Tag Archives: dinner

Mexican Veggie “Super Bowls” with Chili Lime Vinaigrette

Veggie Super Bowls at Spoonwithme.com-13

What was I doing on Sunday, you ask?  Well, I was making a super bowl, of course!  Superbowl Sunday is always a great day for three things.  Yummy food, socializing, and knitting on the couch for extended periods of time.  Oh, and I suppose I left out the football!  Don’t get me wrong, I wore my orange and blue for the occasion.  I am a Denver-ite after all.  I daresay I actually watched and enjoyed the game between knits and purls (GASP, a personal first)!    There’s hope yet!  On Sunday morning, while the Mister was excitedly watching the pre-game, my mind was on the food.  I made some gluten-free samosas with chickpea flour wrappers to take to the game, and these “super bowls” for lunch.

Veggie Super Bowls at Spoonwithme.com

Veggie Super Bowls at Spoonwithme.com-7

The previous day, my friend Karissa and I created these bowls together, and then proceeded to chow down.  I just had to make it again on Super Bowl Sunday so I could record the recipe and share it!  I’m always looking for healthy, colorful lunch ideas.  For me, a mostly raw diet is not a good fit.  In ayurveda, my body constitution is “vata”.  I’m always cold and need warming foods to keep my system in balance. If you’re unfamiliar with ayurveda, here’s a good explanation.

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This lunch (or dinner) bowl is easy, healthy, lime-y, spiced and colorful.  It’s a great warm lunch for these winter days, and you can add or subtract ingredients as you like, change up the sauce, and add raw greens or other veggies.  If you like to eat your veggies raw, scatter the rice and veggies over a bed of greens to create a salad.    You can also roll everything into a tortilla or wrap.

Every good get-together needs good food.  If you bring the football enthusiasm, I’ll bring the eats!  I hope you enjoyed your Super Bowl.  I sure enjoyed mine!

Veggie Super Bowls at Spoonwithme.com-12

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Spiced Maple-Glazed Sweet Potatoes, Apples and Butternuts with Caramelized Pepitas

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The way we’ve celebrated Thanksgiving throughout history has both changed and stayed the same.  What if, instead of the venison and freshly harvested vegetables the Native Americans and the pilgrims shared to celebrate the harvest, this happened:

Once upon a time, back on the first documented Thanksgiving in 1621, the pilgrims that had arrived on the Mayflower shared a feast with the local Native Americans.  

“Thank you for welcoming us to this bounteous land.  I offer unto you this can of cream of mushroom soup as a gesture of peace.  Please prepare it with your freshly harvested green beans and crispy fried onions.”

 “Why thank you, kind pilgrim.  Please, take this gift of congealed cranberries as a symbol of this shared celebration.  And as an extra special bonus offering, this bowl of mashed potatoes, from a tuber that will not actually make its way to ‘America’ until many years from now.”

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Tomatillo-Veggie (or Chicken) Posole

TomatilloPosole|Spoonwithme.com

I broke out my fall garb this week, and taught my students a valuable lesson while wearing a cozy wrap/scarf that the mister got for me in Amsterdam.  A scarf is just a socially acceptable way to wear a blanket to work or school.  You’ll see me wearing a lot of “scarves” in the coming days.  The Dutch have a specific word for all things cozy, inviting, friendly and warm: gezellig.  It’s one of those words that has no English translation.  Picture a cool misty fall day.  Gezellig is arriving home from work and snuggling up in a cozy knit blanket with a cup of tea, a book, and your favorite furry companion (canine, feline, or hey, even human).  It’s huddling around a fire with friends, steaming mugs of soup in hand. The leaves are swirling around, and it’s hinting at frost.  It’s gezellig time, so I thought I’d share my favorite after-work gezellig I meal to spread a bit o’ the cozy.  If everyone were just a bit more gezellig, the world would be a happier place.

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Rosemary Tortilla Española with Watercress Sauce

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I had to google myself today.  Not to see if my fame has taken over the internet.  Not to make sure the paparazzi hasn’t posted any pictures of me without makeup outside my mini mansion (ha!).  Not even because I haven’t posted in so long that I had to check on myself (glad to be back, by the way!).  I had to google myself, because I really couldn’t believe I haven’t posted this recipe yet, because it’s such a staple in our house.

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The Mister and I first had a taste (or many tastes) of this dish when traveling around Spain a few years ago.   Tapas bar?  Tortilla Española.  Sandwich place?  Tortilla Española between two slices of crusty bread, with an obscene amount of mayonnaise (which I believe is Spain’s national condiment).  Dinner?  You guessed it, Tortilla Española served atop a big hunk of bread.  I think that in Spain, farmers have trained special breeds of hens to lay their eggs, harvest potatoes, and immediately turn them into Tortilla Española.

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Why is this dish so good?  It’s so basic. Tortilla has nothing to do with the wraps we are used to.  Rather, it’s a Spanish Omelette, similar to a fritatta, made with thinly sliced potatoes and onions sauteed in what you’ll think is way too much olive oil, then nestled in a pillow of eggs.  Traditionally, it’s started on the stove, finished off in the oven, then the entire thing is flipped over so that the new top is spotted golden brown.

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Sometimes keeping the tortilla in one piece as you flip it is iffy, depending on your pan. The method that works for me is to give it a short stint under the broiler, and to serve it right out of the pan.  I also add fresh minced rosemary as a twist on the original version.  Taking a cue from the Spaniards, I usually whip up a batch of some sort of aioli, such as garlic or sundried tomato.  This time, I was craving something with a hit of freshness, so I created a tangy, herbacious sauce from nutrient-dense watercress, which complemented the richness of the tortilla.

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Tortilla Española makes a great crowd-pleasing breakfast or brunch dish, but how we most enjoy it here in the Spoon house is for dinner over a crusty slice of bread, drizzled or dolloped with whatever sauce or aioli materializes out of ingredients we already have.  It comes together in less than 30 minutes, and as a bonus, can be eaten for breakfast in the morning as well.

Muy delicioso.  Now all I have to do is work on training those hens.

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Rosemary Tortilla Española with Watercress Sauce

Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated Best International Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound russet potatoes, peeled and sliced into 1/8 inch rounds
  • 1 medium yellow onion, peeled, halved and sliced 1/8 inch thick
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, divided
  • 10 large eggs
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary
  • watercress sauce for serving (see recipe below)

Preheat oven to 425˚f.  Heat the oil in a 10 inch oven-proof pan over medium heat.  When the oil is hot, add the potatoes, onion, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt.  Cover and cook for 8-10 minutes, stirring, and scraping the bottom of the pan occasionally (the potatoes tend to stick), until the potatoes and onions are soft.

In the meantime, whisk together the eggs, 1 teaspoon salt, the pepper, and the rosemary in a medium bowl until well combined and slightly frothy.  Add the eggs to the pan with the cooked potatoes and onions.  Gently and quickly stir and fold in the eggs to combine.  Cook an additional 2-3 minutes on the stovetop, until the eggs begin to set.

Transfer to the middle rack of the oven and bake until the top is puffed and the eggs are set, about 9 minutes.  Switch the oven to broil, and cook for an additional 2 minutes, or until the top is spotted golden.

Allow to cool slightly.  Either slice and serve directly from the pan, or loosen the edges with a rubber spatula, and flip the tortilla onto a serving plate.  Serve with watercress sauce.

Watercress Sauce

Is it a vinaigrette?  Is it an aioli?  Maybe on both accounts.  It’s creamier than a vinaigrette, and looser than an aioli.   Call it what you want, but what matters is that it’s packed with nutrition, and is bright and herbaceous, a perfect contrast to the richness of the Tortilla Española!

  • 1 bunch watercress, upper stems and leaves only, about 1 cup packed
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Puree all ingredients using an immersion blender (or regular blender).

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6:00 Asparagus with Toasted Ciabatta and Creamy Eggs

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Midnight asparagus?  Who am i kidding?  Midnight is as mysterious and unfathomable as a unicorn between the months of August and May.  Perhaps I should back up a bit to say that I based this recipe on the Splendid Table’s Midnight asparagus.  Tonight, and most nights, it’s more like, “it’s 6:00 on a wed and I just got home from a meeting and a day full to the brim with bouncy spring-fevered kids” asparagus.  You other teachers out there know exactly what I’m talking about!

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Hence, my version, 6:00 asparagus.  It comes together in a snap when you feel like eating but not cooking.  Toasted ciabatta, creamy eggs, cracked pepper, and roasty asparagus, all speared together with a piece of ciabatta to dab up the runny yolk that creates the sauce.

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I think we all should have recipes that come together this easily to lure us, if only briefly, to the kitchen after a long day at work!

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6:00 Asparagus with Toasted Ciabatta and Creamy Eggs

Adapted from the Splendid Table’s Midnight Asparagus

  • 1 bunch pencil thin asparagus, about 12 oz
  • 1/2 medium red onion, halved peeled, and cut into 1/4 inch wedges
  • 4 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 medium lemon, cut into 1/2 inch rounds
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 6 eggs (or as many as you’d like to serve)
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 crusty loaf bread, such as ciabatta, cut into 1 inch slices

Preheat broiler on high, and set an oven rack to the highest position.  On a rimmed nonstick baking sheet, toss together the asparagus, onion,  garlic and lemon with the olive oil.  Add a couple of generous pinches kosher salt and some grindings of black pepper to taste.  Spread everything out on the pan into a single layer.

Broil on high 4 inches from the top of the oven for about 4-5 minutes, until starting to brown and crisp-tender.  Remove from the broiler.  Push the vegetables to the sides, and crack the eggs onto the pan, wherever they will fit around the asparagus.  Sprinkle the eggs with salt and pepper.  Put the ciabatta into the oven to toast.  Broil the eggs and asparagus for 1-2 minutes longer, until eggs are cooked to your desired doneness (keep in mind that the eggs will continue to cook once removed from the oven. 1 minute eggs will be runny, and 2 minute eggs will be more set).  Squeeze the lemons over the asparagus.  Serve hot on the toasted ciabatta slices.

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“Anytime” Frittata with Chorizo, Potato, and Feta

Three days ago, I made my first frittata.  Three days ago I ate my first frittata.  Three days ago, I burned the heck out of my hand on the handle of my super-heated sauté pan making a frittata…but never mind that.  I ate my frittata that evening, alongside my favorite dinner-mate and a mixed greens salad with roasted shallot vinaigrette.  I noshed on frittata for breakfast, with my favorite canine companion at full attention.  Then, I chowed on frittata for lunch, standing at the kitchen counter thinking about dinner.  Dinner, breakfast, lunch.  I had an epiphany.  Frittatas just might be one of the most versatile dishes known to humankind.

If you are like me, you may be wondering, what is a frittata?  It sounds fancy.  And Italian.  Luxurious, and laborious.  Well, imagine with me if you will, a crustless quiche.  A canvas of whipped eggs filled with whatever vegetables, cheese, or meat suit your fancy at the moment.  This particular frittata starts with eggs whipped with half-and-half, marjoram, salt, and pepper; little cubes of cooked potato, browned chorizo, golden sautéed onions.  Then, it’s topped with salty feta, which melts and leaves the top speckled golden.

Eat it warm, or at room temperature, and accessorize to fit the occasion.  Pair with fresh fruit and an English muffin for breakfast.  Lunch or dinner?  Serve with a light salad or some grilled vegetables.  Shameless snacking?  Eat it by itself, cold and straight from the refrigerator while no one’s watching.  It will still be good.  I’m having a hard time thinking of any other dish I could take to anybody’s house at any time of day.  This can be your go-to breakfast-lunch-dinner-side dish-fancy-casual-easy-impressive contribution to any meal at any time.  Eat it in a box, with a fox.  In a house, with a mouse.  Eat frittata here and there, eat frittata anywhere.

“Anytime” Frittata with Chorizo, Potato and Feta

Adapted slightly  from “Favorite Food at Home:  Delicious Comfort Food From Ireland’s Most Famous Chef”, via the Denver Post

Serves 6-8

  • 2 medium Russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, halved, peeled, and thinly sliced
  • 1/3 pound ground chorizo
  • 8 eggs
  • 6 tablespoons half-and-half
  • 1 teaspoon salt, plus additional for
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh marjoram, plus additional for garnish
  • 4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled

1. Preheat oven to 350˚F.

2. Place the potatoes in a medium saucepan, and fill with water to cover the potatoes by one inch.  Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.  Add a couple pinches of salt, and boil the potatoes for 5 minutes, or until cooked through but still firm.  Drain and set aside.

3. Heat one tablespoon oil in a 10-inch ovenproof frying pan or skillet over medium heat.  Add the onion, and cook, stirring occasionally until it is softened and beginning to turn golden, about 8-10 minutes.  Remove the onion from the pan and set aside. Return the frying pan to the stove over medium heat.

4. Add the chorizo to the frying pan.  Cook for 2-4 minutes, breaking the chorizo into small pieces with a spatula, until it is slightly browned, but not completely cooked through.

5. Whisk the eggs, half-and-half, salt, and marjoram in a medium bowl.  Stir in the chorizo, cooked onion, and potatoes.

6. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in the frying pan until hot.  Swirl the oil in the pan to coat the bottom and sides.  Pour in the egg mixture and stir to distribute the ingredients evenly.  Top with the crumbled feta.

7. Bake in the preheated oven for 30-40 minutes, or until set in the center.  Set the oven to broil, and cook for 1-2 additional minutes, or until the top of the frittata is spotted and golden.  Allow to cool slightly before serving (and make sure not to grab the hot pan handle with your bare hand like I did!).

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“Every Little Thing’s Gonna Be Alright” Tomato Soup

 

“Rise up this mornin’,

smiled with the rising sun,

three little birds

Pitch by my doorstep,

Singing sweet songs,

Of melodies pure and true,

Sayin’, This is my message to you-ou-ou”

Every time I hear Bob Marley’s Three Little Birds, I can’t help but smile, even if I’m in a foul mood.  “Don’t worry about a thing, ‘cause every little thing’s gonna be alright…”  As I listen to the reggae beat, I think “Yeah, Bob… It is, isn’t it?”

I swear by the happiness-inducing powers of Splendid Table podcasts, pilates classes, and just-mailed Bon Appetit magazines.   If I need a dose of slightly off-color dinner table humor, my goofy brother Greg is always good for a laugh.

We all need an assortment of pick-me-up-stop-moping-around activities.

One lousy day last week, I didn’t smile with the rising sun.  My birds evidently weren’t the ones Bob Marley sang about.  They were grumpy birds; feel sorry for yourself birds.  In Alexander’s words, I was having a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.

So, first I moped.  Then, my stomach started to growl.  I thought back to one of my favorite childhood feel-better foods, tomato soup.  Tomato soup reminds me of being a kid, reading Matilda at the dinner table while dipping the corner of a grilled cheese sandwich into my bowl.  It’s relatively impossible to feel down for long when your belly is filled to the brim with gooey cheese and hot soup.

Of course, my tastes have advanced from the old standby soup from a can. So…

I pull the last batch of tomatoes from the vines, and start chopping.  My mood moves from foul to semi-tolerable.  After chopping an exorbitant amount of garlic, I can’t help but feel optimistic.  A few glugs of olive oil and the sound of sizzling onion elevate my mood status even further.  Upon breaking out the immersion blender and whizzing together my sauteed onions, garlic, and fresh herbs, I daresay I felt pleasant.

I dip a corner of seeded whole grain bread into my soup.  You’re right, my Rastafarian friend. Every little thing is going to be alright after all.

Every Little Thing’s Gonna Be Alright Tomato Soup

Serves 4 as an entree

  • 2 pounds ripe, in-season tomatoes, chopped (about 5 cups)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 8 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 small bunch fresh thyme (about 6 sprigs), leaves picked and chopped
  • 1 small bunch fresh oregano, leaves picked and finely chopped (about 1 teaspoon)
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (or more to taste)
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 to 3 cups vegetable or chicken broth
  • Kosher salt to taste
  • Basil leaves to garnish

Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat.  When hot, add the onions and saute for about 6 minutes until soft.  Add the thyme, garlic, and crushed red pepper.  Saute for an additional minute.  Add the tomatoes, oregano, and salt.  Saute, stirring often for about 10 minutes, allowing some of the moisture to cook down.  Add 2 cups of the broth.  Simmer for 10 minutes.  Blend together with an immersion blender, or allow soup to cool slightly before blending in a standing blender.*   Add additional broth if needed to reach the desired consistency.  Garnish with torn basil.

*Blend hot foods safely (ie:  avoid a blender explosion):

•Only fill the container up halfway, and start at the lowest speed.

•Place a kitchen towel over top of the lid, and hold it down while you are blending

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