2nd November 2009

    Moussaka

    moussaka

    I’d been craving lamb, and Lisa was in a I-want-lasagna-but-we-just-had-lasagna mood, so moussaka seemed like the perfect bridge between our two wants. This recipe comes from the book Mediterranean Hot and Spicy; the moussaka was certainly hot (after being in a 400F oven for an hour…) but spicy? Not so much. Mouth-watering? Yes. Mouth-burning? No. Just a warning; this is not a recipe you can just whip up when you get home from work; it’s a multi-hour commitment!


    Lisa says:

    I can’t believe you’re just finishing up, I would have been frustrated hours ago.

    Chris says:

    Ha, I actually enjoy the occasional time-intensive recipe; besides, the last hour I haven’t been doing anything but getting hungry while I wait for it to finish baking.

    Lisa says:

    Well I’m glad it’s done now… I’m starvin’, Marvin.

    Chris says:

    This smells awesome… Mmm.. and there’s the lamb I’ve been craving.

    Lisa says:

    Oooh, I love the texture of the baked yogurt top. And the meat is good — not super-duper “lamby”.

    Chris says:

    All the veggies are great; I like the layer of green peppers.

    Lisa says:

    The potato layer is awesome. Whoa — looks like there’s a ton leftover.

    Chris says:

    There is — you could totally cut this recipe in half and just bake it in an 8″x8″ pan and you’d be set for 4 servings.

    Lisa says:

    I guess at some point we’ll be able to report back on how this freezes and reheats.

    Chris says:

    Indeed — we’ll have to whip this out midweek next week. It’ll be nice to not have to work nearly as hard for it next time. :)

    Spicy, Light Moussaka
    Sea salt
    2 large eggplants (about 1.5 lbs). sliced lengthwise, 1/4″ thick
    Olive oil
    1 lb potatoes, peeled and sliced 1/4″ thick
    3 large green bell peppers, quartered and cut into 1″ pieces
    1 lb lean ground lamb
    1 1/2 cups chopped onion
    2 or more pinches of cayenne
    1/3 cup dry red wine
    1/2 cup dried currants
    2 1/2 cups canned chopped tomatoes with juice
    fresh ground black pepper
    2 pinches freshly ground nutmeg
    1 pinch allspice
    1 lb (4 cups) nonfat Greek yogurt
    2 egg yolks

    Salt the eggplant slices, place them in a colander, and let them drain for at least 30 minutes. Meanwhile, heat about an inch deep of olive oil in a deep, heavy skillet over medium-high heat and fry the potato slices until browned but not cooked through. Remove with a slotted spoon and layer on the bottom of a 9×12″ glass ovenproof casserole dish. In the same oil, saute the peppers over medium-high heat, stirring often, until they start to color, about 10 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and reserve. Reserve the oil, measure out 1/4 cup, and return it to the pan. Saute the lamb in the oil, stirring often, for about 10 minutes, until no longer red. Add the chopped onion and continue to saute for another 10 minutes, or until translucent. Add the cayenne and red wine. When boiling, add the currants and tomatoes. Lower and simmer for about 15 minutes. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and more cayenne if wanted. Add the nutmeg and allspice and add to the heat.
    Preheat the broiler.
    Wipe the eggplant slices with paper towels and place them on a baking sheet. Brush both sides with the reserved oil and broil about 4 inches from the heat until golden brown on both sides.
    Preheat the oven to 400F.
    Arrange the eggplant over the potatoes, overlapping if necessary. Layer the peppers over the eggplant and top with the lamb/tomato mixture. In a bowl, mix the yogurt with the egg yolks, stirring well. Pour the mixture over the lamb/tomato mixture. Bake for 1 hour, until the top starts to color and the moussaka is bubbly.

    6-8 Servings.

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    posted in Greek, Main Dishes, Mediterranean Hot and Spicy, Middle Eastern | 2 Comments

    27th September 2009

    Vegetable Tian

    vegetabletian

    Another easy recipe from Barefoot in Paris — this time, a simple side dish to contribute to a recent dinner gathering. Our garden is still producing tomatoes and zucchini, and we had some veggies left over from our last CSA box, so we adapted the recipe to use those up — the only item we didn’t have on hand was the potatoes. A casserole dish is filled with softened onions, then the vegetables are packed in a single layer on top, roasted, topped with shredded gruyere, and baked again until browned. Awesome.


    Lisa says:

    Holy crap, are you sure we have to bring this over?

    Chris says:

    What do you mean?

