Saturday, July 31, 2010

Oatmeal in the summer?  Why, yes indeed!

Try substituting half of the water with coconut milk.  If you're in the mood, add a dash of vanilla.  When it's done, add the tiniest sprinkle of brown sugar, some toasted almonds, and a handful of fresh blueberries. Brew some good coffee and you're set for a day of summer adventures.


Thursday, July 29, 2010

Spicy Coconut Noodles

When hot weather comes around, I often don't want to cook at all.  Now and then, however, I get a craving for something nice and spicy.  This easy dish minimizes cooking time, (and thus time spent near a hot stove), and keeps the flavors fresh.  The quantities of this recipe can easily be adjusted to feed however many people you need, (this makes about three portions), however if you intend to prepare a lot of noodles, I would recommend boiling them separately rather than cooking them in the pan.

  • Slice up a large chicken breast into bite-sized pieces and lightly salt it.
  • Heat up a large pan (the largest you have) and add two cloves of minced garlic, a generous shake of red pepper, (I also added some seeds from the bell peppers I used), then the chicken.
  • Add the juice of two limes.
  • Chop one large red onion and add half to the chicken, setting the other half aside.
  • After the onions start to become translucent, add two tbsp soy sauce, half a can of light coconut milk, and half a cup water.
  • Bring the liquids to a boil then add the rice noodles.  They're comparable to spaghetti in the amount you'll need per person.  The noodles should be pretty much submerged in the liquid.  After they have a chance to soften slightly, give them a toss and cover the pan.  Reduce heat and let them simmer for 8 minutes.
  • While this cooks, chop two small bell peppers (I used one red and one green).
  • When the noodles are tender and nearly done, take off the cover and add the remaining red onion as well as the bell pepper.
  • Toss the vegetables and let the noodles cook for an additional two minutes uncovered.  At this point, there should be reduced to a thin sauce coating the noodles.  Turn up the heat if you need to reduce it further.
Serve and enjoy!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Waste Not, Want Not

While making my adorable circular Roasted Beet Ravioli, I accumulated quite the pile of pasta scraps.  Rather than toss them in the garbage, I decided to cook them for use in a pasta salad.  Granted, it won't be the prettiest pasta salad with all of the weird shapes, but it would make a great lunch to take to work.

After cooking the pasta (for just a few minutes), toss it with some olive oil and let it cool.  Add whatever you want.  I added some chopped sauteed swiss chard stems (also set aside from another meal), sauteed english peas, chopped fresh garlic scapes, some parmesan cheese, a little bit of whole grain mustard, white wine vinegar, salt, pepper, and herbs.  This will keep in the fridge for a few days, but any leafy greens should be added shortly before serving.


Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Roasted Beet Ravioli

Though it doesn't show up in the photo much, the ravioli have a lovely pinkish glow: little bite-sized sunsets.

I've never eaten many beets.  I've had them in a few restaurant salads, but I've never bought them.  It's not that I'm opposed to beets-- I like them when I have them-- but I've never been inspired to explore them...  until they were delivered to me in my CSA box.  I've been told that beets are a big player so I decided to start off on a creative note.  These ravioli are definitely one of my favorite things I've ever made.  They're earthy and fresh at the same time, rich without being overwhelming.  These would be great to impress friends at a dinner party, or a nice way to make yourself feel fancy on a quiet night in.  They take a little time, but they are definitely worth it.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Beet Green Dolmas

I'm on week 3 of my CSA share and have loved everything I have received.  However, there are only so many times you can saute greens before you start itching for something else to do with them.  Dolmas, sometimes just called 'grape leaves', are yummy way to use those extra leaves.  This is by no means a traditional recipe, but it is tasty nonetheless.
  • Cook your rice.  I used a blend of brown rice, daikon radish seeds, and black barley.  Try making your own blend or see what your store offers.  I cooked 1 c. but only used about half-- it just depends on how many you want to make and how many leaves you have.
  • Bring some water to a boil and blanch your greens.  I used beet greens that I had sitting around (with stems removed), but I think swiss chard would be wonderful, too.  Wash them thoroughly them submerge them in the boiling water for two minutes or so.  Immediately remove and dunk them in ice water (or if you're feeling lazy, run them under a cold faucet) to stop the cooking.
  • While your rice cools, coarsely grate one zucchini.  Squeeze the shreds with your hands to get rid of the excess water.
  • Add the zucchini as well as some salt, pepper, paprika, a drizzle of olive oil, a dash of white wine vinegar, and a generous squeeze of fresh lemon juice.
  • Spread out a single leaf (or two if they're quite small or torn) and spoon some of the rice mixture onto one end.  Don't put too much!
  • Fold the sides up and start rolling, continuing to tuck the sides as you go.
  • Place them close together in a container and add some more olive oil, vinegar, and lemon juice.
  • Refrigerate at least several hours or overnight.

Friday, July 9, 2010

First Savory Tart of the Summer

Summer is here and so is the bounty of vegetables it brings.  Sure, a simple salad or quick veggie saute let their simple, pure flavors shine,  but it's also nice to be a little more creative.  Serve this tart with a fruit salad and a chilled rose for a lovely garden lunch.

1/2 recipe whole wheat puff pastry with a dash or italian herbs
1 egg
1/3 c. cream
3 c. chopped fresh spinach
dash of salt and pepper
1 yellow squash
1/4 c. finely grated parmesan

  • Roll out the puff pastry and cut a circle at least 1 inch larger than the bottom of your tart pan.
  • Drape the pastry into the pan and gently press it into the corners.  Roll in any excess dough at the edge, then press the dough into the fluting all around the side wall with your finger.
  • Thinly slice a yellow squash and divide it in half.
  • Line the bottom of the tart with half of the squash.
  • In a bowl, combine 1 egg, 1/2 c. cream, and a dash of salt and pepper.  Whisk.
  • Roughly chop spinach, giving you 3 loose cups.
  • Add the spinach and 1/4 c. parmesan to the liquids and toss.
  • Spoon the spinach mix into the tart shell.  There will be a few tablespoons of liquid towards the bottom: set this aside.
  • Place the rest of the squash on top of the tart in a decorative manner.
  • Drizzle the remaining liquid over the top, then grate some additional parmesan.
  • Bake for about 25 minutes at 400 degrees until the crust and cheese start to become golden.


Thursday, July 8, 2010

Buckwheat Walnut French Toast with Fresh Blueberry Sauce

I very much enjoy French toast for an indulgent breakfast.  Though it's always very tasty with a classic, good quality white bread, I also recommend trying it with a heartier bread for a different take.  Here I used a buckwheat walnut bread.  Buckwheat, despite it's name, it's not actually a variety of wheat, not being a cereal or grass like wheat, but is considered a psuedocereal like quinoa or amaranth.  It is commonly used in blinis, savory crepes sarrasin, and soba noodles.  It has a rather earthy taste and contains no gluten, meaning that buckwheat breads usually contain wheat flour as well.

I prepared this just as I prepare any other French toast.  However, since it's less light and airy than a white bread, you may want to prepare more of the liquid mix (and be sure to give it enough time to soak).  For the sauce, I simply combined nearly a pint of blueberries with a small spoonful of sugar and a drizzle of water, then let them simmer until they broke down into a sauce, stirring occasionally.  I left it chunky and fruity, but you could cook it longer and/or mash it up and strain it for a more true syrup.