Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Roasted Parsnips and Carrots

Serves 4

2 pounds parsnips, peeled
1 pound carrots, unpeeled
3 tablespoons good olive oil
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons minced fresh dill or parsley
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. If the parsnips and carrots are very thick, cut them in half lengthwise. Slice each diagonally in 1-inch-thick slices. The vegetables will shrink while cooking, so don't make the pieces too small. Place the cut vegetables on a sheet pan. Add the olive oil, salt, and pepper and toss well. Roast for 20 to 40 minutes, depending on the size of the vegetables, tossing occasionally, until the parsnips and carrots are just tender. Sprinkle with dill and serve hot.

Artichokes with Lemon Garlic Dipping Sauce

Serves 2-4

2 large fresh artichokes
1 large lemon, cut in quarters
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 dried bay leaf
6 black peppercorns
Sprinkle of kosher salt
2 fresh thyme sprigs
2-3 fresh whole garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
Prepare artichoke for cooking
To prepare whole artichokes, cut the top one third off with a serrated knife. The teeth of a serrated knife make it easier to cut through the tough exterior. Discard the trimmings.
Trim the bottom stem flush with the base. Next, trim off the prickly point of each leaf with a pair of kitchen scissors. Rub a cut lemon over the artichoke to prevent it from turning brown.
How to cook an artichoke
In a deep pan wide enough to hold artichokes, place trimmed artichokes stem side up in the bottom of the pan (or place on a steamer rack). Fill pan with a few inches of cold water. Squeeze lemon juice over the artichokes and put rinds in the pan. Drizzle in olive oil, sprinkle with kosher salt, add bay leaf, black peppercorns, thyme sprigs and garlic. Cover the pot with a tight fitting lid and bring to a boil. When steam starts coming out of the pan, turn the heat down to low and cook artichokes until you can pierce the center of the stem with a paring knife. The timing will depend on the size of the artichokes. For big ones test at 20-25 minutes and continue if needed for a few minutes. Another way to tell when an artichoke is ready is to pull off and outer leaf. It should come off easily. Remove the artichokes from the pan and drain on a towel. At this point, you can arrange the artichokes on a platter and serve them hot, at room temperature or chilled.To finish by grilling, split the artichokes in half from top to bottom, remove the fuzzy choke, brush with a little olive oil and place on the grill for a few minutes until a little charred. This enhances the earthy, nutty flavor and makes for a great presentation.
Serve with lemon garlic dipping sauce, recipe below
Lemon Garlic Dipping Sauce
1/2 cup of your favorite reduced fat mayonnaise, (I like Veganaise)
1 large garlic clove, pressed or finely minced
zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
Salt and pepper to taste
2 teaspoons fresh chopped parsley or chives for color and flavor, as you prefer
Combine all ingredients and stir until smooth. Can be made ahead of time, covered and refrigerated until serving time.

Kale and Pink Grapefruit Salad

Serves 4

pink grapefruit
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
8 cups thinly sliced kale (center ribs and stems removed)
avocado, halved, pitted, sliced into 1/2-inch wedges
Using a sharp knife, cut peel and white pith from grapefruit; discard. Working over a small bowl, cut between membranes to release segments into bowl. Squeeze juice from membranes into another small bowl; add any accumulated juices from bowl with segments (there should be about 1/4 cup juice total). Whisk oil into juice and season to taste with salt and pepper. Place kale in a large bowl and drizzle 3 Tbsp. dressing over. Toss to combine and let stand for 10 minutes while kale wilts slightly. Toss once more, then arrange grapefruit segments and avocado slices over kale. Drizzle with remaining dressing and serve.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Roasted Tomatillo Avocado Salad with Homemade Tortilla Chips

Servings vary

For the salsa
1 pound tomatillos, papery husks removed
1 large yellow onion, quartered
3 green onions
1 jalapeno pepper
4 cloves garlic
1 green tomato (optional)
olive oil
1/4 cup cilantro
Juice from 1/2 lime
1-2 large, ripe avocados
salt, to taste
For the chips
1 package tortillas
oil, for brushing
For the salsa
Place tomatillos, yellow onion, jalapeno, green onions, tomato (if using) and garlic cloves on a sheet pan. Drizzle with a little olive oil and broil until vegetables start to blister, turning as needed. To remove the skin from the jalapeno, throw it in a bag for about 10 minutes and then peel it off. Place roasted vegetables in food processor, along with cilantro, lime juice and avocado. Pulse until smooth and creamy. Season with salt, to taste and add more lime juice if needed.
For the chips
Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Brush each tortilla with a little oil, cut them in wedges, sprinkle with salt and bake in the oven until browned and edges start to curl. (about 10 minutes, but check them often).

Steamed Artichoke with Blood Orange-Almond Dressing

Serves 1 (or 2 as an appetizer)

1 artichoke (select globes with tight leaf formation that look fresh)
2 lemon slices
2 tbsp flaked raw almonds
1 blood orange (or any variety)
1 tbsp almond oil (or another nut oil)
1 tsp herbs de provance (or your favorite fresh herb)
pinch of salt
Rinse an artichoke and shake off excess water. Lay the artichoke on its side and, using knife, trim the top portion by 3cm / 1.5in to get rid of sharp ends. Using scissors, trim the top ends of the outer leaves, cutting away any dry or sharp ends. Use the lemon slices to rub the top and sides of the artichoke to prevent from browning. Bring 4cm / 2in of water to a boil in a pot and place the artichoke inside vertically, adding used lemon slices to the water. Cover with a lid and steam for 35-40 minutes, depending on artichoke’s size.
In the meantime, prepare the dressing: squeeze the orange to get about quarter cup of juice, add almond oil, spices or herbs, and salt. Whisk for few seconds to combine. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F and toast almonds for couple of minutes (they’ll brown quickly so don’t walk away!).
Once the artichoke feels soft the touch, drain the water and slice artichoke in half lengthwise (or keep it intact if you prefer), pour the dressing and sprinkle toasted almonds. To eat, pull one leaf at a time and eat only bottom (soft) part, discarding the top (fibrous) part. When you get to the core, be sure to remove the fuzzy, sometimes almost sharp, center with a spoon. There you’ll discover the best part – tender, flavorful artichoke heart!

Mashed Potatoes with Green Onions

Serves 6

1 1/2 pounds red-skinned potatoes, scrubbed, unpeeled
1 1/2 pounds russet potatoes, scrubbed, unpeeled
1 cup half and half
1/2 cup finely chopped green onions
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, room temperature
Cut all potatoes into 1 1/2-inch pieces. Set steamer rack in pot. Add enough water to pot to reach depth of 1 inch; bring to boil. Place potatoes on rack. Cover pot and steam potatoes until tender, about 30 minutes. Remove potatoes and steamer rack from pot. Discard water in pot. Return potatoes to pot. Add half and half, green onions, and butter. Mash until almost smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Radish Pods, What?

Do not fear! Just crunch! Pods may be eaten raw or cooked. They are excellent as a snack or added to salads. They may be pickled in vinegar, or lightly stir-fried. In India they are cooked in ghee and used in curries. Pods lose pungency with cooking. They are best when freshly picked, but may be kept chilled for a month or more.

Nopales and Scrambled Eggs

Serves 6-8

8 nopales (cactus leaves)
1 small onion, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
6 eggs, lightly beaten
Use a sharp knife to cut off the spikes from the cactus leaves, if necessary (be very careful as you do this). Cut the trimmed nopales into 1/4-inch strips. In a large frying pan over medium high heat, heat the oil. Add the onion and nopales and salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until the nopales are tender and most of their liquid had evaporated, 15 to 20 minutes. Add the eggs and cook, stirring, until the eggs and nopales are combined and the eggs are set, about 3 minutes.

Sauteed Dandelion Greens

Serves 8

3 pound dandelion greens, tough lower stems discarded and leaves cut crosswise into 2-inch pieces
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
5 large garlic cloves, smashed
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon dried hot red-pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
Cook greens in a 10-to 12-quart pot of boiling salted water (3 tablespoons salt for 8 quarts water), uncovered, until ribs are tender, about 10 minutes. Drain in a colander, then rinse under cold water to stop cooking and drain well, gently pressing out excess water.
Heat oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium heat until it shimmers, then cook garlic and red-pepper flakes, stirring, until pale golden, about 45 seconds. Increase heat to medium-high, then add greens and sea salt and sauté until coated with oil and heated through, about 4 minutes.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Fennel and Potato Hash

Serves 2-4

small fennel bulbs with fronds
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled, cut into 1/2- to 3/4-inch cubes, patted dry
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
Freshly ground pepper
garlic clove, chopped
1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh Italian parsley
Cut fennel into 1/2-inch cubes (there should be about 4 scant cups). Finely chop enough fennel fronds to measure 1/4 cup. Cook fennel in boiling salted water until just tender, 3 minutes. Drain; set aside. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in heavy large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add potatoes. Cook until golden and crisp, turning often, 20 to 25 minutes. Using potato masher, crush potatoes in skillet. Add fennel, salt, and pepper. Cook until fennel is golden, stirring often, 2 to 3 minutes. Add garlic and cook 2 minutes. Stir in parsley. Serve hot.

Tricolor Salad of Endive, Beet, and Arugula

Serves 4

2 beets (can substitute golden or chioga)1/2 cup roughly chopped pistachios (can substitute almonds or hazelnuts)

Place washed, but not trimmed or peeled beets on top of 1 cup salt on a baking sheet, and roast in a 350 degrees F oven for 1 1/2 hours, or until fork-tender. Let cool. Wearing gloves or holding with a piece of plastic wrap, cut off stems, and peel. Cut each beet in half, cut in 1/2 inch slices, then medium dice by cutting in the opposite direction. Toast nuts in a 400 degrees F oven for 15 minutes, tossing once. Combine all of the vinaigrette ingredients, mixing well, adding nuts when cool. Trim the end of the endive, cut in half, separating the leaves for each half, but reforming each as 1/2 a head of endive. For each salad, place 1/2 cup beets, 1 cup arugula, an 1/2 endive on a plate. For each salad begin with 1/3 cup vinaigrette, 1/8 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper in a medium bowl. Toss each of the three components, separately in the vinaigrette, making sure to toss the beets last. Top with 1/8 cup of shaved parmesan. Repeat for remaining three salads. Serve immediately. Reserve left-over dressing.

Roasted Parsnips with Parsley

Serves 4

2 pounds medium parsnips, peeled, cut on diagonal into 1/2-inch-thick slices
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh Italian parsley
Preheat oven to 450°F. Toss first 3 ingredients in bowl. Spread parsnips in single layer on rimmed baking sheet. Dot with butter.
Roast parsnips 20 minutes. Using tongs, turn parsnips; roast until browned and soft, about 15 minutes longer. Transfer parsnips to plate and season to taste with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with parsley.