Posts Tagged 'red pepper flakes'

Vegetarian Gumbo

veggie gumbo

Vegetarian Gumbo

“Vegetarian Gumbo with Beans?!” – You may question.  I did too … but my friend Justin Fox Burks insisted I give his recipe a try.

Well … as usual … Justin’s recipe was some darn good stuff.  His concoction of veggies and spices offers a tasty gumbo that had everyone at our table asking for seconds.

Justin and his wife Amy Lawrence are co-authors of the fabulous vegetarian recipe blog “The Chubby Vegetarian.”  Their blog has become my go-to for all things veggie.  It is a great resource for dishes so delicious and creative that you will never miss the meat. This recipe is also featured in their new book “The Southern Vegetarian” (May 2013, Thomas Nelson Publishers).  I was lucky enough to get an advance copy and am loving everything I have made so far. It’s a must for vegetarians and meat-eaters both!

Back to the gumbo … Justin’s recipe calls for liquid smoke. An ingredient I had never used before.  But since it was at Whole Foods I figured it was safe to eat! I used the Hickory smoke flavor. It gave the gumbo that depth that a smoked sausage adds a traditional gumbo.

Enjoy!

The Chubby Vegetarian Gumbo

Click here for the original recipe.

2 tablespoons canola oil
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup chopped tomato (1 medium)
1 1/2 cups chopped onion (1 medium)
8 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon vegetarian Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons creole mustard
1 1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke
1 tablespoon vinegar
10 dashes Tabasco
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 quart vegetable stock
4 cups sliced okra (1/4 inch slices, stem-end discarded)
1 1/2 cups red beans (1 16 ounce can, drained and rinsed or makes your own)
10 ounces crimini mushrooms (quartered)
1 1/2 cups diced zucchini (1 medium)
1 1/2 cups diced  green pepper (1 large)
1 1/2 cups diced red pepper (1 large)
1 cup thinly sliced celery (2 ribs)
4-5 cups cooked jasmine rice
1/2 cup sliced green onion (for garnish)
5-6 sprigs baby dill (for garnish)

To make the roux, place the canola oil and the flour into a medium-sized dutch oven. (This is the pot in which you will eventually make the gumbo, so using it now saves on dishes later. A heavy pot like this is essential when making a roux because of its ability to distribute heat evenly.) With the oil and flour in the cold dutch oven, turn the heat on medium. Whisk the mixture constantly until you notice that it has become nutty (it’ll kind of smell like — gasp! — fried chicken) and fragrant (both of which happen about five minutes into the process). At this point, turn the heat to low. Keep a close eye on your roux, and whisk the mixture about every minute so no part of the roux burns. Continue in this fashion for about another twenty minutes or until the roux has taken on the color of an old penny. Remove the pot from the heat. Congratulations — you just made your first roux!

Place the tomato, onion, garlic, worcestershire sauce, mustard, liquid smoke, vinegar, Tabasco, soy sauce, thyme, red pepper flakes, paprika, nutmeg and oregano into the work bowl of your food processor. This is quite an unconventional method for making gumbo, but it works beautifully. Blend mixture until smooth. This is your flavoring agent for the whole dish. Now return the dutch oven with the roux still in it to a burner set to medium-high heat, and immediately add the mixture you just made in the food processor. Stir to incorporate. Continue cooking and stirring the resulting mixture until most of the liquid has evaporated, and it resembles a paste. Add the vegetable stock and stir. Once the mixture is heated through, turn the burner to medium-low. Add the okra, red beans, mushrooms, zucchini, green and red peppers, and celery to the pot. Cook uncovered for about 20 minutes until everything is heated through, but not mush.

To serve, ladle out some gumbo into a bowl and top with about 1/2 cup of rice, a few green onions, and a sprig of fresh dill. Have plenty of crusty french bread and butter on hand for sopping up the amazing broth.

Serves 6 to 8.

Cooking Tip: If you like okra but are not a fan of the sliminess that sometimes can occur with it, sauté the sliced okra in batches in one tablespoon of canola oil until lightly browned. Add the cooked okra to the gumbo. Problem solved.

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Mediterranean Quinoa Salad

 

Have a surplus of summer squash?

Zucchini, yellow squash and eggplant have thrived in my veggie garden this summer. I keep looking for new ways to enjoy my garden’s bounty! This salad is one of my favorite.

