Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Onion, Fennel, and Orange Upside-Down Shortcake

On a recent trip to the library, I came across the book Savory Baking. I flipped through it, and after seeing the gorgeous pictures and reading some of the recipes, I checked it out.
Last night I made my first recipe from it - a savory upside-down cake, meant to be eaten as a side dish. Since it was more time-consuming than I usually like for a weekday, I just served it with some scrambled eggs, and I thought it was great!
I can't wait to try more recipes from this book!

Onion, Fennel, and Orange Upside-Down Shortcake
Savory Baking, Mary Cech

Onion Filling
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 medium onions, thinly sliced
1/2 cup dry sherry (I used dry white wine)
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon fennel seeds, toasted and crushed
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup water
1 small red bell pepper, roasted, peeled, and roughly chopped

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
zest of 1 medium orange
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 cup whole milk

To prepare the onion filling, put the olive oil, onions, sherry, brown sugar, vinegar, fennel seeds, salt, and pepper in a large saute pan or wide-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat. Cover and cook for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent the onions from sticking. Stir in the water. Add the roasted red peppers to the onions. Cover, reduce the heat to medium, and cook for an additional 15 minutes, stirring often. Remove from the heat.

Cut a piece of aluminum foil to fit the bottom of a 9-inch round cake pan. Place it in the bottom of the cake pan and generously oil or spray the foil and the sides of the pan. Spread the onions evenly in the pan, reserving some to spoon over the finished cake.

To prepare the shortcake, preheat the oven to 350F. Put the flour, baking powder, salt, and orange zest in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a blade attachment. Add the butter and pulse for 10 seconds, or until the butter is pea-size. Add the milk and pulse until the mixture starts to form into a dough. Carefully spread the dough over the onions, leaving no gaps and making sure the edges of the pan are covered with dough. Put the pan in the oven and bake just until the top of the cake feels firm in the center when lightly pressed, about 30 minutes (the top will not look brown). Transfer to a rack and let cool for 5 minutes.

Run a sharp knife around the inside of the pan. Place and hold a large serving plate over the top of the pan and invert the cake onto the plate. Carefully remove the cake pan and foil. Spoon the reserved onions over the cake. Cut into wedges and serve warm.

6-8 servings

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Eggplant Caponata

This is one of my favorite ways to cook eggplant. It's a fabulous sweet-and sour dish that is great served hot as a side dish, but my favorite way to eat it is at room temperature (or a little warm) with some really good crusty bread.

Eggplant Caponata
Everyday Italian, Giada De Laurentiis

1/4 cup olive oil
1 celery stalk, chopped
1 medium eggplant, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 medium onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can diced tomatoes with juices
3 tablespoons raisins
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
4 teaspoons sugar
1 tablespoon drained capers
1/2 teaspoons salt, plus more to taste
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
Fresh basil leaves for garnish, optional

In a large, heavy skillet, heat the oil over a medium flame. Add the celery and saute until crisp-tender, about 2 minutes. Add the eggplant and saute until beginning to soften, about 2 minutes. Add the onion and saute until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the red pepper and cook until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Add the diced tomatoes with their juices, raisins, and oregano. Simmer over medium-low heat until the flavors blend and the mixture thickens, stirring often, about 20 minutes. Stir in the vinegar, sugar, capers, and 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Season with more salt and pepper to taste. Transfer the caponata to a bowl, garnish with the basil leaves, and serve.

6 side-dish servings (will serve more as an appetizer)

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Marinated Spanish Olives

I made these olives today to serve as part of an appetizer course for tomorrow evening. I tasted them after only about 4 1/2 hours of marinating, and they are fantastic! I imagine that they will only get better as they marinate longer.
These are great little nibbles that take minutes to put together and can be made ahead of time. Keep them in mind if you are going to be doing any entertaining this holiday season (or any other time).

Marinated Spanish Olives
Cooking Light, September 2002

You can make and refrigerate this dish up to a week ahead; the flavors improve as the olives marinate. Use a mortar and pestle, meat mallet, or rolling pin to crush the coriander seeds and the rosemary.

