Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Tamarind Lentils

I made these lentils for myself one night last week when no one else was going to be home for dinner. I really liked them - a little sweet, a little spicy, and so simple to make.

Tamarind Lentils
Veganomicon, Isa Chandra Moskowitz & Terry Hope Romero

3 tablespoons coconut or peanut oil (I used canola)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2-inch cube fresh ginger, peeled and minced
1 large onion, diced
1 teaspoon garam masala
1/2 teaspoon whole cumin seeds
Generous pinch of cayenne
1 cup dried lentils, picked over and rinsed
2 cups vegetable broth or water
2 teaspoons concentrated tamarind syrup or paste
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup or agave nectar
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/2 teaspoon salt

In a heavy-bottomed medium-sized pot with a lid, melt coconut oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and ginger, and let sizzle for 30 seconds. Add the onion and fry until translucent and soft, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the garam masala, cumin seeds, and cayenne, and stir for another 30 seconds until the spices smell fragrant. Add the lentils and vegetable broth, increase the heat to high, and bring the mixture to a boil. Stir and lower the heat to medium-low. Partially cover and simmer for 25 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the lentils have absorbed most of the liquid and are very tender. The lentils will be very thick; add a few tablespoons of water if a thinner consistency is desired.

In a small cup or bowl, combine the tamarind, maple syrup, tomato paste, and salt. Use a rubber spatula to scrape all of the mixture into the lentils; stir to completely dissolve the flavorings. Simmer the mixture for another 4 to 6 minutes, stirring occasionally. Adjust the salt to taste and serve immediately.

4 to 6 servings

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Rigatoni with Goat Cheese

This is a nice creamy pasta dish, flavored with goat cheese and Parmesan. It can be served alone or with any (or all) of the suggested toppings.

Rigatoni with Goat Cheese
Everyday Food: Great Food Fast

Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
1 pound rigatoni
1 1/2 cups crumbled goat cheese (about 4 ounces)
1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese

Topping suggestions:
1/4 cup sliced pitted black olives (I used kalamata)
1/4 cup chopped chopped or torn herbs (I used basil)
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
1/4 cup slivered sun-dried tomatoes (I didn't use)

In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the rigatoni until al dente according to package directions; drain, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking water.

Return the pasta to the pot, and toss with the goat cheese and Parmesan cheese. Season with salt and pepper, and add some of the reserved pasta water as desired.

Sprinkle the pasta with any or all of the suggested toppings, as desired, and serve immediately.

4-6 servings

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Tilapia with Pimiento Sauce

Up until a couple years ago the only fish I would eat was canned tuna or fried fish. Then I discovered that I like tilapia - it's very mild, so it doesn't taste too "fishy".
When I saw this recipe on another blog, I had to try it. I love the combination of green olives and tomatoes, and the sauce on this fish is great! I will definitely make this one again (though I will probably double the sauce next time - I love extra sauce!).

Tilapia with Pimiento Sauce
Simply Recipes blog (http://www.elise.com/recipes/)

1 Tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, cut into thin wedges
1 clove garlic, minced
1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 cup sliced cremini or button mushrooms
3/4 cup pimiento-stuffed olives, coarsely chopped
1 Tbsp chopped fresh oregano or 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, crushed
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
4 6-8 ounce tilapia fillets

In a large skillet heat olive oil over medium high heat. Add the onions and cook until tender, about 2-3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about a minute more. Add tomatoes, mushrooms, olives, oregano, salt, and pepper. Bring sauce to boiling.

Gently place the fish fillets in the pan and scoop some of the sauce over the fillets. Return to boiling. Reduce the heat and cover. Simmer for 8 to 10 minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork. With a wide spatula, lift fish from skillet to a serving dish. Spoon sauce over fish. Serve with rice, and/or crusty bread.

4 servings

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

French Chicken in Vinegar Sauce

I loved this! Because it uses with boneless, skinless thighs, the chicken was very moist. And the sauce was so flavorful, with just a hint of heat from the cayenne. I served it with mashed potatoes and roasted asparagus.

