Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Acorn Squash with Chili Lime Relish

So earlier this fall, C and I signed up for a late fall CSA.  Every Tuesday, we run by their house, and pick up our goody bag box.  For those not in the know, a CSA is a Community Supported Agriculture program.  You give them money up front to get all their needs and supplies like seeds for the up coming season, and they gift you with lots of tasty fresh food in return.  This was our second pick up, and I really couldn't be happier.  This weeks goodies include turnips, salad greens, roasted garlic, winter squash, potatoes, collards (not sure what I'll do with them yet, but I'm pretty sure C will eat it), and BLUEBERRIES!
We love blueberries in this house, and can always find a way to stick 'em in what ever we're cooking. Last week we had a similar box'o'goodies, just a different arrangement for similar things.

So, I had this acorn squash in the last box, and took a whole week to figure out what to cook with it.  I am super happy with the results, and is a new favorite we are eager to share.  Not to lie, I found it on the internet (like most of my recipes) and will link to the original recipe here.
I didn't make many changes, just what type of peppers, mostly to use up what we have here.

1 Acorn Squash
2 cloves of garlic minced/ mashed
1 nice sized lime
1 Habenaro minced
2 seranos (a red one and a green one) minced
1 Small bunch of Cilantro minced
1/4 cup olive oil
Salt and Pepper to taste

Make sure you have a really sharp knife for this, and maybe some help.  Half the squash and scoop out the seeds.  Slice the squash into 1/2 or so slivers.  In a bowl medium sized bowl, mix a little bit of your oil and the salt and pepper.  Put the squash in and mix around to coat with oil.  Arrange in Pyrex-like dish to bake at 450 for 25-30 minutes until undersides are golden brown.  In the same bowl you used to mix the oil with squash, add the rest of the oil, the juice of your lime, the peppers, and cilantro.

When finished, plate with cooked side of squash up, and drizzle the relish over the top.
Excellent dish with a side of bulgar, or as a side to the up coming Thanksgiving holiday (wink wink).
As always cut out the seeds of the peppers unless you really like the heat; and use gloves to cut or make your partner do it.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Tuna Curry

Add a twist to a tasty dish, with what?  Peppers!  The base of this dish takes about 20 minutes, and is great over some brown rice, but is just as tasty (and faster to make) with some whole wheat noodles.

1-2 red onions coarsely chopped
1-2 cups of cherry or grape tomatoes chopped
2 sweet potatoes parboiled and cut into bite size pieces
2 cans of tuna packed in OIL (NOT WATER!)
2 habenaros seeded and minced
1 cup of coconut milk
ground garam masala spices :
cinnamon, green cardamom, coriander, cloves, and black pepper

Saute the red onion in a saucepan with a bit of olive oil until lightly translucent.  Add the tomatoes and let cook down for about 5-10 minutes.  Toss in the tuna with the oil, the habenaros, and spices.  Allow to cook for another 5 minutes until it starts to smell amazing.  Add the coconut milk, mix well, then add the sweet potatoes.  Bring back to a boil, which shouldn't be but a few minutes, then serve over rice or noodles.  Makes enough for 2 and then enough for a hefty lunch the next day for both.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Chili with Chilis

 I said I would have more pepper recipes, and here is a great way to use up a bunch of big peppers and little peppers.  Chili with Chilis!  This recipe is a warm and fulfilling chili that uses no chili powder.  Its completely seasoned by all the chilis in it.  This is probably C's favorite dish to make, and eat.  I love mine tossed over some whole wheat spaghetti noodles, but tonight's recipe is a variation with bulgar (a cracked wheat) and Textured Vegetable Protein, I suggest just trying it.  Its good I promise.

4 Anaheim Chilis
2-3 red jalapenos/seranos
1 Habanero Pepper
1 Portuguese Pepper
1 white onion chopped + 1 wedge extra for beans
2 celery stalks chopped
4 cloves of garlic minced
1 28oz can of crushed tomatoes
1 cup of great northern beans (dry)
1 cup of red kidney beans (dry)

   1-2 bay leaves
   1 tsp of cumin
   1 tsp black pepper
   1-2 tablespoons salt
   1/2 tsp garlic powder
   1 tsp oregano

1/2 cup TVP (textured vegetable protein)
1 cup bulgar

Cook beans until tender with wedge of onion in large soup pot.  While beans cook, roast the anaheims and jalapenos.  Allow to sweat for 20 min a wet towel to assist in removing the skin, then remove seeds and stems to all the peppers including the habanero and portuguese, or keep them to add additional heat. Chop up and keep to the side. Add the can of tomatoes and spices to the beans when soft.  Allow to simmer for about ten to fifteen minutes.  Add peppers to the tomatoes and beans.  Saute onion, garlic and celery until lightly transparent.  Then add them to the chili.  Simmer for 45 minutes.

