Sunday, March 9, 2008

Green Recipes

Getting my boyfriend to eat green things has become one of my recent top priorities. Not particularly for his health, but because the more green things he eats, the less pizza he will consume, and that means less cheesy aromatic yummy goodness will be waved around in front of my face as I try to get all my vitamins in under 2000 calories. This is a daily struggle- And for the same reason, I made him give up chocolate for Lent.

Being an athlete, my boyfriend has the freedom to eat pretty much whatever he wants. He works out, on average, five hours a day- so an extra slice at the Pizza Hut All-You-Can-Eat Buffet (a favorite post-match day haunt here in Gloucestershire) won’t really make too much of a difference. For me however, an extra piece of pizza means a day of remorse and one less scoop of ice cream after dinner. There is a bigger problem that looms though; for me, there never is just “one” extra slice- more like four extra slices AFTER the six original slices…and I don’t even bother counting the breadsticks.

I am incapable of maintaning any form of self control when it comes to food, so my tactics of late have been to keep only healthy food around me- and this means that the individuals lucky enough to live and dine with me are limited as well. I can’t say that we have indulged in the most decadent of feasts lately, but I have been rather innovative when it comes to cooking and I now boast a decent sized menu of tasty green things.

Below are a few of the recent recipes that have been met with acceptance and maybe even an occasional “wow babe, this is actually kind of good.”
Or, on the other hand, as Michael said about the soup; “this is quite an efficient way to eat broccoli!”
I do what I can.

Broccoli Soup;


1 tbsp olive oil
1 whole garlic clove, chopped or mashed
250-350ml vegetable stock
300-400g broccoli florets (doesn’t have to be exact- I normally use about three big heads)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Crème fresh or milk (depending on the richness you desire)

Heat olive oil in a saucepan and sauté the garlic for 1-2 minutes. Pour the chicken or vegetable stock into the pan and add the broccoli florets. Bring to the boil and reduce the heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes, until the broccoli is tender. Season with tons of pepper and a bit of salt to taste, then transfer to a liquidizer/blender. Blend until smooth adding milk, cream or water if needed. Ladle the soup into serving bowls and drizzle with cream. I also generally grill a bit of granary bread sprinkled with olive oil to serve on the side.

Baked Creamed Spinach;

2/3 lbs fresh spinach
I clove of garlic- chopped
1.5 cups warm milk
1 cup grated cheddar or gruyere cheese (or a mixture of the two)
Tbsp of olive oil
2 tbsp butter (I substituted ½ of this with olive oil and it was just as good)
2 tbsp flour
Pinch of salt and ground pepper
Pinch of nutmeg (I’ve also substituted different spices, depending on the flavour you are going for)

Trim and wash the spinach. Saute the garlic in olive oil. Gradually throw in the spinach until it all fits, sauté until wilted. Drain the excess water from the spinach. In another pot, melt the butter (with the olive oil) and add the flour. Whisk and cook for about 3 minutes. Add the milk and bring to a boil. Mix in salt, pepper and nutmeg to taste. Cook for about 5 minutes and then combine the sauce with the spinach and ½ cup of cheese. Spoon into a baking dish and top with the rest of the cheese. Bake at about 375C until the top is browned and crusty.

Asparagus Risotto;

2-3 lbs of asparagus
1 finely chopped shallot
3.5 oz of rice (either Arborio, Vialone or Carnaroli... oh, the things one learns living in Italy...)
2 oz butter
1-1.5 cups dry white wine
Freshly grated parmesan (I use about a cup but I think 4 tbsp is normal)

Chop and throw away the ends of the asparagus while chopping the rest putting the tips to the side. Blanch the asparagus tips in boiling water and set aside. Cook the stalks in the same water until they are soft and then puree both the stalks and the cooking water in a blender. At this point, you should have a thick stock and it should be transferred back to the pot. Add the wine- slowly simmer over low heat. In another pan, melt the butter and sauté the shallot until soft. Add the rice to the pan and once it has absorbed the butter, slowly add a ladle of the asparagus/wine stock. Stir until the stock is absorbed then add the asparagus tips and another ladle of stock. Slowly ladle in the rest of the stock (DO NOT DROWN THE RICE!) until the rice is al dente. Mix in most of the parmesan. Serve onto plates, sprinkle the rest of the parm and enjoy!

1 comment:

Lana said...

I miss your cooking dearly. Only a few more weeks until nyc is graced with your presence and I'm blessed with some amazing home cookin'!