Category Archives: DinnerPosted on October 11th, 2014 by Dan
Summer’s bounty can be overwhelming sometimes. This dish is a great way to use up the last of summer’s vegetables. Feel free to get creative with the types of vegetables and seasonings. If you plan to switch things up, remember to cook your various vegetables appropriately:
Roast the more hardy ones (potatoes, cauliflower or squash)
Steam (broccoli or asparagus) or briefly boil (peas) the greener ones
Sauté – high heat and quick time – the tender ones (mushrooms, Swiss chard, cherry tomatoes, or green onions)
- 1/2 zucchini (peeled, seeded and cut into wedges)
- 1 onion (sliced)
- 1 carrot (sliced diagonally)
- 1 half bell pepper (sliced)
- 1/4 pound green beans (edges trimmed and cut into 2″ pieces)
- 1 pound penne pasta
- 2 tbsp sun-dried tomatoes in oil
- 5 cloves of garlic
- 2 ears of corn (cut off cob)
- 2 big handfuls of kale (stems removed & chopped)
- 1 tbsp Italian herbs (dried or fresh parsley, basil, thyme, rosemary, etc- you get to be creative here)
- On a baking sheet, combine the zucchini, onion, carrot and bell pepper. Toss with enough olive oil to coat and about 1/4 tsp of salt. Bake at 350*F until everything is tender, approx 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Meanwhile, bring a large pot of heavily salted water to boil. Once boiling, add the green beans in for no more than 1 minute and then transfer then with a slotted spoon to an ice water bath. Add the pasta to the boiling water and boil until al dente. Strain the pasta and cover.
- In a large pot (possibly the same as our pasta cooker), heat up some olive oil (~ 2 tbsp) on low and add the crushed garlic along with a pinch of salt. Cook until fragrant (30 seconds), add the tomatoes, cook another minute then add the corn (if the garlic stars to brown before you add the corn, turn the heat down). Cook the corn for 1-2 minutes, then add the strained green beans, roasted vegetables and cooked pasta. Add more olive oil coat everything, stirring really well. Season with additional salt, if necessary, and mix in the black pepper and Italian herbs and warm throughout. Turn off the heat, add the chopped kale on top, put the lid on the pot and let sit to soften the kale for 1-2 minutes. Once the kale is just barely wilted and a brighter green, mix everything and serve.
Also, we accidentally grew microgreens. All our arugula went to seed apparently and after I weeded away the dead cucumber vines and lettuce, these adorable little guys immediately sprouted up. They are so delicious, it’s hard to describe.Posted on August 8th, 2014 by Dan
Many times it’s hard to see pasta past a red sauce, but many of the best pasta dishes I’ve had get an extraordinary amount of flavor and complexity from subtle ingredients that would be otherwise masked by the robustness of a tomato. Such pasta dishes often have an oil based ‘dressing’, if you will, like spaghetti with white beans and garlic.
Here I’ve taken a late season fall gourd, acorn squash, and roasted it along with spinach and caramelized onions. The roasted squash and sweet onions go really well together, offering a sweet and savory infused oil that lingers in your mouth.
- 1/2 pound dry penne pasta
- 1 medium acorn squash
- 2 onions
- 1/2 cup of olive oil
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1/8 tsp ground black pepper
- 3 cloves of garlic, crushed
- 1/4 cup dry white wine
- 1/4 cup vegetable stock (or just plain water)
- 1/2 cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes (either packed in oil or dry)
- 1/2 pound washed baby spinach (or regular spinach, chopped)
*If you are using the tomatoes that are dried (not packed in oil), place them in the wine to allow them to soften.
- First we roast the squash by peeling it, cutting it in half (lengthwise) and scooping the seeds out. Cut into 3/4″ cubes and put on a baking sheet. Slice the onions and add to the squash. Toss it all with the 1/4 cup olive oil, big pinch of salt, paprika, cayenne and black pepper (might be easier to mix everything in a bowl first then place on the baking sheet). Bake at 400*F until the squash is able to be pierced by a fork (about 20 minutes), stirring everything 2-3 times to prevent the onions from burning.
- Cook the penne in salted water per the package directions until al dente. Drain, toss with some oil to prevent sticking and set aside.
- While the squash is baking and penne is cooking, heat some oil in a heavy bottom pan over med/low heat and add the garlic. Cook until just lightly browned and fragrant (1 minute). Turn the heat to high and then deglaze with the wine (remove the tomatoes if you were soaking them). Let the wine reduce for a bit (30 secs) over the high heat, then add the stock, tomatoes and spinach. Add the penne and mix thoroughly. Cook until the spinach wilts.
- Combine the squash with the garlic-spinach mixture. Season with additional salt or spices and add some extra olive oil as needed (for me I added an additional 1/8 cup) to make a nice mixture that isn’t overly oily.
