Brussels Sprouts & Radish Salad with Candied Almonds

Yesterday volunteers spent a couple hours in the rain to distribute fresh produce to local residents. A project of the Oregon Food Bank, Harvest Share is open to everyone in the area. All they ask is your zip code and how many are in your household and if you have been there before. Food banks are dominated by nonperishable foods, lots of carbs, canned food, and frozen food. There’s very little fresh produce, so Harvest Share which is all about fresh produce is a wonderful option.

However, Harvest Share gives a lot of a few items, like about ten pounds of radishes and 6 pounds of Brussels Sprouts. Hmmm, time to think outside the box. I found a recipe by Jeremy Fox featured by Martha Stewart who has never released a bad recipe, but I didn’t have celery hearts, almond oil, or even an assortment of different radishes. It did sound like a good place to start, though. I like nutmeg with Brussels sprouts and I thought it would work with this recipe with a few alterations. Of course, I cut it in half as well to make it a single salad entree.

Make the garnish first because it must be cooled down first.

Garnish:

  • 2 TBSP sliced almonds
  • 1 TBSP sugar

Toss these in a skillet over medium-high heat and cook, shaking the pan so the sugar gets over all sides of the almond slices and cook until the sugar caramelizes. Removed quickly so it does not burn and let cool on some parchment paper. Break it up on the salad when it is cooled.

Salad:

In a cast iron skillet over medium heat, heat some freshly grated nutmeg until you smell its aroma. Add the butter and let it melt before adding the garlic. Cook about two minutes, softening the garlic.

The Brussels sprouts need to be broken down for salad. Cut off the ends and then cut away quarters from the center, discarding the core. Break it up with your fingers into leaves. Add to the garlic and butter and cook, stirring so all the Brussels sprouts are coated and let cook until warm, but not limp. Squeeze the fresh lemon juice and stir it in and transfer to your salad bowl.

Put the sliced radishes on top and then add the candied almonds.

  • ¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 TBSP butter
  • 1 clove garlic, finely minced
  • Salt and pepper
  • 8 oz. Brussels sprouts, broken down into leaves.
  • 4 radishes, cleaned and sliced thin
  • 1/2 fresh lemon, squeezed

The salad is delicious. There is something luscious about mixing savory and sweet, the garlic, the lemon, the candied almonds. It also has a lovely mix of textures, the tender leaves, the crunchy radish, and the crispy almonds. You could use a nut oil or olive oil instead of butter for a vegan option, but it would lose the richness of butter and garlic and lemon coming together in mouth-watering dressing.

Yum!

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Blue Cornmeal Applesauce Breakfast Bars

Blue Cornmeal Applesauce Breakfast Bar

  • 2½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1½ cup blue cornmeal
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 tsp cardamom (optional)
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 stick butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup applesauce
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds (optional)
  • 1 cup dried figs (optional)
  • sugar and cinnamon for dusting

Heat oven to 400 degrees Mix dry ingredients in mixing bowl. Cut in pieces of butter using a pastry blender. Add applesauce and sour cream and mix. The batter will be more solid than cake batter, but not stiff and dry like scone batter. Add optional nuts and dried fruit. You can experiment with different nuts and fruits, including currants, raisins, pecans, walnuts, or pepitas.

Roll into a log using parchment paper or wax paper. Then slice into  12 pieces and layer on parchment paper on a cookie sheet.

Bake 15 minutes at 400, remove for a moment, shake some mixed cinnamon and sugar over the top and return to oven, lowering temperature to 300 for 15 more minutes.

These are a nice moist, breakfast/dessert bars. They are toothsome, hearty, and slightly sweet. Goes well with coffee or tea. A good afternoon snack. They’re not as sweet as dessert bread, but not as “healthy” as corn muffins.

Ginger Chicken with Turnips and Pears

Ginger Chicken with Turnips & Pears

This is so delicious that I am going to make it again and again, though it would be nice to add some fresh parsley just to get a bit of green. We humans like a bit more color variety in our food, but the flavor is intensely varied. I was at Harvest Share and a woman from Somali who was in line ahead of me asked what she might make with turnips. I mentioned how much I like them in a salad with pineapple and onions, but we also were given a big bag of pears and I said the pears and turnips would go together in a soup or puree. When I got home, I was inspired by our conversation to come up with something tasty with turnips and pears.

I had a chicken breast thawed out for supper, so I decided to try something with chicken. I thought the piquant flavor of the turnip would go well with ginger, so I decided to focus on ginger and garlic for flavor. Wow, it worked out so well.

I heated a cast iron skillet to medium heat with about 1 TBSP of olive oil. I chopped up ¼ yellow onion, 2 garlic cloves, and about ½ inch of ginger root chopped fine and added to the skillet with some salt and pepper. As soon as the onions softened, I added the chicken breast. I might have cooked a whole breast, but I bought this bargain bag of chicken breast pieces, so I cut it up into bite-size pieces.

While the chicken browned, I peeled a turnip and cut into ½ inch size pieces. It was more than I wanted, so reserved half for something tomorrow and added half the turnip pieces to the skillet. I stirred things around and put the cover on for about 8 minutes, to the point where the turnip was close to tender.

