Beet Risotto

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Another beet post, and another time I am bested by beets.  This beet risotto is magical.  Not only is it a marvelous color, but it is delicious on the day I made it and for days after as leftovers.  AND to top it off, there is minimal cheese in it yet it is no less fantastic than a full cheese risotto.  Healthier and more beautiful. Eat the rainbow!

This recipe comes from Deborah Madison.  She is a vegetarian chef who was recommended to me by a friend and I treated myself to her cookbook, Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone.  I’ve made a few recipes so far and completely enjoyed them.

Beet Risotto

slightly adapted from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone

Ingredients

  • 6 cups of vegetable stock (I recommend making this from scratch, I used the Deborah Madison recipe in her book as well, and once you get the hang of it you will be converted to making your own!)
  • 3 Tbsp butter
  • 1/2 cup diced onion, white or yellow
  • 1 1/2 cups of Arborio rice, uncooked
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine (I tend to use whatever I have)
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh basil
  • 2 cups raw peeled and grated beets (about 2-3 medium beets)
  • chopped beet greens, remove stems (use whatever comes with the beets)
  • freshly ground pepper
  • salt to taste
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced separated
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (or Pecorino Romano)

Directions

  1. Bring the stock in a small pot to a simmer.
  2. Heat the butter is a large pot over medium, then add the onion and saute for 3 minutes.
  3. Add the rice, stir and cook for 1 minute.
  4. Add the wine, simmer until absorbed.
  5. Add 1 Tbsp of parsley, 2 Tbsp basil, all the beets and beet greens and add 2 cups of stock.  Allow this to simmer until the stock is absorbed.
  6. Next begin adding the stock 1/2 cup at a time, stir frequently until completely absorbed before adding the next 1/2 cup until only 1 cup remains of the stock. Taste the rice, if not cooked, add more stock using the above method until the rice is cooked through.
  7. Season with lemon juice, lemon zest, salt and pepper to taste.
  8. Serve with fresh parmesan cheese and fresh parsley.
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Chocolate Chip Pecan Pie Bar

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If you like pecan pie and chocolate you NEED to make these immediately.  A relatively easy recipe to throw together and the results are fantastic.  I took these to a dinner part and they were well received.  I opted to top them with fresh whipped cream but adding vanilla ice cream is another decadent option.  I also eat them as is and you will not be disappointed.

Chocolate Chip Pecan Pie Bars

recipe slightly adapted from Brown Eyed Baker

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour (180 grams)
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) room temperature butter
  • 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup light corn syrup
  • 3/4 cup white granulated sugar
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 3/4 cup of chocolate chunks (semisweet works best)
  • 1 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • **optional: whipped cream or vanilla ice cream to serve on top

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F and grease a 9×13-inch baking pan with butter or coconut oil.
  2. To make the crust, mix together the flour, butter and brown sugar until crumbly.  (my method is the lazy version: melt the butter and mix with a spoon) Press into the bottom of the baking pan and bake for 12-15 minutes until light brown.
  3. To make the filling: beat the eggs, corn syrup, sugar, 1 Tbsp butter and vanilla extract with a whisk or hand mixer. Stir in the chocolate and pecans.  Pour on top of the baked crust
  4. Bake for 25-30 minutes until set.
  5. Cool on a wire rack completely before cutting into bars or eat warm from the pan (let it cool a little so you don’t burn your tongue though)!
  6. Optional: serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream

Chinese Almond Cookies

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I have long loved and lusted after these Chinese Almond Cookies.  I actually do not know the exact name of them, this is my best guess.  I originally found them with my mother at a Jewish bakery.  Most recently though I discovered them at an Italian bakery in Coral Springs and that is where I was lucky enough to find a recipe.

These are about 90% as good as the originals which is pretty good!  And the recipe makes quite a lot of cookies, but you can freeze extras if you need to.  They have a soft texture, not very chewy and the chocolate adds an extra layer of flavor.  The original calls for rolling them in chopped walnuts, I didn’t have any so I used sprinkles.  Both would be fabulous options!

