Friday, July 31, 2009

black bean vegetable chili

While in my cooking frenzy after having returned from vacation last weekend, I decided I needed to have a pot of something cooking on Sunday. After a scan through the pantry, I chose black beans. There were also some random vegetables leftover from the prior week's CSA delivery that were still good, but a little past their prime. What better way to mask that than in chili? Here's what I did:

Black Bean Vegetable Chili
Serves 4-6

16 oz. bag black beans
1 yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 pattypan squash (or 2 normal squash), chopped
2 bell or 4 gypsy peppers, deseeded and chopped
1 Tbsp. cumin
3 Tbsp. chili powder (I used chili pasilla)
14.5 oz. canned diced tomatoes
1-1/2 c. corn kernels, cooked*
*I used 3 fresh ears of corn from the CSA box. To cook, husk then place in microwave safe dish with 2 Tbsp. water. Cover with lid and microwave 5 minutes. Wait until cooled, then slice kernels from cobb.

Soak beans overnight. Rinse well. Add beans and 6 cups water to a large pot, cover, and simmer 1-2 hours, until beans are tender. Cook onions and garlic in olive oil until translucent. Add squash and pepper. Cook until crisp tender. Add spices and mix well. Remove from heat.

Once beans are tender, add squash mixture, tomatoes, and corn. Continue to cook for 30 minutes uncovered, stirring occasionally, and adding more spices to taste.

Serve with warm cornbread topped with grated cheese and chopped tomatoes, if desired.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

cole's first miso

I was reminded of how great miso is while dining out in Seattle last week. I decided that I needed to learn how to make it. In doing so, I learned that by a measure of tastiness to difficulty of preparation, miso scores very high. In other words, once you have the right ingredients on hand, it's super simple (and fast!) to make. Since most of the ingredients are dried, it's easy to keep everything you need to make it on hand.

My first miso was our main course a couple of nights ago for dinner. I made it for the second time for lunch today. Start to finish can literally be less than 10 minutes (including clean up!) depending on what you decide to include in your version. Here's what I did in mine:

Cole's First Miso
Serves 2

3 oz. soba noodles
1 tsp. dasha powder
3 Tbsp. miso paste (I used white miso)
3 oz. firm tofu, cut into small cubes
a handful of mushrooms, stems removed and sliced
2 Tbsp. dried wakame
2 green onions, thinly sliced
1 tsp. toasted sesame oil

Cook soba noodles according to package directions. Drain and rinse with cold water. Set aside. Saute mushrooms in olive oil and set aside.

Bring 4 cups of water to boil in a soup pot. Add dashi. Reduce heat to simmer. Ladle about a cup of the hot water out into a bowl. Whisk miso paste into water and return to pot. Taste broth and repeat with more miso if a stronger flavor is desired. Add wakame and mushrooms and continue to cook for 3-4 minutes, until wakame is fully reconstituted.

Divide the soba noodles and tofu into two large bowls. Ladle soup over noodles and tofu. Top with green onions and a drizzling of sesame oil. 

My lunchtime version today omitted the soba noodles and I added in a handful of spinach at the same time as the wakame. I think I could eat this every single day!

Monday, July 27, 2009

seaweed salad

I am obsessed with seaweed salad at the moment. I've been reading books about food and health (specifically, how they relate to one another). One locale in particular has been featured in several of the books I've read lately - Okinawa. Those eating the traditional Okinawan diet are some of the longest lived and healthiest people on the planet.

Reading about the Okinawan diet is what originally caused my seaweed salad craving (it was covered in brief in one of my readings). I pretty much haven't been able to stop thinking about it since! I had some last week with Dave at Umi Sake House. Then more a couple of days ago with Jill (bought at the grocery store; not the best I've had, but it worked). Tonight I've decided to give a go at making it myself.

I was very disappointed with Draegers' Japanese food selection (the aisle label of "ethnic foods" should have tipped me off, but I was still hopeful that I would find the ingredients I was seeking). No such luck. 5 minutes and a quick search on my iphone later, we were on our way to Suruki Japanese Supermarket (only 2 blocks from Draegers!). I was thrilled when I walked in at all there was to look at. JR, however, became frustrated that he couldn't read the labels and sought a clerk to help us track down the needed ingredients - wakame seaweed, dashi, and miso (the latter two for the miso soup that would accompany our seaweed salad).

