Category Archives: Tomatoes

Quinoa with Hot Curry Veggie Saute

Quinoa with Sauteed Zucchini, Red Pepper, Tomatoes

I only learned of quinoa in the last 10 years or so.  As more people are becoming vegetarian or at least eating less meat, they are looking to plant-based foods high in protein.  

Speaking of plant-based protein, I recently read The China Study by T. Colin Campbell PhD, and Thomas M. Campbell II, MD.  It's about a 20-year study of the effects of certain foods on the body, especially the relationship between certain foods and chronic disease.  Bottom line, a plant-based diet is best for our bodies – eat no animal products (meat, dairy) or as little as possible, and as little refined carbohydrates as possible.  

I also just watched (for the second time) a 60 Minutes episode on the effects of sugar on our bodies.  Has a direct relation to chronic illnesses like diabetes, cancer, hypertension, kidney problems, etc.

Quinoa Cooked in White Wine and Vegetable Broth
Meanwhile, back at the quinoa … like any other grain, in can be very plain if you just boil it in water. So it helps build in flavor if you use broth for the cooking liquid.  In this recipe, I also added a little white wine.

Quinoa with Hot Curry Veggie Saute
Compliments of JennaDish

MAKES ONE SERVING

3/4 cup vegetable broth 
1/4 cup white wine
1/2 cup quinoa 

1 shallot, chopped
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds (optional)
1 yellow squash, chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
1 large tomato, chopped
Pinch or two hot curry powder to taste (I used Penzy's)

Rinse the quinoa well.  Put the broth and wine in a saucepan over medium high heat and bring to a boil. Put quinoa in and stir, turn the heat to low, put the lid on and cook for about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, saute the shallot in a little oil over medium heat.  Add in mustard seed, if using, and stir around a minute.  Add squash and pepper and cook until softened, about 5 minutes, add the tomatoes and curry powder and stir until heated and tomatoes are softened.  Taste for seasoning, adding a little more curry powder if desired.

Serve the vegetable over the quinoa.  Enjoy while hot.

 

Panzanella with Sunflower Seed Bread & Yellow Pear Tomatoes

Panzanella
Panzanella Salad

This salad, like most, is highly adaptable.  My first tip would be to use a dense, strong bread, in order to stand up to the saute and the liquids. 

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Other than that, substitute a fresh veggie (think Italian) that seems to make sense, for a veggie you don't have.

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I had some little pear tomatoes, so I used those instead of more peppers.  I also didn't have cucumber so I used a few of my fresh, homemade pickles.  If you're a pickle-lover go for it.  If not, nix that idea and sub something else.  It's too strong of a taste if you aren't thrilled with tangy pickles.

 

Panzanella with Sunflower Seed Bread & Yellow Pear Tomatoes
Compliments of JennaDish

adapted from Ina Garten on Food Network.com

MAKES ABOUT 3 to 4 SERVINGS as a side

3 tablespoons olive oil
3 cups of 1" cubes of sunflower seed bread (or any dense, whole grain or sourdough bread)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 large, ripe tomato, cut into 1-inch cubes
1/2 to 1 hothouse cucumber, unpeeled, seeded, sliced 1/2-inch thick (I used 1/3 cup fresh pickles)
1 red or yellow bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes
10 yellow pear tomatoes
1/2 red onion, chopped
10 large basil leaves, coarsely chopped
1 to 2 Tablespoons capers, drained

Vinaigrette

1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 1/2 Tablespoons Champagne vinegar (I used white wine vinegar)
1/4 cup good olive oil
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Heat the oil in a large saute pan. Add the bread and salt; cook over low to medium heat, tossing frequently, for 10 minutes, or until nicely browned. Add more oil as needed.

For the vinaigrette, whisk all the ingredients together.

In a large bowl, mix the tomatoes, cucumber (or pickles), red or yellow pepper, red onion, basil, and capers. Add the bread cubes and toss with the vinaigrette. Season liberally with salt and pepper. Serve, or allow the salad to sit for about half an hour for the flavors to blend.  The salad tastes even better the next day.

Vegan: How to Make Sauteed Vegetables with Italian Herbs

Our 6-Week Vegan Challenge

Considering that I'm trying to be at least 90% vegan (well, no dairy/no meat) to support my daughter, Alyssa, for the next 6 weeks or so, I need to eat veggies, plus it doesn't hurt to use things up in the fridge…

Over the last few weeks, I've made sauteed vegetables and potatoes three times.  Here are three versions of a dish that seems like they are all the same, but depending on the amount of veggies and potatoes, the spices, and the cooking method, can taste quite different.

Sauteed Potatoes Veggies
Sauteed Potatoes and Veggies
The above (2 photos, same dish) was made with the following ingredients and method, enough for 3 people:

Olive oil, as needed
1 large zucchini, diced small
1 stalk celery, chopped small
1/2 – 1 red pepper, chopped small
1/2 onion, chopped small
oregano, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, pepper, thyme sprig (optional)
9 new potatoes, boiled until tender, mostly peeled, cut in large chunks
Non-Dairy Basil pesto (1 cup basil leaves, 1-2 Tbsp pine nuts, olive oil, ground)
(feta cheese for your dairy eating loved ones)

In oiled cast iron skillet over medium heat, throw in the first 4 veggies & the 6 spices/herb. 
Cover and let the veggies cook without stirring, about 10 minutes, then turn and toss until tender.
Dump the veggies in a bowl and set aside.
Using more oil, throw in the pre-cooked potatoes, turn up the heat to medium high, and do the same – let cook while still, then flip and toss until mostly browned.  When about done, throw in pesto and toss to coat evenly. Quickly remove pan from heat.

Place potatoes in bowls, throw earlier veggies back in the pan to quickly stir and reheat.
Spoon the soft veggies over the potatoes.
Sprinkle feta on the dish of anyone who prefers their cheese, please.

Potato Onion Pepper Saute

The saute above is made up of new potatoes, red onions, tomatoes from my porch plant, green beans, poblano peppers, herbs de provence, and some fresh ground pepper.

 

Potato Zucchini Tomato Onion Saute
This one had quite a different taste.  Better I would say.  Even Alyssa nearly raved about it and she's not a big veggie eater.  The ingredients for this one in order of the cooking process:  olive oil, red pepper flakes, minced garlic, zucchini coins, chopped poblano pepper, onion sliced thin to cook faster, a previously baked potato cubed, tomatoes cut about 1" pieces.

 

HOW TO MAKE A POTATO VEGGIE SAUTE
Compliments of JennaDish

Look in your fridge and see what veggies you have, and decide how much you want to make and how big of a pan you have to accommodate the stinkers.

Let's say you are cooking for yourself but you may as well make enough for leftovers tomorrow.  For two people I cooked the following:

olive oil
big pinch red pepper flakes
1 big clove garlic, peeled and minced
1 zucchini, cut into 1/8" to 1/4" coins
1 red onion, cut in half then sliced thin
1 whole baked potato, cubed to 1" pieces
1/2 to 1 poblano (or green or red) pepper, cut into small 1/2" pieces 
8 cherry tomatoes cut in half, or a whole tomato or two cut to 1" pieces
fresh basil, optional

That would defintely feed two, expecially if you are having something else like bread.  But you could throw in a little more just to make sure.  Use a 10" or 12" pan for this much so you have tossing room.

Have everything chopped and ready to go.  The French call this Mise en Place (pronounced miz on plas) which basically means put in place.

Layer flavors.

Start with a non-stick skillet or cast iron skillet on medium heat.  

Add olive oil, 1-2 tablespoons to start.  Let it get warmed up about 2-3 minutes.

Throw in a pinch of red pepper flakes.  If it sizzles and seems it will burn, turn the heat down a bit and lift the skillet to quickly reduce the heat and stop the food from burning.  You don't need to cook red pepper flakes, you just want to heat it enough to bring out the flavor of the spice and to meld it with the oil.  So 20 seconds or so.  

Make sure your heat is under control now.  Not so low that it does nothing, and not too hot.  Then, immediately put in the minced garlic.  Same general idea – pieces are very small and delicate so it will burn quickly.  Stir around until it seems it's starting to become golden but before it burns, for Pete's sake.  Add a little more olive oil if you need it.  That will also help it to cool down briefly.

