25th November 2008

    Roasted Hatch Potato Salad with Tuna

    I was stuck at home today, and just before leaving to walk out in the rain for a long, cold, wet trek to get some lunch, I decided to poke around and see what we had on hand. I knew we still had a few potatoes left from the CSA box, and when I spotted a can of tuna, something clicked in my mind and I remembered a recipe from Mexican Everyday by Rick Bayless that I had been wanting to try. The version in the book uses poblanos, but I knew the roasted hatch chilies sitting in my freezer would work just as well, if not better. The onions and shallots kept a lot of their crunch, and along with the chilies provided a nice contrast in texture to the soft potatoes. The tuna adds protein, but doesn’t overpower the other flavors in the dish. Hooray for having ingredients on hand — this potato salad kept me sated — and dry!

    Obviously, I couldn’t discuss the deliciousness with Lisa, as she didn’t get to try it, but instead, I give you the following instant messenger transcript:

    [1:36 PM] Chris: Guess what I had for lunch?
    [1:40 PM] Lisa: Nothing?
    [1:40 PM] Lisa: Water?
    [1:41 PM] Chris: We had tuna, potatoes, shallots, and the hatch chilies in the freezer… I made that potato salad w/tuna from the Rick Bayless book!
    [1:41 PM] Lisa: Yum!!!!!
    [1:41 PM] Lisa: Are there leftovers???
    [1:41 PM] Lisa: I want to try it!!!
    [1:41 PM] Chris: Uh, no. Didn’t make a full recipe, sucka.
    [1:41 PM] Lisa: Dammit!
    [1:41 PM] Lisa: Bragger.
    [1:42 PM] Lisa: I had a frozen dinner. *Boring*

    Fascinating, I know! Hey, I do what I can.

    Roasted Hatch Potato Salad with Tuna
    2-3 roasted hatch chilies
    2 medium (1/2 lb) Yukon Gold potatoes, cut into 1/2″ pieces
    Salt
    1/6 cup olive oil (2 tbsp + 2 tsp)
    1/2 small red onion, sliced 1/8″ thick
    1 large shallot, sliced 1/8″ thick
    1 1/2 tbsp champagne vinegar
    1/2 tsp oregano
    1/4 tsp black pepper
    One 6-oz can tuna, drained
    1/4 cup chopped cilantro or parsley
    Romaine, to serve (optional)

    Put the cubed potatoes into a microwave-safe bowl and sprinkle with 1/2 tsp of salt. Cover with plastic wrap and microwave on high for about 3 minutes, until completely tender. Leave covered.
    Rub the blackened skin off the chilies and pull out the stems and seeds. Rinse to remove rogue seeds and skin, then cut into 1/4″ thick strips.
    Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and shallots and cook, stirring frequently, until the onion and shallots are browned, about 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the vinegar, oregano, black pepper, and hatch chilies. Stir well, then add the potatoes to the pan. Set aside to cool; when at room temperature, add the parsley/cilantro and tuna.
    Serve over optional Romaine lettuce leaf.

    2 side-dish servings, or a large lunch

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    posted in Main Dishes, Mexican, Mexican Everyday, Sides | 3 Comments

    18th November 2008

    Barley and Roasted Vegetable Salad

    We brought this salad to a party, it sounded pretty hearty and would be appreciated by vegetarians and meat-eaters alike: who doesn’t like roasted veggies? The original recipe, from Cooking Light, features eggplant and yellow squash, which we nixed and substituted asparagus and winter squash. The combination was fantastic, the only slight mis-step perhaps was replacing the original’s feta (which we didn’t have on-hand) with mozzarella (which we did): the dish seemed like it needed some extra seasoning that the salty, bold feta would have provided.

    Chris says:

    Oh asparagus, how I’ve missed you…

    Lisa says:

    What the heck are you doing?

    Chris says:

    What do you mean?

    Lisa says:

    You’re looking way too lovingly at that bowl of barley.

    Chris says:

    What can I say? You did a great job on this. Really tasty and filling.

    Lisa says:

    Don’t forget “healthy”… I still think we should have picked up some feta.

    Chris says:

    Totally agree — I just didn’t want to waste the cheese we already had

    Lisa says:

    You shouldn’t have worried… you know that would have gotten eaten…

    Chris says:

    True! Well, like I said, I liked it anyway.

    Lisa says:

    I did too… just add more salt if you’re not going to use feta!

    Barley and Roasted Vegetable Salad
    (Salad)
    1 1/2 cup uncooked pearl barley
    2 red bell peppers, cut into wedges
    1 bunch asparagus, ends trimmed
    Cooking spray
    1 medium zucchini, halved lengthwise
    1 medium winter squash, halved lengthwise
    sea salt
    freshly ground black pepper
    1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
    1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
    2 tbsp chopped fresh dill
    1 tsp grated orange rind
    3 garlic cloves, minced

    (Dressing)
    1/3 cup red wine vinegar
    5 tsp extra virgin olive oil
    1/2 tsp sea salt

    1/3 cup mozzarella cheese, torn

    Preheat oven to 400°.
    To prepare salad, cook pearl barley according to package directions. (Generally, add 3x as much water as barley, bring to a boil, and cook ~45 minutes, or until tender). Let stand, covered, 5 minutes. Spoon barley into large bowl.

    Place peppers and asparagus on one shallow baking pan coated with cooking spray; place zucchini and squash in another shallow baking pan coated with cooking spray. Coat vegetables with cooking spray; sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt and black pepper. Place pan with squash on top rack in the oven and pan with asparagus on middle rack. Bake at 400° for 12 minutes or until squash and zucchini are tender. Remove pan with squash, and move pan with asparagus to top rack. Bake peppers and asparagus an additional 8 minutes or until tender. Cool. Cut vegetables into 1/2-inch pieces. Add vegetables, parsley, and next 4 ingredients (through garlic) to barley; toss gently.

    To prepare dressing, combine vinegar, oil, and 1/2 teaspoon salt, stirring well with a whisk. Add dressing to barley mixture; toss. Top with cheese.

    8 1-1/2 cup servings

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    posted in Salads and Light Soups, Sides | 11 Comments

    16th November 2008

    Risotto with Corn and Chantrelles


    Mushrooms are showing up everywhere lately, and this recipe from The Mushroom Lover’s Cookbook looked like a good delivery device for chantrelles… not to mention, our first attempt at making risotto! (Stir, stir, stir… ) The corn and mushroom flavors really complemented each other, and the risotto went really well with our Cinque Terre wine, which finally arrived from Italy!

    Chris says:

    Hey, our wine arrived, and no breakage!

    Lisa says:

    Wahoo!

    Chris says:

    So what do you think — did we succeed with the risotto?

    Lisa says:

    I certainly think so — just needs a little extra salt…

    Chris says:

    Part of that is probably due to my using low-sodium broth.

    Lisa says:

    Well other than that I love it. The mushrooms rule. I thought the corn would be weird, but it’s not.

    Chris says:

    Yeah, I think this turned out really well. I like how creamy the risotto is, even without the mushroom mixture. I think I probably could have cooked the risotto just a tad more, but other than that I say “great success”!

    Risotto with Corn and Chantrelles
    3 cups chicken broth
    2 tbsp unsalted butter
    1 onion, finely chopped
    1 cup Arborio rice
    1/2 cup white wine
    sea salt
    freshly ground pepper
    1 tbsp olive oil
    8 oz chantrelles, trimmed, cleaned, and sliced 1/2 inch thick
    2 shallots, finely minced
    2 tsp minced garlic
    3/4 cup corn kernels
    1/2 cup milk
    2 tbsp cilantro, chopped

    Bring the chicken stock to a simmer in a medium-sized saucepan, then lower the heat to just keep warm.
    Melt 1/2 the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat until foaming. Add the onion and cook until softened, about 2-3 minutes. Stir in the rice to coat, then add the wine. Cook an additional minute.
    Reduce the heat to low and stir in one ladleful of stock at a time. As each addition is absorbed, continue to add stock ladle by ladle, stirring and cooking, until all but 1/2 cup of the stock remains and the rice is tender but firm. Season to taste with salt and pepper, turn off the heat, and cover.
    Heat the remaining butter and the olive oil in a medium-sized pan over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and stir until they release their liquid, about 2 minutes. Add the shallots and garlic and reduce the heat to medium. Continue cooking until the shallots are softened, 2 more minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
    When ready to serve, add the milk and corn to the mushrooms and stir until the milk is hot. Remove from the heat and stir in half of the cilantro.
    Warm the remaining chicken broth and stir into the rice. Ladle the risotto into soup plates. Top with the mushroom mixture and the remaining cilantro.

    4 Servings

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    posted in Italian, Main Dishes, The Mushroom Lover's Cookbook | 4 Comments

    15th November 2008

    Fennel and Celery Salad – Dama Bianca

    One thing that can be a challenge if you subscribe to a CSA is, well, not wasting vegetables! Sometimes you get way more of a certain ingredient than you’d normally buy at the store, or you end up with vegetables that you’re not used to cooking with. That actually ends up being a bonus for us, as it’s forced us into finding completely new dishes or to adapt and explore ways to incorporate new ingredients into old favorites. A few days ago I looked in the fridge and realized that we had most of a bunch of celery and a fennel bulb left over from last week’s delivery. Just a couple minutes of searching turned up this extremely simple salad recipe from Gourmet magazine — the only thing I had to pick up was the mozzarella. Great success!

    Lisa says:

    Such a fresh-tasting salad!

    Chris says:

    It was extremely simple and quick to make.

    Lisa says:

    I really like the crunch from the celery and fennel.

    Chris says:

    The light dressing really brings out the flavor of the fennel — I’m a fan.

    Lisa says:

    Now I’m ready for dinner!

    Fennel and Celery Salad – Dama Bianca
    1 medium fennel bulb, stalks discarded
    3 pale inner (white) celery stalks, leaves discarded and stalks thinly sliced
    1/4 lb ball mozzarella, roughly torn
    1/4 tbsp grated lemon zest
    1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
    3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
    1/8 tsp fine sea salt
    freshly ground pepper

    Cut fennel in half lengthwise, then thinly slice crosswise about 1/4 inch thick. Toss with celery and arrange on a platter with mozzarella. Whisk together zest, juice, oil, sea salt, and pepper and drizzle over salad.

    3-4 starter-size servings

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    posted in Appetizers, Salads and Light Soups | 2 Comments

    14th November 2008

    Chinese Egg Noodle and Shiitake-Ginger Soup

    This strong-flavored soup is adapted from a recipe in Great Bowls of Fire. The original recipe called for ramen-style noodles, but we used chinese egg noodles and it came out great. The shiitakes and mushroom broth make this a shroom-tastic meal for this time of year. Veggie-licious!

    Lisa says:

    I heart mushrooms.

    Chris says:

    And you heart vegetables.

    Lisa says:

    Well now you know why I made this.

    Chris says:

    This is probably the darkest broth we’ve had in a long time.

    Lisa says:

    That’s mostly from the mushroom broth — it was darker than the chicken or veggie broths we usually use.

    Chris says:

    I’m a big fan — and the cornstarch at the end thickened it up nicely. A pretty filling meal!

    Noodle and Shiitake-Ginger Soup
    5 oz chinese egg noodles
    1 tbsp peanut oil
    1/4 lb shiitake mushrooms, sliced
    2 carrots, thinly sliced at an angle
    1 red bell pepper, seeded and sliced into strips
    1 tbsp minced ginger root
    2 cups sliced bok choy leaves
    4 cups mushroom broth
    1 8-oz can sliced water chestnuts, drained
    1/4 lb extra-firm tofu, diced
    3 tbsp soy sauce
    2 tsp sesame oil
    4 tsp Szechuan sauce
    1 1/2 tbsp cornstarch

    Cook the noodles according to the package directions until al dente and set aside.
    In a large saucepan, heat the oil. Add the mushrooms, carrots, bell pepper, and ginger and cook for 7 minutes over medium heat, stirring. Add the bok choy and cook for 3 minutes more. Stir in the broth, water chestnuts, tofu, soy sauce, sesame oil, and Szechuan sauce and bring to a simmer. Cook for 10 minutes over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
    In a small bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and 1 1/2 tbsp cold water. Whisk the mixture into the soup and cook for 3 more minutes over low heat.
    Use tongs to place the noodles in 4 soup bowls. Ladle the soup over the top and serve.

    4 Servings

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    posted in Great Bowls of Fire, Main Dishes | 2 Comments


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