Category Archives: Entree

05 Nov 2017: Cinnamon Brown Sugar Bars

2017-Nov-05_fournightsaweek_1461A recent impulse buy from King Arthur Flour was cinnamon – two different kinds actually. As I was growing up, I only knew that cinnamon came from a McCormack’s tin. The two types of cinnamon I purchased for baking – and yes, I can taste a difference – were Vietnamese and Madagascar.  Now to use them before they become stale.

Today’s weather was dank and dark and a fitting day for some comfort food and smells. This recipe for Cinnamon Brown Sugar Bars seems to fit the need and will, I hope taste as wonderful as the aroma that now fills my kitchen. 

This recipe was collected from My Kitchen Craze and can be found here.  But don’t stop with this bar recipe; lots of delicious looking and sounding possibilities to explore.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup butter softened
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 TBSP vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 2 2/3 c all-purpose flour

Cinnamon Sugar Topping

  • 2 TBSP sugar
  • 2 tsp cinnamon

Method

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9×13 baking dish with non-stick cooking spray and set aside.
  2. Using a stand mixer (or hand mixer), cream together butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, making sure to incorporate each one.
  3. Add vanilla and beat until smooth.
  4. Add baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and flour to a medium bowl, whisk to combine. Add the flour mixture to the mixer and stir until just combined.
  5. Pour bater into baking dish and spread evenly with a spatula.
  6. In a small bowl mix cinnamon and sugar. Sprinkle evenly over the batter.
  7. Bake for 25-35 minutes or until bars are set in the middle and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool completely until cutting into bars.
  8. Eat by themselves (my choice) or with a dollop of vanilla ice cream. Enjoy.
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11 May 2017 Tomato and Roasted Cauliflower Curry with Paneer

2017-May-11_Fournightsaweek_0685Long ago, I received Deborah Madison’s Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone as a gift. It became one of my essential go-to cookbooks. So I was particularly excited to hear about Deborah Madison’s new book In My Kitchen. Because this is a brand, new publication, I have not included the recipe – trust me, you will want to purchase this book.

This new cookbook is also an excellent source of vegetarian recipes and cooking. In writing the book, Deborah Madison explains that some of the included recipes have changed because it is easier to obtain “unusual” ingredients.

That was somewhat true tonight, as we sampled Tomato and Roasted Cauliflower Curry with Paneer. As a curry dish, some of the ingredients – ghee, gara2017-May-11_Fournightsaweek_0703m masala, paneer –  are found of course in Indian markets, but they also can often be picked up in regular food stores.

The end product was a warming, vegetarian curry based in tomato sauce. The
combination of spices, onions, garlic not only made for a delicious meat-free meal, it filled our home with a beautiful, spicy aroma.

 

 


10 April 2017: Mushroom Curry

2017-Apr-10_FourNightsAWeek_0619I love Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution, really I do. And so, I when I came across a recipe on his website jamieoliver.com for Mushroom Curry, I decided to give it a whirl. I thought that navigating measurements in metric units would be my biggest challenge; however I have discovered that I don’t speak – and often don’t understand – the Queen’s English. Hob? Groundnut oil (according to Nigella Larson, that’s peanut oil)? 

The implementation of this recipe was a bit improvised. My local grocer did not have fenugreek or paneer. So I’ve left those out. What resulted was tasty if not true to the recipe which follows.

Ingredients

  • 500 g mixed mushrooms
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 5 cm piece of ginger
  • 1 onion
  • 1/2-1 fresh red chili
  • 500 g ripe mixed color tomatoes
  • ground nut oil (I cook with coconut oil so that’s what I used)
  • 1 tsp Tumeric
  • 1 tsp fenugreek (left that one out)
  • 1 heaped tsp black mustard seeds
  • 1 heaped tsp medium curry powder
  • 1 TBSP mango chutney
  • 1 400 ml tin of coconut milk
  • 30 g paneer (left that out)
  • 400 g brown basmati rice
  • 2 limes
  • 1 bunch of fresh coriander

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C/400 degrees F.
  2. Roughly cop some of the mushrooms, keeping the smaller ones whole and tearing up the rest. Tip into a large casserole dish and toast on the hob over a medium heat for 5 to 8 minutes until nutty and really golden. I interpreted this to mean toast in a large skillet (no oil) until the mushrooms are golden; no “hob” at this house.
  3. Meanwhile, peel and finely slice the garlic, ginger and onion. Trim and finely slice the chili, then roughly chop the tomatoes.
  4. Add all of it to the pan except the tomatoes, then add 1 TBSP oil and all the spices. Toss for 2 minutes or until the spices are toasted and it’s smelling lovely, stirring continuously.
  5. Add the tomatoes, mango chutney, and coconut milk. Stir to combine and season well with sea salt and black pepper. At this point, I transferred what was in the skillet to a large casserole dish.
  6. Top with bits of paneer and place in the oven (no paneer so I just popped the casserole in the oven). Cook for 30 minutes or until all cooked through and gnarly.
  7. Meanwhile cook the rice according to package directions.
  8. Taste and season as required, adding a little lime juice as needed.
  9. Spoon the curry over the rice, then roughly chop the coriander leaves and scatter over the top. Cut the remaining lime into wedges for people to squeeze over the top.

23 March 2017 Spinach, Tofu & Sesame Stir-Fry

2017-Mar-23_FourNightsA-Week_0522Recipe created by Martha Rose Shulman.

The New York Times Food and Cooking sections are a great resource for home cooks whether adventurous or not.  As a subscriber, I receive a couple of weekly newsletters from the Times and this one caught my eye for its simplicity.

This recipe, Spinach, Tofu and Sesame Stir-Fry, comes from Martha Rose Shulman, one of the Times regular contributors, popped up recently and turned out to be quite quick (15 minutes!) to prepare. (And a bonus for subscribers, the recipes can be stored online in a personal recipe box).

Ms. Shulman makes a couple of serving suggestions – one of which is to use the stir-fry as a pita filling. Next time, I’ll try that!

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 tablespoon canola oil (I substituted coconut oil)
  • ½ pound tofu, cut in small dice (firm!)
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 1 teaspoon grated or minced fresh ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon red chili flakes
  •  Soy sauce to taste
  • 1 6-ounce bag baby spinach, rinsed (use fresh, readily available)
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil

METHOD

  1. Heat the canola oil over medium-high heat in a large nonstick skillet or wok, and add the tofu. Stir-fry until the tofu is lightly colored, three to five minutes, and add the garlic and ginger. Cook, stirring, until fragrant, about one minute, and add soy sauce to taste. Add the spinach and stir-fry until the spinach wilts, about one minute. Stir in the sesame seeds, and add more soy sauce to taste. Remove from the heat.
  2. Using tongs, transfer the spinach and tofu mixture to a serving bowl, leaving the liquid behind in the pan or wok. Drizzle with the sesame oil, and add more soy sauce as desired. Serve with rice or other grains, or noodles.  You may also use it as a filling for whole wheat pita bread.

23 Feb. 2017: Quinoa Bowl with Tahini Dressing

2017-feb-23_fournightsaweek_0439I happened on Martha Stewart’s PBS cooking show recently, and was impressed that the recipe she prepared was not so ridiculously complicated that it required a team of sous chefs to get it to table.  So as I was searching for something to cook this week, I migrated over to her website and found this Quinoa Bowl.  Delicious and not difficult for home cooking!  Thanks to Wendy at Tutto Bene for the Barista Pinotage recommendation.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound of broccoli, florets with tender stems (halved if large) 2017-feb-23_fournightsaweek_0451
  • 1 red onion (8 oz) cut into 1/2-inch rounds
  • 2 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
  • coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 cup tahini, well stirred
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (2 lemons)
  • 2 cups packed mint leaves, plus more for serving/garnish
  • sliced avocado, sliced cucumber, and lightly toasted sliced almonds for serving

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Toss broccoli and onion with oil on a rimmed baking sheet; season with salt and pepper. Roast, flipping vegetables once, until golden brown and tender (about 25 minutes).
  2. In a small pot, bring quinoa, 1 1/2 cups water, and a pinch of salt to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer 14 minutes. Turn of heat and let stand 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork.
  3. Combine tahini, lemon juice, 1/2 cup water, and mint in a blender. Blend until smooth; add 3/4 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper.
  4. Serve quinoa topped with roasted vegetables, avocado, and cucumber and sprinkle with almonds and mint with dressing on the side. (Serves 4)

 


27 January 2017: Slow Cooker Chicken and Apple Stew

2017-jan-27_fournightsaweek_0363Every couple of weeks I like to break out my slow cooker. This week, I found a recipe on WholeFoods Market that used chicken thighs; they stand up to long, slow cooking without loosing any of their moist flavor. I’ve owned a couple of slow cookers over the last 30-plus years, starting with a one-piece Presto that made cleaning up a nightmare.  My current version is a round All-Clad 4-quart model with a black ceramic insert and 3 temperature settings (All-Clad’s newest version has an additional one: high start/low finish). Be sure to read the instruction manual carefully in order to avoid ending up with a cracked insert. 

I did make one adjustment to the recipe: since I buy my poultry at organic markets where I can be assured of the quality (no antibiotics, thank you), even thighs can be pretty pricey. I used half as much poultry as the recipe called for and didn’t miss the extra one bit. The link to Whole Foods Market’s original recipe is here.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 tsp whole fennel seeds
  • 3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs (I used 1 lb.)
  • 3 firm, sweet baking apples (like Braeburn or Gala); peeled, cored and cut into 6 wedges each
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes (10 oz each), peeled and cut into 1 1/2 inch chunks
  • 1 large sweet onion, halved and sliced
  • 2 TBSP fresh (yes, it’s worth it) sage leaves
  • 1 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 3/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper

Method

  1. Toast fennel seeds in small skillet over medium heat until fragrant (about 2 mins).
  2. Cut chicken thighs in half.
  3. Add chicken, fennel seeds and ALL the rest of the remaining ingredients to a slow cooker.
  4. Cover and cook until chicken and apples are very tender, (6-7 hours on LOW or 3-3.5 hours on High)
  5. Serves 6-8

23 January 2017: Roasted Bell Peppers Stuffed with Quinoa

2017-jan-23_fournightsaweek_0351It’s Meatless Monday! We both love stuffed peppers, but I’m not a huge fan of the ground meat and tomato sauce stuffing. This recipe uses quinoa along with chopped veggies seasoned with cumin and cinnamon.  In place of stuffing full peppers, I split them in half – still delish! Visit Whole Foods website for the original recipe.

Ingredients

  • 1 TBSP extra virgin olive oil, plus more for oiling the pan
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 1/2 pound sliced mushrooms
  • 1 cup chopped carrots
  • 7 bell peppers (1 cored, seeded & chopped; tops removed and reserved if you are filling the peppers upright, just core and seed the remaining 6)
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley
  • 1/4 pound baby spinach
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa (rinse & cook according the package directions ahead of time)
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1/2 cup roasted cashews (if desired)
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper

Method

  1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add onion and cook, stirring 2017-jan-23_fournightsaweek_0345 occasionally until transparent, 8-10 minutes. Add mushrooms and cook until softened, 4-5 minutes more.
  2. Add carrots and chopped peppers, cook until just softened, then add parsley and spinach (in batches if needed). Let spinach wilt then stir in cinnamon, cumin, and cooked quinoa. Toss gently to combine. Add salt, pepper, and cashews (if using) and cook 1-2 minutes more. Set aside to let filling cool to just warm.
  3. Meanwhile, pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly oil a 9×13 inch baking pan and set aside.
  4. Divide quinoa mixture evenly among remaining 6 bell peppers (or 12 halves), gently packing it down and making sure to fully fill each pepper. Top each pepper with its reserved top then arrange them upright in prepared pan.
  5. Cover snugly with foil and bake until peppers are tender and juicy and filling is hot throughout, about 1 hours. Transfer to plates, and serve.

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