- Serve with some red pepper flakes for garnish.
The ancient grains have been gaining popularity lately. It started with quinoa, but now farro, bulgur, amaranth and kamut can be fairly easily found at most major grocery stores. What I love most about these grains, as opposed to rice, is their inherent nutty flavor (like in my bulgur-asparagus recipe) and toothy texture.
This soup has a nice comfort food feel with onions, carrots, sweet potato and lentils with the added kamut grains for a unique chewiness. Kamut can take some time to cook, and the package I have suggests soaking them overnight.
- 1 cup raw kamut (soaked overnight and drained)
- 1 cup brown or green lentils, washed
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 celery stalk, chopped
- 1 carrot, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, crushed
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp ground black pepper
- 1 medium sweet potato, peeled and 1/2″ diced
- 1/8 cup dry white wine
- 15 oz can of chopped tomatoes
- 1/4 cup green onions/celery leaves/parsley for garnish
- Bring 4 cups of water to a boil, add the kamut and bay leaf and simmer for 10 minutes, then add the lentils. When both the kamut and lentils are tender (after about an additional 20 minutes) remove from the heat and set aside.
- While the lentils and kamut are simmering, bring some oil in a dutch oven over medium heat and add the onion, celery, carrot and garlic. Season with some salt and cook. Meanwhile, peel and chop the sweet potato. After about 15 minutes, add the ground cumin, black pepper and sweet potato; cover; and cook until the potato is just able to be pierced by a fork.
- Boost the heat on the veggies to high, deglaze with the wine for about 30 seconds, then add the tomatoes and 1-2 cups of vegetable stock.
- Bring to a boil and add the cooked farro and lentils (and any additional cooking water left over). Simmer until the sweet potatoes are soft.
- Serve in a soup bowl and garnish with parsley, celery leaves and/or green onions.
Yes, we’re all ready for spring after this long winter and it’s starting to make itself evident in Maryland. What we’re most looking forward to is gardening- we’ve started veggie & perennial seeds, we’ve been weeding like crazy, and ordering a bunch of shade loving plants for a big section of our backyard.
Another reason to get excited is the availability of cold weather produce. Radishes, lettuce, kale, spinach and more. I never really use radish, but couldn’t resist a bunch of them being so fresh along with a big bag of spinach.
Since most of our meals aren’t finished until well past sunset (and photographing food under light bulbs is less than ideal), I didn’t get a picture of the final dish. However, it was tasty enough that we plan on making it again and again. We ended up serving it warm by adding the spinach and radish to the warm lentils which resulted in slightly wilted spinach. I can easily see, though, serving it as a cold salad for lunch with warm pita bread or the like.
- 1 cup of onion (about 1/2 large onion), diced
- 1 carrot, diced
- 1 celery stick, diced
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup white wine
- 3/4 cup of dried green or brown lentils
- 1.5 cups water or vegetable broth
- 1 tsp thyme leaves
- 1 bay leaf
- 5-7 radish bulbs, sliced thinly
- 1 bunch of fresh spinach leaves (about 3 handfuls)
- 1/2 cup dried quinoa
- 4 oz chicken style seitan (optional)
- salt & pepper
- 1/4 cup good extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tsp red wine vinegar
- 2 tsp white vinegar
- 1/2 tsp dijon mustard
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- Cook the mirepoix in some olive oil in a heavy bottomed pot (dutch oven) with some salt over low heat until the veggies and soft and onions translucent. Add in the garlic and cook on high for a few minutes until any residual moisture is evaporated.
- Deglaze with the wine, then pour in the lentils, bay leaf, water/broth and thyme. Once the water is boiling, turn the heat to low and cook, uncovered, until the lentils are soft. As the lentils cook, stir occasionally and add more water to ensure the lentils are mostly submerged.
- While the lentils cook, make the quinoa according to package directions and make the vinaigrette by whisking together all the dressing ingredients in a jar.
- When the lentils are soft, turn the heat back up to high and cook off any remaining water and then kill the heat.
- If you plan to eat this as a cold salad, cool the quinoa and lentil mixture.
- Stir in the quinoa, radishes and spinach leaves. If you are using the seitan, saute it seperately in a fry pan and then add it into the lentil mixture.
- Drizzle on the dressing and stir to combine before serving. Season with additional salt and pepper.
Start off with the perfect vegetable combination of onions, carrots and celery: mirepoix.
Add chicken-style seitan and a sweet, tangy ginger lime sauce.
Add in toasted cashews and reduce into a delicious glaze.
Serve over cilantro rice.
This is a great recipe that came together super fast and has all the right tastes (sweet, salty, sour and spicy).
