I felt like Wolfgang Puck this week I was getting so crazy with all my cooking.
Not sure where I found the energy for all this, maybe it is that nesting thing that everyone keeps talking about. I read that this week the baby can start to taste things so I figured I better start broadening their horizons. When I was a kid my parents would take Hope and I out for sushi, escargot, pad thai you name it. Not because they liked it (they now eat at the same restaurant a minimum of 3 times a week so I know they don’t love diversity in their meals) but because they wanted to expose Hope and I to various foods. This probably explains why for Chris’s birthday we had Ethiopian that I requested and on my birthday we had Indian. Anyway I thought I would start the baby out early and this week I was feeling sassy. On top of that Chris was putting his foot down on our going out to dinner too often so I had to do something. Here are the 3 recipes that came out of my kitchen this week.
Recipe from Epicurious
three 15 1/2 ounce cans black beans (about 4 1/2 cups), rinsed and drained
1 cup drained canned tomatoes, chopped
1 1/4 cups chopped onion
1/2 cup minced shallot
4 garlic cloves minced
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter
4 cups beef broth
a 16-ounce can pumpkin pureé (about 1 1/2 cups)
1/2 cup dry Sherry
1/2 pound cooked ham, cut into 1/8-inch dice
3 to 4 tablespoons Sherry vinegar
Garnish: sour cream and coarsely chopped lightly toasted pumpkin seeds
In a food processor coarsely pureé beans and tomatoes.
In a 6-quart heavy kettle cook onion, shallot, garlic, cumin, salt, and pepper in butter over moderate heat, stirring, until onion is softened and beginning to brown. Stir in bean pureé. Stir in broth, pumpkin, and Sherry until combined and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, 25 minutes, or until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
Just before serving, add ham and vinegar and simmer soup, stirring, until heated through. Season soup with salt and pepper.
Serve soup garnished with sour cream and toasted pumpkin seeds.
* I was very excited to have an excuse to try out my new Cusineart with this recipe. For years I had been pureeing my black beans in the same blender I have had since college that smelled like a burnt motor. That baby purees like a dream! Also I forgot the onion so I used onion powder instead. I added half a bunch of fresh cilantro and sprinkled more fresh over the top. I also cook this in a crock pot rather than on the stove. Served with salad and fresh mango slices.
Recipe from Cooking Light
1 (16-ounce) package rigatoni or penne pasta
1/4 cup butter
1 medium onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound collard greens, washed, drained, and chopped
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups milk
1 cup shredded mozzarella
1 cup ricotta cheese
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1. Prepare pasta according to directions. Drain and set aside. Preheat oven to 350°. Lightly grease a 13- x 9-inch baking dish.
2. Heat butter in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat; sauté onion 5 minutes or until just brown. Add garlic, and cook about 1 minute. Reduce heat to medium-low, and add greens; cover and cook 15 to 20 minutes or until greens are tender, stirring occasionally.
3. Sprinkle greens with flour. Cook uncovered, stirring constantly, 1 minute. Gradually add milk, stirring well. Cook 5 minutes, stirring often, until thickened and smooth. Remove from heat; stir in cooked pasta, mozzarella, and next 5 ingredients. Place into prepared dish, and sprinkle evenly with Parmesan.
4. Bake at 350° for 15 to 20 minutes.
I'm not sure I have cooked anything with collard greens so this was pretty exciting for me. I could have used spinach or kale, but the collard greens at the store looked nice and fresh. This casserole was a heavy sitter. The recipe says you can omit flour and substitute 1 1/4 cups chicken broth for milk for a lighter version which I might do if I made this again. As my husband pointed out I never make the same thing twice. We had fresh watermelon for desert.
Recipe from Rachel Ray
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, eyeball it
1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs, chopped into bite-sized pieces
1 onion, thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, grated or chopped
1 cup shredded carrots
1 fresh bay leaf
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon coriander
Pinch ground cinnamon
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup chopped dried fruits - pick 1 or combine: figs, pitted dates, apricots, sultanas
1 lemon, zested and juiced
3/4 cup pitted mixed olives, chopped
4 cups chicken stock, divided
2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons pine nuts
1/4 cup slivered or sliced almonds
1 1/2 cups couscous
Handful flat-leaf parsley, chopped
Heat the extra-virgin olive oil in a deep skillet over medium-high heat. When the oil ripples add the chicken and brown 3 to 4 minutes on each side. Add the onions, garlic, carrots, bay leaf and season with spices, salt and pepper, cook 5 to 6 minutes. Stir the fruits into the chicken and vegetables, add the zest of the lemon, olives and 2 1/2 cups of stock. Reduce heat to low and simmer 10 minutes more. Sprinkle with lemon juice and turn off heat. Remove bay leaf.
While chicken simmers, melt butter in a sauce pot over medium heat. Add nuts and lightly toast for a couple of minutes. Add 1 1/2 cups stock and bring up to a boil then stir in couscous. Cover and let stand 5 minutes.
Serve chicken over couscous, or vice versa, and garnish with parsley.
I never watched much Rachel Ray until this summer when I was incapacitated with morning sickness and I’m glad I started. This was the second recipe I have cooked from her show (the first being Mozzarella Stuffed Chicken Sausage Balls with o-Basil Sauce, Cacio e Pepe Potatoes and Roast Broccolini) and it was delicious. I would say this recipe was my favorite of all 3 things I cooked this week. I used a combination of dried apricots, dates and figs for the fruit that was yummy. I forgot to add the parsley, but besides a bit of green color I’m not sure what it would have really added. As left overs it is even more delish! Chris might be proved wrong with this one it might just get made again. I served it with a green salad garnished with shaved carrots and mandarin oranges.
I'm always looking for new and exciting recipes, have any suggestions? Where do you find your favorite recipes - cook books, blogs, magazines, TV? I find I love the internet for recipes because I can search based on what I am in the mood for. I also subscribe to Cooking Light and as of late watch a lot of Food Network. Oh and since fall is here I am especially found of my crock pot so any good recipes you know where I can bust that baby out, pass it along!