Thursday, March 6, 2014

Carrot & Rice Casserole

Usually when my CSA goodies arrive, I am excited about a seasonal gem, like tomatillos or lately all the great yogurt. But if I am honest, sometimes, just sometimes, I look in the fridge and sigh, "Holy cow! How the heck can I use up all these freaking <insert abundant vegetable>?"

In this case, it was the carrots. Multiple ... bowls .... full ... of both the bright, almost poppy-colored variety, and a plethora of the tamer yellow version.  I'd roasted, chopped and pureed as many as I could for baby food, dropped others in salads, soups and stir fry and still, the damn carrot supply held on.  

Determined to try something new, I found this carrot & rice casserole. Had I planned better, it might have made a nice Thanksgiving side for some of you. I'll tweet that next year. Whether you are long on carrots like me, simply looking for a hearty side dish, or cooking on a Sunday and hoping for a recipe that will sprout leftovers, this dish could be just the trick.

The whole family devoured, baby included. 

Carrot & Rice Casserole
Base recipe here.  
  • 3 cups grated carrots
  • 3 cups cooked brown rice
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano or parsley 
  • 2 cloves of garlic finely minced
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 1/2 cups plain yogurt
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 -1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • Preheat the oven to 350
  • Combine the carrots, rice, garlic, onion, herbs and salt in a bowl and mix well.
  • Add the yogurt and beaten eggs and stir to mix
  • Coat a 2 qt casserole dish with oil or cooking spray, and spread the carrot mix out evenly.  Top with cheese
  • Cook for 45 mins - 1 hour until a knife comes out cleanly. Let rest 5 minutes before serving. 

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Kid-Friendly Meatballs

My son is two and with that comes an increased interest (demand?) in the food he eats.  I appreciate his determination and have to agree that pasta at every meal doesn't sound that terribleBut the truth is, I am not always in the mood to discuss dinner and that is how these little gems were born.  

Meat has always been one of his favorite foods, he's been known to ask (demand) for it post nap over milk Shape that protein into tiny-people finger food, and he's in heaven.  In this case, I jam packed them with vegetables (kale, carrots, mushrooms and onions) for a complete meal in one dish, and both mummy and Hudson are happy.
Turkey or Chicken Meatballs
  • 1 lb of ground turkey or chicken
  • 3 tablespoons finely diced carrots
  • 3 tablespoons finely diced mushroom
  • 2 tablespoons finely diced red or white onion
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tablespoons grated parmesean
  • 1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 cup steamed, finely shredded and diced kale 
  • 2 - 4 tablespoons bread crumbs
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 1/4 cup of vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • Saute your mushrooms, carrots and onions in olive oil over medium heat until soft, about 4 minutes.  With my son, the smaller the dice on the vegetables the better
  • Meanwhile, steam and finely chop your kale
  • In a large mixing bowl combine the ground meat with the remaining ingrediants aside from the vegetable oil and bread crumbs
  • Once combined, add two tablespoons of breadcrumbs.  You want the meat still moist but not soggy or drenched.  Add more breadcrumbs if neccesary
  • Heat the vegetable oil in the same saute pan over medium - low heat
  • Add spoon size balls to the pan, frying 4 - 5 minutes per side, being careful not to burn. Flip, and set on a paper towel to drain
  • We serve them plain or with a sauce, which can include, greek yogurt, tomato sauce or Tzatziki

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Maple Soufflé Québécois

Maple Souffle
I love a good a tradition.  I love that my husband and I celebrate our anniversary at the same restaurant each year, that we give each other the same number of presents at Christmas, that we eat specific food every spring when we open the Montauk house, and that my Christmas morning menu hasn't changed in decades.   I find comfort in repetition.  It gives me space to relax and enjoy.

One of the newer traditions in my life was  started by my Dad and it has quickly become a favorite.  Every time we see each other, we cook a new dish.  A dish he has researched, a dish he wants to share or try with me, a dish we will remember.  This past weekend, we made a Maple Soufflé from Quebec and his home town.  An oozy, sweet, pillowy soufflé chock-full of Canadian goodness with one full cup of maple syrup.

This new tradition lets us to sneak away and enjoy a few precious moments together, alone in the kitchen.  A great tradition indeed.

Maple Soufflé Québécois
  • 1 cup of Canadian maple syrup
  • 1.5 cups of milk
  • 1/3 cup of vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup of flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 4 eggs, separated 
  • Butter for casserole dish 
  • In a double boiler on your stove top (make shift like ours below works just fine!), combine the maple syrup and milk heating until warm
  • Add the oil and flour, whisking constantly for 10 minutes
  • Beat the egg yolks and whisk them into the pot
  • Let the mixture cool while heating oven to 375
  • Meanwhile, beat the whites until stiff
  • Fold the whites into the maple pot and gently transfer all to a butter casserole dish
  • Place casserole dish in a large pan filled with hot water and bake for 50 minutes
  • Serve immediately
My Dad and our make-shift double boiler 

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Mark Bittman's Chickpea & Fennel Ratatouille

 Mark Bittman's Chickpea and Fennell Ratatouille
The mark of a good dish can be many things.  The creativity, the flavor, or just the simplicity.  As the holidays approach and I start to plan a number of larger family meals, the main mark for me becomes making it onto my extended holiday menu. That list of 2-3 meals, outside of the traditional big holiday events, that I will cook for a crowd.  After just a few bites, this list was all I could think of when devouring this ratatouille. 

Sure, it came from the Vegan Before Six marketing bonanza series. Yes, it happens to be gluten free.  But I promise you none of that matters.  This dish is just so so so right.  When Mr. Bittman calls it one of his best, he really isn't exaggerating.  It is deliriously aromatic and so rich in flavor I challenge any meat lover to not enjoy it.  It will grandily and happily grace our table this December 26th as a delicious, healthy second act to Christmas eating.

Chickpea & Fennel Ratatouille
  • Optional: 1 pound eggplant cut into large chunks
  • 3/4 pound zucchini, cut into large chunks
  • 1 pound Roma (plum) tomatoes, cored and chopped, or 1 28-ounce can, drained
  • 1 onion, finely sliced 
  • 2 bell peppers, cored, seeded and sliced
  • 1 fennel bulb, rimmed and cut into large chunks
  • 5 garlic cloves, halved
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 cups cooked or canned chickpeas, drained
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme or rosemary
  • Salt & Peppers to taste
  • Preheat the oven to 425 degrees
  • Combine all ingrediants except the oil, chickpeas and thyme in a roasting pan.  Drizzle the oil over, toss to combine
  • Roast in the oven, stirring twice, for about 30 minutes
  • Add the chickpeas, stir to combine, cook for another 10 minutes.  Add the herbs, season to taste and enjoy over rice or alone.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Roasting Pumpkin Seeds - Flash Tip

If, like us, you are late to the pumpkin carving and seed roasting this year I have a tip for you!  Clean your seeds, and then boil them in salted water for 10 minutes.  The boil, I learned, ensures that the entire seed cooks evenly and that the inside doesn't blacken up!   Post boil, dry them, sprinkle with salt pepper and cayenne, drizzle with olive oil and roast for 10 - 12 minutes at 325.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Roasted Mushrooms with Crispy Sage and Walnut Oil

Roasted Mushrooms
You may not have walnut oil in your cabinet, but you are going to buy some.  You may have slight sticker shock at the price, but I can all but guarantee you will thank me when you taste these mushrooms.

I've had walnut oil in my cabinet for sometime and just recently started exploring with it again thanks to the nudging of one of my besties.  She was touting the health benefits, of which there are many, but really, it's the huge, earthy flavor that I adore.  In the dish below, the sage crisps up, the mushrooms drip and the nutty flavors just scream fall.  Enjoy!

Roasted Mushrooms with Crispy Sage and Walnut Oil
Ingredients (serves 2 as a side) 
  • 2 cups of whole button and portobella's chopped into a 2 inch dice. note: bunches of enoki would be glorious here
  • 1.5 tablespoons of walnut oil
  • 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
  • 10 - 12 sage leaves ripped in half
  • Salt to taste 
  • Preheat the oven to 425 degrees
  • Drop the whole button and chopped portobella on a baking sheet, condensing into a single, close knit center
  • Drizzle with the two oils, sprinkle with sage and toss to coat
  • Cook for 15 - 20 mnutes until fragrant, but not too shrunken
  • Season to taste and enjoy

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Marcella's Tomato Sauce

Now that my work life and personal passions are so wonderfully, blissfully aligned, I find myself trying things in the kitchen that I wouldn't have otherwise had the gumption to.  I've made homemade bread, TWICE, in a week.  It was pure elation eating homemade grape jelly on my inaugural loaf of bread last week. 

This inspiration has lead to  more exploration with tomatoes,  which as you may know, is an unexpected turn.  When I read about Marcella Hazan's passing, I knew it was time to try my hand at her tomato sauce.  Run to your local market, scoop up the last tomatoes and do the same.   I included a few yellow heirlooms creating the lighter hue.

Marcella's Tomato Sauce

  • 2 pounds fresh, ripe tomatoes, (skins peeled**) or 2 cups canned imported Italian tomatoes skin less, cut up, with their juice
  • 5 tablespoons butter
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and cut in half
  • Salt to taste 
  • Put the tomatoes, butter and onion in a saucepan, and cook uncovered at a simmer for about 45 minutes until the butter slick floats on top. 
  • Stir from time to time, mashing up large chunks with the back of a wooden spoon.
  • Taste, add salt, discard the onion and enjoy. It's best soupy over pasta with freshly grated cheese. 
**Boil water and drop the whole tomatoes in for just a minute.  Remove, let cool slightly and peel. 
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