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Archive for the ‘Vegetables’ Category

So simple… and so good!! I made this just as the recipe suggested.. with fresh cauliflower… That being said I think a few shortcuts to this would make it even easier .. not that its difficult at all lol! I’ll be giving it a try next time I make it…

  • Replace fresh cauliflower with frozen
  • Chop garlic into smaller pieces and just toss with cauliflower instead of pre-boiling. They may burn though… we’ll have to see…

Anyway, this was a great side dish as well as a main dish when tossed with pasta! Very easy and very filling! I made it once with the pine nuts and once without… both ways were yummy! Enjoy!   Here is the recipe from Ina’s book:

Barefoot Contessa, How Easy is That?

Serves 6

Ingredients:

  • 1 whole head garlic, cloves separated but not peeled
  • 1 large head of cauliflower, trimmed and cut into large florets
  • 4 1/2 tablespoons good olive oil, divided
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
  • 3 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

How to pull it all together:

  • Preheat oven to 450 degrees
  • Bring small pot of water to a boil and add garlic cloves. Boil for 15 seconds. Drain, peel, and cut off any brown parts. Cut the largest cloves in half lengthwise.
  • On a sheet pan, toss the cauliflower with the garlic, 3 tablespoons of olive oil, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Spread the mixture out in a single layer and roast for 20-25 minutes, tossing twice until cauliflower is tender and the garlic is lightly browned.
  • Scrape the cauliflower into a large bowl with the garlic and pan juices. Add the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, the parsley, pine nuts, and lemon juice. Sprinkle with another 1/2 teaspoon salt, toss well and serve hot or warm.

It’s so good you will be picking the little bits off the pan and eating them while waiting for the rest of your meal to finish cooking lol! Enjoy!!

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I’m so behind with this blog it’s not even funny!

I have a ton of recipes lined up… and now I have to search through my thousands of archives of pictures to find them!! This recipe for Spring Green Risotto was chosen as one of the May recipes by Kimberly from Indulge and Enjoy. I have to say I wasn’t thrilled with the idea of risotto… I had only had it once at a very nice restaurant in England… however it was so bland I had to dump practically an entire container of salt on it! I should have known better… because honestly at this point I think we all know Ina doesn’t make things that don’t taste good!! That said, I did have to modify this recipe a bit… while I’m sure that the mascarpone is delish… it had like an INSANE amount of calories and fat and since I was just cooking this for the 3 of us and not any guests I took the liberty of slimming it down. I’ve posted my modifications in green. And I just have to say that even with my hip slimming modifications this dish was amazing! Creamy, flavorful, and just yummy yummy!! I made it with lemon garlic grilled chicken cutlets… it was fab!!!  Enjoy!!!


Spring Green Risotto

Source: Ina Garten Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics

Serves: 4 servings for dinner (if you are feeding linebackers) or 6 for appetizers (normal people size 🙂 )

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons good olive oil * I cut this down to 1 tablespoon and used olive oil cooking spray as needed
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter * I cut this out completely
  • 3 cups chopped leeks, white and light green parts (2 leeks)
  • 1 cup chopped fennel
  • 1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
  • 2/3 cup dry white wine
  • 4 to 5 cups simmering chicken stock, preferably homemade * I used the one in a box… I think it was College Inn??
  • 1 pound thin asparagus
  • 10 ounces frozen peas, defrosted, or 1 1/2 cups shelled fresh peas * ((SHUDDER)) I hate peas… so I used fresh string beans and cut them in half
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated lemon zest (2 lemons)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup mascarpone cheese, preferably Italian * I used fat free cream cheese… it was delish!
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan, plus extra for serving
  • 3 tablespoons minced fresh chives, plus extra for serving

How to pull it all together:

  • Heat the olive oil and butter (I used the 1 tablespoon olive oil and cooking spray) in a medium saucepan over medium heat.
  • Add the leeks and fennel and saute for 5 to 7 minutes, until tender.
  • Add the rice and stir for a minute to coat with the vegetables, oil, and butter.
  • Add the white wine and simmer over low heat, stirring constantly, until most of the wine has been absorbed.
  • Add the chicken stock, 2 ladles at a time, stirring almost constantly and waiting for the stock to be absorbed before adding more.
  • This process should take 25 to 30 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, cut the asparagus diagonally in 1 1/2-inch lengths and discard the tough ends.
  • Blanch in boiling salted water for 4 to 5 minutes, until al dente. Drain and cool immediately in ice water. (If using fresh peas, blanch them in boiling water for a few minutes until the starchiness is gone.)   ( I blanched the string beans same as the asparagus)
  • When the risotto has been cooking for 15 minutes, drain the asparagus and add it to the risotto with the peas (string beans), lemon zest, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Continue cooking and adding stock, stirring almost constantly, until the rice is tender but still firm.
  • Whisk the lemon juice and mascarpone (fat free cream cheese) together in a small bowl. When the risotto is done, turn off the heat and stir in the mascarpone (cheese) mixture plus the Parmesan cheese and chives.
  • Set aside, off the heat, for a few minutes, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and serve hot with a sprinkling of chives and more Parmesan cheese.

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butternut squash

So, I’ve had this dish before as my mom has made it. And it has always been yummy. I’ve just never made it because I was under the mistaken impression that my husband doesn’t eat butternut squash. Eight years of marriage and I just discover this.. geesh! So, I made this as a side with beef stroganoff (recipe coming). Perhaps not the best side for the dish but I’m way behind in my BB recipes and I don’t want Tara to yell at me! (just kidding Tara!) I think I may have ‘caramalized’ this a bit more than my mom does but I liked it.. crunchy and caramelly, with an interesting mix of sweet and salty/peppery. It will be made again although perhaps not so caramalized as my 3 year old wouldn’t touch it, but she will eat her Granny’s…. whatever kid!

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium butternut squash (4 to 5 pounds total)
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

How to pull it all together:

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  • Cut off and discard the ends of each butternut squash.
  •  Peel the squash, cut them in half lengthwise, and remove the seeds.
  •  Cut the squash into 1 1/4 to 1 1/2-inch cubes and place them on a baking sheet.
  •  Add the melted butter, brown sugar, salt, and pepper. With clean hands(as opposed to your nasty, dirty hands ;o) ), toss all the ingredients together and spread in a single layer on  baking sheet.
  •  Roast for 45 to 55 minutes, until the squash is tender and the glaze begins to caramelize.
  • While roasting, turn the squash a few times with a spatula, to be sure it browns evenly. Taste for seasonings and serve hot.

FYI: I halved this recipe. Also, butternut squash is a real pain in the butt to peel and cut up. Next time I’ll used the frozen already chopped up ones from the freezer case…..

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goats-cheese-tartHave you ever done something and been really, truely impressed with yourself?  That is how these tarts will make you feel!  They are so unbelievably easy to make, yet look like they were so involved that Julia Child would have struggled!
Anyway, this was a March selection for Barefoot Bloggers, chosen by Anne of Anne Strawberry

This is part of the line up I made for our last weekend in the U.K.  We had our friends down for the weekend from London and this was our starter.  Good thing they arrived early as we had  a rich, heavy menu and it was important to spread the food out so as not to pop by dinnertime!  Although the finished product looks so impressive and difficult to make, it couldn’t have been easier.  Give a woop woop for frozen puff pastry! WOOP WOOP!  Yup… that is the secret.  Frozen puff pastry… roll it out… put a bowl on it to make the circle…. run a butter knife lightly to make the border… prick it with a fork.. fill it with stuff… bake it… voila! Done!  Pat yourself on the back!

Here is the recipe:

Tomato & Goat Cheese Tarts

Source: Ina Garten, Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics

Serves: 4 individual tarts

Ingredients:

  • 1 package (17.3 ounces/2 sheets) puff pastry, defrosted
  • Good olive oil
  • 4 cups thinly sliced yellow onions (2 large onions)
  • 3 large garlic cloves, cut into thin slivers
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons dry white wine
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme leaves
  • 4 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan, plus 2 ounces shaved with a vegetable peeler
  • 4 ounces garlic-and-herb goat cheese (recommended: Montrachet) ( I used fresh goat cheese from the Broadstone Farmer’s Market and seasoned myself)
  • 1 large tomato, cut into 4 (1/4-inch-thick) slices ( I used a few grape tomatoes on each as the big tomatoes were nasty looking in the store)
  • 3 tablespoons julienned basil leaves

