Category Archives: bouillon cubes

Orzo with Brie & Cauliflower

I apologize for the disappearing act (again!), but this past weekend I ran the Marine Corps Marathon!  So this week was a bit of a recovery week, and it allowed me to catch up on my social life- yes, Saturday long runs don’t allow for many crazy Friday nights!

But since I was running the marathon, the week prior I was looking for savory, carb-filled dishes.  I came across this recipe during the summer, but kept this little gem hidden until the weather allowed for it.  Yes, it’s coat weather here in DC.  This recipe satisfied us with its rich, warm taste on a chilly Wednesday night.

The orzo with Brie and cauliflower not only made us want seconds, but we wished we had made more of it!  And as many cheesy recipes, this was even better the next day.  I wish the picture came out a little better- it does look a bit color bland- but you can’t judge a book by its cover, right?

One change I did make from the original recipe was add mushroom bouillons, if you don’t have those on hand you can do this with a veggie broth (or beef).  If you would like the mushroom flavor, just sauté mushrooms and toss them into the dish when adding the cauliflower.  But that could be another recipe post!

Orzo with Brie & Cauliflower
Adapted from: Vivek’s Epicurean Adventures

1 1/2 cups orzo
6 cups of water
2 mushroom bouillons
4 tbsp thyme leaves, chopped
2 tbsp unsalted butter, chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
1 head of cauliflower, florets cut
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 onion, chopped
1/2 cup of white wine (we used Pinot Grigio)
5 oz creamy Brie, chopped
1 tsp salt (depending on taste)
1 tsp pepper (depending on taste)
2 tbsp chives, minced

Heat a small non-stick pan, then add the orzo.  Toast the orzo and roast for about 3 minutes  This will give the orzo a roasted, nutty smell and taste.  Turn off the heat once the orzo is lightly browned.

Bring water, bouillon cubes and 2 tbsps of thyme leaves to a simmer in a saucepan.  Keep this liquid at a simmer until you use it all up.

Meanwhile, in a large saucepan heat up 1 tbsp of butter and 1 tbsp of olive oil.  Add the cauliflower  and sauté it for about 5 minutes or until the florets start to get golden brown.  For the last minute add the garlic and 2 tbsp of chopped thyme.  Transfer all of the ingredients to a bowl.

Add the rest of the butter and olive oil (1 tbsp of each) into the saucepan.  Add the chopped onion and sauté for about 5 minutes- the onion should become translucent.  Then add the orzo, stir the mixture for about 30 seconds.  Then add the wine, and simmer until the liquid has been absorbed.

From the broth/thyme liquid, take out 2 ladles (about 1/2 cup) and pour it into the saucepan which has the onion and orzo.  Stir it slowly until the broth has been absorbed.  Continue simmering, stirring and adding the hot broth until you have used up all of the broth.  Allow for the broth to be absorbed before adding another ladle.

Lastly, stir in the cauliflower/garlic mixture into the saucepan with orzo.  Then add the Brie pieces- keep stirring so the cheese can melt into the orzo.  Add salt and pepper to taste (we only had about 1 tsp of each- the bouillons and cheese were salty).

You can sprinkle the top with some leftover Brie pieces and chives.

Advertisements

Tomato Soup with Basil

As the days get warmer, and the sun shines longer, no one wants to be stuck in the kitchen.  Especially with the oven on…too hot!  As I mentioned before, I try to search out recipes that are fast, simple, and require very minimal cooking.  But just because you want a simpler recipe, does not mean that flavor has to be lost.

This is a very simple soup, although I’ve noticed I say that quite a bit!  Nonetheless, it’s hearty enough to fill you up (thanks to the rice)- but not too much that you feel stuffed.  And, it’s easy since I cooked it between going for a run.  Once all the ingredients were boiling, I grabbed my shoes for a quick run around the Mall.  By the time I came back, the soup was done cooking.

We let it cool off a bit before we ate, a bit more “gazpacho” style.  And even though it was cooler, it still had the great flavor.  Tomato season hasn’t started yet, but this would be a great one to do with fresh tomatoes rather than the canned.  It would give the soup more flavor.  But that’s something we’ll have to wait for, and enjoy over the summer.

