Thursday, January 22, 2009

Whole Wheat Linguine, Artichoke Hearts, Feta and Pine Nuts

This dish was a big hit at the Saturday Academy class, "Whole Foods for a Healthy Diet" at the Hillcrest Church of Christ. Thanks to everyone who attended, and especially to Mrs. Carol Hunter for inviting me to come to the church. You guys asked tons of great questions and were a lot of fun.

I can imagine how yummy this pasta would be with the addition of shrimp, clams or even leftover chicken. Links to the other recipes from the class are below. photo:

Whole Wheat Linguine, Artichoke Hearts, Feta and Pine Nuts
8 oz package whole wheat linguine (I used Delverde pasta from the DeKalb Farmer's Mkt)
extra virgin olive oil
8 oz jar of marinated artichoke hearts, drained and quartered
1 small red bell pepper, julienned
1/2 cup fresh parsley leaves, chopped
1/2 medium sized onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled
1/4 cup raw pine nuts
juice from 1/2 lemon
freshly ground black pepper

Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain, rinse to stop the cooking process, toss with extra virgin olive oil and set aside.
Meanwhile, saute onion and garlic over medium-high heat until tender. Add the bell pepper and artichoke hearts cooking until bell pepper becomes crisp tender.
Toss in the pasta and heat through.
Remove from heat and stir in the parsley, lemon juice and season with black pepper.
Transfer to a serving bowl or platter and sprinkle with feta cheese and pine nuts.

During the class we also made Vegan Smoky Beans which were also very popular and lend incredible versatility as leftovers. Sesame Broccoli and Chai Tea Steamed Mushrooms also rounded out the class.

Chai Tea Steamed Mushrooms

This basic recipe can be greatly expanded upon. If you like the flavor of these mushrooms, you will easily translate this process into a stuffed mushroom dish, or stuffed zucchini, or a flavorful steam-bath for dumplings. The sky is the limit. The warm-spiced essence of Chai tea will permeate whatever you choose to steam. And of course you can change the tea and get different results. I’m looking forward to trying this tea-steam method with a lemongrass green tea and a lemon-ginger tea!

Chai Tea Steamed Mushrooms
2 cups water
4 Chai Tea baga
2-3 cabbage leaves
2 pints of mushrooms, halved or quartered if large

Fill a steamer with 2 cups of water and add the tea bags. Bring to a boil at around 200-212 degrees.
Meanwhile line the steamer basket with the cabbage leaves. Top with mushrooms. Place the basket in the steamer and cover with the lid. Steam for 10-15 minutes or until mushrooms are tender.
Remove mushrooms from the steamer and arrange in serving bowl.

Sesame Broccoli

Using soy sauce, in this case miso tamari, instead of salt brings richer, deeper flavor and the benefits of the soy-based antioxidants to this dish. photo:

2 heads of broccoli, cut into spears
1 Tbs miso tamari or low sodium soy sauce
1 Tbs toasted sesame oil
2 Tsp raw sesame seeds

Steam broccoli spears until bright green and crisp-tender, about five minutes. Transfer to mixing bowl and toss with miso tamari and toasted sesame oil. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve.

Vegan Smoky Beans

This meat-free bean dish gets its smoky flavor from Spanish smoked paprika, ground cumin and fire roasted tomatoes. All of these ingredients were purchased organic and were still very inexpensive. This is a wonderful side dish with a great aromatic presence, and would be simple to "set and forget" in a slow cooker. photo:

1 15 oz can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 large onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 15 oz can fire roasted tomatoes
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp smoked paprika
1/4 cup fresh oregano leaves

Heat 2 Tbsp oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Saute the onions until just tender and add the garlic, and bell pepper. Once the garlic is tender add the cumin and paprika and allow the spices to toast lightly. Stir in the tomatoes and the beans and allow to simmer over medium heat, covered until the beans are tender. Prior to serving stir in the fresh oregano leaves.

These beans are very versatile so don't be surprised if you see a Leftover Makeover featuring these vegan smoky beans in the near future.