How to Make Dairy Free Parmesan Cheese?

Let me start by apologizing to all the Italians.  I’m sorry for referring to this recipe as the one for Parmesan cheese.  However, this is what I set my talent on making for the vegans out there.  I have many customers do not consume dairy, and I wanted them to be able to experience the delectable taste of Parmesan cheese.

Using almonds in this recipe makes the cheese a healthier option due to the endless health benefits of this tasty nuts.

Dairy Free “Parmesan cheese”

Makes 1 cup

1       cup slivered almonds

1       clove garlic

1/2   jalapeño Pepper

1       teaspoon chopped sage

1       teaspoon chopped rosemary

2      slices fresh lemon

2      cups water

1       tablespoon sea salt

-Pour the water and the salt into small saucepan.  Mix well.

-Place the garlic with the sage, the pepper , the lemon slices and the rosemary in two layers of cheesecloth, tie well and then place in the  saucepan.

-Bring the salted water with the herb bundle to a boil.  Remove from the heat, add the almonds and set aside to cool.  Leave the almonds in the brine for 8 hours or over night.

-Remove the herb bundle, drain the brine and then spoon the almonds on cookie sheet.  Heat oven for 250 F. degree and bake the almonds for 10 minutes.  Remove from the oven and allow the almonds to cool for couple hours.

-Grind the almonds in food processor or clean coffee grinder into fine powder.  Save in tight container and use the same way you would use Parmesan cheese.

Easy Cauliflower and Broccoli Appetizer

This recipe is crazy simple and it tastes delicious! What more could you ask for? You can easily make this appetizer in under 3 minutes, but the colors and the the flavors of this dish will make it look like you spent hours in the kitchen.

I made this dish as part of the collection of recipes that you can cook in a college dorm.  Although, this recipe could be served in five star restaurant and impress the hardest critic.  And for those of you who do not like cauliflower, you will after tasting this.

Easy Cauliflower and Broccoli Appetizer

serves 4

1/2       head white cauliflower cut into 4 sections

1/2       head purple cauliflower cut into 4 section

1/2       head broccoli cut into 4 section

for the sauce

6         cloves garlic, mashed

2         teaspoon fresh ground coriander

1/4     cup pomegranate molasses

1/2     cup lemon juice

zest of one lemon

1/4     cup chopped fresh cilantro

salt to taste

-Place the cauliflowers and the broccoli in microwave safe platter.  Cover with paper towel, sprinkle with water and then microwave the vegetable on high for 2 minutes.

-To make the sauce: Whisk the garlic with the coriander, pomegranate molasses, lemon juice, lemon zest, cilantro and salt.  Taste to adjust the seasoning.

-Take the vegetables out of the microwave, drizzle the pomegranate sauce over them and serve.

Got Tomatoes? Make this Great Simple Pasta Sauce

I love tomatoes, and I never have a problem finding a way to eat them.  I have fresh tomatoes with couple of olives and toast for breakfast, have tabbouli with extra chopped tomatoes for lunch and a sliced tomato as a side dish for dinner. At this rate, I may cause the extinction of tomatoes by 2025.

At this time of the year, I love picking fresh vine tomatoes from anyone who offer them for me. When I return to my  kitchen and ponder on what to make, this easy tomato pasta sauce is the first recipe that comes to mind.  My family loves it and it is a piece of cake to make.

Fresh Sauce Pasta

serves 4

5           medium ripe yet firm tomatoes, diced into 1/2-inch thick cubes

8          scallions, chopped

1/4      cup chopped fresh basil

1          clove garlic, chopped

1/4      cup olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

1         pound short pasta

2         freshly grated Parmesan cheese, optional

-Bring salted water to boil in pasta pot.  When the water boil, drop the pasta, stir and bring back to a boil.  Boil the pasta for 7 minutes or until the pasta al-dente.

-Just 1 minute before the pasta is done, heat the olive oil in large saute pan and cook the vegetables for 1 minute.  Drain the pasta well and add to the vegetables.  Stir, add the salt, the pepper, the garlic and the basil.  Turn off the heat and serve.

This pasta dish is great hot or cold.

Lima Bean, Zucchini and Kale Pilaf

Zucchini, as most gardeners know, is one of the most prolific vegetables.  Knowing this, I usually plant only one zucchini, with the intention of sharing the crop with friends and neighbors. However, I’ve discovered that my friends and neighbors have the same idea, resulting in a vast oversupply of zucchini as well as a plethora of recipe requests for recipes for this wonder, overproducing vegetable.

Yesterday I got my box from the organic farm and I opened it and there it was. Zucchini. Of course. Luckily it also came with some potatoes, onions, kale. So, I thought “Why not make a pilaf that uses most of these vegetables?”  This pilaf provides complete protein because of the beans and grains. It is also high in fiber, nutritious, and a very easy, tasty, vegan dinner.

Lima Bean, Zucchini and Kale Pilaf

Serves 4-6

1/4    cup olive oil

1       medium onion, chopped

4      medium zucchini, diced

1      pound frozen baby lima beans, thawed

3     cups chopped fresh kale

1     cup coarse bulgur wheat or #3

1     clove garlic, mashed

1/2  cup chopped fresh cilantro

salt and pepper to taste

-In a heavy pot, heat the olive oil and saute the onion for couple of minutes.

-Add the zucchini, stir, cover and cook over medium heat for 1o minutes.

-Add the lima beans, the kale, 2 cups of water, salt and pepper.  Bring to a boil.

-Add the bulgur, stir, cover and cook over low heat for 5 minutes.  Add the garlic and cilantro, stir, cover and continue to cook for another 5 minutes.  Turn off the heat, leave the lid on for ten minutes and spoon into shallow serving platter and serve.

