Tuesday, October 30, 2012

garlicky kale and balsamic onion pizza

Monday night often becomes pizza night at our house.  The meal comes together quickly, it's easily made into a meatless meal choice, AND, it's one of my husband's favorite eats.  Me, you ask?  Well, one of my favorite eats is garlicky greens.  The two together?  Magic.

To our good fortune, the Farmhouse bushel arrived this weekend with a lovely, green bunch of kale.  Yep.  Monday's meal was set.

garlicky kale and balsamic onion pizza
makes two small (8-10 inch) pizzas

pizza dough for 2 small pizzas
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 red onion, sliced
1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1/4-1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 bunch kale, shredded
4 cloves garlic, grated
nutmeg, freshly grated
sea salt
olive oil
pizza sauce (make your own, or Whole Foods makes a good quality, inexpensive jar to have on hand)
grated cheese (I used a combination of what I had on hand -- fontina, mozzarella and parmesan)

Preheat oven to 475 degrees.

Heat 1 Tablespoon olive oil over medium heat in a dutch oven, or heavy-bottomed skillet.  Add in the onion and saute to caramelize.  Once the onions are tender, add in 1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar and continue to saute until the onions are very tender and lightly caramelized.  Add in the garlic and crushed red pepper and saute for 30 seconds more.  Add in the shredded kale and a splash of water.  Stir well, and allow the kale to wilt while you grate in a bit of fresh nutmeg.  Season lightly with salt.

Transfer your prepared crust to a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper (or, if you run out of parchment, as I did last night, sprinkle the cookie sheet with a bit of corn meal).   Brush the edge of the pizzas with olive oil.  Spread a small amount of pizza sauce (we go very light on the sauce at our house, maybe 2 Tablespoons per pizza).  Lightly sprinkle on some of cheese.  Top each pizza with half of the kale/onion topping.  Add another sprinkle of cheese.  Bake at 475 degrees for 5 minutes, remove parchment (if using), rotate pizza, and bake an additional 6 minutes, until the cheese is golden brown.  Cool slightly, slice and savor!   Simple.  Told ya it was a snap!

Buon appetito

Saturday, October 27, 2012

arugula, pickled golden beet, goat cheese and roasted chick pea salad

Now THIS is a glorious day in Texas.  Sun shining, breeze blowing, high temp in the 60s --- SaWEET! It's the kind of day you have the windows and back door wide open (which makes our dogs very, very happy), you have a good book in hand (Life of Pi, one of my top 3 favs of the last decade, perfect for a re-read before the film releases next month), and lots of good things going on in the kitchen.

Lucky for me, today was Farmhouse bushel day, and my box arrived with a butternut squash just right for a slow butternut squash and beef stew in the crockpot (did I mention good things and GREAT smells going on in the kitchen?).  The box also had the most perfect, young arugula, just what I needed to make the salad I specially pickled the golden beets for the other day.

Add in some goat cheese, and roasted chick peas, and you are in business, baby!  I made a simple vinaigrette of olive oil (1 1/2 T), and some of the beet pickling liquid (1T).  Season with salt and pepper and lightly dress the arugula.  Crumble some goat cheese, sprinkle on the chick peas, and add nice share of the crunchy pickled beets to the plate.  Now that's a right nice late afternoon starter for the stew that smells like Heaven, bubbling away in the crock pot.  Time for a glass of wine, the easy chair by the window with the breeze, a comfy blanket and a  movie.  All Saturdays should be so lovely.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

quick pickled golden beets with orange peel, pink peppercorns and honey

So, yesterday I set off to do one thing -- pickle radish from my bushel --, and was, of course, side-tracked by these golden pretties.  I love, love, love beets. Heart the earthy, sweet way they taste, the smell of them roasting, the texture -- like 'em raw in a slaw too  -- I dig it all. So it's not surprising that while I was preparing the pickling liquid for my radish (remember them?), I started thinking about the bunch of golden beets in the fridge, and how amazing they would be pickled in a salad -- or along side a meat, or chopped as a garnish for soup, or eaten straight from the jar without abandon... you get my point here. 

 I love that these quick fridge beets don't ask for boiling in advance, or lots of effort for all they yield in return.  Not these golden ones. Nope, they sail on easy the entire route, and present the perfect "just-a-tad-bit-of-crunch" as an end result. That's what I'm talking about. 

