Zucchini Petals Frittata Recipe

June 20, 2014 in Breakfast, Vegetarian Entrees

Don’t you just love zucchini season?

Zucchini Frittata Recipe

Pretty zucchini petals top a luscious frittata

I am one of those strange people who loves zucchini season – for more than just zucchini bread. I love it in so many things – and I look forward each year to when it is abundant and cheap!

As proof that I love zucchini, I have made it in many, many creative forms: I have made zucchini rolled into a one pot meal, turned into savory s’mores, baked in ramekins with eggs, made into salsa verde, and stirred into zucchini crudo salad.

My latest zucchini fest involves a skillet and eggs: a frittata. Instead of just dicing it and stirring it into the egg mixture, I decided to try a more attractive way of using the zucchini – it turned out so pretty – sort of an edible breakfast centerpiece. The zucchini slices look just like flower petals arranged artistically.

You need an 8 to 10 inch non-stick skillet for this recipe – I used an 8 inch, and the frittata puffed up to the top and was the perfect thickness.

This is an easy, quick dinner with just a few ingredients – yet pretty enough to impress friends and neighbors. A summer staple at our house, for sure!

– posted by Donna

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Rocket Man Pizza

April 10, 2014 in Entrees, Gluten Free, Vegetarian Entrees

 Never tried an arugula-topped pizza? 

Arugula, ricotta, chevre, and feta + garlic, lemon and thyme vinaigrette, topped with toasted hazelnuts = Rocket Man Pizza (with gluten-free crust from Bob’s Red Mill)

I’m sure Hopworks Urban Brewery in Portland has many other delicious pizza offerings and other excellent far, but I wouldn’t know. Ever since encountering their “Rocket Man” pizza (rocket as in the UK name for arugula), I haven’t been able to bring myself to order anything else. It’s arugula tossed in a lemon-thyme (a long, long thyme?) vinaigrette, atop a bed of ricotta, chevre and mozzarella, sprinkled with feta and toasted hazelnuts as a final flourish.

I had the chance to hang with Donna and the family this weekend, and in an early celebration of my daughter’s 6th birthday, we had a pizza party with a variety of pies; some pre-made, some make-your-own. I’ve been wanting to try an approximation of HUB’s Rocket Man for a while now, so this was the perfect excuse to give it a shot.  Read the rest of this entry →

Caulicannon: Irish Comfort Food – minus the carbs

March 16, 2014 in Gluten Free, Healthy Fare, Holidays, Side Dishes, Vegetarian Entrees

A low-carb, nutrient-packed version of the Irish comfort food classic for St. Patrick’s Day.

Caulicannon: The Irish Comfort Classic made low-carb.

This is certainly a last-minute entry for the St Patrick’s Day recipe bonanza that’s blown up the foodblogosphere all week, but the brainstorm just hit me yesterday and it would be remiss of me not to share it with you posthaste. I was hanging out on Pinterest with my morning coffee as per usual, thinking how lovely a nice bowl of creamy, starchy colcannon would be. Wait a minute, I’ve come to love cauliflower rice, why not use cauliflower mash as the foundation of a low-carb colcannon?

All on its own, I do generally prefer either ricing cauliflower or roasting it,  rather than the pureed version that can be substituted for potatoes, but in this instance, it really hits the spot. My only regret is not doubling the recipe so I’d have more leftovers.

Slainte to all! Read the rest of this entry →

Kicking Off 2014: A Roundup of Veggie-Centric Dishes

January 2, 2014 in Healthy Fare, Vegan Recipes, Vegetarian Entrees

Veggie-Centric Recipes to Kick Off 2014!

Raw Beet and Butternut Slaw

‘Tis the season to renew commitments to health and self. There are hundreds of possible approaches out there, so far be it from us to suggest which one is right for YOU as an individual, as every person has unique needs, but the one thing ANY health centered plan has in common? VEGGIES. Lots and lots and lots of veggies! Whether low-carb or vegan or paleo or vegetarian or primal or flexatarian or Weight Watchers or Dukan or primal or or what-have-you, increasing the amount of nutrient-dense vegetables is just a given.

