Nose-to-Tail Broccoli and Tofu

IMG_6897 (2)The star of my Potter Hill share this week was a beautiful head of broccoli with the stem and leaves attached. This crown jewel is actually three vegetables in one – slightly vegetal leaves, the crunchy stems, and the meaty florets. All three parts get worked into this recipe along with a rich sauce made with just three ingredients – soy sauce, molasses, and black pepper. Frying tofu does take a bit of time, but it makes for a delightfully crispy addition to this dish. I adapted this recipe from one in Dinner by Melissa Clark, which I’ve mentioned before and still turn to regularly for interesting, easy, and vegetable forward dinners.

My full share was a bunch of fresh onions and their greens, Red Russian kale, cabbage, a bag of lettuce, beets, a whole head of broccoli (leaves attached), cucumbers, summer squash, and basil. I used kale and some cabbage to make a caesar salad, and the broccoli and onions went into the tofu dish below. I used the summer squash and basil to riff off this pasta with fried zucchini, replacing the pasta and mozzarella with tortellini, and adding in some arugula. Lettuce, some cabbage, a cucumber, and some pickled turnips from a few weeks ago went into this salad, which was excellent ( I especially loved the preserved lemon). I haven’t gotten to my beets yet, but my favorite way to eat them is shredded and raw like in this salad or this amazing sandwich with sweet potatoes and feta.

Nose-to-Tail Broccoli and Tofu 

Serves 6

Adapted from Dinner: Changing the Game by Melissa Clark

If you don’t have fresh onions with the greens attached, use the same amount of sliced shallots in place of the bulb and scallions in place of the greens. I wrote this recipe to utilize all parts of the broccoli in our CSA share, but you could substitute another hearty green like bok choy, yokatta na, perpetual spinach, collards, or kale for the leaves. If you’re not into tofu, you could sub chicken, pork, or beef cut into 1 inch chunks, but leave out the cornstarch.

  • ¼ cup canola oil
  • 1 package (14 to 16 ounces) firm tofu, drained, patted dry, and cut into 1 inch cubes
  • ¼ cornstarch
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 small fresh onions and their tops, bulbs halved and thinly sliced (about 1½ cups/5 ounces) and green tops thinly sliced (about 1 packed cup/1½ ounces) (see note)
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons grated ginger
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 small head of broccoli head with stem and leaves still attached (see note)
  • 6 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 4 tablespoons molasses
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ground black pepper
  • Cooked brown rice, for serving (I cook ¼ cup per serving, so a total of 1½ cups)

In a large wok or skillet heat the oil over medium-high. Toss the cubed tofu with the cornstarch until it is well coated, then fry in the hot oil until it is crisp, about 10-15 minutes. Stir every 3-4 minutes so the sides brown evenly. When the tofu is crisp remove it from the pan with a slotted spoon onto a plate lined with a towel to drain.

While the tofu is cooking, prep the broccoli. Separate the leaves from the broccoli head, and then remove the stem from each leaf (these are tough and can be discarded). Thinly slice the leaves and set aside. Cut off the stalk from the broccoli crown (the leafy part of the “tree”), and using a knife or vegetable peeler remove the outer layer. To ensure you’ve removed enough, cut off a slice and try it – it should be crunchy but not tough. Quarter and slice the stalk, and cut the head into 1 inch florets (the 1 inch being the width of the top of the “tree”). 

Pour off the remaining oil from the pan, and return the to pan on medium heat. Melt the butter, then add in the sliced onion bulbs, garlic, and ginger. Cook for 5 minutes, until the onion starts to soften. Add the red pepper flakes, stir, and cook for a minute more.

While the onions are cooking, prep the sauce by whisking together the soy sauce, molasses, and freshly ground pepper in a bowl.

Add the broccoli stem and florets to the pan, stir, and cover. Cook for 5 minutes, then add in the greens, stir, and cover again. Cook for another 5 minutes, or until the greens have fully wilted. Add the sauce and tofu to the pan and toss until the vegetables and tofu are thoroughly. Serve over brown rice with extra chili flakes.

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Red Lentil Coconut Stew with Greens

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Hello, summer! This is the second year that I’m writing recipes for Potter Hill Farm‘s CSA. Each week the CSA members will get a bag full of awesome and varied vegetables, and I’ll post a recipe using those exact vegetables. Because I can’t help myself, I’ll throw in some other ideas for what to cook as well. To make the recipes easy to find, they are all tagged Potter Hill. If you weren’t lucky enough to get a spot in the CSA, you can still buy Potter Hill vegetables at Monday pick ups or at the Grafton Farmer’s Market. If you don’t live near Grafton, you can shop at your local farm or farmer’s market.

If you’re new this year, a little bit more about me can be found in last year’s intro post. The short version is I’m a home cook who loves vegetables. I’m not a vegetarian, but I am passionate about all of us finding more ways to incorporate great produce into our diets. Even if you aren’t a CSA member, I hope you come here to find interested and delicious ways to put vegetables on your plate. While it’s great if you want to follow my recipe exactly, I’m just as happy inspiring you to adapt my recipes with what you have or tweak them to your preference. Besides here, you can find me on Instagram and Facebook.

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This week my share had spinach, radishes, Red Russian kale, Yokatta Na, lettuce (mixed), and perpetual spinach (left to right, top to bottom). Besides this stew, I made Priya Krishna’s Saag Feta (using a mix of spinach, perpetual spinach, kale, and Yokatta Na), used lettuce in Tofu Shawarma Pita Wraps, and made a simple salad with lettuce, dill, and radishes to accompany a frittata. This is the time of year to embrace recipes that use an absurd amount of greens that you would balk at buying the rest of the year. Spanakopita is high on my list, plus old favorites beans and greens and greens with eggs, garlic yogurt, and chili butter.

For this stew I riffed on Alison Roman’s Spiced Chickpea Stew with Coconut and Turmeric. I didn’t have chickpeas, so I used red lentils which could quickly cook in the coconut milk/broth mixture. Cooking the lentils in the broth cut out the initial frying step, so this comes together in about 30 minutes. Though it’s called a “stew,” it is most definitely not a heavy affair.

Red Lentil Coconut Stew with Greens

Serves 6

  • 1 tablespoon coconut or olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons grated ginger
  • 1 tablespoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 15-ounce cans full fat coconut milk
  • 4 cups chicken broth, vegetable broth, or water
  • 2 cups red lentils
  • 1 lb greens, chopped and washed (I used a mix of spinach, perpetual spinach, and Red Russian kale)
  • Salt
  • 1 cup fresh soft herbs (such as basil, mint, or cilantro)
  • 1 bunch radishes, thinly sliced (about 1 cup total)
  • Lime wedges

Put a large pot over medium heat (remember all the uncooked greens need to fit in the pot too). Add in the oil. When the oil is hot, add in the onion, garlic, and ginger. Saute for 5 minutes, until the onion begins to soften.

Add in the turmeric, red pepper flakes, and a big pinch of salt. Stir to combine and cook for 1 minute (it should be wonderfully fragrant). Add in the broth/water, coconut milk, and lentils. Bring to a simmer and cook (covered) for 20 minutes.

Taste the lentils to ensure they are cooked through, and adjust the seasoning if needed. Add in the chopped greens, stir as best your can, and cover. Cook for 3-5 minutes, until wilted (stirring once to help all the greens get in the stew).

Serve with herbs, radishes, lime wedges, and extra red pepper flakes.

Vegan Tofu Bowls with Citrus Tahini Sauce

tofu bowl 2What should make when you need a reset after weekend eating? When you aren’t fully inspired, but have a fridge full of random vegetables? Or, when you feel like there is nothing in the fridge? When you have a bunch of diet restrictions at the dinner table? When you want to eat something incredibly satisfying and delicious?

Tofu bowls.

I’ve been making some variation of this bowl almost monthly for years. Tofu, rice, and the sauce are constants, but toppings always fluctuate depending on the season and what is in the fridge. If the ingredient list for the sauce seems long (or maybe contains nothing in your normal pantry), know that almost all the ingredients keep very well, so once you invest in them once you can make these bowls whenever the craving strikes (which will be often). The sauce is the great unifier and elevator that takes this from a bowl of health to a delightful dinner you really want to eat.

