11.01.12_Roasted Veggie Soup with Herb Dumplings

Phillip found a recipe for Roasted Vegetable Soup with Herb Dumplings and immediately added it to our "must try" list. Growing up in Ohio, I guess he had a fair share of chicken and dumplings as a kid (a dish that to this day I still have not had) so needless to say he was excited to have dumplings again.

I'm not gonna lie, this soup took a fair amount of work. None of it was hard by any means, but it definitely took time since I had to roast all the vegetables first, then blend them, simmer the puree, then make the dumplings. The end result was well wroth the effort though. The recipe makes a TON of soup. I gave some of the leftovers to my vegetarian cousin Hannah and we still have more than we know what to do with. So I highly recommend cutting the recipe in half, or freezing half of it for another time.

Roasted Veggie Soup with Herb Dumplings
Adapted from The Kitchn

For the soup:
  • 1 medium butternut squash (I bought already peeled and cubed)
  • 3 carrots
  • 2 medium daikon radishes (The recipe called for parsnips but Whole Foods didn't have any)
  • 1 sweet potato
  • 1 large leeks
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 4 cloves garlic, unpeeled
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • S&P
  • Chile powder
  • 7 cups veggie stock
  • 1 bay leaf 
For the dumplings:
  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 TBSP cold butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1 TBSP oregano
  • 1 TBSP parsley
  • 1 TBSP thyme
  • 1/2 cup milk
1. Preheat the oven to 400º. Peel and chop the butternut squash, carrots, radishes, and sweet potato into large chunks. Chop the white and light green part of the leek into large chunks as well. Peel and quarter the onion and leave the garlic cloves in their skin. Toss all the veggies with olive oil, salt and pepper and a sprinkling of chili powder. Spread veggies onto baking sheets and roast for 30-40 minutes. 
2. After the veggies are roasted, remove the garlic from their skins. Blend the veggies a little at a time until they are well pureed, adding veggie stock as necessary to make the puree nice and smooth. I used an immersion blender for this but I'm sure a regular blender would work equally as well.
3. Add the remainder of the stock to the puree and bring to a boil in a large stock pot. Lower heat and simmer.
4. While the soup is simmering, prepare the dumplings. Thoroughly mix all dry ingredients. Add the butter to the mixture and use your fingers to mix the butter in. You don't want big clumps of butter. Keep massaging the mixture until it is well incorporated. Add the milk and fresh herbs and stir until combined. 
5. Drop TBSPs of the dough into the soup. Cover the pot and let simmer for 10 minutes or so until the dumplings are cooked. 

10.14.12_Veggie Pot Pie

I love pot pies. I honestly don't know anyone who doesn't. As a kid I would order the pot pie at KFC and, even now, I occasionally crave what is arguably one of the worst things in the world for you, Marie Callender's Chicken Pot Pies. Considering those have over a thousand calories in each pot pie (and now that I don't eat meat), I try to avoid these at all costs. But when Phillip suggested making pot pies for dinner, I thought it'd be a great excuse to use my ramekins again!

The pot pies were super delicious and I can safely say contained fewer calories than any pot pie you're going to get in the frozen food aisle. There is no butter in the filling and the crust is brushed with egg whites. I also used milk rather than cream so all things considered, it could be called relatively healthy...right? Almost?

Veggie Pot Pies 
Serves 2

For the Crust
1 cup flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3 TBSP butter, cut into small pieces
1 egg
2 TBSP milk

For the Filling
olive oil
2 small red potatoes, peeled and chopped
1/2 small onion, minced
2 cups frozen peas and carrots
1 cup frozen corn
1.5 TBSP flour
1/2 cup white wine
3/4 cup milk
fresh or dried parlsey
fresh or dried thyme
fresh chives
salt and pepper

In a food processor, pulse together all the dry ingredients.  Add in the butter a little at a time and pulse until the butter has broken down into tiny balls. Separate the egg and reserve the egg white for later. Beat together the yolk and milk then add to the flour mixture. Pulse until the dough comes together. It may look very crumbly but once you remove it and form it into a ball with your hands it will stay together.Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and let it sit in the fridge for at least an hour.