So rather than zero in one one particular approach, we thought we’d share a collection of veggie-centered (as in made only or primarily from vegetables, with other ingredients as accompaniment only) recipes that would be great for just about any plan, either as-is or with only minor modifications. You’re bound to find something that works for you. Hope some of these find their way into your menu regardless of your chosen approach – or even independent of any “approach”.

Cheers for a healthful New Year!

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Chartreuse of Vegetables: A Vintage Show-Stopper for Any Holiday Table

December 23, 2013 in Gluten Free, Holidays, Oh My!, Vegetarian Entrees

An all-vegetable extravaganza sure to dazzle any holiday table!

Chartreuse of Vegetables: A hearty family treasure that’s guaranteed to bring out the oohs and ahhhs.

I’ve been looking forward to resurrecting this dish for years. My adoptive mother is a loving and lovely woman, but unlike my fabulous birthmom from whom I inherited my culinary chromosome and with whom I share this blog, she was NOT much of a cook, or even much of a food lover. (Trust me, she will tell you that herself with zero compunction!). But once in a great while, to the total surprise of me ad my sister, she would bust out with something astonishing. Of course, as kids we were horrified at first. “A cake made of VEGETABLES? Eww! Jeez, Mom, you’re so weird.” She made it for several years, and we rolled our eyes every time – but it secretly grew on us, just a little.

As with many things, I look back on that now with much greater appreciation, and have always wanted to remake it with a few upgrades and tweaks.

Warning: This is not a quick recipe, nor an uncomplicated one. But if you enjoy going all-out for a special occasion and want to linger in the kitchen once in a while, turn on some tunes and get INTO it – with a satisfying payoff in the end –  this absolutely is the holiday recipe for you.

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Lentil Love and the Legendary Lentil Cookoff

August 15, 2013 in Vegetarian Entrees

I’m off to Lentil Fest! Please send prayers/thoughts/good vibes our way this week as the Mom half of Apron Strings (Donna!) competes in Pullman, Washington on Saturday in the National Legendary Lentil Cook-Off.

I will be competing as one of the five finalists with my Lentil Carrot Cake – stayed tuned next week for the recipe, to be posted after the contest, win lose or draw!

And so, to get us in the lentil mood, we are posting some of our favorite Lentil Love. Enjoy! And Wish me luck!


Refried Lentils. Why Didn’t I think of this before?

– posted by Donna

Farmer’s Market Baked Eggs in Zucchini Recipe

August 7, 2013 in Breakfast, Vegetarian Entrees

Zucchini Shirred Eggs Square

Baked Eggs. Eggs in Cocotte. Shirred Eggs. An egg by any other name would be as yummy.

And what did we ever do before farmer’s markets? This week is Farmer’s Market Week, and I’m a believer!

In honor of Sneak Some Zucchini on to Your Neighbor’s Porch Day tomorrow I am sneaking some zucchini into a breakfast dish. Whaaaa??? Zucchini for breakfast??? Trust me on this one – yummy and easy and garden fresh! Baked eggs are yummy and easy to make, and I love this pretty presentation with the zucchini wrapping around the eggs.

I did a spinach and ricotta base for the eggs, then placed a long zucchini slice around the edge of the ramekin and cracked an egg into the middle. Simple. Pretty. Delicious. And a bonus: helps get rid of zucchini!

If you have a ton of the green squash lurking in your garden, or if your neighbor sneaks some on to your porch, I highly recommend 
50 Amazing Zucchini Recipes
 over at Kalyn’s Kitchen. She always inspires me – especially this time of year with my garden overflowing!

- posted by Donna

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Bhel Puri – a Bowl of Bollywood

July 19, 2013 in Appetizers, Gluten Free, Healthy Fare, Side Dishes, Vegan Recipes, Vegetarian Entrees


Bhel Puri: A tangy, crispy, easy Indian potato dish. Easy side dish, snack, or appetizer!

Anytime Donna comes to visit me – or vice versa – some culinary exploration is on the agenda, no matter how little time we have. Our most recent encounter was only over the course of two busy days, yet we still had to take in a little local flavor. Which, in the case of Portland, could mean just about anything!

