Archive for June, 2009

Roasted Potatoes, Asparagus and Salsa Corn

June 20, 2009

Roasted Potatoes, Asparagus and Salsa Corn

I’m not sure how, but I ended up with 3 small red potatoes and 1 large sweet potato. Not enough to do much on their own, so I decided to roast them together. Tossing them with a little roasted garlic oil, salt, pepper and a very liberal amount of dried cilantro (again, no fresh in the house), spread them on a baking sheet and put them in a 400 degree oven until done.

Meanwhile, I trimmed my asparagus and sauteed it in more roasted garlic oil while the white corn simmered in salted water.

Just as I was about to put everything together, I remembered I had some Garden Fresh Salsa in the fridge and thought it would work well with the corn. Sometimes, when you’re right, you’re really right and this was no exception.

It came out so good we didn’t use margarine or any additional salt or pepper and we will certainly do it again.

Not counting the baking time for the potatoes, the whole thing can be thrown together in about 20 minutes if you plan it right, so it’s yet another quick, delicious meal.

It’s official – I like mushrooms

June 19, 2009

Baby Portabella Cous Cous, Organic Broccoli

I’ve fought it for a long time, but I’ve finally come to terms with the fact that I like mushrooms. I used to dislike the texture – the flavor was great in something like a broth, but the texture just didn’t sit right. Raw they were fine, but cooked? No way. Now, I didn’t go out of my way to avoid them like some people do. I just ate them and didn’t enjoy them. But something’s changed.

I’m still not sure what, exactly, but it’s like there was a switch that was suddenly flipped on my palette allowing me to enjoy them without fear or hesitation. So, with that in mind I went to test my hypothesis.

I picked up some baby portabella mushrooms at Publix (what’s up with none of the grocery stores allowing you to purchase in bulk, instead forcing you to buy them wrapped in plastic in styrofoam?) and could only think of one thing to do with them – make cous cous. I’ve likely bored you to death with how to prepare Israeli-style cous cous so I won’t reiterate those principles here.

They also had some really nice looking organic broccoli so I picked it up as well. I like to leave a good bit of the stalk on my broccoli for that extra crunch and it worked well here with the creaminess of the cous cous. Yet another fantastic fifteen-minute meal.

Cluckphrey Teese Sandwiches

June 18, 2009

Cluckphrey Teese Sandwich

I’ve been passing by the Cluckphrey chicken products for what seems like forever. So, one day I decided to pick them up. And then they sat in the freezer for what seems like forever. But then I went out of town and when I returned they were gone – eaten, and enjoyed by my wife.

So, next time we had the opportunity we picked up some more. And then they sat in the freezer for what seems like forever. But then I had the brilliant idea to make chicken parmesan sandiches.

Not really sure where the bread came from – oddly, I didn’t bake it and this was several weeks ago so I can’t remember.

But anyway, I sauteed the patties in a little olive oil and layered them on the bread with marinara sauce and sliced Teese, wrapped the whole thing in foil and threw them in the oven for about 10 minutes to make sure they were hot. I should have left them in longer – the Teese didn’t melt, but it may have been because I sliced it instead of shredding it. I served the whole thing with some extra marinara for dipping.

Layered

The sandwich was really tasty and I’ll certainly make it again but the Cluckphrey patty was a bit disappointing. It didn’t hold up very well and was kind of “mushy”. I would probably get it again, but maybe prepare it differently.

Heirloom Tomato and Cucumber Salad

June 16, 2009

Harry’s had some organic heirloom tomatoes on sale, and being a sucker for heirloom tomatoes, organics and sales I couldn’t resist picking some up even though I had no clear idea of what to do with them.

Heirloom Tomato and Cucumber Salad

So, I wasn’t terribly surprised when they were on the verge of going bad and I had to act fast.

A quick look around, had a spare cucumber and red onion and a salad was born. I also had some marinated gigandes beans (My Publix carries them on occasion, but you can get a gigantic can here) to throw in the mix.

