Category Archives: Vegetarian

Pearl Couscous with Zucchini, Corn and Herbs

During the summer months, corn and zucchini are always in abundance. However, in our house, zucchini is also a bottom dweller on the list of popular summer veggies available. Yet every year, I plant one or two plants, which inevitably will provide more zucchini than anyone around here wants to willingly eat.

When I saw this recipe, I knew it was one I wanted to try. I also wondered if my husband’s love of fresh summer corn would surpass his non-love of zucchini. So I gave it a try. The result was a surprisingly fresh dish bursting with flavor. Even my non-zucchini-liking husband said, “I like this salad!”

You can eat this as a salad, side dish, even a light main dish. Perfectly good hot, warm, or cold, it makes for an easy summer recipe.

Pearl Couscous with Zucchini, Corn and Herbs

Recipe slightly modified from Simple Green Suppers by Susie Middleton

Ingredients:
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 cups yellow onion, diced
1 cup pearl couscous, uncooked
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 1/4 cups of water or vegetable broth
2 cups finely diced zucchini (approximately 1/4-inch cubes)
2 cups fresh corn kernels
5 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
1/4 cup freshly chopped basil
1/4 cup freshly chopped parsley
2 tablespoons chopped chives
ground black pepper
sea salt

Directions:

Melt one tablespoon of the oil in a medium sized pan, over medium heat. Add  half the onion (3/4-cup) and a small pinch of salt. Stir frequently, cooking until the onions soften.

Add the uncooked couscous to the onions. Raise the heat to medium-high and stir frequently until the couscous begins to lightly brown (5-7 minutes). Add 1 teaspoon of the ground coriander plus the 1 1/4 cups of water or broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 10-12 minutes, until the liquid has been absorbed by the couscous. Remove the pan from the heat, then fluff the couscous with a fork. Keep covered, off the heat until needed.

In a large nonstick skillet, heat the remaining two tablespoons of oil over medium-high heat. Add the remaining onion plus 1/2-teaspoon salt, sauté until translucent. Add the zucchini and cook, stirring often, until the zucchini slightly soften and begins browning lightly (5-7 minutes, approximately). Add the corn and 1/4-teaspoon salt, stirring often until the corn is slightly glistening (2-3 minutes). Add the minced garlic, remaining teaspoon ground coriander, stirring until well combined (1-2 minutes).

Remove the pan from the heat and let it sit for 1-2 minutes. Add the lime juice , stirring to coat everything. Add the cooked, fluffed couscous, fresh basil, parsley and chives. Season with black pepper and salt to your liking.

Serve hot, warm, or even cold if you’d like.

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Everyday Life: Weeks 12 and 13

Here is a little peek at the last couple weeks.

Everyday Life: Weeks 12 and 13:

Homemade Indian food! Palak paneer, paneer makhani, garlic naan, steamed basmati rice and Punjabi spiced cauliflower.

The next night I experimented with leftovers and turned them into calzones, each stuffed with rice and either palak paneer or leftover paneer makhani.

We drove south to California… Forgot to check the weather for the drive… oops. Snow flurries off and on for the first two hours of driving.

Guess who else got to go on our road trip? (Note all the toys behind her.)

Craig, Silas, Silas’s mom and I went to the Bay Area at the start of Spring Break. First off, our first Golden State Warriors game. It was a lot more fun than I’d anticipated!

We stopped by Lake Merritt in Oakland to walk Percy the next morning.

Craig and I also decided to check out an international aquarium shop we drove past while also on a hunt for a good burrito. This fella caught my eye. And tried to attack my face.

Silas and his mom went to Six Flags so Craig and I ventured into San Francisco for a night.

An unplanned trek up to Coit Tower.

We walked past Liguria Bakery and I instantly thought of Tracy Shutterbean. Though I wanted some raisin focaccia, they were closed. All we found were these perma-dogs on the side of the building.

