Thursday, October 29, 2009

Szechuan Black-Eyed Pea Salad

2 14 oz cans black-eyed peas, rinsed and drained
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 jalapeno chile, seeded and finely minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 avocado, cubed
2 Tbs lemon juice
1/4 cup olive oil
3 Tbs red wine vinegar
1 Tbs Szechuan sauce
2 tsp sugar

1) Toss together black-eyed peas, bell pepper, jalapeno and garlic in large bowl. Toss avocado with lemon juice in separate bowl. Add avocado to black-eyed pea mixture.
2) Whisk together oil, vinegar, Szechuan sauce and sugar in bowl used for avocado. Add to black-eyed pea mixture and toss to mix.

Review: I could have sworn I had two lentil salad recipes for the week and thus opened two cans of lentils. Then, Mike corrected me. Oops. So, what do you do with two opened cans of lentils? You add it to the recipe! I just doubled the dressing ingredients. It turned out wonderfully and was incredibly yummy. I'll just have to be more alert in the future.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Provencal Lentil Salad

1/2 cup lentils, picked over, rinsed and drained
1 clove garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
1 red bell pepper, seeded and finely diced
2 Tbs chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 tsp olive oil
2 tsp white wine vinegar
1 tsp chopped fresh sage

1) Bring large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add lentils, garlic and bay leaf. Cook until lentils are just tender, 20 to 30 minutes. Drain. Discard bay leaf.
2) Transfer lentils to medium bowl and toss with bell pepper, parsley, oil, vinegar, sage, 1/4 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper. Cool to room temperature before serving.

Review: I made this last night, using a can of lentils. It saved some cooking time and I got to eat this cold for lunch. It made just under 2 cups of salad, but was a tasty lunch. I'd recommend doubling the recipe. And canned lentils are really a great time saver. I couldn't find them at the store, so I bought a case from Thank goodness for our pantry!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Butternut Squash & Sage Risotto

7 cups vegetable broth
1/2 lb butternut squash, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 Tbs, plus 1 tsp olive oil
1/4 cup minced shallots
1 3/4 cups arborio rice
1 tsp salt
1 cup dry white wine
3 cups chopped Swiss chard leaves
3/4 cup chopped canned plum tomatoes
2 Tbs chopped fresh sage
2 Tbs chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/4 cup grated Parmesan or Romano cheese

1) In large saucepan, bring broth to a boil. Drop squash into boiling broth, reduce heat and simmer until squash in tender, but still firm, about 3 minutes. Remove squash with slotted spoon and set aside. Reduce heat and let broth simmer.
2) In large, deep skillet, combine oil and shallots. Place over medium heat and stir to cook without browning, about 2 minutes. Add rice and salt. Stir until rice is coated with oil. Add wine and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring, until rice absorbs wine.
3) Ladle 1/2 cup of simmering broth into skillet and stir until absorbed. Continue with remaining broth, adding 1/2 cup of simmering broth into skillet and stir until absorbed by rice before adding more liquid, about 25 minutes total.
4) Add chard and stir until wilted. Stir in squash, tomatoes, sage and parsley. Add salt and pepper to taste. Stir in cheese and serve hot.

Review: I used 1 1/2 cups of bulgur and 3 cups of vegetable broth, cooking it as normal. I followed the rest of the instructions as it directs to do. It came out wonderfully. It had a great flavor and made plenty of food. It also had a great "hearty" taste. Perfect for a cold October night.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Garlicky White Beans, Sage & Orecchiette

3 cups orecchiette
6 medium size fresh sage leaves or 1 tsp dried
2 cloves garlic
1/2 cup (packed) fresh parsley leaves
2 cups cooked white beans, or 19oz can drained white beans
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup small dice of mixed yellow, green and red bell pepper, for garnish
Grated asiago cheese

1) Bring large pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook until it is tender.
2) Cut fresh sage leaves into fine shreds; peel and mince garlic, chop parsley. Rinse and drain canned white beans.
3) Heat olive oil in a medium size saucepan. Add garlic and sage and cook for 10 seconds. Add wine and cook until evaporated, about a minute. Add beans, cover and simmer until heated through: 2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in parsley, season to taste with salt and pepper. Keep warm, covered, off heat, until pasta is done.
4) Drain pasta and return it to the pot, off heat. Stir in bean mixture, toss well and serve immediately garnished with raw peppers. Pass cheese separately.

