At the store the other day, I impulse bought a bag of shredded brussels sprouts with the idea that I could probably make some sort of roasted tacos or salad with them. While perusing my Pinterest files, I found a way to combine both ideas with Dinner with Julie’s recipe for Crispy Black Bean & Feta Tacos with Brussels Sprout Slaw.
Alterations: I doubled the spices and lime juice for both the bean mixture and the slaw. I also added garlic powder to the beans. Also everything tastes better with avocado. We only had three tortillas left so we just used the other filling as salad.
Do-Again?: This recipe took 15-20 minutes from start to finish. Perfect for a weeknight dinner. I wouldn’t hesitate to make these again and would even cook them for guests.
Aside from the weather, my favorite thing about living in LA was access to awesome Jewish delis. A #3 sandwich from Greenblatt’s is definitely in the running for my last meal should I get to choose. Since I’m currently on a vegetarian bent for Lent, I decided to get my fix from an unorthodox source — Food & Wine’s Smoky Vegetarian Beet Reuben.
Alterations: I used ground coriander instead of crushed seeds. I also realized I didn’t have ketchup in the house, so I made my own with a combination of tomato paste, apple cider vinegar and agave. I also roasted three beets at once instead of just one.
Do-again?: While the flavors weren’t as complex and juicy as pastrami, this sandwich definitely was reminiscent of a reuben and was quite tasty. We thought it was better the second day when we didn’t toast the bread but could have also just been that I toasted it a bit too long the first time around.
Rainy weather makes me want comfort food. Like it’s somehow ok to be wet if you’ve got mac and cheese in your stomach. To fuel a vacation planning session on a rainy Tuesday night, I decided the only cure was Rachel Ray’s Broccoli and Cauliflower Gratin Mac and Cheese.
Alterations: I think I probably cooked twice as much broccoli and half as much pasta as the recipe called for. I used egg noodles instead of macaroni. To keep things moist and flavorful, I doubled the amount of grated garlic, added some extra mustard and hot sauce and also splashed a bit of cream.
Do-again?: At first I was skeptical about using sour cream instead of a bechemel as my base for the creamy sauce but after some good seasoning, it was a nice way to skip a prep step. This definitely tasted like comfort food and the crunchy bits of browned pasta went well with the tender broccoli and cheesy cream sauce. Definitely glad I added the extra garlic and hot sauce giving it just enough tang and heat.
When I lived in LA, I realized I really loved tacos. Like better than burritos, which might make me a bad San Franciscan. Tacos are just easier to eat and don’t make you feel like you’re pregnant afterward. Also it’s easier to taste the guts of a taco because they’re right in your face. When I was a vegetarian in college, my way to make everything vegetarian appropriate was to throw some chickpeas in. So you can bet I was into the idea of Two Peas and Their Pod’s Roasted Cauliflower and Chickpea Tacos.
Alterations: I didn’t have onion powder so I can added a bit more garlic and cumin. I also substituted the cabbage for this brussel sprout and cabbage slaw I had. I had to roast my veggies a bit longer to get them to crisp up more.
Do-again?: My boyfriend called these blog worthy. They were super flavorful and will definitely make it into the rotation. My favorite tacos are al pastor but this is a damn good vegetarian substitute.
My weekly quest for more broccoli this week led me to A Healthy Life for Me’s recipe for Broccoli Feta Fritters. I decided to keep with the green theme and also made a shaved brussels sprout salad with a shallot vinaigrette and avocado.
Alterations: I added an extra egg since my batter didn’t seem wet enough.
Do-again?: This was a quick and satisfying weeknight dinner. I also ate a fritter for breakfast the following morning.
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From a pinned recipe to the dinner table in about 12 hours. This morning I saw a pin for Cookie and Kate’s Vegetarian West African Peanut Soup and I knew we needed it soon. I knew it would be a hit since my boyfriend likes pretty much every recipe that involves peanut butter or coconut milk. Plus this was veggie friendly and we already had several of the ingredients on hand.
Alterations: I used vegetarian better than bouillon and I wasn’t sure the flavor was going to be strong enough so I upped the amount of chopped ginger and garlic. My onion was also quite big. I opted for kale instead of collards and added in a roughly chopped carrot about 2/3 of the way through the broth simmering process. I used a combination of Sriracha and Sambal Oelek for the hot sauce.
Do-again?: Super flavorful and came together quite quickly. The vegetables weren’t overdone and we didn’t even think this needed the rice (so we skipped it). Would definitely make it again.
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Yesterday I began my nearly annual tradition of giving up meat for Lent. While I wouldn’t necessarily consider myself religious, I do like using the time period of Lent to make myself more aware of habits and what I’m consuming. I was a pescetarian for seven years before, so it really isn’t too hard for me to adjust. Especially when I can eat things like Macheesmo’s Stuffed Artichokes for dinner.
Alterations: I scaled things down because I was working with three artichokes instead of four.
Do-again?: Not going to lie, the prep work took some time. It wasn’t necessarily hard, but it was time consuming to cut and pry open the artichokes. Then it was a nice hands-off hour while they roasted in the oven tempting us with delicious smells until they were finally ready. My boyfriend was skeptical that it would be filling enough but the roasting time made the inner leaves really tender and it was definitely enough for a satisfying dinner. The outer leaves were a bit drier so I whipped up a little lemon pepper garlic aioli to dip the leaves in.
When in the adorable town of Pescadero last weekend, I stopped at the farmer’s market and picked up brussels sprouts, avocados (6 for $1), artichokes and the most delicious berries. This resulted in making Closet Cooking’s Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Bacon in Mustard Cream Sauce.
Alterations: I was out of grainy mustard so I substituted dijon mustard and added some mustard seeds. I used milk instead of cream as well.
Do-again?: While not the healthiest preparation of Brussels Sprouts, it was tasty. We ate this as a main instead of a side.
It’s not football or the commercials that I wait for each Super Bowl - it’s the chance to compete against my friends for the best dip or appetizer. Since I’m headed to NOLA in a few months, I decided to get in the spirit by making Annie’s Eats Gumbo Dip.
Alterations: I almost had to sub the okra but finally found some in the frozen section of the grocery store.
Do-again?: Creamy, salty with texture that made it great to scoop onto a baguette. It was kind of a thick soupy texture. I ended up tying for best overall appetizer, along with winning “Most Addictive” and “Most Likely to Be Seen on the Food Network.” I’ll have to get creative to impress again next year.
Even though my boyfriend generally requests boxed yellow cake mix and jarred chocolate frosting, I usually like to try to bake something for his birthday. It’s likely because I’m rarely in the mood to bake but feel compelled to make something special for my favorite sweet tooth. This year, Serious Eats’ Salted Caramel-Chocolate Pudding Cake is what tempted me away from the Ducan Hines.
Alterations: Followed as directed, it’s hard to mess with dessert recipes. My only change was I made this a day early and reheated in the oven and served with vanilla ice cream.
Do-again?: This was ooey-gooey and sweet and decadent - perfect for a birthday.
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