Monday, January 7, 2013

Meatless Monday Meal and Blog Shame (or ... New Thing 1)

Well, I did not make it far into that AT ALL did I?  My life has been absolutely crazy for way too long but that's really no excuse now is it?  This probably means I should start over.  What do you think?

So, here we are at the new thing 1.  I've never made a mushroom sauce before, my ex hated mushrooms, and I've had very limited experience with cream sauces.  This morning I opened my email and there was a yummy looking pasta dish.  I had some of the ingredients but not all and I didn't feel like spending much time or money at the grocery.  Several substitutions later my man and I had a delicious, filling dinner.

Here's what we ended up with:

ready to eat!

1 pound box of bowtie pasta (multigrain is the best)
2 cups of baby portabellos, cut into chunks or thick slices
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
2 large shallots, halved or quartered and sliced
1/2 cup feta crumbles (did you know it's usually cheaper at the deli counter than at the cheese section?)
1/3 cup white balsalmic vinegar
4 tablespoons of butter (divided)
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 teaspoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons corn starch
1/3 teaspoons sea salt
one generous pinch of crunched up dried basil
teensy pinch of ground black pepper
teensy pinch of sea salt

Melt  2 tablespoons of butter and brown sugar in a small skillet over medium heat.  Add shallots and pinches of salt and pepper, stir and cook until they start to soften; then turn them down to low.  Let them cook slowly for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. 

carmelized shallots

Meanwhile, melt the other 2 tablespoons of butter in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add mushrooms and stir for about 5 minutes, until they start to darken a little.  Add almond milk, white balsalmic vinegar and basil.  Stir well until it starts to bubble again.  Reduce heat to medium low and cook for 20 minutes.  (Start your pasta during this 20 minutes.)  Whisk corn starch in well then add the 1/3 teaspoon of sea salt and stir to combine. 

all mixed up

Put pasta into a big bowl and drizzle it with the olive oil.  Pour on the mushroom cream sauce, the feta and half of the shallot mixture.  Stir until well mixed.  Serve in bowls with a spoonful of shallots on top.  Enjoy.

oh man that's good!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Thing 7 .... Black Bean Enchiladas

I've been doing "Meatless Mondays" for a while now and it's led me to try some new recipes I find or create some of my own.  Soon I'll be adding Thursdays to my meatless plan.  The alliteration just isn't there but I think it's still a good thing.  I don't mind it at all but the hubby is resistant so I have to push myself to find things that are so tasty that he meatless aspect sneaks by him.

Here's one of the ideas I came up with recently, Black Bean Enchiladas.  This was a Monday meal.  I work until 8:30 on Monday nights so I did all the chopping before work and then just stashed those veggies in the fridge (except for the tomato, I didn't trust it to keep well that way.)  I believe it made 10 or 12.  I probably should have taken notes on that.  It fed us well for dinner and hubby had some for lunch the next day, he says they reheat well.

1 can black beans (I check mine to make sure they don't contain soy)
1 medium white or yellow onion, chopped
1 poblano pepper, chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, chopped
1 roma tomato, chopped
1 sprig Mexican Oregano, leaves only
1 can enchilada sauce
1 bag Jack cheese
thick corn tortillas (Again, you might want to check for soy.  Thin tortillas fall apart.)
2 pats of butter plus extra for greasing dish

  • Preheat oven to 350F.
  • Grease casserole dish and set aside.
  • In a large skillet, cook onion, peppers and tomato until tender.  Add black beans and mexican oregano and cook until warm.
  • In a small skillet melt butter over medium-high heat.
  • Warm both sides of a tortilla in butter and move it casserole dish.  Add a spoon of black bean mixture and a little cheese then roll to form an enchilada.  Scoot it over to the side.
  • Repeat the last step with each tortilla, adding more butter to skillet as needed.
  • Pour enchilada sauce over all and top with cheese.
  • Bake until cheese starts to brown.
  • Remove from oven and let stand a few minutes.
  • Serve and enjoy!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Thing 6 .... Unbelievable Cinnamon Rolls from Scratch

Oops.  I've made quite a few new things but I didn't take pictures so I didn't post them.  I beg your forgiveness.

For quite some time I've been wanting to make cinnamon rolls from scratch.  In some ways I had it so built up in my mind that I was sure I'd be disappointed ... but I wasn't.  I couldn't believe how amazing these were.  Peter Reinhart has yet to let me down.  His recipes must be very well tested.

Rolled out, topped, rolled up, sliced and set out to rise.

Risen rolls are ready to go into the oven.

Freshly baked and ready to frost.  The incredible smell filled the house.

Frosted and ready to eat.  SO DELICIOUS!!!
If you'd like to read more you can visit my baking blog.


