Not too little, not too much

Brussels Sprouts au Gratin and Green Vegetable Soup 12/11/2010

As much as I love green, no, I didn’t cook both today, just the soup.  The Brussels sprouts au gratin I baked the other day just didn’t have the time to resize the photos and post it.

I like Brussels sprouts, mostly roasted sprinkled with a pinch of nutmeg but lately that’s the only way I had them so I decided to make a gratin. Sounded good and tasted way better than I imagined. I know lots of people who don’t like these tiny cabbages and I don’t understand why. Brussels sprouts are high in vitamin C and are a good source of folate and vitamin A (beta-carotene). They are cruciferous vegetables and contain phytochemicals that may help prevent cancer.

 

Brussels Sprouts au Gratin

 

Ingredients

lit over 1 pound Brussels sprouts

1/2 cup milk

1/2 cup heavy cream

few garlic cloves

1 oz grated Parmesan

1 Tbsp butter

salt and pepper

 

Directions

Mix the milk, heavy cream, Parmesan, finely chopped garlic, salt and pepper. Slice the Brussels sprouts

Butter 2 casseroles, divide the sliced Brussels sprouts between them and pour over the milk/cream mixture.

Bake in preheated oven (350 F) for about 45-50 minutes or until they are soft and start to brown on top.

 

 

Now, the soup.

 

I have a problem with my fridge. If  the vegetables are left outside the fridge drawers they freeze although the thermostat is set as low as it can be. The same goes for eggs if I don’t place them on one of the door’ shelves.

Last night my husband decided to make himself a salad and trying to get everything out of the drawers he put some vegetables on the fridge shelves and forgot them there. This morning when I opened the fridge to make breakfast, surprise, I had 3 frozen zucchini and 2 frozen broccoli crowns. Well, what was I supposed to say, nothing would make them fresh again. While we were enjoying our breakfast I remembered a broccoli-zucchini soup I had once and since we were out of soup the memory came in handy.

I melted some butter and sauté 2 chopped leeks and 2 celery ribs.

 

Meanwhile I chopped the zucchini, broccoli and 5 Brussels sprouts. Added them to the pot and covered with stock.

When the vegetables were cooked I let them cool slightly and purée the soup. Returned it to the pot and added 1 cup Greek yogurt.

Serve warm to hot with more yogurt.

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(Sort of) Jambalaya 12/08/2010

It’s starting to get colder and colder and I don’t like, not at all. We even had out first snow, well, just few flakes that melted immediately but it counts, right?

I like this time of the year, I like a white Christmas but that’s it, don’t like snow or cold the rest of the year. They are saying is going to get even colder 😦 .  All I want is just a cup of tea and relax in front of a fireplace, watching the fire crack and sparkle and feeling its warmth.

 

Tonight I’m going to share with you a rice dish. I’m pretty sure that everyone heard about Jambalaya and Paella.

Jambalaya is traditionally made in three parts, with meats and vegetables, and is completed by adding stock and rice. It is also a close cousin to the saffron-colored paella found in Spanish culture

Cajun cooking is a regional cuisine native to South Louisiana. Traditional Cajun cooking developed in a diverse and abundant natural environment and a  multiethnic though predominantly French Catholic social environment. In the narrowest sense the word “Cajun” refers to descendants of eighteenth-century Acadian settlers expelled from Canada who eventually settled in South Louisiana among a multiethnic French-speaking population, including people of French, African, Spanish, German, Native American, and other descent. Eventually the Cajuns (short for Acadians) dominated twenty-two parishes of South Louisiana, now called Acadiana. They lived in relative isolation until the twentieth century, when the outside world came to Cajuns in the form of compulsory English education, the oil industry, World War II, mass media, and an influx of outsiders bearing a standard American mass culture. Like immigrants from foreign shores, Cajuns found themselves in a new world of change. Cajun culture was a source of scorn by outsiders and an embarrassment for many insiders, and French speaking declined.
However, a revival of Cajun culture gained steam in the 1970s with the creation of French programs in the schools, a general attention to cultural expressions (music, food, and so forth), and a rise in pride in being Cajun. Part of this pride of identity is as a people who are highly sociable, who know how to enjoy life (joie de
vivre), including the enjoyment of food, and who know how to prepare food that is exceptionally good. It is fitting that Cajun cooking has become a major cultural export and Cajun chefs have become high-profile media personalities.

