Tomato & Caramelized Onion Tart

After a green bean canning fiasco earlier this summer I said I was done with canning for the year. But then the cooler weather came, along with a great deal on bulk tomatoes, and it didn’t take long for me to change my mind. So this past weekend I not only canned a few dozen pounds of crushed tomatoes, but also slow roasted and dried some as well.

There are simpler ways to preserve tomatoes, though, such as freezing them whole and not having to go through the hassle of peeling and blanching. The same goes for peppers, too. Check out Radical Roots’ website for great tips on freezing. But until I get myself a chest freezer, that’s not the best option for me, as I can barely shut the freezer door as is.

But you could also just enjoy tomatoes now. It’s getting cold out, but a warm, flaky tart right out of the oven is a nice way to transition tomatoes into fall. If you have some heirloom tomatoes, they’ll make things especially attractive.

crust

You can use your favorite pie crust recipe or find a quality one from the store. If you’re making your own, all you need to remember is the ratio 3-2-1. A basic crust is made from 3 parts flour, 2 parts butter and 1 part water. Add a little salt and/or sugar for flavor.

Cover the dough with Dijon mustard (a nice idea from David Lebovitz), top with a layer of sweet caramelized onions, plenty of cheese, then tomatoes and chopped fresh herbs. A drizzle of honey and balsamic vinegar add a nice touch to top it off.

Caramelized onions make everything better, so make sure to cook them long enough to get some good color – at least 20 minutes, but up to 45 minutes to an hour.

Crumble over the cheese – I like a sharp aged cheddar, but use what you like – Parmesan or goat would work well.

tomato

Then the tomatoes, herbs, honey and balsamic. Just pop it in the oven at 425 for about 30 minutes, or until the crust is crispy, the tomatoes tender and cheese melted. Serve along with a green salad.

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 4-6 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 onions
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 12 ounces pie dough (your favorite recipe, or store bought)
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 6 ounces cheddar cheese, sliced or chopped
  • 3 large ripe tomatoes, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs, such as thyme, basil or chives
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon honey (optional)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F.
  2. Slice the onions. Add to a medium pot with the olive oil set over medium-high heat. Cover and let cook about 25-45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Onions should be golden and sweet.
  3. Line a half sheet pan (18×13”) with parchment paper. Roll the dough out over top to fit the pan.
  4. Spread the mustard over the dough, then spread over the caramelized onions, the cheese, then tomatoes. Sprinkle over the herbs, balsamic vinegar and honey, if using.
  5. Bake 25-30 minutes until the dough is cooked and tomatoes tender.

Sweet Pepper Bake

I’m always amazed at the end of season productivity of pepper plants and their vibrant hues as they reach peak ripeness.

Yet I’m not quite sure what we do with these beauties to highlight their greatness. Sure, stuffed peppers are delicious. But is that all we have in our repertoire to place peppers in the spotlight?

pot of peppers

Not any more. This sweet pepper bake is all about the peppers. It’s a creamy, tangy casserole chock full of tender bell peppers, onions and garlic baked in a  yogurt based custard to hold it all together. The result is a terrific filling for warm tortillas.

casserole

Sweet Pepper Bake

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Yield: 6 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 onions, sliced
  • 6 medium bell peppers, seeded and thinly sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped (optional)
  • 1/2 cup dried currants
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed coriander seed
  • 2 teaspoons dry mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups yogurt
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley
  • 1 cup grated cheddar cheese, plus more for topping
  • a handful of chopped, fresh parsley
  • 1 large tomato, chopped (optional)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large oven proof skillet or Dutch oven. Add the onions and saute over medium heat until softened, about 8 minutes.
  3. Add the peppers, garlic, jalapeno, currants, salt, cumin, coriander, mustard and black pepper. Cook another 12-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the peppers are tender. Meanwhile, beat the eggs into the yogurt in a small bowl.
  4. When the peppers are tender, remove from the heat and stir in the yogurt mixture. Top with the cheese and place the pan in the oven to bake for 25-30 minutes until the mixture has thickened and is bubbly. Top with parsley.
  5. Serve in warmed tortillas, topped with additional cheese, chopped tomato and a side of black beans.

