Minimalist Recipes

I love to cook…anyone who has met me knows that 😉 I’m not what you would call thin anymore. Part of the problem is that however good a cook I am, my husband is even better. Yes, we are chubby (read fat), but we got that way from gooooood food.  This page will be filled with some of my favorite recipes.

Minimalist Recipes

5 or 6 ingredients. 10 or 15 minutes prep. Quick and easy. Here goes…

Warm Butter Beans and Rosemary Garlic

Serves 4 as a starter

If you are serving this to guests, you can either serve this as bruschetta with the beans dished up on toast that has been rubbed with the cut side of a clove of garlic. Alternatively, serve the beans in the middle of the table with bread on the side so your guests can help themselves.

butter-beans-and-rosmary

For just hubby and me I sometimes serve it on pan fried garlic toast. We also love it on a nice French bread slice. It’s a great lunch paired with a light soup or a salad.

I’ve made this with cannellini beans and butter beans and I have a slight preference for the slightly larger, firmer butter beans. Borlotti (cranberry) beans would also work well as would chickpeas.

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 14 oz. can butter beans, drained
  • ¼ to ½ cup aromatic vegetables of your choice
  • Salt, pepper and seasoning of your choice to taste
  • 2 cloves garlic thinly sliced
  • 2 small sprigs rosemary, leaves picked
  • pinch pepper flakes, optional

Directions:

Sauté chopped onion, scallion, carrot, celery or other aromatics you want to mix with the beans for about three minutes. Add a bit of salt and pepper to the pan, along with some cilantro, sage, cayenne pepper flakes, curry powder or other desired herbs or spices.

In a bowl combine bean mixture with the fresh garlic and rosemary. Mix gently.

Serve on bread of your choice and garnish with pepper flakes if desired.

 

Simple Soba Noodle Soup

Serves 1

soup-with-soba-noodlesSoba noodles are made of buckwheat as well as regular wheat and have a subtle flavor. While other types of noodles could be used here if you prefer, you really should try the real thing. You can find soba noodles in most groceries, or purchase a good quality organic version through our store. Likewise, the veggies can be varied to suit your taste (and what you have in the fridge!) baby spinach is a good substitute for the bok choy and you can add carrots, celery or any vegetable you would normally find in Chinese food.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable stock (chicken also works well)
  • 2 oz. (handful) soba noodles
  • 3 heads baby bok choy, leaves separated
  • ½ to 1 cup other vegetables of your choice
  • 1 tbs. oil
  • large pinch chili flakes, optional
  • 1 or 2 tablespoons soy sauce

Directions:

Cook the noodles like you would any other pasta product, however, remember that the noodles will keep cooking in the broth, so slightly undercook first. Drain and put aside.

Stir fry vegies in oil.

Add stock and bring to a boil.

Put noodles and stock mixture in a bowl and garnish with chili flakes and soy sauce to taste.

 

Brown Rice and Almond Tabbouleh

Serves 3 or 4

I’ve listed a short grain brown rice in this recipe, but I’ve used quinoa and millet as well. So, feel free to experiment and use whichever rice or grain you like best.

brown-rice-saladI love the crunch and taste of almonds, so I might have gotten a little carried away. If you are serving it as a side dish you could easily get by with a quarter of the nuts. Or if you don’t care for them you can ditch them all together.

This salad makes a great compliment for fish or lamb, but makes a nice light lunch as well. I use it for picnics or grilling with company as it’s happy in the fridge while you hang out with your guests.

I keep cooked rice in my freezer all the time. This makes it convenient for salads or to add to soup.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups cooked brown rice or grain of your choice
  • 1 large bunch flat leaf parsley, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 small red onion, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 cup whole almonds

Directions:

Toss all ingredients together in a bowl. Store in the fridge until ready to serve.

 

Pasta with Broccoli and Pine nuts

Serves 4

I love the taste of pine nuts. You can toast them yourself in a heavy skillet, but be careful not to scorch them. There is nothing worse that the smell of scorched nuts…ok, there’s lots worse, but work with me here people! Alternately, you can spread the nuts on a baking sheet and bake at 375°F, stirring occasionally, until golden-brown, 5 to 10 minutes. You won’t scorch them this way, but you have to heat up the oven…it’s a toss up. Pine nuts can be found at Costco or other large grocery stores. If you can’t find them, we have them in our store.

pasta-broccoli-and-pinenutsThe beauty of this dish, apart from how quick and easy it is to make, is how the broccoli takes on the lightly creamy, cheesey sauce. Depending on how I’m feeling at the time I will vary the broccoli/pasta ratio.

Ingredients:

  • 1 box of small pasta. I like bow ties, but any kind is good. Boxes will be between 12 and 16 oz. The dish will be a little dryer with 16 oz. and a little juicier with 12 oz.
  • 2 bunches broccoli, cut into floretes
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream
  • Black Pepper to taste
  • 2 handfuls pine nuts, toasted
  • 2 large handfuls grated Parmesan cheese

Directions:

Cook pasta in lightly salted water and put aside.

Steam the broccoli until tender.

Cook cream, pepper and cheese in a pan, stirring frequently.

Add the pasta, broccoli and pine nuts to the sauce. Cook another minute or two.

Top with additional sprinkle of cheese and pepper, serve with fresh bread and a green salad.

 

Couscous with Tuna and Cherry Tomatoes

Serves 2

tuna-and-tomatoTuna purists run fast and run far. This recipe calls for (gasp!) canned tuna. Well, I like canned tuna and it’s great to have in your food storage, so take that, tuna purists! I love the combination of tuna and cherry tomatoes. I’ve been known to have it for lunch several days in a row. For what it’s worth I just think cherry or grape tomatoes are great. I add them to salads, omelets, garnishes, whatever. They are sweet and I like the pop of the skins.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup couscous
  • 1 ½ cup water
  • ½ teas. Salt
  • 1 tbs. butter or oil
  • 1/2 bunch green onions chopped
  • 2 clove garlic, finely sliced
  • 1 tbs. butter or oil
  • 1 12 oz. can of tuna in oil
  • 1 pint of either cherry or grape tomatoes, halved

Directions:

Add salt and 1 tbs. butter to the water and bring to a boil. Pour couscous into boiling water, stir once with a spoon, cover with a lid, and remove from heat.

Sauté onion and garlic in second tbs. butter. Stir into cooked couscous.

Toss tuna and tomatoes together in a small bowl. Salt if desired.

To serve, make a bed of couscous and top with tuna mixture. Serve with bread and a small green salad.

 

Pan Seared Salmon with Tahini

Serves 4

I have a confession to make. I have many, many weird food hang ups (just ask my poor, long suffering husband). Many have to do with nasty bits in meat (gristle, fat, sinew). My husband says he expects me to give it up and become a vegetarian one day…it hasn’t happened yet, but I’ll keep you posted.

That being said, I hate the skin on fish. I know. It gets all crispy and tasty. I. Don’t. Care. You may do as you see fit, but for me it’s skinless all the way.

Next question…what is Tahini and where do I get it? Tahini is ground up sesame seeds and is available from health food stores and the health food section of the supermarket. Or, you can make it yourself! It’s tasty and easy. Option three…you can’t find it in your area but you don’t want to make it either…we stock it in our store…problem solved.

Ingredients:

  • 4 tablespoon tahini
  • 8 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 4 salmon fillets
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 small bulbs fennel, very finely sliced crosswise
  • 1 bunch mint, leaves picked

NOTE: Remember that weird food thing? Well, fennel and mint are both on the list of things I won’t eat. However, my husband loves them. This is another taster’s choice time.

Directions:

Preheat a large heavy skillet (I use and love cooking in a cast iron skillet. Remind me to do a post of the wonders of cast iron soon.) over medium heat for 3 minutes.

Coat salmon with olive oil. Place in skillet, and increase heat to high. Cook for 3 minutes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. …

Transfer salmon to individual plates, and garnish with lemon slices and your wonderful homemade Tahini.

Easy Tahini Recipe – Better Than Store-bought

Making tahini at home is easy and much less expensive than buying from the store. Look for sesame seeds at International, Asian and Middle Eastern markets, or in our store. Tahini can be kept in the refrigerator for a month.

Makes approximately 1/2 Cup

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup sesame seeds, I prefer hulled
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons neutral flavored oil such as grape seed, canola or a light olive oil
  • Pinch of salt, optional

Directions:

Toast Sesame Seeds

Add sesame seeds to a wide, dry saucepan over medium-low heat and toast, stirring constantly until the seeds become fragrant and very lightly colored (not brown), 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer toasted seeds to a baking sheet or large plate and cool completely. (Careful here, sesame seeds can burn quickly).

Make Tahini

Add sesame seeds to the bowl of a food processor then process until a crumbly paste forms, about 1 minute. Add 3 tablespoons of the oil then process for 2 to 3 minutes more, stopping to scrape the bottom and sides of the food processor a couple times.

Check the tahini’s consistency. It should be smooth, not gritty and should be pourable. You may need to process for another minute or add the additional tablespoon of oil. Taste the tahini for seasoning then add salt to taste. Process 5 to 10 seconds to mix it in.

To Store

Store tahini covered in the refrigerator for one month. You may notice it separates over time, like a natural peanut butter would. If this happens, give the tahini a good stir before using.

 

Mr. Dominic’s Fig and Honey Tartlets

Serves 8

The secret to these little tartlets is a high-quality oat cookie to use as the ’shell’. I used Walkers Highland Oat Cakes (which are available in our store). Feel free to substitute with your favorite oat (oatmeal) cookie. The ones I use are not terribly sweet, so you may want to use a more “cookie” like base.

You could use any fruit you like as well. Fresh berries are good and I use rehydrated freeze dried fruit all the time. You can also just use nuts or shaved chocolate if you want.

fig-1356770_960_720I used figs in these tartlets because I have a warm spot in my heart for them. When I was a tiny girl our next-door neighbor was a lovely older Italian gentleman I always called Mister Dominic. Mister Dominic taught me to tie my shoes. To this day, I tie them backward because I was watching him through the fence. I also learned to love figs from his tree and pretzels that he pushed to me through the openings in the chain link fence that separated our yards.

Ingredients:

  • ½ of a 15-oz. ricotta cheese container (the other half provides a good excuse to make a small lasagna)
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 6 Oat cakes or 8 oatmeal cookies
  • 2 large ripe figs, sliced lengthwise
  • Honey
  • Fresh mint leaves (optional)

Directions:

Mix cheese and sugar. Refrigerate at lease one hour for flavor to mellow.

Top oat cakes with cheese mixture. Arrange fig slices on cheese and drizzle with honey. Garnish with mint leaves if desired.

Well, that’s it for today. I hope you try some of these recipes. If you make any of them, take a picture and send it to me. I’ll post it here on the blog!

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