Black Bean Sopes with Guac Pico

Sopes with black bean puree

Black Bean Sopes with Guac Pico

This is a tasty dish that is sure to please anyone who loves southwestern style cooking. Or, actually, for anyone that loves to eat! This recipe came about because I was trying to find more uses for masa harina. I can only get the 5 pound bag of Maseca, so I have bunches to use up. I use the corn flour in my cornbread recipe, but I don’t make nearly enough corn bread! I know, shame on me.

Other uses for masa harina are tamales and corn tortillias. However, I don’t make enough of those either. After I was served sopes at a little Mexican restaurant, I knew what I would use that Maseca for! Sopes!

I was never fond of the plain, masa dough sopes. They needed lots more flavor. I worked on that until I achieved a taste that my family liked. Using broth instead of water and jazzing it up with some spices was an easy fix. Give this dish a try. Maybe with a nice cerveza or margarita.

The ingredient list –

Sopes ingredients

Black Bean Sopes ingredients

You’ll need instant corn masa flour – Maseca is a readily available brand, 2 cans of black beans, vegetable broth, onion, tomato, avocado, garlic, cilantro, cumin, and, salt & pepper.

First, make the sopes. Combine the masa with the cumin, salt,

masa mix

masa, cumin & salt

water and vegetable broth. Fold until it’s mixed well. It’s a light and fluffy dough.

mixed masa

masa mixed

It’s ready when you can shape it into a large ball and it stays like that.

ready masa

holds it’s shape

Add more broth if it doesn’t hold together. Pinch off chunks and roll them into golf ball sized, dough balls. You should get 12.

masa dough balls

Masa dough balls

Cover a flat, sturdy surface with a piece of parchment paper.

masa ball

ready to mash

Place a masa ball in the center, cover with another sheet of parchment paper

covered masa ball

cover it up

and mash down with a heavy pot or cast iron skillet.

masa harina

Flatten it

You don’t want to mash it paper thin. You want about a 1/4 inch thick.

flattened sope

Mashed sope

After you flatten it, it should be about 4 inches around.

sopes

4 inch sopes

Now, you’re ready to fry them. Add a small amount of oil to a large skillet. Using medium heat, fry the sopes in batches of 4.

sopes in skillet

Four sopes in a skillet

Turn after 3 or 4 minutes, or when golden brown.

golden sopes

Flip when golden brown

Repeat the process, adding more oil as needed, until they’re all done. Drain on a paper towel lined sheet pan and keep warm in a 200º oven.

Tray of sopes

All fried up.

Now, onto the black beans. Add a tablespoon of olive oil to a large saucepan. Drop in 1 cup of diced onions. Saute them over low heat until they’re clear, about 3 minutes.

onions sauteeing

saute the onions

While the onions are doing their thing, drain and rinse off the black beans.

rinse and drain the blackbeans

drain and rinse the black beans

Back to the onions, add in the diced garlic and cook another minute.

sauteed garlic

add in the garlic

Add in the drained and rinsed black beans, the cumin, salt and pepper.

spiced black beans

add in the spices

Pour in the vegetable broth and stir it all up.

black beans

Add in the broth

Take a masher and mash the black bean mix slightly, leaving some whole beans.

mashed black beans

mash the black beans

Simmer the mashed beans over low, until needed to assemble the sopes. Add small amounts of broth to keep the beans from drying out, if necessary.

Finally, we make the guac pico. Regular pico or salsa would be fine here, too, but adding an avocado just makes it extra special. Dice a half cup of sweet onions.

diced onion

Dice the onion

Chop up a tomato.

chopped tomato for pico

chopped tomato for pico

And the cilantro, too.

chopped cilantro

chop the cilantro

Dump them all into a bowl with the garlic – I use jarred garlic, but, please use fresh if you want. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

guac pico

the bowl for the guac pico.

Remove the pit and peel from an avocado. Chop it up and add it to the pico bowl.

avocado

Chop up and avocado

Cut a lime in half and squeeze the juice from one half, over the guac pico.

lime half

Half a lime

Stir the guac pico with a fork, mashing it slightly as you do.

pico guac

guac pico

Time for assembly. Place on or two sope patties on a plate. Top with a half cup of mashed black beans, then finish up with a healthy dollop of guac pico. Serve with additional lime slices, if desired. Chow down. I served this with zoodles. Zucchini noodles made with a handy vegetable spiralizer.

Sopes with black beans and guac pico

Sopes with black beans and guac pico

Black Bean Sopes with Guac Pico
Author: 
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: Southwestern cuisine
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12
 
A delicious introduction to Sopes and the many, wonderful flavors of the Southwest.
Ingredients
  • For the sopes:
  • 2 ½ cups instant corn masa flour, such as Maseca
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 cup water
  • oil for frying
  • For the black beans:
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup diced sweet onion
  • 2 teaspoons diced garlic
  • 2 cans -15.5 oz black beans, drained and rinsed
  • ½ cup vegetable broth
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • For the guac pico:
  • ½ cup diced sweet onion
  • 1 diced tomato
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro
  • ½ teaspoon diced garlic
  • 1 diced avocado
  • ½ lime, juiced
  • salt & pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Combine the masa, cumin, and salt in a large bowl. Mix in the vegetable broth and water. Fold over until well combined. The mix will be light and airy, but will hold together when gathered into a ball. Pull off chunks of the masa mix, and roll into about 12 golf ball sized, dough balls. Cover a flat surface with a piece of parchment paper. Place a ball of masa on the paper, cover with another sheet of parchment paper and flatted with a heavy pot or skillet. You want them to be about ¼ thick and a 3 to 4 inch circle. Repeat with the other masa balls, keeping both covered to prevent drying out. Heat a tablespoon of oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Fry sopes in batches of four, turning after 3-4 minutes, or when golden brown. Drain on paper towel and keep warm in a 200º oven, while cooking the remaining sopes.
  2. While sopes are frying, make the black beans. In a saucepan, over a medium heat, add in the tablespoon of olive oil and the diced onions. Saute about 2 to 3 minutes, until onions are clear. Add in the diced garlic and saute for another minute. Then, add in the black beans, the broth, cumin, salt and pepper. Mix well. Mash the bean mix until mostly mashed, with some whole beans remaining. Simmer bean mix over low, until needed for sopes assembly. Add more vegetable broth, if the bean mix dries out.
  3. For the guac pico, mix the diced onion, tomato, cilantro, and garlic together. Add in the diced avocado and lime juice. Mash mixture lightly. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  4. To assemble the sopes – place one or two, hot sopes on a plate. Top with a half cup of the black bean mixture. Finish with a generous spoon of the guac pico. Serve with additional lime slices, if desired.
Plate of Sopes with black beans and guac pico

Sopes with black beans and guac pico plated

Gnocchi with Greens and Beans

Gnocchi, Greens and Beans

Gnocchi with Greens and Beans

Last year, I was in the hardware store and decided to pick up some plants for the garden. It’s Florida, we garden year around. On a whim, I grabbed 2 kale plants. This, I thought would give me a head start, while I waited to plant seeds. It gave me such a head start, that I never planted those seeds! Eight months later, those two plants still produce a boat load of leaves. I bought Lacinato or Dinosaur kale.

