Pumpkin-Shaped Pumpkin Mini-Quiches

October 16, 2014 in Breakfast, Dairy-Free, Gluten Free, Holidays, Vegetarian Entrees

More pumpkin goods! An easy, dairy-free autumn breakfast or savory snack.

Pumpkin Mini-Bundt Quiches

Pumpkin Mini-Bundt Quiches

Pumpkin in both shape and content. You could just as easily bake these mini-quiches in regular muffin tins if you don’t have one of these snazzy numbers, and they’d be just as tasty a savory fall breakfast or snack. But if you want to add a little extra seasonal flair, I loved how the quasi-pumpkin shapes turned out. Totally dairy-free, and if you omit the pretzel stick garnishes for stems, paleo as well.   Read the rest of this entry →

Crispy Baked Portobello Fries

October 12, 2014 in Appetizers, Snacks

Portobello slices make crispy baked “fries.”

Portobello Fries

Crispy Mushroom Fries – with Sriracha dipping sauce

We live in times of culinary adventurousness, my friends. I mean, when I was a youngster no one would ever have dreamed of making fries out of anything but good ole Russets. Preferably from Idaho.

But now, all bets are off and fries come from too many vegetables to count. Here at Apron Strings, one of our favorite has been Green Bean Fries. And our Sweet Potato Tater Tots were a huge hit.

I decided to try my luck with mushrooms, and chose Portobellos because the caps can be cut into long planks like home style fries. There are two tricks: One trick is that you have to remove the gills from the caps, because this is where a lot of water comes from and will make your mushroom fries soggy. Then trick two: the oven has to be very hot so that the fries cook quickly.

I loved these fries so much, The Hubs and I stood over the pans eating them fresh out of the oven and we had to make another batch to get photos. Yes, I sacrifice for my art.

– posted by Donna

Read the rest of this entry →

Maple Molasses Popcorn Balls with Cinnamon-Glazed Pecans

October 9, 2014 in Holidays, Snacks

Perfect popcorn treats for Halloween parties or any other autumn occasion – using no refined sugar.

Maple Molasses Popcorn Balls

Maple Molasses Popcorn Balls with Cinnamon Honey-Glazed Pecans

What’s a better homespun Halloween treat than popcorn balls? Being a big fan of Wholesome Sweeteners’ line of non-refined, organic options, I experimented with their hearty blackstrap molasses and their lovely golden honey. Both worked fabulously for a twist on the classic sweet and salty treat, made without any refined sugar. Just a tablespoon of the rich molasses was enough to add just the right robustness to the maple syrup – a little goes a very long way! And the honey with the cinnamon and pecans, well, you may want to make a little extra just to nosh on.

Make it a fun project with the kids! Enjoy.

Read the rest of this entry →

Frittatatouille Breakfast Skillet

October 6, 2014 in Breakfast, Entrees

Turn leftover ratatouille into Provencal-inspired breakfast magic.

Frittatatouille

Frittata + Ratatouille. What else could you possibly call it?

 

A late-late summer discovery: Leftover ratatouille is the perfect content for a ridiculously easy frittata the next morning for breakfast – especially it it’s also a Meatless Monday Morning. Practically effortless, delicious, low-carb, and happens to be dairy-free if you swing that way. The first step, a night or two beforehand, is making Francis Lam’s Weapons-Grade Ratatouille. It’s seriously spoiled me for all other ratatouilles, and I make it at least 3 or 4 times in late summer now. So, do that, ENJOY, and make sure to reserve about a cup to a cup and a half for the frittata. Then proceed accordingly:  Read the rest of this entry →

Pumpkin Deviled Eggs

October 1, 2014 in Appetizers, Healthy Fare, Holidays, Snacks

Pumpkin – in shape and flavor – deviled eggs.

Pumpkin Deviled eggs

Deviled Eggs with a splash of pumpkin!

October begins today, and you can tell by all the pumpkin recipes on food blogs everywhere. I love fall flavors, and especially pumpkin, so I decided to try pumpkin puree in deviled eggs.

Turns out, pumpkin and eggs are heavenly together!

You just decrease the amount of mayonnaise in your usual deviled eggs and swap it with pumpkin puree. And, we had some season’s end okra in our garden, so the tips made perfect handles for the pumpkins. You could use any green veggie – string beans or green onions or even a piece of bell pepper.

I won’t say how many the Hubs and I ate, but let’s just say this became our dinner after the photo shoot. Just a sprinkle of chili powder on top and these babies are perfect for a fall appetizer, snack, or == ahemmmm  == dinner.

Happy Fall, Y’all!

— posted by Donna

Read the rest of this entry →

Low Sugar Baked Apples with Coconut Walnut Stuffing

September 29, 2014 in Desserts, Healthy Fare

Baked Apples just scream out “Fall is here!”

Baked Apples

Low Sugar Baked Apples

I make baked apples every fall for two reasons: (1) they are soft and velvety and comforting and (2) they make my whole house smell delicious!

This version of Baked Apples (and, Yes, I do make a different version every time I make them, depending on my mood) has no added sugar except what is in the sweetened coconut. The sweetness level was just perfect in them, and so I plan on making these again and again this fall. Especially when my neighbors drop off excess apples on our doorstep.

