Monday, July 29, 2013

Sugar Snap Peas and Rice

Here's something you can throw together in a jiffy if you have a little leftover rice and don't know what to do with it. If you have sugar snap peas it is a major plus, as they are delicious and only in season for a short time, but the good news is that you can make this with any vegetables you have around - peas, zucchini, broccoli, mushrooms - the possibilities are endless.  And if you had nothing but onions lying around, why then that would work just as well.

This fits quite well into my "What's in Your Pantry?" project.  I needed something fast and I had very little in the house so I had to go with what was available.  The only thing I used that I don't usually have on hand were the peas and the leftover rice.  And when I started thinking about what I could do with them, this came to my mind.  I had about a cup of leftover rice, so it made for two generous side servings.

Here's how I did it:
Heat 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil over medium-high heat in a medium size skillet.  Add 1/4 of a medium onion, sliced, and season with the salt and freshly ground black pepper.  Cook, stirring frequently, until the onions are just translucent but still firm.  Add the sugar snap peas (or other vegetables) and cook for another two minutes, just long enough for them to soften the tiniest bit.  Add about1/4 cup of white wine (or broth, or water) and cook for another two minutes, stirring often.  Add the leftover cooked rice and cook for another three to five minutes, until the rice is heated through.  Remove from the heat and serve immediately.

This came together so quickly and was so delicious that between it and vegetable fried rice I do believe I will have to start keeping some cooked rice on hand just for these two purposes alone.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Whole Wheat Orzo with Beet Greens

Here is what I did with the greens from the beets I got at the Green City Market last week. One of the things I love most about getting fresh produce at the market is that everything comes with the greens still attached and I have come to appreciate the subtle differences between them. Swiss chard, kale, and mustard greens are all lovely in their own right, but there is something so satisfying about bringing home a bunch of radishes, beets or turnips and knowing that they will yield me two delicious meals. And they each have their own, specific taste.

I used to mainly put them into frittatas or throw them into soup, but lately I have been looking for ways to let them shine a little more than that. So the other night when I needed a quick supper I decided to add to them to pasta.

It was a great decision. The earthiness of the greens was a lovely counterpoint to the whole wheat pasta, and the onion, while cooked to sweetness, was still substantial enough to add a satisfying crispness to the dish. The cheese brought everything together. And it was just as delicious at room temperature the next day for a work lunch.  And it didn't take much longer to make than it took to cook the orzo.

You can use any greens to make this, or any short pasta for that matter although I think the orzo is the perfect size and shape.  What I love about using beet greens is that that beautiful deep red color bleeds over into the other ingredients and gives everything a beautiful pink tone.  Since much of what I am making these days seems to end up white and boring, having a natural source of food coloring certainly helps.  You would get the same effect using red Swiss chard if you can't find a bunch of beets with the fresh greens attached.

I only had a small batch of greens, so I only used a half a cup of pasta, which made 2 servings. It would be a simple matter to double everything up to serve 4.

Home Cookin Chapter: My Recipes

Serves 2

1/2 cup whole wheat orzo
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
1 batch of beet or other greens, leaves and stems separated and
1/2 medium onion, thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup white wine
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese, plus some for garnish
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Put a medium-size pot full of water over high heat for the orzo.

In the meantime, heat the olive oil over medium high heat in a large skillet. Add the fennel seeds and let them cook for a few seconds, until they start to release their oils. Add the onion, the garlic and the stems from the greens. Season to taste with the salt and pepper and cook, stirring frequently, until the onions are just tender.

Add the leafy greens and cook for about 2 more minutes, stirring frequently. Add the white wine and stir to deglaze the pan. Turn the heat as low as it will go while the pasta water comes to a boil, if it hasn't already.

Cook the pasta for 2 minutes less than the package directions and reserve a cup of the pasta water. Drain and add it to the onions and greens. If it is too dry add pasta water as needed. Cook for another 2 to 3 minutes to finish off the pasta.

Remove from the heat and stir in the parmesan cheese. Serve immediately, garnished with more of the cheese.


Exported from Home Cookin 7.50 (

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Green City Market

I can't believe how long it has been since I posted anything.  I've been busier than usual these past few months and days will pass before I even think about it.

But as I have mentioned in recent posts, I am still active in the kitchen and when things settle down again I have quite a few dishes collected that I would love to share.

In the meantime, the Green City Market is in full swing, as you can see by my recent haul above.  The lettuce, radishes and tomato were bought for salads.  I cooked the beets and added to salads as well; I sauteed the beet greens with onions and garlic and combined them with orzo and parmesan cheese for a truly delicious quick supper (one of the things I plan to post about when I have some time).  I added some of the cherries to yogurt for breakfast and then ate the rest out of hand - yum.  That's a beautiful cabbage hiding behind the beets and potatoes, part of which I used for my first attempt at stuffed cabbage rolls and will definitely repeat.  The rest of the cabbage and the potatoes went together for another skillet cabbage and potato saute for my weekend breakfast (sans sausage, but only because I did not have any on hand).

I have been working hard to not bring home more than I can handle, although it is difficult.  The lettuce, radishes, and tomatoes were planned.  The potatoes and cherries were on the maybe list.  The beets and cabbage were not on the radar at all, but were so beautiful I had to bring them home with me.  That's how I roll these days.

I am eager to see what goodies I will find this weekend!
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