Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Slow-Cooker Black Bean-Mushroom Chili

Slow-Cooker Black Bean-Mushroom Chili

I try to make as many recipes as beans as possible. They seem like a miracle food! Cheap, healthy, and filling. I order often from Rancho Gordo because I think their beans are high quality and I never know how long a pack of beans have been sitting around on a shelf at the store. It's not that they go bad or anything, but I find fresher beans more flavorful.

This recipe for Slow-Cooker Black Bean-Mushroom Chili appealed to me not only for the use of beans, but also because I am a huge mushroom fan AND you get to use your slow cooker! You do end up with a really tasty dinner but it is nothing like traditional chili. The use of tomatillos and chipotle peppers gives it a really great flavor and I find those ingredients fun to play with.

The recipe for Slow-Cooker Black Bean-Mushroom Chili is available on

Love is all around you... Enjoy!

- Rachel

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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Chard and Tofu Wontons in Sambal Soy Sauce

Be prepared for some time in the kitchen to make these wontons. It doesn't take too long, but you do have to hand fold about 30 wontons which does take a bit of time. I just cranked up the music and sipped some wine while putting these together and it was kind of meditative. And yum did they taste good! Way better than frozen wontons you can buy at the store. But if you do use wontons from the store, this sambal soy sauce recipe is delicious so try and make that on your own.

I did have one issue though when I made the wontons ahead of time and froze them. They stuck together because I let them sit on top of each other in the freezer bag, so definitely free them on a parchment-lined baking sheet before transferring them to the freezer bag. Cooking them practically tore them apart when I cooked them in a big lump.

The recipe calls for "baked soy-seasoned tofu" which I could not find anywhere. I used a recipe for Basic Baked Tofu from Isa Chandra Moskowitz's "Appetite for Reduction"which is my favorite vegan cookbook. Cut pressed tofu into 8 equal pieces and marinade in ¾ cup vegetable broth, 3 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar, 2 Tbsp. tamari or soy sauce, 1 tsp. dried thyme and 3 cloves of minced garlic. Bake at 375 for 20 minutes, spoon on some marinade and bake for another 10.

Chard and Tofu Wontons in Sambal Soy Sauce
Serves 10

2 tsp. roasted sesame oil
1 medium carrott, finely chopped (½ cup)
4 cups chopped Swiss chard leaves
6 oz. baked soy-seasoned tofu, chopped
1 Tbsp. low-sodium soy sauce
⅛ tsp. ground white pepper
1 12-oz. pkg. wonton wrappers
3 green onions, chopped, for garnish
¼ cup chopped cilantro, for garnish

Sambal Soy Sauce
6 Tbs. Chinese malt vinegar or 2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar plus 1 Tbsp. rice vinegar
6 Tbsp. low-sodium soy sauce
2 Tbsp. sambal oelek
4 tsp. maple syrup
2 cloves garlic, minced (2 tsp.)

To make Wontons: Heat oil in skillet over medium-high heat. Add carrot, and stir-fry 3 minutes. Add chard, and cook 5 minutes, or until wilted. Transfer mixture to food processor, and pulse until finely chopped. Add tofu, and pulse until combined. Transfer to bowl, and stir in soy sauce and white pepper.

Set 1 wonton wrapper on work surface. Spoon 1 tsp. tofu mixture in center of wrapper. Brush wrapper edges with water, and fold wrapper into triangle around filling. Press edges to seal, and place on lightly floured baking sheet. Repeat with remaining wrappers and filling.

Bring large pot of water to boil. Cook 10 Wontons at a time in boiling water 90 seconds. Remove from pot with slotted spoon, and place in bowl.

To make Sambal Soy Sauce: whisk all ingredients together in small bowl. Top Wontons with Sambal Soy Sauce, and garnish with green onions and cilantro.

Per serving (5 wontons plus 1½ Tbsp. sauce): 168 cal; 8 g prot; 3 g total fat (<1 g sat fat); 26 g carb; 3 mg chol; 736 mg sod; 2 g fiber; 3 g sugars

Love is all around you... Enjoy!

