Monday, September 26, 2011

Scallion Vinaigrette

(recipe from Bobby Flay)

6 scallions, pale and dark green parts only, coarsely chopped
1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped
3 Tbsp. sherry vinegar
3 Tbsp. water
1 tsp. honey
1/4 cup plus 1 Tbsp. canola oil
3 Tbsp. chopped cilantro
salt & pepper

In a blender, puree the scallions, jalapeno, vinegar, water, and honey; gradually add the oil.  Add the cilantro and pulse.  Season with salt and pepper.

(Made 9/12/11.  I added lots of the white parts of the scallions, too, which made the dressing very strong.  Stick with the green parts!  Really good zippy dressing for salads.)

Potage de Lentille (lentil soup)

(recipe from Cooking Light magazine)

2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 1/2 cups chopped sweet onion
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped carrot
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 bay leaf
1 1/2 cups dried petite green lentils (Puy lentils)
4 cups vegetable broth
1 cup water
1 (14.5 oz.) can diced tomatoes
2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat.  Add onion and next 5 ingredients (through bay leaf) to pan; saute 12 minutes.  Add lentils; cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.  Stir in broth, 1 cup water, and tomatoes; bring to a boil.  Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 40 minutes or until lentils are very tender.  Remove from heat; let stand for 5 minutes.  Discard bay leaf.

Place 3 cups lentil mixture in a blender, and blend until smooth.  Return pureed mixture to pan; stir in lemon juice, salt, and 1/4 tsp. pepper.  Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 tsp. pepper.

8 (1 cup) servings.

(Made 9/12/11.  Brought for lunches.  Nice, simple soup with good flavor.)

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Quinoa with Balsamic Roasted Mushrooms

(recipe from

Serves 6.

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 small pear, peeled, cored, and cut into chunks
1 garlic clove, halved
2 lbs. portobello mushrooms, stemmed
1 cup quinoa
3 cups tightly packed spinach, chopped
4 green onions, thinly sliced
1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted
1/8 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 475F.

Put vinegar, mustard, pear, and garlic in a blender with 1/3 cup water and blend until smooth, about 1 minute.  Cut mushrooms into chunks and combine in a large mixing bowl with 1/4 cup of the pear balsamic dressing.  Spread mushrooms in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet.  Roast mushrooms until tender, stirring occasionally, 20 to 30 minutes.  Remove from the oven and let cool slightly.

While mushrooms roast, prepare quinoa.  In a medium pot, bring 1 3/4 cups water to a boil.  Stir in quinoa, cover pot, reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes.  Remove pot from heat and set aside, covered, 10 minutes more.  Uncover and fluff quinoa with a fork.

Combine mushrooms, quinoa, spinach, green onions, almonds, salt, pepper, and 1/2 cup more pear balsamic dressing in a large, wide serving bowl.  Stir to mix well.  Serve with remaing dressing on the side.  Serve this dish warm, room temperature, or cold, as a side dish or the main event.

(Made 9/7.  At first this recipe confused me, because the spinach is never cooked, but they say to maybe serve it warm...  Turns out, when you add the quinoa and mushrooms to the spinach, the greens kind of wilt.  The dressing is very good.  I predominantly ate this at room temperature for lunches, and it kept well for several days in the fridge.  Not my favorite recipe ever, but grew on me.  I ate some of the extra dressing tossed with greens later on.)

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Roasted Tomato and Fennel Soup

(recipe is from a magazine, but I don't know which one)

Serves 4 to 6

4 Tbsp. olive oil
2 1/2 lbs. plum tomatoes, cored, halved lengthwise, and seeded (I used half plum, half heirloom; did not seed)
1 medium-large fennel bulb (about 1 lb.) cored and cut into medium dice (plus some chopped fennel fronds for garnish; optional)
1 medium yellow onion, cut into medium dice
2 cloves garlic, chopped
salt & pepper
2 cups vegetable broth
1/2 cup milk (I used unsweetened So Delicious coconut milk)
2 tsp. chopped fresh thyme

Position a rack directly under the broiler element and heat the broiler on high.  Grease a rimmed baking sheet with 1 Tbsp. of the oil ard arrange the tomatoes on the sheet, cut side down.  Drizzle 1 Tbsp. oil over the tomatoes.  Rub the oil all over the tomato skins.  Broil until the skins are very charred and shrunken, turning as necessary, 8 to 10 minutes total.  Let cool for a few minutes and then slip the skins off the tomatoes.  Discard the skins.  (Note:  I did not broil the tomatoes, I put them in the oven on the top rack and roasted them.)

