DINOSAUR EGG

TOFU + HUMMUS + SPINACH + AVOCADO SANDWICH
DINOSAUR EGG is back! Happy Holidays, everyone! 

Your favorite breadExtra firm tofuAvocadoBaby spinachHummusBreadcrumbsCornmeal (optional)Salt & pepper

Slice up your tofu and press it for two hours.
Tip: It’s best to do this first step as soon as you purchase your tofu and put it in a sealed container afterwards. That way, you cut your prep time in most tofu meals.
Preheat oven to 400°F.
Bread your pressed tofu with crumbs, cornmeal, salt and pepper. Bake for 30 minutes (or until golden brown), flipping half way through. 
 
To assemble, warm up your bread slices and spread them with a generous amount of hummus. Place your bottom slice on a plate and lay the tofu, plenty of baby spinach and avocado slices on top. Cover with the other slice and enjoy immediately! Yum!

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TOFU + HUMMUS + SPINACH + AVOCADO SANDWICH

DINOSAUR EGG is back! Happy Holidays, everyone!

Your favorite bread
Extra firm tofu
Avocado
Baby spinach
Hummus
Breadcrumbs
Cornmeal (optional)
Salt & pepper

Slice up your tofu and press it for two hours.

Tip: It’s best to do this first step as soon as you purchase your tofu and put it in a sealed container afterwards. That way, you cut your prep time in most tofu meals.

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Bread your pressed tofu with crumbs, cornmeal, salt and pepper. Bake for 30 minutes (or until golden brown), flipping half way through. 

To assemble, warm up your bread slices and spread them with a generous amount of hummus. Place your bottom slice on a plate and lay the tofu, plenty of baby spinach and avocado slices on top. Cover with the other slice and enjoy immediately! Yum!

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BUTTERNUT SQUASH LEEK LASAGNA
Serves 6
Layers of whole-wheat pasta, grated butternut squash, creamy leek sauce and roasted pine nuts come together in this seasonal, warm and filling dish. Its earthy sweetness would be best accompanied by a greens and tomato salad lightly dressed in a balsamic vinaigrette.

12 whole-wheat lasagna noodles1 tablespoon earth balance or unsalted butter2 large leeks, pale green and white parts only, thinly sliced and washed thoroughly  (about 3 cups)1/4 cup all-purpose flour3 cups soy or nonfat milk1/2 teaspoon dried thyme1/2 teaspoon fine grain salt3 tablespoons freshly grated nutmeg1/2 teaspoon garlic powder1/4 teaspoon dried cumin1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper1 2-pound butternut squash, peeled, halved, seeded and grated1/2 cup vegan parmesan alternative or grated Parmigiano-Reggiano1/4 cup toasted pine nuts1/4 cup fresh basil, julienned

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Oil a baking dish.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook lasagna noodles per package instructions. Drain and return the noodles to the pot and covering with cold water.
Melt the earth balance or butter over medium heat. Add leeks and stir them often, until softened, for about 6 minutes. Sprinkle flour over the leeks and mix well. Cook, stirring constantly, for 2 more minutes. Slowly whisk in the milk and cook, whisking constantly, until thick, 8 to 10 minutes. Whisk in thyme, salt, nutmeg, garlic powder, cumin and pepper. Remove from the heat. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary.
Assemble lasagna in the prepared baking dish by layering four noodles, slightly overlapping, creamy leek sauce, grated squash and cheese. A second layer with four more noodles, some more sauce, all of the pine nuts, grated squash and half the remaining cheese. Finish by layering four more noodles, the remaining sauce, remaining squash and all the remaining cheese.
Cover very tightly with both parchment paper and foil.
Bake the lasagna for 45 minutes. Uncover and bake until bubbling and golden, 35 to 45 minutes more. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving and top with fresh basil.
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BUTTERNUT SQUASH LEEK LASAGNA

Serves 6

Layers of whole-wheat pasta, grated butternut squash, creamy leek sauce and roasted pine nuts come together in this seasonal, warm and filling dish. Its earthy sweetness would be best accompanied by a greens and tomato salad lightly dressed in a balsamic vinaigrette.

12 whole-wheat lasagna noodles
1 tablespoon earth balance or unsalted butter
2 large leeks, pale green and white parts only, thinly sliced and washed thoroughly (about 3 cups)
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 cups soy or nonfat milk
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon fine grain salt
3 tablespoons freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon dried cumin
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 2-pound butternut squash, peeled, halved, seeded and grated
1/2 cup vegan parmesan alternative or grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
1/4 cup fresh basil, julienned

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Oil a baking dish.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook lasagna noodles per package instructions. Drain and return the noodles to the pot and covering with cold water.

Melt the earth balance or butter over medium heat. Add leeks and stir them often, until softened, for about 6 minutes. Sprinkle flour over the leeks and mix well. Cook, stirring constantly, for 2 more minutes. Slowly whisk in the milk and cook, whisking constantly, until thick, 8 to 10 minutes. Whisk in thyme, salt, nutmeg, garlic powder, cumin and pepper. Remove from the heat. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary.

