Sunday, January 25, 2009

More favorite products

Beef-Barley Soup

This is a recipe I tried from the Feb 05 issue of Fitness. It's a pretty basic Beef and Barley soup but the broth did come out more flavorful than I expected. There are no carrots in my pic because I don't like cooked carrots much but they are in the recipe if you like them.
Beef-Barley Soup
1/2 pound beef sirloin, cut into 2 inch cubes
salt and pepper
1 tsp olive oil
2 carrots, sliced
1 large onion, chopped, about 1 cup (I used 2 shallots)
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
5 garlic gloves, smashed and chopped
1/2 cup red wine (*or* wine substitutions include non-alcoholic wine, beef broth/stock, diluted red wine vinegar, red grape juice diluted with red wine vinegar or rice vinegar, or tomato juice)
6 cups beef broth
1 can (14 1/2 oz) chopped tomatoes (recipes called for drained, I put the liquid in the soup for extra flavor)
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
1/2 cup cooked barley
Season beef cubes w/ salt and pepper. In a large pot over medium heat, brown beef on all sides in oil. Do not turn pieces until one side is browned. Pour off any excess fat and set beef to the side. Add carrots, onion, mushrooms, and garlic to the pot and cook, stirring 3 minutes. Pour in wine (or substitute), increase the heat to high, and bring to a boil; cook, scraping the bottom of the pot, 2 minutes, or until liquid is reduced by half. Add the rest of the ingredients except barley, bring to a boil. Reduce heat, add beef, and let simmer 1 hour. Stir in uncooked barley and simmer 1 hour, or until barley is cooked through. Remove bay leaf before serving. Be sure to let the stew cook slowly so that only small bubbles come to the surface. Otherwise the meat may not be as tender.
Make 6 servings
Nutrition info per serving: 198 calories, 15g protein, 20g carbs, 6g fat, 4g fiber

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Marinated Mushrooms

1 lb white button mushrooms, washed and stems removed
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1/2 c fresh rosemary leaves
1/2 c Italian parsley leaves
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 cup olive oil
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar

Halve or quarter the mushrooms if needed, depending on size.  Combine the garlic, mustard, rosemary, parsley, salt, and pepper in a food processor until smooth in consistency (You may need to add a little of the olive oil to get it to blend evenly).  Transfer to a medium bowl and whisk together with the olive oil and vinegar, until you have a thick dressing.  Toss the mushrooms in the dressing until well coated.  Cover and refrigerate overnight. Serve chilled or at room temp.

I obviously scaled the recipe down some because I did not need a lb of marinated mushrooms.  These were pretty good.  The marinade can also be used for dipping bread as well.  I loved the addition of Dijon mustard.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Sicilian Lentil Soup

I apologize for the long dry spell!  December I was busy visiting my family and letting my Dad cook for me!  And I'm not getting as many posts from others which puts a little more pressure to make sure there are enough recipes  :)

Here's a recipe I tried from the Williams-Sonoma website.

Sicilian Lentil Soup

2 Tbsp olive oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped
1 garlic glove, minced
1 tsp minced fresh rosemary
1 eggplant, cut into small cubes
3 cups cooked green lentils
1 oz of small or short pasta of choice
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
2 plum tomatoes, seeded and chopped
salt and pepper to taste

In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, warm 1 Tbsp of olive oil.  Add the onion and saute until translucent, about 4 minutes,  Add the remaining 1 Tbsp of oil, garlic, rosemary, and eggplant.  Cook, stirring frequently, until the eggplant is translucent and starts to soften.

Add sauteed vegetables, lentils, pasta, cinnamon, and 6 cups water to a pot.  Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered until the eggplant is tender and the pasta is al dente, about 10 minutes.  Stir in the tomatoes and season with salt and pepper.

My trick for amazing sauteed onions is to saute them in garlic infused oil.  In this recipe I used garlic oil and didn't have to put in the mince garlic clove (you can substitute or use both depending on preference and strength of oil).  I also like to use shallots because I love the natural sweetness.
For this recipe I cooked my pasta first, I used mini bow ties.  Then I put all the ingredients in my crock pot on high until the soup was done.  I'll be honest I didn't put the cinnamon in the soup because I didn't think I'd like that flavor.  The broth was a little bland so I put in a couple Tbsp of chicken bouillon.  After that the soup turned out delicious.  For some reason I didn't like the eggplant because of the texture and lack of flavor, even though I normally like eggplant.  I think I would make this again but add some squash instead.