Sunday, August 28, 2011

Toasted Sesame Pasta

With the scent of freshly picked basil, my mind begins to wander through every imagineable use. After countless minutes spent staring into space, drooling on my shirt, I snap out of the food delerium with an image of what I'd like to create. This time, I settled on an Asian-inspired pasta dish. Here's how it went:

3 cups whole wheat rotini
1 lb potatoes, sliced to 1/4 inch cubes
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
1 red chile pepper, diced
6 roma tomatoes, chopped
2 small yellow onions, chopped
1/2 cup fresh basil, diced
2 tbsp fresh cilantro
1 1/2 tbsp toasted sesame oil, divided
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp brown rice vinegar

1) In a large pot, cook 3 cups rotini
2) While rotini cooks; in a large skillet on medium-high heat, warm vinegars and soy sauce
3) Add potatoes and 1 tbsp sesame oil, cook while stirring until lightly browned
4) Rotini should be finished; drain and set in large mixing bowl
4) Reduce heat under skillet to medium, add peppers and onions, cook 10 minutes or until onions soften
5) Add tomatoes and herbs, cook for 2-3 minutes
6) Combine veggies with pasta, add remaining toasted sesame oil if desired
7) Serve and enjoy!

Couscous Salad

This is an extremely quick and simple recipe, it takes about 10 minutes from start to finish. It's also light, delicious, and good for you. What's not to love?

2 cups of instant couscous
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1 cucumber, quartered and sliced 1/4 inch thick
1 bunch broccoli, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 1/2 tbsp olive oil, divided
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp crushed black pepper

1) Boil 2 cups of water
2) In a large salad bowl, combine couscous and water
3) In a medium bowl, mix together garlic, lemon juice, pepper, and 1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
4) Add broccoli, stirring to evenly coat broccoli in mixture
5)  Combine broccoli mixture, tomatoes, and cucumber with couscous
6) Add remaining 1 tbsp of oil if desired
7) Serve warm, or let cool in the fridge, covered, and serve chilled.

Banana nut bread

I've been stockpiling over-ripe bananas in the freezer, which pays dividends: a ready supply of all the bananary goodness I need for whatever I want to bake on a given day. It's perfect. Since I've already got banana chocolate chip cake down, I decided a great banana bread would be next. With it's delicious, yet almost-breakfast-taste, it's a perfect snack any time of the day.

3 very ripe bananas (preferably frozen)
1 1/2 cups unbleached white flour
1/2 cup raw sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tbsp ground flax seed
3 tbsp water
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla
2 tsp cinnamon
2-3 tbsp chopped almonds

*** FYI: If substituting applecause for oil, use 1/3 cup sauce but consider adding  2 tbsp flour to offset the chewiness

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2) Whisk together flax seed and water, set aside to thicken
3) In a large bowl, add bananas, oil, and vanilla. Mash together. Add the sugar, and flax/water combination, mix well.
5) In a medium bowl, combine dry ingredients.
6) Slowly stir dry ingredients into wet ingredients, mixing until a sticky dough has formed
7) Grease a loaf pan
8) Pour dough into pan, top with chopped almonds
9) Bake in oven for 60 minutes
10) Remove from oven, let cool 10+ minutes, then enjoy!