Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Green Beans With Sesame & Garlic

1 lb green beans, ends trimmed
1 Tbs peanut oil
3 large cloves garlic, each cut lengthwise into 4 slices
1 Tbs sesame seeds
1 tsp salt
1 tsp dark sesame oil
1 tsp tamari or soy sauce

1) Bring large pot of water to a boil.  Fill large bowl with ice water.  Boil beans for 4 minutes.  Using slotted spoon, immediately transfer beans to ice water.  Drain and dry beans.  This can be done up to 8 hours ahead; refrigerated beans until ready to use.
2) In wok or large, heavy skillet, heat peanut oil over high heat.  Add garlic and cook, stirring often, until golden, about 1 minute.  Transfer to small plate lined with paper towels to drain.  Set aside.
3) Add beans, sesame seeds and salt to wok.  Stir-fry, pressing beans against sides until charred in a few place, 2 to 3 minutes.  Transfer beans to serving bowl.
4) Add sesame oil, tamari or soy sauce and reserved garlic to pan.  Stir-fry until heated through, then add to beans and toss to combine.  Season to taste with freshly ground black pepper.  Serve hot or at room temperature.

Review:  I served this over some cooked bulgur, to make it a meal.  I used frozen greens beans and basically skipped step one.  Therefore, I couldn't get my beans to char.  No biggie, the beans were still pretty yummy.  I can imagine this would be really awesome with haricots verts instead.  

Monday, December 28, 2009

Parmesan Pasta With Asparagus & White Beans

1 box pasta, any shape
2 Tbs olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 bunches asparagus, trimmed and cut into bite-sized pieces
1 can white beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan

1) Prepare pasta according to package directions.  Drain and set aside.
2) Meanwhile, saute the garlic and asparagus in the olive oil for four minutes.  Add the white beans and cook for another four minutes.
3) Toss cooked pasta with asparagus mixture and Parmesan cheese.

Review:  This recipe was pretty basic, but yummy.  I'm becoming a big fan of pasta and beans.  It's a lot of starch, but is very hearty.  Mike made this and after tossing the spaghetti in the pot, wished he'd make penne.  I bet penne would have been great, but spaghetti was yummy, too.  :) 

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Quesadilla Casserole

3 Tbs vegetable oil
3/4 cup chopped onion
1 (29-oz) can black beans, drained, 1/2 cup liquid reserved
1 1/2 cups frozen corn kernels, thawed
1/2 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
5 (10-inch) flour tortillas
8 oz monterey jack cheese, shredded
1 cup store-bought green enchilada sauce

1) Preheat the oven to 400F. In a skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes. Add 1 1/2 cups black beans and mash into a chunky paste. Stir in the reserved liquid.
2) Grease a heavy, ovenproof skillet. In a bowl, combine the corn, parsley and remaining black beans. Place a tortilla in the skillet and spread with 1/3 cup mashed black bean mixture. Top with 2/3 cup corn-bean mixture and 1/2 cup cheese. Press to compress the layers. Repeat with the remaining tortillas, mashed black beans, corn-bean mixture and cheese.
3) Bake until the cheese is melted and the casserole is heated through, about 30 minutes. Transfer to the broiler and cook for 1 minute. Serve with the enchilada sauce.

Review:  This was supposedly a $10 meal.  I didn't add up the costs, but I figure it's close.  This was pretty yummy, but then again, I love enchilada sauce.  I made this dish in a springform pan, as I don't have an ovenproof skillet and I thought it was too tall for a pie plate.  Then, I had the dilemma of how to slice and serve it!  It sliced well with a spatula, but fell apart in the bowl.  Then, I poured enchilada sauce over it and it looked like soup.  Presentation failed, but taste was great.  Yum.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Indian Samosa Casserole

1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
1/4 tsp salt
2 Tbs vegetable oil

1 Tbs black or yellow mustard seeds
1 tsp curry powder
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/8 tsp red pepper flakes, optional
5 medium potatoes, peeled and quartered (1 1/4 lb)
1 1/2 tsp vegetable oil
1 medium onion, diced (1 cup)
1 medium carrot, diced (1/2 cup)
3 cloves garlic, minced (1 Tbs)
1 cup frozen peas
1 cup vegetable broth
2 tsp agave nectar or sugar
2 Tbs soymilk

1) To make crust:  Preheat oven to 375F.  Whisk together flours and salt in bowl.  Stir in oil until clumps form.  Add 6 to 10 Tbs cold water, 1 Tbs at a time, until dough holds together.  Shape into ball, cover with damp towel, and set aside.
2) To make filling:  Stir together mustard seeds, curry, ginger, cumin and red pepper flakes, if using, in bowl; set aside.
3) Cook potatoes in boiling salted water 15 minutes, or until tender.  Drain, return to pot, and mash, leaving small chunks.
4) Heat oil in skillet over medium heat.  Add onion, carrot and garlic, and saute 5 minutes, or until carrot is tender.  Move onion mixture to side of pan, and add mustard seed mixture in center.  Toast 30 seconds.  Stir in peas and broth.  Fold onion mixture into potato mixture; stir in agave nectar.  Season with salt and pepper, if desired.  Spread filling in 9-inch pie pan.  Set aside.
5) Roll out crust dough to 11-inch circle on floured work surface.  Cover filling with dough, pressing down to make sure no air pockets remain.  Trim away excess dough, and crimp edges with fingers.  Cut X in center to vent steam; brush with soymilk just before baking.  Place pie on baking sheet, and bake 40 to 50 minutes, or until crust is golden.  Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Review:  Mike loves ordering samosas when we go to the Indian restaurant.  When I found this recipe, I knew I had to make it for him.  This wasn't as complicated as it initially seemed.  When done, the crust lifted right off the filling, so I cut the crust, took off a slice, then scooped out filling to go with the crust piece.  That seemed to work, though the presentation was ugly.  After it had been sitting quite a while longer, it was able to be sliced and served like a pie.  We liked the flavor, though Mike believed the spices should be doubled to taste more like a samosa.  I thought the spices were fine.  We omitted the red pepper flakes, as it didn't sound like something that belonged in the recipe, especially at such a small amount!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas Pizza

1 cup warm water, about 110 degrees F
1 packet dry yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 1/4 cups flour (may use a little more or less)
1/2 teaspoon salt

1) To the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook, add the warm water and yeast and sugar and stir to dissolve the yeast.
2) Add the olive oil, flour, and salt. Mix with the dough hook until the dough comes together and climbs up the dough hook.
3) Remove the dough from the mixer and, on a floured surface, form into a smooth ball shape.
4) Place the dough into a greased bowl and cover with a clean towel. Place in a warm, draft free place for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until the dough doubles in size.
5) Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and roll to desired size.
6) Add toppings and cook until visibly done.  

Remove:  Every recipe I found for pizza dough used a stand mixer.  Why?  I did all this with a spoon and it worked just fine.  We initially wanted to use an Alton Brown recipe, but this morning I saw the recipe called for the dough to be refrigerated for 18 to 24 hours before baking.  Oops.  So, I went back to the internet search and Emeril got to be the dough winner.  The first pizza was sauce, spinach, tomatoes and goat cheese.  The second was mozzarella, tomatoes, spinach and black olives.  The dough recipe made almost two, thin crust pizzas.  Yum.

Turtle Pumpkin Pie

1/4 cup, plus 2 Tbs, caramel ice cream topping, divided
1 graham pie crust (6 oz)
1/2 cup, plus 2 Tbs, chopped pecans, divided
2 pkg (3.4 oz each) vanilla flavor instant pudding
1 cup cold milk
1 cup canned pumpkin
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tub (8 oz) cool whip, thawed, divided

1) Pour 1/4 cup caramel topping into crust; sprinkle with 1/2 cup nuts.
2) Beat dry pudding mixes, milk, pumpkin and spices with whisk until well blended.  Stir in 1 1/2 cups cool whip; spoon into crust.
3) Refrigerate 1 hour.  Top with remaining cool whip, caramel topping and nuts just before serving.

Review:  My pie didn't set up well, so when I served it, it looked like a glob of yumminess.  The caramel topping is super runny and can't be put on before serving.  I tried and now I have a puddle of caramel topping in my pie container, not on the pie.  But, this is yummy.  (And I left out the nutmeg, so it may be yummier to others with the nutmeg added).

Monday, December 21, 2009

Roasted Garlic Pasta Sauce

1 large onion, chopped
3 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil
1 Tbs minced garlic
1/4 cup tomato paste
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp hot sauce
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
1/4 tsp Italian seasoning
1/4 tsp dried basil leaves
2 (28-oz) cans whole Italian plum tomatoes, with their juices
3 whole heads roasted garlic, cloves removed from peels

1) In a large saucepan saute the onion in the olive oil over medium-high heat until soft and lightly golden, 4 to 6 minutes. Add the minced garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the tomato paste, salt, balsamic vinegar, hot sauce, crushed red pepper, Italian seasoning, and basil, and cook for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes, crushing with your hands as you place them in the pan, and their juices. Stir to combine well and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a slow simmer and cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
2) Add the roasted garlic cloves and stir to combine. Continue to simmer for 30 to 45 minutes longer, or until the flavors have come together.
3) Serve over pasta of choice.

Review:   Wow, 3 heads of roasted garlic?  Yeah, you could totally taste it.  This had an awesome, hearty taste.  However, this recipe makes enough sauce for two boxes of pasta.  We froze half of the sauce.  Yum, but you have to love roasted garlic.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Zucchini Spaghetti With Saffron Sauce

1 lb spaghetti
2 cups vegetable broth
2 pinches saffron
1 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
3 small or 2 medium zucchini, cut into small cubes or thinly sliced
6 Tbs butter, cut into 6 pieces
1 cup grated parmesan cheese

1) Bring a large pot of water to a boil, salt it, add the pasta and cook until al dente.  Drain, reserving a ladleful of the pasta cooking water.  Set the pasta aside.
2) While the pasta is working, in a medium saucepan, bring the broth and saffron to a boil and cook until reduced to about 1 cup, about 10 minutes.
3) In a medium skillet, heat the olive oil, 1 turn of the pan, over medium-high heat.  Add the zucchini and cook until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes.
4) Scatter butter in bottom of pasta pot.  Add the pasta, zucchini and saffron-infused stock, then add the cheese and toss vigorously for 1 minute to form a yellow, glossy sauce.  Add the reserved pasta cooking water as desired if the sauce is too thick.

Review:  This had a thick, extravagant sauce.  It was almost too rich!  I really loved this, especially since Mike made it for me while I did laundry.  Yay.  :)

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Three Mushroom Tart

2 oz dried shiitake mushrooms
3 oz portobello mushrooms
8 oz white mushrooms
6 Tbs unsalted butter
1 small onion, thinly sliced
4 sprigs fresh thyme
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp dried basil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup dry red wine
1 Tbs tomato paste
1 Cornmeal Peppercorn Crust, recipe follows
Sage Whipped Cream, for serving, recipe follows

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2) Put the shiitakes into a medium saucepan with cold water to cover. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes or until softened. Drain and cool. Remove stems and slice mushrooms 1/4-inch thick. Set aside.
3) Put the portobellos and white mushrooms in a colander and rinse well.
4) In a large skillet over medium heat, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until translucent, about 10 minutes. While the onion is cooking, slice the portobellos and white mushrooms and add them to the pan. Add the fresh thyme, dried thyme and dried basil. Season with salt and pepper. Stir well and let cook for 15 minutes or until most of the mushroom liquid has reduced down. 5.  Add the shiitakes, red wine and tomato paste and simmer until thickened. Spoon into the partially baked Cornmeal Peppercorn Crust and bake for 20 minutes. Serve with Sage Whipped Cream.

Cornmeal Peppercorn Crust:
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup yellow cornmeal
2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons coarsely ground black pepper
6 ounces unsalted butter, chilled
3 tablespoons ice water

1) Place the flour, cornmeal, salt and pepper in a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Pulse until mixed. Cut the butter into small pieces and add to the flour mixture. Pulse until the mix resembles coarse meal. Add the ice water and pulse again until the dough begins to form. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead a few times just to make sure everything is incorporated. Press the dough evenly into the bottom of a 10-inch springform pan and work it up the sides so that you have a 1-inch lip all the way around. Chill the crust for 20 minutes.
2) Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
3) Line the crust with foil and fill with pie weights, raw rice or dried beans. Bake the crust on the lower rack of the oven for 10 minutes. Very carefully remove the foil and weights and bake another 5 minutes or until the crust is just dry. Remove from the oven and let cool before filling.

Sage Whipped Cream:
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon orange zest
3/8 teaspoon ground sage
2 fresh sage leaves, finely chopped
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
Generous pinch ground white pepper

Place the heavy cream into the bowl of a mixer and beat at high speed until it begins to thicken. Add the rest of the ingredients and continue to beat until soft peaks form. Serve with tart.

Review:  Ooh, this was a production!  Just what I needed for my Saturday night.  :)  I used fresh shiitake mushroom, instead of dried.  I also added a few tablespoons of porcini powder, which a coworker gifted me.  Yum.  I also used white cornmeal instead of yellow.  I also managed to make the crust too high on the sides of the springform pan.  Therefore, after I added the filling, I knocked off the excess and spread it across the top - kind of like a crumb topping.  For the whipped topping, I did not use fresh sage and I left out the orange zest.  I always leave out zest.  This was pretty tasty, and savory.  I would recommend doubling the filling and making it thicker. 


