Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Feeling like fried food but really not all the ick that goes with it?  I was paging through the new Bon Appetit` issue and they had parsnip fries.  I did not have a lot of parsnips (nor any fresh rosemary), so I improvised.  They turned out yummy – the parsnips were crispy but the carrots not so much.  Still tasted great though!

 

  • 4 parsnips, peeled and sliced into about 1/4 inch wide
  • 3 carrots, peeled and sliced into about 1/4 inch wide
  • 2 TB extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp of your favorite grill seasoning
  • fresh ground black pepper to taste

Preheat over to 400 degrees F.  Heat a pot salted water to boil and blanch the cut veggies for 2 minutes.  Drain and dump in a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking.

Pat the veggies dry once they are cooled.  In a bowl, toss the veggies with the oil, grill seasoning and pepper. Spread out in a single layer on a baking sheet.

Bake for about 15 minutes then toss them around on the pan so the other sides can get crispy. Return to the oven for 10 to 15 minutes more.  Enjoy!

Advertisements

Something different tonight.  The first part of the week was a fabulous food week!  It is best to end it the same way!  I picked up some sea scallops, which are one of my favorite sea foods!  Asparagus is fresh at the market this week.  Here we go for one of the best gourmet meals at home.  Please note, I live in a rural area so this is a real treat for us!

  • 10 sea scallops, patted dry
  • 10 slice smoked bacon, cooked halfway
  • 1 c fresh asparagus spears, 1 inch chunks
  • 1 c fresh tomato, diced, seeds removed
  • 1/4 c Kalamata olives, diced
  • 1 c high fiber pasta
  • 1/4 c fresh Parmesan cheese, shredded

Wrap each scallop in a partially cooked bacon slice, secured with a toothpick. Season with salt and pepper.

Bring 5 c water to a boil, seasoned with salt.  Cook pasta according to directions.  Add asparagus 2 minutes before the pasta is done, Drain and reserve.

Heat a heavy skillet or grill pan to medium heat. Season the pan with extra virgin olive oil.  Sear the scallops 3-4 minutes per side until cooked through,  By drying the scallops, you should get a nice sear on them.

Drain the pasta. Add the pesto, tomato, diced olives  and drained pasta/asparagus to the pot  Toss and top with Parmesan  cheese.

I kind of live in a rural area where most dining places offer some kind of beef with an iceberg salad and corn (nothing green).  So, this is really something special  Seafood and greens!  Simple, fast and so so good!  The best part is that the pesto pasta works just as good for a cold salad lunch the next day!  

Wow!  What a great food week (and it is only Tuesday)!  I had some leftover whole wheat pitas I made and I though, pita chips!  So here I am with fresh baked pita chips wanting something to dip them in.  Kidney and black beans take too long for my immediate need!  Therefore, I turned to red lentils – quick cooking and delicious!  This was a happy accident and really, it turned out so yummy!

  • 1 c red lentils (you can use green lentils but not quite as pretty)
  • 2 1/4 c water
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced

Rinse the lentils well.  Add lentils, garlic and water to a medium pot.  Bring to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer until the lentils are tender.  Add a little water if needed.

Then add:

  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 to 1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper

Simmer for 15 minutes.  Pour into a blender and add:

  • 1/2 c fat free Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 c chopped fresh cilantro

Puree` until smooth.  Adjust for what you want to use this for.  At first, I thought, this is a great soup!  Then I reduced it a little and found it to be a fabulous dip for my pita chips.  After that, I had it as a topping/condiment for a Greek meatball (Keftedes) sandwich!  It is a little like a curry but, mild and just so good.  I cannot find the words to describe how yummy this turned out (except YUMMY!).

I found myself a lovely eggplant at the grocer the other day.  As I was reaching for it, hon asks “Are having eggplant this week?
YES!   I think that eggplant is such a lovely fruit.  The creamy, buttery flavor makes my heart melt.  Plus, it is so easy to add into other dishes (such as spaghetti sauce) and no one is the wiser.  This pretty little fruit is full of vitamins like B6, K, Folate, potassium, fiber and a multitude of minerals.  It really is good for you if you don’t fry it in a kettle of fat!

I still had some brown tomatoes so I thought a nice light Italian “salsa’ might be a nice addition. So what we end up with is crunchy (not fried) eggplant discs topped with a dollop of Italian “salsa.  This would be nice as a side dish or an appetizer.

Italian “Salsa”

  • 1/2 tomato, seeded and diced
  • 2 TB fresh basil, julienned
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Eggplant Discs

  • 1 eggplant, sliced in 1/2 inch slices (you can peel if you want)
  • 1/2 c flour mixed with 1/4 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1 egg mixed with 2 TB skim milk
  • Fresh bread crumbs mixed with 1/4 c grated Parmesan and 2 tsp dry Italian seasoning
  • Cooking spray

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees F.  Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray.  Dip the discs in flour, then egg mixture then roll in bread crumb mixture.  Place on baking sheet and spritz with cooking spray.  Bake until the breadcrumbs are toasty and the eggplant is tender, about 20 to 30 minutes.  Top with provolone or mozzarella cheese during the last 5 minutes if you like.

Assembly

Place a disc on a plate.  Top with the Italian “salsa”.  Enjoy!

Veggie Lasagna

Ok. So this is not the easiest, a little labor intensive.  But, oh so worth it!

Hon says “how can it be lasagna without meat?”.  I say, “Just give it a try, it’ll be good!”.  And it was!   Don’t forget the mozzarella or Provolone cheese for the top!

