Broccolini with Garlic and Soy

Broccolini is a green vegetable similar to broccoli but with smaller florets and longer, thin stalks. My local farm stand had it available and though my prior experience with it at a restaurant wasn’t great I was game to try it at home. I decided to treat it like I might regular broccoli, with a high heat cooking method and a bit of spice.

Broccolini with Garlic and Soy
Servings: 3-4
Prep time: 10 minutes
Total time: 20 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. broccolini, stems trimmed, cut into 2″ pieces
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tsp. fish sauce
  • 1 tsp. sambal oelek (or 2 seeded and finely chopped red fresnos chiles)

Directions:

  1. Combine the soy and fish sauce together. Set aside.
  2. Heat the oil in a 12″ non-stick skillet over medium until shimmering. Add the garlic and stir constantly for about 30 seconds.
  3. Add the broccolini and soy/fish sauce. Toss to coat the broccolini and cover the pan. Cook for 4 minutes without disturbing.
  4. Uncover and toss the broccolini again. Recover and cook another 4 minutes.
  5. Remove the cover and set it aside. Toss the broccolini again and stir in the sambal oelek. Cook for 2-3 minutes until most of the liquid has evaporated.
  6. Taste for salt, and heat; adjust if desired. Serve as a side with roast chicken or over white rice.

Notes:
In its purest form the Indonesian condiment sambal oelek consists of freshly ground hot red chiles with some salt and vinegar for flavor and preservation. We find it in the “ethnic foods” aisle wedged between the Japanese and Chinese sauces.

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Roasted Brussels Sprouts

It is amazing what 20 years of trying new things, and a high heat roasting, can do for a formerly disliked vegetable.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Servings: 8-10
Prep time: 10-15 minutes
Total time: 40 minutes
Special equipment: 2 rimmed half-sheet pans

Ingredients:

  • 2.5 lbs. Brussels sprouts
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

  1. Prep the sprouts by trimming the stem end and then cutting them in half. Remove any damaged or browned leaves.
  2. Arrange the oven racks so one is in the middle and one a the lower position. Preheat the oven to 475°F convection (or 450°F on a regular oven). Set out 2 half-sheet pans.
  3. Divide the Brussels sprouts between the two pans. Drizzle each pan with about 1 tablespoon of oil. Sprinkle each pan with a generous pinch of salt and about 20 grinds of pepper.
  4. Using your hands toss the sprouts with the oil and seasoning. Arrange the sprouts cut side down across the tray. Avoiding crowding the pan as it will limit browning if they are pressed up against one another.
  5. Place the pans in the oven and roast 20 minutes if using convection. If using a regular oven roast for 10 minutes then rotate the racks back to front and top to bottom in the oven, and roast for another 12-13 minutes.
  6. The roasted sprouts should be easily pierced by a fork and nicely browned. Cover loosely with foil until ready to serve.

Notes:
If you get some very large sprouts you may wish to quarter them so they have a similar mass to the halved ones. Likewise if you have mostly large sprouts you may want to leave smaller ones whole.

I’m still not fond of these tiny cabbage-like vegetables when they are steamed, or god forbid, boiled.

Delicata Squash with Red Onion and Za’atar

One of my favorite fall vegetables is delicata squash. If you get them quickly enough after harvest you can cook them without peeling. The flavor is milder than butternut squash with a bit of earthiness thrown in. The shape is like a fat sausage or salami. The center of the squash is filled with pulp and seeds like a butternut or acorn squash.

I paired it with red onions and za’atar, a spice blend used in Middle Eastern cooking consisting of sumac, thyme, white sesame seeds and salt. On a whim I sprinkled a bit of vinegar on just before serving.

Delicata Squash with Red Onion and Za’atar
Servings: 8-10
Prep time: 15 minutes
Total time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 red onion, halved length-wise, peeled, and half moon
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 4 lbs. delicata squash – peeled, scooped to remove seeds, and cut into 1/4″ half moons
  • 2 tsp. za’atar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tsp. apple cider vinegar

Directions:

  1. Heat oil in a saute pan over medium heat for about 1 minute. Add the onions and toss them in the oil until coated. Distribute the squash over the onions and then sprinkle the squash with the za’atar. Add the water, cover and cook for 5 minutes.
  2. Give the pan a shake or two to redistribute the squash, exposing areas that may have been previously covered by another piece of squash. Cook for another 5 minutes.
  3. Test a piece of squash with a fork; if the fork pierces the squash with just a bit of give then you are ready to finish the dish. If the fork doesn’t easily pierce the squash then recover and cook for another few minutes then test again.
  4. To finish the dish turn the heat up to high and set aside the cover. Gently toss the onions and squash together with tongs. Once the water has evaporated sprinkle the squash and onions with the vinegar. Plate and serve.

Notes:
I have a vegetable peeler with a serrated edge which worked well on this squash.

