Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Navy Bean and Beet Salad

You might have noticed that I’ve been keeping my Lenten recipe selections on the easy-to-prepare side. There's no law that requires lenten dishes to have complicated procedures requiring hours to prepare, as some do - TOPIG, for example.

Today’s recipe falls into the quick-and-easy category, plus it's nutritious, tasty and colorful. You just can't beat that!

Navy Bean and Beet Salad
Serves 6

Salad Ingredients:
2 (15 oz.) cans Navy beans, drained and rinsed
2 (15 oz.) cans beets, drained and diced
1 small onion, cut into thin crescent shapes
¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped

Dressing Ingredients:
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. black pepper
2 Tbsp. olive oil
Juice of 2 small lemons

1. In a mixing bowl, combine the drained beans and diced beets. Toss in the onion slices and parsley.
2. In a small bowl, whisk together the salt, pepper, oil and lemon juice.
3. Pour dressing over the bean-beet mixture; toss to coat.
4. Cover and chill about 1 hour. Adjust seasonings, if necessary, before serving.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Roasted Red Peppers with Currants and Nuts

Try this for a Lenten side dish. Serve with your favorite Lenten fish recipe.

Roasted Red Peppers with Currants and Nuts
Serves about 8

¼ cup currants or chopped raisins
6 to 8 large red peppers, if in season, - OR – 1 (32-oz.) jar of roasted red peppers
2 cloves garlic, minced
¼ cup olive oil
2 Tbsp. lemon juice or red wine vinegar
½ tsp. Kosher salt
Ground black pepper, to taste
½ tsp. paprika
¼ cup chopped nuts (walnuts, pecans, or pine nuts)

1. Place currants (or raisins) in a small bowl. Pour hot water over them just to cover. Allow to soften for a few minutes, then drain. Set aside until ready to serve.

2. To roast and prepare fresh red peppers:

  •          Place oven rack a few inches from the broiling unit.
  •          Preheat oven to broil.
  •          Wash peppers, leaving them whole.
  •          Place peppers on a foil-lined, lightly oiled baking pan.
  •          Turn peppers every 5 to 7 minutes, as they start to blacken and blister. Be sure all sides have been cooked.
  •          Remove pan from oven, covering peppers with aluminum foil for about 10 minutes. This will help loosen the charred skin.
  •          When slightly cooled, rinse the skins under running water.
  •          Remove and discard stems and seeds. Rinse peppers. Pat dry with paper towels.

3. If you use jarred peppers, drain and rinse them well. Pat dry.
4. Cut peppers into ¼-inch strips and place in large a bowl.
5. In a small mixing bowl, place garlic, olive oil, lemon juice (or vinegar, if using), salt, pepper, and paprika. Mix well. Pour dressing over the red pepper strip, coating gently.
6. Cover and allow to sit at room temperature for about one hour before serving time.
7. To serve: Garnish with currants and nuts.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Grilled Zucchini with Kalamata vinaigrette

Our local South Florida farmer's markets are currently featuring homegrown produce - zucchini, green beans, Swiss chard, tomatoes to name a few. It's also prime time for picking tomatoes and strawberries. Not a bad deal, really - especially since folks in other parts of the US are still shoveling snow.

I bought all of the above in an effort to make and share some recipes suitable for Lent. I've already posted the Swiss chard and white bean soup recipe, so today I've got a grilled zucchini recipe.  This recipe is adapted from one I found in the Whole Foods recipe collection. It's not necessarily Armenian, but it definitely qualifies to serve during Lenten - or - whenever.
Grilled Zucchini with Kalamata vinaigrette

Grilled Zucchini with Kalamata vinaigrette
Serves 4

½ cup pitted kalamata olives, drained and rinsed
1 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
½ tsp. black pepper
¼ cup water
3 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
4 medium zucchini, washed, and cut lengthwise into  ½” thick slices
Juice of ½ lemon
2 garlic cloves, minced
Dash of salt and pepper
Garnish: 1 small tomato, diced

Step #1
1. In a blender or food processor, process olives, vinegar, pepper, water, and 1 Tbsp. of the olive oil. Blend until smooth.  Add more water if mixture is too thick. Set aside.
Step #2
2. Place zucchini slices in a large bowl; toss with lemon juice, the remaining 2 Tbsp. olive oil, and a dash of salt and pepper until well-coated.
(Note: After cutting the zucchini lengthwise, I cut the pieces in half  crosswise so it would fit in my George Foreman counter top grill.)
The zucchini can be grilled on a stove-top grill pan, in a counter-top grill, or on an outdoor gas or electric grill. Set grill on a medium-high setting.
Step #3
3. Cook until grill marks appear on zucchini, and zucchini becomes tender – about 3 to 4 minutes on each side.

4. Layer zucchini slices on platter; drizzle each layer with Kalamata vinaigrette, and garnish with chopped tomatoes.
Serve hot, warm or at room temperature.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Lenten Swiss Chard and White Bean Soup

The Lenten season is here, so I’m offering a vegetarian version of one of my favorite soups. Hope you’ll like it!

Swiss chard and white bean soup
Lenten Swiss Chard and White Bean Soup
Serves 6

1 large bunch Swiss chard, thoroughly washed
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ tsp. Aleppo red pepper (NOTE:  ½ tsp. paprika with a dash of cayenne pepper may be substituted)
½ tsp. kosher salt, or to taste
¼ tsp. black pepper, or to taste
1 tsp. dried basil leaves, crushed, or to taste
2 Tbsp. tomato paste (or red pepper paste)
1- 16 oz. can diced tomatoes - including the liquid
4 cups water
1 can white beans, drained and rinsed
3 Tbsp. lemon juice
1. To prepare the Swiss chard:
·         Trim the stems from the leaves and wash well. Chop stems into small pieces.
·         Thoroughly wash each leaf of the chard to remove every particle of grit and sand. Remove thick ribs from leaves. Cut leaves into bite-sized pieces. Set aside until ready to use.
Step 2
2. In an 8 quart pot, heat 2 Tbsp. olive oil. SautÄ— onions, garlic, and Swiss chard stems until slightly softened, about 5 minutes. Season with Aleppo red pepper, salt, pepper, and basil leaves. Stir in tomato paste, diced tomatoes with their liquid, and 4 cups water. Cook about 10 minutes, stirring on occasion.
Step 3
3. Add the Swiss chard leaves, white beans and lemon juice; continue cooking for about 20 minutes, or until chard leaves have wilted and softened. Adjust seasonings according to your taste preference.
NOTE: The soup tastes better the next day, after flavors have blended.