Farro with Cherries and Walnuts

On August 29, 2016, in Recipes, by Chris Baccus
0

IMG_6436

 

Earlier this year I had the opportunity to participate in the filming of a TV show.  While that was fun and I’m still awaiting to see when it will air, the other positive was meeting some fellow food writers such as Rachel from Little Chef Big Appetite.

I have been following her blog posts for a couple months now and she has some great recipes that you should definitely checkout. I can tell we have some similar food tastes with plenty of fresh vegetables and fruit in what she makes too.  I was particularly interested in a recent Instagram post of her’s showing a farro and cherry recipe.

Our family just finished spending sometime on vacation in Northern Michigan where Traverse City is, the Cherry Capital, and we had plenty of great tasting cherries the couple weeks we were there. I was lucky enough when we returned to LA to find some cherries at Bristol Farms from Hood River, Oregon.  They weren’t as great as Michigan cherries, but they were pretty close.

IMG_6434

You might still find some fresh cherries at the market, but hurry fast as the season is at its end.

RECIPE: [Farro Salad with Cherries and Walnuts]

Tagged with:
 

Jamie Oliver’s Vegetable Bolognese

On June 30, 2016, in Recipes, by Chris Baccus
0

IMG_5238

This has become one of my favorite vegetarian dishes, vegan if you skip the shredded parmesan cheese. There is so much flavor from this rather simple recipe. It only takes about 40 minutes to prepare from start to table. The porcini mushrooms, red wine, fresh herbs and breadcrumbs add so much enjoyment to each bite.

IMG_5219

I discovered this recipe months after I did my review of six meal delivery services. I hadn’t yet tried Hello Fresh, but when I heard that one of my favorite TV chefs, Jamie Oliver, was doing recipes for them I knew it was time to give them a try.

IMG_5222

They offer a vegetarian box option that our family has ordered a few times now. This vegetable bolognese has been the star of everything we have tried. That’s not to say that other recipe have been bad; rather, we’ve had some great success with Hello Fresh.  This has been nice as it has given us another option with meal delivery when wanting to eat less meat.  So now we use Hello Fresh and The Purple Carrot too.

IMG_5226

I hope you get a chance to try some more vegetarian or vegan in your home. We continue to eat more and more this way and recently did 30-days straight. Coming out of the 30-days my wife and I agreed to reduce meat to only 2-3 meals a week. That could be bacon for breakfast one day, maybe a burger another day, and then no more or some tacos for lunch.

IMG_5233

Skip the meat and add some lentils with this excellent dish.

Full Recipe at HelloFresh.com

Tagged with:
 

Quinoa Stuffed Acorn Squash

On June 6, 2016, in Recipes, by Chris Baccus
0

IMG_4996

I tend to think of squash in October when front porches are getting filled with pumpkins and gourds and comfort food permeates the desire to stay warm as the weather cools down from the summer heat. While that may be the case through the years, I’m starting to change the behavior each time I enjoy squash outside of the Fall season.  Why relegate this flavorful food to only one season?  Just because it is most associated with comfort food. Isn’t comfort food something relevant all year?

In my challenge to this behavior, I was presented some beautiful acorn squash at the Studio City Farmers’ Market.  I picked one from the box of freshly picked squash and paid my $2.

IMG_5006

Roasting squash gives it such a beautiful color and really makes the ‘meat’ inside come to life. For this recipe, I simply brushed some olive oil and cracked some pepper and salt over each half after cleaning out the seeds.  You can follow what I did here with quinoa stuffing or you can mix it up. Feel free to use couscous or farro instead of quinoa.  Also any diced dried fruit works too.  Cranberries, apricots, go ahead and experiment for your own creation.  Or you can just do what I did if you want to guarantee success.

Quinoa Stuffed Acorn Squash
Serves 2

1 acorn squash, halved and seeds removed
1 cup cooked quinoa
3 tablespoons dried cherries, diced
1 celery stalk, think sliced
2 teaspoons chopped fresh mint
2 tablespoons plain Greek yogurt
salt & pepper to taste
olive oil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Place acorn squash halves on foil and drizzle olive oil and salt and pepper the inside of the squash. Face the inside up on the baking sheet.  Cook for 20 minutes.  Turn the squash over and cook for 10 minutes longer then remove and keep warm.

