Sunday, February 28, 2010

Sweet Potatoes With Warm Black Bean Salad

4 medium sweet potatoes
1 15-oz can black beans, rinsed
2 medium tomatoes, diced
1 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

1) Prick sweet potatoes with a fork in several places. Microwave on High until tender all the way to the center, 12 to 15 minutes. (Alternatively, place in a baking dish and bake at 425 degrees F until tender all the way to the center, about 1 hour.)
2) Meanwhile, in a medium microwaveable bowl, combine beans, tomatoes, oil, cumin, coriander and salt; microwave on High until just heated through, 2 to 3 minutes. (Alternatively, heat in a small saucepan over medium heat.)
3) When just cool enough to handle, slash each sweet potato lengthwise, press open to make a well in the center and spoon the bean mixture into the well. Top each with a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkle of cilantro.

Review:  Yum.  Sweet potato and black bean is an amazing combination.  I baked the potatoes in the oven and cooked the "salad" on the stovetop.  For Mike's serving, I served it as a topped baked potato.  However, I don't like the skin, so I scraped the inside out for me and topped that.  Yum.


Thursday, February 25, 2010

Penne With Hazelnut Pesto, Green Beans & Parmesan

2 cups (packed) fresh Italian parsley
2/3 cup hazelnuts, toasted
2 Tbs fresh lemon juice
1 Tbs finely grated lemon peel
2 garlic cloves, peeled
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon olive oil
1 14.5oz box penne
1 8 oz bag trimmed French green beans (haricots verts)
2 bunches green onions, sliced
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Review:  This was pretty good.  I was somewhat surprised, as I've tried parsley pestos before and they weren't good.  I really liked the toasted hazelnut and haricots verts combo.  However, I cooked my beans a little too long, so they were a bit mushy.  Still yummy, though.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Fettuccine In Mushroom Broth With Truffle Oil

1 oz dried porcini mushrooms (1 cup)
2 Tbs olive oil
12 oz shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and thinly sliced
½ cup finely chopped shallots
3 cloves garlic, minced 
1 cup dry white wine
½ cup frozen peas
1 Tbs chopped fresh Italian parsley
3 tsp truffle oil, divided
8 oz fettuccine

1) Bring 3 cups water to a boil in small saucepan. Remove from heat, add porcini mushrooms, and soak 30 minutes. Remove mushrooms; squeeze out and reserve excess soaking liquid.
2) Heat olive oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add shiitake and porcini mushrooms, shallots, and garlic. Season with salt and pepper, and sauté 5 minutes, or until mushrooms are soft. Add wine and porcini soaking liquid, and simmer 10 minutes, or until mushrooms are very tender. Add peas, and simmer 2 minutes more. Stir in parsley and 1 tsp. truffle oil. Season with salt and pepper.
3) Meanwhile, cook fettuccine in large pot of boiling salted water according to package directions until al dente. Drain pasta, and toss with mushroom sauce. Drizzle 1/2 tsp. truffle oil over each serving.

Review:  I used the freeze dried mushroom mix from Costco, which helped shave some time off the cooking process.  I also added about 2 Tbs of dried porcini powder.  This was tasty, but wasn't good for leftovers.  I'm not sure how that works.  Mike piled Parmesan cheese on his bowl and said it made it even better.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Artichoke Ragout With Saffron & Olives

1 1/2 Tbs olive oil
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1/4 tsp crushed saffron threads
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1 large red bell pepper, sliced
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 cup crushed tomatoes
2 1/2 cups white mushrooms, quartered
1 8-oz pkg. frozen artichoke hearts
1/4 cup kalamata olives

1) Heat skillet over medium heat.  Add oil, then onion and garlic.  Saute 1 to 2 minutes, or until garlic turns gold.  Stir in saffron and black pepper.
2) Add bell pepper and wine.  Increase heat to medium-high, and cook 3 to 4 minutes, or until wine is reduced by half.  Add tomatoes, and cook 3 minutes more.
3) Stir in mushrooms, artichoke hearts, and 1 cup water, and bring to a boil.  Cover, reduce heat to medium, and simmer 15 to 20 minutes, or until vegetables are tender.  Remove lid, and cook off any excess moisture, if necessary.  Stir in olives, and season with salt and pepper, if desired.

Review:  This was pretty yummy.  I served it over bulgur to have a filling base.  It had a bit of tang from the artichoke hearts and olives, but a nice savory flavor from the saffron.  Yum. 

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Cajun Mushroom Loaf

1 stick butter
1 cup diced yellow onion
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1 1/2 lbs sliced mushrooms
4 eggs
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
1 Tbs Cajun seasoning blend
1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbs

1) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
2) Put the butter into a 4-quart pot and place over medium heat. When the butter has melted, add the onion, garlic and thyme sprigs. Saute until translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the mushrooms to the pot, stir, and raise the heat a bit. Cook the mixture until the liquid has cooked off, about 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.
3) Meanwhile, crack the eggs into a large bowl and whisk well. Add the cream, parsley and Cajun seasoning and whisk to combine. Add the mushroom mixture 1 serving spoonful at a time to temper the egg mixture, stirring well after each addition. Add the breadcrumbs and stir well.
4) Spray a 9x5 inch loaf pan with nonstick spray, line with parchment paper, and pour the mixture into the pan. Set in a large roasting pan and fill the pan with water halfway up the loaf pan. Place into the top half of the oven and bake until the center is set, about 60 to 70 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool 15 minutes before turning out onto a plate to slice.

