……………………………………………………. Baking our mark

Asparagus, pea and radish salad June 27, 2012

For the first time ever, I’m growing radishes in my yard. They’re terribly exciting because the red starts to show through the soil very early – and the greens grow to be enormous rather quickly.

As a result, I’m been looking for radish recipes – and something along these lines seems to be quite the thing this summer. It’s quick, easy and really delicious.

Note that it’s important to eat this right when it’s done. While it’s still edible, refrigeration does nothing good to the dish.

Asparagus, Pea and Radish Salad– adapted from a bunch of sources; everyone seems to like some combination of radishes and peas as a summer salad

2 tsp. cumin
2 Tbs. fresh lime juice
2 tsp. honey
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 Tbs. chopped fresh dill

1.5 lbs. asparagus, tough ends discarded
5 oz. frozen peas, thawed
8 or so radishes, greens discarded, thinly sliced
1 Tbs. butter

In a small bowl, whisk together cumin, lime juice and honey. Slowly add oil, then stir in dill. Set dressing aside (or refrigerate if you’re making ahead of time).

Steam asparagus until crisp-tender (less than you normally would), then immediately transfer to an ice bath. Let it cool completely, then pat dry. At this point, you can refrigerate the asparagus for up to a day.

In a large pot, heat butter over medium. Add asparagus and heat until it begins to get warm. Then add peas and cook until vegetables are warm, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, transfer to a bowl, and stir in radishes.

Pour dressing over and stir to coat. Serve immediately.


Chipotle Mac and Cheese October 17, 2011

Finally – the leaves are beginning to turn and it’s cold enough that I get to wear  blazer-weight jackets around outside. That also means I get to start cooking heavier foods (without feeling guilty about it).

Mac and cheese was first on the list this fall. (Pumpkin things are coming next.) Now, we love mac and cheese here – we’ve made pumpkin Gruyere mac, nacho mac, and three cheese mac, and some other random cheese/pasta dishes.

This weekend, I was all about this easy chipotle mac. (I love all things chipotle, so I tweaked the original recipe to be spicier and more adobo-y. Watch out.)

Chipotle Mac and Cheese

3/4 cup onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
2 – 3 Tbs. chipotle chilies in adobo, finely chopped
2 Tbs butter
1/8 cup all-purpose flour
2.5 cups milk
1 can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
1/2 lb noodles, such as macaroni, cooked al dente
8-oz cheese, such as cheddar and monterey jack, grated
1/8 cup breadcrumbs

In a large saucepan, cook butter, onion, garlic, and chipotles, stirring until onion is soft. Then, add flour and cook for about 3 more minutes. Whisking constantly, add the milk, then bring the mixture to a boil.   Stir in the tomatoes and simmer for 2 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Add pasta to the mixture, then stir in the cheese. Transfer the combination to a buttered casserole dish. Sprinkle bread crumbs on top, and bake at 350 for 25 minutes, or until golden and bubbly.


Shaved Squash Salad June 22, 2011

At my [rented] house in Philadelphia, I have a vast, spacious yard tiny patio with a large[ish] planter box. It is just perfect for growing squash. My squash plants have become, since I first planted them in April, crazy giant monster plants. So, now, I have an incredible amount of squash. [The boyfriend is quite pleased that it’s a mild yellow squash – he was worried he was going to get saddled with pounds of butternut squash when I told him what I planted.]  So, when I saw a recipe on B.A. for a squash salad that involves no cooking but lots of garlic, I knew I had to try it. And, it’s great. Went quite nicely with the other things I served at my recent mini-dinner party.

Shaved Squash Salad 

3 Tbs. almonds, roasted, then coarsely chopped
1 lb. summer squash [I used 2 yellow squashes and 1 zucchini]
3 to 4 handfuls of baby arugula

Dressing [I doubled this part of the recipe since I like the flavor of garlic better than the flavor of squash]
2.5 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbs. lemon juice
1 minced garlic clove
Salt and pepper

Trim the ends off summer squash. Using a vegetable peeler, thinly slice the squash lengthwise into strips and transfer to a large bowl.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the dressing, then pour over squash shavings. “Toss” (as much as you can toss squash shavings) to coat, and let rest for a few minutes. Then, add some handfuls of baby arugula to the mix.

Garnish with the almonds. [Yes, it’s worth it to buy almonds – without the texture differential in there, the salad doesn’t seem as exciting.]


Curried Mango Quinoa Salad June 16, 2011

M and I, though we haven’t lived in the same apartment for 3 years now–and we never cooked them together when we did share an abode, both love quinoa salads. I’d say that they’re just perfect for warm weather, as M also recently made a delicious berry quinoa salad.  But, they’re also nice in the fall and winter, as evidenced by our fall vegetable quinoa hash and pomegranate quinoa dish. Basically, we eat them year-round. I just happened to make a summery one.

I made this one to take to a fancy shmancy barbecue that, sadly, we weren’t able to attend since the boyfriend didn’t feel well. So, I’ve been eating what I intended to leave there (yes, for you, my vegetarian friend who’s eaten on the road too much lately) and thoroughly enjoying it. It goes quite well with the kale-mushroom quiche I made this week.

Curried Mango Quinoa Salad from Bon Appetit

1 cup quinoa, cooked according to package directions, then cooled
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 Tbs. cider or white wine vinegar
1 Tbs. mango chutney [preserves also work if you don’t have chutney]
1 1/2 tsp. curry powder
1/4 tsp. dry mustard
1 cup chopped, peeled mango, plus mango spears for garnish
1 cup chopped cucumber
4 Tbs. chopped green onion, plus 1 Tbs. for garnish
Baby spinach

In a small bowl, mix together oil, vinegar, chutney, and spices, whisking well to blend.

