Sunday, December 15, 2013

Cheddar Ale Broccoli Soup

Now, I know I had all sorts of healthy, well-cooked meals growing up. I inherited my mom's taste for a lot of things, most of them on the extreme end of Healthy. That said, I didn't eat red meat voluntarily until I was almost 20, and I didn't know I liked butter or cheese until I lived in San Francisco a couple of years later (and then I couldn't stop!). We ate a plant-based diet and I turned my nose up at Campbell's Soup from a can and actually felt afraid of American Cheese. I'm not saying the way I grew up eating was a better way than any other. In fact, there have been many times when my food snobbiness has held me back or made me feel like an outsider (more on that in posts to come). I think it also kept me from experiencing some really amazing foods! Tonight I made one of those foods I never had growing up and I certainly never made it before now. What was I thinking?!
When I think of Broccoli Cheddar soup, I think of that short red and white can of Campbell's, and I think, no, that's not "food". We don't eat that. Oh yes, we do - if it's from scratch. One taste of the soup and I felt transported to... comfort! Perfect for the day after a snow storm on a Sunday night to eat with friends.

2 T butter, olive, coconut, or canola oil
1 onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 t yellow mustard powder
12 oz ale (I used a Dogfish Head Brown Ale)
3 Russet Potatoes, chopped into 1" cubes
8-10 c chopped broccoli (including stems)
9 c vegetable stock
salt and pepper to taste
Queso (recipe below)

In a large pot, saute onion in oil for 5-10 min, careful not to let brown. Add garlic, and sprinkle mustard powder on top. Stir until all incorporated, and add ale, stirring and scraping the bottom of the pot, and letting it simmer until alcohol cooks off. Add potatoes, broccoli, and stock. Liquid should cover the vegetables but if it doesn't, add water until it does. Bring to a boil and reduce to simmer. Cook until potatoes are well cooked through and falling apart. At this point, puree with an immersion blender (or in a blender, in batches). Add and pepper to taste. Stir in the warm queso.

2 poblano peppers
2 T butter or oil
4 T flour
2 1/2 c milk
4 c shredded cheddar cheese

Over an open flame, roast the peppers, turning with tongs so all sides are blackened. Place peppers either in ice water bath or in a brown paper bag, and close it. Leave until cool to touch. Peel peppers, take out seeds, and dice them.
Over medium heat, saute peppers in oil. Sprinkle flour on top and mix well. Continuously mix as you add the milk. Stirring occasionally, heat until simmering. Lower heat and add the cheese until it is all melted and a uniform sauce. 

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

That time of year again for... Fall Lasagna

Mr. Ripe seemed confused tonight when he lamented we didn't have any fresh basil and I told him it wasn't that kind of lasagna. But I didn't elaborate beyond that, and when he suggested I do something with the tomato sauce, I realized he wasn't on to my fall lasagna shenanigans. Tonight I made a dilled butternut squash lasagna. No red sauce here. Just pureed roasted squash and bechamel, with some spinach and mozzarella in between layers of lasagna noodles. Pretty good celebration of 5 months of CSA goodies, if you ask me!

Fall Lasagna
12 lasagna noodles, cooked and laid out on parchment paper (or you can use the no-boil kind)
1 1/2 c bechamel (recipe below)
1 lb spinach leaves, steamed
1 butternut squash, peeled, cubed, and roasted at 400 for 40 min or until tender
1/4 c chopped dill
salt and pepper to taste
8 oz shredded mozzarella
8 oz fresh mozzarella, sliced

With immersion blender or potato masher, puree squash. Mix in dill, salt and pepper to taste. If too thick, add some milk. Spread a thin layer of bechamel on the bottom of the pan. Layer 3 noodles and top with squash, spinach, and shredded mozzarella. Layer 3 more noodles, and spread more bechamel on top. Again layer with squash, spinach, and cheese. Repeat one more time and top this 3rd layer with 3 more noodles. Atop these noodles, spread squash and fresh mozzarella slices. Bake at 400 degrees, covered, for 30 min, and uncovered for 10-15 or until cheese is browned.

2 c milk (full fat is best but I used 2% tonight)
3 T butter
pinch salt
3 T flour
less than an 1/8 teaspoon of freshly grated nutmeg

In a medium saucepan, bring 1 1/2 c milk and butter almost to simmer. Add salt. In a small bowl, whisk the rest of the milk with the flour. When the milk is almost at a boil, whisk in the slurry of milk and flour. When simmering begins, the flour will help the mix thicken. Simmer, whisking constantly, for a minute or 2. Remove from heat, add nutmeg. Set aside (Can go in the fridge until ready to use if made ahead).

