Saturday, November 26, 2011

Roasted Roots

This was my fourth Thanksgiving at my friend K's parents house with her whole family in Connecticut.  I cannot thank them enough for letting me join them year after year.  I was waiting for my invitation to join in this year, and apparently it is now understood that I am invited.  I just need to confirm.  It is very kind of them to put up with me for a long weekend, feed me, give me alcohol of all varieties and Anginetti cookies, all in exchange for a bottle of wine and being able to reach the top shelf when K's brother isn't around.  I was thinking this year I should make a pie or something else too, but time just ran out.  November has not been any less busy than October like I thought it would be.  Because of that, I had some carrots and parsnips I bought at the farmers market with great ideas of soups and glazes that never happened.  I brought them up to Connecticut figuring we could use them over the weekend.  
So tasty there were no leftovers. 
We were granted permission to roast them for the big feast and the conversation between K and I went something like this: 
Me:  I was thinking we would just chop them and make some sort of maple syrup or honey glaze.
K: Sounds good, I wish we had some ginger. 
Me: Oh, I had one and threw it in too. I was thinking maybe some coriander? 
K: Cinnamon? 
Me: Naw. But something like that. 
K: Yeah, something brown.  
Around this point K stuck her head in the spice cupboard and kept rattling off items until we ended up with orange peal, apple cider vinegar, and rosemary to mix with our ginger and maple syrup.   They turned out really well.   Most people had not tried parsnip before or had not had it in a long time, so it was an adventure for all in the end.  I think this is an excellent way to introduce parsnip to anyone who maybe apprehensive about it.  It is so tasty! 

Roasted Carrots & Parsnips
Makes about 8 sides, we didn't actually measure anything besides the veggies, so the measurement are about what we used. 
  • 1 lb of carrots
  • 1 lb of parsnip
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 inch long piece fresh ginger
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon orange peal
  • 2 tablespoons dried rosemary
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. 
  2. Peal the carrots and parsnip. Cut into one inch pieces and toss with olive oil.  Place in a 9 x 13 baking dish. 
  3. Peal and zest the ginger and mix in a small bowl with the syrup and vinegar.  Pour over the carrots and parsnip.  Toss lightly to coat. 
  4. Sprinkle the orange peal and rosemary evenly over the vegetables.
  5. Bake for 45 minutes or until the vegetables are tender when pierced with a fork. 

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Daily Breakfast

I go into cycles with breakfast. For the majority of the summer, it was a banana before I hopped on my bike and a yogurt smoothie thing. Before that, it was oatmeal of some sort or Coco Wheats shipped in from South Dakota to brave the cold winter. The cycles tend to coincide with the changes of the season. When I start to get sick of my "usual" breakfast, I notice my coffee shop expense go up. I get lazy and don't know what I want and nothing looks good so I end up buying a scone or muffin, and a latte of course.

In an attempt to save some money and try something new, I decided I would try making something on the weekend that I could take with me to work daily. Enter Smitten Kitchen and her Whole Wheat Raspberry Ricotta Scones. The best part of this recipe is that she give you the directions for mixing them up ahead of time and baking them when you are ready for them and I am going try this brilliant idea with other scone recipes as we continue heading for the cold of winter. I can warm the oven while I take a shower, pop one in the oven, and still have a bit of time for it to cool before I run for the subway. Who doesn't love a fresh baked breakfast? That's what I thought. I am going to try this with other.

Whole Wheat Raspberry Scones
Makes 9 scones

  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup  all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/4 cup  granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt
  • 6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
  • 1 cup fresh raspberries
  • 3/4 cup whole milk ricotta
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream

  1. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. 
  2. In the bottom of a large, wide-ish bowl, whisk flours, baking powder, sugar and salt together. 
  3. Cut the butter into small pieces with a knife and work the butter into the flour mixture with your fingertips until the mixture resembles a coarse meal. 
  4. Roughly chop the raspberries on  a cutting board and stir them into the butter-flour mixture.  Add the ricotta and heavy cream together and stir them in to form a dough with a flexible spatula.
  5. Using your hands, gently knead dough into an even mass, right in the bottom of the bowl.  With as few movements as possible, transfer the dough to a well-floured counter, flour the top of the dough and pat it into a 7-inch square about 1-inch tall. 
  6. With a large knife, divide the dough into 9 even squares.  Transfer the scones to prepared baking sheet with a spatula.  Arrange them on your parchment-lined sheet and freeze them.  
  7. Once they are frozen, transfer them to a freezer bag or container. 
  8. When you are ready to bake them, bring them back to a parchment-lined sheet. Bake 16 to18 minutes, until lightly golden at the edges.  Cool in pan for a minute, then transfer to a cooling rack. Cool them about halfway before eating.


Thursday, November 3, 2011

Butternut Squash Soup

  • I avoided this recipe and ones like it for awhile because of time.   Sure it came from Great Food Fast so one should think it's quick but the time says 45 minutes, if its more than 30 minutes, the recipe is probably on the shelf for some weekend task.  Silly? Probably, but when I get home from work and it's already 7 PM I really don't feel like spending much time on dinner, so I can get to all the other random stuff I need to do.  I actually made this last Monday night. Given that I didn't need to stand over it the entire time, it really wasn't much of a pain in the butt to make.  I need to stop thinking that just because the recipe says 45 minutes, means I am chained to the stove or something. 
  • The soup was great even though I forgot the orange juice and didn't make the pumpkin seeds.  The juice was an accident and the seeds were on purpose.  Instead we added our own spices.  My newish roommate is from Louisiana and had some Tony Chachere's Seasoning, (mom used to have this stuff. It shocks him that some one from South Dakota knows what it is.), which we sprinkled on top for a little spice.  I would have like it to be more cream based, but the sour cream helped take care of that.  It was also nice that my gluten free friend/neighbor could join in on the meal and after feeding 4 people there was enough left over for a few lunches. 
  • Next time I will try it with the orange juice, but I still recommend it the way I made it. 
  • Butternut Squash Soup (Serves 4 to 6)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 piece (2 inches) fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 3/4 pounds small butternut squash, prepared and cut into 3/4-inch cubes
  • Tony Chachere's Cajun Seasoning
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • Sour cream

  1. Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Cook onion until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add ginger, garlic, and squash; cook, stirring occasionally, until fragrant, 6 to 8 minutes. 
  2. Stir in 4 cups water. Bring to a boil; reduce heat. Simmer until squash is tender, 20 minutes.
  3. Puree soup in batches. When blending hot foods, allow the heat to escape to prevent splattering. Remove the cap from the hole of the blender's lid, and cover with a dish towel or paper towel.
  4. Serve hot, with sour cream, pepper, and any other seasonings.