Category Archives: Vegetables

Guacamole Pasta Salad

Guacamole Pasta Salad (still waiting for the avocado)

Guacamole Pasta Salad (still waiting for the avocado)

Our posting has been much less frequent than last year but we have still been busy in the kitchen. This summer has been all about canning for me and I have been making batch after batch of jams, relishes, and pickles.  Of course I took a couple of breaks from canning to do some party cooking.  With both Thing 1 and Thing 2 having late summer birthdays there has been lots of cake and also this delicious pasta salad.

Dressing ingredients

Dressing ingredients

The nice thing about this salad is that it comes together quickly and makes enough to serve an army.  Also, it tastes really yummy.  The lime-y dressing is addictive and I find it hard to make it in advance because it ends up poured over everything from steamed vegetables to grilled chicken (which leaves nothing left for the salad).  The dressing volume may seem like a lot but I found the pasta absorbs a lot more than one would think.

Tomatoes ready for roasting

Tomatoes ready for roasting

This dish was inspired by our love of guacamole and the desire to make a pasta salad that was light and fresh tasting, not heavy with mayo.  The avocado gives it a creamy taste that is contrasted nicely by the lime dressing and the bite of the red onion.  The sweet tomatoes finish it off.  So grab a few of the last tomatoes we are likely to see for a while here in the northeast (*sniffle*) and whip this up for one last summer party.

Hello cilantro

Hello cilantro

Guacamole Pasta Salad

Ingredients:

For the dressing

juice and zest of 3 limes (about 3/4 cup of juice)

1/4 cup mild vinegar such as white wine or champagne

3 shallots, chopped

2 tbls Dijon mustard

3 cups of olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

For the salad

16 oz rotini or penne pasta

2 pints grape or cherry tomatoes*

3 ripe avocados

1/2 cup minced red onion

1 large bunch fresh cilantro

To Make:

Cook pasta in a large pot of salted water according to the package directions.  Drain and rinse with cold water to prevent sticking.  Meanwhile, make the dressing.  In a blender combine the lime juice and zest, vinegar, shallots, and mustard.  Blend until smooth.  With the blender running, slowly pour in the olive oil until a smooth, emulsified dressing forms.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Pour 2 cups of the dressing over the still-warm pasta and toss until well combined.

Cut the tomatoes in half lengthwise and fold, along with the onions, into the pasta.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.  This can be made a day or two in advance.

Just before serving chop the avocados and fold them into the pasta.  Top with additional dressing as desired (we found we needed quite a bit because the warm pasta absorbed a lot of the dressing) and lots of chopped cilantro.  Taste and add salt and pepper as needed.  Serve immediately.

To Serve:

Serve this salad cold or room temperature.  Because there is no mayonnaise it can safely sit out at a picnic or party for a while.  The avocado will start to turn brown eventually so make sure not to add it until just before serving.  This recipe serves a bunch but it can easily be halved to make a smaller amount.

* The first time I made this salad tomatoes weren’t in season and all I had was a couple of containers of bland-tasting tomatoes from the grocery store.  To up their flavor I drizzled them with olive oil and roasted them on a sheet pan for a couple of hours in a 250 degree oven until they were shriveled and concentrated.  You can do this with in-season tomatoes too.  The flavor is extra delicious.

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Filed under Dairy-free, Pasta, Recipes, Side Dish, Vegetables, Vegetarian

Pickled Radish Greens

Pickled Radish Greens

Pickled Radish Greens

Summer is finally here in New England and I couldn’t be more excited.  For me, the start of summer doesn’t correspond with a date on the calendar, a particular holiday, or even the weather.  Summer truly begins when I come home to that first veggie CSA pickup.  After a long winter of root vegetables, potatoes, and sad grocery store tomatoes, the box full of greens, strawberries, spring onions, and radishes makes me so thrilled.  We were all so excited that when that first box arrived, we consumed its entire contents in 3 days flat.  I think that might be a new record of vegetable consumption for us.

With our second box, I was determined to eat every single thing in the hopes of making our veggies last longer than 3 days.  I thought I remembered reading that you can eat radish greens so I hit the internet in search of some inspiration.  Turns out, radish greens are absolutely edible and many bloggers sing the virtues of sautéed  radish greens and radish green pesto.  Unfortunately I had just made a nice batch of pesto using fresh peas, Italian basil, and Thai basil.  After doing a bit more searching I decided to create more of a pickle / brined radish leaf dish to use as a condiment on top of some polenta slices.