This is a quick and  easy vegetarian salad you can make with grilled summer squashes.

The base of the salad is quinoa. It you are not familiar with it, quinoa is a high-protein, gluten-free grain that cooks much like rice and has a texture similar to couscous. It makes a delicious and healthy base for a salad.

Enjoy!

Mediterranean Quinoa Salad

Vegetable oil, for the grill basket or screen
1 red onion, cut into 1/2 inch slices
1 small eggplant, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 red bell pepper, cut into 1-inch squares
1 zucchini, cut lengthwise and then into 1/2-inch slices
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cups quinoa, cooked per package directions
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 cup finely shopped fresh cilantro

Preheat a clean grill with a grill basket or screen to medium-high with the lid closed for 8 to 10 minutes. Light brush the grill basket or screen with oil.

In a large bowl toss together the red onion, eggplant, red bell pepper, zucchini, and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Transfer the vegetables to the grill basket. Close the lid and cook, turning once or twice, until the vegetables are tender and slightly charred, about 5 to 7 minutes per side.

Place the prepared quinoa in a large bowl.  Add the grilled vegetables and toss to combine.

In a small bowl whisk together the remaining olive oil, red wine vinegar, lemon juice, garlic, and red pepper flakes. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss to coat.  Season with salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with cilantro. Serve warm or chilled.

Serves 4.

Do-Ahead: The quinoa can be made a day ahead. Store covered in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Grill Pan Friendly: The veggies can be grilled indoors on a grill pan.

Source: Simply Grilling by Jennifer Chandler

Photo by the talented Justin Fox Burks.

Chicken Yakitori

Earlier this summer I was looking for new chicken dishes to try on the grill and I tried yakitori. These kebabs are a popular item on the menus of Japanese restaurants and are very simple to make at home.

Yakitori is a traditional Japanese cooking method. In fact, it is one of the fastest and easiest grilling preparations there is.  Your favorite chicken part is cut in small pieces (I prefer chicken thighs because the meat stays juicy and flavorful), skewered, and then lacquered with a sweet, syrupy sauce while grilled over direct heat.

The emphasis on this dish is the sauce … which is both sweet and savory at the same time.  It’s made from a combination of Asian ingredients such as soy sauce, mirin, sake, and fresh ginger. No need to worry about serving this to little ones. Most of the alcohol in the sake evaporates when the sauce is brought to a boil. But if you prefer, unseasoned rice wine vinegar can be substituted for the sake.

To complete the meal, serve the skewers with a bowl of hot steamed rice and a crispy Asian slaw.

Chicken Yakitori

3/4 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup mirin
1/2 cup sake
2 tbsp. finely grated fresh ginger
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1 1/2 lbs. skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
Skewers (if using bamboo, soak in water for 30 minutes)
Vegetable oil, for the grates

In a medium saucepan combine the soy sauce, mirin, sake, ginger, garlic, and crushed red pepper flakes. Over high heat, bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer until the sauce has thickened slightly, about 8 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature.

Put the chicken in a large bowl. Add 1/2 cup of the marinade and toss to coat. Cover, place in the refrigerator, and marinate for 30 minutes.

Preheat a clean grill to medium-high with the lid closed for 8 to 10 minutes. Lightly brush the grates with oil.

Remove the chicken from the marinade and shake off the excess. Discard the marinade. Thread the chicken onto the skewers.

Place the chicken on the grill. Close the lid and cook, basting with the remaining marinade and turning frequently to prevent scorching, until no longer pink the middle, about 3 to 5 minutes on each side.

Serves 4.

Cooking Tip: Mirin is sweetened rice cooking wine. It is found in the international section of most larger supermarkets.

Source: Simply Grilling by Jennifer Chandler (Thomas Nelson, 2012)

Photo by the talented Justin Fox Burks.

BBQ Chicken

You don’t have to be a pitmaster to make finger-lickin’ good barbecue chicken. These tips and tricks will have you mastering the grill like a pro.

First, start with the sauce.  Whereas bottled sauces are a tasty convenience, homemade sauces can be much tastier. Surprisingly easy to whip up using pantry staples, homemade sauces have a fresher and brighter flavor than their packaged counterparts. The recipe below is a basic barbecue sauce. But you can doctor it up by adding ingredients like honey, hot sauce and even bourbon to make your own signature sauce.