For the salad, I located a recipe online and made a number of substitutions - tamari instead of soy sauce, agave in place of sugar, and I played with the quantities a bit to suit my taste. Here's what I did:

Seaweed Salad
Serves 2

4 Tbsp. dried wakame
3 Tbsp. tamari
3 Tbsp. rice vinegar
1 Tbsp. toasted sesame oil
1 tsp. agave nectar
1 tsp. fresh ginger, minced
2 scallions, thinly sliced (including greens)
1 Tbsp. toasted sesame seeds

Soak wakame in warm water for about 8 minutes to reconstitute. Meanwhile, mix dressing ingredients (tamari through ginger) and set aside. Drain wakame and rinse with cold water. Combine wakame, dressing, scallions, and sesame seeds in a medium bowl, mixing to combine. Allow to sit in the fridge for 30 minutes before serving.

This salad looked a little different from the seaweed salad I've been consuming lately (this seaweed was more "seaweedy" vs. thin strips more like vermicelli noodles that I've been having at restaurants - perhaps a different kind of seaweed?). But the taste was fantastic.

I'm definitely a novice when it comes to Japanese cooking, but want to continue to explore it. Let me know if you have any tips or favorite recipes!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

broiled heirloom tomatoes

I'm officially back in the kitch! I know it's been awhile since you've seen anything from me - that was one result of a busy time at work followed up by vacation to Seattle. The Seattle trip included many culinary treats: savory sushi and seaweed salad at Umi Sake House with Dave P., gastronomically pleasing Greek at Panos Kleftiko Taverna with Dave T., white truffle popcorn and Washington wine with Megan at The Local Vine, fresh fish tacos with Shannon at Southlake Grill, and tasty homemade meals at the Newsteads' and the Zawatskis'.

Though I sampled a lot of terrific food over the past week, I'm excited to have my kitchen back at my disposal! JR did not fulfill my request to consume all of the veggies that came in the CSA box last week, but the upside of that is that there were plenty waiting for me upon my return home yesterday. Including some very ripe heirloom tomatoes. These became part of our meal last night. Here's what I did:

Broiled Heirloom Tomatoes
Serves 2

2 large heirloom tomatoes, cut into 1 inch slices
1 Tbsp. fresh oregano leaves
1 Tbsp. fresh thyme leaves
olive oil
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper

Oil a broiler pan with a generous amount of olive oil. Position top oven rack 5 inches from broiler. Preheat broiler on high. Arrange tomatoes in a single layer on broiler pan. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and half of the oregano and thyme. Drizzle with olive oil.

Broil the tomatoes on high 8-10 minutes (long enough that they begin to roast, but not so much that they start to fall apart). Remove pan from oven. Move tomatoes immediately to two shallow bowls. As the tomatoes cool, their juices will fill the bottom of the bowls (this is the tastiest part, in my opinion!). Sprinkle each dish with the remaining oregano, thyme, and olive oil if desired. Serve tomatoes warm or at room temperature.

Our tomatoes were so juicy that this was almost soup-like. A great modification would be to use a hand mixer to turn the tomatoes into a full-on soup. I'll likely try that next time!

While we're on the subject of tomatoes, the following pic is of a beautiful tomato Stephanie gave me from her garden a couple of weeks ago. (Thanks Steph!) There is something almost indescribably delicious about fresh tomatoes. Speaking of which, the ones in my garden are beginning to ripen, which means more tomato recipes will likely be coming soon. Check on the other happenings at Cole's Container Garden.

Friday, July 10, 2009

sundried tomato walnut pesto

This is one of the items I brought to our neighborhood's block party on the 4th of July. Kirsten overheard someone attributing it to our neighbor across the street. The rice dish this particular individual brought was fantastic, so I will take that as a compliment!

This is a twist on my classic walnut pesto. There are three main variations:
  1. I used purple basil instead of green basil which helped create the deep red color (it would work fine with green basil as well, will probably just end up browner).
  2. The addition of sundried tomatoes packs a flavor punch.
  3. The inclusion of cream cheese makes it super spreadable. The perfect cracker topping!
Here's what I did:

Sundried Tomato Walnut Pesto
Makes 2 cups

2 cloves garlic, sliced
1 bunch purple basil
1 c. sundried tomatoes (I used dehydrated; if yours are packed in oil, you probably won't need to add any oil while processing)
1/2 c. walnuts
about 3 Tbsp. olive oil
about 3 Tbsp. cream cheese (I used a vegan substitute "Better Than Cream Cheese")

Process all ingredients in food processor until well combined. Add more or less of any of the ingredients depending on which flavor you want to come out the most and how "spreadable" you want the resulting pesto to be (the more cream cheese you add, the more spreadable it will become).

