Tuna and White Bean Salad

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Dark leafy greens, protein/omega 3s, and fiber in one dish and you don’t even have to cook. It’s a keeper. But be forewarned, this dish can be bland. Here are some suggestions for avoiding blandness: spice up the vinaigrette by adding extra Dijon mustard or a few shakes of Tabasco; add dried herbs (Italian seasoning or Herbes de Provence) to the vinaigrette; use boldly flavored and/or spicy olives (I like to splurge on nice olives from the olive bar at my market); add lemon pepper to the tuna mixture; substitute another herb for the parsley — fresh tarragon might be nice.

Tuna and White Bean Salad, adapted from marthastewart.com

Ingredients:

– 1 lemon
– 1 T. Dijon mustard
– salt and pepper
– olive oil
– 5 oz. bag of baby spinach or another salad green
– 2 cans tuna
– 2 cans cannellini beans
– 1 shallot
– 1/4 cup green olives
– 2 T. parsley

Instructions:

1) Put the greens into a large salad bowl.

2) In a bowl large enough to hold the bean/tuna mixture, combine lemon juice, Dijon mustard, and salt and pepper. Add olive oil and whisk (as much olive oil as you need to make a vinaigrette that tastes right to you). Put some of the vinaigrette onto the greens and toss; leave the rest in the bowl.

3) To the bowl, add tuna (drained and broken up), cannellini beans (rinsed and drained), shallot (chopped), olives (roughly chopped), and parsley (chopped). Stir to combine.

4) Add tuna mixture to the salad bowl with the greens. Serve.

Roasted Cod with Potatoes and Olives

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This recipe is flexible – you can swap out the cod for another thick fish, you can swap out the herbs for whatever you like, you can swap out the vegetables….no, don’t swap out the vegetables. The ones listed are delicious – the creamy potatoes, the sweet tomatoes, and the salty, vinegary olives make a great combination. Best of all, this dish is made on one sheet pan.

Ingredients:

2 lbs (or however much comes in a bag) baby potatoes
4 cloves garlic
olive oil
dried herbs (I used Herbes de Provence – highly recommended!)
salt and pepper
4 cod fillets (about 6 oz. each)
1 pint cherry tomatoes
1/2 c. pitted Kalamata olives (or whatever olives you like – I buy a mix from the bulk olive bar)
fancy salt (e.g. French grey salt) – optional

Instructions:

1) Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil. The Good Enough Gourmet is in love with Reynolds nonstick foil. No they don’t pay me to say that although they should, since I say it quite often.

2) Cut the potatoes into halves or quarters, depending on their size. Put the potatoes and the whole, unpeeled garlic cloves on to the baking sheet and toss with olive oil (how much? enough to coat – about a tablespoon and a half), herbs, salt and pepper. Put into oven and roast for 20 minutes.

3) Cut tomatoes in half, and I like to cut the olives in half too. Drizzle the cod with olive oil and sprinkle with herbs (whatever you used on the potatoes), salt, and pepper.

4) Remove baking sheet from oven. Add tomatoes and olives to the potatoes, stir, and try to reposition the potatoes so they brown evenly (they’ll probably be dark on the side that was resting on the foil, so turn them over so the other side browns). Push the vegetables to the side and add the cod to the other side.

5) Return baking sheet to oven and roast for 15-20 minutes, depending on thickness of fish. Be sure to check the fish after 15 minutes – fish goes from flaky to dry in minutes.

6) Remove from oven. If you’re ambitious, find the roasted garlic cloves, squeeze the garlic from the peel and stir into the veggies. If you’re like me, just let your lucky diners find the roasted garlic as a prize and they can squeeze it out onto their own portion. Just make sure one person doesn’t get all the garlic!

7) Serve, and sprinkle individual portions with French grey salt if desired. The perfect finishing touch.

Gnocchi with Zucchini and Tomatoes

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I didn’t expect this dish to be as delicious as it was. Pasta water – in this case gnocchi water- is the magic elixir.  Adapted from Everyday Food.

Ingredients:

  • Olive oil
  • 3 zucchini
  • 1 carton cherry tomatoes
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 package gnocchi
  • Reserved gnocchi water
  • Fresh basil (I used 1/2 of a small package)
  • 1 T. butter
  • 1/4 c. Parmesan cheese

Instructions:

1) Put a large pot of water up to boil. Salt the water when it reaches the boil.