We bought some bread from the Farmer’s Market, and ate it with the soup.  The bread was dense, and it absorbed some of the liquid from the soup, giving it a little more flavor.  Yum!

Tomato Soup with Basil
Adapted from: A Chow Life Blog

4 tbsp olive oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 cans whole tomatoes (28 oz each)
1/4 cup basil, finely chopped
1/2 tsp sugar
1 tsp red pepper flakes
2 tsp salt
2 tsp pepper
1 chicken bouillon
2 cups chicken broth
4 cups water
1/4 cup rice

In a large pot, warm the olive oil over medium heat.  Add the onion and garlic, let it sauté for about 8 minutes, until the onions are translucent.  Then add the tomatoes, basil, sugar, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper.  Cook for about 1 minute.  Then add the bouillon, broth and water.  Stir in the rice, and cover the pot until the soup is boiling.

Let it simmer for 15-25 minutes.  Remove the tomatoes from the soup and add them to a food processor (or blender).  Blend until it turns into smaller chunks (choose the consistency to your liking).  Pour back into the pot, cover, and simmer for another 10 minutes.

When serving, feel free to sprinkle some basil as a garnish.

Bok Choy and Mushroom Bulgur

Sometimes I’m in a cooking groove, and cannot wait to get home and make some yummy dinner.  Usually by Thursday, when I’m tired and exhausted, that cooking groove diminishes a bit.  As many of you know, cooking can take time and planning. 
 
Although living in the city does have its perks, the downside is that we don’t have a grocery store nearby where we can just pop in and pick up ingredients for dinner.  The closest grocery store is 1 mile away, although it’s not that far and may be fun to go once in a while, the long lines and the idea of pushing and pulling the granny cart does not necessarily make this our ideal choice.  We sometimes pick up ingredients from different stores.  For example, Trader Joe’s has an excellent variety of cheeses.  And since the Farmer’s Market started, we’ve bought bacon, milk, eggs and butter. 

 

Due to the these “location restrictions”, we meal plan.  We order the majority of our food on Peapod, and list out different meals which we want to eat.  By seeing what we eat over a number of days, we make sure to have a variety of meals (pastas, grains, Mexican or Indian, etc).  I’ve noticed that I have become more aware of the ingredients I put into our food, and into my body.

Which leads me to the dish pictured below.  It was on the cover of Vegetarian Times, and I coud not wait to make it.  And it tasted just as delicious as it looks.  The flavors blended so well, and the broth kept the bulgur moist.  (In the case you don’t have mushroom bouillon, feel free to use vegetable or chicken stock) Between the mushrooms, and the steamed bok choy, this dish had a very earthy, natural taste to it.  It’s great for a warm dinner, or leftovers for lunch.

 

Bok Choy & Mushroom Bulgur
Adapted from: Vegetarian Times

 4 tbsp olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
8 oz crimini mushrooms, sliced
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
3 shallots, finely chopped
1 cup uncooked bulgur
1 1/2 cup water
2 mushroom bouillons
1 tsp fresh thyme, minced
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
4 small bok choy, halved

Heat 2 tbsp of oil over medium heat, then add half of the garlic.  Add the mushrooms, and cook for 5 minutes, or until browned.  Transfer the mushrooms to a bowl.  Add tomatoes to the skillet and saute for 2 minutes, or until browned.  Transfer into the bowl that has mushrooms. 

Add the remaining oil and garlic into the skillet.  Stir in shallots and saute for 2-3 minutes.  Stir in the bulgur until the grains are coated with oil.  Add the water, bouillons and thyme.  Season with the salt and pepper.  Cover, and reduce heat to medium-low, simmer for 5 minutes.

Arrange the bok choy halves on top of the bulgur.  Sprinkle the mushroom and tomatoes between the bok choy.  Simmer for 5 minutes, while covered.  Remove from heat, and let it rest for 10 minutes.