Notes

Adapted from The New Moosewood Cookbook

Mexican Spaghetti Squash with Tropical Salsa

Winter squash has to be my favorite food of the season, followed up by apples and fresh cranberries. But for the longest time there was one winter squash I never liked, the spaghetti.

For many, the pasta like consistency of cooked spaghetti squash is a welcome alternative to actual pasta. That’s a quality I can appreciate, as it opens the door for creativity. Yet I could never get over its overwhelming blandness. No matter how I cooked and seasoned the squash, it always turned out with zero flavor. And so I wrote it off as the black sheep of the winter squash family.

Until now. Finally, in Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero’s VeganomiconI found a phenomenal spaghetti squash recipe.  The squash is baked until tender, added to a mildly spicy onion, jalapeno, corn and black bean mixture and then topped with a tomato, avocado and tropical fruit salsa. There are many flavor profiles at play here and they all work. It’s anything but bland.

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The other great aspect of this dish is that it takes advantage of several foods that are perfectly in season right now in early October, including onions, tomatoes, peppers and corn. Seriously, make this now, before tomatoes and peppers have completely disappeared.

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As with any dish that requires roasted squash, I suggest taking care of the roasting  in advance. It really simplifies things. Maybe when you’re relaxing the evening before you’d like to use it, just toss the squash in the oven for about an hour.  If you didn’t plan ahead (and I know how that is) and aren’t opposed to the microwave, you could use it to cook the squash a little faster than the oven.

The flavor of the salsa will only get better after chilling, so consider preparing it in advance as well. With the squash and salsa ready to go, this meal could be ready in 20 minutes.

Mexican Spaghetti Squash with Tropical Salsa

Cook Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Yield: 6 servings

Ingredients

    • 1 spaghetti squash
For the salsa:
    • 1 cup chopped tomato
    • 1 cup chopped pineapple, mango or papaya
    • 1 avocado, peeled, pitted and chopped
    • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley, cilantro, mint or basil or any combo thereof
    • Juice of 1 lime
For the bean mixture:
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup red wine or vegetable broth
  • 1 cup corn
  • 1 1/2 cups black beans (if canned, drained and rinsed)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Cut the squash in half lengthwise, scoop out the seeds and place in a baking dish cut side down. Bake until tender and easily pierced with a fork, about 45 minutes. This step can be done up to 3 days in advance.
  2. In a bowl toss all of the salsa ingredients together. Chill until using, which can be up to 2 days in advance.
  3. Heat the oil a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, jalapeno and garlic. Cook about 5 minutes before adding the spices, salt and wine/broth. Cook another 5 minutes. Add the corn and black beans and simmer over low heat until the liquid has reduced and vegetables are tender.
  4. When squash is finished cooking and cool, use a fork to scrape the strands into the pan. Toss with the bean mixture to combine and allow to heat through if the squash was precooked.
  5. Serve in bowls topped with the salsa.

This recipe was adapted (mostly just the seasonings) from Veganomiconan excellent cookbook and resource for vegan and vegetarian cooking.

Drunken Beet Linguine

I like to cook with alcohol, but I hardly ever buy it specifically for that reason. When it comes to wine, in the bottom shelf of my fridge door you’ll find the remnants of bottles that were never quite finished. They’re tucked away there just for cooking purposes and that’s mostly de-glazing plans for sauces, stews and soups.
I don’t drink expensive wine, so naturally I’m not going to cook with it either. But most importantly, when cooking with wine – or any alcohol – you should only use something you like the flavor of and wouldn’t mind drinking.

beets

By boiling linguine in red wine and water, this pasta dish truly highlights its use by dying the linguine an attractive shade of purple. Cooking pasta in wine – “drunken” – is actually a common Tuscan technique. There are several methods out there regarding how much wine to use when doing so, and some suggest using wine as the only liquid. But the recipe below, since it is more heavily water based, offers a pretty mild wine flavor in the end, despite the vibrant result. You don’t have to be a wine lover to enjoy it and you don’t have to devote a whole bottle either. Unless you want to, of course.

