17th February 2009

Taste the Rainbow: Swiss Chard with Golden Raisins and Pine Nuts

rainbowchard

Swiss Chard is one of those vegetables that is scheduled to show up in our CSA box every once in a while… and we replace it with something else. Not necessarily because we don’t like it, but we just don’t have a great “go-to” recipe for it. We may have found that recipe! I like that unlike some other recipes, it uses both the stems and the leaves of the chard — it looks great when made with Rainbow chard. Here the chard is just steamed/sauteed with onion and golden raisins, and topped with salted browned pine nuts. Heavenly!

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Lisa says:

Yum — I usually don’t like raisins in savory dishes, but they’re actually good in this.

Chris says:

Hm, wonder if it’s because they soak up some of the steaming liquid and plump up… or because I chopped them smaller so you don’t notice them. πŸ˜‰

Lisa says:

Maybe both?

Chris says:

Ha! I also like these salted pine nuts on top.

Lisa says:

Same here, though I like salted anything.

Chris says:

The chard isn’t bitter at all; this is really good. The cooked onions also add more flavor.

Lisa says:

Yeah, it’s great. Don’t sub out the chard anymore!

Chris says:

I don’t think you’ll have to worry about that!

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Swiss Chard with Golden Raisins and Pine Nuts
1 1/2 pounds Swiss chard (preferably rainbow or red; from 2 bunches)
1/2 cup pine nuts (2 1/2 ounces)
1/4 cup olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1/4 cup golden raisins, finely chopped
1/2 cup water

Tear chard leaves from stems, then coarsely chop stems and leaves separately.
Toast nuts in oil in a wide 6- to 8-quart heavy pot over moderate heat, stirring constantly, until golden, 1 1/2 to 2 minutes, then transfer with a slotted spoon to paper towels to drain and season with salt.
Cook onion in oil remaining in pot, stirring occasionally, 1 minute, then add chard stems and cook, stirring occasionally, 2 minutes. Add raisins and 1/2 cup water and simmer, covered, until stems are softened, about 3 minutes. Add chard leaves and simmer, partially covered, stirring occasionally, until leaves are tender, about 3 minutes. Don’t overcook or it’ll get too limp. Season with salt and pepper.
Serve sprinkled with nuts.

posted in Sides | 4 Comments

17th February 2009

I got a pan, I got a plan… Roasted Broccoli With Shrimp

brocshrimp
Lisa heard rave reviews about this easy one-pan (plus a pot for rice) recipe from a few people in her running group, and it sounded right up our alley. Broccoli is roasted in the oven with a little oil and some spices, and is later joined by shrimp seasoned with chili powder and lemon. Couldn’t be simpler! We served it with some Bhutanese Red Rice.

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Chris says:

Ha, I love that the most time intensive part of this recipe was the time I spent peeling and deveining the shrimp for ya.

Lisa says:

I know, this is super easy. I’ll have to tell them in running group that it was a success.

Chris says:

The broccoli is really good — I read a tip one of (the many) blogs that featured this recipe to make sure the broccoli is dry when you roast it, otherwise it may not develop those delicious crispy edge pieces.

Lisa says:

We’ll definitely have to make this again… the recipe claims this was four servings, but…

Chris says:

Yeah… I could see maybe three… or in our case, two. But really, if you’re gonna get four servings out of this, you’d have to have additional dishes along side.

Lisa says:

True. Or maybe we’re pigs.

Chris says:

Maybe. I prefer “food hearter”, though. Another thing I like about this is that I only have like 2 dishes to wash.

Lisa says:

Yeah it’d be nice if you could make a couple dinners that only used a few dishes, so I’d benefit from that.

Chris says:

What, you don’t like the dirty-every-dish-we-have cleanups?

Lisa says:

Oh yeah, I just looove those…

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Roasted Broccoli With Shrimp
2 pounds broccoli, cut into bite-size florets
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp whole coriander seeds
1 tsp whole cumin seeds
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/8 tsp hot chili powder
1 lb large shrimp, shelled and deveined
lemon zest from 1 large lemon

Lemon wedges, for serving.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a large bowl, toss the broccoli with 2 tablespoons oil, coriander, cumin, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper and chili powder. In a separate bowl, combine shrimp, remaining 2 tablespoons oil, lemon zest, remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and remaining 1/2 teaspoon pepper.
Spread broccoli in a single layer on a baking sheet. Roast for 10 minutes. Add shrimp to baking sheet and toss with broccoli. Roast, tossing once halfway through, until shrimp are just opaque and broccoli is tender and golden around edges, about 10 minutes more. Serve with lemon wedges, or squeeze lemon juice all over shrimp and broccoli just before serving.

2-4 servings

posted in Main Dishes | 2 Comments

14th February 2009

Eggplant-Potato Moussaka with Pine Nut Cream

moussaka
One thing we’re finding out about the recipes in Veganomicon: The Ultimate Vegan Cookbook is that a lot of them aren’t exactly weeknight-friendly. Some of them are very involved and one would be wise to steer clear if a quick dinner is the goal. This recipe definitely falls into the “takes a while” category, but is totally worth it. This moussaka (which I like to think of as a greek lasagna with eggplant standing in for the noodles) features layers of eggplant, zucchini, and potatoes, a nicely spiced tomato sauce, and is topped with a pine nut cream rather than bechamel (This is vegan, after all).

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Chris says:

Wow, that was kind of a pain, cutting those veggies 1/4″ thick. And it was a clear reminder that I need to sharpen our knives.

Lisa says:

Yeah, seemed like it took a while… if it makes you feel any better, the house smells absolutely amazing.

Chris says:

I know, I’m really looking forward to this…

Lisa says:

Did you try the pine nut cream before you put it on?

Chris says:

Yeah, it’s really, really good.

Lisa says:

Cool — I wasn’t sure about the whole pine-nuts-and-silken-tofu thing.

Chris says:

You blend it to a really creamy consistency. I also tossed some pine nuts on top. Anyway, let’s dig in!

Carrie says:

This is delicious!

Lisa says:

Yeah, I love it.

Chris says:

I really like the potatoes in it — they were crispy and browned going in, and now they’ve soaked up the goodness from the sauce.

Carrie says:

I’ve never had a moussaka before, but you’re right, it is sorta like a lasagna.

Chris says:

Wahoo, I’m ready for more — want to split another piece with me?

Lisa says:

Split?

Chris says:

You can always have more!

Lisa says:

I guess we can save some for lunch…

Chris says:

I bet it’ll be even better tomorrow. πŸ˜‰

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Eggplant-Potato Moussaka with Pine Nut Cream
Vegetable Layer:
1 lb eggplant
1 lb zucchini
1 1/2 lbs Russet potatoes
1/8 cup olive oil

Sauce:
1/8 cup olive oil
4 large shallots, sliced thinly
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup red wine
2 15-oz cans crushed tomatoes
2 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1 bay leaf
Salt

Pine Nut Cream:
1 lb soft silken tofu
1/2 cup pine nuts, plus additional for garnish
3 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp arrowroot powder
1 clove garlic
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
Salt
white pepper

1/2 cup dry, fine white bread crumbs

Preheat the oven to 400˚F. Lightly oil two baking sheets, line a third with parchment paper, and spray with cooking oil.
Wash the eggplant and zucchini, and trim the stems. Scrub and peel the potatoes. Slice the eggplant, zucchini, and potatoes lengthwise, into approximately 1/4″ thick slices. This is a pain, but worth it. Rub the eggplant slices with a little salt and set aside in a colander in the sink or in a big bowl for about 15 minutes to drain. Briefly rinse with cold water and pat dry with a paper towel.

Place each vegetable on a separate baking sheet. Distribute the 1/8 cup of oil among the three sheets and sprinkle vegetables with salt (except the eggplant if salted already). Toss to coat the vegetables on each sheet. Making sure each piece is completely coated with oil. Spread out the vegetables on each sheet; some overlapping is okay. Roast the pans of zucchini and eggplant for 15 minutes, or until tender. Roast the potatoes for about 20 to 22 minutes, until the edges are lightly browned. Allow the vegetables to cool.

Meanwhile, prepare the tomato sauce:
Combine the remaining 1/8 cup olive oil and minced garlic in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan. Heat over medium heat and let the garlic sizzle for about 30 seconds, then add the shallots and cook until soft and translucent, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the wine and simmer until slightly reduced, another 3 minutes. Add the crushed tomatoes, oregano, ground cinnamon, and bay leaf. Partially cover and simmer over medium-low heat for 12 to 14 minutes, stirring occasionally. Turn off the heat, remove the bay leaf, and adjust the salt.

Make the pine nut cream:
In a food processor, blend the pine nuts and lemon juice, scraping the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula, until a creamy paste forms. Add the tofu, garlic, arrowroot, nutmeg, salt, and white pepper. Blend until creamy and smooth.

Lightly oil a 9 x 13 inch pan and preheat the oven again to 400˚F, if necessary. Spread 1/4 cup of sauce on the pan, then add successive layers in order of eggplant, potatoes, sauce, and half of the bread crumbs. Spread all the zucchini on top of this. Top with a final layer each of eggplant, potatoes, sauce, and breadcrumbs. Use a rubber spatula to evenly spread the pine nut cream over the entire top layer. Scatter a few pine nuts on top, if desired.

Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until the top is lightly browned and a few cracks have formed in the topping. Allow to cool 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

4-6 Servings

posted in Main Dishes, Veganomicon | 11 Comments

13th February 2009

Otsu

otsu
Here’s another recipe from Super Natural Cooking: Five Ways To Incorporate Whole and Natural Ingredients into Your Cooking: this one a cold noodle salad with a spicy dressing and browned tofu. We got impatient for dinner and didn’t brown the tofu as long as recommended, but it was delicious nonetheless. Leftovers were great the next day. Keep them cool — heating them up will make the noodles and tofu mushy.

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Lisa says:

Hmmm, I don’t know about cold noodles for dinner…

Chris says:

Wait; but you’re the one who cooked!

Lisa says:

Yeah, I just didn’t realize this was a cold dish.

Chris says:

I’m sure it’ll be good.

Lisa says:

Oooh… that sauce is a little spicy!

Chris says:

Yum, yeah it is! There’s a little kick there. It’s really good. So what do you think about the fact that it’s cold?

Lisa says:

Well I thought it would be weird, but I actually really like it. The buckwheat noodles rule.

Chris says:

Ditto. I think we could have cooked the tofu a little more, but other than that it’s pretty awesome. Let’s make this again for sure!

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Otsu
Grated zest of 1 lemon
Fresh ginger, cut into a 1-inch cube, peeled, and grated
1 tbsp honey
3/4 tsp cayenne pepper
3/4 tsp fine-grain sea salt
1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1/3 cup soy sauce
3/4 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
3/4 tbsp toasted sesame oil

12 oz dried buckwheat soba noodles
12 oz extra-firm nigari tofu
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
3 green onions, thinly sliced
1/2 cucumber, peeled, cut in half lengthwise, seeded, and thinly sliced
1 small handful of cilantro sprigs, for garnish
1/4 cup toasted sesame seeds, for garnish

Make the dressing by combining the zest, ginger, honey, cayenne, and salt in a food processor and process until smooth. Add the lemon juice, rice vinegar, and soy sauce, and pulse to combine. With the machine running, drizzle in the oils.

Cook the soba in plenty of rapidly boiling salted water just until tender, then drain and rinse under cold running water.

While the pasta is cooking, drain the tofu, pat it dry, and cut it into cubes. Cook the tofu in a dry nonstick (or well-seasoned) skillet over medium-high heat for a few minutes, until the pieces are browned on one side. Toss gently once or twice, then continue cooking for another minute or so, until the tofu is firm, golden, and bouncy.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the soba, the ΒΌ cup cilantro, the green onions, cucumber, and about β…” cup of the dressing. Toss until well combined. Add the tofu and toss again gently. Serve on a platter, garnished with the cilantro sprigs and the toasted sesame seeds.

Serves 4-6.

posted in Asian, Main Dishes, Super Natural Cooking, Vegetarian | 0 Comments

10th February 2009

Ultimate Veggie Mini-Burgers

sproutburgers

This recipe from Super Natural Cooking: Five Ways To Incorporate Whole and Natural Ingredients into Your Cooking sounded pretty interesting — it’s not your Garden(burger) variety veggie patty. With this recipe, the veggie patty is the bun, so you don’t end up with such a dry burger. You can then fill it with whatever strikes your fancy: we used avocado, sauteed shrooms, tomato, and sprouts.

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Chris says:

Ha, these are awesome! It’s like an inside-out burger.

Lisa says:

I know — not only do they taste delicious, they look pretty fancy. We should make them for our next party.

Chris says:

I could totally see that — have a tray filled with these guys already assembled. Yum.

Lisa says:

I bet these would be good with guacamole…

Chris says:

That holds true with most things, IMHO.

Lisa says:

…or crispy shallots.

Chris says:

Did you bring that up just because I burned that one batch?

Lisa says:

Hmmmm… now why would I do that? Just saying they’d probably be so delicious on these mini-burgers… mmmm, so goood….!

Chris says:

O burnt shallots! Why must ye torment me so, cruel devils!?

Lisa says:

Whoa. What was that?

Chris says:

Not sure.Β  I just really want those on my burger now.

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Ultimate Veggie Mini-Burgers

2 1/2 cups canned garbanzos, drained and rinsed (a little less than 2 15-oz cans)
4 large eggs
1/2 tsp fine-grain sea salt
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 onion, chopped
zest of one large lemon
1 cup alfalfa sprouts, chopped
1 cup toasted bread crumbs
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

Combine the garbanzos, eggs, and salt in a food processor. Puree until the mixture is the consistency of a thick, slightly chunky hummous. Pour into a mixing bowl and stir in the cilantro, onion, zest, and sprouts. Add the breadcrumbs, stir, and let sit for a couple of minutes so the crumbs can absorb some of the moisture. Form into twelve 1 1/2″-thick patties. (Remember, these are mini-burgers, so they’re not very wide). If the batter seems too moist to form into patties, add more bread crumbs a bit at a time to firm it up. Or, if too dry, add a bit of water to moisten the batter.

Heat the oil in a heavy skillet over medium low, add 4 patties, cover, and cook for 7 to 10 minutes, until the bottoms begin to brown. Raise the heat if after 10 minutes there is no browning. Flip the patties and cook the second side for 7 minutes, or until golden. Remove from the skillet and cool on a wire rack while you cook the remaining patties. Cut each patty in half — like a bun! — fill with your favorite treats, and eat!

Makes ~12 mini-burgers
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Update: As suggested by one commenter, I’m submitting these little guys to Equal Opportunity Kitchen’s Tried, Tested and True 3: Wedding Edition .
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posted in Appetizers, Main Dishes, Super Natural Cooking, Vegetarian | 5 Comments