Rebecca’s Kimchi-Apple, Parsnip, and Chicken Meatball Composed Salad:

I told you I had a back-log of recipes from my friends who are excellent cooks, so here’s another.

This one is from Rebecca. Rebecca is the kind of friend who thinks nothing of hopping in a car and driving three or four hours to see you. So, Rebecca was a particularly good person to decide to drive across the country with the summer after our freshman year in college. She was even better when we made the perhaps misguided decision to drive from Seattle to San Francisco over night with only a large box of blueberries, a loaf of bread, and a Fiddler on the Roof CD to keep us company.

Between those two legs of road trip, Rebecca and I learned that we worked well together as organizers and as cooks. We ran a voter registration drive by day and cooked for our five other roommates by night. Since then our friendship has continued to be defined by travel adventures, political adventures, and cooking adventures.

When I visited her in Philadelphia last week, I knew there would be excellent food to eat. Fittingly, my second night there we reunited with our third road trip companion, and Rebecca served us my favorite thing I’ve eaten in a long time.

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Rebecca nonchalantly decided to make a riff on the Momofuku apple and kimchi salad–another thing I love about Rebecca is that she is never intimidated by a recipe or much of anything else.

Rebecca’s riff on the salad included not just apples dressed in kimchi and arranged on a bed of arugula, but also a tangle of crunchy parsnips and pile of cilantro-chicken meatballs. This surprising combination of ingredients was held together by a swath of maple-syrup and yogurt. I came home and immediately set out to make it again. I think you should too.

Kimchi-Apple, Parsnip, and Chicken Meatball Composed Salad: 

– 2 large, crunchy apples (I used a Granny Smith and a Fuji)

– 1/4 cup kimchi

– 1/4 cup greek yogurt

– 2 tbsp maple syrup

– 1 lb parsnips

– 1 lb ground chicken or turkey

– 1/2 cup chopped scallions

– 1/2 cup chopped cilantro

– 2 tbsp fish sauce

– 1 tbsp soy sauce

– Roughly 3 cups of arugula or mache

– Juice of 1/2 a lemon

– Olive oil to taste

* Puree kimchi in a food processor or blender. (I found adding a bit of the kimchi juice made this process easier.)

* Chop apples into relatively large chunks and mix with blended kimchi. Set aside.

* Whisk together yogurt and maple syrup and set aside.

* Mix chicken, scallions, cilantro, fish sauce, and soy sauce together until scallions and cilantro are evenly distributed throughout ground chicken. Shape into balls and set aside.

* Peel parsnips and slice into thin spears.

* Heat glug of oil in large pan over medium heat. Add chicken meatballs. Cook, turning occasionally, until brown on all sides (5-10 minutes depending on meatball size). Turn heat down a little and cover pan with lid to cook meatballs through (5-10 more minutes, again depending on size.).

* Meanwhile, heat a bit more oil over medium heat in another pan. Add parsnip spears and cook, stirring occasionally until beginning to brown. Add about 1/3 cup of water to pan and cover for about 5 minutes. Remove lid and continue to cook, letting any remaining water boil off and parsnips to crisp and brown more (about 5 more minutes).

* Toss greens with juice of 1/2 a lemon, olive oil, and salt to taste.

* Arrange on plate: In individual portions, spread yogurt mixture on plate, place greens on top of yogurt, add apples, meatballs, and parsnips on top of greens.

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Robin’s Smokey Coffee Black Bean Soup

Not to state the obvious, but you know what’s fantastic? Having friends who can cook. I’m on a bit of a college-reunion tour this month and have spent a chunk of every week with friends who are excellent, excellent cooks. This means I have a bit of a back-log of new recipes to share, but I’m going to start with this one from Robin, who you’ve already met.

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Smokey Suzanne and Robin

This soup is the most Robin-ish dish I can think of as I’m pretty sure her favorite foods are all numbingly spicy, deeply smokey, or bracingly bitter. This soup is on the more balanced end but plays with all those flavors. It’s also the best black bean soup recipe I’ve come across to date. I suggest you make it immediately.

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Smokey Coffee Black Bean Soup: 

Robin’s original recipe called for blending the soup and using duck bacon. I like a chunky black bean soup so I skipped the blending it. I think duck bacon would be awesome, but if you live outside NYC it can be hard to get your hands on so I used turkey bacon. I’m sure regular bacon would also be good. If you use a higher-fat bacon you can cook your onions and peppers in the fat it renders. Turkey bacon, tragically, does not render fat so you have to add some butter. 

