Category Archives: dinner

Maple-roasted Pumpkin and Crispy Bacon Risotto

Here in mid-November, dark night falls at 5:30 pm.  The quality of the sunlight has changed to a pale, mellow, slanting light from the harsh glare of summer.  Christmas songs keep floating through my mind, to be fought off until the end of Thanksgiving.  I want to cherish each moment, not rush blindly through the holiday season, only to feel exhausted and disenchanted by New Year’s Eve.

In that vein of slowing and savoring, I offer you a warm, cozy meal that combines many of the flavors I associate with  the late fall-come winter season.  This maple roasted pumpkin and crispy bacon risotto is fabulously rich and creamy and meaty tasting.  It is so luscious, indeed, that I recommend serving it with a bright salad (perhaps with orange slices and a pomegranate vinaigrette) to help clear you palate, allowing you to fully luxuriate in each delicious bite.  The colors of all the different elements of this dish are beautiful.  Take a few minutes to appreciate the beauty of what you are cooking (you have to look at it anyway, so you might as well enjoy it!).maple-roasted pumpkin and crispy bacon risotto at www.oneishungry.com

If this is your first risotto, and you feel a bit nervous, check out this post where I talk about some of the hows and wherefores of making a basic risotto and why it really isn’t that intimidating.  So, I implore you to try this, in a hearty bowl before the fire, at a small dinner with friends, or maybe even as a new side for Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner. Trust me, your taste buds and sun-starved soul (for those of us in the dark lands) will thank you!  Not sure what to do with left over pumpkin?  Try throwing it in with your morning oatmeal along with some pecans, or pureeing it to add to yogurt or your favorite pumpkin bread recipe.  This really is the meal that keeps on giving!

Maple- roasted Pumpkin and Crispy Bacon Risotto

inspired by Donal Skehan

makes 4-6 (or 7) mains, or many, many sides!

Ingredients

1 small pumpkin, halved, seeds removed (and saved for roasting!), peeled and cubed- this recipe will use roughly 2-2.5 cups of roasted cubes

2 tsp maple syrup

6-8 pieces of bacon

olive oil

4 1/2 cup low sodium chicken stock

1 cup of white wine

3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

4 sage leaves

1 small to medium red onion, small dice

2 cups Arborio rice

3 tsp butter

3/4 to1 cup parmigiano reggiano, finely grated

salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Directions

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  On a large pan, lined with parchment, toss pumpkin cubes with maple syrup.  Roast in oven until beginning to carmelize and soften, but not mushy.  Check at 20 minutes.  When done, remove from oven, transfer pumpkin to clean plate and place bacon on parchment.  Return to oven and bake until crisp (even if you are a soft bacon person.  the crispness makes it easier to crumble in the final stage).

In a small pan bring stock to a simmer.  Heat wine separately.  In a large pan over medium heat add one tablespoon of olive oil, and sautee onion, garlic, and sage until onion just begins to soften.  Add pumpkin, and continue to cook until onions are soft and translucent.  Return all ingredients to pumpkin plate.  Return pan to stove; add more oil if necessary.  Add rice, and stir to coat each grain with the fat.  Over medium heat sautee rice until it begins to become translucent and give off a warm, toasty fragrance, roughly five minutes.  Add pumpkin and onion mix back to the pan, and continue cooking for about two minutes, then add heated wine (if the wine is cold it will shock the rice causing the outside surface to flake while the inside remains hard).

When the wine has evaporated, increase the heat to medium high and begin to gradually add the simmering stock,one ladle at a time, stirring constantly from this point on. Before the liquid has completely absorbed add more stock. Continue the cycle of stock and stir for 15 to 20 minutes until four cups of the stock have been absorbed. Taste to see if the risotto has reached a desired level of doneness. If you like yours a bit less al dente, add and cook down remaining 1/4 to1/2 cup of stock. Remove from heat; add butter and parm. regg. and stir till smooth and creamy.  Plate, crumble bacon over each portion, and serve immediately.

Green salad with white beans, boiled eggs, veggies and a champagne vinaigrette from http://www.oneishungry.com

Simple Food: Green Salad with White Beans, Boiled Egg and Champagne Vinaigrette

I can almost hear you thinking, “Simple!  What is simple about soaking and cooking beans, boiling eggs, and preparing a homemade dressing?”  but I promise it is true!  Let’s break it down.  The beans can be prepared ahead of time and kept in the refrigerator for several days, or they can be pre-cooked beans from a can (drained and rinsed, of course).  Boiled eggs take roughly 10 minutes from fridge, to pot, to ice bath, to peeled and quartered, ready to be eaten.  The Sauce, otherwise known as champagne vinaigrette, takes 2 minutes and a mason jar.  So toss up some leafy greens, throw in a generous handful of vegetables and you can have a gorgeous, healthy meal in well under 30 minutes.

green salad with white beans, boiled eggs and veggies

Green Salad with White Beans, Boiled Egg

Ingredients

salad greens (be adventurous and hop off the Iceberg; try green leaf, red leaf, romain, butterhead,arugula, or get really crazy with kale, chard, dandelion or escarole)

cooked white beans (aiming for toothsome, not mushy)

boiled eggs

suggested options:

zucchini

carrots

onion

tomatoes

red bell pepper

avacado

goat cheese

pecans

apple slices

loading up with goodies

The Sauce|Champagne Vinaigrette

adapted from  The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook

2 Tbs. champagne vinegar

1/2 tsp. dijon mustard

1/4 tsp. kosher salt

1/8 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

4 to 5 Tbs. good extra virgin olive oil

(try this, and then play around with the ratios.  Jason and I love a vinaigrette with a bit of a bite and a lovely, well-emuslified consistency.  You may like something milder, or just different.)

