12th April 2010

    Mediterranean Eggplant and Barley Salad

    I find myself turning to epicurious more and more often when I have something sitting in the fridge that I just don’t feel inspired by. We had an eggplant from our CSA box hanging out for a few days, and a few minutes at epicurious turned up this recipe from Gourmet Magazine a couple years back. Eggplant, zucchini, and mushrooms are oven roasted and then tossed with barley cooked in stock, green onions, and spices, cooled, and tossed with a lemon vinaigrette. Delicious!


    Chris says:

    Oh, happy day!

    Lisa says:

    What? What?

    Chris says:

    I figured out what to make with the eggplant, and it ain’t baba ghanoush… not only that, you’re gonna love it.

    Lisa says:

    Why, is it some sort of grain salad with a bunch of veggies?

    Chris says:

    How the — what? Hey!

    Lisa says:

    Man, I’m good. Yum — so is this dish! You’re right, I love it.

    Chris says:

    I’m still trying to figure out…. whatever. Yeah — I really like the tomatoes… and I’m glad I threw in those mushrooms, too.

    Lisa says:

    That’s good for the blog, too. It missed featuring shrooms.

    Chris says:

    If we didn’t know so many picky eaters, I’d suggest we bring this to parties.

    Lisa says:

    Hey, more for us.

    Chris says:

    I love the way you think.

    Mediterranean Eggplant and Barley Salad
    1 1/2 lb eggplant, cut into 1/2″ cubes
    3/4 pound zucchini, cut into 1/2″ cubes
    6 oz cremini mushrooms
    10 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
    1 tsp salt
    1 tsp black pepper
    1 cup chopped green onions
    1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
    1/2 tsp ground coriander
    1/4 tsp cayenne
    1 1/4 cups pearl barley (8 oz)
    1 14-oz can reduced-sodium chicken broth (1 3/4 cups)
    3/4 cup water
    2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
    1 garlic clove, minced
    1/4 tsp sugar
    1/2 lb cherry tomatoes, quartered
    1/3 cup Kalamata olives, pitted and halved
    1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion, rinsed and drained if desired
    1 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
    1/2 cup chopped fresh mint

    Put oven racks in upper and lower thirds of oven and preheat oven to 425°F.

    Cook barley:
    Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a 3- to 4-quart heavy pot over moderately high heat until hot, then cook green onions, cumin, coriander, and cayenne, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add barley and cook, stirring until well coated with oil, 2 minutes more. Add broth and water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, until all of liquid is absorbed and barley is tender, 30 to 40 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand, covered, 5 minutes.

    Roast eggplant and zucchini:
    Meanwhile, toss eggplant, zucchini, and mushrooms with 5 tablespoons oil, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 3/4 teaspoon pepper in a bowl, then spread in 2 oiled large shallow (1-inch-deep) baking pans. Roast vegetables in oven, stirring occasionally and switching position of pans halfway through baking, until vegetables are golden brown and tender, 20 to 25 minutes total. Combine vegetables in 1 pan and cool, reserving other pan for cooling barley.

    Transfer the barley to reserved shallow baking pan and spread to quickly cool, uncovered, to room temperature, about 20 minutes.

    Make dressing and assemble salad:
    Whisk together lemon juice, garlic, sugar, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and 3 tablespoons oil in a large bowl. Add barley, roasted vegetables, and remaining ingredients to bowl with dressing and toss until combined well. Eat, eat, eat.

    4 Main-dish Servings

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    posted in Main Dishes, Mediterranean, Salads and Light Soups, Vegetarian | 5 Comments

    20th April 2009

    Quick-Braised Collard Greens with Bacon and Sweet Onions

    collards-and-bacon
    Until they started showing up in our CSA box, we hadn’t previously cooked with collards. We recently made this quick sauteed version, which was great, but wanted to try something new. This recipe is adapted from the Food Network and features collard greens braised with sweet onions and bacon. Nothing wrong with that!


    Chris says:

    I’ve come to the conclusion that you can add bacon to anything and it turns out wonderfully.

    Lisa says:

    I don’t think you’re the first to come up with that…

    Chris says:

    Well this dish certainly came out well — I actually really like the sweet onions in it.

    Lisa says:

    It is really good, and it’s good to know that collards aren’t going to be one of those CSA veggies that wait in the fridge until they go bad.

    Chris says:

    Hey, I don’t think that happens nearly as often as I’d have thought…

    Lisa says:

    …and if a veggie is looking like it might be heading that way… just add bacon!

    Chris says:

    Works for me…

    Quick-Braised Collard Greens with Bacon and Sweet Onions
    1 pound collard greens, washed, stalks trimmed, and roughly chopped (1 large bunch)
    1/4 lb pepper bacon (or turkey bacon), sliced into 1/2-inch strips
    1 small Walla-Walla sweet onion, finely chopped (approx. 3/4 cup)
    1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
    Salt and freshly ground black pepper

    Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, then add collards and cook until they wilt and are tender, about 5 minutes. Drain and set aside.

