Tag Archives: broccoli

Yes! BAKED Broccoli, Spinach and Feta Empanadas (using store-bought disks)

24 Feb

Here is the second installment of 2014: The Year of the Empanada. After my first installment, in which I fried up my stuffings in Goya pre-made disks, I was showered with questions about whether they could be baked instead.

I wasn’t sure, but thanks Kathy Blenk for reporting back that she tried it and indeed they could!

How to pinch in those cute folds

How to pinch in those cute folds (photo Marianne Goralski)

So I decided to go for it as well (later in the year I hope to make my own, but one thing at a time) and was very pleased with the results. Continue reading

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Broccoli and Chorizo Pasta with Cheese

18 Apr

creamy, crunchy, stodgy, zesty

I needed some comfort food with attitude (and no trips to the grocery store).

Some of you will remember in the early days of this blog that Leandro and I were in the emergency room twice within a month’s time to get him stitched up. That stress is in the past, but the part about having to pay the equivalent of an entire paycheck to cover what the health insurance doesn’t is a stress that is very much in the present.

So, I was in the mood for something cozy but kicking, something that didn’t call for a whole lot of work or special ingredients. And ideally, it would be something I could also put in Leandro’s lunch box the next day. The solution — after a quick rummage in the fridge — was this invention: Broccoli and chorizo pasta with cheese. I used catanisella pasta (a new shape for me) figuring Leandro would have fun with its long, skinny, tubiness and because I wanted something that the cheese would cling to rather than clog up (think of macaroni shells scooping up clumps of cheese). The broccoli crunch balanced the creaminess and the spice of the chorizo cut through any density. All in all a great success that did the job!

Broccoli and chorizo pasta with cheese (serves 4)

1 lb pasta – preferably medium short

2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil

½ yellow onion, peeled and chopped (about 1/2 cup)

8 oz hot (picante) Spanish-style chorizo (the cured, ready-to-eat kind…NOT Latin American chorizo, which must be cooked through. You may substitute dry Italian sausage or andouille sausage), peeled and sliced into ¼ inch rounds

8 – 16 oz broccoli crowns, washed and separated (blanched if desired. I usually use a strainer and dip them in the boiling pasta water for a minute until they turn bright green)

½ cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano or Gran Padano cheese

Boil pasta according to package directions (dipping broccoli into the boiling water to blanche). Reserve a ¼ cup of the pasta water.

Heat olive oil at medium-high in a heavy-bottomed  saucepan until fragrant. Add onion, stir to coat, then lower heat to medium and allow to become translucent and soft (at least five minutes). Add chorizo, stirring occasionally, until it begins to release its reddish oil. Add broccoli, stir to coat and cook until beginning to wilt (2 minutes or so). Add ¼ cup reserved pasta water and simmer until slightly thickened. Stir in cheese, add to pasta and serve. (It is doubtful that you will need to add salt, as the chorizo and the cheese will provide plenty!)

Stir-fried Vegetables (Faster and better than ordering out)

2 Apr

Saturday lunch -crisp and light and zippy

When I am in the mood for some crunchy, spicy Asian vegetables, my first instinct is not to pick up the phone, but to open the refrigerator door.

I am forever buying virtuous items that I mean to use right away, but that slip into the deep recesses in of my mind and the even deeper recesses of the fridge. A good stir-fry is a way to use up just about any crunchy vegetable in a way that will bring the virtue right back (nothing should go to waist or waste!).

Such was the situation today, when my dad started pulling out vegetables for a raw salad, and my mom and I convinced him it would have more flair in a hot and spicy variation.

So we got to chopping and measuring and whisking and in very little time (about 20 minutes) we were crunching and nodding and going for seconds. While there is a place in every household for Chinese takeout menus, it is so easy to make your own, without the gelatinous goopiness that passes for brown sauce, that this is really worth making part of your repertoire. I can see tossing in some peeled shrimp just as the vegetables have cooked in the first step….on this occasion, my dad seasoned and sauteed strips of chicken breast separately as the vegetables were cooking, rather than incorporate the chicken. As a result, the chicken played a gentle counterbalance to the sizzle of the vegetables.

Here’s what we did (adapted from a Cook’s Illustrated recipe for Stir-Fried Broccoli)

Stir-fried vegetables in brown sauce (serves four for a light meal or as a side)

A:

1/2 Cup low sodium vegetable broth

2 Tbs dry white wine (or dry sherry, if you’ve got)

4 tsp low-sodium soy sauce

2 tsp olive oil (or one toasted sesame oil)

2 tsp cornstarch

2 tsp Thai chili sauce (can be increased, depending on your sauce AND your tolerance for hot and spicy; the one we used is already prepared as a marinade, so is sweet. If you use straight Thai chili – like a sambal – it could be stronger!)

B:

6 cloves garlic, minced (you can play with this proportion, especially if your chili sauce has a lot of garlic)

¼ tsp red pepper flakes

2 tsp vegetable oil

C:

2 Tbs vegetable oil

2-2.5 lbs mixed stir-fry vegetables, cut into ¾ inch pieces (we used onions, broccoli, carrots, cabbage, red peppers, green peppers, but you can play around with this!)

½ tsp sugar

Whisk ingredients in A (broth, wine, soy sauce, olive/sesame oil, cornstarch and chili sauce) in a small bowl. In another small bowl, mix up ingredients in B (garlic, pepper flakes, and 2 tsp vegetable oil).

Now for the ingredients in C. Heat the remaining two Tbs vegetable oil in a 12 inch skillet with a heavy bottom, until just rippling and just beginning to smoke. Add vegetables and sprinkle the sugar over, coat with the oil and cook, stirring frequently, for about eight minutes, looking for caramelization on the vegetables. Lower the temperature to medium if you get a lot of sticking.

