Farro and asparagus dinner, or how not to eat pasta

Ingredients:
Cooked farro, 1 c+
Asparagus 1/2 bunch, rinsed and cut into 2” pieces
Vegetable stock
onion, 1/2, diced
garlic, couple cloves, smushed
Red pepper flakes
Olive oil
Parmesan cheese, grated

Directions:

Heat sauté pan, add coating of olive oil and then add garlic cloves and pepper flakes, reduced heat to low and cook gently for 5 minutes, turning garlic so as not to brown. Remove garlic, and increase heat to medium.

Add onion and cook about 3-4 minutes until softened, adding Salt.

Add asparagus and cook about 5-7 minutes until crisp-tender, adding stock and covering pan with lid to cook, and mixing in cooked farro about 3 minutes before asparagus is cooked.

Remove cover and raise heat to reduce liquid. (Can if desired mix 1 t cornstarch or arrowroot with 1 T water to create sludge, and add 2 minutes before dish is complete to create thickened stock/sauce.)

Plate and grate on parmesan cheese. Yum!

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Grains and greens bowl

Once you get a rice cooker, you may want to not stop exploring the universe of rice varieties (not to mention yummy steel-cut oats for breakfast). For such an exploration, here’s a recipe that combines farro and black forbidden rice, cooked separately and cooled on a sheet pan. Mix in roasted cauliflower, steamed dandelion greens with a champagne vinegar dijon vinaigrette, and it’s stick-to-the-ribs delicious! Gilding the lily with some sweet on-hand cherry tomatoes and pepitas. Roasted butternut squash and/or other winter squash in lieu of cauliflower is Chef Thomas Keller’s recipe.

Ingredients:
Farro, 1 c
Black forbidden rice, 1 c
1/2 onion, chopped
Dandelion greens, 1/2 bunch, rinsed well and cut off tough bottom stems — steam in rice cooker for 10 minutes at end of one grain’s cycle
Cauliflower florets, roasted w/ olive oil, S&P
Vinaigrette made with champagne vinegar & mustard

Optional: cherry tomatoes
Pepitas
roasted butternut squash, sautéed first in butter in sauté pan

Directions:

Cook two separate batches of farro and rice. When each is done, remove to sheet pan, spread out and cool. (Tip: tastier farro if you sauté onion in olive oil, then add in farro to toast for 2 minutes, and then add into rice cooker with water.)
At end of second cycle, lay in cleaned dandelion greens on steamer dish to steam during last 10 minutes.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Put sturdy sheet pan in oven to heat up.
Roast cauliflower florets with olive oil, S&P for 10-15 minutes, turning once or twice so they don’t burn.
Prepare vinaigrette: Put 3 T vinegar into Pyrex measuring copy and whisk in 1/2 t Dijon mustard. Add S&P, and whisk in olive oil. Taste with dandelion green and adjust to your taste.

Assemble:
Rice and faro in large bowl.
Mix greens in separate bowl with vinaigrette.
Put cauliflower on rice/farro, top with greens and vinaigrette. Add tomatoes and pepitas.

Serving the greens and cauliflower while still warm is nice. And the room temp rice/farro is a lovely contrast.

source/inspiration: https://www.jamesbeard.org/recipes/farro-and-black-rice-with-roasted-autumn-squash

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!

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. OPTIONAL: add chunks of carrot, parsnip and/or potato with turnips. Add green beans after pureeing.
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.