Now toss in the zucchini and stir around for 4 minutes or so until they are really softening up and starting to brown.  Now add small-cut peppers, stir a minute or two, then throw in the onion and keep tossing every minute or so.  Let things start to caramelize.  Once you get all the veggies about 2 minutes away from being the way you like them, throw in the potatoes which just need to heat through another 2-4 minutes.  Then add your tomatoes and heat through a couple minutes.

The whole idea here is to start with aromatics, meld and layer flavors, then start adding vegetables starting with those that will take the longest.  You also decide what to put in next based on how much you want something cooked.  For example, I only want the tomatoes heated up, so I put those in last.

Remove from heat and divvy up some veggies on your plate.  You can add fresh, torn basil if you like.

Yer done.

 

 

 

 

Pizza with Arugula, Cherry Tomatoes and Prosciutto

  Pizza Arugula Cherry Tomatoes Prosciutto

OK fine.  That's not prosciutto.  We had leftover salami so we used it. Use either one, or even strips of smoked ham.  There's such a small amount of meat on each, it's not likely to matter that much.

If you're not familiar with arugula, it's not your basic lettuce.  A basic lettuce, like iceberg, would be lame on pizza.  Don't do that.  People will cry for you.  Arugula has a peppery bite.  Makes things interesting. 

My English teacher hated that word.  Interesting.  So I feel self-conscious every time I use it.  Like I'm being pathetic and unimaginative.  

Anyway, if you add fresh basil leaves also, and even just a teeny amount of red chili flakes, it's just enough exhilaration without the bother of climbing on a roller coaster.  

Pizza with Cherry Tomatoes and Salami
Above is the pizza before the greenery.  See – not much meat.

Here's an overview of the method to get this extremely thin and crispy-crusted pizza, using the grill.

Get some really thin store-bought crusts.  We used something we've never seen before – Golden Home Ultra Thin Pizza Crust – purchased at the former Bigg's, now Remke's, in Hyde Park Square (Cincinnati).

Preheat your grill on a low setting.

Put a thin coating of pizza sauce on the crust, cover with cheese, then distribute tomatoes, cut in half (so they won't squirt hot tomato juice in your mouth when you bite into it).  

Place on the grill for a couple of minutes, then check the bottom of the crust.  If it's starting to crisp and burn before the cheese melts, place a heat-safe pan or ceramic tile under the pizza and close the cover until the cheese melts.  Or if you don't have anything to place under the pizza, remove the pizza and place it pizza under your oven broiler to finish it.

Remove from grill (or oven) when finished cooking, and place on a cutting board.  Add arugula, meat, parmesan cheese, and red chili flakes, if using.  

Pizza with Arugula, Cherry Tomatoes, and Prosciutto
Compliments of JennaDish

Adapted from Cook this Not That: 350-Calorie Meals by Zinczenko & Goulding 

MAKES TWO 12" PIZZAS

2 thin crust, 12" prepared crusts (I used Golden Home Ultra Thin crusts from Bigg's/Remke)
1 cup your favorite healthy pizza sauce 
1 1/2 cups shredded part-skim mozzarella
2 cups cherry tomatoes (we cut them in half)
2 cups arugula
Basil leaves, torn (optional)
6 slices prosciutto, cut or torn into thin strips (substitute ham – less salt and lower cost)
Shaved Parmesan 
Red chili flakes, optional

For the grill:
Preheat your grill on a low setting.

For each pizza, use 1/2 the listed amount of each ingredient.  Put a thin coating of pizza sauce on the crust, cover with cheese, then tomatoes cut in half (so they won't squirt hot tomato juice in your mouth when you bite into it).  

Place on the grill for a couple of minutes, check the bottom of the crust.  If it's starting to crisp and burn before the cheese melts, place a heat-safe pan or ceramic tile under the pizza and close the cover until the cheese melts.  Or if you don't have anything to place under the pizza, place the pizza under your oven broiler to finish it.

Remove from grill (or oven) when finished cooking, and place on a cutting board.  Add arugula, meat, parmesan cheese, and red chili flakes, if using.

For the oven:  
Preheat oven to 425oF (or according to your crust instructions). For each pizza, distribute 1/2 the sauce (should be thin layer), sprinkle evenly with 1/2 the mozzarella cheese, and cover with 1/2 the cherry tomatoes.

