Friday, February 28, 2014

Violence against veggies

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Caldo verde, Portuguese soup

I came across a reference to Caldo Verde recently, and since I liked what I was reading, decided to give it a try.  This seems to be another of those traditional soups where there are as many variants as there are cooks, but here's what seems to be working for us:

Caldo Verde

12 oz linguica sausage, sliced
Olive oil
Onion, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced
Red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper
3 - 4 Yukon Gold potatoes, chopped to 3/4 inch pieces
4 c chicken broth
2 - 4 c water
1 lb kale (or collards) chopped
2 t white vinegar

Brown the linguica in a bit of olive oil in a Dutch oven; remove from pot and set aside.  Over medium heat, cook the onions and garlic with a dash of red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper.  Cook until translucent, a few minutes.

Add the potatoes, broth, and 2 c water and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium low and simmer until potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes.  Dip out about 2 c of potato and broth into a large glass measuring cup.  Add about 3 T olive oil to the mix, and blend really well with an immersion blender.  Set aside.

Add the greens and the linguica to the pot and simmer for about 10 minutes.  Add up to 2 c more water, only as needed.  Give the blended portion another blast, and add it to the soup, along with the vinegar.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Apricot and almond granola

Using my recipe for Basic Chunky Granola, I recently experimented with another variation, namely Apricot and Almond.  I saw this combination featured in an issue of Hannaford market's magazine, but I didn't really like the results...too dry and completely crumbled, with no chunks and not a particularly good taste.  So I messed with it, and here are the results.

Apricot and Almond Granola 

1/3 c agave syrup
1/3 c raw sugar
2 t vanilla
2 t almond extract
1/2 t salt
1 T cinnamon
1/2 t nutmeg
1/2 c canola oil
5 c rolled oats (not quick cook or steel cut) or 4 c oats and 1 c uncooked quinoa
1 1/2 c almonds, chopped, raw preferred
1 c sunflower seeds, raw preferred
2 c dried apricots, chopped 

Spray a rimmed baking sheet and line it with parchment.  Set the rack to the upper middle position and preheat to 300.  In a large bowl, whisk the syrup, sugar, extracts, salt, and spices together, and then whisk in the oil.  Stir in the oats, almonds, and sunflower seeds and work with your hands until the sugar mixture is worked through. 
Scrape out the oats onto the baking sheet and compress the mixture firmly into a thin, even, and tight layer.  Bake for about 35 minutes, rotating the pan once. Remove from the oven to a wire rack and cool thoroughly.  Break the granola into pieces and stir in the apricots.  Store in an airtight container.   

Link to my Cranberry Granola

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Pistachio crisps

Although we had these for an appetizer one evening, they'd also make a great dessert, maybe by just upping the sugar content a smidge...?

Pistachio Crisps

A batch of Thin Pizza Dough
Olive oil
1/2 to 1 c pistachios, chopped extra fine
Raw sugar
Kosher salt (optional - only use if pistachios are unsalted)

Preheat oven to 450 with the rack near the bottom.  Roll out the dough as thin as possible and place it on a parchment covered baking pan.  Spread a thin coat of oil on the top and sprinkle with the nuts and sugar.  Add salt only if needed.  Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, checking carefully after 15.  Cut into pieces and store in a tight container.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Dandelion greens

Cultivated dandelion greens can be substituted for just about any reasonably robust green that you enjoy, and can be cooked in all the same ways.  It's a bit less delicate than baby spinach, and considerably more delicate than collards, so use that for your guide in how you choose to handle them.  All I did was chop them up, and saute them in a bit of bacon grease with onions, garlic, and red pepper flakes.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Roasted bok choy

The best bok choy to use for roasting is the little tiny baby size.  But we can almost never find it, so I've adapted the roasting directions for a piece that's a bit bigger!

Roasted Bok Choy

Baby or small heads of bok choy
Olive oil
Garlic salt (optional)

3 parts lemon juice
2 parts miso paste
1 part rice vinegar

Preheat oven to 425.  Wash the bok choy and slice it lengthwise if it isn't baby-sized.  Pat dry and arrange on a foil-lined baking sheet.  Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle lightly with garlic salt.  Add a couple T of water to the bottom of the pan and cover with foil.  Bake for about 5 minutes, remove the foil, and bake for 5 to 10 minutes more until leaves are crisp.

Whisk together the lemon juice, miso, and vinegar, and spoon sauce over bok choy once plated.  

Monday, February 10, 2014

Cranberry chutney

Although I originally made Cranberry Chutney to go with a warm brie appetizer, we've found that we like it a lot as an accompaniment to poultry dishes instead of the milder Cranberry Sauce I usually make.  It's nice to have options!

Monday, February 3, 2014

Mildly spicy butternut squash soup

You can never have too many variations on butternut squash soup!

Mildly Spicy Butternut Squash Soup

2 (20 oz) bags of frozen butternut squash, thawed
2 c vegetable broth (more if needed)
1/2 t cinnamon
2 t each of fresh marjoram and thyme
Dash of nutmeg
Salt and pepper to taste
1 can of coconut milk
Roasted pumpkin seeds

In a Dutch oven, combine the squash and broth, bringing it to a boil.  Lower the heat and simmer until squash is completely soft.  Stir in the spices and herbs, and add half the can of coconut milk.  Use an immersion blender to puree the soup.  Add the rest of the coconut milk if desired.  Top with pumpkin seeds to serve.