Sunday, May 27, 2012

Grilled Tofu & Pesto Panini

I got this recipe out of a summertime vegetarian cookbook, Cookouts Veggie Style!, which has awesome meatless and meat-substitute BBQ recipes. If you are veg, or know someone who is, you will understand when I say that cookouts can be pretty disappointing when you don't eat meat. Everyone is enjoying hamburgers, hotdogs and steak, while you're consuming warm macaroni salad in unhealthy quantities. This recipe--and a lot of others in that cookbook--really create (and recreate) filling and flavorful dishes that both meat-eaters and vegheads can enjoy. This panini is great if you have any leftover grilled tofu (or, in my case, I grilled it just for the panini!).

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes

Pair with: a red ale (such as Sam Adam's Irish Red), or a crisp white wine (like Boordy's sauvignon blanc).

makes two sandwiches
Ciabatta bread,
cut and sliced for two sandwiches, about 4" long
1/4 cup of prepared basil pesto -- I used Wegman's bottled brand
Two (2) quarter-inch slices of smoked tofu
1/4 cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes
1/2 cup of fresh baby spinach, for topping
Extra-virgin olive oil for brushing

Brush the inside of each ciabatta roll with EVOO, and grill each side.
While the bread is heating, begin grilling the tofu. Grill for a few minutes, until heated through, and then flip.
Once bread is warm and slightly toasted, spread pesto on one side.
Slide tofu onto bread, and top with tomatoes and spinach.

You can either grill these outside on a coal- or gas-grill, or you can grill on your stovetop.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Greek Spinach Pasta Salad

This was easy to make, delicious and very summery. It can be made for just a couple people or for a large group. There is no need for prepackaged dressing, as the lemon and EVOO provide a very light citrus taste.

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes

Pair with: a light, summery beer (like a Witbeir), such as Dogfish Head's Namaste or Flying Dog's Woody Creek White.

Three (3) ounces of fresh baby spinach
Ten (10) ounces of Great Northern beans, rinsed and drained
Two (2) ounces of crumbled feta cheese
1/4 cup of cherry tomatoes, chopped 
Two (2) green onions, chopped
Two (2) cloves of garlic, minced
One (1) teaspoon of lemon peel
One (1) tablespoon of fresh lemon juice
One (1) tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil
One (1) tablespoon of chopped oregano 
Eight (8) ounces of whole grain penne pasta

Cook pasta as directed on package.
While pasta is cooking, toss all other ingredients into a large mixing (or salad) bowl.
Drain pasta once it is done.
If you have time, allow the pasta to cool. If not, rinse pasta with cool water until pasta is cool.
Spoon pasta onto a plate and top with salad mixture.
Dig in!

Updates & a mush-stache

Thanks for sticking with me! I'm five months and 21 posts into this blog so far. I'm pretty pumped about the upcoming warm weather and what that means for my cooking. I'm actually planning to post a delicious summer-y recipe today (I hope you enjoy it!). Continue to feel free to leave me suggestions, comments, and questions on the blog. You can also find me on Twitter and on my About page.

I take portobello mushrooms very seriously.

Something new that I am going to start incorporating into my posts is a drink that would pair well with the recipe (this will probably be either beer, wine, or cocktails, but may also be non-alcoholic). Keep an eye out for this!

Remember, I am always open to having a guest blogger, so if you have an awesome recipe that you're dying to share, send me a note and I'd be more happy to hand over my platform for you!

Thanks again for following along and happy cooking!

Ann Marie

Santa Fe Salad Sandwich

To those in the DC region, you know what I mean when I say that Chop't is probably the #1 thing I miss about living in the District. And if you've never tried Chop't before (or are a displaced Chop't lover like me), this recipe is for you.  The best part of that restaurant is that they take all of your salad ingredients, toss them together and then literally chop them up with a mezzaluna chopper until it is shredded. While I don't have a mezzaluna knife (yet!), I do always ensure that my homemade salad sandwiches are pretty finely chopped.

My favorite thing on the Chop't menu is the Santa Fe salad sandwich with the Tex-Mex ranch. The salad is not difficult to replicate, but I kept running into an issue with the dressing because it's not sold in the stores. I found a vague recipe online, tweaked it and now make the dressing myself. I think you'll enjoy it!

Prep Time: 20-30 minutes
Cook Time: none

for salad sandwich
Two (2) cups of Romaine lettuce
1/2 cup of tomato, chopped -- I have had the most luck with cherry tomatoes
One (1) avocado, sliced into small cubes

1/4 cup of sweet corn kernels
1/4 cup of black beans
1/4 cup of crispy onions
1/4 cup of pepper jack cheese, cubed
Two fajita tortillas
for Tex-Mex ranch dressing
Two (2) tablespoons of ranch dressing
One (1) teaspoon of lime juice
Two (2) teaspoons of paprika
Two (2) teaspoons of cumin
Once you've prepped everything (pretty much just chopping all of the salad ingredients up), mix them gently.
Warm tortillas on stovetop.
While you are warming the tortillas, mix all of the ingredients for the dressing together in a separate bowl. Taste as you go, so you can get the flavor to exactly how you'd like it.
Lightly toss dressing into the salad mix.
Spoon salad into tortilla and wrap like a burrito.