Combine vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper in a mason  or jelly jar.  Swirl, or shake, to combine, then add oil.  Now put the lid on, and shake what your momma gave you (and the jar, too).  Continue to shake until oil and vinegar have emulsified (combined in such a way that they are not separate from one another).

 

Some Like it Hot: Three Bean Chili

What are we up to; well, would you be surprised to hear we are getting ready for another extended trip?  No, not surprised?  I don’t really blame you; I’d be surprised to be able to tell you we were staying put!  This weekend Jason and I are off for three and a half weeks of family, friends, and fun in the sun, with a work trip to round it all out.  But before we head south, I wanted to get another recipe up.  This one is excellent for those who may be participating in the allergy elimination diet (and for everyone else besides).  So, say hello to a Three Bean Chili that still has my fingers burning. . .forget to wear gloves for the darn jalapeno!

Three Bean Chili

This chili is packed with vegetables and beans, which would inevitably lead my friends Frank and Nicole to say, “well, then it is bean soup, not chili”;however, as luck would have it, this is both my recipe and my site so. . . chili it is! (I love you, Frank and Nicole).  I hope you enjoy.  Look for more allergy elimination diet information to be posted later this week.

Wait, you say, what is that marvelous muffin mincing just out of focus?  That, my friends, is Sarah Brittons‘ wonderful Black Quinoa Corn Muffin.  Head over and get the recipe for a perfect chili pairing!

poblano

make ’em sweat

putting it all together

Three Bean Chili

Ingredients

1 cup mixed dry black, kidney, and pinto beans (or 2 cups cooked beans)

1 bay leaf

olive oil

1 lb. ground beef or turkey

1 lg. can tomatoes, chopped, crushed, or squished btw your fingers

3 poblano peppers (dark green triangular peppers)

1/2 to 1 jalapeno

1 med. white or yellow onion

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 Tbs fresh or 2 tsp dry oregano

1 1/2 Tbs chili powder

1tsp cumin

1/2 tsp sweet paprika

1/4 tsp coriander

small pinch ground clove

1 tsp (a nice chunk) unsweetened chocolate

salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Soak 1 cup of beans in water to cover overnight.  Drain beans, and transfer to medium pot.  Add water to 2 inches above beans, bay leaf and 1/2 tsp salt.  Bring to boil then reduce to bare simmer; check for done-ness at one hour.  Beans should be fully cooked but still toothsome-remember, they will cook more in the chili.  Alternately, place dry beans in crock pot in the morning with water to cover by 3 inches, bay leaf and salt, and cook on low.  They will be ready to go in the chili when you get home!  Reserve 1 1/2 cups cooking liquid, then drain beans.  Put beans and liquid, together, aside until needed.

In a large pot, brown meat with a bit of olive oil over medium heat.  Remove meat to colander to drain.  Wipe pot dry and add 1 Tbs of olive oil.  Sweat garlic, jalapeno, onion, and poblano chiles until onion begin to be transparent.  Add all other ingredients to the pot, stirring well to combine.  Allow chili to simmer on low at least 30, or until you are ready to have your socks knocked off!

bon appétit

Broiled Salmon with Spicy Greens and Black Rice. . .for breakfast!

chard

I’m going to keep this short and sweet after yesterday’s marathon read.  If the idea of fish and dark leaf greens for breakfast strikes you as odd, you are not alone.  My husband looked at me with a wary eye when I suggested this experiment.  Since returning from our Australian health-pocalypse, I’ve been trying harder than ever to make sure each meal we consume is jam packed with wellness-inducing goodness.  This meal, if you can overcome its strangeness to the American breakfast palate, is overflowing with omega 3 fatty acids, folic acid, vitamin c, amazing lean protein, vitamins B12, A, C, K, E, etc.  The combination of the salmon, greens, garlic and olive oil make this an anti-inflammatory powerhouse.  If you can’t find black rice, try brown rice or quinoa.  I used chard as my green, but collards, spinach or kale would work wonderfully.  If you find you simply cannot convince your stomach that fish is an acceptable breakfast food, switch it in for lunch or dinner (Jason really likes the meal, just not in the morning).  To make morning prep. shorter and more efficient I cook the rice, check the salmon for bones, and clean and chop the greens the night before.

broiled salmon with spicy greens and rice

Broiled Salmon with Spicy Greens and Black Rice

serves 2

Ingredients

3 to 5 ounces of salmon per person

3 cups cleaned and chopped dark leafy greens

1/2 lemon

1 or2 cloves garlic, sliced

1 cup cooked black rice

olive oil

salt

pepper

red pepper flakes

Directions

Cook rice per directions of chosen variety.  For the rice I use, 1/2 c. uncooked rice and 1 cup of water brought to a boil, covered and heat reduced to low.  Cook roughly 25-30 minute, then check to see if rice has absorbed liquid.  If so, remove from heat, cover with a clean towel and allow to steam for 10 minutes.  Fluff rice with fork before serving.

