February 27, 2011

Black bean patties with mango salsa

I make these black bean patties (or "burgers") on a fairly frequent rotation. I used to have a lot of trouble with them falling apart, but after many tries I think that I've gotten them to a consistency that works. I serve these patties with a variety of condiments -- chipotle mayo, various salsas, and just regular old lettuce, tomato, and onion. This time I made a mango salsa. I also use this mango salsa for various dishes. I serve it as a condiment with grilled chicken or fish tacos. I also make it for a snack or dish to pass at parties with some corn chips -- it's always a hit. It's bright and flavorful. So even though I put them together this time, they can both be used in many ways. I really like having recipes like that under my belt. This will make three patties (About 4 inches in diameter) and 2 to 2-1/2 cups of salsa. 

February 24, 2011

Mashed sunchokes

This is hardly a "recipe" (and the photo looks pretty bland!) but I wanted to include this post in my blog anyway because this was my first experience with the sunchoke or Jerusalem artichoke. What you eat is the tuber of a variety of sunflower. I bought a bunch of these and I cooked up most of them for this mash and saved a few to add raw to a salad. You can eat sunchokes raw, boiled, fried, roasted -- basically anyway you'd eat any sort of root vegetable. The taste was slightly sweet and the texture (when raw) reminded me or a water chestnut. The skin is edible, but you can peel them if you want. I preferred them raw in a salad (with winter greens, tangerine supremes, and toasted pine nuts) but my husband preferred them in this mash. I wanted to keep my use of the sunchoke simple so that I could really taste them. I really love trying new produce. They are in season and available now, so keep a look out and give them a try if you see them. This recipe is a side dish for 2-4 people. Don't they look like knobs of ginger root?

February 21, 2011

Roasted sweet potatoes with spinach and cranberries

I made this delicious side dish to go along with some mustard glazed organic pork. I have been looking for ways to optimize my vegetable side dishes with taste, color, and nutrients. This dish does the trick! It has heat, sweetness, tang, and freshness and is full of good for you vegetables and cranberries. The only thing I may add next time would be to toss in some toasted pecans as well. I think that this would also be a great Thanksgiving side dish (I'll try to remember it for this year!). This recipe should provide a side for about four people and it's easy to bump up the ingredients to make it enough for more people. 

February 17, 2011

Roasted beet and grapefruit salad

This simple salad/side dish is a great way to utilize some winter root vegetables and the in-season citrus that are available right now. I used red beets and a ruby red grapefruit, but you can use any combination of beets and citrus you like: golden beets, blood oranges, and tangerines would all be good.

To roast the beets, I like to place them (skin on) in some parchment paper and then wrap that in foil. Then I place them in a 425 degree oven until the are soft (the time will vary depending on the size of your beets), about 35-40 minutes for medium beets. Once they are soft, I let them cool until they can be handled and I use my fingers to slip off the skins (yes, you will have stained fingers!). For the citrus, you'll want to make supremes. Here's a good website with instructions. Save the remaining skin and squeeze the juices into a small bowl.

February 13, 2011

Eggplant involtini

Involtinis are "roll-ups" that are generally made with thin slices of meat. I found this recipe in Molto Italiano from Mario Batali. It was one of the first recipes I bookmarked in that book to try. I knew that we would like it and that it would make a great vegetarian dinner. I'm always looking for new vegetarian dishes. They turned out really good and plus they are very cute! The stuffing can be changed up to include different herbs, spices, and cheeses - whatever you like and/or have on hand. I think they would also be good using zucchini as the roll. I served these with some garlic bread and a baby arugula salad lightly dressed with red wine vinegar. Next time, I may make some creamy polenta or some pasta to go with them and to eat with the rest of the sauce. I changed the recipe slightly and reduced the amounts to make the meal for only two people. The below recipe is what I made and it will serve two to three people. 

