Sunday, June 30, 2013

Dandelion Soup

And of course, my second recipe sounds very strange. But I promise you, it is tasty.

M and I were watching Food Network today. I was surprised to see that Chopped had not only a vegan chef on, but that he won! Additionally, his appetizer course made both our mouths water. He had to use morels, chia seeds, dandelion leaves, and rice wrappers. He made some sort of roll with dandelion leaves in a morel broth that just looked amazing.
I've never actually eaten dandelions, though. Growing up, every spring, my dad would mention that my great grandmother used to cook dandelions for him, but he never made them. I've plucked them myself many times - only to feed them to my rabbits. So, spurred by this delicious looking dish and knowing that the grocery store down the street carried dandelion leaves, I looked for other suggestions to use dandelions.
I stumbled upon a soup recipe that was clearly not vegan, and ran with it. Below are the results:

1 lb bunch dandelions (I found mine at Harris Teeter, but I believe Whole Foods carries them as well. Or, if you prefer and have enough, you can always harvest your own from your yard)
2 bulbs worth of roasted garlic, removed from shell.
1 package Gardein Beefless Tips
1 package of pasta of your choice (I used the Barilla veggie rotini)
1 1/2 gallons of mushroom broth (typically 3 packages, or you can make your own)

Place mushroom broth on stove, bring to a boil
While waiting, prepare the Beefless Tips according to package directions. Do not drain the oil when done. This will add extra flavor to the soup.
When the broth is boiling, give the roasted garlic a little mash or chop.
Throw the garlic and pasta into the pot. Set your timer for 3 minutes before the pasta should be done.
Cut your dandelions into ~2 inch long pieces while waiting.
When your timer goes off, add the dandelions and the Beefless Tips, including the oil they were cooked in.
Cook for 2 more minutes, and pull the pot completely off the heat. The pasta will still continue to cook after this.
Serve hot and enjoy.

M and I have started Weight Watchers, so I will now be posting points. This entire recipe, assuming the use of 2 tbsp oil in prep of the Gardein and using my recommended pasta, is worth 54 Points+. Assuming serving sizes of ~ 1 1/2 cups, this comes in a 3 Points+ a serving.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Pasta with a Roasted Red Pepper Pesto-like sauce

This past weekend, I visited my parents.
The family I come from is very meat oriented. My parents eat probably 60% animal products in their diets if they're not gardening and I'm not around. The percentage may even be higher. So as you can imagine, I either have to buy food or scrounge around in the back to their pantry and fridge when I visit.
For part of this visit, I bought a few boxes of veggie pasta and some avocados, garlic, and basil, and made a tried and true dish the first night. However, by the second night, I was scrounging about. I opened up the pantry and found a huge bag of pine nuts. "I can make pesto!" I thought. "Perfect!" So I moved to the fridge, and started looking for any greens I could use. I'd used all my basil the previous night, and I discovered that the only thing green in their entire fridge was the packaging on the string cheese. What a bummer. However, the jar of roasted red peppers sitting in the middle of the fridge caught my attention.
The result was the sauce I'm about to share with you below. It was quite delicious. I made it again once I came home, and it gained omnivore approval with M.
1 16 oz jar roasted red peppers in water
1/2 cup pine nuts
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil (Optional)
Pasta of your choice (I used the Barilla veggie farfalle)
Red pepper flakes to taste

Put water on to boil.
Put pine nuts into a pan, and turn heat to medium low. Stir them frequently, until they're toasted and golden brown in places.
Peel 2 cloves of garlic and quarter them.
Drain your roasted red peppers.
When water is boiling, throw your pasta in.
Put pine nuts, red peppers, garlic, salt, and olive oil all together in a blender. Blend until you have a sauce - it may be slightly gritty in appearance due to the pine nuts.
When your pasta is done, drain and return to pot. Mix in your sauce.
Serve, adding red pepper flakes to taste as a garnish.

After further tweaks, I halved the amount of oil and pine nuts.
M and I have started Weight Watchers, so I will now be posting points. This entire recipe, assuming the use of my recommended pasta, is worth 51 Points+. Assuming 4 servings, this comes in a 13 Points+ a serving. If the oil is omitted completely, it is reduced to 47 total and 12 per serving.