Entries in vegetarian (6)


Fake Thanksgiving Stuffing

Ahhhh fall. Changing leaves, crisp mornings, scarves all so nice. Then there is the food. Bring on the roasted root vegetables, squash, soup and rustic desserts - pies, galettes, crisps. Fall feels like gravy weather. Like all your food needs a nice warm blanket to cover it. The height of fall cooking comes at Thanksgiving for most people. All the favorite dishes from candied yams to green bean casserole and in between. 

But why wait - this meal is pretty awesome anytime. You can pull out all the stops and have a "Fake Thanksgiving" or just add one of your favorite Thanksgiving dishes to a roast chicken dinner. The options are endless. Who says gravy calls for grand occasion??

I have had Thanksgiving on my brain. I could not wait to taste the flavors of this amazing meal. Mr. Ramon and I have already planned most of our menu. But I needed a taste - something to get me even more excited. So with dinner guests heading over and celebrating both of their birthdays I decided to really go there with this Fake Thanksgiving. We also found out once they got here that they are going to be out of the country for the holiday so this was the only "traditional" Thanksgiving they were going to get. 

Of course I was not yet ready to handle a turkey so I decided a roast chicken would do. To round out the meal I added roasted brussel sprouts, stuffing and mashed potatoes with gravy. Such a great day to cook. The babe took a couple long naps so I could get my groove on in the kitchen. The house smelled amazing with stock simmering on the stove. 

I love stuffing. Bread is my favorite thing on earth - now add aromatic bits of leek, onion, celery and kale and toss it all together with broth, sage and parsley. Bake that until the top is crispy. The crispy bits are the best. This stuffing I married all I know and love about stuffing and it was amazing! So amazing it is gone. Mr. Ramon took some for lunch and I just crisped up the rest in a pan with an egg on it. Yum!

This was my Fake Thanksgiving stuffing - my real Thanksgiving stuffing will be very similar I bet - but there will be a lot more of it!

This can be made a day in advance and baked the day of your meal. This recipes serves 6 hungry adults. 

Fake Thanksgiving Stuffing

1lb loaf of rustic sour dough bread

1 bunch lactino kale 

3 stalks celery 

1 leek 

1 onion

2 cloves garlic 

1/4 c pumpkin seeds

2 teaspoons sage

1 teaspoon thyme

2 cups stock - chicken, turkey or vegetable

2 eggs

3 tablespoons butter 



Tear the rustic loaf into bite size pieces. Place on a cookie sheet in a 200 degree oven until dry and crisp. Cool and place in a large mixing bowl.

Place pumpkin seeds on cookie sheet and toast in a 350 degree oven for about 6 minutes - watch these. They can burn easily. Cool and add to bowl with bread pieces.

Fine dice the onion, celery and white parts of the leek. Heat some olive oil in a large skillet on medium and add the diced vegetables. Season with salt and pepper. Cook until soft and fragrent about 10 minutes. Pour over the bread pieces. 

Rough chop the kale removing tough stems. In the same skillet on medium add some olive oil then cook the kale until wilted and soft about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. When cool add to bowl with bread pieces. 

Mix with your hands or 2 large spoons all the cooked vegetables with the bread pieces until everything is well incorporated. 

Warm 1 cup of broth with the butter. Let cool a little then whisk in the 2 eggs, sage, thyme and salt and pepper. Pour the broth over the top of the mixture and mix again so it is well distributed. If you think the stuffing feels to dry - pour some of the remaining broth over the mixture. You can also add broth if needed during cooking or after to moisten.

Bake covered in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes - uncover and bake another 15 minutes so the top gets nice and crispy. 



Easy Vegetarian Three Bean Chili

As we get close to the arrival of baby girl I have been determined to fill the freezer with portioned meals that can be thawed as needed. Foods that freeze well are baked pasta dishes, many casseroles, soups and chili. One of our favorite big batch meals is this super easy Three Bean Chili. I will often make up a batch for weekday lunches - the first couple of days we eat it as a regular chili topped with avocado and sour cream. Then we portion it over rice or a baked potato. It is super tasty, filling and versatile. 

Vegetarian Three Bean Chili

2 carrots 

1 large onion

1 jalapeno seeded

3 garlic cloves

olive oil

1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano - crumbled

1 1/2 teaspoon cumin

1 1/2 teaspoon chili powder

1 chipotle chili canned in adobo sauce - minced

1 28 oz can whole plum tomatoes - drained and crushed

1 bay leaf

1 15oz can each - kidney beans, garbanzo beans, pinto beans - drained and rinsed

2 1/2 cups water

1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper 

1/2 bunch swiss chard - stems removed and cut into 1 inch pieces


diced avocado 

lime wedges 

chopped cilantro 

sour cream

Chop by hand the first 4 vegetables or throw them into the food processor and pulse until chopped. 

Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in stock pot over medium heat. Add chopped vegetable mixture and cook until softened about 8 minutes. 

Add oregano, chili powder and chipotle pepper and cook, stirring constantly for 2 minutes.

