Category Archives: Sides

Veggie Cakes

Veg Cake
Cooking for people who don’t particularly care for vegetables can present a challenge.  Do you know anyone like this?   I have a number of clients are who aren’t huge fans of vegetables, so I have to think of ways to make them appealing.  You could pull a tomato off of the vine and hand it to me with dirt on it and I’d eat it without protesting,  but I love vegetables…     Continue reading

Arugula, Butternut & White Bean Salad with Maple Vinaigrette

butternut arugula salad

A few months ago, we were in Vancouver for our honeymoon. Whenever we tell people that we spent our honeymoon in Vancouver, it goes one of two ways: If they’ve never been, they automatically ask “Why Vancouver?” and for those that have been, it’s usually a smile and a sigh. They get it. There’s a reason I had to tell you a bit of backstory… I planned for MONTHS for this trip. Every single detail, including activities and eating. Ok, it was mostly eating… One of the “must do” activities was biking the perimeter of Stanley Park.  The weather did not cooperate with us and it rained almost every single day of our trip.  

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Pickled Vegetables aka Curtido

9.9I have been waiting for this supposed “cauliflower shortage” to work itself out because I have been craving these pickled vegetables and I was not about to pay $7 for a head of cauliflower… Call me crazy.

I had completely resigned myself to the idea that I was not going to fulfill my craving anytime soon because the price of cauliflower was not budging and i just could not bring myself to pay three times the normal price.   However, that little  (ever-present, annoying, extremely loud)  nagging voice in the back of brain said “Hey, let’s just walk over there and check”.   Gah, I hate when she’s right…  well, maybe just this once it’s okay.

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Rajas #SundaySupper

Rajas- Poblano Peppers sauteed with Onions and Garlic

This is officially my first post for the Sunday Supper group and it is rather serendipitous the way things work out.  You’ll see what I mean in a second…   The theme this week is “The Big Game” and everyone knows what game I’m referring to:  Denver Broncos vs Carolina Panthers.   My other half is a HUGE Denver Broncos fan, so this game is a Very Big Deal.

Last year, we spent a few days in Denver and I needed supplies for a quinoa salad I was making for about 100 people so we stopped into a local restaurant supply store.  In front of the store were two lovely Mexican women making gorditas.  I struck up a conversation with them  and found out they were mother and daughter.  We had quite a lovely chat about Mexico and I must tell you, they made the best gordita filled with rajas that I have had since living in Guadalajara. It was the perfect amount of heat.  The peppers were charred to perfection, the gordita was filled with gooey queso and I had fresh salsa verde on the side.

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Poutine Napoleons for #SundaySupper #FWCon

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Once again this year, I will be attending the Food Wine Conference  (#FWCon) in Orlando where I get to see many of my blogger friends and attend workshops and learn about everything from improving photography to being a better writer.  We gather from May 13th – 15th at the beautiful Rosen Shingle Creek for a weekend packed with fun, learning and of course lots of good food.

There are several contests associated with #SundaySupper and the Food & Wine Conference, this one being for poutine using Idaho Potatoes.  The requirements were fairly straight-forward:  create a unique dish using Idaho potatoes.  That’s fairly easy, right?  The contest didn’t BAN French fries, but putting a different spin on a traditional poutine was the basis of the contest.    I have had a long-standing love of the dish and if you have never heard of the gastronomic bliss that is poutine,  THIS will help.

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Soba Noodles and Stir-Fried Vegetables

Soba Noodles with Stir Fried Vegetables - Pook's Pantry

Soba noodles with stir-fried vegetables is a quick, easy and delicious healthy option for meatless Monday, or any day of the week.  Soba noodles cook in a only a few minutes, the veggies get a quick sauté and dinner is done.  From fridge to fork in less than 20 minutes – faster if you prep vegetable the night before.

It’s another New Year and once again, after the gluttony that was Thanksgiving and Christmas overindulgence, it’s time to rein it back in.  One way that we have decided to do that around here is sticking to a “meatless Monday”. 

While we were whooping it up in Vancouver a few months ago, we had a warm soba noodle appetizer at our favorite sushi restaurant.  It was loaded with seafood and unbelievably delicious.  I wanted to have something reminiscent of that salad, but suitable for a vegetarian dinner.   The only restriction I gave myself (aside from the seafood) was that I had to use what I had in the kitchen.    It wasn’t like there was a “rule” in play…  I just didn’t feel like going to store.  Out of sheer laziness, deliciousness was born!

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Get Your Freekeh On

 

 

Freekeh Salad.jpg

No, this is not a new MIssy Elliott song, but it is all about that grain. 

Freekeh is one of those grains that gets overshadowed by the “in” crowd…  You know the cool kid of the grain world at the moment: quinoa.  I love quinoa, I’m not bashing it AT ALL, but there is a whole world of grains that people have never heard of, including myself until about 15 years ago.  Freekeh has a wonderfully nutty flavor and a chewy texture, similar to barley or other hearty grains.   

I absolutely adore grain salads.  During the heat of summertime, they are chock full of bright red tomatoes and crisp cucumbers, but as we move into fall they transition to root vegetables, dried fruits and nuts.