Assemble lasagna in the prepared baking dish by layering four noodles, slightly overlapping, creamy leek sauce, grated squash and cheese. A second layer with four more noodles, some more sauce, all of the pine nuts, grated squash and half the remaining cheese. Finish by layering four more noodles, the remaining sauce, remaining squash and all the remaining cheese.

Cover very tightly with both parchment paper and foil.

Bake the lasagna for 45 minutes. Uncover and bake until bubbling and golden, 35 to 45 minutes more. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving and top with fresh basil.

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CURRIED BROCCOLI PEA SOUP
Serves 4
Warm up with a bowl of this yummy green soup!

2 teaspoons green curry paste1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt1 large yellow onion, chopped1 garlic clove, minced2 1/2 cups vegetable broth 3/4 teaspoon dried tarragon freshly ground black pepper1 cup broccoli florets2 cups fresh peas1 tablespoon rice vinegar1/4 cup coconut milk4 tablespoons freshly chopped raw almonds

In a large thick bottom pot over medium heat whisk the curry paste with the salt until well blended and warm. Add the onion and garlic and saute until soft and fragrant. Add the vegetable broth, tarragon and a few turns of freshly ground black pepper and bring to a boil. Add the broccoli and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the peas and the rice vinegar, simmer for another 5 minutes.
Using a blender, puree the soup in two batches until very smooth. Taste, and adjust seasonings if needed. Return the soup to the pot over medium heat, slowly whisk in the coconut milk and simmer for a minute or two, just enough to warm it up. Ladle into bowls and top each serving with a tablespoon of chopped almonds.
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CURRIED BROCCOLI PEA SOUP

Serves 4

Warm up with a bowl of this yummy green soup!

2 teaspoons green curry paste
1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
1 large yellow onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
2 1/2 cups vegetable broth
3/4 teaspoon dried tarragon
freshly ground black pepper
1 cup broccoli florets
2 cups fresh peas
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1/4 cup coconut milk
4 tablespoons freshly chopped raw almonds

In a large thick bottom pot over medium heat whisk the curry paste with the salt until well blended and warm. Add the onion and garlic and saute until soft and fragrant. Add the vegetable broth, tarragon and a few turns of freshly ground black pepper and bring to a boil. Add the broccoli and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the peas and the rice vinegar, simmer for another 5 minutes.

Using a blender, puree the soup in two batches until very smooth. Taste, and adjust seasonings if needed. Return the soup to the pot over medium heat, slowly whisk in the coconut milk and simmer for a minute or two, just enough to warm it up. Ladle into bowls and top each serving with a tablespoon of chopped almonds.

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CREAM OF STEEL CUT OATS
Serves 3
By grinding the oats in a blender, you cut the cooking time down to a mere 5 minutes. The result is very similar to the old classic, “cream of wheat”. Top with a sprinkle of cinnamon, maple syrup, nuts and fresh fruit for a quick, satisfying and healthy breakfast!

3/4 cup steel cut oats flour*2 cups watercinnamon, to tastefew pinches of freshly grated nutmeg6 tablespoons vanilla soy milk, plus more for serving if desired3/4 cup cubed fresh fruit3 tablespoons sunflower seed kernels, or any nut variety3 tablespoons raisinspinch of salt3 tablespoons maple syrup

*Pulse steel cut oats in a blender until you obtain a flour-like consistency
In a saucepan, combine oats, water, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg over medium heat. Whisk as the mixture starts to come to a low boil. Reduce heat to medium low as it is thickening and starting to bubble. Once thickened, whisk in the vanilla soy milk.
Serve oatmeal immediately, topping with another drizzle of soy milk, maple syrup, fresh fruit, raisins and nuts.
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CREAM OF STEEL CUT OATS

Serves 3

By grinding the oats in a blender, you cut the cooking time down to a mere 5 minutes. The result is very similar to the old classic, “cream of wheat”. Top with a sprinkle of cinnamon, maple syrup, nuts and fresh fruit for a quick, satisfying and healthy breakfast!

3/4 cup steel cut oats flour*
2 cups water
cinnamon, to taste
few pinches of freshly grated nutmeg
6 tablespoons vanilla soy milk, plus more for serving if desired
3/4 cup cubed fresh fruit
3 tablespoons sunflower seed kernels, or any nut variety
3 tablespoons raisins
pinch of salt
3 tablespoons maple syrup

*Pulse steel cut oats in a blender until you obtain a flour-like consistency

In a saucepan, combine oats, water, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg over medium heat. Whisk as the mixture starts to come to a low boil. Reduce heat to medium low as it is thickening and starting to bubble. Once thickened, whisk in the vanilla soy milk.

Serve oatmeal immediately, topping with another drizzle of soy milk, maple syrup, fresh fruit, raisins and nuts.

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ROASTED CHICKPEA SNACK
Serves 3
A healthy and simple snack loaded with fiber, zinc, protein and flavor. You can adjust the spices on this recipe to your own taste, or use a whole different set of your favorite spices.

