kid-friendly · Recipes

Classic Baked Ziti

I dread the onset of winter with its cold, dark, depressing ways, and anyone with little kids can tell you the havoc daylight saving time wreaks on family sleep schedules. We had an oddly warm fall here in New England; it was 70 degrees out Monday, when I started writing this, and as nice as that felt, I’m ready for the casseroles to start showing up again — even if Mother Nature isn’t. I’ve also been ready to dig into hibernation food for months now!

In that spirit, I’ve made this wonderfully simple Baked Ziti a lot this fall, including for potlucks, Sunday dinner, and for friends with new babies.

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This makes the perfect dish for visiting a newborn: it is comforting, filling, and reheats very easily, and can be eaten with one hand while holding a baby. It can also be frozen if your friends don’t have room to eat it right away. As a bonus, little kids like it, too, which is always an implicit goal of any recipe I post! Georgia simply gobbles this up, and it’s one of Mark’s, favorites, too. Win-win.

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This recipe was inspired by Smitten Kitchen with a few adaptations to make it my own.

Cook time: 30 minutes    Serves: 4-6

Classic Baked Ziti

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 pound ziti, cooked al dente
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp dried oregano or Italian seasoning (I like Wildtree)
  • 28-ounce can of crushed tomatoes
  • a few handfuls of baby spinach
  • 1 cup mozzarella, grated
  • 2/3 cup finely grated pecorino (or parmesan) cheese
  • fresh basil slivers
  • optional: red pepper flakes

DIRECTIONS

To start, preheat your oven to 400 F.

Heat a pot of salted water to boil and cook the pasta very al dente, or at least 2 minutes less than the normal cooking time stated on the box. Drain the pasta, reserving half a cup of the cooking water.

Heat a large skillet over  medium and add a swirl of olive oil until warm, then add the meat alongside the onion, garlic, seasonings and a healthy dose of salt and pepper over medium-hihg for up to 8 minutes, or until the beef is browned, stirring often.

Add the crushed tomatoes and stir to combine, then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for five minutes. Add in the reserved pasta water and then the spinach, cooking until milted (maybe another minute or two). Here, I like to add in some fresh basil, slivered, and maybe a couple fresh tomatoes from my garden if I need to use them up.

Stir in the drained pasta and mix together. Pour half into a 9×13 glass baking dish or lasagna pan, and sprinkle with half the two cheeses; repeat with another half of the pasta then top with the remaining cheese.

Bake in the heated oven for 30 minutes or until nice and crispy and browned on the edges. You can even run the dish under the broiler for a minute if you’d like it extra crispy! Enjoy warm.

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NOTES:

  • You can also use Italian sausage, casings removed, if you prefer the taste.
  • To cook al dente, shave 2 minutes off the cook time stated on the package of pasta. Taking care not to overcook is essential for this not turning mushy!
  • Seasoning the ground beef well with salt and pepper is essential; it’s less important if you opt for Italian sausage.
  • I like to serve this with more slivers of fresh basil and, if you have it, fresh ricotta. But that’s totally optional!
  • I have never tried this week meat substitutes, but it’s certainly possible. Other good substitutions to make it vegetarian would be mushrooms, beans, or lentils.

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Stay tuned for my first holiday shopping guides soon, and some inspiration for Thanksgiving dinner! I’m so excited Christmas is right around the corner. I basically live for the holidays once Halloween is over every year 🙂 Have a lovely, cozy weekend.

Recipes

Mango Chicken Risotto

This risotto combines mango chicken sausage with roasted red peppers for a sweet, filling, simple meal. It comes together fairly quickly and will give you plenty of comfort-food leftovers! I make it often for Mark when his work schedule is nightly, because it’s easy for him to reheat when he has to eat dinner earlier than I get home from work.

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As I mentioned in my last risotto post, Springtime Risotto with leeks and peas, risotto makes great leftovers. It reheats very well and a little goes a long way ~ if you ask me, it actually tastes better a day old. In Italy, this is a popular lunch choice, especially for kids who come home between morning and afternoon classes to eat. (My springtime risotto post has great step-by-step risotto instructions for first timers, so definitely check it out if you’re new to making risotto and want a simple breakdown. There’s no reason to be intimidated by this dish ~ it’s simpler than people make it sound!)

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They key ingredient is real Arborio rice, not regular white or brown rice. Arborio is an Italian short-grain rice that is high in starch and absorbs lots of liquid to give you a creamy finished product. When I lived in Italy, I learned that risotto is truly a staple — you can throw just about any leftover veggies into it with whatever meat or seafood sounds good to you (if any).

