Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Local Egg Sandwich

Storms bring on the need for comfort food. While we had minimal damage here, family in NJ was getting walloped, so in between worrying, checking the news and email for updates, and doing puzzles with the kids, I made egg sandwiches. These can be made almost entirely from local ingredients. I used store mayonnaise, but could have made my own.

Egg Sandwiches

This recipe is for one sandwich. Adjust as necessary.

2 slices bread (Dan's is delicious with this; if I'm out, I use homemade)
ground pepper
1 egg
1 teas. tamari
1 teas. olive oil
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 leaves rainbow chard, big stems removed
2 thick slices tomato

1. Heat a frying pan thoroughly over medium low heat.
2. Lightly toast bread. Spread mayo on both slices. Add pepper.
3. When the pan is hot, rub butter over the bottom and crack egg into it. Cook egg for a minute or two, until edges are starting to brown and white is solidifying.
4. Pour tamari over egg and flip it. Immediately take off heat and put egg on 1 slice of bread.
5. Add olive oil to pan. Add garlic. Add chard and cook it, stirring constantly, until just wilting, ~ 1 minute. Take off heat and put on egg.
6. Put tomato on chard and close up sandwich.
7. Eat.
8. Enjoy.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Soup, Tart, and Salad #4

In Fall, for a little while, a zing of fantastic new flavors that fit together to bring out the best of each more than makes up for the diminishing selection of fresh, local produce. The bittersweetness of these delights is that they have a relatively short season, though a few of the best, like winter squash, store quite a long time on counters and shelves and in basement corners, and then even longer prepared and frozen.

These three dishes pair wonderfully as a full meal, make great Thanksgiving (or any other Fall meal) apps and sides, or can be two separate main dishes plus salad).

Squash and Mushroom Soup
Serves 6-8 as a starter, 4-6 as a main dish

2 butternut squash
2 onions
10 oz. crimini or baby bell mushrooms
8 cups chicken or vegetable stock
2 ½ tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. garam marsala
3 T olive oil
1 T chicken or vegetable glaces (or 1 cube bouillon)
1 T truffle oil
½ lb. Hen of the Woods (mushrooms)
2 garlic cloves
1/2 tsp. truffle salt

Preheat oven to 350. Slice the butternut squash in half and remove the seeds. Place skin-side up on a baking pan with ¼ cup water. Roast until soft, about 45 minutes. Let cool. Peel off skin. Set aside. You can also freeze the squash at this point and store it for up to 3 months.

Slice the onions. Over high heat, with 1 T olive oil, brown lightly, then caramelize by reducing heat to low and cooking another 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Slice mushrooms and add to onions. Bring heat back up to medium and saute until mushrooms are soft, 5-10 minutes.

Add stock, squash, 2 tsp. salt, glaces or bouillon, garam marsala, and pepper, bring to a low simmer and cook 30 min.

Meanwhile, cut Hen of the Woods into ½" thick slices, toss on a cookie sheet with 2 T olive oil, 2 gloves minced garlic, and 1/2 tsp. salt, and roast at 375 for 20-30 minutes, until soft. Remove from oven and sprinkle with truffle salt.

Scoop soup into bowls. Drizzle truffle oil into each bowl. Then float 1-2 pieces of Hen of the Woods on top. Serve immediately.

Roasted Vegetable Corn Bread Tart, two ways
Serves 6-8 as a main dish, many more as sides depending how you do it

1 acorn squash
2 oz. grated parmesan
1 cup roasted tomatoes, blended (or 1 cup tomato sauce)
2 red onions
2 green peppers
2 carrots
2 beets
8 oz. mozzarella cheese, grated
2 recipes corn bread tart crust

Preheat oven to 350. Cut the acorn squash in half, remove seeds, place flat side down on a baking pan with ¼ cup water and roast until soft, about 45 minutes. Scoop out the flesh. At this point, you can freeze the flesh for up to 3 months. Mix with 2 oz. grated parmesan, 1 tsp. salt and ½ tsp. pepper. Set aside.

Cut red onions into quarters. Cut peppers in half and remove seeds. Peel beets and slice into ¼” thick rounds. Peel carrots, cut in half and then slice each half lengthwise once down the middle and then once again, into ¼” thick strips. Drizzle with 1 T olive oil and sprinkle with 1 tsp. salt and roast at 350 until soft, about 45 minutes. After removing from oven, peel skin off green peppers and cut into strips.

Meanwhile, pour the crust onto oiled cookie pans. If serving as a main dish, pour each full recipe onto one cookie pan and spread to almost fill the pan. If serving as a side dish, do the same or pour into palm-sized (or cookie-sized) rounds on oiled cookie pans. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool slightly. Spread half with acorn squash mixture and half with roasted tomato blend. Then sprinkle with grated cheese, and top with a mixture of the roasted vegetables. Return to oven and bake at 350 for another 10 minutes.

Brussels Sprouts and Cranberry Salad
Serves 6-8

1 large stem Brussels sprouts
2 T olive oil
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries, (rinsed if fresh)
1 T butter
¼ cup maple syrup

Preheat oven to 350.

Pick sprouts off of the stem and wash thoroughly. Cut large sprouts in half, lengthwise.

Put Brussels sprouts on a cookie sheet. Drizzle with oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and stir to coat. Roast, stirring occasionally, until they begin to brown, about 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, melt butter in a frying pan. Add cranberries and saute for 5 minutes, stirring. Add syrup and saute for another 5 minutes.

Toss Brussels sprouts and cranberries together. Add more salt and pepper, if necessary. Serve immediately or at room temperature.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Squash Salad

Baking winter squash and then scooping out the deliciously roasted insides avoids the difficult prospect of peeling thick skin around deep ridges. But butternut squash has a wonderfully smooth surface and a relatively thin skin, making it easy to peel and cube for wonderful roast squash chunks that are delicious tossed into pasta, dropped onto pizza, or strewn over a salad. As fall sets in, I’m caught between cherishing the last crisp cool summer veggies and savoring the rich warm winter ones. Salad with roasted veggies lets me stay perfectly undecided and totally satisfied.

Roasted Butternut Squash Salad

Serves 2 as a light main dish or 4 as a rich side

1 medium butternut squash
1 head lettuce
½ cup walnuts
1 apple
3-4 oz. blue cheese
1 T olive oil
1 tsp. salt

Preheat the oven to 350. Peel the butternut squash, cut it in half and remove seeds (save for roasting!), and cut into ½” cubes. Toss on a cookie tray with olive oil and salt and roast for 30-45 minutes, until very soft to the touch. For the last 10 minutes, spread the walnuts on a pan and roast them as well. Cut the apple into ¼-1/2” cubes. Toss all of the ingredients together with a white balsamic vinaigrette and serve immediately.

White Balsamic Vinaigrette

1/8 cup white balsamic vinegar
1/8 cup olive oil
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. mustard
½ tsp. pepper
1 garlic clove, smashed

Put all the ingredients into a glass jar with a lid. Shake vigorously. Make double or quadruple and refrigerate for up to a week or two, using at need (you may need to bring it back to room temperature and shake again before re-using).

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Apple Crisp for a Cold Night

The cooking bug struck last night. While the kids were off with Dave working on Halloween costumes, I picked up the CSA, walked home in the cold rain, and found myself with 90 minutes and a house to myself. I, admittedly, have been pretty bored with cooking of late and have the menu to prove it. I have been recycling the same eight meals, all the while wishing for inspiration. I've looked in cookbooks and magazines and tried to brainstorm, but everything seemed dull, or too hard, or just not tasty enough to try.

I don't know if it was the rain, or the thought of uninterrupted kitchen time, or the pea shoots, spinach, cilantro, and apples in my bag, but something snapped, and I couldn't wait to get cooking.

All recipes serve 4 people.

Mushroom Spinach Risotto

1 TBSP butter
1 lb white mushrooms, sliced
1 small sweet pepper, sliced
2 TBSP olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 large or 2 small cloves garlic, minced
1 cup arborio rice
4 to 5 cups beef (or chicken or vegetable) stock, hot
1/4 cup white wine
2 TBSP tamari
black pepper to taste
1/4 lb spinach, washed and cut into bite-sized pieces
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
1/2 cup parmesan or other hard cheese, grated

Melt butter in a large pot. Add mushrooms and pepper slices and sauté, stirring every 5 minutes or so, until mushrooms are thoroughly brown and leaking juices, ~ 20 minutes. Put in a bowl and set aside. Do not wash pan.

In the same pan, add olive oil. Add onion and sauté for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic, stirring constantly for 30 seconds.

Add rice and stir until coated with oil and starting to brown, ~ 2 minutes.

Add stock, one 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly. (I cheat on this step, quickly preparing other things in between stirring, but the risotto really is creamier if you stir the entire time.) Add next 1/2 cup of stock when the first one has almost all disappeared. Continue until rice is just tender, very approximately 20 minutes. If you need more liquid, you can use a little water.

Add wine and stir. Add tamari and black pepper and stir.

Stir in mushroom/pepper mix.

Add spinach and stir until wilted. Add cilantro.

Take off of the heat and stir in cheese.

Boiled Turnips

3 large or 4 medium white turnips

Wash turnips and cut each into 4 quarters.

Place in a pan, cover with water, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a strong simmer and cook until tender, ~ 15 minutes.

Serve with a dollop of butter and salt and pepper.

Apple Crisp

4 large or 5 medium apples, peeled, cored, and sliced thin
1 stick butter, divided in half
2 TBSP honey
1 TBSP lemon juice
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white flour
1/4 cup corn meal

Preheat oven to 375.

Put apples in a bread pan.

In a small sauce pan, melt 1/2 stick butter. Add honey. When it bubbles, add lemon juice and take off heat. Pour over apples.

In a small bowl, using your fingers, mix remaining 1/2 stick butter, sugar, flour, and corn meal, until all incorporated and crumbly. Spread over the apples evenly. Bake until the crumble top is brown and the apples below bubbling, ~ 30 minutes. Remove and let cool.