Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Creamy Orzo Primavera

I hadn't been planning on harvesting anything yesterday. Heck, I hadn't even planned on making dinner, just re-heating some leftovers. But as I was walking past while out with the dog I saw a bunch more pea pods. I have had a small pile sitting in the kitchen since Saturday, so I figured I'd just steam them as a side dish.

Then I checked the beans. And they were loaded. Again. So I picked off all the mature beans, nearly 2 dozen.

So I poked about in the pantry debating what to do with these veggies and came up with this. The interesting thing was it tasted lemony, which was wonderful. But I didn't add any lemon juice. I think it was the wine, so if you omit that, add a dash of lemon juice.

Creamy Orzo Primavera

1 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup orzo
2 cups chicken broth
1/4 - 1/2 cup wine
green beans, chopped
pea pods, chopped
2 oz feta, plus extra for garnish

Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add olive oil and warm thru. Add onion and garlic and sautee for 2 minutes. Add orzo and sautee, stirring, until orzo is lightly toasted and fragrant, about 3 minutes. And broth and wine, stir, bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, until liquid is mostly absorbed (if needed, add more liquid during cooking).

Meanwhile steam the veggies until sharply crisp. Once orzo is nearly done cooking, add vegetables to the pan and fold in. Continue to cook until the liquid is completely aborbed. Crumble the feta over the pan and stir until creamy.

Spoon into bowls and crumble a bit of extra feta over the top.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Whole Wheat Buttermilk Pancakes

We generally don't make fancy breakfasts. I'll make the occasional scones but, otherwise any real attempt at breakfast is just scrambled eggs and toast.

These pancakes are three things - healthy, hearty and delicious.

Whole Wheat Buttermilk Pancakes

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
3 tbsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 1/4 cups skim milk plus 1 tsp lemon juice
1 tbsp safflower oil
1 large egg
1 large egg white
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Combine dry ingredients (flour thru baking soda) in a large bowl. Combine wet ingredients and whisk together. Slowly add the buttermilk mixture to the flour mixture, stirring to combine until just moist.

Heat large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Spray with cooking spray. Add pancake batter to skillet with 1/3 cup scoop. Flip pancakes over when the top is bubbling. Cook another 1-2 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from heat. Serve with local, organic maple syrup.

Pancakes can be kept warm in a 200* oven for up to 20 minutes.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Garden Bounty Minestrone

I know, I know. Soup in the middle of July? What the heck?

Blame the jetstream. Today was cool, cloudy, rainy and more appropriate to mid-fall than high summer. It left both The Spouse and I hankering for a bowl of soup and crusty bread.

Fortunately our garden is still producing, though it's lagging behind last year. Yesterday I ran out and picked 1 zucchini, 1 squash, another half pound of beans and a handful of pea pods. Add in some fresh onions and garlic from the farmer's market, a can of diced tomatoes, a can of beans of your choice (I like great northern), wild rice, some vegetable broth and fresh herbs and voila!

Garden Bounty Minestrone

1 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup wild rice
1 medium zucchini, diced
1 medium summer squash, diced
1/2 lb green beans, cut into 1" pieces
pea pods, cut into 1/2" pieces
1 28-oz can diced tomatoes, with liquid
1 can beans, drained and rinsed
~4 cups vegetable broth
salt-free italian seasoning

Heat a large stock pot over medium heat. Add olive oil and warm thru. Add onion and garlic and sautee until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add in wild rice and stir gently until the rice is coated.

Add zucchini, squash, beans and pea pods and stir to combine. Add in tomatoes, beans and oregano; stir. Add vegetable broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer about 45 minutes or until the rice is cooked and the vegetables are tender. Season to taste with seasoning, salt and pepper.

Monday, July 20, 2009

The Best Steak Ever

Generally when we think of steak we think of grill. We're hard-core grillers, shoveling out our grill year-round to get that flavor. One could say it's our way of hanging on to summer even when there's a foot of snow on the ground.

When you could theoretically have snow on the ground from October thru April, you force summer into your life whenever you can.

But, there is one thing grilling steaks won't give you and that is a To Die For pan sauce. And this steak will give you that. I predict that this will become a winter favorite.

The Best Steak Ever

1 tbsp oil
1 sirloin steak, seasoned with your favorite combination
1 large shallot, minced
3/4 cup beef broth
1/4 cup red wine
1 tbsp butter

Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add oil and heat thru. Add steak and sautee 4 minutes each side or until medium. Remove from skillet, place on a plate and tent with tinfoil and keep warm.

Add shallots to pan and sautee for about 3 minutes or until lightly browned. Combine beef broth and red wine and add to pan. Reduce by half. Add in drippings from steak and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 5 minutes. Then add in butter, stirring until melted and combined. Remove from heat.

Serve steak with pommes frites, sauteed mushrooms and spinach.