Preheat the oven to 400º. While the oven is preheating, and the dough is chilling, make the filling. In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and potatoes and cook for 5 minutes. Add the frozen vegetables, cooking just until heated through. Season the mixture with the fresh herbs and salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle the flour over the mixture and cook just for a minute to get rid of the raw flour taste. Pour in the wine and cook until it has fully been absorbed by the vegetables and evaporated. Add the milk, lower the heat, and simmer for another 5 minutes until mixture has thickened. Remove from heat.

Roll out the dough until it is about 1/4" thick. Place an empty ramekin upside down on the dough and trace cut around the ramekin, leaving enough space for the dough to fall over the edge, about 1/2". Divide the mixture evenly between two ramekins and drape the dough over each. Fold the edges down, then brush the dough with the egg white. Cut a slit in the top and bake for 25 minutes until golden brown!

*We had a little extra dough so I baked that too for extra crust! Definitely a good call when you get to the bottom of the ramekins!

10.11.12_Zucchini Burgers with Herb Goat Cheese

My friend Steph (finally) moved to DC last week! She and her mom drove a Penske truck all the way from Massachusetts and then her mom stayed in DC for a few days to help her unpack/hang out. I invited them over for dinner on Thursday so I could catch up with Steph and get to know her mom better. Steph is a vegetarian so I knew they'd be up for it!

A few months back I had seen a few different recipes for squash croquettes and decided to take that idea and make squash and zucchini burgers. As always when making meatless burger patties, I was worried that they would fall apart and these seemed especially precarious. Luckily they stayed together for me in the pan and they came out great! As you know, I LOVE goat cheese (see Buffalo Fried Goat Cheese and Spinach and Goat Cheese Quiche) so I made an herb goat cheese to go on the burgers and topped them with some fresh arugula and a slice of tomato. The goat cheese was a great addition and though they may have been a bit messy to eat, were a huge hit!

Zucchini Burgers
Makes 4 large patties
  • 2 zucchini, shredded
  • 1 yellow squash, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup cornmeal
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • oil for frying
1. Grate the zucchini and squeeze as much of the water out of it as you can. Toss the grated zucchini and the squash with a tsp of salt in a colander and let it sit for about 20 minutes to draw out even more of the liquid. If there is too much water the patties will not stay together!
2. In a large bowl combine the zucchini, squash, cheese, breadcrumbs, garlic, flour and egg. Mix until well combined.  If the mixture still seems too wet, add a little extra flour and/or breadcrumbs.
3. Let the mixture rest for a few minutes before dividing into four equal parts and forming into patties.
4. In a separate bowl or on a plate, combine the corn meal, cayenne pepper and salt. Carefully coat each patty with the corn meal mixture. 
5. Heat oil in a deep sided skillet and fry each patty for a few minutes per side, until golden brown. Serve with the herb goat cheese (recipe below), arugula and tomato, or any of your favorite condiments!

Herb Goat Cheese
  • 4oz log of plain goat cheese (room temperature)
  • 1 TBSP Greek yogurt
  • 2 TBSP fresh parsley, minced
  • 2 TBSP fresh cilantro, minced
  • 1 TBSP fresh chives, minced
  • S&P to taste
1. Leave the goat cheese out on the counter for about 30 minutes before making the herb goat cheese so it is easier to mix. 
2. In a small bowl combine all ingredients and combine well with a fork. The Greek yogurt gives the goat cheese even more of a tang but feel free to leave it out.

10.03.12_Nectarine and Brie Pizza

I used to not be very adventurous with pizza. The only fruit I ever allowed on my pizza was pineapple, and even that took a while for me to warm up to. A few years ago I had a pear and Gorgonzola pizza while in New York and it was amazing, so when I found a recipe for a Nectarine and Brie pizza I knew that I wanted to try it. To make things easier for myself, I used store bought crusts from Whole Foods after multiple miserable attempts with dough. The only things I changed about this recipe was that I used Greek yogurt instead of Creme Fraiche (we couldn't find any) and I sprinkled sea salt over the entire pizza instead of just the crust.

