Dawn Butler, Vegetables

Spicy Sweet Potato Empanadas

1 pound sweet potatoes, scrubbed (2 potatoes)
olive oil
1/4 cup sour cream
1-1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, diced
1-1/2 tablespoons pure Grade A maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon chipotle chile powder
1/2 teaspoon grated orange zest
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 sheets (1 box) frozen puff pastry, such as Pepperidge Farm, defrosted in the refrigerator
1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon of water, for egg wash
Flaked sea salt, such as Maldon

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Line one sheet pan with aluminum foil and another with parchment paper.

Rub the sweet potatoes with olive oil and prick them all over with the tines of a fork. Place the potatoes on the foil-lined sheet pan. Bake for about 1 hour, until very tender when pierced with a knife. Lower the oven to 375 degrees.

Allow the potatoes to cool enough to handle, then peel and discard the skins, placing the potatoes in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the sour cream, butter, maple syrup, chile powder, orange zest, orange juice, 1-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, and 3/4 teaspoon black pepper and mix well. Set aside.

Unfold one sheet of the cold puff pastry on a floured cutting board. Roll the sheet into a 12-inch square with a rolling pin. With a sharp paring knife, cut four 5-inch circles from the pastry, using a dish as a guide and discarding the scraps. Place a heaping soup spoon of filling on each circle, leaving a 1-inch border. Brush the edges of the circles with the egg wash and fold over, making half circles. Crimp the edges together with the tines of a fork. Repeat with the second sheet of puff pastry. Place on the parchment-lined sheet pan. Chill for 15 minutes.

Remove from refrigerator. Brush empanadas with the egg wash and sprinkle with the sea salt and pepper. Make 2 small slits in each empanada to allow steam to escape. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until puffed and browned. Serve hot.

Dawn Butler, Eggs and Pasta and Legumes

BBQ Tofu

1 (16 ounce) package extra firm tofu
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 egg white
1 tablespoon barbeque sauce (Sweet Baby Ray’s Barbecue Sauce)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
1 cup barbeque sauce

  1. For a meatier texture, press tofu. (If you prefer a more tender texture, this step can be omitted – start at step 2 instead.) Place block of tofu in a colander over bowl, and place a heavy weight on the tofu (a can of tomatoes, for example). Allow tofu to drain (refrigerated) for at least 30 minutes or longer. Discard liquid and pat with towels to dry tofu.
  2. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg white and 1 tablespoon of barbeque sauce. Combine flour, salt, and pepper in a separate bowl. Dip tofu slices into egg mixture, then into flour mixture, shaking off excess flour. Fry in hot oil for about 1 minute on each side, until golden brown. Just fry enough at one time so they are not crowded. Remove from the oil to paper towels to drain and cool.
  3. Preheat broiler. Brush tofu slices with additional barbeque sauce, and allow to marinate while the broiler heats. Arrange them on a broiler pan, or wire rack set over a cookie sheet for best results.
  4. Position oven rack about 6 inches from heat source. Broil for 5 minutes on each side, or until browned and crisp, watching closely so as not to burn. Serve warm with the remaining barbeque sauce for dipping.
Dawn Butler, Eggs and Pasta and Legumes, Vegetables

Savory Spinach Bread Pudding

2 tablespoons olive oil
6 ounces fresh mushrooms, thinly sliced (about 3 cups)
1 10-ounce box frozen shopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1/8 teaspoon Sriracha sauce
1/2 of a 12-inch loaf of Italian bread, cut into 1/2 inch slices (about 9 slices)
1 16-ounce can diced tomatoes, drained
4 ounces cheese, shredded, about 1-1/2 cups (combination of cheddar, gouda and/or parmesan)
6 eggs
3 cups milk
1/2 teaspoon salt

Lightly grease a 13 by 9 inch baking pan.

To a large skillet, add the olive oil and mushrooms. Cook for about 5 minutes. Stir in spinach and Sriracha sauce.

Arrange bread slices in the bottom of the baking dish. Spoon the spinach mixture over the bread.