24 large unpitted Spanish olives
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar (I used red wine vinegar)
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons coriander seeds, crushed
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
Fresh rosemary sprigs, optional

Combine first 8 ingredients in a bowl. Cover and marinate in refrigerator at least 8 hours. Serve at room temperature. Garnish with rosemary sprigs, if desired.

6 servings (serving size:4 olives)

Per serving: 49 Calories, 3.6g fat, 0.2g protein, 3.1g carb, 0.2g fiber, 0mg chol, 0.4 mg iron, 322mg sodium, 13 calc.

Potato Latkes

Most potato latkes are made with either grated potatoes, resulting in a crisp latke, or with a smooth batter, resulting in a latke with a wonderfully creamy interior. This recipe combines the two, giving you the best of both. I started making these a few years ago, and it is by far my favorite latke recipe.
Happy Hanukkah!

Potato Latkes
Kosher by Design, Susie Fishbein

You can make the latkes up to 4 hours in advance. When ready to serve, bake at 375F for 5 minutes. They can also be frozen and reheated at 375F for 8 minutes per side.
Serve with applesauce and/or sour cream.

2 pounds Yukon gold or Russet Potatoes, peeled
1 medium yellow onion, quartered
4 medium scallions
1 large egg
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
Black pepper
3 tablespoons fresh parsley (optional)
1 cup peanut oil (I used canola)

Using the grating disc of a food processor, grate the potatoes. Remove half of the grated potatoes to a large strainer set over a large bowl. Replace the food processor disc with the metal blade. Add the onion and scallions. Pulse until mixture is smooth.

 Add the potato/onion mixture to the grated potatoes in the strainer. Push down to strain out as much liquid as possible. Let the liquid sit in the bowl for 5 minutes. Pour off the liquid, reserving the potato starch at the bottom of the bowl.

Add the potatoes to bowl with potato starch. Mix in the egg, salt, pepper, and parsley, if desired.

In a large skillet, heat the oil until very hot, but not smoking. Add the potato mixture 1 heaping tablespoon at a time. Fry until golden, flip and fry until golden on the other side. Drain on paper bags or paper towels. Do this until all the batter is used.

14-18 latkes

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Chicken, Broccoli and Red Pepper Stir-Fry

For something so simple, this was a really good dinner! I used boneless, skinless chicken thighs, so the chicken stayed really moist, but you can use breast meat if you prefer. You can also use different vegetables for variety.
Just make sure to have all your ingredients chopped and measured ahead of time, because once you start cooking, it goes really fast.

Chicken, Broccoli and Red Pepper Stir-Fry

1/4 cup chicken broth
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons dry white wine
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1/2-inch wide strips
Salt & Pepper
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon peeled and chopped fresh ginger
2 cups broccoli florets
2 medium red bell peppers, thinly sliced
1 onion, thinly sliced
Pinch red pepper flakes

Combine broth, soy sauce, wine, and cornstarch in a small bowl, whisking until smooth; set aside.

Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper; set aside.

Heat oil in a wok or large nonstick skillet over high heat. Add garlic and ginger; stir-fry 30 seconds. Add chicken; stir-fry 2 minutes.

Add broccoli, bell pepper, onion, and pepper flakes; stir-fry 5 minutes or until vegetables are crisp-tender and chicken is cooked through.

Add broth mixture and bring to a boil. Boil 1 minute, stirring constantly until thickened and bubbly.

4 servings

Monday, July 26, 2010

Buttercrust Corn Pie with Fresh Tomato Salsa

I marked this recipe to try over nine years ago (yes, you read that right - nine years ago!). In fact, it was in the first issue of Cooking Light magazine I ever bought. And I am so glad that I finally tried it! It's a lovely dish that highlights the best of summer produce.

Buttercrust Corn Pie with Fresh Tomato Salsa
Cooking Light, June 2001

2 1/2 cups chopped tomato
1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions
2 tablespoons chopped seeded jalapeno pepper
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/8 teaspoon black pepper

1 1/4 cups crushed fat-free saltine crackers (about 35 crackers) (I used regular)
3 tablespoons grated fresh Parmesan cheese
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1 large egg white, lightly beaten
Cooking spray
1 1/4 cups fat-free milk
2 3/4 cups fresh corn kernels (about 5 ears)
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon onion salt (I used 1/4 teaspoon salt & 1/4 teaspoon granulated onion)
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions
3 tablespoon chopped ripe olives
2 large egg whites, lightly beaten
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/8 teaspoon paprika

Preheat oven to 400F.

