Category Archives: Vegetarian

Shrimp Mocktail


There is one ingredient that you will very rarely find on this blog and that’s shellfish.  See, when I reached college age I discovered that I had developed a shellfish allergy.  It took me a while to figure it out what was causing the rather painful attacks as I had been eating shrimp, crab and clams since I was a little girl and never had a problem.  Some of my favorite memories are of clamming with my family at Dillon Beach.  Running around the sand bar, stomping next to little holes in the sand hoping for a thin fountain of water to shoot up and then watching my dad do all of the digging.  Magic.  The homemade clam chowder after, delicious.

After one awful visit to Bubba Gumps and one experimental nibble on a shrimp soon after, there wasn’t any doubt I was allergic.  It’s to the point that I can’t eat anything with even a hint of oyster sauce and long periods in the ocean will give me a nice set of hives.  


This sucks on a number of levels, not the least was giving up a few things I love like crab and cream cheese wontons and shrimp cocktail.  I rejoice whenever I find a Chinese restaurant that cheaps out and uses the fake crab meat in the wontons.  My stomach has proven that there is apparently not an ounce of real crab in the fake stuff.  

I was reading my Bon Appetite the other day and came across this recipe for a “Poor Man’s Shrimp Cocktail”.  Intrigued, I tried it out for Sunday Night Dinner with my friends and family and the general consensus was that it tastes pretty darn close.  Obviously you have to trick your mind a little (or cut up the cauliflower into shrimp shapes) but dipped in the cocktail sauce it is quite delicious.  It uses a crab boil seasoning (I found this at my local supermarket in the seafood section) as a large part of the flavoring.  The recipe is vegetarian/vegan which was a bonus when my vegetarian brother is over.


Shrimp Mocktail

1 cup dry crab boil seasoning (such as Zatarain’s or Old Bay)
1/4 cup kosher salt
2 yellow onions, quartered
6 garlic cloves
3 lemons, halved crosswise
2 1-pound heads of cauliflower, cored, trimmed into 2″ florets

1.  Combine crab boil, salt, onions, garlic, and 6 quarts water in a large pot. Squeeze juice from lemons into pot and add lemon halves. 
2.  Set pot over high heat and bring liquid to a boil. Cook for 10 minute. Using a slotted spoon, remove onions, garlic, and lemons from broth; discard.
3.  Return liquid to a rolling boil.  Add cauliflower; turn off heat, cover pot tightly, and let stand until cauliflower is crisp-tender, 5–10 minutes.
4.  Drain; spread out cauliflower on a rimmed baking sheet and let cool completely.
Cooking Notes: Cauliflower can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Serve with cocktail sauce for dipping.

Leave a Comment

Filed under Appetizer, Recipes, Vegetarian

Artichoke and Spinach Strudel

Just how many recipes are there that use refrigerated crescent rolls?  That inexpensive tube of premade dough is used to create so many things besides what they are actually intended for.  While I enjoy making my own dough, it is such a time saver (and stress reliever) to whack that cardboard tube against the counter, unroll the sticky dough and stretch/roll/cut it into whatever shape is needed.This recipe is a perfect way to hide a load of good for you vegetables in a flaky buttery package.  Even my sometimes picky 3 year old thought it was good eating.  The sun dried tomatoes add a sweet component to the dish but I think it’s the chopped walnuts on top that is the ‘piece de resistance’.

Artichoke and Spinach Strudel
adapted from Taste of Home

  • 1-1/4 cups chopped baby portobello mushrooms
  • 1/3 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
  • 4 teaspoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 package (10 ounces) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
  • 2 tablespoons prepared pesto
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, optional
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped thawed frozen artichoke hearts
  • 1 (4 oz) container of sliced olives
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 1 tube (8 ounces) refrigerated crescent rolls
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped walnuts



  1. In a nonstick skillet, saute mushrooms and tomatoes in 2 teaspoons olive oil until mushrooms are tender. Cool to room temperature.
  2.  Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the spinach, pesto, pepper and, if desired, pepper flakes. Add the artichokes, olives, mozzarella cheese, 5 tablespoons Parmesan cheese and mushroom mixture; mix well.
  3. Unroll crescent dough onto a lightly greased baking sheet into one long rectangle; seal seams and perforations. Roll out into a 14-in. x 9-in. rectangle.
  4. Spread filling in a 3-in.-wide strip down center of rectangle. On each long side, cut 1-in.-wide strips to within 1/2 in. of filling. Starting at one end, fold alternating strips at an angle across filling. Whisk egg and remaining oil; brush over dough. Sprinkle with walnuts.
  5. Bake at 350° for 20 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining Parmesan cheese; bake 10 minutes longer or until golden brown. Cool for 5 minutes before cutting into 12 slices.

Leave a Comment

Filed under Main Dish, Recipes, Vegetarian

Roasted Sweet Potatoes



These sweet potatoes can easily be listed in a cookbook for ways to get your toddler to eat vegetables.  My almost 3 year old eats them like the candy that she thinks they are.  While they do take an hour to cook, the prep time is almost nothing.  It does regulate these to a weekend meal for this working mommy but they are worth the wait.
The slow heating of the foil tented sweet potatoes in the cold oven allows for the starches to be gently converted in to the maximum amount of sugars and then the foil removed roasting after, caramelizes the outside to a slightly crispy deliciousness.