- Rachel

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Saturday, October 29, 2011

The Yoga of Food

Image © Monika Wisniewska -

Are you like me and love yoga but have never made it to any of the Yoga Journal Conferences? I've been wanted to go to one for years. Luckily for use they post several of the Audio Recordings online. And I thought many of  you might be interested in one I found on The Yoga of Food. It's really inspiring to eat well and interesting how they discuss practicing yoga and having a relationship with your food are both always evolving and changing.

Dayna Macy, author of Ravenous, moderates the panel discussion with Cyndi Lee who wrote Yoga Body, Buddha Mind, Steve Nakon, Seane Corn, and Aadil Paklhivala, author of Fire of Love.

The panel discussed various topics around how yoga effects our eating and healthy eating in general. One point made is that yoga helps us become more conscious of our bodies and get in touch with our breath. As this happens our tastes change. We become more aware of what we are eating and make better choices. And over time, just like our relationships change, our diet changes as well. A good diet is a practice just like all other practices, including diet.

It is proposed that when deciding what is the best way to eat, think "simple and elegant" and don't make things too complicated. Keep things in line with what feels good for you and don't make any judgments.

Advertising by the food companies aimed at both children and adults is also discussed. We often get seduced by marketing of agribusiness and start thinking certain things are healthy or unhealthy for us. But we are an over-weight nation full of sickness and fatigue.  Pay attention to the energy food gives you. When you eat something does it make you tired and lazy? Does it give you energy?

Four things to eliminate from our diet as quickly caffeine, alcohol, tobacco, and refined sugar. Artificial chemicals must be avoided by everyone. There is nobody who can benefit by ingesting artificial chemicals and toxins into their body. So a good shift to work towards is to go organic. When you dine out, ask what is organic on the menu (even if you know there is nothing organic) because that helps breed awareness among the restaurants.

Pay attention when you are eating because many time we over eat simply because we are not paying attention. This is a culture that eats the most and is also the most under-nourished. Our stomachs are meant to be incredibly acidic for easy digestion but most people's stomach acid is way too low. Stress and chemicals both destroy your body's ability to produce acid. Eating as close to nature as possible is the best way to eat. And it is also important to "eat with happiness" because it's all about the joy of food.

One of the themes that comes up over and over is to not feel guilty or fearful when making your food choices. Try to be smart and stick with it.

Listen to the 2011 Yoga Journal Conference Midwest Panel Discussion: "The Yoga of Food" with Seane Corn, Cyndi Lee, Steve Nakon and Aadil Palkhivala. Moderated by Dayna Macy.

You can view all of the audio recordings here.

Love is all around you...

- Rachel

Twitter: @RachelRubin
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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Linguine with Frenched Green Beans and Parsley "Pesto"

I just had to make this dish. While flipping through my old copy of On Top of Spaghetti I was struck by the photo of this dish using green beans with the pasta. And it called for a green bean slicer which I had never heard of so of course I ordered up that neat little gadget just so I could play. The beans turned out sliced nicely but it was kind of a pain to push them through one by one.

Never a big pesto fan, I've been won over this past year. A few different things I have made call for making your own pesto and I really like it! It's so simple to just blend up a bunch of herbs and you get some really great flavors.

And this recipe has a bunch of neat tricks! It made me feel really Italian by putting the pesto in the bowl BEFORE the pasta and then tossing it with a cup of the reserved pasta water to complete the sauce right there in the bowl. I also liked the instruction to pour drain the pasta over the beans to re-warm them.

Linguine with Frenched Green Beans and Parsley "Pesto"
Serves 6 as a first course

8 ounces fresh green beans, trimmed and sliced lengthwise into thin slivers
2 cups gently packed fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
10 large fresh basil leaves
1 small garlic clove, trimmed and peeled
1/2 cup light-flavored extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
Pinch or more of cayenne
1/2 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano, plus more to pass at the table
8 ounces dried linquine

Cook the green beans in boiling salted water until tender. They should yield easily under the pressure of your teeth. Drain in a colander and set aside next to the sink to await to pasta.

While the parsley, basil, garlic, olive oil, salt, and cayenne in a blender until you have a chunky puree. Pour into a warmed, but not hot, serving bowl. Stir in 1/2 cup Pecorino Romano.