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The second key ingredient is stock, which you’ll add warm to the rice in stages. I have used both vegetable and chicken stock when making risotto, depending on the crowd I’m serving (veg or otherwise). Both taste just fine; I’d only recommend that you stay away from low-sodium broth unless you absolutely have to for health reasons, because risotto needs all the flavor boost it can get, and seasonings are important.

Once the stock boils, you’ll want to keep it at a medium simmer — not so high that it starts to burn off, but not so low that it cools down, either. You need it hot to mix into the risotto properly.

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I cook the sausage and red peppers together when I have non-vegetarians eating the dish, and separately when it’s for folks who don’t want the meat touching the veggies. Since you’re adding it all into the pot at the end anyway, it doesn’t affect how the dish turns out. And you can use any kind of sausage you like! Real, fake, chicken or pork, spicy or sweet. I often make this meal with roasted red pepper sausage, which I find at Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods, when I want a savory version. I’m pretty sure you could find similar in the natural grocery section of any store.

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First you’ll saute the chopped onions until translucent (you can also use leeks) in a liberal amount of olive oil and butter; each helps the other not to burn. Then, by adding the rice to the buttery onions before adding any liquid, you help coat the risotto with fat which will prevent that mushy starchy thing from happening. Then, you’ll add a splash of white wine. You can also omit the wine if you need to, although most of the alcohol will burn off and very little is retained in the final dish. After the wine, you’ll do a cup of water before you start adding the simmering broth. When you add liquid, stir immediately until the rice absorbs it and before it can stick to the bottom of the pan.

By repeating over and over in small increments until the rice has absorbed all the broth in the pan, you’ll achieve that creamy yet slightly al dente perfection of authentic risotto! Add in your meat and veggies, then top with freshly grated parmesan and pecorino cheese (which is nice and salty), and serve warm.

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Mango Chicken Risotto

hands-on time: 30 minutes    Serves: 4

Ingredients

  • 2 cups arborio rice (1 package from Trader Joe’s)
  • 1 large carton (or 2 cans) vegetable stock
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 red bell peppers, diced and seeded
  • 1 package mango chicken sausage (or any kind you like), sliced thin
  • parmesan and pecorino cheese, roughly grated
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • water, as needed
  • olive oil and butter
  • splash of white wine (optional)

Directions

Set a sauce pan on medium-high and pour in the stock. Once it reaches boiling, reduce heat and keep the stock at a low simmer, so it doesn’t burn off  but stays warm. I usually add two cups of water to the broth a well, to help it go farther.

Meanwhile, chop the onion and add it to a large stock pot with equal parts olive oil and butter; stir until melted, well coated and translucent.

Chop the red peppers and slice the sausage and start cooking over medium-low in a saute pan on another burner. You can cook these separately if you have vegetarians eating this; that way, you customize each plate.

Add all the rice at once and stir to coat.

Pour a healthy splash of white wine into the pan and stir briskly to reduce. Next, add about a cup of water and stir until absorbed.

Then, start adding the simmering stock, one cupful at a time, stirring constantly to prevent sticking.

Once the stock is gone, taste test; if the rice is too al dente, add water gradually until it achieves the right texture — firm but not stiff, and before it gets soggy.

Grate parmesan and pecorino directly into the pan. Pick a not-too-small grater and be heavy handed with the cheese.

Taste; add salt and pepper if needed.

Serve with white wine or a nice cold beer!

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Recipes

Sweet n’ Spicy Macaroni & Chili

Remember two weeks ago, when everyone stayed up past midnight to watch the election results right on the heels of Hurricane Sandy and just before a big Nor’Easter? Yeah, that’s when I made this. This cheesy lazy thing. I’m pretty glad it’s in my repertoire with the holiday craziness rolling in.

Sweet n’ Spicy Macaroni and Chili

Ingredients

  • 2 cups (1 16-0z. package) small whole wheat shells
  • 1 can (14.7 oz.) Trader Joe’s vegetarian chili (or similar)
  • 1 cup shredded cheese
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup of coconut milk
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup of salsa
  • Salt, to taste
  • optional but snazzy: 1 TBSP chutney

I used orecchiette, when I couldn’t find the small whole wheat shells I wanted; Trader Joe’s Organic Vegetarian Chili; shredded mozzarella and parmesan cheese (Target brand); Trader Joe’s Light Coconut Milk; Trader Joe’s Smoky Peach Salsa; and Trader Joe’s Mango-Ginger Salsa.