This pizza was unbelievable. I made two pizzas because our friend, McKinsey, was joining us and Phillip and I can usually put away a whole pizza just the two of us. For the two pizzas I ended up using 3 nectarines and 3 wedges of brie. The hardest part of this recipe was cutting the brie because it was so soft and creamy. Yum. The brie melted so nicely and the sweet nectarines, combined with the peppery kick of the arugula with the honey and salt worked so well together. Apparently I just love honey and salt...also I love how pretty the pizza looked after laying out the nectarines.

10.01.12_Baked Falafel Salad

I'm not sure if this is a national trend or just a DC thing but there are so many create-your-own salad concept restaurants now. One of the local places, Sweetgreen, has a salad called the Chic P that which is amazing. On Monday I was randomly craving it and deciding I would try to create my version at home. I decided to go all out and make my own pita chips to crumble over the top and a homemade lemon tahini dressing. I pulled a Sandra Lee and made the falafel semi-homemade my adding mashed chickpeas into a boxed mix before baking them off in the oven. The salad was super delicious and definitely satisfied my craving.

Baked Falafel Salad
Serves 3-4
  • Lettuce mix
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 1/2 cucumber, peeled and seeded
  • 1/4 red onion, finely minced
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese
  • 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed (I put half into the falafel mix and the rest onto the salads)
  • 2 packages of falafel mix (depends on the brand but two packages made 12 falafel for me)
  • pita chips (recipe below)
  • homemade lemon tahini dressing (recipe below)
1. Follow the instructions on the box for the falafel. Once you form the balls, bake them in a 350° oven for about 15 minutes, flipping halfway.
2. While the falafel cool, prep the rest of the ingredients.
3. Build the salad with all the ingredients then break the falafel into pieces on top (I used 3 falafel per salad).
4. Top with crumbled pita chips and homemade lemon tahini dressing!

Homemade Pita Chips
  • Pita Bread
  • Olive oil
  • Coarse Sea salt
1. Cut each pita into 6 equal triangles, then split the pita open so you end up with 12 separate chips from each pita.
2. Put the pita onto a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil and flip to make sure both sides are evenly coated.
3. Sprinkle with coarse sea salt and bake in a 400° oven for 8-10minutes, flipping once. Keep an eye on them and bake them until desired crunchiness!

Homemade Lemon Tahini Dressing
Yields approx. 1/2 cup
  • The juice of one lemon
  • 3 TBSP olive oil
  • 2 TBSP tahini
  • 1 TBSP water
  • 1 clove of garlic, grated
  • dash of cayenne
  • salt and pepper
1. Combine all the ingredients in a small bowl and whisk until combined. Add more oil and/or water if you desire a thinner consistency.

09.29.12_Vegan Buffalo Pizza

Photo credit: nofaceplate.blogspot.com
Let me start by apologizing for going almost an entire month without posting! I cannot believe that it is already October. Time has been flying by. I started a new job this month which has been keeping me super busy and Phillip also got to travel for his job so needless to say, we've been all over the place. With that being said, I also cannot believe that this is our 100th post! We are still having a great time cooking vegetarian meals and blogging whenever we get the chance. Thanks to everyone who has read any of the posts of the past year or so and continues to read the blog. Now, onto the post!

While Phillip was out of town I went over to have a relaxing night in with Caitlin. She told me she had found a recipe for a Vegan Buffalo Pizza that sounded like it was right up my alley. Caitlin told me that she had to "make the cheese" so I was intrigued to see how this all worked out. The "cheese" itself was a cashew cream with garlic and nutritional yeast which apparently is what gives it the smell and taste of cheese. Caitlin took the lead on this but it seemed simple enough.

Once I got to her place, we roasted slices of tomatoes and mushrooms in a 400° oven for 20 minutes. We tossed the mushrooms in hot sauce before roasting. The recipe calls for Franks Red Hot (mine and Phillip's favorite) but Whole Foods does not carry that so Caitlin bought a different hot sauce. And boy was it hot. It was super delicious but had a serious kick! While the vegetables were roasting, we rolled out store bought dough and chopped up some celery sticks and carrots. We brushed the dough with olive oil then spread a good heaping of the "cheese" out to act as the glue. We topped the pizza with the mushrooms, tomatoes, carrots and celery, before dropping globs of the "cheese" around the pizza.

