Archive for ‘Greener Grocer’

December 5, 2011

Early Winter Heaven | Turbot with Chanterelles and Melted Parsnips

Turbot has become my new favorite fish.  At first blush, it’s light, mild, and delicate.  But a heartbeat later you realize its meaty, dense, and packed with beautiful flavor.  Pair it with this seasonal and politely assertive sauce and you’ll really get your loved one’s attention on a cold December night.  Most importantly, the ingredients are familiar and the techniques are pretty basic.  It’s a can’t miss weeknight meal that’s quick, healthy, satisfying and elegant.  I can hardly believe something so simple could make such an impact.  It’s a beautiful dish.

Turbot is popular on European plates, but lately it seems to be making its presence known in American eateries and grocery stores as well.  If you can’t find it, ask your fishmonger.  The success of this meal is directly related to the quality of the ingredients.  Find the best mushrooms you can.  These were from the Greener Grocer and perfection.  This is a modified version of a dish found in Rick Stein’s Complete Seafood.  You must own this book.

Early Winter Turbot with Chanterelles and Melted Parsnips, serves 2

2/3 to 3/4 of a pound Turbot fillet

3 strips of bacon, thickly sliced

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December 23, 2010

Darkest Night of the Year | Truffled Root Vegetable Dauphinoise

I love the Greener Grocer.  You can find so many local things at the shop as well as the occasional rare treat from farther afield.  The most recent delicacy was a quarter pound of Oregon black truffles, which will feature prominently in our Christmas Eve and Christmas day meals.  But my favorite way to use them is in the humblest and simplest dishes where they can show off all their earthy fragrance.

For dinner, I cobbled together three things that were sitting in my crisper in need of quick use: a half of a celeriac, a half of a rutabaga and a half of an onion (from vegetable soup to atone for all my enchilada sins in Texas).  Looking across at the shelf with the dairy, I spied the half gallon of Snowville whipping cream (uh, yeah, sorry vegetable soup) that needed to be used, too.  Voila! Dauphinoise!  Normally a potato dish with cheese, I had a suspicion combining the root vegetables with the silky fat in the cream would make the truffle the star.  I love it when an idea comes together.

Truffled Celeriac Dauphinoise, Serves Four

1/4 large rutabega, very thinly sliced (use a mandolin if you’ve got one)

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December 21, 2010

Locavore Dessert | Caramelized Apple Cranachan

It’s snowy and cold here in Ohio.   Perfect Christmas weather.

But don’t let that weather preclude you from making something deliciously local and in season.  At the Greener Grocer in North Market, you can pick up the three or four ingredients you need for this simple, luscious dessert.  In fact, it makes a fantastic Christmas pudding because it’s dead simple.

This is a Scottish dessert.  And Scots know that when it’s cold, a wee bit of whisky will warm you up.  This cranachan is essentially whipped Snowville Cream mixed with local honey and a bit of good bourbon whiskey.  Do your level best not to eat the whole bowl straight.  Instead, this time of year, top with a sliced local apple  that’s been caramelized in a bit of butter and a sprinkling of toasted rolled oats or spelt.

Ohio River Valley Cranachan, Serves 4

2 apples, cored and thinly sliced (I used ones from Hirsch Farm)

2 T butter (you can make your own with Snowville)

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October 4, 2010

Apple-licious Breakfast

Cherub likes a good breakfast. 

This morning, since it’s gotten a little chilly, I served her some hot cereal.  I couldn’t find local oatmeal, so rolled spelt, from Stutzman Farm made an even exchange.   You can find Stutzman products at the Greener Grocer.  It cooks pretty much like oatmeal, two parts liquid (milk, local apple cider, water, etc.) to one part spelt.  I topped it with carmelized apples (sliced apple from Gillogly Orchard, sautéed in butter from Snowville, with a drizzle of local honey from John E. Egleston and a sprinkling of non-local cinnamon) and a further drizzle of honey. 

The great thing about it, too, is that there’s enough for leftovers.  So before school tomorrow, her healthy local breakfast  is already made.

September 13, 2010

Risotto Night | Shrimp and Sea Beans

It happens pretty much once a week.  I love it.  Hades loves it.  Cherub can’t get enough of it.  I love that it’s a versatile dish that takes on whatever flavor or season you throw at it.  I often make it as a vegetarian dish, and we never really miss the meat on those nights.  You can even skip cheese to make a vegan risotto if you top it with a delicious and simple pangrattato (PK tip: whiz up some bread crumbs, garlic, herbs of your choice a pinch of salt and then fry in a bit of olive oil until brown and crispy).  This summer’s versions have included carrot and coriander or the ubiquitous tomato and basil, as well as this week’s fancy-schmancy version: shrimp with sea beans.

I’m not above a bit of theater in the kitchen, and you shouldn’t be either — even on a weeknight.  So gather together a little technique, and a lot of showmanship and style with a risotto.  Here I was inspired by Julia Fischer’s new recording of Niccolo Paganini’s 24 Caprices, out this week.  Signore Paganini was never short of drama, so might he be too much?  Not a bit of it:  Ms. Fischer is, as always, extraordinary.  This brings us to tonight’s risotto.  Think a German brunette can’t handle the Italians?  Think again…

So what is a sea bean you ask?  A delicious little branched green bean looking thing that grows in salt marshes.  A very salty little thing it is, too.  So much so, that you need to blanch them first to get some of the salt out.  Taste-wise, it’s a bit like a tiny asparagus, in the woody sense, but with a burst of saltiness when you bite into it.  Really cool.   I picked these up from the Greener Grocer.  They had a few in as a little treat, but most times, you won’t find much of them unless you live on the coasts.  So if you happen to run across some and they look good, by all means buy them!

This week’s risotto was born of Rick Stein’s version in Complete Seafood.  He came up with the combo, I did my version of risotto.  If you are just starting out with cooking fish, and feel a bit out of your depth, there’s truly not a better cookbook than this one.  I’ve even seen them on sale at Whole Foods, and it’s really worth it to purchase a copy.

PK tip #2: This is one of those recipes that it’s really important to have all of your mise en place.  All your ducks in a row.  Organize, organize, organize!  Do all your prep first, chop all the carrots, onion, measure out all your rice, have all the pots out that you need (one for the stock, one for the sea beans, one for the risotto).  Have your bowls ready for serving.  Heck, even clean up your prep stuff and shove things in the dishwasher or sink to get things out of the way.  Now, roll up your sleeves.  Pour yourself a glass of wine.   This is gonna be fun.

Risotto with Shrimp and Sea Beans

2 carrots with the tops

1 pound of shrimp, deveined and shells reserved

1 small onion, skins reserved (really!)

1 bay leaf

6 peppercorns

1 small very ripe tomato, quartered (if you’ve got it)

1 stalk of celery with leaves, halved (if you’ve got it)

1 small handful of fresh parsley (if you’ve got it)

8 to 10 c. water

2 T. olive oil

1 1/2 c Arborio rice (Campanini, if you can get it.  I really, really like this rice.  And I’ve tried lots.)

Splash of sake or vermouth

4 oz sea beans, tough ends removed and broken to be about an inch each

Two handfuls of freshly grated parmesan cheese

In a large pot, add one whole carrot broken in half (top included) and the top from the second carrot.  Add in 1/2 of the onion, quartered and all of the papery skins (really!).  Add in the shrimp shells, bay, peppercorns, tomato, celery, and parsley.  Turn heat to high to get the stock up to a simmer, then turn down and keep on a low to medium heat; give it at least 15 minutes to cook before you begin the next steps with the rice.  I usually use this time to clean up the first round of prep, wipe down counters, put things in the dishwasher, sip some wine.

Next, in a large sauté pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat and add the other 1 half of the onion that’s been minced along with the last carrot which has been minced as well.   Soften the veg for three to five minutes, stirring occasionally.  Tip in the rice, stir to coat with the oil and mix in the carrot and onion.  Cook for one to two minutes, then add in a nice big splash of the sake or whatever you’re using.    This should evaporate pretty quickly, so stir rapidly once the liquid goes in to deglaze the pan a bit.  PK tip: I normally use Noilly Prat in just about every other recipe.

Now start adding in your stock.  I use a ½ cup ladle, a mesh strainer and a wooden spoon.  With the stock pot on simmer on the burner directly behind the pan you are cooking the risotto, (having the pans close together makes this much easier) ladle in two measures of stock through the strainer you hold over the risotto pan (set your wooden spoon down!).  Then using the wooden spoon, stir the risotto to incorporate all the stock, when it’s most all absorbed, add another ladle of stock the same way as before.  Repeat this process until the rice has developed its own lovely starchy sauce, and the rice is tender, but not mushy; usually 20 to 30 minutes of lovingly ladling, stirring and sipping wine.  You’ll go through just about all that stock.

When the rice is almost done, say 18 to 20 minutes in, you’ll need to bring a pan of water up to the boil and blanch the sea beans for one minute.  Drain the beans.  Now add in the shrimp to the hot risotto, along with another ladle of stock for good measure.  Cook two to three minutes, depending on the size of your shrimp.  Add in all but a handful of the beans (you’ll need some to garnish) and the parmesan to the risotto, stir and taste for seasoning.  I found that it just needed the slightest bit of salt.  It’s at this point before serving that I always add an extra ladle or two of stock.  You don’t want it runny, but almost.  The second risotto gets out of the pan and begins to cool, it thickens up.  Always.  Adding that extra stock at the end just ensures you have a lovely creamy bowl of rice, not a lump.  Gross.

I serve it in shallow bowls and garnish with a small pile of the sea beans that you reserved and maybe a drizzle of olive oil.  It’s pretty great stuff.

You must, must, must serve this with a Vinho Verde.  In PK’s opinion, it’s just the most perfect pairing, a bit sparkly, super light, white and refreshing.

Mangia!

September 9, 2010

Greek, Only Not | Roasted Lamb Shoulder with Olives

Didn’t they always serve roast lamb on Sundays back in the Mad Men era?  This Greek-inspired lamb shoulder with an olive sauce is worth all the trouble and forward planning you might have to do.

