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Feb 28
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old mother hubbard soup: hubbard squash, sage, rosemary, smoked hot paprika oil, chevre, toasted pepitas. (served with c’s homemade oatmeal sandwich bread)
Every fall, as the local growing season comes to an end, we stock up on winter squashes and stash them in the basement to supply our kitchen during the winter. Today we realized that spring is around the corner and we need to make a dent in the 25 pounds of squash we still have left. So, I broke down and roasted a giant Hubbard squash and made this soup. My squash was about 9 pounds. If yours isn’t, adjust amounts accordingly. Makes 6 to 8 hearty servings.

Using whatever clean, heavy blades you have around the house (and appropriate safety equipment), go to town on the hubbard, seeding it and separating it into 4 or 6 pieces of roughly equal thickness. Brush with oil, season, and roast at 375˚ on one or more foil covered cookie sheets until tender, between one and two hours. When the squash cool enough to handle, scoop its flesh, chop it up into inch-wide chunks, and set it aside.
Meanwhile, heat a quarter cup of olive oil in a large dutch oven, and sweat the following with some salt and pepper:
2 onions (diced)
4 cloves garlic (minced)
2 tablespoons sage (finely chopped), and
1 tablespoon rosemary (very finely chopped)
Once the onions are very soft, add the squash and a quart of chicken stock. Simmer for 10 minutes and then puree until smooth. Season with salt and pepper and some sherry vinegar to taste. Stir in some cream or half and half if you feel like it.
Meanwhile (yes, we’re nesting meanwhile’s), toast some pepitas (pumpkin seeds) in a small heavy pan with a little oil. Remove to paper towel and season them. To the same pan, add 2 tablespoons olive oil and a teaspoon of hot smoke paprika. Stir for a few moments over medium heat. Pour paprika oil into a very small heat-proof container and allow to settle. Crumble some goat cheese and set aside.
Plate up the soup with the pepitas, the goat cheese, and the paprika oil. (Skim the oil off the top so as not to dredge up the solids.) Serve with yummy bread.

old mother hubbard soup: hubbard squash, sage, rosemary, smoked hot paprika oil, chevre, toasted pepitas. (served with c’s homemade oatmeal sandwich bread)

Every fall, as the local growing season comes to an end, we stock up on winter squashes and stash them in the basement to supply our kitchen during the winter. Today we realized that spring is around the corner and we need to make a dent in the 25 pounds of squash we still have left. So, I broke down and roasted a giant Hubbard squash and made this soup. My squash was about 9 pounds. If yours isn’t, adjust amounts accordingly. Makes 6 to 8 hearty servings.

Using whatever clean, heavy blades you have around the house (and appropriate safety equipment), go to town on the hubbard, seeding it and separating it into 4 or 6 pieces of roughly equal thickness. Brush with oil, season, and roast at 375˚ on one or more foil covered cookie sheets until tender, between one and two hours. When the squash cool enough to handle, scoop its flesh, chop it up into inch-wide chunks, and set it aside.

Meanwhile, heat a quarter cup of olive oil in a large dutch oven, and sweat the following with some salt and pepper:

  • 2 onions (diced)
  • 4 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 2 tablespoons sage (finely chopped), and
  • 1 tablespoon rosemary (very finely chopped)

Once the onions are very soft, add the squash and a quart of chicken stock. Simmer for 10 minutes and then puree until smooth. Season with salt and pepper and some sherry vinegar to taste. Stir in some cream or half and half if you feel like it.

Meanwhile (yes, we’re nesting meanwhile’s), toast some pepitas (pumpkin seeds) in a small heavy pan with a little oil. Remove to paper towel and season them. To the same pan, add 2 tablespoons olive oil and a teaspoon of hot smoke paprika. Stir for a few moments over medium heat. Pour paprika oil into a very small heat-proof container and allow to settle. Crumble some goat cheese and set aside.

Plate up the soup with the pepitas, the goat cheese, and the paprika oil. (Skim the oil off the top so as not to dredge up the solids.) Serve with yummy bread.

