Autumn brings with it a whole new menu. Out are the grilled veggies and burgers and in come roasted root vegetables, soups and stews. In the summer, the thought of turning on the oven or even stove-top can be exhausting. The heat of summer means you don’t want to make your house any more uncomfortable. Everything changes though in September and October, suddenly cooking is appealing, baking cookies a joy.
Looking for something tasty to welcome autumn? Here is a recipe for one of my favorites, beans and greens. This dish can be used as a main meal or as a side to braised short-ribs, pork chops or a perfectly baked chicken.
Beans and Greens
1 medium onion, chopped
1 t. thyme
1 t. red pepper flakes
1 bunch greens (kale or chard) sliced thin
2 cloves garlic, finely diced
1 can white beans (small white beans or cannellini beans)
2 c. diced tomatoes
1/2 shredded Romano cheese
- In a large saute pan, heat about 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add onions and cook for about three to four minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
- Stir in kale stems and cook for another three minutes or until the onions begin to look translucent. Mix in the kale leaves and add the thyme and red pepper. Set on a medium-low heat and let cook for fifteen minutes or until the greens are soft.
- When kale is tender, stir in the drained can of beans. Once warmed through, mix in the diced tomatoes and let cook for an additional 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Remove from heat and sprinkle the Romano cheese on top. Serve.
I don’t know about you, but I feel like I’ve been eating the same-old, same-old for the last few months. Maybe I let my meals become as dull as the winter weather. Maybe I was just a little lazy. Either way, spring is now here and there is an influx of greens at farmers markets adding flavor and color to dinner. This week I had the most amazing, quickest, delicious stir-fry for dinner.
Pea Shoot and Spinach Sauté
2 cloves garlic – minced
2 T. grated ginger
1 t. red pepper flakes
2 cups pea shoots – cut into 2 inch segments
2 cups spinach – cut into thin slices
1 T. soy sauce
1. In a large sauté pan or wok, heat 1 T. olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic and ginger, sautéing for 3 minutes – don’t let garlic brown! Add pepper flakes and cook for an additional 30 seconds.
2. Add greens and mix until they begin to wilt. Toss in soy sauce and mix, cooking for an additional two to three minutes.
Simple, easy, delicious and a great change from the winter blahs.
Over the last nine months I’ve been working for Schenectady Greenmarket. In that time, my life has changed quite a bit. One main area of change is my kitchen. Sure, I have always been a pretty ardent home-cook, rarely eating out, rarely purchasing prepared foods – but I haven’t the kind of person that eats truly seasonally. All that has changed since now most of my grocery shopping is done on Sundays as I run around the market.
Among the celeriac, beets and kohlrabi, there has been one humble reawakening – carrots. This cooked carrot salad is now a staple of my weekly dinners and lunches. It brings sunshine and warmth to my day regardless if it is actually sunny outside (and -12) or snowing.
Spicy Cooked Carrot Salad
Adapted from Deborah Madison’s Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone
1 lb. carrots – diced
1 garlic clove, minced
2 t. sweet paprika
1/2 t. red pepper flakes
1 T. fresh lemon juice
3 T. olive oil
2 T. chopped parsley
1/3 c. crumbled feta cheese
1. Boil the carrots in salted water until tender but not soft (about 3 minutes).
2. In a large bowl, smash the garlic with a pinch of salt. Stir in the paprika, hot pepper flakes and lemon juice. Whisk in the oil.
3. Add the carrots and half the feta cheese. Toss until fully combined. Sprinkle the remaining feta on top and serve.
This salad is wonderful on its own for lunch, perfect wrapped up in a pita with falafel or grilled chicken and amazing served for dinner next to some freshly grilled chorizo.
Something tells me that this week is going to be a wonderfully delicious dinner week. Tonight I had peas with mint a simple version of this recipe of chicken and peas, but instead of chicken I used rice. So amazingly yummy with a glass (or two) of white wine – well, I’m one very happy girl.
So back to yesterday’s simple and easy meal. Last night was the recipe for the perfect pita. Tonight is the next step, parsley pesto. Yes, I have posted this recipe at least twice but the fact is that this essential condiment is in my fridge at all times. It adds a depth of deliciousness that makes even plain pasta a heavenly meal. Thus, once again, I present one of my favorite things in the world.
1 bunch parsley leaves (reserved from the stock recipe)
1 clove garlic
1 – 2 T. olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
Combine everything in a food processor until completely chopped and relatively smooth. Put in air-tight container and refrigerate for up to two weeks. I prefer my pesto a little on the dry side, if you would like it more liquid than add another tablespoon or two of olive oil.
Unbelievably delicious? Grill some chorizo sausage. Split down the middle and place on a fresh baguette or roll. Slather the pesto on top and enjoy.
I’ve had a pretty busy week. There have been meetings and events and if that wasn’t enough, I made the staff breakfast Wednesday. When I listed off the menu (muffins, muffins and more muffins) my mother ‘tsk-tsk’d and, as is her usual style, offered a more ‘wholesome’ choice. What is better than berry, banana, apple and orange muffins (four different kinds – not all four mushed together)? A ‘very easy’ breakfast bake that would have had me up till midnight trying to prepare.
Thanks but no thanks.
I make quick breads nearly every other weekend. I slice them up and enjoy for breakfast during the week. Making muffins are like second nature to me now, so much so that I know that base recipe by heart. Below is the basic recipe, you can substitute the bananas for any kind of fruit you like or have in the house.
Banana Nut Muffins/Quick Bread
- 1 stick butter (melted)
- 1 c. sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 t. vanilla
- 1 1/2 c. flour
- 1/2 t. salt
- 1 t. baking soda
- 1/2 c. yogurt (plain or vanilla)
- 2 ripe bananas (sliced)
- 1/2 c. walnuts (chopped)
- Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F.
- In a large bowl, combine butter, sugar and eggs. Beat until well combined then stir in vanilla.
- Add 1 c. flour until well combined. Mix in salt, soda and remaining 1/2 c. flour. Mix until just blended.
- Fold in yogurt, bananas and nuts until batter is blended.
- Spray 2 – 12 cup muffin tins or 8×8 pan and pour in batter.
- Bake. Muffins will take about 20 minutes, bread will take about 40 minutes.
- Muffins are done when a toothpick comes out clean.