When preparing your chicken for the grill, be sure to let the meat stand at room temperature for about 30 minutes before putting it on the grates.  Taking away the chill will help your chicken cook more evenly and quickly.

For a boost of flavor, an easy trick is to season the chicken with a spicy dry rub instead of just salt and pepper. Brushing the chicken with a little oil before adding the rub will not only help the rub better adhere to the meat but will also help prevent sticking on the grill.

Two-zone grilling is especially helpful for cooking foods like bone-in chicken. Sear the chicken first over direct heat and then move it to an area with no heat to finish cooking by indirect heat. To create an indirect heating zone on your gas grill, simply turn off the burners on one side.  For a charcoal grill, place the hot coals only on one side of the grill. Also, closing the lid is essential when using indirect grilling. A closed lid helps the grill mimic an oven and evenly cook the chicken.

Finally, the key to perfect barbecue chicken is to apply the sauce when the chicken is almost done. This prevents the sauce from burning.

Enjoy!

BBQ Chicken

From Simply Grilling by Jennifer Chandler

For the Homemade Barbecue Sauce:

2 cups ketchup
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
2 tablespoons molasses
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon ground dry mustard
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

For the Barbecue Chicken:

Vegetable oil, for grates
2 tablespoons paprika
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 1/2 pounds mixed chicken parts, such as breasts, thighs, drumsticks, and wings
1 cup barbecue sauce

To make the barbecue sauce:

In a large saucepan combine the ketchup, water, vinegar, brown sugar, molasses, red pepper flakes, onion powder, dry mustard, and Worcestershire sauce. Over high heat, bring the sauce to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sauce thickens, about 20 to 25 minutes. Measure out 1 cup of sauce. Refrigerate the remaining sauce for another time.

To make the chicken:

Preheat a clean grill to medium-high with the lid closed for 8 to 10 minutes. Lightly brush the grates with oil.

In a small bowl combine the paprika, chili powder, garlic powder, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1/2  teaspoon pepper. Brush the chicken with the olive oil. Generously season the chicken with the dry rub.

Place the chicken on the grill. Close the lid and cook, turning once or twice, until no longer pink in the middle, about 12 to 15 minutes per side. During the final 5 minutes of cooking, baste the chicken with the barbecue sauce. Remove the chicken from grill.

Serves 4.

The Photo was taken by the talented Justin Fox Burks.

Spaghetti Vongole

This is my husband’s favorite dish.  Not only is it delicious, but it brings memories we both love to savor.

Paul spent a semester in college studying in Venice. It was a time I think he will cherish forever. When we were dating, we decided to take a trip to Europe to show each other our “homes” abroad … for me, Paris and for Paul, Venice. It was in Venice, that Paul got down on one knee and made me the happiest girl in the world. That evening, I enjoyed my first true Spaghetti Vongole with a bottle of Pinot Grigio as we celebrated our engagement.

This is the dish I will making for my Valentine this year.  It is full of love, flavor and … as an added bonus is surprisingly simple to make.

Enjoy!

 

Spaghetti Vongole

2 pounds small clams, scrubbed clean
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
1 cup dry white wine
1 pound linguine, cooked as per package directions, drained, and kept warm
1/4 cup minced flat leaf parsley
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Sort through your cleaned clams to make sure all are tightly closed. If any aren’t closed, that means they are dead so throw them away.

In a large pot over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil until a few droplets of water sizzle when carefully sprinkled in the pan.  Add the garlic, red pepper flakes, and the tomatoes.  Stir and cook until the garlic turns fragrant; be careful to not let it brown. Add the white wine and stir to combine. Add the clams, stir gently, and close the lid. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes, or until the mussels open.

Add the drained pasta to the pot along with the parsley. Toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.

Cooking Tips:

When buying fresh clams, do not seal the plastic bag. The clams are still alive and need to breathe. I immediately transfer them to a colander to store in my refrigerator until ready to use.

To prepare the clams, first discard any with broken shells or that are open. Rinse under cold water to remove any dirt.

Any clams that do not open during cooking, should be discarded and not eaten.

Chicken Satays with Peanut Sauce

This quick and easy appetizer is sure to be favorite at your next party!

If you have my cookbook Simply Salads, you may recognize the Peanut Sauce.  In Simply Salads, it is a dressing served with dishes such as my Chinese Chicken Salad and my Asian Noodle Salad.  I always joke that it is so good that you will want to drink it!

