Category Archives: Vegetables

Sweet Potato and Corn Chowder with Thyme

Sweet_Potato_and_Corn_Chowder1 (1 of 1)This extremely tasty chowder warms the soul on a chilly autumn night. I enjoy any type of chowder (fish, clam, corn, you name it!), but I find this version particularly interesting because of its use of sweet potatoes, sherry and thyme, and the crème fraîche adds a delicious finishing touch. Long list of ingredients in this recipe, but it’s really easy to prepare — I hope you’ll try this chowder one night!

4 oz bacon, diced
2 Tbsp butter
2 leeks, trimmed, rinsed and finely chopped (white part only)
3 shallots, finely chopped
2 stalks celery, finely chopped
1 bay leaf
2 cloves garlic, very finely grated or minced
2 – 3 medium red potatoes (tot. 1 lb), peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
1 large sweet potato (1 lb), peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
1 lb frozen corn kernels
6 Tbsp dry white wine
3 Tbsp dry sherry
3 Tbsp finely chopped parsley, plus some additional for garnish
2 tsp dried thyme (or 1 Tbsp fresh, finely chopped)
3 tsp salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
5 cups beef or vegetable stock
4 oz crème fraîche

Heat bacon in a small pan over medium-high heat. Cook until bacon is crisp and fat is rendered, about 5 minutes. Remove bacon with a slotted spoon to paper towels. Reserve 1 tsp of the bacon fat.

Heat butter in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Stir in the leeks, shallots, celery and reserved tsp of bacon fat. Sauté about 8 minutes, until leeks and shallots are translucent (and not burnt). Add the bay leaf, garlic, red potatoes, sweet potatoes and corn. Cook 8 minutes, stirring often.

Stir in the wine and sherry. Reduce heat and cook 5 minutes.

Stir in the parsley, thyme, salt, pepper, cayenne and stock. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover partially and simmer for about an hour, until the potatoes are soft, but not falling apart. Remove from heat. Stir in the crème fraîche and season with additional salt, if desired (I added another 1 tsp salt, which seemed about right). Pour into serving bowls, and garnish with chopped parsley and black pepper. I like to serve this dish with cornbread sticks.

Serves 6.

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Leek and Potato Soup with Pearl Barley and a Hint of Nutmeg

Potato_and_Leek_Soup1 (1 of 1)Here’s a hearty fall soup with German roots. It has two of my favorite ingredients:  leeks and nutmeg, which are key to this dish (well, so is the butter). The barley adds a very nice texture and flavor, as well. I’ve had this soup before where it is practically all white because of the broth that was used, but for this recipe, I prefer to use a dark, rich vegetable stock (I used Kitchen Basics). This soup is very easy to make, yet it is very flavorful — I tend to cook recipes with long ingredient lists, but I have to remind myself now and again that simple is elegant and often better! I hope you’ll give this dish a try!

8 cups vegetable stock
1 large leek, finely chopped (white part only)
2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1 lb red potatoes (about 2 large), peeled and cut into a 1/4-inch dice
1/2 cup pearl barley
2 Tbsp butter
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese (or more)
1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley

In a large, heavy-bottomed pot, add vegetable stock and stir in leek, salt, black pepper and nutmeg. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to medium and simmer 10 minutes.

Stir in potatoes, turn heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer 15 minutes.

Stir in barley. Increase heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer 45 minutes. Stir often, so that the barley doesn’t stick to bottom of pot. Stir in butter, and season with additional salt, if desired (I added another 1 tsp salt, which seemed about right). Serve hot, garnishing with parsley and plenty of Parmesan. Fresh, crusty bread is a must with this soup.

Serves 4.

Korean-Style Braise of Chicken with Vegetables (Dakjjim 닭찜)

Dakjjim1 (1 of 1)I really enjoy dining at Korean restaurants — the whole experience (including the food, of course), is usually quite great. I also like to try my hand at cooking Korean in my own kitchen. Some of my favorites to make at home are bulgogi, bibim bap, dwaejigogi kimchijjigae, and the list goes on. Last night, I was in the mood for Korean comfort food, so I made dakjjim (braised chicken).  This version is spicy and delicious, and really satisfied my craving for Korean — I hope you’ll try it this weekend!

1 3-lb chicken, skin and fat removed, but bone intact, cut into 8 pieces
3 tsp salt, divided
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
2 1/2 Tbsp rice wine (or mirin)
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
3 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes (I use Yukon Gold)
1 large carrot, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
2 medium onions, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
1 Tbsp sesame seeds, ground to a paste in a mortar and pestle
2 tsp soy sauce
2 Tbsp gochujang chili paste (available in Asian markets)
3 Tbsp Korean chili powder (available in Asian markets)
2 Tbsp canola oil
4 cups water
3 green chilies, seeded and chopped
1 red chili, seeded and chopped
1 Tbsp sesame oil
2 spring onions, finely sliced
1 tsp sesame seeds for garnish

Place potatoes and carrot in a bowl and cover with cold water. Let soak for about 20 minutes.

