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Archive for September, 2010

I found this original recipe on Cook’s Illustrated and made a perfectly adapted nondairy version. This is extra easy to make after work with already-cooked chicken breasts.

Tortilla Casserole (my version)

2 cups cooked chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 shallot, minced

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 tablespoon minced chipotle pepper

1 cup chicken broth

4 cups tortilla chips, broken into pieces

1 tomato, cored, seeded, and chopped

4 ounces shredded soy cheddar (1 cup)

2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

Heat olive oil in 10″ skillet over medium high heat. Add the shallot, garlic, and chipotle. Cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add broth and bring to a simmer.

Stir in the tortilla chips, chicken, tomato, 1/2 of the cheese, and 1 tablespoon of the cilantro. Transfer to a 2-quart casserole dish.

Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top and broil until the cheese is melted and browning, 2-3 minutes. Top with remaining cilantro and serve, allowing casserole to cool 5 minutes. Makes 4 servings.

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Paired with a leafy salad and some freshly baked bread, this soup made the perfect autumn light dinner. Very easy to make, with a little prep time. I used elbow macaroni instead of ditalini (couldn’t get any in my market), and subbed soy parmesan cheese for the real thing. A very satisfying soup.

Mediterranean chicken, bean, & pasta soup (adapted from Cookin’ Canuck)

2 teaspoons olive oil

1 large shallot, minced

2 medium carrots, cut into thin half-circles

2 large celery stalks, cut into 1/2″ pieces

1 28-ounce can whole tomatoes, finely chopped, including juices

5 cups broth

2 bay leaves

2 cus chopped, cooked chicken

1 15-ounce can navy beans, drained and rinsed

1/2 cup small tubular pasta (ditalini or elbow macaroni)

1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley

8 fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced

grated soy parmesan

Heat olive oil in a large saucepan set over medium-high heat. Add shallot, carrots, and celery. Saute until the vegetables are beginning to soften, 2 – 3 minutes.

Add chopped tomatoes with juices, chicken broth, and bay leaves. Bring to a boil, then lower heat to medium-low, partially cover, and simmer for 20 minutes.

Uncover the soup, remove the bay leaves, add cooked chicken, beans, and pasta. Increase the heat to medium-high and cook until the pasta is al dente, about 10 minutes.

Season with salt and pepper, add the parsley and the basil. Garnish with grated soy parmesan. Makes 6-8 servings.

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This was not hard to make at all, and sooo good. High on flavor, so many good things in it to eat. Seemed like the perfect fall dish, although I think it would be good anytime. But, because it features 7 vegetables, it is a New Year favorite among Sephardic Jews.

Seven-vegetable couscous (from Nava Atlas’ In a Vegetarian Kitchen)

1 1/2 cups whole wheat couscous

3 cups boiling water

1 tablespoon margarine

1 teaspoon turmeric

1 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 medium onions, chopped

1 cup finely shredded white cabbage

1 medium turnip, peeled and diced

1 medium yellow summer squash,  halved lengthwise and sliced 1/4″ thick

1 medium zucchini, halved lengthwise and sliced 1/4″ thick

1/2 cup canned chickpeas, drained

1 1/2 cups diced ripe tomatoes

1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger

1/2 teaspoon each: ground cumin, coriander, turmeric, and salt

garnish:

1/2 cup golden raisins or finely chopped dried apricots (I used dried cranberries)

1/2 cup sliced or slivered almonds

Combine the couscous and water in a heatproof bowl. Cover and let stand until water is absorbed, about 15 minutes. Fluff with a fork, then stir in the margarine, turmeric, and salt. Cover and set aside.

For the vegetable stew, heat the oil in a large saucepan or soup pot. Add the onions and saute over moderate heat until translucent. Stir in cabbage and saute until both it and the onion are lightly golden.

Add remaining stew ingredients. Bring to a simmer, then cover and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 15 – 20 minutes. Add water as needed to produce a moist, but not soupy, consistency. The vegetables should be tender, but still firm.

To serve, arrange the couscous on the outer edge of a large serving platter. Pour vegetable mixture in the center, then sprinkle with the garnishes. Let each guest place a mound of couscous on his or her dinner plate and top it with the vegetable mixture. Makes 8 servings.

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Roasting the vegetables first gives this pasta dish deeper flavors. Great for these cooler fall days.

Ziti with roasted potatoes, tomatoes, and leeks (modified from AMA Family Health Cookbook)

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1/2 pound red potatoes, unpeeled, cut into 3/4″ cubes

1/2 pound plum tomatoes, cut into 1/2″ slices

2 leeks, white and light green parts, cut into 1/2″ slices

1 tablespoon fresh chopped rosemary

1 14.5 ounce can Italian-style stewed tomatoes

1 1/2 cups vegetable broth

1/2 dry white wine

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1 pound ziti

4 ounces shredded soy mozzarella

1/4 cup soy parmesan

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Pour the olive oil into a 9×13″ baking dish. Add the potatoes, tomatoes, and leeks. Toss to coat the vegetables with the oil, then spread them out to cover the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle with the rosemary. Roast the vegetables, stirring occasionally, until just tender and lightly colored, about 15-20 minutes. Add the stewed tomatoes, broth, wine, salt, and pepper and stir gently to mix. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees and bake, uncovered, until the sauce is slightly reduced and the vegetables are tender, 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until just al dente. Drain well. Stir the pasta into the sauce. Sprinkle with both cheeses. Bake until the cheese is melted and bubbly, about 15 minutes longer. Makes 6 servings.

