Sunday, September 21, 2014

Red Quinoa Pancakes

I think I have mentioned that I have been on a whole grain kick recently.  I also love to eat breakfast...if I could I would cook and eat breakfast every morning over a leisurely glass of orange juice, coffee or tea.  So combining the love of breakfast and whole grains, I wanted to try Andrew Wiel's quinoa johnny cakes from True Food.  This is also a restaurant which I have only been to once, but everything I ate and drank there was delicious.  The kicker for this whole grain pancake is the toppings....plain yogurt and just a little real maple syrup.  The down side is that the batter needs to sit an hour....and who wants to wait an hour to cook up quick pancakes?  I think it was worth it.  I am going to try to reheat them tomorrow for breakfast since it makes quite a lot of pancakes.  Note: Reheating worked well.  They were almost as good as the morning I had made them.

Quinoa Pancakes
1 cup red quinoa (though you could use any color)
1 cup flour
2 tablespoons light brown sugar or cane sugar
1 tablespoon plus 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
pinch of salt
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup milk (I usually use 2%)
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon olive oil
1 cup blueberries
greek yogurt  and maple syrup for serving

Bring a medium saucepan to boil with 2 cups of water and a pinch or two of salt.  Once boiling add the quinoa and stir. Cover and simmer for about 20 minutes or until all the water has evaporated and the quinoa is fluffy.  Set aside to cool.  Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and cinnamon in a bowl.  Whisk to combine.  In another bowl combine the milk, eggs, vanilla extract and oil.  Stir to combine all ingredients.  Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients just until combined.  Add the quinoa and gently mixed.  Set aside for about an hour.

Brush the cooking surface with oil.  Once hot add the batter in about 1/3 cup increments.  Add the blueberries and press them in gently.  When bubbles form and lightly browned, flip and cook until lightly browned.  Serve with yogurt and maple syrup.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Hand Pies (Hand Held Mini Fruit Pies)

Before my husband and I were married, his family came to visit us one summer.  We decided to go somewhere for the weekend.  Camping was out as it was cold and rainy.  So we decided on a drive through the mountains and ended up in Breckenridge for the weekend.  I don't think I had ever been to Breckenridge in the summer before and it turns out it is very nice (and quieter) in summer than it is in winter.  As we were wandering through town trying to decide on a place to eat lunch, my husband's father stumbled upon a place that sold "hand pies" which were mini fruit pies for one.  We ended up going back there several times.  My husband and I went to Breckenridge this summer again to see some friends who were staying there for the weekend.  We had recently been talking about the hand pies and wanted to find out if the place was still there and open.  Sadly, it had closed, but I was determined to replicate these hand pies in my kitchen.  Looking through some recipes I found one which was similar using a basic pie crust and filled with jam (or homemade pie filling or if you want savory you could fill it with tomato sauce and cooked sausage and any rate the possibilities are endless).

Hand Pies

For the pie dough:
2 1/4 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cinnamon (if desired)
12 tablespoons butter, cold
water (enough to form the dough)

your choice:  jam, marmalade, spinach and ricotta, nutella
Egg beaten

Mix all the ingredients except water.  Mix until the butter looks like a fine crumb.  Slowly add cold water, just enough to form a ball of dough.  Do not over mix.

Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375F.  Roll out dough into a rectangle.  This should make 12 rectangles (or 6 hand pies).  Once rolled out, choose a filling...the easiest is to start with jam.  Spread about a tablespoon of jam in the middle of the dough.  Be sure to leave an edge to be able to press together.  Place the second rectangle over the first and press the edges together with a fork.  Spread the egg mixture over the crust and bake for about 20 minutes or until golden brown.

Blood Orange Juice

When I was growing up my parents had a juicer.  Not like the one pictured here, but one of those big ones that could juice vegetables as well as citrus fruits.  One year my grandma got one too, so there were two floating around our family.  Once my grandma downsized from a house to an apartment, I inherited the juicer, but it sat unused for so many years I finally gave it to a friend in one of my moves.  After a couple of years I decided I wanted another citrus only juicer as that is the part I can see myself using.  So here it is above with blood orange juice mixed with regular orange juice.  Because blood oranges can be a bit tart, it is good to mix them 1 to 3 with regular oranges, but you can be the judge of what ratio you use.

2 blood oranges
6 regular oranges

This makes about two good sized glasses of orange juice depending on how much juice is extracted from each orange.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Pork and Tofu Stir Fry

I have made a number of recipes from the book Keepers by Kathy Brennan and Caroline Campion.  It is a great book for those of you who like to cook during the week, but don't want to spend a lot of time doing it.  I wanted to add to the rotation some interesting, quick recipes that came together quickly so I wouldn't be spending my whole evening cooking and then cleaning.  This is an interesting recipe because the pork and tofu are basically the whole meal.  For me next time I would add at least one vegetable.  If I am taking out my wok to make this I might as well make it a bit healthier, so that I don't have to make an additional side dish that matches with these flavors.  That being said, it is also different because it uses a ground pork instead of a marinated steak sort of meat.  I liked the difference, but will have to make it a couple more times before I am assured of the balance of flavors.  Also, watch the salt in this recipe as I found it became salty quickly.

Ground Pork with Tofu
3 tablespoons dry white wine
2 tablespoons cornstarch
3/4 pound ground pork
2 tablespoons water
3 tablespoon safflower oil
1 1/2 inches of ginger, peeled and chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoon hot bean sauce
1 -2 pinches crushed red peppers
1/2 chicken stock
3 tablespoons light soy sauce
1 package silken tofu, cut into cubes

Serve with rice, pepper and scallions

In a small bowl, mix together the wine and half (1 tablespoon) cornstarch.  Add the pork and mix together.  Marinate for about 5 minutes.  In another small bowl, mix together the remaining 1 tablespoon cornstarch and water.  Heat your wok over high heat (or high heat setting) and the add the safflower oil.  When it reaches the smoking point add the pork, cook until no longer pink.  Add the ginger, garlic and red pepper, stirring constantly for about 15 seconds.  Add the stock and soy sauce and bring to a simmer.  Add the tofu and bring back to a simmer.  Cook until the tofu is hot, about 1-2 minutes.  Check your seasoning as adjust as necessary.  Clear the bottom of the wok and add the cornstarch and water mixture.  Mix everything together and simmer until thickened (about a minute).  Serve over steamed rice with additional red pepper if desired.

Serves about 4

Friday, September 5, 2014

Farro and Lentil Soup

This past winter I have experimented with lentil recipes.  This was one of them that I tried.  I have mixed feelings about lentils as sometimes I really like them and sometimes they just aren't very good.  This recipe definitely falls into the very good category.  It is one of the reasons I still have lentils in my house.  I want to have more recipes that make me like lentils, so I can make more soups/dishes with them as I find them filling, tasty and healthy.  The other part of this recipe that I like is the farro.  I have been obsessed with farro for more than a year and I am always happy to integrate it into recipes which I didn't have to do for this one.

This soup is based off a recipe in Bough, Borrowed and Stolen by Allegra McEvedy.  This is quite an interesting cookbooks as each chapter focuses on a different part of the world where she traveled to and wanted to replicated in this book.  I like it as it has several recipes for a place and because I like to cook different and interesting recipes from around the world.

Farro and Lentil Soup
5 oz. smoked bacon, cut into pieces (mine were about 1/4 inch thick)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 red onion, diced finely
2 sticks of celery, roughly chopped (with leaves)
3 sprigs fresh rosemary, leaves removed and finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 generous pinch (or two) of red pepper flakes
6 oz. lentils (small lentils)
3 oz. farro
2 cups chicken stock
salt and pepper to taste

Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan, then add the onions and bacon.  Put on a lid and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally.  After a minute or two, add the celery, rosemary, garlic, red pepper flakes and a pinch or two of salt.  Meanwhile, rinse the lentils and farro and then add them to the saucepan.  After about 2 minutes, add the chicken stock.  Stir everything together and place the lid on (allowing for steam to escape).  Bring the mixture to a simmer.  After about 20-30 minutes your lentils and farro should be cooked.  Remove half the soup and place in a blender (to thicken the soup) and return it to the saucepan.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Let it simmer for another 5 minutes (lid on, but allowing for steam to escape).  Serve with a drizzle of good quality olive oil on top.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Rosemary Pork Kebabs

Summer is now almost at it's close, but we still have warm days which makes grilling worth the effort for the flavor that it imparts.  Grilling is a sign of summer to me, but fortunately we do get out the grill from time to time throughout the year.  The grilled item I like most is grilled veggies, but what is better than marinated meat to give it some variety.  Particularly, I love grilled Roma tomatoes, though I have been known to grill any sort that is still firm enough to last through a grilling.  This recipe is based off one in Bought, Borrowed and Stolen by McEvedy.  The pork in this recipe soaks up the rosemary flavor in which it is marinated.  My rosemary sticks were not thick enough to actually grill the meat on, but I have seen a number of people to use that technique this summer.  If you want your veggies to have a little more flavor you can brush them with Italian dressing or I usually use olive oil and whatever spices I am in the mood for at the time.  Enjoy the last days of grilling.

