Archive for the ‘Every day dishes’ Category

My top tens, and a non-recipe

July 14, 2009

Hello there!  You’re catching me in a rare free moment.  The move has gotten pretty intense.  See the thing is, this whole month has become one giant transition.  My lease in NY started on July 1, and my lease here ends on July 31.  Now, there’s a part of me that considers this a luxury.  I get to move out at my leisure, no rush, no panicked  night-before packing.  But on the other hand, this means that the move takes ALL MONTH.  There is a (very large) part of me that would greatly prefer to just get-er-done.  Yes, maybe it would be a crazy weekend, but at least it wouldn’t drag on.  I’m sure you’ve all had some crazy moving experiences, I’ve heard some great/terrible stories this month that, to tell the truth, have made me really appreciate how many potential moving disasters have NOT occurred (yet).

Anyway, with the kitchen all but packed up, it’s practically toruture to look through food blogs these days!  There are so many recipes that I can’t wait to try once I’m all unpacked and settled down in my new place.  Right now, I’m pretty restricted, but there is one recipe that has become quite the standby.  I’ll include it as number 1 on my top tens… it’s Smitten Kitchen’s Peanut Sesame Noodles.  If you like peanut butter at all, I highly suggest that you make this now.  The thing is, the dish is great as is.  It is easy and versitile.  It can be eaten hot or cold, it’s wonderful either way.  It requires very little heating of anything, all you have to do is boil some pasta, really.  But the best part is that the sesame-peanut sauce is just about the best thing ever in terms of multi-tasking.  Of course I tried it on soba noodles first, but then I had some sauce left over and I started experimenting.  It’s great for dipping veggies.  I cut up some cucumbers and carrots and dipped for a healthy and satisfying snack.  It’s also perfect mixed in with any other grain.  Last night I made some brown rice (with broth in place of water… that’s a valuable secret tip there!) and mixed in butternut squash and some sesame-peanut sauce.  Sounds a little weird, I know, but it was awesome!  It’s also perfect mixed in with greens:  collards, kale, it all works.  I feel like at this point I should note that Deb at Smitten Kitchen is not compensating me in any way to swoon so blatantly over her recipe 😉  Seriously, it’s just good, and it has really made this whole trying-to- eat-well-while-moving thing much more pleasant.

So, with that said, here are my top tens.  You can bet I’ll be tackling a lot of these recipes in August once my life calms down a bit.  If you try any of them first, let me know how it goes!

1. Peanut Sesame Noodles from Smitten Kitchen

2. Chickpea “Blondies” from Have Cake, Will Travel (by the way, I LOVE the design of that site!  So simple and pleasing.)

3. Warm Butternut and Chickpea Salad with Tahini from Orangette (although truthfully, almost all of her recipes are on my to-make list)

4. Thyme-Rosemary Bread from StephChows.  This is the perfect use for my overgrowing Thyme!!

5. Pad Karpow Moo from Chez Pim

6. Aglaia Kremezi’s Fried Potatoes with Yogurt Sauce from The Wednesday Chef

7. Cookies and Cream Cheesecake from Bake or Break (oh man, I don’t even know if I could handle this- so rich looking! but it makes me drool…)

8. Otsu from 101 Cookbooks (looks like the perfect fresh-n-easy summer recipe!)

9. Crispy Halibut wtih Wasabi Panzanella and Early Grey Potatoes from No Recipes (this one’s fancy but looks awesome!)

10. Noodles with Mushrooms and Lemon-Ginger Dressing from Simply Recipes

Well, there’s my list.  I can’t wait to start cooking for real again!  My non-recipe recipe is coming soon, I promise.  I’ll be back later this afternoon.