To prepare salsa, combine the first 7 ingredients in a medium bowl.

To prepare the pie, combine the crackers, cheese, butter, and 1 egg white in a medium bowl. Toss with a fork until moist; reserve 2 tablespoons. Press the remaining cracker mixture into the bottom and up the sides of a pie plate coated with cooking spray. Bake at 400F for 5 minutes; cool on a wire rack.

Combine 1 cup milk, corn, sugar, and onion salt in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat; reduce heat, and simmer 3 minutes. Combine 1/4 cup milk and flour in a small bowl; gradually add to corn mixture. Cook until thick (about 1 minute); remove from heat. Stir in 1/2 cup onions and olives. Combine 2 egg whites and the egg in a small bowl; gradually add to corn mixture. Pour into prepared crust, and sprinkle with 2 tablespoons cracker mixture and paprika.

Bake at 400F for 20 minutes or until the center is set. Serve with salsa.

6 servings

277 Calories, 9.6g Fat, 11.1g Protein, 40.2g Carbs, 3.9g Fiber, 54mg Chol, 2.3mg Iron, 758mg Sodium, 140mg Calcium

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Fish Tacos

I made these fish tacos again for dinner tonight. They were fantastic! I served it with Spanish rice and a ccorn salad.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Sweet Challah

This is THE BEST challah recipe! I've made it many times, and it always comes out perfectly. The bread is really soft.  It is sweet, but not too sweet. And the honey adds a wonderful fragrance to the loaves.
It also multiplies beautifully if you need more than one challah.
One thing though - don't attempt to make it without the saffron. I did that once and the challah was really bland. I know that saffron is expensive, but just a little bit goes a really long way, and it is worth the splurge.
Let me also add that your house will smell fantastic for hours after they are baked!!

Sweet Challah
Cooking Light, November 2005

1 package dry yeast (about 2 1/4 teaspoons)
1 cup warm water (100° to 110°)
3 tablespoons honey
Dash of saffron threads, crushed
3 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled
1 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
3 cups bread flour (about 14 1/4 ounces), divided
Cooking spray
1 teaspoon cornmeal
1 teaspoon water
1 large egg yolk, lightly beaten
1/4 teaspoon poppy seeds

Dissolve yeast in 1 cup warm water in a large bowl; stir in honey and saffron threads. Let stand for 5 minutes. Add melted butter, 1 teaspoon salt, and egg; stir well with a whisk.

Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Add 2 3/4 cups flour to yeast mixture, and stir until a soft dough forms. Cover and let stand for 15 minutes.

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead until smooth and elastic (about 8 minutes); add enough of remaining flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, to prevent dough from sticking to hands (dough will be very soft).

Place dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray, turning to coat top. Cover and let rise in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, 40 minutes or until doubled in size. (Gently press two fingers into dough. If indentation remains, the dough has risen enough.)

Punch dough down. Shape dough into a ball; return to bowl. Cover and let rise an additional 40 minutes or until doubled in size. Punch dough down; cover and let rest 15 minutes.

Divide dough into 3 equal portions. Working with 1 portion at a time (cover remaining dough to prevent drying), on a lightly floured surface, roll each portion into a 25-inch rope with slightly tapered ends. Place ropes lengthwise on a large baking sheet sprinkled with cornmeal; pinch ends together at untapered ends to seal. Braid ropes; pinch loose ends to seal. Cover and let rise 20 minutes or until almost doubled in size.

Preheat oven to 375°.

Combine 1 teaspoon water and large egg yolk, stirring with a fork until blended. Uncover loaf, and gently brush with egg yolk mixture. Sprinkle evenly with 1/4 teaspoon poppy seeds. Bake at 375° for 30 minutes or until loaf sounds hollow when tapped. Cool on a wire rack.

