Monday, October 29, 2012

Peppers and Onions over Cornbread - Oct 20, 2012

Nick and I had a large bag of assorted peppers from our CSA deliveries in the refrigerator that needed to be used.  This colorful dish was what we came up with.  We used a recipe from our 'How to Cook Everything' book for sauteed peppers and onions.  Mark Bittman attributes this recipe to his mother and mentions that it was a staple at his house when he was growing up.  I traditionally think of these ingredients being combined with sausage (and there is a recipe for that too), but it was nice to let the peppers shine here.

Here is our colorful pile of peppers and onions ready to go into the pan.  I reserved the dark green poblanos for another use, but all the rest got thrown into the mix.

I also used a cornbread recipe from the same cookbook.  It is, after all, how to cook everything.  It's a very standard cornbread recipe and the only thing I changed was using coconut oil in place of the oil called for.  Nick and I like the slight hint of tropical flavor that coconut oil brings to the table, although I'm sure it's not for everyone. 

This is a fine way to use up a bounty of peppers, and we enjoyed our dinner.
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Friday, October 26, 2012

Apricot-Glazed Ribs - Oct 7, 2012

One of Nick's and my favorite Sunday suppers, especially during football season, are these amazing ribs.  The recipe is an old one, that has shown up here before.  We've even made them for Jaime and Richie once when they stopped by during one of their tours of the Midwest.

So there's nothing really new here.  This is not a recipe that I tweak.  Mostly because it's so perfect, and simple as it is.  That being said, I did mistakenly purchase St. Louis style ribs, which have a lot more fat on them than the called for baby backs, which changed things up a bit.  Specifically, there was quite a bit more fat to cook through, and so the meat wasn't as tender as it normally is.  Also, these things were so rich...pretty overpoweringly so.  We have some leftovers.

Nick and I served these with a side of delicata squash from our CSA box.  I think delicata might be my current favorite squash variety.  And, here's something else that I'm excited about...I cooked this squash in my pressure cooker.  Yep, my shiny Kuhn Rikon pressure cooker that's been sitting neglected in the back of a cupboard for the past 6 years or so.  Ellen reminded me that I should pull it out and play with it when she asked to borrow it for a baked bean recipe of her grandmother's.  Now I'm rediscovering how wonderful it is to be able to cook squash in 10 minutes, and rice in five.  And beans in 20 minutes!  This thing is revolutionizing our weeknight dinner options, especially since I've been so much busier lately.  Stay tuned for more pressure cooking fun. 
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Thursday, October 25, 2012

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread - Oct 6, 2012

It snowed today in Minneapolis.  SNOW.  You know what I like to do on snowy days?  Bake.  I think I may make some peanut butter cookies later this afternoon.  But for now, let's talk about this pumpkin chocolate chip bread that I love this time of year.  This is my mother-in-law, Nan's, recipe.  I have, of course, made some tweaks to it.  I find it entirely irresistible (as previous posts can attest to). 

Here is how the recipe has evolved:

4 eggs
1 can pumpkin (15 oz)
1 C coconut oil
2/3 C water

Mix these together with an electric mixer

3 1/2 C flour

Mix into above mixture one cup at a time

1/2 t salt
2 t baking soda
1 1/2 t ground cloves
1 1/2 t nutmeg
1 1/2 t cinnamon

Mix into batter

2 C sugar


1 C chocolate chips
(I use the Pound Plus 72% Dark Chocolate bar from Trader Joe's and pound it into small, roughly chip-sized pieces)

Mix in chocolate and pour batter into two sprayed and lined loaf pans.  Bake at 350 deg F for 45 min.  After initial 45 min, cover pans with foil tent and bake for an additional 40 min, or until toothpick inserted in center pulls out cleanly.

The coconut oil is my addition, and I love the subtle coconut flavor it imparts.  I've also increased the spices a bit to make their contribution richer and deeper.  The chocolate chunk method is extra work, but I love the little surprise the erratically sized "chips" bring to the experience.

Snow, or no, this is a lovely recipe to make on an October afternoon.
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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Potato Leek Soup with Tarragon and Truffle Oil - Oct 2, 2012

It's been raining most of the day here in Minneapolis, which I'm so grateful for, after our very dry summer.  Rainy days seem made for soup, even if this soup appeared much earlier in the month.  Just because it's long gone from our bowls, doesn't mean it's too late to talk about it here.  This simple soup is one of my go-to recipes* for an easy, but delicious dinner.  When we received potatoes and leeks in our CSA delivery, it was a given that this would show up on our table.  I dressed this version up with some fresh tarragon and a drizzle of luxurious truffle oil.  This was belly-filling and spirit-lifting...just what one needs on a rainy day.

* I omit the yogurt and cream and puree all the other ingredients together for a smooth, creamy texture with no dairy needed.
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Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Pan-Fried Pork Chops with Saute Greens and Mashed Potatoes - Sept 21, 2012

Picking up where I left off, a month or so ago (!), here is our dinner from September 21st.  It's pretty self-explanatory, really.  Nick and I sauteed the pork chops on the stove top, and then tossed our bag of saute greens from the CSA box in with the juices left over from that process.  The potatoes are boiled and then passed through a potato ricer for perfect fluffiness every time.

Life is busy, and consequently I find I have less desire to blog about our eats of late.  In fact, planning and cooking in general has seemed more of a chore than a pleasure in the past several weeks. It's not an excuse, but an explanation, Dinner Clubbers. I am hoping to find my inspiration again soon, and I think with the cooler weather approaching I will start to get excited about cooking heartier fall and winter dishes.

I have more to post from the last four weeks and I will try to stay consistent and motivated in my blogging in the weeks to come.
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