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Monthly Archives: May 2012

Strawberries with Yogurt and Chocolate Cake

Community training dinner, 5/21/12 – Served using Simple and Delicious Chocolate Cake

Strawberries are in season in the spring and early summer. In this dessert, they go with vanilla yogurt and chocolate cake – a perfect combination of lightness and decadence.

  • 16 oz strawberries, washed and cut into quarters
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 4 small slices chocolate cake
  • 1 cup vanilla yogurt

In a large bowl, combine lemon juice and brown sugar. Add strawberries and toss to coat.

To assemble dessert, pile strawberries and yogurt on top of a piece of cake.

Serves 4.

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Spring Greens and Vegetables Salad with Vinaigrette

Community training dinner, 5/21/12

This salad uses the earliest spring vegetables that are easy to grow in your own garden: lettuce, turnips, radishes, and scallions. This salad is very light and bright-tasting, perfect for spring.

Vinaigrette Dressing:

  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice, white wine vinegar, or 1 tablespoon of each
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 1 large pinch salt
  • black pepper, to taste
  • 3 tablespoons olive, vegetable, or canola oil

Salad:

  • 8 oz lettuce or other salad greens, washed and dried
  • 4 radishes, thinly sliced
  • 2 turnips, thinly sliced
  • 1 bunch scallions, sliced (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1/2 cup parsley leaves (optional)
  • 3 oz feta cheese (optional)

Make dressing: use a whisk or fork to mix together lemon juice/vinegar, garlic, salt, and pepper. Add oil and mix thoroughly. This will separate out as it sits because oil and vinegar do not like to mix. You can whisk or shake it again before you use it.

Toss salad: Combine lettuce, radishes, turnips, scallions, parsley (if using) and feta (if using) in a large bowl. Add dressing and toss to combine.

Serves 6.

 

VARIATION: Spring Greens and Vegetables Salad with Creamy Dressing

Community meeting training dinner, 3/20/2013

Instead of the vinaigrette, use this creamy dressing from the roasted sweet potato salad, and skip the feta cheese.

Dressing:

  • 1 clove garlic
  • large pinch salt
  • ¼ cup plain yogurt (or substitute low-fat sour cream if plain yogurt is unavailable, or omit and make changes noted below – do not use vanilla yogurt)
  • 2 teaspoons lemon or lime juice (increase to 4 teaspoons if omitting yogurt)
  • ½ teaspoon mild chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable, canola, or olive oil (increase to 2 tablespoons if omitting yogurt)

Dressing: Finely mince the garlic. Add a large pinch of salt to the garlic on the cutting board and continue to mince, then use the side of your knife to grind the salted garlic into a paste. Get it as smooth as you can, but don’t worry if there are still some larger pieces. Scrape the garlic paste into a small bowl. Add yogurt, lemon juice, and chili powder and mix well with a fork. Add oil and mix well.

Potatoes and Peas with Bacon

Community training dinner, 5/21/12

Frozen peas can be cooked right in a pan on the stove. In this recipe, they cook in bacon grease and pair up with boiled potatoes for a quick, easy, and tasty side dish.

  • 1 pound potatoes (red or yukon gold [waxy, firmer] work best, but regular baking potatoes [starchy, more crumbly] work too)
  • salt (divided between cooking water and final seasoning)
  • 3 strips bacon, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon black pepper (preferably freshly ground), depending on your preference

Wash potatoes. Cut into bite-sized pieces (you do not need to peel) and place in a pot of cold, salted water. Bring potatoes to a boil and cook until just tender, about 6-9 minutes. Drain.

While potatoes are cooking, prepare the bacon: cook chopped bacon in a very large pan over medium heat until the bacon is crisp and the fat has rendered out. Add peas to the pan and cook until heated through, about 2-3 minutes.

Add drained potatoes to the peas in the pan, stirring, then add salt to taste and black pepper. Serve.

Serves 4-5 as a side dish.

Chicken Stock

Homemade chicken stock is very useful to have on hand for making soup and other dishes. You can store it frozen for up to a year. Chicken stock is frequently made from raw chicken, but you can also use the bones from a roast chicken.

  • Bones from one roasted chicken, or scraps (backbone, wings, neck, etc) from raw chicken
  • Vegetable scraps: this can include the tough parts and ends of all sorts of vegetables. Onions, carrots, and celery are commonly used, but you can also add many other vegetable scraps you have around. Just avoid very strong-tasting vegetables such as cabbage.
  • Optional additions, if available:
    • 8 whole peppercorns
    • fresh parsley (can be stems leftover from using leaves) or thyme
    • 1 bay leaf
  • 8 cups water
  • Salt

Place chicken bones and scraps and vegetables in a large pot. Add water – everything should be fully covered by an inch or two. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 1-2 hours (longer-simmered stock will be more flavorful, so do all 2 hours if you have time). Skim off and discard any foam that rises to the surface.

When you’re done simmering, strain the stock through a sieve and discard all the solids. Add salt to taste. Aim for less salty rather than more – you can always add more salt when you’re cooking with the stock later.

Cool to room temperature before refrigerating or freezing.

Simple Roast Chicken

Community training dinner, 5/21/12

Roasted chicken, carved and ready to eat.

Roasting a whole chicken can seem scary, but it’s actually very simple to do. Whole chicken is often less expensive than chicken pieces, and as a bonus, you can save the bones to make chicken stock.

  • 1 broiler chicken
  • 1/2 lemon (optional)
  • 4-5 sprigs fresh thyme (optional)*
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, or 2/3 teaspoon table salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper (preferably freshly ground)

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. If you have a cast-iron skillet, place it in the oven to heat.

Rinse the chicken under cold water, then pat completely dry with paper towels. Place the half lemon and thyme sprigs inside the cavity of the chicken (if using), then season the chicken all over with the salt and pepper. Tuck the wings under the chicken.

If using a cast-iron skillet, place the chicken directly into the hot skillet in the oven. Otherwise, place the chicken breast-side up in a roasting pan and place in the oven.

Roast for 50-60 minutes (you don’t have to do anything while it’s cooking), until the temperature inside the thigh is 165 degrees and juices that come out when the thigh is pierced are clear.

Allow to rest for 15 minutes before carving and serving. Save the bones for making chicken stock.

Serves 4-8, depending on the size of your chicken and how hungry you are.

*Thyme can be grown in your own garden.

Roasted chicken, served alongside potatoes with peas and bacon and spring salad

Salad with Wild Lambsquarter, Scallions, Chickpeas, and Feta Cheese

Committee meeting working lunch, 5/17/12

 

Lambsquarter is a common weed that is also known as wild spinach. Its leaves are notched, and they look like they have a white, almost powdery coating. Lambsquarter can be eaten raw in salads, or cooked like other greens. In this salad, it’s mixed with spinach for a more mild introduction to a new green. Along with chickpeas and feta cheese, this salad makes a hearty side dish or lunch.

  • 4 ounces lambsquarters, washed and dried
  • 4 ounces spinach, washed and dried (if not prewashed and packaged)
  • 1 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained OR 1 cup cooked chickpeas (see bean cooking guide)
  • 1 bunch scallions, sliced into ¼-inch slices
  • 3 ounces feta cheese
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice or white wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, if available (or use vegetable or canola oil)
  • large pinch salt
  • black pepper, to taste

Combine lambsquarters, spinach, chickpeas, scallions, and cheese in a large bowl.

In a small bowl, prepare dressing by mixing lemon juice or vinegar, oil, salt, and pepper. Pour over salad in large bowl. Toss to coat evenly with dressing. Serve immediately.

Serves 6-8.