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Rosemary Turnip & Rice Soup

24 Mar

“This was surprisingly good for something that was probably a staple for medieval peasants.” So says the BF.

I needed some way to use up more CSA veggies. We received yet more root vegetables, and really, I was running out of ideas. I dug up my Cooking in the Moment cookbook, Andrea Reusing’s excellent book of recipes focused on cooking seasonally. The recipes are divided into spring, summer, fall, and winter, and considering I have a winter CSA, I thought I might have some luck there.

Turnip Soup

I found her recipe for Turnip Soup with Rosemary and Black Pepper. I adapted it a bit and gave it a shot.

Considering I didn’t think I liked turnips, I thought this was very delicious. And as the BF says, as turnips are often considered a somewhat lowly vegetable, it really turned out great.  I used my own homemade vegetable stock that I had also made with rosemary, so that was really the strongest prevailing flavor, which I love. I topped mine with black pepper, parmesan, and rosemary. If you want to go vegan, leave the parmesan off, no problem. If you want a slightly different flavor, use chicken stock instead of vegetable stock.

IMG_0862

Rosemary Turnip & Rice Soup adapted from Cooking in the Moment by Andrea Reusing

3 green onion bulbs, minced
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
kosher salt
1/2 cup white wine
6 cups vegetable stock
1/2 cup long-grain white basmati rice
black pepper
3-4 medium turnips, cut into small bite-size cubes
3 small branches fresh rosemary – 2 whole and 1 chopped
grated parmesan cheese

Add the olive oil to a heavy stockpot and warm over medium heat. Saute the onion and garlic until slightly brown, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Pour in the wine and stock, and bring to a simmer.

Add the rice, and simmer for 10 minutes over medium-low. Add the turnips and two whole rosemary branches. Cook about 15 more minutes, stirring occasionally.

Season with more salt, if necessary. Discard the rosemary branches, and serve the soup into bowls. Top with grated parmesan, fresh-ground black pepper, and chopped rosemary.

IMG_0865

Linking Up With:

Monday Meet Ups from Covered in Grace
Market Yourself Monday from Sumo’s Sweet Stuff
Your Great Idea Link Party from Or So She Says
Time for a Party from Fine Craft Guild
Made by you Monday from Skip to my Lou

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Beef Empanadas and Black Bean & Corn Empanadas

4 Mar

My BFF Lauren came over to help me with this project. Because I was certain it would turn out to be a project. My goal was to make empanadas from scratch to share with my book club on the evening we discussed Daughter of Fortune by Isabel Allende. These Chilean empanadas — along with delicious alfajores — seemed to fit the theme of the book perfectly.

I put a few different recipes together to come up with scratch-made dough, a beef-based filling, and a black bean filling. The beef version is the traditional Chilean version, but I also wanted a vegetarian option.

Pretty easy concept here, just a lot of work. Mix up the fillings and set them aside. Make up the dough and roll it out, then cut circles.

Roll out the dough

Fill with the beef filling…

Beef filling

Or the bean filling.

Black bean & corn filling

Seal up the empanadas. We used a ravioli kit, and it worked really well.

Sealed empanadas

Place them on the baking tray and coat with an egg wash.

Egg wash

Bake to golden perfection.

Golden empanadas

Overall, I thought these were decent, but not necessarily my fave. The dough is a little thick and hard. I would have preferred a softer dough, more like biscuit or pie dough — I should maybe have used shortening or the traditional option: lard. As for the fillings, the beef is too onion-y — though from what I’ve read, that’s probably more a Chilean thing than the fault of this recipe. And I can’t really put my finger on it, but the bean filling was a little weird. I left out cheese from the fillings, thinking it would be better to offer dairy-free options to guests. But I served them with some queso, salsa, and guacamole, so that worked out well in the end.

So I’m aware I’m not really selling this too well. You should try this though! I do think that my opinion of this is mostly just an issue of personal preference. The recipes themselves aren’t bad. I froze the leftovers. Thawing one or two at a time to have with a bowl of soup made for a great lunch.

