Mustard Greens Galette

mustard-greens-galette-Right now the Northeast is oscillating between beautiful, warm, sunny days, and grey rainy ones. As far as the weather is concerned – it’s officially Spring. However, markets around here won’t start showcasing their  spring produce for at least another few weeks. I’m jealous of those of you who have  access to fresh, local peas, ramps and asparagus right now.

I’m having a hard time being inspired by the same old broccoli, kale and sweet potatoes I’ve been using for that last 5 months. So naturally I turned to the internet for ideas. This recipe is a riff off Sarah’s A galette of winter greens, and it’s delightful. Feel free to use any greens you have access to, or even throw in some spring veggies if you’re lucky enough to get ‘em.

dough

greensMustard Greens Galette

1 c. flour (I used whole spelt)
a pinch of salt
1/2 stick (2 oz.) butter, cut into chunks
3-4 T. cold water

1 T. olive oil or more butter
1 large leek, white and dark green parts only, sliced into thin half moons
1 bunch mustard greens (or other greens), de-stemmed and chopped into small pieces
1-2 T. creme fraiche (Sarah used cream)
a few tablespoons for chopped fresh thyme
parmigiano reggiano
fine grain sea salt

First make the crust. Place flour, salt and butter in bowl of food processor. Pulse until the butter is the size of small pebbles. Add one tablespoon of water at a time and pulse again, until dough comes together. Do not over process. Transfer the dough onto some plastic wrap (I have a reusable hemp and beeswax wrap), wrap tightly, and store in the fridge for about 30 minutes while you prepare the filling.

Heat the oil or butter in a heavy bottomed skillet over medium heat. Add the leeks and cook until soft and creamy, 5-7 minutes. Add the greens in batches, stir to wilt. Cook until the greens are very tender, about 10 minutes. Add creme fraiche and cheese, and season with salt to taste.

Preheat the oven to 400. Remove dough from wrap and place on floured surface. This amount of dough will make 2 smaller, personal size galettes (as you see in the pictures). Divide the dough in half and roll each out into a rough circle about 1/8″ thick. Transfer to a parchment lined baking sheet, heap half the filling into the middle, then spread out until you have a 1 1/2 to 2 ” perimeter of dough. Fold outside of dough around the filling, leaving a spot on the middle for the greens to peek out. Sprinkle with thyme. Repeat process for 2nd galette.

Slide baking sheet into the oven and bake for 30-40 minutes, or until the crust is golden. Slice and serve.

serves 2

mustard-greens-galette-2

 

Green Risotto

green-risottoLike most of us in the states, my cultural heritage is mixed. I’ve got Italian from my dad, and Irish (and a bunch of other things) from Mom. So what better way to celebrate St. Patricks day than to mix the two together.

I took risotto, a very Italian dish, made it green, and added beer. The green comes from a peppery bite of baby arugula, with a dollop of basil pesto from the freezer. If you don’t have any pesto don’t fret – some chopped fresh herbs will make a delicious substitution. Use a light colored beer, like a Blue Moon or Hoegaarten, so preserve the color of the rice. Serve hot, with the rest of the 6-pack to wash it down!

Green-Risotto-2Green Risotto

1 T. butter
2 shallots, finely minced
2-3 garlic, minced
1 c. risotto rice (like arborio or carnaroli)
1 c. light colored beer
3 or more c. water or stock
2 T. pesto, or chopped fresh herbs
a few large handfuls of arugula, finely chopped
1-2 T. creme fraiche, sour cream, or cold butter
sea salt to taste

garnish with toasted pine nuts (or almonds) and a shaving of parmesan

Melt the butter in a heavy bottomed pot or skillet over medium heat. Cook the shallots for a few minutes, then add the garlic and a few pinches of salt. Once the shallots become soft, stir in the rice to coat in butter. Let this cook, stirring frequently, for a few minutes, until the rice becomes translucent around the edges.

Pour in the beer, scraping the bottom of the pan to loosen anything stuck to the bottom. Simmer until most of the beer is gone, and you can drag a wooden spoon through the rice and the liquid doesn’t fill in the trail. You may have to play with the heat to keep it softly simmering, but not boiling – you don’t want too much liquid to evaporate.

Once the beer is mostly gone, add water or stock, a 1/2 c. at a time, stirring frequently and waiting until the last bit has simmered away before adding the next bit. When the rice is almost done, but still firm and a tiny bit chalky when you bite into it, stir in the pesto. If you’re using fresh herbs wait – and stir them in with the arugula.

About 20 minutes and 3 – 4 cups of liquid later, your rice should be done. It should be tender, but still a little firm to the bite. Remove from heat and stir in the creme fraiche and arugula until the greens wilt. Taste and add salt if necessary, enough to make the flavors pop. This will vary depending on whether you used water or stock, and pesto or herbs. Serve topped with the parmesan and pine nuts.

serves 3-4 as a main, 6 as a side

Indonesian Rice Bowl

indonesian-rice-bowl

Back to school. Back to work. Back to quick, easy bowl foods for dinner. This one makes great leftovers for lunch, too. I don’t think I’m the only one who looks at a bowl of red (or brown) rice, assorted veggies, some nuts, tofu and sauce and gets excited for dinner.

This one is special to me. I don’t normally make a dish more than once, but this has been in regular rotation for years. I think it’s the coconut milk, chilies, ginger and macadamia nuts that make it really sparkle. If you can’t find (or afford) red rice for this, it tastes just as good with brown rice. And I’ve made it with all manner of vegetables to match the seasons: asparagus in the spring, green beans for summer, brussels sprouts in the fall…

Don’t be scared away by the list of ingredients, it actually comes together fairly quickly.

rice-and-nutsIndonesian Rice Bowl

1 c. red (or brown) rice
8 oz. firm tofu (my belly likes the sprouted kind the best), cubed
1/3 c. macadamia nuts, chopped
1 T. coconut oil (or any other oil you like)
1 shallot, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 in. piece of ginger, peeled and finely chopped
1 red chili, seeded, finely chopped
1 tsp. ground coriander
a couple carrots, sliced on the bias
1 head of broccoli florets, sliced thin
1/2 c. coconut milk
2 T. shoyu
juice of one lime
chopped cilantro, for garnish

Preheat the oven to 350. Start the rice in a heavy bottomed pot with 2 c. water. Bring to a boil then cover, turn down to low and simmer until tender. Depending on the type of rice, that could take anywhere from 30-50 minutes. When it’s done, the water will be gone, then let it sit, covered, for 5 minutes.

Spread the nuts in a single layer on a baking sheet and slide into the oven for about 15 minutes, or until browned and fragrant.

Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the tofu in a singer layer and let it sit until it forms a crust and doesn’t stick to the pan, it may take up to 5 minutes. Flip the cubes and let at least 2 sides get brown, maybe more. It took me about 15 minutes altogether. Remove from pan and set aside.

Heat more oil in the same pan if you need to and add the shallot, garlic, ginger, chili and coriander. Fry for about a minute, then add carrot and broccoli. Cook them until they are tender, or “crisp-tender” if you prefer. Add the tofu back in the pan.

Pour the coconut milk, shoyu and lime juice into the pan. Let everything simmer together for a few minutes, then stir the whole thing into the cooked rice.

Serve topped with the macadamia nuts and cilantro.

serves 4

indonesian-rice-bowl-2

Grapefruit Margarita

grapefruit-margaritaNew Year’s Eve in New York City. That’s just one too many “new’s” for me. Instead of going out  to a packed Manhattan bar or party, drinking ’til 3 a.m., then waiting an hour for the subway to take me home, I’m spending this new year’s at a small friendly gathering – whipping up a few grapefruit margaritas and some perfect guacamole (recipe to come). I’ll (hopefully) have only a few drinks, make it home at a reasonable hour, and be all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed to start the year 2013.

The days of making all sorts of resolutions has passed me by. I figure that if I really want to change something, I don’t have to wait for the new year to do it. Every day is equally ripe for transformation. That being said, I’m really hoping to work on being more mindful, living in the now, from now on. Wish me luck.

