Tag Archives: Parsley

White Bean Salad with Dijon Vinaigrette

31 Oct

I love bean salads.  They go beyond a typical vegetable-based salad and allow you to make just one dish as a meal since the beans make the salad so satisfying.  You can eat it with some good bread, and maybe throw in some soup too.  When I make bean salads, I typically cook the beans myself, because buying dried beans is significantly cheaper than buying canned.  Canned beans are very convenient, and I still use them on occasion, but cooking beans is not difficult.  It’s something that has to be contemplated ahead of time.  Typically I use my crock pot to cook beans while I’m away, and I have them ready when I get home on a week night.  I plan to do a post soon about how to cook beans, because it’s a basic, useful skill, but not entirely intuitive if you’ve never done it before.  This recipe is a favorite of mine, but think of it as a template and not an inflexible recipe.  The beans can be white navy beans, like I use here, chickpeas, black beans, or whatever you have or want to use.  The vegetables are flexible as well, just as with any salad.  I like to add large amounts of fresh herbs to my salads.  Anytime I see a recipe that calls for just a few teaspoons or tablespoons of chopped herbs, I almost always increase that amount several time.

Ingredients

1 1/2-2 cups cooked white navy beans or cannelini beans, or 1 can of beans, drained and rinsed

3-4 stalks of celery, chopped

1 cucumber, peeled and chopped

Dressing:

1/3-1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

4 T red or white wine vinegar

2 T dijon mustard

2/3 cup chopped fresh parsley

1 clove garlic, peeled and chopped finely

Drizzle of honey or 1 tsp sugar

Salt and pepper

Preparation

Combine the salad ingredients in a medium bowl.  Add the dressing ingredients to a small or medium bowl and whisk until well-combined.  You can also use a blender to make the dressing.  Stir the dressing into the salad, and stir until well-combined.  Taste, and add salt if necessary.  Serve immediately or refrigerate to allow the salad to marinate and flavors to combine.

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Chickpea Puree Soup

5 Dec

I really like pureed soups.  They’re smooth, elegant, and require only that you throw stuff in a blender….obviously with a few steps in between, but you get the idea.  This soup was inspired by a NY Times recipe, though I made a few changes.  The original recipe calls for fresh mint, but I used parsley–parsley goes much better with chickpeas, in my opinion.  I also added more lemon juice than the amount in the recipe…around 4 tablespoons instead of 2.

I made the chickpeas ahead of time in my crock pot.  I soaked about 1 1/2 cups of dried garbanzos for 4 hours or so, and then I rinsed the beans and transferred them to the crock pot along with enough water to fill almost to the top.  You can either leave them to cook overnight or while you are gone during the day.

Of course, you can also use a few cans of chickpeas if you like.

Ingredients

4 cups cooked chickpeas, or 2 cans, drained and rinsed

1 medium onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, chopped

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon ground coriander

Sea salt to taste

Juice of one lemon, about 4 tablespoons

1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped

Olive oil for drizzling

Preparation

Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large pot.  Add the chopped onion and garlic, along with the spices.  Cook around 5 minutes, stirring every minute or so.

Add the chickpeas along with about 8 cups of water.  Add some big pinches of salt.  Stir.  Turn on high and bring to a boil.  Immediately turn the heat down to medium low and cook for about 15 minutes uncovered.

Working in batches, puree the soup in a blender.  Fill about 2/3 full–any more can be dangerous.  Once you puree a batch, dump it into a large bowl and set aside.

Once you’ve pureed all of the soup, add it back to the pot.  Mix in the lemon juice and parsley.  Taste, and add salt if necessary.  Serve, and drizzle with olive oil.

Scrambled Eggs a la Julia Child

11 Oct

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After I saw Julie and Julia this summer, I decided I had to get Julia’s cookbook, which has been on my cookbooks-to-buy list for years.  I’ve also been watching her show, The French Chef, on DVD.  Such fun!  Julia Child took such pleasure in food, which is something I strive to do every day.  We all have to eat, so it might as well be good.  Why waste a meal on something that’s not really very good?  I finally got Julia’s cookbook because my mom sent me Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking, and so far I’ve made a few of the basic recipes.

