Saturday, November 28, 2009

Potatoes with kale pesto

Here's a recipe I made last week too, inspired by this recipe from the New York Times. I was getting a little bored with plain roasted potatoes so I made them with a kale pesto.

1 lb potatoes (I had red skinned potatoes, but I think any kind would work)
1 T. olive oil
1 small bunch kale, washed, stems removed
1/3 c. pine nuts (toasting is optional)
1 or 2 cloves garlic
the zest from a lemon (I use a normal vegetable peeler to remove the zest, it's faster and will be processed later)
1/2 t. salt + more to taste
1/2 t. pepper + more to taste
about 1/3 c. olive oil
*Freshly grated Parmesan cheese for serving

1. Turn on oven to 375. Wash and cube the potatoes, toss with 1 T. olive oil, and place in roasting pan in oven. Roast for about 45 minutes or till done.
2. Bring some salted water to a boil, add in the kale and cook for just 45 seconds. Drain.
3. Combine pine nuts, garlic, lemon zest, S&P in the work bowl of a food processor. Pulse about 10 times till zest is finely chopped.
4. Add in the boiled kale.
5. Tun the food processor to on. While it's running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil. Process till smooth, add in more S&P if desired.
6. When the potatoes are done, remove from oven and toss with pesto. Serve with lots of Parmesan cheese.

*The easiest way to grate Parmesan is in the food processor. So before you make the pesto, cube the block of Parmesan into 1/2" cubes. Turn the food processor on, and drop the cheese cubes through the feed tube one at a time. Let it go for about 10 seconds after you've dropped in the last tube. Transfer the grated cheese to a serving bowl. No need to wash the work bowl before making the pesto!

Stir-fried Napa cabbage and leeks with noodles

I've developed a new appreciation for cabbage, again thanks to the CSA. Especially the Napa cabbage - it's so crisp and has a really unique taste - I don't think I'd had it before this summer. I've mostly been eating it raw in salads and cole slaws, but I decided it's like bok choy so why not stir fry it? There was also a recent minimalist blog posting that gave me the idea to put this over noodles, but the highlight here is the stir-fry, it should be greater in volume than the noodles. Warning: I ate so much of this (along with some raw Napa salad) that I felt a little sick afterwards - Andy was gone so I ended up eating almost the whole head of cabbage by myself.

Serves 2

4 ozs. soba noobles (Japanese buckwheat noodles that look like short spaghetti) or whole wheat thin spaghetti, broken in half.
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 inch piece of ginger, peeled and minced
2 T. soy sauce
1 T. chilli flavored oil
1 T. vegetable oil
1/2 t. red pepper flakes
4-5 leeks, thinly sliced into half-moons, whites and the lighter green areas, well-rinsed (leeks are usually muddy)
1 head of Napa cabbage - quartered, cored, then sliced in 3/4" slices across the ribs.
1/2 c. washed and chopped cilantro
toasted sesame seeds

1. Boil salted water for cooking noodles. Add in noodles, cook according to package directions.
2. Combine the garlic, ginger, soy sauce, and chili oil.
3. Heat oil in a wok over medium-high with red pepper flakes.
4. Stir-fry leeks, stirring constantly, for a few minutes.
5. Add in garlic-ginger-soy sauce-oil mixture, stir for a minute.
6. Add in the cabbage. Stir frequently for about 4 minutes, till the cabbage is wilted but still crunchy at the ribs.
7. Serve the stir-fry over the drained noodles, top with cilantro and sesame seeds. Splash with additional soy sauce and red pepper flakes if desired.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Rosemary and walnut topknot rolls

Made these rolls for Thanksgiving lunch today, based on Lisa's ideas for flavors (the walnuts and herbs), and based on a recipe from Gourmet that I made a few weeks ago.

1/4 c. warm water (105-110 degrees, should feel slightly warm on your wrist)
1 T. sugar
2 and 1/4 t. (1 packet) yeast
1 and 1/2 c. milk
1/2 c. olive oil
2 c. whole wheat flour
2 and 1/2 c. white flour
2 t. salt
3/4 c. toasted walnuts, chopped
2-3 T. chopped fresh rosemary (optional: include some thyme in here)
1 egg white
1 T. water
flaky sea salt

1. Dissolve sugar in warm water; sprinkle yeast on top and whisk. Let this mixture sit for about 10 minutes, a bubbly foam should develop.
2. Warm up the milk to about the same temperature as the yeast mixture.
3. Whisk the milk and olive oil into the yeast mixture.
4. Combine flours, salt, walnuts and rosemary.
5. Add flour mixture to the wet ingredients. Stir, and then turn out onto a clean floured surface, and knead. Kneading will take about 10 minutes, it's done when you pinch it and it has the consistency of your earlobe. And, when you poke it, it should readily spring back. As you're kneading, try not to add to much additional flour. It's better to oil your hands and the surface instead of flouring them.
6. When it's done, put it in an oiled bowl and flip over so the top of the dough is oiled. Let rise overnight in the fridge, or at room temperature for at least 2 hours. The longer it rises, the more flavor develops.
7. Preheat oven to 375. Prepare two baking sheets with parchment paper.
8. Divide dough in half. Working with the first half, divide into 12 equal amounts.
9. To shape the topknots, take each piece of dough, and make a ~12" long snake. Make a knot by looping the snake around your four non-thumb fingers, and drop the long end through the hole. Try to limit the contact between the loop and the long end so they don't stick together. Then, put the long end through the hole again. Now there should be an end sticking out of both sides. Put each roll on the parchment, 12 per sheet. Repeat with the other half of the dough.
10. Whisk the egg white with the water, and brush on each roll. Sprinkle a little sea salt on each one.
11. Bake for 12 minutes, switch positions, and bake an additional 12 minutes. They're done when they're nicely browned on top.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Spaghetti squash with kale & tomatoes

This dish has become pretty common here. For one thing, we've been getting a lot of spaghetti squashes in the CSA, and for another, it's quick, easy, and awesome. I really love the combo of the butter on the squash with the tomato sauce; it really comes together on your plate. My only gripe with this dish is that sometimes I'm hungry again about two hours after eating it. It's always filling at dinner, but spaghetti squash is pretty low calories. Just plan on dessert a while after eating this for dinner. Alternatively, it's probably a good diet dinner (but lacking in protein as written - see also the variations). This goes well with a nice salad - we had it with a green salad with roasted beets the other night.

1 spaghetti squash, or 2 "mini-ghettis"
2 T. butter
salt and pepper
chopped parsley
A little olive oil
1 onion, sliced or chopped and/or a few shallots, chopped
1 bunch kale, washed, stems removed, roughly torn into manageable pieces
3-6 cloves garlic, chopped
1 28 oz. can tomatoes
splash (~1/4 c) red wine
optional: chopped fresh herbs
freshly grated parmesan cheese

1. Slice the spaghetti squash in half. Scoop out the seeds. Place the two halves cut side down in a microwave safe dish with 1/4" of water. It's okay if they don't both fit on the bottom of the dish.
2. Microwave the squash for 8 minutes. If you can depress the skin of the squash, it's done. Cook for additional 2 minute increments if it needs more time. Total cook time will vary based on microwave strength, but it probably won't be less than 8 minutes or more than 12.
3. Let it cool for a while. Once cool enough to handle, use a fork to separate the strands, and then a spoon to move all the strands into a serving bowl. Toss with butter, S&P, and optional parsley.
4. Meanwhile, heat a little olive oil in a large (non-cast iron) skillet over medium heat, sautee onion and/or shallot till translucent.
5. Add kale and garlic. Stir frequently for a few minutes, till the kale is starting to wilt and the garlic is starting to small nice.
6. Add a few tablespoonfuls of water, cover, and reduce to low heat. Cook for about 10 minutes, till kale is pretty tender but still textural and somewhat chewy.
7. Add wine and tomatoes and simmer for about 10 minutes, till the tomatoes start to lose their acidity and turn a deeper color of red. Remove the lid is you prefer a thicker stew. Stir in herbs, if using, at the end of the simmer. Season with additional S&P.
8. If necessary reheat the sphagetti squash in the microwave, and serve. Top with lots of parmesan.