So simple: Quick Salmon Tacos with Collards

June 17, 2009

Hello there!  I’m here today to give you all yet another non-recipe recipe.  And you know what?  In my opinion, these are really the best, especially in the summer.  Here’s what happened.  Dinner time rolled around and I was stumped and lazy, as usual. I remembered a beautiful piece of salmon that I had purchased a couple of days before, and not wanting to risk letting it go bad, decided to base the meal around it. Next came the vegetable component. I don’t know about you, but for me, I need a vegetable at almost every meal, preferably even breakfast! It just makes me feel good. So I had some collards in the fridge, which is great, because I love to pair salmon with greens. Then I just needed to finish it off. Now, one thing I’m really into these days is putting things in corn tortillas. I actually used to be vehemently against corn tortillas, preferring their flour-based cousins, but I’m a convert! They’re lighter, they are arguably a whole grain, and they’re also small and cute. I’ll also add, and of course this is just a personal opinion, but I really do think that food is more fun to eat when you can wrap it up in a corn tortilla. So there you go… end of rant.

The “recipe” is embarassingly simple. I seasoned the salmon with salt and pepper and then pan fried it in olive oil until it got a bit of a crust. Then I threw it in a 400 degree oven on a baking sheet to finish cooking. While the salmon was in the oven, I sautéed the kale with olive oil, garlic, cumin, and cinnamon (and s+p, of course), and sliced up an avocado. All that was left to do was warm up the tortillas and throw it all together. So simple. A quick squeeze of lemon brought it all together and brightened it up. That’s it!

Quick Salmon Tacos with Collard Greens

1 lb salmon filets
salt and pepper, olive oil for pan

1 bunch of collard greens, jullienned, washed well
1 big garlic clove, or two small, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons cumin
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
about 1 tablespoon olive oil for sauteeing

2 ripe avocados, sliced
8 corn tortillas
1 lemon, quartered

Start by pan frying the salmon.  Warm a glug of olive oil in a non-stick pan over high heat.  While it’s heating up, season the salmon with salt and pepper.  When the oil glistens and moves easily around the pan, carefully place the salmon in the pan and let it cook (without moving it) until it gets a little bit of a crust on the non-skin side.  Remove the salmon from the pan, place it on a baking sheet, and put it in a 400 degree oven for 5-10 minutes (depending on thickness) to finish cooking.

While the salmon is in the oven, make the collards.  Warm the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add the collard greens (it’s ok if they’re still a little wet from washing, this will help them steam a little as they cook) to the pan.  Add the garlic, stir to combine, and cover the pan to let the greens steam for a few minutes.  When the greens are tender (about five minutes), add the cumin and cinnamon, stir, and continue cooking until all water has evaporated and the greens are tender.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

In a hot dry pan, heat the corn tortillas, one at a time, turning often until they are heated through.  Place the tortillas on plates (2 per person).  Remove the skin from the salmon and break it up, dividing it between the tortillas.  Add some collards to each tortilla, and top with avocado slices.  Finish with a squeeze of lemon.

Serves 4.

Barely a Recipe: Spring Greens with Roasted Beets and Goat Cheese

June 11, 2009

A funny thing happens to me (and I suspect many others) as summer rolls around.  As much as I love to cook, when the weather gets hot and the days get long, that love kind of fades and turns tepid, and all of a sudden, I’ve just lost the urge.  Now don’t get me wrong, I still think about food all the time.  During the day I dream up recipes, delude myself with notions of elaborate meals that I will somehow have the energy to prepare when I get home, and convince myself that yes, this cooking thing is really going to happen.  But day after day six o’clock rolls around and guess what?  I just don’t feel like it.  Sound familiar?

I’ve got a solution… for now, at least.  Make this salad.  It’s simple, but special enough to make you feel like you’ve done something nice for yourself.  It’s also incredibly healthy.  Beets are a nutritional goldmine- they’re loaded with vitamins A, B1, B2, B6 and C, and surprisingly, are higher in iron than spinach.  Take that Popeye!  They’re also naturally sweet, which means that you’ll be less likely to be craving something sugary for dessert later.

Now, as a pair, beets and goat cheese are nothing new.   Why?  Because they work perfectly together.  The tangy creaminess of the goat cheese is the perfect complement to the beets’ deep earthy sweetness.  And when you toss everything together, the juice from the beets mixes with some of the goat cheese to create a built-in dressing.  It couldn’t be simpler.

