Thursday, February 26, 2009

Lenten Vegetarian

(shout out to our resident all-the-time vegetarian, Kelly! whoot!)

It's Lent 2009 and in our house, that means husband is being a good sport about me wanting to be vegetarian for spiritual reasons. :)

I know I should post more recipes and fewer food related musings or polls on this blog. And I promise that I will look right here at the many wonderful veggie posts already on foodgoodness. I was actually wondering, though, if there are any favorite veg recipes that we shouldn't miss this time around or if there are any that have a special significance to folks.

I always look forward to cooking the CRS Operation Rice Bowl recipes during Lent because they come with a little profile of a person from the recipe's culture of origin.

The last two nights, we've had dinners featuring lovely, lovely farmer's market kale.
This way over poached eggs, Heidi style, and this way roasted in the oven with beans and tomatoes, Shannon style.

Happy Veggie and Happy Lent!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Slow Cooker Ropa Viejo

From: Smells Like Home, though apparently it's originally from Weight Watchers.

This had good flavor and was different from what we normally eat. I used green bell pepper instead of the red, because we like green better. Other than that, I pretty much stuck to the recipe as is. This will feed us for several meals I think, because it made a huge pot of food.

1 1/2 cups fat-free reduced-sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1 Tbsp ground cumin
1 tsp mild paprika, preferably smoked paprika
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
1/4 to 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
Two 1 1/2-pound flank steaks, trimmed of all excess fat
2 medium red onions, thinly sliced into rings
2 large red bell peppers, seeded, cored and chopped
2 medium apples, peeled, cored and chopped
3 celery stalks, thinly sliced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup packed cilantro leaves, chopped

1. Whisk the broth, vinegar, cumin, paprika, salt, pepper and cayenne in a 5- or 6-quart slow cooker. Submerge the meat, then add the onions, bell peppers, apples, celery and garlic, making sure the vegetables are under, between, and over the steaks.

2. Cover and cook on low until the meat is fork-tender, about 8 hours.

3. Transfer the meat to a cutting board; set aside for 10 minutes. Shred the meat with two forks, pulling it into strands along the grain. Return to the slow cooker; stir in cilantro. Set the slow cooker on warm and serve within 4 hours.

Cream of butternut squash with arborio rice

This recipe appeared in the Washington Post's Food section a couple of weeks ago. We made it last Sunday, and it was very tasty and good. Geoff and I ate it for three days, and it was still great.

Instead of buying a whole butternut squash, we bought a package of peeled and chopped squash. This worked out well, and probably meant that we had more squash than we needed. We threw it all in (except for the parts we held back for the garnish) anyway.

The recipe can be found here:

Vegetables Wellington

From the March 2008 issue of Vegetarian Times. I'm all about the back issues these days. Serves 8 but I halved the recipe because left over reheated puff pastry is never as good as when you've just baked it. I must say that we still had left overs and surprisingly it reheated pretty well. Then again, I don't really think you can go wrong with puff pastry.

  • 1 Tbs. plus 1 tsp. olive oil, divided
  • 1 lb. asparagus, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
  • 2 medium red bell peppers, cut into thin strips
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced (1 1/2 cups)
  • 1 5-oz. pkg. baby spinach leaves (I omitted because I didn't think I had any. It was still good.)
  • 1 10-oz. log goat cheese
  • 1 4-oz. jar prepared pesto sauce
  • 1 large egg (I skipped this. It always seems like a waste of an egg).
  • 1 17.3-oz. pkg. frozen puff pastry, thawed
  • 1 16-oz. jar prepared tomato sauce*
  1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Coat baking sheet with cooking spray. Heat 1 Tbs. oil over medium-high heat. Add asparagus, bell peppers, and onion, and sauté 5 to 10 minutes, or until vegetables begin to soften. Add spinach, remove from heat, and stir until spinach wilts. Cool.
  2. Combine goat cheese and pesto in bowl (I didn't bother to mix the ingredients. I ended up using less cheese this way). Beat egg with 2 tsp. water in separate bowl.
  3. Lay 1 sheet puff pastry on well-floured work surface. Cut into 8 rectangles. Brush edges of rectangles with egg. Scoop 2 Tbs. sautéed vegetables into center of each rectangle, keeping edges clear. Top with pesto-cheese mixture. Cut remaining puff pastry sheet into 8 rectangles, and place on top of vegetables and cheese, stretching dough gently by hand to cover entire surface. Press edges firmly with fingers or fork to seal tightly. Place on prepared baking sheet, and brush tops with egg. Chill 10 minutes.
  4. Bake 25 minutes, or until pastry is golden brown. Meanwhile, heat tomato sauce in saucepan until warm.
  5. To serve: Spoon 1/4 cup tomato sauce onto plate and top with Wellington.

