Tag Archives: Vegetarian

Veggie Burgers


There’s nothing I hate more than a cold. This past week was pretty bad health-wise for those of us at the law school. It seemed like all of my friends were sick, and my friend Amanda and I got pretty bad colds.  All of my Vitamin C  consumption just couldn’t stave off the law school germs. It probably didn’t help that I’ve been staying up late doing work for the past week and a half, but what’s done is done. I’m just hoping that I’ve fulfilled my cold quota for the year and that the germs will now leave me alone. What can I say? I’m an optimist sometimes.

After a week of soup, soup, and more soup, I was really craving something hearty last night. I spotted this recipe for vegetarian burger a few days ago on Tastespotting and pinned it within seconds of reading the ingredient list. I love black beans. Black bean soup, black bean salad, black beans burritos. You name it, I will eat it. And I love veggie burgers. I’m always looking for more ways to get in my daily dose of protein, and this was just the ticket. It’s hearty and flavorful, and you can easily adapt it to what’s in your kitchen.

The original recipe calls for quinoa, but I am somehow completely out. So I substituted farro. While the grains normally take 35 to 45 minutes to cook, Trader Joe’s now makes a great ten-minute variety. I am actually obsessed. If you haven’t tried farro yet, you definitely should. It’s nutty and filling, and Oprah has classified it as a health food (so it must be true). All I know is that I feel great eating this whole-grain, and it doesn’t hurt that it tastes fantastic!

Happy eating!

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Parippu (a.k.a. Kerala Lentils)

A few Saturdays ago, I visited one of my favorite Ethiopian restaurants in D.C., Etete, with my friends West & Amanda (of apple and pumpkin picking fame). I love trying different ethnic cuisines, and Ethiopian food is definitely near the top of my list. We settled on the vegetarian combination (without fish), some Kitfo (a spicy beef curry), and Yebeg Alicha (a milder lamb stew). Everything was delicious. While I love the meat curries, I’ve mentioned before on the blog that I’m not much of a meat eater. As a result, it was only natural that my favorite part of the meal wound up being the variety of lentils in the veggie combo.

This, of course, made me crave some of my mom’s parippu. If you’ve ever eaten Indian food, this is probably better known to you as Daal. Just think of this as the Kerala version of the dish. I wound up calling my mother so many times last night that she thought I’d been in some sort of accident when she saw all the missed calls. Nope, just needed the recipe.

While I was pleased with the results, this would have benefit from some cilantro and curry leaves. I, of course, had neither because I ran out of the former and pretty much never have the latter. What can I say? I’m a bad Indian. Cilantro or not, this dish is delicious, healthy, and easy to make. And, now that Trader Joe’s sells red lentils, you really have no excuse not to make this. Happy eating!

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Spinach and Ricotta Gnudi

Some foods are just naturally associated with comfort. Mashed potatoes. Mac n’ cheese. Roasted chicken. Chicken curry. They are the things that I find myself making (or, in the case of curry, asking my mother to make) when I’m frustrated and in need of a foodie-hug. This past week was just one of those weeks where nothing seemed to be going my way. I consistently got up late and had to rush in the mornings; I forgot things left and right; I didn’t meet personal deadlines for papers. Mostly, I felt tired and a bit run down. Which of course all culminates in frustration with myself and a need for comfort.

To break my funk, I decided to make gnudi. Having lived with the greatest host family on the planet my junior year, my list of comfort foods has grown to include all things Italian. Gnudi are essentially pasta, designed to emulate the filling of ravioli (hence, they are “nude.” Get it?). They are ricotta-based, mixed with herbs and greens (traditionally spinach), then boiled before being topped with either a simple tomato sauce or some brown butter and sage. Since I was too lazy to dice up tomatoes last night, I opted for the latter.

Despite their appearance, gnudi are incredibly easy to make. They require few ingredients–most of which can be found in your kitchen already. Plus, because they are protein-based, I find that 6-8 of these are incredibly filling, so you wind up with plenty of leftovers.

There is something so wonderful about simple, comfort food. Here’s to a better week ahead. Happy eating!

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Crostini di Polenta, Funghi e Uova

Sorry about the lighting! This is from the "forgotten camera dinner" last week!

If you can’t tell already, when Caroline and I get together and make dinner, we tend to remake some of our favorite foods from Florence (case in point: affogato, pear and pecorino ravioli, etc.). So, naturally, last week’s dinner followed suit. During our wanderings one day in Florence, the two of us happened across Ristorante il Teatro and decided to stop in for lunch.

