Thursday, April 10, 2014

Best Ever Scrambled Eggs

Many people claim to possess the recipe for the best scrambled eggs ever. Clearly, it's an empirical question, and we are an evidence-based household. "When in doubt, eat lots of stuff," is our motto. This recipe wins the scrambled egg standoff in our kitchen every time.


Of course, don't take my word for it. Develop some healthy scientific skepticism, and then conduct a series of rigorous experiments. When people ask you what you're doing eating breakfast for the third time on a single Saturday, shout, "SCIENCE!" (Or shout, "HOBBITS!" Either way, I'll be happy.)



Ingredients
Olive oil
2 medium leeks, white and light green parts, halved lengthwise, rinsed very well, and sliced
1 tbsp butter
4 eggs from pastured chickens
Slosh pastured cream
Crusty whole grain bread (toasted if desired)

Heat a wide, nonstick pan over medium-low heat. When hot, add the olive oil and the leeks. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt to help prevent browning, and sauté for about 2 minutes. Turn the heat down to low and continue to cook, stirring frequently, for about 10 minutes more until leeks are very soft.

In a bowl, scramble the eggs with a whisk until frothy. Just before you start to cook them, add a slosh of cream, and whisk to combine. (You want as much air as possible in the eggs.)

When the leeks are very soft, push to the side of the pan. Melt butter in the other half. Pour in the eggs, and wait a moment so that the bottom starts to set, then fold over. Repeat every 10-20 seconds until eggs are just slightly runny in the middle—they'll set the rest of the way as you serve. (You may want to flip the leeks over at some point, too, to prevent browning.)

Serve eggs on warm plates, sprinkle with salt, and top with the leek mixture. You can serve these over toast if you want, but I actually prefer the toast separate—the delicate flavor of the eggs comes through better when they're on their own.


Serves 2.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Lentils with Kale and Sweet Potato

When your produce box arrives for the second week in a row with an overabundance of kale and sweet potatoes, it's important to be ready for action. Fortunately, we were armed. With French lentils. And an Andalusian combination of herbs and spices. And Turkish dried pepper. Because some things call for international collaboration.


This recipe, loosely adapted from here, is richly satisfying, full of flavor, and the perfect antidote to a rainy day (and an overflowing fridge).



Ingredients
Olive oil
1 small-to-medium yellow onion, chopped
2 cups diced orange sweet potato
2 small or 1 large carrot, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 small or 1 large bunch dino kale, cut crosswise into strips
1 cup French lentils, rinsed well and picked over carefully to remove any stones
3 cups chicken and/or veggie broth (I used half and half)
2 tsp Aleppo pepper (or sub 1 minced jalapeno)
1/4 tsp cumin
1/8 tsp paprika
1 tsp minced fresh rosemary
1/4 tsp dried thyme*
1/8 tsp dried oregano
Salt and freshly ground white pepper

Heat a glug of olive oil in a wide pot over medium heat. Add the onion and saute, stirring, until translucent. Add the sweet potato and continue cooking, stirring only occasionally, until the mixture begins to brown slightly in places.

Stir in the carrot and garlic and cook for a minute more, then add the kale by the handful. Continue to cook for another minute or two until the kale wilts down. Sprinkle with salt, add the lentils, and stir well. Stir in the broth, spices, and herbs. Bring to a boil, then turn the heat down to medium-low (you want a strong simmer) and cook for about 30 minutes, stirring every 5 or 10.

When the lentils are tender, turn off the heat. Adjust salt and spices to taste. Ladle into bowls, top with freshly ground white pepper, and wait for a couple of minutes before serving (you want it warm but not scalding to maximize the flavor).

Serves 3. Pairs well with toasted whole grain bread and a glass of Rioja.

*To convert dried to fresh, multiply by three (so 3/4 tsp chopped fresh thyme)

Friday, March 28, 2014

Roasted Radishes

Who knew? The radish has a top-secret alter ego. Hard and bitter by day, sweet and juicy by night. To transmogrify, simply toss with olive oil, stick them in the oven, and wait a few minutes.


