Posts tagged ‘gluten-free’

Homemade Fish Tacos

Nothing screams springtime like fresh ingredients and brightly colored veggies. As soon as the first warm day hits, I am craving salads, slaws, and anything on a grill. These fish tacos fit the bill perfectly! My boyfriend and I recently returned from an amazing Florida vacation, where we visited my grandparents and extended family, explored Ybor City in Tampa, and replenished our Vitamin D levels on the beach.

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All of the sun kicked my veggie cravings into overdrive, and so I jumped at the opportunity to make a fun lunch for my grandparents!

Fish tacos, yum.

Fish tacos seem to have become rather trendy these days, and come in several varieties. My requirements for a good fish taco are as follows: good grilled fish, not the fried stuff. Traditional corn tortillas, not flour. Avocado, in some form. Lots of cilantro. And a good, tangy, fresh cole slaw. Hold the mayo.

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Simple, right? Still, many places don’t hold a candle to this homemade version. This recipe was inspired from bits and pieces of many that I have read, taking my favorite parts from all. Feel free to do the same with mine, or try out my version to let me know what you think!

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Don’t recognize this picture? Then you aren’t following me on Instagram! Search for homemadeadventure for previews of upcoming food finds!

Fish Tacos

serves 4-6

16 corn tortillas

for fish:

1 lb white fish fillets (use what is local to your region – I have used Cod in NE and tilapia in FL both with great results)

spices: paprika, chili powder, cayenne, garlic powder, salt, pepper

for slaw:

1 small head purple cabbage, finely sliced (you can also use green, but the color makes these fun)

1 bunch scallion, whites discarded

3 cloves garlic

3 tbsp lime juice (I used from a bottle, but fresh is always fun!)

3 tbsp cilantro, finely minced

1 jalapeno, finely minced (use 2 if you like more heat)

for avocado cream:

1 avocado

1/2 cup greek yogurt

1 tbsp minced cilantro

Assemble slaw first. Slice cabbage and scallions finely, then mince garlic and jalapenos. Combine with lime juice and minced cilantro. Add a pinch of salt if desired. Combine and refrigerate while preparing other components to allow flavors to combine.

Next, combine avocado, greek yogurt, and remaining cilantro in a food processor. Combine until very smooth. Cover in a small bowl and refrigerate.

Wrap corn tortillas in foil and place in oven to warm while cooking fish. Alternatively, place tortillas individually on a warm griddle after cooking fish for a crispier taco.

To prepare fish, begin by washing filets and patting dry. Season both sides with aforementioned spices according to taste. (More cayenne for the spice lovers, more paprika and chili powder for a deeper and sweeter flavor.) Salt and pepper to taste. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a large skillet with a cover. Add fish filets but do not crowd the pan. Cover and cook for 3-4 minutes. Flip, then cook for an additional 3 minutes, or until fish is flaky and cooked through.

To assemble tacos, take warmed corn tortilla and spoon avocado cream across the bottom. Top with slaw and a small piece of fish. Fold in half and enjoy immediately!

April 2, 2013 at 6:58 pm 1 comment

Happy Thanksgiving

There is so much in my life to be thankful for that it is overwhelming at times. Family, friends, boyfriend, health, roommate, home, school, mentors, opportunities. My life is beyond blessed, and I should remember to thank God on a daily basis instead of waiting for this season to roll around. This year, I am most thankful for a “big” family Thanksgiving again! Ever since my extended family relocated to Florida, Thanksgiving at my house has been a quiet affair. Not this year! My sister and I are both bringing home our boyfriends, and my best friend is bringing her husband and baby. We will have a table of 9 again! We will be eating on Saturday to accommodate schedules and travel, but it’s not the date that makes this day special. It’s the spirit of gratitude… and the food!

