Monday, April 14, 2014

Olive Oil Braised Veggies

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Olive Oil Braised Veggies
Serves 4-6
Olive Oil Braised Veggies
Slow-braising vegetables has intrigued me for some time. I previously posted an interesting approach to braising asparagus ( Today was the day to try it. It changes everything. Braising isn’t just for meat.  The gentle cooking method, which calls for a small amount of liquid, low heat and a covered pot, can be used for a variety of veggies, as well. You can also reduce the flavorful cooking liquid and use it as an accompanying sauce. This is only one take on braising vegetables.  Others could certainly be added or substituted such as leeks, celery or fennel.
Stars of the show!
  • 1 C extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tb anchovy paste
  • ½ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 8 sun-dried tomatoes, thinly sliced lengthwise
  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed with side of a knife
  • 6 sprigs rosemary
  • 1 lemon, ends trimmed, thinly sliced crosswise, seeds removed
  • 1 large zucchini, cut diagonally into 1½” long pieces
  • 1 lb baby Yukon Gold or new potatoes
  • 1 medium head broccoli, cut into florets, stalk cut into large pieces
  • ½ medium head cauliflower, cut into florets, stalk cut into large pieces
  • 2 Tb finely chopped parsley
  • 2 sprigs marjoram, stems removed
  • Kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper

Put olive oil, anchovy paste, chile flakes, sun-dried tomatoes, garlic, rosemary, and lemon slices in 6 qt Dutch oven. Place over medium-high heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until fragrant and the garlic and the lemon slices are lightly browned, about 5 minutes.
Veggies in the pot

Slow cooked with the lemon slides

Add the zucchini in a single layer and cook, without stirring, until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Flip the zucchini, and cook for 5 minutes more. Add the potatoes, broccoli, and cauliflower to the pot and stir once or twice to coat in oil.  Cook, covered, without stirring, until the vegetables begin to brown and soften, about 30 minutes.
Now add in the zucchini slices
Remove the vegetables from the heat, and stir in parsley and marjoram. Season to taste with salt and pepper. It's a great side dish and addition to any meal.

Bon Appetit!


Monday, April 7, 2014

Back from Hiatus! Black (Forbidden) & Wild Rice Salad with Roasted Butternut Squash

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Back from Hiatus! Black (Forbidden) & Wild Rice Salad with Roasted Butternut Squash 
Serves: 8

OK, I have been gone for a little while…still cooking but not writing. Instead, have been busy getting our new place in the desert ready. Not a big a kitchen, but that’s why they invented husbands and barbeques!!  Anyway, it is good to be back.
Have you ever made a recipe expecting it to be quite good – I mean, why else would you make it? – only to exceed your expectations? This is that kind of recipe. Look at the ingredients, great mix of flavors, much can be done earlier in the day and it’s even healthy. All good. And then, when done, you taste – it is absolutely wonderful. I made it three times shortly after the first serving, testing on different friends, all to acclaim. So make it today. You will love it. Oh – and it is vegetarian, gluten free and dairy free…just sayin. What a perfect dish for meatless Monday.

The name forbidden rice alone is enough to pull you into making this dish. Last September I included a recipe with Forbidden Rice and Red Quinoa. ( Now you have two reasons to give it a try. According to ancient Chinese legend, black rice was so rare, tasty, and nutritious that only the emperors were allowed to eat it. The rice was fabled to enrich health and ensure longevity. The black color of the uncooked forbidden rice is due to its outer coating of black bran. It is also prized for its fragrant aroma, nutty taste and nutritional value. Like brown rice, black rice is full of antioxidant-rich bran, which is found in the outer layer that gets removed during the milling process to make white rice. But only black-rice bran contains the antioxidants known as anthocyanins, which are purple and reddish pigments -- also found in blueberries, grapes, and acai -- that have been linked to a decreased risk of heart disease and cancer, improvements in memory, and other health benefits.

