Wednesday, November 25, 2009

A new dish using root vegetables

This is a recipe for a vegetarian fruit and vegetable stew:

Vegetarian Tsimmes
Approximately 1 pound of dried fruit. I used a mixture of prunes, apricots, dried cranberries, figs and a few currants. It probably totals 3 cups. You can suit your own taste in choosing the fruit, although prunes are quite traditional. Chop the fruit coarsely.
Soak the fruit in a mixture of brandy and warm water almost to cover the fruit. Its OK to skip the brandy and just use all water if you prefer.

1 pound carrots, peeled and cut into diagonal chunks
1 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
3/4 pounds of onions, peeled and diced into large pieces (red or yellow are both fine)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Pinch of cayenne
Salt and pepper to taste
the original recipe called for ground cloves, which I skipped because I don't like cloves
juice from 1/2 lemon or about 1 tablespoon lemon juice
1-2 tablespoons butter

Fill a large pot with water to cover the vegetables and salt well. Cook the vegetables for about 15 minutes. At this point they should be almost tender.

Preheat the oven to 325F. Drain the vegetables. Stir in the fruit (including the liquid), the remaining ingredients and about 1/2 cup of the potato/carrot liquid. Transfer to a well-buttered large casserole dish and top with dots of butter. Cover and bake for 45 minutes. Remove cover and bake another 10 minutes to brown a little.

My husband and I were not in total agreement on this dish. I liked it and thought it made a very satisfying fall supper dish. Arthur thought it was confusing and couldn't decide if it was more like a vegetable side dish or a dessert.

Recipe adapted from A Veggie Venture website.

A new way to use parsnips

I found this recipe in Farmer John's Cookbook and adapted it slightly. I had never considered eating parsnips raw, but decided to give this salad a try. I took it to a potluck and asked the guests to try to guess what the vegetable was--it took them about 10 guesses.

Parsnip & Apple Slaw with Creamy Parsley Dressing

1/2 sour cream
2 tablespoons minced onion (red or yellow)
2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
ground pepper

3-4 medium parsnips, peeled and coarsely grated (a food processor is the easiest way to do this)
2 medium apples (unpeeled) cored and finely diced
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup pine nuts or slivered almonds

Combine the ingredients for the dressing and stir well.
Mix in the parsnips, apples and cranberries. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours.
Toast the nuts lightly, being careful not to burn them.
When you're ready to serve the salad, taste to see if it needs any more salt and pepper. Sprinkle the nuts on top.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Back to the kitchen!

I wasn't allowed to put any weight at all on my left leg for 10 weeks which is a very long time. The work that the surgeon did was successful and now I'm starting to get around my condo with the aid of a walker.

I've also started to do some cooking while hanging onto counters, etc. Last night I made a very simple supper but the salad was excellent and the pasta dish quite good as well.

Apple Spinach Salad

4 cups baby spinach
1 medium apple, sliced (I also peeled mine because I don't like apple peels)
1/2 small red onion cut into thin wedges
2 tablespoon roughly chopped dried tart cherries
1/4 cup pecan pieces
1/2 cup blue cheese (about 2 ounces) or you could substitute feta

Thyme-Dijon Vinaigrette
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
2 teaspoons fresh thyme or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1 teaspoon Dijon-style mustard
1/4 teaspoon salt

Put ingredients for dressing in jar and shake well. Use the amount you want on the salad.

Adapted from a recipe from Heart Healthy magazine

Mini Cheese Ravioli & Butternut Squash

1/2 butternut squash, peeled and cubed, you should have about 2 cups. More is fine.
1 package fresh mini ravioli (the original recipe called for cheese tortellini which I didn't have) *
2 slices bacon, cut into thin strips
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large sprig of fresh sage (about 10 leaves) or 1-2 teaspoons dried sage leaves
2 tablespoons dry white wine
1 teaspoon sugar
Salt & pepper to taste
Chopped fresh parsley for garnish if available

Steam squash until tender or cook in microwave for about 5 minutes with 2 tablespoons water. Cook the ravioli according to package directions. Drain & set aside.
Cook bacon strips until crisp. Drain on paper towel lined plate. Return skillet to stove with drippings. Melt butter in the skillet. Add sage and cook until butter browns. Remove sage and discard. If you use dried sage you won't need to discard it. Stir in wine, sugar and squash. Cook for 30 seconds. Add pasta and heat through. Top with bacon, salt, pepper and parsley.

* If you live in Wisconsin, Minnesota or Illinois, try using RP's Fresh Pasta which is a product made in Madison. They make lots of varieties and all of them are very good.

Recipe adapted from Cuisine at Home magazine