Fennel and Butternut Soup

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This soup has a tasty combination of roots for a satisfying winter soup. The strawberries might seem unusual, but they are an interesting complement to the sweetness of the squash. If you aren’t sure about them, try serving slices on the side and dipping them in!

Serves 4 – 5.

Ingredients

  • 1small yellow onion
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 small fennel bulb
  • 1 small butternut squash
  • 2 turnips
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 inch piece ginger
  • 6 cups (or to cover) vegetable stock
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 tsp ground allspice
  • 1/4 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp marjoram
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream

Garnish

  • mint leaves
  • fennel leaves
  • strawberry slices (optional)

Instructions

In a large pot or dutch oven, heat the butter over medium heat. Chop the onion and saute in the butter until translucent.

Meanwhile, chop the fennel bulb, parsnips, and peel, deseed, and chop the butternut squash. Add these to the saute, stirring occasionally while you peel the garlic and ginger.

Peel the garlic and ginger and mince together. Add these to the pot and stir until the garlic and ginger are fragrant, about one minute or less. Then, just cover the vegetables with the stock. You may need up to six cups. Add 1 tsp salt, you may need more later. Add the coriander, allspice, and marjoram and stir in.

Simmer the vegetables with the lid on until they are soft, about 20 minutes. Turn the heat off and puree the soup either with an immersion blender or in batches in a blender. Return to the pot and add the cream. Bring the soup back to a simmer, and serve! Garnish with herbs and sliced strawberries, if desired.

Irish Soda Bread

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This is my favorite bread to make when I decide I want bread at the last minute. You can mix the ingredients together in five minutes and have it ready to eat in under an hour. When you slather it with butter freshly out of the oven it tastes just as good as any yeast bread that you could make.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups (225 g) all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups (225 g) whole wheat flour, plus more for dusting
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 tsp. cream of tartar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. caraway/fennel/anise seeds (optional)
  • 1 1/2 – 1 2/3 cup (350 – 375 mL) buttermilk or thinned yogurt
  • 3 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
 Instructions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine AP flour, whole wheat flour, baking soda, seeds, cream of tartar, and salt in a large bowl. Melt the butter and add to the flour. Add the buttermilk and then mix the ingredients together until they are just combined. Do not overmix. Shape into a boule and place on a greased or parchment-lined baking sheet. Sprinkle flour over the top of the boule and use a sharp knife to cut a deep cross. Bake for 35-40 minutes. Let cool slightly before cutting the bread to prevent it from becoming gummy. Serve with butter and Guinness.

Loving Your Leftovers: Thanksgiving Leftovers Recipes

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Hello all – I haven’t been posting as much this month because I’ve been working on recipes that got published today in the Bay Weekly Newspaper! I’m so happy to have the opportunity to contribute to my great local paper, and to share recipes for the Thanksgiving aftermath. Check out my recipes for turkey pot pie, turkey tortilla soup, turkey bahn mi and grilled cheese, and sweet potato cookies! Melissa Clark, eat your heart out.

http://www.bayweekly.com/articles/food-and-drink/article/loving-your-leftovers

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Quick Pickled Peppers

Ingredients

  • 1 pound (diced to about 2 1/2 cups) Mini peppers or red peppers, deseeded and sliced to the size or thickness that you prefer
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp kosher salt

Instructions

Clean a quart sized mason jar and pack the peppers in. Don’t press them down too tightly but you should be able to fit them all.

In a saucepan combine the vinegars, sugar, and salt. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring occasionally until the sugar and salt dissolve. Remove from the heat and pour the mixture over the peppers while it is still very hot, leaving about one inch of space clear from the lip of the jar. Using a spatula, pack the peppers down beneath the liquid. Slide a lid on loosely and wait for the peppers to cool to room temperature, refrigerate the peppers for up to one month–although here they never last that long! Enjoy as a topping on pizzas, added in salads, dips, or blitzed with some lemon and vinegar as a salad dressing.

Tempeh Bahn Mi

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I have wanted to try a Bahn Mi sandwich for a long time, but I live so far from a Vietnamese restaurant that I finally decided to just make a sandwich for myself! Bahn Mi is an interesting fusion of French and Vietnamese cuisine resulting from French colonization, and is a general term for a Vietnamese style baguette and sandwich. Bahn Mi can include many ingredients, and generally incorporate cold cut meats or tofu, mayonnaise, fresh cilantro, chilis, and a variety of pickled vegetables–basically, it a sandwich style rather than a prescriptive recipe, which made me very excited to try it using ingredients I had at home! Don’t be tempted to get rid of the pickled vegetables- they are essential for a savory and sour balance of flavors! I will also post a quick onion pickling recipe soon so that you can get to work making bahn mi for yourself. If you are interested in marinated meat recipes, or making your own baguettes (Jake makes ours at home), Andrea Nguyen provides excellent guidance on her blog. Either way, this sandwich can be made a variety of ways and tastes delicious! 

