Sunday, January 31, 2010

Garlic & Kale Soup

1/2 cup wheat berries
2 Tbs olive oil
3.5oz shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and thinly sliced (1 cup)
10 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
1/4 cup brown rice vinegar
4 cups vegetable broth
1 bunch kale (10 oz), stemmed and coarsely chopped

1) Soak wheat berries in large bowl of cold water overnight.
2) Heat oil in 2-qt saucepan over medium heat.  Add mushrooms, and season with salt, if desired.  Saute mushrooms 10 minutes, or until beginning to brown.  Add garlic, and saute 2 minutes more.  Stir in vinegar; simmer until vinegar is almost evaporated, stirring to scrape up browned bits from pan.
3) Drain wheat berries, and add to mushroom mixture with vegetable broth and 1 cup water.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer 20 minutes.
4) Add kale, and cook 10 to 20 minutes more, or until kale is tender.  Season with salt and pepper, if desired.

Review:  I used the freeze dried mix of mushrooms from Costco, so they weren't thinly sliced and there was a variety.  It worked well.  This was a yummy, hearty soup. 

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Mixed Greens & Haricots Verts With Walnut Oil Vinaigrette

2 Tbs white-wine vinegar
1/3 cup walnut oil or extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 pound haricots verts (thin Fresh green beans), trimmed
1/2 pound baby lettuce, washed and spun dry
1/2 pound frisée (French or Italian curly endive), washed and spun dry
2 Tbs minced red onion

1) In a small jar with a tight-fitting lid combine vinegar, oil, and salt and pepper to taste and shake sealed jar until vinaigrette is emulsified. Vinaigrette may be made 1 day ahead and chilled. Bring vinaigrette to room temperature and shake before using.
2) In a saucepan of boiling salted water boil haricots verts until crisp-tender, 3 to 4 minutes, and transfer to a bowl of ice and cold water to stop cooking. Drain beans in a colander and pat dry between paper towels. Beans may be made 1 day ahead and chilled, wrapped in a paper towel in a sealable plastic bag.
3) Divide greens among 6 salad plates and top with beans. Sprinkle salads with onion and drizzle with vinaigrette.

Review:  I loved the dressing with this, but the veggies aren't enough to make a main meal.  It would make a great side salad, however.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Pecan Bulgur Salad

1/3 cup medium or coarse bulgur
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 cups boiling-hot water
1/2 cup pecans
1 small tomato
1/4 English cucumber
2 Tbs fresh lemon juice
1 tsp honey
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp cayenne, or to taste
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
3 Tbs olive oil
2 Tbs chopped fresh dill fronds
1 cup loosely packed salad greens such as frisée

1) In a bowl combine bulgur, 1 teaspoon salt, and water. Let bulgur soak, uncovered, until softened, 20 to 25 minutes.
2) While bulgur is soaking, in a dry small heavy skillet toast pecans over moderately low heat, shaking skillet frequently, until a shade darker, 4 to 5 minutes. Cool pecans and chop. Seed tomato and chop. Chop cucumber.
3) In a large bowl whisk together lemon juice, honey, spices, pepper, remaining ‚ teaspoon salt, and oil until emulsified. Drain bulgur in a sieve and press out any excess water. Add bulgur, tomato, cucumber, pecans, and dill to dressing and toss well. Divide greens between 2 plates and top with bulgur.

Review:  This was ok.  I wasn't too fond of the cinnamon flavor, as I seem to only associate cinnamon with dessert. 

Monday, January 25, 2010

Radicchio & Haricot Vert Salad With Candied Walnuts

3/4 cup walnuts
1/4 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
2 tsp plus 1/4 cup walnut oil
3 1/2 Tbs seasoned rice vinegar, divided
1 garlic clove, pressed
1 head of Bibb lettuce, coarsely torn
1/2 large head of radicchio, thickly sliced
2 cups frozen haricots verts or small slender green beans, thawed

1) Combine walnuts, sugar, 2 teaspoons oil, and 1 tablespoon vinegar in medium nonstick skillet. Stir over medium heat until syrup coats nuts thickly, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer nuts to piece of foil. Separate nuts; freeze on foil 5 minutes or cool completely at room temperature.
2) Whisk remaining 1/4 cup oil, 2 1/2 tablespoons vinegar, and garlic in large bowl. Season dressing with salt and pepper.
3) Add Bibb lettuce, radicchio, haricots verts, and nuts; toss to coat.

Review:  Wow.  The walnuts were so amazing, I actually picked off the excess "candy" from the foil and ate it, too!  This was the perfect balance of sweet and tangy.  So yummy!!!!!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Gnocchi With Roasted Cauliflower

1 small head cauliflower, cut into small florets
12 fresh sage leaves
3 Tbs olive oil
kosher salt and black pepper
1 pound gnocchi (fresh or frozen)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan

1) Heat oven to 400F.  On a rimmed baking sheet, toss the cauliflower, sage, oil, 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper.  Roast, tossing once, until the cauliflower is golden brown and tender, 25 to 30 minutes.
2) Fifteen minutes before the cauliflower is finished, cook the gnocchi according to the package directions.  Divide the gnocchi among bowls.  Top with the cauliflower and Parmesan.

Review:  Mike complained about the cauliflower, but it didn't stop him from eating it!  The cauliflower browned fast and didn't take the 25 to 30 minutes the recipe called for.  I did about 17 minutes and pulled it out of the oven as it seemed to be burning.  I liked the dish, but it only made two servings. 

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Curried Beans & Greens

1 cup adzuki beans, picked over and rinsed
1 Tbs olive oil
1/2 cup diced yellow onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 lbs fresh kale or Swiss chard, stemmed and torn into large pieces
2 tsp curry powder
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1) Soak beans overnight in enough cold water to cover by at least 2 inches. Drain, rinse beans well and combine in large soup pot with 4 cups water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, covered, until beans are tender, about 1 hour.
2) Meanwhile, in large, deep skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook, stirring often, until onion is soft, about 5 minutes. Add greens to skillet. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons water. Cook, tossing often, until greens are bright green and wilted slightly, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat.
3) Drain beans and transfer to serving dish. Add curry powder and stir will. Reheat greens if necessary, then add to beans and toss to mix. Season with salt and pepper.

Review:  I'm always amazed at how bright green kale becomes when it's cooked!!  This was yummy.  Adzuki beans have a bit of a sweet flavor, which was nice.  I do believe I need a different curry powder, however, as it didn't add much flavor. 

Monday, January 18, 2010

Mexican Bean Bake

1/2 cup Bisquick
2 Tbs salsa
1 cup canned vegetarian refried beans
2 Tbs canned chopped green chilies, undrained
1/3 cup salsa
1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
1/2 cup shredded lettuce
1/4 cup chopped tomato
2 Tbs sour cream

1) Heat oven to 375F.  Grease loaf dish, 9x5x3 inches.  Mix baking mix, 2 Tbs salsa, the beans and chilies.  Spread in loaf dish.  Top with 1/3 cup salsa and the cheese.
2) Bake uncovered 20 to 25 minutes or until set.  Let stand 5 minutes.  Cut into slices.  Top with lettuce, tomato and sour cream.

Review: I doubled the recipe, as it initially said it made 2 servings.  Therefore, I made it in an 8x8 pan instead of a loaf, to ensure even cooking.  Regardless of my efforts, it didn't quite "set."  It was also a bit dry.  A difference that may have affected it, was that I used "Carbquik," which is a low-carb version of Bisquick.  I did serve it up with plenty of sour cream, which made it yummy. 

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Spaghetti Squash With Roasted Tomatoes & Ricotta

1 2-lb spaghetti squash, halved, seeds removed
2 pints cherry tomatoes
1 large red onion, cut into wedges
1 15oz can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
2 1/2 Tbs garlic oil, such as Garlic Gold
1 Tbs minced fresh thyme
1 Tbs minced fresh rosemary
1 cup nonfat ricotta cheese
4 Tbs grated Romano cheese, optional
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

1) Set one oven rack to bottom position of oven and another several levels up. Preheat oven to 375°F. Coat baking sheet with cooking spray; fill 13x9-inch baking dish with 1 inch water.
2) Lay spaghetti squash cut-side down in water-filled baking dish. Scatter cherry tomatoes, onion wedges, and chickpeas on prepared baking sheet. Drizzle oil over tomato mixture, and sprinkle with thyme and rosemary. Season with salt and pepper, if desired, and toss mixture to coat with oil and seasonings.
3) Place spaghetti squash on lower oven rack and tomato mixture on top rack. Bake 1 hour. Turn off oven, and remove squash; leave tomato mixture inside oven.
4) Cool squash 15 minutes. Scrape spaghetti-like strands out of shell and into large bowl with fork. Divide among 6 bowls. Remove tomato mixture from oven; stir to combine, then spoon over spaghetti squash. Top each serving with ricotta cheese, and sprinkle with Romano cheese, if using, and red pepper flakes.

Review:  I did not roast my veggies for the full hour, as after 45 minutes, my chickpeas were dehydrated (crunchy!).  I don't think that was supposed to happen!  This was really delicious and fairly easy to make.  Well, there was one small snafu - Mike cut open the squash and feared the knife was never going to be removed from the squash!  There was a scary struggle, but he won the fight.  The knife was salvaged and the squash halved - next time we use a serrated knife!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Honey-Pecan & Pecorino Salad

Honey Pecans
2 Tbs honey
1 cup whole pecans
2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp salt

Honey-Mustard Vinaigrette
2 Tbs vinegar
4 tsp honey
2 tsp mustard
2 Tbs oil

8 cups mesclun salad mix
1 bunch green onions, chopped
1/2 cup dried cranberries
2 oz pecorino cheese

1) To make Honey Pecans:  Bring honey to a simmer in large skillet over medium heat.  Stir in pecans, and cook 3 to 4 minutes, or until pecans are coated in honey and most liquid has evaporated.  Remove from heat; stir in chili powder and salt.  Transfer pecans to plate to cool, then store in airtight container or set aside.
2) To make Honey-Mustard Vinaigrette:  Whisk together vinegar, honey and mustard.  Add oil; whisk to combine.  Season with salt and pepper.
3) To make Salad:  Toss mesclun, green onions, cranberries and pecans with vinaigrette.  Shave cheese into curls over salad with vegetable peeler.  Serve immediately.

Review:  Oh, Idaho, how you disappoint me.  No mesclun and no pecorino sold locally.  We used a 50/50 mix of greens and spinach.  We also used romano for the cheese.  I also tweaked the dressing, using white wine vinegar and dijon mustard.  That made it pretty yummy and I think it made it better than the original recipe sounded.  The pecans were absolutely amazing.  I want to make them again - just for snacking!!  Unfortunately, I managed to forget to put the cranberries in the salad. 

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Black Bean Tostadas

6 6-inch corn tortillas
3 Tbs canola oil
salt and pepper
1/2 large onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 15-oz cans black beans, drained and rinsed
assorted optional toppings, such as shredded lettuce, shredded mexican-blend cheese, chopped cilantro, salsa, sour cream and sliced pickled jalapenos

1) Preheat oven to 425F.  Brush both sides of tortillas with 2 Tbs oil and sprinkle with 2 tsp salt.  Lay tortillas on a cookie sheet and bake until crispy, about 10 minutes, turning over halfway through.
2) While tortillas are baking, warm remaining 1 Tbs oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add onion and saute 1 minute longer.  Reduce heat to low and add beans and 2 Tbs water.  Mash mixture with a potato masher or back of fork and cook until heated through.  Season with salt and pepper.
3) Divide bean mixture among tortillas.  Layer with desired toppings and serve.

Review:  Hmm, this is much easier if you buy cans of refried black beans and tostadas (can be bought already crispy).  I didn't realize this prior to making this (I read ingredient lists and never the directions when it comes time for grocery shopping), so I had to make the tostadas.  I also had to mash the beans (unexpectedly), since Idaho seems to have never heard of refried black beans.  I used to buy them all the time at the A&P in Connecticut.  I miss my old food choices!!!!  This was super yummy and I would love to make it again.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Zucchini Casserole

2 zucchinis, diced
2 carrots, shredded 
1 cup frozen corn
1 stick butter
1 pkg stuffing mix
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 cup sour cream
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1) Grease a 9x13" dish with butter. Reserve 1 cup of stuffing.
2) Melt butter and mix everything but cheese together. Top with reserved stuffing and cheese.
3) Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Review: An old friend of mine, and recent vegetarian convert, shared this recipe with me.  Well, a recipe that I tweaked a little bit.  ;)  It originally called for Stove Top stuffing, but it has forbidden ingredients.  Every flavor utilizes animal broth, but they also contain high fructose corn syrup!!  Why something so sweet in something that's supposed to be so savory?  I used Kellogg's stuffing, which was pretty awesome.  It comes in a resealable bag, which is odd, like you'll make mini-servings of it.  Anyway, this was pretty yummy, though not at all low-carb and in Mike's diet plan.  Oh, well, we all need to cheat once in awhile.  Yum, thanks Amy!!!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Wild Mushroom Ragout With A Spinach Potato Cake

Wild Mushroom Ragout:
2 Tbs olive oil
2 cup assorted sliced wild mushrooms
2 Tbs minced shallots
1/2 cup peeled, seeded and chopped tomatoes
1/4 cup chopped green onions
1 Tbs minced garlic
2/3 cup mushroom broth
2 Tbs butter
Salt and pepper

Spinach Potato Cake:
1/2 cup chopped and blanched spinach
1 cup mashed potatoes
1/2 tsp minced garlic
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup seasoned flour
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbs
1/2 cup olive oil, for frying
Essence (Emeril's spice blend - paprika, pepper, garlic powder, thyme and oregano)

2 Tbs chopped parsley
2 Tbs grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
2 long chives

1) For the ragout: In a saute pan, heat the olive oil. Add the mushrooms and shallots and saute for 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes, green onions and garlic and continue sauteeing for 1-2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add the mushroom broth to the Sauteed mixture and reduce by half. Finish with the butter and reseason.
2) For the potato cakes: In a mixing bowl, combine the spinach, potatoes and garlic together. Season with salt and pepper. Portion the mixture into 2-ounce cakes. Dredge the cakes in the seasoned flour. Dip into the beaten egg, letting any excess drip off. Coat each cake completely with the seasoned bread crumbs.
3) In a saute pan, heat the olive oil. When the pan is smoking hot, add the cakes. Saute until golden brown, about 2 to 3 minutes. Flip the cakes over and continue sauteeing until golden brown. Remove from pan and drain on a paper-lined plate. Season with Essence.
4) Spoon the ragout in the center of the plate. Place the cakes in the center of the ragout. Garnish with chopped parsley, Parmigiano-Reggiano, and long chives.

Review:  This wasn't as difficult as it initially seemed.  I dirtied a lot of dishes, but I think it was worth it.  I used Costco's freeze dried wild mushroom mix, as they're finally back in stock.  I guess it's a seasonal thing, but it's a great bargain!  And super easy to use. 

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Penne With Asparagus & Porcini Cream

1/2 oz dried porcini
1/2 cup water
8 oz asparagus, washed, trimmed and cut into 1-inch length pieces
1 cup heavy cream
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
12 oz penne
coarsely ground black pepper

1) Combine the porcini and water in a small saucepan; heat to boiling; simmer, uncovered, 5 minutes; let stand, off heat, 10 minutes.  Strain the liquid through a fine sieve or a sieve lined with a piece of dampened cheesecloth; reserve the liquid.  Rinse mushrooms, checking carefully for grit.  Finely chop mushrooms and set aside.
2) Meanwhile, steam the asparagus on a steaming rack set over 1 inch boiling water, covered, until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes; remove rack from pan.
3) Combine the cream, porcini liquid, and the chopped porcini in a deep saucepan.  Heat to boiling, stirring occasionally, until liquid is reduced to 2/3 cup, about 10 minutes.  Add the lemon juice and a pinch of salt.
4) Meanwhile, cook the pasta in plenty of boiling salted water until al dente, or firm to the bite, about 10 minutes; drain.  Toss with the cream mixture and the asparagus.  Sprinkle with pepper.

Review:  I picked the recipe, as I interpreted the dried porcini to be the porcini powder a co-worker shared with me (thanks Barbara!).  Clearly, I had not read the directions.  Oh well, I used my freeze dried mushroom mix from Costco, which is more than just porcini, reduced the water amount and tossed some porcini powder in, too.  This was yummy and filling.  :)  

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Spaghetti With Chopped Broccoli & Pignoli In Browned Garlic Oil

1/3 cup olive oil
1 Tbs thin crosswise slivers of garlic
2 cups fresh or frozen chopped broccoli
12 oz spaghetti
2 Tbs pine nuts, toasted
grated Parmesan cheese

1) Heat oil in a medium skillet over low heat; stir in garlic.  Saute, stirring, just until edges begin to turn golden, about 3 minutes.  Add the broccoli; cover and cook over low heat until tender, about 5 minutes.
2) Cook the spaghetti in plenty of boiling salted water until al dente, or firm to the bite, about 7 to 10 minutes; drain.
3) Toss with broccoli and garlic oil; sprinkle with pine nuts and grated cheese before serving.

Review:  Due to accidentally using the spaghetti in a recipe earlier this week, we didn't have spaghetti for this recipe.  Penne managed just fine.  This was pretty tasty and quick to make.  What more could you ask for?