Category Archives: vegetables

Potato – Zucchini Latkes for Chanukah

It’s Chanukah if you can believe it!  These tasty little pancakes are perfect for the holiday and really any day.   Most perfect of all is that you can cook them, freeze them and have them for whenever you want. They make a great appetizer or side dish. My experience with latkes is that they never really taste as good as when you first fry them, but that’s such an impossible task with people waiting to eat and having fifty million other things to do. Latkes are the ultimate comfort food. This is just a little twist on the traditional potato latke .  Usually about 2 – 2 1/2 inches in diameter is the right size, but it’s up to you. Not sure where this recipe hails from. The original from my Grandmother, but the zucchini was added later. My grandmother didn’t own a food processor and it’s a game changer, just makes it so much simpler to do.  I loved my Grandmother’s latkes and not quite sure what she did to make them so delicious but I try my best.

Happy Chanukah!

If you’re not into the zucchini thing just add 2 more potatoes and omit the zucchini.

Delicious served with applesauce , that’s how we do it here.

Ingredients:

6 russet potatoes, peeled and quartered (for food processor)

2 zucchini, cut into large chunks (for food processor)

1 spanish onion, peeled, and cut into quarters (for food processor)

4 eggs, beaten

1 – 2 teaspoons kosher salt ( more to taste) tasting is key here , potatoes can be very bland

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2/3 cup matzoh meal or bread crumbs ( if you’re making for Passover it’s perfect with matzoh meal)

Vegetable oil for frying

*applesauce for dipping ( optional) this is what we use

* sour cream ( optional) if you like

Directions:

Using the grater blade for the food processor, grate the onions, potatoes, and zucchini. A little trick to these latkes is to drain out as much of the liquid as possible, so I literally squeeze out every drop of liquid with my hands. I let each vegetable sit in a colander to drain as I grate the next one.

In a separate bowl, beat together the eggs, salt and pepper. Add it to the potato mixture and combine well. Next, add the matzoh meal or bread crumbs.  Taste for salt (start with 1 teaspoon and add more if needed, this is very important for flavor.

Heat oil in a large, heavy skillet or cast iron skillet, over a high flame. You want the oil very hot. I test the oil with a drop of water–when it sizzles, it is ready to fry. I put about 2 inches of oil in the pan, you may need to add more as you start frying. Form pancakes about 2 inches in diameter, place (very) carefully into the oil, and when the edges start to crisp up, turn them over and continue cooking until golden. If you like them flat and crispier, then flatten them out with a spatula while cooking and start with a little less.

*I like the oil to be clean as I fry so if it starts to run down I usually pour it out, wipe pan with paper towel and add fresh new oil. This is only in the event the oil starts to get very dark from the potatoes. It may not be necessary but sometimes it is. They will just fry up better.

Let the pancakes cool off, and serve plain or with sour cream or applesauce on the side. If you are freezing them, let cool completely first, then I usually use a Hefty Ziploc freezer bag. Mark them with the date, and take them out the night before you need them. They should stay for at least a month in freezer, and probably longer.

*to re-heat I like to use the oven at 350 degrees on a cookie sheet for about 15 mins. depending on how thick they are. Spray the cookie sheet with Pam Spray and you may want to flip them over 1/2 way through. Make sure they are heated throughout. Serve with some of that homemade applesauce on my blog. Enjoy!

Winter Veggie Soup with Barley and Turkey Sausage (optional)

photo 1 (29)photo 3 (17)photo 5 (14)It’s beginning to feel a lot like winter here in the Northeast. What better way to warm up then with a bowl of soup? Helps warm the body and soul. I  went totally crazy with the vegetables and I cut up everything that was in my fridge and what I bought in the supermarket. I realize that this is a lot of vegetables and a lot of cleaning and chopping but so worthwhile. I added spicy turkey sausage but if you would like you can keep this totally vegetarian, and vegan if you leave out the cheese rinds. The magic ingredient in this soup is the “cheese rind” it adds another dimension to this soup for sure. I just cut off the end (rind) of the parmesan cheese hunk of cheese! Amazing flavor!!!!

I used vegetable broth because I had it, you can use chicken broth as well.

This is what I did.

Don’t be put off by the shopping list and the chopping. You, your family and friends will be forever grateful.

