Monday, April 25, 2016

Picking Strawberries

On Sunday, we went to the Jones Orchard pick-your-own-strawberries patch by the Agricenter and Shelby Farms here in Memphis, and we picked a $5 quart and got the inside scoop that there will be more ripe strawberries mid-week. People have been hitting the fields pretty hard on the weekend, so be strategic, pack your pickin' shoes in the car, and head over after work one afternoon. They're open every day from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. We wanted to share a few pretty pics with you to kick off the week! We also learned a new trick from the internets that involves hulling a strawberry with, yes, a straw. Now it's time to make some strawberry beverages, hand pies, and jam. Go!

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

It's National Grilled Cheese Day!

Thank you to the International Housewares Association for partnering with us on this blog post! We were compensated for our time and were thrilled to be able to keep the products we used in creating new recipes for the accompanying article. As usual, all opinions expressed are our own. 

It's National Grilled Cheese Day! Of course we wrote about it and included some new TCV recipes for you to try. Check out our new post on the IHA Inspired Home blog HERE. 

The inspiration for a grilled cheese party came to us after we were invited to dinner at our good friends' house earlier this year. It was so much fun to see all the options for bread and fillings and such on the table and choose how we'd  build our sandwiches. (Yeah, we all secretly thought we each made the BEST one, and we weren't shy about telling that to the group!)

Our IHA post features three new waffle maker grilled cheese recipes that we trotted out last week at our house for a 3-sandwich extravaganza of a weeknight dinner (a dessert sandwich is included, of course!). 

We love it when people cook for us, and we love it when our friends share what they like to make for dinner. If you have any favorite dinners that you'd like us to try here on the blog, let us know in the comments section below!

Monday, April 11, 2016

Sweet Potato, Kale, & Black Bean Enchiladas

Enchiladas are easily a once-a-week deal at our house, so it's strange that in the 8 years (wow!) we've been writing The Chubby Vegetarian blog, we've never shared a single recipe for them. It's unexplainable. It may be a good thing, though, because over the years, we've simplified the process and amplified the flavor. This recipe is great just like it is, but feel free to swap out the black beans for refried beans or the sweet potato for mushrooms or the cheddar for goat cheese. There are so many great combinations out there, and we usually just make our enchiladas with what we have on hand.

How very easy these are to make! The cool thing is that the recipe makes a ton, so you're sure to have leftovers (which is kind of our favorite part). These are perfect for breakfast with a fried egg on top, and there's nothing like finding something this delicious in your freezer for a weekday dinner when you're worn out and only have the energy to reheat something, slice an avocado, and pile on the Greek yogurt and hot sauce.

Sweet Potato, Kale, & Black Bean Enchiladas

Chipotle Enchilada Sauce (recipe follows)
1 tablespoon olive oil 
1 medium sweet potato (peeled and diced, about 2 cups)
1/2 medium red onion (diced, about 1 cup)
2 heaping cups de-stemmed, finely chopped kale 
1 teaspoon cumin
1 13.4-ounce box of black beans
1 teaspoon sherry vinegar 
Kosher salt and cracked black pepper (to taste)

8 small corn tortillas (warmed) 
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

+ Optional toppings like Greek yogurt, chopped avocado, cilantro, sliced radish, chopped green onion, and Mexican hot sauce.

Make Chipotle Enchilada Sauce according to the recipe and keep warm in a saucepan until ready to assemble the enchiladas. 
In a large skillet over medium heat, add the olive oil and the diced sweet potato. Cook, stirring often, until sweet potato has softened and is beginning to brown (about 10 minutes). Add the onion and cook until it starts to soften. This will be about 5 minutes. Add the kale, cumin, black beans, and vinegar. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir and cover until heated through and the kale has wilted, about 6 minutes. 

Preheat the oven to 350. 
Into a 9 x 12 casserole dish, add 3/4 cup of Chipotle Enchilada Sauce and spread it around the bottom in a thin layer. Lay the tortillas out on the counter and divide 1 1/2 cups of the cheese among them while reserving the rest to sprinkle on top. Divide the filling among the tortillas; each tortilla will get about 1/4 cup. Roll tortillas and place seam-side down into the casserole dish. Repeat until all tortillas are wrapped. Top with the remaining Chipotle Enchilada Sauce and cheese. Bake for 20 minutes or until the sauce is bubbling and the cheese has melted

Serve topped however you'd like. We love Greek yogurt and chopped avocado, but there's no reason to stop there. Feel free to add cilantro, sliced radish, chopped green onion, or Mexican hot sauceThe leftovers can be placed in a lidded container and frozen for an easy and delicious weeknight dinner. (Makes 4 servings.)

Chipotle Enchilada Sauce

1 large can diced fire-roasted tomatoes 
1 clove garlic
1 chipotle pepper (from a can)
1 teaspoon sherry vinegar

Into a blender or food processor, place the tomatoes,  garlic, chipotle pepper, and sherry vinegar. Blend until smooth. In a saucepan over medium heat, warm the Chipotle Enchilada Sauce through and then turn off the heat. This can be made ahead of time and refrigerated up to 5 days or frozen up to 6 months.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Pimento Cheese Style Carrot Spread

The idea of replacing the cheddar cheese in our pimento cheese with shredded carrots has been with us for a while. I mean, shredded carrots look exactly like shredded cheddar, but who would ever think they could play the part? Back in 2014, a version of this dish got our friend Kelly R.'s seal of approval (which isn't the easiest thing to come by). However, we know that if Kelly likes it, then everyone likes it. It wasn't until recently that we decided to try this recipe with not some, but all of the cheddar replaced by carrots. Whoa! It takes the pimento cheese form and makes it into something familiar yet different and, dare we say, better.

The sweetness of the carrots plays nicely with the acidity of the pickled peppers while the creamy goat cheese and mayo add that old familiar richness. The idea here, as with a lot of our cooking, is to use vegetables in unexpected and exciting ways in order to motivate all of us to eat them more often. The result is a lightened-up pimento cheese that has a ton of flavor and a great texture.  

Pimento Cheese Style Carrot Spread

2 cups shredded carrots
3 ounces soft goat cheese
1/4 cup mayo 
1/2 cup finely diced pickled peppers (We like the marinated sweet peppers you can find on almost any olive bar, but actual pimentos are great, too.)
1/4 teaspoon champagne vinegar
1/8 cup minced shallot*
1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper
1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt

Place the carrots into a microwave-safe bowl and cover the bowl with a dinner plate. Microwave for 1 1/2 minutes. Uncover -- be careful not to let the steam burn you! -- and allow the carrots to cool. Mix the carrots, goat cheese, mayo, peppers, vinegar, shallot, black pepper, and salt until incorporated. It's as simple as that. Refrigerate and allow the flavors to meld for at least an hour for best results. 

*Mince the shallot then place it into a mesh strainer. You'll only need about a tablespoon. Run the minced shallot under cold water for a few seconds. This will take away any raw onion flavor and keep the shallot from overpowering the dish.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

The First Saturday of the Memphis Farmers Market 2016

It definitely feels more like spring now that market season is here! We set out early-ish this past Saturday to check out the opening day of the Memphis Farmers Market downtown, and though it was pretty cold out, the deals on vegetables were, you know, rather hot. A bunch of stuff besides winter greens is suddenly available now, stuff we thought we could work with this weekend to create an entire dish. We'd settled on making a frittata on Sunday with a little side salad, so we bought kale, eggs, spring onions, beets, carrots, French breakfast radishes, basil, a mix of micro greens, and Camembert. First, we made a pretty radish appetizer we'll share here this week.

It was great to see friends and catch up, to feel everyone's excitement about winter ending and new opportunities to shop for ingredients popping up. It's about time for something new to look forward to, and now we're dreaming of tomatoes and peaches for sure.

We know we'll try to hit the Memphis Botanic Gardens Farmers Market on Wednesday, April 27, its opening day, and stop by the Agricenter market in May. We also love that the Cooper-Young Community Farmers Market is year-round on Saturdays, and we'll be sure to report back on it soon this month!