CSA Sweet Corn with Lime & Chili Butter

19 09 2012

I have to say, I think my favorite part about making this meal was the frequent and terrifying discovery of giant green corn worms, curling themselves up inside these ears of corn, only to throw themselves into my lap whilst husking.

This is the first time my CSA farm has grown corn, so it was slightly experimental. Some cobs were fine, others, worm devastation. I won’t hide the facts. I was near to tears by the end, gingerly peeling off each layer of husk, like it was a temperamental time bomb. I dislike bugs.

Cut to way too long of a time later: Corn is husked, all corn worms are sent to hell, we can then proceed. This recipe will leave your kitchen smelling amazing, and c’mon, hot buttered corn with a bright lime kick and a mellow spiciness; this is the stuff dreams are made of. I served it with some green beans sauteed with butter and fresh herbs, plus some leftover tofu. Corn is super cheap right now so stock up and get going on this recipe. You will love it.
Sweet Corn with Lime & Chili Butter
Adapted from Vegetarian Cooking: A Commonsense Guide

4-5 corn cobs
3 oz. butter
2 tbs. olive oil
3 small red chilis. seeded and finely chopped
2 tbs. lime zest
2 tbs. lime juice
2 tbs. cilantro, chopped

Remove the husks and silky threads from the corn. Wash well, then using a heavy knife, cut each cob into 1-inch. slices.

Heat the butter and olive oil in a large saucepan. Add the chili to the pan and cook for 2 minutes, then stir in the lime zest, lime juice, and 1/4 cup water. Add the corn, then cover and cook for 5-8 minutes, or until the corn is tender, shaking the pan frequently.

Season to taste with salt and pepper, then stir in the cilantro. Serve hot and with plenty of napkins.

Potato and Kale Enchiladas with Roasted Chili Sauce

4 03 2012

This blog has been seriously lacking for posts lately. But I can explain! For me, February was winter detox month. Well, winter detox two weeks. And you know what was weird, the second you mention the word ‘detox’ to a person, their jaw drops and they’re on their knees begging you to reconsider, wondering why you would ever put your body through such hell. Um, when did detoxing become synonymous with insane fad diets such as The Master Cleanse? That is what almost every person assumed I was doing. No, I did not, nor would I ever, master cleanse, or do some sort of wacked out liquid-only diet. Those things withhold every essential nutrient from your body and straight-up starve you. F-that.

My detox was basically eliminating caffeine, alcohol, added sugars, processed foods, dairy, and wheat. Replacing those things with whole, unprocessed fruits, vegetables and simple grains and proteins. No harm in that.

Here are some of the things that I was eating:

Steamed Squash & Broccoli with Tahini Dressing

Roasted Beet & Leek Soup with Sauteed Beet Greens

Roasted Peppers, Cauliflower and Walnuts

Cinnamon Poached Apples with Toasted Walnuts

First week was yummy, but hell. It made me realize how much of my diet consists of cheese and bread. Pizza and blue cheese are part of my food pyramid. It also made me realize that throughout my day, I’m pretty much in a constant state of snacking. Rarely do I let my body get full before I start stuffing it with something else that catches my eye. “Handful of feta, why sure!”

Though I was pretty much in a body-shaking craving mode for most of the time, and I don’t think that I’ve ever been as much of an angry bitch than I was during those two weeks, my body felt great. I felt clean and energized in a natural-sort of way. I stopped feeling sluggish, my sleep was improved and things like my digestion and lungs felt a lot better after eliminating many allergens and just body-clogging stuff.

I’m back to eating crap now. Well, not crap, but I will never deny myself a cup of coffee in the morning or a beer or ten in the evening for at least another year. It just ain’t me.

These vegan enchiladas are acting as a suitable in-between meal. They’re not carrot sticks, but they are also not frosting-filled crêpes. Mmm..frosting.

The enchilada sauce has a mellow and roasty spiciness to it, while the filling is tangy and stick-to-your-ribs filling.

Potato and Kale Enchiladas with Roasted Chili Sauce
Adapted from Veganomicon

Enchilada Chili Sauce:
2 tbs. olive oil
1 onion, diced
3 large chilis, roasted, seeded, peeled, and chopped (Notes on roasting: Heat up your oven to 425, cut your peppers in half lengthwise and remove the stems and seeds. Coat with some olive oil and place on a lightly greased baking sheet and roast for about 20-25 minutes. When done, throw the peps in a paper bag the second they come out of the oven. Close it up and steam them. Once they have cooled down, the skins should come right off)
3 tsps. chili powder (ancho, if possible)
1 1/2 tsps. cumin
1 tsp. marjoram
1 28-oz. can diced tomatoes, with juice
1 tsp. sugar
1 1/2 tsps. salt

Potato and Kale Filling:
1 pound red potatoes
1/2 lb. kale, washed, trimmed and chopped
3 tbs. olive oil
4-5 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/4 cup water (or veggie broth if you have an open container on hand)
3 tbs. lime juice (plus some extra wedges for serving)
1 1/2 tsp. salt
12-14 corn tortillas

Preheat the oven to 375 and have ready a large casserole dish.