Hades and I had a hankering for some lamb after the Greek Festival last weekend.  Maybe with some olives.  And eggplant.  Ooo!  And some of our home grown tomatoes. You know, Mediterranean flavors , but not quite so literal.  And that started us thinking about all the Columbus purveyors of locally made, grown and produced deliciousness; we decided to see how local we could go.  Consider this one of our first forays into the Eat Local Challenge that will be happening later this October.

We ordered our lamb shoulder from Bluescreek Farm Meats, our Cherub selected the local eggplant and garlic with a little help from Colleen at the Greener Grocer.  The olives and pita were from Firdous Express, and the tomatoes and herbs were from our backyard. The shallots were from Cronus’s garden.  Not local was the salt, pepper, olive oil, and butter.  We’ll work on those.

You might be tempted just to enjoy the pictures and read the description, but please don’t do that!  Try this out on a Sunday soon, before all this summer’s tomatoes are gone.

Roasted Lamb Shoulder with Olive Sauce served with Eggplant and Tomato Fondue

Lamb Stock – Yeah, I know.  Keep reading.  We made ours the day before.

1 pound of lamb bones (ask your butcher, lamb neck works well)

2 carrots (tops left on, please), scrubbed and broken in half

1 yellow onion, paper left on, quartered

Small handful of parsley and thyme, 1 bay leaf, 10 peppercorns

In a roasting pan, spread out the bones and place in a 350˚ oven for 30 to 45 minutes turning once or twice, until golden.  When roasted, place bones in large pasta pot, along with the rest of the ingredients.  Cover with water.  Place over high heat to bring to a boil, then turn down so that the water is barely simmering.  Skim regularly.  Allow to gently cook for two hours.  Strain through a fine mesh or cheesecloth.

Roast Lamb – Preheat Oven to 500˚

2.5 pounds bone in lamb shoulder

1 head garlic, cloves separated, but paper still on

Very large handful of fresh sage, fresh parsley and fresh thyme

Salt, pepper, olive oil

In a large, heavy, lidded roasting pan, cover the bottom of the pan with all of the garlic cloves then layer over the herbs on top of the garlic.  Using a sharp knife, shallowly slice a crisscross pattern into the top of the lamb shoulder, rub liberally with olive oil and season generously with salt and pepper.  Put the lid on the pan, slide the pan in the oven and immediately reset oven temperature to 325˚.  Roast for four hours.  (Yes, four hours.)   To serve, shred roughly off the bone with a generous ladle of olive sauce and some pita for scooping.

PK tip: keep the bones once you pull out the roast.  Throw them in the freezer so you have roasted lamb bones next time you want to make stock.

Olive Sauce, inspired by Marco Pierre White

4 c. Lamb Stock

1½ c. olives from your grocery’s olive bar (pits removed, but not stuffed with feta or jalapeños, please and roughly chopped)

4 T butter

In a sauce pot, reduce the lamb stock over medium heat by 2/3 (this takes about an hour to an hour and a half).  When you’re about ready to serve dinner, whisk in the butter and add the olives and warm through.

Tomato Fondue, inspired by Marco Pierre White and Escoffier

½ shallot, finely chopped

1 clove garlic, finely chopped

Scant ½ cup olive oil

6 to 8 large, very ripe Roma tomatoes, skinned, deseeded and chopped (Hades insists he would never bother with skinning and deseeding, but I did, and it was worth it)

¼ bay leaf (really, Marco?), 1 sprig of thyme, salt

In a pan, heat the olive oil over low heat.  Add the shallots and garlic and sweat, without coloring, for a few minutes.  Add in the tomatoes and cook gently, stirring occasionally, until reduced to a thick paste.  Remove bay, and tip mixture into a blender or food processor.  Blend until the mixture is smooth.  I found it actually emulsifies into an almost mayonnaise-like consistency.  Add a pinch or two of salt.

Eggplant Preparation

1 eggplant, sliced into ½ to ¾ inch thick rounds

Olive oil, salt (preferably fleur de sel:  it adds a nice texture)

In a large frying pan, cover the bottom of the pan with ½ inch of olive oil and heat over medium high heat.  Prick the eggplant rounds with a fork.  Place the rounds in the hot oil and fry until golden brown on both sides (six to eight minutes).  Remove to a plate lined with paper towels and sprinkle with salt.  To assemble, place a slice of eggplant on a plate and cover with a generous spoonful of the tomato fondue.

Are you still there?  You are?  That’s great.  I’m guessing you’re still reading because there’s a little tiny bit of you that wants to make this, but you read the post and said, “no way, that’s too hard.  I don’t have time for that.”  You have the time if you really want to.  You’d be so proud of yourself.  I was so proud of myself.  Hades and I love cooking together.  The greatness of the meal is that it highlights one of the most amazing cuisines as well as lots of different techniques.  Like lifting weights, it will make you a stronger cook.  And heck, it tastes great, too.

Wine:  PK recommends a Greek white that Hades and I were introduced to at Gordon Ramsay’s London Bar.  It’s a Moscofilero, Domaine Skouras.  A white with Lamb?  A white indeed.

Playlist included the lovely Rose Elinor Dougall’s debut album Without Why.

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