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Buttery Roasted Winter Radishes and Watermelon Turnips

1 Nov

I don’t always reap what I sow, being that my garden is often a disaster and if my family depended on it for primary sustenance, the de Cubas would be no more.

Surprise! An unexpected bounty of radishes

Surprise! An unexpected bounty of radishes

But in a delightful surprise, a late summer planting of leftover radish seeds, sown in some fit of hopefulness as I cleared the beds of the unproductive detritus of a summer spent elsewhere, yielded a pound or so of very fat cherry bell and French Breakfast radishes.

Should've harvested these a week ago....

Should’ve harvested these a week ago….

So fat, in fact, that they needed a roasting with butter to mellow the bite and soften the woodiness that comes when you don’t notice what is happening and you wait too long to harvest. It is the #gardenofneglect after all!

Another view of the surprise radish harvest

Another view of the surprise radish harvest

I added in there some watermelon turnips from our CSA (Restoration Farm), which were absolutely gorgeous, but I didn’t know what else to do with. This is the simplest recipe ever for a beautiful autumnal side dish!

A pretty plate of turnips and radishes with very little effort

A pretty plate of turnips and radishes with very little effort

Roasted Winter Radishes and Watermelon Turnips

Radishes, sliced into ¼-1/2” half moons and/or Watermelon turnips, peeled/pared and sliced into ¼”half moons

A knob of butter

2 Tbs (or more) extra virgin olive oil

Salt and freshly cracked pepper to finish

Preheat oven to 425°F

In a baking dish big enough to hold your quantity of root vegetables you have, place all the vegetables. Add a generous knob of butter (figure 1.5 Tbs for a 8×8 oven dish worth and go up a half Tbs for each inch larger). Pour 2 Tbs of olive oil over that. Stir everything around to coat and add more oil as you see fit.

Roast in the oven a half hour. Check how things are doing. The turnip will take longer, so lower heat to 375°F and roast for another half hour (you won’t burn the radishes, but the turnip will soften. I will be experimenting with a slower roast at lower temp all the way in the next few days). Sprinkle generously with finishing salt and pepper and serve.

Mummy Dogs, Clementine Pumpkins and More Easy Kid’s Halloween Recipes

29 Oct

We love Halloween around here and like to do a glorified Halloween playdate for the little man and his friends.

This post comes at a time when I am really pressed between my teaching, my son’s many activities, and just trying to keep the house on this side of utter chaos, so it will be quick and easy, just like these recipes.

First up, the easiest:

Clementine Pumpkins:

So, so cute

So, so cute

Peel a bunch of clementines, Trim a celery stalk into stem-sized sticks. Jam the sticks into the clementines as if they were stems and you’re done. (“No one is going to eat them, Mom”says the little guy. “They are too healthy.” but they disappeared off the plate in coos of “How cute” and “I love clementines” and now the little man is eating…his words!)

Hot Apple Cider with Cinnamon:

Set a saucepan of apple cider to low or medium low until warm. Ladle into mugs, sprinkle with cinnamon and use cinnamon sticks (medium length) as stirrers. Nice with a splash of cranberry juice too.

Apple Cider Refresher Cocktail

A refreshing, not-too-sweet, low-alcohol fizzy cocktail!

A refreshing, not-too-sweet, low-alcohol fizzy cocktail!

 

In a champagne flute pour one part prosecco to one part apple cider. Top with cinnamon.

Tina’s Witchy Oreos

Thanks for this one, Tina Christiansen!

Thanks for this one, Tina Christiansen!

Take Oreo cookies and top with a Hershey’s Kiss. You can use frosting to make them stick.

Nutella Sandwiches

They were pretty cute! The kids liked the chocolate chips the best,

They were pretty cute! The kids liked the chocolate chips the best,

Spread thinly cut white bread with Nutella (add raspberries if you like). Top with another slice of white bread and for extra fun, use a Halloween themed cookie cutter to cut them into shapes. then use tiny chocolate chips for eyes,noses and mouths. Try not to eat all the cut off bits smeared with Nutella.

