Thursday, December 12, 2013

Pesto Pasta with Collard Greens and Roasted Summer Squash

Serves 6
1 lb pasta (whole wheat penne is often our choice - easy for little fingers to pick up)
1 or 2 summer squash, washed and cut into bite-size pieces
one bunch (about 5 leaves) collard greens, rinsed and cut into ribbons*
handful walnuts
two garlic cloves
two big handfuls of fresh basil (and/or parsley)
1/2 to 1 teaspoon of salt, to taste
couple twists of fresh ground pepper
1/8 to 1/4 cup of olive oil
Bring large pot of water to a boil, and then add pasta and cook for about 10 minutes. Add greens to boiling water when 8 minutes of cooking time remains. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400. Place squash in a baking dish. Lightly drizzle with oil and salt and pepper to taste. Roast at 400 for about 20 minutes, until tender. Turning once halfway through roasting. Place remaining ingredients (except olive oil) in a food processor. Immediately drizzle oil into processor while it purees. Stop adding oil until you reach your preferred consistency. I like to add about 1/4 cup of the pasta's cooking water to stretch the pesto out a bit and make it smoother for the babes. When all is done cooking, lightly toss pasta and greens with the pesto and roasted squash. Serve immediately.
*I pull the greens off the vein and then pile them on top of each other. I then roll them like a tight burrito and then cut down the roll to create ribbons.

Potatoes and Fresh Dill

Serves 6
2 ½ lbs. fingerling potatoes, scrubbed and unpeeled (any potato will work!)
1 T. kosher salt
3 T. olive oil
2 T. finely chopped fresh dill
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Place potatoes in a large saucepan and cover with cold water. Add kosher salt and bring to a boil. Simmer uncovered for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the flesh can be pierced easily with a sharp knife. Drain and place in a colander. Cover the colander with a kitchen towel and steam the potatoes for 10 minutes. When the potatoes are still warm but cool enough to handle, slice each in half lengthwise. Place in a serving dish and drizzle with olive oil. Stir in fresh dill and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Rapini Stuffed Parathas

Makes 10 parathas
Broccoli Rabe – 1 bunch
Onions – 1/2 medium-sized
Garlic cloves – 2
Green Chillies – 4
Turmeric powder – 1/4th tsp
Salt – 1/2 tsp or to taste
Cumin seeds – 1/2 tsp
Oil – 2 tsps
Paratha Dough:
Whole Wheat Flour – 1n1/2 cups
Salt – 3/4th tsp
Water (at room temperature) – as required
Oil – 2 tsps
To make the stuffing:
Take the rapini bunch and cut off the bottom 1/4th part of the stalks. Then check for any thick stalks in between the bunch and separate the leaves and buds from them. Rinse the leaves and buds under fresh running water and set aside. In a sauce pan, heat about 4 to 5 cups of water. Add a tsp of salt and a tsp of sugar. Once, the water comes to a boil add the rapini leaves and buds. Blanch for 5 minutes. Drain all the water and rinse the rapini under cold running water. Squeeze all the excess water from the rapini and set aside. In a skillet pan, heat 2 tsps of oil. Add cumin seeds, finely chopped onions, green chillies and minced garlic. Saute for a few minutes until the onions are translucent. Chop the set aside rapini into smaller bits and add it to the saute. Saute for a few minutes until the mixture is a little dry. Season it with turmeric and salt. Further saute for 2 to 3 minutes and set aside.
To make the dough:
Prepare the dough well before making the stuffing. Make a nice, smooth dough with whole wheat flour, salt and water. Add 2 tsps of oil over the dough and knead again for a minute or two.
To make the stuffed parathas:
Divide the dough into lemon sized balls. Roll out the dough into a 6-inch dia round. Take a spoonful of stuffing, make into a small ball and place on the rolled out dough. Fold all the corners of the dough, lightly flatten it at the center and roll it out into a nice paratha frequently dusting with extra flour. On a tava or a pan, spread out a tsp of oil. Place the rolled-out paratha and fry it on both sides evenly for a minute or so applying oil on the other side too.
To make cucumber-tomato raita:
Use 1/2 cup of plain yogurt. Add 1/2 cup of water and smooth out the yogurt using a whisk. Add a pinch of salt (or to taste), finely chopped handful of red onions, a couple of green chillies, finely diced 1/2 cup of tomatoes and cucumbers and some roughly chopped coriander leaves. Chill it on the refrigerator until serving time.
Serve these parathas with raita or any other side-dish/curry you like. These are equally delectable with chutneys or pickles.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Eggplant, Onions, and Potatoes (Patate, Cipolle, e Melanzane)