1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed1 tablespoon olive oil salt and pepper, to tastechili pepper powder, to taste 1 teaspoon cumin1 teaspoon paprika1 teaspoon coriander1 teaspoon curry powder1 teaspoon garlic powder

Preheat oven to 400°F.
Combine all the spices in a mixing bowl and set aside.
Let the chickpeas dry completely and arrange on a baking sheet in a single layer and roast for about 30-35 minutes, shaking the pan every ten minutes to prevent them from sticking. Temperature might vary depending on your oven, so keep an eye on them and make sure they don’t burn. Remove chickpeas from the oven and coat with the olive oil. Immediately toss with spices while still hot. Best enjoyed at room temperature.

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ROASTED CHICKPEA SNACK

Serves 3

A healthy and simple snack loaded with fiber, zinc, protein and flavor. You can adjust the spices on this recipe to your own taste, or use a whole different set of your favorite spices.

1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste
chili pepper powder, to taste
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Combine all the spices in a mixing bowl and set aside.

Let the chickpeas dry completely and arrange on a baking sheet in a single layer and roast for about 30-35 minutes, shaking the pan every ten minutes to prevent them from sticking. Temperature might vary depending on your oven, so keep an eye on them and make sure they don’t burn. Remove chickpeas from the oven and coat with the olive oil. Immediately toss with spices while still hot. Best enjoyed at room temperature.

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PUMPKIN FETA SAVORY MUFFINS
Makes 12
These savory muffins are the perfect companion to your Thanksgiving dinner!


1 tablespoon unsalted butter2 tablespoons olive oil2 cups cubed pumpkin or any winter squash 1 large handful of baby spinach, chopped 2 tablespoons chopped parsley or cilantro 3 tablespoons sunflower seed kernels 3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan 1/2 cup cubed feta 2 teaspoons whole-grain mustard 2 large eggs, lightly beaten 3/4 cup milk 2 cups flour 4 teaspoons aluminum free baking powder 1 teaspoon fine grain sea salt


Preheat oven to 405°F.
Use the butter to grease your muffin pan and set aside.
Drizzle the olive oil and sprinkle some salt and pepper over the pumpkin. Toss well and arrange on a single layer on a baking sheet and bake for 15 to 25 minutes, until cooked through entirely. Set aside to cool.
In a large mixing bowl, combine two thirds of the pumpkin with the spinach, parsley, sunflower seeds, Parmesan, two thirds of the feta, and all of the mustard.

In a separate mixing bowl, beat the eggs and milk together, adding some salt and a generous amount of freshly ground black pepper. Add to the pumpkin mix. Sift the flour and baking powder and combine. Be careful not to over mix.
Spoon the mixture into the prepared pan. Fill each hole 3/4 of the way and top with a bit of the remaining pumpkin and feta.
Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden. Let them cool for a couple minutes and enjoy!
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PUMPKIN FETA SAVORY MUFFINS

Makes 12

These savory muffins are the perfect companion to your Thanksgiving dinner!

1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups cubed pumpkin or any winter squash
1 large handful of baby spinach, chopped
2 tablespoons chopped parsley or cilantro
3 tablespoons sunflower seed kernels
3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1/2 cup cubed feta
2 teaspoons whole-grain mustard
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
3/4 cup milk
2 cups flour
4 teaspoons aluminum free baking powder
1 teaspoon fine grain sea salt

Preheat oven to 405°F.

Use the butter to grease your muffin pan and set aside.

Drizzle the olive oil and sprinkle some salt and pepper over the pumpkin. Toss well and arrange on a single layer on a baking sheet and bake for 15 to 25 minutes, until cooked through entirely. Set aside to cool.

In a large mixing bowl, combine two thirds of the pumpkin with the spinach, parsley, sunflower seeds, Parmesan, two thirds of the feta, and all of the mustard.

image

In a separate mixing bowl, beat the eggs and milk together, adding some salt and a generous amount of freshly ground black pepper. Add to the pumpkin mix. Sift the flour and baking powder and combine. Be careful not to over mix.

Spoon the mixture into the prepared pan. Fill each hole 3/4 of the way and top with a bit of the remaining pumpkin and feta.

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden. Let them cool for a couple minutes and enjoy!

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FRESH BASIL PESTO
Makes about 1 cup
I don’t know if this happens to you, but every time I get basil in my hands, I can’t use it up fast enough. I add it to salads, sandwiches, soups, you name it, and I still have half of a sad wilting bunch at the end of the week. One day I had enough of throwing away rotting herbs and welcomed home-made pesto into my life. This pesto recipe is flavorful and wonderfully imprecise. It keeps for a couple of days when refrigerated and for long periods of time when frozen or canned.
After making my own pesto a couple of times, I noticed some things that I’d like to share:
First of all, I made a decision to avoid food processors or hand blenders at all cost. As convenient as they are, blended pesto lacked the texture I looked for. I realized chopping all the ingredients by hand prevents them from becoming a homogenized emulsion and allows each ingredient to stand on its own and flavors are highlighted in a way they wouldn’t had they been blended into a runny paste.
Second, the addition of Parmesan cheese isn’t really necessary. It really isn’t. As long as you have a handful of the freshest ingredients you can find, trust me, you won’t miss the dairy.
Last, chopping the ingredients is not as dreadful of a process as most might think. Whenever I make it, I set up a chopping station, get a good playlist going and run my knife through fresh basil leaves for approximately twenty minutes and actually enjoy it. The smell of crushed fresh herbs is absolutely intoxicating and the end result? delicious!
Always remember that whatever you decide to use to chop has to be very, very sharp or your basil will darken. As I’ve said before in other posts, this is a good basic recipe that stands great alone but you can always customize to personal taste and build on it by experimenting with your favorite ingredients.

