Monday, December 3, 2012

Veggie Croquettes



Last night we ate some delicious croquettes, if I may say so myself.  I must confess that they were not your conventional croquettes, neither in shape nor in flavor. That is the beauty of cooking, you can transform a traditional dish and it will be OK.  

If you find yourself with a package of vegetables and have no idea what to do with it, this post might be your answer.  Would you let me know?

The croquettes' shape was my husband request and the flavor, well that's just me.

Ingredients:

Vegetable mixture
  • 1 (16 oz) package of Vegetables, California blend 
  • 1 Tbsp of ground cumin
  • 1Tbsp of Allspice
  • 1Tsp ground ginger
  • 1Tsp of homemade Tahini sauce
  • Pinch of Kosher salt and pepper to taste
  • Bechamel
  • 1 cup Cuban cracker crumbs
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs 
  • 2 eggs
  • Canola oil for frying

Directions:


Bechamel and vegetable mixture
  1. Boil vegetables in a saucepan until tender.  Drain and let them cool a little bit. 
  2. Meanwhile make the bechamel -see below-.  
  3. Once cooled, process vegetables in the food processor and add the cumin, allspice, ginger, tahini sauce salt and pepper.  
  4. Mix the vegetables with the bechamel and let it cool in the refrigerator until you are ready to put them together. 

Before frying


5. Take a spoon of the mixture and roll in your hands to make a shape of your liking.  Roll  it in remaining Cuban cracker crumbs, then in the eggs, and then in the breadcrumbs and set aside.  Repeat with the remaining mixture.  

6. Pour enough oil in a medium to large frying pan. Heat the oil for frying to about 355F  degrees. Place the croquettes in the hot oil and fry quickly, turning several times, until golden. Remove the croquettes with a slotted spoon and set on a paper towel to absorb the excess oil. Serve immediately.
Bechamel 

Bechamel

Ingredients: 

  • 3 Tbsp of unsalted butter
  • 3 Tbsp of unbleached flour
  • 1/2 cup of soy milk
  • pinch of fresh nutmeg
  • pinch of Kosher salt

Directions:
  1. Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Once melted, stir in the flour until smooth.  Continue stirring until approximately 7 minutes or until it looks golden. 
  2. Increase to a medium heat and stir in the milk with a wooden spoon until thickened.  Bring to a simmer, reduce heat to medium low and continue simmering until the flour has softened and is no longer lumpy and easily separates from the pan, this will be 10 to 20 minutes. Season with salt and nutmeg.   
The bechamel is a very versatile sauce. Put heavy cream and cheese and the result will be  a very delicious cheese sauce.  As I always tell you, be creative.

Now, the Star of this recipe: 

Veggie Croquettes



            






We ate them as tapas, with cheese, olives and wine.  But you can serve them however you like.  Please do try this recipe and let me know your experience with it. Remember to be creative.

Buon Appetito!














Sunday, December 2, 2012

Cream of Carrot and Fennel

The weather these past few days demanded, at least at home, something hearty and warm.  Nothing better than a cream or a soup to warm you up.  

My family enjoyed this dish, I am certain you will too. 

  • 4 large carrots, peeled and chopped 
  • 1 medium Fennel bulb, thinly sliced 
  • 1 Tbsp of butter
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 4 cups of vegetable broth 
  • 1 cup of Heavy cream 
  • 1/2 cup of orange juice
  • Kosher salt and pepper to taste    
  • Basil leaves to garnish. 
Directions:
  1. Heat the butter in a heavy-bottom pan, add fennel.  Stir for 3-4 minutes, then add garlic, stirring again for another 2 minutes.  Add carrots.  Cook for 2-3 minutes 
  2. Add the vegetable broth to the vegetables and stir.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Let it cook for about 15-20 minutes, until the carrots are cooked. 
  3. Remove from heat, puree it in a blender.   
  4. Return it to the pan.  Add orange juice and heavy cream.  Remove from heat after 2-3 minutes.    
  5. Garnish with basil leaves. Serve hot                                                                                             
Please let me know your experience with this delicious dish!

Buon Appetito!


Saturday, December 1, 2012

Linguine alla puttanesca

The meaning of comfort food derived from this dish, at least I like to think so. You will find it to be briny, spicy and savory; it is so delicious that if you haven't made it yet I urge you to do it.   You will probably have all you need right in your pantry.

Linguine alla Puttanesca


Ingredients: 

  • 1 12oz can of Italian style diced tomatoes
  • 3 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 garlic gloves, chopped
  • 10 anchovy fillets, drained and chopped
  • 3/4 cup black olives, pitted and chopped
  • 1 Tbsp capers, rinsed
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1 box of whole wheat Linguine
  • Kosher salt to taste
Directions:
  1. Heat oil in a heavy-bottom pan, add the garlic and cook over low heat, stirring frequently, for about 2 minutes.  Add the anchovies and mash them to a pulp with a wooden fork. Add the olives, capers, and the tomatoes and season with cayenne pepper.  Cover and simmer for 25 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, bring a pan of lightly salted water to a boil,  Add the pasta, return to a boil and cook according to the box directions or until "al dente".  Drain and transfer to a warmed serving dish.
  3. Spoon the Puttanesca Sauce into the dish and toss the pasta.
Oh my! This was a very delicious and quick meal!

Buon Appetito