Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Sweet Potato Chickpea and Spinach Coconut Curry

All things have their cycles, and I wonder if mine is swinging back around to food. I spent some time this past weekend just reading a cookbook, something I haven't done in ages. I'll hunt through them for a recipe I want, or entertain wistful memories of a more ambitious period in my food-life and then move on to something else, but I haven't been reading them.

It was Patricia Wells' Vegetable Harvest, by the way, a lovely volume and a pleasure to browse through. I found some soup recipes I had quite forgotten about, and look forward to trying them when the weather cools off.

Last night was another Pinterest find, however, Sweet Potato Chickpea and Spinach Coconut Curry, which apparently was sourced in turn from a different blog, which has altogether too many recipes on it for me to find the page for this one. The whole cumin seeds in this added a very different flavor, and we agreed that it was an excellent recipe.

Ingredients:
  • 2 Tbsp neutral cooking oil
  • 1 tablespoon whole cumin seeds
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped (about 2 cups)
  • Salt to taste
  • 3 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • Red pepper flakes to taste
  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1/4- to 1/2-inch
  • 1 14-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes, with juices
  • 1 14-ounce can light coconut milk (or if you're me and think "light" products are ridiculous, use full-fat)
  • 5 oz baby spinach
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Instructions:
  1. In a large saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. The oil is hot enough when a cumin seed sizzles when tossed into the pan. Add the cumin seeds and toast for about a minute, until fragrant and lightly darkened in color (be careful not to burn them). 
  2. Stir in the onion, season with a pinch of salt, and cook for 3 to 5 minutes or until the onion is soft and translucent.
  3. Add the garlic, ginger, turmeric, coriander, and red pepper flakes. Stir to combine and sauté for a couple of minutes, until the garlic softens.
  4. Add the sweet potato, chickpeas, tomatoes with their juices, and coconut milk. Stir to combine, cover, and simmer over medium heat for 20 to 30 minutes, until the potatoes are fork-tender.
  5. Stir in the spinach and cook until wilted. 
  6. Season with salt and black pepper to taste.
Serve over rice.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Risotto with Sugar Snap Peas and Spring Leeks

Or onions, since I rarely remember to buy leeks when I get the urge to make this. It got suddenly chilly and damp here in New England yesterday, and I didn't mind the idea of standing over the stove for a bit. This is another fantastically ancient Cooking Light clipping, and no, I don't know when I will figure out how to post pictures in these entries. I do kind of miss having them, but I am also constantly annoyed by how many pics food blogs seem to have these days. So maybe I will be the pictureless food blog for a bit.

Ingredients
  • 4 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth (use vegetable broth to make this vegetarian)
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar snap peas, trimmed
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups (1/2-inch thick) sliced leek
  • 1/2 cup chopped carrot
  • 1 cup Arborio rice
  • 1/4 cup dry vermouth
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 cup (2 ounces) grated fresh Parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Instructions
  1. Bring broth to a simmer in a medium saucepan (do not boil). Keep warm over low heat.
  2. Cook peas in boiling water for 3 minutes or until crisp-tender. Drain and rinse with cold water; drain. (I often use frozen ones, in which case I steam them for a few minutes in the microwave before adding them.)
  3. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. 
  4. Add leek and carrot; sauté 5 minutes or until tender, stirring frequently. 
  5. Add rice; cook 3 minutes, stirring constantly. 
  6. Stir in 1 cup broth; cook 5 minutes or until the liquid is nearly absorbed, stirring frequently. 
  7. Stir in 1/2 cup broth, vermouth, salt, and oregano. 
  8. Add remaining broth, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring frequently until each portion of broth is absorbed before adding the next (about 25 minutes). 
  9. Add peas; cook 4 minutes. 
  10. Stir in cheese and remaining ingredients.



Friday, July 21, 2017

Falafel Pitas with Cucumber Yogurt Sauce

Another oldie/goodie from Cooking Light, and one that doesn't require much stove time. There's a fair amount of prep work to do with making the sauce, but the falafel themselves are creamy and delightful. I like to serve this with Couscous Salad with Chickpeas and Tomatoes; you can never have too many chickpeas.


Ingredients:
  • 1/4 cup minced red onion
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 (15 1/2-ounce) can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained
  • 1 (1-ounce) slice whole wheat bread, torn into pieces
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg white
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 (6-inch) whole wheat pitas, split
  • 1 cup arugula
  • 1/2 cup Cucumber-Yogurt Dressing
Instructions:
  1. Combine first 10 ingredients in a food processor; pulse 6 times or until well blended (mixture will be wet).
  2. Heat olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Spoon about 1/3 cup chickpea mixture per patty into pan; cook 4 minutes on each side or until golden brown.
  3. Line each pita half with 1/4 cup arugula, add 1 patty to each pita half, and spoon 2 tablespoons Cucumber-Yogurt Dressing into each pita half.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Thai Chicken Sate with Peanut Sauce; Thai Cucumber Salad

A Thai-inspired two-fer last night as 90+ degree heat continues in Boston. I've been spending tons of time on Pinterest lately (boredom will do that), and actually managed to find two things in my pins that went together.

I really liked both of these and will definitely repeat. I cut my chicken into larger chunks than these and forgot to soak the skewers, so I just baked them on the sheet for a few minutes longer.

