Sunday, December 28, 2014

Pumpkin Seed Oil Risotto

2 Tbs olive oil
1 1/2 cups arborio rice
1/2 cup white wine
4 cups vegetable broth
4 cups baby arugula
2 avocados, cubed
1/4 cup toasted pumpkin seed oil

1) In a large saucepan, heat oil until warm. Add rice and stir for about 2 minutes, or until rice is slightly toasted.
2) Stir in white wine to deglaze.
3) Add one cup of vegetable broth. Cook until it is mostly absorbed, stirring occasionally. Repeat this step until all of the broth is used. The rice should have absorbed most of the liquid and looks creamy.
4) Remove from heat and add the arugula and avocados. Stir until the arugula has wilted and the avocados have melted into the risotto.
5) Stir in the toasted pumpkin seed oil and add salt to taste.

Review: I bought toasted pumpkin seed oil a while back for a recipe. I didn't find another one to use it in and was starting to feel like I wasted my money. I went on an exhaustive search for a new recipe to use it in. The vast majority of recipes was using it in a dressing. I don't like making salads for dinner, as it leaves me with limp leftovers. I was happy to find this risotto recipe, but wasn't sure it'd be tasty without the cheese. Well, it definitely was. There's no strong flavor (maybe I should add more toasted pumpkin seed oil?), but a general savoriness. It's definitely filling and I didn't miss the cheese!!

Adapted from:

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Roasted Vegetable & Wild Rice Salad with Almond-Parsley Sauce

1 cup wild rice
1 acorn squash, seeded and cut into 1-inch thick wedges
2 turnips, diced
1 apple, diced
4 Tbs olive oil
salt and black pepper
1 cup fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped
1/2 cup roasted almonds, chopped
1 Tbs lemon juice

1) Heat oven to 450F. Cook the rice according to package directions (typically boiling in 4 cups of water for 45 minutes).
2) Toss the squash, turnips and apple with 2 Tbs of the oil, salt and black pepper. Place on two large rimmed baking sheets. Roast, turning once, until golden brown and tender, 22 to 24 minutes.
3) Combine the parsley, almonds, remaining 2 Tbs oil and lemon juice, with salt and black pepper, in a small bowl.
4) Serve the rice and vegetables topped with the sauce.

Review: I learned my lesson and carved up the acorn squash while wearing gloves. My skin thanked me! This was a very unusual dish for a weeknight. I forgot that wild rice takes so long to cook. Yet, somehow I got every part of this salad done at the same time, which made it easy to throw together. The almonds were a great addition to the roasted vegetables and the wild rice gave it an earthy flavor. I think this may be made better by using pomegranate vinegar instead of lemon juice, maybe adding pomegranate arils on top, too. Maybe I'll make this again to try that out.

Adapted from:

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Mixed Mushroom & Rice Soup

1/2 cup basmati rice
1/2 cup black rice
2 Tbs olive oil
2 shallots, finely chopped
12oz frozen mixed mushrooms
2 stalks celery, diced
3 cups vegetable broth
1/4 cup parsley, chopped

1) Combine both rices and 2 cups of water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce to simmer. Cover, and cook 20 minutes, or until rice is tender and liquid is absorbed.
2) Meanwhile, heat 1 Tbs oil in a large pot. Add shallots and celery and saute 3 minutes, or until softened. Add remaining 1 Tbs oil and mixed mushrooms. Season with salt and pepper, if desired. Saute 10 minutes, or until mushrooms are fully heated and celery is softened.
3) Stir in cooked rice, broth and parsley. Reduce heat to medium and simmer 3 to 5 minutes.

Review: I still don't like soup, but yet the recipes keep making it to my grocery list. I left out about 3 cups of fluid when I made this, so it was more dense and less soupy. The black rice gave it a dark purple look (the color only intensified once it was served as leftovers the next day). It's a sweet rice, so this is the first recipe I've found that used the ingredient and the recipe wasn't rice pudding! It balanced with the exotic flavors of the mushrooms and the earthiness of the basmati rice. I could see this being a great holiday dressing if more broth was left out. It was so yummy!

Adapted from:

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Sweet Potato & Black Bean Hash

  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 2 sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
  • 2 Tbs ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 2 15oz cans black beans, drained and rinsed

  • 1) In a large heavy skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add sweet potato, and cook, stirring often, until beginning to brown in spots, about 3 minutes.
  • 2) Stir in garlic, jalapeno, cumin, and salt and cook, stirring often, 30 seconds. Add 3/4 cup water and cook, stirring to scrape any browned bits from bottom of pan, until potatoes are tender, about 5 minutes. 
  • 3) Stir in corn and beans and cook, stirring occasionally, until heated through. Season with freshly ground pepper to taste, and serve hot.

