All Hail Asparagus, Spring is just around the corner

  So I walk into the produce section of my favorite green grocer and what do I spy? Why asparagus at .99 a pound. Are they kidding me? .99 a pound? Sign me up and shut the door, I’m all in for this special. As if in a daze my cart magically makes its way over to the stand and I find myself loading bundle after bundle of that sweet stalk of green goodness into my cart.

By the time I get out of my chlorophyll induced stupor I’m in my kitchen, the proud owner of 10 pounds of the stuff and no real plan on how to use it up before it starts to wilt. My plan, take a deep breath, do a little recipe research and cook up a storm.

Asparagus is one of Mother Nature’s finest gifts and is a sure sign that spring has sprung. It’s a part of the lily family and is sort of a first cousin to onions, leeks and garlic. Loaded with vitamins A, B and C it’s also a great source for folic acid, it’s at its best from May through June so now is the best time to stock up and chow down. It is a very versatile vegetable that can be prepared by steaming, roasting, grilling or even stir frying it. The spears should be firm and green with tightly closed firm tips. Choose thin or thick stalks is just a matter of personal preference, I don’t really taste a difference between the two. Pass up asparagus with thick woody looking stalks.  I don’t peel the stalks but I do cut off about 1/2 inch of the ends before cooking.

If you’d like a little variety in your life look for white or purple asparagus. They’re the same as the green variety they’ve just been grown differently; the white is grown like some mushrooms, without light so it doesn’t produce chlorophyll. You will find that the white asparagus is a tad bit sweeter but so is the price point. The purple is pretty but it does loose most of its purple color when cooked.

I’ve started cooking and don’t plan on stopping until the last stalk is devoured and invite you to do the same with these terrific recipes

 

GRILLED ASPARAGUS MOCK CRAB TART (dairy)

1lb. asparagus, cut into 1/3’s and grilled slightly

1/4 cup butter or margarine

4 to 5 portabella mushrooms chopped

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1/2 cup bread crumbs

3 tablespoon parmesan cheese, divided

1/2 teaspoon pepper

2 cups shredded Munster or pepper jack cheese

1/2 lb mock crab shredded or chopped

8 ounces vegetable cream cheese

4 eggs

1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped or 2 teaspoons dried

Preheat oven to 375. Grease a 13×9-inch glass baking dish with cooking spray. In a skillet melt the butter. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring frequently for about 6 or 7 minutes. Remove the mushrooms and garlic from the heat and add the bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, and pepper.  Mix to combine and then press mushroom mixture evenly in bottom and up side of greased pan. Sprinkle the shredded cheese over the mushroom crust. Place the asparagus and mock crab on top of the cheese. In a bowl of an electric mixer combine the cream cheese, eggs and 1 tablespoon of the parsley. Beat to combine and so that there are no lumps. Pour the egg mixture over the asparagus and crabmeat. Sprinkle the top with the 2 tablespoons of Parmesan cheese. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until the top is golden brown. Let cool for 5 to 10 minutes then serve. Serves 8.

Modified from about.com

 

PUFFED ASPARAGUS AND LOX BITES (dairy)

1 lb fresh asparagus ends cut off, steamed till just crisp tender

1 package puff pastry dough (2 sheets), defrosted

1 cup shredded pepper jack or Swiss cheese

1/4 lb lox, cut into bite size pieces

1/4 cup green onion, finely chopped

2 tablespoons melted butter

1 tablespoon sesame seeds

Preheat oven to 400. Place a piece of parchment paper on a cookie sheet. Open puff pastry dough and cut each sheet into 1/3’s. Then cut each strip into 1/3’s. Roll each section out slightly so they form rectangles. On each section, lengthwise, place a few stalks of cooked asparagus on one edge, sprinkle some cheese, lox and green onions on top of the asparagus and then roll them up. Place the rolls, seam side down on the cookie sheet. Brush the top of each roll with the melted butter and sprinkle the top with a few sesame seeds. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until roll ups are golden browned. Remove from the oven and let cool for 2 to 3 minutes. Cut each roll in half and serve. Serves 6 to 8.

ASPARAGUS POPOVERS (dairy)

1 lb asparagus

2 tablespoons butter

1/2 cup milk

3 large eggs, at room temperature

1/2 cup flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1 pinch sugar

3 ounces gruyere cheese, shredded

Preheat oven to 425. In a medium saucepan, add 2 inched of salted water; bring to a boil. Add the asparagus and cook until crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water, then pat dry with paper towels. Cut the spears crosswise into thirds. In a medium cast-iron skillet, add the butter. Place the skillet in the oven to melt the butter. In a medium bowl, microwave the milk on high for 30 seconds. Whisk in the eggs, then the flour, salt, pepper, and sugar. Add the asparagus pieces to the hot cast-iron skillet and pour the batter on top. Sprinkle with half of the cheese and bake until puffed and golden-brown, 18 to 20 minutes. Top with the remaining cheese. Recipe makes 24 pieces

From the May 2008 issue of Everyday with Rachael Ray

ASPARAGUS TID BITS (dairy)

1 lb asparagus cut into bite size pieces

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 lb smoked white fish, broken into bite size pieces

12 oz gruyere cheese, sliced

1 loaf French bread, sliced in to 1/2-inch slices

1/3 to 1/2 cup olive oil

kosher salt, to taste

pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 350. Saute the asparagus in the olive oil until it’s just soft and set it aside. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. With a pastry brush, lightly brush the top of the slices of French bread with olive oil. Place the oiled pieces, oil side up on the parchment paper, season with salt and pepper. Bake for about 5 to 7 minutes until golden. Place a small piece of white fish on top of the toasted French bread, then put two to three pieces of asparagus, and top with one small slice of gruyere, Grind a little pepper on top, return to the oven for 2 minutes or just until the cheese melts. Serve immediately. Makes 12 to 14 pieces.

ASPARAGUS STRATA (dairy)

You can vary the amount of cheese according to your taste

1 to 1 1/2 lbs. fresh asparagus, cut into bite size pieces

2 carrots shredded

1 to 2 tablespoon olive oil

Salt and pepper

6 tablespoons butter

1/3 cup flour

3 cups milk or 1/2 and 1/2

1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg

3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese (for sauce)

1 tablespoon minced garlic

Salt and pepper

6 large par boiled lasagna noodles

1 to 1 1/3 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

3/4 to 1 cup grated Romano cheese

1/3 to 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 425. Place the asparagus and shredded carrots on a cookie sheet with sides and toss them with the olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast for 8 to 10 minutes until they just begin to soften. Cool slightly and set them aside. In a large saucepan melt the butter and add the flour and whisk briskly and constantly until it’s combined. Cook for about 2 minutes whisking constantly. Add the milk and continue whisking and cooking until the sauce is thickened. Reduce the heat and add the nutmeg, 3/4 cup parmesan cheese and garlic. Stir until cheese is melted. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove sauce from the heat. In a 9 X 13 pan, spread a few tablespoons of the sauce on the bottom. Top with 3 noodles then top with 1/3 of the roasted asparagus and carrot mixture. Sprinkle a little parmesan Romano and mozzarella cheese over the top of the asparagus. Spoon 1/3 of the sauce over the cheese. Top with a layer of 3 lasagna noodles. Repeat the layers asparagus, cheese, sauce. Top the sauce on the top of the strata with the remaining cheeses. Bake for about 30 to 40 minutes or until the top is golden and the sides are bubbly. Let the cool for about 15 to 20 minutes before serving. Serves 8.

Submitted by Corrine Rasterty, Finley NJ

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ASPARAGUS AND ONIONS HOT POT (dairy)

1 lb of fresh asparagus, cut into bite size pieces

1 large onion, chopped into bite size pieces

1 tablespoon minced garlic

3 tablespoons of butter, divided

2 tablespoons of flour

1 cup of milk

1/2 cup cream cheese

1/2 teaspoon chili powder

1 teaspoon of salt

pepper to taste

1/2 cup shredded pepper jack cheese, shredded.