When the air turns crisp and cool, I become a bit nostalgic. I grew up in southern Arizona, so fall leaves were a rarity for us kids. But, there was one place we could always find them: my great grandma’s house! We would load up in the station wagon and drive the 3 hours to her house. There was, of course some unpleasantness, as is expected when you load six siblings into a station wagon. ((Mom, she’s touching me! Mom, he’s looking at me! )) But, it was always worth the trip. You see, my grandma had about a dozen huge pecan trees in her back yard that made a crispy brown leaf ocean from fence to fence. We would rake them up into piles and then the fun would begin. We would jump into them over and over again, howling with laughter. Sort of an Old School ball pool, for you youngsters who can’t envision this scene. And then we would gather up all the leaves and hunt for the pecans. If there were pecans left on the trees, we would shake the trees until they fell off.

I used Braeburn apples for this recipe, which have the perfect sweetness and hold together well while cooking. If you want sweet baking apples, you could also use Jonagold or McIntosh.

Fall is here, y’all – so let’s embrace it! Find a pile of brown crispy leaves to fall over backwards into! Bust out the cardigans! Cook some stews and bake some apples!

– posted by Donna

Read the rest of this entry →

IFBC 2014: Eat Food, Not Too Much, Mostly Plant-Based Diets

September 25, 2014 in Vegetarian Entrees

Reflections on #IFBC Seattle and the foundations of our food.

Marinated Veg

Marinated Veggie Salad Jars (click through for the recipe!)

 

As predicted and expected, we had a grand time at IFBC in Seattle last weekend. The surroundings, the conversation, the company, the food samplings, and yes, the swag. I always walk away from a conference recharged and refreshed, and this was no exception.

Out of many thought-provoking and entertaining sessions, one of the most engaging was the first, with Karen Page and Andrew Dornenberg,  two of today’s most renowned food writers who shared their inspiring story with warmth, wisdom and humor. I’ve been a fan for many years, and started using the seasoning guidelines tucked away in the back of my dog-eared, stained and scribbled-upon copy of Culinary Artistry long before they came out with the gloriously exponential expansion of that idea, The Flavor Bible. (Forgive me for sounding like a bit of a hipster.  How did the hipster burn his tongue? He drank his coffee before it was cool.)

Page has just come out with the Vegetarian Flavor Bible, the ebook of which was generously given to attendees to peruse (I can totally vouch for its excellence), and the last part of their presentation was devoted to talking about the potential health benefits of a plant-based diet, with emphasis on veganism – and certainly many have found great results from this approach. Being people who are passionate about all kinds of food and many approaches to health, including those for whom a vegan diet might be detrimental to their health, there was of course some online conversation among attendees; for just a moment, you could sense the #ifbc Twitter stream shifting uncomfortably in its seat.

And then we headed into the beef butchering demo. #ironyorjustuncannyjuxtaposition #thingsyoucantmakeup   Read the rest of this entry →

One Pot Poached Salmon with Fennel and Citrus

September 23, 2014 in Entrees, Healthy Fare

Poached salmon with a soft buttery texture and citrus and fennel.

One Pot Salmon with Citrus and Fennel

One Pot Salmon with Citrus and Fennel

Poaching is an under-utilized technique, IMHO. Poached fish is especially lovely because of the delicate flesh of the fish. Nothing is worse than dry, overcooked fish.

I recently fell in love with Coconut Milk Poached Fish, and decided to try another poached fish – my favorite: salmon.

Salmon is delicious infused with citrus flavors, and lemon alone is good, but the addition here of oranges and grapefruit make this salmon dish so flavorful.

When fall begins, I find myself longing for slow cooked food. This is a simple dish – and I just served it with crusty French bread for a complete meal.

One Pot Salmon

One Pot Salmon – Before

Read the rest of this entry →

20 Minute Chorizo Corn Chowder

September 19, 2014 in Soups and Stews

Flavorful corn chowder with a kick of heat.

Chorizo Corn Chowder

Corn chowder just got a whole lot more flavorful.

I love corn chowder.  There are just so many ways to go with corn – and this time I decided to pair corn with a little heat and spice. My favorite grocery store where I live (Harmon’s) has a wonderful meat department, and I love their chorizo. It is spicy but not to hot, rich but not too fatty.  I have also made my own chorizo, and it would work well in this chowder. But for the sake of time I used the store bought sausage here.

I love the crunch of the corn in this – cooked just a little so that the kernels retain their pop.

This chowder takes 20 minutes, tops – yet the broth has so much flavor and depth because of the chorizo. And the touch of sweetness from the coconut milk makes a perfect balance.

You will fall in love with this spicy soup – and be sure to have some crusty bread handy for sopping up the broth. Either that or lick your bowl like I did!

 — posted by Donna

Read the rest of this entry →

Raw Beet and Farro Salad

September 16, 2014 in Side Dishes, Vegan Recipes

Yes, they’re raw. Beets in a whole new way.

Raw Beet and Farro Salad

I discovered raw beets about a year ago, and it truly was a revelation.

They are crunchy and delicious, and so pretty on a plate. I paired them here with the ancient grain farro – the flavor of cashews in a grain! This is my first time using the grain that is so popular in Italy, and I loved the results. I bought semi-pearled farro, which just needs to be simmered until soft. If you buy whole grain farro, you will have to give it a soak overnight first. Farro has the texture of wheat berries, but tastes like cashews.

And then, raw beets. I have used them raw before in a Beet and Butternut Slaw, and found out the key: make very thin slices. Paper thin. As thin as you can get. If they are thin, they are crunchy and delicious.

So here I paired them with celery, leaves included, farro, and a lemon vinaigrette.

Happy Fall Y’all!

Read the rest of this entry →