Stewed Peppers with Tomatoes, Onions & Garlic

Stewed Peppers with Tomatoes, Onions & Garlic

Back when I first started blogging, I would photograph and post whatever I happened to have made for dinner that night. There was no planning posts ahead of time, no thought as to what “it” ingredients to use in my posts, no blogging schedule (which, obviously, is something I’m still horrible about). And while elaborate perfect-for-blogging recipes is fun, sometimes it’s the simple recipes that I really want to tell people about. The foods that I make regularly, and (I’m guessing) the things that my readers are probably a lot more likely to make for themselves.

Stewed Peppers with Tomatoes, Onions & Garlic

These peppers are an example of that. I’ve been making these regularly for several years now, and the whole family loves them. In fact, I may have to start doubling this recipe, because every time I make them everyone wants seconds! I usually serve this with some really good bread (usually homemade), alongside a frittata or scrambled eggs for a simple but delicious dinner.

Stewed Peppers with Tomatoes, Onions & Garlic

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

2 large garlic cloves, minced

3 large red bell peppers, thinly sliced

Salt

1 (14 ounce) can diced tomatoes, partially drained

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

Freshly ground black pepper

1. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring every now and then, until tender (about 5 minutes). Add the garlic and bell peppers, and cook for another 5 minutes. Add 1/2 teaspoon of salt and cook 5 minutes more, until the peppers are tender.

2. Add the tomatoes and thyme to the pan, and season with some salt and pepper. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes. Reduce the heat, cover, and simmer over low heat for 15 to 20 minutes, making sure to stir occasionally. Adjust seasonings to taste.

Makes 6 servings

Adapted from The Very Best of Recipes for Health, by Martha Rose Shulman
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What We Ate: The 1st night of Chanukah & Thanksgiving, 2013

How was everybody’s holiday? It’s hard to believe that Thanksgiving 2013 is already over, and that we are already onto the second day of Chanukah! Where does time go???

I decided that since both of these meals took place within about 24 hours time, I will combine them into one post. Here we go:

1st night of Chanukah:

Chanukah

When planning what to have for dinner I knew that I wanted something easy (because, hello, it was going to be the night before Thanksgiving!), but I also wanted to do something fun. I vetoed latkes for the first night (I’m going to save the mess from frying for a night that’s not the night before Thanksgiving!). I decided to do finger foods that could be made earlier in the afternoon, and we’d eat it picnic-style on the living room floor in front of the menorah.

Spiced Sweet Potato Gelt with Orange Honey Sour Cream Dipping Sauce

The first thing I made, which is what gave me the idea of doing that type of dinner, are these Spiced Sweet Potato “Gelt” with Orange Honey Sour Cream Dipping Sauce. I loved how easy these were to make, and I way more of them than I should have!

Baked Zucchini Coins with Tomato Sauce

In keeping with the “gelt” theme, I also made these Baked Zucchini Coins with Tomato Sauce. These were a little more time-consuming to make, because of the triple dipping you need to do, but they were very worth it because they were delicious.

Onion, Mushroom & Goat Cheese Mini Frittatas

The last thing I made were these Onion, Mushroom, and Goat Cheese Mini Frittatas. They are made in muffin tins, making them a perfect size for picking up and eating, no forks necessary. The tomato sauce from the zucchini coins was also incredible with these.

I set it all out in a side table in the living room, and after we lit the menorah we filled up our plates, sat down, and watched the candles flickering.

Thanksgiving:

Thanksgiving 2013

It was just the five of us again for Thanksgiving this year, so my goal was to have a variety of foods, but keep the prep simple and not have too many leftovers . I made several new recipes this year, many of which are from fellow bloggers. I think the meal I ended up with was perfect!

Pumpkin Glazed Turkey Legs

I knew I didn’t want to roast a whole turkey. Last year I made a roast turkey breast, but this year I decided to go with turkey legs. When I saw this recipe for Pumpkin Glazed Turkey Legs, full of wonderful fall flavors, I knew that it would be perfect. The glaze was wonderful! The only problem I had was that mine took a lot longer to cook, but that could be due to the size of the legs that I used. (You can see how many times I cut into them to check doneness—must get a meat thermometer!)

Bourbon-Vanilla Cranberry Sauce

Due to my insane love of vanilla, I added this Bourbon-Vanilla Cranberry Sauce to my menu the same day it was posted! So simple to make, and so delicious!

Spiced Sweet Potato Casserole

I wanted to make some sort of sweet potato dish, but I did not want anything that involved marshmallows! I went with this Spiced Sweet Potato Casserole, which I thought was wonderful.

Grandma's Saltine Stuffing/Dressing

It wouldn’t be Thanksgiving to me if I didn’t make my grandma’s saltine stuffing (dressing). I know it probably sounds weird to most of you, but I love the stuff! This year, I couldn’t resist baking it in a cast iron skillet!