2) Cut cherry tomatoes in half. Slice zucchini. Press or chop garlic.

3) Heat olive oil in a large skillet. Add zucchini and cook for 4 minutes. Add tomatoes, garlic, salt, and pepper and cook for about 2 minutes.

4) Cook the gnocchi according to package directions. Ideally, you’d be adding your gnocchi to the boiling water at the same time as you’re adding the tomatoes to the skillet.

5) Rather than draining the gnocchi and adding it to the skillet, use a large spoon to transfer the gnocchi from the water to the skillet, adding a little gnocchi water as you go.

6) Stir together, add a little more gnocchi water if it’s not saucy enough, and add butter, Parmesan cheese, basil, and salt and pepper to taste.

Lamb and Bulgur Stew

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Many of you are going to stop reading right now, because you’re thinking, lamb? bulgur? How am I supposed to find these ingredients? I will help you out on this because this dish is so delicious. It’s a balanced meal made in one pot.

First, the lamb. Just find it. I get my ground lamb from the butcher counter at Whole Foods, but I’ve bought it pre-packaged in the regular old grocery store as well. Lamb is what makes this dish interesting.

Bulgur can be a little trickier to find. So here are four options:

1) I look at the Whole Foods bulk bins and find something that looks reasonably close to bulgur. This is what I used – buckwheat groats. Is that bulgur? I have no idea.

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2) Buy a box of tabouli and just use the grain (not the spice packet). You can find tabouli either with the Middle Eastern foods or the rice aisle. Tabouli is bulgur.

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3) Trader Joe’s carries 10-minute bulgur. I haven’t tried it, but I tried the 10-minute barley and it was fine.

4) Substitute another grain, like quinoa or Israeli couscous.

Now that you have no excuses, on to the recipe.

Lamb and Bulgur Stew, adapted from marthastewart.com

Ingredients:

  • olive oil
  • 1 onion
  • 1 lb. ground lamb
  • 2/3 c. bulgur
  • red pepper flakes (a couple shakes)
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 t. paprika (sweet or smoked)
  • 1 28-oz can diced tomatoes
  • 2 c. water
  • 1 15-oz can cannellini beans
  • 5 oz. baby spinach
  • 2/3 c. feta cheese
  • 1 T. (or more) fresh oregano

Instructions:

1) Chop the onion. In a Dutch oven, heat the olive oil. Add the onion and cook for a few minutes until the onion starts to soften.

2) Add the lamb, bulgur, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Cook until lamb is no longer pink. Add paprika and cook for another minute.

3) Add the tomatoes and water. Bring to a simmer. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer at low heat for 25 minutes.

4) Rinse and drain the cannellini beans. Chop the oregano. The oregano gives this dish a fresh flavor, so use a lot.

5) After the stew has simmered for 25 minutes, add beans and spinach. After the spinach has wilted and there’s room in the pot, add the feta and oregano and cook until the feta melts into the dish. This whole step will only take about a minute or two.

Serve. Feel virtuous about combining an ancient grain, a leafy green, a legume, an antioxidant-rich fruit (tomato’s a fruit, right?), and a protein into a one-pot meal.

Southwest Scramble

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You can’t beat eggs for a simple, nutritious dinner. (So sorry for that horrible pun!) This “recipe” (because you don’t really need a recipe for scrambled eggs, right?) is a work in progress. Meaning that I haven’t figured out a way to avoid the eggs sticking to the bottom of the pan, short of using two pans – one for the vegetables and one for the scramble. That seems like too much work, although is washing two pans more work than washing one pan with stuck-on eggs? Or maybe I just need a new pan. If you figure it out, let me know.

Ingredients:

  • olive oil
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 3 scallions
  • About 1/2 c. frozen corn (honestly, I just throw some corn in; I don’t measure)
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 t. cumin
  • 6-8 eggs (depending on how many people you’re serving; figure 2 eggs per person)
  • 1/2 c. sharp Cheddar or Pepper-Jack cheese
  • 1 avocado
  • salsa (for serving)

Instructions:

1) Get everything set up, because egg-making goes fast. Cut your red pepper. I cut it into strips and cut the strips into thirds. Chop the scallions. In another bowl, beat the eggs and add salt and pepper. Sometimes I add some cumin and cayenne to the beaten eggs. Grate your cheese. (Note: the Good Enough Gourmet will not judge you for using pre-grated cheese, but I don’t like it. I like to splurge on good cheese. Cabot white extra-sharp cheddar is my favorite.) Cube the avocado.