Chilean Empanadas

Dough

Here’s the thing — I can’t find the recipe I used. But maybe that’s not the end of the world, considering I didn’t like it all that much. I’d recommend Martha Stewart’s empanada dough recipe, just because I usually have good luck with her stuff, or do what one site suggested and just use refrigerated biscuit dough.

If you make you own dough, divide it into two sections and refrigerate it so it’s not too soft for rolling.

Beef Filling

1 onion, diced
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
½ lb ground meat
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon oregano
Salt to taste
½ teaspoon black pepper

Heat the oil in a pan over medium heat. Add onion and cook 2-3 minutes until onion is translucent. Add meat and blend together.

Add salt, pepper, and spices, and continue mixing over heat until meat is browned. Remove from heat and let cool.

Black Bean & Corn Filling

1 small onion, diced
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1 teaspoon cumin
1 medium tomato, seeded and diced
1 tablespoon sugar
1 (15.5 ounce) can black beans, drained
2 cups frozen corn kernels
Juice of 1/2 lime
1/2 cup raisins

Heat the oil in a pan over medium heat. Add the chopped onions, cumin, and garlic salt, and sauté until the onions are soft and translucent, about 5-8 minutes.

Add the chopped tomatoes, black beans, and sugar. Saute, stirring, for about 5 minutes more, or until excess liquid has cooked away and tomatoes are beginning to stick to the pan.

Add the corn, raisins, and lime juice, and cook for five minutes more.

Remove mixture from heat and scrape into a heat proof bowl. Let cool to room temperature, then chill for at least one hour.

Assembly

raisins (optional)
olives, diced (optional)
hard-boiled eggs, sliced (optional)
1 raw egg, scrambled

Roll your dough out to about 1/4″ thickness. Cut into circles.

Fill your circles with a spoonful or two of the filling. If desired, add a few raisins and/or olive slices on top of the filling.

Fold in half and press the edges shut. If necessary, wet your finger and run it along the sides to seal the edges shut.

(I used a ravioli kit to cut the circles and then press the edges shut. You can easily do this on your own without a kit.)

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Place each empanada on a baking sheet and use a fork to poke a few holes in the top to prevent oven explosions. (I poked the bean & cheese ones horizontally and the beef ones vertically so they would be distinguishable when served.)

Scramble the egg in a bowl. Brush a light egg wash coating on each empanada.

Bake for 20-30 minutes or until empanadas are a golden brown color.

Empanadas

Linking up with:

YOLO Mondays from Still Being Molly and Lipgloss and Crayons
Monday Meet Ups from Covered in Grace
Market Yourself Monday from Sumo’s Sweet Stuff
Your Great Idea Link Party from Or So She Says
Time for a Party from Fine Craft Guild
Made by you Monday from Skip to my Lou

Garlic Mashed Rutabagas

25 Feb

We got rutabagas in our CSA this week. Having never seen one before, I had to do a bit of research. Here’s what I found:

Rutabaga!

  • It’s a cross between a turnip and a cabbage. In English-speaking countries outside of North America, it’s more commonly referred to as a “Swedish turnip.”
  • It’s in the brassica family, so it’s related to turnips, cabbage, kale, cauliflower, broccoli, brussel sprouts, etc. Rutabagas have loads of nutritional value.
  • You can eat any part of the rutabaga! Some ideas: The root/bulb and stems can be sliced and diced and added to a stir fry. The bulb can be mashed like mashed potatoes. The leaves can be cooked like any greens, sauteed and added to pastas or soups, or used raw in green smoothies.
  • Pretty much anything you’d do to a potato or sweet potato, you can do to the rutabaga bulb. It’s like a healthier, more nutrient-rich, less-starchy, delicious version of potato.

For dinner, we decided to try garlic mashed rutabagas. The BF and I spent a considerable amount of time shouting “rutabaga!” while cooking. It just is a necessary part of cooking a veggie with such a weird name.

Mash 'em up

I thought it was delicious. It tastes so much like the butter and garlic I added, I really didn’t think it was all that different from mashed potatoes. Give this a try! Even if you still include the unhealthy dairy mixed into it, rutabagas are still way healthier than potatoes. They have about 36 calories and 8 grams of carbs, compared 77 calories and 18 grams of carbs in a white potato. I added some plain Greek yogurt to make it a little creamier. That allowed me to reduce the amount of milk and butter.

