Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Apple-Peel Slaw

I have a new approach to cooking to tell you about today. What if instead of shopping for a list of ingredients for one recipe you shopped for ingredients you really like that you’ll prep and use in multiple dishes? That’s the idea in The Nimble Cook: New Strategies for Great Meals That Make the Most of Your Ingredients by Ronna Welsh of which I received a review copy. Each chapter introduces a type of ingredient such as Aromatics, Leaves, Summer Fruits and Vegetables, Fish and Shellfish, etc. Then, each ingredient has a “starting point” or way to prepare it, and that creates several servings of the base ingredient. Next, each starting point is used in various “explorations” that offer ideas for that prepped ingredient to become a component of a different dish. The goal is for you to have lots of starting points on hand and then be able to create meals from those leftovers. Welsh also includes lots of ways to use parts of ingredients that might ordinarily go to waste. For instance, I was right away inspired by the idea to blanch chopped leek greens and then use them in a pesto with dill. When I bring home locally-grown leeks, they tend to have long, lovely leaves that I never had a use for in the past. Another starting point I appreciated was the roasted radicchio that could be stored in the refrigerator until needed; served with a vinaigrette as a warm salad; and any leftovers could be added to a sandwich with roasted eggplant. That makes me want to have a supply of roasted eggplant just waiting for me in the refrigerator. The recipes all reference various “starting points” with page numbers so you can easily flip to the instructions. It wasn’t until I got to the page about Confit Duck, which came right after the page about searing duck breast and the suggestion to stockpile fat from cooking breasts to use for confit, that I got excited about the roasted peppers from way back on page 137. When I read page 137 the first time, I was focused on the bell peppers being roasted and didn’t think too much about the Roasted-Pepper Breakfast Sandwich that was an optional “exploration” for the peppers. But, when I saw the suggestion for using leftover duck confit in that breakfast sandwich, I became a lot more interested in the peppers. And, that’s kind of the idea of the book. The ideas are there to get you inspired to cook what you like and have multiple directions to take what you’ve cooked. I want a supply of Wine-Pickled Garlic Cloves for relishes and for topping shellfish, and Cheese Stock made with leftover rinds to use in risotto or soup, and Roasted Lemons for dressings or to mix with seared kale. And, I want to flip back through this book when I need ideas for ingredient parts that tend to become scraps. Using all of the parts is what attracted me to the Apple-Peel Slaw. And, I thought it would be a great fall dish with grilled vegan bratwurst. 

In the book, the Apple-Peel Slaw is presented with two options. There’s a sharp slaw and a creamy slaw. I went the sharp route. I used the peels from mostly red and one green apple. The apples themselves went into a crisp that became breakfast for a few days. I left the peels in water with lemon juice as I worked. The peels were then cut into very thin strips. Rather than slicing red onion, I minced it as I do. The dressing was a mix of red wine vinegar, capers, Dijon mustard, salt, and olive oil. The apple peels and onion were placed in a bowl, and whisked dressing was poured over top and tossed to form the slaw. 

The mustardy-red wine vinaigrette with pops of flavor from the capers was a great match for the sweet apple peels. Sweet, savory, and salty flavors were all there. This is a great, light side dish for grilled sausages of any kind. I’m actually looking forward to having leftovers of everything now. There are so many possibilities for using every ingredient. 

Apple-Peel Slaw
Apple-Peel Slaw, Two Kinds is excerpted from The Nimble Cook: New Strategies for Great Meals That Make the Most of Your Ingredients © 2019 by Ronna Welsh. Illustrations © 2019 by Diana Vassar. Reproduced by permission of Rux Martin Books/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved. 

Any apple peel can work for these, but the skin from a crisp and tart apple, like a Gala, holds up best. These slaw recipes are interchangeable; both are delicious on toast with good cheddar cheese, alongside chicken salad, in a sandwich with grilled sausage, or any place you might serve a more typical cabbage slaw. 

