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Recipes

Lentil Turkey Chili

 

Leftovers Chili | The Food Poet

We eat leftovers. They wheedle their way into the handwritten weekly menu as proof that no matter how busy a week becomes we can find homemade food at the ready to ably feed ourselves. They provide the backbone to a quick lunch with substance. But, leftovers get a bit of a bad rap, don’t they? Just last week over tea with a friend, she recounted that she leaves the leftovers for her husband, something I have done and depending on the dish, will continue to do as I firmly fall into the camp of some foods don’t get better with time.

We rely on leftovers- they fill in the gaps of one of us at band practice and the other taking a class. But, sometimes I just can’t be bothered with having the same meal several times in rote repetition like a record with a scratch that plays the same bit of track that you enjoyed the first time until it becomes annoying. What’s remarkable is that over the span of one night’s digestion, compelling cuisine takes on a second class status as leftovers. I  have discovered, along with other home cooks, the way to make them the prep for tomorrow’s lunch.

Here’s the thing with leftovers and the aversion people bring to the brown bagged remnants, the quart sized-jar in the fridge or casserole dish with stair-stacked holes cut into the food. And, I want to be careful how I word this, the attitude to leftovers is indicative of first world problems. Where else is extra food considered something avoidable? When I worked at a restaurant, while putting myself through school, we wore metal pins on our uniforms, as a sign of our flair. I could have easily donned one that read “world’s worst up-seller” since the portion sizes served at the restaurant already were double what people could actually eat and more often than not, it pained me to scrape perfectly good food into the compost bin because a patron had met their fill.

Leftovers Chili | The Food Poet

Today, I want to talk about a way we can donate more than just a renewed sense of mindfulness toward our leftovers, instead focusing on an important cause. Nicole of The Giving Table invited people to donate their blog post today to the cause of “The Lunchbox Fund,” an initiative to feed South Africa. Encouraged to blog about lunch, and since my lunches consist of leftovers, here we are.

Did you know 65% of all South African children live in poverty. As evidenced through research by No Kid Hungry in the United States, we know that nourished children will do better in school by helping them stay alert and be able to retain what they are learning. I recently learned that nearly 20% of all children in South Africa are orphans, with approximately 1.9 Million of those children orphaned as a result of HIV and AIDS. These kids are left over from dire family circumstances. It makes me profoundly sad tinged with possibility.

Groups like The Lunchbox Fund identify schools or form partnerships with locally based NGOs or community organizations in order to evaluate and identify schools. They fund distributors to buy and deliver food, monitor the feeding scheme, implement a Project Manager, and deliver reports back to them for evaluation. In essence, they are helping radically address the food supply system for these children who might otherwise get looked over. Can I encourage you to consider that if you give $10, it will feed a child for a day. Giving overflows from a generous heart, so the amount isn’t as important as the practice and the response to the problem.  Consider giving to The Lunchbox Fund and forgoing lattes for a week- doing good might just be the ultimate morning jumpstart.

It’s almost time for lunch and leftovers are on the menu. Join me for a bowl of Lentil Turkey Chili?

Leftovers Chili | The Food Poet

LENTIL TURKEY CHILI

This chili is perfect for serving on rainy or cold days (not that I’m complaining – we needed the rain that turned San Francisco into a wet wonderland this past weekend). This chili is a bit of a conglomeration of various leftovers. Taco Tuesdays makes extra ground meat than we can eat that night, so that gets added to the pot. The extra brown rice we make at the beginning of the week gets warmed and doled out into the bowls so the chili gets ladled over it. Leftover chicken or veggie stock gets used here too and unlike many recipes that only call for 1 tablespoon of tomato paste, this is a terrific recipe to use a whole jar of it or any tomato paste leftovers you might have lurking in the fridge. For garnishes, use what you have on hand. I give a few ideas of what’s in our fridge, but chili is open to creativity (ever try pulsing a chipotle from adobo sauce or adding some of the sauce to chili? Smoky goodness, right there.) These repurposed ingredients will feed you for lunch all week with enough to go in the freezer or to get repurposed another way.