To make this salad even simpler to throw together, you can roast the beets the night before.  I like to throw them in the oven after dinner and pull them out before I go to bed.  That way, they practically make themselves!

Spring Greens with Roasted Beets and Goat Cheese

2 beets
1 tablespoon olive oil (for drizzling)
1 teaspoon kosher salt

2 -3 big handfuls salad greens, well washed and dried
2-3 ounces of chevre, or other goat cheese

1 tablespoon olive oil
squeeze of lemon
salt and pepper to taste

Start by making the beets (as I mentioned, I would highly suggest doing this the night before).  Preheat the oven to 400 (F).  Place the beets in a cast iron skillet (or even an oven-safe pot).  Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt.  Bake, covered loosely with alumninum foil, for 60-90 minutes, or until easily pierced with a fork.  Remove from the oven and let cool completely before peeling (you should be able to remove the skin easily with your fingers).  Chop into 1/2 inch cubes.

For the salad:  In a bowl, combine the greens and the beets.  Crumble the goat cheese over the top.  At this point, you could really add any dressing, but I just like a drizzle of olive oil, a squeeze or two of lemon, and some salt and freshly ground pepper.  Toss and serve.

How to Charm a Vegan: Spinach Mushroom Quiche

May 28, 2009

I’ve got a great recipe for you.  I don’t know if you have vegan friends, but I definitely do.  Here’s the thing with vegans.  A lot of them are really great cooks.  They’ve got to be inventive, and hence, they’ve figured a thing or two out in the kitchen.  However, when vegans go to other people’s houses (non-vegans I mean), they’re often left picking at sides and salads.  It’s sad!  There’s so much good vegan food out there for both vegans and non-vegans to enjoy.  This quiche, or “Viche”, as my friend dubbed it (vegan quiche=viche, get it??) is delicious whether you’re vegan or not.  My inspiration for this recipe came from 101 Cookbooks, where Heidi takes a very similar approach but puts it all in a tart pan.  Very elegant, I admit, but I like my quiches to have a little bit more depth.  I also changed up some of the seasoning.  So give it a shot, it’s a real crowd pleaser.  

Despite the long-looking recipe, it’s acutally really easy to put together.  I’ve to a few how-to photos for you below.

You’ll start with the crust.  The whole thing comes together in a food processor, and then you press it into the pan. It’ll be a bit crumbly.  Guess what?  It doesn’t really matter if it’s neat or not.

To make the filling, you start with the onions.  You guys know the easiest way to chop an onion, right?  Well, if not, here’s how!  Cut the onion in half, and then make vertical cuts that go almost all the way to the butt of the onion.

At this point, you can also make some horizontal cuts, but I don’t really think that’s necessary.  I just  start slicing across the onion, and it just about dices itself.  That’s it!

You’ll throw the onions and mushrooms in a pan with some olive oil and the seasonings, and then you should really take a break with a glass of wine while you wait for the onions and mushrooms to cook.  

TDon’t worry if your kitchen starts to get a little messy!

I don’t have pictures of the rest, but you don’t need them.  I just wanted to make sure you knew the easiest way to cut an onion.  Here’s what the quiche will look like right before you put it in the oven.  When you take it out, it’ll be brown, but I didn’t get that shot because this was a last minute endeavor and the Viche needed to be whisked off to a potluck.  Oh well, maybe next time.


Vegan Spinach-Mushroom Quiche Recipe

For the crust:
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup almond meal
3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour or whole spelt flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly milled black pepper
1/3 cup unflavored soy milk or water
1/3 cup light sesame oil or pure olive oil plus more for brushing the pan

For the filling:
7 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup finely diced onion
10 ounces white button mushrooms, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons dry white wine or water
1 1/2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse sea salt
3 garlic cloves, slice crosswise into 1/8-inch rounds
1/2 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme leaves
Pinch hot red pepper flakes
1 pound firm tofu, rinsed and patted dry
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast (optional)
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 pounds fresh spinach

Preheat the oven to 350

Combine the oats and almond meal in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Add the flour, baking powder, salt, and pepper, and process until the oats are finely ground.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the soy milk (or water) and oil. Using a wooden spoon, mix in the dry ingredients to form a dough. Alternatively, add the soy milk and oil to the food processor a little bit at a time and pulse until combined with the dry ingredients.

