Northwest NEWS

June 18, 2001

Home & Garden

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Eat your veggies

Couscous-Stuffed Tomatoes
   4 medium ripe tomatoes
   For the stuffing:
   1/4 c. quick-cooking couscous
   1/2 c. crumbled Feta cheese
   6 Kalamata olives, pitted and finely chopped
   1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
   1 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh dill
   1 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh basil
   1/4 tsp. minced garlic
   Kosher salt
   Freshly ground pepper
   Cut a 1/2-inch slice off the top of each tomato; reserve the tops. With a small knife cut around the inside of the fleshy part of the tomato (do not cut through the bottom of the tomato) to within 1/2-inch of the skin. With a teaspoon, scoop out the tomato flesh, leaving about 1/2-inch of flesh attached to the skin. Discard the juice and seeds to make room for the stuffing. Turn the tomatoes, cut side down, on a plate lined with paper towels to drain while you prepare the stuffing.
   To make the stuffing: In a small saucepan bring 1/3 cup water to a boil and add the couscous. Stir to combine. Cover and remove from the heat. Allow the couscous to absorb the liquid for about 5 minutes. Fluff the couscous with a fork and transfer to a medium bowl. Add the remaining stuffing ingredients, including salt and pepper to taste, and stir to blend. Spoon the stuffing into the tomatoes. Replace the tops. Grill the stuffed tomatoes over direct medium heat until the tomatoes are blistered and the cheese is melted, about 5 minutes. Carefully remove from the grill with a wide spatula. Serve warm.
   Asparagus Brown Rice Stir Fry
   2 c. cooked brown rice
   Cooking spray
   1-1/2 c. 2 inch lengths asparagus, cut on diaganol
   1 medium onion, sliced
   1/2 c. thinly sliced celery, cut on diagonal
   3/4 c. thinly sliced mushrooms
   2 Tbsp. lite soy sauce
   Lightly coat large skillet or wok with canola oil spray and heat pan over medium high heat until very hot. Add asparagus and onions and stir fry until asparagus is almost fork tender.
   Add celery and mushrooms and stir fry over high heat until lightly sauteed. Mix in soy sauce. Divide hot rice among 4 plates, forming beds for vegetables.
   Place equal amounts of stir fry on top of rice. Serve immediately.
   Makes 4 servings.
  
   Sauteed Spinach with Mushrooms
   1 tsp olive oil
   1 tsp. toasted sesame oil
   1-1/2 c. onion, thinly sliced
   2 cloves garlic, sliced
   1 (10 oz.) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
   1/2 tsp. minced ginger
   1 tsp. soy sauce
   In a medium saucepan, over low heat, warm the olive oil and sesame oil.
   Add the mushrooms, onions and garlic. Saute 15-20 minutes, or until the onions and mushrooms are soft. Add the spinach, ginger, and soy sauce. Cover and cook for 10 minutes, or until the spinach is hot.
  
   Salmon Pate Stuffed Vegetables
   4 oz. fat-free cream cheese at room temperature
   1 c. canned pink salmon, picked through and skin removed
   1 Tbsp. low-fat mayonnaise
   2 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh dill
   2 Tbsp. very finely minced red onion
   2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
   Freshly ground pepper
   Mix all ingredients well. Fresh vegetables suitable for stuffing: large cherry tomatoes, small new potatoes, stalks of celery hearts, peeled cucumbers. Using electric mixer, beat cream cheese in bowl until soft. Add salmon and mayonnaise and beat until mixture is creamy and fluffy. Mix in dill, onion and lemon juice. Season to taste with black pepper. Use immediately or refrigerate, tightly covered, up to 24 hours.
   Prepare vegetables for stuffing. Cut tops off tomatoes, scoop out flesh and cut a thin slice off bottom if necessary so they stand upright. Boil or steam tiny new potatoes until just tender and cut in halves if not very small. Cut thin slice off bottoms so they will stand upright. Using melon baller, scoop out about half the flesh of each potato. Cut cucumbers in half crosswise, then into lengthwise halves or quarters, depending on size. Using tip of small spoon, create deep groove down center, removing seeds. Make fresh cut at bottom end of celery stalks.
   To stuff vegetables, use small pastry bag or improvise one with waxed paper rolled into cone. Pipe pate into cavities of vegetables, mounding to form slightly rounded tops.
   Serve immediately or refrigerate a few hours ahead of time, bringing them back to room temperature before serving. (Crackers can also be used to serve pate.)
   Makes 1-1/4 c., enough for about 24 stuffed items, using various vegetables.
   Vegetable Frittata
   1 large baking potato (12 oz.), cut in 8 pieces
   3 large eggs
   2 large egg whites
   3 oz. fresh spinach (3 loosely packed cups when stemmed)
   3 medium or 2 large whole scallions
   1/2 c. chopped cilantro
   1 green chile or jalapeno, seeded and chopped (optional)
   1/2 tsp. ground turmeric
   1/2 tsp. salt
   1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
   In large saucepan, cover potato with cold water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat and cook until potato is soft when pierced through with a knife, about 20 minutes.
   While potato cooks, finely chop spinach. Chop white and green parts of scallions. Beat eggs and whites together in a medium bowl.
   Drain potatoes. When cool enough to handle, lift off peel and discard. Holding potato. over beaten eggs, crush each piece with your hands. Add mashed potato to eggs. Add spinach, scallions, cilantro, chili pepper (if using), turmeric, salt and pepper. Mix with a rubber spatula until ingredients are well combined.
   Coat medium, non-stick skillet generously with cooking spray. Set pan over medium-higho heat. Add egg mixture, spreading it into an even layer. Cover pan. Reduce heat to medium. Cook until kuku is puffed, bornwed on the bottom and the center is lightly set, about 10 minutes.
   Remove pan from heat. Slide frittata out of the pan and onto a dinner plate. Invert empty pan over top of frittata. Slip your hand under the center of the plate and pan so fritatta falls back into pan, browned side up. Cook uncovered until bottom browns, 4 to 5 minutes. Slide fritatta onto a serving plate and let sit 5 minutes. Cut into wedges and serve hot or lukewarm.
   Makes 4 servings.
  
   Tangy Lemon Sesame Butter
   (for vegetables)
   1/4 c. butter or margarine
   Grated peel and juice of 1/2 sunkist lemon
   1 Tbsp. toasted sesa,e seed
   1 tsp. sugar
   1/8 tsp garlic powder (optional)
   In 1-cup glass measue, combine all ingredients. Microwave, uncovered, at HIGH (100 percent) power for 30 seconds until butter is partially melted. Stir to melt remaining butter.
   Makes about 1/3 c. sauce
  
   Parsley Dill Butter
   (serve over vegetables)
   1/4 c. butter or amrgarine
   Grated peel and juice of 1/2 Sunkist lemon
   1 Tbsp. chopped parsley
   1 tsp. chopped fresh dill or 1/4 tsp. dried dill weed
   Follow same directions as in Tangy Lemon Sesame Butter recipe.
   Makes about 1/3 c. sauce