Category Archives: vegetarian

Fried Onions, Pickled Eggplant and Banana Peppers with Cheese on French Fries

Some time ago, I bought a large jar of pickled eggplant. I like eggplant and was curious what the pickled version would be like. I had no idea how to use it, though, so I googled it. Of course, most of the answers involved bread products (sandwiches, crusty bread). And while I do use bought bread products occasionally, I try not to eat them too frequently.

I am also attempting to systematically use up items in my pantry. So that meant coming up with a non-bread way to use my eggplant. I like the idea of using it in a red Thai curry, and I like the idea of using it with pasta. I plan to try those later.

Yesterday, I decided to use it in a topping for french fries. I sliced up three small onions and fried them until they were just starting to turn golden. I added in about 1/4 cup each of pickled eggplant and pickled banana peppers. I put some fries in the oven to bake and let the onions, eggplant and peppers continue to cook together on medium low, and grated some old cheddar.

When the fries were done, I laid out a base layer on a plate. I added a layer of grated cheese, and then all of the onion topping. I added another layer of cheese and then placed the plate back in the hot oven for about five minutes to let the cheese melt.

The combination of flavours in the topping is fantastic. Cooking the vegetables together on the stove let the heat from the pickles infuse throughout the mixture. It was sweet, tangy and spicy. The acidity cut through the richness of the cheese nicely.

I think the combination would work well as a non-fry topping as well, either hot or cold. I am going to experiment with that next. It would be great to come up with an interesting vegan side dish. After all, I have a 750 mL jar of pickled eggplant to get through…

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Buffalo Chicken Dip

It occurred to me today that one of my guiding principles in the kitchen may simply be finding new ways to eat melted cheese.

Gluten-free living means eating far fewer sandwiches and more things that are free form, like dips.

I happened to have leftover buffalo wing sauce so, in the interests of using up leftovers, I made this dip. I sliced up four green onions, gently cooked two large chicken breasts in the microwave, and grated about two cups of old cheddar. I mixed a package of cream cheese with the leftover buffalo wing sauce, and added in the onions, shredded chicken and half the cheese. I put it all in a pie plate, sprinkled the rest of the cheese on top, and put in a 375 degree oven for 20 minutes.

As predicted, it was incredibly cheesy. And good. You can vary the heat by choosing how much hot sauce to add. My version had gratuitous butter, in the name of using up leftovers. This made it a bit richer than necessary, but it was still very tasty.

If we ever have potlucks again, this would be a good dish to take. And the heated up leftovers will make an awesome addition to an egg sandwich tomorrow morning.

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Pecan Butterscotch Squares

I have memories of making a recipe for squares obsessively when I was a kid. I remember that they had butterscotch chips and nuts. I loved the squares, and I made them whenever I was allowed to.

Many years later, the obsessive part of my nature has not disappeared. I have been searching, on and off, for a recipe that seemed similar to what I remember for a few years now. I have a feeling that the recipe came from my mother’s old Good Housekeeping cookbook, which is now in storage. So, whenever I thought about, I would do a deep dive into the internet and see what I could find.

Well, I eventually found this recipe. Of course, I had to try it. I bought fresh pecans, which was the only critical ingredient I didn’t have on hand. I used a gluten-free flour blend for the crust, plus a little in the filling. They turned out beautifully. They are reminiscent of a butter tarta loaded butter tart, that is. The nuts and coconut and butterscotch chips all boost the square into something that is very moreish. And snacking on them is easy, because they are so small. The recipe says you can get 64 squares out of a batch. I got 42 rectangles, none of which were huge.

I was a bit concerned that they might be really sweetmy tastes have changed since I was eight… But they were really great. The coconut and nuts tempered the sweetness. It probably helped that I used unsweetened coconut, too.

These would be great to take to a potluck, give as a gift or serve as a company dessert. And they were well-received by gluten eatersmy brother declared that they were “not maliciously gluten-free,” which is high praise coming from him.

