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3-2-1, Pickles!

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I have raved about the incredibly talented, (and crazy stylish!) chef Marcus Samuelsson here before, and this months’ recipe is yet another amazing staple I’ve learned from one of his wonderful cookbooks. This streamlined pickling process is such a cinch, you won’t ever need to look back at this recipe after you’ve pickled your first batch. I actually made these bad boys at the end of the winter, when I wasn’t able to get through all the vegetables that my kick-ass winter CSA bestowed upon me. This was a great way to make sure my kohlrabies, beets, daikon radishes, and carrots didn’t go to waste before I had a chance to use them.

But. In all honesty, I think spring & summer is the best time to get your pickle on: picnics, BBQ’s, beach days… Burgers, seafood sammys, charcuterie boards, (oh my!)… They’re all screaming for some sweet & tangy garnishes. Happy pickling!

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(Adapted from Aquavit, by chef Marcus Samuelsson)

For the pickling liquid:

3 c boiling water

2 c white vinegar

1 c sugar

Liberal pinches of the following: kosher salt, turmeric, assorted peppercorns coriander seeds, (toasted and crushed)

A few cardamom pods, (toasted & crushed)

A few cloves

A few juniper berries

2 bay leafs

1 shallot, sliced thin

fresh parsley

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* You do not have to have EVERY item on this list to make pickles! Just go with what’cha got!

To Pickle:

3 beets, peeled, rinsed, & cut into wedges/sticks/slices

2 kohlrabies, peeled, rinsed, & cut into wedges/sticks/slices

1 small daikon radish, peeled, rinsed, & cut into wedges/sticks/slices

3 carrots, peeled, rinsed, & cut into wedges/sticks/slices

*Pickle whatever you want! Doesn’t need to be these items…

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In a medium bowl, combine the boiling water, vinegar & sugar. Whisk so sugar dissolves. Allow mix to cool a bit. Then, stir in the remaining ‘pickling liquid’ ingredients.

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Arrange soon-to-be-pickled veggies in jars and pour the liquid in over them. You can enjoy the pickles as soon as the following day—or wait a few days for a stronger pickle. They’ll keep for about 2 weeks.

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Make yourself a killer sammy, garnish with homemade pickles, and take that sucker OUTSIDE! Happy season of eating outdoors!

The incredibly talented, (and crazy stylish!) chef Marcus Samuelsson:

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From Dish Erin:

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Because turmeric is underused in American cuisine, is such a bold flavor, and has the potential to temporarily stain your hands and dishes (don’t worry, it’s nothing a good scrubbing and soaking can’t fix), many people can be hesitant of cooking with it. But it’s really nothing to be scared of. This is an alternative to traditional stir fry that is perfect for a turmeric newbie. It’s also a super quick weeknight meal.

Oh, and just in case you needed another reason to try it: Turmeric is kind of a magical spice. It’s linked to lower rates of Alzheimer’s disease, and is thought to aid in preventing certain types of cancers. Tests have also shown that turmeric is an anti-inflammatory, which helps to reduce and treat arthritis, psoriasis, and even may lower cholesterol.

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1-2 tablespoons peanut or canola oil

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts or thighs, sliced into 1 inch pieces

1 yellow onion, sliced thin

2 garlic cloves, minced

Shake or two of cayenne pepper

1 heaping tablespoon (or 2) of turmeric

1/2 inch fresh ginger, grated (or you can use 1 teaspoon dried ginger)

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1/2 cup of chicken stock

1 head of broccolini or broccoli florets

1 cup of mushrooms, sliced thin

Heat oil in a wok or sauté pan. When hot add the chicken and cook for a few minutes until the pink fades.

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Add the onion and garlic, stir or shake the pan to coat everything in the oil and cook for a few minutes until the onions are translucent. Make a well in the center and add the ginger.

Add the cayenne and turmeric, and again stir to coat everything in the spices.  The pan will immediately turn an amazing, bright yellow color.

Stir again to coat then add the soy sauce, butter, and chicken stock. Then add the broccoli and mushrooms and allow everything to simmer for just shy of 5 minutes.

Serve over rice.

