Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Wild Rice Pilaf, heavy on the veggies

Here is my second recipe that is good on the cleanse, as well as off.  We still make this almost weekly, even without a specific food diet.  This is something my kids love, and it is a great way to get your veggies and grains all in one pan, which honestly, some nights is a bigger deal than others!  It goes really well as a side to trout or salmon.
Wild Rice Pilaf

1C wild rice, cooked according to package directions.
1 red onion, diced
1-2 shallots, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 fennel bulb, fronds removed and bulb diced
(you can chop up some of the fronds as well like you would dill)
2-3 carrots, diced
1 sweet potato, diced
2 parsnips, diced
2-3 celery stalks, diced
8oz package baby Bella (brown) mushrooms, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 green pepper, diced
2 zucchini, diced (one yellow, one green gives the dish nice color
2-3 hot peppers, finely chopped (totally optional-we like hot food!)
Fresh Thyme
Fresh Parsley
Olive Oil

In a separate pan, cook the mushrooms until done to your liking.  Only turn once, otherwise they will be soft.

Over medium heat, add 1 tsp olive oil to the pan.  Add root vegetables first (carrots, sweet potatoes, parsnips).  Cook for just a few minutes, stirring often so they don't burn.  Add in onions, garlic, shallots, fennel, peppers.  Cook until just opaque.  Add herbs and zucchini.  Cook a few minutes so zucchini is still firm.  Add wild rice (if on the cleanse diet, add enough for about 4-6 servings, you will have plenty of leftovers.) and heat through.  Add more olive oil to taste if needed at any time during cooking.

Add salt and pepper to taste.  I like to use Truffle Salt at the end too-but that's only if you really like the wild mushroom flavor.  You can use dried herbs in place of the fresh, but you need to add them with the first veggies so they have time to work in.  In my opinion, you can't beat the fresh herbs.  Their cost isn't as hard to stomach when you realize you can use one of the small packages for multiple recipes.

With this recipe, you can add or take out any vegetable you like (some we have added include leeks, peas, pea pods, cabbage, artichoke hearts).  I like it all diced for consistency, but that's just me :-)  You can also cook longer if you prefer the veggies softer.  We liked a little texture to it-I cook the veggies so they were still crisp.

You could also replace the wild rice with lentils (another approved grain on the cleanse)  Both work quite well with this dish.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Veggie Tacos recipe

I was asked to put a few recipes up by my sister in law, who is a chiropractor.  Her clinic offers a 21 day cleanse that my husband and I have done yearly for the past two years.  Since we like variety and love to cook, we had to come up with a few different ideas to make it through the first few days especially, since there is no meat involved until day 11 of 21.
This is our recipe for veggie tacos.  We also made taco meat (ground beef or chicken) for our kids when we had this, since they did not go on the full cleanse with us.  All other items were the same.

Vegetable Tacos
1 each red, green, yellow peppers, sliced thin
2-3 jalapenos, seeded and sliced thin (red or green)
1 red and 1 white onion, sliced thin
2-3 cloves garlic, sliced thin
1 zucchini, cut julienne or peeled thin using a vegetable peeler
2-3 carrots, julienne sliced (optional-we added them from time to time for variety)
1 head romaine lettuce, stem ends trimmed, leaves left whole
2-5 diced roma tomatoes (or other fresh tomatoes)
2 green poblano peppers, roasted, skinned and seeded, then diced
1 lime sliced into wedges
Ancho chile powder
Green Onions
Brown Rice

Slice avocado in half, remove pit, cube and place in small bowl.  Mash avocado, add 1-2 sliced green onions, 1/4 cup chopped cilantro, lime juice and cumin to taste.  Set aside.
Heat skillet over high heat.  Add peppers and onions (and carrots if using).  Continue to stir so still crisp, but browned on at least one side.  Use a little water so they don't stick to the hot pan.  You are making this like fajitas.  Once onions and peppers are just about done you your liking, add in the garlic and zucchini.  Cook slightly so the zucchini is still crisp.  Add about 1 tsp of oil (olive or grapeseed) to the mixture.  Add in chili powder and cumin to taste (about 1 tsp of each)  Mix well over medium heat.

Serve all items on the table family style so each person can adjust what they like on their taco.
Lettuce leaves serve as shells.
Brown rice (see cleanse portions)
Diced Tomatoes
Avocado (guac mix)
Pepper/Onion mix
Roasted Poblanos
Lime Wedges
Green onions and Cilantro to garnish
Additional sliced jalapenos for garnish

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Little Szechwan St. Paul never disappoints

We had lunch today at Little Szechwan in St. Paul on University Ave. with some great friends who are foodies too.  There is a standing challenge between the couples who can order the spiciest dish.  We have had some great ones...Fish Fillet with Szechuan Peppercorn and Fish Fillet in Spicy Tofu Broth are two of the most memorable dishes.  Today our friend ordered the Beef in Szechuan Spicy Broth and won hands down.

The szechwan peppercorns are deceivingly hot-a clear broth with fish, green veggies and stalks of peppercorns.  The spicy tofu broth and the beef in spicy broth are dishes that not only have a chili oil slick on the top of the bowl, they also have an obscene amount of chili flakes and at times sliced serrano chilies. 

An article on the wall from Dara Moskowitz, Food Critic at City Pages said that "Little Szechuan is the real deal, a Szechuan specialist that uses chili peppers the way blizzards use snow."  Perfect description! 

Other great menu items are the green beans, fried rice, lettuce wraps and egg drop soup (all of which are loved by the kids).  Little Szechwan has a wide variety of heat in their dishes.  There is something for everyone on their menu.  Portions are large, reasonably priced-you will come away full, with plenty of leftovers for another meal.

Here is our spread from lunch today
Up close and personal of the Beef in Spicy Szechwan Broth

Fish Fillet in Spicy Tofu Broth from an earlier visit