Category Archives: vegetarian

Tomato Time Pasta– perfect Summer Pasta made with fresh tomatoes

photo 2 (3)photo 4 (2)photo 5 (3)Nothing but beautiful tomatoes out there begging to be eaten in a million different ways. Perfect for a “Meatless Monday” dish or any night of the week . There are tons of local tomatoes out there now. At any local farmers market you can pick up pints of these beautiful babies. This is a lovely light pasta.

I had bought 2 pints of those beautiful little cherry tomatoes and right now there are those gorgeous yellow sunburst tomatoes also available.  I wasn’t sure what I would do with them. They varied in size so I knew if I made a sauce some were getting cut and some would stay whole. Nothing ever sounds better than a plate of pasta to me,  nothing.   These beautiful tomatoes are only out for such a limited time you have to get them while the getting is good.  Some of the tomatoes were super small and I left them whole while I halved the larger ones. There are so many variations of this sauce and feel free to improvise. We love it this way. So simple and so delicious.

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Ingredients:

1 lb. spaghetti , any kind of long spaghetti is good for this — sometimes I use bucatini type and sometimes I use thin type long spaghetti– use whatever you’d like

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil plus more as needed

4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced.

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper* we like it spicy so if you don’t want it that spicy cut to 1/4, I actually used 1 whole teaspoon and it packed a lot of kick.

2 pints of cherry tomatoes or little plum tomatoes or you can use about 3 cups of chopped fresh tomatoes of any type. I cut the larger tomatoes in 1/2 and I left the little ones whole.

app. 20 leaves of fresh basil, I just cut them up into small slivers–this is totally optional if your kids don’t like green stuff– but it looks pretty

Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper to taste –I used app. 1 teaspoon on tomatoes and added towards the end as needed

freshly grated parmesan at your discretion

Directions:

Cook pasta according to directions on box for al dente. Reserve a cup of pasta water in the event you may need a little more liquid in your sauce. Add 2 tablespoons of salt to cooking water for pasta. The Italians like to say that their pasta water should be like sea water good and salty. After finished cooking pasta — reserve 1 cup of pasta water and set aside before you drain pasta.

Heat a large sauté pan over medium heat add 4 tablespoons of olive oil and garlic, cook until garlic is golden about 2 minutes. Be careful you don’t want to burn this garlic. Add the crushed red pepper now and the tomatoes, and cook over medium heat. I also added some kosher salt (about 1/2 teaspoon to start, you can always add more) and a little freshly ground black pepper. Stir for a while to make sure garlic doesn’t burn and tomatoes start to burst and deflate about 5  minutes and if you think you need a little more olive oil add it now . I let the tomatoes simmer in the pan for about 15 minutes to 1/2 hour for the best consistency. I smashed down stubborn little tomatoes at the end with the back of a wooden spoon. A very low simmer at the end.  Taste for Salt and Pepper. The longer the tomatoes sit in the oil and cook down on a low simmer the better the sauce will be so if you have a little time let it sit.

Once the spaghetti is cooked and you’ve drained it ( remember to reserve a cup of pasta water).  Add it to the pan with tomatoes and over medium-high heat toss the pasta with the tomatoes well. Add the basil . I let everyone add their own cheese at the table.

Remove the pan from the heat and plate it up.

Yum! and even more delicious the next day.

Tomato Time Pasta– perfect Summer Pasta made with fresh tomatoes

photo 2 (3)photo 4 (2)photo 5 (3)Nothing but beautiful tomatoes out there begging to be eaten in a million different ways. Perfect for a “Meatless Monday” dish or any night of the week . There are tons of local tomatoes out there now. At any local farmers market you can pick up pints of these beautiful babies. This is a lovely light pasta.

I had bought 2 pints of those beautiful little cherry tomatoes and right now there are those gorgeous yellow sunburst tomatoes also available.  I wasn’t sure what I would do with them. They varied in size so I knew if I made a sauce some were getting cut and some would stay whole. Nothing ever sounds better than a plate of pasta to me,  nothing.   These beautiful tomatoes are only out for such a limited time you have to get them while the getting is good.  Some of the tomatoes were super small and I left them whole while I halved the larger ones. There are so many variations of this sauce and feel free to improvise. We love it this way. So simple and so delicious.

Follow me on Instagram @cookingwithcandi

Ingredients:

1 lb. spaghetti , I like long thin spaghetti for this but whatever kind you like is good– I used a whole box but you can use however much you’d like

4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil plus more as needed

4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced.

