Friday, January 28, 2011

Creamy Curried Squash Soup


Stir it up! Little darlin', stir it up!

Serves 4

Ingredients:

1 Large Squash (butternut, pumpkin etc.) or 2 Small (Acorn, Delicata, etc.) Peeled and Cubed
1 Medium Sweet Onion Diced
1 Tbsp. Curry Powder
Salt & Pepper to taste
Approx. 1 Liter of Water
Olive Oil for Sauteing
Optional: A Dollop of Sour Cream


Saute the onion in 1-2 tbsp. of olive oil over medium heat in a medium-large pot until translucent. Add the squash, curry powder, salt and pepper and continue to saute for 5 minutes. Stir continually to ensure that the spices don't burn. Add enough water to cover the mix by about 1/2". Cover and bring to a boil. Drop the heat down and simmer for about 30 minutes, or until the squash is tender. Turn the heat off and let the soup cool slightly. Using a blender or food processor, puree small batches of the soup (I put the pureed soup into a new pot and keep it warm over low heat). Even better, use a stick blender if you have one. If you like creamy pureed soups, I highly recommend getting one! My awesome uncle David got me one about 8 years ago and I use it all of the time! Once the soup is pureed, ladle it out into bowls and top with a dollop of sour cream.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Roasted Roots

Warm, Comforting and Super Easy!

Serves 2-3

Ingredients:

1/2 Med. Onion Chopped
4 Med. Red Potatoes Unpeeled Cut into 1 Inch Cubes
1/4 Bag of Baby Carrots
1 Tsp. Spike
2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
Salt and Fresh Cracked Pepper to Taste.

Ready for the easiest instructions ever? Here they come:
Combine all of the ingredients into a large roasting pan, and stir until well coated. Cook at 350 for 40 minutes or until tender. Tah Dah!

I also like to add fresh Italian Parsley and Oregano. You can add in all kinds of other veggies too! This recipe is also great with beets, squash, parsnips, turnips or bell peppers! This side goes great with Lentil Loaf.

Focaccia



Making bread sounds hard, but I promise, it's really not.
Try it, you'll like it

Makes 3 Small Loaves

Ingredients:

2/3 C. Hot Water
2/3 C. Cool Water
3/4 Tbsp. (1 pkg.=1 Tbsp.) Dry Active Yeast
2 Tsp. Honey, or Sugar
1/8 c. Olive Oil, Plus 2 Tbsp. for the Tops for the loaves
3 1/2 c. Unbleached All Purpose Flour, Plus more for handling and preparing the dough.
1 Tbsp. Salt
Herbs, Pepper, and Salt to Sprinkle on Top (I used Penzeys Pasta Sprinkle, freshly cracked pepper and salt. Other popular choices are rosemary, diced garlic or chopped olives.)
2 C. Boiling Water
2 Tbsp. Cornmeal

In a large bowl (if using your big strong arm) or the bowl for your stand mixer (if you're using your mixer with a dough attachment) dissolve the honey/sugar in the hot water. Once dissolved, add the cool water (you should now have lukewarm water). Stir in the yeast and let sit for 7 minutes. Gradually add the olive oil, flour and salt. Don't worry if the dough is sticky-ish. It doesn't need to be kneaded. Cover the bowl with a damp cloth or with a non-airtight lid. Let the dough rise until it falls and becomes flat on top (about 2 hours in a warm house, but more like 3 or 4 hours in a cold house like mine.). You can use the dough right away after it rises and falls, but it is really sticky and is hard to handle. Your best bet is to refrigerate it for at least 2 hours (up to 14 days) before using. Once you're ready to bake the bread, remove the dough from the refrigerator and divide it into 3 pieces. My pizza stone can only hold 2 loaves at a time, so I bake 2 loaves together and one all by its lonesome. Keep the dough that you're not using refrigerated until it's ready for its turn to rise and shine. For the dough that is ready to go: Dust your hands and 1 portion of the dough with flour. Shape it into a ball by stretching the surface of the dough around the bottom about 6 times, turning the dough as you go. Shape the ball into a rectangle and flatten to about 3/4" thick. Leave the dough to rest on the cutting board (Make sure the cutting board is well floured, or else the dough will stick). After 20 minutes, drizzle olive oil on the top of the dough. Use your fingers to spread the oil to coat the top of the dough, then sprinkle on your seasonings and let rest for 20 more minutes. After oiling and herbing your dough, set the oven to 425 and put your pizza stone or cookie sheet in to heat. After 20 minutes, pour the boiling water into a baking pan on the rack below the rack your bread will bake on. Sprinkle cornmeal on the pizza stone/cookie sheet and slide the dough onto it. Bake until golden brown (about 25 minutes). Remove and let cool completely before eating. Pat yourself on the back!

