Archive | November, 2010

Cabbage, Carrots, and Kohlrabi with Cheddar Sauce

23 Nov

Pretty?  No.  Delicious?  Absolutely.  Despite the fact that it is almost completely monochromatic, this dish has a very comforting, flavorful taste to it.  It’s also fairly filling for a vegetarian dish that doesn’t include a starch.  Plus, it’s only a very few minutes of hands on time to slice up the vegetables and whisk up the sauce, which is always a bonus.

Cabbage, Carrots, and Kohlrabi with Cheddar Sauce

1 small head cabbage, cut into 2″ wedges

2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 2″ chunks (I used 1 orange and 1 white carrot)

1 bulb kohlrabi, peeled and cut into 2″ chunks

1 cup water

Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper

2 tbs. unsalted butter

1 tbs. all-natural, whole wheat flour

1 cup 1% milk

1 tbs. dijon mustard

1 tsp. fresh sage leaves, chopped

1 tsp. fresh thyme leaves, chopped

1 cup grated very sharp cheddar cheese

1/2 cup Japanese style panko bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 350º.

Place cabbage, carrot, and kohlrabi in a shallow sauté pan.  Cover with water and season with freshly cracked black pepper and kosher salt.  Cover and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer roughly 15 minutes or until vegetables are tender.  Drain and transfer to a small casserole dish.

Add butter a small sauce pan over medium heat.  Heat until butter is melted.  Whisk in flour and cook roughly 1 minute until thickened slightly.  Remove from heat and whisk in milk.  Add dijon, sage, and thyme and transfer back to medium heat until thickened.  Slowly add cheese, whisking, until mixture is smooth and creamy.  Pour sauce over vegetables and top with panko bread crumbs.  Transfer to oven and bake until bread crumbs are golden brown, 15-20 minutes.

Sweet Potato Bake with Creamy Dijon Sauce

22 Nov

This is dish #2 in my attempt to creatively use sweet potatoes, which are not Zak’s favorite item.  Nonetheless, we both really enjoyed this.  The dish seemed decadent thanks to the bold flavors of the dijon, tahini, and sweet potatoes, but was actually very healthy.  Just take a look at the nutritional facts for beet greens and sweet potatoes.  Vitamin A galore!  Substitute water for the milk and you’ll have a delicious vegan entrée on your hands.  I was also impressed with how quickly and easily this dish came together.  Basically, this is a new favorite way to use up sweet potatoes from the CSA.

Sweet Potato Bake with Creamy Dijon Sauce

Adapted from

2 cups medium shell pasta

3-4 cups beet greens, tough center ribs removed and roughly chopped

2-3 small sweet potatoes, cut into 1/2″ cubes

3/4 cups 1% milk

1/4 cup salted cashews

1/2 cup sliced almonds

2 tbs. soy sauce

1 tbs. Brummel & Brown

2 tsp. tahini sauce

2 1/2 tsp. lemon juice, divided

1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard

Pinch of powdered ginger

Small pinch of nutmeg

1/2 tsp. fresh thyme, finely minced

1 tbs. fresh sage leaves, finely minced

1/4 tsp. paprika

Freshly cracked black pepper

1/2 cup panko bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 400º.

Bring two large pot of lightly salted water to a boil.  In first pot, add sweet potato cubes and boil in salted water until tender, roughly 10-15 minutes.  Add pasta to second pot and cook according to package instructions.  3 minutes before pasta is cooked, add chopped beet greens to boiling water.  When pasta is cooked through and beet greens are tender, drain and set aside.

Add milk, cashews, Brummel & Brown, tahini, 2 tsp. lemon juice, mustard, ginger, nutmeg, thyme, paprika, and freshly cracked black pepper to food processor.  Pulse in 1-2 second bursts until mixture is smooth and creamy (roughly 15 pulses).

Combine pasta, beet greens, sweet potatoes and sauce in a casserole dish and stir well to combine.  Top with panko bread crumbs.  Bake 15 minutes until hot and bubbly and panko crumbs are golden brown.

Geauga Family Farms CSA – Week Three

20 Nov

Geagua Family Farms CSA – Week Three

Above see week three of our Geauga Family Farms CSA share.  I am super excited about this week’s bounty.  Just look how colorful it is!  Included were some very colorful carrots, a few onions, a head of cabbage, two heads of lettuce, broccoli, swiss chard with shockingly bright center ribs, a bunch of the most intensely red radishes I’ve ever seen, a half dozen or so potatoes, and a pumpkin pie.

I still have some of last week’s produce left over – a head of lettuce, a few radishes, a couple of the sweet potatoes and the kohlrabi.  I’m a little disappointed in myself for not getting to it sooner, but we had our Thanksgiving pot luck last night,  the short ribs didn’t utilize any of our produce, and Zak made B’s Sauce on Thursday because I spent the evening prepping for the pot luck.  I don’t want to make the same mistake this week, so you’ll certainly be seeing a lot of vegetable-heavy dishes this week.

Pre-Thanksgiving Potluck

19 Nov

Today was an all-around great day.  I will say straight off I forgot to take pictures of the wonderful recipes below.  But, hey, I was a little overexcited tonight, because Zak proposed when I got home from school today. :)  I couldn’t be happier and was on cloud nine all day.  Then, I got to spend the evening with my wonderful friends eating some delicious food, drinking some beer and wine, talking, laughing (a hell of a lot!), and listening to some great music (new Girl Talk!).  It was so exciting to announce our engagement to my friends and get so much love and support from everybody.  I could not be happier about getting to spend my life with such a wonderful man.  Every day since I’ve met him has been so wonderful.  Equally importantly, I could not ask for better in-laws.  I can’t wait to have my first sister (in-law), and my future mother-in-law and father-in-law are so amazingly awesome.  I love them all to death and can’t wait to have his huge extended family as my own.

Annnnnyyyyyyyway …. if you’re looking for Thanksgiving recipes, below is a good start.  I won’t lie and say they aren’t time consuming – because they are – but they are not at all difficult.  It’s just a lot of slicing, layering, chopping, etc.  The good news is that much of this can be done beforehand.  I had everything in the fridge last night.  You could easily do the caramelized onions/mushrooms for the dip and grate the cheese for the gratin 2 days before.  Use your judgment.  Most of the ingredients in these recipes, with the exception of the sliced potatoes for the gratin (which, I won’t lie, takes awhile to assemble) can be done in advance.  At the very least, you can have everything chilling in the refrigerator and ready to go in the oven the evening before.

Really, though, despite the fact that these are not quick and easy recipes … you can taste the love.  These dishes were winners all around at our pot luck.  Like I said, this was a great day for me.  I got congrats for my engagement and praise for my cooking (and more than one comment about how it was obvious why he was marrying me!).

Hot Cheesy Mushroom Dip

I often save recipes for dips and appetizers from around the web but rarely get the chance to use them since we do not entertain very often.  I was really excited to try out this warm dip.  Caramelized onions, you say?  Mushrooms?  Cheese … lots of cheese?  Sign me up.

Adapted from Closet Cooking

Serves 4-8

2 tbs. extra virgin olive oil

2 tbs. butter

1 medium onion, sliced

1 1/2 lbs. crimini mushrooms, cleaned and sliced

2 cloves garlic, chopped

2 tsp. fresh thyme, chopped

Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper

1/2 cup white wine

2 4 oz. packages cream cheese at room temperature

1 cup sour cream

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1/2 cup mozzarella, grated

1/2 cup Parmesan, grated

1/4 cup Gouda, grated

Assortment of crackers/store bought crostini bread

In a medium sauté pan, heat olive oil.  Add butter and melt.  Add onion and cook until lightly caramelized, roughly 20 minutes.  Add mushrooms and sauté until caramelized, roughly 20 minutes.  Add garlic and thyme and sauté until fragrant, 1-2 minutes.  Season with kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper.  Add wine to deglaze pan, cooking until liquid has evaporated/been absorbed by mushrooms.

Preheat oven to 350º.

Add 1/2 of mushroom mixture to food processor and puree.  In large bowl, mix pureed and other mushrooms, cream cheese, sour cream, mayonnaise, and cheeses.  Transfer to a baking dish.  Bake in preheated oven until bubbling and golden brown on top, about 20-40 minutes.

Serve with an assortment of crackers/crostini bread.

Potato and Onion Gratin

This is an enlarged version (sans-green onion) of the potato and onion gratin I made last week when our friend came over for the basketball game.

Serves 10

1 large white onion, thinly sliced

9 small potatoes, thinly sliced (use a mandolin or food processor slicer for best results)

9 tbs. all natural, whole wheat flour

6 cloves garlic, minced

3 tbs. unsalted butter

1 1/2 cups 1% milk

3 cups grated Gruyère cheese

3 cups grated very sharp cheddar cheese

1 1/2 cups grated Parmesan cheese

Nonstick cooking spray

Preheat oven to 375º.

Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat.  Add garlic and sauté until fragrant, 1-2 minutes.  Whisk in milk.

Meanwhile, spray casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray.  Toss potatoes and onion in flour to coat.  Place one layer of potatoes, then onion in casserole dish.  Top with a few tablespoons of milk-butter mixture, including some garlic, 1/4 of each type of cheese.  Add another layer of potatoes and onions and repeat two more times.  Top with remaining cheese.

Bake, uncovered, about 1 hour.  If top is not browned or crisp, transfer to the broiler for 5-10 minutes.  Let stand 15-20 minutes before serving.

