Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Dandelion Greens with Toasted Garlic & Almonds

(recipe from Eating Well magazine)

Makes 4 side-dish servings.

1 large bunch dandelion greens or 1 head curly endive, escarole, or chicory, trimmed and coarsely chopped
1 Tbsp. olive oil
6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
4 scallions, thinly sliced, whites and about 2 inches of the greens only
1/3 cup sliced almonds, toasted
1/4 tsp. salt

Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Drop greens into the boiling water and cook until bright green, stirring one or twice, 30 seconds to 2 minutes, depending on the type of greens.  Drain in a colander, then rinse well with cold water.  Drain again, pressing on the greens to remove excess water.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add garlic and scallion; cook, stirring, until the garlic starts to turn golden brown, 30 seconds to 2 minutes.  Add the greens and cook, stirring, until tender and heated through, 1 to 3 minutes.  Stir in almonds and season with salt.  Serve immediately.

(Note from the magazine:  to make the recipe with mellower greens like spinach or chard, skip the blanching step.  Blanching tames the bitter greens.  I still found this to be quite bitter.  It grew on me, though, and I loved the element that the almonds add to the dish.)

Carrot Soup with Miso and Sesame

(recipe from Smitten Kitchen)

2 lbs. carrots, thinly sliced
1 large onion, finely chopped
4 regular or 6 small garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
1 Tbsp. finely chopped or grated ginger, or more to taste
4 cups vegetable broth
1/4 cup white miso paste, or more to taste
2 scallions, very thinly sliced
drizzle of toasted sesame oil, to garnish

Saute carrots, onion and garlic in 1/2 cup of broth until onion is translucent.  Add remaining broth and ginger.  Cover and simmer until carrots are tender when pierced, stirring occasionally, about 30-40 minutes.

Puree soup in batches in blender, or all at once with an immersion blender.  In a small bowl, whisk together the miso and a half-cup of the soup.  Stir the mixture back into the pot of soup.  Taste the soup and season with salt, pepper, or additional miso to taste.

Ladle into bowls and garnish each with a drizzle of sesame oil and small mound of scallions.

(Very easy and very delicious!  Since I take soups to work for lunch mostly, I just mixed the scallions right into the pot of soup at the end and drizzled a little sesame oil.  The soup has a really lovely flavor and consistency.)

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Ribollita Soup

(recipe from Eating Well magazine)

Ribollita, a traditional hearty Tuscan soup typically uses day-old bread to add body and thicken the broth. This version uses a bean mash, which keeps the soup gluten-free and adds fiber.

Serves 8.

1 14-oz. can diced tomatoes
2 15-oz. cans cannellini beans, rinsed (I used equivalent amount cooked dried beans)
1 medium leek, halved lengthwise and sliced, white and light green parts only
1/4 cup thinly sliced garlic
1/2 tsp. ground pepper
1 cup diced carrots
1 cup diced celery
1 cup diced zucchini
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 head Savoy or green cabbage, cut into 1-inch cubes
2 cups diced russet potatoes
3 cups vegetable broth
2 cups water
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1 bay leaf
1/8 tsp. celery seed
crushed red pepper to taste

Using a potato masher, mash half the beans into a paste.  Set aside.

Saute leek and garlic in 1/2 cup broth, stirring, until translucent and tender, 2 to 3 minutes.  Do not brown.  Season with 1/8 tsp. pepper.  Stir in carrots, celery, and zucchini; cook, stirring, until nearly tender, 3 to 5 minutes.  Season with 1/8 tsp. each salt and pepper.

When the carrots and celery are nearly tender, stir in cabbage.  Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until wilted, 4 to 6 minutes.  Add potatoes, broth, water, tomatoes and juice, the bean mash and whole beans, thyme, and bay leaf.  Bring to a simmer over medium heat.  Season with celery seed, crushed red peppper and the remaining 1/4 tsp. pepper and 1/8 tsp. salt.  Cover and cook, stirring occasionally and reducing the heat as necessary to maintain a gentle simmer, until all of the vegetables are tender, 15 to 20 minutes.

(A hearty and delicious vegetable soup!  I added 1/2 of a small can of tomato paste to this.  Makes a lot!)

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Potato, Asparagus & Mushroom Hash

(recipe from Eating Well magazine)

Serves 4.

1 lb. new or baby potatoes, scrubbed, halved if large
3 Tbsp. olive oil
1 bunch asparagus (about 1 lb.), trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
4 oz. shitake mushroom caps, sliced
1 shallot, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 small onion, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup chopped jarred roasted red peppers, rinsed
1 Tbsp. minced fresh sage
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground pepper
fresh chives for garnish

Place a steamer basket in a large saucepan, add 1 inch of water and bring to a boil.  Put potatoes in the basket and steam until barely tender when pierced with a skewer, 12 to 15 minutes, depending on size.  When cool enough to handle, chop into 1/2-inch pieces.

Heat 1 Tbsp. oil in a large (not nonstick) skillet over medium heat.  Add asparagus, mushrooms, shallot and garlic and cook, stirring often, until beginning to brown, 5 to 7 minutes.  Remove to a plate.