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper* we like it spicy so if you don’t want it that spicy cut to 1/4, I actually used 1 whole teaspoon and it packed a lot of kick.

2 pints of cherry tomatoes or little plum tomatoes or you can use about 3 cups of chopped fresh tomatoes of any type. I cut the larger tomatoes in 1/2 and I left the little ones whole.

app. 20 leaves of fresh basil, I just cut them up into small slivers

Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper to taste –I used app. 1 teaspoon on tomatoes and added towards the end as needed

freshly grated parmesan at your discretion

Directions:

Cook pasta according to directions on box for al dente. Reserve a cup of pasta water in the event you may need a little more liquid in your sauce. Add 2 tablespoons of salt to cooking water for pasta. The Italians like to say that their pasta water should be like sea water good and salty. After finished cooking pasta — reserve 1 cup of pasta water and set aside before you drain pasta.

Heat a large sauté pan over medium heat add 4 tablespoons of olive oil and garlic, cook until garlic is golden about 2 minutes. Be careful you don’t want to burn this garlic. Add the crushed red pepper now and the tomatoes, and cook over medium heat. I also added some kosher salt (about 1/2 teaspoon to start, you can always add more) and a little freshly ground black pepper. Stir for a while to make sure garlic doesn’t burn and tomatoes start to burst and deflate about 5  minutes and if you think you need a little more olive oil add it now . I let the tomatoes simmer in the pan for about 15 minutes to 1/2 hour for the best consistency. I smashed down stubborn little tomatoes at the end with the back of a wooden spoon. A very low simmer at the end.  Taste for Salt and Pepper. The longer the tomatoes sit in the oil and cook down on a low simmer the better the sauce will be so if you have a little time let it sit.

Once the spaghetti is cooked and you’ve drained it ( remember to reserve a cup of pasta water).  Add it to the pan with tomatoes and over medium-high heat toss the pasta with the tomatoes well. Add the basil . I let everyone add their own cheese at the table.

Remove the pan from the heat and plate it up.

Yum! and even more delicious the next day.

Watermelon Cucumber Salad–Perfect Summer Salad

This is a most delicious salad and a departure from the usual fare of lettuces etc. Sweet and Savory and very refreshing . Simple to pull together and easy to make. Of course you can substitute or add other items if you’d like such as olives, arugula , basil etc. This is how I did it and we all totally enjoyed it!!! The salad is a rather loose recipe and can be adapted very easily to other ingredients and your own particular tastes.

It really is the perfect Summer Salad. The saltiness of the feta and the sweetness of the watermelon make for a perfect summer salad.

Ingredients:

1 small seedless watermelon, cut into 1″cubes or melon balls.

1 shallot finely chopped

1 chunk of Feta Cheese– I like to cut my feta cubed but crumbled could work as well. Feta is usually a greek style cheese made with sheep’s milk and goat’s milk. I prefer a block even though I know crumbled is more convenient. The block is usually sold in a brine and that will keep the feta moist and crumbles tend to be dryer. They all taste good though so buy what you prefer. I often buy Bulgarian Feta which is rather firm and cuts and crumbles easily. Look for it. Also French Feta sometimes–check out the assortment in the cheese section of your market. And of course Greek Feta is probably the most preferred. Salty and tangy the way feta should be. Cut or Crumble your choice.

4 Tbsp. Torn Fresh Mint — more for garnish –I love Mint but some people really don’t you can substitute Basil or nothing if you’d lke

2 Tablespoons Olive Oil

Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper

3 persian cucumbers — I buy the small ones and cut into small cubes

1/4 red onion sliced thinly

1/3 cup Pistachio Nuts — I chop them gently — obviously no shells –you can omit this all together if you don’t like them for a nut free salad

 

Vinaigrette:

4 Tablespoons Olive Oil

3 Tablespoons Red Wine Vinegar

3 small cloves Garlic–finely chopped

1 shallot, finely chopped

1 Teaspoon dried oregano

Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper

In a small bowl whisk together all the vinaigrette ingredients and season to taste with salt and pepper.

 

Directions:

Combine the watermelon,1 finely chopped shallot, and mint in a large bowl with the 2 Tablespoons of Olive Oil . Season with Salt and Pepper to taste and toss to combine. Transfer to fridge and let marinate for at least 1 hour and up to 3 hours.

Remove from fridge and add the cubed feta, cucumbers, red onion slices and pistachios. Toss to combine. I transferred to a serving platter , drizzled with the vinaigrette and served with extra pistachios and extra mint. 

You’ll want to use a slotted spoon for serving.

 

 

 

Potatoes , Peppers and Onions

What a perfect side dish — goes with any meats and or fish. I served it alongside humble turkey burgers and hamburgers and it was really delicious! I used whatever color peppers I had in the house and I used Yukon gold potatoes because that’s what I had on  hand. Perfect with some sausage as well. Did I mention super easy???? and all on one pan in the oven.

Ingredients:

app. 2 lbs Potatoes — I happen to have on hand Yukon Gold Potatoes but Russet Potatoes work well as well– any potatoes will work out — cut potatoes into app. 1″ chunks

1 medium yellow onion– cut into 1″ chunks

2 peppers — any color you like — I had orange and yellow on hand– cut into 1 ” chunks

1/4 cup olive oil

Kosher Salt — app. 2 teaspoons

Freshly Ground Black Pepper– app. 1 teaspoon

Garlic Powder — 1 teaspoon — if you prefer fresh garlic — use 2 garlic cloves minced

Directions:

*important to cut chunks of vegetables fairly uniformly so they cook the same

Preheat oven to 450 degrees

In a large bowl toss potatoes, onion and peppers with oil, salt , pepper and garlic

 Spread mixture on a rimmed baking sheet — I spray my baking sheet with cooking spray for an easy cleanup –spread out so peppers onions and potatoes have room to cook — don’t overcrowd as they will just steam and not slow roast

Roast for about 40 minutes or until potatoes are tender and golden brown, I stirred halfway through cooking.

That’s it — super easy and super delicious.

Traditional Ashkenazi Charoset–Apple/Walnut

DSCN2703This is my easiest Charoset and maybe this year we just have a little bit of this on the table for tradition sake.  It’s traditional in the sense that it’s an Ashkenazi (Eastern European) recipe. I add a little brown sugar instead of white sugar and it gives it just a bit more character. Remember, while a reminder of the mortar used in making bricks for Pharaoh, charoset is really just a sweet condiment of apples and wine!

Have a Sweet Passover !

Ingredients:

3 medium Fuji apples (or any other kind you like), peeled, cored and finely diced (use processor to make your life simpler) I usually use whatever is in the house, but on Passover I go through so many apples, so buy what you like (I always like Granny Smith because they are nice and tart)

1 1/2 cups walnuts, chopped (buy them pre-chopped)

1/2 cup sweet red wine such as Manischewitz Extra Heavy Malaga or just Concord Grape is fine

*20 pitted dates, chopped; or 1/2 cup golden raisins (optional)

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 tablespoon packed brown sugar

*for a bit of extra added flavor you can add 1/2 teaspoon of powdered ginger (optional)

Directions:

After chopping apples, stir all ingredients in a large bowl. Keep in refrigerator ’til ready to serve. Serve at room temperature. You can also pulse everything together in processor, just be very careful not to over-process. I often do this to save time. You don’t want it too fine, so just go gently with the processor if you go that route. I do it in the processor, and I know exactly how I like it to come out, so go easy with the chopping.  If it’s a little dry or too thick, you can always add more wine. I find this always tastes better after it sits and allows the wine  to really soak and ripen for 24 hours. Before serving, check for consistency and add a little more wine, if necessary.

Candied Yam Souffle (Easy Peasy)

sweet potatoes pre marshmallows

I have always felt obliged to have this recipe on my Thanksgiving table because everyone wants it. Even if this year is a “micro” Thanksgiving I will have it on the table. A its the easiest thing to make and B everyone loves it. Believe it or not children and adults alike will always look for this tasty concoction of sweet potatoes and marshmallows. It just wouldn’t be the same without some version of this.  It is easy and I just felt I owed it to all of you to pass it along. It is especially good for those of you who need to bring something to someone’s house, and don’t have time for fuss and muss.  So here you go. And those darn mini marshmallows which you just gotta have. I have to admit that I love this recipe!

Ingredients:

1 stick unsalted butter

1 cup light brown sugar

3lbs. Sweet Potatoes or Yams or you can even make this easier and use 2 cans of Bruces Sweet Potatoes drained

1 small can (I like 8 oz.) crushed pineapple (optional)

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

*1/2 cup chopped pecans obviously optional

mini-marshmallows (1 bag will more than cover it) or one jar of marshmallow topping

Directions:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add brown sugar and melted butter and pecans if you’re using them. Simmer for a  few minutes. In the meantime, place drained yams in a large bowl and mash them (you can leave a few chunked pieces.) If you’re cooking your sweet potatoes , peel and cut into quarters (cubes) fill a large pot of water to cover potatoes , add a little salt to water and bring water to boil. Boil for about 12 minutes till you can pierce potato with a fork easily. Remove and drain potatoes. I always place my potatoes back in pot to steam off excess water.

