Monthly Archives: August 2011

Wild Rice, Cranberry and Almond Salad with a hint of Orange

Wild Rice, Cranberry & Almond Salad

Wild Rice, Cranberry & Almond Salad

My friend Raquel is the master of the wild rice salad. She tosses it up in huge quantities for party buffets at her house and there’s never any left over. I’ve been meaning to do a version of my own and today was the day. The only difference between my version and hers, is that I’ve added an orange juice-based vinaigrette – just a wee-tiny bit, because this salad can even stand on its own without any vinaigrette, but I love orange and cranberry flavors together, so I thought it would only make this great salad greater.

Hey, it’s vegan and gluten-free. Can’t beat that.

Wild Rice, Cranberry and Toasted Almond Salad with a hint of Orange
Serves 4 as a side

Ingredients

2 cups cooked wild rice (still warm)
3/4 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup toasted almonds slivers

Vinaigrette:
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp orange juice
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp finely diced onion

Optional addition: orange zest.

Method

1. Cook rice according to package directions (it takes about 45 minutes). Meanwhile, toast the almonds in a frying pan with no oil over medium high heat for about 5 minutes or until just starting to brown.

2. While the rice is still warm, toss it with the dried cranberries and the almonds. This will allow the cranberries to swell and their flavor to meld.

3. While the rice mixture is cooling, whisk together the ingredients for the vinaigrette until an emulsion is formed. Once rice mixture has cooled to room temperature toss the vinaigrette with the rice and mix thoroughly. Refrigerate and serve chilled.

Wild Rice Salad

Wild Rice Salad

Blueberry Cobbler: Fast, Fresh and Easy

Blueberry Cobbler

Blueberry Cobbler

Blueberries are in season and therefore, they’re on sale at Trader Joe’s for just $6.99 for a 2 lb basket. Time for cobbler when that happens.

I wanted to see if I could toss a bunch of fresh blueberries into pie plate with as few other ingredients as possible and come out with a tasty cobbler half an hour later. The answer is yes. Yes I can.

I use less sugar and butter in this recipe than most recipes out there, because I know that these berries can stand on their own. And I don’t stew them first, because I want them to maintain their structure. You can see in the photograph that the berries are still berries. That’s just how I like it.

See if you like it too. Subtract some berries and add peaches if you’ve got those lying around too.

Blueberry Cobbler: Fast, Fresh and Easy
Serves up to 9

Ingredients

2 1/2 cups Bisquick baking mix
2/3 cup reduced fat milk
4ish cups fresh blueberries
1/4 cup of sugar
2 Tbsp butter, cut into little pieces

Method

1. Preheat oven to 400˚F.

2. Put 3.5 – 4 cups of blueberries in a pie plate. Sprinkle 1/4 cup sugar (or a little more to taste) over the berries. Sprinkle the slices of butter around, evenly, on top of the berries.

3. If the oven is ready, put the pie plate with just the blueberry mixture into the over for 10 minutes to get the mixture heated through.

4. While berries are heating, mix together the Bisquick and the milk and stir until dough forms. Let sit for remaining time. (No kneading, no rolling – these will be like drop biscuits on top).

5. Remove berries from the oven at the end of 10 minutes. Increase the oven temperature to 425˚F. Drop the biscuit dough on top of the blueberries, trying to drop 8 dollups in a circle plus one in the middle. Bake uncovered for an additional 15 minutes or until biscuits are golden brown.

Serve immediately, if possible. Also sits well in the oven at low temperature. Cobbler is great with a scoop of vanilla ice cream too!

Blueberry Cobbler

Blueberry Cobbler w/Bisquick Biscuits

Home page basic 300 x 250

Sharffen Berger Fudgy Brownies

Sharffen Berger Fudgy Brownies

Sharffen Berger Fudgy Brownies

You know, chocolate is a funny thing. It comes in so many flavors and textures and each person knows just how they like it. Me? I like rich, dark chocolate. Sharffen Berger gets my kind of chocolate just right. So I was lucky when the company just happened to sponsor a Food Blogging conference I attended and the goodie bag we got was filled with lots of Sharffen Berger baking chocolate. Like the 70% cacao bittersweet chocolate, which is the basis for these fudgy brownies. This recipe comes directly from the source. Sharffen Berger publishes this and lots of other recipes on their site. These are definitely the fudgiest, most decadent brownies I’ve ever had. Enjoy!

