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.