Archives for category: Recipes

Really, there are few things in life more satisfying in life than a burger, fries and a beer.  One good thing about burgers is they don’t have to be made out of ground beef to be delicious.  You can make a burger out of anything! I’m not too interested in the idea of trying to “recreate” the taste of beef.  But, I am interested in creating something super delicious and filling that I can stick in a a hamburger bun and dress up with some mustard and greens.

This recipe for veggie burgers was based on the recipe over here, from the Post Punk Kitchen.  One nice thing about veggie burgers is that you can kind of throw in whatever you have, or whatever you think would taste good (which is what we did).  From the CSA, we used our garlic in the burgers, and some arugula as a topping.  One neat tip we learned from Isa over at the PPK was using a round cookie cutter to form your burgers. It was pretty much revolutionary.  Our burgers went from awkward-falling-apart-lumps to professional in seconds!

We also made us some garlic fries, based on Isa’s recipe for curry fries, also compliments of Post Punk Kitchen.  We just subbed in garlic powder for curry powder.  The cool thing about these fries is that they are actually not fries at all.  No, they are actually baked!  Not only is it healthier, it is waaaay less of a mess in the kitchen to just thrown everything on the baking sheet (vs frying everything and all the oil and oil splatters all over, etc).

And finally, we completed the meal with some of our all-time favorite local brews.  A Modus Hoperandi for Ryan, by Ska Brewery in Durango, CO.  I had Longmont’s own Oskar Blues’ Mamma’s Lil’ Yella Pils.  I actually work just a few blocks from Oskar Blues, which is pretty neat!  Colorado has such awesome breweries!

Here is what we put in our burgers:

1 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic
1 portabello cap, chopped
1 tsp thyme
1 tblsp soy sauce
1 egg
2 cups cooked lentils (1 cup uncooked)

We food processed the garlic, onion and mushroom while we cooked the lentils.  Then we mixed the thyme, soy sauce, egg, cooked lentils and mushroom mixture together ahd formed the burgers.

Ryan found us this recipe in our favorite most versatile veg cookbook.  We were stoked to be able to use so many items from our CSA in one dish.

It was pretty delicious, but also heavy.  Next time we make this, we will just not fry the eggplant pieces, and reduce the amount of cheese.  Frying each eggplant slice also took way too long, especially since we had such small pieces.

Oh, and for everyone wondering out there, “Aubergine” is Eggplant, and “Courgette” is Zucchini… We had to look those up. 🙂


Aubergine and Courgette Bake

  • 1 large aubergine
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 lb tomatoes, peeled and chopped (we used canned diced tomatoes)
  • handful of basil leaves
  • 2 courgettes
  • 5 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 12 oz mozzarella
  • 1 oz paremesan cheese

Slice aubergines and courgettes

Heat olive oil and fry onion and garlic for 3-4 minutes

Stir in tomatoes, half the basil and bring to boil

Reduce heat and stir, cooking for 25-35 minutes until thick.

Head sunflower oil in a different pan.  Dust aubergines and courgettes with flour and fry in sunflower oil until golden brown.  Set aside on paper towel.

Preheat oven to 350F and butter an 8×11 oven proof dish.  Put a layer of aubergines, and then courgettes in the dish.  Pour over half the sauce and scatter with half the mozzarella.  Sprinkle over most of the remaining basil and a little parsley.  Repeat the layers, ending with mozzarella.  Sprinkle Parmesan and bake for 30-35 minutes.

Since going vegetarian 2.5 years ago, there are surprisingly few things I miss.  Every now and then I get a craving for a nice steak, but one thing that really gets me are those lettuce wrap appetizers from PF Changs.  Oh man, so delicious!

So I set out to re-create those bad-boys, veg-style.  I basically just googled “PF Changs Lettuce Wraps Vegetarian” and tried the first recipe that came up.  It wasn’t difficult to make, just time consuming and requiring little bits of many kinds of sauces, so that was kind of annoying.  I couldn’t find those cool white crunchy noodle things that the wrap-filling is served over, so I just left them out.

