Monthly Archives: February 2011

The Fab Five

My Comments: This week I’ve been down and out with yet another virus, one of the hazards of working in an elementary school. So what do we do when no one is in the mood — or otherwise able — to cook? We eat leftovers that we’ve frozen from past meals. At Adrien’s suggestion then, are the “Fab Five” – with apologies to the Beatles (you know, Paul McCartney BEFORE Wings and BEFORE that hideous Superbowl performance).  These are our favorites from January:

Senegalese Peanut Sweet Potato & Spinach Stew

Copyright © 2011. Adrien Bisson.



Senegalese Peanut Stew with Spinach and Sweet Potatoes

I had a lot of feedback on this recipe. It’s just as good as a leftover as it was on the first night.

No creamy peanut butter – use crunchy. Don’t use or like ginger, try something else.

Vadouvan spiced Red Lentil Soup

Copyright © 2011. Adrien Bisson.






Vadouvan Spiced Red Lentil Soup

When I originally found this recipe, I had no idea how hip it was to cook something with Vadouvan spicing.  In fact, I used Garam Masala curry in place of the Vadouvan – which I was unable to find pre-made. Duh.  Here’s a link to a couple of recipes for making the mixture yourself.

Copyright © 2011. Adrien Bisson.



Quinoa with Balsamic Roasted Mushrooms

When is a grain a protein? When it’s Quinoa — and it’s a complete protein. How cool is that?

The dressing, made with pear and balsamic vinegar provides a nice contrast to the nuttiness of the quinoa.


Kale Lasagna Diavolo
Copyright © 2011. Adrien Bisson.



Kale Lasagna Diavolo

I love kale for two reasons – number one it’s inexpensive (currently $1.56 for a very large bunch) and number two it’s tasty… in all of the varieties I’ve seen around here. Even quicker, it’s available frozen, which makes this a quick fix meal on a weeknight.

While I favor Muir Glen tomato products, my mother also mentioned that Pomi makes a good diced tomato – available in a cardboard carton. Whatever your preference, this is an excellent twist on lasagna.


Hot from the oven

Copyright © 2011 by Adrien Bisson.



Home baked pizza

Sometimes you just need to have pizza – and this is definitely worth the wait. There’s not much effort to it, especially when mixing the dough in a stand mixer with a dough hook.

Are there fancier dough recipes? Sure. But this one can be on the table in 90 minutes to 2 hours…. mostly spent waiting for the dough. A glass of your favorite beverage makes the time fly.

09 Feb 2011 Butternut Squash with Wilted Spinach and Blue Cheese

Adapted from Whole Foods Market. Butternut Squash with Spinach. Downloaded from the web on February 5, 2011.

My Comment: Butternut Squash and blue cheese – delicious!

Squash with SpinachIngredients

1/4 cup blue cheese crumbles
3 TBSP lemon juice
Salt and ground pepper to taste
1 1/2 tsp olive oil
1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
1 5-oz. package baby spinach
4 cups cubed and roasted butternut squash, warm


1. Use a fork to mash together blue cheese and lemon juice in a large bowl to make a thick smooth dressing. Season with salt and pepper, set aside.

2. Heat olive oil n a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions, salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally until golden brown (about 5 minutes).

3. Add spinach and cook, tossing often until slightly wilted and warm (about 1 to 2 minutes).

4. Transfer the spinach mixture to the bowl with dressing. Add squash, salt and pepper. Toss to combine.

Serves 4. Weight Watcher Points = 5 points.

Feb 06 2011 Greens and Soft Polenta

Adapted from Moosewood Collective. Moosewood restaurant new classics. (2001). New York: Clarkson Potter/Publishers. Page 262.

My Comments: Someday I hope to go to the Moosewood Restaurant in Ithaca, New York. This polenta recipe originally calls for corn meal — which is technically what polenta is — I prefer to use the real Italian food product, which is readily available everywhere.  The addition of fennel and Parmesan (fresh grated, not the green can!) make this especially tasty with broccoli rabe as the green. Feel like experimenting with greens? Go ahead and try others like kale, escarole, etc.

I love that this is just 2 points! Makes it something I would bring for lunch when I am typically conserving points.


1 bunch of broccoli rabe (or green of choice)

Polenta Ingredients

3 cups water
1 cup polenta cornmeal
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground fennel seeds (or if you’re adventuresome, use red pepper flakes)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
ground black pepper to taste

For sauteing the greens

1 TBSP olive oil
2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
1/4 tsp salt


Polenta and Broccoli Rabe

Copyright © 2011. Adrien Bisson.

1. Cut off and discard the tough bottoms of the broccoli rabe stems. Coarsely chop the broccoli rabe, stems and all, to make about 6 cups. Rinse well and set aside to drain.

2. Bring the water to a boil in a large pot and slowly pout in the cornmeal while stirring briskly with a whisk. Break up any lumps that form. Simmer on low heat, stirring frequently until the polenta is thick and tastes done. Stir in the salt, fennel and cheese if you are using it. Add pepper to taste.

3. Meanwhile heat oil in a heavy pan. Add the garlic and salt and saute on medium heat just until the garlic is golden. Add the broccoli rabe, increasing the heat to medium high, and cook stirring frequently for 3 to 5 minutes or until tender. Set aside until the polenta finishes cooking.

4. Serve the polenta with broccoli rabe on top or stirred in.

Makes 4 servings as a main dish. Weight Watcher points = 2 (!).

3 Feb. 2011 Winter Vegetable Stew

Adapted from The Moosewood Collective. Moosewood restaurant cooks at home. (1994). New York: Simon & Schuster. Page 220.

My Comments: The Moosewood recipe calls for beer or vegetable stock. The beer would have been an intriguing addition, but I wimped out and used vegetable stock here — less Weight Watcher points.  Our New England weather has been — well, let’s call it hideous — with snow storm after snow storm after snow storm. Looking out my kitchen window all I can see is a wall of snow which is at least 7 feet high! Needed something warm and comforting on this mid-winter night.

Wondering about tonight’s pictures? Well it’s an extra long story that starts out in Cambridge with an all-day photo shoot, a dead car battery, trucking equipment through the streets of Cambridge in the frozen slush, and a 10+ year old car on it’s last legs. Didn’t have the heart to insist. We’ll update them the next time.


2 onions, chopped (about 2 cups)
2 celery stalks chopped
2 TBSP olive or vegetable oil
2 medium carrots
2 parsnips
2 large potatoes
10 oz. green beans (about 2 cups trimmed and halved) — here’s where I used frozen
1 TBSP fresh chopped dill (1 tsp dried)
1 TBSP chopped marjoram (1 tsp dried)
1 cup beer or vegetable stock
1 1/2 cups water
1 green or red pepper
2 cups sliced mushrooms (about 6 oz)
1 TBSP Dijon mustard (or more to taste)
1 TBSP molasses (Blackstrap is too strong – keep it subtle)
salt and ground pepper to taste


1. In a heavy pot, saute the onions and celery in the oil until the onions are translucent.

2. While the onions saute, peel and coarsely chop the carrots and parsnips. Stir them into the pot.

3. Cut the potatoes into 1-inch cubes, and stem and halve the green beans. Add these to the sauteing vegetables along with the dill, marjoram, beer or stock, and water. Bring the stew to a low boil.

4. Coarsely chop the bell pepper and stem and slice the mushrooms; stir them into the pot.

5. Add the mustard and molasses and continue to simmer for about 10 minutes (wishful thinking? I’d keep it going until the potatoes and root veggies are cooked through).

6. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serves 4.

Weight Watcher Points = 4.

31 Jan. 2011 Stuffed Eggplant “Hippie-Style”

Adapted from Katzen, M. Moosewood Cookbook. (1977). Berkeley, CA: Ten Speed Press. p 115.

My comment: Does the fact that I have an original edition of the Moosewood Cookbook make me an old hippie? I guess it might. Tonight I made the Hippie-Style Stuffed Eggplant (there are 2 other versions in this book).

I’ve adapted this recipe for the ingredients we routinely use: reduced fat cheese, olive oil in place of butter, and nonfat cottage cheese.  I have a bad history with sunflower seeds so I won’t use them. For tonight, I just left them out, but I imagine you could substitute something else with a crunch if you wanted. Pine nuts anyone?


3 medium eggplants
1/2 lb. chopped mushrooms
2 cloves minced garlic
1 cup chopped onions
1 1/2 cup cottage cheese (I used fat-free)
1 cup cooked brown rice
1 cup grated cheddar (I used 50% fat Cabot cheddar)
salt and pepper
1 tsp thyme
a few drops of tabasco (I used red pepper flakes)
1/4 cup sunflower seeds (I omitted these because I don’t like them)
1/4 cup freshly chopped parsley
about 3 TBSP of olive oil (original recipe calls for butter!)

Stuffed Eggplant

Copyright © 2011. Adrien Bisson.


1. Slice the eggplants in half lengthwise. Use a soup spoon or a grapefruit spoon to scoop out the insides right down to 1/4 inch of the skin.

2. Chop the eggplant innards into 1/2 inch bits, and saute with the onion, garlic, mushrooms, salt and pepper until the onions are clear and the eggplant is soft.

3. Combine everything else and season according to your nature. Stuff the shells generously and with love. (Yes, that is indeed what this recipe says to do!). Dust with paprika and bake uncovered* on an oiled tray.

Oven temperature = 350 F. Time 35-40 minutes.  *Cover is the dish seems dry.

Servings: 6. Weight Watcher Points = 5 (without the sunflower seeds and using the revised ingredients); 6 points with sunflower seeds added to the dish.

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