Thursday, July 20, 2017

Slow-baked Salmon with White Beans and Fennel

This is an easy, different, and delicious take on salmon that's easy to scale up for company or leftovers. Loosely adapted from this recipe here, crossed with this long-time favorite.


Ingredients
1 lb wild salmon
2 tbsp chopped green garlic (or sub 2 cloves garlic, pressed)
1 1/2 tbsp minced fennel top
Zest of ½ lemon
1 tsp mustard seeds
Olive oil
Kosher salt
1 large or two small fennel bulbs, diced
2 cans cannellini beans
3 tsp good-quality mustard
Few sloshes white wine
1-2 tomatoes, diced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Combine in a small bowl: 1 tbsp of the green garlic (or one clove garlic, pressed), the fennel top, lemon zest, mustard seeds, 1.5 tbsp olive oil, 1 tbsp or so wine, and a couple pinches of salt. Lightly oil a foil-lined baking sheet and place the salmon on it, skin side down. Spread the garlic-fennel mixture evenly over the top in a thin layer. Let sit for 10 minutes while you preheat the oven to 275°F. Bake the salmon for 20-21 minutes or until you can see that the fat has started to melt out a bit from the bottom.


In a wide nonstick pan, heat a generous glug of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the fennel and reduce heat to medium. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about six minutes, allowing the fennel to brown.

Add another glug of olive oil if the pan seems dry, turn the heat down a little, and add the rest of the garlic. Stir a couple times, then add the beans. After 1-2 minutes, add the mustard and a couple generous sloshes of wine and cook for another minute or so until some of the wine evaporates. Stir in the tomatoes and let cook until just heated through (unless they’re not really in season, in which case, cook them a couple minutes longer), then turn off the heat and add salt and pepper to taste.

Serve the beans onto plates and top with a piece of salmon.

Serves 3-4.

If you're reheating leftovers the next day, reheat the beans only, then lay the salmon over the top. The warmth of the beans will bring the salmon to room temperature without overcooking.



Monday, May 15, 2017

Orzo with Broccolini and Frisee

Broccolini, toasted walnuts, and parmesan put bass notes under a treble clef of lemon zest and still-slightly-crunchy frisée. Easy, different, and delectable.



Ingredients
2 rounded cups whole wheat orzo pasta
2.5 cups chicken broth
Olive oil
1 large shallot, chopped
3 cloves garlic, pressed
1 bunch broccolini, coarsely chopped into 1 inch pieces
1 can butter beans, rinsed and drained
Slosh of white wine
2/3 head frisée, cut into 1 inch pieces (saute for 2-3 min until just wilted)
Zest of 1 Meyer lemon
Salt
Shaved Parmesan
About 3 handfuls toasted walnuts, chopped
Coarsely ground black pepper

Bring the broth to a simmer in a small covered pot.

Heat a wide, deep pan over medium heat. Add a generous glug of olive oil and let heat for a moment, then add the shallot and sauté for a minute until it softens slightly. Add the garlic and a pinch of salt, turn the heat down a bit to medium-low, and continue to sauté for another couple minutes until the shallot is translucent.

Add the orzo to the broth, replace the cover, lower the heat, and simmer gently for 8-9 minutes or according to package directions.

Add the broccolini to the shallot-garlic mixture and return the heat to medium. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 3-4 minutes. Add the butter beans, stir, then add a slosh of wine and cover the pan to steam for another couple minutes. Stir in 2/3 of the lemon zest and another pinch of salt. Adjust both to taste.

When the orzo has only a minute to go, fold the endives into the broccolini mixture and let wilt slightly. Add the orzo, sprinkle liberally with freshly ground black pepper, and turn off the heat. Fold everything together.

Serve into soup plates. Use a carrot peeler to shave Parmesan over the top, and sprinkle liberally with chopped walnuts.

Serves 4.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Whole Grain Pumpkin Waffles

Waffle irons, I fear, get a bad rap. People see them as the sort of item one asks for in a fit of alimentary idealism, only to leave them languishing, barely used, on a high and dusty shelf.



The problem, I've come to realize, is a lack of pumpkin. If you put pumpkin in the waffles, the iron doesn't languish, on account of the fact that there was pumpkin in your waffles and you cannot stop thinking about them.

Don't believe me? Try making these. You'll see. 



Ingredients
2 eggs, divided
Scant 1/2 cup canned pumpkin purée
1 tbsp melted butter
3/8 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground ginger
2 pinches ground cloves
1 cup Bob's Red Mill 10 grain pancake and waffle mix
3/4 cups water
3-4 drops vanilla extract

Combine the egg yolks, pumpkin, melted butter, and spices in a large bowl. Add the waffle mix, mashing with a fork to distribute the wet ingredients equally. Slowly add 3/4 cups water, mashing as needed to get out any lumps. Stir in the vanilla.

Preheat your waffle iron to medium high (setting 4 on a Cuisinart Belgian Waffle Iron).

In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites till stiff, then gently fold them into the batter.

Pour the batter according to waffle iron directions (I do just under 1 1/2 cups) and cook until golden brown and crispy on the outside.

Serve hot, with maple syrup. Marvel at the crispy outside and fluffy inside. Try to share with your table mates. Plan your next waffle adventure, keeping in mind that lunch is a perfectly reasonable time for an encore.

Serves 2-3.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Best Ever Chicken Soup with Vegetables

I caught a cold last week and decided enough was enough—it was time to conquer chicken soup. Here's what resulted from a stubborn determination to make something unexpected enough to hold my foggy-brained, taste-dampened interest for an entire bowl of delicious.



Ingredients
6 cups chicken broth
2 cloves garlic, peeled and scored
2 chicken breasts (about 1 lb)
Olive oil
2 large leeks, white and light green parts, halved lengthwise and rinsed well
3-4 stalks celery
4 carrots
2 medium parsnips
1/2 bulb fennel (or 1-2 bulbs baby fennel)
3-4 thin slices fresh ginger, julienned
2/3 cups pink rice (or sub red or brown rice, or whole wheat orzo)
1/2 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat the broth in a soup pot until it simmers. Add the garlic and chicken breasts and simmer 8 minutes (until tender and no longer pink). Remove pot from the heat, uncover, and let cool with the chicken sitting in the broth for about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, chop the leeks, halve the celery stalks lengthwise and slice thinly, slice the carrots, and cut the parsnips into similarly sized pieces. Slice up enough of the fennel bulb so that you have equal parts carrot, parsnip, and fennel.

Heat a wide, deep pan over medium heat. When hot, add a glug or two of olive oil, then add the leeks and a pinch or two of salt. Sauté the leeks, stirring occasionally, for about ten minutes, turning the heat down to low after the first couple of minutes. Add the celery, carrot, parsnip, fennel, and ginger, and turn the heat back up to medium. Continue sautéing another 7-10 minutes or until veggies are al dente, adding a bit more olive oil as needed.

Meanwhile, remove the chicken from the pot and place on a cutting board. Cover the pot and bring the broth back to a simmer, then add the rice and simmer for 20 minutes or however long it says on the package (brown rice will probably take 30 minutes).

While the rice is simmering, shred the chicken into pieces with a fork. Fish out the garlic cloves from the broth, mash them, and stir back in.

3 minutes before the rice is done, add the veggies, chicken, and about half of the parsley. Stir to combine and continue to simmer. Adjust salt to taste.

Serve hot, sprinkled with parsley and freshly ground pepper.

 
Serves 4-6.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Roasted Beets and Radishes with Caramelized Fennel

This is an easy, gorgeous side dish that's full of delicious. The radishes and fennel balance out the sweetness of the beets. You can cut up the veggies into any size you want—just keep the pieces at approximately the same size so that they cook at about the same pace.



Ingredients
3-4 beets, peeled and cut into 1/2"-1" chunks
3-4 carrots, cut into similarly sized pieces
1 bunch radishes, scrubbed, trimmed, and halved
1 small bulb fennel, cut into pieces
Kosher salt and freshly ground white pepper

Preheat oven to 425°F.

Drizzle a baking sheet with olive oil, then toss in the beets and carrots. Stir to coat evenly, then roast for 20 minutes.

Remove veggies from the oven, add radishes and fennel, and drizzle with a little more olive oil if the mixture seems at all dry. Toss everything gently, then replace in the oven for another 20 minutes. Stir once more, then roast again for 10-20 minutes or until the different veggies are tender when you pierce them with a fork.

Sprinkle with salt and freshly ground white pepper. Serve hot.

Serves 3-4.


