Homework #2A

Homework #2 from Brian Steffenson

This week’s home work assignment (#2) was to shop the produce section and buy two different types of produce you’ve never tried before or if you’ve tried them all, choose two different types you’d like to try using in different ways. We are tasked with producing at least three different meals with the two different types of produce.  I chose eggplant because I often have it in my garden late in the season and always draw a complete blank on what to do with it.  It often goes to waste or I give it away. The second produce item will be Brussels sprouts, an early enemy of my childhood, but one vegetable I would like to conquer and enjoy.  I actually grew this in my garden last year.

The dishes I have chose for eggplant are:

  • Eggplant parmesan
  • Stir fried shrimp with garlicky eggplant, scallions and cashews
  • Tunisian style grilled vegetables (Mechouia)


Eggplant Parmesan

https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/bas-best-eggplant-parmesan

Yield: Serves 12

Ingredients

  1. Marinara:
    • 1/4 cup olive oil
    • 1 head of garlic, cloves crushed
    • 1 large red onion, chopped
    • 3 oil-packed anchovy fillets (optional)
    • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
    • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
    • 1/4 cup dry white wine
    • 2 (28-ounce) cans whole peeled tomatoes
    • 1/4 cup torn basil leaves
    • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
    • Kosher salt
  2. Eggplant and assembly:
    • 4 pounds Italian eggplants (about 4 medium), peeled, sliced lengthwise 1/2–3/4 inch thick
    • Kosher salt
    • 3 cups panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
    • 1 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
    • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    • 1 1/2 cups finely grated Parmesan, divided
    • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
    • 5 large eggs, beaten to blend
    • 1 1/3 cups olive oil
    • 1/2 cup finely chopped basil and parsley, plus basil leaves for serving
    • 6 ounces low-moisture mozzarella, grated (about 1 1/3 cups)
    • 8 ounces fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced

Preparation

  1. Marinara:
    1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Heat oil in a large heavy ovenproof pot over medium. Cook garlic, stirring often, until golden, about 4 minutes. Add onion, anchovies (if using), and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring often, until onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in tomato paste and cook, stirring often, until slightly darkened, about 2 minutes. Add wine, bring to a boil, and cook until almost completely evaporated, about 1 minute. Add tomatoes, breaking up with your hands, and their juices; add basil and oregano and stir to combine. Swirl 1 1/2 cups water into one tomato can, then the other, to rinse, and add to pot; season with salt. Transfer pot to oven; roast sauce, stirring halfway through, until thick and tomatoes are browned on top and around edges of pot, 2–2 1/2 hours.
    2. Let sauce cool slightly. Pass through the large holes of a food mill or process in a food processor until mostly smooth. Taste and season with salt.
    1. Lightly season eggplant slices all over with salt; place in a single layer on several layers of paper towels inside a rimmed baking sheet. Top with another layer of paper towels and more slices; repeat as needed. Top with a final layer of paper towels, then another rimmed baking sheet; weigh down with a heavy pot. Let eggplant sit until it has released excess liquid, 45–60 minutes. This step gives the eggplant a creamy texture when baked.
    2. Meanwhile, pulse panko, oregano, pepper, and 3/4 cup Parmesan in a food processor until very finely ground. Transfer to a shallow bowl.
    3. Preheat oven to 350°F. Place flour in another shallow bowl and eggs in a third shallow bowl. Working one at a time, dredge eggplant slices in flour, then dip in egg, allowing excess to drip off. Coat in breadcrumbs, packing all around, then shaking off excess. Place on wire racks.
    4. Heat 2/3 cup oil in a large skillet, preferably cast iron, over medium-high. Cook as many eggplant slices as will comfortably fit in pan, turning once, until deep golden, about 5 minutes. Transfer to paper towels and immediately press with more paper towel to absorb oil. Working in batches, repeat with remaining slices, adding remaining 2/3 cup oil and wiping out skillet as needed. Let cool. Taste and season with more salt if needed.
    5. Toss chopped herbs, low-moisture mozzarella, and remaining 3/4 cup Parmesan in a medium bowl. Spread 1 cup sauce over the bottom of a 13×9″ baking pan; top with a layer of eggplant slices (trim as needed). Drizzle 1 cup sauce over and sprinkle with one-third of cheese mixture. Add another layer of eggplant, followed by 1 cup sauce and half of remaining cheese mixture. Repeat layers with remaining slices, sauce, and cheese mixture. Cover with foil and bake on a rimmed baking sheet until eggplant is custardy, 45–60 minutes.
    6. Remove from oven and arrange fresh mozzarella over eggplant. Increase oven temperature to 425°F and bake, uncovered, until cheese is bubbling and browned in spots, 15–20 minutes longer. Let rest 30 minutes. Top with basil leaves just before slicing.
  2. Do Ahead
    1. Marinara can be made 2 days ahead. Cover and chill.
      Eggplant Parmesan can be made 2 days ahead. Let cool; cover with foil and chill. Reheat in a 350°F oven, uncovering halfway through, until bubbling gently at edges.

