Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Mushroom Soup with Rosemary-Parmesan Dumplings

This soup is quite simple, allowing the flavorful dumplings to play a starring role. My increasingly picky three year old scarfed them down.

olive oil
6-8 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 lb mushrooms (shiitake or whatever you like), sliced
3 medium carrots, sliced in rounds
Water and/or vegetable stock
Salt and pepper to taste

1 egg, beaten
1 tsp minced fresh rosemary
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
black pepper to taste
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 cup all purpose flour

To prepare the soup, heat some olive oil in a soup pot. Add the garlic and saute over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, for 2-3 minutes. Add the mushrooms and saute until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the carrots and several cups of water and/or stock, bring to a boil, then simmer until the carrots are tender.

While the soup simmers, prepare the dumplings. Combine the egg, rosemary, olive oil, salt and pepper in a bowl. Stir in the Parmesan, then add the baking powder and flour and mix with a fork until it forms a dough.

Form the dough into walnut-sized balls with your hands and drop them into the soup with a slotted spoon. Do this carefully to ensure they don't stick together. Cook in the soup until done, about 5-7 minutes.

Serve the soup and dumplings together in bowls.

Serves about 4.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Ideas for Leftover Turkey

Most people, myself included, don't cook much turkey except at the holidays and thus don't have an army of recipes for the leftovers. Here are some ideas, when you get tired of pot pie and soup.

1. add turkey to a classic Waldorf salad
2. substitute turkey for beef in chili (use shredded turkey); turkey marries surprisingly well with Mexican and Southwestern flavors
3. pasta with cream sauce, turkey, and bacon or mushrooms
4. turkey quesadillas - turkey goes well with sharp cheddar and spice
5. turkey salad (a la chicken salad) with blue cheese and pears

Got some other good ideas? Share them in the comments!

Turkey Soup with Porcini-Garlic Broth

A slightly different but still easy twist on turkey soup. Use turkey stock if you made some.

1/4 cup dried porcini pieces
water and/or stock (turkey or chicken)
olive oil
8-10 cloves garlic, minced
3 medium carrots, sliced
3-4 cups shredded cooked turkey
1/2 lb cut pasta (rotini is nice)
1/4 cup marsala
Salt and pepper to taste

Heat a little water and pour enough over the porcini pieces to just cover them. Mince the mushrooms when they are nice and soft and be sure to reserve the soaking liquid.

While the mushroom soak, heat some olive oil in a soup pot, then add the garlic and saute over medium-high heat for 2 minutes or so. Add the garlic, carrots, and several cups of water or stock. Bring to a boil, then simmer for about 10 minutes. Add the turkey and pasta and boil until the pasta is tender, about 10 more minutes. Add the marsala and salt and pepper to taste.

Serves about 6.

Roasted Heritage Turkey

I know, I know, about a week too late with this recipe, right? But I wanted to test it again this year to be sure it was really good, since last year was my first heritage turkey ever. There's nothing revolutionary here, but it has yielded excellent, succulent results two years running, so try it with your Christmas turkey (if you have one) or save it for next year. I've never tried this on a small turkey, so I can't vouch for how well it would work on a smaller bird. Our turkey this year was 20 pounds, for a crowd of 16 and some good leftovers.

1 14+ lb heritage turkey
1-2 apples, quartered
2 small onions, quartered
6-8 cloves garlic, whole (no need to peel)
Several sprigs of sage
1/4 cup butter, softened
Salt and pepper

If needed, thaw the turkey over 2-3 days in the refrigerator. Remove from the fridge about 2 hours before you plan to cook it, so it can warm up a bit.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees and remove all racks except for the very bottom one.

Place the turkey breast side up on a rack in a large roasting pan. Using your hands, generously coat the inside of the turkey with salt and pepper. Stuff the main cavity and the neck cavity with the apples, onions, garlic, and sage. Using cooking twine and/or turkey skewers, close up the cavities and tie the turkey's legs together. Use skewers to secure the wing tips to the body (to help prevent over cooking of the wings). Rub all exposed turkey skin with the butter, then sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper.

Roast the turkey at 450 for 30 minutes. The skin should be nicely browned. Then turn the oven temperature down to 350 degrees and cover the turkey loosely with aluminum foil (do not tuck the foil all the way down over the pan - just cover most of the breast and legs and leave the sides of the foil loose). Roast for another 2 hours, then check the internal temperature by sticking an instant read thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh, without touching bone. The turkey is done when the temperature reaches at least 165 degrees. If the turkey is not done yet, roast for another 30 minutes; repeat as needed. (My 20 lb turkey took 3 hours from start to finish.)

