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Monday, February 29, 2016

Winter Squash and Bean Dip

Generally we Americans like to dip our tortilla chips into tomato salsas or cheese sauces or a mixture of the two. Occasionally we like to dip into beans. Here's a recipe for a dip that includes beans but the star of the show is orange-fleshed winter squash. This dip is great for an appetizer, but is hearty enough to be a light meal.  


Winter Squash and Bean Dip

Source:  Autumn Gatherings:  Casual Food to Enjoy with Family and Friends by Rick Rodgers
Yield: about 4 cups

1 1/2 pds butternut squash (or banana, acorn, hubbard, etc.) peeled and cut into 1/2-in chunks
3 T olive oil, divided
1 onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, seeded, cored and diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
One 14 1/2-oz can diced tomatoes, drained (or if fresh tomatoes are good 2 cups chopped)
One 15- to 19-oz can pinto beans, drained and rinsed (you can substitute black or kidney beans)
1 zucchini, cut into 1/2-in dice
2 T chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 c pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 400F and set rack in the center. Oil a rimmed baking sheet.

Toss the diced squash with 1 T olive oil and arrange over the baking sheet. Place in the oven and roast until the squash is tender and lightly browned, approximately 25 minutes. Stir occasionally. 

Meanwhile, place the remaining oil into a large skillet and heat over medium-high on the stovetop. Stir in the onion, bell pepper, garlic, and jalapeno and cook until the onion is golden, stirring from time to time. Add the tomatoes, beans, zucchini, and cilantro and continue to cook, stirring occasionally until the zucchini is crisp-tender. Stir in the roasted winter squash and pepitas and cook about 5 minutes. Taste the mixture and add salt and pepper. 

Serve warm with chips. If you want to keep this warm, place in a small slow cooker.

The dip can be made ahead and kept refrigerated for 3 days. It can also be frozen for a month or so.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Celery Root Slaw

Here's a recipe that uses one of our more unfamiliar vegetables, celery root, or celeriac. Although it is not the root of a celery, it is related and tastes recognizably like its cousin. If you grow it you'll see similarities, too. It's a rather bizarre looking vegetable sold somewhat trimmed but it manages to be off-putting with its greenish/brown skin and knobby bumps. Sadly, it is often ignored; it's time to change that. Celery root is an ideal vegetable for a slaw since it doesn't require pre-salting like cabbage, making this recipe straightforward and relatively quick. After you peel the root with a knife, don't be surprised by variations in color, including a little purple or pink. 


Celery Root Slaw

Source:  Autumn Gatherings:  Casual Food to Enjoy with Family and Friends by Rick Rodgers
Serves:  6

1 1/2 pounds celery root (at least 4-5 cups when shredded)
1 red bell pepper, cored and seeded and cut into thin strips
2 scallions, white and green parts, finely chopped
3 T sherry vinegar (or white wine or champagne or in a pinch cider)
1 teas grainy mustard
1 teas sugar
1/2 c olive oil
1/4-1/2 teas salt 
1/4 teas freshly ground pepper

With a knife peel the celery root and cut into pieces that will fit in your food processor. Place the shredding blade in your machine and shred the root. (If you don't have a food processor, you can certainly grate this on the big holes of a box grater.) Transfer to a large bowl and stir in the red pepper and the scallions.

Combine the vinegar, mustard, sugar, salt, and pepper in a small jar. Add the olive oil; cover with a lid and vigorously shake the jar until the ingredients are emulsified. Pour over the vegetables and mix well. Cover and let sit in the refrigerator for  30-60 minutes to soften the celery root. You can make this slaw up to two days ahead.


For more info about celery root see this site:

from my winter garden

Monday, February 15, 2016

Morning Glory Baked Oatmeal

Both Betsy and I have been on a bit of a baked oatmeal kick this winter. I cooked this one morning and it tasted so good, I nearly felt guilty. As you can see from its name the recipe relies on the ingredients of the popular Morning Glory muffin. I think this is better than the bakery specialty and seems like less work. I agree with the claim made by the author, Elie Krieger, that the dish can be baked ahead and reheated on hectic mornings.