*So, um, I warmed my sauce in the microwave and forgot about it until after we had eaten our dinner. Oops. It was still very good. I used a different method for constructing the wellingtons than the magazine mentioned but you need to do what works best for you. I used one sheet of pastry and cut it into fourths. I placed the veg, cheese and pesto in the middle and then pulled one corner to the opposite side to make a triangle. It also makes for a nice presentation.

Egg drop soup

What do you do when your daughter eats the entire container of egg drop soup and then demands more the next day, when you have no intention of ordering more take out?
You open up the great big book of everything and figure out it's not so hard to make it on your own.

from the man, Mark Bittman

2 cans chicken broth (low sodium)
1/2 tsp. ginger
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 Tbsp. sesame oil (I left this out)
2-3 eggs, beaten

Combine broth, ginger, soy sauce in a pan and simmer for about 10 minutes. Add the egg, while you stir the pot. Cook another 2-3 minutes.

Chai cocktail

Ernie and I were watching Food Network the other day and watched the chef make this drink and both looked at each other and said "oh, we need that tonight." It was pretty tasty.

from Guy Fieri

2 ounces coffee liquor
2 ounces Irish cream
1-ounce vanilla vodka
8 ounces Chai-tea concentrate (recommended: Oregon Chai Brand)
6 ounces milk or half-and-half
Shaved chocolate, for garnish
Freshly grated nutmeg, for garnish
Fresh mint sprig, for garnish

Fill blender with ice, pour in all ingredients, and blend thoroughly. Pour into a tall iced tea glass.

Garnish with shaved chocolate and fresh nutmeg and a mint sprig.

Huevo rancheros

Yum. Really, that's all there is to say about this.
adapted from Simply Recipes

Olive oil
1/2 medium onion, chopped (about a half cup)
1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes (or 1 -2 large fresh vine-ripened tomatoes, when in season)
1/2 can diced green chiles
Chipotle chili powder, adobo sauce, or ground cumin to taste (optional)
4 corn tortillas
4 fresh eggs
Queso blanco

Make the sauce first by softening the onions in a little olive oil in a large skillet on medium heat. Once translucent, add the tomatoes and the juice the tomatoes are packed in. Break up the tomatoes with your fingers as you put them in the pan. If you are using fresh tomatoes, chop them first, then add. Note that fresh tomatoes will take longer to cook as canned tomatoes are already cooked to begin with. Add chopped green chilies. Add additional chili to taste, either chipotle chili powder, adobo sauce, regular chili powder, or even ground cumin. Bring to a simmer, reduce heat to low, and let simmer while you do the rest of the cooking, stirring occasionally. Reduce to warm after it has been simmering for 10 minutes. Add salt to taste if needed.
Prepare the tortillas. Heat the oven to a warm 150°F, place serving plates in the oven to keep warm. Heat a teaspoon of olive oil in a large non-stick skillet on medium high, coating the pan with the oil. One by one (or more if your pan is big enough) heat the tortillas in the pan, a minute or two on each side, until they are heated through, softened, and pockets of air bubble up inside of them. Then remove them and stack them on one of the warming plates in the oven to keep warm while you continue cooking the rest of the tortillas and the eggs.
Fry the eggs. Using the same skillet as was used for the tortillas, add a little butter to the pan, about two teaspoons for 4 eggs. Heat the pan on medium high heat. Crack 4 eggs into the skillet and cook for 3 to 4 minutes for runny yolks, more for firmer eggs.
To serve, spoon a little of the sauce onto a warmed plate. Top with a tortilla, then a fried egg. Top with queso blanco.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Mexican Lasagna

From: Rachael Ray

Made this for dinner tonight, and it was a winner. I only had 1 lb of chicken, so I halved the recipe and made it in an 8-inch baking dish. I made 3 layers using flour tortillas. I added a handful of chopped cherry tomatoes to the mixture.

* 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
* 2 pounds ground chicken breast
* 2 tablespoons chili powder
* 2 teaspoons ground cumin
* 1/2 red onion, chopped
* 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained
* 1 cup medium heat taco sauce or 1 (14-oz) can stewed or fire roasted tomatoes
* 1 cup frozen corn kernels
* Salt
* 8 (8 inch) spinach flour tortillas, available on dairy aisle of market
* 2 1/2 cups shredded Cheddar or shredded pepper jack
* 2 scallions, finely chopped

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Preheat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil - twice around the pan. Add chicken and season with chili powder, cumin, and red onion. Brown the meat, 5 minutes. Add taco sauce or stewed or fire roasted tomatoes. Add black beans and corn. Heat the mixture through, 2 to 3 minutes then season with salt, to your taste.