I have found that this yummy sauce made from Peanut Butter makes an equally delicious dipping sauce for satays (chicken or beef) or spring rolls.

For parties, satays are a great idea because they are simple to prepare yet make a dramatic presentation.  (Plus I don’t think I have ever found a food on a stick I didn’t love!)

Enjoy!

Chicken Satays with Peanut Sauce

Recipe adapted from Simply Salads by Jennifer Chandler

For the Chicken Satays:
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
4 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon finely grated fresh peeled ginger
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into strips
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

For the Peanut Sauce:
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
1 teaspoon finely grated fresh peeled ginger
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon honey
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
1/2 cup canola oil
A pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup chopped peanuts, for garnish

To prepare the Chicken Satays: In a shallow mixing bowl, combine the sesame oil, soy sauce, vegetable oil, garlic, ginger and red pepper flakes. Place the chicken strips in the marinade and gently toss until well coated. Cover and let the chicken marinate in the refrigerator for at up to 1 hour.

To prepare the Peanut Sauce: In a small bowl whisk together the vinegar, peanut butter, ginger, soy sauce, honey, sesame oil, canola oil, and red pepper flakes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Pour the sauce into a nice serving bowl and garnish with the chopped peanuts.

To finish the Chicken Satays: Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Thread each chicken strip lengthwise onto a skewer.

Place a grill pan over medium heat and brush it with oil to prevent the meat from sticking. Grill the chicken satays for 3 to 5 minutes on each side, until nicely seared and cooked through. Serve the satays with a small bowl of peanut sauce on the side.

Serves 8

Cooking Tips:

Be sure you soak your wooden skewers in water for at least 30 minutes prior to cooking to prevent burning.

This dish can also be prepared on an outside grill.

Chinese Chicken Salad with Peanut Dressing

I love peanut butter!

Whether in a dessert, paired with chocolate (Mr. Reese’s was  genius in my book), in a PB & J sandwich, I just can’t resist it. (I have to admit most often I just eat it by the spoonful straight from the jar!)

When most people think of peanut butter, they think of dessert or the classic children’s sandwich, but did you know that peanut butter is absolutely wonderful in savory dishes?

When I was writing my book Simply Salads, one of the first dressings that came to mind was a peanut dressing I had once enjoyed at a restaurant.  

The cloyingly sweet peanut butter makes a delicious sauce when paired with Asian-cuisine staples such soy sauce, sesame oil, rice wine vinegar, and fresh ginger. 

Peanut sauce is also very versatile. In addition to a salad dressing, I often use it as a marinade for grilled chicken or shrimp, or as a dipping sauce for veggies, spring rolls or chicken satays.

Which peanut butter to use?  I developed this recipe using good old Jiff creamy peanut butter. Crunchy peanut butter works fine as well; the sauce will just not be as smooth. If you want to use natural or freshly-ground peanut butter, you may want to add a little extra honey.

So … Peanut butter lovers beware.  The dressing in this colorful and tasty salad is addictive.

Enjoy!

Chinese Chicken Salad with Peanut Butter Dressing
From Simpy Salads by Jennifer Chandler

For the Peanut Dressing:
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
1 teaspoon finely grated fresh peeled ginger
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon honey
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
1/2 cup canola oil
A pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

For the salad:
1/2 cup Peanut Dressing
1/2 cup fresh snow peas
1 bag (5 ounces) Spring Mix salad blend
2 cups shredded cooked chicken
2 carrots, peeled and shredded on the large holes of a traditional grater
1/4 cup thinly sliced scallions
1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves
1/2 cup chopped roasted peanuts
2 limes, quartered, for garnish

For the Peanut Dressing:
In a small bowl whisk together the vinegar, peanut butter, ginger, soy sauce, honey, sesame oil, canola oil, and red pepper flakes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

For the salad:
Bring salted water to a boil in a medium pot. Add snow peas and cook until vibrant green and crisp tender, 1 to 1 1/2 minutes. Drain the peas and immerse in an ice water bath to stop the cooking process. Drain again and place in a large salad bowl.

Add the salad blend, chicken, carrots, scallions, cilantro, and peanuts and toss. Add the dressing to taste and gently toss to coat. Garnish with lime wedges.  Serve immediately.

Tip: To save time, pick up a roasted rotisserie chicken at your local grocery for this recipe. The meat will be fresh, juicy, and flavorful. 

Makes 4 dinner salads


Jennifer Chandler

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