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Archive for September, 2010

I took the liberty of using soy meat as a substitution for what this recipe originally called for – lamb. We’re not big meat eaters, so this seemed like a good idea. It worked very nicely, and this dish really has some great flavors working for it. A very satisfying dish for autumn.

Baked orzo with soy meat (adapted from Healthy. Delicious)

8 ounces orzo

1 onion, diced

1/2 fennel bulb, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon dried oregano

2 beefsteak tomatoes, chopped

1/4 cup red wine

1 teaspoon cumin

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1 package soy ground meat

2 cups baby spinach

3 ounces soy mozzarella, shredded

1 ounce soy parmesan, grated

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Prepare the orzo according to the package directions. Drain and set aside.

Add the onion, fennel, and garlic to a large skillet with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Cook for 5 minutes, or until softened and golden brown. Add the oregano, tomatoes, wine, cumin, cinnamon, and tomato paste. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes have cooked down into a thick sauce. Add the soy meat, spinach, and mozzarella. Stir until the spinach has wilted. Stir in the prepared orzo.

Spoon mixture into a 3 quart casserole dish. Sprinkle the parmesan over the top. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the cheese on top has melted and the sauce is bubbling hot. Serves 6.

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The subtle Middle Eastern flavors infuse the chicken as it roasts, leaving not only a flavorful chicken, but also a very moist one. The original recipe calls for using boneless chicken breasts with the skin on. The couscous stuffing is then placed under the skin. I chose to use skinless breasts, and instead cut open the widest mid-section of east breast half, enough to place several tablespoons of stuffing inside. Some spilled out, but that just seemed to add to the flavor while cooking. A great little dish.

Moroccan couscous-stuffed chicken (modified slightly)

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 cinnamon stick, broken in half

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon ground coriander

1/3 cup couscous (I used whole-wheat)

1/2 cup boiling chicken stock

8 small dried apricot halves, coarsely chopped

1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted

1 tablespoon chopped parsley

salt and freshly ground pepper

4 boneless chicken breast halves, cutting a wide pouch inside the thickest point of each breast half

1 tablespoon harissa (optional) – I was fresh out! Still tasted great

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Heat the olive oil in a small saucepan. Add the cinnamon stick, cumin, and coriander and cook over moderate heat for 1 minute. Off the heat, add the couscous and boiling stock, cover and let stand for 5 minutes. Stir in the apricots, pine nuts, and parsley. Season with salt and pepper. Let cool to room temperature, then remove the cinnamon stick. Using a teaspoon, stuff the couscous into the pockets of each chicken breast. It’s okay if some spills out.

In a small bowl, mix the harissa with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Brush the chicken with the harissa oil and season with salt and pepper.

Heat the remaining tablespoon olive oil in a large ovenproof skillet. Add the chicken and cook over moderately high heat until browned, about 4 minutes. Turn the chicken and continue to cook til browned. Transfer the skillet to the oven and roast the chicken for about 15 minutes, or until white throughout. Serve immediately. Makes 4 servings.

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What did I love about this salad? Besides the yummy tastes and textures, the addictiveness of each bite, the ease in preparation, and the good-for-you health perks? I loved everything about it. This salad can be made vegetarian, or add your favorite protein to really round it out. I used grilled chicken, as the original blogger recommended, but I could envision this salad going great with grilled shrimp, or grilled tofu, or maybe even the addition of more veggies. It’s a homerun.

Brown rice salad with basil and pistachios (and grilled chicken) (from Cook, Snap, Repeat)

2 cups uncooked brown rice

1/4 cup golden raisins (I only had black raisins, and I thought it came out fine)

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

1/4 cup olive oil

1/2 cup raw unsalted pistachio nuts

1 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 small red onion, finely diced (I left this out – don’t like raw onions)

1 medium red bell pepper, cored, seeded and finely diced

1/4 cup golden raisins

1/2 cup firmly packed fresh basil leaves, cut into thin strips

1 or 2 grilled boneless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces

Prepare the rice according to package instructions. While the rice is cooking, prepare the vinaigrette. Blend together until smooth the golden raisins, red wine vinegar, and olive oil

Toast in a skillet over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, the raw pistachios. When they are toasted, transfer them to a cutting board and let them cool slightly. Give them a rough chop if you wish.

In a large bowl, gently fold together the chickpeas, garlic, red onion, red bell pepper, golden raisins, the cooked brown rice, the pistachios, the vinaigrette, and salt and pepper to taste. Just before serving, fold in the basil leaves, and the grilled chicken, if you desire to add that.

Serve at room temperature or chilled. Makes 6 generous servings.

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This dish had me at first glance. But upon tasting it, this dish grabbed me. The flavors all come through and work well together. This is not a mush of vegetables; it is an outstanding chewy-like stew of wonderful textures and bites, sitting in a pool of flavorful, light gravy. Can you tell we liked this? Highly recommend. I went a little light on the addition of black pepper – other than that, I completely followed the recipe. PS – her food photography is beautiful and crisp.