Beets, with their similar shade of purple, felt like a logical addition to the pasta. Since I already happened to have some cooked in the fridge, I chopped those up and added them in, along with a mix of chard and beet greens.

If you don’t have a specific use in mind, I can’t suggest enough to precook vegetables like beets and winter squash when you have the chance. They will store in the fridge for the week and make for a quick addition to a dish like this.

beets1

You could, and probably should, adapt this recipe in a number of ways. It was my first time making it, but next time I might add in a tablespoon or so of tomato paste to the pan before adding in the reserved pasta water to thicken up the sauce. I also see it being just as great with Parmesan cheese instead of goat. And I might save some time by boiling the greens with the pasta instead of wilting them in the pan.

Drunken Beet Linguine

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

Yield: 4 – 6 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups red wine (about half a bottle)
  • 1 pound spaghetti
  • salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 red onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 1 bunch beet greens, chard or kale, roughly chopped or torn
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 3 medium beets, cooked, peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 cup toasted walnuts, chopped
  • 1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil or parsley, chopped

Instructions

  1. Add the wine to a large pot of salted water. Bring to a boil, add the pasta and cook to al dente. Drain, reserving one cup of the cooking liquid.
  2. Meanwhile, chop the onion and mince the garlic. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the onion, garlic and red pepper. Cook about 8 minutes before adding the greens, nutmeg and ground pepper, to taste. Let wilt, then add the reserved cooking liquid, the butter and the beets. Bring to a simmer.
  3. Simmer until the liquid has reduced slightly. Toss in the cooked pasta until all is combined. Taste, adjust seasoning as needed, then top with the walnuts, goat cheese and herbs.

Beef, Turkey & Mushroom Meatloaf with Cider Mustard Gravy

I grew up eating meatloaf on a regular basis. It was a popular item in my mom’s dinner rotation, usually served with baked potatoes – because they could bake at the same time – and a green vegetable, like broccoli. Although I’ve knocked my mom’s cooking on occasion (sorry, mom) I actually liked her meatloaf quite a bit. And the leftovers made for a good sandwich on toasted bread with cheese and ketchup.

But not everyone has happy memories of meatloaf and there’s that association with bad cafeteria food. Just the sound of it is perceived as a bit unappetizing. A loaf of meat? Surely someone could have thought of a better name. Though isn’t it strange how no one reacts that way to meatballs, especially when a meatloaf and a meatball are so similar? Hmm.

Traditional meatloaf “mix” is packaged with beef and pork. But as I browsed around the Rutland Co-op last week, turkey caught my eye over pork.  I guess my turkey craving couldn’t wait for Thanksgiving. Mushrooms called to me as well and add an extra savory depth to the loaf. And that’s what I love about foods like meatloaf, meatballs and burgers – you can always play with the flavors.

Chopped onion, garlic, sage and thyme flavor the meat as well, while egg and breadcrumbs bind it all together. It’s really pretty simple to put together, that must have been why my mom relied on it so often. Once the meat is mixed it bakes unattended for nearly an hour.

meatloaf ingredients

The best tool for mixing meat is your hands. Don’t be afraid to get a little dirty.

You don’t need a loaf pan for a meatloaf. It bakes up fine just shaped on a baking sheet. See the large flecks of onion? Yum. But if you’re not an onion fan, chop those up a bit more than I did here.

cider gravy
A little homemade gravy cannot be overlooked when serving meatloaf.  Just save some of the onion from the loaf, cook it with tomato paste, mustard and flour, reduce with apple cider and it’s good to go well before the meatloaf comes out of the oven. Or if you’re on top of your game and have the gravy made before the meatloaf is in the oven, spoon some over top before baking.

meatloaf

Beef, Turkey & Mushroom Meatloaf with Cider Mustard Gravy

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Yield: 6-8 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 cup bread crumbs (or 1 large slice of bread, chopped)
  • 2 cups broth (beef, turkey or vegetable)
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 1/2 cup mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 10 leaves sage, chopped
  • 8 sprigs thyme, leaves removed
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • salt and pepper
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup apple cider
  • A small bunch fresh parsley, roughly chopped

