Thursday, October 13, 2011

Cauliflower with Pine Nuts and Golden Raisins

There are some beautiful cauliflowers showing up at the farmer's market now and they sure make for a gorgeous meal.  This is a fairly easy side dish that tastes as good as it looks.  (I threw in couple pieces of leftover broccoli I had if you're wondering what the green is.)  Get any combination of white, purple, pale green or yellow cauliflowers.

2-3 Tablespoons EVOO
4 cloves of garlic, chopped
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 head worth of organic cauliflower florets, chopped
1/2 cup toasted pine nuts
1/4 cup golden raisins
10 fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
Salt and pepper, to taste

Put the EVOO, garlic and red pepper flakes in a large saute pan and heat over medium heat.  When garlic starts to become fragrant, add the cauliflower and saute about 10-12 minutes, stirring, until slightly browned.  Add the pine nuts and raisins and saute another minute.  Season with salt and pepper and toss in the basil leaves.  Serve immediately.



Friday, September 23, 2011

Swiss Chard & Tomato Pasta

My mother-in-law sent me this recipe about a month ago and I've made it half a dozen times since.  It's simple, healthy, flavorful and satisfying: key components for any recipe to fall heavily into dinner rotation.  Works great for crowds, too.  I have been using dry-farmed Early Girl tomatoes (pictured below) just about any way I can, as they are only around for a short time and they are the BEST tomatoes in the world, hands down.  My farmer's market has 10lbs for $20, and I plan to freeze some for the winter.  I don't really eat tomatoes the rest of the year.  Get them while you can and search my blog for lots of other ways to use them.

1 lb pasta noodles, any type
EVOO
2-3 cloves garlic, chopped
Crushed red chili pepper, to taste
1 bunch chard, any color
1 vegetable bouillon cube
Juice of 1 lemon
~10-12 chopped organic dry-farmed tomatoes (romas will work, too)
Basil to taste, chopped
1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted
Parmesan or Romano cheese (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  In a large saute pan over medium heat, cook garlic with chili pepper until slightly browned in a good slug of olive oil (start with the oil cold to infuse it with the flavors.)  Add chopped chard stems, saute til soft.  Add veggie bouillon in a little water (maybe a 1/4 c.)  Add chopped chard leaves, coat with oil, saute for about 2-5 minutes.  Meanwhile, start cooking your noodles.  Squeeze lemon over chard.  Add chopped tomato, cook until the tomato is heated through and starts to soften.  Add chopped basil, to taste and toasted pine nuts.  When the pasta is done, save about 1 cup of the water and add whatever you think to the chard to make it saucier.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Sprinkle liberally with cheese if desired.

dry-farmed Early Girl tomatoes

Friday, September 2, 2011

Asparagus, Sun-dried tomato, Olive and Goat Cheese Pasta

Tired and hungover from jet setting to LA for Lady Gaga's post-VMA party, I was craving comfort food.  Pasta.  Creamy pasta.  Goat cheese is a great way to create a cream sauce and the flavor can't be beat.  I threw in whatever else I could find and the flavors were magical.  My husband and I polished off an entire pound of pasta between the two of us: it was that good.  The rigatoni was an exceptional fresh local one (Pasta Etc., Sonoma) that just had to be cooked for a minute or two to give it that perfect chew.

4 Tablespoons EVOO
4 large garlic cloves, minced
1 cup finely chopped onion
1 bunch organic asparagus
2/3 cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil (drained)
1 cup organic vegetable broth
1/2 cup sliced pitted Kalamata olives
1/3 cup finely chopped fresh organic Italian flat parsley leaves
1 pound rigatoni or other pasta
4-6 ounces organic goat cheese
Salt and Pepper to taste

