Two March dinners

March has been a busy month! Spring break started on March 12, and I spent the first week off preparing for a conference, traveling to and attending the conference, and traveling back from the conference. The second week is coming to a rapid end. It was filled with some academic work, lots of wedding planning, and apartment-hunting with my soon-to-be husband!

In the midst of all this business, I found time to cook two full dinners. For the first I hosted two friends from the department. I made this spectacular ginger-carrot bisque from The First Mess (who apparently got it from Food52). The colors! the flavors! the artistry! It was good. I served it with Bethany’s citrus salad and SK’s adorable pecorino-parsley biscuits, and finished with a raspberry buttermilk cake. For the cake, I swapped whole wheat for all the flour and used thinned out yogurt instead of buttermilk (I did this for the biscuits as well). My guests adored this dessert–the three of us ate most of it by ourselves that evening. It pairs especially well with prosecco!

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I made the second dinner earlier this week for my homecoming philosopher and his roommates. I had enjoyed the parsley biscuits so much that I made them again, this time with an asiago cheese (since I couldn’t find pecorino) and a bit more flour (the dough was pretty sticky the first time around). I thought this second batch of biscuits held their shape really well and the asiago was just as good as the pecorino.

The main course was this hearty kale and lentil mushroom stew from The First Mess. I could not believe this dish didn’t have meat in it. The mushrooms added such an intense texture and flavor. Mushrooms are expensive, so I usually just buy the cheapest I can find. But for this I did mostly brown and white button mushrooms, a few ginormous portobellos, and some scant handfuls of shitake. Adding the portobello and shitake was an excellent call and really enhanced the texture of the stew. I’d recommend it, and it’s not too expensive if you use button mushrooms as your base. My guys all loved this meal, even the dedicated meat-eaters. It was objectively good, but would be even better on a cold wintry evening.

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This is not a great picture of the stew, but the biscuits look cute! You’ll just have to trust me that it’s lovely in real life.

This may be the last of the soups and stews for a while. Here’s to spring and promise of fresh and growing things!

xoxox,

Allison

 

citrus season

I don’t look forward to tDSC03049he winter months; by February I usually feel like one more rain or snow storm sent my way will put me over the edge. But this winter has been wonderfully mild and I have made a point to bundle up the little boy and spend at least a few minutes outside most days of the week. This has made for a good winter overall, this and the citrus that have been piled up in my grocery store week after week for incredibly low prices. Because of this, my house has also been home to no less than three and more likely four or five varieties of citrus at a time. We are currently gorging ourselves on tangelos! I credit the citrus presence for the absence of colds around my home this winter.

Mostly we’ve been downing these neon colored wonders in the form of a citrus salad first inspired by SK’s mixed citrus salad, but which has gradually taken on its own look in my house. It’s more of a formula than a recipe and the winning factor is that the salad dressing makes itself; as you slice your citrus, the juice runoff takes the edge off finely chopped shallot/red/yellow onion and then mixes with an oil of your choice (mostly olive oil in my house, but this morning I used a garlic and onion infused oil left over from making crispy onions) along with salt and freshly ground black pepper to moisten your greens.

The Citrus Salad Formula (2-3 as a meal 4 as a side)

3 to 4 tablespoons onions of your choice, cut into tiny bits (I have used shallots, red onions, yellow onions, and imagine that scallions would also hold up fine here)
1 garlic clove peeled and grated on a micro zester
4 cups greens I prefer something with a spicy flavor here such as arugula, however lucianato kale is also great*.
1 tablespoon olive oil, or other oil of your choice.
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
2-3 pieces of citrus, I use 1 grapefruit and 1 tangelo or 2 valencia oranges
1/4 cup toasted and chopped nuts or sesame seeds (my favorite is walnuts but almonds are also tasty here).
1/4 cup raisins
1/4 white wine or 2 tbl. wine vinegar and 2 tbl. water
3 to 4 tablespoons (1.5 ounces) salty/sour cheese, chopped or crumbled (I have used feta, chevré, and have left off the cheese and added yogurt to my dressing instead, if you try ricotta tell me how you felt about it).

Dressing extras: you can add up to 1 tablespoon wine vinegar or lemon juice to the citrus run off. Also, dijon mustard to your tastes is fantastic. 1 tablespoon fresh or 1 teaspoon dried mint, chopped or cut into tiny slivers adds a lovely cool note if that’s your thing. Half of a finely minced red or yellow bell pepper is also a welcome addition here if you have some on hand.

Combine raisins and white wine in a small saucepan and cover. Bring to a simmer and turn down heat slightly, let simmer until the liquid has been absorbed. Remove from heat and let cool.

For the citrus dressin: combine your minced onion and grated garlic in a medium sized bowl. Cut the ends off your citrus fruits so that they sit flat against the cutting board and then trim off all the peel and pith. Slice your fruit into 1/4 inch thick rounds and scrape them and all of their juices into the bowl with your onions and garlic. Stir in the oil and any extras and set aside while you prepare your greens.

If using kale, remove tough inner stems then stack and roll the leaves so that you can slice them into thin shreds, think coleslaw style here. Arugula can be used as is, other leaf lettuces you will want to tear into bite sized pieces. Add greens and raisins to bowl and mixed to moisten. Top individual servings with cheese and toasted nuts. Enjoy, again and again, until you can’t handle any more citrus.

*kale holds up especially well and the whole salad will keep for up to a day premixed, just keep your nuts and cheese separate until ready to serve so they don’t get too soggy. The “citrus dressing” can be assembled several days in advance and tossed together with the greens at the desired time making it an easy lunch item.

Love from CO,
Bethany

another pie

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I couldn’t decide between blackberries, raspberries and blueberries, so (lured by my cousin’s triple berry pie made a few days earlier) I decided on all three. Dad tried it and dubbed it “Lazarus-Berry Pie” because its good enough to come back from the dead for–a unique and somewhat disturbing complement!

Lazarus-Berry Pie

Crust:

2 C. Flour

1 1/2 Sticks butter

1 tsp. Salt

3/4 tsp. Baking powder

1 Egg

2 tsp. Vinegar

5 Tbs. ice cold water

Cut butter into flour. Beat egg and pour over flour mixture. Blend vinegar and water in a small bowl. Sprinkle over dry ingredients a little at a time and mix gently with a fork till dough forms. Separate into two balls and refrigerate while you prepare the filling.

Filling:

2 C. Blackberries

2 C. Blueberries

1 C. Raspberries

1 C. Sugar

1/2 C. Flour

Put everything in a large bowl and stir till sugar is dissolved and everything is combined.

Roll out the bottom crust and lay it in a pie dish, then pour in the filling and top with second crust. Tuck in edges and press, poke or pinch them in whatever way you normally do to pie crusts, then slice the top a few times (or you could cut out a pretty pattern–I tried to write the word “family” but started it too big and had to hyphenate it and put “ily” underneath! It was so disappointing.) Here’s the catch: I baked it at 350 degrees for over an hour! Because its been too long since I made a pie and didn’t catch the faulty temperature in the recipe I used. So, unless you want to make an exact replica of my Lazarus-Berry Pie, which is not necessary, raise the temperature a bit so that it bakes more quickly!

Sorry for the not-very-put-together recipe. Sometimes food is that way! Especially blackberry-raspberry-blueberry fam…ily pie.

Lots of love,

Faerynn M.