Quinoa and White Bean Burgers

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I know I’ve mentioned this several times before, but I LOVE Fine Cooking magazine. I receive a subscription every year for Christmas from my parents. I end up trying several recipes from each issue and I have many magazines on my cookbook shelf with dog eared pages, waiting for me to have time to try their recipes.

I love quinoa burgers and I also love bean burgers, so the combination of both in a single burger was very appealing to me. I’m also always trying to find something that’s appealing to my vegetarian son (the vegetarian who doesn’t really like vegetables.) I figured he might like these because they look like burgers, yet there’s no meat in them. Well, no luck. He’s always willing to taste things, but he never seems to like any of them. Hopefully one day…

These come together quickly and unlike some other vegetarian burgers, these don’t need to chill prior to cooking, so once you mix them up, you can form them into patties and cook them. This recipe offers some flexibility. For instance, I didn’t have any pine nuts, so I substituted cashews. I’m also not a huge fan of fennel seeds, so I omitted them.

Don’t forget to rinse your quinoa before cooking it. If you rinse it prior to cooking, it’s natural coating, called saponin, will be washed away. Some think that saponin can taste either bitter or soapy, so it’s a good idea to rinse it away before cooking.

I served these burgers on brioche rolls, and they were delicious. There’s a slight hint of lemon in the burgers which gives them a light and lovely taste. As with many of the recipes I’ve posted recently, if you have extra burgers, they heat up very well and make great leftovers. I had one for lunch and a minute in the microwave was all it needed.

Quinoa and White Bean Burgers
Recipe from Fine Cooking Magazine, Issue 134

1/2 cup red or white quinoa, rinsed and drained
1 15-oz. can white beans, drained and rinsed
1/3 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup pine nuts
1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 Tablespoons olive oil

Bring a 3-quart saucepan of water to a boil. Add the quinoa, reduce the heat to medium, and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 12 minutes. Drain and rinse thoroughly with cool water. Drain well, pressing against the strainer with the back of a wooden spoon to extract as much water as possible.

Transfer to a food processor and add the beans, oats, pine nuts, mustard, Worcestershire, thyme, fennel seeds, lemon zest, 1 teaspoon of salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper. Process to a thick, smooth paste. With wet hands, form the mixture into eight 1/2-inch-thick patties.

Heat the olive oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet. Add the patties and cook, flipping once, until browned on both sides, ~8 minutes total. Serve hot.

Yield: 8 burgers

Seven years ago: Cinnamon Chocolate Chip Cookies

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Shrimp with White Beans, Spinach and Tomatoes

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The flavor in this dish was unexpected and wonderful. The lemon zest and juice brought this dish to life. I loved it so much I had two big servings. I also had it the next day for lunch. I love a meal that makes for good leftovers.

I love this dish for a number of reasons: it’s very healthy and it’s easy enough to throw together for a weeknight meal. I almost always have the bulk of the ingredients on hand. I always have a bag of frozen shrimp from Costco in my freezer. I buy the biggest ones I can find that are peeled and deveined. They come with the tails on, and sometimes I take them off before cooking, and sometimes I leave them on. This time, I took them off. I always have chicken stock, garlic, onions and lemons on hand too, and based on the number of recipes that I make with beans, I typically have a shelf full of them in one of my kitchen cabinets.

I served this dish as is, but it can also be served over rice, which will nicely sop up some of the sauce. When making this, the amounts of the ingredients are not set in stone. If you really like tomatoes, add another one. Add some more spinach if you like greens. The recipe is very forgiving and can be modified to suit your taste. I made it exactly as specified, and don’t plan to change a thing next time I make it.

