Roasted Carrots with Mustard Butter Sauce

IMG_81971 pound baby carrots (about 2 bunches), peeled (optional), green stems trimmed to 1/2 inch, and wispy carrot tips remove
2 tsp. olive oil
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 T. unsalted butter
2 tsp. coarse-grained mustard
1 T. coarsely chopped fresh herbs, such as dill, flat-leaf parsley, chives, chervil, or tarragon (or 1/3 this amount if using a dried herb)

Adapted from Chowhound

Heat the oven to 450°F and arrange a rack in the middle.  Toss the carrots with oil in bowl and season with salt and pepper. Spread carrots in a pan.  Roast, shaking the pan occasionally, until a knife easily pierces the carrots, about 10 to 15 minutes. (Smaller carrots will cook in less time.) Remove from the oven and set aside while you prepare the herbed mustard-butter.

Melt the butter in a large frying pan or wok over medium heat until foaming. Add the mustard and stir to combine. Add the roasted carrots and herbs and toss to coat the carrots in the butter mixture. Season with salt and pepper as needed.

This was one of the vegetable side dishes we prepared for G&E’s wedding at Anderson Lodge, Washington.  Eight pounds of carrots, as I recall, with the herb of choice, dill.  It’s an easy dish to make, tasty, holds up well as a leftover.

Fruited Rice Pilaf

fruited rice pilaf1 cup long-grain brown rice
1/2 tsp. salt
2 cups vegetable stock
2 T. butter
1/4 cup cashews
1/4 cup each raisins and coarsely chopped dried apricots and pitted dates

In a 2-quart pan, combine rice, salt, and vegetable stock. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer until rice is tender and liquid is absorbed (about 45 minutes).

Meanwhile, in a small frying pan over medium-low heat, melt butter. Add nuts and cook until golden. Remove from pan with a slotted spoon and set aside. Add raisins, apricots, and dates to pan and cook, stirring for 2 minutes.

When rice is cooked, stir in dried fruits. Cover and let stand for 5 minutes. Stir in nuts just before serving. Makes 6 servings.

from Sunset Magazine’s “Vegetarian Cooking”

Some things just don’t look as good as they taste:  such is the case with this pilaf.  If you’re a carnivore, this would make a great side dish for pork, turkey, or chicken.  For vegetarians, this pilaf is The Carb on the plate next to the salad and/or cooked vegetables.

Tomato Bisque, easy

IMG_80634 T. unsalted butter
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 medium carrot, finely chopped
1 celery rib, finely chopped
2 (or more to taste) garlic cloves, finely chopped
3 T. all-purpose flour
4 cup chicken stock or canned low-sodium broth OR vegetable broth
Two 14 1/2-ounce cans diced fire-roasted tomatoes, drained
3 T. tomato paste
2 tsp. sugar
1/4 cup heavy cream
Salt and white pepper
1/2 cup garlic or cheese croutons and/or green onions, for garnish (if you like)
Adapted from Food & Wine

In a medium saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter. Add the chopped onion, carrot, celery, and garlic, cover and cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are just beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle the flour over the vegetables and stir over low heat for 1 minute, or until the flour is fully incorporated. Add the chicken or vegetable stock, tomatoes, tomato paste, and sugar and bring to a boil. Cover partially and cook the soup over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes.

Transfer half of the soup to a blender* and puree until smooth. Return the puree to the saucepan, add the heavy cream and cook until the soup is just heated through. Season the soup with salt and white pepper and swirl in the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter. Ladle the soup into bowls, add garnish(es).

*This photo was taken the first or second time I made the soup; I had pureed the whole batch.  Pureeing just half or even less makes for a more interesting soup for the eyes and the inside of your mouth.

Since late February 2018, I’ve been eating and cooking vegetarian with fish maybe once a week.  I didn’t think I could tolerate a vegetarian diet but after three weeks staying with my vegetarian son and daughter-in-law, I found it was easier than I thought.  I also discovered what is obvious:  there’s a lot more prep since you are working with raw foods that need washing, sometimes peeling, slicing or dicing, although it feels as if I spend less time “cooking.”  Switching to this kind of cooking,  I’ve had to think about meals differently.  With a carnivorous diet, I would build a meal around pork or beef or chicken or fish.  Now I make more soups or stews, experiment with stir fries, eat more tofu, have an omelet for dinner once in awhile, and look for ways to make a variety of carbs.  Look for more vegetarian recipes in the future.

