¡¡Picante!!

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Hi all! I’ve been doing a lot of finger foods lately: sauces to dip things in, sambusek, mezze, etc. Something about this time of year maybe? Or just that I’ve been working lots of nights which tends to leave me a little queasy and not that hungry for more than little snacks at a time – unless its something REALLY delicious. I came across this recipe on Tasting Table, an e-mail I get regularly that has among other things, recipes from sous-chefs at renowned restaurants across the country. This one really caught my eye – its not something I’d ever really thought of making, but it seemed so simple and oh, that creamy orange color just looked so delicious! I made a few small adjustments, but for the most part I must thank Jose Enrique from San Juan, Puerto Rico for this one. You can of course adjust the heat by adding or subtracting Habaneros. I did it just like is written below and it was spicy after a few seconds, then faded out slowly without ever making you break a sweat. (So next time I think I’ll add more hot peppers.) Goes well with eggs, beans, sandwiches, tacos of all kinds, and just for dipping toasted bits of baguette. Enjoy!

Ingredients (makes ~2-3 cups)

  • 1/2 large yellow onion cut into chunks
  • 1 medium-sized vine tomato, cored and diced
  • 1/2 red bell pepper diced
  • 1/2 Anaheim pepper (or substitute another sweet pepper) diced
  • 3 Habaneros – cut off the stem but otherwise leave whole (with seeds)
  • 4 Jalapenos – cut off the stem but otherwise leave whole as well
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and left whole
  • ~2.5 cups EVOO – enough to just cover the ingredients
  • Salt to taste

Directions:

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  • Throw everything into a heavy-bottomed Le Creuset-type pot on medium heat
  • Simmer uncovered for 4 hours – there should be small bubbles coming up occasionally, but it should not get to a rolling boil. Everything should begin to brown on the surface as you get towards 4 hours.
  • Let cool.
  • Get the veggies out with a strainer, reserving the oil in the pot. Put the veggies in a food processor. If you have a Vitamix, that would probably yield ideal smoothness. If you have an immersion blender that is not totally dull and useless at this point as mine is, that would work too!

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  • Blend the veggies until smooth. Depending on what consistency you want, add more oil. I ended up adding back probably a half cup or so of what had been strained out. You can also take out a Habanero or two before you puree, see how hot the sauce is, and add the reserved ones back to adjust.
  • Add salt to taste.
  • Keep the cooking oil! It has lots of flavor and is nice and spicy.

This will be a fun one to play around with in the future with proportions and other ingredients! If anyone makes it, post your adjustments and let us know how it turns out!

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Mexican Lime-Pepper Soup by Guest poster Chris

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Inspired by Cat’s flurry of posts, I took the opportunity to document our humble domestic meal tonight. In rainy, low-ceiling, grey Seattle, this meal comes as a real tonic. The best thing about this meal is that it is a total bonus thrown together from leftovers from—eeck—a week ago!

We had had some friends over a week ago for a belated Channukah party, which was totally rad and super fun, but nothing on the scale of Cat and Gary’s soiree (WHOA—wish we had attended—looks amazing!). We served some roasted chickens, which are always wonderful to eat, but what I savor most is gleaning the scraps left on the bird, setting them aside, and making stock. From the stock and left-over shredded chicken, we got a nice enchilada party with our buddies Pete and Jenell, who at the same dinner inaugurated their first Settlers of Catan match. Then tonight this meal happened, and was worthy of a post…

Again, this meal is just killer when it’s cold out, or your feeling under the weather (too much holiday cheer, etc.). Here’s more or less the ingredient list:

Two fistfuls of shredded chicken per person

A bowl or two of stock per person (homemade obviously worlds better than store-bought)

