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Posts Tagged ‘recipe Friday

Hey, it’s the end of the week!

And seeing that October is fast on its way, I’ve been making a few soups (even though–Seattle, weird weather, here. Why were we sunny and 70 for a bit again yesterday? Not that I’m sending it back…). Conveniently, The Daring Cooks’ challenge for September involved making broth or stock from scratch (then, the more super-involved folks cleared the sludge from their broth to make a consomme. While it’s a great learning experience, I happen to like the flavor of the sludge… and I don’t make homemade broth often enough…)

Yes… this is the first challenge I’ve posted in months. It’s not that I haven’t participated: but I try to keep recipes here relatively healthy, for the most part, and the past several months have been super-rich (uh, cheese-based gnocchi with creamy tomato sauce being one example…) The end product of this challenge–onion soup with cheese-herb brioche–also wasn’t the healthiest, but I’ll share with you how I made the veggie stock to start it all.

While the stock took time, once I got the veggies rough-chopped and in the pot with water, I could just let it go, boiling for hours. And it made enough for 4-5 servings of soup plus another dish on top of that!

So, here’s my recipe, give or take:

Homemade Vegetable Broth
adapted from the internet

1/4 c vegetable oil
4 medium yellow onions, diced
6 medium carrots, rough sliced
4 large ribs celery, rough sliced
2 leeks, rough chopped and rinsed well
1 3/4 oz dried mushrooms (I used shiitake)
2 medium tomatoes, diced
2 large broccoli stalks, rough chopped
bouquet garni (I just tied together a bunch of fresh parsley, three sprigs of fresh thyme, and a bay leaf)

**Note that I haven’t added any salt. I prefer to add salt to the final dish rather than to my broth.

1. In a large (your largest possible!) stock pot, heat the vegetable oil on medium. Add all ingredients except for the bouquet garni, and let the veggies “sweat” until soft.

2. Cover the veggies with cold water… about 3 quarts. Bring to a low boil. Drop in your bouquet garni, and cover the pot.

3. Reduce the heat to a low simmer, and let your broth simmer for about 2 hours. Strain your broth, and discard the solids.

Your broth is now ready for use in such wonderful dishes as this onion soup that I made:

onion soup

Or, use it in a risotto, or another grain dish, or your favorite veggie soup, or… the possibilities are endless!

And… you now see how easy it is! That’s my favorite thing about veggie broth: no bones or meat carcasses to deal with… yet it’s still so much tastier than something from a can!

So tell me: what are you guys going to do with your veggie broth? Come on, be creative! 🙂

Good morning! (Well… it is here…) In fact, it’s Saturday when I’m posting my Recipe Friday, again. However, first of all, spent more time at medical facilities yesterday, and secondly, after last night’s dinner I made for friends, I changed my mind on the recipe for this week!

I guess the biggest excitement is that the treatment that the UW people are giving me is significantly helping my voice problems… going from 2 1/2 months of nothing to finally being able to make sound is incredible! (I might sound sometimes sultry and sometimes like a 12 year old boy, but–I’ll take it over nothing!) Such a huge breakthrough…

On to the recipe: we’re experiencing one last round of summer up here. It was actually almost unbearably hot here yesterday–80’s and really sunny–so when I made plans to have friends over for dinner, I didn’t want the stove on too much.

Additionally, many of our grocery stores are selling wonderful late-season peaches, and I wanted to take advantage. So, I found a lovely salad, posted by Mother Thyme on her website:

Spinach Peach Caprese Salad

Her pictures are superb. I made the following changes:

  • Used red instead of yellow tomatoes, just due to price/availabilty. I imagine she uses yellow mostly for aesthetics.
  • I used all spinach, no arugula. I love arugula, but I’ve found that this year, it’s had too woody a texture, here. I thought it would detract from the softness of the peaches and the mozzarella.
  • Not a change that I actually made, but I might actually up the lemon:balsamic ratio next time, and reduce the amount of liquid added. Too much dressing, and the greens were threatening to get soggy. Maybe I didn’t reduce my balsamic enough…

All together, this was a wonderful salad that even Bruce ate! (though I know he was going through the serving bowl to find the cheese) and I loved the flavor of the whole basil leaves mixed in with the spinach.

So, make this NOW while there are still a few fresh peaches around! You will not regret it! It definitely got me out of the ritual “peach cobbler”, “peach smoothie”….. etc etc…. hum-drum recipe mode.

Wow, it’s almost the end of Friday, and I’m finally posting this! Between scoring a last-minute sale on a collectible item and having to drive to deliver it, then having a dental emergency this afternoon, the day is gone! (At least we scored on the old archery set… yay!)

