Monthly Archives: July 2013

Individual Portobello-Eggplant Lasagnas with Arugula and Goat Cheese Pesto via One is Hungry

Individual Portobello-Eggplant Lasagnas with Arugula and Goat Cheese Pesto

One of Jason’s favorite meals is pasta with marinara sauce.  He would eat it three time a week if I would make it.  Until a few months ago I gratified that desire at least once a week, until finally one day my stomach revolted.  Not one more bit of pasta would it let through my lips!  Since then J. has been feeling mad marinara depravation, and I’ve been trying, albeit reluctantly, to find an alternative that could keep us both happy.  Well, I may not have found the ultimate answer, but I’ve definitely got a possible solution.  Last night, while Jason got lost in pasta and sauce, I experimented with nightshades and fungus, greens and citrus, and nuts, seemingly a true witch’s brew.  This was the end result.

Individual Portobello-Eggplant Lasagnas with Arugula and Goat Cheese Pesto Plated via One is Hungry

I was originally photographing this just to share with my mother.  Can I take a moment to brag on her?  My mom has in the last few months completely changed her diet, started exercising, and is focused on being the healthiest version of herself possible.  She has lost thirty pounds and seems happier than I’ve seen her in years!  In this process, which started with her finding a program called “Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead” and identifying with the message, she has become a vegetarian.  So occasionally we swap recipes we think the other might find interesting, and I try to think up nutritionally well rounded meals that she might enjoy. Unless you are really on you game about eating a diverse diet with special attention to proteins and iron and vitamins D and the Bs, being a vegetarian can become a slippery health slope. . .as can any eating, naturally. . .anyway, back to the recipe.  This “lasagna” has roasted nuts and goat cheese for protein, antioxidants from eggplant and a little heart healthy fat from olive oil, not to mention vitamin (and protein) packed arugula!  As a dark, leafy green arugula is also a decent source of iron and folates.

I know I titled these “Individual” lasagnas, but unless you are really hungry this is more of a two serving affair.  The richness of the olive oil and goat cheese make this hard to eat in bulk, but great to divide and pair with a bright salad.

Individual Portobello-Eggplant Lasagnas with Arugula and Goat Cheese Pesto Prep duo via One is Hungry Individual Portobello-Eggplant Lasagnas with Arugula and Goat Cheese Pesto via One is Hungry

 

Marinara

1 28 oz can (or 2lb peeled fresh) whole tomatoes, seeded and crushed

4-5 cloves garlic, sliced

olive oil

salt

red pepper flakes

lemon juice

fresh basil, chiffonade (or just torn)

Remove seeds from tomatoes, straining and retaining all juices.  Pour 1 TBS. olive oil and sliced garlic in cold sauté pan and heat over medium until garlic becomes fragrant–do not brown.  Add crushed tomatoes and juice to pan, along with 1/4-1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes, and 1/4 tsp. salt.  Continue to cook until no longer watery.  Add juice of 1/4 lemon.  Taste for salt (you can always add more, but you can’t take it out!).  Stir in fresh basil and either remove from heat or lower heat.

Lasagna

2-3 Tbs Marinara sauce

1 eggplant (I used a beautiful streaked Japanese ep that looked really good a the market)

1 portobello cap, stalk removed, gills scraped out

1/2 cup arugula or leafy green of choice

1/4 lemon

2 Tbs goat cheese

1/3 cup walnuts, toasted

olive oil

salt

pepper

1 clove garlic

Cut eggplant into 1/4 inch slices.  Lay flat on towel and sprinkle lightly with kosher salt (or sea salt).  Cover with another towel and press.

Preheat oven to 400.  Line baking pan with parchment paper.  Add nuts and toast in oven until lightly colored, about 5-7 minutes.  In food processor combine garlic, juice of quarter lemon (zest too if you so desire), 1 tsp olive oil, goat cheese, arugula, and toasted walnuts.  Process until paste forms.  Taste, and salt only if necessary (remember, the other parts of the meal have salt as well!)

In sauté pan, heat 2 tsp olive oil until a drop of water flicked into the pan sizzles.  Add eggplant slices, sprinkle with freshly ground pepper, and cook until browned on both sides.  Remove to towel covered plate.

Assembly:

Portobello cap, bottom up, place in baking pan on parchment paper.  Spread a thin layer of goat cheese pesto.  Add layer of eggplant, another layer of pesto.  Eggplant, pesto, 2-3 Tbs marinara sauce.  Bake in oven for approximately 8 minutes.  Plate and serve.

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Stave Off Winter’s Fury

It may seem odd to be thinking about winter here in the dog days of summer, but I suggest this is the exact right moment for it (and I have thousand of years of history to back me up on this).  If there is one thing that Jason and I have learned in our nearly ten years of living in NoVa, it is that we do not do winter well.  As children of the hot southern sun come late in life to the realities of cold, we have not adapted easily.  I know, I know, the idea of Virginia’s winter is laughable to some of you, but let me make my case.  If you live in a truly cold place you at least have the benefit of a usable cold (ice skating, snow, sledding, snow. . .lots and lots of snow :) ).  Here, it is just nasty: wet, cold, dirty, slushy.  I digress.

Well, this year I finally had the opportunity to bottle up a little summer comfort to see us through the Dark Days.  Last year, you may remember, we spent the majority of the summer traveling or recovering from travel (see Australia).  One of our favorite things to have in the winter is tomato soup (this one, right here), but the canned stuff just isn’t any good (and usually isn’t any good for you), and winter tomatoes are almost as depressing as soggy turnips; we won’t even talk about how much they cost.  So two weekends ago I scrambled down to our neighborhood farmer’s market and came home with 20 (yes, TWENTY) pounds of tomatoes, an humongous bunch of basil, and a pioneering spirit!  This is how I spent my day: DSC_0062

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Roughly eight hours later I had thirteen beautiful quart jars of soupy goodness ready to go in the freezer (I don’t have a pressure canner, so this is my only option) and a little store of lessons learned:

1. 10-15 pounds might really be my comfort zone. . .twenty verges on the absurd

2.  Get an immersion blender. . .no, really, just do it

3.  Food processors and blenders fail epic-ly with hot liquids in large quantity

4.  Do yourself a favor and sit down to process the tomatoes, or get a gel mat. . .or prepare for pain :)

5.  Peeling garlic in these quantities can burn your fingers every bit as badly as cutting up chiles–beware!

If you want to do something crazy like this yourself, here’s what you’ll need:

  • white vinegar
  • lots of water
  • large sink or bowls
  • 20 lbs. tomatoes
  • 5-6 heads garlic
  • 6 large white or yellow onions
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 6 quarts chicken or veg. stock
  • 10 bay leaves
  • 24 TBS (!) unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 3 tightly packed cups basil leaves
  • 2-3 very large stock pots (8 quarts or larger. . .larger)
  • roasting pans
  • parchment paper
  • a big dang spoon
  • immersion blender (trust me)
  • 12-14 freezer-safe quart jars (depending on how full you want them) or an equivalent volume of quarts and pints

Fill sink or bowls with cold water and a cup of vinegar (for the whole quantity of tomatoes).  Soak tomatoes in water for at least 10 minutes.  Clean, remove any bad spots, and transfer to kitchen towels to dry.  Prepare the soup with this recipe.  Wash jars in dishwasher on sanitize setting.  Place lids and rings in bowl and cover with boiling water.  Fill clean jars with soup (leaving at least a 1/2 space at the top), screw dried lids on loosely.  Allow to cool on counter for no more than two hours.  Place in freeze and pat yourself on your sweet, tired back!

Soup of the Day: Summertime Black Bean Soup

I don’t know about you, but growing up in the south soup was not a summer food.  At least not in my house.  We ate cold food whenever possible, and my mother did her best to forget that we owned a stove (not a judgment, just the facts: she is the best mother in the world and she will be the first to tell you that she gets “hurmpy”– hot grumpy).  Given that background, I was surprised to find on our recent trip to Mexico that soup was served every day.  Yes, in Mexico, during their hottest season, delicious, delectable soups were offered every evening: beet soup, lentil, vegetable, chickpea, onion. . .they were varied and, despite the heat, perfect.

Well, I suppose Jason took a liking to the idea; in spite of the 90 degree plus weather here in Virginia he has requested soup a few times since we came home.  The one I’m going to share with you today we eat as a full meal, rather than a soup course, but I imagine you could make it fit beautifully into a larger menu.

This recipe is inspired by a long time favorite from the Dairy Hollow House Soup and Bread cookbook by Crescent Dragonwagon, Cuban Black Bean Soup Santa Fe.  If you are on the lookout for a fantastic and healthy cookbook that you will turn to again and again, I highly recommend this one.  Beyond that, I suppose both our recent trip and the beautiful, abundant produce available at the market just now are responsible for the evolution of this soup.  Doing the Allergy Elimination Diet?  This soup is a great option for you.  Enjoy.  (Please forgive the rotten pictures; I just can’t seem to work the camera properly these days :S ).

 

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Summertime Black Bean Soup with Roasted Corn and Avocado Salsa

makes 5 -6 main course servings

Soup Ingredients:

2 cups dried black beans, rinsed, picked over, and soaked in water to cover

2 bay leaves

2 Tbs cumin seeds

1 large jalapeno, chopped with seeds

1/4 cup olive oil

1 large white onion, medium dice

2 green bell peppers, medium dice

6 cloves garlic, sliced or uniformly chopped

Salt

Pepper

Directions:

Soak beans overnight in enough water to cover (four cups is a good starting number).  In large pot or slow cooker, combine beans with soaking water, cumin seeds, jalapeno, bay leaves and 1 tsp of salt.  Add 3 cups water and bring to a boil.  Lower heat and bring to a simmer, cooking, partially covered, until beans are tender, roughly 2 hours.

In a large skillet add olive oil and garlic and turn to medium heat.  When garlic becomes fragrant, add diced peppers and onion.  Season with salt and pepper (start with no more than half a tsp of salt. . .you can always add more, but you can’t take away).  The goal here is to sweat the vegetables, not brown them, so keep the heat gentle as you sautee then until softened.

When the beans are tender and the vegetables are softened, using an immersion blender or food processor, blend half the beans (being sure to include the two bay leaves) and 1/4 to 1/3 of the vegetables together until thick and smooth.  Add this and the vegetable mixture to the remaining beans in your large pot.  Stir thoroughly to combine and taste for seasoning.  Simmer for another 20 minutes.  Serve garnished with roasted corn and avocado salsa.

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Roasted Corn and Avocado Salsa

Ingredients:

2 ears of corn

2 ripe avocados

1/4 cup cilantro, chopped

lemon or lime

1/8 tsp. chipotle chili powder

Directions:

Set oven to broil.  Line baking sheet with foil.  Remove husks from corn; cut avocados in half and remove seed.  Rub corn and avocado lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with salt.  Broil, turning as needed until uniformly charred.  Avocados will finish before corn.  When cool enough to touch cut corn from cob, remove avocado from skin and cube.  Combine corn, avocado, cilantro, chipotle chili powder and the juice of 1 lemon or lime.

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Melon Salsa

And we’re back! Greetings, y’all. Last month I shared with you that, in the wake of losing a dear friend, my husband and I were taking some time to simply enjoy life and each other. As we were experiencing all of these tumultuous emotions and trying to make sure we were being intentional about living life to the fullest, not allowing days and opportunities to slip away, we decided it was time to take the vacation we have been saving up time and money for. So, for a large part of the last month, while silence has reigned supreme here, we have been in Mexico (or fighting an epic battle royal with our internet service). We met some incredible, wildly creative, and interesting people, and had an overall fantastic experience. If you are interested in hearing about our trip to Playa Viva, in Julachuca, Mexico (near Zihuatanejo. . . yep, that clears everything right up, huh?) head over to Jason’s site, Good Brown Gravy. Part 1 and Part 2 are already posted; look for more to come in the days ahead. Since he has that covered (and I don’t want to lay out any spoilers), I’m free to get back to food.

Hot weather has me wanting light, refreshing foods. In the town where we went to college there was a cafe called LeAnn’s. For the few years its doors were open, LeAnn’s offered wraps, a few light salads, and a melon salsa unlike anything else available in that small southern town. LeAnn’s is long gone, but this stuff is too good to be lost in oblivion. Serve with tortilla chips, or try it as a topping for fish, shrimp, chicken. . . heck, even pork.

melon salsa at www.oneishungry.com

Melon Salsa

make a lot, a whole lot (unless you are having a party, cut down recipe or prepare to share)

1 small cantalope in small cubes (size of medium dice)

1 small honeydew melon cut same as above

1/2 red onion, diced

1 red bell pepper, diced

2 Tbs to 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped (this is largely a matter of preference)

juice of half a lemon (feeling crazy? try half a lime instead)

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Cut melons into small cubes in whichever way is easiest for you. I like to halve mine, scoop the seeds, halve again (now I have a melon, quartered). Cut through the flesh, but not the rind, lengthwise, then crosswise. Then, running the knife through the flesh (parallel to the rind, if that makes sense) at 1/2 inch lengths, slice off perfect little cubes! As you get into the deeply curved part you can even turn the melon quarter inside out to make the remaining flesh easier to cut. Combine all ingredients in a very large bowl, folding well to make sure all the ingredients are evenly distributed. Want to add a little kick? Mince up half of a jalapeno and toss in the mix.