-For herbs, I think rosemary or sage would be nice, as would any combination of basil, marjoram, oregano, parsley, herbes de provence.
-Use eggplant in addition or instead of kale for a ratatouille-like sauce; I've had it this way too, works really well.
-Add chunks of sausage, or tempeh. Or serve with grilled or seared shrimp or sea scallops.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Andy's birthday dinner!

Andy's birthday was October 7th... this shows how behind I am updating the blog!

I didn't make anything very fancy, I can't remember what we did - maybe mountain biking? - but there wasn't a lot of time left for cooking. So, I don't really have any recipes to share but thought I'd post a pic and the menu:

~Crab cakes (rescued from the freezer, so I definitely don't remember what want into them) with faux chilli aioli, i.e. a mixture of mayo and Sriracha chilli sauce.

~French fries from the awesome Yukon golds that come in the CSA... made roughly according to this recipe.

~Tasty salad!

Chile relleno casserole

This recipe comes from one of my PhD committee members, Linda. Thanks to the CSA, I again had a whole bunch of chiles, Anaheims I believe. I often get chiles rellenos when I eat at Mexican restaurants. They're so good. I always figured they were somewhat of a production to make, until Linda told me about her short cut way. The amounts here are definitely guesses, I should have jotted them down as I was making it (this is a common theme lately), so if it looks like too much or too little, definitely adjust! The key to the recipe is the batter; whipping the egg whites makes it light and crispy, mimicking the results of frying batter-dipped chiles.

1 lb potatoes, diced
1 onion, diced
salt & pepper
~at least 1 dozen green chiles: Anaheim, poblanos, hatch most types would work
~1/2 lb of cheese, preferably Cabot Hunter's X-sharp, sliced or grated.
optional green chile
some butter
2 eggs
~1/3 cup flour
1/2 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
1/2 t pepper

1. Preheat oven to 375.
2. Sautee potatoes and onions in butter till potatoes are done, season with S&P to taste.
3. Roast chiles the same way as directed in the green chile recipe. Linda says you can skip this step if you don't have time - or use canned roasted chiles.
4. Butter a medium-sized casserole or baking pan.
5. Layer half the green chiles, the potato and onion mixutre, the cheese, and top with the other half of the green chiles or the optional green chile. If your chile are still whole, you can make it fancier by stuffing them instead of layering.
6. Separate the eggs, reserving yolks and transferring whites to a mixing bowl.
7. Beat egg whites with an electric mixer till the soft peak stage.
8. Lightly beat yolks in a separate small bowl.
9. Very lightly fold in the yolks, flour, baking powder and S&P. The batter should be light and thinner than pancake batter.
10. Pour the batter evenly over the casserole.
11. Bake for about 40 minutes, till the batter is completely cooked in the middle.

Serve with warm corn tortillas, chopped cilantro, plain yogurt or sour cream, and salsa (fresh, if available!), and/or rice and black beans.

Green chile

Here in Colorado, green chile is ubiquitous. It's served by itself, as stew (usually thinned with stock), but more often as a condiment for burritos, tamales, eggs, meat dishes etc. I don't think it's very common outside of Colorado, New Mexico... maybe a couple other places. And interestingly, there's not a lot of recipes for it online, and there seems to be wild debate on message boards. A couple things I've decided about green chile, which may or may not be right:
1. Green chile should be made of New Mexico Hatch chiles
2. The chiles are roasted and peeled first
3. It does not contain tomatoes, tomatillos, cilantro, or really much else.
4. It contains pork

I don't really like pork very much. So I decided to try to make a somewhat traditional green chile (ie follow observations 1-3), but without the pork. I thought some chicken, flavorful, fatty chicken, might give the green chile the required depth in place of the pork. I got a "stewing chicken" from our CSA thinking it might do the trick. I don't claim that this is traditional, the correct way, the best way, or anything else, but it did work fairly well.

I took a similar approach to making pho ga, the Vietnamese chicken soup, which I learned to make from Tin's mom Thuy. My thinking was that I would end up with a bunch of awesome chicken stock, some cooked chicken, and some chicken fat to work into the green chile.

The chiles, as I noted above, are roasted first. I didn't do this part particularly well, so I am writing the recipe as it should be made, not as I made it. My problem was I roasted them for too long, and the chile flesh got a bit burned and dry. The parts of the chile that weren't as subject to high heat were the best. So onto the recipe!

