Pizza Southwest-Style

This festive and tasty pizza is my riff on a southwest-style pizza. It has a combination of colors and flavors that I think you will like. The crust is a cross between deep dish and a warm, chewy flour tortilla – you’ll like that too. Although the prep for this recipe is extensive, your time will be well spent. Continue reading

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Croissant Sandwich

Photo: Randy Graham, Valley Vegetarian

Serve with a side of pasta salad (as above) or with breakfast potatoes.

For a complete breakfast, I serve this with a side of country-style fried potatoes and fresh orange juice. For lunch, I serve with a side of pasta salad. Continue reading

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Southwest Vegetarian Stew (slow cooker)

Remembering a satisfying bowl of “southwest vegetarian stew” I ordered off the menu at a diner in Roswell, New Mexico, I created this recipe for the slow cooker. The ingredients, and flavors they bring, are considerably different. Continue reading

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Fresh and Easy Sofrito

Condiment of choice! Great with grilled foods.

Aromatic and savory, sofrito is a condiment, a sauce, and a base for many Caribbean dishes from countries such as Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, and Cuba. In short, it is super versatile. And it is flavorful. Super flavorful.

Sofrito has its origins in Spanish cuisine and typically consists of onions sautéed in oil with ingredients like garlic, hot and/or sweet peppers, tomatoes, and herbs such as cilantro, culantro, and oregano. Some sofritos are red, others are green, some are chunky, and others puréed.

My version is gluten-free, vegan, and most of all it has an amazing “fresh” taste. Use it with tacos, as a condiment for just about any grilled food, and as a base for a good pot of beans. It’s even good served as a dip with chips!

Ingredients:
2 medium Spanish – or yellow – onions (cut into 1-inch chunks)
4 cubanelle peppers (seeded, cut into 1-inch chunks)
18 medium cloves garlic (peeled)
1 large bunch of cilantro (washed and chopped)
4 leaves of culantro
4 ripe plum tomatoes (cored and cut into 1-inch chunks)
2 medium red bell peppers (seeded, cut into 1-inch chunks)
Salt to taste

Directions:
Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add onions and cubanelle peppers and sauté until onions are soft. Place onions and cubanelle peppers in the bowl of a 6-cup food processor fitted with a steel blade. Pulse until very coarsely chopped.

With the motor running, add the remaining ingredients one at a time through the feed tube and process until smooth. Season to taste with salt. Transfer to container and store in refrigerator until ready to use. It will keep on the refrigerator for 2 to 3 days and much longer if frozen.

Note: If you can’t find cubanelle peppers, substitute Anaheim chiles. Culantro, although similar to cilantro, is not the same as cilantro. On the Westcoast, look for culantro in Asian food markets.

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Navy Bean Soup (slow cooker)

Photo: Randy Graham, Valley Vegetarian

The navy bean got its current popular name because it was a staple food of the United States Navy in the early 20th century. They are a mild, pea-sized bean that are creamy white in color.

Like other common beans, navy beans are one of 13,000 species of the family of legumes, or plants that produce edible pods. Combined with whole grains such as rice, navy beans provide virtually fat-free high-quality protein.

Ingredients:
1 pound dry navy beans (rinsed)
2 quarts vegetable broth
1 medium onion (diced)
1 tablespoon fresh dill (chopped)
4 tablespoon fresh parsley (chopped)
4 cloves garlic (minced)
2 medium russet potatoes (peeled and diced)
4 large carrots (scrubbed and cut into ¼-inch slices)
1 cup sun-dried tomatoes (chopped)
2 teaspoons salt
¼ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

Directions:
Plug in your slow cooker and set the heat to high. Place all ingredients in slow cooker. Cook for 5 hours. Prior to serving, adjust for salt adding more (if necessary). Serve with a side of rice for a complete meal.

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Zucchini Strata

Think of this as a crustless cheesy quiche!

Strata is a kind of layered casserole featuring eggs and bread. There as many variations of strata as you can imagine. One day, at the end of the summer growing season, I imagined strata that would effectively use garden-fresh zucchini without making my family and neighbors scream, No…not another zucchini dish! Continue reading

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Bánh Mì Sandwiches

Photo: Randy Graham, Valley Vegetarian

Perhaps the last time to use the grill this season!

Bánh mì is Vietnamese for bread and is also associated with a single serving baguette made into a tasty sandwich. Continue reading

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