I really try hard to not purchase new cookbooks! I have plenty already and we don't have shelf space. Besides, I am a mighty fine, creative cook with excellent resources. Considering how much is available on the Internet, it seems foolish to waste money buying cookbook after cookbook. I don't know about you but generally I find that a entire cookbook renders just a handful of recipes that I actually make. Eventually I make them so often I don't need the reference.
Recently we had Shabbat dinner at our friends Mara and Miryam's, two excellent cooks who totally get the Gluten-free issue. Their attention to detail arises out of their adherence to a strict Kosher diet and maintaining a Kosher kitchen. They are pros at calling food suppliers and asking questions about manufacturing practices, digging deeper into the ingredients listed on food labels and have an appreciation for cross contamination, safe utensils . . . I never worry about eating at their house, and I am always well cared for. That particular evening Mara made a broccoli dish with a mustard cream that literally made me swoon. You see I love mustard. Anyway, I am getting a little off track. Of course I wanted the recipe and Mara directed me to an online source providing the recipe which came from the one and only Deborah Madison. If you are vegetarian no doubt you know her, a total kitchen wizard. As I looked through some of her other recipes I decided I needed to actually see some of her cookbooks. I went off to Barnes and Nobel and came home with Vegetarian Suppers from Deborah Madison's Kitchen.
Since Tina is out of town, I thought it would be a good opportunity to take a vegetarian dinner over to Mara and Miryam's tonight. So I selected three different recipes from my new cookbook, all of them are worth a post! These stuffed peppers are colorful and flavorful. I hemmed and hawed about substituting gluten-free couscous for the quinoa, you see I am not a fan of quinoa. I stuck to the recipe as written as I am hopelessly trying to like quinoa. Couscous would be a great substitute no doubt but I found that I actually like the quinoa just fine. The tangy feta cheese is a real treat but leave it out if you want a dairy free dish! The original recipe is a great template for any number of variations, play around with it. Olives, black beans, tomato, all come to mind. This is somewhat labor intensive but they can be made ahead of time and heated at the last minute.
Peppers stuffed with quinoa, corn and feta cheese on a bed of red onions
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
1 cup quinoa, rinsed well several times (I used pale quinoa but thinking about it, red would be beautiful)
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 bunch scallions, including 2 inches of the greens, sliced on the diagonal into rounds
1 fresh jalapeno chili, finely diced (remove seeds if you don't want the dish too hot)
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 cups or so of fresh corn from 2 ears of corn (you can use frozen but fresh is so much better)
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1/4 pound feta cheese, cut into small cubes
1 large red onions, sliced into rounds, about 1/4 inch thick
1/2 cup white wine
4 bell peppers
1/2 pound of spinach leaves
Bring two cups of water to a boil, add 1/2 teaspoon salt and then the quinoa. Give it a stir, cover and simmer over lowish heat until the grains are tender and water is absorbed, about 15 minutes.
Warm half the oil in a wide skillet. Add the scallions and chilies, cook over medium heat for 2 minutes, add garlic, cumin, corn and spinach along with 2 tablespoons water. When the spinach is wilted, add the cilantro, quinoa and feta, tossing everything together.
Heat remaining oil in a clean wide skillet. When hot, add the onions and saute, stirring until they start to color around the edges. Add the wine to deglaze the pan, season with salt and pepper and distribute the onions on the bottom of a baking dish large enough to hold the peppers.
Slice the peppers in half lengthwise without removing the stems, cut out the membranes and remove the seeds. Brush with oil, season with salt and pepper and grill over hot coals for 8 minutes, turning once. If you don't want to grill the peppers simmer them in salted water until tender to the touch of a knife but not overly soft, about 4 minutes.
Place the peppers cut side up in the baking dish with the onions. Fill them with the quinoa mixture.
Preheat the oven to 400, bake until heated through, about 15 minutes, then switch the oven heat to broil and brown the tops. Serve hot, warm or at room temp.