funky food

It’s been a week of funky food and DSC02983you’ll be hearing about a lot of it, I’m sure. As odd as the combinations seemed, everything was delicious and satisfying, often in unusual ways. Take these Beet and Carrot Fritters with Dill and Yogurt Sauce from over at food52 DSC02985as an example.

They were fantastic and the perfect way to put to use the last two beets lingering in my crisper drawer from a Roasted Beet and Asparagus salad that turned me into a beet lover last week. These fritters’ winning combination of mildly sweet roots paired with a hint of salt and finished with a toothsome crisp outer shell and the oh so refreshing DSC02989tang of plain yogurt were an instant hit!

I won’t lie and tell you these were super speedy to whip up, they took me a good hour from peeling and dicing the onion to the frying of the last fritter but they were so worth it and my little companion was quite happy to pack away the fritters as they came off the griddle.

Love from CO,

Bethany

 

 

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Leftovers!

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I wasn’t always a fan of leftovers, they just seemed. . .boring? And then one day I realized that leftovers can be much more than simply whatever you ate the day before reheated and plopped on a plate, they can be beautiful and, well, creative. For example: last winter I found myself with a kettle of nearly inedible garlic and harissa soup that I couldn’t bear to throw down the drain. Thus, I found myself chopping and browning chicken breast and adding precooked orzo pasta to fill out the soup and improve upon the flavor.

And then this last week I stumbled upon the best leftovers: a lovely Bulgur Pilaf from Anna Thomas’s “The New Vegetarian Epicure.” I was convinced that the pilaf itself was a miracle side dish since you combine the ingredients and then leave it in your oven for an hour where it becomes a wonderful and fluffy combination of grains, onions, and raisins that are topped with pine nut almonds because that’s what I had!

Day one: I served it along with a stewed chicken dish it was great, really quite nice.

Day two: I served it with left over stewed chicken and a topping of sauté spinach, also wonderful.

Day three: this is where the creativity begins! I had some ground beef that needed to be used and there was just enough of that bulgur pilaf left not to want to throw it out but it wasn’t going to go far on its own. Also, my fridge was looking a little bare but I did have a new bag of carrots, some celery, a tomato, and some frozen corn in the freezer. And thus was born a bulgur pilaf bowl worthy of repetition!

Love from CO,

Bethany

Ingredients:

  • ½ lb. ground beef
  • 1 c. carrots cut into 1/8 inch chunks (I used four smallish carrots)
  • 2 large stalks of celery
  • 1 cup frozen (or fresh) corn kernels
  • 1 medium tomato
  • ½ Tbs. garam masala (I use the Penzeys spice mix)
  • ½ recipe bulgur pilaf (Recipe follows)
  • Olive oil for cooking
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Toasted Almonds to Garnish (10 per person and I roast in a 350° oven for 12 minutes)

Heat a frying pan over medium heat and cook ground beef until it begins to turn brown, add your chopped carrots, celery, a little salt and pepper, and the garam masala at this point (depending on the fat content of your meat you may want to add a glug of olive oil to keep things from sticking). Continue to satay the beef mixture until the carrots begin to soften (about 8 minutes). Slice your tomato into wedges and, when the carrots are just tender, add the tomatoes to the ground beef along with your bulgur pilaf and corn. Continue to heat through until the whole mixture is hot but the tomatoes still hold their shape. Adjust salt and pepper and feel free to add additional spice mix to your desired heat level. Spoon into bowls and serve topped with whole (or chopped almonds) and, if you have some around, a spoonful of plain yogurt here would also be spectacular. (about 4 servings)

Ann Thompson’s Bulgur Pilaf with Fennel, Raisins, and Pine Nuts (serves 10-12 as a side)

  • 2 medium yellow onions (2 cups chopped)
  • 2 small fennel bulbs (1/12 cups chopped)
  • 1-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 cups bulgur
  • 4 cups hot vegetable broth (I substituted boiling water and 1 Tbs. better than bouillon chicken stock base)
  • 1/2 cup raisins of your choice (I used black she used golden)
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts

Peel and chop the onions. Trim the fennel bulbs, wash them carefully, and cut them into 1/2-inch dice. Sauté the onions, fennel, and minced garlic in the olive oil, stirring often, until the vegetables take on a nice golden-brown color. Add some salt and pepper-more or less, depending on the saltiness of the broth you will use.

Add the dry bulgur and stir it in the hot pan with the vegetables for a few minutes. Then add the hot vegetable broth and the raisins.

Pour the whole mixture into a large casserole or gratin dish, cover tightly, and bake it in a 350° oven for 40 minutes.

Meanwhile, toast the pine nuts: Heat them in a small pan, stirring constantly, until they begin to brown. Do not turn away to answer the phone! This only takes a few moments, and they’ll burn in an instant if you take your eyes off them. When they are toast-colored and give off a divine fragrance, just set them aside in a bowl.

After 40 minutes, when the pilaf is ready remove the cover from the pilaf and check to make sure all the liquid has been absorbed. If not, leave it in the oven for a few more minutes. Then fluff the pilaf with a fork and stir in the toasted pine nuts. Use the bulgur pilaf without the added pine nuts for the previous recipe.

a satisfying soup for a winter evening

[Updated to add a picture!]

Since J has basically been feeding me for the past three months, I gamely volunteered to cook for us tonight. But what to make? I was going to turn out SK’s sausage and sweet potato soup, but the thought of chopping all those potatoes got me down. Instead I combined two thirds of a can of coconut milk, a can of chickpeas, and a can of diced tomatoes to make this creamy soup from Love and Lemons. It was perfect: thick and slightly grainy with just the right amount of tang (and only the smallest amount of chopping necessary–for the onion!). I served  it with thick slices of beer bread (from Balthazar Bakery in NJ) toasted with Tillamook cheese (both the products of a late afternoon grocery run).

I wish I had a picture to share. But the soup looked so good plated that I devoured my bowlful before I even remembered to pull out my camera! Here are the delectable results of the meal, second day (with a sprinkle of freshly grated parmesan, a few sprigs of thyme, a swizzle of olive oil, and a shake of red pepper flakes).

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Love from Connecticut,

Allison

searching for delicious

Mom and I have been on the hunt for months (no, years!). In the pre-baby- brother stage, home-made brownies were moist, chewy and crackle-topped without effort. Those were the days of all-purpose flour and endless baked goods. Then he came, and with him were whole wheat flour (ground at home), gallons of honey and a very sparse sprinkling of sugar. Just on the weekends, mind you. The delicious brownies disappeared. We courted with whole wheat pastry flour and honey, but the results were dry. Not even pretty flecks of coconut on top could fool you. The honey was abandoned and we set out on a brown-sugary, half-baked adventure that was much better, but rather dense. The baking powdery, cake-like varieties were even less successful. And then, on the back of one of the 36 bags of chocolate chips in the pantry, was the recipe (you’ll have to buy 11.5 Oz. of Guittard 63% chocolate chips in order to find it, or just scavenge in our trash can). Sister B made them on Tuesday (a last holiday treat before the oldest-sibling departures) and three days later they were back in the oven. That’s how good they are.

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P.S. The brownie here is shown buried under Haagen-dazs vanilla ice cream, whipped cream, and caramel sauce. Honestly, they’re just as good plain (as we ate them on Tuesday) or with a fresh cup of tea.

With love and dishes to wash,

Sister F