28th February 2008

    Vegetable and Herb Chowder


    Lisa was at the helm again tonight and chose to make this chowder from The Soup Bible. Pretty self-explanatory, just a nice chunky vegetable soup.

    Chris says:

    It must still be winter; so many soups!

    Lisa says:

    They definitely warm you up… I like the creaminess of this one.

    Chris says:

    Yep, and it was pretty easy to make, right?

    Lisa says:

    Uh, yeah… you were right here helping.

    Chris says:

    Yeah well I know that, and you know that, but the people out there reading this sure don’t.

    Lisa says:

    Riiight… the “people out there”… okay then — “Yes, this was a really easy recipe to make”.

    Chris says:

    …and it made a bunch — I bet I know what you’re having for lunch tomorrow!

    Vegetable and Herb Chowder
    ————————–
    2 TB butter
    1 onion, finely chopped
    1 leek, finely sliced
    1 celery stalk, diced
    1 yellow or green bell pepper, seeded and diced
    2 TB chopped fresh parsley
    1 TB all-purpose flour
    5 cups vegetable stock
    12 ounces potatoes, diced
    a few sprigs of fresh thyme or 1/2 tp dried thyme
    1 bay leaf
    1 cup young green beans, diagonally sliced
    1/2 cup milk
    salt and ground black pepper

    Melt the butter in a heavy pan and add the onion, leek, celery, bell pepper and parsley. Cover and cook gently over low heat until the vegetables are soft.
    Add the flour and stir until well blended. Gradually stir in the stock. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring frequently.
    Add the potatoes, thyme and bay leaf. Simmer, uncovered, for ten minutes.
    Add the beans and simmer for a further 10-15 minutes until all the vegetables are tender.
    Stir in the milk. Season with salt and pepper. Heat through. Before serving, discard the thyme stalks and bay leaf.

    4 Servings

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    posted in Main Dishes, The Soup Bible | 0 Comments

    26th February 2008

    Baked Eggplant with Mushroom-Veggie-Tomato Sauce


    Tonight Lisa adapted a recipe from Cooking Light, throwing in a bunch of extra veggies to make this baked eggplant dish. It was close to a lasagna, with eggplant taking the place of the noodles. Ridiculously low in calories, which meant we polished off the entire dish.

    Chris says:

    Yum, is that pizza? Oh wait. Yum, lasagna!

    Lisa says:

    Bzzzzt… wrong… that’s eggplant.

    Chris says:

    Yum, eggplant!

    Lisa says:

    I love recipes that enable us to pig out like this.

    Chris says:

    Mmm-hmmph.. iphs rlly goodtoo!

    Lisa says:

    You really shouldn’t type with your mouth full.

    Chris says:

    Ha! Did that actually come across?

    Lisa says:

    Yeah, although I’m not sure why having food in your mouth would affect your typing like that.

    Chris says:

    Oh yeah. Right. Whatever. The point is that I enjoyed stuffing my face with this meal you made.

    Baked Eggplant with Mushroom-Veggie-Tomato Sauce
    ————————————————
    1 peeled eggplant, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices (about 1 1/4 pounds)
    Cooking spray
    1 cup chopped onion
    1 zucchini, chopped
    1 green bell pepper, chopped
    1/2 tsp dried Italian seasoning
    1 tsp red pepper flakes
    1/4 tsp salt
    2 garlic cloves, chopped
    1 (8-ounce) package presliced mushrooms
    1/4 tsp black pepper, divided
    1 (8-ounce) can no-salt-added tomato sauce, divided
    2/3 cup (about 3 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese, divided
    1/4 cup (1 ounce) grated fresh Parmesan cheese
    1/2 cup breadcrumbs

    Preheat broiler.
    Arrange the eggplant slices on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray; broil 3 minutes on each side or until lightly browned.
    Heat oven to 375°.
    Heat a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray over medium heat; add onion and next 7 ingredients (onion through mushrooms). Cover and cook 7 minutes or until tender, stirring mixture occasionally. Increase heat to medium-high; uncover and cook for 2 minutes or until liquid evaporates.
    Spread half of mushroom mixture in bottom of a 1 1/2-quart round baking dish coated with cooking spray. Arrange half of eggplant slices over mushroom mixture; sprinkle with 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Top with 1/2 cup tomato sauce and 1/3 cup mozzarella. Spread remaining mushroom mixture over mozzarella; top with remaining eggplant slices. Sprinkle with 1/8 teaspoon pepper; top with remaining tomato sauce and breadcrumbs. Cover and bake at 375° for 1 hour. Sprinkle with 1/3 cup mozzarella and Parmesan. Bake, uncovered, 5 minutes or until cheese melts. Let stand 10 minutes.

    4 Servings

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    posted in Cooking Light, Main Dishes | 2 Comments

    24th February 2008

    Tomato Soup with Israeli Couscous

    Tonight I finally got around to making a soup from The Ultimate Soup Bible, a cookbook we got from Lisa’s brother at Christmas. This easy to make tomato soup is made with Israeli couscous (which is much larger and chewier than regular couscous), onions, tomatoes, garlic, cilantro, and mint; the soup has a great aroma and wonderfully garlicky flavor. It should appear in the rotation pretty regularly. We loved it.

    Lisa says:

    I love Israeli couscous… and this soup is so colorful.

    Chris says:

    It’s delicious. I like the cayenne: it’s subtle — just a slight tingle in the back of the throat.

    Lisa says:

    Oh *that’s* what that is. I was worried I was coming down with something.

    Chris says:

    Well, you’ll feel the blues if I take your soup away.

