Wontons in Ginger Broth with Roasted Broccoli and Edamame

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One dish that Jon really likes but doesn’t get very frequently is homemade wontons. Although not especially difficult to make, it definitely takes some time to assemble and cook all the wontons.

I started off by cooking the filling using onions, peeled and diced broccoli stems, and vegan chicken. This mixture was flavored with lemon verbena, dried cilantro (use basil if you’re a cilantro hater), soy sauce, and a little sriracha sauce, and then set aside to cool.

Next, I mixed together all the ingredients for the roasted broccoli and edamame, and stuck that in the oven to roast. Oddly enough, this was the first time I have ever tried to roast broccoli.
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While the broccoli was roasting away, I started off the ginger broth by mixing together water, soy sauce, minced ginger, rice vinegar, miso paste, a little sugar, and salt and pepper to taste. The broth simmered and melded all its flavors while I worked on assembling all the wontons. It is definitely a good idea to have some good entertainment and something comfortable to stand on for this part!
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Once my herd of wontons had been assembled, I steamed them over the broth. When all the wontons were done, several went into shallow bowls and were topped with the broth. The broccoli was a crunchy and spicy side. And fortunately, Jon was nice enough to clean up after dinner. 🙂
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Wontons in Ginger Broth with Roasted Broccoli and Edamame

Wontons
Stems of 3-4 heads of broccoli, peeled and diced
1 onion, finely diced
3/4 cup vegan chicken, finely diced
1/2 tsp dried cilantro
1/2 tsp lemon verbena
1 tsp fresh ginger, minced
2 tsp sriracha sauce
2 tsp soy sauce, plus more to taste
1 Tbsp toasted sesame oil
1 Tbsp peanut oil
1 package wonton wrappers
Steamer basket or vegetable steamer

Ginger Broth
6 cups water
1.5 Tbsp fresh ginger, minced
1 tsp sugar
4 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp rice vinegar
1 Tbsp miso paste

Roasted Broccoli
Broccoli florets from 3-4 heads of broccoli
1 cup edamame, removed from shell (frozen is fine)
2 Tbsp toasted sesame oil
2 Tbsp soy sauce
2 tsp red pepper flakes (adjust based on desired spiciness)

First, start the filling for the wontons. Remove the tough outside of the broccoli stems, and then dice. Sauté the onion in the sesame and peanut oils until it is softened and just beginning to caramelize. Add the ginger, broccoli stems, and diced vegan chicken to the pan. Sauté for a few minutes, then add the cilantro and lemon verbena. Sauté for a few more minutes, then add the soy sauce and sriracha sauce. Season with salt and pepper, and cook until most of the liquid is evaporated. Put aside to cool.

Preheat the oven to 375F. On a large baking sheet, mix together all the ingredients for the roasted broccoli. The vegetables should be in a single layer on the sheet. Add salt and pepper to taste. Bake for 35 minutes until the broccoli and edamame are crispy in parts and have absorbed most of the sauce.

Mix together all of the ingredients for the broth, and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer.

Next, if you haven’t already, put on some entertainment like music, a podcast, or a talkative husband, and assemble the wontons. Place a wonton skin on a cutting board, and spoon a small amount of filling into the center.
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Using a small pastry brush or your fingertip, brush all four sides of the wonton skin with water, then fold in half to make a triangle. Press the sides together firmly, and then bring the two points together. Brush one point with a little more water, and then seal together with the other point. Place the finished wonton on a baking tray. Continue to assemble the rest of the wontons.
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After the wontons are assembled (aren’t you glad you had some entertainment?), place the wontons into a steamer of steamer basket. Make sure they are not touching, or they might stick together as they cook. Place the steamer or steamer basket over the broth pot, or another pot of boiling water. Working in batches, steam the wontons for about 10 minutes or until the wonton skins are cooked through. Remove and keep warm while steaming the rest of the wontons.
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To serve, place several wontons in a shallow bowl. Spoon the ginger broth over top, and serve with the roasted broccoli on the side. Enjoy getting to sit down, and hopefully be lucky enough to have a dinner companion who will clean up the kitchen for you.

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Spring Bruschetta

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Despite the snow and cold temperatures this week, it still feels like spring! I love bruschetta during the summer, and decided to make this spring version of it with homemade bread and a lemon pea spread.

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I started off by mixing up the bread dough with whole wheat pastry and regular flour, yeast, water, salt, and a little olive oil. The bread had to rise for a while, of course. After it was risen, I shaped it into a nice round loaf, sprinkled it with sea salt, and then put it in the oven to bake.