The pizza baked for about 12-15 minutes in a 450° oven. While the pizza was baking we made the jalapeno parsley puree that got drizzled on top. After I pulsed all the ingredients together it seemed a bit runny, so I added a few TBSP of flour to thicken it up. The pizza was surprisingly delicious though incredibly spicy. I think a large portion of that can be attributed to the hot sauce we used because we even took out the seeds and ribs from the jalapeno. Caitlin made some Fall Sangria to go with it, making for a fun and relaxing night with my best friend! For some reason my pictures turned out terrible (blurry and super dark) so I had to steal one from the original recipe. Thanks nofaceplate!

09.24.12_Parmesan-Roasted Broccoli Pasta

Hello all, this is Phillip again. It's been hard to keep up with the blog recently with our new jobs. Even with the recent changes in our lives, we make sure to stick to our vegetarian home cooking lifestyle, even if we eat dinner a little bit later.

A couple weeks ago, Jonathan had to stay at work late, so I made our dinner. As with everything I cook, the easier the dish is, the better. Jonathan sent me this recipe for Parmesan-Roasted Broccoli and said it would be good to toss into pasta with some olive oil and lemon juice. Here's our version of Ina's great dish:

Parmesan-Roasted Broccoli Pasta
Serves 2

For the roasted broccoli:
  • 1 large head of broccoli
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 TBSP olive oil
  • Salt and ground black pepper
  • 1 TSP lemon zest
  • 1 TBSP lemon juice
  • 2 TBSP pine nuts, toasted
  • 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1 TBSP julienned fresh basil leaves
  • 1 TSP red chili flakes
For the pasta:
  •  1/2 lb fettuccine
  • 2 TBSP lemon juice
  • 2 TBSP olive oil
 Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

I cut the broccoli florets from the stalks, leaving an inch or two of stalk attached to the florets - per Ina's instructions. I cut all of the florets in half, long-ways, and laid them flat on the baking sheet. I tossed the broccoli with the olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper, and roasted them in the oven for 25 minutes.

While the broccoli was cooking, I boiled the pasta. After draining the pasta and setting it aside, I pulled out the broccoli and tasted a couple florets. I don't ever remember eating roasted broccoli before, but it tasted a lot like the kale chips I like to make. There's just something I must love about roasting dark greens until they're about to char.

I tossed the hot broccoli with a little bit of olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, pine nuts, Parmesan and basil. Once I completed the roasted broccoli, I tossed it throughout the pasta, adding the remaining lemon juice and a bit more olive oil, salt and pepper.

This is a simple meal that was incredibly delicious. Next time, I would add even more broccoli, because I was so obsessed with it.

09.09.12_Spinach Burgers and Potato Wedges

Caitlin posted a link to a recipe for Spinach Burgers on my Facebook wall the other day. She told me that when she made them they fell apart a  bit but that hopefully using real eggs instead of egg replacement would hold the burgers together better. I've had a lot of bad luck with "burgers" falling apart when trying to flip them. I did not want to take any chances with these so I decided to take the recipe and adapt it a bit so that they would hold together better.

The burgers stayed together great and tasted amazing. My mom makes this Spniach Souffle/Casserole that I LOVE and the burgers reminded me of that a lot. We served the burgers on regular buns, and topped them with some hot sauce; you know how much we love hot sauce (see Buffalo Fried Goat Cheese, Tofu Buffalo Wings, Buffalo Popcorn Chik'n). I had a leftover burger for lunch today and put ranch on it since we were out of hot sauce and it was equally delicious. Phillip made some potato wedges as a yummy side dish.

