Weekly Pin: Quinoa with Mushrooms & Greens

Quinoa with greens and mushrooms

Quinoa with greens and mushrooms

This week’s pin comes from the lovely Samantha at Better Bites blog. I regularly drool over Samantha’s recipes, and with my first trimester blech-ness toward food, I can use whatever healthful inspiration I can get.

This recipe was just the ticket. All three of us loved it – Oscar especially liked the quinoa and mushrooms (boy is crazy for mushrooms). I loved the subtly balanced flavors, salty, tangy, sweet, spicy, a hint of bitter, and some umami from the mushrooms made it a very satisfying meal. We used spinach instead of kale since we had it in the fridge, then added a baked sweet potato on the side and called it done.

Thanks, Samantha, from the bottom of my heart for keeping us from eating mac&cheese from the box one more night. I haven’t done it yet, but I’ve been threatening. *grin*

What are your favorite pins/projects/new recipes this week?

Weekly Pin: Green Smoothie

Green smoothieI love a good smoothie. I don’t drink them as often as I’d like anymore, mainly because our blender is really freaking loud. But on the weekends, I love a good smoothie. I first got into them because of Meghan Telpner, a holistic nutritionist out of Canada whose enthusiasm is contagious, to say the least. If you’re into good, whole foods (especially vegetarian and vegan, but not exclusively) and using food as medicine, you should really check out her site—oodles of recipes, great nutritional info, and foodie inspiration.

But I digress. I recently stumbled across this recipe on Pinterest for a green smoothie from the Beauty Sweet Spot. I’ve long been a fan of the Bolthouse Farms Green Goodness smoothie, but it’s got a lot more sugar than I’d prefer and is pretty durn expensive. So I gave this recipe a shot, thinking it might be a good alternative, packed as it is with “green.”

This stuff is good. My friend Anna was admittedly skeptical about green smoothies, so I took her a sample to try. She agreed: delicious. For the record, I made it with both cilantro and parsley because I like those herbs—but you can definitely taste them, so if you don’t like those flavors, leave those two out. But for me, it was delicious, refreshing, surprising, and energizing.

What are your favorite pins and projects this week?

Spinach, Mushroom, and Sausage Lasagna with Homemade GF Noodles

Sausage, Spinach, and Mushroom Lasagna with Homemade Gluten-Free Pasta

I’m so impressed with my fiancé. Really, he’s just… there’s not a sufficient adjective really. Not only is he fun and goofy and kindhearted, not only does he patiently put up with my sometimes mercurial temperament, but he’s upped the ante on kitchen antics—big time.

So I got home from work last week to discover that Snoopy (aka Damon) had made gluten free pasta from scratch, something I myself had not yet attempted. We whipped up some spicy pumpkin tomato sauce and feasted. It was full of yay. The pasta recipe is below, and don’t be afraid: it’s not hard! No special equipment, in fact we don’t own a rolling pin, so Snoopy (who is not gluten free except by association) ended up using a large beer bottle to roll out the dough, as pictured below.

Damon, rolling out pasta with a beer bottle :)

So then I got to thinking, hmmm, lasagna… mmmm…. See, we were going to my pal Samson’s for dinner and a movie, and not only is Samson a ridiculously talented musician/composer/conductor/arranger (check out his tunes on cdbaby!), but he’s also no slouch in the kitchen. Lasagna with homemade pasta might just fit the bill. And seeing as Samson went back for seconds and thirds, Snoopy and I feel pretty good about sharing this recipe with you.

We’ll start with the pasta recipe, which Damon has kindly written up. Following that is the lasagna recipe. Hooboy, enjoy!

Homemade GF Pasta, cut into smaller noodles

Gluten Free Brown Rice Pasta

Credit to Bob’s Red Mill for recipe inspiration. Flour and starches used in our batch were all Bob’s products as well. This recipe has rolled out multiple times for us to be cut as thin noodles (pictured above) as well as the larger lasagna sheets.

  • 1/2 cup brown rice flour
  • 1/4 cup corn starch
  • 1/4 cup potato starch
  • 1 tsp xantham gum
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 4-5 tsp water (or more)

Sift dry ingredients ingredients into a bowl. Beat egg and oil together, then mix into the bowl with dry ingredients. Mix well using a fork or your hands, adding 1 tsp of water at a time until you can pull all the dough up into a ball. We’ve found if all you have are small eggs adding additional teaspoons of water brings it to the right consistency nicely. Just add water until the dough is firm and dry, not sticky.

Place dough on a counter dusted with extra brown rice flour and knead by hand for 5 minutes. Place back in bowl, cover, and let the dough rest for 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes,  place the dough on a lightly floured board and start rolling it out. Even if it’s still a little crumbly, the dough will roll out pretty flat. I had to keep cutting it and rolling it back in, mostly to keep it fitting on the dinky cutting board I was rolling on. When at your desired thickness (the thinner, the better), set the pasta sheets aside to dry on wax paper for another 30 minutes before cooking. If you’re making cut pasta, slice it before letting it dry. Any pasta not used in the dish can be kept in the fridge for a few days.

Sausage, Spinach, & Mushroom Lasagna

  • 1 recipe of the above pasta, rolled out in sheets (uncut and uncooked)
  • 0.75  lb. bulk sausage of choice (we used a local sage sausage—deelish—Italian would also be good)
  • 1 tsp. fennel seed
  • 10 oz. crimini mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/8 c. white balsamic vinegar
  • 1/8 c. water
  • 1 lb. frozen spinach, thawed and drained
  • 28 oz. crushed tomatoes
  • 1/4 c. fresh chopped herbs of choice
  • 1/2 t. cinnamon
  • 16 oz. ricotta
  • 8 oz. mozzarella

In a large deep skillet over medium to medium-high heat, cook sausage until browned, adding the fennel seed halfway through. Remove the sausage with a slotted spoon and set aside. Add to the drippings in the pan the mushrooms, saute a minute or two, then add the vinegar and water, and continue to cook, stirring often, until mushrooms are soft. Remove pan from heat and add back in the sausage as well as the spinach. Stir well and set aside.

In a bowl, combine the tomatoes, herbs and cinnamon. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 350. Use butter to grease a 9″x13″ casserole dish. Layer in the lasagna ingredients in the following order:

  1. Tomato mixture – just enough to coat the bottom of the dish
  2. Pasta (mix and match it to form a solid layer)
  3. Half the ricotta
  4. Half the sausage mixture
  5. Tomato mixture
  6. A third of the mozzarella
  7. Pasta
  8. Remaining ricotta
  9. Remaining sausage mixture
  10. Tomato mixture
  11. A third of the mozzarella
  12. Pasta
  13. Remaining tomato mixture
  14. Remaining mozzarella

Once the lasagna has been assembled, cover the casserole tightly with foil. Bake for about an hour, removing the foil for the last five minutes. Serve and enjoy!

Makes 8 – 10 servings, depending on the size of your appetite.

Spring Lentil Curry

Spring lentils

Springtime, the farmer’s markets have reopened, glory be to the PTB! Another winter past, another year springing anew, and nothing shakes off the last residual frosty shivers like a curry. In celebration, I got more produce from the farmer’s market than one girl could possibly stand a chance of eating on her own. But I’m going to do it. With a little help from my friends of course. And here was last night’s creation.

lentils1

Spring Lentil Curry

  • 1 1/2 c. dry lentils
  • 1 to 2-inch knob of fresh ginger, peeled and minced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 whole Arbol pepper, or similar dry medium-hot pepper
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 3 to 4 spring onions, white parts and greens chopped and separated
  • 1/3 c. chopped fresh cilantro
  • several handfuls fresh spinach, chopped (3 cups maybe? ish?)
  • 1 can organic coconut milk
  • 2 T. curry powder
  • sea salt to taste

I use sprouted lentils, and if doing this, be sure to start them sprouting the day before. Regardless, cook your lentils, sprouted or otherwise, in chicken or vegetable broth. Set aside, reserving a little bit of the liquid.

Heat a broad, deep skillet over medium heat. Add butter, ghee, or coconut oil for sauteing, and then add ginger and bay leaves. Cook until aromatic, about a minute. Add carrot and the white parts of the chopped onion and sprinkle with a smattering of salt, stirring until the carrot is slightly tender.

Add lentils, coconut milk, the hot pepper, and curry powder. Mix well and adjust curry to taste, adding more salt if necessary. Allow to cook and thicken a bit, uncovered, about twenty minutes. Add spinach, cilantro, and the reserved green onion. Cook another five minutes and adjust salt and curry to your taste.

Serve over rice. Rub your belly with joy and gratitude for spring.

lentils2

Greens

It’s fall, full-fledged and fiery on the trees, and as all the leaves turn golden, orange, and crimson, I’ve got greens on the brain.

Armful of greens

When we picture our fall cornucopia, we often think of pumpkins, sturdy winter squash, onions, garlic, potatoes, appples, and looming over all of these is the ominous T-Day turkey. But most of all, I am thrilled by the bevy of greens – swiss chard, spinach, watercress, kale, collards – the southern girl in me is salivating at the thought. The theatre geek in me can’t help but thinking of Bernadette Peters’ vegetable rap from Sondheim’s Into the Woods. Oh Bernadette, how I love you.

I’ve begun studying herbalism this year, and more and more I return to the thought that we aren’t meant to receive our nourishment from pills and vitamins, but from whole foods. As Hippocrates said, “Let food be thy medicine.” And you can’t beat dark, leafy greens for a healthful meal. I gather them up by the basketful and fling them with abandon into soups, stews, salads, and sautes. The morning after could very well find the remnants in a quiche or omelette. I just can’t get enough.

Here are a couple of my favorite ways of preparing greens, very simple, oh so good:

Greens—Mediterranean Style

1 bunch greens, any kind, clean and dry
1/2 c. raisins (adjust according to taste)
olive oil
champagne vinegar (or your favorite vinager)
salt & pepper to taste

Bring a teakettle of water to a boil on the stove. Place raisins in a heat-safe bowl and pour boiling water over them till they are covered. Set aside.

Heat a glug of olive oil in a skillet or crock over medium heat. Add the greens, toss briskly, sprinkle on a bit of seasalt, and cover. Allow to steam just until softened but still brilliant green – do not overcook. Remove from heat and stir in a tablespoon or two of vinager, salt and pepper to taste. Drain the raisins well and toss these with the greens. Serve.

Greens—Asian Style

1 bunch greens, any kind, clean and dry
olive oil
1 T. fresh minced ginger
1 – 2 T. tamari (soy sauce)
1 T. honey

Whisk together ginger, tamari, and honey, adjusting amount to your particular tastes. Set aside.

Heat a glug of olive oil in a skillet or crock over medium heat. Add the greens, toss briskly, sprinkle on a bit of seasalt, and cover. Allow to steam just until softened but still brilliant green – do not overcook. Remove from heat and toss with the tamari dressing. Serve.

What are your favorite ways to prepare greens?