Tag Archives: Garlic

MOREL MADNESS

A couple of Saturdays ago my neighbor Ryan dropped in and said that he had gotten some morels at the Farmer’s Market that morning and asked if I had any suggestions about how to prepare them. I, too, had found some at the market that morning and was thinking of what would be the best way to show off the morels. It seemed natural to combine them with pasta and we checked a few cookbooks to see how other people prepared morels.

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WINTER SQUASH WITH MUSHROOM STUFFING AND CRANBERRY MOSTARDA

This is a dish for special occasions, especially when served with Apple-Walnut Salad with Honey Mustard vinaigrette. Some warm rolls and chilled dry Prosecco (or hard cider) will complete the meal. This is my go-to recipe when I want to make something a little fancier than usual for a holiday meal in winter. This recipe makes two generous servings and can be easily multiplied for more servings. It is even more celebratory with gingerbread cake for dessert. The cranberry mostarda can be made the day before as can the gingerbread cake. Also, the vegetables can be cut up ahead of time to make it a little easier.
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TOFU SCRAMBLE

Tofu Scramble for breakfast gives you enough energy to go for almost six hours. Since most of us don’t have time in the morning to slice and sauté vegetables, it helps to do the slicing and sautéing the night before. In the morning you can put the cooked veg in a pan with a little liquid and once they start to get warm add the drained and crumbled tofu and within minutes you have a hot, long-lasting breakfast to get you through most of your day.

This recipe calls for four to five cups of sliced or diced vegetables per seven ounces of firm tofu (one-half of a 14-15 ounce container.) You can always use more tofu if you prefer. Toppings include sweet potato fries or hash brown potatoes. I keep bags of both of these items in my freezer. Put an appropriate amount on a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper, put the pan in a 425 degree oven and they will be done by the time you finish the scramble.
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BAYO CHOCOLATE BEANS AND POLENTA

When I started exploring plant-based diets a couple of years ago I relied on canned beans. It was hard enough trying to figure out what we were going to eat that day and preparing all of our meals and the thought of preparing my own beans seemed to be too much. So I was happy to use canned beans in my recipes. I have since seen the light and when someone tells you that beans cooked at home are light years away from canned beans, believe them. It is true. And the fresher the beans, the less time they take to cook.

A while back I asked my sister, who lives in Santa Barbara, to send me some specialty beans that are available there. She said she would and then asked me if I knew about Rancho Gordo, the bean place. I didn’t so I immediately Googled them and then my life changed.

WWW.RANCHOGORDO.COM has many different beans and their story is  interesting. Feeling like a kid in a candy store, I ordered several beans including Bayo Chocolate. Who could resist the name? These small beans are indigenous to Mexico and while they look like chocolate, they don’t taste like chocolate. Which is a good thing.
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HUMMUS

Hummus has been a go-to food for centuries. The first written recipe for chickpeas and sesame was from 13th century Cairo. Variations have developed all around the Mediterranean and today there are innumerable recipes for hummus available on the internet.  Most of them include the basic four ingredients: chickpeas, sesame paste, garlic and lemon juice. This version includes a little vegetable broth to make it creamy. Hummus provides you with protein and a number of essential vitamin and minerals. Without the olive oil called for in many recipes, this one is lower in fat but still has all the flavor.

You can serve this as a dip with vegetables. You can thin it and use it as a sauce on vegetables. It is especially good and nutritious when served with whole wheat bread, tortillas, or pita. My husband likes it spread on whole wheat bread with roasted red peppers and grilled. The possibilities are endless.
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ROMESCO – PEPPER AND TOMATO SAUCE

This flavorful combination of red peppers and Roma tomatoes with olives, almond butter, garlic and smoked paprika makes a sauce that  can be used in several ways. It can be put over pasta or vegetables. It can be added to a soup or stew when it is served. It can also be used as a pizza topping with some olives. It is also good for dipping cut-up vegetables.  We use olives and almond butter instead of the traditional  olive oil.

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FIG AND OLIVE TAPENADE

This wonderful tapenade of sweet figs,  savory olives and vinegary capers is an outstanding blend of sweet and sour/tart and it is hard to stop eating it. It is always a hit. Tapenade goes back to Roman times and can be made many different ways. This recipe featuring figs mixed with the olives and capers is one of my favorites.  There are many recipes for this Provencal dish, with or without the green olives and capers. Jacques Pepin adds the  green olives and capers to his, so I did too. In fact, the name tapenade comes from the Provencal word for capers. It is important to crush the rosemary and thyme if using home-dried and cook them with the figs because otherwise the herbs resemble miniature pieces of wood. Also, crushing releases fragrant oils.

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