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!

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!

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.

Roasted Mushrooms on Creamy Pasta

I do not have many dietary restrictions.  I am not against eating animals.  I like to try weird, or crazy sounding things.  And I love vegetarian food.  I regularly eat vegetarian meals.  I am no stranger to tofu (in fact, I make it regularly) and paneer is one of my favorite foods.  So, I’m not quite sure why I don’t post more of my vegetarian recipes.  One of my new year’s resolutions will be to get better at that, especially for all my vegetarian friends out there.

If you are not a fan of vegetarian food, you just haven’t had any good vegetarian food yet.  For all of you out there sneering at the idea of eating tofu or jeering at the thought of an entree that doesn’t bleed, lower those noses! Good vegetarian food is hearty and savory.  In fact, I challenge you to think of how many things you eat regularly that are already vegetarian.  I bet you would be surprised.  I like to tout eating vegetarian at least one day a week, mainly because Americans eat WAY more meat than we need or should.  Not only does this have implications for our own culture and way of life, but also for the rest of the world.  If you don’t believe me, just read some Michael Pollan.  But if you don’t care about that, eating vegetarian once or twice a week can also help your health.

At least, in theory.  But if that’s what you’re doing . . . Don’t start with this dish.  🙂

I had bought a box of baby bella mushrooms a little while ago and they were sitting in the refrigerator just waiting to go bad.  Rather than having that happen, I decided to create something delicious with them.

I have always wanted to roast mushrooms.  I never used to like them, but I’ve become more accustomed to them now (and quite fond of wild mushrooms).  I think properly roasting anything makes it taste amazing, so I thought for sure that roasting these lovely little mushrooms would bring out the earthy goodness of them.  It did.  However, there is one simple rule to preparing good roasted mushrooms.  Make sure your mushrooms are clean.  Whatever you do, do NOT submerge your mushrooms in water.  That can damage their delicate form and make them mushy when cooked.  Simply wipe them off with a damp cloth or paper towel.

Roasted Mushrooms on Creamy Pasta

For the mushrooms, adapted from the awesome Smitten Kitchen,

1 pound of your favorite mushrooms
3 large garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley

Preheat oven to 450°F with rack in middle. Toss mushrooms with capers, garlic, oil, 1/8 teaspoon salt and several grinds of pepper in a 1 1/2- to 2-qt shallow baking dish. Top with butter and roast, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms are tender and golden and bubbly garlic sauce forms below, 15 to 20 minutes. Stir in lemon juice and parsley.

For the pasta sauce, this is a classic cream sauce with cheese that you can find right here on Delectable Endeavors!  You can add any kind of cheese you would like.  I used parmesan for this and it was lovely.