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F.
  2. In a small bowl, pour one cup of the broth over the breadcrumbs and let sit for a minute as you prepare the other ingredients.
  3. Combine the beef, turkey, mushrooms, half of the chopped onion, garlic, herbs and egg in a large bowl. Mix together with your hands and fold in the breadcrumbs. Season well with salt and pepper.
  4. Form the meat mixture into one large loaf or two smaller loaves on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil.
  5. Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, depending on the size of your loaf.
  6. Meanwhile, in a small pot cook the onion, tomato paste and mustard in a tablespoon of the oil. When onions have softened, about 5 minutes, sprinkle over the flour. Cook another minute, then add the remaining cup of broth and the cider. Simmer until thickened, about 10 minutes, then add in the parsley.
  7. Slice the meatloaf and serve with the gravy.

Chilled Cucumber Mint Soup with a Quick Salsa

As with the start of every September in Vermont, the warm days of summer are quickly transitioning into cool fall breezes. But before summer is completely behind us, let’s take the time to enjoy a refreshing bowl of chilled soup.

Last week I found myself with a small stockpile of the last of my garden’s cucumbers. Some were a little overripe, while others were small and not the most attractive. To say the least, they were imperfect and that made them a poor choice for pickles.

Seeding cukes

 

What does one do with so many cucumbers, if not make pickles? They don’t store for long and they don’t freeze. We don’t really cook them here either. People think having too much zucchini is a problem, but at least you have options there. Cucumbers on the other hand, need some creativity and quick.

Who knew that pureeing cucumbers in the food processor with yogurt and herbs leads to one fast, tasty soup? Usually chilled soups – aside from strawberry – don’t do much for me. But I think it was the balance of mint and jalapeno that won me over with this one. That, and my favorite Greek yogurt from Green Mountain Creamery, perhaps. It adds a hefty amount of protein and makes this soup a reasonable meal, at least from a nutritional perspective. From a filling perspective, you might want to supplement with a slice of bread.

cucumer sou

 

You should consider the recipe below as a base. Puree it together, taste, then take it wherever you want to go. I increased the mint, sugar and jalapeno quite a bit, but realize that’s not everyone’s taste.

When it’s to your liking, be sure to top with plenty of the simple salsa then take your bowl and head out to bask in the last of the warm summer sun.

chilled cuke soup

 

Chilled Cucumber Mint Soup with a Quick Salsa

Total Time: 15 minutes

Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients

  • For the soup:
  • 2 lbs cucumbers, peeled and seeded
  • 2 cups Greek yogurt
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 small jalapeno pepper, seeded
  • mint leaves, about 4 sprigs worth
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1 cup water, as needed
  • For the salsa:
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped
  • 1 lb tomatoes, chopped
  • A small bunch of parsley, chopped
  • A splash of lemon or lime juice

Instructions

  1. Combine the peeled and seeded cucumbers in a food processor with the yogurt, garlic, jalapeno, mint leaves, sugar and salt. Pulse until smooth, adding in water as or if needed. Taste and adjust the seasoning to your liking with additional salt, sugar, mint, jalapeno or garlic, as needed.
  2. In a small bowl make the salsa by tossing the chopped tomato, onion and parsley with the citrus juice. Season with salt to your liking.
  3. Serve the cucumber soup in bowls topped with with the salsa.

Stuffed Pattypan

Have you seen these funky bright yellow squashes? They kind of look like flying saucers. What you might not know is that they’re alien free and taste just like your regular old yellow summer squash. But better.

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I say pattypans are better because let’s be honest – summer squash can be rather bland on its own. The difference with these is that you can scoop out the filling, mix it with a few flavorful ingredients and after briefly baking, have a delicious squash dinner vessel.

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You dig right in and enjoy – just like a stuffed pepper.