Smashed

They’re a little more yellow than potatoes. I like ’em smashed, not mashed. Or shmashed. Whichever. We had garlic mashed rutabagas with barbecue pork chops and a green salad. Yum-o! (And just for the record, I did eat more salad than what’s pictured here. Gotta get your veggies!)

Dinner's ready!

Garlic Mashed Rutabagas, with inspiration from Paula Deen

My sincere apologies that this isn’t a real recipe. I didn’t measure anything! Here’s my recommendation: take your favorite mashed potato recipe, and follow that, subbing rutabagas for the white potatoes. It’s that simple.

2 rutabagas, peeled and cut into 1-2″ chunks
2 cloves garlic, minced
plain Greek yogurt
milk
butter
salt & pepper

Peel the rutabagas and cut them into small chunks. Place in a large pot and cover completely with water. Add a few dashes of salt. Bring to a rapid boil, and then simmer 35-40 minutes until tender.

Drain the rutabagas. While they’re draining, add the garlic and a little butter to the pot. Heat over medium or medium-low until you can smell the garlic, 3-4 minutes. Reduce heat to low.

Return rutabagas to the pot and smash with a fork or potato masher. Add a spoonful of plain Greek yogurt and a splash of milk. Mix well. Add butter to taste, and/or serve with a pat of butter on top.

Linking up with:

YOLO Mondays from Still Being Molly and Lipgloss and Crayons
Monday Meet Ups from Covered in Grace
Market Yourself Monday from Sumo’s Sweet Stuff
Your Great Idea Link Party from Or So She Says
Time for a Party from Fine Craft Guild
Make Something Monday from Sarahndipities
Made by you Monday from Skip to my Lou

Kale & White Bean Soup

18 Feb

I was a little skeptical about a kale soup. It sounded just a little too… healthy. But I ended up loving this.

Each week when we receive our CSA, the nonprofit who provides it highlights an ingredient and a recipe for that ingredient. This week was kale, which I found out is rich in antioxidants and vitamins K, A, and C.

Since I had a ton of greens (it’s that time of year!), I decided to go ahead and try out the kale and white bean soup recipe that the CSA people shared with us. I followed the instructions but halved the amount.

Kale & Bean Soup

I thought it was a very delicious soup, especially when I dipped a hunk of baguette in it. It has a vegetable Italian -ish flavor, maybe kind of like a minestrone. And it didn’t occur to me until after I made it, but this dish is both vegan and gluten-free, so if you have dietary restrictions, this is a great option. Though if you want to substitute chicken broth for the vegetable broth, you certainly could.

I added in a tablespoon of flax seed, which adds fiber and serves as a thickener. It’s not necessary though, so if you’re not into it, just leave it out.

The recipe called for white beans, and had I planned on making a trip to the grocery store, I probably would have used white beans, Great Northern, cannelini, or something like that. But since I had everything else and didn’t want to go out, I just substituted garbanzo beans (chickpeas). You can use whatever variety of beans you prefer.

I had a big bowl of it for dinner, and there’s probably enough left for 2 or 3 more bowls.

Buon appetito!

Buon appetito!

Kale & White Bean Soup from Community Nutrition Partnership

1/2 Tablespoon olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 onion, chopped
2 cups kale, chopped
2 cups vegetable stock
1 can white beans
2 tomatoes, diced
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 Tablespoon flax seed (optional)
salt and pepper, to taste

Heat oil in a large stock pot. Add garlic and onion; saute until fragrant. Add kale and stir frequently until wilted.

Add about half the broth and half the beans. Also add all of the tomatoes, seasoning, salt and pepper. Simmer 5 minutes.

Meanwhile,  use a blender, food processor, or fork to mix the remaining broth and beans until smooth. Stir into soup to thicken. Simmer 15 minutes. Serve hot.

Linking up with:

YOLO Mondays from Still Being Molly and Lipgloss and Crayons
Monday Meet Ups from Covered in Grace
Market Yourself Monday from Sumo’s Sweet Stuff
Your Great Idea Link Party from Or So She Says

Eggplant “Meat”balls

10 Dec

I love eggplant, and I love meatballs, so this whole thing seemed like a great idea. And it was! My friend Emily suggested it after profiling it on her blog.

