Saturday Cooking

I knocked another couple of things off my long list of dishes to make.  I prepared the apple cider sorbet to churn tomorrow.  And adding to the DIY list, I made some vegetable stock.  I followed the Cook’s Illustrated recipe exactly (I pretty sure you have to be a member to view this.  The small annual fee is totally worth it if you ask me!).   I love keeping homemade stock in the freezer.  It really does make a difference in soups especially.

With some of the stock, I made Sweet Potato Soup.  I added an extra sweet potato since mine were a little small.  It turned out fabulously!  The spicy ginger, sweet potato and umami-y miso are an incredible combination.  We will be sipping on this all week (or, in reality, it’ll probably get gobbled up by Monday).

Hope you’re having a wonderful weekend!

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Filed under Dessert, Fall, Healthy, Soup, Vegetable

preparing for the weekend

Yesterday, Christopher and I took the wagon to go pick up our CSA share.  It was a gorgeous fall day and I was going to take a picture, but my camera is waterlogged at the moment 😦  boo!  At any rate, for the week we have:

-Pac Choi
-Radishes Galore

picture by Moore Farms

picture by Moore Farms

-Apples
-Snap Beans
-Lettuce
-Jalapeno Peppers
-Mixed Roots (beets and potatoes)
-Pink-Eyed Peas
-Hong Vit
-Cucumbers

I don’t have anything planned just yet.  Maybe some applesauce?  And these brownies? I’ve joined The Cure!  I still haven’t gotten to the first assignment yet, so it will be a big cleaning weekend!

Last night, I went over to a friend’s house and brought Hoisin Pork Wraps!  Huge hit!  The slaw was fabulous!

More updates tomorrow or Sunday!  Hopefully with pictures!

Wishing you a lovely fall weekend!

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Filed under CSA, Fall, Healthy, Main Dish, Pork

Checking in…

So, I’m not so sure if anyone is still reading this, but I’m definitely cooking!  I wanted to link to a few recipes that I’ve been loving lately!  The pictures are from the Brooklyn Bridge Farmer’s Market back in September!

brooklynfarmersmarket

In the oven right now, Chicken in Milk from Jamie Oliver.  I’ll let you know how it turns out!  I just had to try it after the recommendation from The Kitchn (probably my favorite website/blog around which you’ll understand after clicking the links below).  It smells amazing!

These dumplings were fabulous!  Really easy, but impressive!

Holy moly, this was my favorite recipe all summer.  Seriously yummy.  Squash and Potato Torte.

Last week, I braised a pork shoulder.  It was perfect for the cool weather we’ve been having.  I rubbed it with some brown sugar, cumin, a pinch of cayenne, salt and pepper then browned it in some olive oil.  Then put in some onions, garlic, and carrots, and let them soften.  Then deglazed the pan with some red wine and a little beef broth.  I popped a lid on and stuck it in a 325 degree oven for 3 hours (it was 3.75 lbs) and it was fall-off-the-bone tender.  Then took the meat out and shredded it and reduced the sauce on the stovetop.  Delicious!

For little Catherine’s birthday, we made cupcakes for her kindergarten class–chocolate and vanilla.  I used a chocolate recipe from Cook’s Illustrated and it was so-so but the vanilla were freakin’ incredible!  Almost custardy!  I then managed to decorate them into piggies!  They were a big hit, although really, how hard is it to please a kindergartner?

brooklynfarmersmarket2

In my queue to make:

Lots of fall recipes are on my radar– Converting dutch oven recipes to the slow-cooker, gingersnaps, roasted corn pudding in acorn squash, and brown butter ice cream.

Also, some DIY things– tomato paste, almond milk, and I’m going to make some butter from cream in the kitchen aid to freeze!

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Filed under 30-minutes or less, Chicken, Dessert, Holiday, Kid-Friendly, Main Dish, Side Dish, Uncategorized, Vegetable

THE Cobbler Recipe

This recipe is my grandmother’s.  Mimi was quite the sassy lady and although she cooked all the time, she only really baked this (after tasting this, you’ll realize there’s no point to making anything else because it’s so dang yummy).  She passed away without sharing this with anyone and we thought it was lost forever.  A couple of years ago, I was going through some of her old cookbooks and laughing about how much cream of mushroom soup was in every recipe when I came across a tiny, thin sheet of paper tucked between the pages.  On it, in her beautiful cursive was an untitled recipe.  I continued reading it and realized that it was THE cobbler recipe!  And I’ve been making it constantly ever since.  When I cooked for the Presbyterian Church, I made 11 of these for around 50ish people.  It was alllll gone.  

Now, I’ve changed it up a little bit from her original recipe—she only ever used one fruit and I like to use 2 or more different kinds.  My favorite combinations are pear & blackberry and peach & blackberry.  But feel free to experiment!  Also, I usually use frozen fruit because it’s frozen at the peak of the season and is usually very tasty (especially blackberries.  grocery store blackberries can be way too tart for my tastes).  But, by all means, if you come across some amazingly ripe and delicious fruit, throw it in!  Use your judgment about how much fruit you’d like to use.  Just depends if you want more “dough” or fruit.

Some combinations to try: 
-Pear and Blackberry
-Peach and Blackberry
-Peach and Raspberry
-Apple (tart) and Pear

 for an 8×8-inch dish (or something of similar size)
-1 stick unsalted butter, cut into pats
-3/4 cup whole milk
-3/4 cup all-purpose flour
-1 cup sugar
-1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
-2ish cups fruit (no need to thaw if frozen)

for a 9×13-inch dish (or something of similar size)
-1 stick unsalted butter, cut into pats
-1 1/2 cups whole milk
-1 1/2 cups flour
– 2 cups sugar
-2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
-3ish cups of fruit 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Spread the pats of butter on the bottom of the baking dish.  In a medium bowl, mix together the milk, flour, sugar and baking powder.  It’s alright if there are a few lumps.  Pour the batter over the pats of butter (don’t stir).  Then arrange the fruit on top evenly.  

Place on the middle rack in the oven with a cookie sheet underneath (just in case of a little overflow!).  Bake for 45-60 minutes, until it is no longer jiggly when you shake the pan (it’s really and exact science!) and the top is golden brown and has caramelized a bit.

It’s really, really hot when it comes out of the oven so use some self-restraint and let it cool for a few minutes.  Serve with vanilla ice cream!

And just a heads up, the baking dish is going to be caked with hardened cobbler and it’s a complete b*tch to clean.  I’ve tried spraying with Pam and that doesn’t do anything.  Perhaps you could line the pan with foil?  Now that’s something I need to experiment with….  My cleaning tactic now is to let it soak overnight or at least a couple of hours in soapy water and it comes off fairly easy.

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Filed under Dessert, Holiday, Kid-Friendly, Southern

Black Bean Stew

adapted from The Splendid Table’s How to Eat Supper

This Cuban-inspired stew is delicious.  It’s great on a cool day to warm you up and it only takes about 45 minutes to throw together.  It keeps in the refrigerator really well and actually tastes better the second day.  Also, I freeze the leftovers we can’t eat in cup increments for a quick lunch you can thaw in the microwave.  I usually serve this with cornbread or some other type of bread to soak up all the goodness!

serves 6 to 8

1 meaty ham hock, or when in a pinch, a cup of diced ham (preferably thick cut ham)
Olive oil
4 whole cloves
2 onions, chopped
1 medium green bell pepper, chopped
1 medium  red pepper, chopped (if I don’t have a green pepper I’ll use two reds, or vice-versa)
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 14-oz cans chicken broth
7 large garlic cloves, chopped
3 bay leaves, broken
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper
4 tablespoons tomato paste
3 15-oz cans black beans, drained and rinsed
3 limes, halved or about 1/2 cup sherry vinegar,  wine vinegar or cider vinegar

If using the ham hock, trim the meat away from the bone, cutting it into small pieces.  Don’t worry about getting it all off the bone.  Film the bottom of a 10qt stockpot with olive oil and heat over medium-high heat.  Stir in the ham, bone (if using),  cloves, onions, bell peppers, and salt.  Saute, stirring occasionally, until the veggies are sizzling and there’s a brown glaze on the bottom of the pan, about 8 or so minutes.  Don’t let the glaze or vegetable blacken!

Add a little broth, the garlic, bay leaves, cumin, oregano, black pepper, and tomato paste.  With a wooden spoon, scrape up the glaze as you simmer the mix on medium-high heat for 3 minutes.  Then add the beans and the remaining broth.  Adjust the heat so the soup bubbles gently.  Cover the pot tightly and cook for 20 minutes.

Stir in the juice from 2 1/2 limes or a 1/3 a cup of the vinegar.  Taste the soup for seasoning.  Adjust salt, pepper, and lime juice or vinegar as needed.  

Enjoy!

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Filed under Main Dish, Soup

Butternut Squash Soup

Butternut Squash Soup
adapted from Lynne Rosetto Kasper’s Splendid Table 

Goodness, this soup is amazing.  I fix it and usually we have no leftovers.  I’m generally not a fan of squash soups, but there’s something about this one…it’s perfectly seasoned, just creamy enough (with no cream!), and deliciously comforting.  This is where the immersion blender that can sometimes get thrown in the back of the cabinet from lack of use becomes the perfect tool, but you can use a regular blender too.  Or if you find yourself without these tools, you could probably just use a potato masher and tell everyone it’s a “rustic” soup. This is why I love cooking–because it’s easy to transform seeming disasters into beautiful and well received food.  

You can use any winter squash you want!  I generally use a mixture of acorn and butternut.  Serve with some crusty bread and you’ve got yourself the ultimate comfort dinner for a blustery fall or winter day.

Serves 4 to 6 (Although Katherine, Christy and I can down all of this in one sitting…)

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 shallot, finely chopped
1 carrot, finely chopped
Bouquet garni (3 sprigs of flat-leaf parsley, 2 sprigs of thyme, 10 whole black peppercorns, tied together in cheesecloth)
3 pounds winter squash, peeled, seeded, and chopped
3 cups chicken stock or low-fat, reduced-sodium chicken broth
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 to 2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and diced
1 sprig thyme

In a large, heavy-bottomed Dutch oven, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter over medium-low heat until foaming. Add the shallot and carrot. Cook, stirring frequently, until soft and translucent, about 3 minutes.

Add the bouquet garni, squash, and chicken stock. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil over high heat, decrease the heat to low, and simmer until the squash is tender, about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, to cook the apples, in a skillet, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter over medium heat. Add the diced apple and remaining sprig of thyme; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the apple is tender and lightly caramelized, about 5 minutes. Set aside and keep warm.

To finish the soup, remove the bouquet garni and discard. In the Dutch oven, using an immersion blender, puree the soup until smooth. Or ladle the soup into a blender and puree until smooth a little at a time. Leave it coarse and chunky if you prefer a more rustic soup or puree until smooth for a more elegant soup. Taste and adjust for seasoning with salt and pepper.

To serve, ladle into warm bowls and garnish with the sautéed apples.

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Filed under Fall, Healthy, Main Dish, Soup, Vegetable

Just an interlude….

132360681To take a break from recipes, I just wanted to share a new book I’ve come across that is pretty darn amazing.  So, you might think that I’m getting paid for this endorsement, but sadly, I am still unemployed (speaking of, anyone that knows of a job in a kitchen in Atlanta–I’m game!).  Recently, I have taken to bread baking.  A lot.  So much so that I’ve started running to counteract the bread eating that comes along with the baking.  Anyways, after laboriously making baguettes and sandwich breads that were really good but took hours, I came across Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoë Francois.  I can seriously attest to the 5 minutes a day part!  I have baked beautiful, tasty breads with very, very little effort.  The variations are endless too–I made a French boucle, a baguette, naan, and pizza dough all out of the same dough that was stored in my fridge.  You can keep it in the fridge for up to 2 weeks (mine, of course, wasn’t around that long!) and just pull off what you need.  Everything has turned out very well, excluding baking some in my mom’s finicky oven.  In regular circumstances, seriously amazing.

 

photo courtesy Barnes & Noble

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Filed under 30-minutes or less, Bread, Uncategorized