Turns out, this is an easy and really delicious way to use radish leaves.  The brine softens the leaves and imparts a nice pickled flavor but still allows the flavor of the greens to come through.  Even better, the whole thing takes minutes to pull together and can sit in the fridge for a day if needed.  So instead of tossing your radish greens, try this recipe and see if it doesn’t convert you to a greens lover*.

Greens soaking in the brine

Greens soaking in the brine

Pickled Radish Greens

Ingredients:

1 large or 2 small bunches of radish greens

1/2 cup water

1 tsp sugar

1 tsp salt

2 tsp rice vinegar (white wine vinegar would work too)

1-2 dried hot chilies, snipped into pieces

Sesame oil, for drizzling

To Make:

Wash the greens very well in several changes of cold water.  Radish greens tend to be very dirty so err on the side of over-washing so they aren’t gritty.  Once they are clean, spin them dry and remove the tough (and sometimes spiny) stems.  Coarsely chop the leaves and place them in a small bowl along with the chilies.

In a measuring cup (or another small bowl) mix together the water, salt, sugar, and vinegar, stirring until dissolved.  Pour the mixture over the greens and let sit on the counter for at least 3o minutes (toss it in the fridge if you are going to let it sit longer).

Drain the liquid and drizzle the greens with toasted sesame oil.  Toss gently to combine and serve.

To Serve:

Serve as you would any Asian-style pickle… on top of rice, on a burger, alongside a piece of meat, or just eat it from the bowl.  The beauty of this preparation is that it seems to take the bitterness and sharpness out of the greens while still leaving their earthy flavor.

* Or at the very least, you can enjoy the weird stares people give you when you tell them you ate pickled radish greens

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Filed under Add-ons, CSA Talk, Dairy-free, Gluten-Free, Recipes, Vegetables, Vegetarian

Korean-Style Vegetable Pancakes

Korean-Style Vegetable Pancakes

Korean-Style Vegetable Pancakes

There is a Korean restaurant near where we live that we visit whenever we get the chance.  They make a kimchi pancake that is fantastic; even the small Things love it.  The only problem is that when we get takeout, the kimchi pancake is cold and slightly soggy by the time we get it home.  The idea of my beloved kimchi pancake cold and soggy makes me sad… so we decided to try our hand at a home version.

Ingredients

Ingredients

These vegetable pancakes make a pretty nice substitute.  They have the flavor of the different vegetables and the use of rice flour makes them nice and light.  Even better, the batter comes together very quickly so you can have these on the table in less than 20 minutes.  They make an excellent side to Korean-style ramen noodle soup or to some beef and broccoli.

Pancake batter

Pancake batter

If you wanted to make these more like traditional kimchi pancakes, you could increase the kimchi to two cups, substitute 1/4 cup of water with 1/4 cup liquid from the kimchi, and omit the carrot, scallion, and cilantro.  You could also add some cooked and shredded pork to make these more hearty.

Cooking the cake

Cooking the cake

Korean-Style Vegetable Pancakes

Adapted from How to Cook Everything Vegetarian by Mark Bittman

Ingredients:

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup rice flour

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1 tbls neutral oil, such as peanut or canola

5 scallions, green parts only, finely diced

1 tbls fresh ginger, finely chopped

1/4 cup of cilantro

1 large carrot

1 cup kimchi

To Make:

In a medium bowl, mix the flour, eggs, 1 tbls oil and 1-1/2 cups water until a smooth batter is formed.  Let the batter rest while the veggies are prepped.

To prep the vegetables, coarsely grate the carrot and finely chop the scallions and kimchi.  Chop the cilantro.  Once the vegetables and cilantro are ready, add them to the batter and stir gently until just combined.  The batter will be thick, like pancake batter.

Heat a griddle or large, non-stick skillet over medium-high heat and add just enough oil to lightly coat the bottom.  When hot, ladle a quarter cup of batter and spread it out into a circle.  Cook until the bottom is browned (turn down the heat to medium if needed).  Flip and cook the second side until it is lightly browned, about another 5 minutes.  Repeat with the remaining batter.

