Thursday, May 20, 2010

Veggie Blue Plate Special

Tonight's challenge: use up the last 5 ounces of baby spinach, 2 of the 4 bell peppers in the fridge, the last ear of corn left over from last week, 1 tomato and 1 bunch of scallions. The obvious thing to do was to pretend we don't have any turkey smoked sausage, chicken or fish in the freezer and prepare a 3-veggie plate - tonight's blue plate special. This consisted of an encore presentation of the corn and feta salad plus the following two dishes:

Black-eyed peas, Italian-styleI'm not sure such a thing actually exists, but I pretended it did with my seasoning blend. These are great cooked in chicken broth, bu since I haven't gotten around to buying any yet, a little extra salt worked out just as well.

8 oz. frozen black-eyed peas, thawed
Salt to taste
1 bunch scallions (mostly the white part), thinly sliced
1 vine-ripened tomato, peeled and diced
2 tsp dried Italian herbs
1 tsp crushed red pepper or to taste

Place thawed black-eyed peas in a small (1 qt) saucepan, cover with water and add salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium and simmer covered. Peas will take about 20 minutes to cook, but check on them and add water if needed. During the last 5 minutes, add chopped tomato and onion along with Italian herbs and crushed red pepper.

Bell peppers stuffed with spinach risottoDon't really remember where this recipe came from; I'm thinking either Giada De Laurentiis or Emeril. Anyway, I also like to cook some chicken broth into the risotto when I have some, but extra salt was tonight's substitute here as well. I also like to saute some chopped onion in the olive oil before adding the rice, but since tonight's veggie plate featured onions in the other two dishes, I left them out of the risotto.

2 large bell peppers (red, orange or yellow look best with the risotto)
2 tsp olive oil
1 cup arborio rice
3 cups salted water
5 oz baby spinach (can also use 1/2 pkg frozen, thawed), chopped small
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/3 to 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
Fresh ground pepper to taste

Cut two bell peppers in half, remove hats, scoop out seeds and set aside on a shallow baking pan.

In a 1 or 2 qt saucepan, bring salted water to a boil, then reduce heat to medium.

In a separate 2-qt saucepan, eat the oil over medium heat. (Add the onion now, if using; saute for 2-3 minutes or until translucent.) Add rice and stir. Reduce heat to medium-low.

Begin adding salted water (or broth, if using) to the rice 1/2 cup at a time, stirring often. Once all water has been added to the rice and rice has taken on a creamy consistency (should take about 15-20 minutes), stir in the chopped spinach and let it cook for about 3-4 minutes in the hot rice. Add nutmeg and pepper and stir. Add Parmesan cheese and stir until it melts into the rice.

Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Use a soup spoon to fill the peppers with the risotto, pressing down in order to stuff the peppers. Sprinkle some more Parmesan over the tops.

Bake peppers in the oven for 20 minutes or until the Parmesan on top of the peppers turns golden brown.

To my credit (I guess), an entire hour has passed since we finished dinner, and Steve hasn't started snacking on boiled peanuts yet! I think I've figured out how we can both have enough to eat without meat being involved!

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