Sharffen Berger 70% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate

Sharffen Berger 70% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate

Sharffen Berger Fudgy Brownies
Makes 9 two-inch square brownies
Ingredients

6 tablespoons (3 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into cubes, plus more for the pan
8 ounces SCHARFFEN BERGER 70% bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1/3 cup all-purpose flour

Method

1. Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 325°F. Cut an 8 by 16-inch piece of parchment paper. Lightly butter an 8 by 8 by 2-inch pan and line it with the parchment, allowing it to extend evenly over the opposite sides. Butter the parchment including the paper on the sides of the pan.

2. Place the chocolate and butter in a large heatproof bowl set over a pot of gently simmering water and stir occasionally until melted and smooth. Remove from the heat.

3. With a large rubber spatula or wooden spoon, beat the sugar and salt into the chocolate mixture. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Add the flour and mix vigorously until the batter is very glossy and pulls away from the sides of the bowl.

4. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and tap the pan bottom on the countertop to level the batter. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a skewer in the center comes out moist but clean.

Let cool in the pan on a cooling rack for 10 minutes. Remove the brownies from the pan using the parchment “handles,” and cool completely on the rack before cutting into 2-inch squares.

Lentil Salad Three Ways

Lentil Salad Three Ways

Buy a bag of lentils at Safeway for $1.49, or spend $8 for a fancy box of French Le Puy Lentils at Whole Foods. Either way, you can create a myriad of healthy salads that will keep in the fridge for about a week and work as main dishes, sides or snacks. Put the lentil salad on top of a bed of lettuce or the add arugula for bite. Roll the lentils up in a whole wheat tortilla for a healthy bean wrap. Serve warm with fish, like Salmon or Mahi Mahi. The possibilities are endless.

To prepare the lentils, follow the directions on the side of the package. Do not pre-soak lentils. They cook pretty quickly. Typically, for a 16 oz bag of lentils, bring 8-10 cups of water to boil in a large pot. Add the lentils and simmer gently for 25-30 minutes. For salads, you want the lentils to maintain a little bite so that they don’t get too mushy. Start checking them at 25 minutes to get the texture just right. A 16-oz bag of lentils will yield about six cups of cooked lentils.

Heirloom Tomato-Basil Lentil Salad

Heirloom Tomato-Basil Lentil Salad

Serves 4 as a side

Ingredients

2 cups cooked lentils
1 large or 2 small heirloom tomatoes, diced into small cubes.
2 Tbsp minced shallots or scallions
1/4 cup minced fresh basil and additional leaves for garnish
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
6 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 Tbsp of Crumbled Feta (optional) – I left it out because I like to try to be vegan when I can

Method

1. For the vinaigrette, whisk together the olive oil and vinegar into an emulsion. Toss lentils, tomatoes, shallots, minced basil, and oil vinegar to combine. Season with pepper and garnish with basil leaf and feta if using. Serve chilled.

Tarragon-Mustard Vinaigrette Lentil Salad

Tarragon-Mustard Vinaigrette Lentil Salad

Serves 4 as a side

Ingredients

2 cups cooked lentils
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
2 Tbsp red-wine vinegar
1 Tbsp minced shallot or scallions
Salt and pepper to taste
6 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp minced tarragon

Method

1. Whisk together the vinegar, shallots, salt, pepper, olive oil, mustard and tarragon. Toss with red bell pepper and lentils to combine. Garnish with tarragon leaves. Serve chilled.

Lemon Dill Lentil Salad

Fresh Lemon-Dill Lentil Salad

Serves 4 as a side

Ingredients
2 cups cooked lentils
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
1/4 cup fresh dill, minced
2 Tbsp fresh-squeezed lemon juice
1 Tbsp minced shallot or scallions
Salt and pepper to taste
6 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Method

1. Whisk together lemon juice, shallots, salt, pepper, and olive oil. Toss with lentils, red bell pepper and fresh dill to combine. Garnish with sprigs of dill.

Engine 2 Diet Lasagna Featured by Dr. Oz

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Vegan Lasagne

Vegan Lasagne

Rip Esselstyn developed the “Engine 2 Diet” plan for a team of Texas firefighters, who were overweight and suffered from high cholesterol and high blood pressure. He found that eliminating meat and dairy (including chicken and fish, milk and cheese) from his diet, helped him and his team lose weight, lower their cholesterol numbers and turn the tide on high blood pressure.

He wrote The Engine 2 Diet: The Texas Firefighter’s 28-Day Save-Your-Life Plan that Lowers Cholesterol and Burns Away the Pounds to share his insights with the world.

I used to be a die-hard 3 meals a day with meat kind of gal. Well, maybe not breakfast with meat everyday, but still. I would make up for it later in the day. Heck, the post before this one is a burger with cheese. But I bring you this recipe because it is as satisfying as any meal I’ve had with meat, including meat lasagne, and packs more veggies per serving than any dish I’ve ever prepared. Talk about sneaking in veggies in your kids’ meals. This recipe does that in spades.