I like to use a mix of raw and cooked vegetables for textural contrast, but you can literally use whatever you fancy. Cucumbers, carrots, radishes, salad turnips, and avocado all make great options for a raw component. For cooked I’ve used many different types of greens (kale, collards, radish, turnip, chard), cabbage, Brussels sprouts, summer squashes, winter squashes, sweet potatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, and eggplant. Don’t feel limited by these options, use what you’ve got. This is also a great time to utilize leftover cooked vegetables from another meal.

This is the tail end of my CSA and my final week included celeriac, sweet potatoes, radishes, parsley, scallions, and lettuce. I used the lettuce in a salad inspired by this recipe with roasted carrots, couscous, and yogurt. It is an excellent time of year to make these root vegetable bowls.  If you haven’t yet, it’s time to make the celeriac slaw from a couple weeks ago (I’d throw in the scallions too), or this excellent winter chowder. If you want to see the whole season of CSA recipes, they are under the Potter Hill tag!

Vegan Tofu Bowls with Citrus Tahini Sauce

Serves 6.

Tofu marinade and method adapted from Thug Kitchen, sauce just barely adapted from Bowl + Spoon (which is also posted here). I’ve written this to serve 6, but if you want to scale this assume ¼ cup uncooked brown rice (1 ½ cups total) and ~2.5 ounces tofu per serving.

Marinated Tofu

  • ¼ cup low sodium soy sauce
  • ¼ cup rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon grated ginger
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon garlic chili sauce (or, 1 teaspoon grated garlic and 2 teaspoons sriracha)
  • 1 14-ounce container extra firm tofu

Citrus Tahini Sauce

  • 1⁄3 cup fresh-squeezed orange, clementine, or tangerine juice (you only need a little, so go the distance)
  • ½ cup tahini
  • 2 tablespoons honey, maple syrup, or agave
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sriracha
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper

For serving:

  • Cooked brown rice or noodles (see head note)
  • Raw vegetables and herbs (for these I used 1 small bunch radishes (sliced), pickled onions, scallions, and avocado)
  • Cooked vegetables (for these I used 1 large sweet potato which I cubed and roasted with the tofu, plus the radish greens which I threw on the same pan as the sweet potato in the last 2 minutes of cooking)

Remove tofu from container and drain all liquid (don’t discard the container!!!). Wrap tofu in a clean cloth napkin or dish towel, and place on a bowl/plate. Top with another bowl/plate, and place a weight on top (such as a full can of beans). Let drain for at least 30 minutes, but longer is great.

While tofu is draining place all marinade ingredients in a bowl and whisk to combine.

Remove tofu from the napkin and slice into 1/4″ planks width-wise (you should have 10-12 planks total). Return planks to their original container, and pour marinade over them. Poke in between the slices so the marinade can mingle. Let tofu marinate for 30 minutes (flip the slices over halfway through if you can remember to).

Preheat oven to 450F. Spread out tofu slices (reserving additional marinade) and roast for 15 minutes. Flip, spoon extra marinade over each slice, and roast for 10 more minutes. Flip one more time, spoon any remaining marinade over, and roast for 5 minutes more.

Whisk all sauce ingredients to combine. Prep vegetables for serving.

Serve bowls with rice, tofu, raw and cooked vegetables, any extra marinade, tahini citrus sauce, and extra sriracha. For maximum meal flexibility let diners assemble their own bowls.

 

 

Curry Butternut Squash Soup with Coconut Milk

IMG_20181101_122925192For most of my life I was anti-squash soup. I found the texture off-putting, and I didn’t care for the flavor enough to try to overcome that aversion. But five years ago Molly Wizenberg introduced me to this soup. It isn’t a Pumpkin Spice Latte in soup form. It has rich coconut milk to provide a velvety texture without the need for a high powered blender. Instead of cinnamon or another official fall spice, it has curry powder to bring additional warmth, fish sauce for salty funk, and lime juice for the hit of acid so many squash soups are missing. It was the potential I tasted every time I had a spoonful of lackluster soup before this.

I’ve made it so many times I felt it deserved a spot here. I’ve made a few changes from Molly’s, mainly that I always double it because that means I can use a whole squash and a whole quart of broth. It is perfect for freezing in individual portions and grabbing on those days when you need an emergency lunch because maybe you went out for pizza the night before instead of cooking (like I did this week).

It is nearing the end of our CSA season, which means it is time to stock up the ole root cellar! But in reality I live in an apartment on the top floor of a classic Worcester triple decker so there is no cellar to speak of. If you are in a similar situation, you can still store winter crops for quite a while. The share this week was carrots, chard, butternut, potatoes, and onions. I store the carrots in a plastic bag in the produce drawer of my fridge and they will last for months there. Butternut stores well in a dark, dry place but should not be refrigerated (unless it is cut). Potatoes and onions should be stored in complete darkness, separately if possible because the gas from onions encourages potatoes to sprout (as I learned here). Potatoes do best in a paper bag and onions prefer the open air (I keep them in those wood boxes clementines come in).

If you do want to cook with your veg from this week right away, then you can do that too! Before I found this soup, Ottolenghi was the first one to truly show me the merits of butternut squash. This recipe with tahini and za’atar and this recipe with yogurt and chili are both great. I’m going classic this week and making a roasted chicken with roasted potatoes. I’ve also been using the potatoes for a quick breakfast hash with whatever else I have around, like broccoli and onions (egg on top required).

Curry Butternut Squash Soup with Coconut Milk

I put a range for the squash size because they can be so variable. No need to do something silly like use a squash a half (unless you already have a plan for the other half). Just know that the bigger your squash is, the thicker and heartier the soup will be.

  •  3 tablespoons coconut oil (you can also use vegetable or olive oil)
  •  2 cups of chopped onion (this was one medium onion and 2 small ones for me)
  •  6 garlic cloves, minced
  •  2 tablespoons curry powder
  •  1 large butternut squash (about 3-4 pounds), peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
  •  2 14-ounce cans unsweetened coconut milk
  •  4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  •  2 tablespoons maple syrup
  •  2 tablespoons Asian fish sauce
  •  2 teaspoons Sriracha or other Asian chili sauce, plus more for serving
  •  Lime wedges, for serving

In a large soup pot, heat the coconut oil over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and cook for 5 minutes, or until it becomes soft and translucent. Add the garlic and cook 1-2 minutes more, until it is fragrant. Add the curry powder and cook for another minute. Add in the squash, broth, coconut milk, maple syrup, fish sauce, and Sriracha. Turn the heat up to high, cover, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer, and cook for 30-40 minutes (until the squash can be easily pierced with a fork).

Using an immersion blender, puree the soup (or, you can use a blender and puree it in batches). Serve with extra Sriracha and lime wedges.

Celeriac slaw with apples, herbs, and horseradish

celeriac slawI know “slaw” probably makes you think of summer, but this one is firmly rooted in fall. Celeriac (or, celery root) tastes like a celery-scented potato. Unlike a potato, it is fine to eat raw. It makes an excellent pair with autumn apples – the crisper and tarter, the better. Tossed in a bright dressing with lemon, mustard, horseradish, and yogurt (for creamy contrast), it would be excellent alongside a pork chop .

My Potter Hill CSA share share was celeriac, perpetual spinach, onions, potatoes, green peppers, spicy lettuce, purple turnips, and a handful of spicy peppers. This week has been a little lighter on cooking and heavier on aspiration from extra leftovers and lots of dinner work events. When I brought my share home I made a quick stir fry with some leftover eggplant, plus the perpetual spinach, turnip greens, and green peppers (using this sauce). I’m contemplating trying a fermented hot sauce with the medley of spicy peppers. I’m going to wait on cooking the potatoes since they will last a few weeks, but I am still dreaming about this harissa chicken with leeks and potatoes I made a few weeks ago (make it!!!!). I really only want to eat one green salad this time of year, which is spicy greens with a Dijon vinaigrette (like this one), toasted nuts, apples, and dried cranberries (autumnal AF). If you are looking for a festive meal for Halloween, I highly recommend these black and orange burrito bowls (or you could have the same fillings in tacos!).