Ingredients:

2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 sweet or spicy turkey sausages ( large ones)

1 cup pearled barley

8 cups vegetable or chicken broth

2 medium carrots, peeled and sliced into app. 1/2″ thick rounds, cut however you like, I just like to taste a piece of carrot in my soup

2 medium parsnips, peeled and sliced into 1/2″ thick rounds as well

2 medium zucchini, halved lengthwise and cut into 1/2 inch slices , leave the skin on

1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced ( don’t omit this , it adds amazing flavor)

1 medium leek, thinly sliced and washed well

One bunch of Swiss Chard, remove the center stem and chop leaves

1 Parmesan Cheese rind, optional

1 dried bay leaf

2 teaspoons kosher salt

3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup chopped chives , I didn’t have fresh which I recommend but I used dried, it’s really OK if you omit , just adds one more layer of flavor to the soup.

Directions:

In a large stockpot ( Le Creuset), heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and cook breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon into small pieces, I like to brown the sausage, about 5 minutes. Remove the sausage with a slotted spoon and set aside.

Add the barley and stir constantly until it is lightly browned, app. 3 – 4 minutes. Add the broth, carrots, parsnips, zucchini, fennel, leeks, chard , bay leaf and cheese rind. About 1 teaspoon kosher salt and about 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper. You will taste for salt and pepper again at the end. Bring the whole thing to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer and cook, uncovered until the barley is tender . I cooked for about an hour.

Remove the rind and bay leaf and discard after the first hour. Season the soup with remaining S & P if desired. You may also want to add a little liquid if it’s too thick, you can add more broth or just some water will work as well.

Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with the cooked sausage and chopped chives.

Creamy Mashed Potatoes

photo 3 (7) photo 2 (9)This is my go to recipe for the creamiest mashed potatoes around. I make them a few times a year and mostly on the holidays. Occasionally I’ll whip them up for dinner . They are rich and delicious and just the way mashed potatoes ought to be. I’d like to tell you that I don’t use butter and cream but I do. These are pretty easy to make, all I would say is to buy a good potato masher they come in pretty handy for a lot of other uses as well ( great for egg salad) .  I like to work with Yukon Gold Potatoes. This recipe is for 5 lbs. and feeds about 10 – 12 people , just perfect for a holiday dinner.

* see also Mashed Potato Casserole with Sour Cream and Chives for another way to go.

Ingredients:

5 pounds Yukon Gold Potatoes or Russet Potatoes

3/4 cup unsalted butter

1 8 oz. package of Cream Cheese, softened

1/2 to 3/4 cups half and half

1 /2 to 1 teaspoon Lawry’s Seasoned Salt ( more to taste) I used at least 1 teaspoon you’ll have to taste for yourself.

1/2 to 1 teaspoon crushed black pepper. ( more or less to taste)

Directions:

Peel and cut the potatoes into pieces that are generally the same size.

In a large enough pot to cook all of the potatoes fill pot with cold water to cover the potatoes. I bring to a boil and cook for about 30 – 35 minutes. When potatoes are cooked through, a fork should easily slide into the potatoes without resistance, potatoes should be soft but not falling apart.

Drain the potatoes in a colander. When the potatoes have finished draining, place them back into the dry pot and put the pot back on the stove. Mash the potatoes with masher over very low heat, allowing the steam to escape, before adding the other ingredients.

Turn off the stove and add 1 1/2 sticks of butter, an 8 oz. package of cream cheese and about 1/2 cup of half and half. Mash, mash and mash away.

Add about 1/2 teaspoon of Lawry’s Seasoning Salt and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper.

Stir well and place in a medium-sized baking dish and taste for salt and pepper. I ended up using at least a teaspoon of salt, and a bit more pepper.  Place a few pats of butter over the top of the potatoes and place them in a 350 degree oven and heat until butter is melted and potatoes have warmed through.

* if making a day or two in advance–place potatoes in baking dish,  leave covered in fridge. Take it out of the fridge about 2 – 3 hours before heating up to bring to room temperature. Place your butter pats on top and bake in a 350 degree oven for about 1/2 hour or so till completely warmed through.

*

Aunt Pammy’s Chipotle Sweet Potatoes

 

Fully Baked Chipotle Sweet Potatoes

This recipe belongs to my sister, Pamela. She is a great cook, and this is her signature Thanksgiving Dish. We count on it every year as her contribution.  I highly suggest it if you like spicy because it is! It definitley packs some heat, be careful when you buy the chipotle peppers in adobe sauce , just make sure they don’t say Hot or you might be blowing the roof off of your Thanksgiving Dinner! Be prepared for a lot of flavor !  If your family likes spicy this is an awesome recipe, and you all know how much I like spicy by now.  This is certainly a new take on Sweet Potatoes because they aren’t sweet.  I also make a Sweet Potato dish with Marshmallows (* see recipe) and the two are always on my table, one sweet and one spicy.  Thanks Aunt Pammy.