Lacinato or Dinosaur Kale

Lacinato or Dinosaur Kale

Get your kids into gardening. Go buy some fun Dinosaur kale! Your kids may be more open to trying new things, if they are active in choosing and growing their own food. So anyways, the kale grew. And grew! We have all kinds of kale to eat and the plants show no signs of slowing down!  That means it’s time to dig out all the kale recipes, because sauteed kale got old after the first 16 times we had it. Of course, we had scalloped potatoes and kale, all kinds of soups, kale chips and this dish with gnocchi. I’ve based my recipe on one I found at eatingwell.com.

What you’ll need –

ingredients

The ingredients

You’ll need a 16 ounce package of gnocchi, a can of cannellini beans,  a can of diced tomatoes, some dry Italian seasoning, garlic, onion, bell pepper, mozzarella cheese, and a bunch of kale. Enough to yield 8 cups of chopped leaves. I used about 20 leaves. The plant grew that many again, before I got to my front door.

Start by cleaning the kale. Pull off the stems and tear the leaves into smaller pieces.

cleaning kale

Get the kale ready

Time to cut up the veggies.

diced bell pepper

Chop chop

Cut the bell pepper into about 1 inch square pieces.

diced onion

chop chop, sniff sniff

Dice the onion into about 1/4 inch pieces.

minced garlic

mince mince

Mince the heck out of the garlic. Tiny, tiny pieces. Now, time to cook.

This is a simple one pot dish, so get out a big skillet! A covered one, please. Over medium heat, put a tablespoon of oil in the skillet and add the gnocchi.

gnocchi

gnocchi

Let them cook, stirring them around.

saute gnocchi

Get some color going

When they’re all nice and toasty, remove them to a platter and set aside. (just between us – I wiped that plate off and used it for dinner. who needs more dirty dishes?)

cooked gnocchi

Toasty gnocchi

Pour some more oil in the pan and dump in the bell pepper and onion.

cooking Bell pepper and onion

Bell pepper and onion

Cook these for a couple of minutes, just until they start to soften. Add in the minced garlic and cook 2 more minutes.

saute garlic

the garlic is surrounded

Push the pepper mix to the side of the pan and pile the kale in.

cooking kale

add the kale

Cover it and cook for 2 minutes.

pot lid

Cover it up

Open it up, give it a stir

wilted kale

it’s getting there

and then, cover it up and cook for 2 more minutes. While all the opening and covering is going on, drain and rinse the cannellini beans.

drained white beans

rinse the beans

Open the can of diced tomatoes and pour them into the skillet. Add in the white beans and the dry Italian seasoning. Sprinkle on some salt & pepper, too.

add the beans and tomatoes

add the beans and tomatoes

Give it a good mixing. Cover it and bring to a simmer, about 2 to 4 minutes.

combine the dish

mix it up

Time to grab the plate of sauteed gnocchi and add it to the mix.

gnocchi

little pillows of pasta goodness

gnocchi in the skillet

Almost dinner!

Combine all the skillet ingredients and return to simmering. After another couple of minutes, turn off the stove. Sprinkle the gnocchi mix with the shredded mozzarella.

topped with cheese

top with cheese

Cover and let the cheesy goodness melt all over. That’s it! All done. Pretty it up with some chopped parsley and serve it right from the skillet.

Gnocchi with greens and beans

Grab a spoon, it’s dinner!

We had ours with a simple salad featuring some green zebra tomatoes, fresh from the garden. Life’s simple pleasures.

Gnocchi with greens and beans

Gnocchi with greens and beans

Gnocchi with Greens and Beans
Author: 
Recipe type: casserole
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
 
A simple, delicious, one pot meal that uses ready made gnocchi, canned white beans and fresh kale in a chunky tomato sauce.
Ingredients
  • 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided.
  • 1 – 16 oz package of ready made gnocchi
  • 1 – bunch of fresh kale, stems removed and chopped, about 8 cups of leaves.
  • 1 cup diced white onion
  • 1 cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 – can diced tomatoes, 14 to 16oz.
  • 1 – can of cannellini beans, 14 to 16oz. Drained and rinsed.
  • 1 Tablespoon dried italian seasoning mix
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • ½ cup shredded mozzarella
  • shredded parsley for garnish
Instructions
  1. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Pour in 1 tablespoon of the extra virgin olive oil. Add in the gnocchi. Saute for 5 to 7 minutes, stirring often. When the gnocchi have browned, remove to a plate and set aside.
  2. Add the remaining tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil to skillet. Add in the red bell pepper and white onion. Cook, stirring, over medium heat for about 2 minutes. Add in the garlic and cook 2 more minutes. Move the garlic, onions and pepper mix to one side of the pan and add the kale, packing it in. Cover and cook for 2 minutes. Remove lid and stir kale. Return lid and cook an additional 2 minutes. Remove lid and add the canned tomatoes, rinsed and drained white beans, the dry Italian seasoning mix and salt & pepper. Combine well. Cover and simmer for 2 to 4 minutes. Remove lid, stir in the cooked gnocchi, return to simmer and cook for an additional 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Sprinkle with shredded mozzarella and let melt. Garnish with shredded parsley. Serve directly from the skillet, family style.
Gnocchi with Greens and Beans

Yum!

Stuffed Portobello Caps

Portobello Caps stuffed

Stuffed Portobello Caps

We like mushrooms. They have a wonderful, earthy flavor and they give you something that you can bite into. Their versatility is neverending. Just think of how many different dishes you’ve made, that start out with a can of cream of mushroom soup! By they way, you can make your own, much more flavorful, mushroom soup. But, that’s a post for another time. One of my favorite breakfasts is a simple sauteed mushroom and egg white omelette. Yum! These stuffed caps are made with easy to find ingredients and are a snap to make. The ingredient list –

ingredients

The fixin’s

portobello mushroom caps, spinach, onion, roma tomato, goat cheese (for creamy yumminess), panko crumbs, red pepper flakes (for a little kick) and some herbes de provence. I like using herbs de provence. It makes me feel swanky. Next thing you know, I’ll be putting truffle oil on everything. If you don’t have herbes de provence, plain old italian seasoning mix will work just fine. You can still feel swanky, too. First thing to do, is to scrape the gills off the mushrooms. You don’t have to, but you can pile in more stuffing if they’re gone, so get them out of there.

removing stems and gills

Snap off the stems and scrape out the gills.