AND the most challenging (and still very easy)

Hot Dog Mummies

Preheat oven to 375 ºF

The Pillsbury photos show a much tidier assembly, but my mess worked just fine and the kids thought they were cool!

The Pillsbury photos show a much tidier assembly, but my mess worked just fine and the kids thought they were cool!

Be prepared with 10 hot dogs and dry them off as best you can. Moisture gums up the works a bit.

 

Into the oven you go, my pretties!

Into the oven you go, my pretties!

Take one tube of Pillsbury Crescent Dough and roll it out, pressing the perforations together. Take a pizza slicer and slice into thin strips (1/8 – 1/4″). Working quickly, wrap 3-4 strips around each hot dog, leaving space for eyes. Place them on an ungreased baking sheet and spray the tops with a bit of cooking spray.

Bake for 13-17 minutes until pastry is golden brown. Dot mustard or ketchup for the eyes and serve.

Fun!!!!

Fun!!!!

What I made for the grown-ups…more on this later!

Stuffed pumpkin!

Stuffed pumpkin!

 

 

 

Bok Choy, Carrot and Ginger Soup (just chop and simmer)

25 Oct

This was one of those late-season, gotta use up some veggies because tomorrow is another C.S.A. pick up, type of recipes that came together so quickly and made everyone so happy that I have to share it, even though it is embarrassingly easy and yes, I used a stock cube because I was out of chicken stock and my found veggie stocks didn’t seem the right flavor for this.

My parents went wild for this delicate soup.

My parents went wild for this delicate soup.

Bok Choy (Brassica rapa, Chinensis group) is also called chinese white cabbage and pak toi or variations thereof. There are also different varieties within this group; the one we get from Restoration Farm has kind of a bulb-like bottom (like fennel), wide stalks like chard, and green leaves like wings on either side. Look for firm yet tender stems and glossy, spot-free leaves. It is very versatile for salad, fried rice, stir fry and the like.

We loved this soup because it was so delicate and yet clearly expressed the flavors of the vegetables, the ginger, and the sesame oil. You can remove the ginger slices if you like; we didn’t. A couple of shrimp or shredded beef would not go astray here either! Done in a flash and ever so delicious!

I find this bok choy soup kind of pretty!

I find this bok choy soup kind of pretty!

Bok Choy Carrot and Ginger Soup (serves 4 as an appetizer; 2 as a very light main course)

4 Cups chicken or vegetable stock (or a stock cube and 4 Cups water)

1 knob ginger, roughly peeled and sliced in thin rounds

1-2 heads bok choy, bottom sliced off, separated and carefully washed*

½ Cup onion, sliced into half moons

2-3 carrots, peeled and sliced on the bias

¼-1/2 tsp sesame oil

½ – 1 tsp soy sauce (low sodium, if using commercial stock)

Place all ingredients in a soup pot. Add liquid to cover, if necessary. Bring just to a boil, lower heat immediately and simmer until vegetables are tender.

*My mom prefers the bok choy sliced smaller, but my dad and I like it whole. My son thinks it’s a joke that we would even suggest he try it.

Blue Ribbon Yeast Bread (no kneading required!)

18 Oct
Another blue ribbon for my little baker!

Another blue ribbon for my little baker!

Leandro has done it again! My seven-year-old won another blue ribbon at the Long Island Fair for his baking in the Junior Culinary division! What better way of celebrating than sharing it with you on the day of my 550th post and the fourth anniversary of this blog?

Sizing up the competition

Sizing up the competition

Last year it was his Oatmeal Raisin Cranberry Chocolate Chip Drop Cookies. This year it was an extension of his successful Science Fair project on yeast. We’ve been making a lot of the no-knead refrigerator bread we began making for that, so he decided that would be his submission as it is something he can do almost entirely by himself now.