February 9, 2011

Blueberry cornmeal muffins

I love muffins! I think this has become abundantly clear on this blog because I post new muffin recipes all the time! This one is another recipe from my new Nigella Kitchen cookbook. I did adapt it slightly because I like to try to make muffins healthier so I feel better about eating them for breakfast. The recipe called for buttermilk, but I didn't have any milk products at all. I substituted wildberry kefir for the buttermilk and it worked great! These muffins are super moist and just sweet enough. Since I used kefir, I cut back on the sugar (if you use buttermilk, you may want to use 3/4 cup sugar as called for in the original recipe). I used applesauce in place of the oil and white whole wheat flour instead of all-purpose. The recipe below is what I used. It will make one dozen muffins. 

February 7, 2011

Hot quinoa breakfast cereal

I have always loved oatmeal and oatbran and recently discovered the wonders of overnight oatmeal. But with all these great grains and seeds that are becoming popular, there's a world of possibilities when it comes to a hot cereal breakfast. I saw a recipe for a hot quinoa cereal in Martha Stewart Living and was inspired to finally try a new hot breakfast cereal that didn't involve oats. I usually use quinoa in a similar way as rice, often as a side dish with herbs and/or vegetables. It has a unique texture that I enjoy (but I think my husband is still on the fence). As with oatmeal, you can flavor this cereal any way you like. I used bananas and honey with some spices. Any combination of fruit, nuts, spices, and sweeteners (honey, maple syrup, agave nectar) that you like would be perfect. This recipe will serve two (just double it for more - you will want a two to one ratio of milk to quinoa). Maybe next time I'll try red quinoa or millet...

February 5, 2011

Beer battered curry cauliflower

So apparently the Super Bowl is this weekend (I don't really follow football). But, maybe you need a super snack for your party or just a tasty weekend treat while you are relaxing with a movie? It's pretty rare that you will find a truly fried recipe on this blog and it's pretty rare that we would eat fried foods such as this crispy, golden, and slightly spiced cauliflower -- but, hey, every once in a while you just need to have something fried (or at least I do). This cauliflower turned out good and I love the color. It was not as spicy as I would have imagined, so if you like a bit more heat and spice (like us), feel free to adjust the seasonings to your liking. Although I used cauliflower for this recipe, you could use many different vegetables such as carrots, zucchini, eggplant, green beans... I think a combination would be great, too! I made a simple dipping sauce of plain yogurt, zest of 1 lemon, juice of half a lemon, some minced scallions, and minced cilantro. I left it in the refrigerator while I prepared the cauliflower so we had a nice cooling dip to go with the cauliflower. 

February 3, 2011

Overnight pumpkin and maple oatmeal

Would you like an easy, delicious, and healthy breakfast that you can whip up the night before and it's ready to eat the next morning? How about something you can eat hot or cold? Or, something that is a great breakfast to take to work (that's mine getting ready to go to work with me)? Well, you should try this oatmeal recipe. I made a batch of this up on Sunday night and there was enough for both my husband and I to have a filling breakfast for two days. I used pumpkin and maple, but I may try some other flavor combinations like applesauce and honey or peanut butter and bananas the next time. I think yogurt could be a good substitute for some of the milk, too. The oatmeal came out very creamy and flavorful. I warmed mine up and topped it with a bit of extra cinnamon. It was so much better than a packet of instant oatmeal and just as easy! 

February 1, 2011

Meyer lemon polenta cake

I received a copy of Nigella Kitchen from my husband for my birthday last week. I am a big fan of Nigella Lawson and this book is already looking like it's going to get a lot of use. I had some more Meyer lemons lying around and was looking for a way to use them up. I found Nigella's lemon polenta cake recipe in this book and wanted to give it a try. I had to improvise a little because I had Meyer lemons and not enough almond meal. I substituted some whole wheat flour for some of the almond meal. The recipe below is how I made the cake. 

This cake was dense and sweet and tangy and full of texture. It's like a cross between cornbread and lemon squares. I found this to be a very unique dessert that was even better the next morning for breakfast. The reason is the syrup, which just keeps soaking into the cake with more moist lemony goodness.