Snap the stems off, too. I don’t use them in the stuffing. Save them for making a vegetable stock. After the caps are clean, set them aside.

cleaned mushrooms

Clean mushrooms.

Now, dice up half an onion. You want about 1/2 a cup.

diced onion

choppity chop chop

Swirl about a tablespoon of olive oil into a large saute pan. Using a medium low heat, cook the onions til tender, about 2 to 3 minutes.

sauteed onion

cooking the onion

Add in the chopped spinach so it can wilt down.

satuee spinach

add the spinach to the pan

It will just take a couple of minutes for it to wilt.

wilted spinach

wilted spinach

Turn the heat off and set the pan to the side. Now, preheat your oven to 375º. Line a baking sheet with foil and set it by the mushroom caps. Time to make the stuffing. Give a roma tomato a rough dice.

roma tomato diced

diced roma tomato

I used a roma, because they are a meatier, less juicy, tomato. If you have to use a regular tomato, dice it, then, blot excess moisture up with a paper towel. Crumble the goat cheese into a medium sized bowl.

goat cheese

crumble with a fork

Combine with the diced tomato, panko crumbs, red pepper flakes and the herbes de provence. Add salt and pepper.

stuffing mix

Stuffing mix

Add in the spinach onion mixture.

stuffing mix

add the spinach onion mix

Mix it well.

mix it up

Combine well

Divide the mixture among the portobello caps.

stuffed caps

Stuff the caps.

Drizzle the caps with a little olive oil. This adds an extra layer of flavor!

oil drizzled caps

Drizzle caps with olive oil.

Bake for about 30 minutes. I roasted some carrots alongside of the mushrooms and served them both with a nice, creamy risotto. A delicious, easy dinner!

Stuffed Portobello Caps

Dinner is served!

Stuffed Portobello Caps

Stuffed Portobello Caps

Stuffed Portobello Caps
Author: 
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
Flavorful portobello caps, stuffed with a savory blend of spinach, tomatoes and goat cheese.
Ingredients
  • 4 portobello caps, stems and gills removed
  • 4 cups raw spinach, coarsely chopped and lightly packed
  • ½ cup diced onion
  • 2 TBL olive oil - divided
  • 1 diced roma tomato
  • 4 oz goat cheese, crumbled
  • ½ cup panko crumbs
  • 1 tsp herbes de provence
  • ¼ tsp red pepper flakes
  • salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375º. Line a baking sheet with foil.
  2. Saute the diced onion in 1 tablespoon of olive oil for 2 to 3 minutes. Add spinach to wilt, another 2 minutes. Place the goat cheese in a medium bowl. To it, add in the diced tomato, panko crumbs, red pepper flakes and herbes de provence. Pour the spinach and onion mix over the tomato cheese mixture and combine. Divide mixture among 4 portobello caps. Drizzle remaining tablespoon of olive oil.
  3. Place caps on baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes.

 

Vegetable Curry Pot Pie

Vegetable Curry Pot Pie

Vegetable Curry Pot Pie

It’s Fall baby! It’s an to the end of the 100 degree days and a promise of beautiful colors, cool evenings and toasty campfires. It’s also comfort food season. Like pot pie comfort food. I’m all about the comfort food. Food needs to comfort your soul, needs to make you feel all warm and snuggly inside. It helps if that food also tastes great. There’s something about the warm, fragrant smell of curry, that makes my heart sing. Makes my tummy rumble, if you know what I mean. Anticipation! Let’s get this show on the road!

Here’s what you’ll need – One package of puff pastry. Take out one pastry and save the other for another use. Cover the puff pastry with a damp towel, so it won’t dry out.

puff pastry

Puff pastry

I forgot to cover mine up and the edges dried out. It still worked just fine, it was just a mess to look at. You’ll see that later. I share my mistakes as well as my success. So, do what I say, not what I do. Ok?

You’ll also need a few other things –

Veggie curry pot pie

Veggie curry pot pie fixings.

Some cauliflower florets, crimini mushrooms, onion, carrots, celery, frozen peas, vegetable broth, curry powder, flower, parsley, salt & pepper, and some heavy cream. My coop now offers organic milk from some of Alabama’s happiest cows. It’s great stuff. I even used that heavy cream to make the butter you’ll see later, too!

Place your cauliflower in a microwave safe dish.

microwaved cauflower

Ready to nuke

Add in 2 tablespoons of water, cover with plastic wrap, poke a vent hole in it and microwave for a couple of minutes until it’s crisp tender. Drain off the water and set it aside. If you’re not a fan of cauliflower, use a potato. Matter of fact, change out the veggies to what YOU like. It’s your pot pie after all.

Get out a large saute pan and melt some butter in it, over a medium heat. Add in the onions. Now is a good time to preheat the oven to 400º.

onions

Saute the onions

Cook for 2 minutes, then add in the carrots.

saute carrots

Add the carrots

After another 2 minutes, then add in the celery and mushrooms.

celery and mushrooms

Add the celery and mushrooms

Cook for 5 more minutes. While those are cooking, pour the cream and broth in a microwave safe cup and heat in the microwave for 2 minutes. You want it to get hot, but not boil. Set it aside.

cream and broth

Hot broth

Now, add more butter to the veggies in the pan.

butter in pan

Home made butter!

Add in the flour and curry powder.

Flour and curry

Flour and curry powder

Mix it up and cook for a minute.

Curry spice

Breathe deeply

Add in the hot broth mixture and stir it up.

add broth

Add broth mix.

Bring to a boil and cook until thickened, about 8 minutes.

making a sauce

Bubble, bubble

When it’s thickened, add in the cauliflower, frozen peas, parsley, salt and pepper –

add veggies

Frosty peas

and mix it all together. Turn off the heat.

combine mix

Stir it up.

Unfold the puff pastry on a lightly floured board. See how sad mine looks? I didn’t show it the love. It stuck all together and the edges dried out. But, I pinched the tears together and rolled it flat again. All fixed! Almost.

puff pastry

A sad puff pastry

Flip your pie pan upside down over the pastry and cut off whatever sticks out. Like this – hey, where’s that picture. Oh, I forgot to take it. Dang. So here’s a picture of my cutting tools instead. The pizza roller was the best choice for the job.

knives

Use the pizza cutter.

Butter the inside of a large pie pan.

pan butter

Butter your pan

Then, fill it with the vegetable curry mix.

fill the pan

Pour into pie pan.

