Coconut Quinoa with Seared Sausage and Peaches

Peaches, Sausage and Coconut Oil Quinoa
This is a healthy, filling and tasty meal that is easy to throw together in thirty minutes. It’s nearing the end of peach season and it’s with sadness that we say goodbye to one of the best years I’ve witnessed for this magical fruit. There was something truly special about the peaches on our tiny tree in the backyard. Matt brought one in to me a couple weeks ago and when I tasted it, the first thing I said was, “This tastes like a Jolly Rancher!” The summer peach is like the summer tomato – neither fruit can be reproduced in full effect and glory throughout the rest of the year. So we ate our modest harvest directly from the tree while standing in the yard and I cooked up the rest in a couple different meals.

The quinoa is nearly the show-stealer for this meal, though. Our good friend posted a quick tip on her Facebook feed a few weeks ago, mentioning that she loved to stir coconut oil into her quinoa at the end of cooking and top it with avocado. We tried that exact recipe and swooned. I made it again as quickly as possible and created this meal. The coconut quinoa and the sweet spice of the sausage and peaches paired perfectly together and tasted like summer. There’s not much time left to make meals like this, so hop to it!

Sausage, Peaches and Quinoa

Coconut Quinoa with Grilled Sausage and Peaches

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

1 cup pearl quinoa
2 cups water
2 TBS extra virgin coconut oil
salt and pepper to taste
2 cooked sausage links (to serve 4)
1 TBS unsalted butter
1-2 ripe summer peaches, sliced

Rinse the quinoa for about a minute under cold running water. This may seem unnecessary to you, as it did to me the first time, but it’s the difference between good tasting quinoa and extremely bitter tasting quinoa. How ’bout I write “quinoa” one more time?

In a medium saucepan, bring the water to a boil and add in the quinoa and lower to a simmer and cover. Cook for about 20 minutes until water is absorbed. Or just follow the package instructions! When it’s done, stir in the coconut oil and salt and pepper and adjust seasoning to taste. If you want to go vegetarian, simply substitute avocado for the sausage and serve with seared peaches. For the sausage, add a tablespoon of butter into a clean skillet and sear the sausage until browned on both sides. Remove the sausage and add the peaches and saute until warmed through. Serve on top of quinoa along with the sausage.

 

 

Advertisements

Savory Vegetable Souffles – Meatless Mondays Never Tasted So Good

Brussels Sprout and Cheddar Souffle Brussels Sprouts and Cheddar Souffle
Happy Monday After Daylight Savings Time!  This will be a hard week for many, getting used to the time change.  I love it once the adjustment takes place because I LOVE that it stays light outside till nearly 8:30 in the spring and nearly 10 in the summer.  We get to play later (it seems) and it’s important to not feel so closed in after months of the cold, dark evenings of winter.

I’ve been in a new, happy rut, lately.  On most Mondays lately, I’ve been making a vegetable souffle.  I hardly ever have my act together for dinner on Monday and I usually haven’t been to the store for the week (like today), but I nearly always have some sort of leftover veg in the fridge and (usually) four eggs.  Voila – this beautiful souffle, big enough for all of us to eat more than a big portion.  I’d say it would serve 4 as a side dish or 2.5 (like us) as a main. And it’s so versatile!Brussels Sprouts Souffle
The pics above were made with Brussels sprouts and cheddar and the pics below were spinach and gruyere.  I’ve done leftover broccoli with white cheddar, leek, and asparagus, too!  If you have eggs, cheese and some leftover vegetables, you have a meal!  And a really good one.  Every time I have made this, Olive has said, “this is a good meal, Mama.” Good enough for me!  It’s a wonderful vehicle for getting more vegetables into your little people, as well.
Spinach and Parmesan Souffle

Savory Vegetable Souffles

  • Servings: 4-6 as a side
  • Print

1/3 cup grated parmesan or fine bread crumbs
2 cups cooked vegetables, finely chopped.  Use boiled brussels sprouts, spinach, leeks, asparagus, kale, whatever floats your boat!
5 tablespoons butter
salt and pepper
1/4 cup flour
1 cup milk
4 eggs, room temp and separated
1/2 cup grated hard cheese – cheddar, gruyere, gouda, romano, parm, etc

Heat the oven to 375F. Butter a 6-cup souffle dish or 6 one cup ramekins, if you want everyone to have a nice, neat side dish of their very own.  Coat the sides of the dish with cheese or breadcrumbs. Cook your vegetable in salted boiling water until tender.  Drain and squeeze out as much moisture as you can.  Season with salt and pepper and set aside.