Bake until cheese is melted, about 10 minutes.  Placing directly on rack will yield a crisper crust, but be careful about dripping cheese on the bottom of the stove.  Otherwise, use a baking sheet. 

Remove pizza to a cutting board and immediately top with 1/2 the arugula (will wilt from heat), and 1/2 the prosciutto (or meat) and parmesan cheese to taste.  If you have a block of parmesan, shave it thinly with a vegetable peeler right onto the pizza.

Tomato Sauce with Onion and Butter

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"This is the simplest of all sauces to make, and none has a purer, more irresistibly sweet tomato taste.   I have known people to skip the pasta and eat the sauce directly out of the pot with a spoon.  
– Marcella Hazan

This is true.  Delicious.  A game changer (finally!) for pasta.  So good, I even forgot to add the freshly grated cheese.  I ground some herbs de provence over it and it was wonderful.

And this is what Alyssa was doing while I was finishing up the sauce…

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Steering her new remote-controlled helicopter toward my head…

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Nice job Alyssa.

Recommended pasta with this sauce: Potato Gnocchi (prounounced like NYO' KEY).  The best gnocchi, beside homemade, that I've had is frozen.  I've had the vacuum-packed kind and it was rubbery.
UPDATE: I made this sauce a second time and tossed it with a pound of campanelle pasta which was NOT great.  If there's a lot of pasta, and the pasta has grooves in which the sauce hides to make it even worse, then the sauce is too sparse and tasteless.  You need the dish to be saucy to taste the subtleness of the butter, onion flavors.

Tomato Sauce with Onion and Butter
Compliments of JennaDish

MAKES 4-6 SERVINGS

from Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking by Marcella Hazan

2 pounds fresh, ripe tomatoes,prepared as described below* OR 2 cups canned imported Italian plum tomatoes, cut up with their juices (I used canned, certified San Marzano tomatoes)
5 Tablespoons butter
1 medium onion, peeled and cut in half
Salt
1 to 1 1/2 pounds pasta
Freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese for the table

Put tomatoes in a saucepan, add the butter, onion, and salt, and cook uncovered at a very slow, but steady simmer for 45 minutes, or until the fat floats fre from the tomato.  Stir from time to time, mashing any large piece of tomato in the pan with the back of a wooden spoon.  Taste and correct for salt.  Discard the onion before tossing the sauce with pasta.

Great the next day also.  Leftover sauce is good for supplementing other tomato-based dishes such the Cioppino I made.  Really took it up a notch.

* To blanche tomatoes, plunge tomatoes in boiling water for a minute or less.  Drain them and , as soon as they are cool enough to handle, skin them, and cut them up in coarse pieces.  Some people like to lightly cut an X in the top of the tomato before boiling, to make it easier to peel.

 

Speedy Seafood Supper

Seafood Supper
Gosh, this once-frozen seafood looks scraggly.  Looks like I defrosted it in the clothes dryer.

Speedy Seafood Soup

UPDATE:  Made it a second time when I had more daylight. No more scraggly fish.

1. This dish is meant to be quick – you know – you forgot to lay anything out.  Everything's frozen or in cans. Check.

2. Has a very nice flavored broth, but I added about 6 shakes of Frank's Hot Sauce which gave it a slight zip as a personal preference.  Check.

3.  It's supposed to serve 2-4 people.  Uh, no check here.  She must be talking about 2-4 super models.  Allen ate pretty much the whole thing.  I ate exactly 1/2 cup because I wanted him to have as much as he needed since he was going out to his men's group.  Yes, I said men's group.

4.  This photo looks absolutely nothing like the one in the Nigella Kitchen cookbook.  Hate that.  Not the first time this has happened. I suspect they do some PhotoShoping. UPDATE: I made again with fire roasted tomatoes and took a better photo. Added 3 jalapeno slices to throw in Allen's bowl.  Also added a little leftover smoked ham but won't do again because it overpowered the fish.

Next time I would double everything.  Possibly double everything except the fish – could do 1.5 times the fish and add some very small pasta, like ditalini.  Also would use something other than diced tomatoes.  UPDATE: Fire-roasted tomatoes helped.

Mop up the juices with crusty bread.

