Category Archives: Vegetable

January Friday Dinner

Olive Oil Braised Red Onion with Bay Leaves

For 4-6

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 lb red onions (about 3 medium), trimmed, halved vertically, and cut into 2/3-inch wedges
  • 3 dried bay leaves, each torn into 3 pieces
  • 3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1.5 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp dry white wine
  • salt

Recipe:

  1. Position rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 375 degrees
  2. Arrange onion wedges in an half overlapping single layer in a shallow baking dish. Evenly nestle the bay leaves among the onions
  3. Mix the olive oil, vinegar, white wine, and 1.5 tbsp water in a bowl and drizzle over the onions. Then sprinkle over 1 …tsp salt
  4. Cover the baking dish tightly with aluminum foil
  5. Braise the onions in the oven until completely tender, about 45 …minutes. Uncover the dish and continue to braise until all of the liquid has evaporated and the onions are darkly roasted and glossy, about 20… minutes. Remove the bay leaves and serve the onions warm or at room temperature
  6. Bon appétit! ;)

Serving suggestions: salad, bread, grilled steak/pork chop …

NOTES: Fine cooking recommended to chill and toss with arugula, toasted walnuts, and lemon vinaigrette. Or mix with olive-oil packed tuna, capers and a touch of mayonnaise. Or top goat-cheese spreader crostini, which is what I served, I thought it was sophisticated, healthy and delicious! Use to be an onion disliker, but I think it’s starting to grow on me

 

Creamed Spinach with Bacon Bits

For 4-6

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb fresh spinach, about 2 large bunches
  • 3 strips of bacon, uncooked, finely chopped
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • a pinch of nutmeg
  • salt and pepper to taste

Recipe:

  1. Cut off the thick stems of the cleaned spinach and discard
  2. Blanch the spinach in a pot of boiling water until the spinach is wilted, about 1-2 minutes. Drain and rinse in cold water to stop the spinach from cooking further. Squeeze the spinach to remove all the moisture. Chop the spinach and set aside
  3. Heat a large skillet on medium high. Add the chopped bacon and sauté until the bacon begins to render some of its fat. Add the chopped onion and garlic. Sauté until onions are translucent
  4. Melt butter in a small saucepan on medium low heat until it just starts to bubble. Add the flour and cook, stirring until smooth, about 2 minutes. Slowly add the milk, whisking continuously, cooking until sauce thickens.
  5. Combine spinach, bacon and onion mixture, and the sauce into one pan. Add nutmeg, salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a simmer, remove from heat and serve
  6. Bon appétit! ;)

Serving suggestions: fish, chicken, steak …

NOTES: Bacon can be skipped if you prefer … Yummy source of green!!

 

Mac ‘n’ Cheese

For 6-8

Ingredients:

  • 1 head of garlic, roasted
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 pound Cavatappi pasta
  • 0.5 lb sliced Applewood smoked bacon
  • 1 ½ cups fresh white bread crumbs (5 slices, crusts removed)
  • ½ cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
  • 8 tablespoons butter
  • ¼ cup minced shallots
  • ½ cup flour
  • 1 quart whole milk
  • 6 ounces Gruyere cheese, grated
  • 8 ounces extra-sharp Cheddar cheese, grated
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
Recipe:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Slice half inch off the top of the entire head of garlic. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Wrap garlic head tightly in foil and roast until tender, about 45 minutes. Remove garlic pulp by squeezing garlic head and smash to form  paste
  3. Cook pasta according to package directions
  4. Cook bacon completely and drain on paper towels. Crumble bacon when cool. Reserve 1 tbsp of bacon fat
  5. Combine breadcrumbs, crumbled bacon, Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, and 2 tbsp of melted butter as topping, set aside
  6. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  7. Saute shallots over low heat in reserved bacon fat for 1 minute. Add remaining 6 tbsp of butter and continue to sauté shallots in butter and bacon fat until translucent
  8. Add flour and continue to cook for 1-2 minutes. Increase heat to medium. Stirring constantly with a whisk, add milk and the roasted garlic paste
  9. Cook until sauce has thickened (coats the back of a spoon). Remove sauce from heat then add salt, pepper, nutmeg, Gruyere and Cheddar cheeses. Taste and adjust salt and pepper if necessary
  10. Stir in cooked pasta and pour into a baking dish. Sprinkle topping to cover entire top. Cover with foil and bake for 15 minutes. Remove foil and continue baking until sauce is bubbly and topping is browned
  11. Bon appétit! ;)

Serving suggestions: salad, soup, southern dishes  …

NOTES: Hearty and cheesy, makes great left over meal too!! Grating all those cheese was such a pain, I wanted to quit then. If possible, store-bought grated cheese would do. As with all pasta dishes, al dente is the key. Maybe it’s because I didn’t grow up eating mac ‘n’ cheese like many American kids, I lack the emotional/childhood attachment to it, although it was comforting and delicious, way too much work to my liking …

 

Balsamic Strawberries with Ricotta & Mascarpone Mousse 

For 8

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 lb whole milk ricotta cheese
  • 8 oz mascarpone cheese
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • freshly grated zest of one lemon
  • 2 lbs strawberries, hulled and cut into quarters
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar, or to taste

Recipe:

  1. Beat the cream until soft peaks form
  2. In a large bowl combine the ricotta, mascarpone, 1/2 cup  sugar, and lemon zest. Whip the mixture until thoroughly combined and smooth
  3. Slowly fold the whipped cream into the cheese mixture until smooth. Cover and refrigerate for a couple of hours
  4. Half an hour before serving, gently mix the remaining sugar and balsamic vinegar into a bowl with the quartered strawberries
  5. When ready to serve, fill a clear cup halfway with the strawberries and spoon over the ricotta-mascarpone mousse
  6. Bon appétit! ;)

Serving suggestions: berries, scones, biscuits, pancakes, crepes …

NOTES: Depending on the grade of the balsamic vinegar you have on hand, you should really taste!!! I imagine it’d be more wonderful with super aged, thick balsamic. I think mine came out a little sour because I didn’t taste and poured in too much 😛 Also, don’t let the strawberries sit in the vinegar for longer than half an hour because you wouldn’t want acidity cooked berries! Nevertheless, I loved it and the sweet cheese mousse was super good. Left over was consumed with such joy and passion the following days. Definitely would make this again!!! It would be a sweet ending to any Italian meal or summer time. 

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Filed under appetizer, Dessert, Main Dish, Side Dish, Vegetable

Mushroom and Potato Gratin

For 4-6

Ingredients:

  • 4 small or 3 medium Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 8 – 10 oz wild mushroom, cleaned, dried and sliced
  • 1 head of garlic
  • 1 cup half & half
  • 1 cup coarsely shredded Manchego cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded smoked Gouda cheese
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1/3 tbsp chopped thyme
  • 1/2 tsp chopped rosemary
  • salt and pepper

Recipe:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 F, in a baking pan, drizzle garlic with oil, cover with foil and roast till tender, about 20 mins
  2. Squeeze out the cloves when cooled and mash to a paste
  3. In a saucepan, add half & half, thyme, rosemary and garlic paste, bring to a boil and simmer till the mixture is reduced to 3/4 cup
  4. Melt butter over medium heat in a skillet, add the mushrooms and cook till juice from the mushrooms has mostly evaporated
  5. Arrange 1/3 of the sliced potatoes in the bottom of a small baking dish, top with 1/3 of the shredded cheese and 1/2 of the mushrooms,  drizzle with garlic cream, season lightly with sea salt and black pepper.  Repeat for one more layer. The very last (top) layer should be potatoes and cheese submerged in the remaining garlic cream
  6. Bake till golden and bubbling, about 25 mins. Let it cool before cutting and serving
  7. Bon appétit! ;)

Serving suggestions: salad, protein, sparkling  …

NOTES: The baking dish I used was about 6.5 x 4.5? (The smallest from the C&B potluck bakers). I used baby Portabella from Trader Joe’s, but feel free to experiment with wild mushroom and cheese varieties. It will certainly turn out yummy no matter what. There are many ways to arrange the ingredients to your liking and to fit your baking dish. Might want to slice a little extra potatoes and shred a little extra cheese than called for due to dish size differences. I definitely used more cheese than mentioned because I LOVE cheese!!!! 😀

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Filed under appetizer, Side Dish, Vegetable

Fuyu Persimmon and Arugula Salad

For 4-6

Ingredients:

  • 1 shallot, thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp wine vinegar
  • 1/8 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 sprig of thyme
  • 1 cup pecan
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • Cayenee pepper
  • 3 Fuyu persimmons, peeled and sliced
  • 1 head of Oak leaf or Frisee lettuce
  • 4 oz Arugula
  • 1 pomegranate (seeds)
  • 3 oz goat cheese

Recipe:

  1. Soak shallots with thyme in vinegar for 30 mins
  2. Blanch pecans in boiling water for 5 mins, drain well. Toss with sugar & Cayenne pepper (to own liking), bake at 375 F for 10 mins or till crunchy
  3. Toss persimmons with shallot dressing, add half of the olive oil
  4. Add in greens and pecans, add in remaining half of the olive oil
  5. Sprinkle with pomegranate seeds, goat cheese, salt and pepper to taste,  give it a light toss
  6. Bon appétit! ;)

Serving suggestions: bread, soup, wine, protein …

NOTES: Don’t over do on the olive oil and be gentle with the Cayenne pepper, because it’s heat you are playing with 🙂 Watch carefully when baking the pecans, you want them to be crunchy and not burned. Go light on the goat cheese, break into small pieces. Very eye and palate pleasing salad, loved!

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Filed under salad, Side Dish, Vegetable

Basil Tomato Gratin (light)

For ~6

Ingredients:

  • 4 medium-sized ripe tomatoes, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped basil leaves
  • 2 slices of whole grain bread, quartered
  • 1/3 cup finely shredded Pecorino Romano (or Parmesan)
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • salt and pepper

Recipe:

  1. Preheat to 450 F
  2. In a food processor, coarsely pulse the bread quarters. Add cheese, garlic and olive oil, pulse to combine.
  3. Spread the bread crumb mix on a oil-coated shallow sheet, bake till sign of browning, 2-3 mins
  4. Place sliced tomatoes in a baking dish, sprinkle with basil, salt and pepper, repeat for each layer (2-3 layers)
  5. Bake layered tomatoes for 10 mins, sprinkle on toasted bread crumb, bake for 8-10 more mins
  6. Bon appétit! ;)

Serving suggestions: wine, soup, protein  …

NOTES: A refreshing transformation of the usually buttery/creamy gratin dish using fresh herb and tomatoes. Original recipe called for way too much bread (proven by the photo)  and too little cheese. Above is the modified version. Pay attention when toasting the bread crumbs because they brown easily.

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Miso Cod with Spinach Banchan

For 3-4

Ingredients:

Miso Cod

  • 1 lb Black Cod fillets (3-4 pieces)
  • 1/4 cup sake
  • 1/4 cup mirin
  • 4 tbsp miso paste
  • 3 tbsp honey

Recipe:

  1. Make marinade inside a glass container using all ingredients but the fish
  2. Pat the fish fillets dry and put them inside the marinade container, refrigerate for 24 hr
  3. Preheat oven to 400F
  4. Lightly Grill fish fillets till brown on both sides
  5. Bake for ~ 15 mins
  6. Bon appétit! ;)

Spinach Banchan

  • 1 bunch spinach
  • 3 cups of water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1/2 tsp toasted white sesame
  • 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
  • a pinch of salt

Recipe:

  1. Boil the water with 1tsp salt
  2. When it starts to boil, put the clean spinach in there immediately and turn off the heat, let it sauna for 2-3 mins
  3. Take the spinach out, drain water and wash under cold water for about 1-2 mins, gently squeeze out the excess water
  4. Chop the spinach a few times and put it in a mixing bowl
  5. Mix with sesame oil, sesame seed, finely chopped garlic and a pinch of salt to taste
  6. Bon appétit! ;)

Serving suggestions:  bread, rice, sake …

NOTES: Very easy to make and very taste-buds pleasing! 😀 Can be pricey if you choose to get quality black cod, but you may use regular cod fillets. White miso paste was recommended, but I only had the dark one at home, so that was used instead. Additionally, I chose honey over sugar, so feel free to use sugar if honey is not available at hand. Baking time depends on the thickness of the fish fillets, thus, it can range from 10 to 15 mins. Also, remember to remove dead leaves and roots before making the spinach side dish, it’s important to toast the sesame and pay attention to how much salt you add in there. Finely chopped scallions can also be added … ENJOY!!

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Filed under Main Dish, Seafood, Side Dish, Vegetable

Brussels Sprouts with Parmesan Cheese

For 4-6

Ingredients:

  • 15 brussels sprouts
  • 1/2 medium-sized sweet onion, chopped
  • 4 oz cream cheese
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1.5 tsp grounded black pepper

Recipe:

  1. Preheat to 325 F
  2. Thoroughly wash the brussels sprouts, trim stem bottom and cut into halves
  3. Microwave the cream cheese for about 30 seconds till almost melted
  4. Combine well with mayonnaise, Parmesan cheese, onion and black pepper in a large mixing bowl
  5. Add brussels sprout halves into the mixing bowl, evenly coat with the creamy mixture
  6. Place the well mixed brussels sprouts onto a baking pan, cover with aluminum foil, bake for 25 mins
  7. Remove foil, give it a good stir, bake for another 25 mins or until the cheese topping form a charred crust
  8. Bon appétit! ;)

Serving suggestions: rice, potatoes, steak …

NOTES: Peel off the outer, loose yellow leaves if you care about tenderness. “Ewwwww” is what I normally associate with brussels sprouts, but this recipe made me a liker of these tiny cabbage balls. Plus they are packed with various disease-fighting nutrients, you’d be doing your body a huge favor if you can learn to love brussels sprouts!! Perhaps you’d be brave enough to serve them at dinner parties around Christmas time? 😉

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Filed under Side Dish, Vegetable

Roasted Mini Potatoes

For ~ 6

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb mini-potatoes
  • 1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 tsp thyme leaves
  • 3 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
  • salt and/or pepper to season

Recipe:

  1. Line the roasting/baking pan with foil paper and grease using 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  2. Lay the cleaned & dried mini-potatoes evenly across the roasting/baking pan
  3. Drizzle the remaining oil and toss to coat all the mini-potatoes
  4. Sprinkle on coarse sea salt, pepper, Parmesan cheese and thyme leaves
  5. Roast for 35-40 minutes
  6. Bon appétit! ;)

Serving suggestions: meat, salad, soup …

Notes: You may substitute thyme with any other preferred herb, I just happened to have some fresh thyme in the fridge. If you are crazy about cheese, you may opt out of using salt and go with 4  or even 5 tbsp of grated Parmesan cheese! Also, once a small knife can easily cut through the mini-potatoes, it’s ready, if worried, you can cut them in half before roasting. Quite addictive little potato balls 🙂

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Filed under salad, Side Dish, Vegetable