Lightly brush a standard pie pan with oil. Put the dough in the pan. Place a piece of plastic wrap on the dough and press down evenly, making sure to work the dough up the sides of the pan. Trim the tart of any excess dough and refrigerate while you make the filling.

To make the filling, in a wide saute pan over medium heat, warm 2 tablespoons of the oil. Add the onions, mushrooms, cumin and turmeric, raise the heat to high, and saute for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring and shaking the pan until the vegetables are caramelized. Add the wine and scrape up any brown bits from the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Season with 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and continue to cook until dry. Using a rubber spatula, scrape the vegetables into a mixing bowl and set aside.

In a small saucepan over medium heat, warm the remaining 5 tablespoons of oil. Add the garlic, thyme, and red pepper flakes. Simmer gently for 3 to 4 minutes or until the garlic is golden. Do not let the garlic brown or it will become bitter. With a rubber spatula, scrape the garlic oil into the bowl of a food processor.

Crumble the tofu into the bowl of the food processor. Add the lemon juice, vinegar, soy sauce, nutritional yeast and remaining 1 teaspoon of salt and puree until smooth. With a rubber spatula, scrape the puree into the mushroom-onion mixture. If the mixture is a little bit dry, add some more lemon juice or soy sauce.

Remove and discard the tough stems of the spinach. Wash the leaves in a large bowl with several changes of cold water. Transfer the spinach to a pot and cook, covered, over high heat for several minutes, just until wilted. Drain in a colander and rinse under cold water to stop the cooking. Drain well and squeeze dry in a paper towel, or clean terry cloth. Transfer the spinach to a cutting board and chop fine. Add the spinach to the rest of the filling and stir well to combine.

Fill the crust with the tofu and vegetable mixture and smooth the top with the back of a spoon. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes,until firm.

Let the pie cool for 8 to 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

Yield: 6 to 8 servings

Too good not to share: Maple-Oat Thumbprint Cookies

May 21, 2009

I can’t keep these a secret any longer. These are some of the simplest and most delicious cookies I’ve ever made. They are everyday cookies, for sure. There’s nothing decadent about them. But who wants decadent all the time? Most of the time I just a little satisfying bite that’ll pick me up. These cookies do that, and in addition, they can be thrown together in three minutes flat, they have no white flour or refined sugar, and they fill the kitchen with the warmest, most comforting aroma while they bake. Oh and everyone loves them. These guys are just about perfect.

I have no idea why it’s taken me so long to post about these cookies. But here goes. Don’t wait to make these, there’s just no reason to deny yourself.

Also, I’ve submitted these cookies to CLICK, a photography event hosted by Jugalbandi.  The May theme is Cookies.  Go check it out here.

makes about 30 small cookies

-1 cup almonds (roasted or raw), or 1/2 cup almonds, 1/2 cup walnuts
-1 cup rolled oats
-1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
-pinch sea salt
-1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
-1/2 cup safflower or olive oil
-1/2 cup maple syrup
-1 banana

-zest of half a lemon


  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly oil a cookie sheet.
  2. In a food processor, chop nuts and half the oats into coarse meal.
  3. In a large bowl, combine nuts, oats, flour, salt, and cinnamon. Add the lemon zest and mix.
    Add the oil and maple syrup to the dry ingredients. Mix lightly.
  4. Roll into walnut-sized balls. Place on an oiled cookie sheet. Press an indentation in the center with thumb.
    Press a slice (or a chunk, depending on size of cookies) of banana into each indentation.
  5. Bake 15-20 minutes, or until bottoms are lightly browned. Cool 10 minutes.

Go-to dinner

May 12, 2009

Everyone needs to have a dinner for those days when you want to eat at home, but can’t really stand the thought of cooking anything elaborate. Yes, you can snack, or just make some scrambled eggs, but sometime I want something nurturing, deeply satisfying, and delicious. Now, I don’t know if this is odd or not, but I don’t really get junk food cravings, no, I get greens and brown rice cravings. Admittedly, that stuff can be really bland, unless of course you know how to make it tasty. And I do 😉 Lately my go-to meal has been brown rice, kale, and sweet potatoes. To make it extra wonderful, I’ll add an olive-oil fried egg, still runny.

If you haven’t tried greens with sweet potatoes before, I think you should give it a shot. The bitterness of the greens combined with the sweetness of the yams balances perfectly. The brown rice, made with broth for extra flavor, gives the dish heft, and the egg makes it decadent. And the best part is, it’s SO easy. You can make the brown rice ahead of time, or just start it ten minutes before everything else. After that, everything else comes together pretty effortlessly. So here it is:

Brown Rice, Kale, and Sweet Potatoes

For the brown rice:

1 cup brown rice (I used texmati)
2 1/4 cups chicken broth, or water and one bullion cube
(all bullion is definitely not created equal. I use rapunzel and really like it)

For the sweet potatoes:

2 sweet potatoes, cut into 1/2 inch cubes

For the kale:

1 glug olive oil
1-2 cloves of garlic, finely minced
1 small yellow onion, or 1/2 of a large onion, chopped fine
1 tsp cumin
1 pinch salt, ground pepper to taste
1 bunch lacinato kale (any other type would work too), washed and chopped into ribbons

To make the brown rice:

Combine the brown rice and the broth (or the water and the bullion) in a small pot. Cover, and bring to a boil over medium high heat (watch it carefully so it doesn’t boil over!) Once it comes to a boil, bring the heat down to low, stir once, re-cover, and continue cooking for 40 minutes or so until, the rice is tender, but still has a little bit of a bite.

For the potatoes:

While the brown rice is cooking, place the potatoes in a steam basket over simmering water, cover, and steam for 10-15 minutes, until fork tender.

For the kale:

Warm the glug of olive oil in a large pan or pot over medium heat. Toss in the onions and, after a minute or so, the garlic. The oil shouldn’t be hot yet- you want the onions and garlic cook slowly until the onions have softened a bit, about 5 minutes.

At this point, add the salt and the cumin, and stir to mix. Let the cumin warm up for a minute or so, then turn up the heat a little and add the kale. Stir it all around to distribute the onions and garlic throughout the kale, and then cook until the kale wilts, about five minutes or so. Some kale has more structure than others, so if you’re using a really hearty variety, you may want to add a tablespoon or so of water, cover the pot, and steam for a couple of minutes. Season with ground pepper, and more salt if it needs it.

Now, there are a few ways to eat this. You can combine it all in the pot and mix it there, or you can do a layered type of presentation in a bowl. The latter is my favorite. I like to put some brown rice on the bottom, then the kale, and then the sweet potatoes. I usually drizzle a little bit of soy sauce over the whole thing.

Also, at this point, you could also fry up an egg in some olive oil and lay it over everything so that when you cut into it, the yolk runs down over everything, making a kind of a sauce. That’s what I did tonight.

Mother’s Day, Lemon Basil Panna Cotta

May 10, 2009

Happy mother’s day!  I have to get a little cheesy for a second and just say that I’m so thankful to have been able to spend the day with my mom, my honorary mom (childhood best friend’s mother), and my grandma.  They are three of the greatest women I know.

So, what better way to say I love you than with a fresh, light dessert.  I wanted to do something fairly simple, and for some reason, lemon just seemed right.  I love the flavor of lemon, especially after a big Italian lunch.  Heavy lunches are too often followed with heavy desserts, which I think, honestly, is just not fair to the dessert.  Everyone just looks at it, kind of groans, and then begrudgingly eats a few bites, and that just doesn’t seem right to me.  Lately I’ve been very into mini desserts, and this panna cotta is perfect served mini-style.  It is also one of the easiest desserts I’ve ever made, didn’t involve the oven, and came out flawlessly.  Seriously, next time you’ve gone way overboard with an elaborate meal, make this for dessert. You will thank me, but more importantly, your guests will thank you.

