Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Grilled Scallions

Grilling in November - what? But here we are, it was over 70 today and the rest of the week is supposed to be beautiful as well. So, grilling. The biggest challenge was seeing the grill in the dark...

As for scallions, well, they are one of the few fresh vegetables left in the garden - though local shiitakes still seem to be available as well and are always excellent on the grill. In the spring I made grilled ramps and loved them so much that I had been meaning to try scallions. I finally got around to it. I served these with Romesco Sauce (which I have a stash of in the freezer), but pesto (which I also have a stash of) would also be great.

5-6 large scallions per person
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
Romesco sauce, pesto, or other topping of your choice

Cut the roots of the scallions and trim the green part so they end up around 12 inches (shorter is okay if you have smaller scallions).

Spread the trimmed scallions in a single layer in a baking dish or large plate. Brush or spray all over with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Grill over medium-high heat for about 1 minute per side (check after 30 seconds if you have thin-ish scallions). When browned nicely in places and floppy, they are done.

Serve hot. Pass sauce at the table.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Roasted Chicken Legs with Cherry Tomatoes, Garlic, and Mushrooms

Since we picked all our remaining tomatoes before the freeze, we have quite a few ripening inside still. In fact, we suddenly had more cherry tomatoes ripe on the counter than we were going to be able to use in salads. They were perfect in this one pan oven roasted dinner, which has a Mediterranean flair.

2 lbs chicken legs or other bone-in cuts, skin on
Salt and pepper to taste
1 1/2 cups halved cherry tomatoes
1 pint shiitakes or other mushrooms, cubed
1 head garlic (or more to taste), cloves separated and peeled
1 1/2 cups cooked chick peas or white beans
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp dried thyme

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Season the chicken all over with salt and pepper.

Combine cherry tomatoes, mushrooms, garlic, and beans in a mixing bowl. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar and olive oil and toss to coat. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Spread the tomato mixture in the bottom of a large baking dish (10x14 inches) or a half sheet pan with a good rim on it. Place the chicken pieces on top of the veggies. Sprinkle all over with thyme.

Bake for 30-40 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through and the skin is golden.

Serve pieces of chicken with a spoonful of juicy veggies.

Serves 4-6.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Creamy Corn Soup with Pureed Summer Squash

Here's a creamy, warming soup for fall that makes good use of summer produce that's still available. (Our summer squash is slowing down, but I still picked seven of them yesterday!) You can substitute zucchini for the summer squash in this recipe, but the result will not be quite as sweet, and the color may be a bit muddy.

Olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium onion, diced
2 lbs summer squash, cubed or sliced
Chicken or vegetable stock
Salt and pepper
Kernels from 6 ears of corn (about 3 cups)
1/2 - 3/4 cup cream, or to taste

Heat a bit of olive oil in a soup pot. Add the garlic and onion and saute over medium-high heat for 2-3 minutes. Add the squash and enough stock to cover. Bring to a boil, then simmer until the squash is very tender, about 10-15 minutes.

When the squash is tender, puree the soup using an immersion blender (or do it in batches in a regular blender, then return it to the pot). Add salt and pepper, then stir in the corn. Simmer for a few minutes, until the corn is tender. Turn off the heat and stir in the cream. Taste and adjust seasonings if needed.

Serves 4-6.

Roasted September Vegetables with Thyme and Red Wine Vinegar

This combination of vegetables goes well together with many different seasoning options. Here's another one, savory and tangy on the tongue. Substitute other mushrooms if you like.

1 large eggplant, peeled and cubed
2 sweet red peppers, in bite sized pieces
1-2 summer squash or zucchini, cubed
1/4 lb shiitake mushrooms, halved or sliced
1 medium onion, diced
Olive oil
2 tsp dried thyme (or 1 Tbsp fresh)
Salt and pepper
1 Tbsp red wine vinegar

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Combine all the vegetables in a large bowl. Drizzle generously with olive oil, quickly tossing to coat the vegetables before it all soaks into the eggplant. Sprinkle with thyme, salt, and pepper, then drizzle with the red wine vinegar and toss again.

Spread the vegetables out on a rimmed baking sheet, preferable in a single layer. Roasted for about 30 minutes, stirring once or twice, until tender.

Serves about 4.

Home Grown Hot Sauce

I had a pound of ripe red jalapenos that needed using. In the past I've pickled them (yum!), fire roasted them, and used them in salsa, but I had never tried making my own hot sauce. This came out pretty good. You can use whatever type of chilies you like; the heat of the sauce will be entirely dependent on the heat of the chilies you use. If a quart of hot sauce sounds like too much, or you have fewer chilies available, feel free to halve or even quarter the recipe.

1 lb ripe (red) jalapenos, stemmed and seeded
1 cup white vinegar
1 cup cider vinegar
2 medium-large garlic cloves
1 Tbsp salt

Combine all ingredients in the blender and blend at increasing speed until completely pureed. I have a pretty high powered blender and I found that after the pureeing process the hot sauce was pretty foamy from all the air that had been whipped into it. Just let it sit, stirring occasionally, until the foam settles. Store in sealed container (s) in the fridge or freezer. I used pint jars, putting 3 in the freezer for later and one in the fridge for now.

Foamy hot sauce after blending

Makes about 1 quart.

Roasted September Vegetables with Dill Yogurt Sauce

This recipe is perfect for this time of year, when the late summer vegetables are still going pretty strong but the weather has cooled down enough to make roasting appealing. This combination is deeply flavorful, and the dill yogurt sauce with a pinch of garlic gives it a Greek or Turkish flair.

1 large eggplant, peeled and cubed
2 sweet red peppers, in bit sized pieces
2-3 paste tomatoes, seeded and cubed
Olive oil

Yogurt Sauce
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1 clove garlic, very finely minced
1 Tbsp chopped fresh (or frozen) dill

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Combine the vegetables in a large bowl. Drizzle generously with olive oil and quickly toss (the eggplant will absorb oil, so toss quickly after drizzling to spread it around before it soaks in too much). Sprinkle with salt and toss again.

Spread the vegetables on a rimmed baking sheet, preferably in a single layer. Roast for 30 minutes, stirring once or twice to prevent burning and sticking.

While the vegetables roast, combine the yogurt, garlic, and dill and stir well. The yogurt will thin into a sauce.

Serve the vegetables topped with the yogurt sauce at the table.

Serves 4-6.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Rosemary-Garlic Roasted Leg of Local Lamb

My husband adores lamb, so I bought a leg from Balky Farm (in Northfield) at the farmers market and roasted it for his recent birthday. Some good olives go well alongside this.

Ready to go in the oven

1 bone-in leg of lamb, 4-5 lbs
Salt and pepper
2 heads garlic, peeled
1/4 cup rosemary leaves
Olive oil

Season the lamb in advance if you can. At least an hour is good, and as much as a full day ahead of time brings welcome added flavor to the meat.

Using a sharp, thin-bladed knife, cut small slits into the meat all over it. Sprinkle generously all over with salt and pepper.

Mince the garlic and rosemary together, then combine with enough olive oil to make a paste. Smear this all over the lamb, working it into the slits as well as spreading it on the surface. Place the lamb in a roasting pan that just fits it. Let sit until ready to cook (on the counter is fine for an hour or so; otherwise in the fridge).

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Roast the lamb for 30 minutes, then reduce heat to 325. Roast for an additional 15 minutes, then begin testing the temperature. Check it in several places; you want it to be at least 130 degrees for medium rare. Keep in mind that a bone-in roast will take longer to cook near the bone than on the outside. Continue to cook if needed.

Let the lamb sit for 10-15 minutes before carving. Serve warm.