They took a really long time to make, but they were pretty close to the way I remember the PF Changs Lettuce Wraps!  Unfortunately, I had been so wrapped up in making these guys (haha look at that pun), that I forgot that they are… you know… just an appetizer.  So I set the platter down at the dinner table and immediately realized that I was an idiot: I hadn’t made anything else for our dinner!   We ended up eating the entire platter, which was delicious.  But, we left the table with stomach aches (it was pretty oily) and still hungry. Not a very good combo…. So now I’ve learned to not be dumb, and next time I will at least make up a pot of rice or something.

Click here for the recipe.


So just for the record I have no clue what I’m doing.  Sometimes I go into the kitchen and I think about how far I’ve come and wow I’m getting pretty good at this.  Then there are times like this recipe, when I fail at nearly every step.  But then I learn and will try to not fail again.  Okay, that’s my disclaimer.

When I first became a vegetarian 2 years ago, I was determined to find hearty meals where I wouldn’t ever feel as though I were “missing the meat.”  After a chance dinner with a friend at Tandoori Grill in Boulder, I realized I had found my starting point with Indian cuisine.

My first step was finding an easy recipe for Channa Masala online.  Next I purchased “Classic Indian Cooking” by Julie Sahni, who explains many details of traditional Indian cooking to us Americans  (focusing mostly on Northern cuisine), and with her amazing explanations and hand-holding I was able to create some fantastic dishes.

Then my sister then bought me a cookbook “Cooking with Pedatha” for my birthday about a year and a half ago.  It has been awarded ‘Best Vegetarian Cookbook in the World’ and details the Andhra cuisine of Southern India.  Many of the recipes had been passed down for hundreds of years before being written down in this book!  No shortcuts are taken, there is no sacrifice in the interest of saving time.  It was written for Indian cooks, by Indian cooks who compiled the recipes of their “Pedatha.” This cookbook is probably worth its weight in gold.  It is also really freakin scary.

Because, you see, I am not an experienced Indian cook.  I have never even *eaten* Andhra cuisine before so I have nothing to go off but the words in this book.  Nearly all the recipes require special ingredients and take 4 hours apiece.  So many weekends I would stare at the beautiful photos in the book, mark all the food I was going to make, and then chicken-out at the last minute.  I seriously have had this book for a year and a half, and half probably sticky-tabbed every page at some point, but have never made a single thing.

So this weekend I decided it was time.  I pulled out the book and as if it were fate, there was a sticky tab on “Carrot Pachchadi”, and we had just gotten carrots that week in our CSA.  I had to do it.


My first issue, was that the recipe calls for “Red Chilis.” In the photos in the book it looks kind of like a serrano pepper, but red (though even that was guesswork, as there was no way for me to determine scale).  But really  I had no idea what kind of chilis I was supposed to get.  (This is probably common knowledge that I’m somehow not getting….)  So I literally just went to my grocery store and walked up to the peppers and grabbed the only red peppers they were selling.  They were Fresno Peppers, which I later found out are a “red compliment” of the Serrano Pepper, thanks to some panicky wikipedia-ing.  That made me feel a little better about my choice.  Also, she calls for “20-25 peppers, or less if you aren’t brave.”  Because I still had no idea how big my peppers were supposed to be, or what size, I opted to play it “safe” with just 12.

So her instructions continue to soak peppers and mustard seeds in water for 3-4 hours, or if you are short on time soak them in hot water for 1 hour.  So being the lazy American I am, I opt for soaking in hot water.  But wait….soak the peppers….surely she doesn’t mean just soak them whole?  Should I chop off the lids, or slice up the peppers?  Wait, am I supposed to seed the peppers?  She doesn’t say!! I am missing so much of this common knowledge ahhhhh!!!!!


