Thank goodness it’s Fry-day!

Got you. Were you wondering why I wrote this on a Wednesday? It’s because I went on a frying kick on Monday night.

I found a recipe that uses broccoli and carrots, which had been flowing in from my farm share, in fritter form. And then I thought that I should make some latkes. It was the 5th night of Hanukkah, after all.

So I put on sweatpants and a sweatshirt, turned on the TV to have A Charlie Brown Christmas in the background, and got to it. (Can I just pause for a second and note how depressing that special is? And Peanuts in general. Poor Charlie Brown. Perhaps I should also pause to acknowledge the irony that I just mentioned making latkes for Hanukkah while watching a Christmas special.)

Broccoli Carrot Fritters
Adapted from Cooking Light Magazine

4 Cups water
2 Cups broccoli florets
1 Cup carrots
, matchstick-cut
2.25 ounces/1/2 Cup all-purpose flour
1.5 ounces/1/3 Cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
1/4 Cup something in the onion family
(green onions, white onions, leeks), chopped
1 large egg, add more egg as needed
2+ Tablespoons olive oil
1 Cup plain yogurt
2 teaspoons fresh dill (optional)
, or fennel fronds in my case (I knew saving them would come in handy!), chopped
If using leeks, or if you are using white onion and want to make the flavor more mild, sauté them in your saucepan in a little olive oil first and set aside.

Leftover leeks, waiting to be consumed!

Leftover leeks, waiting to be consumed!

After your chopping and slicing is done, place water, broccoli, and carrots in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Once boiling, cook about 4 minutes to get the broccoli tender. Drain. Pat broccoli mixture dry with a clean dish towel or paper towels and chop as finely as you’d like.
Place broccoli mixture and flour in a large bowl; stir to coat. Add cheese, salt, pepper, onions, and egg to broccoli mixture and stir to combine. If the mixture isn’t wet enough, you may need to add another egg or some egg white–I had to do this because I didn’t really measure the broccoli carefully so I think I had more than 2 Cups.

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil and swirl to coat. Spoon 1/4 cup broccoli mixture into a dry measuring cup. Plop pile into pan and press down with a spatula to flatten slightly. Repeat in your pan as space allows (I recommend trying to go in a clockwise circle so you know which ones hit the pan first). Cook 4 minutes on each side or until golden brown.
Combine yogurt and herbs in a small bowl. Serve yogurt mixture with fritters.

Regarding the latkes. I have no grounds for giving you a recipe because I clearly have a long way to go to master the potato pancake. I learned my lesson that the step instructing me to squeeze the liquid out of the shredded potatoes should be taken seriously, and if, after mixing, it seems like the mixture isn’t holding together, I should definitely fix it BEFORE adding to the pan. I may have been losing patience at this point. Something about the fact that I was in such cozy clothing, and, oh yeah, I had just been to the dentist to have a major filling and the anesthesia was wearing off…

I based my pancake ingredients on this recipe, which uses sage (still alive in the garden!). I even had the clarified butter from a rare impulse buy at Trader Joe’s:
Here are some pictures:

I substituted shallots for some of the onion.

I substituted shallots for some of the onion.

Happy Holidays!

Orange and Green, Two Ways

I’m getting nervous that my food is starting to look the same.

I was going to make my next post about pasta with cauliflower pesto. I’m putting it off because I’m afraid it will remind you of a recent post, one that happens to use the same pasta and has many of the same textures. You’d rather have some visual variety, right?

As you know, with my mostly seasonal, vegetable-based, waste-minimizing cooking, I find myself looking for recipes that use up ingredients I have on hand, ideally many at once. Through this pursuit of efficiency, I have come to learn about certain important combinations. The sweetness of dried fruits counteracts bitter greens. Earthy vegetables take well to sugar. If a vegetable has a lot of sweetness, particularly after roasting, it will benefit from a touch of acid, from vinegar, or perhaps can be enhanced by the tang of a tomato from my garden. And orange and green make a solid couple.

Sure, I could learn these lessons through broad culinary study. But it is the personal experiences that make the facts “stick.”

I prepared the below two recipes a few weeks apart, realizing their connection only afterwards. The broccoli bowl recipe is from a Smitten Kitchen blog post, and the kale dressed with roasted vegetables and tahini through a random search. Both authors suggest that sweet potato could be replaced with butternut squash, which is also in season. I’m sure the kale and broccoli could be interchanged. Whatever items you choose to pair, they will look together.

