All posts tagged dinner

  • bread soup with corona beans

    bread soup with white beans

    Guys. I asked for beans for Christmas. I’ve been on a huge bean kick lately, but asking for beans for Christmas is a bit much, right? In my defense, I asked for some really nice beans that would become my… you know, special beans. Much to my delight on Beanmas morning, I unwrapped a large box that contained a variety of Rancho Gordo beans, along with a stray bag of Italian corona beans from a local market. I was instantly drawn to the corona beans because they are huge! See:

    Italian Corona Bean Size

    I had some leftover peasant bread from Alexandra Cooks, so I cracked open a bag of my special corona beans and put them to good use. Corona beans really fatten up when cooked and hold their shape well. I still have a cup or so of uncooked coronas left and plan to use the rest to make this recipe from 101 Cookbooks. If you can’t find corona beans in your area, any white bean is a good substitute for this soup. If big chunks of bread aren’t your style, add the bread before the beans, remove the bay leaf, and pulse with an immersion blender for a tomato/bread puree. After that, add the beans and kale. It’s almost dinner time, and I’m off to heat up the rest of this soup!

    Bread Soup with Corona Beans

    1 onion, diced
    3 garlic cloves, diced
    1 15 ounce can of diced tomatoes
    3 cups of broth, vegetable or chicken
    1 bay leaf
    1 tablespoon dried parsley
    salt & pepper, to taste
    2 cups of cooked Italian corona beans (or any white beans)
    2 cups kale, torn into bite sized pieces
    2 cups of toasted stale bread, cut into cubes

    For serving:
    parmigiano reggiano, to taste
    red pepper flakes, to taste
    olive oil

    Over medium heat, add oil to a large stockpot or dutch oven. Dice an onion, then toss them into the pot, stirring frequently.

    Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Meanwhile, cut up the stale bread into bite-sized cubes. Add them to a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil and toss to coat each piece. Bake for 10 minutes. Go back to the cutting board and chop up the garlic. If the onions have softened, add the garlic to the pot. If not, wait a couple minutes. Stir garlic until fragrant and add the diced tomatoes, broth, bay leaf, parsley, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then let the soup simmer.

    Check on the bread cubes, turn them over and return them to the oven for another 10 minutes. Once the pieces are golden brown, remove them from the oven and set aside.

    After the soup has been simmering for 10-15 minutes, add the beans, kale, and bread. The bread cubes will absorb a lot of the liquid, so feel free to add more broth (or water) here if necessary. Let the soup simmer for another 10 minutes, season with more salt and pepper if necessary, before ladling into bowls. Serve with grated parmigiano reggiano, red pepper flakes, and olive oil.

    Serves 4

  • mujaddara deluxe

    mujaddara deluxe

    When I originally posted my mujaddara recipe 4 1/2 years ago, I was pleasantly surprised when it became one of the most popular recipes on the blog. Mujaddara is a rice and lentil pilaf and very near and dear to my heart. When I decided that once and for all I would learn how to cook at the age of 22 (!), it was the first thing I set out to make. All you need is an onion, rice, lentils, olive oil, and salt. How hard could it be? Not very, it turns out, but it took several attempts and fine tuning to get it just where I wanted. In the years since I posted the recipe, I usually don’t make it “as is” unless I’m serving it as a side dish.

    On those nights when the pantry and fridge are looking scarce and I don’t know what to make, mujaddara is a reliable friend since I almost always have the ingredients handy. The base recipe remains the same, but I like to dress it up as much as possible with whatever I can scrounge up. You know those forlorn jars that live in the fridge door? That jar of red bell peppers? Sundried tomatoes? Hearts of palm? Old hot sauce? Harissa? That almost empty bag of frozen peas? The remaining bits of cashews shoved in to a corner of the cupboard? This is their time to shine, along with any other odds and ends in your fridge, freezer, and pantry that you may have forgotten about. Feel free to play around with spices, too. A little bit of coriander or pinch of cardamom work well here. It’s a truly everything but the kitchen sink kind of dish.

    The recipe below includes my latest version of mujaddara deluxe as I call it, along with some ideas for other variations. While I prefer to caramelize one onion per serving when making mujaddara, I only had one here.

    What’s your go-to pantry meal?