Giblet and Herb Dressing

This recipe is an amalgamation of all of the ways I’ve seen stuffing prepared by my family members over the years.  Normally, I would make a sausage stuffing, but we had a few Jewish gentlemen who keep kosher in the group, so I decided to make giblet stuffing instead (some pretty extensive Googling confirmed this was okay).

Serves 12

1 sack giblets from chicken

2 cups water

3/4 cup plus 2 tbs. butter, plus more for buttering casserole dish

1 3/4 cups diced celery

1 cup onion, chopped

1 cup carrot, chopped

1 cup crimini mushrooms, sliced

14 cups day old bread, chopped into 1/4″ to 1/2″ cubes (I used one loaf French bread and one loaf Italian white bread)

3 1/2 cups homemade chicken broth

1 tsp. dried crushed rosemary

3 tbs. fresh sage leaves, finely chopped

3 tbs. fresh thyme leaves, finely chopped

1 tsp. poultry seasoning

Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper

In a small sauce pan, add giblets and add water to cover (about two cups).  Season with kosher salt.  Simmer, covered, roughly 1 1/2-2 hours until tender.  Add liver and simmer another 20-30 minutes.  Reserving one cup cooking liquid, remove giblets and chop.

Preheat oven to 350º.

Heat butter over medium heat in a large stock pot. Add onion, celery, carrots, dried rosemary, fresh sage leaves, and fresh thyme leaves and sauté until vegetables are tender, roughly 8 minutes.  Add mushrooms and cook an additional 5-7 minutes until mushrooms have given off liquid and lightly caramelized.  Add broth and bring to a slow boil.

Remove stock pot from heat and stir in bread cubes, reserved giblets and their cooking liquid, and poultry seasoning.  Dressing should be moist but not sopping wet.  Transfer to large buttered casserole dish and cover tightly.  Bake in preheated oven roughly 45 minutes.  Remove cover and bake an additional 15 minutes until dressing is toasted.

Zesty Herb and White Wine Braised Beef Short Ribs

17 Nov

I generally like to prepare marinades and rubs and all that jazz from scratch, but Zak and I bought a few McCormick Grill Mates to have around for a rainy day a few weeks ago.  The three little packets were starting to look so lonely leaning sadly against my huge stockpile of vinegars, so I thought I would try one out with short ribs.  I was really happy with the results.  Served over jasmine rice, these ribs were filling, tender, and packed with flavor.  Plus, short ribs are easy.  They’re hands off.  If you are feeling lazy, go ahead and skip roasting these in the oven for the extra fifteen minutes.  Short ribs suck up flavor, they melt off the bone (as you can see from the picture), and it takes almost nothing to make them taste amazingly decadent without any effort.  And that is why beef short ribs are the only beef item you’ve seen on this blog.  Well, that and the fact that we try to keep our red meat to a minimum.  But when we eat it … it’s almost always beef short ribs.

Zesty Herb and White Wine Braised Beef Short Ribs

1 cup jasmine rice, cooked according to package instructions

2 lbs. beef short ribs

1 package McCormick Grill Mates Zesty Herb Marinade, which requires:

  • 1/3 cup water
  • 3 tbs. canola oil
  • 3 tbs. white wine vinegar

Freshly cracked black pepper

1 tbs. canola oil

1 cup homemade chicken stock

1/2 cup white wine plus 1/4 cup white wine, divided

1/2 tsp. dried sweet basil

Whisk together 1/3 cup water, 3 tbs. canola oil, 3 tbs. white wine vinegar, and package McCormick Grill Mates Zesty Herb Marinade.  Add meat to marinade in a casserole dish and season with freshly cracked black pepper.  Spoon marinade over ribs.  Let ribs marinate roughly 1 hour, turning once.  Remove ribs from casserole dish, reserving marinade.

Heat 1 tbs. canola oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet.  Add ribs and brown on all sides, roughly 3 minutes per side, working in batches if necessary.  Meanwhile, whisk homemade chicken stock and 1/2 cup white wine into marinade.  Transfer browned ribs back into casserole dish.  Deglaze pan with remaining 1/4 cup of white wine and pour into casserole dish with ribs.  Cover with ribs with tinfoil.  Place in refrigerator and marinate overnight.

Preheat oven to 200º.

Place short ribs in oven and bake until tender and falling off the bone (ours were in the oven for about 10 hours).  After about seven hours and then every hour after that, I removed the ribs from the oven and spooned off the fat that had pooled to the top (save it, it’s great a great base for a warm salad dressing or in which to sauté a leafy-green side).

Raise oven temperature to 350º.

When ribs are cooked, remove from braising liquid and keep warm under tinfoil.  Simmer braising liquid over medium high heat in a medium sauce pan until reduced by 3/4.  Coat short ribs with sauce and then place, uncovered, in oven for 15 minutes until edges are browned and crispy.

Serve over jasmine rice with a few extra spoonfuls of reduced sauce and dried sweet basil.

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