Friday, May 11, 2012

Brown and Wild Rice with Quinoa Vegetable Stir Fry

It really is a wonder that I haven't yet done a post about broccoli- a vegetable that never lasts long in our household.  I am absolutely cuckoo for it.  Want to know what else I'm cuckoo for?  This stuff:

Although I never would have imagined I would be.  When my husband brought it home one day, stating that it looked like "one of those weird things you vegetarians like," I was sure I would hate it.  But it's wonderful, saves so much time, isn't too terribly expensive, and added a lovely rich flavor to this stir fry that even he loved.

Brown and Wild Rice with Quinoa Vegetable Stir Fry

Yield: 4 servings

1/2 - 1 cup salted cashews (I prefer a full cup- adds a nice nuttiness and texture)
2 cups broccoli, separated into florets
olive oil
1/4 cup vegetable broth
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
1/4 green bell pepper, chopped
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 carrot, peeled and shredded
2 green onions, chopped (keep whites separated from dark green)
dash sriracha 
2 packages brown and wild rice with quinoa, cooked according to package
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
1/2 inch ginger, peeled and minced
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
salt and pepper to taste

Toast cashews in medium sized frying pan with no oil over medium heat for just a minute or two until fragrant.  Remove from pan and set aside.  Drizzle a little oil in pan, enough to coat, and add vegetable broth.  Bring to medium heat, then add broccoli and cover.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until tender- about 6-8 minutes, then set aside.
Meanwhile, drizzle a little oil in a large frying pan and bring to medium high heat.  Add peppers, onion, celery, and carrot, and whites of green onions.  Let cook about 5 minutes, then add garlic and ginger and cook until vegetables are tender and onions are translucent.  Add brown and wild rice with quinoa, sriracha, soy sauce, and sesame oil, and stir fry about 5 minutes, then gently fold in broccoli and cashews.  Add salt and pepper to taste, then reduce heat to low and cook for 4-5 minutes for flavors to marry.  Sprinkle raw green onions on top for garnish.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Easy, Pectin-free Strawberry Rhubarb Pepper Jelly and Glazed Rutabaga

I just returned from a beautiful vacation in Maui, an island that will now forever be connected to pepper jelly in my mind.  Yes, while the rest of my family was eating ham and cheese sandwiches, I was dumping globs of the stuff on a plate and happily picking it up with slices of crusty bread.  BTW, if per chance you go to Maui, you must visit this place.  Sure, I could have made myself a wonderful vegetarian sandwich, but I didn't want to.  I was in love.  I returned home and I knew I wanted to continue this love affair, but since I no longer have the luxury of eating it on a tropical island I decided to compensate by making this the best. darn. pepper jelly I have ever tasted. 

I can't get enough of this stuff, so don't let that itty bitty jar fool you- this makes about 2 cups worth.  About rutabaga- it's fabulous, and is the whole reason I started this veggie journey!  I was at the grocery store with my dad when he saw them and cringed.  I asked, "What's so bad about them?" and he couldn't answer because... he'd never had them before!  His father had once declared them awful and apparently my pops had taken his word for it.  But I wanted to see for myself, so I popped one in my cart and haven't looked back since.  My kids love it mixed in with their hash browns, but I prefer it roasted (I'm beginning to think this blog should have been named Vegetarian Loves Roasting :)  I can't really speak for rhubarb, as the flavors in this all play together and I haven't had it since I was a child.  But it's on my to try list for sure.  Anyways, let's get down to business, or should I say play- though the jelly takes a while, there's really not much work involved!

Strawberry Rhubarb Pepper Jelly
This recipe was adapted from Averie Cooks' Stovetop Pepper Jelly

nonstick spray

1 stalk rhubarb, chopped (no need to peel but def remove leaves- they're poisonous)
1/2 cup sweet onion (preferably maui :), chopped
3 jalapenos, seeded, ribs removed, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 cup strawberries, chopped
2 cups sugar
1 cup cider vinegar

Spray a nonreactive  medium sized saucepan with nonstick spray and bring to medium high heat..  Add all ingredients except for strawberries and let cook until softened, about 6-8 minutes.  Add strawberries and cook for 2 more.  Add sugar and vinegar, bring to boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer uncovered until reduced by half, stirring occasionally (this usually takes me about an hour and a half.)  I used a toothpick to mark where the mixture began and checked every time I stirred, which was about 3 times during the process.  When it develops a syrupy consistency on your spoon you are generally good to go.  Pour into canning jar (careful- it's hot!) and place in warm cupboard overnight to set.  Then store it in your fridge for up to 3 weeks, or in your freezer for a year.

Glazed Rutabaga

2 rutabagas
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tsp salt
2 tsp sugar
1/4 cup Strawberry Rhubarb Pepper Jelly

Preheat oven to 400F.  Cut the peel off rutabagas and cut into 1/2 inch cubes.  Place in bowl and massage in olive oil, salt, and sugar.  Roast for 30-40 minutes on foil-lined baking sheet until tender, stirring every 15 minutes to reduce sticking.  Melt jelly in microwave and drizzle over rutabaga, stir, then return to oven for 2-3 minutes.