Tag Archives: vegetarian

Pumpkin Risotto

I made a lot of pumpkin purée last fall, which took up residence in the freezer. In an effort to continue the meat detox from our KC trip and clear out some of the longer-term freezer occupants, finally got to try this recipe. As I already have neutral pumpkin purée (so I can go sweet or savory), I changed a few aspects of the original and the recipe below will reflect what I did.

This risotto has a texture that is completely extraordinary. As in many things involving pumpkin, it’s subtly sweet and velvety. While cooking, it becomes much saucier than I’m used to. I think that makes it extra important that you let it rest, covered and off the burner, after finishing.

2 T olive oil
2 large or 3 small shallots, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, pressed
2 c/500 g arborio rice
1 c white wine
1/2 t coarsely ground black pepper
1/2 t dried thyme
5-6 c/1.25-1.5 l chicken or vegetable broth (must be at a simmer when added to rice)
1 c/250 g pumpkin purée
1 c/250 g grated parmesan cheese, divided
2 T butter

In a wide, deep lidded skillet, heat oil to medium. Sauté the shallots and garlic to just tender, then add rice to skillet, stirring frequently and coating well with oil.

Add white wine to skillet and, stirring constantly, cook until liquid is almost completely cooked off. Add pepper and thyme, lower heat to low, stir and start adding broth by the ladle. When one ladleful cooks off, add another, stirring all the time.

When about two thirds of the broth is added, stir in the pumpkin purée. The texture will change and the sauce will become quite thick and possibly splattery. Right before the last broth addition, turn the burner off and add the cheese and butter.

After stirring in the last bit of broth, put the lid on the skillet, take it off the hot burner and let it sit for 10 minutes before serving.

Baba Ghanouj (Roasted Eggplant Dip)

This eggplant dip seems complicated but is ridiculously easy. It was too hot to really cook for a few weeks this August. That made things difficult, as I love to cook and don’t particularly care for raw food. Cliff is an avowed hater of eggplant, so it took a little cajoling to get his buy-in on this one. Even eggplant haters should give this one a shot, though. Much of the texture-weirdness that people have against eggplant is mitigated through the roasting and mashing. Plus, it’s ridiculously easy to make if you roast the eggplant with plenty of time to cool. The original recipe is here, but the changes I made are listed below.

1-2 large purple eggplants, about 2 lbs
3 T olive oil
2-3 T tahini
2 cloves garlic, minced or crushed
1 t ground cumin
juice of 1 lemon
pinch smoked hot paprika
salt to taste
2 T chopped parsley

Preheat oven to 400°F/200°C. Cut eggplants in half lengthwise, puncture the skin several times with a fork and rub all over with olive oil. Roast on a baking sheet, cut side down, until very tender, 30-40 minutes. Set aside to cool to room temperature.

Scoop the cooled eggplant flesh out of the skins and combine with the rest of the ingredients, except parsley. Baba Ghanouj, not yet blendedMash everything together with a fork or put it all in a blender and pulse until combined but not completely smooth. Serve topped with parsley as a dip with pita or raw vegetables.

Blasted Broccoli with Polenta and Smoked Paprika Dressing

So, there hasn’t been a whole lot of action on the ol’ Regensblog of late. Daily life has been consuming, yet not interesting enough to blog about. Speaking of consuming though, we’re on a new recipe hot-streak. In the interest of not losing track of these, I’m going to start posting them. Because while you all are welcome to the recipe database, it’s basically there for me to keep track of things.

This one is ridiculously easy and fast. I am a very slow cook and I managed to prepare both the dressing and polenta fully while the broccoli was roasting. Plus, it can go fully vegetarian if you use vegetable broth and vegan if you cut out the butter and cheese. You don’t have to make the dressing, but the tang of the vinegar and deep smokiness of the paprika really adds something special! The inspiration came from this recipe. If you’re eating the broccoli alone or as a side, use the almonds (regular blanched almonds are fine).

1 pound fresh broccoli florets
2 T olive oil
pinch salt
1/4 c olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 t sweet smoked paprika
2 T sherry vinegar
pinch salt
4 c chicken broth
1 T butter
1 1/2 c polenta
1/2 t ground pepper
1/2 c grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 425° F/218° C. Toss the broccoli with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and sprinkle with a little salt. Spread broccoli florets on a baking sheet and roast for 20 minutes.

While the broccoli is going, make the dressing. Heat 1/4 cup olive oil over low heat until well warmed, then add garlic and paprika (garlic should not sizzle), stir well, remove from heat and let stand for 10 minutes. With vinegar and salt in a small bowl, add infused oil through a fine sieve to remove solids and whisk lightly.

