Showing posts with label Vegetables. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Vegetables. Show all posts

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Summer Vegetable Cavatelli with Fresh Corn “Cream” – Corn Not Cows!

There’s a restaurant near us that features a burrata-filled tortellini, served in a cream sauce fortified with fresh, sweet corn. It’s a wonderful dish, and was the inspiration for this simple, summer vegetable cavatelli.

I was going to use reduced cream, with fresh, pureed corn stirred in at the end, but then I had a thought. What if skipped the dairy altogether, and made the sauce 100% cob-based? I was also out of cream.

So, I blended the fresh corn with some chicken broth, and ended up with what looked like corn milk. At first, I thought I’d made it too thin, but after a few tests reducing some in a pan, I realized it was thickening up beautifully.

While I was very happy with this, in hindsight, I’d do a few things differently next time. I went with pancetta, but I think the smokiness of bacon would have made this even more delicious. I also think you should probably add the corn cream to the vegetables, and bring it to a simmer before the pasta is added.

Of course, this recipe will work with whatever fresh seasonal vegetables you happen to find at the market, as long as its something that tastes good with sweet corn. In related news, everything tastes good with sweet corn. I hope you give this a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for 4 portions:

For the corn “cream” (will make more than needed for the recipe)
2 ears fresh white corn, or other sweet corn
2 cups chicken broth or water

For the pasta:
2 cups cavatelli
1 tbsp olive oil
4 ounces diced bacon or pancetta (sausage would also work nicely)
1/2 cup diced sweet red pepper
1 1/2 cup diced zucchini
pinch of cayenne
salt and pepper to taste
1 1/2 to 2 cups corn “cream,” or as needed
1 cup halved sweet cheery tomatoes
1 tbsp chopped Italian parsley
1 tbsp finely sliced basil leaves
grated Parmigiano Reggiano
Read More

Monday, September 26, 2016

Homemade Dill Pickles – Naturally Fermented, Whatever That Means

This is going to be an easy post, in that I know virtually nothing about fermenting pickles. The only thing I know for sure is how to make them, and for me, that’s enough. If you make a simple salt brine, add some spices, and submerge Kirby cucumbers in it for about a week, you get some fairly delicious pickles.

Maybe it’s dumb luck, or just overwhelmingly good karma, but fortunately I’ve not experienced any of the problems I’ve seen others lament; such as mushy texture, scary molds, or exploding jars. Apparently, cucumbers are one of the more finicky things to pickle, but that hasn’t been my experience.

Like I said in the video, I’ve only made these a handful of times, so maybe my time is coming, but I’m pretty sure if you measure your salt right, and store the fermenting pickles at an appropriate temperature, you should get something close to what you see here.

Having said that, I will refer any and all of your questions having to do with variations, troubleshooting, probiotics, and/or best practices, to the Internet. The purpose of this video is to simply show the process, and how ridiculously easy it is. If this seems like something you want to try, and it should, I recommend doing lots of research before starting, so at least you’ll have someone else to blame if things go horribly wrong.

One thing I can tell you for sure is that you have to use pure salt for this. Table salt can contain additives like iodine, which inhibits the bacterial growth necessary for this to work. I’m also giving you weight measurements for the salt, since the size of the salt crystal can really effect measuring by volume.

Other than getting your brine right, just be sure to get very fresh, very firm pickling cucumbers to make this with. If your cucumbers start off soft and mushy, your pickles will be terrible, and not have that loud crunch associated with the finest examples. I really do hope you give this a try. Enjoy!


Ingredients:
2 pounds very fresh Kirby cucumbers, washed thoroughly
Handful of fresh, flowering dillweed
For the brine:
8 cups cold fresh water
8 tablespoons Kosher salt (By weight, you wants exactly 80 grams. The brand of kosher salt I use weighs about 10 gram per tablespoon, but yours may not, so it’s best to use a scale if possible.)
4 cloves peeled garlic
2 teaspoons whole coriander seed
2 teaspoon black peppercorn
3 or 4 bay leaves
4 whole cloves

- Ferment at room temperature (I hear that between 70-75 F. is ideal) for about a week. Check every day as these can ferment fast. They are done when you like the taste. If you go too far, they start to get soft, and the inside gets hollow. Keep the brine level topped off.
- This makes extra brine for topping off.

Pickling Spice Note: I tend not to like a lot of spices in my pickles, so I believe the amounts listed here are fairly puny compared to most recipes. Feel free to find one of the many pickling spices recipes online, and use that instead.
Read More

Grilled Pattypan Squash with Hot Chorizo Vinaigrette – Almost Stuffed

Michele does a fantastic, sausage-stuffed pattypan squash, which was actually how these were supposed to be prepared, but someone, and we won’t name names, didn’t pay attention to buying ones of a uniform size, which is kind of a big deal if you want them to bake evenly. Okay, it was me.

In an attempt to redeem myself, I decided to grill them instead – a cooking method where any size will work – and top them with a hot chorizo vinaigrette. It’s something I’ve wanted to try for a while, and it really turned out to be a wonderful combination.

The ingredients below are just a rough guide, and you’ll have to figure out your own amounts, depending on how much squash you grill, but I do recommend a 1-to-1 ratio of sherry vinegar to olive oil/rendered chorizo fat.

I used a veal chorizo, which was very lean, so I had to add a good amount of olive oil. If you use pork chorizo, you’ll have a lot of rendered fat, so you may want to drain off most of it, keeping a few tablespoons, before adding your oil and vinegar.

Speaking of oil, don’t put any on your squash before you toss it on the grill. I used to do this myself, because it seemed logical, but it’s a bad idea. The dripping oil causes flare-ups that can make your veggies taste like gasoline, which is not good eats. Other than that, not much can go wrong with this simple summer dish. I hope you give it a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for 4 portions
8 pattypan squash
kosher salt to taste

6-8 ounces fresh, raw chorizo sausage 
(crumbled fine, and browned well in olive oil)
*you want to leave about 2 tablespoons rendered chorizo fat in the pan
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup sherry vinegar (or, use any vinegar you like)
splash of water to maintain moisture level if needed
1 tablespoon freshly sliced mint leaves
Read More

Friday, September 23, 2016

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup – Legend of the Fall

This roasted butternut squash soup is probably my favorite fall soup of all time, which is why I’m so shocked we haven’t posted a video for it before. It’s cheap, easy, nutritious, and absolutely delicious; and should probably go into the once-a-week rotation for a few months at least.

As I mention in the video, there’s really no great reason to simmer this for an hour like I did, but I think it does help harmonize the flavors, not to mention humidify your home. A cold, rainy day just looks better through steamed-up windows.

If you’re feeling like something a bit more substantial, try this topped with a handful of crispy bacon. Of course, I wouldn’t say no to some diced ham either. Add a hard roll, and you can’t get a better autumn meal. I hope you give this a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for 6 portions:
For the sage brown butter:
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
6-8 large sage leaves (or a lot of tiny leaves like I used in the video)
For the soup:
3 1/2 pound butternut squash
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 chopped onion
1 cup sliced carrots
6 garlic cloves, peeled
sage-infused brown butter
2 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
6 cups chicken broth, plus more if needed
2 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar (or other vinegar)
cayenne to taste
creme fraiche and chive to garnish
Read More

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Colcannon Hash – I Invented This, As Did Others Before Me

Every year about this time, I try to do some kind of culinary nod to St. Patrick’s Day, and this colcannon hash is the latest example. I really loved how this came out, and it made a beautiful, and delicious base for poached eggs, but there was one problem. Apparently, I didn’t invent this.

I thought I did, as I do with almost all the new recipes I create, but I figured I’d do a search anyway, just to confirm this assumption of singular brilliance. So I did, and it quickly became apparent that many others had the very same idea. Good for them.

I realize St. Patrick’s Day brunch isn’t really a thing, but if it were, this would be perfect. Although, we might have some leftover corned beef the day after, which would make this even more amazing; so maybe we should forget St. Paddy’s Day breakfast, and turn this into a hearty, day-after hangover cure instead. Either way, I really do hope you give this a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for 2 large portions:
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 ounces pancetta or bacon, diced
2 large russet potatoes, diced, rinsed, and well-drained
1 tsp salt, plus more to taste
freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/2 cup sliced green onions (mostly the white and lighter green parts)
2 large handfuls baby kale, roughly chopped
1/4 cup freshly grated sharp Irish cheddar cheese (or any sharp cheddar)
pinch of cayenne
2 tablespoons freshly chopped Italian parsley 
2 or 4 poached eggs, optional (actually, not optional)

Read More