1 loaf, 12 servings per loaf
157 Calories, 4.1g Fat, 5g Protein, 26.9g Carbohydrate, 1.7mg Iron, 202mg Sodium, 7mg, Calcium

Farfalle with Zucchini, Mint, and Almonds

This is a lovely summer pasta dish. Although I do not grow my own vegetables (I've killed pretty much everything I've tried growing, except for rosemary and oregano), I know that many people who have gardens tend to have an abundance of zucchini and mint, and this would be a great way to use some of it up.
I served it with a simple tomato salad (sliced vine-ripened tomatoes, minced fresh garlic, coarse sea salt, freshly ground black pepper, and extra-virgin olive oil). This salad would also be wonderful with it.

Farfalle with Zucchini, Mint, and Almonds
Vegan Italiano, Donna Klein

2 medium zucchini (about 6 ounces each), cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/2 cup loosely packed fresh mint or basil
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup blanched almonds
2 large garlic cloves, peeled
1 teaspoon coarse salt, plus additional to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 pound farfalle (bow tie pasta), cooked according to package directions until al dente, drained

Place the zucchini in a medium saucepan with salted water to cover; bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and cook until tender, about 3 minutes. Drain.

Place the mint, oil, almonds, garlic, salt, and pepper in a food processor fitted with the knife blade; process until smooth. Add about three-fourths of the drained zucchini and process until pureed but still slightly chunky.

Place the hot cooked pasta in a large bowl and add the zucchini puree and remaining zucchini; toss well to thoroughly combine. Serve warm or at room temperature.

5 to 6 main-dish servings, or 8 pasta-course servings

Per serving: 490 Calories, 14g protein, 16g Total Fat, 2g Sat. Fat, 0mg Cholesterol, 72g Carbohydrate, 4g Dietary Fiber, 388mg Sodium

Monday, May 24, 2010

Rigatoni with Goat Cheese

I had goat cheese left over from the spread I made last week, so I decided to make this recipe for dinner tonight - it's a favorite around here!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Goat Cheese Spread

I made this spread to have with the bread I made. It was SO GOOD - I highly recommend that you try it. If you want to keep it simpler, just make the goat cheese/cream cheese mixture. It was wonderful even without the pesto and sun-dried tomatoes.
(I was unable to take a picture until the day after I served it, so here it's a little bit lopsided, but when I served it the loaf came out perfectly from the pan. It looked great in addition to tasting great!)

Goat Cheese Spread
Southern Living, September 2002

2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
8 ounces goat cheese
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 teaspoons chopped fresh, or 1 1/4 teaspoons dried, oregano
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup basil pesto
1/2 cup dried tomatoes packed in oil, drained and chopped

Process first 5 ingredients in a food processor until smooth. Spread one-third of the cheese mixture onto the bottom of a plastic wrap-lined 8-x4-inch loaf pan. Top with pesto; spread one-third cheese mixture over pesto. Sprinkle with dried tomatoes; top with remaining cheese mixture. Cover and chill 8 hours. Invert spread onto a serving plate, discarding plastic wrap.

12 to 16 appetizer servings

No-Knead Crusty White Bread

I have a love/hate relationship with homemade bread . There is nothing quite like homemade bread -  the smell as it bakes, the fresh taste of a just-baked loaf. But I hate, hate , hate kneading dough. I just really hate the mess that it makes in the kitchen (and on me), and I have no patience for the time that it takes. So when I saw this recipe for no-knead bread I knew that I had to try it. And I'm really glad that I did! It was so easy, and the results were fantastic! Everybody who tasted it raved about how good it was. I will definitely be making this often!
I did make a couple small changes: I did not have instant yeast, so I used an equal amount of active dry yeast that I dissolved in the water for 5 minutes before adding the flour and salt. Also, when I mixed everything together, the dough was a bit dry (I don't know if it was because of the weather or because I used a different brand of flour) so I added an extra 1/4 cup or so of warm water to make a wet dough.
I let mine rise for 5 days.

No-Knead Crusty White Bread

The most basic of all no-knead loaves, this is a wonderful way to get into yeast-bread baking. The easy stir-together dough rests in your refrigerator, developing flavor all the time, till you're ready to bake. About 90 minutes before you want to serve bread, grab a handful of dough, shape it, let it rise, then bake for 30 minutes. The result? Incredible, crusty artisan-style bread. If you're a first-time bread baker, you'll never believe this bread came out of your own oven. If you're a seasoned yeastie, you'll love this recipe's simplicity.
Our thanks to Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois, whose wonderful book, Artisan bread in Five Minutes a Day, is the inspiration for this recipe.