1 cup of panko bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 2 quart baking dish. In a skillet melt 1 tablespoon of butter and saute the asparagus, garlic and onion until just slightly wilted. Put the mixture into the greased pan. In a saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons of butter, add the flour and stir until smooth. Add the milk and cook, stirring constantly until the mixture is thickened and smooth. Add the cream cheese, chili powder, salt and pepper to taste. Pour the sauce over the asparagus and onion mixture. Mix to combine. Sprinkle the top with the cheese and breadcrumbs. Bake uncovered for 35 to 40 minutes or until bubbly and the cheese is melted. Serves 6 to 8 as a side dish.

MAPLE GLAZED ASPARAGUS (pareve)

1 pound fresh asparagus, trimmed

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

Paprika

2 tablespoons maple syrup

Preheat oven to 450. Line the cookie sheet with foil. Place the asparagus spears on a rimmed cookie sheet. Drizzle the olive oil and maple syrup over the top. Toss to make sure all the spears are coated. Lightly sprinkle the asparagus with the paprika, salt and pepper. Roast the asparagus for 8 to 10 minutes then turn it over and cook for another 2 minutes. Serve immediately. Serves 4 to 6.

ASPARAGUS AND PASTA SALAD (dairy)

6 to 8 slices Morning Star Farm ® fake bacon, cut into bite size pieces

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 onion, finely chopped

1 red pepper chopped

1/2 lb mushrooms, sliced

1 1/2 pounds asparagus, trimmed and cut on a long diagonal into 1/2-inch-thick slices

1 lb. bow tie pasta, cooked according to the package directions, save 1 cup of the water used in cooking

1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

Parmesan for serving

Cook the Morning Star Farm ® fake bacon in 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a fry pan until it’s crispy and brown. Drain on paper towels and but keep the oil in the pan. Saute the onion, mushrooms and red pepper in the skillet for about 5 minutes. Add the asparagus and continue cooking for 3 to 4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add the drained pasta and 1/2 cup of the water to the vegetable mixture. Mix to combine, scraping the bottom to remove the cooked on bits of vegetable. Cook for 1 minute and add the remaining water and 1/2 cup parmesan. Mix to combine and cook for 2 more minutes. Place the pasta mixture in a serving bowl, add the cooked Morning Star Farm® fake bacon and toss to combine. Serve with additional parmesan. Serves 6 to 8

Modified from an old Gourmet Magazine recipe

All In for Asparagus At Any Price/Some Recipes Not Kosher

So I walk into the produce section of my favorite green grocer and what do I spy? Why asparagus at .99 a pound. Are they kidding me? .99 a pound? Sign me up and shut the door, I’m all in for this special. As if in a daze my cart magically makes its way over to the stand and I find myself loading bundle after bundle of that sweet stalk of green goodness into my cart.

By the time I get out of my chlorophyll induced stupor I’m in my kitchen, the proud owner of 10 pounds of the stuff and no real plan on how to use it up before it starts to wilt. My plan, take a deep breath, do a little recipe research and cook up a storm.

Asparagus is one of Mother Nature’s finest gifts and is a sure sign that spring has sprung. It’s a part of the lily family and is sort of a first cousin to onions, leeks and garlic. Loaded with vitamins A, B and C it’s also a great source for folic acid,  It’s at its best from May through June so now is the best time to stock up and chow down. It is a very versatile vegetable that can be prepared by steaming, roasting, grilling or even stir frying it. The spears should be firm and green with tightly closed firm tips. Choose thin or thick stalks is just a matter of personal preference, I don’t really taste a difference between the two. Pass up asparagus with thick woody looking stalks.  I don’t peel the stalks but I do cut off about 1/2 inch of the ends before cooking.

If you’d like a little variety in your life look for white or purple asparagus. They’re the same as the green variety they’ve just been grown differently; the white is grown like some mushrooms, without light so it doesn’t produce chlorophyll. You will find that the white asparagus is a tad bit sweeter but so is the price point. The purple is pretty but it does loose most of its purple color when cooked.

I’ve started cooking and don’t plan on stopping until the last stalk is devoured and invite you to do the same with these terrific recipes

GRILLED ASPARAGUS CRAB TART

 

1lb. asparagus, cut into 1/3’s and grilled slightly

1/4 cup butter or margarine

4 to 5 portabella mushrooms chopped

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1/2 cup bread crumbs

3 tablespoon parmesan cheese, divided

1/2 teaspoon pepper

2 cups shredded Munster or pepper jack cheese

1/2 lb crabmeat shredded or chopped

8 ounces vegetable cream cheese

4 eggs

1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped or 2 teaspoons dried

 

Preheat oven to 375. Grease a 13×9-inch glass baking dish with cooking spray. In a skillet melt the butter. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring frequently for about 6 or 7 minutes. Remove the mushrooms and garlic from the heat and add the bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, and pepper.  Mix to combine and then press mushroom mixture evenly in bottom and up side of greased pan. Sprinkle the shredded cheese over the mushroom crust. Place the asparagus and crabmeat on top of the cheese. In a bowl of an electric mixer combine the cream cheese, eggs and 1 tablespoon of the parsley. Beat to combine and so that there are no lumps. Pour the egg mixture over the asparagus and crabmeat. Sprinkle the top with the 2 tablespoons of Parmesan cheese. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until the top is golden brown. Let cool for 5 to 10 minutes then serve. Serves 8.

 

PUFFED ASPARAGUS AND BACON BITES

 

1 lb fresh asparagus ends cut off, steamed till just crisp tender

1 package puff pastry dough (2 sheets), defrosted

1 cup shredded pepper jack or Swiss cheese

1/4 cup bacon, cooked and crumbled

1/4 cup green onion, finely chopped

2 tablespoons melted butter

1 tablespoon sesame seeds

 

Preheat oven to 400. Place a piece of parchment paper on a cookie sheet. Open puff pastry dough and cut each sheet into 1/3’s. Then cut each strip into 1/3’s. Roll each section out slightly so they form rectangles. On each section, lengthwise, place a few stalks of cooked asparagus on one edge, sprinkle some cheese, bacon and green onions on top of the asparagus and then roll them up. Place the rolls, seam side down on the cookie sheet. Brush the top of each roll with the melted butter and sprinkle the top with a few sesame seeds. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until roll ups are golden browned. Remove from the oven and let cool for 2 to 3 minutes. Cut each roll in half and serve. Serves 6 to 8.

ASPARAGUS POPOVERS

 

1 lb asparagus

2 tablespoons butter

1/2 cup milk

3 large eggs, at room temperature

1/2 cup flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1 pinch sugar

3 ounces gruyere cheese, shredded

 

Preheat oven to 425. In a medium saucepan, add 2 inched of salted water; bring to a boil. Add the asparagus and cook until crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water, then pat dry with paper towels. Cut the spears crosswise into thirds. In a medium cast-iron skillet, add the butter. Place the skillet in the oven to melt the butter. In a medium bowl, microwave the milk on high for 30 seconds. Whisk in the eggs, then the flour, salt, pepper, and sugar. Add the asparagus pieces to the hot cast-iron skillet and pour the batter on top. Sprinkle with half of the cheese and bake until puffed and golden-brown, 18 to 20 minutes. Top with the remaining cheese. Recipe makes 24 pieces

 

From the May 2008 issue of Everyday with Rachael Ray

ASPARAGUS TID BITS

 

1 lb asparagus cut into bite size pieces

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 lb smoked white fish, broken into bite size pieces

12 oz gruyere cheese, sliced

1 loaf French bread, sliced in to 1/2-inch slices

1/3 to 1/2 cup olive oil

kosher salt, to taste

pepper, to taste

 

Preheat oven to 350. Saute the asparagus in the olive oil until it’s just soft and set it aside. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. With a pastry brush, lightly brush the top of the slices of French bread with olive oil. Place the oiled pieces, oil side up on the parchment paper, season with salt and pepper. Bake for about 5 to 7 minutes until golden. Place a small piece of white fish on top of the toasted French bread, then put two to three pieces of asparagus, and top with one small slice of gruyere, Grind a little pepper on top, return to the oven for 2 minutes or just until the cheese melts. Serve immediately. Makes 12 to 14 pieces.

