Eating Green for Life Blog


Thai Cucumber Salad
August 19, 2010, 7:36 pm
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Thai Cucumber Salad

This is one of the only redeeming items in my recent attempt to make a Thai dinner. This can appease even the spiciest food lovers (use 3 Thai Chilis) or those who want a less spicy dish (use red pepper flakes). The combination of cucumbers and vinegar actually helps keep you cool during one of the more recent 90 to 100-degree days. This salad has some major flavor, great for BBQ’s or just as a simple snack.

Ingredient Note: English cucumbers are longer than most cucumbers. They don’t have the waxy outside an they also don’t have many seeds. They are perfect for salad use because you don’t have to peel them or remove the seeds. You can use 3 normal cucumbers if you can’t find English cucumbers. Just make sure to peel them and remove the seeds by spooning out the insides.

Time: 30 minutes
Cost: $6
Servings: 8 or more

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
  • 2 English cucumbers, thinly sliced
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh mint, coarsely chopped
  • 2 Thai chilis, minced (or 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes)

Directions

SAUCE:

Put water and sugar into a pot. Bring to a boil, constantly stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Once the sauce has reached a rolling boil, continue the boiling for 1 minute. Then turn off the heat, add the vinegar and salt, and put aside to cool down.

SALAD:

Mix together the English cucumbers and onions. Top with the sauce. Mix well. Add the cilantro, mint, and pepper. Stir to combine.

Enjoy!

**This will stay well for at least a day in the fridge. We have always eaten it before we got a chance to see if it lasted longer.

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The Salad that is Too Delicious to Only Take Ten Minutes To Make
August 11, 2010, 9:26 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Summer Salad

  • Summer Salad!
  • Sometimes you don’t want to cook.
  • Sometimes you really just want to eat something delicious and not slave over a hot stove… especially when there are “Extreme Heat Warnings.”
  • I have felt that way for the majority of the summer, hence this recipe.
    This is It is not a heavy meal but put it on pita and you have great sandwiches or use it as a side salad.
  • I’m obsessed.

Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 4
Cost: $6

Ingredients

  • 1 pint of cherry or grape tomatoes, quartered
  • 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 ear of corn, cut off all the corn
  • 1/2 lb tiny mozzarella balls
  • 1 cup of coarsely chopped basil
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  • Mix all of the vegetables together.
  • Add the basil
  • Drizzle olive oil and red wine vinegar over the top. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  • mmmmmm…. delicious!


Mushroom Ragu over Roasted Pepper Polenta
August 6, 2010, 12:28 pm
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Mushroom Ragu on Polenta

I made this recipe two days after a seriously failed attempt at Thai peas and noodles with peanut sauce. Thank goodness I did because it raised my cooking confidence.The mushrooms are so savory, cooked down with fresh herbs and tomatoes. Put it on top of freshly prepared polenta, crispy on the outside and smooth on the inside, and you have a wonderful dish.

The polenta takes a while to cook if you make it fresh. You have to stir it for 25 to 30 minutes constantly. However, the result is this wonderfully smooth polenta. This recipe does make more polenta than you need to use, so top it with some tomato sauce and enjoy the second half the next day. If you don’t have or want to take the time to make polenta, you can buy pre-made polenta. Take note that it will be a little denser and not quite as tasty.

You can make the polenta a day before or the morning of. Once you are done with that, the ragu takes about 20 minutes to prepare.

I mince the crimini mushroom stems after slicing off the end. Most people just throw the stems away but they add a huge amount of flavor to the ragu.

Delicious!

Time: Polenta: 30 minutes + chilling time, Ragu: 20 minutes
Servings: 2 to 3
Cost: $15

Ingredients

Polenta

  • 5.5 cups of water
  • 1.5 cups of polenta
  • 3 roasted red peppers, chopped (I buy them in a jar)
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Ragu

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pound of  crimini mushrooms and shitake mushrooms, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons parsley, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons thyme, chopped
  • 1 quart grape tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/3 cup vegetable broth

Directions (Polenta)

  1. Bring water to a boil.
  2. Add salt and peppers.
  3. Whisk in polenta and continue to whisk or stir for 25 to 30 minutes until polenta forms a very thick mixture.
  4. Once you have taken it off the heat, immediately pour into an 8 x 8 inch glass pan.
  5. Let cool, then cover and put in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour or until ready to eat.
  6. While the mushrooms are cooking, slice the polenta into 4 pieces. Heat a pan with a little olive oil and cook the polenta on both sides until slightly browned (about 4 to 5 minutes on each side). Remove from heat and put on plates.

    Crisping the Polenta

Directions (Ragu)

  1. Heat oil over medium. Add garlic and saute for 2 minutes until golden and fragment.
  2. Add mushrooms, thyme, and parsley to the pan. Add salt and pepper to taste. Saute for 4 to 5 minutes until mushrooms have browned and cooked through.

    Mushrooms

  3. Add tomatoes and vegetable broth. Cook for 8 minutes until liquid has evaporated.

    Finishing the Mushroom Ragu

  4. Top the cooked polenta with the ragu and enjoy!


Caponata
July 29, 2010, 12:42 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Caponata on Polenta

So Delicious on crusty bread, mixed into pasta, or (in my case) on polenta. This takes a bit of time to prepare but makes a lot of caponata that will keep well for up to a week, only getting better with time as the flavors meld together. I prefer it to the store bought variety that always tastes a bit artificial to me.

  • 2 lb small Italian eggplants, peeled and cubed (1-inch cubes)
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt or 2 teaspoons fine sea salt
  • 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion (1 medium)
  • 4 medium celery ribs, cut crosswise into very thin
  • 1/3 cup large green Sicilian olives (1 3/4 oz), pitted and coarsely chopped
  • 1 3/4 oz Italian capers packed in salt (1/3 cup), rinsed well
  • 2 tablespoons sugar, or to taste
  • 1/3 cup white-wine vinegar
  • 1 (14- to 15-oz) can diced tomatoes, in juice

Put the eggplant pieces in a bowl and sprinkle with salt. Then put a paper towel on a baking sheet, put the eggplant over the paper towel and put another paper towel on top. Rest a pot or pan with weight in it (I used a pan with flour in it) on top of the eggplant.

Eggplant Prep Work

Leave rested until the sauce is simmering.

Heat 1/4 cup oil in a h heavy skillet over medium high heat until hot but not smoking, then cook onion, stirring, until pale golden, 6 to 8 minutes. Add celery and cook, stirring, until onion and celery are deep golden brown, about 15 minutes. Add olives, capers, and 2 tablespoons sugar and cook, stirring, 2 minutes, then stir in vinegar and tomatoes.

Reduce heat and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, 20 minutes. If sauce is very acidic, add 1 to 2 teaspoons sugar (to taste). Transfer to a bowl and keep warm, covered.

Rinse eggplant in a colander under running water, then squeeze dry in small handfuls.

Heat remaining cup oil in cleaned skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then fry eggplant in 2 batches, stirring often, until tender and browned. Transfer as cooked to paper towels to drain, then transfer to a large shallow serving dish in an even layer. Spoon sauce on top, spreading evenly, and let stand, covered with plastic wrap , at room temperature, at least 8 hours (for flavors to develop). Stir before serving.

If refrigerating, bring caponata to room temperature before serving.



Saturday-Morning Egg Salad
July 18, 2010, 7:08 pm
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Saturday Brunch Egg Salad!

Aman made this for brunch one morning. It was delicious and really filled me up. I love using tarragon in the summer (which is the only time you can really find it) because it gives the egg salad a fresh, almost minty flavor that just cools you down. Definitely use the salt generously. The salad tastes best on the first day but we ate it a day later and it was still delicious. We put it on top of crusty rye bread- perfect! Makes a good 6 servings but you can halve the recipe.

Time: 30 minutes
Cost: $6
Servings: 6 large servings

Ingredients

  • 8 large eggs
  • 7 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped shallot
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh tarragon, or to taste
  • 2 teaspoons white-wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, or to taste
Directions

Cover eggs with cold water by 1 inch in a 2-quart heavy saucepan and bring to a rolling boil, partially covered. Reduce heat to low and cook eggs, covered completely, 30 seconds. Remove pan from heat and let eggs stand in hot water, covered, 15 minutes. Transfer eggs to a bowl of ice and cold water and let stand 5 minutes (to cool). Peel eggs and finely chop.

Stir together eggs and remaining salad ingredients in a bowl with a fork.

Serve on toasted bread or in pita for a sandwich.

Lunchtime



Chilled Thai Squash Soup
July 12, 2010, 5:37 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Chilled Thai Squash Soup

I made this during the summer when yellow squash is full of flavor and easy to find. I ended up adding rice to the soup just before serving it and it was perfect. It tastes just like curry- you could probably add some whole veggies like peas or some sauteed squash and it would be even better.

Time: 30 minutes plus 3 hours chilling time
Cost: $8
Servings: 4

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 cups chopped onions
  • 2 large garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon Thai red curry paste
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1 lb yellow squash, cut in to 1 inch pieces
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cup light coconut milk
  • plain yogurt (topping)
  • chopped fresh cilantro leaves (topping)

    Yellow Summer Squash

Directions:

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onions and saute until soft and golden. Add garlic and stir for one minutes. Add curry paste and curry powder and stir for 20 seconds. Add squash and stir for 1 minutes.

Sauteeing the squash and spices

Stir in broth and coconut milk and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and boil gently until squash is soft, 10 to 12 minutes.

Prior to Blending

Using an immersion blender, puree until smooth. Add salt and pepper.

Transfer to soup bowls and chill until cold, 2 to 3 hours.

Spoon yogurt into center of bowl and sprinkle with chopped cilantro. Serve.

**Add rice to soup after soup has chilled and before topping with yogurt and cilantro.



My Mom’s Pasta Salad- The Best!
July 7, 2010, 11:45 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

MMMMM... delicious

This is a salad I have grown up with. If you have ever been over for one of our family BBQ’s (yes, there will be some this fall) then you have probably tasted this delicious antipasto salad.

It is perfect for the summer because it keeps well for up to 5 days, you only have to cook the noodles and broccoli (and you can do that at night). My favorite veggies to keep in the salad are the artichoke hearts, broccoli, and tomatoes. Other than that you can add others (peppers, olives, hearts of palm all work well).

I write the recipe as my mom makes it, aka with pepperoni, but that is optional. If you don’t eat meat it doesn’t take anything away from the salad if you don’t use it.

Enjoy!

Time: 20 minutes active time, 3 hours of fridge time
Cost: $10
Servings: 12 as a side, 6 as a meal

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup olive oil
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 6 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons dry basil leaves or 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper, dried and crushed
  • 16 ounces rotini (tri-color) cooked and drained
  • ½ cup parmesan cheese, grated
  • 4 cups broccoli flowerets, cooked tender crisp
  • 8 ounces pepperoni, halved lengthwise, thinly sliced
  • 20 cherry tomatoes, quartered (can use 5 roma tomatoes, chopped)
  • 1  cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 1- 15 oz. can artichoke hearts, chopped

Directions:

In large bowl, stir together oil, vinegar, garlic, basil, salt and crushed red pepper.

Add warm macaroni and parmesan cheese.

Toss to coat well.  Cover and refrigerate 2-3 hours

Add broccoli, pepperoni, tomatoes and artichoke hearts.  Toss until well m

ixed.  Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese.

Mixing the Dressing