The aesthetics of traditional Cajun cooking demand that foods have strong, intense flavors. Strong flavoring comes from the use of seasoning vegetables (onion, bell pepper, garlic, celery) and from the careful browning of ingredients. Gumbo and other sauce-based dishes begin with a flour-based roux that is slowly browned to a dark color. Seasoning vegetables are browned. Coffee is dark roasted. The use of cayenne and other hot peppers intensifies flavor. The proportion of hot pepper varies throughout the region and among cooks. Cajuns say good food takes time, and many dishes require long simmering that follows slow browning. For example, gumbo, a soup, or stew that will be served over rice, is simmered for hours until the ingredients soften and break down. Major dishes reflect the practice of combining a flavorful multi-ingredient item with a bland staple, usually rice. Gumbo (of many varieties), étouffée, sauce piquant, and fricassee are served over rice. Jambalaya and rice dressing contain rice. The pattern occurs in less obvious forms, such as rice-containing boudin sausage (the “Cajun fast food”), corn bread dressing, boulettes (rice and meat or seafood balls), vegetables stuffed with seasoned meat and corn bread, and crawfish bisque, which contains cleaned crawfish heads stuffed with a dressing mixture.

Encyclopedia of Food and Culture

Ingredients

2 onions

few garlic cloves

1 habanero chili pepper

1 1/2 cup mixed rice

few celery ribs

1 carrot

2 tomatoes

1 bell pepper

(frozen) cooked shrimps

fresh dill

juice from 1 can of diced tomatoes

3 cups stock

cayenne pepper

oregano

salt and pepper

few tbsp vegetable oil

 

Directions

Heat the oil and add the chopped onions, garlic and chili pepper.

 

Add the rice and stir to coat. Cook for another 1 minute.

Add the shredded carrot, chopped tomatoes, bell pepper and celery.

Add the stock and tomato juice, cover well and simmer until liquid is almost absorbed and rice is cooked.

 

Season to taste. If using uncooked shrimps now is the time to add them. Put the lid back on and cook until all the liquid is absorbed.

 

Add the end add the shrimps and chopped dill, stir well and leave few minutes for the shrimps to warm up.

 

Serve warm

 

Closer view

 

 

 

Vegetables Bulgur Pilaf 10/19/2010

Yesterday, while reading  Yesim’s blog ( http://yesimstylekitchen.blogspot.com/2010/07/bulghur-pilaf-with-eggplant-etli-bulgur.html if you like Turkish cuisine you should pay her a visit) my mind took me back, years ago, to my first trip to Turkey. Back then I wasn’t paying so much attention to food (not that I do now) and tried for the first time bulgur, I still remember the dish bulgur piluvi. Tho the nut-like flavor, the taste, the feel were new to me I enjoyed it and asked for seconds. Years past and I got married and one day I cooked some bulgur for my husband (who’s the pickiest eater I’ve ever met) liked it too and since then every time I make bulgur or rice I have to make at least 4  servings  😛

Bulgur is a type of cracked wheat that has been steam-cooked and dried. Because of this, it does not require as much cooking time as other whole-wheat products. Bulgur is used for making tabbouleh (a well-known Middle East cuisine favorite), cereal, and pilaf. It is available in a variety of grinds, from fine to coarse or from #1 to #4.

 

 

Ingredients

1 1/2 cup bulgur

2 onions

2-3 tomatoes

1 potato

1-2 zucchini

chili pepper, mine was a habanero

3 cups stock

olive oil

dill, mint (fresh is possible)

salt, pepper

 

 

Directions

 

Heat a little oil in a heavy based pan and cook the onion and chili

 

 

Add the bulgur and diced potato, stir well and cook for 1 more minute.

 

Add 2 1/2cups of stock and tomatoes and simmer until almost all the stock has been absorbed.