This doubles as a great veggie dip or pasta mix in. Yum!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

baked tofu with teriyaki sauce

I've been on a bit of a tofu hiatus lately. It hasn't been on purpose - I love tofu and generally eat it numerous times throughout the week. I was craving it. But wanted to try something new. The following recipe is roughly based on one I found online. I made a lot of substitutions and changes to the quantities (drastically reducing them - I think the original recipe probably made 3 cups of teriyaki sauce! Slightly too much for two people...). Here's what I did:

Baked Tofu with Teriyaki Sauce
Serves 2

baked tofu:
olive oil
6 oz. firm tofu

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Press tofu between paper towels to remove excess liquid. Slice into strips and press again. Cut strips into medium bite-size pieces and place on an oiled pan. Drizzle additional oil over the top and toss to coat well. Space pieces evenly. Bake 15-20 minutes, until lightly browned (do not overcook; tofu will become chewy).

teriyaki sauce:
1 large clove garlic, minced
1/2 Tbsp. fresh ginger, minced
1/4 tsp. red chili pepper flakes
1/4 c. tamari
3 Tbsp. agave
1 Tbsp. arrowroot powder
1 Tbsp. water

Cook garlic and ginger in olive oil over medium heat until fragrant. Add tamari and chili flakes, decreasing heat to medium-low. Add 1/2 c. water and agave.

In a separate bowl, combine arrowroot and water until arrowroot is completely dissolved. Slowly add to sauce while stirring. Continue to stir over medium-low heat until sauce begins to simmer and thicken. Remove from heat. Serve over baked tofu.

We enjoyed our baked tofu with teriyaki sauce over quinoa and steamed broccoli.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

stuffed patty pan squash

You'll recall that I recently had a fascination with stuffed peppers. I've moved on. To squash. 

Patty Pan squash are little, yellow, spaceship-looking orbs. They've shown up in our weekly produce delivery for a couple weeks in a row now, so I've been thinking about creative things to do with them. This meal came together based on what I had in the fridge and pantry. It's strange how often those are the ones that turn out the best! I'll definitely make this again. Here's what I did:

Stuffed Patty Pan Squash
Serves 2-3

olive oil
6 patty pan squash
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 handfuls of spinach
1/2 c. ricotta
1 egg
2 Tbsp. parmesan, grated
2 Tbsp. fresh basil, chopped
1/2 tsp. fresh oregano, chopped
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 c. tomato sauce
2 oz. mozzarella, grated

Wash squash. Drop in a large pot of boiling water. Reduce heat and cook covered 15 minutes, or until tender. Drain and allow to cool. Slice the top off each squash and scoop out pulp, leaving 1/4" shell (you can slice a little off of the bottom as well to make a flat surface so the squash will sit flat if desired). Chop the pulp.

Cook onion and garlic in olive oil over medium heat until translucent. Add spinach and squash and cook 1 minute. Let cool.

Combine egg and ricotta in a medium bowl. Stir in parmesan, basil, oregano, and spinach mixture.

Arrange the squash shells in an oiled shallow baking pan. Fill shells with filling. Top each with a generous spoonful of sauce and top with grated mozzarella. Bake uncovered in a 350 degree oven for 20 minutes.

Similar to the stuffed peppers I featured a few weeks ago, a spanish or mexican twist on stuffed squash (I'm thinking polenta, black beans, salsa...) would be very tasty as well. Let me know what you think!

Monday, July 6, 2009

pasta with walnut pesto and tomatoes

A bunch of basil has become a weekly standard in the
CSA box. It's also growing like crazy in a pot on my front porch. I'm not complaining - this means one of my weekend activities of late has become making pesto, which I love. To my surprise, I've found that I like it even better with walnuts instead of pine nuts and no parmesan. This tasty pesto plus some pasta and other veggies makes a satisfying and beautiful, simple meal. Here's how it goes:

Pasta with Walnut Pesto and Tomatoes
Serves 2

6 oz. pasta, cooked al dente (make this dish gluten free with rice pasta)
1/4 - 1/2 c. walnut pesto*
2 medium heirloom tomatoes, cut into pieces
* My original post is for spinach walnut pesto - use 2 cups basil and omit the spinach for a more traditional taste.

