Friday, December 27, 2013

squash, pomegranate and hazelnut salad.

you can make this incredibly versatile dish with any squash or vegetables you have on hand. the sweetness of the pomegranate, the crunch of hazelnuts, and the bite of the dressing pretty much make the salad. 

salad with butternut squash, pomegranate and hazelnuts
adapted from food52

for the salad:
5 cups greens (i went with a mix of kale and spinach, but arugula and chard would work well too)
2 cups butternut squash, cubed
1 leek, just the white and light green parts, sliced
1 tablespoon olive oil
3/4 cups pomegranate seeds
1/2 cup hazelnuts
1/2 cup cilantro

for the dressing:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard
1 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon maple syrup
salt and pepper to taste

preheat the oven to 375 degrees. toss the squash and leeks in 1 tbsp olive oil and season with salt and pepper on a baking sheet. the leeks and squash require different amounts of time to roast, so try to keep them separate on the sheet. roast the leeks for about 20 minutes and the squash for 30-35 minutes. check on the vegetables regularly and toss as needed to avoid burning.

while the veggies are roasting, place the hazelnuts in a shallow baking dish and toast them in the oven for 4-6 minutes (or until golden). alternatively, you can toast them dry in a pan on the stove top for about 3-4 minutes over medium heat. let the nuts cool, chop them roughly, and set aside.

make the dressing by whisking together the olive oil, mustard, lemon, maple syrup, salt and pepper. in a large serving bowl, pour the dressing over the greens and them well with your hands until they are coated in the dressing and take on an almost wilted texture. add the pomegranate seeds, hazelnuts, and cilantro.

once the squash and leeks have finished roasting and have cooled for 10-15 minutes, add them to the salad. give the entire dish a big toss, add some salt and pepper to taste, and serve.

Friday, December 13, 2013

rustic apple galette.

preparing a crust from scratch is intimidating. there are so many unanswerables: how do you strike just the right level of buttery flakiness? what's the ideal baking temperature? how long should you cook it to ensure that the crust is cooked through but the toppings aren't charred?

luckily, this galette recipe - which beautifully accomodates both sweet and savory toppings - sidesteps many of the common challenges. it comes together easily and is ready to use on the spot. all you need is a food processor, 4 ingredients, and 15 minutes. 

i went with an apple topping this time for dessert, but if i were to venture into the savory world, i'd eagerly spring with some caramelized onions, chard, and goat cheese. 
rustic apple galette

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1 stick plus 2 tablespoons cold salted butter, cut into small pieces
1/3 cup ice water

4 apples
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon honey, preferably wildflower

in a food processor, combine the flour with the sugar and butter and process for about 5 seconds. sprinkle the ice water over the flour mixture and process until the pastry just begins to come together, about 10 seconds. you should still be able to see small pieces of butter in it. transfer the pastry to a work surface, gather it together and pat into a disk. if there are extra clumps that aren’t sticking, pat them into the dough and then wrap the pastry in plastic or wax paper and refrigerate until chilled.

halve and core the apples and slice them crosswise 1/4 inch thick. you can peel them if you want, but you don’t have to. in a small bowl, combine the sugar and cinnamon.

preheat the oven to 400°. on a lightly floured work surface, roll out the pastry transfer to a large rimmed baking sheet. arrange the apple slices on top of the dough in concentric circles or in slightly overlapping rows. drizzle the honey and sprinkle the cinnamon sugar over the chopped apples. fold the pastry edge up and over the apples to create a 1-inch border.

bake the galette for about 40 minutes, until the pastry is lightly browned and crisp and all of the apples are tender. baking time will depend on the verocity of your oven! transfer the pan to a rack and let the galette cool. serve warm or at room temperature.

Monday, December 9, 2013

maple pecan granola.

given just how many high quality granola options line the supermarket shelves, it had never occurred to me to go to the trouble of making my own batch of cereal. that is, until a few weeks ago when curiosity got the best of me and i wanted to see just how nature's path does it. 

this maple pecan granola recipe is a great gluten-free creation that you can throw together in under 10 minutes and bake for another 20. rather than relying on traditional rolled oats, it's made with uncooked quinoa, millet, and buckwheat groats (all of which are available in the bins at any health food store). the rest of the mix-ins are up for grabs: you can't go wrong with a combination of nuts and seeds, but i think some additional coconut flakes or chocolate chips would take things to the next level.

what i like about the final product is that it isn't overly sweet. rather than using sugar, the syrup comes from a blend of apple sauce, maple, coconut oil, and vanilla extract. the result is toastily fragrant and slightly clumpy. you can also increase the crispiness by baking it a few extra minutes. i've been enjoying it with my morning yogurt these days, but it would also make a fantastic ice cream topping or afternoon snack.