In Italy, it’s traditional to order at least a primo (first course) plus either a contorno (side dish) or antipasto (appetizer) for lunch. The two of us both love polenta and adore mushrooms so we had a hard time resisting the crostini di polenta e funghi porcini as our appetizer. It’s an incredibly simple concept: grilled polenta squares were topped with a confit of porcini and caramelized onions. Since we planned on making ridiculously rich hot chocolate for dessert, it seemed like a perfect, light meal to adapt on a Tuesday night–especially when topped with an egg!

Serve this with a side salad for a light winter dinner. Happy eating!

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Simple Food: Greens & Eggs

We have snow! We have snow! All right, I admit it. We have a mere sprinkling, but it’s still SOMETHING. I was starting to think that the District would go an entire season without some snow that sticks! Needless to say, the streets and Metro are a mess whenever we get a dusting in D.C. so I am happily sticking around my apartment today and avoiding the cold and wet outdoors.

Breakfast and brunch are by far my favorite meals. I sometimes think that I could live off of pancakes, french toast, and biscuits. But that doesn’t exactly make for the the healthiest diet and, sometimes, you just don’t want all those carbs. As of late, I’ve been favoring brunches that mix my favorite elements of breakfast with my other favorite food group–vegetables. Today’s recipe is one that I make whenever I have a bit of time to cook, and I’m craving something fresh tasting. The sweetness of the vegetables pairs perfectly with just a tiny shaving of parmesan cheese and a runny egg. Very few things top egg yolk for a dressing/sauce, and this breakfast is a combination of simple flavors that I simply love.

Happy eating! Enjoy the snow 🙂

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Spanish Eggplant

Sooooo it’s been awhile. It seems as though Christmas was just yesterday, and I has only recently posted about tomatoes. Turns out, time flies–especially when one’s mother chooses to indulge one’s Indian food cravings and one then lacks motivation at the start of the new semester. Last week was a low point in my cooking world. There was Trader Joe’s tomato soup, pasta with sauteed veggies, and, my personal favorite, eating an entire grilled zucchini and some onions for dinner. Pitiful? I think yes.

BUT I’ve resolved to change that. One of my resolutions is to vary my diet this year. I often find myself using the same old seasonings out of habit, and I think my repertoire needs a revamp. The first thing I decided to tackle? Eggplant. I usually just wind up grilling or broiling eggplant, then either smothering it in some tomato sauce and sprinkling with some cheese or tossing it with some cumin and onions. While eggplant parm is lovely, you can only eat it so many times.

One of my favorite new places for lunch by the law school is Roti–a Mediterranean take on a Chipotle-style restaurant. You pick whether you want a plate or sandwich, choose your meat, and then–my favorite part–select your veggie toppings. They have a red cabbage slaw to die for and their Spanish eggplant is a must any time I go. So imagine my delight when I realized that Roti features the recipe for Spanish eggplant on its site! This dish is warm and flavorful. It’s full of delicious vegetables and it can be served warm or at room temperature. I also love how colorful it is. If you’re looking for a new take on eggplant, this is it! Happy Eating!

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End of Summer Farro

Summer is at an end. I knew it was coming. The sudden decline in temperature. My instinct to reach for a scarf and opt for warmer pajama pants. The adorable jackets and wool knits on the racks of the stores on M Street.

And yet, I didn’t see it until it was right in my face at the farmers market last weekend with a sign advertising the last peaches of the season.

Excuse me? Last peaches? I beg your pardon?! I still have salads and tarts and jam to make! And I know with peaches go the good tomatoes, and with the tomatoes go farm fresh zucchini, and with zucchini go the perfect eggplant….I could go on and on. I am so, so sad.

So my solution of course was to clear out my fridge and make a dish as an homage to the vegetables of summer and early fall. This meal is chock full of vegetables, and the nutty farro makes for an incredibly filling dinner. In case you don’t know what farro is, it’s a grain from Italy that is high in protein and in fiber. I’d tell you to Wikipedia it, but I just looked at the article and it wasn’t helpful. It softens when cooked but retains a bit of a crunchy texture. Whatever the official definition is, I love it, and this dish is a great way to transition into fall with the last of summer’s produce.

Happy Eating!

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Heirloom Tomato and Peach Salad

Hurry!  You must get to your farmers’ market quick.  With the beginning of fall creeping in, we are officially nearing the end of both tomato and peach seasons.  If you are thinking, “Who cares?,” then you have never had the joy of slicing up a densely-flavorful heirloom tomato or biting into a perfectly juicy and sweet peach.