Comments: I violated the first task in preparing a dish: I did not sit down with a beverage and read through the entire recipe first!  My wife came home hungry and wanted to eat fairly soon. I was set on making this dish, but did not fully comprehend the preparation time!  I started around 5pm and we ate at 10:15!   This was an extremely laborious and time-consuming dish to make, needless to say.  It was however very delicious!  My wife raved about the flavor many times and had two helpings. I think it was really good and that she was not heaping praise on me to make me feel better.  Would I make this again? Yes, perhaps, but only if I divided the work load over two days and was cooking for very special friends.  We will have ample leftovers from the dish and I am sure they will be great, if not better than last night.

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Stir-fried Shrimp with Garlicky Eggplant, Scallions, and Cashews

The second dish I selected was from The Complete America’s Test Kitchen TV Show Cookbook 2001-2017, page 465. It is “stir fried shrimp with garlicky eggplant, scallions, and cashews”. The recipe is attached as a pdf image.

Stir fry eggplant

 

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Comments:  This was really delicious Asian inspired dish!  I have never really cooked shrimp in stir fry before. This was really a fairly easy meal to prepare with the accompanying rice.  I was surprised how quickly the eggplant became soft when cooked on high heat. This is in contrast to the Italian dish above which took a very long time to cook in the oven. A winner: 4.5 stars!



 

Tunisian-Style Grilled Vegetables (Mechouia)

I found this recipe in The Complete America’s Test Kitchen TV Show Cookbook 2001-2017 on page 566.

The recipe is attached.

Recipe

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Roasting vegetables on grill

 

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The completed Mechouia

Comments. I thought I had all of the ingredients for this dish, but was missing one: mint, which I thought was just starting to grow in my garden.  Nevertheless, I proceeded with the rest of the recipe and it was really a grand dish that I will make again.  The vinaigrette was really great and easy to make.  Roasting vegetables was a snap.  Then, one must mixes the vinaigrette together with the roasted vegetables and you have a wonderful tasty Middle-Eastern flavored salad to enjoy in the summer. I would give a 4.5 rating on this recipe.



The dishes I have chose for Brussels sprouts are:

  • Kale Salad With Brussels Sprouts, Apples, and Hazelnuts
  • Grilled Brussels Sprouts
  • Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Pecans

Kale Salad With Brussels Sprouts, Apples, and Hazelnuts

Susan Spungen from Epicurious November 2015

https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/kale-salad-with-brussels-sprouts-apples-and-hazelnuts

 

Yield: 8–10 servings

Active Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

Ingredients

    • 2/3 cup hazelnuts (3 ounces)
    • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (from 1 large lemon)
    • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
    • 2 tablespoons finely chopped shallot (about 1 medium)
    • 1 small garlic clove, finely grated
    • Kosher salt
    • Freshly ground black pepper
    • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
    • 1 pound Tuscan kale (about 2 small bunches), stemmed, leaves thinly sliced
    • 3/4 pound Brussels sprouts, trimmed, thinly sliced
    • 2 ounces Mimolette cheese or aged gouda, grated on the large holes of a box grater (1 cup)
    • 1 crisp apple, such as Pink Lady or Honeycrisp, cored, cut into matchsticks
    • 6 radishes, halved, thinly sliced