Review: This was so good! My cumin had clumped and I had to shake the jar harder to get it out. Of course, that led to almost half the jar falling into my pan!! It's a good thing I love cumin, but it really didn't overpower the dish. This was a great blend of sweet and savory. It was also incredibly filling.

Adapted from:

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Spinach, Mushroom, Pine Nut & Squash Quinoa

2 kabocha squash, peeled and diced
1 cup quinoa
2 cups vegetable broth
1 Tbs olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 lb mushrooms, diced
1 tsp thyme
3-4 cups baby spinach
1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted

1) Preheat the oven to 350F. Spray a baking sheet with nonstick spray and toss the squash onto the sheet. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until squash is tender.
2) In a medium saucepan, combine the quinoa and vegetable broth. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Cover and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer for 15 minutes, or until all liquid has been absorbed.
3) In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add garlic and mushrooms. Allow to cook until mushrooms are browned, about 5-7 minutes. Add spinach and cook until it's wilted.
4) Fold in quinoa and squash. Season with thyme, then salt and pepper to taste.

Review: This was supposed to be a stuffed squash recipe. However, every time I find a recipe like this, I have way too much filling for the item to be stuffed. So, I decided to just dice the squash and add it in. However, in peeling and cutting up the squash, I've discovered a new allergy. For a long time now, I've noticed hard squashes leave a film on my hands and it takes days to look normal. The skin gets horribly scaly and discolored. Tonight, I lost feeling in a few of my fingers (left finger could not detect sensation for about 2 days). A google search informed me that some people develop an allergy and it leads to contact dermatitis. Great. I don't think it will impact my ability to eat it, I just can't peel/cut it without wearing gloves. At least I can buy butternut squash already prepared . . . but I digress. This was really tasty and quite filling. I was happy in eating it, even if I couldn't feel the bowl I was holding. Lesson learned and I feel like an allergy ridden freak.

Adapted from:

Monday, December 8, 2014

Barbecue Chili with Tempeh

2 8oz pks barbecue tempeh, diced
12oz barbecue sauce
3 15oz cans pinto beans, rinsed and drained

1) Combine tempeh and barbecue sauce in a large saucepan.
2) Bring chili to a simmer over medium-low heat, stirring constantly. Add beans and 1 1/2 cups of water. Simmer 20 minutes.

Review: I originally decided I wasn't going to use barbecue sauce. I planned on buying barbecue tempeh at the co-op and figured that would provide enough flavor. I also didn't want to add a bunch of sugar, so Mike could eat this with me. However, I got to the co-op and decided to at least look at the options. I found Bone Doctors' Carolina Bold barbecue sauce, which had only 1g of sugar per serving. I thought I had found a miracle option, but the cashier kindly pointed out it has a vinegar base instead of a ketchup base. I didn't think that would matter. Well. It made for a very spicy chili. It smelled like vinegar and burned like vinegar. Yet, I couldn't stop eating this!! I had tears pouring down my face and loved every minute of it. Mike won't eat food this hot, so I completely defeated the purpose of buying this barbecue sauce. But, I'll happily finish the rest of this!

Adapted from:

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Amaranth Corn Chowder

4 cups vegetable broth
2/3 cup uncooked amaranth, rinsed
1 bay leaf
1 Tbs olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp oregano
1 tsp chipotle powder
4 cups frozen corn
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
2 Tbs fresh lime juice
1 Tbs soy sauce

1) In a large pot, combine stock, amaranth and bay leaf. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, 25 minutes.
2) Meanwhile, in a large heavy skillet, add olive oil, garlic, bell pepper, cumin, oregano and chipotle powder. Over medium heat, cook 5 minutes, stirring often. Stir in 2 cups of corn.
3) Stir corn mixture into amaranth mixture. Cover partially, increase heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, 30 minutes. Discard bay leaf.
4) Preheat oven to 450F. Spray a flat baking sheet with olive oil spray. Evenly distribute the remaining 2 cups of corn across this baking sheet. Spray top of corn with olive oil spray. Bake in oven 15 minutes, or until beginning to brown.
5) Remove soup from heat. Add roasted corn, cilantro, lime juice and soy sauce. Serve.