I generally have found cooking with eggplant to be somewhat difficult, so I was skeptical at first. And though this was a bit more work than I generally like to commit to dinner, it was worth it. Plus, the eggplant meatballs freeze really well, so this is an excellent recipe to make over the weekend and save for a busy weeknight.

Roasting some eggplant

We had our eggplant balls over spaghetti with jar sauce. (Honestly, after the hassle of scratch-made eggplant balls, I wasn’t in the mood to make my own tomato sauce.) For snack or for lunch, these are great on their own, maybe with some marinara dipping sauce and some garlic bread. I haven’t tried it, but I imagine it would also make a fantastic sub sandwich. Hmm… I might have to try that soon.

Eggplant "Meat"balls

Don’t wait! Go pick yourself up an eggplant and get crackin’ on this recipe.

Eggplant “Meat”balls (Polpette di Melanzane) adapted from Dinner Du Jour

2 large eggplants, cut in half
extra virgin olive oil
salt
black pepper
4 cloves minced garlic
2 cups breadcrumbs
1 1/4 cups freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 egg yolks
1 tablespoon chopped basil
a pinch of nutmeg

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Rub the halved eggplants with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place them on a baking tray and roast for 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and leave to cool slightly. (If you want a slightly fancier way to roast your eggplant, try this recipe.)

Scoop out the flesh of the eggplants, place in a sieve, and press gently to squeeze out the excess liquid. In a mixing bowl, mash the garlic and eggplant together, then stir in the breadcrumbs, Parmesan, egg yolks, basil and nutmeg. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Shape the eggplant mixture into golf ball-sized ‘meatballs’. Place on a lightly greased cookie sheet and bake for 15-20 minutes.

Serve over spaghetti with tomato sauce.

Linking up for:

YOLO Mondays from Still Being Molly and Lipgloss and Crayons
Monday Meet Ups from Covered in Grace
Made by you Monday from Skip to my Lou
Linky Party with Fine Craft Guild
Make Something Monday from Sarahndipities

Apple Cinnamon Baked Oatmeal

3 Dec

Whew! I am exhausted. Last night was our huge annual fundraiser at work — our Holiday Auction. As the fundraising person, I’m in charge of planning and executing the whole thing. With 250 people, 250 items, dinner, and more, it’s quite a task. With mostly 10- and 12-hour workdays for the past couple weeks, let’s just say that things at home have been a little… neglected.

My closet is about two feet deep in clothes and random detritus right now. (I wish I were exaggerating.) The dirty clothes basket has been re-appropriated to serve as a second clean clothes basket, with those and another load in the dryer waiting to be folded and put away. The kitchen and fridge are full of take-out boxes that need to be thrown away and the trash taken out. And I think the BF misses me, since I’ve mostly been working or sleeping.

So… hello, December! The month for me to get back into the swing of things. I’m planning on doing a little less working, which will leave a more time for other verbs, like celebrating, relaxing, cooking, cleaning, and yoga-ing. And with the holidays coming up, I’m of course looking forward to baking. I’m already brainstorming what I can make!

One thing I’ve decided: I’m definitely making this apple cinnamon baked oatmeal for Christmas morning. In hindsight, since I’ve eaten take-out and fast food at my desk for the majority of my meals the past two weeks, I really wish I had made up a batch of this last weekend to munch throughout the week.

Baked Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal

This baked oatmeal is amazing. I’m not a big fan of goopy, thick oatmeal — the texture grosses me out. So instant, microwaveable oatmeal really isn’t for me. But this bakes into a more cake-like texture, a little more solid. Much more my speed. And the apples are the best part — cooked in cinnamon sugar before baking, they are so sweet and delicious. But the oatmeal is pretty healthy, so overall, is comes out to a pretty balanced breakfast.

The best part? It’s just as delicious re-heated. So you can bake some up on the weekend and then have breakfast ready for those busy work mornings. Or… I can bake some up a couple days early, and then warm it in the oven on Christmas morning. Mmm… I’m already looking forward to it.

Mmm... Breakfast!