 

ASPARAGUS STRATA

You can vary the amount of cheese according to your taste

 

1 to 1 1/2 lbs. fresh asparagus, cut into bite size pieces

2 carrots shredded

1 to 2 tablespoon olive oil

Salt and pepper

6 tablespoons butter

1/3 cup flour

3 cups milk or 1/2 and 1/2

1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg

3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese (for sauce)

1 tablespoon minced garlic

Salt and pepper

6 large par boiled lasagna noodles

1 to 1 1/3 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

3/4 to 1 cup grated Romano cheese

1/3 to 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

 

Preheat oven to 425. Place the asparagus and shredded carrots on a cookie sheet with sides and toss them with the olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast for 8 to 10 minutes until they just begin to soften. Cool slightly and set them aside. In a large saucepan melt the butter and add the flour and whisk briskly and constantly until it’s combined. Cook for about 2 minutes whisking constantly. Add the milk and continue whisking and cooking until the sauce is thickened. Reduce the heat and add the nutmeg, 3/4 cup parmesan cheese and garlic. Stir until cheese is melted. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove sauce from the heat. In a 9 X 13 pan, spread a few tablespoons of the sauce on the bottom. Top with 3 noodles then top with 1/3 of the roasted asparagus and carrot mixture. Sprinkle a little parmesan Romano and mozzarella cheese over the top of the asparagus. Spoon 1/3 of the sauce over the cheese. Top with a layer of 3 lasagna noodles. Repeat the layers asparagus, cheese, sauce. Top the sauce on the top of the strata with the remaining cheeses. Bake for about 30 to 40 minutes or until the top is golden and the sides are bubbly. Let the cool for about 15 to 20 minutes before serving. Serves 8.

 

Submitted by Corrine Rasterty, Finley NJ

 

ASPARAGUS AND ONIONS HOT POT

 

1 lb of fresh asparagus, cut into bite size pieces

1 large onion, chopped into bite size pieces

1 tablespoon minced garlic

3 tablespoons of butter, divided

2 tablespoons of flour

1 cup of milk

1/2 cup cream cheese

1/2 teaspoon chili powder

1 teaspoon of salt

pepper to taste

1/2 cup shredded pepper jack cheese, shredded.

1 cup of panko bread crumbs

 

Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 2 quart baking dish. In a skillet melt 1 tablespoon of butter and saute the asparagus, garlic and onion until just slightly wilted. Put the mixture into the greased pan. In a saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons of butter, add the flour and stir until smooth. Add the milk and cook, stirring constantly until the mixture is thickened and smooth. Add the cream cheese, chili powder, salt and pepper to taste. Pour the sauce over the asparagus and onion mixture. Mix to combine. Sprinkle the top with the cheese and breadcrumbs. Bake uncovered for 35 to 40 minutes or until bubbly and the cheese is melted. Serves 6 to 8 as a side dish.

 

MAPLE GLAZED ASPARAGUS

 

1 pound fresh asparagus, trimmed

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

Paprika

2 tablespoons maple syrup

 

Preheat oven to 450. Line the cookie sheet with foil. Place the asparagus spears on a rimmed cookie sheet. Drizzle the olive oil and maple syrup over the top. Toss to make sure all the spears are coated. Lightly sprinkle the asparagus with the paprika, salt and pepper. Roast the asparagus for 8 to 10 minutes then turn it over and cook for another 2 minutes. Serve

ASPARAGUS   AND PASTA SALAD

 

6 to 8   slices Canadian bacon or hickory smoked  bacon, cut into bite size pieces   2 tablespoons olive oil   1  onion, finely chopped

1 red   pepper chopped

1/2 lb   mushrooms, sliced   1 1/2 pounds asparagus, trimmed and cut on a long diagonal into   1/2-inch-thick slices   1 lb. bow tie pasta, cooked according to the package directions, save 1 cup   of the water used in cooking   1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

Parmesan   for serving

 

Cook the   bacon in a fry pan until it’s crispy and brown. Drain on paper towels and   pour off half of the remaining fat. Saute the onion, mushrooms and red pepper   in the skillet for about 5 minutes. Add the asparagus and continue cooking   for 3 to 4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add the drained pasta and   1/2 cup of the water to the vegetable mixture. Mix to combine, scraping the   bottom to remove the cooked on bits of vegetable. Cook for 1 minute and add   the remaining water and 1/2 cup parmesan. Mix to combine and cook for an   additional 2 minutes. Place the pasta mixture in a serving bowl, add the   cooked bacon and toss to combine. Serve with additional parmesan. Serves 6 to   8

Modified from an old Gourmet Magazine recipe

Barley There (Ok, a bad pun but a great grain)

So there I was, cleaning out my pantry in a crazed moment of organization (believe me, they are few and far between) and lo and behold, I discover an open box of barley I had conveniently misplaced behind the other opened boxes of pasta, wild rice and ramen noodles I really need to finish. As I contemplated the box I realized that I have tons and tons of recipes that utilize this great grain and what better time to share them than when I’m all trying to use up this “stuff”

Barley is kind of a super fiber filled food and who can’t use more fiber in their diet these days. There are two types of barley typically available to consumers.  The first is pearl barley. This process barley has had its outer fibrous hull removed and is almost like white rice, great for soups and salads. Scotch barley is less processed barley. It holds up better in stews and cooked casseroles.

Barley has a slightly nutty and chewy flavor. I like to toast it (for 8 to 10 minutes in a skillet over a low heat) before cooking it to bring out its more robust flavor. You should know that barley expands A LOT when it cooks so make sure you have enough liquid to keep it from scorching. 1 cup dry barley expands to makes approx. 3 cups cooked barley. In the event, unlike me, you need to purchase some barley to make the following recipes please try and steer clear of the quick cooking kind. In my opinion, it’s just a poor imitation of the real stuff. Yes you can use the quick cooking barley if you’re in a hurry but for my money and taste the slower cooking kind is better in terms of flavor and texture.

 

How cook pearl barley:
In a saucepan combine 3/4 cup pearl barley, 2 1/4 cups water and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to low simmer, cover and cook 45 minutes or until barley is tender and the liquid is absorbed. Makes approx 3 cups.

SHANGHI STIR FRY

 

1/2 cup barley
1 cup water
2 tablespoons sesame oil, divided
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts or 6 chicken thighs cut into bite-size pieces
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 small peeled and diced eggplant
1/2 cup red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 cup onion, chopped
3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves or 1 tablespoon dried
8 to 10 drops hot sauce
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon peanut butter
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1/4 cup chopped peanuts
1 cup shredded red cabbage

1/2 cup chopped cucumber

 

Place the barley and water in medium saucepan and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover and cook 45 minutes or until barley is tender and liquid is absorbed. Set the barley aside. In large skillet heat 1 tablespoon oil. Add the chicken and garlic and stir fry 3 to 4 minutes. Add the cooked barley to the pan and cook, stirring constantly for 3 minutes. Remove the mixture to a bowl and set it aside. Do not clean the pan. Add the remaining oil to the skillet. Add eggplant, bell pepper and onion and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Add basil, hot sauce, sugar, peanut butter and soy sauce; cook 2 more minutes. Add the barley mixture to the vegetables and cook, stirring constantly for 3 to 4 minutes. Spoon the mixture into the serving bowl and garnish with peanuts, cucumber and red cabbage. Serves 4.

