October 11, 2010 § 1 Comment
With subtle hints of autumn floating through my open windows, with cool winds swirling through the rest of the Lower-48, and frosty gales sweeping through the northern-most countrysides (it’s 24 degrees at my aunt’s house in Alaska!), it seems appropriate to post a hearty, comforting, chalk-full-of-good-stuff fennel-tomato-squash-peas-beans-everything-but-the-kitchen-sink-stew. This recipe is tweaked from Saveur. While the majority of the recipe follows standard soup guidelines — saute vegetables in shifts, add water and seasonings, boil, simmer, re-season — the beginning of this recipe is slightly different:
Instead of sauteing an onion with soup aromatics, we pulverize the onion along with garlic, a little olive oil and a handful of herbs and then saute in an un-seasoned pot (no olive oil glug at the bottom) until all the water evaporates — all this before adding the next shift of vegetables. This technique creates a thicker broth and richer flavor. This soup is marvelously flexible. If you don’t have butternut squash, cubed sweet potatoes make an excellent replacement. Add a few cups of cheesy tortellini to the mixture; try cannelini beans instead of garbanzos for a creamier texture.
Start-to-finish, this soup can be ready in a half hour. However, I recommend prepping this soup at least 12 hours before serving (overnight is ideal). Let the pot hang-out, untouched, on the back-burner after it’s cooked, allowing the flavors to meld. When it comes time to eat, reheat, doll out ladles of stew into separate bowls and sprinkle a generous amount of fresh Parmesan cheese on top. Very good paired with crusty sourdough bread, dredged in butter and roasted garlic.
One final note: I prefer the taste of roasted butternut squash over boiled. Prior to making soups that feature butternut or acorn squash, I often roast the squash chunks in olive oil and sage leaves and then add the cooked squash to the stew toward the end of the cooking process. However, if you’d prefer to forgo that step — and it will still taste marvelous if you do — skip the roasting and add the raw squash when adding carrots and fennel.
2 cups cubed butternut squash
olive oil, sea salt, pepper
8-12 sage leaves
1 yellow onion, large
4 cloves garlic
1/2 cup basil, loosely packed
1 tablespoon + olive oil
5-6 medium carrots, chopped
2 heads fennel, sliced
1 + 1/2 cups whole plum tomatoes + juice, roughly chopped
2 cups garbanzo beans, cooked*
1 cup peas, fresh or frozen and thawed
few handfuls spinach or arugula, optional
Parmesan cheese rind
1 -2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
sea salt, pepper
Parmesan cheese, grated, for topping
*For those following a strict SCD diet: Swap garbanzo beans with dry white beans, lentils or black beans after 1+ month symptom-free. Soak dry beans 24 hours before cooking to remove excess starches.
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toss cubed butternut squash with a coating of olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt, pepper and sage leaves. Roast for 20 minutes, until softened. (You can do this the night before or day-of.)
2. In a Cuisinart or blender, pulverize onion, garlic, basil and 1 tablespoon + of olive oil. When the onion reaches the consistency of a slightly-chunky, translucent chutney, stop blending. In a large pot, pour onion mixture and heat on medium high until all water evaporates (approximately 5 minutes).
3. Meanwhile, chop carrots and fennel. (If you choose to forgo roasting the butternut squash, chop squash now.) Add carrots and fennel (squash, optional) to pot when onions begin to turn brown. If the bottom of the pot looks a little dry, add a few drips of olive oil or a splash of water. Saute until slightly-crisp, about 7-8 minutes.
4. Add 4 cups of water, plum tomatoes and juice and 2 cups cooked garbanzo beans. Add Parmesan rind and simmer for 15-20 minutes. When carrots and fennel are al dente, add peas, roasted squash and a few handfuls of spinach or arugula to the pot and stir. Add 1-2 teaspoons red wine vinegar, sea salt and pepper to taste. Cook 1-2 minutes and remove from heat. Let sit, preferably for 12+ hours, lid on. Before serving, reheat and remove Parmesan cheese rind. Garnish each bowl with a generous handful of fresh, grated Parmesan cheese.