Celeriac slaw with apples, herbs, and horseradish

Celeriac is pretty knotty, so I find it is easier to peel it with a knife than a vegetable  peeler. Slice off the stems if they’re still attached and some of the remaining roots on the bottom. Then use your chef’s knife (or a paring knife) to remove the outer 1/4 inch.

Adapted from Happyolks

  • 4 tablespoons of lemon juice, divided
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons Greek yogurt
  • 2 heaping teaspoons prepared horseradish (if you have fresh definitely use that, but start with 1 teaspoon)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon(ish) fresh ground pepper
  • 2 celeriac (aka celery root), peeled
  • 2 apples (no need to peel)
  • 1 cup parsley leaves, roughly chopped

In a large bowl whisk together 3 tablespoons of lemon juice, Dijon, honey, extra virgin olive oil, Greek yogurt, horseradish, salt, and pepper.

Thinly slice the celeriac and apple into planks about 1/8″ thick, and then slice into matchsticks of the same thickness (alternatively, you can use a mandolin). In a small bowl toss the sliced apples with the remaining tablespoon of lemon juice.

Add the sliced celeriac, apples, and parsley to the bowl and toss to combine with the dressing. Salad is best immediately, but will last for a couple days (the apple just won’t be as crisp).

Roasted Eggplant and Tomato Soup

IMG_20181018_173543805I have a certain affinity for unappetizing foods. Foods that look terrible no matter what, but taste so good. Poutine. Beans and rice. Baba ghanoush. This soup certainly fits into that category. It is completely brown. Not the rich, glistening brown of a crispy French fry, but the flat brown of a pureed soup. But (but!) it is worth making.

It starts with summer vegetables you know would taste so good roasted, but in August you can’t bring yourself to turn on the oven. While August may be their peak season, tomatoes and eggplant are usually hanging around until the first frost. Which is a point you welcome turning on the oven, and can take those vegetables that are no longer quite at their peak and concentrate their flavor.

You halve them, along with an onion and a few garlic cloves, and stick them in the oven for 45 minutes to get a little bit caramelized. Then you simmer them with some stock for another 45 minutes and puree. What you have is warm and comforting, but not a heavy soup. It is a fall soup made with summer ingredients, or a perfect soup for the transition of seasons. It’s not pretty, but we all have our days.

Besides the eggplant, tomato, and onions I used for this recipe, the rest of my Potter Hill CSA share this week was celeriac, spicy lettuce mix, chard, mustard greens, Tokyo bekana, parsley, and a jalapeño. Alongside this soup, we had a salad of spicy greens dressed with extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. I’m going to use basically all of the greens in the Olive Oil-Braised Chickpeas with Swiss Chard and Cumin from Dinner: Changing the Game. I haven’t decided how to use the celeriac and parsley yet, but I’ve made this slaw in the past and loved it. If you can’t decide how to use a jalapeño, you could always slice it and throw it into the jar of pickles you’ve already made, or use it to flavor a jar of pickles of another vegetable (spicy pickles carrots!!!).

Roasted Eggplant and Tomato Soup

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

  • 3 medium tomatoes, halved
  • 1 large eggplant (about 1 1/2  pounds), halved lengthwise
  • 1 small onion, halved
  • 6 large garlic cloves (do not peel)
  • 1 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Fresh ground pepper

Preheat the oven to 400F. Place tomatoes, eggplant, onion, and garlic cloves on baking sheet and drizzle with oil. Roast for 20 minutes, then check to make sure everything is doing okay (especially the garlic cloves). Rotate the pan and return to the oven for 25 more minutes. All of the vegetables should be soft and slightly charred.

Let cool slightly and remove the skin/peel from the eggplant, onion, and garlic. Add all to the pot along with the tomatoes, broth, salt, and garlic. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook with the lid on for 45 minutes. Using a stick blender puree the soup (or, you can blend in batches in a food processor or blender). Taste for seasoning and serve with crusty bread and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.

A Vegetable Filled Tortilla Casserole

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I always struggle with the change of seasons. I feel like I’ve just gotten into my groove in the last season when the new one is upon us. But what about all the eggplant and tomatoes I still need to eat?! The warm nights when I sit on my porch and watch the sunset while the kids across the street debate who should be “It”? Reading for hours on the beach, but stopping to walk out as far as possible at low tide and eating lobster rolls? But, I do truly love each and every season. I suppose I can embrace sleeping better during cooler nights, welcoming the added heat roasting and simmering brings into the kitchen, and the wonder that is fall squash (but get the f*$# away from me with your pumpkin spice lattes and cinnamon-sugar rimmed beers) .

This is really a great point in the season, because there are some summer vegetables hanging on while the fall vegetables start to trickle in. This is the point when you actually want to turn on the oven and make roasted tomato and eggplant soup, the idea of which seemed like a hilarious joke at points this summer. Or you can embrace the fall vegetables entirely, and make this easily adaptable tortilla casserole with kale and butternut squash.

This week my share was onions, yellow potatoes, lacinato kale, salad turnips, French radishes, spicy lettuce mix, mint, parsley, eggplant, jalapeños, and butternut squash. I cooked up some Short Creek tsuga sausage, then removed it from the pan and cooked diced radishes and turnips followed by their greens in the delightful drippings, and then served the whole lot over polenta with pecorino (then we ate the leftovers for breakfast with an egg on top and HOT DAMN). The lettuce went into some end-of-season BLTs. Eggplant and cherry tomatoes (from last week) went into a simple roasted dish with haloumi from Smitten Kitchen Every Day Potatoes, parsley, and a leek leftover from last week went into this sheet pan harissa chicken which may be the absolute highest calling for Paul’s potatoes. If you didn’t get around to it last week, you could pickle some onions and jalapeños to top this casserole (or tacos, burritos, chilaquiles, etc).

I used butternut and kale from my share as the main vegetables for this casserole, but it is easily adaptable. You could use corn and spinach as called for in the original recipe, zucchini, eggplant, sweet potatoes, peppers, or whatever else pleases you.

Vegetable Tortilla Casserole

Adapted from Jennifer Farley via Cup of Jo

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 medium onion (mine was ~1 cup when chopped)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 cups crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes, or salsa (maybe dial back the spices if you’re using salsa)
  • 3 1/2 cups black or pinto beans (or a mix), rinsed and drained (2 15-ounce cans, or 1 double can)
  • 1 bunch of kale
  • 1 small butternut squash
  • kosher salt and ground black pepper
  • 8 large corn tortillas, or 14 small taco tortillas
  • 2 cups Monterey Jack, cheddar cheese or both
  • Accouterments: chopped fresh cilantro, chopped fresh jalapeño, sour cream or plain yogurt, salsa, pickled jalapeño, pickled onion

Preheat your oven to 400F. Peel, deseed, and chop your butternut into 1″ pieces. Toss with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and a pinch of salt. Roast for 20 minutes, toss, and roast for another 10 minutes. You should easily be able to pierce the butternut with a fork.

Dice your onion, mince the garlic clove, and thinly slice the kale. Heat a large skillet over medium heat with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add the onion, and cook until it is translucent. Add in the garlic and cook for about 1 minute more, until it is fragrant. Add the spices and stir so the onion and garlic and coated in them, and then add the kale. Toss until the kale is wilted, then add the beans and crushed tomatoes. Stir to combine and simmer for 5 minutes so the flavors can combine. If it looks a little dry, add 1/4 cup of water.

Make your casserole by greasing a 9″x13″ dish (I used 1 teaspoon olive oil). Add a spoonful each of the tomato mixture and roasted butternut squash so the bottom of the pan is mostly covered. Add a layer or tortillas (I cut some in half to evenly fill the dish), then top with more of the tomato mixture (about 1/4), a large spoonful of the roasted butternut, and a sprinkle of cheese. Repeat with the remaining ingredients, finishing with a the tomato mixture, butternut, and cheese.

Bake for 20 minutes, until the cheese is melted. Serve with a variety of accouterments for topping.

 

Turmeric noodle salad with crunchy veg

noodle salad

I’ve written before about my annoyance with seasonal creep. We always seem to move to the next season before the current one is over. I love flannel, apples, and warm beverages as much as any born and bred New Englander, but I can wait to embrace them. Even though the school year has started it is still technically summer, and I’m happy to keep eating cold and crunchy things while I can. This salad is a quick dressing, julienned vegetables, and noodles you don’t even need to cook on the stove. Great for the hottest summer days, or those transitional nights when we’re still holding on to later daylight.

My Potter Hill CSA share this week was 1 bunch salad turnips, 1 bunch radishes, spicy lettuce mix, pea shoots, parsley, arugula, 2 lbs potatoes, onions, and cherry tomatoes. Earlier this week I made a light summer lasagna with roasted zucchini, cherry tomatoes, onions and arugula. The potatoes and remaining arugula, along with the spicy lettuce and pea shoots went into potatoes anna and salad, which so delightfully flavorful for so few ingredients, but definitely let it cool a bit before cutting if you want clean slices. Before I decided on this noodle salad I contemplated making this roasted vegetable bowl using potatoes, radishes, turnips, carrots, onions, and the parsley. It would still be an excellent option if the weather cools off again next week.

Turmeric noodle salad with crunchy veg

Serves 4

Adapted from Molly Wizenberg and Heidi Swanson. All sorts of vegetables would be great here. As Molly did in her original recipe, you could add cucumber or cabbage, or some kind of protein. I love Heidi’s idea of adding turmeric to noodles so they become vibrantly yellow, but you could omit the turmeric if you don’t have any.

Dressing

  • 3 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 3 tablespoons lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 6 tablespoons water
  • 2 teaspoons chili garlic sauce (or, 1 garlic clove grated and 1 teaspoon sriracha)

Salad

  • 1 bunch of salad turnips (4 turnips made 2 cups of shredded)
  • 1 bunch radishes (7 small radishes made 1 cup shredded)
  • 1 large carrot (1 cup shredded)
  • 2 scallions, sliced (mine were huge, so about 1 cup total)
  • 1/2 cup chopped herbs, such as cilantro or basil (Thai, regular, or lemon)
  • 8 ounces of rice noodles
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup peanuts
  • Optional: 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes (raw or roasted)
  • Optional: minced jalapenos

Combine all dressing ingredients in a jar and shake to combine.

Shred or julienne turnips, radishes, and carrots. Slice scallions and chop herbs. Place noodles, turmeric, and salt in a large bowl and cover with boiling water (the noodles should be totally submerged). Stir to distribute the turmeric and insure the noodles don’t stick together. Let sit for 5 to 10 minutes and then drain (definitely check after 5 minutes, because thinner noodles will be done at that point). Roughly chop the peanuts.

Toss drained noodles, shredded vegetables (including the tomatoes if you’re using them) , scallions, and dressing in a large bowl. Top with chopped herbs and peanuts. Serve with extra chili garlic sauce and jalapenos.

Big Salads with tzatziki and marinated lentils

IMG_6419 (2)Most often when we get lettuce in our CSA I just make some version of this giant salad. Lentils are always a good quick legume to cook when I get home from work if I don’t have another precooked or in cans. Canned tuna is great, as if leftover roasted chicken. Farro or quinoa are nice additions. I usually go with a vinaigrette for dressing, but the tzatziki here adds enough moisture that I don’t think you’ll miss regular dressing. If your household likes tzatziki as much as mine, you may want to double the recipe to have on hand as a snack with cucumber slices or pita chips. I didn’t have any pita when I made this salad, but that would also be a great addition (or stick the whole thing in a sandwich/wrap!).

My full share this week was lettuce, chard, salad turnips, purple potatoes, lemon basil, regular basil, 2 pints of cherry tomatoes, 1 pound of large tomatoes, carrots, and jalapenos. I’m eating potatoes and chard like this again because its so good (have you made it yet?!).  I’ve somehow made it this far into the season without making salsa, so that will be remedied this week. The turnips and their greens are going to go into a cold spicy noodle situation inspired by this and this (but using the chili crisp I already have in the fridge). Speaking of chili crisp, the reason I made it in the first place was to make these Vietnamese-style chicken meatballs which were SO GOOD and would be an excellent use of your lettuce, carrots, turnips, and jalapenos this week.

Big Salads with Tzatziki and Marinated Lentils

Inspired by Ina and Sprouted Kitchen

Serves 6

I know cucumber sizes can vary widely, but I used smaller cukes that you would get at a farmer’s market and when grated (before squeezing) it was 2 cups of shredded cucumber. I used lentils because I had some and they are quick cooking, but white beans or chickpeas would be great too. I find the tzatziki to be enough of a dressing, but if you need some more zing toss the lettuce with a drizzle of olive oil and some lemon juice before assembling the rest of the salad.

Tzatziki:

  • 2 small or 1 large cucumber (see note)
  • 2 cups plain (unflavored) Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 chopped dill (and extra for garnish if you like)
  • 1 clove garlic, grated
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Fresh ground black pepper

Salad:

  • 1 cup French green lentils (sometimes sold as Le Puy)
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Fresh ground pepper
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 small cucumber, chopped
  • 4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1 head of lettuce, chopped

Bring a small pot of water to a boil and add the lentils. Cook for 15-20 minutes, until tender and then drain.

To make the tzatziki: Grate the cucumber on the large holes of a box grater and set in a fine mesh strainer over a bowl to drain (don’t throw out the liquid!!!). While the cucumber is draining combine the yogurt, dill, garlic, lemon juice, vinegar, salt, and a few grinds of black pepper in a bowl. Take small handfuls of the grated cucumber and squeeze out as much liquid as you can, adding the dry cucumber to the bowl with the yogurt mixture as you go. When all of the cucumber has been strained stir to completely integrate it with the yogurt. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

After the lentils have drained toss them in a bowl with the lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and a few grinds of black pepper. Stir to combine. Build your salads with lettuce, lentils, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, feta, an artful blob of tzatziki, and a sprinkle of dill.

Herby couscous salad with cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, and pea shoots

IMG_6346 (2)The majority of August was a relief from the intense heat of July. That heat and humidity are back in full force this week, and I did my best to come up with a dinner that used as little cooking as possible. This is a quick couscous salad with lots of fresh herbs, chickpeas, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, and pea shoots. It is a meal in itself, but would be an excellent picnic side or bed for some juicy grilled chicken or sausage.

I happened to have couscous in my pantry (plus it is so quick cooking), but this would also be great with other small pastas like Israeli couscous or orzo, or with another grain like quinoa. In an effort to minimize my heat in the kitchen, I didn’t use any cooked vegetables but roasted or grilled vegetables would be delicious too. I riffed off this parsley sauce, but used scallions as well and upped the quantity.

All of the vegetables and herbs in this salad are from my Potter Hill CSA share this week except the cucumber, which I bought separated from Paul. The rest of the share this week was a baby head of romaine lettuce, celery, 2 lbs of large tomatoes, microgreens, carrots, kale, and mint.

Lettuce and tomatoes went into an epic BLT with Short Creek bacon (order some this week!!!!). I’ve also been eating tomatoes my absolute favorite way: on top of toast slathered with mayo, with salt and pepper.  If you haven’t made these greens with yogurt yet then that is your kale plan (if you have made this…it is still your plan). This marinated celery salad looks like a great use for the giant head, plus some cherry tomatoes and scallions (it’s marinating in the fridge right now for dinner tomorrow!). I don’t have a plan for the carrots this week, but with the greens snipped off they will last in the fridge until inspiration (or hunger) strikes.

Herby couscous salad with cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, and pea shoots

Serves 6 as a meal, or 10-12 as a side

Couscous

  • 3 cups couscous
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon salt

Herb sauce

  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 ½ cups parsley leaves
  • 1 ½ cups chopped scallions
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice (from about 1 ½ lemons)
  • 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • Fresh ground black pepper

Salad

  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes
  • 1 small cucumber (mine was 1 1/2 cups chopped)
  • 1 large handful pea shoots and/or microgreens (about 1 cup chopped)
  • 3.5 cups cooked chickpeas (2 15.5 oz cans, drained and rinsed)

Bring the 3 cups of water to a boil. Add in the couscous, olive oil, and salt. Cover, remove from the heat, and let sit for 10 minutes.

