Saturday, April 17, 2010

Pineapple Dip/ Salad Dressing

It was just a little over a year ago that I was ruminating over whether or not to buy a Blendtech 3HP blender. Everyone I knew who had one said they just could not live without theirs. I could not even imagine becoming so attached to an appliance and was really having a hard time with the thought of forking out so much money for a "blender." I finally decided to buy one just to see what all the hype was about. I can honestly say, now, that I would be miserable if I ever had to part with it. I use it at least once a day but usually twice (morning smoothie, evening soup, salad dressing, or dessert). The reason I bring this up is that the following recipe is soooo easy to throw together with a high power blender. If you want to try to make it in a regular blender I recommend soaking the seeds in orange juice along with the pineapple rings.

Pineapple Dip or Salad Dressing

5 rings unsweetened, dried pineapple
orange juice
2 ounces raw, unsalted sunflower seeds, hulled (just under a half cup)
2 Tb rice vinegar

24 hours in advance, place the pineapple rings in a small bowl. Pour in just enough organge juice to barely cover the rings. Cover and place in the fridge to allow the rings to soak up the juice. The next day there will be very little juice left (see below photo) and the rings will be nice and plump. Place the rings, remaining juice, sunflower seeds, and vinegar into your blender. Add 1/4 cup more orange juice and blend. (I use the whole juice cycle.) Add more orange juice to reach the desired consistecy. I ended up adding in 1/2 cup orange juice total in addition to the soaking juice. Serve as a dip for sliced fruit and/or lettuce cups or over a salad as a dressing.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Easy Red Lentil Curry

This is what I make for comfort food after a long, busy week. Easy and quick, served over quinoa in the photo but can also be served alone.

1 large onion, chopped
8 cups water
3 cups red lentils, rinsed well
4 zucchini, diced small
1 10 ounce bag frozen spinach
1 Tbs good quality curry powder of your choice (I use Penzey's)

In a large pot steam fry onions in a little water till softened. Add water, lentils, zucchini, and curry powder. Bring to a boil then reduce to simmer on low heat for 20 minutes or until lentils are done. Stir in spinach and let sit for about 5 minutes. Serve alone or over rice or quinoa.

Makes 8 servings

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Slow Cooker Black Bean Chipotle Chili

(adapted from the ultimate Rice Cooker Cookbook)

1 pound dried black beans, rinsed and soaked overnight
1 bay leaf
1 1/2 Tbs dried marjoram or savory
1 Tbs cumin seeds
1 Tbs sweet paprika
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
2 Tbs chili powder
2 large onions, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1 28 ounce can no-salt added diced tomatoes
1 1/2 tsp chopped canned chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
chopped fresh cilantro for garnish

Drain and rinse beans. Place them with the bay leaf in slow cooker with enough water to cover by about 1 inch. Cook on low for 8 hours in slow cooker. About an hour before they are done, heat a large cast iron skillet on low heat. Add the marjoram and cumin seeds. Toast until fragrant then add the paprika, cayenne, and chili powder till warmed. Transfer spices to a mortar and grind them. Cook onions and garlic on medium heat in a small amount of water in a medium sized pot for about 5 minutes. Add tomatoes and ground spices and cook on low for 20 minutes, covered.

Drain and rinse the beans when they are done cooking, remove bay leaf, and return to slow cooker. When tomatoes and onions are done cooking, add them to the beans and stir. Cook on low for 2 hours adding additional water if you don't want your chili too thick. Once done, garnish each individual serving with chopped cilantro.

Makes 6 servings