March 07, 2014
February 28, 2014
To make ribollita, canned beans can be used (healthy tip: if you rinse well your canned beans you can decrease the salt in them by 50%). However, it is yummier and healthier to use your own simmered beans. And on a wintery day in Chicago, bubbling beans is a great zen activity, it feels satisfying. Once your beans are cooked, you can put them in a tupperware, or a baggie and freeze them until you are ready to make soup.
January 01, 2014
Chicken Cacciatore is a traditional "Hunter's Stew" from Italy. Chicken thighs (bone in or bone out) are dusted in flour, sauteed in hot olive oil until brown, then braised with onions, garlic, mushrooms, tomatoes and white wine with oregano, rosemary and thyme. It is a very aromatic dish, making your kitchen and house smell like a rainy day in Tuscany (one can imagine).
November 08, 2013
We made a yummy dish, one that would be really good for St Patrick's day. Pork Shoulder is trimmed, seared and then put in a dutch oven (or crock pot would work too). The aromatics (onion, fennel, garlic) are then sauteed in the pork pot and deglazed with guiness and balsamic vinegar. Dried cherries, molasses and orange peel are added for a sweet-ish, rich, wintery braise. You can add chopped sweet potatoes in to make it a complete dish. Steamed barley would also be really nice to slurp up the broth. We also made the kale and brussel sprout salad (from BBQ Beef class in May, 2013) for some greenery.
June 06, 2013
"Brassicaceae", "Cruciferae", names of the cabbage family of vegetables. I was surprised that arugula was one of those members, along with bok choy, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, kale, radishes, rutabagas, turnips, watercress to name a few. They are all powerhouses of vitamins, fiber and are great for an anti inflammatory diet.
Radishes are rich in folic acid, ascorbic acid, potassium, vitamin C, vitamin B6, magnesium and calcium.
I have tried and tried to like radishes the french way: eaten with butter and salt. It just does not do it for me. This spring, we grew them in the YWCA urban garden and they came up so faithfully. In only a few weeks they were plump and sitting on the soil, letting you know they were ready. We sliced them and ate them along with our fresh lettuce greens tossed with a simple vinaigrette. We also threw in some cooked french green lentils (great protein and fiber source) and some shaved carrots.
Vinaigrettes are easily made and stored in canning jars. The simplest one starts with 1/3 part acid: lemon juice or any favorite vinegar (balsamic, sherry, cider, raspberry). Then, eyeballing it, add 2/3 part olive oil. Add salt, pepper, any chopped fresh herbs you have on hand (chives, garlic scapes, tarragon, parsley). Shake vigorously so that you emulsify the dressing. Drizzle on and toss well. We leave our salad dressing out of the refridgerator for days...just give it a shake and you are ready.
With this crop, I tried pickling radishes, thanks to a suggestion of Courtney's. They are so good! Good for fish tacos, good to put out with cheeses, good to eat alone to get the appetite going. These are "refridgerator pickles" so they will not last forever like hot water canning jars, they need to stay in the fridge. I guarantee they won't last long... we went through our jar in an evening.
I leave you with a couple recipes I found, that I plan to try next batch of radishes: a roasted moroccan mint and brassica salad and a radish and orange chopped salad.
Here is the lovely summer garden crew for the YWCA. Amy, working in the shelter, Kim, tending the garden and the volunteers. They are great.
May 29, 2013
The last spring class...pork pot roast. This is a recipe I have used for both the dutch over and a crock pot. Both ways come out nice and succulent, falling apart. You can use any root vegetable here. I added celery root, but I think turnips or sweet potatoes would also be delicious.
To go along with the pork, we made a quinoa salad, with orange zest, dried cherries, pine nuts and fennel. See my last posting for the recipe with israeli couscous. I like it better with the couscous (especially as I overcooked the quinoa in class!)
May 22, 2013
Spring and the swiss chard is stretching out in the garden...
A really delicious and nutritious dish is Braised Chicken with Swiss Chard and Balsamic Vinegar. You sear the chicken, saute the colorful stems along with onions and garlic, and then deglaze the pan with balsamic vinegar and diced tomatoes.
This is cooked in the crock pot or a dutch oven and you have a meltingly yummy dinner for less than $3.00 per person (with free range chicken thighs).
To accompany the chicken, we made an Israeli Couscous Salad with Dried Cranberries, Arugula, Pine Nuts with an Orange dressing. I started with the recipe from the blog, "the Kitchn" but subbed in dried cranberries for the dried cherries, pine nuts for the walnuts and we mixed in orange zest as well. It is a really tasty salad, one that I will go back to over the summer. It was nice with the juices from the chicken.