Monday, December 10, 2012

sweet potato and radish gratin + braised mustard and radish greens

Radishes are a root vegetable that I had very limited experience with before signing up for a local farm delivery service. Radishes were something that I only ate raw, sliced in a salad or as part of a crudite plate. So not true any longer. I've now eaten multiple varieties of radish --  from globe to french breakfast, to daikon... and I've had them raw, pickled, roasted and, in this latest case, joined this giant variety with sweet potatoes/yams in an awfully tasty gratin.  I also used the radish greens, combined with the gorgeous purple mustard greens in my bushel to make a nice compliment of braised greens.

There is something pretty satisfying about using everything, and about making something new, fresh, and local.

I used the mandolin to thinly slice the sweet potatoes and radish.

Layer the potato and radish in a cast iron skillet.  Dot with butter, grate on some cheese.  I used an aged white cheddar.  Repeat with an additional layer of potatoes, radish and cheese.

Simmer some whole milk with minced shallot, garlic and a rosemary sprig or two.

After you've topped the second layer of potatoes and radish with cheese, pour the warmed milk mixture over the top and press down to compact.  Bake.

While your gratin bakes, braise your greens.

Once your gratin is cool enough to cut, serve up a slice, along side of the greens. It's really good stuff.

sweet potato and radish gratin + braised mustard and radish greens

2 large sweet potatoes, thinly sliced
1 bunch of extra large variety radish, thinly sliced
1 cup grated aged white cheddar
1 1/2 cups whole milk
2 T unsalted butter, plus more for greasing the skillet
2 cloves grated garlic
2 T minced shallot
freshly grated nutmeg
2 sprigs fresh rosemary

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Butter your cast iron skillet. Arrange half of the sweet potatoes mixed with half of the radish in the skillet.  Dot with butter, and sprinkle on 1/2 cup of cheese.  Repeat with remaining potatoes, radish, butter and cheese.  While you prepare the skillet, bring the milk, shallot, garlic, nutmeg and rosemary sprigs to a simmer and allow to simmer for about 3-4 minutes.  Remove rosemary sprigs.  Pour milk mixture over potato, radish, cheese mixture and press to compact.  Cover with foil and bake for about 40 minutes.  Remove foil.  If there is a lot of extra liquid, use a turkey baster to remove a bit.  Allow to bake, uncovered, for 10 to 15 minutes longer, or until the cheese is golden brown.  Cool slightly before serving.  Serve along side braised greens.

strawberry, golden beet, avocado, blue cheese and cress salad

Beautiful strawberry surprise in this week's bushel lead to outstanding salad for lunch yesterday.  Strawberries, paper thin (on the mandolin) sliced, raw golden beets, avocado, cress and blue cheese.  I made an orange, basil, mint vinaigrette,  but a raspberry vinaigrette (or whichever is your favorite) would have been excellent here too. Simple, quick.  How pretty is that?

Thursday, December 6, 2012

meyer lemon and honey roasted winter squash with blue cheese and farro

     Sometimes you don't have a plan. If I'm honest here, this concept goes against my nature, but I try reeeeaaaalllly hard to lean into it.  A hundred years ago my college roommate (now my sister-in-law) and I participated in a yoga class. The instructor offered up some words of wisdom I have come to find ring sharply true:   "There are those who want to do yoga, and there are those who want to want to do yoga." With regards to stripping down and not knowing what's next, I fall in the later category.  I like me a plan.  So tonight, without a plan, I peered into the end-of-week-barely stocked fridge to see what might be what. And low and behold..... meyer lemon and honey roasted winter squash with blue cheese and farro ended up in my kitchen, and on my plate.

Some long-lasting winter squash from my last farmhouse bushel, a bit of Little Boy Blue cheese left from the last dairymaid cheese run, and farro in the pantry.  Thank goodness sometimes there isn't a plan.

meyer lemon and honey roasted winter squash with blue cheese and farro

2 small or one slightly bigger acorn squash or other winter squash
2 T honey
2 T olive oil
2 cloves garlic, grated
2 small meyer lemon, juiced
1/2 t salt
blue cheese, crumbled
1 to 2 T scallion, thinly sliced
1 cup farro
2 cups vegetable stock plus 1 cup water (or 3 cups water)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Cut squash in half, remove seeds, and cut each half into quarters. Place in a baking dish sprayed with a bit of canola oil.  Whisk to combine the honey, olive oil, garlic, juice of 1 1/2 lemons, and salt. Brush half of the mixture over the squash and bake for 20 minutes.  Brush remaining liquid over squash and continue baking for another 15 to 20 minutes, or until the squash is very tender (baste with the liquid in the pan every so often).

While the squash roasts, bring 2 cups vegetable stock and 1 cup water to a boil.  Rinse farro.  Add farro to boiling water, cover and reduce heat to low.  Cook for 15-20 minutes, or until al dente. Drain, and toss with juice from remaining 1/2 lemon.

Make a bed of farro on a serving platter.  Place squash on top.  Pour liquid from pan over top of squash and farro.  Crumble on blue cheese, and scatter some thinly sliced scallion on top.  Bon Appetit!