Coat a shallow baking dish with remaining extra-virgin olive oil, about 1 tablespoon oil. Cut the tortillas in half or quarters to make them easy to layer with. Build lasagna in layers of meat and beans, then tortillas, then cheese. Repeat: meat, tortilla, cheese again. Bake lasagna 12 to 15 minutes until cheese is brown and bubbly. Top with the scallions and serve.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Moroccan-style Chicken with Prunes and Quinoa - Crockpot

From: The Healthy Slow Cooker

I really liked this, but Todd was indifferent. He wasn't crazy about the combination of oregano and prunes, I think, but I thought this was tasty. We don't cook with chicken thighs very often, but after this dish I want to use them more often.

1 1/2 cups chopped pitted prunes
1 1/2 cups water
1 Tbsp liquid honey (Huh? I don't know what that means. I used reg honey)
1 tsp grated lemon zest
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp dried oregano
1 Tbsp grated lemon zest
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cracked black pepper
2 lbs skinless, bone-in chicken thighs (about 8) (I used boneless)
2 cups chicken stock
1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
3 cups water
1 1/2 cups quinoa (or use couscous or rice instead)

In a bowl, combine prunes, 1 1/2 cups water, honey and 1 tsp lemon zest. Cover and set aside.

In a slow cooker stoneware, combine garlic, oregano, remaining lemon zest, salt and pepper. Add chicken and toss until evenly coated. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or overnight. If marinating overnight, refrigerate prune mixture as well.

Add chicken stock and lemon juice to crock and stir well. Cover and cook on Low for 5 hours or on High for 2 1/2 hours or until juices run clear when chicken is pierced with a fork. Add prune mixture with liquid. Cover and cook on High for 30 minutes to meld flavors.

Meanwhile, in a pot over high heat, bring 3 cups of water to a boil. Reduce heat to medium. Add quinoa, stirring to prevent lumps from forming and return to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer until tender and liquid is absorbed, about 15 minutes.

Serve chicken over quinoa (or substitute couscous or rice).

Slow Cooker Vegetable Vindaloo

Courtesy of Vegetarian Times Jan/Feb 2008 issue.

Okay, I was supposed to be making potato and chickpea stew from Deborah Madison but I was running out of time and I was planning to make this recipe by the end of the week anyway.

6 C cauliflower florets (I used a big bag of frozen--don't remember the weight)*
2 15.5 oz cans of chickpeas, rinsed and drained
2 lg leeks, white and light green parts, sliced in 1" half moons [1.5 C] (I used a regular onion)
1 C tomato sauce (I used a big can of crushed tomatoes)
1/4 C white wine (I omitted and added water instead. I added about 1 C)
2 T minced fresh ginger
2 T curry powder (I used curry paste from the market)
2 t ground cumin
1 t ground cinnamon
1 t chili paste or hot sauce
3 T chopped cilantro (I omitted)
S&P to taste
3 C cooked basmati rice (I used brown)

*you can substitute 3 C potatoes for half the cauliflower. I used potatoes and a lot of cauliflower.

Combine all ingredients except rice and cilantro in your slow cooker. Season with S&P to taste and cook on high for 3 hrs, stirring occasionally. I cooked it on low for 7 hours and then Michael stirred it and turned it to high for another hour so the potatoes would finish cooking. Next time I will chop the potatoes a little smaller. Serve over rice and garnish with cilantro. We ate this with naan from Trader Joe's and a little leftover tzatziki sauce.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

ground chicken or turkey with peas

Another one from Madhur Jaffrey's Quick and Easy Indian Cooking. This is REALLY good -- it tastes like actual Indian food.

3 T vegetable oil
1-inch stick cinnamon
4 cardamom pods
2 bay leaves (I omitted -- why don't we own any bay leaves)
1 small onion, peeled and chopped
3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
2 t finely grated ginger
1 1/4 pounds ground chicken or turkey (I used leftover shredded chicken from a rotisserie chicken I'd bought at the supermarket... it worked fine)
6-7 oz. fresh or frozen peas, lightly cooked
1/4 t ground turmeric
1 t store-bought garam masala
1/4 t cayenne
1/2 t salt
2 T fresh lemon juice
freshly ground pepper

Put the oil in a wide pan and set over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, put in the connamom, cardamom, and bay leaves. Stir for a few seconds. Put in the onion. Stir and fry until the onion pieces turn brown at the edges. Put in the garlic and stir for a few seconds.Put in the ginger and stir for another few seconds.

Now put in the chicken or turkey. Stir and fry until all the lumps are broken up. Put in all the remaining ingredients. Stir to mix and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes, stirring as you do so.