IMG_4986

Cook your quinoa according the package directions. You’ll need only a 1/2 cup of dried quinoa.  Once cooked set aside and keep warm.

When squash is ready, add the quinoa, celery and cherries a saute pan with a tablespoons of olive oil on medium heat. Let it cook for a few minutes.  Spoon the mixture into the roast squash.  Add a tablespoon of Greek yogurt and 1 teaspoon of chopped mint on top of each squash. (Note: in my photo above I forgot to add the mint. Mint is optional, but preferred.)

IMG_5014

Tagged with:
 

One-Pot Creamy Spinach and Lentils

On October 20, 2015, in Recipes, by Chris Baccus
0

IMG_4028

Lentils are a personal favorite in my vegan and vegetarian cooking. I tend to save a lot of recipes that use them on my Pinterest Mostly Vegetarian board (you can follow me on Pinterest here.) A recent save is this lentil and spinach dish I made last week. It’s pretty easy to prepare and can be done after work, since it only takes about 30 minutes or less to prepare.

IMG_4020

I’d recommend serving it with some bread or a simple salad. It comes out more soup like depending on how much you cook down the liquid. I kept quite a bit of the liquid.

IMG_4023

The end result is fantastic and made for a very flavorful dish we are sure to have many more times to come.

Full Recipe: [One-Pot Creamy Spinach and Lentils]

Tagged with:
 

Simple and Lighter Chicken with Biscuits (really)

On September 14, 2015, in Recipes, by Chris Baccus
1

chickenbiscuits

I love it when I get an email in the middle of my work day saying, “Can you make this?” Stephanie occasionally will find a recipe she would like to try and knows I love a challenge. This recipe wasn’t much of a challenge, though. In fact, it ended up being a pleasantly simple recipe that only took 20 minutes to make.

I used frozen biscuits from Trader Joe’s to accompany the chicken dish; instead, of doing homemade biscuits. Note: you can find the full recipe with homemade biscuits here at Martha Stewart’s website.

Lighter Chicken and Biscuits
Serves 4

2 teaspoons vegetable oil, such as safflower
1 cup low-fat (1 percent) milk
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
5 carrots, thinly sliced
5 celery stalks, thinly sliced
1 box (10 ounces) frozen pearl onions, thawed
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces

Prepare frozen biscuits according to package instructions or have fresh biscuits ready.

In a 5-quart Dutch oven or large heavy pot, heat 2 teaspoons oil over medium-high. Add carrots, celery, and onions; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until vegetables are tender, 7 to 10 minutes.

Sprinkle vegetables with 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour; stir in the milk, water, and thyme. Simmer until liquid is thickened, stirring occasionally, 2 to 3 minutes. Add chicken; simmer until cooked through, 3 to 5 minutes. Serve chicken stew with biscuits.

Tagged with:
 

Lentil and Feta Spinach Salad

On December 27, 2013, in Recipes, by Chris Baccus
0



lentilbowl

 

There are a few go to dishes I have when making a quick lunch or needing something for a picnic or potluck.  This dish is one of those go to options. It only take about 30 minutes to prepare and most important it tastes great.  The dijon vinaigrette adds a lot of flavor that adheres well to the lentils and cheese.

It’s also a great alternative to a pasta dish for weekday night dinners. Serve it with a side salad and some fresh bread to make a more complete meal.

You can substitute the feta with goat cheese or substitute the spinach with kale.  There are a lot of options here to fit what you may have available in your garden or fridge.

Lentil and Feta Kale Salad
Serves 4

1 cups lentils, dry
4 cups water

1 bunch spinach, rough chop
2 celery stalks, 1/4 inch cut
2 carrots, 1/4 inch cut
1 bell pepper, 1/4 inch cubed cuts
1/2 red onion, diced
4 oz. feta cheese, crumbled
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon dijon vinegar
coarse ground black pepper

Cook lentils in a pot with 8 cups of water, or follow your package directions.  Heat to a boil and then simmer covered for 20 minutes.  You want them firm, not mushy. Drain and set aside.

Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to saute pan on medium-high heat. Add onions and cook for 3 minutes then add the carrots, bell pepper. and celery. Cook for an additional 3 minutes and add chopped spinach cooking down the kale for about 2-4 minutes.

20131222_123744

In a small bowl, mix the balsamic vinegar and dijon mustard. Combine slowly the olive oil continuing to stir to keep the dressing thick. Add more olive oil if necessary.

Finally, in a large bowl combine the lentils and vegetable saute mixture.  Pour over the dressing and add half of the crumbled feta cheese.  Mix.  Finally, add the remaining feta to the top of the dish and serve.

 

Tagged with:
 

German Lentil Soup

On January 14, 2013, in Recipes, by Chris Baccus
2

 

I lived in Portland, Oregon for 12 years growing up and one of my favorite places was The Rheinlander.  Our family would often do their Sunday Brunch, which is still the best brunch I’ve ever had. The restaurant also has an amazing cheese fondue that was reason number one to go there.  With so many great things, it was easy to overlook one of their best dishes – Lentil Soup.

Fortunately, chef Horst Mager published a cookbook years ago and I was sure to buy one last time I was in town.

Someone posted the recipe for the Lentil Soup on AllRecipes.com.  I highly recommend cooking this one and put up against your favorite lentil soup. If you have found better, please share. Otherwise, enjoy this wonderful German version then make some Wiener Schnitzel and Cheese Fondue.

Full Recipe: Rheinlander Lentil Soup.

Tagged with:
 

Pappardelle in Red Wine Beef Ragu

On August 20, 2012, in Featured, Recipes, by Chris Baccus
1

Sunday night is always a special evening when it comes to cooking.  Not only is it the last evening before the work week where I can spend more time preparing and cooking a meal.  It is also a time to enjoy some twitter chat with fellow foodies on #SundaySupper chat. Tonight they were doing recipes made or paired with wines.  I had been planning on making a Korean beef dish with rice, but switched after seeing a Pappardelle dish my friend Chuck Hemann posted to his Facebook page yesterday and after noticing it was a wine theme on #SundaySupper.

Today’s Studio City Farmers’ Market had the pasta vendor there selling some freshly made Pappardelle noodles. There were also some amazingly beautiful organic local carrots too. In case you haven’t seen what a real carrot looks like; instead of all the perfectly colored and shaped carrots at the typical grocery store, here you go.

I modified a couple Pappardelle ragu recipes.  Most called for a combo or some version with beef, pork, veal and even ground boar.  I would’ve loved making something with all four, but I only had some grass-fed ground beef.  I also went with a California Red Wine blend that added a nice rich flavor to the ragu.

Pappardelle in Red Wine Beef Ragu
Serves 4

1 lb Pappardelle noodles
1 lb ground beef
2 cups red wine
1 cup vegetable broth
28 oz can of whole peeled San Marzano tomatoes
1/4 cup olive oil
1 carrot, diced small
1 medium onion, diced small
1 celery stalk, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, thinly slided
4 Sage leaves, finely chopped
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
Salt & Pepper to taste

In a large stockpot add the olive oil and heat on medium-high until hot then add the ground beef.  Add the dried oregano, basil and some salt and pepper to taste mixing it into the ground beef in the pan.  Cook for about 5-7 minutes stirring often to evenly cook and get some browning of the meat. Set cooked beef aside in a separate dish.

Do not clean the stockpot and return to the heat adding the onion, carrot, celery, garlic and chopped sage. Cook on medium-high heat for a minute then cover and cook on low heat for another 7 minutes.  After vegetables have cooked return ground beef to pot.

Crush the canned tomatoes in a bowl with your hands.  Pour tomatoes into pot with vegetables. Add the red wine and vegetable stock. Heat the pot to a boil and then cover reducing heat to a simmer cooking for 1 1/2 hours.

In the final 20 minutes of cooking the ragu, start the water for your noodles.  When ready, add the Pappardelle noodles to the boiling water and cook accordingly. About 5 minutes for fresh and follow the directions on the package for dried noodles.

Serve with large shavings of Parmesan Reggiano cheese.