Serves 6

2 small eggplant
1 pound red onion
1 pound russet potatoes
1½ cups red-wine vinegar, plus 2 tablespoons
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon fresh mint leaves, shredded
½ teaspoon dried oregano
Trim the ends from the eggplants, and shave off some lengthwise strips of the skin with a vegetable peeler, leaving some strips on, creating a striped appearance. Slice the eggplants lengthwise into 6 or more long wedges, about 1 inch thick. Peel the red onions, and slice them lengthwise into quarter-round wedges, not cutting at the root; you want the wedges attached. To poach the eggplants and onions, put 1 1/2 cups of the vinegar and 2 quarts cold water in a shallow saucepan, and heat to a boil. Drop in the eggplant wedges and the split-open onions, cover the pan, and return to a boil. Set the cover ajar, and adjust the heat to maintain a steady gentle boil. Cook about 30 minutes, occasionally tumbling the vegetables over and moving them to poach evenly, until quite soft and tender. Meanwhile, put the potatoes in another pot, with water to cover them by about 2 inches, and cook just until the potatoes are easily pierced with a fork or sharp knife blade (don't let them get mushy). Drain the potatoes, and let them cool briefly. Peel off the skins, and cut them in half lengthwise, then crosswise into 1/2-inch thick half-rounds. Put the potato pieces in the salad bowl, and cover to keep them warm while you finish the eggplant and onions. When the eggplant and onions are fully cooked, gently lift them out of the poaching liquid with a spider or strainer, and lay them out on a tray or baking sheet in one layer. While the eggplant is still warm, scoop out the central clumps of seeds from the wedges, then cut them crosswise into 2-inch chunks. Separate the onion wedges, and then the layers. Put all the vegetable pieces (they should still be warm to the touch) in the bowl with the potatoes. Dress the salad by drizzling the olive oil and remaining 2 tablespoons vinegar over the salad, sprinkle the salt on it, scatter in the shredded mint, and crumble the dried oregano over all. Gently toss the vegetables pieces to coat them all with dressing without breaking them apart. Serve immediately.

Summer Squash and Kale Saute

Serves 2
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 pound yellow squash, diced
1/2 cup onion diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 cups kale
2 roma tomatoes, diced
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add squash, onion and garlic and sauté 5 to 7 minutes or until slightly tender. Add kale and remaining olive oil, stirring constantly, 2 minutes more or until kale is wilted. Add tomatoes, lemon juice, salt and pepper, stirring well 2 minutes more. Serve immediately.

Thai Spicy Eggplant with Sweet Basil

Serves 2-3
1 cup jasmine rice
2 Tbs. peanut or vegetable oil
½ to 1 tsp. crushed red pepper, or to taste
3 baby eggplants, cubed into bite-sized chunks
1 medium-sized onion, diced
1 medium-sized red bell pepper, seeded and diced
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 Tbs. white vinegar
3 Tbs. dark soy sauce, such as tamari
2 Tbs. dark brown sugar
20 leaves fresh basil, shredded or torn
Cook jasmine rice according to package directions. Meanwhile, heat a deep skillet or wok-shaped pan over high heat. Add oil and crushed red pepper, and let sizzle for 10 to 15 seconds. Add eggplant, and stir-fry for 2 to 3 minutes. Add onion, bell pepper and garlic, and stir-fry for 3 minutes more. Add vinegar and soy sauce. Sprinkle with sugar, and toss for 1 or 2 minutes longer. Remove pan from heat, add basil leaves and toss to combine with eggplant. Serve over hot cooked rice.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Red Onion Salad Dressing

1 medium red onion, rough chop
1 glove garlic, minced
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 / 2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1 teaspoon celery seed
3 teaspoons dijon mustard
1 / 3 cup vinegar
3/4 cup oil (vegetable or olive oil)
Combine all ingredients in a food processor and process until desired texture is achieved. Alternative: If you don't have a blender or food processor: Finely mince the red onion. Whisk all ingredients together in a large bowl.

