Thursday, May 28, 2015

More Ways to Green Up Right Now

Here are a few more recipes I found, as yet untested, but they do look good. You can let me know if you beat me to them.

Quick Indian Sautéed Greens

3 c each collard greens, spinach leaves, and Swiss chard leaves (or a similar combination)
2 to 3 tbsp peanut, corn, or canola oil
6 garlic cloves, minced
½ tsp cumin seeds
Juice of 1 lemon or lime
Salt and cayenne pepper to taste

Remove all thick stems from the greens. Keep them separate and clean them. Make sure they are thoroughly drained.
Coarsely chop each group and set aside. 

Heat oil in a frying pan over moderate flame. Add garlic and cumin seeds. Saute 2 min, then add the collards. Cover and cook until they begin to soften. Then add spinach and chard. Stir-fry the mix for a few minutes, until the greens are tender. Remove from heat. Add the citrus juice, salt, and pepper to your taste. 

British Kale, Cabbage and Carrot Salad with Creamy Caper Dressing

for 4-6

1 egg yolk
1 tsp Dijon mustard
¼ c canola, sunflower or corn oil
¼ c olive oil
2 tbsp capers, rinsed and chopped
1 tbsp caper pickling liquid
1 large garlic clove, smashed to a paste
½ tbsp fresh lemon juice
Salt, to taste
2 tbsp chopped fresh chives
¼ head of medium green cabbage, cored and thinly shredded
1½ large carrots, peeled and thinly sliced into bite-size rounds
1 bunch kale, stems removed, leaves thinly sliced or torn into bite-size pieces
½ red onion, peeled and very thinly sliced into rings
2 tbsp chopped mixed herbs to your taste, such as parsley, basil, chives or dill

In medium bowl, whisk egg yolk with mustard. Continue whisking and slowly dribble in both oils. Continue whisking until they are fully incorporated and mixture is thick and pale.
Whisk in capers, pickling liquid, garlic and lemon juice. Season with salt to taste and chives,
In a large bowl, combine all vegetables and herbs. Add dressing and toss, using both hands to blend so dressing coats all ingredients. Allow salad to marinate until vegetables soften, at least 10 minutes.
European Gratin of Greens

Enough extra-virgin olive or butter to generously cover the bottom of a large pan
3 med onions, halved and sliced thin
3 bunches of different hearty greens such as kale, collards, mustard, gai-lin, chard
4 garlic cloves, smashed and minced
Sea salt to your taste
1 pint heavy cream
4 oz grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or Gruyère cheese or a combination
Freshly ground black pepper to your taste

Pinch of ground nutmeg

Place a large heavy-bottom pot over low-medium heat, add onions, and sauté, stirring occasionally, until they are very soft.
Meanwhile, remove the stems that run down the center of the greens. Separate the stems from the leaves and slice the stems into bite sized pieces. Chop the leaves. 

Preheat the oven to 350º.
When the onions are soft, add garlic and stir for a minute until it has released its fragrance. Add the chopped stems and a pinch of salt, stirring to blend with the onions and garlic. Cover the pot and cook about five minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the leaves and another pinch of salt. Use tongs to carefully blend everything in the pan. Add about a half cup of water (or stock), and raise heat to high until the liquid begins to boil. Then  reduce heat to medium, and let the greens simmer, covered, stirring occasionally until they're nearly tender but still al dente. Remove  lid and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid has evaporated.

Turn off the heat, taste, and add salt if necessary. Arrange the cooked greens in a casserole dish large enough to comfortably fit them all. Pour on the cream. Sprinkle the cheese evenly over the top. Give it a vigorous lashing of black pepper and a pinch or two of nutmeg. Bake until the top is well-browned (30-45  minutes). Serve hot. 
This dish can be made a day or two in advance and reheated in a 350º oven just before serving. Better yet, cook the greens until they're tender and then store them in the fridge until the big day, when you bake them off with the creamy sauce.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Green is the color of right now

It's spring greens time everywhere and I have already posted wonderfully easy and tasty recipes for enjoying chard, spinach, beet greens, and all the rest, especially my "trash torte" from May 2014 that turns all the vegetable tops you're too likely to throw away into a marvelous, nutritious pie. This is not to say that the Chard Torte, Ribollita and Beet Greens with Beets aren't delicious and deliciously easy also. But why reprise?

