Tag Archives: shallots

Fast, Cheap, Vegan Red Sauce

I bought this really great loaf of bread of a few days ago when I was in Holland at Pereddies. The rosemary salt loaf has been a guilty pleasure of mine for many years. The inside is just barely cooked through so it’s still a little gooey,  and the outside is crunchy and salty, like a pretzel almost. It’s a perfect food. However, one can’t, no wait, shouldn’t eat just a loaf of bread for dinner, right? It is probably frowned upon. As I am a total slacker in the grocery shopping category right now, I had limited foods in the fridge; however, out of necessity/laziness, a red sauce was born…a little of this…a little of that and you have a pretty tasty red sauce for pasta or just bread dipping…I won’t judge you.


  • 5 red bell peppers, cut into slices
  • 2 cans, 14.5 oz roasted tomatoes or regular tomatoes
  • 1 jar crack tomatoes from freezer (optional)
  • 1 can, 15 oz tomato sauce (no sugar added please)
  • 2 T balsamic vinegar
  • 2 T garlic, minced
  • 1 T Italian seasoning, or fresh herbs
  • 2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 4 medium sized shallots, diced

In a pan with a significant edge (think saute, sauce, or dutch oven), saute the sliced red bell peppers and the shallots until roasted over medium high, nearly caramelized. Add all other ingredients and bring to low boil. Cover, turn heat down to simmer and forget about this dish for about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and place 1/2 to 3/4 of sauce mix into blender and process until smooth. Return blended sauce to pan, stir to combine. Serve over pasta, spaghetti squash, gnocchi, etc. Freeze remaining for up to 6 months.

Butternut Squash Surplus

Last week I was up to my ears in butternut squash.  A few from my CSA, and a few from one of my work friends (these alone were over 9 pounds each and more than 2 feet long).  I have a tendency to put these items out in the garage, and then forget about them until I can actually smell them…not good.  So this time I got a leg up on the surplus.  I roasted three baking pans of squash last night and then today made a few cups of it into butternut squash ravioli with brown butter and sage sauce, then froze the rest for soups and such.

Butternut Squash Ravioli

Inspired by this recipe from Epicurious

  • 3 cups mashed butternut squash (from roasted)
  • 1-4 oz log creamy goat cheese
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/8 tsp fresh grated nutmeg
  • 1 package won ton wrappers (40-60 count)
  • 1/2 cup shallots, chopped
  • 1 stick, butter
  • 1 handful fresh sage leaves, whole
  • 1/8 tsp fresh grated nutmeg
  • pepper, salt to taste
  • handful of fresh parsley
  • parm cheese

Filling:  Saute’ garlic over medium until lightly browned, add goat cheese, squash, nutmeg and combine until creamy.  Remove from heat, let cool.  When filling is cool, drop 1 1/2 tsp in the middle of a won ton wrapper, lightly brush edges with water.  Seal by touching opposite sides together in whatever shape you like.  I touched opposite corners together to form a triangle, then flipped it like a dumpling.  Be sure to squeeze the air out of the ravioli before sealing and DO NOT overfill.

Sauce:  Combine in a frying pan over medium high heat butter, shallots, fresh sage and nutmeg.  Let this combo simmers until butter turns a nutty brown, shallots and sage crisp.  Turn off the heat.  Let hang out until your ravioli are ready to dress.

Ravioli:  Bring a dutch oven 3/4 full of salted water to a boil.  When it hits boiling, turn it down to medium heat, this is a little more gentle on your fragile raviolis.  Immerse 6-8 ravioli in the hot water so the water temp doesn’t drop but also so they do not touch the bottom, sides or each other…this would be bad. Allow the ravioli to hang out in the hot water bath for 2-4 minutes until they float or become opaque in color, remove with a slotted spoon directly into a serving dish, top with brown butter sauce, fresh parsley, a bit of parm cheese and serve.

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Since it’s just the two of us to cook for, but this recipe makes around 45 raviolis, I made the remaining raviolis, put them on a cookie sheet and froze them for an hour.  Then I tossed them into a freezer bag and tossed into the deep freeze.  The Interwebs say that they should keep for 3 months and to make them straight from the freezer next time.  I’ll let you know how that works out later.

Eat Cake. Press Tofu. Juice Lemons. Make Buttermilk.

One of my gal pals celebrated a birthday last week and NO ONE made her a cake.  This is basically a crime.  Ina Garten would have been be pissed; hence, I dropped everything and made some Barefoot Contessa cupcakes.  Fear not, while the cupcake recipe DOES start with nearly 2 sticks of butter, for dinner I made Lemony Chickpea Stir-fry which basically cancels out the butter!  Eat up!

Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Icing

  • 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup buttermilk, shaken, at room temperature (I never have this on hand, so I “made” buttermilk using 1 cup skim milk and 1 T lemon juice-it really does work)
  • 1/2 cup sour cream, at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons brewed coffee
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup good cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Peanut Butter Icing, recipe follows

Chopped salted peanuts, to decorate, optional

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line cupcake pans with paper liners.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and 2 sugars on high speed until light and fluffy, approximately 5 minutes. Lower the speed to medium, add the eggs 1 at a time, then add the vanilla and mix well. In a separate bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, sour cream, and coffee. In another bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. On low speed, add the buttermilk mixture and the flour mixture alternately in thirds to the mixer bowl, beginning with the buttermilk mixture and ending with the flour mixture. Mix only until blended. Fold the batter with a rubber spatula to be sure it’s completely blended.

Divide the batter among the cupcake pans (1 rounded standard ice cream scoop per cup is the right amount). Bake in the middle of the oven for 20 to 25 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes, remove from the pans, and allow to cool completely before frosting.

Frost each cupcake with Peanut Butter Icing and sprinkle with chopped peanuts, if desired.

Peanut Butter Icing:

  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream

Place the confectioners’ sugar, peanut butter, butter, vanilla, and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix on medium-low speed until creamy, scraping down the bowl with a rubber spatula as you work. Add the cream and beat on high speed until the mixture is light and smooth.

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I have a lot of friends that hate working with tofu because it’s “too spongy” or too this, or too that…I create extra, extra firm and combat spongy, with a very scientific pressing technique that I have perfected in my kitchen, you can see it in the first few photos post cupcake in the slideshow.  Hint: it involves a cast iron grill pan.  Very complex.

For the record, the birthday girl hated the stir-fry, but learned that she loves chickpeas.  One small victory.  I on the other hand decided this is one my fave Heidi Swanson recipes.  Different strokes.

Lemony Chickpea Stir-Fry

  • Recipe from 101cookbooks.com
  • 2 tablespoon ghee or extra-virgin olive oil
  • fine grain sea salt
  • 1 small onion or a couple shallots, sliced
  • 1 cup cooked chickpeas (canned is fine, if you don’t want to cook up a pot of dried chickpeas)
  • 8 ounces extra-firm tofu
  • 1 cup of chopped kale
  • 2 small zucchini, chopped
  • zest and juice of 1/2 a lemon

Heat 1 tablespoon of the ghee/olive oil In a large skillet over medium-high heat and stir in a big pinch of salt, the onion, and chickpeas. Saute until the chickpeas are deeply golden and crusty. Stir in the tofu and cook just until the tofu is heated through, just a minute or so. Stir in the kale and cook for one minute more. Remove everything from the skillet onto a large plate and set aside. In the same skillet heat the remaining tablespoon of ghee/olive oil, add the zucchini and saute until it starts to take on a bit of color, two or three minutes. Add the chickpea mixture back to the skillet, and remove from heat. Stir in the lemon juice and zest, taste, and season with a bit more salt if needed. Turn out onto a platter and serve family style.

Curried Noodle Pot

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Curry on the brain this week I guess.  Monday I wrote about Curried Hash and now, we have the Curried Noodle Pot courtesy of the lovely Heidi Swanson from 101cookbooks.com.  This recipe comes from her cookbook Super Natural Cooking.  Why buy one of her books?  Her photography.  You can thank me later for the copious amounts of food porn present.

Curried Noodle Pot

  • 8 oz whole-grain wide Asian noodles ( I used whole spelt udon)
  • 2 T coconut oil
  • 4 cloves garlic finely chopped
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 1-1/2 tsp red curry paste
  • 12 oz extra firm tofu pressed and cubed
  • 1-14 oz can coconut milk
  • 2 C veggie stock
  • 2 tsp ground tumeric or curry powder
  • 2 T shoyu sauce (or any other type of soy sauce)
  • 1T agave syrup
  • juice of one lime
  • 2/3 C peanuts (optional)
  • 1/3 C slivered shallots
  • 1/3 C chopped fresh cilantro

Cook noodles in plenty of water until just tender.

Start making curry while noodles cook. Heat coconut oil in large saucepan over medium-high heat.  Stir in garlic, onion and curry paste and mash the paste around the bottom of the pan a bit to distribute evenly. Cook until fragrant – just a minute or two.  Add the tofu stir until well coated with curry. Stir in the coconut milk, stock, shoyu and agave, bring to simmer for 5 minutes.  Remove from heat, stir in the lime juice and add the noodles.  Turn to coat.

To serve, heap big piles of noodles into individual bowls and top with a ladle or two of curry. Top with peanut and cilantro and shallots.

Note:  I thought this needed a bit of salt because I used unsalted peanuts for garnish.  From start to finish, this took me less than 20 minutes to make.  Bonus points for quick dinner.