The Exhibition Hall

The Exhibition Hall

This bread, slightly modified from our original to include some whole wheat flour, has terrific sponginess, nice, not-too-crunchy crust, and good yeasty flavor. (My colleagues at LINCC can attest to this, as I brought in some practice loaves)

We get better results with quick-acting yeast than regular AND we include our tips for encouraging the yeast to activate. This is the easiest bread you can imagine and you can keep the extra dough in the fridge for whenever you want warm bread.

Celebratory candy apple. Don't judge....

Celebratory candy apple. Don’t judge….

I’m so proud of him…and in a life where it’s not always clear that I am doing things right, at least I can feel that I am sending him into the world with a love of good food and an ability to feed himself. Yay us!

Fresh out of the oven

Fresh out of the oven

Leandro’s Award-Winning No-Knead Refrigerator Bread

3 Cups warm water (it should feel cozy-comfortable on the hands)

1.5 Tbs salt

1.5 Tbs quick-acting yeast

5.5 Cups unbleached white flour

1 Cup stone ground whole wheat flour

Extra virgin olive oil or other fat for greasing the loaf pan.

Container large enough to hold this much flour and water only doubled in size. You’ll want a cover for it.

Place the water in a large container and dissolve the salt into it.

Stir in the yeast until well mixed. Wait a few minutes for it to begin foaming nicely. We put it on top of a warm toaster oven to encourage yeast activity.

Add the flour, all at once. Stir with a big spoon until well mixed into a sticky dough and there are no big air pockets.

Cover loosely and allow to rise 1-2 hours in a warm place. Again, we put it on top of our toaster oven when it’s on low.

Cover (punching down if necessary) and place in fridge (for up to three weeks).

When you are ready for fresh bread, preheat oven to 450°F. Grease a loaf tin and grab a half to a third of the dough (putting the rest back in the fridge for next time). With greased hands, form a loaf (the cold dough and the fat on your hands — we use olive oil — will keep it from sticking to you), Place in loaf pan and slash across the top with a knife (for a pretty finish) and top with a bit of olive oi if desired. Bake for about 30 minutes or until crust is golden. You can give it a blast at 500°F for the last few minutes to develop the crust more.

Caldo Verde (Portuguese Sausage and Greens Soup)

26 Sep

It is late in September and I haven’t posted for you guys in weeks! Back-to-school is a challenging time, and this year my college teaching career has taken a turn for the better and busier (tenure track, presentations, grant-writing, event-planning AND a new edition of the textbook), so I have been all-in at the college and all out of commission in the food-writing biz.

But that doesn’t mean I have been ordering take-away dinners. I just haven’t been narrating our every meal! (And I haven’t been doing much new stuff either, but sticking to my tried-and-true reliable recipes.)

Andouille sausage is not, perhaps the most traditional choice, but it works!

Andouille sausage is not, perhaps the most traditional choice, but it works!

However, a good price on some DArtagnan andouille sausage at Fairway Market and armfuls of late summer greens from Restoration Farm CSA and a kicking homemade beef stock in the freezer assembled themselves in my head into a delicious soup for the cool early fall air. When I say assembled themselves, I mean it: this is an easy-peasy soup that doesn’t take much effort.

I will post more in the coming days, I hope; I have a few Edible Long Island articles to catch you up on as well!

A delicious soup for a cool day when you want a soup that warms but doesn't overstuff you

A delicious soup for a cool day when you want a soup that warms but doesn’t overstuff you

Caldo verde (Portuguese green soup with sausage)

2 generous tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

6 oz andouille (or other spicy, robust sausage), sliced in ¼ rounds

1 Cup onion, diced fine

2 Tbs garlic, minced

6 Cups sturdy, leafy greens (kale, collards, escarole, chard, beet greens), cleaned and torn into largish pieces

2 Cups potatoes, cubed

6-8 cups cooking liquid; at least four Cups being a good, flavorsome, low-salt stock

Salt and pepper to taste

Heat the oil in your soup pot until rippling. Add sausage and lower heat to medium. Cook sausage until browned and remove to a plate, setting aside for later.