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Kung Pao Green Beans

Kung Pao Beans.jpg

As a proclaimed lover of vegetables, I can’t quite understand anyone over the age of 8 wrinkling their nose at the sight of them.   That being said, I have a few clients who fall into that category and it is my job to come up with recipes that will entice them into eating something green.

I’m not a parent, so I can’t imagine what it is like on a daily basis but I can tell you that once a week I find myself trying to figure out what I can cook for vegetable-hating clients that will actually end up on their plates.   This one came to fruition solely based on the fact that one of my clients loves anything spicy.  I figured if I disguised the flavor of the vegetable with chilies and garlic, maybe I’d have a hit on my hands.

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Mango Lime Quinoa

Mango Lime Quinoa

Welcome to the first installment of “Client Food Fridays”.  Every other Friday, I’m going to share recipes I cook for clients in hopes that you can expand your weekly repertoire and incorporate some new dishes into the rotation.  We all fall into cooking ruts, ALL of us.  It’s so easy to make the same things over and over because we can do it by rote memory.   And let’s be honest, sometimes that’s exactly what we need after an exceptionally long week.   But then, there are those days when we are feeling good and we are totally in the mood to try something new (whether or not anyone else in our house is on board is not an issue… picky eaters, beware.  we’re coming for you).

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Get Your Game Face On…

Break out the fat pants… It’s Super Bowl Party time.   Oh, don’t give me that face!  You know as well as I do that no matter what, you and I will be eating more than we should.    I love football parties;  a gathering of friends, yelling at the television in unison, eating, drinking and being merry… until of course there is a fumble or an interception.  Then the merriment seems to dissipate.

This year, I will have my very first Super Bowl Party.   I love throwing parties and I will use any excuse to have friends over and feed them.  The fact that there will be a football game on is a bonus!    The smile that creeps across their lips as they taste something heavenly (or sinful)… that’s the stuff I live for.  Seriously.

Here are some of the things that will be on our Super Bowl party menu:

photo courtesy of Cravings of a Lunatic

photo courtesy of Cravings of a Lunatic

http://www.cravingsofalunatic.com/2014/01/jalapeno-bacon-poppers-appetizerweek-savorx-giveaway.html

She had me at bacon…  Dang.   You know those (GASP) frozen jalapeno poppers that people seem to be a fan of?!   Make these and they will NEVER think those are a good idea, ever again.  These little babies pack a punch and leave you reaching for more!

 

Who doesn't love a corndog?!

Who doesn’t love a corndog?!

http://www.pookspantry.com/guilty-pleasures/

This is serious.  I don’t recommend eating these often, but once in a while… You need a corndog.  Especially if they are mini size!   These are so much fun!  They are a taste of childhood for me.  It was a special treat that we used to get and that sweet corn batter, deep-fried to  golden brown delicious makes me smile every single time.    A tray of these will make your friends very happy.

 

photo by: Alex Farnum coutesy of: Leite's Culinaria

photo by: Alex Farnum
coutesy of: Leite’s Culinaria

http://leitesculinaria.com/87995/recipes-soft-pretzels.html

These little gems are on my menu.  I love a soft pretzel more than any reasonable person really should…   If I am somewhere that has them, I’m not walking out without one.   I’m making a BIG batch of these and stashing some for those nights when the craving strikes.    These are absolute snack perfection.

 

photo courtesy of: Pastry Chef Online

photo courtesy of: Pastry Chef Online

http://pastrychefonline.com/2014/01/23/turtle-graham-crackers-candy/

Tell me your brain isn’t thinking “how do I get some of that?!”  After all the snacks have been devoured, your guests are going to need something sweet.   Jenni has come up with something that fits the bill quite nicely. 

 

photo courtesy of: Pass the Sushi

photo courtesy of: Pass the Sushi

http://passthesushi.com/huli-huli-bacon-chicken-bites-captainstable/

If these don’t scream “SUPER BOWL PARTY”, I don’t know what does…  Check them out & tweet with #captainstable to help donate a buck to ending hunger!    Chicken wrapped in bacon… that is all kinds of right.

 

photo courtesy of: Foodie with Family

photo courtesy of: Foodie with Family

http://www.foodiewithfamily.com/2014/01/29/garlic-parmesan-stadium-style-baked-steak-fries/

Is there ANYONE on the planet who doesn’t love fries?  These are not just ordinary fries… Look at that cheesy, herb-laden goodness.   These would be good for a party, movie night, dinner, a random Tuesday…  You get my point.

 

Sweet Corn Fritters & a Cold Beer= Perfection

Sweet Corn Fritters & a Cold Beer= Perfection

http://www.pookspantry.com/445/

Sweet Corn Fritters.  What else is there to say?  A plate of these & a cold beer and all is right with the world.   There are so many ways to dress these up.  You can leave them plain, as I did here, or mix in some bacon or crab.  Wanna keep it vegetarian?  Roasted red peppers, chipotle in adobo for a little kick or scallions would be nice.  

 

Thanks to all of my generous friends who allowed me to use their images & links!  Please check them out…  And a big THANK YOU to all of you who take a few moments to read this blog!

 

#SuperBowl  #GameDay  #Food