YIELD: 6-8 servings

1 teaspoon grapeseed oil plus 1 tablespoon
1 red bell pepper
2 cups green lentils
1 onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 cup vegetable or chicken stock
tomato paste
1 cup water
32 ounce jar chopped tomatoes
1 cup cooked ground turkey
2 tablespoons chili powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1 teaspoon sea salt

Preheat the oven to 425 and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

Rub a red bell pepper with oil and roast it in the oven for 20 minutes or until you see the skin char slightly. Cool the red bell pepper. Once cooled, remove the stem and seeds inside. Place the bell pepper in a container with high sides and a deep well. Blend with an immersion blender until pureed.

While the bell pepper is roasting, pick through the lentils, discarding any small rocks. In a large heavy pot, cover the lentils with about 3-4 inches of water and bring to a boil. Lower the temperature to simmer. Cover and cook them for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, place a heavy bottomed pan over medium heat for 1 minute. Drizzle in 1 tablespoon of grape seed oil and swirl the pan until the bottom is coated. Add the onions to the pan and brown them for about 4 minutes. Add in the garlic, 3 minutes in.

Drain the lentils from their cooking liquid. Transfer the lentils back to their pot along with the onion, garlic and vegetable stock. Place the pot over medium low heat. Whisk together 3 tablespoons of water with the tomato paste until smooth, adding the rest of the water until you’ve reached one cup. Pour it into the pot once you’ve got a thick red sauce. Open your jar of canned chopped tomatoes and break apart the tomatoes with your fingers over the pot, pouring in the jarred liquid too. Add the cooked ground meat to the pot, carefully breaking up any initial clumps with a large wooden spoon.  Stir in the chili powder, cayenne and salt. Cover the pot and let the chili simmer so the liquid reduces and it thickens up. Add the bell pepper puree to the chili.

Serve with brown rice. Garnish with a dollop of sour cream (or labneh or creme fraiche or Greek yogurt or…), grated leftover nubs of cheese (sharp cheddar works wonderfully) and minced scallions.

Categories
Food Poetry

Carrot Top Pesto

Carrot Top Pesto | The Food Poet

Carrot Top Pesto

YIELD: 1 cup

 

INGREDIENTS

2 cups of frilly green carrot tops, rinsed & patted dry

3 garlic cloves, skins and clove end removed

¼ cup pine nuts

pinch of salt

4 tablespoons of good olive oil

 

INSTRUCTIONS FOR MAKING CARROT TOP PESTO
Amass ingredients on top of one another
on a cutting mat: salt 
sprinkled on garlic
on pine nuts on frilly leaves of carrot tops.

Chop and gather.

Chop and gather.

Chop and gather.

Chop and gather.

Chop and gather.

Chop and gather.

Chop and gather.

Chop and gather.

Chop and gather.

Chop and gather.

Chop and gather.

Chop and gather.

Chop and gather.

Chop and gather.

Chop and gather.

Chop and gather.

Chop and gather.

Chop and gather.

Chop and gather.

Chop and gather.

Chop and gather.

Chop and gather.

Chop and gather.

Chop and gather.

Chop and gather.

Chop and gather.

Chop and gather until minced.

Pour and stir in olive oil.

 

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Recipes

Jeff Friedman’s Pan-Sauteed Broccoli with Walnuts

Poet Jeff Friedman

Jeff Friedman and I don’t argue often, but when it comes to bread, we’ve almost come to blows. Okay, maybe that’s overstating things but he has tried convincing me that New England’s bread economy rivals San Francisco’s. Part of his argument included a visit to King Arthur Flour last time I ventured to New England. Whenever he finally makes it out to San Francisco, I plan on taking him to Bar Tartine for a loaf or even a few slices of Chad Robertson’s legendary Oat Porridge. I’m not convinced the Porridge bread would make the cross-country voyage or that it would make it off of my cutting board where I stealthily sneak pieces to toast with alarming frequency. It’s that good.

