Monthly Archives: December 2011

Crusted Butternut Squash with Rosemary

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I don’t know about you but for years I would see the different varieties of squash in the grocery stores and just walk by.  Occasionally I would put one in my cart thinking I would find a recipe  only for it to sit on my counter top for months.   I would look at it from time to time and think “what am I going to do with that?”   They never seemed to mold or get soft but  before I knew it it was summer again and the squash, embarrassing as it is, was still on my countertop.   I would toss it in the trash with a pang on guilt and think, next year.   Well,  now I have a little more experience with cooking squash.  It usually involves cutting it in half and adding some butter and brown sugar and baking it.  That is quite delicious, but here is a recipe that is a little more interesting.

I saw this recipe on sproutedkitchen.com and it looked amazing.  When I made it was it was even better that I imagined.  Her recipe called for thyme and parsley, but I had fresh rosemary and thought it went very well with the squash.  I have made it both ways, but my personal preference is rosemary, and I want to try it with sage sometime.  This is a wonderful side dish and I doubt there will be any left over.

Cutting a butternut squash is easy to do with a vegetable peeler.

My mom was over one day and we were making her famous black pepper biscotti and I made this as a little lunch/snack.  Since there were only 2 of us, I only used half of the squash.   I cut the top and bottom of so the squash would sit flat on the counter and be easier to peel.   They I cut it into slices about 1/4 – 1/2 inch thick.   Then I put them in a bowl and coated them with olive oil and a sprinkling of cinnamon.

Ingredients:

1 butternut squash, peeled and sliced about 1/2 inch thick

1 tbs olive oil

1 tbs rosemary

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/3 cup panko, or breadcrumbs

1/2 cup parmegiano

salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 400.   In a bowl, add sliced squash, olive oil and cinnamon and coat well.  In a food processor, pulse the panko, parmigiano, and a pinch of salt and pepper a few times until mixed.   You want the breadcrumbs coarse so pay attention to only pulse a few times.   Add this mix to the squash and mix until coated.  Spread the squash on a lightly oiled baking sheet and sprinkle the rosemary on top.    Cook for 25-35 minutes.

Mixed Green Salad with Pomegranates and Mushrooms

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We eat a big salad as our dinner at least a couple nights a week.   You might think that is pretty boring, but there are so many ingredients you can add to a salad to keep it flavor packed and filling.    Pomegranates are so colorful and flavor packed and add a nice texture to salads.  They are one of the healthiest things to eat, in their natural form.   I am not talking about pomegranate flavored jelly beans that are marketed to us as healthy, but the actual fruit.  This super fruit is packed with anti-oxidants and is high in vitamin C and potassium.

The first time I saw a pomegranate, I didn’t really know how I was going to get those seeds out, but it’s actually pretty easy.   I cut the fruit in half and then in half again and then I bend the skin back a little bit and pop the seeds into a bowl.

The sauted  mushrooms add a really nice flavor to the salad.   Mushrooms are another super food, even the button mushrooms.  Like pomegranites, that are high in anti-oxidants, but also high in vitamin B and they enhance the immune system.  If you feel a cold coming on,  add lots of mushrooms into your diet!

Ingredients:

1 head of greens, washed and dried

1/2 pomogranite

1 carrot, shaved with a carrot peeler

1/8 cup raw pumpkin seeds (or any nut or seed you have)

3/4 cup of mushrooms

1/4 cup white wine

shaved parmigiano-reggiano

olive oil

balsamic vinegar

Saute mushrooms with a tbsp or two of olive oil for a few minutes.  Add the white wine and cook for about 10 minutes, until wine is reduced.  Let cool for a few minutes.

Put salad in a medium sized bowl and add the carrots, pomegranates and pumpkin seeds.   Add the mushrooms and shave some parmigiano on top.   Mix the salad.

For the dressing, I add 2 parts olive oil to 1 part balsamic and mix.

Minty Beet Dip

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I loooove beets.   I started eating them about 4 years ago when I saw them at the farmers market.   They are so sweet and delicious.  At first I mostly roasted them but now I take raw beets and grate them onto salad, juice them,  and I am soon going to try a recipe where you slice a really thin slice of beet and make raviolis out of it.  You’ll hear about it when I give this a try:)   Beets, especially in their raw state, have many health benefits as they provide anti- inflammatory and antioxidant support and are an excellent source of folate.   The red pigment in beets are also thought to protect against the development of cancerous cells.  I found this recipe from the site www. lovelymorning.com and she got if from a cookbook called Moro East.   It is delicious and every time I make it, friend ask for the recipe.

This picture was taken from a recent cooking class I taught as a fundraiser for the Trailhead Children’s Museum  new Garden to Grocery Exhibit.  I also made two different types of crackers that are pictured above that I will write about soon.   These were appetizers I had for the attendees but we didn’t make these recipes.    Everyone requested it though,  so here it is.

Ingredients
4-5 raw beets
1 garlic clove, coarsely chopped
6 T extra virgin olive oil
2 T tahini (ground sesame seeds)
3-4 T chopped fresh mint (depending on how minty you like your dip)
2 t red wine vinegar
Juice of 1 medium lemon
sea salt and pepper

Heat oven to 400 Degrees.   Rinse beets and cut off tails and leafy greens.   Wrap each beet tightly in foil.   Place on the oven racks and cook for about 50-60 minutes, until soft.    Take out and unwrap foil and cool down until you can handle them.  The skin will peel away as you rub the beet.   (You can put some olive oil on your hand before you handle the cooked beets and the red stains seem to rinse away easier).

Coarsely chop them and transfer them to the food processor. Add garlic, olive oil, and tahini and process until you have a nice semi-smooth puree. Then add the mint, lemon, vinegar, salt and pepper and pulse several times.  I think the mint is best added last, just as when I am making pesto  I add the parmesan last so it doesn’t get too mixed in with the other flavors.  You want the mint to pop a little bit.   If you are feeling up to it, you can hand chop the mint with a mezzaluna and add it that way too.

Taste and add more salt or lemon as you prefer.

Let me know what you think!

Lemon Cookies

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Do you ever see a recipe and you just have to try it immediately?!?  Well,  that how it was for me when I saw this recipe.   I changed a lot of the ingredients, of course, but they came out so yummy!  For the fat, I used melted coconut oil and for the flour I used a mix of whole wheat pastry and almond flour.  I like to experiment with various flours and almond flour is packed with nutrients.  I also used 2 different types of sugar but you don’t have to.   I try to use more natural and nutrient dense ingredients when I can.

Ingredients:

1 cup whole wheat pastry flour

1 cup almond flour

1/2 cup sugar- I use organic sugar, evaporated came juice from Wholesome Sweeteners

1/2 cup maple sugar ( coconut sugar would be good too)

1/4 tsp salt

3/4 cup melted coconut oil

4 tsp grated lemon zest

juice of 1 1/2 lemons

1 tsp vanilla extract

sugar, for rolling

To make:

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Heat the coconut oil on the stove in a small saucepan until it is liquid.

Whisk flours, sugars, and baking soda in a medium sized bowl.  In another bowl, stir together the liquid coconut oil, lemon zest, lemon juice and vanilla.

Add wet ingredients to the dry and mix lightly until it resembles wet sand.  Using your hands, roll the dough into small balls, about 3/4 inch.  Sprinkle a little sugar in your hand and roll the dough around to distribute the sugar.

Put the cookies about 2 inches apart on a cookie sheet and back to 12-15 minutes.

 

 

Spicy Black Bean Soup

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Eric and I were  engaged in 2004 and married in July of 2005.  My Aunt Nancie threw me a beautiful bridal shower a few months before my wedding and had all the guests bring 2 recipes that she added to a recipe book .   It was such a wonderful gift and one that I use often.  I have stuffed many recipes into the book over the years and it’s overflowing a bit at this point.   One of the recipes was from a family friend, Jackie Miller, and I have made this soup often.   This is the first time I made it using dried black beans that I soaked and cooked, as opposed the canned black beans and I really think it makes a difference in the taste.  I have changed a couple minor things from the recipe she gave me but I love this soup!  It is quick and easy and it freezes well.

           

Ingredients:

2 tsp olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

4 garlic cloves, minced

3 cups black beans, soaked overnight (or 3 15 oz cans of black beans)

1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (or not if you don’t like spicy)

1 tsp ground cumin

2 cups vegetable broth (or chicken broth)

15 oz can of diced tomatoes – or dice 2 cups of fresh tomatoes

4 oz can of diced green chilies

1 1/2 cups of corn

To make:

If you are starting from dried beans,  after they have been soaked overnight, In a large saucepan,  cook beans and garlic in 6 cups of water for about 1 hour.   You can also use a pressure cooker and it’ll  take about 15 minutes.

 In s small saute pan, cook the onion in olive oil for about 5 minutes, until soft and clear.   Add onions, red pepper flakes, cumin, and tomatoes to the cooked beans (keeping the remaining bean water).  If using canned beans, add your broth too.   Cook for about 15 minutes.

Using a handheld blender, Puree the soup until smooth.  Or you can take half of the soup and blend it in a blender and leave some of the beans whole.

Add corn and green chilies and cook another 5 minutes.

Serve with cilantro and sour cream or tortilla chips.

Phyllo Dough Burritos with Sweet Potatoes, Garbanzo Beans and Onions

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The other night I remembered I had some phyllo still in the fridge from the day before that had to be used.  I decided to make phyllo burritos that I had made before from the book, “eat, Drink and Be Vegan.”   I took the concept of a phyllo burrito but added different ingredients.   It  makes for a cripsy and light burrito and a nice change from a corn or flour one.    You can really use what ever veggies you have in your fridge.   I usually use three staples – onion, sweet potatoes, and red or yellow peppers.   However I was out of red peppers and had a beet that needed to be eaten so I used that instead.   I also used garbanzo beans (chick peas) which I had dry and soaked them to day before.  You could use any variety of beans…white or canaloni beans would be nice.

             

I sliced and chopped my vegetables, added salt and a little pepper, some olive oil, and grated some fresh nutmeg and some cinnamon.   Popped them in the oven at 400 F and baked for about 30-40 minutes.

                   

Ingredients:

1 package Phyllo, defrosted in fridge the night before.

1 sweet potato, peeled and diced

1/2 head of cauliflower, cut in small pieces

1 beet, peeled and diced   (or use a red pepper which is really nice!)

1 medium (red or yellow)  onion, thinly sliced

1 cup of garbanzo beans (is using dry beans, soak them the day before)

2 Tbs olive oil, plus extra for the phyllo

salt and pepper

nutmeg

basil

For the Sauce:

1/4 cup Balsamic Vinegar

1/4 cup Soy Sauce (shoyu or tamari)

2-3 Tbs Maple Syrup

To Make:

Preheat oven to 400 F.  Slice and dice all the veggies and mix them in a bowl with the olive oil, salt and nutmeg.   Lay out on a baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes.  Add Garbanzo beans and Basi and 1 tablespoon of Balsamic Vinegar and bake for another 10-12 minutes

Take phyllo our of box and wrapper and lay on counter.  Using a pizza cutter, cut the sheet widthwise, then cover with a damp dish towel!!  Very important step or the phyllo will dry out as you are working

Put one sheet of phyllo on a cutting board and brush with olive oil.  Layer another sheet of Phyllo on top of it and repeat brushing with olive oil.  Repeat this step one more time so you have 3 sheets stacked.   Add a scoopful of the vegetable filling and roll the phyllo like a burrito.   about 3/4 of the roll, fold in the sides and roll to the end.  Brush the outside with olive oil.

Repeat this until you have used all the filling, about 4-6 burritos.

Bake for about 20 minutes until phyllo looks golden.

For the sauce, mix balsamic, shoyu and maple syrup in a bowl and pour over burrito.

Morning Smoothie with Mint

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I haven’t made smoothies in at least a month but as I was thinking of ways to get more healthy food into my kids diets.   I remembered how much they like smoothies and they are easy to sneak greens into.   My son is quite picky and has probably a half dozen staple foods he likes.  Broccoli seems to have just fallen off the list but I am going to work hard to get it back!   He likes his broccoli and edamame with soy sauce (shoyu or tamari) but I might just have to sprinkle some chocolate sauce on it for the time being.  Kidding…but  what is a mama to do??

Make smoothies!

So here is what I made this morning and let me tell you it was a hit.  It’s been a while since Max has asked for seconds but this morning I think he had thirds.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup coconut milk ( use any milk)

3 Tbs vanilla cream top yogurt (beware of the non-fat yogurts because they are loaded with added sugar)

a handful of ice

1/2 banana

1/4 cup blueberries

1/4 cup mixed berries

1 cup of kale

about 5-6 mint leaves

1 tsp maple syrup

I blended everything in my Vitamix Blender, which is amazing and in about 15 seconds, we had out smoothie.  The mint really adds a nice flavor.