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Feb 21
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Not Pictured…

[“Not Pictured” is a new feature (bug?) in which I relate a meal that I was too lazy to photograph.] 

For dinner, Melissa Clark’s Braised Pork Chops with Tomatoes, Anchovies, and Rosemary. (Yep, a two-pork-chop week!) I halved the recipe (one big chop for two people), but left the onion quantity intact. I also subbed out the fresh tomatoes for good canned ones. Served over polenta and with steamed, buttered brussels sprouts.

In lieu of butter and cheese, I decided to finish the polenta with crème fraîche. This was a good move. I highly recommend trying it out.

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Feb 20
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sunday supper: shrimp, green beans, radish, hazelnuts, cilantro, red curry paste, champagne vinegar, lemon juice, creme fraiche.

This recipe is adapted from the great Boston chef Barbara Lynch's wonderful book Stir.
The method involves prepping several different components seperately and then putting them all together in the last step. Here are the components that need to be prepared:
Dressing: Whisk together a medium shallot (minced), a tablespoon red curry paste, and 1.5 tablespoons champagne or other white wine vinegar. Slowly drizzle and whisk in one half cup grapeseed oil. Whisk in a teaspoon of lemon juice and a quarter cup of creme fraiche. Season with salt to taste. Set the dressing aside if you’re using it soon, or refrigerate for up to a day or two.
Nuts: Toast a half cup of hazelnuts in a 350˚F oven until lightly browned (about 10 minutes), shaking them around at least once. If the nuts have skins, roll them around in a clean dish towel to remove as much as possible. Roughly chop them and set them aside. 
Beans: Wash and trim a pound of green beans and blanch them in salted water until just tender. Immediately shock the beans in an ice bath. When they are cold, dry them and set them aside.
Shrimp: Pell and devein a generous half pound of shrimp. Cup the shrimp in to 3 pieces each. Season with salt, and cook the shrimp in a non-stick skillet over high heat until pink and opaque. Remove the shrimp from the pan and allow to come to room temperature.
The Rest: Thinly slice 2 or 3 radishes. Pick, wash, and dry 2 handfuls of cilantro leaves.
Now that you have all the components, put the beans, the shrimp, the nuts, and the radish in a bowl and toss with the dressing to generously coat. (You likely will not need all of the dressing.) Plate and top with cilantro.

sunday supper: shrimp, green beans, radish, hazelnuts, cilantro, red curry paste, champagne vinegar, lemon juice, creme fraiche.

This recipe is adapted from the great Boston chef Barbara Lynch's wonderful book Stir.

The method involves prepping several different components seperately and then putting them all together in the last step. Here are the components that need to be prepared:

  1. Dressing: Whisk together a medium shallot (minced), a tablespoon red curry paste, and 1.5 tablespoons champagne or other white wine vinegar. Slowly drizzle and whisk in one half cup grapeseed oil. Whisk in a teaspoon of lemon juice and a quarter cup of creme fraiche. Season with salt to taste. Set the dressing aside if you’re using it soon, or refrigerate for up to a day or two.
  2. Nuts: Toast a half cup of hazelnuts in a 350˚F oven until lightly browned (about 10 minutes), shaking them around at least once. If the nuts have skins, roll them around in a clean dish towel to remove as much as possible. Roughly chop them and set them aside.
  3. Beans: Wash and trim a pound of green beans and blanch them in salted water until just tender. Immediately shock the beans in an ice bath. When they are cold, dry them and set them aside.
  4. Shrimp: Pell and devein a generous half pound of shrimp. Cup the shrimp in to 3 pieces each. Season with salt, and cook the shrimp in a non-stick skillet over high heat until pink and opaque. Remove the shrimp from the pan and allow to come to room temperature.
  5. The Rest: Thinly slice 2 or 3 radishes. Pick, wash, and dry 2 handfuls of cilantro leaves.

Now that you have all the components, put the beans, the shrimp, the nuts, and the radish in a bowl and toss with the dressing to generously coat. (You likely will not need all of the dressing.) Plate and top with cilantro.

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Feb 17
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belated valentine’s dinner: brined pork chop, watercress, arugula, fried chickpeas, parmesan, garlic, lemon, olive oil, chili flakes.