Monday, September 16, 2013

Green Vegetable Tofu Soba

I've recently started using Pinterest. I had browsed it in the past before for recipes given the items in my fridge. But since the engagement and starting to think about my wedding, I've used it in a more committed way. I've been looking predominantly at dress styles, but still checking out the pretty food photos, too. I found this simple soba recipe on Pinterest while searching for salads with avocado in them. The recipe I found has you marinate the raw, cut tofu in an asian style dressing, then saute the pieces of tofu in a dry pan without oil. Pretty genius. The tofu gets this crispy caramelization from the sweet tart marinade, and then you toss it atop cooked soba noodles with sliced avocado, leftover marinade/dressing, and toasted sesame seeds. I added some vegetables from our CSA - blanched broccoli and sliced baby white turnips. I macerated the thinly sliced turnips with the broccoli leaves in the marinade after the tofu had cooked, so they became lightly pickled because of the vinegar. All in all, this recipe made an excellent and delicious dinner. And will most certainly make a healthy lunch, which is where I pinned it on my Pinterest.

Green Vegetable Tofu Soba

Juice of 1 lime
1/2 t cayenne pepper
2 T rice vinegar
1/4 c apple cider vinegar
1/3 c soy
3 T sesame oil
2 T vegetable oil
1 t fish sauce
2 T ginger syrup (or 2 T fresh minced ginger and 1/2 T sugar)
pinch salt

1 block tofu, cut lengthwise into thirds, and then each third into 2 or 4 triangles.
1/4 c sesame seeds
3 c broccoli florets, chopped
8 oz soba noodles
1 c very thinly sliced baby white turnips
1 ripe avocado, sliced or chopped into cubes

Whisk dressing/marinade in a bowl. Place the cut tofu in the marinade. Bring a large pot of water to boil. When it boils, blanch the broccoli for 3-4 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon or chinois. Set aside and then cook the soba as directed in the same water. Toast the sesame seeds in a large saute pan completely dry. Toast about 5 minutes, not forgetting to shake the pan every so often. Set aside. Reheat the pan over medium-high heat and sear the tofu, flipping once, so each side browns nicely. If not all the tofu fits in the pan at once, do this in batches. Once the marinade bowl has no tofu, only dressing in it, add the broccoli leaves (if any) and white turnips. Let sit until lightly pickled - about 10 min. When all the tofu is ready, you're good to go.
Place some soba in a bowl. Spoon 2 T dressing on noodles, and then add broccoli, pickled turnips/leaves, sauteed tofu, and avocado. Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Vegetarian Tofu Tacos

I know, you're thinking What?! You don't post for almost two months and then you post twice in one week!? But it's really not ever planned - I don't ever think I should make something so that I can have something to write on my blog. Usually it's the other way around - I make something first and if the process and/or the end result is the right degree of inspiring/wowing, it goes on the blog. The mood has to be right. And the fact that I just satisfied my hungover feel bad self with vegetarian tofu tacos meets the criteria for wow, so I share with you!

I do not own the book Veganomicon. However, I borrow it from the library pretty routinely. I should probably just buy it because these vegans know what they're talking about, and they are good at helping readers follow their leads. Earlier this week I made something like their vegan tofu ricotta (I blended 1/2 lb firm tofu, 1 t lemon juice, 1 clove garlic, pinch salt, 1/4 c fresh basil, 2-3 t olive oil, and 2 T nutritional yeast flakes in the food processor. The final ingredient is optional if you can't find it.). I carried this "ricotta" (which actually does taste strikingly like the real deal) for lunch with rye crackers and sliced heirloom tomatoes a couple of times this week. And just now, when I thought to myself I may pass out from hunger, I put it in a corn tortilla taco with cheddar cheese and chopped avocado and tomato. ...and then I made another.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Tomato Season!

This summer has been a busy one! Between working two jobs and transitioning to new one (phew! one! only one!), and getting engaged (!!!), I've been consumed with many other things than the blog. Sorry blog! Sorry blog readers! That said, the CSA Mr. Ripe and I decided to participate in has turned out to be no less than amazing. Each week we have gotten not 7 heads of cabbage and not pounds upon pounds of potatoes, but a variety of squashes and pole beans and root vegetables and corn and heirloom tomatoes and herbs. Not only are these organic farm fresh vegetables packed with flavor, but they smell. so. good!! Take tonight for instance - I blanched our kale and some haricot vert and tossed them with garlic, onion, heirloom tomatoes, olives, and chickpeas, all over a big of whole wheat pasta. For real. So good.

Seasonal Pasta Salad (very loosely based on Moosewood's Pasta with Salsa Cruda)
1 clove garlic, minced
2 T onion, diced
1 T red wine vinegar
2 T olive oil
2 large heirloom tomatoes, chopped
1 bunch kale
2 handfuls of haricot vert
1 1/2 c cooked chickpeas
12-16 oz pasta of your choice
1/4 c basil, torn into pieces

Bring a big pot of water to boil. Salt it heavily (it should taste like the OCEAN). While it heats to boil, mix garlic, onion, vinegar, and olive oil in a big bowl. When water is at a rolling boil, add kale and haricot vert. Count to 30. Remove vegetables from water and put into ice cold water. Now add the pasta to the still-boiling water. Cook according to instructions. Squeeze green veggies to dry and chop  into 1" pieces. Add to bowl along with tomatoes and chickpeas. When pasta is done, drain it and then put it back into the pot. Add bowl of vegetables. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add basil.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Pesto that tastes like Plants (in the best way possible)

I guess I have Mr. Ripe to thank for getting my into liking pesto. My previous meh attitude toward the typically basil paste stemmed from my opinion that basil isn't the best herb in the world (I'm sorry, it's just not my absolute favorite!) and the fact that I hate cleaning the food processor. This second fact alone keeps me from making many foods I feel only mediocre about. Like hummus. That's Mr. Ripe's territory, too.

But the recent influx of fresh green vegetables in my kitchen due to our new CSA has pushed me to change my attitude. I need to be more creative with my preparations of these greens, or else it gets boring and I start to feel like I'm drowning in them!

This week's shell peas were a little starchier than last. I steamed them with delicate leaves of lacinato kale and added them to the food processor where blanched almonds and garlic were already ground with salt, lemon juice, and olive oil. Pesto that tastes like plants. In the best way possible. I ate mine over spelt berries, but it would be great on pasta, for dinner, or crostini, as an app.

Green Vegetable Pesto
1/4 c blanched almonds
3 cloves garlic
1 1/2 t salt
1/3 c olive oil
juice of 1/2 a lemon
1 c shelled peas (fresh is best but frozen will do)
1 bunch kale, washed and roughly chopped
ground black pepper

Grind almonds, garlic, salt, 1/4 c olive oil, and lemon juice in food processor. Add green vegetables and turn processor back on, slowly pouring in remaining olive oil while machine is running. Add salt and pepper, or more lemon juice, to your liking.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Scape Pesto

For the third week of CSA pickup, there were many goodies. Among them were sugar snap peas, scapes, beets, and broccoli. Seeing scapes (and the need to finish some on-the-outs arugula) made me think of pesto. And sugar snap peas, well, snack for while I cook! Garlic scape pesto atop broiled salmon, escarole, and rigatoni made for a terrific dinner. Beautiful and bright in both flavor and appearance. You need a food processor for this one, which is a gadget everyone who cooks should own, anyway, because they are amazing and work wonders.

1/4 c blanched almonds
1/2 c olive oil
5-8 garlic scapes
1 c arugula
juice of 1/2 a lemon
1/4 c grated parmesan
salt and pepper to taste

Place almonds and less than half the oil in a food processor. Turn it on. Add the scapes and arugula. With food processor running on ON, alternately add the rest of the oil and lemon juice until there is none of either left. Add parmesan, blend while on, and add salt and pepper, to taste.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Greens Pie

Mr. Ripe and I joined a CSA. We now receive a TON of vegetables fresh from a farm in the Hudson Valley once a week. And we have been busy cooking and prepping each week, trying not to drown in this sea of green [veggies]. Believe it or not, it's quite a feat for us to use each and every last piece of green before the new crop gets picked up by us the following week.

This past Friday, in preparation for picking up new vegetables on Saturday, I dreamed up a Greens Pie. This pie would be a single olive oil crusted savory pastry filled with cheese and all of the greens left in the fridge. It would look beautiful. The olive oil crust would roll out beautifully. It would be flexible and easily slide from board to pie plate, and there it would happily wait to be filled before being baked. The filling in the dream was sort of like Spanikopita, but my way. Feta, dill, fresh chives and their blossoms, tons of greens.
OK, so the filling was spot on. The crust, however, did not favor me or my methods, and so I made my first ever savory cobbler! We invited two friends for dinner and the entire dish was devoured, completely, in less than 10 minutes. Greens Pie may have turned into Greens Cobbler, but I think it was an utter success, no doubt about it.

Greens Cobbler
1 olive oil pastry dough (2 c flour, 1/2 c olive oil, 1 t salt, ice water- up to 3 T, as needed, in the food processor and pulsed until forms a dough) refrigerated for at least an hour (mine was in for 24)
3 bunches of greens (I used 1 each of collards, spinach, and bok choy), washed, chopped, steamed, and set aside
2 boiling potatoes, boiled until soft, mashed, and set aside
olive oil
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 bunch or 1/2 c loosely packed chopped fresh dill
10 single or 1/4 c chives with their blossoms (or without)
1 c full fat cottage cheese
1/2 c crumbled feta
2 eggs lightly beaten
salt and pepper to taste

In a pan, saute in oil onion for 10 min, until soft and cooked, but not browned (use lower heat if necessary). Add garlic and continue to saute until fragrant. Empty out of pan and into a big bowl. Add herbs, cheeses, eggs, salt, and pepper. Mix well, then add in the potato and those greens. Combine everything well, and then pour into a 9x13 casserole dish. In clumps or rolled out and nicely cut squares, lay olive oil dough on top of greens mixture. Bake for 40 min on 400 degrees. Serve hot or at room temperature.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013


First I want to thank my friends at the Grand Army Green Market without whom tonight's blog post would be impossible. I also want to thank Mr. Ripe who agreed to visit the market on his way home and procure the precious fishies who lost their lives for the sake of culinary experimentation. I am a big fan of chowders, corn and New England clam being my favorite varieties. And even though I think bacon adds that extra specialness, I've always been a bit bashful about admitting I love bacon (too cliche? too sacrilege?) and even moreso about frying it up myself. Tonight I took the plunge and dabbled in the arts of fish chowder, with porgy filets from the Grand Army market. And bacon.

Porgy Chowder

4 slices bacon, chopped
1 T butter
2 onions, chopped
3 cloves garlic, smashed
4 celery sticks, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
2 lb yukon gold potatoes, chopped
3 c water
3 c vegetable, fish, or chicken stock
2 bay leaves
1 lb porgy fillets, small bones removed
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 c to 1 1/2 c half and half, milk, or cream (all optional)

In a large soup pot or dutch oven, fry bacon until just brown. Remove to paper towels. Add butter to pot and saute onions and other vegetables 5-10 min. Add liquid and bay leaves. Bring to boil and cook 10 min, or until potatoes are soft. Add bacon back to pot along with fish fillets and cook 6-8 min, or until fish easily falls apart. Season with salt and pepper and add dairy, if using.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

The Ultimate Leftovers Meal

Is it possible that I created both the most colorful and ugliest looking meal ever made? Perhaps. I had a meal lined up for the blog that I was going to post last night. After having a very good, homestyle eggplant parmy kind of dish a few months ago with friends, I set out to recreate what I thought the recipe might be. Let's just say it didn't go so well. (And it was DEFINITELY very ugly. I won't post the photos!) For dinner tonight, though, I aimed to get rid of my produce on the verge of turning and also reuse my ugly eggplant dinner. Inspired by Deb, I made a version of baked orzo with - you guessed it! - ugly eggplant, dark green kale, peas, plum tomatoes, deformed red pepper, carrots, onions, and garlic. I sauteed the chopped onion, minced garlic, and carrots, added my half-used red pepper, into the olive oiled giant saute pan. Then the rest of the veggies went in, along with a big squirt (real scientific, I know) of tubed tomato paste, a large pinch of oregano, a cup of shredded mozz cheese, and salt and pepper. Off went the heat, in went the 8 oz orzo and 1.5 c water. Covered and in the oven. And out came this baby:

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Salad and Kombucha

I planned for today to be beautiful. Yes, I checked the weather and listened to the report on the radio all week. They said the weekend would be Sunny! And Warmer! Lies! All lies! From the moment I woke (late - it's a Saturday, after all) until now, it's been cloudy and cold. However, I'll admit, there was a brief moment, in between 12:30 and 1:45, during which there was sun and warmth. I ran in the park without a sweatshirt. Just shorts and a tee. Like a summer day. When I got home, even though the clouds and cold were back, I was still committed to enjoying food and drink as if it were a summer day and I needed a light, colorful meal.

I made a power salad and prepared a new batch of kombucha.