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There have been numerous Thansgiving recipes and round-ups floating around the blog-world this past week. So many are drool-worthy, but most of you probably already have your menus planned. My family has a few traditional favorites that we always make, but we usually incorporate or swap out one or two new dishes each year! This recipe was inspired by some flavors that grace some of my Mom’s traditional Thanksgiving dishes. The lemon and thyme have a Thanksgiving earthiness that welcomes it at any holiday table, but the lightness of this dish makes it a great lunch option for the days leading up to or following Thanksgiving. I know my stomach always needs a rest after the heavy meal! Make this and serve it warm as a gluten-free option for guests, and then have the leftovers as a cold and light post-holiday lunch!

Question: What are you thankful for this year? What is your favorite dish at Thanksgiving? Is your menu set yet, or are you still looking for ideas?

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Lemon Thyme Quinoa with Zucchini and Mushrooms

1 cup quinoa

2 cups vegetable broth (or water)

1/2 red onion, diced

1 tbsp minced garlic

1 tbsp olive oil

1 8-oz. package mushrooms, sliced

1 cup shredded zucchini

1/4 tsp pepper and pinch salt

1/2 tsp dried thyme leaves

2 lemons, juiced

Add quinoa to a dry pot and toast until you hear a faint popping noise. Add vegetable broth, bring to a boil, and then reduce to simmer until most of the liquid has been absorbed.

Meanwhile, cook onions and garlic in olive oil over medium-high heat for 3-5 minutes. Add sliced mushrooms and stir. Cook until soft, about another 5 minutes. Add in shredded zucchini and turn off the heat. Stir in salt, pepper, and thyme. Add the quinoa and stir well. Juice the 2 lemons over the dish. Turn the heat back on and cook for another 3-4 minutes until the remaining liquid has been absorbed. Serve warm or cold– tastes great either way!

November 19, 2012 at 12:18 pm 1 comment

The Return of “Me” and a Twist on Lasagna

My most recent rotation left me with a lot of free time. Desperately needed free time. I had literally been praying for weeks, “I just need time to relax and recover!” Yet, when I got my free time (finally), I had no idea what to do with it! I realized I have been so busy for the past year that I had forgotten how to “waste time” or just sit and be. I lost track of what my hobbies were, what I would do for fun or to relax. I ended up sleeping a lot, working out a little, and watching TV more than I care to admit. However, after 3 weeks, I finally feel back to “me”. I am reading a book for fun again. I have caught up on the news. I know at least one recent event not related to health care. I have caught up with friends, with family, with blogs.

And I have created. This might possibly be one of the best recipes to come out of my kitchen to date. I made it twice before getting it right to share with you. It was inspired by two different lasagnas prepared by friends – one a twist on traditional lasagna with an Indian flare, and one made gluten-free with zucchini noodles. I decided to combine both ideas with my own vegetarian flare, and the results were DELICIOUS. Seriously. My roommate and two house guests would agree. Every bite sings softly with curry and a hint of spice, with the warmth and comfort of traditional lasagna. Better yet, it is incredibly healthy with zucchini for “noodles”, tempeh in place of ground beef, and a lot less cheese than you would normally expect.

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The best part of this recipe is its adaptability. If you are a carnivore, you can easily use 8 oz. ground turkey or chicken in place of the tempeh. If you like your pasta, use noodles instead! Add more chili flakes if you really want that spicy factor. A note on the tempeh– a quick Google search informs me that there are gluten-free varieties. The kind I used had some barley grains and so technically wouldn’t be safe for the gluten intolerant. However, if you are both gluten-free and vegetarian, there are varieties that exist and are safe for you! If you haven’t explored tempeh before, I would also recommend adventuring to the store and trying it. The flavor is mild and the texture mimics ground meat well in this dish. Have fun with this recipe and enjoy letting your creativity flow in the kitchen!

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Indian Spiced Zucchini Tempeh Lasagna

serves 4

1 tbsp olive oil

3 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 large white onion, minced

2 tsp curry powder

1 tsp garam masala

1/2 tsp corriander seeds

1/2 tsp black pepper

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp red chili flakes

14 oz can diced tomatoes

1 tbsp tomato paste

8 oz package tempeh

2 medium zucchini

4 oz goat cheese

1/4 cup Greek yogurt

In a large pan, saute garlic and onions in olive oil until onions are very soft and begin to lightly brown, about 7 minutes or more. Stir the spices directly into the onions over low heat. Stir in the tomatoes and tomato paste and continue to cook over low heat. Meanwhile, in a small pan coated with cooking spray, crumble the tempeh. Cook for a few minutes over medium heat to slightly brown the crumbles. Stir the tempeh into the tomato sauce and reduce to lowest heat. Cook until the sauce is thick.

