Thursday, January 31, 2013

Roasted Winter Root Vegetables

Every once in a while a recipe will be posted on another blog and I know it is only a mere matter of days before I try it out...usually because I have been seeking inspiration for a particular ingredient.  In this case, the ingredients are the root veggies from the CSA.  Yes, I am still trying to work my way through the parsnips, potatoes, carrots, beets and turnips.  Wouldn't you know, this recipe uses all of them.  Jenny tosses the entire batch of roasted veggies with a wonderful balsamic dressing, topped with feta and pine nuts.  I know I should have tried with the feta...they need the extra burst of creamy saltiness.  The recipe also calls to toss the veggies in a balsamic dressing.  The dressing is amazing, and a welcome addition to many other salads, leafy or otherwise, but I found even half of a recipe to be a bit too much for the amount of roasted veggies.  The roasted veggies are just as wonderful with a little squeeze of lemon and a dash of salt.

Adapted from Jenny's recipe at Spoon Fork Bacon

serves 4

The Ingredients:
for the veggies
3-4 beets, peeled and cut into quarters
4-6 carrots, peeled and cut into 1" pieces on the diagonal
2 shallots, peeled and halved
2-4 parsnips, peeled and cut into 1" pieces on the diagonal
2 turnips, trimmed and cut into eighths
6-8 small purple potatoes, halved (or quartered if larger)
3 Tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

for the dressing:
1/2 shallot, minced
1 garlic of clove, minced
2 Tbsp  brown sugar
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
2/3 cup olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

The Process:
for the veggies:

 Preheat the oven to 375.

Toss the veggies in oil, salt and pepper and divide evenly among two rimmed baking sheets.  Bake uncovered for 30 to 40 minutes, or until the veggies are tender and beginning to caramelize. 

Remove for oven and allow to cool slightly.

for the dressing:
Combine all of the ingredients 1-pint mason jar.  Using an immersion blender, mix until thick and well combined.  Or, seal tightly and shake.

to finish:
Toss the veggies with half of the dressing.  Sprinkle with feta, if desired.  Serve warm or cold.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Roasted Parsnips with Horseradish Butter

The end of January lingers on.  And would you believe we still have veggies left from our last CSA storage box?  Those carrots, parsnips, potatoes and squash certainly hold up well in the right conditions.  And the bright snap of a carrot when the temperature dips below 0 is a welcome bit of hope of what spring and summer may bring.

But the parsnips...I love them, but these poor pale roots usually leave me a bit uninspired.  This preparation is simple and nothing unique.  However, paired with the horseradish butter, these roasted winter veggies absolutely shine!  The bite of the garlic and horseradish is mellowed by the sweetness of the parsnips and rounded out by the butter. 

adapted from Elise's recipe at Simply Recipes

serves 4

The Ingredients:
for the parsnips
1 1/2 pounds of parsnips
1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
1/3 cup of vegetable stock

for the butter
3 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened
1 Tbsp bottled horseradish, drained
1/2 Tbsp finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 green onion, minced
1 garlic clove, minced

The Process:
Preheat the oven to 400.

Peel the parsnips and cut into stick of an even thickness, about 2 1/2 to 3 inches long.  Toss the parsnips with oil, salt and pepper and arrange in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheets.  Pour the stock over the parsnips.

Roast, uncovered for 25-30 minutes, or until the parsnips are tender and beginning to caramelize

Set aside and keep warm.

In a small bowl, mash together the butter, herbs and horseradish.  Toss about half of the horseradish butter with the parsnips.  Add more butter to taste.  Sprinkle with additional parsley, if desired

Monday, January 21, 2013

Tomato Soup

Brrr!  I'm not sure how the rest of the country is fairing today, but in Minneapolis the temperature is hovering around a blistering -5 F on this sunny MLK day. 

This morning was wonderful while still bundled under the covers.  But later on Ross and I headed out to grab materials to update my millinery studio.  That short time out and about chilled us to the bone. 

Soup to the rescue!

