Posts made in December, 2015

Last Minute Potluck

Posted by on Dec 18, 2015 in Asian and Vegetarian | 0 comments

It seemed like a silly name; Free-Form Enchilada Verde. Nonetheless, Real Simple had me at store-bought and nearly all the ingredients were there on the shelves at Trader Joe’s or Target.  Make it ahead; even the night before.

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Eighteen small tortillas are a confusing ingredient.  After building my version, I realized 3-inch tortillas are the type called for in the recipe.  One dozen cut to fit the dish works as well.

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If wrestling a butternut squash is not your idea of effortless; cubed squash packages are easy to grab too. I fancy fresh squash.  The dense cubes are full of flavor and less watery. Microwave the squash for a minute; when it is cool enough to handle it peels quite easily.

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Whack it in half and scoop out the seeds.

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Then, it is mindless construction repeating the layers.

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My casserole of stacked tortillas, black beans, salsa, squash, and cheese wasn’t styled quite like the photo in the magazine

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—because I toted ours to a dinner across town and we garnished it with scallion, avocado and lime on the plates.  Half of us loved it; the others balked at squash, claiming an issue with texture.  The simple premise stands; substituting sweet potato for the squash or adding rotisserie chicken would have been a delicious alternative too.

Warm, creamy, filling, and tasty--it was all gone.

Real Simple!

 

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Greens, Grains, and Beans

Posted by on Dec 16, 2015 in Soup | 0 comments

It’s happened to you too; cooking all day, tasting and seasoning food leaves little personal appetite.  In my case, especially during the holidays, when I cook for others; I settle for a messy fresh farm egg on whole grain toast or better yet if I’ve planned ahead; a one pot wonder filled to the brim with hot flavorful broth and a mix of nutty grains, beans or legumes and leafy greens.

Cooking Light calls Smoky Farro and Chickpea Soup a “trifecta of deliciousness”.  Farro, an ancient savory wheat grain has a substantial chew somewhat nuttier and earthier than barley.  Since it takes a while to cook, I find it simmers to perfection without any attention except fuzzy logic in a rice cooker.

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One cup of farro and three cups of water equals the cooked farro called for in this recipe.

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(There are also fast cooking and pre-cooked varieties available).  Although the list of ingredients stretches nearly off the page, setting them in place simplifies three easy steps of soup construction.

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Cook the aromatics in olive oil; then season to taste with salt and pepper and sweat for a few minutes. Contrary to the instructions, I added only one teaspoon smoked paprika combined with one teaspoon of cumin; and cooked them for half a minute

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before stirring in the chickpeas (garbanzo beans), tomatoes and broth.  By the way, it seemed silly to use three-quarters of a quart vegetable broth leaving 1 cup for what?  A whole quart went in the pot; reducing water to two cups.

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All that remained behind was chopped rainbow chard, farro, and the adornments.  I simmered the soup for 20 minutes to intensify the flavors; then tumbled the farro and greens into the soup.

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Easy and hearty; top the soup with (greens love balsamic) Parmesan, sliced scallion, and avocado slices.

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One belly bowl, feet up and a blanket makes it a soup supper!

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Frightful in Fair Play

Posted by on Dec 14, 2015 in Soup | 1 comment

Our sky was Wizard of Oz-ish; although, a text from my sister, Leslie, testified to frightful weather in Fair Play, Cali. Thirty-four degrees with wind gusts, no power, rain and snow sounds like a warm blanket and soup for supper.

At the same time, a friend asked me for a vegetable soup recipe that was #kid-friendly; broccoli being a key indicator of probable success. Potatoes and cheese brought to mind a mighty matchup.

 

Accordingly, I adjusted and proposed a marriage of broccoli and sweet potatoes creating a colorful healthful bonus and undetected silkiness without cream but not without nutty gruyere cheese yumminess.

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Prepare broccoli by trimming and blanching the pieces in chicken or vegetable stock (making it vegetarian).

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Shock the vegetables in ice water to stop the cooking and retain the Christmas green. Remember to save the stock.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Saute onion, garlic and red pepper in a knob of butter, salt and pepper to taste; cooking until softened.

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Next, add flour and spices

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creating a Roux of sorts; cooking the rawness from the flour and blooming the spices as well.

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Add reserved broth back to the soup pot along with the diced sweet potatoes (yams).

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Simmer the soup for 10-15 minutes until the potatoes are tender.

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Stir in Dijon, milk and cheese to melt.

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Now, either puree the chowder to a smooth consistency or, if you prefer a chunkier style--mash it up

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before slipping in the reserved broccoli to heat through. Always taste and give it a final adjustment of seasonings.