To the seasoned oil, add the onions and garlic and sauté at medium-low until translucent and tender (the longer the better). Add your leafy greens and wilt briefly. Then add potatoes and cooking liquid. Bring to a boil, then simmer until greens and potato are tender (15-20 minutes). (some people mash or put the broth into the food processor at this point; I don’t, but might start to convince the little guy it is pesto soup?) Return sausage to the pot, warm for five minutes and serve in bowls with crusty bread.

 

Healthy Teacher Starts Now

1 Sep

I don’t relish having to wake up at 5:30 a.m. again, after a long summer of sleeping ’till (gasp!) 6:30, but a new semester brings its own small pleasures. Meeting new students, seeing cherished colleagues again, embarking on new projects on campus…and…a little more structure to my eating habits.

Our classes in the LINCC program are long: three to five hours five days a week for 15 weeks (plus all the prep and meetings that happen outside the classroom hours), so there’s a 20-minute break for snack and then once class is over I eat lunch. We have a fridge and a microwave and so it’s convenient for BYOFood and for avoiding between meal noshing.

For some reason my smartphone images sometimes end up sideways....but you get the...picture

For some reason my smartphone images sometimes end up sideways….but you get the…picture

In anticipation of back-to-school I got some bento boxes and have already prepared my lunch for tomorrow (the grandparents have taken Leandro to a powwow today so I could collect myself!) and I am sharing day one’s meals with you!

Happy Back-To-School everyone. If I am not too frantic, I will share my little guy’s first day of Second Grade (!) lunch bento….

Adventures with Edible

30 Aug

It’s not that I haven’t been cooking! But I have been working a lot with the Edible publications this summer in addition to traveling and neglecting my garden, so let me share a couple of items with you.

This shrimp fra diavolo was out of this world!

This shrimp fra diavolo was out of this world!

Last week, a whole Edible team headed to Amagansett in the Hamptons to spend some time with food and wine personality and writer David Rosengarten. That was loads of fun. You can see the advance outtakes here and get a great recipe for a stacked Italian salad.

Alici salati...salted anchovies

Alici salati…salted anchovies

Eileen, my editor, stopped in before a wine class she was teaching! Pre-gaming with style

Eileen, my editor, stopped in before a wine class she was teaching! Pre-gaming with style

Yesterday the little man and I blanched, pureeed and froze five pounds of tomatoes. If you haven’t seen how on Hot, Cheap & Easy yet, click to see it on Edible Long Island.

Little hands, big help

Little hands, big help

2014-08-29 10.03.18

And here are a couple of pictures from stories for the Edible Long Island Travel issue; my lucky task is to cover some of Long Island’s most delicious international restaurants!

 

The Ellas: A Taste of Africa

The Ellas: A Taste of Africa – Deer Park

FADO, Huntington: Croquetas de bacalhao (I know they are not called croquetas in Portuguese, but don't have my notes at the moment!)

FADO, Huntington: Croquetas de bacalhao (I know they are not called croquetas in Portuguese, but don’t have my notes at the moment!)

FADO: Flan

FADO: Flan

Linguine with Spicy Scallop Marinara

28 Aug
Whew! What a summer! Four weeks in Puerto Rico, another week in Chincoteague, VA, plus wall-to-wall activities, nonstop writing for the Edible publications…it’s been great, but I am afraid I have not posted here as often as I would have liked.
 
More garlic, cause that's how we roll.

More garlic, cause that’s how we roll.

If you think I have neglected this, you should see the #GardenofNeglect in my raised beds. Once again, the champion of zucchini failure failed to get even one lousy zucchini, bringing my three-year grand total to ONE. Ah well, fall plantings are in and I see a few radish greens popping up, so maybe we’ll get something going there now that we are home.

