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.