Top it with the puff pastry, tucking in the sides.

top with pastry

Top with the puff pastry

Cut a couple of vent holes in the top of the pastry. You can cut some decorative leaves or whatever out of the pastry scraps. Just dampen the undersides and stick to the top of the pastry. I put my pie dish on a foil covered pan before I slid it in the oven. A little preventive boil over protection.

in the oven

Into the oven

Bake for about 25 minutes, but check it after 20 minutes. Don’t want the puff pastry to burn. When the top is golden brown and the pot pie has bubbled up around the edges, pull that baby out!

Vegetable Curry Pot Pie

All done!

Give it a little parsley garnish and call the crew in for dinner!

Vegetable Curry Pot Pie

Ready to serve

slice of Vegetable Curry Pot Pie

Yummy.

Vegetable Curry Pot Pie
Author: 
Recipe type: Casserole
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6 to 8
 
A fragrant, curry and vegetable filled, puff pastry pot pie to welcome to cooler temperatures.
Ingredients
  • 1 package puff pastry
  • 2 cups cauliflower florets
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup sliced carrots
  • ½ cup chopped celery
  • 8 oz crimini mushrooms, cut into quarters
  • 3 tablespoons butter - divided
  • 1½ cups vegetable broth
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 3 Tablespoons flour
  • 1 Tablespoon curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • ¼ cup fresh chopped parsley
  • 1 cup frozen peas
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Butter a large pie dish and set aside.
  2. Open box of puff pastry and remove one pastry. Allow pastry to come to room temperature, covered with a slightly damp paper towel. Re-wrap remaining pastry for another use.
  3. Place cauliflower and 2 tablespoons of water in a microwave safe dish. Cover with plastic wrap, poke a vent hole in it and microwave for 3 to 4 minutes until crisp tender. Drain, set aside to cool.
  4. In a saute pan, over medium heat, melt 1 tablespoon of butter and saute the onions. After 2 minutes, stir in the diced carrots. Cook for 2 more minutes, then, add in the celery and mushrooms. Cook an additional 5 minutes.
  5. While the vegetables are cooking, add the broth and cream to a microwave safe dish. Heat in microwave until hot, but not boiling, about 2 minutes. Set aside.
  6. Add 2 more tablespoons of butter to the vegetable mix, add in the flour and curry and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Whisk in the hot broth mixture and cook until thickened, about 8 minutes. Add the salt and pepper. Mix in the steamed cauliflower, frozen peas and parsley. Turn off heat.
  7. Unfold puff pastry on a lightly floured cutting board. Pinch together any tears and press seams flat. If necessary, roll the pastry out to fit your baking dish. Place pie pan upside down on the pastry and trim puff pastry to fit.
  8. Pour vegetable curry mix into the buttered pie pan. Top with puff pastry, tucking in edges. If desired, cut decorative shapes out of the scrap pastry, dampen bottoms with water and attach to the pastry. Cut 4 vent holes in pastry for steam to escape. Place into the oven and cook until puff pastry has browned and the mixture is hot and bubbly, about 25 minutes.

Enjoy!

Asparagus & Leek Frittata

Spring has sprung!

Asparagus spears

Simply gorgeous.

 

Except for those of you who are looking out your window at snow. You have my sympathies. Even if you are still in winters cold grip, I bet you are seeing fresh asparagus in your markets. Asparagus means that spring has arrived! At least where they are growing. Tender delicious stalks poking their heads out of ground. Just waiting for me to come along and gobble them up! I’ve been doing that at the rate of several pound a week. I’m a bit of a freak for asparagus. I always save some to make into a frittata. Frittatas are the best answer to leftovers. If you’re wondering what to do with those tiny bits of leftover veggies hogging up valuable fridge space, make a frittata!

Asparagus frittata

Picture perfect.

So, here we go!

Gather your ingredients. I use a leek in this recipe because I wanted a milder onion flavor.

Asparagus frittata ingred

Some yummy stuff right here!

 

Grate the cheese and set it aside.

cheese shreds

Shredded gouda

I used Gouda, but use what you have. Swiss, cheddar, or jack cheeses work just great! Then, slice up the leeks.

sliced leeks

Slice up the leeks.

 

Preheat your oven to 450º. Cut or snap the bottoms off of the asparagus.

trim asparagus ends

Trim the bottoms off.

Line a baking sheet with foil. I used non-stick foil. That stuff is the best! Lay the spears out on the sheet in a single layer. Drizzle them with olive oil and sprinkle with salt & pepper. Roll them around so that they get all coated. 

spears on tray

lined up all neatly

Smooth them out into a single layer again and place in the hot oven. Roast them for 8 to 10 minutes. You want them to soften, but not be mushy. When done, pull them out and let cool.

Roasted asparagus

Such a pretty green!

 

While they are roasting, Break 8 eggs into a medium bowl.

eggs in bowl

All cracked up.

Whisk them up and add in the half & half, 3/4 cup of cheese and some salt & pepper. Whisk it, whisk it good.

frittata eggs

The egg mix.

 

Reduce the oven temp to 350º. Get out a 10 inch, oven proof, nonstick skillet. Or, use your trusty cast iron skillet.

Reserve 5 or 6 whole spears to place onto the top of the frittata. Chop the rest into one inch pieces.

chop asparagus

Chop the spears up.

 

Heat some olive oil in the skillet over medium heat. Add the leeks and cook stirring, for 3 minutes.

leeks in skillet.

Add the leeks to skillet.

Add the garlic and cook another minute.

Leeks & garlic

Careful and don’t brown it, like me.

Then, add in the chopped asparagus.

Adding asparagus

Pile it in.

Pour the egg – cheese mixture over the veggies in the skillet. Gently, stir it around to evenly spread the vegetables around.

Adding egg mix

Pour in the eggs.

 

Cook until the eggs are set around the edges of the pan, about 5 to 8 minutes. The insides will start to thicken up, too. Remove from the heat. Sprinkle the rest of the cheese on it and put those saved spears in a pretty pattern over the top.

Asparagus and leek frittata

Be artistic!

 

Bake the frittata for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the eggs are set and the top is golden. Remove from oven and let rest for 5 minutes. Cut into wedges and serve!

Asparagus and leek frittata

6 spears would have been better than my 5.

 

I like to have this with just some plain, old, sliced up tomatoes and biscuits. Leftovers make a great breakfast, too.

Asparagus and leek frittata slice

Yum!

