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Saturday, February 18, 2012

marinated beet salad with goat cheese and pistachios

i know a lot of people who say they hated beets as a kid but as an adult they are one of their favorite foods. i don't recall ever trying them as a kid - i know we didn't have 'em at home, and i don't remember them being on the cafeteria tray at school or anything. the only place i do remember seeing beets when i was growing up was at the salad bar, either sliced and chillin' in the liquid from the can they came from, or mixed into some kind of salad with wax beans. but since there were also chunks of ham and shredded cheddar and creamy pasta salads on the salad bar, i had no reason to give beets a second glance or thought. 

now, though, i go crazy for beets and their rich, earthy flavor with a hint of sweetness, their velvety texture, and their extremely saturated bull's-blood color (or deep cadmium yellow, or peppermint stripe). i love that they grow underground like buried treasure, i love that the greens are edible (the ones above were braised with onion, garlic, sherry vinegar, a little chicken stock, red pepper flakes and a teeny amount of maple syrup), and hey - i've got mad respect for anything that can hang out in a 400 degree oven for 2 hours before giving in the slightest little bit to a squeeze. 

this salad is from edible seattle's november/december 2011 issue. the beets are roasted (if there's a better way to have beets i certainly don't know what it is) and marinate overnight in a light dressing with slices of onion. the salad is finished simply with toasted pistachios and a bit of creamy goat cheese. the result is a beautiful beet experience. this is my current favorite beet dish.

here's the recipe as it was printed in edible seattle, with the one change of using toasted pistachios rather than buying raw and roasting at home. adjust the portions based on your amount of beets.

Bietola Marinata 
recipe courtesy Tutta Bella Neapolitan Pizzeria
8 servings| start to finish: 1 day
from Edible Seattle November/December 2011

5 lbs. beets (any will do, but a mix of red, golden and Chioggia if possible)
1/4 cup olive oil
2 teaspoons sea salt
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
Juice of half of a lemon
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium red onion, julienned (i used sweet onion)

4 ounces toasted pistachios
8 ounces chevre

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Put beets in a single layer in a large roasting pan or pans, without overcrowding. drizzle with the olive oil and shake pan to cover beets with oil.  sprinkle with salt, cover pan with aluminum foil and roast 1-2 hours depending on the size of the beets, until tender. when the beets are softened enough to be squeezable, remove from oven and allow to cool until they can be handled. remove peels - they should slip right off.  cut them into 1/2” dice and place in a  bowl. toss in the julienned onions and set aside at room temperature.

for the dressing, combine the vinegar, lemon juice and sea salt in a small bowl. slowly drizzle the olive oil into the mixture, whisking as you pour. (i've gotten in the habit of putting all of my dressing ingredients in a jar with a tight fitting lid and shaking the bejeezus out of it to combine.)

drizzle the dressing over the beets and onions and toss. check the seasoning. Cover and marinate the beets and onions overnight in the refrigerator.

bring beets to room temperature in order for the olive oil to liquefy again. toss the mixture one more time, check for seasoning and divide the beets on serving plates. garnish each portion with 1/2 ounce pistachios and 1 ounce of goat cheese. serve.

beets from stoney plains farm

Friday, December 2, 2011

red cabbage braised with apples, bacon, maple, and ginger

i have a special reverence for cabbage. i'm not sure what it is, exactly, that has put cabbage on a pedestal for me, but it's certainly perched up high. it's one of the most beautiful vegetables of any season, and the density i always find surprising and impressive. plus, it just feels healthy. raw, cooked, fermented--i simply love cabbage.

the beauty above is from nash's organic farm. isn't it just so pretty? chopped and cooked for an hour with apples and a couple of strips of bacon, this cabbage was as spectacularly delicious as it was stately and gorgeous. the flavor is spicy and fruity, sweet and sour, and thoroughly perfect. i think it would be a lovely addition to a holiday meal.

chopped cabbage is almost as cool as the whole head. i'm always impressed by the intricate, wrinkled growth patterns, how the leaves nest into each other. neat!

red cabbage braised with maple and ginger
from molly stevens' all about braising

1 tsp olive oil or vegetable oil
2 slices bacon, chopped
1 1/2 Tbsp butter
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 tart apple, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
1 medium head red cabbage (about 1 3/4 lbs), quartered, cored, and sliced
1/4 apple cider vinegar
2 Tbsp pure maple syrup

preheat oven to 300 degrees.

fry the bacon over medium heat in a large, deep, ovenproof braising pan with a tight-fitting lid until crisp, about 5 minutes. add 1 tsp oil if it seems necessary. remove bacon with slotted spoon and drain in paper towels.