 

APPLES AND BARLEY CHICKEN

 

1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup red bell pepper, diced
1/2 cup green bell pepper, diced
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, seeded and chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons curry powder
1 cup barley
2-1/2 cups chicken broth
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts or 8 boneless skinless chicken thighs
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
3 tablespoons apricot jam or apple butter

 

Preheat oven to 375. Grease a 9X13 casserole dish. In a large skillet heat the oil and sauté the onion, peppers and garlic for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the apple and curry powder and cook an additional 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in the barley and chicken broth. Bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook an additional 15 minutes. Spoon the liquidly barley mixture into the greased casserole. Arrange the chicken pieces over the barley mixture. Season with garlic salt. Cover and bake for 35 to 45 minutes. Remove the foil and brush the chicken with the apricot jam. Bake, uncovered, for an additional 10 to 15 minutes longer. Let stand for a few minutes before serving. Serves 4. This recipe can be doubled or tripled.

 

CORN AND BARLEY CASSEROLE

 

1 cup barley
3 cups water
1 1/2 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil or 1 teaspoon dried basil

2 teaspoons parsley
salt and pepper to taste
1 1/2 cup diced fresh tomato
2/3 cup diced red bell pepper
4 to 6 green onions, thinly sliced

In medium saucepan bring the water and approx. 1/2 teaspoon salt to a boil. Add the barley and return the mixture to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 35 minutes. Add the corn and simmer 10 to 15 minutes longer. While the barley is cooking in a bowl combine the olive oil, vinegar, basil, approx. 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper to taste. Pour the dressing over the warm barley mixture and mix to combine. Cool the mixture to room temperature. Add the tomatoes, peppers, parsley and onions. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours for the flavors to combine. Serves 6 to 8

ORANGE ALMOND AND BARLEY SALAD

 

2 cups hot cooked barley
4 to 5 tablespoons sesame oil

1 1/2 teaspoon rice wine vinegar

1 tablespoon sugar
3-1/2 to 4 cups shredded romaine or red leaf lettuce

1 can (11 ounces) mandarin oranges drained but save 2 tablespoons liquid
1-1/2 to 2 cups cubed cooked turkey or chicken
1/2 cup sliced celery
1/4 cup sliced green onions

Rice noodles, for garnish

2/3 cup toasted almonds

 

Place the hot cooked barley into a large bowl. Drizzle the sesame oil, rice wine vinegar and sugar over the hot barley, mix gently to coat Cover the barley and refrigerate it for at least 1 hour. Add the mandarin oranges, orange liquid, turkey, celery and green onions to the cold barley. Toss gently to combine. Arrange the salad greens on 4 dinner plates. Mound the barley mixture over the greens. Sprinkle the top of each salad with the rice noodles and almonds for garnish. Makes 4 main course servings or 8 salad servings.

 

BARLEY BEEF SOUP

 

1 1/2 lb beef stew meat cut into bite size pieces

1 tablespoon olive oil

3 onions chopped

6 carrots diced

1 to 1 1/2 lb mushroom sliced

8 cups beef broth

1 cup barley

1 teaspoon minced garlic

2 teaspoon dried parsley

1/4 teaspoon pepper

Salt and Pepper to taste

 

In the bottom of a soup pot brown the meat in the oil. Add the onions, garlic and mushrooms and cook, stirring often for 10 minutes. Add the broth, carrots, mushrooms and barley. Bring the soup to a boil then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook, uncovered, for at least 2 hours. In the last 15 minutes add the parsley and mix to combine. Season with salt and pepper before serving. If the soup is too thick add water to thin it. Serves 8

 

VEGETABLE BARLEY SOUP

 

1 onion, diced

2 stalks celery, diced

2 carrots, diced

1 parsnip, diced

2 potatoes, diced

2 tablespoon oil

8 cups water or broth

1 cup uncooked pearled barley

1 can pinto beans, drained

1 small can crushed tomatoes

1/2 teaspoon basil

1/2 teaspoon oregano

1/2 teaspoon thyme

1 teaspoon onion powder

2 large bay leaves

Salt and pepper

 

In a large soup pot, sauté the onions, celery, parsnip, potatoes and carrots for 3 to 5 minutes. Add broth or water and the remaining ingredients. Mix to combine and bring the soup to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Simmer for an hour, stirring occasionally, until the barley is soft. Season to taste with salt and pepper, remove the bay leaves and serve. Serves 8 to 10.

 

Submitted by Victoria Cambria Northbrook IL

 

CHICKEN BARLEY GUMBO

 

1 lb skinless chicken thighs

2 teaspoon olive oil

4 cups water

4 cups chicken broth

1 onion, chopped

2 cups seeded diced tomatoes

1 1/2 cups corn

2 cups sliced okra (sliced)

2 teaspoon minced garlic

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 bay leaf

1/2 teaspoon sage

2/3 cup barley

 

In a large sauce pan sauté the onions in the olive oil for about 3 or 4 minutes. Add the chicken, cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Add the water and broth the mixture. Bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Skim off the foam and add the garlic, red pepper, bay leaf, and sage. Cover and let simmer 15 to 30 minutes. Add the okra, tomatoes, corn, and barley, cover and simmer for an hour. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serves 8 to 10.

 

Modified from about.com

Perfect Pot Pie

SLICE OF LIFE BY EILEEN GOLTZ

The phrase “it’s as easy as pie” to make is one that readily comes to mind whenever I’m in the mood to make pot pies. Surprisingly the mood seems to strike whenever I have leftovers that don’t seem to be just quite enough to make a full meal all by themselves. The light bulb in my head (the one that looks eerily like the one in my fridge) goes on and the word balloon appears and it blinks, pot pie, pot pie, pot pie.
Recipes for pot pie cooking methods date back to the Middle Ages in Europe, and were brought to America along with all the other hand me down recipes our ancestors had in their own personal cookbooks. Simply put, a pot pie is a savory meat or vegetable stew/thick soup cooked in a single or double crusted pan depending on your personal preference and your geological frame of reference. A lot of recipes from south of the Mason Dixon line have  a biscuit type of crust and those from those Yankee states are more apt to use pastry dough or puff pastry. Those that originated in other countries use potatoes or barley or even rice in the crusts. It just goes to show you that even though cooks all over the world may have a different set of staples in the house we know what to do with them when it comes to making the best of leftovers.
. The following recipes include several that I’ve made for years and years and more years and have absolutely no idea where the original recipe came from and the rest have been sent to me by readers who love pot pies as much as I do. .So, even if you’re ordinarily a the kind of cook that burns water, making a pot pie will raise your confidence level 10 fold and your standing as the best cook in the world for turning leftovers into a spectacular meal 100 fold.

REMINDS ME OF MARSHALL FIELDS CHICKEN POT PIES

2 sheets puff pastry dough, thawed
3 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup flour
2 cups chicken broth
Salt and pepper to taste
Pinch of thyme
12 ounces cooked chicken meat, cut into strips
1 onion, minced
1/2 cup peas, if frozen, thawed
1/2 cup diced cooked carrot
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped red pepper

Preheat oven to 450. Grease a 9×13 baking pan and place on sheet of the dough on the bottom and up the sides of the pan. Press to push it slightly up the sides of the pan. set it aside. In a sauce pan melt the butter and then stir in the flour. Cook, whisking until the flour is incorporated into the butter and then add the broth and whisk until the mixture is smooth. Increase the heat and bring the mixture to a boil and cook for 1 to 2 minutes until the mixture is thickened. Add the pinch of thyme and salt and pepper to taste. Mix to combine.  Add chicken, peas, onions, celery and carrot and mix to combine and pour the mixture into the prepared pan over the dough. Top with the second piece of puff pastry dough making sure to tuck the edges into the pan and connecting it with the bottom dough if possible. Bake for approx 25 minutes until the top has puffed up and is golden brown. Cool 5 minutes and serve. Serves 4 to 6.

RICE AND CHICKEN POT PIE

2 tablespoons butter
1 large onion, chopped
2 teaspoons minced garlic
3/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon sage
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/3 cup flour
2 cans (14 1/2-ounce) chicken broth
1 package (16-oz) mixed frozen vegetables
3 cups cooked rice
2 cups cooked chopped chicken
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 1/2 cup baking mix
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup finely chopped green onions

Heat butter in skillet  and add onion, garlic, thyme, sage and pepper. Cook, stirring constantly for about 5 minutes until onion is tender. Add flour, cook and stir 1 to 2 minutes. Whisk in broth; cook, whisking 4 to 6 minutes or until sauce boils and thickens.