Roasted Sweet Potato and Chickpea Over Kale
From The Vegan Cookbook Aficionado adapted from Orangette

15-ounce can chickpeas (about 1 ½ cups, you can also attempt soaking and cooking from dried beans like me), drained and rinsed
2 lbs (about 3-4 medium) sweet potatoes cut into 1 ½-inch pieces
1 large garlic clove, smashed
3/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
2 tablespoons olive oil

Kosher salt and pepper, to taste
4 Cups kale, washed, stems removed and roughly chopped
1/4 of a medium red onion, finely chopped
1/4 Cup cilantro leaves, coarsely chopped

1 garlic clove
, finely minced with a pinch of salt
3 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
3 Tablespoons tahini
(be sure to stir well)
3-5 Tablespoons water
up to 1 tablespoon olive oil
1-2 teaspoons maple syrup

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Dry chickpeas slightly by blotting with a paper towel in a large bowl. Add cut sweet potato, garlic, allspice, cinnamon, cayenne, olive oil, salt and pepper. Toss until the sweet potato and chickpeas are evenly coated. Spread on a baking sheet, and bake for 15 to 25 minutes, mixing from time to time until the sweet potato has softened.

While the sweet potato is baking, combine the kale, onion and cilantro in a mixing bowl. Set aside.
Make the tahini sauce. In a small bowl, whisk together the garlic and lemon juice. Add the tahini, and whisk to blend.
Add the water and olive oil, whisk well, and taste for seasoning. The sauce should have plenty of nutty tahini flavor, but also a little kick of lemon.

Transfer roasted chickpea-sweet potato mixture to the mixing bowl with the kale. Let the mixture rest for a minute while the heat wilts the kale, and then toss gently to combine.
DSC_6226Add tahini sauce to taste, and toss carefully. If you are not serving the full recipe at once, you may want to keep the tahini sauce on the side.

Miso Sweet Potato and Broccoli Bowl
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Grain and vegetable bowl:
1 cup dried rice* or another grain
1 to 2 large sweet potatoes (about 1.5 pounds)
1 large bundle broccoli (about 1 pound)
1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil
Coarse or kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

2 teaspoon sesame seeds, ideally a mix of black and white

1 Tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
1 small garlic clove, minced
2 Tablespoons miso**
2 Tablespoons tahini
1 Tablespoon honey
1/4 Cup rice vinegar
2 Tablespoons toasted sesame oil
2 Tablespoons olive oil

Adaptation notes:
*The heartier the grain, the better, in my opinion. I used the deliciously nutty Trader Joe’s brown rice medley, the one used in the hummus fritters recipe.

**The original recipe (like so many I keep finding) suggested white miso, but I only had the red kind on hand, so I used that, dang it. Incidentally, when I first bought the red miso it was for a broccoli recipe. Since then, I have learned that the general rule for miso is “the lighter the color, the more mild the flavor.” Well, go bold or go home, I say.

Heat oven to 400 degrees.
While you prep, cook rice or grain according to package directions. Peel sweet potatoes and cut into 1-inch cubes. Cut broccoli into bite-sized florets.

Coat a rimmed baking sheet with olive oil. Layer sweet potatoes and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 20 minutes, until browning underneath. Flip and toss chunks around, then add broccoli.
Season again with salt and pepper, and roast for another 10 to 20 minutes, until broccoli is lightly charred at edges and sweet potato is soft. Check periodically to see if you need to toss the vegetables more for even cooking.

Toast sesame seeds until fragrant, either on a stovetop skillet or in the oven (being careful not to burn).

Black sesame seeds would have made this much prettier!

Black sesame seeds would have made this much prettier!

While vegetables roast, prepare dressing: Combine everything in a blender and run until smooth, scraping down sides once.
Taste and adjust seasonings. Deb suggests that the dressing should taste more salty than sweet for this dish.

Scoop some rice into bowls and top with the roasted sweet potatoes and broccoli. Coat with a little dressing and finish with toasted sesame seeds.
Set extra dressing on the side to add as needed.

Keep Indefinitely

I bought red miso paste this weekend to use in a new recipe. Yes, this is another “specialty” ingredient that I anticipate using only occasionally. So why didn’t I resist the urge and skip this recipe?  Well, upon seeking out the item at Fairway, I found one brand, which came in a jar.  I inspected the label and read “Refrigerate and keep indefinitely.”  How perfect!

Plus, it was pretty interesting to open up the red miso container and see this message:


Sounds good to me!

I know what I’ll be making next!

As a side note, this week is Earth Week, and I hope it caused you to pause for a moment here and there to think about how you can consume less and reduce waste. The newest step I am going to take is to purchase a rain barrel that will capture rainwater I will then use for my garden this summer.

Back to my “earthy” meal: I picked this unusual recipe merely because I had a head of fresh broccoli leftover. Anther head had been prepared via the simple and boring – yet still tasty – method of steaming, and served alongside pasta.

This was my first encounter with Bagna Càuda, and had I not looked into it further, I would have assumed it is always made with miso paste. But I learned that it is an Italian dish, specifically Pietmontese, made and served similarly to a fondue for dipping (Italian) vegetables like carrots, fennel, and artichokes. The name means “hot bath,” and usually involves olive oil, garlic, and anchovies, and sometimes incorporates butter or cream. It sounds comforting and delicious; why is this the first I’ve heard of it? Well for starters, perhaps I should have continued my subscription to Bon Appetit … Ironically, my reading loyalty has instead gone to Cooking Light .

I love the folks at Tasting Table, but their style of writing recipes in this particular series annoys me. They write that the recipe yields two servings, plus leftover bagna càuda that can be refrigerated for up to a month. But they don’t tell you how much bagna càuda to put on your two servings of broccoli, and how many servings you will have left over! The original bagna càuda subsection of this recipe called for 4 sticks of butter. Needless to say, I cut that down to one, and made sure that I had leftovers from that.


Roasted Broccoli with Miso Bagna Càuda
adapted from TastingTable’s adaption of a recipe from Stephen Thorlton, sous chef at San Francisco’s State Bird Provisions
Serving size: at least 3 servings as a side-dish. It really depends on what you consider to count as one serving of a broccoli dish!

~1 bunch broccoli, cut into florets – mine yielded 13.7 oz of florets
3 Tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes

Bagna Càuda:
1 stick unsalted butter
2 large garlic cloves
, finely chopped
3 ounces scallions, white and light green parts only, very finely chopped
1.333 Tablespoons red miso paste (I know, I know…)
2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Finishing touches:
~1/2 Tablespoon lemon zest and ~1/2 Tablespoon orange zest, plus ~2 Tablespoons each freshly squeezed lemon and orange juice (or the zest and juice of 1/2 Meyer lemon, if you have that)
2 Tablespoons Parmesan cheese, finely grated
2 Tablespoons toasted panko or bread crumbs (optional)

Make the broccoli: Place a baking sheet in the oven and preheat the oven to 475°. This is when a little alarm goes off in my head to turn on the hood van in the kitchen, and/or open some windows. 9 times out of 10 that I use my oven at more than 400°, and especially when the broiler is involved, you can expect the smoke alarm to go off. Then it’s off to the dining area with a chair and a towel, waving frantically in the air while attempting to simultaneously plug at least one of my ears. I hope I’m not the only one.
To a large mixing bowl, add and mix together the first 5 ingredients (through red pepper). Carefully remove the baking sheet from the oven (mine was in the oven for about 10 minuets) and add the broccoli to the baking sheet, shaking the pan to evenly distribute. Return to the oven and roast until the broccoli is charred and tender, 5 to 7 minutes.
DSC_4384Transfer broccoli from baking sheet back into the mixing bowl. Add panko to baking sheet, and place in oven, which has been turned OFF, for about 5 minutes until toasted. The leftover heat should be enough.

Make the bagna càuda: To a large saucepan set over medium heat, add the butter. Once the butter begins to melt, add the garlic and scallions. Whisk to combine. Once the garlic is very fragrant and lightly toasted, after about 5 minutes, turn the heat down to very low or off and whisk in the red miso paste. I read elsewhere that miso paste has a very bitter taste if burned, so it is important to avoid a high boil.

While whisking, drizzle in 2 heaping tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil.

Transfer broccoli to serving bowl, or individual plates. Spoon the bagna càuda over the broccoli. Serve sprinkled with the zest and juice, grated Parmesan cheese, and toasted breadcrumbs (if using).

I served mine with half a pulled pork sandwich with Dinosaur Barbecue sauce, the leftovers from Matt’s Sunday session with our smoker.