Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Happy St. Patrick's Day and Italian Minestrone...

Tomorrow is St. Patrick's Day- DH's Irish granfather was named Patrick.  If we had another boy, his name would have been Joseph Patrick (after both of DH's grandfathers).  Anyway, happy nameday to all the Patrick's!

I made this Minestrone over the weekend.  3/4 of us liked it.  Big P is still not a fan of soup in general (unless it is lentil soup or chili).  little p gobbled it up.

Italian Minestrone
1 cup dried white beans (I soaked two cups of white beans and now have some in the freezer for future use)
8 cups vegetable broth or combination broth and water
1/4 cup olive oil
2 medium onions chopped
2 small carrots chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
4 large cloves garlic minced
2 lbs. tomatoes or 1 28 oz can diced tomatoes
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1/4 tsp ground sage
2 bay leaves
salt and pepper to taste
8 oz. potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes
4 oz green beans trimmed and cut into 1 in. pieces
1/2 cup uncooked macaroni (I used GF)
2 small zucchini

Soak the beans however you soak beans.  In a large stockpot heat oil over medium heat.  Add the onions, carrots, celery, and cook, until vegetables are softened (about 10 minutes).  add the garlic and increase heat.  add broth, tomatoes, spices (I did not use thyme or sage- i do not really like thyme or sage so I used oregano).  Bring to boil over high heat, reduce heat and cover and simmer for 20 minutes.
add the potatoes, green beans and pasta (I would wait a little longer to add the pasta).  bring to a boil.  reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes.  add the zucchini (add pasta here instead), stirring well to combine. add the beans stirring well.  cover and gently simmer until the pasta and vegetables are tender and the beans are heated through.  Serve hot.

This soup would go well with bread.  I wish I had made some GF bread to go along with it but that takes planning!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Corn and Bean Tamale Pie and yes, I do things other than cook:)

I used to post things on this blog.  Pictures, anecdotes from my life, notes from retreats, book lists, etc.  Somehow I have gone down the path of posting recipes.  And while I do enjoy cooking and I actually do enjoy trying new lenten recipes to mix things up a bit in our home, I guess there is more to me than just cooking (although, there are days that I feel like all I did was spend the entire day in the kitchen- esp. after making a loaf of bread that takes 3 1/2 hours from start to finish- yikes!).

Last weekend I went with our women's group to the monastery in Goldendale.  Always a joy to go visit.  This time was special for two reasons: the company in the car (you know who you are;) and to have a wonderful talk with a special sister at the monastery.  I will leave it at that.  Gerondissa, as always, said many profound things and I forgot my notebook.  So, Katie, if you are reading, will you please type up your monastery notes for me and either email them or post them on your own blog (heehee)?  I would GREATLY appreciate it.

One thing Gerondissa mentioned is the Panagia as our mother and running to her as we run to our own mother's.  I forget this at times.  That she is there to console us in our times of trouble and delight with us in our times of joy.  I try to teach my children this; but, of course, we mom's are very good about taking care of everyone else but mommy.  I had tears in my eyes as Gerondissa spoke of our Panagia.  May she watch over us and protect us!  (I still want those notes, though, Katie:)   NOTE: Panagia is the Theotokos, Mother of God.  Especially in this season of preparate for Annunciation with our Akathist Hymns on Friday evenings- and the struggles of Lent- always worthwhile to remember the Mother of God who knows what it is to be a mother and to watch her own Son crucified- but also to have the joy of the Resurrection- OK- I could go on... 

The boys in our family went camping while I was away... camping.  In March.  Not snow camping (little p wanted to know if they were going to "Mountain Hood")- I don't think the Biggest P (DH) is ready to take the boys snow camping.  Anyway, they had a wonderful time and the boys were great.  They all love the outdoors (I do too, and I did spend a lot of time walking the monastery grounds).

I am in the midst of filling out grant applications for our school.  One to go out today (I am sort of procastinating by writing on the blog because I am waiting for one question to be answered and then it needs to be converted to Orthodoxy oh, I mean to a pdf file and then off it goes).  This is my first grant writing project in a very long time.  I am re-learning the art of BS, uhm, I mean, wordiness, uhm, I mean, making things sound pretty:)

Ok, enough procrastinating...here is dinner from last night. 

Corn and Bean Tamale Pie
1 1/2 cups corn or two ears of fresh corn (guess which option I chose, come on, guess?)
1 Tbs. oil
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
2 green chiles, seeded and chopped
2 tsp. ground cumin
1 lb. ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped or 1 can diced tomatoes (again, guess which option I chose?)
1 Tbs. tomato paste
1 4 oz can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed OR 1 bag of frozen black beans that used to be dried and I soaked and cooked last week (guess which option I chose?) 
1 tsp. oregano
1 cup polenta
1 Tbs. flour (GF flour, thank you)
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking powder
1 egg lightly beaten (or whatever egg substitute you like to use)
1/2 cup milk or fake milk product (we use rice milk)
1 Tbs. butter (or margarine)
2 oz. melted cheese grated (or soy cheese)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Ok, I used frozen corn and did not parboil the ears of corn, etc.  I just do not see myself ever using two ears of corn for this recipe.  and I googled how much corn is in 1 ear of corn and came up with 3/4 cup. Anyway, moving on...
Heat oil in large pan and fry the onion, garlic and pepper for 5 minutes until softened.  add the chiles and cumin and fry for 1 more minute.  Stir in tomatoes (or can of tomatoes), tomato paste, beans (I used 1 2/3 cup black beans (b/c that's how I measure out my beans after I soak and cook them, etc.) which is more beans than the recipe calls for and it was fine), corn, and oregano.  bring to a boil then simmer uncovered for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the topping by mixing together the polenta, flour, salt, baking powder, egg, milk and butter in a bowl to form a smooth, thick batter.
transfer the beans and corn mixture to an oven proof dish and spoon the polenta mixture on top and spread evenly.  bake for 30 minutes.  remove from oven, top with cheese, then return to oven for 10 more minutes.

this was very good.  3 out of 4 people in our home liked this.  Big P did not like it (he can be super picky and doesn't really like corn anyway).  But everyone else liked it.  In DH's words, "it's a keeper."

Monday, March 08, 2010

Asian Spicy Green Beans...

I have been trying new recipes, I am just not posting all of them.  Last week I made my own black bean "burger" patties and they were good.  Even Big P ate his right up! 
Then I went to the monastery with the women from our church for an overnight stay (our women's group goes once a year, usually during Lent- I will take the P's with me for overnights during the year).  DH and the boys went camping.  Yes, camping in March!  They had a blast and, as it turned out, Sat. was beautiful here (60 degrees and sunny).  I came home from the monastery and have lost my voice and now have a bad cold.  I hope it does not last too long (I am very blessed that I do not get sick too often- but when I do, it is usually a doozy (note: this is aside from the chronic stuff I have- if I didn't have lupus, I would be considered super healthy:)

On to Asian Spicy Green Beans:
1 cup white or jasmine rice cooked to directions
1 pound fresh green beans washed and trimmed
2 Tbs. sesame oil
1/2 small onion, thinly sliced
1 red bell pepper thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic minced
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 inch fresh gingerroot, grated or minced
Juice of 1 orange
2 Tbs hoisin sauce (I have some GF hoisin sauce)
slivered almonds for a garnish (ok, so I didn't have any slivered almonds but I happened to have cashew pieces so I used those)

Cook rice.  Steam green beans in simmering water for 3 minutes covered.  Rinse in cool water then drain.  Place a large skillet on the stove over high heat.  Add oil then onion and pepper.  stir fry 1-2 minutes then add garlic, crushed red pepper, ginger, and beans and stir fry 1 more minute.  squeeze orange juice over the pan and add hoisin sauce.  toss everything to coat.  Serve with rice and toasted slivered almonds (or cashews).

This was really good.  I loved it.  DH loved it.  Picky boys who eat peas and brocolli didn't love it.  I would highly recommend doubling the recipe because it was really enough for two adults.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Greek Potato Casserole and some suggestions for Shrimp Cakes...

For the shrimp cakes... I believe that you could  probably do without the egg.  Process the ingredients in your food processor and then transfer to a bowl.  Add the almond flour (or, if you are not gluten free use regular flour) and then refrigerate overnight.  I refrigerated for 30 minutes and it wasn't set enough to make "patties".  So I heated up my oil (I used coconut oil but you could use any oil that you like- you don't need to use grapeseed oil like in the recipe) and dropped large spoonfuls into the heated oil to fry.  It worked for me but I would like to make it the day before and refrigerate overnight and see how that turns out.

Tonight's dinner is an old favorite,

Greek Potato Casserole.
2 cups canned tomatoes

½ cup olive or vegetable oil
2 onions thinly sliced
1 clove garlic crushed
4 Tbs. parsley chopped
1 Tbs. mint chopped (I use dried mint in the winter)
1 ½ tsp salt
¼ tsp. pepper
4-6 large potatoes thinly sliced
2 peppers cut in 2 in. pieces
1-2 zucchini and or summer squash thinly sliced

Mash tomatoes with a fork; combine with oil, onions, garlic, parsley, mint, salt, and pepper. In a greased 8x12 baking dish, alternate layers of tomato mixture, potatoes, peppers, and squash, ending with tomato. Bake covered in oven at 350 for 45 minutes. Uncover; cook until vegetables are tender.

Honestly, I do not layer this.  I actually just put everything in my largest bowl, mix together (so everything is well coated with the tomatoes and oil and spices) and then "dump" it in a baking dish, cover, and put in the oven. 

Monday, March 01, 2010

Shrimp Cakes and Greek Potatoes

We had a modified version of these Shrimp Burgers for dinner tonight.  Yes, I did use the egg (we can have limited eggs).  They were delicious!  The boys even ate their required amount for dinner, too.  I also made Greek Lemon Potatoes and we had a salad of tomatoes, cucumbers, and Greek olives with olive oil and salt and pepper to flavor.  Very nice. 

Here is the Greek Lemon Potatoes recipe:
5 potatoes (or enough that when you cut them up they fit into a baking dish)
juice of 3 lemons
2/3 cup olive oil
1 tsp. oregano, dried
4 garlic cloves, minced
salt and pepper to taste

In a bowl combing all the ingredients minus the potatoes (I use a whisk).  Set aside.  Peel potatoes and cut lengthwise (remember, to dry your potatoes with a towel so they will not stick to the pan while cooking)- you can cut the smaller- they will cook faster.  Let marinade one hour (optional).  Cover with foil and bake in a preheated 375 degree oven. Uncover and cook an additional 30 minutes (I actually broiled them) or until potatoes are browned. Remove pan from the oven and let stand a few minutes before serving.  YUM!

Ok.  This was super yummy.  So yummy that when my husband suggested that he take the shrimp "burgers" to work, I said, "no!"  And so I had them for lunch today:)