Posts tagged ‘vegetables’

April 20, 2011

Panzanella

Panzanella

It’s cold. It’s rainy. It doesn’t feel like spring at all. Welcome to the Midwest. On weeks like these, I turn up the thermostat to 80, put on shorts, turn up the reggae  and dance around my house while cooking up something summery and pretending it’s sunny and beautiful outside. During one particular occasion, I decided to be ‘Italian’ and make a beautiful Panzanella. This light summery salad is a perfect way to forget a cold rainy day. The thing I love most about it is that it’s different. It’s not your typical ‘lettuce and tomato’ salad (though there’s nothing wrong with typical salads when you’re craving them), and the  fact that it has the toasted bread makes it able to be a meal all in itself. This salad is definitely a keeper in my salad repertoire.

Panzanella

Ingredients

3 tablespoons good olive oil
1 small French bread, cut into 1-inch cubes (6 cups)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 large ripe tomatoes, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 hothouse cucumber, unpeeled, seeded, and sliced 1/2 inch thick
2 bell peppers, seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes (I like to use a combination of purple or yellow or orange, to nicely colorize the dish)
20 large basil leaves, coarsely chopped
3 tablespoons capers, drained

For the vinaigrette


1 teaspoon finely minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons champagne vinegar
1/3 cup good olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Directions:
Heat the oil in a large saute pan. Add the bread and salt; cook over low to medium heat, tossing frequently, for 10 minutes, or until nicely browned. Add more oil as needed.
For the vinaigrette, whisk together the ingredients.
In a large bowl, mix the tomatoes, cucumber, red pepper, yellow pepper, red onion, basil, and capers. Add the bread cubes and toss with the vinaigrette. Season liberally with salt and pepper.
Serve immediately, or allow the salad to sit for about half an hour for the flavors to blend.

Source: Adapted from: Smitten Kitchen

April 11, 2011

Chicken Ghiveci

 

Chicken Ghivich

People often ask me what “Moldovian food” is. This is a pretty difficult question to answer since I’ve figured out that it is truly a mishmash of Romanian, Ukranian and Russian food. Growing up, my family would often get together for meals and I always assumed that what we were eating was just “Moldovian food”. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve figured out that so much of what I eat is actually Romanian or  Ukranian. I usually make a list for people that includes “chicken jello” (trust me, you don’t want to know…its actual name is Halodets), “Olivier salad” (the Eastern European version of potato salad), and “pirozhki” (post on these will happen very soon as they are one of my favorite foods in the world).

Ghiveci is usually on this list as well. This ‘chicken ghiveci’ is a Romanian dish that I absolutely love. It can be made vegetarian just by excluding the chicken (and still tastes great). It’s a very good dish for cleaning out your refrigerator as you can throw pretty much any vegetable into it. Warm and very similar to a vegetable/chicken stew, for me, this is truly comfort food.

Chicken Ghiveci

Ingredients
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 mild onion, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 red bell peppers, seeded and sliced
1 1/2 lbs chicken breast
6 Tbsp tomato paste
3 potatoes, diced
1/2 tsp dried rosemary
1/2 tsp dried marjoram
1/2 tsp dried thyme
3 carrots, cut into chunks
1/2 small celeriac, cut into chunks
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 zucchini sliced
salt and black pepper

Directions

Heath the oil in a large flameproof casserole. Add the onion and garlic andcook for 1-2 minutes, until soft.
Add the chopped red peppers
Cut the chicken into 1-2 inch cube, place in the casserole and brown on all sides.
after 15 minutes, add the tomato paste, potatoes, herbs, carrots, celeriac and white wine and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Cook over low heat, covered for another 40-50 min.
Add zucchini slices 5 min before end of cooking. Adjust the seasoning to taste.
Serve with dark rye bred.

Source: Adapted from: Russian, German & Polish Food & Cooking

March 8, 2011

Homemade Hummus

Homemade Hummus

Last weekend, my sister-in-law welcomed her first baby, my fifth niece, Clara. I haven’t gotten to meet her yet, but from the pictures, she looks precious. Knowing that as new parents, my sister-in-law and her husband are likely not getting much sleep and definitely not having much time to cook, I decided to make them a couple easy dishes (homemade hummus and chicken enchiladas that will be posted soon) that they can enjoy. Since I spent the weekend working in the emergency department, I wanted to make them something that wouldn’t take a whole lot of time to put together. Taking only a few minutes to make, but tasting gourmet, this hummus was the perfect solution. The wonderful thing about this recipe is that you can really alter it to please your palate by changing the amount of lemon and garlic you add. My only regret was that I didn’t triple the recipe to have enough for myself for the week.

