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Cranberry Orange Bread

23 Nov

by Katy

Being pregnant is the best excuse in the world to eat what you want, and also the worst.  Of course you want to feed the little bugger only organic vegetables and fruits with a side of free range eggs and meat but sometimes the hormones will only allow you to eat what appeals to you right then.  I go back and forth between eating healthy smoothies and drinking vegetable juice to indulging in cookies and ice cream.  People ask about cravings a lot when you’re pregnant.  For the most part, aside from that time when I drove way out of the way to Sweet Potatoes to get their Thursday Fried Chicken lunch special (and it was so worth it), I have been craving fruit, all kinds of fruit, and more fruit.

In the spirit of the season, and my extreme love of fruit, I decided to experiment with cranberries and my favorite fruit of late, oranges.  I wanted a sweet bread but not too sweet, just enough to balance out the tartness of the cranberries.  I hope I succeeded, let us know what you think!

Ingredients

2 cups all purpose flour

1 cup light brown sugar

1.5 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/8 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3/4 bag (12 ounce) of fresh cranberries (you could use less if you’re not big on cranberries but they cook up nicely)

zest of 1 small orange (or half a large one)

juice of 1 small orange (or 1/2 cup of orange juice)

1 cup milk (whole or 2%)

1 egg, lightly beaten

4 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350.  Mix your dry ingredients (flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, baking soda) together in one bowl.

2. Mix your wet ingredients together in mixer (by hand works too).  Add in the dry ingredients, mix lightly, until dry ingredients are incorporated.

3. Coarsely chop the cranberries.   Fold the cranberries into the batter.  Pour batter into a buttered and floured bread pan.

4. Bake for 1 hour or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

I highly suggest enjoying this bread with butter and large steaming mug of tea.  Now if you’ll excuse me, I think there’s some more fruit I need to eat.

Hey! We’re Back with Braised Mushroom Pasta

10 Nov

by Green Gourmet L

Welcome back all you Green Gourmets! Green Gourmet K and I would like to tell you that we enjoyed our hiatus, but we missed blogging so much that we had to get back to it! A lot has happened during our time away. Green Gourmet K got pregnant! And Green Gourmet L moved to Texas and then got pregnant! Even though each of us is now eating for two, that doesn’t stop us from cooking green (local, organic, and budget friendly) now more than ever. And we would love to share our journey with you. So stay tuned for our usual awesome recipes, tips and tricks about being green, and new anecdotes about what happens when you get knocked up.

Alright, onto the food! When the weather in TX starts to cool down (from like 90s to 70s), I get excited that I can use my oven again. My absolute favorite way to cook anything when the weather gets a little chilly is a low and slow braise. Braising is just a form of slow cooking, usually some kind of meat in liquid, until it is very tender and the liquid has turned into a luscious sauce.

There are a couple rules to braising:

  1. Lower temperatures for a longer time are best
  2. Start with a good base- aromatic veggies like onions, carrots, celery give great flavor during a long cooking marathon
  3. Begin cooking on the stove first. Brown your meat, soften your veggies, simmer your liquid. It will make the actual braising process go by much faster
  4. Check your dish occasionally. You may need to add more liquid, stir or turn your meat, and you don’t want to find out after it’s too late
  5. Your dish might be better the next day. Once the flavors have had a chance to meld together in the fridge, you can enjoy your leftovers even more than the original meal!

I love to eat red meat but I am also sensitive to the fact that this is not a part of everyone’s diet. I mean, we are in TX now, but I am a Green Gourmet so I can adapt. I found a wonderful braised mushroom dish and decided to adapt it to fit my dinner last night. Hope you like it!

Braised Mushroom Pasta
Serves 8

  • 3oz prosciutto (or bacon), diced (if vegetarian, use smoked tofu)
  • 2 medium onions, diced
  • 2 carrots, finely diced
  • 2 ribs celery, finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 3lbs mixed mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 small bunch thyme (leave on the stems)
  • 1 14oz can diced tomatoes
  • 2 TB butter (if vegan, use olive oil)
  • 3 cups chicken stock (or veggie stock)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350F.