Spinach Burgers
Serves 4  
Adapted from The Domestic Mama & The Village Cook 
  • 1 10oz bag spinach
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup onion, minced
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheese
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 cub panko bread crumbs (or regular if that's what you have)
  • 1 TSP red pepper flakes
  • 1 TSP salt
  • 2 cloves of garlic, grated
  • Extra virgin olive oil

1. Defrost the spinach and squeeze out all the excess water. I usually wrap the spinach in paper towels when doing this.
2. In a medium bowl, mix the spinach, cheese, egg whites, egg, onion, garlic pepper flakes, salt, flour and bread crumbs until everything is incorporated. I used my hands for this. Also, I minced the onion super fine because Phillip isn't a huge fan of onion still and I also did not want huge chunks of almost raw onion running throughout the patties. If the mixture seems a little too wet, you can always add more flour or bread crumbs.
3. Divide the mixture into four equal parts and form them into patties.
4. In a large skillet, add some extra virgin olive oil over medium-high heat, and cook the patties about 4-5 minutes on each side. Cover the pan so that the patties will steam a bit, helping the cheese melt and the onions soften.
5. Serve plan or with a dash of hot sauce, ranch, or any other toppings you like!

Potato Wedges
Serves 4  
  • 3 russet potatoes
  • 1 TBSP fresh rosemary, minced
  • 1 TBSP red pepper flakes
  • 1 TSP fresh thyme
  • Salt and pepper 
  • Extra virgin olive oil
1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
2. Place potatoes in pot and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil, then turn off heat and let sit for 15 minutes.
3. Remove potatoes and place in an ice bath for a minute or two, to make them easier to handle.
4. Cut potatoes into about eight equal wedges. Place wedges in large mixing bowl.
5. Coat potatoes with olive oil, and mix in with the rest of the ingredients. Toss well to make sure it is evenly coated.
6. Place wedges on baking sheet and bake for 25-30 minutes, flipping half-way through.

    08.26.12_California Benedict

    I LOVE Eggs Benedict. I would say that 90% of the time we go to brunch I end up ordering some variation of it. For some reason, I had never made it for myself though. Maybe it was the fear of poaching eggs I had until we made the Poached Eggs on Ricotta Toast, or maybe it was the thought of making a sauce with eggs that only get cooked from acid and indirect heat. Either way, I decided I needed to try and make it at home, including the hollandaise sauce. As you know, I have an obsession with avocado (it's in my top five favorite foods) so to make this benedict vegetarian, we skipped on the Canadian bacon and added avocado to make our own version of California Benedict. It was a little overwhelming, trying to make hash browns from scratch, while constantly beating the hollandaise sauce and poaching four eggs but in the end it came out great. If it's your first time poaching eggs or making the sauce, I definitely recommend making the potatoes in advance and keeping them warm in the oven or taking some help from the store and buying the frozen kind.

    California Benedict
    Serves 2
    1. Fill a high-sided skillet with water and bring to just under a boil.
    2. While waiting for the water, prepare the hollandaise sauce and set aside in a warm place, occasionally stirring.
    3. Toast the English muffins right before you poach the eggs as they take very little time.
    4. Once the water is just under a boil, crack each egg into a small bowl and drop the egg into the simmering water. Allow the egg to set up, then repeat until all four eggs are in the water.
    5. Place a few slices of the avocado onto each half of the english muffin. After the eggs are cooked, use a slotted spoon to remove the eggs and place on top of the avocado. Spoon a generous helping of the hollandaise sauce on top and serve.

    Tyler Florence's Hollandaise Sauce
    Full recipe yields 1 cup 
    • 4 egg yolks
    • 1 TBSP fresh squeezed lemon juice
    • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted (1 stick)
    • pinch of cayenne
    • pinch of salt
    1. Vigorously whisk the egg yolks and lemon juice together in a stainless steel bowl and until the mixture is thickened and doubled in volume. 
    2. Place the bowl over a saucepan containing barely simmering water (or use a double boiler,) the water should not touch the bottom of the bowl. Continue to whisk rapidly. Be careful not to let the eggs get too hot or they will scramble. 
    3. Slowly drizzle in the melted butter and continue to whisk until the sauce is thickened and doubled in volume. 
    4. Remove from heat, whisk in cayenne and salt. Cover and place in a warm spot until ready to use for the eggs benedict. If the sauce gets too thick, whisk in a few drops of warm water before serving.

