Monday, July 28, 2014

Avocado Egg Rolls with Cashew Dipping Sauce

These are a copycat recipe from The Cheesecake Factory.  I've never had these egg rolls before and I've never been to the Cheesecake Factory.  I know, cheesecake is probably my favorite food in the whole wide world and I've never been to The Cheesecake Factory. Go figure. 

I've also never made egg rolls.  Can you tell by the fact that I wrapped them wrong?  I folded them more like a burrito.  I didn't read the directions on the package until AFTER I had folded them.  Actually, I've made these several times and I folded them the "right" way the second time and I actually liked them better this way. 

I never bothered to make egg rolls before as I thought they would be too much work. I was pleasantly surprised how easy these were and how quick everything came together. 

The cashew dipping sauce was certainly good but there was so much flavor with just the egg rolls, that they didn't NEED it.  We've eaten these without the sauce and love them. 

Make sure your avocado isn't too mushy. I made them once with mushy avocado and the texture was a bit off.  Avocados can be annoying.  They go from almost ripe to overripe so stinking fast. 

We ate these with Kung Pao Chickpea Tacos and they were fantastic.  Now that I know that egg rolls aren't difficult to make, I'm sure I'll be trying new combinations. 

Avocado Egg Rolls with Cashew Dipping Sauce
recipe from Closet Cooking

  • 2 large avocados, diced
  • 4 sundried tomatoes packed in oil, sliced
  • 1/4 cup red onion, diced
  • 1/2 jalapeno, finely diced
  • 1 tablespoon cilantro, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice (1/2 lime)
  • 8 egg rolls
  • 1 egg white or water

Cashew Dipping Sauce
  • 2 tbsp. cup oil
  • 1/4 cup cashews, chopped or ground
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ginger, grated
  • chili sauce sauce or sriracha to taste
  • salt to taste

  1. Mix the avocado, sundried tomatoes, red onion cilantro and lime juice, divide the mixture between the egg roll wrappers and roll them sealing with the egg white or water works fine too.
  2. Heat some oil in a small pan over medium-high heat add the egg rolls and fry until golden brown and crispy, about 3-5 minutes and set aside on paper towels to drain.
  3. CASHEW Dipping sauce
  4. Puree the oil, cashews, tamarind, balsamic vinegar, honey, cilantro, garlic, ginger, chili sauce and salt in a food processor.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Parmesan Potato Puffs

We eat a lot of potatoes around here.  Mashed, baked, stuffed and roasted.  They appear as a side dish quite often.  We buy the ginormous bag of potatoes at Costco way more often than someone should. I think. Well, they are healthy so I don't mind so much.  There are worse things we could eat mass amounts of, right? 

These guys are like light and fluffy fried mashed potatoes.  You can go ahead and play with the spices as well. I think that they would be great with chipotle powder.  

They are easy and actually kinds fun to make.  Every one loved them and now we have even more reason to buy and eat potatoes. 

Parmesan Potato Puffs Recipe
Adapted from Cinnamon Spice and Everything Nice

2 pounds Russet potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 egg, beaten
1 tablespoon butter
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup all-purpose flour (I used gluten free)
1/2 teaspoon sweet or smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
coarse salt
vegetable oil, for frying

Place potatoes in a large pan and cover with water, set over high heat and bring to a boil. Turn heat down and simmer until they are fork tender.

Drain potatoes and put them back in the pan, set it over the heat, cook for a minute or two to dry up the excess water on them.

Mash them with a potato masher. Stir in the egg, butter, Parmesan, flour, paprika, onion powder and garlic powder. Season well with salt, about a heaping teaspoon.

Lightly flour your hands and roll potato mixture into 1 to 1 + 1/2-inch sized balls.

Heat about 1/2 inch of vegetable oil in a large pan set over medium-high heat. Once it starts to shimmer add one of the potato puffs - the oil should bubble and sizzle immediately, if it doesn't let it heat up a little longer. Cook the puffs in batches, don't crowd them because they will poof up a little as they cook.

Cook about 2 minutes a side or until golden brown, then turn and repeat, then turn and repeat again if needed so you can get all sides of the puffs nice and golden brown. Add more oil to the pan as needed.

Drain on a paper towel lined plate. Sprinkle with coarse salt.

Serve hot or at room temperature.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Soup

This is a wonderful light soup that is packed with roasted veggies with a wonderful flavor.

My husband hates tomato soup.  I thought it was just the canned stuff he grew up on that he hated.  Nope, he even hates my awesome homemade Tomato Soup. How I stay married to him is beyond me!

So he comes home from work and looks in the pot and is like, seriously, tomato soup?  I tell him that there are only a small amount of tomatoes in there and you taste the other veggies way more than the tomato. 

Even though it looked like tomato soup, he still gave it a try.  He loved it. He loves red peppers and once he realized that you taste peppers and not tomatoes, he fell in love with the soup. Yea!  Success. 

I found this recipe on Lynn's blog Turnips 2 Tangerines.  She has an amazing blog with so, so many wonderful recipes. I only changed her recipe a bit to keep it vegan and oil free.  I sauteed my veggie in water instead of oil and chose vegetable broth instead of chicken broth. I skipped the cayenne pepper as I am kinda a weenie about heat. I thought it was perfect with just the red chili flakes.  I also cut this recipe in half as I knew that I would be the main one eating it. I do with I had made a full batch and froze half of it. Oh well, live and learn.  I thank Secret Recipe Club for helping me find Lynn's blog!  

Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Soup Recipe
Adapted from Turnips 2 Tangerines

6 medium sweet red peppers, roasted and chopped
4 medium tomatoes, roasted, peeled and chopped
2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
2 celery ribs, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
2-32 oz containers vegetable broth (or chicken broth)
4 t sugar
1/2 t salt
1/2 t curry powder
1/2 t dried thyme (I used oregano)
1/2 t crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 t pepper
1/4 t cayenne pepper (I skipped this)
Serve with tortilla strips

Roast peppers and tomatoes. I cut the peppers in half and washed and seeded them. Then I cut the tomatoes in half.  I put them on a cookie sheet face down in the oven at 450 for about 30 - 45 minutes or until the skins of peppers are a bit charred. Place them in a large baggie and let them steam for about 10 - 15 minutes.  When you take them out, the skins of peppers and tomatoes should come right off. 

In a big pot, saute carrots, onions, celery and garlic in water until veggies are tender. Add roasted peppers and tomatoes. Stir for 5 minutes. Stir in chicken broth; stir in sugar, and seasonings. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and  simmer for 25 minutes. Cool for 30 minutes. Puree in small batches in a blender, return to pan or using an immersion blender, blend ingredients together. I blended mine in my food processor after it cooled for awhile. 

Heat through.

Serve with tortilla strips. I cup up a corn tortilla into strips and put then in the oven until crispy. Watch carefully not to burn. 

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Apple Chips

I like to snack.  Way too often, I find myself perusing the kitchen for things to snack on.  Chips are my favorite.  Obviously I don't keep chips around so I resort to making them myself.  

The only thing annoying about my apple chips is that I don't have an apple corer.  I've made these many times but I still haven't bought an apple corer.  So stupid.  Hopefully you'll have one which will make coring these apples much easier. 

These apple chips are super tasty.  The kids love them and they never last very long.  I don't use a lot of sugar on them so I know that it is a healthy snack. 

Apple Chips Recipe

2 apples
lemon juice
ground cinnamon
granulated sugar
(I like the ratio of 1/4 cup sugar to 1 tbsp. cinnamon)

Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.  Wash and thinly slice the apples.  Spread the apple slices onto the baking pans in a single layer.  Using a pastry brush, brush a super thin layer of lemon juice on the apples.  Sprinkle lightly with cinnamon sugar. 

Bake for about 2 1/2 hours and the turn the oven off an leave inside for about 1/2 hour to an hour to get crispy.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Veggie Sandwich with Cilantro Jalapeno Hummus

This is an amazing vegetarian sandwich with a tasty cilantro lime jalapeno hummus with tasty vegetables. 

This is a similar sandwich that Panera serves at their restaurant. It's my favorite sandwich there. I order it without the feta cheese to keep it dairy free. 

I eat these sandwiches so often that these vegetables are staples in my refrigerator now. 

I buy chickpeas in bulk.  Seriously, I have a lot of cans of beans here.  A. Lot. 

I loved the sandwich so much from Panera that I looked up what was exactly in it. The Panera website said there were Peppadew Peppers on it. I had never heard of them and had trouble finding them.  I found them at the olive bar at both Byerlys and Whole Foods. I've seen them on amazon in a jar but they were quite spend.

These are basically picked spicy peppers. I think. I do know that a couple of these chopped up on one of these sandwiches is super delicious and these too, have become a staple in the house.  Luckily we live near Whole Foods and Byerlys. 

I usually toast the bread before I put the hummus on. Just a personal preference. 

I keep both lettuce and spinach on hand usually. I prefer spinach on sandwiches, though sometimes I do both. I'm still trying to get the rest of the family on the spinach train. 

There is a big debate over the thickness of cucumbers in this house.  I like mine pretty thick but a couple others in the house insist that their cucumbers be super thin. It doesn't matter, just don't miss them, they rock on this sandwich. 

There are several different kinds of bread that I use for these sandwiches. My favorite are the Whole Wheat Sandwich round thins.  I also sometimes will go to Panera and buy a whole loaf of their tomato basil bread. This bread is amazing and you can get a ginormous loaf for like $5 at Panera. Totally worth it for a treat. 

The tomato basil bread is huge and makes an enormous sandwich. It's so, so very good though. 

No matter what bread you use or what veggies you use, this is an amazing veggie sandwich that is tasty and filling. 

Veggie Sandwich with Cilantro Jalapeno Hummus

Sandwich ingredients:
Red onion
Peppadew Peppers

Cilantro Jalapeno Hummus
6 tbsp. lime juice
2 tbsp. water
3 - 4 garlic cloves
2 cans chickpeas
1 1/2 tsp. salt
3 tbsp. tahini
2 - 3 jalapenos, seeded (I use about 2 large)
1/2 cup cilantro

Place everything for hummus in a food processor and process until smooth.  You can add a bit of water if it's too thick but you don't want it too thin.

Spread bread with hummus. Top with desired toppings. 

Linked with  Real Food Wednesday!