So, a week ago, I had one of my molars extracted. Apparently it is very painful to live with a cracked tooth, made even worse with an abscess. Ouch. So, I’ve been doped up on antibiotics, probiotics and pain meds. I’ve also been living off of oatmeal and pudding for the last week.
So, apologize that I haven’t posted anything new for a couple of weeks.
But fear not, dear reader, I’m back with a Bang! This weeks lunch is going to be epic. We’re talking bigger than big. Flavor-packed Italian Stew.
Zucchini, and eggplant, and onions, oh my! Throw in some red and yellow peppers some whole tomatoes, fresh basil, and fresh oregano and a dash of olive oil…..and you’ll feel like you’ve stepped into an Italian Kitchen.
1 pound russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2″ pieces
2 Tbsp tomato paste (no salt added variety)
2 cups water
1 (28 oz) can whole peeled tomatoes, drained with juice reserved and chopped coarse
2 medium zucchini, seeded and cut into 1/2″ pieces
1 red pepper, seeded and cut into 1/2″ pieces
2 yellow bell peppers, seeded and cut into 1/2″ pieces
1 cup shredded fresh basil
To make the Pestata: In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade, process all ingredients until finely ground, about a minute.
For the Stew:
In a large bowl, toss the eggplant with 1 1/2 tsp of salt.
On a microwave safe plate, place two paper towels and spread eggplant in a single layer.
Microwave eggplant, uncovered, until dry to touch and slightly shriveled, 8-12 minutes, tossing once halfway through.
Heat 2 Tbsp olive oil in large Dutch oven over high heat, until shimmering. Add eggplant, onion, and potatoes; cook stirring frequently until eggplant browns and surface of potatoes becomes translucent.
Push vegetables to sides of pot and add 1 Tbsp of oil and tomato paste to clearing. Cook paste, stirring frequently, about 2 minutes.
Add 2 cups of water and chopped tomatoes and juice. scraping up any browned bits, and bring to a boil.
Reduce heat to medium, cover, and gently simmer until eggplant is completely broken down and potatoes are tender, about 20 to 25 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat remaining 1 Tbsp of oil in skillet over high heat until smoking.
Add zucchini, bell peppers, and 1/2 tsp of salt; cook for 10 to 12 minutes.
Push vegetables to sides of skillet and Pestata and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
Stir Pestata into vegetables. Cook another 3 minutes.
Transfer vegetables to Dutch oven and remove from heat.
Cover and let set for 20 minutes to allow flavors to meld.
Happy Mardi Gras, y’all! Here is a spicy, warm little number to get your taste-buds dancing. Oooooie! Dat’s some good cookin’!
1 Serrano pepper
1 banana pepper
1 small jalapeno chile pepper
1/4 cup vegetable oil ( I used Sunflower oil)
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
2 celery ribs, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
3 green bell peppers, chopped
4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 Tbsp Cajun seasoning
1 Tbsp smoked paprika
2 cans fire-roasted tomatoes
1 sweet potato, peeled and cubed
1 large parsnip, peeled and cubed
1 can red kidney beans
1 can black-eyed peas
1 bag of frozen cut okra
Preheat oven to broil.
Arrange Serrano, banana, and jalapeno chile peppers on a baking sheet and place in the oven. Watch carefully and broil until the skins turn black and blister, about 4 to 5 minutes. Turn the peppers and continue broiling until all sides are blackened. Remove the peppers and put in an small sauce pan with lid to steam (about 10 to 15 minutes). Remove peppers from the sauce pan and peel off the crispy black skin. Remove stems and seeds from the peppers, coarsely chop and place in a bowl.
In another small sauce pan, heat 1/4 cup vegetable oil over medium heat until a pinch of flour starts to bubble. Whisk the rest of the flour into the oil and cook, whisking continuously until the mixture is well-blended and dark brown, 10 to 15 minutes. Once it turns dark brown, remove from heat.
Put 2 Tbsp of vegetable oil in a deep soup pot and heat over medium-high heat. When hot, add celery, half of the onions and half of the green peppers. Cook and stir until the vegetables are tender and the onions are transparent, about 5 minutes. Stir 1/4 cup of the vegetable broth into the pot. Cover and simmer until almost all the liquid is gone, about 10 to 15 minutes.
Stir the Serrano, banana, and jalapeno chile peppers, along with the uncooked bell peppers, onions, garlic, Cajun seasonings, smoked paprika into the cooked bell peppers and onions. Stir in the roux (dark brown sauce) and 1 cup of vegetable broth into the vegetable mixture until the roux dissolves. Cover and simmer 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, sweet potato, parsnip, red beans, black-eyed peas, okra and remaining vegetable broth. Simmer covered for 15 minutes. And then, simmer 20 minutes uncovered.
Tip: To bump up the heat a notch, add a teaspoon of File’ Powder to the pot in step 5.
This weekend has been one of the coldest in MN all winter. We have been at sub-zero temperatures for the last 4 days. Last night the temperature dipped to -18 with a wind-chill of -30. It’s just Brrrrr outside with a capital B! A great time to hunker down and spend the day cooking. 🙂
This week I’m all about the kale. And, what’s not to love? It’s a beautiful vegetable, it’s good for you, it’s got a great texture, and it’s so versatile. Pairing it with mushrooms, onions, carrots, and beans….all I can say is “YUM”
This stew was really easy to make. The hardest part was chopping the vegetables. Oh, and by the way, the aroma that wafted through the kitchen while I cooked literally had my mouth watering – true story.
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 Tbsp minced garlic
1 cup carrots, diced
8 oz Baby Bella mushrooms, sliced
4-5 cups kale, roughly chopped
4 cups vegetable broth
1 can diced tomatoes, with juice
1 can cannelli beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup apple juice or white wine (I used apple juice since I didn’t have any wine)
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp rosemary, minced
fresh basil, for garnish
freshly shredded Romano cheese
Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat.
Add onions and a pinch of salt. Saute until translucent.
Add garlic, carrots, mushroom, and rosemary. Cook, stirring occasionally until the mushrooms have released their water (3-5 minutes).
Add apple juice/wine. Cook for about one minute.
Add balsamic vinegar, tomatoes, beans and broth. Turn the heat down and simmer for 10 minutes.
So, this past weekend, it turned very cold here in MN. We’re talking sub-zero kind of cold. Naturally, I was looking for a recipe to make for my lunches that would warm me up.
Enter Red Lentil Curry with Spinach. I just want to say…WHOA! OK, you guys, this is one of the simplest and quickest recipes I’ve come across in a long time. AND, one of the most flavorful recipes I’ve had in a long time.
I have to admit, I didn’t try any while I was cooking it up – at 8pm on Saturday night – so I truly didn’t know how good it was until I ate it for lunch today…I like to live life on the edge. I figured I bring enough food to graze all day, if I had to forego the main course, I wouldn’t starve. And, I indeed didn’t starve…I cried that I only had the small portion. I was wanting more. So, now…
I am really looking forward to lunch tomorrow, just kidding, but not really!
1 1/2 cup Whole Fat Coconut Milk
1 1/2 cup water
1/4 cup red curry paste
3/4 cup red lentils
2 cups fresh spinach
In a high-sided skillet,over medium-high heat, mix coconut milk, water and red curry paste. Bring to a boil.
Add red lentils. Simmer for 20-25 minutes or until lentils are soft.
Remove from heat and add spinach. Stir the spinach until it is wilted and mixed thoroughly.
First off – my father-in-law gave me this cool julienne peeler for Christmas. I just used it for the first time today…and I have to say, I’m ready to julienine everything in sight! Potatoes, butternut squash, apples…the possibilities are endless.
Now, where did that dog and cat go? 😉
I love how it slices perfect zucchini noodles!
2-3 large zucchini, julienned or spiralized
1/2 dried lentils, rinsed and sorted, then cooked to package directions
For the sauce
14.5 oz can of diced tomatoes
1/2 cup tomato paste
1/4 medium red onion, finely chopped
2 small garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp oregano
3 tsp Italian seasoning
1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
2 Tbsp grated parmesan cheese
Cook lentils according to package.
While lentils cook, put all ingredients for sauce in food processor, blend on high for 25-30 seconds or until thick sauce forms.
Add sauce to small pan and cook over medium heat to bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 5 to 10 minutes.
Once lentils are cooked, add to marinara sauce. Take off heat and set aside.
In a large skillet over medium-low heat, add zucchini and cook until soft and pasta-like (about 5 minutes).
Evenly divide zucchini and top with marinara sauce.
Have I mentioned how much I love vegetables? I mean, I really love vegetables. Not only are they good for you, they taste good. I love the texture of broccoli and cauliflower. The crunchiness of carrots, the tanginess of the tomatoes. My mouth is watering just thinking about lunch tomorrow.
This recipe is from the garden grazer; which is the site that gave me the ultimate greek salad, which, hands down, is my favorite salad EVER. I’ve adapted this vegetable soup slightly, basically packed in more vegetables!