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Monday, November 12, 2012

Recipe Review from 11/5/12

An uneventful week where I was still recovering from a head cold that left me tired and unmotivated.  Weather bounced between georgeous (for us this time of year that's 45* and sunny) and blustery with rain.

Managed to make a couple of easy and uncomplicated dishes.  Husband had a work function one night so I treated myself to one of my favorite take-out soups: Raman noodles in a Miso broth with pork dumplings.  Got some extra dumplings too.  Yum! 

Curried Squash Soup  (Vegetarian Slow Cooker by Judith Finlayson)
Have you pulled out your slowcooker yet?  Why ever not?  Lunches for the week don't get any easier than this.  Don't be put off by the "curried" in the title, the seasonings are flavorful but not spicy.  If you don't like heat, omit the chili pepper.  When cooked, this becomes a bit of a creamy soup with chunks of squash - the red lentils rather disappear into the background which is okay. Add some crackers and apple slices along side and you have a lovely warm lunch for these blustery fall days.

Again, I did the plop and cook.  Author recommends sauteing everything first, but I find that to be a waste of time and dishes.

Vegan if using vegetable broth.  GF but watch ingredients in broth.

1 tbsp olive oil
2 onions, finely chopped  (I used one)
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp ginger, finely minced or grated
1 tbsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper or to taste
1 cup red lentils, rinced
1 can diced tomatoes with juice  (I used fire-roasted)
4 cups vegetable broth
2 cups diced winter squash  (I used 2 lbs)
2 tsp curry powder, dissolved in 2 tbsp lemon juice
1 can (14 oz) coconut milk, divided  (I used light coconut milk)
1 red chili pepper or 2 Thai chili peppers  (I used 1 jalepeno)

My modifcations:
1) Put onions through squash and chili pepper into a 4-5 quart slow cooker.  Cook on low 6 hours or high 3-4 hours or until squash is done.

2) In a small bowl, combine curry powder solution and about 1/4 cup coconut milk. Stir until curry powder dissolves.  Add to soup.  Add remaining coconut milk and stir well.  Cover and cook on high for 15 minutes or until heated through.  Serve or cool and refrigerate for the week to come!

Cavatappi with Brussel Sprouts (Ckng Lght Nov 2012)                      
A quick dish that's good for a weeknight dinner.  I made one significant change because my bread went moldy (which I was going to sub for the panko).  So I used some bacon instead.  Fried the bacon first, set aside, then sauteed the onions and brussel sprouts in the bacon grease.  Proceeded with rest of recipe as directed.  The hit of bacon against the rest of the dish was good - toned down the brightness of the lemon a bit.  I would make this again - made enough for two of us for two meals.

Vegetarian if made as originally written
photo from
  • 8 ounces uncooked cavatappi pasta
  • 2 teaspoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)  (skipped, used bacon instead)
  • 4 teaspoons olive oil
  • 12 ounces Brussels sprouts, trimmed and thinly sliced
  • 1 cup thinly sliced onion
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 2/3 cup organic vegetable broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon rind
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 ounces pecorino Romano cheese, shaved (about 1/2 cup)
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted  (not wild about nuts on my pasta, and an unnecessary expense imo)

1. Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain and transfer to a large bowl; keep warm.

2. Melt butter in a small skillet over medium heat; swirl to coat. Add panko to pan; cook 3 minutes or until browned, stirring frequently

3. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add Brussels sprouts to pan; cook 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add onion and garlic; cook 3 minutes or until onion is tender and the Brussels sprouts are lightly browned. Add broth and next 5 ingredients (through pepper). Cover and cook 2 minutes or until Brussels sprouts are crisp-tender. Add Brussels sprouts mixture to pasta; toss well. Sprinkle with cheese, pine nuts, and panko. Serve immediately

Wine Match: A yeasty sparkling wine like the Lucien Albrecht Cremant d'Alsace Brut ($20) is a refreshing foil for the earthiness of the onions and sprouts and the nutty, salty cheese in this pasta dish. --Gretchen Roberts

Pigs in a Poke (Ckng Lght Oct 2012)
As my friend Tess says, this is a good weeknight "Brinner" -  Breakfast as Dinner.  A very versatile recipe as well, use whatever sausage you have on hand, or none at all and sub some veggies.  Cheese can also be whatever you have on hand, though I did use Gouda for something different than cheddar.

A couple of notes - recipe called for 1 oz sausage.  Really? 1 oz? Almost not worth buying.  I upped to three oz and should have served the leftover along side the husbands plate.  I cut back the milk to 2 cups and added 1 cup of water.  Could even go 1 1/2 cups milk, and 1 1/2 cups water.  I only made two eggs since I was just serving two of us.  Leftovers are easily re-heated with a bit of water or milk and new eggs can be made then. 

Good vegetarian dish if omit the meat.  Gluten free if you watch the sausage ingredients.  

photo from
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons butter
  •  3-6 ounce andouille sausage, diced
  •  2 cups 2% reduced-fat milk
  • 1 cup water 
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1 cup uncooked stone-ground grits
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, divided
  • 1.5 ounces Gouda cheese, shredded (about 1/3 cup)
  • 8 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh parsley  (skip)
1. Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Add sausage; sauté 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in 3 cups milk and 1/4 teaspoon salt; bring to a boil. Add grits; reduce heat, and simmer for 20 minutes or until tender, stirring frequently. Remove from heat; stir in 1/4 teaspoon pepper and cheese.

2. Bring 8 cups water and vinegar to a simmer in a large saucepan. Crack each egg into a small bowl. Gently slide eggs into water; cook 3 minutes or until whites are just set. Remove eggs from water with a slotted spoon.

3. Divide grits evenly among 4 bowls. Top each serving with 1 poached egg; sprinkle eggs evenly with remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and parsley.

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