Saturday, December 31, 2016

Winter Watercress Salad with Mandarins and Pomegranate

Happy 2017, fellow foodies! Let's raise our virtual glasses to bringing people together around food and friendship in the new year.


Meanwhile, here's an easy yet delectable way to fancy up a wintry dinner plate that tastes as crisp and clean as fresh fallen snow. And some fresh fallen snow, for good measure.



Ingredients
1 bunch watercress
2 mandarin oranges, peeled and diced
1 pomegranate, seeded
Olive oil
Meyer lemon
Salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Whisk together a couple glugs of olive oil, the zest and juice of half the Meyer lemon, a pinch of salt, and some black pepper to form a vinaigrette.

Cut the root part off the watercress if needed so that you're left with the leaves and stems. Rinse well and dry gently.

Lightly coat the watercress with vinaigrette (I do this by gently dunking half the watercress in the vinaigrette and then lifting it back out, and gently distributing the dressing through the whole bunch with my fingertips so that the watercress is still all laying in the same direction.)

Arrange the watercress onto plates, and top with oranges and plenty of pomegranate seeds.

Serves 2-4.





Saturday, December 24, 2016

Mulligatawny Soup

This hearty stew is the perfect complement to a wintry day. Don't let the length of the ingredients list fool you...this recipe is one of those dice-a-few-things, simmer-for-awhile affairs that's simple to throw together and easy to size up for company or leftovers.


Ingredients
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped
5 cloves garlic, pressed
2 carrots, peeled and diced
1 orange sweet potato, peeled and diced
1 apple, peeled and diced
1 ½ tbsp grated fresh ginger
½ can diced tomatoes (Muir Glen fire roasted if possible)
3/4 cups red lentils, picked through carefully for stones and rinsed
3 cups chicken broth
1 tbsp good-quality curry powder
½ tsp ground cumin + an extra dash
¼ tsp ground turmeric
¼ tsp sweet paprika
¼ tsp ground cinnamon + an extra dash
¼ tsp dried thyme + an extra pinch
1 tbsp creamy peanut butter
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
3 tbsp coconut milk, plus extra for drizzling
3 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro

Melt butter with the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onion and sauté about three minutes. Add the garlic, carrot, and sweet potato, and continue to sauté, stirring occasionally, for about seven minutes more until the onion is browned here and there.

Stir in the apples, ginger, tomatoes, and all the spices and continue to cook for a couple minutes more. Add the lentils and broth, stir once, and cover. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer about 30 minutes longer, stirring occasionally. Check that the veggies are tender, stir in the peanut butter, and turn off the heat.

Use an immersion blender to purée about half the soup (or decant half into a blender and pour it back again) to desired consistency. Add salt and pepper to taste, then stir in the coconut milk. It's fine if it sits for a bit at this point; reheat if necessary before serving.

Serve warm, drizzled with a spoonful of coconut milk and garnished with chopped cilantro.

Serves 4.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Apple Pancakes with Ginger and Lemon

Sometimes, the world needs more pancakes.


Here's my go-to recipe these days...the secret to amazing fluffiness seems to be butter + pumpkin puree (rather than oil) and beating the egg whites separately. Plus you can customize them to the season. Pumpkin and chocolate-chip, anyone?


Ingredients for Apple-Ginger Pancakes
2 eggs, divided
1 tbsp melted butter
2 tbsp canned pumpkin purée
1 cup Bob's Red Mill 10 grain pancake mix
1 apple, diced
1 carrot, grated
2 pinches Meyer lemon zest
1/2 tsp grated fresh ginger

Variations:
Summer Strawberry
2 eggs, divided
1.5 tbsp melted butter
1.5 tbsp smashed strawberry
1 cup Bob's Red Mill 10 grain pancake mix
1 cup diced strawberries
2 pinches Meyer lemon zest
1/4 tsp vanilla extract

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip
2 eggs, divided
4 tbsp canned pumpkin purée
1 tbsp melted butter
1 cup Bob's Red Mill 10 grain pancake mix
Dash or two of cinnamon
Pinch ground cloves
2 tbsp chocolate chips
1/4 tsp vanilla extract


Combine the egg yolks, pumpkin (or mashed strawberry), and melted butter in a large bowl. Add pancake mix, mashing with a fork to distribute the wet ingredients equally. Slowly add 3/4 cups water, mashing as necessary to get out the lumps. Stir in the rest of the ingredients that follow on the list.

