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Recipe: Quinoa & Greens Pilaf

March 3, 2011 2 comments

I was searching for a word for this dinner I made on Saturday night.
It turned out really well so I knew I wanted to share it, but in order to that, it needed a name!

Casserole? No, it’s not baked.
Stir fry? Not quite.
Pilaf? Yea, I think that’ll work.

Quinoa & Greens Pilaf

about 4 servings

Ingredients
1 cup uncooked quinoa
2 cups water (for quinoa)
3 leeks
1 bunch of rainbow chard
1 bunch of kale
1.5 tablespoons peanut oil
3 cloves of garlic, crushed
Sea salt and other spices to taste

1.) Wash and roughly chop kale and chard. Chop the hard stems of the chard into smaller pieces.
2.) Chop white and light green ends of the leeks, wash.
3.) Start cooking quinoa: Boil two cups of water, add quinoa. Let boil for a minute or two and then simmer until water is absorbed.
4.) While quinoa is cooking, heat peanut oil in a high-sided frying pan and stir fry garlic, leeks, and chard until they soften.
5.) Add in kale and chard, plus about 1/4 cup water along with whatever spices you want, mix, and cover. I didn’t use any soy sauce in this one.
6.) When kale and chard are wilted, add in quinoa, and stir everything to blend it together.

A Welcome Success – Penne with Greens

February 8, 2011 3 comments

After my epic fail of a dinner on Sunday night (vegetable soup), I was ready to redeem myself with Monday’s dinner.

This is a really simple recipe with a great end product. It’s vegetarian, since we added some cheese, but can easily be modified to be vegan (no cheese) or even sounds good to me as neither with a little spicy sausage crumbles or bacon.

Penne with Greens

about 2 servings

Ingredients
4 ounces dried penne pasta
2 tablespoons olive oil
Greens of your choosing – I used two bunches of kale and three baby bok choy.

Optional seasonings: red pepper flakes, garlic… whatever you’d like. Personally, red pepper flakes are not optional.
Optional topping: freshly grated parmesan

1.) Cook pasta. While waiting for water to boil, wash/chop greens and let dry a bit.
2.) Don’t start to cook the greens until you have put the penne in the boiling water.
3.) If using fresh garlic, saute garlic in one tablespoon of olive oil until fragrant and then add in your greens.
4.) Stir fry greens in the olive oil and add a little bit of water. Once cooked to just before your liking, add in the other tablespoon of olive oil, red pepper flakes, and other dry seasonings. Stir fry until done.
5.) Serve over pasta with grated cheese, if desired.

Irish Lamb Stew – a picture recipe

February 1, 2011 Leave a comment

In the beginning of last month, Tim and I went to an Irish cooking class at Hollander’s in Kerrytown. We already made a variation of the scones a few weeks ago and decided that we should make the lamb stew at some point as well.

The recipe is from Rita at The Sage Dish. If you have a the chance you should definitely take one of her classes – very good teacher and everything she makes is very delicious and not too complicated to make at home.

Irish Lamb Stew

makes about 8 servings

Ingredients: lamb, onion, potatoes, carrots, parsley, thyme, salt, pepper, water.

Start to layer! Sliced potatoes first…. (make sure to season with S&P!)

…then half of the lamb….

In goes half the onions and carrots…

another layer of lamb

one more layer with the rest of the onions and carrots

and finish up with chunks of potato!

It’ll go in the oven at 250F for ~3-4 hours, until the meat is very tender and potatoes and carrots are cooked through.

The Results…

Super good! The lamb didn’t quite fall apart like it did when we had it in class (perhaps she had a different cut of meat) but it pretty much tasted the same, especially the liquid. When we make it again I’ll let it cook for longer, we just didn’t have as much time as we had planned for on Sunday.

Two of our friends joined us for dinner and brought some brownies, ice cream, and hot fudge to assemble dessert 🙂

…and also brought a sweet board game to play after dinner! I lost 😦

I really enjoy getting to cook dinner for people and actually hang out when I can. Usually we are too busy or our friends are too busy to do anything. I guess that’s what happened when you stop being in university, right?

Tofu Scramble with Veggies and Couscous

January 18, 2011 2 comments

I have a tendency to just get to cooking and make up dinner as I go along. Not going to lie, it was semi-planned. I knew it would have tofu, carrots, and broccoli. But after that, it really is all up to chance.

Tofu Scramble with Veggies and Couscous

makes 2 servings, with some couscous leftover

Ingredients
Half block of tofu, cut into cubes
3 carrots, peeled and sliced into rounds
Crown of broccoli, cut up
1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/4 teaspoon brown mustard seeds
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 cup dry couscous
2 cups water
2 tablespoons peanut oil

Note: You can use extra virgin olive oil if you like. I’m not sure which one is better for you, but I love the way that peanut oil smells.

  1. Heat peanut oil in a pan over medium heat. Add in cumin seeds and mustard seeds, cover.
  2. When they start popping, add in tofu. Stir fry tofu and break it down into small pieces and add in carrot and turmeric. Stir to incorporate. Add water as needed so nothing sticks or burns.
  3. Once carrots have gotten softer, add some water, the broccoli, and cover to steam the broccoli.
  4. Halfway through broccoli steaming, add in curry powder and stir well to incorporate. Steam until broccoli is at your desired crunchiness level.
  5. When you start the broccoli steaming, get two cups of water to a boil in a small sauce pan. Once water boils, add couscous, cover, and take off heat. It is done in about five minutes.

I never understood how people could actually eat tofu as if it was scrambled eggs…. well now, I can totally understand. Maybe I’ll have to try out one of those ‘egg’ strata or quiche type dishes from the Veganomicon one of these days.

