Saturday, February 20, 2010


I was going to say that I "cobbled" this recipe together from about a dozen from various sources, when I decided instead, in honor of the Olympic figure skaters, to say that I "choreographed" it. Why shouldn't Stamppot be a work of art! It's humble, yet nourishing ... and lends itself well to expressing creativity!

As well, I had expert advice from my friend Nathalie who is from the Netherlands. It is because of her that the bacon went in ... apparently it is important to have bacon for authenticity.

Combining greens with potatoes is a fairly common method of getting a filling, hot meal together quickly and cheaply in countries where tubers, brassicas, crucifers and cold-hardy greens are grown. The Dutch have Stamppot, the British have Bubble and Squeak, and the Scots even have Rumbledethumps. The Irish have Colcannon, and Champ, which can be made with all manner of green things.

I thought that this was a dish that threatened to be boring without some ... greater interest, so I added Yukon gold (firm) potatoes in with the CSA Russets (floury) to vary the texture, and used leeks (which I had on hand) instead of the expected onion, some garlic, and three kinds of greens--CSA spinach, CSA cabbage, and grocery store kale.

Very satisfying, very tasty! Comfort food at its finest. This is my very first attempt at Stamppot ever, and its lusciousness is the reason you should never be afraid to experiment and trust your instincts. And some expert advice always helps!

I must emphasize the extreme adaptability of this dish; use what you have, or what appeals to you. Just keep in mind the finished color, texture and taste of your Stamppot!

It can also be served with butter, or a fried egg may be placed atop each serving.

3 pounds CSA Russet potatoes
2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes

1/2 pound natural bacon, in 1/2-inch dice

2 cups kale, sliced and chopped small
2 cups CSA spinach, chopped small
2 cups CSA cabbage, chopped small
2 medium leeks, white and light green parts only, sliced and chopped small
2 medium carrots, in 1/4-inch dice
1 tablespoon chopped garlic

8 to 10 natural sausages

Peel the potatoes. Cut the Russets into evenly-sized pieces. Cut the Yukons into slightly smaller pieces than the Russets, as they take longer to cook. Place potatoes in large pot and just cover with salted water. Bring to boil and cook until potatoes are soft and appear to have the right texture for smashing.

Meanwhile, slice the sausages if desired, or leave whole. Fry until browned and done through, deglazing the pan with a splash of white wine. Transfer to a dish and set aside. In same pan, fry bacon until crisp. Remove bacon and set aside. Remove bacon fat except for two tablespoons, or remove all bacon fat and add two tablespoons of olive oil. Add chopped vegetables and cook, adding about 1/2 cup water and stirring occasionally, until carrots are soft but kale and spinach are still bright green.

Drain potatoes, reserving water. With a potato masher, smash potatoes into a satisfactory state, adding reserved water (or use milk) to get a good non-dry consistency. Don't mash them 'til creamy, though. Stir in the vegetables and bacon just until blended. Serve Stamppot in generous scoops with sausage alongside.

Makes about 10 generous servings.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Serendipity Salad

Everybody knows this salad by now. It's familiar, but never loses its appeal. Whoever invented it should be a knight or dame of whatever empire they're from. Maybe it just evolved due to the natural affinity of veiny cheeses for fruit and nuts. Sometimes you see a vinaigrette on it, but I like to just use the cheese.

This salad makes a great meal when you realize that you've got new, fresh CSA salad greens, a pear or two, some Sahale maple pecans, and a bulldozer-sized chunk of Gorgonzola sent home with you by your aunt who had a weak moment at Costco.

Seventh Box!

The freshness is back. These are the Olympic champions of vegetables, folks.

I've been seeing the ads during the 2010 Games in Vancouver, adjuring us to "eat like Olympians" at .... McDonald's!?! Sorry. I'll stick with my farmer's veggies. Why is Big Money so often aligned with Cheap Food?

Anyhoo. A cabbage so cute and coy in its outer leaves you just want to take a picture of it ... and more petite brown lentils, some cilantro, enough Burbank russet spuds to feed the Olympic ski team, fresh salad mix, and muscular green spinach.

I'll sleep better tonight now that the fridge is restocked with local.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Carrot and Mint Salad

While grocery store organic carrots are fairly uniformly good, they still don't hold a candle to my farmer's local ones. I think it must have to do with time spent laying around in trucks, traveling hundreds of miles, getting slimy tops and sprouting little roots. I wouldn't sound a little biased here, would I?

This is a cool, tasty, and nutritionally-dense salad that compliments spicy dishes well. You can add toasted, crushed cumin seed for an Indian or Middle-Eastern theme.