The contrast between the sweetness of the roasted butternut squash and the nutty flavor in the rice makes for a distinctive flavor. Both the pomegranate seeds and the pistachios add a crunchy layer to keep your palate wondering what might come next!
  • 1½ C black forbidden rice
  • ½ C wild rice
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 med-large butternut squash, peeled, seeds removed, cut into pieces
  • ½ C olive oil (divided)
  • 2 Tb maple syrup
  • ¼ C red wine vinegar (divided)
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced
  • ½ - ¾ C pomegranate seeds
  • 1 C micro greens or ¾ C pee shoots or mixture of cilantro & parsley or baby spinach
  • ½ C roasted pistachios, chopped
  • Other optional garnishes/additions: chevre, cooked lentils 

Preheat oven to 450 degree F. Cook black rice and wild rice in a large pot of boiling salted water until just tender, 35-40 minutes; drain and rinse, shaking off as much water as possible. Mix 1 Tb red wine vinegar into hot cooked rice. Spread out on a rimmed baking sheet and let cool.
Forbidden rice and wild rice cooling on a cooking sheet
Meanwhile toss squash with ¼ olive oil and the maple syrup on another baking sheet; season with salt and pepper. Roast in oven, tossing once, until golden brown and tender, 20-25 minutes; let cool.
Cut butternut squash with maple syrup
Butternut squash after roasting...sweet!
For the pistachios, you can either buy them pre-roasted. Alternatively, you can buy raw pistachios and place in a dry frying pan over medium heat. Watch them carefully until they are browned (see photo below).

Roasted pistachios
Whisk remainder of vinegar, honey and remaining olive oil in a large bowl.  Add black rice and wild rice, squash, scallions and pomegranate seeds. Mix thoroughly. Season with salt and pepper to taste. This can now sit for several hours. Cover and chill.  Add micro greens and pistachios shortly before serving.  Substitute for micro greens include pea shoots, mix of parsley & cilantro or baby spinach.  To boost protein, you might want to add ¼- ½ C cooked lentils. To add another dimension or increase creaminess, sprinkle final dish with crumbled chevre. Simply divine. Try it today!


Monday, January 20, 2014

Winter Hiatus Recipe! Quick & Easy Black Bean Soup

Hi everyone. In honor of the Super Bowl and, more importantly, the fact that I am busy furnishing  our new second home in La Quinta, CA, we will be taking a few weeks off from posting on Cooking with Larue. Don't worry....we will be back soon with more sumptuous recipes!!!!!


Quick & Easy Black Bean Soup
Serves 4-6

Quick & Easy Black Bean Soup

Were you ever making a Southwestern or Mexican dinner and just needed one more thing to complete the meal….but had no time to pull something new and complex?  It seems to happen to me all too often.  I do love the complex layering of flavors associated with a great mole or even the simple vegetables and proteins thrown together for an amazing taco.  But I always seem to need one more thing. This quick and easy black bean soup is your answer. Everyone loves it. It freezes beautifully and truly comes together in under 30 minutes. With use of a food processor, you can pull it off even faster…really!  It will become your go-to warm quick soups.
  • ¼ C olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1-14 ½ oz can ready-cut tomatoes
  • 1-4 oz. can diced green chilies
  • 1 Tb dried thyme, crumbled
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 4 – 16 oz. cans black beans, drained & rinsed
  • 2 C or more of chicken or vegetable broth
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • Dash of cayenne (optional)
  • 1-2 Tb fresh lime juice
  • Garnishes: sour cream or crème fraiche, cilantro, sliced green onions, toasted cumin seed, grated cheese (see below for specifics)

All the fixins' 
Chopping the onions
Heat olive oil in large pot. Add onion, bell pepper and garlic. Saute until the onion is tender, about 10 minutes. Mix in canned tomatoes and their juices, chilies, thyme and cumin. Reduce heat to low and simmer until vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes.

Add beans and 2 C chicken or vegetable broth. Puree soup in batches in your food processor or blender. Return soup to pot and return to a simmer.  Season with salt and pepper, add lime juice and heat through. If it is too thick, add additional broth.  It is now ready to serve and enjoy with your favorite garnishes.

Before puree
Apres puree!

When in a rush, I simply grate some cheese, chop a little green onion and sprinkle with some sprigs of cilantro and perhaps a dollop of sour cream or crème fraiche. Pretty. If you want to get fancy – make this wonderful toasted cumin seed crème fraiche.

Toasted Cumin Seed Crème Fraiche (hacked from Bobby Flay)
  • 1 Tb whole cumin seeds
  • 1 C crema or crème fraiche or swap for yogurt or sour cream
  • Salt & Pepper

Place the cumin in a small sauté pan over medium heat. Toast until lightly golden brown. Place in spice grinder or mortar and pestle and grind until coarse. Stir it into the crème and season with salt and pepper, to taste. 

If you have the time – this is a wonderful plus to this simple, yet delicious, soup. It is one of those toppings that is in lock-step with the soup: the richest, creamiest, smokiest accent to a spicy hearty soup.

Enjoy!  I know you will.