Dried Legume Challenge
March? Winter Squash Three Ways and a Quiche!
Tuesday, March 31, 2009
How can it possibly be the last day of March? March 31, 2009! Does anyone else have the feeling that March was stolen from under their very eyes? It was a funny month. It began with a snow storm. Temperatures varied from the teens to the 70s. Just this past Sunday I got caught by a flash hailstorm whilst strolling through Washington Square. At my university there were weekly (or multiple in a week) conferences, colloquia and symposia to add to regular graduate student demands. Luckily, for my sanity, I continued to pick up my weekly CSA share from Keystone Farm, shopped at Mariposa, picked up my weekly bread order from Four Worlds Bakery and cooked any number of local and eco meals. Cooking really is meditative and good food provides the best comfort. Let me catch you up a bit on some of the highlights of this month’s eating!
Inspired by Naomi’s delicious post on butternut squash pasta sauce, I thought I’d put up a few things I did with the puree from a kabocha squash I had gotten in my CSA share. The squash sat prettily on my counter for months, before I finally decided what best to do with it. I knew that I would be committing myself to intensive solitary squash eating, so I needed time to consider how exactly I wanted to address the dear kabocha. Finally I chose to halve it, poke holes in the outside and roast it. I then pureed the roasted squash, and that is where the fun began. Kabocha is a sweeter squash with a delicate flavor and firm, brightly orange flesh.
I have a true love of apple butter and cheddar cheese sandwiches (on the spelt levain from Four Worlds). The squash puree, however, beckoned and I found that equally delightful is a sandwich of this sweet kabocha puree and the sharp cheddar cheese I regularly receive in my share. I have mentioned before too, that I often make variations of Alice Waters’ soup of many vegetables. The addition of pumpkin puree to the vegetable soup not only gave it a beautiful color (which, for some sad reason is not apparent in this photo), but also added the most subtle pumpkin-y flavor to the broth.
Longing for pancakes one weekend morning, I decided to use the last bit of kabocha puree to make, what turned out to be, the best pancakes I have ever made. Really incredible - if I may say so myself! They were light, fluffy and unbelievably tasty. I long for the fall to make these pancakes again!
Soup of Many Vegetables
adapted from Alice Waters The Art of Simple Food
2 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, diced
3 carrots, sliced evenly
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp thyme
2 tsp salt
1 bay leaf
1 cup white wine
4 cups water
3 potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 cup winter squash puree
Half of small head of cabbage (green), shredded
2 cups prepared cranberry beans (cooked in water—3 inches above beans—with a bay leaf and garlic clove, allowing them to simmer after five minutes of a hard boil for about an hour, reserving the cooking water)
In a soup pot over medium-high heat, sautee the onion and carrot until soft—about 10 minutes. Add garlic, bay leaf, salt and thyme. Cook another 5 minutes. Add 1 cup of wine and allow to boil for 2-3 minutes, add 4 cups water and bring to a boil. Add in potatoes, allowing to simmer/boil gently. Stir in squash puree. After 5 minutes add cabbage (you could cook cabbage ahead of time and add at the end with the beans). Cook another 10 minutes and add beans and reserved water. All the while stirring occasionally. Salt and pepper to taste. Once everything is cooked (potatoes are tender) serve.
Best Pumpkin Pancakes
adapted from many sources
1 cup flour (I used a local PA white pastry flour)
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup plain whole milk yogurt (you could use buttermilk or a mixture of milk and yogurt)
1/2 cup squash puree
Mix dry ingredients. In a separate bowl mix together egg, yogurt and puree. Add the wet ingredients to the dry until just mixed (don’t over beat). Then cook them up in a pan with butter and enjoy with a drizzle of maple syrup or just as they are!
On another note. Spring is creeping in and spinach is starting to show up in my CSA share. Keystone Farm has experimented for the first time with greenhouses this winter, and lettuces have been making their way into my box. The spinach, however, is a great treat. In a sea of potatoes and onions, there is nothing quite like some local organic spinach! For the first time ever, I decided to make a quiche. The picture will reveal that I make funny pie crusts. I use (again) a recipe from Alice Waters, and this dough does not shrink at all! I always forget to take this into consideration, which is why my pies and now quiches tend to have wavy crusts hanging over the sides of the pie dish….
