August 14, 2011

Vegetable Lasagna

Do you ever get part-way through a recipe and wish you could quit?  Let me backup and start my story with our first visit to the Menomonee Falls farmers' market.  It's just a few blocks away from our gym, so after pounding out an hour of cardio this morning, we headed over.

It was quite dead, which is unfortunate because everything being sold looked amazing.  We picked up eggplant, a cucumber, kohlrabi and tomatoes (aka God's Candy).  I definitely want to go back because the Sunday timing is a nice way to supplement what I receive on Thursdays in my CSA box.

With my newly acquired eggplant, I decided to make vegetable lasagna which I had just read about last night in the September/October 2011 issue of Cook's Illustrated.  At 6pm, I decided I'd better get started because the cooking/cooling time was 1 hour.  I figured I had an hour to put it together and we'd be eating by 8pm.  I was wrong.

At 7:30, I asked Chris for his help because I was still working on the vegetable filling and hadn't made the tomato sauce nor cream sauce yet.  Asking for help turned out to be a mistake.  Chris immediately complained that I hadn't chopped the basil that was needed, and also complained that he was getting carpal tunnel from shredding parmesan cheese.  I love our rotary grater, but shredding 2 cups of parmesan cheese will definitely leave you with a sore wrist.

The photos below are as far as I got before I realized that I needed to stop taking photos, and get moving in the kitchen.  Everything with this recipe took so much longer than I thought it would.  When I finally added the last layer of mozzarella cheese, I breathed a sigh of relief...only to have a tub of baby spinach catch my eye on the counter.  I had completely forgotten to add it :(

As I pulled the lasagna from the oven at 8:30pm, I discovered that the sauce and cheese had run over and was burning on the bottom of the oven.  Lucky me.  Then as I removed the aluminum foil from the top, I found that the top layer of cheese was stuck to the foil, despite me spraying the foil as the recipe instructed.

By the time the lasagna cooled and was ready to eat, I wanted to say screw it and have something else for dinner, but I'm glad I stuck with the lasagna because it was really, really good.  Which is not surprising because America's Test Kitchen recipes are always top-notch, however I am certainly not anxious to make this again anytime soon.

Black Bean Burgers

There was recently a great article in the local paper about veggie burgers, featuring a black bean burger recipe from the blog Peas and Thank You. Chris and I both loved the flavor of this recipe and they were really easy to cook!

Black Bean Burgers

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes

Ingredients (makes 4)
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • ½ cup old-fashioned rolled oats
  • ½ cup chopped mushrooms
  • 1/3 cup minced onion
  • 1 ½ teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 ½ teaspoons lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce (vegetarian version available at Whole Foods)
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
  • 1 tablespoon tahini
  • Place black beans in a large bowl and mash with a fork to a chunky consistency.
  • Grind oats into a coarse flour using a blender or food processor and add to bowl with beans. Add remaining ingredients and combine with a fork.
  • Place bean mixture refrigerator to chill and to allow flavors to meld for at least 20 minutes.
  • Using your hands, divide bean mixture into four portions and form each portion into a patty.
  • Place a large skillet coated with vegetable oil spray over medium-high heat, add patties and cook 6 to 7 minutes on each side until patties are crisp and lightly browned.
  • Serve burgers on whole wheat buns and top with ketchup, mustard, lettuce, pickles, tomato as desired.
Source: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel 8/3/11
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August 13, 2011

Cinnamon Roll Muffins

Both Chris and I really liked The Baker Chick recipe I made today.  I had a little trouble with sticky dough while making them, but other than that I think this is a really easy way to make cinnamon rolls.  I definitely want to make this recipe again, possibly in a mini muffin pan.

Cinnamon Roll Muffins

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients (12 muffins)
  • 1 cup buttermilk (I used 1 cup milk, 1 tbsp lemon juice)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 3 cups flour plus more for dusting
  • 2 tbsp. butter, room temperature
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 3 tbsp. milk
  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Add the brown sugar, baking soda, salt, vanilla and egg to a large mixing bowl and mix with a fork.
  • Then add the buttermilk, and mix together with a fork.
  • Add the flour, stirring with a wooded spoon until thoroughly combined (do not over mix). Add a little more flour if the dough is sticky.
  • Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for a minute or two.
  • Roll the dough into a 12-inch by 24-inch rectangle. Then using a rubber spatula, spread with butter.
  • In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar and cinnamon, then sprinkle the buttered surface evenly.
  • Roll the dough into a log and stretch slightly. Cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces and put the pieces into greased muffin tins.
  • Bake for 15 minutes, or until golden brown. Allow the muffins to cool for 5 minutes, and then remove from the muffin tins.
  • In a small bowl, combine the powdered sugar and milk with a fork. Add more milk if the icing isn't thin enough to drizzle. Then drizzle each muffin with icing, when cool.
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August 09, 2011

Summer Squash Soup

Loved the flavors in the soup I made tonight!  I found the the recipe on Martha Stewart's website, which has been a reliably good source of recipes for me.  The only modification I made to the recipe was to use an immersion blender instead of a food processor to puree the soup.

Printer-Friendly Recipe

1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 medium leek (white and pale-green parts only), thinly sliced and thoroughly rinsed
2 small garlic cloves, minced (divided)
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 1/4 pounds yellow summer squash, trimmed and cut into half moons
2 cups vegetable broth
2 cups loosely packed fresh basil leaves
1/3 cup olive oil

August 08, 2011

Oven-Fried Zucchini Sticks

As promised, I've now added my version of the awesome zucchini sticks we had the other night to Recipage for your printing pleasure :)  This is another great recipe from my favorite CSA book, From Asparagus to Zucchini

Printer-Friendly Recipe

2 medium-sized zucchini or summer squash
3 tablespoons panko
1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 teaspoons canola oil
marinara sauce (optional)

This is a great summer appetizer, and a fun way to use zucchini or summer squash.  I used Newman's Own Marinara for dipping, but the zucchini sticks tasted great on their own.