Saturday, July 30, 2005
Polenta with Tex-Mex Chiliadapted from Madhur Jaffrey's World Vegetarian
I served this dish with just a salad. We thought it was very good, but rich. It would be good in smaller portions with several side dishes.
Soft Polenta Mixed with Cheese and Butter
Follow the directions for soft polenta on a package of pre-cooked polenta.
2 to 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pats
2/3 cup (2 ounces) grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
As soon as the polenta is made, stir in the butter and cheese. Mix and serve immediately.
Tex-Mex Vegetarian Chili
What is the shelf life of herbs and spices? This recipe calls for a lot of them. This might be a good opportunity for you to evaluate what's in your pantry.
3 tablespoons canola or olive oil
1 medium onion, peeled and finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
1/2 large green pepper, seeds removed and finely chopped
1/4 to 1 jalapeno pepper, finely chopped Jalapenos vary in heat. Start with a small amount and add more as needed. You can also control heat by removing the seeds. Be careful not to touch your face after handling.
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin seeds
2 teaspoons paprika
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried crumbled sage
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1 cup lentils, picked over and washed
1 cup cooked drained red kidney beans
2 to 3 canned plum tomatoes, drained and finely chopped I used a can of petite diced tomatoes
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves Here's a great link showing how to chop fresh herbs, but if you're lazy like me and have a high quality food processor, just make sure your work bowl is very dry before adding fresh herbs.
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon yellow cornmeal
Put the oil in a medium pot and set over medium-high heat. When hot, put in the onion, garlic, green pepper, and jalapeno. Stir and fry for about 3 minutes, or until the seasonings just start to brown. Turn down the heat to medium-low and continue to saute for another 3 minutes. Now put in the cumin, paprika, thyme, sage, oregano, and cayenne. Stir briskly once or twice and put in the lentils, 4 1/2 cups of water, the red kidney beans, plum tomatoes, cilantro leaves, and salt. Bring to a boil Cover, turn the heat down to low, and cook gently for 50 minutes.
Mix the cornmeal with 3 tablespoons water and then pour the mixture into the chili pot. Stir to mix and bring to a simmer. Cover and simmer gently for 10 minutes, stirring now and then.
Serve the polenta in a large, relatively shallow earthen bowl, topped with the chili, which in turn is topped with flecks of chopped cilantro. Garnish with corn chips and hot green chiles.
Kenny - Very good. Hearty.
Sophie - She ate it!
Friday, July 29, 2005
We've been gone visiting Grammy and Grandpa for the last week and a half. When we left home Sophie was showing interest in trying to put her knee up on the first stair but she wasn't quite tall enough. When we returned home today, she crawled all the way to the top of the stairs like she's always known how to do it. She got mad when I put our suitcases in front of the stairs to block her way. She was very persistant and tried to squeeze through a little opening. Sophie the Adventurer. Guess we will need to pick up another baby gate this weekend so she doesn't try to climb the stairs when I have my back turned. She's not quite 10 months old.
Thursday, July 28, 2005
Many of you, my dear friends and family, really struggle with figuring out what to make for dinner. I keep telling you to do what Flylady says and make a menu at the beginning of the week, go to the grocery store one time, and decide before noon what to make for dinner on a particular day. Some of you are still struggling though, so I thought I would post what's cooking in my house and maybe you'll be inspired.
Okay, before we get to tonight's menu, I need to stress the importance of having the right equipment in your kitchen. My biggest problem with cooking at other people's houses (I'm at my parents' house right now) is dull knives. It takes an eternity to prepare a vegetarian meal with dull knives. Enough said.
Spaghetti Squash Primaverafrom the August/September 2005 issue of Taste of Home Magazine
1 large spaghetti squash (3-1/2 pounds)
1/4 cup sliced carrot
1/4 cup chopped red onion
1/4 cup diced sweet red pepper
1/4 cup diced green pepper
1 garlic clove, minced
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1 cup thinly sliced yellow summer squash
1 cup thinly sliced zucchini
1 can (14-1/2 ounces) Italian stewed tomatoes
1/2 cup frozen corn, thawed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/8 teaspoon dried thyme
4 teaspoons grated Paremesan cheese
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
Cut spaghetti squash in half lengthwise; discard seeds. Place cut side up on a microwave-safe plate; cover with waxed paper. Microwave on high for 9 minutes or until tender. I boiled the squash until tender. Just make sure there's enough water in the pot for the squash to float.
Meanwhile, in a large skillet, saute the carrot, onion, peppers, and garlic in oil for 3 minutes. Add yellow squash and zucchini; saute 2-3 minutes longer or until squash is tender.
Reduce heat; add tomatoes, corn, salt, oregano, and thyme. Cook 5 minutes longer or until heated through, stirring occasionally.
Separate spaghetti squash strands with a fork. Spoon vegetable mixture into squash; sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and parsley.
Yield: 4 servings
Editors Note: This recipe was tested in a 1,100-watt microwave.
Cilantro Potatoesfrom the August/September issue of Taste of Home Magazine
1 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup olive oil
3 pounds potatoes, peeled and cubed
1/2 teaspoon salt
In a large skillet, cook the cilantro and garlic in oil over medum heat for 1 minute. Add the potatoes; cook and stir for 20-25 minutes or until tender and lightly browned. Drain. Sprinkle with salt.
Yield: 8 servings.
Taster Comments:Mom - Very good.
Dad - Pretty and colorful. Is there a protein source?
Sophie - She ate it! What more can you ask of a baby?
The answer is yes. Spaghetti squash contains one gram of protein per one cup serving. Next time I might add some lentils or other type of bean to boost the protein.