Lemon Vegetable Risotto (4)

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Lemons are so versatile whether you put the juice or the zest or both in a recipe.  Where would Greek cuisine be without them?  I use lemon juice to make a vinaigrette dressing. I grate lemon zest into my fishcakes and both zest and juice are used in this risotto and are what makes it a little different. Risotto – Italian comfort food – is endlessly versatile too. This one includes asparagus tips, portobello mushrooms, peas and spinach. With this dish the broth is added a little at a time – when the rice has almost absorbed the stock add a little more and stir frequently.

1 tbsp. olive oil, seasoned with salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 shallots – finely chopped

2 large garlic cloves – grated

1 1/2 cups of Arborio rice

4 cups of vegetable or chicken broth

Zest and juice of 1 lemon

4 oz. portobello mushrooms – diced

4 oz. baby asparagus

4 oz. frozen peas

4 oz. baby spinach

Pour oil into a cast iron Dutch oven and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. When sizzling add the shallots and let cook for a couple of minutes, then turn heat down a little and add the garlic.

After a few minutes tip the rice into the pot and stir before adding a cup of broth. Bring broth to a boil then turn down to a simmer and add the lemon zest and juice and all of the vegetables.

Simmer for some 20 minutes until rice is cooked and the broth is absorbed.

Serve immediately.

 

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Pea and Mint Soup (4)

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I was surprised to find this on a winter menu seeing it more as a summer item made with fresh peas and mint from the garden – maybe even served chilled. Frozen peas, an onion, garlic, a potato for thickening, some stock and mint from the supermarket made a really lovely, bright green soup – a change from the more hearty winter fare.

1 tbsp. olive oil seasoned with salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 medium size onion – finely chopped

2 cloves of garlic – grated

2 cups – chicken or vegetable broth

1/2 a large baking potato – peeled and cut into small cubes

12 oz. frozen peas

1 tbsp. mint – finely chopped + a little extra for garnish if you wish

Heat the oil in a skillet and when sizzling add the onion and let brown a little, then add the garlic.

Pour the broth into the skillet, add the potatoes, bring to a boil and simmer for about 10 minutes until the potatoes are just soft.

Add the peas and mint and cook for a further few minutes.

Place the contents of the skillet in a food processor and process until smooth.

Ladle soup into individual bowls and garnish with some chopped mint.

Baby Asparagus with Peas and Leeks (4)

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Why eat one vegetable when you can have three together? Lovely blend and the flavors and textures complement each other. Even better if you can find fresh peas. They are simmered in either vegetable or chicken broth.

1 cup broth

8 oz baby asparagus cut into smallish pieces

8 oz peas

8 oz leeks – sliced thinly

Bring the broth to a boil, then turn down to simmer.

Add all the vegetables and cook for around 3 minutes until asparagus is ‘al dente’.

Serve the vegetables with the broth

 

Tomato-Based Salad (4)

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This is a no-lettuce salad and is literally a selection of green vegetables mixed with some cold, cooked chicken heaped on a base of slices of a ripe, beefsteak tomato.  If you buy a pre-cooked chicken this dish takes no time at all and if you omit the chicken you have a vegetarian/vegan meal. Very easy to transport either as a lunch or to assemble for a picnic.

1 large, ripe beefsteak tomato

4 oz. frozen peas

4 oz. edamame beans

4 oz. asparagus (take the tips and an equal amount of the asparagus stem)

1 cooked chicken breast

Cut the tomato into 4 slices and place on a serving dish.

Place peas, edamame beans and asparagus in a pan and pour over boiling water. Bring to boil and simmer for 3 minutes. Drain veg. and place in a bowl of iced water to prevent further cooking.

Cut cooked chicken breast into small pieces.

Place veg. and chicken in a mixing bowl. Pour apple cider vinaigrette (see below) over and mix well together.

Place a good serving of veg/chicken mixture on each slice of tomato

Apple Cider Vinaigrette

1 tsp. Dijon mustard

1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

3 tbsp. olive oil

Whisk mustard and apple cider vinegar together until smooth.

Whisk in the olive oil until mixture is emulsified

 

 

 

Greens and New Potatoes (4)

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Why serve one or two vegetables when you can a whole lot of veg. that complement each other nicely –  green vegetables with potatoes added into the mix and raw chopped shallot to add a bit of a bite with lemon butter mixed in. When I say butter I don’t mean the real thing as it contains lactose but there is a good vegan alternative – Earth Balance brand – which I have recently discovered. It is best to cook all the vegetables until just ‘al dente’. This dish goes equally well with meat or fish and would also be a good vegetarian/vegan meal.

8 oz. new potatoes – halved or quartered depending on size of potatoes

8 oz. thin asparagus – cut into 2″ pieces

8 oz. broccoli florets

8 oz. frozen edamame beans

8 oz. peas – fresh if possible, otherwise frozen

1 shallot – finely chopped

Juice of 1 lemon – Meyer variety if possible (less acidic)

1 good tbsp. butter alternative

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Cook all vegetables individually in the order given, draining each one and placing in a warmed serving dish, then cooking the next vegetable in the retained water, etc, etc. until all the veg. are cooked.

Add the chopped shallot.

Pour over the lemon/butter alternative and mix well until butter alternative is melted.

Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper and serve immediately.

Jo’s Thai Beef (4)

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A mild dish inspired by Thai flavors. Because the flank steak is cut into thin strips it doesn’t take long to cook.

1 tbsp. olive oil seasoned with salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 medium onion – chopped

2 large cloves of garlic – grated

1 x 13.66 fl. oz. can of lite coconut milk

2 tbsp. Thai Red Curry Paste

4 tsp. Thai fish sauce

2 tbsp. crunchy peanut butter

1 tsp. Five Spice powder

8 oz. flank steak – cut into thin strips

1 red pepper – diced

4 oz. broccoli florets

1 cup of peas

1 cup of beef broth
Heat seasoned oil in a cast iron casserole dish and when sizzling add the onion and let soften and brown a little bit, then add the garlic.

In a small mixing bowl mix together a little coconut milk, the red curry paste, fish sauce, peanut butter and five spice powder and set aside.

Add the flank steak to the casserole dish and quickly sear.

Toss in the red pepper, broccoli florets and peas.

Add the sauce mixture, rest of the coconut milk and the beef broth.

Stir well, bring to a boil and simmer for 10 – 15 minutes depending on size of the flank steak strips

Braised Lettuce, Peas and Bacon (4)

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Lovely, light summery dish made using shallots, buttery lettuce, peas, bacon and a good dollop of mustard.

3 rashers of bacon – cut into small pieces

2 x shallots – finely chopped

1 large head of buttery lettuce – finely sliced and chopped

2 cups of frozen peas

1 cup chicken broth

1 tbsp. Dijon mustard

Heat a skillet/frying pan and when nice and hot add the bacon and let brown for a few minutes, then add shallots and let them brown a little too.

Then add lettuce, peas, broth and mustard. Bring to boil and simmer for 5 minutes.