Despite my sister talking to me about always seeding the hot peppers, my brain was apparently in meltdown mode and the peppers got sliced but NOT seeded.  They were thrown in the hot water with the mustard seeds for 1.5 hours just to be safe.  Then it was time to “grind to a paste.” At this point I knew that what Pedatha means is actually physically grind with a pestle and mortar, but I was forced to resort to my food processor. This usually isn’t an issue, ever.  But for some reason this stuff just would not turn into a paste.  I’m sure if I had a pestle and mortar I could have ground up those mustard seeds to dust, but my little food processor just couldn’t take it.


The recipe says its better if it sits in the fridge for a day, so I let it sit for 2 days before trying it because I was so afraid.  We finally tried it, and it was just a little…. strange.  I know it was me, not the recipe.  I think it was a combo of maybe burning the mustard seeds and the whole thing being really way too spicy.  It was really disappointing after spending so much time on it.

I haven’t given up on Pedatha, though!  I know I just need more practice.  It was definitely disappointing, but I’m glad for the learning experience. Next time will be better!


Here is the finished product, mixed into some basmati rice.  We ate it with some Greek yogurt to help with the heat….

Carrot Pachchadi

I include the recipe as it is printed in the book, since I can add no further explanations on this one….

  • 3 large carrots
  • Juice from 2 lemons
  • 2 tsp oil
  • salt to taste
  • 3/4 tsp Mustard Seeds
  • 1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds
  • 3/4 tsp asafoetida powder
  • 20-25 red chiles
  • 0.5 cup mustard seeds

Dice the carrots into 1/4 cm bits.

Soak the chiles and 0.5c mustard seeds in 1 cup water for 3-4 hrs (1hr in hot water).  Strain and grind into a fine paste, using as little of strained water as necessary.

In a skillet or wok, heat oil for tempering.  Pop the mustard and then add the fenugreek. Switch off the flame and with the browning of the fenugreek, add the asafoetida.

Add the carrots, lemon juice, chile paste, and salt.

Okay so when I saw the Collard Greens, I immediately thought of the south.  The first thought that popped into my head when attempting to find a recipe for them was “Paula Deen! The modern Queen of Southern Cooking”  So I excitedly hopped on her website to see what free recipes I could steal from her.  I found lots of recipes… except they all had meat as the showcased component. Oops.  Really, it was pretty flawed logic on my part to think I could find any meat-free anything on Paula Deen’s website.  So after digging around some more on the interwebs, I came across this gem from everybody’s favorite Vegan Punk Rock Chef, Isa Moskowitz, who runs the Post Punk Kitchen.  I was so excited to do this recipe, because it look yummy and I’ve never cooked or even eaten Collard Greens before!

I was initially just going to make the “Hottie Black Eyed Peas” and skip the “Mashed Ginger Sweet Potatoes and Apples,” because I didn’t really want this to turn into an epic night of cooking.  But after looking over the recipes, I found that both dishes had several periods of waiting.  So if you started the mashed sweet potatoes and apples first, you could kind of jump back and forth between the two recipes without too much extra time spent.  It sounds really complex, but I swear it was super easy.

And let me just say DAMN I am so glad I ended up making both dishes because they went together perfectly!  If you make this, you have to make both dishes.  Also, I think this actually might just be my most favorite dinner so far from this whole CSA experiment!  I ate so much that my stomach was literally hurting for like an hour after because I was so full…

Hottie Black Eyed Peas & Collard Greens

  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
  • 1 bunch collards, rough stems removed, shredded
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 15 oz cans black eyed peas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup veg broth
  • 1 tablespoon hot sauce (I used Sriracha)

Preheat a 4 quart pot over medium heat. Saute the onion in the oil until translucent, about 5 minutes. Use a little cooking spray if needed. Add the garlic and saute a minute more. Add the greens, 1/4 cup of water and salt. Cover the pot and cook the greens down for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add black eyed peas, tomato sauce and broth and thoroughly mix. Cover pot and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add hot sauce, then use a potato masher to mash some of the beans, about 1/4 of them, to thicken the sauce. Cook for about 5 more minutes uncovered. Taste for salt and seasoning. Serve hot.


