Archive for October 2014

Soba Noodle Salad with Soft Eggs, Kale, and Kabocha

October 30th, 2014 — 4:36am


I recently spent some time with a book called Eggs on Top: Recipes Elevated by an Egg. I learned more about how to read egg carton labels, the proper technique for poaching, scrambling and soft boiling eggs, and dozens of mouth-watering recipes—like roasted asparagus with creamed leeks, morels and poppy seed eggs. And miso-creamed kale and mushrooms with soy sauce eggs. But I was especially excited to try this recipe since kale and kabocha squash are so plentiful at the farmers’ market during the fall. I really liked this soba noodle salad—it had so many different things going on in each corner of the bowl with interesting textures, flavors, and colors. I didn’t have Togarashi on hand for garnish, but I’d like to try it next time.

Soba Noodle Salad with Soft Eggs, Kale and Kabocha (from Eggs on Top; serves 4)

3 teaspoons Asian sesame oil
4 teaspoons honey
3 cups (360g) bite-size pieces of peeled kabocha squash or other winter squash
8 ounces (225g) soba noodles
2 1/2 tablespoons tahini
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon grated peeled fresh ginger
2 cups (60g) lightly packed kale leaves, preferably purple, torn into bite-size pieces
Four 5-minute eggs (see below), at room temperature
2 green onions, white and green parts, thinly sliced on a severe diagonal
Togarashi (or other chile pepper) for garnish

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

Whisk together 2 teaspoons of the sesame oil, 2 teaspoons of the honey, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt in a large bowl and add the squash, tossing well to coat well. Spread the squash out on a rimmed baking sheet and roast until tender and deeply browned on the bottoms and edges, 10 to 15 minutes. Set aside to cool to room temperature.

Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil over high heat. Drop in the noodles, stir, and cook according to the package instructions until tender but chewy. Drain the noodles, reserving about 1/4 cup of the cooking water. Rinse well to remove the surface starch under cold running water until cooled, then drain again very well.

Whisk together the tahini, vinegar, soy sauce, ginger, the remaining 2 teaspoon of honey, and the remaining 1 teaspoon of sesame oil in a large bowl (you can use the same one the squash was tossed in). Whisk in enough of the reserved cooking water to thin the dressing, usually about 2 teaspoons.

Toss the noodles and kale in the dressing to coat well. Pile the noodle mixture into four bowls, dividing it evenly, then heap the squash to one side. Lay an egg on top of each noodle pile. Sprinkle with green onions and togarashi. Just before serving, cut a slit in the side of each egg to let the yolk flow.

5-minute egg: Fill a small saucepan with water and bring it to boil over high heat. Add a few generous pinches of salt. Reduce the heat to medium and wait for the rapid boil to calm to gentle bubbles, then lower the eggs into the water with a slotted spoon. Set a timer to 5 minutes. When the timer goes off, immediately lift the eggs from the water and transfer them to a bowl of ice water to stop cooking. When they are completely chilled, drain and dry the eggs and wait until the eggs are cool enough to handle and peel very carefully.

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Slow Food UW Cafe Lunch – 10/29

October 29th, 2014 — 10:30am

DSC05088This week’s cafe menu focused on patty melts and fall flavors. I chose the lentil patty melt (with pepperjack, mozzarella and arugula served on house-made wheat sourdough), along with the “scrumptious” leek and butternut squash soup and a pumpkin cinnamon roll with cream cheese frosting for dessert.

The sandwich was good—the bread was extremely fresh and fluffy, and although the lentil patty fell apart easily, it was meaty and a substantial sandwich overall. I was less impressed by the leek and butternut squash—it was a bit watery and lacked flavor. My favorite part was the crispy sage leaves on top. The pumpkin cinnamon roll was as wonderful as it sounds—a small, soft and delicious pumpkin-flavored pillow with a thin layer of cream cheese frosting on top. Not too sweet, just right. My dining mates were disappointed that the mushroom frittata was served cool, but they had great things to say about the butternut-feta dip served with the vegetable crudités.

