Saturday, November 28, 2009

Warm Lentil Salad with Spiced Kabocha

Another recipe from Hannah's sister, this dish is a great way to pack your entire meal into a salad. It can be served by itself or on a bed of arugula, and is good hot or room temperature, making it an excellent choice for packed lunches--this batch was for a cross-country plane trip! The spicy roasted kabocha cubes are absolutely addictive and worth making by themselves if any of you CSA subscribers are looking for a nice winter squash showcase.

4 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon smoked Spanish paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 cups peeled and diced kabocha squash (1 small squash)
1/2 onion, sliced
1/2 cup brown lentils
1 and 1/2 cups water
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Optional finishing touches:
Arugula for plating
Crumbled goat cheese, for garnish

Stir together 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, paprika, cumin, cayenne and salt. Toss the spiced oil with the kabocha cubes and spread out on a cookie sheet. Loosely cover with foil and bake at 375 for about 25 minutes, until squash is fork-tender, and then uncover and bake about 10 minutes more, until squash starts to develop browned edges.

While the squash is baking, heat remaining olive oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Fry the onions over 7-10 minutes, until browned, then add the lentils, water and pepper. Bring to a boil, then simmer 25-30 minutes, until lentils are tender and water is absorbed.

If you're serving this on a bed of greens, arrange some arugula on a serving plate. Top with lentils, kabocha cubes and optional goat cheese and enjoy!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Kabocha, Beer and Cheese Soup

Due to CSA-induced extreme squash consumption several years ago, there has been a winter squash strike in our house for a while now. If we can eat and love this soup, so can the staunchest winter squash hater at your Thanksgiving table! (Booze and cheese will do that for a vegetable). This recipe was inspired by the pumpkin rarebit soup from The Enchanted Broccoli Forest. Here, we've used kabocha squash, which is less stringy and watery than a regular pumpkin. You can also try this with a buttercup squash.

For the lactose-intolerant or otherwise cheese-avoiding readers, this is also good without the cheese.

1 large kabocha squash
2 tablespoons butter
3 cloves garlic, peeled and left whole
1 large onion, sliced into rings
Vegetable stock, as needed, up to 1 cup
1 12-ounce bottle of beer (we like pale ale)
8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, grated

Preheat oven to 375. Cut squash into eighths and bake, covered, until tender, about 40 minutes. Meanwhile, heat butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are browned and soft.

When squash is done, slice off skin and transfer pieces to a food processor with the caramelized onions and garlic. Add just enough stock to blend to a smooth puree. Transfer to the saucepan, add the beer, salt to taste and simmer for 10 minutes.

Ladle into ramekins and top with the cheese, then broil until cheese is bubbly and starting to brown. (Or, if you're not feeling like ramekins, you can just stir in the cheese, add a little extra stock and simmer a few minutes longer). Let sit for a few minutes before serving to prevent serious internal mouth burns!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Braised Brussels Sprouts with Rosemary and Lemon

We love Brussels sprouts roasted and stir-fried, but we wanted to experiment a little and decided that since cabbage is delicious braised, why not see if Brussels sprouts would be amenable to the same treatment?

And oh, are they ever.

olive oil
2-3 cups Brussels sprouts
6 cloves garlic
1-2 cups stock
2 tablespoons fresh rosemary (stems removed)
juice of 1 lemon

Trim the bottoms of the sprouts and slice in half lengthwise. Heat a little olive oil in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Add the garlic and only as many sprouts as will fit in a single layer. Saute for a minute or two, until the sprouts are bright green and glistening. Add enough stock to cover the Brussels a little more than halfway. Add rosemary and salt (keep in mind how much salt your stock may already have). Turn the heat up to medium-high and cook, uncovered, until the liquid has completely evaporated.

Add some olive oil and flip the sprouts so that they are all cut-side-down. Fry until the bottoms of the Brussels are well-browned. Remove the sprouts, garlic and rosemary to a serving dish. Return the saucepan to low heat and add the lemon juice. Deglaze, scraping the pan to get all of the delicious browned bits, then simmer just a minute or so, to reduce the lemon juice. Pour sauce over Brussels and serve.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Seethed Potatoes with Thyme

No, these cute little potatoes aren't angry at anyone--seething is a cooking technique in which small potatoes are left whole and cooked in just a little water, butter, and aromatics like garlic and herbs. We got the basic idea from One Potato, Two Potato about a year ago and have been modifying and loving it since then; we've increased the garlic from the original recipe and tried several different herbs before deciding thyme is our favorite. Try this with the most adorable tiny potatoes you can find--it's a great dish for using the small heirloom varieties that are cropping up at farmer's markets this time of year!

1.5 lbs tiny potatoes, scrubbed
5 large cloves garlic, peeled
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
3 tablespoons butter
Freshly-ground black pepper

Place potatoes, garlic, thyme and butter in a wide skillet--you want to be able to fit the potatoes in a single layer. Barely cover with water, bring to a boil, and simmer, partially covered, for 20-25 minutes, until potatoes are soft and nearly all of the water has evaporated. Turn the heat back up and shake the pan around for a minute or so, which will coat the potatoes in smashed, soft garlic. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Shredded Skillet Brussels Sprouts with Walnuts

Mark Bittman wrote last month that the story of Brussels sprouts' new life as an actually-liked vegetable "is one part mystery, one part thanks to bacon, and one part a tribute to our ability (finally) to appreciate members of the cabbage family." While you're appreciating, try this: a quick stovetop option in which they're shredded to cut down on cooking time. These sprouts cook down to a third of their original size, so if you're making dinner for a crowd, scale up.

