Archive for the ‘Vegetarian’ Category

Chickpeas in Curried Coconut Broth

February 25, 2013

Well folks, it’s been a while!  I’ve been traveling for work for most of the last two weeks and trying to empty the fridge in the days leading up to the travel-thon.  I’ve eaten some very nice meals in the last couple of weeks, but you know how it is when you travel – too much food and too much booze.  I’m awfully glad to be home and in control of my meals again.  I’m trying to shock my system back into healthy eating so I’ve been on a vegetarian kick.  Two days of lentil soup and now this chickpea dish.

Chickpeas

I have to confess that I’m not a big fan of the chickpea in its non-hummus form.  I picked this dish from a list of Cooking Light slow cooker recipes because it fit the easy and cheap criteria and because I love pretty much anything with coconut milk in it.  It far exceeded my expectations.  You have to love crockpot recipes.  Dump everything in and walk away.  This recipe suggests that you saute the onions and garlic first, but I bet it would be really fine to dump them in raw.  The recipe also calls for chopped fresh cilantro.  I’m sure that would be great, but I was too tired and too lazy to chop it.  I did manage a dollop of plain Greek yogurt though.  Yum.

Not much to add in terms of cooking tips.  I used one of my last remaining jars of home canned tomatoes.  With so few ingredients I believe they make a difference here.  I also used homemade curry powder.  I’d give you the recipe, but I have no idea what it is or where I got it.  Curry powder is just a combination of spices so making your own is easy and absolutely worth it if you use it a lot.  If you don’t make curries often just buy a good quality commercial curry powder.  Otherwise you’ll spend a ridiculous amount of money on the individual spices and not get a lot of use out of them.

I always think that things made with coconut milk will be a little bit sweet.  Not so.  This is tomato-ey and a touch briny with a little heat.  The chickpeas provide a nice neutral balance and the yogurt adds a little creamy and a little tangy.  Yum.  Remember that this is a broth and not a sauce or a stew.  It’s thin, but not weak.  The rice soaks up a lot of the extra and stretches the chickpeas even further.  You could serve it like soup and serve it with naan I suppose, but I recommend the rice.

I’m guessing this will be one of those dishes that’s even better leftover.  Tomorrow is supposed to be cold and rainy so this will make a perfect lunch!

Good? Really good.
Easy? Crockpots make everything easy.
Good for company? Eh. Better for a weeknight dinner after a busy day.
Special shopping? Nope. Curry powder is everywhere and you can find pickled jalapenos in the pickle section of any decent sized grocery store.

Chickpeas in Curried Coconut Broth

Ingredients

2 teaspoons canola oil
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 (19-ounce) cans chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained
1 quart whole peeled tomatoes (or 1 28oz can, undrained)
1 (13.5-ounce) can light coconut milk
1 tablespoon curry powder
2 tablespoons chopped pickled jalapeño pepper
1 teaspoon salt
hot cooked basmati rice
plain Greek yogurt for garnish

Directions

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add onion and garlic; sauté 5 minutes or until onion is tender. Place onion mixture, chickpeas, and next 5 ingredients (through salt) in a 3 1/2-quart electric slow cooker; stir well. Cover and cook on LOW for 6 to 8 hours. Serve over rice. Top with yogurt.

Butternut Squash and Smoky Black Bean Salad

January 8, 2013

Finding time to make dinner isn’t easy.  Finding something new isn’t easy.  Hitting the right balance between ‘healthy’ and ‘tastes good’ isn’t always easy either.  This recipe solves all three problems.  It’s quick and new (at least to me) and lands squarely in the sweet spot between healthy and yummy.  This one’s a keeper.

Butternut and Black Bean Salad

I followed the basics of this recipe.  Here’s where I strayed:  no adobo sauce, no arugula, no walnuts and no goat cheese.  Instead:  smoked paprika and tomato paste, fresh spinach, no walnuts and no goat cheese.  I hate walnuts and just didn’t see the need to add the fat and calories with the cheese.  The original recipe also calls for seven teaspoons of olive oil.  I don’t know that you need all that.  Maybe half that much.  The key to this whole thing is the dressing.  It’s a smoky, tomato-y, tangy, honey-mustard type dressing.  It’s thick enough that it sticks to the spinach, but not nearly so heavy as a creamy dressing.  It’s good stuff.  Would be great on chicken or pork too.

It took about 35 minutes to pull this together, but some of that time is just waiting for the squash to finish.  If you want to shorten it even more do the squash and the dressing ahead of time.  You reheat the squash when you heat the beans anyway.  You’ll probably want to bring the dressing to room temperature as well.  Or, if you’d like the spinach to wilt slightly then warm the dressing before you put it on.

You end up with a hearty vegetarian main dish salad.  Orange vegetables, leafy greens, vegetarian protein and just enough dressing to make it interesting.  I’m pretty excited to be having it for lunch tomorrow too!

Good? Very good.
Easy? Very easy.
Good for company? For family. Or to take to a pot luck.
Special shopping? Nope.

Butternut Squash and Smoky Black Bean Salad

Ingredients

4 cups (1/2-inch) cubed peeled butternut squash
5 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 (15-ounce) can no-salt-added black beans, rinsed and drained
1 (9-ounce) package baby spinach

Preparation

1. Preheat oven to 425°.
2. Arrange squash on a jelly-roll pan coated with 2 t olive oil. Bake at 425° for 25 minutes or until tender.
3. Combine 1 tablespoon olive oil, vinegar, mustard, honey, paprika and tomato paste in a bowl; stir with a whisk.
4. Heat a medium nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add remaining 1 teaspoon oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add garlic; sauté 1 minute. Add squash, remaining 3/8 teaspoon salt, pepper, and beans; cook 3 minutes or until heated through. Remove from heat; stir in 3 tablespoons dressing; toss to coat.
5. Combine remaining dressing and spinach; toss to coat. Divide spinach mixture evenly among 4 plates; top with bean mixture.

Spaghetti Squash with Lemon and Capers

December 31, 2012

The holiday season is finally wrapping up so I’m looking for ways to, without suffering too much, rid myself of the few pounds I gained.  I’ll be turning to soups and vegetables over the next few weeks to help with that.  I started with a spaghetti squash.  I’m not a huge fan of spaghetti squash, particularly not as a substitute for actual spaghetti.  I did have one serving of this with spaghetti sauce on it, reminding me what a poor substitute it is for pasta.  Had to find something else to do with the rest.  And there was a lot of “the rest.”  Fortunately I was invited for an impromptu pot luck with a couple of friends so I had a chance to try this out on them without risking a lot of leftovers.

Spaghetti squash

Turns out leftovers were not a worry.  This is really good.  Well, of course it’s really good.  It’s a brown butter sauce.  Not so much a health food, but I maintain that butter sauce on spaghetti squash is still better for you than butter sauce on most other things.  Really I think this is more of a summer dish.  It calls for a little zucchini and a little chopped tomato.  It’s December and those things just don’t taste good so far out of season so I left them out.  To be completely honest I was going to include a few diced canned tomatoes, to the point that a friend went to pick them up for me and dropped them by the house (thank you!!), and then I forgot them.  I think that was fine, maybe even better.  I halved the spaghetti squash and most of the other ingredients, but kept full amounts, plus a little, of the red bell pepper and parsley.

There’s only one thing that makes this the tiniest bit tricky – browning the butter.  You have to watch it every second.  If you don’t it will burn and you’ll have to start over.  There’s no saving burned butter.  Swirl it around the pan occasionally as it browns.  Keep the heat relatively low.  Be patient.  There’s no rushing browned butter.  It’s worth it though.  It has a much richer flavor than just melted butter.  I used salted butter, as I do with everything, which is fine. I still added a touch of salt. You need it for balance.

The flavors in this are fantastic.  You get citrus and brine from the lemon and capers.  You get sweetness from the squash and red bell pepper.  You get a pop of fresh green flavor from the parsley.  A little salt and a little fresh cracked black pepper.  Done.  And awesome.  And pretty.  And a little bit sophisticated.  This definitely goes in the list of things to serve to guests.

Good? So much better than I dared hope.  Really good.
Easy? Yep, just watch the butter.
Good for company? It sure went fast at dinner, so yes.
Special shopping? Nope. Capers will be on the aisle with the pickles in any grocery store.

Spaghetti Squash with Lemon and Capers

Ingredients

1 large spaghetti squash
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 tablespoons sweet butter
1 tablespoons capers, drained
1/3 cup diced red bell pepper
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 C chopped parsley leaves
Salt and pepper

Directions

Cut squash in 1/2 lengthwise and scoop out all seeds. Place the squash cut side down on a sheet pan or cookie sheet and cover with foil. Place in the oven and cook until the rind is slightly soft or gives with a little pressure, about 20 minutes. When it’s done, scrape the meat out with a fork and reserve, keeping warm.

