asparagus & fried eggs on toast!

This dish hardly warrants a recipe, since the title says it all.

Rachel Ray posted a recipe for “Midnight Bacon” that goes a little something like this… “Place microwave bacon in microwave. Cook according to directions on the box.” This recipe is like that. Easy. Fool-proof. The kind of dish for which you don’t need a recipe, but one for which I will give you a recipe out of a stubborn belief that you should make it properly and do it justice. Also, this dish is good and healthy and doesn’t involve microwaves, bacon, or strange upstate New York accents. Naturally, it follows, you should make this.

Just for a minute, millions of readers, consider the possible variations of vegetables and eggs on toast! [There are so many vegetables in the world that the possibilities are almost infinite! Have I blown your mind yet?]

Broccoli raab instead of asparagus, poached eggs instead of fried (poaching intimidates me, in part because of the connotation with elephant tusks), garlic toast instead of plain! The list goes on! My excitement is in earnest!

lv, molly

P.S. I haven’t started eating meat, despite what the picture suggests. That was my carnivorous boyfriend’s plate, and his looked (I hate to admit) so much more appetizing than the veggie and egg-yolk-free version!

Asparagus & Eggs on Toast

Serves 2

4 slices crusty bread
1 lb asparagus, ends trimmed
2 Tbl olive oil
4 eggs
kosher salt + pepper, to taste

Heat broiler. Place the bread and asparagus on a baking sheet. Drizzle with the oil and season with salt + pepper.

Broil until the bread is toasted, 1 to 2 minutes per side; transfer the bread to plates. Continue broiling the asparagus, tossing once, until tender, 4 to 8 minutes more.

Fry or poach the eggs.

Divide the asparagus among the toast and top with eggs.

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quinoa stuffed peppers.

These are delicious and they look complicated. In reality, they’re as easy as whipping up a simple tomato sauce, but no one else needs to know that. These peppers are a healthy, tasty addition to my weeknight dinner repertoire, and I’m excited to share the recipe with you!

lv, molly

PS- No more musings on the peppers because grading calls! Plus, all you really need is the recipe!

Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

Serves 4

4 medium, mixed bell peppers (red, green, yellow and/or orange), tops cut off, halved and seeds/ribs removed from centers
2 C water
1 C quinoa
1 tsp bouillon (I like the Better Than Bouillon brand)
1 chopped onion
1 Tbl minced garlic
Pinch of red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp oregano
1 can (14.5 ounces) crushed tomatoes
1/2 C fresh basil, cut into slivers
Optional: 2 veggie Italian sausages, crumbled (I used Field Roast)

Preheat oven to 350° F.

Place peppers in 9-inch-square or round microwave-safe baking dish. Microwave on high power for 5 minutes or just until tender. Set aside.

Combine water, quinoa, and bouillon in medium saucepan. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to low. Cover; cook for 15 to 18 minutes or until water is absorbed. Remove from heat.

Cook onion in 1 Tbl olive oil for 8-10 minutes, until onions are translucent. Add garlic and veggie sausage (optional); saute a few minutes more. Stir in cooked quinoa, tomatoes, basil, crushed red pepper, and oregano. Spoon mixture evenly into peppers (about 1 cup per pepper).

Bake for 15 minutes, until peppers are heated through.

We served the peppers with this kale salad, one of my favorites!

cauliflower mac and cheese.

Macaroni and Cheese With Cauliflower

this pic via Real Simple well-represents how this dish looks (yum!)

I don’t have pictures to show you, so you’ll have to trust me. This is good. Not in a buttery-cheesy-overly-rich way but in a wholesome-warm-cozy way. Plus, casseroles don’t really ever look particularly pretty photographed, do they? So trust me. (This degree of articulation will permeate the whole post; I’m home sick, so I’ll blame my inability to communicate well on that and the dayquil.)

Because I wanted to make a macaroni and cheese dish I’d feel good about eating, I used the typical healthify-ing strategies: lower the fat, include whole grains, and add more nutrients. With that in mind (and with some great recipes online), I created this one. Cauliflower has always struck me as broccoli’s less sexy cousin, but it’s perfectly versatile, which makes it well suited to this dish.

Do you have a favorite healthy comfort food recipe? Share the recipe, please!

lv, molly

Cauliflower Mac & Cheese

Serves 6

pinch of salt
3/4 pound whole wheat pasta (macaroni, penne, or rigatoni)
2 Tbl extra-virgin olive oil
1 large head cauliflower
1/2 yellow onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
3 Tbl flour
2 1/2 C 2% milk
Freshly ground black pepper
Freshly grated nutmeg
1 1/2 Tbl Dijon mustard
2 1/2 C reduced-fat sharp white Cheddar cheese
1/2 C shredded Parmigiano cheese
1/4 C finely chopped Italian parsley
1 handful panko breadcrumbs

Bring water to a boil for pasta. Salt the water. Follow the package directions, but undercook the pasta by about 2 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a large pot. Add onions and garlic. Saute for 5-6, until tender. Add in the flour and whisk for 1 minute. Whisk in the milk, and season with salt, pepper, nutmeg, and sage. When thickened, stir in the Dijon mustard and 2/3 of the combined cheeses.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Steam the cauliflower. When tender, remove the core, and chop into bite-size florets.

Drain the pasta; add to the cauliflower; stir in the cheese sauce and parsley; transfer to baking dish; top with remaining cheese. Sprinkle with panko. Cool completely and cover for a make-ahead meal.