    08.25.12_Chèvre and Fresh Herb Pizza

    Making vegetarian pizza is not the easiest thing when the person you are sharing it doesn't eat a lot of the toppings you would typically put onto a vegetarian pizza (i.e. onions, sundried tomatoes, mushrooms, olives, feta). We were looking for inspiration online and saw a few pizzas that used fresh herbs as the topping. Phillip likes herbs and I LOVE chèvre so I thought the combo of the two would make an incredibly easy and delicious pizza. Instead of red sauce I made an olive oil glaze. This turned out to be one of the best pizzas I have ever had. I think this will become a staple in the Stamper-Halpin household and if you grow herbs then you literally only have to buy cheese. Amazing.

    Chevre and Fresh Herb Pizza
    Serves 2-3
    • One store bought pizza crust (we used Boboli Thin Crust)
    • Extra virgin olive oil
    • powdered Parmesan cheese
    • Red pepper flakes
    • 1 clove garlic
    • 1 cup shredded mozzarella
    • 2 oz Chèvre
    • 2 TBSP fresh basil, minced
    • 1 TBSP fresh rosemary, minced
    • 1 tsp fresh thyme, minced
    • 1 tsp fresh oregano, minced
    1. Preheat the oven to 450°. If you have a pizza stone put the stone in before you preheat the oven. Using the stone will make the crust even crispier!
    2.  To make the olive oil glaze, combine 1/2 cup of olive oil with 1/4 cup of powdered Parmesan cheese and 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes. Finely mince or grate one glove of garlic into the mixture. Spread over the pizza like you would sauce. If it seems like too much oil, don't use it all! It depends on the size of your crust.
    3. Sprinkle the pizza with the mozzarella and all the fresh herbs. Crumble the chèvre over the top.
    4. Brush the exposed crust with a little olive oil then bake on the pizza stone or directly on the oven rack for 8-10 minutes.

    08.24.12_Buffalo Popcorn Chik'n

    Phillip's new job is located right by a Hooters and a Nando's Peri Peri. Recently the smell of chicken at lunch time has been hard to resist so he told me we needed to make something with Buffalo Sauce ASAP to curve the craving. We contemplated making the Buffalo Friend Tofu that we have made several times but instead decided to use, you guessed it, seitan instead. Since the seitan comes in little bite size pieces I thought making popcorn chik'n would be a great idea.

    I very rarely fry things and when I do I am often not satisfied with the crispiness I end up with. Luckily for this, the little chik'n/seitan bites came out with a nice, crispy skin. These would also be great served just plain with ketchup or BBQ sauce but because Phillip had specifically requested buffalo, after I fried them I doused them in a mixture of melted butter and buffalo sauce. Obviously they weren't as crispy after the soaked up the sauce but they were still insanely good and definitely satisfied Phillip's craving!

    Buffalo Popcorn Chik'n 
    Serves 2
    • 8oz box seitan cubes
    • 1 tsp salt
    • 1 tsp garlic powder
    • 1 tsp black pepper
    • 1/8 tsp cayenne (more or less based on preference)
    • 1.5 cups flour
    • 2 TBSP baking powder
    • 1/4 cup yellow mustard
    • 1/2 cup water
    • oil for frying
    1. Drain the seitan and rinse it thoroughly to remove any of the preserving liquid from the packaging.
    2. In a medium bowl, mix together all the dry ingredients (flour, salt, garlic powder, pepper, cayenne, and baking powder).
    3. In a small bowl, whisk together the mustard and water. Add 1/3 cup of the flour mixture into the wet mixture to create a very loose batter.
    4. Coat the seitan cubes in the wet batter, then drop them into the dry mixture. Toss until the seitan cubes are thoroughly coated in the flour mixture.
    5. Put about a cup of vegetable or canola oil into a 2qt sauce pan. Once the oil starts to ripple, drop the seitan cubes into the oil. Let the seitan fry for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally until they are nice and golden brown.
    6. Remove the seitan from the oil with a slotted spoon and let drain on a plate lined with paper towels.
    7. In a bowl, combine 1/2 cup of melted margarine and 1/2 of buffalo sauce. Toss the fried seitan in the buffalo sauce and serve hot!