For the polenta, bring the broth and butter to a gentle simmer over medium low heat. Whisk in the polenta, stirring constantly and turn heat to low. Add pepper and cheese, stir well for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to stand for three minutes. Serve a couple of scoops of polenta topped with broccoli and a drizzle of dressing.

Cold Sesame Noodles

This looked like a yummy offering to accompany grilled goodies (which we never have – no grill) during the summer (which we’re not experiencing – no heat). We gave it a whirl and were very pleased! I found it on the wonderful food blog Serious Eats and made a few adjustments. As tempting as it is, don’t eat it until it’s chilled for several hours, preferably overnight. The flavors need time to mingle and develop. By the way, this recipe is totally vegetarian – possibly vegan if you’re careful about your peanut butter. I don’t know – I’m not a big label reader.

5 tablespoons sesame seeds
5 tablespoons dark soy sauce
1/4 cup peanut butter
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
1 inch ginger, peeled and grated
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon Tabasco
1/2 cup hot water
1 tablespoon salt
1 pound fresh Chinese egg noodles (see above)
8 scallions, sliced thin
1 medium carrot, peeled and grated
2 red bell peppers, stemmed, seeded, and sliced thin

Toast sesame seeds in a medium, dry skillet over medium heat until golden and fragrant, about 10 minutes. In a blender or food processor, combine sesame, soy sauce, peanut butter, vinegar, sugar, ginger, garlic and Tabasco and pulse until ingredients begin to blend. While blender is on low, add hot water in a slow stream until dressing has consistency of heavy cream (you might not need all the water). Set dressing aside.

Cook noodles with salt according to package directions. After cooking, drain noodles and rinse with cold water until completely cooled. Shake water out of noodles thoroughly. In a large bowl, toss noodles, scallion, carrot and bell pepper with dressing until well distributed. Chill.

Mashups: Fred Schneider and Leek, Sun-dried Tomato and Brie Strata

This post is all about layering.

First, with Fred:

My man FredYesterday at Tammy & Matthias’ house we watched a recent episode of the Daily Show where they called in Fred Schneider of the B52’s to guest voice some segments of the audiobook version of Scott McClellan’s Bush Administration exposé. Then today I stumbled across this excellent mashup involving two bands of yesteryear I rather dig. Take a listen:

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Secondly, the recipe

Leek, Sun-dried Tomato and Brie Strata

1 lb. leeks
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
5 large eggs
2 1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (we used Grana Padano)
6-8 thick* slices firm white sandwish, Italian, or French bread, preferably one day old (we used a baguette)
12 oil-packed sund-dried tomato halves, drained, patted dry, and quartered
8 ounces (300 g before de-rinding) Brie, rind removed

This first part is for those who don’t yet know their way around leeks and getting the sand out of them. If you’ve done this before, skip to the next paragraph.
Trim root ends from leeks. Trim off darkest green tops. Peel off and discard any wilted or discolored outer leaves. Halve or quarter leeks lengthwise. Rise leeks well under cold water. Place in a bowl and fill with cold water. Repeat process at least twice to remove any sand from between layer, drain and pat dry. Cut into thin slices; yield should be about 4 cups.

Sun-dried Tomato, Leek, and Brie Strata Lightly coat a 9-inch (square) baking dish with some butter and set aside. Melt remaining butter in a large skillet over low heat. Add leeks and cook, stirring until tender but not browned, about 10 minutes. Sprinkle with salt to taste and a grinding of pepper, remove from heat and set aside. In a large bowl, whisk eggs until foamy. Whisk in milk until blended. Add Parmy goodness, 1/2 teaspoon salt and a grinding of pepper.

To assemble strata use half of bread slice to make a single layer in prepared baking dish, cutting them, if necessary to fit tightly. Spoon leeks evenly over bread. Distribute sun-dried tomatoes evenly over leeks and top with brie. Use remaining bread slices to make a second layer, once again cutting to fit, if necessary. Pour egg mixture evenly over top of strata, using a spatula to ress on bread so liquid is evenly absorbed. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least four hours, or overnight. Preheat over to 350°F. Uncover strata and bake until puffed and browned, about 45 minutes. Serve immediately. Serves 8 to 12*.

Bleu Cheese Crisps

Hang on tight, please — this post is going veer and swerve violently around three pillars of pleasure for me: linguistics, google, and cheese.

First, the cheese:

Sarah’s mom gave her a book of recipes compiled by alumnae of her Catholic high school founded by an order of French nuns a couple of years ago (the giving, not the founding). Up until now, we haven’t done much with it except make fun of its name (I’ll spare you). But after our Strawberry Shortcake success on the weekend, I started thinking that we’ve become rather famous (at least in circles around the water cooler) for our dessert prowess. It might be good to branch out. So I started perusing the book and I found a winner pretty quickly.

