Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Farfalle with Spicy Broccoli

Of course the day after I post a note saying I'll be away for a while I get this amazing cookbook, A Year in a Vegetarian Kitchen, and find a great recipe for Orecchiette with Spicy Broccoli (I didn't have any Orecchiette so I'm substituting with Farfalle).  I mean, I have to start cooking sometime, right?

One of the neat things about Calorie Count is that I can create recipes.  This feature helps me figure out the nutrient content of my recipes -- pretty cool.  So after entering in the information for this dish I see that it's 434 calories a serving, provides 32% of my daily requirement of carbohydrates, and 28% of my dietary fiber -- based on a 2,000 calorie diet. I think I'll start adding this info at the bottom of each recipe.

I liked the dish but I did have to add one thing to my serving-- 2 teaspoons of shredded Parmesan cheese!  Pasta without Parmesan is just a travesty (in my humble opinion).  The recipe suggests adding some capers, olives, or lemon zest for variety which all sound good, but I think next time I make it I'll add some roasted red peppers.  I've changed the nutritional information listed below to include the added cheese.

A Year in a Vegetarian Kitchen: Easy Seasonal Dishes for Family and FriendsFarfalle with Spicy Broccoli
A Year in a Vegetarian Kitchen
Yield:  4 Main Course Servings

1 1/2 pound broccoli
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
6 medium garlic cloves, minced
1/4 tsp hot red pepper flakes, or to taste
1/2 cup water
Kosher salt
1 pound Farfalle

     Follow directions of packaging to prepare pasta, and reserve 1 cup of the cooking water when draining the pasta.
     Separate the broccoli florets from the stalk.  Remove woody end from stalk, and peel.  Cut the stalk in half lengthwise, and then again into small bite-sized pieces.  If necessary separate the florets into smaller segments.
     Heat the oil, garlic, and pepper flakes in a large skillet over medium heat.  Cook until the garlic is golden, about 2 minutes.  Add the broccoli and stir to coat well with the oil.  Cook until the broccoli is well seasoned, 1 to 2 minutes.  Add the water, cover the pan, reduce the heat, and steam until the broccoli is tender, about 4 minutes.  If the broccoli is not tender and the pan runs dry add a few tablespoons more water and throw the cover back on.  Adjust the seasonings, adding salt and pepper flakes to taste.
     Toss the pasta with the broccoli and 1/4 cup of the cooking water.  Add more water as needed to moisten the pasta and serve immediately.

Nutritional Information Per Serving:
Calories: 43
Total Fat: 16.4 grams
     Saturated Fat: 2.1
Cholesterol: 1 gram
Sodium: 70 grams
Total Carbohydrates:  96.8 grams
     Dietary Fiber:  7 grams
     Sugars: 5.4 grams
Protein: 19.4 grams
Vitamin A: 21%
Vitamin C: 255%
Calcium: 10%
Iron: 10%

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

A Hiatus, if you will...

So I'm taking a break from cooking from books.  I'm starting a program to track my food to help me lose some weight (I've posted a long explanation here).  After a few weeks to get used to my new food requirements I can hopefully incorporate my diet into my love of trying new recipes.

I'll keep you posted!

Black Beans in Chipotle Sauce...without the Black Beans

I've had to cook from pantry goods the past few days, which makes it pretty challenging to make meals from my cookbooks.  Fortunately I was able to find a recipe I can use today -- with one exception.  Black Beans in Chipotle Sauce from Recipes from the Root Cellar will become Pinto Beans in Chipotle Sauce, and that's fine by me because I love pinto beans!

I followed the recipe as written, but I think next time I'll make some minor changes to the cooking instructions.  I prefer to saute onions and garlic in a bit of oil until they are soft and sweet before adding liquid, and I think that's what I'll do next time.  And I'll leave out the adobo sauce -- the chilies provided enough heat and smoky flavor to the dish for me!  The addition of apple cider vinegar to the beans was a new spin for me, and I loved the little kick it gave to the dish.  

These beans can be served by themselves with a dollop of sour cream, on a bed of rice, or inside a tortilla.  Actually my favorite would be beans and rice rolled in a tortilla with a dollop of sour cream!

Black Beans in Chipotle Sauce
Recipes from the Root Cellar: 270 Fresh Ways to Enjoy Winter VegetablesRecipes from the Root Cellar
Yield:  4 to 6 Servings

2 cups dried black beans, soaked overnight and drained
6 cups water
1 large onion, diced
2 bay leaves
1 1/2 cups unseasoned tomato sauce or puree (or one 15 ounce can)
2 chipotles canned in adobo sauce, minced.
2 tbsp adobo sauce (from the can of chilies)
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
Salt and freshly ground pepper

     Combine the beans, water, onion, and bay leaves in a large saucepan.  Bring to a boil then reduce the heat and simmer, partially covered, until the beans are completely tender but not mushy, 1 to 2 hours.
     Check the water level in the saucepan.  The beans should be just barely covered by water.  If there is more water than a slight covering, drain off the excess water and reserve.  Remove the bay leaves.  Add the tomato sauce, chipotles, adobo sauce, garlic and vinegar.  Season with salt and pepper.
     Simmer until the liquid is reduced to a saucy consistency and the flavors have blended, about 30 minutes.  Add some of the reserved cooking liquid if the beans become dry.  Taste and adjust the seasoning.  Serve hot.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Meatless Monday: Pasta with Cauliflower in a Spicy Tomato Sauce

And I'm back!  It's Monday, and we're eating meatless.  Tonight I chose Pasta with Cauliflower in a Spicy Tomato Sauce from Serving Up The Harvest.  Really quick and easy dinner that the boys loved -- they had seconds!  The recipe says it serves four but, as I said, Paul and Kevin had seconds (I only had one serving) and there was still some left over.  Truth be told, I was not as crazy about this dish as the boys.  I'm not a fan of spicy food, and this was a little too much for my tongue.  There wasn't much of a "sauce" to this dish.  It was pretty much chunky cauliflower, tomatoes and olives over pasta.  If I do make it again I think I'll use crushed tomatoes.  I think it'll coat the pasta better.

Serving Up the Harvest: Celebrating the Goodness of Fresh VegetablesPasta with Cauliflower in a Spicy Tomato Sauce
Serving Up the Harvest
Yield:  Serves 4 (I say 6)

1 head cauliflower broken into florets
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 anchovy fillets (optional)
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 can (28 ounces) diced tomatoes with juice
1 cup pitted cured black olives, such as Kalamata
1 tbsp capers
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 pound rotini or other short pasta
Freshly grated Parmesan for serving

     Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Add the cauliflower and boil until just barely tender, about 3 minutes.  Remove from the water and set aside.  Return the water to a boil for the pasta.
     Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.  Gently saute the onion, garlic, anchovy fillets, if using, and crushed red pepper flakes in the oil until the onion is tender, about 4 minutes, stirring constantly.  Add the tomatoes, olives, capers, and cauliflower.  Taste, then season with salt and pepper (the anchovies and olives may contribute all the salt needed).  Simmer for about 15 minutes while you cook the pasta.
     Cook the pasta in the boiling water until al dente, and drain well.
     Serve the pasta with the sauce spooned over the top.  Pass the Parmesan at the table.