Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Curried Squash, mushroom, and orange soup

I froze some butternut squash last winter. Seems like the cold winds are calling me to make soup today. This recipe is from Mollie Katzen's Moosewood Cookbook.

2 medium-sized acorn or butternut squash (about 4 pounds)
A little oil for the baking tray.
3 1/2 cups orange juice
2 tablespoons butter or oil
1 cup minced onion
2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons dry mustard
1 tablespoons minced garlic
1/2 pound mushrooms, sliced
Cayenne to taste
Fresh lemon juice to taste
Yogurt for the top

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Split the squash in half lengthwise, remove the seeds, and place face-down on a lightly oiled baking tray. Bake until very soft (30 to 40 minutes). Cool, then scoop out the insides. Measure out 3 cups of squash, place it in a food processor or blender with 1 1/2 cups of the orange juice, and purée until smooth. (You may need to do this in batches.) Transfer to a soup pot, and stir in the remaining orange juice.
  2. Melt the butter or heat the oil in a skillet, and add the onion, ginger, salt, and spices. Sauté over medium heat until the onion is very soft (about 8 minutes). Add a few tablespoons of water, if necessary to prevent the spices from sticking.
  3. Add the garlic and mushrooms, cover, and cook about 10 minutes over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
  4. Add the sauté to the squash mixture, scraping the skillet well to salvage all the little tidbits of flavor. Add cayenne and lemon juice to taste.
  5. Serve hot, topped with a little yogurt.
 **As I was about to add the spices, I realized that I didn't have enough cumin, so I used curry instead of the coriander and cumin. I put in the correct amount of mustard and a pinch of cinnamon. The spices were fine, but I found the orange juice overpowering. I only added 1 1/2 C of it and it was still too strong for me. I would recommend really mincing the ginger up very well. I doubled the ginger since I was feeling cold. The result was a warming soup. I won't make it again.

    Wednesday, April 20, 2011

    Zucchini Fritters

    I've tried a fair few zucchini fritter recipes. This is my favorite so far. You can get the recipe online at cuisine.co.nz 

    6 small zucchini
    3 spring onions, chopped
    2 T parsley, chopped
    1 T mint, chopped
    1 T dill, chopped
    1/2 C feta cheese, crumbled
    4 eggs, lightly beaten
    1/4 C flour

    Grate the zucchini into a colander, sprinkle with salt and leave to drain for 30 minutes. Squeeze out moisture by hand then wrap them into a towel to get the rest of the moisture out. Transfer to a bowl and add the onions parsley, mint, dill, feta cheese, eggs, and salt and pepper to taste.

    Mix well then blend in the flour. Drop by tablespoons into a hot skillet and fry till golden. Turn and cook the second side.

    Delicious with yogurt. Makes 24 small ones.

    Tuesday, April 19, 2011

    Lentil Walnut Burgers

    This comes from Mollie Katzen's site. She indicates that they are good frozen (after cooking them first) and with our without cheese.

    3/4 cup dry lentils (any kind)
    1 1/2 cups water
    2 tablespoons cider vinegar
    1 tablespoon olive oil, plus extra for sautéing the patties
    1 cup minced onion
    4 large cloves garlic, minced
    10 large mushrooms, minced
    1/2 cup very finely minced walnuts
    1 teaspoon salt
    1/2 pound spinach, finely minced (optional)
    1 teaspoon dry mustard
    Freshly ground black pepper to taste
    1/2 cup bread crumbs, wheat germ, or rolled oats

    1. Place lentils and water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer, partially covered, for about 30 minutes, or until the lentils are soft and the liquid is gone. Transfer to a medium-sized bowl, add vinegar, and mash well.
    2. Heat the oil in a medium-sized skillet. Add onion and sauté over medium heat for about 5 minutes. Add remaining ingredients except the bread crumbs, wheat germ, or oats, and sauté 5 to 10 minutes or until all the vegetables are tender. Add the sautéed mixture and bread crumbs, wheat germ, or oats to the lentils and mix well. Chill for about 1 hour before forming patties.
    3. Form 4-inch diameter patties. (It might be easiest to do this if you wet your hands.) Heat a small amount of olive oil in a skillet, and sauté the patties on both sides until heated through and crispy. You can also just broil them for about 5 to 8 minutes on each side.
     **These were easy to make. I used canned lentils and used my food processor to mince the mushrooms and walnuts. I didn't add spinach. I used rolled oats and sauteed rather than broiled the burgers. They kept their shape well. Keeper.

