Someone’s in the Kitchen . . .

Someone’s in the Kitchen . . .

I’ve been branching out from my usual, safe, familiar, comfortable ingredients lately and coming up with some pretty spectacular recipes that I thought I would share. They are both sooo-good and so-good-for-you, and they don’t take too much time. A little planning, but not a lot of time. I apologize that I don’t have pictures of all the finished dishes from my own kitchen. I forget about the camera and then then the food is gone.

This beet risotto was a quick-and-easy dinner a few nights ago. It would have been quicker if we had a better knife for cutting the beets with, but we didn’t. I served it with a spinach/feta/strawberry salad topped with capers (we currently don’t have any dressings) and it was good. We have a lot of leftovers because it is really filling, but that just means more for later.
I’ve made this black bean and quinoa salad twice, which we eat as a main course. The trickiest part for me is cooking the quinoa. I’m not sure the directions on the recipe are the best, although it turned out fine. It was just a bit of a hassle because I don’t have a fine mesh sieve, so I was trying to use a dish cloth to rinse the quinoa beforehand and it was tricky not to make a mess. (Adding new knives and fine mesh sieve to kitchen wish-list.)

This lime and peanut salad is very much like the quinoa salad, only you use cabbage instead of quinoa and add some peanuts at the end. And no black beans. But I used pepitas instead of peanuts because I was planning to make this yellow pea and pepita salad, and then overcooked the peas until they turned to mush (don’t worry, I made a soup out of the mush and it turned out okay and hardly took any extra time at all).

Micah ate three bowls of this curried brown rice (recipe below) with tomatoes and peas the first time I made it. I thought it was pretty darn tasty, too, so I made it again. It does have to bake for an hour, so you have to plan ahead enough to accommodate that, but other than that it is a very easy meal to prepare. And did I mention that it is tasty? I got it from The New Best Recipe cookbook.

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 small onion, chopped medium
1 1/2 teaspoons hot curry powder (we use a mild curry powder)
1 tablespoon fresh minced ginger
1 medium garlic clove, minced or pressed through a garlic press
1 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes, drained
1 1/2 cup brown rice (length of grain does not matter)
2 1/3 cups low-sodium vegetable broth (we use chicken bullion)
1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed

Heat the butter in a non-stick skillet over meadium-high heat until foaming; add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent (3 minutes). Add the curry powder, ginger, garlic, and 1/4 teaspoon salt; cook until fragrant (1 minute). Add the tomatoes and cook until heated through. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 375. Spread the rice in a 8×8 inch baking dish. Bring broth to a boil, covered, in a saucepan over high heat. Once it boils, add 1/8 teaspoon salt and pour over the rice. Stir the tomato mixture into the rice and spread into an even layer. Cover with a double layer of foil and bake 1 hour 10 minutes. Remove the dish from the oven, stir in the peas, and cover. Let stand for 5 minutes. Uncover and let stand for 5 more minutes.

I don’t know how essential the last 10 minutes of standing are. I assume the first 5 are so the peas get warm and the second 5 are so everything else gets a chance to cool a bit.

And then to round it all out we made (well, Micah made) these delicious doughnuts. Balance out our eating a bit, you know. It’s important.

10 thoughts on “Someone’s in the Kitchen . . .

  1. Those look like some pretty good recipes. It’s kind of hard for me because Dan is allergic to pretty much any legumes (accept black, pinto, and kidney beans). It makes it kind of hard to cook a lot of healthy recipes. I might have to give some of those a try though.

  2. yum. i love seeing what people eat for dinner–i think it’s fascinating. you may have a dream-knife in mind, but if you don’t want to wait or spend big bucks, we have loved our Forschner Victorinox knives. The chef’s knife tops out at about $30, and they’re recommended by America’s Test Kitchen.
    Thanks for sharing recipes too–we’ll try a couple of those for sure.

  3. yum! it all looks tasty. I’m definitely trying the black bean and tomato risotto, for sure. The beet dish is something very new to me. I have never cooked anything or tasted anything with a beet in it. Weird huh? So I might have to branch out and try it.

  4. Thanks Meg for reminding me about those knives. I read about them in the Best Recipe, but didn’t make the connection that I could actually get one. :)

    And I don’t think it is too weird that you haven’t tasted anything with beet in it, Melissa. We had them (from a can) all the time growing up, but most of my friends had never been exposed to them at all. I think they are really good, and the NY Times says that beets are the new spinach.

    There are a few more posts in that blog (Well) about beets if you do a search — and recipes too.

  5. I love beets! I’ll eat them plain. The only thing to keep me from snacking on them like carrots is the fact that they will stain your skin purple for days.

    Thanks for the great recipes! I love that they’re all vegetarian. It’s so much cheaper not to have to buy meat!

  6. Oh, btw, you can also chop up the beet greens and add them with the mustard greens. And the tiny ones taste great in salads!

  7. mmmm YUM-O! i always love your pix of the recipes/cookies/food you post. hey, i actually just made a healthy version of a meatloaf lastnight using ground turkey and egg whites and all this other good stuff for you…it was the BESTESTEST meatloaf i ever ever had. oh shucks, i hope you eat turkey. lol!

  8. oi!!!! lizzie, you have noooo idea how much i LOVE you right now. all of these recipes sound absolutely PURRRFECT for our vegetarian lineup. they are chalk full of ingredients i adore, (beets!!! there’s a shortage of beets in the world!), and I can’t believe i come here after such a long good cooking drought and find that you’ve done all the dirty work (research) for me. thank you thank you thank you, and NIiiiiiiice work.

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