*Because I borrowed this recipe and did not alter it (in other words, because it does not belong to me) I will not be posting the recipe.  Please refer to Peter Reinhart's Artisan Breads Everyday pages 140 - 144.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Thing 5 .... Homemade Crackers

I don't know if I've mentioned it on this blog before but I'm allergic to soy.  A little here and there is ok but if I have more than a smidgen I'm in trouble.  It's a challenge to go into the grocery and pick up items that don't use soy as a filler (excluding the produce section, of course).  Hubby is allergic to honey.  Buying bread or crackers for the house is a risky endeavor, one or the other of us is likely to wind up sick or swollen.  I'm telling you all this to tell you .... I MADE CRACKERS!  Compared to making bread it's super easy.  There's no yeast to wait for, no proofing.  Just a few simple steps and a little time in the oven and .... CRACKERS!  I used "Crispy Rye and Seed Crackers" from Peter Reinhart's Artisan Breads Every Day (pages 134 and 135).  I'll be posting the recipe along with the changes I'd like to try next time.

Here's how simple it is .... grind up some seeds, grind up some other seeds, pour them in your mixer bowl.  Add some flour, salt, oil (NOT vegetable oil cuz that's soybean oil ... canola or olive is good), agave nectar (cuz it's rude to use honey in my house), and some water ... mix.  Knead, roll, cut.

Place on parchment lined baking sheet.  Brush with egg wash or sweet wash (I used sweet) and sprinkle with more seeds.  Bake.  Cool.  Eat. YUM.

These got my thumbs up right away but were even better once they sat for a few minutes.  (Yes, I confess to eating crackers hot out of the oven.)  Hubby was nervous that I would eat them all before he got home but I was nice and saved him plenty.  I also saved them because I knew I'd be making Cashew Cream today.

Peter Reinhart's Crispy Rye and Seed Crackers

1/4 cup (1.5 ounces) sunflower seeds
1/4 cup (1.5 ounces) pumpkin seeds 
3 tablespoons (1 ounce) flaxseeds
6 tablespoons (2 ounces) sesame seeds
1 3/4 cups (8 ounces) rye flour
1/4 teaspoon salt (I use sea salt)
2 tablespoons (.75 ounce) agave nectar
3/4 cup (6 ounces) water, room temperature
egg white wash or sweet wash

  • Grind sunflower and pumpkin seeds into a fine powder or flour in a blender or spice grinder.  Blend in pulses and be careful not to blend too long (or you'll make seed butter.)  Separately, grind the flaxseeds into a fine powder.
  • Combine seed powders, sesame seeds, rye flour, salt, oil, nectar, and water in mixer bowl.  Mix with paddle attachment, on lowest speed, for 1 to 2 minutes.  (Or mix by hand with sturdy spoon for 1 to 2 minutes.)
  • Knead for 30 seconds on lightly floured surface.  Dough should be tacky but not sticky, add water or flour if needed.
  • Preheat oven to 300F and line 1 baking sheet with parchment for each batch (4).  (I did 2 at a time.)
  • Divide dough into 4 equal parts.  Wrap 2 in plastic and stash in fridge until ready to use.  With the other 2, roll out one at a time to 1/16" and cut into whatever shapes make you happy.  (I used a pizza wheel and made square-ish shapes.)  Place pieces on lined sheets.  Brush with wash and sprinkle with additional seeds.  Bake 25 to 30 minutes.  (If baking more than one sheet at a time rotate racks every 10 minutes.)
  • Repeat with the other half of the dough or do it up to 4 days later.
  • Allow to cool, they won't be fully crisp right out of the oven.  If they aren't crisp once cooled just pop them back in the oven for a few more minutes.
What I Might Try Next Time
(or the time after that)
  • replace flaxseeds with more pumpkin or sunflower seeds
  • replace 1 cup of the rye flour with whole wheat flour
  • replace half of seeds with almonds
  • add a dash of cinnamon or nutmeg
  • add a dash of black pepper
Egg White Wash = 1 egg white and 2 tablespoons water, whisked.
Sweet Wash = 1 tablespoon agave nectar and 3 tablespoon water, whisked.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Thing 4 .... Stuffed Poblano Peppers

I've made stuffed bell peppers before but the other day I was browsing recipes and I found one for stuffed poblanos.  Trying new things and trying to be "good" helped but after reading the recipe I just had to give them a chance!  These were very easy to throw together.  I tried some of the filling before I put them all together and was pleased.  To me, these are way better than stuffed bell peppers.  The flavor of the poblano itself doesn't fight with the stuffing.  The poblano is also thinner, making it easier to slice through and eat together. The most exciting thing, though, was when hubby took his first bite and said "Mmm, wow!" and then told me several times how good they were and asked me to make them again.  The recipe made more than the two of us could eat and as soon as we finished dinner he jumped and reserved the two he would take for lunch tomorrow, packaged them up and tucked them away in the fridge.

