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

    25th October 2009

    Grilled Salmon with Orzo Salad

    grilledsalmonorzo

    This recipe from Quick from Scratch Herbs & Spices Cookbook will definitely enter the rotation as an easy to make, fast weeknight dinner. Dill highlights both the salmon and the orzo salad here; this was a great combo!


    Chris says:

    Whoa, this is dill-icious.

    Lisa says:

    Oh no, not a pun night…

    Chris says:

    What’s the dill-i-o? What’s wrong with puns?

    Lisa says:

    Nothing; I’d just rather talk about this awesome salmon. Fresh off the grill and covered with lemon zest and dill… so good!

    Chris says:

    It is pretty yummy. I got a good dill on the salmon, too… it was on sale.

    Lisa says:

    Really? … The puns?

    Chris says:

    Can’t han-dill it?

    Lisa says:

    Oh. My. God.

    Chris says:

    I can do this un-dill the cows come home.

    Lisa says:

    Oh, dill-ightful.

    Grilled Salmon with Orzo Salad
    1 cucumber, peeled, halved, seeded, and cut into 1/2″ dice
    4 plum tomatoes, cut into 1/2″ dice
    1 tsp salt
    1/2 lb orzo
    1/3 cup plus 1 tbsp olive oil
    2 tbsp plus 1 tsp lemon juice
    1/3 cup plus 1 tbsp chopped fresh dill
    Freshly ground black pepper
    1 1/2 lbs salmon fillet, about 1″ thick, cut into 4 pieces
    Grated zest of 1/2 lemon

    In a strainer set over a medium bowl, toss the cucumber, tomatoes, and 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and let drain for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, in a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the orzo until just done, about 12 minutes. Drain, rinse with cold water and drain thoroughly. Toss the orzo with the 1/3 cup oil, the lemon juice, the 1/3 cup dill, 1/4 teaspoon of the salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper.
    Light the grill. Coat the salmon with the 1 tablespoon oil, the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Grill the salmon, skin-side up, for 4 minutes. Turn and sprinkle with the 1 tablespoon dill and the lemon zest. Cook the fish until golden brown and just barely done (the fish should still be translucent in the center), about 3 minutes longer. Serve the fish on the salad.

    4 Servings

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    posted in Quick from Scratch Herbs and Spices | 14 Comments

    17th October 2009

    Red Lentil & Vegetable Lasagna

    redlentillasagna

    Here’s a cool twist on vegetarian lasagna: in addition to vegetables like zucchini and carrots, red lentils provide an unexpected texture and a boost in protein. The recipe comes from Fitness Food — this book continues to be a source of interesting, healthy meals.


    Chris says:

    I like nights that you cook.

    Lisa says:

    Why’s that?

    Chris says:

    You choose recipes that I probably wouldn’t have.

    Lisa says:

    Ha, you wouldn’t have picked this one? Why not?

    Chris says:

    Dunno; just didn’t sound appealing to mein ears.

    Lisa says:

    Yet, and guess what happened?

    Chris says:

    I know, I freaking love it!

    Lisa says:

    Me too — so different. I’ve been in the mood for lasagna for a while now. We never make it!

    Chris says:

    Well if they turn out like this, I’m all for more.

    Lisa says:

    You know, I like nights that I cook, too.

    Chris says:

    Why’s that?

    Lisa says:

    I don’t have to do the dishes.

    Red Lentil & Vegetable Lasagna
    1 tsp vegetable oil
    1 onion, chopped
    2 cloves garlic, chopped
    1 stalk celery, diced
    1 carrot, diced
    1 zucchini, diced
    1/2 cup red lentils
    2 15-oz cans chopped tomatoes
    1 tbsp tomato paste
    1 tsp sugar
    1 tsp dried oregano
    2 cups low-fat ricotta (or sub with cottage cheese)
    1/2 cup skim milk
    9 instant lasagna noodles
    3 handfuls basil
    1 egg, lightly beaten
    1/2 cup low-fat grated cheddar

    Heat the oil in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan, add the onion and garlic, and cook over low heat until softened. Stir in the celery, carrot, and zucchini and cook for 2 more minutes.
    Add the lentils, chopped tomatoes, tomato paste, sugar, and oregano. Add 3 cups of water, stir, and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 40 minutes, or until the lentils are cooked. Stir frequently, and season to taste with salt and pepper. While the lentils are cooking, preheat the oven to 350F.
    Combine the ricotta and milk in a bowl. Spoon half the lentil sauce into a 9 x 10 ovenproof dish. Top with 3 lasagna noodles, then half of the ricotta/milk mixture. Cover with the basil leaves. Top with 3 more lasagna noodles, then spread the remaining lentil mixture over the top. Top with the remaining lasagna noodles.
    Beat the egg into the remaining half of the ricotta/milk mixture. Spread the surface with the ricotta mixture and cover with the cheese. Bake for 40 minutes. If the top starts to dry out, sprinkle with water.
    Top with additional basil ribbons.

    6 Servings

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    posted in Fitness Food, Italian, Vegetarian | 1 Comment

    28th September 2009

    Paella-Style Rice with Shrimp and Veggies

    shrimppaellastyle

    I adapted this recipe from Fitness Food, omitting the ham and white wine (didn’t have any on hand — added more shrimp and broth), and replacing the peas with chopped green beans (ditto — use what you got, folks!). I guess you can’t really call this a true paella as it uses long-grain basmati rice instead of bomba or calasparra, but the method is pretty similar, and hey — you cook it in a paella pan. :)


    Chris says:

    Let’s eat!

    Lisa says:

    …wait, this is just four servings?

    Chris says:

    Sho’nuff… Fitness Food and Great Bowls of Fire seem to have quite a few of the generous-portion dishes.

    Lisa says:

    Wow, that’s awesome. It’s really delicious in my mouth.

    Chris says:

    Well, good, because that’s where it’s supposed to be.

    Lisa says:

    I heart anything with mushrooms.

    Chris says:

    Totally! Also, I’ve noticed we’ve been making pretty colorful dishes lately.

    Lisa says:

    You know what else I like?

    Chris says:

    What’s that? The saffron?

    Lisa says:

    Knowing that I’m going to enjoy tomorrow night’s dinner — these leftovers!

    Paella-Style Rice with Shrimp and Veggies
    2 tsp olive oil
    4 cloves garlic, chopped
    1 serrano pepper, seeded and chopped
    2 tsp grated fresh ginger
    1 red onion, chopped
    1 small red bell pepper, chopped
    2 cups basmati rice
    1 tsp paprika
    pinch saffron threads
    1 zucchini, diced
    4 oz cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced
    2 tomatoes, grated (skins discarded)
    5 1/2 cups hot vegetable stock
    1/2 lb raw shrimp, peeled and deveined, tails on
    3/4 cup green beans, chopped
    1 handful flat-leaf parsley, chopped, to garnish

    Heat the oil in a deep paella pan at least 12-inches across the bottom and 2 1/2 inches deep. Add the garlic, serrano pepper, and ginger and cook for 1 minute, or until fragrant. Add the onion and red bell pepper and cook, stirring, for 2-3 minutes, or until softened.
    Stir in the rice, paprika, saffron, and 1/2 cup of the broth. Cook, stirring, until the broth is absorbed. Add the zucchini, mushrooms, and tomatoes. Add the remaining stock (or as much as will fit in the pan) and bring to a boil, stirring continuously. Lower the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 15 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
    Arrange the shrimp over the rice, pressing them in a bit. Cover tightly with foil and simmer for 10 minutes, or until the shrimp and rice are fully cooked. Stir in the green beans and top with the parsley.

    4 generous servings

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    posted in Fitness Food, Main Dishes, Spanish | 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


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