Ginger Mashed Sweet Potatoes and Apples

  • 1 pound apples (2 average sized apples), peeled, cut into 1/2 inch chunks
  • 2 pounds sweet potatoes or yams, peeled, cut into 1/2 inch chunks
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 0.5 – 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh grated ginger

Preheat a 4 quart pot over low heat. Spray with cooking spray, then add apples, sweet potatoes, water and salt. Cover pot and slowly cook the apples and sweet potatoes for 20 minutes.

After 20 minutes, you can turn the heat up just a bit. Add a little more water if needed. Cover and cook 20 more minutes, paying close attention so that they don’t burn, and stirring often. When they’re very tender, they’re done. Mash with a potato masher. Add the honey, cinnamon and ginger, and mash some more. Taste for salt and seasoning. Serve warm.

After a long debate (that occurred pretty much inside my own head… Garlic butter?! Garlic chips!? What are we going to doooooo??!?!?), Ryan had the brilliant idea of slicing them up and putting them on our pizza.  That way their freshness could be admired and enjoyed and not lost in a mess of other ingredients.  We put a little less than half the garlic on a Spinach and Mushroom pizza, and the rest on an onion and garlic pizza.

Which brings me to the pizza experiment I mentioned a while back.  We’ve been trying to eliminate pre-processed foods from our grocery list, and our most recent goal is frozen pizza.  This came to mind several months ago when we were having my bro-in-law over for dinner.

It was a homemade pizza night.  We were going to buy a Boboli pizza crust like we had done in the past, but I was so annoyed with them!  Not only are they hard to cut through and more “bready” than “crusty”, they are so expensive! I mean, a pizza crust is pretty much flour and water, right?  Which is like pennies.  But I am paying this company to put it together for me, bake it for me, add in a bunch of preservatives, put in plastic wrap and ship it to the store.
I turned to the famous Betty Crocker Cookbook to look for a pizza crust recipe, and instantly found one that took like 2 minutes to make.  (Now let me be clear, I was looking in the 1961 edition, because I kid you not the modern edition of the Betty Crocker Cookbook actually instructs you to purchase a pre-made pizza crust in their recipe for homemade pizza.  America is awesome.)  The pizza crust was super delicious, and I was hooked.  I told Ryan that we should never buy any frozen pizzas ever again, and just make this crust and homemade pizzas forever and ever.

But then, life happened.  And gosh darn it sometimes you come home from work on a Friday and don’t want to do anything but grab a beer and put the frozen pizza in the oven and just sit on your porch and watch all the crazy apartment kids throw mud at each other. Wait.  I don’t really want to watch that, but then again I don’t really have a choice. But you get the idea.

Needless to say, my Betty Crocker pizza plan fell through because sometimes we are just that lazy.  But a month ago I came across this book “Artisan Pizza Crust in 5 minutes a Day” at our library, and Ryan and I started to re-evaluate the plan.  So the title of this book is slightly misleading: you make the pizza dough which takes 2 hrs, and then you store it (because this dough is “wetter” than most, which apparently gives it magical storing properties).  Then you can grab some dough and make a pizza in 5 minutes.

But, Ryan had the brilliant idea of making the dough, assembling full pizzas, finding some way to store them in the freezer, and having our very own frozen pizzas!  It was pure genius.  The hardest part was figuring out how to store the pizzas in the freezer.  After a few weeks of researching, we found a Pyrex from Target that is meant for storing lasagnas or big caseroles.  The pizzas have to be oval-shaped to fit in the rectangular container, but they still taste the same.