Review: This was super yummy. We used penne pasta and should have used two cans of beans. We could only find 14oz cans and it just wasn't quite enough. I also believe sage may be my new favorite spice. When I bought the package of fresh sage for a recipe last week, I didn't realize how much is in that little container. I didn't want to waste it and it was keeping well, so I filled this week full of sage recipes. It truly has such a different taste when fresh. Yum.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Peppered Pumpkin & Potato Ragout

1 Tbs olive oil
1 Tbs dried minced onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups cubed fresh pumpkin
1 cup cubed potato, unpeeled
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp ground white pepper
3 cups vegetable stock
1 cup peas, fresh or frozen, thawed

1) In large pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and garlic, cooking for 1 minute.
2) Add pumpkin, potato, salt, black pepper, red pepper flakes and white pepper, and toss to coat with oil. Stir in stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook until pumpkin and potato are tender, about 20 minutes. Add peas and cook just until peas are tender, about 5 minutes. Serve hot.

Review: I didn't read the instructions well. This was billed as a stew, and I have a dislike for stew/soup/chili. So, I only used 2 cups broth and served this over a bed of baby spinach. I also didn't have enough pumpkin (using just what I carved out of my jack o' lantern), so I substituted with some butternut squash. It turned out great and I really liked it. Mmmm

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Pasta With Walnut Pesto

1 box pasta
1 1/2 cups walnuts
2 cups packed parsley
6 small sage leaves
2 garlic cloves
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
3/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
2 yellow squash, halved and sliced
1 zucchini, halved and sliced

1) In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook 1 box of pasta. Drain and set aside.
2) Meanwhile, saute zucchini and squash in oil or butter, until tender. Set aside.
3) To make pesto, puree walnuts, parsley, sage, garlic, salt, pepper, olive oil and Parmesan in a food processor until smooth.
4) Toss pasta, squash, zucchini and pesto in a large bowl. Top with additional Parmesan and parsley, if desired.

Review: The original recipe didn't include the veggies. It just didn't sound like enough food to me, so I added some. This was OK, but didn't wow me. Mike's decided he doesn't like any pesto that's made with a green other than basil. Bummer.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Roasted Vegetables With Quick Harissa Marinade

1/4 cup harissa
5 Tbs olive oil, divided
3 Tbs chopped cilantro
1 red bell pepper, chopped
3 zucchini squash, quartered and chopped
1 yellow squash, quartered and chopped
1 bunch asparagus, trimmed

1) Preheat oven to 400F. Whisk together harissa, 3 Tbs oil and cilantro in large bowl. Add vegetables; toss to coat evenly.
2) Arrange vegetables on baking sheet, brush with remaining 2 Tbs oil and harissa mixture. Roast 25 minutes, or until vegetables are tender, turning once. Serve over couscous, rice or bulgur.

Review: This was amazing good. Once again, I made the harissa using garlic-chile sauce and adding coriander and cumin. I loved this so much, that I couldn't wait to have it again for lunch the next day!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Creamy Penne

1 box penne
1 cup frozen peas
1 bunch asparagus, chopped
1 cup onion & chive cream cheese
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1) Cook pasta in salted water for 10 minutes. Add peas and asparagus, and cook for 5 minutes longer or until vegetables are tender. Drain in colander.
2) Heat cream cheese and milk over medium low heat, just until bubbly. Add to pasta mixture in large bowl and toss to coat. Toss with Parmesan cheese and plenty of black pepper.

