Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Chickpea, Rice, and Spinach Salad

Chickpea, Rice, and Spinach Salad on plate with red onion garnish

This Italian-style vegan salad makes a healthy starter or main course

Spring has arrived here in St Louis. Well, sort of. Daffodils are popping up, but we’re still having some raw days.

Which makes this the perfect time for hearty salads—the kind that use beans or other legumes. They’re protein-rich, so a generous serving makes a meatless main course. But they’re not so heavy that you couldn’t use a smaller serving as a starter, or even as a side dish.

Today’s hearty salad features chickpeas. But it’s also loaded with healthy produce: Fresh spinach, red bell pepper, and red onions. So it tastes like spring.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Kale and Cabbage Gratin

Kale and Cabbage Gratin in gratin dish

This Provençal-style charmer is a great starter, side, or main dish

We can almost hear you muttering to yourself: “Kale? And cabbage? In a gratin? Really?

Yes, really. And this is one of the best dishes we’ve made in quite a while.

We don’t say that lightly. We tend to post only recipes that we like a lot. But even by that standard, this dish is extraordinary.

Best of all, kale and cabbage tend to be inexpensive this time of year. So you get tasty on a budget. Nice.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Easy and Tasty Roast Cabbage

Easy and Tasty Roast Cabbage on plate

Roasting sweetens cabbage, taking its flavor to a whole new level

Cabbage doesn’t get the love it deserves. Sure, we like it in coleslaw. And we pair it with corned beef for St. Patrick’s Day. But the rest of the time? Most of us just walk right past it in the supermarket produce section.

Too bad. Because when roasted, cabbage serves up terrific flavor. The taste becomes sweeter and more intense (in a good way). And roasting doesn’t overwhelm your kitchen with the cabbage odor some find offensive (you know, the kind you get when you boil cabbage to death).

Succulent, tender, delightfully flavored. Roast cabbage will be the star of your next meal. Really.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

The Brainstorm Cocktail

The Brainstorm Cocktail over ice in rocks glass

A drink made with Irish whiskey? Perfect for St. Pat’s Day

If you’re looking for an alcoholic beverage to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, you have plenty to choose from. In the US, Guinness stout and green beer are traditional favorites. Or maybe you’d prefer a shot of Irish whiskey with a beer chaser (green, of course). And there’s always Irish Coffee.

But this year, how about something different? The Brainstorm Cocktail is an Irish whiskey-fueled elixir, so it’s totally appropriate for the day. And its intriguing flavor will have people coming back for seconds.

If anybody asks how you came up with the idea for this drink, just smile modestly—and tell them it was a brainstorm.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

White Bean and Quinoa Soup with Ham

White Bean and Quinoa Soup with Ham in ramekin

Healthy goodness to tame winter’s chill

Polar vortex got you down? Tired of shoveling snow? Then come inside and warm up with a nice bowl of homemade soup.

Here at Kitchen Riffs central, we often turn to soup when winter wallops us. Soup makes an easy (and hearty) one-dish meal. And this bean soup is loaded with lots of healthy flavors.

So it’s just the thing to put Old Man Winter in his place.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Homemade Whole Wheat Bread

Homemade Whole Wheat Bread with jam

For splendid sandwiches and terrific toast

Is anything better than homemade bread fresh from the oven? The aroma (and flavor!) can be irresistible. And making it is easier than you might think. Hands-on time is only a few minutes—and the flavor payoff is major.

Plus, homemade bread contains no preservatives or additives. So if one of your New Year’s resolutions is to eat healthier, baking your own bread is a great way to start.

But be warned: Once you taste homemade, you’ll never be happy with store-bought loaves again.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Red Beans and Rice Soup

Red Beans and Rice Soup with green scallion garnish

A lighter version of a classic New Orleans Creole dish

One of our favorite comfort foods is red beans and rice—that spicy dish found everywhere in Louisiana. It’s particularly nice in cold weather because it warms you up in a hurry.

But it’s also a hearty dish, so it fills you up in a hurry too.

What to do when you want the terrific flavor of red beans and rice, but don’t want such a hefty meal? Just transform the dish into soup.

Red Beans and Rice Soup makes a great one-dish meal. But it’s not quite as caloric as the traditional version—which is a good thing for those of us still trying to lose that holiday bloat.

It’s also a smart way to celebrate Mardi Gras. Which arrives, of course, next week.