admin / June 24, 2013

It’s Meatless Monday-Ricotta and Dill Mouse with Roasted Asparagus

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This recipe is part inspired by last week’s CSA box. and the other half a tub of ricotta sitting in the fridge. My first thought was to combine the asparagus and dill in a soup but then opted to use the ricotta and came up with this idea. It’s quick and easy to put together. Combine it with toasted English muffins and I think it makes a perfect supper for a summer evening.

1 bunch asparagus, washed and trimmed
salt/pepper
olive oil

1 15 ounce tub of ricotta cheese (I used whole milk variety)
4 eggs
1 cup sharp shredded cheddar cheese (or whatever cheese you like or have on hand)
1 cup milk (I used 1%)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Spray 6 custard/ramekin dishes with non-stick cooking spray.

In a large bowl, beat eggs and then add the ricotta cheese and mix until well incorporated. Slowly add the milk.

Add the cheese, dill and salt and pepper and mix thoroughly.

Ladle the mixture into the ramekin dishes and place on a baking sheet.

Place the ramekin dishes the oven and bake for about 25 minutes until they’re puffed, slightly golden and a toothpick inserted in the middle of the mousse comes out clean.

Leave to cool for a few minutes and then run a knife carefully around the edges and turn onto a plate. Serve immediately with the roasted asparagus.

(Toss the asparagus with oil and salt and pepper and place on a baking sheet and bake for about 10 to fifteen minutes).

Serves 6

admin / June 20, 2013

Cooking With Herbs-Chives

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This post should really be called what to do with a bumper crop of chives. I hate wasting anything, especially food, so when I saw that this year’s chive crop was more than I could handle in one afternoon of drying and freezing, I had to get creative. Here are some ideas I came up with-

Think Holiday Gifts
I used to make four or five different flavored vinegars each summer but haven’t done it in a long time. This year I decided to try it again. As you might have guessed first one, chive vinegar. It’s simple to do and you can use old bottles that once housed things like sauces and dressing. For the chive one I placed four or five pieces of chives along with the blossoms and topped with white wine vinegar. Another one I added some peppercorns for some extra kick. (I also have a thyme, lemon peel and peppercorn with red wine vinegar brewing too). You need to give them a slight shake very day for about two weeks. Then drain them over a bowl and sieve lined with cheesecloth. Add new pieces of chives and then top with the strained vinegar.
These are great as holiday gifts or to keep for yourself. I’ve used mine on salads, grilled veggies, and as part of a salad dressing.

Gift Tags
One nice thing to add to the above is a gift tag adorned with a pressed or dried chive blossom.

Free Table Decorations
Chive blossoms are colorful and last a long time so they’re perfect to make an impromptu flower arrangement for dinner on the deck or patio, or even to take along to a picnic.

Deviled Eggs
I sometimes add onion powder to deviled eggs or even egg salad and thought why not try fresh chopped chives instead. Just add the usual, Dijon style mustard and mayo and they’re perfect for a quick lunch on top of a green salad.

Salad Topping
And speaking of salads, I’ve been snipping chives over tossed salads for some extra pizzazz.

Scones
Most people think of scones as being sweet but one variety I love is cheese. This weekend I’m making a batch and adding chopped chives too.

Potato Pancakes
One thing I love is potato pancakes and now I’m thinking chopped chives instead of onions might be perfect.

Cream Cheese
The flavored cream cheeses you buy at the store can be pricey so I make my own. This time it’s chive flavored variety and the food processor does most of the work. 1 package cream cheese, ¼ cup chopped chives, dash of salt and pepper, and some milk, and process until smooth.

Soups
I know most of us don’t think about eating soup when the temperature rises but I often make batches of various types and freeze them for the fall and winter. This time it’s going to be potato and chive.

admin / June 10, 2013

It’s Meatless Monday-‘Steak’ and Onion Tacos with Coriander and Lime Sour Cream

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One important thing I’ve learned from using vegetables as the star of a meal is they need lots of slow cooking to enhance their flavor. And while I’ll tell you this dish is quick to put together, if you’re willing to spend an extra ten or fifteen minutes cooking the onions and mushrooms, the payoff is a tasty treat.

Once again Portobello mushrooms take the place of steak in these tacos, slow cooked until they’re golden.

The topping is sour cream with coriander and lime which I think adds a touch of sharpness to the sweet taste of the caramelized onions, and a little coolness to calm the heat of the chili powder.

8 taco shells (I used Ortega whole grain corn tacos and I think they add a nice flavor to this dish)
4 Portobello mushrooms, cleaned and sliced into 1/2 inch strips
2 medium sized onions, peeled and sliced
salt and pepper
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder (more if you like it hotter)
1 cup sour cream
handful of washed and chopped coriander
juice of half a lime
4-5 tablespoons oil

In a small bowl add the sour cream, coriander and lime and mix together. Place in the fridge until you’re ready to serve the tacos.

In a large skillet and over medium high heat, sauté the sliced onions in about 2 tablespoons of oil, add a sprinkling of salt and pepper and let them cook until they’re soft and golden brown. Remove from the pan and place on a plate.

Add another 2 tablespoons of oil to the skillet and sauté the mushrooms, add a little more salt and pepper and cook until they’re golden brown. Add the onions back to the pan. Stir the two veggies together and then add the oregano, cumin and chili powder. Mix together and cook for a few more minutes to make sure the spices are well incorporated into the onions and mushrooms.

Warm the tacos for a few minutes and then add about 1/3 cup of the onion/mushroom mixture to each shell.

When they’re all filled place them on a platter and drizzle some of the sour cream over the top (reserve the extra to eat with the tacos), and sprinkle with some more chopped coriander.

Serve immediately.

Serves 4-6

admin / June 3, 2013

It’s Meatless Monday-Rice and Mushroom Salad with Blue Cheese

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It’s not quite summer but a few weeks ago I thought about meals I’d like to create when the weather turns hot and humid. During those days the last thing I want to do is spend lots of time in the kitchen, yet eating something delicious is still a must. I thought about a rice salad but that didn’t sound very exciting. So I came up with this recipe where marinated mushrooms and blue cheese give bland tasting rice the needed kick.

1 1/2 cups washed and sliced mushrooms (I used baby bellas)
1/3 cup oil
1/3 cup rice vinegar
2 teaspoons brown sugar
1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme

1 1/2 cups of cooked brown rice
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese

Chopped cherry tomatoes and lettuce leaves, optional

In a glass mixing bowl whisk together oil and vinegar. Add the garlic, herbs and brown sugar and mix well.
Add the sliced mushrooms and mix them in, making sure each slice is well coated with the marinade.
Put them in the fridge for at least an hour, longer if you can.

In a large bowl, add the mushrooms and the marinade. Add the brown rice, walnuts and blue cheese and mix together. Chill for at least 30 minutes and to allow the flavors to blend.

Serve as is or with lettuce and chopped cherry tomatoes.

Serves 4-6

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