May 27, 2011

Chickpea and eggplant phyllo tarts

This was my first venture into the world of working with phyllo dough. At first, we had some problems, but after I got the hang of it, it turned out OK. The most difficult part was that the phyllo dough amount that was recommended in this Gourmet Today recipe didn't seem to be thick enough to hold/support the amount of filling (the bottom of the tart was pretty much disintegrating). However, once I added a couple more layers of dough, it turned out splendidly. I'm no longer intimidated by the phyllo sheets and these tarts turned out to be a really tasty and hearty vegetarian dinner. The below recipe is my slightly modified version. It will make enough tarts for four main dish servings. 

May 25, 2011

Eggs, bacon, and asparagus with a roasted yellow pepper sauce

Eggs Benedict are one of those breakfasts that I've always enjoyed and have only ever eaten out at a restaurant. This breakfast was something I threw together (well, not really threw, because it was rather time-consuming) after we came back with some fresh asparagus from the farmer's market. I wanted to make something similar to Eggs Benedict, but with a lighter sauce and some vegetables. I used bacon (not Canadian bacon) and created a light sauce that was sweet and paired very nicely with the dish. This breakfast is hearty and really, really full of flavors. Give it a try with some asparagus this spring. The below recipe is for two, but you can easily double the amounts to feed more people. 

May 23, 2011

Carrot-mango-ginger smoothies

This drink is one I came up with for this month's Healing Foods event. This month features Sukham coolers. Sukham, according to this month's host, means well-being. As the weather continues to warm, I like to find new drinks and smoothies for us. These smoothies are simple to make and they contain three foods that have been featured in the healing foods event in the past: carrot, mango, and ginger. Carrots are high in many vitamins and anti-oxidants. Mangoes are high in vitamins A and C as well as dietary fiber. Ginger is also high in anti-oxidants. The combination of all three of these ingredients results in a sweet and slightly spicy drink that is refreshing and good for you, plus the color is lovely. Give it a try for breakfast or anytime of the day. This recipe will make enough for two servings. 

May 20, 2011

Spring onion and pea risotto

I've only made risotto a few times in the past, so it's not something I'm overly familiar with cooking. I don't find it to be very difficult though and you can make it with so many different vegetables, herbs, cheeses, etc. that the possibilities are almost endless. I've made pumpkin risotto before (in a cute pumpkin/squash bowl) and enjoyed it a lot. I saw a recipe for a pea risotto in the Harvest to Heat cookbook and thought that a bit of modification to include different onions would make an excellent springtime risotto. In this risotto I used spring (green) onions, shallot, garlic, and chives along with fresh peas and pea shoots to really highlight the delicate onion and pea flavors of spring. If you have fresh ramps, these would be an excellent addition! My husband tasted this dish and said it "tastes like pea soup for spring." This is definitely due to the addition of bacon on top, which is optional, but really delicious. Ham or pancetta would also be work. This recipe will serve about four people as a main course. 

May 14, 2011

Spinach, strawberry, and feta salad

It's time to begin shifting over from the heavier comfort foods of the cold weather months to the lighter and fresher foods of the warmer weather months. I love spring and the start of everything new again. It is so nice to again be surrounded by green and open the windows for fresh air. 

I always like to try to come up with salads that are a bit different and that contain a variety of ingredients (i.e., not just vegetables) to make them more enticing to eat and satisfying. I have always loved spinach salads and raw, slightly bitter spinach goes so well with many fruits. I have also been learning that many cheeses and fruits pair together so nicely and feta is one of the best. I love the saltiness of it with the sweetness of the fruit. As with other salads, I will only list the ingredients. You can make the salad in the size you want (e.g., side dish, light dinner) and with the proportions of each ingredient that you like. 

May 7, 2011

Chicken, mushroom, and millet skillet

I found this meal on the Whole Foods website when I was searching for ways to use millet that I had recently purchased. This was the first time I cooked with millet and the first time I had eaten it. I buy millet a lot for my cockatiel, but had not thought of eating it myself until I saw it and its health benefits popping up all over the place. Millet is a seed and can be used in food similarly to quinoa or rice. The taste of the millet is slightly nutty and had a unique texture. I am glad that we gave it a try and I will be looking for more millet recipes (any suggestions?).

This is a complete meal in one skillet - I love those kinds of meals. The recipe below is my slightly modified version of the Whole Foods recipe. I added some lemon because many of the comments suggested it and I think it was a good move. Give this meal a try. It should serve about four people, depending on age and appetite, of course.

May 2, 2011

Salmon and asparagus with a creamy tarragon sauce

Asparagus is one of my favorite vegetables and tarragon is swiftly becoming one of my favorite herbs. Tarragon was pretty unfamiliar to me until a few years ago when I first had it in a chicken salad. From then on, I was hooked on this herb and it is a perfect match with asparagus and salmon. This sauce was something I threw together with some items I had on hand and it turned out very nicely. I also served a simple pasta salad with this meal that was just cooked orzo tossed with extra virgin olive oil, halved baby tomatoes, lemon zest, and some salt and pepper. It was really fresh and bright and accompanied the rich salmon and creamy sauce quite well (plus the lemon juice goes in the sauce). I made this dish for two, but you can cook up more fish and asparagus as needed.