Brussels sprouts hash

I recently learned a good way to use Brussels sprouts as an ingredient is to blanch them for three minutes (after cutting in half) and then refrigerate for a day or two.

I did this to roast Brussels sprouts for dinner (watch carefully! They are burn quickly!)
Then I had some left over and thought they could reappear as breakfast.

To do this:
Mince brussels sprouts.

Other ingredients:
Jalapeno pepper (or sweet peppers with dried red pepper flakes)
Mushrooms
Scallions (or onions)
Pancetta

Sauté in butter and a bit of olive oil or other oil (to prevent burning), adding salt and pepper along with way to layer the flavor.
Try cooking in this order: (for next time, know: cook first the items you least want to see raw!)
Mushrooms
Pancetta
Jalapeno
brussels sprouts
Scallions

Serve under fried eggs with toast.
Or poached eggs would not be an unwelcome partner to the hash either!

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Roast chicken on a winter eve

Is it hygge or is it. . . . sloth? Whatever. Dinner hour approaches and we’re going to want to feed ourselves. If you have picked up a nice little chicken, and have around some storage vegetables, you are on your way to a delicious, no fuss hearty meal.

Take the chicken out and put on the counter for an hour to come to room temp. Leave there. Or take the extra step and put the naked bird on a plate, pat dry with paper towels and salt liberally. (If you’ve planned ahead you can strip the bird from its packaging a day before and salt and put in refrigerator uncovered. This amps up a crisp skin on the bird.)

Preheat the oven to 375.

I put S&P in a small bowl to use later on the bird after my hands get chicken-yucky. Get out:
Thyme sprigs and/or sage leaves
1/2 lemon
Garlic cloves, a few
Shallot, sliced in half
S&P in a bowl
olive oil in a little bowl
cooking twine for trussing (very optional)

Put the chicken in a roasting pan. Dry inside and out with paper towels. Try to minimize your contamination zone — the small bowls help that way.
Rub some salt and pepper into cavity of bird. Stuff with: thyme, garlic cloves, shallot and stuff the half lemon in last.
Rub the bird with olive oil all over and rub on some S&P.
Get out your twine, turn the bird breast side down and bring string across wings. Turn over and bring string across indentation between legs and breast, crossing string. Bring up and over tips of legs, crossing to draw in taut. Tie a knot and clip excess.
Dab on more olive oil & reapply S&P as needed.

Put into center of oven uncovered and bake 1-1/4 hours, perhaps basting and turning the pan mid-way. The bird is done when thermometer reads 165 in dark meat, or if you stab into leg or thigh with knife and it doesn’t look very pink. Take out, tent loosely and let sit 10 or so minutes before cutting up or carving.

Vegetables:
This is the best part!
Get out:
Carrots, 2-3
Turnips, peeled and cut into wedges or large cubes
fennel, cut into 1/6ths or 1/8ths depending on size of bulb
Potatoes, 2-3, scrubbed and cut into wedges
Red onion, 1, cut into LARGE wedges (otherwise they will disintegrate in roasting pan among sturdier root vegetables)

Garlic — Put a couple heads on a sheet of aluminum foil. Pour a little olive oil in top, cover up, making a little package, and put in oven on the rack to roast of 50+ minutes. Take out and it will sit nicely while everything else is getting finished cooking.
Put vegetables on a nice, heavy baking sheet in a little mound, and pour on some olive oil and some S&P. Rub in and give the veggies some space on the pan.
Put in oven and roast for about 45+ minutes, turning occasionally to prevent anything burning, and it’s nice to turn potatoes so they get a crust on different cut edges.

Serving:
Cut chicken into pieces with shears, cutting away back bone. And/or slice breast meat.
Put vegetables into a bowl with a big spoon.
Put garlic on a plate and pass to eat with potatoes and perhaps chicken.
Yum!

Kale, sausage winter pasta

Greens get to slim pickings in the middle of winter, but kale is hardy and generally available. Especially for pasta dishes I prefer lacinato aka dinosaur kale, that has long tender leaves. Ready in under half an hour!

Ingredients:

Kale, 1 bunch lacinato, soaked, rinsed and shredded by hand
1 andouille sausage — optional
1 onion, large dice
1-2 garlic cloves, to taste, minced
Dash crushed red pepper
toasted walnuts
grated parmesan
Oriechette pasta

Directions:
Toast walnuts and set aside.
Heat water for pasta
Prepare kale; cut onion and garlic; sausage

Sauté: onion in olive oil; S&P; add garlic and cook for one minute. Add kale and salt and toss; add good splash of water, cover and cook about 8 minutes. During that time, add in sausage on top to warm up.
Grate parmesan

Serve:
Pasta w/ olive oil
Greens mixture
Parmesan
Walnuts on top
Drizzle of olive oil

Vegetable Soup

Easy, nutritious, very delicious with your fall CSA share!

vegetable stock or water, 3 c
Onion, diced
carrots, 6 small, diced
Celery, 1-2 stalks, diced
garlic, 1-2 cloves, minced
Potatoes, 5 or more, peeled and large dice/small pieces
Turnip, peeled and cut up
optional:
Thyme
tomato paste
Harissa
Parmesan
green vegetable such as spinach, steamed
olive oil for drizzling

Directions:

Cut up onion and sauté in large soup pot in olive oil for at least 8 mins until soft. Add butter and sauté carrots and celery; add salt and sauté another 5-10 minutes until soft. Add garlic and cook one minute. Add tomato paste and Harissa — less than 1 T each; stir and cook a minute. Next add potatoes and cover with stock. Boil for 10 minutes. Add S&P. Add turnips and more stock to more than cover, and cook uncovered at gentle boil until tender, which may take another 20 minutes.
Purée with immersion blender.
Serve in bowls topped with steamed spinach, drizzled olive oil and parmesan cheese. Pass the salt.
Bread is good with this. Focaccia: perfection!

Butternut squash swiss chard lasagna

Ingredients:
lasagna noodles, 1 # (I like Barilla brand)
butternut squash — 1 or 2
whole milk, 1 quart
heavy cream, 1 c (Please try to find NON ultra-pasteurized cream)
swiss chard, 1-2 bunches
ricotta, 1 #
fontina, 1/2#, freshly grated
Parmesan, ~4oz, freshly grated
egg, 1
fresh sage
Nutmeg
shallot, 1
bay leaf
garlic, 2 cloves
room temp butter to grease baking pan

 

Parts of the whole:
lasagne noodles, 1 #, boiled and drained onto sprayed sheet pan

Roasted butternut squash, puréed w/ heavy cream

Steamed/parboiled swiss chard, with S&P & nutmeg

Cheese mixture: ricotta, fontina, egg, etc (see below)

Bechamel: milk and aromatics steeped for 1/2 hour, then cooked for 20 minutes

 

Roast butternut squash:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Peel and cut squash into slices 1/3” thick. Toss in bowl with olive oil to coat, S&P. Roast 20 minutes until soft, turning half way through.
When cool, purée in food processor with a bit of heavy cream.

Turn oven down to 375 degrees.

2. Prepare cheese mixture: Grate parmesan and fontina cheeses and place in separate bowls. In medium bowl mix together:
Ricotta
Fontina
Heavy cream to loosen
1 egg, mixed first
some parmesan
Nutmeg
Cayenne
S&P

3. Cook Swiss chard: Tear leaves off stems and put into large bowl. Rinse and drain twice. Heat 1/2 c water in large pot and put in chard and S&P, and cook covered about 3 minutes until wilted. Drain.

4. Infuse milk for béchamel:
Heat 4 cup whole milk to almost boiling. Put in: 1 shallot, chopped, 5 fresh sage leaves, chopped, 1 bay leaf, 2 garlic cloves, chopped. Infuse for 1/2 hour, off heat and covered. Strain into another container that is perhaps pourable.

5. Cook lasagne noodles and drain and place on sprayed sheet pan to cool.

6. Make béchamel: Melt 6 T butter in large saucepan over medium heat. Add 6 T flour and stir constantly until mixture gets golden, about 3-4 minutes. Whisk in milk in 1/2 c increments, and then pour in remainder of milk and cook over medium low heat for 20 minutes until thickens slightly, stirring with whisk occasionally. Keep warm.

Make lasagna:

butter 9×13” pan. Lay in: 1/2 c bechamel, then noodles, cutting to fit and overlapping slightly. Lay in 1/2 squash, cheese, béchamel, and repeat with: noodles, Swiss chard, cheese, béchamel; noodles, squash, cheese, béchamel and then parmesan on top.
Place buttered/sprayed parchment paper buttered side down on top of lasagna, and then lightly lay on aluminum foil. Bake covered 40 minutes.
Uncover and bake another 10-15 minutes until bubbling. Turn on broiler and broil for about 5 minutes until golden.
Remove from oven and let rest for at least 20 minutes before cutting into squares.

 

Variations:

Optional add-ins — Caramelized onions; sautéed mushrooms

Substitute spinach, broccoli rabe or arugula for Swiss chard

Advance prep:
Cook greens and refrigerate or hold at room temp for a few hours
Roast and purée squash
Mix cheese mixture

Freeze prepared lasagna for up to one month before cooking. Defrost overnight in refrigerator before baking.

 

Oven-roasted (marinated) chicken thighs & vegetables dinner

So it’s Fall and a great time to turn on the oven and cook a meal there. Warmth and wonderful aromas, both.

When you want something other than a whole roast chicken, and want to amp up the flavor, choose chicken thighs and go strong on spices, including cumin, paprika, cayenne, thyme and perhaps za’atar and/or sumac.

Here’s a guide on how to proceed:

Marinate chicken thighs in Greek yogurt, to which you have added juice of 1/2 lemon, 1 t turmeric, S&P and cayenne. Leave out for 1/2 hour or refrigerate overnight. Bring to room temp before cooking, or at least 1/2 hour.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Put chicken thighs into roasting pan skin side up, wiping off some of the marinade, if desired. Sprinkle with paprika and cayenne and roast for 45 minutes or so, turning after half an hour or more; baste occasionally if desired.

Prepare potatoes by scrubbing, cutting into large chunks, drizzling and rubbing with olive oil, S&P. Put into a metal baking dish with a few garlic cloves, peeled, and sprigs of thyme, or rub dried thyme with your fingers, sprinkling into potato baking dish. Put potatoes with one cut side down. Add a splash of water, cover with aluminum foil, and bake for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, remove cover, and if you like, turn potatoes with tongs to place down on another cut surface. Continue roasting for another 20 minutes. Then remove and let sit. Serve warm or room temp.

Roasted vegetables: Cut up fennel and red onion into large-ish chunks and place in roasting pan with oil, S&P, fennel seeds, cumin, then pitted olives at end. Maybe add sumac, or use za’atar instead of all other spices. Roast uncovered for about 35-40 minutes, turning occasionally especially near end of time. Add olives about 5 minutes before removing from oven. IMG_5388

Here’s where I got this from — can add chick peas to pan:

https://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/1018910-sheet-pan-chicken-with-chickpeas-cumin-and-turmeric

 

 

Fall Vegetable Soup

I have been putting off making soup, thinking it’s a big production — to figure out components AND spices. Thinking: Tunisian, Thai, etc. which got too complicated and became an unproductive dead end (Are dead ends *ever* productive?)

So I had some lovely vegetables from my CSA share, and it being my Sunday night, I decided it was time to make some plain soup. Well I’m here to say that once again having good quality ingredients makes ALL the difference! I used no spices beyond salt and pepper and this soup was delicious! I had: carrots, potatoes, leeks, turnips, garlic and onions. So that was my soup!

I didn’t have vegetable stock handy to use as a soup base, so at Deborah Madison’s guidance I figured I would start with a “quick stock”, and I ended up making a full stock — which is still quick because 40 minutes is fine for vegetables. Also I found making stock is not such a big production if you use a regular size pot I realized last night. I had my base stock simmering while I prepared the ingredients for soup.

Make vegetable stock with onions, celery, carrots, leeks, garlic, bay leaf, peppercorns.

Soup Ingredients:

3 carrots, peeled and large dice
2 leeks, cut in half, rinsed and large dice
Turnips, peeled and cut into large dice
4-5 potatoes, peeled, quartered and thin slices

Turnip greens

Directions:

Prepare vegetables and then put 2 T butter into soup pot, heat on medium heat and add carrots, leeks, turnips and potatoes. Sauté for 2-3 minutes, add S&P. Add stock to cover by 2” or more. Cover partially, and cook at simmer for 20+ minutes

Separately boil greens for 3 minutes or less. Mustard greens are good here; boil for 10 minutes, drain and add to soup at end of cooking time. (Optional with greens: red pepper flakes and parmesan in bowls.)

A lovely soup that you can keep in your refrigerator for two days.