It's always popular and vanishes quickly, so I usually double this recipe. I can't remember where I found it; it's written by hand in my recipe binder, with alterations I've made over time.

4 cups shredded (about 8 large-ish) carrots (I use fine-shred disc of food processor)
1/4 cup chives, chopped, or 1/4 cup red onion, chopped finely
1 small bunch mint, washed, spun, leaves removed from stems, and chopped (food processor works well for this)
1/4 cup raisins, golden or black, or dried cranberries, or any combination thereof

1/4 cup lemon juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

In large bowl, whisk dressing ingredients thoroughly. Add salad ingredients and toss well. Can be made a few hours ahead of time, or even the day before.

Serves 4

Leek, Pear and Goat Cheese Tart

Ever since making Onion, Apple and Goat Cheese Tart, the variation with leeks and pears has been on my mind. It is just as good as the apple/onion version. If forced to choose which is better, I honestly could not. They're both wonderful.

This recipe with the following replacements:

2 slightly underripe Bosc pears, for the apples
2 large or 4 medium leeks, white and light green parts only, sliced 1/4-inch thick, for the onion (about 4 cups raw sliced leeks)
Increase thyme from 1 teaspoon to 2 teaspoons

Monday, February 8, 2010

Warm Yam and Chickpea Salad with Tahini Dressing

Wow. Thanks to my friend Stephanie, who split a jar of tahini with me a while back (who can use a whole jar, we thought?), I had a few tablespoons left, and all the ingredients to make this salad. Wow. It's a blockbuster, and may even be cause to buy a whole jar of tahini for myself. I can see this salad happening again and again.

I substituted yams for the originally-called-for butternut squash, and increased the salt a little.
Adapted from this website.

2 pounds yams, peeled and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
1 garlic clove, minced or pressed
1/2 teaspoon allspice (optional; I didn't use it)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/8 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 cups cooked CSA chickpeas
1/4 of a CSA red onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup chopped cilantro or parsley (I recommend cilantro)

1 clove garlic, finely minced
1/4 cup lemon juice
3 tablespoons tahini, stirred
2 tablespoons olive oil, more to taste
2 tablespoons water
1/8 teaspoon salt

In a large bowl, combine the garlic, allspice, olive oil and 1/8 teaspoon salt. Toss the yam pieces until evenly coated. Roast on a baking sheet lined with a Silpat for about 40 minutes, or until soft. Remove from oven and cool to room temperature. A little hotter is fine.

Meanwhile, make the dressing and taste for seasoning. There should be a definite hint of lemon below the tahini taste. Add water to thin if necessary.

In a large bowl, combine yams, chickpeas, onion and cilantro. Add dressing to taste, keeping a bit aside if you think you'll have leftovers. The salad tastes best when the dressing is added fresh.

Serve immediately. If serving leftovers, reheat slightly in microwave and add reserved dressing.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Arugula and Goat Blue Pesto

They try, they really do. Earthbound Farms organic "baby arugula" is ... arugula. If I hadn't had so many bursting farmer's market bags of exuberantly green, just-picked, exquisitely fresh arugula, I probably would look upon my five ounces of plastic-tubbed, security-sealed, limp and faded arugula leaves with more favor.

Thankfully, there is something to do with below-grade arugula that will carry us onward to that ever-nearing day when the first farmer's markets open. Pesto! It hides a multitude of deficiencies.

For the cheese, I almost put in some of the smoked goat gouda that I have became smitten with, but .... the other day I picked up a little wedge of goat's milk blue cheese, and with the peppery flavor of arugula, I thought I had a match. Yep. It's really good

This pesto was great on whole-wheat pasta, and I also used it to top sauteed whole portobello mushrooms.

One 5-oz package arugula leaves, washed and spun
1 garlic clove, peeled
2 tablespoons crumbled goat blue cheese (or regular blue, Gorgonzola, etc.)
1/4 cup walnuts
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
A grind or two of black pepper

Blend all in a food processor until smooth and pesto-y to your liking. Use to stuff mushrooms, top scrambled eggs, stir into pasta, top bowls of tomato soup ... whatever your imagination can dream up.

Makes about 1 cup.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Beet Soup with Nine CSA Legumes

Yesterday I started craving raspberry-nectarine pie, so I know that it's season-shifting time. Could be that's why this soup, with its absolute orgy of greens, attracted me. A bunch of parsley! Spinach and chard! A bunch of scallions! Fresh mint!

I have a low tolerance for recipes that call for "one scallion, sliced" or "a tablespoon of chopped parsley." I had to trust Deborah Madison again on this one, but when I saw that I could use all the types of CSA legumes (chickpeas, lentils, 7-bean mix) , I was in. It was icing on the cake to read that "... the aromatics are added at the end, breaking the clean surface with a net of golden speckles."

