Tuesday, November 26, 2013
If your looking for a last minute side dish, this is the one. The topping is bread like full of salty cheese and herbs, a bit like holiday stuffing. The tang of the sour cream with dill brings this side dish to a different level. Have a nice Thanksgiving!
Recipe is from Yotam Ottolenghi's cookbook "Plenty".
1 1/2 lbs pumpkin or squash skin on (I used pumpkin)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup Parmesan (grated)
3 tablespoons dried white breadcrumbs (I used panko)
6 tablespoons fresh parsley (finely chopped)
2 1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme (finely chopped)
2 lemons (grated zest)
2 cloves garlic (minced)
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon dill (chopped)
Preheat oven to 375°F. Cut the pumpkin into 3/8-inch thick slices and lay them flat, cut side down, on a baking sheet that has been lined with parchment paper.
In a small bowl, mix together the Parmesan, breadcrumbs, parsley, thyme, half the lemon zest, garlic, salt and pepper.
Brush the pumpkin generously with olive oil and sprinkle crumb mixture, lightly pat the mix down on pumpkin.
Roast in oven about 30 minutes until pumpkin is tender and cooked through. If topping starts to darken to much, cover loosely with foil.
Mix the sour cream with dill, salt and pepper. Serve wedges warm , sprinkled with remaining lemon zest and the sour cream on the side. Enjoy!
Monday, November 25, 2013
After a few days of rain the desert preserve by our house looks like this. To some people they might think what? a few rain puddles, no big deal! But to someone that goes up there every day I have to tell you, look at all the green. Right before your eyes the plants start changing, it's amazing.
The holidays are right around the corner and I have been trying out different recipes for a New Years Eve party. These seeded crackers from the "Fine Cooking Magazine" 2013 issue #89 will make a great beginning.
For the topping:
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
2 teaspoons poppy seeds
2 teaspoons fennel or caraway seeds (I used caraway)
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
For the dough:
1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Position oven rack in lower third of oven. Set temperature to 450°F.
In a small bowl combine seeds and kosher salt, set aside. Fill another small bowl with water and have along side of this a pastry brush, set aside.
In a large bowl whisk together the flours and salt. Add olive oil and water. Stir together with plastic spatula until you have a crumbly ball of dough. Pat excess dough around sides into ball.
Set dough on lightly floured work surface and divide into three equal pieces. Set two pieces aside and cover with a clean towel. Roll remaining dough into a rectangle about 1/16 inch thick, 7 to 8 inches wide and 14 to 15 inches long. If there is any resistance, lift that corner of the dough up and sprinkle more flour underneath.
With pastry brush, lightly brush dough with water and sprinkle about 1/3 of the seeds and salt mixture. Lightly roll over seeds with rolling pin to help them stick to dough.With dough scrapper or pizza cutter, cut the dough in half lengthwise and then cut across to make rectangles about two to four inches. Transfer to baking sheet. (I lined mine with a silpat). Bake until nicely browned about 10 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack. Store cooled crackers up to a week in a tightly sealed container or a zip-lock bag. Repeat the process for the remaining two pieces of dough.
A couple of tips: I found that the cooking time really varies according to the thickness of the dough. So be mindful of the time after 6 minutes or so. Plus other people who had comments on this recipe found that weighing the flours really helped with the flour to water ratio. (I had added a little extra water myself, so this should help). Also, using a pasta machine to help roll out dough for consistency worked wonders. (Will try that tip next time myself)
Friday, November 22, 2013
It was dinner time and I had just started to gather all the ingredients together for our meal. My husband came out to the kitchen like he normally does to check out the menu. But this time there was quite a fuss."What a crazy mix of ingredients", he objected, "sure I like each of them separately, but certainly not all together. There are just too many different flavors". Well, even after all that protesting, I began the preparation. About 40 minutes later I heard a different tune, and it was quite pleasant. He loved this, thought it was sweet and spicy, even tangy and bursting with flavor. A great vegan stew like dish that is pure comfort food all the way. This recipe was adapted from theKitchn, a blog. Check them out yourself!
For the stew:
2 teaspoons olive oil
4 large cloves garlic (minced)
1 tablespoon fresh ginger (grated)
1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes (chopped)
1 large lemon (zested and juiced)
Small pinch red pepper flakes
15-ounce can chickpeas (drained)
1 pound fresh baby spinach
14-ounce can coconut milk
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1 teaspoon ground ginger
4 whole sweet potatoes (roast at 400°F, 1 hour)
Hand full of cilantro leaves, to garnish
Toasted unsweetened coconut, to garnish
Heat oil in a large heavy pot or skillet on medium-high heat. Add the onion and saute about 5 to 8 minutes until onion starts to brown. Add garlic, ginger, sun-dried tomatoes, lemon zest and red pepper flakes. Stir and cook about 3 minutes.
Add chickpeas and cook until they are coated with the onion and garlic mixture and appear slightly golden brown.
Toss in the spinach, about a cup or two at a time. When all the spinach has been stirred in, pour in the coconut milk, then stir in salt, ground ginger and lemon juice. Bring to a simmer and cook another 10 to 15 minutes.
Serve over sweet potatoes and garnish with cilantro leaves and coconut. The recipe also notes that this would be great over pasta, rice, quinoa or another grain. Enjoy!
