29 December 2012

Greens and Quinoa Pie

I made this pie first thing after the major December holidays had finished up. For my recipe I adapted an old Myra Kornfeld recipe in the March 2010 Vegetarian Times feature on Passover.* Passover recipes in magazines usually fail to follow the rigorous dietary requirements of Ashkenazi Jews in one way or another, but I suspect that with a name like "Kornfeld," Myra figured out the rules the natural way. Anyway, this pie is ingenious because quinoa is technically NOT a grain—and technicality is everything in Jewish law. Quinoa, related to spinach and chard, has the added advantage of a complete set of amino acids and as a bonus, also lacks gluten!

Don't place this pie side by side with your grandmother's brisket because you will break the laws of kashrut. This pie features two kinds of cheese, so use the pie for a dairy Passover or any dairy meal during Passover, like on the fourth night.  But like I said, it's December right now and the recipe works really well for those of you who want something light and refreshing and festive.

*The other Kornfeld Passover recipes included a Chocolate Mousse Cake made with almond flour, Garlicky Leek and Artichoke Soup with basil pesto, and Tunisian Carrot Salad with radishes and olives. You might be able to look them up at the Vegetarian Times website.

Greens and Quinoa Pie

1/2 Cup white (not red) quinoa
1 large bunch escarole, curly endive, or chicory (about 1 1/4 lb.)
1 head Romaine lettuce
2 medium onions
4 to 5 scallions, washed
1/4 Cup fresh dill, washed
1/4 Cup (1 ounce) feta cheese, preferably marinated
1/4 Cup (1 ounce) Swiss-type cheese, grated
3 eggs
olive oil

Special equipment: a 9-inch pie pan

  1. Thoroughly rinse off the saponin (bitter coating) on the quinoa in several changes of water. Drain. Combine with 1 Cup of water and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a small saucepan. Cover, bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium low, and simmer, covered, 15 minutes. Remove from heat. Alternately, combine the water, quinoa, and salt in a rice cooker and set for the regular cycle. Fluff with the rice paddle.
  2. Meanwhile, remove damaged outer leaves and core from escarole, chop roughly, and wash and dry. Set aside.
  3. Repeat Step 2 with Romaine lettuce.
  4. Heat a large pot over medium heat. Add escarole and cook up to 5 minutes, or until mostly wilted, stirring frequently. Add Romaine and wilt that too. Transfer the greens to a strainer and push out excess moisture with a wooden spoon. Allow greens to continue draining while you complete additional steps.
  5. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Peel and thinly slice onions. Heat some olive oil in a frypan over medium-high heat. Sauté onions about 10 minutes or until softened and browning. Allow to cool 
  6. Chop your drained, wilted greens until they are in quite small pieces. Return them to the large pot (without heat). Add quinoa. Thinly slice scallions and add. Chop up dill and add. Crumble the feta cheese and add. Add grated Swiss cheese. Add cooled onions. Mix thoroughly all together.
  7. Lightly beat the eggs and add to the pot. Mix again. 
  8. Pour 1 Tablespoon oil into the pie pan. Place pan in oven for 5 minutes. Remove and swirl oil to coat the bottom. 
  9. Put the quinoa-greens mixture into the pie pan and smooth the top. Bake 20 minutes.
  10. Remove pie, drizzle with 1 Tablespoon olive oil, and bake another 20 to 30 minutes, until the pie is golden brown.
  11. Eat hot or eat cold or eat from the pot nine days old.

03 December 2012

Two Kinds of Pasta with Beans

My friends, I apologize for how long I have gone between posts. I am doubling down on my dissertation prospectus, and meanwhile the Goofy baby has been battling an ear infection and my life is a whirlwind of insanity. Thank goodness I am not a snob about food, and I have been managing to get enough nutrition by eating these two cheap, quick dishes. And actually, they're good enough to serve to company that stops by unexpectedly.

Fragrant Rigatoni with Saucy Pinto Beans

1 lb. rigatoni or other textured pasta
1 Tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
1 15 ounce can tomato sauce
1 4 ounce jar artichoke hearts, drained, rinsed, and chopped
dried basil
dried oregano
1 15 ounce can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
4-6 ounces cheddar cheese (or to taste), grated or cubed
2 scallions, sliced

1. Cook pasta until al dente.
2. In a sauce pot, sauté garlic in olive oil until golden and fragrant.
3. Add tomato sauce, and add basil and oregano to taste.
4. Heat slowly until bubbly.
5. Stir in pinto beans, and reheat until bubbly again.
6. Mix sauce with pasta and cheese. Add scallions right before serving.

Elegant Penne with Cannellini Beans

1 lb. penne
1 15 ounce can cannellini or Great Northern or any white bean, drained and rinsed
2 Tablespoons mayonnaise
1 1/2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 clove garlic, peeled and chopped
1 large bunch spinach
6 ounces Swiss cheese, grated or cubed

1. Cook penne until toothy.
2. Mix with mayonnaise, beans, and Swiss cheese.
3. Meanwhile, saute garlic plus some salt in olive oil until golden and fragrant. Add spinach and keep stirring until all is wilted and covered in garlic oil. Toss spinach with pasta mixture and serve.
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