In a large bowl, place chicken pieces, 1 tsp salt, ground black pepper and rice wine. Combine well, cover and place in refrigerator while potatoes and carrot soak.

In a small bowl, combine sesame see paste, soy sauce, gochujang paste and Korean chili powder. Set aside.

Heat 1 Tbsp of the oil in a large wok or similar pan over high heat. Add crushed garlic and stir for 10 seconds. Add chicken with its marinade. Cook until nicely browned, about 8 minutes. Remove chicken with a slotted spoon to paper towels and let stand.

Heat remaining oil in the wok over high heat. Add drained potatoes, carrot and onions. Stir-fry vegetables until slightly tender, about 8 minutes. Stir in water, remaining 2 tsp salt, gochujang mixture and chopped chilies. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-high. Simmer until sauce has reduced by a third, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in sesame oil. Pour into 4 serving bowls. Garnish with spring onions and sesame seeds. Serve with bowls of steamed white or brown rice.

Serves 4.

Greek Stewed White Beans with Tomatoes, Oregano and Olive Oil

Fasolada1 (1 of 1)My best friend growing up was (is) half Greek. Her family often had me over for dinner. The meals were always spectacular, and typically featured Greek cuisine. This is where I tasted my first fasolada (φασολάδα). It was delicious! It’s a comfort food in Greece, and I’ve finally decided to make it myself — I don’t know why I didn’t do it sooner because it is so simple to prepare, and I think this version is really good. I remember my friend’s mother’s version as having more tomatoes and less carrots, and lots of olive oil (and I’ll try that next time), but again, I really enjoy this version. Give it a try and let me know what you think! (Note:  this also does well in a slow cooker, on low, 7 – 8 hours).

1 lb cannellini beans, soaked overnight or flash-soaked by bringing to a boil in 8 cups cold water, boiling 2 minutes, removing from heat and letting stand for 1 hour, then draining
1 large onion, diced
1 carrot, peeled and diced
3 stalks celery
1 28-oz can whole, peeled tomatoes, crushed in a bowl with hands
2 Tbsp tomato paste
5 Tbsp olive oil
2 bay leaves
1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
5 cups cold water
3 1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
Additional olive oil for serving
Additional chopped parsley for garnish

In a large Dutch oven or similar pan, bring beans and 8 cups cold water to a boil. Add all other ingredients except salt and pepper (I’ve read that adding the seasoning during the cooking process makes the beans tough — wouldn’t want that!). Bring back to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 1 1/2 hours. My version is a bit thicker than others, so add additional water if you prefer soupy. Remove from heat, season with the salt and pepper. Garnish individual servings and drizzle with a bit more olive oil and parsley. Serve with crusty bread.

Serves 6.

Thai Stir-Fry of Mushrooms and Tofu

Mushrooms_and_Tofu1 (1 of 1)I’ve been posting a lot of meat dishes lately, writing about meat, even declaring my love of meat in my last post. That said, I’m taking a break from meat. This is simple and delicious vegetarian dish (if you use vegetable stock), and served with steamed rice, is a meal in and of itself. It’s not too spicy (depending on the chili garnish you use), give it a try tonight!

14 oz extra firm tofu
1 tsp sesame oil
2 tsp plus 2 Tbsp soy sauce, divided
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1 Tbsp peeled and finely grated or chopped ginger
5 Tbsp vegetable or chicken stock
2 tsp cornstarch
1/2 tsp sugar
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
2 garlic cloves, peeled and very finely grated or chopped
8 oz oyster mushrooms, tough bases removed, cut into 1-inch chunks
8 oz shiitake mushrooms, stems removed, sliced into 1-inch chunks
2 spring onions, sliced diagonally
1 hot red pepper (about 3 inches long), seeded and cut into very fine julienne slices

Drain tofu block and cut into 1-inch cubes. Place cubes in between paper towels and let drain further for about 15 minutes.

Place tofu in a shallow dish. Whisk together sesame oil, 2 tsp soy sauce, ground black pepper and ginger in a small bowl. Add to tofu and toss until tofu is well-coated. Cover with plastic wrap and let marinate for 30 minutes.

Whisk together stock, 2 Tbsp soy sauce, cornstarch and sugar in a small bowl.

Heat oil in a wok over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and stir-fry for 30 seconds. Add the mushrooms and stir-fry for 4 minutes. Add the cornstarch mixture and tofu, and gently mix for 1 to 2 minutes. Season with a couple  additional sprinkles of soy sauce, if desired. Remove from heat and place on a serving platter. Garnish with the sliced green onions and red pepper (add more red pepper, if desired). Serve with steamed jasmine rice.

