Sunday, December 21, 2008

Daikon and carrot pickle (or, more fun with root vegetables)

3/4 cup white vinegar
1/2 cup water
2-3 T sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 dried red pepper
3 cloves garlic
enough sliced daikon and carrot to loosely fill a 1-quart jar

Combine first four ingredients in a small saucepan. Heat, stirring, just until the salt and sugar are dissolved.

Put the remaining ingredients into a quart jar and pour vinegar mixture over.

Chill for at least 12 hours.

Bonus item: Annie, 3.5, was eating the sliced carrots almost as fast as I could cut them. I offered her a slice of daikon, but she said "It's too different for me."

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Another take on green salad in the winter

From left to right, that's julienned turnip, red storage radish, and carrot. The turnips are surprisingly crunchy, light, and sweet, when they're raw. Tossed in with lettuce and vinaigrette, it was quite lovely.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Root vegetable turnovers

So when I was talking on Facebook about having a surfeit of root vegetables, someone (Hi, Kris!) suggested pasties. She even sent me a pile of recipes . . . most involving lots of meat. Then I remembered I'd seen a recipe for vegetarian pasties in Sundays at Moosewood. But that wasn't quite right, either. S. helped me by mentioning the word turnover and reminding me to check Deborah Madison. At last, the pieces were coming together. Here's what I wound up with.

They are sinfully rich, thanks to the pastry -- but so satisfying on a cold dark December night . . .

The filling actually makes too much for this amount of pastry, I found. But fear not! I have at least two delicious suggestions for leftover filling.*

The filling:
2 medium onions, diced
2 cups cabbage, chopped pretty fine (1/4 inch pieces, maybe?)
2 medium-small rutabegas, diced
1 celeriac, diced
2 medium carrots, diced
2 T olive oil
about 2 cups grated extra-sharp cheddar
salt and pepper to taste

Heat oil over medium heat; add onions and a few pinches of salt. After they've softened (5-10 minutes), add the cabbage. Continue to saute for another 5 minutes, then add the root vegetables (in my case, I added them as they got chopped). Saute for another 10 minutes or so after they're all added, and then put a lid on it and let them steam till the root veggies are tender, but not mushy. Salt and pepper to taste. Remove from the heat and let cool.

Meanwhile, make the pastry. I think basically any method or pastry would work -- this is what I did.

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 T sugar
12 T butter
1/4 to 1/2 cup ice water

Mix the dry ingredients. Cut the butter into little bitty pieces and add to the flour mixture. Work it together with your fingers until it resembles the proverbial "coarse meal." Sprinkle in enough water to help it cohere, then fridge it for about 30 minutes.

Now toss the cooled vegetables with the cheese and combine thoroughly.

Divide the dough into 6 pieces (or however many you want) and roll into "circles." Mine were, uh, rustic, to say the least. Calling them circles would be, how you say, generous. Notice I didn't take pictures of that stage -- though you can certainly tell from the finished product that they weren't quite circular.

Put a generous 1/3 cup of filling onto the circle, distribute the filling, and fold over and seal with a fork. Make 3 cuts on top of the turnover to allow steam to escape. Repeat with all remaining, and then bake for 30-35 minutes at 350. Let them cool for 5 or 10 minutes.

*Extra filling suggestions:
1. Make a pot of rice. When it's just done, and plenty hot, stir in a 1 1/2 cups of the root vegetable mixture, which you have left out for an hour so it's at room temp. The cheese will melt and it will be divine.

2. Now you have leftover rice with root vegetables and cheese. Never fear. Beat an egg or two, and stir in a cup or two of the rice-and-veggies mixture, as well as a splash of milk. Heat a little pan, and some olive oil, and make yourself a nifty little frittata.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Favorite winter salad

Drumlin Farm, god love them, has a fabulous greenhouse where they grow salad greens for the winter share. It's worth the price of all that squash, any day.

Green salad is different in the winter, though, for me. We put in dried cherries from Michigan (here -- yeah, I know, it's not local, but Jon's family used to own a cottage in that part of Michigan so it feels local, in a way), crumbled feta, and sunflower seeds, as well as our usual vinaigrette. Dried fruit and seeds or nuts just don't belong in a summer salad, but they're right at home in a winter one . . .

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Roasted Kale

This is the only way Arij will eat kale. He says it reminds him of nori.

Wash it, tear it into smallish pieces, cutting out the big stems. Toss it with a tablespoon or so of olive oil and some salt, and spread it on a cookie sheet -- it doesn't need to be in a single layer, but it should be well-spread-out. Put it into a 350 degree oven for 10 minutes, then shake and/or stir the pan and put it back into the oven. Check it after 5 more minutes, and stir again, but it will probably need another 5 minutes or so again (a total of 20 minutes). Sometimes if it's not completely crisp, I'll turn off the oven and leave it there another 5 minutes or so.

Addictive for nibbling or garnishing soups or salads.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Roasted butternut squash

My new favorite way to cook butternut squash is to slice it thinly and toss it with olive oil, then spread it in a single layer on a cookie sheet at roast in the oven, turning occasionally, until it's brown and caramelized. Seriously, folks, if you have the time and patience, the result is like candy. It even sticks to your teeth like caramel. I'm sure your dentist would not approve.

Although I have nibbled a ton of it plain in the past few days, I also have been eating it other ways -- mostly with cheese and a starch, as you might be able to tell.

The top picture is slices of polenta, browned in a pan and then spread with roasted squash and cheese and run under the broiler.

The other two are one of my usual fast foods -- cheese toast -- but with that roasted squash layered between the bread and cheese.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Molasses spice cookies

For one brief, shining moment, one of my fantasies was fulfilled today. Both my children were in the kitchen helping me make cookies. I'll pause a moment to let that sink in. It stands to reason, though, doesn't it? For someone who loves to cook as much as I do, the ultimate is sharing it with people I love.

Bonus: I caught it on film!

These cookies are fabulous. They were a fave at a book group I used to belong to back in the dark ages, made by a bakery called Dancing Deer. I cut the recipe out of the Boston Globe when Arij was a baby, and they never disappoint.

I'm never sure about the protocol regarding supplying a recipe when it really, clearly belongs to someone else.

Should I post it, or not?

2 1/4 cups flour (I used 1 cup whole-wheat pastry flour and the remainder, all-purpose)
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup canola oil
1/3 cup molasses
1 egg
extra sugar for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 350. Line cookie sheets with parchment.

Combine flour, soda, salt, and spices; stir well.

Combine oil, sugar, and molasses. Beat with an electric mixer for 5 minutes (give or take). Add egg and beat for another minute.

Mix in the dry ingredients 1/4 at a time, combining thoroughly.

Form the dough into walnut-sized balls and flatten into disks. Sprinkle with sugar and bake for 12 to 15 minutes. (I'd say, experiment and see if you like them better slightly chewy, or more crisp.) Let cool on the pan for a few minutes, and then remove to a rack to cool completely.

Monday, December 8, 2008


I haven't gone away, but am experiencing technical difficulties: a nasty respiratory virus as well as a camera with a mind of its own.

Hopefully both issues will be resolved soon and I'll be back again.