(Note: The whole spices are not meant to be eaten. I think that is a cute note from Madhur.)

willie nelson's famous banana bread/cake/whatever

I am not sure about the Willie Nelson connection, but if it's good enough for Everybody Likes Sandwiches, it's good enough for me. I only deviated from our tried-and-true banana bread recipes because I didn't have any yogurt or milk and didn't want to use butter, but this is good too.

It's more like cake than the other recipes, and it's pretty sweet -- next time I will cut down on the sugar -- but I really like the crust on the top. And I did not cut down on the chocolate chips as suggested... I do not believe in cutting down on chocolate under any circumstances.

3 really ripe bananas, mashed
2 large eggs
1 1/2 c flour
1 1/4 c sugar
1 t baking soda
1 t vanilla
1 T cinnamon
1 c chocolate chips
1/4 c sugar mixed with cinnamon

1. Mix bananas with eggs and stir well. Add flour, sugar, soda, vanilla, and cinnamon and mix well. Add 3/4 c of the chocolate chips into the batter.

2. Pour batter into a buttered square cake pan. Sprinkle with the cinnamon-sugar mix and the remaining chocolate chips.

3. Bake at 375 for 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into cake comes out clean.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Zucchini (or Carrot) Muffins

adapted from Simply Recipes

I know this is not the right time of the year for zucchini anything, but I had some shredded zucchini in the freezer from the end of the summer, and I supplemented with shredded carrot for the remainder of the veggie component. I'm quite certain these would be perfectly delicious with all carrot. These are quite good, and I'm happy that I get to eat these for breakfast this week. And snacks. Yum. Also, I used a little less butter than this calls for. I just used one stick of melted butter, and added about 1/2 cup of applesauce. The muffins were plenty moist, and I think you could even decrease the butter by another couple of tablespoons and they would still be fine. Elise says you can also sub 1 C vegetable oil instead of the butter, but she said the butter version tastes better.

* 3 cups grated fresh zucchini (or carrot)
* 2/3 cup melted unsalted butter (I used 1/4 cup and added some applesauce)
* 1 1/3 cup sugar
* 2 eggs, beaten
* 2 teaspoons vanilla
* 2 teaspoons baking soda
* Pinch salt
* 3 cups all-purpose flour
* 2 teaspoons cinnamon
* 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
* 1 cup walnuts (optional) (I skipped)
* 1 cup raisins or dried cranberries (optional) (I used craisins)

You don't need a mixer for this recipe, and I made it all in one bowl.

1 Preheat the oven to 350°F. In a large bowl, mix together the sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Mix in the grated zucchini and then the melted butter. Sprinkle baking soda and salt over the mixture and mix in. In a separate bowl (I used same bowl), stir together the flour, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Add these dry ingredients to the zucchini mixture. Fold in the walnuts and dried raisins or cranberries if using.

2 Coat each muffin cup in your muffin pan with a little butter or vegetable oil spray. Use a spoon to distribute the muffin dough equally among the cups, filling the cups up completely. Bake on the middle rack until muffins are golden brown, and the top of the muffins bounce back when you press on them, about 25 to 30 minutes. Set on wire rack to cool for 5 minutes. Remove muffins from the tin let cool another 20 minutes.

Note, if you are including walnuts and dried fruit, you will likely have more batter than is needed for 12 muffins. You can fill them to the top of the muffin cups, but you still might have too much batter.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Burrito Soup - Crockpot

adapted from Elly Says Opa!

I was intrigued by this recipe but not sure how it would come out. It's certainly not the healthiest soup you could possibly make, but it's pretty tasty! It also satisfies my "it's not real food if it doesn't have meat" husband, who isn't always convinced that my veggie soups are substantial enough for a meal. I used a little less beef broth than the original recipe, but I made up for it by adding a can of diced tomatoes with their juice, and I swished some water around the tomato cans and added that as well. I skipped the rice step because I'm lazy like that. The soup is spicy, but not too spicy for us. If you don't like it as spicy, cut back on the chili powder or cut out the cayenne.

2 tsp. canola oil
1 large onion, diced
1 lb. extra lean ground beef
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 can (8 oz.) tomato sauce
5 cups beef broth (I used 2 small cans, which was 4 cups)
1 can diced tomatoes
2 Tbsp. aleppo (or any chili powder) I used regular chili powder
1 Tbsp. cumin
2 tsp. oregano
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
2/3 cup corn
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup uncooked rice (or, cook rice separately)

Heat a large heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat and add oil. Cook the onions for a couple minutes before adding the beef. Brown the beef with the onion and drain if necessary. Put back on the heat and stir in the garlic, just until fragrant.

Pour the beef mixture into the crockpot and then add the tomato sauce, beef broth, diced tomatoes, spices, corn and black beans. Cook on low for…however long you’re gone.

(I didn't use the rice)

Increase temp to high and add the rice, just until cooked. Alternatively you can put the cooked rice in bowls and ladle the soup over it. Garnish with your favorite toppings.

Nutritional Information Per Serving (with 93% lean beef): Calories: 302 / Fat: 7.5g / Carbs: 33.5g / Fiber: 6.3g / Protein: 26g

Buttermilk honey bread

I made this bread a few weeks ago, and for my second attempt at homemade bread, it went pretty well. I'm still getting loaves that are fairly dense...not sure if that means I need to knead the bread more or if it's not rising enough.
Advice, seasoned bread bakers? In any case, I'll be making this one again once I get some more yeast and buttermilk.

from Annie's Eats

Yield: 2 loaves (rectangular or free form)

3/4 cup warm water (105-115 degrees F)
1 tbsp. instant yeast
1 tsp. sugar
1 1/2 cups buttermilk, warmed to take off the chill (or brought to room temperature)
2 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
3 tbsp. honey, warmed until runny
1 tbsp. salt
6 - 6 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 egg beaten with 1 tbsp. milk or cream (for egg wash)
Sesame seeds or poppy seeds for topping (optional)

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the water, yeast, sugar, buttermilk, butter, honey, salt, and 4 cups of the flour. Mix on low speed just until a dough has formed. Switch to the dough hook. Continue mixing on low speed, adding the remaining flour 1/2 cup at a time until a smooth dough is formed that clears the sides of the bowl. Continue kneading on low speed until dough is smooth and elastic, about 4-5 minutes. Transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl, turning once to coat, and cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Let rise at room temperature until doubled in bulk, about 60-75 minutes.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and gently punch it down. Grease two loaf pans (if using). Divide the dough into two equal pieces and shape as desired. (To shape into a braided wreath, follow the instructions in this post.) Cover the loaves lightly with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel and let rise until fully doubled in bulk, about 45 minutes.
Twenty minutes before you want to bake the bread, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Center a rack in the oven. Just before putting the loaves in the oven, brush the tops with the egg wash and sprinkle with topping, if desired. Place the pans on the center rack and bake about 45 minutes, rotating 180 degrees halfway through the baking time. If the tops brown too quickly, cover loosely with aluminum foil. Remove the loafs immediately to a cooling rack. Let cool completely before slicing.

Mushroom bourguignon

This was our Valentine's dinner last night, and everyone gobbled it up -- including Gaby. Pretty easy to make, and so tasty.

adapted from Smitten Kitchen, only because I don't read instructions well

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter, softened
2 pounds baby portobello mushrooms, cut in half
1/2 carrot, finely diced (I used a handful of baby carrots)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup full-bodied red wine
2 cups beef or vegetable broth
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves (1/2 teaspoon dried)
1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup pearl onions, peeled (thawed if frozen)
Egg noodles, for serving
Sour cream and chopped chives or parsley, for garnish (optional)

Heat the one tablespoon of the olive oil and one tablespoon of butter in a medium Dutch oven or heavy sauce pan over high heat. Sear the mushrooms until they begin to darken, but not yet release any liquid — about three or four minutes. Remove them from pan.
Lower the flame to medium and add the second tablespoon of olive oil. Toss the carrots, pearl onions, thyme, a few good pinches of salt and a several grinds of black pepper into the pan and cook for 10, stirring occasionally, until the onions are lightly browned. Add the garlic and cook for just one more minute.
Add the wine to the pot, scraping any stuck bits off the bottom, then turn the heat all the way up and reduce it by half. Stir in the tomato paste and the broth. Add back the mushrooms with any juices that have collected and once the liquid has boiled, reduce the temperature so it simmers for 20 minutes, or until mushrooms are very tender.
Combine remaining butter and the flour with a fork until combined; stir it into the stew. Lower the heat and simmer for 10 more minutes. If the sauce is too thin, boil it down to reduce to the right consistency. Season to taste.
To serve, spoon the stew over a bowl of egg noodles, dollop with sour cream (optional) and sprinkle with chives or parsley.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Quinoa Chowder with Spinach and Feta

Courtesy of Deborah Madison's Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone. Note: this is good right after making it but it is even better the next day.

3/4 C quinoa, rinsed
2 T olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1 jalapeno, minced (I used 1 T of diced jalapenos from a can)
1 t ground cumin or to taste (I added more)
1/2 lb boiling potatoes cut into 1/4" chunks
1 bunch scallions including 1" of the greens, cut into thin rounds
3 C finely sliced spinach
1/4 lb feta, crumbled
1/3 C cilantro, chopped
1 hard cooked egg, chopped (I omitted)

Put quinoa and 2 Q water in a pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 10 min. while you chop the remaining veg. Drain and reserve liquid.

