Saturday, January 28, 2006

Not your Mama's Brussel Sprouts

I've had this love/hate relationship with brussel sprouts. If they're done well, they're excellent. But if not, then blech! And despite the fact I've eaten brussels a billion times in my life, this is the first time I've ever attempted to cook them. And I gotta tell ya - I might be tossing that whole "hate" thing right out of the equation.


I took a note from my Roasted Cauliflower recipe, and threw in some garlic cloves with these. Once again, feel free to substitute any seasoning or fresh herbs you have around the house.

1 1/2 lbs brussel sprouts
6-8 cloves garlic
3 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp lemon pepper seasoning
additional kosher salt to taste

Trim the ends from the brussels and peel off any yellow or old leaves. Toss in a baking dish with garlic, oil, and spices. Place into a 400 degree oven, and roast for 25-30 minutes, stirring often. Once brussels are nicely roasted, remove from the oven and serve!

Friday, January 27, 2006

Citrus Asian Slaw

Citrus Asian Slaw

To me, this is a great summer recipe. Has the lovely citrus flavor, the fresh cilantro, that zing. But living in a cold climate, sometimes you just need to put a little zing into your day. And this is where this recipe comes in. This is, again, a recipe that can be modified to whatever is in the refrigerator.

Citrus Asian Slaw
5 c of vegetables, julienned (cabbage, red cabbage, carrots)*
1 1/2 c julienned cucumber
1/2 c diced red bell pepper
2 Tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
2/3 c seasoned rice vinegar
2 tsp sugar
1 tbsp fresh ginger, grated
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp black pepper
Juice of half a lime**
1/2 tsp salt(I used Adobo)
1/3 c water

1/2 tsp sesame oil
(I also hit mine with an additional 1/4 tsp hot chili sesame oil)

Place vegetables in large bowl and toss well. Combine all dressing ingredients (up to and including water) in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Boil for 3 minutes. Immediately pour over vegetable mixture and toss well. Allow to stand for 10 minutes. Drizzle with sesame oil. Toss again and serve.

*I had a bag of Rainbow Salad on hand and used that. Rainbow Salad is a pre-julienned bag of Broccoli hearts, cauliflower hearts, carrots, red cabbage, and cabbage.
**Really, any citrus juice would work. This would be excellent with orange juice as well.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Lentil Crunchies
Lentil Crunchies

Typically, when I cook, I'm a huge fan of any recipe that can be modified at my whim - spice blends, what's available in the pantry, whatever mood I'm in. That's how I like to roll. This recipe is one of those. It can literally be taken in any spice direction, and the main ingredient can always be in your pantry. I'm more tempted by salty snacks than by sweet, so having something healthy and full of protein, and yet still enjoyable hits me in the right spot.

Lentil Crunchies
1 c lentils (not red)
1 quart water
Cooking spray of your choice (I used olive oil)
¼ tsp onion powder
¼ tsp curry powder
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
Place water and lentils in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, cover, remove from heat, and let sit for 15 minutes. Drain and spread out on paper towels to dry. (I let mine sit for about 20 minutes, and then sponged them off again with another paper towel.) Line a cookie sheet with foil. Spray well with cooking spray. Spread out lentils on sheet and give them a light coating of cooking spray. Bake in a 425 degree oven for 15-20 minutes, until crisp, stirring often. Combine seasonings and toss with hot lentils. Cool and store in a airtight container.It's a wonderful little salty snack!

*Once again, the spice measurements are estimated, as I'm not a measurer*

Broccoli Salad with a Thai Peanut Sauce

Thai Broccoli Salad
Thai Broccoli
This is an amazing dish, and I'm not just saying that because I cooked it. This is a dish that can definitely stand alone as a meal, and if you are meat-inclined, add some rotisserie chicken and call it a day.

Broccoli Salad with a Thai Peanut Sauce
1/4 c chunky peanut butter
1 1/2 tbsp sugar
1 1/2 tbsp hot water
1 tbsp fresh lime juice
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 1/2 tsp sesame oil
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 1/2 tbsp oil
3 c fresh broccoli, in florets
1/2 c red bell peppers, julienned
1/2 c onion, thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
hot sesame oil (optional)

In a blender or mini-food processor, combine peanut butter, sugar, water, lime juice, soy sauce, sesame oil, and pepper flakes. Pulse until well blended and set aside.
Heat oil over medium high heat in a wok. Add the vegetables and garlic, and stir-fry for 4 minutes, or until tender crisp. At this point, I drizzled the hot sesame oil over it. Remove from heat, place in a large bowl, and pour dressing over it. Mix well and serve. This can be served either hot or cold. Either way, I promise it's excellent!

Monday, January 23, 2006

Quinoa Chowdah

Quinoa Chowdah
Originally uploaded by britton618.
Quinoa is one of those grains that unless you have a good reason, it's easy to pass by. And even when you finally try it, the smell while cooking can turn some off. However, I'm a big fan on Quinoa. I like the taste and it's versatility. Normally, I'll take any leftover quinoa and make a stirfry with it, using any fresh veggies on hand, hot sesame oil, soy sauce, and a few healthy dashes of white pepper.
So when I saw this recipe online somewhere, I knew I had to try it. This recipe has excellent flavor, and is relatively low in fat AND calories. And if you're a non-feta lover, trust me on this. This recipe might just make you rethink it.

Quinoa Chowdah with Spinach, Feta, and Green Onions
8 c water
3/4 c uncooked quinoa
2 tsp olive oil
2 fresh jalapenos, seeded and minced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
2 1/2 c potato, diced
3/4 tsp salt
1 1/4 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp oregano
2/3 c green onions, sliced
3 c fresh spinach, thinly sliced
1 c (4 oz) well crumbled feta cheese (I used a garlic and herb blend)
1/3 c fresh cilantro, chopped

Combine water and quinoa in a large pot. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes. Remove. Drain in a colander, reserving cooking liquid. Add enough water to cooking liquid to equal 6 cups. Set aside.
Heat oil in pan over medium heat. Add jalapeno and garlic, cook for 30 seconds. Stir in potato, salt, cumin, black pepper, and oregano. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add 6 c cooking liquid, quinoa, and 1/3 c green onions. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, simmer 10 minutes or until potato is tender. Stir in 1/3 c onions and spinach, cook for 3 minutes. Remove from heat, and stir in cheese and cilantro.
Serve and enjoy!

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Tofu you didn't!

So listen, I'm going to be honest. I had one bad experience with tofu, and since that day, I've hated it. Won't touch it, don't want it near me - let's just say we weren't friends. But as a "near" vegetarian, an anemic who needs to add more iron in her diet, and as someone who likes to get an appropriate amount of protein daily, I've always wondered if perhaps I was too hasty with my intense distate for it. Enter the current issue of Vegetarian Times. There was a recipe called "Cheese Free Stuffed Shells" that promised to go over well with Tofu-phobes. I modified the original recipe, knowing what might disguise the tofu for me just a tad more. And I have to admit - while I might not run out and eat a block of tofu out of the package, I will definitely try to find more ways to include it in my diet. This recipe alone has, per serving, 21 grams of protein. I will definitely make this recipe again and again.
The dish
Protein Packed Stuffed Shells
18 jumbo pasta shells, cooked, drained, and rinsed
1 jar marinara sauce
1 (15oz pkg) extra firm tofu, drained
1/2 medium sized onion, peeled
7 oz frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
1/4 c fresh basil leaves
1 Tbsp Italian seasoning (more or less)
1 1/2 Tbsp minced garlic (again, more or less)
2 Tbsp olive oil
Freshly cracked pepper
Salt (about 1/2 tsp)
1/2 c shredded cheese (I used an Italian blend)
Extra cheese for top

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spread some marinara sauce on the bottom of a 9x13 baking dish. Put tofu in food processor, and process to desired texture. I then put it into a medium sized bowl, and added the rest of the filling ingredients and stirred it well by hand. You can opt to put all of the filling ingredients in the processor. When filling is ready, place into a plastic bag, snip off corner, and pipe filling into shells. Cover with remaining marinara sauce and cheese. Bake in oven for 25 minutes, or until bubbly. Enjoy.
And seriously, when it looks this good, how can you not enjoy it??
ToStuffed Shell

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Lemon & Garlic Spinach

LemonGarlic Spinach
Originally uploaded by britton618.
I love this recipe. It's got a lovely flavor to it, and makes a wonderful side dish. And it takes about 2.2 seconds to make - you know you gotta love that.

Lemon & Garlic Spinach
2 Tbsp butter
3-4 Tbsp olive oil
4-6 cloves garlic, minced
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 (24oz) bag of fresh spinach, washed

Melt butter and add oil, garlic, and lemon. Over low heat, cook for about 10 minutes, allowing the flavors to make friends. Add spinach. Now at this point, it's up to you how much you want to cook it. I like my spinach still crunchy, so I take it off the stove after a minute. But you can wilt it as much as your little heart desires. Crack some peppercorn over it and serve.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Isn't this gorgeous??

