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Cauliflower Done Right

26 Apr

Green Gourmet L

With the weather getting warmer and the flowers in full bloom, the urge to eat lighter is upon us. And I, for one, am totally ready. Although I’m also ready to gorge myself on a 7 course meal in a Thai man’s basement tonight. Don’t worry, I’ll take lots of pictures and tell you all about it later this week.

Back to spring, I love the vegetables that appear this time of year. Snap peas, green beans, sprouts, I’m getting excited to go to the farmer’s market again. I whipped up something last night that put me in the warm weather mood. Seared salmon with sauteed kale and cauliflower mash. If you’ve never had cauliflower in this way, you’ll be a convert. It satisfies your craving for mashed potatoes, but it’s lighter and (possibly?) healthier. Give it a try!

Cauliflower Mash

Ingredients

Makes 3-4 small servings

  • 5 cups cauliflower or 1 bag frozen cauliflower
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 clove garlic, pressed
  • 1/2 TB butter
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk or plain kefir
  • salt and pepper

Directions

Place cauliflower in a large pot with water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and cook for 12-15 minutes or until very tender. Drain well.

At this point, you can either mash by hand, use a handmixer, or place in a food processor (depending on what texture you like). Add the other ingredients and mix well. Garnish with chives or spring onions. Serve hot alongside your favorite spring dish and don’t forget you read about it on Green Gourmets!

Quinoa – Another Perspective

22 Mar

by Green Gourmet K

 

Quinoa - Image from Incaorganics.com

Yesterday I noticed an interesting article in the New York Times about how the popularity of quinoa (KEEN-wa) in America and Europe has been a boon for Bolivian farmers but has also caused the price of the grain to be out of reach for many in the country, who rely on it as a staple.  Now many in this region are relying on less expensive, and often nutritionally deficient foods, some of which are most likely from U.S. sources.  Quinoa has a relatively high protein content (14-18%), compared to other seed/grains, and it is loaded with amino acids and minerals.  It is also a great alternative for those on a gluten-free diet.  These characteristics have made it very popular in the U.S. and Europe.

 

Image from Bob's Red Mill site.

I found the conundrum the article presents very thought-provoking and it was difficult to write about this topic.   I have mixed feelings about this and I would guess many of you do as well.  Obviously, L and I are very interested in eating locally when we can, as well as eating foods with high nutritional value, and we both realize that we are fortunate to have the resources to do this.  Neither of us are rich, but by global standards, we are in a much better position than many and we should be grateful for the luxury of being able to choose what we eat.   Americans can choose to buy quinoa, jasmine rice, couscous, or whatever grain we want, it’s all there in your local grocery store.  This article was a great reminder that such a wide range of choices is not available to everyone, that we are the exception and our choices will affect others.

What do you all think?  Will you reconsider buying quinoa?

Now just to complicate matters, here’s a roundup of some of the interwebs best quinoa recipes:

 

Lemon-scented Quinoa Salad from 101 Cookbooks

 

Quinoa Cloud Cookies from 101 Cookbooks

Mexican-style Quinoa Salad by SummerTomato

Quinoa Turkey Burgers by ChefMom

Spiced Courgette, Quinoa and Apricot Salad from Essentially Healthy Food

Orange Quinoa Muffins by Gluten Free Gobsmacked

Whole Grain Quinoa Bread by Chef In You

Daily Dinner Inspiration

10 Mar

by Green Gourmet K

If you are like me then you find it easy to cook something for dinner that will result in leftovers that you want to eat the next day.  I am always in a rush in the morning so I just grab my leftovers, already boxed up, or I come home and reheat.  I find this a good money saving strategy too.  If I make something delicious I will be glad to eat it the next day, instead of staring at my canned soup wishing it were anything else but canned soup.