add butter to the pan and stir in the sliced onion. season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring periodically, until soft, about 2 minutes. add apple and ginger and stir to combine. increase heat to medium-high and and add the cabbage, a few handfuls at a time, stirring to cook down until it all fits in the pan. cook about 6 minutes, stirring, until the cabbage begins to wilt. add the cider vinegar, syrup, and cooked bacon. stir to combine and let the liquid come to a boil.

cover the pan and put in oven. braise at a gentle simmer, stirring every 20 minutes, until the cabbage is tender, about 1 hour. serve warm or at room temperature.


bacon from skagit river ranch
cabbage from nash's organic produce
onion from willie green's organics
apple from collins family orchard

Sunday, November 20, 2011

pear soup with blue cheese and bacon

it seems that one of the first things i get excited about when fall rolls around are savory fruit soups. i like the flavors, i like the blended texture, and soup feels so nourishing, especially when it's full of yummy fruit. this one is a pear soup with bacon and blue cheese. (the original recipe called for pancetta, to which i tend to say to-may-to, to-mah-to, primarily because i love the bacon of skagit river ranch so much.) 

the soup alone is delicious, but the bacon and blue cheese elevate it to a richer level. rich enough, really, that it's probably better off as a start to a meal than a main course. i'll type out the recipe as i made it, though should note that next time i'll probably add a little more stock to thin it out just a tad. 

pear soup with bacon and blue cheese
adapted from fiveandspice on

4 slices bacon, chopped into pieces
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1 small clove garlic, chopped
1/4 pound potatoes, peeled and chopped into 1/2 inch cubes
1 small carrot, chopped
1/2 Tbsp maple syrup
2 bartlett pears, peeled, cored, and chopped into 1 inch chunks
1/4 tsp chopped fresh thyme
pinch of fresh grated nutmeg
1 1/2 + cups vegetable or chicken stock (i'd be hesitant to use store-bought chicken stock here--the salt level would probably overwhelm the pear)
couple of tablespoons of greek yogurt (original recipe calls for creme fraiche)
salt and pepper to taste
crumbled blue cheese

in a large soup pot, cook the bacon until crispy. remove with slotted spoon to a paper towel lined plate. 

pour off all but about a tablespoon of the bacon fat and add a little olive oil to the pot and heat to medium/medium low. add the onion and cook until softened but not browned. stir in the garlic, potato, and carrot and cook, covered, about 10 minutes. add pear, syrup, thyme, and nutmeg and cook a few minutes, stirring, to coat the vegetables in the syrup mixture. 

add broth, bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer and cook, covered, until potatoes, carrots and pears are soft, about 15 minutes. 

blend until smooth. you can blend in batches in the blender, but this is where an immersion blender comes in really handy. 

bacon from skagit river ranch
pears, i can't remember! someone at the u district farmers market!
potatoes from olsen farms
onion and garlic from willie green's organics
chicken stock made from stokesberry chicken

Saturday, November 19, 2011

roasted brussels sprouts with bacon and maple syrup

i'm no stranger to getting into a rut when it comes to cooking. as much as i enjoy both cooking and eating, i do sometimes get, well, bored. reason #2455 for eating with the seasons: it's exciting! when the weather changes and new crops start to show up on tables at the farmers market, it wakes me right up. welcome, fall, and every delightful fruit and veggie that comes with you!

i look forward to seeing brussels sprouts show up at the markets. to me, they are one of the world's perfect foods. they are adorable, they are packed with healthy goodness, and they have a delicious flavor that is aggressive enough to hold up to all kinds of ingredients and preparations. roasting is my favorite. we tried a  recipe for roasted sprouts with bacon and maple from this week, wondering if it would unseat our previous favorite, a dish of roasted sprouts with dijon and cream from edible seattle. it did not. still, even though the other recipe wins a spot at this year's thanksgiving table, these sprouts were absolutely delicious. it sounds a little strange, maple syrup on brussels sprouts, but trust me, bacon is the perfect bridge between the two. 

roasted brussels sprouts with bacon and maple syrup

2 pounds Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved, small ones left whole
2 tablespoons olive oil 
2 tablespoons maple syrup 
3 slices of bacon, cut into1/2-inch pieces 
Salt and pepper, to taste 1.

preheat oven to 400 degrees. 

in large casserole dish, toss sprouts with olive oil, syrup, and salt and freshly ground pepper. (go easy on the salt, since the bacon will be salty.) sprinkle bacon over the top.

roast, stirring a time or two, 25-35 minutes, or until sprouts are caramelized and the bacon is crisp. 

bacon from skagit river ranch

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

grilled chicken with corn and roasted red pepper relish

here's another go-to recipe for summer, compliments of bobby flay's bold american food. the garlic, ginger and honey marinade is perfect for an otherwise boring chicken breast, and the relish of sweet corn, roasted red pepper, balsamic vinegar, and jalapeno is a great balance of sweetness with just a little heat. bump up the amount of jalapeno or add other chilis if you want more bite, but i find this dish perfect as is. it would also be easy enough to grill the corn and cut it off the cob rather than toast kernels in a pan. your choice!

oh yeah, by the way, I LOVE CORN.

grilled chicken breasts with corn and roasted red pepper relish
from bobby flay's bold american food

for chicken with ginger and garlic marinade:
1 cup low-sodium soy sauce
1/2 cup coarsely chopped ginger
1/2 cup coarsely chopped garlic
1/4 cup fresh squeezed lime juice
1/4 cup honey
4 chicken breasts, pounded out to a fairly consistent thickness

combine all marinade ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil. remove from heat and cool.

pour over chicken in a big ziploc bag or pan and refrigerate (covered if in a pan) for 3 hours or up to overnight.

grill over medium heat until juices run clear but it's not overcooked. (for us, this has been 7-10 minutes on each side.)

for corn and roasted red pepper relish:
1 cup roasted corn kernels (see below)
1/2 cup roasted red peppers, diced (see below)
1 Tbsp finely diced onion
1 1/2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 Tbsp coarsely chopped cilantro
1/2 jalapeno, minced
1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
salt and freshly ground pepper

combine all ingredients in a bowl, season to taste with salt and pepper. (can be made a day ahead.) serve over grilled chicken breasts.

for roasted corn: preheat oven to 350. remove all of the silk and all but one layer of husks. dip each ear in water. cover the kernels with the husks and arrange corn on baking sheet. roast 45 minutes. cool, and scrape kernels off with a knife. one ear of corn yields about 1/2 cup of kernels.

for roasted red peppers: preheat oven to 350. rub peppers with olive oil and roast on baking sheet 25 minutes. turn once during cooking. remove from oven and put in brown paper bag for 5 minutes to steam. cut peppers in half, pull out the seeds and the stem, and peel off the skins. they should slip right off. these can be easily frozen, too, to have for use in winter dishes!

corn, peppers, onions, and jalapeno from alvarez organic farms
cilantro from our garden

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

deviled eggs with smoked salmon, capers and dill

now that i've decided i like deviled eggs, i've opened up a whole new world of quick dinners. for these, i took inventory of the fridge, freezer, and herb patch, added up the available ingredients in my head, and did a google search for "deviled eggs with smoked salmon, capers, and dill." quelle surprise, the internet gave me what i asked for.

you can probably imagine what these are like--creamy deviled egg, smokey, salty salmon, and a briny, bright punch from the capers and dill. i thought they were deeelish. rob liked 'em, too. plus, having deviled eggs for dinner seems such a summery thing to do, and anything summery makes me a happy angie. i don't remember what i served it with--probably a cucumber salad. i've been really into cucumber salads lately.

deviled eggs with smoked salmon, capers and dill

12 farm eggs
3 Tbsp mayo, plus extra
1-2 tsp dijon mustard
tabasco or other hot sauce
4 oz sliced smoked salmon
2 Tbsp capers, drained
1-2 Tbsp chopped fresh dill

put eggs in large pot and cover with cold water. bring to a boil, cover pot, and turn off heat. let pot sit on the burner for 11 minutes, then remove eggs from pot and drop them in a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking. this method produces a perfect cooked yolk, still lovely and yellow instead of that scary grey-green hue they can take on when overcooked.

 see? pretty!

peel eggs and cut in half. scoop out yolks and add to them in a bowl the mayo, mustard, and a couple of shakes of the hot sauce. smash it all together until it's smooth. taste and adjust seasoning. if it's dry, add a little more mayo.

assemble by scooping a little of the yolk mixture into the egg white, top with a piece of smoked salmon, then more yolk mixture, some capers, and chopped dill. 

smoked wild alaska pink salmon from loki fish co.
dill from our garden 

Monday, August 8, 2011

Grilled Chicken with Tomato Chutney Chickpeas, Cucumber Radish Salad, and Tahini-Yogurt

there's a tiny pocket of commerce in the middle of our residential neighborhood called "tangletown" where you can find one, and only one, of pretty much everything. one pub and brewery, one coffee shop, one doughnut joint, one sushi restaurant, one dentist, one general market, one dive bar, one chiropractor, and, oddly enough, one kingdom hall are a part of our little hood. (it makes our area feel just like small-town america, until you head a couple of blocks south and catch views of the towering seattle skyline.)

