Tag Archives: vegetarian

Slow-Cooker Southwestern Bean Soup

What’s better than a good soup for lunches during the cooler months, or for a quick, healthy dinner in a time crunch? This Slow-Cooker Southwestern Bean Soup is a load-and-go crock pot recipe adaptation from one we found on Eating Well.

While there is really nothing “quick” about it because you first have to soak the beans overnight, the “fast” method in a slow cooker takes four hours on high, and the “slow” method takes seven or eight hours in the crockpot. Not exactly my idea of a quick turn-around. But the prep is quite simple and then its hands off for hours, allowing you to do other things.

As with many recipes, we alter them to suit or own personal preferences. In this case, we increased each of the three bean types from one-third cup to a half cup each. Then we included 4 pressed garlic cloves and a can of crushed tomatoes to address the moisture for the extra beans. All of these changes are noted below.

Bump up the Southwest flavors like we did with all, or some, of these garnishes of chopped fresh cilantro, some crumbled Cotija (or ricotta salata) cheese, sliced scallions and a squeeze of lime, if desired.

To make ahead: Cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days.

Slow-Cooker Southwestern Bean Soup

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced 
  • 1 large stalk celery, diced
  • 1 large carrot, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and pressed
  • 2 cups water 
  • 4 cups chicken broth, (or vegetable broth)
  • 1 14 oz. can crushed tomatoes
  • ½ cup pearl barley
  • ½ cup dried black beans
  • ½ cup dried great northern beans
  • ½ cup dried kidney beans
  • 1 Tbsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • ½ tsp. dried oregano
  • ¾ tsp. salt

Directions

  1. Soak black beans, great northern beans and kidney beans in water for at least 6 hours or overnight. Drain and boil in fresh water for 10 minutes. Drain and add to a 5- to 6-quart slow cooker.
  2. Add oil, onion, celery, carrot, garlic, water, broth, tomatoes, barley, chili powder, cumin, oregano and salt to the slow cooker. Cover and cook until the beans are tender, about 4 hours on High, or 7 to 8 hours on Low.

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Recipe adapted from Carolyn Malcoun for EatingWell.com

Balsamic Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Shallots

Brussels sprouts was one veggie that I steered clear of for years, mostly because they were never cooked properly and/or lacked any depth of flavor. But when I met Russ, he made a side of them for some home cooked meal when we first started dating, and I became a convert.

Over the following decades, we have often added Brussels sprouts to a menu, trying a whole host of various recipes. This one is a simple sauté of shallots, sprouts, and garlic, that are then browned in the oven and tossed with balsamic vinegar, and thyme. Toasted walnuts were also an ingredient, but not in this house as My Man detests them. You could always make some and serve them separately for those who want a nutty crunch.

I “Lynnized” the recipe to fit our preferences and pare back the 6-8 servings to 3-4. The ingredients list and directions speak to my changes.

Balsamic Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Shallots

  • Servings: 3-4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1 lb. Brussels sprouts, tough outer leaves removed, base trimmed, sprouts cut in half
  • 1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 large shallots, peeled and thickly sliced
  • 4 large cloves garlic, peeled, sliced in half
  • 2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 3/4 tsp. fresh thyme leaves or 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 425°F.
  2. Heat the olive oil in an oven-safe sauté pan on medium high heat. Add the shallots, spread them out in an even layer, lower the heat to medium low, and let them cook for 6 to 8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until softened and lightly browned.
  3. Add the Brussels sprouts and the garlic to the shallots. Cook for 5 to 6 minutes more, stirring occasionally, until the sprouts begin to brown.
  4. Drizzle with 1 1/2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss to coat.
  5. Place in oven, uncovered. Roast at 425°F for 15 to 20 minutes, until cooked through and caramelized on the edges.
  6. Remove from oven. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar and the thyme. Stir to combine. Add more salt and pepper to taste.

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Adapted from a recipe found on Simply Recipes

Pasta Alla Norma

The name of the dish is said to originate from the apocryphal exclamation by the Italian writer Nino Martoglio who, upon tasting the dish, exclaimed “This is a real ‘Norma‘!”, comparing it with the exceptional perfection of the Vincenzo Bellini opera Norma.

We obtained the recipe from Milk Street, but changed the penne pasta to gemelli, which gives a twist to the texture and captures more of the sauce in its curves. Feel free to use whatever pasta suits your fancy.

The eggplant is typically fried before being added to the sauce, but here it is roasted to concentrate the flavors and condense the porous texture. The eggplant is in the oven for about 30 minutes unattended, except for one toss; so use that time to prep the other ingredients, cook the pasta and simmer the tomatoes to make the sauce.

If you’ve never had ricotta salata, it is a firm cheese with a milky, salty flavor. Do not substitute fresh ricotta; a mild feta is a more appropriate substitute.

Don’t forget to reserve about ½ cup of the pasta cooking water before draining. You’ll need the starchy, salted liquid to help bring together the eggplant, pasta and sauce during the final simmer.