Mix together enough 4% (by weight) salt water solution to submerge your pork chops. Whisk in a few tablespoons of sugar, to taste. Brine the chops for 30-60 minutes, depending on their thickness.
Briefly rinse the brined chops and pat them very dry. Brush them with oil and season them very lightly with salt. Sear on both sides in a super-hot skillet (I used cast iron) or on a grill. Finish in a 350˚F oven until the internal temperature is 145˚F. Allow the chops to rest for 5 minutes before plating.
Meanwhile, make about 8 oz (half a standard can) of fired chickpeas, as described here.
Make a salad dressing with a 2:3 ratio of lemon juice and good olive oil. (Yes, this is a very tart dressing, but it will mingle with the fat and juices of the pork.) Season the dressing with minced garlic, chili flakes, and salt.
Toss together equal amounts cleaned and dried arugula and watercress with some finely grated parmesan. Dress the greens lightly with the dressing. Mix in some fired chickpeas.
Strew the salad over the pork. Top with more fried chickpeas and curls of parmesan.

belated valentine’s dinner: brined pork chop, watercress, arugula, fried chickpeas, parmesan, garlic, lemon, olive oil, chili flakes.

Mix together enough 4% (by weight) salt water solution to submerge your pork chops. Whisk in a few tablespoons of sugar, to taste. Brine the chops for 30-60 minutes, depending on their thickness.

Briefly rinse the brined chops and pat them very dry. Brush them with oil and season them very lightly with salt. Sear on both sides in a super-hot skillet (I used cast iron) or on a grill. Finish in a 350˚F oven until the internal temperature is 145˚F. Allow the chops to rest for 5 minutes before plating.

Meanwhile, make about 8 oz (half a standard can) of fired chickpeas, as described here.

Make a salad dressing with a 2:3 ratio of lemon juice and good olive oil. (Yes, this is a very tart dressing, but it will mingle with the fat and juices of the pork.) Season the dressing with minced garlic, chili flakes, and salt.

Toss together equal amounts cleaned and dried arugula and watercress with some finely grated parmesan. Dress the greens lightly with the dressing. Mix in some fired chickpeas.

Strew the salad over the pork. Top with more fried chickpeas and curls of parmesan.

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fried chickpeas!

Drain, rinse, and thoroughly dry the desired amount of canned chickpeas. Fry them in a half inch of vegetable or olive oil (in batches if necessary) until golden-brown. Fish them out and allow them to drain on them to a torn piece of paper bag. Season immediately and liberally with salt.

fried chickpeas!

Drain, rinse, and thoroughly dry the desired amount of canned chickpeas. Fry them in a half inch of vegetable or olive oil (in batches if necessary) until golden-brown. Fish them out and allow them to drain on them to a torn piece of paper bag. Season immediately and liberally with salt.

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Feb 16
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weeknight dinner: whole-wheat penne, carrots, garlic, yogurt, smoked cheddar, hazelnuts.
I’m back!
This dish is an adaptation of Whole-Wheat Pasta with Creamy Roasted Carrot Sauce from The Traveler’s Lunchbox. I followed the recipe as written, except that I used Greek yogurt to finish the sauce and smoked cheddar to top it. I also stirred in some of the cheese before plating so that it melted in. I served it with sauteed kale with cider vinegar.

weeknight dinner: whole-wheat penne, carrots, garlic, yogurt, smoked cheddar, hazelnuts.

