Sunday, December 22, 2013

Moroccan Chicken with Potatoes and Peppers

In my previous post I mentioned the cookbook, Fresh Food Nation.  This is a another recipe that I tried and liked.  It called for preserved lemons which I just happened to have in my refrigerator.  I think you could substitute a little grated lemon peel. 

6-8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
8 oz. mild fresh chilies, such as Anaheim, banana or Poblano peppers, cored, seeded and thinly sliced crosswise. You could also add jalapeno for a bit more heat or just use sweet peppers if you prefer. 
1-2" piece fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
6 cloves of garlic, chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
2 teaspoons turmeric
1/4 teaspoon crumbled saffron (not essential)
Kosher salt to taste
1 medium chopped
1 bay leaf
2 tablespoons preserved lemon, chopped
1/2 cup stuffed green olives
1 1/2-2# potatoes cut into chunks, only peel if necessary.  You can use less potatoes if you prefer.

In a large deep skillet, lightly brown the chicken in the olive oil.  Add the chilies, ginger, garlic, onions, turmeric, saffron, bay leaf, preserved lemon and olives.  Cover the pan and cook for about 10 minutes.  Add the potatoes, 1/2-1 cup water and cook for 20-30 minutes until the potatoes are very tender.  If the stew appears to have too much liquid, remove cover and cook a bit longer.  Check for seasonings and serve.

This is a very flavorful stew without being over spicy.  Served with a green salad and some pita or naan to sop up the tasty pan juices it makes a very easy and satisfying one dish meal.

Sweet Potato Cornbread with Pecans

This is a recipe that I adapted from the cookbook, Fresh Food Nation: Simple, Seasonal Recipes from America's Farmers, by Martha Holmberg in 2013.  "Fresh Food Nation is at the intersection of a big need and a big trend. The need is for recipes, techniques, and inspiration for fresh produce, especially vegetables. The trend is the growing desire to eat local and connect with the source of our food--not just because locally grown food is fresher and tastier, but because it offers emotional, environmental, and food safety benefits. CSAs (community-supported agriculture organizations)are the latest wave in the rising tide of eating local." 

I borrowed the book from our public library because I'm always on the lookout for good recipes to use the vegetables from our CSA share.  I've liked most of the recipes that I've tried.  I particularly liked this recipe because it combines a couple of my favorites: cornbread and pecans.  Plus it was a good way to use some of the sweet potatoes from our winter farm share.  You could also substitute pumpkin or winter squash for the sweet potatoes.

1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour or a blend of other flours
3/4 cup stone-ground cornmeal
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2-1 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 cup coarsely chopped pecans (optional)
2 large eggs, beaten
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup sunflower oil* (you could substitute canola oil)
2 cups cooked and mashed sweet potatoes (probably 3 sweet potatoes depending on their size)

Heat the oven to 350 degrees.  Whisk together the dry ingredients including 1/2 the pecans if using.  In another bowl blend eggs, brown sugar and oil.  Add the sweet potatoes.  If you object to lumps you may want to combine these ingredients in a food processor until smooth. 

Add the dry ingredients to the sweet potato mixture and just stir just until combined.  Don't over mix. 

Heat a 9" or 10" cast iron skillet or heavy frying pan in the oven.  Place the butter in the pan until melted.  Scrape the batter into the hot pan; smooth the top and sprinkle remaining pecans over the top of the batter.  Place in the oven. 

Bake until the cornbread pulls away from the pan and center tests baked through.  This will take 35-45 minutes. 

Remove from oven.  It can be removed from the pan, but I didn't bother.  Cut into wedges and serve warm with butter.  Yum!

Store leftovers in the frig.  It reheats well for breakfast the next morning or snacks.

*Driftless Organics which happens to be our CSA farm also makes excellent sunflower oil.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Fluffy Cornmeal Pancakes

This is a recipe for some wonderful cornmeal pancakes that I saw made on a Cook's Country TV show.  I love cornmeal in anything but they commented that some people don't like it because of the grittiness.  Arthur has some of those feelings, but he loved these pancakes.  I also wanted to post the recipe because usually after the season is over the recipes are no longer available.  I know because I've tried saving them before without success.

1 3/4 cups buttermilk
1 1/4 cups cornmeal
2 tablespoons butter
3/4 cups flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1. Whisk together 1 1/4 cups buttermilk and cornmeal. Stir in butter and microwave for 90 seconds stirring once during the cooking.  Stir, cover and let sit for 5 minutes.
2. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Beat eggs and remaining buttermilk together and whisk into cornmeal mixture.
3. Whisk cornmeal/egg mixture into flour mixture and let sit for 10 minutes before making the pancakes. 
4. Grease a nonstick skillet or griddle with vegetable oil or pan spray and heat over medium heat. Scoop 1/4 cup amounts of batter onto skillet and cook for two minutes per side, until pancakes are golden and set. You can keep the pancakes warm in a 200 degree oven while finishing the rest of the batter.
5. Serve with butter and/or syrup.

Sweet Potato Chili

This is the first of a couple of sweet potato recipes that I want to post.  We've been getting some great sweet potatoes in our winter CSA share.  This recipe is from our CSA website (Driftless Organics) and is excellent because it makes a great complete meal with some good cornbread.

2 Tbsp. oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, minced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 red pepper, chopped (can be frozen)
1 green pepper, chopped (can be frozen)
1 tsp. each cumin & coriander seed
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. chipotle powder (optional, but good)
¼ tsp. each mace and cinnamon
1 large sweet potato, peeled and cubed
1 can (15 oz.) black beans with liquid
1 can (15 oz.) red, kidney, or pinto beans
1 can (14.5 oz.) diced or crushed tomatoes with liquid OR 2 cups fresh chopped tomatoes
1 cup water, tomato juice, or chicken broth
Sour cream and cilantro for garnish
In soup pot, heat oil and add onions. Sauté until golden; add jalapenos and garlic.  Saute for a couple of minutes; add red/green peppers and spices.  Saute for another few minutes; add remaining ingredients.  Bring to boil and reduce heat.  Simmer until sweet potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes, stirring frequently to avoid scorching. Add more liquid if it gets too thick.  Serve with sour cream and cilantro.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Zuppa Toscana

This is a copycat recipe for the soup served at Olive Garden where it is described as a soup of spicy sausage, fresh kale and russet potatoes in a creamy broth.  I made a few adaptations to the many recipes that I found online.  It is a delicious soup which could probably be made a bit more healthy but that's up to you if you decide to try it.

1# bulk Italian sausage
2 slices bacon
1 cup yellow onions, diced
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1/4-1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 (32 oz.) container chicken broth (4 cups)
4 cups potatoes (no need to peel) cut into large cubes
4 cups chopped kale
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 1/2 cup heavy cream (or substitute 1/2 and 1/2--it just won't be quite as rich)
Garnish: shredded Parmesan cheese

Roughly chop the kale.  First remove the stems which are very tough and don't get tender.  I know because I tried cooking kale one time without doing this.  I have not repeated that experiment.

Brown the sausage.  Remove to drain.  Brown chopped bacon add the onions and cook until tender.  Add the garlic for the last minute of cooking.

If you have a lot of extra grease drain it off.  I use bacon produced by a local farmer and it does not have a lot of excess fat.

Pour in chicken broth.  Add the potatoes, kale and sausage.  Cover and cook until the potatoes are tender which will be 20-30 minutes.  Pour in the heavy cream and heat.  Test for seasoning.  Add more salt and pepper if needed.

Serve with the Parmesan cheese.

This soup reheats beautifully--still yummy the next day.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Thai Green Curry with Red Kuri Squash

We got one of these lovely red squashes in one of our CSA boxes from Driftless Organics.  They grow lots of great squash which I'm very pleased about since winter squash is one of my favorite vegetables.  There are a lot of varieties and the red kuri is one of the prettiest and very tasty as well. 

I found this recipe for a Thai Green Curry and decided it was a worthy use of my squash.  If you go to the original website you can see pictures of the curry.  I'm not sure mine was quite as pretty but I think it tasted just as good.  I'm sure you could substitute other varieties of winter squash such as butternut with good results.

1 tbsp. olive oil
1/2-3/4 cup of sliced onions, red or yellow
1 Anaheim pepper, cut into thin slices (flash-frozen bell peppers would also work well)
5-6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2-in. piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated
1 1/2 tbsp. green curry paste (less or more depending on the spiciness of your paste)
2 tbsp. curry powder
1 (14 oz.) can of coconut milk
2 1/2 tbsp. soy sauce
2 tbsp. sweet chili sauce
4 c. red kuri squash, cut into 1-in cubes (this was about 1/2 of my squash)
1 tbsp. brown sugar
1-2 tbsp. lime juice
1/4 c. water
salt to taste
1-1 1/2 c. vegetable (I used 1/2 of a package of frozen stir fry vegetables, but broccoli, green beans, etc. would also work well)
1/2 c. fresh chopped cilantro
2 green onions, thinly sliced
Heat the oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions, pepper, garlic, ginger and sauté for about 3-5 minutes.
Add the curry paste and curry powder and cook for 1 more minute, stirring constantly.
Stir in your coconut milk, soy sauce, chili sauce, brown sugar, lime juice, squash and water. Bring to a boil, then lower heat. Simmer, covered for around 15 minutes or until squash is tender but still holds its shape.
Add your additional veggies and simmer for 5 more minutes or until vegetables are tender-crisp.
Serve over brown rice, and garnish with cilantro and green onions.