Stuffed Pattypan Squash

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

Serving Size: 2 as main dish, 4 as a side

 Ingredients
  • 2 3-4 inch wide pattypan squash
  • 2 cups cooked grains
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small head of broccoli, chopped
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin or sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • zest of 1/2 lemon
  • 4 tablespoons grated Parmesan, optional

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375F.
  2. Set your grains to cook in a small pot on the stove if you don’t already have some ready to go.
  3. Slice the top off the pattypans and using a spoon, scoop out the insides and reserve. If needed, make a TINY slice off the the bottom of the squashes as well to help them stand upright.
  4. Coarsely chop the reserved squash filling.
  5. Heat a saute pan over medium heat with the oil. When hot, add the garlic and onion. Cook for two minutes then add in the broccoli, chopped squash and lemon zest and salt to taste. Cook for another 4-5 minutes.
  6. Toss the veggies with the cooked grains, parsley and seeds. Fill into the hollowed squashes.
  7. Place the stuffed patty pans into a baking dish and bake for about 25 minutes. When the squash is easily pierced with a knife, they’re good to go.
  8. Optional: Top with the sprinkled Parmesan and place under the broiler for 2 minutes.

 

stuffed squash

Slice off the top and scoop out the flesh with a spoon. Give the flesh a good chop and set aside for now. The base of my filling was protein rich quinoa with a handful of dried currants thrown in during cooking. Any grain you like can work, though. You just want to cook it first. So, if you don’t have any cooked grains ready to go – this is your first step.

Cook garlic and onion in a little oil over medium heat. Chop some broccoli and after a couple minutes, mix that into the pan with the squash filling. Season with salt and let cook 5 minutes.

Toss the quinoa, cooked veggies, pumpkin or sunflower seeds, parsley, and zest of 1/2 a lemon together. Now stuff into the hollowed pattypan. Set in a baking dish and bake for 25 minutes at 375F or until the squash is easily pierced with a knife.

Afterwards, you can sprinkle the top with Parmesan and place under the broiler for a couple of minutes to brown.

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What are you waiting for? Get stuffing.

Green Lentil Soup with Curried Brown Butter

I don’t know about you, but I have this habit of really getting into a food or ingredient, stocking up on it, and then forgetting about it for awhile because I found something else, equally as awesome, to cook. I realized this the other day when I noticed I hadn’t touched my jar full of green lentils (they come in red and pink too!) in quite some time. Considering how quick they cook (20 – 30 minutes) compared to other beans, I didn’t even need to do any planning to get them on my plate (or bowl) for dinner.

And this soup rocks. I know I’ve probably said that about all of the soups at this point – but I guarantee you won’t be able to get enough of this rich, sweet, nutty and just plain delicious lentil soup. I’m really growing to appreciate the combination of coconut milk and curry. Mix these two ingredients together, pour over anything and I’ll be happy. I used a sweet curry powder this time, but I’m confident any would work well. It’s all about experimenting too, right?

 

Did you know that after soybeans and hemp, lentils have the highest amount of protein by weight? They also contain fiber, folate and Vitamin B. Not too shabby. Combine with a grain and you’ve got yourself a complete protein. So grab yourself some bread and dig in.

Green Lentil Soup with Curried Brown Butter

Prep time: 5 min – Cook time: 45 min

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, ghee, or extra-virgin coconut oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
5 1/2 cups good-tasting vegetable broth or water
1 1/2 cups  green lentils or green split peas, picked over and rinsed
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon curry powder
1/2 cup coconut milk
Fine-grain sea salt
A few handfuls of chopped spinach or other green
1 bunch fresh chives, minced (optional)

 

Combine the butter, onion, garlic, and red pepper flakes in a large soup pot over medium heat, stirring regularly, until the onions soften, a couple minutes. Add the vegetable broth and lentils and simmer, covered, until the lentils are tender. This usually takes 20 to 30 minutes.

In the meantime, warm the 3 tablespoons butter in a small saucepan over medium heat and let it brown. When it starts to smell nutty and fragrant, stir in the curry powder and sauté until the spices are fragrant, less than a minute.

When the lentils are finished cooking, remove from the heat, stir in the coconut milk and 1/4 teaspoon salt, and puree with an immersion blender. You can leave the soup a bit chunky if you like, or puree until it is perfectly smooth. Then add in the spinach.

