Posts Tagged ‘vegetables’

Stir-Fry Rice Pilaf

Tuesday, August 17th, 2010

If I were to say that say I’m making a rice pilaf, you could probably conjure up images of several different rice side dishes you’ve been served at various restaurants or dinner parties. And you probably wouldn’t be wrong. The only thing required for a rice pilaf is to sauté the uncooked rice in oil or butter to give it a nice toasted flavor, and then to cook it in broth. Nuts, seeds, veggies, dried fruits, herbs, and meat are all optional add-ins. That makes rice pilaf an incredibly versatile side.

Most people use a long grain white rice to make a pilaf, but we keep this short-grain brown rice on hand, and that’s what I used. It worked just fine. I adapted the recipe from that website, where they posted the perfect template for a make-your-own-pilaf. I added sesame seeds and frozen stir-fry veggies, along with a bit of hoisin sauce and ginger to the broth. Though it takes a bit of time to make the rice from scratch, this was a delicious and versatile side dish. I know I’ll be making other variations when the mood strikes.

Stir-Fry Rice Pilaf

  • 2 cups brown rice
  • 2 tsp oil or butter
  • 4 cups chicken or vegetable broth (I used chicken)
  • 1/2 cup of toasted sesame seeds
  • 1 ½ cups frozen vegetables (I used a stir-fry blend)
  • 1 tbsp hoisin sauce
  • 1 tsp freshly grated ginger

Heat a heavy skillet on medium heat. Add oil and stir with wooden spoon. Add rice and continue stirring for 5 min or until grains are toasted. Add broth, cover tightly and cook for 45 min. Stir in remaining ingredients and continue cooking for 5 min. Serve. Makes 6 servings.

Note: This made a lot of rice. I’d half this recipe next time, and probably still have leftovers. We served this with hoisin-glazed pork chops and grilled pineapple skewers. Yum!


Versatile Pilafs

Rice pilafs are a method of cooking rice that requires sauteeing of raw grains to add a nutty toasted flavor. Any combination of herbs vegetables nuts and seeds and meats can be used with the rice. Always use a wooden spoon to stir rice to avoid breaking the grains.

Cooking Instructions:

  • 2 cup Lundberg® Long Grain Brown Rice
  • 2 tsp oil or margarine
  • 4 cup broth or water
  • 1/2 cup any nutmeats or sesame seeds
  • 1 package frozen vegetables or
    2 cup fresh chopped herbs
  • salt and pepper as desired

Heat a heavy skillet on medium heat. Add oil and stir with wooden spoon. Add rice and continue stirring for 5 min or until grains are toasted. Add broth or water cover tightly and cook for 45 min. Stir in vegetables nuts etc. and continue cooking for 5 min. Serve. Makes 6 servings.



Green Beans with Bacon-Balsamic Vinaigrette

Wednesday, July 28th, 2010

It’s green bean season, and we got a whole bushel from my grandparents a week or so ago. I’m sure we’re not the only ones looking to use up some great garden green beans, but other than my friend Leah, who will sit and munch them like potato chips, everyone seems to do the same thing with beans. This time, I was looking for something a little different.

I found this recipe on the Cooking Light website. Despite the bacon and sauce, it works out to only a Point for a cup, which is nice. I used center cut bacon, and substituted chopped walnut pieces for the almonds in the original recipe (David’s not a fan of almonds).

I thought it was tasty, and probably worth another try. There’s sugar in the sauce, and that made it turn out sweeter than I had imagined, probably compounded by the fact that I also substituted regular balsamic vinegar for the white balsamic that the recipe originally called for. I was in a hurry, and ended up tossing things in the skillet a bit differently than called for, and so the end product had bits of candied bacon throughout (not that there’s anything wrong with that!). I think, overall, the beans could have used more salt.

As I said, I’ll probably try this one again, following the original a bit more closely to see how things turn out.

Green Beans with Bacon-Balsamic Vinaigrette
Adapted from Cooking Light, November 1996

Ingredients

  • 2  pounds  green beans
  • 2  bacon slices
  • 1/4  cup  minced shallots
  • 3  tablespoons  coarsely chopped walnuts
  • 2  tablespoons  brown sugar
  • 1/4  cup  balsamic vinegar

Preparation

Cook green beans in boiling water for 2 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold water. Drain well; set aside.

Cook bacon in a small skillet over medium-high heat until crisp. Remove bacon from skillet. Crumble; set aside. Add shallots to bacon fat in skillet; sauté 1 minute. Add almonds; sauté 1 minute. Remove and let cool. Add sugar and vinegar; stir until sugar dissolves. Add crumbled bacon.

Pour vinaigrette over beans, tossing gently to coat.

Caramelized Corn with Fresh Thyme

Tuesday, April 6th, 2010

This is a great, simple, summery side dish, even though it takes advantage of frozen corn. It’s not hard, and there aren’t many ingredients. It’s one of those awesome, simple dishes that really is greater than the sum of its parts.

Caramelizing the corn brings out tons of great flavor, and the fresh herbs brightened and deepened the flavors. The original recipe called for mint, but I think any fresh herbs that you have on hand would work just fine. The thyme was very good, and I think basil or cilantro would be equally delicious.


Caramelized Corn with Fresh Thyme
Adapted from The Wednesday Chef

1 10-ounce package frozen premium corn (choose something extra sweet)
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 tablespoons minced fresh thyme
Salt

1. Defrost the corn in a colander, tossing occasionally, for about 30 minutes.

2. In a wide skillet, melt the butter over high heat. Add the corn and cook, stirring often, until golden and browned (kernels may begin to pop), about 10 minutes. Stir in the thyme and sprinkle with salt. Transfer to a serving bowl and serve while hot.

Note: I didn’t have any frozen corn on hand, so I had to use canned. I made sure to drain it really well. It worked fine. Next time, I’d try it with frozen corn, and I think it could be even better.

Oven-Roasted Veggies

Wednesday, July 29th, 2009

Not much of a story here, tonight. Just a super-easy, extra-tasty roasted vegetable side. I will say this: You should be able to tell from the blog that I’m skeptical, to say the least, about most vegetables. I include them grudgingly, if at all, though I’m trying to get better. But David bought some zucchini and some squash and I needed to cook them somehow, so I threw these together. And though I picked around the zucchini mostly, I will admit that on the whole, these veggies were pretty tasty.

veggies-2

Oven-Roasted Veggies

  • 1 zucchini, sliced into 1 inch chunks
  • 1 yellow squash, sliced into 1 inch chunks
  • 3 shallots, peeled and halved
  • 1 cup baby carrots
  • 1 sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1 inch chunks
  • 2 yukon gold potatoes, cut into 1 inch chunks
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • salt & freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons Adobo seasoning

1. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Spray a roasting pan with non-stick spray, or line with parchment paper.

2. Prepare the vegetables as outlined above. Toss together the sweet potatoes, yukon gold potatoes, shallots, and carrots with 1 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil and 1 tablespoon of Adobo seasoning, plus salt and pepper. Spread in an even layer in the bottom of your roasting pan, and let cook for 25-30 minutes.

3. While these hardier veggies get a head start, toss remaining vegetables with the other tablespoon of oil and the 1/2 tablespoon of Adobo seasoning and salt and pepper. After 25-30 minutes, or until the potatoes are just fork tender, but still firm, add the zucchini & squash and cook for another 15-20 minutes, or until the zucchini & squash are tender and the potatoes and carrots are cooked through. Serve immediately.

Baked Sweet Potato “Fries”

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2009

Oddly enough, I am in love with sweet potato fries. I don’t know when it happened, really. I can’t stand the Thanksgiving marshmallow monstrosity casserole, and I have never been tempted by the football sized baked sweet potatoes they serve at steak house restaurants. But sweet potato fries are a whole different story.

There’s a bar across the street from us that has great sweet potato fries, and in general, I’m excited whenever I come across them on a menu. Finally, I decided to make my own. We seldom deep fry things around here, so I opted for a baked version.

They turned out pretty well, though a touch too dark (oops!). If you like french fries, I don’t know why you wouldn’t like sweet potato fries. They’ve got the same crispy texture but tend to have a lot more flavor. Sweet potatoes are also better for you than regular white potatoes, with more fiber and more vitamins. Plus, french fries are such old news…sweet potato fries even look cooler!

sweet-potato-fries

Baked Sweet Potato “Fries”

  • 1 1/2 pound sweet potatoes, peeled (2 medium potatoes)
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons adobo seasoning
  • hot sauce, to taste (I used about 1 teaspoon, and they had just the right amount of heat for me)
  • extra salt, for seasoning
  • Cooking spray

1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

2. Cut the potatoes lengthwise into and toss with the oil, adobo seasoning, cinnamon, and hot sauce. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray. Arrange the potatoes in a single layer on the baking sheet and bake until the “fries” are tender and crisp, about 40 minutes.

3. Season with additional salt, to taste. Serve immediately.

Note: I’m kind of a whimp when it comes to hot sauce, so you could certainly add more if that’s what you like. I wasn’t going for something very spicy, just a little bit of heat to balance the sweetness, and that’s what I got. The cinnamon is just for little something extra–it brings out a little bit of the sweetness in the potatoes without being overpowering. I normally use cumin in my spice blend for sweet potatoes, but the adobo seasoning added the perfect amount of salt and in addition to the smoky cumin flavor.

Sizzled Green Beans with Crispy Prosciutto and Pine Nuts

Thursday, May 28th, 2009

Leah, an integral part of my “Test Kitchen” here, gets recipes emailed to her from her work’s wellness programs. She emails them to me when they sound good, and even though I almost always agree with her, I believe this was the first one that I’ve made.

Fresh beans were expensive at the store, so I opted for whole frozen green beans (Green Giant Selects, I believe, which seemed a little better quality than the store brand frozen veggies we usually buy). I also skipped the sage, and used thyme instead, because that’s what we had on hand. Finally, I halved the recipe you see below, and it was plenty for the three of us.

Sauteeing the green beans brings out just a touch of  sweetness, and the prosciutto adds a tasty balance of salty flavor. The toasted pine nuts are delicious, too.

Even David ate his veggies that night, and he doesn’t care for green beans at all. I’m sure we’ll be making these again.

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Sizzled Green Beans with Crispy Prosciutto & Pine Nuts
Adapted from, well, Leah’s email

  • 2 pounds of green beans trimmed (I used frozen)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of freshly grated lemon zest
  • 1/4 cup of toasted pine nuts
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt divided
  • 2 teaspoons of minced fresh sage (I used minced fresh thyme leaves)
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 ounces of prosciutto thinly sliced, cut into ribbons
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons of extra-virgin olive oil divided
  • 1 teaspoon of lemon juice

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add beans, return to a boil, and simmer until crisp-tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Drain.
  2. Heat 1/2 teaspoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add prosciutto; cook, stirring, until crispy, 4 to 5 minutes. Drain on a paper towel.
  3. Wipe out the pan; heat the remaining 2 teaspoons oil over medium heat. Add the beans, garlic, sage, 1/8 teaspoon salt and several grinds of pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the beans are browned in places, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in pine nuts, lemon zest and the prosciutto. Season with lemon juice, the remaining 1/8 teaspoon salt and pepper.

Garlicky Green Beans

Saturday, January 24th, 2009

Green beans are seen often around here. We don’t really eat as many vegetables as we should, but green beans are one of the few veggies I always like. Of course, they’re not very interesting. Of course, there’s green bean casserole, or green beans with bacon (the way Grandma makes them, yum!), or just canned green beans. They’re a nice standby, a simple go-to veggie, but not very inspiring.

That’s why I set out to find a new recipe for green beans. And I did. This was a simple fix for frozen green beans. Even though it was nothing spectacular, this recipe was quick and tasty, and a nice change from the regular old canned beans. The panko is crunchy and buttery, like garlic bread, and the beans are fresh and crisp. The tiny bit of butter and small amount of bread crumbs go a long way, keeping the final product healthy, like vegetables should be.

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Garlicky Green Beans

Directions

  1. Microwave beans according to package directions and drain.
  2. Melt butter in a large skillet, add garlic and saute until soft–about 1 minute.
  3. Add bread crumbs, seasoning, and salt and pepper and saute 1 minute.
  4. Add green beans and saute 3 to 4 minutes.

Note: As I said, nothing earth-shattering here, but these green beans were pretty tasty. I’ll make these again, I’m sure. (Leah liked them so much she’s eaten the leftovers until every bite was gone…She’d be sad if I didn’t make them again!)

Parmesan-Roasted Broccoli

Monday, January 5th, 2009

My name is Teri, and I don’t like broccoli. At all.

Occasionally, I will tolerate broccoli flavored things. Like cheesy rice. Or cheesy casserole. Or cheesy sauce on a baked potato. Or cheesy soup. You might have noticed a trend, and it’s got very little to do with broccoli.

Still, the Barefoot Contessa cookbook has proven itself again and again, and this glowing review at the Amateur Gourmet gave me the courage to try it (incidentally, I was pleased to see that someone else likes the Back to Basics cookbook as much as I do). But as far as the broccoli goes–guess what? I liked it!

Parmesan Roasted Broccoli
Adapted from The Barefoot Contessa: Back to Basics

  • 4 to 5 pounds of broccoli (I’m not that crazy! I used about a pound and a half for the three of us)
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced (I just minced mine)
  • Good olive oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
  • 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons julienned fresh basil leaves (about 12 leaves)

1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees

2. Spread the broccoli florets on a sheet pan large enough to hold them in a single layer. Toss the garlic on the broccoli and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with the salt and pepper. Roast for 20-25 minutes, until crisp tender, and the tips of some of the florets are browned.

3. Remove the broccoli from the oven and toss with 1 1/2 tablesppoons of olive oil, the lemon zest, the lemon juice, the pine nuts, Parmesan, and Basil. Serve while hot.

I couldn’t believe how tasty this was—it was more like fresh pesto than anything else. The broccoli wasn’t bitter at all, but instead had a dark, nutty flavor. The dressing, with the lemon, oil, and basil really brightened everything up. And of course, what isn’t better with cheese? You know the drill–no green cans. Freshly grated. I’m pretty sure I’ll make this again, especially since we bought a giant bag of broccoli at Costco, and I’m going to have to use that up somehow.