I like acidity in my salads, so I skipped the traditional vinaigrette and went for straight vinegar. I used some white balsamic vinegar (my favorite vinegar with regular balsamic and malt coming in tied a close 2nd), dried cilantro (no fresh in the house), salt, pepper and a quick toss.

You have to let it marinate for a bit to let the flavors come together (give it 12 hours if you can), but I needed something for dinner right then. It was good anyway, but would have been better the next day.

Veggie Burgers

June 15, 2009

Built

Sometimes you just can’t phone it in. So I didn’t.

I knew I wanted veggie burgers – I had been craving them for a while. What I didn’t know was what they would become after our trip to Publix. While there the ideas just kept coming. Spinach? Yes, please. Caramelized onions? Of coures. Mushrooms? Uh, ok (I don’t like mushrooms, but made them anyway. Check that, I didn’t like mushrooms).

I still had some Klaussen pickles leftover from somethingorother as well as some delicious roasted tomatoes we picked up at Harry’s (same as these). They’re expensive, but oh so worth it.

The veggie burger mix we use is no longer in production (previously manufactured by Archer’s Midland Harvest, this was the exact mix that Cafe Sunflower uses for their “World’s Best Soy Burger”). It seems as though another company bought the formulation rights and plans to distribute it, just not yet (Ed. I spoke too soon! and will be placing my order just as soon as I finish this post).

So, I got all of my mise en place cut, sauteed and seasoned while the burgers were “marinating”. They take 15 minutes after you mix with water. A quick sautee on each side and the burgers were ready for assembly.

Mise en Place

The buns were something new for us. made by Arnold they are called Sandwich Thins and are great when you don’t want a lot of bread (a rarity for me, but with so many delicious ingredients I didn’t want anything that was going to overpower).

Piled High

Anyway, I layered up the veggie burgers with all of my garnishes and was off to the races. My mouth is watering just thinking about them. Mmm….veggie burgers….

Cannellini Bean Sandwiches

June 13, 2009

Cannellini Bean Sandwiches

Frankly, I’m not exactly sure how I came up with these, but it went something like this:

A few years ago, there was someone on a morning show showing off some lower-fat ideas. One of them was a cannellini bean spread instead of butter on toast. A year or so later I came across a “mock tuna salad” recipe using garbanzo beans. Remembering the bean spread, I combined recipes and made it into something new.

It’s not a “mock tuna” or a “mock chicken” salad anymore. It’s just a “cannellini bean salad”. And it’s delicious.

I used to use canned beans, but since I’m avoiding all canned goods I started from dry beans this time. They were a little crunchy (I should have boiled them longer), but that didn’t stop me from eating the entire batch.

Anyway, I boiled the beans, drained (though not enough, apparently) and cooled them. Then I take my chef’s knife and with the blade perpendicular to the cutting board begin to smash the beans. You can make them into as coarse or smooth as you want them to – I typically leave about half pretty coarse and half really smooth so when it blends it has a nice texture.

Smashed Beans

With all of the smashed beans in the bowl, I add a small amount of Vegenaise. Be careful with this step as you can easily make the salad too wet (unless you live in the South and then you could make a “mayonnaise salad” and be thought of as a four-star chef). I used to use three cans of beans and 3-4 tablespoons of Vegenaise. From here, it’s up to you on how to season. If you want more of a chicken flavor, use poultry seasoning. If you want more of a tuna flavor, use dulse. Me? I go an entirely different direction.

Obviously salt and black pepper are key ingredients here, but what I love using is a ton of fresh cilantro. And you can see it in my picture – I mean a lot. Some roasted garlic and cumin and that’s pretty much it. If I have some leftover onions or peppers I’ll add those as well.

Really, you can experiment however you want to get it to where you want it. I haven’t tried it yet, but I think I could turn this into a really killer vegan crab cake. Hmmm….