Generously salt the pasta water and drop in the linguine. Cook, stirring often, until al dente. Reserve about 1 cup of the cooking water, then pour the remaining water and pasta into the colander over the beans. This will warm the beans if they have cooled. Transfer the pasta and beans to the serving bowl and toss with the sauce and cheese. Add enough reserved cooking water, a tablespoon at a time, to loosen the pesto. There should be a small puddle of sauce on the bottom of the bowl. Serve right away with extra Pecorino Romano passed at the table.

P.S. Mer Soleil is a super yummy chardonnay that, in my opinion, always goes well with dinner preparations.

Presto Pasta Night #236 is being hosted by HoneyB of The Life & Loves of Grumpy's Honey Bunch. See the full recap of all entries here.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Mediterranean Barley

This super fast and healthy recipe for Mediterranean Barley is from the April, 2001 issue of Cooking Light magazine. It's been sitting in my pile of dishes I want to make for a while and when I saw a bunch of fresh arugula at the grocery store I grabbed it with this in mind.

I did make a few adjustments to the recipe. I cooked my barley in vegetable broth as it is my favorite way to prepare barley that I'm going to eat without a sauce. I also added half of an English cucumber that I had leftover from lunch and I cut back on the sundried tomatoes to only about 1 Tbsp. because I'm not a big fan. I didn't have any pistachios so I meant to substitute by sprinkling with pine nuts but I forgot. The extra crunch would have been nice so next time I'll definitely remember to add some nuts on top.

The ingredients may seem a bit boring, but I was pleased with how tasty this actually turned out. Goes to show how much flavor you can get from simple ingredients.

Mediterranean Barley with Chickpeas & Arugula
Serves 4

1 cup uncooked pearl barley
1 cup packed arugula leaves
1 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
3 Tbsp. finely chopped sun-dried tomatoes, packed without oil
1 (15½-ounce) can no-salt-added chickpeas, rinsed and drained
2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. crushed red pepper
2 Tbsp. chopped pistachios

Cook barley according to package directions, omitting salt. Combine barley, arugula, bell pepper, tomatoes, and chickpeas in a large bowl.

Combine lemon juice, oil, salt, and crushed red pepper, stirring with a whisk. Drizzle over barley mixture, and toss. Sprinkle with pistachios.

Serving size is 1¼ cups barley mixture and 1½ teaspoons pistachios.

Nutritional Information per serving as published in the magazine
Calories: 360; Fat: 10.1g (sat: 1.4g, mono: 6.1g, poly: 2g); Protein: 10.1g; Carb: 59.9g; Fiber 12.4g; Chol: 0mg; Iron: 2.9mg; Sodium: 682mg; Calc: 55mg.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Ingredients: A Documentary Film

Ingredients is a documentary film about the local film movement. It's just over an hour long and is definitely worth watching. Starting with the recent history of farming, it highlights farmers all around the United States and identifies the changes in farming since the 1980s. Many farmers and chefs are involved with their local communities and there are some really great programs to offer education and awareness. One scene that really struck me was when some school children came to the farm and when asked what vegetables are one of them said they are what vegetarians eat! And then it was followed up with the point that if children are involved in the growing or harvesting of vegetables they are likely to eat them. This is a film that all parents, and any adult, should see. Maybe they won't learn anything new but there are many interesting points worth discussing.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Quinoa Puttanesca

Okay, the picture might now do this dish justice. You wouldn't believe how many wonderful flavors this recips for Quinoa Puttanesca by the wonderful Isa Chandra Moskowitz has! I am a fan of traditional Pasta Puttanesca (a/k/a "pasta of the whore's" which cracks me up), but this is a vegan version made super healthy by serving over quinoa instead of traditional pasta.

It's quick and easy too. The only chopping is for some garlic and olives which doesn't take long at all. And while the recipe is made to serve four, they are really hearty servings. This is one of those dishes that is great to make on a weeknight and then take for leftovers a couple of days during the week. It lasts well for a few days and heats up great in the microwave.