Pasta Alla Norma

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1 lb. eggplant, peeled and cut into ¾-inch cubes
  • Kosher salt
  • 6 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 12 oz. penne rigate or mezze rigatoni pasta
  • 8 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • ½ tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 2 pints grape tomatoes
  • 2 Tbsp. white balsamic vinegar
  • ½ cup lightly packed fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped
  • 2 oz. ricotta salata, shredded

Directions

  1. Heat the oven to 475°F with a rack in the upper-middle position. Line a rimmed baking sheet with kitchen parchment.
  2. In a large bowl, toss the eggplant with 1½ teaspoons salt and 4 tablespoons of the oil. Spread in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet and roast until browned and tender, 30 to 35 minutes, stirring once.
  3. Meanwhile, in a large pot, bring 4 quarts of water to a boil. Stir in the pasta and 2 tablespoons salt; cook until the pasta is al dente. Reserve about ½ cup of the cooking water, then drain the pasta.
  4. While the eggplant roasts and the water heats, in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons oil until shimmering. Add the garlic and pepper flakes and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  5. Add the tomatoes and 1½ teaspoons salt, then cover and cook, occasionally shaking the pan, until the tomatoes begin to release their liquid, about 1 minute.
  6. Stir in the vinegar, then use the back of a large spoon to crush the tomatoes. Cover, reduce to medium and cook, stirring, until the mixture breaks down into a lightly thickened sauce, 8 to 9 minutes.
  7. Add the drained pasta, eggplant and ¼ cup of the reserved pasta water to the tomatoes. Cook over medium, stirring constantly, until the sauce begins to cling to the pasta, 2 to 3 minutes.
  8. Taste and season with salt. Stir in half of the basil and transfer to a serving bowl. Sprinkle with the remaining basil and the ricotta salata.

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Recipe adapted from Milk Street

Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Kale-Miso Salad

Sweet potatoes roasted until deeply browned and tossed with a touch of paprika are a great foil for the savory, minerally notes of a miso-dressed kale salad, as noted in Milk Street magazine. The char on the potatoes provides a note of bitterness that balances the richness of the miso. Scallions and cilantro add fresh herbal notes and toasted nuts add crunch. (I switched out pistachios for the walnuts which The Hubs can’t stand.)

This was a perfect side dish for our Deviled Pork Chops entrée. Problem was, the chops took so much longer to cook than the recipe suggested, our sweet potatoes were way overdone by the time the meat was finally ready. And without white miso on hand, we incorporated red miso. Even so, it was still a fabulous pairing.

Don’t dress the salad until just before serving. If left to stand, the kale will turn limp and soggy.

Our potatoes were huge so after peeling them, I first cut them in half vertically before slicing into wedges.

Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Kale-Miso Salad

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 4 medium orange-fleshed sweet potatoes (about 2¼ pounds), peeled, halved crosswise and cut into 1-inch wedge
  • 6 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • ¼ tsp. sweet paprika
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper
  • 1 small garlic clove, grated
  • 4 tsp. sherry vinegar
  • 1½ tsp. white miso
  • 5 oz. baby kale
  • 3 scallions, thinly sliced on bias
  • ½ cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts or pistachios, toasted

Directions

  1. Heat the oven to 425°F with a rack in the middle position. Line a rimmed baking sheet with kitchen parchment. In a large bowl, toss the sweet potatoes with 4 tablespoons of the oil. Spread the potatoes in an even layer on the baking sheet and roast until tender and the edges begin to darken, about 30 minutes.
  2. Stir the potatoes, return to the oven and increase to 500°F. Roast until dark spotty brown and slightly crisped, about another 10 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl. Sprinkle with paprika, ½ teaspoon each salt and pepper, then toss.
  3. While the potatoes roast, in a small bowl, stir together the garlic and vinegar. Let stand for 10 minutes to mellow the garlic. Whisk in the remaining 2 tablespoons oil, the miso and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Set aside.
  4. When the potatoes are done, in another large bowl, toss together the kale, scallions, cilantro and half the walnuts. Pour in the dressing and toss. Divide the sweet potatoes among serving plates and top with the salad. Sprinkle with the remaining walnuts/pistachios.

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Recipe adapted from Milk Street

Sautéed Celery and Leeks with Mushrooms

This savory herb-flecked sauté tastes just like stuffing, but without the bread—goodbye carbs! It embraces celery’s crisp texture and distinctive flavor. Found in a decade-old issue of Fine Cooking Magazine, it intrigued us enough to include as a side dish for our Smothered Chicken with Bourbon and Miso.

One rarely thinks of cooked celery as the star of a side dish. It typically takes a back burner as a mix-in to salads, additive to soups, or an accompaniment to hot wings. But here it shines and surprises. We have now added the recipe to our favorites and plan to serve to guests, especially those who are vegetarian.

Sautéed Celery and Leeks with Mushrooms

  • Servings: 3-4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium leek, rinsed, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise (white and light green parts only)
  • 6 stalks celery, cut in a diagonal in 1/2″ slices
  • Kosher salt
  • 8 oz. cremini mushrooms, quartered
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 tsp. finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 tsp. chopped fresh sage
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp. chicken broth or water

Directions

  1. Heat a 12-inch skillet over medium heat. Add the oil, leek, and a pinch of salt; cook stirring often, until just tender, 3 to 4 minutes.
  2. Add the mushrooms and another pinch of salt and cook until the mushrooms are lightly browned and tender, 4 to 5 minutes.
  3. Add the celery and a pinch of salt and cook until crisp-tender, 5 to 8 minutes.
  4. With a wooden spoon, stir in the lemon juice and scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan.
  5. Stir in the rosemary and sage and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  6. Stir in the parsley and season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer the mixture to a bowl.
  7. Return the pan to medium heat, add the chicken broth or water, and scrape up any remaining bits. Let this liquid reduce by half and then pour over the celery.
  8. Serve immediately.

