Archive | Vegetarian RSS feed for this section

Red Wine and Mushroom Risotto

21 Jan

Red Wine and Mushroom Risotto

It’s been way, way too long since I’ve posted.  First it was finals, then a new kitten (check after the jump for super adorable kitten pics) and the holidays and moot court brief writing, then we went on our belated honeymoon to Toronto, then it was a mad rush to finish our brief, and then classes started and I went back to work and we started oral argument practice for moot court … basically, life happened.  And unlike my usual “life happened” scenario, this one did not involve cooking.  Zak took the reins in the kitchen because I was often home late or eating at one of the few options around school as my teammates and I were locked in the moot court room brief writing until midnight or later (basically, a lot of Subway and a couple times of treating ourselves to pizza and salad or burgers when the thought of another six inch sub made us want to cry).  I actually made this a week or so ago, because risotto is perfect to make when you want something mindless but wonderfully satisfying.  I stood by the stove, reading other competitor’s briefs and stirring, stirring, stirring until the risotto was as creamy as could be, then added some mushrooms and … yum.  A nice bowl of simple comfort food, with a hint of red wine flavor lurking behind the umami of the mushrooms and herbiness of tarragon and rosemary.

Normally, I am not quite as fastidious about stirring when I make risotto as I was this time, and in retrospect I regret it.  This was absolutely divine because it was super, super creamy.  Since I have no shame, I will admit to you that I actually licked my bowl.

Red Wine and Mushroom Risotto

1 1/2 cups red wine

4 cups water

1 cup tarragon, on the stem

2-3 sprigs rosemary, on the stem

4-5 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled

Salt and pepper

1 cup arborio rice

2-3 tbs. olive oil

8 oz. crimini mushrooms, sliced

2 tbs. butter

Parmesan cheese, to taste

In a medium sauce pan, combine red wine, tarragon, rosemary, garlic, salt, and pepper.  Bring to a boil and boil for 2-3 minutes.  Reduce heat to a simmer.

Heat olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat.  Once shimmering, add arborio rice.  Cook, stirring frequently, until rice is opaque.  Reduce heat to low.

1/4 to 1/2 cup at a time, add in red wine and herb mixture.  Stir continuously with a wooden spoon until liquid is nearly absorbed.  Repeat, stirring continuously or very frequently, for about 30-45 minutes, until rice is creamy and nearly cooked through.

In a medium sauté pan, add butter.  Melt over medium heat.  Add mushrooms and season with salt and pepper.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown.  Pour, with any excess liquid, into the risotto.  Stir to combine, and continue cooking risotto by adding liquid and stirring, until rice is cooked through.

Serve topped with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

Continue reading

Advertisements

Chipotle and Tomato Braised Collards and Swiss Chard

28 Oct

This is a flavorful and unique way to serve nutritious collard greens.  The spice of the chipotle and the tangy, fermented flavor of the sauerkraut balanced each other really well.  This can be served as is for a flavorful side dish, but I put it over some creamy polenta with a few slivers of parmesan for a hearty vegetarian main course.

Chipotle and Tomato Braised Collards and Swiss Shard

1 lb. collard greens, center ribs removed and roughly chopped

1/2 lb. Swiss chard, roughly chopped

1 tbs. butter

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 chipotles in adobo, roughly chopped

1 qt. canned chopped tomatoes

1/3 cup sauerkraut

Salt and pepper

In a medium Dutch oven, melt butter over medium heat.  Add garlic and cook thirty seconds, until fragrant.  Add collards and Swiss chard, season with salt and pepper, and sauté 6-8 minutes.  Add remaining ingredients.  Cover and simmer over medium heat for forty five minutes, stirring occasionally, until liquid from tomatoes is mostly reduced and greens are tender.

Chipotle and Gorgonzola Stuffed Acorn Squash

26 Oct

This dish is so simple to make, but I absolutely loved the combination of flavors.  The sweetness of the caramelized roasted acorn squash is an excellent foil to the spicy, smokey chipotles and pungent and creamy gorgonzola.  The honey adds an extra hint of sweetness.  This would make a bold, interesting side dish alongside something like a steak or lamb and also is substantial enough to make for a light lacto-ovo-vegetarian main course.  The hands on time for this dish is about five minutes max, and the hardest part is cutting open the squash (be careful!).  It also reheats super well, which is great for me, because I bring my lunch to either school or work nearly every single week day.  Basically, the upsides of this dish are ease, super bold flavor, and great reheatability and the downsides are … none.

Chipotle and Gorgonzola Stuffed Acorn Squash

1 acorn squash, carefully sliced lengthwise

2 tbs. butter

1/2 tsp. garlic powder

Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper

1/3 cup gorgonzola cheese, roughly chopped/crumbled

1 chiptole in adobo, minced, plus 1 tbs. adobo sauce

1/4 cup honey

Preheat oven to 350º.

Melt butter, either in the microwave for about a minute or on the stove top in a small sauce pan.  Add garlic powder and mix in with a fork.

Place the squash on a baking sheet.  Brush the flesh of the squash with the butter, pouring any excess into the cavity.  Season with salt and pepper.  Place the squash flesh side up and bake 30-45 minutes, or until easily pierced with a fork.

Meanwhile, mix together chipotles, adobo sauce, gorgonzola, and honey.

When squash is tender, spoon the chipotle mixture into the center of the squash.  Transfer back to oven and bake another 15 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the chipotle mixture is heated through.  Serve immediately.

Sweet Potato and Black Bean Enchiladas

8 Oct

I was reading a thread on Serious Eats about how the poster was feeling uninspired in the kitchen since going vegetarian.  In many ways, I sympathize.  All the more so because I’m not vegetarian (or pescatarian, as the case is in our household) but economics and convenience tend to force my hand into cooking that way most of the time.  And most of the time, I truly don’t mind.  I eat meat when we eat out (it might contribute to my beef tartar obsession at The Greenhouse Tavern when my dad generously treats me to lunch there every couple of weeks¹), or cook a small serving for myself while Zak fends for himself (duck wings are popular for that).

But sometimes, I just can’t think of anything interesting.  What we end up with might be good, but it’s a good variation on what we’ve made a thousand times, or not-quite-good-enough to share.  That lethargy is compounded once I head back to school and don’t get out of class until late, so dinner either has to be quick or pre-made (or made by my awesome husband, who does his fair share of the cooking).

This, though … this is interesting.  This started with the idea of a simple sweet potato taco, evolved into a sweet potato and black bean taco or burrito, and then in a stroke of madness (genius) morphed into this dish – a cheesy, spicy, sweet, and creamy sweet potato and black bean enchilada.  The enchilada sauce is made from charred green peppers and jalapeños which in one fell swoop uses up my copious green peppers and adds a hint of bitterness and an big punch of spice that tempers the sweetness of the honey-glazed sweet potatoes.  The flavors work really well together, with the sweetness of the potatoes balanced out perfectly with the heat of the pepper sauce, jalapeños, and creamy cheddar and beans.

This was really good both with and without the bacon.  It added a salty, meaty bite but was totally not necessary to the overall effect of the enchilada – in fact, I added it as an afterthought.  I mean, let’s face it, bacon makes almost anything better and this was no exception.  At the same time, it was truly amazing how complex and interesting the flavors were without it.  This really reminded me how fun, interesting, and inspirational vegetarian cooking really can be.

Sweet Potato and Black Bean Enchiladas

Sweet Potato and Black Bean Enchiladas:

4 medium flour tortillas

3-4 slices bacon, optional

3 medium sweet potatoes, diced into 1/2″ cubes (no need to peel unless you don’t like peels) (yield: 2 cups)

2 tbs. olive oil

1/2 tsp. ancho chile powder

Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper

2 tbs. water

1/4 cup honey

1/2 tsp. Arizona Gunslinger jalapeño pepper sauce (or other hot sauce of choice)

1 cup black beans, drained and rinsed

1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded

Preheat oven to 350°.

If using, cook bacon for 5-7 minutes in a microwave on paper towels until crispy.  Cool, and roughly chop. Set aside.

Toss sweet potato cubes with olive oil and season with ancho chile powder, salt, and pepper.  Spread on a tinfoil lined baking sheet and roast 15-20 minutes until easily pierced with a fork but not falling apart.  Remove from oven and set aside.

In a medium sauté pan, add water and heat over medium-low heat until steam begins to rise.  Drizzle in honey, whisking continuously.  Once smooth and incorporated, add pepper sauce.  Add sweet potatoes and toss to coat.

Cook, raising heat to medium-high and stirring frequently, for 5-7 minutes until a sticky glaze forms on the sweet potatoes.  Add beans and 1/2 cup of cheese and stir to combine.  If using, add bacon.

[Note:  I added bacon to 2 of the enchiladas, so I could have some porky goodness but the rest remained vegetarian.]

Spray a 9″ x 13″ casserole with nonstick cooking spray.  Spoon about 1/4 cup of green pepper enchilada sauce (see below) on the bottom of the pan.