Rosemary Pork Kebabs with vegetables
3 stems of rosemary, leaves removed and finely chopped
pork tenderloin (about 12-14 oz.), trimmed
olive oil
5-6 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
sourdough or ciabatta bread (I used slightly stale homemade sourdough bread)
salt and pepper
other veggies to add to your skewers (onions, zucchini, bell peppers, potatoes, mushrooms)

Cut the tenderloin into cubes about an inch by an inch and marinate in half the chopped rosemary and half the cloves of chopped garlic in olive oil for at least an hour....but longer is better.  (I usually pour a few tablespoon of olive oil in the bottom of the dish I am going to use.  Then I add the rosemary and garlic and mix.  Next take the meat and put in the olive oil mixture.  If it need more olive oil so all the meat can be coated, then add more.  Cover and marinate.)

Preheat your grill.  Heat a couple of tablespoons of olive oil in a large pan.  Cut the sourdough into 1 inch cubes.  Fry the rest of the garlic and rosemary leaves in oil and then dip pieces of bread into the olive oil.  Season with salt.  (Season the meat with salt too.)  Once he bread is lightly fried, remove from heat and put together the skewers to grill.  Grill until the pork reaches 145 F.  Remove and serve with lemon or/and a side salad.

Not really red chicken curry

I am an avid collector of cookbooks.  I have well over 150 of them, but I have cooked out of most of them and one of my goals is to go back through them and cook more things out of each of them.  Sometimes they just get a random recipe or two made from them.  Sometimes, I really find a lot of recipes to love in them and I want to make many so cook from it for some time.  I was never all that interested in Jamie Oliver's cookbooks until a friend of mine sent me two of them for my wedding.  I sat down with one of them and read it nearly cover to cover.  These are the cookbooks that I remember what is in them and come back to them frequently.  The other one is where is recipe is based off of - Meals in Minutes.

One thing I like about this cookbook is that is doesn't give you just one recipe at a time, but three to five so you can coordinate a whole meal during one time and don't have to think about what to do next as it is all integrated.  I don't think any of my other cookbooks are like this.  Sometimes I still pick and choose, though I don't think I have ever made all the things from one of the recipes either as it is a lot of food.

This recipe is titled Thai Red Curry, but there is not any curry in the recipe hence my name no really red curry.  Curries generally have turmeric in them in addition to a lot of other spices.  This recipe has the lots of other spices hence the name curry, but it does not have turmeric.   The blend is delicious, and I encourage you to try it out.

Thai Red Curry Chicken
2 lemongrass stalks (or 1 -2 tablespoons lemongrass powder)
1 fresh serrano chile, seeds removed
3 cloves garlic, peeled
2 roasted red peppers (I bought a jar and used the equivalent)
2 teaspoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon fish sauce (buy a good quality one)
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 inch piece of ginger (peeled)
1 pound of chicken, cut into 1 1/2 inch sized pieces
about a handful sugar snap peas
5-6 stalks of asparagus, cut into 2 inch pieces
1 can (14oz.) coconut milk
olive oil
2 limes for serving, cut into wedges
Serve with rice (cook while making the sauce)

In a food processor blend together the chile, lemongrass powder (or stalks), garlic cloves, the bunch of cilantro, roasted red peppers, tomato paste, fish sauce, soy sauce, sesame oil and ginger.  Mix until like a pate.  Put a frying pan over medium heat.   Add a few tablespoon olive oil and heat until shinny.  Season chicken with salt and pepper and fry over medium heat just until it is no longer pink.  Add 1 -2 tablespoons of the paste you just made.  Remove to a bowl and set aside.  Add more oil to the pan and add the asparagus and sugar snap peas.  Cook just for a minute and then add the rest of the spice mixture to the pan.  Cook for an additional minute and then add the coconut milk.  Once incorporated, turn the heat to medium low and simmer.   Add the chicken back to the pan and simmer until heated throughout.  Season as needed.  Serve over rice and with the lime wedges.