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Compliments of Melissa Pellegrino

Premium Pumpkin Bread

On a recent super-rainy, windy fall afternoon I made the comment that it would be a good day to bake bread. Russ immediately ran with that thought and mentioned he had just seen a pumpkin bread recipe from The New York Times.

“Yeah, but we don’t have any canned pumpkin,” was my reply. (When I was actually thinking more along the lines of a crusty whole grain loaf.) “I am capable of driving to the grocery store you know,” he bantered—and so he did just that.

But the only pumpkin purée The Hubs could find at the grocery store was a 29-ounce can which is almost double the amount required. We considered freezing the remainder, but then thought better of it and decided to make two loaves, and either freeze the second loaf or gift it.

We are both fans of pumpkin seeds and happened to have a bag of sprouted seeds on hand which I used as a topping. It is totally optional, but adds a nice little crunch to the velvety soft bread—the BEST pumpkin bread we’ve ever had, BTW.

Premium Pumpkin Bread

  • Servings: 1 loaf
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • ½ cup vegetable oil, plus more for greasing the pan
  • 2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • ¾ tsp. kosher salt
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • About 2 cups pumpkin purée or 1 (15-ounce) can
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ¾ cup packed light or dark brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • ¼ cup full-fat sour cream or plain yogurt
  • 1 ½ tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • Sprouted pumpkin seeds for topping (optional)

Directions

  1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Oil an 8 ½- or 9-inch loaf pan; line with parchment, leaving a 2-inch overhang on two sides.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt and baking soda.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the vegetable oil, pumpkin purée, granulated sugar, brown sugar, eggs, sour cream and vanilla.
  4. Fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until fully combined. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and smooth into an even layer.
  5. Bake until the loaf is puffed and set, and a skewer inserted into the center comes out with moist crumbs attached, 60 to 75 minutes. (Ours took the full 75 min.)
  6. Transfer the bread, in the pan, to a rack to cool for 20 minutes.
  7. Use a paring knife to cut the two exposed sides of bread away from the pan, then use the parchment to transfer the cake to the rack. Let cool completely.

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Roasted Rosemary Butternut Squash and Shallots

Butternut squash is a fall heavyweight in my opinion. It pairs well with a variety of flavors and can reinvent itself either sweet or spicy. In this case, we are talking naturally sweet which really develops as it roasts. And you all know that butternut squash is very nutritious with the flesh full of vitamins A and C.

It was a gift from our compost. I noticed squash vines starting to grow in our herb bed backed by a trellised fence. We hadn’t planted any squash so I knew it came from when we composted the garden earlier in the season. Plus the rosemary was freshly picked from our herb garden. Thank you Mother Nature!

Oops, I completely forgot to add the 1/2 teaspoon of granulated sugar. It really wasn’t needed taste-wise because our squash was naturally sweet, but the sugar was more a conductor for caramelization. Although our cubes were lightly browned without it.

This recipe calls for a specific amount of squash, so you may have some leftover. Ours weighed in at 3.3 pounds—a good bit larger than the recipe called for. After peeling and seeding, your squash will lose 2-3 ounces of weight. For example, a 3-pound squash will yield about 2 pounds 13 ounces of flesh. This recipe calls for 2 pounds of diced squash, you’ll want to look for a squash that is around 2 pounds, 3 ounces in weight.

If you have leftovers like us, you may want to sauté the extra cubes and use them in a future frittata, salad or side dish. The toughest part of this recipe is peeling the squash, so it is permissible to buy already cubed, just make sure they are cut to 3/4″ cubes and uniformly sized.

Roasted Rosemary Butternut Squash and Shallots

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 3 cups 3/4-inch-diced, peeled butternut squash (from about a 2-pound squash)
  • 4 medium shallots, peeled, root end left intact, quartered
  • 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin oil
  • 1 tsp. chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp. granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 450°F.
  2. Put the squash cubes on a heavy-duty rimmed baking sheet. Add the shallot quarters to the squash.
  3. Drizzle the olive oil over the vegetables; toss to coat. Sprinkle the rosemary, salt, sugar and pepper over the veggies. Toss to coat again and distribute evenly over the baking sheet.
  4. Roast for 20 minutes. Stir, then continue rosting until the veggies are tender and lightly browned, 10-15 minutes more.
  5. Before serving, taste and season with more salt if desired.

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Adapted from a recipe found on finecooking.com

Tuscany’s Fagioli All’uccelletto

Otherwise known in English as White Beans with Sage, Garlic and Fennel. Super-fab! This one-pot vegetarian meal is so satisfying and tasty, that if you are a meat-eater—and we are—you won’t miss the meat. The simple combination of white beans, sage and garlic exemplifies the clarity of flavor the Tuscany region’s cooks can pull from just a few ingredients.

It is advised not to use cannellini beans, but rather Navy or Great Northern. We used the latter which are smaller than cannellini beans but larger than navy beans. Known for their delicate, nutty flavor, they’re usually added to casseroles and soups, such as this recipe. In summary, white beans provide a good source of protein, an excellent source of fiber, and several essential nutrients.

This recipe gave us a perfect opportunity to harvest the remainder of our fresh sage from the garden before the cold weather set in. Used in two ways—finely chopped and fried whole—this herb has a pronounced herbal flavor that is earthy, has a slightly peppery taste, and emits hints of mint, eucalyptus, and lemon. What’s more, sage is faintly piney, though not like juniper. It’s much softer and mixed with subtle citrus notes; perhaps a little on the bitter side, though not harshly so.

We loved it topped with an ample garnish of grated parmesan, but if omitted, it could work for the vegans in the family.

Don’t drain both cans of beans. The liquid from one of the cans creates a sauce-like consistency that keeps the beans succulent.

Tuscany's Fagioli All'uccelletto

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 6 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 large fennel bulb, trimmed and finely chopped
  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 4 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 3 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh sage, plus 20 whole leaves
  • ¼ tsp. red pepper flakes
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper
  • 1 14½-oz. can diced tomatoes
  • 2 15½-oz. cans white beans, 1 can rinsed and drained
  • Shaved or grated parmesan cheese, to serve

Directions

  1. In a large Dutch oven over medium, heat 3 tablespoons of the oil until shimmering. Add the fennel, onion, garlic, chopped sage, red pepper flakes and 1 teaspoon salt. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables have softened, about 15 minutes.
  2. Stir in the tomatoes and the beans. Cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally and adjusting the heat as needed to maintain a gentle simmer, for 10 minutes. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Meanwhile, line a plate with paper towels. In a 12-inch skillet over medium-high, heat the remaining 3 tablespoons oil until shimmering. Add the sage leaves and cook, flipping the leaves once, until the edges begin to curl, about 1 minute. Transfer to the prepared plate; reserve the oil.
  4. Transfer the beans to a serving bowl, then drizzle with the sage oil. Coarsely crumble the sage leaves over the beans. Top with Parmesan.

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Recipe from Catherine Smart for Milk Street

Cheesesteak Meatloaf Paired with Ratatouille

Folks in much of the U.S. start to breathe a sigh of relief as the temps and humidity become more humane. With the welcome respite, we start craving comfort foods that haven’t made appearances on our dinner table since the early Spring. Meatloaf comes to mind as one of those cool-weather comfort foods, and here’s one with a local twist: Philly Cheesesteak Meatloaf.

I found this recipe on dinnerthendessert.com and decided it was worth a try, after all Philadelphia is our “mother” city, the place we refer to when on vacay and asked where we call home. It contains not only ground beef but green bell peppers, onions and mushrooms, and is topped and stuffed with provolone cheese. Not exactly haute cuisine, but certainly worth a try. And BTW, it is fantastic leftover!

Typically I like to serve mashed potatoes with meatloaf, but The Hubs suggested we pair it with a Farmers Market Ratatouille recipe found in our latest issue of Fine Cooking magazine. It is an example of simple food, prepared in a way to let humble ingredients shine that gets even tastier as it sits. You could even make it the day before, let the flavors meld in the refrigerator and reheat it when ready. A win-win in my book.

For a touch more depth of flavor, I included 1 teaspoon dried oregano, two dried bay leaves and a pinch of red pepper flakes. Keep in mind, the ratatouille is done in a slow cooker and takes over 6 hours total including the prep, so plan ahead. But you will love it because it’s rich in flavor, gluten-free, vegetarian, and absolutely delicious! If you have a non-meat eater in the household, they could make this their main course along with a hefty slice of crusty bread.

The directions instruct to employ a 6-quart slow cooker. We used our 7-quart model and it was filled to the brim initially, but everything cooked down to about half by the end. So you might want to start with a larger cooker if you have one. Oh, and feel free to throw in any errant veggies you may have lurking in the fridge. We had one cooked ear of corn, so I shaved off the kernels and threw them in for the last several minutes before the basil.

Philly Cheesesteak Meatloaf

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 1 small green bell pepper, diced
  • 8 oz.s brown mushrooms, minced
  • 1/2 tsp. Kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
  • 2 lbs. lean ground beef, 85/15
  • 2 Tbsp. ketchup
  • 2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 8 oz. Provolone cheese slices

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and spray a large loaf pan with cooking spray.
  2. In a large skillet over medium high heat, add the butter and the onions and bell peppers, mushrooms, salt and pepper.
  3. Let brown for 3 minutes before stirring, then let brown for another 1-2 minutes before stirring again.
  4. Let cool for five minutes.
  5. In a large bowl add the ground beef, ketchup,Worcestershire sauce, eggs, panko breadcrumbs and the cooled vegetable mixture.
  6. Add half the mixture to your loaf pan then add half of the cheese, overlapping the slices.
  7. Cover with the rest of the meat and form into a flat-top loaf shape. Place your loaf pan on a rimmed baking sheet and put in the oven.
  8. Cook for 40 minutes, then pull out of the oven. Remove any excess grease from the corners with a baster. Cover with remaining cheese and put back in the oven.
  9. Cook for 15-20 minutes, then let rest for 10 minutes before cutting.

http://www.lynnandruss.com

Farmers Market Ratatouille

Farmers Market Ratatouille

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 large (at least) garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1, 6-oz. can tomato paste
  • 1 medium eggplant, trimmed and cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 3 medium Roma tomatoes, seeded and chopped
  • 1 large red onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, cut into 3/4-inch pieces
  • 1 medium yellow bell pepper, cut into 3/4-inch pieces
  • 1 medium zucchini, trimmed and cut into 3/4-inch dice
  • 1 medium yellow summer squash, trimmed and cut into 3/4-inch dice
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 lightly packed cup thinly sliced basil

Directions

  1. Heat the oil in a small skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add the garlic, remove from the heat, and let cool 5 minutes
  2. Stir in the tomato paste until smooth.
  3. Combine all of the prepped veggies (except the basil) in a 6-qt. (or larger) slow cooker. Add the tomato paste mixture, bay leaves, dried oregano, red pepper flakes, 1 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; stir well.
  4. Cover and cook on low until the vegetables are tender, about 5 hours.
  5. Remove the lid, and continue cooking until some of the liquid evaporates, about 30-45 minutes.
  6. Stir in the basil, season to taste with salt and pepper, and serve or cool and refrigerate until ready to eat.
Uncover and continue cooking for 30-45 minutes to evaporate some of the liquid.

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Braised Red Cabbage With Apples

What do you do with a red cabbage leftover from a Farmers Market Arrangement made for your garden club? I know this is a dilemma for many of you…

Initially, my red cabbage was part of this arrangement.

Kidding aside, cooler October temps invite the braising season to commence. And this is one of those dishes that’s even better the following day, so go ahead and make it when you have time and then serve it on a weeknight with quick cooking chops of some sort.

Be sure to soak the shredded cabbage in cold water as suggested in Step 1. The cabbage absorbs water, which is then released in cooking, and helps to steam the cabbage for utmost tenderness.

We concur, this is probably THE BEST braised cabbage we’ve ever had, and no sugar!

Braised Red Cabbage with Apples

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1 large red cabbage, 2 to 2 1/2 pounds, quartered, cored and cut crosswise in thin strips
  • 2 Tbsp. canola oil
  • 1 small onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 tart apples, such as Braeburn or granny smith, peeled, cored and sliced
  •  About 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
  • ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
  •  Salt
  •  Freshly ground pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Prepare the cabbage, and cover with cold water while you prepare the remaining ingredients.
  2. Heat the oil over medium heat in a large, lidded skillet or casserole, and add the onion. Cook, stirring, until just about tender, about three minutes.
  3. Add 2 tablespoons of the balsamic vinegar and cook, stirring, until the mixture is golden, about three minutes, then add the apples and stir for two to three minutes.
  4. Drain the cabbage and add to the pot. Toss to coat thoroughly, then stir in the allspice, another 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, and salt to taste. Toss together.
  5. Cover the pot, and cook over low heat for one hour, stirring from time to time.
  6. Add freshly ground pepper, taste and adjust salt, and add another tablespoon or two of balsamic vinegar as desired.

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Recipe from Martha Rose Shulman for The NY Times

Meatless Pasta with Lemony Breadcrumbs

What to do for dinner in late-summer/early-fall with an abundance of grape tomatoes and fresh herbs? Well that would be Skillet Burst Grape Tomato Casarecce with Lemony Breadcrumbs. It’s a very simple pan roasted grape tomato pasta with white wine, garlic, fresh herbs, topped with the most crunchy lemony breadcrumbs, and finished with luscious burrata cheese.

Don’t forget to add that luscious dollop of fresh burrata.

This perfect late-summer dinner is ready in under 30 minutes using basic pantry staples and end-of-season garden bounty. If you’ve never used it, Casarecce pasta is a very narrow, twisted, and rolled tube, almost resembling a scroll. If you can’t find it, substitute a similar twisted, tubular pasta like cavatappi, cavatelli, gemelli, or fusilli.

If you have any leftovers, keep the bread crumbs and buratta separate. When ready to eat, reheat the pasta in a microwave for a few minutes, then top with crumbs and cheese.