How to pull it all together:

  • Unfold a sheet of puff pastry on a lightly floured surface and roll it lightly to an 11 by 11-inch square. Using a 6-inch wide saucer or other round object as a guide, cut 2 circles from the sheet of puff pastry, discarding the scraps. Repeat with the second pastry sheet to make 4 circles in all. Place the pastry circles on 2 sheet pans lined with parchment paper and refrigerate until ready to use.
  • Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
  • Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium to low heat and add the onions and garlic. Saute for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring frequently, until the onions are limp and there is almost no moisture remaining in the skillet. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, the wine, and thyme and continue to cook for another 10 minutes, until the onions are lightly browned. Remove from the heat.
  • Using a sharp paring knife, score a 1/4-inch-wide border around each pastry circle. Prick the pastry inside the score lines with the tines of a fork and sprinkle a tablespoon of grated Parmesan on each round, staying inside the scored border.
  • Place 1/4 of the onion mixture on each circle, again staying within the scored edge. Crumble 1 ounce of goat cheese on top of the onions. Place a slice of tomato in the center of each tart. Brush the tomato lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with basil, salt, and pepper. Finally, scatter 4 or 5 shards of Parmesan on each tart.
  • Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the pastry is golden brown. The bottom sheet pan may need an extra few minutes in the oven. Serve hot or warm.raw-pastryuncooked-tartonion-filling

 

 

 

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broccolini

DING DING!!! IT’S THE BONUS RECIPE CHALLENGE!!!

This month’s challenge was Sauteed Broccolini, chosen by Mary Ann of Meet Me In The Kitchen.  Good choice Mary Ann, as this dish went perfectly well with the Chicken Piccata in the last post.  My first challenge with this dish was actually finding the broccolini.  Luckily I went to the store armed with the visual aid of the pretty picture from the website.  So, I went up and down the produce aisle in Sainsbury until I found it.  True, I could have asked someone, but I’ve had enough odd looks from the employees there in the past when asking for “American” things that I was just not going there.  (FYI: Some things that get odd looks: canned pumpkin, corn meal, fat free cheese… the list goes on.)  Sigh… 8 more days and I’ll be back on American soil!

SO….. this dish was ridiculously simple.  Blanch the broccolini, or ‘Tender Stem Broccoli” as it was called, in hot salted water.  Then saute it in a pan for like 2 minutes with some stuff.  The end.  And, it was delish!

 

Here is the recipe:

Sauteed Broccolini

Source: Ina Garten

Serves 6

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch broccolini
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 lemon, zested
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

How to pull it all together

  • Blanch the broccolini in a large pot of salted boiling water for 2 minutes.  Drain immediately and immerse in a bowl of ice water.
  • Melt the butter in a large saute pan.  Add the lemon zest  and garlic and stir.  Drain the broccolini and add it to the garlic mixture and heat for 2 minutes.  Add the lemon juice, 1/2 teaspoon salt and the pepper, and toss well before serving.

If you care to join us at the Barefoot Bloggers click here to link to the site and hop aboard! :o)

PS: To make this South Beach and/or WW friendly, you can replace the butter with a trans fat free spread.

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tomato-basil-soup-1

 

Ina strikes again! In my never-ending quest to find filling foods that are either low in carbohydrate count or point value I have found another winner!

The Roasted Tomato Basil Soup is something I had seen Ina make on her show and it just looked really good.  She of course used the perfectly ripe, red, plump, and juicy plum tomatoes probably from her crazy East Hampton garden.  I used the kind of orange looking ones that Sainsbury had… grown in the Canary Islands.  Ina used delicious bunches of basil from her giant herb garden… I used the ones in the plastic container from Sainsbury.  That being said, this came out really good.  It’s a bit heartier then the canned variety, and much fresher without the tinny can taste.  It was a tad too salty but that could be my fault.  I used regular table salt not kosher salt as the recipe called for because I didn’t have it.  So, maybe that was why??  Next time I make it I’ll use less salt and add it at the end if it’s needed.  The other thing I tweaked was that I cut down the olive oil usage to 1/2 the amount called for and only used 1 Tbs butter instead of 2.  It was fine, and cut out some fat that was not really necessary in my opinion. 

