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The Garden of Your Mind

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Today, I had a piece published in *culture is not optional’s online magazine Catapult called “The Garden of Your Mind.” Here’s an excerpt:

Sometimes I sit two-year-old Evelyn down in front of our computer in the office and sew while she watches old reruns of Mister Rogers Neighborhood and fondly—yes, even nostalgically—remember my own childhood, sitting on the brown carpet in the living room while Mom made dinner in the kitchen. I watched Mister Rogers until sixth grade.

Mister Rogers does something when he speaks. He does the same thing Dr. Sears recommends one does when speaking to babies: he gives time to respond. There’s another YouTube video made in response to the autotuned version that shows the clips as they originally appeared. Mister Rogers speaks slowly to the camera, pausing after his questions to allow the child to respond. “Do you ever imagine things?” Mister Rogers asks. “Did you ever see a cat’s eyes in the dark and wonder what they were.” He pauses. I think, “No, but once I saw a banana tree in the dark and thought it was a scary man.”

To continue reading this post, click here.

Porridge: Remixed

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Porridge.

Gruel. (Oliver, anyone?)

Oatmeal.

I’m guessing you have some emotional baggage attached to these words. I remember winter morning oatmeal when I was a child, the way the oatmeal congealed. I wasn’t a fan. (See, Mom, I’m not really complaining…)

Anyway, I have found new delight in porridge. In this month’s issue of bon appetit, which is one of my favorite food magazines, the magazine staffers contributed their favorite breakfast recipes and I’ve tried the same one at least 3 times. It’s an overnight porridge made with steel-cut oats and quinoa (although I ran out of quinoa and started substituting teff. It worked.) Sadly, the recipe is not yet up on their website, otherwise I’d link to it. Please try this recipe; I guarantee, you won’t regret it! Thank you, Carla Lalli Music, BA Food & Features Editor! We love your recipe. (It serves about 5, by the way, even though the original recipe says it serves 4.)

I am putting this in my own words, but the instructions are the same.

Overnight Porridge

In a medium-sized saucepan put:

1/2 C. dried fruit (I like cranberries.)

1/2 C. steel-cut oats

1/2 C. well-rinsed quinoa OR teff (You can also substitute other grains, I read.)

1/4 C. raisins (though once I put in 1/2 C. and it was still good…)

1 t. kosher salt

1/2 t. ground cinnamon

1/4 t. ground cardamom

4 C. water

Bring to a boil. Cover and turn off the heat. Allow to sit overnight so that the grains can soak up all the water.

In the morning, reheat and serve with milk, maple syrup, toasted shelled pumpkin seeds and toasted walnuts (original recipe) or pecans (what I do.)

You can also substitute other dried fruits & grains. I will try subbing barley for the quinoa soon, and have thought about subbing apricots or dates for the cranberries.

Another porridge I’ve recently tried is Creamy Maple Polenta from bon appetit August 2006. The original recipe says that it’s a side, but I tried it for breakfast the other day and we all enjoyed it. Evelyn even asked more more.

Basically (click the link above if you want more details), boil 1 C. cornmeal (not grits!), 1 C. water, 3 C. milk (preferably whole) and one teaspoon salt together. Add 2 tablespoons each butter and maple syrup. It’s perfect!

This is the porridge you make for breakfast if you forgot to start the other porridge the night before.

These recipes make me think that if THIS were the “gruel” the workhouse boys had to eat in Oliver! “Food, Glorious Food” never would have been written.

 

Roasted Root Vegetables

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So…do I start writing without acknowledging my near 3-month hiatus as if nothing happened? (Even though it did…I had a baby! I taught a class! I made a gorgeous Christmas Buche de Noel!–recipe to follow soon!)

I also roasted a lot of vegetables.

So…do I start writing without acknowledging my near 3-month hiatus as if nothing happened? (Even though it did…I had a baby! I taught a class! I made a gorgeous Christmas Buche de Noel!–recipe to follow soon!)