Diet Notes: Gluten-free, nut-free, SCD-safe (see asterisk)
May 8, 2010 § 1 Comment
Consider this dip a tweaked version of my favorite summer recipe of 2009. This time, instead of blending a couple handfuls of blanched peas with olive oil, basil, Parmesan cheese and roasted garlic skapes, I tossed out the cheese, replaced it with almond butter and added a generous handful of a different, biting taste: cilantro. Thankfully, I’m not one of those unfortunate cilantro-haters, genetically predisposed to hate this pungent, green herb. I adore the stuff. But if you think it tastes like soap, this dip would be equally delicious and just as addictive with a smattering of different herbs: try a big handful of basil and a bit of sage, or a bunch of parsley and a little oregano (pretty strong stuff in the raw), or roasted ramps or chives. How about some mint?
I was inspired to whip up this recipe and tweak my old fav after I read about Clotilde’s favorite pea spread on her smile-inducing blog, “Chocolate and Zucchini.” My spread veers a little from Clotilde’s, but the inspiration is from her – especially her thumbs-up inclusion of almond butter into the shmear.
One note about the ingredient list: It’s garlic scape season and I’ve been buying gigantic, curly-q’d bundles from Forever Young Farm in Amado, AZ each Thursday. If you don’t have these spindly green stems, tasting of sweeter, mild garlic, that’s a bummer, but not a recipe-nixer. Instead, try roughly chopping 4-5 garlic cloves and sauteing them until golden in olive oil (keep a close eye – it takes only a minute or two and burns quickly), to take the edge off.
2 cups shelled peas (fresh or frozen & defrosted)
1/2 cup cilantro, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons almond butter, unsalted
1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, to taste
pepper, to taste
10 garlic scapes, chopped (about 1/3 cup)
1-2 teaspoons olive oil, for sauteing
water, for thinning
1. Shell peas or remove from freezer. Cook peas until al dente and bright green – a matter of minutes. (If frozen & thawed, 1-2 minutes; if fresh, 2-4 minutes.) Once cooked, drain and toss peas in a blender or Cuisinart. (If they’re still a little wet that’s fine – it’ll aid the ease of blending.)
2. Meanwhile, heat 1-2 teaspoons of olive oil on the stove and cook garlic scapes until softened and slightly browned, about 4-5 minutes. Add to blender/Cuisinart.
3. Add remaining ingredients and pulse. If necessary, add a teaspoon of water at a time to thin. Serve warm or cold on flat breads, crackers or dip with crunchy veggies. The shelf life for this dip isn’t long – two to three days, tops – so eat it up while it’s fresh. I enjoy it best warm, straight out of the Cuisinart.
Diet Notes: SCD-safe, vegan, gluten-free
July 19, 2009 § 8 Comments
If you’re a fan of hummus, or really any kind of thick spread, this recipe will be right up your alley. I know fresh peas will take a little while to shell, but the flavor and texture are incomparable to the frozen, wrinkly variety in the freezer isle. This recipe is so simple and I promise you, the outcome is out of this world!
Words of caution:
The first time I made this recipe, I thought a measly 3/4 of a cup of shelled peas, blended away, would last a couple of days, since I was making it just for me — maybe even a whole week if I portioned it out for my lunches.
It was gone in a day and a half, easy. This week, I planned ahead: I just got back from the Union Square market with a gigantic bag of shelling peas. We’ll see if I can make this dip last ’til Wednesday.
P.S. This recipe was inspired by and tweaked from Mark Bittman (heart throb).
Ingredients (serves 1-2):
3/4 cup shelled peas
8 leaves basil
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
1/8 teaspoons sea salt
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/3 cup roasted garlic skapes (about 10 skapes, chopped)
1. Heat oven to 450 degrees. Roast garlic scapes approximately 15 minutes minutes until fragrant, softened and slightly crispy around the edges. Meanwhile, shell peas.
2. Heat a small pot of boiling water and steam/boil peas about 2 minutes, until bright green and al dente.
3. In a cuisanart/blender, whirl peas, roasted scapes, 8 basil leaves, a little sea salt and parmesan cheese. If more liquid is needed, add a little water or olive oil. I like my spreads to be a little chunky, so I didn’t blend into a thick puree. If you prefer a smooth, more hummus-like spread, keep blending until it reaches desired consistency.
Diet Notes: Gluten-free, nut-free, SCD-safe*
*For those on the SCD-diet: If you haven’t introduced peas yet, do so a bit at a time and see how you feel. The high starch content of peas can upset the stomach, so be mindful when just starting out.