Winter has been continuing to hold an ice-cold grip on temperatures, so this week I felt the need to make a bowl of comfort food. This smoked salmon chowder from Skinny Taste was exactly what I was looking for! The balance between lower fat milk (I used the 1% we normally have on hand and not whole milk) and the rich flavor of smoked salmon was the warming antidote to the blast of arctic air. Skinny Taste’s original recipe gives directions for both stove-top and Instant Pot; I chose the stove-top which didn’t seem to be that much of a time problem. Visit the recipe’s original post for the Instant Pot directions.
The soup was served up in one of my favorite pieces – a handmade ceramic bowl made by one of Adrien’s former artist neighbors at Western Avenue Studios in Lowell – Liz Rodriguez. Liz’s ceramic pieces are beautiful and unique and some of my most treasured pieces for serving. You can learn more about Liz at her website Liz Rodriguez Ceramics.
Skinny Taste’s Seattle Smoked Salmon Chowder
2 tablespoons unsalted butter (I substituted coconut oil)
1 medium yellow onion, diced
3 medium carrots, ½-inch dice
3 large celery stalks, ½-inch dice
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
½ cup white wine, such as Sauvignon Blanc
1 teaspoon dry thyme
3 cups reduced sodium chicken broth (No chicken broth? Not to worry – I used water, but veg broth also nice)
1 12-ounce wedge cauliflower (1/4 of a large head), stem attached
3 small red potatoes, peeled and diced into ½ inch pieces
1 cup frozen corn kernels
2 cups whole milk (substituted the low-fat milk we had on hand)
In a large (Dutch oven or ) heavy pot, melt butter over medium heat.
Add the onion, carrots, celery, garlic and ½ teaspoon salt and sauté until vegetables start to soften, about 5 minutes.
Sprinkle flour evenly over vegetables and cook, stirring often, for 1 minute.
Add wine and deglaze the pot.
Add the thyme, broth, cauliflower and potatoes, bring the pot to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer, cover and cook for 20 minutes.
Remove the lid from pot and transfer the cauliflower (I used frozen because THAT’s what we could access) and 1 cup of the soup to a blender and blend until smooth. Transfer puree back to the pot. (I skipped the blending because I prefer the chunkiness)
Add the milk, corn, and smoked salmon and heat through for about 5 minutes.
Season with remaining salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste.
Ladle 2 cups of soup into each bowl and top with chives
The Washington Post has started a new email newsletter authored by WaPo’s food writer, Daniela Galarza called Eat Voraciously and the very first email was – as Guy Fieri might say – “off the hook”. Use this link to read more about Daniela’s mission and subscribe to receive the newsletter – or even better, subscribe to the Post.
This Picadillo recipe has many different and tasty variations. It can be vegetarian, vegan, meaty…. whatever hits you at the moment. I also appreciated that the many cubes of Sofrito, a result of this summer’s foray into CSA shares and aji dulce peppers, could be utilized to make the food prep even faster. As both of us like our food hot and spicy, we took the liberty of serving Craic Sauce’s Mill City Red on the side. To read more about this locally produced line of hot sauces, visit Craft Hot Sauce to read and hear more about creator, Brian Ruhlmann or look for Craic’s Sauce and where it’s available on social media.
Ingredients (Read Daniela’s original post for more ideas)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small yellow onion (4 to 5 ounces), finely chopped
1/2 bell pepper, any color, finely chopped (optional)
5 stems fresh cilantro and their leaves, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound lean ground beef (I used ground turkey)
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt or table salt, plus more as needed
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon paprika (any kind) (I used a hot paprika)
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 (15-ounce) can crushed or diced tomatoes, preferably with no salt added
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/4 cup dark or golden raisins (optional) (I would say, don’t skip unless you dislike raisins)
1/4 cup pimento-stuffed green olives, halved (optional) (I would say, don’t skip unless you dislike olives)
Steamed rice for serving (optional)
In a wide skillet over high heat, heat the oil until it shimmers. Add the onion and bell pepper, if using, and cook, stirring often, just until they begin to brown, about 3 minutes. Lower the heat to medium and add most of the cilantro — reserving a few leaves for garnish — garlic and ground beef. Using a wooden spoon or spatula, break the ground beef into bits so that it cooks evenly. Stir in the salt, cumin, paprika, oregano and black pepper.
