Pesto Zucchini Wrap

Pesto Zucchini Wrap

This summer I’ve been fixing lighter, yet great tasting meals…or at least I’m on the hunt for such things.  Here is the recipe for a Pesto Zucchini Wrap that is just absolutely declicious — it’s one of my favorite go-to recipes.  The great thing about this wrap recipe is that you can add or subtract what ever you like.

Your husband not of fan of olives? Presto! Don’t even add them to his wrap, but double them up on your’s. As simple as that.

This is also a great recipe for vegans, and you can also use gluten free wraps for those who are glucose intolerant.

Pesto Zucchini Wrap

Whole Grain Tortilla Wraps
Pesto
4 Zucchinis, grated
2 Sweet Onions, caramelized
16 oz package Mushrooms, sliced
20 Cherry Tomatoes, halved
1 cup Kalamata Olives, sliced
1/2 cup Pine Nuts
Olive Oil
Salt

Place onions in skillet with 2 tablespoons of sugar, 2 tbl spoons of butter and saute on low for about 1/2 hour or light brown.

Shred zucchini and place in a bowl and drizzle with salt and olive oil. Mix and let sit to marinate.

 

Once onions are caramelized, mix in mushrooms to saute. Cook long enough to cook of the moisture from the mushrooms.

 

With each individual wrap, spread about 2 tablespoons of pesto on the wrap. Then layer the rest of the wrap with onions, mushrooms, olives, tomatoes and pine nuts.

Fold wrap in half or roll, serve and savor the flavors.

Potato-licious Pea Curry

photo taken by thehipvegetarian

Here was my dilemma: curry or Pad Thai.  Well I had some potatoes in my arsenal begging to be used so the curry won the battle. However the overcast day may have tipped the scales because cloudy days make me crave carbs.  Therefore I ended up with the most wonderful curry.

I originally found this recipe on Food Network when I was searching for a vegan dish for some friends. Just use olive oil instead of better and voila! Vegan.

Some tips:

  1. Sauté the onions with the potatoes until they caramelize.
  2. If you don’t like salty foods, cut the salt to 1 teaspoon, and add as desired.
  3. My Indian friends suggest that instead of grinding the Coriander seeds, just drop them directly into the hot oil and let them pop open.  This did add a nice texture to the dish.
  4. For protein, add MorningStar Farms Meal Starters Chik’n Strips.

Potato Pea Curry

3 large baking potatoes, peeled
1/2 cup clarified butter (ghee)
2 large onions, diced
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
2 1/2 tablespoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 tablespoon ground coriander
1/2 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes
3 tomatoes, seeded and diced
3 cups chicken stock or water
1 tablespoon salt
2 cups fresh or frozen peas, thawed
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
1 bunch cilantro, leaves roughly chopped

Directions Cut the potatoes into 1/2-inch dice. To remove the excess starch, place the potatoes in a bowl and rinse with cold running water until the water runs clear. Drain well.

Heat 1/4 cup clarified butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Saute the onions until they are brown. At the same time, heat the remaining clarified butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Fry the potatoes until they are golden and add sautéed onions.

Add the garlic and ginger, and cook just long enough to release their aromas, about 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the cumin, turmeric, coriander, and pepper flakes. Return the pan to medium heat. Stir in the tomatoes, chicken stock or water, and salt.

Simmer, uncovered, until the potatoes are soft, about 15 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients and cook until the peas are heated through. Adjust the seasonings and serve immediately.

You’re Welcome, Mr. President

Apricot-Coconut Balls

One of my favorite candy recipes during the holidays is Apricot-Coconut Balls. I picked this up out of the 2004 Better Homes & Garden Christmas Cookies magazine.

The magazine notes that White House Chef John R. Hanny developed this no-bake cookie for President and Mrs. Nixon. This was one of their favorites.

I’ve made these delicious babies for the past six years, and they are a favorite amongst my friends. I’m told that they are reminescent of the days of old.

Enjoy.