As the pancakes finish, remove them and, if necessary, store on a cookie sheet in a 200 degree oven until you are ready to serve.

To Serve:

Serve warm, cut into triangles.  Dip in a sauce made with soy, rice vinegar, and a bit of sesame oil

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Filed under Appetizers, Dairy-free, Dinner, Recipes, Side Dish, Vegetables, Vegetarian

Braised Pork Chops with Creamy Cabbage

Braised Pork Chops with Creamy Cabbage

Braised Pork Chops with Creamy Cabbage

It feels like we have been gone for a long, long time.  The winter has overtaken us… beat us into submission and stolen our kitchen creativity.  Sometimes, I dream about vegetables (that aren’t roots) and days when we can pick blueberries and eat fresh tomatoes.  Plus, things have been mighty busy around the wicked whisk household.  Of course, all of these thoughts are really just excuses for not blogging lately.  There are still plenty of delicious winter cooking options out there.

Local pork chops

Local pork chops

Take this dish, a slow braise of local pork and in-season cabbage.  Braising is a wonderful winter cooking technique.   Since you are in the house for long periods of time, you don’t mind having the oven on and cooking something for hours.  Meats get so tender that they practically melt in your mouth.  Most of the cooking work is done at the beginning. And braising is very forgiving.  If something simmers for an extra 20 minutes, it’s only going to be more delicious.  It helps build in a little buffer for the spouse that leaves the office late or gets caught in traffic on the way home.

Cabbage and the flavor

Cabbage and the flavor

Pork chops and cabbage are a wonderful, soul warming pairing.  The chops are browned first to give them a nice depth of flavor.  The cabbage is cooked with wine, mustard seeds, and fennel seeds before the two components are simmered together to let their flavors mingle.  While the pork chops are resting, the cabbage is finished with some heavy cream. You will be disappointed when there are no leftovers.

Browned chops

Browned chops

Braised Pork Chops with Creamy Cabbage

Adapted from All About Braising

Ingredients:

2 thick cut pork chops, about 2 1/4 lbs total

all-purpose flour, for dredging

3 tbls extra-virgin olive oil

2 tbls butter

1 tsp caraway seeds

1 tsp yellow mustard seeds

2 medium shallots

1/2 small head green cabbage

1/2 cup dry white wine

2/3 cup water

1 tbls cider vinegar

1 small chicken bouillon cube, crushed

1/4 cup heavy cream

To Make:

Season the pork chops with salt and pepper on both sides. Dredge each chop in flour, tapping to knock off the excess.  Add the extra-virgin olive oil to a large pot or Dutch oven(with a lid) that has been heated on the stove top over medium high heat.  Brown the pork chops for 4 minutes on each side.  Remove the pork chops to a plate.  Add in the butter and wait until melted.  Add in the caraway seeds and mustard seeds.  The mustard seeds will pop everywhere, be careful!  Stir frequently for about 1 minute while dodging the flying mustard seeds.  Add in the shallot and cook for about 2 minutes, stirring often.  Add in the white wine and boil for a few minutes.  Add in the cabbage cook, stirring often, for about 10 minutes.  The cabbage should be wilted, but not completely limp.

Add the water, the bouillon cube, and the cider vinegar.  Stir until everything is combined.  Place the browned pork chops on top of the cabbage, pouring in any juices that have accumulated on the plate.  Put the lid on the pot and reduce the heat until the liquid gently simmers. Let it cook for 30 minutes, turning once, or until the pork chops are cooked through.

Remove the pork chops to either a cutting board or their final destination plates.  Cover with foil so they stay warm while they rest.  Stir in the cream and boil for about 5 minutes.

To Serve:

Serve immediately.  Serves about 4.

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Filed under Dinner, Meat, Recipes, Vegetables

Roasted Cauliflower Cheddar Soup

Roasted Cauliflower and Cheddar Soup

Roasted Cauliflower and Cheddar Soup

Wait, please don’t run away.  I realize that the title of this post might not rouse tons of enthusiasm and that the soup isn’t the most appetizing color.  BUT, hang with me for a few minutes because this soup is fantastic… full of roasted delicious flavor and easy to make.  It is warm and filling which, if you leave in any of the 49 states in the US that currently have at least a little snow (yes, I am jealous of you, FL), makes it a perfect soup for a winter evening.