Quinoa Puttanesca
Serves 4

2 cups cooked quinoa

2 tsp. olive oil
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
A generous pinch of dried tarragon
A generous pinch of dried marjoram
1/4 cup white wine
1/2 cup kalamata olives, chopped roughly
1/2 cup capers
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
Freshly ground pepper

Preheat a saucepot over medium heat. Place the oil and garlic in the pot and stir for about a minute, being careful not to burn the garlic. Add the herbs, spices, and wine; cook for about a minute.

Add the olives, capers, and tomatoes. Cook for about 15 minutes. You can serve by scooping quinoa into individual bowls and pouring the sauce over it. Another way is to just mix everything into a bowl together.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Spicy Shrimp Quesadillas

These are SO good! And the best part is they are made from all leftovers! The December, 2011 issue of Bon Appetit magazine had a feature where you'd make one dinner and then specifically have enough leftover to use for a second meal in a different recipe. I thought that was so neat I just had to try it.

These Spicy Shrimp Quesadillas are made using the leftover Shrimp and Coconut Curry with Green Beans and Fresh Orange-Apple Chutney. And honestly, they are even better than the original dinner. But maybe that's because of all the cheese :)

Spicy Shrimp Quesadillas
Makes 4

2 cups reserved Shrimp and Coconut with Green Beans (see recipe)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro plus additional (for garnish)
3 jalapeno chiles, seeded, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons chopped shallot
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
2 cups coarsely grated Jack cheese
8 7- to 8-inch diameter flour tortillas
8 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

Drain sauce from curry; place 2 tablespoons in bowl. Chop shrimp and beans; add to bowl. Mix in 2 tablespoons cilantro, chiles, shallot, and lime juice. Spread filling, then cheese over 4 tortillas. Top each with another tortilla.

Heat 2 large nonstick skillets over medium-high heat; add 2 teaspoons oil to each. Place 1 quesadilla in each pan. Cover; cook until bottom is golden, 2 to 3 minutes. Turn; cook uncovered 2 to 3 minutes longer. Repeat with remaining quesadillas and oil. Top quesadillas with additional cilantro and Fresh Orange-Apple Chutney.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Shrimp and Coconut Curry with Green Beans

Yum! This recipe for Shrimp and Coconut Curry with Green Beans is one of those recipes that you won't believe you can actually make something that tastes this good. It's nice and rich and the green beans are a fun ingredient to have in curry.

Shrimp and Coconut Curry with Green Beans
4 Servings

3/4 pound green beans, trimmed, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
3 lemongrass stalks
1 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
2/3 cup coarsely chopped shallots
1/4 cup coarsely chopped seeded jalapeno chiles
2 tablespoons Indian curry powder (such as Madras)
1 tablespoon coarsely chopped peeled fresh ginger
1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh basil plus sliced leaves (for garnish)
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 cups canned unsweetened coconut milk
2 1/2 pounds uncooked medium shrimp, peeled, deveined
Lime wedges

Cook beans in large pot of boiling salted water until crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Drain. Cut 2 inches from bottom of each lemongrass stalk; discard tops. Thinly slice bottom pieces; place in processor. Add next 5 ingredients, chopped basil, and 1/4 cup water. Blend until paste forms.

Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add curry paste; cook, stirring often, until dry, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in coconut milk; bring to simmer. Add shrimp; reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until shrimp are just opaque in center, about 5 minutes. Add green beans; stir to heat through. Season curry with salt and pepper. Transfer 2 cups curry to bowl; cover, chill and reserve for quesadillas. Transfer remaining curry to serving bowl; garnish with basil. Serve with lime wedges and Fresh Orange-Apple Chutney.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Fresh Orange-Apple Chutney

This is some tasty chutney, but I probably wouldn't have made it just on it's own. It is used for the Shrimp and Coconut Curry with Green Beans recipe from the December, 2010 issue of Bon Appetit magazine. There's lots of chopping involved in this one and there is tons left over. But it goes great on all kinds of leftovers (see the recipe for Spicy Shrimp Quesadillas).

Fresh Orange-Apple Chutney
Makes 2 cups

1½ navel oranges
1 Golden Delicious apple, peeled, cored, cut into ⅓-inch cubes
1/2 red onion, coarsely chopped
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon chopped seeded jalapeno chile
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon agave nectar or honey
1 teaspoon (generous) garam masala
1 teaspoon minced peeled fresh ginger

Cut and peel all white pith from oranges, following contour of fruit. Cut segments into ⅓-inch cubes; place in medium bowl. Add all remaining ingredients; toss to blend. Season with salt.