Chinese Almond Cookies

Recipe from Doris’s Italian Market in Coral Springs, Florida

Ingredients

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup almond past
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 12 ounces vegetable shortening
  • 4 large eggs
  • 5 cups floud
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 6 ounces melted semisweet chocolate, divided
  • 2 cups walnuts, chopped (or sprinkles which I used!)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Combine sugar and almond paste, works best using a hand mixer or electric mixer
  3. Add salt, baking soda, shortening, eggs, flour, vanilla and almond extract and mix on low speed until a smooth dough is formed
  4. Add 2 ounces of melted chocolate and mix in partially to create a marbled look.
  5. Separate the dough in half and form two logs about 2.5 inches in diameter.
  6. Roll each log in chopped walnuts or sprinkles.
  7. Cut each log into 12 discs.
  8. Place discs on baking sheet and bake for 12-14 minutes or until just barely golden brown.
  9. Cool completely and enjoy!

 

Pea, Paneer, and Cauliflower Chapattis

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Hello from New Zealand!  I arrived in New Zealand in October for a 9 month work holiday as they call it here.  I am working at an urgent care and also traveling on my time off to explore the country.  So far the hiking and scenery have been incredible, I’ll share some pictures after the recipe.  The pace of life is definitely slower than America, I am living in Christchurch which is a modest city, quieter than my home in Seattle.  I have a lot more time to read novels and start practicing yoga regularly with free videos on line.  At the same time I’ve been exploring Indian cooking.

I checked out a few cookbooks from the library (again one of my favorite ways to try out recipes).  This recipe is from Anna Jones and her cookbook aimed to get fast, fresh, health filled food on the table easily.  While this recipe was billed in the 15 minute section, I would estimate it took me about 45 minutes to get this to come together.  I made chapattis from scratch which added time but is optional, I will share in the next post!

I ended up combining all the toppings together for my leftovers and reheating it worked brilliantly.  Just as delicious on day 3 as on day 1.  I hope you enjoy!  (side note, also super excited to be in a townhouse that has natural lighting so my pictures look a bit more appetizing)

Pea, Paneer and Cauliflower Chapattis

Adapted from Anna Jones: A Modern Way to Cook

Ingredients:

  • 4 green onions, finely sliced
  • 2Tbsp oil, separated (canola or coconut)
  • 1.5 cups frozen peas
  • half head of cauliflower, chopped
  • 6 curry leaves (fresh or dried ones placed in water for a few minutes)
  • 2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 2 lemons, zest of 1 lemon, juice divided
  • 1 green chili, chopped (add more if you like things spicy)
  • a bunch of fresh cilantro, stems separated from leaves, both chopped
  • 1/2-1cup paneer, crumbled
  • salt and pepper
  • Chapattis (recipe soon to come!)

Directions:

  1. Boil water in a kettle or on the stove, place the frozen peas into a bowl. Pour boiling water over the frozen peas and leave for 5 minutes, then strain.
  2. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Fry the green onions in the heated oil until they begin to turn golden.
  3. Add the cauliflower, curry leaves, mustard seeds and turmeric to the pan with the onions.
  4. Cook for 3 minutes, then add the juice of 1 lemon and continue cooking until the juice has evaporated.
  5. Taste a cauliflower, if still too raw, add a few tablespoons of water (1-3) to the pan and cook for a few more minutes until the cauliflower is tender to your liking (5-15 minutes). Add salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to a separate bowl.
  6. Mash the peas and then mix in the green chili, cilantro stalks, zest of one lemon, juice of half a lemon.  Add salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Heat a tablespoon of canola or coconut oil in the pan on medium high, then add the crumbled paneer.  Toss after a minute or two when it begins to turn golden. Remove from heat when sufficiently golden to your liking.
  8. Assemble by placed mashed peas over chapattis, then top with cauliflower and paneer. Sprinkle with chopped cilantro leaves.