In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites till stiff, then gently fold them into the pancake batter.


Heat a nonstick pan over medium heat. When hot, add a little pat of butter and move it around with a spatula to lightly coat the bottom of the pan. Add batter by the 1/4 cup. After a minute or two, the edges of the pancakes will start to look dry; that's usually a good sign that they are golden brown on the bottom and ready to flip. Cook until both sides are golden, then remove from the heat and place in a folded-over piece of aluminum foil to stay warm (you can also stick them in the oven, if you're doubling the recipe and cooking will take awhile).

Serve warm, with maple syrup for drizzling.


Serves 2-3.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Easy Cucumber Gazpacho

There were cucumbers again in my CSA box this week. At first, my heart sank. Cucumbers again? There are only so many Greek salads one can eat in a summer, after all. And who knows what else to do with a billion cucumbers. Cucumber sandwiches for a small army? Vegetable carving? Gazpacho?



Gazpacho.

This recipe was made by breeding this one with this one. The result is rather gorgeous: The avocado provides a subtle creaminess that elevates the whole thing from normal to dreamy.

Make it. It's insanely easy and insanely delicious, and how often do those two things go hand in hand?

Ingredients
3-4 scallions, white and light green parts, cut into pieces
1 small clove garlic, pressed
2 cucumbers, peeled and cut into a few pieces
(if you have oddly sized CSA box cucumbers, just estimate roughly about how many you'd need to make up an average-sized, supermarket cucumber)
5-6 tbsp coarsely chopped fresh basil
1 red gypsy pepper or 1/2 red bell pepper, cut into a few pieces
1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Pinch cayenne if you'd like a bit of spice
Chives (optional) for garnish

Blend all the ingredients except the chives in a food processor until smooth. Adjust basil, salt, and pepper to taste (you want to be able to taste the basil without it being overpowering. If you can taste the basil but the soup still tastes a little bland, you can turn up the volume with a bit more salt).

Serve immediately or chill until you're ready for it. Just before serving, garnish with snipped chives and a drizzle of high quality olive oil.

Serves 2-4, depending on whether you're going for bowls or smaller cups.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Halibut with French Herbs

Tarragon, it turns out, is a game changer. Apparently you can chop it up with some parsley and chives and use it to make light-yet-buttery, simple-yet-flavorful, swooningly delicious french fare. Who knew? (Probably the French. But I didn't. You would think, in a fair world, that some people would get life-altering croissants and others would get tarragon, but no, the French got both. Until now. Or maybe it was years ago, when non-French people noticed tarragon but didn't tell me. Regardless, if you need me, I'll be over here, gazing adoringly at my new leafy green obsession.)


Ingredients
½ - ¾ lbs wild halibut (enough for two)
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Stone ground whole wheat flour

2 tbsp Meyer lemon juice
1 tsp olive oil
1 tbsp white wine
1 ½ tbsp butter
1 tbsp capers, rinsed and drained
1 tbsp coarsely chopped fresh tarragon
2 tbsp chopped chives
2 tbsp chopped flat leaf parsley

(Goes well over black Forbidden rice—sauté a little chopped shallot until soft, then add the rice and water and cook according to package directions.)

Sprinkle the halibut on both sides with kosher salt and a little freshly ground black pepper, then lightly flour on both sides. Combine the lemon juice, olive oil, and white wine in a small dish.

Heat a nonstick or ceramic pan over medium heat. Drizzle lightly with olive oil, then add the fish to the pan and fry for a few minutes on each side, until just before the inside is cooked through (I always cut into the middle after it's lightly browned on both sides to get a sense of how much longer it has to cook...nobody will ever know if you serve it with the cut face down or with sauce over the top.) 

When the fish is almost but not quite cooked through, serve immediately over rice (it will keep cooking on the plate from the heat of the rice).

Immediately after serving the fish, replace the pan over medium-low heat. Add the butter, let it melt, then add the lemon-wine mixture. Wait 10 seconds for the alcohol to steam off, then add the capers and a pinch of salt, and turn off the heat. Add the herbs, stir a couple times, then spoon over the fish.

Serve immediately.

Serves 2. Pairs very well with sautéed leeks and baby kale and a French white.