An onion or shallots or something, chopped

Some garlic, minced

Oregano (we had fresh on-hand), chopped

Cilantro (fresh—is there any other kind?), chopped

2-4 corn tortillas per person, cut into thin strips

Fresh cracked pepper, more than you think is rational

Expensive and rare colored salts, to taste

2 limes per person, or more than you think is rational

Grated extra sharp cheddar (Tilamook was on hand)

Optional is cotija cheese (We had it, so threw it in, why not)

Olive oil for sauteeing

Canola oil for frying (1-2 cups)

Recipe

  1. Take shredded chicken and fry it in hot olive oil in a pot that you will make the soup in, tossing the onions and garlic on top, medium-high to high. The goal here is to take cooked chicken and brown it in the pan. The nice auburn crust on the chicken is great for looks, but the brown bits that develop in the pan are important for flavor, and when you see this develop after 5 or so minuted, throw some water in, a cup or two, and deglaze the pan by scrapping the brown bits off on high.
  2. Throw a bunch of stock in and simmer with oregano and a Bill and Melinda Gates generous amount of black pepper.
  3. Meanwhile, heat canola oil, maybe a cup, in a smallish sauce pan until the surface dimples with heat. Throw a test tortilla strip in—if it floats immedately your temp is good. Smoking is bad, here as elsewhere. Throw the tortilla strips in, a handful at a time, and have a slotted spoon or a spider on hand. Fry until blond or golden brown, set on paper towel to cool.

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  1. It’s best to have the cilantro chopped, the cheese grated, and the limes cut into Mexican wedges ahead of time, so that when your tortillas strips are ready to go you throw the whole thing together in the bowl—the tortilla strips will crackle, still being hot with micropockets of roiling oil.
  2. Put strips in bowl, ladle chicken and chicken broth on top, throw some cilatro, sharp cheddar, and cotija on top like Emeril—BAM!Ô —and squeeze the lime on top.
  3. Enjoy with loved ones. Listen to Frank Ocean’s song Pink Matter on Rdio.

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Pulled Pork Sandwiches… or Tacos!

ImageWe’ve all been a little busy lately it seems, ehhhhh? Hopefully our long hiatus was a result of enjoying long summer evenings on your new porch, riding your new mountain bike amongst the Alps, or celebrating your recent engagement! I’ve been exploring my new Northwest home in all its green, mountainy, weird, 80s-punk glory. Tomorrow I start a really busy rotation so the last few days I’ve been in a frenzy of preparation – doing laundry, catching up with people, playing this awesome game I recently discovered (thanks Jenell and Pete!) and upping my protein intake. On Sunday I went to 1 of several local farmers markets and suddenly felt an overwhelming urge to do something I have never done before. Yes girl friends, I bough a big hunk of pork. Butt. I dont know what did it – maybe it was the grandpa-y farmer with a giant belly just barely held in by flannel and suspenders. Maybe it was the glittery flash of light that emanated from the cooler with the dangling “Butt” sign over it. Probably both?! So I did it. I made my first pulled pork. Not gonna lie, it was GOOD! (I take little credit though – a slow cooker is like having your grandma over to cook you dinner. But then you have to clean up of course, because now you’re an adult and she has arthritis.)

So I cooked the pork, and it was good. But then I realized I had 2.5 lb of pork and just 1 small belly! What to do?! Luckily my good friend Eben is in town visiting from Alaska, and my friend Jenell who has fed me many a delicious meal recently is working nights and has no time to cook! Eben probably took care of a good pound or so all on his own, and Jenell and Pete (yes, the board game people) got a big hunk for their next dinner. Thanks guys! So here’s the recipe. While the Asian flavors were lovely, I don’t think they were actually really necessary. A good piece of pork and a slow-cooker are probably all you really need! FYI – for this I toasted whole spices and ground them as I had some free time, but it would probably be just as good-ish with already ground spices.

