Easy Recipe for Making Pickled Stuffed Vegetables

Every Saturday, I stop by the local Farmer’s market and wander through the stalls picking up one pound of this and that and then end up with large box of great vegetables.   Then, I go home to find baskets of vegetables from neighbors and friends.  When most people panic at the sight of all these vegetables, I rejoice.  Of course, I would make Ratatouille, pasta sauce, couscous first. But with all of the left over vegetables, which is still a lot, I use them to make pickles—pickled turnips, pickled cucumbers, pickled vegetables and my favorite, pickled stuffed peppers. Yum.

Pickling vegetables is an ancient way  of preserving vegetables, and I for one still love doing it.  It is an easy and delicious way to save your summer vegetables as we drift towards the winter months.   The pickled vegetables makes an excellent side dish that the only preparation is to open the jar and serve.  I use the same brine to make all the pickles: water, salt, vinegar and beet for the color. You can chop the vegetables, stuff them in a jar, pour the brine and wait.  However, I love pickled stuffed peppers.  They looks and taste great.  Take a look.

Pickled Stuffed Pepper

serves 4

4        medium size bell peppers of any color

2        cups small cauliflower florets

1        cup coarsely chopped green cabbage

2        carrots, diced into 1/2- inch cubes

2        turnips, peeled and diced into 1/2-inch cubes

1        jalapeño pepper, seeded and diced

1       beet, cut into 1-inch cubes

1       clove garlic, peeled

3       tablespoon sea salt

1/2   cup vinegar

slice of lemon

Large class jar

-Mix the salt with the vinegar and 12 cups of water.

-Gently remove the tip of the bell pepper and then remove the seeds gently, make sure not to break the peppers.

-Mix the cauliflower florets with the diced carrots, diced turnips, chopped cabbage,  and diced jalapeño pepper.  Hold the cored pepper with one hand and then start to fill the cavity with vegetables mixture.  Try to stuff as many as you can without to breaking the pepper.  Repeat until you stuffed the rest of the peppers.

-Place the garlic, the beets and the lemon slice at the bottom to the class jar.

-Gently place the stuffed peppers inside the jar.  If you have extra vegetables place them in the space between the pepper inside jar.

-Pour the vinegar and salt brine over the vegetables.  Make sure the brine cover all the vegetables with about 1 inch of brine over the vegetables.

-Leave the jar for a week and then enjoy.  You don’t need to refrigerate the pickles.

How to Make Dairy Free Parmesan Cheese?

Let me start by apologizing to all the Italians.  I’m sorry for referring to this recipe as the one for Parmesan cheese.  However, this is what I set my talent on making for the vegans out there.  I have many customers do not consume dairy, and I wanted them to be able to experience the delectable taste of Parmesan cheese.

Using almonds in this recipe makes the cheese a healthier option due to the endless health benefits of this tasty nuts.

Dairy Free “Parmesan cheese”

Makes 1 cup

1       cup slivered almonds

1       clove garlic

1/2   jalapeño Pepper

1       teaspoon chopped sage

1       teaspoon chopped rosemary

2      slices fresh lemon

2      cups water

1       tablespoon sea salt

-Pour the water and the salt into small saucepan.  Mix well.

-Place the garlic with the sage, the pepper , the lemon slices and the rosemary in two layers of cheesecloth, tie well and then place in the  saucepan.

-Bring the salted water with the herb bundle to a boil.  Remove from the heat, add the almonds and set aside to cool.  Leave the almonds in the brine for 8 hours or over night.

-Remove the herb bundle, drain the brine and then spoon the almonds on cookie sheet.  Heat oven for 250 F. degree and bake the almonds for 10 minutes.  Remove from the oven and allow the almonds to cool for couple hours.

-Grind the almonds in food processor or clean coffee grinder into fine powder.  Save in tight container and use the same way you would use Parmesan cheese.

Easy Cauliflower and Broccoli Appetizer

This recipe is crazy simple and it tastes delicious! What more could you ask for? You can easily make this appetizer in under 3 minutes, but the colors and the the flavors of this dish will make it look like you spent hours in the kitchen.

I made this dish as part of the collection of recipes that you can cook in a college dorm.  Although, this recipe could be served in five star restaurant and impress the hardest critic.  And for those of you who do not like cauliflower, you will after tasting this.

Easy Cauliflower and Broccoli Appetizer

serves 4

1/2       head white cauliflower cut into 4 sections

1/2       head purple cauliflower cut into 4 section

1/2       head broccoli cut into 4 section

for the sauce

6         cloves garlic, mashed

2         teaspoon fresh ground coriander

1/4     cup pomegranate molasses

1/2     cup lemon juice

zest of one lemon

1/4     cup chopped fresh cilantro

salt to taste

-Place the cauliflowers and the broccoli in microwave safe platter.  Cover with paper towel, sprinkle with water and then microwave the vegetable on high for 2 minutes.

-To make the sauce: Whisk the garlic with the coriander, pomegranate molasses, lemon juice, lemon zest, cilantro and salt.  Taste to adjust the seasoning.

-Take the vegetables out of the microwave, drizzle the pomegranate sauce over them and serve.

Got Tomatoes? Make this Great Simple Pasta Sauce

I love tomatoes, and I never have a problem finding a way to eat them.  I have fresh tomatoes with couple of olives and toast for breakfast, have tabbouli with extra chopped tomatoes for lunch and a sliced tomato as a side dish for dinner. At this rate, I may cause the extinction of tomatoes by 2025.