    Place the pepper bacon in a large frying pan and cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until crisp-brown and the fat is rendered, about 3-4 minutes. Add the chopped onion and cook until softened, about 4 minutes. Add the drained greens and turn to coat well. Add the chicken broth to cover the collards, and cook until the liquid is reduced and greens are very tender, about 15 minutes. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper and serve.

    3 Servings

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    posted in Main Dishes, Sides | 2 Comments

    27th February 2009

    Attention Shroom Lovers: Eat this! French Dip, à la Cafe Flora

    frenchdip

    A few weeks ago, when Cathy and Chris were in town, we headed on over to Cafe Flora to celebrate Cathy’s birthday. Cafe Flora is a vegetarian restaurant that I had previously only visited for brunch; I remember the french toast being delicious, but when we’d go through the options for dinner places, veggie-centric locales rarely made the cut. I never realized what we had been missing! I had the vegetarian equivalent of a French Dip, with portobello mushrooms standing in for the beef. It was absolutely amazing, and seems to be universally beloved; search for it on the Google™ and you’ll find the following:
    “The portobello mushroom French dip was worth fighting over, better than any beef version I have ever had.”
    “…the best French dip sandwich I’ve ever deigned to dunk.”
    “That f***ing French Dip is incredible.”

    I was happy to find that the recipe for the sandwich appears in Cafe Flora Cookbook — and it was VERY close to the original. To get closer next time, we’ll use a more “rustic” baguette, like that made by Grand Central. This sandwich is sure to please vegetarians and meat-eaters alike!


    Lisa says:
    This recipe seems like a lot of work!

    Chris says:

    There are a bunch of steps, but you can do a lot ahead of time. It’s actually not too bad.

    Lisa says:

    I can’t wait to eat it — here goes!

    Chris says:

    Wow; I’m in heaven.

    Lisa says:

    This is *so* delicious… and I heart that dipping sauce.

    Chris says:

    Yeah I could totally drink it straight!

    Lisa says:

    I wouldn’t go that far, but it does pretty much rule the planet.

    Chris says:

    Now all we need are those super thin-cut sweet potato fries they serve and we’ll be set!

    Lisa says:

    I don’t need them… this is so awesome on its own.

    Cafe Flora French Dip Sandwich
    The Sandwich:
    3 tbsp olive oil
    2 tsp minced garlic
    3 portobello mushrooms (reserve stems for au jus)
    salt and freshly ground pepper
    1 large yellow onion, halved and sliced thinly
    1 rustic baguette
    4 slices Swiss, mozzarella, or provolone
    French Dip Spread (recipe below)
    1 1/2 cups Mushroom au jus (recipe below)

    Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Mix 2 tbsp of the olive oil and the garlic together in a small bowl. Brush the portobello caps on both sides with the mixture, and sprinkle each side with salt and pepper. Place them gill sides down on a baking sheet, and roast for 25 minutes.
    When the mushrooms are cool enough to handle, slice each cap thinly at an angle, netting 8-10 slices per cap.
    While the portobello caps are cooking, heat the remaining 1 tbsp olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for about 5 minutes, until it begins to soften. Turn the heat to low and cook the onion for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally. If it begins to stick, deglaze the pan with some cooking sherry or water.
    Cut the baguette into 4 equal portions 5-6 inches long, avoiding the rounded ends. Slice each in half lengthwise.
    Spread each of the 8 halves with 1 tbsp of the French Dip Spread. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Place as many of the halves that will fit, spread-side down, for 3 minutes. Repeat for all the halves.
    Place 4 baguette bottom-halves, griddled side up, on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Top each with 1/4 of the sliced mushrooms and grilled onions. Top with cheese.
    Place in the 350 degree oven for about 10 minutes, until heated through and cheese melts. Top with the remaining halves and bake for 3 minutes more.
    Slice each sandwich in half at an angle and serve with ~1/3 cup of Mushroom Au Jus.

    4 Sandwiches

    French Dip Spread:
    1/2 tsp olive oil
    1 small shallot, minced
    1/2 tsp minced garlic
    1 tbsp chopped fresh herbs (basil, thyme…)
    2 tbsp white wine
    1/4 lb (1 stick) unsalted butter at room temperature
    salt and freshly ground pepper

    Heat the olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add the shallot, garlic, and herbs and cook for two minutes, stirring as you go. Add the wine and cook until mostly evaporated, but still moist. Remove from the heat and cool to room temperature.
    Add the cooled shallot mixture to the softened butter and mix well. Add salt and pepper to taste.

    Makes 1/2 cup.

    Mushroom Au Jus:
    1/2 lb whole mushrooms and/or stems
    6 cloves garlic, lightly crushed
    1 1/2 tbsp tamari

    Combine the mushrooms, garlic, and 6 cups of water in a 3 quart saucepan. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for about 1 1/2 hours, until the liquid has been reduced to 1 1/2 – 2 cups.
    Strain the liquid and add the tamari. Keep warm if using immediately, or refrigerate/freeze.

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    posted in Main Dishes, Vegetarian | 7 Comments

    27th February 2009

    Big Steaming Bowl: Armenian Stew with Pilaf

    armenianstew

    This recipe is from Moosewood Restaurant Low-Fat Favorites: a hearty vegetarian stew with Mediterranean spices atop a bed of bulgur pilaf. It was nice and filling, and delicious for lunch the following day.


    Chris says:
    So this *claims* to be an Armenian dish…

    Lisa says:

    We certainly never made this dish when I was growing up…

    Chris says:

    Though you guys really didn’t have many vegetarian meals, did you?

    Lisa says:

    True — but this is good. These are pretty big servings!

    Chris says:

    Well it’s all good stuff in there… a bunch of vegetables, beans, and spices!

    Lisa says:

    I love any meal that we can top with garlic-yogurt.

    Chris says:

    I’ll eat to that…

    Armenian Stew with Pilaf
    Stew:
    2 tsp canola oil
    1 cup chopped onion
    3 garlic cloves, minced
    1 tsp dried mint
    1 tsp dried basil
    1 bay leaf
    1/2 tsp salt
    2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 1″ chunks
    1 small zucchini, cut into 1″ pieces
    1 cup chopped fresh tomatoes
    1/2 cup tomato juice
    1 15-oz can drained fava beans
    1 large bunch swiss chard, torn into bite-sized pieces
    1 tbsp fresh lemon juice

    Pilaf:
    2 tsp olive oil
    1/3 cup finely chopped onion
    2 garlic cloves, minced
    1/2 tsp salt
    1 cup bulgur
    2 cups water
    1/2 tsp chopped fresh rosemary

    plain nonfat yogurt
    1-2 cloves garlic, minced

    Warm the oil in a dutch oven. Add the onions, garlic, mint, basil, bay leaf, and salt, cover, and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onion begins to soften. Add the carrots, zucchini, tomatoes, and tomato juice, cover, and simmer until all of the veggies are tender, about 7 minutes. Add the fava beans and Swiss chard, cover again, adn cook an additional 2 minutes. Stir in the lemon juice, add more salt to taste, cover, and remove from the heat. Discard the bay leaf.
    Meanwhile, in a separate pan, warm the olive oil for the pilaf. Add the onions, garlic, and salt, cover, and saute for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the bulgur and stir continuously for about 2 minutes. Pour in the water, sprinkle in the rosemary, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes, until the bulgur is tender.
    In a separate dish, mix the yogurt and minced garlic.
    When the bulgur is almost ready, reheat the stew, then ladle onto a pile of pilaf, and garnish with yogurt.

    4 Servings

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    posted in Armenian, Main Dishes, Moosewood Low-Fat Favorites, Vegetarian | 3 Comments

    30th January 2009

    Soft Tacos with Green Chard, Caramelized Onions, and Queso Fresco

    chardtacos

    These delicious tacos from Mexican Everyday are filled with a mixture of caramelized onions and sauteed green chard — definitely a departure from the norm for us! When we make tacos at home, we’re more likely to fill them with mahi-mahi or shredded chicken. We picked this recipe because it’s Vegetarian Week here at We [Heart] Food, but these were good enough that they’re likely to make an appearance in the usual rotation.


    Chris says:

    Is it just me, or is CSA box day almost like Christmas?

    Lisa says:

    Sorta… though do you usually eat your Christmas presents?

    Chris says:

    Oh. Not really. Okay, so it’s not like Christmas, but it’s still exciting.

    Lisa says:

    I agree — so the veggies in these tacos came from the box?

    Chris says:

    Yep! I’m glad I found this recipe; tacos aren’t the first thing I think of when I see chard… but these turned out really well. The chard has that slight earthy taste that combines nicely with the slight sweetness of the caramelized onions.

    Lisa says:

    Glad we’re having rice and beans with them, or I’d still be hungry.

    Chris says:

    Same here… oh yum, I forgot how much I like that tomatillo salsa.

    Lisa says:

    Is it spicy?

    Chris says:

    This batch not as much; I didn’t add as much of the adobo sauce from the chipotles.

    Lisa says:

    These tacos rule. Yay for Vegetarian week!

    Soft Tacos with Green Chard, Caramelized Onions, and Queso Fresco
    1 (12-ounce) bunch green chard, thick lower stems cut off
    1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
    1 large red onion, sliced 1/4″ thick
    4 garlic cloves, minced
    1 tsp red pepper flakes
    1/2 cup water
    Salt
    warm corn tortillas
    crumbled Mexican queso fresco
    smoky chipotle salsa (recipe in this post)
    cilantro

    Cut chard crosswise into 1/2″ slices. In a very large (12-inch) skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat until hot. Add onion and cook, stirring frequently, until golden brown but still crunchy, about 4 to 5 minutes. Add garlic and red pepper flakes and stir for a few seconds, until aromatic, then add water, 1/2 tsp salt and the chard. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover pan, and cook until chard is almost tender, about 5 minutes.
    Uncover pan, increase heat to medium-high and cook, stirring continually, until mixture is nearly dry. Taste and season with additional salt if necessary. Serve in warm tortillas, topped with cheese, cilantro, and salsa.

    Makes about 8 tacos, depending on how full you like ‘em.

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    posted in Main Dishes, Mexican, Mexican Everyday, Vegetarian | 5 Comments


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