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Meanwhile, in a large skillet cook the garlic and onion in the oil over medium heat, stirring until the onion is soft.  Add the tomatoes and the broth, and simmer the mixture until the liquid is reduced by about half. Stir in the olives, the parsley, and salt and pepper to taste. Meanwhile, cook the asparagus in the boiling water for about 2-3 minutes.  Scoop out and and add to the sauce.  Cook the pasta in the same boiling water until just al dente, reserving about 1 cup of the cooking water. Stir the goat cheese and pasta water into the sauce along with the cooked pasta. Serve immediately.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Lentil Salad with Baby Heirloom Tomatoes, Castelvetrano Olives, Celery and Pine Nuts

I'm a fan of one-dish, salad-type meals that include grains or legumes.  This is a weird adaptation of an eggplant caponatina dish I had at Berreta.  I wanted the flavors, but needed to make it a meal so I thought lentils would hearty it up a bit.  There is no eggplant in it, but you could certainly throw it in there.  I like the cold cooked lentils at Trader Joe's to make this super fast.  I topped mine with burrata cheese (an option they also give you at Berreta), but you could do another cheese or none at all.

1 lb cooled cooked lentils
1/2 cup chopped castelvetrano olives
1/2 cup chopped celery
1 cup baby heirloom tomatoes, sliced in half
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
3 Tablespoons chopped fresh basil
2 Tablespoons capers
3 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Salt and Pepper to taste
8 oz burrata cheese (optional)

Combine ingredients in large salad bowl and toss.  Add additional seasoning as desired.  Top with burrata just before serving (if using).

Serves 4

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Sloppy Joes

That's right, good ol' Sloppy Joes!  This quick and easy crowd pleaser will satisfy carnivores and vegans alike.  They're extra healthy with whole wheat buns and organic Sloppy Joe seasoning (I like Simply Organic's packet.)  Serve them with slaw, and you've got a fantastic weeknight meal that comes together in a flash.  Look for Yves Veggie Ground Round in the refrigerated section.  You can also try the frozen veggie crumbles, but I am a fan of the former.  Oh, and if you have little ones like me remember they're called "sloppy" for a reason.  Have that bath ready!  ;)

1 Tbsp EVOO
1 package Yves Veggie Ground Round (eq of 1 lb meat)
1 can organic tomato paste
1/4 cup chopped onions
1 packet organic sloppy joe seasoning
1 cup water
4-6 whole wheat buns

Heat oil in a large skillet over med/high heat, add onions and veggie meat, cook until onions are soft (about 5 min).  Mix seasoning with water and add it to skillet.  Add tomato paste.  Simmer 5-10 minutes until desired thickness is reached.  Serve on warmed whole wheat buns.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Chocolate Chip Cookie "Ice Cream" Sandwiches

Vegan never looked so good!  These babies are made with home made vegan chocolate chip cookies and So Delicious Creamy Vanilla "ice cream".  Keep the ice cream on the counter for a bit to soften, then assemble and put back in the freezer until ready to serve.  Get the cookie recipe here: Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies.  Happy summer!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Ginger Miso Quinoa Bowl

I recently ate at The Plant cafe and had their delicious Quinoa Bowl.  I tried to recreate it and it turned out better than I expected.  I made a double recipe of the sauce and kept it in the fridge for future use.  I highly recommend trying Hodo Soy's firm tofu.  It's local, organic, gluten-free, non-gmo...and really the best tasting tofu I've ever tried. Anyway, this is a really great vegan, healthy meal so enjoy!

2 cups uncooked organic quinoa
1 Tablespoon toasted sesame oil (or 1 Tablespoon EVOO and 1 Tablespoon toasted sesame seeds)
2 Tablespoons finely chopped fresh organic ginger
2 cloves organic garlic, minced
1½ cups organic vegetable stock
½ cup organic white miso (look in the refrigerated section)
2 Tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 Tablespoon tamari or soy sauce
2 Tablespoons agave nectar (or sugar)
1 cup each of: organic broccoli, asparagus, or other veggies
1 cup organic mushrooms (brown, shiitake, etc.)
1 cup organic firm tofu, cubed
A few fresh organic cilantro leaves for garnish