And here are some favorite pictures from New Zealand including crumbled blue cod (aka best fish and chips of my life):

Tomatoes

Hello everyone, this is my first post in my new special category of vegetable basics!  I’m going to start placing what I know about certain vegetables and fruits in regards to their storage and preparation methods as I continue cooking.  Hopefully this will be a helpful place to turn when figuring out how to work with different ingredients!

Tomatoes

Storage: keep tomatoes at room temperature or in a cool spot, they keep in a single layer best to prevent bruising.

Preparation:

  • How to Peel Tomatoes: Prepare a bowl of ice water.  Bring a pot of water to a gentle rolling boil.  Slice a small “X” in the bottom of the desired number of tomatoes.  Drop several tomatoes into the boiling water and wait 10-90 seconds for the skins to start to wrinkle.  Then scoop out with a slotted spoon and place into the ice bath.  When the tomatoes are cool peel the skin off the tomatoes!
  • **the amount of time your tomatoes will need in the boiling water will vary based on how fresh your tomato is, about 10 seconds for a super ripe farmers market tomato almost about to be overripe to around 60 seconds for your average grocery store tomato that is not quite as fresh

Guacamole

 

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I absolutely love fresh guacamole.  I was excited to check out the Food 52 Genius cookbook from the library and decided to give this recipe a whirl.  Finely chopping the ingredients and using a mortar and pestle are the main differences that help to elevate this guacamole.  I never had jalapeno as called for in the original recipe, it was tasty without but if you have jalapeno on hand then I would add it in!

The method I learned here for removing the avocado in chunks it my new favorite way to quickly add avocado to my favorite salads, sandwiches etc in addition to using it in this guacamole.

Food 52’s Guacamole

Adapted slightly from Food 52

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped white onion
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 large Mexican Hass avocados, halved and pitted
  • squeeze of lime
  • optional** 1 Tbsp minced fresh serrano or jalapeno chile (including seeds if you want your guacamole more spicy)

Directions

  1. Mash the onion,salt and half of the cilantro to a paste in a mortar (and chile if using).
  2. Score the flesh in the avocado halves in a crosshatch pattern (do not go through the skin) with a knife and then scoop it with a spoon into the bowl.
  3. Add the rest of the cilantro and lime juice and mash the avocados, leaving some larger pieces with a fork.
  4. Add additional salt and/or chile to taste.

April Bloomfield’s Kale Polenta

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I was browsing the cookbooks in my favorite technical bookstore in Seattle when I ran across A Girl and Her Greens by April Bloomfield.  I was intrigued by the wonderful colors and recipes featuring vegetables.  I went home and reserved the cookbook from the library and ultimately decided to try out the kale polenta.  This was my first time making polenta and it was delightfully warm and creamy.

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Treat yourself to something special and try this out tonight!

Kale Polenta Recipe

April Bloomfield’s Website

 

Mascarpone Hazelnut Meyer Lemon Pasta

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I had extra mascarpone cheese from polenta I made earlier in the week so I began searching for other savory ways to use it.  I came across this recipe on The Kitchn and decided it was a great way to try out meyer lemons for the first time.  I have never cooked with meyer lemon before but this recipe made me eager to try it out more often!
I also splurged and bought fresh pasta in the refrigerator section and would say that it elevated this dish to transcendent.  If you have never branched away from boxed pasta let this be an excuse to do so.  Fresh pasta cooks in about 2-3 minutes and is soft, tender, and well worth the extra price.
*I used fresh pasta instead of boxed spaghetti

Banana Oat Muffins

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I love baking with banana.  When I have an extra banana that is overripe I put it in the freezer until I get to 3 bananas and then I let them thaw and use them to make delicious cakes and muffins.

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I wanted to go for a slightly healthier take on banana bread so I tried this recipe with oats.  It was moist, light and had a great banana flavor.

Banana Oat Muffin Recipe