French Chicken in Vinegar Sauce
Cooking Light

Olive oil-flavored cooking spray
2 1/2 cups coarsely chopped onion
8 (3-ounce) skinned, boned chicken thighs
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup fat-free chicken broth
3 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon minced fresh or 1/2 teaspoon dried tarragon
1/2 teaspoon brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon red pepper
Dash of black pepper

Coat a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray; place over medium-high heat until hot. Add onion; cook 5 minutes or until lightly browned. Add chicken; sauté each side 3 minutes or until browned.
Combine wine and next 8 ingredients (wine through black pepper) in a medium bowl; stir well. Add wine mixture to chicken mixture; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes.

4 servings

Monday, March 16, 2009

Cavatappi with Spinach, Garbanzo Beans, and Feta

Not only did this taste really great, but the whole thing was finished in the time it takes to cook the pasta. How's that for the perfect weekday meal?

Cavatappi with Spinach, Garbanzo Beans, and Feta
Cooking Light

8 cups coarsely chopped spinach
8 cups hot cooked cavatappi (about 12 ounces uncooked spiral-shaped pasta)
1 cup (4 ounces) crumbled feta cheese
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 (19-ounce) cans chickpeas (garbanzo beans) or other white beans, drained
4 garlic cloves, crushed
Freshly ground pepper
Lemon wedges (optional)

Combine first 10 ingredients in a large bowl; toss well. Garnish with lemon wedges, if desired.

12 servings

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Shredded Beef Soft Tacos

I haven't made these in a really long time, and I'm not sure why because they are so good. If you like tacos you should definitely try these!

Shredded Beef Soft Tacos

Rick & Lanie's Excellent Kitchen Adventures, Rick Bayless & Lanie Bayless

1 1/2 pounds stewing beef
3 cups water
1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained
1 jalapeno or 2 serrano chiles, cut into 4 or 5 pieces (I took the seeds out to reduce the heat for the kids)
4 garlic cloves, cut in half
2 green onions, sliced
12 corn or flour tortillas

Put beef in a medium (4- to 6-quart saucepan. Add water and 1/2 teaspoon salt. set over medium heat. When the mixture boils, cover with lid slightly ajar. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until meat is fall-apart tender, about one hour.

Uncover pan and raise heat to medium-high. Pour drained tomatoes into blender or food processor. Add chopped chiles and garlic. Cover and process to a puree. Add to meat. Boil until much of the liquid has evaporated - about 15 to 20 minutes.

Add green onions and continue cooking. Mash mixture with back of spoon to break up meat while stirring - until mixture thickens and darkens, about 8 minutes. (Will begin to sizzle.) Taste and add more salt if you think necessary.

Serve with warmed tortillas.

4 servings

I served it with this Mexican rice:

Mexican Rice III


1 cup long grain white rice
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups chicken broth (I used 2 cups)
1/2 onion, finely chopped
1/2 green bell pepper, finely chopped
1 fresh jalapeno pepper, chopped (I left out)
1 tomato, seeded and chopped
1 cube chicken bouillon
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 clove garlic, halved (I minced)

In a medium sauce pan, cook rice in oil over medium heat for about 3 minutes. Pour in chicken broth, and bring to a boil. Stir in onion, green pepper, jalapeno, and diced tomato. Season with bouillon cube, salt and pepper, cumin, cilantro, and garlic. Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce heat to low. Cook for 20 minutes.

6 servings

Friday, March 13, 2009

Barbecue Sauce

This sauce is great. It comes together in just a few minutes, and it's so much better than the stuff in a bottle!

Barbecue Sauce
Everyday Food: Great Food Fast

1 teaspoon hot sauce
1/3 cup cider vinegar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup molasses
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup ketchup

Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan. Simmer over medium heat until reduced to 1 1/4 cups, 5 to 7 minutes.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Greek-Style Potato, Zucchini, and Bean Stew

This was good, though the potatoes were still a bit hard, even after an extra 30 minutes of simmering (keeping it hot until Chaim got home). The best part was dipping grilled bread into the juices. Yeah, I'm a carb-freak!