I’m back!
This dish is an adaptation of Whole-Wheat Pasta with Creamy Roasted Carrot Sauce from The Traveler’s Lunchbox. I followed the recipe as written, except that I used Greek yogurt to finish the sauce and smoked cheddar to top it. I also stirred in some of the cheese before plating so that it melted in. I served it with sauteed kale with cider vinegar.
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Aug 22
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lunch on daisy’s birthday: linguini, chard, corn, sun gold tomatoes, aged myzithra, basil, parsley, white wine.
Happy sixth birthday to Daisy, our Jack Russell Terrier! Daisy didn’t get to eat any of this pasta, but she did get a scrambled egg in her breakfast!.
Aged myzithra is a firm, salty Greek cheese made from ewe’s milk. The flavor and texture is like ricotta salata, but saltier. Myzithra can be found in specialty stores in the US.
Bring a big pot of salted water to a boil, and begin to cook the linguini.
Meanwhile, in a large pan, sweat a diced onion in olive oil and butter until it’s soft. Add minced garlic, cook for a minute, then add chopped swiss chard. Deglaze with white wine. Once the chard is nearly cooked, add corn and tomatoes and cook for another minute or two.
When the pasta is cooked, drain it and add it to the sauce. Cook together for a minute, tossing. Turn off the heat, and then add a handful chopped parsley and basil, and a handful of finely grated myzithra cheese. Toss to combine, and serve.

lunch on daisy’s birthday: linguini, chard, corn, sun gold tomatoes, aged myzithra, basil, parsley, white wine.

Happy sixth birthday to Daisy, our Jack Russell Terrier! Daisy didn’t get to eat any of this pasta, but she did get a scrambled egg in her breakfast!.
Aged myzithra is a firm, salty Greek cheese made from ewe’s milk. The flavor and texture is like ricotta salata, but saltier. Myzithra can be found in specialty stores in the US.
  1. Bring a big pot of salted water to a boil, and begin to cook the linguini.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large pan, sweat a diced onion in olive oil and butter until it’s soft. Add minced garlic, cook for a minute, then add chopped swiss chard. Deglaze with white wine. Once the chard is nearly cooked, add corn and tomatoes and cook for another minute or two.
  3. When the pasta is cooked, drain it and add it to the sauce. Cook together for a minute, tossing. Turn off the heat, and then add a handful chopped parsley and basil, and a handful of finely grated myzithra cheese. Toss to combine, and serve.
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Aug 20
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taste memory salad: eggplant, red wine vinegar, garlic, green chili.

I saw these cute little purple eggplants at the farmers market yesterday, and bought them impulsively. Today, thinking about what to do with them, I remembered a dish that I haven’t eaten in almost 20 years. When I was a child living in Western Massachusetts, an Israeli family moved in down the street from us. The mother of the family used to make an unctuous, tangy marinated eggplant dish that I’ve tried to recreate today.

Slice eggplants into 1/4 to 1/2 inch slices. Season the slices with salt. Heat 1/4 inch of oil, half olive and half vegetable, in a skillet. Once it’s hot, carefully add the eggplant slices in one layer, working in batches if necessary. Cook the eggplant until very soft and well-browned. Remove cooked eggplant to a sheet pan, and season generously with more salt. (Don’t worry about excess blotting oil; it will become part of the dressing.)
Meanwhile, sweat two cloves of garlic and a chili pepper, both sliced, in a bit of oil in a small sauce pan. Add a generous grind of black pepper, and half a cup to a cup of red wine vinegar. Simmer for a few minutes to allow the flavors to meld.
Pour the vinegar sauce over the eggplant while both are still hot. Season with more salt if necessary. Sprinkle with chopped parsley. Allow to sit and marinade for a few hours before serving at room temperature.

taste memory salad: eggplant, red wine vinegar, garlic, green chili.

I saw these cute little purple eggplants at the farmers market yesterday, and bought them impulsively. Today, thinking about what to do with them, I remembered a dish that I haven’t eaten in almost 20 years. When I was a child living in Western Massachusetts, an Israeli family moved in down the street from us. The mother of the family used to make an unctuous, tangy marinated eggplant dish that I’ve tried to recreate today.

