Apricot Pear Sandwich Slaw

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Chop about 1 cup of red cabbage and lightly salt, setting it aside while you make the dressing.

Chop up 5 dried apricots into small pieces. Heat a clean, empty saucepan (no oil, no butter) to med. Add about 5 anise seeds and warm until aromatic. Toss in the dried apricots and an equal amount of water, about 1/4 cup. Cook until the apricots fall apart and are tender, adding more water if necessary. When the water is all soaked into the apricots, add 2 TBSPs of rice vinegar and stir quickly. Toss into cabbage, season with salt and pepper to taste.

With just four ingredients, this achieves a subtle and complex flavor, blending the aromatic pungency of the anise with the sweet tartness of apricots, the bite of the vinegar and the fresh crunch of cabbage. It’s delightful on its own but I made it as a sandwich slaw to use with slice pork roast on bread.

However, before I started to make this, I got a wild idea to make a different kind of sandwich and ended up using it in an amazing sandwich made with Bacon, Eggs, Onions, Pears and Parm. This is plenty for 4 to 6 sandwiches, or a couple small side salads.

Pear & Delicata Squash Soup

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I have an abundance of pears so I decided on making a pear soup. One of my favorite soups is Pear & Parsnip Soup but I didn’t have any parsnips. I had a delicata squash though and thought it looked promising.

  • 2 TBSP olive oil
  • 2 cups diced yellow onion
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 Delicata squash
  • 3 small pears or 2 large pears
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 32 oz. or 4 cups of vegetable broth
  • salt and pepper
  • kosher salt

I put my soup kettle on a low medium with the olive oil. I added the diced onions and dried thyme, letting them slowly cook until transparent.

Meanwhile, I peeled and chopped up the squash, reserving the seeds. It made about 2 cups of chopped up squash, perhaps a little bit over.  Adding the squash to the pot, I stirred and let cook for 3 to 5 minutes. While they cooked, I peeled and chopped up the pears and added them to the pot and let it cook a couple more minutes before tossing in the wine and the broth. I turned up the heat so it began to simmer and let cook for about 20 minutes.

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While the soup was cooking, I rinsed the seeds in water and cleaned away the stringy pulp. Pushing the pulp against the strainer mesh helped in cleaning it away. I then heated a cast iron skillet in a dry pan with no oil to a notch above medium. I tossed the seeds in and toasted them with some kosher salt until toasty brown, stirring frequently so they did not burn. These I set aside for garnish.

I let the soup cook until the squash was tender and puréed with an immersion blender. Serving with a few squash seeds on top, it was a delicious soup. The flavor of the wine comes through without overpowering the soup. The sweetness of the pears and the squash make it lush and slightly sweet. It is a light and refreshing soup. This makes six servings.

 

Roasted Radishes and Carrots with Lemon Dill Sauce

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I had far too many radishes from the food bank, so I decided to try roasting them. As you can see they are huge radishes so are relatively mild.

I scrubbed them with a wire brush because the dirt was ground in. It took a lot of work to clean them, but it was worth it. I cut them into halves or quarters depending on their size. I wanted to get them all about 1.5 inches or so. I peeled and cut the carrots to the same size.

This is about eight radishes and 4 carrots cleaned and cut to size.

Preheat oven to 450°. I use paella pan for roasting vegetables. You can use a cookie sheet, bar pan, anything that is on the shallow side. I tossed the radishes and carrots in olive oil and sprinkled with kosher salt. I roasted them until they began to caramelize.

To make the sauce, I heated 1 TBSP butter and 1 TBSP of flour in a sauce pan, stirring over medium low heat for about four minutes until the flour is completely cooked, but not browned. I then added 1 cup of milk. I had low fat milk on hand, so that’s what I used. I stirred until smooth, adding the zest and juice from one lemon and a bit of dill weed. I used a bit more dill weed than I intended because the bag slipped. It was still delicious.

The contrast between the piquant radishes and the sweet carrots with the creamy sauce was delicious. This made four servings.

 

 

Broccoli Frittata

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Turn oven on broil

Bring water to a boil in a small pan. As soon as it’s boiling, drop broccoli in for 90 seconds. Drain.

Chop up 4 slices of bacon. Toss in 2 sprigs of fresh thyme. Cook in medium cast iron skillet.

Dice one small onion (I used a red onion.) Add to skillet and sauté until transparent. Add parboiled broccoli.

Beat 4 eggs, add 1/2 cup milk and pour into the skillet. Stir slowly, pulling from the outside to the center. When the eggs are early cooked through remove from the heat.

Add a 1/4 cup of parmesan cheese across the top. Broil until toasty.

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This is delicious and makes four servings.

Scrambled Eggs with Bok Choy and Bacon

Eggs Bok Choy Leaves

Chop up two slices of bacon into small bits and fry in cast iron skillet on medium heat with about 2 TBSP of chopped red onion until onions are transparent.

Tear the green tops off some bok chop and rinse clean. Roll up into a tight little cigarette shape and chop finely (usually called chiffonade) and sauté lightly.

Crack 3 eggs, stir together with 1 tablespoon of cold water. Pour into skillet, stir briefly before turning down the heat and keep stirring gently until done. You want to soft scramble the egg so it’s fluffy, moist and soft.

Add salt and pepper when you’re done. Salt added during cooking ruins scrambled eggs.

Makes one serving. It’s delicious, the bok choy leaves are a great blend with bacon and onions.

