Roasted squash, onions, escarole with farro

A perfect fall dinner recipe when delicata squash abounds and I can’t get my fill of fall’s beautiful escarole!

Ingredients:
Delicata squash, 1 reg or 2 small
Sweet onion, 1, sliced
Escarole, 1/2 head or more
Pecorino romano cheese, grated
Pepita seeds, or toasted walnuts
Farro

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Rinse and cook farro with salt. 1 c farro to 2 c water. Can make in rice cooker under quick setting (20 mins?) or on stovetop.

Delicata squash, rinsed, cut lengthwise and semi-peeled, remove seeds and fibrous insides with spoon.  Slice into <1/2” rounds. Roast on oiled pan for 20+ minutes, turning near end to roast on both sides. Take out and let sit.

Caramelize one sweet onion: Cut into thin slices, and cook in sauté pan with 1 T olive oil and salt, reducing heat and cooking until light golden, at least 20 mins.

Rinse escarole torn into half leaves. Cook with olive oil and red pepper flakes and splash of water and salt about 5 minutes until well wilted.

Combine squash and onions.

Plate:
Mound farro. Then add squash and onions, topped with pepitas (or roasted walnuts) and grated Romano pecorino cheese.
Escarole to the side.

Feel virtuous and happy with a delicious and healthy fall meal.

******************

Inspiration: The Kitchn
and Six Seasons — Delicata Squash “donuts” with Pumpkin seeds and honey

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A nice fall soup — napa cabbage and shrimp, Vietnamese style

Just as fall is settling in and there is Napa cabbage in the market (or your CSA), this is a nice transitional seasonal soup. Neither light nor overly heavy, it makes for a satisfying and unfussy dinner, perhaps with some leftover rice.

Ingredients:

Vegetable stock or quick stock (carrots, onions and leek tops)
Onion, thinly sliced
Leek, thinly sliced (optional)
Garlic cloves, 2, minced
carrots, 2, diced
Fish sauce, 1 T
Napa cabbage, ~ 6 c, sliced
Shrimp, peeled and deveined — 6 per person
Scallion greens, sliced thin

Directions:

Sauté garlic and then onion and leeks and then carrots for about 4 minutes.
Add fish sauce and salt, and cook about 30 seconds.
Add stock and bring to a boil. Then add cabbage, turn down heat and simmer about 4 minutes until soft. Add shrimp (and cook in strainer submerged in soup for easy retrieval) and cook about 3 minutes.
Put leftover rice in bottom of individual bowls. Ladle on soup and shrimp, and garnish with scallion green tops. Mmmm.

Inspiration: Into the Vietnamese Kitchen by Andrea Nyugen

 

Farro salad

Room temp farro salad for lunchtime emergency feeding:

Ingredients:

Cooked farro — 1 c farro cooked in 1 c apple cider and 2 c water; OR 1/2 c apple cider vinegar & 2-1/2 c water (can use less water and drain after cooking 25+ minutes
Lemon vinaigrette — 1 lemon juiced, with 4x olive oil, S&P. Optional: minced garlic (Don’t need full quantity for this recipe)
Blanched broccoli or uncooked arugula
Parsley, minced (optional addition: mint)
Fresh tomatoes, cut up
Grated parmesan
Pepitas or pistachios
Optional: sliced radishes

Cook 1 c farro (rinsed) in 2 c water and 1 c apple cider (or 1/2 c vinegar and 1/2 c water) for 25+ mins. Drain if needed. Mix with lemon vinaigrette.

Blanch broccoli in pot of salted water for less than 5 minutes. Drain on sheet pan to cool. Cut up tomatoes.

Mince herbs — parsley and perhaps mint.

Mix together: farro mixed with vinaigrette, broccoli (or arugula), grated parmesan, tomatoes, pepitas (or pistachios)

optional: sliced radishes

Inspiration: Charlie Bird’s farro salad, NY Times

 

 

August tomato dinner

Tomatoes are in their prime and plentiful. You have had your raw tomato feast. You have plenty o’ tomatoes sitting out on a platter. Perhaps some are starting to go past their prime. Time to cook ’em up! A speedy scrumptious dinner that screams: SUMMER!