What I love about this soup is that you really taste the fresh basil. I think basil is one of my favorite smells!  It also delivers a little kick afterwards from the red pepper flakes.  Next time I make it I may add some things … I was thinking roasted zucchini would be very tasty pureed into this… and for some reason shrimp… not sure why…. not that I would puree the shrimp of course (gross!) but I think it may be something to explore.

The only other changes I would make to this recipe (if I make it exactly as Ina did) is to perhaps roast the garlic in their cloves with the tomatoes rather than sauteing in the pan. I think a roasted garlic taste would have been yummier.  Also, next time I may scoop out the tomato seeds. Sometimes they annoy me.

Here is the recipe:

Roasted Tomato Basil Soup

Source: Ina Garten, The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook

  • 3 pounds ripe plum tomatoes, cut in half
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons good olive oil  I used 1/2 this amount and supplemented with olive oil cooking spray as needed
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups chopped yellow onions (2 onions)
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter I used 1 tablespoon
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 (28-ounce) canned plum tomatoes, with their juice
  • 4 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves  I used dried thyme as they didn’t have fresh in the store
  • 1 quart chicken stock or water I used chicken stock, why blah it out with water??

How to put it all together:

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. 
  •  Toss together the tomatoes, 1/4 cup olive oil, salt, and pepper. Spread the tomatoes in 1 layer on a baking sheet and roast for 45 minutes.
  • In an 8-quart stockpot over medium heat, saute the onions and garlic with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, the butter, and red pepper flakes for 10 minutes, until the onions start to brown.
  • Add the canned tomatoes, basil, thyme, and chicken stock. Add the oven-roasted tomatoes, including the liquid on the baking sheet. Bring to a boil and simmer uncovered for 40 minutes. Pass through a food mill fitted with the coarsest blade. (I used my food processor and it was fine) Taste for seasonings. Serve hot or cold.

tomato-basil-soup-2tomato-basil-soup-3Mmm.. mmm… good!

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Abruzzese Lentil Soup

I never thought I would like lentil soup. It just sounded gross… all those beans etc… However, I am a sucker for good marketing! I know.. you shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover blah blah blah but honestly, it’s the first thing that grabs your attention! Which is how I found this recipe… The book is called Good Cooking-The New Basics by Jill Dupleix. I flipped through it and saw a picture of the most yummy looking bowl of soup. So, I decided to try it. I am so glad I did! I make a pot a week practically to eat for lunch. It’s hearty and filling, with tons of healthy things in it… and it’s super low WW pt value! Whip it up… it’s better than the crap out of a can!

Here is the recipe:

Abruzzese  Lentil Soup

From:  Good Cooking-The New Basics by Jill Dupleix

  • 1 1/4 cups small brown or green lentil (I mixed both types)
  • 2 garlic cloves, smashed ( I used 3-4)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 onion, peeled and halved
  • 2 celery stalks
  • 2 carrots, peeled
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 14 -oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 14 -oz can chickpeas, drained
  • sea salt & pepper
  • 2 tbsp chopped parsley
  • freshly grated Parmesan for serving

How to put it all together:

  • Rinse the lentils, then place in pan ( I used my big soup pot though) with the garlic, bay leaves and 6 cups of cold water. Cook until almost tender, @ 30 minutes, skimming occasionaly.
  • In the meantime, finely slice the onion and celery, and dice the carrots. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan (I just used a frying pan). Add the onion, carrots, and celery, and cook, stirring often, for 10 minutes
  • Add the tomatoes and stir well, then add into the lentil pot. Simmer until nice and soupy, @ 20 minutes
  • Add the chickpeas, sea salt, and pepper, and simmer for at least 10 minutes or longer, adding extra water as necessary
  • Stir in chopped parsley and ladle into soup bowls. Serve with grated Parmesan.

You can also dish into individual freezer bags and have a quick lunch to microwave! 

As the author said, this is a rustic, slow-cooked soup. Lentils are low in fat, high in protein and easy to cook!

 

 

 

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