Meanwhile, I peeled a mid-size pear and chopped into ½ size pieces. When the turnip was close to done, I added the pears and stirred, sauteeing for about 2 minutes since the pears just need to be warmed. I removed the food to a plate and added about 1 TBSP of water to deglaze the skillet. Stirring the juices in, I added a teaspoon of balsamic vinegar and added the food back, stirring it into the sauce, making sure it is well-coated. I served it on a plate and sprinkled some sliced almonds on top.

This is so delicious, there is this wonderful umami from the chicken and onions, this fresh tartness from the ginger and turnips, and a delicate sweetness from the pears. It comes together in this rich flavor explosion.

I think I might toast the almonds next time. It might be interesting to try with pistachios, too. A sprinkling of fresh parsley would add some color.

 

Lemon Seed Bread

Lemon Seed Bread

Preheat oven to 325° F.

Grease a bread pan, I just used the wrapper off the butter I used in the recipe.

Cream together butter and sugar.

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • Zest from one lemon

Add

  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup milk

Mix together:

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tablespoon caraway seed

Add to the liquid ingredients. This is a thick batter, almost like a cookie batter.

Put in the bread pan and bake for 30 – 40 minutes, until knife comes out dry.

Very tart and tasty. I love caraway seeds. This is a lovely old-fashioned pastry.

 

Oatcakes – Oatmeal Crackers

Smörgåsbord is a way of life for Scandinavians and open-face sandwiches and snack crackers like rye crisp are part of that tradition. These are my aunt’s oatcakes that make a delicious snack cracker sandwich.

Preheat oven to 325° F.

In a bowl, blend together

  • 3 cups oatmeal
  • 1 cup white flour
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder

Add liquid and mix.

  • 1/2 cup melted butter (1 stick)
  • 1 cup hot water

Layer parchment paper on a cookie sheet and spread out the dough, pressing it flat to 1/4 inch. To get even edges, fold up the parchment paper and press until it is evenly flat. It will fill the entire cookie sheet so it’s nice if you use one with edges. I used a pizza cutter to cut into 24 squares before baking because it will crumble if you cut it later. The pizza cutter won’t pull the dough, so it’s easier than a regular knife.

I baked for 40 minutes, until it began to brown and then let it cool. It will crack apart where you cut. The oatcakes are delicious plain, a bit of nutty crispness. However, oatcakes are also a fantastic base for snacks.

Things I have put on oatcakes include:

  • Diced tomatoes and parm
  • Hard-boiled eggs and olives
  • Cucumbers, sour cream, and dill
  • Zucchini, tomatoes, and red chili flakes (Thanks, Eripom!)
  • Pepper jack cheese
  • Cheddar cheese
  • Olive tapenade
  • Lingonberry preserves
  • Banana & Peanut Butter

Lemon Krumkake

My family sent my late sister’s krumkake irons to me. One is the traditional old-fashioned iron for use on a wood or gas stove. It’s from Nordicware, like the one Mom had, I used to have, and everyone I know has ever had.  The other was a Bethany electric krumkake baker. Bethany is the maker of my lefse griddle, so familiar to me. I was excited to try the electric baker because I am anxious about using the old-fashioned iron on an electric oven. It worked pretty well, though it does not press the krumkake as thinly as the stovetop iron.

So here’s the recipe.  I mixed the dry ingredients first. Then I mixed the liquid ingredients and added to the dry. I heated the iron, brushed it lightly with vegetable oil just for the first cookie, and then started baking the cookies. Each cookie takes about 1 TBSP of batter. This made about 3 dozen cookies.

You can stuff with whipped cream, lingonberries or use with sorbet, but for me, I prefer them plain.

  • 1 1/ 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • Zest from 2 lemons
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/ 2 cup butter, melted
  • 1 cup of milk

 

Peanut Slaw with Dried Dates

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This was a quick and easy slaw using some Spicy Peanut Dressing I made the other day.

Dressing:

  • 2 TBSP peanut butter
  • 2 TSBP seasoned rice vinegar
  • 2 TBSP soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 lg. clove of garlic, crushed and macerated with salt
  • Juice from 1 lime, squeezed.

So I sliced up  a salad bowl full of cabbage, diced up two dried figs. Tossed with the peanut dressing. Delicious.

The mix of spicy heat and sweetness and citrus tang make this a great salad dressing. Cabbage is friendly to just about any dressing and the dried figs add just a perfect contrast.

Chicken Peanut Sauce Burrito

Chicken Peanute Sauce Burrito

I got some peanut butter from Harvest Share last month and discovered that it actually is pretty good on celery. When the jar was close to empty, I thought it might be interesting to toss some rice vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, lime juice, and dried red pepper flakes, shake it up so the peanut butter sticking to the sides of the jar did not go to waste. I tried it on some lettuce and it was delicious. So this is the peanut dressing I made.

  • 2 TBSP peanut butter
  • 2 TSBP seasoned rice vinegar
  • 2 TBSP soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 lg. clove of garlic, crushed and macerated with salt
  • Juice from 1 lime, squeezed.