Roasted Cauliflower with Chickpeas, Mustard & Parsley

The final recipe for our main course was Roasted Cauliflower with Chickpeas, Mustard & Parsley from It’s All Good. This has become my favorite way of serving cauliflower. Try it, it’s outstanding! (Recipe below)

Amaretto Apple Crisp

For dessert I made this wonderful Amaretto Apple Crisp that I served warm with vanilla soy ice cream from Trader Joe’s. Why store-bought ice cream , when I so obviously love to make my own? Well, we keep kosher, which means no dairy at a meat meal. T.J.’s does non-dairy ice cream very well, so I don’t mind relying on the when I need to.

Thanksgiving 2013

And that’s that! Enjoy the rest of your holiday weekend (and Chanukah, if you celebrate it)!

Thanksgiving 2013

I’m very obviously way more into the sides than the turkey! 😉

Roasted Cauliflower with Chickpeas, Mustard, & Parsley

1 (14-ounce) can chickpeas, rinsed & drained, and dried with a kitchen towel

1 head cauliflower, cut into bite-sized florets

Extra-virgin olive oil

Coarse Sea Salt

1 tablespoon Dijon Mustard

1 tablespoon seeded mustard (I use country-style Dijon)

1 tablespoon white wine vinegar

Freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley

1. Place a rack in the middle of your oven, and preheat oven to 400°F.

2. Combine the chickpeas and the cauliflower florets on a large sheet pan, and toss with 3 tablespoons of olive oil and a big pinch of salt. roast for about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally, until everything is dark brown and the cauliflower is soft.

3. In a small measuring cup or bowl whisk together 1/4 cup of olive oil, the 2 mustards, the vinegar, a big pinch of salt, and a few big grinds of pepper. Pour over the still-warm chickpeas and cauliflower, add the parsley, and toss to combine. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Makes 4 servings

From It’s All Good, by Gwyneth Paltrow and Julia Turshen

Delicata, Chard & Mushroom Galette

Delicata, Chard & Mushroom Galette

This recipe came about because I had leftover squash purée that needed to be used up. It would’ve been easy to just throw it into the freezer to use at a later date (meaning: throw it in the freezer, forget all about it, and then throw it out when it’s completely freezer burned), but I was determined to figure out a way to use it up. And not only did I do that, but the result tasted even better than i thought it would!

Delicata, Chard & Mushroom GaletteDelicata, Chard & Mushroom Galette

Delicata, Chard & Mushroom Galette

For the crust:

2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling out the dough

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 sticks (16 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into cubes

1/2 cup sour cream

1 tablespoon white wine vinegar

1/3 cup ice water

For the filling:

1 1/2 cups delicata squash purée (see below)

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

1 bunch (about 1/2 pound) chard (I used red, but any kind will do), washed well and mostly dried

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 pound cremini mushrooms, sliced

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1/4 cup dried cranberries

1/2 cup crumbled feta

Egg wash:

1 egg yolk whisked with one teaspoon water

Make the crust:

Combine the flour and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Add the cubed butter, and pulse until the mixture resembles cornmeal. In a small bowl, combine the sour cream, vinegar, and water. Pour the sour cream mixture into the food processor, and pulse just until the mixture starts to come together into a ball. Wrap the dough in plastic, and chill in the fridge for at least one hour or up to 2 days.

Make the filling:

1. Combine the squash purée, salt and pepper to taste (I used lots of pepper, because I knew the topping would be on the sweet side), and thyme in a bowl. Set aside.

2. Prepare the chard: cut along both sides of the stem, to remove the stem. Cut the stem into slices (about 1/4-inch thick), and set aside in a bowl. Slice the leaves (also about a 1/4-inch thick), and place into another bowl.

3.  In a large skillet (i used my 10-inch cast iron), heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion, and cook it for a few minutes until softened, stirring often. Add the chard stems and garlic, and cook for 2 minutes, stirring often.  Add the mushrooms, a few large pinches of kosher salt, and the crushed red pepper flakes. Cook, stirring often, until the mushrooms cook down and any water evaporates, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the chard leaves and stir for 1 minute, until wilted. Remove from heat and stir in the dried cranberries.

Assemble and bake the galette:

1. Preheat oven to 400°F. On a large piece of parchment paper, roll out the dough to a 16-inch circle (dust the top of the dough and your rolling pin with flour to keep it from sticking). (Don’t worry if your circle isn’t perfect.) Carefully slide the parchment with the dough onto a large baking sheet.

2. Spread the squash purée over the dough, stopping about 2 inches before the border. Top with the mushroom-chard mixture, and the sprinkle with the feta. Gently fold the edges of the dough over the filling, pleating to make it fit. Brush with the egg wash.

3. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until the crust is golden brown. I served this warm, but I imagine it would taste good at room temperature, too.

Delicata Squash Purée:

I used leftover purée for this, so I don’t really know how many delicata squashes you need to make 1 1/2 cups of purée (sorry!), but I think 3 would probably be more than enough. All you do is cut the squashes in half lengthwise, scoop out the seeds, and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or foil. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, and roast in a 375°F oven for about 40 minutes (until completely soft and slightly browned). Let the squashes cool off, then remove the skin, place the flesh into a blender with a bit of water, and then purée. Simple as that!

I recommend making the purée in advance and refrigerating, because it thickens up slightly when cold, which makes it easier to spread on the dough without making a mess.

makes 1 12-inch galette

Dough recipe adapted from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook by Deb Perelman

Beet, Fennel & Apple Soup

Beet, Fennel & Apple Soup

Remember how I mentioned a while back that I hadn’t really been in a cooking kind of mood? Unfortunately, that went on for quite a while. I’m only just starting to get back into it. I think part of it is the change of seasons (it’s finally starting to feel a little bit like fall here in SoCal). So many bloggers seem to be most inspired by summer produce. But me? I prefer the produce that comes with the cooler temps. When I see stacks of beautiful squashes, pears, apples, it makes me want to get into the kitchen and prepare something warm and comforting.

I decided I want to make a soup for dinner at least once a week throughout the fall and winter. It’s a meal that everybody loves, it can usually be made ahead of time and warmed up (essential for busy evenings after the kids come home from school), and, since it’s just as easy to make a big pot as a small pot, I can have leftovers for lunch for several days after.

I made this Beet, Fennel & Apple soup for dinner Monday night. I made a double recipe, and the hardest part was peeling the beets, which really isn’t all that hard to do. There’s just a little sautéeing, and then you throw everything else into the pot and simmer. A quick purée at the end, and you’re done!

Beet, Fennel & Apple Soup

With so many girls in the house, you just know that a pink soup went over very well!

Beet, Fennel & Apple Soup

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 fennel bulb, diced (save fronds for garnish, or another use, if desired)

1 yellow onion, diced

2 garlic cloves, finely minced

Coarse sea salt

3 medium beets, peeled and roughly chopped

2 small apples, peeled and roughly chopped (I used Fuji apples)

6 cups vegetable or chicken broth

Freshly ground black pepper

Fennel fronds or chopped chives for garnish, if desired

1. Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the fennel, onion, garlic, and a big pinch of salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, for a bout 10 minutes. You want the vegetables to be softened, but not browned.

2. Add the beets, apples, and broth to the pot. Turn the heat up to high and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, and simmer uncovered until the beets and apples are completely soft, about 30 to 35 minutes.

3. Blend the soup, either in a blender or in the pot with an immersion blender. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Makes 4 servings

From It’s All Good, by Gwyneth Paltrow & Julia Turshen

(If it seems like I’ve been cooking from this book a lot—3 out of the last 5 post contain recipes from it—it’s because I have been cooking from it a lot! I really like this book, and all the recipes I’ve made from it have been wonderful.)

Power Chopped Salad & Quinoa with Mushrooms and Arugula

Power Chopped Salad/Quinoa with Mushrooms & Arugula

I don’t usually post two recipes in one post, but when I was dishing out dinner last night it just looked so pretty on the plates that I had to take a picture. I posted it on Facebook and immediately got a request for the recipes.

So here they are. Two bright, vegetable-filled recipes; a perfect meal for hot end-of-summer days . (Because, despite what many people may believe, it IS still summer.)

Power Chopped Salad with Creamy Parsley Dressing

For the dressing:

leaves from 1 bunch of Italian parsley (about a cup)

3 tablespoons white wine vinegar

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/4 cup Veganaise (I used light mayo, because I already had it on hand)

3 tablespoons water

1 tablespoon xylitol (you can sub sugar, if you want to)

1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Blend all the ingredients together in a blender or in a cup using an immersion blender, until completely pureed. Will keep for up to a week in a jar in the fridge.

For the salad:

2 hearts of romaine, finely shredded

2 handfuls of baby arugula, roughly chopped

Creamy Parsley Dressing

1 (14 ounce) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained

2 vine-ripened tomatoes, diced

2 cooked beets, peeled and diced (I used THIS method) (I used 3 beets)

4 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and quartered (I used 5 eggs)

Toss the romaine and arugula with 1/4 cup of the dressing in a large bowl. Place onto individual plates or a large platter, and scatter the remaining ingredients over the top. Drizzle with more dressing, if desired.

Makes 4 servings

Quinoa with Mushrooms & Arugula

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh thyme

1 pound cremini mushrooms, sliced

Coarse sea salt

2 cups cooked quinoa

2 large handfuls of arugula, roughly chopped

Freshly ground black pepper

1. Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over high heat. Add the garlic and thyme and cook for 30 seconds, until fragrant. Add the mushrooms and a large pinch of salt to the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and browned.

2. Transfer the mushrooms to a large bowl, add the quinoa and arugula, and stir to combine. Season to taste with more salt and freshly ground black pepper

Makes 4 serving

Both recipes from It’s All Good, by Gwyneth Paltrow and Julia Turshen