Prepare the enchilada sauce: In a large saucepan over medium heat, sauté the onions in oil for 4-7 minutes, until softened…you know the procedure. Add the remaining sauce ingredients, bring to a simmer and remove from the heat. When it has cooled enough, taste for seasoning then puree with an immersion or regular blender until smooth.

Prepare the filling: Peel and dice the potatoes, then boil them until tender, about 20 minutes. Drain and set aside. Cook the oil and minced garlic in a saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally until the garlic is sizzling and slightly browned. Add the kale, sprinkle with a little salt, and raise the heat to medium, stirring constantly to cover the kale with oil and garlic. Partially cover the pot to steam the kale until it has wilted, about 5 minutes. You can add a little bit of water too to help along the steaming process and to prevent any scorching.

Make the enchiladas: Have ready a pie plate filled with about 1/2 cup of the enchilada sauce, your casserole dish, a stack of corn tortillas, a lightly-greased and heated skillet (for softening the tortillas), and the potato/kale mixture.

Ladle a little bit of the enchilada sauce into the casserole dish and spread it around. Take a corn tortilla, place it on the heated skillet for 30 seconds, flip it over and heat until it has become soft. Drop the tortilla into the pie plate filled with sauce, allow it to get totally soaked, flip it over and coat the other side.

Place the tortilla in the casserole dish and then layer it with another heated, sauce-covered tortilla. Run the potato filling down the middle and roll it up. Continue with the rest of the tortillas, tightly packing the enchiladas next to each other.

Pour about a cup of the sauce over the top (saving some for later), cover tightly with foil and bake for 25 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for another 10-15 minutes. Allow to cool slightly before serving. Top individual servings with the remaining enchilada sauce, a dollop of sour cream and a squirt of lime juice.

Butternut Squash & Red Lentil Soup

28 09 2011

The main reason I chose to make this soup, minus the fact that it harnesses some great autumn veggies, also minus the fact that I had some tahini kicking around in the fridge… was that in the cookbook picture, it looked so creamy, like a spiced pumpkin puree.

I had just spent the night at a friends grandparents house out in Chemsford, MA and part of dinner was a pumpkin soup that was so yummy and had the same texture that I was dying for; the kind where you can swirl imprints with your spoon that will hold just long enough. Sadly, my soup didn’t turn out that way. Maybe I didn’t use enough squash, or too much broth. Maybe I’ll just keep blaming myself. Stupid stupid stupid. Maybe I’m a victim of metric system conversions. The book was published in Australia.

Either way, it’s a thinner soup than expected, but don’t let that deter you. It has a mellow, sweet flavor with the occasional hint of hotness. If I made it again, I would add some roasted garlic and some herbs, I’m thinking sage.

Butternut Squash & Red Lentil Soup
Adapted from Vegetarian Cooking: A Commonsense Guide

1 tb. olive oil
1 long red chili, seeded and chopped, plus extra to garnish
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 large butternut squash, peeled and chopped
1 sweet potato, peeled and chopped
5-6 cups vegetable stock
1/2 cup red lentils
1 tb. tahini
Salt and pepper to taste

Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan. Saute the chili, onion and garlic over medium heat for 2-3 minutes, or until the onion has softened.

Reduce the heat to low, add the squash and sweet potato, cover and cook for 8 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the stock and bring to the boil, simmer for 10 minutes. Add the lentils, put the lid back on and cook for an additional 10 minutes, or until the lentils are tender.

Process the soup in batches in a blender, add the tahini and blend until smooth. Return to the saucepan, and gently reheat. Season to tase. Serve garnished with chili.

Spaghetti with Chili, Lemon and Arugula

4 08 2011

Can I start off by saying how A friggin’ plus this summer has been so far? Las Vegas, full-day beach excursions, kites..in the shape of ducks!, pool parties, drunkenly reconnecting with some of the best people I know, karaoke, margaritas, skee-ball, new friends, a live-in loverfriendboy. It’s pretty much all really inappropriate for a 24 year-old living at their parents house. This is the stuff of college summer breaks and of the unemployed.  Now it’s time to watch Lost and drink wine. Death is for babies.