Skillet Burst Grape Tomato Casarecce with Lemony Breadcrumbs

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1 cup finely torn ciabatta bread
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Crushed red pepper flakes to taste
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 pound casarecce pasta, or other twisted tubular pasta
  • 1 1/4 lbs. red and yellow grape tomatoes
  • 6-8 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 Tbsp. chopped fresh oregano
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup manchego cheese, grated
  • 2 cups fresh basil, roughly chopped
  • 2 balls fresh burrata cheese, each ball split in two

Directions

  1. In a large skillet set over medium heat, add 2 tablespoons olive oil. When the oil shimmers, add the bread, a pinch of red pepper flakes and pinch of kosher salt. Cook, stirring occasionally until golden and toasted all over, about 5 minutes.
  2. Remove from the heat and stir in the lemon zest. Slide bread crumbs onto a plate. Wipe the skillet clean. 
  3. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook according to package directions until al dente. Just before draining, remove 1 cup of the pasta cooking water. Drain.
  4. Meanwhile, place the same skillet used for the bread over high heat and add the remaining olive oil. When the oil shimmers, add the tomatoes, garlic, thyme, and oregano, and a pinch each of salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Cook until the tomatoes begin to pop, about 4-5 minutes. Pour in the wine, cook 1 minute.
  5. Add the pasta and a splash of the pasta cooking water to the skillet, tossing to combine. Remove from the heat and add the manchego cheese and basil, toss to combine. If needed, thin the pasta sauce with a little of the reserved cooking water.
  6. Divide the pasta among shallow bowls, nestle in half a burrata ball, and top with bread crumbs.

http://www.lynnandruss.com

Loosely adapted from a recipe found on halfbakedharvest.com

Rigatoni with Artichokes, Basil and Pecorino

Fresh basil, I like that this pasta recipe uses a lot of it. At the time we made the entrée, our garden was brimming with the herb, one of my all-time faves. Freshly picked, the aroma alone titillates the senses.

This recipe is Milk Street’s weeknight adaptation of the pasta fresca con carciofi e pecorino. The flavors are bright and fresh, and the prep is a breeze (chopping the basil is as arduous as it gets here). In 30 minutes or so, you have a tasty and filling entrée that’s sure to please.

As per Milk Street’s instructions, be sure to purchase jarred marinated artichoke hearts—they offer much more flavor than canned or frozen. You will need three 12-ounce jars to get the 3 cups drained artichokes called for. The hearts usually are halved or quartered; there’s no need to chop them after draining, as they will break apart during cooking.

About those artichokes, if you happen to have jars marinating in mostly oil, go ahead and use that in place of the additional EVOO listed in the ingredients. Trader Joe’s fits that bill, while Cento for example has too much vinegar in the mix.

Our box of rigatoni was only 12 ounces as opposed to the 1 pound called for, which we thought made for a better pasta-to-artichoke ratio, and still provided 4 full servings.

Don’t forget to save 2 cups of the cooking water before draining the rigatoni. You will need the starchy seasoned water to create a sauce that lightly coats and marries the artichokes and pasta.

Rigatoni with Artichokes, Basil and Pecorino

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1 lb. rigatoni (we only used 12 oz.)
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil (or use the oil from the jarred artichokes)
  • 3 cups drained oil-marinated artichoke hearts, patted dry
  • 4 medium garlic cloves, finely grated
  • ½ tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 2 oz. pecorino romano cheese, finely grated (1 cup)
  • 1 Tbsp. grated lemon zest, plus 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 cup lightly packed fresh basil, chopped
  • 3 Tbsp. salted butter, cut into 3 pieces

Directions

  1. In a large Dutch oven, bring 4 quarts water to a boil. Stir in the pasta and 1 tablespoon salt, then cook, stirring occasionally, until just shy of al dente. Reserve about 2 cups of the cooking water, then drain the pasta.
  2. Wipe out the pot, add the oil and heat over medium-high until shimmering. Add the artichokes and cook, stirring, until well browned, 5 to 7 minutes. (Ours took 9 minutes.)
  3. Add the garlic and pepper flakes, then cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Return the pasta to the pot, along with 1½ cups of the reserved pasta water. Cook, uncovered and stirring often, until the pasta is al dente and little liquid remains, 3 to 5 minutes.
  4. Remove from the heat. Add the pecorino, lemon zest and juice, basil and butter, then stir until the butter is melted.
  5. Stir in additional pasta water 1 tablespoon at a time until slightly saucy. Taste and season with salt and pepper.

http://www.lynnandruss.com

Adapted from a recipe by Diane Unger from Milk Street

Grilled Chile-Spiced Pork Tenderloins and Grilled Corn Salad

The beauty of this meal is that you’re going to use your grill for both components, the meat and the corn salad. For the non meat eaters in the crowd, they can enjoy the full-bodied Grilled Corn & Avocado Salad with Creamy Feta Dressing as their entrée.

But for those who indulge in meat, this pork recipe couldn’t be much simpler. Butterflied and pounded thin, the pork tenderloins are first marinated in a lively mix of lime, chile and spices then cooked quickly over a hot grill.

It’s a good idea to grill your veggies first, so that while they cool and you assemble the salad, the meat can be grilled and rested for 5 minutes. We happened to have a head of Bibb lettuce that needed to be used up so it only made sense to use that instead of running out to the store for a head of romaine—and it worked perfectly.

With only two of us for dinner, I decided not to cut the second avocado until the next day and therefore only dressed half of the salad to be eaten with dinner, saving the remainder for lunch on the following day. The extra dressing was put in small containers and topped the salad, along with leftover strips of pork, when ready to eat.

Our luncheon salad the next day.

NOTE: Next time we would double the amount of scallions. Once cooked down and charred, six scallions didn’t have nearly enough presence. Use an entire bunch!

