Friday, March 25, 2016

Steamed 'Hard Boiled' Eggs

I learned this trick a couple years ago. For some reason steaming rather than boiling makes the eggs easier to peel. I post it now because I'm about to cook a bunch of eggs for Easter coloring. This works best if you have a steamer basket.

Put about an inch of water in the bottom of a Dutch oven and bring to a boil. Place the steamer basket in the pot, then add as many eggs as will fit (or as you want to cook) in a single layer. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover the pot, and cook for 12 minutes (if using small or very large eggs, you may need to adjust this time up or down).

Remove eggs from heat and cool immediately in ice water unless you want to serve them hot for some reason. Peeling under running water helps keep the job clean by washing away the little bits of shell.

Note: you can make 'soft boiled' eggs this way, too -- just cut the steaming time in half.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Cock-a-Leekie Soup

I bought a bit bunch of leeks at the last farmers market. They make a delicious flavor base for this soup. Cock-a-leekie is a traditional Scottish soup, with many variations on the recipe; this is my take on it. You can cook this with bone-in chicken if you like, you just need to take the meat off the bones and discard them before serving. Despite the apparent simplicity of the recipe, this soup is rich in flavor and very warming.

2 Tbsp butter
5-6 fat leeks, thinly sliced
2 lbs boneless chicken thighs or leftover cooked chicken meat
1/2 cup pearl barley
10 prunes, chopped
Chicken stock
Salt and pepper to taste
2 Tbsp white wine vinegar (optional, but I like it)

Melt the butter in a soup pot. Add the sliced leeks and saute, stirring frequently, over medium heat until very tender, about 5-7 minutes. Add the chicken, barley, prunes, and enough stock to cover generously. Bring to a boil, then simmer until the chicken is cooked through and the barley is tender, about 20-30 minutes.

Scoop the chicken pieces out of the pot and break them up or shred them with a fork, then return to the pot. Add salt and pepper to taste, along with the white wine vinegar if using.

Serves 4-6.

Chili Coconut Fried Parsnips

Coconut oil pairs really nicely with the parsnips' sweetness, and a bit of chili powder adds some kick.

2 1/2 - 3 lbs parsnips, peeled
3 Tbsp coconut oil
1/2 tsp chili powder, or taste
Salt to taste

Slice the parsnips into sticks a couple inches long, cutting out the woody cores.

Bring a pot of water (a Dutch oven will do) to a boil and salt it. Boil the parsnips until tender, about 5-8 minutes. Drain.

Melt the coconut oil in a large skillet. Add the parsnips and fry over medium high heat, stirring frequently, until nicely golden browned. Sprinkle with chili powder and salt and stir well to coat. Serve hot.

Serves about 4.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Slow Cooker Smoked Pork Shoulder

I picked up a smoked pork shoulder from Balky Farm on a whim at the last farmers market, and a fortuitous whim it was. This is an extremely simple treatment, but it was addictively delicious. And, of course, the leftovers - in the form of pulled pork - can be used for all kinds of things.

3 lb smoked pork shoulder (or larger)
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1/2 cup water

Do  not trim the pork before cooking, as the fat will help keep it moist and add flavor (trim after cooking).

Place all ingredients in the slow cooker. Cook on Low for 7-8 hours (a bit longer would probably be fine; this is quite forgiving). Just before serving, remove the should from the slow cooker. Trim off the large pieces of fat and cut up the meat into chunks. Alternatively, shred it with a couple of forks to make pulled pork straightaway.

Serves 4-6.

Thai Peanut Slaw

Spring is here, but we're still eating storage crops. This recipe calls for carrots and celeriac alongside the cabbage, but you could sub in (or add) other root veggies like turnips or winter radishes if you like. Substitute thinly sliced red onion for the scallions if you don't have scallions on hand. And you could garnish with fresh cilantro if you have some.

1 small green cabbage, very thinly sliced
1 small celeriac root, peeled and shredded
1 large carrot, shredded
1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced (optional)
1/2 cup Peanut Sauce
3 Tbsp rice vinegar

Combine all veggies in a large bowl.

Combine peanut sauce and rice vinegar and stir well. Drizzle over the veggie mixture and toss until all veggies are coated. Refrigerate slaw for at least a few hours and up to a few days. Serve cold or room temperature..

Serves about 8.

Garlicky Coconut Soy Chard

I don't normally get excited about sauteed greens, but these were amazing! My husband and I polished them off and wished for more. You can use the chard stems or not, depending on your preference and their condition. As written, this recipe only serves two, so double or triple it if you are serving a larger group. Substitute kale if you like.

1 Tbsp coconut oil
6-8 cloves garlic
1 medium bunch Swiss chard (about 12 ounces), sliced into ribbons
1 Tbsp soy sauce

Melt the coconut oil in a medium skillet. Add the garlic and saute over medium high heat for a minute or two. Add the chard and saute until tender. Drizzle the soy sauce over it and saute another 30 seconds to a minute. Serve hot.

Serves 2.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Maple Balsamic Roasted Squash Wedges

Sweet and tangy, these get a little caramelized on the outside with the maple syrup.

2-3 lbs smallish roundish winter squash
3-4 Tbsp Maple Balsamic Vinaigrette

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Slice the squash in half from top to bottom and scoop out the seeds. Cut into wedges approximately 1 inch wide in the middle.

Arrange squash wedges on a rimmed baking sheet. Make sure they have plenty of room and do not overlap. Brush liberally with the maple balsamic vinaigrette, both sides.

Bake for approximately 30 minutes, until squash is tender. Turn over once if desired (not required).

Serves 4-6.