Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Mish Mash

Sometimes two things sound good to me and I can't decide which I want. Then I make both, even if they don't go together. That's the case with this meal, it's a mish mash of various flavours that don't necessarily go together but who are you to tell me what I can and can't eat together? NO ONE. You're not the boss of me. I'll do what I want.

Both recipes adapted from Food & Drink magazine (free from the LCBO.)

Orzo with Fresh Orange & Olives
Early Summer 2011

I'll start with your basic lesson on segmenting oranges. Use a good knife to slice off the peel & pith from the orange, following the line of the peel so you don't lose too much orange. Once it's devoid of peel, slice the orange into section between the membranes, so all you'll have left is a weird membrane-y thinger that is the skeleton of the orange. For this recipe, do this over a bowl, because you'll want to save the juice. It's a bit of a messy process, but you're left with awesome clean segments.

  • 2 large oranges
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 c rice (I prefer Thai Jasmine, but whatever you like will work)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp hot pepper flakes (I probably used almost 1 tsp; we're spice freaks)
  • 3 1/2 c veg broth*
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 c kalamata olives, pitted and sliced, a few reserved for garnish
  • 1/4 c snipped chives or thinly sliced green onions
*depends on how much orange juice you have

Do your thing with the oranges. Reserve the juice; pour into a measuring cup. Add enough broth so that you'll have 4 c total liquid.

In a pot over medium heat, heat the olive oil. Add rice and fry, stirring, until a little golden, around 7 minutes. Add the pepper flakes and garlic and continue to saute for about a minute.

Add the broth-juice mixture and the salt. Cover and bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer for 10 - 15 minutes, until all liquid is absorbed and rice is tender. You know, like how you cook rice.

When it's done, stir in the sliced olives, put it in your serving dish, and top with the orange segments and whole olives. Or be lazy like me and stir everything together and serve it from the pot, 'presentation' be damned.

*note: if using Orzo, use only 2.5 c of broth plus the orange juice*

Maple Mustard Mushrooms and Beans
Adapted from Maple Mustard Pork Medallions with Two Potatoes, Spring 2011
I made regular old garlic mashed potatoes instead of the two potatoes this recipe includes; if you don't know how to make mashed potatoes, vegan or not, there's a problem. You should probably exit your kitchen and leave the cooking up to the *real* chefs.

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp Earth Balance
  • 1 sweet onion, cut into quarters and then sliced thinly (called for finely chopped, but since the sauce is the main dish and not just a topping, I like a little more texture to it. YMMV of course)
  • 8 oz cremini mushrooms, halved
  • 1/4 c flour
  • 1/4 c mustard - it called for grainy, I used tarragon dijon, just don't use prepared yellow or Keen's hot and you'll be fine.
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 c veg broth
  • 1 can white kidney beans, drained and rinsed sliced green onions for garnish (or chives or parsley; I skipped this part because I am lazy)

Heat the olive oil & Earth Balance over medium heat. Why are there are various settings is beyond me; you may as well just do everything on medium. Anyway. Add your onions & mushrooms. Saute until soft & translucent, as onions are wont to get; mushrooms should release their mosture and cook down a little but not till they're gone. 5 - 7 minutes should do it. Toss in the flour and stir constantly, cooking until it becomes a lightish golden colour, another 5 - 7 minutes or so. Just make sure the flour's cooked, no one wants that gross raw flour flavour and texture in their yummy sauce.
Add the mustard, syrup, vinegar and broth, stirring well to incorporate everything. Let it come to a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until it's almost at the thickness you want - like gravy. If it gets a little too thick, just stream in a bit more broth.

Toss in your beans and heat through. Serve over mashed potatoes with green onions sprinkled on top.

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