Grilled Chile-Spiced Pork Tenderloin

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 2 Tbs. ground chile powder, such as ancho, California, or New Mexico
  • 2 tsp. finely grated lime zest
  • 2 Tbs. fresh lime juice
  • 1 Tbs. olive oil; more for the grill
  • 1 Tbs. finely chopped jalapeño
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 pork tenderloins (2 to 2-1/2 lb. total)
  • Chopped fresh cilantro, for serving
  • Lime wedges, for serving

Directions

  1. In a small bowl, combine the chile powder, lime zest and juice, oil, jalapeño, garlic, cumin, oregano, and 1 tsp. salt to form a paste.
  2. Butterfly the tenderloins by making a lengthwise slit down each, taking care not to cut all the way through to the opposite side.
  3. Open each tenderloin, cover with a sheet of plastic wrap, and gently pound the meat with a meat pounder to an even thickness of about 1/2 inch.
  4. Generously rub the chile paste all over, and let sit at room temperature for 1 hour (or refrigerate, wrapped in plastic, for up to 1 day). Ours marinated for 10 hours.
  5. Meanwhile, prepare a medium (350°F to 375°F) gas or charcoal grill fire.
  6. Lightly oil the grate and grill the tenderloins, flipping once, until just firm to the touch, 2 to 3 minutes per side.
  7. Transfer to a warm platter, cover loosely with foil, and let rest for 5 minutes. Slice o a moated cutting board to catch any juices. Serve with the cilantro and lime wedges.

http://www.lynnandruss.com

Grilled Corn & Avocado Salad with Creamy Feta Dressing

Grilled Corn & Avocado Salad with Creamy Feta Dressing

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 6 ears corn, shucked and silk removed
  • 1 bunch scallions, trimmed
  • 1 jalapeño, stemmed, halved lengthwise, and seeded
  • 3 Tbsp. olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk
  • 1 tsp. freshly grated lemon zest
  • 1 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 garlic clove, grated
  • 1/4 cup sliced fresh chives
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 med. head romaine lettuce, cut or torn into bite-size pieces
  • 2 avocados, sliced

Directions

  1. Heat a grill or grill pan over medium-high.
  2. Brush corn, scallions and jalapeño with the oil and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Arrange on the grill and cook, turning occasionally, until corn kernels are browned in spots and the scallions and jalapeño are charred all over and tender, about 10 minutes, a little longer for the corn.
  4. Transfer vegetables to a cutting board and let cool slightly.
  5. When cool, remove charred jalapeño skin (wasn’t necessary for us.) Finely chop.
  6. In a medium bowl, using a fork, mash the feta into a coarse paste. Whisk in buttermilk, lemon zest and juice and garlic, then stir in chives, parsley, and charred jalapeño. Season with salt and pepper.
  7. In a large bowl, toss lettuce with half the feta dressing and arrange on a platter or salad bowl.
  8. Cut corn kernels off the cob and slice scallions into bite-size pieces.
  9. Arrange avocado slices, corn and scallions on top of the lettuce. Serve with remaining dressing or add additional dressing, as desired.

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Recipe adapted from The New York Times, contributed by Sue Li

Lebanese Lentils and Rice with Crisped Onions (Mujaddara)

Rice and lentils with caramelized onions is a much-loved food in the Middle East. This is Milk Street’s take on the version they tasted in Lebanon, where the dish is called mujaddara. The rice and lentils are simmered together in the same pot, with the lentils getting a 10-minute head start so both finish at the same time.

Meanwhile, the onions are fried until crisp and deeply caramelized—almost burnt, really—to coax out a savory bittersweet flavor. Serve hot, warm or at room temperature with a dollop of plain yogurt. It’s a delicious accompaniment to grilled or roasted meats, but it’s hearty enough to be the center of a vegetarian meal.

We took the flavor up a notch by using homemade chicken broth instead of the water. Of course, it’s no longer vegetarian after that, but you could use vegetable or mushroom stock if that is your goal. I must admit, without the pop of green from scallions (and I added a garnish of cilantro), the dish is very bland and brown looking—the taste is anything BUT.

For the uninitiated, lentils are tiny round legumes—aka a seed that grows in a pod—a plant-based protein source that come in a variety of sizes and colors, including black, brown, yellow, red, or green. They’re low in fat, extremely nutrient-dense, and generally pretty affordable to buy, and they pack in a lot of health benefits. They are high in protein, are a good source of iron, and pack a lot of healthy fiber.

Tip: Don’t use French green lentils (Puy lentils) in place of the brown lentils called for. Even when fully cooked, green lentils retain a firm, almost al dente texture, while brown lentils take on a softness that combines well with the rice. Don’t worry if the onions turn quite dark at the edge of the skillet; deep browning is desirable. But do stir the browned bits into the mix to ensure the onions color evenly. However, if the onions brown deeply before they soften, lower the heat a notch or two and keep stirring until the pan cools slightly.