Right before the soup is ready (15 minutes or so) make a batch of TVP and bulgar.  TVP is about 1 cup dry to 7/8 cup of boiling water/stock.  I dropped it to half a cup because of the 1 cup of bulgar which have similar textures.  Half a cup of TVP uses just less than half a cup of boiling water to rehydrate.  Just pour boiling water or stock over the flakes, stir, and let sit for 5-10 minutes.
Bulgar is 1 cup dry to 2.25 cups water.  Bring water with a touch of salt and the bulgar to a boil, then simmer 10-15 minutes.  Add both the Chili with Chilis.   Add sour cream if you like and enjoy a hearty warm dinner.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Pepper Picking with the Peepers

This past weekend I had the pleasure to pick the "last" of my partner's garden.  We left a few plants standing so we could gather more ripe peppers before the frost.  At the end of the day we harvested all our jalapeno and serrano peppers and pulled the plants. We gathered the ripe portuguese, anaheim, habanero, poblano, and bell peppers but left the plants because of how many fruit were so close to being ripe. 
I was really worried earlier this season that we wouldn't have anything from this garden.  We really had some trouble with tomatoes earlier this season, and the peppers were slow to bloom.   Thankfully North Carolina has a really long growing season, with distinct seasons to actually grow various fruits and vegetables.
C and I spent Saturday afternoon at his parents pickling the jalapenos, serranos, and green portugeuse peppers.  I think we came out nicely with just over a dozen or so pints of peppers.  I am super excited and can't wait to break into them.

With the left over fresh peppers, most of which I'm trying to free myself of, we are trying to consume daily.  Many new pepper recipes ahead!

Baked Jalapeno Poppers

dozen jalapenos sliced in half and seeded
1/2 -3/4 box of cream cheese
1 cup shredded mozzarella or chedder
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp cracked pepper
1 tsp paprika

1/2 cup flour
2 eggs beaten
1 cup panko bread crumbs

Mix cream cheese with shredded cheese and spices.  Fill jalapeno halves with cheese.  Dust peppers with flour then dip in egg then in panko bread crumbs.  Line up peppers on a lightly oiled cookie sheet and bake at 350 degree Fahrenheit for 30 minutes or until golden brown.
Serve hot and maybe with some ranch dressing.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Light Cream Sauce over Noodles

I love cooking shows because of the inspiration and drive to make something new and different, though they do make you very hungry.

I modified this recipe from one I saw on TV earlier today.

1 bag of wide egg noodles
2 tbs of canola oil (not olive its too "flavorful")
2 cloves of garlic diced
1 large red pepper diced
5-6 cremini mushrooms or baby bella mushrooms chopped
8oz of creme fraiche (or if your grocery sucks like mine heavy cream)
1 egg yolk

Make the noodles to the bag instructions, maybe a little less so the noodles are kinda bity.  While the noodles are cooking, in a medium saucepan, saute the garlic, pepper and mushrooms until the peppers are tender (3-5 minutes).   Remove from heat briefly, add creme or cream and bring to a simmer.   Wisk in egg yolk.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Toss over the noodles and serve with some parmesan on top and chopped chive.   Simple flavor, great results. 

Friday, October 8, 2010

Tomato Leek and Onion Soup

Great way to start fall and soup season.  This one will stay in the back of your mind all season.

1/4 cup olive oil
1 large yellow onion, diced
2 leeks thinly sliced
1 clove of garlic, minced
small handful of fresh parsley
small handful of minced fresh time
1 bay leaf
16 oz of diced tomatoes (since our garden wasn't so great this season I used canned)
3 cups veggie broth

Heat onions, leeks, and garlic with the oil in a skillet and SLOWLY saute until translucent.  Nobody likes burnt garlic, so let it cook up slowly.  In a larger pot, combine the veggies with the rest of the ingredients and bring to a boil.  Lower the temp and simmer for 20-30 minutes until tomatoes are cooked.  Season with a little soy sauce and honey (trust me on this), and garnish with green onions.