Preparation

    1. Heat oven to 350°F. Place hazelnuts on a rimmed baking sheet and toast 8-10 minutes, tossing once or twice, until fragrant and skins have blistered. Bundle nuts in a kitchen towel and rub vigorously to remove skins. Spread out and let cool, then coarsely chop. Set aside.
    2. Meanwhile, whisk lemon juice, mustard, shallot, garlic, 1 tsp. salt, and 1/2 tsp. pepper in a medium bowl, then whisk in oil in a slow, steady stream. Set aside.
    3. Mix together kale and Brussels sprouts in a large mixing bowl. Add about 3/4 of the dressing, and use your hands to massage dressing into greens. Taste and add more dressing as needed (you may not need all of it). Reserve any leftover dressing for another use.
    4. Add cheese, apple, and half of the radishes; toss together to combine, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to a serving bowl, and top with nuts and remaining radishes.
  1. Do ahead
    1. Dressing can be prepared 3 days ahead; cover and chill. Nuts can be toasted and chopped 1 day ahead; cover and keep at room temperature. Kale and Brussels sprouts can be sliced 1 day ahead; place in an airtight container and chill. Salad can be tossed together 30 minutes ahead; keep at room temperature.

Comments:  The dressing is absolutely fabulous.  I was concerned about how uncooked Brussels sprouts and kale would taste, but with this dressing it was a really amazing salad!  I would definitely make this again and give it a 5 star rating.

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Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Pecans

I found this recipe in The Complete America’s Test Kitchen TV Show Cookbook 2001-2017 on page 574.

Recipe is attached.

Recipe for Brussels sprouts with bacon and pecans

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Comments: This dish was very easy and fast to prepare.  It was actually one of the most delicious ways to prepare Brussels sprouts. How can you go wrong with bacon involved ???  The bacon and bacon fat flavors coupled with the slight sweetness and crunch of the pecans was really wonderful. I would definitely have this as my top choice for how to prepare this vegetable in the future. I would rate this a 5 of 5.




Grilled Brussels Sprouts

https://www.epicurious.com/expert-advice/how-to-grill-brussels-sprouts-step-by-step-article

Katherine Sacks  07.26.17

Preparation

1. Trim the Sprouts

To get the Brussels sprouts ready for the grill, use a paring knife to trim off the stem ends. Peel off any withered or yellowing outer leaves of the bulb.

2. Blanch or Steam

Because the Brussels sprouts won’t fully cook in the time it takes to grill them, it’s best to pre-cook them. Either steam or cook in boiling, salted water until they are just fork-tender, about 5 minutes.

3. Season

Drain the Brussels sprouts, then drizzle with oil and toss with salt, pepper and any spices you want to use. Onion powder, garlic powder, celery salt, and cayenne are all good options.

4. Skewer

The easiest way to grill Brussels sprouts is on skewers; this lets you easily move the tiny cabbages around the grill and get the best char throughout the sprouts. Skewer four to five Brussels per metal skewer, going through the root end and leaving at least 1/2-inch between each sprout.

 

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Comments: Now that summer is here I was looking for a quick and easy way to cook Brussels sprouts on the grill.  I came across this recipe and decided to try it.  The idea of blanching the sprouts ahead of time was great. That left. just seasoning the sprouts and putting them on a skewer for the grill.  I used onion powder, garlic salt and some cayenne pepper to season the sprouts.  I grilled them for about 15 minutes whereby the leaves were slightly charred.  The end product was good in terms of how the sprouts were cooked, but I would have liked a bit more zing in the flavor. Perhaps in the future, I will use soy sauce or perhaps balsamic vinegar to jazz up the flavor a bit more.

Vicki Interrante: UMN Cooking for Wellness: Home Assignment #2

Choose two different types of produce* that you’ve never tried before [..] Purchase enough to use in at least three different meals. [..] *Try to find seasonal and/or locally grown produce.

I decided to try going to the Excelsior Kowalskis, a small specialty supermarket where I usually never shop because everything is too expensive, thinking that this would be a good place to find a large selection of unique produce.  Actually, I found that I had already cooked with just about everything they had in stock, and the few things I had never seen before unfortunately weren’t identified by name on the price tag.  Because it seemed too challenging to try to figure out how to cook with a strange root that I couldn’t identify (later found out that it was horseradish), I ended up choosing fennel and jalapeños.  I love licorice and had always wondered what could be done with fennel, and we regularly buy canned pickled jalapeños so I thought it would be fun to see what I could do with fresh ones.

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Dish 1:  Jalapeno and chedder cheese corn muffins.

This is a recipe I found by searching the internet with keywords “recipe” and “jalapeno” and then ignoring everything that had to do with “poppers”.  It was on some person’s blog and had dozens of glowing reviews.  My husband loves cornbread, so it seemed like a good choice.  Turns out I was wrong, but more about that later.

Step 1: Assemble the ingredients.  This includes checking all of the items from the pantry to see if any are past their expiration date.  The half-used bag of flour said “best by 2013”, a sad indication of how infrequently I cook, but fortunately there was also an unopened bag of flour, which was good until 2019.  The corn meal said “best by” 2017, but I didn’t think I had bought it that long ago, and I really didn’t want to have to make a special trip to the store, so I went with it.  The baking soda was also somehow miraculously a new unopened box, and the salt, well, probably from 2008, but salt lasts forever.

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Step 2: Preheat the over, grease the pan, and prepare the ingredients:

First mistake:  I had never cooked with jalapeños before, so it didn’t occur to me that touching the seeds and veins would be a problem.  The jalapeños looked really delicious, so I set the seeds out to dry to see if I could maybe later get some of the plants to grow in our garden.  I didn’t wash my hands again after that because, well, I had just washed them before I started cooking.

Also, we didn’t have buttermilk, but I intrepidly found instructions on how to make some using vinegar and regular milk.  Turns out that low fat milk is not the same thing as regular milk, so after 10 minutes or so the result looked very suspicious, like transparent globules of pure fat floating in a cup of slightly opaque water.  But I had no idea what it was supposed to look like.  Everything else seemed fine.

Step 3: Combine the flour, cornmeal, soda and salt in a bowl, and the buttermilk, butter, sugar, eggs and honey in “a glass measuring cup”.

Who writes these recipes, seriously?  There is definitely not enough room in a 2c measuring cup for 1 stick of butter, 1c of buttermilk, 2 eggs, 1T honey and 1/2c of sugar.  So, I improvised by putting the sugar in with the other dry ingredients.

Step 4: Pour the wet mixture over the dry mixture and stir until just moist.  Fold in the peppers and cheese.  Fill the muffin tray.

Ok, so there’s definitely too much batter for 12 muffins.  Fortunately I find a small loaf pan that looks appropriate for the remainder.

Step 5: Bake for 15 minutes.

Well, obviously, the different quantities required different baking time.  And 15 minutes at 375˚ was way too little.  My least favorite part of cooking is checking the oven every 2 minutes for the next 10 minutes to make sure that whatever is baking is not too raw nor too burnt. But I think I got it right.  The loaf took about 5 minutes longer than the muffins.

Step 6: Enjoy!  Or not.

I knew it was bad when my husband, who loves cornbread muffins, cut his in half and then didn’t put syrup on it.  He loves syrup, and we have a great batch from this spring (despite the weird weather and the squirrels chewing through all of our bags at the end of the season).  He ate half, and then said he was full.  This is a guy who usually has a hard time not eating three muffins in a single sitting.  So then I tried one.  It tasted like a brick of congealed butter with some weird things floating inside.  There was no lovely melding of flavors.  My husband said the problem was the fresh jalapenos, that it was like Tex-Mex from someone who knew nothing about Mexican cooking.  I blamed the stick of butter.  I love butter, and lots of recipes call for one stick, which is why it didn’t raise flags for me.  Only later did I realize that one stick of butter is totally too much for such a tiny volume of other ingredients.  My husband said the chickens would probably love them.