Review: I bought amaranth at TJ Maxx, as I read it's a hot new ingredient. After two months of owning it without finding a recipe, I went searching for one. This one was quite complicated and I omitted some very hard to find ingredients (and I decided to not run this through a blender since I dislike soup texture so much). Amaranth appears to be similar in taste to quinoa (though it smells like potting soil) but is quite a bit smaller. As you can see in the pic, it looks weird and not something with a good mouth feel. It just feels gritty and didn't add much to the chowder. However, I'm sure it helped make it more filling. The taste of the chowder was pretty wonderful. The smoky seasonings, combined with lime/cilantro and soy sauce sounded really weird to me. However, it works, especially with the roasted corn added. I may need to make this again, but without the amaranth!

Adapted from:

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Quinoa, Red Pepper & Pine Nut Salad

1 1/2 cups quinoa
3 cups vegetable broth
1 red bell pepper, diced
1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
1 garlic clove, minced
1/8 cup balsamic vinegar
1/8 cup olive oil
2 tsp dried oregano
salt and pepper

1) In a medium saucepan, bring the vegetable stock and quinoa to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cover. Cook about 15 minutes, or until all liquid is absorbed. Let sit a few minutes, then fluff with a fork.
2) In a large bowl, combine cooled quinoa with red pepper, parsley and pine nuts.
3) In a small bowl, whisk together the garlic, balsamic vinegar, olive oil and oregano.
4) Pour dressing over the salad and stir until well combined. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
5) Let sit for a few minutes to let the flavors meld. Serve.

Review: This was a quick and easy dish to make. While it seemed basic, it didn't taste basic. It was flavorful enough that I'd make it for a party. I also anticipate it would make a great leftover dish, served cold.

Adapted from:

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Smoky Split Pea Soup

1 cup green split peas
2 Tbs olive oil
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp chopped chipotle chili, canned in adobo sauce
1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced
3 ribs celery, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 14oz can diced tomatoes

1) Soak split peas in large bowl of cold water overnight.
2) Heat oil in 3-qt saucepan over medium heat. Add paprika and chipotle, and stir. Add sweet potatoes and celery, and season with salt and pepper. Cover, and cook 10 minutes. Add garlic and saute 2 minutes.
3) Drain split peas and add to pot with 4 cups of water. Bring soup to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer 1 hour. Add tomatoes, and cook 30 minutes more, or until split peas are tender.

Review: Once again, I don't like soup. The original recipe called for 6 cups of water and I just couldn't add that much. I also didn't realize it would cook for so long and made this on a work night. I was soooooo hungry by the time it was done!! This sounded like a really tasty dish. However, I was quite underwhelmed. I think it may be better off being made with broth instead of water. It was just too bland (and I added extra chipotle and adobo sauce!!!). It was filling and warm, two very desirable traits in a meal, but I wasn't looking forward to the leftovers.

Adapted from:

Monday, December 1, 2014

Portobello Stuffed Poblanos

4 large poblano chiles
1 Tbs olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 large portobello mushrooms, diced
1 16oz can white hominy, rinsed and drained
1 14.5oz can petite diced tomatoes
1 chipotle chile, diced from can of chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, 1 Tbs sauce reserved
3/4 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp ground coriander
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1/4 cup lime juice
1/2 cup shredded vegan Cheddar cheese

1) Broil poblano chiles on baking sheet 15 minutes, or until blackened, turning occasionally. Cool, then rub off skins. Cut slit in side of each chile; remove seeds.
2) Heat oil in Dutch oven over medium heat. Add mushroom and garlic; saute 5 minutes. Add hominy, tomatoes, chipotle and reserved sauce, cumin and coriander. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer 20 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in cilantro and lime juice.
3) Preheat oven to 400F. Coat large baking dish with cooking spray.
4) Spoon 1 cup mushroom mixture into each poblano and place in prepared baking dish. Sprinkle each chile with 1 Tbs cheese. Cover with foil and bake 15 minutes, or until cheese is melted and chiles are hot.

Review: I skipped steps 3 and 4. Every time I make a dish like this, I find I have too much filling for the things I need to stuff. I'm not sure how that happens, but it's left me unwilling to even try to make the stuffing fit. So, I halved the chiles and placed them on the bottom, then covered them with the filling and cheese. It was sooooo good! There really wasn't any heat to the dish, despite the poblanos and chipotles. However, the hominy/tomato/mushroom mixture was really savory and filling. I could have eaten all of it, but restrained myself so I'll have leftovers for lunch.

Adapted from: