Monday, October 18, 2010

A weekend of cooking

Let me start off by telling all of you that I am currently eating chocolate/avocado mousse.  Yum, yum, yum.  That recipe will follow.

Fall in Eugene is quite lovely.  We had about a week of awful rainy, dreary weather, but it is back to high 60's and sun.  I really can't complain that much!  I am loving the smell and crunch of the fallen leaves.  

At the market there is a big difference in the type of food available.  No more blueberries and tomatoes.  Hello: apples, pears, squash, pumpkin, sweet potato, leafy greens!  I have been picking up a lot of produce that I have never heard of.  A new food adventure every Saturday.  My next adventure is spaghetti squash. 

As I was preparing to blog I ended up looking through some of my pictures and realized that I had a lot of pictures from recipes that I had made earlier this summer.  So, I figured that I would share with all of you what I made this weekend and also a few recipes from what I made this summer.


All You Can Eat Soup Diet Soup
Courtesy: Good Housekeeping Magazine

I got this recipe from my mom who had found it in an old Good Housekeeping magazine.  It is so easy and so delicious.  It is pretty basic with the idea that you can change it every time you eat it.  So one day you can make a mexican bean soup and the next some sort of Indian flavored soup.  I always end up adding more vegetables to it to make it a little more substantial.

5 Medium Carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch slices
3 Medium celery stalks, diced
3 Large onions, chopped or 3 medium leeks, each cut into 1-inch slices
1 Large clove of garlic (I add about 5-6)
2 Cans (28 oz each) tomatoes in juice
1 Small head savoy cabbage, thinly sliced
1 zucchini, sliced
2 Medium parsnips, peeled and cut into 1-inch slices
2 Packages baby spinach (I also use chard instead of spinach)
1/2 Cup chopped fresh parsley
2 Containers (32oz) low sodium veggie stock
Salt and pepper to taste
Olive oil for saucepan

Over medium-high heat, in a large 8 qt saucepot, add olive oil, carrots, celery, onion and garlic.  Cook for about 5 minutes.

Stir in tomatoes with their liquid. 

Add cabbage and the remaining ingredients, except for the parsley.  Heat to boiling over high heat, stirring occasionally.  

Reduce to a simmer, add parsley, and cook for 20 minutes or until the veggies are cooked, but not over cooked.  Don't forget to season!


Sesame Brussel Sprouts with Garlic, Ginger Marinated Ahi
Courtesy: Terry Walters and me

I love fish, and I still eat it about once to twice a week.  This weekend I treated myself to a lovely piece of ahi, or tuna.  I served it with brussel sprouts and steamed rice.  The flavors were fantastic together.

Sesame Brussel Sprout Saute

16 Brussel Sprouts
4 Garlic cloves, minces
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 Tablespoon mirin
1 Tablespoon toasted sesame oil
1/4 Cup toasted sesame seeds
Sea Salt

Prepare brussel sprouts by trimming off dry ends and peeling away any damaged outer leaves.  With stems down, thinly slice and set aside.

In a large skillet over medium heat, saute garlic in olive oil until soft.  Add brussel sprouts and mirin and saute for 15 minutes.  Don't skimp on the time as extended cooking helps them caramelize and take of incredible flavor.  If they start to burn or stick to the bottom of the pan, add water 1-2 tablespoons at a time to deglaze the pan.  Continue sauteing until the sprouts start to brown.  Remove from heat, toss with toasted sesame oil and sesame seeds.  Season to taste with salt and serve.

Ginger and Garlic Marinade

2 Tablespoons dark sesame oil
2 Teaspoons tamari sauce
1 Tablespoon freshly grated, or chopped, ginger
2 Cloves garlic, minced
1 Teaspoon lime juice

Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl and marinade fish for about 5 minutes.  Cook fish to your preference, I love ahi seared rare!  When fish is done remove it from the pan and add the extra marinade.  Cook briefly and then pour on top of your fish.

Spinach Tofu with Peanut Sauce
Courtesy: Susan O'Brien's "The Gluten Free Vegan"

I love this recipe.  It is quick, easy, and filling.  You can't quite ask for anything more.  I make it when I crave thai food.

Peanut Sauce
1/2 Cup organic peanut butter (I use the freshly ground peanut butter)
1/2 Cup hot water
1/4 Cup brown rice vinegar
2 Tablespoons tamari
1 Tablespoon agave nectar
1 Tablespoon molasses
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro (If you don't have it, that is okay, it still tastes great!)
Pinch of red pepper flakes

Spinach Tofu
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 Cups chopped onion
1 Package (I use 8 oz) extra-firm silken tofu
4 Cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 Tablespoon finely chopped fresh ginger
1 Bunch spinach (4-6 cups)
Fresh ground pepper
Sea salt
1/2 package rice noodles, cooked according to their directions

Mix together the sauce ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.

In a large skillet, heat the oil and saute the onion until soft, 3-4 minutes.  Add the tofu and continue to cook for 2-3 minutes.  Add the garlic and ginger, and cook for 1-2 minutes.  Add the spinach and cook until it is wilted.  Add the peanut sauce and heat through.  Season with sea salt and pepper.  Serve over your cooked rice noodles.  

Just an fyi, the noodles absorb a lot of the sauce so try to make extra sauce or use less noodles.

Avocado, Chocolate Mousse
Courtesy: Cozmic Pizza and me

Nearly a month and a half ago I went out for vegan/gluten free pizza at this little pizza place in Eugene.  It is called Cozmic Pizza.  They do their own gluten free crust and you have to call about 2 hours in advance so they can make it for you.  It is quite delish.  When I went in I noticed a raw, vegan, gluten free dessert and just had to try it.  When I asked them what it was made of, they told me "AVOCADOS!"  I was in love, so I asked very nicely and they handed me the recipe.  I have made some changes to it to make it a little more 1-2 person friendly.

Also, keep in mind that since it is made out of avocados that it should be eaten within a few hours.  I made the whole recipe one night and the next day the avocados had turned.  I had to toss out a huge container.  

The following is the original recipe:

4 Ripe, organic avocados
1 Cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 Cup agave nectar
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract

I ended up quartering it:

1 Ripe, organic avocado
1/4 Cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 Cup agave nectar
1 Teaspoon vanilla extract
Almond milk to taste

In a food processor add avocado, vanilla and agave nectar and blend until smooth.  Add cocoa powder a little at a time. Some of you might not like it as bitter as others.  Blend in almond milk, as much or as little as you would like.  It all depends on how thin or thick you like your mousse.

If you don't add any almond milk this mousse is very thick and very chocolatey.  It would make for a great frosting.

You can garnish it with toasted coconut flakes, nuts or berries.


Eet Smaakelijk!

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