In a large saucepan, melt the 1/4 cup butter over medium heat, stir in the flour and cook, stirring frequently, for 2 minutes.  Whisk in the milk and cook until the sauce has thickened, whisking the entire time.  Season with salt and pepper to taste and add a splash more milk if it gets too thick (you want a thick gravy consistency).  Set aside off the heat.  Into your egg yolks, whisk in about 1/2 cup of the hot cream sauce to warm them and then return them to the rest of the sauce and whisk to incorporate.  Stir in the cheese and when it’s melted, fold in the vegetables.

With a mixer, beat the egg whites until stiff.  Stir a quarter of them into the souffle base and then fold in the remainder until no white streaks show.  Bake souffles on a rimmed baking sheet in the middle of the oven until risen and golden, 30-35 minutes.  The middle will be slightly wobbly if you’ve made it in one large dish.  Serve immediately!

*recipe adapted from The New Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone cookbook, which is completely fantastic so far.  Hasn’t steered us wrong, yet!

 

 

 

Spinach and Parmesan Souffles

Peperonata – new uses for old things

Peperonata with Cajun Shrimp and Cornbread
I love learning new ways to use vegetables.  I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t know much to do with most vegetables except roast them or turn them into soups.  Granted, those are two very easy and tasty options, but it lacks…creativity.  And in order to keep eating my vegetables, I need variety!  I have a new friend who is vegetarian and gave me the suggestion to purchase the Moosewood Restaurant cookbook, a book based off the recipes served at Moosewood Restaurant in Ithaca, NY.  She said it was one of the best books for vegetarianism and had so much variety and the recipes were so easy, it was always her go-to for what to cook.

Matt dog-eared the recipe for Peperonata, a bell pepper and onion saute that can be used on just about any meal as a garnish or side dish.  Much like the Romesco sauce I posted about a few weeks ago, this dish is full of flavor and extremely versatile.  The night I cooked it, I made our favorite cornbread recipe and served the pepronata on top of a cut and buttered piece of cornbread and added some cajun broiled shrimp as more of the side dish and let the vegetable be the main course!  I like to flip-flop proportions every now and then to get more into the habit of seeing vegetables as the star of the show instead of the 30 second commercial.

First recipe from Moosewood: win!  I am excited to dig through and learn more as I go!

Peperonata with Cornbread and Cajun Shrimp

Peperonata*
makes about 6 cups

3 red bell peppers
3 green bell peppers
2 large white or red onions (about 3 cups sliced)
2 TBS olive oil
1 cup canned plum tomatoes, or 2 fresh tomatoes (don’t drain the can)
2 TBS red wine vinegar
salt and ground pepper to taste
1 tsp sugar

Slice the peppers and onions lengthwise into strips.  Heat the oil in a large (LARGE) skillet over medium heat.  Add the peppers and onions and saute, stirring frequently, until tender and slightly browned.  This took me about 20 minutes.
Stir the tomatoes and vinegar into the peppers and cook for about 5-10 minutes more, until the liquid evaporates.  Add the salt and pepper to your liking and sugar.
Serve over buttered cornbread, in pasta, tucked in an omelet, as a garnish on a hamburger, a topping for hotdogs – it’s really endless!

*recipe from Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home

Basil Risotto – Herbs are Vegetables, Too

Basil Risotto
Leafy greens.  For most Americans, this isn’t the most appealing set of words.  However, most of us might just think LETTUCE or  SPINACH or KALE and think, “How on earth am I supposed to eat several cups of that a week?!  Lettuce not forget about herbs (please forgive that pun, I really had no other choice.)  They are brimming with nutrients! It’s such an easy and flavorful way to add more vitamins and fiber to your diet and your recipes.  I always tend to forget that things like basil, thyme, oregano, mint – these are quite leafy and quite green, too!  Sure, you can’t eat as much of them as you can kale in one sitting, but a mild basil goes amazingly well with spinach and can really add a lot of interest to a dish.  Basil is full of beta-carotene, Vitamin A, K and its leaves are rich with essential oils known for being anti-inflammatory.  And lucky you, the summertime is a time when basil grows like a weed!  

I realize that lettuces, spinach, cabbages, etc, are sometimes challenging for little ones (and me) to eat.  But I’ve fully gotten Olive acclimated to the flavors of pesto and I consider that a small victory.  It’s green, so it opens the door for other vegetables to eventually be accepted as well.  For this creamy, bright risotto, I made a pureed basil (not really pesto as I didn’t have Parmesan or pine nuts on hand) with just basil, garlic and garlic oil and stirred it into my risotto in the last minute of cooking.  Garnished with a chiffonade of fresh basil and we had lunch!  Olive loved it and I loved that while it seemed like comfort food, it was actually quite healthy and nutritious for us both.  Not a lot of butter and oil – just good chicken stock (which is amazing for your health on its own), basil, onion and rice!