Turn on a food processor with the S blade in and drop the garlic cloves through the opening at the top. When the garlic cloves stop bouncing around they are fully minced. Turn the food processor off and scrape down the sides with a spatula. Add the salt, a few grinds of pepper, parsley leaves, chopped scallions, and lemon juice. Turn the food processor on to chop them, then drizzle in the olive oil so a sauce forms. Alternatively, very finely mince the garlic, parsley, and scallions, then stir in the salt, pepper, lemon juice, and olive oil.

Quarter the cherry tomatoes, chop the cucumber, and chop the pea shoots or microgreens. Fluff the couscous with a fork and put it in a large bowl. Add the chickpeas and herb sauce and stir to combine. Add in the cherry tomatoes, cucumber, and pea shoots. Stir until they are evenly distributed.

Watermelon, Tomato, and Cucumber Salad with Feta and Lemon Basil

IMG_6336What is more summery than this salad? Ripe berries eaten off the bush? Kids running through a sprinkler? Fireflies? There may be a few contenders, but the list is short. One step further than eating each of these ingredients straight (which is a wonderfully summery thing to do as well), this simple salad plays up each component’s attributes by contrasting with the others. Crunchy cucumber, meaty tomato, and sweet watermelon, are excellent foils to fragrant lemon basil, slightly pickled onions, and salty/creamy feta bound together with fruity olive oil.

This is my Potter Hill CSA recipe for the week, and everything in the salad except the cucumber is in the share (the cucumber is also from Paul, I just bought it separately). The rest of the share was 2 pints of cherry tomatoes, husk cherries, purple potatoes, and savory. I’m going to use the rest of the lemon basil and red onion in these soba noodles (and I’m going to sub nectarines for the mango). I used the cherry tomatoes and leftover bok choy from last week in a Thai curry with tofu from Dinner (which is almost identical to this recipe, but with shiitake mushrooms instead of crimini, and cherry tomatoes and bok choy instead of the snap peas). The husk cherries just got eaten as a snack, and I’m not sure what the fate of the purple potatoes is yet. Maybe potato salad? Or over Dijon lentils?

Watermelon, Tomato, and Cucumber Salad with Feta and Lemon Basil

Serves 6

I listed quantities for each ingredient, but don’t worry about sticking to them too strictly. Use what you have, and just try to balance the ingredients.

  • 1/2 a small watermelon (~4 cups once chopped)
  • 1 lb of tomatoes (I used one monster yellow tomato, but 2-3 normal sized ones would be plenty)
  • 1 small cucumber (1/2 lb)
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion (1 very small onion)
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (this is the time to bring out the good stuff)
  • 4 ounces of feta, cubed
  • a large handful of lemon basil (regular basil or cilantro would also work)
  • 1/2 teaspoon flaky sea salt

Put the sliced red onion in a small bowl and top with the vinegar. Stir to coat.

Cut the tomato and watermelon into 1″ cubes. Chop the cucumber. Arrange the watermelon, tomatoes, and cucumber on a platter. Scatter the red onion on top, and sprinkle the leftover vinegar over the salad. Top with the feta and basil, and then drizzle the extra virgin olive oil over the whole salad. Finish with the salt and serve.

Roasted Summer Vegetables

20180802_122021Admittedly I had another plan for a recipe to share this week, but it ended up being only ok, and I am not in the business of peddling mediocre recipes. This is what I made on Monday night when I came home with my CSA (I get mine early for recipe writing). I had no plan for dinner, but knew it needed to involve a lot of vegetables. I took stock of leftovers from the weekend, which included some naan, tzatziki, hummus, and olives. I still had a zucchini and summer squash from last week’s CSA, plus this week’s eggplant, tomatoes, onions and savory. I chopped everything up, tossed it with some olive oil, salt, and pepper, and threw it in the oven. The result is the cruel truth that so many summer vegetables are really better roasted, when you would rather change a tire on the side of the highway in the pouring rain than turn on the oven.

But summer vegetables like this are so, so good. The tomato adds a bit of acidity, and provide enough moisture to make a bit of a sauce. Eggplant, when properly and thoroughly cooked, becomes meaty and velvety. The onion becomes a bit caramelized, and summer squash adds a freshness you only get at this point in the year. If you don’t have savory, you could try another hearty herb like rosemary or thyme, or finish the dish after cooking with a soft herb like basil or parsley.

The rest of my share this week was cucumbers, perpetual spinach, kale, basil, new potatoes, lettuce, and pea tendrils. I used the perpetual spinach, kale, and cucumbers in some easy noodles with peanut sauce from the freezer (I cooked the greens, but left the cucumber raw). The potatoes and onions are going into a Thai yellow curry from Simple Thai Food tomorrow night. I also get an egg share, and for tighter mornings, I hard-boil eggs and eat them with everything.

Roasted Summer Vegetables

Serves 6

I’m outlining my basic method, but you could easily mix up the vegetables you include here. For six servings, I fill two baking sheets with 1/2-1″ between pieces for thorough browning. The photo shows naan with a layer of hummus topped with the roasted vegetables.

  • 3 small eggplant
  • 1 summer squash
  • 1 zucchini
  • 2 medium onions (I used fresh onions)
  • 3 medium tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons chopped savory
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 425F. Chop all of the vegetables into 1″ pieces. Toss with the olive oil, salt, pepper, and chopped savory. Spread across 2 baking sheets, with about 1″ of space between the pieces. They should be able to roast and brown, not just steam. Roast for 20 minutes, then remove from the oven, toss the vegetables, and return them to the oven on opposite shelves. Roast for another 10-15 minutes. In my oven the pan that starts on the bottom is always done first, while the other pan usually requires an extra 5 minutes to achieve the same level of browning.

Serve with hummus and pita or naan, in a sandwich, on pizza/pasta/polenta, or all by its glorious self.

 

 

Buffalo Chickpea Tacos

IMG_20180724_192341691

In our house your birthday warrants a week of birthday meals. Every meal is one of the birthday person’s favorite foods. It started a couple years ago when I had too many ideas for Will’s birthday dinner, so I just decided to make all of them.

Will loves anything Buffalo-ed (that is with Buffalo hot sauce not buffalo meat), and as a challenge created a spreadsheet called “Will It Buffalo?” with meal ideas for me. I’ve been picking my way through them over the years, and you can see all the recipes here. It was inevitable that a Buffalo dish would make it into the birthday week meals, and given Will’s love of tacos might equal his love of Buffalo sauce, we ended up here.

I love tacos that have a hearty bean component as the main protein, so these start with a base of spicy chickpea dip (which is excellent on its own), topped with a combination of cooked and raw vegetables for great contrast in flavors and textures.

In my Potter Hill CSA share this week I received red cabbage, fresh onions, leeks, 2 small heads of lettuce, a bunch of mixed beets, kale, radishes, celery, basil, zucchini, summer squash, and cherry tomatoes. The lettuce, cherry tomatoes, and basil went into a steak salad with herb dressing from the Smitten Kitchen Every Day Cookbook (very similar to this salad). I used onion, celery, and cauliflower and broccoli leftover from last week in the tacos. Tonight I’m making a kale salad with beets similar to the one from a few weeks ago, but without the onions and cheese. Tomorrow I’m going to make these Korean Bulgogi Burgers with the red cabbage and subbing my French radishes for the daikon (not at all traditional, but that’s the game with a CSA!).

Buffalo Chickpea Tacos

If you can’t be bothered to make the chickpea spread, just buy some hummus and stir in the hot sauce. The recipe below makes the equivalent of 2 8-ounce containers, which is plenty for the tacos and some extra for snacking. I used both broccoli and cauliflower because I had a small head of each, but feel free to use one large head of either, or sub other vegetables like zucchini, summer squash, cabbage, or corn (you can broil any of them in the same manner).

Chickpea Spread

  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 3.5 cups cooked chickpeas (or 2 15-ounce cans), rinsed and drained
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup cayenne hot sauce, such as Frank’s (if you like it really fiery, go for 1/2 a cup)
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Taco Toppings

  • 1 small head of broccoli, chopped (about 1/2 lb)
  • 1 small head of cauliflower, chopped (about 1/2 lb)
  • t tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup minced red onion (1/2 a small onion)
  • 1 cup minced celery
  • 1/4 minced celery leaves (or parsley)
  • 1 cup crumbled bleu cheese
  • 1 cup deseeded and chopped tomato (2 small or 1 large)

For serving

Heat the vegetable oil over medium high heat. Add in the chopped onion, and saute for 10-15 minutes, until soft, translucent, and browning in places. Remove from the heat and cool slightly.