3 cups lukewarm water
2 pounds King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour (6 1/2 - 7 1/2 cups)
1 tablespoon salt
1 1/2 tablespoons instant yeast

* If you measure flour by sprinkling it into your measuring cup, then gently sweeping off the excess, use 7 1/2 cups. If you measure flour by dipping your cup into the canister, then sweeping off the excess, use 6 1/2 cups. Most accurate of all, and guaranteed to give you the best results, if you measure the flour by weight, use 32 ounces (2 pounds).

Combine all of the ingredients in a large mixing bowl or a large (6-quart) food-safe plastic container. For first-timers, "lukewarm" means about 105F, but don't worry about getting the temperatures exact here. Comfortably warm is fine; "OUCH, that's hot!" is not. Yeast is a living thing; treat it nicely.

Mix and stir everything together to make a very sticky, rough dough. If you have a stand mixer, beat at medium speed with a beater blade for 30 to 60 seconds. If you don't have a mixer, just stir-stir-stir with a big spoon or dough whisk until everything is combined. Next, you're going to let the dough rise. If you've made the dough in a plastic container, you're all set - just let it stay there, covering the container with a lid or plastic wrap; a shower cap actually works well here. If you've made the dough in a bowl that's not at least 6-quart capacity, transfer it to a large bowl; it's going to rise a lot. There's no need to grease the bowl, though you can if you like; it makes it a bit easier to get the dough out when it's time to bake bread.

Cover the bowl or container, and let the dough rise at room temperature for 2 hours. Then refrigerate it for at least 2 hours, or up to about 7 days. (If you're pressed for time, skip the room-temperature rise, and stick it right into the fridge). The longer you keep it in the fridge, the tangier it will get; if you chill it for 7 days, it will taste like sourdough. Over the course of the first day or so, it'll rise, then fall. That's okay; that's what it's supposed to do.

When  you're ready to make bread, sprinkle the top of the dough with flour; this will make it easier to grab a hunk. Grease your hands, and pull off about 1/4 to 1/3 of the dough - a 14-ounce to 19-ounce piece, if you have a scale. It'll be about the size of a softball or a large grapefruit.

Plop the sticky dough onto a floured work surface, and round it into a ball or a longer log. Don't fuss around trying to make it perfect; just do the best you can.

Place the dough on a piece of parchment parchment paper (if you're going to use a baking stone), or onto a lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheet. Sift a light coating of flour over the top; this will help keep the dough moist as it rests before baking.

Let the dough rise for about 45 to 60 minutes. It won't appear to rise upwards that much; rather, it'll seem to settle and expand. Preheat your oven (and baking stone, if you're using one) to 450F while the dough rests. Place a shallow pan on the lowest oven rack, and have 1 cup of hot water ready to go.

When you're ready to bake, take a sharp knife and slash the bread 2 or 3 times, making a cut about 1/2-inch deep. The bread may deflate a bit; that's okay. It'll pick right up in the hot oven.

Place the bread in the oven, and carefully pour the cup of hot water into the shallow pan on the rack beneath. It'll bubble and steam; close the oven door quickly.

Bake the bread for 25 to 35 minutes, until it's a deep, golden brown.

Remove the bread from the oven, and cool it on a rack. Store leftover bread in a plastic bag at room temperature.

3 to 4 loaves.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Marinara Sauce

Next week I am going to be making a few things that use marinara sauce, so today I threw together this super-simple recipe. I portioned it into zip-top bags to put in the freezer until I need to use it.

Marinara Sauce
Everyday Italian, Giada De Laurentiis

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 small onions, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 celery stalks, finely chopped
2 carrots, peeled and finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon sea salt, plus more to taste
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
2 (32-ounce) cans crushed tomatoes
2 dried bay leaves

In a large pot, heat the oil over a medium-high flame. Add the onions and garlic and saute until the onions are translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the celery, carrots, and 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Saute until all the vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes and bay leaves, and simmer uncovered over low heat until the sauce thickens, about 1 hour. Remove and discard the bay leaves. Season the sauce with more salt and pepper to taste.

Makes about 2 quarts (8 cups)

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Veggie Slaw

This is a great fresh-flavored alternative to a creamy coleslaw.

Veggie Slaw
The Kosher Palette II

1 head red cabbage, shredded, or 2 (12-ounce) bags shredded red cabbage
1 pound carrots, shredded
1 red onion, finely chopped
1 each orange, yellow and red peppers, chopped
1 Hass avocado, peeled, pitted, and cut into small pieces

Garlic Herb Dressing:
1/2 cup olive oil
1/3 cup red wine vinegar or cider vinegar
1/4 cup fresh dill weed, chopped
3 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon mustard
2 to 3 garlic cloves
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

Combine cabbage, carrots, red onion, and bell peppers in a large bowl.
Combine all the dressing ingredients in a food processor and process until well mixed.
Toss the salad with the dressing and avocado, and mix well.
12-14 servings

Meatballs in Sweet-and-Sour Sauce

Every so often I just want to have a not-quite-so-healthy comfort food kind of meal. When I do, I often turn to this meatball recipe. It's meant to be an appetizer, but if you make the meatballs larger and serve it over rice, it makes a really great dinner.
I did serve it with a veggie-filled slaw to add SOME nutrition to this meal :)

Meatballs in Sweet-and-Sour Sauce

1 cup jellied cranberry sauce
3/4 cup ketchup
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons lemon juice

1 pound ground beef
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1/2 onion, grated (I use 1/2 onion, minced)
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

In a large saucepan combine cranberry sauce, ketchup, brown sugar and lemon juice. Cook over low heat, stirring often, until smooth, 25 to 30 minutes.
In a large bowl combine the ground beef, egg, bread crumbs, onion and seasonings. Form into 1-inch balls. Add meatballs to the sauce and simmer, covered, for one hour. Serve hot.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Island Bean Burgers with Caribbean-Style Creole Sauce

One of my favorite go-to cookbooks is Donna Klein's Vegan Italiano. It's filled with delicious recipes that are healthy, inexpensive and easy to make. When I saw that she had a new cookbook out, The Tropical Vegan Kitchen, I immediately checked it out from the library.
Last night I tried my first recipe from it - Island Bean Burgers with Caribbean-Style Creole Sauce. Although I have tried many bean burger recipes before, and liked them, I never thought I'd classify one as an "Oh, my God!" recipe. But that is exactly what I exclaimed when I took my first bite of this. The burgers themselves were very good, but the sauce just took them over to fantastic! Seriously. I'm already looking forward to making them again.
I had them with roasted sweet potato wedges... which I dipped into the extra sauce, of course! Yum!

Island Bean Burgers with Caribbean-Style Creole Sauce
The Tropical Vegan Kitchen, Donna Klein

For a spicier burger, add a dash of hot pepper sauce or a pinch of cayenne pepper to the bean mixture before cooking.

1 cup rinsed and drained canned black beans
1 cup cooked brown rice, preferably warm
2 tablespoons finely chopped onion
1 1/2 tablespoons tomato ketchup
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1 large garlic clove, finely chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon peanut oil (I used canola)
4 hamburger buns, preferably whole wheat
Caribbean-Style Creole Sauce (recipe follows)

In a large bowl, mix together the beans, rice, onion, ketchup, chili powder, oregano, cumin, garlic, salt, and pepper until well combined. Mash well with a potato masher. Divide mixture into 4 balls. With wet hands, form each ball into an even patty.

In a medium skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the patties and cook until browned, 4 to 5 minutes per side. Place each patty inside a hamburger bun and serve at once, passing the Creole sauce separately.

4 servings

Caribbean-Style Creole Sauce

1 tablespoon canola oil
2 tablespoons finely chopped red onion
1 large garlic clove, finely chopped
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley or cilantro
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 cup tomato ketchup
1/4 cup water
1/2 tablespoon cider vinegar
1/2 tablespoon fresh lime juice, or more to taste
1 teaspoon molasses
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon hot pepper sauce, or more to taste (I used sriracha - Thai hot chili sauce)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

In a small saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic, stirring constantly, 2 minutes. Add the parsley and thyme and cook, stirring constantly, 1 minute. Stir in the ketchup, water, vinegar, lime juice, molasses, hot pepper sauce, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally; reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remover from heat and let cool to room temperature. Mixture can be stored, covered, in the refrigerator up to 5 days.
Makes about 1 cup

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Rotelle with Roasted Grape Tomatoes and Basil

Sometimes a few simple ingredients combine to become a really great dish, and this is one of those recipes. Roasting the tomatoes concentrates their flavor, and when combined with other Italian staples it makes for a delicious meal.

