Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Sweet Potato and Black Bean Burritos

Ingredients: serves 2
2 sweet potatoes
1/2 cup diced onions
2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
1/2 minced fresh green chile
2 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. ground coriander
1 can black beans (15-oz., rinsed &drained)
1/4 C. lightly packed cilantro leaves - chopped - optional
1 T. lemon juice
4 six-inch flour tortillas

tomato salsa for topping


  1. Pierce the sweet potatoes several times with a fork, then microwave on high for 6-8 minutes or until a fork goes in easily. Let them cool a bit.
  2. Saute the diced onions and garlic in 1-2 tsp olive oil
  3. scoop out the potato flesh into a bowl, add the beans and mash together.
  4. Stir in the spices, lemon juice and cilantro if using
  5. Warm the tortillas in the microwave (wrap in a towel and heat on high for 30-60 second)
  6. place 1/4 cup or so of filling in tortilla and roll up.
  7. Place filled tortillas in a casserole or baking dish, cover with a damp towel (paper or cotton), then plastic wrap (or the dish's cover if it has one) and microwave on 70-80% power for 5 minutes or until heated through/

I served these with cucumber and radish salad: peel cukes and slice thinly. Slice radishes thinly. Dress with plain non-fat Greek yogurt, dried dill, salt & pepper to taste.

Salad with Baked Tofu & Hard Boiled Eggs

Rather self-explanatory

Chopped scallions
Sliced radishes
Diced baked tofu
 Hard boiled eggs
Mixed Lettuce from the CSA share

Fresh Pea & Radish Salad with Polenta Croutons

The goal for this salad, take as many things from the CSA box as possible and make a quick, simple lunch.
Ingredients from the box:
Romaine Lettuce
Peas in the pod
Polenta slices,warmed/browned with olive oil spray in a heavy pan
Shaved Parmesan cheese
Lime Vinaigrette

Asparagus, Red Pepper & Tofu Stir-Fry

I prefer to eat my vegetables in season and grown locally. This year's CSA asparagus was a perfect illustration of why that is. Few things are as tasty as just picked asparagus. I eagerly await it's arrival on the scene each year. This year, a delectable bunch of asparagus showed up in the CSA box for several weeks in a row, we had asparagus with eggs, asparagus Risotto, Asparagus Salad, Asparagus Stir Fry. You can have too much of even a good thing, however. Just when we had gotten to the point of enough asparagus already, the season ended and a new vegetable friend appeared in the CSA box.

This is a fairly straightforward recipe. I took elements of several recipes I found on the web and combined them here.
Ingredients: this served 2 people
Stir Fry:
1 block Firm Sprouted Tofu
1 bunch asparagus
1 red bell pepper
Soy sauce
Rice Wine Vinegar
Red Pepper Flakes

I served this with Rice Noodles, prepared according to the package directions.

  • Slice the tofu block into 1/4 - 1/2 inch slices. Lay the slices on towels (paper or cotton), cover with more towels and weight down with a baking pan or cookie sheet and several cans of beans or tomatoes to drain out most of the liquid.
  • Brown the tofu in a little canola or olive oil on medium high heat, turning once, to get a nice golden color on each side.
  • While tofu is browning, mix the ingredients listed above, or these ingredients, from Mollie Katzen's Asparagus Tofu Noodle Stir Fry recipe - or something similar, in a bowl
    • 2 scallions, minced
      1/2 tablespoon minced garlic
      1 tsp grated fresh ginger
      2 tablespoons soy sauce
      1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper
      1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
      1/2 tablespoons Chinese dark sesame oil
      3 tablespoons water
      1/2 tablespoon honey or sugar
      1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Set the tofu aside and add the asparagus and red pepper to the pan. Cook over medium high to high heat, stirring for about five minutes until the veggies are crisp tender.
  • Stir in the sauce for the last 2-3 minutes of cooking the vegetables, then stir in the tofu to coat with the sauce.

Veggies & Beans over Polenta


Another dish that would work well for a crowd.

Polenta: You can use the kind that come pre-made in a roll, or instant polenta, or regular. Prepare according to package directions, in the number of servings you need. If you use a roll, slice into 12 rounds and place in a lightly oiled pan (see below). If you mix up some instant polenta or make a batch from cornmeal, mix in a little butter and 1/2 cup grated Parmesan or Romano cheese, then spread the polenta into the oiled baking pan like a batch of brownies and let it set while you sautee the veggies.

Ingredients: For one 9 x 12 baking pan, I used the following:
Polenta:  1 roll 
Olive oil
1 red onion, chopped (you could use white onion, or shallots, or leeks)
1/2 each red & yellow bell pepper, chopped
2 small zucchini, diced
1 can small white beans (you could use canellini or garbanzo)
Fresh oregano and basil leaves, chopped
Freshly ground salt & pepper to taste
I did not use canned or fresh, chopped tomatoes, but you could as those as well
Grated Parmesan cheese (you could use Feta here if you prefer)


  1. Lightly oil a 9 x 12 or similar baking pan or casserole.
  2. Place the polenta in the dish (see instructions above), sprinkle with about 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese.
  3. Sautee the onion in about 2 tsp oil for 5 min, then add zucchnni and peppers and cook until veggies are tender.
  4. Stir in the beans, chopped fresh herbs of your choice, and salt & pepper to taste.
  5. Spread the veggie mix over the polenta in the pan.
  6. Top with additional grated cheese.
  7. Serve as is, or heat in a 275F oven to melt cheese

Potato Leek Patties

This is a modification of a recipe from from The Jewish Holiday Kitchen by Joan Nathan, which has been my go-to reference for Jewish Holiday cooking for decades (my dog-eared paperback copy, copyright 1988, has a duct-taped spine and falls into two or three pieces every time I pick it up; this is one of the pages that it falls open to).


  • 2 - 4  leeks (depending on size, 2 if large, 4 if small) - white parts and just the lightest green only, slice lengthwise, rinse thoroughly, then dice - on the small side
  • 2 large potatoes - Yukon gold are best - but Idaho baking potatoes work well too
  • 1 egg (the original recipe called for 2 lbs leeks, 2 potatoes, and 3 eggs. Add more eggs if you like, or use only egg white for fewer calories & less fat, or egg substitute or yogurt)
  • 1 cup feta, crumbled (full fat, low fat, or non-fat)
  • 1/4 - 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
  • salt and pepper
  • olive oil or olive oil spray

Preparation of Leek Patties:

  1. Peel the potatoes, cut them into chunks, put them in a pot, cover with water, bring to a boil and boil for about 10 minutes or until cooked so that a fork goes through easily but they are not mushy, then drain and mash in a large bowl.
  2. You can parboil the diced leeks in salted water for 5 minutes and drain them, or saute them in 1 tsp or so of good olive oil to give them a little brown edge.
  3. Add the cooked leeks to the potatoes and mix.
  4. Lightly beat the egg, then add to the potato/leek mixture with the feta and Parmesan, salt and pepper.
  5. Form patties about the size of your palm, tapered on one end.
  6. You can fry the patties in oil, or use olive oil spray, or, spray or brush them with oil and bake them on cookie sheets at 375 F for 20 - 30 minutes - turning halfway through. You want to get them a nice golden brown on each side and get them hot all the way through.
  7. If you use more than a bit of oil, drain the patties on paper towels before serving.

I served them here with leftover quinoa salad with roasted grapes & pears and a honey lemon dressing: Toss grapes and cubes of fresh pear with honey and roast for 15-20 minutes in a 400 F oven. Make a dressing with olive oil, lemon juice, honey, salt & pepper. Cook quinoa according to package directions. Mix with grapes, pears, fresh spinach (leaves or chopped), garnish with some raw or toasted pecans.

Chili-topped Sweet Potatoes

A great use for leftover Chili.
This particular incarnation used some nice organic orange sweet potatoes and a quick black bean chili.

