April 30, 2012

Crostini with Herbed Goat Cheese

I was looking for a way to use up leftover goat cheese and luckily stumbled across a fantastic recipe for an herbed goat cheese spread.  Paired with crostini, this recipe makes a great appetizer.



To make crostini, you just slice a baguette, then brush a little olive oil and sprinkle some salt on each slice.  It makes a great base for this cheese spread.



This recipe reminds me of cream cheese, but better.  If you're not a fan of thyme, substitute your favorite herb, with fresh herbs being preferable.


 
 
Crostini with Herbed Goat Cheese
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 7 minutes

Ingredients (24 appetizers)
Crostini
  • 1 baguette
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
Herbed Goat Cheese
  • 4 ounces goat cheese
  • 2 tablespoons plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 bunch green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and quartered
Instructions
  • Heat oven to 400 degrees. Slice baguette into 1/2-inch slices on the diagonal. Brush with olive oil and sprinkle a little salt on each slice. Bake for 7 minutes. Remove from oven and cool slightly.
  • Meanwhile, in food processor bowl, combine goat cheese, yogurt, olive oil, green onion, thyme, pepper and garlic. Process until smooth.
  • Spread goat cheese mixture on each cooled crostini, or alternatively serve with crackers.
Recipe adapted from: Food.com
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April 29, 2012

Pumpkin Bread with Pecans

Despite making quite a few pumpkin recipes over the last few months, I still have pumpkin in my cupboard that I bought last fall.  We're moving sometime this summer, so I'm doing my best to use up our pumpkin supply.

I've found lots of great pumpkin recipes, such as scones, coffee cake, waffles, and donut muffins, but I didn't have a favorite pumpkin bread recipe yet, so I tried out a Cooking Light recipe today and I really liked it.



Pumpkin Bread with Pecans
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Ingredients (2 loaves)
  • 3 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 15oz can pumpkin
  • 2/3 cup chopped pecans, divided
Instructions
  • Heat oven to 350 degrees. Coat two (9x5-inch) loaf pans with cooking spray.
  • In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice.
  • In a stand mixer bowl, beat together sugar, eggs, oil, and buttermilk on high speed until well blended. Add water and pumpkin, beating at low speed until blended.
  • Add flour mixture to pumpkin mixture, beating at low speed just until combined, adding 1/3 cup pecans toward the end. Divide batter evenly between the two loaf pans.
  • Sprinkle 1/3 cup pecans evenly over batter. Bake for 1 hour. Check the bread after 50 minutes of baking--you may need to cover the loaves with aluminum foil for the last 10 minutes to prevent overbrowning.
  • Cool 10 minutes in pans on a wire rack; remove from pans. Cool completely on wire rack.
Recipe adapted from: Cooking Light
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April 28, 2012

Spinach Salad with Rice, Cherries & Goat Cheese

I rarely think of salads as meals in themselves, but the spinach salad I made for lunch today was perfect as a meal.  I think it helps to have multiple flavors within the salad, such as rice, dried cherries, goat cheese, toasted walnuts with a pomegranate-blood orange vinaigrette dressing.



I'm still working my way through Heidi Swanson's cookbook, Super Natural Every Day and this recipe is on page 70.  It can also be found on the website The Daily Meal.  Heidi's recipe calls for fresh cherries, which I bet tastes fantastic.  Since cherries aren't available here yet, I substituted dried cherries.



Spinach Salad with Rice, Cherries & Goat Cheese
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Ingredients (serves 4)
  • 1 cup whole grain rice
  • 2 1/2 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 tablespoons blood orange olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons pomegranate balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 handfuls baby spinach
  • 3/4 cup dried cherries
  • 2/3 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
  • goat cheese, crumbled
Instructions
  • In a large saucepan, bring vegetable broth to a boil. Add rice and bring back to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer for 35 minutes (or according to package directions). Remove from stove and let rest covered for 10 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, combine olive oil, balsamic vinegar and salt to make dressing. Also, toast walnuts in a skillet over medium-heat, tossing every 2 minutes until the nuts are fragrant.
  • In a large bowl, combine hot rice, spinach, dried cherries and the walnuts. Toss, until combined.
  • Divide salad among four plates, then add goat cheese to each plate. Serve immediately.
Recipe adapted from: Super Natural Every Day - by Heidi Swanson.
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April 26, 2012

Curried Lentil Soup with Brown Butter

Simple soups can be the best ones.  The ingredient list for this lentil soup is short, but it's full of so much flavor!  In fact, the ingredient list could be even shorter because I don't think chives add much to it.  I wouldn't add chives unless you have them growing in your garden.



If you've never browned butter before, you may want to read a quick guide on Simply Recipes that I found helpful because it's fairly easy to overcook it.


This is another winning recipe from Super Natural Every Day by Heidi Swanson.  I was curious to see what type of adaptions others have made to this recipe and love the idea of adding feta, like The Cilantropist did.  I definitely plan to try that next time.

 

Curried Lentil Soup with Brown Butter
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients (serves 6)
  • 5 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 5 1/2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 1/2 cups green lentils
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1 bunch fresh chives, minced (optional)
Instructions
  • In a large soup pot, heat 2 tablespoons butter, onion and garlic over medium heat. Cook and stir for 3 minutes.
  • Add vegetable broth and lentils, then bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 25 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, warm 3 tablespoons butter in a small saucepan over medium heat and let it brown. When you smell a nutty aroma, stir in the curry powder and saute for 30 seconds.
  • Remove soup pot from heat and stir in coconut milk and salt. Puree with an immersion blender to desired consistency. Stir in half of the brown butter. Serve drizzled with the remaining brown butter and sprinkled with chives, if desired.
Recipe Source: Super Natural Every Day by Heidi Swanson
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April 24, 2012

Kale Salad with Toasted Coconut

I'm holding true to my intent of making more recipes from the crazy number of cookbooks I own.  This week, I'm trying recipes from Super Natural Every Day by Heidi Swanson (her blog is 101 Cookbooks).



First of all, I love this cookbook.  I didn't realize it was a vegetarian cookbook until I cracked it open for the first time this week.  That probably sounds stupid but Chris loves meat, so I don't really pay attention when I'm ordering cookbooks on Amazon, I just look for well reviewed ones.

Tonight I made Kale Salad on page 80.  The full recipe can be found on Serious Eats.  When grocery shopping this week I found a new item from Earthbound Farm - a package of "Power Greens" consisting of baby spinach, baby kale and baby chard.  It worked beautifully for this recipe.


I didn't realize I was low on farro until I was ready to make dinner, so I substituted quinoa instead which worked well.  Quinoa cooks more quickly than farro, so we were able to eat dinner a little sooner which was nice.

April 22, 2012

Spring Risotto

I was in Madison yesterday for the first day of the Dane County farmers' market, and it was wonderful.  For some people spring kicks off with opening day for the Milwaukee Brewers, for me it's the day when spring vegetables become available at farmers' markets.

It's early, so the selection was limited, but I still found quite a few things I wanted.  I purchased rhubarb, asparagus, ramps, popcorn and strawberry-rhubarb jam.  I used the asparagus and ramps today to make a spring risotto for lunch, and it was so good that I ate until I was beyond full.




Yesterday was the first time I had ever seen ramps.  The sign said "first and last chance to buy ramps," so I grabbed three bunches.  Apparently, our freakishly warm March weather caused the ramps to peak early this year.

Elise of Simply Recipes, gives a nice introduction to ramps...
"Also known as wild leeks or ramsons, ramps are one of the first delicacies of spring."
"You use ramps like green onions or young spring garlic."


Spring Risotto
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 23 minutes

Ingredients (serves 4)
  • 1 cup frozen edamame (or frozen peas)
  • 1 pound asparagus, trimmed and cut into 3/4-inch pieces
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 bunches ramps (or green onions), white parts only, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 cup Arborio rice
  • 1/2 cup shredded carrots
  • 2 cups chopped fresh spinach
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
Instructions
  • In a large saucepan, bring 4 cups water to a boil. Add edamame and asparagus, cook for 2 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  • In the large saucepan, bring broth and water to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cover.
  • Meanwhile, heat olive oil over medum heat. Add ramps (or green onion) and garlic; cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add rice, cook 1 minute.
  • Add 1 cup hot broth mixture to the rice, stirring constantly. Conintue to cook and stir until liquid is absorbed. Add another 2 cups broth, 1/2 cup at a time, to rice. Cook and stir frequently until liquid is absorbed, 18 to 20 minutes.
  • Stir in remaining broth, edamame, asparagus, and carrots. Stir until rice is slightly creamy and just tender.
  • Remove from heat and quickly stir in spinach, Parmesan, thyme, salt and pepper. Serve immediately.
Recipe adapted from: Ladies' Home Journal - May 2009
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April 19, 2012

African Peanut Soup

I'm following through with my intent to make more recipes from all the cookbooks I own.  Tonight was another winning recipe from the Peas and Thank You cookbook.  Chris and I both loved this recipe.  Seriously, it is really, really good.