Apricot-Coconut Balls

1 cup Dried Apricots
1 cup Flaked Coconut
3/4 cup Chopped Nuts
1/2 teaspoon finely shredded lemon peel
1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice
1 Tablespoon Orange Juice
2 1/3 cups sifted Powdered Sugar

1. Line a cookie sheet with waxed paper; set aside. Place apricots, coconut, and nuts in a food processor; cover and process until finely ground. Transfer ground mixture to a medium bowl. Add lemon peel and juices; stir until combined. Add 2 cups of the powdered sugar. Stir until firm.

2. Form into 1-inch balls; roll in remaining powdered sugar. Place balls on prepared cookie sheet. Allow to dry at room temperature for at least 4 hours. If desired, sprinkle balls with additional sifted powdered sugar before serving. Makes about 30.

TO STORE: Layer between waxed paper in an airtight container, cover. Store at room temperature for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months.

** I add extra lemon juice to make the full mixture moist enough to form into balls **

The End of Fall

Photo taken by thehipvegetarian

Pumpkins during the Fall season are simply beautiful.

However before they lose their luster, I always bake them to freeze so I can make soups throughout the rest of the year.  Take them to the slaughter-house, I say!

If you haven’t done so already, now is the time to start the process before they start to mold from the inside out.

This year I gutted my Blue Hubbard pumpkin and filled it with about a quarter-cup of water, baked it at 350 degrees until the skin was tender enough to be pierced by a fork.  I found this to be much easier than cutting the pumpkin into sections before baking or peeling  it raw.

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It’s the Simple Things

Photo taken by thehipvegetarian

My posts are few and far between for two reasons: I’m still visiting my parents and I haven’t been cooking much — sustaining myself with Thanksgiving leftovers.

For many who are burned out with cooking, or just need an idea for tonight’s dinner, I shall remind you of the simple salad.  One that can be dressed with your favorite fresh fruit, dried fruit, nuts, cheese, etc.

My favorite salad is one made of Spinach with Fresh Pears, Dried Cranberries, Gorgonzola Cheese and Toasted Brown Sugar Pumpkin Seeds, topped off with Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing.

Photo taken by thehipvegetarian

For a vegan version, simply leave out the cheese and add any additional fruit that you enjoy.

Easy, simple and delicious as a side dish or a main dish for any evening.

The Best Brussels Sprouts

Photo taken by thehipvegetarian

My husband and I are odd, we like Brussels Sprouts. Either you love them or you hate them. For those who are on the fence, try this Best Brussels Sprout recipe that we found on the web about two years ago from Shmooedfood.

Best Brussels Sprouts

The name says it all! These sweet-and-sour sprouts are wonderful hot or at room temperature. 

serves 4

1 lb. fresh Brussels sprouts, cleaned, trimmed, and cut in half
2 TB olive oil (or 1 TB olive oil and 1 TB margarine)
salt to taste
¾ cup vegetable stock or water
2 TB sugar
2 TB apple cider vinegar
freshly ground black pepper, to taste

photo taken by thehipvegetarian

Heat the oil or oil and margarine in a sauté pan or well-seasoned cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. When hot, add the Brussels sprouts and sprinkle with salt. Sauté, stirring occasionally, until the sprouts are turning golden, about 5 to 10 minutes.

Add ½ cup of the stock or water and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer, covered with a lid left slightly ajar, until the Brussels sprouts are almost completely tender and the stock or water has been cooked away, about 10 minutes.

Remove the lid and add the last ¼ cup of stock or water, the sugar, and the apple cider vinegar. Cook at a lively simmer, stirring occasionally, until the liquid is reduced to a syrup, about 5 minutes. Taste for salt and season with pepper. Serve hot or at room temperature.

Thursday Tip: Organizing Your Shopping List

If you’re like me, the hurdle to cooking is organizing my shopping list.  The task of looking through recipes and then writing down what I need is, well, just daunting.  Luckily I discovered a system that works for me.

I noticed that some websites like Vegetarian Times have recipe boxes for me to store recipe choices.

Within my recipe box I can click one or more recipes and the web site will create a shopping list for me.  From there I just glance through the shopping list, mark off the items I already have in-house, and voila! My shopping is completed.

Simple as that.

What organizational tip to you have when it comes to cooking or working in the kitchen?

I’m in Love with an Aussie (Veggie Pie, that is!)

