Works in Progress

February 1, 2012

Over the past couple of weeks I’ve made a few dishes whose results were pretty good, but not quite ready for prime time for one reason or another. But I figured I’d go ahead and share them anyhow, along with what I would change next time.

My first non-failure, but not-quite-there item was actually several iterations of fruit and nuts in phyllo dough. I had the rest of a box of phyllo dough to use up after making my Butternut Squash, Caramelized Onions, Sundried Tomatoes and Goat Cheese in Phyllo. Since phyllo dough always makes me think of baklava (and I LOOOOOVE baklava), I thought it might be fun to make something baklavaian inspired. (I also love making up words.) So over the course of two weeks, I made three variations using different combinations of fresh apples, dried fruit, and nuts. All three tasted pretty good, but without extra butter, the phyllo dough didn’t brown well, and without extra honey to make it stick together, the layers of dough were pretty fragile. Extremely fragile. I also didn’t feel like I could eat that much of it at one time because dried fruit is fairly high in calories, so I think future phyllo dough experiments will be more along the lines of fresh fruit filling. But I have to say, it was all rather tasty, especially the final version, which was figs and dates. I just chopped up the fruit and nuts, brushed the top sheet of phyllo with some light melted butter mixed with agave, sprinkled the fruit on, and rolled it up. I brushed the top with a bit more butter and agave, and baked it at 350 for about 30 minutes.

Chopped Figs and Dates in Phyllo Dough

Chopped Figs and Dates in Phyllo Dough

My next item was inspired by a picture on one of the blogs I follow, which was too gorgeous to pass up – Lemony Chickpea and Tofu Stir-Fry on Offally Tasty (inspired in turn by a recipe from 101 Cookbooks). I bought the ingredients for the recipe, but when it came time to prepare the dish, I felt like making something more Asian-inspired (whims are a big part of my cooking). So I coated the chickpeas with a tablespoon of tamari and a couple of teaspoons of sesame oil, then baked them in the oven at 350 for about 55 minutes, stirring every fifteen minutes, to get them nice and crispy. I made some marinade with 4 tablespoons of lemon juice, 3 tablespoons of tamari, 3 tablespoons of brown sugar, and 5 minced garlic cloves, and marinated cubed tofu for about an hour in the refrigerator. Then I sautéed the onions and 2 sliced yellow squash in a teaspoon of sesame oil. I added about 3/4 of the marinade, and then piled torn pieces of a bunch of kale on top, and ‘folded’ them in until they wilted. Finally I added the remaining marinade and an extra teaspoon of sesame oil. Unfortunately, I didn’t take good enough notes as to timing (…and it’s possible I got some of the sequencing wrong in this write-up). But it was awesome tasting, so I’ll definitely repeat it.

Tofu, Squash, Kale, and Tamari Chickpeas

Tofu, Squash, Kale, and Tamari Chickpeas

The last dish was something that I conjured up because I wanted to make more caramelized onions, and needed something to go with them. I did some searches online and found a few pairings, including one with couscous, so I decided to go with that. I planned on using the great whole wheat pearled couscous I thought I had in the pantry, but I had apparently used it up, and unfortunately the Whole Foods I stopped at isn’t carrying it anymore. So plan C was Israeli couscous cooked in broth (not as much fiber, but still tasty). I also decided to use sun-dried tomatoes, and top it with gorgonzola cheese. The taste was really quite good, but next time I think I’ll add some greens, like chard or mustard greens, for more taste contrast (as well as more color).

Israeli Couscous with Caramelized Onions, Sundried Tomatoes and Gorgonzola

Israeli Couscous with Caramelized Onions, Sundried Tomatoes and Gorgonzola

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