Smothered Summer Squash with Basil

Serves 4
Smothering is a Cajun cooking term that refers to browning anything from meat to vegetables in oil, then braising it in a small amount of liquid, tightly covered, until tender.
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 lb medium yellow squash, halved lengthwise and cut crosswise into 1/8-inch-thick slices
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/2 cup water
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh basil
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then add half of squash and sauté, stirring occasionally, until browned, about 5 minutes. Transfer browned squash to a bowl, then heat remaining tablespoon oil and sauté remaining squash in same manner. Return squash in bowl to skillet. Add garlic and sauté, stirring occasionally, 1 minute. Add water, salt, and pepper and simmer briskly, covered, until squash is tender and most of liquid is evaporated, 6 to 7 minutes. Stir in basil.

Braised Turnips and Radishes

Serves 3 or 4
1 pound (total) turnips and radishes
2 tablespoons butter or flavorful oil, like olive or peanut
Peel vegetables, or not; quarter turnips if necessary to make them about same size as radishes. Put in saucepan with pinch of salt, butter or oil, and water to come up about halfway to their height. Cover and turn heat to medium-high. Simmer until vegetables are just about tender, 10 to 20 minutes. Uncover and continue to cook until vegetables are shiny and glazed with their juices. Add more salt if necessary and serve hot.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Thai Red Curry Eggplant and Mustard Greens

Serves 4
30 minutes or fewer
Curry pastes vary widely in pungency and spice, so you may have to add more or less to this recipe according to the type you use. Both Asian mustard greens (which are pale and have a strong, spicy flavor) and leafy mustard greens will work in the recipe, or you can substitute Swiss chard or watercress.
2 Tbs. Thai red curry paste
1 Tbs. sugar
1 clove garlic, minced (1 tsp.)
1 Tbs. vegetable oil
1 small eggplant (8 oz.) cut into 1-inch-thick chunks, or 2 cups round Thai
eggplants, halved
1 small onion, quartered and sliced (1 cup)
1 lb. mustard greens, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
¼ cup light coconut milk
lime wedges, for garnish
1. Whisk together curry paste, sugar, garlic, and 2 Tbs. water in small bowl. Set aside. Heat oil in wok or large skillet over medium-high heat. Add eggplant and onion, and cook 5 minutes, or until eggplant is browned. Stir in curry mixture, and cook 30 seconds, or until vegetables are coated. Add mustard greens, and cook 1 to 2 minutes, or until leaves are wilted. Stir in coconut milk and 1 1/2 cups water, and season with salt, if desired. Cover, and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer 10 to 15 minutes, or until eggplant is tender. Serve with lime wedges.

Potato Arugula Pizza

Pizza dough, either store-bought or homemade
2 medium potatoes, scrubbed
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
2 medium garlic cloves, minced
2 cups arugula leaves
3 ounces shredded Fontina cheese (about ¾ cup)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Slice the potato into thin slices. Toss in 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and lay out on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake for about 10 minutes, or until just tender. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Raise the oven temperature to 500 degrees. In a small bowl combine 2 tablespoons of olive oil and the minced garlic. Set aside. Wash, dry and coarsely chop the arugula. Toss the arugula with 1 tablespoon olive oil and set aside. Grease a baking sheet with olive oil and stretch the dough to fill it. (You can also use a pizza stone and roll the dough out to a 12-inch circle on a pizza peel) Line the dough in rings of potatoes, starting from the outside and working inward, leaving a ½ inch border around the edges. Brush the potatoes with the garlic oil. Place the baking sheet in the oven for about 10 minutes, or until the crust starts to brown and the potatoes are golden brown.
Sprinkle the arugula evenly over the pizza. Sprinkle the cheese over the arugula and bake for another 3 minutes, or until the cheese melts.
Really Simple Pizza Dough
Makes enough for one small, thin crust pizza. Double it if you like your pizza thick and bready.
1 1/2 cups flour (can replace up to half of this with whole wheat flour)
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon active dry yeast
1/2 cup lukewarm water (may need up to 1 or 2 tablespoons more)
1 tablespoon olive oil
Stir dry ingredients, including yeast, in a large bowl. Add water and olive oil, stirring mixture into as close to a ball as you can. Dump all clumps and floury bits onto a lightly floured surface and knead everything into a homogeneous ball.
If you are finding this step difficult, one of the best tricks I picked up from my bread-making class is to simply pause. Leave the dough in a lightly-floured spot, put the empty bowl upside-down on top of it and come back in 2 to 5 minutes, at which point you will find the dough a lot more lovable. Knead it for just a minute or two. Lightly oil the bowl (a spritz of cooking spray perfectly does the trick) where you had mixed it — one-bowl recipe! — dump the dough in, turn it over so all sides are coated, cover it in plastic wrap and leave it undisturbed for an hour or two, until it has doubled in size. Dump it back on the floured counter (yup, I leave mine messy), and gently press the air out of the dough with the palm of your hands. Fold the piece into an approximate ball shape, and let it sit under that plastic wrap for 20 more minutes. Sprinkle a pizza stone or baking sheet with cornmeal and preheat your oven to its top temperature. Roll out the pizza, toss on whatever topping and seasonings you like. (I always err on the side of skimpy with toppings so to not weight down the dough too much, or if I have multiple toppings, to keep them very thinly sliced.) Bake it for about 10 minutes until it’s lightly blistered and impossible to resist.

