Pan-Fried Cheese Flautas with Avocado-Cream Sauce

Flautas (pan fried)

Not deep fried but PAN fried. Much better.

Flautas are made with a savory filling, usually meat, rolled up and deep-fried to a golden brown. The history of this dish is varied, but most sources cite Mexico as the origin. The Spanish language word flauta means flute and, when served, these crunchy delights do look like a tasty flute. Continue reading

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Ojai Green Sauce

Ojai Green Sauce

When Robert and I were in Cusco, Peru we ate at one restaurant that had bottles of green sauce on the table as a condiment. It was kind of similar to the Tabasco, Cholula and Tapatio bottles of sauce I see in our restaurants except this sauce was in a squirt bottle and it was green and freshly made. Continue reading

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Crushed Beet Salad

Photo: Randy Graham, Valley VegetarianLooking for a different salad? Want something that won’t heat up the kitchen in the afternoon before dinnertime? Look no further. This is a colorful and flavorful salad that complements any barbecue or is a complete lunch when paired with fresh baguette slices and your choice of chilled wine. Continue reading

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Savory Filo-Feta Tart

Photo: Randy Graham, Valley Vegetarian

This is a simple and easy-to-make version of Greek Spanakopita without spinach. Hands-on time is less than 20 minutes; bake time 50 minutes. In this version, I use extra virgin olive oil for brushing over the filo dough (healthier than butter) but you can use melted butter if you prefer. Continue reading

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German Potato Salad – Vegetarian Style

Photo: Randy Graham, Valley Vegetarian

Not your mama’s German potato salad!

In order to make a good vegetarian German potato salad, you need to focus on the two main components: potatoes and vinaigrette. Continue reading

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Magic Oatmeal (for kids of all ages)

Kids love this vegan recipe. It is a quick but hearty and nutritious breakfast perfectly measured out for one person. Double the recipe for two helpings.  Add fresh blueberries as a topping if you have them! Continue reading

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Marinated Manchego Cheese Tapas

Photo: Randy Graham, Valley Vegetarian

What is Manchego? Simply put, it is a sheep’s milk cheese made in the La Mancha region of Spain. It is aged anywhere from two months to two years. It has a firm, compact consistency with a buttery texture and a distinctive flavor that is well developed, but not too strong.

In the Cervantes novel titled Don Quixote, the man of La Mancha and his sidekick, Sancho Panza, spend many pages nibbling on Manchego cheese and washing it down with generous amounts of wine. I think they would have liked marinated Manchego.

I look for cheese that is two or three months old because it has a softer consistency. For the marinade I use a Minneola which is a hybrid of a grapefruit and a mandarin tangerine. Minneolas are juicy and tart, and easy to peel with only a few seeds. Perfect for this recipe. Begin making this a day ahead of time. The prep is elaborate but worth the time and effort.

2 heads garlic
1½ cups olive oil (divided)
¼ teaspoon salt
1 Minneola
¼ cup sugar
½ cup water
16 ounces young Manchego cheese (cut into ¼-inch pieces)
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary (chopped very fine)
1 tablespoon fresh thyme (chopped very fine)
Toasted baguette

Garlic Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut ¼” off top of garlic bulbs and place on a sheet of foil. Drizzle with ¼ cup oil and season with salt. Wrap tightly in foil and bake until skin is golden brown and cloves are tender, 35–40 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Squeeze garlic cloves into a large bowl.

Minneola Directions:
Using a potato peeler or zester, scrape the peel of the Minneola to get as much peel (but not the white pith beneath) as possible.  Cut ½-inch off top and bottom of the Minneola and cut lengthwise into quarters. Squeeze juice from flesh into a small bowl and set aside.

Cut the peel/zest into ¼” pieces and place in a small saucepan. Cover peels with cold water. Bring to a boil then drain. Repeat process twice more to remove bitterness (cold water, boil, drain). Return orange peels to saucepan and add sugar, water, and juice to make a syrup. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until peels are soft and liquid is syrupy – about 20–30 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool.

Add orange syrup, Manchego, rosemary, thyme, and remaining oil to the bowl with the garlic and gently toss to combine. Cover and chill for at least 4 hours before serving. Bring marinated Manchego to room temperature before plating. While Manchego is coming to room temperature, gently warm baguette in oven. Serve Manchego with warm baguette.

Tip: The Manchego can be marinated up to 5 days ahead of time. Cover and chill until ready to use.

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