Review: I didn't read the directions very well and added the Parmesan to the sauce. It worked just fine, just made the sauce a bit thicker. Surprisingly, this sauce didn't have a strong flavor. I'd suggest maybe tossing in some parsley.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Wild Rice & Butternut Squash Medley

2 Tbs olive oil
2 Tbs dried minced onion
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 16-oz pkg cooked wild rice, or 3 cups cooked wild rice
1 lb butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cubed
1 15-oz can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 Tbs Dijon mustard
1 Tbs dried oregano
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper

1) Heat oil in large pot over medium heat. Add onion, and sauté 5 to 7 minutes, or until translucent. Stir in garlic, and cook 1 minute more, or until fragrant.
2) Stir in wild rice, squash, beans, mustard, oregano, cumin, salt, pepper and 11/2 cups water. Cover, and bring to a boil.
3) Reduce heat to medium low, and simmer 15 minutes, or until all liquid is absorbed. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Review: Whoo - wild rice is pricey. I couldn't find precooked wild rice (silly Idaho), so I bought wild rice from the bulk food section ($10.99 a pound) and cooked it. Fortunately, this dish was yummy and made up for the cost. Oh, and I doubled the amount of squash, because it's yummy and Costco only sells 2 lbs at a time. Shucks.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Butternut Squash & Mushroom Lasagna

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
2 1/2 cups chopped onions
1/2 pound cremini (baby bella) mushrooms, sliced (about 3 cups)
2 pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices (about 5 1/2 cups)
1 14-ounce can vegetable broth
4 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme, divided
4 tablespoons sliced fresh sage, divided
3 15-ounce containers whole-milk ricotta cheese
4 cups grated mozzarella cheese, divided
2 cups grated Parmesan cheese, divided
4 large eggs
Olive oil
1 9-ounce package no-boil lasagna noodles

1) Melt butter in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions; sauté until soft, about 8 minutes. Increase heat to high; add mushrooms and cook until tender, stirring constantly, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer mushroom mixture to bowl; set aside.
2) Add squash, broth, 3 tablespoons thyme, and 3 tablespoons sage to same skillet. Cover and simmer over medium heat until squash is just tender, about 6 minutes. Uncover and cook until squash is very soft but still retains shape, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
3) Mix ricotta, 2 cups mozzarella cheese, 1 1/2 cups Parmesan cheese, and remaining 1 tablespoon thyme and 1 tablespoon sage in large bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper; mix in eggs.
4) Brush 13x9x2-inch glass or ceramic baking dish with oil. Spread 1 cup ricotta mixture over bottom. Arrange 3 noodles on top. Spread 13/4 cups ricotta mixture over noodles. Arrange 1 1/3 cups squash mixture over. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup mushrooms and 1 cup mozzarella. Top with 3 noodles, then 1 3/4 cups ricotta mixture, half of remaining squash, 1/2 cup mushrooms, and remaining 1 cup mozzarella. Repeat with noodles, 1 3/4 cups ricotta mixture, remaining squash, and remaining mushrooms. Top with 3 noodles. Spread remaining ricotta mixture over; sprinkle with remaining Parmesan. Cover with oiled foil.
5) Preheat oven to 350°F. Bake lasagna, covered, 35 minutes. Uncover; bake until heated through, about 25 minutes longer. Let stand 10 minutes before serving. (The lasagna can be assembled one day ahead and refrigerated.)

Review: I am in love with Costco's prediced butternut squash. It made this so easy. Mike and I also got a "lasagna pan," which is deeper and wider than our casserole dishes. We seem to have gotten it just in time, as this FILLED it. I swear it weighed 10 lbs. But, this was really yummy and incredibly cheesy. Mmmmm

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Mike's Taco Salad

1 Tbs dried minced onion
1 tsp ground chipotle
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp garlic salt
1 tsp ground cumin
2 cans lentils
20 oz baby spinach
2 tomatoes, diced
2 avocados, diced
2 cups shredded cheddar
salsa to taste

1) Mash lentils in a bowl, adding the minced onions, chipotle, paprika, garlic salt and cumin, mixing well. Cook over medium-high heat until thoroughly heated, about 5 minutes.
2) Layer salad ingredients as you please - spinach on bottom and salsa on top.