Stir in vegetables; cook 5 to 7 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Stir in rice, chicken and parsley; cook, stirring 2 to 3 minutes more. Place in 2-1/2-quart casserole. (May be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Bring to room temperature before baking.)

Combine baking mix, buttermilk and green onions in medium bowl. Gently stir, just until dough comes together. Form dough into 9-inch long log on lightly floured surface; cut crosswise into 6-1/2-inch rounds. (Or roll out dough on lightly floured surface to 1/2-inch thickness and cut with different shaped cookie cutters.)

Top casserole with biscuits, spacing evenly. Bake in 425-degree oven for 20 minutes until filling is bubbly and biscuits are golden brown. Serve immediately.

Modified from cdkitchen.com

MASHED POTATO TURKEY POT PIE

1 tablespoon oil
2 pounds ground turkey
1 onion, chopped
3 stalks celery, diced
1 red pepper diced
1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
3 (16 oz.) cans cream style corn
8 white potatoes, cooked and mashed
Butter or margarine
Panko bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 325. In a skillet sauté the onion, celery and red pepper together in the oil. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes and then add the turkey. Cook until turkey is no longer pink.  Drain any liquid, add the poultry seasoning, mix to combine and put the mixture in a 9X13 casserole dish. Pour the creamed corn over the mixture and top with the mashed potatoes. Place small pieces dabs of butter or margarine on the potatoes. Cover and bake for 20 minutes. Uncover and sprinkle the breadcrumbs over the top. Bake an additional 10 minutes and serve. Serves 6 to 8.

Submitted by Audry Snarling

VEGGIE POT PIE

1 tablespoon oil
2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 onions, diced
1 green or red pepper, diced
3 to 4 carrots, peeled and diced
3 or 4 yellow or zucchini squashed, diced
15 ounces can vegetarian chili (you can use the stuff with meat if you like)
1 cup shredded pepper jack cheese
6 ounces box cornbread mix (or your favorite recipe)
salsa and sour cream

Preheat oven to 375. Prepare the corn bread mix and set it aside. Grease a 9×13 baking pan and set aside. In a large skillet sauté the garlic in the oil for about 1 minute and then add the onion, green pepper, carrots, and zucchini; cook 10 to 15 minutes or until vegetables are tender but not mushy. Stir in the chili, mix to combine and then spoon the mixture spread into the prepared pan. Sprinkle the top with the cheese. Spread the corn bread mixture over the top of the cheese. Bake for 20 minutes or until the cornbread is golden brown.  Let sit for 3 to 5 minutes then serve. Serves 6

SWEET POTATO POT PIE

3 tablespoons   olive oil
1 onion, chopped
3 teaspoon minced garlic
3 cups fresh sweet potatoes, peeled and diced into small  pieces
1/2 teaspoon salt or more to taste
1 jalapeno pepper, minced
1 cup corn kernels, fresh or frozen
2 cups milk
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 sheet puff pastry dough, thawed
1 egg mixed
Poppy or sesame seeds

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large skillet sauté the onion, jalapeno, garlic and, sweet potatoes in the oil. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender. Stir in the corn.

In a small bowl whisk together the milk and cornstarch, then pour the mixture into the sweet potato mixture. Bring the mixture to bring to a boil, stirring constantly, and cook until the liquid starts to thicken, about 2 minutes. Remove the mixture from heat and season to taste with salt and pepper. Pour the mixture into a 9X13 pan and then gently lay a sheet of the puff pastry dough on top pushing the edges in to the mixture around the side of the pan.  Brush the top of the dough with the beaten egg and then sprinkle the top with sesame or poppy seeds. Using a sharp knife, cut a few slits in the top of the crust (you can make a design) to let the steam vent. Place the casserole on a cookie sheet with sides just in case it bubbles over. Bake about 15 to 20 minutes until the top is golden. Serves 4 for dinner 6 for lunch

Note: you can use canned sweet potatoes but don’t saute them with the other vegetables, add them with the corn.

HONEY DIJON MUSTARD POT PIE

1 cup chicken broth
2 tablespoons oil
1 lb chicken breasts, no bones or skin
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 cup diced carrots
1 cup peas, frozen or canned
2 ready make pie crusts, defrosted
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
5 tablespoons honey
2 teaspoons parsley
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/4 cup minced onion
Water, as needed
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 425. Marinate the chicken in the soy sauce for about 10 minutes then drain. In a skillet sauté the garlic and onions in the oil. Cook until they just start to wilt and are still firm. Add the chicken and cook until the chicken is done through. Add the honey, carrots, broth, parsley, salt, pepper and mustard. Mix to combine and cook on a low heat. In a small bowl combine the cornstarch and enough water to make paste. Bring the chicken mixture to a boil and add the cornstarch mixture, stirring constantly as you add it. Cook until the liquid starts to thicken. You can make more of the cornstarch mixture and add it if the liquid to too runny. Spoon the chicken  mixture into one of the pie shell and then top it with the other crust. Cut a few slits in the top so steam can escape while it bakes. Cook for 15 minutes, then turn the oven down to 350 degrees F and bake for another half an hour or until the crust is golden brown and the pie is hot. Serve immediately with vegetables and mashed potatoes. Serves 4 to 6.

Spectacular Acorn Squash Recipes

 

They’re everywhere you look these days. Green and round-ish they kinda look like alien pod people could erupt from them at
any moment. But wait, don’t be alarmed, it’s just that acorn squash are in season and they’re affordable, available and just waiting for you to take them home.  These green and orange/gold and hard squash are, in my cookbook, the best squash to cook to bring fall flavor
to your table. They are chock full of vitamins and beta carotene and lend themselves to sweet and savory dishes with equal aplomb. As far as I can tell their only drawback is that they can be insanely difficult to peel. That issue aside, they’re yummy delicious and oh so good for you.

Acorn squash available from August through March; however, they are at their best from October to November when they are
actually in season. To peel the raw acorn squash you gotta have muscles, good knife, a ton of patients and quite possibly a few band-aids. Personally, I prefer to roast the squash, cool it and then scoop out the good stuff. Some people prefer to steam it but roasting or baking it seems to give most recipes the maximum burst of flavor.

Acorn squash along with other members of the winter squash family (denoted by their hard protective skins) can, for the most part, can be used interchangeably. Acorn squash are cheap right now and it is so satisfying and versatile that you have no excuse not to try these hearty recipes.

 

ACORN SQUASH WITH BLACK BEANS AND QUINOA

 

3 medium acorn squash, halved and seeded

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1 tablespoon margarine, melted

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 teaspoons minced garlic

2 stalks celery, chopped

2 carrots, chopped

2 cups canned black beans, rinsed and drained

1 cup raisins

1 cup uncooked quinoa

2 cups chicken or vegetable broth

1 1/2 tablespoons ground cumin

Salt and pepper to taste

6 teaspoons shredded cheddar cheese, optional

Preheat oven to 350. Arrange squash halves cut side down on a baking sheet. Bake 30 minutes, or until tender. Remove the squash from the oven. While the squash is baking, heat the olive oil in a skillet. Add the garlic, celery, and carrots and cook 4 to 5 minutes. Add the black beans and raisins and continue to cook and stir until vegetables are tender. Remove from the heat and set the mixture aside. In a saucepan boil the broth and add the quinoa. Reduce the heat to low and cook for 15 to 20 minutes until quinoa is done according to the directions
on the package. Add the cumin, salt, and pepper to the quinoa and mix to combine. Add the vegetable mixture to the quinoa and mix to combine. Mound each squash half with the quinoa mixture and sprinkle the top with the cheddar cheese, if using. Return the squash to the oven and heat for 5 to 10 minutes or until the cheese is melted. Serve immediately. Serves 6.