Speedy Seafood Supper
Compliments of JennaDish

SERVES TWO

adapted from Nigella Kitchen by Nigella Lawson

pinch saffron threads
1 cup freshly boiled water
4 teaspoons garlic flavored oil (I used olive oil and sauteed a smashed clove of garlic)
6 scallions (didn't have it – sprinkled about 2 teaspoons dried onion flakes and sauteed lightly w garlic)
1/2 teaspoon dried tarragon (or dill or dried basil)
1/2 cup vermouth or dry white wine
14-ounce diced tomatoes (fire-roasted adds more depth of flavor)
1 teaspoon kosher salt or 1/2 teaspoon table salt, or to taste
1 pound frozen mixed seafood (I used 5-6 oz. each bay scallops, medium shrimp, cod fillet)
pepper, to taste
fresh herbs, to serve (optional)
Frank's Hot sauce (optional)

Put the saffron threads in a bowl and add 1 cup freshly boiled water.

Warm the garlic flavored oil in a wide, shallow, heavy-based pan over a medium heat, and fry the scallions and dried tarragon for a minute or so. (I used my old, not-so-heavy, stainless steel dutch oven – worked just fine).

Add the vermouth (or wine) and let bubble for a minute, then add the saffron in its yellow water, followed by the tomatoes, and let it all come to a boil.  Add half the amount of salt specified above.

Turn up the heat to high (or medium high like I did) add the frozen seafood, and bring the pan back to a boil, then turn down the heat to medium and cook at a robust simmer till the seafood is hot and cooked through, which should be 3 or 4 minutes.

Season with pepper to taste, and add the rest of the salt if required, sprinkle with any available herbs, if you feel like it, and serve, for pleasurable mopping, with some crusty bread. (I sprinkled fresh parsley and did not like it – not necessary.)

 

Chicken Sausage Pasta Bake

 Low Calorie Pasta Sausage Bake

Aw. I wish this were a bit better picture.  This dish was so tasty but you can't even see the sausages.  Stupid winter darkness lacking natural daylight making my photos look sub par.

I am currently working on the beginning of my major research project for my MEd in Special Education.  I've been working on the introductory 5 paragraphs for 2 days now and it's still crap.

So I'm taking a break and doing mindless work.  Blogging.  At least my type of blogging is mindless.

Oh yeah.  The Packers are beating the Stelelers in the SuperBowl as I type this.  It's 21-17 currently.

And Alyssa's eye was puffed swollen from hives but is better today and Jill and her church youth group had their first fundraiser today for their Guatemala trip.  They served minestrone soup, bread and cookies for a donation. Allen went to Jenny's dad's funeral today while I worked on my paper and we had "plumbing problems" and had to call our maintenance guy, Mike, during the Super Bowl.  Sorry Mike.

Oh dear the Packers just scored again.  I'm seeing lots of cheese in the stands.  It's really weird that the Packers are in the SuperBowl.  When I was about 10, in the early 70s, they were the top team.  But never since, that I can recall. 

Chicken Sausage Pasta Bake

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Should I enter this into an abstract art contest?

Steelers just got a touchdown.

Back to the food.  OK here's a tip.  Read the recipe all the way through.  That way you'll know that you need a pretty big skillet, probably the biggest one you have, to make this dish.

Chicken Sausage Pasta Bake
Compliments of JennaDish

Original recipe: 410 calories, 12 g fat, (5 g saturated), 600 mg sodium

Adapted from Cook This Not That

10 oz pasta (ziti or macaroni – whole wheat or regular)
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 links precooked chicken sausage (I used Aidells Chicken and Apple Sausages)
1 medium yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp red pepper flakes (if you're not into spice, use 1/2 tsp)
1 28 oz can tomato puree (I used 1/2 tomato paste and 1/2 canned diced tomatoes)
salt and pepper
1 cup fresh basil leaves plus more for garnish (I sprinkled dried basil)
3/4 cup cubed fresh mozzarella (I used bagged fat free shredded mozzarella)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Bring a pot of salted water to a boil.  Cook pasta until just underdone.

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add the sausage and cook for about 2 minutes, until lightly browned.  Add the onion, garlic, and pepper flakes and cook until the onion is soft and translucent.  Stir in the tomato puree, plus a good pinch of salt and black pepper.  Reduce the heat and simmer for at least 10 minutes.

Drain the pasta.  Add to the skillet and toss with the sauce.  Remove from the heat and stir in the basil and mozzarella.  Dump the pasta into a 12" x 9" baking dish, sprinkle with Parmesan and cover with foil.  Bake for 15 minutes, then remove the the foil and bake for another 10 minutes, until the top is crusty and browned.  Garnish with basil leaves and serve.

PACKERS JUST WON SUPER BOWL 45 – FINAL SCORE 31-25

 

Lentil Soup

Lentil Soup

This is a basic lentil soup recipe adapted from Alton Brown of Food Network, although for Pete's Sake, it's just lentils, stock, tomatoes, carrot, onion, cumin seed, coriander, salt and pepper.  Duh.

 

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This is what it looks like when finished simmering for 40 minutes.  Tomatoes are still in large chunks.

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And this is after using an immersion blender in the pan.  Forty minutes was just enough for the lentils to be cooked but not totally soft and mushy. 

Also, rather than chicken or vegetable stock as in the recipe, I wanted to use up some beef broth and chicken broth that were in the fridge left from other recipes, so I used equal parts of both.  It tasted great, especially with my favorite soup accompaniment, toasted pita bread.

Lentil Soup
Compliments of JennaDish

Adapted from Alton Brown, Food Network

Makes 6-8 Servings

This recipe calls for grains of paradise which is similar to black pepper, but more exotic.  If you live in Cincinnati, buy it at Colonel de Stewart at Findlay Market.  Or order online somewhere.

2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 cup finely chopped onion
1/2 cup finely chopped carrot
1/2 cup finely chopped carrot
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 pound lentils, picked and rinsed
1 cup peeled and chopped tomatoes (I used canned tomatoes)
2 quarts chicken or vegetable broth (I used boxed chicken and beef broth)
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground coriander (used prepared ground coriander)
1/2 teaspoon freshly toasted cumin (I toasted cumin seeds in small saucepan then processed)
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground grains of paradise (I used ground black pepper)

Heat olive oil in large 6 quart Dutch oven over medium heat.  Once hot, add onion, carrot, celery and salt and sweat until the onions are translucent, about 7 minutes.  Add the lentils, tomatoes, broth, coriander, cumin and grains of paradise and stir.  Increase the heat to high and bring just to a boil.  Reduce the heat to low, cover and cook at a low simmer until the lentils are tender, approximately 40 minutes.  Using a stick blender (immersion blender) puree to preferred consistency.  Serve immediately (with pita toast!)

Ossobuco Milanese

Osso Buco Milanese  IMG_5847
Bought 4 veal shanks from Fresh Market, $11.99/lb x 3.20 lbs = $38

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Use 1 1/2" or less or they will take too long to cook.

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Saute veggies, etc in a Dutch oven then set aside.

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Tie the shanks so the meat won't fall off the bone.

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Brown them quickly on both sides and place on top of the vegetables in the dutch oven.

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We didn't have an appropriately sized pan so we allowed the shanks to pile a bit.

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This is what the pot looked like after adding all ingredients in the recipe.  But then we decided we should add lots more liquid, which was a mistake, by the way.

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And this is what it looked like after about an hour and a half of baking.  Sauce is supposed to be thick like a gravy, so we poured out much of the liquid and boiled it down on the stovetop while the dish finished cooking in the oven.  Turned out very good but would stick closer to the directions next time:)

Good job Alyssa!

NOTE: Alyssa didn't like something about the sauce and we believe it is the wine.  Reduce the amount of wine next time.

Ossobuco Milanese
Compliments of JennaDish

from Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking by Marcella Hazan

1 cup onion chopped fine
2/3 cup carrot chopped fine
2/3 cup celery chopped fine
4 Tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter
1 teaspoon garlic chopped fine
2 strips lemon peel with no white pith
1/3 cup vegetable oil
Eight 1 1/2"-thick slices veal hind shank, each tied (we used 4 shanks)
1/4-1/3 cup flour spread on a plate
1 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup beef broth + 1/2 cup water
1 1/2 cups canned Italian plum tomatoes, coarsely chopped with their juice
1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme or 1/4 teaspoon dried
2 bay leaves
2 or 3 sprigs parsley
black pepper, freshly ground
salt

Preheat oven to 350degreesF.

