Thursday, April 29, 2010

Moroccan Carrot Soup

This soup completed a nice quick meal. Tossed a couple artichokes into the pressure cooker (done in 8 minutes), whipped up a loaf of my new favorite addiction (brown soda bread) and dinner was done. Think I'll double this recipe next time...

Moroccan Carrot Soup:
(slightly adapted from Bon Appetit, Apr. '10)

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup chopped white onion
1 large clove garlic, chopped
1 pound large carrots, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch dice (about 2 2/3 cups)
2 1/2 cups low-salt chicken broth, or veggie broth
1 1/2 teaspoons cumin seeds
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice (I used a little more)
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup plain yogurt, stirred to loosen (Greek yogurt)

Friday, April 23, 2010

Beet Rosti with Rosemary

I've been a little beet crazy around here lately...just can't seem to get enough of 'em. The Monster, not so much a fan. Well, I think I've finally found a recipe that will allow both of us to enjoy them!
I was skeptical, but after reading all of the rave reviews following Mark Bittman's recipe in the New York Times, I figured I'd better give it a go. Ah butter. You just make everything that much better.
That's what it takes folks. Butter. Maybe not the healthiest way I fix beets, but it was yummy and with the aid of a shredder blade on a food processor, the recipe is a cinch to make.
I only made half of the recipe...using 1 lb of beets instead of 2. I did use the full amount of butter in the pan though! In fact, I followed one commenter's advice and added another pat to the pan after the first side was done and before re-adding the pancake to the pan to cook the second side. The trick is to cook over a moderate heat so that you get a nice crusty exterior, but don't cook it so fast that the interior is left uncooked.
We ate this with a salad for dinner and I had a little slice left for my lunch today. Even though I halved the recipe I still used a 12" pan like the original recipe called for...seemed to work just fine.

Beet Rosti with Rosemary:
(Mark Bittman-NYT)

2 lbs of beets, peeled and shredded
1/2 cup flour (I used whole wheat pastry flour)
2 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
salt and pepper to taste
2 TBS unsalted butter (I used closer to 3...adding one more and browning before I cooked the second side)

topping ideas: chopped parsley, Greek yogurt, chevre.

In a large bowl, toss shredded beets with rosemary and 1/2 of the flour; mix well. Add the rest of the flour; mix again.
Add salt and pepper to taste.
Heat 2 Tbs butter in a 12" non-stick skillet over moderate heat. Let butter brown, but not burn.
Add beet mixture to pan once butter is nut brown and form into a thick pancake with a spatula.
Cook for 8-10 minutes over moderate heat.
When first side is crisped, slide pancake onto a plate. Place another plate on top of the pancake and flip.
Heat another pat of butter in pan and brown a bit.
Now slide the pancake back into the pan and cook second side for about another 10 minutes.
Serve hot or at room temperature.

Top with chopped parsley, Greek yogurt or chevre.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Spicy Ethiopian Red Lentil Stew

The Monster zoned in on this recipe from the current issue of Cooking Light and I had to agree it looked good. Aside from difficulties in finding Berbere spice, it was a great addition to my recipe trove. If you can't find Berbere, Google online recipes for making your own. Or, just do what I did and buy a spice blend that has pretty much everything you'd need in it and just add the rest of the missing my case it happened to buy a Thai spice blend from Whole Foods to which I added allspice, cinnamon and cloves.

Our collards were spiked with some extra spices too. I think I tossed in tumeric, nutmeg and maybe a little cinnamon? Can't remember, but they were great too. If I'd had a batch of niter-kebbeh made up, I'd have just used that instead.

This was even better the next with so many stews. Would be great to make up a double batch and freeze half. I'm assuming freezing it would work fine, but our leftovers all got eaten up!