Shrimp with Spinach White Beans and Tomato

Shrimp with White Beans, Spinach and Tomatoes
Recipe from The Kitchn

Olive oil
1 small yellow onion, diced
2 to 3 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium ripe tomato or a handful of cherry tomatoes, diced (~3/4 cup diced)
A few handfuls of washed baby spinach
8 fresh basil leaves, sliced into a chiffonade
1 teaspoon lemon zest
Juice from 1/2 lemon
2 (15.5 ounce) cans Great Northern beans or cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup chicken stock
12 large shrimp, peeled and deveined (thawed if frozen)

Warm a teaspoon or two of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions and sauté until they begin to soften, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the garlic, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, pepper, and a pinch of red pepper flakes (depending on how spicy you like your food), and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

Stir the diced tomato into the onions and cook 2 to 3 minutes, until some of the tomato liquid has evaporated and the tomatoes are beginning to break down. Add the spinach and stir until wilted. Add the beans and chicken stock, and simmer for a few minutes until most of the liquid has evaporated and the beans are warmed through. Stir in the basil, lemon zest, and juice. Taste and adjust the seasonings as desired. Turn the heat down to low and partially cover to keep warm.

Wash the shrimp, pat them very dry, and season both sides with salt and pepper. Set a second pan over high heat and coat the bottom with olive oil. When the oil is hot enough that a flick of water evaporates immediately, begin cooking the shrimp in batches. Cook the shrimp, 1 to 2 minutes on each side, until they are pink and opaque all the way through. Transfer to a plate.

To serve, spoon the spinach and bean mixture into bowls and top with a few of the shrimp.

Yield: 3 – 4 servings

Two years ago: Quinoa Mac and Cheese
Four years ago: Boston Cream Pie
Seven years ago: Chicken Stew with Biscuits

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Individual Mac and Cheese Cups

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One of my sons is a huge dairy fan. He loves milk, yogurt and things made with cheese like macaroni and cheese, grilled cheese, cheese quesadillas, etc. He saw me looking at this recipe the other day and he begged me to make it. When I looked at the recipe I found that it was easier than traditional macaroni and cheese recipes because you don’t need to make a roux. The cream cheese mixed with the milk, which is incredibly easy to do, replaces the roux.

These little mac and cheese “muffins” are great right out of the oven, and they’re also great as leftovers. I was surprised how well they stayed together. I didn’t have any trouble getting them out of the muffin pan. I had one for lunch today as a leftover and my son had three for dinner. This recipe is definitely a keeper and good enough to be added to our regular dinner rotation. My son, the one that requested that I make these, LOVED them. My husband and I did too. These would be great as an after-school snack. They reheat well in the microwave.

This basic recipe has infinite possibilities. I might add bacon next time. I think some broccoli would be a nice addition too. A little cayenne pepper would be nice too when I’m not making them for my son. You can add anything that you think goes well with mac and cheese.

 

Individual Mac and Cheese Cups
Recipe adapted slightly from Martha Stewart

1 tablespoon melted butter, plus more for greasing the muffin pan
1/4 cup Panko breadcrumbs
8 oz. grated cheddar cheese (2 cups)
Salt and pepper
8 ounces elbow macaroni
1 1/4 cups whole milk
8 ounces cream cheese, cut into cubes

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Generously butter a 12-well muffin pan. In a small bowl, toss 1 tablespoon melted butter with breadcrumbs and 1/4 cup cheddar.

In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook macaroni until al dente, according to package directions; drain.

In a large saucepan over medium heat, bring milk to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low; add cream cheese and stir until melted. Gradually stir in remaining cheddar until melted. Add cooked pasta, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper; toss to combine. Taste for seasoning.

Using a 1/2 cup ice cream scoop, divide the mixture into the 12 muffin wells. Using the ice cream scoop, the mixture should divide evenly into the muffin pan. Sprinkle the bread crumb mixture on top of each “muffin”. Bake until bubbling, about 20 minutes. Remove from the oven; let sit for about 10 minutes before removing from the pan. You might need to run a knife around the outside of each “muffin” to loosen it from the pan.