Pour sugar/pecan and pineapple mixture over the yams. Stir until combined thoroughly. Add in cinnamon and nutmeg. Transfer to a pie pan, actually any baking dish will do. Oven to Table is perfect here. Bake for about 15 minutes. Then remove, put mini marshmallows on top to cover, and raise the oven to 400 degrees. Bake for an additional 10 – 15 minutes to brown the marshmallows. Don’t let it burn.

Karyn’s Cranberry Crisp- Thanksgiving

Fully Cooked Cranberry Crisp

This recipe has been around pretty much my whole married life. If there is a turkey on the table, there is cranberry crisp next to it.  It originated from my friend Karyn, and we even make it for Passover with matzoh farfel.  It’s so sweet and delicious that it could really be a dessert. We love it with our meal; love the sweet and savory thing. You can’t eat too much of it, it is so rich. It is also very dangerous to have in the fridge the next day, so try to give it to everyone who wants to take home leftovers. This tastes good either hot out of the oven or at room temperature. Some people may even want to make it as dessert and serve with vanilla ice cream, but the Kolens don’t. We always serve it as a side dish and it is awesome however you serve it. Thanks again, Karyn.

I suggest reading through the entire recipe before making it.

Ingredients:

4 medium apples ( I use all different kinds)

1 can (1 lb.) whole cranberry sauce

1 tsp. cinnamon

1 cup uncooked quick rolled oats

1/2 cup flour

1 cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed

1/2 cup unsalted butter–melted

*for a larger crowd you can easily double this recipe — as is should serve 8 -10

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray 9×13 baking dish with Pam.

Peel apples, slice them, then arrange in baking dish. Sprinkle with cinnamon. Spoon cranberry sauce over the apples.

Separately, stir rolled oats, flour, and brown sugar together. Melt Butter and let it just cool for a few minutes then mix in with oats and brown sugar till nice and crumbly.  Sprinkle this over cranberry layer. Bake at 350 degrees until apples are cooked and top is lightly browned. The entire mixture will be bubbling and your house will smell divine. You will bake about 40 minutes to an hour. You can make ahead of time, and then on the day you need it, just heat it up until it bubbles.  I usually make this a few days ahead, because it’s that much less that I’ll have to do the day of. This can definitely be made ahead of time  so you can  make it way ahead and freeze it.  If you freeze it, take it out of freezer a day before you need it, and then heat it up the day of. (Make sure it’s completely defrosted before heating up)

When you re-heat , pre-heat oven to 350 degrees and cover with foil for first 1/2 hour and then remove foil for last 1/2 hour till it starts to bubble.

Enjoy!

Thanksgiving Corn Bread Pudding

This has to be one of my all time favorite side dishes for Thanksgiving. It really would be great any time of year but for some reason it only gets made for Thanksgiving. It’s super easy and super delicious. My friend Audrey gave this recipe to me many years ago, and it has become a staple on our thanksgiving table ever since. It just wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without it. It is a favorite in our family. Can be doubled easily, just make sure your baking dish is large enough.

Enjoy!

Ingredients:

1/2 cup butter (unsalted) 1 stick

1 8 oz. sour cream (lite is OK  but not fat-free)

1 8 oz.  can sweet corn (drained)

1 8 oz. can creamed corn

1 8 oz. pkg. corn muffin mix

2 eggs, lightly beaten

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Melt butter, mix in beaten eggs, then add the rest of the ingredients.

Pour into glass baking dish (Pyrex is good and I spray it first with a good cooking spray like Pam or Bakers Aid ) 9 x 12 works fine, it’s not a very deep pudding.

Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes.

Creamy Butternut Squash Soup (no cream)

This is by far one of my most favorite recipes ever! Super Easy and Super Delicious ! If you’ve been following me since the early days you’ve probably made this recipe by now. It’s perfection in a bowl . I’ve simplified the recipe along the way so that now it is just the way Joel and I like it. it’s pretty easy as long as you buy the squash pre – cut (available in every supermarket, and corner produce store). I just made my first batch of the season, and the squash is sweet and delicious. I always add a little butter to it, but you can totally leave it out. It tastes so creamy you’ll swear there’s cream in it, but really, there is none.  I love a little freshly grated nutmeg in it too, but you can certainly just sprinkle in a very little bit of already grated nutmeg. I hope your family and friends enjoy this as much as my family does! It’s always on my table for Thanksgiving. A delightful way to start a dinner, or a delicious main dish served alongside  a beautiful salad and bread. This can easily be made vegetarian by substituting chicken broth for vegetable broth, which is how I make it on Thanksgiving for Kerri, who is vegetarian.

*This can be made without cream so easily–but if you want a touch of richness you can add a little heavy cream into soup and mix in before serving. Totally not necessary but just saying.

And clearly this recipe can be cut in 1/2 for a smaller group– I usually use 2 packages of squash for 6 servings.

*feel free to put croutons on top or sprinkle some pepitas on top . It’s delicious just the way it is!! and wonderful for lunch the next day and will freeze beautifully.

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Ingredients:

4 pkgs. (approx. 4 lbs.) butternut squash (it’s doesn’t have to be exact)

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 large spanish onion, chopped

8 – 10 cups chicken or vegetable broth

*1 -2 tablespoons unsalted butter (for this serving size, I use 2 but it’s totally optional)

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

*use whole nutmeg – you just grate a little in for flavor. I always tend to use whole, but grated will do. It’s just a touch of it–if I had to guess, I’d say 1/4 teaspoon to 1/2 teaspoon depending on your taste

*if you really want to top it off with a touch of cream you can . Just add a little heavy cream to the soup and blend it right in at the end. Honestly it’s not necessary but it def adds a a layer of richness!

Directions:

In a heavy Le Creuset (or any other ample size large pot), I heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil. When oil is heated, put in onion and about 1/2 tablespoon of kosher salt. Sweat out the onions until they are translucent (approx. 5 – 8 minutes). If you’re using the butter, add it now too. I then add all of the butternut squash and mix the onions, oil and butter as best I can all over the squash. Next, add enough broth to cover the squash (I used approx. 10 cups of chicken broth to cover). I keep the remaining half a box of broth in case I need it later. Return to a low boil, then bring to a simmer. I let it cook a very long time–at least an hour until soft–and then I turn off the heat and let it sit for a while. I like to make it early and let it sit for as long as possible, because the squash gets very soft. Then right before I am about to serve, I use an immersion blender and blend it into a beautiful smooth soup. If you need more broth, add it as you blend. This is also your salt, pepper and nutmeg moment. Season to taste and blend just until smooth. I leave it in the pot until I need it and then gently warm it up. This soup will keep in the fridge for a few days. It can be frozen as well. Upon defrosting you may need to add more broth. Sometimes I serve this soup with beautiful croutons if I can find them in specialty stores, but it is delicious and beautiful on its own, and very good for you! My family loves it , and I hope yours does too.

*should serve 10 – 12 as appetizer

Pumpkin Lentil Soup (can be vegetarian)

It’s Fall and that means it’s soup season and time to cook up some heart-warming soups! Pumpkin Lentil Soup is a delicious, hearty soup that you and your family will love.

This soup can wind up on my Thanksgiving Table if I don’t make my Butternut Squash Soup.   It’s hard to get canned pumpkin any other time of year, so I take advantage of it now and pick up a few extra cans and try to make it throughout the winter. Warm, hearty and pretty healthy. And what’s a little butter between friends? You can freeze this ahead of time and take it out for Thanksgiving. For the holiday, it’s always between this and Butternut Squash Soup, and I like that they can both be vegetarian.

*this can be doubled but no need to double the butter (just add a little bit more) or see note below on butter

Ingredients:

1/2 cup butter (unsalted)– or you can use 1/4 cup unsalted butter and 1/4 cup Olive Oil

2 large onions (spanish) chopped

1/2 cup lentils (if you can find red lentils, buy them because they look beautiful for Thanksgiving and give the soup a lovely orangey color)

5 cups vegetable or chicken stock

1 1/2 cups canned pumpkin (make sure it’s not pumpkin pie filling)

1/8 teaspoon dried thyme

1/8 teaspoon marjoram

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Directions:

Melt butter in large stockpot (Le Creuset). Saute the onions until translucent and golden, then stir in the lentils and the stock. Add pumpkin and herbs and salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and then lower it and let it simmer for about 1 1/2 hours.

I use an immersion stick blender to puree it.  It becomes rich and creamy. Of course you can leave soup as is without pureeing it at all.  And another  is to not puree it all the way.  If soup is too thick use the broth as needed adding a little bit at a time to reach a good consistency.  If you’ve run out of broth you can always add water just always check seasonings after adding liquid.

*soup freezes just fine but you’ll need to add broth/water after you defrost and heat up