King Arthur Flour_pastries

On our outing to King Arthur, we surveyed the pastry case with glee. And, while we peered in like hungry wolves, we didn’t buy anything. This is saying a lot. One thing we share in common is a voracious sweet tooth that’s not easily satisfied. So, it should come as no surprise that one of my purchases in their retail store included a bag of Black Cocoa.

I was immediately intrigued by the name and claims on the bag. This may not be the right point of context but imagine tearing the side of the packaging from a newly opened bag of oreo’s. Breathe in the smell and peel off the upper cookie, scraping the white contents with your teeth. Then plunge the scraped cookie into your mouth and chew. This is surprisingly what Black Cocoa smells and tastes like- the oreo cookies of my childhood. This is also to say I haven’t found the right application yet to share a recipe here. It has a tendency of exacerbating the adage “a little bit going a long way” and like a red feather boa can be a bit garish when worn out of context.

King Arthur Flour Retail Shop

As we meandered around the retail store, I found myself transfixed by the walls and shelves filled with any kind of flour combination you can imagine. These bags and boxes taunted me with promises of pancakes! Biscuits! Pizza! I had to continually remind my enthusiasm about the controlled parameters of my red suitcase. We marveled at the demo kitchen set up in the middle of the store and noshed on a sample of warm blueberry muffin, recently pulled from the oven. As we wound our way over to the oils and spices section, I picked up a jar of Vietnamese Cinnamon, knowing the price was too good to not find a blouse I’d packed to wrap around it as an invitational into the luggage. Jeff picked one up as well and we moseyed over to the oils, as I exulted on the merits of making space in a spice rack / flavor pantry for toasted walnut oil. It’s a bit of a splurge, but completely worth it’s weight in drizzle.

King Arthur Demo Kitchen

Jeff left with a jar of Vietnamese Cinnamon and a vessel of Toasted Walnut Oil. In spite of my attempts to curb my zeal, I made off with a bag of Ancient Grain flour blend, cheese powder, black cocoa and Vietnamese cinnamon. In the larger scheme of things, my restraint would be rewarded. Food and poetry flit in and out of our conversation just like talking about bread bakers or a Galway Kinnell poem. In the end, who really knows which coast bakes the best bread? I’m inclined to think the best loaf is the one you break and share, even if that “bread” is time spent trolling a flour store discussing recipe ideas or snippets of literature with a kindred spirit.

Jeff Friedman Roasted Broccoli with Walnuts

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JEFF FRIEDMAN’S PAN-SAUTEED BROCCOLI WITH WALNUTS 

JEFF’S NOTES: “Originally I made this dish several years ago when poet Ross Gay came to visit. I had purchased some sweet basil oil and wanted to use it on the broccoli… Ross likes all his food hot so we decided to sauté garlic with lots of crushed red pepper and then toss the broccoli with sweet basil oil.  The recipe was good, but not anything I wanted to make on a regular basis. I normally roast broccoli because it’s so easy and delicious. Anyway, Annelies came for a visit, and we went shopping at the King Arthur Store in Norwich, Vermont. She recommended that I purchase toasted walnut oil and Vietnamese cinnamon, both of which I now use regularly. (The cinnamon is definitely amazing.)  Substituting toasted walnut oil for sweet basil oil and adding sliced almonds transformed the dish. This is simple to make.”

INGREDIENTS

3 large heads of broccoli cut into 2-inch branches

3-4 med-large cloves of garlic

3 tbs of olive oil

1 ½-2 tbs walnut oil

walnut slices (toast in pan)

crushed red pepper

salt and pepper

 

INSTRUCTIONS

1.Steam broccoli until it is tender.

2.While the broccoli is steaming, saute garlic in olive oil adding crushed red pepper.

3.When broccoli is ready, put it in a large bowl. Add salt, pepper and pinches of crushed red pepper.

4.Toss with sauteed garlic and crushed red pepper.

5.Toss again with walnut oil.

6. Add sliced walnuts and serve.

 

MY NOTE: I often eat this as is, but sometimes I add parmesan cheese at the end, also very good.. There should be enough left over to heat up in a skillet for a day or two. I think this could also work well pureed into soup.

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Recipes

Ensalada Gremolata

Ensalada Gremolata

I don’t know about you but my eyes perk up when I see Brussels sprouts on a menu. Lest you think I’m some anomaly, in recent years, this winter vegetable has made its way into the food spotlight. Whether doused in bacon grease and cooked on the stovetop or roasted with cracked black pepper and sea salt, it’s quite likely you will find a rendition of it on menus when in season. Their rise in popularity has not quite experienced the astral projection of kale, but chefs and home cooks conspire about how to get these little cabbage doppelgangers regularly onto menus when the season descends.

So, imagine my dismay in sharing this recipe with you right as the season is ending. It’s a rather cruel jape, but believe me when I tell you that this recipe is so easy to prepare, you will beat the coming of spring in earnest as shoots of green pop out of frosted earth, evidence of what has been hibernating underground. Or if you’re in Texas, when the sun has already begun its ploy of heating things up at 80 degrees in February. You have time to squeeze out at least one shot to make this fine salad.

This preparation feels a bit like a cheat, something that might make you wince in familiarity or blink to make sure you stole an appropriate gander at the short list of ingredients in a game of made-you-look-again. The thing is I happen to like simple food and nine times out of 10, if you happen to come over for dinner chez nous, you will find yourself the recipient of simplicity on the plate… with maybe a few exotic accents for a bit of flair and intrigue. Let’s just say 007 and I share that in common.

The type of intrigue dished up here finds its genesis in Mexican, Tex-Mex or Cal-Mex restaurants. When a plato fuerte indicates salad as a component of the hearty main dish, I can already envision limp lettuce leaves torn with a necklace of chopped tomatoes placed atop. This type of ensalada has no intention of stealing the show. In fact, it brings a small mound of color to the plate as well as cool, fresh texture. This style of inclusion reminds me of Costa Rican Casados, where the point is how that little bit of ensalada will snake its flavor and texture into other items on the plate.

At an Italian restaurant, usually, the salad is reserved as its own course in the meal like a stop on a putt-putt course, where after you hit the golf ball into the hole in the ground, which in this case is your gullet, you then progress forward to the next course. To switch things up and don a bit of flair, behold the Ensalada Gremolata. This is my twist on bringing the more-than-a-garnish salad onto the same plate in the style of the plato fuerte. Like most things, this ensalada came about by necessity.

Pasta happens to be one of my comfort foods and somehow my propensity of gauging proportions from eyeballs to stomach can be deceptive. My eyes can be tricksters. It might be the pleasure of twirling noodles around the tines of a fork and then chewing the al dente strands slowly. One evening, I made way next to a highly skeptical mound of steaming Pesto noodles for a cheerful helping of Ensalada Gremolata. The Ensalada then found its way into the hearts of chicken enchiladas the next night too. And that friends, is the beauty of Ensalada Gremolata.

Gremolata should be a tool in your cooking back pocket. Perhaps it already is. Three ingredients give you an unforgettable seasoning trio. Pluck a lemon off a lemon tree or nudge a slightly firm one from the lemon bin, rolling it around in your hand to loosen the juices inside until fingers find a bit more give when squeezing the flesh. Grab a microplane or use the smaller holes on your grater and zest the lemon until bald. Then crush and peel away the papery bits of a few garlic cloves, mincing the cloves into already coarsely chopped parsley until fine. Easy. Juice the bald lemon and whisk in walnut oil for a light dressing with a bright, mellow bite. Shred Brussels sprouts and you’re ready to toss it altogether for an accompanying salad that can sneak its way easily onto most plated dishes.

Ensalada Gremolata

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ENSALADA GREMOLATA

Since this ensalada is muy sencillo, code for “very easy”, I would encourage you to adjust the ingredients to your preference. You might find you prefer more lemon juice or a touch more oil. Then again, you might find swapping in avocado oil or a good olive oil works better for you. Maybe you might pinch and add sea salt to the mix. Taste as you toss and feel free to iterate.

