Rhubarb-Ginger Relish

Farm to Fork,Recipes

This is a great way to work with rhubarb in a savory way. It can be canned or frozen, and brought out in the winter for a spark of spring.

Makes 2 cups

2/3 cup packed brown sugar
3 1/2 cups rhubarb, finely chopped (about 1 pound)
1/2 cup onion, finely chopped
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup dried currants
1 tbsp. fresh ginger, peeled and finely minced
1 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. salt
pinch ground cardamom
1/2 jalapeno pepper, minced
3 tbsp. crystallized ginger, minced

Combine all ingredients EXCEPT for the crystallized ginger in a medium saucepan over medium high heat, bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer for 30 minutes or until thick. Add the crystallized ginger.

Serve warm or at room temperature.

This relish is good with duck, lamb, and pork. You could also serve with cream cheese and crackers, atop melted cheese croutons, or with vegetable curry.

Celery Root-Apple Wild Rice Chowder

Recipes

Celery Root Apple Wild Rice Soup

Last week was cold. It had us running around all crazy looking for warm clothes: socks, hats and gloves (which always seem to find a home away from each other). It also made me think about how we change our shopping and eating habits with the seasons too. My last garden tomatoes are on the counter, coaxing the sun to make them ripe, while I’ll pine for sweet corn until summer brings those snappy yellow kernels again.

Now it is the time for squash, onions, garlic, potatoes…and celery root. That crazy looking knobby thing. A bit of a beast to work with, but well worth it. This recipe is great because it is delicious and it utilizes other items in my fall pantry. I have apples, check! Wild Rice, check! Cream or milk…um, need to go to the store, but we are more than halfway there! Try this one out for the holidays, and proclaim that you knew celery root was awesome under the knobs all along!

Celery Root-Apple Wild Rice Chowder

Ingredients: Serves 4

1⁄2 cup local hand harvested wild rice, uncooked
1 celery root, peeled and small diced (about 1 lb.)
1 leek, washed and diced
1⁄2 yellow onion, diced
2 tablespoons butter
1 apple, peeled, cored, and diced (use 2 apples if they are small)
1 cup potato, washed and diced, with skin (I like to use white sweet potato, but Yukon gold works well too)
Few parsley sprigs, thyme. Or whatever large herb bits you have around to add to the mix
3 cups vegetable stock (or chicken stock, or use the wild rice water)
1 cups half and half or milk (if keeping vegan, use almond milk)

Method:

Rinse the wild rice in a fine meshed colander, and place in a sauce pan. Cover with 3 cups water, bring to a boil and lower the heat. Cook 15 minutes, or until tender. Save the water! Set cooked rice aside. This can be done 2 days ahead.

Melt the butter in a large soup pot. Add the leeks, onions, and celery root. Add 1 teaspoon salt, and cook on medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring frequently.

Add the apple, potato, herbs, and stock. Bring to a simmer for about 20 minutes, or until veggies are soft.

Add the half and half and puree half the soup, or all of it for a creamier consistency. If you have an immersion blender, this is where you can use it!

If soup is too thick, add the wild rice water to thin it. Check for salt, add fresh cracked black pepper.

When serving, add the wild rice to the bowls, and top with the hot soup. Garnish with fresh chopped herbs, and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil. Toasted sunflower seeds are great as well!

Will last 4 days in the refrigerator, freezes well.

Lost and Found

Recipes,Tips

iStock_000040375430Large

Spring cleaning is more than rummaging through closets and raking last year’s layer from the yard.  Apply this notion to the mind, to the body. Without realization, in our kitchen, we reach into the cupboard and find a can of beans, a near-empty bag of barley, some rice and discover that this little hodgepodge of bits is exactly what we want to eat.  Add broth, some carrot and miscellaneous vegetables from the fridge.  Suddenly soup.  And a clean and nourishing one at that.  Today, we have a lonely can of chickpeas in the rear of the cabinet.  I know I have an onion somewhere, and carrots toward the end of their joy to use up, and well, I did buy a perfect fist-sized fennel bulb.  This is all so completely springtime.  What’s lost is found, and with its discovery, we find it is just what we need.

 

RESTORATIVE CHICKPEA, LEEK AND FENNEL SOUP

Serves 6-8

1 pound dried chickpeas (soaked overnight and rinsed); Pinch of dried chili; Extra-virgin olive oil; 2 shallots, minced; 2 leeks, finely chopped and rinsed well in a colander; 2 small fennel bulbs, finely chopped; Salt and pepper; Cream, optional; Dijon or red wine vinegar, optional

Cover the chickpeas well with cold water in a tall saucepan and bring them to a boil.  Simmer the chickpeas until they are cooked, 20-30 minutes.  Set them aside in their broth.

In the meantime, in a heavy-based pan or pot heat a little olive oil and sweat the shallot, leek and fennel until soft.  Season with salt and pepper.  Add the chickpeas and add enough chickpea stock to cover them and the vegetables and simmer for a few minutes.

Remove 1 cup of the soup and blend either in a blender or food processor and add it back into the soup.  If you like you can add a bit of cream, or a bit more stock if you like it thin, to give the soup a new twist or leave as is.  As well, add a touch of dijon mustard or a splash of red wine vinegar to punctuate flavor if you like. Taste for salt and pepper and drizzle a bit of olive oil on the top.

 

Bananas In-Between

Recipes,Tips

I tend to fall on the ubiquitous banana in-between seasons, such as now when the stone fruits and melons are coming to a bland close. I’ve eaten a local apple or two but I’m still not ready to commit to the fruits of fall. I’ll be eating bushels of them soon enough. This leads me to the banana.

Such a reliable character in the produce section. I have not one person in my life who speaks badly about the banana. Melon, my husband won’t touch. Raw berries still sometimes pack a too tart of a punch for me. Rarely does an apricot surprise us with incredible deliciousness.   The banana waits beside these fruits all year long on the sloped wooden shelf. I forget to look.

We’ve developed a small pile of brown bananas in our kitchen counter fruit bowl. The fruit flies swarm in celebration, and again I forget to look. Until yesterday, I haphazardly baked them into oat and buttermilk muffins and even crunched some pecan streusel on top for good measure. But beyond muffins, they would be very happy in a smoothie or tossed quickly into a raita, that refreshing yogurt-based condiment to spiced Indian foods.   Better, highlight them in a (rather simple) upside down tart. If none of the above sounds fair, you could do what most folks do, simply peel and bite down.

Caramelized Fruit Skillet Tart

Serves 8

3 ounces (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter

½ cup packed dark brown sugar

3 cups fruit (chopped into 1/2 inch cubes) such as pineapple,

apple, pear, nectarine, mango, banana or any berries

¾ cup all-purpose flour

¾ cup whole wheat flour (or additional all-purpose flour)

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

¾ cup white sugar

1 large egg

¾ cup plain, whole-milk yogurt (or buttermilk)

 

Turn on the oven to 375 degrees and position a rack in the middle. Melt the butter in a large (10-inch) skillet, with an ovenproof handle, preferably nonstick, over medium heat. Swirl the butter in the skillet until it turns nut-brown, then pour it into a medium-large bowl. Without wiping out the skillet, sprinkle the brown sugar evenly over the bottom. Top with the fruit in an even layer.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, salt, baking soda and baking powder. Add the white sugar to the browned butter and whisk until thoroughly combined. Whisk in the egg, then yogurt. Pour the wet ingredients into the bowl with the dry ones and stir only to combine.

Pour the batter evenly over the fruit in the skillet. Slide the skillet into the oven and bake about 35 minutes, until the tart is golden brown and springy to the touch at the center. Remove and let cool 10 minutes.

Invert a plate over the skillet, then, holding the plate and skillet firmly together with towels or pot holders, invert the two in one swift movement. Remove the skillet, and the tart is ready to serve.

Art of the Recipe

Recipes

I have an astonishing digest of recipes, as you can imagine, and although chefs often pooh-pooh the idea of recipe, I feel like they don’t get enough respect.  Yes, recipes can be applied much too literally, particularly for beginners, and therefore work against the nature of creativity and seasonality and well, enjoyment, but they aren’t discussed enough anymore as works of art.  When I do the hard-work of creating my own recipes, as I would any piece of writing, I would hope that the reader (and cook) would appreciate the effort to chisel away at a dish and then record it for posterity.  Okay, all that to say, that recipes, good recipes, should be excellent on their own, simple to a degree, and have flexibility with (seasonal) ingredients.  Here is one such recipe for cornbread that is a Farm to Fork favorite:

 

CORN MUFFINS (AND CORN BREAD)

From Savoring the Seasons of the Northern Heartland by Lucia Watson

In the summer add fresh berries and in winter add dried herbs or shredded cheese to this rich batter.  Leftovers make wonderful stuffing.  We often make a double batch and freeze one just to have on hand.

 

1 cup cornmeal

1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour

½ cup sugar

1 tablespoon baking powder

¼ teaspoon salt

1 cup buttermilk

1 large egg

1/3 cup (5 ½ tablespoons) butter, melted

 

Sift the dry ingredients into a medium-sized bowl.  Add the remaining ingredients and stir with a wooden spoon until the dry ingredients are just moistened.  (Do not overmix or the muffins will be tough.)

Spoon the batter into the muffin tins that have been lightly greased or filled with paper liners.  Fill each about two-thirds full with batter.

Bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for 15-20 minutes, or until the centers of the muffins feel firm to the touch and a toothpick inserted in the center comes up clean.  (Watch that they don’t become too brown.)  Remove from the oven, cool 5 minutes before turning from the muffin tin, and serve warm.

For variety, fold these ingredients into the batter just before filling the muffin cups:

Berry Muffins: 1 cup fresh or frozen raspberries or blueberries

Cheese Muffins: ½ cup grated cheddar cheese

Herb Muffins: 1 tablespoon dried or ¼ cup chopped fresh dill or sage

Next Page »