Saturday, December 31, 2011
While we’ve been enjoying a mild winter so far, many long months still lie between us and spring. This is a great dish to combat the winter blues with, being so savory and warming, and locally grown mushrooms, onions and herbs are readily available even in this pretty bleak period for produce. It’s also a great vegetarian (or vegan, if you leave out the sour cream and use all oil instead of a mix with butter) option for New Year’s Day or Super Bowl parties, easily scaling up to feed a crowd.
If you like it hot, you can substitute Hungarian hot paprika or ground chipotle for the Spanish smoked paprika below.
2 tablespoons each unsalted butter and olive oil
3 large or 6 small onions, thinly sliced
16 ounces cremini and/or white button mushrooms, sliced
1/3 ounce mixed dried mushrooms, reconstituted in one cup boiling water, then drained and coarsely chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons Hungarian sweet paprika
1/2 teaspoon Spanish smoked paprika
2 cups hot vegetable stock
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup sour cream
Chopped parsley for garnishing
Cooked egg noodles or rice
Melt the butter into the oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pan over medium heat. Cook the onions, stirring regularly, until they have softened and begun to turn gold, then add the mushrooms and continue cooking until they have begun to wilt.
Sprinkle the sweet and smoked paprikas over the onions and mushrooms, and continue stirring over the heat for a minute or two. Pour in the stock, adding a bit more if necessary to just cover the vegetables, and salting lightly. Cover the pot, lower the heat and simmer until the onions have broken down and the mushrooms are cooked through, 30-45 more minutes.
Take the pot off the heat and stir in the sour cream and parsley. Taste and add more salt and pepper as desired, then serve over the cooked noodles or rice.
Leftovers can be gently reheated the next day, though if you use low-fat sour cream, it may look a bit curdled, which won’t affect the taste.
Give Liver (Pate) a Chance
Tuesday, December 27, 2011
Liver pate gets a bad rap. Well, let’s face it: liver in general is reviled. I recently announced that instead of Christmas cookies this year, I made pate. It was universally met with a disgusted “ew!” It’s a shame. There’s nothing better than a good liver pate on water crackers. It’s smooth and delicious. It’s also ridiculously easy to make, and you can prepare it using almost entirely local ingredients.
Let’s start with the livers. You need about a pound of chicken livers, and you can get those from any local producers of chickens. Mine came from Friendly Farms. Sure, they look a little disgusting, but get over it. Oh, and soak them in milk for two hours. People say this is how you get the disgusting flavor out of them…personally, I’ve had soaked and unsoaked livers, and I can’t really tell the difference. I say it’s all in how you cook them.
But let’s assume you’ve soaked your livers in milk and you’re ready to get moving. What else do you need?
1 cup yellow onion, diced
2 Tbsp. garlic, minced
2 bay leaves
1 tsp fresh thyme, chopped
salt and pepper
1/4 cup of bourbon
4 Tbsp butter
4 Tbsp butter, cold and chopped into pieces.
Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Saute onions for about 3 minutes; add garlic, and saute for 30 seconds. Toss in the chicken livers, bay, thyme, salt, and pepper and cook all this down for about five minutes—basically you want the liver to still be slightly pink inside. Add the bourbon and cook until the liquid is mostly evaporated.
Let the mixture cool, remove and discard the bay leaf, and then toss everything (but the bay leaf) into your blender or food processor, along with the cold butter. Blend it up until it looks like something you so don’t want to eat and adjust the seasonings to your taste. Pour into ramekins and refrigerate for at least six hours.
If you’re taking them to a party, you can seal the pate with clarified butter to keep it fresher.
Delicata Squash and Apple Bisque
Sunday, October 23, 2011
Appropriately enough for the October apple challenge, my Thanksgiving stuffing recipe features apples, along with a lot of onions and celery, walnuts or pecans, and fresh sage and thyme. Since it’s not quite time for stuffing yet, I turned that basic inspiration into a smooth, warming soup that also made great use out of the handful of Delicata squash that came out of my garden before all the rain softened up the rest.
There are three apple elements in this soup: a large tart apple, cider mixed into the stock, and a shot of Calvados at the end. If you can’t find Delicata squash in the markets, this soup can be made just as well with any other winter squash, although I think butternut or Kabocha would give the best results. If you prefer to leave out the alcohol, the soup can be finished with a drizzle of cider vinegar instead.
Delicata Squash and Apple Bisque
4 small Delicata squash, cut in half and seeded
3 tablespoons grapeseed or other neutral oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large onion, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1 large or 2 small Honeycrisp, Fuji, or other tart-crisp apple, peeled and diced
2 sprigs fresh sage, leaves julienned
4 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves stripped off the stems
3 cups vegetable stock
1 ½ cups apple cider
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon Calvados, applejack, or brandy
Preheat oven to 400 F. Rub the cut surfaces of the squash with 2 tablespoons of the oil and set rind-up on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Roast squash until tender all the way through and yielding to the point of a sharp knife. Once cooked, scrape the flesh out of the squash and discard the rinds.
Heat the butter and remaining 1 tablespoon of oil in a large, heavy pot over medium heat until the butter has melted. Saute the onion until wilted, then add the celery and apple and continue cooking until soft.
Add the stock, cider, herbs and roasted squash to the pot. Salt and pepper to taste, and bring to a boil. Cover the pot, lower the heat and simmer 20 minutes, until the squash has completely broken down into the soup.
Using an immersion blender or food processor, puree the soup until smooth. Stir in the Calvados or brandy, taste, and add more salt and pepper as necessary.
Romanesco and Cauliflower Manicotti
Saturday, October 22, 2011
A few weeks ago, as Tom Culton explained to me why his romanesco were so small (he had cut them prematurely so they didn’t have a chance to rot from all of the rain), I had a small, inward panic. His romanesco, beautiful fractal patterns in lime green, are among my favorite arrivals for the fall. Thankfully, Tom’s later crop have returned to their normal, bountiful size. I am always looking for new ways to cook it, and this manicotti recipe is among my favorites. It almost seems a shame to cook romanesco down to an unrecognizable mash, but I think the manicotti easily compensate in taste.
This is, undeniably, a main dish that just happens to be vegetarian. It’s substantial and rich enough to satisfy people who have difficulty imagining a meal without meat. I’ve made some revisions to Jamie Oliver’s original. First, I make my own tomato sauce. Second, I supplanted store-bought cannelloni tubes with buckwheat manicotti (crepes). Third, I substituted anchovy paste for actual anchovies. I do love anchovies, and I am one to purchase them salted and then fillet them myself when needed. But in this instance, because it should dissolve consistently in the cooked vegetables, I opt for the paste, saving the fillets instead for a my homemade version of Otto’s “Romana” pizza. Fourth, instead of creme fraiche, I use goat yogurt from Patches of Stair Dairy.
Making your own tomato sauce and crepes, in addition to being in accord with the credo of this blog, guarantees a freshness and quality you will find difficult to equal in store-bought ingredients. Further, the recipes included here for both the tomato sauce and the crepes make more than this recipe calls for. Therefore, in making these manicotti, you are making key ingredients of two other meals. For example, I used the other half of the tomato sauce for a pasta dinner and the crepes for breakfast. Additionally, by using manicotti, I’ve eliminated the need to fill cannelloni with a pastry bag.
Like many of Oliver’s dishes this represents a nice twist on something classic (in this case, anchovies and broccoli). My favorite aspect of this dish, though, is the quick “white-sauce” of goat yogurt and Parmesan thinned with some water. You can easily find other uses for that alone.
One last thing: thanks to my awesome neighbors for first serving me this.
Cauliflower and Broccoli Manicotti
1 lb. broccoli, washed and chopped
1 lb. romanesco cauliflower, washed and chopped
6 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
1 small bunch basil leaves, picked and washed
1 small bunch thyme, washed and leaves stripped and chopped
1 oz. anchovy paste
2 small dried chilies (or to taste)
2 cups goat yogurt
8 oz. Parmesan cheese, grated
8 oz. mozzarella cheese, sliced
2 cups tomato sauce (see below)
1 dozen (approximately) buckwheat manicotti (see below)
salt and pepper
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, salt it as you would for pasta, and drop in the broccoli and cauliflower. Blanch for 5 minutes and then strain, reserving the cooking water.
Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a wide, shallow saucepan (make sure the pan is wide enough to hold all of the cauliflower and broccoli) over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook for approximately 1 minute. Add the thyme, anchovies, and chilies. Stir together and cook for 30 seconds. Add the cooked broccoli and cauliflower, stirring everything together. Add ½ cup of the reserved cooking water, turn the heat to medium-low, partially cover, and cook for 15-20 minutes, or until the vegetables are soft enough to mash. (If the mixture is too wet, allow it to cook longer uncovered. If the mixture is too dry, stir in more of the cooking water, one tablespoon at a time.) Remove from the heat and mash the vegetables with a spoon. Season with salt and pepper and allow to cool.
Meanwhile, mix the goat yogurt and 4 oz. of the Parmesan to form the quick “white sauce.” Thin with a little water if necessary.
Assemble the manicotti. Spread the tomato sauce on the bottom of a large casserole dish or lasagna pan. Lay one of the manicotti on a plate. Spoon a strip of the mixture in the center, being careful not to overstuff them. Roll up on side and then other; one side should overlap the other. Arrange the manicotti in the pan, seam-side down, packing them tightly together but keeping them in single layer. Spread the basil leaves over the manicotti, and then cover with the white sauce. Sprinkle the remaining Parmesan over the top and then cover with the mozzarella. Season the top with black pepper and a drizzle (or two) of olive oil. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until the top is golden and the whole thing is bubbling.
Serve with some simply dressed greens.
1 quart of canned tomatoes, drained and hand-crushed
1 medium onion, chopped
1 small carrot, chopped
2 cloves garlic, sliced
1 tablespoon fresh oregano, chopped (or 1 teaspoon dried)
salt and pepper
Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and carrot and sauté until softened (approximately 5-7 minutes). Add the garlic and oregano, stir, and cook for 1 minute (though I usually just wait until it’s fragrant). Add the tomatoes and salt and pepper, and bring to a boil. Lower the heat until it simmers and leave it to cook, uncovered, for 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly. Puree in a blender, in a food processor, or with a hand blender until smooth. Return to the heat and continue to cook uncovered until it reaches your preferred thickness.
(adapted from Mark Bittman’s The Best Recipes in the World)
¼ cup white spelt flour
1 cup buckwheat flour
½ cup whole milk
Butter or canola oil (for frying)
Combine the flours, eggs, and milk with 1 cup of water. Whisk until smooth. Allow to sit for 1-2 hours. Heat an 8- or 10-inch nonstick skillet (I use a Lodge cast iron pan and it works beautifully). Add just enough butter or oil to the pan to coat the bottom. Pour in ¼ cup of the batter and swirl it to coat the bottom of the pan. Turn in 1-2 minutes, or when the it “sets.” (You may need to adjust the heat so the bottom does not burn before the top sets.) Turn and cook the second side for 30 seconds. Remove from the pan, add enough oil or butter to cover the bottom, and repeat.
Using Up Your Habaneros
Saturday, October 15, 2011
The first threat of frost usually has pepper growers praying—or at least fervently hoping—that the bumper crop of peppers will turn red or orange soon. Whether it’s bell peppers or chile peppers, no one wants to leave food in the garden when fall turns into winter.
My husband wanted to grow habanero peppers this year, something I was confused about because he’s not a fan of spicy food. If you’ve never bitten into a habanero, they’re fairly fiery. An orange habanero ranges from 130,000 to 325,000 on the Scoville scale (the scale that measures chile heat). As a point of reference, the trinidad scorpion pepper is at the top of the scale—900,000 to 1,463,700—while a cherry pepper comes in at 0 to 500. I like spicy foods, but I must admit I’m somewhat nervous of cooking with vegetables so hot I have to wear latex gloves to avoid a capsaicin burn.
You can pick green habaneros, but they will be slightly less spicy (possibly a good thing, all things considered). You can also force green habaneros to ripen to orange by putting them in a paper bag and letting them sit for a few days—of course, it doesn’t make them any hotter.
One of the things I came up with for using habaneros is to make butter sauce, which is fantastic over roasted chicken. Yes, it’s spicy. My husband tried it and immediately ran for a glass of water.
10 orange habanero peppers, seeded and halved
1 orange bell pepper, seeded and halved
zest from one orange
4 Tbsp. of white wine
2 Tbsp. of salt
1 glove garlic, smashed
1 c. of white wine, apple cider, or champagne vinegar
2 tsp. cornstarch
3 Tbsp. butter, softened
Toss chiles, bell pepper, orange zest, 2 Tbsp. wine, 1 Tbsp. of salt, and the garlic clove in a blender and puree; let it sit in the blender at room temperature for at least 4 hours but up to 12 hours. When you’re ready to continue add vinegar and remaining wine and 1 Tbsp. of salt to the blender and puree until smooth. Place a mesh strainer over a saucepan, and transfer the contents of the blender to the saucepan. Press the solids with the back of a spoon to get as much liquid out as possible; discard the solids (add them to your compost pile). Heat the liquid in the saucepan to a simmer over medium heat. Place the cornstarch in a small bowl and mix with 2 tsp. of water to form a slurry. Pour slurry into saucepan and whisk until the mixture thickens, around 3 minutes. Whisk in butter and season with salt.
This makes a cup or two of butter sauce. Use it to spice up any dish.
Other interesting ideas for using your habanero peppers:
- Habanero brownies
- Orange Habanero Vinaigrette
- Habanero Salt Water Taffy
- Habanero Cashew Brittle
- White Chocolate Habanero Ice Cream
- Spicy Grapefruit Margarita
- Garlic Habanero Chicken Meatballs With Kale Polenta
- Cranberry Habanero Jelly
- Pickled Habanero Peppers
What’s your favorite way to use up your late-season habanero peppers?
Friday, September 30, 2011
I have a thing about beets. Well, actually it’s not so much a thing about as a thing with. You see, when first presented with a beet I always think I don’t like them. I will never go out of my way to buy beets and when I get them in my CSA share my first reaction is always a resigned oh, beets.
But then I force myself to do something with them—so I take the first step and either steam or roast them.
And then I force myself to take the next step and eat them because one must not waste food.
And then my reaction is always an elated ah, beets!
In the interest of time, the next time I get beets I should really just skip to the ah, beets! reaction.
In my last few weeks of CSA deliveries I’ve received beets and lots and lots of wonderful cilantro, garlic, and chives. I also had lounging in my fridge a block of fresh goat cheese from Sunny Side Goat Dairy and a baguette from Big Sky Bread. In a desperate act of eating all this produce and the cheese before it became un-usable I went ahead with making a beet salad. And it was awesome. So awesome, in fact, that I had two platefuls of it along with some sliced baguette to mop up the juices.
I highly encourage you to try this. It will change any negative thoughts you may have about beets.
Beet Salad with Goat Cheese
6 beets—cooked, peeled, sliced and chilled
2 tsp. sugar (or to taste)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 bunch of chives, chopped
1/4 c. chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 c. apple cider vinegar
Combine the vinegar, sugar, garlic, chives, and cilantro.
Pour over sliced beets.
Add some fresh goat cheese just before serving.
Just for fun, at the last second I threw on some pickled garlic scapes that were hanging out in my fridge and it was a nice way to spice things up. Totally optional, of course.
Cusp of Fall Produce
Wednesday, September 28, 2011
As much as I love the berries, stone fruit and corn of summer, I honestly think the best time for produce in this area is early fall. This time of year, you can find both the best of the late-summer fruits and vegetables and the apples, pears and pumpkins of autumn. In my garden, I have a handful of straggling green tomatoes and peppers turning red right beside the hard squashes swelling on their vines.
This baked dish is the perfect thing to make with the fruits of this season, since it’s just a little bit heartier than I would want in the heat of August, when I’d be wanting to make a salad instead. This is a more comforting and warming configuration for those same ingredients, much more suited to the somewhat drippy weather we’ve been having this month. I’m especially pleased with the fact that everything is local except the wine and the feta, and a fair bit of it was even home-grown. The twisty red frying peppers, green bell pepper, tomatoes and herbs all came from containers on my patio, while the onion and darling little pale-purple fairytale eggplant came from the Saturday Chestnut Hill farmers market. Later this fall, it can be made instead with big Italian eggplant and good canned tomatoes, but for the next few weeks, I urge you to take full advantage of the fact that the ingredients can still be found fresh in the markets!
Fairytale Eggplant Baked with Peppers, Tomatoes and Feta
(Adapted from Diane Kochilas, The Greek Vegetarian)
¼ cup olive oil
1 large yellow onion, peeled, halved and sliced thinly
1 green bell pepper, sliced in thin rounds
2 red frying peppers, thinly sliced
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 garlic cloves, minced
¾ cup chopped tomatoes (approximately 4 small)
½ cup red wine
2 tablespoons fresh oregano leaves
1 quart fairytale eggplant
4 ounces feta cheese
Salt to taste
Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium low heat and add the onions, cooking until wilted. Add the peppers, red pepper flakes and garlic, cover and cook for another 8 minutes. Add the tomatoes and wine and bring to a simmer, cover again, and cook 10 more minutes. Stir in the oregano leaves and salt to taste.
Trim the tops off the eggplant and cut into wedges about an inch wide. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil in a nonstick pan over medium heat and fry the eggplant pieces until golden and beginning to turn tender.
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Brush a medium-sized baking dish with 2-inch sides with oil, and layer the bottom with half the eggplant. Cover with half the sauce mixture, and repeat with the remaining eggplant and vegetables. Crumble the feta in an even layer on top.
Cover loosely with foil and bake until the eggplant is fully tender and the sauce is bubbling, about 45 minutes to an hour. Remove the foil for the last 15 minutes if you’d like the feta to brown a bit.
Saturday, September 10, 2011
As much as I loved the Food Network back in the days when we had cable, I could never really get into Paula Deen’s recipes because of all the mayonnaise. I don’t like mayonnaise. I don’t eat mayonnaise. I don’t buy mayonnaise. So when some friends started talking about a Paula Deen tomato pie recipe I didn’t think much of it. I have plenty of tomato pie recipes in my arsenal. Some eggy, some tart-like on puff pastry, some like the cheese-less pizza tomato pies popular in Philly. But people kept talking about the Paula Deen recipe and I decided to put my mayonnaise issues aside and give it a go.
Her recipe is pretty straightforward: a prepared pie shell, cheese, green onions, tomatoes, basil and mayonnaise. Keeping with my “complicate everything” philosophy I tweaked the recipe using a homemade all-butter pie crust, homemade mayo, both Amish Paste and grape tomatoes from my garden, and caramelized red onions from Red Earth Farm along with the other ingredients. It was as good as everyone said it was. I just ate the crumbs off of the bottom of the pie pan taking a picture.
One 9 inch pre-baked pie crust, store bought or homemade
3 or 4 tomatoes peeled, seeded and chopped ( or cherry tomatoes halved and squeezed to drain some of the moisture)
1/2 cup of green onion, chopped (or 2 red onions caramelized)
10 basil leaves, sliced
3/4 cup of mayonnaise
2 cups of shredded cheese ( I used one cup of Hillacres Pride cheddar, and one cup of shredded mozzarella- I bet it would be great with Pecorino Romano or Parmesan too)
salt, pepper, and hot sauce to taste
Combine the mayonnaise and cheeses with salt, pepper and hot sauce. It will be thick and gloopy. Layer the onions, tomatoes, and basil in the pre-baked pie crust. Spread the cheese mixture evenly across the top. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes or until browned.
Thai Curried Squash Soup
Sunday, January 09, 2011
Arriving home from a long vacation, I looked around my kitchen, realize there is very little fresh in the house, and decided to make a pantry soup for friends arriving for dinner and a movie. Squash can keep almost forever in a cool location, and I had these leftover from my last few CSA pick-ups in November. A few onions, carrots and apples relaxing nicely in my crisper, and some pantry basics rounded out this spicy, creamy soup with inspiration from a recipe from Bon Appetit. I rarely follow any recipe to a T, rather I make things spicier, add more of what I like and less of what I don’t etc. until I get it just right! You might want to do the same - 4 tsp. of curry past makes quite a spicy version of this Thai Curried Squash Soup.
Best Local Food Apps
Monday, October 25, 2010
I don’t have an iphone, but I know plenty of people who do. Some of you may be wondering if there are apps to help you stay on top of your local eating goals.There are! Some help you figure out what’s in season and where to find it, while other help you find very specific recipes (healthy, vegetarian or vegan, low salt, quick, etc.) based on the seasonal produce you’d like to use. I’ve included a few of the most popular below, but please add more - if you use them and like them - in the comments section for future updates.
Locavore ($3) - The entire purpose of locavore is to help you find in-season produce. Yeah!
Harvest ($2) - How do you find the best produce? This database helps you decide if the asparagus is too limp, the melon to hard, or the tomato too green.
How to Cook EverythingMark Bittman helps you figure out how to cook everything, from delicata squash to red quinoa.
Whole Foods The only thing free about Whole Foods is this helpful app, which lets you sort by food allergy/aversion, and searches for recipes based on the ingredients that you’re purchasing.
Epicurious I used the Epicurious website all the time, because it has awesome advanced searching options (vegan + breakfast + main course + bananas = recipe) and a solid rating system. The app will even build a shopping list for you.
Cook’s Illustrated Another great, free, recipe searching app with lots of helpful hints. This app even has a timer that runs on your phone to remind you when your quiche is done!
Green Tomato Pie!
Monday, October 18, 2010
So I cleaned out my summer crops and planted some seeds (lettuce, spinach, arugula, carrots, radishes) and now I have all of these green tomatoes to deal with. I can’t just compost them, and after making more fried green tomatoes than anyone can really eat, I decided to have a crack at this recipe that I’m been saving for a while. It’s a sweet pie made apple-style, but with green tomatoes instead. Verdict? It’s good! The recipe calls for a bit too much sugar, but the tomatoes have a strange sourness to them that makes the pie more complex than an apple pie.
2 c flour
1 c shortening (I use Crisco, it’s just easier)
<1 tsp salt
1/2 c cold water
Place the water in the freezer while you combine the rest of the ingredients. Use a fork to mash shortening into flour until peices are "pea-sized." Add the water a bit at a time until all dough holds together in a ball. Refridgerate.
1 1/4 c sugar
1 T flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp allspice
2 T butter
3 c thinly sliced green tomatoes
Set oven to 425 degrees. Sift dry ingredients together and mix with tomatoes. Let sit while you roll out the dough and cover the bottom of the pie pan. Drain off some of the excess juice created by the tomatoes and sugar mixture, then fill pie pan and dot with butter. Place top crust and bake for 45 minutes.
Sunday, October 10, 2010
As a certified - or maybe that should be certifiable - fan of cheese, I have a tendency to eat cheeses like brie as is… with crackers or fruit. The other day I ran into a recipe for brie soup at We Gotta Eat, the place I’ve been storing all my recipes in a bid to cut down on the clutter of cooking magazines at my house, and decided to give it a go with Cherry Grove Farm brie.
The results were, well, mixed. The soup itself was delicious, especially since I added potatoes to make it a cheese and potato soup, but very little of the brie actually melted. Maybe it needed to be cooked for longer? A friend who made some without the local brie ran into the same problem - she used a stick blender to break up the clumps of unmelted brie. In spite of the problems with the chunky cheese lurking in the soup (not a terrible problem to have), it made a perfect dinner in a bread bowl and topped with sauteed mushrooms from Mother Earth Farms.
1 1/2 cups dry white wine
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
4 cups heavy cream
10 ounce brie with rind removed and cut into pieces
1 clove garlic, minced
1 sprig thyme
1 sprig basil
4-5 potatoes, peeled and cubed
Salt and pepper
Bring wine and vinegar to a boil in a soup pot, reduce heat to a simmer, and reduce the liquid until only a cup remains. Stir in cream, brie, garlic, sprigs of thyme and basil and cook and stir 10 minutes or until the brie melts (note: I probably simmered the soup for about 15 minutes and the brie still hadn’t melted). In the meantime, boil potatoes until tender. Combine potatoes with brie soup and season with salt and pepper.
The only things that weren’t local: salt and pepper, vinegar, wine, and bread bowls.
Now It Feels Like Fall
Saturday, October 09, 2010
The cooler fall weather has really inspired me to spend more time in my kitchen lately, so tonight I broke out a precious chicken from Griggstown Quail Farm for roasting with homemade butter. I like a simple preparation for my chickens - a little salt and pepper in the cavity and outside the chicken, some pats of butter under the skin of the breast, and that’s it.
I really wanted some stuffing to go with the chicken, but my little couple pound chicken wasn’t going to hold a whole lot of it. Instead, I made it outside the chicken in a roasting pan. As thrifty measure, I like to use up all the vegetable odds and ends hanging out in the refrigerator. In this case, I had some cremini mushrooms from Mother Earth Mushrooms, some onion and celery from Lancaster Farm Fresh, carrots from Green Meadow Farms, and some red peppers from a local grower I roasted earlier this summer. Oh, and most importantly: the very last of the basil from my garden.