1 bunch basil, leaves only, washed and dried3-4 garlic cloves roughly 1/2 cup of raw pine nutsa few tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil

Start by chopping the garlic along with one quarter of your basil leaves. Once this is loosely chopped add another quarter of your basil and chop some more. Add the rest of your basil gradually until it is finely minced. Now, add about half of your pine nuts and chop them to bits. Add the rest, and chop. You want to chop it all very, very finely. Finally, transfer your mixture into a bowl and drizzle with a bit of olive oil, not much, just a few tablespoons.
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FRESH BASIL PESTO

Makes about 1 cup

I don’t know if this happens to you, but every time I get basil in my hands, I can’t use it up fast enough. I add it to salads, sandwiches, soups, you name it, and I still have half of a sad wilting bunch at the end of the week. One day I had enough of throwing away rotting herbs and welcomed home-made pesto into my life. This pesto recipe is flavorful and wonderfully imprecise. It keeps for a couple of days when refrigerated and for long periods of time when frozen or canned.

After making my own pesto a couple of times, I noticed some things that I’d like to share:

First of all, I made a decision to avoid food processors or hand blenders at all cost. As convenient as they are, blended pesto lacked the texture I looked for. I realized chopping all the ingredients by hand prevents them from becoming a homogenized emulsion and allows each ingredient to stand on its own and flavors are highlighted in a way they wouldn’t had they been blended into a runny paste.

Second, the addition of Parmesan cheese isn’t really necessary. It really isn’t. As long as you have a handful of the freshest ingredients you can find, trust me, you won’t miss the dairy.

Last, chopping the ingredients is not as dreadful of a process as most might think. Whenever I make it, I set up a chopping station, get a good playlist going and run my knife through fresh basil leaves for approximately twenty minutes and actually enjoy it. The smell of crushed fresh herbs is absolutely intoxicating and the end result? delicious!

Always remember that whatever you decide to use to chop has to be very, very sharp or your basil will darken. As I’ve said before in other posts, this is a good basic recipe that stands great alone but you can always customize to personal taste and build on it by experimenting with your favorite ingredients.

1 bunch basil, leaves only, washed and dried
3-4 garlic cloves
roughly 1/2 cup of raw pine nuts
a few tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil

Start by chopping the garlic along with one quarter of your basil leaves. Once this is loosely chopped add another quarter of your basil and chop some more. Add the rest of your basil gradually until it is finely minced. Now, add about half of your pine nuts and chop them to bits. Add the rest, and chop. You want to chop it all very, very finely. Finally, transfer your mixture into a bowl and drizzle with a bit of olive oil, not much, just a few tablespoons.

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TOMATO, OLIVE & GOAT CHEESE RUSTIC TART ON BALSAMIC CRUST
Serves 4
This is a wonderful yet simple tart. Ideal for lunch or a light dinner, served with a fresh seasonal tossed salad. These juicy tomatoes melt over a creamy layer of goat cheese, topped with julienned basil, toasted pine nuts, a drizzle of olive oil and black olives which serve as the contrasting ingredient in both flavor and color.
As for the crust, I decided to elaborate on a basic tart dough recipe by adding balsamic vinegar, which compliments the flavor of tomato very well. 
A tart pan with scalloped edges is not necessary, any shallow pan will do. As always, I highly recommend using the freshest ingredients you can get your hands on.

3/4 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 cup chilled water2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar2 large tomatoes, sliced1/2 cup goat cheese, approx.
1/8 cup black olives
, sliced1 teaspoon salt1 tablespoon olive oil
1 bunch basil, julienned

In a deep mixing bowl, combine the flour and butter using a knife/fork or pastry blender. Add the vinegar and water gradually and mix (I use my hands) until just combined. Do not overwork the dough. Wrap the dough tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour before using.
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Sprinkle your work area and dough with a little bit of flour to prevent from sticking and roll out into a thin round. Place the rolled dough into a pie pan and work the edges.
Place the goat cheese in an even layer, then add the tomatoes in an even layer, as well. Sprinkle the top with the chopped olives and a pinch of salt.
Bake for 45 minutes, or until the tart shell turns golden.
Remove from oven and let cool for 5-10 minutes. Sprinkle the basil, toasted pine puts and add a drizzle of olive oil.
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TOMATO, OLIVE & GOAT CHEESE
RUSTIC TART ON BALSAMIC CRUST

Serves 4

This is a wonderful yet simple tart. Ideal for lunch or a light dinner, served with a fresh seasonal tossed salad. These juicy tomatoes melt over a creamy layer of goat cheese, topped with julienned basil, toasted pine nuts, a drizzle of olive oil and black olives which serve as the contrasting ingredient in both flavor and color.

As for the crust, I decided to elaborate on a basic tart dough recipe by adding balsamic vinegar, which compliments the flavor of tomato very well. 

A tart pan with scalloped edges is not necessary, any shallow pan will do. As always, I highly recommend using the freshest ingredients you can get your hands on.

3/4 cups flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

1/4 cup chilled water
2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
2 large tomatoes, sliced
1/2 cup goat cheese, approx.

1/8 cup black olives
, sliced
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon olive oil

1 bunch basil, julienned

In a deep mixing bowl, combine the flour and butter using a knife/fork or pastry blender. Add the vinegar and water gradually and mix (I use my hands) until just combined. Do not overwork the dough. Wrap the dough tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour before using.

Preheat the oven to 375°F.

Sprinkle your work area and dough with a little bit of flour to prevent from sticking and roll out into a thin round. Place the rolled dough into a pie pan and work the edges.

Place the goat cheese in an even layer, then add the tomatoes in an even layer, as well. Sprinkle the top with the chopped olives and a pinch of salt.

Bake for 45 minutes, or until the tart shell turns golden.

Remove from oven and let cool for 5-10 minutes. Sprinkle the basil, toasted pine puts and add a drizzle of olive oil.

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HASPERAT
Serves 2
Who knew ingredients out of a hummus dipping platter would make such a great warm sandwich? The Hasperat, a Bajoran delicacy, is another one of my Star Trek inspired recipes. Its crunchy exterior and juicy interior make this delicious sandwich an addictive treat.

2 wheat tortillashummus* 1/2 cup baby spinach1 small cucumber or 1/2 english cucumber1 carrot, grated1 1/2 tablespoons tamari1 1/2 tablespoons rice vinegar1 1/2 teaspoons cumin1 1/2 teaspoons coriandersalt and pepper, to taste
*If you like spicier foods, I suggest using horseradish or jalapeño hummus.


Using a mandoline or a sharp knife, slice the cucumber very thinly and place in a large bowl and add the carrot, tamari, rice vinegar, cumin, coriander, salt, pepper and toss. Allow the mixture to marinate for a minimum of 10 minutes.

In the meantime, spread the tortillas with hummus, covering its entire surface. Arrange the cucumber slices in one layer, slightly overlapping and sprinkle additional carrots.

Add a layer of baby spinach.

Tucking the sides, carefully wrap the Hasperat, it will get a little messy, but don’t let this discourage you. Just be sure to have some paper towels or a kitchen cloth handy. Place on a hot griddle or skillet to toast the exterior on every side. Slice and eat immediately.
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HASPERAT

Serves 2

Who knew ingredients out of a hummus dipping platter would make such a great warm sandwich? The Hasperat, a Bajoran delicacy, is another one of my Star Trek inspired recipes. Its crunchy exterior and juicy interior make this delicious sandwich an addictive treat.

2 wheat tortillas
hummus*
1/2 cup baby spinach
1 small cucumber or 1/2 english cucumber
1 carrot, grated
1 1/2 tablespoons tamari
1 1/2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons coriander
salt and pepper, to taste

*If you like spicier foods, I suggest using horseradish or jalapeño hummus.

Using a mandoline or a sharp knife, slice the cucumber very thinly and place in a large bowl and add the carrot, tamari, rice vinegar, cumin, coriander, salt, pepper and toss. Allow the mixture to marinate for a minimum of 10 minutes.

In the meantime, spread the tortillas with hummus, covering its entire surface. Arrange the cucumber slices in one layer, slightly overlapping and sprinkle additional carrots.

Add a layer of baby spinach.

Tucking the sides, carefully wrap the Hasperat, it will get a little messy, but don’t let this discourage you. Just be sure to have some paper towels or a kitchen cloth handy. Place on a hot griddle or skillet to toast the exterior on every side. Slice and eat immediately.

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CURRIED CAULIFLOWER AND CHICKPEA STEW
Serves 3
This is a hearty yet simple warm meal that comes together in a jiffy, the kind of meal I crave most as the weather gets colder. The curry powder and toasted cumin deliver an aromatic earthy taste that plays very well with the creaminess of the coconut milk. Crunchy cashews and fresh cilantro are the perfect finishing touch. Feel free to experiment with or substitute ingredients, it’s hard to go wrong with it.

2 tablespoons olive oil 1 medium yellow onion, diced 1 potato, diced 3 tablespoons curry powder*3 teaspoons ground cumin2 teaspoons paprika2 teaspoons coriander 1 15 oz. can diced tomato1/4 to 1/2 cup vegetable broth1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed1 small head of cauliflower, florets only 1/2 to 1 can coconut milk, depending on personal taste2 garlic cloves, minced salt and pepper, to tastered pepper flakes, to taste1/4 cup cashews, toasted 1/2 cup cilantro, coarsely chopped
*the amount may vary depending on the potency of your curry powder, flavor accordingly

In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat and cook the red pepper flakes, curry powder, coriander, cumin and paprika for about a minute or so. Add the onions and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the potatoes and garlic and give everything a good stir.
Add the tomatoes, chickpeas, cauliflower. Then slowly whisk in the vegetable broth and coconut milk. Salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a simmer and reduce the heat to medium-low. Simmer for about 25-30 minutes, stirring occasionally. If at any point the mixture becomes too thick, you can thin it out by adding some vegetable broth. Taste and adjust the salt as needed.
Serve over Jasmine or Basmati rice and top with cilantro and toasted cashews.
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CURRIED CAULIFLOWER AND CHICKPEA STEW

Serves 3

This is a hearty yet simple warm meal that comes together in a jiffy, the kind of meal I crave most as the weather gets colder. The curry powder and toasted cumin deliver an aromatic earthy taste that plays very well with the creaminess of the coconut milk. Crunchy cashews and fresh cilantro are the perfect finishing touch. Feel free to experiment with or substitute ingredients, it’s hard to go wrong with it.

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1 potato, diced
3 tablespoons curry powder*
3 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons paprika
2 teaspoons coriander
1 15 oz. can diced tomato
1/4 to 1/2 cup vegetable broth
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 small head of cauliflower, florets only
1/2 to 1 can coconut milk, depending on personal taste
2 garlic cloves, minced
salt and pepper, to taste
red pepper flakes, to taste
1/4 cup cashews, toasted
1/2 cup cilantro, coarsely chopped

*the amount may vary depending on the potency of your curry powder, flavor accordingly

In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat and cook the red pepper flakes, curry powder, coriander, cumin and paprika for about a minute or so. Add the onions and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the potatoes and garlic and give everything a good stir.

Add the tomatoes, chickpeas, cauliflower. Then slowly whisk in the vegetable broth and coconut milk. Salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a simmer and reduce the heat to medium-low. Simmer for about 25-30 minutes, stirring occasionally. If at any point the mixture becomes too thick, you can thin it out by adding some vegetable broth. Taste and adjust the salt as needed.

Serve over Jasmine or Basmati rice and top with cilantro and toasted cashews.

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AVOCADO TRUFFLE
Makes 1 truffle
The creamy subtlety of avocado, the sweetness of mango, a touch of citrus, and a nutty crunchy coat make these cute little truffles a tasty and colorful treat with a surprise inside. Although they look elaborate, they’re surprisingly easy and quick to prepare.

1 hass avocado1/4 cup diced mango1/4 cup cilantro, coarsely chopped1/2 lime, juiced1 tablespoon dried pepper flakes1/8 cup pistachios1/8 cup pepitas1/8 cup peanuts1/8 cup almonds1/8 cup black or white sesame seeds1/8 cup sunflower seeds

In a mortar and pestle or a food processor, grind the sunflower seeds, almonds, peanuts, pistachios and pepitas. Add the dried pepper flakes and sesame seeds. Set aside.
Cut the avocado in half and take out the pit. Gently scoop out some of the flesh, leaving a good amount intact, so that the avocado holds its shape when you take off the skin.
Mash the scooped avocado flesh, adding half of the squeezed lime juice. Evenly distribute the mashed mass back into the two avocado halves.
Mix the chopped cilantro, diced mango, the rest of the lime juice and half of the sesame seeds. Put the mixture into the two avocado halves.
Carefully assemble them back together and even more carefully, peel off the skin.Finally, bathe the avocado in the reserved ground coating. Serve and eat immediately.

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AVOCADO TRUFFLE

Makes 1 truffle

The creamy subtlety of avocado, the sweetness of mango, a touch of citrus, and a nutty crunchy coat make these cute little truffles a tasty and colorful treat with a surprise inside. Although they look elaborate, they’re surprisingly easy and quick to prepare.

1 hass avocado
1/4 cup diced mango
1/4 cup cilantro, coarsely chopped
1/2 lime, juiced
1 tablespoon dried pepper flakes
1/8 cup pistachios
1/8 cup pepitas
1/8 cup peanuts
1/8 cup almonds
1/8 cup black or white sesame seeds
1/8 cup sunflower seeds

In a mortar and pestle or a food processor, grind the sunflower seeds, almonds, peanuts, pistachios and pepitas. Add the dried pepper flakes and sesame seeds. Set aside.

Cut the avocado in half and take out the pit. Gently scoop out some of the flesh, leaving a good amount intact, so that the avocado holds its shape when you take off the skin.

Mash the scooped avocado flesh, adding half of the squeezed lime juice. Evenly distribute the mashed mass back into the two avocado halves.

Mix the chopped cilantro, diced mango, the rest of the lime juice and half of the sesame seeds. Put the mixture into the two avocado halves.

Carefully assemble them back together and even more carefully, peel off the skin.

Finally, bathe the avocado in the reserved ground coating. Serve and eat immediately.

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BLACK BEAN ENCHILADAS
Serves 3
This filling dish is what I like to call a contemporary comfort meal, simple, inexpensive and loved by all. Fresh tomatillo sauce, pico de gallo and diced avocado would be a fantastic addition, if you feel like taking it a step further. As for the filling, the options are endless, I chose roasted red pepper because it’s what I had at hand, and it doesn’t hurt that its sweetness and smokiness blends wonderfully with black beans, but any other roasted (avoid boiling or steaming) vegetable(s) would also work nicely. This is another one of those fool-proof recipes that leaves a lot of room for customization. Enjoy!

cooked black beans (approx. 1 1/2 cup)6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil1/2 cup tomato sauce1 cup grated sharp white cheddar cheese or cheddar style daiya6 corn tortillasroasted red pepper (approx. 12 strips)1/4 cup pepitas (pumpkin seeds)chopped cilantro for garnish

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Oil a baking dish. 
Set aside 3/4 of a cup of black bean broth and 1/2 cup of the grated cheese. 
To season the tortillas, heat a skillet over medium-high heat and add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and a generous pinch each of cumin, chili powder and paprika. Add 3 tablespoons of tomato sauce and stir together. One at a time, soften the tortillas in the mixture, turning as soon as the tortilla begins to buckle, about 10 seconds on each side. Remove from the heat and set aside. Repeat to season the remaining tortillas.

To assemble the enchiladas, spread a large spoonful of black beans over each tortilla, a couple of strips of roasted red pepper and a sprinkling of grated cheese. Roll up and place seam-side down in the baking dish. 
Pour on the reserved broth.

Sprinkle with the reserved cheese and pepitas. Cover tightly with foil, and bake for 30 to 40 minutes. Uncover, garnish with chopped cilantro. Serve immediately using two spatulas, as they tend to fall apart.
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BLACK BEAN ENCHILADAS

Serves 3

This filling dish is what I like to call a contemporary comfort meal, simple, inexpensive and loved by all. Fresh tomatillo sauce, pico de gallo and diced avocado would be a fantastic addition, if you feel like taking it a step further. As for the filling, the options are endless, I chose roasted red pepper because it’s what I had at hand, and it doesn’t hurt that its sweetness and smokiness blends wonderfully with black beans, but any other roasted (avoid boiling or steaming) vegetable(s) would also work nicely. This is another one of those fool-proof recipes that leaves a lot of room for customization. Enjoy!

cooked black beans (approx. 1 1/2 cup)
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup tomato sauce
1 cup grated sharp white cheddar cheese or cheddar style daiya
6 corn tortillas
roasted red pepper (approx. 12 strips)
1/4 cup pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
chopped cilantro for garnish

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Oil a baking dish. 

Set aside 3/4 of a cup of black bean broth and 1/2 cup of the grated cheese. 

To season the tortillas, heat a skillet over medium-high heat and add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and a generous pinch each of cumin, chili powder and paprika. Add 3 tablespoons of tomato sauce and stir together. One at a time, soften the tortillas in the mixture, turning as soon as the tortilla begins to buckle, about 10 seconds on each side. Remove from the heat and set aside. Repeat to season the remaining tortillas.

To assemble the enchiladas, spread a large spoonful of black beans over each tortilla, a couple of strips of roasted red pepper and a sprinkling of grated cheese. Roll up and place seam-side down in the baking dish. 

Pour on the reserved broth.

Sprinkle with the reserved cheese and pepitas. Cover tightly with foil, and bake for 30 to 40 minutes. Uncover, garnish with chopped cilantro. Serve immediately using two spatulas, as they tend to fall apart.

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HOW TO ROAST A PEPPER
The flavor and texture of jarred peppers pale in comparison to home-roasted peppers. Roasting peppers is easy, fun and delicious. If you don’t have a gas stove,  you can do it in the oven instead.
Stove top instructions
Put the pepper directly over a high flame. 
Watch as it starts to char a little. 
Aiding yourself with tongs, turn the pepper as the skin blackens. Don’t grab the pepper by its stem, it may break off as the pepper gets tender.  
Make sure every part is charred, don’t forget the bottom!   
Wrap in foil or put in a ziplock bag and let sit for 15 minutes until cool enough to handle. The steam created in the foil/bag helps the skin slip off easier, so don’t skip this step.  
Using a knife, cut out the stem and carefully pull it to remove the seeds.
Pour out the water that has settled inside the pepper. Use your fingers or paper towel to slip the skin off and resist every urge to run it under water. I know it’s messy, but you want to keep the pepper’s natural juices and even a few flecks of char for flavor. 
Slice the pepper into slabs.
Oven instructions
Turn your oven on broil. Brush peppers lightly with a high-heat oil and place under the broiler, watching for the skin to blacken. Turn peppers until fully roasted and then follow instructions from step 5 on.
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HOW TO ROAST A PEPPER

The flavor and texture of jarred peppers pale in comparison to home-roasted peppers. Roasting peppers is easy, fun and delicious. If you don’t have a gas stove,  you can do it in the oven instead.

Stove top instructions

  1. Put the pepper directly over a high flame.

     

  2. Watch as it starts to char a little.
     
  3. Aiding yourself with tongs, turn the pepper as the skin blackens. Don’t grab the pepper by its stem, it may break off as the pepper gets tender. 
     
  4. Make sure every part is charred, don’t forget the bottom! 

     
     
  5. Wrap in foil or put in a ziplock bag and let sit for 15 minutes until cool enough to handle. The steam created in the foil/bag helps the skin slip off easier, so don’t skip this step. 


     
  6. Using a knife, cut out the stem and carefully pull it to remove the seeds.



  7. Pour out the water that has settled inside the pepper. Use your fingers or paper towel to slip the skin off and resist every urge to run it under water. I know it’s messy, but you want to keep the pepper’s natural juices and even a few flecks of char for flavor.
     
  8. Slice the pepper into slabs.

Oven instructions

Turn your oven on broil. Brush peppers lightly with a high-heat oil and place under the broiler, watching for the skin to blacken. Turn peppers until fully roasted and then follow instructions from step 5 on.

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UNBEETABLE NOODLES
Serves 4
I’ve always loved beets, even as a kid, I found it hard not to. They are colorful, juicy and best of all, sweet. I’ve grown to discover not everyone loves them as much as I do, so I had to find more creative ways (such as this one) to incorporate beets into my meals instead of simply adding them raw to tossed salads. This dish has a striking resemblance to the Klingon Gagh, appealing vegetarians, non-vegetarians and trekkies alike.
Before I give you this wonderful recipe, allow me to borrow a couple of minutes of your time to get you better acquainted with beets. The entire beet-root plant, though a little high in sugars is an excellent source of iron and other nutrients: 
The greens on top contain vitamins A and C, beta-carotine, iron, potassium and calcium making them very similar to spinach in nutritional value and taste.
The roots are rich folate, potassium, vitamin A and manganese, vitamin B and C, dietary fiber, magnesium, tryptophan, iron, copper, boron and phosphorous.
The potassium in them along with other minerals and vitamins helps regulate blood pressure.
The whole plant is rich in antioxidants and acts as a mild laxative,  great for the digestive system.
It’s inexpensive and versatile, working well in a variety of dishes such as soups, veggie burgers, tacos, pasta, salads, even cupcakes.
When purchasing, always choose organic firm, smooth skinned deep colored beets. For eating raw, buy small, younger beets. A neat trick to brightening their color is adding lemon juice or vinegar to the water when cooking and the red stains left on your hands can be easily removed by rubbing with lemon juice. 
For this recipe, you will need:

1 bunch beets, with greens, divided and chopped8 oz pasta noodles2 tablespoons olive oil1 onion, dicedred pepper flakes, to taste5 cloves garlic, minced1 cup vegetable broth1 tablespoon fresh lemon juicezest of one lemon1 tablespoon fresh basil, chopped3 tablespoons dried Italian herbssalt and pepper, to taste

Bring a large pot of water to a boil as you peel, chop and prep all other ingredients. Once the water comes to a boil, cook your noodles of choice per package instructions. Meanwhile, saute the olive oil, onion, dried herbs and red pepper flakes over medium heat until the onions are soft and translucent. Add garlic and chopped beet roots, stirring often until the beets are almost tender. Add the vegetable broth and the lemon juice. Bring to a simmer and cook for a couple of minutes, until the broth is reduced to a syrup-like consistency. If necessary, add more broth or water.
Finally, add the reserved chopped beet greens, lemon zest, and chopped fresh basil. Stir and cover. Once the beet greens have wilted, season to taste with salt and pepper, then toss the beet mixture with the drained pasta. Serve immediately.
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UNBEETABLE NOODLES

Serves 4

I’ve always loved beets, even as a kid, I found it hard not to. They are colorful, juicy and best of all, sweet. I’ve grown to discover not everyone loves them as much as I do, so I had to find more creative ways (such as this one) to incorporate beets into my meals instead of simply adding them raw to tossed salads. This dish has a striking resemblance to the Klingon Gagh, appealing vegetarians, non-vegetarians and trekkies alike.

Before I give you this wonderful recipe, allow me to borrow a couple of minutes of your time to get you better acquainted with beets. The entire beet-root plant, though a little high in sugars is an excellent source of iron and other nutrients: 

  • The greens on top contain vitamins A and C, beta-carotine, iron, potassium and calcium making them very similar to spinach in nutritional value and taste.
  • The roots are rich folate, potassium, vitamin A and manganese, vitamin B and C, dietary fiber, magnesium, tryptophan, iron, copper, boron and phosphorous.
  • The potassium in them along with other minerals and vitamins helps regulate blood pressure.
  • The whole plant is rich in antioxidants and acts as a mild laxative,  great for the digestive system.
  • It’s inexpensive and versatile, working well in a variety of dishes such as soups, veggie burgers, tacos, pasta, salads, even cupcakes.

When purchasing, always choose organic firm, smooth skinned deep colored beets. For eating raw, buy small, younger beets. A neat trick to brightening their color is adding lemon juice or vinegar to the water when cooking and the red stains left on your hands can be easily removed by rubbing with lemon juice. 

For this recipe, you will need:

1 bunch beets, with greens, divided and chopped
8 oz pasta noodles
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, diced
red pepper flakes, to taste
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup vegetable broth
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
zest of one lemon
1 tablespoon fresh basil, chopped
3 tablespoons dried Italian herbs
salt and pepper, to taste

Bring a large pot of water to a boil as you peel, chop and prep all other ingredients. 
Once the water comes to a boil, cook your noodles of choice per package instructions. 

Meanwhile, saute the olive oil, onion, dried herbs and red pepper flakes over medium heat until the onions are soft and translucent. Add garlic and chopped beet roots, stirring often until the beets are almost tender. Add the vegetable broth and the lemon juice. Bring to a simmer and cook for a couple of minutes, until the broth is reduced to a syrup-like consistency. If necessary, add more broth or water.

Finally, add the reserved chopped beet greens, lemon zest, and chopped fresh basil. Stir and cover. Once the beet greens have wilted, season to taste with salt and pepper, then toss the beet mixture with the drained pasta. Serve immediately.

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