End of Summer

by Kelsi in , ,


 

School started again last week and just like that we slipped into the September groove. There is still sunshine but a definite chill in the air, and even an epic thunderstorm over the weekend to boot. The garden looks amazing in its lush overgrown state…

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The squash and potatoes have been harvested, new kale starts have been planted and we are enjoying the last days of the sungolds…

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With cooler temps on the way I likely won’t get a chance to use it until next summer but I just picked up this beautiful little pool from local Seattle company Mylle

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And don’t knock it ‘til you try it, Spaghett is the late summer beverage we’ve been sharing with our next door neighbors. We’ve made a few tweaks to the recipe:

12 oz Miller High Life

2 oz Aperol

Juice of one lemon

Serve over ice.

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I implore you to go and make this one pot chicken from Jamie Oliver as soon as possible. Watch this video and yes it really is that easy. Make it even easier by subbing a handful of already peeled garlic cloves for the whole head of garlic.

And with the end of summer comes the changing light. As the sunrise creeps ever later, I’m looking forward to trying out the Casper Glow Light to make waking up in the dark a little less jarring…

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Go-to Weeknight Pasta

by Kelsi in ,


 

This perfect spaghetti is my go-to throw it together weeknight pasta. It is so satisfying, and even my very picky son will eat it.

During the summer when my garden is overflowing with tomatoes I will use fresh, but for the rest of the year I love these Bianco DiNapoli whole peeled tomatoes

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One of my most favorite shortcuts in the kitchen is having a container of peeled garlic in the refrigerator. It may seem like such a small thing but it makes a huge difference in getting something pulled together quickly, especially when you don’t really feel like cooking…

And the brown rice pastas from Jovial are incredible and the only ones I use. The texture and flavor are stellar and you’d be hard pressed to distinguish it from regular wheat pasta. You can find them at PCC, Whole Foods and on Thrive Market

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SPAGHETTI WITH TOMATOES + ANCHOVY BUTTER

adapted from Alison Roman

12oz SPAGHETTI

KOSHER SALT

6 TABLESPOONS UNSALTED BUTTER

3 OIL-PACKED ANCHOVY FILLETS

4 GARLIC CLOVES, THINLY SLICED

1 28oz CAN OF GOOD QUALITY WHOLE PEELED TOMATOES, DRAINED (OR 2 LBS FRESH TOMATOES)

CHOPPED TARRAGON AND/OR PARSLEY

MALDON FLAKE SALT

Heat butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook anchovies and garlic, stirring often, until anchovies are broken down and garlic is soft, about 4 minutes.

Add tomatoes; season with kosher salt and and cook, stirring occasionally, until falling apart, about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, boil the pasta in generously salted water (it should taste like the ocean) according to package directions. Reserve ½ cup pasta cooking liquid.

Toss pasta with the tomatoes (and reserved cooking liquid if it looks dry); cook until sauce coats pasta, about 2 minutes. Toss in herbs and sprinkle with Maldon to serve.

IF USING FRESH TOMATOES

You will need to remove the skins first. In a pot large enough to fit the tomatoes, fill ¾ with water and bring to a boil. Cutting through the skin, make an “x” on the bottom of each tomato with a knife. Turn the heat off and submerge the tomatoes in the water for 20-30 seconds, depending on the size of the tomatoes. Remove the tomatoes from the water with a slotted spoon and place on a cutting board. Slip the peels off, core and chop into quarters. Then proceed with the recipe.

 

Polentina alla Toscana

by Kelsi in ,


 

This was a lovely meal to welcome the New Year. And proof that simple can be extraordinary. It is from David Tanis’s One Good Dish.

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POLENTINA ALLA TOSCANA

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil plus more for drizzling

1 large onion diced

1/2 pound carrots peeled and diced

4 celery stalks diced

1 large fennel bulb trimmed and diced

salt and pepper

1 medium leek trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch squares

1 bay leaf

1/4 cup polenta

6 cups chicken broth

1/2 pound Tuscan kale

1/2 teaspoon grated or finely chopped garlic

Pinch of red pepper flakes

Leaves from 1 rosemary sprig

In a heavy pot, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion, carrots, celery, and fennel, season generous with salt and pepper, and cook for 5 minutes or so, until barely softened. Add the leek and bay leaf and cook for 2 minutes.