1 whole chicken (you won't use all of it)
About two dozen green chiles, I used mostly Hatch, and some Anaheim
4 cloves garlic, minced

Part 1 - the chicken
1. Rinse the chicken.
2. Boil water in a stockpot, add chicken. You can throw in some charred onion or other vegetables (char the onion directly over a gas burner).
3. Bring to a boil again over medium heat, then reduce, and let simmer for 45 minutes.
4. Pull out the chicken, make sure it's done. Put on some gloves (latex are fine, it'll be hot and they help a little) and used a fork and knife and your fingers (with caution, hot!) to pull the meat of the carcass.
5. Return the carcass to the stock and boil for another hour or two or however long you want.
6. Chill the stock overnight in the fridge.
7. In the morning, skim the fat off the top, and save it.

Part 2 - the chiles
1. Wash the chiles. One comment on a message board says to rub the chiles with lard or shortening, saying that it helps cook the chiles more evenly and makes the skinning easier. I haven't tried this, but might next time.
2. Put the chiles on the grate of your preheated grill. If it's a gas grill, I would probably aim for only about half heat, but it's all relative.
3. Watch the chiles carefully. As soon as you see black and blistering skin, turn the chile, getting them as evenly cooked as possible. I think when I cook this again, I will err on the side of underdone.
4. As they finish cooking, but them in a bowl and cover with a damp dishtowel. Let them sit and steam until they are cool enough to handle.
5. Peel off the skins. Gloves are again useful, especially if you wear contact lens and will eventually want to touch your eyes! Discard any stems and big clumps of seeds. The seeds that stick to the inner membranes are fine to leave.
6. Chop the peeled, cooked chiles roughly (about 1/4 to 1/2 inch dice, but shouldn't be terribly uniform).

Part 3 - unification
1. Heat up a little of the reserved chicken fat in a heavy saucepan over medium-low heat. If this grosses you out, use a neutral oil.
2. Add in the garlic and all the chopped up chiles. Stir occasionally for 5 minutes. My thinking here was to evoke any of the fat-soluble flavors from the chiles.
3. Pour in enough chicken stock to just cover the chiles; you won't use all of it. Cover and simmer for about half an hour.
4. Take the reserved chicken out of the fridge and shred or chop. You want the chicken in small pieces... and not long strings. You can put as much chicken into the chile as you want.
5. Add as much chicken as you want and simmer for another half an hour or so. Simmer without the lid if seems too soupy.

My version of this chile was quite spicy (it all depends on the spiciness of chiles though). I knew it would take a while to eat it all, so I froze it in an ice cube tray for little blocks that are the perfect size to accompany a fried egg! In fact I think my favorite breakfast of the moment might be two over easy eggs with sliced tomatoes (too bad the season's over! no more in our CSA...), grated Cabot cheddar cheese, and green chile on some warmed corn tortillas, as is pictured below (actually this looks like wheat tortilla, corn is better :)

Monday, November 2, 2009

Pumpkin pie oatmeal

I've been having trouble making the time to put up my recipes. But I intend to keep doing it! I've got about 6 recipes I want to put up, so hopefully they will be here soon. But in the meantime, here's a super quick one.

I don't intend to put much breakfasty stuff on here, but this is one of my more brilliant breakfast ideas lately. It stems from the deluge of pumpkins coming from the CSA and elsewhere. It's delicious, and a lot healthier than pumpkin pie.

Serves 1, but can be easily scaled up:

1/2 c. old-fashioned rolled oats (never, ever eat instant oatmeal, it's gross IMO)
1 c. milk
2 T. pumpkin puree, from a can or your own
1/2 t. ground ginger
1/4 t. ground nutmeg
1/4 t. ground cinnamon
small handful pecans, toasted if you have the time
brown sugar, milk to taste

Combine oats, milk, and pumpkin in saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, then reduce to low heat. Rummage through spice cabinet and add spices as you find them. Cook a few minutes till it looks creamy and delicious. Serve with pecans, brown sugar, and more milk.

I think this would also be great with steel cut oats, soaked overnight and then cooked with pumpkin and spices.