Wild Rice & Broccoli Salad

We finally got a grill! And we know how to use it and how to make most of the meaty deliciousness we plan on cooking with it.

So…um, now what? We need accompaniments to the meat explosion. Nice, vegetabley salads are the next hurdle. We generally don’t do salads that need to chill, due to lack of fridge space, but they go so well with grill fare that we might need to clear out some room. This recipe (original is here – measurements are my own) was the side to our inaugural grill usage and we ate it – and enjoyed it – the same day. However, Cliff took the leftover for lunch the following day and said it tasted quite a bit better after the flavors had time to mingle. If you can plan ahead, make it the day before you plan on eating it.

And feel free to tinker with the measurements. I certainly did.

1/2 lb (250 g) wild rice, dry
raw broccoli, 1 lb (500 g) head, cut into florets
3 oz (80 g) goat cheese, crumbled or diced
zest and juice of 1 large lemon
1-2 t honey
1 clove garlic, pressed
fresh rosemary

Cook rice, according to package directions, and allow to cool completely. Mix cooled rice, broccoli florets and goat cheese in a large bowl. Whisk together lemon zest, juice, honey, garlic and rosemary and toss with rice mixture. Chill (at least 4 hours, preferably overnight) and serve.

Baked Eggs

I got the inspiration for this recipe from my nifty iPod touch app “How to Cook Everything — On The Go.” I’m not crazy about his desserts so far, but this was great for brunch — exactly what I’d hoped: easy, fast, and flexible.

Baked EggsI’m really looking forward to making use of the biggest advantage here: you can bake as many of these as you want and you’re limited only by the number of ramekins at your disposal. It’s hard to serve eight eggs for breakfast simultaneously, but if you bake them, you can do it. Continue reading Baked Eggs

Dal (Indian Lentils)

Who here eats enough fiber?

*only Sarah’s in-laws raise their hands*

That’s what I thought. Well, if you want some fiber and something rich and spicy, eat this. I used this recipe as a guideline and for the cooking method, which turned out to be stellar. Below are my actual steps.

1 1/2 c dry lentils (I used brown, the posted link suggests black caviar lentils)
1 T vegetable oil
1/4 t hing or asafoetida powder
1 medium onion, chopped fine
2 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
1 thumb-sized piece of ginger, finely diced or cut into matchsticks
2 green Thai chilies, chopped (optional – remove seeds for less heat)
1 1/2 t cayenne pepper
1/2 t curry powder
1/2 t salt
fresh ground black pepper to taste
1 small can tomato sauce (6 oz. or 200 g)
1 c vegetable broth
2 T butter

In a deep pot, cover lentils with water by 2 inches, bring to a boil and reduce to simmer for 10 minutes. While lentils are cooking, heat oil in a small skillet to medium. Add hing to oil and fry, stirring for one minute, then add onion, garlic, ginger and chili to oil, stirring frequently. When onion just becomes translucent, add cayenne pepper, curry powder, salt and pepper to onion mixture and stir until well distributed. Cook for one more minute, then remove from heat and set aside.

Drain lentils and return to pot. Add cooked onion mixture, tomato sauce, vegetable broth and butter. Bring lentils to a simmer and cook for an hour over low heat until thick and creamy, adding broth as needed. To improve texture, mash lentils occasionally with the back of a spatula while cooking. If desired, stir in a tablespoon or two of cream after cooking. Serve with naan, rice or alone.

Oatmeal Omelette

We had some quick oats* lying around after another kitchen experiment. And I was hungry when I woke up this morning. And there was precious little in the way of breakfasty stuff in Ye Olde Pantry. Sarah suggested something oaty. I looked on the package and found a recipe for an oatmeal-augmented omelette.

Turns out, it doesn’t seem to impact the flavor at all, but the texture is greatly improved over a regular omelette. Purists may scoff, but the next time I’m feeling omelettey I’m going to beef the eggs up with oats.