Review:  This was tasty, though I believe I could have doubled the amount of breadcrumbs and it would have been more stable.  I didn't think the loaf alone would be filling enough, so I sauteed another pound of mushrooms in butter, with onion and cajun seasoning.  I topped the loaf with that and it was a great addition.  Yum.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Curried Yellow Split Peas & Cauliflower

1 cup dried yellow split peas, well rinsed
3 cups water
3 Tbs. vegetable oil
1 Tbs. ground turmeric
1 tsp. curry powder or to taste
1 onion, diced
1/2 head cauliflower, trimmed to florets
1 to 11/2 cups vegetable stock, or as needed
1 cup green peas, fresh or frozen
1/2 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
2 Tbs. shredded coconut
1/2 cup raisins
Salt to taste

1) In large saucepan, combine split peas and water, and bring to a boil over medium heat. Cover pan with lid slightly ajar, reduce heat to low and cook about 15 minutes.
2) Heat 2 tablespoons oil in large skillet over medium heat. Stir in turmeric, curry powder and onion, and sauté, 2 to 3 minutes. Add cauliflower florets and 1 cup vegetable stock, and continue cooking and stirring for 7 to 10 minutes more.
3) Add split peas, remaining oil and any remaining cooking water to skillet, stirring to combine well. Reduce heat to medium- low and add green peas, red pepper and more stock, if needed. Continue to cook until split peas are soft, about 5 minutes more. Stir in coconut, raisins and salt to taste. Serve hot.

Review:  I left out the coconut and raisins, because that sounded gross to me.  It ended up being ok, but nothing I would rave about.  I either don't like curry or I need a better curry powder. 

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Penne With Greens, Olives & Feta

1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
1 garlic clove, minced
1 large bunch greens (such as spinach, mustard greens, kale, or broccoli rabe; about 1 pound), thick stems removed, spinach left whole, other greens cut into 1-inch strips (about 10 cups packed)
12 oz penne
5 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1/2 cup coarsely chopped pitted Kalamata olives
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese (about 3 oz)

1) Mix parsley, lemon peel and garlic in small bowl; set aside.
2) Bring large pot of salted water to boil. Add greens and cook just until tender, 1 to 6 minutes, depending on type of greens. Using skimmer or slotted spoon, transfer greens to colander to drain.
3) Return water to boil. Add pasta and cook just until tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally.
4) Drain, reserving 3/4 cup pasta cooking liquid. Return pasta to pot; add greens and 3 tablespoons oil and toss. Stir in olives, feta, and enough reserved pasta cooking liquid by 1/4 cupfuls to moisten.
5) Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to bowl. Drizzle with remaining 2 tablespoons oil. Sprinkle with parsley mixture and serve.

Review:  This recipe was titled Penne With Green Olives & Feta.  A typo, but I had already had my heart set on green olives.  Therefore, I added green olives with my kalamata olives!  It was a great mix.  I used kale for my greens, mostly because it tends to be so bright green when cooked.  This was tasty and a hearty meal.  Yum. 

Monday, February 15, 2010

Vegetable Pot Pie With Wine Sauce & Polenta Crust

15 pearl onions
2 large carrots
2 russet potatoes (about 8 oz each), peeled
2 rutabagas (about 6 oz each), peeled
1 red bell pepper, seeded
1 leek (white and pale green parts only), chopped
10 oz mushrooms, coarsely chopped
2 Tbs olive oil
1 1/2 tsp dried herbs de Provence
1 cup frozen peas, thawed
1 cup canned vegetable broth
1 cup dry red wine
1 Tbs cornstarch

2 cups canned vegetable broth
1 cup water
3/4 cup cornmeal
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbs freshly grated Romano cheese

1) Preheat oven to 425°F. Blanch pearl onions in large pot of boiling water 2 minutes. Drain onions and cool. Peel onions.
2) Cut carrots, potatoes, rutabagas and bell pepper into 1/2-inch pieces. Place in heavy large baking pan with onions, leek and mushrooms. Add olive oil and herbes de Provence and toss to coat. Roast until vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally, about 1 hour. Transfer vegetables to 8-inch square glass baking dish. Stir in peas. Season vegetables to taste with salt and pepper. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover tightly and refrigerate.)
3) Reduce oven temperature to 350°F. Mix 1 cup vegetable broth and 3/4 cup dry red wine in heavy small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to simmer. Stir remaining 1/4 cup red wine and 1 tablespoon cornstarch in small bowl until smooth. Add to broth mixture and simmer until sauce thickens slightly, stirring occasionally, about 4 minutes. Pour sauce over roasted vegetables.
4) Combine vegetable broth and 1 cup water in heavy medium saucepan over medium heat. Bring to boil. Gradually stir in cornmeal and salt. Cook until polenta thickens and pulls away from sides of pan, stirring constantly, about 10 minutes. Pour warm polenta over vegetable mixture. Using spatula, smooth top, covering vegetables completely. Sprinkle polenta with Romano cheese.
5) Bake pot pie until polenta is firm to touch and vegetable mixture is heated through, about 15 minutes. Preheat broiler. Broil pot pie until polenta is golden, about 4 minutes.
6) Spoon pot pie onto plate; serve hot.

Review:  I couldn't fit my pie into an 8x8 and had to go with a 9x13.  Unfortunately, that meant my polenta was spread thin and the sauce bubbled over the top.  I tripled the Romano, to use up the rest of the wedge I had and skipped the broiler step.  It turned out pretty yummy, but this took me 3 hours to make (including all the cleaning and chopping of veggies).   Thank goodness I had the day off!


Sunday, February 14, 2010

Southwestern Black Bean & Hominy Salad

1 15 oz can black beans, rinsed, drained well
1 15 oz can golden hominy, rinsed, drained well
1 avocado, peeled, pitted, diced
1 cup diced yellow bell pepper
1/2 cup chopped red onion
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 1/2 Tbs minced seeded jalapeno chili
1/2 cup (or more) salsa verde

1) Combine first 7 ingredients in large bowl.
2) Add 1/2 cup salsa and toss to coat. Add more salsa if salad is dry.
3) Season salad with salt and pepper.

Review:  I served this over baby spinach and it made two good lunch portions.  I packaged them up and will get to eat them tomorrow.  I'll post in a comment how it tasted.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Bean Bolognese

1 14 oz can salad beans or other beans, rinsed, divided
2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
1/2 cup chopped carrot
1/4 cup chopped celery
1/2 tsp salt
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 bay leaf
1/2 cup white wine
1 14 oz can diced tomatoes
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley, divided
8 oz whole-wheat fettuccine
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1) Put a large pot of water on to boil. Mash 1/2 cup beans in a small bowl with a fork.
2) Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, carrot, celery and salt; cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 10 minutes. Add garlic and bay leaf; cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 15 seconds. Add wine; increase heat to high and boil until most of the liquid evaporates, 3 to 4 minutes. Add tomatoes (with juices), 2 tablespoons parsley and the mashed beans. 
3) Bring to a lively simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 6 minutes. Add the remaining whole beans; cook, stirring occasionally, until heated through, 1 to 2 minutes more.
4) Meanwhile, cook pasta in the boiling water until just tender, about 9 minutes or according to package directions. Drain.
5) Remove the bay leaf from the sauce. Divide the pasta among 4 bowls. Top with the sauce, sprinkle with Parmesan and the remaining parsley.

Review:  This was pretty tasty.  My veggies cooked faster than the recipe said it would, so plan accordingly.  It was pretty easy and quite savory.  Yum. 

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Smoky Chipotle & Cheddar Mac

1 lb macaroni elbows or cavatapi corkscrew shaped pasta twists
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, 1 turn of the pan, plus some for drizzling
1 pkg vegetarian ground "meat"
1 (15 oz) can diced fire roasted tomatoes, drained
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 chipotle in adobo and their juices, chopped or 1 tablespoon ground chipotle chili
3 Tbs all-purpose flour
3 cups whole milk
1 cup vegetable stock
3 cups shredded smoked cheddar

1) Place a pot of water on to boil for macaroni. When it boils, salt water and cook pasta until a little under done, just shy of al dente.
2) While pasta cooks, place a small nonstick skillet over medium-high heat and add a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil and vegetarian "meat." Warm the "meat," then add the canned tomatoes to the pan and heat them through. Remove from heat and reserve.
3) Meanwhile, heat a medium sauce pot over medium-low heat. Add 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, then add onions and chipotles and cook 3 to 5 minutes to sweat it out and turn the juices sweet. Raise heat up a bit, add the flour and whisk together until mixture bubbles up. Cook 1 minute more. Whisk in milk and stock and raise heat up a little more to bring the sauce to a quick boil. Once it bubbles, drop heat back to a rolling simmer sauce to thicken, 3 to 5 minutes.
4) Drain macaroni or pasta. Add cooked pasta back to the large pot.
5) Add cheese to milk sauce and stir to melt, a minute or so. Stir in "meat" and tomatoes and season sauce with salt and pepper. Pour sauce over cooked pasta in large pot and toss to combine. Transfer to a large serving platter, garnish with chives and serve. 

Review:  This recipe originally called for chorizo, but there's no good vegetarian alternative for chorizo.  I also couldn't find smoked cheddar, so I used the regular stuff.   The cheese sauce came out really thin, though it thickened up by the time it got packaged for leftovers.  Because it was so thin, we tossed in a can of kidney beans for filler.  It was yummy, despite being soupy.