Meanwhile, heat the remaining 2 Tbsp. oil in a 4- to 6- quart saucepan or pot over medium heat.  Add the fennel, onion, garlic, and 1/2 tsp. salt.  Cook, stirring frequently, until softened and golden, 10 to 15 minutes.  Add the broth and scrape the bottom of the pot to release the browned bits.  Add the tomatoes and any juices from the baking sheet, bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, and cook until the fennel is very tender, about 5 minutes.

Puree the soup with a hand blender, or in 2 batches in a stand blender (if using a regular blender, return the soup to the pot).  Add the milk and thyme and heat gently over medium-low heat for 5 minutes.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Top each serving with chopped fennel fronds, if using.

(Made 9/4/11.  So very delicious!  I packed this for my lunches, and it kept getting better day after day as the flavors meshed.  My fennel bulb was huge with lots of stalks and fronds.  Not wanting to throw all that away, I made a fennel frond pesto with the extras:  put fennel fronds, chopped small fennel stalks, nuts (I used walnuts), garlic cloves (about 2) into the food processor and run while adding oil to the consistency you'd like.  Add lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste.  Use pesto as a spread on crackers or tossed with pasta.  Yum!)

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Carrots with Ginger-Honey Glaze

(recipe from a magazine, I'm not sure which one)

6 servings

2 1/2 lbs. carrots, peeled, cut into 3-inch lengths, quartered lengthwise
3 Tbsp. honey
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. finely chopped peeled fresh ginger
1/4 tsp. ground ginger

Cook carrots in large saucepan of boiling salted water until just tender, about 8 minutes.  Drain.  Stir honey, oil, fresh ginger, and ground ginger in a large skillet over low heat until blended.  Mix in carrots.

Cook carrots over medium-high heat until glaze thickens enough to coat, tossing occasionally, about 5 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper.  Transfer to a bowl.

(I ate these with millet, and they were delicious reheated for lunches.)

Summer Harvest Ratatouille

(recipe from

Serves 10

3 bell peppers, assorted colors, seeded, cored, and cut into thick wedges
1 large eggplant, cut into 3/4-inch slices
2 medium yellow squash, cut lengthwise into 3/4-inch slices
2 medium zucchini, cut lenghtwise into 3/4-inch slices
1 cup vegetable broth or water
1/2 cup pitted Nicoise or other black olives
5 large tomatoes (about 2 1/2 lbs.), chopped
1 large onion, chopped
7 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
3 Tbsp. chopped marjoram or oregano
1/3 cup chopped parsley
1 Tbsp. red wine vinegar, or to taste

Preheat oven to 425F.  Have ready a nonstick baking sheet or a regular baking sheet lined with parchment paper (you may need two baking sheets).  Place peppers, eggplant, squash and zucchini on sheet(s).  Roast vegetables, turning them once halfway through cooking, until browned, 30 to 40 minutes.  Cool vegetables slightly, then coarsely chop.

Meanwhile, combine broth and olives in a blender and blend until smooth.  Pour into a heavy pot and add tomatoes, onion, garlic and pepper flakes.  Bring to a boil, lower heat, cover, and simmer until tomatoes are very soft, about 20 minutes.

Add roasted vegetables and marjoram to pot; cover and simmer, stirring once or twice, until flavors blend, about 10 minutes.  Stir in parsley and vinegar; cook 5 minutes more.

(serve with rice, pasta, or any grain)