Phyllo Dough Pizza

My husband and I picked up our puppy last Saturday! His name is Hugo, he’s a IMG_0627Brittany, and he’s 8 weeks old. I know everyone says their puppy is the cutest/smartest, but seriously this dog is so cute and smart (when he’s not peeing in the house or trying to electrocute himself on lamp cords). He learned to fetch in 5 minutes!

I did not realize how much work a puppy can be. I thought he’s be this cute this puppy, which he is, who just wants to cuddle all the time, which he does, who only wakes up to eat or use the bathroom–oh how wrong I was! He basically runs amok 90% of the time and then passes out dead asleep mid-stride. Those of you with dogs are I’m sure laughing at how naive I was. I thought we’d be getting the equivalent of a newborn, I didn’t know we were getting a toddler!

So these days, I don’t really have the luxury of standing in front of the stove to Pizza, Vegetariancook for an extended period of time. Unspeakable things would be happening to my house if I took my eyes off this pup for that long. So I wanted to make something for dinner last night that wouldn’t burn when I had to drop everything and scoop up the puppy to run him outside. This literally took 20 minutes to throw together (minus the time to defrost the phyllo), and I’m happy to report that Hugo sat semi-patiently and watched me put dinner together.

  • 1 roll phyllo dough
  • 2 tomatoes, sliced 1/4” thick
  • 1/2 cup feta crumbles
  • 3/4 cup shredded mozzarella
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • Freshly grated Parmesan
  • Lemon extra virgin olive oil (regular olive oil works fine too)

*Phyllo dough are paper-thin sheets made from unleavened flour. You’ll find it in the freezer section, and when defrosted it is actually quite easy to work with. Just make sure you leave it out to defrost for a few hours before you need to work with it. The roll I buy measures 13” x 18”. I cut the large sheets in half to measure 9” x 13”.

Preheat the oven to 400˚. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place 3 sheets of phyllo dough on the baking sheet. Brush the whole sheets of phyllo with olive oil. Place another 3 sheets of phyllo dough on top, and brush with olive oil. Repeat until you have used all the phyllo, the roll I buy has 20 sheets. Sprinkle the cheese on top, leaving a crush of about 1/2”, and cover the cheese with your tomato slices. Spread the fresh herbs evenly over your tomatoes and grate a tablespoon or two of Parmesan over the tomatoes and herbs. Brush the crust of the phyllo with a bit more olive oil. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes, or until the crush is golden brown and the cheese has melted. Serves 4.


Quinoa Stuffed Tomatoes

A few coworkers had asked me about recipe ideas for a healthy workday lunch. I consider myself the Queen of Leftovers since that is pretty much all I take for Quinoa, Tomatoes, Vegetarianlunch when I’m working. Working 12 hour days means it’s nearly impossible to get anything done besides working, eating and sleeping, and the last thing I feel like doing after getting home from work is figuring out what I have to take for lunch the next day. Prepacked containers of leftovers that I throw in my lunch bag make life much simpler. So I make an obscene amount of food for dinner when I’m off work with the intention of packing the leftovers for lunches. Let’s be honest, the non-cafeteria options where I work are less-than-healthy fast food, which is ironic for a hospital. And in the land of nursing, you’re not always sure when–or for how long–you’re going to be able to get off unit, not to mention having to then stand in line for food, leaving you with approximately 2.38 minutes  to eat lunch. Basically, leftovers just makes lunch easier and healthier.

This recipe made approximately 6-7 servings, so if you don’t want that many stuffed tomatoes in your house, I would cut the quinoa ingredients in half. And while they’re great hot out of the oven, they taste good cold for leftovers the next day.