Epilogue:

About an hour after breakfast, I realized my fingers were feeling burned.  It started gradually, so at first I thought maybe I had somehow run them under water that was too hot and not noticed.  But then they really started feeling like they were on fire.  Washing with soap and water did nothing to help.  Of course my husband then explains about how to properly handle hot peppers, and now I know but it was a hard lesson.  The pain eventually went away after about 2 hours.

Over the next few days I ate a few more of the muffins just so they wouldn’t all go to waste.  My husband helped by feeding a few to the chickens each day so that it would look like he was eating them and I wouldn’t feel so bad.

Dish 2: Sweet Potato and Fennel Hash

Ok, I have to be honest.  After using the fennel fronds in the week 1 assignment, and after the disaster of the jalapeno corn muffins, I put off cooking with the fennel bulb and in the space of less than a week of sitting on the countertop it turned into a black ball of toxic mess while the rest of the jalapeno peppers shriveled into wrinkled cones.  But I was determined to persevere so I went and bought more of each.

Recipe 2 looked like it would be a winner.  I love sweet potatoes, and the recipe sounded great: fennel, onions, sweet potato, bacon, whiskey, sugar, and jalapeños.  It had a full five stars on some recipes.com website, and it would help us use up that half bottle of whiskey left over from when my son’s girlfriend had come over and baked a pecan pie for Christmas about five years ago.

Step 1: Assemble the ingredients:

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Step 2: Prepare the ingredients. I chop the fennel, onions, and sweet potato.  The recipe calls for a half bulb of fennel and half an onion.  The half onion is fine, we use onions in everything.  But what am I supposed to do with a half bulb of fennel?  I figure the recipe will be fine if I use the whole thing.  I very carefully remove the seeds and veins from the jalapeño without touching them, then chop the pepper.

Step 2: “Cut the bacon into 1 inch pieces and cook in a skillet until brown”.  This is when the flags started going up for me.  Why is this necessary?  Who can even get uncooked bacon to cleanly cut into pieces?  Maybe people with a kitchen full of sharp knives, but not me.   Nevertheless I try my best, and it seems to sort of work. “Remove the bacon, reserving the grease in the skillet”.

It would have been so much easier to just cook the three slices of bacon and crumble it later.  Who writes these recipes??  The internet is so full of random nonsense it’s ridiculous.

Step 3: Cook the onion and fennel in the bacon drippings about 10 minutes.  Add the sweet potato, cover and cook another 10 minutes.

So far so good.

Step 4: Add the whiskey, bring to a boil. Stir in the bacon and brown sugar.  Cook until the whisky has been absorbed (about 5 minutes).

At this point, I realize that the recipe didn’t say what I was supposed to do with the jalapeño.  Clearly it’s not a garnish.  I read the recipe again carefully.  No mention of the jalapeño except in the list of ingredients, after the sweet potato and before the whiskey.  Probably it was supposed to go in with the sweet potato? Well, it’s too late to add it now.  I crumble the bacon into smaller bits to match the sizes of the vegetable chunks.

The result was very sweet, and tasted strongly of whiskey.  I couldn’t taste any of the fennel, and it seemed like a huge waste of $3.99 to put it in something like this.  I guess I should have realized that the whiskey would overpower everything.  Fortunately I had eaten a bunch of the fennel raw while I was cutting it, partly to compensate for using too much in the recipe, so at least I know what it tastes like now.  Even though I love licorice, I don’t think I’ll buy it again – it’s too expensive for what you get.  I might try to grow it in the garden though.

Dish 3: Pickled Jalapeño Rings

I know this sounds lame, but we buy these things regularly so it seemed worthwhile to try to make them from scratch.  The recipe was really simple: slice the peppers, boil some water, sugar, vinegar, garlic, and salt, then put the peppers into the water mixture and turn off the heat.

My husband suggested that I roast one of the peppers to give the result more flavor.  He said to use the skillet but without anything in it except the pepper.  I tried it, but it didn’t seem to be doing anything to the pepper and the hot pan was setting off the smoke alarm, so he cooked the pepper the rest of the way for me over the fire, like he does with poblanos for rajas (one of my favorite things that he cooks).  I figured its wasn’t really cheating to let him do that part for me because the roasting bit was an add-on to the recipe in any case.

Before putting everything into the jar, my husband suggested that I add the leftover chopped jalapeño from the fennel hash recipe, to give it more flavor and not waste the pepper.  We haven’t tried the result yet so I can’t say how it compares to the store-bought ones. It definitely cost more to buy the ingredients than to buy a jar pre-made.  But if those seeds I saved turn into decent plants and we get a good crop, it might turn out to be something we make more often.

Assignment #2 – Kale and Eggplant

I chose Kale and Eggplant as my two types of produce. Before this class, I had tried each of these before, but thought they were terrible! Then during our first week, I actually REALLY enjoyed the kale we made in class and decided to give both Kale, and Eggplant another chance!

The first dish I prepared with Kale was a very simple Frittata, with egg, cheese, tomato, onion and kale. I wanted to try incorporating Kale into breakfast and this was a delicious way to do so!!

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The next thing I tried was with the eggplant, making Baked Eggplant Parmesan. I also decided to spice up the recipe a bit and add some extra sauteed kale I had into the sauce for fun. I coated the eggplant in eggs and bread crumbs, then baked on a cookie sheet. Then I laid the baked eggplant in sauce, kale, and added the parmesan and mozzarella. After baking it all together, I sprinkled a bit more kale on top to be fancy! I was pleasantly surprised that both my husband and I really enjoyed the eggplant! Time to add it to our line up of vegetables for our garden this year! 🙂

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Finally, I often rely on some very simple recipes during the week and I wanted to find an easy way to add Kale without much hassle to something I already enjoy. So I made a Kale Parmesan Whole Wheat Pasta dish. It was incredibly simple, just saute some kale, add to whole wheat angel hair pasta with garlic, olive oil and parmesan. It made a great meal and one that is easy to bring to work during the week for lunches!

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I think this assignment was a great exercise for me. I often want to try new produce, but hesitate because I’m not sure how to prepare it. This class has really helped to move me outside my comfort zone and gave me some great hands on experience with a variety of produce, grains, ginger, etc. that has helped me gain a little confidence. After preparing both the kale and eggplant in recipes that we really enjoyed, I feel much more excited about giving other produce a try!

~Elizabeth

Assignment #2

I chose asparagus and beets.  I made an “Asparagus, Vidalia and Beet Salad.”  The asparagus and beets were steamed separately for about the same amount of time. and onions were added to the asparagus steaming container right at the end.  A Dijon mustard dressing was mixed with both vegetables and then vegetables were presented on a bed of greens.

This was tasty when it was fresh, not as good the second and third time around as the asparagus and onions became mushy…the beets held their shape.

I then mixed in some steamed asparagus with my scrambled eggs for breakfast.  I didn’t have extra beets to try another dish with, but saw lots of good looking beet-based salads.

[I’ve got pictures, but can’t seem to get them on here….I’ve given up trying!] Marilyn

Zucchini and eggplant

Hi all,

I tried something new with the zucchini and eggplant, I made a quinoa salad.

First, I followed the instructions on how to cook the quinoa (half cup of quinoa per one cup of water). The label recommended high-heat setting at the beginning and once it starts boiling reduce it to low-heat until the water evaporates, stirring frequently.

Then I sauteed the zucchini, eggplant and onion in olive oil (I cut them in small cubes and added salt and pepper). Once they looked cooked and slightly brown, I added the quinoa and mixed everything. I added some herbs (provenzal type) and I tossed with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

See the final result: 20180424_194037

 

Home assignment 2

I went shopping at the Wedge Co-op for new vegetables and came home with radicchio & bok choy. I had no idea what radicchio was. I had eaten bok choy before but only in Chinese restaurants. I wanted to try my hand cooking both at home.

I have often been afraid to shop for fresh vegetables- why? It’s a time thing, a convenience thing. Fresh vegetables often go to waste and I don’t want to waste them. I am unwilling to spend the time cooking them during the week. I have convinced myself it will take too long. I do eat vegetables with most of my meals, but I end up heating frozen vegetables which limits my choices to mostly broccoli, Brussel sprouts, and green beans. It does get dull but it is convenient. I just have to zap it in the microwave and go.

I ate a lot more fresh vegetables this week compared to a normal week and it is a nice change in my diet. I am getting pleasure in cooking outside my comfort zone. This assignment forced me to find new vegetables and recipes with which to prepare them. It has helped demystify the vegetable department and debunk my theory that it’s too complicated or takes too long to cook them. It turns out, not everything is as time intensive as potatoes!

I prepared the following three dishes:

1. Roasted Balsamic Radicchio from epicurious.com

What worked well: It was super simple- buy the veg, cut, toss, bake, and done in 20 minutes. Baking is nice because you can put it in the oven and forget it until the timer goes off. I have good quality balsamic vinegar and that makes all the difference in flavor. It is worth the extra money. I cut the recipe in half as I am cooking for one. I served it as a side with pasta.

What I might change: I didn’t measure the ingredients exactly so I might have used too much olive oil. I would reduce the baking time as it got over toasted- the edges of the leaves were a little charred. I would like to find recipes for salads made with this vegetable.

2. Ten minute lemon garlic sautéed bok choy from inspiredtaste.net

What worked well: I had a nice bunch of bok choy. The pan was large enough to accommodate the long stems. The garlic was nicely toasted and I used tongs to toss it while frying in the olive oil. I served it with lemon garlic pork roast and mashed potatoes. I mixed the garlic from the bok choy into the mashed potatoes- what a delight!

What I might change: I might need to cut it up into smaller pieces. The recipe said to cook it for 4 minutes but I cooked it for 8 minutes. I didn’t have red pepper flakes as the recipe called for. I would like to try that next time.

3. Stir-fried bok choy with ginger and garlic from foodnetwork.com

What worked well: I used the smaller bunch of bok choy which was the right size for one person. It was quick and easy. The soy sauce added a nice flavor with the ginger and garlic.

What I might change: I overheated the pan and the garlic burnt. I need to get a better frying pan as the one I have seems to get too hot and things stick to it even with oil.  I forgot to cut the larger leaves in half so they cooked slower than the skinner leaves and the cooking was uneven.

-Christine M. Mounts

Assignment #2

My two new vegetables this week were spaghetti squash and Brussel sprouts:

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I’ve been wanting to try spaghetti squash for a while.  I enjoyed Brussel sprouts in a meal cooked in class last week, so I thought I’d also give it a try.  This was not a great week for meal planning in our household.  So, while heating up water for Mac & Cheese for the kids, I thought I’d cook these veggies for my husband and I.

I followed the directions on the squash sticker and cooked it in the microwave, first for a minute so I could slice it in half and remove the seeds, and then for another 15 minutes face down in a little water. It came out great!

I then sautéed a little garlic in butter, then added the squash and voila!  Super easy.

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I peeled and cut the Brussel sprouts, then tossed in some olive oil, salt, and pepper and roasted in the oven.  Also super easy!

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The first night, we ate just the squash and sprouts.  Not very exciting – a protein would help a lot!  Plus, the flavor of the Brussel sprouts was a bit strong for our tastes.

 

Night two, we used leftovers as a side dish with steak.  And added BBQ sauce for dipping the Brussel sprouts.  Much better!

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Day 3, I ate the remaining Brussel sprouts with some plain Greek yogurt for lunch.  Not bad!

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I will definitely like to try the spaghetti squash again, using different sauces.  I’m not sure about the Brussel sprouts.   But, it was great to try something new this week!