Tag 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.

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Fish and Vegetable Stew

We had this for dinner a couple of weeks ago, but it seems fitting to post it today.  In DC it’s gloomy and rainy this afternoon/evening, so some comfort food would be perfect.  Oftentimes during the summer I feel bad staying indoors when it’s so gorgeous out (yes, even when the humidity and temperature are high).  So today would be a perfect day to sit home, relax, watch a movie and eat some stew.

I think both of us were a little surprised how well this came out.  I’ve never made a soup out of fish, so this was a first.  But it’s nice and light- so even when it’s super hot out- it doesn’t feel like a heavy dinner.  And, in case you’re making this during the fall or winter months, you can eat some bread with this to make it a bit more filling.

Fish Stew
Inspired by: Easy Everyday: Simple Recipes

2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 jalapeño, chopped (optional)
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 tsp dried thyme
1 small or 1/2 of a large fennel bulb, chopped
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 cups tomato juice
2 tbsp grated orange peel
juice of 1 orange
1 cup of water
about 1 lb of cod (or other white fish)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1/4 cup parsley, chopped

Heat the olive oil in a pan.  Add the onion, garlic, jalapeño, red bell pepper, thyme and fennel for about 5 minutes, or until the vegetables are soft.  Then add the wine, heat it until it boils, and then simmer it uncovered until the liquid has reduced.

Then, add the tomato juice, orange peel, orange juice and 1 cup of water.  Turn up the heat once again, let it cook for about 10 minutes.  Lastly, add the fish and cook for another 5-10 minutes on low to medium heat.  Season with salt and pepper.  Finally, ladle the stew into soup bowls, and sprinkle with parsley.

Green Pea & Pancetta Linguine

We had a busy and exciting weekend.  My friend B* from Boston came to visit, and there were also friends from different places which were visiting D.C.  Some of the girls and I ran the Susan B. Komen 5K race.  It’s a great cause to support, although this isn’t my favorite running race.  I enjoy the company and support the cause.  In a running race aspect- it’s a bit crowded, so you just have to relax and enjoy the sights.

Whenever a group of us gets to spend time together, it reminds me to all of our fun days in undergrad.  It’s wonderful to know that the strength of the bonds we have made many years ago is still there.  It’s interesting to think that we spend only a few years getting to know each other.  And then everyone scatters all over- really all over.  It’s wonderful to know that great friendships can sustain the long distance!

But onto food!  We made this last weekend actually, when we didn’t have visitors.  Although I really do say this about many recipes, this one is easy and can be made under 30 minutes.  Talk about a time saver with a delicious meal waiting for you.

Green Pea & Pancetta Linguine
Adapted from: Cooking Light (April 2011)

Servings: 4
Time: 30 minutes

3 tbsp olive oil
3 oz pancetta, chopped
3 shallots, finely chopped
2 lbs frozen green peas
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 tsp dried thyme
1/2 lb linguine pasta
1 tbsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1/2 cup Parmesan-Reggiano cheese, grated

Heat skillet over medium heat, add 1 tbsp olive oil.  Add the chopped pancetta and cook for about 10 minutes or until browned and crispy, stirring occasionally.  Remove pancetta from the pan, and put in a bowl on the side.  Leave the drippings, and add the shallots into the heated pan.  Cook for about 4-5 minutes, until they are tender, also stirring occasionally.  Then add the peas and garlic, cook for 1 minute.  Next, add wine and thyme.  Increase the heat to medium and bring liquids to a boil.  Cook until the liquid reduced (about 5 minutes).  Then remove from heat.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta per package directions.  Drain the pasta.

Finally, add the pasta, 2 tbsp of olive oil, salt, black pepper and pancetta to the pea mixture.  Toss well.  Divide the pasta into 4 servings.  Sprinkle cheese onto each serving.

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.