Choose a pot with with a heavy bottom or of enameled cast iron that can subsequently accommodate all the veal shanks in a single layer.  If you don't have a pot large enough, use 2 smaller ones, dividing the ingredients into two equal halves, but adding 1 extra Tablespoon of butter for each pot.)  Put in the onion, carrot, celery and butter and turn on the heat to medium.  Cook about 6-7 minutes, add the chopped garlic and lemon peel, cook another 2-3 minutes until vegetables soften and wilt, the remove from heat.

Put the vegetable oil in a skillet and turn on the heat to medium high.  Turn the veal shankes in the flour, coating them all over and shaking off the excess flour.

When the oil is hot enough to sizzle when the veal gois in slip in the shanks and brown them deeply all over.  Remove them from the skillet using tongs or slotted spoon and stand them side by side over the chopped vegetables in the pot.

Tip the skillet and spoon off all but a bit of the oil.  Add the wine, reduce it by simmering over medium heat shile scraping the pan, about 4 minutes.  Pour the liquid from the skillet over the veal.

Put the broth in the skillet, bring it to a simmer, and add it to the pot.  Also add the chopped tomatoes with their juice, the thyme, bay leaves, parsley, pepper, and salt.  The broth should have come 2/3 of the wayup to the top of the shanks.  If it does not, add more.

Bring the liquids in the pot to a simmer, cover the pot tightly and place in the lower third of the preheated oven.  Cook about 2 hours or until the meat feels very tender when prodded with a for, and a desne, creamy sauce has formed.  Turn and baste the shanks every 20 minutes.  If while the ossobuco is cooking, the liquid in the pot becomes insufficient, add 2 Tablespoons of water at a time, as needed.

When the ossbuco is done, transfer it to a warm platter, carefully remove the trussing strings without letting the shanks come apart, pour the sauce in the pot over them, and serve at once.  If the pot juices are too thin and watery, place the pot over a burner with high heat, boil down the excess liquid then pour the reduced juices over the ossobuco platter.

Easy Black Bean and Brown Rice Chili

Easy Black Bean Brown Rice Chili
This stuff is easy, basic, healthy, cheap and delicious.

Even better – you make it in the crockpot.  I got the recipe from a popular crockpot cookbook, but I had to alter it a bit.  It was much more thick than I like.  My personal opinion is that if you're going to call it soup or chili, you should be able to pour it out of the pan into a bowl.  The original recipe was so thick it stuck to the spoon like glue.

No problem, though.  Just add broth and it's perfect.

Chilpotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce
The recipe calls for a canned chilpotle pepper.  You can find these in the Mexican food section of your grocery store.  1 pepper is extremely hot and so is the adobo sauce it comes in.  1/2 – 1 pepper in a crockpot of soup that serves 4 is plenty.  I store the leftover peppers from the can in a small plastic container in the fridge – they will stay good for a few weeks.  Toss some sauce or a small portion of a pepper in your omelet or on a baked potato.  It has a nice smoky flavor.

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I like to scoop up my chili with pita toast.  To make pita toast, cut a pita pocket in half.  Split it so that 1 pita makes 4 pieces.  Place rough side up under the broiler and watch closely.  Takes just a couple of minutes to toast.  You only need to toast the 1 side.

Easy Black Bean and Brown Rice Chili
Compliments of JennaDish

Adapted from Not Your Mother's Slow Cooker Cookbook

SERVES 4

CROCKPOT SETTING AND COOK TIME:  LOW for 6-8 hours

Two 15 ounce cans black beans, with their liquid
14.5 ounce can crushed or chopped tomatoes, with their liquid
1/2 cup brown rice
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 – 1 whole canned chilpotle chile, to your taste, cut into small pieces
1/2 – 1 cup chicken or vegetable broth
Plain yogurt and pita toast for serving (optional)

Pour the beans and their liquid and the tomatoes and their liquid into the slow cooker.  Add the brown rice, onion powder, garlic powder, cumin, oregano, and chipotle; stir to combine. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours.

Serve the chili in bowls, topped with yogurt and use toasted pita bread to scoop.