Obviously you can make this with real chili, any variety of salsa, another kind of shredded cheese, and dairy milk if you eat those foods. I personally love how this is safe for lactose-intolerant and vegetarian seekers of comfort food.

Directions

Set a medium sized pot of pasta on to boil. You want it slightly undercooked as it will continue cooking in the final pan. Once the pasta is done, set aside in a bowl.

In the same pan you cooked the pasta in, add the chili and cheese. Stir in the coconut milk, salsa and a pinch of salt.

Cook over medium heat until the mixture is warm and the cheese is melted; toss in the pasta. Stir, add the chutney if using, and taste. Adjust seasonings if necessary. Serve warm!

The original recipe also offered the following substitution to make the dish vegan: 1 cup Daiya vegan shredded non-dairy cheese, or 1/4 cup nutritional yeast and 1/4 cup coconut milk.

You can also feel free to add in a dash more coconut milk if this comes together too thick, and if you prefer even more heat than the salsa and the chutney offer, splash in some tabasco sauce or some jarred jalapenos (maybe these?)

Recipe inspiration came from healthy slow cooking.

Recipes

Fall Comfort Food Recipes…

…from the Boston Globe. There are more than 50 featured, so I selected my favorite vegetarian (and seafood) options from among the group:

Pizza with butternut squash, onion and spinach

Courtesy: Boston Globe. http://www.boston.com/lifestyle/food/articles/2012/02/01/recipe_for_pizza_with_butternut_squash_caramelized_onion_and_spinach/

Fish roasted on caramelized onions

Courtesy: Boston Globe.  http://www.boston.com/lifestyle/food/articles/2012/06/20/recipe_for_fish_roasted_on_caramelized_onions/

Baked Shrimp with Feta & Orzo

Courtesy: Boston Globe.  http://www.boston.com/lifestyle/food/articles/2010/12/29/baked_shrimp_with_feta_and_orzo/

Seared Sea Scallops with Parsnip Puree

Courtesy: Boston Globe. bo.st/P0Dkxa

Click each picture for the full recipe. I’m trying the pizza one this weekend!

Recipes

Traditional Shepherd’s Pie

It’s getting cooler, which makes me think about Fall recipes again. This comforting, home-style Shepherd’s Pie has lean ground beef, chopped onions, creamed corn, sweet corn and mashed potatoes — that’s it. Simple, stick-to-your-ribs fare. I made it last weekend before a visit to Mark’s 90-year-old grandfather, who gets Meals on Wheels because he is legally blind. How depressing! Whenever I can, I bring him a home-cooked meal to enjoy.

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This is an easy one to pull together. The only time-consuming part is the 45 minutes it spends in the oven; if you make it on the weekend or in the evening before bed, it’s ready to go for the next few days. This is one of Mark’s favorites, and has been ever since my Mom taught me how to make it (in miniature ceramic baking dishes) for lunches when I had my first job out of college. By the way, you could do the same thing — just buy those handy single-serving bakers or ramekins and adjust the cooking time as needed.

Start off by coarsely chopping a small onion and cooking it over medium heat in a medium sized skillet until translucent, seasoning with salt and pepper to taste. (Is it me, or do my fingers look REALLY pudgy here? Sigh.)

Then you are going to add the pound of lean ground beef into the pan, breaking it up with your spoon and stirring until the meat is just browning. Don’t overcook it, because it will continue to cook through in the oven.

Remove the cooked beef and onions from the heat and get out a large glass baking dish. I like my Anchor Hocking bake n’ take set because it comes with a matching cover and carrying case, which is great for transporting and storing in the fridge (it’s especially handy around the holidays).

Pour the ground beef into the baking dish, spreading out in a very thin, even layer. Don’t be concerned if it just barely covers the bottom of the dish. It’s supposed to be that way.

This is a redundant picture. A certain fuzzy assistant photo-bombed me.

Add the creamed corn next……..

…………followed by the sweet corn.

Now you’re ready to add the mashed potatoes. Full disclosure: I used to make the mashed potatoes from scratch, but one time I cheated, and Mark said “you HAVE to make it this way from now on.” Well…I’m not going to complain about a shortcut tasting better. So from then on, boxed potatoes it is.

Either way you do the potatoes, make sure you add a lot of butter and milk so it stays moist. I find it’s easier to spread the potatoes onto the Shepherd’s Pie in big blobs that you push outward with two forks to cover the whole surface. If you try to drop the whole mess of potatoes into the center and spread outward, you’ll just end up dragging up loose corn and making a mess.