I don’t know if this is the same recipe, but it sure seems pretty close. And I will be making them again. Conveniently, I have enough pecans for a second batch.

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Potato-Parsnip Rosti

Sometimes I get obsessed with a recipe and cannot stop thinking about it until I have bought the ingredients. I saw this lovely rosti recipe earlier this week and instantly my brain was filled with thoughts of toasted parsnips and potatoes. The recipe suggests serving it with sour cream laced with caramelized onions, both of which are staples in my diet, so it seemed like a no-brainer.

I made the rosti (with grated potatoes and parsnips and finely sliced onions) in my cast iron pan. When it was fresh, I topped a slab of it with two sunny-side-up eggs, and it was glorious.

Today, I am enjoying leftovers. I sliced the cold rosti, heated it in the microwave and ate it smeared with the caramelized onion sour cream. Bliss. A comforting dish to help you fight the dark days of late December.

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Omelette with Mushrooms, Caramelized Onions and Cheese

I just made this omelette and it was incredibly tasty. Its execution was far from technically perfect (I should have used a different pan), but my mouth couldn’t tell the difference.

I had some leftover mushrooms that had been fried in butter with garlic, salt and pepper and some leftover caramelized onions. I also had already grated pecorino romano, so with very little effort today, I got to both gain fridge space and eat a fantastic breakfast. Win-win.

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Lemon Curd

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This is what I just had for breakfast. Pound cake with a generous helping of lemon curd, along with a cup of tea. Delicious.

The lemon curd is easy to make. It’s a microwave recipe that is simple and fast. All you need is butter, lemons, sugar and eggs.

You can eat the lemon curd on toast, cake, pancakes, cookies, ice cream, with cooked fruit or, of course, by the spoonful.

 

 

 

 

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Yogurt with Chia Seeds and Hemp Hearts: A Cereal Substitute

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I was lucky to get a chance to spend a week in Greece last fall. Both of the hotels we stayed in offered breakfast buffets, and both offered rich, creamy Greek yogurt and pots of golden local honey. I made sure to have some every day.

After I got home, I kept up the ritual, but also thought about how I could add more nutrition to it. And this is what I have come up with: high milk fat plain yogurt + honey + hemp hearts + chia seeds + dried nuts or fruit.

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Sweet Potatoes and Cheese

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Lunches are a challenge if you are avoiding gluten. Packing a lunch that’s nutritious, got protein, and is affordable, filling, tasty AND fast to pull together is no small feat.

Here’s one of my go-to lunches—roasted sweet potatoes with melted cheese. It’s a good way to use leftovers, but also simple to make from scratch.

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Almond Biscotti

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Apparently, I am on a biscotti tear. I made these biscotti last night, using a gluten-free flour blend. They are packed with almonds and the batter is flavoured just with vanilla.

In this recipe, you roast the almonds before you add them to the batter. The cookies have a good crunch and, like the chocolate ones I made last week, they are not too sweet.

I am rarely content to leave a recipe alone, so I upped the almond content to two cups from one. Just so no one doubted that they were in fact almond biscotti. (This is generally my approach. If an ingredient is in the title of a dish, I am likely to go overboard with it.)

I made these so I would have a holiday treat to give to someone who is gluten-free. I have a feeling I will have no trouble disposing of the rest of them.

 

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Chocolate Almond Biscotti

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I made these vegan biscotti the other day, and they were a big hit.

I made them using a gluten-free flour blend. Instead of using chocolate chips, I just doubled up on the almonds. This meant they were packed with toasted almonds, which was fantastic. I also added some instant coffee powder into the liquid to help add depth to the cocoa flavour.

This is my second attempt at making gluten-free baking that is also vegan. My first attempt was a bit disastrous (that’s a story for another day…), but this time I was much stingier with my ground flax seed.

The finished cookies were a bit delicate, but surprisingly crunchy. I made them for an office function and impressed my colleagues, most of whom are used to eating biscotti made with wheat and eggs. I am now thinking about other biscotti flavours to try.

 

 

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