This is Lundberg Black Japonica, a rice blend of a Japanese black short grain rice, and a mahogany medium grain. I found it at the local health food store, and thought it looked interested. Isn't this close-up gorgeous*??

Here's what I did with it. I'm sure you could substitute any type of rice with this dish, although your cook times may vary. And as with all of my recipes, I don't formally measure, so these are more or less the correct amounts.

"You Say Japonica" Rice Dish
1/2 c onion, diced
1 T minced garlic
1 vegetable bouillon cube (or chicken or beef is so desired)
2 T butter
1 c rice
2 c water
salt to taste
Japonica cooking
Melt butter in medium saucepan. Add onion, garlic. Add bouillon cube, making sure to mash well. Saute for 2 minutes, then add rice. Saute mixture for a few minutes. Add water and bring to a boil. Turn heat down, and keeping covered, simmer until rice is tender. Serve.

Now this is the first time I've ever tried it, but it has a wonderfully nutty taste. I definitely will be making this one again.

*I'd also like to give a shout-out to my new camera, as this is a fantastic close-up.

Friday, January 13, 2006

A quickie

Ya'll might want to check out this post, which is a fantastic informative article on grains and wheat. Then browse around, as there are plenty of fabulous vegan and holistic recipes and articles.

Onions and Lentil Rice

Onion and Lentil Rice
Originally uploaded by britton618.
This is one of those cheap recipes you can make when the tax man cometh, or when you have to buy textbooks that are $125 each. Used.
It's also a fairly healthy vegetarian meal, and with the additions of lentils has a mondo amount of protein in it, and is a very filling dish.
I used red lentils, and when cooked in this dish, they become almost completely soft, adding a lovely texture to the rice, making it almost risotto-esque. These are also items that most people have in stock in their kitchen.

2 Tbsp olive oil
2 tsp cumin powder
1 tbsp minced garlic (I only had the jar stuff on hand)
2 onions, quartered and sliced
5 c water
1 c lentils
1 c rice
1 tsp salt

Heat oil in skillet and start sauteing onions, garlic, and 1 tsp cumin. At the same time, in large pot, add water and lentils, and boil 15-20 minutes.
When onions become lightly browned, take 1/3 of the onions and add them to the pot, along with rice, salt, cumin. Bring to a boil, and simmer 15 minutes, or until rice is tender.
Finish browning onions until they are dark brown. When rice is finished, remove from heat, and stir in the remaining onions. Allow to sit, covered, for 15 minutes. Serve.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Roasted Cauliflower

Even though I probably didn't deserve it this year, my dear roommate Lina gave me this lovely little Le Creuset dish for Christmas.
The Maiden
And despite my secret obsession for all things Creuset, it's gone unused since that day.
But today, I had a lovely rainy day off, so I thought I would kick it off with a little vegetable dish. And this dish, my friends, is one of those dishes that can turn a person vegetarian.
The dish

Roasted Cauliflower
1 head cauliflower, cut into pieces
16-20 cloves garlic, peeled
2-3 sprigs fresh rosemary
salt and pepper
1/4 c olive oil, more or less
Mix all ingredients in baking dish and pop into a 450 degree oven. Cook for about 20-30 minutes, stirring every once in awhile, until done. Garlic is also lovely roasted, and can be used for bread, smeared on the florets, or eaten with the cauliflower. Either way, they are fantastic.

I mean, look at this guy...


Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Yes, I think you'll do nicely...

Jasmine Apple Wine
Originally uploaded by britton618.
This is my creation and one of the wines currently percolating in the 618 Hacienda. It's a Jasmine Apple Dessert Wine, and it's been saucin'-up for a good 3 years. It's getting to that good stage - almost thicker, like a sherry, but light in flavor. It's got "pair me with a poundcake" written all over it.

Garlic Crunch

Garlic Crunch
Originally uploaded by britton618.
Garlic Crunch

This is one of my favorite staples in the house. I found the recipe years ago in a magazine, and have tweaked it. This is a perfect topping on salads, soups, or even as a snack.

3 cloves garlic, thinly-sliced
1 cup rolled oats
2 T melted butter
2 T honey
Salt and pepper*

Toss all ingredients together. Spread on cookie sheet, and bake at 300 degrees for 20-25 minutes until toasted. Cool and store in airtight container.

*I crack peppercorns in my mortar and pestle and throw those in. But that's only because i'm addicted to black pepper.


*tap tap*

Is this thing on?