Bleu Cheese Crisps

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 4-oz. package crumbled bleu cheese, softened
1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts (pecans are so hard to find here)
1 baguette sliced

Mix butter and bleu cheese until blended. Stir in pecans and set aside. Place baguette slices in a single layer on baking sheets. Bake at 350°F for 3 to 5 minutes. Turn slices and spread evenly with bleu cheese mixture. Bake 5 minutes. Serve immediately. Yields 32 appetizers.

We’re thinking about editing the recipe; we’ll update this post if it works well. These are really good and easy, but we’re interesting in giving them a boost of red or black pepper (or paprika maybe) and seeing how that goes.

Which brings us to the linguistics:

This stuff is fairly similar to Obatzda, which is a typical Biergarten treat. You’d expect more flavory things in an Obatzda like onions and garlic, but the general concept here was by-and-largely the same, if a bit more refined, owing to the touch of Fronce. Anyhoo, I was thinking about Obatzda, the word. Not so much what it means (someone explained that to me years ago), but what its non-Bavarianized equivalent would be. Based on what I hear people at the office say when they’re excited (mostly negatively…is that telling?), I surmised that the ‘O’ represented a high-German “an” and that the ‘batzd’ was a past-participle with a silent ‘-ge-‘ past-participle marker that Bavarians (at least here in the Oberpfalz often just don’t need to use). Lo and behold, that wikipedia link above confirms the suspicion. How I found that out is the third pillar of this post.

What’s the sound of me dorkin’ out on the computer? “Goosh!”

Man, that’s fun to say. It’s short for the Google Shell (think bash, ksh, csh, tcsh if you ever had a unix account at your university or place of employment). For the keyboard-loving information junkies, just point your browser at http://goosh.org and go to town – start off with an ‘h’ command to show you what’s available. The best part? In my opinion, it’s the “addengine” command, which puts the goosh toolbar in your Firefox browser’s list of searchboxes. From there, you have the power of all those commands right in the search box. Here’s how I used it and was so tickled that I started this post: “wiki Obatzda” and “in regenblogsblog.com shortcake”. I love the keyboard.

Butter Beans in Tomato-Dill Sauce

When we were on the cruise, one of our big excursions in Greece included lunch at a hotel with a big spread of traditional Greek dishes. One thing I went nuts over was this bean dish. I poked around fo recipes until I found one that looked similar.

1 lb dried giant butter beans
2 T olive oil
4 cloves garlic, finey chopped
26 oz tomato puree (I just used regular canned tomato sauce)
1 1/2 tsp lemon juice
1 T sugar
2 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 1/4 c fresh dill, chopped

Pick over and rinse the beans well. Soak them in at least 6 cups of water and some salt (I used 2 tsp) overnight. After soaking, rinse the beans well and put them back in the pot with more water and salt (again, 2 tsp). Bring beans to a boil and simmer for 2 hours on low heat, stirring occasionally and adding more water if necessary.

When the beans have about 30 minutes left, start on the sauce. Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the chopped garlic and, stirring frequently to keep from burning, cook for a few minutes (until softened and a little transparent). Add the tomato sauce, lemon juice, sugar, salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Simmer sauce for 15 minutes. Add dill, stir well and simmer 5 minutes more.

Drain beans well and put them back into the pot in which you cooked them. Pour sauce into beans and stir well, then pour mixture into a deep casserole dish. Bake at 375°F (190°C) for one hour, uncovered.
recipe_source:
recipe_title: Butter Beans in Tomato-Dill Sauce
recipe_descr: When we were on the cruise, one of our big excursions in Greece included lunch at a hotel with a big spread of traditional Greek dishes. One thing I went nuts over was this bean dish. I poked around fo recipes until I found one that looked similar.

Tabbouleh

On hot days, we tend to eat salad for dinner – sometimes with something else (pasta, sandwiches, etc), sometimes by itself. It can get a little boring, though. Cliff and I are both fans of Middle-Eastern cuisine, so I decided to try tabbouleh for a change. The appearance of the recipe here means it was a success!

1 c bulgur wheat
3 small tomatoes, seeded and chopped
2 cucumbers, peeled and chopped
3 green onions, sliced thin
1 large clove garlic, chopped fine
1/3 c fresh mint, chopped
1 c parsley, chopped
1/3 c lemon juice
1/2 c olive oil
1 1/2 tsp salt
pinch pepper
pinch cinnamon

1. In a deep bowl, pour 2 cups boiling water over bulgur and do not stir. After 30 minutes, drain bulgur, squeeze out excess water and set aside.

2. Stir tomatoes, cucumbers, green onions, garlic, mint and parsley together in a large mixing bowl. Whisk lemon juice, olive oil, salt, pepper and cinnamon together in a small bowl. Add bulgur to vegetables, add dressing and toss well. Cover and chill for at least 4 hours and toss again before serving.