Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Spanish Wheat Berry Salad

6 Tbs olive oil
1 1/2 cups wheat berries, rinsed and drained
1 Tbs sherry vinegar
1 Tbs lemon juice
1 clove garlic, minced
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1/4 cup chopped toasted almonds
1/4 cup chopped shallots
1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
1/4 cup (1 oz) shaved manchego cheese or Pecorino Romano cheese, optional

1) Heat 1 Tbs oil in 6qt pressure cooker over medium-high heat. Add wheat berries, and saute 5 minutes, or until toasted. Add 4 1/2 cups water. Lock lid in place. Bring to high pressure over high heat. Reduce heat, and cook 30 minutes. Release pressure using automatic pressure release, or carefully transfer cooker to sink, and run cool water over rim of lid. Remove lid, tilting away from you to let steam escape. Drain wheat berries.
2) Whisk together remaining 5 Tbs oil, vinegar, lemon juice and garlic in large bowl. Season with salt and pepper, if desired. Add wheat berries, bell pepper, almonds, shallots and parsley, and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper, if desired. Sprinkle with cheese, if using.

Review: I lack sherry vinegar and manchego cheese, and I lack a pressure cooker. So, I tweaked the recipe, cooking the wheat berries on high heat, lid on the pot for half an hour and it worked. For the vinegar, I used 1 1/2 tsp of sherry and 1 1/2 tsp of white wine vinegar. I can't find sherry vinegar in town and looked on amazon to find it's super expensive. Bummer. This recipe came out just fine, despite the many things I lack. Parmesan cheese is probably better than manchego, anyway. ;) And, because of this recipe, Mike has decided wheat berries are his new favorite thing and I have to find more recipes. Can do! Also, do be warned that wheat berries contain MASSIVE amounts of fiber.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Double Mushroom & Marsala Cream Fettuccine

3 cups vegetable stock
1 oz dried porcini mushrooms
salt and pepper
1 lb fettuccine pasta
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 lb cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced
2 Tbs thinly sliced fresh sage or 2 tsp dried sage
1/2 cup marsala wine
1/2 cup heavy cream (eyeball it)
1 cup grated pecorino-romano cheese, plus more to taste

1) In a medium sacuepan, combine the stock and porcinis and let steep over low heat.
2) Bring a large pot of water to a boil, salt it, add the pasta and cook until al dente. Drain.
3) While the pasta is working, in a large skillet, heat the oil, 4 turns of the pan, over medium-high heat. Add the creminis and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 8 minutes; season with salt, pepper and the sage. Stir in the marsala and cook for 1 minute.
4) Using a slotted spoon, remove the porcinis. Strain the stock and reserve 2 cups. Finely chop the porcinis and add to the cremini mixture; stir in the reserved stock. Stir in the cream and cook until thickened, about 10 minutes. Add the pasta and cheese and toss.

Review: Oh, this was so yummy! The sauce got deliciously thick, though I initially feared it would be really runny. Because it was so thick, I didn't add the cheese to the sauce, but simply used it to top each dish for additional flavor. Mmmm

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Mashed Rutabagas With Salsa Verde

Mashed Rutabaga:
1 1/2 tsp olive oil
1 medium leek, white and pale green parts chopped
4 cups trimmed, peeled and diced rutabaga (2 lb)
1 cup vegetable broth
Salsa Verde:
3 cloves garlic, peeled
1 cup tightly packed flat leaf parsley (leaves and stems)
8 pitted green olives
2 Tbs drained capers
2 Tbs lemon juice
3 Tbs olive oil

1) To make Mashed Rutabagas: Heat oil in large saucepan over medium-low heat. Add leek, and saute 5 minutes, or until softened. Stir in rutabaga, vegetable broth and 1 cup water. Partially cover pan, and braise vegetables 35 minutes, or until very tender.
2) To make Salsa Verde: Mince garlic in food processor. Add parsley, olives, capers and lemon juice, and process until finely chopped. Add oil, and process to blend. Season with salt and pepper, if desired. Transfer to bowl.
3) Transfer rutabaga mixture to food processor in batches, and blend until smooth. Season with salt and pepper, if desired. To serve, spoon portion of warm Mashed Rutabagas onto each plate and top with scant 1 Tbs Salsa Verde.

Review: Oh, yum. The mashed rutabagas were exactly as I expected. However, the salsa verde was AMAZING. I seriously want to make the salsa verde again and use it like pesto. Mmmmm. By the way, I didn't use the lemon juice. I served this as a side to some frozen Lightlife Stuffers - fake chicken stuffed with cheese and fake ham.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Pumpkin Gratin

1 (2 1/2 lb) pumpkin, peeled, seeded and cubed
8 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1/3 cup chopped parsley
2 Tbs chopped fresh sage, or 1 Tbs dried rubbed sage
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup breadcrumbs

1) Preheat oven to 350F. Spray 9x13 inch baking dish or gratin dish with nonstick spray.
2) Toss pumpkin cubes with garlic, parsley, sage, and salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to baking dish, and drizzle with olive oil.
3) Bake 1 hour, or until pumpkin begins to soften and brown around the edges, stirring occasionally. Remove from oven, and toss with cheese and breadcrumbs. Bake 15 minutes more, or until top is golden brown.

Review: Ew. I forgot how much I hate the inside of a pumpkin. It's incredibly time consuming to peel and cube a pumpkin. Fortunately, this was yummy. However, pumpkin really shrinks after it's cooked and it made less food than I had expected. And I had thrown out part of the pumpkin, since the smallest I could find was a 6 lb pumpkin and I thought half the pumpkin would be enough for the recipe (a little more than was called for). So, I guess this is definitely not much more than a side dish.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Artichoke-Potato Medley

1 lb small red potatoes, quartered
2 10-oz boxes frozen artichoke hearts, thawed
1 1/2 Tbs olive oil
1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 Tbs chopped parsley
2 Tbs lemon juice
2 tsp grated lemon zest
3/4 tsp sweet or smoked paprika
3 hard-boiled eggs, chopped, optional

1) Bring potatoes to a boil in large pot of salted water. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer 5 minutes, or until potatoes are just tender. Drain.
2) Return potatoes to saucepan; heat over high heat with artichokes and oil. Cook 5 minutes, or until vegetables start to brown, stirring occasionally. Add olives, garlic, parsley, lemon juice, lemon zest and paprika. Season with salt and pepper, if desired. Cook 5 minutes more, or until fragrant and heated through. Serve garnished with chopped eggs, if using.

Review: Thank goodness for TJ Maxx. I tend to find my exotic ingredients there - smoked paprika, walnut oil, truffle oil, etc. The smoked paprika has a sweet smell and reminded me of chipotle chile powder, without the heat. This dish was just awesome. It didn't make much food, and we polished it off pretty quick. Mike said it tasted like capers were in it, though there wasn't. I just thought it was amazing and wanted to make it again. Oh, and I used baby red potatoes, just because they're cute. And I left out the lemon juice, which is a pact Mike and I made, because we complain each time we use "ew, it tastes too lemony." :)

*  Made this again 10/5/2010.  Mike decided he definitely didn't like this dish and doesn't ever want it again.  I doubled the recipe in order to have leftovers.  This was absolutely disgusting, reheated the next day.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Fettuccine With Red Pepper, Artichokes & Chickpeas

1/2 cup whole almonds
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1 14oz jar roasted red peppers, drained and rinsed (about 1 cup)
5 Tbs olive oil
1 Tbs red wine vinegar
1 Tbs lemon juice
1/4 tsp cayenne
1 lb fettuccine
1 15oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 9oz jar water-packed artichoke hearts, quartered
1/4 cup chopped parsley

1) Toast almonds in skillet over medium-high heat 3 minutes, or until lightly browned, stirring often. Toast sesame seeds 1 minute, or until golden. Cool.
2) Cut peppers into thin strips. Blend 1/2 cup pepper strips with almonds, oil, vinegar, lemon juice and cayenne in food processor. Add sesame seeds, and pulse to combine.
3) Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain, and reserve 1/2 cup cooking water. Transfer pasta to serving bowl. Add reserved cooking water, red pepper mixture, chickpeas, artichokes, parsley and remaining red pepper strips. Toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper, and serve.

Review: Wow. Mike has been on my case for awhile that I need to use the roasted red peppers in the fridge. So, I pick a recipe to make him happy. Except that when I opened the jar tonight, I found weird, white, jellied mold on my pepper. Oops. So, I improvised by throwing a can of artichoke hearts in the food processor to make the "sauce" and tossed another can in at the end. It lacked a little something, so Mike added an Italian cheese mix (the leftovers from making pesto tonight). That seemed to make it all better. So much for those peppers!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Cavatappi & Chard

1/4 cup pine nuts
2 Tbs olive oil
3 large shallots, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbs apple cider vinegar
1 tsp ground cumin
1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
6 cups Swiss chard stem, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup golden raisins
16 oz cavatappi pasta
6 Tbs grated Romano cheese, optional
Fresh thyme sprigs for garnish, optional

1) Toast pine nuts in dry skillet over medium heat 5 minutes, or until browned and fragrant, shaking often. Transfer to bowl.
2) Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add shallots, and cook 5 minutes, or until golden brown, stirring occasionally. Add garlic, and cook 1 minute more. Remove from heat, and stir in vinegar and cumin. Let vinegar evaporate 20 seconds, then return skillet to medium-high heat. Add broth and 1/3 cup water, and bring to a simmer. Stir in chard stems, cover and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer 12 minutes, or until chard stems are tender. Stir in heavy cream and golden raisins, and simmer 10 minutes, or until slightly thickened.
3) Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions. Drain, and stir into chard mixture. Transfer to serving bowl, and top with pine nuts. Sprinkle with cheese and thyme sprigs, if desired.

Review: I couldn't waste the best part of the Swiss chard - the leaves. I tossed them in after the stems had simmered for 10 minutes, since they cook so quickly. I also left out the raisins, because I don't like raisins. I also used only 1 shallot, because they're pretty potent and I can't imagine using 3 of them! This turned out really well and we both liked it.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Mujadara (Rice, Lentil & Carmelized Onion Pilaf)

1 1/2 cups basmati or long grain brown rice
1/2 tsp salt, divided
1 Tbs olive oil
1 large onion, thinly sliced
1 15oz can brown lentils, rinsed and drained, or 1 1/2 cups cooked brown lentils
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 Tbs chopped fresh thyme
2 tsp grated lemon zest
1 tsp ground cumin

1) Bring rice, 2 1/4 cups water and 1/4 tsp salt to a boil in large saucepan. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer 30 minutes, or until rice is tender, and all liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat, and let stand 5 minutes.
2) Meanwhile, heat oil in skillet over medium heat. Add onion and remaining 1/4 tsp salt. Reduce heat to medium-low, and cook 30 minutes, or until onion is soft and browned, stirring occasionally.
3) Transfer rice to large bowl, and fluff with fork. Stir in onion, lentils, parsley, thyme, lemon zest and cumin. Season with salt and pepper, if desired.

Review: Argh, I thought my onions were NEVER going to brown, and then suddenly they did and I burned them a little bit. Be really really careful right around the 25 minute mark. So once again I substituted bulgur for the rice. It always seems to work well and I get to drastically cut down our carb/GI index concerns. This is truly an amazing dish. I can't even explain the flavors, but they all blend so well into a great savory, awesome dish. Everyone should make this one.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Carpaccio Of Raw Zucchini

2 zucchini (about 1 1/2 lbs total), sliced into paper-thin rounds
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
extra virgin olive oil
1/2 lemon, juiced
1 leek, white and light green parts only, sliced paper-thin into rings and thoroughly cleaned
1/4 cup chopped fresh herbs, such as chervil, dill, chives and chive blossoms
1 cup ricotta cheese
fresh mint leaves, for garnish, optional

1) Shingle the zucchini slices in a single overlapping layer on a platter. Dust with salt and pepper, then drizzle with a 3-count of olive oil and the lemon juice.
2) Put that into the refrigerator for about 10 minutes to give the flavors a chance to get into the zucchini. Now scatter the leeks over. Sprinkle with the herbs. Garnish with the ricotta cheese and mint leaves, if using; serve.

Review: I served this with huge dollops of ricotta cheese, like twice as much as the recipe called for! The herbs I used were dried chives and dill. This was pretty yummy, but unfortunately I think my mouth will smell like leeks for the next week. Not a good meal to take for lunch at work!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Cauliflower Grain Salad

1 cup bulgur
2 cups water
1 bag frozen chopped cauliflower
1/3 cup hazelnuts, chopped roughly
2 Tbs olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp chopped tarragon
1 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard

1) Cook bulgur and water over medium-high heat for 10 minutes. Mix in frozen cauliflower and cook until water is absorbed fully and cauliflower is no longer frozen.
2) In a bowl, whisk together the remaining ingredients. Mix this dressing in with the bulgur and cauliflower. Serve warm and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Review: I got the recipe from a newspaper article that was sent to me by my in-laws, which had 101 salad ideas. There were no real hard and fast amounts for the ingredients, so I guessed and I think my cooking experiments have finally taught me to figure some of this out on my own!! This turned out pretty well (once we added salt, prior it seemed to be missing something) and had a nice tangy taste.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Double Broccoli Quinoa

3 cups cooked quinoa*
5 cups raw broccoli, cut into small florets and stems
3 cloves garlic
2/3 cup sliced or slivered almonds, toasted
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan
2 big pinches salt
2 Tbs lemon juice
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup heavy cream
optional toppings: slivered basil, sliced avocado, crumbled feta or goat cheese

1) Heat the quinoa and set aside.
2) Now barely cook the broccoli by pouring 3/4 cup water into a large pot and bringing it to a simmer. Add a big pinch of salt and stir in the broccoli. Cover and cook for a minute, just long enough to take the raw edge off. Transfer the broccoli to a strainer and run under cold water until it stops cooking. Set aside.
3) To make the broccoli pesto puree two cups of the cooked broccoli, the garlic, 1/2 cup of the almonds, Parmesan, salt and lemon juice in a food processor. Drizzle in the olive oil and cream and pulse until smooth.
4) Just before serving, toss the quinoa and remaining broccoli florets with about 1/2 of the broccoli pesto. Taste and adjust if needed, you might want to add more of the pesto a bit at a time, or you might want a bit more salt. Turn out onto a serving platter and top with the remaining almonds and any of the optional toppings.

*To cook quinoa: rinse one cup of quinoa in a fine-meshed strainer. In a medium saucepan, heat the quinoa, two cups of water (or broth if you like), and a few big pinches of salt until boiling. Reduce heat and simmer until water is absorbed and quinoa fluffs up, about 15 minutes. Quinoa is done when you can see the curlique in each grain, and it is tender with a bit of pop to each bite. Drain any extra water and set aside.

Review: I think quinoa is a bit weird, so I substituted with bulgur. I really liked this dish, except there was too much garlic in the dish. My tongue burned there was so much. Which is odd, because 3 cloves really isn't much. I suggest using only 2 cloves. I also used frozen broccoli, which cut down on some of the prep work.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Baby Bok Choy, Sugar Snap Peas & Garlic

32 sugar snap peas
12 baby white onions, peeled and halved
2 baby bok choy, quartered
1 clove of garlic, very thinly sliced
4 tsp olive oil
4 sprigs mint
2 tsp grated orange zest
salt and pepper, to taste

1) Preheat the oven to 400F. Cut four 12-inch-long pieces of nonstick foil.
2) Mix all the ingredients together and spoon equal amounts onto the center of each piece of foil. Draw up the sides of the foil and seal the packets well; leave room around the ingredients, so they can steam. Put packets on a baking sheet.
3) Bake 15 minutes, or until the bok choy is tender. (Open a packet to test.) Serve immediately.

Review: I used frozen pearl onions and regular bok choy. I overestimated this dish, as I realized after making it that it's nothing more than a side dish. It wasn't really filling enough for dinner and didn't make much food. So, make sure this is made with something else! However, the taste was great and the flavor combination was good.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Green Bean & White Bean Casserole (crockpot recipe)

1 Tbs olive oil
1 small yellow onion, chopped
1 cup chopped white mushrooms
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 15.5oz can white beans
1 cup water
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 lbs green beans, ends trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted

1) Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat, add the onion, cover, and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Place the onion mixture in a blender. To the same skillet, add the mushrooms and garlic, and stir until softened over medium-high heat, about 3 minutes. Set aside.
2) Add the white beans and water to the blender with the onion mixture, season with salt and pepper, and process until smooth.
3) Place the green beans and sauteed mushrooms in a 3 1/2 to 4 qt slow cooker and pour the white bean sauce over them. Cover and cook on Low for 4 to 6 hours, until the green beans are tender.
4) When you're ready to serve, sprinkle the beans with the almonds.

Review: This was somewhat mushy, due to the white bean puree. I think the idea behind the dish is a healthier 'green bean casserole.' I think it accomplished the goal, but it won't be a substitute on the holidays!!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Red Quinoa With Beets, Avocado & Pistachios

16 baby red beets, trimmed
2 Tbs sherry vinegar, divided
1 cup red quinoa
4 Tbs olive oil, divided
1 medium avocado
2 tsp chopped tarragon
2 tsp minced shallot
2 Tbs lime juice
1 Tbs lime zest
1 cup wild arugula leaves
2 Tbs chopped pistachio nuts
grapefruit slices for garnish, optional

1) Preheat oven to 350F. Place beets, 1 Tbs sherry vinegar and 1 cup water in large baking dish. Season with salt, if desired, and bake 1 hour, or until beets are tender. Cool, then peel and quarter.
2) Bring quinoa and 2 1/2 cups water to a boil in medium saucepan. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook 20 minutes, or until quinoa is tender and water is absorbed. Drain and cool. Toss with 1 1/2 Tbs oil.
3) Mash avocado with tarragon, shallot, 1 Tbs oil, lime juice and lime zest. Season with salt and pepper, if desired.
4) Toss beets in remaining 1 1/2 Tbs oil and remaining 1 Tbs vinegar. Season with salt and pepper, if desired.
5) Divide arugula, beets, quinoa and avocado mixture among serving plates. Sprinkle with pistachios, and garnish with grapefruit, if using.

Review: This required lots of tweaking. There is no red quinoa in Pocatello. Beets are only available in bunches of four, with greens attached for $1.99 a bunch. Therefore, we used canned (not pickled) beets, which shaved some cooking time. Sherry vinegar doesn't exist in these parts, either, so I used sherry. I ended up sauteeing the beets in the sherry, just to warm them up and add some flavor. I mixed the avocado mix with the quinoa (once it was done cooking). I then layered the dish, topping with pistachios that I was too lazy to chop. Sadly, this dish didn't win us over. It was edible, but not anything I'd want to make again. I have a feeling it would have a different taste if we'd used baby beets, but I doubt anyone can obtain those without growing them at home. Eh, at least I got to use my onion goggles again. :)

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Cuban Spicy Bean Salad With Oranges & Cilantro

2 medium oranges, peeled and sliced
3 medium carrots, shredded
2/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 cup balsamic or red wine vinegar
2 Tbs sugar
2 tsp chopped fresh or canned jalapeno chilies
2 cans (15 oz) black beans, rinsed and drained
4 cups bite-size pieces curly endive or lettuce

1) Mix all ingredients except endive in glass or plastic bowl. Cover and let stand 30 minutes.
2) Divide endive among 4 salad plates. Top with bean mixture.

Review: This was such a pain to make! I've never sliced orange slices before. Wow, what a mess. I also choked after inhaling jalapeno fumes. I have no idea how that happens, but I could barely breathe. Luckily, this was actually a really yummy salad. We used a mix of salad greens and arugula, since endive is hard to come by here. Arugula, because I needed 1 cup for a recipe later this week, but can only buy it in 4 cup packages.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Sauteed Summer Squash

2 Tbs olive oil
5 oz garlic seasoned croutons
2 zucchini, stemmed
2 yellow crookneck squash, stemmed
1 Tbs minced garlic
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 1/2 cups corn kernels
1/2 cup white wine
2 bunches scallions
1 Tbs fresh thyme
8 oz feta cheese, cubed

1) Heat 1 Tbs oil in large skillet over medium heat. When hot, add croutons, and saute 45 seconds to 1 minute, or just until crisped and hot. Remove from skillet, and set aside.
2) Cut zucchini and squash into quarters lengthwise, and cut into 1/2-inch-wide pieces. Heat remaining oil in skillet over medium heat. When hot, add zucchini and squash, and saute about 5 minutes, or until vegetables begin to brown. Add garlic, salt, pepper and corn kernels, and stir about 1 minute.
3) Increase heat to medium-high, and add wine and scallions. Saute about 5 minutes more, or until wine nearly evaporates. Return croutons to skillet, and sprinkle with thyme. Stir, and cook about 1 minute more. Remove from heat.
4) To serve, place vegetables and croutons in large serving bowl, top with cheese and toss until well mixed.

Review: I left out the croutons, since they're taboo in a low-carb diet. The dish didn't need them, anyway. I really liked this and it was fairly quick to make. I also got to use my new onion goggles. I was quite happy to see that they worked!!!!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Sweet Pea & Artichoke Lasagna

2 (8 oz) packages frozen artichoke hearts, thawed, coarsely chopped
1 1/2 cups whipping cream, divided
1/4 cup (packed) chopped fresh basil leaves
2 (15 oz) containers ricotta cheese
1 (1 lb) bag frozen petite peas, thawed
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 large eggs
1 tsp salt
12 n0-boil lasagna noodles
4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

1) Preheat oven to 400F. Brush 13x9x2 inch glass baking dish with oil. Mix artichokes, 1/2 cup sour cream and basil in medium bowl. Puree remaining 1 cup cream, ricotta and next 4 ingredients in food processor. Spread 1 cup ricotta mixture over bottom of prepared baking dish. Arrange 4 noodles in single layer over ricotta, breaking noodles as needed to cover. Spread half of artichoke mixture over the noodles. Spread 2 1/2 cups ricotta mixture over artichokes. Sprinkle 1 cup mozzarella cheese over the ricotta mixture. Repeat with 4 noodles, artichoke mixture, 2 1/2 cups ricotta mixture and 1 cup mozzarella.
2) Top with 4 noodles. Spread remaining ricotta mixture over, then sprinkle remaining 2 cups mozzarella over. Tent with foil, sealing edges.
3) Bake lasagna 30 minutes. Remove foil; continue baking until bubbling at edges and brown on top, about 25 minutes. Let stand 15 minutes before serving.

Review: If I haven't mentioned it before, I'm not a patient cook. Therefore, I did not defrost the peas and succeeded in making ice cream in my food processor. It was a frozen mess. However, I still used it and everything came out fine. I just had to endure a fair amount of ribbing from Mike. This lasagna looked pretty gross, with the chopped up peas. But, it was incredibly rich and yummy. Emphasis on rich. I barely finished my serving! And, it overfilled my casserole dish, dripping and burning in the oven. It reminded me once again that I need a large lasagna pan, but I just haven't found one that I like yet! ~ Oh, and the fresh basil? Totally from my garden. :)

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Vegetable Paella With Tofu

2 Tbs olive oil
2 7-oz pkgs spicy marinated tofu, finely diced
8 oz cremini mushrooms, sliced
2 large carrots, diced
1 cup frozen corn kernels, thawed
1 14-oz can chopped tomatoes, drained
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup short-grain brown rice
1/8 tsp saffron, crumbled
1 cup frozen peas, thawed
1/4 cup lemon juice
3 green onions, thinly sliced, for garnish

1) Heat oil in wok over medium-high heat. Add tofu when ripples appear in oil, and season with salt. Saute 10 minutes, or until tofu is browned, stirring occasionally. Add mushrooms, and saute 4 to 5 minutes, or until mushrooms release liquid and begin to brown.
2) Stir in carrots, corn, tomatoes and garlic, and saute 2 minutes more. Stir in rice, 2 1/4 cups water and saffron. Bring paella to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover with wok lid, and simmer 40 minutes, or until all liquid is absorbed. Add peas on surface (do not stir yet), cover, and allow peas to steam 1 to 2 minutes. Remove wok from heat, and stir in lemon juice and green onions. Season with salt and pepper.

Review: There aren't many tofu options in Pocatello. I decided to use baked tofu, in savory flavor. It didn't require as much cooking, since it's already cooked. I also used bulgur instead of rice, which cooks for a 1/4 of the time! We liked this, except it seemed to have too much lemon flavor. I noticed we say this every time something requires more than a tsp of lemon juice! I think I'll just start nixing that ingredient. :)

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Pasta & Veggie Salad

1 lb dried pasta (farfalle, rotini, twists or shells)
1/4 cup olive oil, plus 1 Tbs with minced garlic
1 carrot, halved lengthwise and sliced thin crosswise
1 cup frozen corn, defrosted
1 green, red or yellow bell pepper, diced
1/3 to 1/2 cup minced onion
1 tomato, chopped
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 Tbs fresh snipped chives
1 tsp salt
freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 to 1 1/2 Tbs balsamic vinegar
1 to 1 1/2 Tbs water
1 large clove garlic, minced
2 tsp dried basil leaves, crumbled, or 2 to 3 Tbs chopped fresh basil

1) Cook pasta al dente according to package directions. Drain and toss with 1 Tbs oil mixed with garlic.
2) In bowl, combine carrot, corn, pepper, onion, tomato, chickpeas and chives. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and toss well. Add pasta and toss to combine.
3) To make vinaigrette, mix remaining oil, vinegar, water, garlic and basil in bowl. Season with salt and pepper, and blend well. Drizzle vinaigrette over salad and toss well. Let stand for 30 minutes before serving.

Review: This was super yummy. As I ate it, I couldn't help but think, this could use more balsamic vinegar. I'd recommend adding a bit more, or having some available on the side to add to taste.