    Monday, April 18, 2011

    Basque Eggs

    I found this recipe a while back on one of my favorite sites: cuisine.co.nz It is a great dish once the zucchini is ready to harvest. The perfect dish if you have chard, tomatoes and zucchini. I have adapted this recipe. The original is on the link.

    6  tablespoons olive oil
    2 medium red onions, finely diced
    4 zucchini, sliced less than 1” thick
    1 small hot red chili thinly sliced or a roasted chopped green chili or two
    3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
    1 bunch of swiss chard, chopped
    1 teaspoon sweet smoked Spanish paprika
    1/4 cup coarsely chopped flat-leafed parsley
    4-6 organic eggs
    1 cup cherry tomatoes
    salt and freshly ground black pepper

    Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Heat 4 tablespoons of the oil over moderate heat in a heavy frying pan (preferably one that can go straight into the oven). Add the onions, zucchini, chili and garlic. Panfry, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes or until everything has softened and browned.

    Stir in the chard and saute for a minute or two. Then add the paprika and parsley, mix well then remove from the heat. If you are not using a frying pan that is oven-safe, oil a shallow ovenproof dish with the remaining oil. Pour the vegetable mixture evenly into the dish and break the eggs on top, leaving them whole and evenly distributed over the surface. (Use as many eggs as your dinner companions need)

    Push the tomatoes in beside the eggs. Season with salt and pepper.

    Place in the oven and bake 15-20 minutes or until the eggs are just set. Remove from the oven and serve. Serves 4
     Going into the oven
    **Delicious. I love the smokey paprika with the fresh veges. Keep your eye on the eggs- you'll need to poke them to know how runny or cooked they are.


    I couldn't resist the asparagus at the store. When we get asparagus, this is one of our favorite ways to eat it. This recipe is from Mollie Katzen's Still Life with Menu cookbook. You can get the recipe from Mollie Katzen's website.

    8 scallions, minced
    1 tablespoon minced garlic (2-3 cloves)
    1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
    2 tablespoons soy sauce
    1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
    1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
    2 tablespoons Chinese dark sesame oil
    3 tablespoons water
    1 tablespoon honey or sugar
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/2 pound vermicelli or linguine
    1/2 pound tofu, in small dice
    2 tablespoons peanut or canola oil
    1 pound slim asparagus, trimmed and cut diagonally into 1-inch lengths
    12 to 15 fresh mushrooms, sliced or quartered
    Toasted sesame seeds and/or cashews for the top
    1. In a small bowl, combine the scallions, garlic, ginger, soy sauce, red pepper, lemon juice, sesame oil, water, sugar or honey, and salt. Stir in the tofu. Cover and let stand for at least 15 minutes (longer is OK . You can prepare the other ingredients during this time.)
    2. Cook the noodles in plenty of boiling, salted water until tender. Drain, rinse in warm water, and drain again.
    3. Place a large wok over medium heat and wait a minute or two. Add 2 tablespoons peanut or canola oil, then turn up the heat. Add the asparagus and mushrooms, and stir-fry for several minutes until the asparagus is just tender.
    4. Add the drained noodles and stir-fry for about 3 more minutes, keeping the heat high. (It helps to use tongs for the stirring at this point.)
    5. Pour in the entire bowlful of marinade-plus-tofu. Cook and stir another 3 minutes or so, or until the sauce is well distributed and everything is heated through.
    6. Serve immediately, topped with toasted sesame seeds and/or cashews.
    *I use 3 T tamari instead of soy sauce and 3 T sesame oil. I don't use the red pepper, and I use rice spaghetti noodles broken in half before cooking them. I tend to use more asparagus.
    **Delicious- Keeper

    Tuesday, April 12, 2011

    Rosemary Dijon Pork Loin

    This recipe came the Food Network. I am leaving the rosemary in the ingredients, but I didn't use it.

    • 1 (4-pound) boneless pork loin
    • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
    • 2 tablespoons chopped red onion
    • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    • 1 clove garlic, minced
    • 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped rosemary leaves, plus a few sprigs for garnish

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
    Trim any excess fat from the pork loin, leaving a thin-layer of fat over the top.
    Evenly rub the entire pork loin with the Dijon mustard followed by the onion, salt, pepper, and garlic. Make sure to really rub in the spices, and then sprinkle the
    rosemary evenly all over the top.
    Place the pork in roasting pan lined with a rack and roast for 20 minutes.
    Reduce the temperature to 300 degrees F, and continue roasting until a meat thermometer inserted in the thickest part reads 145 degrees F, about 1 hour more. Transfer the pork to a cutting board, cover loosely with foil, and let rest for 10 minutes. Slice and pork and arrange on a platter garnished with rosemary sprigs.

    **I cooked it till the internal temperature reached 160. It was moist and fork tender. I also cooked it on a cookie sheet. It did not brown up- you'll need to sear it first if you want it to be brown. Delicious- keeper.

    Cabbage Gratin

    I've never made this and am looking forward to trying it. It came directly from the Orangette blog. I recognize we did not get Savoy cabbage, I'm hoping the mild flavor of the napa will work.

    Savoy Cabbage Gratin
    Adapted from All About Braising, by Molly Stevens

    A couple of notes about ingredients:

    - Good stock, either chicken or vegetable, is key here.

    - If you can’t find Saint-Marcellin, use a good triple-cream cheese, such as Delice de Bourgogne, Pierre Robert, or Brillat-Savarin. I used Delice de Bourgogne, and it was wonderful. Just remember not to use the rind: it’s too pungent. Also, don’t be tempted to use Brie. It isn’t quite right here.

    3 Tbsp. unsalted butter
    1 Savoy cabbage (about 1 ½ lb.), quartered, cored, and sliced into ½-inch-wide shreds
    1 bunch scallions, white and green parts, sliced into ½-inch-wide pieces
    Kosher salt
    1 ¾ cups mild chicken or vegetable stock
    1 ripe Saint-Marcellin cheese (about 3 oz.), or an equal amount of triple-cream cheese

    Set a rack in the middle of the oven, and preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly butter a large (roughly 10”x 14”) gratin dish, or another dish of similar size.

    Melt the butter in a large (12-inch or bigger) skillet over medium-high heat. Add the cabbage and scallions, season generously with salt, and cook, stirring, until the cabbage is nicely wilted and just beginning to brown in spots, about 10 minutes. Add the stock, bring to a steady simmer, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes.

    Transfer the cabbage, scallions, and all the liquid into the prepared gratin dish. Cover tightly with foil, and bake for 45 minutes. Remove the foil, and continue to bake until the liquid is mostly evaporated, about 20 minutes more. Then remove the dish from the oven. Cut the cheese into small lumps and scatter it over the cabbage. Increase the oven temperature to 375°F, return the dish to the oven, and cook until the cheese is thoroughly melted, about 10 minutes.

    Serve hot or warm, as a side dish for almost any meat. I’ll bet it would also be delicious with an egg. Or on its own, as a light meal, with a hunk of bread.

    Yield: 4 to 6 servings
     Making the gratin
    The finished gratin
    **So delicious- there were no leftovers. Worked great with the napa cabbage, however I adjusted the time in the oven in half. I added a little too much salt considering  my vege stock was a bit salty- but it paired so nicely with the pork loin (which needed salt). Absolutely a keeper.

    Pasta with Salmon and Peas in an alfredo sauce

    This dish works with either fresh, frozen and cooked, or smoked salmon. It works with fresh or frozen peas. It works with packaged or freshly made alfredo sauce. This is another staple dish at our house.