These margaritas are very simple to put together, not too sweet and not too full of liquor. I’m a bit of a lightweight (but don’t go telling all the cute boys what a cheap drunk I am!). Feel free to add a bit more tequila (or triple sec or Cointreau) if you prefer a boozier drink.

grapefruit-margarita-2

Grapefruit Margarita

1 juicy grapefruit
3 limes
agave nectar to taste
3 oz. tequila (about 1/3 c.)
to serve: a few tablespoons of sugar (coconut sugar’s great if you have it), or salt, and some ice cubes

Juice the grapefruit and two of the limes (it’s ok if some pulp gets in, just avoid the seeds). Add a little agave to make it as sweet as you like. I like mine fairly tart, I used about a teaspoon. Cut the third lime into wedges.

Pour a little sugar on a small plate. Take a lime wedge and run it along the rim of your serving glass. Dip the rim into the sugar. Place the ice cubes in the glass, then pour in half the tequila. Top with half the juice. Repeat the process for the second drink.

serves 2

p.s. – here’s a little preview of the next post

perfect-guacamole-2

 

Roasted Carrot & Wild Rice Salad

roasted-carrot-&-wild-rice-salad

An enormous bunch of carrots called out to me last weekend at the market. I had a few in salads, made carrot soup, and somehow was still swimming in them. I like carrots as much as the next girl, but I can only eat so many. It would take quite a bit to inspire me to finish off the bunch. So I brought out the big guns.

This grain salad makes carrots (or you could use squash or sweet potato) sexy. Carrots roasted in garlic, wild rice, toasty hazelnuts, briny feta, maple dressing…whoa. Lay it out room temperature in a grand holiday spread or eat it warm for lunch.

carrot-&-wild-rice

coriander

Roasted Carrot & Wild Rice Salad

1 c. wild rice
4-5 medium carrots, sliced thinly on the diagonal
2-3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
olive oil
fine grain sea salt
1/2 c. hazelnuts, roughly chopped
4 oz. block of feta, cubed or crumbled

1/2 tsp. coriander seeds, or 1/4 ground coriander
juice of 1/2 lemon
2 tsp. maple syrup
1-2 T. walnut or hazelnut oil (or more olive oil)
fine grain sea salt

Preheat oven to 425.

First start the rice by placing it in a heavy bottomed pot covered with 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil, turn down to low, and simmer, covered, for about 45 minutes. When most of the grains have split open, it is done. You may have to drain off the excess water, then set aside.

Meanwhile, combine the carrots, garlic, a few glugs of oil and a little salt on a baking sheet. Roast until just starting to shrink and turn golden, 25 minutes or so. Check on them every so often and flip at least once.

On a separate baking sheet, spread the hazelnuts in a single layer and slide into the oven under the carrots. These should only take 7-8 minutes to get toasty and fragrant. Then pull them out and set ‘em aside.

Next make the dressing. If you have whole coriander seeds, crush them up. Add the lemon juice and maple syrup and whisk to combine. Whisk in the oil, then salt to taste. You want the dressing to be quite strong tasting, because it will get watered down when tossed in the grains and carrots.

Combine the cooked rice, carrots and most of the nuts and cheese in a serving dish. Pour the dressing over top and toss gently to coat. Top with the rest of the hazelnuts and feta and serve.

serves 4-6

roasted-carrot-&-wild-rice-salad-2

Double Tomato Soup

Is it Winter yet? Not officially, I guess, but I’d argue that as soon as we get into the “Holiday Season”, it’s unofficially Wintertime. I’m not a big fan of cold weather, but I do love me some soup. You may have guessed, if we’ve been acquainted for long, that I eat soup pretty much all year round. This is my current favorite.

In the Chinese medicine point of view, Winter is associated with the element (or phase) of Water. And the kidneys are ruled by water. This is why you may have problems this time of year with things relating to your kidneys (and bladder), your lady or man parts, and your lower back (cause that’s where the kidneys hang out).  It’s important for everyone to stay warm, but if you tend towards any of these issues, you want to take extra care to keep your lower back covered all the time (tuck in that shirt!). Along these lines, the Kidney channel begins on the soles of your feet, so to keep your back from going out, I suggest buying a pair of warm slippers and never letting your feet get cold, because that cold travels straight up to your kidneys.

