Notes from Debbie's Kitchen
This week some member-submitted recipes... but not before I do my annual Eggplant Dance! I absolutely love eggplant! Roasted or sauteed, it becomes unctuous and creamy and delectable. Mmmmm... can't wait to get my box!
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First off, a recipe that member Annette O. sent me recently for something I bet a lot of you didn't even realize you could eat -- radish leaves!
Radish Leaf Pesto
from a lovely blog called Chocolate & Zucchini
, by Clotilde Dusoulier, a Parisian foodie.
Clotilde likens the flavor of radish leaves to "somewhere between watercress and nettles,
but a few notches milder. The texture of the larger leaves can be a bit
rough so they're not ideal for salads, but they make fine soups and gratins, and work beautifully in pesto, which is what I make with them most often." She also says, "The recipe below is really just a guide; the concept of pesto as a puree of greens, hard cheese, and nuts, is very forgiving and can be adapted to what you have on hand [Listen to what Clotilde says - she is absolutely right!]. You can use more or less cheese, more, fewer, or no nuts at all, add a little lemon peel, which brightens up the whole, and/or throw in otner fresh leafy herbs that need using or pruning."
- 2 large handfuls of good-looking radish leaves, stems removed
- 30 grams (1 ounce) hard cheese, such as pecorino or parmesan, grated or shaved using a vegetable peeler
- 30 grams (1 ounce) nuts, such as pistachios, almonds, or pinenuts (avoid walnuts, which make the end result too bitter in my opinion)
- 1 clove garlic, germ removed, cut in four
- a short ribbon of lemon zest cut thinly from an organic lemon with a vegetable peeler (optional)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more to get the consistency you like
- salt, pepper, ground chili pepper
Put all the ingredients in a food processor or blender or mini-chopper
and process in short pulses until smooth. You will likely have to
scrape down the sides of the bowl once or twice. This produces a thick
pesto; add more oil and pulse again to get the consistency you prefer.
(This can also be done with a mortar and pestle; it's great for your
karma and your triceps.)
Taste, adjust the seasoning, and pack into an airtight container (I
use a recycled glass jar). Use within a few days (it will keep longer if
you pour a thin layer of oil on the surface) or freeze.
Clotilde suggests making the pesto thick initially, then thinning it out as needed (combined with a little pasta cooking water to make a sauce, for example). She also uses it to flavor polenta, line crusts of vegetable tarts, garnish sandwiches, rub on a lamb roast, or stuff oven-roasted fish. It would also be great with potato gnocchi. Me, I'd spread it on homemade pizza! Or toss it with pasta and fresh tomatoes.On to some more member-submitted recipes. These next few are from Jennifer Black and Oscar Ortiz. Jennifer says, "We love hot sauce, especially homemade with fresh ingredients!"Roasted Tomato Salsa
from Jennifer's mother-in-law
Equal numbers of tomatoes*, jalapenos [or padrons], and unpeeled garlic cloves
Salt to taste
On a hot ungreased griddle or comal, roast the tomatoes, jalapenos, and garlic cloves until blackened on all sides. Remove and let cool. When they are cool enough to handle, peel them and blend with salt.
* Think in terms of small-medium round tomatoes for size here -- if your tomatoes are smaller, use more.
At right: roasting padron peppers on a comal.