While the bread was baking, I started off the pea spread. Peas, fresh parsley, garlic, olive oil, and water all went into a pot to boil for just a few minutes. Once the peas were cooked, I put them into my Cuisinart to blend together. I added a little more olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, sea salt, and a little bit of the cooking liquid, then blended it until the peas were roughly mashed but not completely puréed.

The pea spread went into a serving bowl, and was finished with some Aleppo pepper and a little more lemon juice.

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After the bread was cool, it was time to grill it. Watching bread cool is about as exciting as waiting for water to boil…. I sliced up the bread, brushed each piece with olive oil, and then grilled the bread in my panini grill. Yum…grilled bread!

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After the bread was grilled, it was ready for the lemon pea spread which I finished with a little more Aleppo pepper sprinkled on top. It was lemony and tasted just like spring!

Lemon Pea Spread for Spring Bruschetta

16 ounce peas (fresh or frozen)
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
Additional lemon juice
1 bunch of fresh parsley
2 tsp Aleppo pepper
2 cloves garlic, sliced
4 Tbsp olive oil
Sea salt (large, flaky crystal – I used Celtic sea salt)
Round loaf of homemade bread (store bought is ok if you’re not up for making homemade bread!)

Place the peas, parsley leaves, garlic, and 2 Tbsp olive oil in a pot. Add enough water to cover the peas, and some sea salt. Bring to a simmer and cook for 2-3 minutes until the peas are bright green.

Drain the peas, making sure to save the cooking liquid. Put the pea mixture, lemon zest and juice, Aleppo pepper, and the rest of the olive oil in a food processor. Pulse until just blended and the peas are mashed but not puréed. Add enough of the cooking liquid to make a spreadable topping.

Serve on grilled bread and sprinkled with Aleppo pepper. Enjoy on a sunny (or snowy) spring day.

Adapted from Bon Appetit

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Falafel with Tabbouleh

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I decided on Friday night to make Jon a Mediterranean feast. After eating out several times last week for work, I was ready for some homemade food!

I started off the tabbouleh by boiling some veggie broth and then pouring it over whole wheat couscous. While the couscous steamed, I chopped up lots of veggies: green onions, cucumber, carrots, and a red pepper. I also chopped up lots of fresh parsley for both the tabbouleh and the falafel. I whisked up a dressing using olive oil, lemon zest and juice, salt and pepper. Once the couscous had cooled, I mixed in all the veggies along with the dressing, and then placed in it the fridge to absorb all the flavors.
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Next I started the mix for the falafel using my trusty cuisinart. Garbanzo beans, green onions, parsley, cumin, turmeric, lemon juice, baking powder, and a flax egg all went into the cuisinart and got blended together. Next I added small amounts of flour until a wet dough was formed.
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Previously when I had made falafel, Jon’s feedback had been “they aren’t crunchy enough”. So, it being Friday night, I decided to pan fry the falafel in olive oil….this is something that does not happen very often in my kitchen!
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As each batch of falafel finished, they went on a paper towel to absorb some of the excess oil.
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Once the falafel was finished, we were ready to eat! Jon toasted up some pita bread, and we added some hummus that was already in the fridge, making it a true feast. The falafel was even crispy enough for Jon!

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Tabbouleh Salad
1 1/4 cup whole wheat couscous
1 1/4 cup hot veggie broth
3 green onions, finely chopped
Large bunch parsley, chopped
1 cucumber, peeled, seeded, and diced
1 carrot, finely chopped
1 red pepper, finely chopped
1/3 cup olive oil
Zest and juice of 1 lemon (should give you about 1/4 cup juice)
Additional lemon juice to taste
Salt and pepper

Place the couscous in a heat-proof bowl. Pour the hot broth over it, then cover. Allow the couscous to absorb the broth for about 10 minutes, then fluff with a fork.

Whisk together the olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, then add salt and pepper to taste. If you like a more tart salad, add additional lemon juice to taste–I added about 1/8 cup more.

Once the couscous has cooled, mix in the chopped veggies and parsley, then pour the dressing over the couscous-veggie mixture. Stir gently to combine, then cover and place in the fridge. Allow to sit for at least 30 minutes. This salad also holds up well…it was great for lunch the next day.

Homemade Falafel

16 ounce can of garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
3 green onions, chopped
Large bunch of parsley, chopped
1 flax egg (mix 1 Tbsp ground flax seed in 3 Tbsp water)
1 tsp baking powder
2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp turmeric
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1/4 cup whole wheat flour, plus additional
Salt and pepper to taste
Olive oil for frying

Place all ingredients except the flour into a cuisinart mixer, and blend to combine. Blend in the flour, adding more flour as needed to make a wet dough. Don’t over mix.