Turn on a food processor with an S-blade and drop in the garlic close from the top. Run the food processor until you can’t hear the garlic bouncing around anymore. Scrape down the sides with a spatula, and then add in the cooked onions, chickpeas, extra virgin olive oil, hot sauce, and salt. Process until uniformly smooth and then taste for seasoning. Alternatively, mince the garlic, then add to a large bowl with the onions and chickpeas. Mash with a fork or potato masher, then add in the olive oil, hot sauce, and salt and mash again until a spread forms.

Move a rack to the top of the oven and turn broil on high. Chop the broccoli and cauliflower into 1/2 inch pieces, and then toss on a baking sheet with the vegetable oil. Broil for 10 minutes total, tossing halfway through, until the are lightly charred.

Serve tortillas warmed, and let everyone assemble their own (lots of extra hot sauce on mine, please).

 

Kale and Beet Salad with Pickled Onions, Balsamic Vinaigrette, and Goat Cheese

IMG_20180705_132657179Admittedly, I have done very little cooking in the last week. This heat has inspired a diet of fresh fruit, salads, sandwiches, and frozen desserts. I’ve made eggs for breakfast, but once the sun really comes up I can’t be bothered to heat up the kitchen any more. Refusing to cook can be inspiration all its own, and salads do not have to be boring.

This week my Potter Hill CSA share was kale, perpetual spinach, salad turnips, baby beets, zucchini, summer squash, fresh onions, bok choy, basil, and parsley. If I can find a grill to make use of, this zucchini with pesto and beans is high on my list to make. If you could be bothered to roast sweet potatoes, these wraps are an excellent vegetarian main (and if you can’t be bothered, grated carrots or beets would be a fine substitute). My favorite everyday use for greens is to saute them to have with eggs and toast in the morning with a few dashes of hot sauce.

The revelation in this salad is there is no reason to cook your beets. Yes, when you roast them their sweet, earthiness is concentrated, but that is not always what I want from a beet. In fact I was anti-beet until I ate them raw and was able to appreciate their mildly sweet crunch. Young beets are especially great this way, and are an excellent addition to salads, wraps, and sandwiches.

 Kale and Beet Salad with Pickled Onions, Balsamic Vinaigrette, and Goat Cheese

These pickled onions are a great addition to sandwiches or potato salad (as in their inspiration recipe). I had a great intention to add nuts, but then forgot to do so while I was making it. Toasted pecans or almonds would be my pick. With baby beets I just wash them thoroughly and trim any stringy bits off the bottom, but don’t feel the need to peel them.

Dressing inspired by Sprouted Kitchen, pickled onions inspired by Smitten Kitchen.

Serves 4 as side salads, or 2 as mains.

  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 large fresh onion bulb, minced (about 1/2 a cup)
  • 2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons maple syrup
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 1 bunch kale, stemmed and chopped
  • 3 small beets, greens removed and reserved
  • 3 ounces goat cheese, crumbled

Measure white wine vinegar, water, salt, and sugar in a small jar (1/2 pint works great). Shake to dissolve the salt and sugar, then add the minced onion and let sit while you prepare everything else.

In a second jar (or the bottom of a large bowl, if you are going to mix and serve everything at once) combine balsamic vinegar, olive oil, maple syrup, Dijon mustard, a pinch of salt and a few grinds of pepper. Shake or whisk to combine.

Trim any stringy ends off the bottom of the beets, and then grate them on the largest holes of a box grater (or, you could cut them into matchsticks by hand or on a mandolin).

Assemble the salad by massaging the majority of the dressing into the kale with your hands (reserve a few tablespoons of dressing to drizzle on top) until the leaves are thoroughly coated and shiny. Top kale with grated beets, crumbled goat cheese, about 1/2 the pickled onions (see head note for other uses), and a final drizzle of dressing.

 

 

Summer Quinoa and Zucchini Salad with Herbs and Lemon

zuke saladIt’s the greatest time of the year – local produce is here! Well, it’s always around to some extent but farmer’s markets are reopening and the bounty is flowing through the doors. This year I’m writing recipes for Potter Hill Farm’s CSA, so in addition to the great produce members receive each week they will get some ideas of what to cook with them. I’ve been buying excellent produce from Paul for years, and I’m so excited to be both a member of his CSA and an added value for his other customers. If you were not able to sign up for the CSA, you can still get Paul’s produce through the Grafton Farmers Market and order directly from him for Monday pickups at the farm in Grafton, MA.

This is the first of many weeks of recipes, and I think an introduction is in order for all those who are new here. Hi! My name is Tori. I’ve been writing this blog for about five years, focusing mainly on my love of vegetables and accessible home cooking, but also dabbling in books, beer, and travel. I contribute to Yankee Brew News as a columnist for our region and feature writer. By day, I’m an education coordinator at a non-profit farm where I run nutrition and agriculture programming, including cooking classes for kids (more on that here).

I live in and love Worcester. Since returning to my home state of Massachusetts five years ago after a stint in Seattle, I’ve spent a lot of time exploring the nooks and crannies of New England. My husband, Will, is my primary adventure partner and recipe taster (He’s the main instigator behind the Will It Buffalo? series). Eggplant is my favorite vegetable, and I’m determined to convince the masses to love it too.

If you want to search my blog, or see all the posts in a single category, open up any post and scroll to the bottom. Click the tags at the bottom of the post to see other posts with a similar ingredient, click on a category to see all my posts on a single subject like books or travel, or use the search bar to find a specific post. I’ll be tagging all CSA recipes under Potter Hill.  You can find me on Instagram here. I’d love to hear more about you, what you’d like to see more of with your CSA recipes, and any questions you may have in the comments. Let’s get cooking!

zuke salad 2Summer Quinoa and Zucchini Salad with Herbs and Lemon

There is a lot of flexibility in this kind of recipe. Not into quinoa? Try couscous, farro, or barley. Can’t bear to turn on the oven? Slice the zucchini into planks, toss with the oil/zest/salt/pepper, throw it on the grill, and chop it after cooking. Out of chickpeas? Try cannellini beans or green lentils. Still trying to use up a head of lettuce? Put the whole mess (mixed or not) on top of greens dressed with lemon and olive oil. Vegan? Leave out the feta.

Serve 6 as a main, or 12 as a side.

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cups of water
  • 2 tablespoons neutral oil, such as olive oil (not extra virgin) or vegetable oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 lbs zucchini (I used 3)
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced (2 tablespoons total)
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 ounces crumbled feta cheese
  • 1 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed (about 1 3/4 cups total)
  • 1/2 cup minced parsley leaves (half a small bunch)
  • 1/2 cup minced scallions (2 giant scallions)

Bring the water to a boil in a small saucepan. Add the quinoa and a pinch of salt. Cover, reduce to a simmer, and cook for 15 minutes. Removed from the heat, fluff with a fork, and let cool slightly.

Preheat the oven to 425F. Chop the zucchini into 1/2 inch pieces, then toss with 2 tablespoons olive oil, the lemon zest, and 1/2 teaspoon each salt and ground pepper. Spread zucchini pieces on 2 baking sheets (if they are too close together they will steam and not roast), and roast for 15 minutes. Toss the zucchini on both pans, and return them to the oven on the opposite racks. Roast for another 15 minutes, until they are slightly charred.

In a jar or the bottom of the bowl the salad will be in, mix/whisk the lemon juice and olive oil. Combine the quinoa, zucchini, chickpeas, feta, parsley, scallions, and dressing in a large bowl., toss with the dressing and serve.

Broccoli Stem and Kale Salad with Lemon Miso Dressing

kale and broccoli stem saladLast week, Will and I were on our way back from visiting friends in Philly. Last time we visited we spent the entire weekend eating excellent food, and this trip was equally delicious. We had incredible Lebanese food at Suraya (the fatteh with eggplant, chickpeas, and tehina yogurt was divine), hummus at Dizengoff, falafel, shwarma spice fries, and a Turkish coffee tahina shake at Goldie, ice cream at Weckerly’s twice, the best pour over I’ve ever had at Menagerie, a giant wedge salad at North Third, incredibly varied beer and great food at Tired Hands, and a cheesesteak on our way out at Dalessandro’s.
(Thanks again for having us Jesse and Brian – we’ll be back!!!)