    2 pkgs pasta (we use gluten free)
    2 pkgs alfredo sauce (or make your own)
    1/2 bag frozen peas (or fresh)
    salmon to taste

    Cook the pasta. While it is cooking, make the alfredo sauce. When the pasta is finished, drain it on top of the frozen peas. Put it back in the pot, stir in the salmon and pour the alfredo sauce on top.
     **Delicious as always. The kids made it this time.

    Risotto cakes with fontina

    Having leftover risotto and leftover roasted carrots, I looked around for a risotto cake recipe. I found a few and this is what I came up with.

    2 C leftover risotto (mine was made with roasted garlic and thyme)
    1 C roasted carrots, chopped
    1/2 C fontina cheese, shredded
    1/4 C chopped parsley
    1 egg
    1/2 C breadcrumbs

    Mix the cold risotto with breadcrumbs, cheese, parsley, carrots, and egg. Shape into 4" rounds and chill. Heat oil and saute cakes until crisp and brown.
    **Delicious- Keeper

    Saturday, April 9, 2011

    Swedish Meatballs/Kottbullar

    Once I had decided on the potato salad with herring that seems pretty Scandinavian to me, I thought some Swedish meatballs might be a good accompaniment. I found this recipe on a Swedish site. I am not a big meatball fan, so we'll so how they go over! I have some lingonberry jam that I'll serve with them.

    4–6 servings
    500 g (18 oz) ground (minced) beef/pork mixture
    250 ml (1¼ cup) milk
    75 g (¾ cup) white breadcrumbs
    1 egg
    1 onion
    salt, white pepper
    ground allspice
    Finely dice the onion and sauté gently in a little butter without browning. Soak the breadcrumbs in milk. Blend the ground meat, preferably in a food processor, with the onion, egg, milk/breadcrumb mixture and the spices to the proper consistency and taste. Add a little water if the mixture feels too firm. Check the taste by test-frying one meatball. Then shape small meatballs with the aid of two spoons and place on water-rinsed plates. Brown a generous pat of butter in a frying pan, and when it “goes quiet” place the meatballs in the pan and let them brown on all sides. Shake the frying pan often. Serve with potato purée or boiled potatoes and raw stirred lingonberries.

    Potato Salad with Herring

    I have some leftover red potatoes after making the Manhatten Tuna Chowder and I have been reading that we need to eat more herring. I opened some herring from the Talin Market the other day and now I need to use it up. Here is the online version of the recipe. Although this calls for bottled beets, you could use fresh. I will use the pickles that I canned last summer. I will also cut the herring into very small pieces so they don't compete with the meatballs that I'm serving with this dish.

    serves 4
    salt and freshly milled white pepper
    675 g (1 1/2 lb) new potatoes
    4 pickled herring fillets
    1 large onion
    1 large, fairly sour apple
    225 g (8 oz) bottled beetroot
    100 g (4 oz) cocktail gherkins
    3 tablespoons mayonnaise
    5 tablespoons low fat natural yogurt
    1 tablespoon wine vinegar


    1. Half fill a medium-sized saucepan with water and add a generous pinch of salt. Scrub the potatoes under running water, add them to the saucepan, bring the water to the boil and boil the potatoes in their skins for 25 - 30 minutes.

    2. Rinse the herring in cold water, pat dry and cut it into squares. Cut the onion into rings. Peel, quarter, core and dice the apple. Drain the beetroot in a sieve and cut it into cubes, reserving 2 tablespoons of the juice. Slice the gherkins.

    3. Beat the mayonnaise with the beetroot juice, yogurt, vinegar and pepper. Drain the potatoes, leave them to cool, remove the skins and slice. Gently mix the potatoes with the herring, onion rings, apple, gherkins and beetroot in a large bowl.

    4. Fold the dressing into the salad, cover the bowl and leave to stand for a few minutes before serving. Season to taste with salt. 