Add the remaining 2 Tbsp. oil to the pan.  Add onion and the potatoes and cook, stirring occasionally and scraping up the browned bits with a metal spatula, until the potatoes are browned, 4 to 8 minutes  Return the asparagus mixture to the pan along with the roasted red pepper, sage, salt and pepper; cook, stirring, until heated through, about 1 minute more.  Serve sprinkled with chives, if desired.

(This is meant as a breakfast entree, served with toast and topped with an egg.  However, I ate this cold for my lunches, kind of like a potato salad.  It's a tasty combination of vegetables.  Topped with fresh chives, very light and springtime-y.)

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Barley Vegetable Stew

(recipe from Christina Cooks - I altered it from the original recipe which uses a pressure cooker)

1-inch piece kombu
1 small onion, diced
1 cup button mushrooms, diced
1 carrot, diced
1-2 stalks celery, diced
1 1/2 cups whole barley, rinsed and soaked for 6 to 8 hours
4 cups water or broth
soy sauce and ground pepper

Saute kombu, onion, celery and carrot in 1/2 cup broth until beginning to soften.  Add mushrooms and saute a few minutes more.  Add barley and remaining broth, a sprinkle of soy sauce, and bring to a boil.  Lower heat and simmer for about an hour.  Season to taste with additional soy sauce and a few grinds of pepper.

(This is quite good.  Surprisingly flavorful despite its simplicity.  Add more broth/water to create a soupier version.  Christina says, "The great taste of barley is surpassed only by its energetic value.  Creating wonderful dispersing energy in the body, barley not only keeps you cool in warmer weather, but regular consumption can help in ridding the body of excess fats and protein.")

Friday, May 11, 2012

Bavarian Red Cabbage

(recipe from The Yoga Cookbook by The Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centers)

Serves 4 to 6.

1 Tbsp. oil
1 small red cabbage, coarsely shredded
1 carrot, grated
2/3 cup water or broth
6 whole cloves
2 slivers of cinnamon stick
Juice of 1 lemon
1/2 tsp. salt
pepper to taste

Heat the oil in a heavy pan and saute the cabbage and carrot over medium heat for 5 minutes.  Add the water and spices.  Cover and cook for about 30 minutes, until the cabbage is tender.  Season with the lemon juice, salt, and pepper, and serve warm.

The cabbage and spices can be baked in a 350F oven instead of on the stovetop, if preferred.

(Quite delicious!  Tasted like a tangy, spiced sauerkraut.  I added a little more carrot than called for.  Ate this with brown rice, warm, for lunches.  Yum!)

Friday, May 4, 2012

White Bean and Mushroom Stew

(recipe from Whole Living magazine)

Serves 4 to 6.

2 Tbsp. olive oil (or 1/2 cup broth to water saute)
1 onion, chopped
1 stalk celery, diced
1 carrot, peeled and diced
1 lb. cremini mushrooms, sliced
1/2 cup white wine
1 28-oz. can crushed tomatoes
1 sprig fresh rosemary (I used dried)
2 cups cooked white beans (equivalent to one 16-oz. can), drained
1/2 cup water or vegetable broth
salt and pepper

Heat oil (or broth/water) in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Cook onion, celery, and carrots until tender, about 8 minutes.  Increase heat to medium-high, add mushrooms, and cook until softened, 5 to 7 minutes.

Deglaze with wine, scraping up any brown bits with a wooden spoon.  Add tomatoes, rosemary, beans and 1/2 cup water or broth.  Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer until slightly thickened, about15 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper.

(This is a nice, easy, and satisfying vegetable soup.  Very tomato-y.)

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

East-West Marinated Asparagus

(recipe from Vegetarian Times magazine)

Serves 6.

3 lb. fresh asparagus, trimmed
1/3 cup low-sodium soy sauce or tamari
1/3 cup rice vinegar
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
2 Tbsp. grated fresh ginger
3 cloves garlic, minced (1 Tbsp.)
1 Tbsp. agave nectar or honey
Pinch cayenne pepper, or to taste
1 Tbsp. toasted sesame seeds
1 Thai bird chile, seeded and thinly sliced for garnish, optional

Cook asparagus in large pot of boiling salted water for 5 minutes.  Drain, and plunge into ice-water filled bowl.

Whisk together soy sauce, vinegar, oil, ginger, garlic, agave, and cayenne.  Pour over asparagus in a large baking dish, submerging them (add some water, if necessary).  Cover and chill in refrigerator for 4 hours or overnight.

Drain off marinade, and arrange asparagus on plates.  Sprinkle with sesame seeds and chile slices, if using.

(Very delicious.  I added the chile pepper right into the marinade.  I ate the asparagus with some brown rice that I stir-fried along with a little bit of the marinade mixed in.)

Apple Cinnamon Oat Squares

(recipe from Whole Foods Market)

2 cups unsweetened almondmilk
1 1/2 cups steel cut oats
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup ground flax seeds
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 (about 1 pound) Pink Lady apples, cored and grated

Preheat oven to 350F.  Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl.  Transfer to a parchment paper-lined 9-inch square baking pan, press down and smooth out the top and bake until firm and golden brown, about 1 hour.  Let cool in pan; cut into squares and serve warm or at room temperature.

Keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

(These were tasty, but a little too moist for my liking in my quest for perfect homemade granola bars.)