Heat 1/2″ olive oil in a skillet. Place small balls of the falafel dough in the oil. This is easiest using a spoon to form the falafel, then scooping them into the oil with a spatula. Allow to fry for a few minutes before flipping them. Cook until browned and crispy on all sides. Place on paper towels to drain, then serve immediately.

Christmas Feast!

Christmas this year was with my husband’s family, and they definitely make it a feast! Everyone in the family helps out with different parts, starting with a delicious breakfast roll made by Jon’s sister Kristy. The breakfast roll is scrambled eggs, mixed with cheese and either veggies (for me and Jon) or sausage and bacon for the rest of the family. It was a fun and yummy way to start the morning!

After the excitement of present opening was finished, the preparations for Christmas dinner really started in earnest. Jon’s mom Kathy had already started the ham and turkey, but veryone pitched in to make all the other dishes: two types of stuffing (one vegetarian, one not), deviled eggs, mashed potatoes, grilled ears of corn, sautĂ©ed corn, regular green beans, Italian green beans (sautĂ©ed with onions, garlic, and red peppers), rolls, two types of gravy (one vegetarian, one not) and probably a few other dishes I’m forgetting!

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While the meal was coming together, other family members got the table pretty and festive. With the large number of dishes, buffet style ended up making the most sense. It was quite a feast!

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Thanksgiving Feast!

Thanksgiving this year was at my parent’s house, along with my sister and her husband.

The table was beautiful with a fall flower arrangement in a pumpkin.

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Mom made an amazing feast! As only Jon and I are vegetarians, there was turkey that looked and smelled amazing–and tasted great according to the rest of the family. There were also lots of great side dishes, all of which were vegetarian (though not vegan). Of course there was stuffing, which included both cornbread and whole wheat bread, in addition to onions, nuts, and lots of great seasonings.

Other dishes included mashed potatoes, which were extra fluffy because Mom uses a ricer rather than mashing them, and butternut squash. I was in charge of the Brussels sprouts, which I quartered and roasted with olive oil, salt, and pepper.

Chana masala with naan

I was in the mood for some Indian food this weekend, so I decided to make Chana masala, which is one of my favorite Indian dishes. I also wanted to have some naan to eat with the chickpeas. I made a simple dough for the naan flavored with cilantro (sorry Mom!), and let the dough rise while making the chickpeas.

I started off the chana masala by sautĂ©ing diced onions, garlic, and ginger in a little oil. After the onion was softened, I added lots of spices…garam masala, turmeric, paprika, cayenne pepper, and cumin. Once the spices were warmed and fragrant, I added diced tomatoes to the pan to make the sauce, followed by lots of chickpeas. This pan got covered up to simmer and let all the flavors combine.

While the chickpeas cooked, I cooked the naan. Normally, I just bake naan in the oven but decided to make it on the stovetop. In my cast iron skillet I melted a small amount of earth balance (vegan butter) and then baked the rounds of dough in the skillet. As each piece finished cooking, I brushed the top with chopped garlic and sea salt.

By now the chickpeas were all flavorful, so I finished the sauce with a little lemon juice and salt. The Chana masala was spicy (Jon would say I went a bit overboard on the cayenne pepper!) and super flavorful over the brown rice, and the naan was delicious with it. After the cold day, it was a fun and warming meal to have at home.

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Dinner at Rioja

Last night Jon took me to Rioja for dinner–it was delicious and a great birthday treat! We started off with peach flatbread that had almost all local ingredients–palisade peaches, Olathe corn, honey, and yummy cheese (last night was a good reason why we are only mostly vegan!). The flatbread was sweet and savory. Then we sampled gazpacho. Of course it included tomatoes, but also had strawberries and avocado mousse–wow! Jon told the waiter “I don’t like tomato soup or avocados, but I like this soup!”

After that we tried a deconstructed Greek salad, which was also amazing. It didn’t have any greens, but included delicious olives, tomatoes, cheese, and an amazing tasting orange thing that I’m still not sure what it was.

For entrees (no, we hadn’t had entrees yet!) I had artichoke tortelloni which was served in an incredible artichoke broth. Jon had a vegetarian four square that included cauliflower, a risotto cake, and salads. Both dishes continued the delicious trend. For dessert, we split fig and marscapone beignets, which were warm, crisp, and just the right amount of sweetness.

Fortunately, we walked off some of our dinner on the way home. I definitely recommend Rioja if you’re ever in Denver! Their food is definitely vegetarian (if not vegan) friendly, and their meat dishes sound incredible too.

What a great way to celebrate my birthday! 🙂

Greek salad – I was too cool to turn on the flash, and enjoying the rest of the meal too much to take other pictures. You’ll just have to try it out for yourself.

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