Peels from 3 pounds apples  
Sharp Slaw: 
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar 
2 tablespoons capers, rinsed and minced 
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard 
Coarse kosher salt 
1/4 cup excellent olive oil 
1/2 cup very thinly sliced red onion 

Creamy Slaw: 
1 large egg yolk 
2 1/2 tablespoons capers, rinsed and minced 
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar 
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard Coarse kosher salt 
1/4 cup excellent olive oil 
1/2 cup very thinly sliced red onion 

Cut the peels into very thin strips. 

To make the sharp slaw: Whisk the vinegar, capers, mustard, and a pinch of salt together in a small bowl. Whisk in the olive oil to make an emulsified dressing. Put the peels and onion in a large bowl and drizzle in the dressing bit by bit. Toss to coat, keeping the slaw light. You may have dressing left over. Taste for salt. 

To make the creamy slaw: Whisk the yolk, capers, vinegar, mustard, and a pinch of salt together in a small bowl. Whisk in the oil, a drop at a time, to make a creamy dressing. Put the peels and onion in a large bowl and drizzle in the dressing bit by bit. Toss to coat, keeping the slaw light. You may have dressing left over. Taste for salt. 

Serve either slaw right away, or refrigerate, covered, for up to 2 days. If necessary, retoss with a little of the reserved extra dressing.

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Tuesday, October 15, 2019

BBQ Chickpea-Quinoa Bowls

When someone declares that cookie recipes are her pride and joy, I’m going to pay attention. I didn’t realize the food blog Two Peas and Their Pod has 200 recipes for cookies on it. But, I did know the blog author Maria Lichty also has a new cookbook, and I received a review copy. Of course, there is a chapter just for cookies. There’s a lot of other great food too, and I got distracted with the mix of vegetarian and omnivore dishes on my way to the cookies. The book and the blog are about a couple that loves to cook for their little boys, extended family, neighbors, and friends. The recipes they share are tested, family favorites. And, they really do love cooking and bringing people together around good food. Right away, I found some of my favorite flavors in the book. The Sweet Potato and Kale Hash, Raspberry-Lemon Scones, and Green “Hulk” Smoothies stood out in the Breakfast chapter. The hearty soups like Creamy Roasted Cauliflower Chowder and Mushroom-Farro Soup had me looking forward to cooler days. I’m marking the page for the Kale and Wild Rice Salad with Maple Mustard Vinaigrette for a Thanksgiving menu contender, and I can’t wait to try the Sweet and Spicy Tofu with Zucchini Noodles right away. Now, about that cookie chapter: there are Our Favorite Chocolate Chip Cookies, Mega Monster Cookies, Lemon-Almond Cookies with Lemon Glaze and more. The one that called out to me, though, was the Toasted Coconut White Chocolate and Macadamia Cookies. I’ve never added coconut to white chocolate-macadamia cookies or thought to toast it first. That’s a must-try. Before I could pre-heat the oven for those, I first set about making the BBQ Chickpea-Quinoa Bowls. 

I had local corn and tomatoes from my CSA, and the timing was right for this dish. To begin, the canned chickpeas were rinsed and drained before being mixed with olive oil, paprika, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. The seasoned chickpeas were baked for about 30 minutes until crispy. After roasting, they were tossed with some barbecue sauce. Meanwhile, I charred the corn a bit on a grill pan and chopped the tomatoes, cabbage, avocado, and lettuce. The dressing for the bowls was a spicy ranch that I took in a vegan direction by using cashew yogurt. The yogurt was mixed with lemon juice, minced jalapeno, minced garlic, chopped garlic chives, and salt and pepper. Cooked quinoa was placed in bowls and topped with the fresh vegetables, the barbecued chickpeas, and drizzled with the dressing. 

I love crispy, roasted chickpeas almost as much as I love popcorn, and the addition of barbecue sauce was a delicious idea. The flavors were a great match for the corn, tomatoes, and avocado. This could become a weekly lunch meal for me. But, now I’m thinking I haven’t been baking enough cookies lately.

I am a member of the Amazon Affiliate Program. 
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