maple pecan granola

2 cups of roasted buckwheat groats (kasha)
1/4 cup uncooked millet
1/2 cup uncooked quinoa
1/4 cup rolled oats (or gluten-free oats)
1/2 cup chopped almonds
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/4 cup chopped cashews
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1/2 cup sunflower seeds

1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
3 tablespoons olive oil or coconut oil
3 tablespoons maple syrup
2 teaspoons vanilla extract 

preheat the oven to 160C/360F. line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

in a large mixing bowl, combine the kasha, millet, quinoa, almonds, pecans, cashews, sesame and sunflower seeds. set aside.

in a small pot, gently heat all the wet ingredients until a syrup forms. remove the pot from the heat and let the flavors merge for a few minutes. pour the wet over dry ingredients and stir until well coated.

transfer the mixture onto a baking sheet and spread out in single layer. bake for 20-30 minutes or until millet and quinoa seeds have turned golden and the kitchen smells like maple. let cool completely before storing in airtight container.

Monday, November 11, 2013

roasted delicata squash soup.

 i love so many things about autumn, from the changing foliage and holiday lights to the seasonal excuse to throw pumpkin and maple into just about everything. i also can't get enough of how many different kinds of winter squash abound at the farmer's market.

this is a great soup to use up any and all of those squash. i decided to go with delicatas for this version, but a pumpkin or acorn varietal would work just as well. this soup gets its depth of flavor from roasting the squash for a half hour before adding them to the pot. it also has a soothing, creamy texture thanks to a simple homemade cashew cream. below is the minimalist recipe you can start out with, but feel free to add in additional spices and herbs as desired. and of course, as with most soups, it tastes even better the day after once all of the flavors have spent some time melding.

roasted delicata squash soup
adapted from veganyumyum

3 delicata squash
1 tbsp oil for roasting

1 onion, minced
4 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups vegetable broth
1 tbsp fresh basil, chopped
salt and pepper to taste

for the cashew cream:
1 cup raw, unsalted cashews
1 cup vegetable broth

preheat oven to 400º F.

chop the ends off the squash. halve them and scrape out the seeds. place on a baking sheet cut-side down and brush lightly with oil. bake for 30-40 minutes until they are tender. flip them midway through if you need to prevent burning.

meanwhile, make your cashew cream. throw the cashews and brothin the blender and blend! let the blender run for 1-2 minutes until very, very smooth. set cream aside. 

remove squash from the oven.

in a large pot, sauté the onion and garlic in olive oil over medium heat for 3-4 minutes, until translucent. add the squash and using a spatula, break up the squash into chunks. add 4 cups of veggie broth. bring to a boil then turn down the heat and let simmer for 20 minutes, covered.

using an immersion blender, blend away. add half of the cashew cream and blend until very smooth. season with salt and more pepper.

serve in bowls and top with some fresh basil and a drizzle of cashew cream if you want. 

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

beginner stir fry.

i had the honor last year of helping dr. maya adam teach an undergraduate level class in child nutrition at stanford. the class involved 1 lecture and 1 cooking class each week. students learned everything from how to chop garlic to how to make crepes. the goal was to show them how easy (and not scary) cooking can be. this stir fry was one of my favorite dishes we learned to make. it has since become a staple in my kitchen.

stir fries are definitely my go to dish when i'm cooking for myself or one other person. i like to vary the vegetables and the sauce, and am always amazed how little tweeks lead to be big changes in flavor and texture. this particular combination could not be easier or quicker. it takes about 20 minutes from start to finish. throw some garlic, ginger, and onion into a hot pan. add the veggies. top with herbs and sesame seeds. consume.

if you're new to the world of stir frying, this dish is an unintimidating and delicious place to start. and if you're a veteran sauteer looking for some new flavors, plum sauce may just become your new favorite ingredient.

beginner stir fry
inspired by maya adam’s just cook

1/2 onion, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 inch piece of ginger, peeled and minced
1 tablespoon olive or sesame oil

1 head broccoli, chopped in florets
1/2 yellow pepper, cut into strips
1/2 red pepper, cut into strips
1 cup shitake mushrooms
1 zucchini, diced

1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup plum sauce
fresh ground pepper

1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1/4 cup sesame seeds

in a skillet or nonstick frying pan, heat the oil over medium high. once hot, add onion, garlic, and ginger. they should sizzle when they hit the pan. cook, stirring regularly, for about 5 minutes, until the onion starts to turn translucent.