Morning Glory Bake Oatmeal

Adapted from:  The Washington Post
Serves 8

1 T light brown sugar
1 c chopped pecans, (it doesn't call for it, but you can roast them ahead )
1/4-1/2 c shredded, unsweetened coconut 
1 teas ground cinnamon
1/2 teas salt, plus one pinch (I used about 1/4 teas plus the pinch)
2 c old-fashioned oatmeal (avoid quick-cooking or instant)
1 teas baking powder
2 c milk (I used whole, but the recipe calls for low-fat and I'm sure any type would work)
1/3 c maple syrup (I may reduce this next time; the fruits add sweetness)
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2 T canola or vegetable oil
1 1/2 teas vanilla
1 unpeeled apple, preferably Golden Delicious, but others are fine, cored and cut into 1/2 in. dice (about 1 c)
1 or 2 medium carrots, scrubbed well and shredded (about 1 c)
1/2 c raisins (for me this is optional but they are common in Morning Glory Muffins)

Preheat the oven to 375F and prepare an 8-in. square baking dish or 9-in. round dish by spraying it or greasing it.

Mix together the brown sugar, half of the pecans, half of the coconut, 1/4 teas cinnamon, and the pinch of salt in a small bowl. Set aside.

In a large bowl, mix the oatmeal, baking powder, the remaining coconut, pecans, and cinnamon (3/4 teas) and salt.

Whisk the milk, maple syrup, egg, oil, and vanilla in a small bowl or liquid measuring cup. Pour mixture over the oat mixture and stir until combined. Add the remaining pecans and coconut as well as the apple, carrots, and raisins (if you are using).

Place into the prepared baking dish. Top with the reserved pecan mixture. Bake for 40-45 minutes until golden brown near the edges. It should be just set at the center and will give a little if pressed. Serve warm with a little milk, if desired.

If you make this ahead, store with an airtight cover for up to four days. You can microwave it in individual bowls (on high for a minute) or if you are heating the entire dish, cover it with foil and place in a preheated 350F oven for 20 minutes. 

Monday, February 8, 2016

Black Olive Tapenade

This is a tasty olive spread that originated in Provence. It makes for a great appetizer when spread on bread or crackers or used as a dip with vegetables. Leftovers won't go to waste because it can also can be used as a rub for baked chicken, mixed into boiled potatoes, as a base for a vinaigrette or stirred into a bunch of spaghetti.


Black Olive Tapenade

Plan ahead since this should sit in the refrigerator for 18 hours before using. 

Yield: about 1 1/2 cups

1/3 c raw pine nuts, (don't toast them, please)
1 1/2 brine-cured pitted kalamata olives
1/2 c salt-cured black olives (also pitted)
3 T capers, rinsed and drained
2 anchovy fillets, rinsed and patted dry
2 teas Dijon mustard
1/2 garlic clove
1/4 c extra virgin olive oil

Process the pine nuts in food processor until they become a paste. The nuts will begin to adhere to the side of the processor bowl and avoid the blade. You'll need to scrape down the side and run the processor a second and third time until the nuts become a mostly smooth paste.

Redistribute the paste in the processor bowl and add the olives, capers, anchovies, mustard and garlic. Pulse the processor until very finely chopped, about 15 pulses. Halfway through, scrape down the sides. Remove the mixture from the food processor to a bowl and stir in the olive oil.

Refrigerate for 18 hours or up to 2 weeks. It's best to allow it to come to room temperature before serving.


You may have difficulty finding salt-cured olives. I got mine at a Whole Foods olive bar. These olives aren't resting in a brine and look wrinkled.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Tom's Quick Chipotle Chicken Tacos

At the cabin a few years ago, Tom was in charge of the meal and prepared a taco extravaganza. This was one of the favorite fillings and everyone wished they'd taken better notes that day. At a recent visit at my dad's I looked through my mom's old recipe files and found Tom's instructions. I want to make sure any of us can find them again.


Tom's Quick Chipotle Chicken Tacos

Source: Rick Bayless, but not sure which book
Serves:  8 or more 

4-5 c cooked and roughly shredded chicken (this is what a rotisserie chicken yields)
1 28-oz can tomatoes, drained
2 large cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped 
1-2 chipotle chiles en adobo, depending on preferred spiciness 
1 T adobo sauce from the can
2 T oil, vegetable or olive, your preference
salt to taste

Place tomatoes, garlic, chiles, and adobo sauce to a blender and process until smooth.

Heat oil in a large sauce pan or skillet over medium heat. Add the tomato mixture and cook for 10-15 minutes, stirring frequently. When it is slightly thickened add salt to taste, start with a half teas.

Add the chicken and heat through. Taste again for seasoning. You can add more chipotle, either the chiles (finely chopped), or the sauce if you want it more spicy.

Serve on hot tortillas (corn is best) with diced avocados, onion, cilantro, and queso fresco, if you have it.