We served this over some long grain brown rice with jalapeno cheddar biscuits on the side.  This made enough food for dinner, lunch, and lunch again.    The sweetness of the leeks linger on your tongue, while the honey accentuates and cuts the acidity of the tomatoes.   The color of the dish reminds me of the leaves of the poplar outside my front door.
Happy Fall!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Sweet Potato Knish

I've been a slacker and not updating new recipes. But hopefully all that will change with the coming of seasons. Our garden had a hard time with the lack of rain and intense heat this year, so we never really came out with the produce we were hoping for. Hopefully fall will be better.

Tonight I made Sweet Potato Knishes, a favorite fall and winter recipe that can be time consuming, but totally worth it. You can also swap the sweet potatoes for regular or any other type of filling.

3 sweet potatoes, boiled and peeled
1 egg
dash of salt
various seasoning

1 egg
2 1/2 cups flour (I mixed mine half all purpose and half whole wheat)
1/4 cup of oil
3/4 cup water

Start your potatoes then start your dough. Mix all your ingredients until you get a soft elastic dough. Let sit for approx 15 minutes or until your potatoes are finish boiling. Peel your sweet potatoes of the thick skin after boiling (trust me its much easier at this point) and mix with the egg, salt, and spices (tonight is a variety of Indian spices with lots of Cumin).

Roll out the dough as thin as you can with out taking over your whole kitchen table. Maybe 18 inches or so long and 12 inches tall. Mix your mashed taters across the long ways on side of the half (don't put in the middle). Roll 'er up and use the side of your hand to press into the roll to make little pod pockets. Use a knife or dough cutter to slice the dough.

Lightly oil a baking sheet to put these guys on. Press the open ends together to look like a pomegranate. Either brush with milk, oil, or spritz with water and bake at 450 for 15-20 minutes.

Makes 6-8 knishes.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Super Easy Artichoke Sauce

I just found this recipe, and its on the stove NOW.  Smells great.  I kinda wish I could add a scratch and sniff function to this blog.  I'm not making pasta tonight because I'm lazy and its late, so I picked up some spinach whole wheat spaghetti to toss with the sauce.

1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 butter
4-6 cloves of garlic minced
1 can artichoke hearts (chopped if desired)
small bunch of basil chopped
1/2 lemon (for juice)
touch of pepper to taste

Melt the butter with the oil in a good sized sauce pan on low.  Add the minced garlic and slowly cook until golden (2-3 minutes).  I chopped my hearts for better distribution in the noodles, then added them to the butter and garlic.  Add the chopped basil and the juice of about a 1/2 lemon.  Simmer for 10 minutes or until you can't stand it any more.  Toss with noodles and add pepper to taste.

Enjoy and Eat! I know I'm about to.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Weds Night Dinner

C made me dinner this evening, which was a happy surprise after yoga.  Though this was on our menu since Sunday, I came home to a finished and ready to eat dinner.

On the menu this evening was Roasted Potatoes, Steamed Asparagus, Quinoa/Couscous and a small helping of Roth Private Reserve cheese.

Red Potatoes quartered
Herbs de Provence - rosemary, thyme, savory, basil, marjoram
Italian Seasoning- oregano, basil, rosemary, thyme, marjoram
Olive Oil

Asparagus Steamed/Boiled

Couscous and Quinoa cooked/mixed up

Hard cheese- tonight was Roth Private Reserve
 Quarter your potatoes and lay out in a casserole.  Cover with oil, butter and spices (courtesy of BFF), mix well and bake at 450 degree Fahrenheit for 30 minutes or so or until soft.
Steam/ boil your asparagus until desired firmness, I kinda like mine crunchier, so Chris quickly boiled the ends for about 5-10 minutes until kinda slumpy looking.

Quinoa and Couscous were prepared earlier this week, that recipe later, by cooking separate then mixing afterwards with oil and seasonings or just salt.  Couscous cooks 1.25 cups of water to every 1 cup of dry couscous, and quinoa cooks 2 cups of water to every 1 cup dry.

Plate and serve with a little bit of cheese. MMMMM Yum.