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Ingredients:

– 2.5 lb pork shoulder

– 2 cups chicken broth

The Rub:

– 2 tbsp tamarind paste

– 1 tbsp soy sauce

– 1.5 tbsp coriander

– ½ tbsp black pepper

– ¾ tsp cayenne

– ½ tsp cumin

– 1 star anise

– 1 tbsp brown sugar

– 1 tbsp salt

– 2 cloves garlic

– ½ tbsp minced ginger

Extras for the Sandwich:

– Tortillas or a good crusty bread

– Queso fresco

– Asian slaw (I made something resembling this)

Direction:

1. If you are using whole spices, toast them in the oven and then ground them coarsely.

2. While they are toasting, melt/dissolve the tamarind paste in ~1/2C hot water.

3. Put the spices, tamarind paste, and all the other ingredients for the rub in a food processor or blender and blend until smooth enough to schlop onto the meat. Doesn’t have to be perfect. Don’t go crazy!

4. Schlop the rub all over the meat. Go ahead, rub it in. Massage it. Wrap the meat in plastic wrap and refrigerate for several hours or overnight.

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5. Put the meat and the chicken broth in the slow cooker and cook it on low for 16 – 18 hours. Mmmmmmmmm.

6. When the meat is finished it should easily fall apart when pressed with a fork. Arrange on tortillas or bread with the slaw, queso fresco, avocado, etc. and invite your hungry friends who are in town visiting over for dinner!

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Roast Squash and Onion with Tahini Sauce and Za’atar

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Life in Seattle continues with an amazing amount of warmth, sun, and happy people enjoying themselves outdoors. Just for an example of how great Seattle is in the summer, I share with you my plans for the next 24 hours: Capitol Hill (my ‘hood) street food festival, then watching the Goonies in a public park with some lady friends, then tomorrow hiking to Blanca Lake. For the last few weeks I’ve been on a much easier schedule, with time to go to LA for the weekend for Natalie’s beautiful wedding, cook most nights, run, hike, climb, and enjoy my new (and currently a bit messy) apartment!

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To continue with my Middle Eastern theme on this blog, I’m posting this recipe that is flagrantly plagiarized from Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi’s book Jerusalem. Aya gave me this last year, and I love it! The recipes are all unique and amazing but not too complicated, and the book is full of lovely stories about the foods that brought their families and communities together growing up in West and East Jerusalem. This book is in fact so special that one of the NYT food editors recently published an article about it, asking readers to post their favorite recipes from the book: http://dinersjournal.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/07/08/jerusalem-fans-whats-your-favorite-recipe-from-the-book/?_r=0. Everyone seems to have a different favorite. I think so far this one is mine, though I have a long way to go to make everything in the book (just give me some time, I’ll get there!)

Ingredients:

  • 1 large butternut squash, peeled and cut into ~1x3in chunks
  • 1 large red onion, cut into wedges that will fall apart in the oven
  • 1.5 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 3.5 Tbsp tahini
  • 3 Tbsp water
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 3 Tbsp pine nuts
  • 1 Tbsp Za’atar (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Za%27atar)
  • 2-3 Tbsp chopped parsley
  • Olive oil

1. Preheat the oven to 475. Toss the squash and onion in a large bowl with olive oil and a sprinkle of salt. Spread the veggies out in 1 layer on a baking pan and bake in the oven until they start to brown on top (careful with the onion! They may go first.) ~40-50 min. Let them cool.

2. Toast the pine nuts in a skillet with olive oil on high heat, moving them around until they start to turn ever-so-slightly brown.

3. Make the sauce: whisk together the tahini, lemon juice, garlic, and a pinch of salt.

 

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4. Sprinkle the pine nuts and drizzle the sauce over the squash and onions. Then sprinkle the za’atar and parsley over everything. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

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Kim Chi Burritos

Hi all! Its been a long time since I’ve posted, with lots of exciting times in between. Chris and I spent almost every weekend for the last couple months I was in NY up in New Paltz climbing, which was super fun and great quality time together! We had some wonderful family time in NY and Philly, went to Erin and Dan’s beautiful farm wedding in PA, and I had an amazing weekend in Durham, NC with Natalie and lots of other spunky, fantastic women to celebrate her upcoming wedding. And of course I graduated med school, packed up my belonging and headed West!