Take a flour tortilla and, using a pair of tongs, dip it in the green pepper enchilada sauce on both sides to lightly coat.  Place in the casserole dish.  Add about 1/2 cup filling to the center.  Carefully roll into a tube shape, careful not to burn yourself.  Position so the seam side is down.  Repeat with remaining tortillas and filling.  Pour any remaining enchilada sauce over the top of the enchiladas.  Top with remaining 1/2 cup of shredded cheddar cheese.  Cover with tinfoil.

Transfer to oven.  Bake 25-30 minutes, removing tinfoil for last ten minutes, until cheese is bubbling and golden brown.  Serve immediately.

Green Pepper Enchilada Sauce:

2 green bell peppers

2 jalapeños

2 tbs. olive oil

2 tbs. canola oil

1 yellow onion, chopped

4-5 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped

1/2 cup water

1 tsp. ancho chile powder

Preheat broiler.

Coat peppers in olive oil and place under the broiler and broil 3-4 minutes per side, turning frequently, until outside is blistered and flesh is tender, for a total of about 20 minutes.

Transfer to a ziplock bag.  Let cool.  When cool, remove charred outer skins from the peppers and discard.  Remove stems, seeds, and inner membranes.  Dice flesh.

Heat canola oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat.  Add onion and sauté until translucent, 5-7 minutes.  Add garlic and sauté 1-2 minutes until fragrant.  Add diced pepper flesh and stir to combine.

Add water, ancho chile powder, salt, and pepper.  Simmer for 10-15 minutes to incorporate flavors.

Using an immersion blender or transferring to a blender, puree until smooth.  Set aside.

Continue reading

Jarlsberg and Ricotta Mustardy Mac and Cheese

7 Oct

As I was reading for First Amendment (which, incidentally, is the weirdest area of law I have so far encountered in my studies), I was day dreaming about what to make for lunch.  And like a bolt of lightning, it hit me – I hadn’t made mac and cheese in a good long time.  Especially not the baked variety. And, because I am a cheese monster, I knew I had all of the ingredients necessary to make a pretty bad ass version on hand.

The combination of flavors in this particular mac and cheese is really stellar.  The Jarlsberg has a pungent sharpness, the ricotta a straightforward creaminess, and the pecorino romano a sharp bite.  The vegetable stock adds a rich layer of flavor – and takes the calories down several notches, which is always a plus.  All of those flavors are reinforced and highlighted by the bright, sharp Dijon mustard and slightly sweet heat of the New Mexico chile powder.  The sauce was extremely creamy – and had that awesome, melt-y, string-y thing going on where you grab a noodle and the cheese just oozes in beautiful, bendy strings of glory.  The bottom and top of the casserole both crisped up beautifully to act as a contrast to the creamy cheese.

So if you’re looking for a slightly fancier-than-average, creamier-than-average, more-flavorful-than-average macaroni and cheese … I suggest you start shredding up some Jarlsberg.

Jarlsberg and Ricotta Mustardy Mac and Cheese

1/2 box pasta (I used penne rigate)

2 tbs. butter

1/4 cup whole wheat flour

3/4 cup vegetable stock

1/2 cup Jarlsberg cheese, shredded

1/2 cup ricotta

1/4 cup Pecorino Romano, shredded

3 tbs. Dijon mustard

1/2 tsp. New Mexican chile powder

Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper

2-3 tbs. Italian bread crumbs

Non-stick cooking spray

Preheat oven to 350°.

Bring a medium sauce pan of water to a boil.  When boiling, add noodles and cook two minutes less than package instructions.

As soon as you add the noodles, melt butter in a large sauté pan over medium heat.  While whisking, slowly add flour.  Don’t worry if it is slightly clumpy toward the end.

Continuously whisking, add the vegetable stock.  Whisk until smooth and creamy.  If any liquid remains, cook until it evaporates.

Add cheese and whisk to combine into a creamy sauce.  Stir in mustard and chile powder.  Taste for seasonings, and add salt and pepper as necessary.

At this point, the noodles should be ready to drain.  Drain noodles and then add the noodles to the cheese sauce.  Stir to evenly combine.

Spray a small casserole dish with nonstick cooking spray.  Transfer the noodles to the casserole dish.  Top with the bread crumbs and spray again with nonstick.

Transfer to the oven and bake 25-30 minutes until bread crumb topping is light golden brown and the cheese sauce bubbles.  Let sit for 5 minutes, then serve.

%d bloggers like this: