Roasted Poblano and Bell Pepper Salsa

Ingredients

2 poblano peppers, seeded

1 red bell pepper, seeded and quartered lengthwise

1 green bell pepper, seeded and quartered lengthwise

2 plum tomatoes, seeded and chopped

3 scallions, white and green parts, chopped

1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely chopped (leave seeds in for a spicier salsa, or use more jalapenos)

Juice of one lime

1 tbsp olive oil

Salt & pepper to taste

1/2 cup fresh cilantro, roughly chopped

Directions

1.  Place the poblano and bell peppers, skin side up, on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Heat under a broiler until the skins are charred.  Turn the poblano peppers over halfway through.  Remove from broiler, place all peppers in a large bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap.  Set aside.

2.  While the peppers are broiling, mix the tomatoes, scallions, jalapeno, lime juice and olive oil in a bowl.  Add 1/2 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper.  Allow to rest.

3.  After the peppers have been in the bowl for about 15 minutes, the tight seal of the plastic should have allowed steam to loosen the skins.  Remove the plastic wrap, carefully peel the charred skins from the flesh of the peppers and discard the skins.  Roughly chop the roasted peppers and add to the tomato mixture.  Add the fresh cilantro.  Combine well and allow to rest for at least an hour, preferably longer, to let the flavors mix.

4.  Taste before serving and adjust salt/pepper as needed.  Can be stored in the refrigerator for several days in a tightly lidded container.

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Mixed Vegetable Curry… Or What To Do With Lonely Vegetables

Ever look in your pantry or refrigerator and see those random vegetables?  You know, the extra ones you bought just in case your recipe didn’t work out, or the ones you bought for the recipe you never tried but you used the other necessary ingredients so you can’t make it anyway?  Well, here’s a simple recipe to use up those lonely veggies.  You can use pretty much any vegetables for this.  Just be sure to pay attention to cook times so that some veggies don’t end up uncooked while others turn to mush.  Oh, and serve this with rice or any Indian bread.  Heck, have it with toast.  Still tastes good.

Ingredients

1 tbsp canola or vegetable oil

2 tsp cumin seeds

1 to 3 tsp red chilli powder, depending on how spicy you like it

2 to 4 green chillies, chopped, depending on how spicy you like it

2 cloves of garlic, minced

2 tbsp fresh ginger, minced or grated

1 medium onion, chopped

2 potatoes, peeled and chopped in 1/2 inch x 1 1/2 inch pieces

2 carrots, peeled and chopped in 1/2 inch x 1 1/2 inch pieces

1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped in 1/2 inch x 1 1/2 inch pieces

1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped in 1/2 inch x 1 1/2 inch pieces

1 tsp salt

1 cup frozen peas

1/2 cup fresh cilantro, roughly chopped

Directions

1.  Heat the oil in a large pan.  Add the cumin seeds and saute until just starting to brown.  Add the red chilli powder, saute for a few seconds, and then add the green chillies, garlic and ginger.  Try not to breathe the cooking fumes as the spice level will irritate your respiratory system.  Saute for a few more seconds and add the onions.  Saute until onions turn translucent.

2.  Add the carrots and potatoes and mix well.  Saute for about 5 minutes.  Add the bell peppers and saute a few more minutes.

3.  Add water to the pan, until the vegetables are just covered.  Add the salt and mix well.  Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and continue cooking for about 20 minutes, until the potatoes and carrots are just tender.  Add water if needed.  By the time the vegetables are cooked, the liquid will reduce to nice gravy thickened by the starch from the potatoes.  (If your gravy is too watery, you can mix in a thin paste made of 1 tbsp rice flour and a 1/4 cup of water and cook for a few extra minutes.)

4.  Mix in the peas and continue to cook for about 3 minutes.  Remove from heat.  Garnish with fresh cilantro and serve with rice or bread.

Savory Vegetable Tart Redux

Last weekend, I wanted to try my savory vegetable tart recipe in a Springform pan, as I had seen on a few websites.  The pastry recipe was exactly the same.  As for the filling, I used one less egg, omitted the fennel, and omitted the goat cheese for this version (having both goat cheese and sun-dried tomatoes made for a saltier tart than I prefer).  It worked out great, although I would probably reduce the quantity of pastry dough on the sides of the tart as it was a little thick and made a serving rather heavy.  This version also required a bit more time in the oven.

Savory Vegetable Tart

Ingredients & Directions

For the tart shell (can be prepared up to a day before and refrigerated):

3 cups all-purpose flour

15 tbsp unsalted butter (1 and 7/8 sticks), room temperature

6 tbsp ice water

1 tsp salt

1 tsp sugar

1.  In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, butter, salt and sugar, using your fingers, until it resembles coarse bread crumbs.  (Alternatively, pulse ingredients together in a food processor until it resembles coarse bread crumbs).

2.  Slowly add the ice water, adding just enough to allow the dough to combine.  Shape the dough into a disc, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour (and up to 24 hours).

3.  Preheat oven to 350F.  Remove the dough from the fridge and separate into two pieces, one using about 2/3 of the dough and the other the remaining 1/3 of the dough.  Roll out the larger piece of dough into a circle about 12 inches in diameter.  The dough should be about a quarter of a inch thick or slightly less.  Place over a 9-inch tart or pie pan (I prefer the pie pan as it is deeper) and shape to the pan.  Cut the excess dough from around the edges, leaving about 1/2 an inch.  Turn the overhang inwards and crimp the edges.  Repeat with the remainder of the dough, using a smaller tart or pie pan, or mini tart pans.  (I had enough dough for four mini tart pans.)

4.  Cover with foil or parchment paper, using pie weights or dried beans to hold the foil/paper down and keep the center of the dough from puffing up too much.  Bake at 350F for 20 to 25 minutes, until the bottom of the dough is lightly baked through.  Remove the pie weights and foil/paper.  Continue baking for another 15 to 25 minutes, until the crust is lightly golden brown.  Keep an eye on the mini tart pans, if you use them, as the crust will bake faster and may brown too much.  When done, remove from oven and set aside to cool.  Can be refrigerated for up to 24 hours before assembling the tart.

 

For the filling (all but the egg mixture can be prepared up to a day before):

1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into quarters lengthwise

1 green bell pepper, seeded and cut into quarters lengthwise

2 small onions, thinly sliced

1 bulb fennel, cored and thinly sliced

2 red potatoes, washed well and cut into a 3/4 inch dice (does not need to be peeled)

1 tbsp olive oil

1 cup ricotta cheese

4 eggs

3 tbsp sun-dried tomatoes, chopped

1 tbsp fresh thyme (or 1 tsp dried)

1 tsp dried red chilli flakes

Salt and pepper to taste

1.  Spread the seeded and quartered bell pepper slices on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or foil.  Heat under a broiler until the skin is blistered and charred and the peppers are mostly cooked through (15 to 20 minutes).  Remove from the oven.  Place the bell pepper pieces in a bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap.  After about 15 minutes, remove the plastic wrap.  The steam created in the bowl should have softened the skins.  Peel and discard the skins, chop the peppers into 1/2 inch x 1 inch strips and set aside.

2.  Saute the onions, fennel, 1/2 tbsp fresh thyme, 1/2 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper in olive oil, until the fennel is just softened and the onion begins to caramelize.  Remove from heat and set aside.

3.  Place the potatoes in a microwave safe bowl, along with a 1/2 cup of water.  Microwave on high until the potatoes are just tender.  Drain the water and set aside.

4.  Prepare the egg filling just before you are ready to assemble the tart.  Beat together the 4 eggs and 1 cup of ricotta cheese, along with 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper, red chilli flakes and 1/2 tbsp fresh thyme.

 

To put it all together:

1.  Preheat oven to 350F.  Layer the onion/fennel mixture, bell peppers and potatoes in the tart shell(s).  Make sure you pour out any excess water.  Sprinkle the feta cheese on top.  Pour the egg/ricotta mixture evenly over the vegetables and feta.  Sprinkle the sun-dried tomatoes on top.

2.  Bake at 350F for about 45 minutes, until the egg/ricotta filling has set and the crust is golden brown.  If the crust browns faster than the egg sets, simply crimp some aluminum foil over the crust to protect it from the heat while the egg cooks.

3.  Allow to set at room temp for about 10 minutes before slicing and serving.  Serve warm or at room temperature.

Vegetarian Chili with Quinoa

Found a great recipe online for quinoa chili and, of course, had to recreate it with my personal tweaks.  I served it garnished with a little fresh cilantro, and with avocado veggie quesadillas on the side.  Without further ado…

 

 

 

Ingredients

3/4 cup quinoa, washed and cooked

1 tsp olive oil

2 medium onions, diced

4 cloves garlic, minced

2 stalks celery, diced

2 medium carrots, diced

1 jalapeno pepper, finely diced, seeds included

1 dried guajillo chilli pepper, crushed

2 tsp cumin powder

2 tsp chilli powder (or 2 tsp red chilli pepper flakes)

2 tbsp tomato paste

1 zucchini, diced

1 golden zucchini, diced

1 green bell pepper, diced

1 red bell pepper, diced

3 cans peeled and diced tomatoes, with liquid

1 15-oz can of black beans, drained and rinsed

1 15-oz can of red kidney beans, drained and rinsed

1/2 quart vegetable stock

Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

1.  Cook the quinoa in water or vegetable stock and set aside.

2.  While the quinoa is cooking, heat the oil in a 5 or 6 quart pot over medium high heat.  Add the onions, garlic, celery and carrots and saute until the vegetables are sweating.  Add the spices and peppers and continue to saute a few more minutes.  Now, add the tomato paste and mix well.  Allow to cook for a few minutes.  Now, add the zucchini, bell peppers and diced tomatoes and bring to a simmer.  Continue simmering for 7 or 8 minutes.

3.  Add the black beans, kidney beans, vegetable stock and quinoa and mix.  Bring to a simmer, lower the heat, and continue simmering for about 30 minutes.  Add more vegetable stock or water if the chili looks like it is getting dry.

4.  Remove from heat.  Serve hot with bread, tortillas or quesadillas on the side.  Optional garnishes: cilantro, scallions, jalapeno peppers, avocado, fresh tomatoes, onion slices, sour cream, Greek yogurt, shredded cheese, etc.  Can be stored, refrigerated, for up to a week.