Cook quinoa according to package instructions (my favorite way is in the rice cooker).  Combine oil, garlic and ginger in a saucepan over medium heat and saute for 2 minutes.  Add stock through nectar and bring to a boil, then simmer for 2 minutes.  Remove from heat.  Pour about 1/4-1/2 of the sauce into a pan and add tofu and mushrooms.  Saute for about 5 minutes, until mushrooms are tender.  Meanwhile, steam veggies.  Place quinoa into bowls (or large serving platter) and top with veggies and tofu mixture, then pour remaining sauce over everything.  Serve immediately.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Farro and Arugula Salad with Fennel, Avocado, Carrots & Fresh Dill

This is a must-try: probably one of my favorite salads ever.  We had something similar from Gialina and I tried to recreate it.  The farro makes it heartier than a green salad, perfect for a light meal.  I had this with vegan pepperoni pizza tonight, stoked for leftovers at lunch tomorrow.  Make the farro ahead of time so it has a chance to cool completely.

Watch Eating.  Be healthy.

1 cup uncooked farro
1 large handful arugula
1/8 cup chopped fresh dill
1/4 cup thinly sliced carrots
1 avocado, chopped
1 cup shaved fennel

Dressing
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/8 cup EVOO
1/8 cup Rice Vinegar (or other light white vinegar)
1/2 teaspoon honey
1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon pepper, or to taste

Cook farro according to package instructions (I like to use my rice cooker to make it simple), then transfer cooked farro to the refrigerator to cool.  Place dressing ingredients in a jar and shake.  Prep veggies and toss together with the cooled farro and dressing.  Serve immediately.

Serves 4 as a side dish, 2 as a meal.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Caesar Salad

Caesar Salad originated in Mexico--Tijuana to be exact--by an Italian.  A good Caesar is simple and divine, and should never be creamy.  Whenever I order it in a restaurant, I always ask to make sure the dressing is not creamy. This is the original recipe and I'm leaving it in tact for authenticity's sake.  Feel free to omit whatever you see fit to work for your diet.  I personally never add the egg, and sometimes leave out the anchovy paste to accommodate certain guests and it's still great.  I used Little Gem lettuce (baby romaine) in this particular special salad, but standard romaine is the norm.

Hearts of romaine, chopped (as much as you need)

Croutons:
Rustic or sourdough bread, torn into bite sized pieces
EVOO
Parsley flakes
Garlic powder

Dressing:
1 tsp anchovy paste (optional)
Juice of 1 lemon
1/4 cup EVOO
1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/8 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (or vegan parm)
1 clove garlic, minced
salt and pepper to taste
1 coddled (boiled 1 minute) egg (optional--I never do this)

Turn your oven on to broil.  Place bread on a baking sheet and sprinkle with EVOO, parsley flakes and garlic powder.  Toss to coat.  Toast in the oven until golden brown, tossing once or twice (this will happen fairly quickly, be careful not to burn.)  Set aside to cool.  Combine dressing ingredients (except egg) in a jar or tupperware and shake.  Refrigerate for 1 hour.  Just before serving, place the lettuce in a large bowl, top with croutons, add egg if using to the dressing, and toss with the salad.

The dressing should make enough to serve about 6 or so.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Guacamole

Happy Cinco de Mayo!  Guacamole is best when made fresh and enjoyed with chips and Mexican beer, which is exactly the way I will do it today.  The lime does double duty by punching up the flavor as well as keeping the avocado from browning.  Feel free to substitue a little red onion in place of the shallot.  Delicioso!

4 avocados, pitted, peeled and mashed
Juice of 1-2 limes, to taste
4 Tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1 chopped shallot
1 clove garlic, minced
2 small roma tomatoes, chopped
Salt, to taste
Tapatio or other mexican hot sauce (optional)

Simply mix ingredients together and serve immediately.
Serves 4-6

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Yellow Heirloom Tomato, Avocado and Blue Cheese Salad

I found some lovely, early yellow heirlooms the other day.  When a friend dropped in for dinner last minute, I punched them up with some blue cheese, avocado, chopped basil and a drizzle of balsamic vinaigrette.  You can almost always find a jar of homemade balsamic vinaigrette in my fridge as I use it on so many things: in salads, drizzled over grilled veggies...and I used to bake it on fish or chicken back in the day.  Anyway, having it on hand made whipping this together a breeze and it tasted just as good as it looks.

