Sunday, January 27, 2013

Winter Squash and Apple Soup

(recipe from Whole Foods Market)

3 lbs. winter squash such as butternut, kabocha, acorn, or delicata (or a mixture of those), peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks, about 8 cups
2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and cut into 1-inch chunks
1 yellow onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, halved
1 tsp. ground ginger (I also threw in some chopped fresh ginger I had on hand)
3 cups vegetable broth
2 Tbsp. nutritional yeast
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

Preheat oven to 400F.  Line one or two rimmed baking sheets or shallow roasting pans with parchment paper.  In a large bowl, toss squash, apples, onion, garlic, and ginger until mixed well.  Spread mixture on baking sheets in a single layer.  Roast squash mixture until tender and beginning to brown, about 45 to 50 minutes, rotating pans between oven racks halfway through baking.  Remove from oven and puree squash mixture with broth, 1 cup water, and nutritional yeast in a blender or food processor in batches until smooth.  Transfer to a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat.  Add more water if needed to thin soup to desired consistency.  Serve garnished with parsley.

(Super easy soup!  I didn't have nutritional yeast, so I just threw in some cashews before blending.  I also added a little almond milk as part of the water.  Also, I just blended the parsley right in.  Good flavor, pretty hearty.  I had Mike over for dinner and he liked it.  The apples give a little sweetness.)

Melintzanosalata (Eggplant and Parsley Dip)

(recipe from Saveur magazine)

2 lbs. eggplant (about 2 large eggplants)
1/2 cup olive oil
1 green bell pepper, cored and roughly chopped
1 jalapeno, stemmed, seeded, and roughly chopped
1 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves
2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
3 cloves garlic, minced
salt & pepper, to taste
toasted pita, for serving

Build a hot fire in a charcoal grill or heat a gas grill to high.  Grill eggplants, turning, until charred and soft, 18-20 minutes.  [I just roasted the eggplants whole in the oven for about an hour.]  Let cool.  Peel eggplants; scoop out seeds.  Chop eggplants; drain in strainer for 30 minutes.

Heat 1/4 cup oil in a 12" skillet over medium-high heat.  Add peppers; cook for 10 minutes.  Add jalapenos and continue cooking until golden brown, about 5 minutes.  Transfer to bowl of food processor along with reserved eggplant, remaining oil, parsley, vinegar, and garlic.  Process until slightly chunky.  Season with salt and pepper.  Chill to meld flavors.  Serve with pita.

(Tangy!  I did not strain my eggplant, which cut time, but my dip ended up a little too watery.  Also, since I just roasted in the oven instead of grilling, my dip may not have been as smoky as intended.  But I enjoyed this, nonetheless, eaten on rice crackers and tortilla chips, as I'm trying to avoid wheat.)

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

"Creamed" Kale

(recipe from Whole Foods Market)

1/2 cup vegetable broth, or water
1 white onion, finely chopped
1 cup unsweetened nondairy milk
1/4 cup raw cashews
2 Tbsp. nutritional yeast (optional)
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. mellow white miso
pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
pinch of red pepper flakes
4 cups chopped kale or other dark, leafy green

Heat broth or water in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add onion and cook until softened, 5 to 7 minutes.  Transfer to a blender or food processor, add milk, cashews, nutritional yeast, onion powder, miso, nutmeg, and pepper flakes and puree until smooth.

Transfer blended mixture back to skillet and bring to a simmer over medium heat.  Stir in kale and continue simmering, tossing often until kale is just tender, about 5 minutes.

(This is a nice tasty way to eat more kale!  I made it several times and ate it by itself for lunch.  Just something different, and super easy to make.)

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Chunky Celery Soup

(recipe from 101 Cookbooks)

1 large onion
1 large russet potato
3 to 4 small - medium carrots
10 medium-length stalks of celery
3 Tbsp. olive oil
2 cloves garlic, chopped
5 cups vegetable broth
2 cups cooked wild rice, brown rice, barley (just about any cooked medium-sized grain)

optional:  celery leaf pesto (if your celery has many leaves intact)
1 cup lightly packed celery leaves
1 large clove garlic
1/4 tsp. salt
1/3 cup olive oil
(Puree all of these ingredients in a food processor for about 30 seconds)

parmesan cheese (optional)

Chop the onion, potato, carrots, and celery into pieces that are about 1/2-inch or smaller.  Do your best to cut everything roughly the same size, as this will keep cooking time across the ingredients somewhat uniform.  You should end up with about 2 1/2 cups of chopped celery.

In a large soup pot over medium-high heat, combine the olive oil, onion, potato, carrots, celery and a few pinches of salt.  Saute for about ten miutes or until the onions and celery soften a touch and expel some water.  Stir in the garlic and add the stock.  Bring to a simmer and let cook for another 10 minutes or until the celery, carrot, and potatoes are just cooked through - resist the urge to overcook them into mush.  Stir in the rice a few minutes before the potatoes and carrot are cooked through.  Remove the soup from the heat and ladle into soup bowls.  Top each with a generous drizzle of the celery leaf pesto and/or some parmesan cheese (optional).

(This is kind of a clean-out-your-fridge recipe.  I found this recipe while searching for a way to use up a lot of celery I had accumulated.  What a delight to find that this soup is extremely delicious!  I didn't even add any grain to the soup, just a little extra carrots and potatoes and celery.  My friend's mom had just given me some homemade basil pesto, which I used instead of making my own kind of pesto.  I brought the soup for my lunches in a mason jar, with a teaspoon of the pesto plopped on top.  I enjoyed it every day, and it just got better and better as the flavors meshed.  I also think that this would be good blended a bit into a creamier consistency.  Very easy and versatile - what a discovery!  Celery soup!)

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Pantzaria Me Skordalia (Roasted Beets with Garlic-Potato Spread)

(recipe from Saveur magazine)

4 medium red beets (about 1 1/2 lbs.), trimmed and cleaned
10 Tbsp. olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste
1/4 cup finely ground toasted walnuts
1 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
6 cloves garlic, smashed and minced into a paste
2 medium russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1" squares and boiled until tender

Heat oven to 425F.  Put beets in an 8" x 8" baking dish and drizzle with 2 Tbsp. oil.  Season with salt and pepper and pour in 1 cup water.  Cover pan tightly with foil and crimp edges to form a seal.  Bake beets until a knife inserted into beet slides easily into the center, about 1 hour.  Transfer pan to a rack, carefully uncover, and let cool for 30 minutes.  Peel beets and cut into 1"-2" pieces; set aside.

Put walnuts, vinegar, garlic, and potatoes into a medium bowl and mash potatoes until smooth.  Vigorously stir in remaining oil and season with salt and pepper.  [I put whole toasted walnuts, vinegar, and whole garlic cloves into the food processor and pulsed until blended, then added the cooked potatoes and oil and pulsed all together until smooth.]

Transfer beets to plates and serve with some skordalia spread on the side.

(This is a Greek taverna dish which sounds odd but is surprisingly good.  Warning - that spread is super garlic-y!!  I made this when I was sick, so the garlic was kind of a welcome tonic.  Brought this to work for lunches with some beets and spread and a little bit of torn lettuce leaves mixed in.  Like I said, odd but good.)