Ingredients:

5 lbs.Yams or Sweet Potatoes

Kosher Salt ( about 1/4 to 1/2 cup)

Heavy Cream ( about 1 1/2 quarts)

Chipotle Peppers in Adobe Sauce (canned) *look in Mexican Food Aisle in most supermarkets

Directions:

Slice Potatoes thinly and add salt. Place in baking dish you are going to use and cover with kosher salt, start with 1/4 cup and go to the 1/2 cup. Use your clean hands and toss together.

Puree Chipotles in small food processor .* you can keep pureed chipotles in fridge for up to 2 months. So you can do this step ahead.

Put approximately 1 – 2 tsp. of chipotle pepper puree in heavy cream and mix together

Pour Cream Mixture over Potatoes in an ovenproof baking dish ( earthenware is nice for this)

Place in 375 degree preheated oven for 45 minutes to an hour depending on your oven.

Potatoes should be somewhat set and browned on top when ready.

Enjoy! and Happy Thanksgiving

Cauliflower Fried Rice

Cauliflower Rice with Shrimp and Kale

Cauliflower Rice with Shrimp and Kale in Pan

My new obsession is cauliflower rice and I have to admit that since you can now find the cauliflower already chopped up and ready to use there is no excuse not to make this. I used to have to chop the cauliflower in my processor which was time-consuming and I would have to dry it on towels as it was always slightly watery. Now it’s available in pre-prepared cauliflower rice packages. Both Green Giant chopped cauliflower in a bag as well as at Trader Joe’s. The pre-chopped bags come in 16 ounce size bags which is what I used for this recipe.  You can buy extra bags and keep them frozen!  It’s wildly popular so grab it while you can and get a few extra bags while you’re at it. Of course you can always chop your own if you don’t have access to any of these products.

This was so delicious and I add chicken or shrimp or even tofu , any protein you like works well here. Other veggies are great here too like broccoli , kale, whole small pieces of cauliflower etc.  There are so very many variations on this theme, feel free to go wild with it. It’s a low carb alternative to regular rice and a delicious healthy way to do so. Photos of rice bowl with shrimp and kale are here as well.

This is how I do it.

Ingredients:

1 bag chopped cauliflower rice ( I found Green Giant brand and used it) I used a 16 oz. bag  you can use up to 24 oz. Or 1 medium head of cauliflower.

2 Tablespoons reduced sodium soy sauce- you may want to add more at the end , you’ll wait and taste

1 Tablespoon Sesame Oil

2 Tablespoons vegetable oil, plus a little bit for eggs as well. You can cut the oil down on eggs if you’d like. I felt like I needed the 2 tbsp. of oil for onions , etc. You can start 1 tbsp. and add as you need.

1/8 teaspoon ground ginger– you can use fresh if you prefer

2 large eggs-beaten

1 cup frozen peas and carrots –I had it in the house and how easy was this? you can use broccoli or corn or all.

1 onion diced

2 cloves garlic -minced

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper , about 6 grinds on the pepper mill will do

*pinch of crushed red pepper

*kale — after onions were sautéed I threw torn up kale pieces to pan right before cauliflower rice and other ingredients. Kale broke down rather quickly and was an extra added delicious flavor to this bowl.

*chicken, shrimp whatever protein you like . I used a thin chicken cutlet as it was just for me, if I were making for more people I would probably add about 1/2 lb. of cutlets diced up.

2 green onions (scallions) thinly sliced

*salt and pepper to taste — you may want to add a little but don’t add till the end and you’ve tasted it. I added a little sprinkling of salt and pepper.

Directions:

If you must make the cauliflower rice, take out the processor, pulse cauliflower in the large bowl of a food processor until it resembles rice, about 3 minutes, set aside. If you bought the bag–you’re ready.

In a small bowl, whisk together soy sauce, sesame oil, ginger and a little black pepper

Heat about 1/2 Tbsp. of vegetable oil in a medium skillet over low heat , add beaten eggs and cook until cooked through. I didn’t scramble , I made a large pancake. About 2-3 minutes per side, flipping once. Let cool completely before dicing into small pieces, set aside to cool.

Heat 1- 2 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil in a large skillet or wok over medium high heat. Add garlic and onion to the skillet and cook, stirring often, until onions become translucent, at least 5 minutes. I like my onions translucent for this recipe. Lower the heat and stir in peas and carrots (and any other veggies you’d like) and cook until vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes. I cut up a thin chicken cutlet into small pieces and added it with the vegetables. I ended up using the 2 Tablespoons of oil, do what works best for you.