Then, take your hand and just pat it down all over so the potatoes are roughly even in the pan. Anything sticking up will just burn, and you don’t want that.

Cover with foil, pop it in the oven at 350 for about half an hour, then check on it. If it hasn’t browned yet, continue cooking uncovered for about 10 more minutes, checking back frequently so that you take it out when it’s just starting to brown at the edges and bubble up. You don’t, obviously, want to burn it.

If it needs more than 10 minutes, so be it! Just keep an eye on it, and the browning potatoes will tell you when it’s done for your oven. Once it’s not boiling hot anymore, it’s ready to eat! I like it warm, not steaming hot, and it makes unbelievable leftovers. Enjoy.

Shepherd’s Pie

INGREDIENTS

  • About 1 lb. of ground beef (I used 85% lean)
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 1 can of sweet corn
  • 1 can of creamed corn
  • 1 box of instant mashed potatoes, prepared
  • Milk and butter for the mashed potatoes
  • Olive Oil for sauteeing the beef
  • Salt and pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS

Chop the onion and saute in a skillet over medium heat until translucent. Season with salt and pepper and add the ground beef. Cook, stirring, until just browned.

Pour the onion-beef mixture into a large glass baking dish. Pour in one can of creamed corn and spread into a thin layer on top of the beef.

Add the can of sweet corn and distribute evenly over the creamed corn layer.

Preheat the oven to 350 and prepare your instant mashed potatoes if not done already.

Top the corn with the potatoes, spreading out in an even layer. Cover with foil and place in the oven.

Cook for half an hour, remove foil and cook 10 minutes uncovered or until the top is browned and bubbling. Enjoy!

Tip: If you are going to reheat this, I would suggest adding a dollop of butter to the top before you put the cooked pie in the fridge. That way, when you pop it in the microwave, the butter will melt and re-energize the potatoes a bit. I highly suggest setting some aside for leftovers if you can — it’s honestly even better the second day.

Recipes · Tips and Tricks

Two gnocchi recipes

It’s taking us a lot longer to get unpacked and settled into our new house than we expected, so I’m posting a collection of recipes from other bloggers I love as inspiration. Who doesn’t need to expand their recipe box anyway? Gnocchi is one of my most-loved Italian dishes (it’s pronounced NYO-kee), and these are just a few variations I’ve been dying to try. And, once I figure out which box my pots and pans are hiding in, I will!

Pan-Fried Pumpkin Gnocchi with Brown Butter Sage

Courtesy: SteamyKitchen

This recipe, from steamy kitchen, shows that gnocchi don’t have to those be hard-as-a-rock, boring-as-heck potato dumplings you may have experienced. With a lightness in the mixing, you can avoid the kind of overworked dough that often leads to tough, chewy gnocchi.

serves 4-6

  • 1/2 cup skim milk ricotta
  • 1/2 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated parmegiano reggiano
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest (use a microplane grater) (plus extra reserved for garnishing)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt (or 1/2 tsp table salt)
  • 1 cup all purpose flour, sifted plus more for dusting (see sifting tip above)
  • 3 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil, divided
  • 2 tablespoons good quality balsamic vinegar
  • 3 sprigs fresh sage, plus more for garnish
  • shaved parmegiano reggiano for serving (use vegetable peeler)

Preheat oven to 300F

1. Combine ricotta, pumpkin parmagiano, yolk, zest and salt in large bowl. Mix well. Sprinkle half of the flour on the mixture, gently turn with spatula a few times to incorporate. Dump mixture on clean, lightly floured countertop or you can still do this in the bowl. Sprinkle remaining flour on top of the mixture. Gently knead with your fingertips, just bringing together the mixture until flour is incorporated through. This only should take a minute or two. Any longer and you will be over-kneading.

2. Dust a clean, dry surface with a generous sprinkling of flour. Divide dough into 4 parts. Take one part and roll into a long, 1″ diameter log. Cut gnocchi into 1″ pieces.

3. Heat a large frying pan or saute pan with just 1 tablespoon of the butter and 1 tablespoon of olive oil. When hot, add a few gnocchi – enough to cover surface but not touch each other. Fry on medium heat for 1-2 minutes, turn and fry for another 1-2 minutes. Remove gnocchi, place on large baking sheet to put into oven to keep warm. Repeat with rest of gnocchi.