I made just a couple minor changes to the original recipe, and since I didn't have time for a slow cooker, I cooked it on the stove.  The recipe is written in a way that only benefits stay at home moms, because it cooks on high for an hour, then on low for an additional 4 hours, which is not very conducive to my work schedule.

Not only does this recipe taste great, but it's really easy to make.  I love recipes that involve combining all the ingredients, turning the stove on and then walking away for 30 minutes.  I had very few dishes to wash as well, which is always a bonus when you don't have a dishwasher.


 
 
African Peanut Soup
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Ingredients (4 main dish servings)
  • 1/2 cup red lentils, rinsed
  • 15oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 large sweet potato, cut into 1/2 inch cubes (about 2 cups total)
  • 14oz can fire roasted tomatoes
  • 15oz can light coconut milk
  • 2 1/2 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 tablespoons peanut butter
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon. cumin
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
Instructions
  • In a stockpot, combine all ingredients. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 30 minutes.
Recipe Source: Peas and Thank You
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April 17, 2012

Pesto Stromboli

One of my favorite aspects of food blogging is that it's an easy way to keep track of my favorite recipes.  After almost two years of blogging, I have found many favorite recipes and had almost forgotten about this stromboli recipe.

I love the crust, and want to try using it the next time I make pizza.  Tonight, I tried a pesto version that was just as tasty as the version I made a year ago.



The dough takes 45 minutes to rise, but otherwise this recipe comes together pretty quickly.  After sautéing the green pepper and onion, the filling ingredients were ready.



The dough can be rolled into any size you desire.  I split one half of the dough into two portions because Chris prefers pizza sauce to pesto, and he added pepperoni to his stromboli. 

 

Pesto Stromboli
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Ingredients (serves 4)
    Dough: (for 2 strombolis)
    • 1 (.25 oz) package active dry yeast
    • 1 1/3 cups warm water (110° to 115°)
    • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 2 cups all-purpose flour
    • 2 cups whole-wheat flour
    Filling:
    • baby spinach
    • chopped green pepper, sautéed
    • chopped onion, sautéed
    • dried basil
    • dried oregano
    • mozzarella cheese
    • extra virgin olive oil
    Instructions
    • In the bowl of an electric stand mixer, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add oil, salt and 2 cups flour; fitted with the paddle attachment, beat until smooth.
    • Mix in remaining flour. Switching to the dough hook attachment, knead dough on low speed until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes.
    • Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 45 minutes.
    • Preheat oven to 400 degrees. After dough has finished rising, punch it down. Turn onto a lightly floured surface; divide in half. Roll one portion into a 15 x 12-inch rectangle and freeze the second portion.
    • Move dough to a baking sheet. On one half of the dough, add baby spinach and sautéed green pepper and onion. Add mozzarella cheese, then sprinkle with basil and oregano.
    • Fold plain half of dough over filling and seal ends well. Brush with oil; sprinkle with oregano. Bake for 25 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool slightly; cut into 1-inch slices.
    Recipe adapted from: Burn Me Not
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    April 15, 2012

    Spaghetti and Black Bean Meatballs

    Chris and I both loved tonight's dinner.  Since I've never liked the taste of meat, I don't often make meat substitutes.  However, Chris loves meat so I was very curious to see if he'd like black bean "meatballs."


    I was worried as I made the meatballs because they seemed too wet to form into balls.  Chris most aptly described the mixture when he said it looked like it came out the rear end of a cat.

    In fact, after seeing my wet, messy meatballs he reached into the freezer to check the package directions on some frozen meatballs, just in case he needed to make them. 



    Ever since making artichoke spinach pasta using a jar of marinara sauce, I'm a huge fan of adulterating jarred sauce.  Tonight I added roasted red peppers, baby spinach, chopped onions and red wine.