Stir in the cauliflower, diced up eggs, green onions and soy sauce mixture. Cook, stirring constantly, until heated through and the cauliflower is tender, about 5 minutes . Taste for soy sauce and add if necessary. I didn’t add any salt because the soy sauce was salty enough.

This is a very loose recipe so please feel free to experiment.

 

 

 

 

 

Basic Corn Salad

This is the time of the year when corn is at its sweetest and readily available all over. There are times I buy fresh corn but don’t feel like serving it on the cob, even though it is perfectly delicious this way. This corn salad is a suggestion for you as a side dish with very little ingredients and pretty much all corn. I like to serve as a side dish in the summer because it can be made ahead and served at room temperature.

Enjoy the rest of the summer and keep on Cooking with Candi.

Ingredients:

5-6 ears of corn , schucked

1/2 cup small diced red onion

3 Tablespoons cider vinegar

3 Tablespoons good olive oil

1/4 Teaspoon Kosher Salt – you can always add more salt after you finish and taste for salt

1/4 Teaspoon Freshly Ground Black Pepper the same applies for the pepper as for the salt

app. 1/2 cup cut up fresh basil leaves–use as much or as little as you like –it adds wonderful flavor

Directions:

In a large pot of boiling water, cook the corn for app. 3 minutes (just to let go of the starchiness) Drain and immerse in ice water to stop the cooking and set the color. When the corn cools down , cut the kernels off the cob , cutting close to the cob to get the whole kernel. I use a bundt pan to catch all the kernels.

Toss the corn kernels in a large bowl with the red onions, vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper. Just before serving, toss in the fresh basil. Taste for seasonings and serve cold or at room temperature.

How simple and easy is this?IMG_5739

Corn and Tomato Soup – no cream

DSCN0358DSCN0382DSCN0381The corn is so delicious right now that I had to make this soup. I was going to save this recipe for the Fall but I used the fresh Olathe corn at the market now and couldn’t wait to share. When the corn is not as fresh and sweet you can definitely use frozen . I used fresh tomatoes from the farmers market and fresh Olathe corn ( local in Colorado) but I happen to know Long Island has particularly good sweet local corn. So while the getting is good and you can get fresh vegetables please do so. Farm to Table here we go again.

I made this soup for dinner as an appetizer. I think it would be good cold but I prefer it warm.

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 shallots , coarsely chopped or 1 large one

1 teaspoon kosher salt ( more to taste)

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper ( more to taste)

3 1/4 cups corn, or 1 lb. bag of frozen corn thawed it’s approximately 5 – 6 ears of fresh corn

3 cups low-sodium chicken broth or vegetable broth to keep it vegetarian

2 beautiful medium size tomatoes, seeded and chopped into 1/2 inch pieces*

1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped or torn

Directions:

In a large dutch oven ( Le Creuset) type of pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the shallots, salt and pepper, cook stirring occasionally until shallots are soft, app. 5 minutes. While this is going on cook up the corn as follows.

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and just cook corn till it turns yellow for 1-2 minutes, then I throw into an ice bath to stop the cooking. When corn is cooled down cut kernels off cobs.

Place the cooked shallots, corn and chicken stock into the blender.

Pour the corn mixture back into the pot. Bring the mixture to a low simmer , cook for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, just to heat through.  Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the tomatoes and basil, let it cook for another 10 minutes or so.  Taste for Salt and Pepper.

Ladle into soup bowls and serve!

*to seed the tomatoes, cut them in 1/2 horizontally and using a small dessert spoon, scoop out the seed and discard. The seeds make the soup too watery.

Farmers Market to Table Gazpacho

photo (9)DSCN0375DSCN0378

Delicious fresh vegetables from the local farmers market went into this gazpacho. This time of year you must take advantage of the awesome selection of fruit and vegetables at your local farmers market. In Colorado there is so much local produce it would be a pity not to . I bought the tomatoes , cucumbers, peppers, garlic and red onion all from our local farmers market. Whole Foods also sells many local products which is so amazing. I don’t want to preach and there are so very many foods that I am particularly fond of that come from very foreign shores ( shrimp for one) . It’s just quite the thing to put food on your table from your own garden or at least from one within 100 miles of where you live. Farm to Table . Simply put it’s the best .

Ingredients:

1 cucumber or 2 – 3 Kirby size cukes, halved and seeded , but don’t peel . If not Kirby cukes you can use a hothouse cucumber. Go organic, because you are eating the peel.

2 yellow bell peppers, cored and seeded. Of course you can use red bell peppers, but not green.

4 tomatoes , use what you can find. I went to local farmers market for mine . If you use plum tomatoes use 4.