Asparagus & Leek Frittata
Author: 
Recipe type: Entree or side
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
 
A delicious salute to spring. This frittata showcases asparagus and adds in some leeks and tasty cheese for a quick and easy dish.
Ingredients
  • 1 pound asparagus, trimmed of tough ends. Reserve 5 or 6 whole spears for topping.
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil - divided
  • 1 teaspoons salt - divided
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper - divided
  • 1 tablespoon diced garlic
  • 1 leek, white and pale green parts, cleaned. Sliced in half lengthwise and into ½ inch pieces
  • 8 extra-large eggs
  • ½ cup half & half
  • 1 cup shredded Gouda cheese, divided
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 450°F.
  2. Spread out the asparagus on a baking sheet. Drizzle the asparagus with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, ½ teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon of the pepper Place the baking sheet in the oven and roast the asparagus about 8 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheet.
  3. Reduce the oven temperature to 350°F.
  4. Chop the asparagus into 1-inch pieces. Reserve 5 or 6 whole stalks for the top.
  5. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil in a 10-inch oven proof, nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the leeks, and cook for 3 minutes. Add in the diced garlic and cook an additional 1 minute. Return the cut up asparagus to the skillet.
  6. Whisk the eggs, half & half, ¾ cup Gouda cheese, ½ teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper in medium bowl. Pour over the ingredients in the skillet. Gently stir to evenly distribute the vegetables. Cook until the eggs are set around the edges, about 5 to 8 minutes.
  7. Remove from heat. Sprinkle remaining ¼ cup Gouda cheese over the top. Place the reserved roasted asparagus spears around the surface of the frittata in a decorative manner.
  8. Bake the frittata for 15 to 20 minutes, or until eggs are set and the top is golden. Let rest for 5 minutes. Cut into wedges and serve.

 

Cannellini al Gratin

Cannellini al Gratin

Grab a spoon!

Winter has decided to wrap her icy fingers around Florida (and the rest of the country) for what I hope, is the last time. Enough with the cold already!

Cold weather means comfort foods. Hearty, stick to your ribs casseroles, flavorful soups & stews and crock pots full of all manner of tasty things. It also means I can run my oven as much as I want! When it’s 100 degrees outside, the last thing I want to do is stand in front of a blazing oven. So, I take advantage of the cold weather to fire it up and enjoy the extra heat.

Since our temperatures dipped down into the low 30’s (hush, this is sub-tropical Florida, 30 is COLD), I decided to make my favorite bean casserole. It is so easy. Minimum effort for maximum flavor. It uses cannellini beans. These beans are a good for you inclusion to your diet. They are high in magnesium, fiber, iron, folate and a good source of protein. If you can’t find cannellini bean, you can substitute great northern or any white bean.

On with the show –

cannellini fixings

cannellini ingredients

Gather all your ingredients. Get out a cutting board and knife, so you can dice up all those veggies. Did you know that the celery, onion and carrot mix is called a mirepoix? You do now! Not only do we provide good eats, you get to learn new things, too.

Do you see that? Wait, here it is –

kitchen kitty 2

kitchen kitty is watching you.

There she is. Kitchen kitty is making sure I do this right.  Anyhow, onward. Pre-heat the oven to 400º. Get out your dutch oven. Now, lets dice up some mirepoix. Do the celery

diced celery

dice the celery

The carrots – which btw – I don’t peel. I use organic, so it’s wash, dry and eat.

diced carrots

dice the carrots

Dice up some onion. You’ll need a cup of each. Oh, and dice up 3 tablespoons of parsley.

diced onion

dice the onion

Put your pot of the stove, over medium – high heat and add 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Dump in the mirepoix.

add the mirepoix

Add the celery, carrot & onion to the pot.

Cover the pot and cook for about 8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the veggies are soft. Turn the heat off and add in the white wine vinegar, scraping up the browned bits off the bottom.

adding vinegar

add the vinegar

Now, dump in 2 cans of cannellini beans with their juices. Add in the chopped parsley, thyme and some salt & pepper. Give it a stir.

add beans parsley and other ingred

add the beans and things

Add in 1/2 cup of shredded cheese. I used Boars Head Gouda. You can use whatever vegetarian friendly cheese that you like or can find.

add cheese

add in some cheese

In a large measuring cup or small bowl, add 1 cup of panko bread crumbs, the remaining parsley, cheese and tablespoon of olive oil.

crumb top

making the crumb topping

And mix it well.

crumb topping mix

mixed up

Spread the crumb topping in an even layer over the top of the casserole.

Cannellini al gratin ready

Ready to bake

Place it in the oven and bake for 20 to 30 minutes. When it’s all bubbly and the crumb top is golden, you are ready to pull it out of the oven.

Finished Cannellini al gratin

All done

Let it rest for 5 minutes to let that bubbling, bean brew settle down. Serve it up with a nice crusty bread or a focaccia. We had a whole wheat focaccia. Yum!

Cannellini al Gratin dinner

Dinner is served!

Recipe below.

5.0 from 1 reviews
Cannellini al Gratin
Author: 
Recipe type: casserole
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
 
An easy, fast, delicious cannellini bean casserole with a crunchy crumb topping.
Ingredients
  • 2 – 19 oz cans cannellini beans
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 3 Tbs. chopped fresh parsley, divided
  • 1 cup onion, diced
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 1 cups diced carrots
  • 3 Tbs. olive oil, divided
  • 1 tsp. white wine vinegar
  • ¾ cup coarsely grated Gouda cheese, divided
  • 1 cup plain panko breadcrumbs
  • salt & pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Heat 2 Tbs. oil in Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the diced carrots, celery and onion, and cook, covered, 6 to 8 minutes, or until onion is soft, stirring occasionally. Remove pot from heat, and stir in the white wine vinegar, using a spatula to scrape up any browned bits stuck to bottom of pot. Add beans with juices, chopped thyme, chopped parsley, ½ cup shredded cheese, salt & pepper. Stir well to combine.
  3. Combine breadcrumbs, remaining 1 Tbs. chopped parsley, and remaining ¼ cup shredded cheese in small bowl. Drizzle remaining 1 Tbs. oil into crumb mixture, and combine to moisten breadcrumbs. Spread breadcrumb mixture over bean mixture. Bake gratin, uncovered, 30 minutes, or until casserole is bubbly and the top is browned. Cool 5 minutes. Serve.
  4. Makes six generous servings.
  5. Adapted from Vegetarian Times Jan/Feb 2011

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rainbow Chard

Rainbow Chard

Rainbow chard

Isn’t this pretty

 

The nice thing about the produce co-op, is we get exposed to new stuff. Good stuff. This week’s new stuff was Rainbow Chard. It was new to me, anyway. I’ve seen it in the market but shied away from it. What was this technicolor mutant celery? It looked like rhubarb gone wild. I’m not a fan of rhubarb, so, no way was I going to try this stuff. Well, since I’m typing this, we all know I lied. I did try this stuff. And this stuff is good. The stalks cooked tender and the leaves had a peppery bite to them that I really liked. Chard is quite healthy for you! A half cup serving of chard packs in 28% of your RDA of Vitamin A, 26% of Vitamin C, 22 % Magnesium and 20 % of the iron you need.  So, don’t be like me and fear the chard. Embrace it. Then, clean it and eat it.