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This month we are focusing on the spice turmeric!  Here is a new one from Dish Deanna:
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Turmeric is typically used in a lot of curries, can be used as a substitute for saffron and apparently has great health benefits. It is very vibrant, adding color to any bland-looking recipe and it even has anti-inflammatory properties, helps detoxify the liver, and is a natural pain killer. As I was doing research about this interesting spice, I was reading that many people put it into capsules and ingest it daily. This might be something worth looking into further! I do have to say though, when I heard that Turmeric was the theme of the month I panicked a little. I had no idea what kind of recipe to make. I knew that it is used in many curry recipes but I wanted to do something different. As I was browsing some vegetarian recipes, I came across one for hummus. It didn’t have turmeric in it but I improvised a little and came up with something that I think is pretty damn creative.

Ingredients for the hummus:

  • 2 (15 oz) cans of chickpeas (or garbanzo beans)
  • 3 or 4 garlic cloves
  • 1 tbsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ cup olive oil

Ingredients for the pita chips:

  • 1 pkg of pita pockets
  • Garlic powder
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil

You will need:

  • A food processor or blender!
  • An oven or toaster oven

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To start, strain the chickpeas and rinse them with water. This will take off any liquids that are still clinging to the chickpeas from the cans.

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Measure out all of your ingredients and toss everything into the food processor. Pulse until the mixture is smooth. You may want to open the food processer intermittently and see how your hummus tastes. I found as I was making this that it was very experimental. In order to get the creamy texture I wanted I had to add just a little bit more olive oil. Feel free to be liberal with your measurements – you can’t really mess this up!

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After you’ve finished with your hummus, place it into a bowl. I prefer my hummus at room temperature but if you like it cooler, throw it in the fridge! To start on the pita chips, first preheat your oven or toaster oven to 350 degrees. Cut one pita pocket into 4 even triangles and peel apart each side. Lay them flat on tin foil on a baking sheet. You should then brush one side only with olive oil, and sprinkle garlic powder and salt over the pita. Toss them in the oven for approximately 5 minutes (maybe even less). I wouldn’t walk away from the oven because you want to take them out as soon as the edges turn golden brown. I burned the first batch!

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When they look about ready, take them out and let them cool. Then get ready to enjoy. You’ve just made homemade hummus and homemade pita chips! CONGRATS!!

*** serve with veggies or save for later to use as a spread for sandwiches!***

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Chicory month continues with another take on stuffed endive!

From Dish Nicole:

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Endive is a curious veggie.  One would think that is a lettuce when in fact it is part of the chicory family which includes bitter leafed vegetables such as radicchio or escarole.  Endive, not just for salads, takes on various forms of deliciousness and can be prepared in a multitude of ways.  I have had Belgian endive au gratin, in salads, soups and even stir-fry’s, all delicious.  Perhaps one of the best characteristics of endive is the way the leaves, when separated, create perfect cups for stuffing.  Stuffed endive seems to be a staple passed hors d’oeuvres at events.  Recently my pals were hosting a house warming party and I decided to stuff some endive and bring it over to share.  They were mess free and tasty if I do say so myself.

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Ingredients:

4 Belgian Endive Heads (there are about 8-10 leaves per head)

½ cup of gorgonzola cheese, crumbled

½ cup of dried cranberries chopped

½ cup chopped chives

2 tbsp olive oil

Salt and pepper

 

Wash and dry your endive and set aside.  Next you will want to dice up all of your other ingredients and mix in a large bowl adding the olive oil a little at a time while mixing.

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Taste and add the salt and pepper as needed.  You can prepare this mixture several hours before serving.  When you are ready to serve, separate the endive leaves and place on a platter, stuff and devour.

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While being an extremely easy recipe to make, the presentation is beautiful with all colors and textures and your friends will LOVE it!  At least mine did.

Endive!

Endive Boats

Chicory month continues here at SLD.  Check out this tasty bite From Dish Deanna:

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When I came home for Passover this past week, my mom and I got so wrapped up in cooking for the holiday, we forgot that at some point we needed to take a break and eat. In the midst of making the matzo ball soup, brisket, fish, and other yummy Passover dishes, we had to figure out something that would be tasty for us to munch on, but easy enough to make so that our main focus could be on the other dishes.

It is truly amazing what your mind can think up when you’re feeling creative. We looked in the fridge and had crabmeat and endive. That seemed workable for us. We decided to make little endive boats, filled with crabmeat, red cabbage, and a special sauce we whipped up on the spot!

Ingredients:

Crabmeat

1 endive: 6 small endive leaves, peeled off

2 tablespoons of mayonnaise

1 teaspoon of ketchup

½ teaspoon Dijon mustard

½ cup chopped red cabbage

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In a small bowl, mix the mayo, ketchup, and Dijon. Feel free to play around with the ingredients depending on which flavors you like best. I happen to enjoy Dijon mustard so I may have added a little more than I listed here. Next chop the red cabbage. At this time you can lay your leaves out for stuffing!

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This recipe is really all about preference. Some may prefer to toss the crabmeat in the sauce, whereas I drizzled it on top and then sprinkled some red cabbage over it to layer. This recipe can be doubled, tripled, and quadrupled depending on how many leaves you want to make! It makes for a great appetizer or even a healthy main. So one night when you’re feeling adventurous, play around with the proportions and find what you like best!

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Saucy Little Dish is trying something new!  Each month we will be working with a different ingredient and each Dish will create a dish using that ingredient.  We are excited to start the Spring 2013 off with Endive/Chicory.

In addition to our new theme months, SLD would like to introduce our newest dish, Beth Harrell.  Beth is originally from Florida and we met this saucy thing in Williamburg, Brooklyn and she now lives in Chicago.  Not only has she lived in all sorts of culinary hubs, she studied the art of baking and pastry at Le Cordon Bleu Paris.  I don’t know about you, but I know we are excited to see what Beth whips up!

From Dish Beth:

(inspired by El Almacen’s Ensalada de Palmito) Yields 6 servings

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I’ve always thought of endive as the stuck up, snooty little finger food of fancy pants ladies luncheons. Other than an elegant vehicle for stuffing cheesy, mayonnaisey dips down my gullet, I didn’t really know what else it was good for. That is, until, I had this delightful truffled endive and heart of palm salad at El Almacen, an awesome Argentinian restaurant in my old neighborhood, Williamsburg, Brooklyn.  Since I live in Chicago now, I decided I’d try and make this thing at home.

Slightly bitter endive, its chicory sister radicchio, and tangy heart of palm, are tossed with large flakes of buttery, salty parmesan and a simple truffle vinaigrette. Since it’s spring, I’ve also added some white asparagus to the mix. Earthy and decadent, this would be a perfect start to a romantic dinner with your hunny bunny. But I wouldn’t know anything about that. Guh.

Here goes…

2 endives (the whiter the leaf, the less bitter the taste)

White asparagus (about 6-8 stalks)

Small head of radicchio

8 oz jar of heart of palm, drained

1/2 cup apple cider vinegar

Big handful of salt

Truffle Vinaigrette (recipe below)

Parmesan cheese (not the powdery pizza kind. Get a wedge and shave flakes off with a vegetable peeler. This is a CLASSY salad, dammit!)

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Slice the endive, radicchio, asparagus and heart of palm into long, thin strips. Make sure to cut the top and base off of the endive and asparagus. Place all but the heart of palm into large bowl with the apple cider vinegar and salt. Toss to coat and let sit for 30 minutes or so (you want to slightly pickle them). Place in colander to drain. Rinse with cold water (don’t have to totally wash all vinegar away, just give it a quick rinse), return to bowl

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Add heart of palm. Toss with Truffle Vinaigrette and sprinkle with parmesan before serving.

Truffle Vinaigrette

Shallot (or small onion, shallots are just expensive onions anyway)

2-3 T white truffle oil (If you’re on a specialty oil budget, you can sometimes find this shit for cheap at TJ Maxx)

2 T extra virgin olive oil

1-2 T champagne vinegar

Salt and pepper to taste

Grate the onion/shallot right into the bowl and then pour/sprinkle in remaining ingredients. Whisk and taste and  whisk and taste, adding more as needed until it’s to your liking.

Oh yeah! And for the record, it’s pronounced on-DEEV, not N-dive. Enjoy lovers!

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From Dish Amelia:
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I was casting about for what I would post this month for my SLD, and the topic ended up finding me in the most natural and planetary of ways. There were so many signs in fact, that I had to list the indicators just to look at because everything seemed so connected and clear. (Cycle, Spring, oval, egg, Easter eggs, Easter…)

I decided to try making the kolache. The kolache are a Czech pastry, but it is so much more. I know what these are because both of my parents are from Texas and we would visit sometimes when I was growing up. There is a solid old Czech community near my dad’s hometown, and he impressed on me the importance and specialness of getting the good kolaches in the tiny town of Snook when passing through. (Mom, Dad, kolaches, fruit, wildflowers, jewel tone colors…) It happened that my mom just went on a little road trip to see the wildflowers, and she sent a few pics. And, I just happened to work a catering job at Lincoln Center for the new play “Ann”, abut Ann Richards, the former governor of Texas. To add to the Texan reminders, large swaths of Brooklyn were just looking towards or went to Austin for the South by Southwest music festival. (Ann Richards gig, SXSW, Texas, New York, Brooklyn, Greenpoint, Poland, Eastern Europe, Czech Republic…)

I figured that the Tall Pole might have some awareness of this pastry, because many eastern European traditions carry a level of crossover, like poppy seeds. (Traditions, poppy seeds…) The Pole was not really sure, but was not opposed to my investigation, sweet-toothed as he is. I turned to the Eastern European Food section of About.com, an excellent resource, and found the related Polish kolaczki, which was interesting. But this was not the type I was going for, which led me to the obvious next stop: awesome food blog Homesick Texan written by Lisa Fain (who also has a great cookbook). Of course she did a post on kolaches. And weirdly enough she had posted in March of 2007, leading me to wonder about kolaches and springtime. (…food blogs, springtime, traditions, New York…) Her post is wonderful, and I can only add a slightly different angle, and also a bit more sugar, as the kolaches I remember are a bit sweeter than her recipe. I also left off the sprinkled topping. (Hers is adapted from Texas Monthly and the Houston Chronicle, mine is adapted from hers.)

1 packet active dry yeast

1 cup warm milk

1.2 cup sugar

3 cups AP flour

2 large eggs

3/4 cups melted butter

1 tsp salt

fillings at your discretion

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Photo from mom.

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Prepare your starter. Combine sugar, yeast, 1 cup of flour (whisk) and then milk

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Cover and let it double in size and get foamy.

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Mix together melted butter, salt and eggs

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The starter has become foamy! Mix the butter/egg mixture into this.

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Then mix in flour, a 1/2 cup at a time.

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Knead ten minutes. So fun. Place in an oiled bowl, cover and let rise one hour.

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Look at that! I’m always impressed by yeast.

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Pull off pieces and roll into egg-sized balls…

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Flatten into disks and brush with melted butter. Cover and let rise another half hour.

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Prepare your fillings. I chose mine based on tradition and color variety. There are several Polish pastries I’ve seen in Greenpoint that utilize this chocolaty looking (not chocolate) paste. With some investigation and many questions directed at the Tall Pole (who probably never imagined he would field so many) I found that this ingredient in Polish is called masa makowa, or poppy seed butter, and usually contains almonds and sugar. One can make this easily, but to save time, and invest in some authenticity, I braved the crazy Easter line of the Polish deli to grab some. It’s quite good. I also got some crumbly farmer’s cheese

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The fillings: strawberry, sour cherry, orange ginger, farmer’s cheese (with maple syrup drizzle, my one liberty), and poppy seed paste. Obviously you could (should?) make these too, but for maximum variety I used high quality, few ingredient jams. In the future I think I would just make my favorite or be more experimental, but I wanted to tap into tradition, not expand on it just yet.

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Make a decent indentation with your fingers and spoon in the filling.

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Bake at 375 for 13 minutes. Brush them with melted butter (why not?) when they come out. Let them cool a bit and savor this new rite of spring.

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