Meanwhile, slice the zucchini into long, thin “noodles” using a mandolin set on the intermediate thickness. In a separate bowl, combine goat cheese and yogurt until smooth. Spray an 8×8 baking dish with cooking spray. Begin with 2 layers of zucchini slices to create the bottom layer. Top with half of the tempeh mixture, and then another 2 layers of zucchini. (I criss-crossed my layers to create a better faux noodle). Spread the middle zucchini layer with half of the cheese mixture. Top with the remaining tempeh and another zucchini layer, and then coat the top with the remaining cheese mixture. Bake at 350F for 30-35 minutes, or until the inside is bubbling and the edges are lightly crisp. Cut into 4 squares and serve.

November 13, 2012 at 9:00 pm 1 comment

Stuffed Delicata Squash

Recipes come to you in the strangest and most inappropriate of places… the shower, during exams, during church… However, after a long time of feeling stuck in a rut in the kitchen, I was thankful for some new ideas this weekend! When I first started receiving my Boston Organics box, I would often have no clue what to do with some of the vegetables. Collard greens, kale, delicata squash? I had never seen some of these things! In fact, my lack of random veggie knowledge is what introduced me to the blog world. However, this is my third fall receiving the box, so few veggies take me by surprise anymore. This has led to me repeating recipes (not always a bad thing) and feeling rather un-creative in the kitchen. Lately, I have started playing with new spices and flavor profiles instead of new veggies to keep my meals interesting! And thus, this recipe was born.

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I originally wanted to use peas to mimic an Indian rice dish that a friend of mine makes, but none were to be found in my freezer. I saw, instead, a half of a zucchini leftover from another dish that was just begging to be finished. Summer and fall squash does not make for the most seasonal of combinations, so replace as you wish with peas or some other green veggie! The candied ginger is homemade and adds a great sweetness, and together with the cranberries play off well from the spicy garam masala. The Indian flare takes this out of my comfort zone, from more typical Italian and American herbs to a more exotic (to me) flavor profile. A sprinkle or two of goat cheese would also be welcomed if you aren’t looking to keep this vegan! This recipe invites playfulness, so try it the next time you are looking for some kitchen fun!

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Stuffed Delicata Squash

serves 4

2 medium delicata squash (about 1 lb)

1/2 cup quinoa, cooked

1 cup zucchini, shredded

1 tbsp candied ginger, minced

2 tbsp dried cranberries

1/2 cup chickpeas

1 tbsp garam masala

pinch salt to taste

Cook quinoa according to package instructions. Mix with shredded zucchini, ginger, cranberries, chickpeas and garam masala. Adjust salt to taste. Split delicate squash in half lengthwise. Scrape out the seeds and stringy insides with a spoon. (You can save the seeds to roast like pumpkin seeds, but there is a lot of string to pick through). Fill each squash with several spoonfuls of the quinoa mixture. Add a few tablespoons of water to the bottom of the dish and cover. Bake in a 350F oven, covered, for 20 minutes, then uncover and bake for 10 minutes or until the squash is fork tender. Serve as a main dish with a side salad or as a side for a special meal! (Note: the delicata squash has a “delicate” skin that can be eaten!)

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October 25, 2012 at 7:00 am 5 comments

Vegan Pesto

Ever eat something that is super tasty, but no so photogenic? Can’t always judge a book by its cover, and that is certainly true for this dish! The spaghetti squash absorbs a little more of the color from the pesto than pasta does, which gives everything a strange green hue. Regardless, this pesto was so good that I didn’t even miss the cheese!