Cauliflower ready for the oven

Cauliflower ready for the oven

The particular color of the soup is because we let our cauliflower get nice and roasted.  If you choose to roast your cauliflower to a less, er, caramelized state, your soup would be more white than tan.  However, looks aside, the taste of richly browned cauliflower mixes with roasted garlic, wine, and cheddar cheese in a really fantastic way.

Richly roasted

Richly roasted

Other than roasting the cauliflower (which takes about 40 minutes), this soup is very quick to put together.  If you are pressed for time, you can roast your veggies in advance and pop them in the fridge.  Once you are ready to make the soup, it only takes about 20 minutes of (largely unattended) time.  We used an inexpensive riesling for the wine but you could use whatever type of white wine you have on hand (or omit the wine and use extra stock).  Feel free to add a little cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes if you like a little heat or use fresh herbs if you’ve got them.  Really, have a little fun with this soup… It is rich tasting, simple, and satisfying, especially when you are looking at 2 feet of snow in your driveway!

Cheesy goodness

Cheesy goodness

Roasted Cauliflower Cheddar Soup

Recipe adapted from the Tasty Kitchen Blog

Ingredients:

1 large head of cauliflower

3 large cloves of garlic (or 6 smaller cloves) peeled and cut in half

2 tbls olive oil

3 cups chicken (or vegetable) stock

1/2 cup white wine

1 tsp dried thyme (or 1 tbls chopped fresh thyme)

1 tsp dried oregano (or 1 tbls chopped fresh oregano)

1 and 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

To Make:

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.  Chop the cauliflower into florets, discarding the core.  Place the cauliflower and halved garlic in a large bowl and drizzle with the olive oil.  Toss with your hands until well combined and spread out on a baking sheet in a single layer.  Sprinkle with salt and black pepper.  Put the sheet into the oven and roast, turning once, until the cauliflower is caramelized and is fork-tender, about 40-50 minutes.

Add the cauliflower and about two cups of the stock to a large saucepan or stock pot.  Using an immersion blender, blend until the cauliflower is smooth and creamy.  If you don’t have an immersion blender, you can do this in batches in a regular blender.  Just be careful that the steam doesn’t cause a blender explosion in your kitchen.  Add the rest of the stock, the wine, and the dried herbs and bring to a gentle boil (make sure you add the puree back to the pot if you are using a regular blender).  Turn the heat down and simmer the soup for about 15 minutes to allow the flavors to blend.

Remove the soup from the heat and add the grated cheese, stirring until completely melted.  Taste and add salt and pepper as needed.

To Serve:

Serve immediately with some good bread for dipping.  Serves 4.  The cauliflower can be roasted ahead of time and held in the fridge for up to a few days.  Just heat it with the stock a little before pureeing.

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Filed under Dinner, Gluten-Free, Recipes, Soup, Vegetables, Vegetarian

Split Pea Soup

Split Pea Soup

Split Pea Soup

Split Pea soup is one of our favorites.  It is one of those soups that is completely underrated and rarely made often enough.  Sure, lots of people think split pea is kind of boring… but that is because they aren’t making it right.  The split peas may be the body of the soup but it is smoked ham hocks that are the heart and soul.  It’s the ham hock that really delivers the kind of depth of flavor that makes this soup something special.  It’s what you smell when you walk in the kitchen.  When it’s made right, it’s the chunks of smoked and slow cooked pork that are like little Christmas presents you sink your teeth into amongst the creamy split peas.

Vegetables

Vegetables

We usually make split pea soup after a meat smoking session when we have smoked up a big bone-in cut of pork.  We use the bone and left over meat to enrich the soup.  However, this time was a special occasion.  Over the summer, we had the pleasure of purchasing a whole hog.  In addition to turning 10+ pounds of pork belly into bacon, we had the opportunity to brine and smoke fresh ham hocks.  Those delicious hocks became the centerpiece of this soup.

The Hock

The Hock

Part of the appeal of split pea soup is the simplicity.  You just need a few ingredients – split peas, carrot, celery, onion – and a few hours.  As a matter of fact, most of that time is hands off while the soup is simmering.  What’s not to love?

