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Archive for the category “Side Dishes”

Butternut Squash and Apple Soup

The following recipe for Butternut Squash and Apple Soup is just one of many delicious entries in a new cookbook of recipes using apples by Philip & Lauren Rubin called The Comfort of Apples: Modern Recipes for an Old-Fashioned Favorite.

This recipe was sweeter and richer-tasting than my usual butternut squash soup, while still being cream- and butter-free.

Butternut Squash and Apple Soup

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 yellow onion, coarsely chopped
1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cubed
4 cups apples, peeled, cored, and chopped
4 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 quart chicken stock
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
Salt and pepper
½ cup walnut halves
4 ounces goat cheese, sliced in ¼ -inch rounds

1. Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until translucent about 3 minutes. Add the squash, apples, carrots, stock, and cinnamon and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to low, cover the pot, and simmer until the vegetables are soft when pierced with a fork, 20 to 30 minutes.

2. Ladle the vegetables and half of the broth into a blender or food processor. Puree until very smooth. Return soup to the pot and stir in the remaining broth, one ladleful at a time, until you reach the desired consistency. Season well with salt and pepper.

3. To serve, place a few walnuts in the center of a soup bowl. Shingle 2 slices of goat cheese on top of the walnuts and ladle the soup around the goat cheese. The idea is to have the goat cheese visible atop the soup. (Hint: it may be easier to ladle the soup into a large measuring cup with a spout and pour from there.)

Serves 6

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Carrot Tomato Soup: Tastiest and Simplest Ever

One of my favorite inventions this summer has been this Carrot Tomato Soup.  I started with the most basic ingredients- carrots, tomato sauce, water and salt.  And then before I decided what to add next, I tasted it: perfect.  Stop there!

Simple, tasty and healthy, it’s the perfect summer soup.

Carrot Tomato Soup

1 pound carrots, scrubbed or peeled and then diced
8oz tomato sauce (1 small can)
8oz water (could substitute milk or cream for a creamier soup)
1 tsp sea salt
Black pepper to taste
Optional: olive oil to drizzle on top

1. Boil or steam carrots until tender.  Let cool.

2. In a food processor or blender, combine carrots with tomato sauce, and water.  Blend until smooth.

3. Season with salt and pepper.

3. Put in fridge if you’d like to serve a chilled soup, or reheat on stovetop for a warm soup.  May also serve room temperature, as is my custom.  You may choose to drizzle some olive oil on top of each portion before serving.

Tosca Reno’s Eat Clean Cookbook: Corn Muffins

The Eat Clean Cookbook by Tosca Reno is full of healthful, delicious recipes.  I enjoyed making many recipes in this cookbook, but there is one I return to again and again: Corn Muffins.  (Often I make it as cornbread in a loaf pan.)  Maybe it’s because I’m married to a southerner, but in our house, you can never have too much cornbread around.

Super Simple Corn Muffins by Tosca Reno

Dry Ingredients:
1 and 1/3 cups / 320 ml whole-wheat flour
1 1/3 cups / 320 ml cornmeal
1/3 cup / 80 ml skim milk powder
2 Tbsp / 30 ml Sucanat or rapadura sugar
2 tsp / 10 ml baking powder
2 tsp / 10 ml baking soda
1 tsp / 5 ml finely ground sea salt

Wet Ingredients:
½ cup / 120 ml unsweetened applesauce
2 cups / 480 ml skim milk, soured with 2 Tbsp / 30 ml lemon juice
2 Tbsp / 30 ml coconut oil, canola oil or melted butter
4 egg whites, beaten

1. Preheat oven to 425°F / 220°C. Line a muffin tin with unbleached paper liners.
2. Mix dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Set aside.
3. Place wet ingredients in a medium-sized bowl and mix together well.
4. Add wet to dry ingredients and mix just until dry ingredients are moistened. Do not over mix.
5. Fill each muffin cup 2/3 full. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes or until just golden on top.

A cool thing about this cookbook is that Tosca Reno has some signature ingredient blends that she incorporates into several recipes.  Power Flour, for example, is a combination of various flours that can be used in place of regular or whole-wheat flours.  She also has a recipe for Eat Clean Cooking Spray to use in place of PAM or the like.

Thanks to Rechelle for sending me a review copy of this cookbook.  I’ll be using it for years to come.

Spiced Peach Cranberry Compote

Spiced jarred peaches and cranberries come together for a delicious warm compote. Perfect for Christmas morning or… even Christmas Eve morning!

Spiced Peach Cranberry Compote

Recipe by Hilary

1 28-oz jar Rosie’s Spiced Peaches
1 bag frozen or fresh cranberries
Dash of cinnamon
Sugar to taste

1. Drain syrup from jarred peaches into heavy medium saucepan.  Add cranberries and stir.  Heat on medium, covered, stirring occasionally, until cranberries pop.

2. Think about how large you want your peaches to be in the compote.  If you’re serving the dish on its own plate, perhaps you want to keep the peaches as halves.  Or, maybe you want them to be smaller, in which case you should cut them now.  Also, discard the couple of cloves from the jarred peaches- they’ll be difficult to remove (and to remember to remove) from the final dish.