Oh by the way, I tried VERY hard to follow the recipe as it was written so I could review that version of it.  I failed.  There were just little things that it needed, little things that would make it better, little things that would make it mine.  So, maybe I'm biased but I have to say it's remarkable.  I promise I tried.

Start by making some rice.  1 cup (raw) of any kind of rice you like cooked according to directions.  Then move on to halving 4 poblano peppers and removing the ribs and seeds (you may want to wear gloves.)  Then put them under the broiler, skin side up, for 7 minutes.

Carefully turn them over and broil for 7 more minutes and then remove them to a trivet until the stuffing is ready.

While your peppers are under the broiler, combine your veggies and seasonings and cook them until warm.

Once your rice is finished add it into the veggies and mix it all up.

Spoon the stuffing into the peppers, top with a little cheese (if you like) and broil until cheese is melted then just top it with cilantro and eat up!

Stuffed Poblano Peppers

4 poblano peppers
1 cup uncooked rice of choice (I used multi-grain rice)
1 1/2 cups salsa
1 15 ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 1/2 cups frozen corn kernels
3 green onions, chopped
2 good sized toes of garlic
1 shallot
1 teaspoon chopped cilantro plus extra for garnish (cilantro haters may omit cilantro)
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
salt and Tony Chachere's to taste
shredded cheese for garnish (vegans may omit cheese)

  1. Cook 1 cup rice according to directions.
  2. While rice cooks cut peppers in half and remove tops, seeds and ribs.  
  3. Add a little olive oil to the bottom of a pyrex or corning ware dish and place the pepper halves skin side up.  Broil for 7 minutes then turn over and broil for 7 more minutes.
  4. While peppers broil start the stuffing.  Add salsa, black beans, corn, the whites of green onions, garlic and shallot to a large skillet over medium heat.  Allow to cook until everything is warm then add tops of green onions, cilantro, cumin, chili powder, salt and Tony's.  If rice is not done, remove stuffing from heat.
  5. Add cooked rice and mix well.
  6. Spoon stuffing into broiled peppers.  Try not to burn yourself on the dish, it's a bad idea.  Top with a little bit of shredded cheese and then broil until cheese is melted (3 - 5 minutes).  When removed from oven top with a little chopped cilantro and serve to create happy eaters.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Thing 3 ... Dark Chocolate Mousse (with whipped cream)

Yesterday afternoon I got the itch to make the chocolate mousse recipe I've been staring at for a little over a week.  I didn't have the dark rum it called for so I had to pick from amaretto, so co or coconut rum.  I was afraid the amaretto would make it much too sweet but I've been advised that it works rather well.  The so co might be an interesting fit but I went with the coconut rum.  A stronger liquor would have been better but I am very please with how it came out.

I am very pleased with the flavor.  It IS rich.  Today I made some whipped cream with a little bit of superfine sugar to sweeten it.  This was the perfect thing to balance the richness of the mousse.  I just served hubby a little bowl and I got his thumbs up.  It's possible that this was his first encounter with chocolate mousse.  He wanted to know if it was "like pudding" until his first bite.  Now he understands that it's better!

 By the way, this is my first cross-post with my baking blog, Pretty Please Sweets.  Feel free to check it out.


Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Thing 2 .... Roasted Red Pepper Pesto

I've never made pesto before.  Weird huh?  I make "grinch chicken" sometimes which is chicken coated in something that's almost pesto but with no nuts.  So, thing 2 is  Roasted Red Pepper Pesto.  I got the recipe from FightFatFoodie on food buzz.  I only made two small changes to their recipe.  I used fresh red bell peppers and roasted them myself rather than using canned.  Since I had no vegetable broth I used water to thin my pesto to the consistency I wanted.  I was very happy with the flavor.  Hubby was extremely pleased as well.  This will now go into our regular recipe folder!

fresh bell peppers, raw walnuts, basil from my garden, garlic, parmesan and parsley

roasted peppers, toasted walnuts, parmesan, chopped garlic, chopped basil and parsley

all ingredients (including olive oil, salt and pepper) ready to blend

about 1/4 cup water was added

served over grilled chicken and bowtie pasta

Ingredients (as I made it):
  • 2 - 3 red bell peppers, roasted, skins removed, cut into chunks (about 1 cup)
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 3 oz toasted walnuts
  • 1/4 cup flat leaf parsley
  • 1/4 cup basil
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup water
Combine all ingredients except water in blender and blend until finely chopped.  Gradually add water until desired consistency is reached.  Enjoy.