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Mushroom Bourguignon

October 27th, 2014 — 9:21am

DSC05025I was drawn to this recipe for mushroom bourguignon when I read the following note in the recipe: “this dish is about more than substitutions and shortcuts—it’s about getting one of the best classically complex French flavors in your kitchen on a weekday night with only a moderate amount of effort and minimal cooking time.” I loved the sound of that, and also the fact that mushrooms replace the traditional beef. I enjoyed the mushroom bourguignon on top of RP’s egg campanelli. For leftovers, I used dried egg pasta and served with a dollop of sour cream, as the recipe suggested. Both the egg campanelli and dry egg noodles worked very well—though nothing beats fresh RP’s pasta. The sour cream was a fantastic addition. The recipe doesn’t lie—if you’re looking for “classically complex French flavors in your kitchen on a weeknight,” this recipe is a fantastic option.

Mushroom Bourguignon (from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook; serves 4)

2 tablespoons (30 ml) olive oil
2 tablespoons (30 grams) butter, softened
2 pounds (905 grams) Portobello mushrooms, in 1/4-inch slices (you can use cremini instead)
1 cup (115 grams) pearl onions, peeled (thawed if frozen)
1/2 carrot, finely diced
1 small yellow onion, finely diced
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves,or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
Table salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup (235 ml) full-bodied red wine
2 tablespoons (35 grams) tomato paste
2 cups (475 ml) beef or vegetable stock (beef broth is traditional, but use vegetable to make it vegetarian; the dish works with either)
1 1/2 tablespoons (12 grams) all-purpose flour
Egg noodles, for serving
Sour cream and chopped chives or parsley, for garnish (optional)

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 tablespoon butter in a medium-sized Dutch oven or heavy saucepan over high heat. Sear the mushrooms and pearl onions until they begin to take on a little color— your mushrooms will make a delightful “squeak- squeak” as they’re pushed around the hot pan— but the mushrooms do not yet release any liquid, about 3 or 4 minutes. Remove mushrooms and onions from the pan and set aside.

Lower the flame to medium, and add the second tablespoon of olive oil. Toss the carrot, onion, thyme, a few good pinches of salt, and several grinds of black pepper in the pan, and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onion is lightly browned. Add the garlic, and cook for just 1 more minute. Season with more salt and pepper.

Add the wine to the pot, scraping any stuck bits off the bottom, then turn the heat all the way up and reduce it by half, which will take about 4 to 5 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and the stock. Add back the mushrooms and pearl onions with any juices that have collected, and bring the mixture to a boil; reduce the temperature so it simmers for 10 to 15 minutes, or until both the mushrooms and onions are very tender.

Combine the flour and the remaining butter with a fork; stir this into the stew. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Lower the heat, and simmer for 10 more minutes. If the sauce is too thin, boil it down to reduce to a “coating” consistency. Season with additional salt and pepper if needed.

To serve, spoon the stew over a bowl of egg noodles, dollop with sour cream, if using, and sprinkle with optional chives or parsley.

Do ahead: The mushroom stew reheats very well on the second and third days, in a large saucepan over low heat.

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Baked Pumpkin Steel Cut Oatmeal

October 24th, 2014 — 6:16am


This oatmeal is about as close as it gets to enjoying a big slice of pumpkin pie for breakfast. I had extra pumpkin puree on hand from another dish I made earlier this week, so when I came across this recipe for pumpkin oatmeal, it seemed like the perfect way to use up the extra puree. This is not the kind of breakfast you can just stumble out of breakfast and enjoy (at least not initially)—it does require a small about of prep work and then 35 minutes in the oven—but it’s completely worth it and fills your house with the aroma of pumpkin pie baking in the oven. And best of all, you’ll have leftovers to enjoy for several days that you can just pop in the microwave or heat on the stovetop. Then you really can just stumble out of bed and enjoy breakfast. This morning I added a bit of almond milk and chopped pecans to my bowl of pumpkin oatmeal. Delicious!

