Category Archives: thyme

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.

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.

Mushroom Bolognese Fettucini

Although I might say this about a lot of dishes, I really did find this one to be truly amazing!  Both of us love mushrooms, so when I spotted this recipe- it was definitely a must-try.  It does take a little bit of time to simmer the sauce, therefore I would recommend it for a weekend evening.  But it’s well worth the time, every single bite.  The variety (and amount) of mushrooms in the sauce gave it a meaty texture.  Serve it with a glass of red wine (especially since you had to open a bottle for this recipe), and you’ve got yourself a treat.

Mushroom Bolognese Fettucini
Adatped by: The Italian Dish Blog

3 tbsp olive oil
2 carrots, peeled & diced
2 celery ribs, diced
1 onion, diced
salt & pepper to taste
4 garlic cloves, minced
3/4 cups red wine
1 lb baby portabella mushrooms, chopped
1/4 cup shiitake mushrooms, chopped
1 1/2 cups beef broth
2 15-oz can crushed tomatoes
2 tbsp sugar
2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp crushed red pepper

Heat olive oil in a large pot, then saute the onion, carrot, celery and garlic.  Add the salt and pepper to taste (recommendation, about 1-2 tsp).  Let the vegetables cook for about 5-10 minutes on low heat, until the onions are translucent.  Add the wine, and cook for another 5 minutes.  Then add all of the mushrooms and the rest of the ingredients.  Simmer, uncovered, for about 45 minutes to an hour; until the liquid has cooked off.  Feel free to add salt and pepper to taste if needed. 

* This step is optional.  We took half of the sauce and pureed it. We mixed the two halves together, and then poured it over the cooked fettucini.

Homestyle Lentil Soup

There are still a couple of nights that are still a little chilly, so a soup night is always something to look forward to.  And fresh bread to add to this soup, is just perfect.  We usually pick up a baguette at Cowgirl Creamery, where there is always a couple of fresh ones.  I enjoyed this soup since it not only had the lentils, very filling, but it also has plenty of vegetables- which are always tasty in a soup. 

Homestyle Lentil Soup
Adapted from: Honest Fare Blog

2 cups lentils
4 carrots, cut diagonally about 1/4 inch thick
1 15-oz can diced tomatoes
1 yellow onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
6 cups of water
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp fresh thyme, chopped
1 tsp fresh oregano, chopped
3 bay leaves
1 tsp black pepper
1 tbsp salt
1 tsp paprika
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce

Heat oil in a large pot.  Once heated, add onions, garlic and carrots.  Saute until lightly brown, then add tomatoes, herbs and paprika.  Stir and cook for 3 minutes.  Then add water, bay leaves, Worcestershire sauce, lentils, salt and pepper.  Cover, and bring to a boil. 

Once the soup is boiling, reduce heat to simmer.  Then simmer the sopu for about 45 minutes to 1 hour, until the lentils are cooked.  Ladle some in a bowl, and serve with fresh bread.

Potato & Squash Gratin

This will have to be the next Thanksgiving side dish.  And it’s one you can make a day ahead (leaving the garlic-cream mixture to be poured over at the end).  It’s a cheesy, comfort food at that- warming you on a cold day.  You can make some alterations to the dish: adding sage, adding more garlic, or adding sauted onions in the garlic-cream mixture.  Feel free to experiment, but I am sure that this dish will be on your table this November.  

Potato & Squash Gratin
Adapted by: Pinch My Salt Blog

1 1/2 cups heavy cream
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1 butternut squash, peeled
3 sweet potatoes, peeled
2 tsp fresh tyme, chopped
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 tbsp crushed red pepper
1 cup Manchego cheese, shredded
1 cup Gruyere cheese, shredded

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Meanwhile, in a small pot bring cream and garlic to a simmer, then remove from heat and set aside.  Butter a 9″x13″ cassarole dish.  Slice the squash and sweet potatoes (less than 1/4 inch think). 

In the cassarole dish, lay out pieces of the butternut squash, until you cannot see the bottom of the dish.  Sprinkle with some salt, pepper, thyme, crushed red pepper and 1/2 cup of the cheese.  Then lay out the next layer with the sweet potatoes, and another layer of butternut squash on top of that.  Sprinkle the salt, pepper, thyme, crushed red pepper and 1/2 cup of cheese on top.  The last layer will consist of the leftover sweet potatoes and butternut squash.  Sprinkle the top with salt, pepper, thyme and crushed red pepper on top.  Stir the cream and garlic mixture and pour evenly over the gratin.  Lastly, sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top. 

Cover the dish with aluminum foil and bake in the over for 30 minutes.  Remove the aluminum foil and bake in the top of your oven for another 20 minutes, until the top is browned.  Make sure the vegetables are tender when a knife goes through them.  Remove from oven, and allow it to cool off before eating.