typically do for a quick and easy weeknight supper.  You can add whatever vegetables you want.  Today I kept it simple, adding just carrots and onions.  Cauliflower, eggplant, tomato, potato all work well in this dish also.  You can fiddle with the combination of spices to find something that you like and that works with your current pantry contents.  I served mine with whole wheat naan and basmati rice. This dish is hard to mess up so have fun with it and enjoy!

To see the other FMP cooks’ takes on this dish, head over to The Food Matters Project website.

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Easy Vegetable and Red Lentil Dal adapted from Mark Bittman The Food Matters Cookbook

  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil, plus more as needed
  • 1 tbsp butter, ghee, or olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 2 tbs minced ginger
  • 1 tbs minced garlic
  • 1 cup carrots, cut into little chunks
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom
  • 1 tbsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • pinch of cinnamon
  • 2 dried mild chilis
  • 1 cup dried red lentils, washed and picked over
  • Salt
  • 1 tbsp sugar, optional
  • ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish
  1.  Put the oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onions, ginger, garlic, and carrots and cook, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes.  Add the cardamom, cumin, mustard seeds, garam masala, cinnamon, and chilis and stir until the spices are fragrant but not burning, just a minute.
  2. Add the lentils and cover with water by about 1 inches. Cook until lentils and vegetables are tender and the mixture is thick, about 35-45 minutes.
  3. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with fresh chopped cilantro and serve.

Parmesan Polenta with Honey Roasted Root Veggies and Pistachio Goat Cheese

Parmesan Polenta with Roasted Root Veggies and Pistachio Goat Cheese

Alright, the secret’s out.  I love polenta.  I’ll take a big gob of polenta any day over a bed of pasta or rice.  And so many dishes taste fantastic spooned over polenta that it is hard to go wrong.  Some of  my favorite ways to eat polenta are:  with marinara and goat cheese, with roasted vegetables, with Provencal vegetables en papillote, with fried eggs and spinach, with fried eggs and avocado, with a tomato-vegetable stew…the list goes on.  Polenta is also gluten-free.  And really beautiful, if you ask me.  It makes for a quick meal that is impressive enough to serve for guests.

Polenta With Roasted Root Veggies and Pistachio-Goat Cheese

The recipe I’m adding to my polenta-files today is Parmesan polenta with Roasted Root Vegetables and Pistachio Goat Cheese.  This is a simple meal to make but the results are creamy, filling, and decadent.

Parmesan Polenta with Roasted Root Veggies

Parmesan Polenta with Honey-Roasted Root Vegetables and Pistachio Goat Cheese

Serves 4

For the root veggies:

  • 1 large beet
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 parsnip
  • 1/2 celery root
  • 1 leek, white part only, sliced 1/4 of an inch thick
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • generous pinch of sea salt

Heat oven to 400°.  Put veggies in a covered baking dish and drizzle with olive oil, honey, and a generous pinch of salt.  Bake for 30 minutes and test for doneness.  The veggies should be silky but still hold their shape.  Pop back in the oven for 10 minutes if the veggies need more time.

For the polenta:

  • 4 cups water
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 cup medium-grain yellow polenta
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
  • pepper to taste
  1. Heat water to a boil over high heat.  Have a whisk ready and quickly whisk in the polenta.  Whisk for a moment to discourage clumping.
  2. Lower heat to a simmer, add the butter, a large pinch of salt, and a small pinch of pepper.
  3. Cook on low heat, stirring occasionally, for 25 to 30 minutes.
  4. Taste the polenta and add salt or pepper to your preference.  Stir in the Parmesan cheese.

For the pistachio goat cheese:

  • Olive oil
  • 6 ounces fresh goat cheese
  • 1 cup shelled pistachios
  • Pepper
  • Salt
  1. Combine the goat cheese and pistachios in a food processor. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and, with the machine running, drizzle in 2 tablespoons of olive oil. If the mixture doesn’t come together, add more oil until the filling is smooth and fluffy. Taste and adjust the salt and pepper if needed.
  2. Transfer the goat cheese mixture to a pastry bag or a zip-lock bag with the corner cut off (or you can just use a teaspoon for this). Squeeze or spoon dabs of the filling onto the roasted root veggies. 

