Every Day CSA Stir Fry

Sorry it has been a while. What has happened in 11 months? Well, I got an actual job. The husband and I moved into a real house. With a real kitchen. So, a lot! I have still been cooking, just not blogging about it.

My latest obsession is my Community Supported Agriculture, or CSA. It is The. Best. Invention. Every week, I pick up a giant box of fresh veggies from a local farmer. And they are delicious. You never know what you are going to get, which forces me to find creative ways to eat new veggies. It also cuts down on time at the grocery store.

It also makes me feel really guilty if something goes bad. So, we have been trying to find some creative ways to eat a LOT of veggies. Lucky for you vegetarian readers.

This is one of those recipes that is so easy, it is almost embarrassing. But, it is also delicious, and a great way to get your vegetables.

Every Day CSA Stir Fry (A Delectable Endeavors original)

20141002_2031211 lb of protein or tofu (I used a 14 oz package of firm tofu)

2 1/2 cups of your favorite veggies, chopped (I used broccoli, kohlrabi, carrot, onion, and pepper)

2 Tbl canola or vegetable oil

salt and pepper to taste

2-3 gloves of garlic

1 Tbl of chopped ginger

2 Tbl soy sauce

1/4 cup hoisin

Rice, prepared as you like it

20141002_203238Start by cooking the protein. You can use any type of protein, as long as it is sliced into small, thin slices (i.e.: flank steak or chicken tenderloin).

Put oil into a sauté pan on medium high. Season protein with salt and pepper. Once oil is warm through, add protein and cook through. Remove from pan and let drain on paper towel.

With remaining oil, add aromatics (garlic, onion, ginger). Cook until nearly translucent. Season with salt and pepper. Add other vegetables and toss until nearly done, but still crisp (only a few minutes). Deglaze pan with soy sauce, toss vegetables. Pour hoisin and mix well. Serve warm over rice. Voila!

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The Best Way to Use Leftovers (No Rise Pizza Crust)

This is one of those recipes that is so easy, I’m almost embarrassed to write about it. But it is one of my favorite dirty little secrets that everyone should know about. Making pizza with your leftovers is genius. And using this super simple no-rise dough makes it super fast too. It is a total no-brainer.

unnamedThe first time I saw this recipe on America’s Test Kitchen I thought, “neat, I wonder if it actually works”. I love the people at America’s Test Kitchen, but sometimes they set you up for something “easy” only to find out it takes 5 different steps including 3 hours of refrigeration. Ain’t nobody got time for that! So, I tried this recipe with a touch of skepticism. As it turns out, it is ridiculously easy. You could easily have your toddler help you with this.

And you toddler would love it.

Additionally, I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again, homemade pizza is the best pizza. Pizza falls into those categories of things that you should always make from scratch along with cranberry sauce and mac and cheese. I say this because once you make this dough you’ll realize all you need to have delicious pizza at home is 15 minutes and basic ingredients everyone has in their pantry.

Now, this is not a fluffy, bready recipe. This is a no-rise pizza crust (hence the super fast part – no waiting for dough to rise). Since it has no yeast and doesn’t rise, it has a crisp, cracker like crust. This recipe also makes 2 medium sized pizzas. If you have a hungry family (read: teenagers), I would double the recipe and pair it with a salad.

This recipe is for the crust only. That is because you use whatever meager amounts of leftovers you have to top it. I really mean this. The next time you look in your fridge and see just enough leftover chicken to feed one person, but not a family, make this pizza. My husband and I have tried all sorts of crazy combinations, and some of them were fantastic! Don’t have tomato sauce? No big deal. Use olive oil or pesto or one of my favorites, barbecue sauce. Some of our favorite combinations include things you would never think of putting on a pizza. Pesto with thinly sliced potato and mozzarella. Barbecue sauce with onion, zucchini and cheddar. Leftover pork ragu with giardiniera and cheddar (pictured). Get creative.

St. Louis Style Pizza Crust, taken from America’s Test Kitchen

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup water, plus 2 Tablespoons (sometimes I add up to 1 additional Tablespoon if my dough is dry)
2 tablespoons olive oil

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Use a nonstick baking pan. If you don’t have one, place parchment paper on your pan.

Combine flour, cornstarch, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Combine water and olive oil in measuring cup and mix. Stir water mixture into flour mixture until dough starts to come together. Turn dough onto slightly floured surface and knead 3 or 4 times, until cohesive.

Divide dough into 2 balls. Using a rolling pin, roll dough into a rough oval. As you can see from the picture, mine are far from perfect. Don’t worry about it – just make sure it will fit on your pan. Roll your dough until only about 1 mm thick. Place on pan and top the dough with sauce and toppings as you wish!

You can make dough in advance and wrap in plastic wrap to keep in the fridge. It will only last a couple of days, however.

Truffle Veggie Mac and Cheese

Oh. My. God. This recipe is soooo good and soooo easy. It truly is quick gourmet food. This would be a great way to easily impress a bunch of people. Present it with a French accent and REALLY impress them.

“For zee entree – macaroni et fromage.”

If you ever make mac and cheese at home, you’ll never understand why people buy the boxed stuff.  It is so easy. Step 1. Boil some pasta. Step 2. Make a roux. (fancy French word) 3. Add cheese and pour over pasta. Voila! It’s that easy. And then you can impress people that you know the word roux. Don’t let the French words intimidate you. A roux is just some fat (think oil and butter) heated up and whisked with flour. That’s it! It helps make your milk and cheese the thick, creamy consistency that comes to mind when we think of macaroni and cheese. And homemade is far superior to the powdered junk.

This recipe isn’t exactly healthy, but the fact that half of the pasta is subbed out for vegetables not only makes you feel *less* guilty, but adds a nice added layer of texture. Plus, it uses whole wheat pasta and olive oil instead of butter.  So while it still tastes incredibly rich and delicious it is slightly better for you than most mac and cheese.

Adapted from The Comfort of Cooking 

1380565_10101750806766149_1241242200_n1 cup broccoli florets, chopped into small chunks

1 red pepper, diced (I used yellow, but I would use red for color)

1 zucchini, quartered and diced

2 cups whole wheat pasta

1/4 cup olive oil

1 garlic clove, minced

3 Tbsp. all-purpose flour

1 1/2 cups milk

2 cups (8 oz.) shredded Truffle Cheddar (I use Hook’s. If you can get it, you should.)

1/2 tsp thyme

Salt and pepper, to taste

2 Tbsp panko breadcrumbs

Heat oven to 400 degrees (Farenheit).  Put vegetables in a pan large enough to hold the veggies plus the pasta cooked. With just the vegetables in the pan, drizzle with some olive oil. Add thyme in addition to salt and pepper to taste. Roast in the oven for approximately 20 minutes.

While vegetables are roasting, boil a large pot of water. Add 2 cups of pasta and cook until al dente. Strain.

In a saucepan, heat 1/4 cup of oil in the pan, add garlic and cook until fragrant (only a minute). Add flour and whisk vigorously. This will thicken quite fast; you only need to cook for a minute. Gradually whisk in milk, 1/2 cup at a time. Continue to whisk once all the milk is added until slightly thickened. Remove from heat and whisk in cheese. (It is important to do this off of the heat so it doesn’t scorch.)

Pour the cooked pasta into the dish with roasted vegetables and mix. Pour cheese mixture on top. Top with breadcrumbs and place under broiler in your oven for approximately 4-5 minutes.

Let cool for 8-10 minutes before serving.

Mediterranean Barley Salad

My  renewed quest to eat healthier begun a few months ago when I realized that I only had 3 months to prepare for a beach wedding. Eeks! Luckily, the wedding was fabulous and I didn’t gain 12 pounds right before it, so everything went swimmingly, so to speak. However, it did encourage me to start looking for healthier options for grains. I have blogged about the wonder-grain quinoa, which I love, but I needed to mix things up a bit.

I recently discovered pearled barley, which *technically* is not a whole grain (because the husk of the barley grain is removed), but still pretty delicious and good for you. Because the husk of barley requires very little processing to get rid off, and takes very little nutritional value from the barley, your body treats pearled barley like a whole grain!

You can use it as a substitute for other, not-so-healthy grains like rice. And it makes a mean cold salad. You can buy pearled barley in most grocery stores in the bulk food section for VERY cheap. This is a good starter recipe if you are new to pearled barley.

This dish was inspired by a friend’s Mediterranean salad. She brought it to a party once and I was smitten.  I really like the light, earthy flavors of mediterranean cuisine. This cold salad is a crowd pleaser and great to bring to a potluck on a hot summer day.

A Delectable Endeavors Original

01 cup of dry pearled barley

2 cups of water

2 Tbl lemon juice

3 Tbl olive oil

salt and pepper

2 cloves of garlic, chopped

1 can of chickpeas, rinsed

1/2 cup of chopped, roasted red pepper

1/8 cup chopped parsley

feta

Bring 2 cups of water with 1/2 tsp salt to a boil. Add dry pearled barley. Let sit for approximately 40 – 45 minutes until water is completely absorbed. It is important not to stir the barley while it cooks.

Mix lemon juice and oil with garlic and salt and pepper. Once barley is cooked, while still warm, pour oil and lemon mixture over the barley and toss with a fork. Toss in red pepper, chickpeas, parsley and feta to taste. Refrigerate for at least an hour. Then, enjoy!

Spinach Ricotta Stuffed Shells

Remember how I said I was going to make more vegetarian food?  Here’s a doozy.

When I saw this recipe, I knew I had to made it. Stuffed shells sound and seem like a fancy meal, but they are actually quite easy. Shells are quite forgiving. Even if you tear one, you can just stuff it with some delicious filling and bake away – no one will even notice! And although this is a special-looking dish, it is easy enough to make any night of the week, rounded out with a nice salad.

