I’m doing an end-of-the-year pantry cleaning, and wanted to use up some risotto rice. Derek and I looked at a couple of different recipes and finally decided on this pumpkin risotto recipe from the Union Square Cookbook. The recipe first has you make a pumpkin broth using standard vegetable broth ingredients (onion, leek, celery, carrots, etc.) as well as 2 cups canned pumpkin puree, maple syrup, and sweet spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice. Once the broth is made, you make the risotto, adding diced winter squash along with the rice, and then tossing in fresh sage, arugula, and mozzarella right before serving. Read the rest of this entry »
Derek loves Sally Sampson’s recipe for hot candied walnuts, but they call for a ton of sugar, and they’re kind of messy to make. So when I saw this recipe for bar nuts in the Union Square cookbook, I was intrigued. They call for only 2 tsp. of sugar per 1 1/4 pounds of nuts, and you just toast the nuts plain, then mix with the seasonings afterwards. It looked much simpler, plus the nuts won the the New York Press award for best bar nuts in New York. With that kind of pedigree, they had to be good! Read the rest of this entry »
This recipe is supposed to be a spring medley with mushrooms, escarole, mint, and freshly shelled spring peas, but I decided to just use frozen peas and turn it into an autumn dish. The recipe is from the Union Square Cookbook, by Danny Meyer and Michael Romano. Read the rest of this entry »
Derek and I used to love the escarole and beans appetizer at Girasole in Pittsburgh. It consisted of braised escarole and white beans in a rich tomato sauce. It was hearty, warming, and satisfying. I hadn’t thought about it for years, until this week I saw a green that looked a lot like escarole at the farmer’s market. I asked the farmer what it was and he called it “Endivien”–the German word for endive. I asked him if you could cook with it and he said Germans only ever eat it raw in salads. But it looked similar enough that I decided to try making escarole and beans with it. There are tons of recipes online for escarole and white bean soup, and a few for escarole and bean dishes, but none seem to call for tomato sauce. So I decided not to try to follow a recipe. Nonetheless, my beans and greens came out quite well. Read the rest of this entry »
This roasted cauliflower dish was the second dish we made last week from the Second Helpings from Union Square Cafe cookbook. It’s similar in spirit to pasta puttanesca, but the base is cauliflower rather than pasta. Read the rest of this entry »
I asked Derek what to make for dinner and he suggested making something out of Second Helpings from Union Square Cafe, which we haven’t used in a long time. There’s not much vegetarian in the main course section, but we found two yummy looking recipes in the chapter on sides. The first recipe was a relatively light recipe for soft polenta with white beans and veggies. It didn’t call for any butter or cream or cheese, just olive oil. Read the rest of this entry »
When I was growing up my mom would often make a vegan version of vichyssoise. It was a simple soup made with unpeeled potatoes from her garden, leeks and onions, olive oil, salt and pepper. I always enjoyed it, even without the typical additions of butter, cream, and chicken broth. I ate vichyssoise both cold and warm, and only found out last weekend that the name vichyssoise actually refers only to the cold soup. Warm potato leek soup apparently is given a different name.
After seeing nice-looking leeks in the Saarbruecken market last week, I thought it would be nice to make a spring vichyssoise as one course in our Saturday night dinner party. Although the leeks looked good, all the potatoes in the market appeared to be from last fall; they were all shriveled and starting to sprout. My friends Spoons and Kathy suggested I use celeriac instead, since the celeriac looked very fresh. I was hesistant, as I thought that celery root would be a very strong flavor to replace the normally quite mild, earthy potatoes. But they insisted that celeriac can be used anywhere you use potatoes. (I have no idea where the celeriac or the leeks were from, but assumed they weren’t local to Germany in early May.) Read the rest of this entry »
I don’t know how Marjoram is regarded in other parts of the world, but in the states it is sorely neglected, especially by vegetarians. On the rare occasion I actually see marjoram on a restaurant menu, it is almost always part of a meat dish.
I find marjoram to be the most floral of herbs (excluding lavender buds). It has a unique sweet, flowery, scent, with a faint whiff of citrus. Although the flavor of dried marjoram is quite strong, it somehow still retains the delicate character of the fresh herb. Marjoram’s closest relative is oregano, but it’s less savory and pungent than oregano. Marjoram is cousin to the other herbs in the Lamiaceae family: mint, basil, sage, lavender, rosemary, savory and thyme. Whereas rosemary, thyme, and sage all taste like Fall/Winter to me, and mint and basil taste like Summer, to me marjoram tastes like Spring. Sadly, I have very few recipes that call for marjoram, but I’d like to remedy this. Read the rest of this entry »
This soup is unusual and sophisticated—slightly sweet, slightly spicy, with layers of subtle flavors. It’s good served both hot or cold. Based on a recipe called “Sweet-Hot Beet Soup” from Second Helpings from Union Square Cafe. Read the rest of this entry »
I never used to like asparagus. At all. I always felt it tasted like grass (or at least what I imagined grass must taste like). Disliking asparagus wasn’t a problem in my family, however, since there was always someone willing to take mine off my hands. Really, however, I should say I didn’t like asparagus until a few years ago, when I first made roasted asparagus. I followed the recipe from the cookbook Second Helpings from Union Square and I thought it was marvelous. The asparagus became black and carmelized, and the crunchy sea salt and sweet balsamic vinegar and earthy parmesan cheese all complemented it perfectly. Read the rest of this entry »