Monday, August 24, 2009

Quinoa Vegetable Stew

Anyone who knows me well knows that I sometimes can take the term "pour it in the pot" a little too literally. I've had some good and not-so-good experiences cleaning out my fridge and combining everything into a meal. (Travis won't let my infamous barley crockpot dish rest). But, this, I can assure you, is not one of those disasters. I have made several different versions of this stew and it is delicious, if I do say so myself. You can't go wrong. Feel free to adapt the recipe according to what you have in your fridge. Just be sure to serve it with some good bread. Pictured here is Fire Bread from Whole Foods bakery.
1 yellow onion, diced small
3 ribs celery, diced small
Olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 large carrots, diced
1 can corn, drained
1 can kidney beans (or any bean of your choice), drained
1 red pepper, diced
1 medium zucchini, diced
1 cup dry quinoa
6 cups water
4 chicken or vegetable bouillion cubes
1/2 jar spaghetti sauce
Salt and pepper, to taste
In a large stockpot, saute onion and celery in olive oil until onion is translucent, about 6 minutes. Add the garlic cloves and saute 1 minute. Add the carrots, corn, beans, pepper, zucchini, quinoa, water and bouillion cubes and stir well. Bring to a boil and then turn down to medium-low and cover to simmer for 30 minutes. Watch to make sure there is enough water and add water if it needs. Once the quinoa is cooked, add the spaghetti sauce and the salt and pepper. Serve with your favorite bread.

Roasted Eggplant Ratatouille

I have seen Disney's "Ratatouille," but have never actually had the stuff. I've always wanted to try it though, and when I came across Molly Wizenberg's version (of Orangette fame), I decided to bite the bullet and give it a try. And, as I type this, I'm polishing off my second bowl of the succulent stuff. It is amazing. I made the recipe and then sauteed some firm tofu in breadcrumbs, flour and seasoning salt in an oiled pan, to serve with it. And, then I crushed some Melba Toast in place of the baguette. Heavenly. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.
(from A Homemade Life)
Yield: 4 servings
1 pound eggplant, sliced crosswise into 1-inch-thick rounds
Olive Oil
1 pound zucchini, trimmed, halves lengthwise, and sliced into 1/2-inch-thick half-moons
1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
1 large red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and chopped
4 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
5 Roma tomatoes, seeded and chopped
3/4 teaspoon salt + more for seasoning
3 springs fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh basil
Position rack in the middle of the oven, and preheat to 400 degrees.
Arrange the eggplant rounds in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Pour 2 tablespoons olive oil in s small bowl and brush onto eggplant. Flip the slices and brush the second sides as well, taking care that each has a thin coating of oil. Bake for 30 minutes, flipping the slices halfway through, until lightly browned on each side. Remove from the oven and cool. Cut into rough 1-inch pieces and set aside. (This can be down a day or two ahead, refrigerating the eggplant until you are ready to use it.)
Warm 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat in a Dutch oven or large, deep skillet. Add the zucchini and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden and just tender, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove it from the pan, taking care to leave behind any excess oil, and set it aside.
If there is no oil left, add about 1 tablespoon of oil. Reduce the heat to medium, and add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly softened, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the bell pepper and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until just tender, but not browned, about 6 minutes. Add the tomatoes, salt, thyme, and bay leaf and stir to combine. Reduce heat to low, cover, and cook for 5 minutes. Add the eggplant and zucchini, stir to incorporate, cover and cook until everything is just tender, 15 to 20 minutes more.
Meanwhile, butter the bottom of a 2 quart heavy saucepan. Add 11/4 inches water and 1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar. (The acid makes the whites set faster.) Bring water to a simmer. Break one egg into a small bowl and slide into water. Poach at a bare simmer until egg whites are firm but yolks are still runny, 2 to 3 minutes.
After it is cooked, transfer egg with a slotted spoon to paper towels to drain. Season with kosher salt and pepper. Repeat with as many eggs as desired.
Return to the Ratatouille, taste, and adjust the seasonings as necessary. Discard the bay leaf, and stir in the basil.
Serve hot, warm, or at room temperature, with addition salt for seasoning, and the poached egg atop. Also, crusty bread is necessary for sopping up all the wonderful juices at the bottom of the bowl!