Vegetarian Tapas feast

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Last night we decided to have a vegetarian Tapas feast. Originally this meal was planned for over spring break, when I could help with the many small dishes called for. However, it ended up where Eric made the food and I just enjoyed it. I'm not going to lie, I didn't hate that. Along with it being a frankly decadent and delicious feast, it was also a good way to get our seven year old excited about going to Spain this summer and to introduce him to some of the foods he might encounter. To that end, we didn't do a huge ton of research as to the accuracy of these dishes, but we definitely did a full taste test as to the yumminess. Here's the run down of what we made and what we thought: 

This was one of our two baguette toppings. It was also the kid's favorite recipe by a lot. Essentially, you grill some baguette, put olive oil and a pinch of salt on it, and then top it with a fresh tomato and garlic sauce. What's not to like? 

The small person didn't care for this, as he found the caper flavor in the vinaigrette too strong. Eric and I both liked this dish quite a lot. 

Eric roasted the potatoes instead of frying them. This was delicious, and I'm sure frying the potatoes makes it only more delicious. We left this fairly mild to entice the small person, but that was in error, I think. He would have been fine with the potatoes plain and I would have liked mine to be more fiery. Still, potatoes, tomatoes, garlic, How can you go wrong. 

This was the second of our baguette toppings and it was also delicious. This was Eric's favorite dish. The strong flavor of the capers and sun dried tomatoes worked out nicely next to the creamy goat cheese. Delicious. 

If it had been up to me, we also would have made a Tortilla Espinola, but Eric doesn't care for this dish for some reason, so we didn't have one. We just added some olives and snacked our way through dinner. 

Tangerine- In Memorium

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In St. Louis there was an awesome restaurant/bar called Tangerine. It featured a giant inflatable figure of Munch's "The Scream" floating over your head, projections of strange movies and things, and the most deliciously bad for you thing: Chicken Fried Portobello Mushrooms with mashed potatoes, peas, and cream gravy. That plus a cocktail? Yum, yum, yum. Tangerine closed a few years back (check out this very interesting story about that), so even if we got to St. Louis we couldn't revisit it. But luckily other folks on the internet loved this decadent dinner as much as us. 

Tangerine Chicken Fried Portobello Mushrooms with Mashed Potatoes and Gravy

Posted by Tiffany at on 1/29/2002, 9:36 am 

Source: Recipe courtesy Tangerine, St. Louis, Missouri

4 portobello mushrooms
1/4 cup milk
4 eggs, beaten
Salt and pepper
1 cup flour
1 cup coarsely ground bread crumbs
1 tablespoon thyme
1/2 pound melted butter
Mashed Potatoes, recipe follows
Cream Gravy, recipe follows

Stem and brush off surface debris from mushrooms. Whisk milk and eggs until incorporated. Add salt and pepper. Mix flour, bread crumbs, thyme, and additional salt and pepper. 

Heat butter in skillet. Dredge mushroom in egg wash, then in crumb mixture. Fry mushroom until golden brown on both sides. Serve with Mashed Potatoes and Gravy and peas. 

Mashed Potatoes:
5 baking potatoes like russets, unpeeled
1/4 pound butter
1/4 cup heavy cream
Salt and pepper 

Boil potatoes until fork tender. Drain well. Add remaining ingredients and mash well. 

Cream Gravy:
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
2 cups heavy cream
Salt and pepper 

Make the roux by melting butter in a saucepan. Add flour and stir until incorporated. Add heavy cream and stir well until simmering. Remove from heat and season with salt and pepper. 


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Every weekend, we dedicate one night to homemade pizza and watch a movie as a family.  We make the pizza crust in our bread maker, and then it is easy enough to roll it out and top it. We used to be challenged by the altitude to get the crust right, it was never crispy enough. But Eric's figured out that leaving the dough a bit wetter than the recipe calls for, using a pizza stone, and putting the pizza on non-stick pan lining paper makes the crust work just fine. The real challenge is coming up with different toppings.  

Here are some of our favorite pizzas:

*Taco pizza- top with refried black beans, salsa, cheese, and then after it is baked add lettuce and tomatoes. 
*Bacon, Asparagus, and Goat Cheese Pizza- this one calls for a few changes to make it vegetarian. One, obviously you can't use bacon. However, bacon is just equal parts fat+salt+smoke and you can recreate that by adding vegetarian Worcestershire sauce and a little bit of liquid smoke. This recipe calls for a lot of cheese (which could be cut down easily) but adds all of the fat you need. 
*Blue Cheese, Onion, and Sage Pizza- saute the onions, dump them on the pizza with blue cheese and sage (preferably fresh)
*Truffled Taleggio and Mushroom Pizza- saute the mushrooms first so they have more flavor.
*Roasted vegetable and goat cheese- chop up veggies small, roast them in olive oil, put them on a pizza with goat cheese

We are always on the hunt for new pizzas to enter the rotation. I think we might give this one: pizza with crispy kale, butternut squash, bacon, and mozzarella a try next. 

