vegetarian Tag

Summer! How I miss you. If you’re like me, you think of summer as a relaxing, low-key time; you imagine lazy days, long evenings, letting the schedule slide. But then there’s: reality. The kids lay waste to the house, starting endless glue or paint related “craft” projects, then squabbling, then wanting to play Minecraft instead, until HOORAY, the camps begin. But wait – now it’s making sure everyone has swimsuits and goggles and sunscreen, who’s getting picked up when? Who needs a plain white t-shirt to tie-dye NOW? And the inescapable lunches. So many lunches. In fact you have to redouble your efforts because the long, active days call for extra sustenance. Luckily, summer also means fruit and plenty of it, which makes it much easier to fill up hungry kids.

ec_bar_2

So here’s one thing that’s easy. These bars originate on a recipe card my mother gave me many years ago, but every few years I come up with a variation. These days, I’m using fresh fruit instead of a layer of jam, because who can pass up the tumbled piles of stone fruit and the gleaming berries that are everywhere in summer? Not me, that’s certain. These bars are sturdy enough to hold up in a lunch box or even for scarfing in the car as a quick breakfast. They’re full of whole grains and not too sweet either.

To bring out the juicy best of the fruit, I like to dice it up and let it macerate with some sugar for a few minutes while I assemble the other ingredients. And it really is just a few minutes – this recipe is supremely unfussy, mixes in a single bowl and can be modified any number of ways to suit your taste or what you have in the cupboard. Now that school days are here again, make the most of the last fruits of summer and make a quick batch of these bars for snacks. They pack well, or are the perfect after-school treats, and easy enough the kids can make them with just a little help.

ec_bars_6

Fresh Fruit Crumble Bars
Yields 16
Quick and easy snack bars loaded with whole grains and fresh fruit.
Write a review
Print
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
40 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
40 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 pound fresh fruit - strawberries, apricots, blueberries, peaches, plums are all good.
  2. 1 Tbs granulated sugar
  3. 1 cup flour
  4. 1 cup rolled oats (regular or quick cooking)
  5. 1/4 cup almond meal
  6. 1/2 tsp salt
  7. 1/4 tsp baking soda
  8. 1/2 cup brown sugar
  9. 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  10. 4 Tbs water or fruit juice
  11. 1 Tbs honey
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F, and line an 8" square baking pan with foil or parchment paper.
  2. Prepare the fruit: pit and chop larger fruit into fine dice, toss with the granulated sugar in a medium bowl and allow to sit while you prepare the other ingredients.
  3. In a large bowl, mix together the dry ingredients. Stir in the oil and honey, and add the water or juice, one tablespoon at a time, until the mixture is uniformly moist and beginning to form clumps.
  4. Reserving about 3/4 cup of the mixture, firmly press the remaining mixture into an even layer on the bottom of the pan.
  5. Spread the fruit evenly over the oat layer, making sure to get all the collected juices in as well.
  6. Sprinkle the remaining oat mixture over the top of the fruit.
  7. Bake for 30 minutes or until the top is brown and toasty and the fruit is beginning to bubble.
  8. Allow to cool completely before slicing into bars.
Emperors Crumbs https://www.emperorscrumbs.com/

There is a glaring lack of pineapple in this recipe. When you read “Hawaiian style” anything, doesn’t it always have pineapple in it? According to my poor niece, who is allergic to pineapple, everything seems to have pineapple in it, even the least tropical-sounding suspects.


The inspiration for these lovely little bites came from our trip to Maui, though, so for me, they’re Hawaiian. They were served as an appetizer, but are easily filling enough to make a meal. As an aside, we got some of these to bring up to our room for a party the last night of our stay. My mom sent me into uncontrollable laughter by announcing that she had to “go pick up the pu-pu platters” so, apparently, I am the emotional age of our nine-year-old. It’s good to have something in common with your kids.
Back to the recipe – I wanted to lighten up the version that we had on vacation, but at the last minute, I decided to try a variation that is a little closer to the creamy original. First I made a zingy, lime-based dressing that has a funky note from fish sauce. I know, not-so-vegetarian, but for some reason I’ll make an exception for fish sauce, even though I don’t really like fish. Leave it out if it’s not your thing. For the second batch, I stirred together the magical combination of ginger, garlic, and peanut butter, thinned out with soy sauce and vinegar. In the end, I am not sure which of the two dressings I liked better; it wasn’t for want of taking a bite here and a bite there for comparison’s sake, though.

lettuce wraps with ham

Hawaiian-style lettuce wraps
Serves 6
Flavorful rice with peanuts nestled in cute lettuce cups.
Write a review
Print
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
25 min
Total Time
30 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
25 min
Total Time
30 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 cups uncooked rice (brown or Basmati)
  2. 3 3/4 cups water
  3. 1 head butter lettuce
  4. 4 slices Canadian bacon or ham
  5. 1 cup fresh or frozen edamame (out of the pod)
  6. 1 large carrot, julienned or finely sliced
  7. 3 scallions, green and white parts sliced
  8. Handful of fresh cilantro, larger stems removed, to serve
  9. Roasted peanuts, chopped, to serve
For the lime dressing
  1. 1 lime
  2. 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  3. 1 tsp brown sugar
  4. 1 tsp fish sauce
  5. 1 clove garlic, minced
  6. 2 tablespoons peanut oil
For the peanut butter dressing
  1. 1 Tbs peanut butter, smooth or crunchy
  2. 2 tsp fresh ginger, grated or minced
  3. 1 clove garlic, minced
  4. 2 Tbs soy sauce
  5. 1 Tbs rice vingar
  6. 1 tsp honey
Instructions
  1. Cook the rice: bring the water to a boil, add the rice, cover and reduce heat to low. Cook for 20-25 minutes or until water is absorbed (this may take longer for brown rice). Place rice in a large bowl and set aside.
  2. Make the dressing(s): for the lime dressing, zest and juice the lime, then whisk in the remaining ingredients. For the peanut butter dressing, stir together all ingredients - this is easiest if the peanut butter is at room temperature.
  3. Saute the ham or bacon in a small skillet until slightly browned, then dice finely. You can either cook the edamame in the same pan, or boil them for 5 minutes in a little salted water.
  4. Add the ham, edamame, carrot and sliced scallions to the rice, and stir in your dressing.
  5. Prepare the lettuce: Separate the leaves, using care to keep them intact. Wash and dry the leaves, then, setting aside the larger, floppier outer leaves for another use (salad? sandwiches?), fill the leaves with about a quarter cup of the rice mixture. Sprinkle chopped peanuts and cilantro over the top to serve.
Notes
  1. You can definitely add more veggies to this recipe - diced red pepper, mushrooms, or zucchini come to mind right away. Leave them raw or give them a quick saute along with the ham. A scrambled egg or tofu can be substituted for the ham to make it vegetarian.
Emperors Crumbs https://www.emperorscrumbs.com/

[layerslider id=”4″]

This week didn’t go as planned. But it ended up working out just fine, although I have to say it was luck more than my own generous flexibility or anything. We ended up staying out late Monday night (we are now the proud owners lessees of a cute plug-in Ford C-Max!) so we stopped for burgers on the way home. I shuffled things around for the rest of the week, and cut the kid-requested breakfast for dinner because it doesn’t depend on fresh veggies or meat the way the other dinners did. Maybe it’s worth planning a night where we clean out the fridge or cupboard each week as a just-in-case option. So we did end up having burgers twice this week, but no one complained. The kids have been keeping busy at their various camps this summer, so they’re coming home hungry.

Monday: In & Out Burgers

Tuesday: Panko-crusted chicken, zucchini with Pecorino, sticky rice.

Wednesday: Pita sandwiches with falafel from Trader Joe’s, tomatoes, and shredded cabbage with a tahini-lemon drizzle.

Thursday: Pasta salad with tomatoes, raw corn from the cob, arugula, and cubes of smoked mozzarella.

Friday: Burgers on English muffins, green salad with home-made buttermilk ranch dressing. I read through a couple of recipes for ranch dressing and then kind of winged it. Results were… mixed. It ended up being closer to chimichurri than ranch. I may try to actually follow a recipe next time. Do you have a favorite to recommend?

Saturday: Homemade sushi with carrots, cucumber, avocado, canned salmon, and in the case of the rolls made by our boy, prosciutto.

Sunday: Tomato, corn & zucchini galette . I didn’t look closely at this recipe before shopping, so I bought too much zucchini and corn; never mind! I cobbled together a quite different pastry crust, using about half whole-wheat flour and subbing olive oil for some of the butter, and it turned out really well, I thought. And we had home-made ice cream for dessert. Recipe here!

While I was growing up eating Jell-O pudding cups,* halfway across the world Valerian was snacking on miláčik. Now, miláčik means “darling” or “dear” in Slovak, so if you run a search on it, you’ll get a rather surprising selection of results, particularly pet photos.