Homemade “Artisan” Pizza

Ingredients for Dough (8 pizzas)

  • 7.5 cups all purpose flour
  • 3.5 cups warm water
  • 1 tblsp dry active yeast

Stir the yeast in to the warm water until it dissolves.  Mix the flour in, a few cups at a time.  The last cup you will probably have to mix with your hands to incorporate the all the flour.  You don’t have to knead this dough.  Once the flour is mixed set the dough in your bowl in a warm place and put a towel over the bowl. Let it rise for ~2hrs, or until its doubled in size.  No punch-down required.  Just grab some dough and start rolling it out / throwing it.  If you decide to put it in the fridge cover it, but don’t seal it all the way (that way gas can be released as it continues to ferment).  Also the dough will fall if you put it in the fridge but that is normal.

Load up your pizza crust with toppings (tomato sauce or marinara, mozzarella cheese, mushrooms, onions, GARLIC!  Anything, really).  Don’t pile too much on…. this is “artisan” dough, not really deep dish American dough.  An excess of toppings will make the crust watery and falling apart even after its baked.

Bake at 450F for 18 minutes.  You can put them on parchment paper on a baking sheet or sprinkle cornmeal on a baking sheet so it won’t stick.

I found this recipe from Smitten Kitchen while browsing for something to do with radishes other than slicing them up for a salad.  I will admit, when I read through this recipe I was kind of weirded out.  Orange juice, dill, eating hot sugar snap peas??  But I wanted to be adventurous, so we gave it a shot.  Somehow everything ended up working out really well, and the whole thing was pretty freakin delicious.  One thing, it really isn’t as spectacular re-heated, so eat this one up as soon as it comes off the skillet!

Sauteed Radishes and Sugar Snap Peas with Dill


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 thinly sliced shallot
  • 12 ounces sugar snap peas, ends trimmed
  • 2 cups thinly sliced radishes (about 1 large bunch)
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon dill seeds
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill


Melt oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add shallots and sauté until golden, about 5 minutes. Add sugar snap peas, cook for one to two minutes, and radishes sauteing until crisp-tender, about 3 to 4 minutes more. Add orange juice and dill seeds; stir 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in chopped dill. Transfer to bowl; serve.

Colcannon is a traditional Irish recipe made with mashed potatoes and kale or cabbage.  I found out about it a year ago when I came across a Denver band named Colcannon, wondered about the name, and looked it up. So totally random!

I am always more of a fan of using a recipe from one of my books before turning to the internet, and of course I ended up finding a recipe for Colcannon in the world’s most versatile vegetarian cookbook to go off.  Their recipe includes cooking some eggs on top, which seems to be a variation from the traditional dish.

I’ll be honest, I kind of slacked on this one.  In fact it took me 2 weeks to get to it. We were both getting home late from work and had a lot of craziness going on, and I kept pushing it off so I could make “easier” recipes.  But I did finally get to it, and it was really easy and delicious (and healthy! Holy cow one serving gives  you 127% of your daily recommended Vitamin A!). I guess it was a good thing I waited so long to make this dish, because it calls for scallions, which we got in our CSA for Week 4!

Irish Colcannon


  • 5 medium-large russet potatoes cut into pieces
  • 8 0z kale, shredded
  • 4 scallions, chopped
  • 1 tbsp butter, melted
  • 4 large eggs
  • 3 0z mature cheese (I used Gruyere)


  1. Boil the potatoes until they are tender (easily can stick a fork through them)
  2. Drain potatoes and mash well
  3. Boil the kale for a few minutes, then drain
  4. Preheat the oven to 375F
  5. Mix the kale with mashed potatoes, scallions, and butter
  6. Season with salt & pepper to taste
  7. Spoon mixture into shallow baking dish
  8. Make four hollows in the mixture and crack an egg into each hollow
  9. Bake for around 12 minutes, or until eggs are set
  10. Serve sprinkled with the cheese

Since my dreams of homemade sauerkraut were dashed to the wind, I settled on the other thing I know cabbage is good for: coleslaw.  Yes, I could have done another leafy salad type thing, but at this point we still weren’t done with our original leafy salad and I didn’t want things piling up.  I initially found a recipe from Smitten Kitchen that specifically calls for Nappa Cabbage, but the idea of making wasabi coleslaw with my entire head of cabbage scared me a little.