Dressing (more than you will need, but keeps in the fridge for weeks)
1/4 cup EVOO
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 Tbsps dijon mustard
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon italian herb seasoning
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper

1-2 large yellow heirloom tomatoes, sliced
1 avocado, sliced
12 basil leaves, thinly sliced
2-3 oz blue cheese crumbles

Combine dressing ingredients in a jar and shake vigorously.  Arrange sliced tomatoes on a flat platter.  Top with sliced avocado.  Sprinkle chopped basil and cheese over the top and drizzle with vinaigrette.

Serves 2-4

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Oven Roasted Tomato, Asparagus, & Goat Cheese Frittata


Last week, I was given a dozen of the freshest eggs I've had since I was a kid on a ranch.  At my daughter's school, they have chickens and I was thrilled to receive a bucket of their lovely multi-colored eggs.  I wanted to eat them right away, so decided on frittata for supper.  I roasted some tomatoes and asparagus, cooked it with some goat cheese and topped with fresh basil.  Quick, easy, and beautiful.  Thanks, Kelly!

1 cup organic mini cherry or plum tomatoes
1/2 bunch organic asparagus
EVOO
Salt and Pepper
8 best quality organic eggs
2-3 oz organic goat cheese
1/8 cup chopped fresh organic basil

Preheat oven to 400F.  Slice tomatoes in half and chop asparagus into bite size pieces.  Place on rimmed baking sheet, toss with a bit of EVOO, salt and pepper and roast until done (~20min).   Mix eggs in a medium mixing bowl.  In a large oven-proof skillet, heat a little EVOO over medium high heat.  Pour eggs into pan and top with the veggies.  Using a spatula, lift up the sides of the egg mixture to let the egg flow underneath. Sprinkle goat cheese on top.  When the eggs are about half set, move skillet into the oven and bake until the frittata is fluffy and golden, about 5-10 minutes more.  Sprinkle with fresh basil, then slide out of the pan onto a serving dish.  Salt and pepper to taste.
Serves 4

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Roasted Veggies & Quinoa

This dish (inspired by something similar my lovely friend Kari made for me) is one of those great clean-out-the-fridge deals that can be made quickly and easily.  Use whatever you might have on hand: I made it with red quinoa, asparagus, sweet potatoes, zucchini and Marchini almonds last week.  Tonight, I'm using white quinoa, asparagus, new potatoes, carrots and pine nuts.  I'm not going to put measurements on this as it will vary based on what you have, but it's fantastic the next day so make plenty.  Guilt free eating right here.

Various veggies
Quinoa (any color)
Toasted nuts (almonds, pine nuts, etc.)
EVOO
Lemon juice
Parmesan Cheese (regular or vegan)
Salt and Pepper

Preheat oven to 400F.  Wash then slice veggies into bite sized pieces, toss with a little EVOO, salt and pepper.  Roast on rimmed baking sheets until just done (times will vary for various veggies, but none more than 30min.)  Meanwhile, cook the quinoa according to package directions.  In a jar or small tupperware, combine equal parts EVOO and lemon juice.  Add parm, salt and pepper to taste, then shake.  Arrange quinoa on a platter.  Top with the roasted veggies and nuts.  Pour a decent amount of your sauce on top and serve immediately.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Tortilla Soup with Avocado, Cilantro and Lime

Simply omit the cheese for a vegan version


We just got back from 10 days in Mexico, so I thought today's recipe would be appropriate.  Typically, this dish is made with chicken, or at least chicken broth, but there's really no need for it.  You could play with various toppings, too.  I could see some fresh corn or fire-roasted chiles sprinkled on top.  There are lots of different cheeses you could do, too, but I had goat cheese this day, so that was the pick.  It was surprisingly delicioso!

