Category Archives: vegetarian

Confetti Vegetable Sauce

I’ve been keeping something from you.

More than a year ago, I was hanging out in Italy. Mostly just eating, but sometimes cooking. Obviously, my life tends to revolve around food as it is, but my fixation was only exacerbated by being in a place where food serves as a language of its own.

The point is, I learned how to make this really amazing, really simple sauce, and then I proceeded to not share the recipe with you for more than a year. My host in Pisa taught me how to make this sauce. That’s right; you’re looking at a real Italian recipe from a real Italian person.

Once you make it, I imagine you’ll forgive me. Basically everything in here is easily substituted, too. Try it with eggplant. Try it with sour cream. Try it without any dairy at all. Then, let me know how it turned out!

Confetti Vegetable Sauce:
Serves 4
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 zucchini, grated
1 squash, grated
1 red pepper, grated
1 tablespoon butter
2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
1/2 cup mascarpone cheese
salt & pepper, to taste
your favorite pasta, cooked and drained

1) Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Add zucchini, squash and red pepper. Cook for about 20 minutes, or until most of the water has been cooked off. Drain the vegetables.
2) Place the pan back on the stove and lower the heat to medium-low. Add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil and the tablespoon of butter. Stir in the garlic. Cook until light brown.
3) Stir in the well-drained vegetables until the mixture is very warm. Turn the heat to low and combine the mascarpone cheese. Remove from heat. Add salt and pepper.
4) Spoon sauce onto your favorite pasta and top with fresh basil.

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Chickpea, Cucumber & Tomato Salad

It’s that time of year again — that period in summer where I mostly boycott my oven. And I eat even more vegetables than usual.

This salad is super simple and chock full of protein, which I always appreciate along with my veggies.

Chickpea, Cucumber & Tomato Salad
Serves 8
2 (8-ounce) cans of chickpeas
2 cucumbers, peeled and chopped
1 pint of cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
3 tablespoons of olive oil
1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon of white wine vinegar
1/2 cup of feta cheese
3 (or to taste) sprigs of dill, finely chopped
1 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of pepper

1) Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and refrigerate overnight before serving.

Apple Onion Cheese Tart

I am not private in my opinion of comfort foods. This blog, if nothing else, serves as a testament of my devotion to all things warm and buttery. Living so far from home necessitates cooking with an excess of butter from time to time. Is a flaky tart an acceptable replacement for my brother’s bear hugs or my sister’s permeating laugh? Well, no. But it makes a decent consolation prize.

Being a resident of New York City is taxing in all the ways you’ve heard (including, quite literally, taxes). There is no loneliness quite so profound as the one experienced while surrounded by a sea of strangers. Cures are difficult to come by. When home is a few bites away, sometimes that’s enough. In any case, it has to be.

This recipe comes from Alice Waters’ The Art of Simple Food, which is my go-to resource for fresh and, obviously, simple food. Alice actually has the onion tart and the apple tart listed as two different recipes, but the two foods seemed like such a complementary pair. The dough recipe required no modification. It actually bubbles butter. Now that, my friends, is enough.

Tart Dough:
Makes 2 12-inch tarts
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons cold butter, cubed
1/2 cup ice-cold water

1) Cut the butter into the flour with your fingers or with a stand mixer. Pour in the water slowly, until the dough begins to clump. (Mix for 30 seconds or less if using a mixer.)
2) Divide the dough in two and create two balls of dough. Wrap with plastic and compress into disks. Refrigerate for 1 hour.

Tart Filling:
Note: This recipe makes enough to fill one tart. Double the recipe if you want two!
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 medium onions, peeled and sliced
1 pound Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and sliced
1/2 cup cheddar or goat cheese

1) Heat the olive oil in a shallow pan on medium-low heat. Add the onions and stir occasionally, cooking for 20 to 30 minutes until onions are brown and soft. Let cool.
2) Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Remove one of the tart dough sections from the fridge and roll into a circle with a rolling pin until the dough is about 12 inches in diameter. Place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or a Silpat and refrigerate for 10 minutes.
3) Spread cheese over the chilled tart, leaving a border of 1 and 1/2 inches. Starting at the outside, layer the apples slightly over one another and work toward the center. Apple slices in the center should be layered about 1 inch thick.
4) Sprinkle the apples with the cooked onions. Fold the border over the apples and onions to make a crust.
5) Mix the egg and milk or water together and brush gently over the crust. Place the tart on the lower rack in the oven and cook for 45 to 55 minutes until the crust is golden brown.

Baked Eggplant, Tomato & Feta with Polenta

“Great restaurants are, of course, nothing but mouth-brothels. There is no point in going to them if one intends to keep one’s belt buckled.”
– Frederic Raphael

It’s not that I have forsaken cooking in pursuit of other, more easily acquired (and dare I say wanton?), meals. I haven’t. Sure, the occasional Chinese food delivery threatens my resolve, and the even less frequent meat loaf sandwich convinces me of my own culinary inadequacy, but I do still cook.

