24 July 2016: Minty Bulgur Salad with Salmon & Cucumbers

Adapted from Real Simple.

2016-Jul-24_bulgarsalad_0794We find ourselves making use of the diverse and fresh locally grown produce available in our local farmers’ markets throughout the summer. Here’s a way to take advantage of parsley, mint, and an abundance of cucumbers.  

I first learned how to combine bulgur wheat with veggies back in 1980 through a course at Cambridge Center for Adult Education.  This recipe, from Real Simple, was the base for simply roasted salmon combined with bulgur salad with a few modifications, of course.

Ingredients

  • 1 TBSP plus 1 tsp olive oil (in place of the oil in the salad, I used 2 TBSP of Tahini)
  • 1 pound piece skinless salmon fillet
  • kosher salt and black pepper
  • 1 cup bulgur
  • 2 Kirby cucumbers, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
  • 1 cut flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 1/4 cup torn fresh mint leaves
  • 1/2 small red onion (I used a sweet onion)
  • 3 TBSP fresh lemon juice

Method

  1. Here’s where I deviate from the recipe: I line a flat sheet pan with foil and spray with coconut oil). Salt and pepper the salmon fillet – I use skin on and skin-side DOWN), cook in preheated 400 degree oven for about 15 minutes or until salmon is fully cooked. Continue by cooling the salmon fillet. When ready to use, simply take a spatula between skin and underside of the salmon and lift off the sheet.
  2. FROM Real Simple:  heat 1 tsp oil in large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Season the salmon with 1/4 tsp each salt and pepper. Cook the salmon until opaque throughout, 4 to 6 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate and refrigerate until cool, about 15 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the bulgur with 2 cups boiling water. Let stand until tender (about 25 minutes). Drain and return to the bowl.
  4. Toss the bulgur with the cucumbers, mint, parsley, onion, lemon juice and remaining tablespoon of oil (here’s where I substitute 2 TBSP of Tahini). Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Using a fork, flake the salmon into large pieces. Gently fold into bulgur salad or serve on top.

23 June 2016 Poke Bowl

2016-Jun-23_Poke_0581.jpgThere are as many versions of the bowl of deliciousness as there are cooks in Hawai’i. And honestly, nothing beats enjoying a bowl of Poke on Waikiki Beach, unless of course,  you happen in to Ono Seafood on O’ahu.  Even so, I was able to find some of the more common additions to Poke and decided that, since it wasn’t likely I’d be able to get back to O’ahu in time for dinner, I’d give it a run here at home.  

A suggestion: if you’re looking for a recipe, look for ones that originate with Hawai’ian chefs.  Here’s one I found from J. Kenji Lopez-Alt on Serious Eats.

Ingredients

  • 3 teaspons (about 1g) dried wakame (I found this at Wegmans)
  • 1 teaspoon (about 0.5g) dried hijiki (also at Wegmans)
  • 12 ounces (340g) raw sashimi-grade tuna, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 3 ounces (85g) sweet onion, such as Maui or Vidalia, cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 1 scallion, thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon (about 3g) white or black sesame seeds, or a mix
  • 4 teaspoons (20ml) soy sauce, more or less to taste
  • 2 teaspoons (10ml) toasted sesame oil, more or less to taste
  • 1 teaspoon (5ml) honey, more or less to taste
  • Crushed red pepper, to taste (optional)
  • Kosher salt
  • Steamed rice (if eating as a meal)

Method

Place wakame and hijiki in separate small bowls. Cover with boiling water and let rest until rehydrated and tender, about 5 minutes. Drain and press with paper towels. Roughly chop wakame. Add wakame and hijiki to a large bowl.

Add tuna, onion, scallion, sesame seeds, soy sauce, sesame oil, honey, and optional crushed red pepper to bowl. Season with a small pinch of kosher salt and gently fold to combine. Taste and adjust with more soy sauce, sesame oil, honey, or crushed red pepper as desired. Let sit 5 minutes at room temperature, then serve on its own or on top of steamed rice.