Sweet and Sour Pumpkin Pickles

1 minipumpkin, about 1 pound
1 cup water
3/4 cup vinegar
3/4 cup sugar
1 stick cinnamon
8 whole cloves
3-4 slices lemon
Peel pumpkin, remove seeds, dice into 1/2-inch pieces.
Combine water, vinegar, sugar and spices in large pot; bring to boil. Stir until sugar dissolves, then add lemon and pumpkin. Simmer 5-10 minutes, stirring so pumpkin pieces are evenly coated. Don’t overcook; pumpkin should be crisp-tender, not soft. Taste liquid; adjust flavor with more sugar or vinegar if necessary.
Place pumpkin in sterile glass jars. Strain liquid and fill glass jars to about 1/4 inch below rim. Cover and turn jars upside down 5 minutes to ensure tight seals. May be eaten immediately but will keep several months without refrigeration while sealed. Refrigerate after opening. Keeps about a month after opening. (Or put the pickles in any clean container and keep refrigerated for about a month.) Makes about 2 pints.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Sweet Potato Basil Soup

Serves 3-4
2 sweet potatoes or yams, diced
½ yellow onion, sliced
1 (14oz) can of coconut milk
1 cup vegetable broth
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon dried basil
salt and pepper, to taste
Place all ingredients in the crockpot. Mix around. Cook for 3 hours on high. Use a hand blender, blender, or food processor and puree mixture until smooth. My 9 cup food processor fit it all just perfectly.

Baked Pumpkin Oatmeal

6-8 servings
4 cups rolled oats
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
½ cup brown sugar
1 ½ cups pumpkin puree (homemade, if you have it!)
½ teaspoon salt
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 ½ cups milk (regular or almond)
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
¼ cup dried cranberries
½ cup chopped walnuts
Pinch each of allspice and cloves
Grease a 9x9 baking dish and set aside. In a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients and mix until completely combined. Pour oatmeal into prepared pan. Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour, or overnight. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake for 40-45 minutes, until the center reaches 160 degrees. Serve warm, with thickened cream or milk, and your favorite oatmeal add-ons!

Mustard Greens

Serves 4
1/2 cup thinly sliced onions
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 pound mustard greens, washed and torn into large pieces
2 to 3 Tbsp chicken broth or vegetable broth (vegetarian option)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon dark sesame oil
In a large sauté pan, sauté onions in olive oil over medium heat until the onions begin to brown and caramelize, about 5 to 10 minutes. Add the minced garlic and cook a minute more, until fragrant. Add the mustard greens and broth and cook until the mustard greens are just barely wilted. Toss with sesame oil. Season with salt and pepper.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Cheesy Broccoli and Greens Soup

