My dear friends Angie and Ana are taking these cooking classes on Wednesday nights… I am not participating because these classes are not vegetarian and I would not be able to cook or actually taste almost anything they make. But the ideas their teacher shares are quite good sometimes and I like to vegetarianize them to be able to enjoy them.
Such is the case with a croissant idea filled with chorizo and apricot jam… Refrigerated croissant dough does not come in whole wheat form, unfortunately. So I decided to make-over the recipe given to me by Angie into a quesadilla.
Never been too fond of Mexican chorizo… I much preferred Spanish chorizo. But this Soyrizo tastes like the Mexican version with strong cumin notes. I take it easy with this soyrizo because after my first trip to India, I developed a strong aversion to cumin. For years I was not able to taste cumin or even smell it up close. Now I’m better, but I am still not a cumin fan.
What I do love about this recipe is the salty/sweet combination… and it has a very rich flavor, so be prudent and don’t over stuff your quesadilla.
SOYRIZO APRICOT QUESADILLA
1 FlatOut flatbread or whole wheat tortilla
2 handfuls of shredded cheddar cheese
1 ½ tbs of apricot jam
About 2 inches of soyrizo
2 large scallion, chopped finely
2 tbs softened butter
2 tsps brown sugar
- In a small non-stick skillet over medium high heat, with a tad bit of olive oil, cook the soyrizo. Start moving it around allowing it to brown on one side before mixing it up and moving it around. It will cook and brown until it turns into crumbles. Set aside.
- Pre-heat toaster oven to 425F.
- In a baking sheet, spray butter-flavored oil to make sure your tortilla or flatbread does not stick. Place your flatbread halfway in the pan.
- Start mounting the fillings… spread most of the apricot jam on the bottom half of your quesadilla. Add the cheese, the crumbled cooked soyrizo, the scallions and a tad bit additional apricot jam if you wish. Fold the tortilla to create a half moon. Press it lightly to make it all “stick together”.
- Spread some softened butter on top of tortilla or flatbread and sprinkle some brown sugar on top.
- Place in oven for about 5-7 minutes. The cheese will melt, the fillings will fuse together and the top will get brown and crunchy. Take it out if the oven and allow a few minutes for the cheese to cool down.
- Cut into wedges and enjoy…
I did this with 2 tortillas and the flavor was too rich for me. But I encourage making it with two tortillas if you are sharing.
The scallions are my addition to this recipe and I feel they help cut a bit of the oiliness of the cheese and soyrizo plus it adds some freshness.
Try it… and tell me if you like it or not. What are your favorite quesadilla ideas???
Mashed potato is a definite go-to in my recipe repertoire. You’re hungry… potatoes available… make a potato mash. But sometimes you want something more substantial that feels more like a main course, rather than a glorified side dish.
The other day I saw the Idaho potatoes in my sister’s fridge and we were all hungry now… what to do? I wanted to do some twice-baked potatoes, but we just didn’t want to wait to bake and re-bake. So this is a quicker alternative with the same flavor punch of the original.
I do not bake the potatoes first… but I do not boil them either, like for regular mashed potatoes. I steam them. To me is a faster method to cook potatoes and yields the same delicious result.
ONCE STEAMED /ONCE BAKED POTATO CASSEROLE
3 large russet or baking potatoes
1 large onion, diced finely
1 small carrot, grated or chopped finely
2 large garlic clove, minced or grated
2 tbs butter
2 ounces of plain yogurt or sour cream
2 ounces of cream cheese
2 scallions, chopped
2 tbs of Vegan Bac’n – optional
2 generous handfuls of shredded cheddar cheese
Salt and Pepper to taste
- I steam the potatoes in a medium pot with just a few inches of water. I season the water with salt. And let them steam for about 10-15 minutes.
- While the potatoes are cooking, in a medium skillet over medium-high heat sauté the onions, garlic and carrot in a little bit of olive oil. Cook them until they’re softened.
- When the potatoes are cooked, strain them and add all the fixin’s… the butter, sour cream or yogurt, cream cheese, the cooked onions/carrot mixture, scallions, shredded cheese and veggie bacon if using. Mash it all well until smooth and season with salt and pepper to taste. Add a drizzle of olive oil if you feel the mixture needs some moisture.
- Take the potato mash and spoon it into individual ramekins. I like to mound the mixture so it looks luscious and abundant. Place what’s left of the shredded cheese on top.
- Place in a toaster oven on 450F or broiler for about 10 minutes to melt and brown the cheese on top.
We were talking recently about my favorite sandwiches… but not all sandwiches need to have bread. Such is the case with these Eggplant Sandwich Stacks. I think they’re more aptly named Eggplant Stacks and done. But Mili at the Yoga Center always calls them Eggplant Sandwiches.
To me an eggplant sandwich is like these ones… eggplant fried or grilled inside two pieces of bread. In this case, the eggplant is the “bread” and the filling is lots’o cheese.
They’re easy to make and are a great way to enjoy eggplants…
EGGPLANT SANDWICH STACKS
2 medium sized eggplants
2 cups of tomato pizza or pasta sauce – I like to use this one I make
1 package of mild cheddar cheese, sliced thinly
½ cup of shredded mozzarella cheese
Garlic and herbs Seasoning mix
Salt and Pepper to taste
- Pre-heat the oven to 350F.
- Cut the eggplants in rounds. Do not peel them as the skin will help retain the shape of the eggplants. If you’re not fond of the skins, you can certainly remove them while you’re eating them. They’ll peel off easily.
- Drizzle the eggplant rounds with olive oil and season with garlic and herbs seasoning, salt and pepper to taste. Place them side by side on several cookie sheets to roast in the oven covered with aluminum foil paper. Let them cook in the oven for about 15 -20 minutes.
- After the eggplant stacks are partially cooked… we stack them. Find pieces that are evenly sized so your stack is even. Or if pieces are not exactly the same size, try for the bottom piece to be larger than the top piece.
- Take one piece of eggplant, spread some tomato/marinara sauce on top, but not too much. Place a few slices of cheddar cheese, top with another piece of eggplant.
- Spread more tomato/marinara sauce and finish with a mound of mozzarella cheese. Repeat until you have stacked all pieces of eggplant into these sandwiches.
- Place again in the oven for about 10-15 additional minutes to finish cooking the eggplants and allowing the cheeses to melt and brown on top.
- Allow them to cool a bit before transferring to a plate to serve.
We had these eggplant sandwiches with a lovely rice made in the oven with spinach, mushrooms and nuts.
Every Wednesday, Serious Eats gives us readers a challenge for the weekend based on articles found in newspapers around the US. This past weekend’s challenge was to create something delicious with CORN.
I’ve been meaning to learn my friend Rosani’s recipe for Sopa Paraguaya for some time now. And just like I do every time – I gather the recipe, I gather the ingredients and then… something comes up and the ingredients stay in the cupboard indefinitely. That’s why I was so glad to hear about this challenge because it would give me the chance to make this Sopa Paraguaya once and for all…
Sopa Paraguaya translates literally to Paraguayan Soup. It’s not technically a soup – it’s more like a corn bread or a polenta… and about the Paraguayan part… well, it’s from Paraguay but if you’re ever there,
don’t ask for a Sopa Paraguaya because these are known there as “chipa guazú”.
UPDATE 11-03-2012: If you indeed get to visit Paraguay like I did back in March, you’ll see that this version I learned originally is more like a hybrid of what they traditionally call a Sopa Paraguaya and a Chipaguazú. Check out the distinctions between the 2 traditional dishes here.
½ packet (3/4 cup) cornmeal
8 oz (1 cup) frozen corn kernels – defrosted
1 large onion, chopped
2 tbs of butter
1 tbs olive oil
1 ½ cups evaporated milk
1 ½ cups regular or soy milk
2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese
½ tbs baking powder
2 links of Veggie Hot Dogs, sliced (optional)
Salt and Pepper to taste
Canola oil Spray
- Pre-heat oven to 350F.
- In a large sauce pan over medium high heat, add the oil, butter and onion. Add a little salt and pepper to help the onions release their juices. Sautee until onions turn translucent. Add the veggie dog slices and heat thru.
- Add the milks and let them warm through. Add the cornmeal slowly while whisking to avoid creating lumps. Keep on whisking once in a while until the mixture thickens. Add the baking powder. Add the corn kernels and shredded cheese. Mix well so the corn kernels are evenly distributed within the mix and the cheese has melted. Take off the stove.
- Transfer to an oven baking dish that has been sprayed with canola oil.
- Bake at 350F for 20-25 minutes until the top is golden brown. Let rest for about 15 minutes to allow it to set before cutting into it…
I have loved sopa paraguaya ever since I first had it at the Yoga Center… now, thanks to Rosani, I can make it anytime I crave it. The veggie dogs are not necessary, but I think they add a nice touch to it.