– 1 yellow onion, finely chopped

– 6 cloves garlic

– 1 red bell pepper, seeded and roughly chopped

– 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and finely chopped

– 8 oz. turkey bacon

– 2 15 oz cans black beans

– 1 15 oz can fire-roasted tomatoes (chopped, if yours don’t come chopped)

– 1 tbsp butter

– 1 qt chicken broth

– 1 tbsp. cumin

– 1 tsp sumac

– 1 1/2 tsp hot paprika

– 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

– 1 tbsp. cocoa powder

– 1/2 tsp salt

– 1 1/2 cups strong black coffee

– 3 bay leaves

– Chopped green onions, cilantro, lime, and drained yogurt or sour cream for serving

* Cook bacon in pan, remove, and cool on paper towels. When cool, chop coarsely.

* Melt butter in large pan over medium heat. Add chopped onions and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes.

* Add bell pepper and cook for about 5 minutes until soft and beginning to brown.

* Add garlic, jalapeno, and cumin to pot. Stir until fragrant.

* Add 1/2 tsp salt, rest of spices, and cocoa powder.

* Add chopped bacon, tomatoes and their liquid, beans and their liquid, broth, coffee, and bay leaves. Bring to boil.

* Reduce to simmer and cook over low heat for 1-2 hours until soup is quite stew-y.

* Remove bay leaves and serve with chopped green onions, cilantro, yogurt or sour cream, and lime wedges.

 

Easy Meal for One: Roast Celeriac and Egg “Salad” (Also Paris)

I mentioned that Noah and I went to Paris a few posts ago and then proceeded to tell you all about what it was like to be 15 in Paris. I was 15 quite a while ago. France was not yet on the Euro. I didn’t drink wine or coffee. It was, needless to say, a different experience. So, let me tell you a little about Paris this time.

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First, things to know about this trip: It rained the first five days we were there. We broke three umbrellas. Also, Noah had the flu. We got to know the French pharmacy system VERY WELL. We have a favorite french pharmacy. It’s on the Rue de Martyrs. We are now the proud owners of a celsius thermometer. And, we now know that French cough syrup is caramel flavored. (This raises some questions for me about why American cough syrup is cherry flavored.)

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The foggy-grayness of Paris in March, the rain, and Noah’s illness didn’t stop it from being a wonderful trip, if not quite the trip we had planned. It did, however, require us to drink quite a bit of vin chaud to stay warm. (If you are in Paris looking for Vin Chaud, may I suggest L’Eclair on Rue Cler. That’s where the photos below are from.)


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We went to the art museums; we reflected on French history. We played keep or renovate with every room in Versailles. We learned that if you do great things for France you can still be buried next to Marie and Pierre Curie. We wandered around the Maghrebian quarter with advice from this Saveur article and found our way to a  Tunisian Jewish bakery, Nani, where they summoned an English speaking baker to translate for us. We came away with delicious balls of pistachio paste.

When Noah got his taste back, we picked a favorite French pastry, the etoile noisette. We ate many picnics of cheese and French salads while huddling under umbrellas. Our friend Asheesh came to visit and introduced us to my new favorite coffee shop in the world: KB Coffee on the Rue de Martyrs. I’m sure this is sacrilegious, but it turns out I want to be drinking Australian coffee in Paris.

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We came back with rose flavored sugar and a Bottle of Suze. I’m sure there will be more posts inspired by our trip. Among other things, I have big plans to take a stab at making buckwheat crepes.

Today, however, I have a salad inspired by Celeriac Remoulade, which we picked up from a fromagerie and ate on the steps of a church one day. I love celeriac, but even in Paris I could not get behind mayonnaise-based salads. So, this is my way of eating celeriac with egg and oil and mustard. It’s also, I would argue, a great easy meal for one. It takes a little prep, but the kind of prep you can do on a Sunday afternoon in order to have easy food for the rest of the week.

