Tuesday, October 16, 2012

I eat hippie food.

Well duh, I mean, for those of you who know me, or who have eaten a meal I've cooked, you know that I at least Make Hippie Food. I also eat it. Tonight was no exception. It was sort of a double-decker quesadilla type thing with sliced kabocha squash in between the layers. I am starting to love kabochas, and I'm not sure why I never really made them before, but the most awesome thing about them is you can eat the skin. Bye bye peeling squash.

Serve with red cabbage/apple slaw.

For the slaw:
1/4 red cabbage, shredded
1/2 c crisp tart apple, shredded
2 T apple cider vinegar
1 t honey

Mix ingredients and let sit a good 10 min. Done.

For the kabocha squash tortilla melt:
1 kabocha squash, seeded and sliced into 1/2" slices
3 tortillas
3/4 c cheddar, jack, or feta (I used cheddar and feta)

On a slip of parchment paper, or on an oiled cookie sheet, roast kabocha slices at 400 for 10 min on each side. Done when easily pierced with a fork. In an 8x8 baking dish, place first tortilla. Place one layer of squash slices on top, and then sprinkle with about 1/3 of the cheese. Place next tortilla on top, and then the rest of the kabocha slices, and then more cheese. Place final tortilla on top, top with remaining cheese. Cover with foil or lid and bake 15 min at 350. Uncover and bake another 10 min, or until brown on top.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Weeknight Polenta

I subscribe to the Culinate newsletter. Though it tends to be quite basic, I think it gives me a boost I sometimes need to help me remember to cook the simple recipes that I love to both make and eat. When I saw this recipe in my email a few weeks ago, I knew I had to come back to it soon for a cold night, homey rendition of polenta. I've been a fan of polenta for a few years now (How did I not know I liked it mushy sooner?*), but I usually just cook it until the water has absorbed, and I used a rough 2 or 3 to 1 ratio. What I a fool I was!

This recipe makes The. Best. Polenta. The key is to use WAY more water than polenta. The ratio is 8:1! Like my traditional recipe, You boil water, then slowly pour in polenta, whisking all the while. But then you lower the heat and get ready to cook for about an hour, stirring for a full minute once every 10 minutes. If it starts to get too thick or is sticking to your pan and that bothers you, add 1/2 cup more water. I'll write it again. This is the best polenta I've ever made. When it's done, just stir in a pat of butter or some grated parmesan or both or neither. Top with veggies on hand. One night we did kale, tomato, and honey nut squash (so cute mini butternuts!) with baby lima beans, another night we did spicy sausage.

*I know I grew up eating polenta. For some reason, my mother only served it to us in solid squares, broiled and served alongside veggies instead of my preferred bowl-style.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Pink Seed Cake

In case you couldn't tell, that cake is pink. Mr. Ripe bought my for my birthday a *beautifully* done cookbook. It's Nigel Slater's Tender. Now, Nigel Slater is British. So is his book, even though every now and then it seems the editor has the American in mind and says something like *this can be bought in the US...Those "tips" aside, the book is written like it's for sale in Britain. I don't know if this counts as "orientalizing" seeing as Britain is NOT part of the orient, but I feel a bit like I am committing an un-PC act of orientalizing when I say with perfectly good intentions in praise of this book that the language and style of the book are ADORABLE! I don't know how else to describe it, it's just that British charm, it's so...quaint? Charming?
In addition to the endearing prose, the premise of the book is recipes from produce from Slater's picturesque garden, and it's not only savory. On top of recipes for meat and veg (that I will certainly be trying out, especially during the upcoming colder months), Slater includes recipes and ideas forbaked items, such as this Beet Seed Cake. I try to always have a good selection of seeds on hand, so I was thrilled when I saw another good way to use them. I was very happy with the outcome of the cake, as seemed the guests I gifted it to at brunch a couple of weeks ago. Will be making again, maybe with a cream cheese frosting just for some spunk. The recipe is below; Slater also calls for raisins, but I omitted those because I'm not such a fan of raisins in my cake yet*. (*I'm working on it!)
Pink Seed Cake adapted only slightly from Nigel Slater's Beet Seed Cake
1 3/4 c whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 t baking soda
2 1/2 t baking powder
1 t salt
1/2 t cinnamon
3/4 c sunflower oil
1 c sugar
3 eggs, separated
2 raw beets, peeled and grated
juice of half a lemon
3/4 c mixed seeds (sunflower, pumpkin, flax)
Lemon glaze (1/2 c confectioners sugar mixed well with a couple Tablespoons lemon juice)
handful of poppy seeds

Preheat oven to 350. Lightly butter loaf pan and line bottom with parchment paper. Beat egg whites to form soft peaks. Set aside in clean bowl. Beat oil and sugar in stand mixer or by hand. Add egg yolks one at a time, beating in between each addition. Add beets, lemon juice, seeds. Stir to combine. Add flour, baking soda and powder, salt, and cinnamon. Mix well. Fold egg whites into batter using a large metal spoon or rubber/silicone spatula. (For tips on how to "fold in" see this video.) Pour batter into prepared pan and bake about 45 min, or until a toothpick or skewer inserted into the center comes out clean or slightly moist but not sticky. Cool cake on rack in pan until warm to the touch. Take out of pan and glaze, then sprinkle with poppy seeds. Let glaze set in fridge or on counter for at least 10 min before serving.