Lentil mushroom tagine (from Polwig.com, who got it from Whole Foods)

1 1/2 cups chopped onions

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 cup chopped celery

1 cup chopped carrots

4 cups assorted mushrooms

1 1/2 cups chopped portobello mushrooms

1 cup sliced assorted peppers

1 pound spinach

2 cups canned diced tomatoes

lemon zest for garnish

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 1/2 tablespoons cider vinegar

2 teaspoons paprika

1 1/2 teaspoons cumin

2 teaspoons fennel seeds

2 cups lentils

1 1/2 cups vegetable stock

2 teaspoons salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Heat olive oil in a very large pot, on medium, and add onions; cook until softened and slightly golden, about 3 – 5 minutes.

Add garlic, carrots, and celery, and continue to cook for about 5 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. Add the mushrooms and cider vinegar, topping off with spices. Cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the lentils, canned tomatoes, vegetable stock, salt, black pepper and cayenne pepper. Bring to boil, cover, and simmer until lentils are tender and most liquid is absorbed, about 20 minutes. At that time, add the colorful bell peppers and spinach, and cook till the spinach is wilted. Stir in the lemon zest.

Serve with warm pita bread, coucous, and a drop of hot sauce. Serves 8 – 10.

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These are THE best donuts I EVER ATE. And probably the healthiest, too. Way over the top delicious.

Maple cinnamon sugar donuts (adapted to be dairy-free. From HandletheHeat.)

1 cup AP flour

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

pinch of salt

1 egg (lightly beaten)

1 6-ounce container of soy vanilla yogurt

1 tablespoon canola oil

2 teaspoons lemon juice

2 1/2 tablespoons real maple syrup

1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon

1/2 cup sugar

2 tablespoons margarine, melted

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. In a large bowl whisk together all the dry ingredients. In another bowl stir together oil, lemon juice, maple syrup, egg, and yogurt.

Make a hole in the center of the dry ingredients and pour the wet ingredients into the hole. Gently fold everything together until combined. The batter will be thick.

Scoop batter into a piping bag or ziploc bag (I did), ship a bottom ocrner with scissors, and squeeze out the batter evenly into a donut pan. (just got mine!)

Bake for 10 minutes or until golden brown. While donuts are baking, toss the cinnamon and sugar together in a shallow dish and set aside. After you remove the donuts from the oven, let them cool for a few moments and then flip over onto a cooling rack while still warm.

Use a pastry brush and shmear the melted margarine over your donuts and then dip each donut in the cinnamon sugar mixture to coat. Serve immediately aftercoating with the cinnamon sugar mixture for best texture. Makes 6 donuts.

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Hello, gorgeous! This is a tart to love. Special thanks to my friend Cindy, whose adaptation I have adapted, too. It is now nondairy. A few other minor changes of my own. I do think that next time I will use a smaller spring-form pan. I think this would look even better if it stood a little taller. But the taste cannot be improved upon – it’s stellar.

Swiss chard tart

1 large bunch Swiss chard

1/4 cup olive oil for cooking chard plus more for greasing and topping the pan

2/3 cup onion, chopped fine

1 cup grated soy parmesan cheese

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1/4 cup pine nuts

1/3 cup seedless raisins, soaked in hot water to soften (black or golden)

freshly ground black pepper and coarse salt

9″ spring-form baking pan

2/3 heaping cup of unflavored bread crumbs, lightly toasted (I used panko bread crumbs)

Cut the chard leaves into 1/4″ shreds. Soak and wash. Chop the chard very fine.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Put 1/4 cup olive oil and chopped onion in large saute pan. Cook at medium until the onions turn a light nut-brown.

Add the chard, turning heat to high. Cook, turning chard over frequently, until it becomes difficult to keep the chard from sticking to the pan. When done, transfer contents to a bowl and let cool. Then add the parmesan, beaten eggs, and the pine nuts. Drain the raisins, squeeze them dry with your hands, and add them to the bowl. Add a few grindings of black pepper. Mix thoroughly.

Smear the bottom and sides of a springform pan with olive oil. Use a little more than half the bread crumbs, spreading a thin layer evenly over the pan. Add the chard mixture, leveling it off but not pressing it hard. Top with the remaining bread crumbs, and drizzle the top with olive oil.

Put pan in preheated oven, and bake for 40 minutes. Remove the pan, running knife edge along the side of the pan to release the tart. After 5 minutes rest, release the sides of the springform pan. Place tart on serving plate. Serve at room temperature. Makes 4 servings.

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This stew is rich in color and flavor. I just love how it all goes into the crockpot and 6 hours later – the most wonderful hearty delectable dish. We’re not big on beef in this house, so I simply used chicken breast instead. It’s a long ingredient list, but it all dumps into the crockpot quite easily.

Moroccan chicken stew (inspired and adapted from Alice in Paris loves Art and Tea)

1 1/2 pounds boneless chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces

1/4 cup AP flour

1 large red onion, chopped

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 parship, chopped

1 sweet potato, chopped

1/2 small butternut squash, chopped

1 large carrot, chopped

1 28-ounce can tomatoes, chopped

1/2 cup raisins

1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon garam masala

pinch of allspice

pinch of nutmeg

1 tablespoon lemon zest

2 cups chicken stock

salt and pepper to taste

1 cup each dried apricots and pitted prunes (optional). add with veggies

chopped fresh parsley

slivered almonds

Toss chicken with the flour in slow cooker.

Add all veggies, tomatoes, spices, broth – stir

Cook in slow cooker on high for 4 – 6 hours or until chicken is cooked and veggies tender.

Top with slivered almonds and chopped parsley. Serve over couscous, rice or mashed potatoes. Makes 8 servings.

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