Here are some other ways cooks around the world harvest what's green at this time.

Italian Sauteed Greens with Olives
serves 4-6

2 tbsp good quality olive oil
5 garlic cloves, smashed and thinly sliced
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (divide in half)
10 cups torn greens (e.g. kale, mustard, beet, chard, spinach, lettuce, turnip, dandelion)
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper to your taste
1/2 c pitted black olives, halved
juice of a large or two small lemons

In large skillet, heat oil over medium flame, then add garlic. Stir until it starts to brown. Add 1/2 red pepper flakes (1/4 tsp) and continue stirring about 1 min. This creates your flavor base.

A handful at a time, add the greens and toss until they are all warm and starting to wilt. Season with salt and pepper and cook until greens are uniformly wilted and soft, about 3-4 minutes.

Add olives and lemon juice, carefully blending everything. Remove from heat. Season with remaining red pepper flakes and if desired, more lemon juice.  Serve immediately.

Chinese style Salad
 serves 4-6

1 pkg bean sprouts 
2 stalks celery, chopped into bite sized pieces
1 bunch scallions, chopped into bite sized disks
1/2 medium red pepper cut into thin strips
1 cup cooked chopped broccoli rabe or broccolini
1 large pickling cucumber thinly sliced into disks
1/4 c dry roasted peanuts (you can omit if someone is allergic)
1/2 Chinese (Napa) cabbage, shredded
1 cup baby spinach leaves
1 carrot, shredded as if for slaw
1/4 lb snow peas or if it's too early, 1 c chopped pea shoots
1/4 lb firm tofu cut in chunks
1 cup crispy chow mein noodles
1 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped
1/2 cup roasted sunflower seeds

In a large serving bowl, combine all ingredients except noodles, sunflower seeds and cilantro.
Prepare dressing by combining:
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp fresh ginger, shredded or minced
2 drops hot chili oil or 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakesGree
1/4 c Tamari or soy sauce
2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
1/4 c Asian sesame oil
1/4 c peanut oil (use sunflower if someone is peanut sensitive)
1 tsp Chinese mustard or 1 tsp dry mustard mixed with 1 tbsp vinegar

 Season salad with dressing. Then garish with chow mein noodles, sunflower seeds and finally cilantro.

Indian Radish, Daikon or Turnip Greens
 serves 2-4

 Greens of 4 daikon or 2 bunches red radishes or 2 bunches Tokyo (Hakurei) turnips
1 plum tomato, diced
1 sm onion, diced
1 tsp cumin seeds
2 green chilies, seeded and diced
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
salt to your taste
1 tbsp cooking oil (corn, safflower, sunflower, canola, mustard)

Clean and chop the greens, separating any thick stems and chopping them separately.
In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium and add cumin seeds. Once they start to color, 30-45 seconds, add the onions and cook until they are very soft and translucent, up to 10 minutes.

Add the tomato, blend and cook until all the juice evaporates so you have almost a paste in the pot.
Add turmeric, blend and cook 60 seconds. Add any chopped stems and blend into the paste. Cover and cook 2-3 minutes to soften. (If you have no stems move past this right away.)

Add the greens, stirring them into the paste. Cook uncovered up to 2 minutes or until they start to wilt. Remove from heat and season with salt and lemon juice. Serve hot.

 Russian Cabbage Soup
 4-6 servings

2 tbsp butter
1 med onion, coarsely chopped
1 sm leek, thinly sliced
1 carrot, thinly sliced
5 c rich beef stock or vegetable broth
1 sm head (about 3/4 lb) white cabbage, shredded
1/2 c sauerkraut (not kimchee)
1 lg tomato, chopped (peeled is better than not but...)
 Salt and freshly ground black pepper to your taste
1 sm bunch fresh dill, chopped for garnish
1 cup sour cream for serving

In a soup or stock pot, melt butter. Add onion, leek and carrot and cook until they start to soften.
Add broth, bring to a boil and then add cabbage, sauerkraut and tomato.  Cover and cook until cabbage is very tender, about 50 min.  Season with salt and pepper to your taste. Remove from heat.

Serve in individual bowls topped with fresh dill and a scoop of the sour cream.

Lamb, Chickpea and Chard Stew
Palestinian Fogaiyya

Serves 4

1½ -3/4 lb boneless lamb stew meat, lean if you can get it
2 tsp ground allspice
1 lg yellow onion, finely chopped
3-4 tbsp olive oil, 1 reserved til the end
1 lg cinnamon stick
4 whole cloves
5 cardamom pods, cracked to release the seeds
½ tsp ground nutmeg
1 lg bay leaf
2 tsp salt, divided (1 tsp of coarse sea salt if you have it)
3½ -4 cup water or vegetable broth or combination of the two
½ cup medium grain or paella rice or Fregola or Farro
1 14-0z can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 bunch chard, thick stems removed, washed, leaves chopped
Freshly ground black pepper to your taste
6 garlic cloves
½ cup lemon juice, freshly squeezed
Lemon wedges for garnish

Coat the lamb with the allspice.
Cover the bottom of a heavy gauge lidded pot with 2-3 tbsp of olive oil and warm over medium heat. Add onions and sauté 2 minutes to soften. Add the lamb. Sauté until meat is brown, 5-7 minutes.

Add cinnamon, cardamom seeds, cloves, bay leaf,  and nutmeg. Stir to blend.
Add the water/broth (use 4 cups if you plan to use farro), bring to a boil, cover and lower heat. Simmer 90 minutes or until lamb is tender.

Stir in 1 tsp salt, black pepper, chickpeas and the rice or fregola or farro.
Raise heat to bring to a boil, then immediately lower to simmer and cook until grain is soft. (Rice will take 10-12 minutes, fregola 12-15 and farro 15-20.) If you need more liquid, add water.

Remove bay leaf and cinnamon stick. Add chopped chard leaves, stirring them in as you go.

Mash or mince the garlic cloves with 1 tsp coarse sea salt.
Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a small frying pan and brown the salted garlic, 1-2 minutes. Add to the stew and blend.

Remove the stew from the heat. When ready to serve, stir in the lemon juice.




Thursday, May 21, 2015

Cauliflower continued

Here are a few more ways to enjoy cauliflower right now:

Double Baked Potato with Cauliflower

 serves 6-8

4 large baking potatoes, like russets
1 tsp olive oil
 Kosher salt
1 small cauliflower, cut into florets
3 c milk
2 bay leaves
4 tbsp unsalted butter
1 c grated Parmesan cheese.

Preheat oven to 450º.
Scrub potatoes under running water; dry and rub the skin of each with olive oil and a little salt. Pierce the skin of each in three or four places with the tines of a fork. Put the potatoes in the oven, and bake 45-55 minutes depending on the size of the potatoes, until they are soft in their centers.

While the potatoes are baking, put cauliflower into a saucepan over medium-high heat, and add milk and bay leaves. Heat until almost boiling, then reduce heat to low, and simmer until tender, about 20 minutes.

When the potatoes are baked, remove from the oven, slice open down the middle and use a spoon to scrape their flesh into a bowl. Add butter, cooked cauliflower and a healthy splash of the milk and mash to blend. Spoon this mix back into the empty potato skins. Put these 8 stuffed potatoes on a baking sheet and shower with cheese. Return to the oven for 15 minutes, or until cheese is melted and golden.

Kashmiri style cauliflower

Serves 4-6

1 lg head cauliflower, cored, greens removed
24 oz peanut oil for deep frying
2 tbsp corn oil
1/4 tsp fenugreek seed
2 tsp anise seed
5 whole cloves
2 bay leaves
4 cardamom pods, crushed to release seeds or 1 tsp ground cardamom
1/8 tsp whole black peppercorns
1 whole dried arbol chili
¼” piece fresh ginger root, peeled and minced or grated
¼ tsp chipotle chili powder
1 tsp chili powder
¼ cup thick yogurt, room temperature
½ cup water
¼ tsp salt
1 tsp garam masala (In this case: combine ¼ tsp cumin, 1/8 tsp nutmeg, 1/8 tsp cinnamon, 1/8 tsp clove, 1/8 tsp mace, 1/8 tsp cardamom and 1/8 black pepper)
Optional garnish: 1 jalapeno or Serrano pepper, sliced into thin disks, or ¼ cup chopped cilantro leaves.

Break the cauliflower into large florets, maybe 8-10. Soak in salt water for 3-4 minutes. Rinse and drain well.

Heat peanut oil in a deep pot or fryer to sizzling.  Fry dried cauliflower florets until golden brown, as many as fit in the pot. Each batch will take up to 10 minutes. Remove from oil and drain well.

While draining, heat corn oil in a large sauté pan over low heat. Add fenugreek, anise seed, cloves, bay leaves, cardamom seeds (not ground), peppercorns, arbol chili and ginger. Stirfry over low heat for 30 seconds. Turn off heat.

Mix the chipotle and chili powders with yogurt. Carefully add to the pan, stirring constantly. (The yogurt cannot be cold or it will curdle immediately in the pot.)Turn heat on low and continue stirring for 1 minute.

Stir in water. Add fried florets, salt, ground cardamom if using it and garam masala. (Add water if there is not enough liquid to cover the florets at least ½ way.)  Cook over low heat for 5-8 minutes, stirring occasionally so nothing sticks to the pan and cauliflower gets lightly coated with sauce. (This is not a soupy dish.)  Remove from heat, remove bay leaves, garnish and serve. 

Chickpea and cauliflower ragout with okra and apricots
 from Veggiyana, the Dharma of Cooking
By cheating with canned chickpeas, you can quickly make this hearty, healthy stew.

Serves 8-10

3  15 oz cans chick peas (garbanzos), drained and rinsed
3 ½ cups vegetable broth
2 bay leaves
1 cinnamon stick
5 cardamom pods, cracked
6 whole cloves
12-14 whole black peppercorns
4 tbsp olive or vegetable oil
1  3” piece ginger, peeled
5 lg garlic cloves, peeled
1 lg red onion, finely chopped
2 Serrano chilies, seeded and chopped (use 1 Habanero or scotch bonnet or tiny Thai chili, seeded and chopped if you can’t find Serranos)
½ tsp salt
1 tsp ground cumin
½ tsp ground coriander
¼ tsp ground turmeric
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
1 cup chopped tomatoes with juice
1 lg cauliflower, cored and cut into florets
8 dried apricot halves
½ lb okra, halved lengthwise
juice of 1 lime
¼ cup chopped fresh mint leaves
¼ cup chopped fresh flat or curly leaf parsley leaves

Combine the bay leaves, cinnamon stick, cardamom pods, cloves and peppercorns in a piece of cheese cloth, spice bag or perhaps a tea leaf filter bag, and tie it tightly with non plastic string. 

Put the spice bag in the bottom of a large casserole or medium soup pot. Add the vegetable broth. Cover and simmer on medium heat for 10-12 minutes.

In a mini food processor, or by hand, chop and blend the garlic and ginger into an almost paste. 

Heat a medium skillet and add the olive oil.  When it is hot, add the garlic/ginger paste, Serrano chilies and diced onion. Brown over medium heat about 5 minutes. Add salt, cumin, coriander, turmeric and nutmeg. Stir fry one minute until mixture is fragrant.

Pour this onion mix into broth and blend.  Add chickpeas, tomatoes, and apricots. Cook uncovered over medium heat for 5 minutes.  Add cauliflower and continue cooking until it is almost tender, 5-8 minutes

Add okra and continue cooking 5 minutes. 

Discard the spice bag.  Add the lime juice. Taste and adjust salt. Garnish with mint and parsley and serve over couscous or quinoa, perhaps with a side of tsatziki or raita.

This tastes even better the next day. Leave the spice bag in overnight.


Friday, May 15, 2015

Cauliflower: Multicolorful

See, cauliflower doesn't have to be boring. So don't pass it up. Right now you can eat it as a political statement: word about this vegetable goes back 5,000 years and hints that it's probably Syrian. Better yet, it's almost as good for you as its kissing cousin the cabbage: an anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, detoxification aid that lowers risk of cancers including colon, ovarian and stomach. One trimmed pound serves 4. And here are some mighty tasty ways to do that.