Any ways. Ryan and I were going to make this meal together, but he ended up talking to his mother on the phone the whole time and by the time he was off, I was done. Second time this has happened. Whisper voice: I’m starting to think it’s intentional. His loss, I guess. Preparing the meal is almost as good as eatin’ it.

A bright little dish. Flecks of color and popping flavors throughout; lemon zest, bursts of chili and garlic. I used a garlic-infused olive oil that gave the whole dish a powerful presence. Highly recommended if you can find it. The sharp parmesan is a perfect match to the peppery arugula. Though if arugula isn’t your favorite, you could try basil as a substitute.

Spaghetti with Chili, Lemon and Arugula
Adapted from Vegetarian Cooking: A Commonsense Guide

13 oz. spaghetti
3 1/2 oz. arugula, finely shredded
1 tb. lemon zest
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 small red chili, seeded and minced
1 tsp. chili oil (or just some olive oil mixed with red pepper flakes)
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

Cook the pasta in a large saucepan of boiling, salted water until al dente.

Meanwhile, put the arugula, lemon zest, garlic, chili, chili oil, olive oil and two-thirds of the cheese in a large bowl and mix together.

Drain the pasta well, then add to the argula mixture and toss together. Season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Serve sprinkled with the remaining Parmesan.

Chili-Bean Tortilla Wraps

19 09 2010

I didn’t intend for this blog to be so mopey & angst-filled. It’s sort of tough though, trying to get over an intense relationship while also living at your parents house. Awesome. What’s also tough is being a recipe fanatic, but having no one to serve food to most nights. Hence my eating alone picture (below), then proceeding to wrap up leftovers that I’ll eat throughout the rest of the week. Food is healing. I will give it that. These tortillas, especially when dolled up with all the garnishes, make me feel really reminiscent of being in cheap taco joints in Texas last summer. Drunk with friends, late at night, with spicy salsas waking us up to the awesomeness that is life. So take that, tortillas. You make me lonely, but you’re delicious.

Chili-Bean Tortilla Wraps
Adapted from Vegetarian Cooking: A Commonsense Guide

Chili Beans:
2 tbs. olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 bell pepper, chopped
2 small red chilis, seeded & chopped
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. cumin
1/4 tsp. sugar
1 can (14 oz) diced tomatoes
1 can (15.5 oz) kidney beans
1 tb. tomato paste

12 soft flour tortillas
2 cups grated cheddar cheese
Sour Cream (optional)
Lime wedges (optional)

1. To make the chili beans, heat the olive oil in a saucepan over low heat and saute the onions, garlic, pepper, and chilis for 8-10 minutes, or until softened. Add the remaining ingredients, along with 1/2 cup water. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes. Season to taste.
2. Lay the tortillas on a work surface. Put some of the bean mixture along the middle of each tortilla, sprinkle with some cheese, and roll up. Place seam side down on a heated/oiled pan and grill each side until golden brown. Serve with sour cream & lime wedges. Or some home-made guac and/or salsa.

Chili-Cheese Bread

18 08 2010
The only thing I can really say about my experience this evening with chili-cheese bread is that I was probably feeling a little bit too Eat, Pray, Love-ish, as I sliced in and proceeded to eat 3 thick slices at 11:30 pm, melting butter over the tops with my bare fingers and thinking about how I purposefully didn’t call my boyfriend this evening. Make this. Don’t phone your significant other. There’s connection in the disconnect. Add some chopped jalapeno to it too. The recipe called for it. I forgot.
Chili-Cheese Bread
Adapted from eat me, delicious
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 tsps. sugar
1 tb. baking powder
1 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1 cup milk
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 egg
1 4-oz can chopped green chilis, drained
1/2 cup finely chopped bell pepper

Preheat the oven to 375F, and grease or spray an 8×3 inch loaf pan. 

Sift together the flour, salt, pepper, sugar, and baking powder in a medium bowl. Add the cheese and gently toss and stir until it is evenly distributed throughout the mixture.

Whisk the milk, oil, egg, green chiles, and red bell pepper in another bowl. Make a well in the center of the flour and cheese mixture, and pour the milk mixture in the center. Briefly blend with a spatula, only until the dry ingredients are just incorporated.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan, and place in the oven. Bake until the top is golden-brown, and springs back when touched in the center, about 45-50 minutes. Cool on a rack for 10 minutes, then remove the bread from the pan and cool completely.