Using up the refrigerator (that’s what I do around here)

We had lots of unused vegetables from our CSA and leftover ingredients from Feastly and life, and needed to get rid of them. So… I made a casserole; a crazy veggie corn casserole. And it has in it: 2 eggplants, 6 ears of corn , 6 bell peppers, 3 hot peppers, 1 red onion, 5 cloves of garlic, and 1 cup of leftover rotisserie chicken. This was literally what we had in our fridge, and it needed to go away.

So I diced and salted the eggplant. Cut the corn off the cob. Diced the peppers (bell and hot). Diced the chicken (again). And mixed it all up in a bowl.

Then I made a cheese sauce. Oh god. Diced the red onion. Got it simmering in olive oil. Added several tablespoons of all-purpose flour (too many tbsp of flour). Added oil back to try to recover from too many tbsp of flour. Then pulled out leftover chicken broth. And in that pan, I keep stirring and stirring until it got thin enough to add a quarter of a pound of parmesan cheese and an eighth a pound of cheddar cheese (both of these were also leftovers). I mentioned this was a cheese sauce, right? And then I added a little bit of milk to thin it out more.

And after Laura very kindly transferred the mix of veggies into our covered casserole, I poured the sauce over and mixed it in. Then I covered it with panko crumbs from our pantry and shoved it in the oven at 350°F.

We’ll let you know how it turned out.

 

P.S. We also made apple sauce today, finishing the apples from our insane, mistaken purchase of a bushel of apples.

Dictated by Adam, transcribed and edited by Laura

Final pizza from this batch

Definitely not quick weeknight pizza, this one. But very excellent and very fall-like, what with the roasted butternut squash. This one worked well with the dough we tried early so now we’ve got a batch in the freezer as well (woot). Honestly, I don’t have much to say about this one because, other than roasting the squash, this one seems like a pretty standard pizza – dough, mozzarella, and toppings. Okay, kale and roasted butternut squash probably aren’t your standard pizza toppings. Or olive oil and salt instead of a red sauce. Aaaaaand I did skip the bacon – intended to grill some chicken, slice it up and stick it on top. But… I forgot, so we just forged ahead without. Okay, not so standard I guess, but it did still feel like I learned the foundational skeleton of a pizza recipe from this. Might be that it’s the third pizza recipe I’ve tried within the last 3 1/2 months.

Adam did turn to me after one bite with a ‘We’re keeping this one!’ So that was nice.

Kale and Butternut Squash Topped Pizza

Original from TheKitchn
Makes one 8-10″ pizza (depends on how well you roll out the dough)
Recipes left to try (& copy…): 11 recipes; Pizza: None! Hurray, we’re done!

  • 1 butternut squash, small – 1.5 lb or less
  • 1 small bunch (or less) of kale of your favorite variety
  • 8 oz mozzarella (smoked if you can find it)
  • 1/2 lb pizza dough, store bought or homemade
  • olive oil & kosher salt
  1. Heat the oven to 450°F. Peel and dice the squash into small cubes, about 1/2 inch. Spread the cubes in a single layer on a baking sheet; drizzle with olive oil. Roast until soft, about 30 minutes.
  2. Wash the kale and pat dry. Strip the leaves from the steams and tear into 1/2 inch pieces. Slice the mozzarella into thin rounds.
  3. Heat the oven to 500°F or as high as the oven will go – if you have a baking stone, place it in the lower half of the oven as it warms.
  4. Shape the dough into a 10″ round. Brush the dough with olive oil and sprinkle the kosher salt over the dough. Lay the mozzarella rounds on the dough, arrange the roast squash on top, and scatter the kale over the top.
  5. Bake in the oven for 7-10 minutes, until kale is crispy and the dough a dark golden. Allow to cool slightly before slicing and serving.

Punching dough, or the lack there of

I’m still on the fence about this recipe. On the one hand, it made a nice sourdough-like bread. On the other, I didn’t get to punch dough. Yeah, I actually like kneading bread. Also, without the kneading, the timing/pace of making bread really changed. Maybe its just that I learned on breads which use kneading and got used to planning doing other stuff around that rhythm. But letting the dough rise for 6 hours is kind of awkward. 6 hours isn’t an overnight rise, so I cannot start it the night before and bake the next day. Maybe if it rose in the refrigerator? and finished up on the counter? Anyway, I also find 6 hours an awkward amount of time to do other things around, if I’m running errands outside the house. Or you know, hanging out with friends. Pretty much, I’d need to be in the house all Saturday. Or Sunday. ‘Cause that’s when I’d have time.

But… really nice sourdough taste. Also no bread shaping (which is nice). And a nice round loaf.

I have a feeling this one is getting copied out but will mostly sit unused in our binders.

No-Knead Bread

Originally from TheKitchn.com
Makes 1 loaf
Recipes left to try (& copy…): 28; Bread: 0 recipes left

  • 3 cups bread flour
  • 3/4 tsp active dry yeast
  • 1 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 cups barely warm water
  • Olive or canola oil
  1. Add the flour to a bowl; add the yeast and salt, then stir thoroughly.
  2. Pour in the water and stir thoroughly. The dough should look shaggy and a bit rough. Lightly oil the top of the dough with olive or canola oil, then turn over the dough and oil the other side. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and then a towel. Set in a warm corner and allow to rise for 6 – 8 hours, at which time it should look wet, bubbly, and stretched.
  3. Turn the dough out onto a clean, lightly oiled countertop; fold the dough over itself once. Recover with plastic wrap and allow to rise until doubled in bulk, about one hour.
  4. About 20 minutes before the dough finishes rising (about 40 minutes after set out to rise), place an oven-safe Dutch oven or pot in the oven and turn the oven on to 450°F.
  5. Once the dough has risen, shape it into a round ball – at this point, you can slash or cut an X in the top of the ball. Now drop it quickly into the Dutch oven, place the lid back on and place the pot back in the oven.
  6. Bake for 30 minutes, then remove the lid and continue backing for 15 – 20 minutes.
  7. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on a cooling rack. Slice and serve.

And we’re back!

With a summer time salad! Just as summer is winding down. ::sighs::

So, Adam and I are back from his brother’s wedding – congratulations John and Caroline, it was a very lovely ceremony. Let me tell you – Charleston in August (especially the tail end of August) is HOT. Also muggy. Am also glad that I wore all the clothes that could become see through from sweat on days I was mostly indoors. With air conditioning.

I truly understand why air conditioning is used all the time in the south. Life around here would be pretty unbearable in the summer otherwise. Says a fairly died-in-the-wool preferrer of cold over heat (I can put on a sweater; eventually I can’t peel off any more clothes!)

Any rate

An asparagus and radish with mint salad.

Little cooking but decent amount of knife work. The whole thing tastes much, much better with very thin slices of radishes. So really, I’m not about to recommend this one to you unless you own a mandolin. Or are really good with a chef’s knife. … Or want to develop your knife skills.

It is pretty darn good though. And make ahead (by a bit) if you need the time closer to the meal for other things.

Asparagus and Radish Salad

Original from TheKitchn.com
Makes ~6 servings
Recipes left to try (& copy…): 30; Vegetables: 1 recipe left

Verdict: Keeping

  • 1 asparagus bunch, ~1lb
  • 1/2 tbsp olive oil or butter
  • 1 bunch radishes, ~1/4-1/2 lb
  • 1 tbsp good olive oil
  • 1 tsp rice vinegar
  • Kosher or other flaky salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • fresh or dried mint leaves, to taste (fresh is better, dried will do)
  1. Remove the woody ends of the asparagus and cut the remainder into 1 inch pieces. Heat the oil or butter in a skillet over high heat; cook the asparagus until warmed through and tender, but still crisp, about 2 – 3 minutes.
  2. Slice the radishes into thin rounds with a mandolin or very sharp chef’s knife – by preference, the slices will be translucent. Toss the asparagus and radishes together in a large bowl.
  3. Whisk together the good olive oil and rice vinegar. Pour this over the vegetables and toss; season to taste with salt and black pepper. If using fresh mint leaves, slice them very fine. Toss the mint with the vegetables.

Can be refrigerated for up to 4 hours before serving. Serve cold or at room temperature.

Tasty potatoes

You know, I really need to a) copy out some recipes before I try them for the blog and b) wait on cold weather recipes until the actual fall!

I freely admit that trying out recipes before copying is ultimately cutting down on the number I will copy out, thus less stress on my hand/thumb, as well as cutting down on the paperwork tracking everything and the amount of paper that ends up in the recycling bin (when I don’t like a recipe). I also cop to the fact that we are moving in two weeks (in city move) and thus quite a bit of time has been spent prepping for that. You know how I kept saying I would try to be really picky with the recipes in a section and eliminate lots before they even got to the copying and trying stage? Yeah, picture that going on with our 1000-ish book collection. Except even worse on the elimination aspect. We may get down to 850/900 books to move.

So potatoes and the roasting thereof: wait until fall Laura! There is no need to heat the house with a 450°F in the middle of summer and the air conditioner works well. Even if it was a relatively cool day (highs in the low 80s [I think]). Hot stoves are uncomfortable to stand next to or at. Even if you’re only there for 5 minutes sautéing the chicken and pulling both the potatoes and corn out of the oven.

That said, these were tasty and fun (looking – lots of down time on the roasting). We used red potatoes this time and I’m interested to try out more varieties. Ooooh, maybe I could grab 1/2 a pound of a whole bunch and make them all at once, have a taste test night. 😀 I like this idea.

Personally, we like garlic a lot, so this variation used 3x the amount called for in the originating recipe. Modify to suite your tastes. Please.

Grown-up Tater Tots

1 lb potatoes
Recipes left to try (& copy…): 34; Vegetables: 2 recipes left

  • 1 lb Red potatoes
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • olive oil,
  • salt, black pepper to taste
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Wash the potatoes and arrange on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes, then turn oven up to 450°Fand bake for 10 minutes. Potatoes should be tender enough to be pierced by a fork, but not browned. Allow to rest until cool enough to handle.
  2. Using the bottom of a measuring cup, sturdy glass or plate, smash the potatoes with firm downward pressure. Squish until about3/4 and inch thick.
  3. Transfer potatoes to the baking sheet. Drizzle or brush with olive oil, then sprinkle with the minced garlic. Return to the oven and bake until crispy and golden, about 15 minutes. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and an herb of your choice, if you so choose.
  4. Serve.

Try not to eat the whole pan in one go. Adam and I failed miserably at that.

Tater Tots

Trying stuff before copying out

So you know how I said in the ‘about me’ section that I can’t/don’t really cook from recipes unless they’ve been handwritten out? Apparently I’ve started to move past that (finally). Because I’ve bee able to try a couple of the recipes from this latest set before they’ve been copied out. Now I’m dropping out of my brain what I’m doing about twice as fast, and hence checking the recipe twice as much. But this is actually an improvement.

Also, why did no one tell me before that roasting broccoli is awesome? It’s the fastest I’ve ever roasted something, time always being the drive not to roast. So simple to do and these came out great. Like Adam trying the first piece and going ‘oh my god make these again, make them lots.’

Definitely copying out and putting in the binder. Don’t even have to add them to the list of things to try 🙂

Curry Roasted Broccoli

originally posted on Table for Seven by Soni’s Food

  • 1 head of broccoli, cut into florets
  • 1tsp masala mix (substitute your favorite type of curry spice mix here)
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • salt to taste
  • ~2 tbsp olive oil
  1. Preheat the oven to 375ºF. Oil, spray with non-stick spray, lay down a sheet of parchment paper or otherwise prepare a baking sheet.
  2. Mix together the spices and salt.
  3. Arrange the broccoli on the baking sheet, then drizzle with the olive oil. Mix the two together (your hands work just fine for this), then sprinkle the spice mixture roughly evenly over the broccoli.
  4. Bake until the broccoli starts to turn golden at the edges, about 13-14 minutes, and serve.

The leftovers:
Curry Roasted Broccoli