Can be made 8 hours ahead. Cover and chill.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Celery, Grilled Grape and Mushroom Salad

Okay, I better fess up that this salad cost over $40 to make! But that is probably because I bought all organic at Whole Foods. And also since the recipe was from the June, 2011 issue of Food and Wine magazine I should have known it would be a bit more on the pricy side. It was SUPER yummy though and is a great addition to a buffet. I made this for 4th of July and we had it with some steaks, grilled vegetables and other traditional salads (potato salad, coleslaw, etc.). It was a really classy addition to our dinner.

Also, this lasts surprisingly well as leftovers. Maybe I got lucky, but since there isn't too much lettuce there wasn't really anything to get soggy from the dressing.

I think the most fun part is that we grilled grapes. I know I've had grilled pineapple and peaches before, but grapes are novel. We just put them on the fire in a veggie basket and they cooked up great! ("We" really equals the guys who did the grilling and thought I was nuts.)

Celery, Grilled Grape and Mushroom Salad
6 servings

2 Tbsp. white wine vinegar
2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
½ tsp. celery seeds
¼ tsp. Dijon mustard
2 small garlic cloves, minced
½ cup plus 1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
¼ cup roasted almond oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
½ cup flat-leaf parsley leaves
½ cup tender celery leaves (from one head)
¼ cup salted roasted almonds, chopped
1 pound king oyster mushrooms, sliced lengthwise ¼-inch thick
2 cups green grapes (12 ounces)
2 heads butter lettuce, leaves separated
2 cups very thinly sliced celery

In a small bowl, whisk the vinegar with the lemon juice, celery seeds, mustard and half of the garlic. Gradually whisk in ¼ cup of the olive oil and the almond oil until emulsified. Season the dressing with salt and pepper.

In a mini food processor, combine the remaining garlic with the parsley,c elery leaves and almonds nad pulse until finely chopped. Add another ¼ cup of the olive oil and puree to a chunky paste. Season the pesto with salt and pepper.

Light a grill. Brush the mushrooms with oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill over high heat, turning once, until tender and browned, about 5 minutes. In a bowl, toss the grapes with the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill over high heat until the skins begin to blacken in spots, about 3 minutes; line the grill with perforated foil if the grapes will fall through. Transfer the grapes and mushrooms to a large bowl and toss with the pesto.

Arrange the lettuce leaves on a platter and drizzle with half of the dressing. Spoon the mushroom-and-grape salad onto the lettuce. Toss the celery with the remaining dressing, spoon it on top and serve.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Spiced Lentils with Mushrooms and Greens

I'm always on the lookout for a way to incorporate lentils into my diet as well as more greens. So this recipe for Spiced Lentils with Mushrooms and Greens from the February, 2011 issue of Food and Wine magazine is perfect, especially since I think nothing with mushrooms can ever be bad. And there is nothing I love better than when foods that seem somewhat boring on their own (i.e. dry lentils and Swiss chard) get tossed together with some spices and end up super tasty as a result! And this is exactly what I got with this one. In fact, it was so good I didn't eat it as a side-dish as suggested in the recipe, I ate it stand alone as a light meal.

Spiced Lentils with Mushrooms and Greens
4 side-dish servings

1/2 cup brown or green lentils
3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 pound shiitake mushrooms, stems discarded and caps sliced 1/4-inch thick
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/8 tsp turmeric
1/2 pound Swiss chard or other tender greens, large stems discarded and leaves coarsely chopped
1 Tbsp chopped parsley

In a small saucepan, cover the lentils with 2 1/2 cups of water and bring to a boil. Cover and cook over low heat until the lentils are tender, about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Add the shiitake and season with salt. Cover and cook over moderate heat, stiffing, until the mushrooms are tender and starting to brown, 5 minutes. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil along with the garlic, cumin, coriander, pepper and turmeric and cook, stirring, until fragrant, 1 minute. Add the greens and cook, stirring, until wilted, 2 minutes.

