Friday, June 27, 2014

Sweet Potato Salad

Sweet Potato Salad is a lovely surprise as as the summer months heat up. The RQ was inspired by  The Red Fern,  a local Rochester restaurant that serves an extraordinary vegan cuisine! The RQ created her own version of the potato salad and served it on a bed of purple kale salad, which is both pleasing to the eyes and satisfying to the palate! (Recipe below.)

The Red Queen's Sweet Potato Salad
(serves 4)

1 large yam (cut into hearty bite-size pieces and steamed)
1/4 red onion, diced
2 celery stalks, cut on bias
1 Tblsp fresh dill, chopped
1/2 cup safflower Vegenaise
1 tsp Dijon Mustard
salt & pepper to taste

Carrot Chopper made an excellent fingerling potato salad last weekend AND reminded The RQ to STEAM the potatoes to get the most nutrients! Guess what, the potatoes turn out perfectly; not at all mushy. Steaming only takes about 10-15 minutes! Spread the steamed potato chunks on a plate to cool and prepare the remaining veggies and dressing. Throw it all in one bowl, smash and Enjoy!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Sweet Chocolatey Treats

Tasty Mini Brownies
Carrot Chopper is wickedly creative with a mini-muffin pan! Featured here are moist chocolatey brownies, recipe by the minimalist baker! Remember to adjust time and temperature for smaller muffin cups!

The RQ must take a moment to talk about the many treats her vegan daughter creates! This past weekend P<, CC, and The RQ ALL enjoyed an endless supply of Chocolate-Almond and Chocolate-Peanut Butter Cups~and, yes, made in a mini-muffin pan! From mixing bowl to freezer Hershey's Reese's Cups, "eat your heart out!" Check out Juli Bauer's Easy Chocolate Butter Almond Cups! CC substituted peanut butter & shredded coconut for one round of cups~YUM!
If you're not yet convinced to dig that mini-muffin pan out of the cupboard, take a look at these scrumptious Zucchini-Chocolate Chip Muffins! CC adapted the original recipe by substituting 1/4 cup applesauce for an egg and 1/4 cup coconut milk  instead of dairy milk.
Imagine P< and The RQ waking up on a weekend morning to the aroma of freshly baked muffins! CC had them artfully displayed and ready for devouring!

And although the zucchini muffins featured here are not chocolate, CC recommends the following two recipes: Zucchini Brownies and Zucchini Brownies-2.

The RQ and P< THANK Carrot Chopper for keeping them "fat and happy!"

Monday, June 23, 2014

Indian Rice and Spinach Salad

 Indian Rice with Mung Dahl and a Coconut Curry Sauce
Spinach Salad with Roasted Beets with Balsamic Vinaigrette
Meet Lisa Barnes, a Natural Chef, and grab this delicious Salad recipe!

Friday, April 25, 2014

Pizza Surprise

Friday night is pizza night and that means bring your creativity. How the pizza is topped is always a surprise and has lots to do with what's left in the fridge from the week! Last week The RQ, Little Brother, and P< enjoyed homemade pizza ever so lightly drizzled with olive oil, roasted red peppers, and sauteed onions. Ah, simple pleasures!

The RQ recommends always proofing the yeast. It doesn't take long and prevents waisting ingredients if it's not active. To proof active dry yeast dissolve yeast (amount called for in recipe of choice) in 1/4 cup warm water (100-110F), stir in 1 teaspoon of sugar, and let sit 10 minutes. If the mixture doubles the yeast  is ready to go. Remember to make quantity adjustments for sugar and water used in proofing.