Yield: 12 servings

Two years ago: Homemade Wheat Thins
Four years ago: Alsatian Pizza
Five years ago: Pear Salad with Raspberry Cream
Six years ago: Roasted Potato Leek Soup
Seven years ago: French Lentil Soup

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Gnocchi Verde (Spinach and Ricotta Dumplings)

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One of the many reasons I love shopping at Trader Joe’s is because of their frozen food section. They have the most interesting frozen vegetables. Two of my favorites are their sliced peppers and cleaned and sliced leeks. They sell 10 oz. bags of frozen, chopped spinach too, which are perfect for this recipe. For the last couple of weeks, my TJs has been out of frozen spinach, so I have had to use fresh baby spinach (I used four 5-oz. bags), which adds a little extra cooking to this recipe, but is just as delicious.

When making this, it’s important to cook the spinach until nearly all of its moisture has evaporated. If it hasn’t, your dumplings will be too moist and there’s a chance that they’ll fall apart when you boil them.

Another tip about this recipe: the dumpling mixture takes a full hour to chill, so do allow enough time for that when you start the recipe. When you boil the dumplings, you’ll notice that some of the chopped spinach comes off in the water. I haven’t figured out how to avoid this.

These can be served as an appetizer, or as a side dish with dinner. They are also incredible as leftovers. I ate a plate-full for lunch and they were delicious and very satisfying.

My husband and I love these dumplings. The boys? Want to take a guess? Not one taker. Go figure.

Gnocchi Verde (Spinach and Ricotta Dumplings)
Recipe from Food52

4 tablespoons butter
Two 10-ounce packages frozen chopped spinach, defrosted completely, squeezed dry of all moisture, and chopped very fine (about 1 1/2 cups), or 1 1/2 pounds fresh spinach, cooked, squeezed dry, and chopped
3/4 cup ricotta cheese
2 eggs, lightly beaten
6 tablespoons flour
3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan, divided, plus more for serving
1/2 teaspoon plus 1 tablespoon salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
Pinch of ground nutmeg
4 tablespoons melted butter, divided

Melt 4 Tablespoons of butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the spinach and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 to 3 minutes, or until almost all of the moisture has boiled away and the spinach starts to stick to the skillet.

Add the ricotta and cook, stirring, for 3 to 4 more minutes.

Transfer the spinach-ricotta mixture to a large mixing bowl and use a rubber spatula to mix in eggs, flour, 1/4 cup grated Parmesan,1/2 teaspoon salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Place in the refrigerator for 1 hour, until the mixture is quite firm.

Preheat the broiler and bring 6 to 8 quarts of water, seasoned with the remaining 1 tablespoon salt, to a boil over medium heat in a large pot. Flour your hands lightly and shape the chilled gnocchi into balls about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Drop the gnocchi gently into the simmering water and cook for 5 to 8 minutes, until they puff slightly and are somewhat firm. Lift them out of the water with a slotted spoon and transfer to a plate lined with a towel to dry.

Pour 2 tablespoons of the melted butter into a shallow, ovenproof dish and swirl it around to evenly distribute.Arrange the gnocchi in one layer across the bottom, leaving about 1/4 inch between each one. Dribble the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter over top, then sprinkle the gnocchi with the remaining 1/2 cup of cheese. Broil for about 3 minutes, until the cheese melts and is golden brown.

Serve at once, with additional grated cheese if desired.

Yield: 4 – 6 servings

Two years ago: Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake with Brown Sugar Frosting
Four years ago: Cocoa Banana Muffins
Five years ago: Honey Wheat Cookies
Six years ago: Sugar Cookies with Royal Icing
Seven years ago: Turkey Meat Loaf

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Andean Potato and Cheese Soup (Locro de Papa)

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Andean Soup

I have never cooked with queso fresco before. I saw some in Costco the other day, so I picked up a package. I bought 2 eight-ounce blocks, so you’ll probably see another cheese recipe or two before I use it up. Queso fresco (or “fresh cheese”), is mild, mellow and a bit salty and a bit buttery. If you’re not a feta fan, this would be a good, slightly more mild substitute.

