Sunday, October 23, 2011

Roasted red peppers.......and sauce too.

Many folks purchase roasted red peppers in a jar.  I like to roast red peppers myself because they taste so wonderful when they are freshly roasted.    I roast several red peppers at once, that way not only can I enjoy the peppers as a side dish (or add to a plated dinner for pretty color), I can also make a roasted red pepper sauce with the extra peppers.  Here's my recipe for roasted red pepper sauce.   This sauce is thick and slightly chunky.  It's really good on grilled meats.

Pre-heat oven to 375. Wash and dry two large organic red bell peppers.  Cut them in half lengthwise, remove seeds and stems.  Line a large baking sheet with tin foil and spray it generously with olive oil spray.  Place the peppers, cut side down on the baking sheet.  Spray the peppers lightly on the tops.

Then place on middle rack in oven for 1/2 hour.  Check the peppers to see if they have begun to turn dark brown on the tops.  If after 1/2 hr they aren't brown, roast them for another 5-10 minutes until they turn dark brown on the tops.  When that happens, they are ready.  The photo below is how they should look.

Remove from oven and allow to cool for about 15 minutes.  Then slip as much of the skin off as possible.  Discard the skins.

Next, place one garlic clove in food processor and process to a fine mince.  Add  the red peppers, 1/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning, a little salt and pepper and approximately 1/3 cup of your best Extra Virgin Olive Oil.  Process well until smooth or chunky. Add more EVOO for a smoother sauce.   Taste and adjust seasoning.  Enjoy warm as a topping on grilled meats or cold as a dipping sauce.

Monday, October 17, 2011

An Apple a Day....Steve had the right idea!

We will all miss you and your brilliance.  Thank you for giving so much to so many.  Rest in peace.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Important information about using canned beans

I know you don't have the time or inclination to purchase dried, organic bulk beans, then soak them overnight, then cook them.  It's very time consuming and requires advance planning.  As a working Chef, I do this frequently because I believe there is nothing better than re-constituted beans.  However, if you're like most people who want to consume more beans now I'd like to recommend canned organic beans. I'm speaking of kidney beans, black beans and garbanzo beans mainly.  Here's the important thing to remember when using canned beans of any kind:  RINSE THE BEANS IN COLD WATER USING A STRAINER.  DRAIN THEM WELL, THEN ADD TO YOUR RECIPES.

There's nothing like homemade soup!

With infinite ways of making soup, there's only one way to start:  select good, fresh ingredients. When selecting your produce, whether it be onions, garlic, green beans, potatoes or any other vegetables using ripe but firm produce assures that clean fresh taste.  (Although I will admit to chopping up a tomato that's over the hill for a salad but not completely gone. Tomatoes are supposed to break down when simmered in a soup anyway.)
I begin with a medium to large saucepan if I'm making soup for just 4 servings.  However, if you find a soup you love, go ahead, double the recipe, get out a larger pot, and make lots!  Here is a hearty Fall soup that's pretty much a meal in itself.  (make extra and freeze some - good for 2 months in freezer)

Autumn Vegetable Soup

  • 2 tablespoons EVOO
  • 3 medium carrots, diced to ¾” cubes
  • 1 large onion, diced medium
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups of butternut squash that has been cut in ¼” cubes
  • ¼ teaspoon allspice
  • Pinch of cayenne, more to taste
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 quart homemade or lower-salt chicken broth
  • 1 – 14oz can diced tomatoes
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme or generous ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 cups chopped kale
  • 1 cup canned (or freshly cooked) garbanzo beans

Heat oil in large pot.  Add carrots and onions and stir a occasionally until they begin to soften, about 6 minutes.  Add garlic and cook for another minute.  Add squash, allspice, cayenne and 1 tsp. salt and stir to combine. Add the broth, tomatoes (with juices) and thyme.  Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium, cover and simmer for 10 minutes.  Add the kale and the chickpeas and cook uncovered until the squash is tender and the kale has wilted, about another 10 minutes.  Discard the thyme sprigs before serving.  Season to taste with salt and cayenne.