Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Spinach and Chick Peas

I love to taste lots of different kinds of food and love sharing food.  I'm always stealing tastes off of anyone's plate who will let me (just ask Bill!).  So naturally Tapas restaurants are great for me. Since I can't always get out to a restaurant, when I found this recipe for Tapas Espinacas con Garbanzos (Spinach and Chickpeas) from Smitten Kitchen, I knew I had to give it a try.  It is really delicious and actually was really easy!  If you like tapas, are looking for a great vegetarian dish, ore even just a hearty snack, look no further. 

Spinach and Chick Peas
From: Smitten Kitchen

2 15 oz cans of Chickpeas, drained and rinsed
6 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 lb Spinach, washed
2 slices of bread, crust removed (omit this for SB Phase 1)
4 oz tomato sauce
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp ground cumin
pinch of red pepper flakes
1 1/2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
Salt and pepper
Lemon juice, to taste
Small bread toasts

1. Place a large saucepan over medium heat and add half of the olive oil.  When hot, add the spinach with a pinch of salt and stir well.  Remove when the leaves are just tender, drain in a colander and set aside.

2. Heat 2 more Tbsp olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat.  Fry the bread for about 5 min or until golden brown all over (skip this for SB Phase 1), then the re remaining Tbsp of oil and the garlic, cumin and pepper.  Cook for 1 minute more until the garlic is nutty brown.

3. Transfer bread to food processor, blend along with the vinegar, and mix into a paste.

4. Return mixture to the pan and add the drained chick peas and tomato sauce.  Stir until the chickpeas have absorbed the flavors and are hot.  Season with salt and pepper and add lemon juice if desired.

5. If the consistency is a little thick, add some water.  Add the spinach and cook until it is hot.  Check for seasoning and serve with paprika on top.  Serve plain for South Beach Phase one or on top of small slices of bread or toast.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Scallops and Spinach Risotto

I bought some delicious looking scallops the other day, but didn't really know what to do with them since I have never cooked with scallops before.  So I looked up a few ways to make them, and decided to try a mix of several things I read and combine it with one of my favorite things to eat... risotto.  I happened to have some spinach at home, and thought that would complement it well.  It turned out great!  It is a dish that has a lot of moving parts, but in the end it was worth it!

Scallops and Spinach Risotto

1/2 Onion - Chopped
1-2 Cloves Garlic - minced
3/4 cup Arborio Rice
1 box Chicken Broth
Olive Oil
1 loosely packed cup Spinach (rinsed, drained, and stems cut off)
1/2 lb Bay Scallops
1/2 - 1 cup White wine
1/4 cup Parmesan Cheese
1 lemon (juice and some of rind)

1. Bring Stock to a boil in a medium Saucepan.

2. Separately, in a large pan, heat 1 Tbs olive oil and 1 Tbs butter over med-high heat. Add the Onion and garlic and cook until the onion is transparent.

3. Pour in the rice and stir for 1 minute; add 1/2 - 3/4 cup wine and stir until it's absorbed.

4. Add the stock - 1 ladle-full at a time - and stir frequently until it's absorbed. Repeat this step until the rice is al dente (20 mins or so).  Halfway through cooking add a squeeze of lemon and 1 tsp grated lemon rind.

5. In the meantime, clean spinach and rinse scallops.  Pat scallops dry.  In a small pan heat 1 tsp of oil (can also mix in 1 Tbs butter), and add garlic as well as 1 Tbs of onion. once the onion is translucent add spinach and cook until wilted (can also add grated lemon rind or lemon juice).  Remove to plate.

6.  When there is only about 5 minutes left on the Risotto, add 1 Tbs of olive oil to the pan used for the spinach and heat over med-high heat.  Add scallops and then garlic.  Cook, stirring for 2 minutes.  Add 1/4 -1/2 cup white wine and half the juice of a lemon.  Let continue to cook for another 2-3 minutes.

7. When the risotto is finished cooking, remove from heat and stir in Parmesan cheese and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.  Add spinach and 1/2 of scallops.  Serve topped with scallops Parmesan cheese and lemon wedge.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Chilean Tomato and Onion Salad

I just got back from two weeks in Chile.  We had a great time and ate lots of great food. We had a lot of traditional chilean food including pastel de choclo, pastel de papa, humitas, empanadas, sopapillas, longanisa, pepre, palta, palta reina, completo, panqueque, milo hojas, chilean rice and much more.  I hope to learn how to make all of them. I'm going to start with the traditional Chilean Tomato and Onion Salad. I found this on a cooking blog about Chilean food called The Chilean Way.  I used the recipe below, but in the future I will probably make it without the red wine vinegar as this is how my mother in law makes it and I have become accustomed to the taste.  She also uses sugar, the original recipe only called for salt.  I like it both ways!

Chilean Tomato and Onion Salad
From: My Mother-in-Law and The Chilean Way

3 Large ripe tomatoes, peeled and sliced
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
2-4 Tbsp. Olive Oil
2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar (optional)
2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
2 Tbsp. chopped cilantro
salt and pepper and sugar

1. Slice the onions and tomatoes.  Place tomatoes in a small bowl.  Place the onions in a small holed strainer.  Sprinkle with a lot of salt and sugar.

2.   Squeeze the rings in your hands and against the strainer and run them under lukewarm water until the onions almost wilt like they were cooked (this takes a lot of the 'bite' out of the onions).

3. Add onions to the tomatoes, add olive oil, red wine vinegar, lemon juice, cilantro, and season with salt and pepper.  Let stand at least 5 minutes to marinate and serve.


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