So where do you all get your inspiration for dinner?  We all probably have a certain number of recipes in the rotation.  But sometimes you want something different.  I do love to see what other food bloggers are cooking up.  One of my favorites is Smitten Kitchen, whatever she makes is golden.  You all know I am a fan of the Bon Appetit, and one thing I have started to enjoy lately are the emails I get from them.  They are mostly, “hey, buy more subscriptions!” but they usually have a good roundup of recipes too.

I found recent inspiration from one of these emails, a recipe for Sauteed Bacon, Lentils and Mushrooms.  Say what!?!  I happened to have many of the ingredients so this was easy to pull together.

To be clear, this is not my recipe, it is from Leite’s Culinaria and it is dang good.  I made a few tweaks, my version is below, but please feel free to compare these and choose the one you like.

Here it is:

Sautéed Bacon Mushrooms, and Lentils

(serves 6)

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cups small brown or green lentils, rinsed  ( I used green)
  • 4 cups cold water
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 ounces of sliced baby portabella mushrooms
  • 1/4 cup parsley, chopped, plus more for garnish
  • 1 whole lemon, squeezed
  • 6 to 12 slices bacon, preferably thick-cut

Directions

1. Place the lentils in a large saucepan, cover with the water, and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer gently until tender, at least 35 minutes or so. (The exact timing will depend on the type and age of the lentils.) Drain well.

2. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees, place your bacon on parchment paper on a cookie sheet.  Bake for about 10-15 minutes depending on the thickness of your bacon.  Check and turn the bacon half way through.  When done place on paper towels to drain and crisp up.

3. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a skillet over medium heat, add the onion and sauté just until softened and pale golden, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes more. Add the butter, the remaining oil, and the mushrooms and sauté until the mushrooms are tender. Season with salt and pepper. Add the lentils, a few tablespoons of chopped parsley, lemon juice, salt, and pepper and heat, stirring, just until warmed through. Remove and discard the garlic. Taste and season the lentils accordingly with more lemon juice, salt, and pepper.

4. Sprinkle the lentils with the parsley and bacon, left whole or crumbled into pieces, the more the better.

Now this is one dish I will be relishing at lunchtime today.

Savory Twice-Baked Sweet Potatoes

15 Feb

by Green Gourmet L

I know someone who is very upset that football is over. But who says you can’t eat tailgating food anyway? One of those foods that just screams football to me is potato skins and twice baked potatoes. Smothered with cheddar cheese, bacon, sour cream, and chives. It’s great, but it’s far from a healthy side dish.

I love sweet potatoes since they tend to have added health benefits. They are high in Vitamins E and A, low in fat, cholesterol-free, and have more fiber than a bowl of oatmeal.  But it seems that the only sweet potato recipes that I can find have a “healthy” dose of butter, sugar, and maple syrup. I don’t want a potato dessert, I want a savory appetizer. So here’s our take on twice-baked potatoes, Green Gourmets style.

Ingredients

Makes 2 large servings or 4 appetizers

  • 2 sweet potatoes
  • 1/2 cup onion, chopped
  • 2-4 whole garlic cloves, with paper left on
  • 1/4 tp cumin
  • 1/4 tp paprika
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
  • parmesan cheese
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • aluminum foil

Directions

Preheat the oven to 375. Pierce your sweet potatoes with a fork and place on a baking sheet. Put your garlic cloves (with paper still on) onto a foil sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, salt, and pepper and bring up the sides of the foil to seal the package.

On another piece of foil, place the chopped onion. Drizzle with olive oil, salt, and pepper and seal the package. Place the garlic and onions on the same baking sheet as your sweet potatoes.

Bake for 1 hour (check your onions and garlic at 45 minutes). The onions and garlic should be roasted and sweet.

Remove from the oven and allow the sweet potatoes to cool until they are cool enough to touch. Slice the potatoes in half; scoop out the insides while leaving the skin intact.

Remove the skin from the garlic and place the bulbs and the cooking liquid from the packet in a small bowl.

Add potato flesh, onion, and spices and mix together.  Season with salt and pepper.

Rub the outside of the potato skins with oil and season with salt and pepper to ensure they get crisp. Add the filling back into the skins and top with a sprinkling of Parmesan Cheese.

Bake in the oven for 15 minutes or until cheese is completely melted.

Enjoy this healthy twist on Twice-Baked Potatoes and don’t forget you read about it on Green Gourmets! To print this recipe, click here.

What’s the Deal with Quinoa?

3 Feb

by Green Gourmet L

Photo from Wikipedia

I think most of us have heard about quinoa (keen- wah) at some point. About 5 (or more) years ago it became a hit at many top restaurants for it’s gluten free-ness and it’s high protein and fiber content.  Now that I eat mostly vegetarian, I was a bit concerned about getting enough protein, so I was glad to come across this super grain. Not to mention, it’s cheap! You cook it like rice, although the portion is 1 cup quinoa to 2 cups liquid. I use veggie stock to give it a little more flavor, but water is fine too.  When it’s cooked, it looks like this:

Did you know that quinoa is a seed that comes from a flowering plant that looks like this:

 

Although not commercially available, you can also eat the greens from this plant. That just blew my mind!

I tried to make quinoa for my family once, and it was an epic failure.  Gummy and crunchy at the same time, a textural nightmare. But over the years, I’ve built up my cooking confidence and decided to try again. And wow, what yummy results.

Quick Quinoa Lunch

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • Salt

Bring all ingredients to a boil. Lower the heat to simmer and cook covered for 10-15 minutes until all the liquid is absorbed.  It should have a slight crunch when it’s done due to the germ ring around the grain. If REALLY pressed for time, you can also cook your quinoa in the microwave. Add the same ratio of liquid to quinoa in a microwave safe bowl. Cover and heat on high for 4 minutes, then stir. Cover and heat again for 2 minutes, stir. Let stand for 1-2 minutes before serving. Easy enough!

For a super quick lunch, I like to add whatever I have on hand. Today I had:

  • 1/4 cucumber, chopped
  • 1/4 cup garbanzo beans
  • 1/4 cup black beans
  • 1/8 cup red onions, finely minced
  • 1 TB cilantro, chopped
  • Zest and juice of 1/2 lime
  • Drizzle of olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

You will also notice frozen peas in this photo. No need to add these (I was getting rid of the end of a bag!). Literally, mix all of your veggies into a tupperware and top with the quinoa.

Add the herbs, lime zest and juice, and olive oil on top. Season with salt and pepper and stir to combine. Pop the top on, and you are all set for a lunch that is satisfying, filling, and cheap. You won’t even need to snack, because this will hold you over until dinner. Hope you have success if this is your first time cooking quinoa, and don’t forget you read about it on Green Gourmets!

Easiest Side Dish- Balsamic Onions

7 Jan

by Green Gourmet L

We eat red meat about once a year, and it’s usually our Standing Rib Roast on Christmas. I wanted to have some really great vegetarian sides to go with the roast for those family members that weren’t going to be pigging out on meat. I love roasted vegetables, but I wanted something a little different and special. We had some onions lying around, and I thought it would be so easy to throw those onto a sheet pan and let the oven do the work. This makes your kitchen smell fantastic and can go well with chicken, pork, or red meat. You can use the leftovers in sandwiches, salads, stir fries, or over rice/pasta. This is the easiest side dish on earth; if you can slice an onion, you can make this.

Balsamic Roasted Onions

Ingredients

  • 3 large onions (mix of red and yellow onions)
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 TB balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Using a very sharp knife, thinly slice the onions into rings.

Toss with 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar, 1/4 cup olive oil, salt, and pepper and place on a baking sheet.

Cook for 10 minutes, toss with spatula, cook for an additional 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and toss with an additional 2 TB of balsamic vinegar when onions are still warm.

Balsamic Onions

Serve warm and save some for leftovers. You might want to eat these right out of the pan. We won’t tell anyone! Enjoy this easy side dish and don’t forget you read it on the Green Gourmets!

PS. Happy one-month anniversary fellow Green Gourmets!