Lentils with Broiled Eggplant

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Yes, I’m obsessed – Ottolenghi is a god in my world. This is an amazing meatless Monday dish. It might be pushing it for a weeknight meal, but you can roast the eggplant in advance. Leftovers – can’t wait!!

Ingredients:
2 medium eggplants
2 TBSP red wine vinegar
Salt and pepper
1 c lentils
3 small carrots, peeled, chopped small
2 celery stalks, chopped small
1 bay leaf
3 springs thyme
1 onion, minced
3 TBSP olive oil
20 cherry tomatoes, halved
1/4 c chopped herbs, dill, parley & cilantro
2 TBSP Greek yogurt

Prick eggplant all over, broil for an hour turning several times until charred and collapsed. Let cool then scrape out flesh and drain for 30 min. Chop, stir in 1/2 TBSP vinegar, salt and pepper. Set aside.

Lower temp to 275 and roast tomatoes for 25 min. Set aside.

Cook lentils according to package stir in carrots, celery, bay leaf, thyme and onion. Cook until tender about 25 minutes. Remove bay leaf and thyme. Add rest of vinegar, 2 TBSP olive oil and salt and pepper. Stir in herbs and tomatoes.

To serve, spoon lentil into bowl, pile on eggplant and top with a dollop of yogurt.

Serves 4

Cauliflower and Barley Salad with Mozzarella

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Meatless Monday: this week an amazing warm salad with creamy fresh mozzarella cheese inspired by Bon Appetite. Yum!! Can’t wait to have the leftovers for lunch.

Ingredients:
1 c pearl barley
¼ c fine fresh breadcrumbs
2 c whole milk
1 c finely chopped cauliflower
1 shallot, finely chopped
1/2 c finely chopped celery hearts, plus
1/4 c chopped celery leaves
1/2 c finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley and parsley stems
1/2 c grated lemon zest
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 TBSP Champagne vinegar
8 oz. burrata or fresh mozzarella, torn
1 TBSP creme fraiche or half and half
Olive oil
Aleppo pepper
Salt

Cook barley in a large pot of boiling salted water until tender, 15–20 minutes. Drain and set aside.

Meanwhile, toast breadcrumbs in a nonstick skillet.

Bring milk to a simmer in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat; season with salt. Add cauliflower and cook until just softened, about 3 minutes; drain well. Discard milk.

Toss cauliflower, barley, breadcrumbs, shallot, celery hearts, celery leaves, parsley, parsley stems, lemon zest, lemon juice, and vinegar in a bowl; season salad with salt.

Mix burrata and crème fraîche in a medium bowl; season with salt. Divide burrata mixture among plates, drizzle with oil, and top with barley salad; season with pepper.

Wild Rice Salad

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I made this rice salad for Thanksgiving, the inspiration came from the Nov 2011 issue of Bon Appétit. It was super simple and tastes better the next day!

1 TBSP olive oil
3 large celery stalks, finely chopped
1 c finely chopped onion
1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
1 1/2 cups wild rice
2 c chicken broth
1 bay leaf
1 tsp salt plus more
3/4 c pecans
3/4 c dried cranberries
3/4 c dried apricots, coarsely chopped
3/4 c golden raisins
Freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 c thinly sliced small celery stalks
1/2 c celery leaves from celery heart, coarsely chopped

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add chopped celery and onion; cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and almost translucent, about 8 minutes. Stir in garlic; cook, stirring often, until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add wild rice; stir for 1 minute. Add broth, bay leaf, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1 1/2 cups water; increase heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes. Uncover, stir, and continue cooking, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until liquid is absorbed and rice is tender, 20-–40 minutes.

Discard bay leaf. Stir in dried cranberries, apricots, and raisins. Let sit, covered, for 5 minutes.

Season rice to taste with salt and pepper. Fold pecans, sliced cranberries, and sliced celery into mixture. Garnish with celery leaves.

Braised Beef Cheeks

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This dish is the dish to warm you up on a chilly fall evening. Best of all it requires little work and tastes better after two days. The meat is meltingly tender and tastes divine!

Ingredients
2 TBSP olive oil
1 lb beef cheeks, trimmed of excess fat
1 onion, finely chopped
1 carrot, finely chopped
1 celery rib, finely chopped
1/2 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder
2 c red wine (preferably dry)
1 28oz can whole tomatoes including juice, chopped
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in an ovenproof 6-quart wide heavy pot over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking. While oil is heating, pat beef cheeks dry and season with salt and pepper. Brown beef, without crowding, on all sides, about 20 minutes total, and transfer with tongs to a bowl. Pour off fat from pot, then add remaining 2 tablespoons oil and cook onion, carrot, and celery over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 10 minutes.

Preheat oven to 325°.

Stir cocoa powder into vegetable mixture, then add wine and scrape up any brown bits. Increase heat to high and boil until liquid is reduced by half, about 10 minutes.

Return cheeks (with any juices) to pot and add tomatoes with juice, salt, and pepper. Bring to a simmer, then braise, covered, in middle of oven until very tender, about 3 hours.

Beef cheeks improve in flavor if made up to 2 days ahead. Cool, uncovered, then chill, surface covered with parchment paper or wax paper and pot covered with lid. Remove any solidified fat before reheating.

Serves 4 servings
9 WW PP per serving

Chicken Curry Pita

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Dinner is always easy for me, it is lunch that I struggle with… something easy, not too heavy, and most of all tasty! Chicken curry in a pita fills all those requirements, and Bram might even like it! This chicken salad is creamy, curry, crunchy goodness.

Ingredients:
1/4 c mayo (I use lite mayo)
3 TBSP Greek yogurt (I use 2%)
3/4 c green onions, sliced thin
2 celery stalks, diced
1 1/2 c cooked chicken breast, chopped
3 tsp red curry powder
1 tsp salt
Lettuce leaves
Mango chutney (I use Trader Joes)
2 whole wheat pitas

Combine mayo, yogurt, salt & curry powder. Add onions, celery and chicken, stir till combined.

Slice pitas in half, spread with mango chutney, add lettuce & chicken salad.

Serves 2 – 4.
6 WW PP (4 servings).

Crab Salad

So my copy of Salad As A Meal by Patricia Wells finally arrived. The only reason I say finally is because I pre-ordered it on Amazon over a year ago. In case you did not know, Patricia Wells is my favorite cookbook author.

I have not really had a chance to comb through it like I normally would, funny how 2 little guys, working and running a house get in the way. When I came across this recipe I knew it would be my first. It is the perfect salad for my busy Saturday and the fact that I can pick up fresh caught crab at my farmers market makes it even better.

Ingredients:
8 oz fresh crab, cooked
Zest from 1 lime
1/4 tsp salt

Salad:
1 bell pepper, finely diced
2 celery stalks, finely diced
1/8 c parsley, chopped
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 avocado, diced

1 head of lettuce, torn into small pieces

Dressing:
1/2 c half and half
Zest from 1 lemon
1 TBSP lemon juice
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 c snipped chives

In a small jar, combine the dressing ingredients, and shake well.

Combine the crab and line zest in a bowl, toss with just enough dressing to lightly coat.

Combine bell pepper, celery, parsley and salt in a bowl and toss with just enough dressing to coat.

On two large plates, layer lettuce, bell pepper mixture, crab and top with avocado.

Serves 2, but can be easily doubled.
8 WW PP if you use all the dressing (I usually don’t) you can also use fat free half and half (takes 2 points off the recipe).