But anyways, back to that journey home. We started off a little late, and hit rush hour traffic in Connecticut. We decided to stop and have dinner, and Will picked out Stanziato’s. It was surprisingly busy on a Monday night (a good sign), had an excellent beer list, and a creative take on Italian food that didn’t shy away from ingredients from other cultures. The pizzas were good, but the salad is what left the real impression. The only vegetable it contained was very thinly sliced broccoli stems that were coated in a lemon miso dressing and almost matched in volume by the toppings, which were parmesan cheese, toasted pine nuts, and capers. It was a delightful umami bomb and variety of textures that turned a normally trashed part of the vegetable into something you might buy on purpose.

I’ve been thinking about that salad since, and while I loved the flavor profile it seemed unbalanced. Afterwards I felt like I ate a bunch of salty cheese and nuts (which, I had) instead of a refreshing bowl of vegetables. The great joy of cooking at home is I can take what I loved about that salad and right the other wrongs. What results is definitely a salad, with a piquant dressing, buttery pine nuts, and a dusting of salty cheese. It feels like the best possible way to eat your vegetables.

Broccoli Stem and Kale Salad with Lemon Miso Dressing

Serve 4

This can easily become vegan by leaving out the parm, but in that case I would urge you to take the extra step of making Laura’s pine nut parm for salad perfection. I made roasted broccoli to go with dinner earlier in the week and saved the stems for this salad.

  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice (I used 1 smaller lemon)
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon white miso paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1 small bunch of kale, de-stemmed (mine was 4.5 ounces)
  • 3 small broccoli stems (or 2 medium or 1 large, mine totaled 8.5 ounces)
  • 1 stalk (2 ounces) celery
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
  • 1 tablespoon capers, rinsed and chopped

In a large bowl whisk the lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil, miso, mustard, and the pinch of salt until combined.

Chop the kale, and very thinly slice the broccoli stems and celery (I used a mandoline, but careful knife work will also do the job). If you are working with a single large broccoli stem, you may want to peel it first. Test it by trying a slice to see how tough the outer bits are.

Add the kale, broccoli stems, and celery to the bowl and toss with your hands to combine. Work the dressing into the kale leaves so they are totally coated and shiny. Let the salad sit for a few minutes if you have time, so the dressing can soften the kale a bit (at least 10 minutes would be great). When you’re ready to serve top with the parmesan, pine nuts, and capers, and toss once more to combine.

The pine nuts will soften a bit as the salad sits, but its still great the next day.

*I did forget to add in the capers when I took this photo, but I put them in before we ate and they are definitely vital.

Buffalo Chickpea Bowl

IMG_20180529_193252851When it becomes too long since I have made a buffalo-ed dish, Will gets antsy. It had been even longer since I attempted a new dish from the “Will it Buffalo?” suggestions (more on that here). I envisioned a creamy curry-inspired sauce, spicy with the usual heat, and cooled by complementary bleu cheese dressing. The result is not heavy at all, but satisfies the buffalo craving usually satiated with wings. This was one of those magical times when the dish I ended up with was exactly what I imagined, and I hope you’re as pleased with it as I am.

I’ve tagged all previous Will it Buffalo? dishes so you can easily find them. Happy buffalo-ing!

Buffalo Chickpea Bowls

Serves 6

  • 1 1/2 cups brown rice
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 1 medium head broccoli
  • 1 medium head cauliflower
  • Salt
  • 2 tablespoons neutral oil, such as olive, sunflower, or vegetable, divided
  • 1 cup diced onion (1 small, or 1/2 a very large one)
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 15.5 ounce cans, or about 3 1/2 cups chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 15-ounce can coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup hot sauce, such as Frank’s, for moderate spice, more or less if you please
  • 1/2 cup bleu cheese dressing
  • 1/2 cup bleu cheese crumbles (optional)
  • 2 scallions, minced

If you’re making the bleu cheese dressing yourself, start with that and then let it sit in the fridge while you wait.

Put the 2 1/2 cups water in a small pot with a cover to boil with a pinch of salt. When it comes to a boil add in the brown rice, turn the heat down to medium low, and cook for 40 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 425F and get out two baking sheets. Chop the broccoli and cauliflower into florets (1-2 inches long). Toss the florets with the 1 tablespoon oil, sprinkle with a few pinches of salt, and toss to combine. Distribute evenly on two baking sheets, and roast for 20-25 minutes, tossing the florets and switching the pans after 15 minutes. I find the pan I have on the bottom rack first is usually done after 20 minutes, but the other pan needs a few extra minutes to brown. The florets should be fork tender and charred at the edges when done.

Heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in a saute pan over medium heat. Add the onion to the pan, and cook for 5-10 minutes until softened and translucent. Add the garlic, and cook for 1-2 minutes more until fragrant. Add the coconut milk and hot sauce to the pan and stir to combine. Simmer uncovered for 5-10 minutes until it starts to thicken, then add the chickpeas. Simmer for 5 minutes.

To serve put rice in a bowl, top with roasted broccoli and cauliflower, then the saucy chickpeas, and finish with a drizzle of bleu cheese dressing, scallions, and bleu cheese crumbles if you desire (I prefer not to so that is what the photo shows, but my dining companions were very pro-crumble).

 

 

A story of three failures

I

A few weeks ago I made spinach pasta on a Sunday night. It wasn’t a particularly complicated recipe, but it involved cooking the spinach, straining and chopping it, then adding it to the dough as you made it, resting the dough, rolling it out, and cooking it. Since that didn’t seem like a particularly hard project (many parts, but none difficult), I was also prepping a few other things for the week ahead.

But the evening got away from me, and by the time I was actually cooking the pasta it was much later than I expected (almost 9pm). Since fresh pasta is often promised to be a transcendent and simple meal, I hadn’t planned to dress it with more than some butter, olive oil, and Parmeggiano Reggiano. I tasted some from the pan and was instantly disappointed by the blandness. Where was my transcendent simplicity????????????

This failure exacerbated stresses that were building for the work-week, and led to me sobbing over my terrible pasta that I had put so much effort into. (While I was finishing crying, Will excavated some pesto from the freezer and started defrosting it to save my dinner, and therefore wins Husband-of-the-Year one hundred times over.)

II

The next week I wanted to try a simple (catching a theme here?) vegan soup that involved a vibrantly green and thick herb coconut broth, broccoli, snap peas, tofu, and rice. In the cookbook photo the author used black rice noodles, which were incredibly dramatic and contrasted beautifully with the green broth. The photo of this dish makes you feel cleansed and restored just from looking at it. Like you’ve achieved absolute purity and suddenly understand why vegans forego meat and are ready to give it up forever too.

My first failure was in the liquid. A high speed blender was called for to combine the coconut milk, broth, and herbs. I don’t own a $500 blender, and I figured my stick blender could stand in as it usually does for pureed soups. Since the coconut milk/broth/lemongrass mixture is supposed to steep off the stove I tried to use my stick blender directly in the bowl it was cooling in. After a small wave covered my counter, I switched to the food processor. No amount of time processing would yield the thick, uniformly green broth the photo. Instead I was left with a thin broth with flecks of cilantro throughout. Given I wasn’t using the right equipment to start I wasn’t too dissuaded.

The recipe notes said to serve it with rice noodles or rice, and I happened to have black rice! I cooked some up, made my meager broth, and added in the vegetables and tofu. When it was time to serve, the rice went into the bowl, and was topped by the soup. But I had not rinsed the rice thoroughly enough. What had been a passable green broth, was now the color of mud.

I’m not one to judge a meal by its looks. But the photo I had for comparison was just so beautiful, and I was staring down at a puddle. I hoped taste would change my mind, but what I was eating did not live up to my expectations. It was thin, herby, flat, and very……healthy tasting. Like something I should always eat, but would never want to. It tasted like how people who hate vegan food on principle expect vegan food to taste. (I make vegan food on the regular and it can be overwhelmingly delicious, but this was not one of those times.)

