When you start a blog, you (usually) always vow you will update regularly. And then…you don’t. Just like how I haven’t posted — or tweeted, or really been on facebook — in almost two months.

Well, the Meat-eating Military Man took the kitchen hostage and has been forcing vegetarian me to eat sausage and steak all day! Help! Just kidding… :)

The reality is, the Meat-eating Military Man was gone quite a bit, we traveled for weddings and holidays, and we just got plain old busy. I know you’ve heard/read that busy excuse over and over like a bad jingle.

Before I let the very boring jingle go on any longer, let’s talk about food. Here’s what we made last night: these lentil burgers with Saveur‘s Roasted Garlic Chipotle Mayo, and Apple, Manchego and Chive Salad [attempted, recipe not perfected.]

I saw the mayo while flipping through this month’s Saveur, and made the burgers just so we could eat the sauce. The picture looked that good.

Roasted Garlic Chipotle MayoRoasted Garlic Chipotle Mayo

The spicy sauce certainly did not disappoint. The Roasted Garlic Chipotle Mayo was so easy to make (4 ingredients), and made those vegetarian lentil burgers finger-looking good for the carnivore in our house.

vegetarian lentil burgers

Lentil Burgers with lettuce, tomato, avocado and Roasted Garlic Chipotle Mayo

I made the Apple, Manchego and Chive Salad because the Meat-eating Military Man and I tried — and loved — it at Cafe Lurcat. I wanted to lick my plate clean, but of course I didn’t because a lady does not do that at a fine restaurant! ;) The flavors were just so fresh and perfectly married, I needed to replicate it right away. I searched the internets, and begged my mother-in-law (an amazing cook and food connoisseur) to help me figure it out!

Well, after testing and trying different combinations — of olive oil, apple cider vinegar, white wine vinegar, lime, and honey — we landed on the recipe after the jump. It was tasty, but wasn’t exactly right. The search goes on.

Apple, Manchego and Chive SaladApple, Manchego and Chive Salad

Have you made this salad? How do you make it? Cafe Lurcat, I’ll maybe eat a bite of local, sustainable sausage if you tell me…

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Endive and Blue Cheese Salad

Creamy Sweet Potato & Rosemary Soup

I’m embarrassed. My last post was over two weeks ago. Yikes! This is a testament to how busy it has been around our household — the Meat-eating Military Man has been making me read many books and write papers about meat. He rebelled against vegetables.

Just kidding. :)

He’s been absolutely wonderful while I juggled work and additional projects and assignments. He has done more than his fair share of housework, has cooked multiple meals and never complained when weekends had to be traded in for work. Thank you, Meat-eating Military Man, my officer and gentleman!

I finally got into the kitchen long enough to make salad dressing and soup from scratch. Both recipes — the Endive and Blue Cheese Salad and Creamy Sweet Potato and Rosemary Soup — are from the Food Network. These caught my eye because they were seasonal and more importantly, because when making vegetarian meals I’m sure meat-eaters will love, creamy and cheesy are key words. :)

The Meat-eating Military Man loved this simple vegetarian meal. Hey Meat-eating Military Man, do you still dislike soup and think soup and salad can’t make a complete meal?

These two dishes were delicious. They didn’t require any tweaking, which is a rarity for me! The dressing in the salad was finger-looking good. I’ll be making the dressing again and using it for other salads. The soup was creamy and the right amount of sweet.

This post was written in support of Meatless Monday. Join the Movement!  

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Orzo with Roasted Vegetables & Mashed Butternut Squash

I think Italian cuisine is one of the easiest ways to serve vegetarian meals to carnivores — all the flavors and pasta are very familiar. I know it’s one of the cuisine types that will always go over well with the Meat-eating Military Man. I could feed him 10 different vegetables with some sort of pasta and he wouldn’t care.

So when a craving for a vegetables and orzo dish hit, I knew the Meat-eating Military Man and I would both be satisfied!

Wanting to keep things light, I decided to make Ina Garten’s simple recipe. I have made a lot of orzo since getting married to the Meat-eating Military Man — from creamy, savory ones to lighter, healthier ones — and Garten’s recipes, including this meaty one with shrimp, have always been successful.

Orzo with Roasted Vegetables

We had a peeled butternut squash left over from this Butternut Squash Risotto, so with the oven on and roasting up the vegetables for the orzo, I figured it was the perfect time to roast the leftover squash and make Mashed Butternut Squash. I just roasted the squash with some butter, sugar and then blended it with a little bit of soy milk (we didn’t have any regular milk).

Mashed Butternut Squash

While I made this, the Meat-eating Military Man wanted me to blend it more. He said, “it’s supposed to be smooth and creamy! Have you ever had mashed potatoes?”

Um, yes. I make you mashed potatoes.

I like my mashed potatoes chunky. I honestly didn’t know he was a creamy mashed potatoes person! When he tried the chunkier (to him) Mashed Butternut Squash, he liked it. :)

I know this is a strange combination, but I had to use up the butternut squash before it went bad — I’m sure you know how that goes! It ended up bringing in some bright orange and fall to the meal.

We hope you enjoy either or both of these this Meatless Monday! Click “Continue reading” for the recipes.

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Thai Tofu and Butternut Squash Red Curry with Thai Jasmine Brown Rice

Once upon a time, the Meat-eating Military told me he did not like tofu or curry (like when he told me he did not like soup). Imagine his horror if he knew I combined the two tonight!

Well, there was no horror. Instead, he cleaned his bowl and said, “Was that curry? I thought I didn’t like curry!”

I thought so, too, Meat-eating Military Man! (No, I knew better. I knew he just needed to try it again. But the jury is still out on Indian curry. Stay posted.)

For this curry, I drew inspiration from Heidi Swanson’s book, “Super Natural Every Day,” and from my friend’s Pumpkin and Chicken Curry in San Francisco. I didn’t have pumpkin though, so used butternut squash instead. It was a great way to use seasonal squash!

Happy Fall with Thai flavors

After a long day at work, the Meat-eating Military Man and I wanted a delicious, but easy-to-prepare dish. This curry was perfect. He helped chop all the veggies and I put it all together. I’m glad it tasted good — you know if the Meat-eating Military Man liked it, it was good.

(My only critique: Next time, I’ll make sure to have some green around — Thai Basil leaves would have been great.)

Click “Continue Reading” to get the recipe! 

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We don’t have a dishwasher. I know. It’s sad. It adds so much more time to our kitchen duties at the end of the day.

We’ve figured out a good system though – the Meat-eating Military Man brings me all the dirty dishes and empties the dish rack while I wash away. It works out well because I don’t enjoy putting dry dishes away for some reason, and he doesn’t enjoy washing. We chat away while we set our kitchen back to normal.

Since we lack this modern-day appliance, you can be sure I love one-skillet meals – not only are they usually easier to prepare, they don’t require a lot of cookware!

I had never prepared gnocchi in a skillet (without boiling it first), so when I saw Eating Well’s Skillet Gnocchi with Chard & White Beans and read that it was one-skillet, I was curious and excited. And, I could get the Meat-eating Military Man to eat beans and chard by serving it with Italian dumplings? Sold.

gnocchi cooking in the skillet

The colorful sauce before gnocchi is added

I always say recipes are a guide and shouldn’t be followed exactly. So, treat this recipe the same. I made sure my sauce was seasoned right before I added the gnocchi in the step pictured above. I didn’t tweak much except for adding a little more seasoning than they originally suggested.

Otherwise, this gnocchi was pretty good! I think we ultimately like preparing our gnocchi in boiling water better, but I’m glad we tried this – I will always try any one-skillet meal.

Hope you enjoy this one-skillet meal from Eating Well for your Meatless Monday dinner today!

Ina Garten’s Butternut Squash Risotto (without the meat)

I told an East coast-based friend that the only way I knew fall was here was by ordering ordering and drinking Pumpkin Spice Lattes (soy for me). :) Having grown up with four seasons on the East coast, living in sunny San Diego, where the weather doesn’t really fluctuate too much, is definitely new!

In addition to my coffee habit, the other way I know it’s fall is by ripe seasonal produce. To be honest, I’m not ready to eat beets and kale yet (is it because the sunny weather here is telling my body it’s still time to bite into juicy peaches?), but I’ll have to accept it soon.

To welcome fall, I decided to make Butternut Squash Risotto. I found Ina Garten’s Saffron Risotto with Butternut Squash recipe and gave it a try – without the pancetta, of course! I also switched the chicken stock for Pacific Natural Foods organic vegetable broth. The saffron threads really added great flavor to the dish.

Yes, this recipe requires that you stand over the stove and stir while adding stock gradually, but it’s very easy, did not take very long and trust me, the result is worth it! The Meat-eating Military Man loved this creamy, delicious Italian rice dish, even without the meat. (He is an Italian food aficionado.)

Hope you’ll enjoy this fall dish on Meatless Monday!

Other Meatless Monday Recipes You Might Like:

Summer Tomato & Squash Quiche with side salad of lettuce, avocado, tomatoes from the garden and shaved romano cheese.

I’m not the most photogenic person. I’m so jealous of my photogenic friends who must never have to fret when they receive that email from Facebook: “Dear [insert name], You have been tagged in 11 photos.” The summer quiche I made must also be jealous of its more photogenic food friends.

But hey, I don’t blame it. I threw it together really quickly (kind of like a mom who hurriedly sent her kid out with unkempt hair on yearbook photo day) because it was one of those nights I needed to get dinner on the table fast. And, on a busy night, when I didn’t have a lot of time to spend in the kitchen, a quiche seemed to be the right vehicle to use summer produce like heirloom tomatoes and summer squash.

So, this meatless quiche is perfect for a busy Monday night.

I gathered inspiration to sprinkle the veggies with all-purpose flour  and seasoning first from this recipe, but added squash and changed several other items. I used three eggs as listed, but next time, I would add another egg. I usually use four eggs in all other quiches I make. I would also seed the vegetables to minimize water content. I noted those changes below. Happy Meatless Monday!

And, if your quiche doesn’t come out looking like it’s ready for a Saveur magazine cover photo shoot, it’s okay. It will still taste good. Nourishing those you love in a flavorful way is what’s important anyway, right?

Click “Continue Reading” for the recipe.

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Oatcakes from Heidi Swanson’s Super Natural Every Day

When I got home last night, an Amazon box was waiting on my doorstep! I had not ordered anything, so I was excited to see what was inside–was the Meat-eating Military Man going to jump out of the box?! I needed to find out.

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Summer Squash and Zucchini Ribbon Pasta

One year ago, if you asked me if the Meat-eating Military Man would ever eat a fresh vegetarian meal, I would have answered, “probably not.” If you questioned if the Meat-eating Military Man would ever ask for a light vegetarian meal, I would have said, “absolutely not!”

So you can imagine my surprise when he did ask me for this several days before he left. Sure, eating all this, this and fair/stadium food at Del Mar’s opening day all within days left us feeling pretty heavy. But still, for the Meat-eating Military Man, veggies have always been a side–not the main affair.

To keep things light and seasonal, but still flavorful, I decided to make Summer Squash and Zucchini Ribbon Pasta along with Panzanella.

Summer Squash at the Leucadia Farmers Market

For the Summer Squash and Zucchini Pasta, I followed the technique described in this NYTimes Recipe and used a vegetable peeler to make long ribbons. Then, I cooked the fettucine-like strips in some olive oil, added some salt, pepper and fresh tomatoes. I topped it with some grated parmesan or romano cheese and that’s it!

Panzanella paired well with this “pasta.” We have loved Ina Garten’s Panzanella since it first starred in our dining room as a side. In fact, the Meat-eating Military Man says it is one of his favorite salads! The home-made croutons give it texture while making it feel more like a treat. :)

Panzanella with home-made croutons and Champagne vinaigrette

I honestly was not sure how the Meat-eating Military Man would react to the Summer Squash and Zucchini Pasta. He said, “it’s definitely not pasta, but it tastes good.” Good taste–that, my friends, is how I get the Meat-eating Military Man to eat his vegetables.

Make either or both of these light meals this Meatless Monday!

Click “Continue Reading” for the recipes.

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When faced with the difficult challenge of broadening the Meat-eating Military Man’s vegetable world so that we could have any hope of eating together, I knew I had to win him over with baby steps. Throwing raw kale in front of him was not going to go over well.

I took the same approach with Korean food, which he had never had before he met me. I threw the easiest bait I knew he would take–sweet, juicy meat. The first Korean food he ate was Korean BBQ Beef and from the look on his face, he should have said, “Korean BBQ Beef, you had me at first smell.”

Now that he knew Korean food had something to offer, I had to introduce other Korean foods, including sides, to him. Where to start? With a dish that worked for me as a young child: steamed egg (계란찜).

Steamed Egg

My grandmother was an amazing cook who brought the family together around the dinner table every Sunday. While I loved everything she made, the steamed egg (계란찜) she made was my absolute favorite. I called it “egg-in-a-bowl” when I was younger because every week, she would bring the bowl over to the table and then I would scoop my spoon in it to get delicious, soft, salty egg. It was so smooth and just melted in my mouth.

My grandmother made hers in a standard large soup bowl, but it customarily comes in a small, ceramic bowl like this.

This is a very simple, Korean side dish but I think that’s why I liked it so much as a child. I mean, it’s egg. The familiarity with a twist made me love it a lot.

Simply egg and water whisked together and then seasoned

I’m not sure the Meat-eating Military Man anticipates eating this as much as I do, but it opened up his Korean food world in a familiar, tasty way.

As far as the recipe, I wish I asked my grandmother how to make it while she was still with us. But I didn’t and my parents–though their recipes and techniques are usually fail proof–couldn’t tell me the right egg to water ratio. So I resorted to the internet and found a recipe at the blog, Korean American Mommy. (PS – I love her blog! Take a look!)


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