Baked Pumpkin Steel Cut Oatmeal (from the kitchn; serves 4-6)

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
1 1/2 cups steel cut oats
1 cup pumpkin or squash puree
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
2 cups milk
2 1/2 cups warm water
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt

Heat the oven to 375°F. In a 3-quart (or larger) saucepan or Dutch oven, heat 1 tablespoon of the butter over medium-high heat. (Your burner shouldn’t be on at full blast, but the butter should melt quickly.) When the butter foams up, stir in the oats and fry them, stirring frequently, for about 3 minutes or until they smell toasted.

Push the oats up against the side of the pan, and drop the second tablespoon of butter in the now clear center of the pan. Dump in the pumpkin puree. Fry it in the butter, only stirring after about a minute. Stir in the sugar and spices and continue frying the puree for another 3 to 4 minutes, or until the color darkens slightly and the raw smell disappears. It’s OK if a few dark brown spots appear as the puree sticks to the pan.

Pour in the milk and whisk everything to combine. Whisk in the water, vanilla and salt. Put a lid on the pan and put it in the oven. Bake for 35 minutes. Take the pan out of the oven, and carefully lift the lid (be cautious as steam will billow out). Stir the oatmeal. It will look quite loose still, but the oats should be al dente and tender. The oatmeal will thicken rapidly as it cools.

Eat immediately with a drizzle of cream or milk and maple syrup, or let cool and then refrigerate. Heat up bowls in the microwave or on the stovetop.


1 comment » | Kristin's Kitchen

Slow Food UW Cafe Lunch – 10/22

October 22nd, 2014 — 9:24am

slow food - 10.22.14This week’s Slow Food UW Cafe lunch was advertised as a “full-on food fiesta.” I ordered one of each of the two tacos (I was planning on just one, but the student who took my order warned that they were pretty small). The first had pulled pork with tomatillo salsa and cilantro, and the second taco included lentils and sweet potatoes with chile-queso and cilantro. Both were great, but I especially liked the vegetarian taco. The micogreens were awkward and a little hard to contain in a taco. I also tried the Spanish rice, which had decent flavor, but was served cold—which kind of ruined it for me. The rest of my dining companions ordered the roasted corn, tomato and kale salad, which looked delicious. In hindsight, I wish I would have tried the Sopa de Ajo (a Castilian garlic and bread soup). I definitely had food envy watching another diner at our table enjoying a big bowl of it. And this week, dessert was provided by the River Food Pantry, where my friend Pat works. Their River Bakery makes from-scratch baked goods and employs River Food Pantry clients who have completed a professional baker training program. I picked up a package of not just one, but three M&M cookies!

And finally, do you like running and eating? Slow Food UW just announced their first 5K—the Chilly Chile Run, on Thursday, November 6. The run will take place on the Lakeshore Path, followed by a chili dinner. Register here.

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Science of Supper Clubs

October 21st, 2014 — 10:33am

DSC04962On Friday night, we attended a unique event at the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery devoted to celebrating Wisconsin supper clubs. The activities were jointly hosted by the Wisconsin Science Festival and the Wisconsin Book Festival.

Starting with a tasting event, we sampled a variety of supper club fare like wedge salad, relish tray components, baked mac-n-cheese, fried fish, and maraschino cherries. Interspersed among the food stations were representatives from the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences (CALS), who talked and provided demonstrations about the “science” behind supper clubs—like meat processing, wild yeasts vs. beer yeasts, and cheese production. There were also samples of Happy Cranniversary ice cream made by Babcock Hall Dairy Plant in celebration of the 125th Anniversary of CALS.