 

Miso Chicken

4 T. unsalted butter, melted
1/2 c. white miso
2 T. honey
1 T. rice vinegar (unseasoned type)
black pepper to taste
6 to 8 chicken thighs (approximately 2-1/2 to 3 lbs.), bone-in, skin-on

IMG_7197Adapted from a recipe at NYT Cooking

Combine butter, miso, honey, rice vinegar, and black pepper in a large bowl and mix with a spatula or spoon until it is well combined. Drop thighs into the miso-butter mixture and turn to make sure all sides are coated.

Place thighs and the leftover miso-butter  mixture in a plastic bag and refrigerate anywhere from a half hour to a couple hours before baking.

Heat the oven to 425 degrees.

Place the chicken in a single layer in a roasting pan and slide it into the oven. Roast for 30 to 40 minutes, turning the chicken pieces over every 10 minutes, until the skin is golden brown and crisp, and the internal temperature of the meat is 160 to 165 degrees.

* I’ve tried this recipe with boneless, skinless thighs.  Don’t bother. You’ll want the beautiful crunchy skin, so use bone-in, skin-on thighs.

Garlic and Spinach Soup

1-½ quarts chicken stock, turkey stock, vegetable stock, or water.   (I used chicken stock.)
A bouquet garni made with a bay leaf and a couple of sprigs each thyme and parsley
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
2 to 3 large garlic cloves (to taste), minced.   (I used 3 but would increase it to 4 or more next time.)
½ cup elbow macaroni.   (I used 1/4 cup quinoa.)
2 eggs
1 6-ounce bag baby spinach, or 12 ounces of bunch spinach, stemmed, washed, dried and coarsely chopped.  (Because I’m lazy, I didn’t stem or chop the spinach.)
¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan (1 ounce).  (I used what I had in the house:  gouda.)

Adapted from the New York Times Cooking.

img_6734Place the stock or water in a large saucepan or soup pot with the bouquet garni. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper. Bring to a simmer and add the garlic. Cover and simmer 15 minutes. Add the pasta and simmer 5 minutes, until cooked al dente. Remove the bouquet garni.  Note:  if you use quinoa, you’ll need to simmer it a bit longer, maybe 7 minutes.

Beat the eggs in a bowl and stir in 1/3 cup of stock, making sure that stock is lukewarm, and then add the cheese.

Stir the spinach into the stock and simmer for 1 minute. Drizzle in the egg mixture, scraping all of it in with a rubber spatula. Turn off the heat and stir very slowly with the spatula, paddling it back and forth until the eggs have been blended in.  Adjust seasoning.

Comments
Whenever I shop at Costco, I purchase a big amount of some kind of vegetable and then look for a soup recipe. I also recently purchased a food scale, so this recipe gave me an excuse to use it. Friends had also given me a packet of bouquet garni:  another reason for selecting this soup.

By substituting quinoa, the carbos are reduced, the protein is increased.

This soup has a nice mouth feel, creamy but not too creamy (similar to miso soup) with a slight quinoa crunch.  Because the spinach wasn’t chopped, I ate the spinach with chopsticks, which was nice.

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

3 T. olive oil
1-1/2 lbs. cleaned butternut squash into 2-inch cubes
1 sweet onion, cut into 1/8ths
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. turmeric
1/16 kosher salt
dash of pepper
4 c. chicken broth
1 c. plain yogurt (NOT non-fat)
3 T. fresh chopped chives
2 T. toasted sesame seeds

IMG_6471Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a bowl, toss together oil, squash, onions, cumin, turmeric, salt, and pepper. Transfer to a flat roasting pan and roast 30-35 minutes, stirring occasionally until golden brown.

Transfer vegetables to a soup pot and cover with chicken broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer soup 20-25 minutes. Puree soup and add yogurt. Adjust seasoning and serve hot, sprinkled with chives and toasted seeds or with fresh basil and a dash of cayenne pepper.

Makes 6 servings.

I’ve made this soup several times, but the most recent results allowed me to post this recipe with confidence.  What had I done differently?  Use garlic confit to roast the vegetables was one thing, but the defining difference — I believe — was purchasing a locally grown butternut squash.  It was sweeter than any I’d worked with before.  It was gloriously colorful (see photo!).  The moral of this is to buy fresh, buy local.

