8 Nov 2017: Purple Cabbage Salad

2017-Nov-08_FourNightsAWeek_1498Not sure how it happened, but I recently began receiving a food mag “All Recipes.com”. In the September/October 2017 print issue was a recipe for Purple Cabbage Salad, so in an effort to “eat the rainbow”, I put it on this week’s menu. 

It comes together very quickly with a food processor for shredding and the ingredients were mostly items I would have in my pantry any way – just needed a purple cabbage. At 165 calories per 2/3 cup serving, it’ll make a break from lettuce salads and a nice side for tonight’s dinner.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup pine nuts
  • 2 1/2 cups shredded red cabbage
  • 1 11-oz. can mandarin oranges, drained
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 1/4 cup sweetened dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup canola oil (I used olive)
  • 1 TBSP sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Method

  1. Toast pine nuts in a small skillet over medium heat, stirring constantly until fragrant and lightly browned (about 2 minutes). Transfer immediately to a bowl and let cool.
  2. Lightly toss together cabbage, oranges, green onions and cranberries in a bowl. Whisk together vinegar, oil, sugar, and salt in a bowl until sugar and salt dissolve.
  3. Stir toasted pine nuts into salad and top with dressing. Toss again to coat before serving. (This salad can be made up to 1 day ahead and chilled, tightly covered.)

 

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05 Nov 2017: Cinnamon Brown Sugar Bars

2017-Nov-05_fournightsaweek_1461A recent impulse buy from King Arthur Flour was cinnamon – two different kinds actually. As I was growing up, I only knew that cinnamon came from a McCormack’s tin. The two types of cinnamon I purchased for baking – and yes, I can taste a difference – were Vietnamese and Madagascar.  Now to use them before they become stale.

Today’s weather was dank and dark and a fitting day for some comfort food and smells. This recipe for Cinnamon Brown Sugar Bars seems to fit the need and will, I hope taste as wonderful as the aroma that now fills my kitchen. 

This recipe was collected from My Kitchen Craze and can be found here.  But don’t stop with this bar recipe; lots of delicious looking and sounding possibilities to explore.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup butter softened
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 TBSP vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 2 2/3 c all-purpose flour

Cinnamon Sugar Topping

  • 2 TBSP sugar
  • 2 tsp cinnamon

Method

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9×13 baking dish with non-stick cooking spray and set aside.
  2. Using a stand mixer (or hand mixer), cream together butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, making sure to incorporate each one.
  3. Add vanilla and beat until smooth.
  4. Add baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and flour to a medium bowl, whisk to combine. Add the flour mixture to the mixer and stir until just combined.
  5. Pour bater into baking dish and spread evenly with a spatula.
  6. In a small bowl mix cinnamon and sugar. Sprinkle evenly over the batter.
  7. Bake for 25-35 minutes or until bars are set in the middle and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool completely until cutting into bars.
  8. Eat by themselves (my choice) or with a dollop of vanilla ice cream. Enjoy.

26 August 2017: Romesco Sauce

2017-Aug-26_FourNightsAWeek_1419Deborah Madison’s newest cookbook, In my kitchen is full of terrific vegetarian (and vegan) recipes. I’ve been a Deborah Madison cooking fan since Vegetarian cooking for everyone, and this book is, in my opinion, a great follow-up.

Sadly, I had never heard of Romesco sauce until this cookbook and a roasted cauliflower recipe calling for it.  As Deborah Madison explains in her notes, this sauce is versatile and can be used for everything from roasted potatoes and leeks to garlic rubbed toast.  In the years since Deborah first created this recipe, her preparations have changed from using fresh tomatoes and a mix of hazelnuts and almonds.  

 

Ingredients

  • 1 slice country-style white bread
  • Olive oil to fry the bread
  • Sea salt
  • 1/2 cup hazelnuts, toasted and skins rubbed off as much as easily possible
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 1/2 tsp group red chile OR red pepper flakes
  • 1 TBSP tomato paste (or a bit more for tasting adjustment)
  • 1 TBSP chopped parsley
  • 1 tsp regular or smoked paprika
  • 2 red bell peppers, roasted, peeled and seeded (could use jarred)*
  • 1/4 cup sherry vinegar
  • 1/2 cup best olive oil

Method

  1. Fry the bread in olive oil until golden and crisp. When cool, grind it with the hazelnuts and garlic in a food processor until fairly fine.
  2. Add the ground chile (red pepper flakes), tomato paste, parsley, paprika, and bell peppers, and process until smooth.
  3. With the machine running, gradually pour in the vinegar and then the olive oil.
  4. Taste and make sure the sauce has plenty of piquancy and enough salt. If you feel it needs a little more tomato paste, add it no more than a teaspoon at a time.
  • * Here’s where Amy is telling you not wuss out on the roasted red peppers because roasting them in an oven is a snap.  Here’s how:  Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Line a sheet pan with parchment. Now clean and cut the peppers away from the stem and seeds (here’s a video from Serious Eats to show you how).  I usually wipe the insides and the skin side with olive oil. Cook skin sides down for 25 minutes. The outsides should have a nice char to it. Cool them and use. Way better than that vinegar-y bottled stuff that passes for roasted red peppers.

15 August 2017: Roasted Carrot and Cumin Dressing

2017-Aug-15_FourNightsAWeek_1387While I can make a decent vinaigrette and a passable tahini dressing, I haven’t strayed far from the standards as far as gussy-ing up salads.  This, it turns out, has been an error of omission.  We eat some form of salad nearly every night, so branching out to new tastes was long overdue.

This dressing comes from one of my new favorite cookbooks, Thug Kitchen.  And, as usual with the Thugs, it is simple, plant-based and is entertaining. It also is really quite tasty – who knew roasted carrots made such a great dressing?!