This soup was delicious. It’s a traditional Equadorian soup that’s light but filling. It can be served as an appetizer or as a light main course. I enjoyed the little bites of chewy cheese that accompanied the chunky vegetables. If you like a slightly spicier soup, you can up the red chili flakes.

This is a nice soup for a cold winter night. My husband and I both loved it. The boys, not so much.


Andean Potato and Cheese Soup (Locro de Papa)

Recipe from thekitchn.com

Olive oil
1 yellow onion, diced
1 1/2 pounds (about 4 fist-sized) all-purpose potatoes, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons dried oregano
Pinch dried chile flakes (or to taste)
4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
2 ears ripe corn, kernels sliced off (or 2 cups frozen corn)
1 cup fresh or frozen peas
6 ounces (1 well-rounded cup) queso fresco, cubed
1 cup whole milk
Salt
Pepper

Warm a teaspoon or two of olive oil in a large pot (at least 5 quarts) over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook until translucent and just starting to turn golden-brown, 5 to 8 minutes. Add the potatoes and 1/4 teaspoon salt, and cook until the edges of the potatoes are beginning to soften, another 5 minutes.

Clear a space in the middle of the pan and add the garlic, oregano, and cayenne. Cook until the garlic is fragrant, about 30 seconds, then stir into the onions and potatoes. Add the stock to the pan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer the soup until the potatoes are tender, 10 to 15 minutes.

Add the corn kernels, peas, queso fresco, and milk to the soup. Bring back to a simmer (do not boil) and cook until the corn and peas are tender, another 5 minutes. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed.

 

Yield: 6 – 8 servings

Two years ago: Mini Hot Cocoa Cookies
Three years ago: Granola
Four years ago: Quick Chick Pea Curry
Five years ago: Cauliflower and Caramelized Onion Tart
Six years ago: M&Ms Cookies
Seven years ago: Chick Pea Salad with Lemon and Parmesan

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Peanut Butter Filled Chocolate Cupcakes

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If you are a fan of Funny Bones, these cupcakes are for you. The chocolate cake recipe is amazing, as is the peanut butter filling. They taste just like Drake’s Funny Bones without the chocolate coating on the outside, and with a much better chocolate cake. Funny Bones were my favorite of the Drakes cakes of my childhood. I also liked Devil Dogs, Yodels and Ring Dings, but the Funny Bones were my hands-down favorite. As far as other snack cakes went, I was never a huge fan or Twinkies or Sno Balls. I much preferred the chocolate snacks.

These cupcakes are easy to make and easy to fill. The filling comes together in no time because it only uses three ingredients: peanut butter, butter and Marshmallow Fluff. I’m not a big fan of recipes that have junk like pre-made Marshmallow Fluff in them, but when these seemed like they might taste like Funny Bones, I had to try them. They were a huge hit in our house, except with one of my sons, who still basically only eats peanut butter. He eats so much of it in sandwiches that he’s turned off by anything else that has peanut butter in it. Even these!

I’m usually a frosting fan, but with the creamy peanut butter filling, these cupcakes don’t need anything more than a dusting of powdered sugar. There was a little filling left over, so I frosted a couple of cupcakes with the filling. My sons ate those and raved about them.

Here’s what I learned when making this recipe: when the directions say to lightly spray a muffin tin, do just that. Don’t be heavy-handed with the cooking spray or it will pool at the bottom of the muffin cups. When you dust the pan with cocoa, you’ll end up with a chocolatey sludge. Not ideal. Your butter definitely wants to be at room temperature before you use it in the frosting.

This is going to be one of my go-to chocolate cupcake recipes, even if I don’t fill them. I loved the texture and flavor of the cake.

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Peanut Butter Filled Chocolate Cupcakes
Recipe from Martha Stewart

Cooking spray
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, plus more for pan
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon fine salt
2 large eggs
3/4 cup buttermilk
3/4 cup warm water
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1 1/2 cups marshmallow creme
Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly coat 12 standard muffin cups with cooking spray, then dust with cocoa, tapping out excess. In a large bowl, whisk together cocoa, flour, granulated sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Using a mixer, beat in eggs, buttermilk, oil, and 3/4 cup water on medium until smooth, about 3 minutes.