I thought it might be good with some chicken. So I sauteed a chicken breast with just some salt and pepper in olive oil. While it was cooking, I chopped 2 TBSP of yellow onion,   thawed out 2 TBSP of frozen peas by running them in cold water, toasted 6 pecans in a dry pan and chopped them up.

I removed the chicken breast and let it rest for about 5 minutes. Then I heated up my burner and with the air vent on high, charred two flour tortillas against the coils of the stove. If I had a gas stove, I would grill, but this is my “electric grilling.” Just lay them on the medium-high coil with half hanging off the edge so you can grab them.  Flip with your fingers as soon as it begins to char, I generally “grill” on each side a few times to grill the whole tortilla. You cannot be doing anything else when you do this because you don’t want to start the tortillas on fire.  It adds a really great flavor and makes delicious tortillas.

Chicken Peanute Sauce Burrito

I compiled my dish with a small handful of lettuce, the sliced chicken breast, onions, pecans and thawed peas. I then added the peanut dressing and rolled them up.

This is delicious. Chicken is such a mild ingredient that it embraces nearly anything you do. I liked the peas (And yes, fresh would be better, but needs must,) They added a bit of texture and freshness. It all went together so well. It’s zingy and spicy from the lime and red peppers and then the peanut adds this kind of hearty sweetness.

 

Curried Turnips and Kale

Curried Turnips and Kale

I put a cast iron skillet on the stove at a low medium (4 out of 10) heat and put about 1/4 cup of sauteed celery and onion mix in the pan to thaw. (When I got 10 heads of celery from Harvest Share, I sauteed half of them with onions and made the other half into mirepoix and froze them in freezer bags, so I just pulled out a bag, whacked it against the counter a few times, and dumped 1/2 cup of it in the pan.

While the onions and celery thawed in the pan, I peeled a turnip and cut into chunks a little less than an inch square. I added some salt and pepper and let cook for about 4 minutes. Coming back to stir it a bit, I added 1 TBSP of rice vinegar and 1 tsp of curry powder. I stirred a few minutes longer before adding 1/2 cup of fresh kale. I put the lid on and let it cook for a few more minutes, removing when the turnips were tender.

You don’t really taste the vinegar, but there is a lightness to it that comes from that bit of acid. The curry adds a nice bit of heat and the turnips are such a bright, sharp flavor that balances well with the earthy kale.

Three Cucumber Salads

Cucumber Salad

Why three cucumber salads in one post? Because I got 15 pounds of cucumbers from the Food Bank’s Harvest Share program and cucumbers do not keep that well without some vinegar. So, I spent a long time slicing and dicing and mixed up three huge salads. Two of them based on my mom’s delicious old-fashioned cucumber salad.

This is mom’s recipe. Slice your cucumbers no more than 1/4 inch thick. I used a mandoline and easily sliced wafer thin slices. Layer the slices in a container with high sides, lightly salting between layers. I used Glad’s 13 cup family size container which held about 8 -10 large cucumbers, sliced. I put a sheet of wax paper over the container and set my cast iron fry pan on top of the wax paper and then put my tea kettle on top of that so it was weighted down heavily. I left it for a few hours and came back to add the dressing.

After two hours, I dumped the cucumbers into a big colander and let them drain. Rinsing the Glad container to get the saltiness out, I mixed the dressing right in the container while the cukes drained. I used 2 cups of white vinegar, 1/4 cup of sugar, 1 TBSP of dill weed, 1 tsp of garlic salt, and 2 tsp of celery seed.  I squeezed the juice out of the cucumbers, added them back into the container with the dressing and refrigerated overnight so they absorbed back the fluid I had drawn out with salt. Now they are saturated with a fresh dill flavor that has a mild bite. Makes 10 cups of salad.

Cucumber Salad

I only made about 7 cups of this salad because I used oil so it won’t last as long. To make it I cut the cucumbers into 4-6 inch long lengths that I shredded on the mandoline, making threads of cucumber. I also sliced and diced finely two purple onions. I salted and let rest for about an hour. Squeezing out the excess, I grated the zest of two limes over the salad, mixing it in. Then,  squeezed the lime juice into a sauce bowl for the dressing. I added 3/4 cup seasoned rice vinegar, 1/4 cup light olive oil, 2 TBSP of soy sauce, salt, pepper, and 2 tsp of red pepper flakes. I poured on top of the cucumber and onions, shook and let sit to absorb flavors for a few hours. This is a spicy, tangy salad with that delicious earthy tang of limes and the heat of peppers.  It’s delicious on a sandwich with pulled pork. Makes six cups of salad.

Cucumber Salad

These are pepper-salted cucumber slices, also a recipe from my mom. As before, I sliced the cucumbers, layering with salt until I filled the 13 cup container. I added weight on top of them and let them sit for two hours to draw out the liquid. I drained them in a colander, squeezing out all the liquid I could.

In the 13 cup plastic container, I added 2 cups of vinegar, 1/4 cup of sugar, and 1 TBSP of pepper. I mixed together, Added the cucumber and let it soak up the vinegar overnight. This has a fresh vinegary taste with a bit of bite from the pepper, fresh and cool followed by just a bit of heat. Makes 10 cups.