Pizza Dough
(2 small pizzas)

3 cups all-purpose or bread flour
1/2 teaspoon active dry yeast or rapid rise
2 Tablespoons sugar
1 1/4 cups ice cold water
1 Tablespoon olive/vegetable oil
1 heaping teaspoon salt

Proof yeast. While waiting for yeast to expand, combine flour and remaining sugar in food processor or kitchen aid with dough attachments. Once yeast is successfully proofed, gradually add 3/4 cup of the ice cold water to the dry ingredients on low speed. Next add proofed yeast mixture (includes 1/4 cup of water for total needed in recipe). Follow with the as much remaining 3/4+ cup ice cold water to bring the dough to a well-formed ball. Remember, the dough doesn't like to get too wet so be watchful! Now mix in oil and salt. Place dough on flat surface and knead for a few minutes or until smooth. Place in an oiled bowl and allow the dough to rise at least 3 hours. Punch down and let rise for another 30-60 minutes. Place inverted jelly-roll pan in lower third of oven. Preheat oven to 500F. Split dough in half and roll dough. Lightly brush pan with olive oil and place pizza dough directly to bake for 5 minutes or less, when bottom begins to crisp but not brown. Remove dough with spatula to cutting board or appropriate surface to dress with toppings of choice! Place back in oven for an addition 7-12 minutes. Enjoy!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Avocado Chocolate Mousse

Since the very first time CC made this decadent dessert The Red Queen continues to be amazed with the simplicity and pleasant surprise of avocado taking center stage. Once again, CC has impressed the kingdom with the healthy and creative food choices of a vegan lifestyle!

Chocolate Avocado Mousse

1 avocado, ripe and chilled
2-4 Tablespoons dutch cocoa (depending on chocolate depth desired)
1/4 cup coconut milk
2 teaspoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Combine milk, vanilla, and maple syrup, and set aside. Gently mash avocado. When almost smooth add cocoa and continue mashing till smooth. Add milk mixture slowly till all ingredients are well combined. Top with shaved coconut (shown here) fresh raspberries, and/or mint. Toasted nuts also make a lovely topping.

Alternative: Add 2 Tablespoons natural peanut butter for peanut butter lovers!

Friday, April 4, 2014

Three Entrees Featured in Bon Appetit

Roasted root vegetables and new baby spring vegetables are enjoyed with a variety of pairings in honor of the Spring season! As these dishes were inspired by the April edition of Bon Appetit I post them together.

 Barley in a Green Sauce prepared like Risotto
(This was a WONDERFUL suprise!)

Cod in a Green Onion Sauce prepared stovetop
(The RQ highly recommends less leek and more celery and cilantro in the green sauce).

Seared and Roasted Chicken Thighs with Artichokes and Sugar Snap Peas
(B/C The RQ was only making a few chicken pieces she omitted the extra broth. Delish!)

Monday, March 10, 2014

Dark-Chocolate Chunk-Hazelnut-Cherry Cookies

WOW! What a pleasant surprise THESE cookies turned out to be! With a little tweaking from a recipe in The Simple Things The RQ was able to make a cookie that shines among many proud home bakers' recipes! This publication is inspirational and interesting! I always learn something new! The articles CELEBRATE the many ways we enjoy "the simple things in life:" food, friends & family, community; indoor & outdoor activities, and more! Check 'em out on-line. In the meantime, enjoy my version of their recipe!

Dark-Chocolate Chunk-Hazelnut-Cherry Cookies

3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup caster or "superfine" sugar (pulse granulated sugar in spice mill for 2-3 pulses to achieve fine sugar)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg, large
scant* 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
scant* Tablespoon baking powder
heaping teaspoon salt
3/4 cup hazelnuts, toasted (skins removed) and chopped
1 cup, dark chocolate chunks/pieces
scant* 1/3 cup dried, dark sweet cherries, chopped coarsely

(*scant: not quite full)

Cream softened butter till light and fluffy; then add both sugars, vanilla. Once combined add egg mixing well. On low speed of electric mixer add chocolate, nuts, and cherries; just till combined. Dough must be refrigerated for a minimum of 30 minutes before baking. Roll cookie dough out one-inch in thickness. Wrap in parchment paper and refrigerate (30 min).

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper, set aside. 

Cut cookies with a pastry cutter about one finger's width thick and place on prepared sheet. Bake about 12 minutes or until just browning on the bottom edges. With care, these cookies can be moved directly from sheet to cooling rack. As always, ENJOY!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Beans & Rice

New twist on some old staples!
The Red Queen and her kingdom have been enjoying the fruits of Bon Appetit January 2014 issue! Beans and rice are a traditional pairing embraced by many cultures and shine with the addition of sautéed laccinato kale and Shitake mushrooms. The mushrooms are sautéed and tossed with teriyaki sauce. 