Divide batter among cups and bake until a toothpick inserted in center of a cake comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Let cool in pan on a wire rack 5 minutes, then remove cupcakes and let cool completely on rack.

In a large bowl, using mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and peanut butter on high until fluffy, 3 minutes; fold in marshmallow topping. Transfer to a zip-top bag and cut off one corner to make a 1/2-inch opening.

With a melon baller, scoop out center of each cupcake base and set aside (these pieces will plug cupcakes after filling). Hollow out each cupcake a bit more, discarding crumbs. Fill cavities with peanut butter mixture and replace plugs. (Refrigerate in an airtight container, up to 1 week.) To serve, dust with confectioners’ sugar.

Yield: 18 cupcakes

Two years ago: Chicken, Ham and Cheddar Roll-Ups
Three years ago: Orange-Scented Almond and Olive Oil Muffins
Four years ago: Coconut Blondies
Five years ago: Asian Pork Tenderloin
Six years ago: Black Bean Brownies
Seven years ago: Sugar Spiced Nuts

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Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Pecans and Maple

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Sweet Potatoes Pecans Maple

I have had my eye on this recipe for a long time. I’m a huge fan of recipes by Yotam Ottolenghi. One tastes more interesting and full of flavor than the next. His combination of herbs and spices may seem a bit strange, but the resulting dishes end up tasting wonderful.

This is a very interesting sweet potato salad. My husband said it reminded him of something that would be served at Thanksgiving. I think it’s the cinnamon that made him feel that way. It’s like no other potato salad you’ve ever tasted. A bit sweet and a bit savory with a big explosion of flavor. I love it, as did my husband. The boys would have none of it. Too many colors and flavors for them.

The original recipe called for sultanas. I had to look that one up. One site I found said it was a pale green grape. Another site said it was a golden raisin. I am not a huge fan of raisins, so I decided to use grapes. I didn’t notice the spice from the red pepper flakes. If you like a little spice in your salads, I’d up this to 1/2 teaspoon. You want to make sure you have fresh herbs for this recipe. Dried won’t do.

My kitchen scale was put to good use when I had to measure the pecans and the grapes.

Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Pecans and Maple
Recipe adapted ever so slightly from The Ottolenghi Cookbook

2 sweet potatoes (about 850g [2 lbs] in total)
3 Tablespoon olive oil
1.5 ounces pecans
4 scallions, roughly chopped
4 Tablespoons roughly chopped flat-leaf parsley
2 Tablespoons roughly chopped cilantro
1/4 tsp dried red pepper flakes
1.5 ounces sliced grapes
salt and pepper

For the dressing

4 Tablespoons olive oil
2 Tablespoons maple syrup
1 Tablespoons sherry vinegar
1 Tablespoons lemon juice
2 Tablespoons orange juice
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 375 F. Wash the sweet potatoes and scrub the skin. You’re not going to peel them. Cut them into a 3/4 inch dice. Spread them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper (for easy clean-up) and toss them with the olive oil until they are all coated in oil. Season with salt and pepper. Roast them for 30 minutes, gently stirring them after 15 minutes.

On a separate baking tray, toast the pecans for 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and chop roughly.

To make the dressing, whisk together all the ingredients in a small bowl with some salt and pepper. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary.

When the potatoes are cooked, transfer them to a large bowl while still hot. Add the scallions, parsley, cilantro, red pepper flakes, pecans and grapes. Pour the dressing over and toss gently to blend. You may not need all of the dressing. Season to taste. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Yield: 4 servings

Two years ago: Chicken and Rice Soup
Three years ago: Cajun Jambalaya
Four years ago: Red Velvet Cupcakes
Five years ago: Chocolate Yogurt Snack Cakes
Six years ago: Shrimp with Spiced Masala and Coconut Milk
Seven years ago: Breakfast Cookies

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Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

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I have been making these cookies for a while now and they’re delicious. I found the recipe on the back of a bag of King Arthur flour. I love the addition of oats to a good chocolate chip cookie.