Homemade Hummus

Ingredients

2 cups canned chickpeas
1/4 cup tahini
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup olive oil
2 lemons, juiced
1 tablespoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
Kosher salt
Fresh ground pepper
1/2 cup or more water

Directions

In a food processor, add 2 cups of chickpeas, 1/4 cup tahini, 2 cloves of garlic, 1/4 cup olive oil, the juice of 2 lemons, 1 tablespoon cumin, 1/4 teaspoon cayenne, several pinches of salt, and some fresh ground. Pulse until roughly chopped.
Turn the food processor to on and pour about 1/2 cup of water in a steady stream until the hummus is blended nicely. You may need to add a little more water and olive oil to get the desired consistency
Taste and adjust flavors to your liking.
Serve with pita or fresh vegetables.

Source: A Couple Cooks

February 26, 2011

Sauteed Spinach

 

Sauteed Spinach

In my house, it is a battle to get my husband to eat vegetables, which is unfortunate since I love veggies. I am constantly trying to find new ways of cooking them to make them ‘edible’ for him.  Over the years, I have found that adding garlic and butter to vegetables will make him at least give the vegetable dish a shot, so when I stumbled upon this recipe for sauteed spinach, I knew I had to give it a shot. It’s so quick and easy to make and although the picture doesn’t do it justice, it’s really flavorful. My proof that it was a good recipe? Husband finished his whole portion.

 

Sauteed Spinach

Ingredients

1 lb spinach (2 bunches)
2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil + more if needed
1 Tbsp butter
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp red pepper flakes
salt to taste

Directions

Cut off the thick stems of the spinach and discard. Clean the spinach by filling up your sink with water and soaking the spinach to loosen any sand or dirt. Drain the spinach and then repeat soaking and draining. Put the spinach in a salad spinner to remove any excess moisture.
Heat 2 Tbsp olive oil and 1 Tbsp butter in a large skillet on medium high heat. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and sauté for about 1 minute, until the garlic is just beginning to brown.
Add the spinach to the pan, packing it down a bit if you need to with your hand. Use a couple spatulas to lift the spinach and turn it over in the pan so that you coat more of it with the olive oil and garlic. Do this a couple of times. Cover the pan and cook for 1 minute. Uncover and turn the spinach over again. Cover the pan and cook for an additional minute.
After 2 minutes of covered cooking the spinach should be completely wilted. Remove from heat. Drain any excess moisture from the pan. Add a little more olive oil, sprinkle with salt to taste. Serve immediately.

Source: Adapted from: Simply Recipes

February 16, 2011

Grilled Portobello Mushrooms

 

Grilled Portobello Mushrooms

So, do you have cavities yet from all of the sweet posts?

Now that Valentine’s Day is past, I thought I would start posting “real” food posts again…not that dessert isn’t ‘real’ food but I think I’m in the minority when I claim that dessert should be the bottom of the food pyramid.

I’m not a red meat eater, so whenever I make my husband steak, I usually scavenge around the kitchen trying to find something for myself to eat…and that ‘something’ usually ends up being a Boca burger. Well, one night, I got tired of doing  that so I decided to actually make a gourmet meal and make grilled portobello mushrooms for myself. I had only had portobellos in sandwiches before but let me tell you, these were incredible! They were juicy and flavorful, and I didn’t feel at all like I was missing out by not eating steak that night.

This recipe would probably work well with the whole portobello caps too, but I used what was on sale (pre-sliced stems) and it was so delicious. I highly recommend this recipe for any vegetarian or non-vegetarian willing to be adventurous.

 

Grilled Portobello Mushrooms

Ingredients

4 large portobello mushrooms, washed, stems cut off and caps cut into slices
1 1/2 Tbsp butter
1 1/2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/2 Tbsp lemon juice
2 garlic cloves, minced
black pepper, to taste

Directions

Melt the butter, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic & pepper together in a small saucepan.
Brush the mushrooms generously with the melted butter and olive oil mixture.
On a grill pan, grill the portobello mushrooms for about 8 minutes. Turn and grill the tops of the portobello mushrooms for 6 to 8 minutes longer. The grilled portobello mushrooms should be tender and nicely browned.

Source: Adapted from: Southern Food About dot com

February 2, 2011

Red Pepper and Leek Mini-Quiches

 

Leek and Red Pepper Mini Quiches

This is one of the last recipes  that I plan on posting from my sister-in-law’s baby shower…but I just had to post it. These were so delicious that my husband even ate a few and he absolutely refuses to eat quiche usually. Truth be told, I have never cooked with leeks but that has now changed since making these. Smelling the leeks while cooking the quiches, I knew that this was going to be good.

These would be perfect as a fancy brunch dish or just a good start to a weekend. I’m looking forward to trying out different combination of vegetables in them.