It’s nights like tonight that I want to throw something together that’s nutritious, flavorful, and fast. I have an answer for you! It’s a bean salad, but not the overly-marinated, lifeless bean salad of our parents’ generation. (Ick.) This has fresh vegetables in it! (Which also means… it really only keeps one day, so eat it up fast!)

Mediterranean White Bean Salad
loosely based on a Mark Bittman recipe

3 c cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 c chopped tomatoes
1 c chopped cucumbers (seeded)
3 tbsp finely minced red onion (I like to soak slices in ice water for ~15 minutes, first. Takes the bitterness out.)
1 tsp dried, or 2 tsp fresh minced mint
1 tsp dried, or 2 tsp fresh minced oregano
2 tsp minced fresh garlic
Juice of one lemon (about 3 tbsp)
About 1/4 c extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp paprika
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper

1. Place the beans, tomatoes, cucumber, and onion in a large bowl. Stir to combine.

2. Make the vinaigrette: In a small bowl, whisk the lemon juice, garlic, mint, oregano, and paprika. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil while still whisking, aiming for emulsification. Add a pinch of salt and pepper, and whisk again.

3. Pour dressing over bean mixture, and stir to combine. Adjust seasonings (salt and pepper) to taste.

There–less than 15 minutes if you’re a quick chopper! Again, I recommend finishing this within a day, to keep the veggies crisp.

**If you’re really daring… add some crumbled feta. Sometimes, I live life on the edge like that.

Anyone else have a favorite quick bean salad variation? (I have another one to share later–think Moroccan spiced chickpeas…)

Have a great weekend! I’ll be out playing with the band both days…

Hola, Amigos!

I hope those in the Southwest and the Northeast are doing OK! It seems that once we finally got our perfect weather, the rest of the country started going to shambles. Be careful, OK?

As for me, I’ve been playing around with different workout routines (why not…) and started experimenting with a Jamie Eason lifting routine this week. It’s supposed to give me a “whole new body”, but I imagine the “new body” would appear more quickly if I were to follow the nutrition plan (too regimented for me). Anyway, the lifting has been different and challenging–good stuff!

Also, a few home improvement projects this week… but that leaves me wondering: is today’s hamstring strain from 1. more weight lifting, 2. two rounds of pressure washing, 3. back-to-back spin classes and working the second one extra hard (I know, baaaadddd…), or 4. using a Peak reformer (heavier springs) to do Pilates last night? Toooo many variables.

Today’s recipe involves changing only one variable in a recipe I’ve made several times previously–yielding entirely different flavor! Fortuitously, I’d run out of quinoa, so–what the heck–try it with bulgur and see what happens!

The result was a sensory illusion–almost creaminess, despite no dairy at all in the recipe!

So, here’s my rough translation of what I did.

Warm Bulgur, Roasted Corn, and Caramelized Onion Salad
very loosely based on a Mark Bittman recipe

2 c bulgur
2 c mushroom broth
canola oil
2 onions, peeled and sliced into half-moons
1 c corn (either fresh if you can get it, or thawed from frozen)
salt and fresh-ground pepper to taste

1. Place the bulgur in a large bowl. Warm the mushroom broth (not to boiling) and pour over the bulgur. Stir, and allow the bulgur to sit for 20-30 minutes until chewy (it will soak up the liquid).

2. Meanwhile, roast the corn: in a large skillet, heat 1 tbsp canola oil on medium-high heat. When hot, add (thawed) corn, Cook/roast, stirring frequently, until some spots of brown appear on the outside and corn is fragrant, ~7 minutes. (Don’t let it burn!) This should smell good!

3. Also meanwhile, caramelize the two onions using the best caramelized onions technique. Triple multi-task!!! (These things don’t need constant stirring, so it’s easy.) **If you use oil and not butter in the onions, you can keep the dish vegan!

4. When the bulgur is hydrated to your level of doneness, pour off any extra liquid (push it through a strainer so you don’t lose any precious bulgur!). Place it back in the bowl, and stir in the roasted corn and caramelized onions. Add salt and pepper to taste, and serve warm.

I just finished off what was leftover of this to fuel our day’s hike! Go, complex carbs!

So, we’ll see how the hamstring does during the hike… and Sunday, in honor of those who can’t, I’m going to try to (run a minute or two–yikes!) for the first time on my post-op hip and leg. I promise not to do anything stupid… but at the same time, wish me luck!

Howdy! What’s up?

So it seems like I’ve been working my way through Mama Pea’s reciPea list recently, trying to find new uses for nutritional yeast (it’s good’n’good for you!). I found another yummy one last night, and I’ll be making another batch to share over the weekend!

