Thursday, February 17, 2011

Hearty Soup

I loved eating this soup on a chilly night.  It is hearty and so warming.  I served garlic bread to accompany it.  The recipe serves 4-6

1/2 red onion, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
1 large carrot, chopped
1 (15 oz) can of cannelini beans (drained and rinsed)
1/2 lb. of uncooked Italian sausage (I used chicken sausage)
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes
A full bundle of Swiss chard (chopped with the white parts removed)
4 cups of vegetable broth
1 cup water
red pepper flakes, salt and pepper to taste
Rind of parmesan cheese (If you have it)

First, add the onion, garlic, celery and carrot to a pot on medium heat.  Cook for about 5 minutes to soften and get a little color.  Then add the sausage without the casing and stir while it cooks so it separates.  After about 10 minutes it should be cooked and browned, so add the beans, Swiss chard, tomatoes, broth, water, parmesan rind, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper.  Simmer covered for about 45 minutes.  The Swiss chard will wilt down in size.  Make it a day in advance if you can because the longer it sits, the better it will taste.

Vegetable Panini or Sandwich

This is a filling and hearty sandwich that is also low calorie.  The recipe make 2 to 4 sandwiches depending on the size of bread slices you use.

1 eggplant
2 zuccini
2 cloves garlic
2 tbsp olive oil
2 slices of whole wheat bread per sandwich, or 2 rolls
1 small Roma tomato (sliced) per sandwich
1-2 slices of mozzarella cheese

First make garlic oil by finely chopping the garlic and adding it to a bowl with the olive oil.  Let the mixture marinate for about 10 minutes so the garlic oils release into the olive oil.  Then slice the zucchini and eggplant in about 1/2 inch slices, and brush both sides with garlic oil.  Saute them on medium to medium high heat, so they brown quickly and cook through but do not become mushy.  Then place the cooked vegetables on the bread with the mozzarella.  Brush each side of the sandwich with the garlic oil and place in a panini press.  After both sides are golden brown, place the tomato inside, and it is ready to eat!

To make this into a sandwich and not panini, which is how I now prefer to eat it, place the slices of mozzarella onto one side of a roll and place it under the broiler until it is bubbling and golden brown.  It should take about 2-3 minutes.  Then place the cooked vegetables and raw tomato slices on top of the cheese and serve.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

More Quinoa!!

I'm loving quinoa right now and I wanted to try another way to make it.  I wanted something sweet to mix in it and Evan thought of grapes, which couldn't have been more perfect.  The first couple times I made quinoa I did not rinse it before cooking and still loved it but heard it can have a bitter taste if you do not rinse.  I chose to rinse it last night in a fine strainer and I did notice that it was a bit less bitter.  So if you have a fine strainer go ahead and rinse first, if not, there isn't a huge difference.  The recipe serves 2.

1 cup Quinoa
2 cups vegetable or chicken stock
1 cup red grapes
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese 
2 scallions
1/4 of a red onion
2 cloves of garlic
1/2 cup of feta cheese
salt and pepper to taste
1 tbsp olive oil

First chop the scallions and mince the onion and garlic.  Then halve the grapes.  Heat a pot on medium heat and add the garlic and onion.  Saute for about 5-10 minutes until they are translucent.  Add the quinoa and saute for 5 minutes, until it begins to brown.  Add the stock and cover the pot, reducing the heat to low.  Cook for 15 minutes, until the liquid has been absorbed.  After 15 minutes, add the Parmesan cheese so that it melts and coats the quinoa.  Now, add the scallion, grapes and feta cheese.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  This is delicious cold or hot.

Last night I stuffed a bell pepper with the mixture.  To do this just cut off the top of the bell pepper and pack in the filling.  Put the pepper in a baking dish with about an inch layer of water on the bottom.  Cover the peppers with foil, and cook at 400 degrees F for 30 minutes.  Then take the foil off and cook for another 20-30 minutes until the tops are browned and the pepper is soft.