Roasted Sweet Potatoes

slightly adapted from Cooks Illustrated

2 lbs sweet potatoes, ends trimmed, peels and cut into 3/4 inch rounds
1 tbs vegetable oil
1/2 tsp table salt
ground black pepper
1.  Toss potatoes in a large bowl with oil, salt and pepper to taste until evenly coated.
2.  Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and coat with nonstick cooking spray.   Arrange potatoes on baking sheet and cover tightly with foil.
3.  Adjust oven rack to middle position and place potatoes in cold oven.  Turn oven to 425F and cook for 30 minutes.
4.  Remove the top layer of foil and continue baking for 15-25 minutes or until bottom edges of potatoes are golden brown.

5.  Remove baking sheet from oven and carefully flip the potatoes over.  Continue roasting until potatoes are golden brown, 18 to 22 minutes longer.  Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes before serving.

Leave a Comment

Filed under Recipes, Side Dish, Vegetarian

Curry with Sweet Potatoes, Eggplant, Mushrooms, and Chickpeas



I’m a big lover of Indian food but have to admit that I don’t frequent the local restaurants much.  Mostly because I have no idea what I’m ordering and am always worried I’m going to get something I don’t like.  Luckily, the wonderful people over at America’s Test Kitchen took all the effort out of searching the web for recipes to make at home.  Plus, if it’s from ATK, it has an 90% chance of being delicious.

I did slightly alter the recipe (I substituted mushrooms for the green beans) and chose not to seed the serrano chile (it was tiny and I like a little heat) but otherwise it uses all of their perfect portions of seasonings and cooking methods.  I would encourage you to do your own vegetable substitutions for whatever you have in the fridge.  Just add it at the appropriate cooking time (ie potatoes and squash take longer to cook then green beans).

The fragrance that will permeate you kitchen (and entire house) will make you think you were in your favorite Indian food restaurant.
Serve over basmati rice and/or with Nann.

Curry with Sweet Potatoes, Eggplant, Mushrooms, and Chickpeas

adapted from America’s Test Kitchen
makes 4-6 servings
2 Tbs curry powder
1 1/2 tsp garam masala
4 Tbs vegetable oil
2 medium onions, chopped fine
12 oz sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbs grated fresh ginger
1 serrano chile, minced
1 Tbs tomato paste
12 oz mushrooms, sliced
1 medium eggplant, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes, pulsed in a food processor until nearly smooth
1 1/4 cup water
1 (15 oz) can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained and rinsed
1/4 cup heavy cream or coconut milk
1.  Toast curry powder and garam masala in small skillet over medium-high heat, stirring constantly until spices darken slightly and become fragrant, about 1 minute.  Set aside.
2.  Heat 3 Tbs of oil in a large pot over medium-high heat.  Add onions and potatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are caramelized and potatoes are golden brown on the edges.
3.  Reduce heat to medium.  Add remaining Tbs of oil, garlic, ginger, chile, and tomato paste; cook, stirring constantly for 30 seconds.  Add toasted spices and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute.  Add mushroom and eggplant and cook, stirring constantly until spices coat the vegetables, about 2 minutes.

4.  Add tomatoes, water, chickpeas, and 1 tsp salt; increase heat to medium-high and bring mixture to a boil.  Cover and reduce heat to medium.  Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender, 10-15 minutes.  Stir in cream or coconut milk; continue to cook until heated through, about 2 minutes longer.


Filed under Main Dish, Recipes, Vegetarian

Vegetable and Bacon Orzo Salad


This salad is… well it’s good.  Very good.  So good that I would find myself leaving a spoon in the leftover container just so I could sneak bites when I walked by the fridge.  So good that I would invent reasons to walk by the fridge just so that I could sneak a bite.  I literally finished the last of this salad sitting on a stool on the floor so that Rose could share the last of the fabulousness with me.  There is something about the tang of the lemon mixed with the sweet of the sun dried tomatoes and the savoriness of the bacon that just kept pulling me in.

This would be great to bring to a pot luck as it gets better the longer the dressing has to meld with the pasta.

I made a few changes from the original recipe such as increasing the amount of orzo (I couldn’t find a box small enough and didn’t want to waste any) and added in some of the delicious applewood smoked bacon I had picked up a few days earlier.  If you want to make it a vegetarian recipe just leave out the bacon and walla!  I had found a bunch of asparagus that was thinner than a pencil so the quick blanching time worked wonderfully.  If you can’t find asparagus that thin just cut the pieces a little smaller and increase the blanching time by a minute or so.


Vegetable and Bacon Orzo Salad
adapted from Food for my Family

8 oz thick cut bacon, about half a package
1 bunch asparagus, about 3 cups diced with bottom 2 inches removed
2 shallots, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
16 oz orzo pasta, cooked al dente and cooled
15-oz can quartered artichoke hearts, drained
3 oz sun dried tomatoes, julienne cut
1 lemon, zested and juiced
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1/3 cup olive oil

1.  Cook bacon until fully cooked but not too crispy.  Drain the grease from the pan, reserving one tablespoon.  When cool, chop into pieces.

2.  Add shallots and garlic to the pan and saute for 1-2 minutes until just tender.

3.  Bring a medium saucepan full of water to a boil.  Turn off the burner, add in the asparagus pieces and blanch for 2-3 minutes. Drain and rinse with cool water.

4.  In a large bowl, add the cooked pasta, asparagus, shallots, garlic, artichoke hearts, sun dried tomatoes and lemon zest.

5.  In a small bowl, whisk together lemon juice, white wine vinegar, salt and pepper.  While continuously whisking, slowly pour olive oil into the mixture.  Stir the dressing into the salad.

6.  Cool in refrigerator for at least 5 hours.  Trust me, this only gets better with refrigeration.

Leave a Comment

Filed under Main Dish, Recipes, Vegetarian