All the while I prepare the beets, I'm drooling, thinking about a salad with goat cheese, roasted chickpeas and these tangy/crunchy/sweet delights (that salad is coming this weekend, no doubt!).

quick pickled golden beets with orange peel, pink peppercorns and honey
(makes about 1 quart-sized jar)
1 bunch of golden beets (mine had 3 extra large beets), peeled, cut in half and sliced very, very thin
1 1/2 cups rice wine vinegar
1 1/2 cups water
2 heavy teaspoons honey
1 teaspoon orange peel
1/2 teaspoon crushed aleppo pepper (pink peppercorn)
1 teaspoon salt

Place the sliced beets in a clean jar. Sprinkle on the orange peel and pink peppercorn.   Heat the vinegar, water, honey and salt to a boil in a saucepan. Pour pickling liquid over beets and allow to cool completely.  Close lid and shake to incorporate the spice.  Refrigerate, shaking occasionally,  for 3-4 days and enjoy!! They will keep for at least a couple of weeks in the fridge. 

As a side note, the pickled radish petty much rocked, too. 

Monday, October 15, 2012

creamy-tangy-goat-cheesey shells with tatsoi and bacon

For meatless monday?  Okay,  I know, I know.  This can't technically qualify for our meatless monday supper, but we're making an allowance here.  It's bacon, after all, and worthy of the infraction.  We just  made sure to go fully meatless on the other meals.

A couple of weeks ago, I was pleasantly surprised to find a green in my bushel  that I hadn't tried, or even heard of,  before -- tatsoi.  What a gorgeous bundle -- vibrant, deep, dark green, spoon-shaped leaves -- a real treat to see when we opened our box. We were intrigued. The first bunch served us well in salads, but we wanted to try something different with it when it showed up again in Saturday's box.

Remembering we had a lovely farmstead goat cheese, a baby caprino, in the the fridge, as well as a couple of smokey slices of applewood bacon, this pasta dish took shape and came together quickly.

creamy-tangy-goat-cheesey shells with tatsoi and bacon
serves 2-3 servings

8 oz whole wheat pasta shells
1 cup pasta water, divided and reserved
2 slices thick cut bacon, cut into lardons
1/2 yellow onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, grated
1/2 teaspoon paprika
freshly grated nutmeg
1 bunch tatsoi, leaves coarsely chopped
4 oz (or so)  caprino cheese, cut into cubes
sea salt and freshly cracked pepper to taste
olive oil

Boil pasta  to al dente according to package directions.  Reserve 1 cup pasta water.  Drain and set aside.  Heat 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil in dutch oven or heavy bottomed skillet over medium heat.  Add bacon lardons and cook until crisp.  Remove from pan and allow to drain on paper towels. Add the onion to the pan with the bacon fat and saute for 4-5 minutes.  Use a splash or so as needed of the pasta water to help deglaze the pan.  Add in the grated garlic, paprika, a bit of freshly grated nutmeg, salt and pepper to taste, and saute one minute more.  Stir in tatsoi and allow to wilt.  Once the tatsoi is wilted and incorporated with the onion mixture, add in the diced goat cheese and 1/2 cup reserved pasta water.  Stir constantly until the cheese fully melts into the sauce.  Add in the cooked pasta and toss to combine.  Stir in the bacon, saving some back for garnish.  Turn your pasta out into a bowl and garnish with a drizzle of olive oil, freshly cracked black pepper and the remaining bacon lardons.  Dig in!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

kabocha squash butter

This squash butter hollers out loud and clear that it is the Autumn season, and tastes like pumpkin pie in a jar.  All those spicy, sweet flavors married into one kick butt spread. Now that's good stuff.  Simple to make, and even easier to devour on your favorite toasted bread.

I had a kabocha squash from my last bushel just waiting for a purpose, and yesterday, its destiny was fulfilled.

Once roasted, the pulp is combined with fresh ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, brown sugar and fresh apple juice, and allowed to simmer on the stove until thickened.  OH, THE SMELL, as this cooks.... it's unbelievable.

Cool completely, and fill up your jar.  This will last up to a month or better in the fridge.

kabocha squash butter
makes about 1 jar

1 good sized kabocha squash
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
3-4 whole cloves, ground/crushed
pinch of sea salt
1 cup fresh apple juice (I used two Texas Gala Apples to produce one cup)
1/2 cup brown sugar

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Slice squash in half, and remove seeds. Lay, cut side down, in a baking dish filled with about an inch of water.  Bake for 45 minutes to an hour, depending on size of squash, until flesh is very tender.  Remove from oven and allow to cool completely.  Scoop flesh out and place in a blender along with cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, salt and apple juice.  Puree until smooth.

Place a heavy bottomed pot or dutch oven over a medium low heat and add in the puree.  Stir in the brown sugar, and allow to simmer, stirring frequently, for about 35-40 minutes until the mixture is nicely thickened. Lower the heat as needed.  Remove from heat and allow to cool completely.  Place in jar and refrigerate.  Will keep up to a month in the refrigerator.