Seared Zucchini and Cherry Tomatoes with Polenta

Seared Zucchini and Cherry Tomatoes with Polenta

Altered from Creamy Parmesan Polenta, Cook’s Illustrated, Italian Favorites 2011

Polenta

The polenta recipe will make much more polenta than needed for this recipe alone. The extra polenta can be poured into a baking dish and covered in the fridge to be cut up as firm polenta and fried another day.

7 1/2 cups water
1 1/2 teaspoons table salt (we only use ¾ tsp)
Pinch baking soda
1 1/2 cups coarse-ground cornmeal
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated (about 2 cups), plus extra for serving
Ground black pepper

Squeeze a 3-foot length of aluminum foil into a ½ inch rope. Twist the rope into a ring the size of a burner and place on the burner. The space will help the flames not get too warm under your pot.

Bring water to boil in heavy-bottomed 4-quart saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir in salt and baking soda. Slowly pour cornmeal into water in steady stream, while stirring back and forth with wooden spoon or rubber spatula. Bring mixture to boil, stirring constantly, about 1 minute. Reduce heat to lowest possible setting and cover.

After 5 minutes, stir polenta to smooth out any lumps that may have formed, about 15 seconds. Cover and continue to cook, without stirring, until grains of polenta are tender but slightly al dente, about 25 minutes longer. (Polenta should be loose and barely hold its shape but will continue to thicken as it cools.)

Remove from heat and stir in butter and Parmesan. Let stand, covered, for 5 minutes.

Zucchini and Cherry Tomatoes

Olive oil

1 zucchini, cut lengthwise into ¼ - ½ inch slices

3-4 small garlic cloves

Pinch red pepper flakes

1 half-pint cherry tomatoes, halved

Salt and pepper

Parmesan

2 Tb. chopped parsley

Heat a grill or cast iron skillet with grill ridges or outdoor grill until very hot and reduce flame to medium high. Coat each side of zucchini slices with olive oil. Grill zucchini, until marks appear, and flip doing the same for the other side. Remove to cutting board, and cut into cubes about the size of the cherry tomatoes. Heat oil, garlic, and pepper flakes in a separate pan over medium-high heat until fragrant and sizzling, about 1 minute. Stir in tomatoes and cook until they begin to soften, about 1 minute. Season to taste with salt and pepper and remove from heat, added in zucchini. Spoon polenta into shallow bowl or plate, and top with zucchini and cherry tomatoes along with any juices. Sprinkle parmesan and parsley as garnish.

Haricot Verts with French Shallots and Bacon

Haricot Verts with French Shallots and Bacon

Serves two-four

~ ½ lb haricot verts, tops chopped off

2 slices bacon (Llano seco is nice)

2 shallots, chopped finely

1 handful almonds, toasted and sliced

2 Tb butter

 

 

Cook bacon in a skillet on a medium-low flame until browned. Remove bacon to a plate and add butter and shallots to pan. Lower the flame slightly. Stir frequently. Next, add in haricot verts. Continue stirring frequently. Cook for about 8 minutes, or until tender. While cooking, toast almonds in a separate pan. Chop bacon finely. Slice almonds when cooled. Add both the almonds and bacon back into the pan. Stir them in and serve.

 

Greek Salad on Grilled Pita

Greek Salad on Grilled Pita

You’ll need a mortar and pestle or a food processor for the hummus and a ridged iron skillet or grill for the pita.

 

For Hummus:

1 ½ Tb tahini

¼ c lemon juice (1 large lemon)

2 small garlic cloves, minced

2 Tb olive oil

½ - 1 tsp salt, depending on taste

1 can (15 oz.) chickpeas/garbanzo beans

For Dressing:

4 Tb lemon juice (1 large lemon)

2 Tb Flat-leaf/Italian parsley, chopped

1 small garlic clove, minced and crushed with side of knife

1 ½ Tb olive oil

2 tsp red wine vinegar

¼ tsp dried oregano

¼ tsp red pepper flakes

For Pita and Salad:

4 pita breads

1 head lettuce, coarsely chopped

½ c cherry tomatoes, halved

1 cucumber, peeled if desired, halved lengthwise, then thinly sliced

½ c pitted Kalamata olives

1/3 c feta, crumbled (2 oz.)

Black pepper

 

Make Hummus:

Combine tahini and lemon juice in a food processor, and blend for 1 minute. Scrape mixture down the sides of the container, then add the garlic, olive oil, and salt. Process for 30 seconds. Reserve the juice from the garbanzo beans, and add to the processor. Puree for about a minute. Add garbanzo juice from can, about 1 Tb at a time until it reaches your preferred consistency.

Make Dressing:

Whisk all dressing ingredients together until emulsified.

Grill Pita and Make Salad:

Heat grill pan or grill over high heat until smoking and lightly brush with oil. Grill as many pitas as will fit on the ridges (1 if you have our pan) turning over once, until grill marks appear. Transfer to plates.

Toss lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber, olives, in a bowl with dressing to coat. Add feta and toss gently a couple times, so it doesn’t become milky goo.

 

Spread hummus on pitas, then top with salad. Grind black pepper on top and serve.

Braised Rutabaga with Poppy Seed Bread Crumbs

Braised Rutabaga with Poppy-Seed Bread Crumbs

Adjusted from Gourmet, Feb 2008

For rutabaga

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 pounds rutabagas, peeled and cut into 1-inch-thick wedges

1 1/2 cups water

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

For bread crumbs

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 garlic clove, minced

1 cup fine fresh bread crumbs from a baguette

1 tablespoon poppy seeds

1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley

 

 

Braise rutabagas:

Melt butter in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium heat, then add rutabagas, water, lemon juice, and 1/2 teaspoon salt and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, 30 minutes. Increase heat to medium and stir rutabagas, then briskly simmer, uncovered, until all of liquid has evaporated and rutabagas are glazed and just tender, 20 to 35 minutes (they should be cooked through but still retain their shape).

 

Make bread crumbs while rutabagas cook:
Heat oil in a large heavy skillet over medium heat until it shimmers, then cook garlic, stirring, until pale golden, about 1 minute. Add bread crumbs and poppy seeds and cook, stirring frequently, until golden, 4 to 5 minutes. Stir in parsley and salt to taste. Just before serving, sprinkle bread crumbs over rutabagas.

Orecchiette with salad turnips, spinach, shiitakes, and bacon

Orecchiette with salad turnips, spinach, shiitakes, and bacon

Serves two

10 oz orrechiette pasta

5 oz bacon (Llano seco is nice) or pancetta

¼ lb shiitake mushrooms

½ tsp balsamic vinegar

1 bunch salad turnips with their greens

5 cloves garlic

¼ lb spinach

¼ tsp red pepper flakes

6 sprigs thyme, de-stemmed or 2 Tb chopped parsley

1 Tb marsala wine or white wine

 Cook bacon in a skillet on a medium-low flame until browned. As bacon cooks, boil water, cook the orecchiette and strain. Remove bacon with a slotted spoon and place in a bowl. And shiitake stems to rendered fat and cook for 30 seconds, then add shiitake heads. Remove shiitakes after 5 minutes and place in the bacon bowl with ½ tsp of balsamic vinegar. Add turnip roots to bacon fat, then add garlic after two minutes, and then turnip greens and spinach after three more minutes. Stir occasionally until cooked down, about 8-10 minutes. Add red pepper flakes and thyme or parsley and stir. Add a splash of marsala or white wine. Heat for thirty seconds, then incorporate bacon and shiitakes. Finally, stir in pasta and enjoy.

 

Honey and Harissa Farro Salad

Honey and Harissa Farro Salad

Altered from Deb Pearlman, The Smitten Kitchen

Farro

1 cup (215 grams) uncooked farro

4 cups (950 ml) water or broth

Vegetables

2 tablespoons (30 ml) olive oil

1/2 pound (225 grams, about 4 medium) carrots

2 stems kohlrabi

Salt

Dressing

5 tablespoons (75 ml) olive oil

1/2 teaspoon harissa*, or to taste

1 teaspoon honey

2 tablespoons (30 ml) freshly squeezed lemon juice, plus more to taste

Pinch of ground cumin

Salt

1/4 cup chopped fresh mint leaves, or half parsley and half mint

3/4 cup (4 ounces or 113 grams) crumbled feta

Cook farro: Bring the farro, water or broth, and a few pinches of salt (if using water or unsalted broth) to a boil. Once it’s boiling, reduce the heat to a simmer and cook the farro until tender, for about 15 to 20 minutes. If any extra water or broth remains, drain it. Set the farro aside until the vegetables are ready.

Prepare vegetables: Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Coat two large baking sheets with one tablespoon olive oil each. Peel carrots and kohlrabi, and cut them into 2- inch lengths. If they’re skinny, quarter them lengthwise to make batons. If they’re thicker, cut them into matchsticks about 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick. Spread the vegetables on prepared baking sheets, and sprinkle them with salt. Roast for 20 minutes, then toss them about in their pan, before roasting them for a further 10 minutes.

Assemble salad: Whisk the dressing ingredients together, seasoning to taste with pinches of salt. Use more harissa if you’d like more heat; I suggest a restrained amount, because the heat of harissas can vary widely. In a large bowl, combine farro and roasted vegetables. Stir in most of the mint and feta, leaving a spoonful of each for garnish. Stir in dressing, to taste. Serve, garnished with the reserved feta and mint.

Do ahead: This salad keeps in an airtight container for 3 to 4 days in the fridge.

* A good and easy harissa recipe can be found at: http://www.saveur.com/article/Recipes/Harissa

 

Seared Radicchio with Polenta and Beet Puree

seared radicchio with polenta and beet puree.JPG

Seared Radicchio with Polenta and Beet Puree

This is kind of a three part recipe where the beet puree is optional. We roasted the beets the night before, and put the rest together in a little over an hour. The polenta recipe will make much more polenta then needed, but we didn't want to alter the recipe in case the cooking time would be affected.

Beet Purée

3 Black Sheep Farm beets

3 sprigs parsley, stems removed

1 Tb water

1 tsp olive oil

Juice from ¼ lemon

¼ - ½ tsp cayenne pepper

Preheat oven to 400º F. Wrap beets in aluminum foil, and cook in oven for 1 hr to 1 hr 15 min. Remove, and let cool.

Slip beet peels off, and add with all other ingredients to food processor, and puree for about a minute. If its just chopping and not making a paste, add a bit more water.

Polenta

Creamy Parmesan Polenta from Cook’s Illustrated, Italian Favorites 2011

7 1/2 cups water
1 1/2 teaspoons table salt (we only use ¾ tsp)
Pinch baking soda
1 1/2 cups coarse-ground cornmeal
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated (about 2 cups), plus extra for serving
Ground black pepper

Bring water to boil in heavy-bottomed 4-quart saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir in salt and baking soda. Slowly pour cornmeal into water in steady stream, while stirring back and forth with wooden spoon or rubber spatula. Bring mixture to boil, stirring constantly, about 1 minute. Reduce heat to lowest possible setting and cover.

After 5 minutes, stir polenta to smooth out any lumps that may have formed, about 15 seconds. Cover and continue to cook,

without stirring, until grai

ns of polenta are tender but slightly al dente, about 25 minutes longer. (Polenta should be loose and barely hold its shape but will continue to thicken as it cools.)

Remove from heat and stir in butter and Parmesan. Let stand, covered, for 5 minutes. Serve, passing Parmesan and black pepper separately.

Radicchio

¼ c balsamic vinegar

2 radicchio heads, stem butt intact

1 leek

Olive oil

Salt and pepper

Cook balsamic in a shallow pan over lowest flame until viscous, about 15 min. Cut radicchio lengthwise into four quarters, keeping the stem butt intact in each quarter to hold the leaves together. Remove leek roots and tougher green leaves, and halve leek lengthwise. Gently toss leeks and radicchio in a bowl with olive oil salt and pepper to coat.

Heat a grill or cast iron skillet with grill ridges until very hot and reduce flame to medium high. Grill leeks, turning occasionally until marks appear, and flip cooking until heated through, about 3-5 minutes. Remove to cutting board. Place radicchio wedges, cut side down, and cook the same but only turning to sear the cut sides. Chop leeks when cool enough to handle.

Spoon polenta onto plate, and place radicchio along side, along with a small pile of the leeks and a large dollop of the beet puree. Drizzle plate with balsamic reduction.

Cabbage and Fennel Salad with Cranberries and Pecans

Cabbage and Fennel Salad with Cranberries and Pecans

By Mara, elementalcustard.com

¼ - ½ head of cabbage

1 bulb fennel

1 sweet apple (like fuji)

¾ c dried cranberries

½ c roasted pecans, chopped

½ c chopped parsley

1 Tb Dijon mustard

1 Tb olive oil

1 Tb lemon juice

1 Tb honey

To prepare cabbage, lay on its side and slice through the stem to cut the cabbage in half. Remove the coarse stem by cutting around it. Place the cabbage, cut side down and slice into thin slices. Place in a large bowl.

To prepare the fennel, slice off the upper shoots, leaving the bulb only. Cut in half through the stem and remove the stem similarly to the cabbage. Place the fennel bulb cut side down and slice into very thin strips (or use a mandolin). Place in the bowl with the cabbage.

Core the apple and julienne into thin slices and add to the bowl. Add the parsley, cranberries and pecan pieces.

Mix up the dressing and add to the salad. Toss to combine.

Tagliatelle with Shredded Beets, Sour Cream, and Parsley

Tagliatelle with Shredded Beets, Sour Cream, and Parsley

Bon Appetit, Apr 2004

1 tablespoon butter

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 garlic cloves, minced

3 cups (packed) coarsely grated peeled uncooked beets (about 3 large)

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

12 ounces tagliatelle or fettuccine

1 8-ounce container sour cream

6 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley, divided

Melt butter with oil in large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add garlic; stir until pale golden, about 1 minute. Add beets and cayenne; reduce heat to medium-low and sauté just until beets are tender, about 12 minutes. Stir in lemon juice.

Meanwhile, cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally.

Drain pasta and return to pot. Stir in sour cream and 4 tablespoons parsley, then beet mixture. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer pasta to bowl. Sprinkle with remaining 2 tablespoons parsley and serve.

Adding chopped beet greens in with the beet roots adds color and some form of plant unity to this dish. In addition, Quinoa can be substituted for pasta to highlight the earthy flavors of the beets.