The power salad had:
mixed greens
baby spinach
grated carrot
toasted seeds! (sunflower, pumpkin)
toasted sliced almonds
some sliced red onion
grated ginger
1 hard boiled egg, sliced
a squeeze of lemon juice

The dressing was my rendition of Goddess based on this recipe. With the ginger in the salad, oh my, my my:
2 T tahini
2 T water
2 T olive oil
1 T apple cider vinegar
smashed garlic clove
1 t soy

The salad was pretty (rare for me, I know) and delicious and tricked me into thinking that perhaps the weather had changed for the better and that a low cut, slinky dress would be appropriate attire for a walk. It was not. I was cold. But pleasantly satisfied and my belly was full.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

A Chinese-y Feast For Friends

The birthday of a close friend is always a call for celebration. The cop out method usually includes a trip to the local dive bar, the honorary birthday girl drinking for free all night, and then passing out on a nearby buddy's couch. But the more effortful method? This route requires careful, weeks- or months-long attention to trends obsessed over by Special Friend, especially when said friend is a pastry chef at a pretty well-known establishment and whose culinary interests must be taken, how should I say this...seriously?

With these critical considerations, I set out to make a plan. Special Friend had been talking for WEEKS about her desire (and attempts) to replicate the American Chinese food favorites of her childhood in her studio's galley kitchen. One night I was part of the experiment; the goal was Chinese Beef and Broccoli. The results were gloopy and goppy. We did it! American Chinese! I'll admit, not my favorite, but definitely hers. I knew what I had to do to make her birthday the Best. 

My research began (and quickly stopped) at Fuchsia Dunlop's Every Grain of Rice. Almost every recipe in this volume publication looked enticing and begged me to get cracking in the kitchen. While I recognized that the recipes were written for a Western audience (as directions, ingredients, and resources were adeptly explained), despite her name's dead giveaway, I was shocked to read that Dunlop is not from the far East but Oxford, England. No matter. I got to work. Our birthday celebration for Special Friend's 8 closest, specially chosen guests was comprised of 6 of Dunlop's dishes. 

I've printed the recipe of the crowd favorite below, which is a slight adaptation of one of Dunlop's to better suit what I had on hand after my own galley kitchen residency of six consecutive hours on Easter Sunday. If you can't find what you need at your local market, you can seek out the Asian grocery, where all of these ingredients should be in ample supply.

2 large eggplants, cut into 3" long rectangles
1 1/2 c canola or sunflower oil + 2 T more oil
1 T minced garlic
1 T minced ginger
1 1/2 T chili bean paste
1 T Shaoxing Chinese (or other) cooking wine
2/3 c chicken or veg stock 
1 t tamari
1/2 t dark soy sauce
1/2 t sugar
1/4 t corn starch mixed with 2 T water
2 T sliced green parts of scallions

Place eggplant pieces in a colander over the sink. Liberally salt all pieces and allow to sit and drain 30 minutes. Then rinse the eggplant pieces well, wring them out by hand and dry them well with paper towels. Over medium-high flame, heat oil in a cast iron pan or other medium saucepan or saute pan with at least 2" high sides. If you are like me and you do not know when your oil is ready for deep frying, you will know it is by bubbles starting to come up from the bottom of the pan, and because when you place your first piece of vegetable in the oil, it sizzles immediately. Working in batches (I did 3), deep fry eggplant rectangles about 5 minutes, turning occasionally if necessary, until golden brown on the outside. Drain done pieces on plates lined with paper towels.

In a large cast iron or saute pan, heat 2 T oil over medium heat. Add garlic and ginger and saute until fragrant. Add chili bean paste and then the wine, stock, tamari, soy sauce, and sugar. When all is simmering, add the eggplant pieces and cook until all but about 2 T of the liquid has cooked off, 3-5 minutes. Add cornstarch with water to the simmering saute as this will help the sauce thicken. Remove from heat. When ready to serve, top with sliced scallion greens. 

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

In the Country

This weekend Mr. Ripe and I visited with some friends in Western Massachusetts. It was my first time spending time there, and yet the most salient parts of the trip (like most visits I take) related to food.

In addition to our friends allowing us to spend the weekend with their family, encouraging us to sleep in and relax, our hosts also fed us two amazing, home-cooked dinners. Mr. Ripe and I were also privileged to have an opportunity to visit Kinne Brook Farm, which is owned by friends of our hosts. Kinne Brook raises Highland Cattle beef cows that are not only stunning, beautiful animals, but are are also Animal Welfare Approved. Mr. Ripe and I bought several pounds of meat from Kinne Brook, and I'll let you know how we prepare it when we use it.