Honey-Molasses Chicken Drumsticks

Sauce
1 T. brown sugar
2 T. water
2 T. honey
2 T. balsamic vinegar
1 T. Dijon mustard
1 T. molasses
1 tsp. minced garlic

IMG_56291 tsp. olive oil
6 chicken drumsticks, skinned
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

  • Combine first 7 ingredients, stirring with a whisk.
  • Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper.
  • Add chicken to pan, browning on all sides. Add honey mixture to pan, turning chicken to coat.
  • Reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and cook 15 minutes or until chicken is done, turning chicken every 5 minutes.
  • Uncover and cook an additional 1 minute or until mixture is thick and a mahogany color, and chicken is well coated.
  • Remove from heat and let rest for 5 minutes

Source:  Cooking Light

 

Yougurt-curry Marinated Chicken Thighs

1 cup nonfat plain yogurt (Greek Gods Plain preferred)
1/3 cup grated onion (about 1 medium)
3 tablespoons curry powder
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
4 large or 8 small bone-in chicken thighs (about 2 pounds), skin removed

IMG_5668

  • Whisk yogurt, onion, curry powder, oil, salt, and crushed red pepper in a bowl.
  • Dredge each piece of chicken in marinade, place in ziploc, and then add remaining sauce to bag. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours and up to 8 hours.
  • Preheat grill to medium-high. Remove chicken from marinade (discard marinade) and grill, turning once until no longer pink in the center.  About 25 to 30 minutes.

Adapted from: Eating Well

I’m violating my Onolish rule here by publishing this recipe after making the dish only once.  A couple of  caveats:  I used boneless thighs so I had to watch the time more carefully.  I also marinated the thighs a little longer than 8 hours.  What’s nice about this dish:  the flavors are well blended and the chicken is wonderfully moist and tender.

 

Tofu and Sweet Potato Patties

tofu sweet potato patties1 box firm or extra-firm tofu (12.5 ounces)
2 medium sweet potatoes, baked (350 degrees for an hour) or boiled, keep whole with skins on
4 or more cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp. fresh rosemary, chopped OR 2/3 tsp. dried crushed rosemary
3 green onions, green parts only
1 T. or more of finely chopped fresh ginger
Pinch of red pepper flakes
2 T. sesame seeds
2/3 cup breadcrumbs (or more if needed)
Salt and pepper to taste
2 or more tablespoons olive oil

Yield:  about 12 to 14 patties

1.  When potatoes are cool enough to handle, remove skin, cut into chunks and mash.
2.  Slice tofu and place slices between several layers of paper towel.  Press to remove liquid.
3.  Crumble tofu with your hands into a bowl. Add in the cooked sweet potato and with a fork mash them together.
4.  Add in the rest of the ingredients except the bread crumbs, salt, pepper, and olive oil.  Mix together, place in covered container, refrigerate for an hour or more.
5.  When you’re ready to fry the patties, add bread crumbs, salt and pepper.
6.  Form patties with your hands.  (I use a 1/3 measuring cup as a scoop.)
7.  Heat pan over medium heat and add olive oil.
8.  Cook patties for a few minutes on each side until browned.

Serve immediately or keep warm in a 170 degree oven for up to 30 minutes.

I’ve made this dish several times and gradually made changes to the original I’d found online.  Ginger gives the patties a kind of fresh taste and green onions add color and zip.  I finally felt satisfied enough to post this recipe after an accidental discovery.  I decided to prep everything ahead of time, which meant refrigerating the basic ingredients (see note above about what to add right before frying).  This time lapse and chill down mellowed and blended the flavors.  For best results, refrigerate.

German-Style Potato Salad

IMG_50332 pounds (6 medium-sized) white new potatoes or Yukon gold
1 quite small, mild red onion
10 slices bacon
1 egg, slightly beaten
1/2 cup sugar
1 T. all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. each dry mustard and salt
1/3 cup each water and white wine vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
Dry or chopped fresh parsley for color

Adapted from Sunset’s Ideas for Cooking Vegetables, 1973

Cook potatoes in boiling water until just tender when pierced (about 30 minutes); drain. When cool enough to handle, peel and cut into 1/2-inch cubes. Thinly slice onion, separate into rings, and add to potatoes. Cook bacon until crisp; drain and crumble 7 slices into the potatoes. Set aside remaining bacon for garnish.

Put egg in a saucepan and stir in the sugar, flour, mustard, salt, water, and white wine vinegar. Cook over medium heat, stirring until mixture thickens (about 4 minutes). Pour over potatoes; mix well and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cool, cover, and chill at least 4 hours or overnight. Before serving, garnish with reserved crumbled bacon and parsley.

Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Making this ahead of time — for at least the four-hour chill down — is important for allowing the flavors to blend and mellow.