- 1 small onion, diced
- 3 celery ribs, chopped
- 1 large carrot, chopped
- 1 clove of garlic, chopped
- 3 tbsp rice wine vinegar
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
- 1 inch piece of fresh ginger, finely chopped
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 2 tbsp ketchup
- 1 tbsp lime juice
- 1 tsp hot pepper, finely chopped
- 1 tsp corn starch
- 1 drop liquid smoke
- 1/4 cup water (experiment with orange or pineapple juice)
- 12 oz package of chicken-style seitan strips, roughly chopped
- 1 cup raw cashews
- 1/4 loosely packed cilantro leaves
- white rice for serving
- Saute the mirepoix (onions, celery and carrots) in about a tablespoon of olive oil with some salt over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally. If the onions begin to brown, turn down the heat. Cook until the veggies sweat and are soft.
- Meanwhile, make the sauce by combining everything from the garlic down to the 1/4 cup of water in a jar and whisk until the cornstarch is dissolved.
- Once the mirepoix is tender, turn up the heat to high and add the seitan, stirring often to brown the seitan.
- Coarsely chop the cashews (I like to leave a few whole) and toast them in a toaster oven (350°F ) or stove top until they just start to brown (cashews will turn from toasty to burnt in seconds. This takes about 10 minutes, but you should check every few minutes and stir occasionally.
- Once the seitan has browned, add the sauce to the pan, keeping the heat high, until it reduces and thickens a bit (add additional water if you’d like a more runny sauce). Turn the heat to low and reduce to your desired consistency.
- Serve on white rice with the cilantro.
Also, we grew a perfectly shaped carrot in our garden. I used it in this dish.Posted on August 9th, 2013 by Dan
It’s been a really good year for our garden this year. One of the consistently producing plants in our garden are sugar snap peas. We’ve got about 24 vines growing up some string and they put out like crazy.
I had little luck finding recipes with sugar snap peas in any of my books or online. The one that I did find in a book was from a vegetable cookbook, which stars veggies, but is far from vegetarian. The recipe was for a shrimp and mushroom curry… gross.
So, here’s a delicious curry that showcases my sugar snap peas and proves they can carry this thick, filling curry all by themselves!
- vegetable oil
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 dried whole red chilies
- 2 tsp tumeric
- 2 tsp ginger root, minced
- 200 g sugar snap peas, washed, tips and strings removed
- 500 g small mix of red and gold potatoes, diced
- 1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced
- 1 small tomato, peeled, seeded and small diced
- 1/2 cup red lentils
- 1 cup water (optionally, substitute 1/4 cup of the water for coconut milk)
- 2 tsp fresh oregano, chopped
- Heat oil (~2tsp) in wide cast iron skillet over low heat, and garlic and cook until slightly golden.
- Add the chilies, tumeric, ginger root, and cook for 30 seconds, then boost the heat to medium high and add in the sugar snap peas.
- Season with some salt and cook peas until golden brown (but don’t char them!), then drop the heat back to low.
- Using tongs, remove the pea pods and keep aside. Add in the gold/red potatoes to give them a head start, for about 10 minutes.
- Now, add in the sweet potato, tomato, lentils and water. Increase heat to high to bring the water to a boil, then drop it again to low. Simmer for 20 minutes, covered, scrapping the bottom occasionally to avoid burning and add more water if it becomes too dry.
- Uncover, and cook until the potatoes are soft and there is not runny water left.
- Kill the heat and stir in the oregano and the cooked peas. Serve with some chopped cilantro or extra crushed red peppers.
Yuca, cassava or manioc is one of those foods that when you check out at whole foods, the cashier is like, ‘what is that?’ Susanna and I first had yuca when we were studying abroad in Peru for a tropical ecology trip, and we haven’t looked back since. It’s sort of like a potato, in that it’s a startchy root, but the texture is more creamy and it has nutty, complex flavor.
My go-to yuca dish is simply wedges fried in some oil on a skillet and dipped in aioli sauce, but we’ve had them in curry, casserole and tacos. You can mash them or fry them, and use them in place of Russet potatoes in most potato applications and more. They prep differently than potatoes, but if you follow these directions you have nothing to be afraid of!
First, yuca seems intimidating because they are sold as 1.5′ long roots with a tough skin and a thick layer of wax. Whole Foods carries them regularly and some other grocery stores are doing so as well (I know the Safeway nearby carries them with their ethnic produce, along with dried chilies, star fruit, etc). Pick yuca that is firm and smooth all around (side roots and kinks make peeling a pain).
Next, I chop it into roughly 5″ sections for easy handling. Stand each section upright and use a knife to slice off the waxy skin.
Yuca root can’t be eaten raw. Primarily because it contains toxic levels of cyanide which must be boiled off, but also it’s like eating a raw potato (ew). To make the yuca safe to eat, boil the peeled sections in a large pot of water until easily pierced by a fork (about 30 minutes).
Once cooked, drain and let them cool enough to handle. The second caveat to yuca is a tough, fibrous center. It’s easy to remove. Simply cut the section lengthwise and you will be able to pull it right out of the center.