3. Add peaches to cranberries and stir.  Sprinkle the dash of cinnamon (being careful not to let it get clumpy) and stir again.  Add a bit of sugar and taste.  Then continue adding sugar until you’re happy with the level of sweetness.

4. Serve warm.

*I was very pleased with Rosie’s Spiced Peaches (Stello Foods) in this recipe.  The peaches are beautiful and the spices add a wintry flavor and aroma to the compote.  You could also use your own canned peaches and spices.  Fresh peaches technically could work, but fresh peach season doesn’t align with hot-fruit-compote season so well. 

Croutons Homemade by Mari

As a kid I ate only croutons from a salad.  Now I love salad and eat everything in them but the croutons since they usually taste old and bland.

Leave it up to my friend Mari to bring over homemade croutons that leave me loving them again.  Crispy with olive oil and garlicky, they’re lovely on her velvety chestnut soup or any salad.

Mari’s Croutons

5-6 slices white bread, crusts removed
1 tsp crushed garlic
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1. Preheat oven to 350F.  Lay one bread slice flat, cut 1/2″ strips lengthwise, then 1/2″ strips crosswise (resulting in small cubes).  Repeat with remaining slices.  You should have about 3 cups of bread cubes. Put them into a large bowl.

2. In small bowl, whisk garlic into olive oil.  Pour over bread in large bowl, tossing quickly to evenly distribute among cubes.  Don’t get too much oil onto any cube or it will turn out soggy.

3. Spread onto baking sheet and bake, turning frequently, for 7-10 minutes or until golden brown on all sides.

In Mari’s words, “Crunchy Fun!”

Chestnut Leek Apple Parsley Stuffing

Gourmet Thanksgiving in Advance (described here) Recipe #6

You will never eat bagged stuffing again. The chestnuts are a tasty but pricey addition; the stuffing would still be delicious if you decide to leave them out.

Chestnut Leek Apple Parsley Stuffing

Adapted from Gourmet Magazine’s Chestnut, Leek, and Apple Stuffing

What I changed (reflected below) and why: Used a combination of white bread and whole wheat bagels since I had both around; Did not discard crust because that seemed like a waste (and who wants to de-crust a bagel?); Halved the butter since it seemed plenty; Did not peel apple for nutrition; Lessened chestnuts since 14-16oz appeared way too many; Substituted half-and-half for cream; Increased parsley for nutrition and for stronger flavor.

6 cups (1/2-inch) bread cubes (mixture of types is fine)
3 large leeks (white and pale green parts only), cut into 1-inch pieces (4 cups)
1/2 stick unsalted butter
2 celery ribs, sliced 1/4 inch thick
1 teaspoon chopped thyme
2 Granny Smith apples, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 cups bottled peeled roasted chestnuts (about 10 oz), halved
1 cup half-and-half
3/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley

1. Preheat oven to 350°F with racks in upper and lower thirds. Bake bread cubes in a large 4-sided sheet pan in upper third of oven until dried slightly, about 15 minutes, then remove from oven. (Alternatively, leave out to dry at room temperature 8 to 24 hours.) Then increase oven temperature to 450°F.

2. Meanwhile, wash and chop leeks. Melt butter in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium heat, then cook leeks and celery, covered, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 10 minutes. Add thyme, apples, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and cook, covered, stirring occasionally, until apples are just tender, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and toss with bread, chestnuts, half-and-half, parsley, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Spread in a 2 1/2-to 3-quart shallow baking dish.

3. (Stuffing can be assembled, but not baked, 1 day ahead and chilled and covered. Bring to room temperature before baking.) Bake, uncovered, in lower third of oven until heated through and top is golden, about 30 minutes.

Homemade Salad Dressing: Tarragon vinaigrette

I bought a bunch of fresh tarragon at the market because I don’t think I’d ever bought fresh tarragon before.

Then it sat in my fridge for a while, making me feel guilty.

In the nick of time I used it in a delicious homemade salad dressing.

Now I can buy fresh tarragon again!

Fresh Tarragon Vinaigrette

Adapted from Wasabi Bratwurst‘s Everyone’s Favorite Fresh Herb Salad Dressing

What I Changed and Why: Kept the fresh herb to tarragon only to highlight its flavor; Kept the vinegar to just balsamic for simplicity; Adjusted other spices to taste.

3 tablespoon fresh tarragon leaves, finely minced
1/2 Tbsp finely chopped garlic
1 1/2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon black pepper, fresh ground
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Salad greens (such as one small head red leaf lettuce)

1. Shake all of the ingredients together in a jar with a tight fitting lid. (If you do not have such a jar then first whisk together all ingredients, adding the fresh herbs at the very end.)

2. Toss the greens & the dressing in a large bowl and plate it.

Sweet Potato Stacks: Tri-color, garlic, fried sage

Gourmet Thanksgiving in Advance (described here) Recipe #4

Quite possibly the best sweet potato recipe ever.