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Surprisingly, this chowder is slightly sweet and exotic by the addition of red peppers and warm spices, but o'so warm satisfying and pretty all at once.

Make it gluten-free by using gluten-free flour; dairy-free by substituting coconut milk for another flavor profile.

Make it your own by browning sausage bits with the onion, or sliding rotisserie chicken in with the broccoli.

I think I'll remember this as Christmas Soup!

Broccoli & Sweet Potato Chowder with Gruyere

Ingredients

  • 1 pound Broccoli
  • 3 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes (about 1 pound) peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 large garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon ground mace
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 Tablespoons flour
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 cup 2% milk
  • 3 ounces Gruyere or white cheddar cheese, coarsely grated

Instructions

  1. Discard the lower inch or so of tough broccoli stems. Peel remaining stems and coarsely chop. Cut the florets into small pieces. Blanch florets in large pot of chicken stock 2-3 minutes. Remove to a bowl of ice water to stop cooking, and then drain. Reserve the cooking liquid.
  2. Heat butter in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Sauté onion, garlic, and red pepper in butter; season with salt and pepper. Cook over medium low heat, stirring occasionally until softened. Add flour, mace, and cumin; cook and stir 1-2 minutes longer.
  3. Add reserved cooking broth and diced sweet potatoes simmer 10-15 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Stir in Dijon, milk and cheese. Cook stirring until cheese is melted. Puree chowder until smooth and return to the pan with the reserved broccoli florets. Heat through and adjust seasonings.
  4. Serves four
  5. © Copyright 2015 Peggy Barrett Lunde
  6. All Rights Reserved
  7. http://cococooks.net/
http://cococooks.net/frightful-in-fair-play/

 

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#ChewHolidays

Posted by on Dec 11, 2015 in New | 8 comments

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Thanksgiving morning, running around like a wild turkey still in her pajamas; I noticed a message on my cell phone from ABC. No joke. I called Madelynne since I didn’t know how to access direct messages on Instagram.

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The producers asked for permission to float a photograph of my Chili Relleno Casserole on a potluck piece they were doing.  At the same time, I needed to look up the definition of perpetuity (which, by the way, is not the same as purgatory).

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Of course, I was tickled and on the following Monday, I took a screen shot as my dish scrolled by…

On Wednesday, another message and an email from the digital media producer arrived.

“Be sure to tune in today, you‘ll see something familiar in the beginning of the show.  We also have some exciting news for you—we’d love to feature the recipe for your

Vegetable Tart on TheChew.com.“

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I was thrilled and awesomely humbled.  If you have 7.51 minutes to kill, you can see my Chew friends sample the tart!

The link is here.

But sorry, they've taken it down  🙁

And if you’d like to bake one for yourself the recipe is at TheChew.com or on my blog.

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Thank you for taking this joy ride with me.

♥ ♥ ♥

cococooks

More food photos; follow me on Instagram

xxcoco

 

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Holiday Crack

Posted by on Dec 9, 2015 in Holiday | 2 comments

Mom stuffed our holiday turkey with two contrasting dressings; traditional inside the bird, and tucked away in the neck cavity, oyster.  I remember strong opinions as to whether or not the whole fowl was tainted by those oysters.

Having said that, Mom’s English Toffee (which had nothing to do with the turkey) was every grown up, child, neighbor, and church ladies top sweet indulgence from Thanksgiving to New Year's Day.

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Still in my arsenal of Christmas goodies, Southern Living’s Pecan-Espresso Toffee bumped Mom’s tame butter, almond, and Hershey’s Milk Chocolate treat like an elbow to the side.  It got my attention.  Bittersweet and semisweet chocolate morsels partner with toasted pecans and hard toffee; taken close to the edge of smoky coffee burnt.  And, baby it is a spot on; teetering on the edge of ruin.  Certainly, I have hidden it from myself and, I don’t have a sweet tooth.

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Using a candy thermometer is highly efficient; otherwise you might blow it. Be prepared to work quickly.  The toffee will take 17-20 minutes of constant heat to reach 290 degrees.

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Putt,putt; suddenly it is 290 degrees.

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Turn off the heat and carefully stir in the chopped toasted pecans.

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I was pleased that MP was home to grab the hot lava and pour it onto parchment paper, allowing me to stand by ready to spread.   Hence, there is no photograph.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finish with a generous blend of sweet and bitter chocolate; wait.

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Five minutes is all it takes to warm the rich chocolate for a silky spread.

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Triumphantly, I sprinkled sea salt high above the cooling slab (not included in the instructions).

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An hour later when no one is looking, begin to break the decadent toffee into jagged pieces; undoubtedly, small bits fall to the side.

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What you do with them is your business…

 

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