And because I'm a slacker I'll have hopefully plenty of more recipes in the next few days that are awaiting typing.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Honey Whole Wheat Bread

I made a loaf of honey whole wheat bread the other day and meant to photograph it, but after it cooled and I ate my obligatory warm slice of bread I knew this guy wouldn't last long.  I was right.  It barely made it to this morning.  It really made great cheese toast in the morning with muenster cheese.
Bread is probably my most favorite thing to make for other people.  Its always better when you can share.

1.5 cups King Arthur All Purpose flour
1.5 cups King Arthur Whole Wheat flour
1 pkg of active dry yeast
1 palm full of kosher salt (approx 1 tablespoon)
1 small fist full of sugar
1 cup 130-140 degree cup of water
1/4 cup of honey

If using a stand mixer (kitchen aid) mix all dry ingredients.  Add the hot water and mix on a low setting.  Slowly add the honey.  All to knead for 2-4 minutes until dough pulls away from the side of the bowl.  Allow to sit for 10-15 minutes, then knead again at mixer's recommended setting (mine is 2).  Remove your dough, oil the bowl it was mixing in, toss in extra kosher salt and roll dough in bowl to become oiled.  To guarantee a good rising, place mixing bowl on stove and boil a pot of water on a near by burner, rise for 1 hour or until double.

When dough looks good, punch down and shape as desired.  I roll mine out and swirl it up like a sleeping bag, pinch ends under and place in a loaf pan.  For all shapes, rise again for an hour.  Brush some oil on crust and sprinkle with salt (trust me it MAKES the loaf).

Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes.  Top should be golden brown, and when flicked, sound hollow.  Remove and cool.  If you can wait 15-30 minutes slice and smother with butter  ;-)

Monday, July 5, 2010

Summer Pie

While digging through the goodies at the farmer's market on Sunday, I came across these big beautiful and very ripe heirloom tomatoes. 
On the spot I decided I needed to make tomato pie.  Very easy dish, especially if you buy the pie crust.  Eat it cold and you have yourself a perfect lunch or dessert.
Traditionally a southern recipe with a mayo topping; I'm putting my northern twist on it.

2 heirloom tomatoes (I used German Johnson)
1 field tomato
1 green field tomato
Dash of salt
1 medium yellow onion or leek chopped - I highly suggest leek, but I'm broke this week and cannot  afford it 
12oz of ricotta cheese
1 cup of shredded mozzarella
1 egg
Some fresh basil chopped

1 9" pie crust and pan

Pie Crust Recipe:
1 cup flour (whole wheat pastry)
6 1/3 tablespoons cold butter
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1-2 tablespoons of cold water

Start by slicing your tomatoes 1/4 of an inch thick and placing on towels to absorb moisture.  Sprinkle with salt.  These guys will need to sit for 20 or so minutes.

Preheat your over to 425.

Begin your pie crust.  Mix flour and salt.  Add butter.  Use either pastry cutter or your hands to break up the butter in to small pebble-ish sized pieces.  You want an even amount of butter throughout the flour but don't let it melt.  Add the cold water 1 tablespoon at a time.  DO NOT OVER DO IT.  If your put too much water in the mixture, you are going to have a hard time fixing it.  Move quickly, but carefully.  Keep it dough cold.

Roll out dough carefully on a floured surface.  Place carefully in your pie pan. Poke with a fork across the bottom of the pan.  Bake for 8-10 minutes or until light golden brown.

While pie is pre-baking saute the onions in a skillet with a touch of butter.  Cook until transparent.  And if your multi-tasking skills are up for it, in a large bowl mix ricotta, egg and mozzarella.  

When crust is done place on rack and assemble the rest of your ingredients.  Spread the onions across the bottom of the pie crust.  Then layer the tomato slices evenly with green slices in the middle or towards the top.  Sprinkle the basil over the tomatoes, and top with ricotta mixture, covering all the tomato bits.

Bake for 20-30 minutes in the oven you had blaring this whole time.

This recipe is best made in the morning before the heat of the day settles in, then you can enjoy its awesomeness that afternoon or evening.    Enjoy.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Macaroni and Cheese

One of my favorite dishes to make and eat is Mac and Cheese.  You can make it different every time and still know that it will be good.  I like to add many different ingredients, so this recipe might show up a few times.  A comfort food to the max, it holds a special place in my heart.
In this version here I wanna say takes about 45-60 minutes.   Really though, the prep is super easy, and a good chunk of the time is spent baking in the oven.