Chop Salad

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This is a simple salad that is fast, easy, crunchy and delicious.

Strain a can of chickpeas and rinse in cold water. Let drip dry a bit before tossing in a bowl.

Chop up the following veggies to add:

  • Dice 1/4 red onion
  • Slice 2 radishes
  • Chop one celery stalk
  • Chop one Carrot
  • Chop some fresh cilantro

Mix together 1 TBSP of seasoned rice vinegar with some olive oil, salt, and pepper. The usual ration of vinegar is 1 to 4 to emulsify, but I like it a bit more vinegary. I do it about one to one, then add some salt and pepper.

It’s better the next day. Makes two servings.

 

Pear, Brie, and Hazelnut Yufka

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This was the fruit and cheese course in the six course Christmas dinner yesterday, a collaboration between my best friend and me. We had a lot of pears so it made sense to use them. I remembered this extraordinary Brie she had at Thanksgiving which I thought would make a great accompaniment. Googling for pear and brie recipes brought up lots of for a tart of crostini. With everything else, it made sense to go for something lighter, with less bread, a naan or pita, perhaps. Then I remembered a recipe in the fabulous Soframiz cookbook I reviewed earlier this year for Yufka, a flatbread that is a tiny bit richer than pita, light and delicate, but not a pastry.  It really worked perfectly.

Yufka Dough:

  • 1 2/3 cup of flour
  • 1 tsp of kosher salt
  • 2/3 cup warm water
  • 2 TBSP olive oil

Mix the salt and flour in a bowl, make a well and add the water and olive oil. Mix with your fingers until well blended. Then knead for a good three minutes. I counted to 180 kneading. Lightly brush with olive oil, wrap in plastic wrap and let rest 4 hours or more. I let it rest overnight.

When you’re ready to cook, divide into 2 oz portions. I used a scale. I expected it to come out to 6 pieces, but it came out to 7. Bonus! Roll it out as thin as you can, use plenty of flour to keep it from sticking. It should be thinner than a tortilla and about 8 inches round.

Heat a skillet or griddle to medium high. Do not grease. Cook on one side until it bubbles, then flip and cook on the other. About 2 minutes each side. These are partially cooked yufka that finish cooking whenever you do what you do with them.

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The Pear, Brie, and Hazelnut Yufka

  • Pears
  • Brie
  • Olive oil
  • Dried Thyme
  • Toasted Hazelnuts

Preheat oven to 400°. Slice three pears and 12 oz of brie. Lay the yufka on a baking sheet, lay down the layer of pears, add the brie, drizzle with a bit of olive oil and sprinkle dried thyme over it. Put it in the oven to bake, just until the cheese browns very lightly.

Meanwhile, toast a cup of chopped hazelnuts in a dry pan.

Place each yufka on a plate, sprinkle with the hazelnuts and serve warm.

This was so delicious, rich and flavorful without being overly rich. Makes 6.

 

Pear Quick Bread with Buckwheat Honey, Apricots & Pecans

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I had three pears that were so ripe that eating them would have been a mess, so I peeled and mashed them with a fork and decided to try making a pear-based quick bread. I decided the molasses that I usually use for quick bread would overpower the pears and decided to use buckwheat honey instead. I also thought dried cranberries would not work well and opted for dried apricots, a milder flavor.  This takes no special equipment other than a bread pan.

  • 1/2 cup of butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup mashed pears
  • 1/4 cup buckwheat honey
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp powdered ginger
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom
  • 1/2 cup dried apricots (chopped small)
  • 1.3 cup chopped pecan

Preheat to 300°

First cream 1/2 cup of butter with 1 cup of sugar. I use a whisk, but if you have a mixer, use it. I used room temperature butter, but you can take cold butter, cut it into pieces and then cream it with the whisk. Once the sugar and butter is light and creamy, fluffy even if you have the energy, add the eggs, one at a time, whisking them into the batter.

In a bowl, mix the mashed pears and buckwheat honey together. If you don’t have buckwheat honey, use regular honey, but use a little less. Buckwheat honey is not as sweet tasting.

In another bowl, mix the flour and spices.

Add the pear mixture and the flour mixture about 1/3 at a time, so you blend thoroughly, first the pears, then the flour, pears, flour, pears, and flour.

Finally gently fold in the pecans and the dried apricots.

Pour the batter in the greased bread pan and bake for about 90 minutes. Test with a knife after an hour or so and see if it comes out dry. My bread pan is one of those very thick insulated ones, so I need 90 minutes, but a thin bread pan will cook faster.

Carnitas and Rocket

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I heated my cast iron skillet to medium, adding

  • 1/2 TBSP of olive oil,
  • 1/4 tsp of dried ginger,
  • 1/4 tsp of chili powder,
  • salt,
  • pepper, and
  • 1 tsp of Jamaica Jerk seasoning.

The spices will bloom in the hot oil. I added

  • 2 TBSP of thinly sliced onions.

While they cooked. I cut up a piece of boneless pork “carnitas” that was on sale for $1.58/pound at WinCo. I cut up about

  • 1 cup of thinly sliced pork pieces

I let the pork cook until done. When it was fully cooked, I added 2 handfuls of rocket (arugula) and stirred in with

  • 2 tsp of seasoned rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp of soy sauce

Mixing everything together, as soon as the rocket was tender, I served it up in a bowl. It made a tangy and spicy delicious dinner.