Tuesday, November 2, 2010


I don't have a theme to offer today, so here goes on a random assortment of yummy meals.

Roasted Vegetable Wraps with Sesame Sauce and Salad with Restaurant Ginger Dressing

You know the ginger dressing you get on a crispy iceberg pile right between the miso soup and sushi entree?  Well I love that stuff, and I've been curious to give it a go at home.  When a lovely friend passed on a tasty recipe for a sesame sauce (discussed below), I thought this was a fab opportunity to try it as an accompaniment.  I just Googled "Japanese Restaurant Ginger Dressing", and clicked around until I found one from a reputable source that was well tested with high marks.  I, too, give this a thumbs up and am psyched to have found the formula for that restaurant goodness at home.  By the way, it doesn't get much easier than zapping all the ingredients (including an unexpected one: ketchup!) in a blender!    http://allrecipes.com//Recipe/famous-japanese-restaurant-style-salad-dressing/Detail.aspx.   

The sesame sauce recipe suggests it to be served over or alongside roasted vegetables.  I used that strategy but opted to do so in a wrap in order to give it a shot in a starring role.  For the veggies, I thinly sliced zucchini and eggplant lengthwise and lined them up on a cookie sheet with sliced red onion.  I brushed them generously with olive oil, then sprinkled them with kosher salt and pepper on their way to a 400 degree oven.  They roasted for about 25 minutes total, with a flip halfway through.  I stacked the veggies on a burrito sized flour tortilla, and then topped them with the following sauce. This recipe makes a boatload, so you might want to cut it in half.

Sesame Sauce

2 cloves garlic
1 1/2 Tbsp chopped ginger
1/3 cup soy sauce
2 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1 1/2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1/4 cup sesame oil
1 1/2 cups mayo (recipe calls for 2 cups, but I thought that was a bit much)

Put first 5 ingredients in small saucepan and boil until reduced by half.  Remove from heat.  Whisk together last 3 ingredients until smooth and light brown.  Then pour saucepan mixture in and whisk until combined.  

Ravioli with Caramelized Fennel

My obsession with all things caramelized continues.  I found a(nother!) clip in Real Simple with 10 ideas for cheese ravioli, and this one spoke to me.  I fell in love with fennel on a trip to Italy when our friends Amy and Roberto served it raw as a palate cleanser.  Well it gets even better when it's cooked.  I've carried on about this before, but I'll take another opportunity to praise the magic that happens in 30 minutes as a standard onion - and fennel bulb in this case - transform into a gorgeously sweet, complex jam.  You should so try this. 

In a large skillet, cook 1 thinly sliced fennel bulb and 1 sliced onion in butter over medium heat, tossing occasionally, until golden, 25-30 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper.  Meanwhile, prep the ravioli...which is almost too easy to call it prep.  Just drop store-bought fresh cheese ravioli into boiling salted water for 10ish minutes.  When it's done, toss it into the saute pan with the onions and fennel, along with 1/4 cup (or a little less) reserved pasta water, and 1 Tbsp butter.  Sprinkle with chopped fennel fronds (the green part) and freshly grated Parmesan. 

Vegetable Chowder

I am always on the hunt for make-ahead, kid-friendly meals.  In addition to these traits, this dish is HEALTHY and freezes well!   It becomes beautifully thickened by pureeing a third of the mixture (in a blender or even better, with an immersion blender in the pot itself).  I love this soup, but I do think more seasoning improves it.  In addition to what's suggested by the recipe, I season with salt and pepper in step 1.  I also substitute the salt with garlic salt in step 4.  PS - I use frozen cut green beans as a time-saver.    http://www.marthastewart.com/recipe/vegetable-chowder


Christy said...

Would you have anything to recommend if I wanted to substitute the corn in the Vegetable Chowder?

I appreciate the randomness. :) Thanks for great ideas! Keep up the fun posts.

Joanna said...

Oh my!! I can't wait to try that ravioli! The kids will never eat anything I put on top of it, but...more for me!! And I'll be making the veggie chowder soon, now that the weather is so perfect for soup. Yay!

Emily said...

Hi gals! Christy, I'd just increase the other veggies, particularly the potatoes for the thickening factor. If you're missing some sweetness from the corn, maybe sweet potatoes could be an option?

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