Note:  I made some with basil and some without, and I loved it both ways.  The basil was very subtle and I would definitely recommend it, but if you just don’t think it’s your thing, just leave it out.  It’s by no means necessary.

Lemon Basil Panna Cotta
makes 8 very small (espresso cup-sized) servings

1 tablespoon (15gr) water
1 3/4 teaspoons (4gr) powdered gelatin
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup (250ml) heavy cream
1/4 cup (50gr) sugar
1 cup (250ml) whole milk

zest of two lemon
four basil leaves, torn into large pieces (optional)

Place the water in a small ramekin and sprinkle the gelatin over it. Let it bloom while you prepare the cream.

In a medium saucepan, heat the heavy cream with the sugar lemon rind, and basil until the cream is just about to boil, stirring occasionally to make sure the sugar dissolves completely. Remove from the heat and stir in the gelatin until it is completely melted.

Let cool for about 10 minutes and add the milk. Using a fine sieve, strain the mixture into a measuring cup with a pour spout (or, if you want the lemon rind to be in the finished dessert, just pick out the basil leaves).

Pour the panna cotta into serving cups (I used cappuccinio cups, which worked perfectly) and chill, covered, for at least three hours, or up to overnight.

hello beautiful

February 7, 2009

Do you ever wander around the kitchen at night wanting something, not figuring out what it is, and then finally realizing that you’re just looking forward to coffee the next morning?  I think that this banana bread is the breakfast to go with that coffee.  This is a gentle banana bread, more cakelike than bready, with soft and comforting undertones.  If you bake it just right (well, at least in my opinion), the bread surrounding the inevitable crack down the middle will still be a little bit gooey.  I can never resist dipping my finger in to grab a little bit of the gooey part before the loaf cools.  Don’t tell, although I’m pretty sure I get caught any time anyway.

What I like about this specific banana bread is the use of both butter and yogurt.  A lot of banana breads use oil which makes them very moist, but a little greasy and tasteless, in my opinion.  The yogurt keeps the moisture factor covered, anyway.

You could always go with variations.  I want to try substituting pears for the bananas.  I have no idea if it would work, but I plan on giving  it a shot.  You could add shredded coconut (1/2 C) and swap out the walnuts for macadamia nuts, or add cinnamon and maybe even a tablespoon or so of rum.


Banana Bread

adapted from the America’s Test Kitchen Family Baking Book

makes one 8-inch loaf

  • 1 C all-purpose flour
  • 1 C whole wheat pastry flour
  • 3/4 C brown sugar or evaporated cane juice
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 large very ripe bananas (best if they have a lot of black spots)*
  • 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 C whole or low-fat plain yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 C (2 ounces) walnuts or pecans, toasted
  • 1/2 C raisins


1. Adjust an oven rack to the lower-middle position and heat the oven to 350 degrees.  Grease an 8 1/2 by 4 1/2 inch loaf pan.

2. Whisk the flours, sugar, baking soda, and salt together in a large bowl.  In a medium bowl, whisk the mashed bananas, melted butter, eggs, yogurt, and vanilla together.  Gently fold the banana mixture into the flour mixture with a rubber spatula until just combined (if it’s a little bit lumpy that’s OK, just don’t overmix it).  Fold in the walnuts.  The batter should look thick and lumpy.

3. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top.  Bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with a few crumbs attached, about 55 minutes (but check a bit earlier), rotating the pan halfway through baking.