Heat the oil in a pot (I used my dutch oven--I used it for the quinoa, too. Why dirty more pots than you have to?) over medium heat. Add garlic and jalapeno. Cook for about 30 seconds and add cumin, salt and potatoes. Cook for a few minutes (be careful not to burn garlic), stirring frequently. Add reserved liquid from quinoa plus enough water to equal 6 cups (I eyeballed this amount), half the scallions and simmer until potatoes are tender, about 15 min. Add quinoa, spinach, remaining scallions and simmer 3 min. Add feta and cilantro and remove from heat. Season with pepper and garnish with egg.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

chicken, noodle & broccoli casserole

I found this from Google Recipes, by typing in the random ingredients I happened to have on hand, and I was very happy I did. Note that the recipe things it makes two casseroles in 9x9 dishes; I halved it and somehow came out with one casserole in a very full 9x13 dish. Whatever, math.

1 pound penne or elbow macaroni (I used ziti)
4 T olive oil
1 head broccoli, trimmed into florets, stems peeled and sliced
1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breast, cut crosswise into thin strips
3 T margarine or butter (I skipped)
1 large onion, chopped
5 garlic cloves, fine chopped
5 T flour
2 t dried thyme
2 t dried basil
1 cup dry white wine
1 can chicken broth (13 oz) plus enough water to make 2 cups
3 cups low-fat milk
2 bay leaves (I skipped)
Pinch ground nutmeg
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, divided (I used romano)
(I added panko; regular bread crumbs would also work)
1 carton part-skim (16-oz) ricotta cheese

Preheat the oven to 350.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook the pasta until just tender. Drain and toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large mixing bowl. Set aside.

Steam or microwave the broccoli until just crisp-tender. Rinse under cold water to stop the cooking, drain and add to the noodles.

In large frying pan, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and saute the chicken, stirring, until cooked through and just beginning to brown. Remove the chicken from the frying pan and set aside. (So, I have just realized that I didn't do this and left the chicken in the pan the whole time I was making the sauce -- it would probably be better to follow the directions.)

Add 2 tablespoons olive oil plus the margarine and cook the onion until it begins to soften and become translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook another minute, until it releases its aroma. Sprinkle with the flour and spices, and stir over medium heat for a couple of minutes.

Slowly add the wine, stirring, then add the chicken broth and milk. Add the bay leaves (I skipped this), bring the mixture to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.

Stir in the nutmeg, parsley, 1/2-cup cheese and the cooked chicken. Add chicken and sauce to the pasta and broccoli in the mixing bowl and gently combine.

Divide the pasta, chicken and broccoli mixture between two 8-by-11- or 9-by-9-inch baking dishes coated with vegetable oil spray. Top each with spoonfuls of the ricotta, then sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan cheese (and I added some panko, because I didn't have enough cheese).

Wrap one casserole tightly with aluminum foil and freeze for later use. Bake the other at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes, until hot and bubbly and lightly browned.

OMG Coconut Macaroons with Chocolate Chips

This is a slightly modified version of Shannon's recipe and the one from the Joy of Cooking.

There is a stand at the market that sells yummy baked goods like cookies, tarts, etc. and they always have macaroons. Every Sunday I walk by the stand and think about how good their treats look and this morning we finally indulged. We shared a (you guessed it) coconut macaroon with choc chips and it was divine. It tasted so good that I insisted we stop by the grocery store on the way home for some shredded coconut.

2/3 C sweetened condensed milk
1 lg egg white
1/8 t salt
1/2 t vanilla extract
1/2 t almond extract
3.5 C shredded coconut (sweetened--they didn't carry the unsweetened kind at the store)
1/2 C semi-sweet choc chips (mini chips work best here)

Preheat oven to 350. Line baking sheet with parchment. Beat eggwhite until foamy and add salt, milk and extracts. Stir in coconut then choc chips. Drop by the tablespoonfull onto the baking sheet. Bake for 17-20 minutes. Let rest a minute before removing cookies to a cooling rack. Cool completely before storing. Enjoy. In fact, enjoy them so much that you don't eat any dinner because you ate macaroons instead.

Makes approximately 32 cookies if you use a small cookie scoop. About 66 kcal per cookie.

Arugula Pesto

From In My Kitchen Garden. My sister-in-law ordered the arugula pesto with pasta at the Stinking Rose and I have to say it was quite good. I'm sure they put more garlic in their pesto but what would a dish from the Stinking Rose be without a ton of garlic?

Please note that this is not going to taste like basil pesto because it won't. It'll look like it but that first taste has nothing basil-y about it. I tell you this because it's easy to be caught off guard by it's non-basil-iness.

1/3 cup of your favorite olive oil
1 ounce garlic (about 6 cloves), peeled and sliced
6 ounces arugula, preferably very young leaves
3 ounces freshly grated pecorino romano or other hard cheese (about 1 cup)
1 cup canned garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed (about 5-1/2 ounces)

You can fry the garlic first if you prefer a mellower garlic flavor. Now, put everything except the oil in a food processor or blender and whizz about until smooth. Pour in the oil and season with salt to taste. I also added red pepper flakes.

I served this with fresh fettucini, sundried tomatoes, roasted red peppers and a sprinkling of toasted pine nuts. Next time I'll throw in a bit of minced shallot. It was yummy and fresh tasting. It would also be good on pizza.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Karen's Double-Deckers

Another delicious recipe from my old supervisor. These scrumptious treats have a layer of brownie topped with a layer of chocolate chip cookie. I took these to a Super Bowl party yesterday and they went over well. Be sure to cool these completely before cutting, or you will end up with a sticky gooey mess. I made them at the last minute and made a mess trying to cut them too early. Once they were completely cooled, though, they came out in clean squares.

For the Chocolate Chip layer:
12 T (1.5 sticks) butter
1 C. brown sugar
1 1/2 C all-purpose flour
1/2 t. baking soda
1/4 t. salt
1 large egg
1 t. vanilla extract
1 C. semisweet chocolate chips

For the Brownie layer:
12 T. butter (1.5 sticks)
3/4 C. Dutch-process cocoa powder
1 1/2 C. granulated sugar
1/4 t. salt
2 large eggs
1 1/2 t. vanilla extract
3/4 C. all-purpose flour

Preheat oven to 325. Lightly grease a 13x9 baking dish; set aside.

For Chocolate Chip layer: in medium saucepan on medium heat, melt butter, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat; stir in the brown sugar and whisk until smooth. Set aside to cool. Meanwhile, mix the brownie layer. When butter mixture is cool, whisk in the egg and vanilla. Mix the flour, baking soda and salt; stir into butter mixture. Stir in chocolate chips.

For Brownie layer: in a saucepan, melt butter on medium heat. Remove from heat. Whisk in the cocoa until smooth, then the sugar and salt. Add the eggs one at a time, whisking after each just to blend. Stir in vanilla. With a rubber spatula, fold int he flour just until blended.

Scrape the brownie layer into the prepared baking dish and spread evenly with a rubber spatula. Drop large scoops of the chocolate chip dough over the brownie batter and spread evenly. Bake about 40 minutes. Cool in pan on a wire rack. With sharp knife cut into 2-inch squares. Makes 2 dozen 2-inch squares. [6 WW pts each].

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Toffee brownies

These brownies are so simple it seems almost silly to post a recipe. That being said, they're so good I keep having to restrain myself from eating the entire pan. They make me want to make a lot more brownies. Maybe the ones Gwen used to make with the peppermints on top will be next.

from Paula Deen

1 (17.6-ounce) package brownie mix with walnuts
Vegetable oil cooking spray
3 (6-ounce) candy bars with almonds and toffee chips (I used three Heath bars instead. Next time I will use four)

Prepare the brownie mix according to package directions.
Line a 13 by 9-inch cake pan with aluminum foil and spray with vegetable oil cooking spray. Spoon in half of the brownie batter and smooth with a spatula or the back of a spoon. Place the candy bars side by side on top of the batter. Cover with the remaining batter.
Bake according to package directions. Let cool completely, then lift from the pan using the edges of the foil. This makes it easy to cut the brownies into squares.

Chipotle barbecue sauce

The shrimp wrapped in bacon this sauce was supposed to be for was not our favorite thing in the world, but the bbq sauce was really good.

from Guy Fieri

1/2 cup barbecue sauce
1/4 cup canola oil
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
3 tablespoons chopped chipotles in adobo sauce
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Freshly ground pepper

Puree the barbecue sauce, oil, lemon juice, mustard, chipotles, red pepper flakes, cayenne pepper and 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper in a blender.

Chicken wings

We really liked these wings, which were super easy to make. The salsa that he suggested using with the wings was too salty for us, but we liked them with chipotle bbq sauce.