 

ITALIAN SAUSAGE STUFFED SQUASH

 

3 acorn squash

1 tablespoon butter or margarine

1/2 cup bell pepper, diced

3 green onion, thinly sliced

1 1/2 pound mild Italian sausage

2 teaspoons minced garlic

3 stalks celery, diced

1 teaspoon ground pepper or to taste

salt to taste

2/3 cup maple syrup

 

Preheat oven to 400. Cut both ends off of the squash and then cut it in half width wise and scoop out the seeds. Cut each half into 2 inch rounds for a total of 12 ring slices.  Arrange squash rings in single layer on a foil lined rimmed cookie sheet.

Melt butter in heavy medium nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add bell pepper,garlic, celery and green onion. Saute until tender, 4 to 5 minutes. Place the vegetables in a large bowl and let cool for about 15 minutes. Add the sausage, pepper and salt. Divide mixture into 12 portions and mound mixture in center of squash rings. Brush sausage and squash with half of syrup. Bake 15 minutes. Brush with remaining syrup and bake until squash are tender and sausage is cooked through, about 25 minutes. Makes 12.

 

ACORN SQUASH WITH CORN SOUFFLE

 

2 acorn squash, cut in half lengthwise and seeded

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 cup milk or half and half

2 eggs

1/2 cup to 1 cup corn kernels (fresh is best)

1/3 cup chopped red onion

Pinch of nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup grated cheddar cheese

2 to 3 green onions, sliced thin

 

Preheat the oven to 375.  Cut a small slice off the bottom of the squash to make sure it sits level. Make sure not to cut all
the way through so that the filling won’t run out. Brush the inside of the squash with oil. Place cut side up on a baking sheet. Cover the squash with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and bake an additional 20 minutes.

 

While the squash is baking, in a bowl combine the milk, eggs, corn, the red onion, nutmeg, and salt. When the squash is cooked fill each of the squash halves about 3/4 full with the corn mixture. Continue baking uncovered for another 30 to 40 minutes. Done time will depend on how big the squash is and if the soufflé is set. When you feel that everything is done sprinkle the cheese on the top and put it under the broiler for a minute or two to melt the cheese and make it bubbly. Watch it carefully so it doesn’t burn. To serve place on a platter and sprinkle the top with the green onion. Serves 4. This recipe can be doubled. You may have extra filling. Just grease a glass baking dish, pour it
in and bake until it’s set. About 30 min.

 

Submitted by Cary Whiteside NY NY

ROASTED ACORN SQUASH AND APPLE SOUP

 

2 acorn squash, seeded and cut in large pieces

6 cups apple cider

2 cups chicken or vegetable broth

2 tablespoons honey

Salt and pepper to taste

Slices of granny smith apples dipped in apple cider

1/2 cup toasted pecan pieces

 

Preheat oven to 400.  Place the squash in a stock pot. Drizzle honey over the halves. Pour apple cider and stock over the squash.
Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and then cook for about 45 minutes to an hour until the squash is tender.  Remove the squash pieces and let them cool. Scoop out the flesh of the squash and put it in a food processor or blender and puree it with some of the broth.  Continue
the process until all the squash is pureed and everything is returned to the stock pot. You can strain this at this point but I never do. You can adjust the consistency with stock or cider depending on your preference. Season with salt and pepper. Serve hot with a dollop of cinnamon sour cream a few toasted pecan pieces and a slice of apple in each bowl. Serves 6. This recipe can be doubled.

 

Cinnamon Sour Cream

1/2 cup sour cream

1 teaspoon cinnamon

 

In a small bowl combine the sour cream and cinnamon and mix to combine.

 

SQUASHED SOUP

1 acorn squash, seeded and sliced but not peeled

1 large butternut squash, seeded and sliced but not peeled

2 zucchini cut into chunks

1/2 cup chopped sweet onion

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1/2 teaspoon curry

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1 teaspoon white pepper

salt to taste

olive oil and butter

1 to 2 cups chicken or vegetable stock

 

Preheat the oven to 375. Drizzle olive oil on a sheet pan and place pats of butter underneath the squash slices on the pan, placing the acorn and butternut squash flesh side down.  Cook it all for about 30 minutes or until it begins to soften. Add the minced garlic to the bottom of
the pan and cook an additional 10 to 15 minutes. Let the squash to cool to room temperature. In a stock pot combine the broth with the zucchini and onion and cook at a low boil until the onions and zucchini are soft. When the acorn and butternut squash is cool enough to handle scoop the flesh into a food processor or blender. Add the broth and vegetables and process until you’ve got a nice not too thick not too runny consistency. You will need to do this in batches. Place everything back in the stock pot and season with curry, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt and pepper. Mix to combine and cook for an addition 2 to 3 minutes until everything is hot. Serves 6 to 8.

 

Submitted by Marsha Parker Oaklawn IL

 

SQUASH STEW

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 to 2 large onions, chopped

2 to 3 teaspoons minced garlic

1 large acorn squash, peeled and chunked

1 1/2 cups (about 1/2 pound) green beans cut in half

1 green bell pepper, chopped

1 cup corn (fresh or frozen)

2 tomatoes, diced

1 cup vegetable or chicken broth

1/2 cup barley

1/2 tablespoon rice wine vinegar

Salt and black pepper, to taste

 

Heat the oil in a large skillet. Add the onion and garlic and saute for a few minutes, until onion begins to become translucent. Add the squash chunks, green beans, and chile and saute for another 4 or 5 minutes. Add the corn, barley tomatoes, broth, and vinegar. Cover and reduce the heat to simmer. Cook for 30 or 40 minutes, until squash and green beans are tender and the barley is cooked. You may need to add a
little more liquid if this is cooking up too quickly and is too thick. This can be served over a baked potato. Serves 6.

 

WILD RICE AND ACORN SQUASH TOPPED WITH ROASTED VEGETABLES

 

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 teaspoon maple syrup

1 teaspoon soy sauce

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

2 medium acorn squash, quartered and seeded

 

1/2 cup toasted pine nuts

11/2 cups wild rice mix

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 small red onion, diced

2 teaspoons minced garlic, minced

 

Roasted Vegetables

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon sugar

1 medium eggplant, cut into chunks (1½ cups)

2 cups baby carrots

2 cups sugar snap peas

1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley

Cranberry sauce for garnish, optional

 

To make acorn squash: Preheat oven to 350. Coat baking sheet
with cooking spray, or line with parchment paper. Whisk together olive oil,
maple syrup, soy sauce, cinnamon, and 2 tablespoons of water in small bowl.
Brush inside and edges of acorn squash wedges; place on prepared baking sheet.
Bake 30 to 40 minutes, or until squash is soft enough to prick with tip of
knife. Keep warm.

 

Cook the rice according to package directions and then set
it aside. Heat the olive oil in large skillet over medium heat. Sauté the onion
and garlic for 3 to 5 minutes, or until soft. Stir in the cooked rice and pine
nuts, and season with salt and pepper. Keep warm.

 

To make roasted vegetables: Heat olive oil in Dutch oven or
large saucepan over medium heat. Saute the eggplant in oil 10 minutes, or until
softened. Add carrots and sugar and sauté 5 minutes more, or until carrots
begin to brown. Add 2 cups water, cover, and steam vegetables 10 to 15 minutes,
or until soft. Add snap peas, and steam 2 to 3 minutes more. Season with salt
and pepper.

 

To serve: Place 1 Acorn Squash wedge on each plate. Spoon
the rice mixture into center of each squash quarter, and top it with the vegetables.
Sprinkle the top with the chopped parsley, and add a dollop of cranberry sauce,
if desired. Serves 6 to 8.

 

Modified
from vegetarinantimes.com

Krazy Kool Kale

            These days we see superheroes everywhere. From the big screen action figures like Green Lantern, Thor and Harry Potter to the billionaires like Gates, Buffet and Zuckerberg pledging to give away their personal bounty to worthy and noble causes. While taking the global view is fine for an evening’s entertainment or the news when you want to be a superhero in your own home you need to start serving what I like to call “super foods”.

