Saturday, December 23, 2017

Pumpkin Sage Biscuits

Good things come to those who cook in a Tahoe cabin.

Fortunately, the edible parts can also be recreated when you come back to reality. And reality, I assure you, is better with pumpkin sage biscuits.

2 cups multigrain pancake mix plus extra for dusting
1 pastured egg
2 tbsp softened butter
1/3 - 1/2 can pureed pumpkin
1 tbsp chopped fresh sage
1.5 tbsp whole milk Greek yogurt

Preheat oven to 425°.

Combine all the ingredients in a mixing bowl and mash with a fork until blended. Knead a few times with your hands, then form the dough into a ball (if it's much too dry, add a little water; if it's very sticky, dust with a little flour or pancake mix).

Place dough on a lightly floured wooden cutting board and pat or roll out evenly to 1/2 inch thickness. Cut out biscuits with a drinking glass or cookie cutter and lay on a lightly greased cookie sheet.

Bake for 8-9 minutes or until golden on the bottom.

Makes 8-10 biscuits.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Steak Salad with Lime-Cilantro Vinaigrette

Quite possibly the best summertime salad of all. After all—mostly plants still leaves room for the occasional giant hunk of steak.

3 tbsp olive oil
1.5 tbsp lime juice (about half a lime, hand squeezed)
Kosher salt
2 tbsp chopped cilantro
4 oz mixed baby spinach and baby arugula
2 endives, julienned
1/2 pint fragrant cherry tomatoes, halved
1 avocado, diced
Leftover steak, sliced

Whisk together the olive oil, lime juice, and a couple pinches of salt in a large bowl. Add half the cilantro, then add the greens and endives and toss to coat evenly. 

Toss the tomatoes with the rest of the cilantro. Serve a bed of greens onto each plate. Sprinkle with tomatoes and avocado, and top with the sliced steak. 

Serves 2.

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.

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
1 tbsp 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.

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
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. 

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.

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.

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.