Sunday, May 26, 2013

Chipotle Roasted Asparagus

Spicy, smoky, sweet, and asparagus-y.  Easy and really good!  This is not super spicy - you can crank up the heat some more if you like by adding another chipotle or two.

This would also work on the grill.

1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, finely minced (seeded if desired)
1 Tbsp brown sugar
3 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 lb asparagus, tough ends snapped off
Salt to taste

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Combine the minced chipotle, brown sugar, and olive oil in a small bowl or jar and mix well.  Place the asparagus in a bowl and pour the chipotle mixture over it, then toss until thoroughly coated.

Place the asparagus in a roasting pan in a single layer.  Roast for 12-15 minutes, until tender.

Serves 4 (less if you really love asparagus).

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Arugula Sunflower Pesto

Basil season is coming, but it's not here yet.  Meanwhile, other types of greens also make tasty pestos (and persuade my preschooler to scarf down leafy greens).  The sunflower seeds here were a spur-of-the-moment inspiration upon looking into the pantry, and they are good, but you could also use more traditional nuts - pine nuts or walnuts.

5 oz arugula, washed
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup sunflower seeds, lightly toasted
1 large clove garlic
2 tsp lemon juice
1/3 cup grated Parmesan
Salt to taste

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth.  Taste and adjust seasonings if desired.

Serve immediately over pasta or hot new potatoes, or serve as a dip with pita chips.

Makes enough to sauce 1 lb cooked pasta.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Pizza with Arugula, Feta, and Roasted Eggplant Puree

I was so excited last fall when I finally found a way to freeze eggplant that resulted in a product worth eating.  It has been especially good on pizza - like this one.

1 14-inch pizza crust
Olive oil
1 cup roasted eggplant puree (thaw in warm water if frozen)
1/4 arugula, chopped
2-3 oz. crumbled feta
1-2 Tbsp pine nuts
Salt and pepper
2 oz. shredded or cubed mozzarella

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.  Lightly paint the pizza crust with olive oil.

Spread the eggplant over the pizza crust, then top with arugula.  Sprinkle with feta, pine nuts, salt and pepper, and mozzarella.  Bake for 15-18 minutes, until crust is done and cheese is beginning to brown.

Serves 3-4.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Mediterranean Rice Bowl with Egg, Ramps, Roasted Red Pepper, and Feta

This is sort of a riff on Bi Bim Bap, only with a Mediterranean flair to the flavors.  The assembly is pretty quick and simple, and the result is not only delicious but also very pretty as you serve it up. Personally, I didn't think it needed hot sauce, but my husband added some to his and liked the result.

1 1/2 cups uncooked rice (brown or white, your choice)
1/2 lb ramps, washed
Olive oil
8 eggs
1 1/2 cups chopped roasted red peppers
2-3 oz crumbled feta or goat cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
Hot sauce (optional)

Cook the rice however you normally do (I use a rice cooker).  While it cooks, assemble the rest of the meal.

Slice the root ends off the ramps.  Thinly slice the bulbs and stems and set aside, then slice the leaves cross-wise into thin ribbons and set aside separately.

Heat a little olive oil in a skillet, then add the ramp bulb and stem pieces and saute over medium high heat for 3-4 minutes, until tender.  Add the leaves and saute until nicely wilted, about 1 minute, then remove from heat and set aside.

Heat a wide bottomed pot of water to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer.  Crack each egg into a cup or small bowl and gently slide it into the water.  Cook for about 3 minutes, until the whites set up, then carefully remove with a slotted spoon.

When the rice is ready, quickly heat the roasted red peppers in the skillet, then separately reheat the ramps if needed.

Assemble each bowl individually: a generous serving of rice at the bottom, then two eggs on top of it.  Add a quarter of the ramps to each bowl in a small mound, then a quarter of the red peppers in another small mound.  Top the whole thing with crumbled feta or goat cheese.  Add salt and pepper (and hot sauce if desired) at the table.

Serves 4.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Sage Parmesan Risotto with Steak and Roasted Red Peppers

If, like me, you freeze loads of red bell peppers in the fall and still have lots left come springtime, this is a great time of year to fire roast them on the grill.  You can do lots at once if you want - plus you get to be outside while you do it.  I roasted some up this afternoon (the equivalent of about 5 or 6 peppers) and served them over this risotto with some leftover steak from last night.  The whole thing was very flavorful and satisfying.

Olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
3 1/2 cups warm beef stock
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 Tbsp minced fresh sage
2 cups diced fire roasted red peppers
2 cups diced cooked steak (about 10-12 ounces; amount can be flexible)
Salt and pepper

Heat a bit of olive oil in the pressure cooker and add the onion.  Saute for 2-3 minutes, then stir in the rice.  Continue to saute, stirring frequently, for about one more minute.  Pour in the beef stock and stir well.  Cover the cooker and bring to pressure.  Cook for 7 minutes at pressure, then release pressure and open the cooker.  Stir the rice gently.  If excess liquid remains, cook for a few more minutes over low heat (uncovered), stirring occasionally, until the liquid is absorbed.  Stir in the Parmesan and sage.

While the risotto cooks, heat a little olive oil in a skillet, then add the peppers and steak.  Add salt and pepper to taste and saute until heated through.

Serve mounds of risotto on each plate with a spoonful of steak and peppers over it.

Serves about 4.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Orzo with Ramps and Lemon

This side dish is simple but satisfying and flavorful.  It showcases the ramps beautifully, and it was a hit with the whole family.

Ramps are a wild allium (related to leeks and garlic) with a mild flavor.  You can eat the whole thing, from bulb to leaves.

8 oz. orzo
Olive oil
1/4 lb ramps
1 tsp lemon juice (or to taste)
Salt and pepper

Wash the ramps and slice off the root end.  Thinly slice the bulbs and stems and set aside.  Thinly slice the leaves as well and set aside separate from the bulbs and stems.

Cook the orzo in a pot of salted boiling water until al dente, then drain and toss with some olive oil.

While the orzo cooks, heat a little olive oil in a skillet.  Saute the ramp bulbs and stems over medium high heat for 3-4 minutes, then add the leaves and saute until nicely wilted.  Remove from heat.

When the orzo is cooked and drained, combine it with the ramps.  Drizzle in the lemon juice and add salt and pepper to taste.  Mix well and adjust seasonings if needed.

Serves 5-6 as a side dish.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Pesto Pizza with Red Pepper, Dried Tomatoes, and Gouda

Cooking from the freezer and pantry tonight - this represented the last of the frozen pesto from last year.  No more pesto for a couple months, until I can make it fresh from the garden again.  (Lots of peppers left in the freezer still, though.)  I made this with some excellent Gouda from Upinngil Farm.

1 14-inch pizza crust
olive oil
1/2 cup basil pesto (thawed if frozen)
1 red bell pepper, diced
1/4 - 1/2 cup dried tomatoes, rehydrated
2-3 oz Gouda, in small cubes

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.  Lightly paint the pizza crust with olive oil.

Spread the pesto over the crust, then sprinkle with the pepper, tomatoes, and Gouda.  Bake for 15-18 minutes, until the crust is done and the cheese begins to brown.

Serves 3-4.