I also roasted a lot of vegetables.

https://i0.wp.com/pixabay.com/static/uploads/photo/2010/12/13/10/25/orange-2794_640.jpghttp://pixabay.com/en/orange-carrots-white-closeup-food-2794/
Public Domain Image

A delightful shop in town called Nourish Organic Market (after Sally Fallon’s classic Nourishing Traditions) offered a winter vegetable share. One of the things that differentiates this share from others is that the food is from a lot of different farms. So we get some fresh greens, some storage vegetables (like radishes, potatoes, and winter squash) and some lovely herbs. I must say, I like rosemary but one only needs so much! We’ve gotten so much rosemary, all I’ve done is roast vegetables with rosemary. I’ve tried a lot of new (and similar) recipes. Here’s a little library of them:

Roasted Carrots with Feta and Parsley from Martha Stewart Living March 2010

Roasted Root Vegetables from The New York Times Magazine December 2012

Baked Sweet-Potato Chips from Martha Stewart Living October 2007

Roasted Sweet Potato Wedges from Real Simple Living November 2007

And, finally, Quick Roasted Vegetables from the Vancouver Sun October 2001
“Vegetables roasted quickly at a high temperature will be a little crisper, than those roasted slowly. Children often prefer the crisp chip-like texture of these vegetables.”

11/2 pounds root vegetables (carrots, parsnips, potatoes, sweet potatoes or turnips)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh herb (oregano, rosemary, sage or thyme)
Salt and pepper

Peel and cut vegetables into slices just under 1/4-inch thick; pat dry with paper towels. In large bowl, combine oil, herb and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Add vegetables to oil mixture and toss to coat.

With slotted spoon, remove vegetables from bowl and place, in single layer, on large greased, rimmed baking sheet.

Roast at 450 F for 18 to 20 minutes or until tender on the inside and crisp on the outside, turning vegetables once half-way through roasting time.

Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Makes 4 servings.

******

The thing about roasting vegetables is that it really doesn’t take a recipe. One you learn the technique: chop vegetables, mix with oil, salt and pepper and herbs (fresh or dried) to your taste then bake at 400-450 until they’re cooked, you’ve got it down. It’s easy and it heats up your kitchen a little on cold winter days like this one.

http://pixabay.com/en/orange-carrots-white-closeup-food-2794/
Public Domain Image

A delightful shop in town called Nourish Organic Market (after Sally Fallon’s classic Nourishing Traditions) offered a winter vegetable share. One of the things that differentiates this share from others is that the food is from a lot of different farms. So we get some fresh greens, some storage vegetables (like radishes, potatoes, and winter squash) and some lovely herbs. I must say, I like rosemary but one only needs so much! We’ve gotten so much rosemary, all I’ve done is roast vegetables with rosemary. I’ve tried a lot of new (and similar) recipes. Here’s a little library of them:

Roasted Carrots with Feta and Parsley from Martha Stewart Living March 2010

Roasted Root Vegetables from The New York Times Magazine December 2012

Baked Sweet-Potato Chips from Martha Stewart Living October 2007

Roasted Sweet Potato Wedges from Real Simple Living November 2007

And, finally, Quick Roasted Vegetables from the Vancouver Sun October 2001
“Vegetables roasted quickly at a high temperature will be a little crisper, than those roasted slowly. Children often prefer the crisp chip-like texture of these vegetables.”

11/2 pounds root vegetables (carrots, parsnips, potatoes, sweet potatoes or turnips)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh herb (oregano, rosemary, sage or thyme)
Salt and pepper

Peel and cut vegetables into slices just under 1/4-inch thick; pat dry with paper towels. In large bowl, combine oil, herb and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Add vegetables to oil mixture and toss to coat.

With slotted spoon, remove vegetables from bowl and place, in single layer, on large greased, rimmed baking sheet.

Roast at 450 F for 18 to 20 minutes or until tender on the inside and crisp on the outside, turning vegetables once half-way through roasting time.

Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Makes 4 servings.

******

The thing about roasting vegetables is that it really doesn’t take a recipe. One you learn the technique: chop vegetables, mix with oil, salt and pepper and herbs (fresh or dried) to your taste then bake at 400-450 until they’re cooked, you’ve got it down. It’s easy and it heats up your kitchen a little on cold winter days like this one.

Broccoli Rabe Recipes

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(Dear readers, I have obviously taken a 4 month hiatus from blogging. I spent a lot of time cooking, but little time writing about it. Hopefully, winter will encourage you to spend some time in the kitchen & me to spend some time writing about all the cooking I just did.)

In case you were wondering, it’s pronounced “Broccoli Rob,” like a Veggie Tales character, but this one is actually a vegetable. It’s a combination of broccoli and kale, but more interesting (if you’re a bit tired of broccoli & kale.)

If you’ve never tasted it before, my imaginary kitchen friend and actual author Harold McGee describes it thusly in On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen:

Broccoli rabe, slender stalks topped with a small cluster of flower buds, is unreplated to true broccoli. The name is a corruption of “broccoletti di rape,” or “little sprouts of turnip,” and refers to a variety of turnip that bears somewhat thickened flower stalks along its main stalk. Broccoli rabe is notably more bitter than true broccoli.