Add the polenta, stirring to distribute it, and raise the heat to high. Add the chicken broth and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a gentle simmer and allow the soup to simmer for about an hour; the broth should be just slightly thickened. Taste and adjust the seasoning.

Meanwhile, wash and roughly chop the kale. Drain in a colander but do not dry. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil in a wide skillet over high heat. When the oil is hot, add the greens, stirring as they begin to wilt. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and season with salt and pepper. Turn the heat to medium and cook until the greens are tender, about 5 minutes more. Set aside.

To serve, ladle the soup into bowls and top with the kale. Sprinkle with the finely chopped rosemary, drizzle with more olive oil and sprinkle with parmesan if desired.

 

Celery Root + Cauliflower Soup

by Kelsi in ,


 

This is one of my favorite soups to make in the winter. It is so simple yet elegant. I've served it on Thanksgiving, and to special company and it is always a hit. It comes from Ina Garten's cookbook Make it AheadIt also freezes well but I usually just keep a big pot of it in the fridge that we eat throughout the week.

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If you've never used celery root before it can look a little intimidating to work with but it's a piece of cake...

Cut off the top and bottom so you have a flat surface and rest the celery root on one of the ends. Then start trimming away the sides...

Keep trimming...

Until all the brown has been removed...

Everything gets chopped and goes in the pot to simmer on the stove. It won't look like much when it's done...

But after a turn in the blender it come out silky smooth and beautiful like this...

Ina calls for 2 Tablespoons of cream to be added at the end, however I've never added it as it seems unnecessary but feel free if you prefer!

It is truly delicious on its own but I've added two things recently that take it to another level. A drizzle of this new favorite olive oil from Katz, and a sprinkle of fennel pollen (seen below)...

I learned about Katz from Joshua McFadden's book (which I mentioned here as one of my very favorite cookbooks from last year). Their vinegars are stellar as well.

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CAULIFLOWER & CELERY ROOT SOUP

By INA GARTEN

Serves 6

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup good olive oil, plus extra for serving

  • 2 cups yellow onions, chopped (2 onions)

  • 2 cups (1-inch-diced) celery root

  • 2 cups (1-inch-diced) fennel, cored and stalks removed

  • 2 lb (1 medium) cauliflower, cored and cut into florets

  • 2 cups good chicken stock

  • 2 tsp kosher salt, plus more for seasoning

  • fennel pollen (optional but you really should seek it out)

 

Heat olive oil in a heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven. Add onions and sauté over medium-low heat for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until tender but not browned. Stir in celery root and fennel and sauté for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add cauliflower, chicken stock, and salt. Bring to a boil, lower heat, cover, and simmer for 25 to 30 minutes, until vegetables are very tender. Add 3 cups of water, bring to a boil, lower heat, and simmer uncovered for 20 minutes. Remove from heat.

Working in batches, puree soup in a blender, until very smooth. (Don’t fill blender more than half full or it will overflow!) Pour blended soup into a large saucepan and add 1 or 2 teaspoons of salt, depending on saltiness of the chicken stock. Reheat soup over medium-low heat. Ladle into soup bowls, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with Maldon Sea Salt and fennel pollen. Serve hot.

Make it ahead: Prepare soup and refrigerate for up to 1 week, or freeze for up to 3 months.

Print the recipe neatly here.

 

Simple Chicken Salad

by Kelsi in ,


 

My go-to chicken salad recipe comes from GP. It's a breeze to make and nice to have in the fridge on these hot days when I don't feel like cooking. Most often I double the recipe as this never sticks around for long.

First make the rotisserie spice blend:

2 teaspoons paprika

2 teaspoons garlic powder

2 teaspoons onion powder

1 teaspoon kosher salt

2 teaspoons chili powder

Next place one bone-in, skin-on chicken breast on a sheet pan lined with foil or parchment. Rub both sides with olive oil and the spice blend. Bake at 325°F for an hour and a half. Remove from oven and let cool to room temp.

Remove the skin and bones and shred the chicken into a medium sized bowl. (The original recipe takes the extra step to put the shredded chicken into a food processor to really finely shred it but I skip this part.)

To the shredded chicken add two stalks celery, cut into ¼-inch dice, 1/3 cup of vegenaise and salt and pepper to taste. A note on vegenaise...of course feel free to substitute any good quality mayonnaise. I don't do well with eggs so vegenaise is great for that. And it just so happens that flavorwise I prefer veganaise over any other (including the one I used to make from scratch).