French Gateau au Choufleur: a visually lovely molded not quite soufflé of cauliflower and cheese perfect for right now
for 6 people

1 large cauliflower

1-2 tbsp vinegar

½ lb fromage blanc or ricotta in a pinch

3 tbsp unsalted butter

2 tbsp flour

3 oz gruyere cheese, grated

¼ cup chopped chives

4 egg yolks

½ tsp ground nutmeg

Salt and pepper to your taste

Butter to grease the baking dish

1/3 cup bread crumbs

Remove the greens and thick stem and separate the cauliflower florets.

Soak them for 15-20 minutes in a large bowl of water with the vinegar added to it.

Drain and put the florets into a large pot of salted water. Cook over medium heat 25 minutes or until cauliflower is soft.

Drain the florets well and finely chop them almost to puree in a food processor.

Heat oven to 350º.

In a small heavy bottom casserole over medium heat, melt the butter. Using a wooden spoon or spatula, stir in the flour, stirring fast to blend it in. Lower heat and cook until the flour/butter roux begins to color and bubble. Bit by bit stir in the fromage blanc. Immediately remove from the heat.

Add salt and pepper. Stir in the cauliflower and chives. Add the gruyere, egg yolks and nutmeg. Stir to blend everything.  Return to low heat and cook 2-3 minutes to warm the mixture.

Butter a soufflé or high-sided baking dish. Fill it with the cauliflower batter.

Sprinkle breadcrumbs on top with a handful of shredded parmesan cheese.

Put the baking dish in a larger oven pan and fill that pan with water halfway up the sides of the baking dish. (A bain-marie). Put in the oven and bake 20 minutes.

Serve immediately in the baking dish.

 From Veggiyana, the Dharma of Cooking, here's my cauliflower salad--puttanesca, based on that spicy Italian pasta sauce of olives, capers and chili pepper flakes. It feeds 6 to 8.

1 head cauliflower, broken into florets

½ dry pint cherry tomatoes (about 2 dozen)

12-15 pitted Kalamata or similar olives

½ tsp red pepper flakes

¼ tsp salt

1 tbsp capers, drained

freshly ground black pepper

¼ cup chopped parsley

Core cauliflower and break it into large florets. Line a small baking sheet with foil and place the florets on it. Cover with 1 tbsp olive oil and pinch of salt. Roast at 450 degrees for 12-15 minutes, until florets start to show spots of brown. Cool.

Cut florets into smaller pieces. In a large serving bowl, combine roasted cauliflower, tomatoes, olives, onion, hot pepper, capers, ground pepper, salt and parsley.  Blend well. Season with black pepper to your taste.
2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

1/8 tsp Dijon type mustard
¼ tsp black olive paste or tapenade
Freshly ground black pepper to your taste
1 tbsp grated Parmesano Reggiano cheese or equivalent

In a small cup or cruet, whisk together garlic, balsamic vinegar, mustard and 3 tbsp best quality olive oil. Pour over salad.  Sprinkle grated cheese on top to serve.

Cauliflower “couscous” with lemon basil sauce
Serves 8
For the basil-lemon sauce
10 large (about 1 cup loosely packed) fresh basil leaves
Zest and juice of 2 lemons, preferably Meyer
1/2 c fruity extra-virgin olive oil
1 tbsp honey
For the couscous
1 tbsp unsalted butter
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium red onion, finely diced
1 medium cauliflower, stalks and stems discarded, florets finely diced
1/4 tsp chili flakes
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 c Basil-Lemon Sauce
2 tbsp fresh basil in chiffonade

For the sauce
Combine basil, lemon zest and juice, oil, and honey in a blender. Purée and transfer to a jar with a tight-fitting lid. The sauce will keep in the refrigerator for about 7 to 10 days.
For the cauliflower couscous
Over high heat, melt butter with the olive oil in a sauté pan or wok large enough to hold all the cauliflower. Add onion and sauté until softened, about 2 minutes.
Add the cauliflower and chili flakes. Season liberally with salt and pepper. Blend everything. Cook until cauliflower is soft and looking like couscous, maybe 10 minutes.
Add 2 tbsp of the lemon sauce and cook another 10 minutes. Adjust salt to your taste. Add 2 tbsp. of the lemon sauce and mix thoroughly. Remove from heat and transfer to a serving bowl.
Top with the basil chiffonade.