Review: Mike got to be named for this, as he designed the "taco seasoning." I wanted tacos/taco salad for dinner (Mike ate his in a wrap), and had recently seen a recipe using lentils for the meat. However, the recipe called for taco seasoning and we didn't buy any. I don't like traditional taco seasoning anyway, because it's typically really salty. Mike custom designed a taco seasoning for me and it turned out so well that it deserved a blog entry. :) Mmmm

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Spaghetti With Sweet Potatoes & Ricotta

12 oz spaghetti
2 Tbs olive oil
2 small sweet potatoes (about 1 lb), cut into 1/2-inch pieces
kosher salt and black pepper
2 shallots, sliced
1 Tbs chopped fresh rosemary
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
1/3 cup ricotta

1) Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Reserve 1/2 cup of the cooking water. Drain the pasta and return it to the pot.
2) Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the potatoes, 3/4 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper and cook, covered, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes. Add the shallots and rosemary and cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes are tender, 3 to 5 minutes.
3) Toss the pasta with the potato mixture, Parmesan and the reserved cooking water. Dollop with the ricotta before serving.

Review: Oh - yum. This could have been too sweet, with the sweet potatoes and shallots, but the cheeses balance the sweet really well. Of course, I added extra ricotta, so I'm not wasting the rest of the package. I really recommend this one, though, it was really yummy.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Arugula Pesto Wheat Berries

3 cups cooked wheat berries*
3 medium garlic cloves
2/3 cup pine nuts (or sliced almonds), toasted (divided)
3 cups loosely packed arugula leaves
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
2 big pinches salt
1 Tbs fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup olive oil
1/3 cup black Kalamata olives, chopped
4-6 oz seitan, (optional), chopped and pan-fried into crispy bits in a bit of oil
a bit of shaved Parmesan as garnish

1) Place the wheat berries in a large mixing bowl and set them aside so they can come up to room temperature if you've had them in the refrigerator.
2) In the meantime, make the arugula pesto by combining the garlic, 1/2 cup of the pine nuts, most of the arugula, Parmesan, salt and lemon juice in a food processor. Pulse a few times, and then begin to drizzle the olive oil into the mixture while continuing to pulse until the pesto is smooth. Taste, and adjust if needed with more salt or lemon juice.
3) Pour about half of the pesto over the wheat berries, add the seitan if you are using it, the reserved arugula, and about 1/4-1/2 cup of hot water (or reserved water from cooking the wheat berries). Toss until everything is well-coated. Add more pesto a bit at a time until the wheat berries are dressed to your liking.
4) Arrange on a platter and top with the olives, remaining pine nuts and a bit of shaved Parmesan.

* To cook wheat berries: Combine 2 cups wheat berries, 6 cups water and 2 tsp salt in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer, covered, until plump and chewy (and a few of the berries split open), about an hour or so. The berries will stay al dente, and the only way to be sure they're done is to taste a few. Drain and set aside.

Review: This had an interesting taste. I can't quite say if I liked it. I do believe it would have been better with some veggies added, instead of just wheat berries and pesto.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Veggie-Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms

1 small yellow sweet pepper, cut into bite-sized strips
1 small red onion, chopped
1 medium zucchini, coarsely shredded
1 carrot, coarsely shredded
1 stalk celery, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 to 3 Tbs olive oil
1 Tbs snipped fresh basil
1 Tbs lemon juice
1 5oz pkg fresh baby spinach
1/2 cup fine dry bread crumbs
1/2 cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese
4 4-5 inch portobello mushroom caps, stems removed
4 slices provolone cheese

1) Preheat oven to 425F. Line 15x10x1 inch baking pan with foil. In 12-inch skillet, cook and stir sweet pepper, onion, zucchini, carrot, celery and garlic in hot oil over medium-high heat 4 minutes. Stir in basil, lemon juice and 1/4 tsp each salt and ground black pepper. Top with spinach; cover. Cook for 2 minutes or until spinach is wilted. Remove from heat. Stir crumbs and half of the Parmesan cheese into spinach mixture; set aside.
2) Remove gills from mushrooms, if desired. Arrange mushrooms, stemmed side up, on prepared pan. Top each with slice of provolone cheese. Divide spinach mixture among mushroom caps. Bake 15 minutes (mushrooms will water out slightly). Top with remaining Parmesan. Bake 2 minutes more or until heated through.

