Wednesday, January 27, 2010

College Street Cooks

Last Friday some lovely food-inspired ladies got together to start a monthly cooking tradition. Tracy Phillippi, Hanna Lewis, Kate Jeffery and Katherine Booth vowed to share at least one wholesome meal together every month. And so it Began...

Our feast for the evening included Beautiful Butternut Squash Risotto (featuring Ontario's best Parmesan and Asiago), Bold Black Bean Burgers and the evening favorite Quality Quinoa and Lentil Salad.

The risotto demanded the most attention and time, so it was started right away! We cooked for 5 hungry ladies and still had plenty left overs, so I would guess that this recipe is best for 6-8 people

2 medium sized butternut squash
375g Arborio rice
6-7 cups of hot and steamy vegan stock
5 cloves of garlic
4 shallots minced
1 Cup white wine
¼ Cup of Parmigiano Reggiano cheese grated
¼ Cup of Asiago cheese in shards
2 tbs of olive oil
Salt & pepper to taste

Squish Squash:

1. Wash, Skin and Chop the squash into 1/4 inch pieces. Chop 2 cloves of garlic, throw together in a baking pan coated lightly with olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook for 20-25 minutes at 350 degrees. We cookes the squash for 15-20 and found them to be undercooked, so it may depend on your oven and therefore would be best to keep an eye!

Randy Risotto

1. In a large pot sauté the shallots and rest of the garlic in the oil
2. Add the rice to the pot and make sure to coat the rice with the oil/butter/garlic
3. Pour 1 cup of wine into the pot (pour the rest into your glass!) Allow the alcohol to dissipate. From here on out, you must pay a lot of attention to the risotto, stirring constantly and fulfilling its every needy desire.
4. Add the Squash 1/3 at a time allowing each batch to mix. alternating with the addition of the stock.
5. Begin to add one cup of the Stock at a time, allowing each addition to absorb into the rice resulting in an increasing thickness. You must stir constantly!
6. After 2 cups of stock, add more squash... keep alternating the stock and the squash until everything is all together in the now aromatic pot
7. Now its time to taste the rice...the less amount of time it sits the more aldente it ends up..this is all up to you!~
8. the choice between vegan and non vegan comes here..if you take the milky plunge then add the grated Parmesan and the Asiago, if not...may the force be with you
9. Walah!

Now I hope you haven't forgotten about the other delectable dishes...we sure didn't, while this was going on we were busy boiling the lentils and quinoa for this high fiber dish.

This Recipe I got from my friend Kelsey who makes a specific lizard-like face whenever we talk about it. Anyway the point is, who says you need lettuce for salad??

What you will need for this bad boy is:

Feta & Lentil & Quinoa Salad
1 cup dried green lentils
1 cup quinoa
3/4 cup of raisins or cranberries
3/4 cup of Feta cheese
3/4 cup of walnuts
2 green onion
1/4 cup of fresh parsley (although I think we used cilantr0)

Dress it up!
4 tbs of lemon juice
1. tsp of honey
1 Tbs rice vinegar or white wine vinegar
1/4 tsp salt
3 tbs olive oil
Pinch of pepper

Cooking the quinoa and the lentils...
1 (a) Add 1 Cup of quinoa with 2 cups of water, 1 tsp of turmeric, 1 tsp coriander, 1 tsp salt. Allow to reach a boil then quickly switch to simmer, cover and let cook for approx 12 minutes...keep an eye though it tends to burn on the bottom soon after the water is absorbed.
1 (b)at the same time, add 1 cup of lentils to 3 cups of water (check the instructions on the package...different lentils call for different proportions). Add a Bay leaf and allow to cook thoroughly. lentils will take quite a bit longer then the quinoa

2. once both grains are cooked, and cooled. mix together.

3. In a separate bowl mix together the dressing.
4. Add crushed walnuts, cranberries and green onion
5. mix thoroughly with dressing. Top with Feta. And enjoy! If you have time, feel free to refrigerate for up
to an hour before serving..

Now our source of Protein for the evening...  

Bold Black Bean Burgers. 

The great thing about this recipe. IS that it is a MASH--most of the ingredients (except for the black beans of course) are replaceable, and it can be as simple as you'd like, and either vegan or non vegan (whether you add an egg or not...)

In order to make 6-10 patties Please compile the following:
- 5 cups of black beans..cooked (if you are using canned beans then each can will happily make 3-4 patties each)
- bunch of a fresh herb...basil? cilantro? parsley? chives? you choose!
- 1/3-1/2 cup of whole wheat flour
- 1/3 cup of bread crumbs (if you have it..otherwise more flour)
- 1 egg beaten (if you are making this vegan, substitute for olive oil, or egg replacement)
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 1 red onion

1. saute garlic and onion together in a splash of oil
2. add hot mixture to black beans, throw in the chopped herb and begin to MUSH!
3. Add the Beaten egg and then slowly add the flour and/or bread crumbs. Until you have reached your desired consistency. (you want the patties to be able to stick together but not too sticky..)
4. Cook in a hot pan, with a splash of oil on each side for 3-5 minutes.
5. Throw onto delicious fresh bred from My market Bakery and Wallah!

If you want an Indian inspired flavor, I recommend adding a tsp of curry powder, coriander and turmeric...depending on what you are serving it with!

All of these recipes are easy and delicious while remaining focused on seasonal cuisine. Wintertime is such a great time to forget about summer lettuce and fresh fruit and remember the flavors of nuts, grains and dried fruit mixed thoughtfully with root vegetables, local cheese and friends!

What is a Moosh Pot?

I was recently filling out a survey that asked me "What activity are you performing when your mind and body are most at ease?" At first I wanted to fudge the results and answer something like "Saving babies from burning houses" or "Exercising to the point of top physical fitness" But as I was searching for the right answer, the one that I could be proud of, I was daydreaming about cheese. I can't say what the exact image was, something about melting cheese--it doesn't really matter--what does is that when I day dream, when I am relaxed, and when I am at peace with myself is when I am cooking.

I feel most at peace When I am grating cheese and sprinkling it into risotto, when I am adding just a pinch of turmeric to the quinoa, and when I take that almost-perfect omelet out of the broiler. What I enjoy even more is cooking with friends and family, eating together and drinking together and being so pleased with our food.

Now I am sure that enjoying to cook is no novel breakthrough--in fact it is probably one of the most common joys trumped only by eating. Therefore it is important for me to point out what I consider to be the most exciting thing about food....

That is that food is a very special way to communicate with people. When I choose to buy my food local and organic (as much as I can afford! oh boy) I engage environmental issues (limiting the distance my food travels), social issues (I support local farmers and local economy), Justice issues (the more I support local producers the clearer it is to policy makers that there is a demand for it, and the more accessible healthy local foods will be to all people)..and so on. In the span of just one plate I can express how I feel, without preaching and without whining, but by simply sparking a conversation of WHY, HOW and WHERE. In a safe and loving environment.

So now we arrive to the question "What is a Moosh Pot?" Well for this blog's purpose A Moosh Pot will be my cooking endeavors both socially shared with other food inspired people and those that take place at odd hours of the night when lentils just have to be made.

I intend to share recipes that I have found and loved and altered so that they are just right. Along with pictures and hopefully funny anecdotes--I hope to spend more time doing what puts me at and sharing what is cooked.

A Moosh Pot is born

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