III

Last week I knew I had an especially long work-day ahead of me, so I planned a fool-proof and almost effortless meal: tortellini with pesto and roasted asparagus. I was NOT making the pasta this time (it came pre-made from Wegmans). The pesto would be the last from the stash in the freezer that I was reminded about when Will used it to save my previous pasta dinner. The asparagus would go in the oven at 425F with salt, pepper, and olive oil for 15 minutes.

I put the asparagus in the oven and put the water on to boil. I had a double pack of tortellini, but decided to cook both in case we needed extra meals later in the week. This was a total of eight servings of pasta, which is way more than I usually make, but figured it would be useful when I had to work over the weekend.

The water on to boil, and put asparagus went in the oven. I put about the same amount of water in the pot I use for a pound of pasta, and didn’t think twice about it. The tortellini was in two separate but attached packs, and when I put the first in the pot was almost full, but it seemed like more could fit in. Partway through the addition of the second pack the water came dangerously close to the top, and I was in trouble. I took out a measuring cup to remove some of the water, but couldn’t remove enough of it in time. the tortellini threatened to boil over, and I knew the rest couldn’t fit in the pan…but I tried anyways.

Had I never made pasta before? Did I not understand that doubling the amount of pasta you make means you should also double the size or number of vessels you cook them in?

It was too late in the game to criticize myself; I just had to fix the problem. Some water went into the kettle to boil quickly, and I moved some of the pasta into a small pot. The tortellini monster was subdued for the moment. Eventually everything was cooked but somehow not overcooked, and I returned to the glass of wine I had hurtfully ignored.

The asparagus, by the way, was perfect.

IV

At work I teach kids cooking classes. Cooking with children is always an adventure, and often times they are doing something for the first time ever with me as their guide: cracking an egg, using a knife, measuring the flour. I always leave room for error in these situations and tell them this: sometimes when we cook we get delicious food, sometimes delicious food and a lesson, and sometimes just the lesson. But no matter what, you walk away with something.

Winter Root Vegetable Bowls with Vibrant Parsley Sauce

IMG_5457 (2)This recipe was born before I was headed away for a weekend and trying to use up veg in the fridge. After an overzealous trip to the winter farmers market I had celeriac, beets, radishes, and sweet potatoes. I knew I wanted something bright to counter the earthiness of the root vegetables, so out came the parsley and lemon. Chickpeas made it into a full meal. The feta adds a great salty tang, but can easily be omitted for a vegan meal. This bowl is distinctly wintery, but much more like bright sunshine reflecting off of white snow than dreary, pervasive brown.

IMG_5436 (2)IMG_5444 (3)Winter Root Vegetable Bowls with Vibrant Parsley Sauce

Serves 6

  • 3 lbs root vegetables, such as radishes, beets, carrots, sweet potato, potatoes, kohlrabi, and celeriac (for these photos I used watermelon radishes, purple daikon radishes, yellow carrots, orange carrots, beets, and sweet potatoes)
  • 3 tablespoons neutral oil, divided
  • 3.5 cups cooked chickpeas (2 15.5 oz cans, drained and rinsed)
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon salt, divided
  • ½ teaspoon pepper, divided
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 2 cups of packed parsley leaves (about 1 bunch worth)
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled (optional)

Preheat the oven to 425F.

Scrub all of the root vegetables and peel as needed. I peel veg with tough skin like kohlrabi and celeriac, plus winter radishes like watermelon, but don’t always feel the need to peel beets, carrots, and potatoes depending on how dirty they are and how thick their skin is. Chop all of the root veg into ½ inch pieces (you are aiming for them to be about the size of a chickpea). Toss the root vegetables in 2 tablespoons of neutral oil, ½ teaspoon of salt and ¼ teaspoon of pepper and spread on to 2 baking sheets (the photo above is after I tossed them in oil on 1 baking sheet – the pieces should not be that close together for cooking). Roast them for 15 minutes, then take them out of the oven, toss them, and put them back in the oven on opposite racks. Roast them for another 10 minutes until they are starting to brown and can be easily pierced with a fork.

While the root vegetables are roasting, heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in a sauté pan over medium heat. Add the onion slices and a pinch of salt. Cook the onions, stirring occasionally, until they are thoroughly browned (about 30 minutes). I don’t usually go far enough to fully caramelize them, as that would take longer than it takes the root vegetables to cook. When the onions are cooked through, add in the chickpeas and stir to combine. Cook for another 2-3 minutes until the chickpeas are warmed through.

Turn on a food processor with the S blade in and drop the garlic cloves through the opening at the top. When the garlic cloves stop bouncing around they are fully minced. Turn the food processor off and scrape down the sides with a spatula. Add the remaining ½ teaspoon of salt and ¼ teaspoon of pepper, parsley leaves, and lemon juice. Turn the food processor on to chop them, then drizzle in the olive oil so a smooth sauce forms. Alternatively, very finely mince the garlic and parsley, then stir in the salt, pepper, lemon juice, and olive oil.

Serve the root vegetables with a big spoonful of the chickpeas and onions, topped with crumbled feta (if using) and a generous drizzle of parsley sauce.

If you happen to have any parsley sauce leftover it is amazing stirred into hummus or labneh.

 

 

Buffalo Enchiladas

DSC02032This recipe is another challenge from “Will it Buffalo?”. I think we can safely say that enchiladas DO buffalo. Whole wheat tortillas, a couple pounds of vegetables, and beans make this into a meal you can enjoy much more often than wings (or that mac and cheese mentioned above…).

Vegetarian Buffalo Enchiladas

Serves 6.

The filling here (as with any enchiladas) is very flexible. You could use a mix of different vegetables (zucchini and cauliflower would be nice), and even throw in some chicken for a non-veg version. The pan I used in the photo is bigger than 9″ x 13″, so I snuck a couple extra along the side and cooked the others in a loaf pan. It made for an awkward split, which is why I recommend a 9″ x 13″ and 9″ x 9″ below.

  • 1 summer squash (mine was about 12 oz)
  • 2 small heads of broccoli (mine were 20 oz together)
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 15.5-oz can chickpeas, draining and rinsed
  • 1/2 a large red onion (about 1 cup chopped), plus a bit extra for garnish if you please
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 3 cups vegetable or chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup hot sauce (such as Frank’s)
  • 12 whole wheat tortillas
  • 6 oz shredded Monterrey jack cheese
  • 6 oz crumbled bleu cheese
  • 2 tablespoons minced parsley for garnish (optional)

Preheat oven to 425F. Chop the summer squash and broccoli into small pieces (about the size of a chickpea). Toss in the olive oil, garlic powder, and salt, then spread on two baking sheets. Roast for 15 minutes, then toss. Roast for 5-10 minutes more until they start to brown. Allow to cool slightly before putting in a large mixing bowl.

While the squash and broccoli are roasting, saute the red onion until soft in the remaining teaspoon of olive oil (about 10 minutes over medium heat). When the onion is done, add it to the same bowl as the broccoli and squash. Add the chickpeas as well and mix to combine.

Reduce oven heat to 350F.

Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour and whisk to combine. Continue cooking for 5 minutes while whisking continually. Slowly add the stock and whisk to incorporate in between additions. When all the stock is added, cook for 5 minutes longer to thicken slightly (it should be able to coat the back of a spoon). Add the hot sauce and stir to combine. Taste, and add more hot sauce if you like.

Set up your enchilada rolling station with the tortillas, a large plate or pie dish the sauce coating the bottom, a cutting board, and a 9″ x 13″ pan plus a 9″ x 9″ pan. Spoon enough enchilada sauce onto both pans to coat the bottom. Dip the tortillas into the sauce so it coats both sides, then let the excess drip off. Place the tortilla on the cutting board, then put a heaping 1/2 cup of filling into the middle. Roll the tortilla up, and then place it along the short side of the baking dish. Continue until all the tortillas are filled.

Top the rolled enchiladas with any remaining buffalo sauce, then cover evenly with the Monterrey jack cheese and the bleu cheese. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the cheese on top is completely melted. Garnish with minced red onion and parsley, plus a couple extra dashes of hot sauce, and serve.