Note that this does need to marinate! I was very proud of myself for being together enough in the morning to get it all ready before work.

Thai Chicken Sate with Peanut Sauce (source)

Ingredients:
  • 2 pounds chicken breasts, sliced into 1/2-1" strips
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
  • 30-35 wooden skewers
Marinade/Sauce Ingredients:
  • 1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon chili paste (like Sambal Oelek)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
Instructions:
  1. Whisk together the Marinade/Sauce ingredients in a medium bowl. Remove 1/4 cup to a separate bowl and whisk in 2 tablespoons olive oil. Pour into a freezer bag or similar container. Add chicken and toss to evenly coat. Marinate in the refrigerator 6 hours up to overnight. Refrigerate remaining marinade/sauce separately to be used in the peanut sauce.
  2. When ready to cook, soak wooden skewers in water for at least 30 minutes. Thread chicken onto skewers.
  3. OVEN: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with foil and lightly spray with nonstick cooking spray. Evenly divide chicken between baking sheets. Bake 8-10 minutes or until chicken is cooked through (internal temp of 165 degrees F).

    GRILL: Grease an indoor or outdoor grill and heat to medium heat. Once hot, grill chicken approximately 4 minutes per side, or until chicken is cooked through (internal temp of 165 degrees F).
  4. Add the  reserved sauce to a small saucepan and bring it to a boil. Simmer for 1 minute. Remove from heat, then stir in 1/2 cup peanut butter until completely combined. Add water 1 TBSP at a time to thin if necessary.
  5. Serve chicken warm with peanut sauce. 
Thai Cucumber Salad (Source

 Ingredients:
  • 1 lb cucumber, cut into pieces
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 c red onion, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped roasted peanuts
  • 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
Dressing:
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 4 tablespoons Thai sweet chili sauce
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
Instructions:
  1. Add salt to the cucumber, mix well and set aside for 10-15 minutes. 
  2. In the meantime, make the dressing, by combining all the ingredients in a small sauce pan. Turn on the heat and reduce the dressing a bit so it’s slightly thickened. Let cool.
  3. Drain the cucumbers. Toss with dressing. Top with peanut and cilantro, serve immediately.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Open-Faced Jerk Vegetable Sandwiches

This is an oldie -- I still have the physical clipping from Cooking Light -- but I haven't made it in a while. It's an excellent light recipe to make in the summer. A quick saute for the vegetables and a quick run under the broiler is all the heat you need. It's also flexible; you can use literally any vegetables in this, although you should make sure that they'll all cook in roughly the same amount of time; save the carrots and butternut squash for another day.

Ingredients: 
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups (1/8-inch-thick) diagonally cut zucchini
  • 1/2 medium onion, cut into 1/8-inch-thick slices
  • 1 large red bell pepper, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
  • 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil, divided
  • Cooking spray
  • 3 tablespoons mango chutney
  • 1 teaspoon light mayonnaise (Note: I don't use this, and I don't know why anyone would, but if it sounds good to you, hey, go for it.)
  • 4 (2-ounce) slices diagonally cut French bread
  • 3 ounces thinly sliced Muenster cheese, cut into 1/8-inch-wide strips
  • 1 cup gourmet salad greens (I normally just use spinach.)
Instructions:
  1. Combine first 6 ingredients in a large zip-top plastic bag. Add zucchini, onion, bell pepper, 1 teaspoon vinegar, and 1/2 teaspoon olive oil; seal and shake well to coat. Let stand 30 minutes, or refrigerate overnight. (If you're pressed for time, it's still quite good even if you make it right away.)
  2. Heat remaining 1/2 teaspoon olive oil in a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat. Add vegetable mixture, and sauté for 5 minutes or until vegetables are tender and begin to brown. Remove from heat and keep warm.
  3. Preheat broiler.
  4. Combine chutney and mayonnaise. Arrange bread slices on a baking sheet. Broil 1 minute or until lightly toasted on each side; remove from heat. Spread each slice with about 1 tablespoon chutney mixture; top evenly with cheese. Broil 1 minute or until cheese melts. Place 1 cheese toast on each of 4 plates; top each serving with 1/4 cup greens and 1/2 cup vegetable mixture.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Spellbound Petite Sirah 2014

I picked this one on the theory that I would drink it while reading this week's book, A Discovery of Witches. Then the virus happened, and work was insane, and no reading has been done this week -- not even out of January, already behind on my Goodreads goal.

Oh well. At least the wine is good? This is a dark wine, and the first word that came to mind on tasting it was "jammy." It's not sweet, but definitely fruit-forward and pretty strong stuff. I like it, but it really needs something to go with it. 

The Prettiest Lemon Cake I Ever Threw Away


Last weekend seems like a lifetime ago. I've been doing a lot of nesting, whether due to the winter gloom or general anxiety over the political landscape, and I decided to take some of that energy and turn it into a cake. This beautiful lemon poppyseed cake, using a favorite recipe from one of my favorite books, Baking by Flavor.

That was the weekend the norovirus visited our family. Even the cat got sick, although that was probably not related. Days passed; even as our appetites recovered, the cake never got touched. I considered taking it to the office, but the idea of making all of my co-workers sick gave me pause.

So today I threw it away. Perhaps I will make a different one this weekend.