Ingredients
1 bunch of radishes, brushed clean, stems removed, and halved or quartered
Olive oil
Salt & pepper

Preheat the oven to 425°F.

In a nonstick banking pan, toss radishes with olive oil to lightly coat. (The pan should be big enough that the radishes aren't too crowded together...overcrowding will inhibit browning.)

Roast for 10 minutes, shake the pan, then roast for 8-10 minutes more until radishes are tender and nicely browned. (Check by inserting a fork. If you check after 20 minutes and they're not quite tender, don't be afraid to roast them a bit longer...if you stop before they're quite done, they'll still have a bit of a bite.)

Sprinkle with salt and pepper, and serve hot.



Serves 2, but heavenly (and easy) enough that you'll wish you made one bunch per person.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Zinfandel-Braised Asparagus with Green Garlic

Spring has crept into California, and it surely can't be that far behind in other parts of the country. Which means it's the season, or very nearly almost the season, for green garlic and asparagus. Snatch them up as soon as you see them, pour yourself a glass of wine, share a little with them, and contemplate the sunshine. Or the snow. Whatever. At least it can be springtime on your plate.


Ingredients
Olive oil
1 tbsp sliced or chopped green garlic
1 bunch asparagus
A slosh or two of Zinfandel
2 pinches kosher salt or to taste

Heat a glug of olive oil in a nonstick pan over medium heat. Add the green garlic and saute for about 20 seconds, then add the asparagus and toss to coat. Cook for about 2 minutes, tossing once, then add a generous slosh of Zinfandel.

Cover and let simmer for 2 minutes. Uncover, stir, and continue to simmer for another minute or two until the asparagus are al dente and the liquid is mostly boiled off. Sprinkle with salt, and serve.

Serves 2-4.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Prosciutto-Wrapped Walnuts with Goat Cheese and Pear

Fancy enough for a dinner party, but easy enough to make just because. Or so the husband says. I just eat them when they're put in front of me.*




Ingredients
6 candied walnuts or pecans
1 oz soft goat cheese, divided into 6 slices
Bosc pear—cut 6 rectangular slices about 1/2" by 1"or a bit longer
3 slices Prosciutto di Parma, halved lengthwise
4 tbsp balsamic vinegar, simmered over low heat until reduced by half

Layer, in order from bottom to top: Walnut, goat cheese, pear. Wrap in prosciutto. Drizzle with balsamic reduction. Serve with toothpicks.

Serves 3-6.

*The term "in front" here is meant broadly, as in, within a three block radius of my current location.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Chickpeas and Chorizo with Kale

Big on flavor, low on hassle. All you need is one pan. And a bowl, if you're feeling fancy. And maybe a glass of Rioja.


Ingredients
Olive oil
1 spicy chorizo sausage (fresh, not cured)
2 cloves garlic, slivered
1-2 cups chopped dino kale (remove thick part of stems first; or sub chopped spinach)
1 can chickpeas, rinsed well and drained
About 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp paprika
Salt
Toasted whole grain bread (optional)

Heat a wide nonstick pan over medium heat. Drizzle with olive oil. Cut the chorizo from its casing and place the meat in the pan, cutting into 4 to 5 pieces with the spatula. Let brown on one side.

Turn the chorizo, push to the side of the pan, and add the garlic to the other. Sauté the garlic for about 30 seconds, till it starts to soften, then add half the chickpeas and half the kale. Stir to combine. Wait a minute for the kale to wilt, then add the rest of the chickpeas and kale.

Continue stirring occasionally until all the kale has completely wilted, then use the spatula to break apart the chorizo into smaller pieces. Sprinkle in cumin, paprika, and salt to taste, and stir well.

Cover, turn the heat down to medium-low, and continue cooking for about 7 minutes until the kale is tender, adding a tablespoon of water if the pan starts to get dry. Remove from heat and let sit another couple minutes.

Serve hot, drizzled with a little olive oil, and garnished with a toast or two if desired.

Serves 2.