I’ve now been in Seattle for about a month and I gotta say, life is pretty good! Its been beautiful and sunny almost every day, bike commuting is the bomb, I’m loving my new place and new job, and perhaps most importantly, I’ve managed to make some pretty great new lady friends! Jenell, who I spent 6 weeks with in Peru and who lives down the street from me, suggested a food exchange during our first week of residency, which was a great idea for our busy schedules! Six of us got together for dinner and each brought 5 portions of something we made to share and freeze. So now we each have 6 delicious meals in our freezers to get us through those long days when we don’t have time or energy to cook. I had been wanting to make kim chi and had a big pile of flour tortillas in my freezer, so I went with Korean tacos. Not the fastest, but super easy!

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Climbing at the Gunks

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Paddle boarding in Portage Bay

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Salmon migrating upstream through the Ballard fish ladder to spawn – amazing to watch a piece of this cycle of life!

Ingredients:

First, for the Kim Chi (thanks to Erin Bingham for this part!):

  • ½ large cabbage (~1lb)
  • 1 daikon radish or a few red radishes
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 onion or leeks or scallions or shallots
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 3-4 hot red chillies (i used  few spoonfuls of red pepper flakes instead)
  • 3 T fresh grated ginger root

Then, the tofu:

  • 2 lb extra firm tofu
  • Soy Sauce
  • Rice vinegar
  • Sesame oil

The beans and rice part:

  • 2 poblanos or regular green peppers
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 1 16 oz can black beans, or 1.5 cups cooked beans
  • 2 C cooked brown jasmin rice (or other grain)
  • Olive oil

The sauce:

  • 2 kiwis
  • 1 large apple
  • 1 large pear
  • 3 cloves garlic

Other things

  • 1 more onion
  • 2 limes
  • pepper
  • Flour tortillas (I used 10 medium-sized ones for this amt of food)

Directions:

The kim chi needs to be made at least 4 or 5 days, but preferably a week, ahead of time. Mix 4 cups water and 4 tbsp salt in a large bowl. Chop or shred in a food processor the cabbage, carrots, and radishes, then put it  all in the water with a plate or something to keep it submerged. Leave it for at least 4 hours.

Now make the paste: Put the onion, garlic, ginger, and chiles (or pepper flakes) into a food processor and let it go until fairly smooth.

Drain and reserve the brine from the veggies. Mix the past in well with the veggies, then pack it down into a jar. The liquid should just cover everything. If there’s not quite enough, add back some of the brining liquid. Cover and let it ferment in a warm place for at least 4-5 days. Once ripe (you can taste a little every day), move it to the fridge.

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Also marinate the onions a day or two in advance: slice 1 onion and put it in a bag with the juice of 2 limes and some pepper. Add a bit of water so that the liquid just covers the lime slices.

Now for the tofu: cut the tofu into ~1cm thick squares. Heat a non-stick skillet with sesame oil, then brown the tofu squares on each side. When you put the tofu in, add soy sauce and rice vinegar to taste. I probably used a total of 2 tablespoons of rice vinegar and 4 of soy sauce, and I did the tofu in a couple batches so that I could lay the squares in 1 layer and flip all at once.

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To make the sauce, throw the garlic, pear, kiwis and apple into the food processor and sauce-ify it. Then put it in a skillet and heat it all up for 10-15 min, allowing some of the liquid to evaporate.

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Rice and beans: chop the onion and peppers and sautee them in olive oil until soft. Add the black beans and cook for another 5 minutes. Then using a spatula, smoosh the beans. Don’t go crazy, just smoosh out whatever stress you might be feeling at the moment, and move on! Then add the rice and mix it all in together.

Now its time to assemble the burritos! I personally warmed the tortillas in the oven at about 250 for a few minutes, but this is not necessary. This step is pretty self explanatory: spread some kim chi on each burrito, add equal portions of tofu, rice and beans, marinated onions, and fruity sauce to each burrito, wrap up, and you’re done!

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Vegan Chipotle Squash & Carrot Soup

So today I should be working on my (last?) paper and presentation for med school, on prescription drug costs or something like that. So what better time to put that off and write up a recipe I’ve been sitting on for a few weeks?! Exactly.

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All I’m saying about this one is that the doll really liked it, ok?

Ingredients:

  • 1 butternut squash
  • 5 carrots
  • 1C cooked black beans
  • 1 head garlic
  • 6oz firm or extra firm tofu
  • 2 chiles in adobo sauce (adjust for preferred spiciness)
  • 4C vegetable stock (adjust for preferred viscosity)
  • 1 C chopped cilantro
  • Olive oil
  • Salt

Directions:

1. Turn oven to 450. Peel the carrots and slice them ¼ inch thick. Pierce the butternut squash in several places with a knife. Cut the top off the head of garlic.

2. Oil half of a cookie sheet. Place the carrots and the head of garlic (cut side down) on the oiled side, and the whole squash on the non-oiled side. Bake in the oven until the veggies are all squishy, 40-50 min. Keep an eye on the garlic to make sure it doesn’t burn.

3. While the  veggies are in the oven, make the tofu croutons. Squeeze out the excess water in the tofu and cut it into ½ in cubes. Heat a non-stick pan with olive oil and fry the tofu cubes, flipping half way through, so that all sides are a nice, crunchy golden-brown.

3. Remove the veggies from the oven. Carefully cut the squash in half and spoon out the flesh, tossing the seeds or saving them to make a snack. Put the stock, 4 or 5 roasted cloves of garlic, carrots, squash and chiles into a food processor and puree. Add salt to taste. Adjust the amount of stock depending on how thick you want your soup.

4. Add the beans at the end and mix them in, then drop the tofu croutons and cilantro on top. Yum! Vegan.

Roast Eggplant With Quinoa, Middle-Eastern Style

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Hi all! So glad we’re all jumping back on this bandwagon after an apparently very busy winter. I personally, however, can’t claim to have been so busy as I spent a large chunk of the time since my last post in Lima. I went with two awesome ladies for a medical rotation at a huge public hospital where patients come from all over the country for treatment. We had the opportunity to learn about how healthcare works in Peru (FYI, everyone is eligible for some sort of government-funded insurance), hear about the early days of HIV and how it has evolved among the population from the head of the infectious diseases department, and to participate in providing free health care to women in one of the most poor and marginalized areas of the city.

But we also had plenty of time to run along the parks overlooking the ocean, stuff our faces with ceviche and cremoladas (Peruvian sorbet), and go to an organic farmers market each weekend to get fresh produce and dairy products and mingle with the local and expat yoga mat-toting, vegetarian population of Lima. We had a lovely apartment in a great neighborhood complete with a giant roof terrace, and cooked decadent vegetarian meals most nights with our spoils from the farmers market. This dinner went over quite well thanks to the delicious fresh feta and surprising find of tahini, likely made with toasted sesame seeds – the flavor was distinctly smoky and added a nice extra oomph to the always delicious paste. It was a great time and I’m looking forward to my next experience providing and hopefully improving medical care abroad, when I will be as a for real doctor. For now though, I’m glad to be back on US soil with a job contract and abundant free time to spend with loved ones!

Ingredients:

  • 2 large or 3 small eggplants, sliced lengthwise ~1/3 in thick
  • 1C dried quinoa – I used red but white would be fine too
  • 1 head of garlic
  • ½ C crumbled feta
  • 3 tbsp tahini – if made with toasted sesame seeds, all the better
  • Harissa (delicious and super flavorful middle-eastern/north African spice paste)
  • Olive oil
  • Salt & pepper

Directions:

1. Salt both sides of each eggplant slice generously. (You will later wash off the salt – use lots!) Leave it for 30 minutes to let the water come out, then rinse the slices well. Set your oven to 350. Cut the top of the garlic off and place it with the cut part down on an oiled cookie sheet in the oven for these 30 minutes.

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2. Change the oven to broil. Place the eggplant slices on the sheet with the garlic and paint the up-side with olive oil. Put the sheet under the broiler until both sides are golden brown – cooking time will depend on your oven but is usually somewhere around 10 minutes on the first side and 5 on the second. By the time the eggplant finished, the garlic should be thoroughly roasted with spreadable cloves. Do watch it though to be sure it doesn’t burn.

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3. While the eggplant is in the oven, cook the quinoa. 2-2.5 parts water to 1 part quinoa. Put the quinoa and water in a pot and turn the flame on until the water boils, then turn it down to a simmer until all the water is absorbed and the quinoa is fluffy and soft.

4. Make the tahini sauce: Mix the tahini with ~1-2 tbsp olive oil and mix with a fork until it’s a dense, syrupy liquid. It should be thick, but should also pour easily. Add harissa to taste – its super spicy so this will depend on how much heat you want. FYI – this sauce is delicious! Don’t drink it all though – leave a bit for the dish!

5. Assemble: place the eggplant slices on a platter. Smear a clove of garlic or two on each slice. Spoon the quinoa onto the eggplant. Crumble feta on top, then drizzle on the tahini sauce. Sprinkle freshly ground pepper on top to taste.

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Italian Peasant Pasta

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This is a fun and simple recipe based on a pasta dish that I had a few weeks ago at Spadaro – an incredible little gem of a restaurant located in a random strip mall in the suburbs near my parents’ house. It’s a favorite of my parents’ for taking friends and family out, and my brother and I both insist on going there whenever we’re home! Its an unassuming store front from the outside, flanked by a fried chicken place and a pizza place, but upon opening the door one finds a little piece of heaven – a small, cramped place with heavenly smells of salty, garlicky marinara sauce, run by a boisterous Italian family that know almost all their customers by name and who used to have a restaurant in Rome before they immigrated here. There is no menu because everything they serve is totally fresh, inspired by whatever ingredients they got that week, and is to-die-for delicious.

The version I made was with chard and lima beans because this is what we had in the kitchen, though the authentic version at Spadaro was made with dandelion greens (hard to find, no?) and fava beans.

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Ingredients:

  • 4 servings pasta – something that catches sauce well
  • 2-3 cups cooked chard or dandelion greens
  • ~1 cup dried lima or fava beans
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 leek
  • 1 cup pecorino romano, shredded
  • ½ cup half-and-half
  • 1-2 tbsp pepper flakes
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Freshly ground pepper

Directions:

  1. Preparing the beans: You want them to be REALLY soft! Soak them for 48 hours, then boil for 1.5-2 hours or until they fall apart with a light squeeze.
  2. Mince the garlic and dice the leek. Sautee both with the pepper flakes in butter for a few minutes.
  3. Either mince the cooked chard as small as you can or put it in a food processor. (The latter would be ideal, but I don’t have one!) If using dandelion greens you don’t really need to do this step – simply cook them until they are wilted. Put the greens into the pan with the garlic and leek.
  4. Mash the beans with your hand – grab a handful and squeeeeeze! Its find if they’re not evenly mashed. Add these to the pan as well.
  5. Add ~1/2 cup of the pecorino romano as well as the olive oil and half and half to the pan. Let everything heat up together, stirring regularly, for 5-10 minutes so that all the flavors combine. Play around with the quantity of half and half and olive oil to achieve your preferred consistency – I made it a thick, though you could certainly make it a little more liquidy.
  6. Season with plenty of freshly ground pepper and garnish with the rest of the pecorino romano.