Dr. Oz endorsed this eating plan on his show in February 2010, just about the time my husband and I started exploring the benefits of a vegan diet. The timing was perfect. This is a great meal to transition effortlessly to a diet that treads more lightly on the earth and on your body.

In the photograph above, I have not yet sprinkled the top with the ground cashews, because that step occurs after you’ve baked it for 45 minutes. It’s amazing how the cashews successfully take the place of mozzarella cheese.

Engine 2 Diet Lasagna Featured by Dr. Oz
 
Who knew lasagna could be vegan?
Author:
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Vegan
Serves: 10-12
Ingredients
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 small head of garlic, all cloves chopped or pressed
  • 8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 head broccoli, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 2 red bell peppers, seeded and chopped
  • 1 can corn, rinsed and drained
  • 1 package firm tofu
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp basil
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp rosemary
  • 2 jars pasta sauce
  • 2 boxes whole grain lasagna noodles
  • 16 oz frozen spinach, thawed and drained
  • 2 sweet potatoes, cooked and mashed
  • 6 Roma tomatoes, sliced thin
  • 1 cup raw cashews, ground
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 ° F.
  2. Saute the onion and garlic on high heat for 3 minutes in a wok or nonstick pan. Add the mushrooms and cook until the onions are limp and the mushrooms give up their liquid. Remove them to a large bowl with a slotted spoon. Reserve the mushroom liquid in the pan.
  3. Saute the broccoli and carrots for 5 minutes and add to the mushroom bowl. Saute the peppers and corn until just beginning to soften. Add them to them to the vegetable bowl.
  4. Drain the tofu by wrapping in paper towels. Break it up directly in the towel and mix into the vegetable bowl. Add spices to the vegetable bowl and combine.
  5. Cover the bottom of a 9x13 inch casserole with a layer of sauce. Add a layer of noodles. Cover the noodles with sauce. This way the noodles cook in the oven, saving time and energy.
  6. Spread the vegetable mixture over the sauced noodles. Cover with a layer of noodles and another dressing of sauce.
  7. Add the spinach to the second layer of sauced noodles. Cover the spinach with the mashed sweet potatoes. Add another layer of sauce, the final layer of noodles, and a last topping of sauce.
  8. Cover the lasagna with thinly sliced Roma tomatoes. Cover with foil and bake in the oven for 45 minutes.
  9. Remove the foil, sprinkle with the cashews, and return to the over for 15 minutes.
  10. Let sit for 15 minutes before serving.

This post is part of Real Food Wednesdays hosted by KellyTheKitchenKop.com.

Béarnaise Burger

Béarnaise Burger

I’m going through a tarragon phase right now, and whenever I cook with tarragon, I think of Sauce Béarnaise. Sauce Béarnaise is a butter emulsion sauce like Hollandaise. Hollandaise is flavored with lemon juice while Béarnaise Sauce is flavored with shallots, chervil, pepper and tarragon.

Sauce Béarnaise on Asparagus

For this burger, I wanted the flavor profile of a Sauce Bérnaise without actually making Sauce Béarnaise. It’s a legendarily difficult sauce to get right and uses an entire stick of butter. It’s a great sauce that goes well with steak or asparagus or lots of other things. If you want to try making it yourself, try the recipe at Fine Cooking. Feel free to also pour the sauce over a burger, but in this recipe, we take the ingredients of Sauce Béarnaise and add them to ground beef, so they are right in the burger.

I used Gruyère Cheese on my burger and added sautéed onions and mushrooms. I used 85/15 ground beef to achieve a balance between fat and flavor.

Bérnaise Burger
Makes 4 Burgers

Ingredients

1-2 Tbsp diced shallots
1/2 tsp fresh chervil, finely chopped (optional)
1 1/2 Tbsp fresh tarragon, finely chopped)
1 egg
1 lb of ground beef (85/15 or 80/20)
Salt and pepper to taste
1 Tbsp butter
1/2 lb sliced mushrooms
2-3 Tbsp diced onion
4 slices of Gruyère cheese
4 slices of butter lettuce
4 hamburger buns – I used sandwich thins by Oroweat

Method

1. Mix the shallots, chervil, tarragon, egg, ground beef, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Form into 4 patties. Heat a grill pan over medium heat. Spray with cooking spray. Add the patties and cook for about 7 minutes on each side, depending on how well done you like your burgers and how hot your pan is. Cover, vented, while cooking.

2. Meanwhile, heat a medium sautée pan over medium heat. Melt the butter and add the onions. Sautée until just starting to soften, about 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms, and continue to sautée until mushrooms sweat out their moisture and start to brown.