YIELD: 4-6 side servings

INGREDIENTS
15 Brussels Sprouts

1 cup parsley, minced

zest of 1 large lemon (Eureka or Meyer)

1 large or 2 small cloves of garlic

2 teaspoons walnut oil

2 teaspoons lemon juice

 

INSTRUCTIONS
1. Decapitate the Brussels sprouts by slicing off the bottoms. Then, cut the Brussels sprouts in half. Take each half and set it flat side down and begin slicing it from one short end to the other. Proceed with the others until all the Brussels sprouts have been shredded.

2. Pull off the leaves of parsley from a bunch and measure it out to around 1 cup. On a cutting board, begin to start slicing your parsley in a chiffonade, wrapping the leaves around one another and slicing uniformly from top to bottom. Once the leaves have been coarsely chopped, add to your pile, the lemon zest and garlic. Begin to mince the garlic and zest into the parsley leaves. This allows you to cut the flavors into the leaves while cutting the leaves down until minced.

3. Pour your minced gremolata onto the shredded Brussels sprouts and then toss. Drizzle the walnut oil and lemon juice over the salad. Toss again. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

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Recipes

Dark Rye Grilled Cheese Sandwiches with Rubbed Garlic

dark-rye-bread

For most people, October conjures up smiling jack o’lanterns with their toothsome grins or perhaps the month that a brisk breeze begins to blow summer away once and for all. For me, for my husband, October brings an anniversary and the play-offs. It’s important to note that the year we married, the Giants clinched the World Series title. I was invested in them going all the way, as we had just committed to happily ever after. I even doctored and dedicated a cookie recipe to celebrate them.

sharp-cheddar

Fond memories of the honeymoon include the innocuous visits to a dive bar in the town we were visiting, licking the suds of a Sam Adams’ Oktoberfest from the lips of our glasses as we bellowed at the TV screen behind the bar. It felt good to jeer, to holler whoops and exchange high fives when our team scored and rounded the bases. If marriage isn’t an experiment in teamwork, I don’t know what is.

better-together

Better together. Some things that are already good are far better together.

Before Beck and I knew each other and I only had hints to who he might be, really, there was a self-styled description of a sandwich with turkey and ham. Being a natural ham myself I mused that my sandwich would also have a smear of fig jam, both to complement the saltiness of the ham and because of my need to sneak in figs whenever I find occasion. This icebreaker had served its purpose.

So, it’s only fitting to celebrate our anniversary this year with a sandwich.

The sandwich of note sizzles garlic into oil, scenting it with a slightly pungent flavor and aroma that sears the dark rye bread and begins melting the sharp cheddar inside. Better together, eh? My ulterior motive here involves that second October certainty, letting the San Francisco Giants colors work their magic in a sandwich that does its best to cheer on the home team, bedecked in orange and black. And we listen raptly to Johnny Miller call the plays- we wait to see our team, victors.Dark-Rye-Grilled-Cheese-Sandwiches-with-Rubbed-Garlic

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DARK RYE GRILLED CHEESE SANDWICHES WITH RUBBED GARLIC Making a good grilled cheese sandwich, like marriage is not a perfect science, but there are several elements you expect to find. For a sandwich, you want to rub the outside bread with butter or oil so it can crisp up. You want enough cheese so the sandwich doesn’t seem stingy and you want to deck it out with proper bedfellows. Rye and sharp cheddar take grilled cheese to a new level with the garlic-infused oil. Not sure what to do with the browned garlic? Mince and add to vegetables for easy seasoning.

 YIELD: 2 sandwiches

  • 4 slices of dark rye or pumpernickel bread
  • 4 ounces of good sharp cheddar cheese, sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 + 1 teaspoon of safflower oil
  1. Smash garlic cloves with the butt of a knife. Peel off and discard papery skin. Pour 1 teaspoon of oil in a small pan and over medium heat, sauté the garlic, letting it scent the oil. Remove the garlic with a slotted spoon from the oil, once it begins to brown.
  2. Assemble 2 ounces of cheese slices on one side of the bread.  Close the sandwich with the other slice of bread.
  3. Once the garlic has been removed and the sandwich is ready to go, place it in the oil and let cook for 1-2 minutes. Flip the sandwich to the other side and let cook for 1-2 minutes or until the cheese is melty and begins oozing out of the side. Carefully sidle the sandwich onto a plate.
  4. Repeat steps 1 through 3 for the second grilled cheese.

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Recipes

White Bean Stew with Rosemary and Garlic

white-bean-stew

New Year’s Day in Texas requires a pot of beans- black eyed peas to be precise. Our next door neighbor would annually bring over the black eyed peas and requisite cornbread. As a transplant in California, I decided to do a small bait and switch with this tradition this year. Sunday afternoon, we settled in for a bowl of beans, served over brown rice. It seemed a bit of a nod to old and new, which is fitting for New Year’s, is it not?

I consulted Melissa Clark’s “Cook This Now”, eager to try out her recipe for White Bean Stew with Rosemary and Garlic. I had the pleasure of meeting this New York Times writer and James Beard award winner last year and loved hearing how her husband Daniel sometimes reads poetry to her while she’s cooking. It reminded me of Beck and his guitar accompaniment that occasionally serenades my flurry of kitchen activity.

I’ve been cooking my way through this gem of a cookbook the past month or so, kicking around its tires, so to speak. Beck and I devoured the Seared Wild Salmon with Brown Butter Cucumbers. Another evening found us feasting on Roasted Chicken Legs with Smoked Paprika, Blood Orange and Ginger (the leftovers paired a few days later with a carrot jam sauce, made a great variation of Orange Chicken). Yet another evening, we salivated over the Spiced Braised Lentils and Tomatoes with Toasted Coconut. I have machinations of menu planning ahead of me accented by recipes from “Cook This Now.” This cookbook lives up to its title.

I like Clark’s friendly tone and the detail she writes into her recipes. She categorizes the recipes by seasons. This is a great way for people wanting to cook seasonally to get started, though as we know in California, our seasons are a bit out of sync with other states. At the end of each recipe, she provides footnotes with other ideas on creating variations on the original theme, and I appreciate that call for experimentation and the nudge to adapt and personalize the recipes.

Back to these beans! Let’s be frank. Soaking dried beans overnight requires a bit more forethought but yields for a quicker cooking time in the end. So next Saturday night, set a big bowl filled with dried cannellini beans and water several inches above the beans,  to soak. Put on a pot of easy Sunday beans to warm and feed you well into the week.

white bean stew starry night

 

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WHITE BEAN STEW WITH ROSEMARY AND GARLIC 

from Cook This Now by Melissa Clark
Copyright © 2010, Melissa Clark, Inc. Published by Hyperion. Available wherever books are sold. All rights reserved.

The original recipe calls for making them with farro. We tried them instead with brown rice at one sitting and at another, over polenta, and found both options highly palatable. You can also add kale to the beans, but I wanted to try them out without the extra accoutrements (don’t skimp on the celery leaves in the recipe- they were a bit of revelation). These beans will be making their way into many meatless Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays to come.

SERVES 6

  • 1 pound dried cannellini beans
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, more for drizzling
  • 5 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 celery stalk , cut in half crosswise (reserve the celery leaves for garnishing)
  • 1 large onion, halved lengthwise from root to stem so it holds together
  • 1 whole clove (stick it in the onion half)
  • 2 rosemary sprigs
  • 2 thyme sprigs
  • 1 bay leaf
  • piece of Parmesan rind
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt or coarse sea salt
  • chopped celery or parsley leaves, for garnish (optional)
  • lemon juice and / or grated Parmesan cheese, for serving (optional)

1. When ready to cook, drain the beans and place them along with the oil, 3 of the garlic cloves, the celery, and the onion in a large pot over medium-high heat. Bundle the rosemary, thyme and bay leaf together, tie securely with kitchen twine, and throw it into the pot (or just throw the untied herbs into the pot, though you will have to fish them out later). Add the Parmesan rind.