Having not gotten my Indian fix in a good long time, we headed to Bollywood Theater, specializing in popular street food fare. I love chicken tandoori and aloo gobi as much as the next person, but I also love meandering off that well-worn path (well-worn for a reason, but still) to try some more esoteric offerings. Our favorite selection by far was the Bhel Puri, a simple potato dish punched up with chutneys, peanuts, cilantro and the texture contrast created by puffed rice.

Naturally I had to try to create a version at home. I used puffed millet rather than rice, substituted cashews for the peanuts, and loved the results. I can pretty much guarantee this will be a hit for any summer potluck you attend with this in hand.  Read the rest of this entry →

One Pot Wonder Thai Style Peanut Pasta Recipe

June 24, 2013 in Vegan Recipes, Vegetarian Entrees

One Pot Wonder Thai Peanut Pasta Recipe

One Pot Wonder Thai Peanut Pasta Recipe – BEFORE

After discovering the One Pot Wonder technique for cooking pasta, I admit I am a bit obsessed with making new versions of this stunningly simple pasta dish with a silky smooth sauce.

And so, food fans, after dozens of pots o’ pasta – yes, I do sacrifice for my art – I present this One Pot Wonder 2.0 Thai Style Peanut version.

I love the flavors of a great Pad Thai, so I decided to throw all those flavors in a pot with linguine pasta instead of rice stick noodles, the classic Pad Thai noodle.

I added veggies that I love in Thai cuisine, and a scoop of peanut butter to melt into the sauce. The sauce that develops is rich and creamy due to the peanut butter. And the whole dish is a symphony of Thai flavors. Do put this on your Must Try List!

Just a few notes: the photo above has parsley, but I would normally use cilantro – just didn’t have any on hand when I made this one – parsley works, but cilantro is better, IMHO. And, chopped cilantro, mung bean sprouts, chopped peanuts and a squeeze of fresh lime on top of each plate full complete this dish and make it more authentic. I added some sliced chunks of ginger and some sliced limes that you need to fish out before serving. ((Also, I did not use fish sauce in this recipe to make it vegan, but if you like using this classic Asian sauce used in traditional Pad Thai, it adds a pungent note.))

UPDATE TO RECIPE: Thanks to so many positive comments and especially from followers who had problems with the sliced limes adding too much bitterness I have updated this recipe. (( Don’t you love the interactive-ness of food blogging?! )) I have edited it to include lime juice squeezed and tossed in to the dish just before serving, and NOT slices of lime added in before cooking. THANK YOU, lovely readers, for following us, and for caring enough to leave comments!

Thai Peanut Pasta Recipe - AFTER

Thai Peanut Pasta Recipe – AFTER

 — posted by Donna

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One Pot Wonder Tomato Basil Pasta Recipe

May 19, 2013 in Vegetarian Entrees

One Pot Pasta BEFORE

One Pot Wonder Pasta – BEFORE

Once in awhile a dish comes along and stuns you and makes you rethink the way you cook. This miracle throw-everything-in-a-pot pasta dish has done that for me.

You literally throw in all the ingredients for this dish – including the uncooked pasta – and then Flame On! You cook it all together and DO NOT DRAIN the pasta. You just cook it up and starch leaches out of the pasta and makes a rich, warm sauce for the noodles. The other ingredients cook right along  with the pasta. The tastes and textures of this dish are shockingly good. And the “sauce” made by the starch from the pasta combining with the reduced vegetable broth is truly remarkable.

I started with the idea from a photo I saw in this months’s Martha Stewart Living magazine, but I added some things to make this recipe my own and that I think make the dish even better: some crumbled oregano leaves and a little olive oil for richness. And Oh Yes! – I used vegetable broth, not water and salt as called for in the recipe. I used regular vegetable broth, not a low-sodium version, and this was the perfect seasoning for the pasta.

I was so nervous about cooking the linguine right with the other ingredients, but I took a leap of faith. This dish is a revelation, and I’ll make it again and again.

NOTE: This recipe and new technique just scream out for experimentation by passionate cooks, so please feel free to tweak as desired, and come back and let us know your favorite version(s)!

Happy Meatless Monday, all!

One Pot Pasta AFTER

One Pot Wonder Pasta – AFTER

– posted by Donna

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