Monday, September 20, 2010

Dinner by Moosewood!

Greek Stuffed Zucchini

Serves 4

Total time: about 1 hour


2 zucchini (10 inches long)

¼ cup dry sherry

Cinnamon Tomato Sauce

2 Tbs olive oil

1 cup chopped onions

2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed

2 Tbs tomato paste

3 ½ cups chopped tomatoes with juice (28-ounce can)

1 tsp minced fresh oregano (1/2 tsp dried)

¼ tsp ground cinnamon

2 to 4 Tbs dry sherry

salt and ground black pepper to taste


1 cup chopped onions

1 or 2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed

1 Tbs olive oil

¾ to 1 cup finely chopped toasted walnuts*

½ cup crumbled feta cheese

¼ cup currants

3 Tbs fresh lemon juice

2 cups cooked brown rice

dash of olive oil (optional)

grated feta cheese

fresh oregano leaves (optional)

*Toast walnuts in a single layer on an unoiled baking tray at 350˚F for 5 to 10 minutes, until fragrant and golden brown

1. Preheat the oven to 375˚F. Lightly oil a baking sheet.

2. Slice the zucchini in half lengthwise. With a paring knife, score the flesh about ½ inch deep. Place the cut sides down on the baking sheet. Sprinkle with the sherry and cover with foil. Bake for about 20 minutes, until yielding but still firm.

3. While the zucchini bakes, make the sauce. Heat the oil in a saucepan, add the onions and garlic, and sauté for about 10 minutes, until the onions are translucent. Add the tomato paste, tomatoes, oregano, cinnamon, and sherry. Bring to a boil; then reduce the heat and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cover and set aside.

4. While the sauce simmers, prepare the filling. Sauté the onions and garlic in the oil for about 10 minutes, until the onions are translucent. In a bowl, combine the sautéed onions with the walnuts, feta, currants, and lemon juice. Stir in the rice.

5. When the zucchini is tender, use a spoon to scoop out the flesh, leaving a thin ¼-inch shell. Chop the flesh and add it to the filling. Mound the filling in the shells and sprinkle with olive oil, if desired. Bake, uncovered, for 10 to 15 minutes, until hot.

6. To serve, ladle some of the tomato sauce onto each plate. Place a stuffed zucchini on the sauce and top with grated feta. Garnish, if you wish, with oregano leaves.

Caribbean Sweet Potato Gratin

Serves 6 to 8

Prep Time: 35 minutes

Baking time: 60 minutes

1 garlic clove, minced or pressed

1 ½ tsp freshly grated lime peel

2 Tbs fresh lime juice

2 Tbs chopped fresh cilantro

½ tsp dried thyme

1 ½ tsp salt

½ tsp ground black pepper

2 ½ cups coconut milk*

4 cups peeled and sliced sweet potatoes** (1 ½ pounds)

1 cup cooked rice

1 ½ cups cooked black beans (15-ounce can, drained)

1 ½ cups fresh spinach, rinsed, stemmed, and chopped


¾ cup cornmeal

1 Tbs vegetable oil

½ tsp dried thyme

¼ tsp ground cumin

¼ tsp salt

* About 20 ounces. Most coconut milk comes in 14-ounce cans; store extra in the freezer in a sealed container.

** Cut the sweet potatoes in half lengthwise, then slice them thinly.

1. Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Lightly oil a 9 x 13-inch baking pan.

2. Combine the garlic, lime peel and juice, cilantro, thyme, salt, pepper, and coconut milk in a measuring cup. Pour one-third of this mixture into the prepared baking pan. Layer half of the sweet potatoes in the bottom, topped by half of the rice, half of the black beans, and half the spinach. Pour on another third of the coconut milk mixture and repeat the layers of sweet potatoes, rice, beans, and spinach. Pour the remaining coconut milk mixture over all.

3. In a small bowl, combine all of the topping ingredients and sprinkle over the gratin.

4. Bake, uncovered, for about 60 minutes, rotating the pan in the oven after 30 minutes to ensure uniform baking. When the potatoes are tender and the topping is crisp and golden brown, remove from the oven and let sit for 2 to 3 minutes until the potatoes absorb any remaining liquid.

Polenta Cutlets With Olives

Serves 4 as a main dish, 8 as a side dish

Prep time: 30 minutes

Sitting time: 20 minutes

Baking time: 20 minutes

½ cup chopped onions

2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed

½ tsp salt

1 Tbs olive oil

¼ cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes (not oil-packed)

8 to 12 pitted and chopped kalamata or other black olives

1 cup cornmeal

2 cups water or vegetable stock

¼ cup grated Parmesan, mozzarella, or provolone (optional)

1. In a saucepan, sauté the onions, garlic, and salt in the olive oil on medium heat for about 10 minutes, until the onions are golden. Add the sun-dried tomatoes and the olives and cook for about 3 minutes. Add the cornmeal and stir just until the mixture is dry, less than 1 minute.

2. Slowly pour in the water or stock and stir briskly until the polenta thickens. Simmer, stirring frequently, until the polenta is creamy (see Note). Pour the polenta onto an oiled baking sheet or baking pans to about ¾-inch thickness. Spread with a rubber spatula for even thickness. Set aside to cool for about 20 minutes. The polenta will thicken as it cools.

3. Preheat the oven to 375˚F.

4. With a table knife, cut the polenta into squares, rectangles, diamonds, or other shapes. With a spatula, transfer the cutlets to a lightly oiled baking sheet and place them about an inch apart. Bake for 15 minutes. For a golden crust, turn the cutlets over, brush lightly with oil, and bake for 5 minutes longer or, if you like, sprinkle the cutlets with grated cheese for the last 5 minutes of baking.

5. Note: For cutlets, make thick polenta that can still be poured. The amount of water needed and the cooking time will depend on the cornmeal used. Finely ground cornmeal might be done after just a few minutes of simmering; coarsely ground and stone-ground cornmeal’s may need to simmer for up to 45 minutes. Add more hot water during cooking if the polenta becomes too thick.

Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

Serves 6

Prep Time: 1 to 1 ¼ hours

Baking Time: 10 to 15 minutes

1 cup raw quinoa

6 medium bell peppers

3 Tbs olive oil

1 cup chopped onions

3 garlic cloves, minced or pressed

1 ½ tsp ground cumin

1 ½ tsp ground coriander

½ tsp red pepper flakes

½ tsp salt, or more to taste

1 cup peeled and diced carrots

¾ cup diced celery

1 cup diced zucchini

1 ½ cups fresh or frozen corn kernels

1 ½ to 2 cups grated Cheddar cheese

1. Preheat the oven to 400˚F. Lightly oil a baking pan.

2. Place the quinoa in a fine-mesh sieve and rinse well under running water. In a covered pot, bring the quinoa and 2 cups of water to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for about 15 minutes, until the quinoa is soft and the water absorbed.

3. While the quinoa cooks, cut the bell peppers in half lengthwise and, leaving the stems on, seed them. Brush the bell pepper shells with about 2 Tbs of the oil, inside and out. Place them cut side down on the prepared baking pan and roast for 15 to 20 minutes, until softened and slightly browned, but not collapsed. When the bell peppers and roasted, reduce the oven temperature to 350˚F.

4. Meanwhile, in a skilled, warm the remaining tablespoon of oil and sauté the onions and garlic on medium heat for about 5 minutes, until the onions have softened. Stir in the cumin, coriander, red pepper flakes, salt, carrots, celery, zucchini, and corn. Cover the pan and cook for about 10 minutes, until the vegetables are very tender.

5. Combine the sautéed vegetables and the cooked quinoa and add salt to taste. Turn over the roasted pepper shells and spoon filling into each half. Sprinkle each bell pepper half with some of the grated cheese and bake for 10 to 15 minutes, until the cheese is melted.

All recipes courtesy Moosewood Restaurant New Classics cookbook, 2001.