So I just opted for some normal coleslaw based off a recipe in my favorite versatile veg book.  The recipe calls for a quarter of head of cabbage but I was determined to use it all up, so I just took a look at the ratios of ingredients and started throwing stuff together and hoping it worked out.  Here is my ingredients list, and vaguely the quantities I used:

  • Mayonnaise (12 tbsp)
  • Plain Yogurt (8 tbsp)
  • 1 apple
  • 15 celery stalks
  • Entire Napa Cabbage
  • The rest of my Paris Market Carrots (7? 8?)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

I chopped up the cabbage, celery and apple, and I shredded the carrots.  Overall it turned out pretty yummy.  It looks like a lot of mayonnaise and yogurt, but because there was just so much of everything else, it was actually pretty minimal.  Ryan and both agreed that it was a lot less ‘soupy’ than most coleslaws (which was nice because you could actually taste what was in it).

I think my main regret was shredding the carrots so fine.  This particular cabbage is apparently more ‘leafy’ and less stiff than ‘normal’ cabbage from the grocery store (obviously there is no such thing as normal cabbage, but I am a product of America and therefore any produce that is consistently available at the grocery store becomes the ‘normal’ version).  So, because of this the coleslaw already wasn’t as crunchy as I would have liked.  And with the carrots grated so fine, they were more like ‘carrot paste’ and less like ‘strips of crunchy carrots.’ In the end it wasn’t too bad, because the apple and celery gave it a lot of crunch.

Since I pretty much fell off my chair when I saw that we would be getting Garlic Scapes (after looking them up and finding out what they are), I knew I had to use them for something that night. Our farm suggested that they make a great pesto, and even gave us a quick recipe, so I decided to make Whole Wheat Penne with Garlic Scape Pesto and Tomatoes for dinner.

By the time I finished making the pesto, our whole apartment smelled amazing!  I took a taste test and oh man.  It was STRONG.  Like way-stronger-than-when-Ryan-makes-the-garlic-bread strong (I didn’t think it was possible!).  The recipe says “We did find that the garlic scape pesto mellows a little after sitting, so if you find it a little overpowering at first, just refrigerate it and taste it again once it’s had a chance to sit for a few days.”  Right. So basically if you are a normal human being, make this pesto a day in advance.  It was practically burning my mouth it was so strong!  Ryan of course loved it 🙂

I just boiled up 2 boxes of whole wheat penne (yes we still have lots of spaghetti, but I felt this pesto really deserved some fancy pasta).  While the pasta was cooking I whipped up the pesto and sliced 8 cherry tomatoes in half. I initially was going to use sun-dried tomatoes, since those always go amazing with basil pesto.  But, I was scared they would over-power the garlic scape pesto (HA) so I used some fresh cherry tomatoes instead.  Once the pasta was done I just mixed everything all up together. Super easy.

Luckily for me, things really mellowed out over the night in the fridge and the leftovers I had for lunch the following day tasted much better.  I loved it so much that I went back to the farm a few days later and bought another bunch of them.  I thought that the pesto could make a really awesome pizza sauce (Ryan and I are in the midst of a pizza experiment), so I will keep you posted on how that goes.


Whole Wheat Penne with Garlic Scape Pesto and Tomatoes

Pesto Ingredients

  • 1 cup garlic scapes, chopped
  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Other Ingredients

  • 8 or 10 cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 2 boxes of whole wheat penne pasta
  1. Cook the pasta
  2. While pasta is cooking, place all pesto ingredients in a food processor or blender and puree until smooth.
  3. Place cooked pasta in a large bowl and mix with pesto and tomatoes