Food dreams

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I am a follower of the 5:2 diet, or intermittent fasting. What this means is that for five days a week I try to eat healthy and nothing insane, but I don't really worry about what I consume. The other two days, I keep my total calorie intake below 500 calories. For me that works out to:

Breakfast- Coffee with sugar free creamer
Lunch- Soup broth
Snack- 2 sticks of gum (yes, I realize that is ridiculous)
Snack- Sliced up veggies and more coffee with sugar free creamer. 

If I do both fast days and eat a sensible amount of food, I do drop weight and if I do both fast days and eat crap the other days I don't seem to gain much weight. So it works for me. 

That said, I often spend the evening of my fasting days dreaming of food, pinning recipes on Pintrest or making elaborate menus and plans for eating days. But the nice thing is, unlike other diets where I've felt constantly deprived (regardless of what they tell you, cough, cough, Weight Watchers) I get to eat like a normal person tomorrow. So I only need to dream away one evening and food awaits. 

Chocolate Cherry Cake

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When I was growing up our favorite cake was a chocolate cherry cake. You can make it with a few ingredients, a cake mix, cherry pie filling, an egg and so forth. Smudge's birthday is this weekend and I needed an easy cake for his party. 

At the grocery store, I read the cake mix box ingredients and realized I had all of this stuff (with no preservatives) in my pantry. So I went home and googled how to make one from scratch. 

I ended up using the recipe posted here: (she's from Kentucky!). 

She makes in a Bundt pan, but I just used a rectangle cake pan like normal. I noticed just now that she suggests doubling the frosting recipe. I don't think that's necessary, but I do think adding more evaporated milk (maybe even twice as much) and thinning it out a good deal would be helpful. 

It's not a pretty cake, so there is no point in photographing it, but it is very, very tasty. Next time we might make it with raspberry pie filling instead of cherry and see what happens. 
Everybody knows that empty carbs are not good for you, but so, so delicious. But it's easy to turn to them as a vegetarian where often your only options (at least in Mountain Town) are grilled cheese and french fries. We've made a concerted effort in the past to eat lower carb, and while we are not strictly adhering to that by any means (as weekly pizza night will attest), we've kept a few of the best recipes in rotation. 

Last night we had Sophie's Vegan Crab Cakes and green beans and cauliflower with mustard dill sauce. It's a quick and easy vegan dinner that is more or less healthy (less healthy if you pan fry the crab cakes). Ironically, we followed this up by watching Top Chef, which had a whole seafood themed episode. Tons and tons of crawfish being boiled alive or chopped in half and then discussion of how the "best fish is one you catch yourself." Yeah... I think the best "fish" is the one that was never a fish, but I'm crazy like that. I know that sounds all political, and sure yeah, but also? Those crawfish looked like big giant cockroaches to me. Totally creepy. 

Note: instead of tofu, we just use Veganaise in this sauce and it goes great on the crab cakes too. 
dill sauce.JPG

Dis Be Nummy- Mountain Edition

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It has been a long time since this blog was operational, but for some reason I am feeling the urge to bring it back. So I am! The last iteration of this was the Austin version, motivated by our garden and our fantastic CSA. We have since moved clear across the country to Ogden, Utah. The climate is very different here. For one thing, there is winter and snow. This means that we can't garden year round like we could. It also means that the vegetables at the farmer's market and that we can grow have changed. We tried a CSA here, but it was a LOT of patty pan squashes, so it didn't really work for us. Our garden this past summer was successful enough that we didn't even go to the farmer's market that much. 

Somethings haven't changed. We still can't make ravioli worth a damn. We're still lacto-ovo vegetarians. We still have a kid, though he's a lot older than when I was updating regularly. At this point he could even write his own entries.  

Anyway, it was nice having recipes in a centralized place on the blog and so I decided to bring it back. Our menus run Monday through Sunday, and assume there will be times we just eat leftovers or quick dinners of Mac and Cheese. I try to fast a couple of days a week (following the 5/2 diet) so Eric and Ollie eat their own things those days. And once a week we have pizza and movie night. So there will always be different kinds of pizza on the menus.

Menu for 1/6-1/2 

*Pizza- Taco and Cheese Pizza
*Samosa Soup and Aloo Chat


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Sigh. Folks, check the expiration date on your frozen fruits and veggies. Otherwise you might make the most delicious cobbler topping you've made in a long, long while (maybe ever!), only to lovingly sprinkle it and bake it atop old, tasteless, rubbery blueberries.

Kokai Cobbler Topping

Put the following in the mixer and stir together:

1/2 cup AP flour
1/2 cup wheat flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup splenda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon (I used my extra fancy, extra delicious cinnamon)

Add 1/3 cup egg beaters and mix until crumby

Sprinkle on top of glass baking dish of fruit (fresh fruit. Or recently frozen. Not the fruit I used)

sprinkle another tsp of cinnamon and 2 tbsp of sugar on top

cut up tbsp butter into small pieces and spread around

dribble 1/4 cup water over the whole thing

bake at 400 for 30 minutes.

Enjoy. Unless, you know, you don't.



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Lord, I get so behind on these things. I think I should aim for one big blog post a week that includes all the info and not keep telling myself to write a post every day and then feel dumb for not getting there.