 

So, for the last final weeks of our CSA, we received lovely bunches of said vegetable and I was able to try some new recipes!

My favorite is Broccoli Rabe Pizza with Hazelnut Dough from Martha Stewart Living’s October 2010 issue. You can find the original recipe here, but I made a few simplifications and combined the pizza & dough recipe, below.

The easiest, though, was Ditalini with Pesto, Beans, and Broccoli Rabe from the October 2002 (10 years ago!) issue of Bon Appetit. Visit the link for the original recipe, or follow my adaptation (below) because I’m guessing you don’t have ditalini in your cupboard. (I never do!) And you can use WHATEVER type of pesto you have. I had some oregano pesto I’d frozen on hand, so I used that.

Broccoli Rabe Pizza with Pesto, Beans, and Broccoli Rabe

At least 2 hours before you want to eat, start the dough.

3 T. olive oil

1 C. warm water (about 110 F.)

2 1/4 t. (one envelope) active dry yeast

2 1/2 C. flour (perhaps a combination of all-purpose, and whole wheat bread or pastry flour)

1/2 C. toasted/roasted & ground hazelnuts

1 T. finely chopped fresh sage

1 1/2 t. table salt

Lightly oil a medium bowl. Stir together water & yeast in a large bowl. Let stand until foamy. Stir in oil. Add flour, hazelnut meal, sage, and salt. Stir until dough forms. Turn onto a floured surface and knead until smooth.

Extended notes about dough: if you have a stand mixer, you can also mix & knead the dough in the mixer. That’s what I did.

Do you have questions about how to knead bread? Look for videos on You Tube. However, I do have a warning. There’s a tendency for people to add too much flour to their dough, which will cause it to be dry and crumbly. A wetter dough (within reason)  will result in a better bread. Look at the following books for great instruction & technique about making breads.

Laurel’s Kitchen Bread Book by Laurel Robertson

My Bread by Jim Lahey

End of note about dough…the recipe continues.)

Transfer dough to an oiled bowl, turning to coat. Cover with a tea towl & set in a warm, draft-free place (or in your oven if it has a proofing setting) until dough has doubled in volume, about 1 hour.

When the dough is ready, preheat the oven (on convection, if possible) to 500. Blanch 2 small bunches of broccoli rabe in a pot of salted water until tender; run under cold water & drain. Toss 3 cups of the broccoli rabe with 4 T. olive oil, 1 red onion (sliced very thinly) and 2-4 pinches crushed red pepper flakes.

Spread cornmeal on two small baking sheets or 1 large pizza pan or cookie sheet. Stretch or roll dough to fit the sheet. (It’s OK if it’s not a perfect circle. I always call my pizza “Amoeba Pizza,” which is what I would name a pizza restaurant if I opened one. But Justin says that no one would visit a restaurant named after a single-celled organism that lives in the water. He’s right, I’m sure.)

Drizzle dough with oil and arrange broccoli on top. Bake until crust is golden brown and cooked through, 12-20 minutes depending on your oven. You can sprinkle 1/2 C. Parmesan or Pecorino Romano cheese on the pizza for the last few minutes of baking OR wait until you pull the pizza out of the oven as the original recipe recommends.

This serves about 4, if you also have a salad.

 

Pasta with Pesto, Beans, and Broccoli Rabe

1 box (12 oz.) textured pasta, such as rotini

1 lb. broccoli rab, cut into 2-inch pieces

2 C. broth (chicken or vegetable)

1/2 t. crushed red pepper

1 15-oz. can cannellini (white) beans, rinsed & drained

1 scant cup pesto

1 T. white wine vinegar

Parmesan cheese (optional)

Cook pasta in a large pot of salted boiling water for the time indicated on the package. When the pasta has 5 more minutes of cooking time, add the broccoli rabe. Cook until the pasta is tender but firm to the bite and broccoli rabe is crisp-tender. Drain, reserving 1/2 C. cooking liquid. Return to the pot.

Meanwhile, bring vegetable broth and red pepper to a simmer in a medium saucepan. Add beans and simmer until they are heated through, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes.

Add bean mixture, pesto & vinegar to pasta and broccoli rabe. Stir well, adding pasta liquid slowly if necessary. Season with salt & pepper. Serve in shallow bowls, garnished with Parmesan cheese (if you so desire.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

New Uses for Arugula

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Photo by Eric Bear Albrecht, November 9, 2004. Wikipedia Commons.