3 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
4 cups brussels sprouts, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons dry red wine
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar

Melt the butter in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the sprouts and walnuts and saute, stirring frequently, until the Brussels are well-browned. Add the wine and vinegar, cook until they've evaporated. Salt generously and serve immediately.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Chai-Spiced Roasted Sweet Potatoes

Bring a little bit of India to your Thanksgiving table with these spicy sweet potatoes--we've taken the components of a steaming cup of masala chai and applied them to sweet potatoes for a nice change of pace from that tired old marshmallow-and-canned-pineapple routine. This may seem like a lot of ginger, but we've found that any less doesn't really do much.

Sweet potatoes have such vast size variation that we've listed the amount you'll need in cups of chopped sweet potato rather than in number of potatoes. For us, this was one gigantic sweet potato.

1/4 cup canola oil
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
2 tablespoons finely grated fresh ginger
3 cups chopped sweet potatoes, in 1/2-inch cubes

Preheat oven to 375. In a medium-sized bowl, toss ingredients together. Spread in a single layer on a foil-lined baking sheet and bake, stirring occasionally, until sweet potatoes are tender, about 30 minutes.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Rachel's Roasted Asian Pear and Fennel Soup

It's time to start planning exciting veggie side dishes to go with that big, boring Thanksgiving turkey. To jump-start your menu planning, we're blogging hearty, seasonal, late-autumn fare from now until the big day. And check out our Thanksgiving tag for inspiration from years past.

Our first Thanksgiving submission is another genius recipe from Hannah's sister! This soup combines the crisp, delicate flavors of two November favorites--Asian pears and fennel--roasted to bring out their rich, creamy potential. The result is a lovely blend of sweet and savory, an excellent first course if you're serving anything sharply-flavored like arugula. Although there are a lot of concurrent activities here, most of this recipe is inactive: you're basically just waiting around for half an hour or so while the pears and fennel roast, the stock simmers and the onions caramelize.

3 medium-sized Asian pears, diced (save the cores for stock)
1 bulb fennel, diced (save the stalks for stock and the fronds for garnish)
3 tablespoons olive oil
Freshly-ground black pepper
1 onion, sliced into rings (save skins and trimmings for stock)
1/4 cup whole peppercorns
1/2 cup apple cider

For garnish:
Plain yogurt (optional if you want to make it vegan)
Fennel fronds

Preheat oven to 375. In a 9 x 13 inch pan, toss the fennel and pears with two tablespoons of the olive oil, salt and freshly ground black pepper. Roast for 40-45 minutes, until very soft.

Meanwhile, combine pear cores, fennel stalks, onion skins & trimmings and peppercorns in a saucepan, cover with water, and bring to a boil. Simmer while everything else cooks, about half an hour, then strain out solids.

While the stock is simmering and the pears and fennel are roasting, heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and saute, stirring occasionally, until the onions are browned and soft.

Now, put it all together: combine the roasted pears, fennel, 3 cups of stock, caramelized onions and cider in a blender and blend until very smooth. (We also passed ours through a food mill to remove any grainy pieces of Asian pear peel and get the texture extra-velvety.) Add salt and pepper to taste and then serve with a swirl of yogurt and some chopped fennel fronds.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Beets with Toasted Feta and Walnuts

Such simple ingredients, such total deliciousness! The synergy between the toasted walnuts, strong feta and sweet beets will keep you coming back for more.

3 large beets
olive oil
1/2 cup feta, chopped into 1/2 inch cubes
3/4 cup walnuts, roughly chopped

Preheat oven to 375. Peel the beets and chop into 1/2 inch cubes, then transfer to a 9 x 13 inch pan and toss with a little olive oil and salt. Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 375 until tender (about 30-45 minutes). Remove from oven, stir in walnuts and top with feta cubes. Broil for about 5 minutes, until the feta has a golden crust.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Berkeley Rarebit

Berkeley Rarebit is like Welsh Rarebit, only with hippie-friendly flour. Other than that, we don't have a lot to add to this classic recipe, other than to say: you MUST eat this! We've been serving this boozy cheese sauce with simple vegetables to keep dinner exciting and to use up the beer that has languished in the fridge since our last party. Here, we serve it alongside roasted brussels sprouts.

2 tablespoons butter
2-3 tablespoons whole wheat flour (use extra flour for a thicker sauce)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 12-ounce bottle of beer
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, packed
black pepper

Melt the butter in a medium saucepan. Add the garlic and flour and whisk until the flour is browned. Keep whisking while you add the beer and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring frequently, for about ten minutes. Add the cheese and pepper and stir until the cheese is melted. Salt isn't really necessary, but it wouldn't hurt.