Cook the beef until its fat has rendered and it’s brown with a few pink spots, 5 to 8 minutes. (Drain excess fat, if desired.) Stir in the tomatoes and tomato paste. Bring to a simmer and cook over medium heat for another 5 minutes, using a spoon or spatula to break up any large chunks of tomato. (If the mixture starts to look dry, add a splash or two of water to loosen it.)
Stir in the raisins and olives, if using, and simmer until they’ve softened, 3 or 4 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings, keeping in mind that the raisins add a little sweetness and the olives add salinity and a touch of acidity. Garnish with the reserved cilantro leaves and serve the picadillo hot, with cooked rice.
For my Noomer friends: (Based on 6 servings, excluding rice): Calories: 249; Protein: 15g; Carbohydrates: 8g; Fat: 20g; Saturated Fat: 6g; Cholesterol: 54mg; Sodium: 259mg; Fiber: 3g; Sugar: 4g.
Like most everyone, our Valentine’s Day celebration was quite a bit different this year. And so, embracing the change, we moved away from the usual big meal and headed toward something entirely out of our usual taste profiles. Depending on the culture, a koftas is a meatball or meatloaf dish, mainly found in Middle Eastern or the Indian subcontinent. Read more about that here.
The dish we prepared for each other for Valentine’s Day 2021 comes from a New York Times recipe shared by Nik Sharma, a Los Angeles based blogger, food writer and cookbook author. You can find out more on Nik’s website, A Brown Table. We substituted ground turkey for the chicken, but I would imagine either will be delicious.
So, here’s our Ode to a Different Valentine’s Day: Chicken Koftas with Lime Couscous. It was delicious – and even better the second day.
2 tablespoons lime juice, plus 1/2 teaspoon lime zest
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon red-pepper flakes
Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup couscous
¼ loosely packed cup chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves
¼ cup dried sweet-tart cherries or cranberries (We used dried cranberries – already in the pantry)
3 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
Ingredients for Koftas
1 pound ground chicken or turkey (we used turkey this time)
2 shallots, peeled and minced
1 large egg, lightly whisked
2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves
1 serrano chile, trimmed and chopped
4 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
2 tablespoons peeled and grated fresh ginger
Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 lime, cut into wedges, for serving
Make the couscous: In a medium saucepan over high heat, bring the stock, lime juice, olive oil, red-pepper flakes and 1 teaspoon salt to a rolling boil. Remove from the heat and stir in the couscous. Cover with a lid and let sit for 10 minutes.
As the couscous sits, prepare the koftas: Place the ground chicken, shallots, egg, parsley, serrano, garlic, ginger, 1 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon pepper in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until the mixture resembles a coarse paste. (One suggestion from a cook on the NYT website was to forego processing. We thought that the extra pulsing made the Koftas well-blended and was worth the extra time/step)
Frying the koftas: Heat 2 to 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large (12-inch) cast-iron skillet or nonstick pan over medium-low. Grease your hands with a little oil and divide and shape the ground chicken mixture into 12 balls. Fry them in the hot oil, in batches if necessary, until golden brown on all sides and the internal temperature reads 165 degrees on an instant-read thermometer, about 8 to 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the koftas to a tray or plate lined with paper towels. (Another commenter on NYT suggests baking the Koftas – 15 mins. at 350 F. Whatever the method, make sure that the meat is cooked to 165 F)
Finishing and plating: Uncover the couscous, fluff the mixture with a fork and break up any lumps. Transfer the couscous to a large mixing bowl. Fold in the lime zest, parsley, cherries and pine nuts, then season to taste with salt and pepper. Fold in the koftas and serve immediately with the lime wedges.