Leek and Red Pepper Mini Quiches

Ingredients

For the cheddar pastry

1/4 lb. white cheddar cheese, cut into chunks
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more as needed
1/4 tsp. salt
8 Tbs. (1 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 to 3 Tbs. cold water

For the filling:
1 1/2 Tbs. unsalted butter
1 leek, white portion only, or 2 large shallots, finely chopped
1/2 small red bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1/4-inch dice
1/4 lb. dry-aged white cheddar cheese, grated
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
3/4 tsp. Dijon mustard
3/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper

Directions:

To make the cheddar pastry, in a food processor, pulse the cheese until crumbly. Add the flour and salt and pulse until the cheese is finely crumbled. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles fluffy bread crumbs. Drizzle the egg over the mixture and pulse twice. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Sprinkle 2 Tbs. water over the mixture and pulse until a rough mass forms. If the mixture doesn’t come together, add another 1 Tbs. water.

Place the pastry on a lightly floured work surface and shape into a smooth ball. Divide in half. Roll out half the pastry into a large round 1/8 inch thick, pushing the dough outward from the center and rotating it about a quarter turn each time you roll, sprinkling more flour underneath as needed.

Using a 2-inch cookie cutter, cut out as many pastry rounds as possible and ease them very gently into the cups of a mini-muffin pan. The bottoms should remain rounded and the dough edges flush with the rims. Gather up the scraps, reroll, cut out additional rounds and line additional cups. Repeat with the remaining dough half, working in batches if necessary. You should have a total of 48 lined cups.

Preheat an oven to 400°F.

To make the filling, in a small sauté pan over medium-low heat, melt the butter. Add the leek and sauté gently, stirring occasionally, until tender but not browned, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and add the bell pepper and cheese. In another bowl or large measuring cup, whisk the eggs until blended, then whisk in the cream, mustard, salt and cayenne. Add the egg mixture to the leek mixture and whisk to combine. Pour 1 Tbs. of the filling into each of the pastry shells, evenly distributing the solids and liquid.

Bake the quiches until they are puffy and golden brown, about 20 minutes. Transfer the muffin pan to a wire rack and cool for 5 to 10 minutes (the quiches will sink a little as they cool). To loosen them from the muffin cups, run a thin-bladed knife around the sides, then carefully lift the quiches out of the cups. Arrange on a platter and serve.
Makes 48 warm bites.

Source: Williams Sonoma

January 20, 2011

Spinach and Artichoke Dip

 

Spinach and Artichoke Dip

I absolutely adore spinach artichoke dip. As does my sister-in-law. So when I was planning the menu for her baby shower, I just knew this had to be on the menu, even though it didn’t fit the “miniature-food” theme.

This dip is absolutely delicious and so easy to make. I fancied it up a bit by putting it in a breadbowl, but the dip is glorious by itself in a bowl as well. It’s rich and creamy and perfect for Superbowl Sunday as well as the Sunday baby shower.

Enjoy!

Spinach  Artichoke Dip

Ingredients

4 cloves garlic
1 (10 oz) package frozen spinach, thawed, chopped and drained
1 (14 oz) can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
1 (10 ounce) container Alfredo-style pasta sauce
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
Pumpernickel loaf

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
Place garlic in a small baking dish. Bake in the preheated oven 20 to 30 minutes, until soft. Remove from heat. When cool enough to touch, squeeze softened garlic from skins.
In an 8×8 inch baking dish, spread the roasted garlic, spinach, artichoke hearts, Alfredo-style pasta sauce, mozzarella cheese, Parmesan cheese and cream cheese.
Cover and bake in the preheated oven 30 minutes, or until cheeses are melted and bubbly.
Cut out top of Pumpernickel loaf and rip out inside of breadbowl to use as dipping pieces for the dip.
Once the dip is slightly cooled, fill the inside of the breadbowl.

Source: Adapted from All Recipes

January 17, 2011

Mushroom Risotto

 

Mushroom Risotto

My husband’s absolute favorite side dish is risotto. Given the option of risotto and anything else, he will 100 percent of  the time choose risotto. We’ve both been traveling a lot recently (separately unfortunately), so whenever we’re home together, I find myself making risotto…a lot.

One of the best things about risotto is that depending on what you add to it, the flavor can change so dramatically. With the addition of porcini and baby bella mushrooms, you have this amazing earthy, woodsy flavor.

Thankfully, this risotto is very easy to make, and I love that it’s a way to get Francis to eat vegetables. It’s perfect for my after-work quick-cooking as well as for our fancy-dinner occasions.

Mushroom Risotto

Ingredients

2 Tbsp butter
1 cup Arborio rice
1/4 cup mushroom mix (I used baby bella and porcini mushrooms)
2 Tbsp garlic
3 cups vegetable stock
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

Directions

In a medium skillet, heat 2 Tbsp butter with garlic on medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and cook 3 minutes longer.
Add Arborio Rice and cook for one minute longer, mixing with other ingredients.
Reduce heat to medium and add vegetable stock, one cup at a time, allowing it to absorb into the rice before adding another cup.
When the last cup of vegetable broth is absorbed and the rice has been cooking approximately 20 minutes (and is soft), add Parmesan cheese and allow it to melt.
Enjoy!

January 11, 2011

Channa Masala (Chickpea Curry)

 

Channa Masala (Chickpea Curry)

Francis and I have a ‘thing’ for Indian food. About once a month we’ll get these cravings where we absolutely must have Indian. Unfortunately for us, there are about two Indian restaurants in our town and they’re both (while very tasty), fairly expensive. Over the past several years, we’ve both figured out how to imitate Indian cooking. Francis’s ‘signature dish’ is Butter Chicken (and he makes Butter Shrimp for me) while mine is Chickpea Curry.

When we first began cooking Indian food, it was all very intimidating. Garam Masala? Curry powder? Somehow though, the realization that Garam Masala is sold right between Fennel and Ginger at our local grocery store made it less scary.

This dish is extremely easy and quick…perfect for those nights where I’m working late and want a quick and delicious dinner. Its degree of spiciness depends on how much cumin and red pepper flakes you add to it, so if you’re feeling adventurous, pour it in.

We usually serve this over white rice or alongside “Naan”, traditional Indian bread that is also (surprisingly) found in the bread section of our local grocery store…that adventure in cooking is to come hopefully soon (one of my cooking resolutions for the year is to make Naan…). Enjoy!

Channa Masala (Chickpea Curry)

Ingredients

4 medium potatoes, cubed
2 Tbsp canola oil
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1 tsp minced garlic
2 tsp curry powder
2 tsp garam masala
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 tsp salt
1/2  can diced tomatoes
1/2 can (10.5oz) condensed tomato soup
1/4 cup chopped red pepper
1/2 cup cream or milk
1 (12 ounce) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained

Directions

Place potatoes in a saucepan, cover with water, and bring to a boil over high heat; simmer until the potatoes are tender. Drain, and set aside.
Warm oil in a skillet over medium heat. Stir in onion and garlic and red pepper flakes, and cook until the onions are soft and translucent.
Stir in curry powder, garam masala, ginger, cumin, and salt. Cook for 1 or 2 minutes, stirring. Pour in diced tomatoes, red pepper, tomato soup, cream, and chickpeas. Stir in potatoes. Simmer 10 minutes.

Source: AllRecipes.com

January 6, 2011

Zuppa Toscana (Vegetarian)

 

Zuppa Toscana

There’s nothing better on a cold snowy January day than to have a warm bowl of delicious soup, especially when that bowl of soup can help a charity. Branny at Branny Boils Over is hosting a Charity Souper Bowl to raise money for the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA)…you know, those commercials that have you sobbing with those adorable animals that just need some love? Yeah, that ASPCA . She is being extremely thoughtful and generous and is donating $1 to ASPCA for every soup entry for her event. If you’re a blogger, all you have to do is blog a soup recipe (like this one) and mention her event in the entry as well as dedicate your entry to a special furry friend. Unfortunately, I don’t have pets due to my townhome not allowing them, so I would like to dedicate this post to all those adorable animals you see on the ASPCA commercials.

I saw this soup on the menu at Olive Garden a few months ago when Francis and I went and was so disappointed that it had bacon and sausage in it. Now, I know most people would drool at the word ‘bacon’ but I don’t eat bacon or sausage, so that posed a problem for me. I knew the soup would be good..but I just couldn’t order it!

Ever since then, I had been scouring the internet, trying to find a good ‘copycat’ recipe for this soup. While I haven’t tasted the original to know if this is an exact copycat, I think this recipe is absolutely delicious (and it met the husband taste-test as well, which is surprising given that it has a green vegetable in it). Even though it doesn’t have meat, the soup truly doesn’t feel like it’s lacking anything. Also, the fact that it’s fairly simple to make is a big bonus for me.

(Vegetarian) Zuppa Toscana

Ingredients

2 large russet baking potatoes, sliced in half, then 1/4 inch slices
1 large onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp red pepper flakes
2 cups kale
3 cups vegetable broth
3 cups water
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
Extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Directions

In a large soup pot on the stove, heat extra virgin olive oil over medium heat.
Add the garlic, onion and red pepper flakes and allow to cook for 1-2 minutes.
Add the potatoes, vegetable broth and water in the pot. Increase the heat to medium/high to bring to a simmer.
Cover and reduce heat to medium/low heat. Continue to heat until the potatoes are completely done (easily prickable with a fork).
Salt and pepper to taste.
Turn to low heat.
Add Parmesan Cheese
Heat through and serve.
Enjoy!
Add kale and cream.

Source: Adapted from Food.com