In a hot skillet, melt the butter, add the olive oil and continue to cook until dark brown. Add the capers and bell pepper to stop the butter from cooking any further, and cook, stirring, until tender. Stir in the lemon juice and parsley and season with salt and pepper.

In a large mixing bowl mix the squash and butter sauce and serve.

Vegetarian Black Beans and Collards

December 17, 2012

It’s vegan night!  I thought I was having company for dinner and my planned guest is a vegan, at least temporarily.  By the time I found out he wasn’t able to make it dinner was mostly done.  After yesterday’s pork fest (ribs at football and pulled pork at dinner) I can definitely use something on the lighter side.  I usually put a little meat in my black beans and in my collards so this is new for me.  Good for me!  And just plain good.

Vegetarian Black Beans and Collards

I didn’t have a ton of time for cooking today and I didn’t plan ahead so I used canned black beans instead of soaking my own.  I have no problem with that.  Canned beans are perfectly acceptable.  It’s what you do with them that counts.  I cooked mine with bell pepper, onion, garlic, poblano pepper, vegetable stock and Goya seasoning.  Super yum.  The collards I did do from scratch, but with a very different pot liquor than my usual ham hock/smoked turkey variety.  I used olive oil, vegetable stock, garlic powder, salt and Tabasco.  Again, yum.

I served these side by side over rice, but by then end of the meal I just mixed everything together and added a little extra Tabasco for some kick.  I gotta say, this was a really good dinner.  And my arteries thank me!

Good? So good.
Easy? Absolutely.
Good for company? Definitely. It’s just as easy to make a lot as a little.
Special shopping? Nope. You’ll find the Goya seasoning in the int’l section of most grocery stores.

Vegetarian Black Beans and Collards

Ingredients

6 T olive oil, divided
3 C vegetable stock, divided
1 large onion, diced, divided
2 bunches collards, stemmed and chopped
1 t garlic powder
1 T Tabasco
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 poblano or jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
2 packets Goya seasoning

Directions

Add 3 T oil, 2 C stock, 1/2 of the chopped onions, garlic powder and Tabasco to a large stock pot. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes. Add the chopped collards and simmer, covered, 30-40 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Heat remaining 3 T oil in a large saute pan. When the oil begins to shimmer add bell pepper, poblano, remaining chopped onion and garlic. Saute 5-7 minutes, until vegetables soften. Add black beans, remaining cup of stock and Goya seasoning. Simmer uncovered 30 minutes.

Serve everything over rice, white or brown. Top with Tabasco to taste.

Potato, Turnip, and Black Kale Baeckeoffe

October 5, 2012

It’s Fall! (In spite of this week’s fairly Summer-like temps in central VA).  And it’s October so we’ll say that this recipe is in honor of Oktoberfest.  It’s also in honor of the fact that I’m home and actually had time to cook.  Good thing – this takes a long time.  Here’s the ‘baeckeoffe’ explanation from Cookinglight.com for those of you who are a little rusty on your Germanic Alsatian dialects.  “Translated from the Germanic Alsatian dialect, baeckeoffe means “baker’s oven,” as it was traditionally a dish that was brought to the local baker to cook in his oven. Classic versions are loaded with meat, but our vegetarian riff is equally hearty and rich.”  I’ve never had a version loaded with meat, but I’d be willing to give that a shot.

Let’s start with the substitutions.  I try not to make many subs on dishes that are new to me and generally unfamiliar as a combination of ingredients.  The original recipe called for spinach. That seemed a little wimpy with the potatoes and turnips.  I bought some lacinato kale at the farmers’ market last weekend that I still needed to use.  That seemed like a good fit.  I also didn’t have any heavy cream.  Seemed silly to buy an 8 ounce container when I only needed 2.  I substituted 2% milk with just a little low fat cream cheese melted in.  I think both substitutions were fine, but with the kale I probably could have used more of the milk mixture.  It was just a little tough even after an hour in the oven.

Flavor wise this dish is a tiny bit on the bitter side.  Kale, turnips and Gruyere are all on the sharp side.  Clearly the idea is that they will balance with the potato, mushrooms and carmelized onions.  Not quite.  I didn’t have nearly enough mushrooms and onions.  They represent the creamy and sweet parts of this dish, respectively.  I made about 1/2 a recipe of this dish, but only had 1/4 of the mushrooms I needed.  I won’t make that mistake again.  And given how much onions cook down when they carmelize I would have been happier had I used the amount called for in the full recipe.  Ditto the milk mixture.  Of course the other way to cut down on the bitterness would be to use 2 layers of potatoes instead of one potato layer and one turnip layer.

One note about managing the time it takes to do this.  First, note that it bakes for an hour after it’s all put together so account for that before you start.  I’d guess you could put the whole thing together a day before you bake it. Also, while the recipe calls for you to do the mushrooms, wipe the pan and then start the onions.  That’s silly.  Use two pans and do them simultaneously.    Definitely you could make the onions and the mushrooms ahead of time – a day or two.  That will reduce your prep time a lot.  You’ll just want to warm the mushrooms before you try to spread them in the dish.

Overall this dish is a lot of trouble to make.  I knew that going in which is why I waited until a Friday.  Still, I’m not convinced that the trouble you have to go to is made up for by the enjoyment of the dish.  I’m not quite ready to write it off, but I’ll admit to some disappointment.  The reviews just raved about it.  No rave from me.  Just an “ok with potential.”  Maybe I’ll try to find one of those recipes with some meat in it to add a new dimension to the flavor.  That said, I’d make the mushrooms over and over again.  They’d be amazing in little gratin dishes.  You could mix them into cooked pasta.  You could stuff chicken with them.  That’s worth taking away from this even if you never try the whole thing.

Good? Ok, but has potential
Easy? Not so much
Good for company? As a side, maybe
Special shopping? Nothing exotic here

Potato, Turnip, and Black Kale Baeckeoffe

Ingredients

1 tablespoon butter, divided
8 oz sliced mushroom caps
1 clove minced garlic
1/2 cup white wine
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/2 tsp thyme 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
2 tablespoons 1/3-less-fat cream cheese, divided
2 cups vertically sliced onion (about 2 medium onions)
1 small Yukon gold potato, peeled and cut into (1/4-inch-thick) slices
2 cups black kale, chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
1 small turnip, peeled and cut into (1/8-inch-thick) slices
1/4 cup milk
1 t neufchatel cheese
1/4 cup shredded Gruyère cheese

Directions

Preheat oven to 350°.

Melt 1/2 T of butter in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms to pan, and sauté 2 minutes or until lightly browned. Stir in garlic; sauté 30 seconds. Add wine; cook 2 minutes. Add parsley, thyme, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes. Uncover and cook 6 minutes or until liquid almost evaporates. Remove from heat. Add 1 T cream cheese, stirring until cheese melts. Set aside.

As you start the mushrooms, heat pan over medium-high heat. Add 1/2 T of butter, melt. Add onion; saute for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Reduce heat to medium; continue cooking for 25-30 minutes or until deep golden brown, stirring frequently. Set aside.

Heat milk and remaining tablespoon of cream cheese. Whisk until smooth. Keep warm.

Coat a lidded baking dish with cooking spray. Arrange potato slices in dish, and top with kale. Sprinkle 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper evenly over kale. Spoon the mushroom mixture over black pepper, and arrange turnip slices over mushroom mixture. Top with caramelized onions; sprinkle with remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, remaining 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Pour milk mixture over onions and sprinkle evenly with Gruyère cheese. Cover and bake at 350° for 40 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 20 minutes or until vegetables are tender and cheese begins to brown.

Zucchini Bread

July 1, 2012

It’s another scorcher outside so I’m spending the day mostly in the kitchen.  I checked the garden and found a zucchini that’s been hiding under the foliage.  By the time I noticed it I had a 1 1/2 pound squash on my hands.  I grated the whole thing and ended up with four cups of grated zucchini from that one squash.    I used two of them in these two loaves of zucchini bread.  You’ll have to stay tuned to see where the rest ends up. 

There are hundreds of zucchini bread recipes out there.  I made an effort to find one that’s a little more friendly to the waistline than some.  This Cooking Light recipe calls for egg substitute.  That stuff kind of creeps me out so I opted for 2 egg whites and 1 whole egg instead of the 1/2 C egg substitute.  Other than that I followed the directions as written.  The fat and calories in this are reduced by using the egg whites and also by substituting unsweetened applesauce for some, but not all, of the oil.  Honestly it could have used slightly less sugar also.  It’s very moist and very good, but a little on the sweet side.

The recipe makes 2 loaves and takes about 1 1/2 hours start to finish. Of course an hour and fifteen minutes of that is baking so you’re free to do other things.  The loaves are a little on the short side.  If you want bigger slices pour all the batter into one loaf pan.  You’ll likely need to cook it longer if you decide to do that.  The directions say to bake until a wooden cake tester (I use a bamboo skewer) comes out clean.  I recommend that you bake it until the skewer comes out almost clean.  I like my zucchini bread on the moist side.

This is a darn good way to use an abundance of zucchini.  And a good way to get in an extra vegetable too!

Good? What’s not to like about sweet bread?
Easy? Yep. That’s why the call it “quick bread.”
Good for company? The recipe makes one for home and one to share!
Special shopping? Nope.

Zucchini Bread

Ingredients

2 cups coarsely shredded zucchini (use a box grater)
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 3/4 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 cup applesauce
2 egg whites
1 whole egg
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Directions

Preheat oven to 350°.
Place zucchini on several layers of paper towels, and cover with additional paper towel. Let stand 5 minutes, pressing down occasionally. Set aside.

Combine flour and next 5 ingredients (flour through baking powder) in a large bowl, and stir well; make a well in center of mixture. Combine zucchini, applesauce, egg substitute, oil, and vanilla; add to dry ingredients, stirring just until dry ingredients are moistened.

Divide batter evenly between 2 (7 1/2 x 3-inch) loaf pans coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Let cool in pans 10 minutes on a wire rack; remove from pans, and let cool completely on wire rack.

Crispy Zucchini Coins

June 13, 2012

I mentioned in the previous post that there was still some squash left from last Saturday’s farmers’ market trip.  And that’s still true, but I did use one of the zucchini.  I could have fried these just as easily, but other than the obvious health benefit to baking them, I was just too tired to clean up from frying.  It’s a little messy.  With the baking method I was able to get these made up and in the oven and then make the rest of dinner while they cooked.  Aren’t they pretty?

Not much of a recipe to this.  It’s a 2 stage breading set up:  egg white and bread crumbs.  Dip, dredge, spray, bake.  It’s a little labor intensive, but pretty mindless kitchen work.  This is something your kids could absolutely help with.  It you want to make them look more like french fries to appeal to the anti-vegetable element in your family feel free to cut them in strips.  Just remember that they need to be thin or they won’t get crispy.

I cut these coins a little thicker than I would normally because I was more interested in being able to taste the zucchini than I was in having really crispy rounds.  The breading got cripy and the inside was the perfect crisp tender.  Yum.  The only thing I can recommend to improve these is a little marinara sauce for dipping, or Ranch if you prefer.  Enjoy!

Good? A darn good substitute for the greasy, chain restaurant appetizer
Easy? Yep.
Good for company? You bet.
Special shopping? No.

Crispy Zucchini Coins

Ingredients

1/2 cup Italian-seasoned breadcrumbs
3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon pepper
3 cups thinly sliced zucchini (about 1 pound)
2 egg whites, lightly beaten
Cooking spray

Preparation

Preheat oven to 450°.
Combine first 3 ingredients; stir well.
Dip the zucchini slices in egg whites; dredge in breadcrumb mixture. Place zucchini in a single layer on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Bake at 450° for 20 minutes. Turn zucchini over; bake an additional 15 minutes or until outside is crispy and browned.

Spicy Parmesan Brussels Sprouts and Kale

June 13, 2012

Tonight was “use as much of Saturday’s farmers’ market produce as possible” night.  Imagine my surprise when I found a recipe that combined most of it.  Kale, mushrooms and brussels sprouts – almost.  The recipe is actually Spicy Parmesan Green Beans and Kale, but I had brussels sprouts so I used those.  That took care of everything but the squash and I found another recipe for that.

So, let me start by saying this is pretty good.  As a side dish it might even have been very good.  As a main course it lacked a little something.  I’m pretty sure it wasn’t intended as a main course so it’s hard to criticize.  Anyway, it’s really easy and really good for you.  And frankly, pretty darn cheap to make.  All you have to do is chop up an onion and some mushrooms; quarter some sprouts; chop some kale; squeeze a lemon and  grate some parmesan.  It takes about 20 minutes start to finsh because you’re sauteeing some pretty hardy vegetables. 

Apart from the vegetables is has a little liquid and a few spices.  The liquid is supposed to be wine, but I didn’t have any so I used stock instead with just a splash of white balsamic vinegar.  The spices are salt, pepper and red pepper.  Finish with fresh lemon juice for brightness and some grated parmesan for that salty, sharp flavor. 

That’s it.  Perfectly good for a weeknight side dish. It’s possible that the sweetness of the green beans in the original recipe would have provided a little more interest to the flavor. I don’t know that I’ll make this again. Kale season is pretty much at an end and by the time it returns in the Fall the beans will be done. Clearly you don’t see this pairing too often because these two vegetables growing seasons don’t naturally intersect very much. But if you try it that way please let me know how it turns out!

Good? Pretty good.
Easy? Definitely
Good for company? Not so much.
Special shopping? Nope.

Spicy Parmesan Brussels Sprouts and Kale

Ingredients

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, sliced
1/4 pound cremini mushrooms, trimmed and quartered (about 14 mushrooms)
1/2 pound brussels sprouts, trimmed and quartered
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup chicken or vegetable stock
a splash of white balsamic or white wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes or 1/4 t ground red pepper
1 bunch kale (1/2 pound), rinsed, stemmed, and roughly chopped
2 tablespoons lemon juice (about 1/2 a lemon)
3 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan

Directions

Warm the olive oil in a large, heavy saute pan over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook until translucent, about 4 minutes. Add the mushrooms, green beans, salt, and pepper and cook for 2 minutes. Add the wine and continue cooking until the green beans are almost tender, about 5 minutes. Add the red pepper flakes and the kale and continue cooking until the kale has wilted, about 4 to 5 minutes. Add the lemon juice and the Parmesan cheese. Toss to coat and serve immediately.

Brussels Sprouts with Sesame, Garlic and Ginger

April 12, 2012

The mission tonight was to use up the brussels sprouts, plain and simple.  I had leftover Butter Chicken for dinner so I was kind of shooting for something that would go with that.  I did use up the sprouts.  It didn’t really go with the Butter Chicken, but both were good so that’s close enough.

I made a substitution out of necessity that definitely detracted from the dish.  I didn’t have any sesame oil so I used sesame seeds instead.  It’s just not the same.  You don’t get the same flavor and you have little seeds all over your brussels sprouts.  It was ok, but next time I’d definitely do things differently.  One tip, if you’re using commercial chicken stock get the low sodium kind.  And low sodium soy sauce as well.  Otherwise this could get really salty. Oh, I left out the chopped onion too. After a day of cleaning and working in the yard I was just too tired to chop the onion.

These were good enough that I ate every last one of them tonight.  No leftovers.  Definitely worth trying again with the sesame oil.  You can never have enough different ways to cook brussels sprouts!

Good? Yes, good.  Not great, but good.
Easy? Definitely.
Good for company? Eh, maybe.
Special shopping? Nope.

Brussels Sprouts with Sesame, Garlic and Ginger

Ingredients

1 tablespoon oil
2 teaspoons minced ginger
1 garlic clove, minced
1/3 cup chicken broth
1 pound Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
1/4 cup sliced green onions
1 tablespoon lower-sodium soy sauce

Preparation

1. Heat sesame oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add ginger, garlic, and onion to pan; sauté 3 minutes. Add broth and Brussels sprouts; bring to a boil. Cover and simmer 6 minutes or until crisp-tender. Add green onions and soy sauce.

Minas Style Collard Greens

February 13, 2012

There’s not much of a recipe here, but I really needed a green vegetable to go with the meat and starch in my Caribbean menu.  Collards are a good Winter green and cooking them this way they’re done in 2 minutes!  Kudos to the Brazilians and to Steven Raichlen for including them in his Healthy Latin Cooking cookbook.

The key to these is in the cutting.  Be sure that you get the entire rib about.  You’re not cooking them long so it won’t have time to soften.  Then cut the leaves into ribbons.  There’s an easy way to go about that.  Stack a few leaves on top of each other.  Roll them up together and slice the rolls into 1/2 inch slices.  You’ll end up with beautiful ribbons.  And going with the ribbon them I decided to cut my onions in strings too.  Just cut the onion in half.  Place the flat side on the cutting board and cut slices bottom to top.  The onion layers will separate and when they cook you’ll have onion ribbons.

All you have to do with these is cook the onions and some garlic in olive oil.  Sprinkle the collard ribbons with water.  Add them to the pan and stir them around for a couple of minutes.  I found that tongs were the best instrument for turning the collards.  Take them out while they’re still bright green.  Season with salt and pepper.

That’s it.  Even with the chopping this doesn’t take more than 10 minutes to pull together.  Serve them with a little vinegar if you like.

Good? One of my guests listed these as his favorite dish of the meal.
Easy? Very.
Good for company? Definitely
Special shopping? Nope.