Another way to keep warm on the inside is eating warm things. This soup is great because you don’t need any super-perishable ingredients. You can keep everything around for weeks or even months most of it, and when you find yourself without and fresh veggies, you know you’ve got that can of tomatoes stashed away, just waiting to become tomato soup. The “double” tomato comes from sun-dried tomatoes, which you’ll want to keep packaged tightly so they don’t dry out. I also used some (optional) dried chilies, because they add another layer of depth to the flavor. You may find it strange to add bread to a soup, but I love the creaminess it adds without resorting to actual cream. I’ve been heating up the leftovers, and this is even better the next day. The dried tomatoes and chilies really give it a special earthy richness. It’s a keeper.

Double Tomato Soup

2-3 T, olive oil
1 onion, sliced
fine grain sea salt
1 tsp. sugar
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 28 oz. can of crushed tomatoes
2 slices of bread (any bread works, especially stale)
1/4 c. sun dried tomatoes (not the oil packed kind)
1 dried chili (optional – I used a large mild Aji chili, for more heat use a smaller, hotter chili like chipotle or chili de arbol)
3-4 c. vegetable stock
to garnish choose from: creme fraiche or sour cream, toasted almonds, olive oil drizzle, smoked paprika, cubed avocado, chopped basil or cilantro.

Heat the oil in a big pot over medium low. Add the onion, a pinch or two of salt and the sugar and cook until the onion is soft and translucent, 4-5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another minute.

Pour in the tomatoes, then stir in the bread, sundried tomatoes, chili, and stock. Bring to a boil, then reduce to low heat, cover and simmer for about 20 minutes, or until the sun dried tomatoes are soft.

Remove from heat and puree, either with an immersion blender (my fave, fast and easy way) or in batches in a blender or food processor.

To serve, ladle into bowls and garnish with whatever your heart desires. I used creme fraishe, toasted almonds, smoked paprika and a drizzle of olive oil.

serves 4-6

Cremini Buckwheat Risotto

“Risotto” is one of my favorite dishes to make. Maybe it’s because it’s endlessly adaptable. Or because it can be made into a one-pot meal. It could also just be the wine. In any case, I’ve really been into experimenting with different grains, veggies, and ways to add creaminess to my endless pots of semi-risotto.

This incarnation turned out to be really unique and delicious, and I thought I should share. Buckwheat is not actually wheat at all, but a gluten-free whole grain that cooks quickly and releases some starch as it breaks down – perfect for working in a little risotto-like creaminess.

Then are the cremini mushrooms. Button or baby bella ‘shrooms could work here, too, just make sure they are the freshest of the fresh. I buy my mushrooms whole, with some dirt still attached, and having never touched a wisp of plastic wrap. If you can only find the packaged kind, transfer them directly to a paper bag upon entering your home. Don’t wash them until you’re ready to eat them, and then just wipe them clean with a damp towel. They don’t like being drenched with water. Also, I’m not a big fan of the stems of any mushroom. I know they are edible (except shiitake – don’t eat those stems) but the texture is more dense, so I take them off. Just grab the stem right near the cap and gently wiggle it back and forth a few times, it should pop right out.

Cremini Buckwheat Risotto

2 T. butter, divided
8 oz. cremini mushrooms, stemmed and sliced (button or baby bella work, too)
fine grain sea salt
3 leeks, white and light green part, sliced into thin half moons
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
1 c. buckwheat (or it’s toasted sister, kasha)
1 c. white wine or beer
2-3 c. warm water or stock
2 T. creme fraiche, plus more for garnish
chopped parsley (optional) for garnish

Melt 1 T. butter in a heavy-bottomed pot or saucepan over medium low. Add the mushrooms and a generous pinch of salt, and toss to coat in the butter. These guys soak up a lot of fat, so toss them quick, but don’t be too worried if some seem dry at first. After a few minutes they will start to release their liquid. Let the mushrooms keep cooking until most of the liquid is gone, then remove them from the pot and set aside.

Melt the other tablespoon of butter in the same pot. Add the leeks and cook for about 10 minutes, until they are very soft and maybe a little brown. Add the buckwheat, garlic, and a few more pinches of salt, and let cook a couple more minutes.

Pour in the wine or beer and bring to just a simmer. Stir around a lot until most of the liquid is gone. Add in 1/2 cup to 1 cup water or stock; keep stirring and adding more liquid when it disappears. You need to keep an eye out on the “bubbly-ness” of the liquid. It should stay at a quiet simmer, not too bubbly, but also not still. Keep adjusting the heat as needed to achieve this. Eventually the buckwheat will become tender. Start checking for doneness after you’ve added 2 cups of liquid, keeping in mind you may need to add another cup or more.

Once the buckwheat is tender, take it off the heat. Stir in the creme fraiche, then fold in the mushrooms. Taste, and add more salt if necessary (if you used water, you may need to add up to a teaspoon of salt). Garnish with the parsley and a few small dollops of the creme fraiche.

serves 4

Chai Spiced Apple Crisps

5 Elements: Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal, Water. Each element has 2 corresponding organs and a whole host of other characteristics associated with it. Today, this week, in fact, for the next few years for me, it’s all about the Earth element. It’s organs are the Spleen and the Stomach. It’s in charge of things like nourishment, sowing and reaping. It’s associated with the sweet taste, a fragrant smell and all intellectual pursuits.

So, what does all this have to do with me? (and you?) As a student, I’m pretty much always engaged in some intellectual pursuits as of late. Overthinking, according to Oriental medicine, can lead to weak Spleen qi. To counteract that, while studying, people tend to crave something sweet. (See how these are all riffing off the list of Earth-y things). This is why, so my teacher informs us, many students gain weight. Too much sugar. I’m working on counteracting that with these apple crisps. Just a touch of sugar and spice, but most of the sweetness comes from the apples. They are great to grab as a quick snack while studying, or doing most anything else. And if you want your house to smell like Fall, I recommend baking up a bunch.

The idea for these came from Kimberly’s Cocoa Pear Crisps. I had to make many adjustments as I went along. Maybe because my mandoline doesn’t say 1/8 inch (just thin), maybe the temperature of my oven is off, maybe apples are different than pears…who knows. In the recipe I gave a range of options, just to be on the safe side. So keep your eyes and nose open so you don’t burn anything!

Chai Spiced Apple Crisps

3 apples (I used honeycrisp)
2 T. sugar
1 T. cinnamon
1 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. ground cloves
1 tsp. ground cardamom

Preheat the oven to 275. Slice apples to 1/8 of an inch thickness with a mandoline and pull out any seeds. Lay them out in a single layer on a baking sheet or 4, with either a cooling rack or parchment paper set inside. I had to do this in a few batches since I only have a half size stove and 2 baking sheets.

Mix the rest of the ingredients together in a bowl and sprinkle over the apple slices. Slide them into the oven. Check up on them after about 15 minutes. If you are using parchment, flip them once they are shrunken. Keep a close eye out, and remove them as they start to pull away from the pan. It could take 30 minutes, or up to an hour. If you get them too early they’ll be more like fruit leather and not crisp, and if you wait too long you get charcoal.

Let them sit and cool to crisp up.

 

Black Bean & Sweet Potato Chili

It’s been a while. I promise, I haven’t forgotten about you, I’ve just been so busy learning. It turns out that going to school, and working, and taking care of kitties, and blogging, is a lot of stuff to do. I wish I had a ton of cool Oriental Medicine tidbits to share, but so far it’s been mostly learning where all the muscles are – where they attach to the bones, and what they do. Plus lots of memorizing of acupuncture points. Cause no one wants an acupuncturist who puts the needles in the wrong place!

Somewhere, in the midst of all this craziness, I whipped up a pot of very special chili. Sweet potatoes and bell peppers and black beans. A bit of cinnamon (like they do in Cincinnati), cocoa, beer and a tiny drizzle of maple syrup. I promise this isn’t a sweet chili,  all this just adds a great complex flavor. You’re gonna love it.

Oh, and I have managed to pick up one fun fact that I can’t seem to work into a cute story that ultimately leads to dinner. In Chinese Medicine, the lungs are associated with the skin; and the skin is even sometimes referred to as the third lung. After all, it does do a bit of breathing through your pores. So, a very insightful teacher of mine suggested that if you have lung trouble, then you shouldn’t get tattooed.

Black Bean and Sweet Potato Chili

1-2 T. olive oil
1 onion, diced
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
1-2 small chilies (a jalepeno is good for less heat, a serrano or 2 for more), minced
1 tsp. cumin seeds (or ground)
1 tsp. cocoa powder
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. fine grain sea salt
1-2 lbs. sweet potatoes (2 medium, or 4 baby), in 3/4″ to 1″ dice
1 bell pepper, diced
1 c. lager, stout, or other beer
1 28 oz. can or crushed tomatoes (fire roasted if you can find ‘em)
1 15 oz. can of black beans, rinsed (about 1 1/2 c.)
2 T. maple syrup
for garnish: creme fraiche or sour cream, or avocado for vegans, chopped fresh herbs

Heat the oil in a large soup pot over medium. Add the onion and turn the heat down to medium low. Cook about 5 minutes, then add the garlic, chilies, cumin, cocoa, cinnamon and salt. Cook for a minute, until everything smells amazing, then stir in the potatoes and pepper, and stir to coat.

After a few minutes, pour in the beer to deglaze the pot (use your wooden spoon to scrape the stuck bits off the bottom). When it comes to a boil and starts to thicken a bit, add the tomatoes. You may need a little water to cover the vegetables, add it in now. Bring the whole thing to a boil, turn down to low, and simmer, covered for about 30 minutes, or until the sweet potatoes are soft.

Stir in the beans and the maple syrup. If it’s too thick for you, add some more water. Taste and adjust the seasoning – keep adding pinches of salt until the flavor pops. It will depend on your salt and how much water you had to add. Cook for another few minutes to marry the flavors. Serve topped with the creme fraiche and chopped herbs.

serves 4-6

Thai Curry Squash Soup

There’s nothing more exciting about changing seasons than finding the new produce at the farmer’s market. Well, except maybe the wardrobe changes. It’s a toss up. For so many of my friends, this is their favorite season; for the weather, the boots, the apples, scarves and squashes. This one is for you.

Red Thai curry paste gets mashed with garlic and coats big chunks of butternut (or whatever your favorite is) squash. In goes the stock – cook til tender. Puree and add coconut milk. Easy peasy. I bet you can come up with way more exciting garnishes than this, I just threw on some cilantro and toasted pumpkin seeds. Have at it, and if you come up with something great, please share with us. I can imagine this would be great with a small kabocha or a few delicata squashes, both are quite sweet and have edible skins, which eliminates the most time-consuming part of this recipe, peeling the squash.

Thai Curry Squash Soup

1 T. coconut oil
1 T. red Thai curry paste
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 small-ish butternut squash, or another squash you like – about 2-3 lbs., peeled and cut into chunks
3 c. vegetable stock
1 can (14 oz.) coconut milk (not lite)
sea salt to taste
toasted pumpkin seeds and chopped cilantro to garnish

Heat the oil in a large pot. Add the curry paste and squish around for about a minute, then add the garlic. Keep stirring for another 30 seconds, then add the squash. Toss to coat the chunks in the curry mixture, then pour in the stock. Bring to a boil, turn to low and simmer, covered, until tender, about 20-30 minutes.

Turn off the heat and puree – I used an immersion (stick) blender, which makes pretty easy, fast work of this, but if all’s you’ve got is a regular blender, fear not. Just transfer the soup in batches, making sure to vent the blender. When all the soup is smooth and back in the pot, add the coconut milk. Turn the heat back on, to about medium low, and cook for a few minutes to work in the milk. During this time, taste, and depending on the saltiness of your stock, you may need to add more salt. Keep adding, pinch by pinch, until the flavors pop.

Serve topped with the pumpkin seeds and cilantro.

serves 4-6