This one is Pizza Quinoa Casserole. The base starts simply with quinoa cooked with veggie broth. Then, it gets mixed with a luscious, tomatoey, rich sauce containing my precious nutritional yeast and a few other seasonings. Bake it, top with whatever pizza toppings you prefer (keep it vegan or use real cheese), and… in less than an hour, you’re good to go! Cheesy, high protein, nutritious… best yet, really tasty!

Here’s the recipe, straight from her website:

Pizza Quinoa Casserole

I’m spending this weekend (Friday/Saturday/Sunday) in downtown Seattle at Balanced Body’s Pilates on Tour! While I’m doing this to earn continuing education units to keep my certification current, I’m excited to deepen my understanding to use Pilates in a rehab setting.

Or am I a complete dork for being excited about a professional conference? (I’m sure someone out there is, right?)

So it’s not Friday…. but I’m sugar-hungover from the not-surprise birthday party my friends had for me last night (long story… one of the group accidentally got phone numbers mixed up on the group text invite. All in good fun, though!) Since I knew all about it ahead of time, it meant I could try out these cookie cupcakes from Jessica’s blog. I think the cookie recipe will become my go-to chocolate chip recipe!

(I now have enough leftover frosting to frost an army. Anyone care to join my army??? Really. I’ve had it with sugar!)

To offset the OD on sweets, I tried something MAGICAL this past week. It’s a sauce that comes together in your food processor in less than 5 minutes. It’s vegan, it’s healthy, it’s a good source of B-12 if you are vegan… and it’s DELICIOUS. I swear to you, it’ll get you to eat mounds of veggies, so long as they’re covered in creamy, cheezy, lightly curried Mmmm Sauce.

I don’t want to steal Mama Pea’s thunder, so I’ll post the link to her blog right here:

Mmmm Sauce

So, what do you do with it?

Dip veggies. Dilute with a little water and use as salad dressing. Use its healthy goodness as a dip for fries. (I won’t tell.) It would probably make a great spread for sandwiches in place of mayo. Heck, the first batch I made went straight onto a whole bag of romaine! (sauce delivery mechanism.)

Caveat: do be sure to find and use nutritional yeast for this recipe. It’s an inactive form of yeast, and lends this (and other) recipe a nutty, cheesy flavor–while staying vegan. This is a relatively new ingredient in my world, and I’ve really enjoyed its flavor! Try looking for it in the bulk section of your health food store or Whole Paycheck.

Once you try this, there’s no turning back! It earned its name with good reason. I always have to have a batch of this sauce in my fridge. (And it’s savory, so it really counteracts all of the overly SUGARY from yesterday.) Make it, and tell me how you’ve used it! 🙂

Happy Birthday To Me!

Before I give you my address for sending gifts, though, just a quick recipe for the week (and then, I have to get myself out celebrating). I’d heard about people making their own mustard, and thought… naaaahhh, too complex. Can’t do it.

But then, I talked to a few people, who convinced me. I also read a few recipes, and they sounded simple. Low risk recipe… so I did it. And here it is, for all of you. You won’t get the smoothness of a squirty yellow mustard, but this is so much more delicious!

Homemade Mustard
adapted from How To Cook Everything

1/4 c yellow mustard seeds
1/4 c brown or black mustard seeds (be sure not to use all yellow–too harsh otherwise)
1/2 c red wine or water (I used water)
1/2 c vinegar (any vinegar with at least 5% acidity–I used half red wine and half balsamic)
Pinch salt

1. Put all of the ingredients in a jar with a tight-fitting lid or other sealed container. (Don’t use metal; it will corrode.) Shake or stir, then set aside to soak for a day or two.

2. Put the mixture in a blender and puree for several minutes to grind, adding a little extra water as needed to keep the machine running. Stop and scrape the sides down once or twice and repeat. You can control the coarseness by how long you blend (it’ll never get completely smooth). Taste and add more salt, if you’d like.

3. Return the mustard to the container and cover tightly. Store in a cool, dark place (or refrigerator) for up to several months.

**Other things to add to the mustard (individually or together): of course you can change the vinegar variety (I think rice vinegar is the only one not acidic enough), 1/4 tsp cayenne, 1 tbsp chopped fresh tarragon, 1 tsp minced fresh rosemary, 2 tbsp honey, 2-3 mashed cloves of roasted garlic… lots of different options…

I’ve used this mustard as a pretzel dip, in salad dressings, in potato salad, on sandwiches… really, anywhere you’d use mustard! But now, you have bragging rights. Tell your friends that you made this mustard. They’ll think you’re all gourmet and stuff. Don’t let on how easy it is, okay?


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