Serves 2

Ingredients

For the Tempeh* 

  • 8 oz tempeh
  • 2 tbsp black soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp thin soy sauce 
  • 1 tbsp chili garlic sauce
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar 
  • juice of one lime
  • 1″ ginger, chopped 
  • 1/2 tsp chinese five spice powder 

*Cook’s note: This marinade would also work well with a package of tofu – fried similarly in slices until golden brown over low heat. 

For assembly

  • 2 personal baguettes or one large baguette, halved to sandwich size 
  • Mayonnaise to spread (optional: mix in a dash of fish sauce and a large dash of sriracha sauce)
  • 1 small cucumber, peeled and sliced thinly lengthwise
  • Thin carrot slices or thin pickled carrot slices
  • Pickled red onion or pickled daikon radish
  • Red pepper or hot red chili slices
  • Small handful of fresh mint, cilantro, and/or thai basil leaves
  • Avocado, thinly sliced (not pictured)

Instructions 

First, prepare the marinade. Cut the tempeh into thin about 1″ wide strips, then cut these in half through the thickness of the tempeh so that they can absorb more marinade. Combine all of the marinade ingredients together, then let the tempeh sit in the marinade while you prepare the rest of the ingredients, for about 30 minutes at least. Put the tempeh in a baking dish or on a large plate, pouring the marinade over top. Turn the tempeh at least once so that the marinade coats both sides. While you wait, prepare your other ingredients. 

In a large skillet over medium high heat, Add the tempeh and marinade and grill until the tempeh is slightly golden brown, flipping once or twice. You may need to add a bit of canola or olive oil to the pan. 

Meanwhile, toast the baguette whole in the oven or large toaster oven at 350 for 3-5 minutes until the crust is a light golden brown. Make sure to keep an eye on it so that it does not get too crispy! Remove and let it cool for a minute or two, then cut in half. If you want, you can hollow it out a little bit inside to make more room for sandwich ingredients to fit inside!

Assemble your bahn mi sandwich, adding the mayonnaise, tempeh slices, cucumber and vegetable slices, pickles, and fresh herbs to the baguette. Enjoy warm, or you can let the tempeh cool and assemble picnic sandwiches for lunch or for later!

Herb and Feta Pie

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I remember the first time I ever had Spanakopita from the only Greek restaurant in town, and I was instantly in love. This is my take on Spanakopita, and over time I have made this savory pastry into a dish that favors my preferences for complex flavors and fresh herbs. The ingredient list here is pretty long, and this is admittedly a bit of a project! You can make the ingredient mixtures ahead of time to bake the pastry within a few days, or make the whole dish and enjoy over the course of a few days. Reheat leftovers in the oven and they may taste even better than before. Take a weekend afternoon to make this herb pie and you won’t be disappointed–it melts in your mouth and is sinfully good. Serve with a hearty red wine.

Serves 4 in large portions.


For  the greens

Ingredients 

  • olive oil for cooking
  • 1 large white or sweet onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 pound fresh or 12 oz frozen chopped greens such as spinach, collards, mustard, or chard
  •  1/2 cup white wine
  • 5 cardamom pods, pods removed
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp mustard seed
  • 1/2 tsp whole black peppercorns
  • 1/2 tsp coriander seed
  • 1 clove or a pinch of ground cloves
  • 1 green onion, tender white and green section thinly sliced
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 oz each fresh parsley, roughly chopped
  • 1 oz fresh mint, roughly chopped
  • 2 oz fresh basil, roughly chopped
  • 1 oz fresh rosemary
  • 1 oz fresh oregano, roughly
  • other optional herbs include about 1 oz fresh arugula, dill, oregano
  • salt to taste
  • zest and juice of one lemon

Instructions

Toast the spices-cardamom seeds, cumin, mustard seed, peppercorn, coriander, and whole clove- in a dry skillet for about 30 seconds over medium heat. Grind the spices in a spice grinder or mortar and pestle until they form a coarse powder. Set aside.

Pour about 1 tbsp olive oil into a large frying pan over medium heat.  Add the onion and saute for about 10 minutes without browning the onion. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add in the wine, greens, and spice powder and cook until all of the liquid has evaporated. When the liquid is gone, add all of the fresh herbs and stir these for about 1 minute more. Remove from heat.

Stir the greens mixture together with the salt, lemon, eggs, and green onion. Do not over salt the mixture- add no more than a 1/2 tsp. because the cheese and butter will contribute to the saltiness of the whole dish. Set the greens aside for assembly.


For the eggplant

Ingredients

  • 1 large globe eggplant (about 1 pound) cut into 1/4″ slices
  • olive oil for cooking
  • salt
  • 1 tbsp sumac (optional)

Instructions

Slice the eggplant and lay the slices on a paper towel. Sprinkle a little salt across the eggplant and leave to sweat some of its water for about 20 minutes. Make other ingredients while you wait.

Heat about 1 tbsp olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Fry the eggplant until slightly golden brown, you may need to do this in 2-3 batches so you don’t crowd the pan. Remove from heat and sprinkle with the sumac.


For the cheese filling

Ingredients

  • 8 oz feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 2 tbsp tahini (optional)
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes

Instructions

Combine all ingredients together and set aside.


