Northwest NEWS

September 11, 2000

Home & Garden

Dining In

Avocado Stir-Fry
   2 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, sliced crosswise
   3 Tbsp. prepared stir-fry sauce
   1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
   1 medium onion, thinly sliced
   1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
   1 tsp. dried basil leaves
   3 Tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro leaves
   2 ripe avocados, pitted, peeled and cubed
   4 c. cooked wild rice
   In medium bowl, combine chicken and 1 Tbsp. of stir fry sauce. Marinate for 15 minutes. In wok or large skillet, heat 1/2 Tbsp. of oil. Add chicken and stir fry for 3 to 4 minutes until chicken is brown. Pour into bowl and keep warm. Heat remaining 1/2 Tbsp. oil and add onion, bell pepper, basil and cilantro. Stir-fry for 3 minutes. Add remaining 2 Tbsp. of stir-fry sauce and avocado. Stir fry for minutes. Serve over rice. Makes 4 servings.
  
   Grilled Asparagus Spears
   1 lb. fresh asparagus (Look for firm stalks with firm deep green or purplish tips. Also check the bottom of the spears. If they are dried up, chances are they have been sitting around for too long.)
   4 Tbsp. olive oil
   1 tsp. salt
   Trim off the tough bottom of the spear by grasping each end and bending it gently until it snaps at its natural point of tenderness‹usually two-thirds of the way down the spear. If the spear is less than 6 inches long, chances are it has already been trimmed for you. Then take a vegetable peeler and peel off the outer skin of the lower half of the remaining stalk.
   Place asparagus on a plate. Drizzle oil overtop and turn spears until they are coated. Sprinkle with salt and turn it again.
   Grill asparagus for 5 minutes over a hot grill. Each minute or so, roll each spear one quarter turn. Asparagus should begin to brown in spots (indicating that its natural sugars are caramelizing) but should not be allowed to char.
   Remove from grill and serve immediately (eating spears with your fingers enhances the experience).
  
   Lentil Soup
   1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
   1 medium onion, chopped
   1 large garlic clove, finely chopped
   1 c. green lentils
   1/2 medium eggplant, peeled and cut in 3/4 inch cubes, about 2 cups
   1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
   1/2 c. chopped flat leaf parsley
   Salt and freshly ground pepper
   2 Tbsp. chopped mint, for garnish
   Heat oil in a deep saucepan. Sauté onion until soft, about 4 minutes. Mix in garlic and cook for 1 minute.
   Add lentils, eggplant and 6 c. water. Mix in cinnamon and parsley. Bring the soup to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer until lentils are soft, 30-35 minutes. Season the soup to taste with salt and pepper.
   Ladle the hot soup into bowls. Garnish each bowl with a quarter of the mint and serve.
   Makes 6 servings.
  
   Mushrooms Stuffed with Garlic Puree
   1 large yellow-fleshed or baking potato, 8-10 oz.
   1/4 c. thinly sliced garlic
   1/2 c. lowfat milk
   1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
   6 large white mushrooms, stems removed
   Salt and freshly ground pepper
   1 Tbsp. minced chives, for garnish (optional)
   Peel the potato and cut it into half-inch pieces. Place in a deep saucepan. Add the garlic and milk. Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce the heat so the milk simmers gently; it will foam somewhat. When the potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes, transfer the contents of the pot to a medium bowl.
   With a fork, mash the potato mixture to a smooth puree. Mix in the olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. (The puree may be refrigerated in a closed container for 1-2 days.)
   Spray a medium-size non-stick skillet with cooking spray. Place the six mushroom caps in the pan, top down. Sprinkle a bit of salt and pepper in the cavity of each mushroom.
   When they have browned, 6-8 minutes, turn. Season the tops of the caps and cook until well colored and tender when pierced with a knife in the center, about 4 minutes. Transfer the caps to a plate.
   Fill the cavity of each mushroom with 2 Tbsp. of the potato puree, smoothing it into a nice mound.
   Or pipe the puree into the mushrooms using a pastry bag fitted with a decorative tip. If desired, sprinkle with minced chives, and serve.
   Makes 6 servings.
  
   Eggplant Salad with Fontina and Pesto
   2 medium eggplants (about 2-1/2 lbs. total)
   Salt and freshly ground pepper.
   8 oz. Fontina cheese- cut into small pieces
   6 green onions -diagonally sliced
   1 large green pepper- seeded and diced
   1 c. roasted red pepper, cut in thin julienne strips
   Lettuce
   Dressing:
   1 large clove garlic
   1/2 c. firmly packed basil leaves
   1/4 c. grated Parmesan cheese
   2 Tbsp. white wine vinegar
   1/3 c. olive oil
   Salt and freshly ground pepper.
   Slice, but do not peel, eggplant into 1/2 inch thick rounds. Sprinkle both sides with salt, and place rounds on paper towels for about 45 minutes. Meanwhile combine garlic, basil, cheese, vinegar and oil in a blender or food processor and whirl until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover and set aside. Pat any excess moisture from eggplant slices. Arrange in single layers on two large baking sheets.
   Preheat broiler. Lightly brush both sides of eggplant with olive oil. Place baking sheets 2-4 inches below broiler element and cook, turning slices once, until lightly browned. (You may need to do this in batches.) Remove, cool slightly, and cut into a large pieces. Place in a bowl and add Fontina, onions, green pepper, red pepper and dressing. Toss gently to combine, and serve on a bed of lettuce.
   Makes 4 to 6 servings.
  
   Quinoa with Vegetables
   1 c. uncooked quinoa
   2 c. water
   2 tsp. olive oil
   1 c. chopped onion
   1 c. chopped red and/or green bell pepper
   1 large garlic, minced
   1 package (10 oz.) frozen mixed vegetables
   1/4 tsp. salt or to taste
   1/8 tsp. ground black pepper or to taste
   1 Tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro
   Rinse quinoa well in a strainer under running water and drain. Place quinoa and 2 c. of water in a 2 quart saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally until quinoa is translucent, about 10 minutes
   Let stand 10 minutes. Drain, if necessary.
   Meanwhile, heat oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Add onion and peppers and cook, stirring often, until crisp-tender, about 4 minutes.
   Add garlic and cook, stirring for 30 seconds. Add mixed vegetables, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, until vegetables are tender-crisp, about 5 minutes. Add cilantro and cooked quinoa. Heat and serve.
   Makes 6 servings.