Portobello Focaccia Sandwich


Mushaboom, Mushaboom
Serves 2

Ingredients:

1 Large Loaf of Focaccia or 2 Individual Sized Loaves (See the easy and yummy focaccia recipe!)
2 Portobello or 1 pkg of Baby Bella Mushrooms Thinly Sliced (if using portobellos, completely remove the stems, if using baby bellas, trim the stems before slicing)
1 Large or 2 Small Garlic Cloves diced
1 Medium Tomato, Sliced
10 Large Basil Leaves, Thinly Sliced (stack the leaves on top of each other, roll 'em up into a tube, then begin the slicing. It's way easier this way)
2 Tbsp. Olive Oil, 1 for sauteing the mushrooms, and 1 for toasting the focaccia
2 Tsp. Balsamic Vinegar, 1 tsp. for each sandwich
1 Medium Ball of Fresh Mozzarella Sliced(Optional)
Salt & Pepper to Taste


Heat 1 Tbsp. of olive oil over medium heat in a large frying pan. Add the garlic, mushrooms, salt and pepper. Don't worry if it looks like there are enough mushrooms for 10 people; I promise you that they will cook down a ton. Saute the mushrooms until they have cooked down and are heated throughout. While the mushrooms are cooking, slice the focaccia in half (horizontally) and brush the inside of each half with olive oil. Broil in the oven until golden brown. To assemble the sandwich, drizzle each half of the focaccia with balsamic vinegar, then layer on the filling. My favorite order is focaccia, cheese, tomato, mushrooms, basil, foccacia. I often leave the cheese out, but it is a nice addition. If you don't like a soggy sandwich, you can leave the balsamic off of the sandwich and serve it on the side as a dipping sauce. This sandwich is also great with roasted red pepper and fresh spinach. Another good variation is to use goat cheese instead of mozzarella.



Vegan Fortune Cookies

How Fortunate!
Makes 12 Cookies

Ingredients:

2 Tbsp. Ground Flax Seed
8 Tbsp. Water, 6 for the flax and 2 for the batter
1/4 Tsp. Vanilla Extract
1/2 C. Sugar
1/2 C. Flour
1 Pinch of Salt
12 Awesome Fortunes Written on 4" x 1/2" Paper Strips
A Mug for Cookie Origami



Preheat the oven to 400. In a medium bowl, soak the flax in 6 Tbsp. of water for at least 2 minutes. Add the vanilla and whisk until small bubbles are present. Add the flour, sugar, salt and remaining water and whisk together. The batter should be fairly thin. If needed, add a little more water. Grease and flour a cookie sheet. Using a tablespoon of batter for each cookie, drop 3 circles of batter on the cookie sheet. Seriously, don't get brave and try to do more than 3 cookies at once. The cookies have to be really hot to form correctly. If they are too cool, they crack. Also, you need time to let your little fingies cool off! Roll the cookie sheet around to spread the batter out until each cookie is about 3 1/2" in diameter. Bake at 400 degrees until the edge of the cookies are browned. Remove a cookie from the pan with a spatula. Fold the cookie in half so that the bottom side halves of the cookie are folded in towards each other (now you've got a half circle). Place a paper strip inside. Place the middle of the folded edge (open side up) perpendicularly on the rim of the mug and draw the corners of the cookie down (one into the mug and one outside). Now you've got a fortune cookie! If this is too big of a pain, just fold the cookie in half, and then in half again (bringing the 2 corners together). Repeat with the 2 remaining cookies, then start another batch. May all your cookies be fortunate!