If you cook these according to the instructions, leaving the centers of the cookies looking a little shiny (or underdone) when you take them out of the oven, you’ll end up with a chewy cookie. The last time I made them, I cooked them a little longer and I ended up with nice crispy cookies. Both ways are good, it just depends upon your preference.

These cookies have a lot of chips. If you’re a chocolate chip fan, this recipe is for you. The next time I make these, I’m going to try cutting the chips by a half cup.

I brought a batch of these cookies on a ski weekend with friends, and they were a big hit. They received rave reviews.

 

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies
Recipe from King Arthur Flour

1 cup (16 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 large egg yolk, at room temperature
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1 cup quick-cooking or old-fashioned oats
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt or 3/4 teaspoon regular table salt
3 cups semisweet chocolate chips

 

Preheat the oven to 325°F. Line several cookie sheets with parchment paper, or lightly grease with non-stick vegetable oil spray.

Beat together the butter and sugars until smooth.

Add the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla one at a time, beating well after each.

Whisk together the flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, and add to the butter mixture in the bowl.

Mix until everything is thoroughly incorporated. Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl, and mix briefly.

Stir in the chocolate chips.

Decide what size cookies you want to make. A muffin scoop (1/4 cup) will make 20 large, palm-sized cookies. A tablespoon cookie scoop (4 teaspoons) will make 50 medium (2 3/4″ to 3″) cookies; and a teaspoon cookie scoop (2 teaspoons) will make 100 small (2 1/2″) cookies.

Scoop the dough onto the prepared baking sheets, leaving about 1 1/2″ to 2″ between cookies.

Bake the cookies for 12 to 15 minutes, until they’re a light golden brown, with slightly darker edges. Their middles may still look a tiny bit shiny; that’s OK, they’ll continue to bake as they cool on the pan.

Remove the cookies from the oven, and as soon as they’re set enough to handle, transfer them to racks to cool.

Yield: 20 to 100 cookies, depending on size.

One year ago: Sugared Pretzel Cookies
Two years ago: Carrot Soup with Ginger and Lemon
Three years ago: Zvi’s Cinnamon Swirl Bread
Four years ago: Roasted Butternut Squash
Five years ago: Parmesan Cheese Crackers
Six years ago: Cardamom Spritz Cookies
Seven years ago:: Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

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Parker's Split Pea Soup

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pea soup

NYC is about to be dumped on by about 24 inches of snow. Schools are closed tomorrow, roads close tonight at 11pm, as does mass transit. It’s going to be a ghost town here in a couple of hours, which is odd for the city. It’s not snowing at all right now, but AccuWeather’s minutecam says the snow will arrive in 6 minutes!

What do you want when it’s cold and snowy outside? A hot bowl of soup! This is my all-time favorite pea soup. I’ve made it numerous times. I like that half of the peas are added at the beginning, then the other half later. Half of the peas get mushy and the other half retain some structural integrity, like the carrots and the potatoes. If you prefer a creamier soup, add all of the split peas at once.

The recipe indicates that you’ll have to skim the foam from the soup when it starts to cook. I had to do this several times. I just read a tip online saying that if you thoroughly rinse your peas before adding them to the soup, you won’t have the foam problem. I plan to try the tip next time I make this soup.

I found that my soup needed to cook longer than the amount of time specified in the recipe. I also found that I needed to add more water or chicken stock to keep the soup from getting too thick. Stay close to the cooking soup and stir it frequently so it doesn’t burn or stick to the bottom of the pot. This soup has an amazing amount of flavor of such a simple list of ingredients.

This soup makes great leftovers.