Do you like arugula? I do. It’s one of my favorite lettuces. Recently, we received a WHOLE BUNCH from our CSA, Trillium Haven Farm. (If you click the link, it currently says that the farm is on sabbatical for the 2012 season. They have, in fact a VERY SMALL number of shareholders this season, because they are about to open their brand new restaurant, Trillium Haven, which is in our neighbourhood. In fact, my family is going to the restaurant tonight for a sort of trial run. We are so excited!)

Anyway, here are the wonderful arugula recipes I’ve tried recently. I can’t wait to get another bag of the stuff so that I can make these again!

Chickpea and Red Pepper Salsa

Originally from Real Simple magazine, July 2009

1-15 oz. can chickpeas, rinsed and roughly chopped

4 scallions, sliced

1 cup arugula, chopped

2 jarred roasted red peppers, chopped (1/4 cup)

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

kosher salt and black pepper

stuff to dip, like tortilla chips or vegetables. You can also put this on tacos!

Directions
In a medium bowl, combine the chickpeas, scallions, arugula, red peppers, lemon juice, oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Serve.

 

Smoked Turkey, Blue Cheese, and Red Onion Sandwiches

originally from Bon Appetit  September 2008

This recipe says that it makes 4 sandwiches, but these are 4 HUGE sandwiches. If you prefer smaller sandwiches, this will probably make 6 and you may have some sauteed onions left over.

1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
2 8- to 10-ounce red onions, cut into 1/3-inch-thick rounds
3 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
6 cups trimmed large arugula leaves (about 4 ounces), divided
3/4 cup mayonnaise
8 1/3-inch-thick slices seeded wheat bread (such as La Brea Bakery) or four ciabatta rolls, cut horizontally in half
12 ounces thinly sliced smoked turkey
3/4 cup coarsely crumbled blue cheese (such as Maytag; about 3 ounces)

Heat oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions and sauté until soft and lightly browned, breaking up onion rings, about 8 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in vinegar and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Chop enough arugula to measure 1 cup; place in medium bowl. Mix in mayonnaise. Season with salt and pepper. Spread about 11/2 tablespoons arugula mayonnaise over each cut side of bread. Divide turkey slices among 4 bread slices. Top with crumbled blue cheese, dividing equally. Top with red onions, then whole arugula leaves and bread.

Radish Pita Filling & a Green Smoothie!

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Oh, radishes. Do you remember that in one version of the Rapunzel story the father steals radishes from the witch because his pregnant wife craved them? It was the radish craving/radish theft that led to Rapunzel being taken and put in a tall tower.

I am not stealing radishes, nor do I crave them. In fact, I only eat them because they’re part and parcel of our CSA. Every year, I continue to look for ways to eat them AND the greens that come with them. (The greens are very good for you–better, in fact, than the radishes themselves. If recipes were written for health and not taste, radish recipes wouldn’t start with the phrase, “Remove the greens and thrown them away,” but “Remove the radishes and throw them away.”) It’s only because I don’t like to waste food that I don’t throw either parts away (we’d compost them, anyway…read about our compost ball here…), but this past weekend I found the MOST DELICIOUS radish recipe that would motivate me to go out and BUY RADISHES in January. Maybe.

Smashed Chickpea, Basil, and Radish Pita Filling

adapted from Martha Stewart Living

(originally a pita chip dip, not a sandwich filling)

2 cans (15 oz. each) unsalted chickpeas, drained and rinsed (reserve 1/3 C. liquid)

2 T. extra virgin olive oil

coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

1/2 C. fresh basil, coarsely chopped (If you, by chance, have lime basil, it is excellent in this recipe!)

8 radishes, chopped

1 small garlic clove, finely grated

1/4 C. lemon juice

pocket bread (sometimes called pita bread)

Lightly mash chickpeas, oil, 1 t. salt, and 3/4 t. pepper in a bowl until creamy but still chunky. (Using a potato masher is a great idea!) Stir in basil, radishes, garlic, and lemon juice. Stir in reserved chickpea liquid, 1 T. at a time, until it holds together. Serve in pocket bread as a sandwich.

Then, with the greens, make

Radish Green Banana Smoothie

I do not measure smoothies. I just taste them and add what I have. Feel free to experiment with this recipe! You can also use kale, Swiss chard, or bok choy in place of the radish greens.

Blend together:

1 bunch radish greens

2 C. pineapple juice

1 frozen banana

1/2 C. yogurt

1 T. honey

1 T. flax seeds.

Make and eat for any meal, or any snack, during the day. My two-year-old had some of mine today and liked it so much, she said, “Cheers!”

Cheers to you, too!