            In my perfect world, chocolate would be front and center as the number one super food. Alas, while dark chocolate is really good for you, a better choice for the top spot would be kale. Ok, stop laughing and scratching you head and let me explain exactly why, even if you have no idea what kale is, you should start utilizing kale in your diet ASAP.

Kale (AKA borecole)  is veggie that belongs to the Brassica family (which includes Brussel sprouts, broccoli and collards is related to cabbage (a second cousin once removed) and is currently being touted  as one of the primer healthy vegetables on the planet.  A leafy green plant, kale is available in curly, ornamental, or dino varieties and comes in a variety of colors from deep green to purple to deep red.

In addition to being “burdened” with an abundance of calcium, vitamins A, C, K, E, copper, potassium, iron, manganese, and phosphorus kale is a fiber rich food as well as a low-glycemic food which is great to add to your diet when trying to lose weight. Kale and collards are very similar and they both are like cabbages in that they can because, for lack of a better phrase, be flatulence producing,  so be warned.

I always say it’s best to eat your veggies, fresh and raw so utilizing kale in salads is always a good choice. However, I will concede that kale has a very distinctive, slightly bitter taste in its raw state so most people prefer the taste of kale when it’s been cooked slightly. While you do lose some of the nutrients and benefits it’s not enough to forsake the gains. You should look for firm, deeply colored leaves with firm stems. Smaller leaves tend to be milder in flavor and taste. To store your kale keep it unwashed, in an air-tight container. It should last for up to a week in the refrigerator.

If you want to keep the cooking simple I suggest you do I like do and just lightly saute the kale with garlic and olive oil and add pine nuts and lemon juice or balsamic vinegar. You can also steam your kale for to five minutes and use it as substitute it for spinach.

Or, if you’re feeling just a tab bit adventurous yet want to keep your recipes user friend, tasty and “healthy” I suggest the following recipes. Trust me; your family will never guess they’re actually eating something that’s good for them.

 

BEAN AND KALE SOUP (meat or pareve)

 

1 bunch kale, trimmed

1 onion, minced

1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus additional to taste

2 teaspoons soy sauce

1/4 teaspoon fresh rosemary leaves or dried

1/3 cup olive oil

2 teaspoons minced garlic

1 cup cooked small white beans or drained and rinsed canned beans

4 cups chicken or vegetable stock

freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1/2 cup small shell macaroni

freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for serving (optional if using vegetable broth)

 

In a medium saucepan, simmer the kale with 1/2 cup water and the salt until tender, about 5 minutes. Drain the kale, reserving any liquid that remains. Coarsely chop the kale. In the saucepan, stir together the oil, onion and garlic and saute, stirring frequently, until the garlic and onion are light gold in color, about 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in the soy sauce and rosemary. Cook, stirring for 1 minute.  Stir in the kale and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring to combine coat. Add in the beans, mix to combine and cook for an additional 3 minutes. Add the reserved cooking liquid and the stock. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and stir in the macaroni. Boil for 6 minutes, or until the pasta is tender. Adjust the seasoning, if necessary. You can serve it with Parmesan cheese as a topping at the table if the soup is pareve. Serves 4. This recipe can be doubled.

 

Modified from: Soup: A Way of Life by Barbara Kafka

 

WILD RICE WITH KALE, TOMATOES AND ALMONDS (pareve or meat)

 

1 cup wild rice

2 cups water or broth

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons minced garlic

1/4 cup minced onion

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 14-ounce cans plum tomatoes, drained, seeded, and chopped

3 to 4 cups finely chopped rinsed kale leaves

1/2 to 1 cup toasted almonds

 

In a  saucepan bring 2 cups water to a boil, add the rice and salt, cover and cook  over low heat for 20 minutes, or until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is tender. In a heavy skillet saute the garlic and onion in the oil stirring constantly, until soft and golden. Add the tomatoes and kale, and cook the mixture, stirring occasionally, for 3 to 5 minutes, or until the kale is just wilted and tender. Place the rice in the serving bowl and add the kale mixture. Mix to combine and season with salt and pepper to taste and top with toasted almonds. Serves 6 to 8.

 

Modified, Submitted by Katie Marscaroni, Chicago

 

KALE PASTA SALAD WITH PISTACHIO DRESSING (pareve)

 

8 ounces angel hair pasta (you can use whole wheat spaghetti) broken into 2 inch pieces

1 cup pistachios, toasted

1 tablespoon minced garlic, smashed and chopped

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 cup olive oil

2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar

1 large bunch of kale chopped into bite-sized pieces

1 cup dried cranberries or cherries

 

In the bowl of a food processor or blender combine 1/2 cup pistachios, garlic, salt, olive oil, rice wine vinegar and process to combine. Set it aside. Bring a large pot of water (with about 1/2 tablespoon of salt) to a boil. Add the pasta and cook al dente.  Just before the pasta is done add the kale and let cook for about 20 seconds then immediately drain the pasta and kale into a colander and rinse it with cold water. Drain well, using paper towels to soak up any excess water. Place the mixture into a serving bowl and add about 1/3 of the dressing.  Toss to coat.  You can refrigerate the salad at this point and finish just before serving if you like. To finish add half the cranberries and 1/2 the remaining pistachios. Toss to combine.  Season with salt and pepper to taste and sprinkle the remaining   cranberries and pistachios on top. Drizzle the remaining dressing over the top and serve.

 

CHICKPEA AND KALE BULGUR STEW (pareve or meat)

 

1 large onion, chopped

2 teaspoons olive oil

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon sugar

2/3 cup uncooked bulgur

1 14-ounce can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed

4 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable stock

1/2 cup orange juice

1 1/2 cup cauliflower, trimmed into small trees

3 carrots, peeled and sliced into thin rounds

3 stalks celery, cut into chunks

2 cup kale, de-stemmed and cut into thin slices

olive oil

1 small red onion, chopped for garnish

 

In a soup pot over medium-high heat saute the onion in the olive oil for a minute  then add the sugar and salt and cook for 1 more minute until the onion begins to soften a bit. Stir in the bulgur. Stir in the chickpeas and the stock. Bring the mixture to a simmer. Cook for another few minutes, it should start to thicken. Taste to see if the bulgur is cooked through, if so add the orange juice. If not, simmer for a couple more minutes before adding the juice. Stir in the cauliflower, carrots, celery and the kale and then simmer another 4 to 5 minutes or until the cauliflower is just tender. If the stew is on the thick side, thin with a bit more water or stock. Taste, and add salt if necessary. Serve garnished with a drizzle of olive oil and red onions. Serves 4 to 6.

 

Modified from cookbook101.com

 

CHICKEN KALE AND WHITE BEAN SOUP (pareve or meat)

 

2 boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into bite size pieces

4 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup diced onion
1 tablespoon minced garlic
4 cups vegetable or chicken broth
4 cups packed chopped kale
1 (14.5-ounce) can Italian-style diced tomatoes
1 (14.5-ounce) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
2  large carrots, peeled and sliced

3 stalks celery, diced

In a large saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add the chicken and onion and cook 4 to 5 minutes stirring constantly. Add the garlic and cook 2 minutes longer. Add broth, kale, tomatoes, celery and carrots and stir to combine. Cover and cook 5 minutes or until kale is tender. Add the beans and cook an additional 4 to 5 minutes until the beans are hot. Serve immediately. Serves 4

SUPER SIMPLE KALE SALAD (pareve)

 

1 head kale, shredded

1 cup chunky salsa (I use mango salsa)

2 avocados, diced

2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil

1 to 2 tablespoons lemon or lime juice

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt or to taste

1/8 teaspoon cayenne or black pepper

1 cup raisins or dried cranberries

1/2 cup pine nuts or almonds

2 tablespoons sesame seeds

 

In large salad bowl combine all ingredients together and toss to combine. Serves 6

 

© Eileen Goltz kale11a

 

The Always Amazing (and now afordable) Asparagus

            Available, affordable (for now) and incredibly versatile asparagus is often considered the quintessential spring vegetable. With spring just beginning ‘NOW” seemed like a great time to indulge. Serve it hot or cold depending on your mood it only takes about 10 minutes to wash it, cook it and eat it.