Finally, the aspect of the trip that sold us in the first place was the allure of "Sugar Season". I had never before heard of such a season... my thoughts first went to sugar, and I thought, no, that can't be right, we don't harvest sugar in the Northeast. After some quick online research I learned that Sugar Season is the period of time during which sap from Maple trees is boiled into MAPLE SYRUP in what they call Sugar Houses. Some of these Sugar Houses also have small restaurants, where they serve up breakfasts to provide customers with tasty vehicles through which they can consume their syrup. While I think our visit to Kinne Brook was my favorite part of the getaway, I will certainly admit that dining in a local Sugar House was the sweetest!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Eggplant like I've never had before

A few weeks ago I bit the bullet and bought a new cookbook I'd been brooding over. Maybe brooding isn't the right word, but I just couldn't get this book off my mind! I first saw it in December and then thought about it for the next few weeks, deliberating over whether I should just take it out of the library or add it to my home collection. Anyway, I bought it. Mr. Ripe and I have since been cooking almost weekly out of it. I'll admit, it's not the simplest cookbook. It's not the easiest, nor do recipes have the fewest steps. But with some basic ability to do prep work, a spice cabinet (or good shop nearby), and time on hand, it's manageable. And everything I've cooked out of Jerusalem has been superlative and tasted like nothing I had the palette to create without using a recipe before.

I didn't have all of the ingredients on hand, so I adapted the recipe to this:


1 c quinoa
3 cloves garlic, smashed
3 t cumin
2 t coriander
1 t red chili flakes
2/3 c olive oil and 1 T for finishing
salt to taste
10 small eggplants (by small, I mean 3" in diameter) or 4 big eggplants, cut in half lengthwise
1 cucumber, diced
2/3 c buttermilk or plain yogurt
salt and pepper to taste

In a medium saucepan, bring 1 c quinoa and 2 c water to simmer. Cook for 20 min or until cooked through. For chermoula, in a small bowl, mix 2 cloves of the garlic, 2 t of the cumin, coriander, chili, olive oil, and salt. Score the flesh of the eggplants with X's with a sharp knife. Do not go through the eggplant skin. Place eggplants, cut-side up on sheet pan. Spoon chermoula over eggplant halves. Roast at 400 for 20-40 min, until easily poked with a fork. 
While eggplants are roasting, place remaining garlic clove, cumin, and olive oil in bowl. Add cucumber and buttermilk or yogurt and mix. Add salt and pepper to taste. 
To serve, place 1 big or several small eggplant halves on plate. Top with quinoa and then spoon buttermilk/yogurt sauce on top. Devour.

Monday, January 21, 2013

"So good!" he said.

And So Much Better than editing the discussion section of my final piece of work for graduate school, ever. Thank you, Deb Perelman, for providing me with constant procrastination inspiration. I couldn't have done grad school without you.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Lentil Sausage Stew

I was in a bad mood today when I left work. So instead of going straight home, I took myself to the coop. Lucky for me, I had a cookbook in the car (you know, just in case!). I scanned quickly. What would not break the bank, not take all night to cook, but take long enough to make to distract me with a fair amount of dicing and stirring? I settled on this lentil sausage stew. I almost omitted the meat and replaced it with maitake mushrooms which, believe it or not, I've never eaten, but I thought everyone would be happier with the garlic chicken sausage I found. And we were.

Lentil Sausage Stew (adapted from Tom Valenti's Soups, Stews, and One Pot Meals)

1 lb garlic chicken sausage, casings removed, chopped or rolled into mini balls
1 large onion, diced
1 large carrot, diced
1/4 celeriac or 2 celery stalks, diced
6 garlic cloves, sliced
4 c French lentils
1 T olive oil
4 c + 2 c chicken stock
1 bay leaf
1 t dried thyme
1/2 T salt
ground pepper

In a Dutch Oven or medium-large saucepan, saute sausage over low heat until browned. Remove to paper towel lined plate. In fat from sausage, saute onion, carrot, celery, and garlic, 8-10 min over low heat, until onions are translucent but not browned. Add lentils and olive oil, and then 4 c chicken stock, bay leaf, thyme, salt and pepper. Bring to boil and then lower heat. Simmer 10 min. Add 2 more cups of stock, and then add the browned sausage to pot. Simmer 30 min or until lentils are soft but not mushy. Check seasoning and garnish with special olive oil, croutons, or fresh herbs.