Saturday, February 8, 2014

Mostly Plants in a Hurry: One-Pot Pasta with Arugula and Lemon

Lately, work has been similar in sensation to a whirpool caught inside a vortex trapped beneath a swamp. Cooking, let alone cleaning up afterward, starts to seem like an insurmountably effortful undertaking when viewed from the tail end of a 14-hour day.

Enter the one-pot, quick-and-easy dinner menu. It may not result the sort of a swooning state of culinary bliss or eye-catching aesthetic that you would seek when planning a dinner party. But it's tempting enough to remind you that you're hungry, envegetabled* enough to keep you healthy, and most importantly, barely more work than nuking a pre-made, over-processed microwave meal.

Here's one, for next time you're feeling underwater.

 

Ingredients
1 - 1 1/2 cups whole wheat corkscrew pasta
1/3 can chickpeas (optional, but a good way to sneak in a bit more protein)
2-3 handfuls baby arugula
Good quality olive oil
A little Stilton, crumbled (or sub your favorite blue cheese or grated Parmesan)
Meyer lemon
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Boil the pasta in salted water per package directions, until al dente. If you have a smaller pot with a lid that drains, it will boil faster and make draining the pasta that much easier.

Add the chickpeas, then drain with the pasta. Return to pot. Drizzle with olive oil, toss with the arugula, and wait a minute for the arugula to wilt. Stir in the cheese (enough to impart a hint of flavor to each bite). Squeeze lemon liberally, and top with freshly ground black pepper.

Re-energizes 1.

*is too a word.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Rosemary-Scented White Beans with Butternut Squash and Prosciutto

Here's an easy, different, and delectable use for leftover butternut squash.



Ingredients
4-6 slices leftover roasted butternut squash*
1 small shallot, chopped
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
1 can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
Splash dry white wine and/or broth
1/2 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
1-2 tsp chopped flat leaf parsley
Salt and freshly ground white pepper
2 oz. prosciutto

Set a nonstick frying pan over medium heat. Sauté the shallot and garlic in a glug of olive oil for 2-3 minutes, until they soften. Add the cannellini beans and cook, stirring occasionally, for 2-3 more minutes. Next, add a splash of wine and a splash of broth, and stir in the rosemary and parsley. Continue cooking for about 3 more minutes, stirring from time to time.

Remove from the heat and sprinkle with a pinch of salt and some white pepper.

Meanwhile, reheat the butternut squash in the microwave, then arrange the slices at the bottom of two soup plates. Top with the white bean mixture, and layer a slice or two of prosciutto over the top.

Serve warm.

Serves 2.

 *To roast the butternut squash, halve lengthwise, scrape out the seeds, and slice into 1" half-circles. Brush with olive oil, arrange on a baking sheet, and roast at 425° until just tender, flipping the pieces after 20 minutes or so (wait until they brown on the bottom before flipping). Alternatively, just halve the whole squash lengthwise, scrape out the seeds, and roast face-down until tender.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Roasted Broccoli with Gruyere

You know that song, about Romeo and Juliet, and Captain Smith and Pocahontas, and broccoli and Gruyère?


You know the one: "Never know how much I love you, never know how much I care, when you put your arms around me, you're like the broccoli to my Gruyère." At least, I'm pretty sure that's how it goes.

Clearly, some pairings are just meant to be. (Don't question it. Just eat.)



Ingredients
2 heads broccoli, tops divided into florets, tender part of stem sliced
1/2 head cauliflower, divided into florets
1 medium red onion, quartered lengthwise and thinly sliced
Olive oil
3 oz Gruyère, grated
Salt and freshly ground white pepper


Preheat oven to 425°.

Toss broccoli, cauliflower, and onion with olive oil in a roasting pan (the veggies should be a couple layers deep). Roast for 40 minutes, turning every 15 or so, until tender. Top with Gruyère, then broil 3-4 minutes.

Sprinkle with salt and white pepper, and serve hot.

Serves 2-4. Best the first day, rather than reheated, so why save any for tomorrow?


Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year!

Happy 2014, faithful eaters! Might we suggest serving your new year's resolution with a side of delicious? Here's a look back at some of our favorites from 2013.

 







Poached Egg over just about anything

...and here's to many more to come!