Book Club Pt 5- Beef in Tomato Sauce

This is the last of the Book Club posts, and I think equally delicious to all the other one’s.  This can actually be just a meal on it’s own, especially if you add some vegetables on the side.  As mentioned with the other dishes, it can be made ahead.  I had put everything together a day before, and just re-heated it in the oven (350 degrees) for about 45 minutes the day off.  By giving it the extra time, the flavors blend much better. 

Beef in Tomato Sauce
Adapted from: Halal Mama Blog

*note: this recipe was for a larger group, feel free to half it, and therefore it won’t make a giant pot of this*

2 large onions, diced
8 cloves of garlic, diced
2 lbs stewing beef, cut into cubes
1 32 oz can of crushed tomatoes
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp black pepper
2 tsp curry
4 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
2 beef bouillon cubes
2 cups of water

Heat olive oil in a large pot (or Dutch oven), then add the onions.  Let them saute until almost translucent, and then add the garlic.  Add the cubed meat to the pot, and sear it.  Allow each piece to be cooked on each side.  Finally, add all of the spices, crushed tomatoes, water and bouillon cubes.  (Instead of using water and bouillon cubes,  you can switch out for beef broth)  Let it boil, and then turn down the heat.  Allow to stew for about 1 hour.  The meat should be tender, and the sauce has a great blend of flavors. 

*I served this dish with some basmati rice.

Book Club Pt 3- Beef & Rice Stuffed Zucchini

Book Club dish #2!  This was actually a lot easier to make than I had envisioned.  The thought of hollowing out all of those zucchini worried me just a bit.  But armed with a teaspoon (we don’t have a melon ball spoon), I did it!  Once I got the hang of it, and didn’t break any chunks off, it was done quicker than I thought.

Once again Faith, from An Edible Mosaic Blog, gave me the idea which I pushed a little further.  She had learned this recipe from her mother-in-law who is living in Syria.  This is a very similar recipe that many people use for stuffed peppers.  I added some more flavor to the sauce since I was using canned sauce (tomatoes are not yet in season here in DC, and the one’s from the grocery store taste awful!).  Instead of beef, ground chicken or turkey can be used. 

This would be another dish I’d try out for a dinner party, the sauce can be made a day ahead- and the prepping of the zucchini did not take long.  I’d say 2 pieces of zucchini per person, especially if there was other food (appetizers, dessert, etc).

Beef & Rice Stuffed Zucchini
Adapted from:An Edible Mosaic Blog

6 zucchini
1 1/2 cup rice (uncooked)
4 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 28oz can of crushed tomatoes
3 oz tomato paste
1 tsp ground allspice
1 tsp cumin
2 tsp curry
2 tsp salt
2 tsp black pepper
2 beef bouillon cubes
3 bay leaves
1 lb ground beef
3 tbsp butter, melted

Wash the zucchini, and cut off the ends.  Then cut each zucchini into 2 or 3 equal pieces (this will be determined by the zucchini size), about 3-4 inches long.  Using a melon ball spoon (I used a teaspoon) hollow out each piece of zucchini, but be careful to keep the walls intact.  *the leftover zucchini insides can be used for zucchini bread!*

Then, in a large pot heat olive oil over medium heat.  Add the onion and garlic, saute for 6-8 minutes or until soft.  Remove 3/4 of the onion-garlic mixture and put in separate bowl.  Add a can of crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, allspice, cumin, curry, bouillon and bay leaves into the pot.  Also add 1 tsp of salt, and 1 tsp of pepper, as well as 1 cup of water.  Heat this sauce over low heat.

Meanwhile, add the ground meat (raw), rice (uncooked), melted butter, and the rest of the salt and pepper (1 tsp each) to the onion-garlic  mixture in a bowl.  Mix this together, and then begin stuffing each zucchini with the meat-rice mixture.  Pack it in tight, leaving about a 1/4 inch gap between the top of the zucchini and the mixture.  (the rice will expand when cooking)

Once complete, add the stuffed zucchini into the simmering tomato sauce, trying to submerge most of the zucchini into the sauce.  Cook on medium to low heat, covered for about 1 hour.  The zucchini will be soft once it’s cooked (I took one out to double-check and tested the softness with a fork).