Sunday, October 12, 2008

Roasted Fall Root Vegetables

Maybe you've started thinking about what you are going to make for Thanksgiving. Here is a good idea that will help you split from the normal roasted carrots or sweet potatoes, roasted root vegetables. It is also very pretty. It is important to slice all the vegetables to the same size. The size, doesn't really matter, as you just want to ensure that they are cooking all at the same rate.

1 bag parsnips, peeled and sliced
4 carrots, peeled and sliced
1 turnip, peeled and sliced
1 rutabaga, peeled and sliced
1 large onion, sliced (or white or red pearl onions whole with the outer covering removed)
4 cloves garlic, chopped (or halved for pretty presentation)
1 sweet potato, peeled and sliced
3 small red potatoes, scrubbed and sliced
Mixed dried herbs (rosemary, pepper, salt, marjoram, savory, thyme...)
olive oil

1. Preheat oven to 330 degrees.

2. in a mixing bowl mix all the root vegetable slices with the onion and garlic.

3. pour in enough oil to coat the vegetables.

4. mix in the spices and herbs so that they are sticking to the oil and coating the vegetables enough to look like the picture. (I didn't measure, so I have no clue how much I added.) This would be a hard step to mess up.

5. pour the mix into a large deep baking dish, and cover

6. roast in the oven for at least 2 hours (I think I cooked it more, but I can't remember)

Special Notes: check on your dish every 1/2 hr to mix it up a bit and possibly add more oil if it looks too dry. Taste a piece here and there to see if it is cooked the way you prefer. Some people like extremely overdone root vegetables, others prefer them to maintain a little crunch. By monitoring the progress you can have them just the way you like them, although there is no guarantee that your husband will not say "I think the carrots are too crunchy" :)

Fried Butternut Squash Filled Wontons

So my picture isn't great...

I recently saw a recipe for butternut squash filled fried wontons. If I remember correctly, the recipe sounded somewhat sweet. I liked the idea, and have a new found love for frying (I got an awesome fryer for a wedding gift), but thought the recipe would be better kind of savory with cumin and onion and a lot of garlic. Actually, I added chili powder and pepper and salt too to make it a tad spicy. They turned out really good, so good that my husband wants me to make a couple hundred of them for our Halloween Party. Here is the recipe.

1 butternut squash, peeled and cubed (seeds removed)
1 pkg litte square wonton wrappers (available at Kroger)
1 half onion, diced
2 tsp garlic chopped
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp chili powder
salt and pepper to taste

1. boil the squash until soft

2. sautee onion and garlic until soft and translucent

3. mix the spice mix in with the onions once they are soft, and cook for another minute

4. mix onion mixture with squash mixture and smash sqush so it is all thouroughly mixed.

5.brush edges of wonton wrapper with water and spoon 1/2 tsp of butternut squash filling into middle and folder up as to make a little hobo bag.

6. Fry the hobo bags in oil until golden brown.

You don't even need a sauce for these, but I was thinking it might work with a chili yogurt sauce.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Curried Butternut Squash Bisque

I love bisque of any kind. I also have a love for curried butternut squash. So you mix the two, and you have my soup. I made this with my father in law in mind.
1 butternut squash, cubed
1 onion, sliced
4 cloves of garlic chopped
1/2-1 c. heavy cream
1 c. vegetable stock
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp pepper
1 tblsp. curry powder
1 tsp chili powder
salt to taste

1. boil squash until soft.

2. meanwhile saute onions and garlic in olive oil until soft and translucent, then add spices and saute for about a minute.

3. heat vegetable stock, add onions mix and cream to stock. Put heat on low.

4. drain squash and add to the stock/cream/onions. Remove from heat and puree in a blender. Add more or less spices depending on your taste.

5. top it off with some croutons. You could even mix this dish with chicken and serve over rice.

Stuffed Zuchinni Blossoms and Red Pepper Sauce

I am not even going to post this recipe here, as this link has step by step instructions. They are easy and good.

Now, as for the red pepper sauce:

I like to mix and match sometimes. Very cool dish and easy to make.

Asparagus Flan

I stopped at Le Benedict last week. Was okay. Service good. Food kind of salty. Wasn't very impressed. However, they had one dish, the Asparagus Flan, that was excellent if the puny, overcooked, little crab claws arranged around it were omitted. Not sure why they did that...
Anyway, I decided I needed to make it. So I figured it had to be made out of eggs and cream and asparagus. But how much of each? I hit the internet to start looking for proportions. Apparantly there are a lot of recipes out there for asparagus flan. I settled on Emerial Lagasse's, though I didn't follow it or measure anything, which is why maybe mine came out not "asparagus" enough, like the one at Le Benedict.

Anyway, here is Emeril's recipe. His original also has crab with. I suggest amping up the ratio of asparagus to eggs and cream. I didn't have crab. Maybe this is the recipe Le Benedict was inspired by? I do think mine looks prettier!

I garnished with celery leaves (that is all I had pretty much--I'd use fresh tarragon if it was available), heart of palm slices, and a creamy garlic aioli. A lemony hollidaise would taste good too with maybe some crumbled feta.

1 pound asparagus, tough ends trimmed and stalk bottoms peeled if necessary
1 medium onion, finely chopped
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 large eggs
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1/3 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1 teaspoon finely chopped tarragon leaves, plus 2 teaspoons
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons finely chopped chives
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh tarragon
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 pound fresh jumbo lump crabmeat, picked over for shells

Trim asparagus and cut stalks diagonally into 1-inch lengths. Reserve tips separately.
In a large, heavy skillet, cook asparagus and onion in 3 tablespoons of the butter over medium-low heat until asparagus is tender, about 20 minutes. Puree asparagus mixture in a food processor until very smooth. If after pureeing the mixture you still have tough fibers, pass the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve before proceeding.
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F and lightly coat the inside of 6 (1/2-cup) ramekins with the remaining tablespoon of butter.

Transfer the pureed asparagus mixture to a mixing bowl and whisk in the eggs, heavy cream, cheese, 1 teaspoon tarragon, salt and pepper. Divide the asparagus mixture evenly among the prepared ramekins and place ramekins in a large baking pan. Add enough hot water to come halfway up the sides of the pan, and bake, uncovered, until flans are set, about 25 to 30 minutes. Transfer the ramekins to a wire rack to cool slightly.
(The Part I skipped)

While flans are cooking, blanch the asparagus tips in a small saucepan of salted water until crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Rinse under cool running water to keep from overcooking and set aside to drain. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, chives, 2 teaspoons tarragon, lemon zest, Worcestershire Sauce, and salt and white pepper, to taste. Add the crabmeat and reserved asparagus tips and toss gently but thoroughly to combine. Reseason, if necessary.

When the flans have cooled slightly, run the tip of a paring knife around the edge of each flan and turn flans out onto serving plates. Garnish each flan with some of the crabmeat mixture and serve immediately. Flans are equally delicious served hot, warm, or at room temperature.

Vegetarian Horseradish Beef Salad Sandwiches

No doubt one of the reasons I love horseradish so much is my German heritage. We mixed horseradish in potatoes, put it on beef, and slapped gobs of it on sandwiches growing up. And we used to eat potatoes almost every single night when I was a child, so there is no wonder I love potatoes too! I decided to come up with a nice German beef/potato/horseradish salad for our dinner tonight, because, well I like to get creative with what we have in the refridgerator. I decided to add apple because a little sweetness goes well with horsradish, such as beet or parsnip.

Here is what I came up with.

1 bag of morningstar soy beef steak strips
2 tsps. minced red onion
2 small stalks of celery, plus some of the leaves, finely sliced
2 tblsps. horseradish (I added more, but modify based on your taste)
2 tblsps. finely chopped green apple (skin peeled)
2 tblsps. Vegan Mayo (healthier and chicken friendly!) regular will do though
1 hard boiled free range egg white, chopped
1/4-1/2 c. cooked potato, chopped (frozen cubed hash browns work fine)
1. Thaw out steak strips in the refridgerator overnight or just cover with a little water and cook until heated through (you need to cover them with water so they stay tender, otherwise they will dry out and be chewy) and drain the water.

2. Cook the potatos in the microwave if frozen, or chop and cook like you would normally.

3. Cut the steak strips up into about 1/2 inch cubes.

4. Mix everything, and top with a little fresh lime juice.

You can eat this stuffed in a pita bread, with a rye bread, or anyother kind will do.