Provencal Vegetables En Papillote with Creamy Polenta

Creamy Polenta with Provencal Vegetables en Papillote

This was a stand-up meal.  Let me explain…sure it’s nice to have a “sit-down dinner.”  But a stand-up meal can be even better.  Sometimes I have every intention of sitting down to eat but take a first bite and forget about everything else.  I just stand in the kitchen at the counter and eat until it’s gone.  This was that kind of a meal.

Creamy Polenta with Provencal Vegetables en Papillote

I must admit, I had low expectations going into this.  The last time I cooked a meal en papillote (meaning to bake ingredients wrapped in a foil or parchment paper pouch) I made a beautiful arrangement of light and bright vegetables, drizzled them with olive oil, lemon, and parsley, and topped with rainbow trout.  Sounds great, right?  Well, it turns out that this girl does not…I repeat, does NOT like trout.  And even after I decided to push the trout to the side of my plate, I found the beautiful veggies to be too trouty for my tastes.  Beautiful idea, bad execution.

This week, my friend Nancy (hi, Nancy!!!) from Texas, proud contributor to the fun and funky food blog, Funkytown Foodies, chose Provencal Vegetables and Chicken in Packages for the Food Matters Project recipe.  I almost thought about skipping it or even concocting something with similar ingredients but in a different format.  I’m so glad I didn’t!!  I know a lot of you would say that this looks good…if only it had meat.  Well, you are in luck!  This dish is really easy to make with chicken or fish.  To see how Nancy, did it, head over to her blog for the instructions.

Cooking “en papillote” is basically just baking ingredients in a pouch, usually made of folded parchment paper.  You can buy parchment pouches if you’d like (they are way overpriced, though, in my opinion) or just take two sheets of parchment paper and crimp the edges.  That’s it!  Cooking this way is very easy and the cleanup is the best part (hint:  there is no pan cleanup!).  This is a great way to cook just veggies or veggies with chicken or fish.

Provencal Vegetables Ready to Bake

 

Provencal Vegetables Ready to Bake en Papillote Provencal Vegetables en Papillote

I devised a vegetarian version, using Provençal vegetables (zucchini, summer squash, potato, eggplant, red bell pepper, onion, and Kalamata olives ended up in mine), drizzled with some olive oil, a touch of balsamic glaze, pepper, sea salt, and some parsley.  Once the pouch was crimped, I stuck it on a cookie sheet in the oven for 35 minutes and the result was marvelous…it exceeded my expectations.

Provencal Vegetables en Papillote

I decided to serve mine on top of creamy polenta.  The combination was crazy delicious.  I barely got through taking photos before digging in.  One of the most pleasant surprises was that the potato slices, which I had placed on the bottom, got browned and flavorful.

Crispy Potatoes en Papillote

This is a dish that will be made time and time again!  Guaranteed.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

Creamy Polenta with Provencal Vegetables en Papillote

Provencal Vegetables En Papillote with Creamy Polenta; Serves 4

For the vegetables:

  • 1 red bell pepper, cored and sliced into 1/4 inch thick rounds
  • 1 baby zucchini squash, sliced into 1/4 inch thick rounds
  • 1 summer squash, sliced into 1/4 inch thick rounds
  • 1 baby eggplant, sliced into 1/4 inch thick rounds (I recommend salting the slices, letting sit for 20 minutes, then rinsing and dabbing dry.  This reduces the bitterness)
  • 1 russet potato, peeled and cut into 1/4 inch thick rounds
  • 1 small onion, sliced into 1/4 inch thick rounds
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 10-15 kalamata olives, pitted
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp balsamic glaze (or just a little splash of balsamic vinegar will do)
  • 1 Tbsp fresh parsley leaves (I left the leaves whole)
  • Generous pinch of flaky sea salt
  • Generous sprinkling of ground pepper
  1. Heat oven to 375°.  For this amount of veggies, I make two pouches.  Tear 4 pieces of parchment paper (about 14″ x 14″ for each piece).  Arrange once piece onto a cookie sheet and stack your veggies, olives, and garlic onto the paper.  Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic and season with parsley, salt, and pepper.
  2. Once all the veggies are stacked nicely on the paper, add another sheet of paper to the top of the veggie stack.  Taking the bottom piece of paper and the top piece of paper together on one edge, begin crimping around the stack until you have a completely enclosed pouch that looks like a round pasty (yoopers, you know what I am talking about!).  Do the same for the second pouch.
  3. Place the pouches on a cookie sheet and bake for 35 minutes.  In the meantime, make the polenta (see recipe below).
  4. Pull out of the oven and let sit for a moment.  For a dramatic presentation, have everyone’s bowls ready to go with polenta and cut these pouches open on the middle of the table.  Steam and the fragrance of these veggies will pour out.  Your guests will be delighted!  Top the polenta with some veggies and a drizzle of olive oil.  You can add some fresh grated parmesan to the top if you like.  Sprinkle with some fresh herbs and enjoy!

For the polenta:

  • 4 cups water
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 cup medium-grain yellow polenta
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated
  • pepper to taste
  1. Heat water to a boil over high heat.  Have a whisk ready and quickly whisk in the polenta.  Whisk for a moment to discourage clumping.
  2. Lower heat to a simmer, add the butter, a large pinch of salt, and a small pinch of pepper.
  3. Cook on low heat, stirring occasionally, for 25 to 30 minutes.
  4. Taste the polenta and add salt or pepper to your preference.  Stir in the parmesan cheese.

 

Homemade Granola with Fruit and Nuts

Homemade raisin almond granola

A while back I taught you all how to make your own yogurt.  I recently also shared this how-to with updated photos on the Grand Rapids Cooking School Blog.  Now that you know how to make your own yogurt, wouldn’t it be great if you knew how to make your own granola to eat with that yogurt?  Granola is a great breakfast and a great snack but is often so expensive to buy in stores and is often much higher in calories than it needs to be.  The good news is that it only takes about 40 minutes (only 10 minutes hands-on) to make a large batch of granola.  Not only is it considerably less expensive, it is so much tastier and you can put anything in it that you want.

Below is a basic granola recipe that can be easily adapted to suit your needs.   For the oil, you can experiment with olive oil, coconut oil, or canola oil.  For the sweetener, you can try maple syrup, agave, or honey.  For the fruit and nuts, try any combination that you like.

If you are still not satisfied with your options (I thought I had perfected granola until my sweetie begged for clumpy granola), read on past the recipe to learn how to make CLUMPY granola!

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups rolled oats (be sure not to use quick oats)
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 cup dried fruit (I switch it up depending on what I have on hand.  I have used raisins, dried apricots, currants, cranberries, or diced prunes–I bet dried blueberries would be great too!)
  • 1 cup nuts and seeds (I usually do a mix of chopped walnuts, sliced almonds, raw pumpkin seeds, and raw sunflower seeds…but any combination of nuts and seeds will work!)
  • 5 tablespoons melted coconut oil or olive oil
  • 1 tsp real vanilla extract
  • ½ cup real maple syrup, agave, or honey if you aren’t vegan
  • Optional:  sesame seeds, flax seeds, coconut flakes…anything else you want to add!

 Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 300°
  2. Mix together oats, cinnamon, salt, nuts and seeds in a big bowl.  Please note:  I have added fruit to the mix at this point mostly with success…but due to burning the fruit a couple of times during the baking process I now choose to add it at the end!

Granola in bowl 3.  In a separate bowl, whisk together maple syrup, oil, vanilla, and salt until smooth.

4.  Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients, stirring until all dry ingredients are well coated. Spread mixture onto two oiled baking sheets (make sure they are rimmed sheets!).Spread evenly and press down firmly into a single layer with a spatula.  You can leave an empty space in the middle of the pans to create another “edge” to prevent an uncooked middle.

Granola Spread Out in Baking Sheet

5.  Bake in preheated oven for 25-35 minutes until granola is golden brown and crisp at the edges. You can bake it to your preference.  One time I made the granola lightly browned:

Golden Brown Granola

And the next time I baked it a little longer:

Browned Granola

6.  Add fruit to the granola while still warm.  Allow to cool for 15 minutes on baking sheet before eating and at least 30 minutes before storing (allow to cool completely).  Store in an airtight jar.

Finished Granola

Now, since you’ve been so patient, I’m going to tell you the secret to making clumpy granola…egg whites!  I’m not sure yet how to make a vegan clumpy granola but so far, as a non-vegan, egg whites are doing the trick for me.  If you want clumpy granola, mix 2 egg whites into your wet mixture before adding to the dry.  When you bake the granola, be sure not to stir it while baking.  This will break up the clusters.  When the baking is complete, allow to cool completely before breaking the granola into nice big chunks.  There will be some chunks and some free bits too.

Now enjoy your amazing homemade granola and yogurt!

Homemade Granola and Yogurt

Cabbage or Collard Greens Stuffed with Lentils and Rice

Cabbage Rolls Stuffed With Rice and Lentils

Welcome to Food Matters Monday!  This week, Keely Marie chose the recipe for us–stuffed cabbage rolls!  Keely Marie has some really great food on her blog–a couple of my favorites are her homemade naan (so brave–I haven’t tried making my own naan yet because I’m afraid I’m going to ruin it…) and her take on the polenta cake we all made a while back.

The stuffed cabbage recipe in the Food Matters Project Cookbook has meat in it and I’m a once-in-a-while meat eater (and a never ground beef eater) so chose not to include it in this recipe.  Wanting to stay with Bittman’s approach, though, I headed to my cookbook collection and grabbed his How To Cook Everything Vegetarian book.  And there it was.  A vegetarian version.  This reminded me of stuffed grape leaves quite a bit.  With the advantage of being able to use only pantry items I already had.  I always have cabbage on hand and ended up having collard greens on hand to test (with great results!).  The filling reminded me of mujadarrah, one of my favorite dishes, and one I will make when I know I’m going to have a busy workweek ahead of me.  Mujadarrah is basically rice and lentils with cumin, topped with fried onions and plain yogurt.  It was all I could do to not use the lentils and rice to make mujadarrah today and knowing this, I made extra so I could make the dish tomorrow!

If you prefer, you can also “deconstruct” the dish, serving it as a lentil/rice/cabbage bowl with some crumbled feta and a drizzle of olive oil.   Equally delicious, though not nearly as fun to eat.

Deconstructed Stuffed Cabbage with Lentils and Rice

I’m so glad I got to try this recipe because now I know that I can use cabbage and collard leaves to make cool “burritos” with any variety of fillings.  I’ll take this healthy option over a flour tortilla any day!

Cabbage or Collard Greens Stuffed with Cumin-Scented Lentils and Rice; adapted from Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything Vegetarian Cookbook

  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, plus a little for garnish
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 2 cups vegetable stock or water
  • 1/2 cup brown, white, or Basmati rice (I used short-grain brown and Lundberg Farms is my favorite brand)
  • 1/2 cup dried brown lentils
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 large cabbage or collard greens, see below for preparation
  • Feta, Gruyere, Fontina, Gouda, or mozzarella cheese slices or butter (optional–leave out the cheese and this recipe is vegan)
  1. Put the oil in a medium pot over medium-high heat.  When hot, add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until it’s soft, about 5 minutes.  Add the garlic and cook for another minute, then add the stock and bring to a boil.
  2. If you’re using brown rice, add it to the pot along with the lentils.  If you’re using white or basmati rice, add the lentils and cook them for 5 minutes, then add the rice.  Turn the heat to medium-low so that the mixture bubbles gently, cover, and cook until the lentils and rice are tender and the liquid is mostly absorbed (you don’t want it completely dry), 25 to 30 minutes.  If there is excess liquid, take the cover off, turn the heat to high, and boil it off, being careful not to burn the bottom.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper and set aside.
  3. Meanwhile, use a thin-bladed sharp knife to cut a cone-shaped wedge out of the bottom of the cabbage, removing its core.  Pull off 8 to 12 large, untorn leaves and put in a steamer above a couple inches of salted water.  If you are using kale, simply Cover and cook until the leaves are just flexible enough to bend.  Make a V-cut in each leaf to remove the tough central stem.
  4. To stuff the cabbage or kale leaves, put a leaf, curved side up, on a counter or cutting board.  Put 1/4 cup or so of  filling in the center of the leaf, near where you cut off the stem.  Fold over the sides, then roll up from the stem end, making a little package.  Don’t roll too tightly — the mixture will expand as it cooks.  Skewer the rolls with a toothpick or two to hold them together or just put them seam side down.
  5. Put the cabbage packages in the steamer and cook until the cabbage is tender, 10 to 15 minutes.  Top with a slice of cheese and run under the broiler until bubbly if you like or drizzle with olive oil or melt a pat of butter on top.  Sprinkle with herbs and serve.

Migas Breakfast Tacos

Oh migas!  Where had you been all my life?  I’m about to let you in on one of the best breakfasts. Ever.

Migas Breakfast Tacos

My boyfriend spent a few weeks on the road recently and about two weeks of it was spent in Austin, TX.  I tried to contain my jealousy as he told me about his daily breakfast fix of migas tacos from Maria’s Taco X-Press.  Up until recently, I had enjoyed migas only once or twice.  A deli in Kalamazoo, MI serves it as side dish and it is quite yummy but nothing in comparison to this Tex-Mex version, cooked up with eggs and cheese and served in warm corn tortillas.

After listening to my sweetie lament the loss of his new favorite breakfast, and being a good little foodist, I suggested my best solution…make them ourselves!  A quick search found a recipe from none other than Maria’s Taco X-Press and we set about whipping up our first of many migas breakfasts.  The only differences?  A little bit of cheese (I hear they are heavy-handed with it down in Austin–everything is bigger in Texas!) and instead of wearing tee-shirts and sunglasses in Austin we were bundled up in sweaters, leg warmers, flannel, and shearling boots to brave the frigid January-in-Michigan temps.  Maybe in July we’ll get that Austin feeling as we tuck into our probably fiftieth migas breakfast.  At about 3 or 4 times a week, we are establishing  a lifelong habit!  And I’m alright with that.

Migas Breakfast Tacos

First, add the onions, tortilla chips, and peppers to a hot pan with one teaspoon of oil:

Cooking Tortilla Chips, Onions, and Peppers

Add tomatoes and cook over medium heat 3 to 4 minutes or just until onion is translucent.

Cooking Migas...Tortilla Chips, Tomatoes, Onions, Cilantro, Peppers

Add eggs to skillet, and cook, without stirring, 1 to 2 minutes or until eggs begin to set on bottom…the full recipe is below!

Adding the eggs to the Migas

Served with my homemade Habanero hot sauce…..yes, ma’am!

Migas breakfast tacos with habanero hot sauce

Migas Breakfast Tacos; adapted recipe from My Recipes, as shared by Maria’s Taco X-Press in Austin, TX

    • 1/3 cup lightly crushed tortilla chips
    • 1/4 cup chopped onion
    • 1/4 cup diced tomatoes (during the winter months, use canned chopped tomatoes, strained)
    • 2 tablespoons chopped jalapeño peppers (for a less spicy version add green bell pepper instead).  I also add a couple tablespoons of hot salsa verde sometimes.
    • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
    • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
    • Pinch of salt and pepper
    • 2 (8-inch) corn tortillas, warmed
    • 1/2 cup (2 oz.) shredded 2% reduced-fat Mexican four-cheese blend
  1. Sauté tortilla chips, onions, tomatoes, and peppers in hot oil in a medium-size non-stick skillet over medium heat 3 to 4 minutes or just until onion is translucent.
  2. Whisk together eggs, salt, and pepper. Add to skillet, and cook, without stirring, 1 to 2 minutes or until eggs begin to set on bottom. Gently draw cooked edges away from sides of pan to form large pieces. Cook, stirring occasionally, 2 minutes or until eggs are thickened and moist. (Do not over stir.) Spoon egg mixture into warm tortillas, and sprinkle with cheese; serve immediately folded into corn tortillas with sliced avocado and plenty of hot sauce.  I love mine with my homemade Habanero hot sauce but Valentino or Topatio are also fantastic!

 

Paella with Lots of Vegetables

Vegetarian Paella

Welcome to Food Matters Monday…your weekly reminder that you are what you eat!  This week the awesomely adventurous foodie (and fellow oatmeal lover), Meg, from Fledgling Foodie, chose the recipe, a “pared down” paella with peas, clams, and chorizo.  Meg actually lived in Spain for four months in college so has a leg up on the art of paella making (and eating!) because she knows what a good paella should be.  I’ve only had paella once, at a wonderful Cuban restaurant named Cabana Nuevo Latino in my old neighborhood in Queens, NY (there are five locations and I have been to two–one in Forest Hills, Queens, and the other in Delray Beach, FL–I’ve been to both!).  I just had a couple of bites from my friend’s plate and that is what I picture now when I think of paella, a generously sized dish of crisp-bottomed rice, soaking up a saffron-tomato broth with seafood intermingled in it all.  Six years later, I finally got around to trying my hand at paella for the first time, thanks to the Food Matters Project.

Paella with Vegetables

I’ve mentioned this before, but one of my favorite things about the Food Matters Project is that it forces me to try new things.  I don’t get too excited about rice dishes (I’ve had risotto rice sitting untouched in my pantry for two years–Gordon Ramsey would be so disappointed!).  Paella never really popped out at me as a must-make dish.  But the FMP pushed me to try it and I’m glad I did.  I bought saffron for this dish and (gasp!) it was my first time using saffron.  I think saffron is an acquired taste (do you all agree?) and it was probably what I liked the least about the dish.  Otherwise, I found the paella to make for a hearty main dish, a good side dish, and overall, a healthy way to eat a ton of vegetables.  Oh, and though the saffron wasn’t my favorite flavor, the color it imparted was marvelous!!!

My version is a vegan version and also gluten-free.  It was very easy to pull together and I listened to Lynn on the Splendid Table while making it and wished I could pick her brain about what she thinks makes a good paella!

I made mine in a dutch oven and was able to achieve the crispy rice bottom that is characteristic of paella.

Making Paella

If you haven’t tried paella yet, I say go for it!  I think it would taste great with some shrimp, mussels, and chorizo.  To see what everyone else came up with, head over to the Food Matters Project website.  To get the original recipe with clams, chorizo, and peas, head on over to Meg’s blog!

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Paella with Lots of Vegetables; adapted from the NY Times

  • 1 quart vegetable stock
  • Generous pinch saffron threads
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 4 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 red, yellow, or orange pepper, chopped
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • 2 cups short or medium-grain rice
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 heaping teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 1 14-ounce can chopped tomatoes with juice
  • 1 small zucchini, diced
  • 1 small summer squash, diced
  • 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed, or 1 1/2 cups fresh or thawed frozen lima beans
  • 1 cup shelled fresh or thawed frozen peas
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  1. Bring the stock to a simmer in a medium saucepan. Crush the saffron threads between your fingertips, and place in a small bowl. Add 1 tablespoon warm water, and set aside.
  2. Heat the oil over medium heat in a dutch oven or a paella pan. Add the onion. Cook, stirring, until the onion is tender, about five minutes. Add the garlic, peppers and a generous pinch of salt. Cook, stirring, until the peppers begin to soften, about three minutes. Add the tomato paste, paprika and rice. Cook, stirring, for one minute until the grains begin to crackle.  Be very careful to keep an eye on the pan during this phase so you don’t burn the rice!  I burned my first batch :(.  Add the tomatoes and cook, stirring, until they cook down slightly and smell fragrant, about five minutes. Stir in the saffron with its soaking water. Season generously with salt and pepper.
  3. Add the stock, zucchini, summer squash, and chickpeas. Bring to a boil. Stir once, reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer without stirring until the liquid has just about evaporated, about 10 to 15 minutes. Add the peas. Continue to simmer until the rice is dry, another 5 to 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and serve.