Quinoa Salad Recipe Greek Style

My daughter will be going to collage in couple days, and I am going crazy.  I am extremely happy for her, but because she is going so far away, I feel as though I cannot help her. I’ll no longer be there to help her with here school, work, etc.. So, I find myself giving her tips about cooking and eating healthy.  To take my mind of her leaving home, I became obsessed of creating recipes that she can make in her dorm using using only the microwave and a good knife– I wonder if they allow chef knives in dorms?–.

I think my daughter is trying to act like she is interested just to ease my worries and pain. She caught me.

Well, this quinoa salad is recipe is one of the recipes I experimented with and she loved it.  It is easy to make in the dorm, and it can keep for a week, making it a good study snack. So, she’ll probably be eating this at 11PM every night. Well, let’s hope.

Greek Quinoa Salad

serves 4

1 1/2      cups quinoa

1             baby cucumber, diced into 1/2 inch cubes

1             red bell pepper, seeded and diced

3             scallions, chopped

2             medium carrots, peeled and diced

1/4         cup diced sun-dried tomatoes, optional

1/2         cup coarsely diced pitted kalamata olives

1             cup chopped fresh oregano

1/2        cup crumbled feta cheese

1/4        cup olive oil

1             cup lemon juice

zest of one lemon

salt to taste

-Place the quinoa in deep microwave safe bowl add 3 cups water, cover with plastic wrap and cook on high for 3 minutes.  Remove from the oven, stir and cook for another 2 minutes.  Take the quinoa out and allow it to rest for couple minutes.

-Place all the vegetables in large salad bowl and toss until well mixed.  Whisk the lemon juice with the lemon zest, olive and salt–take it easy with the salt because you have feta cheese in the salad–.  Drizzle the dressing over the vegetables and toss until well coated. Taste the salad and adjust the seasoning.

-Add the hot cooked quinoa and mix well.

-Spoon the salad into serving bowl, sprinkle with the feta cheese and serve.

Easy, Guilt Free Spicy Sweet Potato Fries

Let’s be serious, who doesn’t like fries? You say “Fries?! I wish, but I need to eat healthy!”

Well, believe it or not, these fries are actually healthy AND tasty!  Baked sweet potato fries are a good alternative to regular potato fries. While they are good on their own, adding garlic and spices takes them to another level.

Baked, Spicy-Sweet Potato Fries

serves 4

2        medium size sweet potatoes

3        tablespoons olive oil

1        clove garlic, mashed

1/2    teaspoon freshly ground coriander

1/8    teaspoon cayenne pepper

zest of one lemon

sea salt to taste

half of lemon, optional

-Peel and cut the potatoes into 1/2-inch thick slices

-In a bowl, mix the garlic with the olive oil, the coriander, cayenne pepper and the lemon zest.

-Add the sweet potatoes slices and toss until well coated.

-Place the potatoes on cookie sheet and bake in 400 F. degree oven and bake for 25 minutes.

-Take out of the oven, sprinkle with the sea salt, squeeze little lemon juice on top and serve.

Vegetable Mosakaa is Tasty and Easy Dish to Prepare your Garden Vegetables

I love gardening, and I used to spend my Sundays weeding, watering and watching my plants grow. However, my favorite part was always picking my vegetables, thinking of new ways I could use them in the kitchen.

Last winter, I had herd of deer living in the yard. It was so cold and I felt so sorry for them that I started throwing  them all my old fruits and breads.  Well, they decided to set up camp in my backyard. Permanently.  Additionally, they now think that all of my planting is done for them.  After couple failed attempts to scaring them away and numerous failed fences, I gave up.

Now, I think every time I go into the garden they joke around saying things like “Here comes the crazy lady” or “What’s on the menu tonight?”

Since I gave up on growing my own vegetables, I bought a share in an organic farm.  Every Wednesday, they leave box full of an array of vegetables at my doorstep.  I use the vegetables and herbs to make pilafs, spreads, casseroles, stews, etc. Sometimes, I make two of each dish: one for dinner and one to freeze for the winter.

Vegetable Mosakaa is one of my favorite vegan dishes to freeze for a cold day.

As you know by now, I am almost anti-frying.  Frying not only uses an excess amount of fat, it makes your house and clothes smell. Also, I always feel awful after eating anything fried. Broiling achieves the same effect as frying without the mess. This technique makes this vegan recipe is easy to make and very heart healthy

Vegetable Mosakaa

serves 4

4         tablespoons olive oil

4         medium ripe tomatoes, cut into thin slices

2         medium eggplant, cut into 1/2 inch thick slices

2         zucchini, cut into 1 inch thick slices

2         peppers, seeded and diced

2         medium onion, julienne

2         cloves garlic, sliced

1         cup crushed tomatoes

salt and pepper to taste

-Place the zucchinis and eggplants in a bowl, drizzle with 3 tablespoons olive oil, toss and then place on cookie sheet and broiled until golden.  Remove from the oven and place aside.

-Place the onions in a bowl, drizzle with the rest of the oil, toss, place on cookie sheet and broiled until golden.  Remove from the oven and set aside.

-Mix the crushed tomatoes with one cup of water, salt and pepper.

-To assembled: Spoon half of the crushed tomatoes in deep baking dish.  Arrange the broiled eggplant slices over the crushed tomatoes.  Place several tomato slices over the eggplants.  Spoon half of the onion over the eggplant and then arrange the broiled zucchinis over them.  Place the garlic slices over the zucchini, spoon the rest of the onion and then top with the rest of the tomato slices.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper and pour the rest of the crushed tomatoes.

-Cover the baking dish with foil.

-Bake in 395 F. degree oven for 30 minutes.  Remove the foil and continue to bake for another 10 minutes.

-This dish is good eaten, hot, room temperature or cold.