Today, for you, I will prepare Pasta with Rainbow Chard and White Beans.

pasta, rainbow chard and beans

Dinner’s ready!

 

You will need, hmm, PASTA! Any kind will do. Chard don’t care. I used Campanelle. They look like little flowers. Nice.

chard ingredients

Your dinner fixings.

Then you’ll need cherry tomatoes, garlic, cannellini beans, some shaved or grated parmesan cheese, crushed red pepper flakes, and some pretty, rainbow chard.

Cook the pasta according to the box directions. Drain, toss with a little olive oil to prevent sticking and set aside.

campanelle pasta

campanelle pasta

 

Swirl some oil in a pan and toss in the quartered cherry tomatoes.

Cherry tomatoes, quartered

quartered cherry tomatoes

Saute them for about 2 minutes, then add the garlic. Cook for another minute.

rainbow chard

So colorful.

Add in the chard stems and cook, covered for three minutes.

Then, pile on the chard leaves. Really, pile them all in, they’ll cook down to nothing.

Chard leaves

That’s a big pile of chard!

Cover and cook two minutes until they wilt down some. Uncover and add in the beans, red pepper flakes. Sprinkle on the salt & pepper.

add the white beans

add the white beans and spices.

Keep the cover off and cook, stirring occasionally, until the leaves are fully wilted, about another three minutes.

Pour the cooked pasta in a large serving dish and top with the chard and bean mixture. Toss to combine fully. Top with shaved cheese.

bowl of pasta chard and beans

Big bowl of pasta, chard and beans

Sprinkle a little more cheese on each serving, just because you can.

pasta, chard and white beans

Good stuff!

 

Rainbow Chard
Author: 
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: Vegetarian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
 
A tasty dish of pasta and rainbow chard with white beans.
Ingredients
  • 12 ounce box of pasta
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, diced
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 2 bunches rainbow chard, stems and leaves separated and cut crosswise into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 15.5-ounce can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • ½ teaspoon each of salt and pepper
  • ¼ cup shaved Cabot monterey jack cheese
Instructions
  1. Cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain. Return to pot, toss with 1 teaspoon oil and keep warm.
  2. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and cook about 2 minutes. Stir in the chard stems and cook until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the chard leaves, packing them down, Cover and cook until partially wilted, about 2 minutes. Remove the cover and fold in the cannellini beans, ½ teaspoon each of salt & pepper, the red pepper flakes and cook, stirring, until the chard leaves are tender, another 3 minutes..
  3. Place the cooked pasta in a large serving bowl and top with the chard mixture. Toss to combine. Sprinkle shaved cheese on top.

 

Red Dragon Pie

Red Dragon Pie

Red Dragon Beans

Aduki beans

Beans. We don’t give them enough respect. They’re easy to grow and available year around. Fresh, frozen, canned or dried. So many varieties. Limas, lentils, kidney, black eyed, garbanzo, soy and many, many more.

Not only are beans good for your heart, they also contain saponin compounds that appear to protect cells from cancer causing damage. Cancer facts. Women who eat beans two or more times a week have a lower risk of developing breast cancer. They’re full of flavonols for antioxidant activity and fiber for, well, you know what fiber does. Beans are on the low end of the glycemic chart, so are better for diabetics. Dark beans have the added bonus of being loaded with iron. Beans – is it any wonder they’re called the magical fruit?

This recipe pairs dried aduki beans with rice to form a complete protein. Throw in a mashed potato topping, covered in cheese and man, you’ve got it made. The aduki bean is also called the red dragon bean. If you eat them, you are blessed with the strength of a dragon. Couldn’t hurt, could it. Then, you could really mean this – Meddle thee not in the affairs of dragons, for thou art crunchy and tasteth good with ketchup!

Crunch, crunch.

slice out of a Red Dragon Pie

Red Dragon Pie

Let’s get to cookin’! Start with a ½ cup of beans in four cups of salted water. Bring to a boil and simmer for one hour. After they have simmered for 20 minutes, add in ¼ cup of brown rice and stir. Continue cooking until the beans are tender and the rice cooked. Drain over a bowl to save the broth. You’ll need to save one cup of broth.

aduki beans and brown rice

cooked aduki beans & brown rice

On to the mashed potatoes. Peel and dice up 4 medium to large potatoes. Add to a pot and cover with salted water. Boil until tender. Drain and return to the pot. Add some butter and cream. Mash away! If you like some lumps, leave some lumps. Lumps mean it’s real stuff, man.

mashed potatoes

mashed potatoes

Heat a large fry pan over medium heat. Pour in a little oil and add in a diced carrot, diced onion and some quartered white mushrooms.

Sauteed carrots, onions and mushrooms

Sauteed vegetables

Saute for about 5 minutes until they’re softened. Add in the beans and rice mixture. Sprinkle with the italian herbs. Add in the tamari sauce, the tomato paste and chili sauce.

condiments

Flavor!

Tomato paste in a tube. The world is a marvelous place. Pour in the reserved bean stock. Mix it all up. Add in some pepper and salt, if it needs any more salt. Simmer for 20 minutes, or until the juice is absorbed.

dragon beans and rice mix

Mix it all up.

Preheat your oven to 350º. Get out a nine inch pie dish and butter the sides and bottom. Spread the bean mixture in a even layer over the bottom.

dragon bean mix

layer the bean mix

Spread a layer of mashed potatoes over that, covering the beans completely and sealing to the edges with the mashed potatoes.

layer of mashed potatoes

add a layer of mashed potatoes

Lick potato spoon.

Shred 1 cup of cheese. I used fontina but you can use any hard cheese. Cheddar would be dandy! Sprinkle the cheese all over the top of the dish.

top with shredded cheese

top with shredded cheese

Bake for 30 minutes at 350º. If the top is not nicely browned after that time, run it under the broiler for a few minutes. You just gotta have a crunchy, toasty, cheesy pie top. You just have to!

Aduki Cottage Casserole

Toasty goodness!