I like to roast a bunch of vegetables and hard boil a bunch of eggs once a week. If you do that, you have the base of a million combinations that you can throw together for lunch or dinner when things get busier. Celeriac is not in my usual roast vegetable rotation, which is a shame. It can be a pain to peel, but I think it’s worth the effort. Just chop off the gnarly ends and attack with a peeler. There will be some tough spots that you will have to cut around, but if you don’t worry about losing a little bit of the root it’s not that time consuming. Once you have the roots peeled, it’s good to start by slicing them in half because every so often there are hidden cracks filled with dirt inside. Cut any of those out too. Rinse the root and then chop it into small cubes. Throw the cubes on a tray and toss them with a drizzle of olive. Put that tray along with trays of anything else you are roasting (today I roasted some peppers) in the oven. Then you can go about doing whatever else you are doing while they roast for a good 30 to 40 minutes. Maybe look in on your vegetables once or twice and give them a shake or a stir. Store them in the fridge for use through out the week.

While you’re at it you can boil some eggs. For years, I couldn’t remember how to hard boil an egg and had to look it up every time. There is lots of advice on the internet. But, basically this is what you do:

1. Place eggs in pot.

2. Cover with cold water so there is at least an inch of water covering the eggs.

3. Bring water to a boil.

4. Turn water off.

5. Let stand 12 minutes.

6. Drain eggs and rinse in cold water.

Ok, here’s how to make the salad.

Roast Celeriac and Egg Salad (for one) 

– 1 heaping cup roast celeriac

– 1 hardboiled egg

– 2 teaspoons capers

– 2 small cloves of garlic

– Juice of 1/2 a lemon

– 1 tsp mustard

– Ground pepper

* I usually roast about three celeriac bulbs. This will, however, give you more celeriac than you need. 1 cup roast celeriac is probably 1-2 bulbs depending on how big they are. To roast: peel, chop into cubes, toss with olive oil and salt until cubes are lightly coated. Roast in oven for 30-40 minutes at 400 degrees.

* Smash 2 garlic cloves into the bottom of a bowl.

* Peel and roughly chop one hardboiled egg and add to bowl.

* Add 2 teaspoons capers and 1 cup roasted celeriac to bowl.

* Stir together mustard and juice of half a lemon.

* Drizzle mustard/lemon mixture over celeriac and egg and toss to coat.

* Add ground pepper to taste.

There is, I think, no way to get a good photograph of a salad made of beige things tossed with mustard, but I promise you this tastes delicious and somehow elegant. I’m including the photo so you know what it’s supposed to look like, not because I think it will win any beauty contests.

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Orange-Sesame Yogurt Tart with Spelt Crust

 

P1040935Friday night, around 1:00 am, I got home from three plus weeks away. Saturday morning, I bounced out of bed excited to hit the farmers market. It was April. It was 70 degrees when I left Boulder the day before. Surely there would be delicious things to buy.

I came home with my tail between my legs. It was April. It was Connecticut. Not only had spring decidedly not sprung, but we were scraping the bottom of the winter root vegetable barrel. Noah and I headed to Trader Joe’s in defeat. I bought a bag of clementines just to confirm that it was basically still winter and a bouquet of flowers to cheer myself up.

Luckily, if you too are suffering from the what-season-is-it-again blues, I have a solution. This is the tart to get you from winter to spring (and possibly back again since that is the kind of yo-yo weather we seem to be in for this week).

It’s based on these yogurt tarts from 101 cookbooks. I had originally only planned to sub-out the whole wheat pastry flour for spelt, but then I got out the ginger that had been sitting in our refrigerator since before I left town, and the number of different kinds of mold growing on it was frightening. I rebooted with my bag of clementines, zesting them into the yogurt filing and then slicing and candying them for a good 45 minutes while the tart baked.

In the end you will get a orange-sesame yogurt tart that is light enough for spring but doesn’t require you to live somewhere where there are actual spring ingredients available for purchase. Enjoy!

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Orange-Sesame Yogurt Tart with Spelt Crust: (Adapted from 101 Cookbooks.) 

– 9 inch pastry pan

For the crust:

– 1 cup spelt flour

– 1/3 cup rolled oats

– 1/3 cup butter

– 2 tablespoons maple syrup

– 1 tablespoon sugar

– 1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

For the filling:

– 1 cup plain Greek yogurt

– 1/4 cup maple syrup

– Zest of 2 clementines

– 2 large eggs lightly beaten

For the topping:

– 1 cup water

– 2 cups sugar

– 4 clementines (probably not the ones you zested as the peel is delicious candied)

* Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

* Make the crust: In a sauce pan, melt butter over low heat. Stir in maple syrup, sugar, and sesame oil. Then stir in oats and flour. Cook for a minute or two, stirring. Remove from heat and pour dough into a tart dish or pie pan. It will be hot so cover dough with a piece of parchment paper the size of your pan and then working through the parchment paper pat dough so that it lines bottom and runs up sides of pan. (Note: I found my dough to be somewhat oily so after I had it lining the pan the way I wanted I used a paper towel to blot up a bit of the oil.)

* Place pie pan in freezer to cool crust.

* Meanwhile, clean your clementines and slice them horizontally into rounds.

* Bring water and sugar to a boil stirring occasionally. When sugar is dissolved add clementine slices and reduce heat, but allow to continue to boil gently. You can cook these for a long time. I cooked mine for about 45 minutes. When they are finished you want the slices to still have their shape, but the peel to be chewable, cutable, and sweet.

* For filling: Whisk together yogurt and maple syrup. In a separate bowl beat eggs and then stir beaten eggs into yogurt-maple syrup mixture. Stir in clementine zest.

* When completely cool, remove tart crust from freezer. Pour yogurt filling into crust. Bake in oven for 25- 35 minutes. When done, filling should be solid and no longer wiggly.

* Remove tart from oven and allow to cool for about 10 minutes.

* Arrange clementine slices on top and then drizzle some of the syrup the clementines have been cooking in over the top of the tart.

* Refrigerate and serve cold.

A few more notes: I think this tart has gotten better and better as the days have gone on. Also, you will have left over syrup from cooking the clementines. Save it. Mix it with seltzer (and maybe some vodka or gin).

Fig and Fennel Granola

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When I was 15 my parents sent me to live with a French family for the summer. When I arrived, I discovered that in preparation for the arrival of an American teenager they had stocked their kitchen with a box of Golden Grahams. Now, my own home had never in my life had a box of any such sugary cereal, but I was eager to please. I ate the Golden Grahams, which let’s be honest, were delicious while the rest of the family ate baguettes. When the first box ran out, they replaced it assuming it was what I wanted.

It took a while for my French to be good enough and my confidence high enough for me to tell them that I really was more than happy to join them in eating French breakfasts. Once I did, I got to walk to the bakery every morning and pick up baguettes and a few personal sized egg custard tarts for myself and their 9-year-old son.

Back home, the father would efficiently split his baguette in two, slice it in half, and then scoop out the doughy center and toss it in the garbage. He would then fill the hollow baguette halves with french butter. He was trying to cut carbs, he told me.

At fifteen, I was always on a diet, but unfortunately, even in France, never one that involved bread boats full of butter. I would nibble more circumspectly on my lightly buttered bread or egg tart.

Noah and I went to Paris a few weeks ago. It was my first time back since I was 15. I knew in advance, that it was going to be tough to not eat gluten while there. I decided to allow myself a few treats including a morning baguette with butter and an egg tart. I never found the egg tart of my memory, but I did get my baguette. Even now, however, I couldn’t bring myself to eat it a la my french host, which is too bad because I love French butter.

To keep myself from eating a baguette every morning and also in a play to save a little money, I decided to make some granola before we left. I figured it would be a nod to my cereal eating days the last time I was in Paris, but healthier and, dare I say, classier. Because, this is the classiest granola I’ve ever made. It’s not the stuff of hippies, not slicked with honey or oil. Instead it’s crisped with a combination of oil and egg white, lightly sweetened with maple syrup, and full of toasted fennel seeds, almonds, dried figs and cherries. If the French ate granola, I think this is one that would meet their standards.

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Fig and Fennel Granola: (Giving credit where credit is due, this granola was actually inspired by this genius chocolate bar.)

– 3 cups oats

– 1/2 cup roasted, salted sunflower seeds

– 1/2 cup pepitas

– 1 cup chopped almonds

– 1 cup unsweetened, finely shredded coconut

– 1/4 cup flaxseed meal

– 1/4 cup brown sugar

– 2 egg whites

– 1/4 cup olive oil

– 3/4 cup maple syrup

– 2 1/2 tablespoons fennel seeds

– 1 cup chopped dried turkish figs

– 1 cup chopped sour cherries

* Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

* Mix together all dry ingredients, except dried fruit.

* Whisk together maple syrup, olive oil, and egg whites.

* Stir wet ingredients into dry ingredients until evenly mixed.

* Spread granola evenly on a baking sheet.

* Bake 45 minute to an hour, until the granola has turned deep shade of brown. After half an hour of baking, toss granola with a spatula every 5 to 10 minutes so it does not burn.

* When it’s done baking, cool, and then toss in dried fruit.

* Store in freezer to keep it from going stale.