Add the lentils and their cooking liquid to the mushrooms and simmer for 3 minutes. Add up to 1/4 cup water if the lentils are too dry. Season with salt. Ladle the lentils into bowls, garnish with parsley and serve.

My Legume Love Affair (MLLA) was originally started by Susan of The Well-Seasoned Cook. This month's MLLA #33 is being hosted by Ammalus Kitchen

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Scarlet Barley with Mushroom & Cannellini Paprikas

I admit that the main reason I made this recipe is so that I could shred a beet. I have had a thing with beets this past fall but so far I have only tackled roasting them. I found the concept of peeling the raw beet and then shredding it and using it as an ingredient intriguing. And when I learned this month's Monthly Mingle theme is "Think Pink" I decided this recipe for Scarlet Barley from Isa Chandra Moskowitz's "Appetite for Reduction" would be a fun contribution.

The Scarlet Barley along with the Mushroom & Cannelini Paprikas came together in about an hour. Shredding the beet for the Scarlet Barley was harder than I thought. I used the shredder on my mandolin and since the beet is naturally hard it was a bit difficult to get a good position for the shredder to shred it. And of course my hands turned all red. But once that was done the rest was simple. And it wasn't too difficult that I wouldn't do it again to use for other recipes if the ingredient is called for.

I prepared this dish prior to an evening appointment and let it sit on the stove for at least two hours before I ate it. Unfortunately I think it lost some flavor. The end result was somewhat bland to me. I think if I would have tried the barley after letting the fresh lemon sit for about 10 minutes it would have been much better.

The next day I sauteed some Swiss chard with green onions and garlic (like the way it is done for the Miso Udon Stir-fry with Greens and Beans recipe) and then threw the leftovers into the pan to reheat. I mixed it all together and after it was plated I squirted on a bit of sriracha. It was a really great combo to be eaten this way!

Scarlet Barley
Serves 6

1 tsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
Freshly ground black pepper
1 bay leaf
1 cup pearl barley, rinsed
2 1/2 cups vegetable broth
1/4 tsp salt
1 beet (about 3/4 pound), grated
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Fresh dill, for garnish (optional)
Preheat a 2-quart pot over medium heat. Saute the garlic in the olive oil for about 30 seconds. Add several pinches of pepper and the bay leaf. Add the barley, broth, and salt; cover and bring to a boil. Once boiling stir and lower the heat to low. Cover and cook for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

When most of the water has absorbed, mix in the grated beet. Cook for about 20 more minutes, stirring occasionally. Turn off the heat, mix in the lemon juice, and taste for salt. Cover and let sit for about 10 mire minutes. Remove bay leaf and serve topped with fresh dill.

Mushroom & Cannellini Paprikas
Serves 4

1 1/2 tsp olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound cremini mushrooms, sliced
Several pinches of freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup dry red cooking wine
1/4 cup vegetable broth
2 tsp smoked paprika
2 Tbsp fresh chopped thyme
1 (16-ounce) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup chopped fresh dill
1 recipe Scarlet Barley

Preheat a 4-quart pot over medium-high heat. Saute the onions in the oil until lightly browned, about 7 minutes. Add the garlic and saute for about 30 seconds. Add the mushrooms, pepper, and salt; cook until lots of the moisture has been released, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes.

Add the wine, broth, smoked paprika, and thyme. Turn up the heat and bring the mixture to a low boil. Boil for about 3 minutes. Lower the heat and add the beans. Cook to heat through, about 4 more minutes. Use a strong fork to lightly mash some of the beans, to thicken the sauce. Just mash a few against the side of the post and then mix 'em back in. Taste for salt and serve.

Serve over Scarlet Barley with plenty of fresh dill.

This month's Monthly Mingle theme is Think Pink and is being hosted by Sarah at Maison Cupcake.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Miso Udon Stir-fry with Greens & Beans

Wow! This dish tastes about 10 times better than it looks. With a little Sriracha and salt on top, it's creamy and salty and spicy... perfect!

I bought a few kinds of different kinds of beans the other week just to have on hand. One of those was a bean I hadn't heard of before: azuki beans. So when I was flipping through my new cookbook, Appetite for Reduction, I flagged this recipe as the first one to make because of it's use of this fun new ingredient.