    Thursday, April 7, 2011

    Southern Buttermilk Biscuits

    I felt the tuna chowder needed some bread. You can find this recipe on Food.com.
    I made them with the food processor- don't get turned off by the number of steps. They are quick and easy to make and turn out light and fluffy.
    • 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting the board 
    • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
    • 1 tablespoon baking powder (use one without aluminum)
    • 1 teaspoon kosher salt or 1 teaspoon salt
    • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, very cold
    • 3/4 cup buttermilk (approx)


    Prep Time: 10 mins
    Total Time: 22 mins
    1. Preheat your oven to 450°F.
    2. Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl, or in the bowl of a food processor.
    3. Cut the butter into chunks and cut into the flour until it resembles course meal.
    4. If using a food processor, just pulse a few times until this consistency is achieved.
    5. Add the buttermilk and mix JUST until combined.
    6. If it appears on the dry side, add a bit more buttermilk.
    7. Turn the dough out onto a floured board.
    8. Gently, gently PAT (do NOT roll with a rolling pin) the dough out until it's about 1/2" thick.
    9. Use a round cutter to cut into rounds.
    10.  You can gently knead the scraps together and make a few more, but they will not be anywhere near as good as the first ones.
    11.  Place the biscuits on a cookie sheet- if you like soft sides, put them touching each other.
    12.  If you like"crusty" sides, put them about 1 inch apart- these will not rise as high as the biscuits put close together.
    13.  Bake for about 10-12 minutes- the biscuits will be a beautiful light golden brown on top and bottom.
    14.  Do not overbake.
    15.  Note: The key to real biscuits is not in the ingredients, but in the handling of the dough.
    16.  The dough must be handled as little as possible or you will have tough biscuits.
    17.  I have found that a food processor produces superior biscuits, because the ingredients stay colder and there's less chance of overmixing.
    18.  You also must pat the dough out with your hands, lightly.
    19.  Rolling with a rolling pin is a guaranteed way to overstimulate the gluten, resulting in a tougher biscuit.
    Note: You can make these biscuits, cut them, put them on cookie sheets and freeze them for up to a month.
    When you want fresh biscuits, simply place them frozen on the cookie sheet and bake at 450°F for about 20 minutes.
    ##Oh so delicious!  

    Monday, April 4, 2011

    Baked carrots with cumin, thyme, butter and chardonnay

    This recipe comes from Jamie Oliver's Return of the Naked Chef. It seemed like a perfect recipe for the carrots we are receiving this week. Plus I have a nice mound of thyme that made it through the winter!

    1 lb. baby carrots preferably organic, scrubbed and left whole, tops removed
    1/2 tsp cumin seeds, crushed
    1 handful fresh thyme, leaves
    4 tbsp butter
    freshly ground black pepper
    5 oz chardonnay wine

    1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
    2. Tear off around 5 feet of kitchen foil and fold it in half to give you double thickness of foil, about 2 and a half feet wide.
    3. Place everything but the wine and seasoning in the middle of the foil.
    4. Bring up the sides and pour in the white wine.
    5. Season well.
    6. Fold or scrunch the foil together to seal.
    7. Cook in the preheated oven for 45 minutes until the carrots are tender.
    8. You may need to cook it for longer if the carrots are bigger than baby ones.
     **I covered a baking dish with foil, rather than put this in a foil packet. The carrots were very flavorful- make sure you use good wine- otherwise you will not like the end results.  Easy to make.
    ##Not a big hit for leftovers. 

    Roasted sweet garlic, thyme and marscapone risotto with toasted almonds and breadcrumbs

    This comes from Jamie Oliver's, The Return of the Naked Chef. I am going to try to do the risotto in my pressure cooker to save time. I've done it once with great results.

    serves 6

    • 1 x basic risotto recipe
    • 2 large heads of garlic, whole and unpeeled
    • 1 good handful of fresh thyme, leaves picked
    • 155g/5½oz shelled and peeled almonds, lightly crushed, cracked or chopped
    • 2 handfuls of coarse fresh breadcrumbs
    • olive oil
    • 2 heaped tablespoons mascarpone cheese

    Roast the whole garlic heads on a dish in the oven at 230°C/450°F/gas
    8 for about 30 minutes until soft. Separate the cloves and squeeze out
    the sweet insides. Add with the thyme at the start of Stage 3 of the
    basic risotto recipe. In a frying pan toast the almonds and
    breadcrumbs in a little olive oil until crisp and golden. Season with
    a little salt. Set to one side. Serve the risotto with a dollop of
    mascarpone on the top and sprinkle over the toasted almonds and
    breadcrumbs. Lovely.

    Jamie Oliver's basic risotto recipe 

    approx• 1.1 litres/2 pints stock (chicken, fish or vegetable as appropriate)
    • 1 knob of butter
    • 2 tablespoons olive oil
    • 1 large onion, finely chopped
    • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
    • ½ a head of celery, finely chopped
    • 400g/14oz risotto rice
    • 2 wineglasses of dry white vermouth (dry Martini or Noilly Prat) or dry white wine
    • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
    • 70g/2½oz butter
    • 115g/4oz freshly grated Parmesan cheese

    stage 1

    Heat the stock. In a separate pan heat the olive oil and butter, add the onions, garlic and celery, and fry very slowly for about 15 minutes without colouring. When the vegetables have softened, add the rice and turn up the heat.

    stage 2

    The rice will now begin to lightly fry, so keep stirring it. After a minute it will look slightly translucent. Add the vermouth or wine and keep stirring — it will smell fantastic. Any harsh alcohol flavours will evaporate and leave the rice with a tasty essence.

    stage 3

    Once the vermouth or wine has cooked into the rice, add your first ladle of hot stock and a good pinch of salt. Turn down the heat to a simmer so the rice doesn’t cook too quickly on the outside. Keep adding ladlefuls of stock, stirring and almost massaging the creamy starch out of the rice, allowing each ladleful to be absorbed before adding the next. This will take around 15 minutes. Taste the rice — is it cooked? Carry on adding stock until the rice is soft but with a slight bite. Don’t forget to check the seasoning carefully. If you run out of stock before the rice is cooked, add some boiling water.

    stage 4

    Remove from the heat and add the butter and Parmesan. Stir well. Place a lid on the pan and allow to sit for 2 minutes. This is the most important part of making the perfect risotto, as this is when it becomes outrageously creamy and oozy like it should be. Eat it as soon as possible, while the risotto retains its beautiful texture.
     ** I roasted one head of garlic and I thought it was a bit too much. I was too hungry and tired to do the almonds and breadcrumbs. And to top it all off- I didn't have time to get the marscapone. I used the pressure cooker for the risotto. I sauteed the onion in butter, then added 1 1/2 C arborio rice- coating it well with the butter. I then added 3 1/2 C stock, took it to high pressure for 6 minutes, then quick-released the steam. I squashed the roasted garlic cloves and stirred them into the risotto along with the fresh thyme. Good flavor, right texture.
    ##Not a big hit for leftovers. I'll turn it along with the carrots into risotto cakes.

    Manhattan Tuna Chowder- Crockpot

    No time to cook on Tuesday- so I thought we could try this chowder recipe. I've got everything but the red potatoes on hand... and most of the recipes from the Better Homes and Gardens Ultimate Slow Cooker cookbook have been good.

    Serves 6

    2 14-oz cans chicken broth (I'll use my own)
    2 C chopped round red potatoes (2 medium)
    1 14.5-oz can diced tomatoes
    1 C chopped celery (2 stalks)
    1/2 C chopped onion (1 medium)
    1/2 C coarsely shredded carrot (1 medium)
    1 t dried thyme, crushed
    1/8 t cayenne pepper
    1/8 t ground black pepper
    1 12-oz can chunk white tuna (water pack), drained and broken into chunks

    Combine broth, potatoes, undrained tomatoes, celery, onion, carrot, thyme, cayenne pepper, and black pepper.
    Cover and cook on low for 6-7 hours or high for 3-31/2 hours. Gently stir in tuna. Let stand, covered for 5 minutes.

    per serve: 40 calories, 2 G fat, 25 mg chol.,900 mg sodium, 1 g carbo, 3 g fiber, 16 g protein.
     **I don't think this dish could have been any easier. I wasn't crazy about it, but the 2 out of the other 3 eaters besides me thought it was great. I paired it with buttermilk biscuits.
    ##I might make this again.