Thursday, October 20, 2016

Risi E Bisi

(recipe from Food & Wine magazine)

About 7 cups vegetable broth
4 cups fresh young peas (about 4 lbs. in the pod) or thawed frozen peas
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh mint
4 Tbsp. unsalted butter (I used coconut oil)
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 small red onion, finely chopped
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 1/2 cups freshly grated Parmesan cheese (I omitted this)
salt and freshly ground pepper

In a medium saucepan, bring the broth to a simmer.  Add 2 cups of the peas and blanch over low heat for 1 minute.  Using a slotted spoon, transfer the peas to a food processor and add 1/2 cup of the broth.  Pulse the peas to a coarse puree.  Keep the remaining broth warm, at a simmer.

In a large heavy saucepan, melt the butter in the oil.  Add the onion and cook over moderate heat until softened and lightly colored, about 4 minutes.  Add the rice and stir for 3 minutes.

Add the remaining 2 cups of uncooked peas and mint to the rice and stir-fry over moderate heat for 1 minute.  Add the hot stock, 1 cup at a time, and stir constantly until it is partially absorbed before adding more (as for risotto), 20 to 25 minutes.  The texture should be soupy; if necessary, add more stock.  Just before the rice is al dente, stir in the coarsely pureed peas.  Stir in the parsley and half of the Parmesan and season with salt and pepper.  Serve at once, sprinkling with the remaining cheese at the table.

(More like a risotto than a soup.  Very fresh pea flavor, even with frozen peas.)

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Roasted Potato Salad with Shaved Fennel and Salsa Verde

(recipe from

2 lb. small red-skinned or Yukon Gold potatoes, washed and cut into 3/4-inch chunks
3 Tbsp. olive oil
salt and freshly ground pepper

1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/4 cup olive oil
3 Tbsp. thinly sliced chives
3 Tbsp. drained, rinsed, and chopped capers
2 Tbsp. fresh orange juice
1 Tbsp. white wine vinegar
1 tsp. finely grated orange zest
1 tsp. chopped fresh thyme (I used a smaller amount of dried thyme)
1 medium shallot, finely chopped
1 medium clove garlic, finely chopped
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 medium-small fennel bulb

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 450F.  Spread the potatoes on a heavy-duty rimmed baking sheet.  Drizzle with the olive oil, sprinkle with 1 tsp. salt and several grinds of pepper, and roll them around to evenly coat them with the oil.  Spread the potatoes in a single layer, preferably with a cut side down.  Roast until the potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork, 20 to 30 minutes.  The potatoes should be browned on the sides touching the pan.  Loosen the potatoes from the pan with a thin spatula and transfer them to a large serving bowl.

While the potatoes are roasting, in a medium bowl, stir the parsley, olive oil, chives, capers, orange juice, vinegar, orange zest, thyme, shallot, and garlic to make the salsa verde.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Cut off the top and the bottom of the fennel.  Cut the fennel bulb in half from top to bottom, and again into quarters - remove the cores.  Lay each quarter on its cut surface and then slice crosswise as thinly as possible.

Add the salsa verde and shaved fennel to the bowl of roasted potatoes - they can be added while potatoes are still warm, or at room temperature.  Toss well, season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Cauliflower Slaw

(recipe from

1/2 cup thinly sliced almonds
Juice of half a lemon (about 1 Tbsp.), plus more to taste
1 Tbsp. white wine vinegar
1/4 tsp. sea salt, plus more to taste
3 Tbsp. dried currants
5 Tbsp. olive oil, plus more for frying
2 Tbsp. brined or salt-packed capers
1 small, compact-looking head of cauliflower (about 1 1/4 lbs.)
Freshly ground pepper
3 scallions, thinly sliced (use green and white parts)
2 Tbsp. chopped flat-leaf parsley (optional, mostly for color)

Heat oven to 350F.  Spread almonds on a tray and toast them until they're a deep golden color, tossing them once or twice to ensure even cooking.  This will take 10 to 14 minutes.  Set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, place lemon juice, vinegar, and 1/4 tsp. salt in a small bowl.  Add currants; set aside and let them soak while you prepare the other ingredients.

If using brined capers, drain and spread them on paper towels until most of their moisture has wicked out, about 5 minutes.  If using salt-packed capers, soak them in water for 10 minutes to remove the saltiness, then drain, rinse, and pat dry on paper towels.  Pour 1/2-inch of olive oil, or another oil that you prefer to fry in, in a small skillet or saucepan.  Heat it over medium-high heat.  When hot enough that a droplet of water added to the oil hisses, carefully add the capers and step back - they're going to sputter a bit for the first 10 seconds.  Once it's safe to get closer, give them a stir.  Depending on how dry they were, it can take 1 to 2 minutes for them to get lightly golden at the edges and then crisp.  Remove with a slotted spoon.  Drain on paper towels.