Others of you might think, “Heirloom tomatoes?  You mean those ugly, cracked, overpriced things?”  Yes, I do.

Heirloom tomatoes are not your everyday tomatoes.  They come in many shapes and sizes—ranging from red to yellow to striped green to purple—and can range in flavor from slightly peppery to candy-sweet.  Their flesh seems to pack so much more flavor than your normal hybrid breed, and they are rarely mealy or watery like many tomatoes.  Many farmers say that the uglier the heirloom, the better.  Don’t pass one by for having a small crack on its side.  It is probably a gem.  Hung up on the price tag?  Let me ask you, how many bad, mealy tomatoes have you wasted your money on over the years?  I promise you, these babies are worth the extra $1 per pound.

Simply sliced with a drizzle of good olive oil, heirloom tomatoes will steal the meal, but in my opinion, the best way to showcase these bad boys is with another seasonal item:  the humble peach.  The combination might seem a bit strange, but trust me, the tomatoes and peaches bring out the best in each other.  For me, this salad is the highlight of summer. Continue reading

Saffron Arancini

Ten years ago, I was in the seventh grade, sitting in my classroom, beginning a writing exercise with thirty of my peers, more concerned about my plans for the following weekend than the vocabulary words in front of me. I didn’t know what al-Qaeda was, and, although interested in government, I did not particularly care for foreign affairs. It’s amazing how much changes in ten years.

While a lot has changed, many things have stayed the same. For one thing, I always turn to my family and to my friends when grappling with crises or issues in my life, and those friends have expanded my perspective and my understanding in so many ways. For another, I continue to feel safe living in the District, knowing that countless men and women are putting in the time, and at times risking their lives to protect mine. The one thing that I can be grateful for is how much more aware 9/11 made me of what I have, and so, today, I say “Thank you.”

Now on to cooking: One thing about those aforementioned friends is that I love to show my appreciation for them by cooking. Perhaps it’s an Indian thing, but we often show our love by feeding people. So on Friday night, I had a bunch of my close Georgetown friends over for dinner.

Now, I love risotto; there are few things in this world that are as comforting as a bowl of warm rice, cooked slowly in broth. Which is why it should be of no surprise to you that one of my favorite foods in which to occasionally indulge is arancini. Arancini are little balls of risotto, lightly coated in breadcrumbs and fried until just golden. The name translates to “little oranges,” and these little bites actually look like golden oranges when piled on a plate.

I first had arancini when studying abroad in Italy. On my first day in the city, I opted to explore. I hadn’t eaten lunch that day and was starving, and by late afternoon I was scouting out places to grab a quick bite to eat. There was a small line outside a small, fairly nondescript shop in Rome, but I figured that the Romans must know what they are doing. I popped in and bought myself a few arancini. Delicious. I have no clue how the Romans stay so thin with these things around.

Happy eating and I wish all of you a safe and peaceful day.

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Roasted Tomato and Red Pepper Soup

If you haven’t heard, it’s hurricane season.

After suffering an earthquake earlier in the week, the East Coast is now being hit by the fury of Hurricane Irene. It’s been quite a while since we’ve had a legitimate hurricane in the region, and the fear that the storm has instilled in the area’s residents was, quite frankly, a bit unexpected on my end. The lines at the grocery stores were ridiculously long, and I was quite glad that I’d gotten most of my shopping done earlier this week. The one thing I could not find, however, was a flashlight. That being said, I was able to grab one of the few candles left at CVS along with a pack of lighters so, if I lose power, I at least have that! It’ll be interesting to read casebooks by the glow of candlelight; somehow, I don’t think it’ll make them more romantic.

Whenever there’s stormy weather I instinctively reach for a bowl of soup. Now, I am not much of a soup person, and, when I have soup, I like it to be full-bodied (no weak broth for me, please!). But here’s another Rosemary-confession: I am not much of a tomato person. So the fact that one of my favorite foods in the world is tomato soup? Defies reason.

I love a good tomato soup; it just tastes so homey and comforting. This one was particularly quick and easy, but what makes it super good is the fact that it features a red pepper. I just happened to have one on hand and decided to throw it into the mix for the heck of it. I really think the pepper brought out the best in those tomatoes, because this soup is a delicious, and I can see it becoming a staple in my kitchen!

Happy eating and, to all of you on the East Coast, stay safe!!

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