At this time of the year, I love picking fresh vine tomatoes from anyone who offer them for me. When I return to my  kitchen and ponder on what to make, this easy tomato pasta sauce is the first recipe that comes to mind.  My family loves it and it is a piece of cake to make.

Fresh Sauce Pasta

serves 4

5           medium ripe yet firm tomatoes, diced into 1/2-inch thick cubes

8          scallions, chopped

1/4      cup chopped fresh basil

1          clove garlic, chopped

1/4      cup olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

1         pound short pasta

2         freshly grated Parmesan cheese, optional

-Bring salted water to boil in pasta pot.  When the water boil, drop the pasta, stir and bring back to a boil.  Boil the pasta for 7 minutes or until the pasta al-dente.

-Just 1 minute before the pasta is done, heat the olive oil in large saute pan and cook the vegetables for 1 minute.  Drain the pasta well and add to the vegetables.  Stir, add the salt, the pepper, the garlic and the basil.  Turn off the heat and serve.

This pasta dish is great hot or cold.

Lima Bean, Zucchini and Kale Pilaf

Zucchini, as most gardeners know, is one of the most prolific vegetables.  Knowing this, I usually plant only one zucchini, with the intention of sharing the crop with friends and neighbors. However, I’ve discovered that my friends and neighbors have the same idea, resulting in a vast oversupply of zucchini as well as a plethora of recipe requests for recipes for this wonder, overproducing vegetable.

Yesterday I got my box from the organic farm and I opened it and there it was. Zucchini. Of course. Luckily it also came with some potatoes, onions, kale. So, I thought “Why not make a pilaf that uses most of these vegetables?”  This pilaf provides complete protein because of the beans and grains. It is also high in fiber, nutritious, and a very easy, tasty, vegan dinner.

Lima Bean, Zucchini and Kale Pilaf

Serves 4-6

1/4    cup olive oil

1       medium onion, chopped

4      medium zucchini, diced

1      pound frozen baby lima beans, thawed

3     cups chopped fresh kale

1     cup coarse bulgur wheat or #3

1     clove garlic, mashed

1/2  cup chopped fresh cilantro

salt and pepper to taste

-In a heavy pot, heat the olive oil and saute the onion for couple of minutes.

-Add the zucchini, stir, cover and cook over medium heat for 1o minutes.

-Add the lima beans, the kale, 2 cups of water, salt and pepper.  Bring to a boil.

-Add the bulgur, stir, cover and cook over low heat for 5 minutes.  Add the garlic and cilantro, stir, cover and continue to cook for another 5 minutes.  Turn off the heat, leave the lid on for ten minutes and spoon into shallow serving platter and serve.

Quinoa Salad Recipe Greek Style

My daughter will be going to collage in couple days, and I am going crazy.  I am extremely happy for her, but because she is going so far away, I feel as though I cannot help her. I’ll no longer be there to help her with here school, work, etc.. So, I find myself giving her tips about cooking and eating healthy.  To take my mind of her leaving home, I became obsessed of creating recipes that she can make in her dorm using using only the microwave and a good knife– I wonder if they allow chef knives in dorms?–.

I think my daughter is trying to act like she is interested just to ease my worries and pain. She caught me.

Well, this quinoa salad is recipe is one of the recipes I experimented with and she loved it.  It is easy to make in the dorm, and it can keep for a week, making it a good study snack. So, she’ll probably be eating this at 11PM every night. Well, let’s hope.

Greek Quinoa Salad

serves 4

1 1/2      cups quinoa

1             baby cucumber, diced into 1/2 inch cubes

1             red bell pepper, seeded and diced

3             scallions, chopped

2             medium carrots, peeled and diced

1/4         cup diced sun-dried tomatoes, optional

1/2         cup coarsely diced pitted kalamata olives

1             cup chopped fresh oregano

1/2        cup crumbled feta cheese

1/4        cup olive oil

1             cup lemon juice

zest of one lemon

salt to taste

-Place the quinoa in deep microwave safe bowl add 3 cups water, cover with plastic wrap and cook on high for 3 minutes.  Remove from the oven, stir and cook for another 2 minutes.  Take the quinoa out and allow it to rest for couple minutes.

-Place all the vegetables in large salad bowl and toss until well mixed.  Whisk the lemon juice with the lemon zest, olive and salt–take it easy with the salt because you have feta cheese in the salad–.  Drizzle the dressing over the vegetables and toss until well coated. Taste the salad and adjust the seasoning.

-Add the hot cooked quinoa and mix well.

-Spoon the salad into serving bowl, sprinkle with the feta cheese and serve.

Easy, Guilt Free Spicy Sweet Potato Fries

Let’s be serious, who doesn’t like fries? You say “Fries?! I wish, but I need to eat healthy!”

Well, believe it or not, these fries are actually healthy AND tasty!  Baked sweet potato fries are a good alternative to regular potato fries. While they are good on their own, adding garlic and spices takes them to another level.

Baked, Spicy-Sweet Potato Fries

serves 4

2        medium size sweet potatoes

3        tablespoons olive oil

1        clove garlic, mashed

1/2    teaspoon freshly ground coriander

1/8    teaspoon cayenne pepper

zest of one lemon

sea salt to taste

half of lemon, optional

-Peel and cut the potatoes into 1/2-inch thick slices

-In a bowl, mix the garlic with the olive oil, the coriander, cayenne pepper and the lemon zest.

-Add the sweet potatoes slices and toss until well coated.

-Place the potatoes on cookie sheet and bake in 400 F. degree oven and bake for 25 minutes.

-Take out of the oven, sprinkle with the sea salt, squeeze little lemon juice on top and serve.