Spicy Eithopian Red Lentil Stew:
(Cooking Light May 2010)

2 tsp canola oil
2 cups chopped red onion
1 Tbs minced peeled fresh ginger
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 Tbs tomato paste
1 1/2 Tbs Berbere spice
3 cups organic vegetable broth
1 cup dried red lentils
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro

Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over med. heat. Add onion to pan; cook 15 minutes until tender (uh yeah...good luck not burning them cooking for that long in that little oil...I think I only cooked them ~10 minutes), stirring occasionally.
Add ginger and garlic; cook 5 minutes, stirring frequently (again, good luck cooking this long...just do your best and know it probably won't be 5 minutes).
Stir in tomato paste and Berbere spice; cook 1 minute, stirring to combine.
Gradually add broth, stirring with a whisk until blended. Increase heat to med-high; bring to a simmer.

Rinse the lentils under cold water; drain.
Add lentils to broth mixture; simmer partially covered, 35 minutes or until lentils are tender, stirring occasionally.
Stir in salt.
Sprinkle with cilantro; serve over brown rice, quick injera, or in a pinch...with whole wheat naan bread that you've thawed from your freezer! :-)

Monday, April 12, 2010

Warm Berries with Stovetop Dumplings

Oh man, you just know these are gonna be good. We had berrylicious dumplings instead of our usual oatmeal pancakes on Sunday morning and were not disappointed. So easy to make and also rustic and cool to boot. The original recipe comes from Martha Stewart, but I found it on Joy the Baker's blog. What?? She's not in your blogroll?? Amend, post-haste!

The original recipe calls for using white flour...I subbed whole spelt flour with stellar results.
Other changes I made were to use Sucanat for the white sugar and add a 1/2 tsp of vanilla to the batter. I think you'll be wanting more fruit than the original recipe calls for, so if you find yourself with extra in the fridge, might want to just toss that in to the pan too. I didn't increase any of the other ingredients when I added about 1/2 of a small container of fresh blackberries I had hanging out in the fridge.

We each ate two dumplings topped with our favorite 2% Greek yogurt for breakie, then both had one for a snack later in the day...yay! Guess we'd need to make these in a bigger pan for company!

Warm Berries with Stovetop Dumplings:
(Martha Stewart via Joy the Baker)

1 pound frozen mixed berries (I also added about 1/2 a small container of fresh blackberries)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
6 tablespoons, divided; plus 1 teaspoon Sucanat, or sugar
1 cup whole grain spelt flour, spooned and leveled (use whole wheat pastry flour or AP if you prefer)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup low-fat buttermilk
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Greek yogurt (optional)

In a medium skillet, cook berries, lemon juice, 4 tablespoons Sucanat/sugar, and 1/4 cup water over medium until slightly thickened, 11 to 13 minutes.
Berries may still look watery. Don’t worry, they’ll cook down when you add the dumplings.

Meanwhile, in a bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and 2 tablespoons Sucanat/sugar.
Melt butter in the microwave in a cereal-sized bowl then add in vanilla and buttermilk.
Add wet ingredients to dry and stir until a moist dough forms.
Dividing evenly, spoon 6 dollops of dough over fruit.
Combine cinnamon and 1 teaspoon sugar, and sprinkle over dough.

Cover pan tightly with foil, and cook over medium-low until dumplings are set and tops are dry to the touch, about 15 minutes. Serve warm.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Kichadi with Brown Rice

I knew I wanted to make this upon reading the recipe on Coconut and Quinoa's awesome blog. Looked so homey and comforting. A nice break after Easter Ham-Fest. Smells great while it's simmering away in your kitchen too. Just make sure that you give yourself time to soak the mung beans and rice overnight. I actually just put them on to soak at about 7 am. then started cooking at 5pm, which is just fine if you don't mind eating at around 7:30. Very little actual hands on time...most of the time involved with this recipe is while it's burbling away on the stovetop. The original recipe adds tamari sauce to season, but I wasn't too keen on adding that with the Indian spices. In fact, the Monster added a little to his serving and I plain didn't like it in there. When I ate it for lunch the next day it was way more fabulous just topped with Sriracha sauce, avocado and sliced almonds or sunflower seeds, so that's how I've written it.

