Coconut Red Curry

22 07 2010

As a vegetarian, you tend to eat a lot of stir-fry. And getting creative with stir fry can be a challenge. In the end, it’s all sautéed vegetables, perhaps with a new combination of vegetables and/or spices. That’s why I’ve been trying to make more homemade dishes that are just as convenient and full of good-for-you veggies, but with a little more pizzazz – dishes that provide a little more sense of adventure and accomplishment. So here’s one that has become a good ol’ standby. It’s super fast, inexpensive and, of course, delicious!

coconut curry


•1 Tbs vegetable oil
•2 tsp sesame oil
•4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
•1/2 large red onion, diced into large pieces
•1 green bell pepper, diced
•3 cups broccoli florets
•1 zucchini, halved and sliced
•3 cups green beans
•2 Tbs red curry paste
•1 tsp grated ginger
•1 tsp red pepper flakes
•16 oz can coconut milk
•8 oz extra firm tofu, cubed
•prepared brown rice


curry 11. Heat vegetable and sesame oils in large saucepan over medium-high heat.
2. Add garlic, onion, pepper, broccoli, zucchini and green beans and sauté for 4 minutes.
3. Add red curry paste, ginger and red pepper flakes and mix well. Sauté an additional minute.
4. Add coconut milk and stir until thoroughly combined.
5. Add salt to taste and bring to a simmer.
6. Add tofu and gently simmer for 10 minutes until all vegetables are tender throughout and the tofu is thoroughly heated.

Recommended Serving Instructions:

This dish is best served over rice with a garnish of fresh basil.


•This meal is so easy and quick. You can substitute vegetables with whatever you have in your crisper or whatever you find at the store. You can also omit the tofu for a lighter dish, or replace tofu with other items (potatoes, seitan, etc.).
•Play around with the spices some. When I’m sick, I like to make this dish with more ginger, garlic and red pepper flakes. When I have people with “milder” taste buds I back off on the red pepper flakes, sometimes even just replacing with a pinch of black pepper.
•For a slightly lighter dish, use light coconut milk. It makes the dish a little less heavy and less sweet, but still very flavorful.

Sundried Tomato Gnocchi

22 07 2010

I’ve never gotten into the whole make-your-own-pasta thing. But here’s one pasta I will make over and over again. The recipe is easy, malleable and produces delicious (non-traditional) gnocchi! Instead of waiting for potatoes to cook and using a special flour, you just have to purchase a container of ricotta and use the all-purpose flour you have sitting in your cupboard.

This is from yet another great recipe from the amazing BrokeAss Gourmet.



•1 1/3 cup ricotta
•16 sundried tomatoes (from a jar), chopped
•1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
•2 1/2 cups flour
•2 egg yolks
•3 garlic cloves


1. In a large bowl, mix ricotta, sundried tomatoes, parmesan, flour, yolks, garlic and a pinch of salt.
2. Mix until a sticky dough forms, adding more flour if/as necessary.
gnocchi 13. Turn out dough onto a floured surface roll into 4 or 5 long snakes, about 3/4 inches to 1 inch thick.
4. Cut into 1 inch pieces.
5. Bring a large pot of salted water to a light boil and add gnocchi. Cook for about 5 minutes, or until gnocchi floats to the surface.
6. Drain and serve with your favorite sauce.

Recommended Serving Instructions:

This gnocchi has a great flavor in and of itself, so you don’t want to serve it with anything overpowering. My favorite is what you see in the picture at the top. Sauté 2 cloves of garlic in 1 tablespoon of olive oil for a minute or two. Add the cooked gnocchi and pan-fry over medium-high heat for 2-3 minutes, until the edges start to brown. Add 1/2 a pint of grape tomatoes (cut into halves), 2 cups of fresh spinach, and salt and pepper to taste. Sauté until the tomatoes start to soften and the spinach is wilted. Remove from the heat, sprinkle with a little parmesan and serve immediately.

This is also good in a simple cheesy cream sauce (think: most filling, rich, tasty pasta dish EVER). Also, a great appetizer is to take some cooked gnocchi, pan-fry in olive oil until the edges are caramelized, and serve as an appetizer with toothpicks and a tomato dipping sauce.