When the turkey is done, remove it from the oven. Carefully tilt it up so the juices can run out of the cavity into the pan, then remove the turkey to a platter and let it rest for at least 30 minutes (cover with a towel or two if you like, to keep it warmer). Use the pan juices to make gravy.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Butternut Polenta with Garlicky Tomato and Kale Sauce

I like to add a little cooked squash to polenta at this time of year, but it's optional. Roasting frozen whole tomatoes is easy and lends a wonderful depth of flavor to the simple sauce; just run tomatoes under warm water to remove skins, then put frozen ones straight into the oven and roast for 30 minutes or so. If you like, you can serve this in bowls with the sauce spooned over the top--or follow the recipe for a broiled version with cheese.

3 cups water
1 tsp salt
1 cup coarse cornmeal
1 cup cooked mashed winter squash (butternut is good)

olive oil
6-7 cloves garlic, minced
3 cups roasted tomatoes
4-5 cups chopped kale
Salt and pepper to taste
3-4 oz. shredded cheddar

To prepare the polenta, bring the 3 cups of water to a boil, add the salt, then slowly whisk in the cornmeal, stirring constantly to avoid lumps. Reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally, until the polenta is nice and thick (time will vary depending on the coarseness of your cornmeal and whether you are using "instant" polenta meal). While the polenta cooks, prepare the sauce. Also preheat the broiler.

Heat some olive oil in a large saucepan, then add the garlic and saute for 2-3 minutes. Add the roasted tomatoes and mash them a bit in the pan. If needed, add a bit of their cooking liquid to form a thick sauce. Add the kale and cook, stirring periodically, over medium heat until the kale is tender. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Oil a 10-inch skillet or 8-inch square pan and spread the polenta in an even layer in the bottom of it. Top with the sauce, then sprinkle the cheese over it. Place under the broiler for 2-3 minutes, until the cheese begins to brown nicely. (Alternatively, if you need more time, you can place the assembled dish in the oven at 375 for about 15 minutes.)

Serves about 4.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Late Fall CSA Box #2

Another box, another bounteous load of local produce.

Butternut squash
Pie pumpkin

More of this week's items are things that will keep for a while, which is nice, though in the end I did manage to use just about everything from the last box before this one came. The pumpkin is already earmarked for pumpkin pie (I was hoping we would get one!), and perhaps the squash as well (I need to make two pumpkin pies for the big crowd we're hosting this year). I have to admit that neither beets nor turnips are on my list of preferred vegetables, but I'll either figure out something good to do with them or foist them off on our neighbors. That's the risk you take with a CSA share, but everything else is so wonderful that I don't mind.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Winter Farmers Markets

There's a new winter farmers market in the Valley! The Amherst Winter Farmers Market will be happening every Saturday from 10-2 at the Amherst Middle School, 170 Chestnut St., Amherst. The market starts December 4 and will go through April.

There's also a winter market in Brattleboro that happens every Saturday from 10-2. The Brattleboro market is already underway and will go through March.

And to round it all out, Northampton's winter market, located in the basement of Thorne's, also happens on Saturdays, from 9-2. It opens this Saturday, Nov. 20 and is set to go through April 30.

Greenfield Farmers Market Ends This Saturday

This Saturday will be the last day of the Greenfield Farmers Market. Get there while you can, and stock up on great local food for Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Pizza with Red Caps and Arugula

This is what I did with the other half of the huge red cap mushroom I bought at the farmers market on Saturday, plus the huge bunch of arugula that came in our CSA box. The earthy flavors compliment each other nicely.

1 14-inch pizza crust
olive oil
4-6 oz. shredded mozzarella
1/4 cup red cap mushroom, chopped
1/2 lb arugula, coarsely chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
1 shallot, minced

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Paint the pizza crust lightly with olive oil, then top with about two thirds of the mozzarella.

Heat a little olive oil in a large skillet. Add the mushrooms and saute for 2-3 minutes, then add the arugula. Continue to saute over high heat just until wilted, about 1 minute. Stir in salt and pepper to taste.

Spread the mushroom and arugula mixture over the cheese on the pizza crust. Sprinkle with the minced shallot, then top with the remaining cheese.

Bake for 15-18 minutes, until the crust is done and cheese begins to brown.

Serves 3-4.

Variation: Skip the mozzarella on top and instead use chunks of goat cheese.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Thanksgiving Ideas

It's almost Thanksgiving, a holiday I look forward to every fall. As a meal of traditional dishes, it's just made for local ingredients. I haven't developed any new Thanksgiving recipes this year, but check out the items tagged thanksgiving from previous years for some ideas if you're still figuring out your menu.