I garnished ours with seaweed salad (purchased at the sushi bar of Wegmans), ginger, sesame seeds and a bit of chopped macadamia nuts.

Serves 4.


18 September 2015 Crab Quesadillas

Recipe downloaded from Everyday Health.

This is definitely not vegan or vegetarian, but every so often as a treat, I like to do something different, yet not involve red meat. When I made the recipe I doubled up on the scallions and red peppers, and used one can (4 oz.) of crab. That adjustment still made 4 quesadillas.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup sharp cheddar (reduced fat), shredded  09182015Crab
  • 2 oz. reduced fat cream cheese (Neufchâtel), softened
  • 4 medium scallions, chopped
  • 1/2 medium red bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp orange zest
  • 1 TBSP orange juice
  • 8 oz. crabmeat (I used 4 oz., canned and drained)
  • 4 medium whole wheat tortilla (8-inch)
  • 2 tsp oil
  • 1/3 cup fresh cilantro
  • 2 TBSP pickled jalepeno pepper, chopped

Method

  1. Combine cheddar, cream cheese, scallions, bell pepper, cilantro, jalepenos (if using), orange zest and orange juice in a medium bowl. Gently stir in crab.
  2. Lay tortillas out on a work surface. Spread one-fourth of the filling on half of each tortilla, Fold tortilla in half, pressing gently to flatten.
  3. Heat 1 tsp oil in a large (nonstick) skillet over medium heat. Place 2 quesadillas in the pan and cook, turning once, until golden on both sides. 3-4 minutes total.
  4. Transfer to a cutting board and tent with foil to keep warm. Repeat with the remaining 1 tsp oil and quesadillas. Cut each into 4 wedges. (Serving suggestion: serve along with black bean soup).

15 September 2015 Zucchini & Feta Cheese Bake

This recipe comes to us courtesy of Meatless Monday. Since everyone seems to have a lot of zucchini these days, this seemed like a delicious way to make use of them. Serves 4 – and it was just a delicious warmed up the next day for lunch.

Zucchini & Feta Cheese Bake

Ingredients

  • 3 zucchini, diced

    Zucchini mix, ready for the eggs.

    Zucchini mix, ready for the eggs.

  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 3 celery stalks, chopped
  • 7 oz. feta cheese
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 cup yogurt (I used Greek yogurt, non fat)
  • 2 eggs
  • a handful of fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 TBSP olive oil
  • salt

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 390 degrees F.
  2. Sweat the garlic, zucchini and celery in olive oil for about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the peas and parsley and seas with salt*. Cook for another 5 minutes.
  4. Grease a casserole dish and transfer the zucchini mixture in. Mix in the feta cheese.
  5. Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes.
  6. Remove. Add the yogurt and eggs (mix these in advance).
  7. Bake another 10 minutes of so (I found this step needed at least 20 minutes to firm up the eggs).
  • *=I don’t add salt.

08 August 2015 Chilled Herb Spinach-Potato Soup with Buttermilk

Recipe downloaded from Mollie Katzen’s website; originally published in Vegetable Heaven.

We’re in for a string of 90-plus degree days here in New England. A chilled soup seemed like something that might be light and tasty in the heat and humidity of early September.  Be sure to clean the leeks thoroughly!

Ingredients

  • 2 fist-sized russet potatoes (about 1 lb), peeled and cut into cubes 08Sep2015Soup
  • 5 cups water or broth (I used water)
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 cups chopped leeks, well cleaned
  • 1 TBSP minced garlic
  • 2 pounds fresh spinach, cleaned, stemmed, and chopped
  • 1/2 cup minced fresh dill
  • small handful fresh basil leaves
  • small handful fresh mint leaves
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
  • white pepper to taste
  • minced fresh mint for garnish (optional)

Method

  1.  Place the potatoes, water or broth, and salt in a soup pot or Dutch oven. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer very slowly for about 20 minutes. Add the leeks, garlic, and spinach during the last 5 minutes or so.
  2. Use a food processor or hand blender to puree the soup with all its solids, adding fresh herbs along the way. You will need to do this in several batches if using a food processor or countertop blender. Puree until very smooth.
  3. Transfer to a container, cover tightly and chill.
  4. Stir in the buttermilk just before serving, and add white pepper to taste. Top each serving with some minced fresh mint, if desired.