 

Since I don’t like mushy zucchini I added them almost when the bulgur is done with another 1/2 cup stock.

 

Simmer for 3-5 more minutes,  add chopped dill and mint, remove from heat, cover and let rest for about 10 minutes.

 

Serve warm as a side or main dish.

 

 

 

Red Quinoa and Cauliflower Salad 10/17/2010

Filed under: Appetizers,Cheese,Fruits,Salads,Vegetarian — Roxana GreenGirl {A little bit of everything} @ 22:14
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Quinoa (a name supposedly derived from the Spanish word for “fantastic”) is not really a grain. It is the fruit of a plant that belongs to the same botanical family as beets. The quinoa plant reaches a height of 3 to 10 feet and produces flat, pointed seeds that range from buff to russet to black. So why all the praise for quinoa? Quinoa is relatively easy to cultivate and withstands poor soil conditions and altitude. It also packs a nutritional punch in its tiny seeds. It contains more protein than most grains and offers a more evenly balanced array of amino acids, the building blocks of protein. It is higher in minerals, such as calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, copper, zinc, and iron, than many grains. Quinoa seeds can be cooked or ground into flour. Several types of pasta are made from quinoa flour. The leaves of the plant also are edible, and the seeds can be sprouted and eaten.

Preparation Tips

Quinoa is cooked in the same way as rice, although it cooks in about half the time. Its flavor is delicate, and some describe it as hazelnut-like. Before cooking, it is important to rinse quinoa seeds until the water runs clear. They are covered with a bitter, powdery resin that can result in an unpleasant taste if it is not removed. Quinoa flour has a low gluten content. It cannot be used alone in baked goods because they will not rise properly.

Serving Suggestions

Quinoa is cooked like rice and makes an excellent substitute for it. “Toasting” the quinoa grains in a hot skillet before boiling gives it a roasted flavor. Adding cooked vegetables and fresh herbs also complements its delicate flavor. Quinoa flour can be used in many baked goods. Quinoa also makes an excellent hot cereal and can be added to soups and stews. Quinoa pasta is cooked and used like traditional types of pasta.

Encyclopedia of Foods

 

Red Quinoa and Cauliflower Salad

 

 

Ingredients

1 medium cauliflower

red quinoa

walnuts

dried apricots

feta cheese

green onion

parsley

 

Directions

 

Blanch the cauliflower and boil the quinoa.

 

Meanwhile, crumble the cheese and chop the rest of the ingredients.

 

Mix them all together, sprinkle with some extra virgin olive oil and season to taste.

 

 

Serve warm or cold.

 

 

 

Vegan Acorn Squash Risotto 10/06/2010

Filed under: Coconut,Main dish,Rice,Side dish,Squash,Vegan,Vegetarian — Roxana GreenGirl {A little bit of everything} @ 20:24
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Yesterday I was in the mood for some squash and my husband wanted rice so to make 2 in 1 meal I decided to go with  pumpkin risotto. By the time I had my acorn squash peeled and seeded i changed my mind about the traditional risotto and give it a Asian touch and this is how this creamy risotto was born without the help of cream or cheese

 

 

Ingredients

 

1 acorn squash (mine had about 1 pound after cleaning)

onion

olive oil

10 oz arborio rice

2 14 oz cans coconut milk

3-4 cups vegetable stock

1/2 tbsp nutmeg

 

Directions

Heat the oil in a heavy based pan. Add the squash and onion, stir well and cook for about 3-7 minutes until they start to soften. I prefer the acorn to melt till the risotto is done so I cut it in tiny chunks, but it can be cut in bigger ones. Near mix the coconut milk with 3 cups stock and pun it over low heat just to have it warm when it has to be added to the pan.

 

 

When the onion and squash start to soften add the arborio rice and stir to fry it for 1 minute.

 

 

Start adding coconut-stock mixture, one ladle at a time.

 

 

If the rice is not done and the coconut stock is out, add more vegetable stock.  At the end add the nutmeg and stir well.

 

 

Serve as a side or main dish.

 

 

 
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