Sweet, tender Chincoteague scallops are a treat

Sweet, tender Chincoteague scallops are a treat

 
Anyhoo, this recipe is something my brother and sister-in-law put together while we were in Chincoteague to take advantage of the superb sea scallops available there. Apparently this is a new go-to for them in their home in Canada, warming without being heavy.
 
Hard at work in the kitchen

Hard at work in the kitchen

They based it on a Food Network recipe that uses spaghetti, parmesan rind and much less garlic than my brother bungs in. Why you would want to use less garlic is beyond my comprehension, but to each his/her own! You can use less than the amount called for in my brother’s version, but for my money, he has the right idea using a lot.

 
Look at that color...

Look at that color…

It was truly delicious, with bright clear flavors and not difficult at all to put together. I think it will become a go-to here in New York too!

 
Let's eat!

Let’s eat!

Linguine with Spicy Scallop Marinara

(serves four to six)

Kosher/coarse salt
1lb linguine
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  6cloves garlic, minced
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, plus more to taste
1 28 -ounce can whole San Marzano tomatoes, crushed by hand
1 cup loosely packed fresh basil, sliced, plus more for topping

grated Parmesan to taste
3/4 pound bay scallops or sea scallops cut into 1″ chunks

Cook pasta according to package direction. Before draining, reserve 1/4 Cup cooking liquid.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring, until the garlic softens, about 1 minute. Add the tomatoes, 1/2 cup water and half of the basil. Bring the sauce to a boil, then stir and reduce the heat to medium low; simmer 15 minutes. Season with salt.

Increase the heat under the sauce to medium high, add the scallops and cook, stirring occasionally, until opaque, about 5 minutes. Add the remaining basil, stir in the parmesan and season with salt and more red pepper flakes.

Drain the pasta and add to the skillet with the sauce; toss. If you need more liquid, use the reserved cooking liquid. Divide the pasta among bowls, drizzle with olive oil and top with more basil.

A view from the kitchen

A view from the kitchen

New Favorite Nosh: Tomato and Cucumber Sandwich!

19 Aug

This is barely a recipe, but it’s what I have been eating for breakfast and lunch (and sometimes in between with a cup of tea).

 

I like it with rye toast (shown here), but it reaches its apex with white bread....

I like it with rye toast (shown here), but it reaches its apex with white bread….

Toast and butter two slices of bread. Layer thinly-sliced cucumber (peeling is optional) and tomato – preferably fresh from the garden – on the bottom slice. Sprinkle with salt and top with the second slice. Cut in half and eat!

 

 

Garbanzo (Chick Pea) Salad with Tahini, Black Olives and Sun-Dried Tomatoes

13 Aug

I love garbanzos (chick peas, ceci) in all different ways, but especially as a salad or salad topper. They add meatiness and texture to everything and taste great with loads of garlic and onions.

Also, very versatile...

Also, very versatile…

Here is a quick and easy salad that uses up the bits and bobs you have in your fridge. When I make this kind of salad, I feel as though I am just giving it everything I’ve got; you’ll notice that the quantities of each ingredient can vary to your taste and availability. We’ll be having this one tonight with cold leftover chicken, perhaps some marinated artichoke hearts, an olive assortment, some pistachios and clementines. Delicious light dinner!

A worthy accompaniment to summer meals

A worthy accompaniment to summer meals

Garbanzo Salad with Tahini, Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Olives

2-3 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil

½ – 1 tsp apple cider vinegar

Juice of half a lemon

1-1 Tbs tahini

Pinch salt

1 Tbs garlic, minced

2 Cup garbanzos (soaked or from a can)

¼ Cup onion, chopped fine        

¼ Cup green pepper, chopped fine

2 Tbs sun-dried tomatoes, diced

1-2 Tbs pitted black olives, sliced

1 Tbs fresh parsley, chopped

In a serving bowl, whisk the olive oil, vinegar, and lemon juice, until smooth. Stir in tahini until smooth, then a bit of salt. Add remaining ingredients and mix well, adding additional salt if desired. Serve over salad greens or rice.

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