      08.17.12_Baked Mac and Cheese with Smart Bacon

      Apparently we've been busy because I have not posted in weeks! Last summer we had a weekly tradition to have friends over for dinner where we watched game shows on TV and made a new cocktail. Somehow this entire summer had almost passed without us reinstating our weekly gathering, but we finally had our first Wild Wednesday Thursday of the summer!

      Phillip recently started a new job and at his going away party from his old job, everyone got him gifts under the purview of "eat well, drink well, live well." One of the gifts we got were ramekins from his coworker Rabiah. I had literally been shopping for ramekins the weekend before and could not find ones the size that I wanted, but luckily, Rabiah read my mind and found the perfect ramekins. I had yet to use them so Phillip suggested I make a baked mac and cheese for this weeks Wild Thursday.

      I did some quick Googling and found a recipe that incorporated bacon. I decided to base my recipe off this one, but sub the bacon for Lightlife's Smart Bacon. It actually worked quite well, except the "bacon" stuck together when it came out of the package making it virtually impossible to separate it into individual strips. I think it was just this package though because I don't remember having this problem when I used it in our Coq-au-vin-less Coq-au-vin. Anyway, the mac and cheese was DELICIOUS and I served it with a simple salad with craisins, sliced almonds, cheese and a homemade lemon vinaigrette. Yum.

      Baked Mac and Cheese with Smart Bacon
      Serves 4
      Adapted from Emeril's Three-Cheese Baked Macaroni
      • 1/2 pound macaroni
      • 5 slices vegetarian bacon
      • 2 cloves minced garlic
      • 3 eggs
      • 1 can (12oz) evaporated milk
      • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
      • 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg (I used fresh grated)
      • 2 cups grated Cheddar Jack Chees
      • 1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan (1 ounce)
      • olive oil
      • 1/4 cup breadcrumbs
      • 1 TBSP melted butter or margarine
      • salt and pepper
      1. Preheat the oven to 475°. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook the macaroni for 6-7 minutes. Drain and set aside.
      2. In a small saute pan, cook the vegetarian bacon in a little olive oil until it starts to get crispy. Add the minced garlic and saute another minute or two until fragrant. Add mixture to the cooked pasta.
      3. In a large bowl, combine the eggs, evaporated milk, spices, salt and pepper and cheese. well then add the pasta and bacon to the cheese mixture. Stir well until it is completely incorporated.
      4. Scoop the macaroni into greased 4" ramekins. Bake for about 10 minutes until the cheese is nice and bubbly.
      5. Combine melted butter and breadcrumbs in small bowl. Carefully remove the ramekins from the oven and top each ramekin with a quarter of the breadcrumb mixture. Drizzle a little olive oil the top.
      6. Turn the oven to broil and put the ramekins back in the oven for another 2-3 minutes, until the crust is golden brown. Let cool for a few minutes then enjoy!

      07.29.12_Homemade Perogies

      I had two plans for the day on Sunday: 1) Stay home and watch the Olympics all day and 2) Make homemade perogies. I randomly had a craving for them last week and decided to find a recipe for them. Since I was making everything from scratch I thought it would make a great weekend activity so I would have plenty of time to make them.

      I started by whisking together flour and salt in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, I combined all the wet ingredients (eggs, egg yolk, sour cream, butter and oil). Next, the wet and dry ingredients were mixed together until all the flour had been incorporated. I then set the dough aside, covered with a towel.

      As the dough sat, I brought a large pot of water to a boil before dropping in 8 peeled and dice potatoes. Once the potatoes were tender (about 15 minutes) I drained them, then Phillip mashed the potatoes with 1 cup of cheddar cheese and 2 TBSP of Cheez Wiz. I'm not sure why the Cheez Wiz was necessary. If I were to make these again I would just up the amount of real cheese and omit the processed.

      Next came assembling the perogies. I cut the dough in half and rolled it out on the counter which I had lightly floured until it was about 1/8-1/4" thick. I do not own cookie cutters so I used a mason jar lid to cut out the circles of dough. I scooped about a TBSP or so of the potato mixture onto each dough circle then used a basting brush to rim each circle with water. To form the perogies, I folded the dough in half, then pinched the edges closed with my fingers. Finally I reformed the perogies into a nice crescent moon shape and smoothed out the edges that I had pinched shut. I placed the perogies onto a baking sheet lined with wax paper before popping them into the freezer for a few hours.

