Friday, October 26, 2012

kale and apple soup

adapted from
This soup provides a healthy dose of greens with a little indulgence in the form of bacon and crème frîache (if you so desire). Even the kids loved it.

serves 4
1/4 cup cubed bacon
1 large bunch kale
4 cups chicken stock, divided
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 sweet onion, chopped
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 medium apple, cored and chopped
1/4 cup crème frîache, mascarpone cheese, sour cream or plain yogurt (The Green Barn has them all!)
freshly ground black pepper

1. Wash kale and remove bottom 1" of stem. Chop roughly into 1" pieces.
2. In a stock pot over medium heat, sautée the bacon for 1 minute. Add the kale and stir to coat with rendered fat. Add a bit of olive oil if kale sticks to pan. Cook, stirring, until kale begins to wilt. Add 2 cups chicken stock, lower heat to medium-low and cook covered, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes.
3. Transfer mixture to blender. Let cool slightly then puree. (I am always nervous about having liquids explode out due to one past experience, but if you hold down the lid with a kitchen towel it should be fine). If blender is more than half full you will need to reserve some to make room for the next step.
4. In the same skillet over medium heat, heat olive oil and cook onions with salt until just barely showing color. Add chopped apples and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes, or until apples soften and onions are translucent. Transfer mixture to blender.
5. If working in two batches (if you doubled the recipe or if you have a small blender), add half the remaining chicken stock (1 cup), cover and puree until smooth. If working in one batch, add all the remaining stock and puree until smooth. 
If soup seems too thick, add more stock or water until it reaches the desired consistency.
Garnish with a dollop of crème frîache, mascarpone cheese, sour cream or plain yogurt and a few grinds of black pepper.

Monday, October 22, 2012

quinoa salad with yams and apples

adapted from Food and Wine
Another fall salad we just tried. Although hearty enough for a light lunch also makes a light and refreshing appetizer or side dish.

serves 10-12 (I halved the recipe)

1/2 cup olive oil
1 1/2 cups quinoa
1 1/2 pounds yams, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch dice
freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
2 large granny smith apples, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1/2 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
1/2 medium red onion, thinly sliced
8 cups baby greens (about 6 ounces)

1. Preheat oven to 400F. In a large saucepan, heat 1 Tbsp. of the olive oil. Add the quinoa and toast over moderate heat. stirring, for 2 minutes. Add 2 1/2 cups of water, season with salt and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for 16 minutes (if all water is absorbed sooner, add additional 1/2 cup). Remove from heat and let stand for 10 minutes. Fluff quinoa, spread it out on a baking sheet and refrigerate at 20 minutes or more.
2. Meanwhile, on a baking sheet, toss the yams with 1 Tbsp. olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast for about 25 minutes, stirring once, until golden and softened. Let cool.
3. In a large bowl, whisk the remaining 6 Tbsp. of oil with the vinegar; season with salt and pepper. Add quinoa, yams, apples, parsley, onion and greens. Toss well and serve.

note: to make ahead prepare quinoa and yams. They can be refrigerated for up to 2 days.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

caramelized squash salad with pistachios and goat cheese

a tasty and elegant fall salad adapted from Better Homes and Gardens
I've said before that I REALLY want to love goat cheese. There are so many tasty looking recipes that call for goat cheese. I try to be adventurous, but is has been difficult to acquire a taste for it. This salad looked very good so I decided to go for it. I chose a honey goat cheese which was so creamy and mild (and may I say delicious?). Even the kids ate a little because I didn't mention the goat word :)

makes 6-8 servings

1 cup orange juice
3 Tbsp. maple syrup
1 1/2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp. grated fresh ginger (1 tsp. or so dried can do in a pinch)
1 1/2 lb squash (I used delicata), peeled (not necessary with delicata), seeded, halved lengthwise, and cut into 1/2 inch wide strips
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
1/3 cup olive oil
6-8 cups mixed greens (I used organic spring mix) or whatever amount looks right
1/2 cup roasted salted pistachio nuts
3 oz goat cheese (can substitute feta if you must) :)

1. For marinade, in a small bowl stir together orange juice, maple syrup, mustard, and ginger. Set aside 1/2 cup for salad dressing. Place squash in a large resealable bag and pour remaining marinade over squash. Seal bag and marinate, refrigerated, for 1-4 hours.
2. Preheat oven to 400. Coat a large baking sheet with thin layer of oil or nonstick cooking spray.
Drain squash, discarding marinade, and place on prepared baking sheet. Roast squash until tender and lightly browned in spots, 26-30 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.
3. For the dressing, in a small bowl whisk together the reserved marinade, salt and pepper. Slowly whisk in the oil. Drizzle 2-3 Tbsp. of dressing over the warm squash; toss to combine. In a large bowl combine the mixed greens and half the pistachios. Toss with half the dressing. Gently toss roasted squash into salad. Top with remaining pistachios and dollops or crumbles of goat cheese. Pass remaining dressing.
* as usual almost everything can be found at the Green Barn! Only the orange juice isn't available, unless you squeeze your own.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

citrusy mashed squash with toasted pecans

adapted from Better Homes and Gardens
makes 4-6 servings

3 lbs butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into chunks
2 Tbsp butter
1/3 cup sour cream (or 1/2 cup mascarpone cheese. I REALLY want to try this but didn't have it on hand)
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 tsp finely shredded orange peel, plus some reserved for garnish (from 1 medium orange)
2 tsp finely shredded lemon peel, plus some reserved for garnish (from 2 small lemons)
3/4 tsp salt
1/3 tsp ground black pepper
2 Tbsp snipped fresh sage
1/2 cup pecans, toasted and coarsely chopped
      sliced green onion and/or fresh sage leaves

1. In large pot cook squash in lightly salted boiling water, covered, 16-17 minutes or until tender. Drain.
2. Meanwhile, melt butter in small skillet over medium heat, whisking constantly until golden brown, 3-5 minutes. Transfer half the squash into blender or food processor. Add butter, sour cream, maple syrup, orange and lemon peels, salt, and pepper. Cover and process until smooth. Place remaining squash in a bowl; add pureed mixture. Mash slightly. Stir in fresh sage.
3. Top with pecans, green onion and/or sage leaves, and citrus peel.