17th July 2009

    Rice Noodle Salad with Vegetables and Tofu


    Lisa got tired of my experiments and just wanted to make a light, healthy asian-themed salad for dinner, and this one, featuring rice noodles, quick-stir-fried vegetables, and tofu was just what she wanted.  The vegetables are still nice and crisp when you place them on the platter, and the entire dish is incredibly refreshing.  The recipe comes from The Best of Cooking Light: Everyday Favorites.

    Lisa says:

    Now this is what I’m talking about.

    Chris says:

    Have to admit, it’s delicious — but how could it not be? The dressing is pretty good too.

    Lisa says:

    Yeah, I love dishes like these; I could eat them every day.

    Chris says:

    You basically do, don’t you? This is just a stir-fry over noodles, really.

    Lisa says:

    Ha — yeah, you’re right! I knew I liked it for a reason.

    Chris says:

    You could add anything you want to this. Snap peas… carrots… yum!

    Lisa says:

    As long as it’s eventually added to my plate…

    Rice Noodle Salad with Vegetables and Tofu
    4 oz rice sticks
    1/4 cup chopped mint
    1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
    3 tbsp sugar
    2 tbsp chopped dry-roasted peanuts
    6 tbsp rice wine vinegar
    2 serrano chiles, halved and thinly sliced
    2 garlic cloves, minced
    2 tsp sesame oil
    1 large yellow squash, halved and thinly sliced
    2 cups thinly sliced red/orange bell pepper rings
    1 medium zucchini, halved and thinly sliced
    3 cups sliced cabbage
    2 cups fresh bean sprouts
    1/2 cups chopped green onions
    12 oz baked tofu, cubed

    Cook noodles according to package directions and set aside.
    Combine mint, soy sauce, sugar, peanuts, rice wine vinegar, chiles, and garlic cloves; mix thoroughly. Pour half of the mixture over noodles in a large bowl.
    Heat the sesame oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add squash, bell pepper and zucchini and saute for four minutes. Add the cabbage, bean sprouts, green onions, and tofu, and saute for an additional three minutes. Place the noodles on a platter, then top with the cabbage/veggie mixture.

    6 Servings

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    posted in Asian, Cooking Light, Main Dishes, Salads and Light Soups, Vegetarian | 2 Comments

    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.

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    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!

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

    9th February 2009

    Creamless Mushroom Soup


    I found this recipe on Pino Luongo’s blog, and it also appears in his cookbook, La Mia Cucina Toscana: A Tuscan Cooks in America. Frequent readers of this blog know that Lisa and I both love mushrooms, and the prospect of a creamless creamy soup sounded really appealing. We had also just picked up a big bag of black trumpet mushrooms at the Farmers Market and were eager to try them out. While simple, this isn’t a quick recipe — the tomato puree bakes for an hour and a half — so if you’re going to tackle this one, save it for a weekend. Unless, of course, you don’t mind waiting for a good thing.

    Lisa says:

    The house smells so good.

    Chris says:

    Is there any smell better than garlic and onion browning in olive oil?

    Lisa says:

    If so, I haven’t yet encountered it. Hey, what’s all this wasted garlic?

    Chris says:

    Oh that was the garlic that baked with the tomatoes — you remove it before pureeing the tomatoes. Don’t worry, there’s more in the soup base and the mushrooms.

    Lisa says:

    Yeah, well now there’s “throwaway garlic” on this cracker in my hand…

    Chris says:

    Oooh, good idea. Delish!

    Lisa says:

    Yum, this soup almost smells sweet, or like cinnamon…

    Chris says:

    Interesting; nothing sweet here, maybe that smell is coming from one of the mushroom varieties…

    Lisa says:

    I heart mushrooms. And this soup.

    Chris says:

    I love all the different textures in it — some of the mushrooms are really delicate, some are firmer; and they all come with slightly different tastes.. mild, earthy…mmmmm!

    Creamless Mushroom Soup
    Oven-Dried Tomato Puree:
    2 lbs Roma tomatoes, halved lengthwise
    2 tbsp fine sea salt
    2 tsp sugar
    3 fresh rosemary sprigs
    6 fresh thyme sprigs
    6 garlic cloves, sliced
    12 fresh basil leaves, torn by hand

    Preheat the oven to 300˚F. Line a rimmed cookie sheet with parchment paper and arrange the tomato halves cut-side up on it in a single layer. Mix the salt and sugar together in a small bowl and sprinkle the tomatoes with the mixture. Then sprinkle with the rosemary, thyme, garlic, and basil. Put the cookie sheet in the oven and bake for 90 minutes, until the tomatoes are dried but not shriveled.
    Remove the cookie sheet from the oven. Pick off and discard the garlic and herbs. While the tomatoes are still warm, puree them in a food processor or blender. Set aside while you make the soup.