Eating asparagus is really good for you. Five spears contain only 20 calories, have 400 milligrams of potassium are a great source of folic acid, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, and vitamins A, C and B6.  While most asparagus is green, the purple and white varieties are becoming increasingly popular. White asparagus is created by growing the stalks under mounds of earth so they don’t produce chlorophyll (hummm Albino asparagus?) Although more tender than the green variety, in my opinion, white asparagus has a somewhat bland flavor. It is also WAY more expensive than the green variety. When choosing asparagus you should look for thin, medium-sized spears that is firm and green (except for the white asparagus) with tightly closed tips. Avoid asparagus with wrinkled stalks and wilted tips

            When you store your asparagus wrap the bottom of the stalks in a damp paper towel and put everything it a plastic bag. Refrigerate until you’re ready to use it.  As an alternative, trim the bottom of the spears and stand them, covered, in a glass container, in an inch of water, in the refrigerator, for a few days

To prepare your asparagus for cooking take each spear by its ends and bend it gently.  It will snap at approximately where tenderness begins.  You can save the stem ends (freeze them) or pitch them. If the stalks are at all thick, peel the portion of the stalk below the tip with a vegetable peeler so that the tips and the stalk cook evenly.

       This year, with a bumper crop available I’m planning on “stalking” the asparagus and trying as many new recipes as time and my waist line permit. The following tips and recipes should help you join me in the hunt.

 

Cleaning and Cooking Tips:

Soak the asparagus in cold water for several minutes. Swish it to remove dirt and grit.

To boil, tie the asparagus in bundles (this makes them easy to remove all at once) and immerse in boiling, salted water. Blanch for about 10 minutes, or just until tender. Remove bundles immediately, remove strings, and keep warm.

If using an asparagus cooker or tall pot, tie and stand the asparagus upright with the spears above water, then cover and cook just until the stalks are tender but still firm.

To microwave, arrange the spears in a round baking dish with the tips toward the center. Add 2 tablespoons of water. Cover and cook on HIGH (100% power) for 8 minutes or until crisp-tender, rotating the dish a half turn after about 4 minutes.

If using asparagus in a cold dish, plunge into cold water immediately after cooking.

Avoid cooking asparagus in an iron pot. Asparagus contains tannins which react on contact with iron, altering the vegetable’s color.

 

ASPARAGUS APPLE AND CHICKEN SALAD

This is a great main course salad that helps make left over chicken or turkey

1 cup fresh asparagus cut in 1 inch pieces

2 tablespoon cider vinegar

2 tbsp vegetable oil

2 teaspoon honey

2 teaspoon minced fresh parsley

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1 cup cubed cooked chicken or turkey

1/2 cup diced red apple

2 cups torn mixed greens

1/2 to 1 cup toasted slivered almonds

Cook asparagus in a small amount of water until tender crisp, about 3 to 4 minutes; drain and cool. In a bowl, combine the vinegar, oil, honey parsley, salt and pepper. Whisk to combine and then add the chicken, apple, almonds and asparagus. Toss the mixture to coat it with the dressing. Serve immediately over greens.  Serves 4. This recipe can be doubled or tripled

ASPARAGUS MARINARA WITH FETTUCCINI

2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1/2 cup minced onion

2 cups canned crushed tomatoes

2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped, 1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil

1 pound Asparagus; cut into 1″ pieces, tips separated

1/2 cup dry white wine

2 to 4 teaspoons sugar, to taste

Salt, to taste

Pepper, to taste

Fettuccine; or other pasta, cooked, drained and kept warm

In a large skillet heat the olive oil for 2 minutes and then add the garlic and onions. Saute for 2 to 3 minutes over a medium heat and then add the crushed tomatoes and basil. Bring the mixture to a boil and simmer for about 5 minutes. Add the cut asparagus but not tips. Simmer the asparagus in the sauce until tender and then add the tips. Cook 3 to 4 more minutes and then add the white wine and sugar. and salt and pepper. Serve over hot pasta. Serves 4

ASPARAGUS PARMESAN TART

This versatile quiche can be served a brunch, lunch as a quick dinner or a simple appetizer.

1 uncooked ready made pie crust room temperature or 1 recipe of homemade

1 teaspoon flour

1 lb. asparagus, each spear trimmed to 3″

1 cup half and half

2 eggs

1/2 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese

1 Tbs. chopped fresh tarragon or 1 teaspoon dried tarragon

1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 450.  Bake the pie crust till golden, about 15 min.  Cool on rack.  Reduce oven temperature to 375.  Cook asparagus in boiling salted water till just crisp-tender, about 4 minutes.  Drain well. Place the asparagus on paper towels and pat it dry. In a bowl combine the half & half, eggs, cheese, tarragon and salt and pepper.  Arrange asparagus in spoke-of-wheel fashion in crust, tips toward edge and ends meeting in center.  Pour the egg mixture gently over the asparagus and return the filled crust to the oven.  Bake till tart puffs and top browns, about 35 minutes.  Cool slightly to set and serve. Serves 4

ASPARAGUS AND PISTACHIOS

3 lbs. asparagus

1/4 cup butter or margarine

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

3/4 teaspoon marjoram

1 cup chopped pistachio nuts

Cook the asparagus, uncovered, in boiling water until just barely tender when pierced, 5-8 minutes. Drain and place it on a serving platter.

In a sauce pan melt the butter or margarine and add the lemon juice, marjoram and nuts until the mixture is sizzling. Immediately pour the mixture over asparagus and serve. Serves 8

ASPARAGUS AVOCADO WRAPS

These are fabulous as a quick lunch, easy dinner or simple appetizer

24 spears asparagus, cooked crisp tender and cooled and patted dry

1 ripe avocado, pitted and peeled

1 tablespoon lime juice

1 teaspoon minced garlic

2 teaspoons dried parsley

1 1/2 cups cooked cold white rice

3 tablespoons plain yogurt or mayonnaise

3 whole wheat tortillas, 10 inches in diameter

1/3 cup fresh cilantro leaves (optional)

2 tablespoons chopped red onion

In a small bowl combine the avocado, lime juice, parsley and garlic. Mash to combine into a coarse puree. Set the mixture aside. In another small bowl, combine the together the rice and yogurt or mayonnaise and mix to mix well.

Heat the tortillas for 10 seconds in the microwave to soften them. Lay the tortillas flat the cutting board. Spread the avocado mixture equally among the tortillas. Top each tortilla with an equal amount of the rice mixture, asparagus, cilantro, and onion.  Fold in both sides and the bottom of each tortilla up over the filling; then roll to close. If made in advance, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 1 hour. Return to room temperature before serving. To serve, cut each wrap in half crosswise. Makes 6 servings

SIZZLING HOT ASPARAGUS AND SHRIMP (or MOCK CRAB) SALAD

1 pound asparagus, trimmed, and blanched to crisp tender

1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/3 cup olive oil
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon fresh parsley, chopped
1 teaspoon red onion, finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Pinch of salt
1 to 2 teaspoons pepper flakes (depending on how hot you like it)
1 pound cooked and peeled shrimp (or mock crab if you keep kosher)

In a bowl combine the olive oil, red wine vinegar, parsley, red onion. Whisk to combine and set aside Heat the oil in a skillet and add the garlic and asparagus. Cook until heated turning frequently to prevent the asparagus and garlic from burning. When the asparagus is hot, add the shrimp, stirring constantly until the shrimp warm. Spoon the shrimp asparagus mixture in a serving bowl. Pour the dressing over the top, toss to coat and serve. Serves 4 to 6.

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