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First on my list was scrambled eggs.  The book has a great chapter on eggs, and I haven’t been brave enough so far to try poaching an egg…I bet it indeed is harder than it looks.  Scrambling, on the other hand, is not hard, even when Julia Child does it.  It seems that Julia’s secret to scrambled eggs is all about cooking temperature.  Her recipe recommends a stove temperature of medium low, while I have been known to cook away at medium to medium high.  The result of the lower temperature is, yes, a bit longer cooking time, but also much creamier eggs with an almost velvety texture.  Wow!  The ingredients here are as simple as can be, the key is really the technique.  The amounts and ingredients I provide below are not exactly from the cookbook, but just about.

Ingredients (for one)

2 eggs, beaten with a bit of salt and some pepper, and 1 tsp of water (1/2 tsp per egg)

1/2 tablespoon butter

chopped fresh parsley

a splash of heavy cream

Instructions

First, beat the eggs with a pinch or two of salt and some pepper.

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Heat the butter in a skillet over medium low heat, until it’s melted and foams a bit.

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Then, add the eggs.  It won’t appear that the eggs are doing anything for a few minutes.  After 2 or 3 minutes, they will look about like this:

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At this point, start stirring every 30 seconds or so.  After a few more minutes:

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Here, they are done:  eggs and granola 011

The last step is to splash your eggs with a bit of heavy cream (not really necessary, but so decadent!).  Alternatively, you can give your eggs a bit of butter to finish.  Then, add about 1 or 2 tablespoons of chopped fresh parsley.  You can cook the eggs over higher heat to cook faster, but you won’t get the same silky texture!

Perfect Fish with Couscous and Sauteed Zucchini

29 Aug

Today I’m featuring three different dishes which are all extremely easy, fast, and really hard to mess up.  I spent a bit less than 30 minutes preparing this feast.  The technique I show here for preparing the fish can be used with any kind of fish you want to cook this way, like tilapia or salmon.  The advantages with this method are that the aluminum foil makes cleanup very easy, and your fish will not dry out.  Fish will take 10 minutes to cook per inch of thickness, so if you cook salmon this way, sometimes the fillets are thicker than 1 inch and will require additional time.

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Serves 2

1/2-1 pound tilapia

dried or fresh dill

1 small lime or 1 lemon wedge per fillet of fish

olive oil or butter for the fish and for sauteing the zucchini

1 medium zucchini

2/3 cup whole wheat couscous + 1 cup water (ratio of water to couscous is 1.5 to 1)

About 1 cup fresh spinach or arugula

1/2-1 cup frozen peas or edamame (I probably would have used peas here, but I happened to have frozen edamame)

sun dried tomatoes

salt and pepper to taste

Fish

First, preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Use a cookie sheet or a glass baking pan and cover with enough aluminum foil to wrap the fish fillets.  Rinse the fish, and place on the foil.  Salt and pepper the fish, pour on some olive oil, and cover with the dill.  Turn over a few times, using your hands to cover the fish with the oil, salt, pepper evenly. Then, cover the fish with the aluminum foil, as pictured below.

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Couscous and Zucchini

It takes a while for the oven the heat to 400, so while you wait, prepare the couscous and chop the zucchini.  Bring the water to a boil with about a 1/2 teaspoon of salt.  When the water boils, stir in the couscous and the peas or edamame, and immediately take off the heat.  Cover, and let sit for 5 minutes.

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If the oven is done heating, pop the fish in the oven and set a timer for 10 minutes.  As the fish cooks, heat about 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat.  Chop the zucchini.  Once the skillet is hot, put the zucchini on, and sprinkle with some salt and pepper.  You’ll want to stir the zucchini a few times as it cooks.  It will take 5-10 minutes.

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By this point, your couscous will be done.  Uncover, and stir in the spinach or arugula, along with the chopped sun dried tomatoes.

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Check your zucchini.  You don’t want it to get too done.  Mine looked like this when I took it off the heat (this picture’s not the best, but hopefully it gets the idea across):

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Whenever your timer goes off, take the fish out of the oven and check to make sure it’s done.  You may not be finished with the zucchini and couscous when the fish is done, but if not just let the fish sit wrapped in the foil until everything else is ready.

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To finish, I added a bit of parmesan cheese to the zucchini, and I squeezed some lime juice onto my fish.