From Guy Fieri

For the chicken and brine:
3/4 cup kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoons black peppercorns
4 cloves garlic, smashed
5 pounds chicken wings, cut in half at the joint

For the rub:
2 teaspoons dried rosemary
2 teaspoons ground white pepper
2 teaspoons paprika
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons granulated garlic
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 teaspoons dried basil

Prepare the brine: In a large soup pot, bring 8 cups water to a boil. Add the kosher salt, peppercorns and garlic; remove from heat. Let cool 30 minutes, then transfer to a large pot or ice chest lined with a large garbage bag. Add another 8 cups water, then add the wings and twist the bag closed. Refrigerate for 4 hours.
Mix all the rub ingredients in a large resealable plastic bag. Drain the wings. Rinse under cool water, pat very dry and put in the bag with the rub. Mix to coat evenly. Seal the bag and refrigerate until ready to cook. (You can do this a day ahead.)
Preheat the broiler. Remove the wings from the bag and place in a single layer on a lightly oiled foil-lined pan. Broil for 8 minutes, then turn and cook for an additional 5 to 8 minutes, or until crisp and golden.

Swedish meatballs


from Alton Brown

2 slices fresh white bread
1/4 cup milk
3 tablespoons clarified butter, divided
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
A pinch plus 1 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 pound ground chuck
3/4 pound ground pork
2 large egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 cups beef broth
1/4 cup heavy cream

Preheat oven to 200 degrees F.
Tear the bread into pieces and place in a small mixing bowl along with the milk. Set aside.
In a 12-inch straight sided saute pan over medium heat, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter. Add the onion and a pinch of salt and sweat until the onions are soft. Remove from the heat and set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the bread and milk mixture, ground chuck, pork, egg yolks, 1 teaspoon of kosher salt, black pepper, allspice, nutmeg, and onions. Beat on medium speed for 1 to 2 minutes.
Using a scale, weigh meatballs into 1-ounce portions and place on a sheet pan. Using your hands, shape the meatballs into rounds.
Heat the remaining butter in the saute pan over medium-low heat, or in an electric skillet set to 250 degrees F. Add the meatballs and saute until golden brown on all sides, about 7 to 10 minutes. Remove the meatballs to an ovenproof dish using a slotted spoon and place in the warmed oven.
Once all of the meatballs are cooked, decrease the heat to low and add the flour to the pan or skillet. Whisk until lightly browned, approximately 1 to 2 minutes. Gradually add the beef stock and whisk until sauce begins to thicken. Add the cream and continue to cook until the gravy reaches the desired consistency. Remove the meatballs from the oven, cover with the gravy and serve.

Indian mashed potatoes

From a cookbook Shannon gave me, Maddhur Jaffrey's Quick & Easy Indian Cooking. As promised, these were quick and easy and also delicious. Yay Shannon!

2 1/4 pounds potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks (I didn't peel)
3/4 c milk, heated, plus more if needed (I didn't need more)
4-6 T butter, cut into pieces
1 1/4 t salt or to taste
freshly ground black pepper
1 fresh, hot green chile, finely chopped w/o seeds removed
1 t garam masala
a pinch cayenne pepper
1 1/2 t lemon juice

Boil the potatoes with water to cover. When they are tender -- 15 to 20 minutes -- drain and mash with a fork or potato masher. Add the hot milk and butter and beat with a whisk or a fork, adding 1 or 2 T milk if needed for consistency. Add all remaining ingredients and mix well.

two grandmas' creamed corn cornbread

This is from an awesome cookbook called The Cornbread Gospels that I got from interlibrary loan (which I feel guilty for using for pleasure reading, but whatever, it's a whole cookbook about cornbread, right? it's important.) Apparently, the recipe is "typical of many African American cornbreads" and "a little sweet and extremely moist."

Weirdly, there is a mistake in this recipe -- it says to use half the butter in the beginning and then never talks about the other half. I just left the other half out and it was fine.

1/4 c. (1/2 stick) butter (I used fake butter and it was fine; also, I only used half of this)
1 c stone-ground yellow cornmeal
3/4 c unbleached white flour
2 T sugar
1 T plus 1 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
1 c canned creamed corn (I used the whole can and it was fine)
1 c milk
1 egg

1. Preheat the oven to 450. Spray a 9-inch round cake pan with oil and add half of the butter. Put the pan in the oven to let it get very hot.

2. Meanwhile, combine the cornmeal, flour, and sugar in a medium heat-proof bowl, then sift in the baking powder and salt.

3. Whisk together the creamed corn, milk, and egg in a small bowl.

4. Add the wet mixture to the dry, stirring until all is combined but taking care not to overeat.

5. By now, your pan should be nice and hot. Remove from the oven, lowering the temperature to 400. Carefully pour about half of the by-no-melted butter from the hot pan into the batter. STir the batter a couple times, then pour it into the hot pan.

6. Bake until the cornbread is golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes (mine took considerably longer to be done). Remove the cornbread from the oven and let it stand for 15 minutes before serving.