Tag Archives: budget

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!

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Weeknight Staple: Basic Marinara

30 Mar

by Non-Gourmet J

I tend to get really busy during the week and don’t always feel up to making involved dinners. One tactic I use to combat eating out regularly or relying on pre-prepared, processed food, is to make things on Sunday that I can use throughout the week. My go-to for this is marinara. I like to make huge batches of this and use it as a spaghetti sauce, a filling for calzones, a dip for Stromboli, or a base for a homemade pizza.  When I really need some comfort food, I’ll add cream and vodka to it for a fancy-feeling mid-week pasta. In the summer, I roast my own tomatoes instead of using cans.

Ingredients

  • 3-4 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tbsp. anchovy paste (optional, but be daring and try it – it doesn’t taste fishy at all and really adds depth to this sauce)
  • 1 can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 can tomato paste
  • 3-4 tbsp. Italian seasoning (or basil, oregano, thyme, whatever combination Italian seasonings you prefer)
  • 1-2 tbsp. fennel (I prefer to buy whole fennel seeds and crush them using a mortar & pestle)

  • 1 tbsp. crushed red pepper (more or less depending on your heat tolerance)
  • 1 tbsp. granulated sugar
  • Few glugs of good red wine (Optional, but I really like the flavor it adds. Important – The flavor will intensify when you cook, so always cook with a wine you like enough to drink!)
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 

Directions

Sauté onions in olive oil until translucent. Add garlic and cook until fragrant. Stir in anchovy paste (if using).

Add remainder of ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 2-3 hours, stirring occasionally.

 Taste halfway through cooking and adjust seasonings as necessary. If you don’t like a chunky sauce, or will be using this as a dipping sauce or base for a pizza, use an immersion blender at the very end. You can also transfer to a blender if you do not have an immersion blender. This recipe will last all week in the fridge, but can be kept frozen for several months.

Thanks for teaching us the basics J and don’t forget you read about it on Green Gourmets!

Indian Spice: Chickpea Coconut Curry

16 Mar

by Green Gourmet L

I have the extreme pleasure of assisting at a cooking school in DC. It’s so fun for me because I get to attend an $80 cooking class for free. Not only do I get to pick up on new techniques, the chef cooks the recipes for the assistants at the end and we get to ask questions (food related or otherwise)!

One of my favorite chef’s that I assist for is a quick-witted, gay, Indian man who always cooks barefoot. His cooking style is very relaxed (clearly) and his recipes are to die for. Unfortunately, the written recipes are usually not the easiest to follow, so I’ve had to adapt based on what worked for me. The other night, he made a chicken dish for our class, but he said that you could easily make it vegetarian by substituting chickpeas. I’ve already made this at home twice and HAVE to share it!

Ingredients

  • 2 cups chickpeas that have been soaked, rinsed, and drained
  • 2 cups light coconut milk
  • 2 TB ginger/garlic paste (see below)
  • 1 tomato chopped
  • 4 TB oil
  • 2 tp curry powder
  • 2 tp paprika
  • 2 whole cinnamon sticks
  • 20 whole black peppercorns
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 1 TB cilantro

Directions

Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat and saute whole spices (cinnamon and black peppercorns) for 3-5 minutes.

Add onions and saute until onions are light brown about 5 minutes, stirring frequently.

Make ginger/garlic paste by placing 2 large cloves of garlic (without skin) and 1 1/2 inch of ginger (with skin) into food processor. Grind until a paste forms.

Add ginger/garlic paste to pot and cook for about 1 minute.

Add curry powder and paprika, mix well, and cook for about 1 minute.

Add chickpeas, coconut milk, and tomatoes. Adjust for seasonings and add salt/pepper.

Cover and cook on low heat for 30 minutes until chickpeas are completely cooked through, stirring occasionally. Sprinkle with chopped cilantro and serve over rice. Enjoy your authentic Indian cuisine and don’t forget you read about it on Green Gourmets!

For the Few Cold Days Left- 15 Bean Soup

14 Mar

by Green Gourmet L

The DC weather is taking a turn for the better, but we’re not out of the woods yet. The other day was frigid and I decided to make this warming soup. Have you ever seen the “bulk” bins at the grocery store filled with dried beans, grains, and rice? If you’ve seen the multi-colored bins of dried beans and not known what to do, this is a really good way to experiment with something new. At some grocery stores, they already have their own 15 bean mix, but you can easily make your own by just combining a little bit of your favorite beans until you get about 2 cups (or about 1 pound). The chipotle chili is a MUST in this recipe. It adds some heat, but more than anything it adds smoky flavor similar to a ham hock. This is a fantastic way to get meaty flavor!

Ingredients

  • 2 cups dried beans
  • 2 32oz cartons vegetable stock
  • 1 cup onion, diced
  • 1 cup celery, diced
  • 1 cup carrot, diced
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme
  • 1 clove garlic, pressed or minced
  • 2 TB olive oil
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 chipotle chili pepper in adobo
  • salt/pepper

Directions

Soak beans for at least 8 hours (or overnight). I like to soak my beans in the morning before work, and then they are ready when I get home to cook dinner. When soaking beans, you want to make sure that your beans are covered by at least 3 inches of water. Once they have soaked, rinse and drain your beans.

In a large pot, cover your beans with 4 cups of vegetable broth.

In a separate pan, add olive oil and saute the onion, carrot, and celery over medium heat.

This should take about 10 minutes until all vegetables are soft and translucent but not browned. Add your chipotle chili and cook for an additional minute.

Add the vegetables to the pot with the beans and stock. Add the garlic, and herbs to the bean/veggie mixture.

It is important not to salt your soup at this point, as this makes the beans very tough. Bring the soup to a boil and then cover and simmer for about an hour. Check the liquid occasionally and add more if needed. Note: I ended up using 2 full containers of vegetable stock. After the soup is cooked, season with salt and pepper.

Enjoy your meaty tasting soup and don’t forget you read about it on Green Gourmets!

Pita Chips and Spicy Hummus

2 Mar

by Green Gourmet L

Have you noticed that hummus is now everywhere? In every different flavor you can imagine? Roasted garlic, red pepper, black bean, eggplant, cilantro, and sun-dried tomato! Have you noticed how much they charge for the smallest tub? $3.99 or even $5.99 for some of the specialty kinds. It’s funny to shell out money for hummus, week after week, when you can make 10x the amount at home for the same price. All you need are the right ingredients for the perfect, melt in your mouth, Middle Eastern street-food favorite. This recipe is for the plain version and then you can jazz it up with whatever eggplant/cilantro/tomato combo you like. For me…I’ll stick with extra spicy. Yummmm.

Ingredients

  • 1 can chickpeas (rinsed) or 1 1/2 cups chickpeas (cooked and drained) *see below
  • 2 TB tahini (sesame paste, can be found at most grocery stores)
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 2 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 1 TB yogurt
  • 2 TB olive oil
  • 2-4 TB of water (or chickpea cooking liquid)
  • salt and pepper

Directions

If cooking your own chickpeas (which I highly recommend), soak overnight in a bowl. Make sure there are at least 3 inches of water above the top of the chickpeas. Once soaked, drain and place into a medium pot. Add new water that comes 3 inches above the chickpeas.

Bring to a boil and then simmer, uncovered, for about 1 hour. Skim any foam that forms on the top. Save some of the cooking liquid for your hummus. When done, chickpeas should be tender but not mushy.

Place chickpeas in the bowl of a food processor or blender. If you like yours spicy (like me), I add one whole chili pepper in adobo. It has that smoky heat that is really great in hummus.

Add the tahini, lemon juice, olive oil, and yogurt. Blend. Begin adding your reserved chickpea liquid (or water) one TB at a time until mixture is creamy. Pour into a serving dish and top with additional olive oil.

Season with salt and pepper. By the way, wouldn’t this hummus be fabulous with some home-made pita chips? It couldn’t be easier!

For Pita Chips:

Preheat broiler and line baking sheet with foil. Cut pitas into 8-12 pieces and separate each piece in half.

Place in a single layer on a baking sheet.

Drizzle with olive oil or spray with cooking spray. Add whatever spices you like (garlic salt, paprika, cayenne, etc).

Cook for 3-5 minutes or until golden brown.

You just saved money and now you can make as much hummus as you like! Don’t forget you read about it on Green Gourmets!

It’s Chicken Week- The Perfect Braise

24 Feb

by Green Gourmet L

If you haven’t tried any of the Green Gourmet recipes, this is the one to try. I have always wanted a go-to one-pot meal for when friends are coming to dinner and you want to hang out (instead of slave away in the kitchen all night). This recipe is not only easy, it’s so delicious and the oven does all the work for you. This recipe has been adapted from Bon Appetit magazine and it’s a keeper. Try this one. And thank us later!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 TB paprika
  • 3 lb chicken broken down into 8 pieces, (need help Breaking Down?)
  • 2 TB olive oil
  • 1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes and juice
  • 2 cups of frozen pearl onions
  • 2 large roasted peppers (we used red and yellow from the jar), cut into strips
  • 6 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1 TB Dijon mustard
  • 1 TB tomato paste

Directions

Preheat oven to 350. Whisk flour, paprika, 1 1/2 tp salt, and 1/2 tp pepper into large bowl. Add chicken pieces to flour, 1 at a time, and coat on both sides. Heat oil in a heavy skillet over medium high heat. Add chicken, skin side down.

It’s important not to overcrowd your pan. Saute about 3 minutes a side, until brown.

Remove chicken to a plate. Take skillet off heat. Arrange chicken in a single layer in large ovenproof pot or dutch oven.

Top with tomatoes and juice, onions, peppers, garlic, and bay leaves. Sprinkle with a bit more paprika (up to 1/4 tp).

Add white and red wine to the skillet. Bring to a boil and scrape up the browned bits from the bottom.

Remove from heat and whisk in mustard and tomato paste.

Pour mixture over chicken and bring to a boil.

Cover and transfer to the oven. Cook for 1 1/2 hours until chicken is tender.

Discard bay leaves. Season with salt and pepper. Serve steaming hot in bowls with enough crusty bread to sop up all the sauce in the bottom! Enjoy the perfect braise and don’t forget you read about it on Green Gourmets!

It’s Chicken Week- Parmesan Chicken

23 Feb

by Green Gourmet L

Everyone is looking to stretch their dollar. When you are having a dinner party or feeding a large family, this is even more crucial. One of the best ways to make your meat go further is to make it thinner. This is a great idea since it actually tricks your eyes into thinking you are eating more than you are. This recipe works best if you cut your chicken breasts in half before you pound them. Did I mention you get to pound something? Long day? Frustrated? Get a rolling pin and get to it! This recipe was adapted from Barefoot Contessa.

Ingredients

This recipe makes enough for 7 (with leftovers!)

  • 5 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 2 extra-large eggs
  • 1 TB water
  • 1 1/4 cups bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving
  • Unsalted butter
  • Good olive oil
  • Salad greens for 7, washed and dry
  • 1 recipe Lemon Vinaigrette

Directions

Pound the chicken breasts until they are 1/4-inch thick. You can use either a meat mallet or a rolling pin.

Combine the flour, salt, and pepper on a plate. On a second plate, beat the eggs with 1 tablespoon of water. On a third plate, combine the bread crumbs and 1/2 cup grated Parmesan.

Coat the chicken breasts on both sides with the flour mixture, then dip  into the egg mixture, then into the bread-crumb mixture.

Heat 1 tablespoon of butter and 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large saute pan and cook 2 or 3 chicken breasts on medium-low heat for 2 to 3 minutes on each side, until cooked through.

Add more butter and oil and cook the rest of the chicken breasts. Toss the salad with some dressing. Place a mound of salad on each piece of chicken. Serve with extra grated Parmesan.

Enjoy stretching your dollar and don’t forget you read about it on Green Gourmets!