Makes about 6 cups
3 cups chopped broccoli
4 teaspoons olive oil, divided
1/2 teaspoon black pepper, divided
1/4 teaspoon salt, divided
2 - 3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
8 cups of torn dark leafy, hearty greens (about 2 bunches) like kale, Swiss chard, mustard greens, collards or turnip greens
3 cups low sodium vegetable broth
1 cup lowfat milk
1/2 cup shredded cheese (like cheddar, Monterey Jack or Colby)
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. In a large bowl, toss broccoli with 2 teaspoons olive oil, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper and 1/8 teaspoon salt. Spread on a roasting tray coated with cooking spray. Roast for about 10 minutes, stirring a few times during cooking process. Heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and smoked paprika, saute 1 minute. Add greens by the handfuls (cook for a minute or two and then add more until all greens are in the skillet) and saute until completely wilted - this will range from 2 - 6 minutes depending on how hearty the greens are. Season with 1/4 teaspoon black pepper and 1/8 teaspoon salt and remove from heat. In a large pot over medium heat, add roasted broccoli, cooked greens, vegetable broth and milk. Cook for about 15 -20 minutes and then using immersion blender, stand blender or food processor, puree until smooth. Add back to pot (unless you used immersion blender) and stir in cheese until it melts (1 -2 minutes.) Serve warm.

Pumpkin Enchiladas

The Filling:

4 cup black beans (measured after soaking)  This also equals about 2 cans.
2 cup pureed cooked pumpkin
1 sweet potato chopped
6-8 vine ripened tomatoes chopped
2 cups corn (please try to buy this organic)
1/2 cup veggie broth
2 tsp garlic powder (or 3 to 4 cloves minced)
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
optional: 1 jalapeno diced, seeds and all
I soaked the black beans the night before. I also roasted my own pumpkin and pureed it myself, but pureed pumpkin in a can would also work. Add everything to the crock pot. Turn on high and walk away for 6-8 hours or so. A tip, I did this part at night. I woke up to the most amazing smelling house. For some real heat, you can throw in a jalapeno to really give this filling some kick.  Melissa doesn’t like much spice, so I left that out of my recipe.
The Enchilada:
(Per each one)
1 tortilla
3 heaping spoonfuls of filling
Cheese sauce
1 T pistachio dust per enchilada (pistachios that have been processed into a course consistency)
1-2 T diced raw red onions
Now you have the filling, not to mention an awesome pumpkin chili to gorge on. First thing is first, the pistachio dust is essential to this recipe. You can just buy pistachios and food process them until they are course. Real simple. To put together the enchilada, pick a tortilla of your choice, lay it flat, and put three good sized spoon fulls of the filling slightly off-center in a line.  We used Food for Life tortillas. Next add the cheese sauce. I didn’t put an amount because really this is personal taste. Add as much to your heart’s cheese-loving content. We used our cashew cheese sauce, but you could also melt your own cheese in some milk and butter for you omnivores out there. Lastly, add the red onion. Wrap the filling in the tortilla like you would a burrito or a sandwich wrap. Next, add some more cheese sauce on top. Finally, add your pistachio dust on top of the cheese sauce. I did several at once in an 8X8 baking dish and put it in the oven for five minutes or so. Remove and you are done.

Pumpkin Everything Cookies

1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
1 cup canned pumpkin (or fresh)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp nutmeg 1/4 tsp ground cloves
And the "everything" part:
1 cup chips - -chocolate, white, mini, peanut butter, etc.
1 cup crunch - - oats, granola
1 cup nuts - - slivered almonds, chopped walnuts, pecans
1 cup dried fruit - - cranberries, golden raisins, raisins, etc.
In a large bowl, mix butter and sugars. Beat in egg and pumpkin. In another bowl, combine flours, cinnamon, baking powder, ginger, salt, baking soda, nutmeg and cloves. Gradually add this to the pumpkin mixture. Stir in the "everything" ingredients. Drop by tablespoonfuls onto a baking sheet. They don't really spread out when you bake them, so about 2 inches apart is good. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-17 minutes. Cool on wire racks. These cookies also freeze very well!!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Spaghetti Squash with Sauteed Lentils, Garlic, and Thyme

