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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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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

chickpeas

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!***

me

 

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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!

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From Dish Deanna:

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I’ve never actually made quinoa before this recipe. I’ve always been a rice and couscous kind of girl but something about quinoa really intrigues me. Quinoa is appreciated for its nutritional value (14% protein!) and considered easy to digest. Those two things are very important to me in my diet so I decided to give it a try. If you don’t season it well it could be very bland, much like couscous. I find this grain so interesting because it can be made for so many different things. Plenty can be put into it and made as a whole meal, or it can be enjoyed as a side dish. For this recipe, I made a sweet quinoa side dish!

Ingredients:

1 cup quinoa

½ cup sliced or chopped almonds

1 cup chicken broth

1 and ½ hot water

½ tsp salt

1 cinnamon stick

1 bay leaf

½ cup dried cranberries

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First, over medium heat, I toasted the almonds. Make sure that you stir continuously or they’re likely to burn. When the almonds turn golden brown add the quinoa into the pan. Stir for a few more minutes until the quinoa begins to darken.

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Transfer the toasted quinoa and almonds into a saucepan and add the water, chicken broth, salt, cinnamon stick, bay leaf, and cranberries. Bring to a boil, simmer, and then cover for the next 20-25 minutes. When the quinoa has consumed all the liquids, fluff it with a fork. Don’t forget to take out the cinnamon stick and bay leaf! No one wants to chew on those…

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Let the quinoa sit for 5 minutes before serving and then ENJOY!

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From Dish Deanna:

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During the holidays I always find myself over-doing it with food. I look forward to Christmas and New Year celebrations being over because I know that I can start fresh. This year I was so overwhelmed with cookies, cakes, chocolate, and dinners that I thought I was going to explode. I knew it was bad when I started wearing bigger sweaters.  Bigger sweaters made me realize that I needed to immediately start eating smaller portions. Mini Tacos are a great way to control your portion size and can be served in many settings. I find they are easy to make for a simple night in or even if you’re entertaining a group of people.  For this recipe I enlisted the help of my best friend, Jodi!  We had a great time making these.

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Ingredients:

2 cooked chicken breasts

Juice of 1 lime

1 tablespoon chili powder

2 teaspoons smoked paprika

1 teaspoon ground cumin

Salt and pepper, to taste

24 (3-inch) corn tortillas

Shredded cheddar cheese

Shredded lettuce

Hot sauce (optional)

Sour cream (optional)

Toothpicks

Yields: 24 mini tacos, but can certainly be cut down if only meant for one or two people

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Start by finely shredding the chicken by hand and place into a medium bowl. Add lime juice, chili powder, paprika, cumin, salt and pepper. Toss the mixture until it is thoroughly combined. Next, shred the lettuce.

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Lay the tortillas out for stuffing! If you can’t find mini tortillas, use a 3 inch round cookie cutter and make cut outs from larger tortillas. Place some cheddar cheese on the bottom, a big pinch of chicken, and some lettuce on the tortilla. Wrap up the tortilla and pierce with a toothpick.

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Right before you serve, stick the tacos in the oven at 350 degrees for 10 minutes or so until the tortillas are soft and the cheese is melted.

These mini tacos are so good you’ll want to eat them all!

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From Dish Rachelle:

You know what’s awesome about Thanksgiving food?  We take generally healthy ingredients – poultry, potatoes, carrots, Brussels sprouts, pumpkin, cranberries – and find a way to douse them all in butter, sugar, fat and salt.  It’s indulgent, it’s American, and it’s amazing.  My Mom makes some of the best turkey and stuffing I’ve ever tasted and her cousin always brings a great broccoli and cheese casserole, which is fluffy and rich and makes broccoli taste like junk food.

For this post, I tried to make a side dish that’s decadent enough for a Thanksgiving table, but also might be served at a dinner party year-round.  That meant no frizzled onions and no condensed soup or soup mix (1950s-era staples that I generally avoid but are totally acceptable on holidays).  I call this Broc’n’Cheese because it came out tasting like that all-American pasta classic – but with broccoli.  Perhaps it could be a good alternative to mac for a gluten free guest?

This recipe can be doubled or tripled or gazippled for Turkey Day…

Ingredients:

2 large heads broccoli, florets only

2 tblsp. unsalted butter

¼ cup flour

2 cups milk

½ cup grated good-quality extra sharp cheddar

½ cup grated gruyere cheese

pinches of the following spices: nutmeg, garlic powder, paprika & mustard powder

½ cup breadcrumbs

 

Preheat oven to 350.

Cut and rinse your broccoli florets.  (Reserve the stems for another recipe.)  Steam the florets until bright green and cooked al dente.  Let stand, uncovered, while you prepare the béchamel.

 

Melt 1½ tablespoons butter in a medium saucepan and add flour, whisking quickly to create a very light roux.  Lower heat to medium and add milk, whisking away the lumps.  This is your béchamel sauce – keep whisking as it gets hotter and thickens, making sure the sides don’t scald.  When it starts bubbling slowly, bring the flame down to low and add dashes of the spices (less than a teaspoon of each) and S&P.  Add cheese and stir until melted and all the spices are combined.

Spread the steamed broccoli out into a baking dish and pour the cheese sauce over it.  Quickly melt the last ½ tablespoon of butter in a small frying pan and add the breadcrumbs.  Toast in butter 1-2 minutes and then pour it evenly over the broccoli and cheese.  Bake the casserole for about 15 minutes or until cheese sauce is bubbling.

Let stand a few minutes and then serve!  You won’t feel guilty about trying three different pies because you ate your broccoli – drenched in cheese, butter and milk, of course.

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From Dish Nicole:

Ah October, the month of zombies and ghosts, sexy(____insert occupation___) costumes, candy corn and my new favorite, black rice risotto. Risotto is relatively easy to make but you must have patience, patience and more patience. If you have ever worked with black rice, you will know that it takes a particularly long time to cook but the result is well worth the wait. Black rice is not only festive for Halloween-inspired meals, it has several health benefits. It is full of antioxidant-rich bran known as anthocyanins which are the purple and reddish pigments that are also found in blueberries, grapes, and acai. Anthocyanins have been linked to a decrease in the risk of heart disease, cancer and improvements in memory. Another little nugget of information I stumbled across is that according to ancient Chinese legend, black rice was so rare, tasty, and nutritious that only the emperors were allowed to eat it. The reason I like it is a little simpler: it has a delicious nutty flavor, a beautiful color and an amazing texture. Cooking it risotto-style makes the texture a little more tender and creamy than if you cook it according to the package directions.

Here is what you will need for my spooky black rice risotto:

6 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, finely diced
1 1/2 cups black rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced

To start, place your broth in a saucepan on medium on the back of your stove. It is very important to use low- sodium chicken broth because as your risotto cooks down and becomes more concentrated it can become too salty. Next you will want to take a large saucepan and heat your olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until it softens.

Add the rice to the oil and onion mixture and cook for about 1 minute. Cooking the rice in hot butter or oil before adding liquid helps the rice to absorb the liquids slowly. This is called “Toasting the Rice.”

Once toasted, reduce the heat to medium low and add the wine and cook until it is absorbed. All of the beautiful purple and red colors will probably be all over your kitchen at this point.

The next step will require all the patience you can muster: add ¾ cups of broth stirring constantly until all of the liquid is absorbed, which takes approximately 10 minutes. Continue this process with the remaining broth until the rice is tender and creamy. This should take you about 60 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Now that your arms are tired and you are very hungry from all the stirring, you can dive into your well deserved meal. Garnish each portion with basil and parmesan. Happy Halloween y’all!

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