I couldn't find brown rice udon noodles as suggested in the recipe so I bought some brown rice spaghetti. But I had some regular pre-cooked udon packages in my refrigerator so when it came time to put this together I decided to use those.

I realize now that I forgot to add the sesame seeds. Oh well, I do bet they would have been great on this but it was really tasty all the same.

Miso Udon Stir-fry with Greens and Beans
Serves 4

1 pound broccoli, stems sliced thinly, tops cut into florets
8 ounces brown rice udon noodles
1 teaspoon olive oil
6 cloves of garlic, minced
1 bunch Swiss chard (about ½ pound), coarse stems removed, chopped roughly
1 cup thinly sliced green onions, plus extra for garnish
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 (16-ounce) can azuki beans, drained and rinsed
1/3 cup miso
1/2 cup hot water
4 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds
Sriracha hot sauce, to serve

Prepare a pot of salted water for cooking the noodles.

Preheat a large skillet over medium-high heat. First saute the broccoli with a bit of nonstick cooking spray and a pinch of salt for about 5 minutes. Cover the pan and flip once or twice. The broccoli should be browned in some spots. Add a splash of water at the end, then cover for another minute. The pan should be steaming. Remove broccoli from the pan and set aside.

At this point, the water should be boiling. Use a mug to remove ½ cup of water; you can use that to mix into your miso in a few steps. Then cook the noodles according to the package directions. Drain when ready.

Now we'll put everything together. Preheat the large pan again, over medium heat. Saute the garlic in the oil for about a minute, until fragrant. Add the chard, green onion, and salt, and saute for about 5 minutes, until wilted. Add the beans and let heat through.

In the meantime, in a mug or measuring cup, mix together the miso and warm pasta water until relatively smooth.

Add the drained noodles to the pan, along with the miso mixture and broccoli. Saute for about 2 minutes, using a pasta spoon, making sure everythin is nice and coated. Taste for salt. To serve, to with sesame seeds and green onions and keep the Sriracha close at hand.

No Croutons Required March bogging event theme is "aduki beans or mung beans" and it is being hosted by Lisa's Kitchen. View the roundup here.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Hearty Irish Lager Stew

You probably don't think "vegetarian" when you think of Irish food, but this dish is not only vegetarian, it's vegan. This recipe for Hearty Irish Lager Stew from the March, 2011 issue of Vegetarian Times magazine is made with no animal products at all so it's super healthy. That might not have you smackin' your lips, but this stew is very tasty and since it's made of mostly veggies, you can eat a huge amount and it won't go to your hips. And, it's made with beer! So that's kinda fun.

Make sure you cut your veggies on the small side. Ours were a bit large and with the cooking times listed in the recipe we found that the potatoes were still hard. We cooked it an extra 15-20 minutes and some of it was still al dente. It was good anyways; I don't mind chewing my vegetables. I'd rather that than have them be too mushy. And we munched on some Salt and Vinegar Potato Bites while we were waiting for the stew to finish so we had no complaints.

Hearty Irish Lager Stew
Serves 8

1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
8 oz. button or shittake mushrooms, halved
2 cloves garlic, minced (2 tsp.)
1 medium leek, white part only, diced (1 cup)
2 medium carrots, peeled and sliced (2 cups)
2 small parsnips, peeled and sliced (1½ cups)
1½ tsp. tomato paste
1 15-oz. can crushed tomatoes
1½ cups low-sodium vegetable broth
2 sprigs fresh thyme, tied in bundle, plus 1 tsp. chopped fresh thyme, divided
½ lager beer
1½ Tbsp. quick-cooking tapioca
1 cup shredded cabbage
1 Tbsp. white miso
2 Tbsp. chopped parsley

Heat ½ Tbsp. oil in large pot over medium heat. Add mushrooms and garlic; saute 8 minutes, or until mushrooms are browned. Remove from pan. Add remaining ½ Tbsp. oil to pot. Add leek, and cook 5 minutes. Add potatoes, carrots, parsnips, and tomato paste. Cook 2 minutes. Add tomatoes, broth, and thyme sprigs; bring to a boil. Reduct heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer 40 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add lager, tapioca, and mushrooms. Simmer 10 to 15 minutes, or until thickened, stirring often. Remove thyme sprigs, stir in cabbage and miso, and simmer 4 to 5 minutes, or until cabbage softens. Stir in chopped thyme and parsley, and season with salt and pepper, if desired.

Nutritional Information as provided in magazine:
Per 1-cup serving: 118 CAL; 4 G PROT; 2 G TOTAL FAT (<1 G SAT FAT); 23 G CARB; 0 MG CHOL; 204 MG SOD; 5 G FIBER; 5 G SUGARS

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Salt and Vinegar Potato Bites

We love these potatoes! Way better then french fries, roasted potatoes are much healthier. Found in the March, 2011 issue of Vegetarian Times magazine I made these tonight as a snack.

The recipe says you can drizzle the sauce over the potatoes, but I think that would have made them soggy. We liked dipping them and that way we could each control the amount of vinegar that absorbed into to potato.

Salt and Vinegar Potato Bites
Serves 8

6 medium red or yello potatoes, cut into 1-inch cubes (3 cups)
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 cup malt vinegar
3 Tbsp. sugar

Soak potatoes in large bowl of cold water 30 minutes. Drain, and pat dry.

Preheat oven to 425°F. Toss potatoes with oil on baking sheet, and spread in single layer. Roast 45 minutes, or until golden and crisp, turning 2 or 3 times. Season with salt and pepper, if desired.

Meanwhile, bring vinegar and sugar to a simmer in saucepan over medium heat. Cook 15 to 20 minutes, or until liquid is reduced by half, stirring occasionally. Serve malt sauce on side for dipping, or drizzle over potatoes.

Nutritional Information as provided in magazine:
Per ½-cup serving: 89 CAL; 1 G PROT; 4 G TOTAL FAT (<1 G SAT FAT); 14 G CARB; 0 MG CHOL; 3 MG SOD; <1 G FIBER; 5 G SUGARS

Friday, January 14, 2011

Japchae (with soba noodles)

"Got Kimchi?" was the headline a this article on Korean cooking in the September, 2010 issue of Women's Health magazine. And pictured on the first page was Japchae. Described as a word that means "mixture of vegetables", my mouth watered with all the yummy veggies and noodles piled together.

Always looking to cook new kinds of foods using new ingredients, I couldn't wait to give this one a try. I had to visit the Asian market to get the hot pepper paste and enoki mushrooms, but I was able to find all the other ingredients at my local grocery store. In fact, you don't really need the enoki mushrooms, but they are fun. I'm not sure they add much flavor, but they do make this dish look super fancy.

Go ahead and make this one evening and save leftovers for lunch the next day. The flavors combine more and it even tastes great cold!

I did a little research and discovered that this dish is usually made with cellophane noodles but I like that this version is made with soba noodles because they are healthy for you and one of my favorite noodles.

Serves 4

2 Tbsp sesame seeds
3 Tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
1 Tbsp + 1 tsp sugar
2 tsp hot pepper paste (kochujang)
1 Tbsp sesame oil
½ lb soba noodles
2 tsp vegetable oil
½ medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
1 large carrot, cut into matchsticks
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 green onions, thinly sliced
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
5 oz baby spinach
3 oz enoki mushrooms, ends trimmed

In a dry skillet, toast sesame seeds over medium heat until golden brown, stirring frequently. Remove from skillet and set aside.

In a small bowl, combine soy sauce, 1 tablespoon sugar, hot pepper paste, and sesame oil; set aside. Prepare noodles according to package directions.

Meanwhile, heat vegetable oil in a wok or large skillet. Add yellow onion and carrot; cook for 4 minutes. Add garlic, green onion, red pepper, spinach, 1 teaspoon sugar, and salt and pepper to taste; cook for 3 minutes. Stir in noodles and sauce; heat for 2 minutes. Serve topped with enoki mushrooms and toasted sesame seeds.

Nutritional information per serving as provided in magazine:
332 cal, 9 g fat (1g sat), 57 g carbs, 889 mg sodium, 4 g fiber, 12 g protein