This is a great dish to serve a crowd: 
  • Bake a bunch of sweet potatoes in the oven (about 1 hr at 400 F, test with a fork, they should be soft all the way through)
  • Mix up a big batch of chili and keep it warm in a crock pot or on the stove
  • Put out bowls of grated cheese (cheddar or jack), sour cream or plain yogurt, salsa and/or guacamole
  • Let everyone top their own potato.
Quick Black Bean Chili (serves 3 or 4) 
2 tsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped (red onion is nice with black beans)
1-2 cloves garlic, minced or smashed
1 small zuchinni, diced
1/2 red, green or yellow bell pepper, diced
1/2 can chopped tomatoes
1/4 - 1/2 minced jalapeno 
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 tsp cumin (or to taste)
1/2 tsp corriander (or to taste)
1-2 tsp chili powder (or to taste)
a pinch cayanne pepper (or to taste)
salt & pepper

Saute the onion in the olive oil for about 5 min, add the diced zuchinni and the peppers and cook 10 min or so, until vegetables are tender. Add the tomatoes, the beans, and the spices and let everything cook together for 15-30 minutes to blend the flavors. Salt & pepper to taste.

There are other recipes for vegetarian chili elsewhere on this site.
You can use white potatoes if you prefer.

Spaghetti Squash with vegetables

 Spaghetti Squash is a nice, light, alternative to pasta. This dish is perfect for a warm spring evening.
Spaghetti squash has less protein than pasta, but also far fewer calories (about 40 versus 220 for a one cup serving of squash vs pasta), also fewer carbohydrates (10 versus 42 per cup). This squash is a good source of fiber. You can add protein and fiber to this recipe by adding a can of cannelloni beans.

1 small to medium Spaghetti Squash
2 - 4 tsp organic extra virgin olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
1-2 small zucchini, diced
2 tomatoes, chopped
Parmesan cheese, grated
Fresh herbs (optional)
Salt & Pepper to taste

Cook the squash: you can cut it in half and bake it for 30-40 minutes, cut side down, in a 350 degree oven. I usually just pierce it 3-4 times with a fork and microwave it, whole, on high power for 6-10 minutes (depending on size) until it gives a little when touched but has not yet gotten mushy. A fork should go through the skin easily. when you cut it open, The squash strands should come apart easily when "raked" with your fork, but still be crisp-crunchy.
While the squash is cooking, heat the oil in a heavy saute pan, add the onions and cook over medium-high heat until translucent (about 5 min), then add the zucchini and cook until it is tender. Then, add the tomatoes and cook about 5 minutes more. 

To remove the squash strands, cut the squash in half length wise and scrape a fork lightly over the strands, they should separate and look like spaghetti (hence the name). Keep that up until the squash shell is empty and you have a big pile of squash "noodles"

Add the squash "noodles" to the saute and mix gently. Mix in chopped fresh basil, oregano, and or thyme, and salt & pepper (freshly ground if possible) to your taste. You can add additional olive oil or vegetable broth, if the dish seems dry. You could also mix in a can of cannellini or small white beans here for protein. Serve topped with grated Parmesan cheese.


Spring peas in their pods are so delicious. The pods are crisp and sweet and the peas are delicate and so tasty. I decided to combine them with some scallions and a bunch of spinach that were also in the share to make a Spring Risotto.
The quality of the broth you use to cook the rice has a huge flavor impact here, so consider making your own, or buy quality organic broth. 

2 tsp organic olive oil
handful of scallions chopped
1 bunch fresh spinach, chopped
2 cups or so of fresh peas in their pods, cut into pieces (some peas will fall out, this is fine)
6 cups or so of vegetable broth (see directions elsewhere on this blog to make your own)
1 cup arboreo rice
Parmesan cheese, grated
Salt & Pepper
Fresh basil & Oregano if you have them
White wine (optional) - you can mix it into the broth or use it in place of one of the cups of liquid while cooking the rice.

Heat the vegetable broth to just before boiling, then set on low to keep it warm
Heat the oil in a large, heavy skillet
add the scallions and saute briefly (3-4 min)
add the rice and saute for 2 minutes
add 1 cup of warm broth and cook, stirring, until it is absorbed (about 5 min)
Add the rest of the warm broth, one cup at a time, stirring after each addition until the broth is absorbed.
By the time you are ready to add the last cup of broth, the rice should be near tender.
Add the peas & pods, and spinach with the last cup of broth and cook until they are crisp-tender and the rice is just right.
Stir in 1/4 - 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, a handful of chopped herbs, and salt & pepper (freshly ground if possible) to taste.