Norwegian Breakfast: Gjetost and Soft-boiled Eggs on Toast

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OK guys, this one is a little complicated. Not the recipe, not the ingredients, but pronouncing the focal point of the “dish” (if you will) – Gjetost. I just scoured Youtube to find a video demonstrating how one says the name of this little nugget of delicious, and came up with NOTHING! (On YOUTUBE?!) I know what you’re thinking: why would I assume that I, Jewess of Westchester county, know the correct pronunciation of this Norwegian delicacy and all these blonde-haired, blue eyed, tall people on Youtube got it wrong? Well, Chris spent a few months in Norway several years back so I’m trusting him for the real deal here.

So Im sure you all have a few burning questions:

1. What IS Gjetost? It’s a carmelized Norwegian goat cheese. Sweet, salty, smooth, delicious.

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2. Where does one purchase Gjetost? Previously from Amazon only in the US, as far as I could tell. But I recently discovered that they sell it at Whole Foods, which is why it now feels appropriate to put this on the blog.

3. What was that I heard about a reenactment of the Hanukkah miracle in a Norway tunnel a few weeks back? http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jan/22/norway-cheese-fire-closes-tunnel A truckload of brunost, a kind of gjetost (or is gjetost a kind of brunost?? Hmm… I don’t know) burned for five whole days. Whoa. That must be some smooth cheese.

Ingredients:

  • Gjetost
  • Two pieces of crusty white bread, sliced thin and toasted
  • 1 or 2 eggs

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Directions:

  1. To soft boil eggs, put them in a pot with enough water (starting cold) to cover them. Boil for 10-13 minutes on high heat. Exact time will depend on your burner and how hot it gets – might take a couple of tries to get the exact right timing for runny-in-the-middle but hard-boiled whites.
  2. Slice the cheese very thin as per the photo.
  3. Place cheese on top of the warm toast. It will melt a bit. Yum!
  4. Cut the eggs in half and put them on top, letting the yolk run.

Apple Cranberry Crack… I mean… Crumble!

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On a roll here… 2 in 2 days! As you all know, I’m am not much of a dessert maker or (god forbid) baker. Which is ok because my favorite desserts are often seasonal fruity in nature, and leave more time and kitchen space for making the more exciting savory elements of a meal. Last night my mom made an amazing southern dinner complete with buttermilk-soaked fried chicken, mashed potatoes and greens. Yum! So of course we needed some sort of dessert to complete the festive meal. As she had a bowl of apples that were getting squishy and long past their prime, this seemed a perfect sweet-and-tart way to end the meal. A crisp is sort of the dessert version of shakshuka – a good end point for many things that you may have in your kitchen and be wondering what to do with. You can use just about any kind of nuts, oats or granola for the topping, and any sort of fruit for the filling. I like the cranberries because they add a nice tart compliment to the sweetness of the fruit, and you can keep a bag in the freezer and it will last forever and ever.

A word of advice to whom it may concern: don’t skimp on the butter! You know who you are…

Ingredients:

– For the fruity part

  • 5 apples – peeled, cored, and cut into ~8 slices
  • Generous handful frozen cranberries
  • 3 tbsp flour
  • 1-3 tbsp brown sugar (depending on how sweet you want it)
  • Zest of 1 lemon

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– For the topping

  • 6 tbsp butter cut into ¼ – ½ in cubes
  • ½ C flour
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg
  • ¾ cups rolled oats and/or chopped nuts

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375.
  2. Combine all the ingredients that go with the fruit in a large bowl, then put them into a baking dish. (I don’t bother buttering the dish for a crisp.)
  3. Mash the topping ingredients together in a bowl until they are evenly distributed with the butter.
  4. Spread the topping evenly over the fruit mixture.
  5. Bake at 375 for 40-45 minutes (until the top is golden brown and the fruit mix is bubbly hot.