Poached Pears

Standard

IMG_1431

Ingredients

  • 2 cups water
  • 2 Tbs. wildflower honey
  • 1 Tbs. real maple syrup
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 vanilla bean, seeds removed – reserving both the seeds and the pod
  • 1/2 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and chopped or grated (less if you find ginger to be strong)
  • Handful of blueberries
  • 2 firm pears, cored with skins peeled off (skins and core can be composted or used as an ingredient to flavor the liquid)

Directions

  1. Add all but the pears to a pot large enough to submerge the pears and bring to a boil.  (I used a high walled but small pot that made it easier to evenly cook the pears – however the lack of surface area caused the syrup to take longer to reduce).
  2. Turn the heat down to a simmer and gently add the peeled pears (as they cook they will become easier to bruise).  Place a lid on the pot and let simmer for 20-30 minutes (I let them cook while I made dinner).  Alternately you could put them in an oven-safe pot and let them bake at 250 for several hours.
  3. When pears are soft (20-30 minutes on stove top), gently remove them from the sauce and let them cool.
  4. Strain out the solid contents and keep the liquid in the pot – placing over medium heat and allowing it to reduce (stirring regularly) to your desired syrup thickness – I like mine to coat a spoon.  Now – you can keep the blueberries to serve, but we composted ours – they looked too much like Violet Beauregarde for my taste.
  5. Spoon syrup over pears and serve.

This would be great serving with some whipped cream or ice cream!

Chicken & Vegetable Soup

Standard

IMG_1437

Ingredients

  • 1/2 gallon chicken stock, homemade is highly recommended but not necessary
  • 4-5 carrots, chopped (I like slicing diagonally)
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped (1/4 inch thick, including leaves)
  • 1/4 large celery root, thinly sliced
  • 1 bunch green onions, sliced
  • 1/4 head green cabbage, sliced into ribbons
  • 3 cups shredded chicken (left over from roasted chicken)
  • 1 tsp white pepper
  • A few large pinches of salt

Directions

  1.  Heat stock in a large soup pot.  Add carrots and bring to a boil.
  2. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes.  Add remaining veggies and simmer for another 5 minutes.
  3. Add shredded chicken and heat for another 5-10 minutes.
  4. Serve Hot.  Reheats well, but loses color.

This would also be great with a tablespoon of tomato paste or a few eggs dropped into the broth.

Quinoa Stir-fry

Standard

IMG_1525

 

Ingredients

  • 1 cup quinoa (rinsed well)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup beef stock
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 3 garlic gloves, minced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced small
  • 2 sticks celery, diced small
  • 2 1/2 cups cabbage, shredded
  • 2-3 green onions, sliced
  • 2 Tbs. coconut oil
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 2 tsp. fish sauce
  • 1 tsp. soy sauce (optional – no soy for us)
  • 1/2 tsp 5 spice powder (optional – we had it)
  • Large pinch of salt
  • Fresh Pepper, to taste
  • Small handful cilantro, shredded (optional – we had it)

Directions

  1. Combine quinoa, 1 cup fresh water and beef stock in a small stock pot.  Bring to a boil then reduce heat to low and let cook until fluffy, about 20 minutes.
  2. In the mean time, prep/cut vegetables.
  3. Heat oils and sauces in a pan (or wok) on high heat.  Add onions, garlic, and spices (not cilantro) until aromatic.  Add vegetables and cook for 10 minutes or so – stirring occasionally.  Add quinoa and allow to cook through.
  4. Add cilantro and serve.

Sausage, Rice & Beans

Standard

SRB

This is a cheap and easy, but not fast, dinner (45-60 minutes of cook time).  I enjoy making dinners like this because I only use one dish, can catch up on some TV shows, and have leftovers for lunch the next day.  I like to complete each step during a commercial break; its really a hands-off dinner.  Depending on the ingredients you use (generics/homegrown vs. organic) it can cost between $0.84 and $3.29 per serving for 6 large servings.