4. Let the loaf cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and let cool for 1 hour before serving.

*I always find myself with a few bananas that are going black on me.  That’s great- I just peel them and throw them in the freezer until I feel like making banana bread.  It only takes an hour or so on the counter and they’re ready to go.  If you don’t have any super-ripe bananas (either fresh or frozen), America’s Test Kitchen has a great tip: oven-ripening the bananas.  Here’s how:

While the oven preheats, throw your yellow bananas (in their skins) on a baking sheet and pop them in the oven for 15 minutes or so.  The skins will turn black but the flesh will get softer and sweeter.  One note- this trick won’t work with green bananas, which are too far from ripeness to be useful here.


kabocha squash, two ways

January 8, 2009

Today I have a couple of really simple recipes for you. My roommate and I joined the local CSA (community shared agriculture) this year, so now we get a big box of locally farmed vegetables and fruit each week. We also get granola, cheese, meat, and eggs too. Not a bad deal, right?

The one downside (or upside, as I like to see it) is that you don’t get to choose what you get. Lucky for me, I love weird winter vegetables and plan to roast and braise away all winter. I actually just got Molly Stevens’s All About Braising and a dutch oven* for Christmas, so as far as I’m concerned, I’m ready to go.

Well. That being said, neither of these recipes involve braising. The truth is, the dutch oven is still in the trunk of my car and it was raining last night and, well, you get the idea. This week, we got an amazing-looking kabocha squash from our CSA and I wanted to experiment a little.  Being scientifically minded, I did a little bit of a comparison study to test out two methods of cooking.

The first half of the squash got tossed with a little olive oil, cumin, and cinnamon and then roasted in a hot oven (see below, and first picture). For a finishing touch, I crumbled a bit of brie over the squash towards the end and then threw it back in the oven just long enough for the brie to melt.

The second half got boiled and then cooked briefly with some miso and soy (below, and second picture from top). And while I really expected to like the roasted squash much better, I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed them both.

Either of these preparations would make great side dishes, but I was eating alone last night and the best thing about eating alone is that you can have whatever you want. So yes, I had lots of squash for dinner (and some swedish fish for dessert), and yes, it was awesome.

*I just have to say, I definitely did not pay $200, or even $100-something for the dutch oven. My mom and I found the exact same ones at Marshall’s for 50 bucks. Yeah!

Roasted Kabocha Squash with Cumin and Brie

  • 1/2 of a medium-sized kabocha squash, skin removed, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 oz brie, mild or stinky depending on your preference
  • salt and pepper
  • olive oil to drizzle

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees

2. Cube the kabocha: cut it in half, then scoop out the seeds. Place it cut side down on your cutting board, and then cut into half-inch slices. To remove the skins, place each slice on its side and cut off the skin in pieces (or use a vegetable peeler, although I think you’ll have to peel it twice to get all the skin off).

2. Drizzle some olive oil on a heavy baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Put the squash on the baking sheet and then sprinkle cumin and cinnamon on top. Season with a good pinch of salt too, and some freshly ground pepper.

3. Roast on the middle rack of the oven until the bottoms of the squash cubes are golden brown, about 20 minutes (although you should definitely check along the way, as some ovens will brown food way faster than others). Toss sqash with a spatula, and return to oven for another 15 or 20 minutes to brown the other sides. At that point, check to see that the squash is done (it should give when you press it, or you can always just taste one).

4. Pinch off little pieces of the brie and sprinkle over the squash. Return to the oven for five minutes until the brie melts.

Kabocha with miso-soy glaze

  • 1/2 of a medium-sized kabocha squash, cut into 1/2 inch by 2 inch pieces (skin can stay on)
  • 1 T miso paste (I used yellow)
  • 1/2 T soy sauce
  • 1 T water

1. Cut the squash and place it in a medium-sized pot. Fill with water to cover about half of the squash. Cover, and cook over medim heat until squash is tender. It should take only 15 minutes or so, but to be honest I didn’t time it.

2. Meanwhile, mix together the miso paste, soy sauce and water.

3. When the squash has finished cooking, pour out the extra water and add in the miso-soy mixture. Continue cooking for a minute until almost all of the liquid is absorbed.

summer beet and zucchini salad

June 27, 2008

recipe coming soon!

here’s the simplified version: