Jul
19
    
Posted (Lori) in News

PATRICIA’S QUINOA RISOTTO W/ASPARAGUS/GARLIC SCAPE/MUSHROOMS/ZUCCHINI….]

Patricia writes: “Here is a recipe for quinoa risotto, inspired by a ‘Quinoa Risotto With Garlic Scape” recipe on Just Food’s web site. It lends itself to summer cooking, because quinoa cooks in half the time required for rice, and one doesn’t have to stand by the stove stirring while it cooks. The only work is cutting the veggies, then sautéing them before adding the hot broth.  I love that, for vegetarians, quinoa is a complete protein.There are so many vegetable variations for this risotto. I was going to use garlic scape & spinach (still have some), but instead Jim brought home some asparagus and mushrooms. It was delicious.

Serves 3 as main dish, or 4 as side dish

3 T olive oil

2 shallots, minced

6-8 asparagus OR 6 garlic scapes OR 1 zucchini*: chopped into 1/2-inch pieces

5 large Cremini or white mushrooms, chopped into 1/2 – inch pieces

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 C quinoa

1 ½ C broth (vegetable or chicken), heated

½ C Pecorino Romano/Parmesan cheese, grated

Salt & pepper to taste

  1. Cook first 4 ingredients in large skillet over medium heat until vegetables are al dente.
  2. Add garlic and quinoa.  Stir to coat with oil.
  3. Stir in 1 C hot broth.  Bring to boil, cover and simmer 10 minutes.   Reserve remaining broth to add later, as needed.
  4. Fold in grated cheese, salt and pepper.  Continue cooking until quinoa is done, about 5 minutes more.  Add more broth if needed , but finished dish should not be runny.
  5. Serve w/more grated cheese on top of each plate.

This dish lends itself to using whatever veggies are on hand.  I can envision adding chopped carrots (cut into ¼-inch pieces) with onions and celery, or chopped greens (spinach, kale, Swiss chard….).

LEE’AT’S SILKY ZUCCHINI SOUP

Total time: 45 minutes. Serves 4

Lee’at writes: “Came across this recipe yesterday and realized it’s a good one for the heavy zucchini season. Made it tonight and it was good- very simple and yummy, and I’d bet it will be good chilled too!”

1 tbs unsalted butter

2 tbs extra virgin olive oil

1 small onion, finely chopped

1 garlic clove, thinly sliced

Kosher salt and pepper

1 ½ lbs zucchini, halved lengthwise and sliced ¼-inch thick

½ cup vegetable stock or low-sodim broth

Julienned raw zucchini for garnish

In a large saucepan, melt the butter in the olive oil. Add the onion and garlic, season with salt and pepper, and cook over moderately low heat, stirring frequently until softened, 7 to 8 minutes. Add the zucchini and cook, stirring frequently, until softened, about 10 minutes. Add the stock and 1 ½ cups of water and bring to a simmer. Cook until the zucchini is very soft, about 10 minutes.

Working in batches, puree the soup in a blender until it is silky smooth. Return the soup to the saucepan and season with salt and pepper. Serve it either hot or chilled, garnished with julienned zucchini.

Make ahead: The soup can be refrigerated overnight.

CUCUMBERS

There are lots of ways to use cucumbers. Save and chill a few slices to place over your eyes; they immediately make you feel cooler and may reduce puffiness. Although cucumbers are 95% water, they’re also full of vitamins (especially E and K) and research is showing that they’re also full of anti-oxidants and other healthy elements.

I found some recipes on the web that called for braising cucumbers; I tried it and can’t recommend it. I don’t think cooking adds anything, and it takes away the great crunch. Would love to hear from someone who has a good cooked cucumber recipe.

Dips

In countries with hot climates, cucumbers are used as coolers, often combined with very spicy food. In Indian RAITA, they’re combined with curry and yogurt; in Greek TZAKTZIKI, they are mixed with lemon, dill, and yogurt. You’ll find recipes for both on p. 153 in Recipes from America’s Small Farms

Salads

Creamy (yogurt or sour cream) and tart (vinegar-based) cucumber salads are easy to make. Cucumbers are also part of classic chopped salads—tomatoes, cucumbers, scallions, dill, salt and pepper, all chopped and seasoned with oil and vinegar.

CUCUMBER AND DILL SALAD

2 6-inch cucumbers; peel only if the skin is tough; thinly sliced

¼ cup cider vinegar

2 tablespoons sugar

1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill

Salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in a non-metal bowl; make sure all the cucumbers are submerged. Cover and refrigerate for several hours. To serve, remove the cucumbers with a slotted spoon. Don’t throw away the liquid—use it for storing leftovers or for the next batch.

JAPANESE CUCUMBER SALAD

3 small cucumbers

1/4 tsp salt

3 Tbsp rice vinegar

1 Tbsp sugar

1/4 tsp soy sauce

1 tsp sesame seeds

Slice cucumbers as thin as you can. Stir in salt, and let it sit for 5 minutes. Squeeze water out from cucumbers.

In a small bowl, mix rice vinegar, sugar, and soy sauce together until sugar dissolves.

Add vinegar mixture and sesame seeds to prepared cucumbers and mix well.

Soups

Here’s the basic recipe, with some variations:

1 pound cucumber, peeled, seeded, diced

½ tsp salt

1-1/2 cups fat-free plain yogurt

1 green onion, coarsely chopped

1 garlic clove, minced

4-1/2 teaspoons snipped fresh dill

Additional chopped green onion and snipped fresh dill

In a colander set over a bowl, toss cucumbers with salt. Let stand for 30 minutes. Squeeze and pat dry.

Place the cucumbers, yogurt, onion and garlic in a food processor; cover and process until smooth. Stir in dill. Serve immediately in chilled bowls. Garnish with additional onion and dill.

Variations:

Add ½ cup of chopped shrimp

Add ½ teaspoon (or more, to taste) curry powder

Add flavored croutons; combine your favorite spices (curry, chili, zaatar, etc) with 2 tbs butter. Spread on bread, and cut into cubes..Spread the cubes on a cookie sheet and toast in the oven or in pan until golden.

Swirl in a few tablespoons of pesto.

Sandwiches

Cucumbers make elegant small open sandwiches—a triangle of bread, a shmear of cheese, a slice of cucmber, a sprinkle of salt. But they can also take part in heartier sandwiches—layered over cheese, tomatoes, broiled vegetables (such as eggplant and squash), And a chopped cucumber salad is just right in a pita, with or without falafel.

Stuffed

I couldn’t find many recipes for stuffed cucumbers on the web. Is it because it’s too obvious or because most people over five years old don’t eat them? I use cucumbers this way all the time.

Cut cucumbers in half and scoop out the seeds. Some stuffings that work well:

–Salmon, tuna, shrimp, or other seafood, mashed with mayo, horseradish sauce, or other dressings

–Bean dip or chilled refried beans

–Goat or feta cheese mixed with chopped radish, fennel, garlic, and fennel.

Pickles

If you still have cucumbers left over—there’s a great recipe for bread-and-butter pickles in Recipes from America’s Small Farms, p. 180

NINE WAYS TO USE DILL

–Several of the cucumber recipes above.

–Chicken soup, or any other broth.

–Combine with yogurt, salt, pepper as a salad dressing or sandwich spread.

–Mix with sour cream and lemon and serve over fish

–Add to omelettes and frittatas

–Saute with shallots or onions in butter; toss with hot cooked potatoes

–Make gravlax: Prepare two equal-size pieces of salmon fillets, about ¾-inch thick, about one pound total; remove any tiny bones and pat dry. Mix 3 tbs kosher salt with 2 tbs sugar. Spread over each fillet. Put a thick layer of dill on top of the salt on one fillet. Carefully turn the over fillet over the first, so that that salt-sugar layers are together, with the dill in the middle. Wrap the package tightly in saran wrap, put it on a plate, and put it in the refrigerator; weight it down to keep it press. Turn it every ten to twelve hours, pouring off any liquid. After two to three days, the salmon will be cured and ready to eat as an appetizer. Or on a bagel, with creamcheese.

–Toss with cooked beans—green, chick, pinto

–Mix into cottage cheese or ricotta

–GREEK MAC AND CHEESE

Studded with spinach, topped with feta cheese, and infused with a hint of cinnamon, this savory casserole is based on a recipe from New York City chef Michael Psilakis. From Saveur, 1/14

SERVES 8-10

3 slices crustless white bread, torn into small pieces

9 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted

Kosher salt, to taste

8 oz. hollow pasta, preferably elbow macaroni

1?4 cup flour

3 cups milk

4 cups grated graviera or kefalotyri cheese (about 12 oz.) (Note: These are very popular Greek cheeses, but Pecorino or Romano can be substituted)

3?4 tsp. ground cinnamon

1?8 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

8 large shallots, finely chopped

16 oz. baby spinach, roughly chopped (chard can be substituted)

8 scallions cut into 1?4″-thick rounds

1?3 cup roughly chopped fresh dill

1 3?4 cups crumbled feta (about 8 oz.)

Put bread into the bowl of a food processor and pulse until finely ground. Put bread crumbs and 3 tbsp. butter into a small bowl and combine; set aside. Bring a 6-qt. pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook until cooked halfway through, about 3 minutes. Drain pasta, rinse with cold water, and set aside.

Heat remaining butter in a 4-qt. saucepan over medium heat. Add flour and cook, whisking constantly, for 1 minute. Still whisking constantly, slowly drizzle in milk and cook until sauce has thickened and coats the back of a spoon, 10–15 minutes. Remove pan from heat. Stir in graviera, cinnamon, and nutmeg and season with salt and pepper; set béchamel sauce aside.

Heat oven to 350°. Heat oil in a 5-qt. pot over medium heat. Add shallots and cook, stirring often, until soft, 3–4 minutes. Add spinach and scallions and cook, covered, stirring occasionally, until wilted, about 3 minutes. Stir in the reserved béchamel sauce, the dill, and the reserved pasta and transfer mixture to a 9″ x 13″ baking dish. Sprinkle evenly with reserved bread crumbs and the feta. Bake until golden brown and bubbly, about 30 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving.



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