Tag Archives: dairy-free

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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A Peck of Pickled Peppers

 

Banana Peppers

My banana pepper plants have been rather prolific and for this I am grateful.  As most of you who are regular visitors to this little space already know,  I went a little overboard in planting.  I have a tendency to overdo things and this was no exception. 

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Spending so many years living in an apartment with zero outdoor space, I may have gone a little crazy when I realized that I could grow some of my own food.  This had been a goal of mine for a very long time (growing food, not going crazy… that ship has sailed).  

I am fascinated by the entire process of planting a seed, taking care of it and watching it grow into something that will actually feed you.  

The very first time I had a banana pepper was on a pizza, my Freshman year in college.  A small group of us had descended on the pizza place next to campus.  We were there under the pretense of “studying” I’m sure.  There were pool tables, dart boards (which I became quite skillful at playing), air hockey tables; all the things one thinks of when looking for an appropriate place to “study”.

Anyhow, there we were and one of the guys went to order our pizza and when the waitress came to the table and set it down in front of us, I noticed that it had peppers on it.  Not wanting to draw any attention to myself, I dug right in but in my head was this little voice shouting “are you nuts?!”. 

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Lentil Soup

I know what you’re thinking.  Another soup recipe?  Seriously?!   In my defense, I didn’t mean to… Honestly.   This bag of lentils was meant for a “higher purpose” other than another batch of soup.  I had seen a recipe in one of the numerous food magazines that arrives at this address using lentils.  It looked so good.  It was all gloss and glamour, the kind of photo that belongs tucked inside of a black plastic wrapper.  You know the kind of photo I’m talking about.  It made lentils look sexy and that my friends is no easy task.

Well, that was my intention.  And then a cold front came through.  Goodbye sexy lentils and hello lentil soup.  So you see, it really isn’t my fault at all that I’m posting yet another soup recipe.  Blame Mother Nature, she can take it. Continue reading

Fall Panzanella

I’ll be honest with you, I was in the grocery store with a big loaf of crusty bread in my hand thinking “What’s the big deal…  I’ll just buy it instead of making it”, but I JUST. COULDN’T. DO. IT.  
So, I put that gorgeous loaf of bread back amongst it’s friends and headed home to start the focaccia. 

I pulled out the stand mixer, made my dough, let it rise…  Placed it ever so lovingly on my sheet pan to puff up again before sliding it in the oven…  And yet, something was amiss.  It just didn’t look quite right, but I crossed my fingers and hoped for the best.  Once it was time for the bread to come out of the sauna, I realized I had a bit of a problem.

Not really sure how I screwed it up, but it was more of a focaccia pancake.  It didn’t rise properly and looked rather pathetic.  So I salvaged what I could, not wanting to waste everything and started over.  
Truth be told, the Ohio State game was on and I was a tad distracted…  There, I’ve said it.  I wasn’t paying attention to my work,  I was watching football. 
That’s what happened.

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Mason Jar Dressings

A very good childhood friend of mine sent me some salted caramels over the holidays and I have been rationing them out on a daily basis.   Needless to say, when I see commercials for all of the various weight-loss companies it makes me cringe a bit knowing I’m a few bites away from needing an intervention.
Therefore, I’ve taken it upon myself to get back into the swing of things.  Like everyone else, I get a bit out of control during the holidays and then, when all of the over-eating makes me feel like Jabba the Hutt, the pendulum swings back the other way and I get myself back in line.

As you well know from previous posts, I have no shortage of mason jars in various shapes & sizes cluttering my cabinets and there is a reason for this,  besides canning.  They are useful for many different things, quick salad dressing being one of them.

It honestly couldn’t be easier…  pour everything in & shake it up.   The best part of making your own salad dressing aside from it being much less expensive, is that you know exactly what’s in it.   There are no dyes, no high-fructose corn syrup, no ingredients that require a Ph.D. in Chemistry to pronounce.

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