4. When all gnocchi is finished, discard butter/oil in pan and clean pan with paper towel. Heat pan on medium heat and when hot, add the remaining 2 tablespoons butter and the remaining tablespoon of olive oil. When hot, add the fresh sage. Let the sage brown and sizzle (but not burn) for a couple of minutes until very fragrant. Remove the sage and discard if you want (or keep it in to eat — as many people in the comments below like to do!) To the pan, add the balsamic vinegar and whisk. Let simmer on low for 1 minute and pour over the gnocchi.

5. Serve with shaved parmegiano reggiano and a sage leaf for garnish.

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Butternut Squash & Mascarpone Gnocchi

Courtesy: FoodWishes.com

This recipe comes to us from the Food Wishes blog, and features small-plate gnocchi that are designed more for appetizers or sharing. I love that concept!

Ingredients for about 12 appetizer-sized portions
  • 2 cups cooked butternut squash
  • 1 cup mascarpone cheese, or cream cheese, goat cheese
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 oz (about 1/2 cup) finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (if you’re going to use fake Parmesan cheese for this, don’t even bother)
  • 1 packed cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 stick unsalted butter for frying, used in batches
  • cayenne, salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup sliced sage leaves

This blog has great how-to video recipes. His step-by-step instructions for making the gnocchi are very easy to follow, so I’ve decided to share them by video. Gnocchi really is very simple to make, so I hope you are all inspired to take a stab at them now!

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Recipes

Fat Kid Mac N’ Cheese

There is nothing healthy about this, whatsoever. Even if you use Smart Balance butter blend sticks or soy creamer, you are still loading up on tons of carbs and artery-clogging dairy here. Because those are the ingredients for traditional mac n’ cheese, and that’s what I made: Full-on, comfort-food, double-the-recipe “Fat Kid” Mac n’ Cheese. Enjoy.

Nostalgic, much?

Ingredients

  • 1 (16 ounce) package macaroni
  • 8 tablespoons butter
  • 8 tablespoons flour
  • 2 cup milk
  • 2 cup cream
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • fresh ground black pepper, to taste
  • 4 cups cheese, shredded (I used a blend of cheddar & smoked gruyere)
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs, buttered

Directions

Preheat oven to 400°F. Cook and drain macaroni according to package directions; set aside.

In a large saucepan melt butter. Add flour mixed with salt and pepper, using a whisk to stir until well blended.

Pour milk and cream in gradually; stirring constantly. Bring to boiling point and boil 2 minutes (stirring constantly). Take care not to let it burn.

Reduce heat and cook, stirring constantly, for about 10 minutes.

Add shredded cheese bit by bit. Simmer an additional 5 minutes, or until cheese melts. Add macaroni to the saucepan (or another bowl) and toss to coat with the cheese sauce.

Transfer macaroni to a buttered baking dish. Sprinkle with breadcrumbs (I mixed mine with a bit of melted butter to moisten). Top with a few dollops of butter before putting in the oven. Bake 20 minutes until the top is golden brown.

This recipe was inspired by the old favorite, Fannie Farmer’s Classic Macaroni and Cheese. 

Modifications: Add peas and/or carrots to the mix; halve the recipe instead of using the whole pound of macaroni; add dijon mustard and/or hot sauce to the mix for a kick; add in crispy bacon pieces if you eat meat.

CSA 2011 · Recipes

Harvest vegetable pasta

I created this after roasting a bunch of root vegetables together with nuts and raisins in a (failed) attempt to make something compelling. Luckily, even though they bored me as a standalone dish, these harvest veggies tasted excellent once I tossed them with rotini pasta and a nutmeg-infused sauce. Easy as pie….kind of tastes like pie too, actually.

INGREDIENTS

  • Red potato, sliced into quarters (unpeeled)
  • Turnips, sliced in half
  • Pumpkin, peeled and cubed
  • Squash, peeled and cubed (or buy this way)
  • Raisins (I used about one small box)
  • Carrots/parsnips, sliced (unpeeled)
  • Almonds (handful)
  • Vegetable broth (enough so an inch or two coats the pan)
  • Cinnamon to taste (be liberal with it!)
  • Nutmeg (generous spoonful)
  • Ginger (to taste)
  • Honey (about a half cup)
  • Kosher Salt
  • Pepper

Directions

Preheat the oven to 375. Prep all the chopped ingredients (or do this a day ahead). Toss with olive oil, nuts and raisins on a rimmed baking sheet. Sprinkle with cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger and drizzle with honey. Season with salt and pepper. Add an inch or two of vegetable stock to the bottom of the pan. Roast in the oven, uncovered, for about 20 minutes or until tender.

Meanwhile, boil your pasta — I used rotini because it can “grip” chunky sauces like what you’re making.

You can use premade white sauce (I bought a great nutmeg sauce at Dave’s Fresh Pasta in Davis Square that I used as a base); or, you can make a simple white sauce by whisking butter, flour and then cream together over low heat, and then add the nutmeg in. Here’s a great example. I also added some leftover cream cheese into the pan to thicken the sauce even more (I never claimed this was health food). Combine the veggies, pasta and sauce in a large pot with a dash of pasta cooking water to help it all stick together! You can loosen it up with some more milk (I like almond milk) if it looks too thick or sticky.

This reheats well, but I’d recommend pouring a dash of  almond milk (or whatever kind you use) into the tupperware container and also putting a pad of butter on the top of the pasta when heating up leftovers to re-moisten things in the microwave and to keep it all from turning sticky.

CSA 2011 · Recipes

Slow Cooker Beef Stew

As my husband says, “Is there anything better than coming home from work to the smell of beef stew??” That goes for any kind of stew, if you ask me! It’s the ultimate comfort food, and if you chop your ingredients the night before, you can throw this together before leaving for work and time it to be ready when you come home. All you have to do is eat!

Ingredients (eyeball to size of your slow cooker)

  • 1 – 1/2 pound of stew beef
  • 3 or 4 potatoes, chopped
  • two cloves garlic, sliced or whole (whole=subtler flavor)
  • 3-4 carrots, chopped
  • 3-4 stalks of celery, chopped
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • splash of Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 cup of beef broth (ideally, low sodium)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • optional: peas (add after it’s done cooking so they don’t mush)

Also optional: dredge the beef in flour and fry in olive oil before adding to the slow cooker. I am going to try that next time! I’d also add something savory like cumin, cloves or paprika to amp up the seasoning next time, I think.

Instructions

Unless you are browning the beef in a skillet first, you simply add all the ingredients to your slow cooker, stir to mix briefly, and heat covered on LOW for 8 hours. When you walk in the door after work, it will smell delicious! I made this for my husband to have since he so seldom gets to enjoy a meaty, stick-to-your-ribs dish like this.

Serve with sliced crusty bread, such as a French loaf. Check back soon to see what I do with the leftover bread!

CSA 2011 · Recipes

Garlicky Roasted Radish on Toast

This was my first stab at cooking with French Breakfast Radish, which are longer and thinner than the round garden radishes most of us are used to. This dish has a zip to it (thanks to garlic, Dijon and anchovy paste) that is complementary to the radish’s spice and crunch, yet somehow it’s comforting as well when served on hot buttery toast.

If you don’t like radish on your salad — I’m not a big fan, personally — you might just like them roasted. It sweetens and softens them up a bit. Serve them up on toasted bread and you may be surprised at how tasty they can be.

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch French Breakfast Radish, sliced
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, peeled, plus 3 minced for sauce (adjust to your taste)
  • 2-3 TBSP butter
  • Drizzle of extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • Kosher salt
  • Pepper
  • Sprinkle of dill
  • Dash chili flakes (sub red pepper flakes = fine)
  • TBSP dijon mustard (eyeball it)
  • Squeeze or two of anchovy paste (optional if you don’t like/are veg)
  • Buttered Toast of your choosing!

Directions

Slice the radishes into 1-inch pieces (you don’t have to peel them), discarding stems and leaves if they have them. Preheat the oven to 375.

Combine the radish slices with a few peeled garlic cloves and olive oil and toss in a foil-lined baking dish. Season with a bit of salt and pepper.

While the pan is in the oven, start whisking together the “sauce” you’ll use to coat the roasted radish right out of the oven.

Start by melting butter (or a substitute like Smart Balance, which I use) in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add in the minced garlic to taste, then the anchovy paste (I always keep this on hand for homemade caesar salad) and finally the Kosher salt, dill, fresh-ground black pepper, chilli flakes and Dijon. Adjust seasonings to taste and whisk to blend.

When the radish are done in the oven, after about 15 minutes or until tender, combine them with the sauce on the stove top and stir to combine.

Add radish mixture to hot toast, preferably buttered. Serve warm!

And check out a similar recipe from the New York Times that makes use of similar flavors, but in the form of a stovetop-seared radish crostini appetizer. Turns out a radish is more versatile than I thought.