Last time he was back in the Old Country, Valerian noticed that miláčik is basically sweetened, flavored sour cream, and so when he returned to California, he decided to whip us up a batch himself. It’s not quite as firm as the kind you buy in the store, which sometimes is called tvarohový miláčik because it’s made with tvaroh, the local cheese that’s similar to ricotta. Valerian’s recipe here couldn’t be simpler, though, and while the vanilla bean gives you those authentic little speckles, just bump up the amount of good quality vanilla extract if that’s what you have. Sour cream makes a perfect consistency to top or fill crepes, or, honestly, just slurping it up all on its own. Good thing I’m wearing these elastic-waist pants.

Sour Cream Desert
This creamy delight falls somewhere between a pudding and a sauce. If vanilla seems, well, too vanilla, sift in a tablespoon of cocoa powder and make a chocolate version instead. Could you use yogurt instead of sour cream? Sure, but then you'll have flavored yogurt.
Write a review
Print
Prep Time
5 min
Prep Time
5 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 16 oz. container sour cream
  2. ¼ cup brown sugar
  3. 1 vanilla bean
  4. ½ tsp vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. Split the vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape out the seeds and their surrounding paste.
  2. Whisk together the sour cream, sugar, and vanillas in a medium bowl.
  3. Serve in small bowls, as a topping or filling for crepes or pound cake.
Notes
  1. Your kids will fall in love with this. It is easy to make so let them do the work.
Emperors Crumbs https://www.emperorscrumbs.com/

This is one of those odd combinations that just works. It sounds like a recipe I threw together based on whatever’s in the fridge, and in fact you really could try using different elements here if that’s what you have. Cauliflower always seemed like such a dull vegetable, it’s colorless for heaven’s sake! But roasted, it’s transformed – when it’s just a bit burned along the edges, that’s when it’s best. And kale, well, everyone and his dog knows how good kale chips are by now, right?

Here, the roasted veggies’ slight bitterness pairs up with a bright lemony-parmesan dressing and some gnocchi for heft, that’s a perfect dinner for early spring, just before all the best new crops start rolling in. If you feel the need for some protein, add some beans (you know I’m going to say chickpeas. I have such a thing for chickpeas!) or bacon.

There’s some chopping involved here, but once that’s done, it’s a very low-maintenance project. You could do some of it on the stovetop, but I think that’s more work, really. This past week I prepped the kale and cauliflower the night before, so all I had to do was pop them in the oven and boil the water for gnocchi while I made the dressing. Toss it all together and you’re ready to eat!

ROASTED KALE & CAULIFLOWER WITH GNOCCHI
Serves 4
This is one of those odd combinations that just works. It sounds like a recipe I threw together based on whatever’s in the fridge, and in fact you really could try using different elements here if that’s what you have. Cauliflower always seemed like such a dull vegetable, it’s colorless for heaven’s sake! But roasted, it’s transformed – when it’s just a bit burned along the edges, that’s when it’s best. And kale, well, everyone and his dog knows how good kale chips are by now, right?
Write a review
Print
Ingredients
  1. 1 large head cauliflower
  2. 2 bunches kale
  3. 1 package (500 grams) store-bought gnocchi
  4. 2 Tbs plus 2 tsp good quality olive oil, separated
  5. 1 clove garlic, minced
  6. 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  7. zest and juice of one lemon
  8. ½ cup or so grated Parmesan cheese
  9. salt, pepper to taste
  10. Additional parmesan cheese for sprinkling over the top
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Cut the stem off the cauliflower and cut/separate the florets into bite-size pieces.
  3. Toss with 1 teaspoon olive oil .
  4. Spread on a baking sheet in a single layer; sprinkle with a little salt.
  5. Roast for 20-25 minutes, occasionally shaking the pan to move things around, until the cauliflower is nicely browned.
  6. Meanwhile, cut the thick center stem from the kale and tear the leaves into large pieces.
  7. Toss with a teaspoon of olive oil (or again, spray) and spread on another pan, or make room on the cauliflower pan.
  8. The kale needs only about ten minutes in the oven, so keep an eye on it or put it in when there are just ten or so minutes left for the cauliflower.
  9. You want it to get crisp but not burn.
  10. Put a pot of water on to boil for the gnocchi.
  11. Whisk together the oil, mustard and garlic; whisk in the lemon zest and juice, and then stir in the Parmesan.
  12. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed.
  13. Boil the gnocchi according to directions, drain, and put it in a large bowl.
  14. When the cauliflower and kale look appealingly browned, add them to the bowl, reserving a few of the crispier kale leaves.
  15. Add the dressing and toss gently.
  16. Serve with the reserved kale leaves and Parmesan sprinkled on top.
Emperors Crumbs https://www.emperorscrumbs.com/