Et voilá!

 

Easy Tomato Soup

by Kelsi in ,


 

I meant to post this back in May when I first made this super easy and delicious tomato soup from Gwyneth Paltrow's newest cookbook, It's All Easy. It is such a breeze to make. I prefer to use these San Marzanos (the same ones I use for Marcella's sauce)...

Today I actually had the remaining tomatoes from our garden to put to use,  so I halved them, drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with salt and roasted them in the oven for 30 minutes at 450.

 

EASY TOMATO SOUP from It's All Easy

2 Tbsp olive oil

2 Tbsp unsalted butter

1 large onion, thinly sliced

1/2 tsp kosher salt, plus more to taste

3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

3 tablespoons tomato paste

5 large basil leaves

1 (28oz) can whole San Marzano tomatoes with their juices

2 cups chicken stock

Freshly ground black pepper

1/4 C cream (optional)

Heat the olive oil and butter in a heavy-bottomed sauce pan or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion and salt; cover the pot and cook for 10 minutes. Add the garlic, tomato paste, and basil leaves and sauté for 2 minutes. Add the canned tomatoes with their juices and chicken stock. I love this "no chicken" one from Imagine for basic stock...

Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook for 20 minutes.

Carefully transfer the soup to a blender and blend until smooth. Or even easier if you have an immersion blender, blend the soup directly in the pot. Season with salt and pepper and stir in the cream, if using. 

 

February

by Kelsi in , ,


 

And just like that, it is February. I dropped my son off at preschool this morning and as I am sure many parents can relate, I always feel a sense of urgency to cross off as many things as possible on my todo list before picking him up at noon. But not today. It is a chilly, beautiful sunny day here in Seattle and I am going to enjoy the view out my window and type.

January was truly restorative. Sleep was a priority, as was exercise. We spent most of our downtime at home making art...

Dad too.

And we have been cooking. A few favorites...

I mentioned this dish back in October but it worth spreading the word again if you still haven't made it.

Another one from the NYT, Oven Roasted Chicken Shawarma. It is incredibly easy and flavorful. I served it with rice and the same garlic yogurt sauce from the Melissa Clark recipe above spiked with a little lemon juice. 

Photo from My New Roots

Photo from My New Roots

And also this lovely lentil soup from Sarah Britton. This recipe is also included in her wonderful cookbook. I should have paid attention when she said this is her most favorite recipe she's ever posted and made it long before last week. It is truly delicious and again something incredibly easy to pull together for lunch or dinner. Worth noting, in the book version of this recipe she recommends adding a very small pour of maple syrup at the very end to balance the flavor. I did and it really makes all the difference.

My time is up. Off to pick up my little guy.

 

 

Simple Black Bean Tacos

by Kelsi in ,


 

I really enjoy my time in the kitchen. Cooking for my family relaxes me. That is when I have some leisurely time and am not trying to figure out what's for dinner after a long day of work, trying to get food on the table before D's bath and 8pm bedtime. Then, it can be a chore. And it is then when something quick and dirty is necessary. These tacos are one of our most favorite simple suppers, and they're ready in 10 minutes or less.

They do require a bit of forethought with regard to the avocados. I usually buy a whole bag of them while they are still hard and green. You can speed up the ripening by putting them in a paper bag on the counter. But the best trick I've learned is that once they are perfectly ripe, you can store them in the fridge and they will cease to continue ripening so you don't need to consume the whole lot that day. (However if you do have a glut of ripe avocados at once, I highly recommend you make this guacamole.)

Here's what you need...

White Corn Tortillas

Avocados (mashed with a squeeze of lime if you have it)

Canned Black Beans (I prefer Goya or Trader Joe's brand, rinsed and re-heated)

Cotija Cheese

Chopped White Onion

Cilantro

Maldon Sea Salt (or other flake salt) 

Heat tortillas over a cast iron skillet. When lightly toasted on both sides, spread on some avocado and sprinkle pretty generously with Maldon salt. The salt it THE most important part so don't miss this step. Top with warmed black beans and chopped onion. Sprinkle with cilantro and cotija. Full disclosure: We almost always eat these standing up in the kitchen and never make it to the table. They are best eaten hot. Keep the skillet on and keep a tortilla on rotation. Heat, eat and repeat.