Most of the ingredients for this simple tomato soup had been squirreled away early in the fall.  Back in August I had frantically canned over 40# of Roma tomatoes, just for a situation like today.  Onions and garlic still filled our storage boxes from the last CSA box.  Our freezer is bursting with stock from various veggie scrap and roasted birds.  Just add wine and seasonings...

the recipe is my own

serves 6-8

The Ingredients:
1 medium onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 ribs of celery, diced
1 qt crushed tomatoes
2 cups vegetable stock
1/3 cup dry white wine
1 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp dried oregano
1 Tbsp dried tomato skin powder*
salt and pepper to taste

* back when I crushed and canned all of those Roma tomatoes, I couldn't bring myself to discard the skins after peeling them.  In a single layer on a parchment lined baking sheet, dry out the skins at 250 for about 4 hours.  They should crumble easy.  Pulverize in a spice grinder.  This bright red powder packs a boost of tomato flavor.

The Process:
In a heavy-bottomed 3-qt stock pot, saute the garlic, onion and celery over medium high heat until the vegetables are soft and fragrant, about 5 minutes. 

Add the tomatoes, stock, wine and seasonings.  Bring the mixture to a boil, return to a simmer and cook for 15-20 minutes.  Using an immersion blender, or working in small batches using a food processor, puree the soup until the desired consistency is achieved.  Season with additional salt and pepper to taste.

Served with grilled cheese on a frigid day? Pure heaven!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Purple Pureed Potatoes

So the recipe isn't really anything new.  But one key ingredient certainly was new to me.  Have you ever seen purple potatoes?  They are absolutely fascinating.  And thy make the most beautiful Lavender colored mashed potatoes.

the recipe is just like mom used to make

serves 6-8

The Ingredients:
3 lbs small purple potatoes
6-8 cloves of garlic
1/4-1/2 cup heavy cream
4 Tbsp butter
1 tsp salt

The Process:
Scrub the potatoes and trim away any large eyes.  Quarter the potatoes.  Peel and halve the garlic cloves.  Add the potatoes and garlic to a large kettle along with enough water to completely cover the potatoes.  Bring the kettle to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 20-25 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender.

Drain the potatoes and return them to the pot.  Over low heat, mash the potatoes with potato masher or wooden spoon.  Add half of the cream and all of the butter.  Gently continue to mash until the butter is melted and the cream is incorporated. Add additional cream until the desired consistency is achieved.  Season with salt to taste.

Darn pretty potatoes, aren't they?

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Beer Pretzel Toffee

Last year I fell in love with Audra's family toffee recipe.  Though that isn't difficult to do.  Heath bars have long been a guilty pleasure of mine on a bad day.

And then Jackie upped the ante by throwing beer and pretzels into the mix.  I dare you not to try this.

Adapted from

The Ingredients:
for the toffee
1 lb salted butter
2 cups dark brown sugar
1 cup ale*

for the topping:
12 oz bittersweet baker's chocolate
4 oz ale
2 cups crushed pretzels

I highly recommend Third Street Brewery's Sugar Shack or Langunita's Brown Shugga' if you can find them.

The Process:
Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and set aside. 

In a large heavy-bottomed pot over high heat add the brown sugar, butter and ale.  Use a much much bigger pot than you feel you need, the syrup will triple in volume. Stir until the mixture starts to boil. Allow to boil untouched until the mixture reaches about 230 degrees. Stir occasionally, scraping down the sides of the pot until the syrup reaches 290 degrees. It may start to smell like burning.  Don't panic, it is burnt sugar.  Let it reach 290.  Pour the hot syrup onto the prepared cookie sheet.  Shake gently to help the toffee spread into an even layer and allow to cool.

Coarsely chop the baker's chocolate and add to a large bowl. In the microwave, using 20 to 30 second increments, heat the beer until hot but not boiling. Pour the hot beer over the chocolate  and stir until well combined and melted.

Pour the chocolate over the cooled toffee and smooth out in an even layer. Sprinkle the crushed pretzels over the chocolate.  Gently press the pretzel bits into the chocolate.   Chill until the chocolate has set, about 1 hour. Cut into pieces.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Maple Miso Salmon

Every once in a while the mood for a fresh piece of fish strikes.  It is a urge that really shouldn't be denied.  So off to the fish monger or super market we go, to track the freshest fillet.  In this case, salmon. I already new I wanted to treat it with a miso glaze.   The maple syrup added a richness not quite reached by honey or sugar.  Come summer I would love to try this on a cedar plank over the grill.

The recipe is my own

serves 3

The Ingredients:
1 lb sockeye salmon
1 1/2 Tbsp white miso paste
1 1/2 Tbsp maple syrup
squirt of Srirachi

The Process:
Preheat the oven to 400
Paste together the miso, maple syrup and srirachi.  Place the fish, skin side down on a foil lined baking sheet.  Slather with miso/maple glaze.  Bake 8-10 minutes, or until the flesh is opaque and the flakes easily.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Silly Simple Aioli

I made sweet potato fries.  But I failed to have my favorite condiment on hand for dipping.  Thank you, Internet, for coming to the rescue.

This is a quick and dirty aioli.  Most of you probably have these items on hand already.  And you needn't worry about raw eggs or egg yolks, so long as you are okay with store variety mayonnaise.

Adapted from Epicurious

yields about 1/3 cup

The Ingredients:
1 fat garlic clove, minced
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 1/2 tsp lemon juice
salt to taste.

The Process:
In a small bowl mash the garlic with olive oil.  Whisk in the mayonnaise and lemon juice until well incorporated.  Season with salt to taste.  Serve chilled.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Baked Sweet Potato Fries

I am certain I have waxed poetic about my fondness for sweet potatoes in the past.  So I will keep such pronouncements of undying affection to a minimum in this post.

And yet, sweet potato fries...these may be the ultimate snack food.

adapted from Cookie + Kate

serves 2

The Ingredients:
1 extra large sweet potato or 2 small
2 tsp corn starch
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp granulated garlic
1/4 tsp cumin
1 Tbsp olive oil.

The Process:
Preheat the oven to 450

Peel the sweet potato(es) and slice into even match sticks, about 3/8-inch squared and 5 to 8 inches long.  Place the fries in a gallon-sized zip top bag.  Sprinkle with corn starch, salt, spices and oil.  Seal the bag and toss to coat.

Arrange the fries in a single layer on a parchment lined baking sheet.  Bake for 15 minutes.  Flip the fries over and bake for an additional 15 to 20 minutes or until crisp around the edges.  Thicker cut fries may need a little more time.

Serve hot with aioli or your favorite dipping sauce.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Another year passed, another on ahead

Welcome to 2013!

Has it been a good year for you?  Ours was busy, and yes, good.

We've enjoyed the company of our new addition, Barley, for almost a year now.  She's a good pup.  So far she only begs for spinach, carrots and ice cubes.  I'm sure that will change as bad habits settle in. 

Beer and brewing is becoming more of a fixture in our lives as well.  In the coming months, you may see an influx of recipes incorparting or inspired by beers, inaddition to the occasioanl beer pairing or recommentdation.  And perhaps a home brew recipe or two.  Ross is becoming quite the regular at Boom Island Brewery.  We truly look forward to watching them grow in their second year.

And to the blog.  A full packed year to be sure.  Far, far too many loved recipes to truly pick a favorite.  What does come to mind?

Kalua pork
Bourbon Kissed Bacon Waffles
Maple Brined Pork with Roasted Pear Chutney
Home Brined Corned Beef
Cheesy Risotto
Caramel Ice Cream
Crunchy Honey Garlic Chicken Breasts
Homemade Hummus
Tempting Tomato Sauce
Boozy Vanilla French Toast
Bavarian Pretzel Bites
Seafood Pealla

It's quite a joy looking over the last year of cooking and recalling the memories with each.  A camping trip, a birthday, a friend's graduation, a luau and home brew gathering.  2012 truly was a good year!

And a few misses though.  This year saw the first complete miss in the Fish Dumplings.  Well, perhaps not a complete miss.  The dumplings were so so.  The curry that accompanied it however.  All I can say is I'm sorry.

The butternut squash gnocchi were a similar story.  On their own, lovely, but the leek sauce didn't quite sit right with the dumplings.  We can't win them all.

Thank you for sharing this little slice of the blogsphere with me.  Here's to many many  more years of tasty experiments, good food and great company.

Thank you!