Rotelle with Roasted Grape Tomatoes and Basil
Vegan Italiano, Donna Klein

2 pints (4 cups) grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 teaspoon coarse coarse salt, plus additional to taste, if necessary
8 ounces rotelle, fusilli, or other spiral-shaped pasta
1/2 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves, torn into small pieces
2 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Preheat the oven to 250F. Line a large baking sheet with sides with parchment paper.

Arrange the tomatoes, cut sides up, in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon of the oil and sprinkle with the salt. Bake in the center of the oven until the tomatoes are dried around the edges but still moist, about 1 1/2 hours (cherry tomatoes will take longer).

Meanwhile, cook the pasta in a large stockpot in boiling salted water according to package directions until al dente. Reserve 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid, then drain well. Return to the pot and add the tomatoes, reserved cooking liquid, basil, remaining oil, garlic, pepper, and salt, if necessary; toss well to thoroughly combine. Serve warm.

3 to 4 servings

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Black Bean Soup with Cumin, Chiles, and Lime

This is a great recipe for a weeknight soup - not too many ingredients, quick to make, and absolutely delicious!

Black Bean Soup with Cumin, Chiles, and Lime
A Year in a Vegetarian Kitchen, Jack Bishop

3 tablespoons canola oil
2 medium onions, chopped
4 medium garlic cloves, minced
1 small jalapeno, stemmed and minced (I used a large jalapeno, seeded)
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 (12-ounce) bottle beer (I used Coors)
1 cup cold water
3 (15-ounce) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
Sour cream or plain yogurt for garnish
Chopped fresh cilantro leaves for garnish

Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onions and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and jalapeno and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.

Add the chili powder, cumin, and a generous amount of salt, and cook until the spices are fragrant, about 1 minute. Pour the beer and water into the pot. Bring to a boil and simmer until the alcohol aroma fades, about 5 minutes.

Add the beans and bring the soup back to a boil. Simmer until the soup thickens and the flavors blend, about 10 minutes.

Remove 2 cups of the soup into a blender and puree until smooth. Return the pureed soup to the pot. Add the lime juice and adjust the seasonings, adding salt to taste. The soup can be refrigerated in an airtight container for several days. Warm over low heat. Serve, garnishing the bowls with a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkle of cilantro.

4 to 6 servings

Friday, January 8, 2010

Smoked Mozzarella, Tomato and Basil Panini

I had some smoked mozzarella in the freezer that I wanted to use, so I made these sandwiches on the panini grill last night. They were just sourdough rolls, smoked mozzarella, sliced tomatoes and whole fresh basil leaves. They were delicious!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Fish Tacos

These tacos were super-easy and super-good. I couldn't believe how quickly the kids gobbled these up - they are definitely going to be repeated often!

Fish Tacos
Everyday Food: Great Food Fast

1/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
1/4 small red cabbage, thinly shredded (about 2 1/2 cups)
4 scallions, thinly sliced (about 1/2 cup)
1 jalapeno chile, halved lengthwise, one half minced (I seeded)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound tilapia fillets, cut into 16 equal strips
8 6-inch flour tortillas (I used corn tortillas)
1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves

In a large bowl, combine the sour cream and lime juice.; season with salt and pepper. Transfer half the mixture to another container; set aside for serving. Toss the cabbage, scallions, and minced jalapeno with the remaining sour cream mixture. Season again with salt and pepper.

In a large nonstick skillet, heat the oil and remaining jalapeno half over medium-high heat; swirl to coat the bottom of the pan. Season the fish on both sides with salt and pepper. In two batches, cook the fish until golden brown on both sides, 5 to 6 minutes. Discard the jalapeno.

Meanwhile, warm the tortillas according to package directions (or over a gas burner).

To make the tacos, fill the tortillas with slaw, fish, and fresh cilantro. Drizzle with the reserved sour cream mixture. Serve immediately.

4 servings