Photo taken by thehipvegetarian

Today I ran into Whole Foods Market and as I was headed to the checkout counter I was drawn to the deli area.  There next to a heated display swarmed shoppers like bugs drawn to light.  And there I discovered the Aussie awesomeness of Boomerang’s Gourmet Veggie & Meat Pies.  What a thrill to discover meat pies reminiscent of my visit to New Zealand.

For those who aren’t familiar with this Australian favorite; meat pies are flakey, handheld and considered the “national dish” of New Zealand and Australia.  For Texans it’s like an empanada collided with a pot pie.

Based out of Austin, Texas Boomerang’s nailed it with their vegetarian version of their Spicy Mexican Veggie (diced poblano peppers and jalapenos, vegetarian sausage, red beans, cheddar cheese, red pepper flakes, diced jicama and cucumber mixed in Boomerang’s Colorado sauce) and a vegan Thai Veggie (baby corn, carrots, water chestnuts, basil and cilantro all combined in Boomerang’s gourmet Thai peanut sauce).  Looks like they also sell Curry Veggie, Southwest Veggie and Spinich & Mushroom.

Photo taken by thehipvegetarian

These vegetarian delectables are a meal unto themselves.  Whole Foods was introducing them for $3.99 today and will sell them for $4.99.  This might seem steep, but these pies are thick and stuffed full with vegetables. I felt like it was a fair price, especially since I can’t eat lunch for less than $8 these days. I didn’t walk away hungry.

Checking out their website I discovered these savory pies are sold in Whole Foods throughout Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas and Oklahoma.  Don’t live near one of these awesome states or have a Whole Foods near you?  No problem mate, they also ship.

Vegetables Korma

Photo taken by thehipvegetarian

Tonight I had Naan in the house that I didn’t want to go to waste, so this gave me the good opportunity to try out a new recipe that I have been saving from my Vegetarian Times magazine.  Vegetables Korma is a traditional Indian dish. To make it simple, Vegetarian Times suggests that frozen vegetables be used.  Which is a good way to combine all those individual frozen vegetable bags with only a handful of food left in them.

This can also easily be converted into a vegan dish by using coconut milk instead of heavy cream.

I was surprised by how fast the meal came together.  I placed the rice on the stove top burner to cook and by the time it was finished the meal was ready to be served.

This recipe is very mild in flavors, not spicy at all. This might be a good introduction to Indian food for those who don’t like curry or spicy cuisine.

The original recipe says it serves two, however this was a lot of food. I think you could easily serve six if you add in the chickpeas.

Photo taken by thehipvegetarian

My husband said he liked it, however he suggested that the Masala could be quadrupled.  He pulled out the spice and started sprinkling it on his serving.  I thought I’d give it a try, and he made a good call.  However I will disclose that we do like Masala on our popcorn.

Vegetables Korma

  • 1/2 cup basmati rice
  • 2 medium tomatoes, cut into chunks
  • 1/2 small white onion, cut into chunks
  • 1 1/2 Tbs. minced fresh ginger
  • 1 Tbs. vegetable oil
  • 1/2 tsp. garam masala or curry powder
  • 1/4 tsp. plus 1/8 tsp. ground cardamom
  • 2 Tbs. golden raisins
  • 2 cups frozen mixed vegetables, such as green beans, cauliflower, carrots, lima beans, and zucchini (12 oz.)
  • 1 7-oz. can chickpeas, rinsed and drained (3/4 cup), optional
  • 3 Tbs. fat-free evaporated milk or heavy cream
  • 1 Tbs. toasted slivered almonds, optional

DIRECTIONS

1. Cook rice according to package directions.
2. Purée tomatoes, onion, and ginger to paste in food processor or blender.
3. Heat oil in saucepan over medium heat. Add garam masala and cardamom, and cook 30 seconds, or until fragrant, stirring constantly. Add tomato purée and raisins. Simmer 2 minutes, or until sauce thickens slightly.
4. Stir in frozen vegetables; chickpeas, if using; and evaporated milk. Season with salt and pepper, if desired. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer 6 to 7 minutes, or until vegetables are tender. Serve over rice. Sprinkle with almonds, if using.