Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Pasta with Ruby Chard and Cranberries

This pasta with ruby chard, cranberries, toasted walnuts, lots of garlic, and a sprinkling of parmesan cheese is one of my new favourite things to eat. I've never been one to toast walnuts when a recipe calls for it because I didn't used to think it would make a huge difference. What was I thinking??! The toasted walnuts add something amazing to this dish. It seems like such a simple pasta dish yet is really flavourful and addictive. I might use even less pasta next time (I already reduce it from the original amount) as I love having lots of "stuff" versus pasta.

We just joined an organic vegetable CSA and I have a feeling we'll be getting a lot of greens, so I know I'll be making this pasta many times this summer. We just picked up our first allotment last weekend and I was thrilled to see tons of chard - regular, ruby and yellow. We also got a bunch of kale (delicious in smoothies!), 2 beautiful heads of lettuce, 2 beets, and some seedlings (basils and hot peppers). I planted the hot peppers but didn't have enough soil for the basil, so hopefully they don't die before I can get some more soil to plant them. I'm completely in love with all of the vegetables we received and even enjoyed washing and chopping them. It gave me more time to admire their perfection - especially the precious lettuce. I may be a crazy vegetable person.

Giant bag of greens and beets.

Beets, chard stems, chard, kale and beet greens.

2 heads of lettuce.

The most beautiful little beet leaf there ever was.

If this sounds good, you might also like:
Last Minute Sesame Noodles
Orzo Salad with Chickpeas, Dill and Lemon
Asparagus and Pea Pasta with Ricotta and Tarragon
Spaghetti All'Arrabbiata with Crispy Garlic Crumbs

Pasta with Ruby Chard and Cranberries
Adapted from Eats Well With Others who adapted from The Moosewood Restaurant Cooking for Health

Serves 4-6

1/2 cup dried cranberries
3/4 lb whole grain pasta (my favourite is linguine)
2 to 3 bunches ruby or red swiss chard (1.5-2 lb)
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
8 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp salt
red pepper flakes
1/2 cup chopped toasted walnuts
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. When it comes to a rapid boil, ladle a few tbsp of it into a bowl. Add the dried cranberries and set aside to soak. Cook the pasta until al dente and drain.

2. While the water heats, rinse the chard and remove the bottom 1/2 inch of the stems. Discard. Cut the remaining stems crosswise into 1/2 inch slices and set aside. Chop the leaves. Set aside.

3. While the pasta cooks, warm the oil in a large soup pot on high heat. Add the chard stems and saute for a minute. Add the garlic and the chard leaves and cook, uncovered, stirring often, until the chard is limp but the leaves are still bright green, about 5 minutes. Stir in the salt. Add a sprinkling of black peper and red pepper flakes to taste.

4. Drain the soaked cranberries. Divide the pasta into serving bowls and top with the garlicky chard, plump hot cranberries, and toasted walnuts. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Pumpkin Lentil Curry

Many things about this recipe appealed to me. Pumpkin. Curry. Easy. Lentils. One pot meal. And it was good, it just needs a little something added to it - like more vegetables. I added peas and roasted potatoes. Roasted cauliflower, sauteed bell peppers, or some leafy greens like spinach would be great additions too. This isn't a traditional curry, just something simple and quick.

If this sounds good, you might also like:
Warm Roasted Pumpkin & Shallot Salad
Butternut Squash Casserole
Caribbean Roasted Vegetables
Squash & Aged White Cheddar Tart with Roasted Garlic Custard

Pumpkin Lentil Curry
Adapted from The Vegan Table

1 1/2 cups (290 g) red lentils
3 cups plus 2 tbsp water, for sauteeing, divided
2 medium size yellow onions, finely chopped
1 tbsp minced ginger
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 can (15 oz) light coconut milk
798 mL can pumpkin puree
1 tbsp curry powder
1/4 tsp cayenne
1/2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut (optional)
1/2 tsp salt

Heat 2 tablespoons of water in a large saucepan. Add onions, ginger, and garlic, and cook until onions are translucent, about 6 minutes.

Add lentils, remaining 3 cups water, coconut milk, pumpkin, curry powder, cayenne, and optional coconut, and cook over low-medium heat until lentils are mushy but still retain body and texture, 35 to 40 minutes.

Stir occasionally, and keep an eye on how quickly the liquid is evaporating. If it evaporates too quickly, you may need to add more water or milk before the lentils are cooked. Add salt. Serve over rice.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Chuck's Favourite Mac and Cheese

From the picture, this looks like it could be some sort of sweet crumbley bar, but it's a slice of macaroni and cheese! I've heard about macaroni and cheese made with cottage cheese but have never tried it. I had some leftover in my fridge (I never buy cottage cheese), so knew it was my opportunity to try it out! I found this super simple recipe that combines cheddar cheese, cottage cheese and sour cream with pasta, then is baked with buttery panko on top. It was amazing! Not something I'd make all the time as it's not the healthiest, but we both really enjoyed it. It's good reheated but not as good as when you first make it, so I would half the recipe if you think you'll have a ton of leftovers.

If this sounds good, you might also like:
Mediterranean Macaroni and Cheese
Asparagus and Pea Pasta with Ricotta and Tarragon
Portabello Fettuccine with Spinach Pesto, Roasted Peppers & Romano Cheese
Audrey's Deluxe Mac & Cheese with Crispy Pine-Nut Herb Crust

Chuck's Favorite Mac and Cheese
Adapted from MRSO at AllRecipes

8 oz macaroni
8 oz sharp cheddar cheese, grated
12 oz small curd cottage cheese
8 oz sour cream
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup panko
1/4 cup butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350F. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add pasta, and cook until done; drain.

In 9x13 inch baking dish, stir together macaroni, shredded Cheddar cheese, cottage cheese, sour cream, Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper. In a small bowl, mix together bread crumbs and melted butter. Sprinkle topping over macaroni mixture.

Bake 30 to 35 minutes, or until top is golden.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Curried Sweet Potato, Carrot & Red Lentil Soup with Ginger

I love making soup, and this one comes together so easily and quickly. I have some other favourite soups that are more involved, but for a tasty weeknight soup where you just throw everything into a big pot, simmer then puree, this one is perfect. I'm still pining for an immersion blender though!

I haven't posted an Abby photo in a while!

If this sounds good, you might also like:
Curried Sweet Potato Soup
Greek Red Lentil Soup with Lemon, Rosemary and Feta Cheese
One Wild Chick Soup
Vegetarian Pho

Curried Sweet Potato, Carrot & Red Lentil Soup with Ginger
Adapted from Dinner with Julie

1 tsp olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tbsp grated fresh ginger
1/2 cup dry red lentils
1 medium or 2 small dark-fleshed sweet potato, peeled and cut into chunks
3 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 tsp curry powder
4 cups vegetable stock
salt, to taste
1/4-1/2 cup plain yogurt (optional)

In a medium pot, heat a drizzle of oil over medium-high heat and sauté the onion, garlic and ginger for 3-4 minutes, until soft. Add the lentils, sweet potato, carrots, curry powder and stock, along with a cup of water. Bring to a boil, then turn the heat down, cover and simmer for half an hour, until the vegetables are very tender.

Season with salt, add the yogurt (if you’re using it) and use a hand-held immersion blender to puree it right in the pot. Alternatively, transfer it in batches to a blender and puree until smooth or mash it roughly with a potato masher.

Serve hot. Leftovers can be stored in the fridge for up to a week, or cooled and frozen for up to 6 months. Serves 4.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Squirrelly Scones

I love scones and could eat them everyday. These squirrelly scones are a new and healthy favourite, with sunflower seeds, walnuts and raisins, though you can use whatever seed/nut/dried fruit combination sounds good to you. The edges of the scone were crisp after baking, though the crispness goes away after a day. But the insides are nice and soft. In short, I need to make these again soon! My freezer is incredibly full right now though. I should mention that these are not your typical flakey scones, more of a delicious scuffin.

I started my practicum on Monday and it's been incredibly exciting and interesting so far. I'm really looking forward to the next few months and all the experience I'll gain!

If this sounds good, you might also like:
Three-Seed Biscuits
Tomato Rosemary Scones
Blackberry Whole Wheat Scones
Banana Date Scones

Squirrelly Scones
Adapted from Vive le Vegan!

Makes 6-7

1 cup ground oats
1 cup spelt flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1/3 cup raisins
1/4 cup natural cane sugar
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 1/2 tbsp ground flax
3/4 cup non dairy milk (I used plain unsweetened soy)
3 tbsp pure maple syrup
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
3 tbsp safflower oil

Preheat oven to 350F. In a large bowl, combine all the dry ingredients except the flax meal, sifting in the flour, baking powder and baking soda. In another bowl, combine the flax meal with the non dairy milk and stir. Add the maple syrup, vanilla, and oil and stir. Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture and mix until well combined. The mixture may be a little loose at first, but will thicken as the flour and oats absorb the liquid. Let it rest for a minute, then drop large spoonfuls of the mixture (roughly 1/2 cup each) onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 20-24 minutes, until golden and a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove from oven, then transfer to a cooling rack.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Last Minute Sesame Noodles

I love cold noodle salads. While this isn't the perfect one, it was really easy to make, had a yummy but mild flavour, and we really enjoyed it. I love all the colourful ingredients - carrots, red cabbage, edamame, red bell pepper. I used whole wheat spaghetti, since that's what we had, but I really think that soba noodles would have improved this dish a ridiculous amount. If you have a good cold noodle salad recipe, please share!

If this sounds good, you might also like:
Vegetarian Pho
Pad Thai
Soba Noodles with Zucchini Ribbons
Broccoli Pasta Pine Nut Salad

Last Minute Sesame Noodles
Adapted from Aggie's Kitchen (found on Tasty Kitchen)

Servings 6

Next time I would use all sesame oil (and no canola oil) to make the sesame flavour more pronounced.

1 pound Spaghetti, Whole Wheat Spaghetti, Soba Noodles, Quinoa Pasta
1/2 cup Reduced Sodium Soy Sauce
2 Tablespoons Sesame Oil
2 Tablespoons Canola Oil
3 Tablespoons Rice Wine Vinegar
3/4 teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
1 bunch Green Onions, Sliced, Divided
1/2 cup Cilantro, Chopped
1 whole Red Pepper, Sliced Thin
1/4 head Red Cabbage, Sliced Thin
2 whole Carrots, Shredded With Vegetable Peeler
1 1/2 cup Shelled Edamame, Cooked
1/2 cup Raw Sesame Seeds

Cook pasta according to directions. Drain, rinse under cold water.

To make dressing, whisk soy sauce, sesame oil, canola oil, vinegar, crushed red pepper, scallions, and cilantro in a large bowl. Add noodles and vegetables, toss to coat. Top with sesame seeds.