Serves 4
1 large spaghetti squash
1 c dried green lentils (or brown or beluga)
4 c water
1 tsp olive oil
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
4-6 sprigs of thyme, leaves removed
A healthy dose of umeboshi plum vinegar
Preheat oven to 400. Cut squash in half lengthwise, scoop out seeds, and poke several times with a sharp knife. Fill a casserole dish with a 1/2" of water. Place squash cut side down in dish. Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes, or until easily pierced with a knife. Remove from heat, allow to cool for about 5-10 minutes, then use a fork to scoop out the squash tendrils. While the squash is cooking, bring water to a boil in a medium pot. Add lentils, cover, and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from heat, and strain lentils. Using the same pot over medium heat, saute garlic and thyme in olive oil until lightly golden. Add lentils, and continue to saute for about 3-5 minutes (or until everything is evenly mixed). To plate: Place desired amount of spaghetti squash on a plate, add the lentil mixture, and top with a few shakes of umeboshi plum vinegar. Enjoy!

Winter Squash and Gruyere Gratin

Serves 4
2 medium butternut squash (1 1/2 pounds each), or other winter squash such as pumpkin!
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 medium leek, white part only, coarsely chopped (1/2 cup)
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup low-sodium chicken stock or canned broth
One 12-ounce can evaporated skim milk or 1 cup whole milk
1/2 teaspoon sugar
4 ounces Gruyère cheese, grated (about 1 cup)
2 ounces of a baguette (thinly cut into 8 small slices) or 2 slices peasant bread (cut into 4 equal pieces), toasted
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon grated Parmesan cheese
8 basil leaves, shredded
Preheat the oven to 400°. Halve the squash lengthwise and remove the seeds. Place the squash, cut side up, in a baking pan. Season with 1/2 teaspoon each of the salt and pepper and cover tightly with foil. Bake for about 1 hour, until the squash are tender but not mushy. Let cool slightly. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, combine the leek, olive oil and 2 teaspoons of water. Cover and cook over moderately low heat until the leek is soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Uncover and stir in the wine. Increase the heat to high and boil until the liquid is reduced to approximately 3 tablespoons, about 3 minutes. Stir in the stock, milk, sugar and remaining 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Remove from the heat. Using a big spoon, scoop the flesh from the squash in large pieces. Place in a medium bowl. To assemble the gratin, preheat the oven to 400°. Bring the leek mixture to a boil. Spoon half of the squash into a 6- to 8-cup casserole. Ladle half of the leek mixture over the top and cover with half of the toast and half of the Gruyère. Repeat the layers with the remaining squash, leek mixture, toast and Gruyère. Sprinkle the Parmesan cheese over the top. Bake the gratin for 30 minutes, or until the top is browned and bubbly. Garnish with the basil and serve.
MAKE AHEAD The recipe can be prepared through Step Three up to 3 hours ahead. Set aside at room temperature.

Simple Basil Butter

1/4 cup basil leaves
3 cloves garlic
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp. salt
1 pinch white sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
Place basil leaves and garlic in food processor or blender; pulse until chopped. Add lemon, salt, sugar--pulse to combine. Place butter in mixture and process until smooth. Good luck not eating it all at once!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Sweet Corn Fritters

Serves 4-6
1 cup of cooked corn kernels
1 small zucchini peeled and grated
50 grams plain flour
generous pinch salt
2 tablespoons fresh chopped chives
1 egg whisked
generous pinch whole celery seeds (optional)
30 ml of water
oil for frying
Add all of the ingredients to a bowl – adding the water last, a little at a time until the mixture is the consistency of a thick paste. You may not need to use it all. Mix the ingredients with a spoon to combine. Heat a pan with oil and add scoops of the mixture to the hot oil to fry. Turn each fritter once. Remove from the oil when golden brown on both sides and drain on paper towel. Serve with dipping sauce of choice and a salad, or serve as a side dish
Test if the oil is hot enough to commence cooking the fritters by placing the end of a wooden spoon into the oil. If tiny bubbles rise from around the end of the immersed handle the oil is hot enough. Take extra care when cooking with hot oil and ensure children are not in the immediate vicinity and that the oil is not left unattended for any length of time.
If you do not have fresh chives available substitute with any herbs – the recipe works well with sage and thyme also

Spicy Oven-Roasted Okra

Serves 3
1 lb okra (stems removed and sliced into halves)
2 jalapenos (sliced thinly)
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. chipotle pepper
1 tsp. red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/4 cup millet flour
Preheat oven to 450º. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Wash and prepare okra and jalapenos as directed above. In a large bowl combine chili powder, chipotle pepper, red pepper flakes, sea salt, and millet flour. Add okra and jalapenos and toss until coated with seasoning. Place on parchment lined pan and bake for 17-20 minutes.