 Ingredients

  • 4 cups stock (any flavor or water)
  • 2 cups brown rice
  • 1 cups dried azuki beans (any bean is fine, but these cook around the same rate as rice, making it easier)
  • 7 sausages, cut to 1 in pieces (adjust number for your audience – we used a pack of andouille chicken sausage from costco)
  • 1 large can diced tomatoes (I use a quart of home canned)
  • 1 can corn (I use a pint of home canned)
  • 1 diced pepper (any pepper is fine, we used a Serrano with the seeds removed)
  • 1/4 cup of taco seasoning

Directions

  1. Optional – soak rice & beans the night before in water with a Tbs. of acid (vinegar, whey, lemon juice, etc.) to break down some indigestibles.
  2. Bring stock or liquid to a boil in a large pan.  Add rice and beans and bring to a boil again before reducing the heat to a simmer for 15-20 minutes.
  3. Add tomatoes (and juices), corn, pepper & seasoning.
  4. Add sliced sausages and let cook until rice and beans are tender.  Stir occasionally.

Broccoli & Cauliflower Gratin

Standard

IMG_1561

Adapted from Barefoot in Paris

Ingredients

  • 1 head cauliflower, cut into large florets
  • 1 head broccoli, cut into large florets
  • 4 Tbs. butter (divided into 2 Tbs)
  • 3 Tbs. AP flour or cornstarch for Gluten Free
  • 2 cups hot milk
  • Kosher Salt
  • 1/2 tsp black better
  • 1/4 tsp grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan
  • 1/2 cup grated baby swiss
  • 1/2 cup grated muenster
  • 1/4 cup bread crumbs

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 (F).  Meanwhile, cook florets in a large pot of boiling salt water until tender but firm (5 min), drain.
  2. Add 2 cups of milk in a saucepan.  Meanwhile, melt 2 Tbs of butter in a second saucepan over low heat.  Add flour, stirring constantly for 2 minutes, making a rue.
  3. Pour hot milk into the rue and stir until it comes to a boil.  Boil, whisking constantly, until thickened.  Off the heat add a large pinch of salt, pepper, nutmeg and 1/2 cup of cheese.
  4. Pour about 1/3 of the sauce into the bottom of a baking dish, filling the dish with the drained florets.  Spread remaining sauce on top and sprinkle with the remaining cheeses and breadcrumbs.
  5. Drizzle 2 Tbs. melted butter of the top.  Bake for 25-30 minutes until browned.
Can be served hot or at room temp (read: a great make ahead meal).

Bananas Brulee

Standard

IMG_5296

Ingredients

  • 2 bananas
  • 3 tsp vanilla sugar*
  • A kitchen blow-torch.  I think you could broil them in the oven, but I’ve not tried it.

Directions

  1. Slice the ends off each banana then cut them in half length-wise and width-wise so you’re left with 4 pieces per banana.
  2. Coat the cut edge of banana in the vanilla sugar (nestle it in).
  3. Peel the bananas and lay them, sugar side up, on a heat proof pan.
  4. Torch those babies in an even sweeping motion until the sugar caramelizes – don’t let it burn.
  5. Cool and enjoy!

*You can use regular white sugar, but we thought the hint of vanilla would add to our enjoyment.  I make my own vanilla sugar by stashing emptied/used vanilla bean pods in a small container of sugar.  I shake it and adjust every few months.

Granola

Standard

Granola

 

Ingredients

  • 3 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup slivered and shaved almonds
  • 1 cup raw sunflower seeds
  • 1 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut
  • 1-2 Tbs. cinnamon (to taste)
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup wildflower honey
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup real maple syrup

Directions

  1. Combine all ingredients well.
  2. Spread onto a baking sheet (on parchment paper) and bake at 250 (F) for 80 minutes, stirring every 20 minutes.

Delicious – and subtle.  I like that it doesn’t contain any sugar.