Red Dragon Pie
Author: 
Recipe type: casserole
Cuisine: vegetarian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
 
A savory sheppard type pie featuring aduki beans.
Ingredients
  • ½ cup dry aduki beans
  • ¼ cup brown rice
  • 4 medium to large potatoes. Butter & cream to mash.
  • 1 cup shredded fontina cheese
  • ½ cup carrot, quartered, then diced
  • ¾ cup diced yellow or white onion
  • 1 - 8oz package whole white mushrooms, cut into quarters
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp mixed dried italian herbs
  • 1 Tbsp chilli sauce
  • 2 Tbsp tamari soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 cup of aduki/rice stock - reserved
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. In a medium sauce pan combine ½ cup of aduki beans in four cups of salted water. Bring to a boil and simmer for one hour. After they have simmered for 20 minutes, add in ¼ cup of brown rice and stir. Continue cooking the remaining 40 minutes, until the beans are tender and the rice cooked. Drain over a bowl to catch the stock. You'll need to save one cup of stock.
  2. Peel and chop 4 medium to large potatoes. Add to a pot and cover with salted water. Boil until tender. Drain and return to the pot. Add some butter and cream. Mash them up.
  3. Heat a large skillet pan over medium heat. Pour in the oil and add in the diced carrot, diced onion and quartered white mushrooms. Saute for about 5 minutes until they're softened. Add in the drained bean and rice mixture.
  4. Sprinkle with the italian herbs. Add in the tamari sauce, the tomato paste and chili sauce. Pour in the reserved bean stock. Mix it all up. Add pepper and salt to taste. Simmer for 20 minutes, or until the juice is absorbed.
  5. Preheat your oven to 350º.
  6. Get out a nine inch pie dish and butter the sides and bottom. Spread the bean mixture in a even layer over the bottom. Spread a layer of mashed potatoes over that, covering the beans completely and spread to the edges.
  7. Sprinkle the shredded cheese over the top of the dish. Bake for 30 minutes at 350º.
  8. If the top is not nicely browned after that time, run it under the broiler for a few minutes.

 

Flaky Vegetable Squares or Vegetables en Croute

An Elegant Vegetarian Thanksgiving Entree

Flaky Vegetable Squares

Vegetables en Croute

I bet you thought I’d forgot about this. I didn’t. See, funny things happen when you try to shoot photos for a blog. The colors don’t always come out right. Or a bug appears in the middle of your plate. Or, as with me, you’re just not happy. Not with the pictures, not with the recipe. So, you start over. You work on the recipe. Fix it three times in two weeks. Oh, how my family suffers for my art. They have to eat all the mistakes and practice recipes. They suffer, I tell you!

Assemble all your ingredients.

Flaky vegetable squares ingredients

Flaky vegetable squares ingredients

Or most of them. I always seem to forget something.

Chop up the cauliflower. Count out 20 florets and set aside in a small bowl. Not 19 or 21 florets, 20!

20 cauliflower florets

Put the rest of the cauliflower into a large bowl. Clean and slice the leek. You’ll need 5, one inch slices. Put those in the large, cauliflower bowl. Drizzle them with olive oil, some salt and pepper and give a toss. Spread them out on a large baking sheet.

cauliflower on tray

Ready to roast

Now, cut the tops off of the garlic heads, place on foil square, and drizzle with 1/2 tsp oil.

Garlic heads

Garlic heads

Wrap the foil around the garlic. Put the garlic on the pan with the cauliflower and roast in a 425º oven for 30 – 45 minutes. Flip them all over at the halfway mark, so they get nice and browned on both sides. Don’t flip the garlic. All the oil will spill out and you don’t want that to happen. After the leeks and cauliflower are browned and tender, remove the pan from the oven and set it aside to cool.

Roast cauliflower and leeks

Roast leeks and cauliflower

Open the foil around the garlic so it can cool some, too.

Oven roast garlic

Oven roast garlic

I turn my oven off after I pull the pan out. It takes another 20 minutes of preparation before you’ll be ready for it again, so if you want to keep it on or turn it off, it’s up to you. While the garlic is still warm, squeeze garlic pulp from each clove into a food processor.

work bowl

roasted veg in processor

Add cauliflower mixture and 1 tsp Tamari soy sauce, and puree until smooth. Season with salt and pepper, if desired. Set the puree aside.

Cauliflower puree

Cauliflower puree

You can do all this part ahead of time and put the puree in the fridge until you are really to continue with the dish. Just pull it out, so it can come to room temperature while you are working on the rest of the recipe. This would be a great time to get the puff pastry out of the refrigerator, too.

Chop the head of broccoli into florets. Halve the carrot lengthwise, then cut into half moons. Take the remaining leek part, cut in half lengthwise, and then into 1/4 inch strips. Pile all this into a bowl and dump in the mushrooms.

vegetables

ready to sautee

Place a large fry pan on the stove over medium high heat. Swirl in the oil and dump in the mixed vegetables and stir fry. While they are cooking, combine the wine, cornstarch, Tamari soy sauce, thyme, salt, & pepper, in small bowl and stir until cornstarch has dissolved.

wine and cornstarch mix

wine and cornstarch mixture

When the veggie mix is fork tender and browned, after about 5 to 7 minutes, pour in the cornstarch mixture and stir a couple of minutes until thickened. Remove from stove and let cool.

vegetables with sauce

vegetables with sauce

Remove a large roasted red pepper from the jar. Spread it out and pat dry. Cut into 16 thin strips. Set aside.

sliced roast red pepper

sliced roast red pepper

Now, unfold the puff pastry on a work surface. Roll it flat into a 12 inch square. Cut the square into 4 smaller squares and put on a lined baking sheet. Chill the dough for 15 minutes to get ready for the next step. Heat your oven to 425º.

various filling stages

puree, then vegetables, then pepper strips

Spread 1/4 cup of the cauliflower puree in the center of each pastry. Top the puree with a scoop of the vegetable mix. Arrange 2 red pepper strips on each pastry, laying one strip from top to bottom and the other from side to side.

floding

First fold, corner to corner

Fold corners of pastry squares over vegetable filling and into center, pinching corners to seal.

folding

Second fold, corner to corner

Brush pastry squares with a lightly beaten egg-white

pastry egg wash

egg wash on pastry

and bake for 12 -15 minutes until they are nice a browned. Let rest for 5 minutes. Now, go wow your guests with your magnificent Vegetables en Croute!

Vegetables en Croute

Flaky vegetable squares

Flaky Vegetable Squares or Vegetables en Croute
Author: 
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: Vegetarian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
 
Tender roasted vegetables wrapped in a flaky pastry.
Ingredients
  • 1 large head cauliflower (2 to 3 lbs), cut into small florets, divided, setting aside 20 florets.
  • 1 head broccoli, cut into small florets. About 2 cups of florets.
  • 1 large carrot, halved lengthwise, then cut into half moons.
  • 1 8oz pkg sliced white mushrooms.
  • 1 leek. Clean the leeks. Cut off the root bottom and the dark green leaves, so you end up with the white and light green parts only. Slice into 5 - 1 inch rounds, set aside. Slice the remainder in half lengthwise, and then into ¼ inch strips.
  • 1 large roasted red pepper from jar. Pat dry and slice into 16 thin strips. Use as many peppers as necessary.
  • 3 Tbs. plus ½ tsp. olive oil, divided
  • salt and ground black pepper, as needed
  • 2 heads garlic
  • 2 tsp Tamari soy sauce, divided
  • ½ cup white wine
  • 1 Tbs cornstarch
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme leaves, stripped off the stems
  • 1 17.3-oz pkg frozen puff pastry, thawed (2 sheets)
  • 1 egg white, beaten, for brushing dough
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425ºF. Set aside 20 cauliflower florets in bowl. Toss remaining cauliflower florets and 5 leek rounds with 1 Tbs oil. Season with 1 tsp salt and ¼ tsp pepper. Spread on large baking sheet. Cut tops off garlic heads, place on foil square, and drizzle with ½ tsp oil. Close foil around garlic. Place foil wrapped garlic and cauliflower loaded baking sheet in oven, and roast 30-45 minutes, stirring cauliflower halfway through cooking time, until cauliflower and leeks are browned and fork tender. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.
  2. At this point, you can turn your oven off or leave it on while you prepare the rest – it will take about 20 minutes.
  3. While garlic is still warm, squeeze garlic pulp from each clove into work bowl of a food processor. Add cauliflower mixture and 1 tsp Tamari soy sauce, and puree until smooth. Season with salt and pepper, if desired. Set aside.
  4. Combine wine, cornstarch, remaining 1 tsp Tamari soy sauce, thyme, ¼ tsp salt, ⅛ tsp pepper, in small bowl and stir until cornstarch has dissolved. Set aside.
  5. Heat remaining 2 Tbs oil in a large skillet over medium- high heat. Add broccoli florets, carrots, reserved 20 cauliflower florets, mushrooms, and sliced leeks, and stir-fry 5-7 minutes, or until vegetables begin to brown. Add cornstarch mixture, and stir-fry 1-2 minutes more, or until most of liquid has evaporated and vegetables are coated with sauce. Remove from heat, and cool.
  6. Remove a large roasted red pepper from the jar. Spread it out and pat dry. Cut into 16 thin strips. Set aside.
  7. Meanwhile, roll each sheet of puff pastry into 12-inch square on floured work surface. Cut each sheet into 4 squares, and place on 2 parchment-lined baking sheets. Chill 15 minutes.
  8. Preheat oven to 425ºF. Spread ¼ cup cauliflower puree in a circle in center of each pastry

 

Brown Rice and Black Bean Stuffed Peppers

Or

Halloween Stuffed Peppers

Halloween stuffed pepper

 

You’ve seen them on Pinterest, Facebook or someplace else. Those cute stuffed peppers with a carved face, just like a little Jack O’ Lantern. Now, you’re going to see them here, too. Except, this “food with a face” you can eat! A totally vegetarian version of stuffing goes in these babies. And might I just add, a really, really tasty stuffing. I stuffed more of it in me than I did the peppers.

On to the particulars.

Gather the cast and crew.

stuffed pepper ingredients

For mini Jack O’ Lanterns, you will want to use the orange peppers. You’ll notice that a lighter one has snuck into the line up. He just doesn’t spend as much time in the tanning booth as the others.

I’m going to share one of my culinary secrets. I use frozen microwave brown rice. You’re shocked, I can tell. It’s ok, we all have our little short cuts. This is mine. Most recipes call for two cups of cooked rice and guess what? That little bag has two cups in it. Destiny, right? The ingredients are – brown rice, water. Works for me! So, pop that bag in the microwave and cook it. Set it aside to cool down while you clean the peppers.

Carefully cut the tops off the peppers and remove seeds.

Cleaned peppers

Get out your carving tools, mine was a tiny paring knife, and carve little faces into the pepper sides. Don’t hate the yellow guy.

tiny faces

tiny faces

Get out a large mixing bowl. Dump the cooled rice into it. Add in the drained and rinsed black beans.

In a dry sautee pan, over medium heat, toast your chopped walnuts.

toasted walnuts

Don’t wander off. Stay put and give these a stir after a minute. When you smell them, remove from heat and pour into the mixing bowl. Wipe out the pan, add the olive oil and the diced carrots. Saute for about 3 minutes, then add in the diced zucchini.

veggie sautee

Cook an additional 3 minutes. Remove from heat and pour into the mixing bowl. Add in the chopped parsley, the crumbled goat cheese and the Italian dressing. Salt and pepper to your liking.

mix it all up

 

Spoon the stuffing into the peppers. Fill them up and pack it in. Arrange peppers in the baking dish.

Are you lookin’ at me?

Keep the tops off for the first part of baking. Bake at 350º for 20 minutes. Remove from oven, place tops on peppers and return to oven. Bake another 30 minutes or until done.

Don’t eat me!

 

The toasty walnuts, the creaminess of the goat cheese and the crunch of the pepper. Oh my.

Join me for dinner?

 

Brown Rice and Black Bean Stuffed Peppers

 

Serves: 4           Prep time: 20 min       Bake time: 50 min

 

Ingredients:

 

  • 4 bell peppers – for Halloween, use all orange color
  • 1 pkg of microwave brown rice, cooked according to package instructions, set aside to cool.
  • 1 can black beans, 15 oz or so. Rinsed and drained
  • 3/4 cup of zucchini, diced.
  • 3/4 cup carrot, diced.
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • 2 oz goat cheese
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped parsley
  • 1/4 cup Italian oil and vinegar type dressing

 

Directions:

 

Preheat oven to 350º. Spray or grease an 8 x 8 baking dish.C

Carefully cut tops off peppers and remove seeds. For Halloween, carve cute faces into pepper wall. Set aside.

Pour cooled rice in a large mixing bowl. Add in the rinsed and drained black beans.

In a dry sautee pan, over medium heat, toast chopped walnuts. It only takes a few minutes. Remove from pan and add to bowl mixture.

Wipe out pan. Add 2 teaspoons of olive oil and swirl to coat. Add in the diced carrots and sautee 2 to 3 minutes. Add in the diced zucchini. Cook 2 to 3 minutes more. Add to bowl mixture.

To the mixture in the large bowl, add the crumbled goat cheese, the chopped parsley, and the Italian dressing. Salt and pepper to taste. Stir to combine.

Using a spoon or scoop, stuff the peppers full of the mixture.

Place the stuffed peppers in the baking dish. Keep the top part of the pepper off. Bake stuffed peppers at 350º for 20 minutes. Remove from oven, place pepper caps on top and return to oven. Bake an additional 30 minutes or until done. Peppers will sag and the tops will be browned when done.