Parker’s Split Pea Soup
Recipe from Ina Garten via FoodNetwork.com

1 cup chopped yellow onions
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tablespoons good olive oil
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 cups medium-diced carrots (3 to 4 carrots)
1 cup medium-diced red boiling potatoes, unpeeled (3 small)
1 pound dried split green peas
8 cups chicken stock

In a 4-quart stockpot on medium heat, saute the onions and garlic with the olive oil, oregano, salt, and pepper until the onions are translucent, 10 to 15 minutes. Add the carrots, potatoes, 1/2 pound of split peas, and chicken stock. Bring to a boil, then simmer uncovered for 40 minutes. Skim off the foam while cooking. Add the remaining split peas and continue to simmer for another 40 minutes, or until all the peas are soft. Stir frequently to keep the solids from burning on the bottom. Taste for salt and pepper. Add additional water or chicken broth if you find the soup to be too thick. Serve hot.

Yield: 6 servings

One year ago: Eggnog Doughnut Muffins
Two years ago: Chocolate Chocolate-Chunk Muffins
Three years ago: Baked Ziti with Tomato, Mozzarella and Sausage
Four years ago: Rosemary Parmesan Coins
Five years ago: Mashed Yellow Turnips with Crispy Shallots
Six years ago: Big Dutch Baby

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Chocolate Ricotta Muffins

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choc chip muffin

I know I haven’t posted in a while. I’ve officially become more of an occasional food blogger. With four boys in middle school, my time is devoted to them – bringing them here and there, helping with homework, encouraging them to do their homework rather than fool around, etc. I’m still doing a lot of cooking, but I have less time to stage and photograph the recipes that I like. I’m going to do my best to get back to it.

I made these muffins on Saturday morning for breakfast. I had some extra ricotta in the refrigerator and I’m always happy when I can get a little extra protein and calcium into something that the boys eat. All of the boys loved them. As soon as they saw the muffins set out for breakfast, one son said, is there broccoli in these? Another asked about zucchini. They’re wise to my tricks. I was happy that I could honestly tell them that I did not try to hide any vegetables in the muffins.

This recipe made a dozen standard-sized muffins, plus a dozen mini-muffins. The recipe states that you should let the muffins cool for 30 minutes before serving them. My boys ate them as soon as they came out of the oven. There were a couple of downsides to this: one son found that the muffins stuck to the wrapper and another son found out that the chocolate chips were molten and very hot. Once the muffins cooled, neither of these problems existed.

I dusted the muffins with powdered sugar. The boys are already asking when I can make them again.

 

Chocolate Ricotta Muffins
Recipe from Molly Katzen

Nonstick spray for the pan
2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
7 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
1 cup sugar
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup ricotta
2 large eggs
1 1/3 cups milk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly spray 12 standard-sized (2 1/2-inch-diameter) muffin cups with nonstick spray or line them with paper liners.  You may need to spray a couple of additional cups or some mini-muffin cups.  The batter made 12 standard sized muffins plus 12 mini-muffins.

Combine the flour, salt, baking powder, cocoa, and sugar in a medium-sized bowl.

Place the ricotta in a second medium-sized bowl, and add the eggs one at a time, beating well with a medium-sized whisk after each addition. Add the milk and vanilla, and whisk until thoroughly blended.

Pour the ricotta mixture, along with the melted butter, into the dry ingredients. Using a spoon or a rubber spatula, stir from the bottom of the bowl until the dry ingredients are all moistened. Don’t overmix; a few lumps are okay.

Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups. For smaller muffins, fill the cups about 4/5 of the way. For larger muffins, fill them even with the top of the pan. If you have extra batter, spray one or two additional muffin cups with nonstick spray and put in as much batter as you have.

Bake in the middle of the oven for to 20 to 25 minutes, or until lightly browned on top, and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove the pan from the oven, then remove the muffins from the pan and place them on a rack to cool. Wait at least 30 minutes before serving (see comments in text above about this).

Yield: 1 dozen standard-size muffins plus 12 mini-muffins

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