Tagged with:
 

Sausage, Chickpea Smoked Paprika Soup

On January 23, 2012, in Recipes, by Chris Baccus
0

I confess. I’ve been on a bit of a meat kick lately.  Take for instance last night when I had a perfectly good sounding vegan soup I planned to make.  Looking at the recipe on the Farmersgirl Kitchen blog, the recipe screamed for some italian crumbled sausage.

If you wish to make this recipe as a vegan meal, please visit the Chickpea Smoked Paprika Soup recipe here.

For the more carnivores minded, here is that recipe done with some sausage.  The flavors from the original recipe really compliment the sausage nicely and I developed a few modifications to help the recipe if using meat.

For the paprikas, try an Indian market.  If you do not have the two mentioned below, 1 1/2 teaspoon of store bought paprika is fine.

Sausage, Chickpea Smoked Paprika Soup
Serves 6

1/2 lb crumbled Italian sausage
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 red onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, diced
2 celery stalks, washed and chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 sprigs fresh rosemary, chopped
2 15 oz cans of chickpeas
1/2 teaspoon sweet smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon hot smoked paprika
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon tomato puree
14 oz cherry tomatoes, cut in half
6 cups of vegetable stock
salt and pepper to taste

Heat the oil in a dutch oven on medium-high heat. Form small bite-size chunks of sausage and place in the pan, careful not to crowd the pan.  Cook the sausage for about 5-8 minutes until they start to brown and turn over to brown each piece careful not to overcook.  Remove the sausage and set aside on a plate.

Add the onion, garlic, celery, carrot and rosemary. Saute for a few minutes to soften then add the chickpeas, paprikas, tomato puree and cherry tomatoes. Cook for a good 3 minutes to let flavors combine. Add vegetable stock and bay leaves. Bring everything to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer and cook uncovered for 10 minutes.

Remove the soup from the dutch oven and place, in batches, into a blender. Leave some of the soup including some chickpeas and tomatoes in the dutch oven.  With the rest pulse two times for a rough blend and then return all of it to the pan. The trick here is to add some thickness, but keep some of the chickpeas and tomatoes together so everything is not blended into a puree.

Now add the sausage and heat to boil then reduce to a simmer for 5 minutes.

Remove the bay leaves and salt and pepper to taste. Serve.

 

Tagged with:
 

Vegetable Potpie

On January 16, 2012, in Recipes, by Chris Baccus
2

I now have to favorite must go places while in New York City. The first is Mario Batali’s Babbos. The second must stop is Candle Cafe, a vegan restaurant that is well-known in vegan and vegetarian circles.

My wife asked me what I wanted for Christmas and one of the top cookbooks was The Candle Cafe Cookbook (I already own Babbos’ cookbook.)

Tonight I made my first recipe, but made some modifications that took it from vegan to vegetarian, plus had to change out some vegetables. I also took a short cut that I’m sure led to a lesser potpie and went with a store bought Immaculate Baking Company pie crust.

I highly recommend you  buy The Candle Cafe Cookbook as it includes how to make this vegan and also includes a recipe for herbed pie crust that I’ll have to try when I have more time.

Vegetable Potpie

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 sweet potato, peeled and diced
1 medium red potato, peeled and diced
2 small celery stalks, finely diced
2 carrots, finely diced
1/4 cup frozen sweet peas
1/4 cup frozen corn
1/2 cup white wine
1 cup whole milk
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon dried tarragon
1 tablespoon parsley, chopped
1 bay leaf
1 rosemary sprig (or 1 tsp dried)
1 thyme sprig (or 1 tsp dried)
Salt and pepper to taste

Pie Crust, store bought or your favorite homemade recipe

Preheat oven at 325 degrees.  Lightly butter a pie plate.

Prepare the pie filling by heating the olive oil at medium heat and adding all of the vegetables and garlic. Cook for 5 minutes to soften, stirring often so vegetables do not stick to pan.  Add the wine, milk, butter, spices, salt and pepper and reduce heat to medium-low heat.  In a separate small cup put in 2 tablespoons of flour with just a little water and stir so there are no clumps of flour. Add flour water mixture to pan.  Let the filling cook for 20 minutes. Remove bay leaf when done.

Roll out pie crust and put into pie plate. Add the filling and cover with sheet of pie crust making sure to add a few slits to top.

Heat pie in oven for 30-40 minutes until top is golden brown.


 

Tagged with: