Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Hot Halloween Stew

Happy Halloween!

This was honestly one of the best stews I've ever made. Spiked with jalapenos and cheddar, this stew was warm and hearty, a perfect fall supper. And full of vegetable goodness! Red lentils and kidney beans provide a healthy dose of protein and the rich dino kale was the perfect compliment to this zesty orange potato stew.

Have a hot Halloween!

Hot Halloween Stew

1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp + 1 tsp butter
1/2 large onion, finely chopped
1 large clove garlic, minced
1 leek, chopped
1/3 cup dry vermouth
1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced
4 baby dutch potatoes, diced
1/4 cup pumpkin, diced
large pinch of sea salt
2 sweet red peppers, seeded and finely diced
3 cups vegetable broth
4 oz red lentils
1 jalapeno, seeded, deveine, and finely chopped (mine was mild so I added...)
6 slices bottled nacho slices of jalapeno
1/2 cup your favorite salsa (I used Casa Sanchez)
1/2 cup red kidney beans
5 large leaves of dino kale, ribbed and torn into 2" by 3" strips
2 oz cheddar cheese, cubed

Heat the oil and melt 1 tbsp butter. Cook the onions for for 5 minutes over low heat. Add the leek and garlic and cook for an additional 5 minutes. Add the vermouth and cook for another 10 minutes. Add an additional tsp butter, along with the potatoes, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, and salt. Cover and cook for 4 minutes. Add the red pepper and jalapenos and cook for 2 minutes. Uncover, add the vegetable stock and red lentils and bring to a boil. Turn down to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes. Add the salsa and kidney beans and cook for 4-5 minutes. Add the kale and cook until wilted. Stir in the cubed cheddar cheese and serve in a small, cleaned pumpkin.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

It's Pumpkin Time!

Here's a yummy recycled recipe from last year: Pumpkin Soup served in a little pumpkin bowl.

This pureed soup is warming, but not too heavy, spiced with a little curry powder, coriander, and plenty of ground cumin. In addition to the pumpkin puree, I included onions, leeks, winter squash, potatoes, and carrots.

Pumpkin Soup:

1 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
2 small potatoes, peeled and diced
1 leek
1 large carrot, diced
3/4 cup winter squash, peeled and cubed
1 tbsp butter
8 oz vegetable stock
8 oz water (or as desired)
1 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp coriander
1/4 tsp curry powder
1/2 can pureed pumpkin
1/4 cup of half & half (or milk)

Heat the oil in a heavy bottomed saucepan. Cook the onion for 4-5 minutes over med-low heat. Add the garlic, potatoes, leek, carrot, squash, and butter. Stir well, cover, and cook over medium heat for 8 minutes, stirring every 2 minutes. Uncover and add the vegetable stock, water, cumin, coriander, and curry powder and bring to a boil. Turn down to a simmer. Add the pumpkin puree, season, and stir well. Cover and simmer for about 20 minutes. Stir in the half & half. Simmer for 5 more minutes.

Remove from heat and puree with an immersion blender. Serve in a small cleaned out pumpkin (after removing the insides, wipe with a little olive oil), topped with sour cream and cilantro (or mini marshmallows for the kids).

And, for those of you with a sweet tooth...

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins!

Although, ce soir, I enjoyed buttery popcorn for dinner, while watching George Clooney in his new movie Michael Clayton (I have to say, I really enjoyed this movie), another pumpkin recipe is in the works. Stay tuned!

Friday, October 26, 2007

Spinach, Chanterelle, & Mt. Tam Cheese on Olive Toast

If "La coeur a la raison que la raison ne connais pas", does the stomach too? Or the taste buds? Or whatever it is in us that makes us crave a particular food?

Incredibly, I'm still in my Gimme Greens obsessional phase. Although, it has branched out at times beyond spinach and bok choy to broccolini, mashed potatoes, carrots, anything that would be considered a vegetable side. I almost have an aversion to the complete meal - just give me the vegetables!

Anyway, tonight I decided to pull together an actual dish (with protein, starch, and vegetables) and it was quite delectable. A toasted slice of a generously-olive studded Olive Cheese Bread from my farmers market favorite Great Harvest Bread Company, topped with butter, chanterelles and spinach, sauteed separately in a little olive oil with minced garlic, and topped with a sliver of Mt. Tam Cheese from Cowgirl Creamery. Under the broiler for a minute or two and was a heavenly toast. I ate it with a knife and fork. It was light, delicious, heavy on the spinach, and I'm seriously considering a round two.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Asparagus Pizza with Spinach & Chanterelles

Here's one for the pizza fans out there!