Adapted from Spoon Fork Bacon

approximately 25 jumbo pasta shells

2 Tbls olive oil 0-1

1 1/2 cup marinara sauce

1/3 cup Parmesan, grated

1 to 1 1/2 cups fresh spinach, washed and torn into pieces

2 cups part-skim ricotta

1 egg, lightly beaten

1 shallot, minced

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tablespoon basil, minced

salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350°F. Pour marinara into the bottom of a 8 x 8 pan.

Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add salt, pasta and stir. Cook the pasta until al dente, according to box instructions. Drain pasta and toss with olive oil while still warm.

In a large bowl, mix ricotta, egg, shallot, basil, garlic powder, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Using a spoon, scoop a small about (about a Tablespoon) into each shell, then place shell into the baking dish, on top of sauce. Top with parmesan cheese.

Lightly spray a piece of aluminum foil large enough to cover baking pan. Cover pan with sprayed side down, facing the shells. Tightly cover the pan and bake for 20 minutes. Then, remove foil and continue to bake for approximately 5 more minutes or until parmesan bubbles. Remove from oven and let set for at least 5 minutes before serving.

The Best Roasted Brussels Sprouts

One of my favorite restaurants is Zaytinya.  They have delicious small plates so you can try a bunch of different things and the best pita bread on earth.  But I really love them because they taught me that I love brussels sprouts.  I have never been a big fan of cooked cabbage smell, but these brussels sprouts are out of this world!

I decided I wanted to try to replicate these on my own at home. I’ve tried them a couple of different ways, and, by far, the best concoction is that of Slate writer L.V. Anderson. Anderson writes a column called “You’re Doing it Wrong” where she tells readers how to prepare foods in the most delicious way. I don’t always agree with her advice (a ginger snap crust does not necessarily save a pumpkin pie, and I’m personally not a huge fan of the feta/watermelon combination), but she does have this one spot on. You can read her column here.

However, the real secret to delectable sprouts is char. I don’t mean burning them to a crisp, but certainly getting some delicious brown on there so the edges begin to wilt and become crunchy. This is an essential part to fully cooking a brussels sprout. Those little things are tightly wrapped balls of water-holding buds that need some coaxing to get to the melt-in-your mouth with an edge of crunch consistency that makes this dish shine. (In other words, it takes a while to roast them.) Additionally, these little guys are super healthy!

From L.V. Anderson at Slate

Soy-Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Oil for greasing the pan
1¼ pounds Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
2 tablespoons peanut oil (I’ve used canola and olive just fine)
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
Black pepper

Heat the oven to 350°F and lightly grease a 13- by 18-inch baking sheet. Toss the Brussels sprouts with oil, soy sauce, mustard, and a little black pepper. Transfer to the greased baking sheet in an even layer and roast until the sprouts are partially tender, about 15 minutes. Stir and raise the oven temperature to 400°F. Continue to roast, stirring every 5 minutes or so, until the sprouts are browned and fully tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Serve hot or warm.

Homemade Samosas

I love Indian food. I am not Indian, but it truly is my comfort food. If I’ve had a bad day, I crave tikka and naan. I’m not sure what it is, but it makes me incredibly happy.  I usually shy away from making it at home because, let’s face it, I’m not very good at it. Indian food just isn’t the same at home.

That being said, I did make these delicious samosas at home and I’m pretty impressed with myself. Samosas are probably the most popular of Indian snacks, because who doesn’t like spiced potato and vegetable in a flaky crust? No one, that’s who.  Now I know my samosas look like empanadas. That is because I used pre-made empanada dough to cheat. We’ve been through this, I am not good at making dough. Besides, I didn’t want to slave all day over these.  I need my delicious samosas now!

This is a Delectable Endeavors original! Meaning I didn’t adapt it from anything! Pretty awesome, I know. Essentially, I tried to used what I already had to make something as close to traditional as possible.  These aren’t the real thing, but the certainly do the trick in a comfort food emergency.

 

Empanada wrappers (I used Goya discos)

1 cup of cubed russet potato

1 1/2 cup of cauliflower florets

1/2 onion, chopped

1/2 jalapeno, finely diced

2 tsp of minced garlic

2 Tbl butter

1 Tbl canola or vegetable oil

1 tsp cumin seed

1/2 tsp fennel seed

1 tsp ground coriander

1 tsp ground cumin

1/2 tsp turmeric

Salt to taste

Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Add cauliflower and potato and boil until tender, then drain. Roughly break up into smaller pieces.  You can do this with a potato masher or, if you don’t have one, use a pastry cutter like I do!

Heat oil and butter together in a pan on medium heat. Add fennel seed and cumin seed. Add garlic, salt, turmeric, cumin, coriander and heat until fragrant (only a minute).  Add onion and jalapeno. Cook until onion is translucent.

Add potato and cauliflower mixture and mix. Take off the heat and allow to cool.

I filled the empanada wrappers just like empanadas.  As you can see, I simply wetted the edges, folded it over and used the tines of a fork to seal it. Voila!