[modified] from a Rick Bayless cookbook
4 to 5 small dry-farmed tomatoes
2 unpeeled cloves garlic
1-2 chipotle chiles (from a can)
Salt to taste
On a hot ungreased griddle or comal, roast the tomatoes and garlic cloves until blackened all over. Remove and let cool. When they are cool enough to handle, peel them and blend with the chiles and salt.Potato-Chile Soup
(Jennifer thinks this is from a Mollie Katzen cookbook, but is not sure - she got it from her sister)
4 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
3 cups water
2 tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 C chopped onion
1 1/2 C chopped sweet pepper
1 1/2 C chopped Anaheim chile or other mild hot pepper
1 jalapeno, chopped (optional)
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp basil
1 C milk
3/4 C sour cream
3/4 C jack cheese
2 scallions, thinly sliced [use the bunching onions]
Cook the potatoes in the water until very soft, about 20 minutes. Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat in a large stockpot and add the onion. When it is soft, add all the peppers and seasonings. Cook 8-10 minutes or until soft and lightly browned. Scoop the potatoes out of the cooking water and put in the stockpot with the other vegetables. Mash, adding just enough potato cooking water to get a smooth texture. Add the milk; then add more cooking water as needed to thin the soup to desired consistency. Reduce the heat and add sour cream and scallions. Heat the soup gently. Add the cheese and stir just before serving; sprinkle minced cilantro over each bowl.After all that talk about eggplant, I can't not have a recipe now, can I? Noodling around on that Chocolate & Zucchini blog, I found a lovely one...Roasted Eggplant and Goat's Milk Yogurt Dip
- 850 grams (30 ounces) eggplants, the smaller the better
- one clove garlic, peeled
- 120 ml (1/2 cup) goat's milk yogurt (substitute sheep's milk yogurt or plain Greek-style yogurt)
- ground cumin, to taste*
- ground chile pepper, to taste*
- salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste*
- a large handful of fresh cilantro leaves (a.k.a. coriander in some parts of the world), finely snipped
Makes about 240 ml (1 cup).
Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F). Place the eggplants in a single layer in a shallow baking dish (or a rimmed baking sheet lined with foil), and prick them in a few places with a fork. Cut a small slit in the most bulbous part of one eggplant and slip the garlic clove inside. Roast for 50 minutes to 1 hour, until completely soft, turning the eggplants 2 or 3 times during the baking.
Set aside in a colander until cool enough to handle. Transfer each eggplant in turn on a cutting board. Cut a deep slit down the length of the eggplant to open it wide, and scrape the flesh using a wooden spoon. Discard the stem and skin, set the flesh aside (be sure to recover the garlic clove), and repeat with the remaining eggplants.
In the bowl of a food processor or blender**, combine the eggplant flesh, garlic, and yogurt, and season with cumin, chile pepper, salt, and black pepper. Process in short pulses until smooth. Fold in the cilantro, taste, and adjust the seasoning.
Cover and refrigerate for a few hours, if possible, to allow the flavors to develop. Serve with pita bread, or, in our case, fresh baguette. This also makes a fine sandwich/tartine spread, or a side to lamb meatballs or grilled fish.
* I've deliberately left out the measurements for the spices and seasonings: how much you need depends on how flavorful your eggplants and yogurt are, and on your personal preference. Start small, taste, and work your way up as needed.
** If you don't own either, you can mash everything with a fork; the texture will be chunkier and less dip-able, but it will still be good.And to end with, something for all the berries in the fruit shares. This was sent to me last year by member Caroline Martin, who says, "We make this usually with blueberries, strawberries & blackberries and it's divine (and a good way to use up strawberries)."Summer Pudding
original recipe by Mark Bittman (serves 4-6), edited by Caroline
4-5 C assorted summer fruit, such as: blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, red currants, black currants, red or golden raspberries, and/or small plums, rinsed well and drained, large fruit like strawberries and plums sliced
About 1 C water
1/2 C sugar, depending on fruit
2 tbsp. ruby port or brandy (optional)
Unsalted butter as needed
6-8 slices homemade style white bread, such as challah or brioche, crusts removed (I used about 3/4 of a a challah loaf)
In large saucepan, combine all the berries/fruit, except for raspberries with the water and the sugar. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the berries fall apart, 10-15 minutes, Stir in the raspberries. Taste and add more sugar if needed. Recipe calls to pass through a sieve to remove seed and skins - but we like it with skins and seeds so don't do this step.
Meanwhile butter the side bottom and sides of a souffle, gratin or other dish and sprinkle lightly with sugar. Recipe calls to butter the bread, but if you use a challah or brioche, you shouldn't have to. If you want it richer, lightly butter the bread. Put half the bread in the bottom of the dish (cover the bottom of the dish with bread) and cover with half the berry mixture, then repeat the layers.
Cover with a plate that fits into the dish and weight it so it presses down on the mixture. Refrigerate for several hours or overnight (it's never made it overnight at our house). Serve straight from the dish or unmold it if you like. Great by itself, or with ice cream or whipped cream.
Can use frozen berry mixes in the winter.