Here are your foodie updates. Or what my Mama brain can remember of them.

So far our garden has produced for us three little strawberries and three little cherry tomatoes. I think it's a funny coincidence that the garden keeps producing toddler sized veggies in threes. One for Mama, Dada, and Ollie to try together. Both of them were delicious, particularly the strawberries, reminding me how much MORE flavor strawberries are capable of having. It's like the first time I had a homegrown tomato, as opposed to those sad mealy ones you get up north, and I realized that tomatoes are in fact, delicious. I still hate the sad pale ones though, I don't bother. Like in restaurant salads. As a side note: why can't a restaurant produce a decent salad? Even at the really fancy places charging you twenty bucks for truffled mac and cheese, your salad never has peppers in it, or more than two cucumber slices, or substantial carrots. It just baffles me. How hard is it to make a salad?

Our basket of late is mostly greens. Lots and lots of greens, and mostly salad ones at that. That is part of the lack or reporting. We had a salad is not that exciting. We have had lots of salads. With the above items, peppers, carrots, radishes, etc. I've had fancy salad, with pear slices, candied nuts, and blue cheese dressing. Taco salads. Anything we can put on lettuce. We've also gotten leeks, which we used to make Cauliflower leek tart. This recipe comes from The Garden-Fresh Vegetable Cookbook by Andrea Chesman, which we bought at Half Price and has quickly become one of our favorite cook books for CSA basketing.

(makes 2 tarts)

1 head of cauliflower broken into pieces
olive oil
2 large leeks or 4 little leeks
1/2 tsp dried thyme or 1 tsp fresh
salt and pepper
unbaked pastry for tart
8 oz gruyere cheese

1. steam the cauliflower florets until tender
2. saute the leeks and thyme in a bit of olive oil, also until tender. Season with salt and pepper
3. place half the pastry on a baking sheet (it works well if you roll it out like you were making a pizza and put it on a pizza tray).
4. grate 4 oz of cheese or so onto pastry.
5. place half the cauliflower on top of the cheese.
6. Place half the leeks on top of the cauliflower
7. fold up sides of pastry dough and pinch until it is forming a bowl.
8. repeat with other half


2 cups unbleached flour (I use pastry flour, though it calls for AP)
2/3 cup really good quality butter
1 tsp salt (I used shallot salt last time, that was tasty)
6-7 tbsp cold water

1. Cut the butter into small pieces and cut or mush into flour
2. Sprinkle 6 or so tbsp of water over and finish mushing
3. roll into a ball and refrigerate
4. when you roll it out you will need a fair bit more flour to keep it from sticking

This recipe is really excellent. Of course, it's butter and gruyere cheese with leeks and stuff. How could it not be? Eric isn't a cauliflower fan and this really won him over. The pastry dough is delicious, all crumbling and yummy. And I'm very picky about dough.

Tonight we made another Garden Fresh recipe (with a few changes) to use up our Broccoli Rabe, which despite it's name is a green leafy vegetable, and is not pronounced like rabe.

Broccoli Rabe Calzone

pizza dough
2 cups fat free cottage cheese
olive oil
4 cups chopped broccoli rabe
4 cloves garlic minced (we got green garlic in our basket, which is a bit different than the big white kind you get at the store, so adjust accordingly)
1 cup grated mozzerella
1/2 cup parmesean

1. saute rabe in olive oil until wilted. stir in garlic, cover, and let steam until tender. Then remove cover and saute until all the liquid is gone.
2. Drain the cottage cheese, add it, and the other cheeses to the rabe and mix. Add salt and pepper as needed.
3. Preheat oven to 350, divide dough into half (or thirds, or whatever), make into calzones.
4. bake for 30 to 40 minutes rotating as needed. Make yummy tomato sauce to go with it.
5. Eat.

Photos will come later, but right now I need to go check on the status of my blueberry cobbler. 

Collard Greens

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In the past if you would have told me the first thing we'd polish off was the collard greens, I would have laughed and laughed at you.

I would have sworn this recipe was on the last blog, because we've made it a bunch of times, but I couldn't find it. So I'll retype it here.

Stir Fried "Beef" and Mustard Greens (adapted from

1 bag morningstar farms steak strips
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1 lb greens (mustard or collard, or any kind really)
2 tbsp finely chopped green onion (or just, you know, some onion)
2 cloves garlic slivered
1 cup veggie broth
2 tbsp cornstarch
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp sugar
2-3 cup cooked brown rice

1. Heat 1 tbsp oil, add seeds and wait until seeds pop, add greens and stirfry until they are tender, move to bowl
2. heat remaining oil, add steak strips, onion, and garlic, stir fry. Add to bowl with greens
3. in small bowl combine everything else (but rice), put in wok and cook until thickened. Add strips and greens back to wok and cook all until boiling.
4. Pour over rice.

This is a really quick, very little mess dinner and probably our favorite way to use up greens. As we thought we'd blogged about this before, there are no before pictures. Maybe next time.

Also on the menu for the week: lots of salads, cheese and spinach tart, turnip and carrot casserole, barbecue seitan, and curry with naan.