After the tasting portion of the evening, we made our way to the featured presentation with Wisconsin writers Terese Allen, Ron Faiola and Robin Shepherd, who shared their thoughts on the history, definition of, and importance of supper clubs. Terese is a notable Wisconsin author and culinary enthusiast who writes about regional foods, sustainable cooking and culinary folklore. And also a friend of ours. Rob is the author of “Wisconsin Supper Clubs: An Old Fashioned Experience,” a wonderful book that showcases the most notable Wisconsin supper clubs. And finally, Robin is a beer expert and Beer Here columnist for the Isthmus. Because what would a supper club be without beer?

It was an interesting evening. I enjoyed good food and learned a lot in the process. It was fitting that it all went down on a Friday night. But I’d gladly celebrate Wisconsin supper clubs any night of the week.

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Whole Wheat Apple Pie Pancakes

October 20th, 2014 — 6:16am


I couldn’t resist the combination of apple pie pancakes with cinnamon maple syrup on a fall day. I whipped these up on Sunday morning, and they were just as amazing as they sound. They’re made a bit more healthy with some whole-wheat flour, and there’s a double dose of apple in the batter from applesauce and a grated apple. But the cinnamon maple syrup is what makes these pancakes truly crave-worthy.

Whole Wheat Apple Pie Pancakes (from Christine Gallary; makes about 12 (3-1/2-inch) pancakes)

For the syrup:
1 cup maple syrup, preferably Grade A Dark Amber
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

For the pancakes:
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup whole-wheat flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon fine salt
1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
2 large eggs
1 cup whole milk
2/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 medium, sweet apple, such as Rome or Pink Lady (about 8 ounces)
3 to 4 teaspoons vegetable oil
Butter, for serving

For the syrup:
Heat the maple syrup in a small saucepan over medium heat until simmering. Add the cinnamon, whisk to combine, and remove from the heat. Cover and keep warm.

For the pancakes:
Heat the oven to 250°F and arrange a rack in the middle. Place a baking sheet in the oven.

Whisk together the flours, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, and nutmeg in a large bowl to aerate and break up any lumps; set aside.

Place the eggs in a large bowl and whisk until they’re just broken up. Add the milk, applesauce, melted butter, and brown sugar, and whisk until evenly combined and there are no lumps of brown sugar; set aside.

Grate the apple on the large holes of a box grater (no need to peel) and set aside.

Add the milk mixture to the flour mixture and stir with a rubber spatula until the flour is just incorporated and no streaks remain. (The batter may have a few lumps.) Using your hands, gently squeeze the excess moisture out of the grated apple. Fold it into the batter until just evenly combined.

Heat a large, seasoned cast iron skillet, nonstick frying pan, or griddle over medium heat. Test to see if the pan is hot enough by sprinkling a couple of drops of cold water in it: If the water bounces and sputters, the pan is ready to use; if it evaporates instantly, the pan is too hot.

Once the pan is ready, add 1 teaspoon of the oil and tilt the pan to coat. Ladle the batter into the pan in 1/3-cup portions. Cook until bubbles appear on the top and the bottoms are golden brown, about 3 to 5 minutes. Using a flat spatula, flip the pancakes. Use the spatula to gently press down on each pancake to flatten slightly.

Cook until the second side is golden brown, about 2 to 3 minutes more. Remove to the baking sheet in the oven to keep warm. Repeat with the remaining batter, adding 1 teaspoon of oil to the pan between batches. Serve immediately with butter and the cinnamon maple syrup (rewhisk the syrup if needed first).

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Cheesy Butternut Squash Cavatappi Bake

October 17th, 2014 — 10:16am


I always feel a little better about mac-n-cheese when it has a healthy twist—like the addition of butternut squash. This recipe is a great weeknight option for a healthy, fall-friendly mac-n-cheese. It’s more of a crunchy, baked mac-n-cheese than a creamy stovetop version (which is actually my preference), but I enjoyed it.