Hearty Mushroom Vegetable Stew

To my happy surprise, Paul Lagreze was at the farmers market again this past weekend with an array of mushrooms. In addition to his usual shiitakes, he had a good supply of oyster mushrooms and red caps, a huge and very tender mushroom with a flavor like that of porcini. Red caps and shiitakes form the flavor base of this stew, which is filled out with other fall vegetables, lentils, and local barley (available from Four Star Farms, and carried at Green Fields Market). Feel free to use whatever type of mushrooms you can get your hands on.

olive oil
2 medium onions, finely chopped
1/2 lb flavorful mushrooms, chopped
Several cups stock and/or water (I used beef stock, but veggie would work too)
3/4 brown lentils
3/4 cup barley
1 medium head celery, chopped
6 medium carrots, in rounds
Salt and pepper to taste

Heat a bit of olive oil in a large soup pot. Add the onions and saute for 2-3 minutes over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and saute for another 2-3 minutes. Add some stock and/or water, then the lentils and barley. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer until the lentils and barley are tender (30 minutes or so). Add the celery and carrots and continue to cook until tender. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot.

Serves at least 6.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Easy Slow Cooker Chicken Stew

This takes a little more effort than some of my slow cooker recipes, but you can still get it all into the pot in about 20 minutes. The result is great comfort food, very satisfying.

2-3 medium potatoes, cubed (no need to peel)
2 stalks celery, chopped
3 large carrots, chopped
2 medium onions, in chunks
Chicken stock and/or water
4 whole chicken legs or equivalent parts (frozen is fine, no need to thaw)
Salt and pepper to taste
1 large sprig rosemary (optional)

Place all the vegetables in a layer in the bottom of the slow cooker. Add chicken stock or water to just cover them. Place the chicken pieces on top and sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper. Add the sprig of rosemary if you have it. Put the cover on the pot and cook for 7-9 hours on Low (or a bit longer; this is quite forgiving).

Just before you are ready to eat, you may opt to take out the chicken and remove the meat from the bone, then put the meat back into the stew. Or serve with the whole chicken parts for a speedier arrival at the table.

Serves 4-6.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Pizza with Chard, Onions, and Feta

First CSA greens recipe... The chard was really good here, but other greens would work, too.

1 14-inch pizza crust
olive oil
1 medium red onion, sliced
1/2 lb Swiss chard, chopped
1/2 tsp dried oregano
Salt and pepper to taste
4 oz. shredded mozzarella
3-4 oz. crumbled feta

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Lightly paint the pizza crust with olive oil.

Heat some more olive oil in a large skillet. Add the onion and saute for about a minute. Add the chard in batches, stirring until it wilts and stopping before it completely loses its body. Stir in the oregano and some salt and pepper.

Spread the mozzarella over the pizza crust. Top with the chard and onion mixture. It will make a generous topping, but don't be afraid - the result is just right. Sprinkle feta over the vegetables.

Bake the pizza for 15-18 minutes, until the crust is done and the feta begins to brown around the edges.

Serve hot.

Serves 3-4.

First Fall CSA Box

If you had a CSA share this summer, you may now be feeling a combination of wistfulness and relief, missing the weekly box but, at the same time, secretly glad not to be trying to figure out what to do with an enormous quantity of something or another. Here's it just the opposite: all summer long we eat out of our garden, and in the late fall we get a CSA. We picked up our first Picadilly Farm box this past Thursday. Just as I remember from last year, the abundance and beauty contained therein exceeded even my anticipatory imaginings.

Among other things, we now have Swiss chard, spinach, arugula, lots of lettuce, and radicchio. Also potatoes, carrots, delicata squash, sweet potatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, garlic, and a red onion. That's just what I remember off the top of my head; I'm pretty sure there were a few other things in there. Yikes! The potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, and squash will keep for a bit, but the greens need to get used up soon. So...stay tuned for greens recipes!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Mushroom Leek Risotto

I scooped up some shiitakes and oyster mushrooms from Paul Lagreze of New England Wild Edibles at the farmers market this Saturday. Combined with leeks from my garden, they made a delicious and earthy risotto. For a really proper risotto, use about a cup of white wine for your first addition of liquid to the rice - I never do this because I never have white wine on hand, and the dishes always come out delicious anyway, but the wine does add a certain something.

6-8 cups water and/or stock (chicken or veg)
olive oil
4-5 medium leeks, sliced
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
1 lb mixed mushrooms, diced
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup grated Parmesan (optional)

Heat the water and/or stock in a medium saucepan and keep it warm.

Heat a little olive oil in a heavy pot, then add the leeks and saute until soft, 3-5 minutes. Add the rice and saute for 1-2 minutes, until it turns translucent. Add a cup of liquid and cook, stirring frequently, over medium heat until it is absorbed. Add another cup and cook until absorbed. Repeat until rice is thoroughly tender.

While the rice cooks, heat a bit more olive oil in a large skillet. Add the mushrooms and saute until tender but still somewhat firm, 5 minutes or so. Add salt and pepper to taste.

When the rice is done, stir the mushrooms into it. If desired, stir in Parmesan as well. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Serve hot.

Serves 4-6.