add the rest of the vegetables and spread evening around the pan. let them sit and sear for 2-3 minutes before tossing. stir and cook for another 7-10 minutes until they are almost done.

whisk together the plum and soy sauces. add sauces to the pan and give it a toss so it coats the vegetables. cook for another 2-3 minutes until veggies are done. add a dash of ground pepper and cilantro. 

serve atop quinoa or your favorite grain. sprinkle with sesame seeds.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

lasagna tart.

last week i had the privilege of attending a cooking class with one of my all-time favorite bloggers: dana of if you ever find yourself in the oakland area, take one of her classes. it involved 3 delightful hours of tasting a bunch of different dishes, sipping wine, chatting with the other students, and absorbing some tiny fraction of dana's expansive culinary knowledge. everyone walked away with a nifty booklet of 5 inspired late summer recipes, from a shaved summer squash salad to a blueberry crisp. i'm a sucker for a good crisp - as evidenced by my last post - but by far my favorite dish we learned was a goat cheese and heirloom tomato tart. i was particularly excited because my sore inability to knead dough (and one especially scarring galette making experience a few years back) has always left me pretty weary of venturing into the world of doughs. but after watching the ease with which dana made, baked, and filled her tart, i decided it was first tart endeavour involved an incredibly simple, whole wheat olive oil crust. the dough comes together in minutes and is sturdy enough for you to transport into the tart pan without having to worry about it falling apart. after refrigerating it for a few hours and baking it 20 minutes, i filled it with layers of caramelized onions, shaved zucchini coins, tomato sauce, and cheese.

i was really pleased with the result. the crust was flakey but not at all crumbly, and the filling held together quite well when i cut into it. if you're looking to venture into the world of tarts, this is a great pilot recipe.

lasagna tart

heavily inspired by 101 cookbooks

tart crust
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 teaspoon fine grain sea salt

zest of one lemon

1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup cold water

tomato sauce
3 cloves garlic, minced

1 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 heirloom tomatoes, diced
1 teaspoon salt

2 yellow onions, diced
1 tablespoon olive oil

2 zucchinis or summer squash, sliced into thin coins
1 teaspoon sea salt

1 cup chopped herbs (i used basil, rosemary, thyme, and chives)

1/2 cup grated cheese

preheat the oven to 375F degrees, and place a rack in the middle. get your 10-inch tart pan out.

toss the sliced zucchini with the salt in a colander and let it drain while you make the tart shell, caramelized onions, and tomato sauce. once you’ve let the zucchinis drain, wash them off thoroughly to remove the salt. pat them dry using a paper towel to remove any excess water. set aside.

to make the tart shell combine the flour, salt, and lemon zest in a large mixing bowl. drizzle the olive oil over the flour and stir that in. now drizzle the cold water over the flour and mix with a fork just until it is absorbed. knead the dough in the bowl one or twice until it comes together into a ball. now lightly flour a flat surface and use a rolling pin to roll the dough into a circle roughly 13-inches across. with great finesse, ease the pastry into your tart pan and press it into the corners and up the sides without stretching the dough. trim away any excess dough, and place the pan in the refrigerator for at least thirty minutes (but up to 10 hours).

in the meantime, start caramelizing your onions. add the olive oil to a skillet, then cook the onions on medium high for about 10 minutes, stirring every few minutes. turn the heat down to medium low, and let the onions keep cooking for another 45 minutes. stir them every 5-10 minutes so that they don’t burn, but you do want them charred. once they give off that dark brown, glazed appearance (and your kitchen smells amazing!), you know they’re ready. transfer to a bowl and let cool.

at this point, your dough should be ready to bake. prick the crust with a fork a few times. line the pastry with parchment paper and fill the tart with pie weights. bake for 15 minutes. remove the paper and pie weights, then toast the tart crust in the oven for another five minutes or so before transferring it to a rack to cool. dial the oven temperature down to 350F.

now, using the same skillet you caramelized the onions in, you can make the sauce. add the olive oil to the pan. once hot, add the garlic and cook over medium high for a few minutes. toss in the tomatoes and salt, bring to a simmer, and cook the sauce down a bit, 10 minutes or so. add in the herbs and remove from heat.

when you are ready to assemble the tart, use a spatula to spread the caramelized onions across the bottom layer. arrange the zucchini in a single layer on top of the onions. pour the sauce on top and spread around, then top with the cheese.

place the tart on a rimmed baking sheet - in case you end up with an overflow - and bake for roughly 40 minutes. remove and let cool for 10 minutes before serving.