Stir in half of the spiced butter, taste, and add more salt, if needed, typically a couple of teaspoons if you used water instead of a salted broth. Serve drizzled with the remaining spice butter and sprinkled with chives, if using.

Serves 4 to 6



Adapted from Super Natural Every Day by Heidi Swanson

Stuffed Pepper Soup

I was happy to see several farmers with baskets of large green bell peppers last week at market.  My garden peppers were unusually small this year for whatever reason and I had yet to have a nice stuffed pepper this summer. I grabbed a bunch of these and some ground beef, all set to go. But when it actually came time to make them, after seven one night during the week, I just didn’t have enough time to devote. I looked for similar, alternate options and came across a recipe for stuffed pepper soup. I was skeptical, but the result mirrored the flavors of a stuffed pepper almost completely and took half the time to prep. I cooked a small pot of quinoa, instead of taking the longer amount of time to cook rice, separately and added that in to my bowl before eating. I guess it proves that almost anything can be turned into a soup.

Stuffed Pepper Soup

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 lb ground sirloin
salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 teaspoon allspice
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 large onion, diced
3 green bell peppers, seeded and diced
1 bay leaf
1 quart stock
28 ounces crushed tomatoes (canned or fresh)
1 cup grains or small cut pasta
a handful of fresh basil leaves, torn
grated Parmesan cheese for topping

If using a quick cooking grain, prepare separately in a small pot according to standard directions. Heat a medium soup pot over medium heat with the olive oil. When hot, add the beef and season with salt, pepper and the allspice. Cook the meat until browned, about 5 minutes, then add the onions, garlic, peppers and bay leaf. Cook for 10 minutes, or until tender. Stir in the stock and tomatoes and bring to a boil. When boiling, add in pasta, if using, and cook until al dente. Turn off the heat and fold in the basil leaves. Remove bay leaf. Serve. If you used a grain, add in desired amount to each bowl. Top with the Parmesan. Serves 4 – 6

Black Bean Tacos, Two Ways

As I’ve said before: beans are amazing. Not only are they the most nutritious plant food out there, they’re also convenient and affordable. Beans are pretty much everything an Everyday Chef is looking for.

I think that black beans in particular make for an excellent taco filling since they hold their shape so well. I don’t like mushy beans and I’ve never had that result while cooking with these. At a few tasting events around Rutland this month, I prepared a black bean and corn taco filling. And at a cooking demonstration with Yvonne Brunot, she made black bean tacos with mango, peppers and avocado. Both were quick to prepare and tasted awesome. If you’re not a big bean cooker, here are two easy recipes to get you started.

Black Bean and Corn Taco Filling

makes 4-6 tacos

bbean filling

Saute 1 medium, chopped onion in 1 tbsp olive oil heated over medium heat. Let onions cook 3-4 minutes, until they start to become translucent. Slice kernels off of 3 ears corn. Add corn to onions with 1 tsp cumin, 1 tsp chili powder, and 1/2 tsp kosher salt. Stir and cook for 5 minutes. Mix in juice of 2 limes and 1 1/2 cups soaked (or canned) beans, drained. Let the beans simmer for another 5 minutes then throw in 1/4 cup chopped cilantro. Stir. Taste. Adjust seasoning as needed. Fill your taco, top with fresh, chopped tomato and whatever other fillings you like.

Black Bean Tacos with Mango and Peppers

makes 4 tacos

mangoavocadoandblackbeantaco

  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs like oregano, cilantro, parsley or thyme
  • 1 poblano pepper, seeded and chopped; or other locally grown peppers like jalapeños
  • 15 ounces prepared black beans, rinsed and drained or one standard sized can
  • 1 cup sliced, peeled mango
  • 1/3 cup cubed and peeled avocado
  • 4 (8-inch) flour tortillas, warm
  • 1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion, herbs, salt, pepper, and poblano. Sauté 5 minutes or until onion is tender. Add beans; cook 1 minute or until heated through. Remove from heat; stir in mango and avocado. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.

Arrange 3/4 cup bean mixture in each tortilla. Sprinkle with cheddar cheese. Top with sour cream or salsa if desired and serve with lime wedges.

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