You’ll want a pan with a lid for this dish as the squash basically steams over the onions. I used a Pampered Chef straight-sided saute pan that we’ve had for ~15 years.

A number of recipes I looked at for inspiration suggested substituting butternut squash for delicata. You may need to cook a bit longer.

Noodle Salad

This recipe is inspired by some “Asian” noodle salad from a local market’s prepared food section. I grab it when I swing by for their house-made frozen cod cakes. I did the online search for “Asian” noodle salad, mixed and matched a few things and came up with this.

It seemed to go over well and the leftovers were as good, if not a bit better, after a couple of days rest in the fridge.

Noodle Salad
Servings: 10-12
Prep time: 10 minutes
Total time: 90 minutes

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Pantry Staple Pasta Sauce

We returned from a short vacation Friday night and Saturday was filled with all the errands except for grocery shopping. As a dinner time approached I turned to the cupboard to see what kind of thing I could cobble together.

Lentils and chickpeas provide a bit of protein in a vegetarian dish. We served it with some grated Parmesan cheese, cracked black pepper and a splash of extra virgin olive oil.

Pantry Staple Pasta Sauce
Servings: 4+
Prep time: 10 minutes
Total time: 40 minutes
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Summer Succotash

We have a Succotash recipe that we really like. It’s heavy on cream and uses frozen corn and lima beans. It is a hearty dish that works really well throughout the cooler weather months. In the summer though we like something lighter and something that makes use of the treat of fresh corn. After poking at several recipes over the years I’ve settled into this one.

Summer Succotash
Servings: 8-10
Prep time: 15 minutes
Total time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 3 Tbsp. liquid from canned butter beans
  • 3 tsp. lemon juice
  • 5 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1 cup finely chopped shallots (2-3 shallots)
  • 1 cup red bell pepper, cut into 1/4″ dice
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 2 (15-oz) cans butter beans, drained and rinsed
  • 8 ears of fresh corn, kernels cut from the cobs
  • 2 Tbsp. minced fresh chives
  • salt and pepper

Directions:

  1. Combine the liquid from the canned beans and the lemon juice together. Set it aside.
  2. Set a dutch oven over medium-heat and add the butter. When the butter is melted add the shallots and pepper, sprinkle with 1/2″ teaspoon of salt and allow to cook until softened. That will take 4 to 5 minutes; give it a stir once in a while to reduce browning.
  3. Stir in the garlic and cayenne; cook until it is fragrant, 30 seconds to a minute.
  4. Add the beans and corn; stir them in and reduce the heat to medium. Cook until the corn and beans are heated through, stirring occasionally.
  5. Give the reserved liquid mixture a quick stir and then add to the pan. Stir constantly for 1 minute to distribute the liquid.
  6. Remove the pan from the heat and taste. Add the chives along with salt and pepper to adjust the taste. Serve up.

Notes:
This recipe is built off of one from Cook’s Illustrated. Since we primarily cook it for our Saturday Night gatherings the quantities are adjusted. I’ve also swapped a couple of ingredients for ones that work better for us.

Black Bean Summer Squash Taco Filling

Desperation can be a source of inspiration in cooking. When an unexpected guest was also a vegetarian I threw together something I had on hand and suddenly we had a tasty alternative to Turkey Tacos I typically make.

Not planning on having tacos tonight? This works equally as well as a side dish.

Black Bean Summer Squash Taco Filling
Servings: 4-6
Prep time: 10 minutes
Total time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
  • 1 onion, cut into 1/4″ dice
  • 1 red bell pepper, cored and cut into 1/4″ dice
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 yellow summer squashes, cut into 1/4″ dice (see notes)
  • 2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 Tbsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. dried Mexican oregano, crushed
  • black pepper to taste, extra salt for cooking

Directions:

  1. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a 12″ non-stick skillet over medium for about 1 minute. Add the onions and bell pepper, sprinkle with salt and toss to coat in the oil. Cook for 5 minutes, stirrings once or twice.
  2. Add the jalapeno and garlic, stirring them into the carrot and bell pepper. Cook until fragrant, which should only take 30 second to a minute. Transfer the onions, peppers and garlic to a bowl and set aside.
  3. Return the skillet to the stove, add the remaining oil and increase the heat to high. When the oil is just beginning to smoke add the summer squash and a generous sprinkle of salt. Spread the squash along the bottom of the skillet and cook, undisturbed for 2 minutes. Toss the pan to redistribute the squash and cook another minute.
  4. Return the onion mixture to the pan and add the remaining ingredients. Stir to combine, reduce heat to medium low and cook for 10 minutes.
  5. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper as desired.

Notes:
Your 3 summer squashes should be 6-8″ long and no more than 2-2.5″ in diameter. I prep them removing the ends and cutting them lengthwise into quarters. I then remove the layer of seeds, cut the remaining squash flesh into 1/4″ wide strips and, finally, cutting them into 1/4″ cubes.