After walking all over North Beach and Chinatown in the wee morning hours, we stopped by Sam Wo near our hotel for 2AM vegetable chow fun.

The next day we met up with Silas and his mom for lunch at Mi Pueblo, which we discovered a few years ago. I ordered 3 sopes (photo is just one of the three)…little did I know they’d be big enough to leave me with two plates of food. ¯_(ツ)_/¯

After lunch, we decided to venture to the Redwoods near San Geronimo.

Silas amidst the redwoods…

You know who also enjoyed the forest and little streams.

Misadventures.

After the redwood adventure we decided to drive on to Tomales Bay. It was rainy, windy and cold when we got there, but c’est la vie. Get me near any body of water and I am happy.

I always enjoy getting back in my own kitchen when we get home. His and Hers dinner sammiches. His: tempeh bacon, tofurky, pepperjack cheese, lettuce, tomato, avocado, garlic basil mayonnaise. Hers/MINE: thick cut roasted chicken, muenster cheese, avocado, tomato, lettuce, curry vegenaise. Both on local made buttermilk bread.

I left the room for – literally 1 minute – came back and guess who’d cuddled up with my shirt? Haha

Still cold enough for soup around here… corn chowder with tempeh bacon.

Totally necessary. Puff pastry morning bun experiment.

Reunited after our road trip. They’d both freak out if they were awake, realizing they were touching each other.

I had been craving crab cakes for weeks. Soooo. I made Dungeness crab cakes, curry aioli, pink lady apple salad and a Vitamix whole fruit frozen margarita.

Surprise daffodils from the husband.

A recipe that was surprisingly good! Brown rice, Quorn chik’n skewers (marinated in a garlic ginger soy sauce), and spicy peanut sauce.

Always a staple meal around here, even when/especially when we have surprise extra kids in the house for dinner. EVERY WEEKEND: “Can I have a sleepover with __________ tonight?” Cheese enchiladas, beans, rice. These chips.

When you’re working in the yard, then realize the dog’s gotten awfully quiet for the last half hour…

Organic strawberries were on sale… so, strawberry shortcake tonight. With sweet biscuits, like how my mom would make it when I was a kid.

You’re welcome. (This is how I feel like I look when I sleep, too.)

Hope you’ve had a lovely couple of weeks!

Classic Fettuccine Alfredo

Forbidden Rice Blog | Fettuccine Alfredo (2 of 8)

We’ve been hosting sleepovers nearly every weekend for the last few weeks. My dilemma is never that I adamantly don’t like children (OKKKK that’s not the dilemma MOST DAYS). I often find myself trying to think of a vegetarian meal that will go over well with non-vegetarian guests, especially if it’s a type of cuisine they’re not used to.

Growing up, if I didn’t want to eat what my mom made (sorry, Mom) then I could: 1) eat it anyway or 2) make my own food. In my adulthood, I find myself trying to appease 9-11 year old appetites. WHAT.

I decided to take a chance and make fettuccine alfredo one Friday night when I knew we were hosting one of Silas’s friends. To my amazement, Silas demolished his dinner. His buddy ate two big platefuls AND the next week when he slept over again, he said to me, “Auntie J, that pasta was SO GOOD! OH MY GOODNESS!” So, here’s the recipe for you to have as well!

Note:  I’ve learned that when a recipe calls for scarce ingredients, using quality products is important.

Forbidden Rice Blog | Fettuccine Alfredo (2 of 8)

Fettuccine Alfredo

Serves 6-8 folks.

Ingredients:
1 1/2 pounds dried fettuccine noodles
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup (one stick) unsalted butter
2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 1/2 cups Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, freshly grated
salt and fresh ground pepper, to your liking
a pinch of fresh ground nutmeg

Forbidden Rice Blog | Fettuccine Alfredo (4 of 8)

Directions:

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Generously salt the water (this is your chance to flavor the pasta as it cooks, so don’t be afraid to salt profusely). Cook the pasta until al dente.

While the pasta is cooking, add the heavy cream, butter, and lemon juice to a medium-sized pot of their own, over medium heat, whisking occasionally to combine. Continue heating and stirring until the butter completely melts and the mixture is well combined. Add the cheese, a half-cup at a time, stirring with each addition until the sauce is smooth. Taste, then add salt and pepper to your liking. Add a pinch of freshly grated nutmeg. Reduce heat to low.

Drain the cooked pasta, reserving about one cup of the cooking liquid. Return the pasta to the pot, then pour the sauce over the noodles. Gently toss well, until all the noodles are covered with sauce. If you need to, add some of the pasta cooking water to help make everything more smooth.

Serve immediately, topping with a bit of fresh ground pepper if you’d like.

Forbidden Rice Blog | Fettuccine Alfredo (5 of 8)

Forbidden Rice Blog | Fettuccine Alfredo (5 of 8)

Forbidden Rice Blog | Fettuccine Alfredo (5 of 8)

Vegan Roasted Potato and Leek Soup

Forbidden Rice Blog | Vegan Roasted Potato and Leek Soup (5 of 8)

Everyone should have some recipes in their go-to repertoire. Things you KNOW you can make that everyone will enjoy eating. Around here, the go-to staples probably revolve around Mexican food. Enchiladas? Hell yes. Tacos with homemade corn tortillas? Indeed.

My husband is a big fan of soups. I’ve learned to keep a few go-to soup recipes at hand (even though I am not a particular soup enthusiast). One flavor that goes over particularly well in our house, even with the kids is potato leek soup.

I think a good soup encompasses layers of flavor. Enriching the flavor of each ingredient can help to deepen the complexity of the final soup. For that reason, this potato leek soup includes oven-roasted potatoes, roasted shallots and roasted garlic. The potato still adds creaminess while the roasted shallots and garlic add a faint sweetness. The combination of flavors is delicious!

Forbidden Rice Blog | Vegan Roasted Potato and Leek Soup (7 of 8)

Vegan Roasted Potato and Leek Soup

Ingredients:
6 tablespoons olive oil
2 leeks, white and light green parts only, roughly chopped
4 medium shallots, peeled and sliced thinly
6 cloves garlic, peeled
4 large russet potatoes, peeled and roughly chopped into 1/2-inch cubes
6 cups vegetable broth
1 bay leaf
1 sprig fresh thyme, plus more for garnish if desired
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Forbidden Rice Blog | Vegan Roasted Potato and Leek Soup (6 of 8)

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Place the diced potatoes, shallots, and garlic in a bowl with 3 tablespoons of the olive oil, and a generous amount of salt and pepper. Toss until everything is well coated. Spread the mixture on a large rimmed sheet pan in a single layer. Roast in the oven for 25-30 minutes, until the potatoes are lightly browned and crisp. Flip twice with a spatula during cooking in order to ensure even browning. Remove from the oven and set aside until needed.

Forbidden Rice Blog | Vegan Roasted Potato and Leek Soup (2 of 8)

Heat the remaining 3 tablespoons of oil over medium heat in a large soup pot. Add the leeks and cook, stirring regularly, until soft and wilted, about 10 minutes. Adjust the heat as necessary so as not to brown.

Add the potato/shallot/garlic mixture, broth, bay leaf, thyme, salt and pepper to pot and bring to a boil. Cover and turn the heat down to low. Simmer for 15 minutes, or until the potatoes are very soft.

Forbidden Rice Blog | Vegan Roasted Potato and Leek Soup (3 of 8)

Remove the thyme sprig and bay leaves, then purée the soup with a hand-held immersion blender or work in batches in a high-speed blender, until smooth. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. If the soup is too thick, add water or more broth to thin it out to your liking. Gently bring back up to temperature and serve hot.

