Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Butternut Squash and Chickpea Salad

Despite my (nominal) efforts to stay fairly healthy, I still fall behind sometimes with the simplicity of seamlessweb and the abundance of 5 dollar chinese lunch specials.  I guess I went too many days without vitamin c/greens because I have recently succumbed to a nasty cold.  This cold really hit hard and has me lying in bed and craving and eating so (too) much (hot and sour) soup.  Desperate to restore some balance to my diet I decided to go for a good mix of vitamin c and greens.

Start with:
lettuce of your choice
Butternut Squash (I bought mine already peeled and cut up--pretty cheap at TJ and really worth it to avoid to hassle of cutting up a squash!)
Olive Oil, salt, pepper, hot paprika
Either: Dried Currants, Cherries, Craisins, Golden Raisins
Nuts (I've still got an abundance of TJ's sliced almonds so I went with those)
Goat Cheese
1 can of chickpeas

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and cut up the squash into small pieces.  Cover in olive oil, salt, pepper and hot paprika.
Roast for about 20-25 minutes stirring once.  The squash should be tender and slightly caramelized. (It's hard to resist eating the pan once you've tasted one to "see if it's ready"!)
They should look like this:
While the squash is in the oven, rinse off the chickpeas.
Place the lettuce in a bowl and in a circle place: a small handful of goat cheese crumbles, nuts, dried fruit, the squash, and chickpeas

As for the dressing, drizzling olive oil and balsamic should work fine but I go with an easy dressing with an olive oil base+ a dash of: grey poupon, honey, lemon, red wine vinegar, red pepper flakes and salt and pepper
It's easy, you can play with the proportions until you get something that tastes good and goes with every salad, and it stays fresh in the fridge for a loooong time!

The salad was pretty simple and delicious, enjoy!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Apple Slaw (with almonds, craisins and apricot mustard vinaigrette)

I've been looking at fall recipes lately and this one caught my eye.  I saw it on a few blogs and it always made me curious--a slaw with some sort of crunchy nut, a juicy dried fruit and a sweet and tangy dressing.  Almost like a dessert slaw!  I love cabbage, it brightens up sandwiches, salads and tacos and I always like finding a new use for it.  I would make a few changes to this recipe, but I definitely recommend try it out--I bet it would make a good addition to the Thanksgiving table!

Start with:
1 tart green apple
1 head of green/napa cabbage or a prepared mix (fresher always tastes better, but this is all I had on hand today)
Grain Mustard
Apricot preserves (I initially bought this for ChickenDorisGordon but haven't had a chance to make it yet---don't worry grandma, I'm going to do it soon and tell you all about it!
Nuts: sliced almonds are super cheap at Trader Joe's, but I've seen pecans or walnuts in similar recipes (either candied or plain) and they look like they'd taste just as good
Olive Oil and Vinegar

FYI: while the grain mustard is really cheap at Trader Joes (about $1.50) but I honestly would go with a different brand--I found this mustard to be really lacking in flavor.

Start by cutting up the apple into small sticks.  If you have a mandoline I'm sure that makes it much easier but the old fashioned way works just as well!
 For the dressing put 2 tablespoons of the apricot preserves, honey and grain mustard into a bowl and mix.  I also put a touch of olive oil and red wine vinegar.  If you have it, I'd use apple cider vinegar or any other sweeter flavored vinegars.
Toss the dressing, apples and slaw together and add in: nuts of your choice and dried fruit of your choice.  I put in both craisins and golden raisins and I thought they were delicious together.
Mix well!  Add vinegar to taste.

Enjoy =)  Upon reflection, I found the dish a little too sweet so I would play around with the proportions a bit.  Try a stronger mustard and a little less honey.  Maybe some more vinegar too.  Let me know how it turns out!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Eggplant Surprise (leftovers!!)

This is just a quickie idea on what to do with some leftover prosciutto (from the last pasta post) other than eat it straight from the deli bag.  I had some eggplant lying around that was going to go bad if I didn't use it, so I figured I'd cook it up with the prosciutto.  I also saw a leftover bottle of roasted red peppers and figured, hey why not throw that in too, it's all in the Italian theme right?  And what could make a combination of eggplant, prosciutto and roasted red peppers more delicious?  Cheese.  Cheese is pretty much the only answer when asked to make something already delicious MORE delicious.
You're probably wondering where this is all going.  So here it is:
Cut the eggplant in thin slices, spray them lightly with pam or olive oil and broil them for about 8 minutes until they're soft.
Cover with red peppers:

And the prosciutto! And a bit of marinara sauce (or none if you don't have any, I'm sure it'd still be delicious)
Smother in cheese and broil until all melty and bubbling.
Hmm this might not show how delicious it was.  But trust me, it was.  Try it out with any leftovers you have around.  Zucchini and chicken could substitute for the eggplant, and any number of goodies could be used in place of the peppers and prosciutto.  Just don't forget the cheese!