Push vegetables to the side and add the garlic mixture (B), stir to heat, then mix with the vegetables. Add vegetable broth mixture (A) and stir for a bit less than a minute, or until warmed and the sauce gets a bit thicker. Serve with rice.

 

No Crust, Less Fuss: Broccoli and Feta Quiche

18 Feb

 

I love eggs, I love broccoli and I love cheese. They are so flexible and useful that they are natural convenience foods and I usually have all of the above in my fridge at any given moment. Like today, when I got a craving for a simple dinner with some charm. Quiche would’ve been perfect, except that the crust is a big pain, and adds more dough than I really want after a long winter of indolence.

 Then I remembered a Vegetarian Times recipe that eliminated the crust. I thought, “Hey! Why didn’t I think of that?” and adapted it to what I had in the house.

Fifteen minutes of prep (and about 40 minutes in the oven) yielded a tasty and light combo of my favorite things. It was cozy out of the oven, but crumbly to cut proper slices. I will have more tomorrow morning for breakfast — quite possibly cold. My son is demonstrating great interest, so we’ll see if we can tempt him into giving it a try, ’cause it has potential to be good breakfast food for eating in the car (heavy sigh). If not, well I have the leftover yolks mixed with a bit of water and stored in fridge for scrambled eggs for his breakfast.

No Crust Broccoli and Feta Quiche

1 lb. broccoli crowns, cut into tiny little trees

½ Tbsp olive oil

1 onion, peeled and quartered

2 cloves garlic, peeled

5 oz. feta

2 large eggs

5 large egg whites

Preheat oven to 425°. Grease a 9”x5” baking pan (you will put it in the oven to warm up a few minutes before pouring in the egg mixture). Toss broccoli with oil in a bowl.

Put onions and garlic for a spin in the food processor until they are minced. Then add the feta and process until creamy.  Add eggs and egg whites* and process until smooth. Crack a bit of pepper over it.

Remove warmed pan from oven, add broccoli, then pour egg mixture over, stirring to mix. Cook about 35 minutes (40 if using a glass baking dish) or until the top is light brown and a tester inserted comes out clean.

*To separate whites from yolks, crack the eggs and gently pass the yolk from one half to the other, allowing the whites to drain into the bowl. Save the yolks for another purpose by mixing with water (just a bit) and storing tightly sealed in the fridge overnight.

It’s Winter and I Am Roasting (vegetables)

17 Jan

Moving and angst are natural partners. We’ve been moving upstairs and emptying a storage unit  this week — as in:

“I didn’t even know I still (or ever) had this!”

“Where the f**k did all this crap come from?”

“I have never seen a dust mouse that big. Ever.”

“Oh God, how am I going to get all this done before the semester starts on Tuesday?”

“Leandro please don’t run in front of: the moving truck/hand truck/person trying to move a big box up the stairs/me. ”

“Sweet Jesus, the moving guy just looked in that long-unopened drawer before I  had a chance to remove the scandalous lingerie that I had completely (and sadly) forgotten about.”

…etc. etc. etc….

and add to that an aching, frigging back from said moving, ’cause the ten years that have passed since I last saw that stuff haven’t made me any younger. Heavy sigh.

So, our diet has not been virtuous – Chef Boyardee was on the menu more than once; reheated pizza, Cheese-Its, leftover Halloween chocolate, cheese and crackers, cheese and crackers, salty popcorn, basically a diet of shut-up food all in front of the T.V. and endless repeats of a Scooby-Doo video — where can I buy those Scooby Snacks, anyway, cause Lord knows they would fit right in with my current mode…

But within the frenzy, I have made some good food happen too, thanks to some of the very recipes you have seen here. The spinach sauce for pasta served for a couple of meals, especially because I used farfalle (bow ties), which Leandro really really digs (and which grip a lot of spinach).

I made the basic seasoned ground beef in a big batch, a third of which went into an impromptu pasta dinner for friends on Friday, another third into chili con carne with rice Saturday, then on tortilla chips with cheese today (Sunday) and another third is frozen for next week and the new semester.

I also roasted vegetables.  This is something I do all winter (it’s too damn hot in the summer to turn on the oven) and then eat the vegetables all week in different formats. This is just one version (as I continue to crave asparagus in the off-season). It really is best with the linguine, but I was pressed for time and my son is not yet interested in this kind of dish, so I just served it to myself (several days running) with leftover rice and a dash of soy sauce. I also gave a plastic tublet to Leandro’s godmother (a teacher) for her take-to-school lunch.

Roasted Vegetable Linguine

2 packets (about 20 oz) baby bella mushrooms, washed and sliced

1 lb asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1 ½ inch pieces

1 bunch broccoli crowns, separated into florets

1 red pepper, cored, seeded and chopped

1 medium onion, chopped

5 cloves garlic, chopped

3 Tbs olive oil

½ tsp red pepper flakes

1 cup cherry tomatoes

½ cup white wine

½ lb linguine

½ cup torn fresh basil leaves or 1 Tbs dry oregano

Preheat oven to 450°F.

Toss all vegetables (except tomatoes and herbs but including red pepper flakes!) and oil into a large roasting pan and roast for 20 minutes, stirring once or twice.

Get your pasta water on the boil and prepare pasta according to package directions. Save ½ cup pasta water when draining.

Add tomatoes to pan and roast 10 more minutes. Transfer vegetables to a bowl. Set pan on two burners on medium heat and add wine, stirring and scraping off burnt bits. Simmer for 3 minutes or so, until wine has cooked off then add reserved pasta water.

Return pasta to pot, add vegetables and liquid from pan. Warm to serving temperature and add herbs.

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