In a larger bowl, combine cooled quinoa, mango, cucumber, and green onion, mixing to combine. Then add about 3/4 of the dressing, tossing all to coat.

To serve, place a bed of baby spinach on a plate, then spoon quinoa mixture on top of greens. Add more dressing as desired. Garnish with the mango spears and reserved green onions.

Also, in case you’re not an expert mango chopper, here’s B.A.’s tip:

Cut mango in half lengthwise, slicing around the pit. Cut a half-inch grid into flesh of each half. Using your thumbs, push up skin side so cubes stick out. Slice off cubes at base.

Barley, Bacon, and Root Vegetable Pilaf May 6, 2011

Filed under: Side dish — krandle @ 6:46 pm
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Again, trying to use up what’s in my cupboard – plus, this is a recipe I copied down from my mom over a year ago, and I’ve been waiting for an excuse to try it. You’re supposed to use a variety of veggies, but I used what I had (carrots), and it was still delicious. I could see this working pretty well with beets too, though it would probably end up pink, like my fall hash.

I love barley – such a great flavor, and a different texture. [I recognize that my execution of this dish proves I need to become a better foodie, but, whatever. I liked it and it’s incredibly easy.] And yes, that’s a picture of the dish on my desk at work. It even tastes good at the office.

Pearl Barley, Bacon, and Root Vegetable Pilaf 

2 cups chicken broth (or water + 1/2 tsp. salt)
1 cup pearl barley, rised, drained, and picked over

Bring the broth to a boil in a medium saucepan. Then, stir in barley. Reduce heat to medium and simmer, covered, until barley is tender, about 30 minutes. Drain.

6 oz. bacon, diced
1 shallot, minced [Yeah, yeah, I used an onion. You try cooking for one (or sometimes two) and keeping all the types of onion-like vegetables on hand without breaking the bank…..but seriously, if you have an idea for solving this problem, let me know.]
1 1/4 cups 1/4- to 1/3-inch cubes peeled root vegetables (i.e., celery root, carrots, turnips, parsnips, butternut squash)
Pinch of sugar (small pinch)
1-2 Tbs. fresh lemon juice, or more to taste
1-2 tsp. thyme
1-2 tsp. rosemary

Saute bacon in large pot over medium heat until brown and crisp.  Using slotted spoon, transfer bacon to paper towels.  Pour off all but 2 Tbs. dripping from pot.  Add shallot; stir 30 sec.  Add cubed vegetables and sugar; saute 6 min. Add barley, lemon juice, and herbs; stir 2 min.  Mix in bacon; season with salt and pepper.

If you make this ahead of time, you may need to add water (tablespoon by tablespoon) to moisten when you reheat it so it stays moist.


Beer-Baked Beans May 4, 2011

I recently read that you’re supposed to throw out all of your spices and get new ones after a year or two because the flavors get “muddy.” Uh, ok, but who is going to pay for that? Spices are the most expensive thing on my shopping list. The reason I don’t cook with saffron is I can’t afford it.

Anyways, it got me thinking about how I need to use up some of the staples I keep around, just to make sure they stay fresh. And what I wanted to go through this time was my remaining dried white beans. And, I happened to be attracted by Everyday Food’s “Cooking with Beer” series of recipes…So, we get beer-baked white beans.

So delicious. They have a good tangy flavor and aren’t so heavy that I’m wishing I’d made them in the fall. Really awesome side dish. (If only I had the wherewithal to make a main dish this week…) recipe below (more…)


Bacon-Garbanzo Bean Salad April 30, 2011

It’s the end of an era: my roommate, a boon from craigslist, has officially moved on to a more wonderful job in an area with more wonderful weather. Her adorable cats, one of whom was the star of a dinner party, are gone, and I’m the only one filling up our hardboiled egg carton.

And, to overcome a general morose atmosphere, I am turning to new recipes to occupy me (I’m also reading this website that makes me giggle). I’ve also turned to a horrifyingly unhealthy “meat” that I haven’t used in months (thanks to the influence of said roommate’s dedication to salads, lean protein, and working out): I’m cooking with bacon.

Once I’ve opened the package, I can’t just stop cooking with it – I’m really stuck until I’ve used the whole dang thing. Unfortunately, I don’t have a brunch scheduled for this weekend, so I’ve had to find ways to use it that don’t involve blatantly pawning it off to people who are eating pancakes.

Thankfully, I’ve been trolling cooking blogs and saving all the recipes I’ve liked…and I found a wonderful blogger who loves bacon. LOVES bacon like I love cayenne and chocolate and butter. She happens to have also used garbanzo beans recently – so I decided to copy her success in my own fashion.

Now, I must say, the other reason I found this recipe is because I’ve been trying to figure out a way to use all the dried garbanzos I reconstituted. (As a side note: canned garbanzos, which all recipes involving garbanzos seem to call for, are cooked, not just canned. When you reconstitute garbanzos from the little dried guys you find in bags, you get a whole new chickpea. They taste entirely different and have a wholly different consistency.  I don’t know why someone would know this unless someone else told them. So, consider yourself warned. Buying bulk dried garbanzos may be economical, but they are a different animal than canned garbanzos.)

On to the real recipe! (yes, it’s delicious. I even opted to eat it instead of ice cream for dinner. If you’ve ever seen the half gallons I keep in the freezer exclusively for my use, you know that this is an enormous deal.) I do feel like I adulterated a hippy food with the pork bacon, but whatever. It was low-sodium bacon, which makes it healthy, right?