    extra virgin olive oil
    1 small onion, chopped
    2 garlic cloves, minced
    pinch of hot red pepper flakes
    1 large Russet potato, peeled and cut into 3/4″ cubes
    fine sea salt
    5 cups vegetable stock
    2 garlic cloves, sliced
    1 fresh rosemary sprig
    1½ pounds mixed wild mushrooms — we used black trumpet, portobello, shiitake, and porcini — stems removed, large ones quartered, small ones halved or left whole
    freshly ground black pepper

    Pour the stock into a small pot and set to simmer. Pour 2 tbsp of olive oil into a large dutch oven to generously coat the bottom. Warm over medium-high heat. Add the onion, minced garlic, and red pepper and cook until the onion is browned, about 4 minutes.
    Add the potato, season with salt, cook for 2 to 3 minutes, then stir in the tomato puree. Cook for 5 minutes, then add the simmering stock. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Cook until the potatoes are cooked through, about 5 more minutes. Blend the soup with an immersion blender until creamy.
    Pour 2 tbsp into a wide deep skillet to coat the bottom. Warm the oil over medium-high heat. Add the sliced garlic and rosemary and sauté until the garlic is browned, about 1 minute. Stir in the mushrooms, season with salt and black pepper, and sauté until the mushrooms are wilted, about 3 minutes. Remove and discard the rosemary, then add the mushrooms to the soup.
    Place the dutch oven on low heat and let the soup simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. Taste, adjust the seasoning if necessary, and finish with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. Ladle into bowls and serve with warm garlic bread.

    4-6 Appetizer-sized servings

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    posted in Italian, Salads and Light Soups, Vegetarian | 7 Comments

    18th November 2008

    Barley and Roasted Vegetable Salad

    We brought this salad to a party, it sounded pretty hearty and would be appreciated by vegetarians and meat-eaters alike: who doesn’t like roasted veggies? The original recipe, from Cooking Light, features eggplant and yellow squash, which we nixed and substituted asparagus and winter squash. The combination was fantastic, the only slight mis-step perhaps was replacing the original’s feta (which we didn’t have on-hand) with mozzarella (which we did): the dish seemed like it needed some extra seasoning that the salty, bold feta would have provided.

    Chris says:

    Oh asparagus, how I’ve missed you…

    Lisa says:

    What the heck are you doing?

    Chris says:

    What do you mean?

    Lisa says:

    You’re looking way too lovingly at that bowl of barley.

    Chris says:

    What can I say? You did a great job on this. Really tasty and filling.

    Lisa says:

    Don’t forget “healthy”… I still think we should have picked up some feta.

    Chris says:

    Totally agree — I just didn’t want to waste the cheese we already had

    Lisa says:

    You shouldn’t have worried… you know that would have gotten eaten…

    Chris says:

    True! Well, like I said, I liked it anyway.

    Lisa says:

    I did too… just add more salt if you’re not going to use feta!

    Barley and Roasted Vegetable Salad
    1 1/2 cup uncooked pearl barley
    2 red bell peppers, cut into wedges
    1 bunch asparagus, ends trimmed
    Cooking spray
    1 medium zucchini, halved lengthwise
    1 medium winter squash, halved lengthwise
    sea salt
    freshly ground black pepper
    1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
    1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
    2 tbsp chopped fresh dill
    1 tsp grated orange rind
    3 garlic cloves, minced

    1/3 cup red wine vinegar
    5 tsp extra virgin olive oil
    1/2 tsp sea salt

    1/3 cup mozzarella cheese, torn

    Preheat oven to 400°.
    To prepare salad, cook pearl barley according to package directions. (Generally, add 3x as much water as barley, bring to a boil, and cook ~45 minutes, or until tender). Let stand, covered, 5 minutes. Spoon barley into large bowl.

    Place peppers and asparagus on one shallow baking pan coated with cooking spray; place zucchini and squash in another shallow baking pan coated with cooking spray. Coat vegetables with cooking spray; sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt and black pepper. Place pan with squash on top rack in the oven and pan with asparagus on middle rack. Bake at 400° for 12 minutes or until squash and zucchini are tender. Remove pan with squash, and move pan with asparagus to top rack. Bake peppers and asparagus an additional 8 minutes or until tender. Cool. Cut vegetables into 1/2-inch pieces. Add vegetables, parsley, and next 4 ingredients (through garlic) to barley; toss gently.

    To prepare dressing, combine vinegar, oil, and 1/2 teaspoon salt, stirring well with a whisk. Add dressing to barley mixture; toss. Top with cheese.

    8 1-1/2 cup servings

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    posted in Salads and Light Soups, Sides | 11 Comments

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