Sunday, September 18, 2011

Hearty Jeweled Oatmeal

I woke up this morning to discover that fall had arrived overnight. I wanted something filling and warming for breakfast, and it had to be fast because the baby kahuna was up and hungry as well. So, I threw together this quick, healthy, fruity oatmeal with the odds and ends in my pantry.

The Recipe:
1 cup of water
1/2 cup of rolled oats
1/4 chopped dried apricots, cherries, and raisins
1 tbs. ground flax seed

Heat the water in a small saucepan. When the water is just simmering add the dried fruit; continue heating until the water boils. Pour in the oats, and stir until the oats have absorbed the liquid and softened. Sprinkle the flax on top, and stir to mix it in.


Even as I was making this I was thinking up variations to try in the future. This would be great with some chopped walnuts thrown in at the end, or made with soy milk instead of water. I bet it would also be good with orange juice replacing part of the liquid and some shredded coconut for a tropical twist.

This came together in about 5 minutes, so there's no reason it couldn't be a quick weekday breakfast. The recipe made just enough for one adult and one toddler.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

What do I do with this? - Kohlrabi Edition

Every so often, my CSA share hands me some vegetable that I have no idea what to do with. Usually, I scout a few cookbooks, find some new recipes to love, and soon I'll be complaining about not having enough of the previously odd veggie.

Then I met Kohlrabi.

Over the past few years I tried to make a number of things with it: "kohl"-slaw, jicama-kohlrabi salad, steamed mashed kohlrabi and potatoes. At best, I thought the dish would be better without the kohlrabi; at worst, I swore never to make a particular dish again.

I was on the verge of giving up and accepting that kohlrabi was one of those rare vegetables I just. don't. like.

Then the stars aligned....... or at least, CSA delivery coincided with a recent issue of Bon Appetit. And I discovered a wonderful new layered salad: A bed of baby spinach, a layer of couscous, a heaping of red lentils, a scattering of diced kohlrabi, all covered with a curry-vinnegarette.

This salad makes a delicious warm-weather meal with a nice balance of flavors and textures. Crunchy Kohlrabi meets creamy lentils; crisp spinach and chewy couscous; warm and cool elements.

Now I'm looking forward to my next kohlrabi.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Potato Leek Soup

I read cookbooks like novels. And Anna Thomas's Love Soup is like a favorite story I read over and over again. I've even been known to tuck it into my bag on icy mornings to read on the on the long dark commute to work. The Big Kahuna sees this as further proof that I'm nuts, but sometimes even the idea of a big steaming pot of soup at the end of the day is enough to warm me a bit.

I bought Love Soup last winter, but I cooked only a handful of recipes from it since pregnancy-food-aversions kept me far from the kitchen. So this year I've decided to cook my way through some of the pages I dog-eared in my repeated readings - one soup a week. When my CSA share yielded both leeks and russet potatoes, Potato Leek soup was a no brainer.

So on a chilly Sunday afternoon, I poured a glass of red wine, got out the veggies, and started chopping....

.....and 45 minutes later, I had soup! In only one respect, I was disappointed -- I had planned to spend a leisurely whole afternoon in the kitchen, and I was already done! But this is one great soup. Hearty, and flavorful thanks to generous helpings of fresh herbs. The recipe calls for a couple tablespoons of cream, but I subbed in about a third of a cup of soy milk, and it was delicious.

And since it's so quick to put together, I accidentally stumbled on a wonderful weeknight dinner soup. I can see myself making this soup again and again this winter..... now I'll have more than just the idea of soup to keep me warm on the train ride home. This soup is easily a whole meal with the addition of a crusty bread, like Ciabatta.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

The Blink of an Eye

Last I posted it was the end of August, 2008. Summer was winding down, and I was looking forward to cooking up and writing about all the delicious foods fall brings with it. But fall brought big changes as well. I got a new job -- a real, actual, career job that ate up just about all of my time and energy. And then the changes just kept on coming.......

March 2009 found the Big Kahuna and I moving out of the tiny apartment in the big city. We bought our first house - a small home in a small town, with a glorious new kitchen.