I encourage you to think of herbs as a choice for getting more vegetables into your diet.  And what better herb to start with than basil?

Pesto Risotto
Basil Risotto

serves 6-8 as a meal

2 cups arborio rice
2 TBS butter
5-6 cups good chicken stock (low sodium if store-bought or just use water and season later)
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 large garlic clove
2 cups packed basil leaves
4 TBS olive oil (I used garlic oil)
2 garlic cloves
salt and pepper to taste

In a large cup with an immersion blender or in a food processor, blend the basil leaves, olive oil, garlic and about a half tsp salt and pepper.  Taste and adjust seasoning to your liking.  You can full out make a regular pesto if you want, but this is what I had on hand and it worked great.  If you make a full batch of pesto, only stir in about 1/4th of a cup into your risotto.

In a large saucepan, heat the chicken stock to a simmer.

In a large, deep skillet over medium heat, melt the butter until it starts to bubble and then saute the onion and garlic until soft, stirring to not let the garlic burn.  Stir in the rice and stir to fully coat in the butter and onion.  Begin adding 1/2 cups of stock to the pan, stirring pretty regularly to ensure the rice doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan.  When the liquid cooks off, add another 1/2 cup and keep this process up until you’re down to about a cup of stock and have been cooking it for at least 20 minutes.  Near the end, taste the rice – you don’t want it crunchy, but you don’t want it mushy either.  Think of it like pasta – a nice bite to it is key.  Stir in another half cup of stock if you think it could use it and then add in the basil paste.  Remove pan from the heat and serve immediately.  Garnish with fresh basil or a grating of fresh Parmesan and cracked pepper.

Creamy White Bean Soup

White Bean and Celery Cream Soup

 

So these days, I’m either making soups, roasting something, caramelizing something, or melting chocolate.  Tis’ the season, right?  I found another gem in Homemade Winter of an incredibly filling, rich soup loaded with protein, fiber and veggies.  As a pureed soup, Olive had no problem drinking it from her little soup cup, and as I’ve said before, I think soups are THE easiest and most efficient way for toddlers to try a myriad of vegetables, flavors and colors.  And how easy they are to convert to “baby food”!  Back when I was making baby food, I would make a batch of vegetable soup, and after pureeing it, I could fill nearly a dozen jars.  Try buying a dozen jars of baby food in the store vs. a butternut squash and some chicken stock.  The price difference says it all!

Olive has been very into “sauce!” lately, no matter what it is.  She covets it, even though she doesn’t like any of it except “tomato sauce” (ketchup).  Any time we have Srirracha or Tapatio or mustard – whatever – she wants it.  So we give her tastes of anything she requests.  She usually raises her eyebrows and fusses a bit, especially if it’s spicy, but hey, that’s how she learns!  This soup has a smoky chili oil drizzled on top, and I thought it was a genius addition.   I didn’t have any celeriac, and it was one of those super cold days where I didn’t want to run out to the store for one ingredient, so I used the celery I had in my fridge, and I thought it worked great.

More, yes, MORE post from Homemade Winter to come.  It’s so perfect for this season, it’s unbelievable.  Enjoy this soup!

Creamy White Bean Soup* – START THIS SOUP A DAY AHEAD
makes a lot

1 1/2 cups dried white beans
1/4 cup olive oil
2 leeks, white and light green parts, washed well and finely chopped
4 stalks of celery, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
6 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable broth (I used chicken)
2 tsp  minced fresh rosemary, or 1 tsp dried
salt and ground black pepper
juice of 1/2 lemon
drizzle of chili oil – I bought mine at an Asian Mart, but I think you could find it in the Asian section of any grocery store

Soak the beans overnight in enough water to cover them by 2 inches.

Heat the oil in a large saucepan or stock pot and add the leeks and celery.  Saute, stirring constantly, until the leeks are soft.  Add the garlic, stir for a bit, and then add the broth.

Drain the beans and add them to the saucepan.  Add the rosemary and season with salt and pepper.  Slowly bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat and let the soup simmer over low heat with the lid partway on for 2 hours.

Puree the soup with an immersion blender or in several batches in a regular blender (why on earth haven’t you bought an immersion, yet?!)  Stir in the lemon juice and taste for salt and pepper.  Serve hot with a drizzle of chili oil or Srirracha would be great, too!

*Homemade Winter adaptation