Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Easy Tomato Vegetable Soup

4 cups homemade chicken or vegetable stock (if store-bought, use low-sodium)
12 oz. fire roasted crushed tomatoes
1 bag mixed frozen vegetables (I used a squash, zucchini, carrot, onion, red bell pepper mixture)
1/2 cup (approx.) frozen edamame
salt & pepper
1 tsp sambal
1/2 tsp red wine vinegar
Freshly grated horseradish
2 large handfuls fresh spinach
squeeze fresh lemon juice
fresh parsley

- In a large pot add the stock and the tomatoes with their juices. Simmer for about 20 minutes. Continuously taste and season with salt and/or pepper

- Add the sambal, red wine vinegar, and some freshly grated horseradish (amounts are up to you, I add a little at a time and keep tasting)

- Add the mixed frozen vegetables and simmer for about 8 minutes

- Add the edamame and continue to simmer

- Keep tasting and adjusting seasonings. Near the end add the spinach and simmer until it wilts. Add a splash of lemon juice and some freshly chopped parsley before serving.

Sweet and Spicy Roasted Squash with Pomegranate Vinaigrette Served over Lentils

1 Butternut squash, peeled and cut into cubes
olive oil
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp smoked hot paprika
sprinkle of cinnamon
salt & pepper

- Preheat oven to 375

- Line a baking sheet with tin foil. Toss squash with a dash of olive oil and the rest of the ingredients.

- Roast for 20 minutes, turn, and roast for another 20 minutes

1 Tbsp pomegranate molasses
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp minced shallot
1 1/2 tsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 tsp chopped tarragon
salt & pepper to taste
2 Tbsp olive oil

-Add all of the ingredients to a jar except the olive oil and stir. Add the olive oil and mix. Adjust seasonings as necessary.

1 cup lentils
water to cover

-Put lentils in a sauce pan with enough water to cover.

- Cook for approximately 30-40 minutes, or until lentils are cooked through. Drain.

-Gently toss the lentils with the vinaigrette and top with the squash. Serve as a side or vegetarian main dish.

*optional - top with goat cheese

Monday, October 8, 2012

Spent Grain Apple Muffins

For the fourth year in a row we spent an early fall weekend traveling with friends on a quest to find new breweries, eat great food, have as many laughs as possible, and all around enjoy the beauty of the Midwest in the fall.

This year, instead of just consuming, we actually brewed our own beer! Saugatuck Brewing Company helps you find and tweak a recipe based on your tastes and walks you through the steps for brewing on some small scale equipment. We had an absolute blast and I can't wait to go back in a few weeks to bottle the final product.

Near the end of the brewing session I recalled that brewers often bake with the spent grain leftover from the brewing process. Joe and Dexter graciously let us take as much grain as we wanted and I've spent a relaxing Columbus day playing around with some recipes. In addition to coming home with grains and beer we picked up some delicious Honeycrisp apples from the Sawyer Garden Center after a final stop for a pint at Greenbush Brewery on the way back to Chicago.

Here is my Spent Grain and Apple Muffin recipe.

1 cup spent grain
1 cup whole wheat flour
11/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 apple, diced

- Preheat the oven to 400

- In a food processor pulse the spent grains until they are slightly broken down

- In a bowl combine the whole wheat flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Once combined, stir in the spent grains.

- In a large bowl whisk the sugar, oil, egg, and applesauce.

- Add the flour mix to the sugar mixture, alternating with the buttermilk, stirring lightly until incorporated.

- Fold in the apple chunks.

- Spray muffin tin with cooking spray, stick in the oven briefly to heat, and pour the mixture into the muffin tins.

- Cook for 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.

- Let cool in tin on a rack for 15 minutes. Loosen muffins from tin and let cool completely on baking rack.