You should have about half the couscous you made as leftovers. It works out great substituted for rice in a stir fry or cold in a non-pasta pasta salad.

Japanese-style curry: the easy way

January 14, 2011 3 comments

I love Japanese style curry. Japanese style curry and (good) ramen are two of my comfort foods from Japan. It totally thwarts any efforts I have to eat totally vegetarian today, but we got the beef from a cow that Tim’s uncle raised, so I am mostly okay with that.

Let’s just start with that this recipe makes use of a concentrated curry roux block, which is not “real” food. Read the ingredients, I don’t know what half of them are. I don’t know how to make this any other way… but trust me, it might not be “real,” but it is good.

I usually pick up Vermont curry medium-hot (not hot at all, actually) from our local Asian grocer, Tsai Grocery.

Of course you can put this amazing-ness over rice, but that’s a little simple and expected.

How about with some breaded pork cutlets? (Katsu-kare)

Or how about over udon noodles? (Warning, close-up food porn.)

Japanese curry is not like what you think of with Indian or Thai curries. It is not overly spicy and is more like a beef stew served over rice, udon noodles, inside of bread, with breaded pork.’

Japanese style curry

makes about 8 servings, ~2 cups each

Ingredients
Whole block (12 little squares) of Curry Roux
6 cups of Water
1.5 pounds of meat (beef, chicken, lamb). I used stew beef.
2 big potatoes, peeled and cut into small chunks
2 big carrots, peeled and cut into circles
An onion, if you like (I don’t like…)

That’s all! Add all ingredients to a crock pot and set to high.
Cook on high for around 4 hours, then set to low. I stir every once in a while to break up the curry blocks.

Pro-tip: Before adding curry roux to the crock pot, cut it up into thin slices. You could ever omit a cup of water from the crock pot and dissolve the curry roux in a cup of hot water, then add it to the crock pot mixture.

This is the way I made curry on Sunday afternoon and when I took it from the crock pot and into a Tupperware it made ONE GALLON of curry.

To Serve
Serve side by side with hot white rice or over udon noodles. You can also taste your skill at making some pork katsu and adding that to make katsu-kare, another popular way to eat this dish.

All done!
My version is not nearly as spectacular looking as those above… but that’s not what really matters, right?!

This keeps very well in the fridge for about a week (any fat will congeal on the surface and is easily picked off) and also keeps well in the freezer in an air tight container.

Again, this is the easy way to make Japanese curry. I found some recipes online for a DIY method without the curry block. I’ll have to try that too sometime and compare the taste.

Penne with Salmon

December 12, 2010 2 comments

I got the idea for this dinner at around 10am. Unfortunately, I didn’t feel like making it for lunch… but I spend the rest of the day excited about it.

Penne w/ Salmon & Veggies

2 ounces penne pasta
1/4 cup canned salmon
1/4 cup frozen corn
1 cup baby spinach
1 clove garlic, pressed
About 10 snow peas
1 tbsp EVOO

While penne is cooking (8-10 min, I think), heat EVOO in a pan over med heat. Add snow peas, garlic, and corn. Add a bit of water from the pasta so it doesn’t burn. I added the salmon next, then spinach, gave it a few swirls, and turned the burner off. Put a lid on the pan and let the residual heat wilt the spinach. When the pasta is done, drain and add to the veggie mix. Sprinkle with red pepper flakes.

French Toast Breakfast, Chicken Soup Dinner

November 28, 2010 Leave a comment

I used up the last of my cranberry lemon with pecan preserves (that I got at the JamPot) this morning. I have a jar of lemon marmalade to look forward to now.

French Toast! Co-starring blueberry yogurt, a little bit of granola, and coffee.

Bread: Shokupan from Cafe Japon
Eggs: Ernst Farms
Soy Milk: Edensoy. Soybeans from Michigan Thumb area.
Yogurt: Thomas Organic Creamery
Coffee: Rich French Neighbor from Roosroast

We did a little bit of running around today: Best Buy (bought nothing, checked out Kindles), Victoria’s Secret at the mall, and the Salvation Army. I dropped off two garbage bags of clothes and one of shoes at the donation dock – it feels really good to have clothes that I wasn’t wearing and those that don’t fit anymore to just be out of the way.

At around 5pm, Tim decided that he wanted to have chicken noodle soup for dinner, so we went to the store to pick up egg noodles. The only recipe that I had was the “8 cups of water plus entire chicken in the pot” kind, so I figured I could just wing it. I’d had chicken noodle soup enough times in 24 years to know what it tastes like.

Spur of the Moment Chicken Noodle Soup
Ingredients–
8 cups of chicken stock (good if you’ve got homemade on-hand frozen)
2 carrots, peeled and sliced
2 celery stalks, diced
1 zucchini, sliced
Approx 2.5 cups of chicken, white/dark meat, torn up
Egg noodles (I think I used about 2 cups? I like a very noodle-y soup)
3 cloves of garlic, minced finely or through a press (I used one clove of elephant ear garlic)
Dashes of parsley, basil, paprika, crushed red pepper, onion powder, sea salt, & black pepper

Defrost chicken broth and pour into “big enough” soup pot on medium high. Add carrots, garlic, and spices and bring to a boil. Let boil for a few minutes and bring down to lower heat. Once carrots are tender, add celery and chicken. The chicken won’t take long to heat up. The egg noodles I used take about 3 minutes to cook according to the package, so I added the zucchini and noodles at the same time. Just check and make sure the noodles are done and everything else should be ready too 🙂

Aprons make me feel fancy. I got this one from Questionable Content, a webcomic I read.

Finished product, with a focaccia roll