And then this past May, we welcomed a Baby Kahuna into our family.

And so two whole years flew by with very little thought given to blogging, or even really to the foods I was cooking and eating. But now fall is upon us again and I feel that pull, stronger than ever amidst the daily chaos, back to the kitchen. To spend an hour in the zen state of chopping, simmering, stirring. To create something warm and nourishing for my family.

So I've decided to dive back in, and what better way to start then a month of intense cooking and blogging with Vegan MoFo? I'm looking forward to a month of inspiration both in my own kitchen, and from my fellow bloggers...... So here goes!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Summer Squash Cous Cous Pilaf

This recipe began with an abundance of summer squash, and took on a life of its own from there.  I ended up using several odds and ends from my CSA deliveries, and the result was really good - colorful, with an interesting mix of textures and flavors.  

I even managed to use up a giant white radish that looked like a potato!

  • 1 1/2 cups dry cous cous
  • 2 cups of summer squash, diced into half inch chunks
  • 1/2 cup white radish, diced
  • 1 medium sweet onion, diced
  • 2 cups of diced tomatoes
  • 4-5 large kale leaves, diced
  • 1 1/2 cups chick peas
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh mint, tightly packed
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh basil, tightly packed
The Recipe:
  • Prepare the cous cous according to the package directions.
  • Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large skillet.
  • Add the onion and radish and saute until just tender.
  • Add the squash and saute for a minute or two.
  • Add the tomatoes and kale leaves, saute until the kale leaves are wilted, and the squash is tender.
  • Add the herbs and chickpeas, saute until the chickpeas are just heated.
  • Take off the heat, and sir in the cous cous until everything is well-dispersed.

You can eat the cous cous just like this, with maybe a little lemon, and it will be delicious.  

But because I was starting with a large pattypan squash, I decided to stuff the shell.  I baked in a pan surrounded by vegetable broth for about 45 minutes. Then I took the leftover broth from the pan and squeezed lemon juice into it, then poured it all over the squash.  The result was a very light, very fancy looking meal.

The one thing I would do differently is next time I'll pre-bake the empty squash shell, because I didn't think it really got tender enough, and then just quickly bake the whole thing to meld the flavors.  

Peach Cobbler

It was good, but not great.  So no recipe, but a so-so photo:

Stuffed Eggplants

This is not your traditional stuffed eggplants.  It has a cream sauce, instead of the usual red sauce, and brown rice makes the filling a bit more substantial.  While this recipe is more time consuming than some of my others, it's well worth it.  

If you want to pack in some extra greens, add a cup or two of chopped spinach or swiss chard with the basil.  

  • 2 medium sized eggplants 
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 10 oz mushrooms (I used baby bellas), sliced
  • 1 cup whole basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup of uncooked brown rice
  • 1 1/2 cups soy milk
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • salt to taste
The Recipe:
  • Preheat the oven to 350.
  • Cook the rice.
  • While the rice is cooking prepare the sauce - heat the oil in a saucepan over low heat. Whisk in the flour, and cook for two to three minutes.  Add the soy milk, whisking constantly so that it doesn't scald.  Cook for 7-10 minutes, stirring constantly, until the sauce thickens.  Stir in the pepper and cinnamon, and remove from the heat.
  • Slice the eggplants in half length-wise.  Cross half the flesh, and scoop it out, leaving about a quarter inch on al sides of the skin.  Dice the flesh into half inch cubes.
  • Add to tablespoons of oil to a large skillet over medium heat.  Add the onion and saute until transparent.  
  • Add the mushrooms and eggplant, and cook until they are tender, and have released their juices.  
  • Add the basil to the pan, and saute until the basil has wilted.  If the mixture is sticking to the pan add a little more oil, and up to a quarter cup of water.  

  • When the vegetable mixture is ready, stir in the rice until it is well distributed, and then stir in the cream sauce.

  • Fill the eggplant halves with the vegetable mixture and bake for 35-45 minutes.
  • Enjoy!