Ingredients:

  • 3 medium carrots
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp ground cumin
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/3 cup white wine vinegar (also suggested: rice wine vinegar)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 TBSP orange juice
  • 2 TBSP olive oil

Method2017-Aug-15_FourNightsAWeek_1389

  1. Heat up your oven to 357 degrees F. Chop up your carrots into chunks no bigger than 1/2 inch. Toss them together with the oil, cumin, and salt. Roast them in a small pan, covered until the carrots are tender, 30 to 40 minutes.
  2. Let the carrots cool for a minute then add them to a food processor with the rest of your $***. Blend it until it’s smooth. This could take as long as 3 minutes.

5 August 2017: Coconut Cornmeal Cake

2017-Aug-05_FourNightsAWeek_1356CAKE2Seriously, Thug Kitchen, this cake is the bomb.  As the Thugs say, “… save frosting for something that needs the help.” This does not.  And it didn’t need butter or eggs either.  Little bit of fresh fruit on top and we will be good to go for tonight’s dessert. If this makes it until then.  I have a feeling there will be some taste testing going on really soon. [Edited for  the delicate or children.]

From: Thug Kitchen LLC. Thug kitchen: Eat like you give a f*ck.  (2014). Emmaus, PA: Rodale. p.200.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cups cornmeal
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour or white flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cups canned coconut milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp grated lemon zest

Method

  1. First, heat your oven to 375 degrees F. Grab an 8-inch cake pan, grease it, and dust it with flour to make sure your cake doesn’t stick. If you are still consumed with fear, cut a round out of parchment paper the same size as the pan and stick that in the bottom to be extra ——- sure your cake will come out in one piece. Now relax, you got this —-.
  2. Get a big bowl and whisk together the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Make a crater in the center of the dry mixture and pour in the coconut milk, vanilla, and lemon zest and stir it all up until there are no dry pockets and very few lumps.
  3. Pour that batter into your cake pan that you prepped earlier because you followed the g-d directions. Let somebody else lick the spoon and bowl because 1)The batter is tasty as —- and 2)They will now owe you one. Cash in that favor the next time you need help moving. You’re ——-welcome.
  4. Bake the cake until a toothpick stuck in the center comes out clean, 30 to 40 minutes. Let it cool in the pan for 15 minutes and then turn it out on to a wire rack to finish cooling until you’re ready for it.
  5. Serve cold or at room temperature.

 


11 June 2017: “Best” Pea Soup Recipe

2017-Jun-11_FourNightsAWeek_0910One of the best things about travel for me is getting ideas about ramping up our food game. Last week, we were in New York City and landed a reservation at Bar Boulud. The prix fixe for the night included a bowl of chilled pea soup which was simple, fresh, and stunning. And no, that’s not the wine talking! This recipe from Mark Bittman reaches back to when he wrote the Diners Journal for the NYTimes comes very close; the flavoring at Bar Boulud was rosemary infused, but either rosemary or tarragon as suggested in Mark Bittman’s recipe makes this a great summer-time soup to start off a meal, or on its own.

Our reason for traveling to NYC this time was to see the Irving Penn Centennial exhibit at the Metropolitan. If you have a chance to get to NY before the show closes on July 30, 2017, by all means go! It is an amazing and inspiring show of Penn’s personal projects and more commercial endeavors.

Possibly the Best Pea Soup – Mark Bittman, NYTimes

Ingredients

  • 1 TBSP olive oil
  • 1/2 cup finely sliced shallots
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 pound shelled fresh sweet peas (I used WFM frozen; not a fan of shelling peas)
  • 1/2 TBSP chopped fresh tarragon*
  • 1/2 TBSP salt
  • Pinch pepper
  • 1/4 cup half and half or light cream

*If adapting for Bar Boulud version, experiment with fresh rosemary here

Method

  1. Heat olive oil in soup pot. Add shallots and garlic and cook over medium heat until shallots are just wilted. Add 3 1/2 cups water, bring to boil, turn down heat and simmer for 1/2 hour.
  2. Add peas, tarragon, salt and pepper and bring back to boil. Turn down heat and let simmer for five minutes. Remove from heat and let cook to room temperature. Puree in a blender in batches until very smooth. Force through fine sieve into clean pot, discarding small amount of pea skins left in sieve. (I used my handy stick blender and left the skins in. They were pulverized and added a bit of texture to the soup)
  3. Stir in half and half and add salt if necessary to taste. Can be reheated and served hot or chilled and served cold. (Top with a dollop of creme fraiche and chives if you want to fancy this up)

11 May 2017 Tomato and Roasted Cauliflower Curry with Paneer

2017-May-11_Fournightsaweek_0685Long ago, I received Deborah Madison’s Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone as a gift. It became one of my essential go-to cookbooks. So I was particularly excited to hear about Deborah Madison’s new book In My Kitchen. Because this is a brand, new publication, I have not included the recipe – trust me, you will want to purchase this book.

This new cookbook is also an excellent source of vegetarian recipes and cooking. In writing the book, Deborah Madison explains that some of the included recipes have changed because it is easier to obtain “unusual” ingredients.

That was somewhat true tonight, as we sampled Tomato and Roasted Cauliflower Curry with Paneer. As a curry dish, some of the ingredients – ghee, gara2017-May-11_Fournightsaweek_0703m masala, paneer –  are found of course in Indian markets, but they also can often be picked up in regular food stores.

The end product was a warming, vegetarian curry based in tomato sauce. The
combination of spices, onions, garlic not only made for a delicious meat-free meal, it filled our home with a beautiful, spicy aroma.

 

 


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