Sauté garlic in oil. Add in some cut up tomatoes — perhaps you want to squeeze out and discard seeds which bring nothing to the party — and cook for about 10 minutes or so with salt until they wilt. Add in peeled shrimp and cook for about 4 minutes.

Throw some cooked pasta — campanelle (trumpets seem perfectly matched) into sauce with some reserved pasta cooking water, and plate. Top with chiffonade basil and perhaps some grated parmesan (though in Rome this would be taboo serving cheese with seafood!).

Or: instead of shrimp, top pasta with some fresh cubed mozzarella. Mangia! Fresh tomatoes with aromatic basil. Happy summer dining! And no sweat.

Roasted vegetables for summer meal

This is super-delicious, freshly vibrant, and low-stress because cooked vegetables sit on the counter until you’re ready to eat.

Here’s how to do it:
Game plan:

Put up some black forbidden rice or perhaps brown rice.

Grill vegetables in a grill pan over hot fire, basting with flavored olive oil (with pastry brush) before placing oil-side down on grill, and baste top. Cover grill to stop flares. Watch carefully and move around to prevent burning. Takes just a couple minutes if fire is hot.
Remove and serve warm or room temperature with perhaps some black forbidden rice and Asian vinaigrette.
Or take in Italian route with oregano in the oil, and fresh basil in some brown rice(?) with fresh tomato slices.

Specific directions:
Light a charcoal fire.

Chop garlic and add to olive oil with S&P. Optional: tarragon or rosemary.

Prepare Vegetables:

Sweet peppers, cut in half and remove seeds and ribs
Eggplant — Love Thai. Cut in half lengthwise and then into 4” pieces. If using large eggplant, cut off outside lengthwise and then into 1/2” or wider slices.
Onions, especially summer onions — peeled and cut in half if not too large. Otherwise cut into segments. I think it would be a good idea to stick a toothpick or soaked skewer through ‘em so they don’t fall apart and burn.
Zucchini, cut like eggplant — trim outside, then cut into 4” lengths and thick-ish slices.
Mushrooms — wash and de-stem, leaving whole. I like cremini. Portobello of course if you have ‘em.
Shishito peppers

 

Cooking black rice: Wash rice 4-5 times. Put in rice cooker and add 1 c rice to 1-3/4 c water. Cook like brown rice.

Alternately, put into small saucepan and cook for 30 minutes.

Boiled shrimp for eating cold

If you go to a restaurant, shrimp is touted as a luxury item, high-priced and in stingy supply. At home with a bag o’ frozen shrimp in the freezer (preferably US Gulf shrimp) they are a handy and delicious protein available on a whim.

I have a favorite way to cook ’em. First you put them in a colander (6 to 7 large per person) in the sink and run water over them for about 5 minutes, moving them around to give each their turn under the spigot.

Meanwhile, put up a pot of water to boil with white and black peppercorns, juice of one lemon (cut in half, squeeze and drop in rinds), whole coriander seeds, and Old Bay seasoning. Boil for five minutes or so for flavor to disperse, adding in shells whenever available.

Peel and de-vein shrimp, saving shells and adding to water boil. (If you are going to serve by themselves, such as for a party, peel shrimp only up to last segment, leaving tails on.)

Boil shrimp for 3 minutes. Drain and chill. I like to not rinse the shrimp.

 

Summer salad

First: when you buy a head of lettuce, as soon as you get it home, wash, dry and refrigerate. That way you have one step up on salad making, and it’s a sinch to grab some lettuce to tuck into a sandwich or whatever.

Ingredients — on top of lettuce:

Carrots
Cauliflower, raw, cut up into florets
potatoes, boiled
Protein: boiled shrimp, hard-boiled eggs, or poached chicken breast

Green beans, par-boiled (boiled 2 minutes in salted water)
Avocado
Tomato
Cucumber — I like to partially peel, cut in half lengthwise and scoop out seeds with a spoon, and then cut into half-moon slices.

Pepitas sprinkled on top are a nice addition.

Here’s an earlier take on this salad

And here’s the buttermilk vinaigrette dressing I love.