1 cup flour (again, local white PA pastry flour)
3/4 cup cold butter in 1/4 inch cubes
1/4 cold water
I used my food processor and cut the butter into the flour and slowly added the water until the dough formed a ball. You could also use the more conventional way of cutting the butter into the flour with either knives, a pastry cutter or your fingers and then add the water. Form a loose disc with the dough and refrigerate for at least an hour. Roll out the dough and prebake for in a 375˚ oven for 15 minutes.
(my pie dish is 10”)
1 small onion, diced
1 large bag spinach (I don’t actually know how many cups this is, but it is the size bag I got from the farmer’s market!)
6 eggs, 3/4 cup plain yogurt
ca 1/2 cup shredded cheese (I used cheddar)
Salt and pepper to taste
Sautee onion in olive oil. Add spinach and sautee until just wilted. In a separate bowl mix together 6 eggs, yogurt and salt. Sprinkle 1/3 of cheese over crust, add layer of spinach/onion mixture. Sprinkle more cheese and add rest of spinach and onion. Sprinkle rest of cheese and then carefully pour over the egg mixture. Bake for 45 minutes in an oven preheated to 375˚. Allow to cool for at least 15 minutes.
On another note: The other posters have been doing an excellent job of keeping Farm to Philly readers up-to-date on all the fantastic coverage that the slow/local/eco food movement has been getting. It is a really exciting time to be a food activist (or a conscientious eater). For further inspiration and information, “The Garden” will be showed at the Rotunda this coming Thursday (4/2 7pm).
Bean Challenge: White Bean Pasta (or, Leftover Surprise!)
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
I usually don’t have much to contribute to the monthly Challenges, but when I heard “Bean” I nearly jumped out of my skin. One of my favorite bean recipes is an adaptation of Lynn Rosetta Kasper of the Splendid Table on PBS. In these tough economic times, it’s an even more relevant recipe: not only does it use the cheap bean, it also utilizes the Italian method called “lengthening” to make the sauce. It’s simple (I usually make a big batch of dry beans and use those, but sometimes I use canned beans. This recipes assumes the beans are already made. It’s a leftover recipe, after all!). These measurements are approximates — I just throw in however much I feel when cooking.
- 1 Tb olive oil
- 1/2 onion, chopped
- 1 clove garlic
- 1/4 ts red pepper flakes
- 1 can (or 1-1/2 cp) white (cannellini) beans
- assortment of Italian herbs (whatever you got, or just skip)
- 1 box pasta
- LOTS of salt (I use, for a large pasta pot, about 3-4 Tb)
1. HEAVILY salt the pasta water and cook the pasta until just under al dente
2. Meanwhile, saute onions in oil until soft and golden. Add garlic and red pepper flakes and saute until fragrant (about 30 seconds).
3. Add beans and continue to saute.
3. When pasta is finished (remember, just under al dente), take out a cup of pasta water and drain rest of pasta. Add half cup of reserved water to the saute and continue to cook. This sauce will thicken because of the starch in the pasta water.
4. Add the pasta and finish cooking until al dente. If the sauce is too tight, then loosen with more of the reserved water.
You can do so much more with this. For instance, I like to add white wine (leftover, of course!). Or medallions of Italian sausage (local, obviously!). Another idea is to give it a North African flair: try Meadow Run’s awesome Merquez and add saffron and a touch of cream and replace the white beans with lentils. This is the ultimate improvisation, “get-rid-of-whatever-is-in-your-fridge” meal.
More gratin dish adventures + dried legumes!
Saturday, March 14, 2009
It’s just cold enough this weekend to want to bake some dinner. And, I wanted to use up some dried black-eyed peas from Margerum’s, some local mushrooms about to go to the bad, homemade turkey broth (from a TGiving breast from Highland Orchards), super-dessicated (= old and forgotten at back of dark cupboard) dried tomatoes, sausages, and a surplus of fresh parsley and dill.
I don’t measure when I’m cooking, but I can render the basic idea for your own interpretation.
1) soak peas overnight, (water outdoor plants w/the water), simmer til almost tender (abt. an hour) w/salt, half an onion
2) coat gratin dish w/olive oil
3) mix peas w/herbs: I had dried thyme and oregano from last summer, plus fresh parsley and dill.
4) add to the peas two crushed garlic cloves, halved mushrooms, dried tomatoes, black pepper.
5) spread in the dish, place sausages on top. Add enough broth to almost come to top of peas.
6) bake w/loose foil for about 45 mins, then uncover for another 30 mins or until peas are where you want them (mine were still toothsome).
7) juice a lemon and pour over the dish.
There will be a wonderful lemony-sausagey herbed sauce in the dish—I mashed my black-eyed peas in it. Try your own version!
Three Tasty Legume Recipes
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
I was really excited when Nicole announced the challenge for this month - I love beans! We usually eat them 6 days out of 7. Besides their versatility and general tastiness, one of the things I find most fascinating about beans is the sheer variety - there are over 10,000 different kinds of legumes - which means you could eat a different one every day for over 27 years! (Provided of course that you could track them all down.) This post contains three recipes that we’ve eaten so far this week, featuring pintos, chickpeas, and french lentils. I’ve listed adaptations for both dry and canned beans - although I recommend using dry.
Friuli-Style Rice and Pinto Beans
This is one of my go-to recipes for days when I just want to cook one dish, it goes great with just about any veggie, or you can just shred some greens and throw them in 5-10 minutes before the rice is done.
- 1 cup dried pintos (or cranberry beans) – If you’re using canned beans 1 can
- 3 oz pancetta (Veg*ns – ¼ cup chopped and pitted kalamata olives)
- 1 medium onion
- 1 rib celery or ½ cup diced celeriac
- 2 T olive oil
- 2 medium waxy potatoes
- 2 bay leaves
- 6 cups broth (chicken or veggie)
- ¾ cup Arborio rice (can substitute Japanese sushi rice if necessary)
- Salt and pepper
- Freshly grated Parmesan
1. If using dried beans, soak for at least 8 hours, drain and rinse.
2. Finely chop the pancetta, onion, and celery/celeriac. (Veg*ns – just omit the pancetta for the moment)
3. Heat the olive oil in a heavy 6 qt pan, add the veggie mixture and cook for about 3 minutes until the veggies begin to soften.
4. Add the beans, bay leaves, broth, and potatoes, raise the heat and bring to a boil.
5. When the broth begins to boil lower the heat to a simmer and simmer for 40 minutes (if dry beans) or 10 minutes (if canned beans).
6. Add the rice and cook, stirring very frequently, until the rice is cooked (about 20 minutes).
7. Remove the bay leaves, season with salt and pepper (add kalamata olives if using).
8. Serve with Parmesan cheese.
Adapted from Fagioli the Bean Cuisine of Italy by Judith Barrett
This is a big favorite at our house and is tasty either warm or cold.
- 1 ½ cup puy lentils
- 7 oz feta cheese
- 5 T tomato paste
- ¼ cup chopped parsley, chopped
1. Place lentils in a 4 qt saucepan with 2 ½ cups of water. Bring to boil, reduce heat to a simmer, and cover. Cook for 20 minutes until lentils are tender but not at all mushy. Drain any extra water.
2. Crumble half of the feta into the pan, add the tomato paste and parsley, salt and pepper. Mix to combine and heat through for 2 minutes.
3. Serve sprinkled with the rest of the feta. Serve immediately.
Serves 2 – 4 as a side dish
Adapted from Four Ingredient Cooking
This is a new recipe for us - but it’s so yummy I had to share. This goes well with thick chips like tortilla or pita, veggies, and I think it could make a good sandwich spread as well.
- 2 cups dried chickpeas (or 2 cans canned chickpeas)
- 2-4 canned chipotle peppers (depending on your preferred level of spice)
- 1 T adobo sauce (from can of chipotle peppers)
- 1/8 c lime juice (or from ½ of a lime)
- 1/8 – ¼ c olive oil
1. If using dried chickpeas: Soak for at least 8 hours, then cover with several inches of water in a large sauce pan, bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 45 – 60 minutes until you can smoosh a chickpea with the back of a spoon fairly easily.
2. If using canned chickpeas: Drain and rinse.
3. Combine all ingredients in a food process and process until blended.
Adapted from the Shakesville Gourmet
Legume Challenge Month: Lentil Salad
Monday, March 09, 2009
Farmicia in Old City has a delicious lentil salad that I’ve been meaning to finesse at home for oh, about 5 years. Not that it’s hard to do, but I kept forgetting to buy French lentils, the kind that hold together a bit better than those for soup or dal. Then one day at Reading Terminal, I spied some at Kauffman’s Lancaster Market. Look how pretty they are just after washing—looks like a heap of quarried stone!
These together with garlic and parsley from Highland Orchards, thyme from last summer’s garden, mache and Shellbark Farms Sharp Chevre from the Fair Food Farmstand, minced celery (apologies, not local), and dijon vinaigrette made for a terrific dinner tonight.