Friday, December 18, 2009

Apple-Walnut Salad With Maple Vinaigrette

1/4 cup chopped walnuts
6 cups mixed salad greens
2 medium-sized apples, peeled, cored and cut into matchsticks
     * recommended cameo, honey crisp, ginger gold, braeburn or fuji, as they resist browning
2 Tbs cider vinegar
2 Tbs maple syrup
1 Tbs walnut oil
2 tsp whole-grain Dijon mustard

1) Toast walnuts in skillet over medium heat 3 to 4 minutes, or until browned and fragrant.
2) Place mixed greens and apples in large bowl.
3) Whisk together vinegar, maple syrup, oil and mustard in small bowl.  Drizzle over salad, and toss gently to coat.
4) Divide salad among plates.  Sprinkle each serving with walnuts, and serve.

Review:  Once again, I am grateful for TJ Maxx, as that's where I scored roasted walnut oil.  This oil needs to be refrigerated once open - be careful.  I was totally annoyed by making matchstick pieces, but this salad ended up being worth the effort.  This was super yummy and had a bit of an exotic taste.  Definitely a show-stopper salad.  BTW, cameo apples were used.  I had my first bowl of salad about 24 hours after I actually made it - no apple browning.  I'm impressed.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Penne & Cauliflower

1 lb penne
2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
1 head cauliflower, cut into small florets
2 Tbs dried minced onion
3 large cloves garlic, chopped
3 sprigs rosemary, finely chopped
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 cup vegetable broth
1 cup grated pecorino-romano or extra-sharp white cheddar cheese
1 bunch watercress or 1 packed cup spinach, chopped

1) Bring a large pot of water to a boil, salt it, add the pasta and cook until al dente.  Drain.
2) While the pasta is working, in a large skillet, heat the olive oil, 2 turns of the pan, over medium-high heat.  Add the cauliflower, onion, garlic and rosemary; season with salt and pepper.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until just softened, about 2 minutes.  Add the wine and cook until slightly reduced, about 1 minute.  Add the stock and cook until reduced by half, about 5 minutes.
3) Add the pasta and cheese, and toss.  Serve in shallow bowls, topped with the greens.

Review:  I began making this and realized I was out of white wine.  I used one cup vegetable broth.  In Idaho, pecorino-romano and extra sharp white cheddar don't exist.  I used sharp yellow cheddar.  I also substituted some mixed greens that I had on hand.  Needless to say, this didn't seem to pack the same punch.  It was a bit bland.  I could really see this being an amazing recipe if broccoli were substituted, Cabot's hunter cheese, no greens and no wine were used.  Yum, I'll try it when I live in Cabot country again. :)

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Broccoli & 3-Cheese Lasagna

1 15oz container ricotta
1 lb frozen chopped broccoli florets, thawed
2 1/4 cups grated mozzarella
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
salt and black pepper
1 16oz jar marinara sauce
1/2 cup heavy cream
8 no-boil lasagna noodles
2 Tbs olive oil, plus more for the foil

1) Heat oven to 400F.  In a large bowl, combine the ricotta, broccoli, 2 cups of the mozzarella, 1/4 cup of the Parmesan, 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper.  In a small bowl, combine the marinara sauce and cream.
2) Spoon a thin layer of the sauce into the bottom of an 8-inch square baking dish.  Top with 2 noodles, a quarter of the remaining sauce and a third of the broccoli mixture; repeat twice.  Top with the remaining 2 noodles and sauce.  Sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 cup of mozzarella and 1/4 cup of Parmesan.
3) Cover tightly with an oiled piece of foil and bake until the noodles are tender, 35 to 40 minutes.  Uncover and bake until the top is golden brown, 10 to 15 minutes.

Review:  The ingredient also called for 4 cups of mixed greens and step 4 instructed to toss the greens with oil and lemon juice for a side salad.  Oops, we didn't want a little side salad and thought the greens went into the lasagna!  Now we have a bunch of greens with no use . . .  eh, I can always make another pomegranate/pecan/feta salad.  Yum.  This lasagna was easy and yummy.  It wasn't anything spectacular, but it was hearty and filling. 

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Cold French Lentil Salad

1 cup green lentils, sorted and rinsed
1 bay leaf
3 Tbs olive oil
2 Tbs red wine vinegar
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp dried dill
3 celery stalks, finely diced
1 cup peeled and diced cucumber
1/3 cup finely diced fennel bulb
1/2 cup frozen corn, thawed
1/2 cup diced white onion

1) Bring lentils, bay leaf and 3 cups water to a boil in saucepan.  Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer 20 minutes, or until lentils are tender.  Drain, remove bay leaf and cool.
2) Whisk together oil, vinegar, garlic, mustard and dill in bowl.  Stir in lentils, celery, cucumber, fennel, corn and onion.  Season with salt and pepper, if desired.

Review:  I omitted the cucumber, fennel and onion since I don't like those things.  I added one zucchini, diced.  I also used canned lentils which seriously shaved time off the preparation of the dish and made it easier to have a cool salad.  Mmm, this was good.