Yield: 6 servings


29 August 2015 Moroccan Stew With Kale

posted by Plant-Based Cooking. Copyright 2011-2015 by Diane Smith and plantbasedcooking.com. All Rights Reserved.

Moroccan Stew With Kale

You would have to be living in a vacuum to have missed out on the popularity of kale over the last several years. This stew from Diane Cook takes advantage of kale but also a spice melange from Morocco. Listed separately, the spice mixture makes the ingredient list seem large, so I’ve lumped these together. The rest of the ingredients went together very quickly making this stew a candidate for a busy week night.  This recipe serves 6; as we are a two-person household, I cut everything in half and still had plenty of leftovers.

Ingredients:

  • Spice Mixture: 2 tsp ground cinnamon, 2 tsp ground cumin, 1 tsp ground ginger, 1/2 tsp ground cloves, 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg, 1/2 tsp ground tumeric, 1/2 tsp curry powder Moraccanstew
  • 1 tsp salt (I generally cook without adding salt, saving that addition for a final adjustment)
  • 1 sweet onion chopped
  • 2 cups rough chopped kale
  • 1 qt vegetable stock (more if you want this to be more soup-like)
  • 1 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 TBSP honey
  • 4 large carrots, chopped
  • 2 sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 3 large potatoes (used Yukon gold), peeled and diced
  • 1 15-oz. garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup dried lentils, rinsed
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 TBSP cornstarch (optional)
  • 1 TBSP water (optional)

Method

  1.  Cook onions on medium high heat in a little water or broth until soft and just beginning to brown (5 to 10 minutes). Stir in the spices and cook until they are fragrant.
  2. Pour the vegetable broth into the pot. Stir in the tomatoes, honey, carrots, sweet potatoes, potatoes, garbanzo beans, apricots, and lentils. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to low.
  3. Stir in the shredded kale.
  4. Simmer stew for 30 minutes until the vegetables and lentils are cooked and tender. Season with salt and black pepper. If desired, combine cornstarch and water and stir into stew. Simmer until stew has thickened, about 5 minutes

23 August 2015 Saffron Scented Vegetable Paella

Recipe created by The Purple Carrot.

Not too long ago, a good friend of ours made a more authentic paella for us and it was, of course, unbelievable.   I would venture to say that my Spanish eating and cooking friends would most definitely assert that this is NOT paella. Paella should have meat or seafood (or both!); however, for the plant-eaters among us, this veggie and brown rice version is delicious.

Saffron Scented Vegetable Paella

The Purple Carrot 

Ingredients

  • 1 cup brown rice vegpaella
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable stock
  • 5 cloves of garlic peeled
  • 1 onion (diced)
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 4 oz crimini mushrooms
  • 1/4 cup parsley
  • 1/8 tsp saffron
  • 1 TBSP olive oil
  • 1 can artichoke hearts
  • 1 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes
  • salt & pepper to taste

Method

  1. Rinse and dry all produce. Thinly slice the pepper, discarding the top, inner membrane and seeds. Thinly slice garlic. Halve the mushrooms and cherry tomatoes. Cut lemon into wedges and set aside. Roughly chop parsley leaves, discarding the stems.
  2. In a large saute pan or paella pan over medium high heat, add olive oil, onions and peppers. Saute until softened, about 3 minutes, then add garlic and mushrooms. Season with salt and pepper and cook for 3 more minutes.
  3. Add saffron and rice, stirring constantly to coat the rice with the flavors of the pan. Allow to cook for 1 minute, then add white wine. Next, add vegetable stock and cover with a lid.
  4. Allow covered rice mixture to cook for 25 minutes over medium heat. Remove lid and place artichoke hearts in center of pan, followed by tomatoes.
  5. Cover for 2 more minutes to allow vegetables to heat through.
  6. Top with chopped parsley and squeeze lemon wedges over the dish. Serve hot and enjoy!

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