Simmering Soup

Simmering Soup

Split Pea Soup

Adapted from the Joy of Cooking

Ingredients:

1 smoked ham hock (if you don’t have your own on hand, you can often purchase them in the meat section of your supermarket)

4 cups of water

1/2 pound split peas (about 1 cup)

1 carrot, diced

2 small stalks of celery, diced

small onion, diced

1 clove garlic, minced

1 bay leaf

salt and pepper to taste

To Make:

In a large soup pot, combine the water, ham hock, and split peas. Bring to a boil, then turn heat to low and simmer for about an hour.  Stir in the rest of the vegetables and the bay leaf.  Simmer, covered, until the ham hock and peas are tender, about another hour (if your liquid doesn’t cover the ham hock, turn it occasionally).

Once the hock is tender, remove it from the pot, remove the skin and bone and discard.  Coarsely chop the meat and return it to the pot.  Continue to simmer the soup until the desired consistency is reached.  Taste and add salt and pepper as needed.

To Serve:

Remove and discard the bay leaf before serving.  Serve hot with hot sauce and a side of crusty bread, as desired.  Serves 4-6 as a hearty soup course.

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Filed under Dairy-free, Gluten-Free, Meat, Recipes, Soup, Vegetables

Bacon and Apple Stuffed Squash

Bacon and Apple Stuffed Squash

Bacon and Apple Stuffed Squash

Well hello there, how have you been?  I am not sure what happened but I must have blinked because October is almost over and we haven’t done any blogging.  Yikes.  Luckily, it is fall and we just got our first Winter CSA distribution so there is plenty of inspiration to go around.  The winter CSA is lots of fun because the distributions are over flowing with tons of vegetables, apples, dried beans, and other goodies.  With that big box of yum, we were quickly inspired to make this delicious (almost vegetarian) butternut squash stuffed with flavors of fall.

Apples and Bacon (home cured)

Apples and Bacon (home cured)

The squash is roasted with butter and maple syrup and then filled with a stuffing made from leeks, apples, bacon, brown rice, and more maple syrup.  The stuffing nicely balances the sweet with the savory and makes for a light but filling main dish.  The recipe calls for butternut squash but you could easily substitute acorn or another hard shelled squash if that is what you had on hand.

Chopped Leek

Chopped Leek

This dish requires a few steps to make but it can almost all be done ahead of time.  It makes a great Thanksgiving option because you can prep it all a day or two in advance and then heat it up right before serving.

Ready for Roasting

Ready for Roasting

Bacon and Apple Stuffed Squash

Ingredients:

2 medium butternut squash

1 tbls butter

3 tbls real maple syrup, divided

2.5 ounces thick cut bacon

1 leek, white and light green parts only, cleaned and finely chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

2 small apples, peeled, cored, and finely diced

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp ground cloves

1 cup cooked brown rice

To Make:

Cut the squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds.  Arrange the squash in a roasting pan, cut side up.  Divide the butter and 1 tbls of the syrup between the four cavities.  Fill the pan with about an inch of water, cover with foil, and roast at 375 until mostly tender, about 40 minutes.  Remove the foil, rub the butter and syrup from the cavity all over the squash and cook for another 10-15 minutes until it starts to caramelize around the edges.

Meanwhile chop the bacon and cook in a heavy skillet over medium heat until browned and crisp.  Remove the bacon and set aside to drain on paper towels.  Drain off all but about 1 tbls of the bacon fat from the pan.  Add the leeks and garlic and sauté until the leeks are softened, about 10 minutes.  Add the apples to the pan and sauté until they are soft, another 10 minutes.  Remove from the heat and stir in the cooked rice and 2 tbls of maple syrup to bind it all together.  At this point, you can refrigerate both the squash and the stuffing, tightly wrapped in separate containers, until you are ready to serve.
Mound the stuffing into the cavity of the squash halves and bake in a 375 degree oven until warmed through, 10-20 minutes, depending on how cold everything was.
To Serve:
Serve hot as a main dish or as a hefty side.  Make it vegetarian by omitting the bacon and using olive oil or butter instead of bacon fat for sauteing the filling.  Serves 4.

 

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Filed under Dinner, Fruit, Recipes, Rice, Vegetables