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I roasted up a small-sized spaghetti squash, and then pulled it with a fork into short spaghetti noodles. While that was happening, I used up a clamshell of basil left in my fridge from my friend’s New Years Bruschetta, and brainstormed how to make a pesto sauce with no Parmigiano. I remembered seeing a vegan pesto made with white beans, and thought chickpeas would make an interesting substitution, since that was all I had on hand! I still added the pine nuts and the olive oil, and threw in a pinch of salt since the cheese usually adds that salty component. I surprised myself with how much I enjoyed this! Confession: I may or may not have eaten a spoonful of pesto straight out of the food processor… The chickpeas added some heft to the sauce, making this all-veggie, vegan delight very filling. This is also a cheaper alternative to the classic pesto I have raved about before, no matter what your dietary preferences are. Give it a try, over spaghetti squash, regular pasta, or even with tomato slices on toast… Being a vegan for the month is really helping me to think outside of my food box!

Question: Do you ever get stuck in food ruts? What do you do to break out of them?

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Vegan Pesto

inspired by my classic pesto, serves 3-4

1 cup packed fresh basil

1/4 cup olive oil

1/2 cup chick peas

2 tbsp pine nuts

1/4 tsp salt

Combine all ingredients in a food processor until a smooth sauce is formed. Serve over pasta, spaghetti squash, or use as a spread.

January 9, 2012 at 9:00 am 6 comments

Coco-nutty

Who says you can’t have milk as a vegan? Sure, it can’t come from a cow, but it can come from a coconut! When I was reorganizing my cabinets, I found a can of coconut milk to put to use. Coconut milk, while it does have some saturated fat, is a good way to add creaminess and natural sweetness to vegan dishes. (You can always use skimmed coconut milk if you are concerned about the fat, but this takes away some of its great flavor!) The only problem I have with opening a can of coconut milk is what to do with the rest of the can after I have used what I need for my meal. Well, this dinner trio solved all of my problems, since I put the whole can to good use! Eggplant tikka masala with coconut brown rice and coconut lime Brussels sprouts – makes being a vegan look taste easy!

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The eggplant tikka masala was a solution my mom and I came up with at home. The original recipe is from her Martha Stewart Living Magazine, and calls for shrimp. She wanted to make it for the family with chicken before Christmas, and I requested that a small amount of sauce be left separate for me to cook with some eggplant. The eggplant was soft and soaked up the flavors of the sauce so nicely, so I knew I had to make it again! The original recipe also called for yogurt, so to “veganize” it, I just added some coconut milk instead! I used some coconut milk to cook the rice as well, substituting about 1/3 of the cooking liquid with coconut milk.

The part of the meal that really stole the show were the Brussels sprouts – a real surprise! I am not going to lie, I literally was craving Brussels sprouts. So much so that I texted my roommate and asked her to grab me some on her grocery run, despite my full veggie drawer. I was going to roast them as usual, but I remembered a recipe for Coconut Lime Brussels Sprouts that I got in a flyer at the Boston Vegetarian Festival in October. What better way to stretch the last of my can of coconut milk than to try a new recipe? Ah. Maze. Ing. I literally had to put the leftovers in a Tupperware and hide them in the back of my fridge as soon as I finished my dinner so that I wouldn’t stand there and finish off the rest of the pan like candy. A whole pound of Brussels sprouts would lead to momentary happiness, but later intestinal discomfort, if ya catch my drift. The coconut milk adds sweetness, and the lime juice and soy sauce add a hint of saltiness, leading to so much great flavor in every bite.

Vegan or not, this meal is crave-worthy. Try the Brussels sprouts – if you aren’t a fan yet, these might make you a convert. As for the tikka masala, you could go for the standard and sub back in the chicken, but why not go veggie crazy! Try the eggplant – it really is a nice surprise. You could even add some chickpeas to the mix for some wild living. Get coco-nutty ;)

Question: Have you ever had a weird food craving?