16oz of noodles (I prefer Hodgson Mill noodles) any shape really
1/4 cup of butter
1 medium white onion chopped
1/2 container of baby bella mushrooms chopped
3 small fist fulls of flour (approx 1/4 cup I'm guessing)
about 1.5-2 cups milk
2 cups of cheese
variety of spices including powdered mustard seed, pepper, salt, and cumin

Cook your noodles as package recommends or to desired firmness.  The Hodgson Mill noodles are 100% whole wheat durum flour and need to be watched as they cook, over cooking them can make them gummy and fall apart.  As your water is being boiled, in a medium sized sauce pan melt the butter, add the onions and allow to cook 4-5 minutes or until translucent.

Add the flour to the butter and onions slowly.  I like to measure with my hands so I can add flour slowly as needed.  You want the flour to absorb into the butter with no clumps.  The butter should become thick, but not pasty.  If you accidentally add too much flour, just add more butter.

Put together your blend of spices.  Powdered mustard seed is like the MSG of the spice world, it enhances many flavors, with out adding a mustard flavor (trust me I hate mustard), but this is very good stuff.  Season to taste.  If you like your mac real peppery (like I do) then add more, other things to add could be basil, oregano, or go sweet with cinnamon and nutmeg.  Its all about being adventurous.

After the butter/flour stuff and spices have simmered for about a minute, remove from heat for a few minutes.  Add the milk.  Place back on the heat and slowly bring back up to boil.

By this point your noodles should be finished (or about so give or take a few minutes).   Drain and if you'd like rinse.  I don't because I'm lazy.

When the sauce you are making begins to boil, it will thicken and needs to be stirred often.  This sauce is often referred to a white sauce or bechamel sauce.  Allow to boil for about 1-2 minutes or until desired thickness.   If adding mushrooms, allow to really thicken, because the mushrooms leak water and will make your sauce kinda runny.  Then again if you are into it...

Here's the fun.  Add any kind of veggie you want at this point.  My favs are broccoli, red bell pepper, zucchini, jalapenos, tomatoes, mushrooms, string beans, you name it.  Add what you have on hand, or make it a show stopper.   Last but not least, add the cheese.  Chedder, gouda, swiss, whatev.  I prefer hard sharp cheeses, but you can make it light too with swiss.

Mix it all up, place in a casserole dish.  Ceramic or pyrex clean up easily.  Bake for 20-30 minutes at 350 degrees.  I placed the little bit of extra cheese left over on top with some onion slices.  You know when its done when the casserole is bubbling, and the top is a nice golden color.  Remove from oven and let cool 5-10 minutes before serving.

Enjoy and happy eating.

PS I garnished mine with some spinach for color.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Sweet Potato Fries

I've never been too keen on sweet potatoes, especially the pie.  I've avoided this root since I was a child.  A few years ago at a vegetarian Thai restaurant I had my first encounter with these bad boys and have been slowly coming around to eating them more and more.  The farmers at the State Market have a several varieties of sweet potatoes and at ridiculously competitive prices (2-3 bucks for like 2 big potatoes).  Beyond being way better for you than white potato varieties, they taste better too.

Baked Sweet Potato Fries
2-3 Sweet Potatoes (any variety)
1/4 cup Veggie Oil
1-2 tablespoons of Salt and Pepper -to taste
Dash of Paprika -to taste
Dash of Cinnamon (optional)

Preheat oven to 425-450 degrees
Cut the sweet potatoes in 1/2 or so strips.  They are difficult to cut raw so please be careful. Toss strips with the oil and season with spices.  Handy tip:  Place strips in zip lock baggy with oil and spices for easy coating. 
Place on baking sheet and bake for approx 30 minutes, flip every 10-15 minutes, until crispy or desired doneness.
Serve hot.  I like mine with ketchup and/or ranch.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

A Foodie

I guess I'm what they call a foodie.


–noun Slang . a person keenly interested in food, esp. in eating or cooking

I cook almost all my food from scratch, and purchase as much as I can locally.  I haven't bought much boxed food (minus noodles because I can't afford a noodle maker right now) in almost a year.  I will try to share all of my recipes with you.  Cooking and eating your cooking is rewarding and oh so satisfying.  Plus you know what you are eating, which in turn leads to better health.

Lets eat.  Bon Appetit.