Kichadi with Brown Rice:
(slightly adapted from Coconut and Quinoa)

1 cup brown basmati rice

½ cup mung beans

1 tablespoon extra-virgin coconut oil, or ghee

1 tablespoon minced ginger

2 teaspoons cumin seeds

15 curry leaves, if available (I subbed 1 tsp of mild curry powder)
1 tsp brown mustard seeds

½ cinnamon stick

6 cups boiling water

1 teaspoon turmeric

2 inch piece kombu (bought in the Asian section at Central Market)

sea salt

optional goodies for topping:
Sriracha sauce
sliced almonds, or roasted sunflower seeds, etc.

Combine basmati rice and mung beans in a bowl and wash thoughly. Drain and cover with 2 inches of filtered water. Soak over night. Drain and rinse again.

Warm coconut oil/ghee in a large pot over medium heat. Add minced ginger, cumin,curry leaves (curry powder), mustard seeds and cinnamon stick. Sauté for a few minutes until fragrant then stir in the drained rice and mung beans.

Increase heat to high and add boiling water, turmeric and kombu. Once mixture is boiling, reduce heat as low as possible, cover and simmer 1 hour. Add a large pinch of sea salt and simmer for another hour, stirring ever 20 minutes to prevent sticking.

Remove from heat and let sit at least 10 minutes before serving. Top with avocado, sliced almonds and Siracha sauce.

Pictured as we ate it the first night...but I liked it much better as served in the photo at the top!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The Guilded Fork's Silky Spring Beet Soup

I've had this recipe printed out and filed for at LEAST a year now. Glad I made it out of my marinated roasted beets rut long enough to finally make this yummy soup.
Guess I just never tried it since it's just going to be me eating it. The Monster is not one for the beet. I figure, if I can't finish the soup in the next couple days, I'll pop the rest in the freezer. I just ate a cup chilled tonight since it's being so muggy out. Maybe I'll try it warmed up tomorrow...
Be picky in your beet selection at the market. Look for beets with nice happy green tops. They're too delicious to toss out!

Silky Spring Beet Soup:
(very slightly adapted from The Guilded Fork's recipe...I use 2 cups less liquid)

1 tablespoon olive oil
beets (about 1 ½ pounds), peeled and chopped (one bunch of 3 large beets was all I needed)
1 organic medium potato, peeled and chopped (I used the equivalent of baby Dutch yellow potatoes and I didn't peel them)
1 medium onion, chopped (used one small onion and a shallot)
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
4 cups vegetable stock
1 tablespoon honey
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ cup crème fraîche, for garnish (I used 2% Greek yogurt)
2 tablespoons finely chopped chives, for garnish (I used fresh tarragon)

In a heavy-bottomed soup pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add beets, potatoes, onion and paprika, and stirring often, cook for about 8 minutes or until onions are softened.
Add stock, honey and salt; bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; cover and simmer for about 25 minutes or until vegetables are tender.
In blender, purée beet mixture, in batches (filling the carafe no more than 1/2 full each time), until smooth. (Soup can be prepared to this point and refrigerated in airtight container for up to 2 days or frozen for up to 1 month.)
Either return the soup to a clean saucepan and reheat without boiling, or chill to serve cold.
I dolloped some Fage yogurt on top of cooled soup and sprinkled with fresh chopped tarragon, but fresh dill or chives would be great options too. Yum!

Ok, now you saved those beautiful beet greens didn't you??
After you've rinsed them well, grab a skillet, turn on that flame and add a little water to the pan.
Layer in those greens, stems and all and slap on the lid. Once the water starts to simmer, cook only for ~2 minutes. Remove from the pan and squeeze a little lemon juice over them, some salt maybe and your done!
Now hopefully, you've got some awesome leftovers like I did to layer on top of those yummy greens. This is Mediterranean baked cod from last night's easy and so good. Man, I love leftovers!!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Baked Honey and Mustard Butter Beans

I've loved the idea of baking beans ever since I discovered my favorite recipe for preparing limas.
I guess this recipe is just another extension of that. I'm wondering however, if Scottish tinned butter beans are different from US butter beans? These weren't anywhere near as pretty as A Wee Bit of Cooking's beans. I'll try again with another type of bean as I'm sure this is a sound recipe!
Tasty, but I wanted to love them just a little more than I did.

Baked Honey and Mustard Butter Beans:
(A Wee Bit of Cooking's blog)

1 can of butter beans, drained, rinsed and dried
1 Tbs honey
1 tsp dijon mustard
1 tsp wholegrain mustard (I didn't have this, so used Country Dijon for both teaspoons of 'tard)
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
A few thyme sprigs

Preheat oven to 375
Mix the honey, mustard, a glug of olive oil, salt and pepper in a bowl. Add the butter beans and toss well.
Add beans to a oven proof dish and scatter across thyme. Bake for 30 minutes, or until golden on top.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Steamed Asparagus with Chopped Eggs and Herbed Dressing

We had a lighter supper last night in preparation for the throw-down that is Easter. I served this with some baked honey and mustard butter beans that I found on A Wee Bit of Cooking's blog.

Steamed Asparagus with Chopped Egg and Herbed Dressing:

1 bunch of asparagus, trimmed and steamed until crisp tender
2 hard boiled eggs, chopped (cover eggs in cold water and heat until the water starts to boil, then turn off heat and keep covered for 12 minutes, then rinse under cold water. No gray outsides on your yolks!)
~1 Tbs fresh tarragon, chopped
~1 tsp capers, chopped
~1 tsp whole grain mustard
a good squeeze of fresh lemon juice
(I'm just now realizing how yummy a little lemon zest would have been in there too, so you might try some of that too)
salt and fresh ground black pepper
olive oil
a tiny bit of agave nectar (or not)

Plate your asparagus and top with chopped eggs.
Combine tarragon through salt and pepper and mix well.
Slowly add oil while stirring, to emulsify the dressing.
Taste, and tweak in any way you'd like, adding a touch of agave or other sweet to balance if needed.
Drizzle dressing over asparagus and eggs.
Serve with an extra wedge of lemon.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Flax Seed Thin Crisps

I had the most amazing flax seed cone for my frozen yoghurt when I was in California last month. This dude makes them and Culture fro-yo offers them up at their counter. I'm dying to keep playing with these...this is my first attempt. I liked them just fine as is, but I'll update with an actual recipe once I've tweaked it a little more. These were really nice, not what I ate in Cali, but still good. I'm not sure I'd even try to replicate a cone. These lightly sweet and cinnamony thin crisps are a super addition to a bowl of Greek yogurt topped with macerated strawberries.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Cold Sesame Noodles with Asparagus

Asparagus is plentiful in the stores right now. I had 3 whole bunches of it in the fridge. Book club tonight, so in went 2 of the bundles into my noodly dish. I think this recipe originally came from my cousin's wife, who got it from someone else, and so on and so on. Make it your own in any way you'd like.

Cold Sesame Noodles with Asparagus:

7 Tbs sesame oil
7 Tbs soy sauce
3 Tbs rice wine vinegar
1 Tbs minced ginger
1 large clove garlic
3 1/2 Tbs dark brown sugar
2 tsp sambal oelek or use chili oil if you've got it
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
2 bunches of asparagus, trimmed and thinly sliced on a diagonal
14 oz of Chinese egg noodles
1 bunch of scallions, thinly sliced on the diagonal
1/3 cup lightly toasted sesame seeds (I used sesame Gomasio)

Bring a large pot of water to the boil and while you're waiting for it to boil...
In a large bowl, combine sesame oil through cilantro and mix to dissolve sugar.

Once your water's boiling add asparagus and cook until it's bright green and still slightly crisp (about 2 minutes) .
Remove asparagus with a sieve so that you can use the water to cook the noodles.
Place asparagus in a colander and run it immediately under cold water to stop the cooking.

Once the water has come to a boil again, add noodles breaking them up (and making a big mess) with your fingers to separate them somewhat. Stir once they're in the water to further separate the noodles. Cook as per package instructions...about 5 minutes only, then drain and rinse in cold water.

Add cooked noodles, most of the asparagus, most of the onions and sesame seeds to the dressing. Toss to coat.
Mound on a platter or in a bowl and garnish with remaining, asparagus, onions, and sesame seeds.