•I liked the idea of having a couple bites of pure sundried tomatoes in my gnocchi, so I opted not to use the food processor and to just mix by hand (chopping the sundried tomatoes somewhat small beforehand). It was also for this reason that I opted to use jarred sundried tomatoes over dry ones. The recipe didn’t specify, but I would recommend this just to have the added moisture.
•My first inclination was to add all sorts of spices and herbs into the gnocchi. I did finally opt for some garlic. But there are two main takeaways here. 1) You can really mold this into whatever you want. Replace sundried tomatoes with some other flavorful veggie or herb (perhaps roasted garlic?). 2) Just be careful not to overdo it. It is, afterall, pasta – something that is normally basically flour and salt. One or two additional flavors is enough, and the more simple you make it, the more different things you can do with it once it is made.


10 07 2010

I tend to stock up on berries anytime they look amazing, or worse, when they are super on sale. This weekend was one of the first times in a while I could sleep in and be lazy, and it happened to coincide with having several pints of blueberries in the fridge. So what to do? Make my favorite blueberry pancakes, of course!

blueberry pancakes

These are delicious, packed full of berries and easy to whip together. The only downside is the time it takes to cook all the pancakes (I am generally not too patient in the morning) – but if/when you have the time, it’s totally worth it!


•1 1/3 cups unbleached flour
•3 Tbs sugar
•2 1/2 tsp baking powder
•1 tsp salt
•2 large eggs
•1 1/4 cups low-fat milk
•4 Tbs unsalted butter, melted, plus more for cooking
•3 cups fresh blueberries


batter1. Preheat oven to 250º F and place baking sheet in oven.
2. Mix all dry ingredients together in a large bowl.
3. Whisk together eggs, milk and melted butter.
4. Mix wet mixture into dry mixture until thoroughly combined. Gently incorporate blueberries.
cooking pancakes5. Heat large skillet (or large griddle if you have it) over medium heat. Once hot, melt enough butter just to cover the bottom of the pan.
6. Pour 1/3 cup of batter for each pancake. Cook about 3 minutes per side (or until browned to your liking) and transfer to baking sheet in oven until ready to serve.

Recommended Serving Instructions:

I’m not a big butter-and-syrup pancake-eater to begin with, but I swear these pancakes don’t need a thing. Just plop them onto a plate, cut into them with a fork and enjoy the sweet blueberry goodness! (Although if you REALLY love syrup, feel free to top with some good maple syrup and even a few toasted walnuts. It’s okay, I won’t judge.)


•One of the best things about this recipe is that you can just replace blueberries with most any other berry or fruit and it works well. One of my favorite alternatives is to make banana walnut pancakes (mash 2 ripe bananas into the mixture and add 3/4 cups walnuts).
•The problem of making pancakes for 1 (or even 2) is that there’s too much batter! It’s usually too complicated to half a pancake recipe accurately. And you can keep the batter for only another day or so (if that). My recommendation is to just make the whole batch (even if it’s WAY more than you’ll eat). Then let any leftovers sit out to cool to room temperature (only an hour or so after eating) and then seal in a Ziploc bag and freeze. They’ll be good for a week or more and all you have to do is pop in the toaster oven to reheat.

Sweet Potato “Enchiladas”

7 07 2010

I love enchiladas, I love sweet potatoes – I LOVE sweet potato enchiladas! Below you will find the recipe for my favorite meal. The recipe is simple, takes a small investment in time and rewards big with large quantities and big flavor. I particularly love this using my favorite tomatillo sauce recipe.

sweet potato enchiladas


•2 large sweet potatoes, diced small
•1 large cooking onion, diced
•1 1/2 Tbs vegetable oil
•1 Tbs ground cumin
•2 tsp garlic powder
•1/2 tsp salt
•6 cups tomatillo sauce (32 oz. pre-made salsa verde can be substituted)
•12 corn tortillas, cut into halves
•2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese (yellow or white – whatever you prefer)
•2 cups Monterey jack


1. Preheat oven to 450º F.
2. Toss sweet potatoes, onion, vegetable oil, cumin, garlic powder and salt and place in a large casserole dish.
3. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven, stir and bake an additional 10 minutes until edges are brown.
4. Once baked, remove sweet potatoes and turn down the oven to Preheat oven to 375º F.
5. Spray a large casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray. And then spread 1/2 cup of sauce in the bottom.
6. Take 4 tortillas and layer to cover the bottom of the dish.
7. Spread 1 1/2 cups of sauce over the tortillas.
8. Spread half of the sweet potato mixture over the tortillas.
9. Sprinkle 3/4 cup of each cheese over the sweet potatoes.
10. Take 4 tortillas and layer to cover the sweet potatoes.
11. Repeat steps 7 through 10.
12. Spread another 1 1/2 cups of sauce over the tortillas and sprinkle the remainder of the cheese over the top.
13. Loosely cover the dish with foil and place in the oven (set to 375º F). Bake for 20 minutes until cheese is melted and sauce is bubbling.
14. Optional: Remove foil and turn oven up to 500º F. Bake on top rack until starts to brown.

Recommended Serving Instructions:

This dish is great by itself. However, my ideal dinner is this served with short grain brown rice, refried black beans, a small side salad (of baby spinach, grape tomatoes and red onion), and a little fresh salsa and sour cream. Yum!


•So, as I’m sure you could tell, this is not exactly a recipe for enchiladas. I like to make this more lasagna style because a) it’s easier, b) it gets you more filling without having to use TONS of tortillas (but without seeming like there is not enough tortilla), and c) I always mess up enchiladas when I serve them, so this just makes it messy to begin with, allowing you to say “it looks like that on purpose!.”
•If you do want to make this into actual enchiladas (as I occasionally will), just make individual enchiladas by dipping tortillas into the sauce (you’ll need probably closer to two dozen tortillas), and fill with 1/4 cup of filling and a large sprinkle of each kind of cheese. Wrap and place seam side down in a casserole dish. Cover with extra sauce and sprinkle with cheese and bake as instructed above.
•You can really use any quality tortilla for this dish because it will soak up the sauce and melt into the dish. However, if you make enchiladas, I recommend trying <a href=""these hybrid tortillas – it will make wrapping easier. If you use a less flexible corn tortilla, simply wrap in foil and bake for 10 minutes at a low temperature and that should help.

Favorite Things #1: Tortillas

23 06 2010

This is the beginning of a series of posts you will see from time to time. As a vegetarian, there are some things that make life easier and/or more enjoyable, and “Favorite Things” is an attempt to share such things.

I love me some tortillas! I love large, slightly doughy flour tortillas for burritos, and small, gritty corn tortillas for enchiladas and tacos. Good tortillas are hard to find in DC– particularly if you are trying to avoid partially hydrogenated oils (like we do in my household). The options are scarce, and they’re generally paper thin, they fall apart and are too dry.

Whole Foods has some okay ones – although they tend to stick together too much and rip when I pull them out. But they at least taste decent. The local co-op has local, organic ones, but they fall apart like bad moo shoo pancakes (and taste similarly like paper). I once attempted to make flour tortillas, and while they didn’t quite taste right, they functioned beautifully.

If you haven’t been able to tell, coming across quality, tasty tortillas has become somewhat of a minor (read: major) obsession of mine. And I’m proud to report that I now have a couple favorites to share!

Hand Made Style Corn Tortillas

This relatively new line of tortillas presents the most unique, and probably tastiest, corn tortillas I’ve ever had! They’re not traditional corn tortillas at all, because they’re a blend of white corn and wheat. They have a slightly milder corn taste and they are moister and more flexible. They make great enchiladas, quesadillas (as they crisp nicely on the outside when pan-frying), and could be baked slowly at a low temperature for delicious, home-baked tortilla chips.

LTF white corn tortillas

Around the DC area, they can be found at some Safeways. Apparently they can also be found at some Giants, Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods.

Handmade Tortillas

During my first trip to Pittsburgh (only a matter of months ago) I was taken to the Strip District. It’s a cute area along one of the rivers offering a great selection of specialty markets. After some breakfast and walking around, we were about to head back to the car and I spotted Reyna Foods. Because of my long-time search for good tortillas I thought, ‘let’s take a look – who knows, they might have a good selection of tortillas.’ To my dismay, their selection was not huge. However, they were full in stock of 3-4 types of homemade tortillas that I could see them making on a large contraption in the back. They looked amazing! I picked up a pack, gave it a gentle squeeze and sniffed through the plastic as I read the sign explaining that these were homemade with no preservatives and that they’d only last about 10 days.

I grabbed a pack of the garlic tortillas to take home and test. On the ride back to DC from Pittsburgh I kept thinking about them, occasionally getting a whiff of the garlicky aroma. After about an hour of torture, even though I was still stuffed from breakfast, I broke down and tore open the pack. With one bite, I immediately transcended to tortilla heaven! So delicious, they were a joy to bite into. I went back 2 weeks later for work and stopped by to try the corn, flour, and chipotle varietals. They were all just as satisfying. I have to head to Pittsburgh every few months for work and will most certainly ALWAYS make time to stock up on tortillas from Reyna’s.

Just a note, they did have a refrigerator containing tortillas made with preservatives that would last longer, but with me around, expiration dates on good tortillas are irrelevant – so why get the unnecessary preservatives?

Check out Reyna Foods on by visiting the link below. As you’ll see in the reviews, I’m not the only person raving about their homemade tortillas!

The Perfect Hummus Recipe

14 06 2010

The thing about hummus is that there are almost as many ways to make hummus as there are to spell it. But this is the version I will most humbly call “the perfect hummus recipe.” It’s a little backwards in the order of steps (compared to most recipes I’ve come across). But it works well in a large blender (for those of you who don’t have a super large food processor) and comes out just as creamy and thick as any other hummus I’ve had. I’ve also played around with proportions of the various ingredients A LOT, and this is my favorite combination.

the perfect hummus


•6 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
•8 Tbs tahini
•10 1/2 Tbs lemon juice
•16 oz can of chickpeas
•5 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
•2 1/2 tsp ground cumin
•ground black pepper


1. Combine garlic, tahini and lemon juice in blender. Blend until thoroughly combined and relatively smooth.
2. Drain the chickpeas, reserving the liquid. Add the chickpeas and a tablespoon of liquid to the blender. Blend until smooth. Use a spatula to ensure chunks from the top make it to the bottom. If it is too thick, gradually add more of the liquid until it is smooth.
3. With the blender running (it should be okay to remove the lid at this point), gradually add the olive oil.
4. Add the cumin and salt and pepper to taste. Blend until well incorporated.
5. Put hummus in an airtight container, or cover in a bowl with plastic wrap, and chill until ready to serve (at least 1 hour or up to 1 day).

Recommended Serving Instructions:

Enjoy this dish with fresh raw vegetables, pan-fried zucchini, or baked pita chips. Use as a base for a Mediterranean wrap. Add flavor and depth to your favorite sandwich.


•I recommend starting with this recipe and then tweaking on later batches. One thing it took me a while to learn is to DOCUMENT what you try each time. I made a few repeat mistakes and forgot amazing combinations because I didn’t keep close track of exactly how much I was adding of what.
•Use this recipe as a template. Like roasted red pepper hummus? Something spicier? Roasted garlic? Add your favorite flavor-enhancers and color-adders to this recipe. Just keep in mind that if it’s something more liquid, you will likely want to scale back on chickpea water. Or if it’s a thickening agent, you may want to add more.
•Have some old pita bread sitting around? Pull the pita apart into 2 thin halves and cut into small triangles. Bake in a single layer at about 200ºF for about 20-30 minutes. This is a great way to get rid of your almost-stale pita bread and a cheaper, healthier alternative to store-bought pita chips. You can also lightly brush the pita with olive oil and season with your favorite spices for something a little more impressive. I personally like a little garlic, sea salt, ground pepper and poppy seeds.

Soup’s on!

10 06 2010

So I have this strange tendency to crave soup during the hot days of summer. And as we’re getting close to that time, I figured I’d share my 2 favorite recipes.

Both of these recipes come from one of my favorite websites, Brokeass Gourmet. While not a vegetarian blog, per se, it is a collection of recipes that are often vegetarian or vegan, as well as innovative, relatively easy to make and, most importantly, inexpensive. If you like these recipes or want other gourmet recipes that won’t break the bank, be sure to visit today!


pea soup from brokeassgourmet.comKnowing that not everyone has the same preference for a bowl of piping hot, hearty soup in the middle of summer, I thought I’d start with one that can be served chilled, actually making sense to serve during summer. With the crisp basil (from your overgrown basil plant?), sweetness of the peas, and saltiness from the parmesan, you will find this soup light and refreshing.

I do, however, enjoy this soup hot, served with garlic crostini and a light dusting of fresh ground black pepper.

For the full recipe, click here.


ginger peanut soup from brokeassgourmet.comThis soup is a hearty, flavorful and spicy dish that’s easy to make and even easier to eat!

First of all, I recommend filling it to the brim with your favorite vegetables; personally, I use more broccoli and add some onion and red bell pepper.

Secondly, when you have a cold, make this recipe and double the ginger, garlic, and cayenne pepper. Your cleared sinuses will thank you! :)

For the full recipe, click here.

All photos have been borrowed from Brokeass Gourmet with their permission.