tangletown also has one nice restaurant, and, since 1) we can walk to it and 2) we consistently have great seasonal food and drinks there, it's the seattle restaurant we refer to as "favorite." it's called Eva, and one of their characteristics is that all of the elements on the plate are great, but when they are compiled into one bite, the dish is pretty perfect. a few weeks ago i had a dish of roasted duck with tomato–garlic chickpeas, tahini yogurt, and a salad of cucumber and radish with sumac. i was blown away by this dish. i rarely try to recreate restaurant dishes at home, but this one was so impressive and flavorful, yet fresh and unfussy, that i decided with a couple of modifications we might be able to pull it off. 

it WORKED! first modification--chicken breast instead of duck. it's a completely different texture and flavor, but i am in no way ambitious enough to cook duck. besides, eva does it so well i'll just let them cook it for me. also, i couldn't find sumac anywhere! there are a couple of specialty spice shops around town i'll hit up when i have the chance, but for this dish the sumac was just left out. i found recipes for the components of the dish on various websites, and hoped that when they all came together on the plate they would feel at home with each other. the components went together beautifully, but each is awesome on its own, so mix and match!

for chickpeas with tomato chutney
from quick tomato chutney on
*vegan *gluten-free

1 tsp olive oil
1 tsp mustard seeds (i used yellow)
1/4 onion, chopped
1 Tbsp chopped ginger
3 medium tomatoes, chopped (i used some from our garden that i'd frozen whole at the end of the season last year. thawed for a few minutes and the skins slipped right off!)
1 Tbsp ketchup
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp coriander
1/4 tsp garam masala
salt to taste
15 oz cooked chickpeas

heat olive oil over medium heat in a small pan. add mustard seeds. when seeds stop popping, add onion and ginger. saute 3-4 minutes.

add tomatoes and ketchup. stir and cook until tomatoes thicken and reduce. add spices and continue to cook over medium-low heat until the mixture thickens up quite a bit. you want it to cling to the chickpeas. when thickened, add chickpeas, stir to combine, and warm through.

for cucumber-radish salad
from avocado & bravado
*vegan *gluten-free

2 medium cucumbers
4 radishes
1/2 cup diced sweet onion
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 tsp red wine vinegar
2 Tbsp mint, chopped
chopped parsley to taste
salt and pepper, to taste

peel cucumber (i usually leave on about a quarter of the peel), slice into thin coins, then chop into small pieces. using a mandoline, slice the radishes thin and the chop into strips. (you can slice the radishes by hand, but a mandoline makes it so much easier...) combine cucumber and radish with diced onion in bowl.

whisk the vinegar with the olive oil and pour over the veggies. toss together with the herbs and taste for seasoning. add salt and pepper to taste, and more vinegar or herbs to your liking.

for chicken with mediterranean marinade
from the wannabe chef
*dairy-free *gluten-free

3 Tbsp balsamic
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup water
1 bay leaf
2 Tbsp herbes de provence (can substitute other italian herbs)
3/4 tsp salt
1 Tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp nutmeg
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, pounded thin (not super-duper thin, just pounded out to be a fairly consistent thickness)

combine first 8 ingredients well. put chicken in ziploc bag and pour in marinade and close bag. refrigerate. normally i like to marinate chicken overnight, but this time it only sat for 3 hours and was super flavorful.

here's where it gets tricky--i don't know exactly how we cooked it. rob grilled it, and every time we fire up the grill we do quick web searches for how long to cook chicken, to what temperature it should reach to be safely cooked, then we toss it on the grill, turn it after a few minutes, check it a few minutes after that, and pull it off the heat when we're happy with it. this time i think we cooked around 5 minutes on each side? (again, the chicken had been pounded out a bit so didn't take very long.) so, i'll say this--cook your marinated chicken however works for you!

for tahini-yogurt sauce
from food & wine

1/8 cup tahini paste
juice of 1/4 lemon
1/2 Tbsp olive oil
1 cup whole milk plain yogurt
1/2 tsp ground cumin
fresh ground pepper and salt to taste

blend tahini paste, lemon juice and olive oil in food processor. add yogurt and blend to mix thoroughly. scrape into bowl and add pepper. taste and add salt, if desired.

to serve
serve chicken, chickpeas and cucumber-radish salad drizzled with yogurt sauce and sprinkled with plenty of chopped cilantro. 

chickpas from alzarez organic farm
tomatoes, cilantro, and mint from our garden
radishes and onion from stoney plains farm
cucumber from river farm