Serves 2 as a main dish, or 4 as part of a Thai meal with other dishes.

Grilled Pork Churrasco with Fresh Pineapple Salsa

Pork_Churrasco1 (1 of 1)Here’s another delicious outdoor recipe (I’m trying to get as many in as I can before our short New England summer comes to an end). Churrasco is basically grilled meat, which is popular in many South American countries, as well as some European countries. The pork tenderloin strips for this dish marinate in an herbed, smoked paprika mixture for a couple of hours, so plan ahead for this one! I’ve got to say that it’s well worth the wait — the flavors of the grilled, marinated pork combine very well with the fresh pineapple salsa. I hope you’ll try this dish!

1 cup vegetable oil
2 Tbsp smoked paprika
4 garlic cloves, peeled and finely grated or minced
2 Tbsp fresh thyme leaves
1 rounded tsp minced fresh rosemary
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
2 1-lb pork tenderloins, trimmed

3 cups peeled, cored pineapple, cut into 1/4-inch chunks (about 1/2 a large pineapple)
1 cup chopped yellow bell pepper
1/2 cup chopped green onions
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 – 3 chopped, seeded jalapeño peppers
Tabasco sauce

Steamed white rice

Heat oil in a small heavy sauce pan over medium-low heat. Whisk in the paprika and cook 5 minutes (very gently, so as not to burn the paprika) to infuse the oil. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature (I put it in a bowl and then into the fridge to speed up the cooling process).

Pour oil mixture into a blender. Add garlic, thyme, rosemary, salt and pepper. Blend marinade Pork_Churrasco2 (1 of 1)until herbs are finely chopped.

Cut each pork tenderloin lengthwise into 4 strips. Pound each strip in between plastic wrap to a 1/3-inch thickness. Place pork strips in a zip lock freezer bag;  pour marinade into the bag and seal. Toss the mixture well, ensuring that pork is completely coated. Place in the refrigerator to marinate for at least 2 hours (turning occasionally).

Meanwhile, prepare the salsa by combining the pineapple chunks, yellow bell pepper, green onions, cilantro, jalapeño peppers and several shakes of the tabasco sauce (to taste) in a medium bowl. Season with a bit of salt and pepper. Place salsa in the refrigerator for a couple of hours while the pork marinates.

Prepare the grill. Remove pork strips from the marinade and grill about 2 minutes on each side.

Serve the pork with the pineapple salsa and steamed white rice.

Serves 4.

Grilled Steak and Romaine Salad

Steak_and_Romaine_Salad1 (1 of 1)The perfect dish for grilling outside on the 4th of July, this steak salad is full of flavor from the rub and the spicy chipotle chili dressing. It’s a fresh and satisfying meal for a hot summer evening. The grilled romaine is delicious, and adds an interesting touch. I hope you’ll try it!

1 1/2 – 2 lbs flank steak

Rub
1 tsp salt
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground cayenne pepper

Dressing
1 Tbsp olive oil
3 cloves garlic, peeled and finely grated or minced
1/2 cup beef broth
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1 canned chipotle chili pepper in adobo sauce, minced
1 tsp smoked paprika
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper

Romaine
3 hearts of romaine, washed and sliced in half length-wise
1 clove garlic, peeled and finely grated or minced
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper

Garnish
2 avocados, pitted, peeled, thinly sliced (placed in a small bowl, with the juice of 1 lime squeezed over them)Steak_and_Romaine_Salad2 (1 of 1)
1 1/2 cups grape tomatoes, sliced in half length-wise
1 1/2 cups cilantro leaves
1 cup (4 ounces) queso fresco, crumbled
4 scallions, thinly sliced

Score both sides of the steak in a diamond pattern by making shallow diagonal cuts 1 inch apart. Combine ingredients for rub. Place steak in a shallow baking dish; sprinkle rub evenly over both sides, rubbing in with your fingers. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside.

Meanwhile, prepare dressing by heating oil in a small sauce pan over medium-high heat. Add garlic, stirring for 30 seconds. Add beef broth, lime juice, chipotle chili pepper, smoked paprika, salt and black pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer gently for 7 minutes. Remove from heat.

Prepare grill.

Prepare romaine halves by whisking together the garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Brush each of the romaine halves, front and back, with the olive oil mixture. Set aside.

Grill the steak, covered, for 6 minutes on each side. Remove from heat. Cover loosely with foil and let stand for 10 minutes. Thinly slice steak across the grain.

Grill the romaine halves, covered, for 1 minute on each side. Remove from heat.

Assemble salad by placing 1 romaine half on each of 6 serving plates. Divide steak slices and avocado slices among the plates. Sprinkle each with the tomato halves, cilantro leaves, queso fresco and scallions. Drizzle with dressing and serve.

Serves 6.