Friday, October 25, 2013

Sauteed Beet Greens

Beet greens are like chard, only denser in texture—a bit less watery, and delicately flavored. Cut the tops off the next time you indulge in these, and save the greens for this recipe.

Olive oil
1 small shallot, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 large bunch beet greens, sliced crosswise into strips, washed well, and dried in a salad spinner

Heat a glug of olive oil in a dutch oven over medium heat. Add the shallot and saute, stirring, for 2 minutes or until it softens slightly, then add the garlic and saute a minute more.

Stir in the beet greens and toss to coat with the shallot-garlic mixture. Saute, stirring occasionally, for about 4 minutes, then cover the pot and turn the heat down to medium low. Cook another 5-6 minutes, stirring once or twice.

Sprinkle with a pinch or two of salt, and serve.

Serves 2. Pairs perfectly with a wasabi salmon sandwich, or probably just about anything else.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Wasabi Salmon Sandwiches

The Scene: Saturday evening. Feet up. Encouched.
The Game: Scattergories. Three-minute version.
The Letter: W.
The Category in Question: Things You Bring on a Picnic.

The Conversation, Verbatim:
Husband: What did you put?
Me: Wasabi salmon sandwich. You could totally bring that on a picnic.
Him: Ooooh.
(thoughtful pause)
Me: In fact, I kind of want one.
Him: Yeah.
Me: Like, now.
Him: Yeah.
(thoughtful pause)
Him: What are we doing for dinner tomorrow? 
Me: Making wasabi salmon sandwiches?
Him: That is correct.

2 smallish salmon filets (5-6 oz each), carefully deboned
1/2 tsp grated or finely chopped fresh ginger
1 small clove garlic, finely chopped or pressed
Kosher salt
Black sesame seeds
Olive oil
1 tsp wasabi powder*
1 tbsp very good quality mayonnaise or aioli**
1/2 bunch watercress, leaves separated, washed, and dried
2 tsp rice wine vinegar
2 ciabatta rolls, sliced in half (or sub slices of ciabatta or a french boule if necessary)

Sprinkle both sides of the salmon lightly with salt, then place skin side down on a plate. Sprinkle the top of each piece with ginger and garlic, and press them lightly into the fish with your fingertips. Last, sprinkle the same side liberally with black sesame seeds.

Mix the wasabi powder with just enough water to form a thick paste. Add the mayonnaise, stir well to combine, and set in the fridge.

Toss the watercress with the rice wine vinegar and set aside.

Heat a nonstick pan over medium heat. When hot, lightly drizzle with a little bit of olive oil. Add the salmon, skin side down, and shake the pan back and forth to make sure it doesn't stick. Cook for several minutes until the skin is golden brown and the salmon looks cooked about a third of the way up the side.

Flip the salmon, and cook for 2-3 minutes more until the top of the fish is very lightly golden (but not long enough for the garlic to brown).

Flip back skin side down, and check for doneness (we recommend medium-rare). If it's not done yet, cover the pan, lower the heat to medium-low, and cook for a minute or two more. Remove from the heat just before it's cooked enough (it will cook more as you serve it and carry it to the table).

To assemble the sandwich, spread each piece of bread lightly with wasabi mayonnaise, then sandwich the salmon topped with watercress in between. Cut in half, and serve immediately.

Serves 2. Pairs extremely well with sauteed beet greens, St. Supery's 2011 Virtu (available right now at Costco), and Nina Simone.

*Whole Foods has Sushi Sonic, a freeze-dried version made with real wasabi that tastes entirely different from the horseradish-mustard concoction often used as a substitute.
**Also found at Whole Foods: Sir Kensington gourmet scooping mayonnaise; also well worth seeking out.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Roasted Rosemary Potatoes with Goat Cheese and Sage

Autumn has arrived, with crisp mornings and reddening leaves. Let the roasting begin.

Purple or yellow potatoes, cut in half (if small, you can leave them whole; if large, you can cut into thirds or fourths if you want to reduce cooking time)
Fresh rosemary and/or sage
A little goat cheese or feta, for crumbling over the top

Preheat the oven to 425°F.

Toss the potatoes with a generous glug of olive oil and stir to coat evenly. Set a piece of tinfoil, shiny side up, on a baking sheet and brush the foil lightly with olive oil. Pour the potatoes onto the foil, scatter liberally with rosemary and sage leaves, and then pull the edges of the foil inward to form a partially-closed container. (You can adjust the openness of the foil as you roast them—if they start to dry out, close the foil more to retain more moisture. If liquid starts to collect at the bottom, pull the edges outward to let it evaporate.)

Roast the potatoes until browned on the outside and soft on the inside, stirring every 15 minutes or so to prevent them from sticking (as a point of reference, purple potatoes cut into approximately 1" chunks take around 45-60 minutes). You want these a little softer than you'd want a baking potato to bring out the creaminess—the potato should smoosh a bit when you pinch it gently.

Serve hot, topped with crumbled feta or goat cheese. Pairs well with braised broccolini and roasted carrots.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Goat Cheese and Quinoa Stuffed Poblano Peppers

Apparently, the husband is the real cook of the household(s), because while I've been stuck in a repeat loop on old (and newer) favorites, he's been making up recipes left and right. Here's one that I've been promised upon my return to Kansas. (I asked for delivery, but apparently I'm outside the delivery radius. Hmph.)

4-6 Poblano peppers (use 4 if you want leftover stuffing to top with a fried egg the next day)
Olive oil
1 cup quinoa
1 large shallot, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 jalapeno pepper, diced
10 oz canned black beans, drained
4 oz mild, soft goat cheese
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Cook the quinoa per package instructions.

Create a 1-2" opening in the top of each pepper and remove the seeds. Brush peppers lightly with olive oil, then broil for 7 minutes on each side. Let cool.*

In a nonstick pan, sauté the shallot for about a minute, then add the jalapeno, bell pepper, and garlic and sauté, stirring, until the peppers soften. Add the black beans and allow to warm through. Stir in the cooked quinoa, let warm, then mix in the goat cheese in small pieces to allow it to melt evenly. Turn off the heat. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.

Stuff the peppers with the quinoa-black bean mixture. Return to oven and broil an additional 8-10 minutes until heated through.

Serve warm. Pairs well with a Caprese salad.

The peppers reheat well in the microwave the next day. Or, reheat the leftover quinoa stuffing and top with a fried egg.

Serves 3-6.

*Helpful hint! If you store a rubber-handled saute pan in the oven because it's too big for the Kansas kitchen cupboards, you should remove the pan before you turn on the broiler. Even if you've been storing it there all summer and haven't turned on the oven yet and so you were thinking of it more as a cupboard than an oven. This PSA brought to you by Concerned Citizens for Oven Awareness.