Drain the cooked pasta and return to pan. Add pesto and tomatoes and stir until combined. That's it! If you make the pesto ahead, this meal comes together in the 10 minutes or so it takes to cook the pasta. The perfect weeknight meal!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

cumin lime sea bass with black bean veggie medley

This is another recipe from about a week ago that I'm finally getting around to posting. I'm not sure I've ever had sea bass before. Our fish was from the farmers' marked and it was delicious. I highly recommend this dish, which was filling, healthy, and a good combination of flavors. Here's what I did:

Cumin Lime Sea Bass
Serves 2

1/2 lb. sea bass fillet 
1 Tbsp. lime juice
1 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. chili powder (I used chili pasilla)

Put fish in shallow pan. Drench upward facing side with lime juice, then cover with spices. Broil 5" from preheated broiler on high for about 10 minutes, or until the top begins to blacken and fish is cooked to desired doneness.

Black Bean Veggie Medley
Serves 2+

1 c. corn kernels*
1 small yellow onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 bunch curly kale, destemmed and sliced or torn into bite-size pieces
15 oz. can black beans, well rinsed and drained
1/2 c. salsa
2 Tbsp. lime juice
1/4 c. cilantro, chopped
hot sauce (optional)
*I used 2 fresh ears of corn from the CSA box. To cook, husk then place in microwave safe dish with 2 Tbsp. water. Cover with lid and microwave 5 minutes. Wait until cooled, then slice kernels from cobb.

Cook onion in olive oil over medium heat until translucent. Add bell pepper and cook 3-4 minutes. Add kale and cook until bright green, covering pan to allow it to steam. Add black beans, corn, salsa, lime juice, hot sauce (if desired) and cilantro. Mix and cook until heated through.

I served everything on a toasted corn tortilla. Note: leftover black bean medley makes a fantastic nacho topping! Yum!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

gluten free "sugar" cookies

You've perhaps noticed that I haven't been posting very regularly lately. I'm going to blame it on summer. My preference over the past couple of weeks has been to spend my free time in the sunshine, rather than in front of the computer. Can you blame me? This means my 'to post' pile has been growing steadily over the past couple of weeks. This morning, I was flipping through the notebook in which I take notes on recipes, deciding which to post today. I chose this one because the star-shaped cookies seemed appropriate to celebrate today's Independence Day holiday.

When Marika and I have our weekly Bachelorette nights, one of our staples are Gianna's cookies. They are packaged sugar cookies that come in a variety of shapes (sharks, strawberries, footballs) and are sold at the local Mollie Stone's grocery. They are butter, sugary, and delicious. And they're made with white flour, white sugar, and probably a host of other non-nutritive items that I'm trying to avoid. So I set out to makeover Gianna's cookies into a replacement treat for our weekly get together.

I started with a sugar cookie recipe in one of my cookbooks and started substituting things. The resulting cookies turned out really tasty. The big differences between these cookies and your standard sugar cookies is the omission of gluten and refined sugar. Here's what I did:

Gluten Free "Sugar" Cookies

1 1/2 c. gluten-free baking flour (I used Bob's Red Mill)
1 c. oat flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 c. unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 c. agave
1 tsp. vanilla
1 egg

2 Tbsp. cream cheese (I used vegan cream cheese, which worked well)
1 tsp. pure maple syrup
1 Tbsp. raw sugar (optional)

Combine dry ingredients in a medium bowl. Set aside. In another bowl, cream butter together with agave nectar. Add vanilla and egg and beat until combined. Add dry ingredients to butter mixture and mix well. Add additional flour if needed.

Form dough into a ball. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Remove dough from fridge. Sprinkle counter with flour. Using a rolling pin, roll out dough to 1/4-1/2" thickness. Use cookie cutter to cut shapes from the dough and place on cookie sheet. Bake in 350 degree oven for about 10 minutes, until golden. Remove and allow to cool completely on wire rack.

Whisk cream cheese and maple syrup together in a small bowl until totally combined and smooth. Frost cookies. If desired, sprinkle with raw sugar.

Have a safe and happy fourth!
Blog Widget by LinkWithin

Popular Posts