Living the WELL Life


Look Who's Coming to Dinner - by Christina Pirello

Monday, January 17, 2011

This meal is a tasty one indeed and it's a perfect menu for a grown-ups night with good friends and sparkling dinner conversation.  What are you waiting for?  Get your party started!  You'll be the talk of the town! 

Menu
Leek, Parsnip and Ginger Soup
Seitan with Broccoli Rabe
Stuffed Roasted Red Bell Peppers
Spicy Rice with Baby Lentils and Candied Onions
Chocolate Chunk, Orange, and Hazelnut Cookies

Leek, Parsnip and Ginger Soup

Soup:
About 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 to 3 cloves fresh garlic, minced
1 small leek, halved lengthwise, rinsed well, diced
Sea salt
4 to 5 parsnips, diced
3 to 4 cups almond milk
1-inch piece fresh ginger, grated, juice extracted

Candied Orange Peel:
2 oranges
3 tablespoons brown rice syrup
Sea salt

To make the soup: Place the oil, garlic and leek in a small soup pot over medium-high heat.  When the vegetables begin to sizzle, add a pinch of salt and sauté for 1 to 2 minutes.  Stir in the parsnips and a pinch of salt and sauté for 1 to 2 minutes.  Add the almond milk, cover and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat to low and cook the soup until the parsnips are quite soft, about 25 minutes.  Stir in the ginger juice, season to taste with salt and simmer for 7-10 minutes.

Transfer the soup, by ladel, to a food mill and purée until smooth.  Return the soup to the pot and simmer over very low heat.  While the soup simmers, prepare the peel: remove the zest of the oranges, using a zester to create long ribbons.  Place the zest, rice syrup and pinch of salt in a saucepan.  Place over high heat, and cook, stirring, until the syrup foams.  Remove from the heat.  Serve the soup, garnished with orange peel.  Makes 3-4 servings of soup and 4 tablespoons of candied orange peel.

Seitan with Broccoli Rabe

extra virgin olive oil
2-3 cloves fresh garlic, finely minced
1 red onion, thin half-moon slices
generous pinch red pepper flakes
sea salt
1 red bell pepper, roasted over an open flame, peeled, seeded, sliced into thin ribbons
1 pound seitan, sliced into thin strips
mirin or white wine
grated zest of 1 lemon
1 large bunch broccoli rabe, rinsed well

Place a small amount of oil, the garlic and red onion in a deep skillet and turn the heat to medium. When the vegetables begin to sizzle, add red pepper flakes and salt and sauté for 2-3 minutes. Stir in red pepper, a pinch of salt and sauté 1 minute more. Stir in seitan strips and add mirin and lemon zest. Cover and reduce heat to low, simmering until the vegetables and seitan are tender, about 10 minutes. Season to taste with salt.

Just before adding it to the skillet, slice the broccoli rabe into bite-sized pieces. Lay the greens on top of the ingredients in the skillet, cover and cook until the greens are bright green and just wilted for 3-4 minutes. Toss gently to combine and transfer to a serving platter. Serve immediately.  Makes 4-6 servings

Stuffed Roasted Red Bell Peppers

stuffing:
extra virgin olive oil
2-3 cloves fresh garlic, finely minced
1/2 red onion, finely diced
sea salt
generous pinch red pepper flakes
1 carrot, finely diced
2-3 stalks celery, finely diced
1 cup fresh/frozen corn kernels
2-3 teaspoons mirin or white wine
1-2 cups cooked short grain brown rice

peppers:
4 red bell peppers
extra virgin olive oil

Prepare the stuffing by placing a small amount of oil, the garlic and onion in a small skillet and turn the heat to medium. When the vegetables begin to sizzle, add a pinch of salt, the red pepper flakes and sauté for 1-2 minutes. Add carrot and celery, a pinch of salt and sauté for 1-2 minutes more. Stir in corn, season lightly with salt and add mirin. Cover and cook over low heat for 3-4 minutes. Stir in cooked rice until ingredients are well combined. Transfer to a mixing bowl to cool.

Lightly oil each pepper and place each over an open flame on the stove. Turn each pepper, charring the skins completely. When the peppers are blackened, transfer them to a paper sack and seal shut to steam the skins from the peppers. After 10 minutes, carefully remove the peppers and, with your fingers, gently remove the charred skin, taking care to keep the peppers intact. Once all the charred skin is removed, carefully pull the seeds out of the tops of the peppers, keeping the peppers intact. Clean any remaining seeds from the peppers.

Carefully spoon filling into each pepper, filling abundantly, but taking care not to split them open. Place stuffed peppers on a baking sheet and place in a 300 degrees oven to warm through, about 10 minutes. Serve drizzled with a fruity olive oil. Makes 4 main course servings or, split in half, 8 starter courses.

Spicy Rice with Baby Lentils and Candied Onions

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2-3 sweet onions, thin half-moon slices
soy sauce
1-inch piece kombu
1/2 cup dried luPuy or black lentils, rinsed well
2 3/4 cups spring or filtered water
1 bay leaf
2 whole allspice
1 cinnamon stick
1 cup brown basmati rice, rinsed well
pinch sea salt
small handful fresh parsley, minced, for garnish

Heat oil in a skillet and sauté onions, with a splash of soy sauce, until quite limp and lightly browned, 15-20 minutes, stirring frequently. While onions cook, place kombu on the bottom of a heavy pot. Top with lentils and add 1 1⁄2 cups water. Bring to a boil, uncovered. Cover and reduce heat to low and cook until lentils are tender, about 45 minutes. Season to taste with soy sauce and simmer 5-7 minutes more, allowing any remaining liquid to be absorbed into the beans.

To cook the rice, bring 1 1/4 cups water to a boil in a pressure cooker, with bay leaf, allspice and cinnamon stick. Add rice, salt, seal lid and bring to full pressure. Reduce heat to low, place pot over a flame deflector and cook for 25 minutes. Turn off heat and allow pot to stand, undisturbed, for another 25 minutes. Remove bay leaf, allspice and cinnamon from the rice and transfer to a serving bowl.  To serve, combine lentils with candied onions. Mound rice in the center of a serving platter and surround with lentils. Serve garnished with parsley.  Makes 4-6 servings.

Chocolate Chunk, Orange, and Hazelnut Cookies

1 ¼ cups whole wheat pastry flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
Pinch sea salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup avocado or light olive oil
½ cup brown rice syrup
2 tablespoons grated orange zest
½ to 2/3 cup almond milk
1 cup nondairy, grain-sweetened chocolate chips
1 ½ cups hazelnuts, lightly toasted, skins removed and coarsely chopped**

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.  Whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt in a mixing bowl.  Stir in the vanilla, oil, rice syrup and orange zest.  Slowly add the almond milk, stirring to create a soft spoonable dough.  Fold in the chocolate chips and hazelnuts.  Drop the dough by heaping tablespoons onto lined baking sheets, spacing 2 inches apart. 

Press the dough to flatten slightly.  Bake for 13 to 15 minutes, until just firm to the touch and beginning to brown.  Do not overcook or the cookies will harden as they cool.  Transfer the cookies to a wire cooling rack to cool completely.  Makes 20-24 cookies.

**To roast hazelnuts, place the nuts on a baking sheet, taking care to make only one layer.  Roast for about 10 minutes until fragrant.  Remove from the oven and transfer the hazelnuts to a paper sack.  Seal and allow to steam in the sack for 15 minutes.  Transfer the hazelnuts to a towel and rub gently to remove the skins.

 



Bookmark and Share


Meet Our Bloggers


            
          
          
          
          
          






RSS