Heat an ovenproof casserole dish or a frying pan over a medium heat. Add a few tablespoons olive oil and cook prosciutto until golden brown and crispy (about 5 minutes).

Remove and allow to drain on a paper towel.

Add a little more oil to the pan and add onion. Cover and cook stirring occasionally until the onion is soft and slightly golden (8-10 minutes).

Add carrots, celery, garlic and cook for 3-4 minutes. Add half of the mushrooms, stir and cover for 5 minutes until the mushrooms begin to release moisture and cook down.

” 

Add the other half, stir and cover for an additional 5 minutes.

When the mushrooms have browned, add the crispy prosciutto, thyme, tomatoes, butter and salt/pepper.

Top with 3 cups chicken stock. Bring to a simmer on the stove then put in the oven.

Cook, uncovered for 2 1/2 hours, stirring every half an hour or so. It’s ready when the mushrooms are tender and the liquid has reduced to a delicious sauce. Adjust seasonings and remove thyme stems.

Serve braised mushrooms over your favorite pasta (penne!) or over mashed potatoes, polenta, quinoa, or whatever your heart desires. This also makes a fabulous breakfast served as a bed for a poached egg, folded into an omelet, or as scrambled eggs with goat cheese.

Enjoy your new found mushroom braising addiction and don’t forget you read about it on Green Gourmets!

Holiday Party Cocktails, Green Gourmets Style

14 Dec

by Green Gourmet K

Are you in the holiday spirit yet?  How about a holiday cocktail to get you in the mood to celebrate?

There are two things, among many others, that my dear friend A and I have in common; we both love sparkling wines (at any time, for any occasion) and we share an irrational fondness for Bon Appetit magazine (food nerd alert!).  So when we needed some inspiration for what to serve at her holiday party this past weekend we turned to the December Bon Appetit.  One thing that immediately stood out was the recipe for Cranberry Champagne Cocktails.  As usual we changed the recipe a little so I have the original for you and my tweaked version.  A and I also thought  a warm beverage option would be very festive so we went with hot apple cider and spiced rum.  This was an “add your own rum” situation so that made it friendly for those not wanting to imbibe.  I hope you enjoy these recipes.  What are your favorite holiday cocktail recipes?

Cranberry Champagne Cocktail

(original recipe from the December 2010 Bon Appetit)

Makes 8 drinks.

8 tablespoons of Cointreau, chilled

12 teaspoons frozen cranberry juice concentrate, thawed

1 750 ml bottle of Champagne, chilled

8 fresh or frozen cranberries

Place 1 tablespoon Cointreau and 1.5 teaspoons cranberry juice concentrate in each of the 8 Champagne flutes. Top with champagne. Drop 1 cranberry into each cocktail and serve.

Green Gourmet Cranberry Champagne Cocktail

We found the Cointreau a little strong so we lightened up a little on that. We also could not find cranberry juice concentrate and wanted to use some real cranberry juice instead.  We used Cava and a couple other dry sparkling wines instead of Champagne in this recipe.  Real Champagne would be nice, but a perfectly delicious, and far more affordable, sparkling wine will do.

For each drink:

Put 2 teaspoons of Cointreau into your champagne flute, add 3 teaspoons of cranberry juice, top with sparkling wine and a fresh cranberry.

Hot Apple Cider with Spiced Rum

1 gallon apple cider

1 organic orange

12-15 whole cloves

spiced rum

Pierce the orange with the cloves in the pattern of your choosing.  Put the whole orange in your crockpot with the cider.  Turn your crockpot on high and once the cider is piping hot, turn it down to warm.  Place your spiced rum next to the crockpot so that your guests can add their own spirits, or not.

Warm Me Up Pumpkin Spice Oatmeal

10 Dec

Now that you have made this or this, you probably have some left over pumpkin in your fridge.  How about some warm, pumpkin spice oatmeal?  Oatmeal is a great breakfast option, I often use the quick cooking oats but they do not compare to the real deal.  Steel cut oats, like these, will blow your microwave oats out of the water.  In fact, I used Bob’s Red Mill Steel Cut Oats this morning to make this pumpkin spice oatmeal.  I know many people think making these oats will take too long but you could do what one family friend does – make a large batch of this and store it in the fridge, you could have steel cut oats all week long with only a minute to microwave them.

So why all the hubbub about pumpkin over here at Green Gourmets?  Pumpkin is very low in calories (about 40 calories for half a cup), so it adds filler to your foods, and a healthy filler at that.  Pumpkin is high in fiber, potassium, vitamin A and beta carotene (like other foods orange in color).  It is low in salt, sugar and has no saturated fat, trans fats or cholesterol.   The canned pumpkin can be found now for about $1.50 a can and many stores also carry organic canned pumpkin.  Please note, the canned pumpkin we’re talking about here is simply pureed pumpkin with nothing in it, not the pumpkin pie filler.

Pumpkin Spice Oatmeal

This serves one (large bowl of oats) or you can serve two with this and add an egg on the side.

1/2 cup of oatmeal (I used steel cut oats, adjust recipe for quick cooking or rolled oats)

1.5 cups of water

pinch of salt

sprinkle of cinnamon

sprinkle of nutmeg

2-3 heaping tablespoons of canned or fresh roasted pumpkin

maple syrup or your choice of sweetener to taste

Heat the water in a small pan on the stove with salt. Once boiling add the oats, give a few quick stirs and then turn the burner very low and cover.  Stir every few minutes.  The oats will take 10 minutes for al dente texture and 15 minutes for creamier.  Once done stir in the pumpkin and spices until completely incorporated.  At this point I like to turn the stove off and set the pot off to the side to let the flavors meld for a couple minutes.  Put the oatmeal in a bowl.  Top with whatever sweetener you want.  I love the agave with this because it has a mild flavor so the pumpkin really comes through, but maple syrup is always delicious.  Add some pecans or other nuts for a little extra protein and some crunch.  Dried fruit will add another layer of flavor and some color. To print this recipe, visit:  https://sites.google.com/site/greengourmetsprintablerecipes/green-gourmets-pumpkin-spice-oatmeal

Pumpkin Macaroni and Cheese

8 Dec

by Green Gourmet K

 

Yes, that’s right – L and I have back-to-back dueling Mac and Cheese recipes this week.  I initially started making a lightened-up Mac and Cheese recipe, which substitutes cottage cheese for some of the egg and cheese that one would ordinarily use.  But because I have gone a little crazy with the canned pumpkin lately I surreptitiously stirred in some pumpkin when the Husband was not looking, and made a few other tweaks.  The Husband really liked this version of Mac and Cheese, and I did too, but things went south when I told him it had pumpkin in it.  He’s a bit of a Mac and Cheese purist.  I, on the other hand, like to sneak vegetables into things.  Lesson learned – next time I will not tell him.

The pumpkin gives this dish a wonderful golden hue and lends a creaminess that would otherwise be missing in a “lightened up” Mac and Cheese.  The pumpkin flavor is not overwhelming at all, it just adds a little extra something.  Canned pumpkin is a great ingredient in so many dishes and it’s readily available this time of year.  L and I will do a post later in the week on the benefits of eating pumpkin.

The secret ingredient.

Enjoy this Mac and Cheese without (as much) guilt!

This recipe also freezes well.

Pumpkin Macaroni and Cheese

Ingredients

1 box of macaroni
2 eggs
1/2 cup 1% milk
1 16 oz container of lowfat cottage cheese
1 package of shredded cheddar – or approximately 1.5 cups of cheese
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp white ground pepper or whatever pepper you have
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 cup pumpkin

While cooking your noodles, mix all the other ingredients in a large bowl, reserving 1/2 cup of cheddar for the top. Add the cooked noodles, mix thoroughly. Butter your pan, put the noodle mixture in the pan, top with remainder of the shredded cheese. Bake for about 30-45 minutes at 350. Start off with aluminum foil on top, take it off half way through so the cheese gets nice and toasty.

To print this recipe, visit: https://sites.google.com/site/greengourmetsprintablerecipes/green-gourmets-pumpkin-mac-and-cheese

Beets, it’s what’s for dinner

5 Dec

by Green Gourmet L

I have to admit that I’m kind of obsessed with beets. No not the scary, flavorless things that you see in the can.  The ruby colored roots you have passed by at the market dozens of times. Besides being deliciously sweet (yet low in calories, bonus!), beets contain nutrients that protect against heart disease, birth defects, and colon cancer.

When picking out your beets (possibly for the first time, adventurous eater), make sure they have the green tops attached and that those look vibrant. You can actually eat the greens.

You can cook them like spinach, sautéed in a little oil/butter and garlic. Or you can just tear them up and add them to any other salad greens. I just bought one bunch of local, organically grown beets at the farmer’s market for $3. So…two healthy veggies for the price of one, now that’s a bargain.

My absolute favorite way to eat beets is in Arugula Beet Salad with Pan Fried Goat Cheese. A light dinner or a great starter. Enjoy and don’t forget to tell them you read it on Green Gourmet!

Arugula Beet Salad with Pan Fried Goat Cheese



3 beets

½ lb arugula

4 oz log of goat cheese

flour

breadcrumbs (or Panko)

1 egg

oil

Boil beets in lightly salted water for 45 minutes. Place in ice water and peel off skins (the skins should fall off very easily). Cut into slices or chop into pieces. In the mean time, cut your goat cheese into discs. Dredge in flour, then egg, then bread crumbs and add to a hot sauté pan with 2 TB oil. Cook on medium high for 1-2 minutes per side until the crust begins to brown.  Place your arugula, beets, and fried goat cheese on your plate and add your favorite dressing. Balsamic vinaigrette or lemon vinaigrette is my favorite. Try a new veggie and don’t forget you read it on Green Gourmets!

Fall Flavors

5 Dec

by Green Gourmet L

This was the first morning that it really felt like fall in DC! We woke up early and started the morning with a Pumpkin Spice Latte. Whenever this comes out, I realize that cooler weather is on the way. It makes me think of apple picking, pumpkin carving, sweater and scarves, and boots on the outside of jeans. After spending $5 on a medium size Pumpkin Spice Latte at (guess where?) I realized that there has to be a better way to make this at home. So after some trial and error, I think I came up with a good substitute. This serves 2 (because, hey, it’s not fair for only one person to enjoy this)!

A note on coconut milk:

Since I’ve realized that I’m lactose sensitive, I decided to try coconut milk instead of soy milk (or real milk) on my last trip to the grocery store.  It is high in saturated fat (a 1 cup serving size has 5g), but don’t forget that this is the good kinda fat. It is mostly made up of short- and medium-chain fatty acids that are used as energy and not stored as body fat like long-chain fatty acids found in dairy milk. Coconut is also rich in lauric acid, which helps strengthen the immune system. And it’s full of vitamins and minerals (calcium being a biggie). Just make sure you are buying 100% pure coconut milk. (PS. This brand also makes delicious ice creams!)

A note on pumpkin:

We all know, by now, that we should all eat more pumpkin (not just in pumpkin pie). But why? Some of the healing properties of pumpkin are:

  • Protection against heart disease
  • Digestive aid
  • Regulates blood sugar
  • Used for insomnia
  • Helpful for treating burns
  • Anti-aging
  • Used for respiratory conditions liks asthma

Alright, aren’t you ready to enjoy your latte knowing all the health benefits?

Pumpkin Spice Latte

2 cups unsweetened coconut milk

2 TB canned pumpkin

2 TB brown sugar or agave nectar

1 TB vanilla extract

1/2 tp pumpkin pie spice

1/2 cup strong coffee

Directions:

Heat coconut milk, pumpkin, and sugar over medium heat until just under boiling. Whisk well to incorporate the pumpkin. Off the heat, add vanilla and spices. At this point, you can choose to place in a blender to get frothy. Add strong coffee and pour into mugs. Enjoy the first days of fall and don’t forget you read it on Green Gourmets!