Panko Crusted Lentil Loaf

June 7, 2011 § 3 Comments

About the Loaf

I didn’t think that I was a lentil loafy kind of person, but when I tried this recipe; I fell in love.

I adapted this recipe because I knew I could make something more delicious. Actually, I just forgot to buy all the ingredients. I was shocked by the taste because I didn’t notice the difference. I made the original many times before, but I plan on sticking with my own. It’s just as tasty, healthier and has a nice crunchy top.

◊Serves 6

Cookware

Ingredients

  • 1 pack of Trader Joe’s Steamed Lentils (wt. 17.6 oz.)
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 medium to large zucchinis
  • 1 pack of TJ’s shredded carrots (2.5 cups)
  • 1/4 cup of water or veggie broth for lentils
  • 3/4 cup of water for tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp of olive oil
  • 2 medium eggs
  • 1 tbsp of dried basil
  • 1 tbsp of dried oregano
  • 2 tsp of garlic powder
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 6 oz. can of tomato paste
  • ~1 cup of Panko breadcrumbs (may need more or less to cover surface)

To Make

Step 1: chop onion and zucchini

Step 2: in saute pan on medium heat add olive oil, chopped zucchini, onion and shredded carrots till softened

Step 3: add vegetable broth and lentils then saute till incorporated

Step 4: add garlic powder, oregano, basil, salt and pepper (good time to taste test) turn off heat

Step 5: after desired taste, mix in two beaten eggs

Step 6: transfer to nonstick baking dish and preheat oven to 350°F

Step 7: in a bowl mix tomato paste and water then spread evenly

Step 8: on center rack bake for 35 mins then remove

Step 9: add panko breadcrumbs and return to oven for 15 mins

Crust should look like this

Serve and Enjoy!

Creamy Corn Soup with Roasted Peppers

May 21, 2011 § 2 Comments

creamy corn soup with roasted peppers and spicy oil

About the Soup

Arugula, corn and roasted peppers make one of my favorite chopped salads. So why not make a soup?

I wanted to try Tal Ronnen’s Cashew Cream recipe from his book, the conscious cook. Supposedly, raw cashews can mimic the texture and replace cream without altering taste. In the past, I’ve used soy, coconut and almond milk as substitutes for milk. I’ve never used them in savory recipes and I wouldn’t want to. They tasted like what they’re supposed to-soy, coconut and almond.

Could cashews be the answer? I needed to try it.

Cashew Cream Recipe by Tal Ronnen

a page from Tal Ronnen’s The Conscious Cook

I followed the recipe as instructed. I have a Vita-Mix blender (pricey, but worth every penny) so it made things a lot easier.

Step 1: Soak raw cashews (I used a 16 oz. bag from Trader Joe’s.)

This is what they look like after being soaked for a few days. The recipe says overnight, but I didn’t get to them till 3 days later.

Step 2: Pour in Vita-Mix and blend until smooth

cashew cream (~5 cups)

The Soup

Serves: ~4-5

Ingredients:

  • 3 ears of sweet corn
  • 3 roasted peppers*
  • 1 loose cup of arugula (garnish)
  • 1 cup of cashew cream
  • 3 cups of water
  • 2-3 tbsp of olive oil (more for frying arugula)
  • spicy olive oil (optional)
  • salt and pepper to taste

* I used Trader Joe’s pre-made fire roasted peppers.

Step 1: Shave the kernels (I used a knife or you can buy a fancy gadget.)

Step 2: pour olive oil onto a medium heated pan and saute the kernels with some salt and pepper for 5-7 mins until color changes

Step 3: set 2/3 cup of sautéed kernels aside

Step 4: in your Vita-Mix, add sautéed kernels, roasted peppers, cashew cream, 2 cups of water and blend

Step 5: in a large pot, pour mixture and heat; add 2/3 cup of kernels back in (adjust salt and pepper) and stir; use the remaining cup of water to adjust desired creaminess

Step 6: keep soup on very low heat and prepare to make the garnish

Fried Arugula

Step 1: fill pot with oil 1/2 inch deep

Step 2: after patting dry arugula, drop a few pieces in and fry for 30 seconds each

Step 3: remove and drain on paper towel immediately

fried arugula

Conclusion

This soup was creamy and delicious! There was no after taste. It was a true replacement for cream. I couldn’t believe it! The flavor was amazing!

I encourage you to try this recipe. You will never look at cashews the same.

Enjoy!

Trader Joe’s Basil Plant

May 12, 2011 § 4 Comments

photo taken after pruning (originally 1.5 ft. tall)

Basil is delicious. I grew up cooking with it and it’s a staple in my kitchen. I love fresh veggies, but the thought of gardening intimidates and bores me at the same time. This is my second plant. I had a tomato plant a year ago. It died not because of harsh weather, but complete lack of care. I wish I had the patience for gardening, but I don’t. Buying this plant was a stretch, but it was only fifty cents more than the pre-packaged basil. I decided to try it out.

Plant at Trader Joe’s: $2.99

Packaged Basil at Trader Joe’s: ~$2.50

The plant did not come with any clear instructions, so I just let it sit there for a day or two. The leaves looked like they were getting long so I panicked. Naturally, I turned to youtube to find my solution. The best I found was this guy.

After watching, I proceeded to prune my plant and was left with about three cups of fresh basil.

~3 cups of fresh basil

I’ve been trying to take care of my plant. We’ll see what happens.

If you do stop by Trader Joe’s, this would be a good buy even if you don’t like gardening.

Learn to make Creamy Yogurt Pesto.

the everything crouton

May 10, 2011 § 4 Comments

everything croutons with whole wheat bread

Croutons are crunchy, delicious and easy to make.

When you buy bread, there always seems to be some weird shaped pieces on the ends. There isn’t anything wrong with the end, but the only reason you would ever touch it is to get to the next slice. Unless you are desperate for bread, you’d probably throw it out. Here is a quick and easy way to make them into a great snack or topping.

How to make your odds and ends popular.

Ingredients:

  • Day old bread, bread ends, bread you just don’t feel like eating anymore (I used whole wheat bread)
  • Olive Oil
  • Seasoning

Seasoning I used (use whatever flavors you enjoy)

  • Garlic powder
  • Dried basil
  • Trader Joe’s 21 seasoning salute
  • Sesame seeds
  • Chili flakes
  • Fresh ground pepper
  • Paprika
  • Touch of honey

Step 1: Pre-heat oven to 350°F

Step 2: Cut bread into cubes and toss in a large bowl

Step 3: Drizzle olive oil and add your seasoning then toss

Step 4: Spread your seasoned cubes onto a sheet pan

Step 5: Bake for 15 minutes on the middle rack (toss around 7-8 minute mark)

Step 6: Let it cool for a few minutes then you’re ready to eat!

Enjoy!

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