12 ounces bread cut into 1-inch cubes
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 medium onion, finely diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
12+ ounces button or crimini mushrooms, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 tablespoon dried rubbed sage leaf
2 cups chicken stock
A handful of chopped basil
Salt and pepper
Saute the vegetables in butter and olive oil until tender, mix with bread cubes and basil, season with salt and pepper, and pour chicken stock over until it has the desired consistency. You can either serve it immediately or bake it for a while to dry it up a bit.
A bit of local steamed broccoli made for an almost entirely locally grown meal. Just the olive oil, salt, and pepper didn’t come from the Philadelphia area.
This is a great time of year for produce, and aside from all the rain, we’ve had a nice long growing season. I’m looking forward to getting my hands on some winter squash!
Carrot Top Soup
Monday, October 04, 2010
This sudden cold snap seems to have us all thinking about soup. As promised a few weeks ago, I did find a way to use my beautiful carrot tops and made this beautiful soup with them. The flavor is quite delicate, and a good homemade vegetable broth makes all the difference. The addition of brown rice makes the soup hearty enough for a meal and, of course, some good quality parmesan adds a great sharp and salty kick.
Creamy Potato Leek Soup
Sunday, October 03, 2010
Ever since we pulled our first new potatoes out of the ground, my fiance Michael and I have been hooked on home-grown potatoes. The earthy, creamy density of them is unbelievable. This year we also grew our own leeks and Michael came up with this amazing recipe for potato leek soup. It requires you to make your own stock, so try it on a crisp weekend day when you have some time to dedicate to it.
Michael’s Creamy Potato Leek Soup (Serves 6)
Home Made Veggie Broth:
1 med onion, chopped (garden)
1 leek (white part only), chopped (garden)
1 carrot, chopped (CSA)
4 stalks celery, chopped + leaves removed and set aside (store)
4 stalks thyme (garden)
1 potato, sliced (garden)
4 stalks parsley (garden)
1 bay leaf (store)
1 pinch turmeric (store)
1 pinch cloves (store)
1 head garlic, peeled and crushed (garden + CSA)
2 tbsp butter
8 cups water
Salt and pepper
1. Tie up bay leaf, parsley, thyme and celery leaves in cheesecloth
2. In a large soup pot, sauté onion, leek, carrot, celery and garlic in butter
3. Add water, cloves, turmeric and lastly the cheesecloth bundle.
4. Bring to a boil, then simmer with the top askew for appx 2 hours. Add salt and pepper to taste sometime during the simmering – don’t add salt unless the liquid is boiling somewhat, otherwise it will fall to the bottom and won’t dissolve.
5. Strain into a large container through a colander. Crush the solid veggies to get all liquid out. Discard boiled veggies (don’t bother saving them, you just boiled all the taste and nutrients out!) If using a vegan broth (oil instead of butter), compost them.
Makes appx 6 cups broth. You can experiment with adding any types of veggies you have around in the broth, but watch out for stuff that makes it too sweet. For vegan broth, use oil instead of butter. For chicken broth, use chicken livers, hearts, bones, feet etc, boiling for 3-4 hours and skimming fat off top periodically. For beef broth use beef bones, oxtails etc and skimming fat off periodically. To store, try freezing in an ice cube tray for conveniently sized portions to be used in your cooking.
Creamy Potato Leek Soup:
3-4 cups leeks, white part only, washed thoroughly and chopped (garden)
2-3 large white potatoes, sliced, skinning optional (garden)
6 cups veggie or chicken broth (see above recipe – garden/CSA)
½ cup chopped chives (garden)
½ cup whole milk, half and half or cream
Salt and pepper
1. In a large soup pot, sauté the leeks in butter. Add small amounts of broth as necessary to keep leeks from burning and sticking to pot. Let leeks soften (15 min or so)
2. Add broth and sliced potatoes, bring to boil, the simmer with top on for appx 45 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.
3. Blend soup in a food processor or blender until it is smooth.
4. Return to pot and add cream. Soup is ready to serve, you may eat it at any temperature (good cold in summer) but if you like it warm, heat but DO NOT bring to boil.
5. Garnish with chives. Additional garnishes include types of blue or gorgonzola cheeses or sour cream.