    Lisa says:

    Can’t we just eat it all now and claim we forgot to bring something?

    Chris says:

    Bzzzzt… too late, I already told them what we were planning on bringing.

    Lisa says:

    Dammit! Okay, but I’m not going to be able to wait very long before digging in.

    Chris says:

    Well don’t dig in yet, I gotta take a picture first, and this is a pretty dish!

    Lisa says:

    Okay, but I’m just sayin’… the clock is ticking.

    Vegetable Tian
    Olive oil
    2 medium yellow onions, cut in half and sliced
    1 large shallot, sliced
    3 garlic cloves, minced
    1 lb yukon gold potatoes, unpeeled
    2 medium zucchini
    1 patty pan squash
    2 large carrots
    1 pound medium tomatoes
    1 tsp kosher salt
    1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
    1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves, plus extra sprigs
    2 oz Gruyere cheese, grated

    Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

    Brush a 9 by 13 by 2-inch baking dish with olive oil. In a medium saute pan, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil and cook the onions over medium-low heat for 8 to 10 minutes, until translucent. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Spread the onion mixture on the bottom of the baking dish.

    Slice the potatoes, zucchini, squash, carrots, and tomatoes in 1/4-inch thick slices. Layer them alternately in the dish on top of the onions, fitting them tightly, making only 1 layer. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, thyme leaves, and thyme sprigs and drizzle with 1 more tablespoon of olive oil. Cover the dish with aluminum foil and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until the potatoes are tender. Uncover the dish, remove the thyme sprigs, sprinkle the cheese on top, and bake for another 30 minutes until browned.

    4 side-dish servings

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    posted in Barefoot in Paris, Sides | 5 Comments

    11th August 2009

    Red Bliss Potato Salad, Paesano Style

    blisspotsalad

    This is my favorite potato salad — a far cry from the usual mayo/mustard based crew, this one is almost seasoned like a puttanesca pasta: capers, anchovies, red pepper flakes, garlic… a divine combination of flavors. The mint is an interesting addition that adds flavor and color. I’ll be making this again, for sure. The recipe originally appeared in Esquire; I followed it pretty much exactly, except I cut the oil *way* down. I just can’t imagine adding an entire cup of oil to this potato salad — it would be swimming! I ended up using around a third of that.


    Lisa says:

    Hey, what is that? Looks like Kung Pao Chicken.

    Chris says:

    This is the potato salad I was telling you about…

    Lisa says:

    Whoa, definitely looks different.

    Chris says:

    Just wait until you try it!

    Lisa says:

    Holy crap that’s good… and I can totally see why you’d love this, caper boy.

    Chris says:

    Hell yeah, capers are like little tiny explosions of awesome in your mouth.

    Carrie says:

    Hey, Kung Pao chicken — great!

    Chris says:

    Not quite… just a bombastic potato salad.

    Carrie says:

    Wow, this is really good.

    Chris says:

    This is what I’m saying! I heart it. It should definitely become part of the standard party-food rotation…

    Red Bliss Potato Salad, Paesano Style
    2 1/2 lbs small red bliss potatoes.
    Salt and pepper to taste
    2 tbsp rinsed capers
    1/2 cup thinly sliced roasted red peppers
    A few cloves chopped garlic
    1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
    2 tbsp sugar
    1 tsp red-pepper flakes
    6 minced oil-packed anchovies
    1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
    1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
    1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

    Quarter the potatoes. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil, add potatoes, and cook until fork tender, about 12 minutes. Drain and transfer to mixing bowl. Stir in the capers, roasted red peppers, garlic, balsamic vinegar, sugar, red-pepper flakes, and anchovies. Stir and cool to room temperature. Then add the extra-virgin olive oil and chopped fresh mint, then coarse salt and ground pepper. Sprinkle grated Parmesan and a few more torn mint leaves on top. Serve at room temperature.

    Makes so much, and yet not quite enough… !

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    posted in Sides | 2 Comments

    7th April 2009

    Creole Chickpea Stew

    garbanzostew
    Apparently we’ve been on a soup and stew kick as of late; here’s a quick weeknight one-pot dish that’s hearty and flavorful. This recipe is adapted from Steven Raichlen’s Healthy Latin Cooking and is chock-full of chickpeas and potatoes in a flavorful vegetable broth.

    Lisa says:

    Wow — there are a LOT of chickpeas in this stew.

    Chris says:

    Yeah, I don’t think you’re going to complain about this being too “brothy”.