For this pizza, I used Trader Joe's pizza dough, created a garlic roux with 1 tbsp butter, 1 tbsp flour, a little milk and water and two minced garlic cloves. Spread that over the pizza. Sauteed some spinach, then chopped it and topped the garlic cream sauce with spinach. Then topped that with very skinny asparagus, mixed with olive oil, some sauteed chanterelles, and grated Stilton.

Baked at 450 for 14 minutes. Soooooo rich and good!

Friday, October 19, 2007

Banana Muffins with Peanut Butter & Chocolate Chips

Tender banana muffins loaded with peanut butter and chocolate chips. These are pretty close to perfect!

And I've been making them a lot of late ("Aren't the bananas black yet?") Definitely, my favorite way to use up overripe bananas.

The recipe is basically this previously-posted recipe with more bananas and chips. Hard to go wrong there ;-)

Banana Muffins with Peanut Butter & Chocolate Chips:

1 stick unsalted butter (melted and cooled)
1 large egg
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla
4 very ripe bananas (mashed)
1 1/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup peanut butter and chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 375. Use paper baking cups to line a 12 muffin pan or butter the pan well. Combine the melted and cooled butter, mashed bananas, egg, sugar, vanilla essence, and beat for 1 minute. Mix together flour, baking powder, and salt. Add flour mixture to the banana mixture and beat just until blended. Add the peanut butter and chocolate chips. Divide the batter between the 12 muffin cups and bake for 23-25 minutes. Let cool for a few minutes, pop them out with a spoon, and enjoy! If you prefer mini size muffins, bake for 18 minutes.

Best served warm!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Black Bean & Sweet Potato Soup

The weather's been dreary, cloudy, rainy, and just plain dark, so tonight I was craving a warm, bright, comforting one-bowl meal. This Black Bean & Sweet Potato soup with dino kale, jalapenos, and cilantro was the perfect antedote. It was quite hot with the jalapenos and salsa, full of richness with that dark green dino kale, and pleasantly sweet with the orange sweet potato. Add the black beans, and this was a meal full of protein and sustenance.

It was also ready in less than half an hour. Here's the recipe:

Black Bean & Sweet Potato Soup:

1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely diced
1 large clove garlic, minced
1 sweet potato, peeled and diced
1 cup salsa (I used Picante Medium)
1/2 cup tomato puree
1 cup water
6 spanish olives, chopped
8 sliced jalapeno (I used from a jar 'cos I couldn't find the fresh one that's somewhere in my fridge), chopped
1 bunch dino kale, ribbed and leaves torn
3/4 cup canned black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped

Heat the oil in a heavy bottomed saucepan. Gently fry the onion over low heat until soft. Add the garlic and cook 2 minutes. Add the diced sweet potato, cover and cook for 4-5 minutes. Uncover and add the salsa, tomato puree, water, chopped olives and jalapenos and bring to a boil. Turn down to a simmer and cook 4-5 minutes. Add the kale and cook 3-4 minutes. Add the black beans and cook 3-4 minutes. Add the chopped cilantro and cook 2 minutes.

Enjoy in a cosy setting.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Gimme Greens

I confess I'm in the grasp of a food obsession.

Night after night, all I want for dinner is spinach, sauteed with olive oil, minced garlic, and baby bok choy, cooked the same way, but with soy sauce. I usually start with the spinach, then move on to the baby bok choy. This has lasted over a week.

For the dish above, I added some asparagus and tofu and ate it all together.

But I prefer to eat them separately, one at a time.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Chanterelle, Bacon & Stilton Pizza

Super-thin crunchy pizza crust, topped with earthy chanterelles (sliced and sauteed in olive oil with minced garlic), crumbled Morningstar Bacon Strips, and a soft white Italian cheese (whose name escapes me) and grated Stilton. Not the most stunning of pizzas, but beautiful to taste.


First, locals, take note:
A Cookbook Sale to Benefit the Children’s Health Council in Palo Alto
October 19, Preview Party with Celebrity Chefs, 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
October 20 and 21, Cookbook Sale, 10:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Check out this link out and support a good cause!

Second, Tofu wraps another fab dish with this post on Grilled Eggplant Wrapped Tofu at What the hell does a vegan eat anyway?"

Third, 28 Cooks does a heavenly dish for us french fry-eating olive lovers .

And, Spittoon Extra, announces a Drunken Apple theme for Sugar High Friday, with a beautiful still life photo that makes me homesick for England.