Unfortunately, prolific eating does not always lead to prolific writing. On the contrary, my food-induced comas compel me to do very little of anything, which is further indication that my restaurant reviewing career would not be especially promising. (Unless Instagram-friendly reviews were considered pithy rather than lazy.) Similarly, the food I eat out does not always inspire me so much as enable me to continue eating out.

So, my homemade meals of late have been basic. Vegetarian. Wholesome. I am still wholly capable of making indulgent foods, but mine is a city of indulgences, and sometimes I just crave simplicity. And that’s what home is for these days.

This recipe comes from One Big Table, which is as much about American food and material culture as it is about recipes. I highly recommend buying a copy. I especially love all the amazing vegetable dishes. (Cooking veggies tends to be where my creativity wanes.)

Baked Eggplant, Tomato & Feta with Polenta
Serves 4
1/4 cup olive oil
1 eggplant, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 garlic clove, minced
sea salt
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 cup diced tomatoes (I used canned)
pepper
4 ounces/1 cup feta cheese
1 dish of polenta

1) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a pan, heat olive oil to medium heat, then add eggplant and garlic. Cook until browned and slightly tender, then season with a pinch of salt and a teaspoon of oregano.
2) Pour eggplant into an 8 x 8 inch glass or ceramic baking dish, then cover with diced tomatoes, salt, pepper, and remaining oregano. Sprinkle feta on top, then cover the dish with foil. Bake until cheese begins to melt (25 to 30 minutes).
3) Meanwhile, prepare the polenta according to the package’s directions.
4) Remove the eggplant dish from the oven and let it sit for 10 minutes. Heat a pan to medium heat and grease with butter or olive oil. Slice pieces of polenta and fry on each side for 2 to 3 minutes.
5) Place polenta on a plate, then top with eggplant and tomato dish. Serve warm.

Healthy Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies

One day I was perusing Pinterest (addict that I am) when I came across a recipe for breakfast cookies. Read that again. Breakfast. Cookies. COOKIES YOU CAN EAT FOR BREAKFAST.

Naturally, I had to adapt them for my own. I added coconut for a little more sweetness, and nuts for crunch, but this recipe is easily altered to satisfy your tastes. I’m going to add peanut butter to mine next time. They make as good of a dessert as they do breakfast, too.

Healthy Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies:
Makes about 2 dozen
1 1/2 cups of rolled oats
2 ripe, mashed bananas
1 cup of unsweetened applesauce
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup unsweetened coconut
1 tsp cinnamonto taste cinnamon
1/8 cup chopped pecans or almonds (optional)

1) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Combine all ingredients in a bowl.
2) Spoon out teaspoonfuls of batter onto a baking sheet and bake for 30 to 35 minutes.
3) Let cool and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Twice Baked Potatoes

I made these babies for Super Bowl Sunday, because the only thing I enjoy about the Super Bowl is the food.

They basically speak for themselves, don’t they?

Twice Baked Potatoes:
Serves 8
4 large russet potatoes
olive oil
salt & pepper, to taste
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup milk
4 tablespoons butter
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese, divided
4 green onions

1) Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Clean the potatoes thoroughly, then pierce with a fork all around each potato. Rub potatoes with olive oil, salt and pepper. Bake directly on the oven rack (with a cookie sheet on the rack below it) for 40 minutes to an hour. Remove from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes.
2)  Split each potato lengthwise and remove most of the potato, saving the skins. Combine the potato insides with the sour cream, milk, butter, salt, pepper and 1/2 a cup of cheddar cheese. Blend by hand or with a mixer until creamy.
3) Place the skins on a baking sheet. Fill each skin completely with potato mixture and top with the remaining cheddar cheese. Bake for another 15 minutes. Top with green onions and more sour cream. Enjoy!

Roasted Sweet Potatoes, Carrots and Chickpeas

It’s literally impossible not to love Central Park in fall. (It’s also literally impossible not to get “Danke Schoen” stuck in my head when I hear the phrase “Central Park in fall.”)

Yes, autumn is upon us. In fact, we got a sneak peek of winter the other day when it snowed. In October. It’s time to eat lots and lots of warm orange foods and put cinnamon on everything. Which is what I did the other day when I roasted up these veggies.

I assure you, the smell is better than a Yankee Candle.

Roasted Sweet Potatoes, Carrots and Chickpeas
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 carrots, peeled and cubed
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
2 teaspoons honey
2 cloves garlic, minced
salt and pepper to taste

1) Toss all ingredients in a large bowl.
2) Spread on a cookie sheet and bake at 400 degrees for 40 minutes.