I defy any adventurous cook to resist "a net of golden speckles."

Smugly, I pulled my gallon-size freezer bags of cooked chickpeas and cooked 7-bean mix that I froze from the last couple of CSA boxes. If you didn't cook extra, you'll have to start earlier to make this soup.

The finished soup is quite bracing, with the mellow but spicy onion topping a wonderful sweet contrast. All the greens and parsley give this soup a hint of spring ... and only the faintest echo of its sturdy winter cousin, borscht.
Adapted from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone by Deborah Madison

4 medium beets, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice
1/3 cup CSA lentils, sorted and rinsed

1-1/2 cups cooked CSA 7-bean mix
1 cup cooked CSA chickpeas
2 cups chopped chard or beet greens
2 teaspoons salt

1 bunch scallions, including green parts, sliced
2 cups coarsely chopped spinach
1 small bunch parsley, finely chopped

Salt and freshly ground black peper

3 tablespoons butter, preferably ghee
1 CSA onion, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
1/2 cup yogurt

Put beets, lentils and 7 cups water in a soup pot. Bring to boil, lower heat and simmer, partly covered, for 25 minutes.

Add the 7-bean mix, chickpeas, chard, 2 cups water, and 2 teaspoons salt. Cook about 5 minutes or until chard is tender.

Add scallions, spinach and parsley, and cook until spinach is wilted and bright green. Grind a little black pepper in. Taste for salt and turn off heat.

For garnish, melt butter over low heat. Add onion, turmeric and cayenne; cook until onion is soft, about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in fresh mint.

Ladle soup into bowls. Top each serving with a spoonful of garnish and a dollop of yogurt.

Your Local Fish Market

Northwest Seafood Market in Richland is worth exploring. The owners generously allow a local farmer to use some of their refrigerator space as a drop site for fresh, free-range eggs, for which I have a subscription. The farmer is listed on the Slow Food Southeast Washington website. As well, the fish market allows a local producer of beef to use freezer space for customer pickup or purchase. It's also a drop site for another local meat producer.

When I pick up the eggs, I always scope out the Northwest Seafood Market's fresh fish. Often, the trout is what comes home with me. Sprinkled with a mixture of 1 tablespoon flour mixed with 1 tablespoon cornmeal, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika, then baked skin side down in about 2 tablespoons of butter for about 20 minutes at 400 degrees, the trout is tender, flavorful, and a very nice change from the usual meat and fish we get into the habit of serving.

Turn the fillets over and back once during cooking so the tops get buttery golden brown.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

A friend shared with me that her son made these for a holiday meal ... indeed, they are, to use her words, "sooooooo delicious." She says, "The carmelization mellows the flavor so there is no bitterness at all. Also the texture is fantastic. Yum!"

I totally agree. Her recipe description was fairly casual, and I adapted it to use what I had on hand. You could use different herbs or seasonings.

The carmelization effect is really tasty. No longer are "caramel" and "Brussels sprouts" an oxymoron!

About a pound of Brussels sprouts
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
A sprinkle of red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon dried oregano
Freshly-ground pepper
White wine for deglazing

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Trim Brussels sprouts, discarding toughest outer leaves. For faster roasting, cut large Brussels sprouts in half. If you leave them whole, roasting will take about an hour.

In a medium mixing bowl, toss sprouts with all ingredients except the white wine. Place sprouts in roasting pan and roast for 30 minutes (if sprouts have been halved), stirring now and then until sprouts are tender. Deglaze pan with a splash of white wine, stir sprouts up, and serve sizzling hot.

Rutabapple Smash

Hey, part of the fun of creating recipes is making up recipe names! My mom is very creative at names ... once she made a casserole out of drippings and broth from the bony parts of a chicken. She called it "Bony Parts Drip Treat." I think Napoleon would have approved.

This combination has been on my mind for a while and I decided to try it. It's a very satisfying dish, with the apple flavor dominating. But the rutabaga definitely is there, in a smooth and sweet way.

2 rutabagas
1 apple (I used a Fuji)
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 teaspoon butter
1/3 cup fresh orange juice

Peel and core apple, and peel rutabagas. Cut all into 1/2-inch chunks and place in medium-sized pan. Add about half an inch of water, cover and boil for 20 to 30 minutes, or until rutabagas and apples are soft. Stir in orange juice, maple syrup, and butter. Run a potato masher through everything to mix and smash to your liking. Pile into a serving dish, sprinkle with cinnamon, and serve hot.

You could also use Indian spices or curry powder to give this dish a whole different slant.

Makes about 3 side dish servings, but easy to increase.