Recently, I’ve discovered a treasure trove of vegan recipes created by Vaishali on Holy Cow Vegan’s website. In trying to eat more plant based foods, this website has some wonderfully creative recipe takes on old and new favorites. This week’s shared recipe came together quickly – a good thing for weeknights – and with the addition of a few capers just before serving, was an healthy, elegant meal. With a nod toward food shopping in a pandemic, I substituted Oricchiette pasta which was opened in my pantry for the spaghetti in Vaishali’s original recipe.
Vegan Garlic Pasta with Broccoli Rabe
1 16-oz package of spaghetti or any other pasta (I used oricchiette)
1 large bunch of broccoli rabe
6 large cloves garlic, smashed and sliced thinly
1 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp red pepper flakes (or a bit more if you like things on the hotter side)
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup parsley chopped (optional)
ALSO OPTION SUGGESTIONS FROM VAISHALI: dash of lemon juice and/or a handful of capers
Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add broccoli rabe and cook for two minutes. Remove (don’t drain! use a slotted spoon) the broccoli rabe to a chopping board, chop (I made 1 1/2 inch cuts) and set aside. Cook the pasta in the same water according to package directions.
Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add the garlic and saute until it starts to turn light gold.
Add the red pepper flakes, the broccoli rabe, and salt & pepper (to taste). Stir-fry for 4 to 5 minutes.
Add the pasta with a cup of the pasta cooking water. Add the (optional, but I’d suggest not skipping) parsley, stir well to mix, check seasoning and turn off heat. (Here’s where to add lemon or capers if using).
Serve warm or at a room temperature.
Calories 277, Carbs 49.3 g, Protein 14.3 g, Fat 3.6 g, sugar 2.4 g
Since our COVID isolation, Adrien and I have been sharing cooking duties more frequently. For us, it’s a fun way to cook together or to be on your own. The Chef comes up with the meal and the sous chef either assists or enjoys an adult beverage. Guess which was my role?
This recipe was one that Adrien prepped for us, and it is delicious. And vegan. Sorry Andouille fans – no sausage here, just plenty of great flavors. We cut the recipe in half (the original serves 6) , and still had plenty for four main course servings.
Originally found in the New York Times Food section, the recipe directions include things such as garlic powder and onion powder. I’ve included them in the ingredient list, but we did not use either as we prefer to not used dried powder flavorings unless the fresh is unavailable. Also, even with a longer cooking time the beans were still a bit more firm than we would have liked. So, up the cooking time in the pressure cooker or do as one of the recipe commenters suggests: soak the beans.
½ to 1 teaspoon ground cayenne, plus more to taste
½ teaspoon ground sage (optional)
1 pound dried red kidney beans (no need to soak – however, that is something I would do on a repeat)
3 dried bay leaves
3 fresh thyme sprigs or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon soy sauce
Cooked rice, for serving
Sliced scallions, for serving
Louisiana-style hot sauce, for serving
Turn on the sauté setting of a 6- to 8-quart electric pressure cooker and heat the oil. Add the onion, season with salt, and cook, stirring occasionally, until limp and translucent, 6 to 8 minutes.
Add the celery and bell pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 5 to 8 minutes. Add the chopped garlic, miso paste, smoked paprika, sweet paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, cayenne and sage (if using). Grind in a generous amount of black pepper and add 3/4 teaspoon salt. Stir well to combine all the ingredients, then turn off the sauté setting.
Add the beans, bay leaves, thyme and 5 1/2 cups water. Scrape the bottom of the pot to loosen any browned bits. Cook on high pressure until the beans are creamy, 50 minutes to 1 hour (we felt this time wasn’t long enough – adjust accordingly OR presoak the beans).
Turn off the pressure cooker and allow the pressure to reduce naturally for 10 minutes, then release the remaining pressure manually and open the lid.
Add the soy sauce, and season to taste with salt and cayenne. Using a fork, mash some of the beans against the side of the pressure cooker to make the mixture creamy. It will continue to thicken as it sits, or you can turn on the sauté setting and let the mixture bubble for a few minutes to thicken.
Discard the bay leaves and thyme sprigs. Top the beans with hot cooked rice and scallions; serve with hot sauce.
I’ve discovered Skinny Taste as a great resource for when I don’t want to bother with trying to adjust higher calorie recipes for something to eat. This quiche – crustless no less – came together beautifully and at 174 calories per serving, it’s a winner for breakfast, lunch, or a late dinner.
The New York Times has an extensive recipe collection that I’ve often used when looking for ideas for cooking. If you have a subscription to the Times, the recipe box feature is worth the price of a NYT subscription, and their newsletter, What to Cook This Week, is an extraordinary resource.
With cooler Fall temperatures setting in, this week I’ve begun to put more soups and stews into our meal-planning rotations. With some beautiful carrots and a fennel bulb in our CSA Share, this recipe for Carrot-and-Fennel Soup from Amanda Hesser was truly serendipitous.
I did make a modification by substituting 0% Greek Yogurt for Sour Cream which didn’t feel as if it impacted the texture or flavor.
We’re nearing the end of our 20-week Summer CSA and finding more Fall veggies in our share. This week, we were introduced to a new one: Romanesco. To me, it’s odd shape and more nutty flavor reminded me of cauliflower, but it seemed to hold up better in cooking. Not sure how to deal with prepping this vegetable? A Beautiful Plate, the source for this recipe, has a great how-to.
1 heaping cup chopped Italian parsley leaves, lightly packed (more for garnishing)
1 lb dried linguini or fettucine pasta (we ended up needing only half pound)
freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese for serving (optional)
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F with rack in center position.
Trim and discard the base of the Romanesco and cut it in half, then quarters. Standing each quarter upright & holding your knife at an angle, trim the florets from the core. Most of the florets will fall off or can easily be separated with your fingers (you want the florets to be no larger than an inch in diameter); cut any larger florets in half with a knife to match the size of the other florets.
Place the florets on a half-sheet pan and toss with 1 TBSP of olive oil, kosher salt & freshly ground pepper. Distribute the florets, cut-side down, into an even layer, making sure the florets aren’t touching each other if possible. Roast at 450 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes, tossing halfway, or until carmelized and tender.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil for the pasta. Heat the remaining olive oil in a medium skillet over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and saute for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring continuously, or until fragrant. Do not allow it to gain color (this can happen quickly!). Add the kalamata olives, capers, and red pepper flakes to the pan and saute for an additional minute or until warm. Taste for salt and pepper. Add half of the parsley to the skillet and keep the mixture warm – off the heat – as you cook the pasta.
Boil the pasta until it is al dente, reserving a cup of cooking water. Return the pasta to the pot and add the kalamata olive and caper mixture and roasted Romanesco. Toss the mixutre together gently, adding the remaining chopped parsley, and a touch of extra virgin olive oil and reserved cooking water if dry. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Serve immediately and garnish with chopped parsley and parmigiana cheese as desired.
When we owned our Westford house, we always had a vegetable and herb garden. Among the things we grew were chives – and those of course grew prolifically. I love chives and added them to cottage cheese and egg dishes and as a garnish for soups. When we picked up our CSA share this weekend, we received a rather large bunch of beautiful chives, so of course I felt challenged to find a way to use them.
As one who enjoys baking, when I came across this recipe for a savory scone which would also make good use of our chives, it seemed liked this recipe was calling to me.
It’s strawberry season in New England! Along with shortcake and whipped cream, the possibilities are endless.
Back when I used to go to strawberry fields and pick outrageously large quantities of strawberries, I would make jar upon jar of strawberry jam. The ruby-red jam bubbling in a pot would emit the most wonderful smell: warm, steamy, and sweet. Pulling this cake out of the oven after an hour brought me right back to those days. Top off the warm cake with a little vanilla ice cream or whipped cream and you will not be disappointed.
Rather than the traditional biscuit, this is more of a buttery pound cake and it is delicious! And come on, you can’t go wrong with Martha Stewart!