1 red onion

3 garlic cloves, minced or throw them into the food processor along with vegetables

3 cups Spicy V8 or use regular tomato juice

1/4 cup champagne vinegar or white wine vinegar

1/4 cup good olive oil

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

*1/2 to 1 whole jalapeno depending on how spicy you like it, remove seeds from jalapeno

* cilantro, chopped is a nice touch for garnish

*avocado cut up is also nice garnish

*shrimp is also a nice garnish

Directions:

I cut up cukes, tomatoes, bell peppers and red onions into app. 1 inch cubes. Put each vegetable separately into a food processor with steel blade and pulse until it is coarsely chopped. Do not make baby food, don’t over process.

After each vegetable is chopped up combine them in a large bowl and add the garlic ( if you haven’t already) , juice, vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper. Mix well and chill before serving. It’s a good idea to chill for a while, the longer it sits the more the taste develops.

The second night I added shrimp and avocado.

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Yellow Tomato Gazpacho

photo 4 (3)photo 4 (2)I had purchased the most beautiful yellow  tomatoes and figured I would make gazpacho. Gazpacho is by far one of my most favorite summer time soups.  This one is fairly smooth.  Before serving I added  avocado and served with tortilla chips for a wonderful most satisfying meal. This is also super easy and you’ll look like a pro if you just follow these easy directions. You’ll need a decent blender and a few easy to obtain ingredients and you have a wonderful additional to any meal or a nice light lunch. This time I used beautiful yellow tomatoes, you can use any color you’d like and you can use any kind of tomato from the small grape or cherry tomatoes to the larger ones.  The yellow tomatoes with the flecks of jalapeno made a strikingly beautiful soup.photo 2 (3) photo 2I have another recipe titled “Farm to Table Gazpacho” it’s more of a traditional gazpacho! I am going to re-post it as well.

Ingredients:

2 lbs. yellow tomatoes, I used regular sized tomatoes. You can use yellow or orange cherry tomatoes and get the same effect. I washed and dried tomatoes and cut into quarters or halves for easier blending. Heirlooms are amazingly delicious when in season which they are right now! My sister makes this recipe by parboiling the tomatoes, removing the skin and cutting core out of tomatoes. This is an other option. I opted for the easier method but both are delicious and work well.

1 garlic clove (average sized)–you can use 2 cloves if you like a bit more bite of garlic

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 jalapeno, seeded and minced ( be careful handling jalapenos always, I use rubber gloves and be very careful not to get seeds on my hands) wash carefully after cutting up jalapenos, seriously. If you like more kick keep a few seeds from jalapenos. You can use Serrano Chiles also but I still think Jalapenos have the most bang for the buck.

app. 1 tsp. kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste , you may need to add salt and pepper at the end

Diced avocado and tortilla chips for serving.

Directions:

In a blender, puree the halved tomatoes and garlic with 1/4 cup of water. While the machine is on I gradually add the olive oil until fully incorporated. Transfer to a bowl then stir in the jalapeno and season with salt and pepper. Refrigerate until chilled, at least an hour or so, better overnight.

When you’re ready to serve ladle the gazpacho into bowls and top with diced avocado. Serve with tortilla chips. If you leftover shrimp it is also delicious to add and makes it more of a meal!

Fresh Corn Salad

Corn Salad

best way to cut kernels off cob ( in a bundt pan)

This was one of original posts from August 2011. This is one of my most basic recipes and one of my most favorite in the summer months when the corn is fresh sweet and delicious. Simple and Healthy ingredients designed to enhance the flavor of the local corn not disguise it. And fresh tomatoes from the farm!

Those of you who have been following me for all these years probably have made this a million times. I have a lot of other corn recipes out there but this one is just simply wonderful. Simple being the key word here.

Ingredients:

5 ears of corn

1 small red onion diced – if you like less onion use less

3 Tablespoons good olive oil

3 Tablespoons cider vinegar

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/2 cup fresh basil leaves cut up

1 pint of red tomatoes — cherry or plum or heirloom– use whatever you can get fresh off the farm! I prefer small tomatoes and I cut in 1/2 or 1/4–

Directions:

Cook the Corn– in a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the corn for 3 minutes just to take the starch out. Drain and put in a large bowl of ice water ( use ice cubes) to stop the cooking–corn should turn bright yellow. Once the corn cools down–cut the kernels off the cob. I use a bundt pan which works out perfectly –it helps prevent the kernels from flying all over the place.

Add cut kernels to the red onion, tomatoes, olive oil , salt and pepper, and cider vinegar. Cut in some fresh basil and there you have it! A wonderful side dish on your table.

Serve at room temperature.