Congratulations, you have successfully prepped yuca. You can now mash it, fry it or do whatever else you’d like with it. Veganomicon has delicious Jamacian sweet potato casserole topped with mashed yuca (below), but I usually can’t help but deep fry it like thick potato wedge french fries with garlic-cilantro aioli.
Posted on January 24th, 2013 by Dan
This recipe was my first introduction to bulgur and now I’m a big fan. This little grain cooks up toasty and nutty and keeps it’s toothy texture. With fried chicken style seitan, asparagus, lots of garlic and lemon, and balsamic vinegar, this is one for the books. It’s quick to make and produces about 4 servings.
- 8oz package of chicken style seitan
- 1 sprig rosemary, plus 1/2 tsp chopped rosemary
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 4 cloves of garlic, divided
- juice from half of a lemon
- 1 cup of vegetable broth
- 1/2 cup quick cooking bulgur
- Half a bunch of asparagus spears
- salt and pepper
- 1/4 cup slivered almonds
- 1 tbl balsamic vinegar
- Saute the onion, a pinch of salt, and 2 cloves of garlic in a medium saucepan over medium heat until soft, then add the bulgur and vegetable broth.
- Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer, covered, until all the water is absorbed. Take off heat and set aside.
- In a heavy bottomed pan (preferably cast iron), heat 1/4 cup of oil on high heat. Once the oil is hot add the chopped seitan and rosemary sprig, and fry until crispy and golden brown.
- To prepare the asparagus, wash and chop asparagus into 2 inch pieces. Arrange on a small sheet pan and drizzle half of remaining oil from the setain and toss with lemon juice, tsp of salt, and remaining 2 cloves of garlic. Bake (in oven or toaster oven at 350) stirring halfway through, for 15 minutes or until the edges are crisp and asparagus is bright green.
- Combine the asparagus with the bulgur mixture and seitan. Add balsamic vinegar, 1/2 tsp chopped rosemary, and sliced almonds. Enjoy!!
I’m proud of myself for how much I used the grill this summer. I’ll admit, the heat and our lack of air conditioning had a lot to do with it. Additionally, we lost power for over a week from a storm, so our oven was out of commission anyway.
One of my favorite things from the grill was a pizza flat bread. I was re-inspired by an article in Bon Appetit magazine which gave tips on grilling flat bread. So I went to work and made the dough from Alton Brown, but divided it into 4 balls for even more diversity!
For each of these toppings, I followed the directions laid out by Alton Brown, rolling out the dough, spreading the top with oil, flipping it over and grilling the oiled side for 2 minutes, remove from heat, oil the non-grilled side, flip, top with ingredients and then grill for an additional 2 minutes. Depending on what you’re looking for, grill time may vary from 1-2 minutes, so check the bottom and stop before you get past the point of no return.
Topping 1 – Margarita. 1 large tomato (sliced and grilled alongside the pizza, per Mr Brown’s instructions), a handful of Diaya Cheese, and a handful of basil chiffonade.
Topping 2 – Basil Pesto. Pesto and 1 large tomato (sliced and grilled alongside the pizza, per Mr Brown’s instructions)
Topping 3 – Sun dried Tomato and Green Charmoula. Green charmoula spread and sun dried tomatoes (chopped).
Topping 4 – Sausage & Cheese. Field Roast Italian Sausage (chopped), Diaya Cheese, tomato sauce and pesto.
Use whatever sorts of proportions you’d like. I’ll share my recipe for the Green Charmoula spread below. I originally made the one from the magazine, but it taste, unsavory, so I added some extra herbage and sugar. Combined with the tomatoes, I think it turned out pretty good.
- 1/4 cup parsley
- 1/2 cup cilantro leaves
- 1/8 cup mint leaves
- /2 tsp ginger, diced
- 1 jalapeño, seeded and chopped
- olive oil
- 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 tsp sugar
- Pulse all ingredients, except oil, in a food processor, scraping down until combined and the herbs shredded.
- With the food processor running, slowly add olive oil until the mixture comes together into a spreadable paste.
- Season with salt and pepper.
It is slowly, but inevitably, dawning on me that summer will soon be over along with home gardens and farmer’s markets. I’ve been desperately trying to hold onto the season by freezing and canning several fruits and veggies.
Yesterday, I decided to hold on to hot peppers.
Habaneros hold a deep, beautiful aroma and fruity, sweet flavor… once you get past the heat. Fortunately for me, I appreciate the flavor alongside the heat, so here’s a hot sauce. Made with habeneros and cherry bomb peppers. The recipe is from Bon Appétit. After you let it sit for a week with seeds and all, you strain it and can keep in the fridge for 4 months. I halved the recipe for my first go and it made almost exactly 1 cup after straining.