CSA Post: Lentil stuffed peppers

I’m back, folks! After all the birthdays this month, a trip home to Plattsburgh and working more hours I finally snagged a free night to set aside for writing. Writing and cooking for you guys requires quite a bit of free time and concentration from all other worldly distractions.

So this week I bring you one of my personal favourites with the lovely bell peppers we got from Herbivor farm in our last CSA share two weeks ago.  Although they were a bit on the small side, I was able to put a spontaneous spin on my Sloppy Lentil recipe to create the miniature version of the weeknight classic.

Vegetarian Nutrition Factoid

Do not fear the size, these peppers were filling enough for a full meal. Due to the power protein in lentils ( 18 grams for one cup, 9 grams for 1/2 cup), two or three of these peppers will fill your belly and hold you over until the next morning. On the essential amino acid side of things, you could pair these with a small serving of brown rice if you are a big eater like my husband. That way, all your amino acid needs are met. If you had other grains or protein earlier in the day, don’t worry about it. You won’t DIE if you don’t get all your proteins packed into one meal. Just like you won’t die from NOT eating meat. The key is to just eat a balanced diet throughout the day. Personally, I was way too full to even think about rice.

Alright, enough of that. Let’s get to business! Grab the peppers, take out the membranes and slice them in half vertically. Sorry the picture turned out so dark, but you get the idea right? Okay. Place them in a baking dish lined with aluminum foil and set aside.

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Chop two or three scallions , a couple baby carrots(both from Herbivor), a bunch of cilantro (also from Herbivor, yay!) , half a red onion and two cloves of garlic.

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Add all your veggies to a frying pan, sauté on medium  heat for a few minutes. Crack open a can (or fresh if you so desire) of Fire-roasted diced tomatoes and add to the pan.  Add some chili powder, cumin and salt and pepper to taste.

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Once your taste buds are satisfied, stuff the peppers with the lentil filling, sprinkle some cheddar cheese on each and pop them in the oven for 20 minutes. Or until the cheese is melted and the peppers are all bubbly and desirable. Yum!

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Enjoy, my friends!

Ingredients

* 7 Bell peppers, sliced vertically in half

*1-2 Cups Brown Lentils

* 2 cloves Garlic

* 1 can Fire-Roasted Diced Tomatoes

* 2-3 Scallions, chopped

* 1 bunch fresh Cilantro

* 1/4 cup Baby carrots, diced

* 1/2 Red onion, diced

*Chili powder

* Cumin

* Dijon mustard (optional), to taste

* Salt and pepper

* 1 cup Brown or Wild rice (optional)

 

 

 

 

CSA Post: Spicy Oyster Mushroom Barley Risotto

Last week when we received a package of Oyster mushrooms in our share from Herbivor (actually from a different farm in Quebec), I immediately started brainstorming for ways in which I could use the mushrooms. Maybe a soup? Nah, that’s been done before. A salad? Meh. I was thinking bigger and more inventive, so after a couple of hours of wracking my brain, I had it: Barley risotto! I wanted it to be spicy, because, why not? And I wanted to give it an Asian influence with rice wine since, apparently I’ve been doing that a lot lately.

I couldn’t find any rice wine at Loblaw’s but life went on and I proceeded with good ol’ white wine instead. So it goes.

And without further ado, let’s get to it!

 

    Ingredients

  • 1/2 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp Extra virgin Olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup Barley, rinsed
  • 1 cup Arborio rice
  • 4 cups Vegetable broth (depending on serving size, mine was for 2 people)
  • 1/2 cup White cooking wine
  • 1 package Blue Oyster mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 package Button mushrooms, chopped
  • Sugar snap peas, a handful
  • 1 tbsp Gardenia Lebanese Red pepper paste
  • Black pepper to taste

Directions

We start off with some minced garlic (from Herbivor!) and butter and olive oil in a large pot, letting it cook for a minute or two.  Then add a cup of the Barley and a cup of the Arborio rice. Lower the heat and stir.