    Lisa says:

    Yeah, I will — I definitely want to have this again…

    Chris says:

    You’re in luck, then. The recipe makes so much that we’re having leftovers tomorrow night!

    Lisa says:

    Wahoo!

    Tomato Soup with Israeli Couscous
    ———————————
    2 tbsp olive oil
    1 onion, chopped
    2 medium carrots, chopped
    14 oz can chopped tomatoes
    7 garlic cloves, chopped
    6 cups chicken stock (or vegetable stock, if you’re veg.)
    1 1/3 cups Israeli couscous
    3 mint sprigs, chopped
    5 cilantro sprigs, chopped
    1/4 tsp ground cumin
    cayenne pepper, to taste
    salt and ground pepper, to taste

    Heat the oil over medium heat in a large saucepan. Add the onions and carrots and cook until they are soft, about 10 minutes. Add 1/2 the garlic and the remaining ingredients to the pan. Bring the soup to a boil, add all but 1 tsp of the chopped garlic, then reduce the heat and simmer for 7-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the couscous is tender. Remove from the heat, stir in the rest of the garlic, and ladle into bowls. Serve with warm sourdough bread.

    4-6 Servings

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    posted in Main Dishes, The Soup Bible | 11 Comments

    19th February 2008

    Taste & Create VI: Cranberry Almond Blondies

    I realized late last night that time was running out for Taste & Create VI, and with the rest of our week already planned out and our being out of town this weekend, my options for creating a dish from Kelly’s Sounding My Barbaric Gulp were dwindling. Luckily, she recently featured a recipe that sounded quick, delicious, and utilized ingredients that we (for the most part) already had on hand. I did have to make a substitution: fresh raspberries have been hard to come by recently, so I substituted frozen cranberries that I still had on hand from the last T&C event. Huzzah for that miracle of the modern age, the ice-box.

    Lisa says:

    How is it that you ended up baking again?

    Chris says:

    I don’t know — at least this time there aren’t any professional bakers around to taste my wares.

    Lisa says:

    And it looks like this one only took like an hour…

    Chris says:

    Yes! Very easy, and I’m happy with the results. I like the tartness of the cranberries against the sweet of the cake.

    Lisa says:

    I like the sweet of the batter when I lick the bowl.

    Cranberry Almond Blondies
    ————————-
    9 tbsp unsalted butter, softened, plus more for pan
    1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
    1 tsp baking powder
    3/4 tsp salt
    1 cup packed light-brown sugar
    2 large eggs
    1 tsp pure vanilla extract
    1 cup sliced almonds, (3 ounces), toasted
    1/2 cup cranberries, sliced
    confectioners’ sugar, for dusting

    Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line a buttered 8-inch square baking pan with foil, allowing 2 inches to hang over sides. Butter lining (excluding overhang); set pan aside.
    Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl, and set aside.
    Put butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer; cream on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs and vanilla; beat until combined. Add flour mixture, and beat on low speed, scraping down sides of bowl, until well incorporated. Mix 3/4 cup almonds into batter.
    Pour oh-so-thick batter into prepared pan; spread with a rubber spatula. Scatter cranberries and remaining 1/4 cup nuts over batter in pan. Bake until a cake tester inserted into blondies (avoid center and edges) comes out with a few crumbs but is not wet, 55 to 60 minutes. Dust with confectioners’ sugar before cutting into squares.

    16 small squares

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    posted in Desserts | 2 Comments

    19th February 2008

    Onion Lovers Rejoice! Mujadara & Chicken and Onions in Hot Sauce

    Tonight’s we had an onionstravaganza! Mujadara, a Lebanese rice and lentil dish topped with blackened onions, paired with chicken cooked with onions, tomato, and hot pepper, served family-style. The chicken recipe comes from Secrets of Healthy Middle Eastern Cuisine.

    Chris says:

    I could have made the chicken spicier; our red pepper’s not hot enough.

    Lisa says:

    Yeah it’s not super-hot. Maybe add more onions.

    Chris says:

    True; doesn’t the surgeon general recommend 8 entire onions a day?

    Lisa says:

    We’re almost there now! So good … I love the sweet taste of the rice!

    Chris says:

    I love the onion taste of the everything.

    Mujadara
    ——–
    4 tbsp olive oil
    1 medium onion , chopped
    3 garlic cloves , minced
    2 tsp cumin
    1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
    1/2 tsp ground allspice

    3 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
    3/4 cup dried lentils , rinsed, picked over
    3/4 cup long-grain white rice
    2 large onions, sliced
    3 tomatoes, quartered lengthwise
    yogurt
    mint

    Heat 2 tablespoons oil in large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add chopped onion and next 4 ingredients; sauté until onion softens, about 4 minutes. Add broth and lentils; bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, covered, 10 minutes. Stir in rice; return to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; cover and cook until liquid is absorbed and rice and lentils are tender, about 15 minutes longer.

    Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add sliced onions; sauté until soft and beginning to blacken, about 20 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer to plates; top with blackened onions. Garnish with tomatoes, yogurt, and mint.

    Chicken in Hot Sauce
    ——————–
    1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast
    1 tbsp hot red pepper
    1 tbsp olive oil
    4 medium onions, sliced
    1/2 cup tomato paste
    1 cup water

    Cut the chicken into 2″ pieces and coat with 1/2 tsp of the red pepper. Sautee the chicken over medium-high heat until golden brown. Remove from the pan and set aside.
    Add the onions to the pan with a couple tbsps of water; cook until translucent. Return the chicken to the pan, and add the tomato paste, water, and the rest of the hot red pepper. Cook over medium heat for 10 minutes.

    4 Servings

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    posted in Main Dishes, Middle Eastern | 2 Comments


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