Kopanisti Dip (Whipped Feta and Red Pepper Spread)

Serves 2-4
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
2-3 TBS Olive Oil, you might want to add more
1 garlic clove, peeled
1 TBS fresh mint (optional)
red pepper flakes (optional)
1 roasted red pepper, skin peeled
pepper to taste
cumin, to taste, very optional (my addition, liked it better, actually)
a pinch of sugar, in case your dip is a bit on the sour side(I think my peppers were a bit on the sour side)
Combine all the ingredients(except the oil) into a food processor and blend together. Drizzle olive oil until it becomes smooth. You might need to add more than the 2-3 TBS. I just limit the amount of oil I use....though it does bring it together quite nicely. It also tastes better with more oil.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Pumpkin Beer Bread with Maple Spice Creme Fraiche

Makes 1 loaf
½ cup pumpkin beer
½ cup unsalted butter
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup mashed pumpkin (canned or roasted and mashed)
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1½ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup pecans, pulverized
¼ teaspoon cinnamon, ground
⅛ teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup Maple Spice Crème Fraîche (recipe follows)
Pour the beer into a saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and let cook for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cream the butter and the sugar together using an electric mixer. Add the eggs, one at a time, and mix until fully incorporated. Add the pumpkin, baking soda, salt, flour, nuts, cinnamon, nutmeg and beer and mix until fully incorporated. Use a spatula to transfer the mixture to a greased loaf pan. Place in the oven and bake until a long toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean, about 1 hour and 10 minutes.
Yields 1 cup
If you can't find crème fraîche, sour cream is a fine substitute. You may want to bump up the maple syrup a bit since sour cream is more tart than crème fraîche.
1 cup crème fraîche
1½ tablespoons pure maple syrup
½ teaspoon nutmeg, freshly grated
¼ teaspoon clove, ground
Mix all of the ingredients together until they are completely incorporated. Chill or serve at room temperature.

Vegan Green Posole

Serves 6-8
For posole:
1 pound dried white hominy
1 large white onion, chopped or sliced thin lengthwise
6 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
1 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 1/2 pounds tomatillos, husks removed, rinsed
1-3 serrano chiles
1 big bunch fresh cilantro
1/2 cup pepitas (optional)
For serving:
Iceberg lettuce or green cabbage, shredded
Avocado chunks
Thinly sliced radishes
Fresh cilantro
Dried Mexican oregano
Lime wedges
Rinse hominy, removing any foreign matter. Cover with water and let soak overnight. The next day, drain and rinse posole and add to a slow cooker with the onion, garlic, oil, oregano, and 64 ounces of water. In a blender or food processor, process the tomatillos with serranos, pepitas (if using) and cilantro (stems and all) until smooth, adding just enough water for it to blend. Add this green sauce to the slow cooker as well and cook on low for 6 hours or so, until posole kernels are tender and have flowered into popcorn shapes. Salt to taste and serve with garnishes.

Breakfast Spaghetti Squash Egg Nests

Serves 2

2 cups cooked spaghetti squash (about ½ of a baked spaghetti squash)
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
3-4 green onions, diced
½ egg
1 tablespoon fresh basil finely chopped
½-1 teaspoon sea salt
1-2 tablespoons almond flour (depending on the wateriness of the squash)
4 eggs (1 per nest)
1-2 tablespoons oil
Turn oven on broil. In a bowl combine the squash, garlic,green onions, egg, basil salt and almond flour. Mix. Heat a large cast iron pan over medium high heat. Add 1 tablespoon oil. Add a mound of the spaghetti squash mixture to the pan. Using a spoon push into the center of the mound, making about a 1 inch round opening at the center. Crack an egg into the center of each spaghetti squash mound, widening the circle as needed to get the egg to fit. Assemble one nest at a time, fitting about 2-4 nests into a cast iron pan. Continue to cook the nests until the bottom becomes crisp (but not burned). Place the cast iron pan under the broiler. Broil for for 3-4 minutes, depending on how you like your eggs cooked. Remove from the oven, plate and serve.