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Then we move on to the star of the show: the oyster mushrooms. Grab those and chop them up, add them to a pan with oil or butter on medium heat.

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Chop up some button mushrooms and add those to the pan as well.

Now, back to the pot of rice/barley. You should be adding vegetable broth if you haven’t already, one cup at time until the rice/barley absorbs the liquid. Once it’s absorbed, you can add a 1/2 cup white wine, stirring occasionally.

And here’s the moment when I just remember that I have sugar snap peas (From Herbivor) in the fridge. Let’s add those!

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Now that we’ve got everything added to the pot, it’s time to spice things up a bit. I wandered down the “Asian food” aisle (Anything remotely ethnic goes here)  at Loblaw’s and came upon a jar of Lebanese Red pepper paste. I decided to take a chance on it and I wasn’t disappointed.

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All we need is a tablespoon of this stuff and the risotto is complete.

Yay, now it’s time to eat! Enjoy, my friends.

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CSA Post: Stir Fry with Local Pac Choy and Garlic scape

When we received our first CSA share from Herbivor Farm last week, I was both overjoyed and challenged in my quest to find the most creative ways to utilize the items in our basket. Since we were given many greens in the first batch, one of them of course being Pac choy, this proved to be an easy task.  Most of the items including the  Mesclun mix, Dinosaur kale, Baby Swiss chard and even the White Kohlrabi can be thrown into salads for work, so I was able to maximize my efforts to reduce waste.

Now that Bluesfest is over with, and I have my husband back, I can go back to cooking for two instead of just one plus a whole bunch of leftovers in the fridge.  The crappy veggie burger and salad they gave him most nights only held him over for so long, and I’m always well stocked in the leftovers department for midnight cravings.

So, enough of the small talk. Let’s get down to business! In their email, the farmers mentioned that Pac choy (A.K.A. Bok Choy) is delicious when sauteed with garlic and sesame oil. So , I thought, why not a stir fry? Pair that with the garlic scape, some leftover cabbage and carrots in the fridge with a sesame dressing and you’re good to go.

So, what’s this garlic scape stuff you ask? It is the flower of the garlic plant which is harvested early in the season in order to allow the garlic to grow large bulbs instead of reproducing. It can be chopped and minced just like I am doing here, and added to a stir fry, soups, chili, etc. So I chopped the scapes in half, and put one half away in the fridge to use for later.

Here’s our list of ingredients you need on hand: (Recipe is below) 1 bunch Pac choy, 1 bunch garlic scape, 1/2 head Cabbage, 2 Carrots, 2 Scallions, any other vegetable you have on hand. Extra virgin Olive oil. Soy sauce, Sesame oil, Rice vinegar, toasted Cashews, Peanut butter.

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Then you chop and mince those babies up as finely as you’d like and add them to a pan with oil.

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The picture is blurry because my hands were shaky due to my excitement over this curious new product. One day I’ll have professional looking photos of my food for you. One day.

Chop up the Pac choy, and carrots and add to the pan. Lower the heat, cover the pan and let it sit for about 5 minutes while you make the Sesame dressing.

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At this moment I also remembered that I had cabbage and scallions in the fridge! So I chopped those up and added them to the party!

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Now, I return to the dressing. In a medium bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, rice vinegar and sesame oil. Add sauce to the veggies, coating them with sesame goodness. I also added a tablespoon of peanut butter here to help thicken it.  It’s up to you.

Let it cook on low heat for about 5 more minutes or until the veggies are tender and the flavours are evened out.

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For the cherry on top you could add toasted cashews on top just before serving. I was planning on doing this but I didn’t remember until after I had devoured my first bowl. Whoops!

Enjoy, friends. And many thanks to Herbivor Farm for the delicious veggies and factoids every other week.

They are a small farm in Blackburn Hamlet in the East end of Ottawa. Check them out on their website here :http://herbivor.com or on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Herbivorfarm

I can’t wait to see what we get in our basket on Thursday! Happy cooking, folks.

 

Laura D.