Trim cauliflower leaves and cut the head into quarters.  Cut stems and florets into 1/4-inch slices.  Add to a large bowl.

Scoop currants from vinegar mixture with a slotted spoon and add to bowl with cauliflower, along with almonds, capers, scallions, and parsley.  Slowly whisk 5 Tbsp. olive oil into remaining vinegar mixture in a thin stream.  Add several turns of freshly ground black pepper.  Pour over cauliflower and other ingredients and turn gently to coat.  Taste and adjust the seasonings, adding more lemon juice, salt, or pepper to taste.  Serve.

(Really different, crisp and tasty.  I didn't mess with all of the rinsing and draining of the capers - I just drained quickly and sautéed in a pan.)

Monday, October 17, 2016

Roasted Ratatouille Couscous

(recipe from The Washington Post)

Olive oil or non-stick cooking spray
1 medium eggplant (about 1 lb.), cut into 3/4- to 1-inch cubes
1 lb. zucchini, cut into 3/4- to 1-inch cubes
1 large red bell pepper, cored, seeded and cut into 1/2- to 3/4-inch squares
2 medium onions, cut into 1/2- to 3/4-inch dice
2 tomatoes, seeded and cut into 1/2- to 3/4-inch dice (I didn't seed my tomatoes)
1/3 cup plus 2 Tbsp. olive oil
salt and freshly ground pepper
2 cups uncooked couscous (I used brown rice)

Preheat the oven to 425F.  Lightly coat a large rimmed baking sheet with olive oil or spray.

In a large bowl, combine the eggplant, zucchini, bell pepper, onions and tomatoes.  Add 1/3 cup of the oil and salt and pepper to taste and toss the vegetables to coat.  Transfer to the prepared baking sheet, keeping the vegetables in one layer.

Roast until tender and just beginning to brown, 60 to 70 minutes (or less - keep an eye on them), stirring every 15 minutes and turning the pan midway through to ensure even cooking.  Transfer to a large serving bowl and set aside.

Prepare the couscous (or rice) according to package directions.  Add the cooked couscous and the remaining 2 Tbsp. oil to the roasted vegetables and stir to combine.  Adjust the seasonings to taste.  Serve warm or at room temperature.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Crisp Arugula Salad

(recipe from Christina Cooks)

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/4 tsp. cracked black pepper
2 tsp. fresh lemon juice

2 cups baby arugula
10-12 strawberries, hulled and quartered
1/2 cup pine nuts
1/2 cup raisins (I used currants)

Combine dressing ingredients in the bottom of your salad bowl.  Add greens, fruit, nuts, raisins and toss to coat ingredients with dressing.

*You may use berries, pear or apple slices, tangerines, unsweetened dried cranberries, hazelnuts, walnuts or almonds.  You can change the salad completely by adding cherry tomatoes and cucumbers or olives and leaving out the fruit.

(Basic, simple, delicious.)

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Cashew Sour Cream

(recipe from Whole Foods Market)

1 cup raw cashews
2 tsp. cider vinegar
1 tsp. lemon juice
1/8 tsp. fine sea salt

Place cashews in a small bowl and cover by about 1/2-inch with boiling water.  Let soak for 30 minutes.

Drain cashews, reserving the liquid.  Place cashews in a blender with the vinegar, lemon juice, salt and 1/4 cup of the soaking liquid.  Blend until very smooth, adding more soaking liquid as required to puree the mixture.  Makes about 1 1/4 cups.

(This was fairly good as a sour cream alternative - just making note of it.)

Monday, September 5, 2016

Stir-Fried Corn and Tempeh

(recipe from

Olive oil
5-6 thin slices fresh ginger, cut into fine matchsticks
2 cloves fresh garlic, thinly sliced
1 small leek, halved lengthwise, rinsed free of dirt, sliced thinly diagonally
soy sauce (to taste)
8-oz. package tempeh, cut into small cubes
1 cup frozen corn kernels
1 cup watercress, rinsed well, hand broken into bite-size pieces

Place a generous amount of oil in a skillet or wok along with ginger, garlic and leek, over medium heat.  When the leek begins to sizzle, add a splash of soy sauce and sauté for 1-2 minutes.  Stir in tempeh cubes, season lightly with soy sauce and stir fry for 3-4 minutes, allowing the tempeh to brown on the edges.  Stir in corn, season to taste with soy sauce and stir fry until the corn is just heated through.  Remove from heat and stir in watercress.  Transfer to a serving platter and serve hot.