    For the meatballs, I followed a recipe from the Peas and Thank You cookbook for Mediterranean lentil meatballs.  This is only the second recipe I've tried from the book, but I've really liked both.  I need to be better about making recipes from the numerous cookbooks I own. 



    Spaghetti and Black Bean Meatballs
    Prep Time: 10 minutes
    Cook Time: 20 minutes

    Ingredients (serves 4-5)
    • 15oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
    • 1 cup rolled oats
    • 3 cloves garlic
    • 1/3 cup fresh basil
    • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce (vegetarian version available at Whole Foods)
    • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
    • 1/2 cup chopped onion
    • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • whole wheat spaghetti
    • pasta sauce

    Instructions
    • Heat oven to 375 degrees.  Coat a large baking sheet with cooking spray.
    • Combine all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until mixture forms a wet-looking, thick batter.
    • Form batter into 18 meatballs using a medium cookie scoop (about 1 1/2 tablespoons).  Bake for 10 minutes.  Remove from oven and flip each meatball over.  Bake for another 10 minutes.
    • Meanwhile, in a large pot bring water to a boil.  Add desired amount of spaghetti noodles and cook for 7 minutes.
    • Top spaghetti with 3 or 4 meatballs, and cover in preferred pasta sauce.  I like marinara sauce with baby spinach, chopped onions, roasted red peppers and a little red wine.



    Recipe adapted from: Peas and Thank You: Simple Meatless Meals the Whole Family Will Love
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    April 11, 2012

    Spinach Dijon Salad

    I just got back from spending 5 wonderful days in Washington, DC and my favorite meal there was a prepackaged salad I bought from Harris Teeter supermarket near our hotel.  They are all average salad ingredients, but I had never thought to combine them.

    I had it twice.  The second time I copied down the list of ingredients and purchased what I needed on the way home from the airport last night.  That's how much I like this salad.


    Spinach Dijon Salad

    Ingredients
    • baby spinach
    • hard-boiled eggs
    • shredded co-jack cheese
    • dried cranberries
    • sliced almonds
    • chow mein noodles
    • sweet onion dijon vinaigrette (or any honey mustard dressing)

    Instructions
    • Top baby spinach with desired amount of remaining salad ingredients.

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    April 04, 2012

    Pesto Pita Pizza

    I love pesto pizza with any base...naan bread, pizza crust, but especially pita bread.  It's the perfect thickness and shape for an individual pizza. 



    I enjoyed pesto pita pizzas for both lunch and dinner today, topped with sauteed green pepper and onion (4 minutes), mozzarella cheese and Italian herbs.  Bake at 400 degrees for 8 minutes, and you have a tasty, yet healthy meal.




    I keep spinach basil pesto and 7" pita bread (Trader's Joes) in my freezer at all times, so this is a really easy pizza for me to make when I don't feel like cooking something more elaborate.

    April 02, 2012

    Lentil Tacos

    Until tonight, my favorite vegetarian tacos were chickpea tacos, and while those are delicious, lentil tacos are even better!  The recipe I followed comes from Epicurious.com and is really easy to make...assuming you have 40 minutes or so to let the lentils simmer.

    Chris really raved about these tacos, so I had to ask him "better than meat?" He just laughed and said no, as if it were impossible for anything to be better than meat.

     
     

    Lentil Tacos
    Prep Time: 10 minutes
    Cook Time: 40 minutes

    Ingredients (10 tacos)
    • 1 tablespoon olive oil
    • 1 cup finely chopped onion
    • 1 garlic clove, minced
    • 1 cup dried brown lentils, rinsed
    • 1 oz package taco seasoning (or 2 heaping tablespoons taco seasoning)
    • 3 cups vegetable broth
    • 10 taco shells/tortillas
    • toppings such as shredded lettuce, chopped tomatoes, shredded cheese
     
    Instructions
    • In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Cook onion and garlic for 3 minutes. 
    • Add lentils and taco seasoning. Cook until spices are fragrant, about 1 minute. 
    • Add broth; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until lentils are tender, 30-35 minutes. Uncover lentils and cook until mixture thickens, about 7 minutes. 
    • Spoon lentil mixture into each taco shell/tortilla, then add topping as desired.
     
    Recipe Source: Epicurious.com
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