In addition to the published recipe, The Red Queen likes to sweat the lentil beans before cooking them. Sweating simply allows the beans to begin cooking from the direct heat before adding the water to finish cooking. To sweat the beans add with desired seasonings to the pot of sautéd leeks and garlic (diced tomatoes or tomato paste is included at this stage of cooking). Reduce heat to med-low, cover and cook about 10 minutes. The water can then be added, brought to a boil, and simmered for 30-40 minutes more (The RQ always adds a hearty bay leaf.). Beans cooked in this way maintain their integrity and don't get mushy. 

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Cincinnati SKYLINE Chili

Skyline Chili Coney
Some would argue the differences between chili and coney dogs. Whether you add extra mustard and onions to your dog is a personal choice. Whatever you call it, this dog is tasty!

Skyline Chili 3-Way
This chili is from a recipe as authentic as I have found for the ultimate "Skyline" chili experience! The key to this chili formula is the cocoa and cinnamon! Yes, cocoa!!

Skyline Chili is a franchise and realized dream of a young Greek man who came to America and settled in Cincinnati. Click on the link to read more about the story behind the man.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Lemon-Ginger Scones

Let me count the ways to spoil myself! These Lemon-Ginger scones are delish! 

Lemon-Ginger Scones

2 cups AP Flour
1 Tblsp baking powder
2 Tblsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1 1/3 cup heavy cream
2 Tblsp crystalized ginger, chopped fine
1 Tblsp lemon zest

Mix all dry ingredients together fold in ginger and zest last. Add heavy cream and mix gently with a wooden spoon till just mixed. Use hand as dough-hook bringing mixture into a ball using extra flour if needed.  When dough comes together place on lightly floured surface. Pat into about an inch thick round. Use pastry cutter to cut into eight triangles.  Place on cookie sheet and bake 375F for 15-20 min. till golden. Enjoy!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Alfredo Primavera w/ Arugula Salad

Nothing better than a plate of linguine and organic vegetables! 

The Red Queen's alfredo sauce always begins by sautéing a shallot in olive oil. Once the onion is soft butter is added. When the butter is melted a tablespoon or two of all-purpose flour is whisked in. The addition of 2/3 cup heavy cream makes this a lovely white sauce. Red pepper flakes are optional, but don't forget the salt & freshly-cracked-black pepper.

To compliment this dish an arugula salad with a honey-vinaigrette and shaved parmesan made for a tasty and easy to prepare meal.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Vegan New Year Feast

Thank you Carrot Chopper and Buttery Stick for a memorable feast to bring in the New Year with family and friends!

Maple Baked Tempeh

Roasted Quinoa-Stuffed Onions

recipe by Winnie Abramson of the HEALTHY green KITCHEN

Asparagus in Lemon-Thyme Sauce

Mashed Potatoes with Sun-Dried Tomatoes

Raw Chocolate Cheesecake with Fresh Berries

Sous Chef, Buttery Stick


Monday, December 16, 2013

Espresso - Black Gold

Due to not having had a coffee post in a while and P<'s current obsession, The RQ has decided to share about their love affair…with Black Gold! (Black Gold is also the name of a movie. A must watch for coffee aficionados!) "Let me count the ways to brew coffee:  too many." The RQ likes her coffee strong, bold, and dependable….  French Press, Chemex, and espresso are her favorite brew methods. For our wedding anniversary this year we splurged and finally bought a reputable espresso machine. We now enjoy a consistent espresso or cappuccino almost daily. Crossland's CC1 Home Espresso Machine has found a welcome home albeit plan for a learning curve to become comfortable with this machine's peculiarities. Tis the season to be a bit more peppy!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Gram's Stuffed Artichokes

Since we're on the subject of artichokes, it's time to introduce my Gram's stuffed artichokes. She made these every holiday gathering along with Italian Brown (Crimini) stuffed mushrooms! I looked forward to enjoying them every time! As often is the case, basic ingredients and simple skills allow these specialties to shine! Recipe Below. Enjoy!

Stuffed Artichokes

Artichokes, whole (one per individual/stems used in steaming)
Garlic, 2 large cloves, minced
Parsley, fresh flat leaf, 2 Tblsp
Bread, one loaf (Pepperidge Farm White Thin Sandwich Bread is The RQ's preference)
Extra Virgin Olive Oil, 1/3-2/3 cup
Butter, 1-2 Tblsp
Oregano, dried, 1 Tblsp
Red Pepper Flakes, 1-2 tsp
Salt & Pepper, to taste
*Mushroom Stems (included if also stuffing mushrooms)

(Approximate spice amounts included only as a guide as these are per preference and amount of chokes cooked.)

Fill a large bowl with water and the juice of half a lemon. Rinse and trim artichokes, then set in cold water. To trim, cut stems from bases and trim tops with a chef's knife; then cut tips off all the leaves allowing for plenty of room to stuff later. Place artichoke and stems in lemon water to prevent leaves browning.

Slice bread into 1/2" cubes and toss with oregano, fresh parsley, salt & pepper. Sauté garlic, red pepper flakes, and mushroom stems (if also stuffing mushrooms) in butter. Add sauté mixture to dried stuffing and toss. Then add as much oil as needed to create a very moist and cohesive stuffing!

Dry artichokes upside down on paper towel, then stuff about a heaping tablespoon per leaf. Meanwhile have a thick bottomed pan on burner filled with two-three inches of water coming to a boil and simmer. Artichoke stems can be placed to create space between the artichokes which decreases cooking time. Artichokes are then carefully place into the HOT water. Return water to a boil, then turn down to a hearty simmer and cover for about an hour. You will know the artichokes are done when a leaf can be easily pulled from the choke. Remember to allow these delicacies a little time to rest on a plate or serving dish loosely covered with foil~they're HOT!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Savory Spinach Artichoke Stuffing


(Savory Spinach Artichoke Stuffing)

Thanksgiving Dinner would not be complete without Emeril Lagasse's Spinach Artichoke Stuffing! The RQ's Court has been enjoying this unusual and flavorful stuffing for over a decade!

A Slightly Unusual Menu for Thanksgiving Dinner-

Quinoa Stuffed Peppers (vegan)
Spinach Artichoke Stuffing w/ Brie (vegan opt)
Brussels Sprouts with Chestnuts (vegan)
Mashed Potatoes (vegan opt)

Carrot Cake w/ Cashew Cream Frosting (vegan)

Brussels Sprouts with Chestnuts (stovetop)

Brussels Sprouts (2 stalks/1 pound)
Butternut Squash (1/2" chunks)
Yellow Onion, chopped
Chestnuts (2 dozen)*
Olive Oil, 1/4 cup
Broth (chicken/veggie) up to 1 and 1/2 cups
Orange Juice, fresh, about one cup (1/3 used for soaking raisins if using)
Golden Raisins, 1/4 cup (opt; soaked for 30 min in 1/3 cup orange juice)
Salt & Pepper

NOTE: If the vegetables and chestnuts are prepared ahead this side takes 45 minutes to an hour to cook on the stove. Also note, if using golden raisins, the cup of juice required for the recipe includes the juice used to soak the raisins. All the juice ends up in the dish! If not using freshly squeezed the cook may choose to use less as store-bought juice can be overly sweet.

Par boil brussels sprouts about 5 minutes, strain and set aside. Heat olive oil over med heat, add onions and sauté about 5 minutes. Add squash and continue sautéing about 5 minutes. Add 3/4 cup of broth and bring to a boil, cover and simmer for 3-5 minutes. Remove lid and add brussels sprouts, chestnuts, raisins, orange juice, salt & pepper. Increase heat to medium and cook and additional 10-15 minutes or until sprouts and squash are tender but not mushy. Use as much of the remaining broth as needed to prevent burning.

*Chestnuts-Cut chestnuts in half with a chef's knife, parboil 2-3 minutes. Drain and peel when cool enough to handle. Spring-loaded or needle-nose pliers are great for popping the meat from the half shell! Thanks to Badgersett Farms for the tip!