Add the next 6 ingredients through pepper and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low simmer, cover and cook for 1 hour. 

Remove bay leaf. Add swiss chard.

Cook uncovered for 20 minutes to allow chili to thicken.

Serve chili with toppings such as avocado, lime and sour cream. It also is delicious over brown or white rice or a baked potato. 

This recipe freezes very well. It makes about 8 servings of 1 cup each. Let chili cool and portion into freezer containers or quart size freezer bags. Soups and chili portioned into bags lay flat when filled and take up less room in your freezer. Remove all air from bags when sealing and label with name of recipe and date. When ready to eat, just pull out and let thaw in refrigerator then gently heat on stove or in microwave. 

This recipe is sure to become a favorite of your families for weekday meals or super convienient freezer meals. 


Spicy Pickled Corn

It has been really warm here in Seattle - in a good way. This summer and the amount of heat has been helpful for our garden. We have been experiencing amazing crops of lettuce, cucumbers, squash, onions, peppers, beans and peas. We have had so much fresh produce we have had to give some away. If we have a great summer like this next year I may even start a little farm stand!

One thing for sure is that these amazing flavors of summer just don't last long enough. So while we find 100 ways to eat squash I also look for ways to preserve the flavors of summer. I love quick pickles and find that almost every summer vegetable can be turned into one of these tasty delights. This time I want to make Spicy Pickled Corn. 

Corn like so many summer vegetables is gone quickly. But when it is here it is should be taken advantage of. I like to roast it on the grill or peel it off the cobs and turn it into salads and soups. Today I picked some jalapeno from Mr. Ramons pepper plants and thought the corn and these spicy peppers would be a good match.

Spicy Pickled Corn

You need 1 clean quart size jar with lid - I use either a Mason or a Weck jar. 

Corn Mixture

2 cups fresh from the cob corn kernels - about 2 ears of corn

2 small jalapeno seeded and sliced very thin

1 large shallot peeled and sliced very thin

2 small dried peppers of your choice

1/4c fresh squeezed lime juice

1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl then spoon into jar. 


1/2 cup white vinegar

3/4 cup filtered water

1 tsp sugar

2 tsp kosher salt

Boil these ingredients and pour over corn mixture in jar.

Gently stir and seal jar.

Let cool then keep in refrigerator for about 1 month - if it lasts this long!

I love this spooned over greens or with grilled steak. It is crunchy and tart and delicious. Enjoy!


Dreaming of spring!

While it is still technically winter we are starting to get glimpses of spring here in the Pacific North West. Bulbs are sprouting and the first daffodils are open with their happy yellow faces teasing the rain. A day here and there of brilliant sunshine. These days get me so excited for starting the garden. This last weekend we carved out a small bed against the fence of our garden and put in Sugar Peas and Snap Peas. I loved working out in the garden, digging in the dirt again.

Today it rains again so I took some time to start planning our garden. Drawing out the beds and pouring over the Maritime Northwest Garden Guide to plan when to put in each plant. Day-dreaming of lettuce, tomatoes, squash and the like. Looking through our carrot seeds spurred me to bake today. I had an abundance of carrots in the refrigerator and with every store filled full of Easter candy and stuffed bunnies holding carrots it just seemed appropriate to make some Carrot Ginger Bread. 

I love quick breads. They are just that quick. The outcome feels like you worked harder than you did and they are all so yummy. This one is filled with fresh grated carrots and several types of ginger for a spicy punch. Top it off with a ginger cream cheese frosting.

Carrot Ginger Quick Bread

  • 1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled), plus more for pan
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup packed dark-brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup packed finely grated carrots (from about 2 carrots)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Butter and flour a 5-by-9-inch loaf pan.
In a bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and dry spices.

In your electric mixer, beat butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs and 1 teaspoon vanilla, ginger and carrots.
With mixer on low, gradually add flour mixture; mix just until combined.
Transfer batter to prepared pan; bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 40 to 45 minutes.
Let cool in pan 5 minutes.
Turn cake out onto a wire rack, and let cool completely.

  • 4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh finely grated ginger
  • 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
Beat all ingredients until fluffy. 
Frost top of cooled cake.

Raw Garden Salad


The best thing about growing your own food is eating it! With this warm weather I swear I can see my zucchini grow. Wanting to stay ahead of the squash downpour about to happen I made Mr. Ramon a raw garden salad for work this week. It was really cool to be able to pull a few of our vegetables together to make this tasty salad. This salad is easy and fresh and crunchy. You can add almost any vegetable you have growing in your garden. 

Open, drain and rinse 2 cans of Cannellini Beans - place in medium bowl

Slice 2 small zucchinis lengthways into 4 pieces then chop into thin bites - place in bowl with beans

Slice three handfuls of green beans on the diagonal - add to bowl 


In a small separate bowl mix well- 

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • salt and pepper to taste 
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil

Pour over vegetables and mix until coated. I like to top the salad with crumbled feta cheese. This salad is even better the next day.