    Mujaddara Deluxe

    olive oil
    1 onion, sliced
    3/4 cup rice
    3/4 cup lentils
    salt and pepper, to taste

    1/4 cup frozen peas
    2 tablespoons parsley, chopped
    2 tablespoons pickled sweet peppers, chopped
    1 sundried tomato slice, chopped
    1 tablespoon almonds, chopped

    Other variations:
    Dried or fresh herbs: thyme, rosemary, parsley, basil, mint
    Spices: cumin, coriander, cardamom, paprika, sumac
    Nuts: hazelnuts, almonds, pine nuts, walnuts
    Vegetables: carrot, bell pepper, jalapeno, cucumber, zucchini, radish
    Fragrant things: dash of rosewater or pomegranate molasses
    Hot things: hot sauce, harissa, sambal
    Canned things: artichokes, hearts of palm, beets, red peppers
    Sauce: yogurt, tahini

    Heal oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium low heat. When hot, add the onions. Add the onions and a few dashes of salt, stirring every few minutes, for 30 minutes. Turn the heat up a bit and continue cooking until the onions until they are a deep, golden brown, another 15-20 minutes or so. Set skillet aside.

    In the meantime, prepare the lentils and rice according to their package directions. Some people prefer to cook the lentils and rice together in the same pot, but I find that this results in overcooked lentils, so I always cook them separately. About 30 seconds before the rice is ready, drop in the frozen peas. When the lentils and rice are ready, pour them into a colander to drain out the water.

    Mix together the lentils and rice in a big pot. Add salt, pepper, a couple glugs of olive oil, most of the caramelized onion, parsley, pickled sweet peppers, sundried tomato, and almonds. Heat until the mujaddara is warm, add more salt and pepper to taste.

    Serve in bowls and garnish with the remaining caramelized onions. Serve warm and gobble it up!

    Serves 2

  • pasta with arugula pesto and artichokes

    pasta with spinach and arugula pesto

    One of my favorite things about cooking is that it can seem like something of a superpower. Before I learned how to cook, I’d open the fridge and rummage through the cupboards and often end up frustrated, reaching for whatever was most convenient. I try to keep the pantry stocked with staples like canned goods, pasta, and frozen vegetables, so that when mealtime rolls around and I don’t have a plan, I can whip up a tasty dish with ease. We had some leftover spinach and arugula and inspired by an arugula pesto recipe from Kitchen Treaty, I set out to make pesto.

    Since arugula has such a strong flavor, the lemon juice and cheese help balance out the flavors. If the arugula taste is still too strong for your liking, add some more dried herbs, lemon juice, and parmesan until you get a good balance. I didn’t have any on hand at the time, but sundried tomatoes would be an excellent addition to this dish.

    Pasta with Arugula Pesto and Artichokes

    2 cups arugula
    1 cup spinach
    2-3 cloves garlic
    1 teaspoon dried herbs of your choice (I used basil and thyme)
    cayenne pepper, to taste (optional)
    salt & pepper, to taste
    1/3 cup nuts, I used a mix of pine nuts and pecans
    1/2 cup olive oil
    2 tablespoons lemon juice
    1/4 cup parmesan cheese
    1 16 ounce can of artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
    1 pound farfalle or pasta of your choice

    more pine nuts, for serving
    more parmesan cheese, for serving

    In a medium to large stock pot, bring water to a boil. Once boiling, add pasta and cook according to package directions.

    Meanwhile, start the pesto. Pack spinach and arugula into a food processor, drop in the garlic, dried herbs, cayenne pepper, salt, and pepper, add the lemon juice, parmesan, nuts. Pulse while slowly drizzling in the olive oil. Give the pesto a taste and adjust to your liking. If you find the pesto is too thick, add a tablespoon or two of water.

    When the pasta is ready, drain it and return it to the pot. Mix in the artichokes and pesto, ladle into bowls and serve with extra nuts and cheese.

    Serves 4-6

  • pearl couscous with sweet potatoes, pistachios, and herbs

    pearl couscous with sweet potato herbs and pistachios 2

    Several weeks ago when one of my favorite food bloggers, Faith of An Edible Mosaic, announced that she was co-hosting a Food Blogger Cookbook Swap with Alyssa from Everyday Maven, I jumped on board right away. I sent The Turkish Kitchen over to Karen of Kitchen Treaty, a cookbook I picked up in a bookstore off the winding streets of Cihangir, Istanbul back in 2012.