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Eggplant Tikka Masala

adapted from Martha Stewart Living Magazine, serves 4

1 tbsp olive oil

1 large onion, thinly sliced

6-inch piece ginger, grated

4 cloves garlic, finely minced

1 tbsp tomato paste

2 tsp garam masala

1/2 tsp chili powder

1 cup water

1 large eggplant, cubed

1/2 cup coconut milk

Cook onion slices in the oil until golden brown – about 20 minutes. Add all spices and tomato paste; stir and allow to heat for 3 minutes. Add water and eggplant and cook until the eggplant is tender. Stir in coconut milk at the end. Serve over brown rice.

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Pan-Roasted Coconut Lime Brussels Sprouts

recipe from a Whole Foods flyer, serves 4

1 lb Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved

1/3 cup shredded unsweetened coconut

3/4 cup coconut milk

1 large garlic clove, minced

1 scallion, chopped

juice of half lime

1 tsp low sodium soy sauce

Toast coconut in a large skillet until golden, 2-3 minutes. Remove and set aside. Add Brussels sprouts and 1/2 cup coconut milk to the pan. Shake to coat, then turn all sprouts cut side down. Cook 5-6 minutes, until they begin to brown. (Add a bit of water if the pan gets dry). Add garlic, scallion, and lime juice. Toss to coat, then turn all the sprouts cut side down again. Cook for 2-3 more minutes. Stir in remaining coconut milk and soy sauce. Toss with toasted coconut and serve.

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January 8, 2012 at 8:00 am 4 comments

A Family of Foodies

My family Christmas was full of quality time spent together. Since Christmas fell on a Sunday this year, we worked our Christmas traditions around our Sunday church service. You can tell we aren’t kids anymore, since sleeping in was more important than early morning Christmas presents! We still enjoyed our traditional Christmas breakfast of egg casserole before church, but with a few veggie twists for me. Since I can remember, my mom has made a church cookbook breakfast stratta with pork sausage, eggs, cheese, and bread cubes. She still made the traditional favorite for my dad and sister, but adapted another casserole recipe for me.
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The original recipe is from Simply Living Healthy, and I sent it to my mom a few months ago knowing how much she loves jicama. She made it for my family when they went to Florida, and wanted to make it for me as well. Instead of using sausage, she added more mushrooms for meaty texture. The jicama adds a great sweet crust, and the dairy-free, veggie and protein packed casserole will keep you full all morning. Check out our vegetarian twist, or head over for the original recipe!

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After church, we enjoyed surprising each other with thoughtful gifts. My sister searched high and low for a fun teapot for me, and my parents surprised me with a great new knife, set of mixing bowls, French press, and a few other fun kitchen gifts. But it turns out I am not the only foodie in the family! My sister got a waffle iron, an immersion blender, and an apron, and my mom got a new electric pasta maker! We spent the rest of the day playing with our new toys.
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We couldn’t get my mom’s pasta maker to work that day, which was a huge bummer. The dough has to be the perfect consistency to not get stuck in the extruder, and we couldn’t get it to work. We gave up for the afternoon and broke out my hand roller, so we still got to enjoy fresh pasta with homemade sauce for Christmas dinner! (My mom persevered and finally got the right dough consistency yesterday, so the electric pasta maker will stay!)

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Our Christmas celebrations will continue for the week, since my mom, sister, and I are all home and work-free. My sister and I are delivering our last Christmas present to our parents tonight: a gourmet dinner at home! On the menu: petite beef wellington, warm beet salad, lobster ravioli, and rum poached pears! Come back tomorrow for the recipes and pictures!

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Jicama Breakfast Casserole

adapted from Simply Living Healthy, serves 4-6

12-14 ounce jicama (weight is before peeling and shredding)
8 ounces white mushrooms, sliced
1  tablespoon olive oil
1/2 medium roasted red bell pepper, peeled, seeded and chopped
6 eggs
1/4 cup coconut milk
salt and pepper to taste

Saute mushrooms in olive oil over medium heat. Don’t over crowd the pan, as you want the mushrooms crispy. (This may require cooking in two batches depending on the size of your pan.) Peel the jicama and shred the root. Press between paper towels to absorb as much water as possible. Press into a glass pie dish as a crust. In a separate bowl, beat eggs and coconut milk. Layer the mushrooms and roasted red pepper over the jicama, and then pour the egg mixture over top. Season with salt and pepper. Cover the dish and bake at 375 degrees for 35-40 minutes. Remove the top and bake for 7-10 more minutes. Cut into slices to serve.

