Zucchini pie with yeasted olive oil crust

I am so happy with this savory pie.  Here’s the deal: the filling takes about four minutes to pull together and you can use any pie shell you want.  You can make this recipe in a snap with a pre-made crust, or you can give it a little more love and make the crust yourself.

I went with a yeasted olive oil crust from one of my most favorite cookbooks, Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone.  I usually shy away from tart and quiche type things for dinner because, with a buttery crust, they can be pretty high in calories.  This crust is lighter.  In many ways, it’s like a thin pizza dough enriched with olive oil and an egg.  It’s seriously very easy to make — not fussy and it comes together within a few minutes.  I think it’s much easier than a regular pie dough.  All you need is a bit of time to let the dough rise.

If you prefer a traditional shell, I am currently digging on this recipe for a for a flaky rye pie crust on 101 cookbooks.  I would definitely go the beer route for the liquid in the crust.  A Pilsner style would be perfect.

So, on to the filling.  Ever since that zucchini casserole, I’ve been thinking about a pie.  The flavors in this pie, white wine vinegar and mustard, draw from a southern French salad dressing recipe a friend taught me a while back.  The dressing, combined with Gruyere, pulls together a very flavorful dish.

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Zucchini, corn and cherry tomato casserole

I knew I wanted to make something with zucchini and corn.  I also wanted there to be leftovers — something I could easily eat for lunch over the next couple days.  For the first time in my life, it occurred to me that a casserole might be the answer.  So I made one.  And it will definitely, definitely not be my last casserole.  It hit the spot.

This dish is total comfort food.  It’s particularly nice when you wake up in August with a cold that’s left your head in a cloud (colds in August = not fair), or even when all the news stories are just so miserable that it feels good to make something simple and grounded.

Contrary to my previous thoughts on casseroles, this is a light dish.  You could eat it as either a main or a side course.  If it’s a main, you may want to pair it with a tossed green salad.  Also, this recipe isn’t fussy.  If you have little bits of leftover grains around your house, you might mix them in place of or in addition to the rice.  I can picture something with millet, quinoa, farro or wheat berries being totally yummy. Continue reading

Barbecue tempeh burgers topped with jalapeno slaw

When I first became vegetarian, it seemed like there were only two food options out in the restaurant world: variants of marinated and grilled zucchini/eggplant/peppers and veggie burgers (both of which were especially present at barbecues).  About 10 years ago I finally reached my absolute fill — no more!  So, I started to look around for other grilling options.  I mean, grilling is fun!  And chowing down on a burger off the grill (whatever that burger is made of) is such a part of American culture.  I like joining in.

Recently I’ve really been on the tempeh wagon.  Not only do I like the way it tastes, it’s a great mechanism for eating barbecue sauce, which I definitely don’t get enough of.  This recipe can be made the night before your barbecue (in fact, it’s best if it is) and then slapped on the grill when you’re ready. Continue reading

Thai green curry

While I was in the middle of writing about the best vegetarian green curry of all time, Alex and I boarded a plane and then a ferry, trading Bangkok for Koh Phi Phi.

In Koh Phi Phi, my blog plans were thwarted.  Our hotel didn’t really have internet.  So, we focused on SCUBA diving, hiking  and a bit of lounging on the beach…

One of the fun things about going to the beach in Thailand is that the beach-side restaurants sell Thai food (shocker!).  After a snorkel, we’d crawl out of the water, land on some chairs in the sand, and order up soups and curries. Continue reading

Stinging Nettle Pasta Ribbons with Roasted Cauliflower

In my recent food blog roamings I’ve been seeing Spring nettle recipes.  So, when I stumbled across nettles at the farmer’s market over the weekend I was curious.  I picked up a bag and grabbed one of the heads of cauliflower overflowing from the stands around the market.  I also vowed to plant tulips next year (or, really, plant anything at all…).

Nettles in hand, I took to the internet when we got home.  After inspiration from these beautiful recipes for nettle ravioli and pasta, I decided that was it — I would make nettle pasta!  So, for the first time since 2004, I pulled out my pasta roller. (Yes — that’s 7 years, 4 different states and 3 cross-country drives since I last used it.  Totally absurd.)

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Ricotta tossed pasta + spinach salad (with lemon-shallot vinaigrette)

Ever since our adventures in homemade ricotta, Alex and I have been eating more ricotta than normal.  Tonight we threw it into pasta for a quick dinner.

First we cooked about 8 ounces of whole wheat rotini just short of al dente, and then drained it.  In this dish I like the nutty flavor of whole wheat pasta, though you could certainly use any variety of pasta you want.

Next we heated up a tablespoon of olive oil on a medium heat and added about 10 sliced cherry tomatoes.  About 30 seconds is perfect (we are always careful not to overcook them).   Next, add in the pasta and make sure everything is evenly coated with the olive oil.

Now begins our sequence of pictures of food falling through the air!

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Roasted winter vegetables over Parmesan polenta

Tonight we roasted sweet potato, red onion and kale and spooned it over a bed of creamy, steaming Parmesan polenta.  It took about 45 minutes from start to finish.  The final result was a warming, comforting meal on a chilly evening.

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