Sunday, March 31, 2013

Spinach Apple Pizza with Dried Tomatoes and Gouda

I made this with some of the last local apples of the season (thanks Apex Orchards!), local spinach, dried tomatoes from my own garden, and Gouda cheese made by Upinngil Farm.

1 14-inch pizza crust
olive oil
1/4 lb spinach, lightly steamed
1 small apple, cored and thinly sliced
1/4 cup dried tomatoes, reconstituted in hot water and drained
2 oz Gouda, in small chunks
2-3 oz. mozzarella, shredded or in small chunks

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

Spread the steamed spinach over the oiled pizza crust.  Top with slices of apple and dried tomato, then sprinkle with the Gouda and mozzarella.  Bake for 15-18 minutes, until the crust is done and the cheese begins to brown.

Serves 3-4.

Cinnamon-Chili Roasted Parsnips

Sweet, spicy, and just a little bit caramelized.  My five-year-old, pickier by the day, came back for seconds on these and we finished them off in one sitting.  Especially delicious with extra sweet spring-dug parsnips.

2 lbs parsnips, peeled and sliced 1/4-inch thick (woody cores removed as needed)
1 Tbsp walnut oil (or substitute canola)
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp chili powder
Salt to taste

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Place the parsnips in a more-or-less single layer in a 9x13-inch baking pan.  Drizzle with the oil, then sprinkle with the cinnamon, chili powder, and salt, and toss to coat evenly.  Roast for 20-30 minutes, stirring once or twice to prevent sticking, until tender.

Serves about 4.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Moroccan Chicken and Chickpeas with Kale

A little turmeric makes this dish a cheery bright yellow.  It's simple and easy but tastes deliciously of somewhere else.  This is adapted from Claudia Roden's New Book of Middle Eastern Food, which I have recently acquired and am liking greatly.

You can use chicken legs, drumsticks, boneless thighs, even breasts here.  Or cut up a whole chicken and use it all (for a more generous number of servings).  Serve this over rice.

Olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
Chicken pieces for 4 people
2-4 tsp lemon juice (depending how tangy you like it)
3 cups cooked chickpeas
1/4 - 1/2 cup water
3-4 cups chopped kale, stemmed removed
Salt and pepper to taste

Heat a little olive oil in a braising pan, Dutch oven, or other wide bottomed pan.  Add the onion and saute over medium heat until translucent, 4-5 minutes.  Add the garlic and saute for another 1-2 minutes.  Stir in the turmeric, then add the chicken, turning each piece over a few times to coat with turmeric.  Add the lemon juice, chickpeas, and 1/4 cup water.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover, and simmer until the chicken is cooked through (exact timing will depend on what you use for chicken pieces).  Stir occasionally and add a little more water if needed to keep it a bit soupy.  When the chicken is nearly done, add the kale, stir well, and cover again. When the chicken is done, add salt and pepper to taste.  Serve over rice.

Serves about 4.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Creamy Parsnip and Potato Soup with Bacon

This was definitely a winner!  Enjoy it as the snow melts and softening fields mean the harvest of spring-dug parsnips, which are extra sweet after a stay in the ground through the winter concentrates their sugars.

If you can't bear to use heavy cream, skip it or substitute milk.  It won't be the same, though.  For a still-tasty vegetarian version, skip the bacon and use vegetable stock.

1 Tbsp butter
2-3 large shallots, finely chopped (or 1 medium onion)
2 1/2 lbs parsnips, peeled and sliced (woody cores removed if needed)
2 1/2 lbs potatoes, peeled and cubed
Chicken stock
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1 cup heavy cream
4-6 strips cooked bacon
Salt to taste

Melt the butter in a soup pot.  Add the shallots and saute over medium heat for 2-3 minutes.  Add the parsnips and potatoes and enough stock to cover.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until the vegetables are tender, 15-20 minutes.

When the vegetables are tender, puree the soup using an immersion blender or do it in batches in a regular blender.  Turn off the heat and stir in the nutmeg, cream, bacon, and salt.  Serve hot.

Serves 4-6.

Kale Pesto

As long as you don't expect this to be basil, it's delicious.  Not only a good winter substitute for fresh basil pesto, but tasty in its own right.  Also: made of kale yet happily consumed by my leafy-green-eschewing five-year-old (who loves pesto).  Serve it with pasta like you would any pesto, or on pizza, perhaps with some roasted winter squash and pesto.  Lacinato (dinosaur) kale is best here, but use whatever you have.  Red Russian would be a good second choice.

8-12 oz kale (1 large bunch)
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1 cup toasted walnuts
1 Tbsp lemon juice, or more to taste
Olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Steam or boil the kale until nicely wilted but not mushy, then let it cool until you can handle it.

Place the cooked kale, garlic, walnuts, and lemon juice in a food processor.  Add a couple tablespoons of olive oil and puree.  Add additional olive oil until it reaches a consistency you like.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Use immediately, refrigerate, or freeze.

Makes 1 1/2 -2 cups.