Greek-Style Potato, Zucchini, and Bean Stew
Cooking Light

1 1/2 tablespoons extravirgin olive oil
3 cups chopped onion
1 cup (3/4-inch) cubed peeled baking potato
1/2 cup water
3 1/2 cups (1/2-inch-thick) slices zucchini
2 1/2 cups (3-inch) cut green beans (about 1/2 pound)
2 (28-ounce) cans diced tomatoes, undrained
1 (15.5-ounce) can Great Northern beans, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 teaspoons chopped fresh dill
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup (3 ounces) crumbled feta cheese

Heat olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion; sauté 5 minutes or until lightly browned. Add potato and water; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and cook 5 minutes. Stir in zucchini and the next 3 ingredients (through Great Northern beans). Cover and cook 35 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Stir in parsley and next 3 ingredients (through pepper). Serve with cheese.

6 servings

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Goan Curried Braised Beef

When I saw this recipe posted on the Cooking Light message boards I knew I had to try it. I love Indian food, and I already had chuck roast in the freezer.
This recipe is based on Curried Beef Stew (Goan Gosht Curry) from the book 660 Curries, by Raghavan Iyer. This is the version that was posted on the message boards - it's more like a pot roast than a stew. And it's absolutely fabulous!

Goan Curried Braised Beef with Potatoes, Cider Vinegar & Coconut Milk
Adapted from 660 Curries, Raghavan Iyer/Cooking Light message board

3 pounds chuck roast, cut into 5-7 large chunks
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon hot paprika
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
1 1/2 teaspoons ground turmeric
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 red onions, thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
4 dried bay leaves
5 (2-inch) cinnamon sticks
2 heaping teaspoons ground cumin
2 heaping teaspoons ground coriander
1 (14-ounce) can unsweetened coconut milk
1 (14-ounce) can diced tomatoes
1/3 cup cider vinegar
Salt to taste
1 1/2 pounds peeled baking potatoes, cut into 1-inch chunks, and submerged in water to keep from turning brown
chopped cilantro for garnish

Rub the meat with the cayenne, hot paprika, sweet paprika, and turmeric. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to overnight (the longer it marinates, the more the turmeric will tenderize the meat).

Preheat oven to 3oo F.

Heat the oil in a large dutch oven. Add the cardamom, cinnamon sticks and bay leaves, and cook until fragrant. Add the meat in batches, and brown it on all sides. Remove the meat from the pot and add the onions. Cook briefly. Add the cumin and coriander. Briefly stir-fry. Add the meat back into the pan, along with the vinegar, coconut milk and tomatoes with their juices. Bring to a boil. Place parchment paper over the pot, and cover with a heavy lid. Place in the oven for 1 1/2 hours.

Remove the pot and stir the meat briefly. Drain the potatoes and add them to the pot. Stir the potatoes into the liquid and replace the parchment and the lid. Put it back into the oven for 1 1/2 hours, or until the potatoes are fork-tender, but not falling apart.

Sprinkle with chopped cilantro before serving.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009


I can't remember where I got the recipe for this taco filling, but it's really good - so easy, and not too spicy for the kids!

Taco Filling

1 pound lean ground beef
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon flour
1 tablespoon chili powder
1/2 cup beef broth or chicken broth

In a skillet, brown the ground beef with the garlic, cumin, and oregano. When the meat is no longer pink, add the flour, chili powder, and broth. Cook until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes.

4 servings

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Garbanzo Stew

This is one of my favorite quick recipes. You get so much flavor for so little effort.
Normally I serve it with the Peanut Rice in the recipe, but today I served it with plain basmati rice.

Garbanzo Stew
Cooking Light

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup finely chopped onion
4 cups chopped seeded tomato (about 1 1/2 pounds)
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon curry powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
2 (15 1/2-ounce) cans chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Peanut Rice

Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, and sauté 5 minutes or until tender. Stir in tomato and next 5 ingredients (tomato through pepper). Cook 8 minutes or until thick, stirring occasionally. Stir in chickpeas and garam masala; cook for 5 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Sprinkle each serving with 1 tablespoon cilantro. Serve over Peanut Rice.

Peanut Rice:

2 1/4 cups water
1 cup (uncooked) white basmati rice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 cup dry-roasted peanuts
1/2 cup frozen petite green peas, thawed

Bring the water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add rice, salt, and turmeric; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat; stir in peanuts and peas.

4 servings