Katie: So… grad school has been keeping me busy, to say the least! My study workload along with extreme heat have not been the best conditions for culinary endeavors. However, I haven’t stopped eating or cooking! I’ve also taken pictures of a few things I’ve made, but haven’t had time, until now, to post them.
One example is this Blueberry Corn Salad (recipe here). It was pretty easy to make, especially by cooking the corn in the microwave, and had a great combination of fresh blueberries, fresh sweet corn, cucumbers, and cilantro. It would be a great salad to bring to a summer picnic!
Here are some other things I’ve made recently:
Tortillas with Golden Beets, Beet Greens, and Black Beans
Pasta with Escarole, Sun-dried Tomato Chicken Sausage, and Cannellini Beans
Tortilla Pizza with Ricotta Cheese, Peaches, and Fresh Basil
Peanut Butter S’more Bars (a treat to give away — not my dinner!)
Matthew: In addition to making stews, I like to make lentil dishes in the winter. One of my favorites is Lentil Dal, an Indian dish seasoned with cumin, chili powder, turmeric, and curry powder. The spiciness of the lentils is nicely complemented with yogurt and cilantro. I would recommend turning on your stove exhaust fan before you add the spices to the hot oil. I waited until they had been in the oil for a bit and my apartment was engulfed in a haze of spice that stuck around for several days. It was worth it for how good the lentils were.
Matthew: After the great beef stew, it was time to try something a little different. Erika recommended this recipe for Inner Warmth Peanut Stew, from Matt Moyer, executive chef at The Great Dane. The list of ingredients might seem a little strange–butternut squash, tomatoes, peanut butter, garlic, and ginger–but the combination really tastes good. I was a little hesitant to add 1/2 cup of ginger, but I went for it. I really enjoyed this stew. It made quite a bit and I ended up freezing half of it, but after I finished the first half I thawed the other half to eat right away. I highly recommend this recipe if you are tired of the more traditional winter soups and stews, but still want something warm and filling. Two small changes I made were to use chunky peanut butter and to add some cinnamon.
Matthew: To use up my last two CSA butternut squashes, I decided to make this stew from Smitten Kitchen. Since I had so much squash, I left out the potatoes. It was really good with the spices and olives. I served it with cilantro and plain yogurt and instead of using regular couscous, I used israeli couscous. It was definitely a good, healthy winter dish.
Katie: You can never have too much pumpkin!
I was pleasantly surprised with an extremely simple black bean soup recipe recently, so when I saw this pumpkin version on Closet Cooking, I knew I had to try it! It was a perfect blend of onion, garlic, black beans, diced tomatoes, pumpkin puree, a bit of sherry, and cumin and chili powder. The addition of pumpkin made it slightly sweet and very rich. It was great topped with sour cream and cilantro!
Pumpkin Black Bean Soup (slightly adapted from Closet Cooking)
yield: 4 servings
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons ground chili powder
- salt and pepper to taste
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- 2 cups pumpkin puree
- 2 (15 ounce) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 (14 ounce) can diced tomatoes
- 1/4 cup dry Sherry (or dry white wine)
- cilantro (chopped, optional)
- sour cream (optional)
- Heat oil in a nonstick pan over medium-high heat.
- Add the onions and saute until tender, about 5 minutes.
- Add the garlic, cumin, chili powder, salt and pepper and saute until fragrant, about a minute.
- Transfer to a cooking pot and add the broth, pumpkin, black beans, tomatoes and sherry. Simmer for 25-30 minutes.
- Remove from heat and puree carefully until you reach the desired consistency. Add extra liquid (water) if it gets too thick.
- Serve with cilantro and sour cream. Enjoy!
Katie: Fresh sweet corn is something that is only available for a limited time every summer and tastes so much better than frozen or canned corn. When I saw it being sold by local farmers on the side of the road, I knew I had to take advantage of the opportunity before it was too late! I had checked out the book The New Mayo Clinic Cookbook from the library and had already bookmarked a recipe for Corn Chowder with Roasted Poblanos. Since I couldn’t find poblano chiles at the store, I substituted jalapeno peppers. I also used smaller potatoes, left their skin on, and doubled the recipe to make more leftovers. This soup turned out really great! The fresh corn, red potatoes, peppers, and fresh herbs were a great combination of flavors. Shrimp would probably also make a good addition.
Corn and Red Potato Chowder (adapted from the New Mayo Clinic Cookbook)
- 2 lb small red potatoes, cut into 1 1/2 inch chunks (unpeeled)
- 1 Tbsp. olive oil
- 2 small yellow onions, chopped
- 1/2 cup diced celery
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 2 – 3 jalapeno peppers, diced
- 1 tsp. salt, divided
- fresh corn kernels from 8 ears of corn
- 4 cups of vegetable stock
- 2 cups of fat-free milk
- 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
- 4 Tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro
- 4 tsp. chopped fresh oregano
Put the potatoes in a saucepan, add water to cover, and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, uncovered, until the potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes. Drain and transfer to a small bowl. With a potato masher, partially mash the potatoes and set aside.
In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion, celery, jalapeno pepper, and bell pepper and saute until the vegetables are softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and cook for 3 to 4 minutes longer. Stir in the roasted chilies and the partially mashed potatoes. Add the corn, vegetable stock, milk, pepper and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt. Simmer uncovered until the soup thickens, for about 25 minutes.
Ladle into warmed bowls and sprinkle with the cilantro and oregano. Enjoy!
jillpickle: Well, after looking through the William Sonoma catalogue, I was hungry for some savory food! Love the food pictures in there! I happened to see a recipe from The Best of Cooking Light which turned out to be very fast and easy. Chopping and cooking a few slices of bacon probably took the longest. I’m not sure I would add the bacon next time although it smells so good while it’s cooking! I really didn’t taste it in the recipe. Some changes I made to the recipe were: I added more beans than the recipe called for because of the lack of small sizes of canned black beans in the store. I also added 2-3 times the amount of celery, garlic and onions and an extra can of chicken broth plus a dash of smoked paprika. Let’s face it-I can hardly ever follow a recipe exactly!! Bill made the lime cilantro cream which was a contrast in flavors with the soup. Definitely, this is one of my favorites!
For the paninis, I used roasted garlic artisan bread, fresh mozzarella cheese, and salami. I brushed the outsides of the bread with olive oil. I then placed the sandwiches in a grill pan and place a pot on top pressing the sandwiches – my make-shift panini press! Everything was very tasty!