Apple Cinnamon Baked Oatmeal
adapted from Two Peas & Their Pod and Annie’s Eats

For the cooked apples:
2 tbsp. unsalted butter
5 small or 3 large apples, peeled and diced into small 1/4″ pieces
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons brown sugar

For the oatmeal:
2 cups old fashioned oats
1/4 cup light brown sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup whole milk*
1/2 cup skim milk*
1/2 cup cinnamon applesauce
1 tablespoon melted butter
2 egg whites
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat an 8 by 8 baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.

In a skillet over medium heat, cook the apples with 2 tablespoons butter, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, and 2 tablespoons brown sugar for about 15 min or until soft. Layer in bottom of greased pan and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together milk, applesauce, butter, egg whites, and vanilla. Pour wet ingredients over dry ingredients and stir until combined. Pour oatmeal mixture over top apples.

Bake for 20 minutes or until oatmeal is golden brown and set. Remove from oven and serve warm. Add additional toppings to baked oatmeal, if desired.

* You can use any milk you want to reach 1 1/2 cups total. I used a mix of the two since that’s what I had in the fridge. You could use skim, 1%, 2%, whole, or any mix of those. I’d imagine soy or rice alternatives would also be successful, but I don’t know for sure. If you try those, let me know how it goes!

Linking up for:
YOLO Mondays from Still Being Molly and Lipgloss and Crayons
Monday Meet Ups from Covered in Grace
Made by you Monday from Skip to my Lou
Linky Party with Fine Craft Guild

Southwestern Vegetarian Chili & Double Cornbread

26 Nov

I made the most delicious chili last night. It was all the best things a meal should be: easy, delicious, healthy, and filling. This is one of those amazing chop-it-all-up-and-dump-it-in-the-crock-pot sort of of recipes. With the beans, corns, and whatnot, it has a slight Southwest or Mexican flavor, but mostly it tastes like delicious, hearty chili. I made some cornbread to go along with it. Perfect for a chilly night. Ha, chili night. Get it? Yeah…

Soup's on!

Funny thing is, I used to hate chili. Now I love it. Almost any sort of chili, I will wolf down, especially if it’s topped with shredded cheddar cheese and I have some tortilla chips to scoop it up.

One thing that’s great about this recipe is that it’s meatless, but it’s so hearty and filling that no one will notice. So if you’re trying to join in on Meatless Mondays, reduce your meat consumption, or just want a healthier balanced diet, this is a great option. The BF, who originally wanted to add ground beef, loved it. I did have to promise to make him another batch of “normal” chili later though.

Mmm... chili

Southwestern Vegetarian Chili, adapted from Eating Well

1/2 onion, diced
1/2 green bell pepper, diced
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
1 can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can corn, drained and rinsed
2 sweet potatoes, chopped into 1/2″ cubes
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon cumin
3 tablespoons lime juice (the juice of 1 lime)
1 cup vegetable stock

Optional:
2 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoon water

Chop everything up, mix it together in a slow cooker, and cook on low for 5-7 hours.

Check the consistency of your chili about an hour before eating. If you want it to be a little thicker, thicken it with flour. In a small bowl, mix the flour and water until it forms a slurry. Stir into the chili. Repeat with 1 part flour and 1 part water until it reaches desired consistency.

Double Cornbread

 

Double Corn Bread from Better Homes & Gardens

1 tablespoon butter
1 cup flour
3/4 cup cornmeal
2 tablespoons sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup milk
1/4 cup canola oil
1 cup frozen corn, thawed

Preheat oven to 400 F. Place a tablespoon of butter in an 8×8 square baking dish and place in the oven until the butter melts. Remove dish and swirl butter until it coats the bottom and sides. Set aside.

Combine flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl; set aside.

Combine eggs, milk, and oil in a small bowl. Once mixed, add to dry ingredients all at once. Stir until just moistened. Fold in corn. Do not over-stir.

Pour batter into hot baking dish. Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cut into squares and serve warm.

 

Dinner time

 

Linking up for:
YOLO Mondays from Still Being Molly and Lipgloss and Crayons
Monday Meet Ups from Covered in Grace
Make Something Monday from Sarahndipities
Made by you Monday from Skip to my Lou
Linky Party with Fine Craft Guild