Cheesy Butternut Squash Cavatappi Bake (from Better Homes and Gardens, Sept. 2013; makes 6 servings)

3 cups peeled and cubed butternut squash
8 ounces dried cavatappi or other elbow macaroni
1 tablespoon butter
8 ounces cremini or button mushrooms, sliced
3 green onions, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup fat-free milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
6 ounces fontina cheese, shredded (1 1/2 cups)
2 slices reduced-sodium bacon, cooked and crumbled (optional)
Thinly sliced green onions (optional)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly coat a 2-quart rectangular baking dish with nonstick cooking spray; set aside.

In a medium microwave-safe bowl combine squash and 2 Tbsp. water; cover with vented plastic wrap. Microwave on high for 4 minutes; stir. Microwave, covered, about 4 minutes more or until squash is tender. Carefully remove plastic wrap. Mash squash; set aside.

Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions; drain. In a medium saucepan heat butter over medium heat. Add mushrooms and green onions. Cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle flour over mushroom mixture. Cook and stir for 1 minute. Add milk, salt, and pepper. Cook and stir over medium heat until thickened and bubbly. Remove from heat; stir in squash. Add pasta. Gently fold to combine.

Transfer half of the pasta mixture to the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle with half of the cheese. Add remaining pasta and cheese. Top with bacon, if desired. Bake, uncovered, for 20 to 25 minutes or until heated through and cheese is melted. Top with additional green onions, If desired.

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Curried Cauliflower Soup

October 16th, 2014 — 7:25am


I’ve been craving nothing but soup lately during the most recent spell of cold/rainy weather. I was inspired by all of the beautiful heads of cauliflower at the farmers’ market to try this recipe earlier this week. The flavors are incredible—from coconut milk, Thai red curry paste, white wine, vegetable broth and lemon zest. Together with roasted cauliflower, they make a creamy, vegan, and wonderfully comforting bowl of soup. I only wish I would have made a double batch!

Curried Cauliflower Soup (from cookie + kate, adapted from The Southern Vegetarian Cookbook; serves 4)

1 large head of cauliflower, broken into small florets, stems chopped
¼ cup melted coconut oil or olive oil, divided
1 medium yellow onion, diced
2 to 3 tablespoons Thai red curry paste (depending on preferred spice level)
1 small lemon, preferably organic, zested (about 1 teaspoon zest)
½ cup white wine (like Pinot Grigio)
1½ cups vegetable broth or stock
1 can (14 ounces) light coconut milk
½ teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup chopped green onions/chives
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
thinly sliced hot peppers (optional, not shown)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Toss the cauliflower with enough coconut oil to lightly coat it (about 3 tablespoons). Spread the cauliflower in a single layer on a large baking sheet and roast until the tips of the caulifower are golden brown, about 25 to 30 minutes.

In a Dutch oven or large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat, sweat the onion with 1 tablespoon coconut oil and a dash of salt until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the curry paste and lemon zest and stir to incorporate. Raise the heat to medium-high, add the wine, and cook, stirring frequently, until most of the wine has evaporated.

Add all of the roasted cauliflower stems and half of the florets to the pot. Add the vegetable broth, coconut milk and sugar. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the soup is warmed through. Remove from heat and stir in the vinegar. Use an immersion blender to blend until smooth. (Or transfer the soup in small batches to a blender, blending until each batch is smooth. Beware of the steam escaping from the lid.)

Add salt and pepper to taste. Ladle the soup into 4 bowls. Top each with ¼ of the cauliflower florets, a sprinkle of basil and chives and hot peppers (if using).

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Slow Food UW Cafe Lunch – 10/15

October 15th, 2014 — 7:50am

DSC04955It was another delicious lunch at Slow Food UW Cafe. I chose the stromboli with sage sausage, squash, and sharp cheddar; the shaved fall vegetable salad with sunflower sprouts and Ginger Vinaigrette; and for dessert (not pictured), pumpkin coffee cake with pepita streusel. My favorite part of the meal was the stromboli. It wasn’t at all what I was expecting—I was picturing mozzarella and marinara sauce—but it was an interesting take on an Italian classic that wonderfully highlighted the flavors of fall.


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