3. Add the cheese to burgers and continue to cook, with the vented cover, until cheese has melted. Toast the buns. Prepare the lettuce slices.

4. Assemble the burgers with lettuce on the bottom, burger patty with cheese in the middle and mushrooms and onions on top. Serve immediately.

Rosemary Focaccia

Rosemary Focaccia

I am totally into this focaccia. This recipe has been tested and tested. Use fresh rosemary. Don’t hold back on the oil and salt and eat it while it’s still warm.

Rosemary Focaccia

Ingredients
1/2 cup high quality extra-virgin olive oil
2-4 whole cloves garlic, cracked
2 sprigs of rosemary
1 (1/4-ounce) package rapid rise dry yeast
4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour plus additional for kneading
2 tsp table salt
2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon coarse sea salt

Method

For the garlic-rosemary infused olive oil:

1. Heat 1/2 cup of olive oil, the rosemary sprigs and garlic cloves in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Heat until just starting to bubble, remove from heat and allow to sit and cool for at least 30 minutes or longer.

For the focaccia:

1. Stir together 1 2/3 cups lukewarm water and yeast in bowl of mixer. Add 4 cups flour, 1/4 cup of the rosemary-garlic infused oil, and the table salt and beat with the paddle attachment at medium speed until a dough forms. Replace paddle with dough hook and knead dough at high speed until soft, smooth, and sticky, 3 to 4 minutes.

2. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead in 1 – 2 more tablespoons of flour for about a minute then transfer to an oiled bowl and turn to coat it with the oil. Let rise, covered with plastic wrap, at warm room temperature, until doubled in bulk, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

3. Press dough evenly into a generously oiled 15 x 10 inch baking pan. Let dough rise, covered with a kitchen towel, until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.

4. Preheat oven to 500°F. Stir together rosemary and remaining 3 tablespoons oil. With a fork, make shallow pin pricks all over the dough, then brush with rosemary oil. Sprinkle sea salt over the focaccia. Bake at 500˚F for 5 minutes and then reduce to 475˚F for another 15 minutes or until golden brown.

5. Remove from oven and invert onto a rack and flip over. Eat immediately, if possible.

giggle

Peach Smoothie

Peach Smoothie

Peach Smoothie

At our house, we go through phases where we make smoothies every morning. When bananas start to turn brown, we throw them in the freezer, so we can use them in a smoothie later. We have an entire shelf in the freezer devoted to frozen fruit. There are the bananas we’ve rescued, bags of frozen fruit, and even bags of frozen spinach. There are strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and… peaches.

Of all of the smoothies we make, this one is my favorite.

Peach Smoothie
Serves One

Ingredients

1/2 banana
1/2 container peach yogurt
1/2 10 oz bag of frozen peaches
1/2 cup orange juice

Method

Put all of the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Serve immediately.

Peach Smoothie

Chana Masala

Chana Masala

You say Garbanzo Bean, I say Chickpea, but in India, it is “Chana.”

Chana Masala is one of the most popular Indian dishes. Since it’s vegan and spicy, it falls into the category of “dishes my husband likes.” I hope you enjoy it too.

Chana Masala
Serves 4-6

Ingredients

1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 whole cardamom pod
1 whole cinnamon stick
1 whole Bay Leaf
A few whole cloves
1 tsp whole cumin seeds
2 medium onions, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 15-ounce can of diced tomatoes
chopped green chilis
1 teaspoon garam masala
1/4 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp cumin powder
2 (15-ounce) cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained
Salt to taste
Squeezes of lemon juice
Fresh cilantro to garnish

Method

1. Heat oil in a large skillet. Add whole spices (cadamom pod, cinnamon stick, Bay Leaf, whole cloves, cumin seeds) to the pan and sautée for 2 minutes over medium-high heat. Add onion and sautée until softened and browned, about 8 minutes. Add garlic, ginger and turmeric. Stir to combine. Sautée for a minute or two.

2. Add the canned tomatoes and green chilis. Simmer until thickened slightly, about 3 minutes. While tomatoes are simmering, mix together the garam masala powder, chili powder, ground coriander, turmeric, and cumin powder. Add this mixture to the simmering tomatoes and stir to combine.

3. Add the chickpeas. If the dish is getting dry, add up to 2/3 cup of water. Simmer uncovered for 5-10 minutes or until chickpeas are soft, but not mushy. Season with salt.

4. Fish out the Bay Leaf and cinnamon stick. Serve over rice. Squeeze lemon on top and garnish with lots of fresh cilantro.

Here is a version of Chana Masala demonstrated by ShowMeTheCurry. Their version involves using tea bags to enhance flavor and color. Cool!

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