  • 15 tomatoes
  • 1.25 cups dry quinoa
  • 2.5 cups water
  • 1 fennel bulb, finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup toasted pine nuts
  • 3/4 cup feta crumbles
  • 1/3 cup fresh chopped basil
  • 1/3 cup chopped sun dried tomatoes
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 egg whites
  • Freshly grated Parmesan (optional)

Preheat the oven to 400˚. Line two 9 x 13 baking dishes with parchment paper. Cut the tops off each tomato and discard. Using a spoon, remove the inner seeds and flesh of the tomato, leaving you with what looks like a little tomato bowl.

Warm a small saucepan to medium heat. Add your dry quinoa, and allow to toast for about 5-7 minutes, until you see a bit of browning on the quinoa kernels. Once the quinoa is equally toasted, add your 2.5 cups of water (be careful it will splatter). Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat to low, and allow to cook for about 10-15 minutes, until you see the white germ of the quinoa kernels separating from the rest of the kernel, telling you that your quinoa is done. Set aside to cool.

Combine the fennel, pine nuts, feta, basil, sun dried tomatoes and salt together in a large bowl. Add your cooked quinoa and toss the ingredients together. Add the egg whites and mix again. (The egg whites will prevent the mixture from getting dry when it bakes in the oven.) Fill each tomato bowl with the quinoa mixture. Leave about an inch or two of room between each tomato in your baking dish. Grate as much Parmesan as you’d like over the top of each tomato.

Cover your baking dishes with foil and bake for 20-25 minutes, until the flesh of the tomato is starting to peel slightly away. Uncover and cook from another 5 minutes to get the top nice and crispy.


Soba Noodle Soup with Miso Eggplant

This recipe was actually inspired by my neighbor, Naomi! We went for a hike Soba noodles, eggplant, soupyesterday, and got to talking about a new market down the street, Driver’s Market. It’s a family owned market, which carries family-owned products and local produce, yay! If you’re ever in Sausalito, you’ve got to check it out. We got to talking about how nice it is to have such a wonderful market just a few blocks away, and somehow we got to talking about eggplant, which led to talking about miso grilled eggplant. I couldn’t get the idea out of my head, which led to a Japanese lunch just down the street, which led to an Asian-inspired dinner.  The weather turned from shorts and t-shirts to why-am-i-wearing-two-jackets (quite literally) in a matter of 6 hours, so a comforting bowl of soup seemed appropriate.

  • 8 oz. soba noodles
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 2” piece of fresh ginger, grated
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1.5 lbs. boy choy, ends removed
  • 4 cups low-sodium vegetable stock
  • 2 cups water
  • 1.5 cups frozen edemame
  • 1 cup shiitake mushrooms, chopped in half
  • 1 large eggplant, cut into 1” pieces
  • Toasted sesame seeds (optional)
  • 2 green onions, sliced

Miso glaze:

  • 1/4 cup mirin
  • 2 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 2 heaping tbsp white miso
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil

Preheat the oven to 400˚. Combine all the ingredients for the miso glaze in a small bowl and whisk with a fork. In a 9 x 13 roasting pan, pour the glaze over your chopped eggplant and still well to coat all the pieces evenly. Roast until eggplant is tender and beginning to brown, about 20-25 minutes.

While the eggplant roasts, bring about 1 tablespoon of sesame oil to medium heat in a Dutch oven or other large pot. Add the minced garlic and stir frequently, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the grated ginger and cook until fragrant, about another minute. Add your boy choy to the pot, stir to mix up the garlic and ginger, cover and allow to steam for about 3-5 minutes. When the leaves of the bok choy are just starting to wilt but the thick part of the stem is still firm, add the vegetable stock and water to the pan and bring to a gentle simmer. When the stock reaches a simmer, add your edemame, mushrooms and soba noodles, cover and turn off the burner. The residual heat will cook the noodles. (Note: the noodles I bought only needed to cook for 3 minutes, some brands of noodles need to cook longer. If that is the case, I would cook them for about 1 minute at a simmer and then turn the heat off.)

Add the miso eggplant to your soup and stir. Ladle portions in to bowls, top with green onions and toasted sesame seeds.