  1. Slice eggplants into 1/4 to 1/2 inch slices. Season the slices with salt. Heat 1/4 inch of oil, half olive and half vegetable, in a skillet. Once it’s hot, carefully add the eggplant slices in one layer, working in batches if necessary. Cook the eggplant until very soft and well-browned. Remove cooked eggplant to a sheet pan, and season generously with more salt. (Don’t worry about excess blotting oil; it will become part of the dressing.)
  2. Meanwhile, sweat two cloves of garlic and a chili pepper, both sliced, in a bit of oil in a small sauce pan. Add a generous grind of black pepper, and half a cup to a cup of red wine vinegar. Simmer for a few minutes to allow the flavors to meld.
  3. Pour the vinegar sauce over the eggplant while both are still hot. Season with more salt if necessary. Sprinkle with chopped parsley. Allow to sit and marinade for a few hours before serving at room temperature.
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Aug 17
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how to cook beans in summer if you don’t have air conditioning: black beans, aromatics, espazote, spices, lime.
Beans, especially Mexican beans, would be a great focus for a veggie summer dinner. But the prospect of hovering for hours over a simmering pot on your stove when it’s sweltering in your house is enough to rule them out. The solution: slow cook the suckers.
Pick through your beans, and then place them in a pot with enough cold water to cover them by several inches. Add a quartered onion or a roughly chopped leak, several peeled and smashed cloves of garlic, several sprigs of dried espazote, and a generous amount of chile powder and ground cumin, coriander. No salt!
Place the pot on high heat and bring it to a rolling boil, stirring once or twice on the way up. Turn off the heat, cover the pot, and let it sit for 1 hour.
After an hour, bring the pot back up to a boil and transfer its contents to a slow cooker. If necessary, add enough extra boiling water to just cover the beans. Cook on high for 4 hours, checking for doneness at 3 hours. Once the beans are done, salt them to your liking.
To serve, season with lime juice, and garnish however you like. In the picture, I’ve used cotija cheese, a charred red chile, cilantro, and a lime wedge.

how to cook beans in summer if you don’t have air conditioning: black beans, aromatics, espazote, spices, lime.

Beans, especially Mexican beans, would be a great focus for a veggie summer dinner. But the prospect of hovering for hours over a simmering pot on your stove when it’s sweltering in your house is enough to rule them out. The solution: slow cook the suckers.
  1. Pick through your beans, and then place them in a pot with enough cold water to cover them by several inches. Add a quartered onion or a roughly chopped leak, several peeled and smashed cloves of garlic, several sprigs of dried espazote, and a generous amount of chile powder and ground cumin, coriander. No salt!
  2. Place the pot on high heat and bring it to a rolling boil, stirring once or twice on the way up. Turn off the heat, cover the pot, and let it sit for 1 hour.
  3. After an hour, bring the pot back up to a boil and transfer its contents to a slow cooker. If necessary, add enough extra boiling water to just cover the beans. Cook on high for 4 hours, checking for doneness at 3 hours. Once the beans are done, salt them to your liking.
  4. To serve, season with lime juice, and garnish however you like. In the picture, I’ve used cotija cheese, a charred red chile, cilantro, and a lime wedge.
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Aug 13
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summer sandwich: crusty bread, fresh mozzarella, green zebra tomato, salt-packed anchovies, basil, cucumber pickles (by chris).
Soak two salt-packed anchovies in cool water for a few minutes. Peel the filets off of the bones.
Build a sandwhich in this order: quarter-inch sliced fresh mozzarella, quarter-inch sliced tomato, salt and pepper, anchovy filets, torn basil.
In a cast-iron or non-stick pan, gently cook the sandwich in olive oil, so that the cheese melts and the anchovies soften as the bread browns. Cook with cheese-side down first, so that the cheese melts and holds the sandwich together before the flip. You may find that weighting down the sandwich as it cooks helps with even heating and browning.
Serve with pickles!

summer sandwich: crusty bread, fresh mozzarella, green zebra tomato, salt-packed anchovies, basil, cucumber pickles (by chris).

  1. Soak two salt-packed anchovies in cool water for a few minutes. Peel the filets off of the bones.
  2. Build a sandwhich in this order: quarter-inch sliced fresh mozzarella, quarter-inch sliced tomato, salt and pepper, anchovy filets, torn basil.
  3. In a cast-iron or non-stick pan, gently cook the sandwich in olive oil, so that the cheese melts and the anchovies soften as the bread browns. Cook with cheese-side down first, so that the cheese melts and holds the sandwich together before the flip. You may find that weighting down the sandwich as it cooks helps with even heating and browning.
  4. Serve with pickles!
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