For assembly

Ingredients

  • 9 oz/ half a package of phyllo pastry sheets
  • up to 8 tbsp butter, softened enough for brushing

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 400 F.

Brush a large rectangular baking dish with the melted butter on all sides. Lay in a sheet of phyllo pastry and brush it with some butter. Cover with another sheet and continue to brush the sheets until you have 8 layered sheets covering the bottom of the dish. Don’t worry if the sheets break, just try to layer the sheets so that they overlap the cracks.

Layer the eggplant slices on top of the phyllo. Then sprinkle in about half the cheese and half of the herb mixture, spreading so that the dish is filled evenly. Proceed to add 8 more layers of phyllo dough as before, brushing each sheet with butter over top. Layer on the remaining cheese and herbs, and then add a final 8 layers of phyllo dough brushed with butter. Make sure to brush the top pastry sheet as well.

Bake the pastry in the oven for about 35-40 minutes until the phyllo dough on top is golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool for about 10 minutes, then cut and enjoy!

Jalepeños and Serranos in Escabeche

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Escabeche is a Spanish term for pickles or preserves, and it also refers to this tasty pickled condiment. Make this chiles in small batches, and pull them out to dice up as a condiment on tacos, enchiladas, and nachos or an additive to sauces and salsas. 

Ingredients

  • 12 oz serrano and/or jalepeño chiles, left whole
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 white onion, thickly sliced
  • 1 large carrot, scraped and thinly sliced
  • 5 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 1/2 cup white or rice vinegar
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tbsp fresh oregano leaves 
  • 1/4 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp dried marjoram
  • 1/4 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 tbsp sugar

Instructions

Wash the chiles, leaving the stems intact. Cut a cross in the tip end of each chile so the vinegar can penetrate.

heat the oil in a large, deep skillet, then add the chiles, onions, carrots, and garlic, and fry over medium hat for about 10 minutes, turning them every few minutes.

Add the vinegar, salt, and sugar, and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Pack a quart jar with the herbs, then chiles and vegetables and pour the vinegar over top. Seal and keep in the refrigerator for about a month. 

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Fair and Bloody Mary

Fair and Bloody Mary

 

Let’s begin at the beginning: with something to drink! This beverage is a tribute to Fairhaven, the neighborhood where it has developed and whose gardens provide the best ingredients. We have a strong taste for ginger, citrus, and hot sauce–this recipe satisfies them all! Enjoy on a hot summer afternoon, sitting on the porch with some friends. This bloody mary owes quite a bit to this recipe for a Bloody Claire, by Kraig Vander Kolk, from which it has evolved. Don’t be afraid of the long ingredients list- look around and you may just find that you have almost everything you need! If not, add and subtract to suit your tastes, in the way bloody marys should be made. This recipe adapts easily for multiple servings that you can store in a pitcher in the refrigerator for a few days.

Serves 1, generously

Ingredients

  • 1 ripe heirloom tomato, hulled and coarsely chopped (about 7 ounces). Alternatively, omit the tomato juice and add a second large tomato
  • One 1-inch piece peeled cucumber, cut into chunks
  • 1 1/2 ounce vodka (may substitute lemon infused vodka or gin)
  • 1 teaspoon minced/grated horseradish
  • One 1 1/2-inch piece ginger, peeled and cut into chunks
  • One 2-inch piece of a dill pickle, cut into chunks
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce
  • 4 fresh basil leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery salt (to make your own, here is an excellent recipe)
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Ice
  • About 1/2 to 3/4 cup tomato juice, like V8 or Clamato, to top
  • 2 dashes angostura bitters
  • 1 lemon slice, about 1/2-inch thick
  • 1 basil flowering head, for garnish 

Instructions

Combine the tomato and its juices, the cucumber, vodka, horseradish, pickle, ginger, hot sauce, basil, celery salt and a good shake of pepper in a blender. Puree until smooth, then use a flexible spatula to push the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer suspended over a 2-cup-capacity liquid measuring cup. The yield should be about 3/4 cup.

Fill an old fashioned glass halfway with ice.

Stir the V8 juice into the mixture in the measuring cup, then pour that mixture over the ice. Add 2 dashes of Angostura bitters, then squeeze the lemon slice over the drink and drop it in. Garnish with the basil leaves.

Can I Cook It?

Can I cook it? (Yes, you can!)

So begins many a meal at our house, from simple ideas to cooking projects. We are two people on a kitchen odyssey, and we believe cooking is a way to explore cuisines, try new techniques, and spend time learning and eating with people you love. While we can’t promise these recipes will be quick, we hope that our food is fun to make, tasty, and maybe even good for you. We hope you will cook with us, because yes, you can! Bon appétit!

–Jake and Caiti

This is for the servantless American cook who can be unconcerned on occasion with budgets, waistlines, time schedules, children’s meals, or anything else which might interfere with the enjoyment of producing something wonderful to eat. [This is] written for those who love to cook.

–Julia Child in Mastering the Art of French Cooking