Review: This recipe was provided by a co-worker of mine, who handed it to me saying "I don't know if you cook or not . . . " So, yes Earl, you could say I cook. ;) This was an awesome dish, though it takes twice as long to prepare as to cook. Mike took one look at the recipe and decided to tweak it - provolone cheese on bottom AND top. Therefore, I took a pic before putting the cheese on top (and prior to baking) and a post baking pic. Mmmm.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Autumn Vegetable Tagine

1 cup dried chickpeas, rinsed and drained
2 Tbs olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium butternut squash, peeled and cubed (3 1/2 cups)
1 lb collard greens, coarsely chopped (8 cups)
1 lb plum tomatoes, seeded and coarsely chopped (2 cups)
1 Tbs harissa, or sriracha sauce and 1/4 tsp of ground cumin and ground coriander
1 10-oz pkg whole-wheat couscous
2 Tbs chopped cilantro

1) Combine chickpeas and 4 cups water in pressure cooker; bring to a boil. Lock lid in place. Bring to high pressure over high heat. Reduce heat, and cook 2 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. Rinse and drain chickpeas. Set aside.
2) Heat oil in pressure cooker over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic; saute 3 minutes, or until onion is soft. Add chickpeas and 3 cups water. Lock lid in place. Bring to high pressure over high heat. Reduce heat, and cook 15 minutes. Release pressure using automatic pressure release, or transfer cooker to sink, and run cool water over rim of lid. Remove lid, tilting away from you to let steam escape.
3) Stir in squash and collard greens. Lock lid in place. Bring to high pressure over high heat. Reduce heat, and cook 5 minutes. Release pressure using automatic pressure release, or transfer cooker to sink, and run cool water over rim of lid. Remove lid, tilting away from you to let steam escape. Stir in tomatoes; cover, and let stand 5 minutes. Stir in harissa. Season with salt and pepper, if desired.
4) Meanwhile, prepare couscous according to package directions. Fluff with fork. Serve tagine over couscous. Sprinkle with cilantro.

Review: I still don't have a pressure cooker. So, I used a can of chickpeas and shaved quite a bit of time off the cooking process. I also learned that if you're using canned chickpeas, they should go in after the squash is mostly cooked, as they turned into mush by cooking for so long. It took about 15 minutes for the squash to become edible. I then added (because neither harissa, nor sriracha sauce exist in Pocatello) chili garlic sauce with cumin and coriander added, which is my understanding of what harissa is. And, chili garlic sauce is easily found in any Asian food aisle. It was super yummy and I want to use that particular ingredient more often. And, for any Costco members - the produce area now carries diced up butternut squash. I had unfortunately already bought a squash when I found that, and it takes a good 15 minutes to dice up a butternut squash. I also used bulgur instead of couscous. But, this is an awesome autumn dish and I ended up with 6 good sized servings. Wow.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Southwestern Salad

2 Tbs olive oil
juice of 1 lime
1/4 tsp salt
pinch of black pepper
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp chili powder
1 cup frozen corn kernels, thawed
15 1/2 oz can of small white beans, rinsed and drained
15 1/2 oz can of black beans, rinsed and drained
1 tomato, finely chopped
2 Tbs finely chopped red onion

1) In a large bowl, whisk together olive oil, lime juice, salt, pepper, cumin and chili powder. This is the salad dressing.
2) Add the rest of the ingredients to the dressing and toss.

Review: This was a fairly basic salad. The original recipe didn't call for black beans, but it made so little food that I decided to add to the dish. I also added a bit more cumin, because Mike and I believe that cumin is usually under utilized. Mmmm.