Bake until brown on a baking sheet to catch the bubble-over. The casserole will take about 30 minutes to heat through and brown on top.

black bean & sweet potato enchiladas.

When I was little kid, my very sweet and very talented mom cooked us special birthday dinners. Whenever my birthday was rolling around, she’d inquire what I’d like that year, and I always thought for a minute about all the foods I loved, paused, and replied “enchiladas.” My brothers requested pasta or oreo cheesecake or pizza on their birthdays, but it was enchiladas for me. And they still render me a pretty happy lady.

Before I give you the recipe for this, I should let you in on a little secret. I didn’t find the recipe. I didn’t modify it. Nor did I cook it. But I did eat it. Mmm.

You see, that was all Christian’s doing, and it is but one of the reasons I love him. These past couple weeks have been maddeningly busy, and he made me enchiladas. I’m not sure if I could be much happier.

Also, The Kitchn posted one of my questions. Have a look! Readers submitted LOTS of quick vegetarian meal ideas!

lv, molly

Black Bean & Sweet Potato Enchiladas

3 large sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
1 Tbl olive oil
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 small chile, seeded and minced
One 15-oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
One 14.5-oz. can roasted diced tomatoes, drained
1 Tbl chili powder
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 C salsa (we used 1/2 corn salsa and 1/2 super spicy salsa)
8 large flour tortillas
1/4 C finely chopped red onion
1/2 C sharp cheddar (optional)

Preheat oven to 400F. Put the sweet potatoes on a lightly oiled baking sheet in a single layer and roast for 20 minutes, turning once, until they’re tender. Remove from oven and set aside.

Turn oven down to 350F. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and chile, and cook about 30 seconds, stirring constantly, until fragrant. Add beans, tomatoes, chili powder, and salt and pepper to taste. Add cooked sweet potatoes and simmer mixture 5 minutes. Set aside.

Spread a thin layer of salsa on the bottom of a lightly oiled 9 x 13-inch baking dish and set aside.

Place a tortilla on a flat work surface, spoon a portion of the sweet potato mixture down the center of it and roll it up. Place the filled enchilada in the baking dish with the seam side down. Repeat with remaining tortillas and sweet potato mixture. If there’s any filling left over, spoon it on top of the enchiladas, then top with remaining salsa and sprinkle with red onion and grated cheddar cheese.

Cover and bake until the enchiladas is hot and bubbly, about 20 minutes. Serve immediately. Serves 6-8.

*Variations:
Use green salsa
Add more veggies
Add cilantro
Add tomatillos
Leave off the cheese for a vegan version

chana masala- yum!

Chana masala is one of my favorite comfort foods, and I’m so excited to have tweaked a recipe to the point where it’s reached perfection.

Make it on the first day that feels like fall, and you’ll barely miss summer. lv, molly

Chana Masala

Adapted liberally from Orangette
Serves 4-6 (with leftovers! yes!)

Good-quality olive oil
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
2 medium cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp cumin seeds
½ tsp ground coriander
¼ tsp ground ginger
1 1/2 tsp garam masala
1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
1 tsp kosher salt, or to taste
2 Tbs cilantro leaves, roughly torn, plus more for garnish
A pinch of cayenne, or to taste (I like mine spicy, so I add more)
2 15-ounce cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
6-8 Tbs plain whole-milk yogurt or 4-6 Tbs cream (I prefer cream… some prefer yogurt. Whatever you fancy, readers)
Optional: a few lemon wedges. If you’re vegan and are omitting the dairy, be sure to serve with lemon.

Film the bottom of a large saucepan—preferably not nonstick—with olive oil, and place the pan over medium heat. Add the onion, and cook, stirring frequently, until it is deeply caramelized and even charred in some spots. Be patient. The more color, the more full-flavored the final dish will be. This can take 20 minutes or so.

Reduce the heat to low. Add the garlic, stirring, and add a bit more oil if the pan seems dry. Add the cumin seeds, coriander, ginger, garam masala, and fry, stirring constantly, until fragrant and toasty, about 30 seconds. Add ¼ cup water, and stir to scrape up any brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Cook until the water has evaporated away completely. Pour in the juice from can of tomatoes, followed by the tomatoes themselves. Add the salt.

Raise the heat to medium, and bring the pot to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, add the cilantro and cayenne, and simmer the sauce gently, stirring occasionally, until it reduces a bit and begins to thicken. Taste, and adjust the seasoning as necessary. Add the chickpeas, stirring well, and cook over low heat for about five minutes. Add 2 Tbs water, and cook for another five minutes. Add another 2 Tbs water, and cook until the water is absorbed, a few minutes more.

This process of adding and cooking off water helps to concentrate the sauce’s flavor and makes the chickpeas more tender and toothsome. Taste, and adjust the seasoning as necessary. I kept mine cooking for close to an hour because my guests preferred drinking wine to eating dinner, so I added a few Tbs of water every 20 minutes or so to keep the chana masala from getting too dry.

Stir in the yogurt or cream, if you like, and garnish with cilantro. Serve with rice, preferably brown because it’s healthier + tastes better, I think.

Note: the best way to clean cilantro (or any other fresh herbs) is to soak it in a bowl of cold water. All of the dirt and sand will fall to the bottom, and voila! Clean herbs!

And for the vegans… This is what your chana masala will look like– a beautiful bright red.


what i’m cooking tonight.

08.03.10

Spicy Tempeh with Green Beans. This looks like one of my favorite take-out dishes, but I suspect it’ll be a little healthier when I cook it myself.

Off to the market to pick up supplies! Recipe available here. Happy cooking! lv, molly

08.03.10