Spice-crusted carrots with harissa yogurt

spice-crusted-carrotsI am about 4 dishes behind on the blog! I’ve been cooking as much as usual, but haven’t had as much time to follow up with a post. Of the dishes I’ve recently made, this one is a stand out and looks really beautiful on the plate.

I recommend doing a trial run if you plan to serve it for a party. It is a little labor intensive, but you can do some of the work ahead of time. Unless you have a huge skillet, you’ll want to take the time to find similar-sized carrots so they all fit and can cook in the same amount of time. Keeping the greens on is also key for presentation.

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Tomato soup with feta, olives and cucumbers

tomato-greek-soup2There are few things I look forward to getting in the mail as much as my food magazines. Last week I came home the newest issue of Food & Wine and didn’t even have to open it up to know what I was going to make for dinner over the weekend.

The cover recipe was a beautiful tomato soup with Greek salad garnish. The recipe is ridiculously easy to make and the payoff is huge. The flavors are amazing – especially the onions. Cooking them down tames the flavor a little bit so you won’t end up with dragon breath when you’re done. And because the base is just pureed tomatoes and nothing more, it’s extremely light. You could serve a good sized portion of this without it ruining your appetite for the main course.

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Summer risotto

Five weeks into the baking and pastry course and I’m super-ready to move on to the savory side. You’ll notice that I didn’t post a “week five” of culinary school because I’m kinda sort of over pastry. However, I really did enjoy the kudos doled out by my colleagues when I brought in the devil’s food cake with coconut-vanilla buttercream frosting. Yep, that was pretty good – I even had a small piece.

This weekend, I was really ready to get back to cooking what I love the most – savory foods. And what better to make than a season-appropriate risotto? I was anxious to try the Arborio rice I picked up from Eataly a couple weeks ago and this seemed the perfect opportunity to take advantage of it.

I love risotto because you can pretty much do anything with it. There are ingredients that will work with every season of eating and it’s a hearty dish, that when made well, can even work as a light summer dinner. Tonight’s recipe is no exception. Everything that went into this one was acquired at the local farmer’s market and was super delish.

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Risotto can’t be rushed, so make sure you allow yourself at least 30 minutes cooking time (more to prep your ingredients) to pull this together. It will be well worth the time investment!

Recipe adapted from Iowa Girl Eats

Serves 2-3 (Or just 2, if you’re really hungry and want to have seconds. Which you probably will.)

  • 3 – 3-1/2 cups vegetable broth (can substitute chicken broth)
  • 1 Tablespoon butter (To make vegan, use 2 tbsp olive oil)
  • 1 medium shallot, minced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • salt & pepper
  • 3/4 cup arborio rice
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1 small zucchini, quartered and chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 1 large tomato, seeded and chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 1 ear sweet corn, kernels cut from cob (about 3/4 cup)
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • handful torn fresh basil

Directions:

  1. Bring broth to a boil in a small saucepan. Reduce heat to low and keep hot.
  2. In a large skillet, melt butter over medium heat then add shallot and garlilc, season with salt and pepper, and then saute until tender, about 3 minutes.
  3. Add rice then stir to coat in butter. Add wine then stir until nearly absorbed by rice. Add 1/2 cup chicken broth then stir constantly until broth is absorbed. Continue adding broth, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly until nearly absorbed before adding more.
  4. When there’s 1/3 of the broth remaining, add zucchini, season with more salt and pepper, then continue stirring. When there’s 1/4 of the broth left, add corn then continue stirring. Add the tomatoes with the last batch of broth then stir until absorbed.
  5. Take risotto off heat then stir in parmesan cheese and basil. Add more salt & pepper to taste then serve.
  6. Garnish with whole basil leaves, if desired.

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Portobello and poblano enchiladas

enchilada2The kitchen is back up and running after taking a little break from cooking the last week or so. Terry had gum surgery, which pretty much left her diet limited to yogurt and anything else that requires little to no chewing. Then Charlie had his teeth cleaned and had a couple benign fatty tumors removed. Needless to say, there has not been a lot of appetite to go around lately.

Since everyone’s feeling better today I pulled out this recipe that I found a while ago. I made a few modifications that I think made it even better. If you wish to keep it vegan, you can follow the original recipe or just skip the jalapeno cream. I’ve never had a cashew-based sauce, but I bet it’s probably not too bad. I’ll put that on the list of things to try another day.

This was goooo-oood. The corn adds a little more color and pop of smoky flavor to the mix. You’ll definitely get a couple different types of heat, but they’re not so overwhelming that you can’t taste the freshness of each of the vegetables. You can have fun with the presentation, too. I put the avocado sauce down first and layered everything up from there.

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