2) Heat olive oil in a skillet and add the red pepper, scallions, and corn. Cook for a few minutes until softened and add salt, pepper, and cumin.

3) Add the eggs to the skillet. Or you can remove the vegetables, scraping the bottom of the skillet with a spatula to clean it, add more oil, add the eggs, and add the vegetables back in later. I tried it both ways and it didn’t make a difference. Do what makes most sense to you. Stir the eggs around with a spatula. Remember, this is a scramble, not an omelet.

4) When the eggs are almost, but not all the way cooked (they’ll still be runny), add the cheese. Stir until fully cooked (we’re talking less than a minute).

5) Serve, topped with avocado chunks and salsa on the side.

Butternut Squash Risotto with Crispy Sage

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Butternut squash is a pain. It’s hard to peel, hard to cut, and you often don’t need the whole squash for your recipe. Pre-cut squash can be slimy and the chunks are too large. Some recipes are worth the trouble. This one is.

Ingredients:

  • 1 package or bunch of fresh sage
  • Butter
  • Olive oil
  • 1 shallot
  • 1/2 of a medium butternut squash
  • Salt and pepper
  • Nutmeg
  • 1 c. Arborio rice
  • 1/2 c. White wine
  • 4 c. Chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1/3 c. (More or less) Parmesan cheese

Instructions:

1) Peel the butternut squash, cut lengthwise, and remove seeds. Wrap half in plastic wrap and put in fridge for another meal to come. You’ll be so happy because your squash is ready to go! Cut the other half into 1/2 inch cubes.

2) Chop shallot. Chop about 1/4 of the sage. Cut off the stems from the remaining sage leaves.

3) Put the broth into a medium saucepan and heat over low heat. You want the broth to be warm during the cooking process.

4) In a Dutch oven or similar pan, melt 1 T. butter and a little olive oil. Add the sage leaves (not the chopped sage) and sauté until the leaves turn dark and slightly crispy. Remove from pan and sprinkle with salt.

5) Add a little more butter and/or olive oil to the pan and add the shallot. Cook for a minute or so and add the butternut squash. Cook on medium heat for 8 minutes, stirring from time to time. Add salt, pepper, and some nutmeg – maybe about 1/4 t.

6) Add Arborio rice, stir, and cook for a minute to get the rice nicely coated. Add the white wine and cook for 2 minutes, until most of the wine evaporates.

7) Now comes the fun part. Set your timer for 35 minutes. Ladle 1-2 ladlefuls of hot broth into the rice mixture and stir. For the next 35 minutes, this is what you’ll be doing. I pour myself a glass of wine, grab my sudoku, and go back and forth between wine/sudoku and ladle broth/stir. Don’t let too much time pass before stirring or your risotto will stick to the bottom of the pan and you’ll be very unhappy.

8) After 35 minutes, taste the rice to make sure it’s cooked, and add salt, the chopped sage, 1 T. butter, and the Parmesan cheese and stir.

9) To serve, spoon some risotto into a shallow bowl and top with the crispy sage leaves.

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Sweet Potato Soup

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It’s soup weather.  Here’s a hearty one.  It’s so thick and hearty that I want to call it a potage, but that would be pretentious, right?  This recipe makes a large batch.

Sweet Potato Soup, adapted from The Shiksa in the Kitchen

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium sweet potatoes
  • 3 zucchini
  • 1 onion
  • 2-3 cloves garlic
  • olive oil
  • 6 cups vegetable or chicken stock
  • 1 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes
  • 1 T. fresh thyme
  • 1 t. cumin
  • 1/2 t. ground ginger
  • 1/8-1/4 t. cayenne pepper
  • salt
  • 1/4 c. peanut butter (I prefer crunchy because I like the texture in the soup)

Instructions:

1) Peel the sweet potatoes, cut into small pieces.  Slice the zucchini.

2) Chop the onion and garlic.  Heat some olive oil in a stock pot or Dutch oven and cook the onions and garlic until softened.

3) Add all the other ingredients except the peanut butter.  Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer; simmer for 25 minutes.

4) With an immersion blender (or regular blender), puree the soup.  I like to mostly puree it but leave a few chunks for texture.

5) Stir in the peanut butter.  Taste and add salt if needed.