Tri-Color Garlic Sweet Potato Stacks

Adapted from Gourmet Magazine‘s Roasted Sweet-Potato Rounds with Garlic Oil and Fried Sage

What I changed and why: Didn’t puree garlic with oil because I didn’t want the mess; Used pre-chopped jarred garlic because I’m lazy; Used three kinds of sweet potatoes because they all looked so good in the store (the flavors melded beautifully, and the various colors looked pretty); Didn’t peel the sweet potatoes out of laziness and for added nutrition; Made the olive oil extra virgin since its flavor is paramount in the final dish; Increased cooking time since tenderness is important; Changed presentation to stacks just for fun.

1 Tbsp chopped raw garlic
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 large sweet potatoes: one garnet, one jewel, one Japanese (about 2 1/2 lb), washed and sliced into 1/2-inch-thick rounds
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
24 fresh sage leaves

1. Preheat oven 450°F with rack in upper third. Toss garlic with olive oil and mix thoroughly with sweet potatoes in large bowl. Spread in 1 layer in a 15-by 10-inch shallow baking pan.

2. Bake until soft, about 30 minutes.

    3. Meanwhile, heat oil in a small heavy skillet over medium-high heat until it shimmers, then fry sage leaves in 2 batches, stirring, until crisp, 30 seconds to 1 minute per batch. Transfer with a slotted spoon to paper towels to drain.

    4. To serve, stack sweet potato slices, alternating colors. Place sage leaves on top.

    Recipe: Wild Mushroom and Collard Green Bundles

    Gourmet Thanksgiving in Advance (described here) Recipe #2

    Perhaps the most delicious way to eat collard greens, particularly for those who dislike bitter-tasting collards and/or vegetarians who can’t do the collard greens & bacon thing.

    When you get to step 3, be generous with the filling in each leaf. I had extra which I put in romaine leaves. As you can see in the photo, they’re not as pretty (though surprisingly still tasty, but not as good as the collards).

    Wild Mushroom and Collard Green Bundles

    Adapted from Gourmet Magazine‘s Wild-Mushroom Bundles

    8 large collard leaves, stems and thick portion of center ribs removed
    1/2 cup vermouth
    2 tablespoons shallot, finely diced
    1 teaspoon minced garlic
    4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
    1 lb mixed fresh wild mushrooms: shitake, oyster, and chanterelle, cut into wedges (6 cups)
    1. Cook collards in a large pot of boiling water with 1 Tbsp salt until just tender, 6 to 8 minutes, then drain. Transfer to a bowl of cold water, then spread leaves, undersides up, on paper towels, overlapping cut edges slightly, and pat dry.
    2. Bring wine to a boil with shallot, garlic, butter, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp pepper in a heavy medium saucepan. Add mushrooms and cook, covered, over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 12 minutes. Butter a 2-qt shallow baking dish, then strain mushroom juices into baking dish, reserving mushrooms.
    3. Preheat oven to 450°F with rack in lower third. Mound a 1/4 cup mushrooms in center of each collard leaf. Fold leaves to enclose filling and arrange bundles, seam sides down, in 1 layer in baking dish and cover the dish with foil. (Or, if making in advance, at this point refrigerate the baking dish for up to 1 day. Bring to room temperature before heating.)
    4. Heat in oven until bundles are hot and juices are bubbling, about 20 minutes.

    Recipe: Cranberry, Quince, and Pearl Onion Compote

    Gourmet Thanksgiving in Advance (described here) Recipe #1.

    A refreshing, sweet/tart accompaniment to turkey and mashed potatoes. It’s worth it to find quince, which has a pear-like consistency when cooked and a festive winter holiday flavor.

    Cranberry, Quince, and Pearl Onion Compote

    Adapted from Gourmet Magazine, November 2008

    1/2 lb pearl onions (2 cups) – the recipe says “red preferred,” but I could only find white
    2 cups organic apple juice
    1/2 cup (raw) sugar- the recipe called for 1 cup but I found half to be very sweet
    2 T cider vinegar
    6 cloves
    1 tsp coriander seeds- next time I might crush them or use a powdered form since the crunchy seeds stand out in the finished dish
    2 quinces, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
    1 (12-oz) bag fresh or frozen cranberries (not thawed if frozen)

    1. Trim root end of each onion and cut an X in it. Blanch in boiling water 1 minute, then drain in a colander. Cool slighly, then peel. Be liberal in what you peel off, since the fibrous outer layers will compete with the texture of the final dish.

    2. Bring juice, sugar, vinegar, and spices to a boil in a 3-qt heavy saucepan, stirring until sugar has dissolved. Add onions and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes. Add quinces and continue simmering, uncovered, stirring occasionally until both onions and quinces are tender but not falling apart.

    3. Add cranberries and simmer until tender but not falling apart, 5 to 8 minutes. Discard cloves (easier to find than I had feared!). Trasnfer fruit and onions to a bowl using a slotted spoon, then boil syrup, if necessary, until reduced to 1/3 cup. Pour syrup over compote and cool to room temperature. (May be made 3 days ahead and chilled. Bring to room temperature before serving.)

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