Monday, November 23, 2009

Party Dip

I recently taped a segment for UVM Extension's "talk show", Across the Fence. During this segment I highlighted a white bean dip which is a sure crowd pleaser. It is a versatile dip which can be used along with crudites (cut up vegetables), spread on crostini, or used as a replacement for mayonnaise on a sandwich. It's high in fiber and protein, low in fat, and rich in flavor. Play around with the garlic and lemon levels to adapt to your tastes. Along with the dip I have included a quick recipe for homemade whole wheat pita chips - a great alternative to high fat chips. The pita chips work great with this white bean dip as well.

White Bean Dip with Rosemary and Lemon

Yields ~2 cups

1, 15-ounce cans of white beans such as cannellini or great northern beans
1-2 cloves garlic, peeled
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon lemon zest
2-3 tablespoon lemon
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary minced
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Thoroughly rinse the beans in a colander to remove excess sodium.

2. Place garlic cloves in food processor and pulse until finely minced.

3. Add rinsed beans, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper to the food processor. Puree until smooth.

4. Add fresh minced rosemary and lemon zest and pulse the food processor a couple of times until seasonings are well incorporated.

5. Cover and place in the refrigerator for about an hour to let the flavors blend. Can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a 1 week.

Pita Chips

Makes about 6 Servings

3 Pita Round
Olive Oil Cooking Spray
Salt and Chili Powder to taste

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Split pita rounds in half and make 6 rounds. Stack the rounds one on top of the other and cut into 6 wedges.
  3. Spread wedges in a single layer on a baking sheet, lightly spray with cooking spray and bake until golden, about 10 minutes.
  4. As soon as pita chips are removed from oven, season with salt and chili powder, let cool and enjoy!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Flavors of Fall Tacos

Nick and I are partaking in Full Moon Farm's Winter CSA. After a rough summer with cold temperatures and wet weather, the farm was still able to provide us with tons of delicious winter vegetables. In our last pick up we were happily bombarded with kale, Brussels sprouts, winter squash, onions, carrots and potatoes.

Kale is a leafy green vegetable that belongs to the Brassica family, a group of vegetables including cabbage, collards and Brussels sprouts that have gained recent attention due to their health promoting phytonutrients. Kale grows well in colder temperature and is typically sweeter in flavor after the first frost. The variety of kale I used in this recipe is Lacinato or dinosaur kale. It has a sweeter, lighter flavor than traditional curly leaf kale and I find it doesn't need to be cooked as long as the curly leaf variety seen in most grocery stores.

So enough about the history of kale. What the heck do you do with it? I was visiting my friend and fellow Cambridge School of Culinary Arts Alumni, Barlow Adamson, a few months back. During my visit he cooked me up some yummy chorizo and butternut squash tacos. I took his idea (thanks Barlow!) and gave my own nutritious twist to it - not to mention that I had a bunch of kale and winter squash that I needed to use up.

Roasted Winter Squash, Kale, and Black Bean Tacos

2 cups of diced winter squash
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small red onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1/8 teaspoon Cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
2 cups of chopped kale
1/4 cup of water
juice of 1 lime
1 15-ounce can of black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup corn
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
salt and pepper to taste
Flour or corn tortillas

Optional: sour cream, grated cheddar

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Lightly oil a baking sheet and spread out diced squash. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until squash begins to soften up. Remove from oven and set aside.
  3. In a medium size saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon of oil over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and saute for 5-6 minutes or until onions have softened. Add in spices and saute for an additional minute.
  4. Add chopped kale and saute for 5 more minutes (may need to add 1-2 tablespoons of water if begins to dry out). Next stir in lime juice, rest of water, rinsed beans, roasted squash, and corn. Season with salt and pepper and cook until heated through. Remove from heat and stir in cilantro.
  5. Serve in warmed tortillas with desired toppings (sour cream, shredded cheese, etc.)