Here it is (which I slightly modified, augmented, and translated from the original German):

4 eggs
4 T milk
4 T quick oats
1/2 t salt
tasty omelette fixins
some butter for the fry pan

Beat the eggs, milk, oats and salt together. Get the butter melting in the fry pan at medium-hot temperature. Add some of the egg mixture and flip when you can, safely. Once you’ve flipped, throw in your cheese, sundried tomatoes, green onions, ham, whatever. Fold over one or both sides and serve. The original recipe suggested fruit preserves, which would be OK I guess, because the end result is somewhat crêpesier in the robustness of texture than what I’ve traditionally expected from an omelette, but not quite pancake-level firm. Makes (in theory) 4 omelettes — we had two big ones.

*I’m conclusion-jumping on the Quick Oats = Blütenzarte Köllnflocken assertion based on wikipedia descriptions of quick oats and the Peter Kölln AGaA and Haferflocken.

Mushroom Crostini

This came out of my high school cookbook and it was something special. We were looking for something carby and savory to have with salad for dinner and gave this a try. Turns out, we were nearly licking the plates. These mushrooms would probably be fantastic smothering a steak or chicken breast, folded into an omelet or as a base for a creamy pasta sauce.

1 baguette, day old and sliced into 1/2 inch slices
2 T butter
1 tsp olive oil
1 small onion, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb mushroom, sliced
1/2 t dried thyme
1 T Madeira wine
1/2 c chicken or vegetable broth
1-2 T fresh parsley or chives, chopped
salt and pepper to taste

Heat oven to 400° F (200° C). Arrange baguette slices in one layer on a cookie sheet and bake for 10 minutes or until golden.

Heat a skillet to medium-low and add olive oil and butter. When butter starts to foam, add onion and cook until transparent. Add garlic and mushrooms to skillet and cook, stirring frequently, until most of the liquid evaporates. Add thyme, wine and chicken broth and bring to simmer, stirring until mixture is reduced by two thirds. Remove from heat and stir in parsley or chives and salt and pepper. Mound a heaping spoonful of mushrooms on top of each crostini.

French Toast

Man, new recipes seem to appear in groups. Chez Regensblog has been the site of much improvisation lately and I decided it was time for an old (cheap!) favorite.

4 eggs
1 1/3 c milk
1/2 t nutmeg
1 t cinnamon
2 t vanilla
pinch salt
10 slices of bread (we used a round raisin loaf, sliced about 3/4 in. thick)

Heat griddle or skillet to medium. Whisk together eggs, milk, nutmeg, cinnamon, vanilla and salt. Dip bread slices in egg mixture on each side (don’t soak it!), then transfer immediately to griddle and cook until golden brown on each side. Serve immediately with powdered sugar or butter and syrup.

Zippy Crunchy Salad

We bought too many apples for use in a somewhat successful apple pie experiment this weekend. We bought too many carrots for use in a partially satisfying falafel/veggie burger experiment this weekend. I bought a bag of lemons on a whim this weekend and they are already starting to look questionable (Bio-Zitronen…).

So I invented a salad.*

I pulled on my Microplane Kevlar glove purchased at Pryde’s Old Westport, hauled out the mandoline from my mom (thanks Mom!) and julienned up three or four Yellow Delicious apples, crinkle-cut one big carrot’s worth of discs, squished in the juice of one lemon and dumped a little sugar (I’d guess about a teaspoon and a half) to take the edge off the citric acid.

Hol. E. Kau. That is some tasty stuff. Make sure you haven’t burned the roof of your mouth on anything recently though — you’ll be reminded of it during the consumption of this salad.

*I found some recipes online calling for yogurt or mayonnaise and raisins and stuff like that. I’m sure those would be fine, but I’m more than happy with my version. Probably almond slivers would be a nice touch, too. Maybe next time on those.

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
Pinch of nutmeg
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 sandwich, 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*.

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.