      Once we were ready to eat that night, I brought a large pot of water to a boil before dropping in 10 of the perogies. The perogies cooked for about 6-8 minutes before the floated to the top of the water which is how you know they are ready. To get some extra color and crunch, I heated a combination of oil and butter in a large skillet. After the perogies were done cooking in the boiling water, I transferred them to the skillet and cooked them for a few minutes on each side until they were nice and golden.  Then it was time to eat! I served the perogies with the Lightlife's Italian-Style sausages with caramelized onions we had tried when we first started the blog. The perogies were incredibly delicious and much better than any frozen brand I have tried. They took some effort but were well worth it. The recipe made about 40 perogies (half of them are in our freezer for another time) and would be great with any kind of filling you want! Our friend Meghan came over for dinner and even though she's not a vegetarian really enjoyed the Lightlife sausages too!

      07.17.12_Pizza Hut Breadsticks and Zucchini Sweet Corn Pizza

      I'll be honest. Pizza Hut was never my favorite pizza chain. I preferred Domino's or Papa John's (who doesn't love that garlic dipping sauce) but I loved Pizza Hut as a kid for two reasons: 1) Book It: Pizza Hut's Reading Incentive Program and 2) their breadsticks. Lucky for me, Pizza Hut's have popped up in convenient locations, such as Target and in one of the UVa dining halls, where you can buy just an order of breadsticks. I had planned on making this Zucchini Sweet Corn pizza for dinner some time this week already when I came across a recipe for Pizza Hut style breadsticks. I knew immediately what I would be having for dinner that night. The only thing I had to buy was a can of tomato sauce and Italian seasoning!

      These breadsticks were amazing. As you know, I don't have a stand mixer so I made the dough by hand and they still came out great. Thank you US Masala for this amazing recipe. I will definitely be making these on a fairly regular basis and will never have to make a trip to Target just for some overcooked breadsticks sitting under a heat lamp again! The Sweet Corn and Zucchini pizza was incredibly easy and a yummy alternative to the typical pizza. It was certainly lighter and paired quite nicely with our Pizza Hut breadsticks!

      Pizza Hut Style Breadsticks
      Makes 10-12
      From US Masala 
      • 2 cups all purpose flour
      • 1/2 cup warm water
      • 1/4 cup warm milk
      • 1 1/4 tsp rapid rise yeast
      • 1/2 tsp garlic powder 
      • 2 TBSP melted butter
      • 3/4 TBSP sugar
      • 1/2 tsp salt
      • 4 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
       For the Seasoning
      • 1/2 tsp oregano
      • 1 tsp garlic powder
      • 3 TBSP Parmesan powdered cheese
      • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
      For the Dipping Sauce
      • 1 cup tomato sauce
      • 1/2 tsp sugar
      • 1/2 tsp oregano
      • 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
      • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
      • salt to taste
      • red pepper flakes to taste
      1. Mix the yeast, sugar, warm water and milk in a large bowl. Let it stand for 3-4 minutes then add salt, butter, and garlic powder.
      2. Slowly add the flour a little at a time until it is all incorporated. If the dough seems a bit sticky, add a little bit more flour. Knead the dough for about 6 minutes.
      3. Pour the oil onto a 9x13 pan and spread it out evenly. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough until it is about the same size as the pan. Transfer the dough to the pan. I used my hands at this point to squish the dough so that it would be exactly the same size as the pan. Cover with a damp towel and let it rise for about an hour in a warm spot.
      4. For the sauce, combine all the ingredients in a small sauce pot and let it simmer over low heat for about 15 minutes or so.
      5. Preheat the oven to 450°. Once the dough has risen, cut it into 10-12 breadsticks with a pizza cutter or a knife. Brush the dough with some olive oil then sprinkle all of the seasoning ingredients over the top.
      6. Bake the breadsticks for about 15 minutes until the they are golden brown and the edges are nice and crusty! Serve fresh out the oven and revel in the fact that you just made Pizza Hut Breadsticks at home.