Lebanese Lentils and Rice with Crisped Onions (Mujaddara

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 4 medium garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 2½ tsp. ground cumin
  • ½ tsp. ground allspice
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper
  • 5 cups water, or choice of stock (we used homemade chicken stock)
  • 1 cup brown lentils, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup basmati rice, rinsed and drained
  • ⅓ cup peanut oil
  • 2 medium yellow onions, halved and thinly sliced
  • 1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced
  • Plain whole-milk yogurt, to serve

Directions

  1. In a large Dutch oven over medium-high, combine 5 cups water, the garlic, bay, cumin, allspice, 1 tablespoon salt and 1 teaspoon pepper. Bring to a boil, then stir in the lentils and reduce to medium. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally and adjusting the heat to maintain a simmer, until the lentils are softened but still quite firm at the center, about 10 minutes.
  2. Stir in the rice and return to a simmer. Cover, reduce to medium-low and cook until the liquid is absorbed and the lentils and rice are tender, about 25 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the onions and cook, stirring only occasionally at the start then more frequently once browning begins at the edges of the pan, until the onions are deeply caramelized and crisped, 10 to 15 minutes; adjust the heat if the onions brown too quickly. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the onions to a paper towel–lined plate and spread evenly. Sprinkle with ¼ teaspoon salt and set aside; the onions will crisp as they cool.
  4. When the lentils and rice are tender, remove the pot from the heat. Uncover and lay a kitchen towel across the pan, then replace the lid and let stand for 10 minutes.
  5. Using a fork, fluff the lentils and rice, removing and discarding the bay. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
  6. Stir in half the scallions, then transfer to a serving bowl. Top with the fried onions and remaining scallions.
  7. Serve hot, warm or at room temperature with yogurt on the side.

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Recipe courtesy of 177MilkStreet.com

Cellentani with Sweet Corn, Tomatoes and Basil

In our neck of the country, no food combo screams summer quite as loudly as the holy trinity of sweet, fresh corn, tomatoes and basil. The Hubs and I try to eat them as often as we can during the short growing season. So finding a version of this recipe from Milk Street was welcome news.

The ingredients in this summery pasta dish are few, so fresh corn and ripe tomatoes are key. To create a creamy sauce without cream, grate the corn kernels from the cobs. To reinforce the corn flavor, boil the cobs in the water that is later used to cook the pasta. Using a minimal amount of water—just 2½ quarts—means the flavors and starches are concentrated in the liquid, and you put some of this liquid to good use in the sauce.

Yellow corn gives the dish a golden hue, but white corn—which is what we had at the time—works jut as well. Whichever you use, make sure to remove as much of the silk as possible before grating.

Twisty, fluted, or frilly eye-catching pasta shapes are best here—if you can’t find cellentani (a delightful corkscrew-shaped pasta), look for gemelli, cavatappi or campanelle. With its tubular center and ridged surface, cellentani is perfect for a hearty pasta meal, capturing every drop of the flavorful sauce and trapping the grated corn kernels in every delicious forkful.

I know many of you may turn your nose when a habañero chili is listed in the ingredients. But do not fear. In this dish it does add a little heat (seeding the chili removes much of its burn), but it’s here mostly because its fruity notes are a nice complement to the corn, tomatoes and basil. Please do not omit it.

I made the mistake of using the entire one-pound box of cellentani instead of just 12 ounces which is what the recipe called for. The Hubs questioned me as I was making the dish, but at that point it was too late, I’d already cooked the pasta. I believe it would be best with the lesser amount.

Next time, I would also add another ear or two of corn, but with those, don’t grate, rather slice the kernels whole off of the cob and mix them in. It would give a bit more tooth to the overall texture. Finally, we also felt a garnish of grated Pecorino Ramono provided another layer of depth to the flavor profile and a hint of saltiness.

Cellentani with Sweet Corn, Tomatoes and Basil

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper
  • 4 ears corn, husked
  • 4 Tbsp. (½ stick) salted butter, cut into 4 pieces, divided
  • 2 medium shallots, minced
  • 1 habañero chili, stemmed, seeded and minced
  • 12 oz. cellentani (or gemelli, cavatappi, campanelle)
  • 2½ quarts water
  • 1 cup chopped fresh basil

Directions

  1. In a small bowl, stir together the tomatoes and ½ teaspoon salt; set aside. Set a box grater in a large bowl or pie plate. Using the grater’s large holes, grate the corn down to the cobs; reserve the cobs.
  2. In a large pot, bring 2½ quarts water to a boil. Add the corn cobs and 1 tablespoon salt, reduce to medium and cook, covered, for 10 minutes. Using tongs, remove and discard the cobs, then remove the pot from the heat.
  3. In a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium, melt 2 tablespoons of butter. Add the grated corn, shallots, chili and 1 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring, until the shallots have softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in 1½ cups of the cooking water. Cook over medium-low, uncovered and stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened (a spatula should leave a brief trail when drawn through the mixture), 10 to 15 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, return the remaining corn-infused water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook, stirring occasionally, until al dente. Reserve 1 cup of the cooking water, then drain the pasta. Add the pasta to the skillet and cook over medium, stirring constantly, until the pasta is coated and the sauce is creamy, about 2 minutes; if needed, add the reserved cooking water 2 tablespoons at a time to reach proper consistency.
  5. Off heat, add the remaining 2 tablespoons butter, the tomatoes with their juices and the basil, then toss until the butter has melted. Taste and season with salt and pepper.

http://www.lynnandruss.com

Recipe found on Milk Street