Arrange salmon on parchment covered baking pan; season with salt and pepper and brush with sparingly with olive oil.  In oven, move rack to highest position and turn broiler on high.  Just before transferring salmon to the over, squeeze fresh lemon juice over it.  Cook to desired doneness, but do not overcook (overcooked salmon is closely akin to shoe rubber).

Meanwhile place garlic in a cold pan with 1 Tbs of olive oil and turn heat on to medium high.  Once you begin to smell the garlic, add greens and stir to coat with oil.  Season lightly with salt, and with red pepper flakes to taste. The point is not to reduce the greens to dark squiggles of slime, but to wilt and warm; they should finish up precisely in time with the salmon.  Squeeze remaining lemon juice over greens before serving.

See, short and sweet!  Ciao.

 

Cumin Crusted Steak

Note:  I have tried to photograph this recipe at least three times since November.  Every single time something goes wrong, without fail.  So this time I am simply putting up the pictures I was able to get and asking you to trust that this recipe is worth trying!  I’m dedicating this post to two of my friends: Mr. W. Libby, who said o.i.h. could use a bit more meat and potatoes (I aim to please), and Mrs. Kelly Oliver, who questioned the possibility of a really great steak without a grill (I believe it can be done!).  If you are participating in the allergy elimination diet, this is a great steak for you.  Simply substitute a high heat oil anywhere butter is indicated!

Growing up, the best steaks I ever had didn’t come from a restaurant.  Restaurants produced flavorless slabs of hard to chew meat, never cooked to the customer’s specified degree.  The great steaks of my childhood were found at home.  My dad cooked them, under the broiler, covered in garlic and glistening with butter, and I thought they were the best.  My technique as an adult is a bit different, but its origins are definitely inspired by my dad; my dad, who ingrained in me (among other things) the idea that meat cooked properly does not require sauce.( The fact that my husband did not grow up with that mantra led to some severely hurt feeling  while eating our first meals as newlyweds!)  So this steak is jam packed with flavor, no sauce required!

we use N.Y. Strip, but sirloin, filet, flank. . .most any cut would be fabulous with this seasoning

I started with a beautiful 1.3 lbs. of N.Y. Strip; in our house that makes four servings.  We all know by now that we are not supposed to consume large quantities of red meat.  So, let’s assume we are all pretty heart-smart and this is an occasional treat.  Do yourself a favor and buy the very best quality and cut of meat you can for this indulgence; the meat makes all the difference.  For the sake of cooking time I cut this in half to make two 1 1/4″  thick steaks

seasoned. . .still needs a bit more cumin

Season liberally with ground cumin, kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper and, if desired, rub with fresh or powdered garlic.  Rub seasonings into both sides of steak and allow it to rest at room temperature while you  preheat oven to 425 degrees and begin heating a cast iron skillet over medium on the stove top.  For your cooking fat I strongly recommend butter (sounds super healthy, I know) but you can also use ghee (butter with milk solids separated and removed) or a high heat oil (using h.h. oil instead of butter makes this recipe great for the allergy elimination diet!  See our a.e.d. Food Guide for options).  Once your cast iron pan is thoroughly heated–flick some water from you fingers and listen for intense sizzle–add roughly 1 tbs unsalted butter to the pan and melt.When butter begins to bubble and brown place steaks in pan and LEAVE IT ALONE.butter makes it better

 You want to develop good, crusty browning on each side of the steak to lock in juices and create good texture. . .this will not happen if you constantly move the meat around.  Around the 1.5 to 2 minute mark, raise one of your steaks and check for browning.

checking for browning. . .still needs a few moments

Once color is good, flip both steaks and continue to brown on stove top for another 1.5 to 2 minutes. Transfer pan from stove top to oven and continue to cook to desired doneness.  In this house that is medium (that is our compromise between my vampiric tendencies and Jason’s medium-wellness).That means for this steak we do about 5 minutes in the oven before removing and setting the meat out to rest (either spooning pan juices over the meat or putting a little pat of butter on each).

rest meat for 5 to 10 minutes to let it re absorb it juices

If you are uncertain about meat cooking times here is a handy, dandy chart I found on the Canadian Beef website.  Now, you may be thinking, didn’t she promise meat and potatoes?  You are absolutely right.

Spicy Sweet Potatoes with Feta-Olive Salad from The Traveler’s Lunchbox.  Image property of Melissa Kronenthal of The Traveler’s Lunchbox

This is the most perfect meat and potato marriage I have ever experienced.  The flavor combination is beautiful and I strongly encourage you to step outside the Idaho potato box and try something new over at The Traveler’s Lunchbox.  Doing the A.E.D?  Try substituting avocado for the feta!  I’ve now made myself thoroughly hungry, so I’m off to my left-overs.  Bon appetit!