ChefUptothePlate

Food, Nutrition and Cooking


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How do you Provence that?

IMG_2369.JPGSummer Vegetable Bake ala Provence

2 medium onions, cut into 1/4″ slices

2 T extra virgin olive oil

1/2 t salt

2 cloves garlic put through a press or finely chopped

15 oz cooked (rinsed, if canned or homemade) beans (cannellini, kidney, black beans, etc; you can even use lentils)

2 1/2 t herbes de Provence

1/4 t black pepper

~ 1 lb eggplant, cut in half lengthwise, then into 1/4″ slices

3 large zucchini or yellow squash, cut into 1/4″ slices

1/2 lb white potatoes (optional) cut in 1/4″ slices

3 plum tomatoes (or the equivalent; can use canned), cut into 1/4″ slices

1/4 cup 1% fat cottage cheese (or substitute any creamy/tangy cheese of your choice)

1 T grated Parmigiano Reggiano

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F

Heat 1 T oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add onions and 1/8 t salt. Cook ~ 10 minutes until onions are soft. Add garlic, cook another minute and then stir in beans, 1/2 t of herbes and 1/8 t black pepper.

Pour above mixture into a 9″ x 13″ casserole dish and spread to cover bottom of dish.

In a large bowl, toss remaining vegetables with remaining oil, 1/4 t salt, remaining herbes, and black pepper.

Arrange the veggies atop the onion/bean mixture overlapping each vegetable.

Cover the dish with foil, press down on the foil to pack down the veggies into the bean mixture. Bake for 45 minutes.

Remove foil, crumble mixed cottage cheese and Parm on top of the casserole and bake another 15 minutes.

Makes 8 side dish servings or 4 main course servings.

 

 


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Presto, Pumpkin Seed Pesto

Basil’s in the food processor along with the garlic. Uh-oh- I put in enough garlic for 2 cups of basil and I only had one cup; a trip to the veggie drawer and Presto…

Carrot, Celery, Basil, Pumpkin Seed Pesto

1 cup packed fresh basil leaves

2 ribs celery, cut into chunks

1 carrot, cut into chunks

6 cloves of garlic, chopped roughly or put through a garlic press

3/4 cup toasted pumpkin seeds (unsalted)

1/2 parmigiano reggiano

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

In a food processor, pulse basil, celery, carrot and garlic until very finely chopped. Add cheese and pumpkin seeds and process until desired consistency is reached. With food processor running, drizzle in olive oil. Process another few seconds and voila!

Makes ~ 2 1/2 cups of pesto

Pesto should be refrigerated. Can be frozen and thawed as needed.


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Ragout for You

Leave yourself a few hours to get this on the table. It doesn’t require a lot of “babysitting” but time to let the ingredients to cook down and the flavors to develop. If you have a food processor, mince the veggies easily all at once.

Ragout with Sausage and Broccoli

1 lb sweet or spicy Italian sausage (turkey sausage works very well as well as a vegetarian sausage)

1-2 T olive oil

1 large onion, minced

1 carrot, minced

1 celery stalk, minced

1/4 C Italian parsley, minced*

28 oz can of whole tomatoes (do not drain the juice)

1.5 t thyme

1.5 t rosemary

3 T tomato paste dissolved in 1 cup hot water

black pepper to taste

1 lb pasta, cooked to al dente

1 bunch broccoli, cut into florets and coarsely chopped stems

Parmigiano-Reggiano & extra parsley for garnish

Remove the sausages from their casings and cook the loose meat in a heavy skillet over medium heat. Add a bit of olive oil as needed if the meat is sticking. Saute till meat is cooked but not  browned.

Add the fresh veggies (mince them in the food processor for easiest prep). Cook over low heat, stirring as needed until the veggies begin to caramelize; approx 30-40 minutes.

Add the tomatoes and their juice, use a kitchen shears to break up the tomatoes. Increase the heat to medium.  Once simmering add the rosemary, thyme and black pepper. Continue to simmer about 20 minutes until almost no liquid remains. Add the dissolved tomato paste, reduce the heat to low and cook about 10 minutes more.

Cook pasta per package directions for al dente.  About 5 minutes before the pasta is set to be done, add the broccoli to the pot to cook. Before you drain the pasta/broccoli, remove about 1-2 cups of the cooking water and reserve. Drain pasta/broccoli, return it to the cook pot and add the ragout and as much pasta water as needed for desired sauce consistency.

Serve with Parmigiano-Reggiano.

Serves 6

*I have just come across frozen chopped parsley. I am loving the flexibility of having parsley pre-chopped at my finger tips at all times. http://www.daregalgourmet.com

 

 


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pH(yllo) Balanced

Some of my favorite recipes happen when I am looking to use ingredients I already have on hand. This recipe evolved as I was cooking it.

Phyllo Tart

8 sheets phyllo (filo) dough (buy in the freezer section), thawed

1 large onion, rough chop

8 oz baby bella mushrooms, rough chop

10 oz package, frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained

6 oz sausages (Italian (sweet or spicy), chicken and apple, chicken and broccoli rabe) of your choice. Slice sausages and cut slices into quarters.*

1/4 cup Parmigiano Reggiano

Olive oil

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Filling: In a large skillet, heat about 2 T oil on medium high. Add onions and saute until they wilt, then add mushrooms and sausages and cook until sausage is cooked through and mushrooms and onions are golden. Add spinach and continue cooking just a few minutes more until all of the liquid is evaporated. Stir in 1/8 cup of the cheese.

Lightly oil an 8″ square baking dish or pie plate. Lay 1/2 the phyllo dough on the bottom of the dish. Note: if phyllo cracks when laying it in or on top of the baking dish, no problem, just piece it together. Top with the filling and spread evenly. Place 1 sheet of the remaining dough on top, sprinkle with a bit of the remaining cheese and repeat this until all the dough is used.

Lightly oil a piece of foil large enough to cover the tart. Press the foil oil side down on the tart and compress the tart. Bake for 20 minutes, remove foil and bake another 20 minutes. Cut into slices and serve.

Serves 2-4 as a main dish or 8-10 as an appetizer

*Firm tofu that has been drained of all liquid can be substituted for sausages.


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The Pesto Pizza Variations

Pesto Pizza

This makes a delicious appetizer or a meal depending upon any additions you top it with. It’s so easy, it’s almost embarrassing, but oh, so special. You can do this without a pizza stone but using one is highly recommended.

1 pizza dough, uncooked (usually available in grocery stores in the dairy section or the pizza section of larger stores OR some pizzerias will sell you one- failing that check the freezer section of the grocery store).

4 T shredded or grated Parmigiano Reggianno or Grana Padano cheese

1.5-2 cups prepared pesto (see my prior post)

8 oz mozzarella cheese (or soy mozzarella), shredded

 

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Spray a pizza stone (or cookie sheet if you must) with cooking spray. Stretch dough to fill stone.

Poke multiple holes in dough to help reduce the dough from puffing up. Sprinkle Parm on top of dough and bake for about 10 minutes. Keep an eye on it to be sure cheese is not burning.

Remove dough from oven, spread pesto on pizza, sprinkle with mozzarella cheese and bake another 10 minutes.

Serve HOT!

Variations: Add a defrosted and drained 10 oz box of chopped spinach between pesto and mozzarella.

Add some sliced and cooked sausage or chicken or anything your imagination and taste buds like. Cook as above.

Serves 3-4 as a main meal, 8-10 as an appetizer.

 


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Yes to Pesto

Basil Pesto

Nothing smells as good as fresh basil and its natural destiny Pesto. Don’t limit pesto to pasta. IMG_2131.JPGPesto is great on eggs, toast, chicken, fish. The flavor is deep and earthy and a little goes a long way.

2 cups (packed) washed and dried fresh basil, stems removed

4 cloves of garlic, peeled

1 cup walnuts or pine nuts or a combination of both

1/2 extra virgin olive oil

1 cup grated Parmigiano Regianno

salt and black pepper to taste

In a food processor fitted with the chopping blade, combine the basil, garlic and nuts. Chop until almost a puree. With the food processor motor running, add the olive oil in a stream. Then add the cheese until just combined to the desired consistency. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Yields ~ 1.5 cups of pesto: refrigerate or freeze until ready to use.


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Pasta me a second helping

Fettucine with Fresh Tomato Sauce and Salmon

12 oz semolina fettucine

2-4 T olive oil

3 large scallions, sliced into small pieces

1 garlic clove, put through a press

2 lbs. fresh tomatoes, cut into bite sized pieces

1 medium sized zucchini cut into small dice

~ 1 1/2-1 tsp hot chili pepper of your choice and to taste

1/4 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano

8 oz salmon fillet

Heat oil in very large skillet on medium high heat. Add scallions and saute until they start to brown, lower heat to medium and add garlic. After about 30 seconds more add tomatoes in stages so that some of the tomato pieces will retain more of their texture and shape. Add zucchini and hot pepper, s & p to taste. Keep in mind that the salmon will add some saltiness to the dish. After the sauce reaches a slightly thickened consistency, add the cheese and cook about a minute more. Put skillet to the side off the heat and add the salmon fillet, cut into 2-3 pieces. Don’t worry about the salmon skin, it will easily peel off once salmon is cooked.

Meanwhile fill pasta pot and bring to a boil. Add the pasta and cook as package directs. Once pasta is ready, drain it and put the skillet with the sauce back on high heat for about 4 minutes. Peel off any salmon skin and discard, break up the salmon into bite sized pieces, add pasta into sauce, combine and serve.

Serves 4.