2. Cover everything with water and stir in the salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium and allow it to simmer, partially covered, until the beans are soft. This can take anywhere from 1 to 3 hours, depending on how long (if at all) you soaked your beans and how old your dried beans were when you got them.

3.A test of doneness is to place a bean in your palm and blow on it (the natural thing to do since it will be hot). If the skin breaks, it’s ready. Of course, tasting it is a better way to tell. If your bean pot starts to look dry before the beans finish cooking, add more water as needed. At the end of cooking, the water should not quite cover the beans. (If it’s too liquidy, ladle the extra out and discard.)

4. Mince the remaining 2 garlic cloves.

5. When the beans are cooked, remove and discard the onion, celery, herbs, and Parmesan rind (you can leave the garlic cloves in the pot, they are yummy). Ladle half of the beans into a food processor or blender, add the minced raw garlic, and puree. Return the bean puree to the pot (you can skip this step and just stir in the garlic; the broth will be thinner but just as tasty).

6. Serve the beans in bowls with your whole grains, drizzle each portion with plenty of olive oil, then sprinkle with good flaky salt, red pepper and celery leaves. If the stew tastes a bit flat, swirl in some lemon juice at the end to perk up the flavors. Grated Parmesan cheese on top is also nice. But make sure not to skimp on the oil, salt and red pepper when serving. It really makes the whole thing come together.

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Recipes

Silky Butternut Squash Soup

SOUP RECIPES- Silky Butternut Squash Soup

The fall hastened the coming of winter this year. Fall came and went overshadowed by the wedding. I think I missed November altogether this year. Thanksgiving became the whole of the month. Yikes. Month one of being married kept us busy unpacking and making our home from our individual bits.

Winter in San Francisco is rain and chill. Snow doesn’t alight on our city but sometimes if we’re lucky, it caps Mt. Tamalpais. Fall and winter mean soup season has descended. Usually I make at least one pot of Butternut Squash soup. It often changes slightly, but after trying this particular rendition, Nathan exclaimed, “you should share this on the blog.” High praise indeed.

Something about soup is both warming and comforting. It fills the belly and heats you up from the core. Homemade soup is like a hand-written letter waiting for you in the mailbox. It makes you want to rip it open, spoon it up. Served with homemade bread or cornbread finishes the ensemble.

One Saturday morning, ahem the Saturday morning after Thanksgiving, the rain was dripping from an all-grey sky. It was a good day to stay home, cook, read and enjoy just being together. I had roasted the butternut squash staring at me from the veggie bowl on our counter the night before. I had been itching to make Butternut Squash soup and that was only made more keen when we had it the night before Thanksgiving at Nathan’s parent’s house. Think of it as bookends to our Thanksgiving celebration.

Nathan came into the kitchen and as I started up the soup, he began playing guitar. The smells of curry scented the air as his strumming set a pace and rhythm. The sizzle of butternut squash in the pot was accented by one song leading into another. This might be one of my favorite Saturdays ever with him. I served this with stuffed peppers and we cozied up in our warm home with the sound of rain slapping the windowpane.

 

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SILKY BUTTERNUT SQUASH SOUP 

YIELD: 4 servings

  • ½ leek, rinsed and sliced
  • 1 large garlic clove, sliced
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1 T curry powder
  • ¼ cup whipping cream
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • ½ cooked butternut squash, roasted & quartered
  • 2 cups chicken stock

Heat the oil in a soup pot and once it’s hot, toss in the leeks and garlic along with the curry powder. Once they’ve browned, add the butternut squash. Simmer for about five minutes and then add the whole milk, whipping cream and chicken stock. Simmer for 15 minutes. Then with your immersion blender, puree the soup. Serve & enjoy.

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