Just kidding! Not really, that is what the plate looked like when he was done!  Here is before we ate:

First, pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Then…

  • 1/2 c chopped broccoli
  • 1/2 c chopped onion
  • 1/2 c chopped carrot
  • 1/2 c chopped fresh mushrooms
  • 1/2 c chopped bell pepper (I used sweet red)
  • 14 oz can diced tomato, drained

Mix this stuff together, saute` in 1 TB extra virgin olive oil and set aside.

  • 1 c low fat ricotta
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 c fresh basil pesto
  • 1/2 c grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 c grated mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper

Mix together and set aside.

  • 9 lasagna  noodles, par boiled about 6-7 minutes, drained

Reserve.

  • 2 TB butter
  • 2-3 tsp minced garlic
  • 2 TB flour
  • 2 c flour
  • Salt and pepper

Melt butter over medium low heat, add garlic and cook about a minute.  Whisk in the flour.  Whisk in the milk until slightly thickened (about 5 minutes).  Add 1/4 tsp salt and pepper to taste.

Spray baking dish (9×6 is what I used).  Spread 1/4 c sauce in the bottom of the pan.  Layer as follows:

  1. Noodles
  2. Ricotta/pesto mix
  3. Shredded mozzarella (1/4-1/2 per layer)
  4. Veggie mix
  5. Repeat 1 through 4 three times

Layer the top with mozzarella or Provolone.   Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake until the cheese on top is lightly browned.   I was going to add eggplant to the veggie mix but, maybe next time!  This would be perfect with some shredded cooked chicken or perhaps, some shrimp!  Yum!

Caprese Salad

Wandering through the grocery store the other day, I spied a tomato that I had not yet tried ~ brown tomato.  Ah, I am craving one of my favorite salads ~ tomato & mozzarella salad.  It is hard to find delicious tomatoes this time of the year where I live.  This brown tomato was absolutely delicious ~ sweet, juicy and of course, very pretty!

This is not a new salad and definitely not my own!  But I so love it, especially in the summer when tomatoes are at their peak.  It is so simple and the flavors of the fruit come through so delectably!

  • Fresh tomatoes (use a variety for an attractive dish – I used a brown and a red tomato), sliced about 1/4 inch thick
  • Fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced about a 1/4 inch thich
  • Extra virgin olive oil for drizzling
  • Kosher salt
  • Fresh ground black pepper
  • Fresh basil leaves, juilienned

Arrange the tomato slices and mozzarella slices on a plate to your liking.  Drizzle with 1-2 TB olive oil.

Season with salt and pepper.  Sprinkle fresh basil shreds over top.  Enjoy and dream about summer!

I love  curry!  This stems back to grad school from one of my study groups.  We were getting together for a year end exam cram session.  Our Indian friend offered to cook chicken curry.  That, honestly, was the first time I ever ate authentic curry!  The thing about curry is that everyone makes it differently.  I have read many, many, many curry recipes and have kind of tailored mine to what I have on hand on the day I am making it.  Tonight, we have the following, including one of my favorite vegetables – eggplant:

  • 3 to 4 chicken thighs, skinless (I leave the bone in as I think it adds flavor)
  • 1-2 TB olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup eggplant, peeled and diced (I actually froze some from my garden so I had some on hand)
  • 1 cup sweet, frozen peas – thawed
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 TB fresh grated ginger (tip – buy the ginger fresh and keep it in your freezer, grate what you need and return to the freezer)
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk, unsweetened
  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt, fat free
  • 2-3 TB  Curry Powder (I used Penzey’s Hot Curry Powder). However, I would suggest using what you like – some like it hot and some like it sweeter.  Curry is a very individual thing.  There is definitely something for everyone!

Season chicken thighs with salt and pepper and 1 tsp of the curry powder.

Heat oil in heavy, deep pan (I used a 4 inch deep coated cast iron).

Brown seasoned chicken thighs in oil.  Remove from pan and set aside.

Add onion and eggplant to pan and saute’ until onions are translucent.

Add minced garlic and grated ginger.  Simmer about a minute.

Add chicken stock & water.  Nestle the browned chicken thighs into the liquid. Add the remaining curry powder.  Simmer covered for about a half hour to an hour, turning thighs occasionally.

Remove cover.  Continue simmering for a bit longer until the chicken is tender.

Okay…  at this point, I got a call from a neighbor about his dog, Zelda (she is a wonderful dog – oh! by the way, did I mention, I love dogs!).  Fortunately, it appeared that she might just have an ear infection.  I cleaned Zelda’s ears and recommended he seek the services of our local veterinarian in the morning.

The beauty of this recipe is you can shut the burner off (cover the pot) for an hour (mind the 2 hour rule to avoid our not-so-much-friend, Mr. Sal Manilla).  So! If you took a break, reheat the pot then…

Add coconut milk and heat through.  Add thawed peas.

Stir in Greek yogurt and serve over cooked jasmine rice.  Yum!  I added an extra dollop of yogurt on top for fun!

Now I don’t know if peas really belong but I really like them in curry.  I know eggplant definitely belongs!  The rich, buttery goodness…  Just thinking about it makes my mouth water.  I see raisins and diced apple in curry quite often.  I like adding apples but I am not so fond of the raisins (just a personal preference). I think fresh chopped cilantro is delicious (I did not have any on hand, again!).  I think that curried dishes are very flexible and can definitely be made to an individual’s taste.