    I received The Meat Free Monday cookbook from Cher of The Not So Exciting Adventures of a Dabbler. The cookbook was edited by Stella, Paul, and Mary McCartney. I knew that Paul McCartney was a vegetarian, which of course I learned from The Simpsons. Although I’ve seen mention of meat free Mondays/meatless Mondays on food blogs over the years, I had no idea that they were the ones who launched the campaign back in 2009. Even though I’ll chant “you don’t win friends with salad” until the end of my days, that’s really only because it’s catchy and doesn’t necessarily reflect the way I eat. I was excited to dive into the cookbook.

    meat free monday cookbook and izzy goo in her sunny seatBonus Izzy shot

    I grew up in a typical steak and potatoes American household, where a meal without meat is not a meal at all. To this day, my dad’s preferred dinner includes a giant slab of meat, with a side of potatoes or rice, and some vegetables. I was such a picky eater as a kid and hated most meat. My mom bought chicken nuggets for me over and over again until I learned to like them, since she was worried I didn’t eat enough meat. I’m still a picky meat eater, I only buy about 5-6 pounds of meat a month for the two of us, mostly ground beef and lamb. I prefer meat as an enhancement to a dish rather taking center stage, like slipping ground meat into sauces, sprinkling a little bit of sausage over a pizza, and adding chicken stock to a soup. If you serve me a giant slab of chicken breast, I’ll take a couple bites and dump it onto Cory’s plate when he’s not looking. Or when he’s looking. It just ain’t my thing, so many of the recipes in the Meat Free Monday cookbook are right up my alley. The cookbook is divided into 52 chapters, with meal plans for every Monday of the year — meatless breakfasts, lunches, dinners, and desserts.

    One recipe in particular that caught my eye was a pearl couscous and sweet potato dish. Surprise, I found a recipe with a Middle Eastern-inspired slant and had to make it. You start off by sauteing the pearl couscous until lightly browned. I hadn’t prepared couscous that way before and was delighted to discover that it gave the couscous a slightly nutty taste. Pistachios give this dish a nice crunch and raisins are added for a pleasant burst of sweetness. The recipe calls for a tablespoon of za’atar, a Middle Eastern spice mix that consists of thyme, sumac, and sesame seeds. Sumac can be found at any Middle Eastern grocery, but if you don’t want to run out and buy some just for one recipe, just add a little more lemon to this dish, since sumac is sour. Cory and I have been eating this for lunch and loving it. If you love leftovers as much as I do, double the recipe and lunch is covered for the week. Thanks for the sweet new cookbook, Cher!

    pearl couscous with sweet potato herbs and pistachios

    Other news:
    – Happy birthday, mom! I can’t believe you’re 39 again!
    – Big batch of new save the dates are available in the shop, with more coming this weekend. Since you read the blog, feel free to use the coupon code BLOGLOVE10 to receive 10% off your order.

    Pearl Couscous with Sweet Potatoes, Pistachios, and Herbs
    Adapted from The Meat Free Monday Cookbook

    3 medium sweet potatoes, cut into bite-sized pieces
    1 tablespoon maple syrup
    6 tablespoons olive oil (2 for the sweet potatoes, 2 for sauteing the couscous, and 2 for just before serving)
    1 1 3/4 cups pearl (Israeli) couscous
    2 cups vegetable stock or water
    1/4 cup raisins
    1 tablespoon za’atar (1 teaspoon thyme, 1 teaspoon sumac, 1 teaspoon sesame seeds)
    1/2 cup pistachios, chopped
    1-2 tablespoons lemon juice
    salt and pepper, to taste
    1/3 cup freshly chopped parsley
    1/3 cup freshly chopped cilantro

    Preheat oven to 400F.

    Add the sweet potatoes to a roasting pan, coat them with olive oil, a little bit of salt and pepper, and maple syrup. Mix thoroughly. Roast in the oven for 20-25 minutes, check on the sweet potatoes to see if they’re cooked through. Once the potatoes are tender and caramelized around the edges, they’re ready. If they need more time, put them back in the oven for another 7-10 minutes.

    While the sweet potatoes are roasting, get the couscous ready. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large saute pan or stock pot over low-medium heat. When hot, add the couscous and stir frequently. Keep the couscous cooking until it begins to brown, or about 5-7 minutes. Add half of the stock or water and continue to cook for 5-7 minutes, stirring often until the couscous is tender and has absorbed the liquid. Continue adding the liquid until absorbed, stirring frequently. Taste test the couscous for doneness. When cooked through, lower the heat to very low and stir in the raisins, chopped up pistachios, za’atar, season with salt and pepper, to taste. Add one tablespoon of lemon juice, mix, and give a taste test. Add more lemon juice, if necessary. Mix in the parsley and cilantro.