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The original recipe for these delightful puff surprises called for one big pie, but my puff pastry came in smaller blocks, so I made individual pie-lets. These came together easily and were actually fun to eat. The veggie filling is excellent.

Mushroom Spinach and Walnut Pie

2 packages frozen puff pastry (either large sheets for one big pie, or smaller sheets, for several individual pies), thawed

2 tablespoons olive oil

4 cups sliced mushrooms (shitake, baby bells, button – explore)

8 cups baby spinach, packed

1/4 cup walnuts, chopped

1 bulb roasted garlic

1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary, crumbled

salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large saute pan. Add the mushrooms and saute until soft and browned. Remove the mushrooms to cool.

Add the remaining oil and saute the spinach leaves. While the spinach wilts and the mushrooms cool, roll of the dough (either a large 12 x 8″ rectangle, or smaller rectangles, depending upon how your puff pastry is precut). Place the dough onto a parchment lined baking sheet.

Top the dough with the mushrooms, then the wilted spinach. Sprinkle over salt, pepper, rosemary, and chopped walnuts. Roll out the remaining dough to top the pie(s), crimping and tucking the edges under. Lightly score the top with a shart blade, occasionally piercing for steam vents.

Bake in the center of the oven for 20 – 25 minutes, until golden and crisp. Makes 4 servings.

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Here is a seasonal take on everyone’s favorite. The sauce here is savory, made from pumpkin, herbs, and sauteed shallots. The toppings all work well together, and I used soy feta cheese in place of the real stuff. I’ve seen variations of this recipe all over the internet, but I got my inspiration from Mike’s Table.

Pumpkin pizza

pumpkin sauce:

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 shallot, minced

5 cloves garlic, minced

1 cup canned pumpkin

1 cup broth

1/2 teaspoon thyme

1/4 teaspoon sage

salt and pepper to taste

2 sprinkles of red pepper flakes

topping:

3/4 pound ground turkey

2 leeks, chopped

8 sun-dried tomatoes halves, chopped

a dozen pitted kalamata olives, halved

3 – 4 ounces soy feta cheese, crumbled

handful of toasted pine nuts

1 package pizza dough (I used Trader Joe’s)

Saute the shallot and garlic in a heated pan with the olive oil, for about 5 minutes. Then add the pumpkin puree along with the broth, herbs, and seasoning. Stir to combine. Simmer for 10 – 15 minutes, til the moisture is cooked down and the sauce begins to thicken. Remove from heat.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Brown the meat in the pan – set aside. With the little grease that is left in the pan, add the leeks and the sun-dried tomatoes. Saute for about 5 minutes, then set aside.

Toss your pizza dough into the appropriate size for your pan (you can use a pizza stone, round pan – I used an oblong baking pan). Sprinkle the pan with some cornmeal to prevent sticking. Lay on your dough, then ladle on all of the sauce. Creatively lay on your toppings (I added the meat first, then the veggies, olives, cheese, and nuts). Bake in the oven for 10 – 12 minutes.

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Turkey reuben

I’ve always loved grilled reubens, but between the cheese and grease factors, I pretty much scratched them from the roster. Then I saw this recipe, and the potential was right there. I subbed soy Swiss cheese for the real thing, and this was a darned juicy and mouthwatering sandwich to bite into. Again and again.

Turkey reuben (from Martha Stewart’s Living magazine)

4 teaspoons margarine, softened

4 slices fresh rye bread

4 tablespoons Russian dressing (recipe to follow)

2 ounces sliced soy Swiss cheese

6 tablespoons Tangy Cabbage slaw (recipe to follow)

4 dill pickle sandwich slices

Heat a grill pan or cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Spread margarine on 1 side of each slice of bread. Flip bread over, and spread Russian dressing on the other side of each slice. Place half of the cheese on top of dressing on 1 slice. Top with turkey, cabbage slaw, and pickles. Top with remaining cheese, then the second slice of bread, margarine side up.

Place on pan and cook, pressing down occasionally with a spatula, until golden brown and cheese has melted, 3 – 4 minutes per side. Cut sandwich in half, and serve immediately.

Russian dressing:

1/4 cup low-fat mayonnaise

1 tablespoon ketchup

1 tablespoon pickle relish

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1/4 teaspoon coarse salt

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Combine all of the ingredients in a small bowl. Dressing can be covered and refrigerated for up to 1 week.

Tangy cabbage slaw:

1/4 cup white wine vinegar

3 tablespoons canola oil

1/4 teaspoon celery seeds

1 teaspoon grainy mustard

1 teaspoon coarse salt

1/2 small head green cabbage, finely shredded (3 cups)

Whisk vinegar, oil, celery seeds, mustard, and salt in a medium bowl. Add cabbage and stir to combine. Let stand at room temperature for 1 hour before using, or cover ad refrigerate for up to 1 day (bring to room temp before using).

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