Whisk together the eggs, milk, and salt. Pour over casserole. Set aside to allow eggs to soak into bread, about 15 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Bake casserole until it is set, puffed and golden, and a knife inserted in the center comes out clean, (45 to 60 minutes). Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Elaine Walker, Soup

Lentil Soup

1 pound lentils, rinsed
10 cups vegetable broth or water
1 jalapeño pepper, stemmed, seeded and chopped
2 teaspoons whole coriander seeds
1-1/2 teaspoons cumin seeds
2-1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 bay leaves
2 medium potatoes (1-1/4 pounds), scrubbed and cut into 1/2-inch dice
10 ounces baby spinach, chopped
1 small butternut squash (1 pound), peeled, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch dice (about 3 cups)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 ribs celery, with leaves, sliced
3 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 teaspoons kosher salt, or more to taste
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or more to taste
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
2 lemons

  1. In a large soup pot over medium-high heat, combine the lentils, stock or water, jalapeño, coriander, cumin, oregano and bay leaves. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low. Simmer, partially covered, about 30 minutes, until the lentils are tender.
  2. Add the potatoes, spinach and butternut squash, re-cover and cook another 15 to 20 minutes, until the potatoes and squash are tender.
  3. Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium heat, heat the olive oil until shimmering. Add the onion, and cook, stirring, until it starts to soften, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the celery and garlic and cook, stirring often, until they soften, 3 minutes. Add the mixture to the soup, deglazing the skillet with a little soup liquid and adding the deglaze contents back to the soup pot. Add the salt and pepper, taste, and add more if needed. Pick out and discard the bay leaves.
  4. Thinly slice one of the lemons and cut the other into wedges. Just before serving, stir the lemon juice into the soup. Serve the soup hot, with a lemon slice floating atop each bowl. Pass lemon wedges at the table.
Candy, Elaine Walker

Maple Candy

2 cups pure maple syrup (use amber grade B for a deeper flavor)

Lightly grease the sides of a large saucepan (this will prevent the syrup from boiling up).

Lightly grease molds (silicone “bite-sized brownie” molds are best).

Pour the maple syrup into the saucepan and bring it to a boil over medium-high heat. Do not stir. Boil until syrup reaches 235 degrees F (soft ball stage) on a candy thermometer.

Turn off the burner but leave saucepan there to cool. Cool to 175 degrees F without stirring. Once the temperature has cooled to exactly 175, stir the mixture rapidly with a wooden spoon until the color begins to turn lighter and mixture becomes thick and creamy. Don’t overbeat or it will become crumbly.

Pour into molds. Set aside to cool. Once cool, unmold candy. Store in airtight containers up to 1 month.

Makes about 18?

Elaine Walker, Vegetables

Cauliflower Tikka Masala

Cauliflower Marinade:
1 pound cauliflower florets (about 1 head)
7 oz wt. plain 2% fat greek yogurt (do not substitute any other type of yogurt)
1 tablespoon garam masala (good quality spice and do not substitute any other spice)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

Sauce:
1 cup plain canned tomato sauce (without Italian spices)
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 tablespoon butter
3 cloves garlic minced
1 tablespoon garam masala
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
fresh cilantro

Marinate the Cauliflower:
In a large bowl, stir together yogurt, garam masala, lemon juice, pepper, and ground ginger until well-mixed.

If any cauliflower florets are on the larger side (more than 2 inches), cut them into smaller florets. Measure out 16 ounces of florets to use for this recipe.

Toss the florets in the bowl with the marinade until well-coated. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Roast the Cauliflower:
Preheat the oven to 400 F.

Prepare a baking sheet lined with foil or parchment paper. Add marinated cauliflower florets to the baking sheet, spreading them out in a single layer. Reserve any leftover marinade in the bowl, if any.

Bake at 400 F until the cauliflower is tender and the marinade looks dry, about 20 minutes, depending on your oven and taste preferences. While waiting for the cauliflower to bake, proceed to the next step to make the sauce.

Sauce:
In a large pot, add and stir together all sauce ingredients and any leftover marinade. Bring to a simmer.

Simmer until the sauce thickens and reduces by one-fourth, about 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Adjust the heat as needed to maintain a simmer.

If the cauliflower isn’t done yet, keep the sauce warm over low heat.

When the cauliflower is done, add it to the sauce, stirring for a minute until the cauliflower is well-coated with sauce.

Serve while hot, and optionally garnish with chopped fresh cilantro.

Elaine Walker, Slow Cooker or Instant Pot, Soup

Wild Rice and Mushroom Soup

5 medium carrots, chopped
5 stalks celery, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup uncooked wild rice*
8 ounces fresh mushrooms, sliced
4 cups vegetable or chicken broth
1 teaspoon poultry seasoning (or a mixture of thyme, sage, etc.)
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

To the Instant Pot, add all ingredients and cook for 45 minutes (manual, high pressure, quick release).

* Use only wild rice. Do not substitute brown rice or a wild rice blend.

Elaine Walker, Slow Cooker or Instant Pot, Soup

Spicy Carrot Soup

8–10 large carrots, peeled and chopped coarsely
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, peeled
1 (14-ounce) can coconut milk
1-1/2 cups chicken or veggie broth
1/4 cup peanut butter
1 tablespoon red curry paste
cilantro and peanuts for topping

Stovetop Instructions: Saute the onions and garlic with a little bit of oil until soft. Add the carrots, coconut milk, broth, and curry paste. Simmer until carrots are soft. Add peanut butter and stir until melted. Using immersion blender, blend until smooth; season generously with salt, top with peanuts and cilantro.

Instant Pot Instructions: Place all ingredients in the Instant Pot and set for 15 minutes. Using immersion blender, blend until smooth; season generously with salt, top with peanuts and cilantro.

Eggs and Pasta and Legumes, Elaine Walker, Slow Cooker or Instant Pot

Creamy Instant Pot Macaroni and Cheese

1 pound macaroni pasta
4 cups water
4 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground mustard
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt (optional)
1 (5 ounce) can evaporated milk
4 cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
2 cups shredded cheese that melts well (Swiss, Gouda, Fontina or Monterey Jack)

To the Instant Pot, add the macaroni, water, butter, kosher salt, ground mustard and garlic salt. Cook in the pressure cooker for 5 minutes on high, then quick release. Add the evaporated milk and half of the cheeses and use a wooden spoon to vigorously stir until the cheeses have melted. Add the rest of the cheese, stirring until the sauce is creamy. Add any additional toppings or mix-ins below at this time.

Note: The creamy texture comes from the evaporated milk and the Swiss-like cheese. Using regular milk and only Cheddar will not yield the same results.

Pesto Mac & Cheese: To each single serving, add pesto sauce (about one tablespoon?), some toasted pine nuts plus chopped sun-dried tomatoes or roasted red bell peppers.

Veggie & Crispy Fried Sage: To the instant pot, stir in cooked butternut squash, steamed broccoli or roasted cauliflower. To make the crispy fried sage, add 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil to a fry pan over medium-high heat. When hot, add the sage leaves and cook for 15-30 seconds, flip, and cook for another 20 seconds or so. Transfer to a paper-towel lined plate and sprinkle with kosher salt to top the mac and cheese.

Eggs and Pasta and Legumes, Elaine Walker, Sauces

Tuscan Pumpkin Pasta Sauce

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup strained tomato (tomato puree)
1 cup pumpkin puree
1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 teaspoons maple syrup
1/2 cup full-fat coconut milk
1 teaspoon fresh minced sage

Pour the olive oil into a large pot over medium heat, and saute the garlic until fragrant, about 1 minute.

Add in the tomato, pumpkin, water, salt, cinnamon, and maple syrup and bring the sauce to a boil. Once boiling, lower the heat and stir in the coconut milk and minced sage.

Serve over cooked pasta.

Note: I haven’t yet made this. It might be good to wait to add the maple syrup at the end, and just do 2 teaspoons to start. Also, it might be good to reduce the amount of tomato and substitute some pureed cooked carrots (like in the Tuscan Pumpkin Pasta Sauce from William Sonoma).