My Blog on WCCO-TV: Bite of Minnesota

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Pizza Time!

Previously, I posed the question if pizza could still count as a meal...well, the answer is yes! Although we've cut down our pizza consumption, it's still great to make every so often.

I make my own pizza dough using my breadmaker and immediately freeze it for later use. We probably have 2-3 pizza doughs in the freezer at all times and it works very well. to put together a quick meal.

I've been wanting to try various cheese-less pizzas for awhile now and finally made a Caramelized Onion Pizza with Walnuts and Sage from the Students Go Vegan cookbook. I've never caramelized so many onions before and boy did everything smell like onion for days! I'll have to wait until spring to make this again when I can have the windows open.

This pizza was super easy...I prebaked the crust, added the caramelized onions, toasted walnuts, and sage. It rocked. I really liked it and didn't miss the cheese, although some blue cheese would be perfect on this in the future.

Another pizza we made was a taco pizza. This is pretty basic as you prebake the crust, spread a bean and salsa mixture and bake a bit longer. Then top with lettuce, tomatoes, salsa, crushed tortilla chips and mozzarella cheese. We went pretty heavy on the bean mixture, but if making for a group would probably cut it down a bit as it makes a mess!

Both these pizzas would be fantastic for a Superbowl party :) Taco pizza used to be my favorite in college, but I haven't been able to find a similar one since. This comes pretty close!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Crusted Tempeh with Root Mash & Miso Gravy

As I love trying new recipes, it's not often that we make the same thing more than once. However, we do go through spurts of favorites and the Crusted Tempeh from Students Go Vegan is definitely a favorite. As mentioned before, this tempeh is baked in a marinade, brushed with Dijon mustard, and coated with a cornmeal mixture before pan frying.

We served the Crusted Tempeh with a root mash of potatoes and parsnips (left over from our cropshare!). The mash was topped with a miso gravy from Real Food Daily. I really love this gravy and could serve it with almost anything. I think the miso has a perfect salt level for me.

One thing I need to work on though is how to mash potatoes...I really need a potato masher because using beaters just doesn't work. Either it's too lumpy or too glue-like. That's why I hand over the mashing to Ryan typically. Just not my specialty!

It's getting colder and colder here in Minnesota. It's that bone chilling, stomach clenching cold, but I do indulge in using my automatic car starter. It's made the Minnesota winters much more bearable! I'm wishing it would least then it would have to warm up around here :)

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Cranberry and Wild Rice Salad with Pistachios and Pears

When I first saw this recipe in a grocery store magazine, I thought "I HAVE to make that!" We had all the ingredients and it looked healthy.

So, I cooked up some wild rice - it was cooked to perfection may I add! I mixed that with some diced pears, dried cranberries and green onions. It was all topped with pistachios. Yum, Yum!

Here's the recipe...didn't have leeks, so used green onions:

Wild Rice with Pears, Pistachios and Cranberries
(4 to 6 servings)

2/3 cup wild rice
3 tbsp unsalted butter
2 leeks, white part only, thinly sliced
2 firm, but ripe pears, cut into chunks
1 tbsp brandy
¼ cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup coarsely chopped salted pistachios

Rinse rice and place in a saucepan. Cook according to package directions.

While rice cooks, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add leeks and sauté until tender, but not browned, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a serving bowl and keep warm.

Add remaining butter to skillet and raise heat to medium-high and add pears. Sauté, stirring for 30 seconds, then stir in brandy and cook until evaporated. Add to leeks.

When rice is cooked, drain off all excess liquid. Transfer to bowl with leeks and pears and add pistachios and cranberries. Mix well. Season with freshly ground pepper and salt to taste. Serve hot.

In the next year, I'm planning on teaching some cooking classes for community education and would love to put this dish on the menu!

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