Monday, November 18, 2013
Many years ago I worked at a bistro style restaurant that served breakfast and lunch. The daily lunch menu had a variety of salads and three different soups. The every day star or draw if you will was their Borscht soup. Although it's been awhile I believe this recipe is about the closest to the flavor and taste. I used my food processor to shred the veggies which really cut down on time. Beets and cabbage truly compliment each other in this easy to put together meal.
1/2 medium onion (chopped)
3 medium beets (shredded)
1 medium russet potato (shredded)
2 carrots (shredded)
2 cloves garlic (minced)
1/2 head green cabbage (shredded)
2 bay leaves
8 to10 cups water
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon pepper (freshly ground)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup fresh dill (chopped)
1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds
In a large soup pot saute onion until soft about 10 minutes. Add beets, potatoes and carrots and cook until slightly tender. Add garlic and saute another minute. Add bay leaves and water (don't add all water at once, add 8 cups then 1 to 2 cups more towards the end if needed). Turn heat to high and bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until all vegetables are tender. Add cabbage, red wine vinegar, pepper, salt, dill and caraway seeds. Cook until cabbage is tender. Serve plain or with a dollop of sour cream.
Tuesday, November 12, 2013
As I put this salad together my thoughts are all over the place. There is a lot going on and so much is unclear. Life is like that sometimes. The kitchen is my sanctuary. Preparing this meal will relax me.
And so I begin, after preparing the couscous I start sauteing the onion. It's a slow process as it takes time to soften and turn slightly golden. Maybe 10 minutes or so. Next onto the herb paste. Now this will take a chunk of time. All that cleaning and chopping. After a short blitz in the food processor it's ready to put together. Add the final toppings.
Green couscous is full of bold flavors and very healthy. Another great recipe from the cookbook, "Plenty". by Yotam Ottolenghi. A fish or vegetable dish is recommended for the accompaniment.
1 cup whole wheat couscous
3/4 cup boiling water
1 small onion, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/3 cup parsley fresh (chopped)
1 cup cilantro fresh (chopped)
2 tablespoon fresh tarragon (chopped)
2 tablespoon fresh dill (chopped)
2 tablespoons fresh mint (chopped)
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup pistachios (toasted and chopped)
3 green onions (finely chopped)
1 fresh green chili (finely sliced)
1 1/4 cup arugula leaves (I used spinach)
Place the couscous in a large bowl and cover with boiling water. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, fry the onions in the olive oil on medium heat until golden and completely soft. Add the salt and cumin and mix well. Leave to cool slightly.
To make the herb paste. Place all the ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth.
Add the herb paste to the couscous and mix everything together well with a fork to fluff it up. Add the cooked onion, the pistachios, green onions, green chili and spinach and gently mix. Serve at room temperature.
Monday, November 11, 2013
It's usually late afternoon when I crave something sweet. Usually I'll eat a piece of fruit or have a cup of tea. But sometimes that just doesn't cut it. However these Candy Bars from, Gwyneth Paltrow's "It's All Good" certainly fit the bill. The dates help bind and sweeten along with the maple syrup. There are bits of coconut throughout the bar that help create texture. A thick layer of dark rich chocolate completes the bar.
1 1/2 cup raw cashews
1 1/2 cup dates (pitted and roughly chopped)
1/2 cup almond butter
1/2 cup grade B maple syrup
1/2 cup coconut flour
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 1/2 cups dark chocolate chips (60% or higher)
1 1/2 tablespoons coconut oil
In a food processor grind cashews to a very fine meal. Add dates, almond butter, maple syrup, coconut flour, shredded coconut and almond extract and pulse until you have a sticky ball of dough.
Line a small sheet pan with parchment paper and press cashew mixture out onto the paper, making a rectangle about 1 inch deep. (Wet fingertips with water to help push dough down.). Refrigerate the mixture 6 to 8 hours, until it's firm.
Meanwhile, combine the chocolate chips and coconut oil into a double boiler and stir mixture until just melted. Remove from heat and pour over the cold cashew mixture and let set, about 1 hour.
Using the parchment, lift the bar out of the sheet pan and cut into rectangles. Serve at once or store in an airtight container.
Sunday, November 10, 2013
If your thinking about Thanksgiving and what to make for side dishes give this one a serious thought. This three-root mash recipe is from the cookbook "River Cottage Every Day". I made the more rustic version but for Thanksgiving Day itself for my family I believe they would like the more mashed or blended root variation.
1 pound carrots (peeled and cut into chunks)
1 pound parsnips (peeled and cut into chunks)
1 pound russet potatoes (peeled and cut into chunks)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
6 tablespoons milk or heavy cream
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
Cook carrots and parsnips in a pan of boiling salted water until tender. Cook potatoes in separate pan. Drain and put back in pan to let vegetables steam dry for a minute or two.
For a smooth mash put the carrots and parsnips in a food processor with half the butter and blend into a creamy puree. Heat the milk and remaining butter in pan where potatoes were cooked, then add back in potatoes and mash until smooth. Combine potatoes and vegetables, adding plenty of salt and pepper.
For a rustic approach mash all 3 vegetables together. Add the milk and 3 tablespoons butter in pan seasoning with plenty of salt and pepper.