Oatmeal Griddle Cakes

Oatmeal Griddle Cakes

Welcome to another Food Matters Monday!  I’m excited to be hosting this week and excited to see what everyone else comes up with.  I’ve included the original recipe below–for variations on the recipe, head on over to the Food Matters Project site and look through the comments.  To see visuals of all of the oatmeal griddle cake recipes, head on over to Pinterest for some eye candy!

I had a roommate that ate oatmeal every morning for breakfast and I always made fun of her.  “What are you, 80?”  Fast forward 3 years…I eat oatmeal almost every morning.  Who’s laughing now, right?  It never ceases to amaze me that I never get sick of oatmeal.  But truth be told, my oatmeal is often not the same from day to day.  One day I may have oat bran with dates and walnuts, the next, baked oats with blueberries and almonds, the next, steel cut oats with apricots and coconut.  Thanks to the Food Matters Project, I now have yet another way to get my oats fix:  oatmeal griddle cakes.

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These griddle cakes easy to make and reminded me a bit of spaghetti pancakes in that I was able to take leftovers and reinvent them into something soft on the inside, crispy on the outside (if you’ve never tried spaghetti pancakes, I encourage you to try–take cold leftover spaghetti with marinara and fry it in a pan with some olive oil until crispy on the bottom.  Flip over and cook until crispy on the other side.  Ahhh…..college memories are flooding back).

The griddle cakes are quite unlike what I would have expected before making the recipe.  Rather than turning out cakey like pancakes, they were soft and slightly sweet oatmealy goodness on the inside and crispy on the outside.  Served with butter and a blend of molasses and maple syrup, these made for a healthier alternative to pancakes…but still allowed me to get my fix.

Oatmeal Griddle Cakes with Maple Syrup and Molasses

Oatmeal Griddle Cakes; from Mark Bittman’s Food Matters Cookbook

  • 1/4 cup whole wheat flour (I used gluten free all purpose flour)
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour (I used gluten free all purpose flour)
  • 1/4 cup rolled oats
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup milk (I used almond milk and needed to add about 1/8 extra becasue the mix was quite thick)
  • 2 cups cooked oatmeal
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • Vegetable oil, for frying
  • Molasses or maple syrup, for serving (I blended 1/4 cup maple syrup with 1 tablespoon molasses and 1/4 cup agave nectar)
  • Optional:  I cooked sliced apples with a small amount of water until soft to serve on top
  1. Heat the oven to 200° F.  Combine the flours, oats, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt in a large bowl.
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg and milk; stir in the cooked oatmeal and raisins until just incorporated.  Add the oatmeal mixture to the flour mixture and stir gently; don’t overmix.  The mixture should be the consistency of thick pancake batter; if not, add either a little more milk or whole wheat flour as needed.
  3. Put a large skillet or griddle over medium heat.  When a few drops of water dance on its surface, add a thin film of vegetable oil and let it get hot.  Working in batches, spoon the batter onto the griddle or skillet, making any size pancakes you like.  Cook until bubbles form on the top and pop, 2 to 3 minutes; you may have to rotate the cakes to cook them evenly, depending on your heat source and pan.  Carefully flip the griddle cakes and cook until they’re browned on the other side, a couple of minutes more.  As they finish, transfer them to the oven while you cook the remaining batter.  Serve drizzled with molasses or maple syrup and topped with cooked apples if you like.