    Lisa says:

    Not at all!

    Chris says:

    Actually, I had to add a little more broth while I was cooking it anyway; the potatoes were taking a longer time than I had expected. I’d cut them smaller next time.

    Lisa says:

    The sliced tomatoes on top are a nice change…

    Chris says:

    Yeah, I really like them. This isn’t the most remarkable dish in the book, but the tomatoes on top give it a nice twist.

    Lisa says:

    Well, I hope you like it enough to have the leftovers tomorrow night…

    Chris says:

    Definitely!

    Creole Chickpea Stew
    1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
    1 small onion, finely chopped
    4 green onions, trimmed and finely chopped
    1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
    1 red bell pepper, chopped
    4 cloves garlic, chopped
    1/2 tsp ground cumin
    1/2 tsp dried oregano
    2 tomatoes, seeded and chopped
    4 tbsp chopped cilantro
    6 tbsp chopped fresh flat-leafed parsley
    3 tbsp tomato paste
    2 cups vegetable stock
    2 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2″ pieces
    2 15-oz cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained
    salt and freshly ground black pepper
    1 tomato, seeded and sliced

    Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the onions, green onions, bell peppers, garlic, cumin, and oregano, and cook for five minutes, until the vegetables are softened. Add the chopped tomatoes, cilantro, and half of the parsley. Cook for five minutes or until most of the liquid has evaporated.
    Stir in the tomato paste; cook for 1 minute. Stir in the stock and bring to a boil over high heat. Stir in the potatoes; reduce the heat to medium and simmer for 6 minutes. Stir in the chickpeas and simmer for another 6 minutes, or until the potatoes are soft. Season with salt and black pepper. Transfer to a serving bowl and top with the tomato slices and remaining parsley.

    6 Servings

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    posted in Healthy Latin Cooking, Main Dishes, Soups and Stews | 6 Comments

    8th March 2009

    Creamy Potato Kale Soup

    potkalesoup
    We found this easy, tasty recipe in Moosewood Restaurant Low-Fat Favorites: Flavorful Recipes for Healthful Meals. There’s only 1/2 cup of evaporated milk in the final dish, but that little amount gives the soup a nice richness. The kale, green onions, dill, and leeks add eye-catching green highlights to the dish.


    Chris says:

    I hate taking pictures of soup.

    Lisa says:

    What? Why?

    Chris says:

    They never come out looking as appetizing as I hoped… at least stews have some texture to work with.

    Lisa says:

    Well, whatever… you keep worrying about the picture, I’m gonna start eating this soup before it gets cold!

    Chris says:

    I’m done anyway… I love the kale in this soup.

    Lisa says:

    Me too! This broth is really creamy from the pureed potatoes… for being low-fat, it’s actually pretty filling.

    Chris says:

    I think the key to this one is the Dijon; it gives it just a little bit of tang, but it’s not overpowering.

    Lisa says:

    Yeah I wouldn’t have even known it was in there.

    Chris says:

    Mmmm… I’m enjoying this so much that the whole picture thing doesn’t really bother me any more.

    Lisa says:

    See? Don’t worry about it… I’d rather have food that tastes better than it looks than the other way around!

    Creamy Potato Kale Soup
    1 cup finely chopped onions
    2/3 cup finely chopped leeks
    1/2 tsp salt
    1 tbsp canola oil
    4 cups vegetable broth
    4 cups coarsely chopped potatoes
    1/4 tsp ground fennel
    1/2 finely chopped celery
    2 tbsp white wine
    1/2 tsp dried dill
    2 tsp Dijon mustard
    2 tbsp minced scallions
    1 1/2 tbsp minced fresh basil
    1/2 cup evaporated low-fat milk
    1 bunch kale, stems and ribs removed, shredded (about 4 cups loosely packed)
    Salt and ground black pepper to taste
    Squeeze of fresh lemon juice

    In a large dutch oven, sauté the onions, leeks, and salt in the oil on very low heat for about 7 minutes, until tender and translucent. Add the stock and bring it to a boil, then add the potatoes, fennel, celery, wine, and dill. Simmer for about 20 minutes, covered, until the potatoes are tender. Use an immersion blender to puree the soup until smooth. Stir in the mustard, scallions, basil and evaporated low-fat milk.

    In a separate pot, gently boil the kale in just enough water to cover. When the kale is just tender, drain it and stir it into the soup. Add salt and pepper to taste and lemon juice. Reheat the soup until it is very hot, but not boiling.

    4 Servings

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


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