6 corn tortillas, cut into sticks
1 Tablespoon EVOO
Salt

 Heat oven to 400F. Toss tortillas in oil, sprinkle with salt and bake on baking sheet until crispy.  Set aside and let cool.

2 Tablespoons EVOO
4 cloves of minced organic garlic
1 large organic onion, diced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground cayenne chili powder
1.5 teaspoons ground coriander
1 14 or 15 oz can organic crushed tomatoes
6 cups organic vegetable broth
Salt to taste
1-2 organic avocados
1 cup chopped organic cilantro
4oz goat cheese crumbles
1 organic lime

Heat oil in a large pot over med/high heat.  Cook onion and garlic for 3-5 minutes, until onion is translucent but not browned.  Add the cumin, coriander and cayenne.  Stir in the tomatoes and cook for 5 minutes.  Remove from the heat and add 1-2 cups of the broth, then puree with an immersion blender (or transfer a bit at a time to a regular blender or food processer).  Add the rest of the broth and puree until smooth.  Return to the heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes.  Salt to taste.  Ladle into bowls and top with the tortilla sticks, avocado, cilantro and goat cheese.  Cut the lime into wedges and squeeze lime juice over the top and serve.

Serves 4-6

Monday, March 7, 2011

Farro Salad with Cucumber, Beets & Mint


Farro is a healthy wheat grain with a chewy, hearty texture and is great hot or cold.  I made up this easy little salad on a whim and keep making it over and over.   If you're really pressed for time, you can get those precooked packaged red beets, but it will taste so much better if you get the mellow yellow ones at your farmer's market (probably cheaper, too: mine were $1/bunch).  I used a pomegranate vinegar in mine, but you can use any fruity vinegar, rice vinegar or white wine vinegar instead.  I make the farro and beets in the morning or afternoon (even a day ahead), then assemble the salad in the evening when everything is cool.

2 cups uncooked farro
3 medium organic yellow beets
1 cup diced organic english cucumber (seeds removed)
4 oz organic feta crumbles
3 Tablespoons finely chopped fresh organic mint
2 Tablespoons EVOO
1 Tablespoon pomegranate vinegar (see above notes for substitutions)
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Salt and pepper to taste

Cook the farro according to package instructions.  Meanwhile, boil the beets, skin on, until tender (about the same amount of time).  Slip the skins off when done, dice, and put in the refrigerator to cool.  Transfer the farro to a bowl and place in the refrigerator as well.  Chop remaining items and toss everything together when cool.

Serves 4-6 (as a side dish)

Monday, February 28, 2011

Easy Pinto Beans with Cilantro, Onions and Beer



Nothing to this simple side dish.  The perfect accompaniment to any Mexican meal, you can whip it together and leave it in the pot until ready to serve.  Beer and beans go together like Bert and Ernie, so pair them together at any opportunity.

2 Tbsps EVOO
1/2 chopped organic onion
1/2 cup Mexican beer
2 14oz cans organic pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup chopped organic cilantro
salt and pepper to taste

Heat oil in sauce pot over medium heat.  Add onion and saute until turning golden.  Deglaze the pot with the beer (drink remaining beer).  Add the beans, cilantro and S/P.  Reduce heat to simmer and cook an additional 5-10 minutes.

Serves 4-6

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Mexican Rice


This is a pretty easy Mexican rice dish my MIL made at Christmas.  It is so flavorful and delicious, it's now my standard at any Mexican meal.  Next time, I think I'll try it with brown rice, but if you want it to be authentic use a good quality organic long grain white rice.  You could also sub out a jalepeno or other chile pepper for the serrano.

1 1/2 cups organic long grain white rice
1 1/2 Tablespoons EVOO
2-1/4 cups organic vegetable broth
1/2 organic yellow onion, finely chopped
1 serrano chile, seeded and finely diced
1 medium organic tomato, seeded and chopped
1 vegetable bouillon cube
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
3/4 cup chopped fresh organic cilantro
1-2 cloves organic garlic, chopped

In a sauce pan over medium heat, cook rice for 3 minutes. Add broth and bring to a boil. Stir in the onion, chile, and tomato. Season with bouillon cube, salt and pepper, cumin, cilantro, and garlic. Bring to a boil again, cover, and reduce heat to low. Cook for 20 minutes.
Serves 4-6 as a side dish

Friday, February 4, 2011

Vegan Pepperoni Pizza














It's really hard to give up cheese.  Vegetarian is easy.  Vegan feels impossible sometimes.  But, I try to do it as much as I can.  Daiya mozzarella cheese is the first vegan cheese I actually like.  (It's also soy-free, for those who care.)  Combine it with Yves meatless pepperoni and you've got a winning combination.  I like mine with black olives and mushrooms, but add whatever you like (if you do mushrooms, saute them first).  For dough, look for Lamonica's whole wheat pizza dough in the frozen section at Whole Foods.  Trader Joe's has decent dough, too.  I buy a few and keep them handy in the freezer for when I need an easy dinner.  I generally make 2 pizzas at a time and have the leftovers for lunch the next day.

1 ball whole wheat pizza dough
1/2 recipe basic tomato sauce (just freeze the other half)
Daiya mozzarella cheese to your liking
1/2 package Yves meatless pepperoni
Olives and mushrooms, optional

Preheat oven to 450F.  Lightly spray a baking sheet with oil.  Make sure to let the dough sit out for a good 20 min before rolling it.  If it's frozen, I just take it out in the morning and leave it on the counter until I'm ready to roll.  Get it close to the size you want, then stretch it across the pan, molding it to your liking.  Spoon on the sauce and spread evenly.  Add your toppings, then the cheese.  Bake for 5 minutes, then slide it off the pan to cook another 4-5 minutes to crisp the bottom.  You should be able to slide it back on your pan to remove it from the oven.  Wear gloves.  Slice and serve with this salad.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Vegan Portobello Stroganoff


There are like 5 dishes my dad rotated through in the 70's: tuna casserole, spinach souffle, baked chicken and rice, chili, and beef Stroganoff.  The Stroganoff was one of his prize dishes, and it totally reminds me of my dad.  You don't see much of this Russian dish around these days, and probably for good reason:  it's extremely unhealthy with all that sour cream and beef.  However, this version would make my dad proud.  Completely animal-product-free, you can eat to your heart's content. Miss you, pops.

3 Tablespoons earth balance (or other butter alternative)
2 organic shallots, minced
2 cloves of organic garlic, minced
3-4 organic portobello mushrooms, sliced
1 cup organic vegetable broth
1/2 cup white wine
2.5 Tablespoons organic AP flour
1/2 cup sour cream alternative (Follow Your Heart makes a great one)
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons organic tomato paste
2 Tablespoons fresh organic parsley, chopped
Salt and Pepper to taste
12oz whole grain vegan fettuccine (or other long flat noodle)

Boil water for pasta and drop the noodles in once you get the mushrooms cooked.  In a large skillet, melt butter over med/high heat.  Add shallot and garlic and cook, stirring until softened. Add the mushrooms and cook until limp and browned. Remove and set aside. In the same skillet, stir in the vegetable broth and wine. Bring to a boil and cook until the liquid has reduced by 1/3. Turn heat to low and return the mushroom mixture to the pan.  Remove the pan from the heat, stir in the sour cream and flour.  Return the skillet to the burner, and cook for one minute.  Add the soy, Worcestershire and tomato paste.  Continue cooking over low heat, just until the sauce thickens. Stir in the parsley and season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately over hot noodles.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Baked Penne with Tomato Sauce


This is comfort food at its best.  So simple, yet so satisfying.  This recipe makes a nice big casserole, good for sharing with friends or for leftovers.  It also makes a nice dish to take to a friend: just prep everything, cover, and let them bake it.  If I lived in San Diego, this is what I would take to my good friend Nicole who had twins a couple weeks ago.  :)

16 ounces organic whole wheat penne pasta (or similar noodle)
2 cups organic part-skim ricotta
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1.5 cups grated Parmesan
2 cups organic shredded part-skim mozzarella
Salt and pepper
Double recipe of Basic Tomato Sauce
6 to 12oz. meatless ground crumbles, ex: Boca (optional)

Preheat oven to 450F.  Boil pasta just shy of al dente: you want it to still have a little crunch in the middle as it will cook more in the oven.  Combine the ricotta, eggs, 1/2 cup of the Parmesan, and 1 cup of the mozzarella in a small bowl, season with salt and pepper. In a large casserole dish (13x9ish), spread half of the tomato sauce on the bottom.  Top with the pasta, then the ricotta mixture, then crumbles (if using), then remaining sauce.  Sprinkle the remaining Parmesan and mozzarella over the top.  Cover with foil and bake 20-25 minutes, removing the foil for the last 5-10 minutes to let the top brown.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Portobello Tampiquena

Tampiquena is a traditional Mexican dish usually made with steak.  I had a portobello version down in Mexico that was so amazing, I had to try to recreate it at home.  This Christmas our family did a Mexican potluck, and I figured it was a good opportunity to give this a shot.  Make the marinade a day ahead, then let the mushrooms marinate for just a couple hours before cooking.  You can serve it with enchiladas, chilaquiles, or just beans and rice.  I did a simple layer of cheese quesadillas on the bottom then a giant layer of the mushrooms on top.

Marinade:
1/2 cup EVOO
1 organic yellow onion, sliced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups soy sauce
1 cup fresh squeezed lime juice
1/4 cup fresh organic cilantro, chopped
1 serrano chile, diced

6 portobello mushrooms, cleaned
cilantro for garnish

Place marinade ingredients in a large zip bag and let sit in the refrigerator overnight.  2 hours before cooking, put the mushrooms in the marinade (you may need 2 bags at this point.)  Preheat oven to 400F. Place mushrooms on a rimmed baking sheet and top with some of the goodies from the marinade.  Cook about 5-7 minutes on each side.  Remove, let cool slightly and slice.  Top with cilantro.  Serve over cheese enchiladas, chilaquiles or with rice and beans.
Serves 4-6

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Swedish Pancakes
















I'm mostly Swedish, but I honestly don't make a lot of Swedish food.  The Swedes eat a lot of random meats: like Reindeer and Elk, but there are some traditions from my childhood about Swedish food that I can't give up.  I no longer eat Swedish meatballs, but I do love Swedish pancakes on Christmas.  We usually eat it with Matzo Brei (my mother-in-law's husband is Jewish) and a big fruit salad, which makes it a nice diverse meal.  When I was a kid, we ate them stuffed with a berry jam and powdered sugar mixture, but now I let people top them with whatever they want (yogurt, fruit, jam, syrup, etc.)

4 eggs
2 cups milk
1/2 cup unbleached AP flour (or whole wheat pastry flour)
1 Tablespoon organic cane sugar
1 pinch salt
2 Tablespoons melted butter or earth balance
Powdered sugar for sprinkling on top
Berry jam and/or syrup for topping

Preheat a large skillet on medium heat.  Beat eggs, milk, flour, sugar, salt and butter in a large bowl with a wire wisk.  Pour batter on skillet and cook until small bubbles appear and top dries out a bit.  Flip and cook another minute or two.  Roll pancake up and place on a platter.  After making a couple pancakes, adjust heat as necessary.  If making a double or triple recipe, keep pancakes warm in an oven (200F) until you are done making them and ready to serve.  Sprinkle with sifted powdered sugar and serve with berry jam or syrup.
Serves 4
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