Forbidden Rice Blog | Vegan Roasted Potato and Leek Soup (4 of 8)

Forbidden Rice Blog | Vegan Roasted Potato and Leek Soup (8 of 8)

Baked Onion Rings

Forbidden Rice Blog | Oven Baked Onion Rings (2 of 8)

As people start increasing their awareness about what goes into our mouths — is it low fat/low carb/low sugar? Gluten free? Organic? Paleo? — it seems we’re also allowing ourselves to be more judgmental of other people’s food choices. I think eating should be enjoyed; food should be relished. Its taken some real struggles and work for me to get to that point in my life. However, at the ripe ‘ole age of 30, I have come to the decision that calling people out for their food choices isn’t a healthy behavior. I don’t believe in food shaming — shaming people for what they choose to put into their bodies doesn’t simply create feelings of guilt (I shouldn’t/ should/ can’t/ won’t eat this/that) — it can feed into heightened concerns about following “perfect” diets, causing obsession and removing the joy of eating all together.

That isn’t to say I want to merely eat crap and not have any responsibility over such choices. I do think moderation for any choices is smart. As a kid, I ate my share of fast food, sodas, copious amounts of sugar… Was Taco Bell my lunch choice at least a few times a week? Oh yes. When we went out to breakfast with family friends occasionally on the weekend, was Burger King often my choice (because… well, french toast sticks)? Most certainly. I don’t eat that way now, mainly because it doesn’t make my body feel good afterwards.

There are times I crave foods for pure nostalgic reasons, other times simply because they taste good, never mind the stomachache I’ll probably have later on. Throughout my childhood, I remember the deciding factor on whether to go to Burger King or McDonald’s came down to two things:  the first had chicken tenders and onion rings, the latter chicken nuggets and french fries. When the desire for onion rings hit with full force recently, I knew a trip to good old BK wasn’t in my future, and I wanted to find a better alternative to deep fried batter coated onion rings. The following recipe is a crispy baked version, and it’s both tasty and fully satisfies the craving for what could be a much unhealthier snack!

Forbidden Rice Blog | Oven Baked Onion Rings (5 of 8)

Baked Onion Rings

Serves 6-8

Ingredients:
2 large yellow onion
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons seasoning salt
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
4 cups panko breadcrumbs
4 eggs
1/4 cup buttermilk
canola oil
dipping sauce of choice (ketchup, ranch, etc.)

Forbidden Rice Blog | Oven Baked Onion Rings (7 of 8)

Directions:
Preheat your oven to 450 degrees F. Generously brush a couple baking sheets with canola oil.

Peel off the outermost layer from the onions and discard. Cut off the ends, sparing as much of the onion as possible. Slice the rest of the onion into rings about 1/2-inch thick. Separate the rings, placing them in a bowl of cold water while you cut the rest of the onions.

In a bowl, stir together the flour, seasoning salt, chili powder, onion powder and garlic powder Place the panko breadcrumbs in a separate bowl. In a third bowl, whisk together the eggs and buttermilk.

Take one onion ring, gently toss it in the flour, being sure to coat all sides well. Lightly shake off any excess. Next, dip it in the egg mixture, being sure to coat all sides. Lastly, toss the ring in the panko crumbs to coat. You can somewhat firmly press the egg-coated rings into the breadcrumbs to make sure they stick to the onion. Place on prepared baking sheet. Repeat this process with the remaining onion rings.

Lightly drizzle the tops of the onion rings with canola oil. Bake for 10-15 minutes until golden brown, flipping once about halfway through the baking time. Remove from oven and serve with your favorite dipping sauces.

*Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container then reheated at 350 degrees F until hot and crisp (about 10 minutes).

Forbidden Rice Blog | Oven Baked Onion Rings (8 of 8)

Forbidden Rice Blog | Oven Baked Onion Rings (6 of 8)

Forbidden Rice Blog | Oven Baked Onion Rings (1 of 8)