17th June 2009

Catch-Up Post #4: Orzo Super Salad


Lisa saw this recipe on 101 Cookbooks and immediately added it to her must-have list. The cool salad was a tasty treat during our mini-heatwave a few weeks ago. For the sprouts, we found a pack that included many varieties we hadn’t previously tried — they added crunch and texture to this healthy dish.

Orzo Super Salad
1 cup dried orzo pasta
8 – 10 medium asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch segments
1/2 a medium head of broccoli, cut into small trees
small handful of mint, chopped

1 small clove of garlic, mashed with a big pinch of salt and chopped
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

a small handful of sprouts
1/3 cup almonds, toasted
1/2 small cucumber, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
1 medium avocado, sliced into small pieces
1/4 cup feta, crumbled

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt generously and boil the orzo per package instructions. 30 seconds before the orzo is finished cooking stir the asparagus and broccoli into the orzo pot. Cook for the final 30 seconds, drain and run under a bit of cold water to stop the cooking.

Meanwhile, whisk together the garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, and salt into the dressing. Set aside.

To serve the salad, toss the orzo, asparagus, broccoli, and mint with about half the dressing. Add more dressing if needed, and toss well. Now add the sprouts, almonds, cucumber, avocado, and feta. Very gently toss a couple of times to distribute the ingredients throughout the salad and serve.

Serves 4.

posted in Main Dishes, Salads and Light Soups | 1 Comment

14th June 2009

Catch-Up Post #3: Portobello Salad with Spicy Mustard Dressing, and an award


Here’s a recipe from Veganomicon: The Ultimate Vegan Cookbook that’s been sitting in the “need to post” pile for a while… we broke out the grill for this one a few months ago. We love the taste and texture of grilled portobellos, and when placed over a bed of greens and garbanzos with a slightly spicy, tangy mustard dressing, they make for a great healthy meal.

Portobello Salad with Spicy Mustard Dressing
Roasted Portobellos:
1/2 cup white wine
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 large portobello caps

1/4 cup prepared spicy, smooth mustard
3 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 tbsp pure maple syrup

8 cups mixed greens
1 avocado, peeled, halved, pitted, and thinly sliced
1 small red onion, sliced into very thin half-moons
1 15-oz can chickpeas, rinsed and drained

Combine the mushroom marinade ingredients in shallow glass dish, then place the portobellos upside down in the marinade. Spoon a bunch of the marinade into the mushroom caps to form a small pool. Preheat a grill to high heat and marinate for 20 minutes.
Grill the mushrooms over direct heat, about 4 minutes per side. When done, remove from heat, and when cool enough to handle, slice and set aside.
Whisk the dressing ingredients together in a bowl, then throw all the salad ingredients in a large bowl and pour the dressing over. Toss to coat.
Place the greens on a plate, top with the portobellos, and serve.

4 main-dish/8 side-dish servings


And now, award time!
I’d like to thank Margot from Coffee and Vanilla for presenting We Heart Food with a Beautiful Blog Award!

Click here to check out the other recipients of BB!


posted in Main Dishes, Salads and Light Soups, Veganomicon | 2 Comments

7th June 2009

Catch-Up Post #2: Tilapia with Shiitake Mushrooms

A month or so ago, we made this easy fish dish, adapted from a recipe in Fitness Food: The Essential Guide to Eating Well and Performing Better. The original used fish steaks (snapper, halibut, swordfish…) but we had a few tilapia fillets on hand and it sounded like a good match to me! We paired it with brown rice mixed with shaved carrot, ginger, green onion, and soy.

Lisa says:

Is there anything that doesn’t go with cilantro?

Chris says:

In our house? No.

Lisa says:

Haha — true! Is this the dish you made because we happened to have everything in the house already?

Chris says:

You know, I’m not sure. It’s been a long while. Damn catch-up posts… I do remember liking it though.

Lisa says:

I barely remember it, but I’m thinking the fact that it’s slathered with stir-fried mushrooms means I hearted it a whole lot.

Chris says:

You have a way with words… but I’m guessing you’re right. Okay, on to the recipe…


Tilapia with Shiitake Mushrooms
2 tbsp reduced sodium soy sauce
1 tbsp canola oil
2 tbsp Chinese rice wine
pinch sugar
zest and juice from 1 lemon
4 large tilapia fillets
1 tsp sesame oil
6 oz fresh shiitake mushrooms, sliced
2 scallions, chopped

Mix the soy sauce, oil, rice wine, sugar, lemon zest, and lemon juice together in a shallow glass baking dish. Place the fish in the dish and turn to coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight, turning over a couple of times.
Remove from the fridge and allow to return to room temperature. Preheat the oven to 350F.
Heat the sesame oil in a frying pan over medium heat and when hot add mushrooms. Stir-fry for 3-4 minutes or until they start to soften, then add in the scallions, stir, and remove from the heat.
Sprinkle the mushroom mixture over the fish and bake, covered with foil, for 20 minutes, or until the fish is opaque and firm.
Garnish with cilantro and serve with rice.

4 Servings

posted in Fitness Food | 1 Comment

5th June 2009

Quick-Seared Poblano Beef Tips


Meat and potatoes, Rick Bayless-style.  This easy recipe from Mexican Everyday features deliciously tender… tenderloin… dished up with potatoes and full-flavored, slightly spicy poblano peppers.  We don’t cook tons of red meat and aren’t fans of huge slabs of beef, so this was a nice treat.  The potatoes took a lot longer than suggested in the book, so I’ve adjusted the times below. By the way, gas ovens are fantastic for roasting peppers.
Lisa says:

Whoa, what’s this? We never have steak.

Chris says:

I know it — I was just in the mood for red meat, and this sounded really good.

Lisa says:

Well it certainly smells good… how spicy are the peppers?

Chris says:

Not very — they’re the poblanos, so they have a nice flavor but aren’t usually very hot.

Lisa says:

Didn’t you almost kill my mom with some “aren’t usually hot” peppers?

Chris says:

Hey, that wasn’t my fault! I blame the produce lady. Besides, I really enjoyed that dish, even if it was way overly spicy. Anyway, back to this dish — these strips aren’t hot!

Lisa says:

I know, I just finished.

Chris says:

Uh, what?

Lisa says:

Yeah, while you were going on for 20 minutes about pepper excuses, I was enjoying this delicious dinner. I loved the steak.

Chris says:

What the — 20 minutes? That was barely 20 words!

Lisa says:

Whatevs. Like I said, I thought it was delicious.

Chris says:

Okay, well, yes. Ditto!


Quick-Seared Poblano Beef Tips
2 small poblano peppers
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 lb beef tenderloin
1 small white onion, sliced 1/4″ thick
2 medium Yukon Gold potatoes (1/2 lb), cut into 1/2″ pieces
3 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
1/4 cup dark beer
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup chopped cilantro

Roast the poblanos over an open flame, turning regularly until blackened and blistered all over, about 5 minutes. Wrap in foil and let sit until cool.
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When hot, sprinkle the beef generously with salt, then put into the hot pan, spreading into a single layer. Cook, stirring frequently, until the meat is almost done — 4 minutes for medium-rare. Remove to a plate.
Return the skillet to medium-high heat and add the onion and potatoes. Cook, stirring regularly, until the onion is richly browned, 10 to 12 minutes. Add the garlic and stir for about a minute, until aromatic. Pour in the beer and Worcestershire, sprinkle in 1/4 tsp salt, and lower the heat to medium. Let cook, stirring regularly until most of the liquid has reduced and the potatoes are tender, 10-15 minutes longer.
While the mixture is simmering, rub the blackened skin off the poblanos and pull out the stems and seed pods. Cut into 1/4″ strips and add them to the skillet.
When the potatoes are tender, return the meat to the pan and sprinkle on the cilantro. When the meat has heated through, taste and add salt if necessary.

2 Servings

posted in Mexican Everyday | 2 Comments

2nd June 2009

Catch-Up Post #1: CSA Soup & Asparagus Stir-Fry

Not sure if it was a major ice-cream headache, weekend trips, or other commitments, but somehow I’ve ended up with a backlog of a dozen or so posts to catch up on.  Rather than try to recreate the magical conversations we had when enjoying these meals, I’m going to post a quick summary of each dish.  That’ll do, pig.


“CSA” Soup: Delicious!  Lisa made this soup up from all the ingredients we had left over from our last CSA box.  Snow peas, zucchini, broccoli, and shallots, in a tomato and vegetable broth base.  Making a soup is a great way to use up vegetables that are starting to lose their firmness or are a few days away from the compost bin.

This stir-fry, originally found on 101 Cookbooks, is a quick-to-prepare mix of tofu, asparagus, mushrooms, and spinach.  We [Heart] Asparagus season!

Asparagus Stir-Fry
toasted sesame oil
8 oz extra-firm tofu, cut into slices
4 oz mushrooms, halved
4 green onions, thinly sliced
1 tbsp freshly grated ginger
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 bunch of asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
a couple big pinches of fine-grain sea salt
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 big handful of toasted cashews, chopped up a bit
a few handfuls of spinach
zest and juice of one lime
2 tbsp hoisin sauce
1 small handful fresh mint, slivered
1 small handful fresh basil, slivered

Heat a teaspoon or so of sesame oil in a large pan, or well-seasoned wok over medium high heat. When it is hot, add the tofu, and cook until golden – a few minutes. Remove the tofu from the pan and set aside.

Add a generous splash of oil to the pan and, as soon as it is hot, add the mushrooms, onions, ginger, red pepper flakes, asparagus, and salt. Stir fry for about a minute, then add the garlic, cashews, and spinach and stir-fry for another minute, or until the spinach wilts. Return the tofu to the pan. Stir in the lime zest and juice and the hoisin sauce. Cook for another 10-20 seconds, stirring continuously.

Remove from heat and stir in the mint and basil. Taste and add a bit more salt if needed.

2 Main-dish Servings

posted in Main Dishes, Soups and Stews | 0 Comments