Other yummy radish recipes you may enjoy: Sauteed Radishes with their Greens, Pickled Radish Relish, and Radish Tea Sandwiches.

Asparagus, Eggs & Scones: Weekend Breakfast

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It’s asparagus season in West Michigan! It’s now time to pickle asparagus, make salad or soup with it, or (and this is one of my favorites), have it with eggs for breakfast, lunch OR dinner. (You may also have it for brunch, if, unlike me, you enjoy brunch.)

These are two delicious egg + asparagus recipes. They’re anytime-meals, and even more Michigan-y with the dried cherry scones.

Asparagus Omelet

from Cooks Illustrated, May/June 2007

Makes 1 large omelet, which serves 2 people

I don’t try many Cooks Illustrated recipes because they’re so complicated. However, this one seemed simple and it is certainly delicious.

Recipe Note: When cooking the eggs, it is important to lift the edges of the omelet rather than push them toward the center.

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 pound asparagus , trimmed of tough ends and cut on bias into 1/4-inch pieces (about 1 1/4 cups)
Table salt and ground black pepper
1 medium shallot , halved and sliced thin
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
5 large eggs
1 1/2 ounces Gruyere cheese , finely grated (about 1/2 cup) (Joy’s note: You can also substitute another cheese, based on what you have on hand. )

1. Heat 1 tablespoon butter in 10-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat; when foaming subsides, add asparagus, pinch salt, and pepper to taste. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes. Add shallot and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until asparagus is lightly browned and tender, 2 to 4 minutes longer. Add lemon juice and toss to coat; transfer to bowl. While asparagus cooks, beat eggs and salt and pepper to taste with fork in small bowl until combined.

2. Wipe skillet clean with paper towel. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon butter in skillet over medium-low heat; when foaming subsides, pour in eggs. Cook, without stirring, until eggs begin to set, 45 seconds to 1 minute. Using rubber spatula, lift edge of cooked egg, then tilt pan to one side so that uncooked egg runs underneath. Repeat process, working around pan edge. Using spatula, gently scrape uncooked egg toward rim of skillet, until top is just slightly wet. Entire process should take 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. Let pan sit on heat without moving for 30 seconds. Remove pan from heat, sprinkle asparagus mixture in even layer over omelet, then sprinkle cheese evenly over asparagus. Cover and let stand until eggs no longer appear wet, 4 to 5 minutes.

3. Return skillet to medium heat for 30 seconds. Using rubber spatula, loosen edges of omelet from skillet. Slide omelet halfway out of pan onto serving plate. Tilt pan so top of omelet folds over itself. Cut omelet in half; using large, thin spatula, transfer to individual plates and serve immediately.

 

If you have a hankering for a more simple recipe for asparagus and eggs, try:

Not Your Mother’s Scrambled Eggs

I got this recipe from the Crane Dance Farm stall at the Fulton Street Farmer’s Market several years ago. This is delicious and simple–and especially good with eggs from chicken that graze.

1/4 C. garlic scapes, chopped

1 T. olive oil

6 asparagus spears, cut into 1/2″ lengths

4 eggs

1 T. water

4 oz. crumbled French goat cheese

Heat olive oil in a skillet (nonstick or cast iron) on medium-high heat, add garlic scapes. Saute’ for 1 minute. Add asparagus and saute’ for 3 minutes more. Add eggs beaten with water to skillet, stirring until almost set. Add goat cheese; stir until barely melted.

 

Before you cook the eggs, stick a batch of these in the oven. You may, of course, substitute other dried fruits for the cherries, but the cherries are quite delicious!

Dried Cherry Scones

from Gourmet, August 2008

  • 4 cups sifted cake flour (not self-rising; sift before measuring)
  • 1/2 cup sugar plus more for sprinkling
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 sticks cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 cup dried cherries
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup heavy cream plus additional for brushing (I have used 1/2 and 1/2 to cut down on fat.)

Preheat oven to 375°F with rack in middle.

Whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Scatter butter on top and blend with your fingertips until mixture resembles coarse meal. Mix in dried cherries.

Whisk together egg and cream in a small bowl, then fold into flour mixture until dough just comes together (dough will be quite delicate).

Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface. With floured hands, press into a 1-inch-thick rectangle. Cut out rounds with cutter and arrange 2 inches apart on a parchment-paper-lined baking sheet. Gather scraps together and cut out additional scones.

Brush tops of scones with cream and sprinkle lightly with sugar. Bake scones, rotating baking sheet halfway through, until tops are golden, 25 to 30 minutes. Cool on a rack about 10 minutes before serving.