    By now, the sweet potatoes should be ready. Mix them into the pot. Ladle into bowls and serve.

    Serves 4

    Want to see more from the Food Blogger Cookbook swap? Here is the list of all the participants. Yay, food!

    A Baker’s House
    An Edible Mosaic
    Blue Kale Road
    Blueberries And Blessings
    Cheap Recipe Blog
    Confessions of a Culinary Diva
    Create Amazing Meals
    Cucina Kristina
    Culinary Adventures with Camilla
    Cupcake Project
    Dinner is Served 1972
    Done With Corn
    Eats Well With Others
    Everyday Maven
    Flour Me With Love 
    From My Sweet Heart 
    Great Food 360° 
    Healthy. Delicious. 
    I’m Gonna Cook That! 
    Je Mange la Ville 
    Karen’s Kitchen Stories 
    Kitchen Treaty 
    Olive and Herb
    OnTheMove-In The Galley 
    Our Best Bites 
    Paleo Gone Sassy
    poet in the pantry 
    Rhubarb and Honey 
    Rocky Mountain Cooking
    Shikha la mode 
    Shockingly Delicious
    Sifting Focus 
    Spoonful of Flavor 
    Tara’s Multicultural Table 
    The Not So Exciting Adventures of a Dabbler 
    The Suburban Soapbox 
    The Whole Family’s Food 

  • broccoli and cheddar soup

    broccoli and cheddar soup

    Every time I go to the renaissance festival, I always make sure to order broccoli and cheese soup in a bread bowl. It’s still too hot that time of year to enjoy almost boiling soup, finding a place to eat is almost impossible, my hands are covered in animal hair, and the soup isn’t that great — runny with the occasional speck of broccoli. But it’s tradition, so I keep ordering it anyway. A couple weeks ago, I set out to make the broccoli and cheese soup I wish they served at the renfest. It was so good I “forgot” to take photos of it, so I just had to make it again. It’s deliciously rich, creamy, and would be perfect for a bread bowl, but a hunk of crusty bread will do just fine.

    I’ve been making lots of soups and stews not just because of the weather, but they also make for such easy leftovers. While you can use a blender or food processor for this recipe, an immersion blender makes this soup much less of a hassle. This recipe calls for an obscene amount of butter, cheese, and milk. Everyone you serve it to will love it, just don’t tell them how much butter is in the soup.

    Broccoli and Cheese Soup

    1 onion, chopped
    1/2 cup butter
    4 garlic cloves, diced
    1/2 cup flour
    4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
    1.5 cups water
    3 russet potatoes, cut into large chunks
    1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
    1 tablespoon dried herbs (any or all of the following: thyme, rosemary, red pepper flakes, marjoram, parsley)
    salt and pepper, to taste
    8 ounces cheddar cheese
    1.5 cups milk (add more for a thinner soup)

    For serving (optional):
    Cheddar cheese, shredded
    Bread, lightly toasted

    Heat oil in a large stock pot. When hot, add the onions. Cook until the onions are translucent, about 5-7 minutes. Remove onions from the pot and pour into a bowl. Set aside the onions.

    Melt butter in the stockpot. Add garlic, and stir for about 30 seconds. Add the flour, mixing constantly until smooth. Start adding the stock, a few tablespoons at a time. Once you’ve gone through the stock, add the water and mix into the pot. Toss in the onions, potatoes, herbs, and nutmeg. Simmer the soup over low heat for about 25-30 minutes, or until the potatoes are cooked through. Stir frequently. Test with a fork to see if the potatoes are ready. When the potatoes are cooked, add the broccoli and cook for about 5-7 minutes. Whip out an immersion blender and blend until desired smoothness. I like leaving some chunks. Return the pot to the stove.

    Add the cheddar cheese and milk to the pot. Heat until the cheese has melted through and the soup is hot enough to your liking. Ladle into bowls and serve with extra cheese, crumbled bacon, and with a side of lightly toasted bread.

    If you have enough soup for leftovers, it will thicken overnight. Mix in about 1/2 cup of water at a time to achieve desired consistency.

    Serves 8-10