December 27, 2011 at 11:36 am 5 comments

A Winter Melon Saga

This all began 2 1/2 weeks ago with a roommate outing to the local Asian grocery store. We were there to look for bamboo for a housewarming gift, and picked up a few fruits and veggies and some green tea since they were so cheap. As we were perusing the produce section, a tiny lady with a cart of the most gigantic melons we had ever seen rolled past us. Marie was immediately intriguied, “Oooh, I wonder what those are!” She followed the mystery melon and read the sign posted “Winter Melon, $0.12/lb”. We continued our bamboo hunt and made it all the way to the cashiers, but Marie couldn’t get the winter melon out of her mind. A steal at $0.12 a pound, she figured we would have fruit for a week even if we bought the smallest of them. Not to stand in the way of an adventurous spirit, I agreed to buying one. Smallest one? I could hardly carry this thing out to the car! It must have weighed at least 15 pounds!

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We returned home and Marie, still beaming with adventure and excitement, immediately hopped on Google. To her dismay, she found out that the winter melon is the blandest of all melons and is most commonly used in traditional Chinese cooking to make soup. Soup that is flavored with chicken and ham hock and all sorts of other mystery ingredients to give the melon a bit of flavor. Too bad we are both vegetarian…

The melon then sat in our kitchen for 2 weeks. We finally decided to tackle it during our innagural roommate dinner. We would make soup, and we would find flavor in non-meat sources! Marie found a recipe for vegetarian noodle soup online and printed it out. (We heavily adapted it, and I don’t know the original source… Marie, maybe you could comment and fill us in!) Our adventurous spirit was again re-kindled.

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We took a knife and split the melon, finding that the inside looked suspiciously like a gigantic cantaloupe. We scooped out the seeds and cut it into wedges. We cut the rind off each wedge, and then sliced them into smaller strips. Needless to say, that took a long time. Long enough to give us both hand cramps from clutching the knife. Long enough to once again dampen the flicker of adventure. We looked at the growing pile of winter melon slices and wondered aloud if the final product would be worth the work.

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While Marie sliced the last of the melon, I cooked a few packs of rice sticks that I picked up at the Vietnamese grocery store near our house. I also got to work on the soup base – scallions and garlic with some green chiles for heat, sauteed in chili oil for even more heat. We used the water that the noodles cooked in and 2 cups of vegetable stock, and then added in our winter melon. We quickly realized that there was no where near enough liquid if we truly wanted a soup! We added water 2 cups at a time until we could at least see the water level, even though the melon was no where near covered after 10 cups! We salted the soup, covered the pot and then waited for it to boil…

And waited….

Checked a few times…

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Still not boiling…

After a good 20 minutes or so, it finally began to boil. We let it boil for a few minutes until the melon started to become translucent, and used this time to poach a few eggs to go on top.

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We each filled a bowl with rice noodles, topped it with a generous serving of soup, added our poached egg and headed to the table with trepidation. After all that work, we hoped it would be good! First bite… mediocre.

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We added some cilantro, some salt, some red chili flakes… and then magic happened. With a little extra seasoning, the soup took on a new life. The cilantro added a nice freshness, and the melon hung onto the spiciness of the broth to give a bit of kick. The best decision of the whole meal was to serve a poached egg on top! We both enjoyed the rest of our bowl, and I even went back for a bit more winter melon.

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It better have been good because we made a lot! We could now feed an army with soup…

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We filled all of those Tupperware with leftover soup. Guess we both have lunch for the week!

This meal was definitely an undertaking. The recipe for the soup is posted below, but it is not for the faint of heart! The winter melon took us a half hour to prepare, and the soup took another half hour to cook. But we had two sets of hands, and many hands make light work! If you are bold enough, or just plain crazy, to explore your Asian market and set out on a winter melon adventure, then give this soup a try! It is healthy, a fun experiment, and really cheap. (Marie and I estimated the total cost to be $7, and we have at least 14 servings!) It is worth the hard prep work if you are up for an adventure!

Spicy Vegetarian Winter Melon Soup

makes 14 servings

Large winter melon, seeded and cut into strips

2 cups of snap peas

3 carrots

Bunch of scallions, whites minced and green stems roughly chopped (keep separate)

6 cloves garlic, minced

2 jalapeno peppers, minced

2 tbsp chile oil

2 cups vegetable broth

10 cups water plus more for noodles

2 packs rice noodle sticks (or noodle of your choice)

salt to taste

freshly chopped cilantro

red chili flakes to taste

poached egg per serving

Seed and slice the winter melon. Rinse well in cold water. In the meantime, prepare noodles according to package instructions. Save the water that the noodles cooked in. In a large pot over medium heat, sautee scallion whites, garlic and chiles until aromatic. Add the noodle water (but keep the noodles separate), vegetable broth, and winter melon. Cover with 10 cups of water and add a generous pinch of salt. Add snap peas and carrot slices. Cover and allow to come to a boil. Once boiling, add the scallion greens and a pinch more salt. Stir well. Allow to boil for 5 minutes or until the winter melon is translucent. Place noodles in the bottom of a dish, and top with winter melon, veggies and broth. Serve with chopped cilantro, red chili flakes, and a poached egg. Soy sauce and other sauces may be good for added flavor as well.

September 15, 2011 at 9:00 am 9 comments

Green Goddess

There is nothing I love more than watching someone fall in love with a healthier lifestyle. It only takes a few small changes that eventually add up into a lot of healthy habits! This recipe is what pushed my little sister over the edge to be an adventurous, veggie-cooking college student. She has found her own veggie delivery program in Philly, and says that she is excited to try new recipes and new foods as she begins to cook for herself this year! I hope that she finds inspiration from what I make with my box, as well as from her own amazing culinary creativity.

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I have seen recipes for all types of green goddess dressings popping up everywhere, whether they are low-fat, vegan, gluten-free… you name it! I had some leftover cashew cream from my pasta sauce, and decided to try my own hand at it! It is a little more inspired by the flavors in pesto than in a traditional green goddess dressing, but is absolutely delicious in its own right. Plus, I got to try out my new Whole Foods purchase – nutritional yeast! This strange, flaky ingredient is super good for you – rich in B vitamins and packed with protein. It has an interesting, almost cheesey flavor, making it a perfect addition to dressings and pasta sauces! If you are not so adventurous, you can definitely try substituting a bit of grated cheese in the dressing, or just leave it out and add a bit more salt! I really like the flavor that it adds in recipes, but am not at a point to use it sprinkled over pasta. A little to earthy for me…

Try this recipe. It is really, really good. My sister exclaimed, “I just want to stick my face in it!” She had me make extra before I left, and is dreaming up ways to use it. We dipped some roasted broccoli in it, but she thinks it would make a great chip dip, or could even be a great pasta sauce.

Question: What do you think it would go well with?

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Green Goddess Dip

1/3 cup basil

1/3 cup parsley

1/2 cup cashew cream

1/2 tsp nutritional yeast

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp garlic powder

Chop basil and parsley finely in a food processor. Add the remaining ingredients and combine until smooth. Adjust seasoning to taste.

August 16, 2011 at 8:00 am 3 comments

Whole Foods Redemption

On my last evening home, I was lucky enough to enjoy a sister date… to Whole Foods! You may know that I have some mixed feelings whenever I walk in this store, but my second journey on my own was much more pleasant than the first! The store I visited in NJ was much larger and easier to navigate, thanks to fewer crowds and more space. I also went in the peak of summer, meaning that locally grown produce abounded and prices were much lower. I found great deals on zucchini and yellow squash, apricots, and pluots! My sister and I literally had to walk away to keep from buying one of every kind of delicious type of fruit.

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Our next stop was the pasta aisle to pick up some brown rice pasta, a wheat free pasta alternative for my gluten-confused sister. WF had a great selection not only of brown rice pasta, but also of quinoa pasta and other GF alternatives, all at a much lower price than our closest supermarket! That eased my sister’s fears of the cost of eating gluten-free, and also made her excited to try out some new products. The last item on our list for the day was nutritional yeast. I have been seeing it everywhere and was more curious than excited to try it. Nonetheless, I asked the first employee I spotted to help me find it (after circling the whole store once to no avail). He excitedly responded that he did know where it was and smiled the whole time he led us to the aisle. My sister and I reasoned that he was likely a vegan (the dreads gave him away, not to stereotype my vegan friends!) and was excited to help out another maybe-vegan (who else eats nutritional yeast, right?) We like to play people watching games and make up stories about their lives… normal, right? Not only did he lead us to the gigantic containers of nutritional yeast, but he also told us that they often have it in the bulk foods section as well. Bingo! Not wanting to invest $10 in a jug before I was sure if I even liked it, I was happy to leave with a small $2 sample bag instead! (More on this sampling to come…) Maybe Whole Foods isn’t so bad after all… it is fun when you are looking for specialty ingredients, and can even sometimes have really good deals! Maybe next time I can find one in Boston that is less crowded, or avoid it at peak Saturday hours!

My sister and I returned home starving, both because lunch now seemed long ago and we had just spent an hour oogling so many yummy looking fruits and veggies! Our dinner was inspired by a dorm-room meal I had created for my sister while visiting her in Philadelphia. During her freshman year at Duquesne, we had visited a market in the South Side of Pittsburgh and I was so incredibly disappointed that she didn’t have a kitchen so we could purchase some fun ingredients and make dinner together! She transferred to Temple, and this sister’s weekend was completed with a home cooked meal. The only problem was that her kitchen wasn’t really a kitchen… it was a 2 burner stove next to a tiny sink on top of a tiny fridge. Somehow, I still managed to pull together a pretty awesome pasta primavera with a surprise ingredient, butter beans! They are a moister cousin of lima beans, and my sister has raved about them since then. She asked me to blog about the recipe so she could know how to make it when she moves into her real apartment in a few days. Since we had pasta the night before and enjoyed some leftovers for lunch, we were both feeling pasta’d out.

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I decided instead to turn that meal into a fun, summer pasta-less primavera. I used a vegetable peeler to turn the zucchini and yellow squash into “fettucine”. I tossed that with sautéed red bell pepper and butter beans, and some roasted tomatoes straight off the vine in my mom’s garden onto the grill. This turned out amazing! My sister, admittedly not the biggest fan of summer squashes, loved it. She even finished off her zucchini noodles before touching her beloved tomatoes! We both were surprised at how full we were off of an all-veggie dinner. Realizing it was the last meal I’d cook for her, she mourned me going back and recommended that I drop out of med school and come be her roommate. Realizing that was unrealistic, she conceded that I could transfer instead. Sorry, but not gonna happen! She paid me such a huge compliment though: “You make eating veggies fun!” That is my goal in life, ya know :)

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Pasta-less Primavera 

serves 4

3 small zucchini

2 small yellow squash

8 oz clam shell cherry tomatoes

1 red bell pepper

1 can butter beans

2 tbsp olive oil

1 tsp garlic powder

3/4 tsp paprika

salt and pepper to taste

Wash the vegetables well. Using a vegetable peeler, take 1 strip off of the squash and discard. Then position the vegetable peeler so that most of it is over the white flesh, with only a small part stripping the skin. Use the peeler to create long noodles out of the squash. When all of the squash has been turned into “fettucine”, add to boiling salted water. Cook for 3 minutes, and then immediately drain and rinse with cold water, allowing to drain thoroughly. Either before you boil the squash or immediately after, roast the cherry tomatoes whole, for about 10 minutes on the grill or 15 minutes in a 400 degree oven. The skins should be wrinkly and ready to burst. Meanwhile, sautee red pepper in olive oil until it begins to soften. Add the drained butter beans and season with garlic powder. Allow to heat through. Mix all ingredients together and season with paprika, salt and pepper. Serve warm.

August 15, 2011 at 8:00 am 4 comments

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